Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Love is a verb, Love is a doing word.

It's hard to believe this is my first post for 2018, but here we are.

I mentioned on my Facebook page that there was some big news coming up, and it was going to be life changing. As usual, the universe works in mysterious ways and nothing has been finalized. I am hesitant to say anything until we have confirmation, so I will save that for when I have actual news. As a definitive, I can say I am not having a baby, so let's not even approach that one.

This winter has been quiet and introspective, as I had hoped it would be. I have had a lot of quiet time to work with my craft. I have been reading a lot, working with my tarot decks more, and generally being more productive. Now that I am working towards a goal, it's easier to motivate myself.

On top of all of that, I have been very busy. Writing, working, and spending time with the important people in my life.

One thing I have been thinking about recently is the amount of chaotic energy there is right now - in the world, in our lives, and in our communities. I am finding that energy is feeding a trend I am sadly seeing more and more. The dreaded Witch Wars (tm).

I'm not talking about the people calling out abusers or charlatans in our community. I'm not talking about victims discussing their abuses or anything of the sort. I'm no talking about the people who are trying to rid the community of racists and neo-nazi scum. That? Justified AF.

I'm talking about the honest-to-goodness, shade throwing extravaganza that I have been witness to for the last few years.

Honestly, from the outside, it's exhausting. Someone is having beef with this other person and so they write a blog post or a scathing Facebook post or whatever to tear down this other person, who has minions who comment and defend the person attacked and attack the person who made the post, whose minions then attack the other minions and it devolves into this dick-measuring shouting contest with no actual relevance. And so the attacked person posts a Facebook post defending themselves and slamming the other person, so the minions attack one another again and so we have the circle of crapulence that is arguing on the internet.... well, kinda like this classic video:

I guess my first question is this: WHERE DO YOU GET THE TIME TO BE ASSHOLES TO ONE ANOTHER? It's exhausting watching, so I admire the energy you devote to essentially attacking some stranger on the internet. It's like an endless battery of hatred.

Enough. Getting the last word doesn't make you better or more correct.

How about this: how about we all focus on our own paths and less on the people around us. How about we stop picking fights with other members of our community for fun.  Instead of seeking to tear each other down for a seemingly meaningless argument, let's focus on the fact that our time here is not infinite, and it is far too short to focus on that bullshit.

Again, I'm not referring to calling people out for their racism or bad behaviour - simply the never ending streams of vague booking, shady Facebook posts, attack blogs, etc. I am far from perfect, and the list of people I dislike or would like to verbally tear a new one or tear down is regretfully long - but I ain't got time for that shit! I'm too busy living life - and honestly, you should be too.

Instead, I'm focusing on what I can actually change. Working toward acceptance, working through fear and doubt. Working to be a better ally for those who need it. Working on being a person who chooses love over hatred. The last point is hard for me, because I have had many hurts that have left deep scars, but I am getting there.

A very wise man said "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."

So let us choose to be supportive rather than oppressive, hopeful rather than fearful, and let us choose love above hate. There is far too much hatred and oppression in the world. Witches are wielders of change - let's use that change for good. Let's be badasses together and lift each other up.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Go home, 2017, you're drunk.

Ugh. This year.

I don't feel like going into the gory details, but these past 2 years have been just awful in so many ways. The past 2 months have been some of the hardest months I have ever had to face. It is still ongoing. Christmas/Yule was a bust this year. My own practice has taken a backseat to all the chaos that is currently reigning supreme.

I am exhausted and worn out and just done. Done. I couldn't be more done. Mentally, physically, emotionally, esoterically. I feel like I have been fighting a war and I'm at a stand still. I feel like I've aged 5 years in the last one.

Despite all of these setbacks, all the exhaustion, and all the utter horseshit that this year has been, there have been some wonderful parts of it. The actual bits of my spiritual practice I have been working on have been really affirming and give me confidence. My family and friends are wonderful, beautiful human beings who have been immensely supportive and wonderful. I always find it interesting that you truly find out who is a true and steadfast friend when trouble rears it's head - the ones who stay are the ones to be treasured. The few goals I set for myself (my reading goals, my decluttering and downsizing, and improving my finances) have been very successful. I have a great many things to be grateful and humbled by.

Trust me, I count my blessings every single day.

Despite the 3 ring shit circus that is currently masquerading as my life, I hold a great deal of hope that things will improve. I know that it is hard and it will take work, but I also know that in the end  it will all be worth it!

So I know I haven't been around as much as I would have liked. I am hoping to change that in 2018. I hold a great deal of hope that life will settle and I will have other, new goals to look to.

Sunday, 8 October 2017


yeah, I watermarked them.
As is tradition, we went apple picking for Harvest Home. It's a nice tradition we've created for ourselves, and something that I look forward to every year. This year, we decided to take our dog. He's a great little companion and he had a lot of fun. He also looks a bit like an orc or goblin, much to our amusement. He had his first birthday on September 10, so he's officially a doggo now.

We usually go a little later in the season, so there wasn't much available. It has been a really hot early fall - temperatures have been in the mid-late 20's C, and it's been humid. We hadn't had that cold snap necessary to kickstart the apples sweetening. Still, we were able to grab a few varieties that led to some pie and crisp making. I made one of the best apple pies I have even made, so there's a notch in my belt.

We ended up in the flower field at one point, and there were hundreds of butterflies! Every step we made was like scattering fluttering confetti from flower to flower. There were a lot of beetles and bees out too. It was one of the most calming places I've been in a long time, and it was nice to commune with the land spirits and feel enriched afterward. I swear, my blood pressure immediately normalized and my breathing was so calm.

That evening D and I headed out the the beach to burn some corn dollies we had made in petition for a bountiful harvest and in thanks for the recent rains.

All in all, very low-key. Magic doesn't need to be big or elaborate. It's all about intention.

I've been laying a bit low. I've been focusing on my mental and spiritual health right now - there have been some stresses that I've been trying to take in stride. I've been picking through my reading - I'm trying to pick up the pace, as I have 9 more books to read before the end of the year to hit my personal goal. I've also been making preparations and plans for Samhain. Lots of little things to pull together - making cascarilla powder with extra protection properties, drying the remaining corn dollies, picking up some novena candles - as well as prepping for the regular feast and apple cider.

So - mainly an 'I'm still here, just focusing on other things' kind of update. I have a few other articles I've been slowly picking away at that I'm hoping will be ready before Samhain.

Tonight is fussing around in the nook, resetting the altars, offering to the gods and spirits, and hopefully some journaling and reading.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Spirit Initiation

Initiation is a rite that many witches go through to enter a covenant or understanding with a group or within a tradition. Many covens use initiation rituals to symbolise the death of the old self and the metamorphosis into the new self, as part of the group. Many shamans have written and spoken about their perilous and painful initiations to bring them to their new expressions of self.

There are two schools of thought in the traditional witchcraft community, two different sets of initiations, as demonstrated by renowned occultist Andrew Chumbley; the red thread and the white thread. The red thread is the physical initiation, usually conducted by a coven. It is the physical bond that is formed with your path. The white thread, however, is the initiation by spirit.

There are a lot of schools of thought on spirit initiation. In layman's terms, spirit initiation (sometimes noted as a shamanic initiation) is a death. It is the slow dismantling of the self, a breaking down the bits of the self to use as kindling for the fire it is about the start. It is a complete and total metamorphosis. It is a death - death of the self, death of the preconceived, death and decay - and it is difficult.

The metaphor of death is used in many traditions, from Wicca to Shamanism to Voudou. For some, it's a mere ritual. For some, it's symbolic. For others, it can be an experience that draws a practitioner  and forms a bond or a oath to that particular path. These spirit initiations are almost always unpleasant, and in some cases can exacerbate already existing depression or mental health issues. It manifests differently and in differing intensity, depending on the person experiencing it. People will sometimes describe the experience as feeling flat, deflated, empty, destroyed, or broken.

There are a variety of ways that it can manifest. For some, it is a long and unexplained bout of depression, or it's a persistent and on-going series of nightmares. For others, it borders into hallucinations, or can manifest as a physical sickness. These are usually marked by an initial period of personal crisis or trauma. It is almost always lead by a spirit of some kind. Some more traditional witches believe it is the Devil. Some, a horned god. Others see it as a spiritual guide who its meant to guide you through your transition, and there is always the possibility of a god intervening and guiding as well.

The main characteristic is that it is an ordeal, in the classic sense. It is pushing yourself to the point of breaking, and then acknowledging that you want to know more. When you hit that lowest point, that is the death and rebirth - that is the moment you are guided forward, like a newborn sprung from the womb. It is an unpleasant and torturous event, but it serves the great purpose of burning away all the unnecessary bullshit, and honing you into a sharp and sure weapon. It makes you dispose of the hurt and trauma of the past and forces you to truly connect with the spirits and your own power.

How do you know if what you am experiencing is not just symptoms of your mental illness? My answer is this - sometimes it is hard to know. I know that for me, it was helpful looking at all of my spiritual experiences and life experiences before it happened, and looking at my own bouts of depression in the past. Based purely on my own experiences and speaking with my therapist, I can safely say that the last year or so has been an abnormal cycle for me. I won't go into it too much, because I honestly feel these events can be a very private thing - but I think that some co-morbidity existed in my own case. However, my own transformation (which I am just coming out of) is very rooted with the traditional shamanic initiation - trauma or crisis event, spiritual revelation, and healing.

It is very important to develop a routine of self care and to ensure you care for all aspects of your health - mental, physical, and spiritual. Most of all, do not be afraid to seek help if you feel it may be more an issue with mental health than initiation.

This type of initiation is not for the faint of heart, but those who are not cowed by it will find a great deal of wisdom and power at the end. It can be terrifying and intimidating and soul crushing, but for me it is worth the effort.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Illegitimi non carborundum.

With all that's happening in the world right now, I wanted to take a moment to talk about racism and discrimination in the general pagan community.

I know a lot of people see pagans and witches as a loving, hippie-dippy, group who couldn't possibly contribute to such a hateful thing. It almost makes me want to laugh. Not only does the pagan community contain racism, parts of it actively enable and perpetuate it.

I have written extensively about my own experiences in my own community 2 years ago, when a local white supremacist was harassing me online, attempting to defame me, and attacking and slandering members of the community who are people of colour (POC).  I cannot speak for any of those POC, I do not know their experience. I can only speak for myself and what I saw happen. I saw members of my own community, members and organizations that I have worked with and that I have trusted, back up a known white supremacist with 'they're just proud of their heritage' and a refusal to do anything to protect other members and potential members of the community, even with proof. I still see people that I know and used to respect attend their events or promote their events.  Our community here is so steeped in racism, and it is enabled by the people who have the power to prevent it.

I can't even imagine what it would be like to walk in the shoes of a POC here, seeing a whole mess of white folks who claim to be welcoming and accepting, sheltering a known neo-nazi. It must be so uncomfortable. It must be so infuriating.

Unfortunately, you see a lot of prevalence of neo-nazi beliefs and behaviours in the Heathen and Asatru community. Our gods have been co-opted by the jack-booted masses, looking to perpetuate their ideals of a pure race (which, newsflash, doesn't actually exist), white is right, and hatred of the other, searching for ways to twist the words of the gods to justify their tirade of fear and hatred. You have groups like the Wotan network, Asatru Folk Assembly (which is officially classified by the US government as a hate group), and the Thulean Perspective. You have the Heathen Harvest, the Soldiers of Odin, the Wolves of Vinland. People take the beliefs of the Thule Society and the pro-Germanic beliefs of the Nazi party during WWII, and mix it with good old fashioned fear. Presto, welcome to the new nationalist kindred: whites only, please.

You run into a lot of issues with any POC who dares to work with gods from any of the northern European pantheons: it's as though they feel that anyone who isn't lily fucking white has no business working with their gods. Oh, did you buy them? Do you have a fucking deed of sale? I mean, try not to mention that northern Europe has never been 100% white, what with all the Romans and Moors who travelled there long before and long after they were Christianized. You think they didn't intermarry? Don't dare mention that most of the population of northern Europe is Christian, and they are praying to a brown, middle eastern Jew. Don't mention that their gods were queer and sometimes brown. Like, get the fuck over yourselves.

Don't even get me started on the racist practice of cultural appropriation, or the claim from some groups that are clearly not closed cultures (cough NAZI HEATHENS cough) that POC are stealing their beliefs. The POC have no right to the Germanic/Norse gods (what are you, their fucking keeper?), that they should (and this is a quote I have see many times) just stick with their own African gods, or go back to Africa where they belong.

Heathenry is not closed culture; it is in no way under threat of extinction, and it's practitioners were not subject to genocide or mistreatment. So yeah. How about no. How about this: we all should just listen to our POC and listen to what they say about their cultures and their practices. We white folks have no business telling them what we can steal from them; we've done quite enough of that, thanks.

As much as we claim that 'hate is not a pagan value', to some it is. A belief they hold deep in their very souls. It starts, insidious at first,  as a belief in pro-nationalistic, pro-tradition rhetoric. It speaks of bringing together the 'disenfranchised', whose culture is being threatened by the cries of diversity. It slowly turns into anti-immigration, anti-islam, anti-feminism. Then it turns into marches and gatherings to 'preserve their culture'. Then it turns to violence. Then murder.

Example? Varg Vikernes. Super racist metal musician, confirmed northern practitioner, convicted arsonist who burned down churches, and convicted murderer. Now that he's out of jail, he preaches intolerance and violence through the Thulean Perspective. The man is so full of hatred, and because he was a popular musician, he commands a large audience.

Tackling the utter mess of the racist pagan community is not an easy task. I have no easy answers. All I know is that in times like this, there are 2 quotes I live by:

“Where you recognize evil, speak out against it, and give no truces to your enemies”
-Havamal, stanza 127

and the always quoted:

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
- Edmund Burke (often misquoted as 'all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.')

The most important thing to do in times like this is not not be silent. We need to stand up against racism whenever and wherever we see it. We need to own our own racist shit, and strive to be better. We need to listen to the folks who are suffering the most, and do what we can to make sure their voices are heard - and we need to let our voices rise up to combat the hatred.

We can't literal nazi fucks continue to co-opt what we have tried to build. Been there. Done that. Pretty sure we fought wars about it. It means making hard choices. It means removing people from your life who have decided, for whatever reason, that there are numerous people who do not deserve basic human rights. It will likely mean ending decades-long friendships, or family. It will mean standing up for what is right, even if it is what is hard to do.

We have to look at what these communities have become, and be absolutely disgusted at the state of them. We need to be the helpers. We need to be the ones to push to create change.

If we want this community to survive, we need to fight for it. If we can't save it, we need to burn it down to kill the disease, and start again.

At my desk at work, I have 2 yellow sticky notes on my wall. The first says "Illegitimi non carborundum." Don't let the bastards get you down. The second is the lyrics from a song that was covered by The Barenaked Ladies:

Let's kick at the darkness together, shall we?

Friday, 11 August 2017


I really love this time of year. I dread summer every year, because I hate the heat and the drought, but there is something magical about August, particularly mid-late August. The colours are gradually fading into the tones of autumn, the yellows and pale greens, the leaves starting to lose their brilliant green lustre. The pops of goldenrod. The cranberries ripening from pearly white to lush garnet gems. The days are hot, the evenings cool. I have been fortunate the have the companionship of my dog to get me out to enjoy all the beauty, and to see the excitement of all the new smells and sights every time we go out is a blessing.

I am growing to love August.

It's also the symbology, the beginning of the climax of the growing season. Everything is starting to slowly wind down - the wheat will be harvested. The proverbial squirrels are starting to gather the nuts from the ground.

It is the beginning of the move inward.

This is the first time in a number of years that I have found myself really focusing and enjoying the season. The last number of years have been chaotic - many changes. This year there is a sweet calmness that I finally - finally - get to savour.

D and I celebrated Lammas, the first harvest, by making a loaf of spelt bread with harvested flowers from our garden. We drove out to the shore, the wild cliffs, and we chanted and sang and prayed for rain. We sowed the seeds of our intentions to be harvested in the coming months. We listened to the waves crash perilously below us, felt the fog and sea spray kiss our cheeks. We poured libations of fresh water, left offerings of bread, honey, tobacco, and money.

It felt incredible. Even after grounding, I felt like I was humming for days. I slept like a baby.

This is the beginning of the time of year where I feel the most in tune, the most powerful. The days growing darker, the temperatures dropping - I live for it. I feel like I have more motivation, more stamina. I am doing the things I love again - baking, reading, writing, creating. This movement,  this energy, this change - I am ready for it.

Monday, 24 July 2017

To Be Silent

The Witches Pyramid has four points: To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Be Silent.

Honestly, I think this is the most important point on the pyramid. It is also the one that is sorely the least adhered to.

To be silent is to keep your own counsel. It's allowing the things you experience and connect with to hold a deep significance without allowing the opinions and feelings of others influence what you have experienced. There are a lot of people who have the sole purpose of naysaying, shaming, and trolling others. Trust me when I say this - it does matter, and it will effect your magic and workings.

This is the mystery of Mystery traditions - some things are oath bound, some things are private, some things are not meant to be spoken aloud. It is also minding your own business and not pressuring others to reveal what they are not comfortable doing.

To be silent is to respect that there are others who may work with you who do not wish their secrets and experiences shared with others. I have written at length before about the dissolution of covens and working groups - and the fact that your responsibility to hold the silence of other does not end with those broken bonds. There are experiences not meant to be shared. There are truths spoken in confidence when there is vulnerability - we have a responsibility to uphold that confidence. Even if your former coven mates are your bitter enemies, or jilted lovers, or dead - it doesn't matter. The bond of silence is sacred, and permeates all we do. It protects us, grounds us, and nurtures us.

I have learned many lessons about silence in the past few years - this is now a point that is important and sacred to me.

To be silent is to honour your power.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

To Dare

The Witches Pyramid has four points: To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Be Silent.

Witchcraft is knowing your shit, it's directing your shit, but it is also doing and feeling your shit.

This is the part where you take all the bits and bobs that you've learned and gathered up and focused on, and then you go out into the big bad world to use it. It's taking risks - doing the rituals that are scary because you haven't done them before or have only encountered them in theory, or having to make or use things you haven't used before. 

This is the shamanic part of the pyramid - engaging the subconscious to journey into a new awareness. Feeling the conjured energy on an emotional level and how you can connect with it before unleashing it - and thus adding that bit of extra oomph - makes you vulnerable and you magic that much more powerful.

Emotion can be a powerful conductor for energy work of any kind. Anything that makes you vulnerable makes you open to lessons and learning and makes it more of a risk - which can be more rewarding in the end.

Push yourself - take risks with your magic. Don't be unsafe, but do things outside of your comfort zone.

Growing is painful. Daring to push yourself into a position to do so only makes you stronger. Forming an attachment to that spiritual growth and deeply feeling it - well, there is some deep magic there.

Monday, 26 June 2017

To Will

The Witches Pyramid has four points: To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Be Silent.

Witchcraft is the practice of directing will. Will is desire, it is spark, it is the burning need to create change. Will is the creative drive. It is our desire to experiment and push our boundaries.

Will is pure fire. It is electric love, the burn deep in our bellies, in our core. Will is the what we focus into the lens to create change. Will is capricious; what works for you now may not work 5 years from now. or even 5 minutes from now.

I am the creature of fire, of will. I ride each wave of change to the crest of knowing, and I focus that change to create. Will is the creatrix and the destroyer. I draw on much of my learning from doing, which is what this energy is all about. Will is action. It is active knowledge, putting all your knowing onto a path of learning that requires you to apply it and push it.

Part of harnessing your will is knowing when you have reached true understanding. You need to check in with yourself and see where those desires lie, to know what is understood and where you want to steer the boat.

I have experienced a number of different witchcraft paths, and have worked heavily within the framework of each of them. Each one of them held mystery and purpose for me, but I grew and was pulled in different directions. I was inspired by and called to different paths - and I rode that change. Every change is difficult and every new things requires a new way of learning and a new worldview and a new way of thinking. Will is all about the running with those fluctuations and being inspired by them!

To harness will is to to focus your power.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


My life has been a little quiet as of late. My workings have been small, personal. My writing has been on paper, in journals. My thoughts have been percolating.

Now the longest day is upon us. Now is the time to bathe in the light and spring forth from the shadows.

Midsummer is fire. It's love and sex and passion and heat. It's spice and hot sand and woodsmoke. It's sweat and sea water and the sting of the sun. The Sun is here to herald in the season of growing, the season of fire.

Now is the time to seize the day. It is time to drink iced tea and eat fresh fruit. It is time for the lazy and hot days of summer. It is time for Life.

I am looking forward to it for once.

I can't wait to squeeze the sand between my toes and feel the waves in the ocean lap around me. I can't wait for lazy days under the canopy of a big tree with a good book. For hikes with my family and dog.

I can't wait to rediscover myself in this season of fire. My season. A child of air and fire.

For now I am content to watch the fingers of flame lick the dark sky hungrily. Content to see the fog roll in, to smell the incoming rain on the air.

It's a rebirth, folks. I hope you're ready.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

To Know

The Witches Pyramid has four points: To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Be Silent.

Part of being a witch is knowing - knowing yourself, knowing your shit, knowing what works and what (or who) doesn't.

Knowing is associated with air - the element of thought and reason. Those who know themselves have likely spend a good long time reflecting, digesting, and tearing apart the pieces to figure out how to put them back together. Knowing yourself can mean a lot of things - it can mean knowing who you are and what you want, but it also can meaning knowing yourself intimately.

I know that I am a person that experiences everything in a very intense way. Feelings, yes, but also things on an intellectual and psychological way. I know how to rationalize with the parts of myself that are prone to those intensities, but I also know that the intense perception I hold of the world is how I am shaped. It is how I process, how I rationalize, how I learn.

Part of knowing it to admit what you don't know. I think I have a good idea of who I am, but I don't know exactly who I am completely. I think we as people shift and we grow, and that discomfort with growing is part of learning who we are.

There is also knowing your shit. The studying, the experimentation, the review and constant drive to push forward. To know your shit is to be confident in your knowledge. It is the lore, the workings, the practices. It is the oral and written traditions of your practice. It is being a resource for yourself and others, but knowing where to resource what you don't know.

Knowing what works for you comes with experience and becomes wisdom. Lessons learned. It's knowing that a hot burner will scald your fingers. It's knowing when to trust and who to trust. It's trusting your intuition and inner knowing to guide yourself on your path.

To know oneself is to have power.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Beltane musings

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The cleansing fires of Beltane. A chance to burn away the doldrums and cobwebs of winter, and truly welcome spring.

D and I had a wonderful Beltane in the country. A friend invited us to her property, which is beautiful,  to celebrate the season. I wasn't sure if I was going to go, as I had the worst cold I have had in years, but by the time Beltane rolled around I was feeling much on the mend and able to participate.

Fire is such a transformative element - it is such a powerful way to mark endings and beginnings. I always love the fires of Beltane and the 3 fire festivals edging into fall, because they are all about transformation. Everything in nature is in flux, and we can stand rigid and live in the past, or we can move and flow with it into the future.

I know I choose the latter.

It was a great ritual and a great chance to enjoy the awakening of nature.

Now we move forward into new things - new ventures, new connections, new knowledge. Summer will soon be coming.

I have yet to start my garden - it has been cold and rainy here. I have earmarked this upcoming weekend to clean and organize my small garden. I have just ordered a new cover for my greenhouse (the previous one did not last the winter!) so I look forward to digging in. I look forward to growth and beauty, and look forward to a hopefully bountiful harvest.