Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy, Blessed, Merry, Joyous....

Pilfered from Deborah Lipp's "Property Of A Lady"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pests in Your Garden...

Happy New Year Friends, Followers and Lurkers!

So, my daughter Kyla came to me and said "Mom, there's a girl is school that hates me". Naturally, I asked why. She explained that she really had no idea. She didn't know this girl with the exception of the fact that the girl did not like her. Kyla makes friends easily and has tons of them, so she hardly found this heartbreaking. She was however, puzzled by the fact that someone could dislike you without ever having the opportunity to get to know you. Ah, the adolescent mentality! The scary part is that some people become adults without ever growing out of it!

Ok, so I needed to come up with some good Mom advice. What could I say? I told her simply this, "not everyone in this life is going to like you, don't make their problem yours." I further explained that given that she really didn't know this girl, it was impossible to know what her issues were, but I thought that it might just be jealousy, as is often the case. I suggested that Kyla might try engaging the girl in conversation. Her response was quite simple. "You know Mom, I don't give her enough thought to even bother." She was actually somewhat amused that this girl would expend so much energy disliking her! She really is so much like me!

N'uff said. I didn't feel it required further discussion. I did tell her that throughout her life she may encounter people who spin themselves into a web of their own delusions. They convince themselves that you are putting as much energy into them as they are in you, when in fact, they never enter your mind. I did make it perfectly clear however that if the situation was to progress to anything more serious, I wanted to know about it.

In any case, I decided it would be prudent to teach Kyla how to shield herself magickally against this girl's negativity. When I did however, she said, "Mom, that's not how you do it". Then she brushed her hand across her shoulder as if shooing away a pesky bug!

Oh.My.God! I had to laugh! She had just portrayed some people's personalities perfectly!

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Oh, Yes I Did!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yule Be Home for Christmas?




Merry Meet Friends, Followers and Lurkers!

So, last night we decorated our Yule/Christmas tree. It was a beautiful evening for it too. The snow was falling and it was just...enchanting!

I poured myself a glass of wine. Ok, that's another big whopping lie! It was actually two glasses, but hey, it's really good wine. Then, I put on Mariah Carey's Christmas CD. Yeah, yeah, I know...some of you guys HATE Mariah and probably don't consider her CD actual Christmas or Yule music. I might tend to agree, but I have a warm place in my heart for "All I Want For Christmas is You." No, it's not the wine! Wise asses! Besides, I like to dance while I decorate the tree!

Justin came downstairs as I was tweaking the decorations and with his usual cheerful sarcasm asked, "Mom, you're Pagan, why are you listening Christmas music?" Kyla came in a short while later and asked the very same question. I realized that this was going to require a little more explanation than, "because I like it."

There are people who believe that being Pagan immediately makes us either "anti-Christian" or incapable of embracing or celebrating anyone else's traditions. This is simply untrue and definitely not a misconception I wanted my children to foster! Many of us were not raised Pagan and still celebrate the traditions we grew up with.

In all my years of practice, I have met very few Pagans who actually have a problem with Christianity. Of those, their issues have nothing to do with Christianity per se, but with a few followers who can't resist repeatedly assuring us that we will be spending all eternity in some warm and toasty place and no, I don't mean the Caribbean. I will admit however, that there are those who have denounced their Christian upbringing and hold Jesus Christ personally accountable for all those things that have gone horribly wrong in their lives. While I'll not judge any one's reason for choosing a path, if one is harboring revenge in their heart, chances are that eventually, they will find dissatisfaction with Paganism as well.

"Nothing takes everything in your life and makes it all better again." Yeah, I'm paraphrasing "The Craft", but this refers to Paganism as well and most appropriately makes my point.

Kyla then asked, "well, do you believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God?" I explained that it didn't matter whether I believed it or not, but that he believed it and convinced millions of people of it and that now, some 2000 years later, those people still have faith that he was. I told her what I believed was that there were many sons and daughters of one Universal Divine, but that Jesus Christ was one of the greatest teachers and spiritual leaders of our time. I further explained that because now is the time when many are celebrating his birth, anyone who recognizes him as such can celebrate it along with them. Anyone, of any faith, who truly understands the message that he attempted to bring to the World also knows that this is not my philosophy, but his.

"Peace on Earth"


Blessed Yule and Merry Christmas,


Tracy








Saturday, December 13, 2008

And That's Whazzup!

Merry Meet All!

I always have Ray critique my entries. He read my most recent and said that while he enjoyed it, he felt I could have expressed why I love animals so much in fewer words. After rereading it myself, I had to agree. I think this probably sums it up perfectly!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name...













Merry Meet and Happy Full Moon Friends and Lurkers!

I love animals! Oh, now there's a friggin' understatement! I love animals more than I do some people! What's not to love? Their hearts are pure, free of judgement and they love without condition. How many stories have you read (probably posted by me) about pets who have either saved or have given their lives for someone they love? I couldn't love my "companions animals" more had I given birth to them myself!

Did you notice I used the term, "companion animals" rather than "pets". Apparently, referring to them in the latter sense is considered derogatory. You can't make this stuff up. A professor at the University of California, at the insistence of the animal rights activists, decided that "companion animals" is the more respectful term when referring to one's pet. This is the kind of verbal engineering that is now required in order to live in our society. We are always dancing on egg shells for fear that we will offend some one's race, sex, religious affiliation or anything else that one could possibly find to be offended by. Why shouldn't the same apply to the family pet?

Let's get real here for a moment, shall we? How many names do you currently have for the same pet? Go ahead, you can say it, I already know. We often have nicknames for our pets that sound absolutely nothing like the names they've been given. Those of you who have met our dog..um, my apologies, our Canine American, Ginger, probably have heard us refer to her as, "Patootie", "Tootie", "Toots", or "The Baby". This is, of course, with the exception of Ray, who likes to refer to her as "Baby Wheezer". Guess friggin' what? Animals will react to the inflection in one's voice. That's why you can call them "asshole" and as long as you say it nicely, it's all good with them! Still, I usually make every effort to be respectful and maintain an air of political correctness, lest one of my "companion animals" decides to pee on my bed in protest!

In addition to our various "companion animals", we also have a large Koi pond that is the home to 22 of our "aquatic acquaintances". We feed the "fine feathered friends" that frequent the "feathered friend feeder" in our backyard, not to mention the chipmunks and squirrels as well. I'm not sure of the politically correct term for "rodent", but I like to refer to Chipmunks as "Professional Landscape and Excavating Engineers"and Squirrels as, "Suburban Tree Experts with Suicidal Tendencies.

If you've been reading me for a while, you've met the newest member of our clan, Autumn and Jazzy (she's the cute one in the surgical cap) but most have never heard me mention, Dominick. Dominick was my Mom's cat. We raised him from about the time he was 6 weeks old. He lived with her until she moved from our family home and was no longer able to care for him. On a recent trip to our veterinarian of 30 years, the technician asked, "Tracy, we're updating our computer system. I'm assuming we can remove Dominick?" "Why?", I wondered. Did I miss something? I immediately swung around and glared accusingly at Ray, who was fortunate not to have appeared guilty of any sinister act. No, in fact, the vet tech's assumption was a perfectly reasonable one. Dominick is an enigma unto himself!

I've lived with cats my entire life and I have NEVER ever had a cat live this long. I guess one might say that it's a testament to how well we've cared for him or excellent cat genes on the part of his parents, but whatever it is, it's really beginning to freak me out! Dominick is now approximately 26 years old, in human years, to our closest guesstimate. That would make him 120 years old in cat years!

I have to be honest, caring for a cat of this advanced age is not all sunshine and roses. Literally. Dominick behaves the way you would expect anyone who has lived to be 120 years old might. He sleeps more often than he's awake. He walks with a slow shuffling gait and he has lost many of his teeth which, without dentures, requires that his food be as close to pureed as possible. None of these things stop him from being the first one to ask to be fed in the morning! Unfortunately, his eyesight is not as great as it used to be, so occasionally, he will presume he's in his litter box, when in actuality, he's not.

Dominick isn't exempt from the "various names for the same pet" phenomenon either. We call him "Dom", "Nickie" "Domi" or "Keith", because well...we think he's begun to look like Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones in his old age. Despite how derogatory it may be, my kids refer to him as "Smelly Cat", and with good reason. The loss of teeth has left him with a remarkably pungent aroma that often enters a room before he does! Sorry, Keith!

As you can imagine, living with so many critters requires teamwork on the part of the entire family. Most mornings, Ray is on "cat detail". Before work, he goes down to the basement, cleans the litter box and checks to see that they have fresh food and water. On a recent morning, he came storming up from the steps, pissed off to beat the band! I couldn't imagine what had happened, then he shouted, "Trace, we have to do something about this fucking cat! (That would be Dominick) "It's getting to be "that time!." Oh, no he didn't! I couldn't imagine what poor, crotchety old Dominick could have possibly done to deserve such disrespect, until I saw Ray, with a look of utter disgust on his face, grab a Lysol wipe and start cleaning off the bottom of his bare foot. I took a wild guess and innocently asked, "Domi missed the litter box?" He was not amused!

We have discussed that, in all likelihood, unless nature makes the decision for us, we may eventually have to help Dominick off to the next phase of his soul's journey. This has got to be the absolute worst part sharing your lives with pets. You just know going in that it's a broken heart waiting to happen. At some point, you may have to make the difficult decision to end a pet's suffering and yet, you somehow find that strength because you love them too much not to. We all concluded that, for Domi, now is not that time. He still appears healthy and has just as sunny a disposition as he had when he was was a kitten. For now, Dominick a.k.a. Keith will remain "aromatically challenged" and Ray has learned to wear shoes when he's on "cat detail."

In Darkness, Light!



Tracy










































































Monday, December 8, 2008

Because I Said So!!!

Merry Meet and Seasons Greetings Friends and Lurkers.

So it was 2, count em', 2 degrees when I woke up this morning! It's about 12 degrees at this writing. I finally had to accept the realization that Winter has, indeed, arrived.

Last night, as I watched the street lights shimmering through the frost on the windows and listened to the howling wind whipping around the house at 45 miles an hour, I decided to break out my most beautiful, toastiest flannel sheets. Ahhhhh, there's nothing quite like the feeling of soft, cozy flannel against your skin...well, that and a warm husband and a dog or two.

Just as I nestled beneath the warmth of my blankets, feeling safe, content and thankful, a thought intruded on my peaceful state of mind. There were people out there in this frigid cold without flannel sheets, or comfy blankets. Or coats. Or homes. I felt dreadful. Many of us have begun doing prosperity work for ourselves, our friends and others who are struggling during this economic crisis and I am no exception. I made a conscious decision that I needed to focus more work, both literally and magickally on those who were most in need. I began thinking about what magickal work might be appropriate and I said a little prayer, asking Hecate for guidance. Working with Hecate requires dedication, devotion, humility, courage and the ability to always expect the unexpected. Tonight would be no different.

As I lay there, just beginning to fall asleep, I experienced what can only be described as a psychic "nudge". I suddenly felt that I needed to light the black devotional candles on my altar. Oh c'mon! I was not hauling ass out of the sinful decadence of my cozy, flannel sheets for nobody, no how! I began going over all the excuses in my head why I shouldn't get up at that very moment. It was midnight! I had to get up early and...and I might wake Ray! Let it suffice to say if there was an excuse to be found, I was going to find it! Dammit. Just then, a thought...no, more like a message popped into my head, "You ask for my help, yet you can't get your ass out of bed to light a couple of candles." I threw off the sheets, reached into the draw and pulled out my match sticks.

I tried to be as quiet as I could, fumbling in the dark, chilly, flannel free room, for the matches while blindly trying to light the wicks in the black glass pillars. The first went off without a hitch, but as I attempted to light the second, the flame quickly consumed the wooden match stick, scorching my fingers! I silently screamed a couple of colorful words that began with "Mother" and blew out the match, dropping it to the floor. Probably not my best choice of words given whom I was invoking! I glanced over to see if Ray had heard me. Nope, there he was, completely oblivious to to my attempts to burn down the house. After making sure that the dropped match stick was indeed out and that the fire elementals were not going to party in my bedroom after I fell asleep, I reached again for my match sticks and a shot at the second pillar. I lit the second match, thinking that I really wanted to make this fast so I wouldn't burn myself again and so I could get back to bed. As I turned back toward my altar, leaning over to light the candle, there to my sheer and utter amazement, was the second black pillar, flickering in the darkness.

In Darkness, Light! Seriously!


Tracy

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Karma...it is a Bitch!

Merry Meet and Welcome Good Friends and Lurkers!

Rant Warning: This post may contain adult language and depictions of graphic violence that may objectionable to some of my readers!

Still reading? You were warned!

Ok so, on June 12, 1994, news reports began filtering in that OJ Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her lover, Ron Goldman, had been murdered. It was a brutal, vicious, horrible crime. Both were repeatedly stabbed a total of 30 times. Ron Goldman's throat had been slashed twice, severing his jugular vein. Nicole Brown Simpson was nearly decapitated during the attack. OJ Simpson was eventually accused of committing the murders and those who were following the case had already begun taking sides for what would be dubbed "The Trial of the Century.


I'll be honest, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a sports fan. The most I actually knew of OJ Simpson was that he was a famous football player, who went on to become an actor. Period end of story. Other than this, I couldn't tell you whether he was married and if so, to whom. What I eventually learned however, was that OJ had married Nicole Brown when she was 18 years old. He was 30. They had two children, Sydney, who was 9 years old and Justin, who was 6 at the time of their mother's death. Nicole divorced OJ in 1992 citing, "an abusive relationship".


Now, while I may not be a fan of football, I confess, I am a fan of murder. Ok, allow me to rephrase. Murder trials have always fascinated me. I get completely caught up in the sensationalism of the trial, the testimony, the forensics, the collection and presentation of evidence. This case was no different and I followed it for the 37 weeks to it's conclusion. Not only were there accusations of murder, but of evidence mishandling, racism and conspiracy. I gotta tell ya, this was a murder fan's wet dream!

I remembered being at a Christmas Party in which the festivities came to an abrupt halt as everyone watched O.J.'s infamous "Bronco Run". As we stood there glued to the TV, everyone offering their own opinions, I remembered thinking to myself, "Brother, you're fucked!" That moment did it for me. It seemed completely pointless to waste the time and money on a lengthy trial. No matter how much I would enjoy the drama, there was just no way any jury was going to acquit this guy! He was evading the police and...he was carrying a loaded gun. This wasn't rocket science...it was murder.


Nine months later, I was in my office when one of my co-workers announced that the jury had finally reached a verdict. Everyone dropped what they were doing and made a mad dash to get their places in front of the TV. I didn't feel any sense of urgency, however. The guy was guilty. G-U-I-L-T-Y, he ain't got no alibi! He's guilty! Guilt, guilt, guilty! I wasn't going to stop what I was doing to hear something I already knew. I nonchalantly strolled into the waiting area where the TV was tuned to the trial coverage just in time to hear the reporter announce, "OJ Simpson acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman". There sat an obviously relieved OJ Simpson, grinning like the fucking Cheshire Cat! There I stood, completely fucking floored!!!

I thought my head would explode! What about all the evidence?!! Where was the fucking justice! When I saw Ron Goldman's parents weeping, and the look of stunned disbelief on the faces of Nicole's sisters, I realized I had just witnessed the most monumental travesty of justice one could ever fucking imagine! I would just never understand how the jury could have arrived at such a verdict. I still can't!

Later in a Civil Suit however, OJ was found liable, by unanimous decision, for the death of Ron Goldman and for battery against his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. The Superior Court awarded 8.5 million dollars in "compensatory damages" to the Goldman family. Compensatory damages? You mean compensation for sitting through 9 months of grueling, heart wrenching testimony complete with graphic autopsy photos describing, in vivid detail, the last moments of your child's life? I know that, at times life is unfair, but this was fucking ridiculous!

Ten years later, OJ Simpson still professed his innocence. He managed to keep a fairly low profile until a couple of years ago when he attempted to publish a book entitled, "If I Did It". This was to be a "hypothetical" account of how he "might" have committed the murders, if in fact he did just "happen" to do it. He also planned a television special by the same name, with one minor adjustment, entitled "If I Did It, Here's how it Happened". What struck me even more than his utter fucking audacity, was the mind-boggling lack of respect it demonstrated towards not only the victim's and their families, but for his own children! Thankfully, the book release and television special were cancelled shortly after they were announced.


Then, in September of 2007, "The Juice" was arrested yet again, because ya know, he was just so fucking innocent the first time! Two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and coercion. He claimed he was just trying to get back his own "sports memorabilia" that had been stolen from him, but he intended no harm. Yeah, I guess that was what the gun was for, you fucking idiot!

I hadn't heard anything recently and I had begun to wonder what was going on with the trial. Then yesterday afternoon, in one of the most awesome examples of Karmic retribution I have yet to witness, the verdict was handed down. Guilty! G-U-I-L-T-Y, you ain't got no alibi! You're Guilty! Guilt, guilt, guilty!

I've always said that if OJ Simpson were to be thankful for just one thing, it wasn't that he got away with murder, but that I was not the one on the bench at the time of his trial. I couldn't have been more happy if I handed down that fucking verdict myself!!! Ok, I'm lying. I would have been much happier with the death penalty and that's as much leniency as he fucking deserves.


Then this morning, I caught the end of an interview on NPR in which the verdict was being discussed. I tuned in just in time to hear one of the hosts saying, "This is a really tough break for Mr. Simpson. He's 61 years old". A tough break? A tough fucking break! They did not just say a tough break! That's when I began screaming at the radio! Ron Goldman will never have the opportunity to see 61 years old. Nicole's children grew up without their mother and have lived in the shadow of her gruesome murder for as long as they can probably remember. How dare they offer this murderous rat bastard any sympathy at all. Tough break my ass!!!

Shortly thereafter, they aired a sniveling, groveling OJ Simpson explaining to the Judge that he never meant to hurt anyone.

And, if you listened very closely, you'd have heard my little violin playing, "My Heart Bleeds".

Thirty three, count em', thirty three years with no possibility of parole for first 9 years!

"Mr. Simpson, have a Merry Fucking Christmas. Please extend my warmest regards to your cellmate, Bubba!"

In Darkness, Light!!

Tracy


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Quirks of Fate"


Merry Meet Friends and Lurkers:

So, as most of you know, we've lived here in Ridgewood for about 14 years. It seems strange to hear myself say that. Has it really been that long? It's so much different than the place I grew up. It really is a lovely place to live, with a strong sense of community and family values. It's just so...blissfully friggin' normal!

While my husband and I have managed to find our niche here, after having recently "outted" myself to the entire community, I think it's safe to assume that we will NEVER fit in amongst the "Ridgewood Elite." Chances are I will not be invited to join the Ridgewood Women's Club. As heartbreaking as that may be for some, since it's not something I've ever aspired to, I think I'll survive somehow. We feel that it's a really sad state of affairs when you have to deny who you are in order to fit in. This is something we continue to impress upon our kids as well. Quite frankly, "fitting in" is highly overated and rather denotes a lack of courage, in my humble opinion.

I am well aware that there are those who undoubtedly shake their heads condescendingly, imagining how sad it must be that I've deluded myself and my family into believing in the power of Witchcraft or that I put my faith in a religion that reveres the Earth, aligns itself with the phases of the sun and moon and celebrates the seasons. Yet, I can absolutely appreciate why that might be so difficult for some to grasp. Given the stereotypical bullshit and negativity fostered by the media, I might have a difficult time wrapping my mind around it as well, if...I didn't know what I know now. Still, you'll not hear me ask for understanding or even acceptance, but merely a mind that is willing to consider the possibilities.

As children, we are blessed with an undeniable, wide-eyed innocence that finds the magic in everything. We believe, without question, in the existence of Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. As parents, we try to prolong those beliefs for as long as possible in order to preserve that childhood innocence. Think about that. Why do we find that so important? Is it merely the loss of innocence that concerns us so or perhaps, the loss of something deeper? If you can think back to a time when that sense of enchantment was still a part of your life, you will glimpse the essence of what brought me to a path of spirituality, kinship, sensuality, empowerment, beauty and yes, magick.

As we grow into adults the realities of life tend to color our perceptions. We are taught to conclude that there must be a "logical" explanation for even those things that often defy logic. We lose our magick. I have since learned that "logical" explanations should not always be my first consideration. I've experienced too many things in this lifetime that can't ever be defined logically. That's not to suggest that they don't exist, but that they only occupy one corner of the many realms of possibility.

When I think back to my own childhood, my family had their own "quirky" beliefs. I presumed these were things shared by everyone, so I never questioned where they came from. What do I mean by "quirky?" Ok, well, say someone happened to drop their fork from the dinner table, my Mom would announce, "company's coming". I found the fact that she could predict one's arrival based simply upon the slip of a utensil utterly....fascinating! Can you imagine the impact on a child's impressionable mind when later company did, in fact, arrive?! My Aunt Mary would warn us not to piss off anyone, lest they put the "malocchio" or evil eye on us. I also remember being told that a bird accidently flying into the house was portentious of a death. What is perfectly obvious to me now is that my family was practicing a diluted form of Italian folk magick!

As a result of growing up with these little "quirky" family traits, I often found myself looking for signs or omens in things like the weather, the turning leaves, rocks, the behavior of animals, as well other more mundane occurrences. Admittedly, all this holds much more significance for me now that there's an entire magickal system behind it.

Speaking of signs, have you heard that The Farmer's Almanac is predicting one of the coldest Winters we've had in centuries! It has indeed been much cooler at this time of the season than it has in recent years. The pansies I planted at Samhain have confirmed this prediction. While they usually thrive beautifully until February, I now find their little heads droop mournfully and they seemed huddled together against the soil as if to keep warm.

On a recent particularly cold, windy morning, I stepped outside to find a plant that my friend, Niki, had given me at the Spring Equinox, blown face down on our deck. Where it had once been filled with beautiful multi-colored daisies that heralded the arrival of Spring, it now lay completely lifeless, withered and bare. I didn't have the heart to throw it away but....how friggin' depressing! I shivered against the wind, pulling my bathrobe tightly around me and wondered what the Winter might bring. Damn Farmers! What are they doing predicting the weather anyway?! Don't they have something more interesting to do...like, oh I don't know, farm!

Despite the gloomy forecast however, this November has also marked a significant turning point for me on my path. While I'll not say more, let it suffice that neither sign, nor omen was necessary to recognize that everything in my life thus far had led me to that moment.

Perhaps a day or so after I'd reached this milestone, I happened to be passing by the window and out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed :::cringe:: the first flakes of the season and no, I'm not referring to my neighbors. Yes, this was clearly an unmistakable sign!! It was an omen that I could expect to spend the next six months freezing my ass off!! I watched the little happily dancing snowflakes swirling around my deck....content in the knowledge that they were pissing me off, but then, I noticed something else. At first I thought it must be my imagination, because it just didn't seem, well, "logical". I stepped out into the falling snow, only to find my poor, pitiful, potted daisies, blooming vibrantly! "But, that's just not possible", I concluded. Just a day or two before, they weren't only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead! As I left the house that morning....I noticed that a few of our roses had bloomed as well.

There are signs along all of our paths in life that seem meaningless, yet hold hidden truths that reveal themselves in time. Then there are those whose message is crystal clear, unquestionable, and profound. Yet, one doesn't need to practice Witchcraft to recognize these signs, but merely require the trust of a child, a mind unbound by fear, a willingness of heart and the ability to embrace one's magick!

In darkness, light!


Tracy

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Night of the Crossroads..





















Merry Meet Good Friends and Lurkers!

If you read my Journal you know that Hecate is my patron Goddess. I also know that some of you who read my Journal think I've gone completely mad, but that's ok, you love me anyway :)

This article was sent to me courtesy of my good friend, Annie and is written by Patti Wigington at About.com. The photo of the altar in honor of the Goddess Hecate is mine.

Today is the day of the festival of Hecate Trivia, which is a day that honors Hecate as a goddess of crossroads. The word trivia refers not to miniscule bits of information, but to the Latin term for a place where three roads meet (tri + via). Hecate had domain over the realms of earth, fertility rituals, and childbirth. Eventually, she evolved to become a goddess of magic and sorcery. She was venerated as a mother goddess, and during the Ptolemaic period in Alexandria was elevated to her position as goddess of ghosts and the spirit world.

Hecate (sometimes spelled Hekate) was originally a Thracian, and pre-Olympian Greek goddess, and ruled over the realms of earth and fertility rituals. As a goddess of childbirth, she was often invoked for rites of puberty, and in some cases watched over maidens who were beginning to menstruate. Eventually, Hecate evolved to become a goddess of magic and sorcery. She was venerated as a mother goddess, and during the Ptolemaic period in Alexandria was elevated to her position as goddess of ghosts and the spirit world.

Much like the Celtic hearth goddess Brighid, Hecate is a guardian of crossroads, and often symbolized by a spinning wheel. In addition to her connection to Brighid, she is associated with Diana Lucifera, which is the Roman Diana in her aspect as light-bearer. Hecate is often portrayed wearing the keys to the spirit world at her belt, accompanied by a three-headed hound, and surrounded by lit torches.

The epic poet Hesiod tells us Hecate was the only child of Asteria, a star goddess who was the aunt of Apollo and Artemis. The event of Hecate's birth was tied to the reappearance of Phoebe, a lunar goddess, who appeared during the darkest phase of the moon.

Today, many contemporary Pagans and Wiccans honor Hecate in her guise as a Dark Goddess, although it would be incorrect to refer to her as an aspect of the Crone, because of her connection to childbirth and maidenhood. It's more likely that her role as "dark goddess" comes from her connection to the spirit world, ghosts, the dark moon, and magic. She is known as a goddess who is not to be invoked lightly, or by those who are calling upon her frivolously. She is honored on November 30, the night of Hecate Trivia, the night of the crossroads.

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

Graphics courtesy of Alicia









To come out of the "Broom Closet".

Merry Meet and Happy Thanksgiving Friends and Lurkers!

So, apparently, I have a cyber-bigot that has a problem with my choice of religious beliefs. Honestly, in the entire 13 years of practice and last several years of being "out" publicly, I've never run into someone like this. The scary part is, he/she, may actually live here in Ridgewood!

I subscribe to the Ridgewood Blog. It's a great place to keep up with issues that are effecting our community and to get the opinion of others on the same. Well, one of the recent topics being discussed involved a local Minister who was involved in a pedestrian accident. Apparently, she struck a woman who was walking her baby in the crosswalk. The baby, who was in a stroller at the time was, thankfully, unharmed, but the stroller was, allegedly, torn in half. There are some conflicting stories, so I was interested to hear from some people who were actually at the scene or who knew the parties involved.

The situation all began innocently enough when one poster questioned why the woman being a Minister was relevant to the story. I had the same question. Some felt that being a Minister should have made her a better driver. I found this amusing and my posted comment reflected this. Well, the next thing I know someone who hasn't the courage to use their own name, posted the comment, "it's a sad state of affairs when Glinda is the voice of reason".

Now I have had a lot of experience on message boards. I have found that being respectful toward others and their opinions is the key to an enjoyable experience. I also have a really, really low tolerance for bullshit and my responses to this individual have reflected that. There is nothing worse than ignorance, intolerance and hatred combined with stupidity.

Apparently, this person has little knowledge of Wicca or it's principals and has instead focused on the more sensational aspects of the religion such as spell casting, dancing naked under the full moon and worshipping a "Horned God". I quite frankly, have never danced naked anywhere with the exception of my bedroom and theoretically, I was alone at the time. I'm pos-it-ive. That's not to suggest that on a beautiful moonlight night, when the wind is warm, I couldn't be persuaded. Just sayin.

I further suspect that this individual equates the worshipping of a "Horned God" with Satan, as most people with a lack of factual knowledge or from a more conservative religious system of beliefs sometimes do. What many people don't realize is that not even the Satanists actually worship Satan. The depiction of the Horned God actually dates back to before the Bible was ever written and is present in many different cultures. While the origins are varied, it is believed by some that the early Pagans, the cave dwellers, would dress in the skins and antlers of animals as a way to appease their gods and insure a successful hunting season. This "Horned God" representation was later demonized by the Christians as they attempted to convert the Pagans to Christianity. For modern day Witches and Pagans, the Horned God represents the masculine polarity of the Universe and is associated with strength, birth, death and rebirth, virility, sexuality and symbolizes the power of Nature.

As far as the spell casting is concerned, yeah we cast spells. A spell is actually little more than a focused prayer. Think of it this way. Some people will go to church, light a candle and ask God to answer their prayers. We light a candle, perhaps some incense, but because we believe the Divine exists within ourselves, we do not ask our Gods to bring what we need to us, but instead to guide and protect us as we focus our efforts on our goals. Spells are often, but not always limited to healing and/or prosperity for ourselves or our communities. Our strong sense of spiritual responsibility precludes us from casting spells to make bad things happen to people, no matter how tempting that might be. At times, we can't even do stuff to make good things happen, dammit! Do you know how many times people who I really, really like, have asked me for a love spell. And you all know what a hopeless romantic I am! It's difficult to tactfully explain why you shouldn't try to make someone love you who doesn't and that to try, is interfering with their Free Will. Yeah, it sucks, I know...but, I don't make the rules, the Universe does.

In any case, I have tried to deal with this particular individual tactfully, but I gotta tell ya, shortly after his/her initial comment, things began circling the drain.

What follows is a brief transcript of only some of what has transpired, so some comments may be taken out of context. In any case, subsequent posts by this individual have led me to believe that I may be dealing with someone a few sandwichs short of a picnic.

Anonymous said...

“It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when someone who runs around naked under the full moon worshipping "the horned god” and casting spells is the voice of reason".

Tracy said...

And consecrating bread and wine and using it to represent the drinking of blood and eating flesh of a crucified Savior is perfectly reasonable?

Anonymous said...

Seems like a pretty bigoted ignorant comment, don't you think?

Taking an arbitrary swipe at some other religion (not even against me) shows you to be a pretty ignorant angry bigoted person.

But I guess that is to be expected from someone who's dogma is "do whatever you want to do".

It looks like you've still got some issues to work out with your hatred of other religions. After you resolve those, you can focus on your hatred of me for stating honestly what it is that you do.

And Tracy said...

My hatred of you? How convenient of you to forget that this discussion began with your insulting my religious beliefs.

You find it bigoted to point out a practice that is customary in the Christian religion? Do Christians not partake in the symbolic body and blood of Christ in their religious services? Is it so difficult for you to grasp that other cultures might find this unreasonable? I personally, have absolutely no problem with it or anyone else's beliefs and/or practices. I don't make it a practice of sitting in judgement of others. Yet, you see absolutely nothing wrong with hiding like a coward behind a computer screen and insulting a system of religious beliefs you obviously know nothing about, and then accusing me of bigotry and hatred. OH the irony!!!

Quite frankly, you are in no way qualified to decide what to expect of me or my beliefs. You however, have proven yourself one of the most loathsome, ignorant, bigots I have yet to encounter.

By the way, lest you make more of an ass of yourself than you have on this particular occasion, our tenet is:

"An it HARM NONE, do what ye will".

You might recognize it. Almost every religion has their own version of it. It's really no different than "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". If you don't recognize it, perhaps you should learn it.

Angry? Hardly. I actually find your hypocrisy amusing. But do yourself and everyone else you decide to focus your bigotry on a favor, don't judge others based on your ignorance.

Tracy says:

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"

In Darkness, Light!


Me


































Friday, November 21, 2008

For those moments when....




A picture speaks a thousand words!

Mother Denied Custody Because of Wicca

Merry Meet and Greetings Friends and Lurkers!

This is what happens when our First Amendment Rights are replaced with fear, bigotry and ignorance.


Courtesy of Deborah Lipp's Property of a Lady @ www.deborahlipp.com/wordpress/

Every time I hear one of these stories, it’s a fresh, new horror.

Did talk of a mother’s (alleged) adherence to Wicca cause her to lose custody of her child? That is the allegation of Andrea Hicks, who said that Chicot County Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow improperly considered her religious views in his ruling.

“In her appeal of Chicot County Circuit Judge Robert Vittitow’s decision, the mother noted Vittitow described Wicca in his opinion letter as ‘a religion, movement, cult or whatever it that may be.’ The judge also wrote that while the mother testified she was only joking when she told the boy’s father that she was involved with Wicca, the ‘court believes she is much more involved than she would lead us to believe.’”

Hicks’ first appeal was denied, even though the two dissenting judges believed that the ruling ‘impermissibly considered’ her faith. You can read the opinions of the judges on the appeal court, here (Andrea Hicks v. Joshua A. Cook). Now, somewhat unsurprisingly, a motion to rehear the appeal has been denied with the same justices dissenting.

I would ask anyone reading this to cross-post it. Widespread attention is one of the few things that helps in cases like this.

Filed under: Paganism, Politics — Deborah Lipp @ 2:30 pm

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Realm of the Evil Hair Fairies...

Merry Meet and Welcome Friends and Lurkers!

Warning! If you suffer from entomophobia (an irrational fear of insects) this may freak you out considerably! Personally, I don't have an irrational fear of insects, I just intensely dislike some of them more than words can describe!

Still reading? You were warned!

Despite having been preoccupied with Samhain/Halloween celebrations, The Witch's Ball and other important life altering events, things have been humming along fine..just fine. Little did I know that my happy existence was going to turn into....

:::insert my impression of Marisa Tomei as Mona Lisa Vito in "My Cousin Vinny"::::

"Oh My God! What a fucking Nightmare!"

After the Halloween/Samhain weekend, my daughter began complaining of an itchy rash on her neck. Upon examination, I saw some redness where she'd been scratching, but no real sign of a rash. I thought that perhaps I had used some new laundry detergent or shampoo and that it had irritated her sensitive skin. Kyla tends to be a raging hypochondriac, which I must confess she inherited from me, so it really isn't unusual for her to turn some minor discomfort into a crisis. Still, she seemed to be truly uncomfortable so I offered her some Benadryl. The next day, she proclaimed that she was "fine".

A day or two later however, she was itching so badly she was in tears and had scratched so hard she was bleeding. Now, I'm legally blind without my contacts. I can see only a tad better if I take them out or with my glasses off, and only if I look at something really, really closely. I decided to re-examine her neck sans the lenses and indeed there was a fine red rash on her neck that seemed to travel into her hairline. I still suspected an allergic reaction, so I gave her another dose of Benadryl and decided that if she was still miserable, I would take her to the pediatrician.

The next morning, as I was blissfully sipping my morning coffee, Kyla came down for breakfast and I noticed her scratching. I asked her to come over so that I could take a look at her. As I examined her neck, I began scolding her for not brushing her hair well enough. As I used my fingers to untangle her hair, what I saw made me recoil in horror!!!! I recognized all too well what was making her miserable, because it was the very thing that I've dreaded most since the moment she entered Kindergarten! My deepest, darkest, most dreaded fear! Head fucking lice!!!! I began to hyperventilate. I felt faint!!!! I felt nauseous!!! I screamed, "Raaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!"

This was not happening! Oh, but it was! Head Lice! Head Lice? When? Where? How? Kyla had three, count em', three sleep-overs in the days following Samhain. Now not only was I horrified, but I was friggin' mortified as well!!! I realized that I had to call each of the parents of these children and be the bearer of the news that my child may have inflicted this dreaded plague on their family! But wait, where did Kyla get them? And why hadn't any of these responsible parents picked up the phone to give me a head's up (no pun intended)and warn me that my life was about to turn into something akin to the Hindenburg Disaster? Interestingly enough, when I began making these phone calls, instead of being confronted by angry, defensive parents, what I encountered was a nonchalant "been there, done that" attitude, that for me, seemed completely surreal! Did they not hear what I was saying??? I'm talking head lice, dammit!!!! Head fucking lice!!! They may have had an air of nonchalance, but I was completely buggin'!!! Literally!

Ok, I know. You're probably thinking "Oh, Tracy, the DRAMA!!!" And I agree, I sound like a raving lunatic, don't I? Ghosts? Vampires? Witches? Nah, that describes some of my closest friends! This, for me, is the stuff of true horror stories! I must confess, I have harbored a morbid fear of lice since childhood when two of my best friends were diagnosed with them. While I wouldn't abandon my friends in their time of need, I was friggin' terrified that I would get them! After we would play together, I would come home and obsessively brush out my waist length hair until my scalp was sore!!! And, somehow by the grace of the Gods, I managed to (knock wood, tossing salt over my left shoulder, rubbing a lucky rabbit's foot on my ass) avoid getting them. That said, I was totally unprepared to deal with them now...forty years later!

Still, I needed to consolidate my feces and form a plan of action! I called the pediatrican, who made little effort to alay my fears! Their advice, don't send her to school, go to the pharmacy and buy some anti-lice treatment and start nitpicking? What?! Oh yes, the shampoo does not remove the hellacious microscopic eggs that the little lice ass bastards leave behind. They need to be removed, by hand, one by one!! Now keep in mind, each louse can lay up to 100 eggs. OH.MY.GOD!!!! Doctor ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!

And so it began. For those of you who know me, you already know how compulsive I am about cleaning. With the menagerie I have, I need to be. Now imagine me on crack and you'll have some idea of the approach I've taken to de-bugging my existence. Every person in my house has been throughly examined and treated, whether they had them or not. Even after being examined and deemed, "bug free", I pleaded with Ray every couple of hours to recheck me. He had just about enough of my neuroses. He actually had the nerve to go to bed, leaving me alone...with THEM! He was awakened at Midnight however, to sound of the shower running as I treated myself for imaginary lice. So far, Ray and I have managed to escape them (knocking wood, tossing salt, rubbing lucky rabbit's foot on my ass!) Justin, unfortunately, wasn't quite as lucky.

I will dispense with the nitpicking, but let it suffice to say that I have never vacuumed, done as much laundry or used as much Clorox in my entire life!!! And just to give you a better idea of kind of madness I have resorted to in order to eradicate these "ento mo fo's", and yes, that is the slang term for insect mother fuuu...never mind, you know what I mean, the entire family is required to wear surgical caps, at all times!

In "googling" the websites for information regarding this problem, I found the best quote by a sympathetic parent.

"Do you have any wine? All of this would go a lot smoother in an altered state of reality."

In darkness, light!


Tracy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Goats and Mushrooms, and Coyotes! OH MY!!















Merry Meet Friends and Lurkers!

Ok, so last weekend I went to an awesome ritual in Delaware. The strange thing is, each time I've tried to sit down at this box to write about my experience, I have been at a loss for words. The very fact that I am uncharacteristically at a loss for words leads me to believe there are two possibilities...one, that I have writer's block or two, that I am not supposed to blog the experience. I decided to give it another shot, so here goes.

I can tell you that it was a four hour drive from Jersey, in the rain, which sucked more than words can say. As we drove down stretch after stretch of highway, there was farmland as far as the eye could see. Perhaps it was the rain, but I found it rather depressing. Whatever had been planted had long since been harvested, leaving barren fields that a few months ago had obviously been green and abundant. And there were goat farms. With goats. As far as the eye could see. I never really gave much thought to where goats came from, with the exception of perhaps...well, other goats. I now suspect that the World's goat population comes from Delaware. We passed a billboard that was advertising the 23rd Annual Mushroom Festival. Now, I admit, fungus not withstanding, I am a mushroom fan. I just couldn't help but wonder who the hell would travel to Delaware for 23 years to celebrate their existence. I must confess that several times during the trip, I questioned what would ever possess me to drive this long for a single event. It was an answer I already knew. The choice was not mine.

We were attending the Ritual of Hecate. If you've read my blog or have an understanding of Wicca, than you know that Wicca is a polytheistic religion, meaning we honor more than one God or Goddess. These Gods and Goddesses can come from many historical backgrounds, i.e. Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Greek, as well as Christian origins. Hecate is known as the Greek Goddess of the Crossroads, guardian of the household, protector of the newly born, Queen of Witchcraft, the Dark Mother. She is also my patron Goddess, whom I honor and call upon for guidance and protection. So for me, attending this ritual held a special significance.

The intent of this particular ritual was to invoke the Goddess and have her speak to the celebrants through the three High Priestesses that were officiating. The High Priestesses each represented one of the three aspects of the Goddess, maiden, mother and crone. The term for this is "aspecting." If you've never seen someone channel a spiritual entity, think of Whoopee Goldberg in the seance scene from the movie, "Ghost" and you'll understand what I mean.

The ritual was sponsored by a group of six covens known as the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel on a property spanning about 106 acres called Seelie Court. This was by far the largest public ritual I've ever attended. There were probably a hundred or so people participating. What struck me immediately was how widely the age range varied. It was really impressive to see such a large number of people, much older than myself, who had obviously been practicing for many years.

There were some workshops in progress when we arrived. Afterwards we were able to mingle and get to know the people we would be circling with. If you actually know me, you know that I love meeting new people. I was actually once referred to as a "best friend whore", I believe because I interact with new people as if we've been best friends for years. That's actually a really lovely compliment and no offense to my friends, but I used to be referred to as a "nut magnet". Just sayin'.

The rain had stopped shortly before the ritual began, thankfully. The night was warm, but the sky was still overcast and threatening. I wondered where they would conduct a ritual of that size should it begin to rain again. Still, I was hopeful that I wouldn't have to find out.

In order to get to the place where the actual rite was to be held, we needed to walk a path through the woods which had been lit by tea light candles in small jars. I'm talking woods guys...deep, dense, can't see your hand in front of you, woods. Some of those candles had been blown out by the breeze. What blew my mind however, was that my eyes adjusted immediately to the total darkness and I walked effortlessly on the path to the Circle. It was as if I had walked the trail a million times before. We sang a beautiful chant that echoed through the trees as we entered in procession.

I watched as we filed into the Circle and it become so large that the faces of those on the opposite side became unrecognizable. After a guided meditation to ground and center, the Circle was cast. We closed our eyes and hand to hand we began to chant. After several moments, I began to feel as if I were no longer earthbound. I could have sworn my feet were no longer touching the ground! The sensation was quite startling and my eyes flew open. I needed to be sure I was still connected with the Earth! Assured that I was, I allowed myself to enjoy the sensation. I could hear the sound of bats, making little bat sounds overhead and a coyote howling in the background. Then from somewhere within the Circle I heard a woman begin to speak. Her voice was powerful, yet soothing. I opened my eyes to see who it was and as I did, I noticed that the sky had suddenly begun to clear and the moon was shining down onto the Circle. As the ritual grew intensity, I could feel a sudden rush of wind blowing through the trees, where just moments before there was not a hint of a breeze. I thought it was about to rain, so I looked up to see the clouds rushing by and the moon shining just as brightly.

Each of the celebrants were instructed prior to the ritual's beginning to think about what question they would like answered or what advice they might be offered by the Goddess Hecate. As I listened to the High Priestess speaking, I realized that, one by one, she was answering the very questions I had thought to ask!

After the ritual ended, we walked back to the house for the post ritual feast. Stepping back into the light seemed, strangely foreign. We were greeted by three of the four huge dogs that live on the property, wolf/coyote hybrids, who came bounding from the woods in pack formation. Oddly, they were no where to be seen when we were in Circle, and I realized that they must have been just near by, somewhere in the cover of darkness. It was...comforting. I would describe the entire ritual as comforting, but even then, it would be an understatement.

Now as I write, I understand why it had been so difficult to put this experience into words. It was a contradiction in terms. Empowering, yet humbling, transforming, yet affirming and what it affirmed for me personally was something that I've known for as long as I can remember.

The Dark Mother taught me how to dance.

In Darkness, Light!



Tracy


























































































Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hail and Welcome to the Chief!



Merry Meet Friends and Lurkers!


So, yesterday afternoon, my husband and I went to one of our local schools to vote. I was surprised by how few people were there. It was noon and most people were probably working, but given the historic circumstances of this particular election, I would have expected a larger turn out...but I digress.

When I walked up to the desk to confirm my residency, I noticed a tall, grey haired, very serious looking gentleman standing near the voting booths. I wasn't sure what his function was, but I'm guessing that if there had been a larger crowd, he would have been insuring that one person enter the voting booth at a time. He seemed to be taking his job very seriously given how few people were actually there. Don't ask me why, but I had the overwhelming feeling that he was a fan of McCain-Palin. Just a wild guess...


There were only two booths, so my husband and I each took one. Just before I entered, this tall, grey haired, very serious looking gentleman said, "vote carefully". I found this a bizarre, if not somewhat condescending comment and cocked my head toward him the way a dog does when they're trying really, really hard to understand what you're trying to say. "Is there any other way?, I wondered. Still, just to be polite, I replied, "Oh, I will", and I stepped through the curtain.


My husband and I exited the booths at exactly the same time. Still looking very serious, the grey haired gentleman looked at me expectantly. I'm not sure what exactly he was waiting for but again, I felt the need to acknowledge him and be polite. Yet, given his condescending demeanor and my overwhelming temptation to be a wise ass, with an expression stern enough to rival his own I said, "that was for the Moose".

Well, a look came across his face that was even more serious than when we'd met. I think it's safe to say he was clearly not as amused as I was! Still, I managed to stifle the urge to snicker...just to be polite.

Some people have absolutely no sense of humor! }:)

Rocking the Vote $0

Being able to exercise my First Amendment Right to Free Speech....Priceless!

In darkness, light!



Tracy

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Official....

I'm Unofficial!!!!!

Merry Meet and Greetings Friends and Lurkers:

I wanted to share the article that appeared in the Village Voices section of The Ridgewood News on October 31, 2008.

So, you're probably wondering, firstly have I lost my mind...which is really a strange question since most of you already know the answer and secondly, how the hell did I end up in the newspaper. It was quite by accident actually. In attempting to post an event advertisement for the 4th Annual Witch's Ball, I was asked to create a user ID. I couldn't think of anything I would actually remember so I used "The Unofficial Witch of Ridgewood". The next thing I knew, I received an e-mail from Joyce Suss, who writes for the Ridgewood News, asking me if I'd be willing to do their Village Voices feature. I was skeptical at first. I made it clear, "no black hats, no black cats, no brooms". The last thing I wanted was to promote the very stereotype that has endured for the last oh...400 years. If I was to do this, I wanted to be able to use it as a venue to dispell at least a few of the misconceptions involving Wicca and Witches. They assured me that the article would be very tasteful and they wanted to write it from an entirely Pagan perspective. So after discussing it with my family to insure that everyone was onboard and prepared for the possibility of feedback, I agreed.

So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive! Several of the local merchants have told me that I need to speak to the Mayor about "Official Witch of Ridgewood" status! If you know anything about Ridgewood, you know I won't be waiting to exhale!

If you click on the photo, I think you'll be able to read the article.

In darkness, light!


Tracy





Sunday, November 2, 2008

The 4th Annual Witches' Ball!!!














Merry Meet Friends and Lurkers!


Ok, so I confess, I'm awful! After all my ranting about the Witches' Ball, I haven't even mentioned it! I must profusely apologize!


What can I say, the 4th Annual Witches' Ball kicked some serious ass!!!! I wish I had more pictures to share, but honestly, just after the Circle was closed and the ritual ended, the DJ kicked off the festivities with, "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult and I never stopped dancing long enough to take out my camera!


The ritual itself was awesome! It included a working that is commonly done on Samhain which involves the "calling of the dead". In a heart beat like rhythm, a drumbeat began as a backdrop for a chant celebrating our ancestors. While the chant was being sung, those in attendance called out the names of the deceased loved ones that they wished to remember, honor and to invite to be present at the celebration. I was a little concerned that those who had never attended a ritual would...well, either freak out or alternatively, be so caught up in the emotion or mechanics that they would lose sight of the actual purpose of the working. Despite it's name, the Witches' Ball is not an exclusively Pagan event. There are those who attend simply to support the charity, the sponsors, or to just enjoy the festivities of a Halloween night masquerade ball. For those who never experienced anything like it before or are from a more conservative religious background, I would venture to say it might be a little intimidating. I am thrilled to say that this seemed not at all to be the case! As I and the other Quarter callers chanted and danced, prompting the guests to join in, I was able to look into the faces of some of those in attendance. It was wonderful to see so many people so focused on the working...eyes closed, chanting the names of their loved ones, completely entranced or moved to tears. It was a very powerful experience.


The other working that was done was a witnessing of one's Fate. The Quarter callers would come to each person in attendance and ask them if they would like to witness their fate. They had the option of accepting or declining. If they agreed, they were shown their reflection in a black mirror at which time they made a spoken promise to themselves to either fulfill the fate they were shown or to change it. I spoke to many people afterwards who told me that they never expected to be so moved by a public ritual. Our High Priestess, Deborah Lipp, shared an email she received afterward from someone who told her that the fate working proved to be a life altering experience. Ya gotta love when that happens!


Things were pretty much a blur for me from that point on. I completely lost myself in the music, the pleasure of being with friends, new and old, and the amazing energy! I am happy to report that a lovely donation was given to PAWS Animal Shelter of Montclair and that there was such positive feedback, that we've been asked to perform the ritual for next year's 5th Annual Witches' Ball!



In darkness, light!




Tracy

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's' Autumn!!!





















Merry Meet All!!!

So, you're probably thinking..."uh, yeah...we know it's Autumn!" Buncha smart asses! I know it's Autumn too! I'm not talking about the season! Dammit!

This is a photo of "my" Autumn. She is the beautiful painted lady that we adopted as a rescue last fall. All our kid's friends call her "The Halloween Kitty" because of her black and orange markings.

I found her curled up in a cage at PetSmart. I couldn't really see her face behind the glass, but I just knew I had to bring her home. My husband assured me that we were not getting another cat. I assured him that he was wrong. After a week of intolerable haranguing on her behalf, I went back and got her.

Every morning she sits on my lap watching me read my e-mail and together, we spend "quality cat time." She gets a kick out of watching my fingers as I type and yesterday, she decided to take matters into her own hands, or paws as it were.

I was going through my "useless saved mail folder" and I came a upon something I had saved from long ago. As I scrolled down the letter, I found myself recalling the reason why I saved it in the first place. At that moment, Autumn moved her little paw and hit the delete key. I was about to scold her, when she looked at up at me with this quizzical expression, as if to say, "why are you saving this?"

I was actually taken aback by the look on her face and responded, "yeah, I was thinking the same thing!"

In darkness, light!!!


Autumn!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting in the Spirit...


Photo courtesy of the Spirits in the Cemetary at Salem, MA and by me!


>











Merry Meet and Greetings Friends and Lurkers:


Ok, so those of you who actually know me, know I'm absolutely nuts by now. I don't mean my usual state of madness, but that little extra insanity that creeps up on me around this time of the year. No, it's not that I'm so enamoured with the beautiful fall leaves or the fact that several places here were hit with snow yesterday. I begin to think about "better dealing" New Jersey as soon as the temps drop below 70 degrees, so a few snowflakes just don't do it for me. So what has induced my current state of euphoria??? And no, it's not the Lexapro! It's...come on, you can say it, I already know! It's...ah yes, Halloween!

As a kid, I always adored Halloween. What kid doesn't, right? But, it wasn't just the excitement of costumes, the candy or the decorations, but an underlying sense that something in the atmosphere was beginning to change. The chocolate was just a perk!


Since then however, Halloween has taken on an entirely different meaning me. For myself, as well as many Pagans, it's also known as Samhain (prounounced Sow'un). On our Wheel of the Year, it's the time of the final harvest, when we reap what we have sown throughout the year, both personally and agriculturally. It's commonly referred to as the Witch's New Year. It marks the dark half of the year when the Earth begins it's slumber until Yule (December 21st), when the light returns. It is also the time when the veil between ours and the spirit world is the thinnest, so for many, Samhain is the time when we honor our ancestors and loved ones on the other side.

This Samhain is particularly significant for me on so many levels. One of the most exciting being the Annual Witches' Ball this Friday night! This is a charity event that we lend our support to every year. I'm thrilled that the proceeds will be donated to a local animal shelter. It did pose a bit of a dilemma for me however. The date of this year's event coincided with the Samhain ritual that was to be celebrated by our own group, Anahata Wiccan Grove. Well, as much as I wanted to be with my own group on Samhain (last year's was particularly meaningful), I also didn't want to miss the Witches' Ball! Dammit! So many people wrote me last year to tell me how awesome it was, I just had to be there! So, on behalf of myself, as well as all the homeless puppies and kittens in the shelter, I pleaded and whined and we came to mutually agreeable solution. This year, Anahata Wiccan Grove will be celebrating our Samhain ritual with everyone at the Witches' Ball!!!! Our own Deborah Lipp, author and High Priestess and our High Priest, Dave, will be officiating with myself and the other members of our group participating. It's going to be a beautiful, sacred ritual dedicated to our ancestors with a slammin' party afterwards!!! I'm so friggin psyched, I could burst!!!!

All this being said, I've again had the sense of something quite different in the air. It's that same oddly calming feeling that I could never quite put my finger on as a kid. This morning, as I sipped my coffee and watched the leaves swirling in spirals around my garden, it finally hit me and I knew what it was!

I feel dead people!!!


In darkness, light!!!


Tracy


I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity" ~ Edgar Allan Poe

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dr. Erica Hahn & Dr. Callie Torres

Merry Meet and Welcome Friends and Lurkers!

If you're a fan of Grey's Anatomy then you already know I'm referring to Dr. Erica Hahn (Brook Smith) and Dr. Callie Torres O'Malley (Sara Ramirez). And, if you're a fan of Grey's Anatomy, you also know that Dr. Callie Torres and Dr. Erica Hahn are involved in a budding lesbian relationship. Callie isn't actually a full-fledged lesbian, she's well...actually kind of bisexual. She had been married to Dr. George O'Malley (T.R. Knight) who, in actuality, is gay.

Ok, so you're probably wondering what's with the recap of Grey's Anatomy? Well, I gotta tell ya, I found the latest episode of the show...well, disturbing. Well, not so much. It wasn't the actual episode itself that was disturbing, but my reaction to it.

Allow me to explain. I am not one of these people who believe homosexuality is an anomaly. I believe that just as I was born a female heterosexual without having any choice in the matter, so were homosexuals born into their own sexuality for the very same reason. I think the notion that we are products of our "environment" or upbringing is complete and utter bullshit. That said, I have many friends and family members of various sexual orientations and I am completely comfortable with their relationships. I make no distinctions between their relationships with their lovers or significant others than to that of my friends who are in heterosexual relationships. I find their displays of affection just as tender and beautiful as any other couple in love. In essence, if they have found happiness, then I'm happy for them and it's all good.

During the most recent episode of Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Callie Torres and Dr. Erica Hahn had shared their first lesbian experience. Apparently Callie was not at all thrilled with it and told Erica that she wasn't interested in a repeat performance. Erica looked...crushed! Callie then decides to incorporate the expertise of her sexually experienced, fairly gorgeous male co-star, Dr. Mark Sloan a.k.a. Dr. McSteamy (Eric Dane) to teach her the finer points of....well, what she described as "going South". It wasn't that her first experience with Dr. Erica Hahn wasn't good for her, she just didn't believe she was good at it! In the next scene, she walks in on Dr. McSteamy, who is attempting to sleep in the on-call room and tells him in no uncertain terms to teach her what he knows. He's totally agreeable and instructs her to "take off your pants". It was all good for me thus far. The end of the show however, finds an obviously now more experienced Dr. Callie Torres walking in on Dr. Erica Hahn, casting a seductive glance over her and instructing her to "take off your pants". I gotta tell ya, I was repulsed!!!! But now I was concerned as well! Why was I was repulsed? "Was I becoming a raging homophobe", I wondered? How could this be?? I must confess, I've seen lesbian porn before and I found it quite....McSteamy!!! Well, that was Thursday and it bothered me all the way until last evening, when I finally put a finger on my reaction (no pun intended)

At dinner, I was discussing this with my husband, Ray who agreed that this reaction was totally unlike me! I am a naturally very affectionate person and I don't discriminate by gender. If a female friend, of whatever sexual preference, is stroking my hair, gives me a hug or snuggles with me on the sofa, I enjoy it just as much as if it were a male friend. I am...an equal opportunity schmoozer! So, I found this uncharacteristic behavior completely disconcerting!

Well, as I was played the scene over and over in my mind... I had an epiphany!!!! No, in fact, a revelation!!! The reason why I was so turn off was because...I do not find Dr. Erica Hahn at all sexually attractive!!!! (Sorry, Erica) I turned to my husband and said, "Ray, I finally figured out why Grey's Anatomy freaked me out so much!!!" "Yeah, why?", he asked through a mouth full of sushi. I replied, "Dr. Erica Hahn doesn't turn me on!!!"

Sushi Dinner $75

Look on Ray's face: Priceless.

In darkness, light!!!


Tracy

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Freudian Slips...

Merry Meet Friends and Lurkers!

Ok, so over the years, I have seen a wonderful therapist. She's a great lady whom I credit with getting me through some of the more difficult times in my life. One of the things I love most about her is that she doesn't follow the classical Freudian approach to therapy. By this I mean that some therapists will act as a "blank page" for their patients, allowing them to spill there hearts out while they take notes, but without offering anything in the way of advice.. What I like about my therapist is that she will actually react when something I tell her surprises her. So I know that if something I say elicits her "Oh.My.God" response, then the situation or person whom I'm describing is probably more fucked up than I thought and that she is just validating what I'd already suspected.

All this being said, several years ago, I lost several of my immediate family in an very short period of time. It was unquestionably one of the darkest periods of my life and even the best therapist in the world wasn't going to make dealing with it any easier. I admit, I didn't make it any easier on myself either. I was adamant that the grief was something that I needed to work through on my own. When someone close to you dies, you're supposed to be depressed, dammit!!!! For this reason, I vetoed any suggestion of medication. I saw absolutely no reason to have my mood "chemically enhanced", unless I had a guarantee that it would be something I would enjoy! And most of those things are illegal! I knew my therapist wasn't one to push medications and so if she was suggesting it, I knew she was concerned. I told her I'd consider it, if it would make her feel better. Yeah, I know how weird that sounds. She was relieved, but since I agreed to consider it, I would need to make an appointment with the psychiatrist in her practice since she was not authorized to prescribe medications. Before I could weasel my way out of it, she set up the appointment for me! I must have looked a lot worse than I actually felt!

On the day of appointment with my new "psychiatrist", I remember thinking how much less nuts I actually felt before I made an appointment to see a psychiatrist. I knew it was probably due to all the stigma surrounding mental illness, but that didn't make me feel any more sane. So now I'm getting into the elevator to go to his office and chastising myself for getting myself into this. I was NOT going to agree to any medications anyway, so I felt badly about wasting his time and my money! I was so preoccupied with my weaseling, that I never noticed the awesome man who happened to be sharing the same elevator. I didn't notice him, in fact, until he held the door for me. I wondered if he might be a patient, but then as I sat down in the waiting room, he walked through the door marked "Doctor's Office". After a few minutes, the door opened and there he was, this tall, dark, well dressed, gorgeous man with an accent that could melt the Siberian Tundra. "Tracy, I'm Dr. Z, please come in". If I was in a better frame of mind, my mood would have been immediately "enhanced", but instead I found myself thinking, "this is not my life!" Maybe I was more depressed than I thought!

So, now I sit down across from him. He had this lock of dark hair that fell across his forehead and he was wearing a funky tie that completely contrasted his beautiful suit and oh yeah, that accent! Funky tie not withstanding, I couldn't help thinking he would probably look better naked! Hey, it was a testament of my mental health and..at least I admit it! He began questioning me about what brought me to his office, how I'd been feeling and what he could do to help. A loaded question, at best! Obviously, a psychiatrist is someone you should be able to share the most intimate details of your life. I, on the other hand, found myself completely and uncharacteristically, tongue tied! How could I share anything personal with this man? He was maddeningly cute! But, at $250 for 45 minutes, I had to tell him something!!! I figured I'd blush less and appear a lot less crazy if I just stuck to the basic facts. I told him, "I'm here because my therapist is concerned about my well-being. She thinks I should consider an "anti-depressant."

Then it began..a sort of witty exchange. "Do you think you need an anti-depressant? To which I replied, "I don't know, do you?" "Do you exercise excessively?" My reply, "What do you consider excessive?" "Can I drink wine with an anti-depressant?" "Do you drink a lot of wine?" "Red or white? And what do you consider a lot?" Well, to make a long story short, we ended our first session laughing and talking about our favorite sushi restaurants. It was lighthearted, enjoyable and the best part, I actually did feel better. When my husband asked how my appointment went, I flashed a prescription for Lexapro, described Dr. Z and our session. He said , " That's just great! $250 and you talked about sushi?" Needless to say, he was not amused.

Well, after months of contemplation, I finally did take the Lexapro, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I'd ever made. And I still see Dr. Z about once a year, just make sure I'm still relatively sane and see if he's tried any new sushi places. Ok, I'm lying! At my recent appointment however, and after years of seeing him, I finally decided I should share something that I never told him before and so I told him I'm Pagan. I never had any reason not to tell him, it just never came up in conversation, but this was definitely as best a time as any to share. Well, he was in a word...shocked! I was blatantly amused! He's even better looking when he's shocked! He wanted details! "How long have you been Wiccan?" "What does your family think about this?" "How do reconcile your Christian upbringing" "What holidays to you celebrate?" "So you're a.....Witch?" :::insert seriously cute Russian accent::: "I want to know more of this Wicca!" I'm not sure if I approve of this Wicca!" And then the question I knew was coming, "Do you really believe you're a Witch?' To which I replied, "Um...I practice Witchcraft. What do you think that makes me?" Then, as he jotted down notes in his little book, he looked up and said, "Well Tracy, I find this absolutely :::insert really long pause::: fascinating! But, are there any other secrets you've kept from your psychiatrist?" Well...Doc...now that you mention it...


In darkness, light!



Tracy

Friday, October 17, 2008

In the Corners of My Mind...

Merry Meet Friends and Lurkers:

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you remember the weirdest things?

Last night, lying in bed, I remembered a boy I knew from High School. He was one of these cute, funny, cocky guys with an over-inflated ego, who only dated the A List girls, but who thought he could have anyone he wanted. This guy was what we now commonly refer to as a "player". He definitely had a reputation that preceded him and trust me, from a female perspective, it wasn't all good! I had been well informed beforehand, so I wasn't at all interested in anything more than his friendship and even that was stretching it. As it turned out however, his best friend was dating my best friend, so we ended up in each other's company quite often. We'd go on these "unofficial" double dates, which were really "undates" because we weren't dating. That said, we did become pretty close friends.

Well, one day when we were alone, he confided, "You know, Tracy, there's this girl I really like, but you know...I can't go out with her". I was like, "oooooh, really, is it anyone I know?". He laughed and he said, "Yeah, you know her". Remember, we'd become pretty tight, so I knew all the girls he was interested in or dated (and there were plenty), but I couldn't guess who it might be. Then, with this utterly remorseful look in his eyes, he said, "Tracy, I really, really like you, but I can't go out with you. It would ruin my reputation". Well, you would think I'd be insulted, but what I was, in fact, was amused! So amused in fact that I laughed in his face! Needless to say, he was mortified!!! And then really, really angry!!! So angry in fact that he actually tried to convince his big sister to kick my ass!!!! She didn't of course, but it did make the entire situation a lot more dramatic! Well, you would think our friendship would have ended at that moment, but instead he pursued me for months afterwards! His best friend told me he was heartbroken! No, what he was, was shallow beyond words! Thinking back on it now, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to youth. Hopefully, he eventually matured enough to realize that he ended a great friendship just to preserve a "reputation" that wasn't all that to begin with.

But now, I couldn't help but wonder...well, firstly, whatever happened to him and secondly, what would make me think of this after all these years? I have my suspicions, but what I believe it comes down to is this. Karma! Ya see, probably a year or so before, I too completely annihilated a relationship with someone I truly cared for and for no other reason than that I was afraid of what others might think of me. I admit it, I was a little shit! This person was very important to me, so age was no excuse for behaving badly! Fortunately, in one of the weirdest twists of fate I've yet to encounter, this year, some 30 years later, I was actually able to apologize to that person for having hurt them. Hopefully he realizes my apology was indeed heartfelt and knows how much he actually meant to me both then and now, as a friend, but I digress.

There are people who expend all their time and energy just trying to keep up the appearance of who they've convinced the outside world that they are. They are so concerned with outward appearances that they'll go out of their way to avoid any possibility of...oh I don't know, actually being themselves. Despite the consequences, they'll break ties, end relationships, ruin friendships, all to protect their "reputation". But, in the end, it's all an illusion. We all have to look in the mirror of fate at some point. It's then that we can review our lives, decide if we like what we see or where we fucked up, and hopefully try to change it. Or at least, that's what I chose to do. In the end "reputation" means so very little if it means hurting people that you truly care for or that care for you.

I guess what I'm getting at is this. For me, it was more important to take that leap of faith, no matter how long it had been and no matter what the consequences, than to have that person forever think of me as a "little shit". That said, I may still be a little shit...but now, I'm a little shit without regret.

In darkness, light!



Tracy

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh No He Didn't!

Merry Meet Friends and Lurkers:

I listen to 1010 WINS, whom I swear are reporting things not only because they are news worthy, but for the sheer entertainment value. (see my archived entry on the death of Paul Newman and you'll understand what I mean). Having said that, if I had to report the same friggin' news every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, I'd be looking for ways to amuse myself too!

Yesterday afternoon, they were broadcasting an interview with George W., who was talking about the economic bail out plan. Well, he attempted to use the word "financier", a word which was obviously too complicated for his limited vocabulary and instead, pronounced it, "fee-nan-sor." "Feenansor?" But wait, isn't this guy supposed to be a graduate of both Harvard and Yale??? And his grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a Wall Street financier! WTF!!!!

John Montone, who reports for 1010 WINS, promptly jumped on the flub by saying, "I believe the President meant to say "financier".

Yeah, John, we know, too late, it was already friggin' funny!

Know what's even funnier????

We voted this idiot into the White House, not once, but twice!!

Well, actually......I didn't. Just sayin' }:)

In darkness, light!


Tracy

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Halloween Witch

Photo by "Me"



Merry Meet Friends and Lurkers:


A friend of mine posted this on her website (Thank you, Prissy) In reading it, I was struck with profound sadness when I realized that this could quite possibly be an accurate account of how the classical Halloween Witch came to be. This actually happened, folks. Both women and men endured this kind of appalling treatment in the name of...well, all that was "Holy". It's an interesting read for the open-minded.


The Halloween Witch


Each year they parade her about, the traditional Halloween Witch. Misshapen green face, stringy scraps of hair, a toothless mouth beneath her deformed nose. Gnarled knobby fingers twisted into a claw protracting from a bent and twisted torso that lurches about on wobbly legs. Most think this abject image to be the creation of aprejudiced mind or merely a Halloween caricature. I disagree, I believe this to be how Witches were really seen. Consider that most Witches were women, were abducted in the night, and smuggled into dungeons or prisons under the secrecy of darkness to be presented by light of day as a confessed Witch. Few if any saw a frightened normal looking woman being dragged into a secret room filled with instruments of torture, to be questioned until she confessed to anything suggested to her and to give names or what ever would stop the questions. Crowds saw the aberration denounced to the world as a self-proclaimed Witch. As the Witch was paraded through town en route to be burned, hanged, drowned, stoned or disposed of in various other forms of Christian love all created to free and save her soul from her depraved body, the jeering crowds viewed the results of hours of torture. The face bruised and broken by countless blows bore a hue of sickly green. The once warm and loving smile gone replaced by a grimace of broken teeth and torn gums that leers beneath a battered disfigured nose. The dishevelled hair conceals bleeding gaps of torn scalp from whence cruel hands had torn away the lovely tresses. Broken twisted hands clutched the wagon for support, fractured fingers with nails torn away locked like groping claws to steady her broken body. All semblance of humanity gone this was truly a demon, a bride of Satan, a Witch. I revere this Halloween Crone and hold her sacred above all. I honour her courage and listen to her warnings of the dark side of man. Each year I shed tears of respect when the mundane exhibit their symbol of Christian love.


Author: angel © 6-26-99Petals & Thornspoetry by angel © 1993 - 1999