To Be a Witch… A Life of Ritual and Devotion

It’s a common thing to hear that there’s a difference between our magical lives and our mundane lives. In reality, we have the ability to step into ritual and devotion each and every day.

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Gwion Raven

Gwion Raven

I've been a practicing witch and ritualist within the Reclaiming Tradition since 2003. I love being in service with this community of witches and world changers.   My own practice, my own way of changing the world is through devotional practice. It's my belief that we can re-enchant our lives by re-framing the so-called "mundane" as sacred and divine. By imbuing the familiar with a sense of wonder and infusing daily life with acts of magic, we choose to consciously make all of life devotion. Whether we engage in large, public rituals or sink sumptuously into the pure ecstasy of eating a delicious meal by ourselves or meditating at sunrise, our daily rituals can draw us back into harmony with the world and each other.  

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Losing Persephone. Becoming Demeter

The room is mostly empty. A strand of Tibetan prayer flags dangles listlessly from a single thumb tack. The white walls are punctuated with tiny pinhole dots, the last reminders of where posters and photos once lived. A thrift store desk, repainted many years ago, sits empty. The lack of homework and hair scrunchies and change hurriedly deposited there makes it seem even older and somehow smaller.

The offering bowl filled with cleansing herbs floats alone on a sea of beige carpet. The charcoal is lit. A single, curling tendril of smoke rises from the center, and I close the door.

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  • Courtney
    Courtney says #
    This was good for me to read. My oldest is 14 and I'm already freaking out about the day she leaves. I'm only 34 so I can imagine
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Courtney, I remember being in my early 20's thinking about how young I would be when my kids hit 18 (ish) and were likely t
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I imagine that we all get to be Persephone and Demeter at some point in our lives, whether that's with children or a business or a
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    This is not an experience I will ever have, but you wrote it in such a way that it becomes real and raw and relevant to me nonethe

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
To Keep Silent - Listening and Remembering

It's mid-day. The air is crisp and cool. The fog is clinging to the tops of the redwood trees, wetting the forest floor with something not quite rain yet more than mist. Sunlight makes it's way, through leaves and branches to the duff below and highlights patches on the ground. I can see spectacular rays of sunlight, filtered and spreading out like fingers, illuminating stumps and bright green lawns of moss.

I'm standing still. The air and I are both still. There's no birdsong, just now, not even the distant croaks of the sentinel ravens, roosting high above me. It's as quiet as a forest can be. Practically silent, in fact. I take in one long breath and let it out with an even longer "ahh!". It is the only sound I'll utter for the next few hours as I wander about this oh so familiar spot in the woods.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Ritual For New Beginnings

I adore ritual. I couldn't imagine going through my life without those wonderful moments of devotion and pause and reflection. Whether you look at ritual as a grand event shared by a coven or a whole tradition or the simple act of stopping to smell the roses on a walk, we humans tend to love our special moments. Interesting side note: Quite a few of our furred and feathered friends also engage in rituals, but that's another story.

January provides us all with the great opportunity to take a big breath in and hit the reset button. Every year for more than a decade, I've taken part in a sweet, private ritual to mark the passing of one year and the beginning of the next one. My partner and I look forward to this ritual each and every year. It's basic and yet contained in the simplicity is a tremendously profound act.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Lizann.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely ritual.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
2015 Pagan Best of the Best

It's that time of year again folks, when the media starts releasing lists. The "Most Memorable Moments of 2015" or the "Top Ten Really Important Things That You've Already Forgotten About". I'm not a fan of lists. I find that lists make me grumpy. Why should I only remember these ten things? I frequently find that I didn't see any of those Top Ten must see movies and I'm pretty sure that those Top Ten Celebrities That Changed America, didn't actually change much at all.

So this is not a "list" blog. Think of it, perhaps, as a collection of my favourite seven (I like seven, it's sort of witchy and isn't Ten) Pagan writings that you might like to read at some point, and in no particular order (except number one on the list. You do have to read that one first). Imagine that the author (that's me) just sort of bumped into you at your favorite eating spot and said "Oh! Look what I think is interesting and compelling. Read these."

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
In The Belly Of The Goddess

I remember the moment, the exact instant when Her name was called and She was there. She stood behind me, wrapped Her enormous feathered cloak around my body and completely engulfed me. There's no describing what happened next, except to say that I lay inside of Her for an interminable length of time. I could clearly see the ritual circle and the flames of the bonfire and the other participants going through their own processes, and I was also somewhere completely "other".

For the next three days, I walked between the worlds. I was absolutely present in this world, interacting with people, eating breakfast, making perfect sense and able to carry on conversations about toilets or whatever mundane topics we were discussing. I was utterly not present too; or maybe it's better to say I was also present elsewhere. And She was there too, as real to me as anyone I'd ever met.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Yes. Weary but not melancholy. I remember my own year like the one you've just had - sometimes it echoes back on us (it did for m

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Casting the Circle - Holding the Magic

Several years ago my daughter and I attended an interfaith event at a Christian church. As we sat down in the pews, my daughter leaned over to me and said "How come we aren't sitting in a circle? How will everyone see each other if some people are behind other people?"

I can't think of a better way to highlight the differences between most* Pagan rituals and those of other, more mainstream faiths. For the most part, we do gather in circles. No one person is in front of another person and, in theory, a newcomer to the circle wouldn't be able to tell who was in charge just by the position that a particular person or persons occupied. There's something crucial and fundamentally different in that small action that separates Pagan gatherings from other religious or magical rites.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Lizann. You can take the witch out of the kitchen but you can't take the kitchen out of the witch!
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Love this!
Spirits of Place - What They Need You to Know

It's just after noon. The weather is warm. There's a slight breeze that causes the leaves high in the canopy to rustle. The redwoods are creaking as they rub against each other. Loud raven clicks and caws punctuate the quiet forest. I'm one of only a few people standing in the camp grounds and we are all silent, breathing deeply, settling our rushed minds and sinking in, just sinking in.

In two hours witches from all of over the world will arrive. Some journeying to these woods for the first time, others coming home as they do each year. There will be hugs and kisses and hearty shouts of "oh! There you are. I'm so glad you came back." After the hub-bub of getting here subsides and the first night's dinner dishes have been put away, it's time for ritual.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Raggedrose - Thank you for your comment. The forest is indeed in a transitional space. What we look at as Ancient, in many cases,
  • Raggedrose
    Raggedrose says #
    Mendocino Woodlands is indeed a powerful and wonderful place. The forest there is in transition, which makes it only more so. It w
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Steve. Your connection to and passion for the Spirits of Place and the planet we share is obvious and runs deep. Be wel
  • steve
    steve says #
    The title really caught my attention, the Spirits of Place, and that's due to my own interaction with the spirits of places. They

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