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.

Scrying on an iPad

Scrying on an iPad
Using Commonplace Items for Scrying

ScryCalS Fey Witches tend to be resourceful, using what’s on hand, instead of being uber-consumers. In that spirit, here are helpful hints for determining which everyday objects you already own are suitable for scrying, to spare you an unnecessary purchase.

As a reference point, let’s start with items commonly used for scrying:
* crystal ball, either quartz or glass
* polished obsidian ball or egg
* fire in a fireplace, fire pit, or cauldron
* large concave clock face, which has been painted black on one side: if you place the clock face so that it’s like a right-side-up bowl, it would be the bowl’s outside that is painted; then when scrying, you’re looking into the unpainted shiny surface inside the bowl.

Now that you know those traditional objects, you can search your home for something similar. Be creative and you might end up choosing—or adapting—an unexpected object.

When teaching scrying recently, I’d told people to bring scrying tools to the class and that, if they had nothing else, to bring a candle. A lit candle is certainly a traditional scrying tool.

One student had trouble scrying in her candle. A candle flame is one of the more difficult things to scry in, because the flame provides such a small point to focus on. So I asked if she had a large black bowl. Many witches fill a large black bowl with water and peer into that for divination. I do not know if that’s traditional, but it’s definitely an option.

She had no such bowl. Then I got really excited, because I remembered she has an iPad. I grabbed my iPad and looked at it. Sure enough, it was a perfect scrying surface. Take note, I did notice my iPad was grubby with my fingerprints, so would not be good for scrying without a cleaning. You want a smooth reflective surface (although there are exceptions, but that’s a whole other story not relevant to most peoples’ scrying).

TrdWtchPsbltTraditional witchcraft relies on the ever present sacred possibilities that surround us disguised as mundane objects. See what you have on hand. Look around the room and note where your eyes fall.

After suggesting the iPad, I realized—and therefore suggested to the student—she could just take a small piece of clear glass and lay it on a black piece of cloth, then scry into it. In fact, if you had a clear plate or bowl, you could do the same.

In the same vein, use an old picture frame. Paint the back of the glass black. Once the paint’s dried, put the glass back in the frame. I suggest you choose a simple frame and paint the frame black as well. My reason for that will become apparent in the following paragraphs.

Something to keep in mind when choosing or creating a scrying surface is the benefits of simplicity. Recently, I’ve seen scrying mirrors for sale with beautiful elaborate frames. I wonder if those frames might impair one’s scrying when one is first learning. My reasoning is as follows:

In my early scrying days, I placed a crystal ball on a black velvet pillow, not only to hold the ball in place but also to serve as background. Very simple. And if memory serves very traditional.

In the same vein, traditional scrying mirrors I’ve seen are frameless; if set at all, I’ve only seen them set into black velvet boxes. This speaks of a simplicity I believe is conducive to scrying. I have never seen elaborate settings or complex backgrounds in traditional scrying tools.

(I guess one could argue that ancient witches, in using what’s on hand to scry, would not turn their nose up when faced with an elaborate object. But that argument starts caving in when I realize simple things are more available. For example, in ancient times, it was easier to access a dark moonlit lake—or, at least, a dark moonlit puddle—to peer into than it was to approach an elaborate mirror protected in a fortressed palace. Often, witches would only have simpler items on hand.)

Another reason I suggest simplicity: When learning to scry, using a black bowl filled with water required I play with the surrounding light. In other words, I had to try scrying in the bowl to see if it worked better in a fairly dark room or a room with a single candle in it. I decided I needed a candle, but then had to determine its best position in terms of its reflection in the water. Or even whether I wanted it reflecting in the water. Otherwise, the water became less tenable as a scrying medium. I don’t remember what I decided, but my point is I needed utter simplicity.

In fact, I just realized my iPad is black, but some are white. I imagine white ones create a white frame around the black screen. If that’s the case, you’ll have to try it out to see if a white frame is a distraction or other problem.

Perhaps elaborate frames and backgrounds will not be a problem for you. For one thing, my preference for simplicity is based on the particular Faerie scrying modality I know, which entails a relaxed, soft focus that complex backgrounds can mess with. Perhaps there are other scrying methods that do not involve that soft focus.

Plus, my quartz crystal ball has a veil through its middle, and it does not distract me. But I’m not necessarily a good reference point, because I’ve been scrying for decades, so it would take a lot to sidetrack me. I can scry into complex objects. I’m not saying that to brag (we all have our strengths). Instead, it’s relevant to our topic:

I’ve taught a lot of people how to scry. Over the decades, students repeatedly told me scrying has been one of the hardest magics they ever attempted; overall, my students found it so difficult that a large percentage never pursued it past their assignments from me.

The context of this feedback from students is important: a good number of these trainees who could not scry well did fine with almost all other magical techniques I gave them. Even more striking is that they also tended to be comfortable using some divination form other than scrying. And even more striking is the fact that, among the students who could not scry very well were amazingly talented—and advanced!—witches who mastered far more daunting spells from me. They mastered spell after spell I gave them, and magical technique after magical technique, willing to work endlessly to become an adept.

So no point making it hard on yourself with ornate frames and backgrounds, or stones with elaborate mottled patterns, or the like, unless they happen to suit your style.

Another suggestion: different witches seem to do better scrying into different mediums. Some seem to do better in water, some in fire, some in crystal. Keep that in mind, so if one household item you try doesn’t work, it may not show a lack in you but that you chose the wrong item for your particular predisposition.

So those are some considerations when trying to choose—or adapt—something you already own for scrying.

Play around, see what works for you, and let me know how it goes. If you come up with something new, share it below so that others can use it for their own scrying.

Blessed be.
BoSNwsltrSm

Oral Tradition’s Importance

The society that murdered thousands of witches also hid the nature of oral tradition, burying even a hint of its immense power to remove our shackles.

OrlTradSqSm

I’m a dinosaur, but will not give up teaching oral tradition. Its power is needed.

The trend is online classes. There is also some good money to be made there for teachers. But I’m committed to oral tradition, so teaching online isn’t an option. It’s not oral tradition, at least not as I know it.

Mind you, I leave each person to their own definition, and I support each Pagan’s choice of teaching methods. I’m not here to debate what is or isn’t oral tradition, or what teaching method is best.

Instead, here I’m discussing my commitment to the indescribable experience of glory and power conveyed only through a certain style of teaching, whether you call it oral tradition or Francesca’s style or George. :-)

It’s interesting I used the words “indescribable experience.” The term oral tradition was originally used (in part) because there was no point in writing it down. No record could possibly convey it—it was indescribable.

The indescribable beauty and freedom of a lifestyle informed by oral tradition keeps me committed to it.

Beyond my students’ note-taking during classes, any record distorts—and might even corrupt—the original transmission. I don’t allow recordings of my oral transmissions. Nor do I provide transcriptions of them. Sometimes I ask people to refrain from taking notes.

Oral tradition can happen by phone (known as teleseminars). That is the medium I mostly use to teach. We transcend time and space to walk between the worlds together.

Past life memories tell me a communal knowledge of oral tradition was exterminated centuries ago: A society driven to murder thousands of witches also hid the nature of oral tradition, to bury even a hint of its immense power to free us from external and internal shackles. Thus, oral tradition is tangential to how our society as a whole represents it. It is not a discussion group, therapy group, or support group.

You know what? I don’t think I’ll call myself a dinosaur. I’m actually a gorgeous, powerful dragon. The gems in my dragon hoard are the treasures of oral tradition. I’ll keep sharing them, while my dragon tail encircles them and my students from those who would rob us of this heritage.

I don’t expect anyone to believe oral tradition provides benefits and beauty that cannot be received elsewhere, until they experience it firsthand. Something happens I can’t describe here—there’s that word “description” again—because it cannot be explained in writing, it must be experienced.

Technology’s seamless integration into our lives makes tech an extension of a person to some degree, but that does not turn online exchanges into legitimate oral tradition. I do not know a way to transmit oral teachings via vid chat, even if no record of it is kept. Once again, explaining that is beyond the limits of the written word.

No one can understand my underlying reasoning for my position unless they talk with me … talk, as in oral tradition.

Many people have been shocked or puzzled because I’m a best-selling author whose phone number is on her webpage. As hard as I am work writing books that transform lives—I’ll spend a decade writing a single book, because my standard is sky high—I work even harder on oral tradition, because my Gods told me to center there. As powerful as my books are—there are few better—my oral teachings are even more powerful. I love living in oral tradition.

So I put my phone number out there. 814.337.2490. For one thing, some people need a taste of oral tradition to know whether they want to work with me.

To enter oral tradition with you represents a willingness on both our parts to show up—take responsibly for the moment and be present in it. Then unparalleled magic fills us.

I’m blessed by students who take responsibility for their lives. Some live in the now so fully that they make a long-term commitment to learning my oral teachings, so we can moment after moment after moment create mind-boggling changes in our lives.

It’s hard to make that commitment. But even if they have insane schedules, relentless financial pressure, or other enormous, daily demands, they make time. Lo, their schedules become less crazy, the demands get fewer, the pressure relents, and they move into their dream lives. Oral tradition is about living life to the max.
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Cleansing Away Negative Influences

Traditional Purification Spell Adapted for Modern Pagans

EggWLvs

This time-honored ritual cleanses you of negative energy that you have accumulated. Even if outright evil’s touched you, this spell can help take care of it.

It is simple: rub a raw egg over your whole body. Do not break the egg; you’re rubbing the unbroken egg, still in the shell, all over yourself.

A modern twist: If you’re concerned about salmonella, hard boil the egg first. Do you have an opinion about whether a hard-boiled egg would be as effective? Let me know. Here’s my opinion:

I prefer the traditional spell. I’d also prefer a world in which salmonella was not even an issue. And I’m not going to give up eggs for breakfast or for magic, just because we live in an imperfect world. That would be letting the negativity of the world get to me.

Magic is a tool to deal with an imperfect world and make it better. This spell helps rid me of the negative influences of this imperfect world. So I adapt the spell.

Also, I think the effort of hard-boiling somewhat compensates for the loss of the vibrance in a raw egg. Your effort is a form of energy, a vibrancy unto itself, which adds to the spell. I don’t mean you have to have any intention of that when you boil the egg. Your effort is simply energy, without you even trying to make it so.

If you feel the need to further compensate, I wrote liturgy for that purpose. Say it right before you rub the egg on yourself: “This egg is part of the circle of life. By this and by the ancient Mysteries which have long empowered this spell for witches, I shall be cleansed.”

Traditionally, you then throw the egg into running water, such as a river or stream. If that’s an insane option—e.g., you can’t reach running water without traveling an unreasonable distance, or winter has frozen the nearby river, here are modern alternatives:

Wherever you dispose of it, be sure it’s far away, where negative energy the egg has taken on does not come into contact with anyone, and where the elements can purify the negativity away.

When I had really good plumbing and lived urban, I’d smash the egg into my toilet bowl and flush it. I figure that constituted running water, LOL. Then clean your toilet, so no egg remains.

But if you have poor plumbing, or a group does this ritual so there is more than one egg to get rid of, you might clog your toilet.

You can bury the eggs, unless e.g., winter has frozen the ground stone hard.

If I was going to do it here, in winter weather, I’d walk to the woods on my property. They’re a fair distance from my house. Then I’d hurl the egg even further away, into the woods.

I wouldn’t compost it usually, because compost tends to be kind of close to the house.

This is a simple but powerful rite. I only use it for big problems. In other words, this imperfect life keeps throwing garbage at us, so we need to keep cleansing it off, instead of letting it get to us. That sort of cleansing is comparable to the usual ongoing cleaning a house gets: You wash the dishes, vacuum the rug, and so on. But occasionally, you shampoo the rug, because a lot of crud accumulated or there was a big spill. It is deep cleaning time! In the same vein as the rug shampooing, the egg rite is really more for bigger problems.

And it is not beneath the most spiritual people. I have two clients who inspire and uplift me with their integrity, beauty, and sheer radiance, but I taught them this ritual recently. No matter how attuned we are, we occasionally let the major yuckiness we meet get under our skin.

I love channeling new spells, but sometimes the oldies are perfect. I’m grateful they’ve been in my repertoire for many years. I’m also grateful the Muse sent me adaptations. Blessed be.

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Lady Olivia Robertson

Interviewed by Francesca De Grandis

Lady Olivia Robertson is one of the pagan leaders I’ve most admired (discussed in my blog Meeting Lady Olivia Robertson: http://stardrenched.com/2013/04/17/meeting-lady-olivia-robertson/ )

My deep love for Olivia led me to interview her, to help share her wonderful message. The event was recorded in my home in the early nineties. However, life intervened; the tape languished for two decades. I’m finally able to share it.

Technical Notes: If anything Olivia says in this post offends you—e.g., it is inaccurate—blame me. Maybe I transcribed the interview incorrectly. I have not finished transcribing the entire recording—thus far, it is 3500 words, even edited. I am posting it in parts as I get them transcribed and edited. There are a few more bits I should have cut, for clarity’s sake or the like, but if I delay posting until I have time for more cutting, there might be another decade’s delay. A fact check is in progress re spelling of names that I could not fact check myself.

Some of the interview is a lovely retrospective and awesome history.
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Part One

Francesca De Grandis: Tell me about your recent travels. You’ve been to several places in the US, to Japan, where else?

Lady Olivia Robertson: Well, it’s very exciting. Now Fellowship of Isis is getting on for 15,000 members in 90 countries, and these people correspond, we have postal courses and, in the end, they want to meet each other. So we have conventions and conferences, and the first one I did in Ireland, naturally, I had our own ceremony in September. And after that, I went to London, where we had a marvelous convention in one of the most beautiful Jacobean houses in England, called Charlton House after Charles I. It was built for Henry, the Prince of Wales, who must have been Pagan, because they have nothing but carvings of nymphs and satyrs…

FDG: Oh, I’ve been there! It’s in London?

LOR: Yes.

FDG: : Oh, it’s beautiful! Even the banisters and along the stairs, aren’t there wonderful carvings?

LOR: And the fireplaces and everywhere, yes! So our convention, which was about our seventh, was held in the library on a sunny day, so we could lie out under the trees in this beautiful garden. Then I took a Virgin Atlantic flight (which I liked very much) and floated over to New Orleans. There we had a very dignified venue at the campus of the University of New Orleans.

I want to emphasize that we have some witches, some Catholics, some Protestants, Buddhists, Hindus—you name the religion, and we have it. We actually had two Catholic priests, one who gives his name and the other doesn’t. But the point is that we accept all religions as feminine. In New Orleans, there was a more cultural and artistic line, but they had some jolly witches who gave us a party afterward.

Olivia in her drawing room. Click to see more clearly. I cannot give photo credit. She sent me this snapshot about six years ago, with a note in its back, "The drawing room, remember?," which was her usual very sweet self.

Olivia in her drawing room. Click to see more clearly. I cannot give photo credit. She sent me this snapshot about six years ago, with a note in its back, “The drawing room, remember?,” which was her usual very sweet self.

Then, I went back to this wonderful Isis Oasis. Now, Isis Oasis is interesting because we’re now a legal religion in the United States through this Temple of Isis. We’re not pretending to call ourselves the “Church of something-or-other” because Isis is 6,000 years old, and Christianity is only 2,000. So I don’t see why we should have to pretend to be a church. And this is a Temple of Isis, where we don’t have “women priests,” we have “priestesses.” We have about 600 priestesses. We have priests as well, of Isis or whatever aspect of the Divine Feminine they wish to represent.

FDG: 600 priestesses, and how many priests?

LOR: I’m not sure, really: I have my figures at home, but the 600 includes priests. We have about 650 ordained people now in the priesthood. I ordained some in New Orleans while I was there—it was lovely—both priests and priestesses. Then I did the same at Isis Oasis. Now, that has been very generously donated by the Reverend Loreon Vigne, Priestess Hierophant of the College of Isis, to her Temple of Isis. So, really, it’s the first Isis land in America. You know, you have all these other religions having land. This 10 acres of land includes a temple, which is small, and a wonderful theater with full colored lights for ritual, which holds about 100 people. She can put up about 60 to 100 people there. There is a wildlife sanctuary for endangered species—lovely ocelots.

FDG: Her sanctuary for endangered species is special to me because, amidst all those animals, are peacocks. They are sacred to me. Loreon lets me make friends with her peacocks.

LOR: Yes, you can. And her sanctuary’s a good thing now, because some animals are dieing out, but she sells them, and some are re-introduced into the wild, whatever is necessary that can be done for them. And it’s a very, very happy retreat center: There are all these places—you can sleep in a pyramid, or sleep here, there, and everywhere. It’s a wonderful place for a convention. We had the famous Luisah Teish, who came, and Mary Greer, who wrote Women of the Golden Dawn. I’m so old —I’m 80 now—that I knew W.B. Yeats and AE and all. When you’re 80, you don’t mind saying it. I can dance and travel, and just do anything I like. I don’t feel any different from when I was young, which is very nice. When I lived in Dublin, we had a house there and we knew Yeats and that whole lot.

In Part Two, Olivia discusses visits with William Butler Yeats.

CnslingBotmBnr2

Spirituality, Small Groups, and Promotion

Fool, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Fool, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Been in an interesting process. Wld luv yr insights.

I was in a position to blog at HuffPo. After mega-deliberation, I decided that it’s not for me, at least not yet. (I’m not anti corporate media: I watch tv and movies, published with HarperCollins, scripted a segment for a major tv network, enjoy YouTube, etc.)

Interestingly enough, after my decision re HuffPo and some other corporate media, I was asked to blog for Dharma Trading Co. And I have absolutely loved working with them! Their audience is nowhere near the size of HuffPo‘s, but it feels right.

Yesterday, Anne Newkirk Niven, editor of Sagewoman and other pagan rags, asked me to blog for her. I was given a choice between blogging for http://witchesandpagans.com, which has 30,000 Facebook likes, or the soon-to-be blog for Sagewoman (7000 likes) that will become part of the larger witchesandpagans site.

After looking at the site, praying, and meditating, I chose Sagewoman. That might seem the poor promotional choice, because I don’t know if it means less readers. You’re supposed to get as many readers as possible, right? But numbers aren’t everything.

Strength, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Strength, tarot card, Francesca De Grandis, 12-03

Narrowing my focus sometimes implements one of my life goals: authentic connectivity, which can require a community I get to know.

I am not saying that no one gets to know anyone at witchesandpagans.com. I am not saying I chose Sagewoman in order to narrow my focus. In fact, I am not stating here why I chose Sagewoman. My process of choosing Sagewoman was complex—and partially sheer intuition—and I do not fully understand it yet, so will not try to outline it here. My point is: I made my choice despite the possible numbers, and the choice is in keeping with my life goals. I am not making a pronouncement on what is “right,” I am just sharing my process. Speaking of which:

I do not strive to be queen of the witches. I want deep connection so that, whether in print or in oral tradition, we can get spiritual work done. Am i knocking big numbers? No. There are types of spiritual work you can do in big numbers. There are types of authentic connection that can happen in big numbers. (I must say, though, that big numbers too often consist of folks spouting off about how much they know, telling you how superior they are to you, and decrying the pagan they now think is a jerk.) When going for large numbers feels right and honorable, I do it. The rest of the time, I do work that requires smaller groups. I usually limit class enrollment, for just that reason.

What do you think of all this? My process is terribly against-the-grain in some ways, so I wld love your thoughts, whether you post them here or on Facebook.

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Hiding, Healing, Power. Pt 3

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.

 

 

 

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

Part one: http://stardrenched.com/2012/06/13/hiding-healing-power/
Part two: http://stardrenched.com/2012/06/27/hiding-healing-power-pt-2/ 

Part Three
When she grew up, something else wonderful happened. That little girl grew up to be Goddess Diana—Great Mother, Light-Bearer.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Diana, Great Mother Goddess. Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture.

A child became a deity, yes. Yes, she did. Let yourself hide.

Hiding is not always about shame or fear. It might be a time of preparation or privacy, a time of beauty or empowerment, a time of nurturance or growth.
 
Faerie art, Francesca De GrandisHiding can be motivated by discretion.

A hiding child became a deity, a bearer of light, a light held high. The woman no longer hiding.
 
That little girl was always god. But she needed discretion to find it.

Diana lived with her cat who was secretly a Faerie. (See Aradia, Gospel of the Witches, for lore about Diana and her Fey Cat.)

The woman, the Goddess, hung a welcome sign on her front door. People came to see her. (Mind you, she still hid a lot of the time, and we will get to that in a moment.) She healed people with her light. Or tickled them with it. She used her light to guide others to their own shiny brilliance and to that of the Gods.

Here is the welcome sign she hung up. Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis
Faerie art, Francesca De GrandisDiana is Goddess of Witches. This warm, protective deity has given me tremendous solace and healing many times over the years.

Often, her visitors hid with her. That was fun.

And sometimes—often, in fact—she still hid all by herself. Well, her cat was with her. As were other gods. They are always nearby.

Tucked in her home, she traveled to wonderful places.

Faerie art, Francesca De GrandisHer visitors went on great adventures with her, traveling between the stars.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Where You and Diana Go if You Visit Her. Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture.

 When someone is hiding, I look twice to find the god. The end.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Storyteller (the author, self-portrait). Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture

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