sex

GoodGod!

February, 2019

Meet the Gods: Eros

Merry meet.

With the Hallmark holiday, Valentine’s Day, falling in February, it is fitting to turn to lusty Eros, the Greek god of sensual love and primal desire. The word erotic comes from his name.

In some tellings, he is the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of sensual love and beauty, and Ares, the god of war, or of Aphrodite and Zeus, the king of the gods, or of Hermes, the divine messenger of the gods, according to Britannica.

Others say he is a primordial god, the son of Chaos, the emptiness of the universe. Later depictions show him not as an adult male, but as a mischievous child. At sometime he became a winged youth that was made younger and younger until he was the infant we see as a Valentine’s Day mascot that the Romans knew as Cupid.

“In early Greece, no one paid much attention to Eros, but eventually he earned a cult of his own in Thespiae. He also was part of a cult along with Aphrodite in Athens,” according to “Deities of Imbolc” by Patti Wigington on ThoughtCo.com.

In another article for ThoughtCo.com, Wigington wrote, “As a god of lust and passion,?and fertility as well, Eros played a major role in courtship. Offerings were made at his temples, in the form of plants and flowers, vessels filled with sacred oils and wine, beautifully crafted jewelry, and sacrifices.

“Eros didn’t have too many boundaries when it came to making people fall in love, and was considered the?protector of same-sex love?as well as hetero relationships.”

In honoring the lusty Eros today, and asking for his help in matters of love, consider leaving him roses or other flowers symbolic of love, apples or grapes. Offer eggs or hares if it’s the fertility god you wish to honor. Wings, and a bow and arrow are also representative offerings.

An offering to a god is an invitation for him to enter our life. Gods cannot force or demand our worship and cannot violate our freedom or our conscience. Expressing gratitude, appreciation and love toward them, allows their energy to flow back to us.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Book Review – The Witchcraft Handbook by Midia Star

January, 2019

Book Review

The Witchcraft Handbook:

Unleash Your Magical Powers to Create the Life You Want

By Midia Star

This is a beginner’s book, someone who has some experience may use the spells in this book just as a jumping off point to create some new spells. At the very beginning of the book, the first thing the author writes is “Witchcraft is the practical side of the Wiccan religion.” I have to say that I disagree with that statement because not all witches are Wiccan.

I had a hard time on telling what demographic the writer was going after with this book. There are spells for home, sex, work, and love. While at the back of the book there is a section on Dreamboards. In this section, the writer states that the Dreamboard should be for your dreams and not those of your friends or parents.

While the author’s writing is well done, I do have to wonder about the information this book contains. As far as information on herbs, crystals, oils, and Moon phases the author is spot on. But there are other little small things that I feel are misinformation.

Page 79 of the book the author writes in the Did You Know? box: “Christians once used the pentagram as a religious symbol. Each point represented the five wounds of Christ. To pagans and to witches it represents Morrigan, the war goddess who fights for peace in good fortune for others. If you see the pentagram drawn with the top point of the star pointing to the bottom of the circle, this represents dark and sinister magic, so always draw your pentagram with the top point of the star pointing upwards.” The part about the Christian’s is correct. I honestly don’t know about the Morrigan part. But the inverted Pentacle I do know something about. This is misinformation because on specific paths the pentacle with the star pointing down is a sign of protection or even a sign of attaining another degree within that path.

On page 97 the author writes when talking about A Garden Space: that in the William Shakespeare’s witches’ famous incantation’ eye of newt and toe of frog’ actually refers to mustard seeds and a type of buttercup plant. I had never heard that myself, I would like to know what research the author used to arrive at that conclusion.

On page 123 Midia Star writes in the Did You Know? box: “The Druids where the first to believe and the power of the four-leaf clover.” Now whether this is true or not I don’t know, again I would like to know other resources the author used to arrive at that conclusion.

The book contains no bibliography, or other sources were the author may have gotten their information. The author does state that they have tried the spells and they have worked for them. Again, as I said at the beginning, the information on herbs, oils, candles, and the Moon phase are all spot on. But, I do take exception to the things I have listed, due to the lack of the bibliography.

The Witchcraft Handbook: Unleash Your Magical Powers to Create the Life You Want on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Gael Song

November, 2018

The Light Impulses of Sacred Sexuality


(The Kiss by Rodin)

With all the news and conflict about the Kavanaugh appointment to the US Supreme Court, I decided to focus on sexuality in this month’s article, specifically the energies of sexuality, which give an entirely different spin on what’s actually happening. If you watch the light streams around any love-making act, you’ll quickly notice there is a very bright Source of light high above. And beams from this Sun stream directly into the crown and heart of each individual partner, and from their human arms and eyes into one another. Those light beams are coming directly from the Creator Sun, the Source of Love for everyone in the cosmos. And it isn’t just any light, either. In the very center of the Creator Sun are God and Goddess, the Creators. They’re in a forever sacred marriage, and Their own individual vibrations are quite different, two ray colors and qualities of love with different directives and regencies across the cosmos as well. Her ray color is ivory, like moonlight, and it holds an intimacy/union essence. It’s the Goddess Who is regent of sexuality. His ray is rose red, and it holds a love-forever-true essence, the bridegroom, if you will. These two suns of light in the Creator Sun pulse apart and together in every moment, the Heartbeat of the cosmos. And in the coming together, a bright diamond light is created, dazzling clear light. THIS is the love force, the beam of light that is streaming down into those human lovers. It holds a highly creative orgasmic essence.

All humans have their own personal clear stream of diamond love coming down from the Source, VERY obvious to anyone who sees light in the ethers. And this light nourishes everyone on the INSIDE, plus giving each of us a heart full of love to pass along to others we care about. We humans do not create love, though it certainly feels like we do. And it is this very strong, dazzling, clear light that is affected by sexuality. For growing children, this light remains as a direct stream from above. But when the first love-making experience happens (hopefully as loving young adults), these personal clear streams of light of both partners are closed down from above and sent into each person’s outer human partner, instead. This means, each person’s partner becomes her or his source of love in a very real sense. When the two lovers adore each other and the union is consensual, this shift is sweet and meaningful, each partner basically becoming the priest or priestess of the clear light of love for the other. It is extremely POWERFUL, this shift, for after love-making, one’s partner feels like one’s own personal god or goddess. And this exchange of clear light, one to the other, lasts for one calendar year from the time of each love-making. In a relationship where love-making does not occur, each person retains her or his own light stream from the Source, and I believe this is why some monastic orders insist on celibacy, to keep the order’s love-light free and clear of any filters partners might add that could get in the way of the divine flow.

Not only that, but the action center in the root, the light behind the pubic bone that creates all our physical experiences, is also joined together in lovers for one year from each love-making experience. (This light center sends out tiny pictures of what God/Goddess wish to manifest in each person’s life. And the spirit world sees that this manifestation happens for each one of us. It’s how our personal physical experiences are directed and manifested, the creation of our own little worlds.) So, the personal worlds of both partners become intertwined after love-making as well. His strong beliefs in love and hers combine to create a new shared path of experience, but each partner’s personal fear beliefs also show up in both lives. (Inner beliefs create each person’s outer world. Our own little worlds are created out of what each person believes in. This is bedrock divine law.) So, if one partner has little self-esteem, perhaps, then this will be created into the other’s physical life for one year as well. And this shift into shared experience is more powerful in some ways than the exchange of clear light streams. Just to be very clear here, both these shifts, shared experience and clear light, happen and remain for the entire year, even if the lovers are together for only one night and never see each other again (though repeated union will intensify the exchanges). It happens if a single individual has many partners over the course of that year with every one of those lovers! It’s wise to be careful what one is actually taking on from a lover when making these sexual choices in life. (How sex workers manage to take in so much and live through it in their lives, I simply cannot imagine. How on earth could a woman break out of so many fears being built into her life? They are far braver than most realize.)

But let’s think about rape for a moment, shall we? The vast majority of rapes are males forcing themselves on women, so I will use this as my example, though I know it’s a bit limited in scope. These raping men have a need to force themselves on women, to control, dominate, and harm, both physically and emotionally. And THIS raping man then becomes his victim’s inner god for one full year! Her dazzling direct stream of pure love is cut off and comes through him. It’s like dropping through seven heavens straight into hell! Not only that, but his beliefs, which are extremely fear-based and harmful to herself, to say the least, manifest in her path of experience for a full year as well. This is control with a capital C! Rape is far worse than most people realize, beyond sacrilege. In fact, I can’t think of any words to condemn it vehemently enough.

Not only that, but there are parent streams of light from above, divine mother and father beams, that create and overlight all human parents caring for every human child, providing shelter, food, clothing, and especially love. But when the first love-making happens in young adulthood, these parent streams from the Creator Sun are shut off, too, so the young lovers can leave their growing-up homes, start earning their own livings, and create their own family. If it’s a loving relationship, this shift deepens the commitment, one to the other, bringing both partners into lifelong partnership both in outside work and in the home. But with rape, the divine parents’ light streams from the Creator Sun are closed off with no human partners to take their place. The victim’s livelihood from parents is lost, the relationship with human parents and family greatly diminished, and the inner dismantling of the carefree consciousness of a child who carries little responsibility follows, for the spirit world sees that these changes definitely take place in life. The lack of responsibility mindset of a child changes into the burdensome worry of having to provide for oneself, and the workload of normal adulthood becomes the daily experience of both lovers.

Now, let’s think about pedophilia in light of all these energy shifts taking place with a young child’s first sexual experience. Afterwards, the Source of love comes to the child through the abuser, instead of directly from above, with all the abuser’s fear filters in place in life and within. And the parental/family cocoon is broken down, the child having to fend for her/himself in a very real way. A heavy work pattern is one of the hallmarks of hidden childhood sexual abuse. I know these energies very well myself, for my own first sexual experience was at the age of three and a half. This caused a severe rift in my family, and I was held apart from the family circle in significant ways from then on, doing a lot of chores mainly. Do you see what I’m talking about? The Source/parent lights of love are definitely shut off for the young child, and there is no going back. For myself, I have since realized this was my core wound, the fear I agreed to carry and help heal for the universe. We all have one. So, I can now understand and forgive. But how many abused children are able to do that? How many thousands remain lost and alone? Too many to suit me.

So, this article is a plea to all readers in a way, to wake up with regard to sexuality, to THINK about what we’re really doing when we choose our sexual partners—to actually create our futures in love, honest-to-God/Goddess LOVE, for our partners, our children, our nations, and especially, our very world.

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment on Amazon

The Bad Witch’s Guide

April, 2018

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Pagan Moot Etiquette

 

(Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash)

 

I am a bad witch. There are a long list of reasons why I am a bad witch. Having been out of the broom closet for some considerable number of years I would on occasion get asked “but you’re a good witch though?” My response to that depending on the person asking but I found I started to say “yes, a very, very good witch” rather darkly as it usually got the point across.

I can only say in this piece my hexperience in British meetings and moots. I go through phases of being able to “people” and then just not. Some of which is my fragile health and some of which is my witches extreme low tolerance for bullsh*t.

I don’t go much to pagan gigs, camps and massive festivals. Not only can I not get to most of them (thank you British public transport), but my health would greatly suffer. That said I’ve gone to local (and non-local) moots or pagan meet ups around Britain since around 2001.

First off and I know this might sound truly bizarre to many pagans, especially as most are in pubs:

Don’t get drunk.

I’m serious. Mixing with a bunch of people whom you sort of know, most of which practice some craft is reckless and idiotic. You might disclose more than you meant to, might sleep with someone you then have to avoid on a semi-regular basis and look well, like a bit of an ass.

This doubly goes if there is a ritual or talk. You don’t want to be trying to do magick drunk (or for that matter high). Being open and let’s say, expanded, can be great magickal experience, however a public moot is not the place to do so. If you “must” drink, keep it slow and steady and alternate between soft drinks and alcohol.

Do pay attention to those who are hitting it hard and look out for them. You don’t have to go over the top, but make sure they are okay.

Be respectful.

You might be the greatest magick worker whom ever lived, had 50 years practice and studied with so-and-so, don’t you know, but if that means that you think you can’t learn something from the person/people speaking you don’t know anything. Be it a phrase, an idea, a practical something, everyone has something to teach you. Set down your ego for a minute and you might surprise yourself!

Don’t feed the drama.

If someone is being aggressive, or pushy or bitchy, don’t respond in kind. If they are looking for an enemy or fight, don’t give it to them. While women get a bad rap in my experience the men in pagan circles are the worst for this! This is about them, not you. Taking sides, in turns means factions and so on and so on. Many a moot has been destroyed this way! Apparently there is something about me that makes some people want to challenge me, regardless of how quiet or respectful I am. In my youth I fought like a tiger and as I have aged I just walked away. In coming back to moots, I just decided to see it for what it is. Pointless power play. “Yes dear, you are terribly powerful and important, arrange the seats how you like.” Again this means you might try things different ways than you are accustomed and you might even learn something!

This sort of power hoarding is not just pettiness. It speaks to the condition of the person trying to control. Observe them not just as a moot going but as a witch. People needing to play power politics to feel important are usually miserable, afraid and have some serious issues going on.

If you see someone becoming a regular target or see bullying becoming an issue try and defend that person. You can use magick or otherwise, but don’t hit the bully with a chair, however tempting it is.

Don’t sleep around at a moot.

A moot isn’t your local hook-up spot. There is a certain kind of guy who likes to hit on, leer and such to every young (and not so young) female in the room. It’s uncomfortable, it’s disrespectful and it’s gross. Like-wise shagging about in politics power plays (some women do this too) isn’t “magickal” and therefore allowed. It’s manipulation for petty gain and it’s awful. Sure, hook-ups happen, but, not being drunk helps make better judgement calls. This is your community. For want of a better phrase, don’t sh*t where you eat!

If you see, or know a person is a problem watch out for their targets and if it gets really bad speak to the person running the event. If it is the person running the event, go to their higher ups. This Might be Children of emis, the Pagan Federation or such like. If an assault happens to you or someone else, report it to the police. Too often these things go unspoken with the victims disappearing and the predator never being brought to justice. The consequences of not speaking out and not speaking up can be awful.

If there is a jar put in some pennies.

Most moots are run by donation, and speakers are often paid for this way too. It might not be a lot, but funding your local moot can really help. It is not usually a lot of money that is required and paying a little here will mean it keeps it alive and you don’t have to travel miles to the next moot.

Moot when you travel.

If you are going to another city, or town for a visit, check to see if there is a moot while you are there. I was visiting London and went to a moot and had a fabulous time! I even became friends with a nice bloke called Mike, who then became the President of the Pagan Federation U.K. It is always good to see how other folks do stuff and it’s a cheap night out!

Moots are about people. They are wonderful, complicated and terrible creatures. Pagans the same as anyone else. Don’t let a bad experience make you a shut in. Try a camp, or a gig, or festival if that is your jam. Try a moot, then try a different one. You are not going to get along with everyone all the time and some moots won’t be your fit either and that’s fine.

Dawn’s Constitute

May, 2013

The Female Reproductive System

 

Hello Pagan Pages readers! I’m honored and excited to have been asked to join this e-mag. I promise to give you guys my best!

With many fertility rites of spring upon us, let’s take some time to discuss the female reproductive system. This article is geared toward women, but I urge men to give it a chance, you have a role in this topic.

 

What comes to mind when you think of the female reproductive system? Blood? Childbirth? Pain? Mystery? Shame?

 

With the help of a seed, women create life, grow life and birth life. Life. Giving birth may be common, but always remarkable.  It never ceases to amaze when we experience the continuation of the species. We know from nature that nothing is always good and nothing is always bad. Nature requires balance. With the wonderment of birth comes blood and pain.

 

Another attribute of the female reproductive system, in humans, is mystery and thus shame. While mystery can be intriguing and exciting, the unknown often leads to fear, misunderstanding and shame.

In terms of medical sciences, the female reproductive system has only recently been discovered. Much of what we know about how a woman’s reproductive system works only dates back to the 1800s, when J. Marion Sims performed mad experiments on female slaves, often without anesthetics. Oddly, doctors were creating complex vaccinations for smallpox before they understood the uterus that brought them into the world.  How could such a basic bodily function be avoided for so long by the medical community?

A common trait of Pagans is an openness to sexuality, nudity and the human body. Let’s make sure we include our reproductive abilities as well.  Observing and commenting on the reproductive system with knowledge and respect for the mysteries can prevent the fear, shame and misunderstanding that promotes disrespect. Our menstrual cycles are not a curse but a natural part of an amazing ability.

So far this spring I have watched a cat birth six kittens and a sheep nurse her newborn lamb, the experiences were amazing, even though they ate the placentas! Nature doesn’t know shame or disgust, it follows it’s course and lives in harmony with whatever life throws it’s way.

Here are some ways we can change the tone to respect for the female reproductive system.

• Check your rhetoric. Despite the cramps, discomfort, and inconvenience that comes with a woman’s period, consider it a badge of honor.  Be honest with how you feel, without over dramatizing.

• Learn your cycle. A menstrual lunar calendar is easy to make and even easier to buy.

• Be gentle with yourself. When you understand your cycle, you will begin to notice patterns associated with your cycle and how you feel emotionally and physically. Use this time as an opportunity to pamper yourself.

• Keep an open line of communication with your sons and daughters about their reproduction systems and allow them to ask questions without embarrassment, fear or shame. Acknowledge awkward situations instead of shying away from them.  A little humor and lightheartedness goes a long way.

• Give your daughters a maidening. A maidening is a coming of age ritual for girls who begin their period and are entering into womanhood.  Maidenings usually consists of a ritual and female bonding with women in your close circle of family, friends and spiritual leaders sharing personal experiences and knowledge of womanhood with the young lady. Allowing her to ask questions and talk openly about her fears and concerns. This is a good time to dismiss myths.  Sons can also experience a similar rite of passage with the men in their life, once puberty comes. Sometime a camping trip is involved to further male bonding, time for talk about manhood and a ritual honoring his transition.

Book Review: The Astrology of Great Sex by Myrna Lamb

October, 2012

 

The Astrology of Great Sex

by Myrna Lamb © 2010

Hampton Roads Publishing (An Imprint of Red Wheel Weiser)

ISBN: 978-1-57174-509-5

290 pages

Paperback $17.95 (U.S.)

 

This is one of those books which is difficult to review, since it is intended to be basically a reference book, and therefore has no rhythm to get into. The only way to approach it to read the sections you are basically familiar with and see if that information appears accurate.

 

That presented a minor problem for me, simply because I have been happily married to the same woman for about 35 years. My memories of previous relationships is hazy at best and, often, I have forgotten my lovers birth-dates, making it difficult to see if those sections might be accurate.

 

Having said that, I will do my best to give you my impressions.

 

The first 200 pages of this book consist of responses to a sexual questionnaire designed and distributed by the author (a copy of which is included at the end of the book, for your use in evaluating your own relationship). Over a thousand individuals responded (anonymously) which, while not a huge number, is large enough to get a fairly good feel for overall trends.

 

Each of the signs is given its own section, divided between the sexes. The responses range from very clinical to almost pornographic in their explicitness. There is a general overview given, which may then be expanded through memories and fantasies drawn from the respondents. Ms Lamb says that many times respondents used virtually the same words in response to the questions, which are open-ended, which (in her opinion) shows the commonalities within the signs, and I would have to agree.

 

Obviously, there is no NEED to read the entirety of the book. In fact, there is no need to read any particular section, or to read them in any particular order. Still, it is interesting to see how various people responded to the various questions.

 

Obviously, there are no hard and fast responses. No matter how similar individuals of the various signs are, each is still precisely that an individual.

 

The final section of the book is devoted to explaining the dynamics of relationships between the signs. Even here, there are divisions between the sexes. Obviously a relationship with a Pisces man and an Aquarian woman will have a different dynamic that that relationship with a Pisces woman and an Aquarian man.

 

Although astrology is not a major component of my life I know that many people place a lot of emphasis on it. If you are one of those people, and assuming that you do not make your life as an astrologer (in which case you will have a deeper understanding than any single book can give one), this is a book you will definitely want to have handy.

 

WiseWoman Traditions

August, 2012

Feeling Frisky? Herbs for Fertility

 

 

For thousands of years knowledge of the herbs and wild plants that could increase fertility were the secrets of the village wise women. But after the holocaust against European Wise Women (the “burning times”) and the virtual extermination of Native American medicine women, this knowledge virtually disappeared. In fact, many people erroneously believe that “primitive people” had no means of controlling the likelihood of pregnancy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many common plants can be used to influence fertility, including red clover, partridge berry, liferoot, wild carrot, and wild yam. Some of these grow wild, others are easy to cultivate, and, with the exception of wild carrot, all are also readily available at health food stores.

One of the most cherished of the fertility-increasing plants is red clover (Trifolium pratense). Common in fields and along roadsides, it has bright pink (not really red) blossoms from mid-summer into the chilly days of fall. A favorite flower of the honeybees, the tops (blossoms and appending leaves) are harvested on bright sunny days and eaten as is, or dried for medicinal use. The raw blossoms are delicious in salads and nutritious when cooked with grains such as rice or millet.

 

To make a fertility-enhancing infusion, I take one ounce by weight of the dried blossoms (fresh won’t work for this application) and put them in a quart size canning jar. I fill the jar with boiling water, screw on a tight lid, and let it steep at room temperature overnight (or for at least four hours). Dozens of women have told me that they had successful pregnancies after drinking a cup or more (up to four cups) a day of red clover infusion.

 

It is especially helpful if there is scarring of the fallopian tubes, irregular menses, abnormal cells in the reproductive tract, or “unexplained” infertility. It may take several months for the full effect of this herb to come on and pregnancy may not occur until you have used it for a year or two. You can improve the taste by including some dried peppermint (a spoonful or two) along with the dried clover blossoms when making your infusion. Treat the father of the child-to-be to some red clover infusion too!

That little evergreen creeper that carpets some parts of the woods around your house is partridge berry (Mitchella repens), also known as squaw weed, supposedly because of its ability to enhance fertility. (My teacher Twylah Nitsch, grandmother of the Seneca Wolf clan, says that “squaw” is a slang term meaning “schmuck” or, in the proper term, “penis,” and therefore should not be used in denoting a plant meant to be used by women.) Keep an eye out this spring and see if you can catch Mitchella blooming. Then you’ll see why she’s sometimes called “twin flower.”

 

Interestingly, when the paired flowers fall off, they leave behind but one berry to ripen. (The shiny red berries you’ve noticed in the forest winter or spring. Yes, they are safe to eat, but leave some for the partridges.) The symbolism of two flowers forming one berry is certainly a suitable icon for fertility. I make a medicinal vinegar by filling a small jar with the fresh leaves, adding apple cider vinegar until the jar is full again. A piece of waxed paper held in place with a rubber band and a label (including date) completes the preparation, which must sit at room temperature for six weeks before use. I enjoy up to a tablespoonful of the vinegar on my salads or in my beans.

By mid- to late-May, the yellow blossoms of liferoot (Senecio aureus) enliven my swamp (in upstate New York) and the neighboring roads where there is adequate water and rich soil. A powerful medicine resides in all parts of this lovely wildflower. As the root has a dangerous reputation, I restrict myself to using only the flowers and leaves, which I harvest in bloom, and quickly tincture. (For instructions for making your own tinctures, please see any of my books.) Small doses of this tincture (3-8 drops a day), taken at least 14 days out of the month, will regulate hormone production, increase libido, normalize the menses, relieve menstrual pain, and improve fertility. The closely related Senecia jacobea and Senecio vulgaris can also be used.

 

Wild carrot (Daucus carota), better known as Queen Anne’s lace, is such a common roadside plant that most people are amazed to learn that it is a proven anti-fertility herb. In addition to being the wild cousin of carrot, it is related to parsley, dill, caraway, anise, celery, cumin, and a (now extinct) plant whose seeds were the birth-control of choice for many a classical Greek or Roman woman.

 

The aromatic seeds of wild carrot are collected in the fall and eaten (a heaping teaspoonful a day) to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. In one small study the effectiveness rate after thirteen months of use was 99%. As modern scientific medicine reports that one-third of all fertilized eggs are passed out of the body without implanting in the uterus, this method of birth control seems in complete agreement with nature.

 

Of the hundreds of women currently using this anti-fertility agent, I have heard virtually no reports of any side-effects. Note that many books caution you to beware the danger of confusing poison hemlock and wild carrot. Poison hemlock is rather scarce in our area, and, at any rate, does not smell or taste of carrot (as does Queen Anne’s lace), so I believe this warning to be a red herring. In addition, wild carrot leaves have small hairs on them, while the leaves of poison hemlock are smooth.

Another anti-fertility herb that has been tested by small groups of modern women is wild yam (Dioscorea villosa). Since birth-control pills were originally made from this plant, it is not at all surprising that it has the effect of blocking conception when taken daily in rather large doses: either a cup of tea or two capsules taken three times a day.

 

Does it have detrimental effects? Current studies are too small to show any, but there is a possibility that there could be. Interestingly enough, if wild yam is taken in small doses (a cup of tea or 10-20 drops of the tincture daily from onset of menses until mid-period) it increases fertility! In either case, the effect seems to be triggered by the large amount of hormone-like substances found in this root. When taken daily, these substances may be converted into progesterone, thus decreasing the possibility of conception. When taken for the two weeks preceding ovulation, these substances may be converted into LH and FSH, hormones that are needed to make the egg ready to be fertilized.

Other common weeds and garden plants of our area that have been used to increase or decrease fertility include stinging nettle, oatstraw, pennyroyal, Jack-in-the-pulpit, rue, and parsley.

 

The earth is full of wonders, and green magic abounds. As more and more women remember that they are wise women, more of the wonders and the magic will be revealed. May your days be filled with many green blessings.

Pagan Theology

April, 2012

Sexytimes In Public

Oh my stars.  Catholics are asking to be treated differently due to their religious beliefs when it comes to providing health care for women who work for them.  The Republicans, sensing an opportunity that was actually a mistake, have done their best to pile onto this issue, in some very inelegant ways [1].  There are a lot of political arguments here, ones that have been stated much more clearly and interestingly elsewhere [2].   Personally I do believe that there should be an exemption for institutions whose primary function is religious on matters of principle where it is reasonable and practical.  This is a fundamental principle of religious freedom, consistent with the Native American’s use of peyote in their religious rituals.  But if you are operating a Burger King, or a hospital, then it’s only logical that the same laws that apply to the guy at the gas station should apply to your secular business [3].   After all, Native Americans can use peyote in their religious rituals, but they can’t just go selling it at the neighborhood convenience mart [4].  Religious freedom requires that the activity actually relate to religion.

But that is a political discussion, one we’ve had a lot of already, and one where my opinion is just an opinion.  What I want to do is try and figure out what a Pagan theological perspective would bring to the kerfuffle. The underlying problem here is that the Catholic Church, along with Rick Santorum, does not endorse contraception except in certain exceptional cases.  Santorum tipped the real reason for the opposition to contraception: it leads to naughtiness [5].  That is not a church/state issue: it’s an issue of theology that we can talk about.  In fact I believe it’s related to something that we as Pagans know all to well: the original split between Paganism and the book religions.  It goes to one of the core beliefs that separate us.  We like the world.  They don’t.  They look forward to what lies beyond while we enjoy what is here.

Now before anyone starts fussing about how Christians are very much engaged in the world, in stewardship, in charity, in good works and whatnot, I will say that social justice is just one way to engage with the world.  What I’m talking about is how we engage personally and spiritually with the world.  Whether we see ourselves as part of it, or in some way opposed to it.  For the book religions suffering and pain are one of the main things they focus on. And suffering comes from the world.

Christian religious documents are almost always talking about relief of suffering, forgiveness from sin because that leads to suffering, the poor of spirit, the downtrodden, the forlorn.  Their message is that “we got your back” and “it will get better.”  The whole point of Christianity is Easter: the overcoming of the suffering on the cross as a sacrificial atonement for sin.  And sin, ultimately, is bad behavior that results in someone having a less than pleasant experience in their lives [6].

Pagans do not tend to dwell on suffering.  Instead we have a great interest in engaging with and affecting this world.  In the distant past this detachment from others’ suffering could be attributed to a general lack of empathy and an inability to place yourself in others’ shoes [7].   However we can bring this view up to date by simply acknowledging that our moral imperative comes from a strong sense of engagement with the world.  Through ritual, through magic, and through actively lived lives we seek to bring love and laughter and joy into the world because that is what we believe it deserves from us.  Because our Gods and Goddesses are part of this world, we seek to experience and value the world as it is, not as merely a way station on a journey of transcendence.  Denial not tied to a practical or spiritual reason is ridiculous.  Dominating the world is terribly immoral because she is our mother, we should respect and value her, not kill her.  And enjoying the hell out of ourselves can and should be included as part of what we hold sacred.

In case you have not noticed, this is not necessarily the view of the book religions.  Atonement, penance, and discipline are all designed to maintain a distance between the world and the followers.   The promise of future rewards focuses them on present-day denial and asceticism.  Social discipline is enforced through abstract strictures such as self-denial, guilt, and ostracism.  These negative punishments are seen as essential to keep deeply flawed people (sinners) in line.

Pagans’ on the other hand start from the opposite end of the line.  We are more concerned about how we can make a positive effect in the world than in beating ourselves up for things that we have done wrong.  For us an experience of the divine is not achieved through denial and discipline, particularly social discipline.  Instead it is achieve through strongly held ties, relationships with divinity, and concepts of honor and courage.   Punishment, and guilt is a form of punishment, are secondary approaches in a Pagan approach to social discipline simply because they are prescriptive and reactive.   Who would you rather have around, someone who wants to be with you, or someone who is made to be there?   How would you want to relate to others, through a sense of duty, or a sense of joy?  We choose joy.

Now Christian theology will say that the true change occurs within the believer’s heart.  Believers will want to behave in ways consistent with Christ’s teachings because they have been changed through the love (and/or blood) of Christ.  There really is no coercion involved, that those following a “true” faith path will do things that are right simply because they are consistent with what they feel inside.  Just because what they feel happens to be written down in the Bible is simply a reflection of those who have preceded them finding the right way and writing it down.

Other than the writing it down part, this is quite consistent with Paganism, in that our inner feelings guide us instead of some formal doctrine or prescription.   We don’t even get to participate in our religion unless the hands of the Goddess guide us toward each other.  It is a rare Pagan tradition that seeks out converts or proselytizes.  In many traditions there can be a bit of effort involved in finding a coven that will admit you, and fits with your path.  We find our way into the Pagan religion through the hands of the Gods and Goddesses, from their voice within us and within those we encounter.   Those who come into our religion, come to it through an inner voice.

But there is a place where we diverge from even this ideal representation of how Christians’ come up with their belief.  We don’t try to tell other people what to do.  This bears repeating:  Pagan’s don’t claim religious exclusivity, so we are more than willing to put up with other people’s bad behavior as long as it does not cause anyone a problem (“harm none”).  My inner voice and relationship with the Gods and Goddesses may not be your voice or path.  Each has their own path, each is valid, and each deserves our respect (including the Christian path).  Christians claim universality: that their belief is true and others are not.  This causes endless trouble.

Combine the tendency to focus on denial, suffering, and asceticism with the tendency to try and tell other people how to behave and you get a recipe for trouble.   In the case of the insurance kerfuffle there are two ways to parse the Church’s objection to Obama’s plan.  On the one hand it could be they object because the church is offended at having to pay for contraception, which it does not believe in.  This is a logically straightforward proposition:  that you should not have to pay for something that offends your religious sensibility.  However there are a lot of things I suspect other, more liberal, traditions would prefer not to pay for so the argument tends to not be generally applicable [8].  Likewise, the argument does not generalize well because the church is certainly paying the people who work for it, who, in turn, use the same church money to buy all kinds of things that the church might not approve of. (Perhaps there are even closet Witches within the church’s more secular institutions buying athames, wands, and incense.  Perhaps some of them are friends of mine…)

Another version of the argument would be that the Church does not want to encourage the sort of behavior that contraception encourages.  As Santorum says, contraceptives will be used to commit sin, and we should be discouraging this.  This argument is a more general argument compared to the “don’t use my money” argument.  That’s because the money is just one means to achieve the broader objective of controlling behavior. It is the objectionable behavior that is not wanted, and anything that the church can do to discourage the behavior is a good thing.

This more robust argument places the theology of sex and contraception squarely in the middle of the controversy.   This is in direct opposition to Paganism, where sex is a great, sacred, and natural thing.

So what does all this mean for us?  It means that with Beltane coming up we should appreciate both the religious liberty and freedom that we have, and our ability to find joy in all the acts of the Goddess.  The argument that the insurance requirement violates religious freedom only goes so far, as far as their desire to discourage sex outside of their version of marriage.  Because they wish to discourage things that permit others, including Pagan’s, to engage in actions they don’t approve of they are actually diminishing our freedoms as they seek to expand theirs.  In a democratic society there are compromises to be made, and Obama made them.

But we can do more, and we should do more because the debate between our position and theirs is far more fundamental and important than simply who pays for insurance.  We love life, we see joy in the world, and we believe the world is the place where we experience the divine.  We need to do everything we can to advance that positive, life affirming, and engaging view of how religion should be.  We should welcome those who seek to move on from the world-denying view of the Catholic Church and welcome them into a joyous and worldly Pagan religion.  We don’t have to proselytize, we just have to keep raising our Pagan babies and welcoming others into the circle.

So lets enjoy Beltane and the bringing in of the May.  Lets welcome everyone to dance around our maypoles.  While keeping a careful eye out for those who might want to chop them down.

[1] lets see there’s Rush:  http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/03/morning-viewing-stewart-on-rush-117425.html and the Virginia legislature:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-07/virginia-abortion-ultrasound-bill/53401720/1 and now Santorum is trying to give Obama the male vote:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57399226-503544/santorum-says-obama-not-enforcing-internet-porn-laws/.

[2] For example:  http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/293153/religious-freedom-social-justice-george-weigel and http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-end-of-the-catholic-church-as-we-know-it/2012/03/09/gIQAB1jx5R_story.html.

[3]  I’m ignoring the crazy-ass Blunt Amendment.  It makes no sense to say that health care should be some sort of Darwinian free-for-all.  It makes even less sense that those who tend to want that sort of thing hail from the followers of the Christ.

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_Church

[5] Here’s the quote:  “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country…. Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be”  http://theweek.com/article/index/223041/9-controversial-rick-santorum-quotes

[6]  You can view sin as the violation of some rule or law, or you can take it as an activity that produces a less fulfilling spiritual and physical life.  Fooling around a lot can result in many different kinds of hurt for those involved.  Not caring for others and only focusing on yourself means that you never grow the humility and broader perspective that comes from such sacrifice.  That leaves you less of a person, stunted, if you will.  Ultimately, in Christian thinking, it separates you from god.  From a simple Pagan perspective it is a behavior that not only harms you, but also harms others and thus should be avoided.

[7]  Empathy wasn’t always a big feature of Pagan religions, see, for example, Rome.  But Christianity didn’t quite increase empathy very quickly, as is illustrated by the Inquisition and the burning times.   In general there was a distinct lack of empathy up until the enlightenment, so, given that Christianity had been around for quite a while before then, even the influence of Christian teachings on empathy is somewhat suspect.

[8]  By “generally applicable” I mean both that is a flawed argument, and that it does not apply symmetrically to other situations and other organizations.  In other words you are arguing for a special condition for the church, and for this particular situation.  Making an argument that applies mainly to yourself makes everyone suspicious that the argument is self-serving.  Catholic theology would place all these argument into the category of “remote material cooperation with evil” or doing something that is not in itself a sin but promotes sin.   If this is the argument that they make, and many in the church do, then it may be bad Catholic theology as this may not clearly fit into this category.  See, for example, http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-02-14/catholic-bishop-morals-birth-control-contraception/53095538/1

Ask Your Mama

February, 2011

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

*Ask Your Mama

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

by

©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Sex

Dear Mama Donna,

I am a woman in my middle years and the excitement and sizzle of sex seems to have been turned off at the spigot. I am always comparing myself with the hot younger me who I seem to have lost. Is this the end of passion for me? Help! I want it back!

Frustrated in Phoenix

Dear Frustrated,

Oh, honey, this is absolutely not the end of your sex life. Don’t despair. And whatever you do, don’t stop. Regular sex, according to medical research, has the same benefits as regular exercise. It increases the flow of certain chemicals that naturally boost and strengthen the immune system, improves cholesterol levels, stimulates circulation, invigorates the heart, diminishes the intensity of pain especially in migraines and chronic arthritis, reduces PMS symptoms, and releases endorphins which simply make you feel good.

Here are some suggestions for getting the sizzle back:

Mental Sex

Mind your memories, good and bad. Do not dwell in the past. Do not look back in time in order to yearn for more youthful days or compare yourself today with who you used to be. And do not let past pain, rejection, repression, or abuse deprive you of your present pleasures. Deal with what you want to change so that you can Be Here Now.

Mind your manners. Be nice. Be kind. Be patient. Be encouraging, but be sure to ask for what you want. Be willing to communicate with an open ear as well as with an open mouth. Be clear and specific. Be gentle, but firm. Speak your truth and expect to be heard. Share your desires and fantasies and play them out. Show and tell.

Mind your P’s and Q’s. P stands for permission. Allow yourself to follow your instincts and your desires and give yourself the unconditional permission to do what comes naturally, whatever that might mean to you. Q is for the Queen in you who knows what She knows She likes. And She likes to get it.

Emotional Sex

Explore the full range of your sexual emotions. What feelings does sex engender in you? What needs do you want it to fill? Does it? Is sex an outlet for the release of stress, of anger, frustration, or boredom? Is it an avenue to tenderness, affection, closeness, intimacy, honesty, safety, openness, trust, and love?

Express your true emotional Self in all its myriad moods. Allow your funny, silly, lazy, sad, colorful, soulful, sinful parts out to play. Be adventurous. Be bold. Be brazen. Be wild. Be inventive. Be silent. Be solo. Be celibate. Be whatever you damn well please.

Exorcise your demons. Relax your resistance. Release your inhibitions. Let go of your mind altogether. Forget your emotions and all of your mental ramblings for a while, and just let yourself be. There are times when it is important to reflect upon and connect with your thoughts and feelings, and there are times when it’s just as beneficial to disengage. Sex would be one.

Physical Sex

Make friends with your body. The more accepting you are of your physical being — your best features as well as your flaws — the more comfortable you will be sharing it. Develop your sense of touch. Cover the surface of your body with paint, with clay, with cream, with silk. Caress the textures. Feel the tactile sensations on your skin. Treat yourself to a massage, a manicure, or a facial. Pat, stroke, rub, knead your skin and hair. Offer to massage someone. Ask someone to do it for you.

Treat your body well. Feed it wisely, air it often, water and exercise it with intention and care. Pay attention to its proper maintenance and upkeep. Keep it oiled and greased and limber, and don’t let it get rusty. Nurture its need to be nurtured. Tend to its requirements and pamper all of its parts. Prepare your body for sex. Soak in a warm tub full of fragrant water to melt into the mood. Rub luscious lotion all over yourself, caressing each mound and crevice and curve with love and anticipation.

Spiritual Sex

Create a sexual sanctuary, a safe and sacred space, a Temple of Love in which to indulge in your pleasures. Remove all distracting items that relate to the other parts of your life: notebooks, briefcases, pagers, bills, calendars. Turn the phones off, including the cell at the bottom of your purse. Cover the clocks. Close the bathroom door. Smudge your space with the smoke of myrrh or copal to cleanse the atmosphere and with the smoke of sweetgrass to invite in the sweet spirits.

Create a mood conducive to enchantment, enticement, and enjoyment. This is the royal boudoir, after all. A Garden of 1001 Delights. Decorate it in such a way as to appeal to all of the senses. Sheets and covers in soft fabrics, chenille, flannel, satin, to lie upon. Candles, soft lights, colored walls, flowers, and objets of art to please the gaze. Evocative perfumes, oils, and incense to smell. Lovely treats to taste.

Create a ritual before you make love. Think of sex as a way to connect, alone or in company, with the vibrating Kundalini energy that courses through you and the entire universe. Sanctify and ignite your intention by lighting a candle, saying a prayer, or by singing, chanting, drumming, dancing, anointing. Reach out to engage your Self, another, and All That Is, in an ecstatic embrace of spirit, passion, and love.

A new take-charge attitude can be just the catalyst needed to refuel the lethargic passion of our long-term marriage or partnership, or it could send us out in other, sometimes completely unexpected, directions. We could decide to take a lover, or a different lover, or an additional lover. If we have long been single, we might decide to begin dating and establishing relationships. We might, as is becoming more and more common, liberate our previously hidden, unfulfilled yearnings and “come out” as a lesbian in midlife. Or, if we have always been sexually active, involved and/or coupled, we could choose a period of celibacy, Self-exploration, Self-indulgence, and Self-love. The world is your oyster. Pick and choose according to your own persuasion and then partake!

Enjoy!

xxMama Donna

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

*************************************************************

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net

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Sexual Magick **Adult Content

February, 2010

Improving Humankind through Sexual Energy

**ADULT CONTENT

We have covered a fair variety of the different aspects of Sexual Magick; however, one of the most important reasons to perform Sexual Magick is for the betterment of Humanity.

Most folks that are interested in Magick or the Occult are aware that ancient fertility rites were performed for agricultural and religious purposes.

However, there has been, for long ages, a subtle line of thought that these same types of fertility rites can be used to induce the incarnation of a higher soul into the body of a human infant, heal people, or improve the land. In fact the Sanctity that many standard religions attach to marriage is based on similar concepts.

The basic idea is that a Child that is conceived in Love, and with the correct Intent will draw down a Higher Soul into the Vessel provided by the Ritualized Sexual Act. And that the combined sexual fluids of the participants provide a subtle medium that attracts the Creative energies of the Universe into itself.

The general gist is that if more people were purposely conducting such rites, the increase in Spiritually Advanced Incarnations in the general Populace would stimulate further evolutionary advances within Society… thus, propelling Humankind to new heights

Another way that these Sexual energies can be used for the betterment of humanity is through the same schema used to increase crop fertility in times of old. One simply focuses the energy to the Earth, or directed towards healing a person, etc.

The sexual energies or “Eros” require that one be able to conjure up the “Ojas” or “Lust” energies and then direct them.

One may devise a Mantra as discussed previously… and allow this Mantra (that you have practiced for months and months) to play itself automatically over and over, until it seems to be running in the background. This allows one to perform more naturally in the bedroom than more formal rites.

The “Intent” of the Mantra (whether for a “Magickal Child” or Healing, or whatever) should be evident in its spoken meaning… thus it is a Ritual that does not require focus. This allows more spontaneity between the couple.

The couple should slowly allow certain Psychic and erogenous centers to touch each other. The Chakras, Erogenous Zones, Taoist Centers, or Kabbalistic Sephiroth all provide an excellent Anatomical framework for such foreplay. This will gradually increase both the activity of the relevant Pscho-Sexual Centers, and synergistically increases the level of Ojas or “Magickal Lust” as well.

One may incorporate Ritual objects such as Feathers, or even Whips and Chains, or Vibrators… whatever floats your boat.

As the act is performed the Mantra should be allowed to play on, and at the moment of release, a sharp visual focus should be added. This is particularly powerful if both parties incorporate the Mantra and Visualization… especially so, if simultaneous orgasm is achieved.

Although fairly simple, this technique has a broad range of application.

If one really contemplates the potential power at their disposal through the Creative Energies of the Universe the potential is enormous.

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