Posted in [witchcraft & wonder]

25 Questions – Paganism/Wicca

A blog I’m subscribed to posted these twenty-five questions to show the diversity of opinions within Paganism. I am posting my answers here not just so my readers can get to know me better, but also in hopes that other bloggers will answer these questions on their own blogs.

1. What Do You Call Yourself?

– A pagan, because it’s the simplest answer from someone asking a simple question

2. Using Common Terms, Describe Your Path:

– I’m a pagan animist who practices Wicca.

3. Do You Draw from a Particular Path, Not Your Own, Frequently?:

– I try out other paths to experience the differences. For example, my friends and I performed a reconstructionist ritual to the Greek gods. I’ve lit a candle using a Unitarian Universalist blessing. I’ve performed rituals from various pagan/Wiccan paths (Asatru, Feri, Seax Wica, etc.).

4. Any Path Intimidate You?:

– I wouldn’t say intimidate, but ceremonial magic just turns me off with all of its rules (and angel work).

5. Favorite Herb:

– Lavender

6. Favorite Gemstone:

– I love opal for its look, but amethyst is the one I work with magically.

7.Favorite Divination Tool:

– I use my Fey Tarot deck the most, but I also enjoy color divination and using dice. I have (and kind of collect) several small, unique divination tools just for kicks.

8. Favorite Tools:

-I can pick up any athame (with permission, of course) and use it. I have a small collection of blades that appealed to my spirit.

9. Favorite Sabbat:

– I love both of the equinoxes; there’s something about the balance of night and day that soothes me.

10. Favorite Season:

– I’m a winter baby, so I love the season. I’d usually say autumn, but fall in Texas doesn’t mean cooler weather.

11. Favorite Pagan Book:

Earth, Air, Fire, Water by Scott Cunningham – my first exposure to Wicca

12. Favorite Book with Pagan Themes:

– the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan (called “Wicca” in Britain)

13. Favorite Myth:

– It’s not necessarily a myth, but Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein holds the idea that all religions and all heavens exist and are correct at the same time; I loved the concept so much that it became a part of my spirituality!

14. Patron God/dess:

– I don’t have one, per se. I’m an animist first, and I don’t worship gods in the traditional sense. I do, however, work with the Greek pantheon regularly. Nyx is the goddess I’ve interacted with the most, but Aphrodite and Artemis have also made connections. As for gods, I haven’t had a particular connection to anyone yet; I’ve worked with the Olympians, but Hades is the only one I got any kind of personal reaction from.

15. Other Aligned Deities:

– See 14.

16. Favorite ‘Pagan’ Saying:

– Live you must, and let to live / fairly take and fairly give. (It’s a set of lines from the poetic long version of the Wiccan Rede.)

17. Most Commonly Used Offering:

– I always light incense, both to alter our states of consciousness and as an offering.

18. Believe in the Rede?:

– I believe in personal responsibility and personal ethics (i.e. if I know that harming someone is negative and I choose to accept the consequences of such behavior, it is my business). Ethics should never be black or white, and no situation is exactly the same as any other.

19. Meditate?:

– Not often. I do occasionally zone out to music, mostly as a relaxation meditation.

20. Magic?:

– All of the time. Magic, to me, is the manipulation of energies. As an animist, I believe that everything has and uses energy; every moment we interact with energies around us, so every moment is magic.

21. If Yes to 20, Dark Witchcraft, Light Witchcraft, or In-between?:

– There is no such thing as dark or light, black or white magic; we are too human to be completely one thing or another. There are only shades of grey. See 18.

22. In or Out of the Broomcloset?:

– I’ve been out since 2001, all thanks to a careless/harmless question from a history teacher after he used a biblical analogy and saw a few confused faces.

23. Solitary or Coven Member:

– Why not both? I have a clan I practice with, and I often do smaller prayerwork and spellwork alone.

24. What Forms of Social Media Do You Use as a Pagan?:

– I actively use WordPress, Facebook, and Pinterest (though not just “as a pagan” technically). I have a Witchvox account, as well as memberships on several therian forums; I don’t actively use those, though.

25. If I Wasn’t Pagan/Wiccan, I Would Be…:

– Good question. I’d make an ideal Christian, because (ask around) I have a very forgiving heart and find Pope Francis to be a wonderful inspiration as a spiritual leader. However, I don’t think I would’ve connected to a male deity, even if I hadn’t been exposed to Wicca.


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Posted in [witchcraft & wonder]

Defining Animism

My Animism

I often tell people I’m an animist first, and a Wiccan second. The way I view the universe is in its vastness and connectivity. I believe that all the gods exist just as real as you and me, hearing the prayers of worshippers and sometimes even answering them. I believe that they are connected to us just as we are connected to the trees, the air we breathe, and each other.

If I choose to worship a deity in ritual, I’m calling out to a stranger (or, with repetition, a friend) to help me. The god may or may not respond or offer aid.

If I choose to worship only existence and the awesomeness of life itself, I’m calling out to the connection between everything (man, god, star, and leaf). That connection exists forever and always, before I was born and long after my death.

This is my Animism, my understanding of how reality works. What’s yours?

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 [witchcraft & wonder]

Random Philosophical Question

As a Wiccan, I often think about random ethical situations for fun. That’s totally normal, right?

ANYway… my random philosophical thought today is: Can you apologize without being sorry?

When you apologize, you express an excuse for some fault, insult, failure, or injury (via When you’re sorry, you feel regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc.

I can apologize for not doing more to help end the use of sweat shops, but I don’t feel sorry for it. My clothes come from thrift stores; I don’t personally buy into the negative clothing market except for underwear items.

I can apologize for not wanting to help out Syria, but I’m not sorry for wanting my people to stay safe and far away from someone else’s troubles. Our troops are worn and broken enough, and I’m tired of being a country at war. We weren’t always this way, and I can’t find sympathy for another country when they’ve torn themselves to pieces.

I can be sorry for being harsh in my views on helping other countries when our own is in a tough place, but I won’t apologize for putting my own people first. I do feel regret, especially knowing so much waste happens here while people in Africa face crop failure and food/water scarcity daily. I pity their plight, but I don’t apologize for having no answers, no solutions to those problems (nor do I apologize for thinking that the money we’ve been throwing at the problem isn’t helping).

So, can you apologize without being sorry? Can you feel sorry without apologizing? I’d say yes.

Posted in [witchcraft & wonder]

Herbalism thoughts on Earth Day

I’ve never had an interest in herbs, herbalism, or herbal magick. I happen to prefer natural remedies, though, so I have to spend some time researching basic herbalism.

That said, my family’s first class was all about herbs. We decided to assign the following: Choose at least five herbs, then research their magickal and medicinal uses. Be prepared to craft an experimental use of at least one herb for magickal and/or medicinal purposes.

Our class started with a trip to Temple, to visit Nature’s Grocer and gather our supplies. They happen to have large amounts of organic bulk herbs, so we were in cheap herb heaven. We all decided to up our number of herbs from five to ten, so our hauls from the store looked like we were trying to supply an entire restaurant or something.

My herbs were chosen based (mostly) on their magickal properties. I tried to find herbs that were used for psychic awareness and power. My final list included: cinnamon, grass, lavender, thyme, bay laurel, dandelion, wheat, oats, roses, and ginger.

Did you know regular grass, plucked and held in your hand, can enhance your psychic ability and intuition? Me neither!

For my practical application, I had two goals. First, I made a small pillow of psychic herbs (grass, dandelion, cinnamon, thyme, and bay) to sniff before and during divination; I’m going to play with it this week and see how well it helps. My other goal was to create a traveling spirit bundle kit. I purchased two small multi-compartment containers, allowing me to carry about a tablespoon of each herb with me at all times; in addition, I have several pieces of colored cloth and some string. The idea is that I can stop anywhere, create a spirit bundle, and move on. The idea originally came from a YouTuber sometime last year, though I can’t remember who she was.

I’ve decided to work on expanding my awareness, for now. It’s a general goal, allowing me to apply each lesson we cover to my personal growth. This week we’re going to look at meditation, perform a couple guided meditations, and discuss our results. I’m hoping to talk to my spirit guide, or perhaps to talk to Fox (the spirit of the pelt I rescued from a thift store last year). I may focus on shapeshifting if I have trouble contacting a guide; half of my meditations end with me as a non-human, so I might as well work on understanding and controlling that process instead of just experiencing it.

Having practical plans for studying and growing as a Wiccan is beautiful and soothing. Studying with my family makes me accountable to my own promises; if I say I’m going to make a rune set out of clay before the next full moon, they’ll bug me until I show them a rune set. And if I say that something new sounds interesting, they follow me down a new path and explore it.

Happy Earth Day, by the way!

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…