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The Race – by Terry Lynn Pellegrini

In honor of Halloween, I have opted to re-post a narrative poem I wrote in 2017. The poem itself is a bit darker than I usually write, but it fits right the mood for the season. I hope you enjoy “The Race”.

The Race: Ancient plate showing Hecate with one of her hounds

THE RACE

From the crossroads I run
Bare feet striking hard packed dirt,
Jarred bones, ragged breath, arteries pumping.
I crash through the waist high weeds at the roadside heedless of the stinging of the nettles, the thorns stabbing my legs.
They follow.
Fetid breath upon my heels, bone white canines dripping.
Watching me with eyes made luminescent by the moonlight.
Terror. They are terror.

I race, away, away, I must escape. No rest, not yet, never again.
They pursue, closer, ever closer.
Their growls and barks echoing in my ears, competing with the sound of my frantic
heart, ragged breath, anguished sobs.
A sound, unexpected, sharp, then the pain.
I feel her scourge upon my back, punishment deserved, punishment meted.
The blood excites them, spurs them on.

I fall.
Down on all fours, then up.
Begging the Gods to aid me, to release me from my torture, from my lies.
A sound of gold changing hands, of delight, echoing through the trees.
No aid for the accused, no quarter for the wicked.
They are nearer now, the pack, these Hounds of Hell.
Racing forward, snarling, hunger evident. Their prize. My reward.
A deal gone bad, betrayal, murder, no regrets, evil embraced.

Still I race, legs moving, long past numb.
Head pounding, lungs bursting, my sweat dripping into bloodshot eyes.
I feel them. Nips at my heels, salty saliva flung into wounds by dripping muzzles.
A misstep, a stumble. I fall, finished.
I will run no more. Cannot. I am done.
They are upon me, tearing, gnashing, ripping, feasting.
With my last breath I hear Her laugh.
Justice has been served.

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Ancestral Altars – Creating Space for the Dead

As Samhain approaches and the veil thins we often become introspective.  We muse on the things we have accomplished in the past year, and ponder what we wish to accomplish in the next.  We think of the turning of the Wheel of the Year, the endless cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. Our minds contemplate those that have passed before us.  This is the time of year when our ancestors call to us. This is the time for building our ancestral altars and creating space for the dead. A sacred place, a portal, where we can communicate and call to our ancestors, both of the blood and of the heart.

Ancestral altars are a part of many different cultures and religions around the world. Many homes in both the Japanese and Chinese cultures have altars for their ancestors that are used every day.  In ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, there were many different forms of honoring the dead and the ancestors. However, one of the most well-known celebrations for the ancestors is Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. Celebrated from November 1st through November 2nd, those of Mexican descent erect ancestor altars and visit the graves of their loved ones to celebrate both life and death. 

Ancestral Altars - a gravesite in Mexico decorated for Dia de los Muertos
A gravesite in Mexico prepared for Dia de los Muertos

Ancestors of the Blood and of the Heart

Earlier in this blog I mentioned honoring your ancestors by blood and of the heart.  Those by blood are of course your biological ancestors, those directly related to you through your parents.  Ancestors by heart are those individual who have passed on in which we feel a spiritual or personal connection with.  These ancestors may include those of a different culture or spirituality that you connect with. Perhaps they were your favorite neighbor, a teacher or instructor, or your best friend from high school. Our ancestors of the heart are those that have had an impact on our lives, those we hold dear to us regardless of familial relationships. They deserve, and need, to be honored as well.

Creating Your Ancestral Altars

An ancestor altar may be constructed just about anywhere. It may be used just for the Samhain Sabbat or left up all year. Be sure to create the altar on a flat surface such as a table, fireplace mantel or hearth, a dresser, ora side table.  Some of the items you may wish to place on your altar are as follows:

  • Altar cloth – any color but traditionally black
  • Pictures of your Ancestors – these can be photos or other representations
  • Candles – I prefer black or purple but the colors are up to you.
  • A chalice with wine or water
  • An offering bowl or plate
  • Incense burner and incense
  • Favorite items of your ancestors – These can be articles of clothing, toys, their favorite drinks or foods.

Let your creative juices flow when setting up your altar. You may include flowers and special tokens from passed relatives. A wish/prayer box to send messages to your ancestors is great addition. You may wish to add scrying mirrors, crystal balls and other divination tools can be included as well. The only limits are your imagination and needs of your ancestors. 

Using Your Ancestral Altar

Use your ancestor altar to commune with the ancestors, to give them offerings of thanks for all they have done, for you and your family. You can sit before your altar with your family and friends and tell stories about those that have passed before you, their deeds, adventures, as well as misadventures. Light the candles and incense and then meditate or scry before the altar. This communion is when you may ask your ancestors for guidance and insight. But above all, use your altar to remember, to keep the memories of those that have gone before you alive and well.

For me, taking the time to sit, commune, and honor our ancestors has greatly improved my well-being and my Craft. I have been given information from my ancestors that I could have never learned in books. Many warnings have been expressed, ethereal pats on the back given, and admonishments sent. Once you have stood in front of your altar, given your offerings and then felt the reciprocal love wash over you, you will never be without an ancestor altar in your home.

I encourage you to go ahead, build your altar, light your incense and candles. Commune and honor your ancestors this Samhain Eve and know that you and they are interconnected, intertwined, and forever a family.  Blessed Be. 

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Creating a Devotional Practice

Rubbing her sleepy eyes, she yawns and then hits the “off” button on her alarm. Raising her arms above her head she stretches, trying to shake off the last of the sleepiness. Turning, she places her feet upon the floor and slowly rises. She grabs her robe from the side chair, slips it on, and with soft steps moves towards her bedroom altar. She pauses, breathes deeply, then lights the candle placed on a crystal plate. Another deep breath and she begins to recite her morning litany, the beginning of her daily devotional practice.

Devotional, as defined by the Miriam Webster dictionary is “a short worship service”. The Free Dictionary further defines it as “relating to worship; “a devotional exercise.” While most Wiccans have no problem relating to worship, some Witches may get stuck with this word. The act of worship itself is defined as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” Perhaps you don’t work with deity but instead invoke a Universal One, Nature, or power. If so, you may still wish to worship – express reverence to that energy. A devotional practice does this.

I am often asked about daily devotional practice by my students and community. While sometimes a controversial subject because of its Abrahamic religious undertones, I find it an important one. I have touched on this subject in previous blogs, but have never gone into much detail. However, before we delve into the makings of a devotional practice, we must first understand the “why” of doing so.

The Importance of a Daily Devotional Practice

By performing a daily devotional, we are giving thanks, reverence, and energy towards our chosen Deity or Power. We are sharing with them, speaking words of praise, and using the time to gain a closer relationship with them/it. This act of worship and reverence, to me, is crucial for our Craft and our spiritual well-being.

Another plus of a daily devotional practice is allowing ourselves to ground and center, rooting ourselves in the here and now. Grounding and centering only takes a few moments but it can change the entire course of your day. When done first thing in the morning, at the beginning of our devotionals, we are giving ourselves a head start towards a mindful, purposeful day, rooted in serenity and peace. Done at the time of evening devotionals, we are able to put aside the craziness of our day and reconnect with the Earth, the elements and the great web of creation and life.

The second aspect of a devotional is an offering to deity or our higher power. Whether it be a poem, a thank you, a litany, or a prayer, each time we perform our daily devotional, we bring ourselves closer to them. This aids us in all of our workings. When we are closer spiritually to those we choose to honor, our rituals, our spells, and our daily lives are enriched.

Devotional Practice - My current altar honoring Hekate where I do my devotionals to her.
My altar honoring Hekate. I do both devotional and other workings here.

Beginning Your Practice

As we’ve discussed, a daily devotional practice can enrich your life, your connections with deity, and improve your personal practice. But how do you begin?

  • Create a dedicated space for devotionals.: A shelf, tabletop, or even a flat stone in the yard can be set aside for your daily practice. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Make sure that there is enough room for things you may wish to incorporate into your daily ritual.
  • Cleanse and dedicate the space.: Using your usual methods, cleanse the area and all items you will place upon it. Then dedicate this space and the objects to the deity or power you choose to honor in your devotionals.
  • Decide on a time to do your devotionals.: Mornings or afternoons are fine, (or both). Just try and keep the times as consistent as possible. Currently, I do both a morning and an evening devotional. The morning is more of a connection with deity and the All and the evening is for thanks and praise for a wonderful day. You may have to work with it a little to see what feels right to you.

Now that you have the place and time decided upon you can begin to perform your devotional. Below is a suggested format for a daily practice. This is just a guideline. Take what works for you and add or subtract to customize your own personal working.

Simple Guideline for a Daily Devotional

  • Ground and Center: Using your usual methods, ground and center yourself. You may also wish to add in a simple smudging of yourself and your area if this is your tradition.
  • Greetings and salutations: Begin your devotional with words of greeting. A simple “good morning” can suffice or you can do elaborate hand gestures, clap, bow, or stomp your foot to “awaken” and signal the start to your devotions.
  • Statements of Purpose: You may also wish to add in a statement of purpose as to why and to whom you are performing your devotional. Something as simple as ” I give greetings to (insert deity) on this beautiful morning. I ask that you look upon me as I start my new day.”
  • Add in elements that honor your chosen Deity/Powers: Lighting a candle in their honor, chanting, singing, or offering a litany to the day are just some of the elements you can add to your practice. Read a poem, place flowers on the altar, or give offerings for a bountiful day. Do whatever feels right to you.
  • Closing statement: When you have completed your devotional, be sure to acknowledge and thank the powers for their presence. Just a simple, “Thank you and farewell.”, may suffice. Do what feels right an natural to you.

A devotional practice does not have to take a great deal of time. It may only take 5 minutes, or it could take an hour – depending on your personal preference. The important thing is the connection, the focus and intention that we create and then share with our deities/powers and to ourselves.

Speaking from personal experience, there is no better way to start (and/or) the day than by giving thanks and connecting with Deity and the Universe around me. It’s lifted my spirits on gloomy days and downright saved my sanity on bad ones. The understanding of, and relationship I have achieved with my chosen Goddess has enhanced my personal Craft ten-fold.

May your own daily devotional practice bring you as much joy and spiritual connection and awareness as mine has.

Blessed Be!

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Darkest Night – A Poem for Hekate

I am feeling a bit under the weather today. Allergies are kicking my butt and I feel as if my head is in a vise. So, instead of trying to fight through all of the crap in my head, I thought I would re-share an old post, Darkest Night. I wrote this several years ago as an offering to Hekate at our groups Hekate’s Feast night. However, its content is just as relevant today as it was then.

Once again we enter the season of contemplation and quiet as the wheel of the year turns to Mabon. This turn ushers in the beginning of the darkest time of the year. And in this dark, we call upon the Goddesses whose realms reside in the shadows. We turn to them in the darkest hours of the night, during the darkest times of our souls. It seems fitting that this small offering be shared once again,

Darkest Night – A Poem for Hekate

By Terry Lynn Pellegrini – (Copyright 2016)

In the darkest of nights, She lights my way. Phosphorous, illuminating, brilliant one. Torches held high, I follow. Through my despair, through my apprehension, She leads me to knowledge. She leads me to joy. And through my joy, She shows me life and what lies beyond.

Her torches burn through the forgotten fields of my soul. Scorching that which has died, lain fallow, neglected. Blackened earth and ash nourish the slumbering seeds of inspiration, Pushing visions through the parched earth towards the moonlit sky. I feel Her pull, Her presence quenching my thirst, slaking my hunger.

With Her keys, She unlocks for me the mysteries, Invites me through the door and into the welcoming darkness I have forgotten. Her hounds, black, menacing, ever at my side.  Guarding my steps, teeth bared, haunches taut. Ever ready to protect as well as devour. And they watch, as fears are defeated and yearnings are satiated.

And when I stand at the crossroads of my life, She comes. Lighting the path of my existence, showing me the path to my destiny, Gifting me with the secrets of life, death, and beyond. And I rejoice in the knowing of Her. Giving freely of my heart, my devotion, my pain, and my joy.

Hekate Soteria. Hekate Phosphorous. She of the three faces. Guardian of the Crossroads. She who stands as my Mother, my sister, my Goddess. My teacher, my mentor and my muse. Hekate. May I live a thousand years in your service. May you be forever in my heart, my mind and my soul. Hail Hekate!

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Art as Magick (No Talent Required)

During the last week I have been in a creative groove. Writing, crocheting, and then, painting. Now I’m not what any one could conceive of as a true “artist” but then again, I don’t really care. I don’t create for anyone else but me. And when I do create it is with but one purpose. I use my art as magick.

I can hear the skeptics already. “I’m not artistic.” “But I can’t even draw a straight line let alone paint.” I have no talent at all.” No worries and no excuses. Neither am I. But art as magick isn’t all about talent and how fabulous it is going to look when you are done. It is about connection with spirit, connecting with the forces all around you. It is about fun and letting our visions find form. Magickal art is, well, magick first and foremost. Aesthetics are secondary.

The most significant difference between art for art’s sake and art as magick is the intention, the focus behind it. Before I begin a project I make a conscious decision on the subject of my creation. Will I be using the object in ritual? As a focal point for contemplation and meditation? Perhaps I am creating something that will make my home more attractive while infusing it with peace and love. Take my latest two projects for example. I painted four separate pieces for my book on the Elements. The other is several crochet pillow covers for my home. Each of these has a different feel, and are for a very different purpose. Yet each is filled with intention and magick.

AIR - by Terry Lynn Pellegrini
“AIR” by Terry Lynn Pellegrini

Art as Magick – Making Intuitive Choices

Once I’ve decided on how my art shall be used, I gather my supplies. No matter the medium, be it needlework, sculpting, drawing, or painting, as you choose your supplies focus on your goal. You may even wish to infuse your paints, clay, or yarn with the energy you wish to create, making magick even before you even begin your work. Place your hands over your supplies and envision them filling with the energies required for the task at hand. Blowing on them with your breathe- giving them your energy – also connects you with your chosen medium. Then, each brush stroke, each stitch, each line drawn is infused with focus, with purpose, with energy and magick.

Using your intuition, choose the colors, the style, the shape of your creation. Focus on your magickal end result. What colors feel right for a painting to be used in meditation? Blue? Green? Your favorite aunt has requested your assistance in healing her thyroid issues. Knitting a scarf by choosing a soft yarn in a healing color would be perfect for that goal. Allow you goal to shape itself in your mind then, reach for that paint brush, those knitting needles, that clay, and begin.

Art as Magick - An owl sitting on a log, a rose at its side
One of my creations. An Owl with a rose – Love and Wisdom

Using Your Magickal Art

Once you’ve finished your creation, it’s time to put it to good use. Hang your new painting in your meditation space where you will be able to see it often. Place a warm, peace infused afghan over your husband’s chair providing him with that energy each time he drapes it over his lap. Your new sculpture (however lop-sided or squishy – you should see mine!) will look perfect on the mantle, especially since it was created to act as a guardian for your home.

As you place each piece in its new location, speak to it, remind it of what it was designed for. Touch it, then the wall, the mantle or shelf it is being placed on and let it know that this is now “home”. By doing so you are creating an additional magickal bond with the item, guiding it towards its purpose. Magick is alive people, and the things we create with it are our
responsibility. Make sure each item knows what it was designed for and what your expectations are.

All that is left to do is enjoy your art! Share your creations with friends and family. Show them off, no matter the level of artistic talent you may have. Share the joy of making magick, of creating art, and changing the world for the better one “masterpiece” at a time. May you find joy in those things your heart, mind, and hands fashion.

Blessed Be!

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Discovering Your Magickal Niche

When we are fledgling witches and magicians we tend to start out on our path trying everything. Kitchen Witchery, Spellcasting, Elemental work, Alchemy, Herbalism. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some of these paths never resonate and others make our soul sing. In time we may decide that we want to specialize, gain mastery (comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment), or become an adept (skilled, expert, highly proficient), at one facet of our magickal repertoire. You feel you have grown as far as you can with your old approach to magick. Now you are being called towards discovering your magickal niche.

Before we move on, let me say that not everyone wants or needs to find a magickal niche, a magickal specialty. You may not want to become an adept or master just one style, and that’s okay. We all need to do what works best for us. I love being an Eclectic Witch, but I am also adept at Energy work and Spellcasting. Do you have to be to be an Adept or Master to feel validated as a Witch or magickal practitioner? Hell no! In witchcraft we do what feels right to us – period. There is no need for fancy titles or labels. However, some of us yearn to push ourselves further, hone and mold our craft to a fine point. This is the call to mastery, to adeptness. But first, we need to decide what part of our craft we wish to focus our time and work on.

The Search for Your Magickal Niche

Let’s face it, discovering your magickal niche, your specialty, isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. There are so many fascinating practices out there to delve into. So how do we look for “the one”, the practice that calls us to go deeper, further into its core? Where do we begin our search for our magickal niche?

For me it started with a tingle, a knowing. Many, many, moons ago when I began my Craft, I was like the majority of you. I read, researched, and experimented with many different forms. Yet two things kept pulling me deeper in. Two things which felt good, right, and dang it, I was good at them. Energy work – directing, molding and transforming it in ritual, spells and healing work- and Spellcasting. No matter what other type of magick or work I went on to learn, they kept calling me back.

How about you? Do you have a part of your practice or Craft that keeps calling to you? Perhaps it is stones and crystals that you are consistently working with. Or perhaps herbs and plants tend to have your focus. Are you always casting spells with kitchen tools and stirring your food with specific intentions in mind? Then perhaps Kitchen Witchery is your niche.

Take a few moments, right now, to write down what you mostly work on and with when you are doing magick. What is always on your mind when you begin to formulate a ritual, a spell, or casting? Allow your hand to just write. Let the words flow. Then look at what you’ve written. Was it one thing? Two or more? If more than one, meditate on them for a few moments. Which dominates your thoughts? This path, this thought, is your niche, your focus, your one “thing”.

Finding Your Magickal Niche  - the Magician from the Rider Waite Tarot Deck
The epitome of Mastery and Adeptness – The Magician card.

Working With Your Niche

Now comes the fun part, working with your new-found niche. Okay, it is also the hard part. Mastery and adeptness is work – lots of it. It is study, research, and practice, practice, practice. You will find yourself learning and re-learning your Craft, adding and subtracting techniques and changing how you’ve always done things. In a sense, mastery and adeptness is about reinventing yourself, your Craft, and your life. You will be seeing everything with a new set of eyes, the eyes of the knowing, of the Master.

Each and every day you will be doing something to strengthen your skills, even if it is just a few minutes at a time. You will flex your magickal muscles, grab your notebooks and the latest volume filled with words of wisdom, and break out the magickal tools. Spells, castings, and rituals- oh, my. Your life becomes magick, YOU become the magick.

Then comes the day when you feel that you’ve finally reached “it”. Mastery of your given path. But no resting on your laurels when there is Adepthood waiting in the wings. So you work some more, maybe for years until not only you, but your peers, realize that you have indeed become adept at your magick, your work. Pop the cork, get out the balloons and celebrate your accomplishments.

Adept Witch Conjuring
Picture from Public Domain records

When the Witch becomes the Adept

Once the party is over, guess what? The learning and re-learning begins. Yep, Adepthood comes with a “forever” stamp. You buy it at one price but the actual cost keeps going up over the years. The price of being an adept (or a Master on the way to Adepthood) is that the worth, the end point of your goal keeps changing. New discoveries, new mysteries appear that want to charge us more in time and knowledge. Your goalpost keeps moving, shifting with the times. The work never ends. But do we really want it to?

As I noted earlier, this wasn’t going to be easy. Nor is it a “one and done” operation. Adepthood is a life of purpose, of constant revelations, and a call to duty. Like the college student who has finally received their PhD, there are certain obligations that the Adept must fulfill. The Adept is often called to write, to teach, to share what they have learned with future generations of practitioners. Whether one-on-one or when leading a public ritual, the Adept shares their knowledge willingly, leads by example and helps pave the way for the next new Master or Adept.

The true Adept has wisdom, not just knowledge, for they know they will always have more to learn. They have learned that “truths” are fluid. They understand that what is unseen and unknowable teaches us more than any book can. An Adept wears their new mantle with confidence while striving to not be boastful or act like a “know-it-all.” But, we are all human so don’t expect perfection from them. Just because they’ve reached a level of knowledge that you do not currently possess does not mean they are infallible. Learn from them, grow with them, but always trust your inner light to guide you.

Becoming a Master or an Adept is not for everyone, but as a magickal practitioner it is a goal worth pursuing. With time, perseverance, practice and knowledge, you too can gain Mastery in your Craft, become the next generation of Adepts. May your quest towards Adepthood be fulfilling and brimming with purpose and joy!

Blessed Be!

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There Is No Such Thing As “Safe” Witchcraft

Not long ago I had a new student ask me if witchcraft and magick were “safe”. My first impulse was to launch into a long diatribe regarding intent, precautions, yada yada. Instead, I giggled, or maybe more accurately cackled, (not entirely certain if it was out loud or in my head). After I’d composed myself, I sat her down, took her hand, and proceeded to explain that there is no such thing as “safe” witchcraft. Ever.

Merely by using the words witchcraft, witch and magick, you’ve launched yourself completely out of any and all “safe” zones. These words are loaded with mystery, superstition and fear. Hell, just giving yourself the moniker “witch” is dangerous enough. But telling someone you are a witch or studying the Craft? Danger, danger, Will Robinson! Be prepared to answer questions, defend yourself, or beat feet out of a sticky, and perhaps volatile, situation.

As for the practice itself – safe has never been a word I’ve used for it. Face it. We didn’t start practicing Witchcraft to be safe. It called to us, grabbed us and held on. That in itself was a scary prospect, answering a call into the unknown, into the mysteries that are the Craft. Do you recall your first ritual? Your first spell? Can you still feel the apprehension, the suspense, the fear and the anticipation? I recall the chills that ran down my spine, the sweat on my brow and the utter joy to finally connect with the magick, the whole, everything. Cue the goosebumps. No, safe has never been a part of the Craft and it never will be.

"Safe" Witchcraft - A picture of an altar during a ritual

Magick Isn’t “Safe”

Then there is the magick itself. Magick isn’t safe. It is messy, explosive, emotional, powerful, and many times, freaking scary. To be a witch is to push and break boundaries – not at all a safe prospect. We work with the dead, the Gods, and the “Others” of this dimension and the next, and the next. By its very nature, magick is dangerous. So many things can go wrong if our hearts, mind, and intentions are not in sync. Even when everything is aligned and our spells manifest exactly the way we desired them to, there is always a cost. Magick costs us personal energy, time and often, a piece of ourselves. Nothing is free so we must always cast wisely.

Should we be scared of doing magick? No, but we do need to give it the respect and caution it deserves. Magick is not for the faint of heart, the dabbler, the skeptic, the weak of mind and spirit. Well-trained practitioners understand this and treat magick and its energies with reverence, and act in consideration for all of its actions. They are mindful in their castings, always heeding the laws of magick and that of their guides and chosen deities. In contrast, those that do the most harm, who are the most dangerous, are those that treat magick as a “thing”. They treat it as a toy, a plaything, abusing its energy without understanding it. When there is no consideration of possible harm, no cognizance of where magick comes from, how to channel it, then magickal backlash and chaos can, and does, occur.

Witches and Wiccans and Wizards, Oh My

Another seemingly harmless yet inherently dangerous part of our craft is what the “muggles”, the “regulars”, think of it all. Others may perceive our Craft, our magick, our work, even ourselves, as frightening, creepy, otherworldly, and “evil”. A lack of understanding about what we do can lead to threats, animosity and, at times, violence. Our neighbors hear us chanting in the back yard, talking to plants and animals, and drumming in the Full Moon. They see our pentacles, brooms, and protection sigils and become alarmed. Out of fear they label us “weirdos”,# scary” and “delusional”. Perhaps they hang an extra crucifix or two around their property, cross themselves when they see us or just shake their heads as if we were wayward children. If we are lucky, that’s as far as it goes. It’s when they decide to “cleanse” or “protect” the neighborhood that things get scary and dicey.

Opening dialogues with the neighbors can ease some of this tension, but don’t count on it. I’m lucky that one of my neighbors is cool with it, may not fully understand, but remains open to what I may share with her. The others? They are more of the “cross themselves” variety. But it’s all good. Just keep doing what you’re doing, bang that drum, stir that cauldron, and cackle maniacally any chance you get. A tiny bit of fear will keep them from asking you to their next boring Tupperware party.

“Safe” is a Four-Letter Word

Is Witchcraft Safe? No. Is it scary? Yep. But it is worth every shiver, every goosebump, every daunting and disquieting moment. “Safe” is a four-letter word, an expletive, one to be uttered only in company of the “regulars”. Leave the magickless, the “muggles” and the uninspired to the likes of “safe”. Remember, we ARE the magick and we will not hesitate to cast, stir, and conjure, safe or not. Because it is who we are. It is our life, our blood, bones, and being. We will not be quieted. We will not be stopped and we will not be frightened back into a “normal” life. Safe is for the uninspired, the non-magickal, the muggle. Practice your magick with prudence coupled with fearlessness, knowledge mingled with power, and strength joined with daring. Together, we are the Witches, the Wiccans, the Wizards, Sorcerers, and Magicians, the future, the magick and the danger.

Blessed Be!

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Making Change Your Bitch

I am in a constant love/hate relationship with change. On one hand, change is good. It gives us new challenges, new hopes and a much needed change of direction. On the other hand, change is bad. It’s scary, messy and never seems to do what you want. Yet change is inevitable. Without change your life becomes stagnant, boring and well, not much of a life. So what’s a witch to do? How can you cope with change? Can you embrace change without fighting it? Can you use change to your advantage in both your mundane and magickal lives? How do you go about making change your bitch?

We tame change by tackling it piece by piece, starting with its inevitability. Let’s start by taking a moment to think about the statement “The only constant in life is change.” This tells us that nothing stands still. Not time, not the Universe, not you. And because we are always in a state of movement (even when we relax, we move) we are constantly changing. Changing ourselves and the environment around us without consciously knowing we are doing so. A shift on the couch cushions changes the shape of the area. A new puppy changes the dynamic in your home. That new job you’ve worked so hard to get. It is changing entire portions of your life. When you look at change as natural, normal, the scariness goes away.

Making Change Work For You

Change is messy. It always seems to muck up your day or throw you a curve ball at the wrong time. So, how can we make change work for us, make it our bitch? I’ve talked about how change is a constant. However, the way a change occurs can be manipulated, made to work for us. As an example: There is a new manager at work. The change has been hard for everyone because the new manager is shaking things up, letting people go and causing disharmony. You need to keep your job and learn to get along with this individual but you don’t care for them at all. How can you make this change work for you?

Since this is a blog primarily about witchcraft, I would cast to “sweeten” the change. Send a bit of sugar to the new manager by baking a batch of magick filled cookies. Or better yet, cupcakes with sigils drawn in lemon juice on the paper wrappers, designed to sweeten and aid the manager to play well with others. Not a witch or magickal practitioner? The sweets will still work – just add extra love or prayers into the batter with the same intentions.


You get the idea. Work with the change, not against it. Stand up to change and show it who’s boss. Mold it, bend it into the change you desire – not just an arbitrary happening. Yes, change is inevitable but it doesn’t have to work against you. Change can be your friend, your ally. But when it is misbehaving – conquer it.

Embracing Your Bitch

We now come to the truly difficult part, embracing change in all her glory. We’ve learned that change is constant and doesn’t need to be scary. We’ve talked about how to manipulate and mold change. The next step, embracing change, is ultimately the most difficult. Why? Because we have been trained to fight change and not to really look at and understand it. As mentioned before, change is scary. We try running from it to only find that it is running with you. Stop running. Stand firm, breathe, and open your arms wide to change. Yes, it may knock you over a time or two, but you’ll bounce back up. Change is like that.

Making Change Your Bitch - Woman standing on a balcony arms open to the universe
Photo Courtesy of: Andre Furtado

Making change your bitch isn’t easy. But it can and must be done in order to lessen our anxieties about the processes of change. By opening your arms wide and embracing change instead of fleeing from it, change loses its death grip on your psyche. The fear and anxious feelings have no place to fester and grow when you accept change and the possibilities it brings. Think about how much better you will feel by letting change happen or by knowing that you can make change work for you. Realize the freedom in change, the infinite potential change holds. Who’s your bitch now?

The next time change knocks on your door, open it and give that change a big hug. Or maybe give it a make-over so the change looks and fits better into your life. Change is constant, inevitable, and it will always be there. Why not learn to love that bitch and make her your best pal. Imagine the possibilities then.

Blessed Be!

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Finding My Petals of Purpose

Finding My Petals of Purpose

I’ve been on a bit of a break lately, trying to regroup and reexamine quite a few things. One of these was to look at what I feel is my purpose, my life goal at this very moment in time. Hard as I tried I couldn’t distinguish a singular purpose. My interests are varied. I have a great deal of experience in many areas but with the exception of Reiki, I couldn’t say that I have the title of “master” of any of them. My mind bounced ideas back and forth, trying to make sense of it all. Then it struck me as I was cutting some flowers from the garden. My purpose wasn’t singular – and it didn’t need to be. Like the zinnia in my hand, it had layers, was multi-faceted and winding. I was holding the guide to my goals. I was finding my petals of purpose.

Examining the petals of the zinnia, I started comparing each one to the things I love to do, the things I want to do, and those things that I can teach others. Standing there with the flower in my grasp, I began to touch each petal. This single petal with the wavy edge became my love of research. The one partially eaten by insects was my kitchen witchery. I continued to touch the velvety petals, ticking off a list in my head of who I am, what I aspire to, and what I wish to do for others. The list kept growing and growing, winding around with the petals.

Naming My Petals of Purpose

In finding my petals of purpose it became obvious that there was much that I am already doing that was both purposeful and fulfilling. I am an herbalist, healer, writer, blogger, and Reiki Master. I am a teacher of Witchcraft, tarot reader, psychic, grandma, gardener, kitchen witch, wife, priestess of Hekate, mother. These are all amazing things in their own right. Each one can hold a lifetime of purpose and joy. And if these things weren’t enough I began counting off those things I wish to learn, to do, and become.

In the next year I aspire to take the Master Gardener’s course, teach myself to knit socks, become an adept at herbal magicks and finish my book on the four elements. I am exploring shamanism, both the ancient beginnings and its modern meanings. I will be teaching new classes and creating and facilitating workshops. In 2020 I will be visiting new places – places I’ve always wanted to visit and places I’d never imagined I’d get to. My flower keeps blooming with new challenges, new ideas, and an endless thirst for knowledge.

Allowing our Purpose to Grow

And now, at the end of this examination, with each petal named and honored, I realize that purpose changes. We may think we came into this world with a set “thing” we have to do or accomplish but I now disagree. Our purpose, like our lives and the world we live in, are in a constant state of flux. Like our zinnia, it grows, buds, flowers and then fades. This is the nature of all things, to live, grow, evolve and to die. Ideas, purpose, knowledge, they come in subtly, then bloom vibrant. Over time, as we change, they fade and wither. Yet they leave seeds behind so we can replant and watch new ones grow again.

The next time you or I worry about our “true purpose” in life, meditate on the zinnia. See the possibilities and the many and varied purposes each of us can realize. Give yourself a break – know that purpose can be found in the smallest of flowers as well as the largest. Allow your life to freely flower, bloom and grow. Soon you will be recognizing your own petals of purpose.

Blessed Be!

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When Deity Answers Your Call

February’s New Moon brought our first Healing Ritual of the year. I had a few relative new-comers present so I began running through the ritual. While reviewing the Goddesses we were calling one of the women present asked a couple of very astute questions. “How do we know when deity answers our call? How do we know when Goddess has arrived?” Good questions my friend, good questions.

Our time for the ritual was limited, (it was set to start at a specific time so those in cyberspace could “tune in”) so I made my answer brief. Yet, I continued to ponder these questions. The more I did, the more I realized that my previous answer wasn’t complete. Many practitioners have these same questions, so how was I going to answer them in a way that made sense to them? Also, can I really answer for them? In order to give the most informed answer we all need to know the basics. I’ll begin with explaining what a call to deity is and why we do it. Next, I will discuss what is experienced when deity answers your call.

Calling to Deity

A call to Deity is an invitation. Your call is a request for your chosen God or Goddess to be a part of your working, whether it is a ritual or spell. We call to them to lend us their support, their energy, and knowledge. Sometimes, we request them to be there as witness for rites of passage. Notice the terminology here – Call. We do not demand, we do not summon, we call.

Our calls can be simple. A few words or phrases asking them for their presence in our circles. Calls to deity can be elaborate – think of the times Goddess has been called by reading the entire “Charge of the Goddess.*” No matter the form of your call, it must be heartfelt, sincere, reverent (mostly, but that’s for another blog). If you go at this half-assed, deity hears you and will place your request on “hold” or not honor the request at all.

The same may be said of calling a Deity that you are not familiar with. If you haven’t taken the time to learn about who you are calling, to sit and commune with them, why would they take the time to answer you? Some of the most uncomfortable rituals I have attended were facilitated by those who neglected to understand this fundamental rule of respect.

Please don’t forget to learn the Gods proper names and how to say them (to the best of your ability). If you call in a Sumerian God you’d better pronounce his name properly if you expect him to answer. Google translator has been a huge help to me in this respect. While it may not translate Sumerian, it can help you with Greek, Irish and Latin. If their name has several possible pronunciations (like Hekate), use the one that resonates with you.

Knowing When Deity Answers

You’ve begun your work, perhaps created sacred space and called your corners. Confidently, you stride to towards your altar, raise your hands towards the heavens (or down towards earth for the Chthonic) and call unto deity. The words you speak are joyful, yet reverent. Completing your call you wait for their response. What, wait? For what?

This is where it gets tricky. Why? Because we are all different. We all process sensory and emotional stimuli in different ways. Each of us experiences Deity and their presence from our own levels of understanding and perception. Knowing when deity answers your call is extremely personal. What I feel when Hekate is present may be may the complete opposite of what you are feeling. You may hear a “pop” when deity arrives whereas the person standing next to you gets goose bumps. When I work with Sekhmet I know she is present because I smell lotus blossoms but Brighid’s presence brings a not so subtle heat. These are my experiences and I don’t expect you to have the same.

Remember that all of these feelings are completely valid because they are yours. When deity answers your call, you will know, just know. Whether you see, hear, smell or feel, you will know when deity answers your call. I can’t be any clearer than that.

When Deity Doesn’t Answer

But what if deity doesn’t answer? What then? Deity can’t always be at our beck and call and sometimes they just don’t wish to answer. If this happens, especially if it occurs during a public ritual, acknowledge the fact they are not present. Be honest and don’t try to fake it (I’ve seen this happen). You can say to yourself -or the room full of people standing there, waiting – that although Deity has not answered, is not present, the rite can still move forward with the energy of all present and the Universe. Just because Deity didn’t show up when we first called, doesn’t discount them from popping in later on in the ritual. Trust me, it’s happened.

Even if deity never joins your circle, your working can still be a success. After all it is your work, not theirs. You alone make or break your rituals and spells. We call in Deity for assistance, for the additional energies they bring to us, to commune with and have them protect our rites. Their presence is not mandatory for success. I know witches that do not work with deities at all and they do some fairly spectacular work. Yes, I wish to have my deities acknowledge and be present with me as I work, but I understand when they do not join me. They are deities and perhaps they know that they are not needed at that particular time. Who am I to question the Gods? – Okay I do question but again, another time, another post.


As with all Witchcraft, what we do, think and feel is very personal. Knowing when deity answers your call is no different. Next time you step into circle, whether it is your own or at a public ritual, breathe, relax and allow the connection to happen. It is only when we experience things for ourselves, and not as we are “supposed” to , that we allow the magick to truly happen.

Blessed Be!

*Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente