Posted in Everyday Life, Goth, Hippie, witchcraft

A More Bohemian Witch Home

Yesterday, we explored the shops and sights of the historic St. Charles Missouri area. Despite being in the 90’s, it was a lovely day. On Main Street, there are dozens of shops featuring art, antiques, collectibles, clothing, and home decor, along with everything else you can imagine. We had lots of shops we really enjoyed, but 3 of our favorites were The Olde Town Spice Shoppe, The Enchanted Attic, and Joys Collective Market.

We stocked up on spices at Olde Town. The Enchanted Attic is a small metaphysical shop. We bought our share of incense, quartz, and sage bundles there.

What struck us about Joys Collective Market, and many other shops along the street is the bohemian flavor of the offerings. We could have spent lots of money at Joys, but kept it to a low roar. It appears that hippie clothing, especially peasant tops are popular right now. Glass art, which we just love, is really popular too. Especially witch balls, friendship balls, and hanging glass art.

What struck me was how much I loved the bohemian look it all created. This goes against the less is more, minimalistic approach we have been taking the past few years. There is still a bohemian/Moroccan/Gothic flair to our home, but not as heavy handed as it had been in the past. Yesterday, I started yearning for more of that look.

We talked about that fact yesterday. In the past, there were times that every surface of our home was covered in decor of some sort. Eventually, it became overwhelming, even stifling, and we decluttered, even before there was a Marie Kondo book.

But we feel like we went too far. We feel the need to go down to the basement, open up all the boxes storing treasures that we didn’t give away or donate, and bring back the bohemian vibe, stronger than it currently stands at our house. We understand the need to walk the fine line between clutter and style. Yet we want to enjoy more of the items that are important to us. It fits our style, our tastes.

I realized that it is true that having nearly empty counter, table, and other surface spaces creates “clean lines,” it doesn’t necessarily fit our style taste. So a happy medium is what I think we are looking to achieve.

More this:

93bfb6120037c914ba5faa0213d4cf86

Less this:

minimalist-home-decoration

And maybe a bit of this:

BAROQUE MIX 1

As I was finding the photos above (all courtesy of Google), I found lots of articles indicating minimalism is waning, and maximalism is on the rise. Maybe I’m not bucking the trend as much as I thought….

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on home decor!

Blessed Be!

Posted in Goth, magick, Wicca, witchcraft

Black Candles & A Shout Out

I’d like to take an opportunity to publicly thank the folks at Soma Luna, one of my go-to Pagan/witchcraft supply businesses. When the goth in me awoke after I had been practicing witchcraft for a few years, I was interested in buying some black pillar candles. In looking around, I found most black pillars were only black on the outside, not throughout. Soma Luna, who make their own pillar candles, have the color throughout the candle. I ordered some, they were promptly delivered, and I was very happy with them. We have been buying candles and other items from them ever since.

Recently, I had a problem with a purchase. I wrote to them, they responded, and after doing some research on the item, they graciously offered to replace our purchase!

One of the things I enjoy about using Soma Luna is that they are a small business specializing in items that are important to me and other Pagans/witches/seekers. They are now strictly an online business, but previously had a store in Bloomington Indiana. That’s relatively close to us, and I’m sorry that I never got the opportunity to visit the store. With Amazon killing off small businesses left and right, it’s nice to support a small business. I’m happy Soma Luna is still going strong online.

I’d like to thank Lulu at Soma Luna for helping us, and I highly recommend this company to anyone needing Pagan/witchcraft/occult supplies. If you sign up for the monthly newsletter, there is usually a code for discounts. There is also often a monthly drawing, from everyone that orders something during the month, for a free gift. We actually won a few years back and got a great pair of Thoth bookends!

I have no affiliation with Soma Luna, I simply wanted to thank them for their great customer service, and recommend them to my readers.

Blessed Be!

*Photos above are those black candles in action on our altar.

 

Posted in Depression, Energy/Vibrations, Goth, witchcraft

Gothic Witch: Getting Real..

5899c095f774c4b387045440c7de16f8Yeah, the hippie Wiccan thing backfired. I completely went the other way. I simply found that trying to be all “blessed be” hippie was more of a public image than part of my internal make-up. Putting on one face for others, while harboring a darker mindset seemed crazy, considering I’m already doing that in real life, by concealing the fact that I am a witch to most who know me.

So why have I tried so diligently to project that persona? There are many reasons really. I’ve always put on a pleasant face to the public. My parents didn’t exactly teach me to do that, but their actions did, so I just seemed to follow in their footsteps. My father was a genuinely nice and caring person, so it came naturally to him. My mother had her demons, yet projected a polite persona. I inherited a few of  my mother’s demons, which I hate to admit, but indeed, I must.

I’m always shocked by people who air their displeasure with situations in public. I have family members who seemingly have no reservations letting everyone know they are unhappy with something or someone, even to the point of making everyone in the room uncomfortable. It seems their feelings trump everyone else’s feelings. I can’t imagine doing that.

To a fault, I’ve been a people pleaser. I try to make everyone comfortable and happy, often to the detriment of my own health and happiness. I’ve written about the fact that I believe I’ve experienced illnesses after the December holidays because I spent so much of my personal energy making sure everyone was having a good holiday. By January, I was so energy depleted that my immune system was compromised, and I spent a month or more paying the price.

Truthfully, and I will write more about this in the future, I discovered psychic vampirism back in 2007, when I began exploring my gothic tendencies. I had an immune system breakdown, which landed me in a rheumatologist’s office. I credit both his advice and medication and Michelle Belanger’s book, The Psychic Vampire Codex: A Manual of Magick and Energy Work for my recovery.

I continue to occasionally suffer from immune system problems. I can point directly to stress as the main trigger for the onset of the disease. Often, it happens when I’ve put myself out there for others, while forsaking my own physical and psychological needs.

I’m straying from my intended post here a bit. What I’m trying to say is that it’s time to embody and project my true self, especially in my online witchcraft writings, in which I try to be brutally honest. If I can’t be honest in a relatively anonymous forum, when can I be?

I have days when I’m a real hippie. I dress like a hippie. But most of the time, my mind, my interests, and my actions point to goth. A gothic outlook. It is ultimately what keeps me sane and healthy. This mindset takes me in a different direction from Wicca.

There’s no definitive conclusion here. I simply felt that I owed you, the reader, the truth. I know it flies in the face of my “Hippie Wicca!” post.  But you might have noticed that I’ve not written (except for the horror movie post) since I wrote the Hippie Wicca entry. I started half a dozen posts, along the hippie witch lines, but they just fizzled out after 300 or 400 words. Those drafts just felt forced. Conversely, this entry just flew out my fingertips. That alone speaks volumes.

More later.

Blessings!

Posted in Goth, Hippie, Wicca, witchcraft

Witchcraft Philosophy vs Practicality 

IMG_2354

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 Depression, Goth, Wicca

A Witch’s Graveyard Lament

goth-10I’ve written about how I’m generally a barefoot hippie, but yet have some definite overtones of goth in my soul. I’ve said in the past that I discovered the goth lifestyle several years into my witchcraft path. I found a name that went with my outlook on life, and some of my interests and practices. I don’t think goth is something you adopt, rather it is inherent in your soul.

In discovering the goth online community, and many goth witches, I found out I shared many of their traits and interests. I also found out that, for me, seeing the world as a goth, in shades of sepia, helped me with my depression. Constantly fighting off the darkness in search of light is exhausting. When I came to relish the darker side of life, the light came easier.

I’ve written about my struggles with depression. It’s something I’ve dealt with since my early teens. It really took hold in college, with the lovely added benefit of acute anxiety. Ultimately, it cost me a normal life. It contributed to a divorce, job and social status loss, and eventually loss of self esteem. The ship has righted to some degree, but the life I have now, shaped by depression and anxiety, is far from the one I had envisioned for myself.

Witchcraft helped me quite a bit. Frankly, fuck all the fundamentalists who condemn the path as evil. It brought me an empowerment and a greater degree of confidence. It also, in this age of social media, brought me to a community of witches, Pagans, and those who support the choice of someone to call themselves a witch.

When I was into my goth phase pretty deeply, I used to visit cemeteries quite a bit. Something about the quiet solitude was comforting. During a very melancholy period, I wrote the following poem while sitting among the grave markers. I don’t believe I’ve ever shared this before, and reading it now is fairly disturbing to me. But I think it shows what the depths of depression can look like.

A Witch’s Graveyard Lament

i feel it all slipping away
the lust for living has been replaced
by sadness and gloom
the blankets of grass that covers the graves
seem to beckon with a strange comfort

the bright shades of life have been replaced
by tones of sepia and grey
there is no point of each and every day
so why should I endure the pain

it’s a life wasted that I’ve carved
the music has become ethereal
i’ve found a bond with the misunderstood
the outcasts, the loners, the night ones
with our white faces and our sad eyes

i see the darkness of the early morning
and the pitch black of deep night
as sleep is no longer my friend
the bed has become my tormenter

no one knows the depth of my feelings
the clues I keep closed in my mind
but there are signs all around
no one really bothers to look too deep

i’ve made some acquaintances with those
who rule the underworld
the ones who could be my eternal friends
they have taken prominent places in my head

i feel the descent starting
i don’t know if i can stop it
do i want to?
would anyone really care
i fear relief would quickly replace grief

i feel it all slipping away

Posted in Everyday Life, Goth, Hippie, Living Simply, Paganism, Wicca

Oh Dear Gods, Resolutions! Egads!

lens_cornelis_-_tanz_der_ma%cc%88nadenSo yesterday, out of the ashes of another boozy holiday, a different me rose like a phoenix. It isn’t necessarily a “better” me, just one that is perhaps more focused on what’s important. As I indicated yesterday, I changed my social media accounts. I went full on witchy. What had happened on my mundane accounts was a devolvement into awful political discourse. It has become increasingly crystal clear that the round and round arguing only served to aggravate everyone involved, and was without purpose. I’m not going to stick my head in the sand, but I’m no longer going to be the person who constantly harps on it. Honestly, I would much rather hang with other Pagans and witches, discussing spirituality and magick.

In the past, I’ve stayed away from New Year’s resolutions. They so often fall by the wayside. This year, I’m not waiting for New Year’s. I have a few things in mind. First, I want to be kinder to myself. Mind, body, and soul. That involves a dedication to meditation, to reading more books, to eating better, and ceasing to beat myself up over what I don’t like about my life. Accepting the things I can’t change, and working to better those that I can.

Secondly, extending more kindness to others. Becoming a Wiccan all those years ago went a long way to improving that, but there is always room to be a better person. More time with my grandchildren, and more quality time with my wife. More kindness extended to strangers, and to my friends. I know for a fact that that kind of thing comes back to you three and four fold.

I want to continue to simplify my life. This year, I made great strides in that area. I largely ditched shampoo, shifted from chemical laden soap products to simple bar soap, detoxed our cleaning supplies, went to water-only face washing, using only carrier oil and essential oils for moisturizing, and deodorant. We decluttered, and continue to do so. I’ve stopped comparing my life to the lives of others. If we are happy, that’s what’s important.

I know we could do more. Even though we recycle religiously, we could bring home less plastic from the store. We could eat less meat, and probably buy fewer unnecessary items than we do. Change is difficult, and changing behavior of 40+ years isn’t as simple as I thought it might be.

Lastly, I am going to allow myself to move between mindsets without all sorts of self analysis. I’m not sure how it’s happened, but I’m equal part barefoot hippie, goth, Wiccan, chaos magician, devotee of Hestia, chaste Goddess of the Hearth, devotee of Dionysus, God of religious and sensual ecstasy and madness (a particularly fun devotion!), and countless other deities and aspects of their personalities. For better or worse, the sum of all parts make us whole. Understanding why is, at least in my instance, best left to the deities.

So that’s it. Most of my “resolutions” are things I’m already working on. A few are new, and some are just a further embracement of current practices.

Thanks for reading! I love that people find what I ramble on about here fairly interesting, and am truly grateful for your feedback and comments. It makes my heart sing.

Blessings to you all.