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 others 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 your 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 reckless, 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

A post shared by Rhi (@thecorvidkey) on

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.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Leaving Covens

There are so many articles about building covens, being in covens, working with covens - but fewer about leaving or dissolving a coven. I know that in some cases the latter can be painful or difficult to talk about, but I think it's important to discuss nonetheless.

I have been involved in 3 covens in my witchy career. I left all 3 of my own volition, for different reasons:

  • The first I left because I was moving to a different city, and this was before there were online covens. It was the coven that initiated me and dedicated me. The high priestess moved and the coven met rarely, only when she came back to visit. When I moved away as well, the coven opted to discontinue, but all of us remain friends. Our paths have taken us many different places, but we all have that initial connection in common.
  •  The second was a small coven, and disbanded due to schedules - it was almost impossible to find a consistent time to meet, and we all decided to go our separate ways. We lived on opposite ends of the city, and we all had varying work schedules and none of us had a vehicle. After months of trying to schedule meetings and rituals, we all determine that the coven was not viable at that time.
  • The third was due to communication breakdown and conflict that severed the ties between the members. This I will not go into much detail about - mostly because I don't think it's fair to air dirty laundry in a public way, but also because while I may dislike some of the previous coven members, I do hold my oaths seriously and believe they are entitled to their privacy.

There are a wide gamut of reasons why people leave a coven - abuse, scheduling issues, relationship/marital breakdown, change of path, branching off to form own coven, relocation, forced/asked to leave, etc. Like any other social group, there are complex dynamics at play. I have always viewed almost all covens having an expiry date - it could be weeks, months, years, decades. Eventually, though, there will be an ending. It is the natural way of things. Birth, life, death. Natural cycles.

When you are a part of a coven, it is work. It can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be incredibly draining. You are working in trust with the other members. You are creating magic and change, you are supporting one another. It's not all glamour and glitz - there is all the mundane stuff that goes along with it - who is hosting, who is working what ritual, who is bringing the ram skull, etc. I think some people can go into a coven experience thinking it's going to be just like The Craft, and they're clearly the Sarah of the group.

It is not like that at all. Covens involve humans, and humans have emotions and conflicts. Some are ill, some are contrary to a fault. Some are power hungry. Some are too giving. Some too lazy. Covens are as flawed as the people within it, and that can lead to any of the aforementioned scenarios that would cause someone to leave. Some people leave in a big way. Sometimes one person leaves and everything crumbles. Sometimes people leave in a quiet way. Sometimes one person leaves, and the rest continue on.

What people fail to pay attention to is the debriefing process. By that, I mean what actually happens after you have left. Everyone gets caught up in the moment, it's hard to look past that to the near future. There are a few rules of thumb I think are prudent in these situations:

  • Did you swear any oaths binding you to other members of the coven? If so, you need to address those oaths in a way that will sever you from the coven itself. You need to make your energy yours again. Whether you work that out with your former coven or not (and if you can, you should), it should be the first thing you take care of.
  • Be sure to take any and all personal property with you when you leave.
  • Ensure to take time to address your spiritual bonds with your spirits and gods. I usually recommend a cleansing (smoke or bath) followed up by an informal recommitment ritual. Addressing your needs is important, and can be helpful in the decompression process. Even if you leave on great terms, you still need to take care of yourself.
  • Know that any and all secrets, oaths, and words shared while in the coven are sacred - meaning, you should not be telling other's secrets or using any of that information as fuel for any 'retribution'. You should not be gossiping about any other member's business. It's disrespectful to yourself, your former coven, and whatever gods or spirits you swore your oaths to. I don't care how juicy or how you think it will make you look - DON'T. The only exception to this rule is with actual physical, mental, or sexual abuse, and any of that involving minors. That should be reported to the police. (I am talking actual abuse, not hurt feelings or perceived victimhood. Actual abuse that can cause long lasting actual and possibly irreparable harm.)
  • Don't "take revenge" on members of your former coven. I know that if you leave on bad terms, and there are a lot of hurt feelings, it can seem tempting. Don't. It's childish and unbecoming. Move on with your life with lessons learned, and allow them to do the same. You'll all be better for it.
Covens are a learning experience, and you should take any experience with them after leaving (good or bad) as a lesson. You learn a lot about yourself when you work in close proximity with other people, and those lessons can be a powerful force moving forward in your life. I look at it like a resume - you have had good and bad jobs, but you learned something (theoretically) in each of those jobs that can be applied to the next job, or other areas of your life. Working in covens is no different, and leaving a coven does not have to be forever traumatic or bitter. 

At this point in my life, I am done with coven work. I am not currently involved in any kind of coven structure. My spouse and I have a small hearth we work together on, and we have several people we meet up with to celebrate and mark seasons, but most of our practice has become familial. I have taken my experience with working in the 3 groups I have been in, and molded it into something useful. I know what I enjoyed about working in a coven, and I know what I disliked about it. Like any other kind of group I have worked in, there have been some wonderful things, and there have been some terrible things. They all kind of even out.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Anger and Witchcraft

Okay, I want everyone to look at the world right now. Look at everything that is happening. How does it make you feel? Do you feel helpless and overwhelmed and powerless? Do you feel angry?


We should all be angry at everything that is happening around us. We should be fucking furious. Our palms should be sweaty, our hearts should be palpitating, our teeth should be set tightly. We should feel tightly wound, like a spring ready to leap into the air, like a rubber band ready to snap.

I want us all to really sit in this. To marinate in this feeling, to let every injustice, every betrayal, every assault to wash over us like we are bathing in the filth of it. I want us to feel like it's running over our skin, puckering our fingers, making our hair filthy and greasy. I want our skin to crawl. I want us to feel on the precipice of losing it, to feel like if we don't lash out physically or emotionally, we will die.

Are we there? Good. Because this is the place of magic.

Magic is energy. It is the will that we channel to enact change in the world around us. So many times we are told to be calm, and clear headed, and raise our gentle, pleasant energy. So many people forget the darker, shadow side of the self also serves a purpose. Anger is the prefect catalyst for change, because it is an intense burst of focused, hot energy. Anger is just as pure as love.

Times are grim. Last year, for me, left me feeling angry. I feel it even now, knowing how the change in my life - the change that has been ultimately for the best - has showed a deception, duplicitousness, and cowardice I had been so blind to seeing in the world. I feel it now, bubbling through my skin like a vapour, waiting to have the kinetic energy directed at an ultimate end. I watch the world around me - the constant denigration of those who most need our love and understanding, the constant use and abuse of women and people of colour. The violation of bodies, all bodies, by those who have no right to them. All of these things make me enraged. It swirls together like a potent cocktail, begging me to take a sip and be a weapon in an arsenal against whatever I choose. Drink of me, it begs. Be strong, be definite, be my weapon.

I choose to use that energy for a more positive change.

It is easy to focus all of that shadow energy at something just as shadowy. It is temping to enact revenge or destroy. And sometimes, truly, there is a need for it. For me, though, I have not wanted to use this energy for anything other than justice for those who need it more than me. There is enough in this world that will seek to destroy, so much in this world that will try and shatter or crumple you. So much in this world that can make us all sick and exhausted merely thinking about it, never mind acting against it.

Take that anger, and hone it into a weapon. Hone it into a weapon for change in the world. Don't ignore it, or push it down. Really feel it, but be very clear about how it makes you feel. Channel that rage into something that enacts positive change in your life. Take that anger, and use it not for revenge, but for justice. I am not saying that you shouldn't curse - if the situation warrants it, do what you must. I have in the past, and I am sure I will in the future. You'll get no fucking shame from me.

I wrote a piece last year about darkness and the shadow self.

While I speak of the darkness, we must always remember what lives there. Anger lives there. Jealousy lives there. Fear lives there. Hatred and sadness live there. These are all important parts of our spiritual diet, but like proverbial junk food, moderation is key. A little fear is healthy, it keeps us alive. A crippling fear of being abandoned is not. Anger is a powerful motivator in moderate doses - it becomes cruel and bitter and hateful in large doses. The same goes with the light. Too much love leads into obsession. Too much kindness can seem insincere. Too much acceptance turns you into a doormat.

Balance, balance, balance.

Anger is a useful tool, and it is a place we all should visit. It is not a place we should live. It is a shroud we sometimes must wear, but it should never become a uniform. It is like sex magic - it can be a beautiful and bountiful way to raise energy - but too much can leave you in a place you never wished to be, and with possible unintended consequences. We need to practice self care and protect ourselves.

Witches, it is okay to be angry. We witches were born of anger and injustice, and we are born to be activists. We are catalysts for change, and we should use whatever we have to enact that change. We need to harness and use our anger to enact the change we want to see in the world and in our lives. We have a plethora of energy just begging us to be used - if the internet is any measure of how disenfranchised and furious people are feeling. It is a wellspring, powerful and pure. So, if you need to curse, do so. If you want to work positive workings, do so. Do what is best for you, but use the energy. Don't waste a drop.

Monday, 6 February 2017

For the love of reading

This has been a quiet and introspective winter full of shadow work. It's not a bad thing - in fact, it's needed. I have needed the decompression from the last 2 years, and while it can be difficult facing one's shadows, there is a certain amount of sovereignty in reclaiming your life from that. I suppose when you work with a lot of gods associated with death and chaos and reclaiming your power, it is to be expected.

I have spent the majority of the last month planning and reading. Planning for upcoming festivities and trips. and catching up on all the reading I need to complete. I have a backlog of books from 2012, so I am working my way through them combined with some newer fiction to give my mind a break.

I found with last year and all of it's chaos, it was difficult to get caught up on my reading. I read what I needed to in order to maintain my IDGAF initiate status, but beyond that - nothing. I really wanted to change that this year, so I have been really focusing on doing that and trying not to accumulate new books at a startling rate. Unfortunately for me (or my pocketbook, anyway), I have a number of books to purchase in the next few months. Books I have been looking forward to since they were announced. I just have had no desire to read in the last year - until after Bookmas. With all the new and wonderful books to read, I knew I wanted to push myself. I have been getting back into my stride, which has ben challenging since I used to read all the time on the bus - but since I bought a car and carpool to work, I no longer do that. I now read before bed and on breaks, and on my days off.

So while it may be quiet now, in the coming weeks it will be less so. I have put a good dent in the 40 books I have pledged to read this year (5 so far, working on 6 and 7 right now), and as the thaw begins, and as my dog gets older, I will be able to go out and have more adventures.

I highly encourage anyone who want to challenge themselves to go and sign up for Goodreads, and pledge to complete the 2017 challenge. I am hoping this challenge will reignite my love of reading again.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

A new year, a new challenge

Ah, 2017 - you are a welcome sight. After the turbulence of 2016, I am ready and welcome for a new start, a new year, a new challenge.

Last year was rocked with turbulence and change - not all bad. Some of the change was sudden - but for the best. Sometimes change happens and it's sharp and sudden and throws you off your feet - but with the benefit of hindsight, you come to see that it has all played out as it should have and you are better for it. Sometimes the change is gradual - and comes to fruition in the most beautiful way. Sometimes the change is rotten and horrible and there is just no dressing it up. Regardless of all that, one thing is sure - change is inevitable.

This has been the year of death in so many ways, and death has stolen so many of our creative and inspiring voices. So many people who have helped others understand themselves, to feel comfortable in their own skins, to feel confident, to empower them to take control of their lives. Their voices being silenced is a tragedy for future generations. Bowie and Rickman were big ones for me, but the real kicker was Carrie Fisher - she was such an inspiration - a strong, flawed woman who was a passionate advocate for mental health - and funny as hell. That one stung the most.

And Trump?!? I won't even touch that one. It's too bizarre to even fathom.

My husbands and I had decided that we wanted to do something to culminate the end of 2016 in a big way, because the year was so brutal. We decided to drive out to the beach and burn our datebooks and calendars - along with an offering and lots of black salt.

And here we have it, offered under the shadow of the new moon and the limitless sky - the smouldering ashes of 2016.

I came home, offered up some incense, and drew my second tarot card for the year. At Samhain I drew the Star. Tonight I drew the 10 of cups - a favourable combination.

So onwards and upwards, to all the promise and potential of 2017.