Posted in [poetry]

traveler [poem]

I know myself by virtue of having never
been given a moment to linger
unchanged in a place of stillness
I’ve traveled more miles than some family cars
felt the warm anger of a Kentucky summer storm
the sharp sting of summer’s hot kiss in Texas
the caffeinated bite of Germany in December
I’ve known people who have also traveled
unnumbered miles before we met
their roadmap worn in different places than mine
but both equally well used
this is how you build a raindrop child into an ocean
let her waters collect and grow
from puddle to pond to Pacific
I know how to navigate by the stars of
my own secret hopes and long lost memories
thanks to a lifetime spent
never walking the same path twice
only a traveler can know they’re home
by the way the trees move in the wind

Posted in [poetry], [witchcraft & wonder]

On not truly being a “peaceful person” [poem]

I am an agent of peace, but I am not a peaceful person at heart.

You see my patience. I calmly explain things to someone, things they’ve been told before. I give second, third, and fourth chances to people who ask for them. I allow things to slide, things you might find hurtful or frustrating or infuriating.

You don’t see my violence. It’s in the way my jaw clenches when I have to repeat myself (again), the way I consciously unclench it and force my voice to remain level. It’s in the way each lie and misstep is filed away in my mind, the way those chances I give are laced with mistrust. It’s in the way I swallow pride and anger together, the way I allow words to wash over and away from me without reaction when a reaction is what they want.

I am an agent of kindness, but I am not a kind person at heart.

You see my gentleness. I accept new people into my life when they enter the lives of those who matter to me. I brush off discomfort and social awkwardness to make others feel welcomed. I speak up for giving people chances, even people who I wouldn’t be friends with outside of whatever specific situation we find ourselves in.

You don’t see my ruthlessness. It’s in the way I watch new people like a hawk, recording every mistake and bad choice in case they need to be sent away. It’s in the way I question everything about a new person, my guard always up even as I hug them close. Why would I trust someone who isn’t mine, who wasn’t brought into my life by my own choosing? It’s in the way I knowingly allow others to try and fail at life, rather than stepping in with guidance and support to get them through hard times. Sometimes I take great pleasure in someone’s failure, even as I help them stand back up.

I am an agent of calm, but I am not a calm person at heart.

You see my serenity. My voice and mind are so quiet and still, my ears open and listening to other’s opinions before making my own. I sit to myself and seem at ease, my eyes skimming a book or my phone or even the crowds around me. I hum along with the radio and let traffic just be traffic, steadily making my way to my destination without issue.

You don’t see my anxiety. I judge others on their opinions, and sometimes my silence is less about listening and more about deciding if they’re worth speaking to at all. The quiet ease I show is often a mask, as inside I’m screaming and aching or empty and lost; my depression is quiet, too, you know. My fingers tell everything to my journal, every honest and hateful thought; I filter nothing from myself, and the words I write are drenched in loathing. I move from place to place and goal to goal with very direct intent, and my decision to flow with and around life’s “traffic” is the reason I get what I want more often than not; people do my will long before they realize I want it done.

I am an agent of darkness. We all are.

I used to be so frustrated with myself. I thought I was broken, that something in me was violent and feral and nothing like my mother’s groundedness. I thought my actions meant nothing when my feelings and thoughts were so dark and negative. It took years to recognize that the choice of peace and kindness over anger and violence wasn’t meant to be easy. The good in me is the desire to continue choosing peace, to continue making the harder decision to be kind, to continue walking softly through this life. Making a choice to be peaceful when it goes against gut reactions is “being the bigger person”, struggling for maturity when instinct screams for anything but.

Posted in [witchcraft & wonder]

Walking my Path

At the autumnal equinox in 1999, I sat in my bedroom with a friend and said my very first dedication to the Old Religion. In front of us sat Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca”, along with candles and incense. I was just months from my 13th birthday, and this was my first true spiritual experience.

I lived in Kentucky back then. The trees really did change color for fall, and the wind was crisp and clean. I loved the crunky of leaves under my feet as we trudged through the woods around our neighborhood. The idea that all of that nature, the beauty and openness and vastness, could be part of a religion… now THAT was appealing!

I stayed pagan. For years I studied alone, through books and the internet. I met a few friends in school who asked to be taught, so we learned together. Some of them moved on; others, even now, practice as I do.

In 2008, I was lucky enough to find a local coven. I spent a few years training under amazing and interesting people; I learned about types of paganism I’d never thought to research. I also had the chance to lead rituals much larger than anything I’d done before. I was blessed with the lessons I learned before leaving the coven. I left when I felt like there wasn’t anything else I could gain by staying.

Now, I’m a solitary practitioner again. I’m not fully Wiccan, per se. I’m a animist first, and that colors everything I do. My rituals and magic, though, are done in a Wiccan format; it fits the best for me, and I strongly believe in following my instincts.

I started this journey 14 years ago, and I’m still walking.

Posted in [poetry]

The First Time [poem]

The first time I saw a snowflake up close, I was amazed that it looked just like the cut-outs we did in school. The flakes shimmered like giant pieces of glitter in the setting sun, and I couldn’t believe I’d never see that kind of beauty before.

The first time I felt energy in a group ritual, I was drunk in the realization that *we* had made it. That pulsing beat ran through us all, and the room kept spinning long after we stopped dancing.

The first time I felt rage, I was burning with it. The wind seemed to whip harder, and the night seemed angry with me. My friends hid all of the candles in the house before I was let in, and I found grim satisfaction in the fact they feared what I might do.

The first time I fell in love, I was so confused. It wasn’t like the movies, or the romance books I’d started to read. Instead, it was finding that string that connects us all and seeing the distance between our two points as a breathe, a heartbeat.

The first time I wrote a story, I fell out of this world and into one that made more sense. I ran through walls, and no one could hear me screaming inside. The story helped me capture my depression and give it context, because logic said my own life was too good to be its source.

The first time I questioned monogamy, I thought sharing was easy. I shared my best friend with others, so why not a boyfriend? It took years for me to understand why everyone else was so shocked that I would suggest something so seemingly simple. Then again, I was in first grade at the time.

The first time I lost a loved one, I was an ocean away. I lit a candle to my grandpa and promised to mend my relationship with his son. Grief reminds us of what’s most important.

The first time I tasted a huckleberry, I was in awe. I’d never eaten a fruit straight from a plant before. To think, these things grew wild and free all around the house! The experienced reinforced new pagan feelings I’d been exploring, in my connection to the Earth and Her ability to provide for us all.

The first time I walked by a creek, I realized that no other body of water would ever call to me the same way. The dappled sunlight, the dragonflies, the sound of water over stone. I would sit and listened for hours without moving, just breathing in the moment.

The first time I got a tattoo, I gritted my teeth in preparation for the needle against my skin. The gentle scratch took me by surprise, and the small star didn’t fully heal before another tattoo was drawn into my skin.

The first time I really danced, I felt more at home in my skin that moment than in the years leading up to it. It was just me and the Music, swaying and spinning on the dance floor. I forgot where I was and who was around me. In a way, I had my first transcendental experience at a middle school mixer.

Posted in [poetry]

How to be Human [poem]

I want to see your human side.

I want to see you struggle with stress when life gets tough.

I want to see your relationship hit snags, with fighting and name-calling and sleepless nights alone in bed.

I want to see you count change for coffee and let one of your less important bills get paid a week late.

I want to see you with frizzy hair and a pimple on your nose, in public.

I want to see you in tears, red-eyed and deflated.

Being human is beautiful more often than ugly.

I want to see you through your ugly parts, through the broken pieces and super glue.

I don’t want to be your hero; I want to be your witness.

I want to witness your imperfections and admire them for the proof that you ARE human, and alive.

Watching you struggle will always remind me to be as gentle with myself as I am with you.

You will teach me how to be human.

Posted in [witchcraft & wonder]

the Quiet


I’ve been seeking myself in the quiet for the last two months. I haven’t blogged or journaled. I haven’t had any deep philosophical and spiritual discussions on the meaning of life. I haven’t read anything new (or old) on my path, nor have I studied the path of another.

My life has been still.

I’ve contemplated my place in existence, my path, and my goals. I’ve thought over my ethics and morals, as well as where I got them. I’ve reviewed my actions, past and present, against the backdrop of spirituality. All of these intense, introspective thoughts have bounced around and around in my mind and heart. I’ve come to realize I don’t know myself.

I’ve left myself be two beings, separated by imaginary things.

One of them is a being based in who I believe myself to be. She’s the one who loves the color purple, because she always has (hasn’t she?). She’s the one who dives into Greek mythology and worship with a furvor and passion unmatched by any other. She’s the one who has the amazing ideas about places our spiritual path is taking us, and how much we’ve changed. She’s also the one who’s wrong.

The other being is me, the real me. She’s the one who recognizes a love for cool colors, regardless of shade. She’s the one who groks our connection to Wicca and what our spiritual path truly looks like ahead. She’s the one who accepts alternate views while maintaining a core foundation of spirituality that I didn’t think I had. She’s the me I’ve been speaking to in the stillness.

I’ve spent the last four years on a giant detour. I’ve played with labels, and paths, and styles of magic. I’ve studied subjects I never would’ve dreamed of studying when I started down my path in 1999. Vampirism, therianthropy, shamanism, Asatru, the Ordeal path, color therapy. I dove head first into a pagan tradition and coven hierarchy, only to climb out feeling a little jaded but changed for the better.

Now, it’s time to regroup.

I’m a Wiccan. I’m more flexible than a traditionalist, but I’m still Wiccan; in fact, you could say I’m a Standing Stones Wiccan, having grown up on the teachings of Scott Cunningham (and his Standing Stones tradition). I’m not a pagan with Wiccan tendencies. Not a witch with Wiccan flavor. I’m a Wiccan. People fight over that word, and it’s silly. If my beliefs and practices align with the beliefs and practices of Wicca, then I’m a Wiccan. (It’s just like Christianity. You can choose to read your Bible at home and avoid church, yet still be a Christian if you believe in God and Jesus and all that jazz.) No matter what path I wander off onto, I always end up back at Wicca.

That said, I’ve been working on a framework for my practice and worship. I’ve always been very impromptu and go-with-the-flowy, but I enjoyed the stability of coven practice enough to want my own SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) for rituals and spellwork. It’s a work in progress, because other Life Stuff has been a priority these past months (work, getting a new car, making baby plans). But as the solstice approaches and the beginning of a huge change is upon us, I feel the need to refocus and make a commitment to myself.

2013 is going to be a wild ride…

Posted in [poetry]

Whole [poem]

I’ve searched so hard
and fought so little
for what I want
to have, to be.
I’ve longed for love
and strived for strength
and found I have
not any.
Love made me weak
and a stubborn fool
I didn’t see that
it was gone.
I knew the truth
but was naive, praying
it was still there
all along.
Goodbye, though,
I say to that lover
who hurt my heart
and soul.
Without him here now
I can only wish
that one day again
I’ll be whole.

Posted in [poetry]

Conch [poem]

Dusting time has come.
I remove a seashell from my bookshelf,
wiping dust off its peachy-cream surface.
The exterior is cool and rough to my fingers,
and its beautiful curved figure takes up my entire palm.
Smiling, I press it to my ear and listen
to the echoes of the waves,
of the ocean.
Cleaning her bookcase, my mother handed it to me
on a long, summer day. I’d admired
the glossy sheen inside and
its ghostly voice since the first time I’d held it
in my hands. An ocean breeze tugged
as I’d imagined the world it’d seen. Deep
in the cool Pacific waters the conch watched thousands of
species of fish swim past the reef it’d rested upon.
It had been in a world I’d never enter,
in a place I’d never visit. It saw wonders of creation
that I could never even dream.
Sighing, I placed it back
in its corner of the shelf. The shell sits
untouched, pristine and clean. I hardly ever have time
to hold it anymore; schoolwork keeps me busy on most days.
I still imagine its world on those long, hot
summer days, yet my thoughts always turn away
to more important subjects like Friday’s movie
and my best friend’s birthday party.
Who has time for daydreams?

Posted in [poetry]

Girl in the Mirror [poem]

I look regularly into the mirror in the bathroom.
There’s a girl, lonely, alone.
That girl has eyes that have seen too much,
ears that haven’t heard enough.
Pain to her is never ending,
for love and truth have become rare commodities.
She reaches out, hoping to find what’s missing,
but she only grabs a handful of air.
I pity her, for she doesn’t know how much she’s worth.
That poor girl hasn’t been shown
that she is important and she is wanted.
In her heart, she knows that others care,
but her roots haven’t been allowed to grow.
Instead of being anchored and having a home,
the girl is like a dirt-devil spinning out of control.
Who will tell her what she needs to hear?
I don’t know. But, for now, I try to comfort her.
You see, that girl needs my support;
otherwise, her world would tumble to the ground.
That girl finally has a friend that will never leave,
and one that will always tell her the truth.
I am that girl and she is me. And we will survive.

Posted in [poetry]

Look at Me [poem]

Look into my eyes.
Do you see a girl or a woman?
A troubled teen or a tired adult?
Am I laughing or crying?
Am I innocent or jaded?
Am I strong or weak?
Look into my mind.
Do you see a genius or a fool?
An intelligent student or a naive child?
Am I bright or thick?
Am I popular or ethical?
Am I wise or smart?
Look into my heart.
Do you see a light or a shadow?
An open field of dreams or a cracked wall?
Am I wild or tame?
Am I joyous or broken?
Am I in love or in pain?
Look at me.
Who am I?
If I can’t tell, then how can you?