Posted in Wicca, Everyday Life, witchcraft

Invigorated Witch!

Guys, I hate it when I don’t blog for days & days. Probably like many others, there are times when I don’t really have anything profound to say (do I ever, really?), and I don’t want to waste your time. Other times I really do have something to say, but I’m just too lazy, or I write until I run out of steam, and it is added to the growing list of drafts.

I’m probably more invigorated about Paganism than I have been in a long, long time. I need to start writing more about that. I find myself inching further and further out of the closet, and posting about Paganism on my mundane Twitter and Facebook accounts. I don’t know if I will ever be ready to be as honest with everyone I know, as I am with you on this blog. A degree of anonymity is empowering.

So hopefully, you will be reading more from me. But today I wanted to touch base with you, and thank you for reading my stuff. I so very much enjoy the interactions we have, and am honored you take the time to read and comment.

Enjoy this sunset photo I took the other day with the cloud shelf!

Blessed Be to you all!

IMG_2779

Posted in Everyday Life, Paganism

On Expressing A Pagan Worldview

1210232015329905-sun_tree_moonI’ve had a few days to reflect upon the election. I’ve read and reread my last post many times, and have spent a lot of time reading posts by other Pagans. The long and short of this post is that I’m going to walk back much of my last post.

For nearly 13 years, I’ve been honing my witchcraft path. I’ve read important books on Pagan & witchcraft history, on Pagan & witchcraft practice, and on various forms of magick and spells. I’ve read plenty of less serious books too, varying from “gothic witchcraft,” “nocturnal witchcraft,” and other variations of the Craft. I’ve read endless articles, websites, blogs, and group posts on many of the same topics. I’ve performed lots of rituals, spells, and magick. This is just part of being a Pagan and a witch in today’s society.

I am, however, increasingly drawn to writings that tie our practices to the earth that we treasure. While some of these articles contain talk of spells and magick, they are not singularly focused on the how-to aspects. They are more of a world-view bent, demonstrating how their spirituality influences how they see the world. Many also show their deep appreciation of nature, and their concerns about the future of our planet, of our environment.

Here’s a for-instance. For a long time, I’ve been a big fan of Alison Leigh Lilly‘s writing. Her writing paints the reader a picture of how she sees the world. I can’t even imagine how long it takes her to craft her posts, but they are beautiful. I am amazed that, at her youthful age, she is able to convey such emotion and power in her writing.

There are many other Pagan writers and bloggers who also manage to guide their readers to their way of seeing the world. Many of these writers have specific areas of concern, such as the environment, human rights, religious rights, separating the religious from the secular in government, Pagan rights, women’s rights, equality under the law, and other social issues often important to the Pagan community.

I mentioned in my last post that I want to spend less time fretting over politics, and that still stands. Frankly, the media often incites the public to more outrage than the political players themselves. And we bite on the hook. It sells papers, magazines, and gets eyes on websites. However, upon reflection, I think it is incumbent upon me, as a Pagan, to express my concerns regarding the how political actions can affect our planet, our religious choices, our personal freedoms and rights, and our environment.

As a male, I was drawn to Paganism partly because of the empowerment it gave to women. Although my wife is well paid, I’ve seen her work next to males who do much less in the corporate workplace, yet are paid bushel baskets more money than she makes. I see old men (well, many of them are my age….) politicians attempt to legislate their religions, dictating what women can and can’t do with their bodies. And shockingly, our next President has admitted to abusing women. How in the world, as a Pagan male, can I not care and speak out on these issues?

So, upon reflection, I can’t bury my head for the next four years, or immerse myself in religious ritual.

The trick is being taken seriously as a Pagan. We can, at times, be our own worst enemy in that regard. Witchy memes are fun, but when that becomes the centerpiece of your public face online, it damages your credibility. Talk of magickal workings being able to accomplish impossible things also interferes with being taken seriously. Back to Alison for a second. Read her writings, and you will see her intertwine her spirituality into her worldview so seamlessly that it comes off as freaking poetic, yet makes strong points.

I’m not sure I can come close to that level of writing, but it’s the direction in which I’d like to move. There are so many wonderful blogs and websites that are strictly witchcraft related, and they are important to our community. Please read them! I hope that I can blend my spiritual outlook into my interests and concerns facing our world, in a fairly turbulent time.

Thank you ever-so-much for reading!

Blessed Be

Posted in Everyday Life, Paganism, Wicca

Paganism: Emerging From The Shadows

D38CA098-26A0-44FC-A82D-075AD46315FFI was inspired to write this post as a sort of reply to Dusty’s comment on my post, “Choosing Witchcraft over the Mundane.” As an aside, I haven’t written here in awhile because I had been writing on this blog. But today, I felt compelled to come here, because I have gravitated back more toward a Wiccan path, albeit pretty darned eclectic, and the “hippie cottage witch” title of the other blog seems like it might narrow my audience a bit. By the way, I don’t think I’m alone in gravitating back toward Wicca. I’m sensing a resurgence in Wicca, where I once saw a movement away from the path. But that’s another post for another day.

Dusty’s comments are something I come across every single day. People who follow some sort of Pagan path, be it Wicca, witchcraft, Druidism, etc., spend a good amount of time juggling mundane life over their spiritual life. In theory, it should be just a part of who we are, but often we have to keep the spiritual life in the shadows.

Let me say I am not completely out of the closet. I’m more emboldened than I was 12 years ago, but Wicca has only been mentioned to friends once, and it distanced a few friends, and cost one friendship. Great friendship, huh? But I have “Pagan” splashed all over my social media, so basically I’m letting people use their imaginations past that.

For awhile, I tried having a separate Wiccan Facebook account, and moving away from my long time mundane account. It worked for awhile, but balance is important, and I found that limiting myself to only witchcraft friends is a bit overpowering and sometimes frustrating. I do still have that account, and visit it upon occasion, but I don’t think I could live there.

Pagans can’t live in a vacuum. We have to live amongst our non-magical, non-earthen fellow humans. I think it’s getting easier to be a Pagan than it was over a decade ago. Paganism and Wicca, while not completely mainstream, have been discussed and written about enough, that people are more familiar with it. We still have our detractors, perhaps enemies, especially among the religious right.

We also fight a battle against mockery. People will suspend their disbelief and believe that Jesus was born of a virgin mother, was the son of God, and that all the stuff in bible happened. A wafer serves as the body of Christ, wine serves as his blood. Whether they are apt to admit it, that’s magical stuff. Most of what any religion serves up is unprovable, and requires belief over logic. While aspects of Pagan paths require that also, many of our beliefs and practices are earth based as opposed to being based strictly upon the supernatural.

Pagans live for the here and now. We are not basing our lives upon death, expecting better things on “the other side.” Most of us don’t look to a supernatural being to grant wishes, nor do we constantly try to prove our worth to that being. In reality, our path is more logical than any path based upon the worship of a supernatural being.

It’s taken me years to get to this mindset. I also don’t have the burden that younger people do, having to worry about what employers, family members, parents, friends, and social contacts might think about Paganism. I understand the need for a shadow spiritual life in many of those instances. Here’s hoping that one day, there will be no need for that.

Thanks for reading, and Blessed Be!

 

Posted in Paganism, Wicca

On Wiccan Sabbats

wheelofyearOne of the people who I follow on Twitter posed a question this morning that I thought required more space than 140 characters. The question was “what is your favorite Sabbat, and why?” For those not sure, a Sabbat is a major holidays in the Pagan or Wiccan paths. They are generally based upon seasonal changes and/or earth rotation. Here is a good concise description of each one.

It’s a tough question. I find positive aspects about each one, and my favorite Sabbat has changed often. When I first came to Paganism, Yule was my favorite, because it was the closest one associated with Christmas, which used to be my favorite holiday. Eventually, as my path took a goth turn, Samhain was my favorite. As the hippie in me kicked back in, I found Ostara to be my favorite, with the promise of spring.

While I love spring and summer, that time of year carries some requirement for outdoor fun and family/friend parties.  For me, Memorial Day, and especially the Fourth of July, usher in almost impossible expectations of celebrations. As our family has dwindled, along with the number of friends, so have our opportunities for celebrations, the likes you see peddled by advertisers on TV. While we have grandchildren, some are out-of-town, and time is divided with all the sets of grandparents that come with divorced families.

Yule has much the same level, perhaps even greater levels of expectations. Our family Yule/Christmas celebrations have become a huge effort on everyone’s part to get together. Thanksgiving is completely fractured. Too many dinners, too little time and stomach room.

As a result of all this, I would have to say that Mabon is my favorite Sabbat, followed by Samhain. Mabon signals a slower time of year, featuring a couple of months without holiday demands. The weather calms down, and offers some really comfortable temps before winter sets in. Samhain is simply a fun, goth holiday.

Reading over this, I guess I sound like a holiday Scrooge. The fractured time with what family is left, combined with fewer friends have dimmed the celebratory aspect of holidays, to be sure. We struggled mightily with that for years, but have now learned to lower our expectations, and just be happy with what comes.

I don’t do lavish celebrations or rituals for any of the Sabbats. I used to, but with my transition to a more relaxed, cottage witchcraft path, small celebrations or rituals are the rule of the day. I do, however, stay mindful of the basis of the Sabbats. It can be easy to get caught up in celebrating, but remembering why these Sabbats exist is really the most important factor.

Perhaps a deeper psychological explanation than the Twitter question required, but there you have it.

Blessed Be!

 

Posted in Depression, Everyday Life, Paganism

Widening Horizons

UnknownI love my Pagan and Wiccan life. I love communicating with all the Pagans, Wiccans, witches, druids, and occultists on my social media sites. We have a good time comparing and contrasting the way we live our paths on a daily basis. I do not have anything to sell, or anything to promote on my Twitter and Google Plus, or this blog. I’m simply here, and on those sites to talk to others, connect with other people who share the same interests, get some news, and learn interesting things about other people, and subjects that I also find interesting.

Like any other fairly well-rounded person, I like talking about many subjects, not only those related to Paganism. I’ve found kinship online through some of the discussions of depression and anxiety. There are a lot of us out there who unfortunately share those maladies. I used to talk about politics more, but I find that often leads me back to depression, so I have been keeping my distance from that arena.

But I also have interests in science, nature, hippies, goths, ghosts, vampires, things that go bump in the night, social media, computer & internet related stuff (on a fairly simplistic level), herbs and essential oils, simple living, making my own cleaning and beauty products, the environment, home decor, decluttering, television, old movies, horror movies, nostalgia, baseball, my current celebrity crushes (much to my wife’s eye rolling) and other various topics.

At times, I feel like I’ve narrowed my focus on social media a bit too much. While I know it will always be tipped toward Pagan topics, it would be nice to post something about an off-Pagan-topic, and not have it sit there like a bump on a log. Believe it or not, there are times that I just get tired of talking about Pagan stuff. What I don’t want to do is flame-out on Pagan overload, and walk away for stretches of time. Balance, balance, balance!

So here’s my plan. On Twitter, I’m going to change my name back to my Twitter moniker, “Barefoot Pagan.” Both Patchouli Sky and Patchouli Autumn are Craft names. Barefoot Pagan is a broader in scope, perhaps less polarizing to the non-Pagan community. I’m coming back to this blog, “Barefoot Pagan Life” because I feel it lends itself to a broader array of topics. Basically, how I see and live life as a Pagan. And we Pagans do live in a world where we experience the same stuff as non-Pagans.

Google Plus is an interesting contrast. I think that it is much more niche oriented than Twitter. It is more topic centered, so when you find a group of people who share your primary interest, you have a smaller, more intimate community with which to communicate. It is way less populated than Twitter, so one tends to stay within the community in which you fit the best. But I will try to branch out as much as possible.

Right behind my family, Paganism & Wicca have been the most important things in my life for the past 12+ years, and it will continue to be that. But like everyone else, I do have other happenings and interests, and I’d like to talk about that stuff from time to time.

Thanks for reading, and as always,

Blessed Be!

Posted in Paganism, Wicca

Choosing Witchcraft Over the Mundane

IMG_0904Recently, I began dismantling my social media life. Not my witchcraft social media life, but my “real life” social media life. I’ve juggled my “real life” and my “witchcraft life” for a long time, and frankly, I’ve spent too much time doing so.

The first casualty was Facebook. I still am on Facebook, but I’ve stopped following most all my “friends,” and only have a core of about 10 people who make it through the filter. I have, however, stopped posting altogether. I got tired of posting stuff that was currently topical, and having no responses at all. But post a picture of the cat, and people are falling all over themselves to “like” or comment. At this point I’m mostly using it as a news aggregator, a portal for witchcraft pages and groups, and seeing family posts. I realize that if people I know stumble on Pagan or Craft groups to which I belong, they will see my name, but I’ve completely stopped caring about that.

Yesterday’s social media casualty was my mundane Twitter account. Not my Craft Twitter, but my personal one. I kind of tried to morph my personal Twitter into my Craft Twitter, but I found myself so hesitant to post about witchcraft and other personal topics, it really handcuffed my posts. My witchcraft Twitter is actually more representative of who I am than my “personal” Twitter account. So instead of trying to maintain both, I opted for @barefootpagan.

I also have my Google+ account, a Flipboard account, and a few other minor accounts. Those are all Wiccan related.

Looking at this situation objectively is proves to be eye-opening. My life is a witchcraft life. For the longest time, I thought there were two aspects to my psyche, but there is no longer a dividing line. I’m simply a witch. It’s taken me 12 years to get to this realization, but there it is.

My witchcraft social media is my absolute freaking lifeline. I’ve mentioned a lot on Twitter about my depression, and communicating with other people who share my interests help keep me on an even keel. The positive posts from Pagans, witches, Wiccans, and others who are sensitive to these issues prove to be personally empowering and encouraging.

The question becomes this: Am I living in a fantasy land? Is it strange that I have limited interest in communicating with my non-witchcraft friends, and prefer communicating with people I’ve never personally met? Perhaps, but there’s real cerebral value in opening oneself up to others who totally get you.

There are some actions I need to take on a social level. I’ve never attended a designated Pagan event. This summer, I hope to find a few that I can attend to get my feet wet. I believe my wife will be open to it, as she has lots of fun in visiting all the Craft and New Age shops we encounter on vacations. The other day, she asked if she could have a particular stone to take to work to give her empowerment. She’ll end up Pagan yet…

I love being a Pagan and a witch. I’ve enjoyed it since 2004. There have been set-backs, friends lost, times of doubt, and some residual loneliness, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.

I would be absolutely more than interested in how other Pagans, witches, and Wiccans deal with all this! Do you feel you have two separate lives, or do you keep your witchcraft close to the vest? Or do you feel empowered or brave enough to let your Pagan flag fly? Has your path caused a chasm between you and your non-Pagan friends? How important is your Pagan social media to you? If you are so moved, please leave a comment. You might help me and others with your thoughts.

Thanks for reading, and Blessed Be!