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
PantheaCon - My wonderful moments

I went to PantheaCon this past weekend. PantheaCon is a real, honest to goodness gathering of all sorts of folks that identify in some way as Pagan. It's made up of vendors and presenters and ritualists and authors and seekers and party people and dabblers and long, long time practitioners.

There were many moments throughout the conference that just made me proud of being a Pagan and more than a few moments where I was in complete awe of our community at large. As I was writing this piece, I noticed that I tend not to write about other people in the Pagan community, but rather about my experiences as a Pagan. So this is a bit of a departure for me.

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Pre-PantheaCon Rituals - or -Where is my cool hat?

You should see my bedroom right now. It looks as if all of the magical clothing from every magical clothing store decided to leave the comfort of their lovely racks and shelves and start a squatter's collective in the middle of my bed. Apparently they also called the "make-up" fairies and the "don't forget all of these accessories" gnomes and said, "hey you should all come over here and see what Gwion is trying to stuff in his suitcase. It's a laugh riot!"

In all seriousness, I love going to PantheaCon and there's a certain amount of ritual that goes into preparing for this one of a kind, four day event. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Peggy Frye
    Peggy Frye says #
    I loved meeting you (for the first time) at PCon! Thank you for your kind (tattoo) comments!
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Peggy! The pleasure was all mine. Thank you for sharing your amazing ink and the stories that go with them.
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Of course I didn't get around to reading this because I was too steeped in my own pre-Pantheacon ritual which involved a romantic
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Wait, you were reciting a mantra to end your romantic date so you could go to Pcon? Oh Annika

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Why Rituals Matter - My Public Grief

It was Monday, January 5th, 2015. I was working on a blog about daily practices when my brother sent me a message on Facebook. It simply and succinctly said "If you want to see dad, you better come now". If you've ever gotten that call or email, you know that life completely slows down and goes really fast all at the same time. I've tried to describe the feeling to folks that haven't had this experience and the closest thing I can compare it to is suddenly finding yourself underwater trying to have a conversation with a world full of people that are still on dry land.

The next twenty-four hours were a blur of phone calls and airports and moments of snatched sleep and worry and sitting awkwardly between two strangers and hurtling through the air at several hundred miles an hour. When I finally breathed fresh air again, I was seven thousand miles from home, in New Zealand, and just like that winter had turned to summer and the east was in the west and the moon was upside down.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Natasha, I think honouring him in the traditional was is so wonderful.
  • Natasha Kostich
    Natasha Kostich says #
    Thank you so much for sharing your grief publicly. I lost my wonderful father five months ago and while I am a Pagan I have chosen
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Pixie, it is hard isn't it. I simply love that you've taken the urn and made art from it. Talk about transformational! Gwion
  • Pixie
    Pixie says #
    My partner was in hospice and died in November and I'm also attempting to make death/dying and grief more public, so I made a crem
Daily Practice - Doing that one thing over and over again

Right as the clock struck midnight and 2015 was upon us, people started talking about their daily practices. I suppose it's a natural enough time to review what we do or don't do every day. Mostly it becomes a bit of a wish list for how we'd like our lives to be less mundane and more spiritual and as we have the clean slate of the new calendar year to help us, why not give it a bash.

Here's the not so good news - Daily practices, for the most part, are mundane. It's about doing the same thing, the same way each and every day (or as many days as you can). Whether you are communing with gods, or tending to an altar, or sipping a cup of tea or sitting in silence it's about doing that thing when you say you are going to do it. But mostly it's about doing that thing over and over again, recommitting to a practice without the expectation of reward. Occasionally I've had that "aha!" moment but more often than not, I do my thing, my day stops for a few minutes and I then move on.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you for your comment Editor B. You know, I added Yoga into my daily schedule about a year ago. It didn't stick, not because
  • Editor B
    Editor B says #
    Hey Gwion. Mark Green shared this link and got me here. I like the perspective you articulate. It's particularly useful as I'm org
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Mark, Thank you for the comments. I took a peek at your link. I like the concept of your "rosary", even if the name gives m
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    I like this piece (and I'm sorry for your loss). In our ADD world, it IS hard to keep doing that one thing, every day. For mine,

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
9 pagans that have influenced me in 2014

I'm not a fan of Top Ten lists. In fact, Top Ten lists frequently make it onto my Top Ten list of things I dislike. Having said that though, I feel inexorably compelled to write about 9 folks that have greatly influenced me this year. And as a Top 9 list is not the same as a Top 10 list I think I can live with myself. I considered a Top 11 list but thought that was too reminiscent of Spinal Tap and let's face it, 9 is a good witchy number.

Now some of these folks you might recognize from their books, or Pagan festival appearances or blogs and I imagine that several of them might appear on other people's year-end retrospectives too. My hope is that there will be at least one or two folks that you don't know and, much more importantly, I hope to convey just why these people have been so deeply influential to me this year.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I've left it as published but just in case anyone else reads these comments, it's clear that Anne and I have yet to meet. I'm goin
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Don't edit it, Gwion, or you'll make this entire thread look .... well, really weird.
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Well then - I'm about to edit my piece to make it clear we haven't met! Now...I wonder who I did meet?
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Gwion -- I've only been to PCon once in my life, way back in 2008. I'm pretty sure we haven't met.
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    You know Anne, I have a recollection of being introduced to you by a mutual friend at Pantheacon several years ago. Now if that's
Winter Solstice - A ritual invocation or the coolest band name ever!

A long, long, long time before the word "Solstice" was ever uttered, eons before the ancients looked upward at that shining orb in the sky and said "goddess" or "god", billions of years before humankind realized that some times were warmer and lighter and other times were colder and darker, this planet danced.

For roughly four and a half billion years, give or take a million, the earth has rocked forward and backward. Axial Tilt is the official term for it. Axial Tilt would also make a great name for a band and should I ever decide to get the band back together again, I think Axial Tilt will be the front-runner for the name.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Altars - A ritual in the making

I recently wrote a piece about Pagan tattoos. Hundreds of people posted pictures of their artwork and many more folks told the stories of how those designs came about and why they were so compelled to etch them indelibly into their skin.

And this got me thinking - Tattoos are altars, of a kind. They are permanent representations of a moment or a belief or a particular rite of passage. These permanent, personal altars are like touchstones to those important times. In most cases, they are carefully thought out. They are planned. The placement, the design, the colours, the images and the symbols are all considered. Then there's the actual "building of the altar" itself.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    A number of years ago I taught a class on altars. Many of the participants said they had no idea where to begin with an altar, or
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Linette - Yes. So much this. I love the simple, everyday altars that we all instinctively create.
  • Asa West
    Asa West says #
    This post is lovely. Thank you! When I first read it, I thought, "well, I only have one altar in my house--my working altar." But
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Asa, I think that's it exactly. I realized that I have even more altars than I thought. There are several in the front and
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Elizabeth, it makes a great deal of sense! What a treasure that altar is and such a brilliant way to highlight that altars are

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