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.

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.

Pagan Monastery

Pagan Monastery
A Month of Ongoing Magical and Spiritual Support

Three times a week, throughout February,
I’ll lead 15 minute rituals, via group telephone calls:
* Mondays 11 AM EST
* Wednesdays noon EST
* Fridays noon EST

KeepingPower2012-04#2

Scroll down to enroll: enter your phone number and pay securely with PayPal.


Pls give yr phone number.



The brief ceremonies provide safe haven you can fit into your life to focus on self care. An ongoing structure like this also ensures a bit of ritual during your week. And enjoying rites three times a week might inspire you to do more, if you so wish. You do not have to go it alone, here is support.

For decades, I’ve lived as a Pagan monastic (that’s the term I made up for it, because I think it describes my life style to a T). Magical and spiritual practices are well integrated throughout my day. I’m experienced at creating them and know their immense power. I’ll use what I’ve learned to create rituals for you. Join me in my virtual Pagan monastery.

During the rituals, you also receive direct spiritual transmissions to strengthen your spirit.

FDG2015C

Read the following mundane structure of these 15 minute phone calls, so you know whether this service will suit you:

1) Latecomers not allowed. Dial in three to five minutes before the hour, because sometimes it takes a few minutes to connect.

2) We start ritual right away, wrap up ritual at the end of the 15 minutes, then get right off the phone. Containing the ritual within the 15 minute phone call allows participants to fit this in their day, and allows me to fit it into my day so I can provide this service.

3) So there’s no time for discussion. If you’re in crisis, the ritual is an opportunity to find respite, center yourself, or benefit in another way, depending on what ritual I’ve decided to lead that day. Though there’s no time to discuss your situation, you’re welcome to call me to book a shamanic counseling appointment.

4) If a problem comes up specifically related to the ceremony, I’ll discuss it with you either right after the ritual or soon as possible.

5) The first meeting will be orientation to set us up for future meetings.

6) You’ll need about two minutes after every session to do our special Third Road grounding.

Because of the disciplined monastic structure, you receive the ongoing nurture of communal rites. Consistent ritual keeps me centered, happy, productive, and focused on my life goals.

Nuts and bolts:
* These 15 minute group-meetings are on the phone. To participate, just dial the phone from anywhere.
* We start Monday Feb 1 and go through all of February.
* Reserve the first Wednesday and Friday in March, same time, for makeup sessions in case I’m unavailable for planned sessions.
* Total cost: $130. 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, I email you event phone number, etc.
* Call me—814-337-2490—for more info or to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan. Do not email me. Refunds unavailable.
* Scroll down to enroll: enter your phone number and pay securely with PayPal.


Pls give yr phone number.



Power can fill your day. Invest in you. Enroll now.

Goddess Womb Dreamcatcher

GdsWmbDC1S The only lore I’ve read about dreamcatchers is specific to dreams and nightmares. I sensed a deeper layer about visions—and an even deeper layer about the Goddess. To convey everything I channeled, I crafted a poem and a sculpture. I call them both “Goddess Womb Dreamcatcher.”

The poem and sculpture also convey my thanksgiving to Goddess.

To make the sculpture, I felted wool into organic shapes like leaves, vines, flowers, and a feather. I attached the shapes to a V-shaped stick, so the Dreamcatcher would be reminiscent of a woman’s reproductive system.

The poem is below, but first a detail of the Dreamcatcher: the wool sculpted feather.

GdsWmbDC2S

Shout out to the folks at Living Felt, where I purchase my wool: they sell quality felting supplies, created without cruelty to sheep, and provide exceptional customer service.

OK, this is the poem, (prayer, affirmation, contemplation, story, brilliant insights, brilliant application of said insights, visualization, ritual, etc.,):

Goddess Womb Dreamcatcher

All visions spring from the Goddess’ belly.
They travel down
until they meet a feather,
then tumble from between Her legs,
onto my mind.

I give thanks.

My mind is a womb upside down, though my mind is right side up.
My womb is a mind upside down, though my womb is right side up.
I am whole if I live in paradox.

I give thanks.

All life is woven within Her womb.
She’s the spinner who spun Herself into being.
I offer the life and art I weave to Her.

I give thanks.

NesltrSqTShe is the dreamer and the dream.
There is no Dreamcatcher but Her.
I send Her my dreams as an offering.

I give thanks.

The Goddess protects me—
captures both nightmares and sweet dreams,
taking them into Herself,
then birthing only the beauty
into my waking day.

I give thanks.

Yes, She’s Nightmare as well
—cackling menace in my powerless hours,
which are both sleeping and waking.
Even in those times, She holds all creation
—including the whole of me—
as the weaving of life that’s safe in Her womb.

I give thanks.

She bestows on me Her complete Self:
all creation and all beyond creation.
My ideal: give Her no less of myself,
offer my entirety
to Her and Her dreams.

I give thanks.

NwsltrOrTr

Be a Goddess Training

Would you like to be personally led through the shamanic training program in my book Be a Goddess!? Keep reading.

Be a Goddess! was written for independent use, so a lot of people completed it on their own. But one size does not fit all. To honor that, I am facilitating a group. Honor your particular style!

This will not be oral tradition. Instead, we meet to: support you as you work through the book’s lesson plan; answer questions; and otherwise provide camaraderie and motivation.

Nuts and bolts:
* We meet in group phone meetings, for a total of 8 meetings, every other week. No computer or special equipment needed; just dial the phone to participate.
* In the drop-down menu below, register for the group that meets every other Sunday 4 to 5 pm EST, starting August 11 or the group meeting every other Tues noon to one, EST, starting Aug 13.
* Reserve Sun Nov 24, 4 pm or Tues Nov 26 noon—respectively—for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* You need the book with you at all meetings.
*Total enrollment cost is $250. You might also pay long-distance charges; it depends on your long-distance plan; charges appear on your phone bill. The area code for the event 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. Do not email me; my disabilities do not allow me to spend enough time at the computer. No refunds.

BaGCertI made this document especially for the group. Click on it to see it larger and clearer. When you finish our eight meetings, I will email you this graphic, without the watermark on it. Fill in your name and the date to be proud of you.

Free bonus: A private online forum for our Be a Goddess! training group. Participation not required. (I will not take part. There’ll be plenty of time at our phone meetings to ask me questions. The forum allows you to talk freely between group meetings without the book’s author involved. I will, however, monitor the forum for technical problems or inappropriate behavior, so that the environment is safe and supportive.)

And any participant is welcome to phone me with questions a couple of times during the course of the lessons.

Do you want to finish this Faerie training and reap all its power? Scroll down to register, I probably won’t be able to do this group again for five years.


Choose one of the groups in the drop-down menu.



Hiding, Healing, Power. Pt 2

If you missed part one, here it is: http://stardrenched.com/2012/06/13/hiding-healing-power/

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Hiding - Fey Strega in Training

Hiding, Healing, Power. Part two
Written and painted in March and/or early April, 2012.

This little Italian girl is another example of someone hiding. Why do you think she is hiding?

Dear site visitor, I want you to see the Faerie tale illustrations at their best. When WordPress shrinks a pic to fit the page, it blurs. Please click on a painting to see it unblurred; it makes a real difference.

Everyone who hides has a story. What is yours? It is okay if you hide some of it.

Here is part of hers (she wants to hide the rest): When she first hid, she had a pretty place in her mind. She started building it. First, she made the window frame you see her peeking out of.

She lived behind it with her Faerie cat. She giggled there a lot. The cat dozed in brilliant shafts of sun light that came through the window. As she slept, she dreamt up schemes for the little girl. They had many adventures, and no one saw. Except other Faeries. So many giggles!

It took a long time, a lot of work, and a lot of hiding to build more. (Sometimes you hide to find quiet magic, so that you can even imagine secret places in your mind.)

For years, all she had was that window frame to hide behind. But it kept her safe. I mean, look at all the detail she put into it!

Little Bunny in a Tea Cup. Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture

And by the time she had grown up, her home was finished.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Want to know what adventures she had as a grown up? I’ll post part 3 in two weeks here. I blog once a week, and am alternating between this blog and the blog at my other site. Two blogs with two separate RRS feeds.

Please use the nifty Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ buttons, right below, to share my Faerie tale. Thank you for your support, it’s the only way many folks will know about my new story and refurbished site (the site you are on has been updated lately with a new look and all sorts of other new stuff).  I cannot do it without you! If you do not see the buttons, you’re viewing this blog entry on my site’s home page. Just click this http://stardrenched.com/2012/06/27/hiding-healing-power-pt-2/

Hiding, Healing, Power

Faerie art, Francesca De GrandisHiding, Healing, Power
Written and painted in March and/or early April, 2012.

I call the following piece a Faerie tale. That is accurate but not by most standards. The piece is part my thoughts, part my paintings, part my methods for empowerment (perhaps in less overt forms, such as asking you a question), mixed with little magical stories told through word and visuals. By my definition of shamanism, that is a faerie tale: The sum total helps you live in myth—live in myth generally speaking, and in the particular myths I’m creating here, and in your own unique myths that this piece can help you find and/or better dwell in.

I painted the illustrations brush stroke by stroke—digitally. I just paint on a computer screen instead of a canvas. And with that:

Hiding Fey Warrior In Training. Click on the painting to see it large and without blurring that occurs when WordPress shrinks a pic to fit the page.

Part One

This is a Faerie tale about healing and power. And about hiding. This story is for grown ups.

Sometimes we need to hide. There are many reasons. We might have to hide because we hurt. We find a safe, secret place to heal, or at least to be away from whatever might hurt us.

Do you ever hide? Do you need to tell someone why? Or is it better that no one knows you are hiding?

Sometimes we hide because it is fun.

Sometimes we hide to be alone with our thoughts.

Or with our “imaginary” friends.

Hiding, Faerie Healer in Training. Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture.

When children have to repeatedly hide to protect themselves, it can injure their spirit in ways that haunt them into adulthood. But they’re doing the best they know how to keep themselves safe, and that is an act of power.
 
Hiding can also be an act of power when motivated instead by happy events and sweet wishes. We don’t always stay out of sight because of fear and pain; for example, you might simply tuck yourself away in a special place for a while, in order to flourish undisturbed. 

Some people hide to gain powers that only come where no one—without those powers—can see them. They work hard and often joyfully, secretly doing what the Cosmos asks of them. That is what this little Fey fellow is doing—he is a Faerie healer in training.

And perhaps he is also making himself safe from trouble; if you ask him sincerely, he might tell you. Or maybe he’ll just keep peeking out at you from his hiding place.

I’ll post part 2 in two weeks, here. I blog once a week, and am going to try alternating between this and the blog at my other site. Two blogs with two separate RRS feeds.

Please share the URL to my above story; here it is to copy and paste for Facebook or an email or whatever: http://stardrenched.com/2012/06/13/hiding-healing-power/    I want folks to know about my new Faerie tale and my refurbished site (the site you are on has been updated lately with a new look and all sorts of other new stuff). Thank you for your support. I cannot do without it, truly! Oh, wait…I am so 20th century! Unless you’re viewing this blog entry on my site’s home page, you can like my Faerie tale with the nifty Facebook button, right below, next to the Twitter button and the like. Duh!

Ethical (and Unethical) Fey Teachers

The following was a post I made on the Faerie Nation Yahoo group in 2008. I’m blogging it now because the problems it addresses keep on happening, I recently heard instances of it that broke my heart. And they did not all happen to a newbie! I hope my thoughts helps someone.

Ethical (and Unethical) Fey Teachers
Francesca De Grandis, May 5, 2008

For hundreds of years, fairy glimmers in the woods have beckoned, reflecting our secret longings, illuminating our honest needs. Puritanical moralists caution us about the evils of the fey. But we know better than that: The good folk can help free us from repressive religions and absurd social strictures. In addition, when we are barraged by a logic that denies magic and miracles, that fairy glimmer reassures us, telling us that mysticism is real, and that the wondrous is possible.
 
But not all the realms of fairy have beneficent dwellers. There is an Unseelie Court. And not all fey-touched magicians can be trusted, whether they call themselves fey, faerie, feri, fairy, or faery. (To define Unseelie in an oversimplified manner: Just as the Faerie Queen and her Seelie court might help us, so the Unseelie Queen and her followers are more likely to malevolently perpetuate great tragedy for humans.)

Eagle with Iris in Great Darkness, Francesca De Grandis. For info about a limited first edition print of this painting, click on it

Sate your hunger for luminous mystery and faerie mysticism, and for the fellowship thereof. But don’t let that ferocious appetite, authentic though it is, blind you to the following fact. Some people with immense glamour and fey power are pawns of the Unseelie Court. Perhaps this happens because power has made them so haughty that they are unwitting dupes for the forces of evil. Or perhaps they themselves become outright evil. Whatever the reason, it does happen.

Silence allows it to continue. I might sound strident but: I will not tolerate Fey practitioners who participate in molestation of children, sexual harassment of students, disregard for magical safety, and flashy curriculums lacking a moral compass that withstands the rigors of daily life. I am available by phone (814-337-2490) if you’re concerned about yourself or a friend when it comes to such people. Newbies to the community are vulnerable, and I post this warning for them and for anyone else who needs support around these issues.

While many cautions against the fey realms can be rightly interpreted as disguised attempts to suppress us, and to make us milquetoast, there are valid cautions. Dark mysteries needn’t be an excuse for a teacher to dominate. Wild hearts don’t mean that a teacher can ignore your sexual boundaries. Powerful magic needn’t lack caution. The quest for utter fulfillment needn’t lead to hollow longings or addiction.
 
There are dark mysteries that are wholesome, wildness that is authentic, satiation that is both attainable and ethically possible. Powerful magic can safe. Fey fellowship, wild lovers, and powerful teachers can be both otherworldly and good. Find them all!

Francesca De Grandis, May 2012

So mote it be.

In Her service,
Francesca De Grandis

**********

Here is another blog by a woman named Mae that also addresses this issue. (It also says very kind things about me. Mae, thank you again.)

 

 

 

Blessing #2 and Gratitude

Detail, Faerie Landscape, Outlaw Bunny

As the relaunch of this site approaches, I pray to all gods I hold dear, World Tree, the lines which I come from and which I create, and the rest of my Faerie crew, please keep safe and bless this site.

Please keep safe and bless all who support this site through their direct work on it or simply by visiting in good cheer.

Please keep safe and bless me and mine, all my work and all my life.

May this site be maximum fun and beauty, helping cosmos, my Gods, Tree of life, the lineages I come from and which I create, the rest of my Faerie crew, and all beings stay safe, whole, ecstatic.

May this site be maximum service, helping all be safe, whole, ecstatic.

Keep me and my work in your light
that my own light be bright—a beacon.
May all I do and am be a shining beacon
for those who should see it—not a beacon to me,
because I am too frail to carry anyone,
but a beacon leading people to Divinity, as they see it,
that they be loved so fully as to be stardrenched.

May I shine bright in joy.

May I shine free from harm.

May I shine hidden from anyone who’d try to
extinguish my light or otherwise harm me and mine.

May all for whom I am the right spiritual guide find me.

May this site create abundance for me and tribe. 

May this site and all my work
be a welcoming hearth to star-dusted travelers.

May all I do here be according to the Divine Will.

Thank you. So be it.

Dear visitor, a bit of the above blessing is adapted from an earlier prayer I wrote on my other site.

On another note: Humbled by blessings in my life, I had to paint this banner to express gratitude. It hangs in my kitchen. I put it here to send thanks into the universe, to you who bless me—this includes a site visitor who blesses me simply by a single good-willed visit here, whether now or any time since the 90s when the site started.

It is such joy to love my gods, ancestors, and the rest of my community­—the joy of loving a blessing itself.

I feel excited wonder about all the blessings this site has received during our revamp of it, so want to share about that in upcoming blogs.

Thank you for visiting.

Kathi, my webmaster. I painted it in gratitude for and homage to this amazing woman