Thursday, September 27, 2012


A Thoth deck back
I love my tarot cards.  They are more than magical tools for me, since I became unemployed they have become a part of my livelihood.  I read with the Thoth deck.  I've been reading with it as my primary deck since I was 17.  I started reading professionally at age 18.  I also read palms and do pendulum divination.  Recently, only in the last year or so, I've begun using a spirit board with Laurelei both professionally and for personal life advice. I scry in flame and smoke, mirror and crystal.  I've never had much luck with scrying in water.

As I have been depending more on divination for survival I have branched out into new forms of divination, mostly new oracle decks.  Nothing replaces my trusty Thoth, but I am supplementing reading with a few pulls from the Druid Animal Oracle, the Goddess Oracle, or (my newest tool) Archetype Cards.

My scrying mirror
Another system I use on a regular basis is a little javascript that I coded for use on the Women's Goddess Retreat website!  This random quote generator has given me useful advice on several occasions.

I've been working on a new system of divination that I am eager to try soon.  It involves casting lots marked with certain symbols of witchcraft.  I know that "Witch's Runes" are not a unique idea, but I believe that my personal take on them will prove to be useful for my own readings and as a possible item to sell at Blade and Broom.  I look forward to sharing this system with you soon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

That Really Long Pagan Tumblr Meme

Please describe briefly your Path:
Traditional Witchcraft by way of Robert Cochrane & Nigel Jackson, only with American folkloric influences, like Hoodoo & Conjure.  I got here with detours into Gard Wicca, Hellenic Recon, Shamanism, Discordianism, Thelema, and other things.

Please describe briefly how you practice it:
Observance of the seasons, weekly group/coven study, maintenance of shrines for deities and ancestors, lots of other things but I'm supposed to keep it brief. ;)

When did you first commit to your current Path?
Several years ago when I met my magical working partner and co-founder of this tradition, Laurelei.

How is your practice different now than it was then?
I have made my peace with being a Witch first and foremost, and enjoying studying other branches of occultism for fun.

Is your practice different today than how you thought it would be back then?
Yes.  We have a wonderful curveen now that I cherish.

Does your Path and core belief system differ now than how it was when you first started?
The core of the trad is the same, but my own personal ethic has been further explored and developed.

What is your heritage and how does this inform your Path?

I'm a witch of the blood.  The Red Thread ties me to Qayin.  It informs everything I do now.

What are your main influences for your Path?
As stated above, Cochrane, Jackson, Hoodoo, Conjure, Thelema, & Gard Wicca.  I also find much of a useful nature in folklore, witch trial materials (especially woodcuts), and UPG through my familiar spirit.

Which do you do more: practice or research?
Practice.  Which is new for me.  I've been heavy on the research for as long as I can remember.  The Witch of Forest Grove has recently written about "Forgetting How to Read."  I think that I am in a similar place right now.

Do you feel that one is more important than the other?
Without research the praxis is just empty gesture, but without praxis one cannot be a witch.  Therefore I have come to believe that ultimately the practice of Craft is more important than the research.  That being said there is no substitute for hard honest study of the path.

What values and ethics are important on your Path and in your practice?
1.) All is permitted. 
2.) What I have I hold. 
3.) There is no magic without sacrifice.
4.) Strive for Perfect Love and Perfect Trust within the circle.
5.) Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be the Whole of the Law.
[more info here]

What sort of cycles do you feel your practice goes through?
Hermitage > Study > Experimentation > Practice > Teaching > Leadership > Questioning > Hermitage.  Bipolar cycles also inform much of how and what I practice.

What is one of the greatest obstacles or struggles you have had to over come?
Mental illness

How do you see yourself practicing in ten years?
Still doing what I do now, but wiser and more familiar with this path.

How do you incorporate your practice into your life?
The biggest day-to-day ways Craft manifests in my life are through our coven and through our botanica.

Has walking your Path changed you as a person?
Yes.  It has informed my entire worldview.

Do you consider yourself to be a priest/ess? How so?
Yes.  I serve the owl-and-serpent Goddess Athene-Lilith as Priestess.  I also teach others, co-lead a coven, have founded a tradition of Craft, and organize and lead rites of passage.

A witch? How so?
I believe that I've established this already. ;)

A shaman? How so?

In my personal view Witchcraft is the shamanism of ancient Europe, so that is a resounding YES.

Which matters more: getting the vocabulary right or the actual practice of what we are trying to define?
Praxis, praxis, praxis!  So you can't spell Lughnasadh without looking it up?  Who cares?  Do you actually celebrate it?

One of the most profound things anyone ever said to you was:
"Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret." ~ The Four Agreements

A defining moment on your Path was:
Finding Laurelei. :)

Have you ever taken a “leap of faith”?

Please tell us something stupid, reckless or embarrassing you did once in your practice:
When I was in high school I actually wore a big black witch's hat around.  With black lipstick.  And a black leather motorcycle jacket.  And a pentacle.  And I read *shudder* Gerina Dunwitch.  This was before The Craft came out and this became a "trendy" thing to do. *blush*

What is the most frustrating thing about your Path?
Folks assume I'm Wiccan.

Have you ever been frightened?
Yes.  Big wolf spiders... tornadoes... zombie movies...  Oh, wait, you meant because of something related to my practice?  Yes.  Invoking the White Goddess.  Yikes.

Can you perform ritual without a script?
Of course.

Have you ever performed spontaneous magic/spellcraft?

What are you still exploring or experimenting with?
The outer limits of what a familiar spirit can do, manifesting my fetch physically and reliably, flying out on command.

What (or whom) are you the most committed to in your practice and on your Path?
Teaching and learning.

Ritual tools are …
Lots of fun, especially when you find just the right ones, but, ultimately unnecessary.  That being said, you can have my bog-oak-handled silver owl pommeled garnet encrusted athame when you pry it from my cold dead hands!

The one thing you can’t do without is:
My tarot cards.  They have become my livelihood.

Seeking personal power is …
To be expected.  I mean, really, who on this path isn't looking to grow?

Politics and your Path are …
Entwined.  All aspects of my life are affected by my Craft.

One thing you wish people would understand about your Path and/or practice is:
It's not Wicca, it's Witchcraft.

Do you teach?

What do you feel is the role of clergy in modern Paganism and Heathenism?
To honor the Gods as Priest/esses, to provide rites of passage, and to teach as they see fit.

When the Veil (or Hedge!) is thin, how does that feel to you?
Like I am open to hear all things.  It looks like the vapor of heat over a flame.  I feel like I could fly.

What entities do you work with most? (ancestors, gods, fae etc)
Gods, ancestors, genus loci, familiar spirits, and my fetch.

What is your relationship with the Land?
The land and its cycles are a part of my worship.

The most important aspect of ritual is:

The main purpose of ritual is:

What is the purpose of divination/dowsing (or whichever form of augury you use)?
There are many purposes for divination.  The most important in my practice is to be informed of the sacrifice an act of magic will require prior to enacting that magic.

What was the most difficult book you ever read? (Either difficult to understand or hard to face what it said or both)
The White Goddess.  It is very important to my personal practice, and yet... cocaine is a hel of a drug.

What book do you recommend the most to others?
Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson.

What is you favourite podcast (if any) and favourite blog (other than your own)?
The Crooked Path podcast is a favorite.  As for blogs, I adore The Witch of Forest Grove and  American Folkloric Witchcraft (which is only partially my own)

If you could impart only one last piece of wisdom or knowledge, or share one experience with the world at large, what would it be?
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe simply because it has been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is written in Holy Scriptures. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of Teachers, elders or wise men. Believe only after careful observation and analysis, when you find that it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. Then accept it and live up to it. -- from the Kalama Sutta

Please finish this meme with a picture, image or photograph of some sort:

We Have Come to Be Danced

We have come to be danced
Not the pretty dance
Not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance
But the claw our way back into the belly
Of the sacred, sensual animal dance
The unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance
The holding the precious moment in the palms
of our hands and feet dance.

We have come to be danced
Not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance
But the wring the sadness from our skin dance
The blow the chip off our shoulder dance.
The slap the apology from our posture dance.

We have come to be danced
Not the monkey see, monkey do dance
One two dance like you
One two three, dance like me dance
But the grave robber, tomb stalker
Tearing scabs and scars open dance
The rub the rhythm raw against our soul dance.

We have come to be danced
Not the nice, invisible, self-conscious shuffle
But the matted hair flying, voodoo mama shaman shaking ancient bones dance
The strip us from our casings, return our wings
sharpen our claws and tongues dance
The shed dead cells and slip into the luminous skin of love dance.

We have come to be danced
Not the hold our breath and wallow in the shallow end of the floor dance but the meeting of the trinity: the body, breath and beat dance

The shout hallelujah from the top of our thighs dance
The mother may I? Yes you may take ten giant leaps dance
The olly olly oxen free free free dance
The everyone can come to our heaven dance.

We have come to be danced
Where the kingdoms collide
In the cathedral of flesh
To burn back into the light
To unravel, to play, to fly, to pray
To root in skin sanctuary
We have come to be danced!
We have come.

~ by Jewel Mathieson
from her book This Dance: A Poultice

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chakra Correspondances

The Root Chakra
Color: Red
Rules: Life force, energy, vigor, overall health and well-being
Gland: Adrenals
Mantra: I am a strong and stable person.
Chant: E (long e as in "be")
Note: C - do
Word: ROOT
Sense: Sight
Scents: Patchouli, cedarwood, cinnamon, myrrh
Gemstones: Garnet, ruby, agate, onyx, hematite, red jasper, black tourmaline, smokey quartz, bloodstone, red coral, tiger eye
Sound: LAM

The Sacral Chakra
Color: Orange
Rules: Sexuality, animal instinct, competition, contentment
Gland: Ovaries
Mantra: I am a sensual and successful person.
Chant: Eh (short e as in "bet")
Note: D - re
Word: FLOW
Sense: Smell
Scents: Jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, neroli
Gemstones: Amber, carnelean, moonstone, fire agate, orange spinel, fire opal
Sound: VAM 

The Solar Plexus
Color: Yellow
Rules: Digestion, hunger, perception of self, confidence, cleansing
Gland: Pancreas
Mantra: I am a beautiful and fulfilled person.
Chant: Ah (short a as in "ball")
Note: E - me
Sense: Taste
Scents: Lavender, juniper, bergamot, rosemary
Gemstones: Citrine, yellow topaz, peridot
Sound: RAM

The Heart Chakra
Color: Green
Rules: Love, emotion, friendship, humanity, affection, feeling, empathy
Gland: Thymus
Mantra: I am a loved and loving person.
Chant: A (long a as in "hay")
Note: F - fa
Word: LOVE
Sense: Touch
Scents: Sandalwood, rose, cedarwood, amber
Gemstones: Rose quartz, emerald, aventurine, jade, malachite, rhodonite
Sound: YAM     

Throat Chakra
Color: Light to true blue
Rules: Communication, vocalizing, opinions, ideas, inspiration, creativity
Gland: Thyroid
Mantra: I am a creative person with valuable ideas.
Chant: O (long o as in "no")
Note: G - sol
Sense: Sound
Scents: Lavender, patchouli, mint
Gemstones: Lapis, aquamarine, sodalite, turquoise, sapphire, blue lace agate
Sound: HAM      

The Third Eye Chakra
Color: Dark blue to indigo
Rules: Intuition, divination, astral travel, dreams, psychic power
Gland: Pineal
Mantra: I am open to listening to my inner wisdom.
Chant: OM (as in "home")
Note: A - la
Word: SEE
Sense: Intuition
Scents: Violet, lavender, rosemary
Gemstones: Amethyst, fluorite, azurite, labradorite
Sound: SHAM

The Crown Chakra
Color: Violet to bright white
Rules: Communion with the Divine, enlightenment, intelligence, wisdom
Gland: Pituitary
Mantra: I am at one with the Divine.
Chant: U (long u as in "you")
Note: B - ti
Sense: Spirit
Scents: Jasmine, Frankincense
Gemstones: Diamond, quartz crystal, moldavite, selenite
Sound: OM

Prayer to Shakti

Oh, Shakti!
Mother of the multiverse
Cosmic intelligence that permeates all things
Void without limit
Point without place
Moment without time
Circumference of all things
Pure Being, Consciousness, Bliss
Divine Dynamic Life force
One Goddess -- Eternal
Who dances in our spirits
and illuminates all things
Be here with us now.
Awaken as the Kundalini serpent within our bodies
Connecting us forever and again with your eternal radiance

Written for the Women's Goddess Retreat 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Preparing for the Women's Goddess Retreat 2012

This weekend is the fourth annual Women's Goddess Retreat.  WGR is a not-for-profit fundraiser benefiting Our Haven Nature Sanctuary, LLC founded and facilitated by Laurelei and me.  I've blogged about it before here.

The Women's Goddess Retreat was created for all women who want to pause and honor the Goddess in their lives and in themselves. This retreat is open to anyone who lives their daily life as a woman. Both women-born-women and transgender women are welcome at this retreat.

We are aware that the inclusion of transgender women at this retreat is controversial to some people involved in the Goddess movement.  We believe that excluding transgender women from womanspace is elitist, phobic, and counterproductive to the kind of work that we want to achieve at this event.  It is my personal opinion that any woman brave enough to ask hard questions concerning gender-identity and deciding to embrace womanhood has done more soul-searching about what it means to be a woman in this society than many cis-gendered women.

This retreat is open to young women at the discretion of their mothers. We recommend young women be at the age of menarche and are deemed by their mother to be mature enough to handle themes of women's sexuality, trauma, healing, and aging.

At its core our retreat intends to:
provide a safe, nurturing place for women to develop themselves individually, and as a group, through new skills, and the sharing of information,
to learn about, invoke, and honor Goddesses and Goddess spirituality from around the world.
The Women's Goddess Retreat was designed to honor different Goddesses from various world cultures. Throughout the course of the retreat each of the selected Goddesses for this year will be invoked by all participants for two hours each. During that time we will share stories of that Goddess, perform group activities in honor of Her, and look to Her stories and our inner wisdom for Her lessons in our own lives. At the end of each two hour session we will release that Goddess's energy, and have time for quiet reflection.

These Goddesses will each be invoked, honored, and discussed during our retreat, along with the lessons that they have to share for our lives.
  • Ariadne ~ Facilitated by: Laurelei Black
  • Baba Yaga ~ Facilitated by: Firehorse
  • Bast ~ Facilitated by: Rev. Bonnie Campaniello
  • Cybele ~ Facilitated by: Sharon Rose King
  • Inanna ~ Facilitated by: Daun Door-Key
  • Kali ~ Facilitated by: Natalie Black (Me)
  • Pele ~ Facilitated by: Linda Spahr
  • Shekinah ~ Facilitated by: Hetty MacDowell
  • The Great Goddess ~ Facilitated by: Natalie & Laurelei Black
If you are interested in attending this year please visit the Women's Goddess Retreat website.