Tag Archives: Paganism

Signs That You’re a Witch?

I have seen *so* many videos on this lately. Luckily, most of them appear to be older, so maybe it was just a meme-type thing, but the truth of the matter is, there is only 1 sign that you are a witch. Ready for it?

You practise witchcraft.

That’s it. The end. You can’t really be a witch and not know it. Just like you can’t really be a carpenter and not know it. The word is a descriptor of an action or a trade. It’s something you know you’re doing.

Until you hit that point, you are a Seeker. And there is nothing wrong with that. Being a Seeker is the best! Everything is new and magical and filled with enchantment. Not that I’m saying that that feeling fades with time necessarily.

Even for me, 25ish years later, the spring time feels like life and magic, journeying, and meditation feel like home; but there are few things that carry the same trepidation and exhilaration that venturing down a new path does. It’s incredible. And it should be enjoyed for as long as possible.

In the beginning, having a name for your path can feel like the most important thing in the world. How can you have an legitimacy if your path doesn’t have a name? Let me ask you this: does the tree outside your window have a name? Does the bird flitting about the branches? Do they need one to exist?

Don’t be so quick to slap a label on something that is developing and growing. I can count on one hand the number of times that someone in real life has asked me about my religion, and more often than not, they ask if I attend church. My response is simply, ‘No, we don’t go to church.’ Another perfectly valid answer would be: ‘Sorry, I don’t discuss religion. It causes too much friction.’

Back in the day, our parents and grandparents held to a strict rule of ‘no discussing politics or religion at the dinner table.’ I, personally, pull that into my own life as often as possible. We very much don’t need to know every detail of our neighbours’ business, and they don’t need to know every detail of mine.



Well, maybe not shattered, but definitely startled, and a little upset. This morning, while moving some stuff to our new house, my new hawk’s eye pendulum fell off the counter and broke. The crystal broke, and the beaded section holding the hamsa at the other end broke as well.

I had already fixed the hamsa end by the time I took the pic. Still heartbreaking, tho

For the first few moments all I could do was stare. I didn’t know what to think. It wasn’t that far down, and I couldn’t believe that the whole thing had just broken.

What now? Do I replace it? Do I try to fix it? I have only had this pendulum for about two weeks, and already it was one of my favourites. And now it was just … gone.

The break was clean, I could fix it. But the question was, should I? For most of my life, I have heard that once a crystal is broken, that’s it for that job. Then it moves on to some other purpose, either given back to the earth or utilized for some other project.

It can still be used as a pendulum in it’s current … shortened state. It will still work just as well, but at the same time, I know I could fix it because the break was so clean (I am thinking it was an existing imperfection that allowed for the break).

Another issue to consider is that with both protection symbols breaking in the same moment, I cannot ignore the possibility that the fall and the break were the protection symbols doing their job. This is a new house with no protections built in as in my old house. I haven’t even had a chance to do a new house cleansing yet.

The practical side of my brain says that I am overtired, and jittery from lugging boxes, and what I really need is to chill and meditate a little. If we go the protection route, then the stone was likely protecting me from myself.

I still don’t know what I am going to do. There is an epoxy that I can buy that will fix the pendulum like new. Or I could buy a replacement crystal point. I will definitely need to meditate on it before I do anything.

Three Years Later

It’s been a long time. When I shut this website down three years ago,   I did it because there had been some family turmoil regarding my practise/faith/whathaveyou, and I didn’t want to make it worse.

A few days ago, I turned 40.

It’s a big milestone, if you believe in that kind of thing. I have been very contemplative over the past few weeks, and something that I am starting to feel very strongly about is how little I care about things that used to bother me. I don’t care about judgments. I don’t care about pleasing anyone else. I don’t care about living my life for the pleasure of others.

I’ve lost myself in the past few years, and I want her back. I miss me. I miss having a space to vent my thoughts and feelings. I miss having a space where I can explore my practise, and where it doesn’t really matter if I start a project and then forget about it a few months down the line (we’ve discovered that that’s ADHD, btw).

I was on YouTube today marvelling at how different the Pagan Community is today from when I was active online (SO so long ago). I have to say that I do understand a bit better the middle aged witches with the ever etched smirk as all we newbies tried to impress each other with our knowledge and ‘experience’. 😂

I do have to add, one of the things that still shocks me is how little has changed in 20 years. Practitioners with a few years under their belts are still having to explain that Witchcraft/Wicca isn’t satanic? Why? That rumour is from the 80s. None of them where alive during the Satanic Panic, they shouldn’t have to still be talking about it.

But I digress. I don’t know how often I will post here in the coming year. Maybe more. Maybe less. But I have decided that I want this space to be available. I want it to be waiting for me for when I need it, and I want it to be available to anyone else who might stumble upon anything interesting.

Cheers to new beginnings. 🥂

Witch Wars: The Fight to be Right – Circa 2006

Ten Years on, and I’m sad to say that this article is still entirely relevant. I think that the only thing that I would add is that I have removed myself completely from the scene. While there are times that I do feel bad that I didn’t stay in it to provide some manner of ally to the Seekers, I still believe that the best way to deal with Defender Trolls, is to disengage. The wealth of knowledge has grown exponentially in the last ten years. eBooks are a fraction of the cost of their paperback cousins. And only speaking for myself, if fate draws you to my inbox, I still happily answer all the questions I can.

A Less Travelled Path

Some Thoughts on Community

A community is something that most of us strive for. The gathering of souls of a like mind is a very powerful calling. Even those who are not converts from a monotheistic, congregation-style religion seem to seek the simple joys and socialization of worship with others. With the advent of the World Wide Web, that desire can be fulfilled in the space of a nanosecond, and you can find what seems like the whole of Pagan society at your fingertips.

Yet, for all the romantic ideals of people coming together for a common cause and enjoying the company of fellow Pagans, there comes an undeniable truth, that Pagans, just like any other group of people, come in all shapes, sizes and opinions. For those unaccustomed to having their own ideas challenged, the world of Pagan internet forums and email groups can seem like a barrel of…

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A Look Back at the Burning Times

This has been a ridiculously hard subject for me to order my thoughts on coherently.  I have thought about setting it aside and doing something easier and less controversial.  But I don’t think I can do that.  This is a conversation that has been waiting for over a decade.  That’s really long enough.

I’m sure that just about every Pagan has at some point come across the Burning Times myth.  I touched on it in 2004 in my article on Revisionist History.  In re-reading this article, I remember the mindset I was in when I wrote it.  Back in the early 2000s we were still fighting off the satanic ritual conspiracy myths, still fighting to be recognized as valid spiritualists rather than just a group of stoned new-agers dancing in the dirt under the full moon.

The modern version of the story traces back to a book from the early twentieth century called The Witch Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Murray.  I’m not going to go into a historical account of her work, or attempt to unravel where her information got twisted.  Current historical data has disproved her theories regarding ancient matrifocal societies that covered the western world.

What I do want to explore is the intense staying power this myth has had through the growth of Paganism in North America.  Witchcraft traditions really began to grow and take hold during the rise of second wave feminism in the 1960s and 70s.

It was a time of sociopolitical upheaval where young people all over the continent were standing up for the first time and demanding that their voices be heard — demanding that attitudes towards violence and war be changed.  Women were gathering in rallies to demand to be heard, and for their personhood to be respected.

Religious Witchcraft had arrived on the scene to show  these young people that a woman’s body was sacred rather than shameful and profane.  This is the climate that allowed for the myth that 9 million women were burned at the stake for practising a matrifocal religion to spread like wildfire.

In the 1990s and early 2000s we saw a resurgence of powerful women coming to the forefront of popular culture, and that brought with it another rise for Religious Witchcraft and its entwined myth of the Burning Times.  This was the atmosphere where I cut my spiritual teeth, so to speak.

By the mid-2000s, the myth had been soundly disproven, and it was cast aside by many with derision and extreme prejudice against those who chose to cling to it like gospel.  It was then, and still is today, I am sad to say, used as a club against Christians and Christianity as a whole.  Many wrap themselves in the mantle of victimhood, insisting that their spiritual ancestors were massacred at the hands of Christian zealots looking to wipe out anything different from themselves.

Now, when I say that the myth was disproven, I want to be clear that the Witch Trials were an actual thing.  The numbers and the fact that they were women/witches are the parts that are inaccurate.  The Witch Trials were also a time of much political upheaval.  Science, capitalism, philosophy, and even atheism were all on the rise, and the church of the fifteenth century was losing its control of the populace. The chaos, fear and deaths from this campaign against heretics and devil worshippers lasted for three hundred years, costing roughly 50,000 people their lives.

This is something that I think deserves to be remembered.  Three hundred years of people living in fear of being tortured and then burned alive because a massive institution was trying to stem the tide of change.

In my previous post on animism, I mentioned that the purpose of myths is to teach us sacred truths, and I believe it is so with the myth of the Burning Times.  The easy lesson is that anyone can be a victim of prejudice, and that extreme prejudice and xenophobia leads to death.  The harder truth is something that takes a lot more soul-searching to understand.

Like virtually every other instance of genocide in human history, the Witch Trials would have fizzled with far fewer deaths if it were not for the compliance of the populace.  Neighbours informing on neighbours, accusations made out of spite and greed — just as every one of the victims can be claimed as a spiritual ancestor, so can every one of the informants who brought the Witch Hunters to their village over a ridiculous and petty spat; and each one of those people who were too afraid or suspicious to help the accused, they are ours as well.

In the current political climate of our world, it hits home especially hard for me every time I see people demanding that refugees be turned away or that those with darker skin or a different religion be put through extra security screenings at airports, borders or other transportation hubs.

The Burning Times myth is a tale that grew up alongside American Paganism.  I don’t believe that it is something that will ever be detangled from our history.  It may sound as ridiculous as the story of Noah gathering two of every creature on the earth into one boat, but I believe that we need to own it all the same. And we need to understand its truths.

Bigotry is never ok — even against those you would see as your persecutors.  The other side of the coin speaks to complacency in the face of bigotry and xenophobia.  Do not welcome the hunters into your village.  Speak out in support of the hunted.

In the words of Ramana Maharshi:

“There are no others.”

New Year New Hope

In the wake of all the horror that is going on in the world in recent weeks, I have been feeling a need to go back to a place of comfort and strength.  For me, that is my spiritual practise.

I will be taking up a few projects that I have been wanting to work on, but haven’t for whatever reason.  One being the creation of devotional dolls.  I have troubles finding adequate altar statuary, and I’ve been drawn to create my own for a while now (more on that later).

Another new project for the new year will be a revival of sorts of the Pagan Blog Project.  The main difference in my reimagining for 2016 is that rather than a study and teaching article project, I want to focus more on inclusion and sharing.  In the wake of such an enormous upsurge of xenophobia, I want us all to share of our paths: Pagan, Polytheist, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, and anyone else who wants to join in.  I want us to share the beauty and the wonder we all find in the spiritual aspects of our lives.  If you have no spiritual aspect to your life, what does fill you with a sense of wonder and hope?

The project is tentatively named The Spiritual A-Z.  It will be bi-weekly (because the weekly nature of the PBP was always a bit too much for me to keep up with), starting with A which should be published on or around January 15th (that’s when mine will show up here).

My goal is for us to link each other’s posts at the bottom of the each article.  To help facilitate this, I am going to post a ‘Links Here’ page on the Monday before each article is to be published – for January that will mean that the link post will go up on the 11th, and the article itself will be posted on the 15th.

That’s about it so far as guidelines go.  Everything else is up to you.  If you want to use the article as a way to study your own practises, go for it.  If you want to write weekly, do it!  If you fall behind, no worries.

Please comment below if you are interested in participating.  All are welcome.

Another new thing will be that this blog will be getting a shiny new domain.  I finally bit the bullet and bought my own.  I’m going to have WP deal with all of the stuff and things, so it should go pretty seamlessly.  Cross your fingers.

I am still grinding away at my NaNo project.  Some days, it is the only thing that keeps me sane and away from the interwebs.  It looks like I am still on track to finish by the end of the month, but won’t be halfway through the story, so I am needing to keep up a pace of 1200 words a day to finish hopefully by the end of January.

Wish me luck!

The Plan 2015

I have been having a ridiculously difficult time writing this post.  Well, writing any posts at all, really.  I have been dealing with a hefty case of the winter blahs, and it has been sapping all of my ability to brain.

I have moments of clarity and inspiration, but by the time I find a pen to write it down, it’s gone.  Free writing/word association has helped a bit with getting the thoughts out of my head, but beyond that, stringing two thoughts together has been a bit of a challenge.  This is a difficult time for me as I still feel that energizing push to travel new paths and learn new things in honour of the new year.

The sunshine of the last couple of weeks has helped to lift the winter fog.  And while it may be a coincidence, I am also going to credit the coming of the Lunar new year.  Yay, Year of the Ram and the season of Pisces!

It’s been more years than I would like to think since I have worked on advancing my own path.  For some strange reason, inspiration tends to strike at right about the same time that I start considering joining teaching traditions.  It would seem that well travelled, nicely groomed and cared for trails generate a “run off and do my own thing” response in me.

Finally, I have settled on exploring the concept of sacred sound – be it chanting, singing, drumming, mantras, etc.  I am interested in delving more deeply into the assorted vibrations that echo through the universe and create change in the world.  I have found a couple of books on Amazon that I am going to be reading through.  If I find them useful, I may review them here.  I haven’t written a book review in a good long time.

I am excited for the warming weather, and the promise of the coming year.  Cheers all!

Life and Time

She changes everything she touches.  Everything She touches changes.

This chant has been on my mind lately.  And the “She”, to me, is Time.

This post has been in progress for a while now.  I have been thinking about where I began on this path so many years ago, what I wanted from it, what I hoped to find in the online Pagan community, what I wanted from life in general, and how all that differs from where I find myself now.

Earth Day
(Photo credit: AlicePopkorn)

I think it safe to say that I have moved pretty much completely out of the “Maiden” phase of my life (if you subscribe to such a theory).  I don’t go looking to be different, to carve out my identity, to find a place and a path that is just the perfect fit.

I’ve done that.  For years I did that.  Even when I first started trying to make my own way, I was still searching.  Still hoping for someone to tell me I was doing it right.  Trying so hard to live up to some imaginary standard.  Am I eco enough, am I liberal enough, am I honourable enough, am I artistic enough, am I enough?  It gets to the point where you feel like you’re drowning.

And then, as they say, Life Happens.  Things change, and you find yourself without the time to worry about such things.  My life smashed my thumb with a hammer and brought me back to hyper focus.  I could no longer force myself to care about the things that used to occupy my mind in my youth.

I lost all interest in the things that made the Pagan Community tick.  Aside from the constant fighting and outrage over the misrepresentation of the week, the addiction to study and record keeping lost its lustre for me as well.  My sought after project, creating a big book of shadows to pass down to my children, became less and less important once my children actually arrived.

These days, I’d rather capture their smiles with my D80 while running in the sunshine or run with them, than think about herbal remedies or crystal healing.  When my baby is cutting a tooth, I reach for the gripe water – the same brand that my mom used when I was a baby.  When my little girl scrapes her knee, polysporin goes on the bandage.

There are no poultices or potions.  The only thing I still really make myself is hand lotion.  The only remedy I really use is honey for a sore throat.

Does this make me less a Witch?  Does the lack of a practise or the lack of a solid theology make me less of a Pagan?  Does it matter to me any more?

The last one I can answer: Nope.

The practises I used regularly in my youth can still be called on when needed.  I can still move energy through my body with a single breath.  I use it when I need it (and with a teething baby, trust me, it’s needed).

These days I don’t like to think in terms of differences.  I like seeing how many “New Age” practises have been accepted into the mainstream, and just are generally accepted parts of life.  I like thinking about people as fundamentally the same.  We all think, we all feel, we all need.

La luce calda del tramonto (The warm light of ...
La luce calda del tramonto (The warm light of sunset) “Earth Day” (Photo credit: fabry … )

So where does that leave us?  This blog has evolved slowly over the years, and will probably continue to do so.  I have been thinking about what it would take to finish the Wheel of the Year page.  And whether I should keep it as a reference.  Beltane is coming up.  Hopefully, we will be done with snow by then.  We’ll see.  I have a new book I’m reading for an Animist Book Club dealie.  Keep ’em peeled for a post on that.

I may or may not post more on FB.  I am tending to prefer IG for my social media right now.  Now that it is starting to get sunny and warm, I will have more to post.  I’m also going to start-up the 52 Weeks of Calgary BP again.  Stay tuned.

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