Living Life As The Witch – Finding Your Personal Goddess

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Finding Your Personal Goddess

One of the things that most of us have in common–whether we call ourselves Pagans, Witches or Wiccans–is a belief in the female divine. Many of us also acknowledge the existence of a male divine, albeit one that bears little resemblance to the God we may have grown up with, but it is Goddess worship which sets us apart from other religions and brings us together in this one.

But which Goddess? There are so many names by which we call her, it can be hard to decide which of the Lady’s incarnations is best suited to our own practice and personality. Yet for many of us, the search for our personal Goddess is part of the path we walk as Pagans. How can we know which Goddess to call on in our prayers?

The first question to ask, really, is does she need a specific name at all? Some Pagans are happy to simply refer to their female deity as “Goddess” in the abstract, without attaching any particular name or tradition to her. (I often do that myself, although I have one Goddess who I worship primarily, and often call on others for specific tasks or holidays.)

There are a few benefits to this approach: it is simple and easy, you can be sure that your prayer will get to Goddess in one form or another, and you don’t have to worry that you are addressing the wrong deity for your magickal work.

There is certainly nothing wrong with calling on a general all-purpose Goddess. After all, most people who talk to “God” don’t call him by any particular name. If you are just starting out, or haven’t figured out a specific Goddess who seems right to you, then it is absolutely appropriate to address your prayers and spells to “Great Goddess,” “Mother of Us All,” “Lady of the Moon,” or any other generic term for the feminine one.

Reference:

Excerpt from “Finding Your Personal Goddess”
By Deborah Blake
Llewellyn’s 2012 Magical Almanac

The Witches Spell for December 30th: A POWERFUL WISH SPELL

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      A POWERFUL WISH SPELL

This is a little complicated to describe but is well worth it.

You need a piece of recycled paper (recycled notebook paper works fine).

On the paper, write a short poem or chant to the Goddess and God that states your wish.

It is alright if you aren’t the best poet on earth! But it is very important that you say exactly         how you feel and what exactly you need. Do your best and say it from the heart.

Close the poem with thanks to the Goddess and God.

Fold it in half with the words inside it.

Draw a triple goddess sign on the outside.

Now fold it in half again with the symbol on the inside.

Now draw a pentacle on the paper.

Finally, flip it over and write your name and birthdate on the other side.

Put this aside in a safe place and your wish will come true in due time.

If you change your mind before it comes true, burn the paper and put the ashes to the earth.

The Answers You Seek

The Answers You Seek

Author:   Lady Wolfwind 

My daughter tells me that the answers that I seek are in the Bible. Oh, if she only knew. She doesn’t know me very well. I laugh to myself. I don’t seek any answers. I am at total peace within myself. I know that the answers will be revealed to me when I am ready. The more you chase after them, the least likely you are to find them at all.

True, at one point in my life I ran here and there. I was never satisfied. I was always reading and questioning everything. Surely, the great knowledge that I seek must be in a book somewhere. I was impatient and surrounded by chaotic thoughts. Caught up in the mundane world where money mattered above all else.

I don’t know when it changed. A few years ago. I’m not sure why. Some inner voice was whispering, nagging me. I wouldn’t ever listen. If I listened I knew I would have to take a different road, one no one else understood. I would stand out, I would not fit in. Long ago these were important things to me.

One day something changed. A new thought appeared. I had read and studied most of the world’s major religions. None of them appealed to me. What did appeal to me? Something I had heard long ago. A distant memory of quiet words spoken. “Follow your heart, for it will never deceive you. You are one of the few who has been chosen to walk with me.”

It seems like forever that I ignored that voice. That beautiful musical voice that one day would show me a path so magical that it seems an injustice that more people cannot hear. I now understand all that She had to tell me. To be quiet and listen. That all is not silent. The Universe speaks volumes to your soul. That I was born to be different; to march to a different beat and it is okay. That I have a purpose here on Earth to do Her work. To stop asking the questions and chasing answers.

The answers that I seek are on the wind. They are in the raindrops and the stars shining at night. Departed ancestors who deserve to be honored whisper them to me. They are heard in my children’s laughter and felt in my cat’s soft breath. They are all around me. I had to be still to hear. They’ve always been there.

When I first set foot on my path I was overwhelmed and could not learn enough. I read everything I could find, I researched terms and tried to find groups to join. I wanted to buy everything I thought I needed. I still wasn’t paying attention. Soon I learned to meditate, to open and heal my chakras, yoga. I learned and I practiced how to be still. Then I began to hear.

I am now a solitary and a very happy one at that. I don’t need all those fancy tools. Our ancestors and fellow wise women did not buy their tools. They didn’t gather together in secrecy. Most were loners who loved nature and knew how to use it to make the lives of everyone better. There is no chaos within me. I do not seek answers. The Bible, which my daughter speaks of, holds no interest to me. I feel that she is the one who has been blinded by false leaders and it saddens me.

Witches of old were wise women and men who knew the value of the silence. Great secrets are not written in books. They are not shared with just anybody. The witches of yesteryear listened and learned and healed. It was a mistake to forsake them, to bury them in history, to make them creatures to be feared. The true witches know the secrets and know how to keep them and who to share them with. The true witches are full of love for the world and all of the creatures in it. Witches do not need manmade laws to control their actions. We have a strong moral code within us that makes it impossible to hurt what we view as divine.

My daughter made a last ditch effort to convert me. It was a mistake. It made me think deeper. It made me realize how peaceful I was compared to others. She does not see the happiness in me. I sat and thought and really understood who I had become since I took the Goddess’s hand and began to walk with her. I am happy, I am wise and I am powerful. I am beautiful and I see beauty in everything around me.

I’m not so sure that her Bible will teach her any of this. Her words were filled with anger and disdain. Words that a child should never say to their mother. I had to step back and think about all that she had said. Were her words true? If so, I had made some terrible errors in my life. I talked to others who know me best, who have been with me for years. No, they didn’t understand what she was talking about or where this anger came from. It had been an attack that was unprovoked.

I listened and chose to write back. Why does it matter so much which path that I follow? Is this what she learns in her church? I chose not to send the letter. It is my belief to never do anything preceded by strong emotions. This is my child; I will not use words to hurt her. My answer is silence.

I say a blessing for her and her family. I shield my two younger children and myself. If anything, her mistake was to ingrain in the two younger ones the realization that Christianity may not be all that it is said to be. They asked me how her god could create such anger and pain. Didn’t her Bible teach her to love and honor her ancestors? Deep questions that I need to take the time to answer.

I suppose things will be a little different this full moon. We will need to send positive energy out to my daughter and her family. We will need to talk about forgiveness. We will need to discuss anger and pain and how it can be a bad thing as well as a good thing if dealt with properly. We will need to address how to deal with it properly and learn not to become consumed by it. I’ll need to teach them what happens when these emotions take control of your mind, how it will destroy you and those around you. How you cannot hear the Goddess speak to you if your mind is full of hate and not tolerance for others and their beliefs.

This morning I smile to myself. No, the answers I seek are not in the Bible. From what I can tell the answers my daughter seeks are not in the Bible either. All of this has confirmed that I am treading the right path, gently guiding the others who follow me. The Goddess has shown me how difficult life can become, even between a mother and daughter. I’m sure in time this will all heal. I know that I will forgive her, just not yet. I am human and first I must deal with the hurt.

It will be interesting to see what lesson comes from this situation and who was meant to learn it. I suppose there will be something for each of us. The question is, who will listen?

Pagan Lite: Being A Non-Magical Witch in A Magical World

Pagan Lite: Being A Non-Magical Witch in A Magical World

Author:   Charmed Boy 

This article is one I had hoped to put off writing for a while. It is a continuation of sorts to the first article I wrote entitled When Walking The Path…Wear Shoes.I am what I call a “non-magical” Witch. I don’t cast spells or perform elaborate rituals. That may be fine for most of my Pagan brothers and sisters but it’s not really my thing.

I first realized magic and spells weren’t my thing when I attended the last Samhain celebration hosted by my friend Fran. As many who have read my first article know, Fran was the High Priestess of a group here in Arkansas called Net-per-netjer which means “beautiful house of the Gods.” Fran was an amazing woman. She meant business when she donned the crown of Isis and acted as High Priestess and conducted rituals. She also cared about the people who attended the celebrations.

I remember one occasion; it was after ritual. Fran had made a delicious feast of ham and colcannon. My father and I had both attended but my father preferred to observe from outside of the circle. He’s not Pagan but he is very supportive of my choice of faith. Fran made sure everyone ate. I was sitting in the front room watching a movie when I heard Fran’s voice from the kitchen.

“Chuck! Where is your father?”

I shrugged. “I think he’s in the car.”

My father is the type of person who doesn’t like to get into other people’s way when they are doing things like ritual. Fran frowned.

“Tell your father to come in and eat something.”

I went out and got him. Fran made sure he ate before we left. That’s just the kind of person Fran was. Always concerned with the welfare of others. After that, Fran and I didn’t see each other. Not because there was an animosity between us but because we both had things going on in our lives. We e-mailed and spoke on the phone quite a lot.

One day last year I sent an e-mail to Fran just to say hi and see how she was. I got a reply from her husband informing me that Fran had passed away. I miss Fran very much. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her and the good times we shared. Attending those rituals made me realize that, that sort of thing wasn’t what I wanted.

I took some time for meditation and reflection to decide if being a Witch and Pagan was really for me. I walked in the woods near my house and listened to the birds and the wind as it blew through the trees. During these walks I posed questions to myself. Do I really need to practice magic and perform rituals to consider myself a Witch and Pagan? Do I really need all the trappings that go along with it, such as candles and incense and athames? Where am I meant to be? I asked the Goddess and Fran for guidance. I asked them to speak to me and give me a sign if this is the path I am meant to be on.

One day I went out for one of my walks when WHAM!! The answer hit me like a ton of bricks: You don’t need to practice magic or perform rituals to honor the Goddess and or God.

I have spoken to other Pagans and Wiccans who have told me that if you don’t practice magic and do rituals you ‘can’t really call yourself a Witch and Pagan’. I believe differently. The definition of “Witch” as I understand it means “wise one” and “knowledge seeker” and that Pagan means “country dweller” I believe we are all Witches and Pagans, regardless if we cast spells and perform rituals… or choose not to.

I have come to realize things about my faith and myself. I am both a Witch and Pagan and am very proud of that fact. I wear my Pentacle with pride. Whenever a Pagan holiday or Full Moon comes around, I pray, make an offering of thanks to the Goddess… and that is pretty much it. No muss, no fuss. For many other Pagans and Wiccans, the lighting of candles and incense, the chanting and casting of a circle adds to the enjoyment of ritual, and that is awesome. I believe everyone should be able to do his or her own thing, whatever that may be. Goddess knows, I don’t have the right to judge someone by what they do or don’t do.

Occasionally I’ll read an article on Witchvox.com about performing ritual and working magic. Want to know what is magical to me? Standing outside on a cool night when the moon is full in the night sky and glows like a big orange night light. Talking to my best friend on the phone and hearing the sound of her laugh. Seeing the sparkle in my godson’s eyes when he is excited about something. Stepping outside in the wintertime and smelling the sharp, fresh, cold scent of the air and seeing the freshly falling snow on the ground. Seeing the leaves in the Fall change color from green to red and orange and yellow. Smelling the scent of burning leaves and wood. Eating handfuls of candy corn. Sipping hot apple cider on a cold October day while going on a hayride with my dad. Feeling the power and ancientness of All Hallow’s Eve. These are my rituals. This is my magic. This is the way I honor the Goddess.

Do I believe those who do cast spells and perform rituals are wrong? Of course not. Fran did, and seeing the joy and power it brought into her life was an amazing thing to witness. When I am asked what my choice of religion is and I tell them “I am a Witch”, the child within me claps his hands and squeals with glee. I laugh whenever someone asks me if I fly around on a broom. I smile and say “No but I wish I could. It would make getting from one place to another a lot more exciting!”

In all seriousness, I am very proud to call myself a Witch. Walking the path I have been walking for the past 12 years has made me the person I am today. I am a little wiser and a lot more compassionate and forgiving. I am humbled and honored daily by the compassion and endless love the Goddess has shown me. We are all her children, regardless of how we choose to honor her. I cherish the Pagan and Wiccan friends I have made, especially Fran. She will live on in my heart and in my memory forever.

In closing, to all my Witchy brothers and sister out there I say this to you: Be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t let others tell you your way of worshipping the Goddess and God is wrong. Wear your Pentacle with pride! These are indeed magical times!

Blessed Be!

Against Headache

Against Headache

 

Components:

None

Instructions:

“O, pain in my head,
The father of all evil,
Look upon thee now!
Thou hast greatly pained me,
Thou tormentest my head,
Remain not in me!
Go thou, go thou, go home,
Whence thou, Evil One didst suck,
Thither, thither hasten!
Who treads upon my shadow.
To him be the pain!
 
By Migene Gonzales-Wippler

Against an Excess Drink

Against an Excess Drink

 

Components:

A glass of wine

 

Instructions:

Before those serpent alcohols

That tempt the tongue and soothe the brain

Shall rise and wind their glittering coils

About your feverish fears again,

Treat them firmly, do not fail

Before their clear hypnotic eyes;

Confess their power, yet prevail

Before they learn to turn and tease;

Utter this charm, that wit and will

May stare them down and hold them still:

“Knowledge I have
While thou hast none,
I can make songs
Beyond they tongue,
All of thy offerings
First were mine:
I keep my spirit
And need not thine.”
 

Then raise to your lips a glass of wine – spit in it, empty it down the drain.

 

By Migene Gonzales-Wippler

Yule Lore

Yule Lore

Long, long ago when the earth was new
And mankind was younger yet.
There came a time of the dark and cold.
Let never a soul forget.

There came a time when the ice drew nigh,
And the sky with snow turned gray.
And the earth grew hard, and the trees were bare,
And the timber wolf howled in the brae.

Huddled and cold the tribesmen sat
Round fires of peat and of moss. And dreamed of the warm time, dreamed of the Lord,
And mourned for the Lady’s loss.

For with the harvest had come the Lord
And laid his body down,
To pay with his life for the earth’s repast,
To yield to the Holly his crown.

As the deer and the boar bow down to the bow,
And the stag consents to the kill,
So the Lord came down to the altar knife
Earth’s riches his people to fill.

Then came the Lady across the moor
And down from the lonely hill.
Saying, “What have you done with my wondrous Lord,
And why did you have to kill?”

Then in anger she turned from the children of men
And in anger she went away.
And she wrapped her cloak around her head
And she wrapped the sky with gray.

Cold grew the world with the Lady’s grief
And her cold tears fell as the snow.
And the rivers and lakes were frozen still
And the fires of peat burned low.

“Oh, what have we done,” the people cried,
“To have slain our own dear Lord!
And how will we live, and how will we fare
Without the Lady’s regard.”

The world grew colder each passing day
And the sun fell down from the sky.
And darkness eternal lay over the earth
And the people began to die.

They gathered together there on the plain,
Every woman and man and child,
And prayed to the Lady then to relent
And prayed for the land to heal.

But nothing came to answer their cries,
But dire wolf, lion, and bear.
And the people cried out with a terrible shout
But the Lady refused to hear.

Then from among them a man stood forth,
A harper of no little fame,
And he said, “I shall go to the Summer Land’s shores
And I’ll bring the Lord back again.”

“And how will you do this thing you will do,
And how will you bring it about?”
“I will play on my harp, ’til the gates open wide
And the Lord Death shall let us out.”

“Old fool, old fool”, the wise ones cried,
“Oh never this thing shall be.
For no one goes to the Summer Land’s shores,
And returns to the land of the free.”

“But I shall go”, the old man said,
“And these things I claim shall be.
Or else the world in the dark will die,
And the people no longer be.”

Then he took his harp and he took his staff,
And he bent his head to the west.
And he walked and he ran for six days and three,
And never he stopped to rest.

He ran till he came to the frozen shore
of the mighty western sea.
And the frozen tears coursed down his cheeks
For never a boat had he.

Then the man cried out in a terrible shout,
“Aquila, Lord of the Air,
Hear my plea and answer me
And bear me over there.”

Out of the skies on wings of fire
Came Aquila, the Lord of the Air,
“Saying who shall call on Aquila’s name,
And bid me to carry them there”.

“I”, said the old man, “I called thy name,
For my people the need is great.
And I must hie to the Summer Land’s shores
If I would avert their fate.”

Then Aquila came down to the shores of the sea,
And he came to the old mans hand.
And he said, “I shall bear thee in honor and pride
To the shores of the Summer Land.”

Then off they flew in the night dark sky
Neath a cavern of stars and air.
And at last they came to the Summer Land’s shores
And Aquila alighted there.

“My thanks for your aid”, the old man cried,
“Now fly and avert your fate.”
But proud Aquila dipped down his head
And said, it for him was too late.

For from the Summer Land none return,
Until it is time to be born.
And now in the dark of the Lady’s regard,
There will be no glorious morn.

“Then come,” said the harper, “Come with me!
And we’ll seek for the Lord of the Wild.”
And he struck his harp and he raised his voice,
And the shades of the dead they smiled.

They searched and they searched the Summer Land,
And the harp made a wondrous sound,
Til they came to a grove of oak, ash and thorn
And a mighty stag they found.

“Whence came you then”, cried the mighty stag,
“And why have you called to me.
For I was the Lord of the Greenwood once.
And now you’ve awakened me.”

Then the harper knelt, and he bowed his head,
And he cried, “Oh Lord, return.
For thy people die without thy aid
And the fires refuse to burn.”

“Thy Lady mourns and her frozen tears,
Have turned the world to ice.
We accepted gladly your wondrous gifts,
With no thought to the sacrifice.”

The stag he wept for his people’s woe,
And he bent his lordly head.
Ah, glad would I be to go with you hence,
But this is the land of the dead.

And none can leave here until the time,
When death shall let them go.
And I must stay til the stars shall say
That it is time to go.

Then the harper sang and he played his harp,
With ever a song so sweet.
That even the Lord of Death came round
And sat at the Harper’s feet.

And when he’d done, Death came to him,
“Saying ask of me any boon,
For thou hast brought me joy and peace
In my lands of endless noon.”

Then up spoke the Harper, “Lord grant me one gift
And set the Forest Lord free.
Lest all people shall perish beneath the snow,
This shall I ask of thee.”

Then Death bowed his head, and he said “He may go,
Though it is not time yet to be.
Yet I have promised for thy harp’s sake
And therefore, so mote it be.”

Death then turned to the mighty stag
And he raised his withered hand.
Saying, “Thou art free for the Harper’s sake,
Depart from the Summer Land.”

Then in the place of the wild beast lay
A tiny newborn child.
And the Harper and eagle in homage knelt,
And the little baby smiled.

The Harper lifted him up in his arms,
And strode to Aquila’s side.
And he said, “I beg you, one last time,
For the Lord’s sake let us ride.”

Then Aquila rose from the Summer Land
With Harper and child on his back.
And he turned his head to the eastern lands
And he sailed into infinite black.

Nine days and nine, Aquila flew
Til he came to the cold, dark plain.
And there he carried the man and child
That the sun might come again.

Then down from the darkness they came with the wind
And among the people they stood.
And the people came forth to see this child
As the Harper had said they would.

Then the people called out the Lady’s name,
And the newborn baby cried.
And the Lady looked down on the gathered throng
And she saw the child and sighed.

“Ah”, said the Lady, “Here is my Lord
Surely come back to me.
And where are the brave ones who challenged Death
That this wondrous thing might be?”

Then forth came Aquila and Harper both
And stood at the Lady’s feet.
“Thou art the bravest and staunchest of friends
That ever I chanced to meet.”

“For thou hast challenged the gates of Death
With never a thought of reward.
And thou hast won thy peoples life
For saving my own sweet Lord.”

“For thou, Aquila, a king shall be
And I give thee a crown of light.”
Then she stretched forth her hand upon his head
And turned his feathers white.

“And thou, dear Harper, shall be my own
And sit here at my feet.
And a nightingale sang where the old man stood,
With ever a song so sweet.”

Then spake the Lady, to those who heard,
“By Fire and Fir and Yew;
I vow on my honor that never again,
Will the light depart from you.”

“For though the night grows long and dark,
And the sun be hid from view,
Yet the Lord will come with mid-winter’s day
And the light bring back to you.”

Then she bade them build on the frozen plain
A mighty and magical ring
Of standing stone and sturdy oak
And she bade the people sing.

And she said, “By this mark you shall be sure
That to my promise I hold,
For when the sun on this stone shall sit
Then you’ll know an end of the cold.”

“Down and down the dark shall come,
but on that special day,
The sun shall climb once more in the sky.
And the heavens be blue not gray.”

Then the people knelt and bowed their heads,
And when they looked again,
The Lady was gone, and the Harper too,
Gone from the world of men.

And in the place where the Lady stood,
The rose of winter grew.
And overhead where the sun shown bright,
A mighty eagle flew.

And thus my children, thus is the tale
Of how the world turned cold.
And how the summer was carried back
By the Harper and Eagle bold.

Copyright © Lark 1992

‘Twas the night before Yule

‘Twas the night before Yule, and all through the Coven,
The cookies were baked and removed from the oven.
The bayberry candles were lit on the table,
The altar was wrapped in a new cloth of sable.

The children were nestled, all snug in their beds,
While visions of Yuletime danced in their heads.
Their stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that some presents soon would be there!

With Rocker in his new robe, and I in mine,
We were asking our Goddess her blessing divine.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from our Circle to see what was the matter.

Away to the window, tripping over my sash,
My eyes were a-glamoured with a bright silver flash.
The moon on the breasts of the Goddess and God
Drew my eyes to behold the blessed Circle they trod.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the manifestations of all those we hold Dear.
The physical forms of those whom we pray to,
Even Saint Nick, and his miniature sleigh, too!

Jehovah, Mohammed, Shiva, Hera and Thor.
Zeus, Freya, Brahma, and many, many more.
All the Spiritual Entities who’d ever been mentioned.
Even some, like dear Loki, who sowed seeds of dissension.

They greeted each other with smile, warm and sweet.
Then, forming a Circle, they all took a seat.
With multiple Voices all joined as One,
The Corners were Called. And, when that was done.

The Chalice was passed from Hand to Hand.
Then, a blanket of silence enfolded the land.
A crystal clear Voice began to hold sway.
Which Deity spoke? I could not say.

But, clearly, I heard all the love in that Voice.
It caused my tired heart to take flight and rejoice.
“Our Children, it seems, have missed the whole point.
“We now join together, their hearts to anoint.

“Pour all of Our love O’er their hearts of stone.
“Let them see that together they’re never alone!
“Show them it matters not which of Us that they choose.
“Their sad hate and mistrust cause each of Us to lose!”

As I stood there transfixed, I could suddenly see
If we all stand as one, what a world this could be!
Put ALL of our differences well behind us.
Let the love of the Gods enfold and remind us.

We ARE all the same, though varied our skins.
We all dream the same dreams, we all sin the same sins.
With a look of enlightenment etched on my face,
I beheld all the Gods in Their glory and grace!

They all bowed Their heads then said “So mote it be!”
They all smiled at each Other bestowing winks on me.
One by One they disappeared from my sight.
Just the Goddess and God were left in the light.

As slowly They twinkled, fading by degree,
“Happy Yuletide to all!!
Blessed be times three!”

~Written by Mary, a.k.a. Wandering Poet, a.k.a.littlebit~

Permission to reprint granted to all who keep keep this credit line by the author

Hunting the Hunter

Hunting the Hunter

by Melanie Fire Salamander

When I first started work in the Craft, as a solitary, I hadn’t much use for the God. The deity Who attracted me was the Goddess. I remember communing with Her in candlelight, before an altar of old telephone books covered with blue-figured silk. I felt incorporated by Her, supported.

My concept then of the God was the God of the Christians. From my ninth year to my thirteenth, I attended an Episcopalian church, where everyone was too polite to save me, though I did enjoy singing in the Youth Choir. I found the Episcopalian services pretty on the outside, but within they seemed dry as dust. I tried to be moved, but I ended up yawning, more taken by my walks to church through the quiet, sun-splotched Sunday mornings than by the ritual. The most of God I sensed among the Episcopalians was the echo of a long-ago voice.

When I did feel a presence from the God, that presence was of God the Father. Jesus I always saw as a person, a visionary you had to respect; I never got in touch with the loving Christ. We see our gods through the archetypes we’ve found in life, I think, and I was reared in a patriarchal household, from which I wrenched fight by fight over a period of years. In that household, the looming male figure was my father, grey-haired before my birth, the raging patriarch. Though my father and I patched up our relationship as I started serious work as a witch, my wounds were still raw enough I wanted nothing to do with fathers.

One of the first books I read that spoke of witchcraft as a spiritual path was The Spiral Dance. I remember Starhawk’s descriptions of different versions of the God: the gentle, loving Blue God, the viny Green One, and the Horned God, the Hunter. But for me none of Starhawk’s gods rang true. They seemed merely constructs. The Blue God appeared too girlish, and for me green was female. I felt the Horned God as the most real, but frightening and lumpen, as if one would want to mate with a bull. I shrugged, paid lip-service to the God in the group rituals I attended, and on my own worshipped the Goddess.

Meanwhile, life went on. Though I had no vision of the God, I managed to enjoy His sex. In Ireland I had a fling with a 21-year-old boy with dyed black hair, who wore a black shirt his friend’s sister made; we drank too much ale and richocheted against the painted stone walls of his village at 2 a.m.. Back in Seattle, I dated a photographer, also younger than me, slender as a brown sapling, sarcastic; I eroticized the smell of developer. I dated men my own age, too, but I kept reverting. Take my intersection with the surly boy, a singer in a band: I fell in love with his pumped chest and pierced nipple, though we never once held a conversation without arguing. Or take my e-mail flirtation, which went on too long and was never consummated: spiky, poison-sweet, dysfunctional as a car crash.

That one finally brought me to full stop. Some of the others had been obsessions, too, but this one patently made no sense. He had a girlfriend; we’d seen each other in the flesh perhaps five times; we’d never touched. What was it about him that sent my head spinning?

Those attachments you get, which are too strong, in the end seem to have little to do with the persons who inspire them. We tend to worship the gods we see in our lives, and the corollary is that if we don’t see the gods, they try harder and harder to reveal themselves.

I came to the God slowly, through His fauns.

Luckily the gods will teach you lessons many times over. But even when you’ve learned a few things, nothing is for sure. This story I’m telling you now, none of it is “true”; it’s just the explanation I’m giving myself.

Right now for me, the God is a muse. He comes on as a lover, but he is not a husband, nor even exactly a friend, more a capricious mentor. Our relationship is only sometimes about satisfaction; mainly the point is longing.

The God inspires my fiction; the characters I find most fun to write are usually fauns. They’re not portraits of boys I’ve known, though on occasion they’ve started out to be. Often they begin as minor players, who then take on a life of their own. The God inspires them: fills them with His breath and sets them moving. As they move, they draw me into the work, and their touch inspires the other characters.

This particular God-energy seems to work better for me driving fiction than real-life relationships. My fauns were never good boyfriends; I don’t think the Muse makes a good partner. His and my relationship is about tension, a pleasurable discomfort that makes me itch. I wouldn’t want that tantalizing, unfulfilling energy in an ongoing human relationship, but it feels right in relating to a god. It keeps me writing.

But the God will not be bound only into fiction.

At a festival, I saw a boy all in leather, crouched among greenery, looking up at me: black eyes, black hair, trembling lips with a fringe of mustache. I knew for certain I wanted him when I saw him take off his shirt. At the firepit, I maneuvered to sit next to him, warmed my cold hands on his thighs.

The Aphrodite shrine was full, locked, so we found the Pan shrine. Under a fake-fur pelt, we made love by candlelight. Something there was intoxicating as whiskey, something glancing, a bit heart-rending. I remembered him a long time, and I wrote him letters, though no permanent connection came.

It was only later I saw the God was laughing at me.

In the Pan shrine? Melanie, don’t you get it?

So it is often, I think. The gods don’t just come when you call. They make cameo appearances, and later you wonder why you remember that scene.

To see Him in your life, use your peripheral vision. Some people He comforts, some He teases; it depends on what He thinks you need from Him. But never doubt the God is there.