Saturday, June 4, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Because I need more things to do

I've recently started keeping a journal as a coping skill to deal with stress. I'm using cheap composition books, so I don't have that anxiety about messing up a nice book. I just write about whatever. Some of it's deeply personal, some of it's just doodles. I make shopping lists, write about the books I'm reading, the date I went on, and how much I hate my job.

I've found all of this extremely therapeutic, and I find that writing helps me to be brutally honest about what I'm feeling. Whodathunk it?

I don't know how I managed to not keep a diary as a young person. I was obsessed with them, and had lots of them over the years. My first was purchased through the book fair at school. It was purple with a white kitten on the cover, and there was a lock with key. I carried it everywhere and never wrote much of anything in it. I didn't trust my family not to read it, and I've always been skittish about committing very personal things to paper that can be accessed by anyone.

Then witchcraft entered the picture and I have been failing at keeping a BoS, grimoire or magical diary for twenty years. I created a BoS in the 90's in Microsoft Word, complete with stolen pictures from the internet, clipart, and Old English font. It was hideous and I wish I still had it because the cringe factor alone would make it priceless to me now.  I have a book that I started in 2012 that I still work from sometimes and add things to now and then.

I've been thinking about retroactively creating the magical diaries that I didn't keep for twenty years. I'm not sure how valuable it will be, or if I'll be able to refrain from filtering my memories through the lens of my cynicism. I do think it would be nice to have everything I can remember written down so I can refer back to when my memory really starts to go.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cards Against Veles

I asked my question and drew a card.

The Tower.

Fabulous. Though, in light of my question, I want to know if I'm going to be the casualty of destruction or if I need to embody that destruction and upset some false foundations.

I shuffle again. The Hermit, Queen of Cups, Strength, swords...lots of swords.

I light more incense, thank the cards, and go to sleep.

I'm on Skype with Kelden, bitching about my problems. I mention that I did a reading, but don't give any details. He gets out his own cards and begins to shuffle.

The Tower.....The Hermit....Queen of Cups.....Swords, lots of swords.

Fuck. You hear stories about this sort of thing, but I never believe those stories. Now here I am copying down the same reading I gave myself the morning before.

The ultimate outcome looks good, but I'm probably going to have to wreck some shit...with my prayers.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We really ARE the weirdos, mister!

"Don't bother with tools right away. You don't need them. You don't need an altar. You don't need books. You don't need to do ritual. Just write in your journal. Connect with nature. Drink tea. You are your own priestess! Your life is your magic!!!"

That's all well and good, especially from the vantage point of a decades long practitioner who is perhaps a bit jaded about all of the stuff she has to dust, but let's not forget the life changing power of the right book in the right hands. Let's not forget how important it is to an unhappy teenager to know they are wearing a pentacle under their shirt, or that their magic knife is at home waiting for them.  Let us remember the overworked young professional going home every day and laying their burdens at the feet of the Gods they worship, cast in clay or cheap resin, on an altar that serves double duty as a night stand.

If the tools have no value, why do we STILL argue about which tool is governed by Air? Why do witches seem to instinctively turn any flat surface in their home into a shrine of one kind or another if it's ultimately meaningless? If we don't need books, why are niche occult publishes getting away with charging outrageous prices for books that contain little substance you can't find in Doreen's work?

Why do authors (who write books they obviously want to sell and make money from!!!!) jump on the "no books, no tools, no stuff, just nature" bandwagon and then include a suggested reading list and a shopping list/shopping resource guide in the back of the book?

Further, if all we need is a cup of tea and an hour spent sitting on the grass in our backyard to practice Wicca (or whatever) then why do we, as a community, shell out so much money on the shit the "product makers" are telling us we don't need but kinda do? Why are people paying for training that ultimately amounts to breathing exercises? Celebrity Pagans? GTFO.

We are a weird fucking community.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Thought him to be a devil

As a young teen witch in the 90's, I was determined to find my "magickal" name. You had to have one, the books said. The name would reveal your life's purpose, it would guide you on your path and it might even have ties to a former life when you were an Atlantean Crystal Priestess devoted to the Great Goddess.

I did a petition spell to ask the Gods to reveal my name to me in a dream. I wrote a list of my "best qualities" on a piece of parchment paper from Wal-Mart and slept with it under my pillow that night. I don't remember where the idea for this spell came from, but it seemed the thing to do at the time.

I went to sleep and the Gods did not reveal a damn thing to me in my dreams. "What a crock" I thought, as I lay in bed with my eyes shut, wishing school would cease to exist.

When I opened my eyes, a name came to me out of nowhere, popping into my thoughts as these things did when you were a teenage witch in the 90's.

Morfran

It sounded like a villain from Power Rangers or something. I went to school and mostly forgot all about it. Then a family friend happened to drop off a box of unwanted books, in which was a copy of The Aquarian Guide to British and Irish Mythology by John and Caitlin Matthews. I hadn't yet been exposed to the All Things Celtic aspect of witchcraft, so this book wasn't of any immediate interest.

When I finally did get around to reading through it, there was that name.....Morfran.

"The son of Cerridwen and Tegid Foel. His name means 'great crow." He was also called Afagddu or 'Utter Darkness'. He was so ugly that his mother sought to compensate this by the acquisition of great wisdom. It was for him that she prepared her cauldron of inspiration, but it was Gwion/Taliesin who drank it." - John and Caitlin Matthews, The Aquarian Guide to British and Irish Mythology

They go on to write:

"Morfran was so ugly that...he was not slain at the Battle of Camlan because his enemy thought him to be a devil." 

I never did take Morfran as a magical name, nor Afagddu either, but I did begin a relationship with the Goddess Cerridwen that would wax, wane and then become very important through the years. The interesting part of this story is that Morfran/Afagddu's story reflects so many of my own struggles with family, self-confidence and acceptance.

I was abandoned by my birth parents, for whom I was a dreadful mistake. My paternal family, all dark featured Slavic people, looked at my pink skin and reddish hair with disgust and still do. I think there was some Irish among my birth family, and my adopted family is full of old world ethnic prejudices. My mother has been more hung up on my weight and appearance than I ever have, putting me on one fad diet after another until I went to college. The one saving grace is that I was smart, did well in school, and had no end of scholastic achievements they could brag about to friends and family.

I don't think I was given a magical name then, more that I was shown a theme I was living on an archetypal level - the sad, ugly boy in black trying to win his mother's approval. I had no context for any of this at the age of sixteen, but I can't help but be amused and a little amazed by it now.

Or I could be completely full of shit, using old myths for therapy and blog fodder.

Pick your own adventure.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Edmund Buczynski and the Welsh Tradition Lectures








My sincere thanks to whomever finally uploaded these rare gems online!

Shadows - The Witch Bottle (1975)



Shadows was a British supernatural television program from the late 1970's. I'd never heard of it before stumbling upon this little gem of 70's occult cool via a weird late night Youtube binge. This episode tells the story of a brother and sister who become drawn into the legend of a witch put to death during "the burning times." It was written by Stewart Farrar.

The other episodes were fun too, and it seems the series was marketed towards children or at least Young Adults.