Adventure with Jeffrey

This post is also featured on the Pentacle Project Blog: http://pentalcleproject.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/adventure-with-jeffrey-by-aradia-lecrawe/

In 2013, I attended the Pagan Unity Festival in Burns, Tn.

e50a71e89c1aee9eed381861235302b0

I was invited by my adopted mother and our friends, Ariel and Tom of the Green Egg. It was my first festival and my excitement was to the roof. This was the first time I could be open about who I was with people who were like me. The VIPs of that year had me looking forward to learning new things. I wouldn’t consider myself a “baby Pagan” but I felt like one amidst the heavy hitters. There was a bit of intimidation, but I remembered everyone, festival goer and speaker alike, were there to learn and have a good time. To be honest, I got along more with the speakers and a few vendors than the rest of the people.

If you go to PUF and see this woman, give her a hug and say thanks. Also tell her everything is going to be okay. She stresses to much. :P

If you go to PUF and see this woman, give her a hug and say thanks. Also tell her everything is going to be okay. She stresses too much. 😛

Now this story isn’t going to be an account of my experience. It’s a story of understanding, or trying to, the level of a person; one person in particular. It’s also an lesson in the sanctity of the earth. So this person in question stood out at the festival. We will call him Jeffrey. I’m hoping his real name isn’t Jeffrey or this will be awkward. He didn’t really make a big impression at the start. I couldn’t help but notice him walking around when I arrived. He was a small, lanky fellow with freshly dyed black hair, glasses, the infamous three wolf and full moon shirt, and cargo pants with sneakers. His gait was wide and almost John Wayne-esque as he waddled up and down a little path leading from the main hall to vendor’s row. Of course, I thought nothing of it. I’ve seen people like him before and accept them for who they are, but things were about to get perplexing.

Ah. The wonderful Three Wold Moon shirt. Decoration for the Gypsy Soul.

Ah. The wonderful Three Wolf Moon shirt. Decoration for the Gypsy Soul.

Now, mind you, I wasn’t watching Jeffrey like a hawk the moment I got there. I just saw him in passing as there weren’t many people at the festival that year, and trust me, he made his rounds. My first strange experience with Jeffrey came during the talk that Oberon Zell-Ravenheart was giving about education. Brilliant speech, but I kept getting distracted by Jeffrey. I think he decided that in order to get the best view, he wouldn’t sit like everyone else and share the tables and benches. No, he was going to open his lawn chair right in the middle and sit front and center. Granted, it’s not a bad idea, but if the people on either side want to get up, they can’t. It really wasn’t that big a deal. It was just a little strange to me, but I let it go. The next thing I took note of was after Oberon was finished, he opened the floor for questions. Naturally people would ask about the subject of his lecture (education and the school systems). Not Jeffrey. I saw his hand go up and he asked,” What was the most powerful spell you’ve ever done?” Okay. A little off topic, but curiosity is good. I have to admit though, I titled my head and stared at the back of his for a few seconds in confusion.

What?

What?

Nevertheless, Oberon would never let an inquisitive mind go without being sated and answered Jeffrey’s question. He didn’t give a specific instance, but how could you if you were Oberon?

Being an empath, I felt something odd. A feeling of dissatisfaction. Not from myself, but from in front of me. I realized that wasn’t the answer Jeffrey was looking for. Thankfully, he was respectful and accepted Oberon’s answer. Not a big deal, right? Of course. I’m sure there were a few people coming with specific expectations that weren’t met. It’s okay. Just take a breath and move one. It’s what most people do.

I don't think I have to reiterate what this picture says.

I don’t think I have to reiterate what this picture says.

 I naturally went on about my day walking around with my other adopted mother, Lora. We ventured through vendor’s row and saw many excellent wares. It almost felt like walking around a Khajit caravan from The Elder Scrolls Series. There was incense burning, music play, and a drum circle over by the giant oak tree. The vendors were absolutely wonderful and friendly. I’m hoping one day Sylveey, Lora and myself could set up a tent. I think it would be fun.

Anyway, I sat through a couple of other talks and met Dorothy Morrison, one of the sassiest, classiest fucking witches to grace this earth. Seriously, read her books and watch videos of her talks (especially with MR Sellars). I’m not afraid to be a bit wicked and put my foot down thanks to this woman. You’ll see another post later on about Dorothy.

Can't contain this much awesome.

Can’t contain this much awesome.

The reason I bring up Dorothy is she is involved somewhat with my experience with the Jeffrey. You see, that night in a cabin there was a small class called “Chicken Feet avec Dorothy Morrison, Byron Ballard, and Nancie Clark.”

Nancie, Oberon, and Byron

Nancie, Oberon, and Byron… I didn’t take this btw

Oh I was completely over the moon knowing I was going to sit through a talk with these women. I love Hoodoo. I love Folk Magic. I love herbs. This was right up my alley. Sylveey and Lora had been mentoring me in these magicks since I had met them, and to learn with them was whole other experience.

Okay, I’ll stop gushing and get back to Jeffrey.

Unfortunately, there were no tables or chairs in this tiny cabin. Thankfully, it was a small group. I recognized a few people from earlier in the day. Oberon even made his way inside. It was a new experience sitting on the floor against the wall, bare feet sticking out from my dress, and fanning myself along with other sweaty, happy Pagans. Before everything got started I looked around and lo and behold there’s Jeffrey, middle of the room in his lawn chair. This was probably the first time I regret not bringing one.

So the ladies started to get things going. We were informed that they didn’t have a set itinerary for the talk and they decided to make it a huge discussion involving everything. They asked if we had any questions or if we had anything to discuss. Out of the corner of my eye I see a pasty white arm shoot in the air. Guess what…

It was Jeffrey.

Now this next bit is where my brain starts turning and a series of events unfold where my inner Southern woman comes out. Jeffrey didn’t want a discussion. He didn’t want to talk with a group or to the women teaching. No. The first thing that popped out of his mouth was,” Are we going to do a powerful ritual?”

hmmmm...neutral suspicious face activated

hmmmm…neutral suspicious face activated

I know I said earlier about letting things go, but I had this feeling that I should pay attention and not ignore what he had just done. So, naturally, I kept him in my peripheral. He was informed that rituals take place out on the ritual field and this was a class. Forgive me, I cannot remember the details of everything that was said so bear with me.

Dorothy shared that you can use chicken feet to cleanse a person before a ritual. You go around them making the motions of chicken scratching (with the foot in hand, of course) and “scratch off” any negative energy.  She called on a couple of volunteers and sure enough, I catch that lily white arm rocket into the air. Jeffrey leapt (btw, did you know that WordPress does not recognize “leapt” as a word?) like a gazelle over a few people and stood front and center as Nancy’s husband stepped forward. I will have to give you a picture to show a similar point of view I had.

Nancy's husband is Tsun... the big guy

Nancy’s husband is Tsun… the big guy

I might be over exaggerating a tiiiiny bit, but like I said: I can’t remember details.

Anyway, Nancy’s husband (I will call him Tsun and I’m sorry I can’t remember his name) cleansed Jeffrey. It was an interesting spectacle to watch a cleansing with a chicken foot. I was actually thinking of how I could acquire a chicken foot and if I could use a different bird. Sadly, I’m still guessing but that’s my fault for not asking. Jeffrey stood there kind of meditative. Out of nowhere, Dorothy sounds off with,” You can also use scissors.” Again, I’m intrigued until she says to switch places.

There was a shift in the air around the cabin. No one said a word but you could literally feel everyone collectively think,” I…. don’t think that’s a good idea.” So now, all of us sat in silence with straight faces as Jeffrey started snipping the air around Tsun.

Meme_poker_face_white_background_1920x1200_wallpaper_www.wallpaperfo.com_73

It was almost comical when Dorothy reminded him to get the top of the head and watch Jeffrey strain to reach. You could almost catch a glint of mischief in Tsun’s eye as he stood there…. from what I remember anyway.  Luckily, that experience went by without anything unexpected. Everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief both internally and externally. I also got confirmation through empathy that I wasn’t the only one a bit iffy with Jeffrey. So we then went on to talk of different tips and tricks using brick dust and herbs and protection. I wish I could remember what exactly it was we talked about but the next bit kind of blew that all away.

THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES CONTAIN NSFW LANGUAGE AND RANTS. DON’T LIKE IT? DON’T READ IT.

There was a couple there that also took some time to explain some things to people using their experience. One lady had a question and the gentleman went on about how to help her. I could feel there were a few people who thought it was rude he was talking and talking, but I was interested. But remember this couple… they are important later.

Right after this exchange, Jeffrey’s arm was in the air again. Dorothy pointed at him and a classic came out of his mouth:

“I think I’ve been cursed.”

Just........ no

Just…….. no

First question in my head which was also immediately followed by Dorothy: Who did you piss off?

Now here is where my southern charm is gonna show. This “Playgan” decided to visit the Bell Witch Cave in Adams, Tn. If there is one legend I know by heart, it’s the Bell Family and their “Witch.” When visiting the area, you are taken to the cave itself. Little Jeffrey thought it was a good idea to take a rock. HE TOOK A ROCK! He then stated that he lost his job and some other stuff but I was fuming.

Would you like to know why?

YOU DON’T TAKE SHIT WITHOUT ASKING!!!

He thought the Bell Witch was an actual fucking person! NOOOO!

And lastly:

IT’S A GODDAMN NATIVE AMERICAN BURIAL GROUND!

Rage.sh-600x600

I had stayed calm up to this point. I wanted to correct him. By gods, if that man and woman could share a thing or two then I would as well. This was an open discussion. Too bad everyone was talking at once. I leaned over, and from later stories from witnesses, I was in the lap of the person next to me pointing at Jeffrey. I wanted to say so much but I WILL NOT talk over people.

For the first time, Jeffrey looked right at me and all I was able to say to him was the first rule of going into a cave:

Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.

Tacoma Falls, MI

Tacoma Falls, MI

Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville, Florida

Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville, Florida

 These are just a couple of examples. There are signs in just about every place that involves caving systems or state parks. Tennessee is known for having some sweet caves. Anytime you visit one you are reminded of this little motto. Apparently Jeffrey didn’t listen so I reminded him. The problem was that I was being drowned out and interrupted by the couple in the back. I don’t know if they knew they did, but I was already in angry ginger mode so they were on my bad side too. Though, now, I couldn’t care less.

Let me tell you what I wanted to say; what I wanted to shove in his tiny little ears and make sure it fuckin stayed. He had dealt with two things that I hold dear.

1. The Bell Witch

The Bell Witch was not a witch at all. The Bell Witch had NOTHING to do with that damn cave. The movie that was released a few years ago had it right. The Bell Witch was a manifestation caused by a little girl who was going through undue stress.

I suggest reading The Bell Witch: An American Haunting by Brent Monahan.

51ev9ICrMML._SS500_

2. Caves are Sacred

On top of the cave being a burial ground where Native Americans don’t want to be disturbed, it’s also a sacred place. We are of the earth. We are a part of it. When you walk into a cave, feel reverent that you are inside of our mother. You are in the womb. Caves hold a completely different energy that is awe inspiring and powerful. Respect shouldn’t be a choice, but a necessity when you enter such a place.

Lost Sea in Sweetwater, Tn

Lost Sea in Sweetwater, Tn

What Jeffrey did was take something from a place that was occupied by those who have left this plane of existence. If Jeffrey were knowledgeable, he would have asked. Yes, I did think of the probability that Jeffrey was one of those “computer taught pagans” who hasn’t had the opportunity to be taught by an actual person. Then again, he could have been one of those and thought he knew what the fuck he was doing.

Did I overreact? No. I never got to share what I wanted to. This is a rant to the readers.

There are Pagans out there who think they know everything. They tend to give the rest of us a bad name. I don’t think Jeffrey is one of these. I sensed he was wanting to learn.  He had the air about him of being a loner. Maybe he was the only one in his family to take this path. He just seemed so lonely, but it’s those kinds of situations where you know if you befriend them, it’ll only end badly.

So Jeffrey, if you’re out there, I’m offering an open invitation to come have a chat with me. Let’s talk and we will get you on the right track on being a Pagan. I’m not saying I know everything, but I can help you out. I know what I’ve been taught… by human beings, not computers. I can give you books and videos about things that will blow your little mind. I’m not coming here offering to be a teacher, but I’m giving you my hand to take you where the information flows like wine.

Advertisements

Aloe

Aloe_Vera

Aloe Vera is part of the Xanthorrhoeaceae family and has its own genus. Native to Africa, this plant is now a popular house plant around the world.

Folk names for Aloe include: Burn Plant, Medicine Plant, Saqal, and Zabila.

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Moon

Element: Water

Powers: Protection, Luck

Aloe is protcective and guards against evil influences as well as prevents household accident.  In Africa, it is hung over houses and doors to drive away evil and bring good luck. The gel is used folklorically and the dried inner leaf juice pharmaceutically  as a laxative.

Most species have a rosette of large, thick, fleshy leaves. Flowers are tubular, frequently yellow, orange, pink or red, and are borne, densely clustered and pendant at the apex of simple or branched leafless stems. (Jesus Christ what a sentence!) Many species appear to be stemless, with the rosette growing directly at ground level; other varieties may have branched or unbranched stems from which the fleshy leaves spring. They vary in color from grey to bright green and are sometimes striped or mottled.

Aloe can be used as: Abortifacient (drug to cause abortion or contraceptive), analgesic (painkiller), anti-aging, anti-alcoholic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiplaque, antiseptic, antiviral, anti-wrinkle, bitter, collagenic, depurative, digestivem fungicide, hemostat, hypoglycemic, insecticide, laxative, moisturizer, stimulant, and tonic.

Aloe is used to treat: abrasion, abscess, acne, alcoholism, alopecia, anemia, asthma, bacteria, bleeding, blindness, boil, bruise, bug bite, burn, cancers, childbirth, colic, constipation (in adults), cough, dermatosis, diabetes, eczema, epilepsy, fever, frostbite, fungus, glaucoma, hemorrhoid, herpes, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia, hysteria, indigestion, infection, infertility, inflammation, itch, jaundice, leukemia, mouth sore, pain, peptic ulcer, psoriasis, radiation burn, rash, rheumatism, ringworm, salmonella, streptococcus, sunburn, swelling, syphilis, tuberculosis, tumor, ulcer, virus, wart, worm, wound, wrinkle.

Do not take aloe if you are pregnant or lactating. It may cause allergic dermatosis. Do not self medicate without consulting a dosage guide. 

Sources:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke

Dandelion

For another entry for my Wortcunning series is the Dandelion.

DandelionFlower

TaraxacumOfficinaleSeed

Dandelion (Taraxacum) is also known as Blowball, Cankerwort, Lion’s Tooth, Piss-a-Bed, Priest’s Crown, Puffball, Swine Snout, White Endive, and Wild Endive. The common name is French for “lion’s tooth.”

The dandelion is a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Eurasia and North and South America. Two species of dandelion, T. officinale and T. erythrospernum, are found worldwide and both are edible in their entirety.

From Culpeper: “It is well known to have many long and deep gashed leaves lying on the ground round about the heads of the roots; the ends of each gash or jag, on both sides looking downwards towards the roots; the middle rib being white, which being broken yieldeth abundance of bitter milk, but the root much more; from among the leaves, which always abide green, arise many slender, weak, naked foot-stalks, every one of them bearing at the top one large yellow flower, consisting of many rows of yellow leaves, broad at the points, and nicked in with deep spots of yellow in the middle, which growing ripe, the green husk wherein the flowers stood turns itself down to the stalk, and the head of down becomes as round as a ball, with long reddish seed underneath, bearing a part of the down on the head of every one, which together is blown away with the wind, or may be at once blown away with one’s mouth. The root growing downwards exceeding deep, which being broken off within the ground, will yet shoot forth again, and will hardly be destroyed where it hath once taken deep root in the ground.”

Medically the dandelion is used as an allergenic, antibacterial, antidote, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, astringent, bitter, choleretic, detoxicant, degestive, diuretic, hypoglycemic, laxative, stimulant, and tonic to name a few.

It can be used to treat abscesses, alcoholism, anemia, anorexia, backache, bacteria, bladder stone, boils, bruises, cancer, congestion, coughs, cramps, diabetes, dysentery, fever, flu, gas, gallstone, eczema, heartburn, inflammation, infection, kidney stones, neurosis, obesity, pneumonia, rheumatism, sores, stomachache, swelling, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, vomiting, wart, water retention, and yeast.

The root can be dried, roasted, and ground like coffee and made into a tea. *Caution should be taken as dandelion is high in potassium. *

Magickal Uses

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Jupiter

Element: Air

Deity: Hecate

Used for divination, wishes, calling spirits, psychic powers. Burying dandelion in the NW corner of the house will bring good favor.

Sources:

 www.janih.com/lady/herbs/magick/D.html

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal

Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke

Acacia

I’ve decided to start writing about herbs, or Wortcunning. Wortcunning, by definition of Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, (“herbal wisdom”) is an old word used for discovering properties of plants. This type of cunning practice has been around for hundreds to thousands of years. It’s an old practice that I’m proud to study and be a part of. So I will go down a list and explain some common and rare herbs that witches use and how we use them.

First herb: Acacia

 Acacia_covenyi02

There are many types of Acacia growing throughout the world. Acacia is a genus of shrubs or trees from Gondwanian origin. Other names that this plant goes by is gum arabic, gum senegal, thorntree, wattle, or whistling thorn. Folk names for Acacia are Cape Gum, Egyptian Thorn, Kikwata, Mkwatia, Mgunga and Mokala. You will mainly find these trees in Australia and Northern Africa along the Nile.

 The flowers, leaves, stems, roots, bark, resin, seeds, and essential oils are used.

Medically, Acacia has many uses; few being: antibacterial, antihistamine, anti inflammatory, aphrodisiac, astringent, decongestant, expectorant, hemostat, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, neurostimulant, stimulant, and tonic.

It is known to be used to treat bacteria, bleeding, bronchosis, burn, different cancers, childbirth, chill, cholera, congestion, conjunctivitis, cough, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, flu, fractures, gingivosis, gonorrhea, hemorrhoid, hypertension, hyperglycemia, infection, inflammation, insanity, leprosy, pneumonia, pulmonosis, smallpox, snakebite, sores, sore throat, stomach ache, syphilis, tapeworm, toothache, tuberculosis, typhoid, and wounds to name a few.

Large internal doses may lead to constipation and dyspepsia.

For magickal uses burn the herb and oil for altar offerings. It aids in psychic powers and mediation. Placing a sprig over the bed wards off evil.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: Air

Deities: Osiris, Astarte, Diana, Ra

Sources:  Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke with Mary Jo Bogenshutz-Godwin, Judi duCellier, and Peggy-Ann K. Duke

http://www.janih.com/lady/herbs/magick/A.html

http://www.earthwitchery.com/herba-g.html

Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Imbolc

It’s coming. Not winter. Gods no. That’s been so overdone. Spring time, sillies! It’s almost time for Imbolc!

Hooray!

Hooray!

Imbolc, or Imbolg, is nowadays celebrated on February 2nd. Other names for this day are Saint Brighid’s Day and Candlemas. In the olden days it was held between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. It is the Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring. The word Imbolc in Irish means “in the belly”. This is because it was the time when the ewes in the flock starting lactating and lambing season started. It’s a time of fertility and a sign of the seasons changing.

Aw... da baby!

Aw… da baby!

This Sabbat is one of the four major Sabbats celebrated by Pagans. Historically it was celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. It is a festival for the hearth and home, lengthening of the days and early signs of Spring. Celebrants would like candles or bonfires and feast. They would watch the weather and divine to see how far Spring would be. The fires were a sign of purification and the return of the sun’s warmth. Along with the feasts, spring cleaning, and visiting wells people would also make talismans. These came in the form of Brighid’s Cross or a Brideog (straw doll).

These are actually corn husk. Not straw.

These are actually corn husk. Not straw.

The goddess celebrated this time of year is Brighid. Brighid is a Gealic goddess of fertility, fire, midwifery, and children. It is said that on Imbolc Eve she would visit virtuous houses and bless those who reside in them. Brighid represents the lighter half of the years and brings a time of divination. It is here where people would watch for serpents and badgers to come out of hibernation. Hence, we have Groundhog Day.  She is also in Hoodoo as Mama Brighid.

There are many rituals you can do for Imbolc. It’s best to find one that suits you and your path respectively. So celebrate the coming of spring widly.

~Blessings~

Sources:

http://spiralpathdesigns.deviantart.com/art/Imbolc-Mandala-281395552 *first picture*

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ewe_and_lamb_in_Kent.jpg *second picture*

http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2009/10/autmnal-activities.html *third picture*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc

Countless books.

Winter Solstice/Christmas 2012

Last year for the Solstice, Jesse and I did a small ritual where we welcomed the sun’s return. This year due to working schedules, we were only able to a quick and simple ritual at the end of the day. Usually we burn a Yule or Juul Log in the stove and celebrate with all sorts of food, drink and stories as it burns. In our current situation we could only do something small. Hopefully in the future we can celebrate the way we want.

Christmas was quite surprising this year. I did have to work on Christmas Eve, which resulted in my crying to the managers because some vile woman called me every insult imaginable. Retail is awful. Nonetheless, Jesse and I were able to visit family that night and enjoy each others company the rest of the evening. It was when I woke up that Christmas really set in.

I heard music coming from the television. Bing Crosby crooning in the air and rustling by the Christmas tree. I sat up to see Jesse had bought a CD and thought he would wake me up by playing it. Best way to wake up on Christmas morning. I was suddenly buried beneath wrapped presents he tossed onto the bed. I didn’t realize he had gotten so many.

So many goodies.

So many goodies.

Pictured are: A stuffed Fizzgig, a Chamberlain figurine, a tarot card bag, a pendulum made of quartz, a cast iron cauldron, WWII Monopoly, and special edition of the first season of Game of Thrones complete with Dragon Egg.

Oh it was wonderful. I got him a few things too. A leather bound, gold edged copy of The Hobbit; a special order from Paladium Books consisting of three or four RPG books (all signed), a tshirt and sketchbook from one of the artists; and finally a complete strategy book including DLCs of Skyrim.

I think it turned out to be a wonderful Christmas and I wish everyone else enjoyed theirs as much as I did mine.

Happy Christmas/Blessed Yule/ Happy Holidays

The Influence of Others

Day Nine is about influence or people who influence. I am listing ten people who have influenced me and how. This will probably be one of the trickier posts I have to write. To me, an influence is something that another person is or does that affects the way I live, love, and learn life. If these people weren’t in my life I’m not quite sure what kind of person I would be right now.

1. Pam

Pam is my mother’s older sister. She’s an independent and strong woman who raised three boys and went on to being the Lab Tech in Vanderbilt hospital. There are people who say they support me, but Aunt Pam has been the one who has given me courage to do the things I’ve done. In my younger years I would go visit and play her piano, talk about books, and watch her paint. I’ve always admired her for her intelligence and beauty. She’s just got this personality about her that is magnetic and I wish I could spend more time with her. Granted most of my immediate family doesn’t get along with her, she’s proud of me and what I’ve accomplished in life. In that, I am grateful.

2. Jesse

Now this post would probably be pointless if I didn’t have him in it. Jesse has helped mold me into a more sadistic smartass than I ever was. He’s taught me not to take shit from people who aren’t worth a second glance. He holds firm in his beliefs that humans are stupid and I completely agree with him. Though he does like to go off into extremely long rants about anything that pushes his asshole button, I still love him.

3. Sky

My best friend, my soul mate, my sister. We’ve been close for so long that we’ve developed that kind of relationship where we don’t have to speak to one another for months and just pick back up right where we left off. She has her life and I have mine, but that doesn’t mean we grow apart. That’s what I love about us. Amber has taught me about a different part of life that I know I can’t live. She’s so grounded and peaceful I think sometimes my negative chaos sends her world asunder when we’re together. Her main influence on me has been mostly music. I don’t listen to half the things I do if she hasn’t found it first. From Concrete Blonde to Tori Amos, she has given me the best routes to the music that moves my soul. And for that, I thank you my Caroline.

4. Tori Amos

(Thank you, Amber, for putting this woman in my life. Lol) Tori is a goddess on a higher level than any other woman I know of. She’s beautiful, talented, intelligent, and crazy as fuck and I love that. She has mainly influenced my musical abilities in life. If it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be as dedicated to the piano as I am now.

5. My Dad

My father has attributed to my attitude as I have grown. Granted, Jesse has helped with that, but not compared to my dad. He’s always being a complete asshole. He takes pride in being so sarcastic and douchey, but he’s funny when he does it. If one of his children mess up he tells us, “Stop fuckin’ up! What the hell is wrong with your common sense?” On top of being a truck driver for twenty three years, he supports my sister and her babies though he doesn’t have to. Thanks to him, I’m not afraid to tell people how it really is. If you’re being a dumbass, I will MORE than gladly tell you so.

6. My Mom

Who said influence had to be completely good? Okay, my mother is not a bad person at all. She just has her quirks that I’ve inherited. She’s always the first to think of something bad. Imagine doing something good or getting excited news, now imagine someone saying,” Oh, you’re not gonna like that. It’s too dangerous. No one will like that if you go.” Yeah, she’s THAT person. I know she’s gonna read this someday, but I’m an honest person. She’s taught me that too. Now I’m not the first to kill the mood, my mind is. I NEVER say anything aloud without thinking about it first.

7. JK Rowling

Now come on. Did you think I could write this post without putting this amazing woman in here? Of course not. She’s the reason I write. She’s the reason I have the courage to be who I am today by writing those wonderful adventures of Harry.

8. Johnette Napolitano

This woman is known for being the singer for Concrete Blonde, also her silky alto voice. Good Goddess, this woman can make you just melt with the melodies that emanate from her lips. Johnette has influenced my singing more than anything. All those years in choir I was a soprano 1 (that’s pretty much the highest not hitters in a choir), so I was sad that I couldn’t sing JUST like her. Nonetheless I wouldn’t be deterred and I kept singing with her music. There’s one song that Sky and I sing together and I actually doesn’t sound like we’re doing whatever: Mexican Moon. Thank you, Johnette, for helping me get over my fear of singing in front of others and using emotion where it’s due.

9. Laurell K. Hamilton

If two things go together in my mind, it’s Concrete Blonde and Laurell K. Hamilton. I don’t know what it is, but I started reading Laurell’s books when I first discovered Concrete Blonde’s Bloodletting album. The two seemed to fit perfectly. So take this little bit of advice: If you’re gonna read any of her books, listen to Concrete Blonde while you do it. Anywho, this influence is also about my writing. I really learned how to write a good sex scene thanks to her. Lol. She has written the Anita Blake series and the Merry Gentry series along with a few books and short stories on the side. She’s a good person in general when it comes to her fans. She listens and talks to them like they’re good friends. I can only hope to be as kind as her one day.

10. Mother Nature

Yes, I know Mother Nature isn’t a person. I…..don’t really care. People put a personality to something and it turns into what they believe it is. Like God. Anyway, Nature has influenced who I am entirely when it comes to my soul. I want to be strong like the Oak roots, light as the air, fierce as the fire, and quick as the stream. I try my best to be like those things. I want my life to be a balance. You can’t have the good without the bad really, and we all know this. We have to accept it and I found it easier to accept with the help of the earth.

So there are my influences. I’ve actually written this over the course of a few days so I don’t really know if it makes sense to many, but, eh, I don’t care.

)0(

Pagan History

*This post is also featured on the Pentacle Project Blog here on WordPress.

Paganism

Among the vast numbers of religions that are practiced throughout the world, Paganism is one of the oldest, though it has not always been called such. I’m sure that the readers of this article are pagan or are interested in such. Some here are probably elders, Priest/esses, novices or even followers of other religions wanting some insight. Whatever you are, you have come to the right place. Let me start at the beginning.

Most people who think of Pagans get the picture of ancient Celtic Druids in the woods worshipping different deities. Think back about 10,000 BC. Believe it or not, that’s where it started. The Paleolithic Age carried with it the beginnings of people grouping together in what I will call tribes. Hunting and gathering started to appear in this period, and along with it, gods and goddesses. The women of the tribes started to discover that the food they placed in the ground started to grow. Now they no longer had to follow the migration of the animals they fed on. This discovery led to the realization of the mystery of fertilization. Agriculture resulted in the men realizing they had a part in the life cycle as well. As the tribes no longer lived as nomads they became “paganized”.

  Pagan fertility symbols.

As time went on, people migrated. Of course these pagans came across the Greco-Roman people who worshipped different deities. Then came the people of the British Isles who learned about agriculture the same time as Indo-Europeans. Nowadays we call them Celts. When the Cult of the Dead came from the Mediranian Islands, they shared their secrets with the Celts and therefore created the Druids. Somehow the Druids became the overseers of the Pagan people. Not many women were known to be Druids as the men went and gained knowledge from the surrounding areas.

In the end of this time there were three major groups: Druids, the Wice, and the Pagans. The Druids were the keepers of the mysteries from the Cult of the Dead and dealt with mostly men. The Wice, who were mostly women, were the teachers of the solar/lunar tribes and held mostly women who worshipped the Goddess. The Pagans were known to be the common people who sought out knowledge from the Wice and Druids. The actual word “Pagan” is derived from the Latin word meaning “Country-dweller”. I honestly think of little hobbits when I read this description, but you can put whatever image you want there.

Hey look! Druids!

Anyway, back in the Middle East, the Old Testament of the Bible was being written. When the death of Christ came and went, people started sweeping across the land to spread the word of their lord and saviour. Soon enough they got to Rome. Tricky as they were, they converted the rulers first, as a result, had their “country-dwellers” convert as well since they needed the rulers for their survival. Pagan temples were torn down and Christian churches were erected on the sacred ground. Pagans being even trickier were made to build the churches and stuck a few Pagan symbols in the architecture, which can still be seen today.

The dark ages came and went and still Pagans worshipped the way they chose as the Christian flood drove farther out. Unfortunately for the Christians, their new ways of worship weren’t catching on with the Pagans. Unfortunately for the Pagans, the Christian leaders started spreading news that the Pagans were associating themselves with “the devil”; hence, came the inquisition. During this time, we all know, two monks under the rule of Pope Innocent the VIII wrote the book Malleus Maleficarum or “The Witches’ Hammer.” This book was the basis of the Witch Hunts that spread through Europe, resulting in the estimated nine million deaths of men, women, and children.

This reign of terror lasted from 1494 until the mid 18th century. It caused many Pagans to go underground until the 1950s. By this time, all of the anti-witchcraft laws had been abolished in England, spurring a man named Gerald Gardner to come out with a book called High Magicks Aid. He was the cause for the New Age of Religion for Wicca. Wicca became a legalized religion in 1985. The numbers for people who practice Wicca are well into the hundreds of thousands. There are more out there and there are more coming out of the Broom Closet each day. Not just Wiccans, but Pagans, Druids, and all groups under the Pagan umbrella are appearing in vast numbers throughout the world.

If most of the world knew the true history of Pagans, I believe they wouldn’t hold such a fear against us. It isn’t our fault that we can’t get the word out. People are keeping us from taking the fear from people and turning it into understanding. We all know who is keeping us from doing that, from becoming more understood and able to commune with our fellow humans in peace.

I will leave you with a little thought to carry with you throughout your walk in religious practice. How many people have died in the name of religion? How many wars have been fought between two nations who believe that their imaginary friend is better than the other? It needs to stop. I believe we are being targeted because we show no retaliation. We are indeed a peaceful people, but don’t think we can’t hold a grudge. We are taught from DAY ONE that you will harm none lest ye be harmed. Why is it that we, as Pagans, are one of the few religions who actual see the wrong doings of our brethren humans? Something can be done. Will you do that something?

Blessed be, Brothers and Sisters.

~Aradia Lecrawe

Disturbed always put it the best way.

Elemental Refugee

Earth My Body
Water My Blood
Air My Breath and
Fire My Spirit
This is my symbol. A pentacle: five pointed star inside of a circle. (Not to be mistaken for the Pentagram which is a star with no circle.) Each point represent an element; elements that are part of me and who I am. Though my true element is Earth, every other element is part of me. The elemental pentacle represents our war of thinking about the existence of things, starting at the top with Spirit (Life Force).
 Everything that follows is a building block to all life.
Each element on the pentacle is represented by colors and aspects of life. I will make it easier for you.
SPIRIT White,Black,Clear, Violet Divinity, Consciousness, Harmony
AIR Yellow, Light Grey, White Clarity, Intelligence
FIRE Orange, Red Passion, Vitality
WATER Blue Emotion, Memory
EARTH Green, Brown, Black Body, Health
As you can see, each element has a corresponding color and aspect of life. Those of you who meditate focus mostly on the Spirit aspect, trying to gain Harmony in oneself; but you also use the other elements as well. Air for the breathing to clean out your body, Fire to rejuvenate the soul, Water to control your emotions, and Earth to ground your body and let the energies flow to heal your body.
For Pagans, the colors play the role of symbolism to the Pentacle. This brings me to casting a circle.
Each element, save for Spirit, represents a direction. Earth is North, Air is East, Fire is south, and Water is West.
North:
Element: Earth
Energies: Steady, Rhythmic Grounded. Heartbeat of the Mother.
Spirits: Athena -Demeter – Rhea – Herne – Pan – Ariel – Ghob – Gnomes – Agla
Colors: Green – Violet – Brown – Black – Gold – White – Deep blue of earth- Purple
East:
Element: Air
Energies: Swift – Mercurial – Changeable
Spirits: Danu – Mercury – Athena – Kuan Yin – Sylphs – Raphael – Buddha
Colors: White – Yellow – Peach – Gold – Turquoise blue – Rainbow colors
South:
Element: Fire
Energies: Quick, rapid fire. The journey of purification
Spirits: Bridget – Pele – Mars – Djim – Michael – Salamanders – Adonai
Colors: Red – Orange – Scarlet – Yellow – Blue of flame – Gold
West:
Element: Water
Energies: Tidal. It ebbs and flows, but never floods. The journey to Innver Vision.
Spirits: Poseidon – Neptune – Isis – Arianhrod – Selene – Hecate – Gabriel – Niksa – Undines – Eheieh
Colors: Blue – Green – Aqua – Grey – Black – Indigo – Blue gray – White of the sea foam in moonlight
Now that you have a good idea how we set up our circles with elements, let me say thanks to those sites that helped me explain all of this to you:
The Pentacle is the symbol of our religion. Just as the cross, cresent moon, and others are symbols of all the religions in the world.
To be honest with you, I do not think any religion is wrong (except scientology). All are right in their own way. There are just holes that need to be filled and crazy shit that needs to be taken out. We are all followers of one thing or another. We should never ever go against another human being for what they believe (except scientologists) and accept those who are different. We, as humans, can never achieve happiness, nirvana, or enlightenment unless we believe that we can coexist.
~Blessed Be )O(

Heretic or Dying Craft?

*This post can also be seen on the Pentacle Project page here on WordPress.

I know most people of whom I associate with aren’t what I am: An Animist Pagan. Assuming you’re not a pagan and you’re reading this, that means you probably think I’m a Satanic heathen and have no other path than the one that leads straight to your hell. You have EVERY right to believe that. You can tell me what you think and I will listen with a thoughtful ear, but by gods if you do not listen to me and what I have to say, then you are no better than those who crucified your savior thousands of years ago.

Animism comes from the Latin term anima meaning “Soul Life”. It is a spiritual belief that souls and spirits not only exist in humans but also in all other animals, plants, rocks natural phenomena such as thunder, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment. Throughout history, philosophers like Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, and others, contemplated the theory that souls resided in the examples above.

Most people automatically associate Pagans with witches and to be completely honest, that is exactly what we are in the long run. Imagine Paganism as a huge umbrella. Under it are pieces of thread and on the end of that thread there are other religions: Wicca, Gardnerian, Druidry, Neopaganism, Alchemy, Shamanism, Eclectic, Slavic, and Stav. It’s JUST LIKE Christian churches having denominations. Each believes in a different way of worship than others.

Now that I’ve explained all that I feel like explaining, let me tell you what I do personally.
I worship the Goddess and the God who is her consort. I worship the earth because she gives us life and takes it away. I worship the moon because it gives us guidance through the night. I worship the sun who also gives us life and light in our darkest hour. I worship the ocean who is ever-changing and gives life. I worship the faeries who bring joy and happiness to those who are in need. I DO NOT worship the devil because there isn’t one to worship. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING has a light and dark side. Without the light there can be no dark and vice versa.

I do circles with my coven on Sabbats (Pagan Holidays) and spells when the need arises. Do I believe I can do whatever by casting spells? No, that’s impossible, but I can use my and the earth’s energy to influence things to come to fruition. I can do whatever I set my mind to. We are powerful, we are brothers and sisters, we are music makers and the dreamers of dreams. Yet, like you, we are human.

~Blessed Be )O(