Goodbye

Apparently, Pagan Blog Project is over. Also, I find myself going through a major shift. I’m still a witch, but I’m also converting to Judaism. I know that may sound strange to some of you, but the Jewish people are actually quite magical. I am also abandoning this particular magical name, so it is just easier to scrap this blog and start again. Thank you all so much for reading!

Blessings to all!

A Brief Update

Just in case any of you have been wondering, I’m still here. I am fully aware of how behind I am in Pagan Blog Project 2014. It is only fair to warn you that I am purposefully refraining from any further involvement in PBP until the new one in 2015.

Also, it pleases me to tell you all that I am embracing the title of cottage witch. I feel that most closely describes my personal craft and who I am as a witch.

Well, that’s it for now. See you in January!

“You can lead a horse to water…”

Vixen Ravenmoon:

The subject of kelpies has been popping up for me lately. In my quest for knowledge, I came across this. It is a fascinating article on a complicated subject.

Originally posted on The Atlantic Religion:

1stC BCE coin of the Redones of NW Gaul, now Brittany. 1stC BCE coin of the Redones of NW Gaul, now Brittany. In the coins of this tribe, the female rider is usually armed.

…When she had thus allured the male part of the Island, she pretended one day to go a progress through the provinces, and being attended by all her adorers on foot, while she rode on a milk-white palfrey, in a kind of triumph at the head of them: she led them into a deep river, which by her art she made seem passable; and when they were all come a good way in it, she caused a sudden wind to rise, which driving the waters in such abundance to one place, swallowed up the poor lovers to the number of six hundred in their tumultuous waves. After which, the sorceress was seen by some persons who stood on the shore to convert herself into a bat, and fly…

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Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 43 V – Vocations

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Vocation isn’t a word one hears a lot in a pagan context. Nevertheless, it is an applicable term for many pagan spiritual activities. Loosely put, a vocation is a personal, meaningful calling. That is what I’m discussing today.

I am a priestess of The Morrigan. My title has been earned on a personal level, not bestowed upon me by any group. This is a matter strictly between my Goddess and myself. I have developed, and continue to develop an intimate relationship with her. I serve her via studies and devotionals. I try to follow her examples of personal empowerment and sovereignty in all areas of my life. She helps me find my magick and my strength. This is a relationship of love and respect.

While my calling is a solitary one for now, there are others who serve a larger community. Traditional Wicca has both High Priests and High Priestesses. Druid organizations often have Arch Druids and various degrees of leadership. These pagan vocations involve not only a responsibility and commitment to their deities (if any), but also to their respective communities.

Some pagans are called to other vocations, such as music or political activism. Often, these individual callings overlap into a more complex spiritual identity. I know there is more to my spirituality than just my devotion to The Morrigan and I’m sure the same is true for many other pagans as well. Vocations add depth and meaning to spiritual life, but we need not be defined by them. I am both a priestess of my Goddess and an individual. I think she and I both prefer me that way.

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 41 U – Uncomfortable

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Comfort does not equal happiness. It’s a mistake I think each of us has made at some point in our lives, spiritual or otherwise. Being uncomfortable, in the right doses, is good for the spirit. Stepping onto my path of witchcraft was anything but comfortable, and it’s literally the best thing I have ever done. It was so uncomfortable, in fact, that I did not always stay on the path. I have stepped off a number of times, seeking comfort in familiarity. Each time I did that, though, I found I could no longer go back to who I once was. I could not deny who I really am.

I have found that, general peace of mind notwithstanding, comfort is a slow-killing poison. Staying in my comfort zone restricts my movement, denies my freedom and gives nothing back. There is no challenge in the comfort zone, and therefore no growth and no improvement. This, of course, does not apply only to spirituality. The same goes for education, health and everyday life. Some amount of discomfort is required for overall wellbeing.

Every time I have made a decision based on comfort, I have regretted it. That’s not to say that I should only charge ahead and take giant leaps – that would be foolish. But the fact is, without going for something just outside my self-imposed lines, I don’t know my real limits. Real life happens outside of those lines, so I had better start crossing them.

Black Rose Witchcraft is my latest venture outside my comfort zone. It isn’t cozy, quiet and all on my own. I have others to answer to now, besides myself, which is not something that comes easily to me. It means exposing myself and my witchcraft to a group I don’t really know yet. It means being intentionally vulnerable and trusting that it was a good decision on my part. This is where I learn to form new magickal relationships and trust other witches. It will not be easy. It is definitely uncomfortable, and it’s exactly what I need right now. My witchcraft and my magick will grow from this.

Exploring a New Part of My Path

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There is change stirring inside of me. It’s confusing, frightening and a little bit painful. It’s certainly uncomfortable. It is, above all else, exciting. I feel like I’m skydiving, and that can only be a good thing.

Today, I am signing up for classes in Black Rose Witchcraft. Yes, I am finally going to get myself some formal training. It sounds and feels right, so I’m diving in.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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The Rules:

Thank the blogger who nominated you providing links back to their website.
Display the logo on your blog.
Answer the ten questions set for you.
Make up ten questions for your nominees.
Nominate ten people.

Here we go… Thanks very much to The Druid Bird for my nomination.

1. Who had the most (positive) influence on you as you were growing up? Without a doubt, my maternal grandmother has been my most positive influence. She and my grandfather partially raised me, for which I am immensely grateful.

2. Would you rather know when or how you’re going to die? I’m not sure I can answer this, as I clearly don’t want to know either one. I suppose if I had to choose, though, I’d say I’d rather know how. If I knew when, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my life as the clock ticked down.

3. If you could be remembered for just one thing, what would it be? I’m not sure this gets across to many people, but I really would like to be remembered as a loving person. Despite my personality flaws, I really do love many beings quite strongly. I honestly consider myself to be a very good friend.

4. Do you have any regrets? I have far too many to list here, but I suppose if I had to share just one (which is all you’re getting out of me) is that I got married too young before giving myself more of a productive, single adult life.

5. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made? The best decision I ever made was to drop the forced religion of my youth and become a pagan witch. It hasn’t been a smooth or easy road, but I’m finally allowing myself to actually be myself.

6. What one piece of advice would you give your twelve year-old self? I would tell myself to actually prepare for college and give myself a chance to get into music as a career. I sing quite well, but I gave up before really trying to get into a music degree program of any sort.

7. What was your favourite subject at school? as you may have gathered from my answer above, it was CHOIR (*ahem* Vocal Music). Aside from that, I also really liked English and History.

8. What was the book/film/TV show that had the most influence on you? This is incredibly difficult to answer. I have lots of favorites, but I can’t pinpoint exactly how any of them have influenced me. I’m sure they have, but it’s just too complicated to answer at this time. I love The Phantom of the Opera, The Secret Garden, The a Great Gatsby, Victorian literature, gothic horror, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Amy Tan… Classic movies of all sorts… Sitcoms, dramas, PBS Mystery! (especially Poirot), documentaries… There’s just so much to love, and I love much of it.

9. Describe your perfect night in. My perfect night in is just hanging out with my husband and watching any of the above and eating great food.

10. What’s your biggest fear? My biggest fear is dying alone and unloved.

Ten Questions for my nominees:

1. What is your favorite season and why?

2. Who are you today that you weren’t 10 years ago?

3. What’s your vice?

4. What do you like most about yourself?

5. What do you want most out of life that you haven’t yet gotten?

6. What are you most grateful for?

7. Do you have any phobias?

8. What one thing can you not start your day without?

9. What’s the last thing you do before bed?

10. What makes your spirit soar?

I nominate:

http://witcheryandwhiskers.wordpress.com

http://asawest.wordpress.com

http://mistressofthehearth.wordpress.com

http://digitalquill.net

http://writingsofapaganwitch.wordpress.com

https://solitarypath.wordpress.com

https://veiledflames.wordpress.com

https://brennaxadaira.wordpress.com

Yes, I know I’ve only nominated 8 bloggers. That is why…

I ALSO NOMINATE ANY OF MY FOLLOWERS WHO ARE INTERESTED.

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 39 T – Tarot

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Tarot is my divination of choice. I’ve always been fascinated by the cards, for as long as I can remember. It’s the only form of divination I’ve given any real attention to, and after all these years, I’m still learning how to read them. I tried runes a long while back,but they never really made any sense to me. I may or may not give them another try in the future. In the meantime, I still have a lot to learn about tarot, and I’m okay with that. I feel I have a knack for reading the cards and I enjoy doing it, so I don’t mind continuing to focus solely on them. In fact, learning to read tarot will probably be a life long learning experience for me. I suspect that’s how it is for all tarot readers, just as it is with witchcraft.

I have found that tarot, when read properly, can be extremely accurate. In order for this to be the case, I have to be as clear minded and emotionally neutral as possible. The slightest emotional influence can taint the reading and create either a biased or a cloudy answer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this mistake when reading for myself, resulting in further confusion and/or emotional turmoil. I have a much easier time reading for others because I can be detached enough to see things more clearly. Learning to read accurately for myself has been my biggest challenge.

It is human nature to dislike being out of one’s comfort zone, and because of this, there are certain cards I do not particularly care for. The Tower, symbol of total upheaval, is not my favorite. That’s clearly something I’m going to have to outgrow. The thing is, all of the cards have two sides. Even the Tower has positive elements. Learning to embrace that idea will greatly improve my readings.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I am very particular about which decks I use. I don’t really know what to expect until I try out a particular deck, which is quite annoying, since it involves spending money on a deck I might not click with. It’s also disappointing to really feel a deck in the store, only to get it home and discover it’s not a good match. On occasion, though, I find just the right deck. Let me tell you, it’s much like Cinderella and her glass slipper. It’s a rare, delicate and beautiful thing. At the moment, I only have one physical deck (I do have a few apps I’ve used). It’s a custom order, and it’s wonderful to work with. I just plain love it.

So, that’s my take on tarot, in a nutshell. Simply put, I think there is just too much to put succinctly into a single blog post. Perhaps I can expand on this subject later, if the mood strikes me.

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 37 S – Sabbats

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So, here we are, having one of those typical pagan 101 topics… sort of. Yes, it’s the ever so generic “Wheel of the Year” post, except I won’t be breaking it down into individual sabbats. No, here I shall be lumping them all together for the sake of discussion simplicity.

As I’m sure most of you know, there are 8 sabbats which are commonly celebrated by many (not all) pagans throughout the year. Wiccans and some others tend to refer to these as the Wheel of the Year, because each holiday marks the changing of the seasons and, therefore, the turning of the wheel. It includes the equinoxes, solstices and Celtic cross quarter days. It’s pretty neat and tidy, except where it isn’t.

The thing is, in all my years of practicing witchcraft, I have yet to actually participate in a full cycle of these sabbats. This made me feel kinda bad back when I was self-identifying as Wiccan, but it’s far less important to me now that I am not. So, why haven’t I celebrated a full year’s worth of sabbats in all this time. I’ll tell you in just three words: Solitary sabbats suck.

Until this year, I have been practicing entirely alone, with the exception of my husband (who does not always participate). The sabbats are a collection of pagan holidays, and if you’re like me, celebrating alone seems rather pointless. It’s like a person with nowhere to go on Thanksgiving heating up a turkey TV dinner and eating alone. Who wants to do that?

Well, this year I have a coven and we’re going to have our first formal gathering on Samhain, which I am REALLY looking forward to! It’s my favorite of all the holidays, whether it’s called by it’s pagan name or Halloween. I just plain love it. Finally, I will get the chance to do something truly witchy on the witchiest night of the year and I am tickled pink about it.

So, what do the sabbats mean to you? Do you follow the entire Wiccan wheel, or do you have a different set of traditions? Do you practice alone or with others? Do you have any favorites? I look forward to continuing this discussion in the comments below.

Blessed be!

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 35 R – Religion Vs. Spirituality

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I don’t believe I’m splitting hairs when I say there is a distinct difference between religion and spirituality. While this may be obvious concerning the world’s major religions, this is also true when it comes to paganism, and I’m living proof.

Religion is often defined by the presence of dogma, such as in the Catholic Church, but this is not always the case. All branches of Judaism, for instance, have a noticeable lack of dogma. What they do have, which is present in most (if not all) religions, is a set of rules and ideals which their followers are expected to uphold.

Aside from the laws of nature and society, I’m not exactly big on rules. Sure, they have their place and can be invaluable to everyday life. When someone else sees fit to impose their rules and regulations on my mind/heart/soul, however, is where I draw the line. Even the most agreeable religion has a certain status quo, and this is why I am not a religious pagan. Simply put, I insist on living by my own code instead of anyone else’s. Not being part of a specific group (in this case a religion) gives me the absolute freedom to change my mind and behavior as I see fit without having to worry about my place in said group. I just don’t need that sort of thing in my life. I answer to myself and to whatever deities or powers I honor. That’s it.

Certainly, what I do resembles religion, but it is not. I am unmistakably pagan, but that’s not so much an actual religion as it is a blanket term for what I practice. I am a witch, yet I am not Wiccan in any sense. My craft is rooted in and shaped by what I learned from outer court Wiccan material, but is not defined by it. I put myself, my own understanding and instincts, into my craft. I do not follow, nor do I believe in the Rule of Three. I do not follow the Wiccan Rede. I do not believe there is a line between so-called light and dark magick. What I do believe is that we each have a threshold for what we are comfortable with casting. We are responsible for what we put out, and what we put out will come back in some way or another. With this awareness, we should make sure we are willing to deal with any consequences which might result from our magickal actions.

I’m not anti-religion. It works for certain people, and so long as they keep it to themselves, it’s fine by me. It’s simply not my cup of tea and I’ve never been able to make it work. My spirit is top priority to me and I do not neglect it in any sense. My spirit is who I am and I must nourish and nurture it for myself. It is my job and my business – not anybody else’s.

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