Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Yours,Mine,Ours...

Photo: ... and Merry Christmas too! : )


(design by Cathy Rodgers)




Merry Christmas, my Beloveds!

Yes, I went there!  So, what's the big deal?  Well, for some...it's a HUGE deal!  It's politically incorrect to wish some people a Merry Christmas.  Many people don't celebrate Christmas, so the term, "Happy Holidays" was adopted.  But is that correct, really?  Aren't we just presuming that everyone who we wish this greeting upon is happy?  I know many people who don't find the holiday happy at all. It's filled with painful memories and/or grief.  And yet, it's appropriate at this time of year to bestow this greeting upon them, despite how they might feel about it.

This is true of the Pagan community as well.  At this time of year, we have the usual, albeit good-hearted and amusing, disagreement of the origins of Christmas.  Who's holiday was it first?  Well, some historians tell us that it was originally the Roman Pagan holiday of Saturnalia which was, admittedly, about 8 days of complete and utter debauchery.  I'm certain that's a lot funnier now, than it was then.  At some point however, the holiday was Christianized to include the Pagan holiday, and the birth of Christ was celebrated on December 25th as Christmas.  The rest is and should be history, but it's not.

I am not a scholar on the origins of Christmas.  Yes, I know it's origins were Pagan, but more than that, I have not a rat's ass to give.   Pagans celebrate Yule at the Winter Solstice on the 21st of December.  We have a Christmas tree and a visit from Santa at our Yule celebration.  Our Clan children, who are being raised by Pagan parents, are excitedly awaiting a visit from Santa on Christmas morning, just as are most Christian children.  On Christmas morning, many of us wish our friends, Pagan, Christian, Jewish, etc., a "Merry Christmas".  Is it "politically incorrect?'  In my opinion, it's the intention and sentiment that matters, not by what words you choose to deliver the well wishes.

Despite popular belief, Pagans are not "anti-Christ" or anti-Christmas".  Many of us incorporate the Christmas holiday into our Pagan lives out of respect for our Christian family members, respect for Deity or just because it's the Season O' Joy! Dammit!

Let's face it, no matter when, where or for whom the holiday is celebrated, one can not deny the magic of the Season.  It's the Return of the Light, both literally and spiritually.  It's the time when family and friends draw closer, people treat each other a little kinder and are more thankful for what they have and for those in our lives.

So, who's holiday is it?  It belongs to the heart whom it touches.

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy
    




Sunday, December 22, 2013

Every Little Thing You Do Shouldn't Be Magic!

Merry Meet and Yuletide Blessings, My Beloveds!

I often get emails from people asking for magic.  What can I say?  It's an occupational hazard!  Often I don't really mind.  I figure if someone is contacting a stranger for help, they must really be in need.  Having said that, I do not routinely do magic for people I don't know.  The most I will offer is a very basic suggestion as to what they might do for themselves, but from there, they are on their own.  There are tons of people on the Internet who will be more than willing to do magic for you, for a price. Not all are reputable.  

So, what's wrong with a little well intentioned help? Most of the time, nothing at all.  Unless, someone becomes a magical addict. By that I mean, they cease to seek mundane solutions to any of their life's problems and look for a magical fix to everything.  They don't need Witchery, they need therapy!

One of the first things one learns about magic is that it is not meant to replace mundane solutions to one's problems.  For example, you need a job.  The first thing you do is spruce up your resume, then send it out to every job lead that seems promising, then go on a ton of interviews, then maybe, if one of those jobs seems like the one you really want, that would be the time to do some spell work to help things along.  Does this guarantee that you'll get the job? If you were meant to, perhaps....but there are no guarantees in life or in magic.

Oh...and throwing the kitchen sink into a magical working does not mean it's going to work any better or that you'll see results any faster.  Neither will doing numerous different spells for the same thing.  All you're doing is pulling the focus and energy away from your original goal and making it less effective.  I've seen some of the best spells take virtually years to work!

Magic also takes years of study and practice.  It's not something that one can learn or teach overnight. Just because you pick up a spell book and decide magic is the way to go, doesn't mean it's going to go as you had planned.  You certainly shouldn't even be attempting to do work for other people. Trust me, I've seen things go horribly wrong when they aren't well thought out.  Magic has tons of variables that effect it.  Purpose, Intention, Will, Focus, Specifics, the experience of the practitioner, just to name but a few.

One of the things I'm asked most often and usually with the most sarcasm, is "do you really believe that stuff works?" There was a time, even after I'd begun practicing, that I was unsure of my answer.  Now, I can answer with an uneqivocal, resounding,  "YES!".  And make no mistake, that's not always a good thing!

Magic is often used for the betterment of our lives, the lives of family, friends and community.  All those are good things.  Magic isn't meant to be a crutch to avoid facing unpleasant life situations or difficult people.  The reason why these people and situations are put on our life's path is because they have something we are meant to learn from them. It may be a challenge, but not necessarily an obstacle.

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Witch or Warlock? What's in a Name?


A LOT...apparently!

Recently, I got into heated debate on Facebook with a long time friend about the use of the word, "Witch", Wicca, Tradition and Sexism.

It began when I shared this photo without realizing that the original poster had included the following comment:

"To answer many questions from men - yes, you too can be a Witch. And, NO you are not called Warlocks! If you don't like the word Witch then use Pagan or Spiritual. BB Raven"   

This oversight on my part, began a 3 day long debate about the use of the term Witch, as opposed to Warlock, which ultimately ended our friendship.  Admittedly, I am saddened.

You see, my friend refers to himself as a Warlock.  So when he read my post suggesting that male Witches are NOT called Warlocks, he became offended because he believed I was being sexist and insensitive by endorsing the original posters comments, which was simply not the case.



warlock (n.) Look up warlock at Dictionary.com
Old English wærloga "traitor, liar, enemy," from wær "faith, a compact" (cf. Old High German wara "truth," Old Norse varar "solemn promise, vow;" see very; cf. also Varangian) + agent noun related to leogan "to lie" (see lie (v.1)).

Original primary sense seems to have been "oath-breaker;" given special application to the devil (c.1000), but also used of giants and cannibals. Meaning "one in league with the devil" is recorded from c.1300. Ending in -ck and meaning "male equivalent of a witch" (1560s) are from Scottish.


 

I refer to myself both as a Wiccan, Witch and at times, a Pagan, if I don't want to get into a lengthy explanation of the first two.  The noun, "Witch" in our tradition, as well as in many other traditions, is a gender neutral word which is perfectly acceptable to describe what we do. Warlock is not used as commonly as the word "Witch".  Yet, it's a perfectly fine word to define one's self.  The current definition of the word, Warlock" is "a man who practices the Black Arts".  Now, it was opined that "Black Arts" refers to "any magic using tradition".  Well, that's interesting.  I practice a "magic using tradition" and yet, even if I wanted to, with all my little heart, I could not call myself a "Warlock".  Why?  NO PENIS!  Still, I don't consider "Warlock" a sexist word. When I think of a Warlock, I imagine a powerful practitioner who isn't afraid to venture where many Witches dare to go.


witch (n.) Look up witch at Dictionary.com
Old English wicce "female magician, sorceress," in later use especially "a woman supposed to have dealings with the devil or evil spirits and to be able by their cooperation to perform supernatural acts," fem. of Old English wicca "sorcerer, wizard, man who practices witchcraft or magic," from verb wiccian "to practice witchcraft" (cf. Low German wikken, wicken "to use witchcraft," wikker, wicker "soothsayer"). 


When I refer to "our tradition", I'm referring to British Tradition Gardnerian Wicca. Gardnerian Wicca is a tradition whose members can trace their lineage back to Gerald Gardner and is the oldest tradition in the United States. Gerald Gardner founded Wicca some 60 years ago and since then, many different traditions have evolved. It is an oath-bound, initiatory tradition.

Admittedly, there are certain aspects of this tradition, that depending upon the male ego, will not sit well.
Firstly, a man can not run a Coven without a female counterpart. The polarity between the High Priestess and High Priest completes the balance of power.  The men are not referred to as Warlocks, they are called Witches. And, the hand that holds the sword casts the circle and that hand belongs to the High Priestess.

It was then my friend's opinion, that Wicca is a feminist, sexist religion with a female supremacist philosophy, that "minimizes or excludes male spirituality entirely".  Men find themselves following a Wiccan path not for the spiritual fulfillment, but because they are seeking female acceptance and don't mind being emasculated by having to adopt a female noun. That "noun", of course, being "Witch". The men who practice Wicca are   damaged and wounded, are looking for "anything" to fulfill the spiritual void left by Christianity and who don't mind being subordinated. They are "Last Among Equals" and will accept that, because they have no choice not to. To paraphrase,Wicca can be "therapeutic" for people who have been "emotionally and physically traumatized over the years and that's the main reason for getting into religion".

The first group I ever practiced with was an eclectic group which was run by our High Priest.  At this time, I know at least three Covens that are led by men.  So, when I hear all this negativity put forth about my religion,  I can't help but wonder how I missed all these spiritually unfulfilled, damaged, wounded, emasculated men for the past 20 years.

Wicca is a feminine based religion. No one has ever denied that. There are more women practicing Wicca than men.  The female to male ratio is difficult to determine, because not all Wiccans are open regarding their beliefs. That said, if so many men were being forced into taking a spiritual backseat or were being emasculated by being "forced to adopt a female noun", wouldn't there be a lot more Warlocks and a lot less men practicing Wicca?   Furthermore, if there are so many damaged, wounded and emasculated men looking for anything in terms of spirituality, there are a lot more religions that require as lot less work and devotion than what it takes to practice British Tradition Gardnerian Wicca.  Being an initiatory tradition, it takes years of study and training. For me, much of that training has come from sitting at the feet of men who exude spirituality, who are powerful practitioners and who understand that using a noun, male or female, does not define them.

Let's talk a little bit about tradition, shall we? Tradition by definition, is the passing down of elements of culture and beliefs from generation to generation.  The same is true of British Tradition Gardnerian Wicca. We adhere to beliefs that have been passed down by Gerald Gardner to his initiates.  His initiates, both male and female, are Witches. So when someone argues that they are being "forced to adopt a feminine noun" in order to practice Gardnerian Wicca, what they are actually saying is that they should be allowed to break with tradition, for the sake of ego.

It's like this...suppose I wanted to join the military.  I go to the recruiting office and tell them I want to serve in the armed forces.  It's always been my dream to be a fighter pilot.  The recruiter tells me that if my passion is flying, I would be perfect for a career in the Air Force.  No, no, no! My father, grand-father, great grandfather and my mother's father, all served in the Navy, it's a family tradition and I want to follow in their footsteps!  I want to join the Navy! But I can't. Why? Because they pilot boats in the Navy, not planes! Can I really claim discrimination because the Navy refuses to break with tradition? Furfuxsake!

My friend pointed out that my experience is limited to private groups, as compared to his own which includes being a public figure who works "countless" events in a large metropolitan area.  He left traditional Witchcraft because he did not wish to be, "last among equals".

Now I may not have his years of experience, nor have I worked with large public audiences, but I have never left traditional Witchcraft.  My experience lies in the fact that I am a 2nd degree initiate of British Tradition Gardnerian Wicca, with a Clan that spans most of the East Coast and a far away as Brazil, so I think I have a tad more insight into the awesome men who are proud to refer to themselves as "Witches".  

In Darkness, Light,


Tracy



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mediums, Necromancers, Sorcerers! Oh My!

Merry Meet and Blessings of the New Year, my Beloveds!

Due to twists and turns of fate in this crazy journey we call life, I have been remiss in my writing.  I have just now found the time to sit down and actually put my thoughts into words that I can share.

What I'd like to talk about is religious intolerance.  As history teaches us, more blood is spilled as a result of the "my God is better than yours" mentality.  You would have thought we would have evolved to a reasonable degree of acceptance by now, but alas...nooooooo!

Recently, I had the pleasure of being "unfriended" by someone on Facebook for this very reason.  Initially, I had no problem with reading this individual's daily Bible verses, until they took a decidedly darker turn.  It began with a post suggesting that those of us who practice Reiki were doing "Satan's work".  I was initially amused, but as these types of posts became increasingly more frequent, I found them more distasteful.

I was immediately struck by the irony unfolding before my very eyes   You see, this woman claims to be a Psychic/Medium.  If you are familiar with the Bible, you know that there are various passages suggesting that, mediumship, divination, communicating with the spirit world and sorcery is an abomination.

Levitcus 19:31  “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God."

OH LORD! Ok, so now I found myself in a conundrum.  I could either ignore the "Fire and Brimstone" posts on my wall, unfriend her or confront it head on.  Oh yeah...I went there!

I wrote her and asked how she reconciled her "gifts" with what the Bible states about consulting mediums.  Her response was the same as I've heard from a few mediums, "most mediums get their messages from Satan.  Mine comes from God!"  Ok, let me say that I do believe the ability to channel spirit is divinely inspired. Theresa Caputo, the "Long Island Medium" made a similar statement about her gifts, but acknowledged that this is in direct conflict with what the Bible states about mediums.   For the record, I LOVE Theresa.

Well, I thought that confronting her own hypocrisy might prompt her to rethink her future posts, but it didn't stop there.   The list of Satan inspired work was expanded to include, Wicca, Witches, spell-casting, divinations, etc.

Now, my list of friends include many Wiccans, Witches, Reiki Practitioners, at least a couple of Satanists, as well as many who know and respect my beliefs and practices.  She was now not just disrespecting me, but those whom I hold close to my heart.    

I could have simply unfriended her...problem solved.  However, I believe most of the greatest religious conflicts are based in fear and misconception, so instead I thought a "teaching moment" might be in order. I explained the basic tenet of Wicca is "An It Harm None, Do What Ye Will". I explained that as Wiccans, we don't recognize the existence of Satan and to give evil a name, gives it power.   I shared that many times spell-work includes healing for ourselves and our community.  I told her that I am often asked, by Christians, to do work on their behalf and when I do, I call upon Jesus Christ to assist me.  

There are those who choose to remain woefully ignorant and once again, she pulled the "God" card.  She said, she couldn't be held responsible for her posts because the messages were not from her, but were from God.  Before I could respond, she unfriended me and deleted my comments.

Recently, I received a copy of her newsletter which included her website with a list of her paid services which include, private readings, phone readings, house clearings, as well as the events at which she will be appearing.  I opted to unsubscribe for the following reason:


Reason: A "gift from God" should not include the perversion of his messages. I do not wish to receive emails from one who spreads intolerance of the beliefs of the others. Messages of 

intolerance are not divinely given".   


At last check, God didn't accept Paypal, Mastercard, Visa and Amex!

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy


Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Dis-Enchanted Oracle



So, I came across this interview with Fantasy Artist, Jessica Galbreth on Facebook.  Apparently, after years of sharing her amazing images of beautiful winged Fairies, Goddesses and Vampires, she has decided that these talents were the result of "demonic possession".  Demons?  Really?

If you watch the interview in it's entirety, you will learn that Jessica became interested in the occult at an early age, experimenting with the Oujia board and Tarot cards, which ultimately led to the creation of her own, Enchanted Oracle Tarot deck and apparently, her demonic possession.  She even considered herself a Witch! :::Gasp:::

Gee, me too!  I grew up in a family that was very open in terms of it's acceptance of the paranormal.  We played with the Oujia board, held seances and read whatever books were available at the time on Witchcraft, Satanism, ghosts, hauntings and paranormal phenomenon,.  And yet, we considered ourselves a Christian family.  By this I mean, we were baptized, received communion and confirmation, celebrated Christmas and Easter and if we were so inspired, actually attended church on those occasions, didn't eat meat on Fridays and fasted during Lent.  We believed in God and for us, that was enough.

Delving into the "dark side" was scary and fun.  However, when presented with the fact that we really didn't know who we were inviting in during our Oujia Board dabbling sessions and seances....our parents pulled the plug on our connection to the other side and the Oujia board ended up collecting dust in the attic. 

It didn't stop me from eventually leaving behind my Christian upbringing to follow a Wiccan path.  Do I believe that this is the result of "demonic influences" left over from my "dabbling" phase?  Hell no! (pun intended). It was due to the fact that I had found a religious Path that resonated with me and where I found spiritual fulfillment.  I don't hate Jesus.  I don't hate Christians.   I simply believe that there is a spiritual path for everyone and one will ultimately know it when they find it.

Jessica says that her realization came when her daughter became frightened by her images.  Well, lots of things frighten little kids.  Dolls used to scare the shit out of me and I'm not entirely sure that they still don't. She also said that she felt as if a dark cloud was hanging over her.   According to the CDC, that "dark cloud" might be depression, which strikes 1 in every 10 adults.  I would begin there before I began blaming Satan's minions for the fact that I was not entirely thrilled with my life.  Even the most successful people find themselves dissatisfied with their lives, Winston Churchill, Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Edgar Allen Poe, just to name a few.  It kind of goes hand and hand with the whole depression thing.   Jessica also claims she felt "prideful".  Really?  Well I can't imagine why?   I wonder if she considered being proud of her accomplishments a sin before or after she was reborn? 

The way we find and embrace spirituality in our lives is uniquely personal.  No two people, even when sharing the same religious belief system, will experience Deity in the same way.  At times, the religious path which we inherited from our parents is enough for us and we feel no need to look any further.  Or, like myself, one finds no connection to the Path handed down to them and they seek spiritual fulfillment elsewhere.  That doesn't mean that there was something wrong my previous beliefs. It simply means that Deity had chosen connect to me in a way that I would understand and embrace.  A spiritual rebirth, in the purest sense of the word, shouldn't include the prompt condemnation of the Path one left behind.  In that case you've only succeeded in being reborn into a more hypocritical version of yourself.
 
All this being said, I find it regretful, if not a bit amusing, that Jessica now considers her talent, "Satanic" and all her successes demonically inspired. And yet, she is still able to create in a very similiar style, except now, with a more angelic, Christian influence?  Well...after all,  Lucifer was an angel once too and Satan is referred to as "The Great Deceiver".  Just sayin..

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dear Dead People....










Merry Meet Again, my Beloveds!

I'm having serious issues with dead people. 

Allow me to explain.  Dead people are now sending messages either to me or through me in ways they never have before and I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that!

If you've read my last entry, you know that my friend, Roy went to great lengths  to send a message to his fiance, Michelle from beyond the veil.  It was my pleasure and honor to help in whatever way necessary.

This morning, I received another message from my friend, Tommy, that I hadn't been expecting.

Tommy had a bigger than life persona.  He was, physically, the most beautiful man I have ever known.  His personality ran the gamut of every aspect one's soul could possess.  He was wildly impulsive, kind, incredibly funny and cruel. He depised Mayonaisse!  He displayed a child-like innocence, while exuding undeniable sexuality.  He loved to be the center of attention and it was virtually impossible not to notice when he entered a room.  Both men and women were enchanted by him.

Tommy and I became friends while working out at the local gym.  Our friendship grew when he pushed me to do "one more rep, you candy ass!"  I didn't even know this man, but knew we would soon be good friends.

Several years ago, Tommy decided to move back to Georgia. I was saddened by his choice to relocate, but knew that he would never be happy here in New Jersey. We never lost touch after his departure, but these days people don't talk, they text or update their status.  That was until this past January when Tommy's cell phone began to "butt dial" me on a daily basis.  He left me a  text message apologizing for the same and asked me to call him, which I did. We chatted for a while, catching up on what had been going on in our lives, but hadn't spoken since.

For the past couple of weeks, I have thought about Tommy often.  So often so that it prompted me to visit his Facebook page today to see what had been going on in his life.  Well, I believe Tommy wanted me to know what had been going on as well.  He passed away suddenly 4 months ago...my heart was broken..

Tommy shared with me things that troubled him since childhood and in doing so, always left me with the image of a heartbroken little boy with full pouty lips and sad eyes that was perpetually looking for someone to take care of him and yet, he would often push away those who loved him most.

Was I surprised to learn of his passing. Not so much. Tommy always played hard. He was fulfilling his dream of making a name for himself in the music business and lived a "Rock Star" lifestyle.

If anyone had the energy it takes to cross the veil it was Tommy.  I truly believe that he knew if he  reminded me enough of things about our friendship that I couldn't ignore, I would learn that he had chosen to leave this World behind far too soon.  

Seriously, T...couldn't you have just called!  


In Darkness, Light...



Tracy













Thursday, May 24, 2012

Life Sucks? Blame A Witch!


Merry Meet and Happy Weekend Blessings, my Beloveds!!!

So, not so long ago I was asked by someone if our Coven had cast a spell on them because they had been experiencing a string of bad luck. 

My response was simple.  "No, we wouldn't do that.  The Universe works to keep things in balance".

What I actually wanted to say was, "No, we wouldn't do that!  But perhaps if your life didn't consist of anger, hatred, jealousy, cruelty to those weaker than yourself and random acts of douchebaggery, you might understand why it has chosen to treat you in kind". Of course, I didn't say that.

That being said, I do believe the Universe and/or the Gods keep things in balance, just not in the way one might think.    

Have you ever known a person so negative that they can suck the life out of a room just by entering it?  It's very uncomfortable just being in their company.  If, like the rain, you stand in it too long, you'll find yourself drenched by it.   So is true of those who shine.  The brilliance of their energy shines so that they draw everyone to them.

Not all who experience tragedy or hardship are responsible for bringing it into their lives.  I've seen the most horrendous things happen to the most beautiful of people.  It's difficult to understand or accept.  I've found the most comforting explanation is that this is a necessary part of the soul's journey.  One must live through, process and move past the experience in order to learn and grow from it. 

I believe that there are people however, who find it impossible to "move past" their most difficult life experiences.  They hold on to their anger, grief, fear or insecurities and allow them to color who they are and in turn, their entire existence.  In essence, they literally become their worst nightmare. 

We all grieve our losses, no matter how great or small those losses are.  Some are easier to move past than others.  But when one can find no plausible explanation for the unexplainable, they may look to place blame where none can exist.   You can't blame death on the dying.  Well, perhaps you can...but to what end?  Physical death is finite, so too will be one's grief should the appropriate help not be sought to work through the pain. 

Yet while grief may be a reasonable explanation for negative emotions, there are those who dance precariously through life behaving with reckless disregard for the way their actions impact on others, only to find themselves dumbfounded when an avalanche of shit falls upon them.   And their first inclination is to look elsewhere to place blame....with the exception, of course, being the mirror.

Ah...but the mirror is the one place we can't escape, can we? The gift of ourselves we share with others, for better or worse, comes not from our reflection, but from our soul, the seat of who we are.  We can dress up that image that looks back from the mirror, but inside we are unchanged.  This alone, for some.....should make for many a sleepless night.

And just when you thought a Witch's spell was to blame your misfortune....

Pleasant Dreams!


In Darkness, Light!


Tracy