Posted in Energy/Vibrations, Paganism, witchcraft

Ecstatic Witchcraft

Back on December 2 of last year, I wrote a blog post entitled, Earthen Polytheistic Witchcraft.  In it, I mused about the fact that I had let several spring and summer months go by over the period of years, hibernating in the house, watching the world through our windows. Obviously the onset of winter had me realizing what I had been doing. I spoke about spending lots of time doing assorted witchcraft type of things instead of getting outside and experiencing the natural world.

I wrote about the concept of moving away from formal, rather antiseptic ritual, and adopting a more earthy, shamanistic, polytheistic approach to Paganism and witchcraft. This post came to mind recently, when I realized I was beginning to fall into the same behavior. We’ve had a few wonderful days outside, between monsoon rainy days, and I’ve spent them…yep, inside.

So I’m heading that behavior off at the pass. I began to do some research into shamanistic Paganism and witchcraft. I found two books that appear that they will be helpful finding my way.

The first book, Wild Earth Wild Soul: A Manual For An Ecstatic Cultureappears that it will be more of a Pagan related book, about breaking out of our domesticated lives and rediscovering the earth and our relationship with the land. The second book, Ecstatic Witchcraft,  brings witchcraft into the mix.

I just started reading Wild Earth today, as I ordered that as a Kindle Book. I think that book will serve best as a table setter to Ecstatic Witchcraft, which is being delivered tomorrow. Both books are rather well reviewed.

Obviously, I know about shamanism, and have read about it in the past. There was a period of time when I was looking into Celtic Reconstructionism, and its’ concept of Land, Sea, and Sky appealed to me so much that I have a section in my Book of Shadows devoted to Celtic Recon rituals.

I guess the appeal is getting my hands and feet dirty, not needing a lot of tools and spells, but being able to channel witchcraft through my relationship with the earth.

There is a part of me that feels like this may draw me back into a more natural Wiccan path, and yeah, probably will bring about the re-emergence of hippie me. Honestly, I’m not going to force it any particular way, rather I will let this guide me to where I should be.

Thanks for reading, and blessings to you.

Posted in Paganism, Wicca, witchcraft

Witchcraft Side Effect: Losing Friends

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I’m hoping this will never happen to you, that all your current friends are open minded, and they will be excited that you are going to start practicing witchcraft. But you may be surprised by the reaction of some of them, and you should be prepared for that unfortunate witchcraft side effect.

I started practicing witchcraft after 40, so I was stealth about it. My assumption was that long time friends who knew me as a cynical, largely non-religious person probably wouldn’t get it. Most would think I was nuts. So, other than my wife, I told no one. Except bookstores and Amazon, when I was buying all those witchcraft books!

We redecorated our house, and I set up an altar in a bedroom. When I wasn’t there, my wife showed some of our friends the new decor, and boom, there’s the altar. They asked about it, and my wife casually said I was interested in Wicca. Oh boy.

This reverberated though that friendship circle. At one of our next get-togethers, I could tell there was a different vibe between them and myself. Eventually, a few of our “friends” in that circle stopped inviting us over for parties. The girls all got together as usual, but when it would be couples, we were left out of some gatherings. I vividly remember one time we all were together after that, religion came up, and one person said, “well, he’s apparently a Wiccan now,” in a definitively condescending tone. After that, I didn’t want to be around them either.

Their loss, right? Yes, but that was our social circle, and at midlife, it’s hard to develop new ones. After that, Wicca was never mentioned again around the remainder of the group. Now, over a decade later, I people generally know that I’m Pagan (it says so on my Facebook page), but we leave it at that.

I’ve often said that I am jealous of those that come to Paganism or witchcraft early in life. Those people get to build a life around their path, and friends that they make are often aware from the start that their new friend is a witch. The generation of younger people who come to, or are born into Paganism tend to be very open about it. Because of all the information out there about our paths, today’s youth is much more open-minded, for the most part.

However, there are plenty of exceptions, there are employers scouring your social media, and religious zealots who want to save you. A witch fights a battle against stereotypes, drummed into the public’s head by TV, movies, and churches. Face it, there are lots of people who think of Fairuza Balk flying in a window in “The Craft” when they hear the words witch, Pagan, and Wiccan.

It’s funny how mainstream people love movies like “Practical Magic” or all the Harry Potter movies, or sit and watch TV shows like Buffy, “Charmed,” “The Good Witch,” or the dozens of others, yet look down upon people living a real witchcraft life, with none of the theatrics you find in TV or movies.

So take this as a caveat. If you are new to, or interested in witchcraft, there will be people who don’t like it. Some friends who you might have thought were open minded might surprise you by their reactions. There is a good chance you will lose a friend or two. Hopefully, this won’t happen to you, but I think it’s best to be prepared for the possibility.

I wish you the best.

Blessings!

Posted in Depression, Paganism, Wicca, witchcraft

Never mind – A Witch Freaks Out 

So yesterday’s post might have had more to do with frustration, anxiety, and my immune system crapping out on me with another arthritic flare-up. It was one of those posts you write, then sit on a day or two, reflecting on your feelings, then usually end up deleting. Ugh!

Thanks to all the people who DM’ed me on Twitter! I was amazed at that, and yes, you talked me down off the roof. Blessings to you guys.

I bare my soul here, and on my witchcraft Twitter & Google+ accounts. Honestly, I really think I would have to hold back if I simply used my mundane accounts. As many pointed out to me, this is a form of therapy, as well as exchanging ideas with like-minded people.

And (this really was a valuable nugget someone brought up) this is not leading two lives. Rather, it is about sharing an interest, a lifestyle, with those that understand and can relate. If I posted witchcraft related stuff on my mundane social media accounts, it would largely fall on deaf ears. Here, and on my other Craft accounts, I have a community of fellow Pagans, witches, and those who may just simply be interested in those topics.

I may get frustrated with my path. I may have periods of disinterest or inactivity. But I think I would miss it dearly if I walked away from Wicca. Honestly, it’s tough being on a self starter spiritual path. Mainstream religious people have entire congregations to give them support. Most of us do not, which can make it difficult to stay the path every single day.

So disregard my last post. I was going to take it down, but I think it can help others see that even someone who has been on this path for over a decade can freak out about it every so often.

So I beg your indulgence, and appreciate you being here. And again, thanks to those that contacted me. It was so kind of you, and you led me to the light!

Peace, and Blessed Be.

Posted in Depression, Everyday Life, Paganism, Uncategorized, witchcraft

Wellness & Witchcraft Life

mind-body-spiritThis is a companion piece to my last post, with a plan of action to bring more joy and happiness into my life. Hope it helps others too!

Depression and anxiety are unfortunate companions to a lot of us. The causes are many, and often the causes can’t be pinpointed at all. Nonetheless, anyone who suffers from these, and other similar mental health issues knows the pain and exhaustion that results from the struggles.

Frankly, I’ve surprised myself as to how open I’ve been about my personal struggles with depression and anxiety. There is no doubt that they have changed the course of my life, generally not in a good way. I can’t help thinking that if the internet had existed when I first experienced life altering anxiety, I might have found the strength to overcome it, or at least control it better than I did. When we write about it and chat about it online, it gives us a certain degree of empowerment to battle the disease.

Becoming a Wiccan helped me with my depression by giving me that aforementioned empowerment in my life. While it taught me that I could have a degree of control over my life through ritual and magick, it also gave me the God and Goddess. Through high school, I followed my parents’ Judea/Christian religion. It was fine, but in the end, I never could really connect with that God. But becoming a Wiccan in my early 40’s gave me deities that seemed alive. They offered guidance with love, joy, sorrow, life, death, enjoyment of the home and hearth. I was guided through them to learn about herbs, essential oils, gardening, and loving myself. These deities didn’t require me to obey them, nor did judge those who didn’t believe in them. They were simply there, and offered hope.

Unfortunately, I’ve managed to find a downside of being a witch in regard to depression and anxiety. Those who practice Wicca or witchcraft know that these paths take up a good deal of our time. Most mainstream religious folk tend to go to church once a week at the most, and that’s about it. We witches have altars to attend and rituals to prepare and perform. We perform magick through spells, which requires finding or writing the spell, obtaining or gathering all the needed elements of the spell, then taking the time to do the actual spell work.

Because we don’t have a house of worship, witches tend to spend a lot of time reading the writings of other witches, and communicating through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and many other social media outlets. Because we don’t have a central religious text, we also spend a lot of time educating ourselves by reading books, websites, and blog posts.

All of this takes time away from other aspects of life. Activities such as socializing, spending time with family and friends, exercising, and even just being outside suffer. Additionally, there is the work of keeping your witchcraft path under wraps, if you feel that is necessary or imperative. That, in itself, is hard work.

The result is that we insulate ourselves to a degree, and that can ignite depression and other mental difficulties. I’ve come to realize that the scales have tipped too far toward spending time on witchcraft activities, compared to taking care of my mundane needs. I’ve spent a lot of summers over the past 13 years behind my desktop, or doing rituals and spells, rather than being outside. And we all know the psychological benefits of getting outside in nature, exercising, and freeing up our minds.

So I’ve decided to work at balancing that scale. My first step has been running and cycling. We have had some ridiculously warm February weather, and I’ve been able to get out and cycle and run quite a bit. This, in itself, has improved my mental health.

My wife and I are starting to look for activities that take us out and about. Spring and summer offer lots of outdoor opportunities, all of which we’ve basically ignored. There are activities that can be part of a magickal experience, such as visiting botanical gardens, exploring cemeteries, and spending time in wooded areas. I hope to devote more time to gardening, which has been often left in my wife’s hands. I’m sure she would appreciate the help.

I guess I’m just realizing that living a magickal life doesn’t have to mean sitting behind a screen, in front of an altar, or doing spells or meditating in a darkened room. Of course this has always been the case, as many witches would be quick to tell me, but sometimes I just need to be hit over the head with a ton of bricks…

Life is all about balance. My balance has been off for some time, and I hope taking this advice to myself will help restore that balance.

Thank you for reading! I’m sure many of you have thoughts on this, and have been able to find your balance. I’d love to hear from you!

Blessed Be!

Posted in Paganism, Wicca

Wicca 24/7 So Far, So Good!

img_1703As I wrote about a while back, I am doing everything I can to fully immerse myself in my Wiccan path, doing my best to completely let go of ego, and follow the God and Goddess. Part of that has been forsaking my mundane social media accounts, and concentrating only on the one’s connected to witchcraft. I thought I’d do a short little update on this last day of 2016.

My Wiccan Twitter account was already my go-to Twitter acct. I love my Barefoot Pagan account, and all the people I follow and who follow me. I know there have been lots of instances of negative behavior on Twitter, but I have to say that the witchcraft/Pagan community I’ve managed to cobble together is great. Positive, helpful, interesting, and welcoming. I think because of that, I get followed by a lot of non-Pagan people, who find a warm, welcoming place in my neck of the woods.

Facebook has been interesting. My Wiccan FB account is comprised of probably 90% Pagan/witchcraft friends, pages, and groups. Talk about near total immersion in the witchcraft realm! What I’ve found is that the witchcraft community I’ve found there is extremely friendly. I have had ten times more interaction with my friends there compared to my now defunct mundane account.

A couple of witchcraft community Facebook observations. The witches there love their memes and artwork just as much as every other Craft community to which I’ve ever belonged. I have left a couple of groups because nearly all the posts were art and memes, with not much discussion at all. Most witchcraft groups are very active, and it’s not unusual to see 100+ replies to each post. So far, very little drama except in a empath group, of all things! I left that group.

Also, in the FB groups I’m in, experienced witches are very gracious and helpful to those new to the path. That, my friends, doesn’t happen on all social media, trust me. So I love that about Facebook witches!

I’m also still hanging in there with my Google+ account. It seems there are fewer of us everyday, but there is a tight-knit group hanging on.

All in all, I’ve found this to be a very rewarding experience, this witchcraft immersion. Because of that, it’s easier to continue on my quest. Thanks to all my Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and WordPress friends!

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year

Blessed Be!

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.

 

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

A Wiccan Pledge

img_1879This morning I had to drag my butt out of bed, and I’m sitting here feeling unwell. Through whatever set of circumstances, Christmas, and the few days preceding it have become synonymous with a drinking fest. Apparently, I’ve fully embraced Saturnalia.  But this is payback day. It’s the day I try spend recovering, and consider the option of rehab…

These are also the kind of days I look at my life and think about how I can improve it. Today’s epiphany is not a new one, rather one I’ve had several times, and failed to successfully act upon it. It’s a revelation that is difficult because it involves ego, and we all know how strong ones’ ego can be.

But this morning I had a discussion with my ego, and we came to an agreement. We decided that he was going to take a backseat to my true self, since he’s been driving the bus for over half a century. The ego has been suppressing some character traits for most of my life, and other interests that have developed along the way.

I’ve decided to lose myself in my spirituality. The days of witchcraft being second fiddle to other interests are ending. This is going to begin with all my social media accounts that disguise the fact that I’m a witch. My personal Facebook page will become dormant, and I will attend to my witchcraft page. My ego would have me come out as a witch, blazing with both wands to all my friends and family, but that really serves no purpose to me. Besides, I always feel so much more free to express myself without worry about how my friends and family will take it.

I plan to fully embrace my interests, no matter how strange they may appear to others. I enjoy aspects of a hippie, goth, barefoot, and bohemian lifestyle. That may be an odd mix to some, but I am ceasing to care. I’m crushing any male superiority aspect of my ego. Personally, I found Wicca appealing because it elevates the importance of women. Women give birth, they provide life and nurturing. Women should be worshiped as they were in ancient times.

Most importantly, I am ending any doubt in my mind about the validity of Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism, and the existence of deities. I’ve spent far too much time mentally challenging myself, only to find myself appealing to deity when the chips are down. It’s easy to question when you don’t have a need for the gods and goddesses, but you simply can’t have it both ways. Either they exist or they don’t. From this point forward they exist for me, no questions asked.

This is a total deconstruction of myself and my ego. The person I was yesterday will cease to exist. My remaining years on this planet will be devoted to my spiritual path, and to who I truly am, and what makes me truly happy. It may seem daunting to others, but I think it’s the only path to true joy.

My spiritual path has become the gateway to many of the things I’ve grown to cherish. It has opened my eyes to the hippie and goth within. It has given me the courage to forsake societal convention, and to live a simpler lifestyle without wanting what I don’t have. It’s time to give it my full attention.

Happy holidays & Blessed Be!