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 181 Days of Horror Films, Uncategorized

Horror Movie Marathon Update

An update on my 181 Days of Horror Movies quest.

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May 6th – The Unwanted (2014) (Netflix) – Well, this was an unusual horror movie. It was billed as a vampire movie, but I didn’t really see any vampirism in the film. One of the main characters alluded to “her kind,” but it seemed more to be about people into blood play. There is a definite lesbian aspect to the movie, and one might even think it was incestuous. There were angry comments on the Netflix website, by people who thought the film should be listed in gay/lesbian films, not horror. William Katt channels Bruce Dern in this film. I told my wife that I wished I could talk to the writer, so they could explain the film to me. An interesting film, but I wouldn’t watch it again.

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May 7th – Wynonna Earp (2016) (Netflix) – This is a series that ran/is running on SyFy channel. I thought it would be hokey, but it is actually very watchable. Wynonna Earp is the great granddaughter of Wyatt Earp, and she slays demons, who were people originally killed by Wyatt Earp. The characters are likable, the special effects are decent, and the plots are entertaining. This is a Canadian series.

I know TV series aren’t exactly movies, but I figure if I watch hours and hours of a series, I’m going to count it as a film!

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May 8th – The Swarm  (1978) (TCM) – I’m in the middle of this show as I write this. This is an awful movie from Irwin Allen, who gave us “The Towering Inferno” and many other disaster movies. This is about killer bees, and it has a who’s who of stars from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s. This was one of Michael Caine’s “paycheck” movies, that he did only for the $$. Cult horror from the 50’s and 60’s might be compared to this, but they are Academy Award winning films compared to this goofy stuff. Henry Fonda couldn’t even class this one up. Thumbs down.

Thanks for reading and dark blessings to you!

*All art found on Google

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 181 Days of Horror Films

181 Day Horror Movie Marathon

fhd996scr_drew_barrymore_002It’s been awhile since I wrote here. I’ve decided to branch out in what I cover here. That way I’ll have more opportunity to post, which hopefully will be a good thing.

For the past few years, I have had a Halloween/Samhain ritual of watching at least 1 horror movie every day in October. It was fun, as I was able to revisit old favorites, and unearth (slight pun intended) new finds. If you enjoy the horror film genre, you are surely aware that there are tons from which to choose, and lots of stinkers out there. So it’s an adventure just navigating all the choices.

I tend to choose atmospheric horror movies over gore. I’m not a big fan of stuff like “Saw” or slasher type films. Love the original “Halloween,” but things got bloodier from there. I was happy when movies like “The Ring” and “The Sixth Sense” caught on so well.

I’m also partial to classsic B horror films that you can find on TCM. Also like vampire, witchcraft, supernatural, satanic, and hauntings films. I’m open to most stuff, just not people getting cut in half or that kind of thing.

I found myself watching a couple of horror movies a few days ago. It was then that I got the bright idea of starting my quest in May. Last year I began on September 1st. So I looked it up, and there are 181 days between May 4th and October 31st inclusive. That’s 25 weeks & 6 days.

So my quest is to watch at least one horror film every day for 181 days. Obviously, I will miss a day or so here, but I will make up for it by having days in which I watch multiple films. I will post these under the category of 181 Days of Horror Films. The posts will be relatively short. I’m looking forward to the challenge, and I hope you get a kick out of it too. Please feel free to post any thoughts about the movies I watch! I will also list what network or streaming service on which I watched them.

Catching up on what I’ve watched so far:

May 4th

The Disappointments Room (2016) – (Netflix) So-so, mildly entertaining, a total vehicle for Kate Beckinsale. Without her, it wouldn’t have held up at all. I got the feeling there was more to the movie that was cut out due to time constraints.

Scream (1996) – (Netflix) – An old favorite, and I’m fairly certain you’ve seen it.

May 5th

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House (2016) (Netflix) This was a Netflix Production. It is an artsy, stylistic Gothic horror film by Anthony Perkins’ son Oz. Small cast, well acted. If you are looking for huge scares or conventional horror, this is not the film for you.

Salem – (2014) (Netflix) I am making my way through this series about witchcraft. Just an added bonus. I can take this in small doses.

So that catches you up. I’m watching a weird one right now, and I’ll post about it later. Thanks for reading!

Blessings.

 

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