What Sort of Witch Are You?

For some individuals, witchcraft is a journey of finding one’s unique style of magic, own cosmology, and personal philosophy.

This post was on Witches and Pagan in 2016, at http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/a-faerie-haven.html

Have you seen the popular lists of different types of witches—e.g., traditional witch, Gardnerian witch, Faerie witch, eclectic witch, hedge witch—with precise definitions for each category? These charts help some beginners. Learning you fit a certain style can be validating and reassuring. It also makes some newcomers feel they belong.

But this post is for beginners who find the categories make things really difficult. Everyone else, I’m not naysaying what works for you; this entire post is simply ideas and methods that work for me, in case they’re useful to someone. I don’t want the charts thrown out. They’re great for some people. And with that:

There are individuals whose witchcraft entails a journey of finding one’s unique style of magic, own cosmology, and personal philosophy. Being new to Pagan community and being told there are specific witch types, each with very specific definitions, can box these folks in, lead them to think they won’t fit anywhere in the Pagan community, and ill-legitimize personal self-discoveries that transcend the categories.

What if you come from a traditional witch family, talk to fairies, and enjoy practicing Gardnerian magic occasionally? Sure, that might classify you as an “eclectic witch,” but that term is redundant historically speaking; it was once a given that witches were eclectic, because witches understand the connectivity of all things. To me, the term “eclectic witch” robs me of my heritage. My witchy heritage fuels spells, making them powerful.

As to connectivity, the Old Gods unite me with the enchantment that flows through the entire universe. That current carries me, its sweep making me joyful, as it bears me toward even more joy. But “eclectic witch” implies magic is not in everything around me and thus denies what’s inherent to many folks’ witchcraft.

In the same vein, I see witches as wild creatures, transcending every limit. I’m a child of the Gods. Their infinite powers are mine. Mind you, I’m not suggesting I can successfully cast every spell anyone else can cast. I believe witches can have specialties.

In any case, categorizing keeps some people from developing specialties. These are folks whose process demands they look not at definitions but into their own selves and, despite how scary it might be, journey into seeming formlessness until it becomes recognizable as their special gift—their specialty.
WildCreaturesI love—and use—the different terms for types of witches. They’re great jumping off points, e.g., for connecting with like-minded individuals.

They also can be pointers. But I use the terms the old way: to evoke—lyric speaking to our wild witch hearts and whispering of the undefinable and unlimited—rather than as part of quantitative charts, mapping magic out so exactly as to be … boringly limited for some folks.

I love magic so much it makes me sad to realize charts might crush certain people’s magic.

Also, poor scholarship defines witch types incorrectly. For example, it’s sadly a current given that Gardnerian Wicca bears little resemblance to traditional witchcraft. I lived in a Gardnerian household in England with one of Gerald Gardner’s students and, as a traditional witch, I can tell you people living in that house practiced old-fashioned witchery. Furthermore, I met members of the family tradition that greatly influenced Gerald.

Lack of scholarship also portrays traditional witchcraft as consistently the same. It varied, village to village and family to family.

And many a scholar will say “eclectic witch” makes no historical sense. Global travel is not a modern occurrence. Various ancient cultures shared their rituals constantly.

Are you dismayed by witch categories because they make you feel the magical Art has been divided up like slices of a pie … and you feel like the whole pie? Be the whole enchanted pie.

If you’re a fledging witch who resonates with what I’ve written, I support you not by giving you categories to validate you, but by validating who you already are. Like most of us when we come into Pagan community, you’ve always had Paganism in your heart and life, perhaps without having named it as such. So trust what you already know and build on it. You have the intelligence and insightfulness needed to do so.

Enjoy the names for all the different types of witches, or use none of them. But claim your path as valid.

By “valid,” I’m not saying everything you do currently as a witch is always safe and effective. No one is perfect. Also, some spellcrafting requires substantial training. Get a teacher if you want. But don’t worry about what “type” of witch a prospective teacher is. Choose someone whose spirit calls you and who honors your spirit in turn, whether or not you know how to describe your path. Witches used to work together in all their differences and likenesses, getting along just fine, learning just fine.

I teach. Classes are mostly via group phone calls (aka telesminars): you don’t need a computer or any special technology to attend; just dial the phone. Subscribe to my free newsletter, which gives details about upcoming classes: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

What sort of witch are you? You’re you! So mote it be.

The Love-Witch: a Two-Month Faerie Ceremony

A two-month Faerie love-in! The unconquerable magics of love, gentleness, compassion, play, pleasure, and beauty will help you
* reach goals your heart longs for,
* make the world a better place,
* and enjoy wonderful self-care.

weebunnyhat1Some Pagans insist a “real witch” is always brooding, hexing, and amoral. Humbug! They might call this event “fluffy bunny Paganism,” but the event’s immense power syncs all the way to the center of the earth and rises all the way to the stars.

The Third Road tradition of witchcraft can be fierce and determined. We also have gentle magics that reach goals just as effectively. This event focuses on that gentle mojo, letting our love, compassion, and playfulness radiate to illuminate our lives and the world.

The world needs your loving light, which my student Jenelle Campion describes as a sweetness that’s invalidated.

This event is for witches who strive to be both wild and gentle, strong and compassionate. I call such a Pagan a “Love-Witch.”

You’ll be drenched in love! The event has four magics that add up big. You receive:

1) Long distance direct spiritual transmissions, three days a week, for two months. You don’t have to do anything for the transmission to work. I do the work for you.

Traditional craft—my magic spinning to support your every cell. The transmission shapes to you: it gives you what your heart needs next, helps you go heart-led directions, and nestles you into the love and bounty within the Great Mother’s heart. For two months!

2) Seven ritual circles of love, via group phone call. Our rites together draw on gentle magics—our loving suppleness, light-heartedness, and spiritual beauty—to make a better world, achieve personal goals, and nurture self-love.

These gentle magics also align us with the enchantments that surround us every moment—that power is Divine Love, the most potent magic of all.

It’s a Faerie Love-In! Our shamanic process will be compassion, play, beauty, and pleasure. I push students when needed, but not in these meetings. I’ll guide with a gentle touch. We can best bring gentleness, compassion, play, and pleasure to the world if we give that to ourselves in our own process. These meetings will model that for you.

weebunnyhat2If you’re the rare heart-led being, you know it’s hard to be an agent of love in a world where vision is often scorned by those who prefer greed and narrow-mindedness, Receive tools to do your work in the world and to take loving care of yourself in the process.

Win as an agent of love:

* Has darkness tried to snuff your bright light? We’ll discuss shining brightly without drawing attack and other protections.

* Learn gentle magics that create immunity to cynics, greedy people, and others who fight Love. Move through the world as a love-witch, without being crushed by attacks or discouragers.

* Give yourself all the love, compassion, and joy you readily give everyone else.

Receive personal attention. During tribe meetings, I’ll intuit lessons and rites that help you go where your heart leads and nestle you in Divine Care.

The group meets via group phone call. Simply dial the phone to participate.

We meet seven Thursdays, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM EST. Meetings are spread over two months’ time. Holiday weeks are among those we skip. Meeting dates:

November 10
November 17
December 1
December 8
December 15
December 29
January 12
Reserve Thursday, January 19,
same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.

(Direct spiritual transmissions start November 7, a few days before class, to begin our Faerie love-in before we even gather.)

3) Heart-Centering: On weeks without tribe meetings, a quick-to-read email centers you in your gentle witchcraft and heart-goals.

4) You receive a full color digital talisman tailored to your unique spirit. I magically activate the talisman to moor you to your Gods’ love and protection as you work toward your life goals and do Their work. Their powers and love feed yours. These talismans are my original art painted in trance. You receive yours as a JPEG by email. (I retain full copyright of my art. Commercial use of the piece is available at additional cost.) Here is one of the talismans, called “Silly Dragon Hiding.” Its detail is blurred a bit by this site’s download process:
sillydragonsmThe email explains the symbol’s specific powers, and includes instructions to receive the symbol’s blessings almost effortlessly.

Individually, all these services would cost $560. I’m reducing their cost:

Pay securely with PayPal, with two options. Both are big savings:

Option 1) Total cost: $460, with two easy automatic monthly payments of $230. Payments appear on the credit card associated with your PayPal account. This option is available if you have a PayPal account. Use the Subscribe button.




Option 2) Pay all at once by October 20 to save another $80. Total cost: $380. You don’t need a PayPal account. Use the Pay Now button.




Upon payment, your place is reserved, and I email you event phone number, etc. Refunds unavailable. For more info, or to discuss scholarship, partial scholarship, or trade, call 814-337-2490. I do not discuss this work by email.

You might pay long-distance charges to call the event’s number (a U.S. area code), depending on your long-distance plan. Charges would appear on your phone bill.

This two-month process can be used as one of the electives needed before advanced Third Road training.

No experience needed. But adepts are deeply impacted.

My poem “We Are the Old Ones” describes a Love-Witch:

We’re the Old Ones—ancient as forests—born into Gaia again
to continue our work and our joy.

We’re dreamers wanting to make a positive difference
by bringing love—and more love—everywhere
our free spirits wander.

We’re the Fey children of Mother Earth
who believe magic infuses
every aspect of Her being and all Her children.

We know Her gentle magics
are as powerful as flashy, overt magics.
We embrace both.

We know a flower found by the roadside
can be a transformative gift to a friend.

We’re the ones who defend
Gaia’s children from being harmed.

We’re the ones who speak up
to protect the defenseless.

We try to make our thoughts and actions
reflect the Goddess’ love.

We take care of people around us,
both those we know well
and those who pass through our lives.

We might do the above things poorly sometimes,
but they’re central to our lives:
we bring love, gentleness, and compassion to the world.
So mote it be.

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Spirit Doll

SpiritDoll1Sometimes our friends/clients don’t need “help,” even if we have skills capable of creating positive change for those we serve. Sometimes we serve a person best by investing our skill set in honoring them—and their circumstances—exactly as they are.

Here’s an example. I know someone who’s suffered extraordinary difficulties for years. I foolishly wanted to meddle—”save” her. I wanted to give her spiritual healings. I wanted to teach her shamanic exercises to become stronger. I wanted to show her abilities she doesn’t know she has. I wanted to make a protective amulet to ward off negative energy around her. I wanted to, I wanted, I wanted. None of it was what she wanted … or needed.

Mind you, everything I longed to do for her is perfect for many of my clients. And could be perfect for her at another time.

But the following is what I did. I made her a totem. As I chose objects for it, I let go of what I thought was “right” for her. Instead, I selected items to honor and celebrate who she already is.

The totem’s sole purpose (oh my, voice-recognition translated that as “soul purpose”) was to represent how wonderful she is. I completely let go of all other agendas. That included releasing the thought that her experience of my celebration might empower her to make changes I felt could help her with her struggles. She knows best, not me.

So there’s a long bone bead with stars in it, because if anybody has stars in her bones, it’s this woman. The wood is European Elder—sambucus nigra—and is a piece so young that it’s mostly soft, spongy pulp—fragile, as are we all. Its youth also gives it a wondrous sensitivity like my friend’s, and a gentle, subtle, yet dynamic magic that my friend has. The ladybug portrays another aspect of that.

SpiritDoll2

Three luminescent cobalt beads represent the mysteries she lovingly serves. A bead that is probably tiger’s eye and one that is probably goat horn represent how down-to-earth she is; she modestly infuses sacredness into her daily mundane responsibilities, though they are immense and humble.

A purple bead symbolizes the beauty of her spirit and the beauty she gifts people around her. A leaf indicates her care of Gaia’s children. I made the wool bead on top because … well, she’ll know why. And I had to add something sparkly because she is Fey.

At some point in its creation, this wall-hanging chose to be a doll. (Heh, a wall-doll.) So I spun yarn (which I felted a bit to help it set, since its winding wouldn’t be held tight by a weaving or the like) to shape the body.

Is “totem doll” an actual term? … This totem doll represents her spirit. … The term “spirit doll” is popular nowadays. … I could call it a “poppet,” because that’s a term for a doll used in magic. Not that I expect my friend to do spells with this, unless she wants to, but this doll was used magically in that I blessed it. And to play with words, “poppet” is a traditional term of endearment; making this artifact was an expression of love.

SpiritDoll3Creating the poppet was an unexpected gift to myself: I no longer need to fret about someone I hold dear. Affirming some of this woman’s wonderful attributes reminded me she has many other amazing powers, so needs no rescuer; she has every resource she needs within her, including the ability to ask for help when she requires it.

In case someone reads this post as an either/or proposition: I do not usually choose between helping friends/clients create positive change and honoring them exactly as they are. Most of the time, serving them both ways is beneficial.

Facilitating shifts they want in themselves and in their lives is a more respectful process if I also mirror back to them, in word, visual art, or ritual, their beauty and power—including that which is hidden to most eyes and that which they do not even see themselves.

It feels important to mention this sort of mirroring and affirming of those around us can require as much skill, thoughtfulness, and magic as does helping them make changes. For example, I have the psychic ability to see the beauty and power in people, even if they cannot.

Why is it important to mention the skills involved? Because people with lots of skills for creating change can feel frustrated when they can’t use those abilities for someone they care about. But you can apply your gifts another way—to honoring someone just as they are—and accomplish something vitally important. People need to be respected for who they already are. People need to be fully met right where they are.

Sometimes trying to “help” someone robs them of dignity. If instead, we honor them as they follow whatever path they choose, achieve victories that are important to them (as opposed to victories you think they need to gain), make the mistakes they need to make, and explore the parts of themselves they think vital to explore, we give an invaluable respect. That respect is also known as “love.” So mote it be.

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Upcoming Seven-Week Ritual

Witch Power, Ancestors, and Past Lives:
A Seven-Week Faerie Ceremony to Strengthen Our Magic and Our Hearts
This group will meet by teleseminar aka a group meeting by phone.

Our DNA is made of stardust, so magic fills every cell of our bodies. In our veins, ancestors’ blood flows, coursing back to the fiery explosion that created all existence. That dynamic creative power to manifest anything is within us. It is the Old Magic.

MyWebmaster2012SmIn this ritual, we will:

* Heal ancestors and be aligned with them, making our witchcraft and mundane acts powerful. (If you have reasons to avoid ancestors in your specific lineage, there are still ways to do this part of the rite.)

* Heal from centuries of stardust DNA being refuted and suppressed.

* Claim our stardust DNA, casting off confused doubt about our fey essence and gaining confident clarity about being innately magical.

* Heal trauma from past lives.

* Regain the enchanted power and beauty of past lives.

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The above photo is of my mom, may she rest in peace. Her witch blood flows in me, telling me I’m a Goddess. We’re each a God, descendant of the Faerie race. This ritual helps us access our Divine power. The Old Ways can be fully embraced.

This ritual empowers both novices and adepts.

This event is a Faerie Druid rite and a prerequisite for advanced Third Road Druidic training.

Nuts and Bolts:
* These are group meetings by phone. To participate, just dial the phone from anywhere.
* Class meets seven consecutive Thursdays, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm EST, starting Thursday September 15.
* Reserve Nov 3, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Tuition: $250. Your usual long-distance charges apply, and appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* Enroll securely using PayPal. Sign up for “Special Event” at http://www.outlawbunny.com/special-events-registration/
* Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved, and event phone #, etc., emailed to you. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call me at 814-337-2490. No refunds.

ScrollBarHThe Old Gods promise freedom:
we have the right to
an enchanted, fulfilling life,
ease in our steps,
wildness in our hearts,
health in our bodies,
and trust of our beautiful fey souls.
This is a witch’s freedom.
Find it,
celebrate it,
live it: click here to attend the Witch Power ceremony.

Pagan Trends, Absolute Truths, and Trusting Yourself

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Trends change rapidly in the Pagan community. We often see “an indisputable fact” ricochet to its exact opposite within years. These “truths” cause immense discord. How can we navigate these treacherous waters without disavowing our own personal wisdoms? We all find our way of doing it. If I share mine, perhaps that might make finding yours easier.

So, a story:

Way back when, most American Pagans insisted traditional craft was nonexistent. People became downright nasty in their disdainful insistence there is no traditional witchcraft. Nowadays, many Pagans discuss traditional craft, what it is, how to do it, and where to learn it.

The party line back then was that anyone who claimed a traditional craft lineage was a liar. The person in question might be completely discredited.

To the best of my understanding back then: a big name Pagan dishonestly validated the material he taught by saying he’d gotten it from his grandmother, a traditional witch, but he lied about her being a witch.

People just decided, if he was lying, everybody else must be. Good grief!

Ok, let me continue this tale by adding how it affected me personally:

I was raised in a longstanding European-based shamanic family tradition. This was hardly a secret to some of the Pagans I knew. But, in case it’s useful context for the rest of my story, I didn’t have a best selling book yet, so the number of people who knew anything about me were far far fewer than later became the case.

You can imagine, amidst all the vitriol and possibility of being totally discredited, I was thoughtful about when to mention my traditional witchery to a Pagan. I wanted to avoid the near certainty of being branded liar in the larger Pagan community.

Close friends knew my family background, and I’d tell others when it was important. In fact, when the bestseller did come out, its back cover mentioned my mom was a Sicilian witch. To do otherwise would’ve insulted her and all my witch ancestors. But I also used discretion. For example, skirting my family history in casual conversation.

What I’m saying is: navigating the dangerous seas of trending “absolute truths” was challenging—for one thing, it can be frightening to buck popular opinion—but I found ways to maintain integrity while also guarding my emotional equilibrium. We can keeps our spirits whole. Here are two navigation skills that worked for me:

One is knowing it is vital to trust your own beliefs and respect the value of your own experiences, despite people who try to hit you over the head with trends to make you feel ignorant or otherwise not as “authentic” a Pagan as they are.

The second navigation skill is discretion. I want to practice discretion about whether to say something.

Nowadays, most people use the word discretion to mean holding silence. But discretion can also mean wisely considering the best course of action, judging each situation according to its specific circumstances. I’m using the latter definition here. So, in terms of our topic, discretion might lead one to speak—to good purpose—or to remain appropriately mum.

It’s vital to speak up for your beliefs when there’s good reason. Losing self-respect does not constitute successful navigation of treacherous waters.

As to choosing silence, let’s start with the example of avoiding arguments with people who aren’t going to listen.

Back when mentioning a family tradition might completely discredit you with many people, I was at a dinner party where someone who was constantly on power trips declared, in a high and mighty tone, that as a scholar she was devoted to naysaying the possibility of a family tradition. She did not know I came from one. I didn’t tell her. (A friend in the know did surreptitiously wink at me. That was lovely support.)

Most people who jump on trending absolutes will neither listen nor engage in a courteous, informative exchange of ideas, because they’ll rush to prop up wobbly egos with pseudo-knowledge. They’ll just try to browbeat you into feeling you’re wrong, though that may not be their conscious motivation, bless them. Wasting your time in a verbal entanglement amounts to letting someone’s pseudo-truth get the better of you. Your time is sacred.

Yet if she had been honestly interested, and merely misinformed about whether traditional witchcraft existed, I might have discussed my family.

Important aside: Though I avoided an argument at the dinner party, I admit my record’s not perfect with that sort of thing. Luckily, seeing how it depleted and upset me helps me not repeat the mistake any more. A hard won lesson, but one that frees me from other people’s opinionated insistences.

This blog is long but the following feels vital. Another example of discretion and silence:

(Please note, I’m going to use traditional witchery as an example in this essay again. That’s a coincidence. The examples have no relation. So don’t think you need to connect the dots between examples.)

More than once, a segment of the Pagan community inflated their position to one of dominance by stating “superior” pseudo-truths, and I could have deflated their posturing by disclosing a bit of traditional witchcraft’s sacred lore.

I stayed mute about the lore. I was blessed to have received it, so would not disclose it merely to prove a point to people who would not have viewed it as precious information but who would have pawed it.

They’d have greedily grabbed at it as mere words—exploited it as verbal fodder they could parrot to appear in-the-know and first string. (Heh, at least I got to feel smug about keeping my mouth shut. … Ok, I admit, feeling superior wasn’t good for me.)

Had I said anything authentic, nobody would have cared. The agenda on their table was to show how important and “wise” you were. That was not an agenda I wanted to be part of, even though telling them traditional material would’ve moved me to the top of the food chain. But climbing up would have actually, as the old expression goes, dragged me down to their level. … Goddess, I was tempted anyway. … Maybe smugness about my silence was my solace.

My story about being silent is relevant to discretion stopping fake truths from derailing your personal hard-won beliefs, in the following ways:

Opening my mouth would have been my ego reacting to theirs, as well as meeting their attempt to move up in a hierarchy with a similar attempt of my own. Both of those would have betrayed my personal belief in not living in ego or falling prey to power struggles.

It also would have wasted my time and life force, instead of me going about my merry business, living happily according to my own ecstatic truths.

Responding to someone’s power play with one of our own can be incredibly tempting, but also incredibly damaging to ourselves. Ego-driven magic and power-hungry grabs put someone on the slippery slope of chasing chimera more and more, less and less living joyously in the beautiful world the Goddess created for us.

Had I shared the lore for the purposes of my ego, I also would have debased that material. Reduced to mere words in order to feed my ego, the power of that beautiful material would’ve been lost to me, crumbled into dust like Faerie gold.

There’s one more way someone’s pseudo-truth would’ve gotten the better of me if I’d blabbed sacred knowledge for the sake of ego and dominance. I would’ve betrayed my following personal truth: I hold my religion sacred by only using it for honorable purposes. To do otherwise, I would truly have failed navigating the rocky seas of community-enforced pseudo-truths and sunk to the depths.

When magic and spirituality become tools to create unhealthy hierarchy—aka dominate others—they go sour. So does the spirit of the practitioner in question. His soiled shamanic path is handed down to his students, its very essence feeding their worst aspects, perhaps subtly but thoroughly. A nightmare for the community.

When magic and spirituality remain tools to serve, in respect for our differences, those tools become more powerful and capable. So do our spirits. Free of contentious opinions and excess verbiage, our innate magic fills each day, often silently. We become blessed by—and a blessing for—community.

I hope some of my above opinions are useful to you.

I teach traditional craft. My Gods bless me with wise students: They are wise in so many ways, but one is that we all respect each other. Honoring our differing views as assets allows each of us to uniquely contribute to the group’s magic and well-being. This in turn allows each of us to benefit from all the participants’ strengths.

If you’d like to join us, I teach mostly via group phone calls—aka teleseminars. Subscribe to my free newsletter, which tells you about upcoming classes: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

Have a magical day.

Traditional Witchcraft, Spirituality, and Ethics

FDG2016TphatCurrently, it is a prevalent opinion among Pagans that traditional witchcraft was strictly magical, lacking theology or moral aspects. While I can respect that theory, it is not congruent with my own experiences. I suspect whether traditional witchery had sacred or ethical aspects varied by locale or by family tradition.

I never argue with anybody’s experience, only their theory. Theory is ever-changing. I’d never want to invalidate anyone’s experience, including my own. I’ll share mine below.

My experiences lead to conclusions that differ from the aforementioned current popular Pagan position. I hope to add to the Pagan dialogue on the topic, and provide support for those who, like me, have an unpopular point of view.

Growing up in a family tradition, I learned magic and a mystical worldview con leche. Therefore magic and mysticism were a given, as much a part of life as the air I was breathing. In the process, a religious and ethical worldview was deeply ingrained in my cells.

Note I say “my cells,” not “my brain.” It took my entire childhood and adolescence to imbibe the tradition’s basics, because cellular lessons take time.

The understandings of the tradition were so deeply imbedded in our home life that much of the family tradition was taken for granted, not out and out spoken, but more implied and lived. This includes the theist or moral aspects.

In fact, calling it an understanding in the above paragraph is somewhat of a misnomer. It is not so much an understanding as a way of being.

In any case, a lifestyle with many of its important aspects being subtle or unspoken seems an earmark of many traditional witches I have met.

When I got older, I saw that this subtlety sometimes causes people who were viewing the family tradition from the outside to not see the tradition’s deep religious and ethical roots, only the more overt—and perhaps less core—trappings. When I participated in family traditions in Europe, I usually found deep religious and ethical roots in them.

Observers are not engaged in the family culture. They are standing outside it, watching. Only by being part of a shamanic family culture over a long period of time can one can really understand the culture. The notion that to watch something is to fully understand it is a fairly current concept of scholarship. As I said above, learning the traditional witchcraft of my family required an experiential, long term lesson.

It has become almost de rigeur to insist traditional craft never had sacred or principled aspects. This makes it important to me to write this post about my family tradition, because I feel I’m speaking up for my Gods, for my witch ancestors, and for others who feel as I do.

I do not like it when a theory ceases to be a theory and becomes a mandated belief—in other words, when someone is mouthing somebody else’s words to, consciously or not, invalidate other seekers. Unfortunately, the concept that traditional witchcraft had neither ethical nor theological base has become yet another Pagan rote declaration, usually said—or written—in an intimidating tone of I-know-better-than-you-so-whatever-you-think-is-stupid.

I can admire people who authentically believe other than I do. An informed and friendly exchange of ideas about traditional craft, spirituality, and ethics could be a lovely thing. Healthy debate is a wonderfully educational process for everyone involved. A supportive, respectful, and thoughtful exchange of ideas can do wonders.

But debate is not the same as trying to legitimize and define one’s path by invalidating someone else’s. That hurtfully invalidates a lot of newbies who already feel insecure about their belief system. This can crush a newcomer’s spirit.

Coming to our community, hoping to finally find fellowship, but instead encountering someone just as invalidating as mainstream society, can be doubly heartbreaking, because they thought they had finally entered a safe space. So they often never participate in our community again, and end up without support in their Pagan explorations.

People who need to squash others in order to validate their own power have less power than they think, and more mere bluster than they realize.

Thus, I felt impelled to write this post to support invalidated Pagans.

A last thought on traditional witches and ethics: perhaps in some cases, a lack of morality had less to do with any tradition and more to do with human nature. Some people just take anything, even that which is moral and sacred to begin with, strip it of those roots, and use it for their own selfish—or even evil—goals.

I hope this post is a useful contribution to Pagan dialogue about traditional craft.

If you want experiential lessons in traditional craft, I teach The Third Road, a tradition I channel, informed by the magic of my ancestors and my mom. (Channeling teachings is part of traditional craft.) I teach mostly via group phone calls—aka teleseminars. Here’s the link to subscribe to my newsletter, which tells you about upcoming classes: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

Bless you.

Fey Witch

This is excerpted from the two-volume Third Road Book of Shadows, available here: http://stardrenched.com/2016/10/01/book-of-shadows/

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ScrollBarHI am a fey witch. Magic is my heritage and my salvation. I will not be deprived of it. I will remain ever immersed in the magic that flows through the entire cosmos.

This subtle current dances about me all day, even in my sleeping hours, empowering me and making me whole. It heals me, delights me, and celebrates me. It relieves me of my pains, doubts, and flaws. It removes obstacles.

Oppressors deny magic, lest we use its ever available power to live wild and free, with direct access to Deity and the gifts Deity bestows, independent of dour religious institutions and oppressive societal hierarchies.

But magic is real and a Goddess-given right. I would go further to say magic is a living aspect of my Goddess. No one will rob me of my Goddess and Her power. I live in magic.

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In the two-volume Third Road Book of Shadows set, the above prose-poem is ornamented with more detailed art than I could post here if I wanted this webpage to load in less than a decade.

But the graphic at the top of this post is part of the art in question. And I made the little graphic at the side especially for this post, because I love ya!

Did you enjoy the post? Get the book set here, available only from the author: http://stardrenched.com/2016/10/01/book-of-shadows/

Magic Is Sacred

GdsBlsRtl

My beloved witch,

The Goddess blesses your rituals. I wrote/painted the above picture-poem as the third and last meme in my mini-series about the sacredness and beauty of witchcraft.

The previous two memes are here and here.

(All three memes blurred a bit, because I shrunk the files so their webpages would appear quickly for you.)

I call them poems, though they could be viewed as prose. To me, they’re poems or prose-poems, both in that they are lyric and evoke magic.

I believe one of my jobs as a bard is to evoke magic. I’ve not seen that description of a bard in a historical text, but I know in my bones and past life memories that the Gods choose some bards to create ritual aka bardic poems.

My class lectures are sometimes lyric and other times straightahead prose, but on some level they are still my concept of bardic poetry.

Are you a bard who creates ritual? Or were you chosen to do bardic work other than ritual creation? We all are given such different jobs by the Faerie Queen.

I combine words with art to further the experience. Even when I first started teaching shamanism, class handouts sometimes had my calligraphy and artwork, though they were far more primitive than they are now. But I feel that extra effort added blessings.

I make memes like this not just for my site but also as Book of Shadow pages for myself and students (aka handouts). I’m fascinated with painting borders around my words to add magic for Book of Shadow pages. I even had to paint a border for the newsletter button below this post.

… Oh, if you wonder what the newsletter button has to do with Books of Shadows, bear with my following explanation, since at first it may seem to have no relation to the topic:

Ok, to me a Book of Shadows page points to your day and how you can live it magically. In the same vein, I teach oral tradition—which the written word cannot convey—and you only grasp oral tradition when you use its lessons by living magically in your day. So, in the final analysis, your day is your ultimate Book of Shadows, because it is your life that holds the most magic, not any text. Your life is the real ritual, not the words on any page.

And my newsletter is a doorway into that oral tradition, because it announces upcoming classes. So I can think of one of my newsletter buttons as the front cover to a Book of Shadows. So mote it be.

Since I view life as the ritual, it might seem contradictory that I work hard crafting my words and visually ornamenting them. But I want my pages to be really good pointers to the magic available in the world around us, so they can help me—and hopefully other people—see how to live a day magically. I believe that is why Goddess gave me gifts with words and art. Blessed be.

BoSNwsltrSm

Upcoming Event

Full-Tilt Magic:
A Go-All-the-Way Unfettered Ritual
to Live Free and Consummately

FullTlt1To explain the upcoming ritual, I need to start by sharing a personal vision of what I’m working toward in my own life:

I want to go the whole way, the last 9 yards—full happiness and prosperity, while of maximum service and burning off the last of my karma. I don’t want another incarnation.

I will go all the way to touchdown, at peace like a wolf howling at the moon or wrestling with its cubs.

I am a fey witch. I choose to be free. I do not bow to anyone’s opinion of me. I choose the wildness of my heart.

The vision describes what I want. Do you want it too, you untamed Faerie witch? We will work toward it together: Participate in my upcoming seven-week ritual. Run free with me.

I’m accepting fifteen people for this ceremony. To be one of them, there are some ideals to strive toward, or the rite will be wasting your time. Participate in the ritual if you will work toward these goals:

No excuses. No playing victim. Instead, take the next step toward your dream life, right away. Heck, maybe that’s choosing your dream life. Find what power you have—small or large—and use it right now.

Give up your ego. Instead of identifying with greatness, do great things. Know when you are getting in your own way. Know when you are getting in the way of the Cosmos loving you. Ride the magic currents sweeping through the World Tree—ride them in their wildness, embracing their magic, power, and beauty.

Surrender. When bad comes your way, accept. When good comes your way, accept. Surrender to serving your Gods all day. Be part of the world change the Gods long for and created you for.

Start now, no waiting. Great endeavors begin when someone says, “I’ll do what I can.” If all you can do is five minutes, that’s a legitimate start. Don’t wait to be you. The world needs you.

No one can fully achieve the above ideals. One of the goals of the ritual will be to empower you to achieve them. Know I am working toward them myself. I live them to whatever degree I can manage today. Today. Today. Join this group, then accept that you fall short—let go of ego. Ego keeps you frozen, not taking action. Accept your imperfections, so you can do great things today.

Though this post kicked off with a verbal expression of my vision, I’d like you to also see the vision and upcoming ritual represented by a painting:

GreatFreedomSm

Our meetings will consist of
* full-tilt transformative ritual—we will rock ‘n’ roll,
* direct spiritual transmissions from me to bolster your spirit,
* and assignments tailored to your journey, challenges, and strengths.

This Third Road Faerie ritual qualifies as one of the two electives needed before advanced Third Road training. Not to worry: if this ritual doesn’t appeal to you, other qualifying electives will be coming.

Nuts and bolts:
* These are group meetings by phone. To participate, just dial the phone from anywhere.
* We meets seven consecutive Thursdays, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm est, starting Thurs March 31.
* Reserve Thurs May 19 same time, for a makeup session in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned meetings.
* Tuition: $250. Your usual long-distance charges apply, and appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* Upon receipt of payment, your place is reserved, and event phone #, etc., emailed to you. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds.
* Scroll down to enroll: enter your phone number and pay securely with PayPal.


Pls give yr phone number.



I call forth your wild self, come be with me, I call you forth, I call you forth. The shamanic dancer, I call you forth. The heartbeat of the shaman, I call you forth. Be of maximum service, run free, and otherwise go the whole nine yards: Enroll now.

I am a fey witch, so mote it be.

DNA and Ancestral Ritual

DNA Science and magic meet. I won’t choose between mysticism and science. They can feed each other.

My ancestors are spiritually important to me. So I’m combining science and spirit in a deeply personal way: I ordered an AncestryDNA test kit.

A mystic, I travel through the blood in my veins, back through time, to discover the ancient ways my family once practiced. Today, the logical rational side of me does the same by spitting into a vial. This test tube becomes a chalice that arrived by mail, enclosed in plastic. Two supposedly disparate halves of me come together to feed my spirit.

I mailed my saliva, part of my sacred body, to scientists, who will analyze it to reveal my ethnic background. They’ll go back through many generations, the same way my meditations have. Their work will expand my otherworldly travels.

The lab analysis will determine where my ancestors hail from, based on a science my layperson’s mind can’t understand, no matter how much experts explain it.

Many scientists would be equally puzzled by my ability to uncover historical information by meditating on my blood. I have my expertise, they have theirs. I get to draw on both.

A relationship with my ancestors, in ritual and daily life, is pivotal to me. They lovingly support me. And I tend them. Trance journeys give me a strong intuitive sense of my ancestors. The DNA results can help me know whether my intuitions are correct.

It would be fine to trust my intuition without the DNA results. (Check out my blog about that: Mysticism and Non-Academic Scholarship.) But corroboration is useful.

Science can support my spirituality in other ways, too.

For one, I come from a European shamanic family tradition. Some of my family history has been lost. I’m hoping DNA will fill in gaps.

For example, I might see how major societal events impacted my family’s past generations to shape the family’s spirituality. That familial story could provide context to better understand my own path.

Luck allowed me to gather a staggering amount of anecdotal evidence about my ancestors. Information from relatives, and from strangers I don’t know but who have my last name, and from other sources, provided enormously convincing material, when looked at as a whole. I believe anecdotal evidence is part of folk culture and one source of the old wise ways. This fecund anecdotal evidence can be augmented with DNA science.

For example, the DNA test might help me gather more anecdotal evidence, if it leads to relatives I hadn’t learned about previously. They might know family history I don’t.

DNA results could also be a jumping off point for more ancestral rituals. I love the wisdom of ancient cultures, and appreciate reenactment whether based in textbooks’ history or intuited history. I revere native and ancestral spiritual practices. These leanings feed my desire for DNA info about my ancestral roots.

I can best explain another reason for wanting a test by telling you a personal story.

A friend of mine was part of a DNA study. Before continuing the story, let me be clear: I’m not part of any study. My test kit is from AncestryDNA. They’re not experimenting on me, and their tests results do not show an ancestral timeline such as you’ll read about in my friend’s tale. I checked out some companies, and AncestryDNA seems to give the most comprehensive results. If you’re interested, their kit is also easy to use.

Back to my story:

My friend phoned me one day, and exclaimed rapturously, “I got the DNA results. My family originated in Egypt!”

Then she added, “My later ancestors migrated to Greece. Guess where else my ancestors migrated to?”

I responded, “Mongolia?”

There was a long pause. Then she said, in a stunned voice, “That’s right! How did you know?”

“It was obvious. Your immense love for Egyptian religions motivated you to become an Egyptian scholar, devoted to reviving ancient Egyptian spiritual practices, which became part of your personal devotions. Later, you seriously worked with Greek Gods. Then, you channeled material that had no geographical basis, as far you knew, but later found out that the material resonated with documented Mongolian traditions.”

I continued, “Your family only told you about your Caucasian Irish lineage. But your earlier ancestors influenced your mystical life. Your spiritual quest this lifetime follows the migration of your ancestors, step by step!”

The point of my story: I want to know if my DNA matches my various spiritual leanings.

There can be valid reasons we’re drawn spiritually to cultures we were not raised in. Our DNA might be one of those reasons. I don’t hold with the idea that you should only use the spiritual tools of your obvious ancestors.

Mind you, I am not okaying co-option. I’m saying legitimate cross cultural shamanism exists.

That legitimacy is hard to come by. It would take a whole book to explain how to pull it off ethically and otherwise, so I won’t get into it here, except to say:

By “cross-cultural shamanism,” I don’t mean “core shamanism,” AKA the idea that shamanism is primarily the same in all cultures. I disagree with the modern standardization of shamanism.

My experience is that shamans individualize according to cultural differences, and way past that, individualizing family by family and person by person.

My personal definition of legitimate cross-cultural shamanism is an ethical, thoughtful blend of earth based mysticism as it manifests in various cultures.

Moving on:

I am a little worried. With adventure, comes fear of the unknown: am I going to like the DNA test results?

But mostly I’m excited about the DNA adventure I am embarking on.

And I feel gratitude for science and magic.

When the DNA results arrive, I’ll post them here, and share how it impacts my mystical journey.
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Note: I first posted this blog May 2015 at http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/a-faerie-haven.html and post it again here for those of you who tend to read me here.
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