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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Morning Glory’s “Wake”

My old friend Anna Korn and I drove up to the Zell compound in Cotati after I finished with the Wiccan circle at San Quentin, so we weren’t there from the very beginning.  When we arrived, there were cars parked up and down both sides of the country road outside their home and the place was packed.  There was a proverbial groaning board in the dining room that kept acquiring more and more dishes of food.  Platters of ham, beef, chicken for the carnivores.  All manner of salads and side dishes – beans, pasta, greens, tomatoes and pomegranate seeds, you name it.  Plus veggies, breads and many tasty chips for dipping in many tasty dips.  There were also food tables out on the various decks surrounding the house, with plenty of folks outside, too.  There was a seemingly endless supply of wines and other potables, including Pyrate Jenny with her lovely basket filled with about a dozen different flasks, each containing some kind of whiskey or rum.

People congregated in the two living rooms, the den, and in several seating clusters on the surrounding decks.  During this time Zack Darling, using a fancy video camera with a tripod and a handheld mic, recorded stories about Morning Glory from individual friends and lovers.

The stated plan was that small groups of people would be shuttled to the hospital for brief visits with MG.  Only two visitors were permitted in her room at a time. 

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  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    Thanks for sharing this. For those of us who spent time with her briefly, and sadden by her lose, and couldn't be there... Thanks
The Lustravi, Rending the Veil Within

Modern Witch, Devin Hunter once said “Witches aren’t limited by dogma but are inspired by self-exploration,” and I believe self-exploration needs to be one of our fundamental practices as Modern Witches. There seems to be so much interest and emphasis on performing acts of Witchcraft aimed at our external world, whether physical or spiritual and far less directed inward. Ironically it is the inner Craftwork which yields the best results. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I admit that I've not followied too closely the controversy concerning a Western rancher, Mr. Cliven Bundy, who apparently believes that he is entitled to graze his cattle on public land without paying the grazing fees required by law.  He has become the instant darling of right wing grievance hustlers such as Sean Hannity. 

Then, according to Wikipedia, following a confrontation between Mr. Bundy, some of his armed supporters, and the Bureau of Land Management, Mr. Bundy held a news conference on April 19, where he criticized the United States government, specifically its negative influence on "the Negro".  "He recalled seeing a government-housing project where some of the older residents and the kids would sit on the porch. He said, 'They didn’t have nothing to do ... they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.'"

One wonders how anyone cannot know that for most slaves, "family life" meant having your spouse or children sold away from you, and, for women, being sexually available to the master, whether those women were married or not.

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  • roi de guerre
    roi de guerre says #
    respectfully, you'll find said court order here http://www.thewildlifenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Order-US-v.-Bundy-7-9-13
  • roi de guerre
    roi de guerre says #
    Dear Greybeard, After reviewing this helpful timeline http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/range-war-timeline-events I am dis
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Nothing in that news report says that the BLM had a court order authorizing them to take the man's cattle.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Erik-Heyninch---Dreams-and-Divinities.JPG

Painting by Erik Heyninck for Dreams & Divinities

Recently, I had the pleasure to learn that one of the poems I had contributed to a book and exhibit, Dreams & Divinities, was read at a poetry reading in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. While elated by the honor, I was also saddened by the fact that I couldn’t participate in the flesh and see the lovely neotropical gardens, the cobbled courtyards, and the exquisite architecture of the region, as well as be among artists, writers, and visionaries from across continents, countries, and states.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

This is my continuation of my tribute to all the gods placed in the "graveyard".  Viarococha the Incan creator god is #14 from that list.  (Apologies for the small font as I can't figure out how to change it.)

b2ap3_thumbnail_Viracocha.jpg

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The Difference between Concept and Experience

One of the issues that I notice comes up a lot in the writing I see on magic is that the conceptual aspects of magic tend to be emphasized over the experiential aspects of magic. Now part of the reason for this simple could be due to the fact that writing about a topic inevitably moves that topic toward concept. However when we leave out the experiential aspects of a practice, the concept itself is diminished because what it presents is the theory without the grounding of practice. Experience necessarily grounds concept and provides the context to turn a given concept into a reality. It's important then to make a distinction between concept and experience, in order to make sure we're utilizing both in our spiritual practices.

A concept is not, in and of itself, a theory, so much as it is an idea. A concept only becomes a theory when we bring it into an experiential level. A concept attempts to describe how something ought to work as well as what the various variables are that effect the concept. A lot of the writing we see on magic is concept focused because the writer is trying to share how something ought to work with the reader, as well as providing the necessary background information that informs the concept.

An experience is the actual application of the concept. It is the instructions that provide you information on what to do, how to do it, etc. Obviously until you choose to follow those instructions, nothing happens. But once you perform the practice, then the instructions help to provide an experience. As a reader, you can modify those instructions, which can be helpful, both for personalizing your magical practice and for discovering discrepancies between the practical instructions and the conceptual explanations.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Podcast: What is a Godspouse?

Wanna hear what my voice sounds like? I am now hosting a podcast for the Raven Faerie, called Raven About Metaphysics. The inaugural episode is on Godspousery, and Seren Lebannen of Bonfire at Midnightis my guest, so there's some Trickster talk in general along with an overview of our experiences.

I would like to reiterate that most Lokispeople are notgodspouses, because I feel like in joking about how many wives He has, that I don't want to give the impression that anyone *has* to have that type of relationship with Him. There is something about His wives being vocal though, myself included. I don't have a scientific reason for it, but certainly He lights a fire in the head and in the heart, and that is why I talk about Him.

Speaking of Loki, I'm sure some of you are wondering when the inevitable Loki podcast will happen. I haven't scheduled a date yet, but I have a couple ideas of who I'd like to invite to talk - probably someone who is NOT a godspouse and who is reconstructionist, or at least more reconstructionist than me, just for a variety of perspectives on Himself.

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Making a Joyful Noise: Drumming & Chanting

There are many ways to celebrate your spiritual path, whatever that may be. But virtually every society has used some form of music as a part of their communion with deity, from Buddhist chants to hymns sung in church. For Pagans and witches, making a joyful noise and sending it out into the universe often involves chanting or drums or both.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Morrison. Robert. Charmed, I'm sure. Yes, Lord Summerisle, fancy you knowing that. Ah yes, the Guardian article: not a very flattering photo, I'm afraid. Although back on island these days they call me “Summerisle” tout court. Apparently John Donne was wrong about the whole “no man is an island” business.

Oh, no politics, please. I find that the only way to survive psychologically as an MP is to maintain a strict separation between business and pleasure. What happens in the House of Lords, stays in the House of Lords, we always joke.

Yes, thank you. Finest fruit in the EU, I quite agree. Have you tried the new American Honeycrisp, by any chance? A fine apple, if I may say. Approaching Summerisle quality, though not there quite yet. Although of course I'm afraid total objectivity in these matters quite escapes me, as you'll understand.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_DarkMother-lowres.jpgAcross the many pantheons and even within single traditions, there are more than a few goddesses to be found personifying sorrow and grief. We can look to these mournful deities to help us through our own times of unhappiness, from mild melancholia to the throes of despair and even to the rising up and moving forward after the worst of the grieving has passed. In our times of need, we can turn to these goddesses for compassion, strength and renewal.

In the Christian tradition Mary bears seven sorrows as a mother who must accept the destiny of her son. Early in Jesus’s life, they are the typical sorrows of any mother, but Mary's heroic strength through the inconceivable grief of his persecution and execution is said to have prepared her heart for the joy of Christ’s resurrection. As a mother I can only imagine the depth of her pain, both emotional and physical. Her stoic countenance tells all. In the hostile atmosphere, she dare not carry on in fits of anguish lest she too be persecuted. Yet it is not likely that fear for her own safety restrained her as much as the knowledge that her son did not need one more added burden; that of worry over the wellbeing of his mother.

We see the same stoic courage on the faces of parents whose child has terminal cancer or other life stealing condition; remaining strong at all costs for the sake of the child. My own brother bade us all not to cry in the final days he had left before succumbing to leukemia. Perhaps bearing our sorrow was one more grief he himself could not stand.

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John Alden Junior: What do they want, these terrible witches?

Cotton Mather: The same thing we all want: a country of their own. 


Wow, speaking of Witchsploitation: a new TV series, set (you guessed it) in Salem, Mass, 1692.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Three of my foremothers (Lacy and Foster) admitted being witches in the 1692 Salem trials. Their family farm became a tourist att

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


b2ap3_thumbnail_Majestic-Tree.jpgThere’s been a lot of tragic, difficult news recently as the Cardinal Cross comes in to an exact alignment — which happens today —  and no doubt there will be more. However, despite rumors to the contrary, the news is not all bad. Nor are the effects of this cross. The current astrology is, without question, challenging.  But there are tremendous breakthroughs being made, particularly by individuals who — consciously or not — are working with the energy of this time to manifest their dreams. There might be a lot of emotional upheaval involved in uncovering those dreams, and some hard work involved in making them come true, but we have a lot of cosmic energy to work with. 

If we stay true to our core values, and allow our deepest feelings to surface and be acknowledged, if we connect with the land and listen to inner guidance, then we may find ourselves taking sudden action (Uranus in Aries) that brings us from feelings of grief and loss to certainty and security, and a more expanded knowledge of ourselves. This is well-illustrated by the process Joanna Powell Colbert went through as she and her husband changed course about their living arrangements and a beloved house in the course of a week. She writes about it here.

The way to work with the energy of this time is to be like a tree. Be flexible enough to bend in the storms, be willing to change — to shed your leaves or grow new ones — and yet be firmly rooted in the Earth that sustains us all. Your psychic roots can be found in your core values, in your connections with others, and in your connection with Spirit.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Beltane and the Dance of Opposites

     When I moved to Kitchener many years ago and was looking for the house in which to put down my roots, there was one house which I knew was unquestionably mine. For one, the backdoor had a window etched with Celtic knotwork. Gorgeous! For another, it was a mere block from a permanently installed Maypole. Wondrous! Though the Maypole serves to present banners for the various local German clubs that rock into activity during Oktoberfest, it can’t help but bring to mind the tradition that marked the beginning of Summer in ages past. I loved the idea of living within daily sight of a Maypole and it never fails to fill my heart with joy, even these many years after I first saw it.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Beltane and the Singleton

Beltane is fast upon us – here in Suffolk, the hawthorn is in bloom already, and I have heard the first cuckoo of summer.  The oak leaves are just coming out, and the beech and ash are lagging behind, sluggish after their long sleep.  The garden is abloom, and the forest is filled with bluebells, their soft energy shimmering in the sunlight. It is, indeed, Beltane.

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THE DIVINE DRAMA AND THE UNIVERSALITY OF DEATH


In Greece the liturgies of lent and especially of the week before Easter are known as the “divine drama,” in Greek theodrama.  This may refer to the “drama” of the capture, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus and to the suffering of God the Father and Mary.

However, it is important to recall that the drama in ancient Greece referred to both the tragedies and comedies, most specifically, those that were performed in the theater of Dionysios in Athens.  While we have been taught that the Greek tragedies celebrated “downfall of the hero” due to his “tragic flaw,” it is important to remember that Dionysios was the original protagonist of the Greek tragedy: it was his death and rebirth that was first celebrated.

Some have argued that the Greek tragedies should never be “read” alone, for they were always “performed” in tandem with the comedies, which were followed by the bawdy phallic humor of the satyr plays.  The tragedies end in death and irreparable loss.  But if the comedies and satyr plays are considered an integral part of the cycle, death is followed by the resurgence of life.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

This isn't my usual post about music, but music kind of drew me in a weird direction, because I joined a band with people in it I didn't know, and then this happened.

Sometimes, it doesn't work. The relationship.  Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to respect someone, and no matter how hard they try to respect you, your respective respect for each other just...isn't. Here's a story.


It's like learning how to eat at the table.  Joe Schmoe learned that it was tasteless to put your napkin in your neck.  Josephine Schmina learned that it was untrustworthy to put your wrists below the table.  They met each other and initially liked each other, and started working together and making great music.  It worked out until one time, they went to dinner and Joe Schmoe saw Josephine Schmina put her napkin in her neck.  Then Josephine saw Joe put his napkin on his lap, and therefore his wrists under the table.  They each asked the other, "Don't you know how bad that is?" and "How could a respectable person do that?"  They threw down the napkins and had a fight.  Each one realized that the other one had some deep issues concerning napkins, and they made up.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    This is fabulous. Thanks for sharing.

I gave a little chuckle when Chang O, Chinese Goddess of the Moon, danced into my life this week. I am a fan of the Chang O card in Kris Waldherr's The Goddess Tarot, as she represents Contemplation -- the equivalent of the Hermit -- and spiritual seeking. I identify greatly with her as a symbol for seeking the Goddess and for seeking my own sacredness as a woman.

b2ap3_thumbnail_gio-chango.jpg

"Celebrate your femininity with pride"

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  • Susan Harper
    Susan Harper says #
    Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I hope you'll be a regular visitor -- I draw a Goddess card each week and post about
  • Mea English
    Mea English says #
    thank you for the nice article. not being familiar with chinese i only know Quan Yin, because i am trans. So through you i now hav

The Maetreum of Cybele is seeking donations to fund its continuing legal fight to have its tax-exempt status recognized by the Town of Catskill.  I was in court when a panel of appellate judges (New York's second-highest jurists) heard testimony which led to a ruling in the Maetreum's favor, one which was covered by the likes of Forbes and the New York Law Journal.

Like many small towns in this state, Catskill is apparently loathe to take a property off the tax rolls.  Both state and federal governments continue to heap unfunded mandates on local municipalities, which must also manage rising health-care costs and a tax cap which ensures that the revenue will never keep up with the costs without cutting what the law will allow, such as programs for senior citizens and other "discretionary" expenses.

Perhaps that is why Catskill is appealing -- despite the fact that their legal bill is likely to be significant either way.  The Maetreum of Cybele is looking to raise $15,000 for its defense, and I can't imagine the town will spend much less for their part.  Details on how to support the cause can be found on the group's Facebook page.

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Morning Glory ZellFor those who live under a Pagan rock, Morning Glory Zell is a Pagan elder who has contributed significantly to the development of the modern Pagan community.  Along with her partner Oberon Zell (and their other partners) she is one of the founders of the Church of All Worlds, one of the first legally incorporated Pagan church organizations, and an editor/publisher of the very influential Green Egg Magazine.  For many years, Morning Glory has been fighting cancer, and she is now very ill with pneumonia which caused kidney failure, for which she is on dialysis.

There is a crowd funding campaign at GoFundMe to aid in Morning Glory's medical expenses.  They have already surpassed their goal but I remember what it was like to live on the charity of others when my husband was in the hospital after a life-threatening car accident, and I want to help.  If we don't take care of our Pagan elders, who will?

I lost a friend, Lorilei Thompson, last year.  Recently her husband Bradley offered up some of her formidable book collection to me and to anyone else I thought could benefit.  I have expanded much of my library, but I still have a lot of books left that I either already had or don't need.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I had originally intended for this post to continue the Elements series (books about Earth, Air, Fire, and Water). However, after an uncomfortable experience this morning, I changed that focus.

In deference to devoutly Catholic family who are visiting this week, I opted to attend Easter Mass with them. For the most part, it was fine. The church was lovely, filled with incense and spring flowers, the stained glass windows glowing in the sunlight. Then it came time for the homily, in which the priest spoke on the meaning of the gospel. I was a bit startled -- and quite dismayed -- when he stated that Christianity must be right and true because people were willing to die for it, that even the first generation of Apostles must have seen and experienced something real (not a myth or a made-up story) if they were willing to lay down their lives for it.

"After all," he said, "you never hear about martyrs for Zeus or Jupiter or Thor."

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  • Jolene
    Jolene says #
    Ugh. The only time I venture to church services these days are for funerals -- I find there is a heck of a lot less of that sort o
  • Lana
    Lana says #
    Thank you so much for this.
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thank you for this, Rebecca.

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