The Sober Pagan

March, 2018

The One Thing That Keeps Me Sober


(Photo by Yoal Desurmont on Unsplash)


It’s been a terrible winter for me. The weather has been working against me. We had a very snowy and windy winter here in Buffalo – which honestly, isn’t that unusual here – but we also had to contend with a lot of freezing rain and icy conditions on the roads and sidewalks. As a pedestrian who owns a really good pair of boots, I can deal with the snow but ice will keep me indoors since I don’t want to fall and break a bone. So there were many days I would have gotten out but I stayed indoors.

There were AA meetings I would have gone to but between the weather and the local bus service running “Sunday service” on Monday holidays, I have yet to get to a meeting this year! Yes, I know I could go to other meetings but you know how it is when you find a meeting you really like. This one isn’t that far from my house but I do need to take the bus to get there.

The other thing is that at the end of January, I got that terrible flu that’s been going around. If you haven’t gotten sick from this flu, count yourself lucky. Or blessed. I know people who got flu shots and they got wicked sick. I haven’t gotten a flu shot in over ten years and I rarely get sick – a cold every winter and a sinus infection or two – a reminder of my cocaine days – but I haven’t gotten “The Flu” in a long time. But this year, I was so sick, not only did I think I was going to die, I really wanted to. My lungs have never hurt so badly in my life. I thought of my friends who smoke cigarettes and have COPD and I wonder how they deal with this! My son called me everyday and bitched at me for not going to the ER. But I didn’t have the energy to go anywhere. I lost nine pounds in four days. I drank bottle after bottle of spring water. I sipped chicken soup. Eventually I got better. I started eating again. The cough hung on for three weeks. But that’s subsided now, too.

A persistent depression has dogged me these past few days. My aunt, who is 88 years old, had a stroke this summer and is now going into assisted living, since she is always falling and getting tangled up in her walker. She can’t cook for herself anymore. My aunt is the picture of sober living – she never smoked cigarettes, drank, ate very sparingly, and of course never did drugs. But here she is – at age 88 – totally incapacitated and dependent – not to mention depressed and angry. I was thinking about this. What’s the point to live such a sober life, just to end up all messed up anyway?

Of course, this is classic “stinkin’ thinkin’” and how you start on the road to relapse. I know that I had better get to a meeting right quick or at least call one of my sober friends or open the Big Book or one of my other recovery books. And the main thing I have to remember is:

It isn’t about when I am 88 years old. It isn’t about some time in the future that may or may not happen. Or something – like having a stroke – that may or may not happen. It’s about now. It’s about having a good life now. That’s the real meaning of “One day at a time” – it doesn’t mean don’t plan for the future – because we all have to make plans or else we won’t have a future – but it means to live fully in the now.

To me, if there’s one thing that keeps me sober on a daily basis, it’s the fact that I passionately hate hangovers. I used to take them with a grain of salt – they were the payment for having a really good time, right? But now – I don’t want to wake up feeling like that at all. When I was sick with the flu, I thought that I would rather have a hangover but honestly – I don’t want to be sick with the flu or a hangover. And the thing with hangovers – they’re preventable. All you have to do is don’t take that first drink.

Hopefully, I’ll have something a happier report next month. Until then – hang in there and stay sober. Brightest Blessings!


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 She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

The Neon Pagan

January, 2014

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” It’s that time of year. The white stuff, aka snow, is forecast, falling, changing to a wintry mix, cancelling school, snarling traffic, causing roofs to collapse, and putting shovel-wielding workers at risk of heart attack. The white stuff is also pulling children out of doors to exercise, giving harried teachers a day off, blanketing everything in an eye-popping mantle of glistening crystal, and providing much-needed slow-release moisture for plants and aquifers.

Love it or hate it, snow is going to fall. We can plan for it, but we can’t stop or alter the inexorable accumulation.  Snow is a fact of life in many temperate zones and in most of the arctic. Pardon the cliché, but it is what it is.

Personally, I love it.

I must admit that I have never lived in a place like Buffalo, where the stuff starts with the first cold breeze and never lets up until late spring. But I have lived in Detroit, where it snows almost every day in the wintertime, and New Jersey, where it’s either rain or blizzard conditions with very little in between.

At least temporarily, snow brings a welcome halt to the constant low-level din of the metropolitan area where I live. Planes stop flying, the roads become deserted, and the snow itself acts as a noise buffer, even for footsteps and barking dogs. A really snowy morning is the closest to peaceful that metropolitan residents can find. (It’s also a painful reminder of the racket that is city life, which begins again with snow blowers the minute the flakes cease to fall.)

Snow tends to magnify our basic personality traits. Grumpy people have something to grouse about, and lively people pull out the sleds or the ice skates. Quiet, bookish people have the perfect excuse to curl up under a blanket with something to read. Romantics take strolls, hand-in-hand, alternately admiring the scenery and each other. A snowy day becomes a good barometer of your basic take on life, and – for you youngsters who haven’t yet chosen a partner – a chance to take stock of how the significant other handles extreme weather.

From a Pagan perspective, snowfall is an essential component of Nature and should be embraced as such. Nothing causes a summer drought quicker than a winter devoid of snow. The way it melts into the ground nourishes our plant life even better than rain. More than that, it is one aspect of The Wheel – without the hardship of winter, do we really appreciate the spring?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “I live in Florida, and I appreciate spring. I don’t need snowstorms in my Wheel.” The truth is that we don’t have to be knee-deep in snow to know that it’s snowing somewhere. We imagine ourselves dealing with the weather in other places, feeling a sort of “internal snow” even as the oranges and strawberries ripen in their fields.

Give me snow, and lots of it. The beauty and the environmental benefits outweigh the inconvenience. If you ask me how I would feel about a life-threatening automobile accident due to the elements, I’ll just say … Hey. It’s snowing out there! Whatever I needed to do today is canceled. Pass the canned soup! Where’s my book?

Wicked Wonderful Witchery

February, 2012

Simple Snow Magick

Love it or hate it, in many parts of the world we are now buried in it:  Snow!

Personally, I’m not a big fan of scraping ice off the windshield of the car every morning, or spending hours shoveling out the driveway, so to keep myself from becoming too bitter I have tried to look at snow from a more positive perspective.  I’ve come up with some ideas to help me appreciate the icy coldness a little bit, and I’ll share them with you.

Snow has uses, not only in nature but in your own magickal life. Where I live, the extreme cold and ice are necessary in the germination of many of our local fruit trees – pears, apples, peaches – and the melting of the snow in spring ensures healthy crops in the coming summer, by saturating the earth with water.  From a magickal perspective, you can integrate snow into your workings.

*Snow can grant wishes. Draw a symbol of your desire in the snow like the pentacle shown above, or a heart of love, a $ for money, be creative. If it resonates with meaning for you that’s what’s important. As it melts over time or is covered by more layers of snow, that is nature accepting your wish into its wintry self, and is working on manifesting it.  The symbol you drew in the snow, transforms into water just as your intent will transform into reality.

*Snow is just frozen rainwater, which means it is great for any spell that needs water, since it’s natural and not from a tap. Boil some Rosemary, Lavender and Pine needles in it, cool and drain, and spray or drip around the house as a cleansing potion. It smells nice as it simmers, too.  Do the same thing to add to your water section on your altar.  Add a drop to your own drinking water or tea (but only a little!  It could be polluted, unfortunately), to empower yourself with elemental water.

*Add a handful of snow to your bathwater to cool the emotions, whether for anger, depression or crazy love madness that you can’t get out of your head.

Other than that, think of snow as a big, cozy soft white quilt that has been laid over the land, keeping it snug and cozy while it sleeps. And remember, winter makes us appreciate the spring just that much more.

Blessed be!

K. White Moon