Upcoming Event: the Old Ones

Starts November 28

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Some individuals interested in The Love-Witch (a two-month Faerie ceremony I’m currently leading) can’t attend its meetings and asked for an alternative. I felt my Gods were talking through them.

So I worked out something that has some of The Love-Witch ceremony’s energy but does not require meetings. Here’s what I’ve set up for them and you:

Receive three yummy magics:

1) Long-distance direct spiritual transmissions for two months! The transmissions help you center into your love, gentleness, compassion, playfulness, pleasure, and beauty. They are supple, unconquerable magics that help you:

* Reach goals your heart longs for.

* Make the world a better place.

* Enjoy wonderful self-care.

Over the two months, the more you’re centered into those magics, the more they’ll automatically align you with the enchantments that surround you every moment. Those enchantments are Divine Love, the most potent magic of all, and it takes care of you even when you’re not doing spells.

The transmissions also help you:

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

* Be immune to cynics, greedy people, and others who fight Love. Protect yourself, make boundaries, and, undeterred by discouragers, move powerfully through the world as an agent of love.

* Be happy and free, as your spiritual beauty radiates to illuminate your life and the world.

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You receive the direct spiritual transmissions three days a week, for two months! You don’t have to do anything for the transmissions to work. I do the work for you.

2) Centering emails: I call someone a “Love-Witch” if they believe love, gentleness, compassion, playfulness, pleasure, and beauty are magic. Every other week, you receive an email that supports the Love-Witch in you. The emails discuss some of the issues I mentioned the direct spiritual transmissions focusing on.

3) Both months, you receive a different full-color digital talisman I intuitively choose for your unique goals, strengths, and challenges as a Love-Witch. The talismans are my original art painted in trance, and I magically activate them. 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. Your talisman will be clearer:
sillydragonsmI will email you a description of your talisman’s specific powers, along with instructions to receive the symbol’s blessings almost effortlessly.

Individually, cost of these three services would add up to $380. I reduced your price to $300.

Pay securely with PayPal. Two options:

Use the Pay Now button to send me the $300. You don’t need a PayPal account.





Or use the Subscribe button to make two automatic monthly payments of $150. Payments appear on the credit card associated with your PayPal account. This option is available if you have a PayPal account.





For more info, or to discuss scholarship, partial scholarship, or trade, call 814-337-2490. I do not discuss this work by email. Refunds unavailable.

No experience needed. But adepts are deeply impacted.

Again, spiritual transmissions start November 28, so register now.

Love Witches can be considered the Old Ones. Here is my poem We Are the Old Ones:

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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Using Scorpio Energy Regardless of Your Sign

faerierlmwetwpnk2smThe days from October 23 to November 21 are governed by the astrological sign of Scorpio, making Scorpionic powers easily accessed throughout that period. Here are some ways to draw on that energy to improve your life.

The Phoenix, symbol of rebirth, also represents Scorpio, which is the sign of death coupled with regeneration. I think that’s one reason many people find fall weather so energizing and renewing.

However, renewal usually requires effort. We might be loath to do that work if we lose hope that positive change is possible. A personal, joyous, spectacular Phoenix rebirth I had a few years back proved to me we can reach happiness and victory if we grow from rough times.

I mean, I had an immense financial, emotional, and physical renewal after a nightmarish time. If you need belief that change for the better is possible, check out my post about that rebirth, my friend: http://stardrenched.com/2014/02/05/phoenix-resurrection/ (I did both its Phoenix paintings.)

scorpioHere’s yet another way to build hope. Scorpios tend to go through many renewals in their lifetimes. That Scorpionic sense of renewal flows through the natural world strongly right now so, if you want to trust renewal is possible, take a walk in the fall weather; it might inspire you.

Scorpio deals with deeply hidden parts of life and self. Scorpios are often intuitive, insightful, and good spiritual healers. (So no surprise that this is considered a witchy time of year.) Part of being empowered by this scorpionic time, at least for me, is affirming and celebrating my intuition, psychic abilities, and spiritual healing. These traits are often invalidated in this culture. So it’s good to affirm and celebrate them now and again.

William Blake said, “If the Sun and Moon should doubt, they would immediately go out.” So instead of doubting your magic, intuitiveness, and other hidden wonders, try the following celebration. It only takes a minute or two: Notice the vigor of fall and the peacefully darkening weather. You might feel how they reflect and affirm the witch in you. Whether you feel that or not, say the following affirmation a few times: “Blessed be the hidden beauty in me and my efforts to see it.” Yep, it’s a simple ritual, and it works.

Preparing for the upcoming Pagan harvest festival Samhain, I’m dwelling on how wonderfully suitable Scorpio themes are for Samhain rites. So during a ritual I’m creating to celebrate a Faerie Samhain, I will lead attendees through a process to draw on Scorpionic energy to empower themselves.

Scorpios like to indulge (I should know, I’m a triple-Scorpio.) Much as I like the ideas I’ve offered in this post, I want to take the Scorpio energy a lot further during the Samhain rite, full-tilt celebrating our beautiful, beautiful witchiness and the dazzling magic that surrounds us every day.

You’re invited to attend. The ritual is a free event, via group phone call, and is open to all. My enewsletter will have full details. Subscribe by clicking here: http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/InfoForm.htm

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.

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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.

Spinning Happy Magic

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I’m experiencing excitement and serenity simultaneously, from being so close to publication of my two volume Book of Shadows.

Self-publishing is difficult but gratifying. My sense of accomplishment has me almost dizzy, I’m happily spinning.

Spinning! Heh, once I sent galleys to the kind folks who are proofing them, I worked part-time over the course of a few days to restore my energy. I learned to spin yarn, to celebrate being so close to releasing the project.

SmBanr Spinning! Headlong. I spun and spun. Think of Alice falling down the rabbit hole, headfirst and shouting, “Whheeeeeeee, I love this!” She lands where the Red Queen is actually nice, the rabbit doesn’t run away but frolics alongside her on the weighted end of a drop spindle, and the caterpillar—who spins silk and blessings—teaches her the exact magic she needs.

My gratitude, happiness, and sense of accomplishment about the books flow through my day, twisting along the silk and wool fibers I spin. As is often the case with gratitude, mine turns a celebration about one part of my life—the upcoming books—into a celebration of life itself. I’m a witch who experiences a flow through all things, a flow connecting everything, as the cosmos spins. I twirl within the cosmos’ twirl. The cosmos is happy about my books.

They’re a two volume Third Road Book of Shadows, every page ornamented by my shamanic art. So mote it be!

Once I correct any mistakes the proofers catch, the books are done. Like most authors, I’ll be one of the proofers but needed a few days away from the pages, so I could see them with fresh eyes.

These books are like visits in magical, inspiring landscapes. I’m gratefully spinning my day because soon I get to share something I love dearly—some of my deeply personal otherworldly realms—with readers. I’m grateful for these Fey places that add beauty and enchantment to our lives.

Everything is connected, spinning together like fibers joining on a drop spindle, the value added to my dear reader’s life adds value to mine. We are all one.

Spinning in celebration of the books becomes spinning in celebration of life. Spinning gratitude becomes spinning magic to bless my day.

Doing the writing, art, layout, cover designs, and the enormous self-publishing process is a lot, but I’m always trying to pull off huge things. It works. My ownership of the process, spinning it all together, allowed me to create exactly what I wanted to share with my readers—my fellow seekers, fellow spinners of magic and happiness.

Been too busy with the books to make a webpage about them yet, but today had time to make small versions of the book-covers for you to see. Volume I’s cover is above and here is Volume II’s cover, but neither is as clear and sharp as the actual covers are, or this page would’ve taken forever for you to load:

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Once the set’s released, I want to figure out options for low income folks who can’t afford the set. This makes me happy, adds momentum to my spinning, to the cosmos’ spinning.

This Book of Shadows consists of two full-color PDFs. Current combined page count is 191 pages, but it might end up a bit more or less.

The book set costs $50 but right now presales are $43. (Update: the book set has been released, and is still $43. If you want more info on the books, their official page is up. Go here: http://stardrenched.com/2016/10/01/book-of-shadows/ )

These Faerie books will be available only from their Faerie author … spinning it all together … spinning happiness from my heart to yours. Keep spinning, my fellow seeker.

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Lammas Ritual 2016

TeaPartyOBPlease join me for the Third Road Lammas celebration, Tuesday August 2, noon to 1:00 EST.

The Faerie Queen and King want to join us. We’ll do a visualization during which Oberon has promised to lead us in a forest frolic. And She has offered to bless us with Fey sparkles and advice about abundance and good cheer.

The event is a group phone call. Free and open to all. (Your usual long-distance charges apply, and appear on your phone bill). No experience needed.

To participate, call 1-712-775-7000. When prompted, enter 1095248#.

Dial three to five minutes before noon; it can take a bit to connect, and latecomers are not allowed.

On the off chance technical difficulties keep you from getting through to the conference line, or the access code there does not work, email me. I’ll fire you back a workaround.

This ritual is going to be fun and deep magic!
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Traditional Shamanic Culture and Business

Rosmrta

Did you know ancient Celts had a goddess of marketing? Or that their shamans charged for many of their services, as did ancient Native American shamans? Did you know ancient Mesoamerican merchants traveled to find sacred goods?

Shamanic culture once brought the sacred into commerce, in a way we desperately need today for two reasons:

1) It will allow us fulfilling, loving, profitable work.

2) It can help stop the immense, worldwide suffering caused by callous business practices.

The division of sacred and profane in the marketplace strikes at the core of human rights, Faerie witchery, and happiness.

As a witch, I’m part of a long heritage of magic used as a tool to free people from oppression. As long as the marketplace is driven by profit to the point of callousness, instead of by an ethical focus on being of service, results will remain tragic.

So I developed innovative theories and methodologies that provide a missing piece of witchery—a shamanic approach to the marketplace. I teach it in my new book:

A Sacred Marketplace:
Sell without Selling Out or Burning Out.
Mysticism + Marketing = Sales.

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The book is two pronged in its benefits:

1) Many ethical, loving people have special gifts they want to bring into the marketplace but are stymied because they can’t figure out how to maneuver the insanity of our current business world.

These folks include artists, psychics, coaches, and others in alternative fields. Also included are people whose heartfelt dreams are less obviously special—e.g., you can make cosmetics in a loving way.

A Sacred Marketplace shows good people ethical ways to thrive in business. The book teaches

* easy, powerful, ethical marketing

* my personal philosophy of life, which is shamanic and spells out why it is moral to earn a living doing what we love and how doing so is vital to the well being of all Gaia’s children

* shamanic exercises to help you actually live that philosophy and develop personal traits for career success

2) The other benefit: if these good folks were in business, their sheer presence would help shift our business world into one where people matter more than profit. These loving practitioners would not have to do anything other than be present in the marketplace.

More talented good-hearted people in the world of commerce will—without these individuals even trying to do so—automatically transform the dominant business paradigm for society as a whole, from corporate, uncaring greed to loving concern for the individual.

I’m delighted I was able to create this book’s material. I am proud of my work in a way this society tries to squelch. Be proud of yours. Enter the marketplace with your special gifts and be prosperous. In the process, you’ll make a better life for everyone.

I care about you, so I beg you: do not wait. Great endeavors start when someone says, “I’ll do what I can.” If all you can manage is reading two minutes once a week, and you have no time to analyze what you read or to apply it, that’s a legitimate start. The book is Third Road shamanism, which means you absorb on a gut level, just by reading. Do it. Click here for A Sacred Marketplace: http://www.outlawbunny.com/2015/10/15/a-sacred-marketplace/

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.