Posted in Hippie, Wicca

Hippie Wicca!

IMG_2379This will be the last post regarding the direction of my witchcraft spiritual path. As I alluded to in my post on the 17th, despite what spiritual path I may envision for myself in my mind, when the rubber meets the road, Wicca seems to be the best fit for me. As I said, it is the cream that rises to the top.

Over the course of the last few days, I’ve been reading a lot of the Wicca and witchcraft books I read when I started in 2004. And to be honest with you, Scott Cunningham still resonates deeply with me, 13 years later.

One Cunningham quote that really stood out for me was this:

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I remember reading that all those years ago, and was kind of surprised by it at the time. I had always associated witchcraft & magick with the supernatural. And here was a well known Wiccan author telling me that magick is natural, of the earth, of our own ability to somehow peacefully move energy about, in order to create change. No lightning bolts from the deities, nobody granting us the ability to do so. Just us and nature.

There have been so many times that I’ve lost sight of that. I can get caught up in sigils, light and dark deities, left and right hand paths, and a possible supernatural realm, that I  forget that I’ve surrounded myself with crystals, stones, essential oils, herbs, and resins. All naturally occurring items that can aid in that energy movement.

Then there is the great outdoors. Yesterday was a lovely day outside. What did I do? Sit inside working on technical rituals and reformulating my path. Things that needed to be done, but not necessarily just then. I suspect Cunningham would have gone out and sat under a tree.

Scott Cunningham, was not the only author whose works called to me. However, he was the author who provided a genteel Wiccan practice. A practice that I happily followed for four years, before thinking there were surely better, or more sophisticated ways to be a witch. I was truly joyful during those early years. Sure, I might have not gotten every technique correct, or done everything exactly so. But you know what? There is no exact, correct technique. Every author whose book you read, every “expert” on the internet have their own way of living as a witch. If you learn the basics, get familiar with all the tools available to you, then it is time to put your own spin on a magickal path.

So I’ve chosen to try to rekindle those early days. My Wicca may not be Raymond Buckland’s, or Janet Farrar’s, or anyone at Patheos Pagan’s portal, nor is it exactly Cunningham’s Wicca, but it is the Wicca I feel most comfortable with, and one that I can live on a daily basis.

The early days were played out in a hippie/earthy way. I grew up in the 60’s & 70’s, and embodied a youthful hippie life, until I went to college and became an 80’s Me Generation dickhead. But Wicca brought back those early hippie days, and truthfully, it improved my life. So the goth me will get set aside, and I’m letting the hippie back in.

So that’s it. My last flip/floppy post about my path direction. Done. From now on, it will be musings about Wicca, magick, everyday life, and witchcraft. The drama ends here.

Thanks for reading, for watching this public mental battle play out. Hey, at least it goes to show I’m not one of those self-proclaimed “experts,” who claim to know everything there is about the Craft, and exactly how you should do things. I’m struggling right along with everybody else.

Blessed Be!

*The photo at the top of the post is my minimalistic Wiccan altar set up. It’s been a long time since I had an altar without black candles! I’m going to do a self dedication, or rededication, at the new moon.

 

Posted in Goth, Hippie, Wicca, witchcraft

Witchcraft Philosophy vs Practicality 

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Lots of highfalutin rhetoric in the post on the 14th. I was reading that post when I woke up at 2:30 AM, thinking it felt like I had been asleep for days. In actuality it was 4 & 1/2 hours. I’m pretty sure I was a vampire in a previous life…..

Anyway, as I read that post, I was thinking back on this past couple of weeks. I’ve been under the weather for over a month now. I’ve spent the good part of a day in bed several times over the last 10 days.

It’s been a frustrating time. It has brought on a couple of near emotional breakdowns. Not really from the illnesses themselves, but the frustration of not being able to get well, and feel like I’m a part of the world.

So I was contemplating the spiritual actions I’ve taken over the course of this illness. They have included:  reconstruction of my Wiccan altar and a formal ritual, with a circle casting, a magical working to drive away my illness, complete with prayers to Isis & Osiris.

I began meditating again, in full force, using guided chakra cleansing for healing, and meditation designed to connect with your Goddess. You go into that meditation without any particular goddess in mind, and see who comes to you in that meditation. The goddess that came to me? Hestia, virgin goddess of hearth & home.

I’ve also listened to hours and hours of New Age music, specifically that of the healing and relaxation kind.

I’ve spent a good deal of time talking to the God & Goddess, you know, the Wiccan kind. My theory is that witches don’t ask deity to answer prayers, rather we perform spells. But I did ask for strength to heal. These are the two recitations I said, and continue to say each morning & night:

May the power of the One, the Source of all creation, all pervasive , omnipotent, eternal; may the Goddess, Lady of the Moon, and the God, horned hunter of the sky; may the powers, Spirits of the Quarters, rulers of the elemental realms; may the powers of the stars above, and the earth below, bless this place, this time, and I, whom are with you.

Lady and Lord, Earth and Sky, the Laws of Nature I will abide. Thank you for allowing me to understand your ways. Thank you for the strength and guidance you give me each day. Accept this token of thanks, for it is given in perfect love and perfect trust.

Decidedly Wiccan, wouldn’t you say? So what gives? I write a whole post about being all Left Hand Path-ish, devoted to Lilith, and being goth. But then, in practice, during a most desperate and stressful time, where do I go? Right back to Wicca, that’s where.

Obviously, this is where my spiritual trust lays. When shit gets real, I’m not invoking Lilith, or relying on the LHP. And the meditation & chakra thing? More hippie than goth..

In life, there is the philosophical, then there is the practicality of living life everyday. It appears that there is a part of me that craves the darkness, perhaps even needs it at times. Yet, when spirituality is put into action, when something needs to be dealt with, its back to the hippie Wiccan.

So which witch am I? You might say these are different aspects of my psyche. While that may be true, doesn’t actual witchcraft practice demand a choice? Doesn’t one aspect of deity need to be chosen and honored daily?

Perhaps Hecate should be my patron deity. I’m at the frigging crossroads enough!!

The one thing that does occur to me is that I might be having difficulty separating lifestyle from spirituality. Obviously, I have a duality of goth and hippie going on, and I think that’s ok. Simply two aspects of my personality. But when it comes to putting spirituality into action, Wicca appears to be the cream rising to the top.

Maybe the true test is to think about what spiritual direction I would choose on my deathbed…..

Blessed Be

Posted in Goth, left hand path, witchcraft

Polishing My Witchcraft Path – A Journey

8d2d8af208fa60baa28c3bc381547932It’s no secret to anyone who has read my blog that I have struggled with my spiritual path. In fact, I decided to walk away from the blog for a bit to quietly contemplate what it was that A) I really wanted in a path, and B) what path could I realistically live, on a day to day basis. The two can’t be mutually exclusive. You can have grandiose plans to celebrate a path daily, or envision a path you might like to live, but actually doing so is often a difficult task.

When I weighed those factors, and I looked within to see what was really there, these descriptors came to mind most often:  Witchcraft, Wicca, Left Hand Path, New Age practices and a goth outlook. Some thoughts on that follows:

Wicca is a distinct path, albeit fairly eclectic these days. It’s probably a disservice to the Wiccan religion to stretch it’s description to encompass all those aforementioned practices. It is, however, the foundation upon which my path is built. That is why it is so difficult to move past that witchcraft path description.

Witchcraft is, of course, a practice, using magical techniques to effect change. A witch need not be religious at all to practice witchcraft. Or a witch could be a non-Pagan and practice witchcraft, such as a Christian witch. That seems like a difficult dichotomy to traverse, but I know people do it.

Moving on to the Left Hand Path, a trickier subject. I was pulled toward that path, beginning in 2008. I’ve had forays into chaos magick, Luciferianism & to a far lesser and shorter experience, Theistic Satanism.  I’m well aware that the mention of the latter two are of concern to some. Please understand these paths have nothing to do with evil. Unfortunately, there are those who use those paths as an excuse for hatred and criminal behavior, which I find deplorable.

I find that Luciferianism is a path of empowerment and of nonconformity. To be honest with you, I’m rather tired of all the “experts” telling me how to be a Wiccan or what I might be doing incorrectly. It sometimes seems that some people who have come to Wicca from other religions have brought along their concepts of dogma, hierarchy, and non-individualism.

Chaos magick is intriguing because it offers the opportunity to practice all paths. Essentially, the premise of chaos magick is to have no belief until you find a certain belief beneficial. Then you adopt that belief system, use it until you have achieved a desired result, then cast aside that belief. The belief system you choose can be an established one, or one you invent. The system itself is secondary to your belief in the system.

A motto used in chaos magick is, “nothing is true, everything is permitted.” Belief is fleeting, but can be used when necessary to affect the mind to achieve a desired result. Then the belief is discarded.

The primary difficulty of chaos magick is deprogramming the mind. Absolute belief is only necessary for a specific purpose. Most people need a belief system, which is why chaos magick is so challenging. It is said that this path can cause mental breakdowns.

The last practice I mentioned was New Age. Many witches will say that New Age practices aren’t part of witchcraft. However, actions speak louder than words. Reiki, meditation, mindfulness, incense, crystals, stones, herbs, essential oils, and so many other techniques used by witches bleed over into New Age practices. I’m listening to New Age music as I write this.

I also mentioned goth. The word conjures up images of angst ridden teens wearing black. I get that. But I, and legions of others, see it having by a deeper, more far reaching meaning in the witchcraft world. For me, witchcraft bubbled to the surface the fact that I am an empath. I absorb the problems of others. I am entrenched in the darkness of others all the time. If I can’t live with that darkness, if I’m always fighting it, I will lose my sanity. So I embrace the darkness. So much so that it bleeds over into my life, in my tastes in art, decor, sex, literature, music, and life outlook. I see the beauty in aspects of life often avoided by others at all costs. If I struggle to be in the light all the time, depression is sure to ensue.

I’d like to say, and often have said, that I’m a carefree hippie. I dress like one. But the fact of the matter is that I need to embody the goth outlook on life to survive.

So where does this leave me? The one certainty I can point to is that I am, and always will be, a witch. It is where the universe has seen fit to place me. To paraphrase Fairuza Balk in the film The Craft, “I am the weirdo.” It is the perfect path for expressing my uniqueness.

Secondly, I’m firmly, and irrevocably entrenched in a goth outlook and lifestyle. I simply need to stop questioning and doubting it. It is what it is.

As far as what kind of witch I am. Well that’s a bit more difficult. I’m not strictly a chaos magick witch, but I do use some of the techniques of that path.

I would say that I’m a Left Hand Path witch. I am largely outside conventional societal norms, and my path is free of dogma. I, unlike a growing number of Pagans and witches, have no desire or need to be “the same as everyone else.”  I will tell people who ask that I’m Pagan, but I’ll keep the witch part to myself, thank you. To me, that seems to give me a degree of empowerment.

It’s taken 13 years, and a lot of personal emotional carnage to arrive at this destination. Interestingly, blogging has been somewhat detrimental to getting here. There are times when I’ve blogged, I’ve held back, wanting to appeal to the greatest number of people, while worrying that I won’t be perceived as fairly “normal.” I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there really is no normal in this world.

I’m contemplating a reversion to a Craft name I used when I was practicing chaos magick. Having a bit of Latin in school, I found Nocturnus Veneficus appealing and rather appropriate. It seems to reflect what I’ve laid out here better than Patchouli Sky. I’ll think about it.

Sorry this was so long. It was a post that came tumbling out this morning at 3AM, and after polishing, ended up at a length I don’t normally create.

I’d be happy to hear your thoughts, and I hope you will continue to enjoy the blog. Sorry for the disruption in posts, but sometimes you have to step back and take a breath.

Blessed Be.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hiatus

Apparently, I’m on hiatus. I’ve started and deleted a bunch of posts recently. I can’t think of anything interesting to say that I haven’t already written about.

Blogging is a funny thing. I post, and I hope that people are interested. My last couple of posts seemed to have fallen flat. Honestly, I knew when I was writing them that they would.

It’s funny, I know that if I put “witchcraft,” “depression,” or a few other words in the title, I will get views and comments, and truthfully, there have been times I’ve done that on purpose. If one spends hours writing, and you get very few views or relatively little feedback, it’s maddening.

I’m trying to de-stress. My stress level has been sky high. So high, I’ve made myself ill, and am sitting here with a acute case of arthritis. I’ve been ill for days. Actually, I’ve been ill for a month.

It’s all too much. I’m leaning toward giving up Paganism, because I’m exhausted trying to find a path that makes me feel like I did in February 2004. In those days, Yahoo groups celebrated Wicca. Today, most blogs on “professional” sites like Patheos are busy judging the way others live their paths. Everybody but the authors seem to be doing it wrong.

Why worry about this? Why not just chuck it all and live happily on a daily basis without people telling you your way of practicing faith is totally wrong?

One thing I won’t do. That would be coming on here to tell you why I’m quitting Paganism. First and foremost, you don’t care, and secondly, it seems smug. If I was a high profile Pagan, that might be a different story, but clearly, I’m not.

So I’m on hiatus. Thanks for reading.

Posted in Depression, Hippie, Wicca

Wiccan Musings – Turning the Page

13741327_1771138426432309_1873677800_nMarch is over. Thank the Gods. I’m not exaggerating when I say that March was a horrible month for me personally. I was sick for nearly the entire month, which led to problems with depression, which led to a chain reaction to problems in every other aspect of my emotional, physical, and spiritual life. I was in a dark place, and am just now scratching and clawing my way out.

I thought going spiritually darker would help, and it has not. I thought diving into my gothic side would help, and it hasn’t done the trick either. I think that simply forging ahead in my own, usual hippie/bohemian/slightly goth way is the only way to fight out of this.

Being on the mend physically is helping. Had anyone noticed, I went a bit dark for awhile on my Twitter account, but have rectified that nonsense. I’ve decided to stick with my longtime Craft name, Patchouli Sky, which is a name, that to me, connotes joy, happiness, and hippiedom.

I have this problem that when I get sick or depressed, I tend to move away from witchcraft. Logically, I know that is precisely when I should lean on it. I mean, witchcraft is a healing art, and I don’t take advantage of it for myself.

Conversely, I’m the first person to the spell book when other people need healing energy. The downside of being an empath is that one often cares more about the well being of others than we do for ourselves. Many empaths I’ve communicated with have self esteem issues, and perhaps that’s why we don’t deem our own well being to be as important as that of others. Lots of psychology going on there….

This past month I’ve neglected a lot. Our home, my wife, myself, this blog, my Wiccan path. If I had to use one word to describe my March 2017, it would be despair. But it’s a new month, and it’s time to turn the page and reconnect with the world.

Thank you for letting me purge this morning. I hope you have a beautiful April!

Blessed Be!