Saturday, February 18, 2012

44 Days of Witchery, Day 4: Picture of Nature (Water Element)

I had trouble deciding between two pictures, so you get them both.

This is the Oregon Coast. The Pacific Ocean as a storm rolls in. To be standing on the cliffs with the wind blowing, and the occasional raindrop from the leading edge of the storm, as the waves BOOM against the rocks below's amazing, and awesome, in the "full of awe" meaning of the word. I didn't grow up ON the coast, but it was only an hour and a half away, so we were there several times a year.

It's not like this pansy east coast bullshit where there's no waves and it's shallow and warm. The Pacific is a cold, dangerous, treacherous beast. I was brought up knowing if you get caught in an undertow, swim parallel to the coast. Never turn your back on the waves. If you're going farther in than, say, knee deep, it's advised you wear a lifejacket. Take PRECAUTIONS. There's no lifeguards on the upper west coast, you have to fend for yourself.

But that untamed wildness is why I like it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

44 Days of Witchery, Day 3: Witchy Tools: Athame

I've only ever done one real ritual, so I've only ever used it once. However, when I first set up my altar (on a piece of particle board shelving across two cement blocks, lol!) I looked at it and thought "it's missing something." And then I realized the klaive fit perfectly. I did use the klaive in my protection ritual, so I suppose it is my athame. It's a bit...huge for an athame, lol. Here it is, sitting on a regular size piano bench:

So yeah. It's a replica of a "klaive" or the sword that werewolves bind spirits into, in Werewolf: the Apocalypse. This would be a slightly large dagger to a werewolf in their half-man/half-wolf form. Currently it lives on our mantle, as the altar is no longer big enough for it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book Review: The Goddess Path by Patricia Monaghan

The Goddess Path: Myths, Invocations, and Rituals by Patricia Monaghan

This book is very similar to Goddess Companion: Daily Meditations on the Goddess by the same author (review here) in that it draws from many different traditions to show different aspects of the goddess. What this one does, however, is instead of daily meditations, it's separated into 20 chapters. Each chapter focuses on a different goddess, providing snippets of poetry, myths, rituals, and explanations of the goddess and what she stands for. At the end of each chapter is a list of questions to ask yourself to better relate to the lesson each goddess has to teach. The goddesses included range from Isis to Oshun, from Kali to Brigid, from Artemis to Kuan-Yin to Gaia.

Chapters are generally organized as follows:
Bits of poetry/song
Myths and Meanings
Suggestions for Invoking
Questions and Activities

I really enjoy this book for learning more about the goddesses, as well as the ideas for rituals involving them.

Why Rick Santorum is a Scumbag

So, after making a rather...vitriolic post on Google+ last night about this article, I think I'm ready to talk in a (slightly) more reasonable manner about it.

Basically, back in 2006, Rick Santorum made some....disconcerting comments about birth control.  Now, we all know that the GOP hates birth control and abortion and the thought of women doing what they want with their own bodies. But Santorum took that to another level, I think.

“It’s not OK because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also, but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.”

This just ticks me right off. You see, I use birth control. I am married, we don't want kids. Even if I wasn't, the idea that sex isn't special unless it's for procreative reasons is absurd. So...older people, past child-bearing age, and infertile people - their sex isn't as good as the younger people who are having kids. It's not as special, according to Santorum. 

And he actually states that he believes birth control is harmful to women. Yeah, you heard me. 
“I vote and have supported birth control because it is not the taking of human life. But I’m not a believer in birth control and artificial birth control. I think it goes down the line of being able to do whatever you want to do without having the responsibility that comes with that. I think it breaks that … this is from a personal point of view of, from a governmental point of view I support that Title X,” he said.
“I guess it is and have voted for contraception, although I don’t think it works. I think it’s harmful to women. I think it’s harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated …, particularly among the young and it has I think we’ve seen very, very harmful long-term consequences to the society. Birth control to me enables that and I don’t think it’s  a healthy thing for our country.”
What? I mean, really, what?! Let me take you back a little bit, to the women's suffrage movement. Do you realize why, exactly, it happened when it did? What else happened in the 50s? Oh, that's right, we got the pill. We got a way to keep from being tied to the house and kitchen with a dozen kids. That gave us the ABILITY to be more than wives and mothers. And not just women! Men were required to work to support their families, including kids they may or may not have wanted but it was the price of having sex with their wives. No more! Don't want kids? Don't have them! That is now an OPTION, where it wasn't before. 
Birth control is not harmful to women; it frees them. I can work outside the home. I can go to school without worrying about daycare. I can have sex with my husband without worrying that it will cause an accidental child. 
EVERY CHILD SHOULD BE WANTED. That's why, since we don't want any, we take steps to prevent it. If more people did so, if more people had easier access to birth control, we wouldn't have as many children up for adoption or in foster care. Which would, in turn, be a smaller burden on the government to support! 
This is just another example of the GOP's war on women. And another example of the hate they have for the "weaker sex." (Ha. Right.) If you want more examples, stay tuned to this blog, I will post more in the weeks leading up to the elections, I promise!
Santorum is a disgusting excuse for a human being. Stay out of my uterus, scumbag.
Also, do you really want a president whose name is slang for something this disgusting? (Warning, link not for the squeamish.)

Book Review: The Goddess Companion by Patricia Monaghan

Goddess Companion: Daily Meditations on the Goddess, by Patricia Monaghan

This is one of the first pagan books I bought myself, and I absolutely love it. It has an entry for every day of the year; its subtitle is "Daily Meditations on the Goddess."

An example of a day:

February 16 

The flood receded, leaving swamps
where life emerged anew like seeds
sprouting in a mother's womb.
It was just like spring, when peasants
overturn the soil to find a world
of creatures there, as though the earth
itself crept and wriggled and was alive.
Life begins in heat and water,
those apparent opposites that stir
creation. Thus the sun, rising on 
the flooded earth, brought forth new life.
 - Ovid, Metamorphoses

In the myths of many cultures, the earth is destroyed - often by a flood - and then reborn, re-made. So it was in Greek and Roman mythology, which told of a great flood that only the woman Pyrrha and her mate Deucalion survived. Told by an oracle that she would bear children from "the bones of her mother," Pyrrha figured out that her mother being the earth, the bones would mean the rock skeleton of the planet. Throwing stones behind herself, Pyrrha produced an entire new race of humans to repopulate the earth.

After the destructive flood, the earth replenished itself anew. Such myths capture the special freshness of spring, when all seems reborn. In our own lives, too, we will find times when an order is overturned - a job or love lost, a home transformed - but new order emerges from the ruin. Trusting in such rebirth is difficult, but every spring reminds us that renewal is an inevitable part of life.

Each day in the book brings a quote from ancient poetry or song or religious text about some aspect of the goddess. Some days it's Horace or Homer, some days it's a Lithuanian Folk song, or an Indian prayer to Kali. I love how it draws from such widely different traditions to show different faces of the goddess. This is a book I crack open not-quite-daily, but at least once a week, and whenever I need goddess. I have quotes from this book written out on paper and posted all over my house.

It's quite seasonal; it doesn't have days of the week, but it does go by dates, so you'll find things about spring in February, March, and April. Entries about depression and the dark of winter in December and January. Entries about death and ancestors in October.

I highly recommend this book; it is well-written, insightful, and well-researched.

44 Days of Witchery, Day 2: A Myth or Story from Folklore

There's a lot of myths and stories that I love, but today I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite singers EVER and her take on the Trickster. S.J. Tucker has all of her music available on her website here, and she's just amazing. And about as pagan as you get. ;)

Trickster came a'calling To find a totem here 
To teach the foolish heart of man 
Without installing fear. 
Many came and many went And still the Trickster paused; 
Bear and Cat and Tiger tried but had too many claws. 
Dog and Wolf though wise indeed 
Had teeth t'were quite a fright 
And Owl with his tawny eyes could only see at night. 
"No," the Trickster said at last 
"Teachers, I see many. 
But My way is full of laughter and in you I see not any." 

But beneath the tree where Eagle sat 
Coyote told the tale 
of silly hares cavorting 
In the old country of Wales. 
Raven stared unto the sun 
And Crow sang awful songs 
And Rabbit sat a'listening 
With ears so wondrous long. 

"Aha!" The Trickster danced a dance 
Of mirth and vict'ry sweet. 
He leapt with joy and swooped a swoop 
And landed at their feet. 
"Of all here now," the Trickster said 
"You are the very Beasts!" 
And Rabbit said, "I'm sorry sir 
But of all, we are the least." 

The Trickster smiled and raised a hand 
And spoke: "I have a plan 
The four of you shall help me 
To teach the heart of Man. 
Raven with your love of light 
The Sun you'll steal and soon. 
For the gift of warmth I give to man 
To be the greatest boon. 
And Crow, you silly creature 
Who sings without a voice, 
Teach man `bout pride and helping 
You really have no choice. 
Coyote my friend, together we'll spin 
Many a tale at night, 
And show man by our naughtiness 
What really should be right." 

At last He turned to Rabbit 
With a twinkle in his eye 
"You'll be my favorite creature 
And here's the reason why: 
Your eyes are bright, your feet are swift 
Your ears hear round the bend 
But your very simple humbleness 
Will steal the heart of men. 
Together we shall thwart the pains 
The gods do throw to earth 
And turn aside their fiery darts 
With merriment and mirth. 
And when time comes that men forget 
The lessons animals render 
T'will be the humble rabbit 
That mankind will remember." 

And round the Trickster the animals thronged 
The birds and all the beasts 
And humbly bowed to the king they found, 
who thought himself "the least."

from Blessings, released 20 June 2007 
words by S. J. Tucker and Trudy Herring 
music by S. J. Tucker, based on traditional themes

This song has been illustrated as a children's book, available here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Witchy Books

This will be a constantly evolving post, listing books I've read, books I've owned, and books I want to read. I will most likely post reviews of books as I read them, as separate posts. I'll try to go through and edit in reviews of books I've already read/books I own, as well. I have read the vast majority of the books I own, I will gradually get reviews up on the blog!

General Topic Books I own:
The Goddess Companion, by Patricia Monaghan Review
The Goddess Path, by Patricia Monaghan Review
The Way of Hermes, also known as the Corpus Hermeticum
A Book of Pagan Prayer, by Ceisiwr Serith Review
A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book, by Ceisiwr Serith Review
Book of Hours: Prayers to the God, by Galen Gillotte Review
Book of Hours: Prayers to the Goddess, by Galen Gillotte Review
Magical Housekeeping, by Tess Whitehurst Review
Goddesses for Every Day, by Julie Loar Review
The Kitchen Witch Companion, by Patricia Telesco
The Red Book, by Sera J. Beak
Goddess Spirituality Book, by Ffiona Morgan
Goddess Aloud! Transforming your World through Rituals & Mantras, by Michelle Skye
Goddess Afoot! Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, by Michelle Skye
The Rites of Odin, by Ed Fitch
Celtic Magic, by D.J. Conway
Secret Teachings of All Ages, by Manly P. Hall
Lectures on Ancient Philosophy, by Manly P. Hall
Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, by Frances A. Yates
Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts, by Anne L. Barstow
Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft, by Robin Briggs

Tarot Books I own:
A Feminist Tarot, by Sally Gearhart & Susan Rennie
Tarot for Every Day, by Cait Johnson
Tarot Plain and Simple, by Anthony Louis
The New Complete Book of Tarot, by Juliet Sharman-Burke
Tarot For Yourself, by Mary K. Greer
The Dragon Tarot, book for The Dragon Tarot deck
A Guide to the Celtic Dragon Tarot, book for The Celtic Dragon Deck

Feminist Books I own:
Reading Women: How the great books of feminism changed my life, by Stephanie Staal
Tete-a-Tete: The Tumultuous Lives and Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, by Hazel Rowley
The Essential Feminist Reader, by Estelle Freedman
A History of Women in America, by Carol Hymowitz & Michaele Weissman
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by Mary Wollstonecraft
Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression, by Sandra Lee Bartky
Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality, edited by Ann Snitow, Christine Stansell & Sharon Thompson
A History of the Wife, by Marilyn Yalom

Astrology Books I own:
Linda Goodman's Sun Signs
Linda Goodman's Love Signs
Linda Goodman's Relationship Signs
Linda Goodman's Star Signs
Sextrology, by Stella Starsky
How to Spot a Bastard by his Star Sign, by Adele Lang & Susi Rajah
Love on a Rotten Day: An Astrological Survival Guide to Romance, by Hazel Dixon-Cooper
Born on a Rotten Day, by Hazel Dixon-Cooper
Sexscopes, by Stuart Hazleton
Astrology: A History, by Peter Whitfield
Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, by Liz Greene
Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Vol. 1, by Jeff Green & Alan Oken
Pluto Vol. 2: The Soul's Evolution through Relationships, by Jeff Green
The Twelve Houses, by Howard Sasportas
Composite Charts: The Astrology of Relationships, by John Townley & Robert Hand
Planets in Composite, by Robert Hand
Planets in Aspect, by Robert Pelletier
Planets in Love, by John Townley
The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need, by Joanna Martine Woolfolk
Soul Signs In Love, by Diane Eichenbaum
The Astrological Guide to Seduction and Romance, by Susan and Stephen Sheppard
Predictive Astrology: Understanding Transits as the Key to the Future, by Frances Sakoian and Louis S. Acker
Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos
Surya Siddhanta, by Ebenezer Burgess & W.D. Whitney (Mine is a much older version.)
Choice-Centered Astrology, by Gail Fairfield
Ruling Planets, by Christopher Renstrom Review
Love Planets, by Claudia Bader & M.J. Abadie
Alan Oken's Complete Astrology (My version is much older, again)
Sex Signs, by Judith Bennett (Older version) Review
Skymates: The Astrology of Love, Sex, and Intimacy, by Steven Forrest & Jodie Forrest (older version)

Books I want:
Goddess Alive! Inviting Celtic & Norse Goddesses into your life, by Michelle Skye
Horary Astrology: Plain & Simple, by Anthony Louis
The Astrologer's Handbook, by Frances Sakoian and Louis S. Acker

44 Days Of Witchery, Day 1: What's Your Witchy Background?

I'm going to start this blog off with the 44 Days of Witchery. After I'm through with those 44 days I should have a handle on how Blogger works, and we'll see where we go from there!

I honestly don't have much of a witchy background. I'm still kind of new to this. While I've always loved fantasy novels and magical stories and role playing games, I was raised conservative Christian. Dad and older brother had the final say in things, because that's the way things were. Women followed the men. 

I was beginning to lose the "good little Christian girl" reputation around...junior year. When I turned 18, a year after graduating high school, my first boyfriend gave me a tarot deck and asked me out. It was Tarot of the Cat People, and to this day, it's the only deck I can Without referring to any sources. I KNOW that deck. The only downside is...I used it in the live action vampire role playing game I played. As a prop for my fortune-telling vampire. And it was GOOD. Oh, it was good. I had Storytellers pulling me aside asking me who'd let me look at their notes. (If you know Vampire: the Masquerade, at all, well. I told an ST that his character had to come to warn someone, and that he was trying to decide between two ways of doing so; nudging people subtly in the direction he wanted them to go or shouting it from the rooftops. Turns out he was a True Brujah come to warn people about the week of nightmares. I also told a fae that his King was missing. Mind you, I knew nothing about the Fae metaplot at the time...)

But because I used said deck in game so much, it only works in game. Shortly after I met my husband (at the vampire game!) he asked me to do a reading for him...and I did. And his response was "...well that's my CHARACTER perfectly, but what about me?" 

So that deck is kind of useless now, as much as I love it. 

Anyway. Meeting my husband began to open my eyes to the fact that I didn't HAVE to be Christian. I COULD turn my back on it. I was sheltered enough that refuting Christianity hadn't even occurred to me at the time. He comes from a atheistic/slightly pagan family. The idea that this was something that I had a CHOICE in was new to me. And he was good; he didn't tear into my religion, he simply asked me questions about my view on the world, and let me think about my answers. REALLY think about them. 

Somewhere in the last few years I discovered the goddess. The idea that there was a feminine side to divinity, and not just the male, Abrahamic god? This blew my mind. And fascinated me. I have a few pagan friends who have been friends for what feels like forever; shortly after I'd made this discovery I went and visited one of them in Washington. And it totally re-affirmed what I had come to realize. This is for me. The goddess in all her guises - this is what I've been missing. A couple of my other friends were afraid I would lose the male god in my sudden fascination with the goddess, but the way I saw it, I knew the male side to divinity. I'd been trained in it my entire life. I needed to meet the female side. I have now come back from that extreme, as I always knew I would. I still have a bias towards the goddess, but the god is important too. And he's very different in the pagan view of him. 

I'm primarily Celtic in my views; Brigid is close to my heart. Cernunnos has a certain allure. Really though, it's the god and goddess in all their forms; I'm just as likely to invoke Kali as I am to invoke the Morrigan. Shiva and Ganesh have a place on my altar; Shiva for my husband and Ganesh for me. 

I'm still learning. I've only done one real ritual/spell, and that was a protection ritual for my husband just after he deployed. It's comforting to have someone to pray to. 

In some ways it's not that I'm invoking a divinity so much as focusing my will through the lense of the idea of that divinity. 

But then again, there are times I've FELT the touch of the gods. I sat at a table with a man channeling Anubis, while another man at the table channeled Horus. I felt the touch of Bast and knew she wanted to join the fun, but she scared me too much. She gave me the feeling that if I let her use me once, she wouldn't give me back. And that I couldn't accept. I wound up shivering at the table with chills. (In a Shari's at 4 in the morning!) We finally packed up and left, and I took a hot shower when I got home but it took me some time to recover from her touch. I still have a connection with Bast, but I haven't explored it because I'm afraid of opening that path. 

So I guess that's my witchy background. I have an altar, I occasionally see things that most people can't see, and I pray to the two halves of the divinity. I rarely do spells or rituals, I'm not attached to a circle. I have a few pagan friends who I hold discussions with. And my husband, of course. I'd like to be more involved with the pagan community, and perhaps I will be soon, when we move out of the Bible Belt!


Andraste is a Celtic Goddess of Victory. It's said the hare is her sacred animal; it's often used in divination. (Of the "watch where it runs" type, not the "cut it open and look at the insides" type.)

I intend for this blog to be a place of pagan philosophical musings, as well as feminist thoughts and general pagan ideas.

A little about me! I am a 29-year-old woman, a somewhat eclectic primarily-Celtic pagan feminist. I am happily married, with a cat and no children. Happily child-free, though I do enjoy children, I just also enjoy sending them back to their parents. ;) I'm a hearth-and-home type witch; I do a little bit of kitchen witchery, but primarily my focus is in making my home and surroundings a serene, enjoyable place to be.