(S) Sabbat: Fall Equinox


While I don’t have a whole lot that I do on a regular basis, the Sabbats are something that I do make a point of acknowledging, even if it’s only briefly. Being Eclectic I do tend to sort of do my own thing – and while I do honor my God and Goddess, there are other aspects of the Sabbats that I honor as well.

I’m clearly a child of Fall, I relish in the crisp weather, the bright oranges and yellows as the leaves start to turn – that smoky smell in the air, of wood stoves or fireplaces that have been lit… and everything else that comes along with it. Spring runs a close second, but my true love is Fall. For quite a while I never quite knew what to do with myself on Mabon, and in truth I rarely call it that – preferring simply the Fall Equinox. At first glance it’s a sort of in between day – you’ve already celebrated one harvest, and if you really need to, there’s another one coming up… but that is the sort of beauty of it, when one takes a closer look (or at least there is for me).

Both Lughnasadh and Samhain have other components to them, that often overshadow their “harvest festival” aspect. So much so that I’ve really come to appreciate this particular day, as my actual day to celebrate the “harvests” of the year, and leave the other days to their other aspects. I rarely cook – it’s not something that I enjoy all that much and hubby is so much better at it than I am. He has that special gift of being able to throw things in a pot and no matter what it is, it almost always comes out amazing. A gift that I sorely lack. However on the Equinox, I usually will put forth the effort, and make it a true “thanksgiving” feast for the family.

This year, celebrations will be slightly tempered though – while I am thankful for a lot (and some things are a lot better than they were the last couple of years, so I am thankful), it’s been a pretty bad month so far. Even though it’s been almost 15 years, events earlier in the month brought the reality of my mother’s death crashing back down on me. Then – while I was still dealing with that, got a call from my dad that he likely has skin cancer, and (in his words) “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”. He’s not the type to be overly melodramatic, so needless to say, I’m a bit worried. All of which is bad enough, but then came the worst part (yes… something worse than cancer), confirmation that one of my son’s teacher assistants was more than likely physically and verbally abusing him off and on last year. He’s autistic and completely non-verbal, so had no way to tell us what was going on, and we had absolutely no idea. This was someone we thought of as a friend, and needless to say we are devastated.

So… clearly not really in a festive, or thankful mood at the moment, but it’s still important for me to mark the turning of the Wheel. So I’m looking forward to cooking a bit of something good later on, and hopefully regaining some of the inner-balance that this day is good for.

Hope you and yours have a wonderful Sabbat!!

P.S… if anyone is in need of a good balancing ritual this is one I wrote several years back, feel free to use/modify as needed (please credit me though if you are posting it elsewhere). 🙂

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(M) Mandating Ignorance


I want to start out by saying that I have issues with both main political parties, and at this point I am more or less fed up with both of them. However given that the GOP keeps saying the most ridiculous things EVER – they are slightly higher on my “shit list” as it were, than anyone else at the moment. I also know that there are good people in our government, who are working as hard as they can, but I also recognize that it is a very uphill battle for anyone at this point. I also need to point out that I don’t actually have any issues with most Christians – I do have issue with anyone who is trying to shove their beliefs down my throat, or who is trying to impose their beliefs as being more “moral” or “just”, or in any way better than mine. In short, I just really needed to vent and get this off my chest, so here it is…

I’m not entirely sure when this was released, though I’m guessing fairly recently as it’s just now making the news. At first glance, the official 2012 State Republican Party Platform (of Texas) might not seem related to my path, or even Paganism in general. However on closer inspection, it contains language that could (at some point) affect all of us, as it gives unsettling insight into just how far the ultra-conservative Christian politicians are willing to go, in order to insure that any child born in Texas (or potentially other states, that are led by those who are like-minded) is kept as ignorant as possible to anything outside of what their own family deems important, or worth knowing. It’s worth noting, that the national GOP Party Platform (at least from previous years) contains many similar statements as well.

There are a number of issue that I have with many of their stances, however in particular is the section relating to EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN. The official stances noted here (and to be sure there are actually quite a few more in the document, but these are some of the big ones) are all disturbing to say the very least.

American Identity Patriotism and LoyaltyWe believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups. Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism.

Early Childhood DevelopmentWe believe that parents are best suited to train their children in their early development and oppose mandatory pre-school and Kindergarten. We urge Congress to repeal government sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development.

Knowledge-Based EducationWe oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Sex EducationWe recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage.

While I have issues (as mentioned), with all of them, it’s the “Knowledge-Based Education” one that concerns me the most, and is the main reason for this post. In particular – the idea that teaching someone to think critically, and ask questions is in some how detrimental to a person. The idea that we should teach our children to literally be sheep, who should follow anything said to them by a parent (and in turn any authority figure) without asking the eternal child’s question “why?”  The idea that we should turn our children lose in the world, when they have grown to adulthood, ripe for being taken advantage of. Because someone that they trust, or who is in a position of authority will come along and they will accept at face value what that person says, because they were never taught the critical thinking skills necessary to determine that what is being said, may not be an accurate reflection of how things really are (or in some cases may be outright lies).

What this particular stance also speaks to (as well as the “Early Childhood Development” one), is that they want [Christian] parents in their state to be able to indoctrinate their children from birth, in their particular faith, and then make sure that they don’t encounter anything else that might cause them to question that faith. Or if they do encounter other ideas, that they have been “groomed” so well from birth, that it doesn’t occur to them to ask questions. To be fair it could be a parent of any faith, but clearly this seems to be a response to what these particular members of the GOP have seen as a direct attack on their “good Christian values” of late.

I’ll be honest – that there are people in my country, worse people who are in positions of power in my country, who think like this scares me. I don’t understand how we went from a country that valued Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, to a country that is moving full on towards denying those basic human rights. They say that they want less government involvement in things, then look to use that very same government to limit the rights of those they deem unworthy.

So of course the choice is to fight back, but it is clear… oh so very clear, that things that worked in the past  – such as protesting, no longer have any real effect on anything. If you don’t have the support of the media, or a large pile of money funding you – it’s like you are completely invisible. It’s really enough to make me despair for my children, and their children – of the country that they will inherit. As the current one seems hellbent on mandating ignorance, and I for one find that totally unacceptable.


(I was going to include some other stances that I had issues with, however in the end felt that it would potentially distract from the main focus of this post, so have chosen not to include them. Just note that there is a large number of other issues that I have with this document, and in many cases they all do have “ignorance”… in some way or an other, as a core component.)

(L) Loki =/= Loki


Huh… whaaaaa?

As anyone who has a tumblr account can probably attest, it’s hard to get through a day without at least one Avengers related image zipping through one’s dashboard. After seeing a bit of a trend regarding some particular images, it occurred to me, and especially after I saw a friend mention something similar, that there are potentially thousands of fangirls out there right now thinking that Loki is just the coolest damn thing since sliced bread. Which for some he really is… however in this case they are really all squeeeeee-ing over Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of (Marvel’s version of) Loki, not Loki himself.

In truth who can blame them… he’s got that cheeky grin, and the devil may care attitude (among other things), and there’s just that little (or large) part of us that is always attracted to that sort of thing.  It occurs to me as well, that the same could be said about Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, so with Heathenry suddenly looking oh so sexy, it really seemed like a good time to bring front and center the fact that Marvel Asgardian mythology and actual Norse lore are two very different things.

I think it’s great that some people may find themselves truly called to a Heathen path, because of these characters. However it’s cringe-worthy to think of those who may not do their “homework” (so to speak), and who might think that the mythology from the movies/comics is accurate, or that the way that the characters look/act in them has much to do with anything of how these particular Gods are actually described in the lore.

Just something to keep in mind, and to pass on to those that you think may need the reminder. Nothing wrong with being a Loki fangirl (or any other God’s for that matter)… just make sure you know who it is you are actually honoring.

(J) It’s All About the Journey…


One of my favorite quotes is “Faith is a Journey… Not a Destination”, and it is a good reminder that while where we are going is important, it’s what we do while on the path to get there, that really matters.

Ok… so… I was going to write a whole thing related to that statement, however to be honest – where I was going with it just sort of flew right out of my head (hence the WAY lateness of the post), so I’ll journey in a different direction instead. XD

I wrote this a while back for a solitary Eclectic Witch who was interested in finding a craft name, but really it could be modified so that one is journeying to “find” any number of things – a gem of wisdom or a bit of clarity regarding a current issue, a spiritual talisman to carry within for a particular purpose, or just a journey to recharge and balance oneself. If it seems like it would be useful to you, please feel free to modify it as necessary.

Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can sit or lie down and not be disturbed. Take a few moments to ground and center. Then take a few deep cleansing breaths and allow your body and mind to completely relax. When you are ready…

Imagine yourself at the edge of a forest, it’s mossy green and cool, there may be birds chirping and you can hear woodland creatures moving through the trees – in front of you is a path. It is narrow, but well worn by those who have come before you. You pause here for a moment, allowing yourself to become attuned to the earth around you – breathing in the scent of the trees and feeling the ground beneath your bare feet. For at this moment you are one with the earth.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready, you start walking down the path. Your purpose is clear – you are on a journey to find that secret part of you that has been hidden. You know that at the end of this path is a name that will unlock that secret and through your perseverance you will find it. As you continue to walk, you again notice the smells, sounds and feel of the forest. Suddenly you notice a gentle breeze, you stop and let the breeze flow over you. You feel its fingers ruffle your hair and your clothes, you notice the scent of the forest that is carried with it. Pause here for a moment, and allow yourself to become attuned to the air around you – breathing in the freshness and seeing how the breeze makes everything dance – for at this moment you are one with the air.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready, you continue on your path – feeling the ground beneath your feet and the breeze through your hair. You walk for a while and soon the temperature around you begins to get warmer. You come to a clearing and before you is a fire pit, and to the side there is a table with food that has been prepared. You sit for a time and eat – nourishing you body and basking in the warmth of the flames. As you look deep into the fire there is understanding – for out of destruction comes renewal…and out of renewal comes destruction…and so on, such is the cycle of life. Pause for a moment and allow yourself to become attuned to the fire – breathing in the smoky scent, hearing the crackling and feeling its soothing warmth. For at this moment you are one with the fire.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready, you continue on your path – feeling the ground beneath your feet, the breeze through your hair and the warmth from the fire still on your skin. You walk for a while and soon you hear a sound in the distance – a laughing, bubbling sound, and you find that the path has lead you to the shore of a little river. You notice that in order to continue your journey you must cross, and so you slowly walk into the water. The sparkling water is cool and refreshing – it is deep in spots so you float through those areas, allowing the water to wash over you and cleanse your body and you mind. Pause here for a moment and allow yourself to become attuned to the water – drinking in the coolness, feeling it as it flows through your body – renewing and refreshing, washing away all negative energies that surround you. For at this moment you are one with the water.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready, you leave the river and continue up the path . You are so completely attuned to the elements, that the forest around you is now swirling with energy – light and color is everywhere. You could stand here forever and watch the spiraling dance that is life. However you know you must move on – your journey is almost complete. You move forward into another clearing and see that your path ends at an ancient stone altar. It is simple and unadorned, but you can feel the power that surrounds it. On the top of the altar there is a box, and that which you seek is inside – you have only to reach down and lift the lid to receive the knowledge. Pause here for a moment – feel the elements swirling through you. For this moment you are one with the universe.

(pause for a few moments)

Your purpose is clear – and you know that when you lift this lid that you will have the name that you seek. When you are ready, place your hands on the lid of the box, and lift. Inside there is a small piece of parchment – you take it and then slowly unroll it. Written on the page is your name – take a few moments now and accept your gift. Feel the changes that are occurring as your secret self awakens – attune yourself with this new awareness. For at this moment and forever more you are one with yourself.

(pause for a few moments)

When you are ready you may begin your journey back to the mundane world. Though you have gained the knowledge you were seeking, know that this forest is always here for you. Whenever you feel the need to recharge your connections – you have only to walk the path for it to be so.

When you are ready…open your eyes.

(As mentioned above, you are welcome to re-post or modify the above as necessary, however I would ask that you please credit me when doing so. You can use either of the following when doing so – “posted with permission” or “modified with permission“. Thanks!! )

(I) Introducing Oneself to the Gods


I’ve noticed that there are quite a number of books out there, such as the Farrar’s books “The Witches’ God: Lord of the Dance and “The Witches’ Goddess: The Feminine Principle of Divinity, that often suggest just plopping down and introducing yourself to random Gods and Goddesses – just to get to know them. While these are both great books for getting to know more about the various attributes that a particular God or Goddess can exhibit, the idea of just calling on a particular God or Goddess out of the blue, is disconcerting to say the least. I fully admit I about fell out of my chair, in the chapter about Loki, when they made such a suggestion.

While I understand completely that Loki is not the “evil” God that many make him out to be, he is still one not to be taken lightly, and it’s generally not a good idea to bring oneself (purposefully) to his attention, unless one is prepared to deal with the bits of chaos he is likely to bring along with him. This is something that is true for any number of Gods and Goddesses, even ones that are generally considered benign. So I just can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that so many authors seem to think that it is ok to advise new practitioners to just jump right in like that – well before they have had any opportunity to understand the potential consequences of such an action.

Recently, as mentioned in my previous post, I was preparing to introduce myself to Odinn. To be fair it didn’t go nearly as bad as I thought it would, but the potential was there. Which is why it is important to know and understand who you are introducing yourself to. Just randomly showing up on someone’s doorstep, and saying “hey… wanna hang for a bit?”, not always going to go over very well. I don’t know about anyone else, but I really dislike it when people just drop by, especially people that I don’t know.

So what should you do if you feel that you are ready to get to know a particular God or Goddess on more intimate terms?

  • The first thing is research – read all (or as much of) the available myths/lore as possible. Find out if there are particular items or foods/drinks associated with said deity, so that when it comes time, you can properly represent them, and have an offering that you know they might like. Make sure that you have a good idea of the customs that are appropriate to said deity as well, – such as purity standards (like the ones required within Kemeticism).
  • Once you feel you have exhausted the academic route, take some time to really think about the potential consequences of bringing yourself to the attention of a God. In many cases one may do an intro ritual (for lack of a better word, though it may not necessarily be that formal), and not much will happen – in other cases it can have profound, life changing consequences. Be absolutely sure that you are ready whichever occurs – as each can be just as devastating, if unprepared. Being unexpectedly claimed by a God or Goddess can be a scary thing, however the same is true if one attempts contact and said deity ignores you completely. It can leave you wondering about your path, and how to move on, especially if one truly felt that there was a connection to be made.

Once you are ready, the process itself is fairly simply – though you can make it as formal or informal as you like. Some will go with more of a guided meditation type exercise, and others will have a full on ritual. The choice is entirely personal, and really it’s whatever feels most comfortable to you. For me it was a matter of a candle, a chant and a bottle of mead to share. For others it may be more involved, the key is that it comes from your heart, and is sincere. You don’t want to approach the Gods under false pretenses, or with a lack of humility, or humbleness, for in doing so you would definitely be starting out on the wrong foot. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be having to look over my shoulder for the rest of my life, for showing such a lack of respect to the Gods – and if ever there was a time for making a good “first impression”, this is it!

(H) Hexes


So… the other day, after about 40 years of allowing it to be used freely among the Pagan community, Z. Budapest decided to reclaim her chant “We All Come From The Goddess”, and request that others refrain from infringing on her copyright and more importantly stop altering it, especially in ways that add any sort of “men”/”God” related words to it.

On the surface while it seems a bit silly to be worrying about it at this late date,  it can be understandable that an artist doesn’t want their work to be used without their permission especially for monetary gain. What takes this from mere silliness, to the realm of downright crazy, is the following statement that she made… “You steal my song from now will have consequences. You put men into the song, like God,a hex will be activated.

I actually find it rather ironic in a way, because the Wiki page for Dianic  Witchcraft (which I know, Wiki isn’t always the greatest source) states the following… “Dianic… as “positive path” practitioners do neither manipulative spellwork nor hexing because it goes against the Wiccan Rede; other Dianic witches (notably Zsuzsanna Budapest) do not consider hexing or binding of those who attack women to be wrong.”  So, taking into consideration that the Rede is often misunderstood, and that not everyone follows it anyways (especially Witchcraft Traditions which don’t actually have anything to do with Wicca, despite often being misnamed as such), I really have to ask… was a hex really the first thing that sprang to mind in this case? Did she really feel that adding masculine energies, or adding a verse about the God was an “attack on women”?

To be fair, she has since recanted, stating that the original post was “tongue in cheek”, which I have to admit I sort of doubt, and the general consensus seems to be that at this point she’s just trying to do a bit of damage control after all the backlash from her original statement. In general, I don’t think it matters much what she says anymore, as she’s probably lost what little (if any) respect anyone had left for her, considering all the other messes she’s been stepping into the last couple years. However the story did give me a good starting point to this week’s topics – Hexes.

On a personal level, I’m more or less neutral when it comes to the idea of hexing. Even though I’ve been in some pretty rough situations, I’ve not (as of yet) ever felt the need to put a hex on anyone, but I don’t really have any issue with someone who might do so, if there was proper justification for it. There seems to be this huge… “OMG you can’t do that!!” mentality that is pervasive in Neo-Pagan Traditions, particularly amongst those who believe in some form of the Rede. However as mentioned above, the Rede is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts that has been appropriated from Wicca (I’ll go into much more on that when we get to “R”), and despite many claims to the contrary, it does not actually prohibit hexing, or any other potentially “harmful” actions at all.

It still sort of begs the question though – what actions might justify resorting to hexing? In any magical endeavor (no matter what the purpose), it’s generally advised to do quite a bit of careful consideration before proceeding, and it seems rather clear that Ms Budapest may have missed a step or two in that process before issuing her original statement. Of all the potential ways of resolving that issue (or any issue really), I would think that a hex would be a last resort. The sort of thing, where you’ve maybe tried everything else you can think of – mundane and magical, and nothing else has worked. Especially if one believes in the TFL (Three-Fold Law), or some other form of “what comes around, goes around” – I hesitate to use the word Karma, because it too, is a word that has been very much misappropriated, and really doesn’t quite mean what most people think it means, at least not in the contexts they tend to use it in. Anyways… the point is that if you are wishing ill on someone else, even if it’s for a good reason (or what you might perceive as a good reason), you need to be prepared for, and be willing to take responsibility for the potential consequences of doing so.

Thankfully, Ms Budapest was just joking around (or so she says), but really it’s almost mind boggling to contemplate the consequences if she wasn’t. Assuming that she could have effectively invoked a hex in that way (and there seems to be plenty who doubt that she actually could), can you imagine the accidental harm that could have been done? A song that has been more or less in the public domain (whether it was meant to be or not) for 40 years, that has been regularly added to and altered to suit; a song that many Neo-Pagans probably teach to their children, or that they sing at gatherings, not even knowing who originally sang it, who have potentially never even heard of Z. Budapest, all suddenly hexed because of someone who was having a bit of a rant. What sort of consequences do you think she might have faced, if such a thing had occurred, and do you think she would have accepted any responsibility for her actions? I shudder to think.

(G) Gardens… of the Magical Kind


My mother was a true genius in the art of gardening. She could literally take a barren patch of dirt, and make it come alive – bursting forth with colorful blooms and greenery. A welcoming sanctuary for friends and family who often made their way to her door for a bit of that wonderful southern hospitality which she was also so well known (and loved) for. That her green thumb was not passed on to me, is lamentable, for no matter how many times I’ve tried, it’s clear that I really have no aptitude for gardening.

At this point you might be wondering why I would choose this particular topic, and the truth is, despite my obvious “black thumb”, I’ve always had a fervent desire to dig in the dirt and to make things grow. So if I can’t do it (not that it ever stops me from trying from time to time), at least I can offer up some tips to others, with the hope that they will have much more success at it, than I ever have.

Something to keep in mind, is that even if you don’t have a large yard (or a yard at all), it doesn’t mean that you still can’t have your own garden. It’s very easy to buy a couple of large containers, or even plastic tubs from Walmart will do in a pinch. In any case you first need to a little planning before starting out, so take some time to consider the following –

  • where are you putting your garden… will it be indoors or outdoors, large or small?
  • what’s your climate zone… is it warm and sunny for most of the year, or do you have all 4 seasons?
  • what sort of sunlight does the area get…do you have a really sunny spot, or will there be partial shade?
  • what’s the purpose of your garden… are you needing ritual herbs, or looking for more culinary delights?

Once you’d figured out your basics you can look to the buying of seeds and dirt (if needed), and to the actual digging and preparing the earth. If you are creating an outdoor garden and have plenty of space, you may also want to consider how you are going to design your garden – will it be a basic square, a circle, or maybe crescent shaped, or any combination that suits you. Will it be simply a functional garden, or will it be a sanctuary of sorts as well? Maybe with a few decorative areas where one can sit in quiet contemplation, or even a bit of space for a small solitary ritual.

Whatever you choose, have fun with it. Gardening is a lot of work, but it’s also very rewarding as well – not only seeing the physical results of one’s work, but on a spiritual level as well.  Clearly not Pagan, but the following speaks true I think, and seemed fitting words to end this on…

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,–
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

Excepted from “God’s Garden” by Dorothy Frances Gurney