honor

Book Review – Witchbody: A Graphic Novel by Sabrina Scott

March, 2019

Book Review
Witchbody
A Graphic Novel
By Sabrina Scott
74 pp.

“Can magic teach us how to love?” asks Sabrina Scott partway through their graphic essay, “Witchbody: A Graphic Novel.” As Scott builds up layers of radical environmentalism and transformative animism through the book, the answer crystallizes: yes, magic can teach us how to love, because empathy and experience are the way forward, and magic gives us the tools to learn and practice both. While it is difficult to pin down a single thesis for this essay — perhaps only because the scope of Scott’s topic is so broad — one clear theme is that through the intentional sharing of spaces and bodies, and the experience of other bodies in relationship to our own, we come to know, understand, and love each other. By experiencing pain, grief, loss, and transformation, we learn to recognize and honor these experiences in others, and in the world around us. By seeing ourselves as we truly are, what we share and where we differ with others, we come to be one.

More a poetic essay than a narrative, “Witchbody” is a book which muses about ontology, experience, physicality, and spirituality — and what these things all have to do with each other. Scott’s beautiful ink and watercolor illustrations enrich their words, lending reinforcement to their message through the depiction of interactions between humans and the liminal spaces that guide us between and within our urban and natural environments. 

Scott’s magical attitude takes flight as everyday activities are transformed into moments of transcendent beauty, during which awareness and empathy inflame a daily sense of unity with the surrounding world. Man, earth, and animal engage with each other on a daily basis. In these watery, organic panels, bones, phones, ferrets, and flowers all float down the same stream as the self; all inhabit one sphere and collide with each other in the same space, as one body. And in these bodies, and in our shared body, we can suffer pain, illness, and death — and when we deny the truth of our shared body, we truly do damage to each other. At the same time, our sensuality is a gateway to ontological understanding; by having a body and engaging with our own bodies, we can come to understand what it means to have a body, to be a being in the physical, natural world.

But Scott does not praise only sameness or the recognition of shared traits by different bodies; while this is an attractive shortcut, it can also invalidate more experiences than it validates, and ignores a lot. Instead, Scott delves into how the self-as-same and self-as-different juxtaposition propels animistic empathy forward, causing true transformation and understanding through primary experience and communication, rather than analysis, reflection, or judgment. It is in the active compassion for the other that we build the bridge between our own experience as human individuals, and the experience of the others, by extending our own capacity for feeling and our borders past our own skin.

Sabrina Scott’s “Witchbody” is a beautiful book which will appeal to animistic and environmentally-minded witches, artistic witches, and anyone who believes that we are all one. While there is more text here than in a regular graphic novel of the same length due to the dense and complex nature of the content, it’s still an easy afternoon read that will leave you eager to experience how engaging with the natural other can strengthen and sustain our collaborative, shared world.

Witchbody: A Graphic Novel on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Mindful Meditations

September, 2018

 

     As we honor the energies of the West while entering Autumn — the season of reaping what we have sown during the second harvest of Mabon – we are encouraged to take a moment to show gratitude for our abundance. Our crops have borne fruit which is being stored for the darkening season and our fields are growing hearty vegetables which we will reap at the third harvest, Samhain.

 

Items Needed

-sunset location

-cup of drinkable water

-writing utensil

-paper (or the like)

 

Choose a preferably clear day to watch the sunset while sitting in nature. This mediation will still work from indoors but we are Pagan so nature is our place of worship. Face the West as you observe the colors of the sky, hear the sounds around you, feel the wind. Acknowledge that with each setting sun, completes the cycle as the day transforms into night, just as summer turns to autumn. Now get into a comfortable position and sit with your cup of water. Stare into the water, scry upon its surface. Reflect upon 20 things you are grateful for in this moment, this day, this year, this lifetime. Jot them down as they come to you. Feel free to write more than 20 but do not write less. When you are satisfied with your list, notice the feeling of gratitude within you. Imagine you are channeling that feeling through your hands and into the cup of water you’re holding. Imagine the molecules gently vibrating with warm, white light. Acknowledge your gratitude for the water and drink from your cup. Thank the water for nourishing you. Thank the West, the sunset, and nature around you, for holding sacred space during your Mindful Meditation. Thank yourself for taking the time to reflect upon your abundance in gratitude.

 

Blessed Be!

 

***

About the Author:

(Amy Dubenetsky & Becky Coates, respectively; Writers of the Mindful Meditations column & Coven Sisters.)

This Mindful Meditation is brought to you by Amy Dubenetsky, a Bodyworker/Reiki Practitioner/Witch based out of Manchester, CT whom leads group meditations as well.  Amy is deeply involved with her Coven, Organic Farming, and various Dance Communities across the country.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @bodyandbeyond444.

Going Shamanic Radio

April, 2018

 

Going Shamanic” is hosted by Jennifer Engracio on P.A.G.E.  Media Project’s blogtalk radio each month. The show focuses on how to integrate shamanism into every day life. Instead of relegating the spiritual aspect of ourselves to Sundays at church or weekend workshops, this show will support listeners in weaving ritual, prayer, magic, alignment with the Spiritworld and the Earth into their lives to enrich their experience of living.

This month features Honouring Elder Wisdom…

We live in a time where elders are seen as a burden on our health system and as expendable by society at large.  This is not how we used to perceive elders in our community.  Today’s show explores the value of elders.  

Our guest today is Grandmother Ann Dickie.  She is a grandmother, mother, and fabric artist.  Ever since she was a child, she has known she was a spiritual being connected to all things.  Over thirteen years ago, she began studying shamanism.  During that time, she has done ceremonies with children aged five to twelve as well as participating in many personal ceremonies herself.  She co-authored the book “The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”.  

Join us for a conversation that explores questions around the value of elders in our society and what we can do to bring them to the fore.

 

 

Going Shamanic is hosted by Jennifer Engracio, about how to integrate shamanism into everyday life. 

Instead of relegating the spiritual aspect of ourselves to Sundays at church or weekend workshops, this show will support listeners in weaving ritual, prayer, magic, alignment with the Spiritworld and the Earth into their lives to enrich their experience of living. Jen is also the founder of Spiral Dance Shamanics.  

To contact Jen and find out more about services offered go to: www.jenniferengracio.wordpress.com

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic practitioner, Reiki Master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing”

Click Image for Amazon Information

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

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.

Spiralled Edges

January, 2016

Spiralled Edges – Learning to Honour Yourself

As we go through life, how often do we do things not because they honour who we are, but because we think it is what is expected of us?

This year, things came together in such a way that I had the opportunity to spend Christmas and Boxing Day on my own. My younger children spent the holiday with their father, giving me the opportunity to choose for myself what I wanted to do, for me, over the holidays. I had options, plenty of friends and extended family who would have offered me a place to go so that I would not be alone.

I decided to do things differently though, this year. I decided to honour my need for silence and solitude. I decided to spend the Christmas holiday, Christmas Eve until Boxing Day, alone.

And while I had a few friends asking me – is this what you want to do? When I explained how much I was looking forward to this time alone they supported me in it. In fact, some were actually envious of how I was using this time to rebirth my soul in quiet contemplation.

Have I accomplished anything over these few days? No. On the other hand, I didn’t set out to use this time for being productive in a tangible sense. This has been my time to honour my needs, a time to just be without doing.

Today, I sit and I consider what I have gained through this time alone. I am certainly more relaxed. I feel ready to face the world once again. In a short hour, I will be getting into the car to pick up the boys, and will be stopping at the grocery store on the way home to pick up things for our dinner tonight and tomorrow. While this has been a time of spiritual contemplation, I cannot forget the mundane chores and details of being alive. Dishes still need cleaned, clothes still need washed, and kids still need fed.

This coming week, I will be preparing for the upcoming year. 2015 has been a year of learning to honour myself. 2016 will be a year of reaching out to others.

moth

 

As a first step, I created Sacred Visions a service with a purpose of helping women to create their own possibilities. Since then I have been holding a monthly Cone of Healing Share with women around the world where all women are invited to share their own healing power, and to take what healing they need for themselves.

In 2016, I will be taking another new step and opening my home to small groups of women for monthly healing shares, where we will share our wisdom for personal healing. Or, maybe we’ll just spend a few hours together with no tangible goal or purpose.

In 2016 as well, I will continue to honour myself as a woman, as a mother, as a healer, as a human being. And, as always, I will continue to share my steps and missteps with others along the way.

However you are choosing to honour yourself, I wish you a healthy and happy 2016.

The Tree of Life

May, 2013

Honouring Our Descendants at Beltane

 

At Beltane it is said that the veil between the worlds thins, just as it is said to do at Samhain. Beltane – also known as May Day or Walpurgisnacht – traditionally marked the beginning of summer, and is directly opposite Samhain, the beginning of winter, on the Wheel of the Year. At Samhain many Pagans choose to use this thinning of the veil to honour and work with the spirit of their ancestors. Accordingly, why not balance this by honouring and working with the spirit of our descendants at Beltane?

 

I believe every moment of the present is a magical blend of the wisdom inherited  from the past and the chance to create the future. With every choice we make we are constructing the future our descendants will inherit in their turn. Just think about that for a moment. What a responsibility – and what an amazing gift! We have a great opportunity in every minute of every day to create – or at least tip the balance towards – a peaceful, abundant and just world.

 

When I speak of descendants, I don’t just mean those who inherit our genes. I believe my ancestors include not only ancestors of blood (my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc.), but also ancestors of culture (those who shaped the society I live in – inventors, craftspeople, healers, warriors, artists, philosophers, musicians, politicians, psychopaths and philanthropists alike) and ancestors of choice (those heroes and heras who inspire me with their words, thoughts and deeds). Together these three types of ancestors have made me who I am today.

 

Each of us, then, will have the chance to one day become an ancestor of blood, culture and/or choice. In this way, although I myself have no children, I will have descendants. I have a dearly-loved nephew, cousins and three beloved Goddess-children. But there are also the descendants I will not necessarily ever meet – those to whom I will unknowingly pass the legacy of my actions and choices during this lifetime. To me this brings a sense not only of responsibility but also opportunity.

 

If you would like to work with the spirit of your descendants this Beltane, I suggest first building an altar to them. If you already have a permanent altar for your ancestors, you may like to make this new altar next to it. You could even put a photo or other representation of yourself between them to signify that you are the connection between the two. Place photos or items to represent any descendants of blood that you may have, or the children that you plan to have in future. Add pictures or items representing the gifts, skills or wisdom you would like to pass on. You could also have representations of the kind of world you would like to have an active role in creating.

 

It may be helpful to meditate before you start, to clarify your vision and your wishes. What is the worst future you believe is likely to happen? What is the best? What can you do in the present and the immediate future to tip the balance towards the best future and away from the worst? What special gifts, talents or skills can you offer? What changes can you make in your daily life that will have a positive effect?

 

At Samhain, some people lay out a feast for their ancestors, cooking the foods their beloved dead enjoyed while they were alive, or the traditional foods of their cultural ancestors. Usually this feast is then shared by the living celebrants, though a portion of food is set aside for the spirits. In working with our descendants, it is harder to know what they will enjoy eating. So how about making your best recipe as an offering? You know the one – it’s the dish you’re always asked to bring to pot luck suppers, or when the family gets together. Making such a dish is an act of love, and what better offering could there be? Share the meal amongst those gathered – but remember to set aside a portion for your descendants.

 

If you would like to continue working with your descendants after Beltane you could maintain a permanent altar for them. I would also suggest regular meditation or trancework to connect with their spirit and find out what they would like from you.

And most importantly, remember that you are a conduit between the past and the future. The past is fixed, but the future is constantly in flux, tweaked and nudged by our every move. That gives us power. Let’s use it wisely, compassionately, mindfully. Let’s work towards being the best ancestors we can be.

Rebel Rede

February, 2011

Honor the Source

The other day I was browsing through my dance instructor’s website and I came across a gorgeous photo of her belly dancing. She has lots of beautiful photos, but this one in particular drew my attention because of the quote on it. In large letters at the top of the photo were the words “Honor the Source.” At the bottom corner of the photo was a poem about the womb being the source of life and dancing with the moon. The poem was really beautiful too, but it was the words “Honor the Source” that really stuck with me.

In our busy over commercialized society how often do we take the time to “Honor the Source?” By the “source” I mean the symbolic womb of the sacred feminine, all women, and the Creatrix. As the source of life a woman’s womb is not just a literal birthing house, but it is also the symbolic vessel for creation. Any creation we want to make. Thanks to the Goddess Leonie and her wonderful website Goddess Guidebook I have been re-inspired to focus on my creative Goddess side. It is important for all women to take the time to create, to grow, to be a Goddess. By allowing ourselves the time to create, to grow, to be artistic we are honoring our “source” and our Creatrix. So this is a call to action ladies, take time this month to do at least one creative project and to focus on honoring your source!

Blessed Be!