holidays

She Who Is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

January, 2019

Aa

(Image Credit: freedom for humanity2016.wordpress.com)

She to whom January 1st is dedicated and to whom is honored on this day is the Babylonian Goddess, Aa.

She is also known as:

Great Mother

Mother of All Things

Goddess of the Dawn

Goddess of the Light

While She is known as Aa in Babylonia, She is also known as Serida in Sumeria, and in Akkadian as Aya, which means “dawn” in Akkadian.

She is “the Beginning” and “The Mother of All Wisdom” and is associated with the eastern mountains which bring the sun into the sky.

(Image Credit: earthandstarryheaven.com)

Her symbol is an 8-rayed sphere representing the symbol of light. As the consort of Shamash, the god of the sun, She was also called Bride of the Sun. Her sacred marriage to Shamash brought all thing to grow and prosper.

Aa brings the energy from the dawning of the sun on a new day.

(Image Credit: historymaniac.megan.com)

Other Goddesses who have their feast days in January include:

January 2 – Inanna’s Day (Sumerian)

January 5 – Kore’s Day (Greek)

January 8 – Justicia’s Day (Roman)

January 11 – Carmentalia (Roman)

January correspondences:

Gem/Birthstone: Garnet

Full Moon – Cold Moon

Herb – Thyme

Color – White

Tree – Birch

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis on Amazon

Review – 2 Beautiful Calendars for the New Year

January, 2019

We have two calendars to review for the New Year: The Day of the Dead 2019 calendar and A Magickal Year 2019 calendar, featuring beautiful artwork by visual artist Lilla Bolecz (https://lillabolecz.com). Both are 16-Month calendars going from September 2018 through to December 2019.

Day of the Dead 2019 Calendar

Day of the Dead 2019 calendar is a glossy calendar featuring Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skulls in various designs and colors. The colors are vivid and alive and patterns are varied enough throughout the calendar that no months look alike. I can get picky with sugar skulls and it often takes me a while to find one that doesn’t annoy me in some fashion, but just about all the sugar skulls in this calendar pass the grade. The color palettes are always well controlled and there are hardly any clashing colors combinations among them. The calendar is definitely a lively addition to any corner that lacks color.

The artwork is by illustrator Denys Martynenko (denmartystudio.com) and an example of sugar skulls of his design are at: https://creativemarket.com/DenMarty/645986-Sugar-skulls-Set-Vector-Illustration . These skulls are not the same as featured in the 2019 calendar but they give a very good example of what they are like.

Each month provides the date of the full moon, as well as the solstices, Western secular holidays (AUS/UK/USA/CA) as well as Christian, Jewish, and Islamic festivals. Obviously Cinco De Mayo and Dia De Los Moertos are also covered.

Day of the Dead 2019: 16-Month Calendar – September 2018 through December 2019 on Amazon

A Magickal Year 2019 Calendar

The second calendar on review is A Magickal Year 2019 calendar, featuring beautiful artwork by visual artist Lilla Bolecz (https://lillabolecz.com). The pictures are line and crayon drawings with a more matte finish. They are simultaneously simple, very rich, and chock full of symbolism. An example of the artwork used is at: https://lillabolecz.com/yule-rebirth-of-the-sun-prints-and-pattern

While the colors are subdued, often reserved to one color along with black, the combination of the crayons weight and the thin etchings and line drawings create a pattern-like texture of images that is easy to rest one’s eyes on at a distracted moment. As you soak up the larger image, your eyes start to pick out the details of pears, bees, berries, and scythes and your mind ties them together with the associations between them, enriching the picture. The symbolism does a great job with evoking the change of energy in the month. Each month also features a caption for that gives a description tying together the events of the month and the illustration that goes with it.

It also provides the date of the full moon for each month, as well as the solstices, Western secular and religious holidays (AUS/UK/USA/CA) as well as Christian, Jewish, and Islamic festivals.

My favorite feature of this calendar is the variety of traditions that the holidays marked in the calendar are drawn from. Pan-Traditional, Wiccan/Pagan, and even Gaelic sacred days are to expected in a magickal calendar, but I was impressed with the addition of Vodou and Romany. The Germanic days are a nice touch too. This means from Vasilica to Fete Ghede, I have something new to look forward to learning about each month.

A Magickal Year 2019: 16-Month Calendar – September 2018 through December 2019 on Amazon

The Sober Pagan

December, 2018

Breaking Sugar’s Grip One Day At A Time

 

(Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash)

 

I decided this year not to make any huge platters of Yule cookies. I might make a small batch of Heirloom Cut-Outs – just before the holiday – but I am not going to make very many – and they are going to be for bringing out for guests who stop by – along with tea or coffee or some all-natural eggnog.

The reason I don’t want to make a bunch of cookies is because along with trying to stay off alcohol and drugs, I am trying to stay off sugar as well. Totally ending sugar is nearly impossible – it’s a necessary ingredient in my homemade bread recipe – but I want to be able to drink my coffee without added sweetening of any kind and I want to end my daily craving for chocolate. I don’t use artificial sweeteners and never will.

I personally think that there’s a connection between the sugar we consume in the form of cookies and candy and things such as donuts and cravings for alcohol and giving in to emotional triggers that allow us to justify using our drug of choice. I say this because I have been “in” recovery for almost thirty years and I have paid close attention to how my body reacts to what I put into it – these past few years, especially. One thing I notice is that when I overdo it with any kind of sugary treat, I usually end up craving a beer a few days after that. It took me a while to figure this pattern out. But once I saw it, I couldn’t deny that it was real.

When I first got into rehab thirty years ago, I remember going to a lecture by one of the counselors – he wasn’t my counselor but I knew who he was – I no longer remember his name but he was a lot older than I was – probably as old as I am now – which seemed old to me thirty years ago! Anyway, he held up a half-gallon of ice-cream and said, “Now that you’re sober, you’re going to be eating a lot of this stuff, right?” And we all enthusiastically agreed. He shouted, “WRONG!” And tossed the ice-cream into the garbage can! He went on to tell us that although AA and “other people” might say that switching to sweets is a good way to stave off the cravings for alcohol and drugs, increasing our sugar intake would only lead us into other health problems, such as diabetes – AA is filled with diabetics. More importantly, he said, switching to sugar after quitting drugs and alcohol was only “switching to another drug” and eventually would lead us to relapse – “because no sugar high can compare to an alcohol buzz or a cocaine high” – and of course, he was right. At the time, I didn’t think so. At the time, his lecture pissed me right the fuck off. At the time, I wouldn’t have recognized that being so pissed was a sign that I knew that he was right and I didn’t want to admit it. But now – having thirty years to think about it and experience what he was talking about – I do know that he was totally right. When you get sober, your intake of sugar is dangerous to your sobriety. And if you’re anything like me, you had an addiction to sweets before you ever picked up a drink or a drug. Long before I had any kind of addiction to any drug at all, I had a deep love for chocolate. I was never safe around M&M’s. I’m still not. I never buy them anymore at all.

Breaking the addiction to sugar and to sweets is one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. Trying to find something to take the place of chocolately desserts is really tough. I do love fresh fruit and eat whatever is in season. Natural sweets are wonderful but I still crave chocolate and I always will. I know that white sugar in my coffee affects me like a line of cocaine and all I can manage is a small amount of brown sugar. Hopefully someday I will have milk in my coffee and that will be it. But I love homemade cookies and cakes. I love baking pies, especially fruit pies. I don’t want to have to stop eating all sweets forever, but I am going to really be aware of what I eat and how if affects my other triggers – my cravings for alcohol, my jones for cocaine and my bipolar moods.

All I know, is that the more sober time I have, the more quality sober time I want. Sobriety is definitely a part of my spiritual life now – I can’t imagine trying to meditate, do ritual, read the Tarot or the Lenormand or reach the Goddess in any meaningful way if I was stoned or drunk or even hungover! Breaking sugar’s grip one day at a time is another step in my recovery. Maybe it would help you too.

Until next month, Brightest Blessings and Happy Yule! Stay Sober! Hugs!

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

July, 2018

As a child, I led such a weird childhood. I was known for seeing things that weren’t there and knowing things before they happened. I felt like a sin in my parent’s household as I was being raised in a Christian church. As I aged, I found solace in Wicca. Life and the things going on finally made sense.

When I was pregnant with my son (Little Bear), I made the decision to raise him in a Pagan household and support him, no matter what religion he decided on. Little Bear is now 4 years old and this has proven to be the best decision. He has shown signs of experiencing the same things that I went through as a child. Little Bear is a natural born healer, empath, and animal lover. He has to sleep with a light on because the dark brings weird things with it. While I cannot confirm it yet, it sounds like he is seeing people that have crossed over.

One of the major things that Little Bear and I have started doing is celebrating the Sabbats. Any reason to celebrate, right?

June 21st was Litha or the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year and Little Bear and I took full advantage.

Every Sabbat, we discuss the Wheel of the Year. This helps remind us where we are on the Wheel and where we are headed. Because this follows the seasons, it is easy for Little Bear to understand. We discussed how Litha falls in the summer and some of our favorite summer activities. Little Bear loves grilling out, riding his bike and playing in the water.

The day started before sunrise. I poured out orange juice and we headed to the porch to watch the sun. It was a warm, quiet morning. I explained to Little Bear that we should be grateful for everything we have. I asked him what he was happy to have. “My bike, my mom, my bed, my dog” and the list went on and on. I smiled at his innocence and gave my own thanks internally. As the sun rose above the horizon, the world started coming alive. The birds started singing, the neighborhood stray cat came to visit, and we watched a herd of deer in the field across the street. We ended the morning with a barefoot walk around the property. We stopped at the outside altar and poured orange juice into the fairy dish as an offering. This is one of Little Bear’s favorite parts. We actually had to make a fairy altar closer to the house so he could easily access it without supervision.

After work, I had Little Bear help with dinner. We were preparing Grilled Chicken Salads. As we pulled the vegetables out, we talked about each one. Where they came from, how they grow, what the health benefits are, and what kind of super powers the vegetables might give us (This was Little Bears idea). I feel that knowing the health benefits of each vegetable will help Little Bear develop his Kitchen Witch side as he grows.

While making the salad, I noticed Little Bear had made a pile that contained a piece of each vegetable that went into the salad. It was his offering for the fairies.

We ended the night with a bonfire and watching the sunset. The longest day of the year had officially ended.

It may seem like I do a LOT of talking with Little Bear and I do. Little Bear is at the age where he is like a little sponge. He is asking tons of questions and curious about everything.

The next Sabbat is Lammas and I’m excited about it. This has always been a personal favorite because I love to bake bread. Lammas is the start of the harvest season. So breads, wheats, grains, grapes, apples, corn and wild berries are great foods. While I don’t have recipes pulled together yet, corn dollies and bonfires are part of the ritual for sure!

Some ideas to do with children are:

-Corn Dollies

-Magical Picnics (Make sure to leave an offering!)

-Collect berries for jams or jellies

-Time to harvest the garden

-Create a Witches Bottle (smaller children will need help with this since you will be working with sharp objects!)

-Time to redecorate the altar

-Visit an apple orchard (bring some home if the apples are ready!)

-Collect rain or storm water

-Bake bread, cakes, or muffins (cookies could be substituted so the little ones can decorate)

The biggest thing to remember, “It’s not about the action you are doing but the intent you are putting into it”.

What are some fun ways you are celebrating the Sabbats with your child/ren?

Blessed Be!

Affairs of the Pagan Heart

April, 2018

Ostara and Eggs

Eggs are an old symbol of new life. With fertilization, care and time, something new comes to life, and what a great opportunity it is to view a wedding as something new. A marriage is born!

The most opulent display for an Ostara wedding ceremony or reception is to make or commission a Fabergé wedding egg. It is a lot of fun to make one yourself, and a great exercise for you and your partner any time, not just at Ostara or Easter.

What you’ll need:

  • eggs (raw); white are best to get the colouring you desire

  • food colouring and jars

  • pencil with a straight pin stuck into the eraser end

  • wax candle

  • paper towels

  • some patience and a bit of creativity

Method:

Choose the colours you want to add to your egg and prepare the dye water. Remember combinations like blue and yellow make green, so you don’t need to prepare a mix of green dye. Are there colours that represent your partnership or colours you want to use at your wedding? Have these ready for a later step.

Select a design. This is where you can get really creative and it forms the basis of the end result. What patterns or symbols do you want to use to represent your union? Maybe you have a symbol or word that you want to include that has meaning to your relationship. Draw it out in pencil on paper first if you’re an inexperienced doodler, then draw it on the egg when you’re ready.

Stick the pin in the end of the pencil and dip the pin head in some melted wax. Trace what you’ve drawn in pencil, and this is where you can be really creative.

When you’re satisfied covering one layer with wax, carefully lower the egg into the dye water for about 15-20 seconds. If it’s not the intensity you want, put it back in the dye water. It could take 10 minutes or more. Then trace some more wax as another layer and lower the egg in another colour for another 15 seconds to see the colours blend and mix. The spots where there is wax won’t get dyed, so keep that in mind when planning your layers and colour combinations.

Remove the egg from the dye water with a spoon between each layer and carefully pat it dry with a clean paper towel.

Removing the wax is a difficult task but is also satisfying to see how it all comes together. Carefully hold the egg near (but not directly over) the candle flame, just close enough to melt the wax that you can carefully wipe off with a clean paper towel. You’ll do this several times as you move the egg around to get all the wax off.

You’re done at this point, and your egg is beautiful. Or maybe you want to repeat the steps to add some more. The choice is yours!

For more in-depth descriptions of these steps and a wide variety of tips and tricks, visit http://www.instructables.com/id/Pysanky-Ukrainian-Egg-Dying

Be sure to poke a small hole in both ends of the egg when you’re done and blow out the contents. It would be bad enough if your egg cracked or smashed, but the smell of the rotting contents would make the situation even worse. However, once a hole is poked, you can add a thin ribbon to it and make it an ornament, an activity you could also do for Yule or other sabbats.

***

About the Author:

Rev. Rachel U Young is a pagan based in Toronto, Canada. She is a licensed Wedding Officiant and under the name NamasteFreund she makes handfasting cords and other ceremonial accessories.

Affairs of the Pagan Heart

December, 2017

Protecting Your Heart at Yule and New Year’s Eve

Ah, the holidays. It’s crazy and stressful and prime time for something to happen. What is that something? Your weirdo Aunt Betty goes on and on about how she can’t wait to teach you how to play Bridge, but falls asleep after dinner. Grandpa John wants to tell you stories about how he lost his big toe in the war, again, and at the dinner table. Your stepmum makes a lovely turkey and still asks you every time if you want some “as a special treat”, even though you’ve been vegetarian for over 10 years. Your little sister just found out that you’re pagan and has tried to blackmail you or she’ll tell everyone at dinner, but you’re not ready to tell your family. And you suspect that guy you’ve been dating – who your mother insisted comes over for Christmas Eve dinner with the family – will ask you to marry him while you’re out for New Year’s Eve together, but you’re not feeling the same about him as you think he is about you, and you cringe every time he is alone with your father, in fear that he’s asking your dad for your hand in marriage.

Something in that first paragraph rang true for a few of you. Maybe the names are different, or it’s a slightly different scenario, but you know what I’m talking about. So what can you do about it?

Well, for starters, don’t eat the turkey if you’ve vegetarian, even if your stepmum looks disappointed. Enjoy the sides or bring something suitable just for you. That’s the easy one on the list.

Stories from grandpa are important. We should honour those who fought for our freedom, and listen to their stories, even if they are graphic and misplaced while everyone is eating. But pagans are no stranger to war. Do a Google search for “pagans and war” and you’ll find everything from stories about Charlemagne converting pagans by sword, to Julian, Rome’s last pagan emperor, who went to war with the Christians, to the Morrighan, the Goddess of War, who soldiers don’t want to see while in battle, to modern pagans in the military. War happens, and we can do our part to remember history so that it doesn’t repeat itself. Your grandpa is giving you crumbs of knowledge every time he tells his stories. Honour that with thanks and acknowledgement.

Aunt Betty will just fall asleep from the tryptophan in the turkey and wine, and don’t worry about your little sister. She’s seeking attention and you’ve always known how to deal with her. And don’t worry about that boyfriend who you fear might propose to you on New Year’s Eve. I mean, make sure he knows you’re not ready, but if it happens and you ruin the countdown by saying no while he’s down on one knee, well, that’s a heartbreak that he’ll have to live with into 2018, which is better than saying yes when you don’t mean it just to save face.

What you do need to worry about is how to protect your heart during all of this. Yule and New Year’s Eve can do a number on us. There are energies at work from so many people and societal expectations that you’ll need to shield, cleanse, and protect.

Start with imagining a white light is surrounding you. This shield is your force field against anything that might be coming your way, but it’s also trapping in your unwanted stress and anxiety about the season – and that’s okay, because you’ll deal with it in a moment once you block any other stressors and energies.

Next you can cleanse your surroundings and yourself. Many pagans burn a sage smudge stick to banish negative energy from an area, something pagans picked up from indigenous peoples long ago. Incense works too. Get into all of the corners of your room or home. Then sit comfortably and work on cleansing that trapped stress and anxiety. In your mind, see yourself pushing it out away from you. Take deep cleansing breaths. Breathe in the energy of the divine through your nose, and exhale that stress out through your mouth.

And finally, to protect yourself, light a white candle and focus on the light within you. You are your source of power and strength. You will get through this. Call upon Venus to help you understand the love you have for yourself first. Consider calling upon Isis to help you keep existing relationships sacred. If you have native roots, call upon the White Buffalo Calf Woman to aide you in creating peace and a safe space for community. And Janus and Juno can help to protect your physical space, home, or land.

Allow these practices and deities to guide you and protect your heart, and you’ll get through Yule and New Year’s Eve with a little more ease and be ready for what 2018 brings your way. 

***

About the Author:

Rev. Rachel U Young is a pagan based in Toronto, Canada. She is a licensed Wedding Officiant and under the name NamasteFreund she makes handfasting cords and other ceremonial accessories. She is also the Chair of Toronto Pagan Pride Day.

The Sober Pagan

December, 2017

Yuletide Sobriety

Who doesn’t party during the holidays? Scrooge? The Grinch?

But when you’re in recovery, holiday parties – whether they are office parties at work, family parties around a table groaning with food and drink or coven Yule rituals with “cakes and ale” – are a challenge, to say the least. What do you do? How do you navigate these chilly, choppy waters?

I’ll be honest with you – I’ve relapsed over the holidays more than once.

It’s so easy to see everyone else – those so-called “normal” people – with drinks in their hands – laughing, happy – and want what they seemingly have. Yeah! Just one drink. How simple that sounds.

Don’t go there.

If you’re like me, it’s never “just one drink” and it’s never that simple. It’s always a night of drunken manic craziness and a morning of migraine suicidal depression. Even if I’m just mildly hungover, I’m so tired I can’t do a thing.

And then, of course, I have to start all over all again.

I don’t work anymore so office parties are a thing of the past but I still have family. Luckily for me, about half of my family are now in some phase of recovery, so there’s lots of sober support there. I don’t have to go to any party that I don’t want to anymore – that’s a perk of being old and ornery.

But – if it’s a case where I have to go to a holiday party, here is the list of ideas I’ve compiled to help me get through the ordeal. Some I’ve heard at meetings, some I’ve read in books, and some I’ve gotten off of various websites. They were on a list in my diary.

  1. Arrive late and leave early. Say you have somewhere else to go, if people ask you why you’re leaving. You’re not lying. You’re going home, right?

  2. Bring a sober friend with you.

  3. Bring a bottle of ginger ale or coke or something else non-alcoholic to drink. Ginger ale mixed with cranberry juice is a fabulous holiday drink.

  4. Remember HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Don’t let yourself get out of balance in any of these areas.

  5. Remember TAMERS – Talk about recovery, Act on recovery, Meditate & minimize stress, Exercise & eat well, Relax, Sleep

  6. Be careful what you eat – lots of cookies, especially, have alcohol in them – my mother makes a killer fruit cake FILLED with booze! One piece and you’ll be wicked buzzed! So be careful!

  7. Go to meetings! Especially if you’re out of town – meetings are different in every city, so it’s always cool to check out that aspect of AA. And everyone loves the out-of-towner.

  8. Get outdoors. No matter what the weather is doing, it’s always good to get outside and walk off whatever emotions you are feeling. Believe me, you are going to feel better! And it’ll work off all those cookies you’re eating!

So please – Have the Happiest Yule Ever and a safe and sober New Year! Brightest Blessings!

Images found on Pinterest with the exception of the picture of the Niagara River Rapids photo © polly macdavid

***

About the Author:

 

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

 

Dear Jules

December, 2014

I’m Jules and I am one of the newest PaganPages columnists.  I’m female and live in Las Vegas, NV with my family and cats.  I first discovered myself as a pagan, witch, psychic and empath back in 1999 and I’ve been a strong believer in the Goddess ever since.  I am a spiritual artist and I love to make things to brighten up people’s days.  I sell my creations in a local store and on Etsy.

The advice column I’ll be doing will be called “Dear Jules”.  I’ve always been someone who others go to for advice.  In one of the groups I belong to I saw that PaganPages was looking for some new columnists and I figured I’d give it a whirl.  I’d love for this column to be a safe haven where you can go to someone for advice who has an entirely objective perspective on your situation.  I’d like to be able to help others with matters like love, relationships and life in general.  I would love to see the column develop into something very down-to-earth and easy to relate to for all of us.

I am honored to be the newest member of the PaganPages family and I look forward to dispensing heartfelt advice.  I’d love to help in any way that I can.  Please send your questions to me at thecraftwytch@gmail.com. All printed questions will remain anonymous once printed – please sign your questions the way you would a “Dear Abby” submission with something along the lines of “Lonely in Seattle.”

 

The Holidays

Yes, they are upon us again already!  The holidays can be stressful for all of us for a multitude of reasons – there’s never any shortage.  One of the most difficult aspects of the holiday is dealing with depression and loneliness – others and our own.  It is easy to get drained when people close to us are depressed, lonely or suicidal.  Please take time to take care of yourself.  Make sure that you eat and drink well and get enough rest.  Know what your limitations are.  If someone is depending on you too much be sure to let them know in a kind and gentle manner that you need to take care of yourself.  You need to come first.  You need to be taken care of just as much as anyone else does.

I don’t like to think of holidays as a time of obligation to others.  Being around family and friends is a choice and it’s always okay to opt out.

Before getting angry this holiday season try to take 3 deep breaths and calm your mind and then react in the most understanding and compassionate way possible.  This will ease your stress and will help you to avoid straining relationships unnecessarily.

 

Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again

Blessed Be

Musings of a Hereditary Witch

December, 2014

Winter Magic
I write this article for a street person name Dale, who I now believe was a muse in disguise. He showed up recently at the bottom of my off ramp and in the 8 years I have been taking this off ramp for home, I have never seen a street person here. He was tall and lanky with one foot bandaged, but I felt he was more than he seemed (you know that knowingness, that intuition that guides us). I gave him a couple of dollars, he smiled and said thank you. I drove on, but something nagged at the back of my mind.

The next day, I gave him a couple more dollars and I asked him his name. Dale he said and asked me for mine. We I got home the article below poured from me. I wanted to thank Dale for his inspiration, but he wasn’t there the next day or the next. On the 3rd day as I was approaching my off ramp, it dawned on me that Dale’s purpose was to be the muse for this article. I haven’t seen him again. So without further preamble…

Like the Witches of old, we have a duty to help our communities, especially during the cold harsh winter months. Where I live, there are 4,000 street people in a population of 65,695. This has become a growing concern in our country. With continuous budget cuts we do not have enough shelters or programs to help these people. Of course, to be honest, not all of them want to be helped. So, it comes down to us, the witches, doing what we can where we can for our communities.

I’m sure some of you give to the Food Banks, donate a toy for Toys for Tots or volunteer at a soup kitchen. These are all great causes, but I’m talking about something a little different, a little more personal and any of these would make great coven projects.

The Thrift Store:
Go to your local thrift store and pick up a blanket, a scarf & hat (you could knit/crochet one from left over yarns), a coat, or some warm socks. Better yet, go through your closet, see what you already have. Take the item home and make sure it is physically clean. Next, take the item to your altar and cleans by smudging or some other such act. Light some candles and incense and visualize what this piece of clothing would mean to someone in need. You might weave spells of protection, good health or positive energies into the item or stitch a symbol into the hem. Give it a final blessing of Hope. Now, put it in your car, so that when intuition tells you, you can offer it to someone on the street in need.

Food:
Street people need food that has a long shelf life and doesn’t need refrigeration. Peanut butter, honey, canned meat (with pop tops or you’ll have to provide a can opener – Dollar Store), crackers, bottled water, granola bars, cookies (for something sweet), a loaf of bread (not a long shelf life, but goes good with some of the longer shelf life items), some plastic utensils. All of these things can be empowered with the magic of the sweetness of life, good health, abundance, protection, use your witchy imagination. You can do a lot – fill up a reusable grocery bag, or a little like a jar of peanut butter, crackers and a plastic knife.
Don’t forget dried kibble for the pets, for some of these people their pets are the only family they have.

Little Necessities:
The Dollar Store is great for this: razors, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, deodorant, shampoo, first aid kit, and whatever else you think a person might need to be reminded that they are still a person and that someone, even if a strange, even for a moment, cares enough to think of them. The items can be placed in a zipper bag and kept in the car until needed. Again, everything should be done with magical intent.

You can give a little or give a lot depending on your comfort. If you are unable to help with food or clothing, light a candle and project healing and protection for these people that they may make it through the winter safely.

One act of kindness can return many times over.

Blessings of a Healthy and Safe Winter to All

One Mage’s Opinion

December, 2010

One Mages Opinion On Owning Your Holidays

Every year, I come across a lot of people with what I call “Holiday Derangement Syndrome”.  Basically, they have let the madness that can be an unfortunate part of this season warp both their perspectives, and their priorities.  They become obsessed with getting things, having stuff, and meeting goals that are all to often unobtainable.  And because of this self-created stress, they go around being rude and horrible to everyone in their path.  Now to be quite honest, I think such behavior in general is just abhorrent and wrong.  But in Pagans?  Especially those of us who practice Magick?  It is inexcusable.  You may be scratching your head wondering why I
would single out Magick using Pagans. Well the answer is simple.  If we routinely alter and in some cases even construct our own realities, then why are we not doing the same with our holidays?

It’s really very simple.  The first thing is to decide what kind of holiday you want to have.  Not so much the details, but the tone.  Decide what is important to you.  What your priorities are.  If you want to have a simple no fuss holiday with just close friends and the family members you are most connected to, then decide that.  If you want to go all out and have some lavish affair, then decide that.  If you want to make this decision with your partner or family you can, or if you only wish to decide for yourself you can do that too.  But the important thing is to decide.

The second part and admittedly the hardest to take a long, hard, as objective as possible, look at the activities you normally engage in, and the people you normally associate with during the holidays, through the lense of that earlier decision and alter accordingly.  If you have decided that you want a low-key holiday, then adjust your gift giving habits if needs be.  Make more things and buy less, or buy little things instead of bankrupting yourself.  If you want only to be around people who you really care about, then this year don’t invite your Uncle Fred and Aunt Edna, who you only see once a year, you don’t like, and who spend most of the time criticizing everyone else.  On the other hand if you want to go all out, then plan for that, save some extra money, get some extra time off of work.  Nothing should be a barrier to creating the holiday that you truly want.  Not even time.  If for one reason or another the best day for everyone you truly care about to get together is say December 27th, then have your holiday then.

Next, comes something even harder.  Accept responsibility for the holiday you have made.  If you see that someone has given your best friend the “Neatest Coolest Thing Ever” (TM) and your gift is a handmade tea cozy, don’t think twice.  Your gift is in line with the holiday you want to have, and the other persons gift is (hopefully) in line with the holiday they want to have.  And if Uncle Fred and Aunt Edna call up, their feelings hurt because they didn’t get an invitation to your house for Christmas, explain that they hadn’t seemed in the past like they were having any fun and you had worried that they were only coming because they felt obligated.

Finally, something even harder still, accepting that no matter how much you plan, and how careful you are to try to keep your holiday plans in line with your intentions, there will be things that happen that you just didn’t foresee.  Accept that stuff happens.  Simply keep your focus on the kind of holiday you want to have, and let that be your guide in deciding how to handle any unforeseen eventualities.

Because in the end?  When all is said and done?  What you ate.  What you gave.  What you got.  None of these things are going to matter one onehundredth as much as the memory of spending time with people you care about and getting to enjoy their company without being stressed to the point of overload.  Of course that’s just one Mage’s opinion.

Peace
And
Long
Life

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