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 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!


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!


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 @

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!


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, 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!


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!


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!


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!