A Favorite Quote From a Favorite Author

A Favorite Quote From a Favorite Author

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I know it's been months since I last posted here. It's so good to be back! I'll keep this one short and sweet, so listen closely! In the past seven months, I've become myself. I've faced challenges I never thought I would have survived- and I overcame all obstacles with a strength I didn't know I possessed. Leaving home, all by myself, taught me the value of trusting yourself. Basic Combat Training taught me that I am much stronger and more capable than I give myself credit for. Ordnance School taught me that there are no limits on what I can accomplish if I so choose. AIT taught me the value of loyalty, and the value of myself. I am a changed woman. I have transformed from a frail little bird who dreams of the sky into the proud eagle who soars freely over the earth. I want this to be reflected into the work I put here. I want this blog and these ideas to help others along their path, so that they have the chance to taste the same self-appreciation and freedom that I have gained. I will continue to work on this blog as often as possible, to share my knowledge, so that together we may bring positive change to this world.
Praise be, my friends! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Yule - The Winter Solstice

It's that time of year again! Underneath all the hectic Christmas shopping (and if you're in my family, six birthdays' worth of gifts) and holiday planning is the age-old pagan holiday called Yule. This year, Yuletide falls on the 21rst of December. Yule is traditionally celebrated on the longest night of the year- the winter solstice.
The ancients were connected with Nature much more than we are today. So when the winter solstice came around, instead of being able to flick a switch and have light, our ancestors had to have faith that the natural light - the sun- would return. Their very survival depended on that glowing ball in the sky that we take for granted. And that's how Yule came to be: the ancient peoples praised and celebrated the return of the Sun, in deep gratitude.
If you are familiar with the cycle of the year and its connection to the gods, then you know that the God (the Lord, the AllFather, the Greenman, He has many names) follows a cycle of rebirth every year. Yule is the time of year when the God who was sacrificed at Lammas is reborn. And just as the Goddess is associated with the Moon, the God is associated with the sun. So just as it is the rebirth of the God, it is also the rebirth of the Sun.
Once Yule passes, if you pay close attention, you can tell that the sun grows in strength each day. The darkest parts of the year have passed- now is a time to prepare for new beginnings and positive change. You are probably very familiar with the Yule customs and traditions- putting up the Pine tree and decorating it, enjoying a hearty feast, and, of course, the gift-giving! All of these things have been done for centuries, first to celebrate Yule, and later for Christmas. Each part of this holiday season is steeped in symbolism, even to the most minute detail! It will certainly put a different twist on this, the most stressful of holidays.

Yule Symbols
The Evergreen Tree- the pine tree has long symbolized that even in the darkest, coldest times of winter, life continues. The pine tree is sacred to the God, in many traditions.
The Tree Ornaments - although some of the ornaments are just plain decoration, a few of them have connections to Paganism. The lights are reminiscent of candles, which were used to encourage the Light back to the land. The stars we use as toppers have a deep connection to Magic, and are a symbol of wishes and hope. And the simple, colorful balls we hang? Their spherical shape hearken to the Goddess- they are Moon-shaped. They also represent infinity, the Cosmic Egg from which all began, and the swollen tummy of the Goddess pregnant with the Sun God.
Colors - If you're like me, after December is over, you are so ready to be rid of everything red and green! However, these colors play an important part of Yule. Red is the color of blood- but don't be alarmed! Blood is life, as the Goddess must bleed to bring forth the Sun God. It is a warm color, reminding us of the warm fires waiting in the hearth. White, which is always paired with red on Candy Canes, is the sacred color of the Moon and the Maiden Goddess. It represents purity, like the lovely snow outside. The color green also represents life. We use green during Yule to remind ourselves that life continues even in the barren months. Green is sacred to the God, who is associated with the wild forest. And lastly, gold represents the Sun. It also brings to mind abundance and prosperity - which is undeniably important, both in ancient and modern times.
Gifts - Although nowadays, most of this season centers around the presents, the tradition has a much more organic beginning. The custom of giving presents to those you love during Yule began as another symbol. We give, to show our faith in the abundance of the upcoming season.
Santa Claus - Since we're on the subject of presents, we might as well talk about Santa! I'll skip the long, scholarly trace of where he came from, and get to the point. Santa Claus is an archetypical Father God, who distributes blessings and gifts of abundace and prosperity throughout the land. He is similar to Zeus or Odin- the great Father, the Wise One. He bears the red and white suit to show his connection to the Triple Goddess.
Reindeer - Yes, even reindeer have pagan roots! The God is often depicted as a stag, which itself is a symbol of Nature, fertility, and strength.
Pinecones- Another symbol associated with the God, pinecones also represent the continuance of life, abundance, and fertility.
Yule Log or Yule Candle - This log was specially chosen, and usually taken from a sacred tree. It was placed in the hearth fire, and made to burn all through the Yule season. The Yule log was thought to bring protection and numerous blessings to all in the household. After Yuletide, a piece of the log was kept to burn with next year's Yule log.
So Why Bother With All This Symbolism?
Symbolism plays a huge part in human consciousness. It speaks to what some call our "inner selves," who are deeply connected to the deities. I'll cover this topic more in a different post. But the basis of symbolism is to help in what is called "sympathetic magic." Sympathetic magic involves the act of doing or seeing something that you want to happen. For example, if you wanted a new car, you could visualize or act out driving that new car. The symbolism of Yule is used to bring the things you want into your life. And Yule is a perfect time for this, since it was once considered the New Year for many cultures. So, let's say you want the next year to be full of abundance and prosperity. You could decorate your house with pinecones and plenty of Yuletide colors. After all- like attracts like! And as far as the symbols of the God and Goddess, this time of year is a time of thanks and appreciation. So next time you glance at your tree, surrounded with presents for your family, take a moment to thank the God and Goddess for all your blessings. May you have a happy, blessed Yule!

An Excerpt of Scott Cunningham

As I've said before, I am a huge fan of Scott Cunningham's work. His work is highly recommended among many circles of Wicca and Paganism. Today I started reading Cunningham's Book of Shadows, which was published after his death. I'm only 24 pages in, and I already love it! Some of the first parts of the book cover the basics of Wicca. So, I decided I'd share some of it with you!

Words from the Elder
O ye Daughters and Sons of the Earth, adore the Gods, and be blessed by them with the fullness of life.
Know that they have brought you to these writings, for herein lie the secrets of the Craft of Wicca, to serve and fulfill the keepers of the Wisdom, the tenders of the Sacred Flame of knowledge.
Run the ancient rites with love and joy, and the Gods will confound those who work against you; but for those who work harm needlessly, their curse shall be the only fruit.
Remember, keep close to your heart, that you are of the Wise. No longer do you trod the ways of humanity; you skip on the path of Light, ever climbing from shadow to shadow to the highest realm of existence. But though we are bearers of truth, man does not wish to share our knowledge, so we meet in the shadows and run our rites beneath moon-filled skies. But we are happy.
Live life fully, for that is why we are here; refrain not from earthly life, for from such we grow an learn and understand, until such time that we are reborn to learn more, and to repeat this cycle till we have spiraled up the path to perfection, and can finally call the gods our kindred.
Walk the fields and forests; be refreshed by the cool winds and the touch of a nodding flower. The Sun and Moon sing in the ancient and wild places; the deserted seashore, the hushed valley, the raging waterfall. We are of the earth and should revere her, so walk lightly upon the ground and honor her.
Celebrate the rites on the appropriate days and seasons, and call the gods when the time is meet, but use the power only when necessary, not for frivolous ends. And know that using the power for harm be a perversion in the sight of the gods.
But for those who love and magnify love, as the dew-drop magnifies the sun, the richness of life shall be your reward, and all of nature will celebrate.
So love the gods, and harm none!
Blessed be!
(Scott Cunningham, Cunningham's Book of Shadows. Published 2009.)
The Nature of Our Way
As often as possible, the rites should be held in forests, by the seashore, on deserted mountaintops or near quiet, tranquil lakes. If this is impossible, some chamber will suffice, if it is readied with fumes or flowers.
Seek out the wisdom in books, rare manuscripts, and cryptic poems, if you will, but seek it out also in simple stones and fragile herbs, and in the cry of the wild bird. Listen to the whisperings of the wind and the roar of the ocean if you would discover magic, for it is here that the old secrets are preserved.
Books contain words, trees energies, and wisdom book ne'er dreamed of.
Ever remember that the old ways are constantly revealing themselves; therefore be as the river willow, that bends and sways with the winds of time; that which remains changeless shall outlive its spirit; but that which evolves and grows will shine for centures.
There can be no monopoly on wisdom; therefore share what you will with whom you will; but hide mystic ways from the eyes of those who would destroy, for to do otherwise inscreases their destruction.
Mock not the ways or spells of another, for who can say yours are greater in power or wisdom?
Take not one among you who serves to dominate you; who controls and manipulates your workings and reverences. Only within ourselves can true reverence for the old ones occur; therefore look with suspicion on those who would twist worship from you for their own gain.
All should share equally in the workings; thus none shall grow contemptuous of others in our way.
Honor all living things, for we are of the stag, and the salmon, and the bee; so destroy not life, save it be to preserve your own.
Blessings of the ancient ones to all.
(Scott Cunningham, Cunningham's Book of Shadows. Published 2009.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wicca and Paganism: What's the Difference?

Although Wicca and Paganism are very similar in their beliefs and practices, they are two different religions. To put it simply, "paganism" is an umbrella term for numerous polytheistic religions, including Kemeticism, Asatru, and Hellenic Polytheism. Wicca is not an umbrella term: it defines a specific religion, with semi-uniform practices, beliefs, and ideas, but different "denominations" if you will. These include Gardnerian and Alexandrian.

However, you can be either Pagan or Wiccan and still be a Witch. On top of that, you don't have to be either one to be a Witch! I know this may all seem very confusing, but it's really not. If you are in doubt, feel free to do some research! (Note: if you are new to the Path, you're going to learn quickly that it's a lot of hard work and a ton of research! So if you don't want to do the homework, you might as well give up now.) Since the types of Wicca are relatively uniform, save for a few differences (like I said- you do the work on this one!), today we shall focus on the types of Paganism. The many types of paganism.


The term Paganism describes religions that worship many deities. Most Neopaganism centers on worshipping the deities of ancient cultures, such as Ancient Greece or Egypt. In an essence, Neopagans bring the fantastic myths and legends to life!
The list I offer here shall cover the most popular pagan groups, and by no means is it all there is! If you are interested in a special form of paganism and you don't feel like any of these "fit" don't get discouraged. You will find what you are looking for!
Hellenic Polytheism
Most of us are familiar with the Olympian gods, the Titans, and the mythical creatures of Greek lore. Well, this is what Hellenism is all about. Most followers of Hellenism are reconstructionists: this means that they abide strictly by history, and try to keep away from Wiccan or Eclectic influences. Check out the site http://www.hellenion.org/ for more information.

Another branch of paganism you probably know about is Kemeticism- based on the worship of the deities of Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians called their land Khemet. Kemetics are also reconstructionists. A good site is http://www.inkemetic.org/
Celtic Polytheism
This religion focuses on the deities of the Celts, which includes the people of Ancient Europe, such as the the ancient Irish, British, and Scots. To my understanding, they are another reconstructionist group. I couldn't find a good website for this group, but I do know that the Ecauldron forum offers and excellent Special Interest Group forum: http://www.ecauldron.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?56-Hazel-and-Oak-A-Celtic-Polytheism-SIG
Asatru is the worship of ancient Scandinavian (Norse) gods- yes, I'm talking about Thor, Loki, and Odin. My husband actually practices this religion, and he finds it very fulfilling. I've studied up on it, and it's a very honor-based lifestyle. They have an excellent website at http://www.asatru.org
Druids stem from the ancient Celts- they were the High Priests in their communities. Neo-Druids are much like shamans. A good website to visit is http://www.druidry.org/
FlameKeeping is not as specific as the previous pagan branches. Instead of focusing on certain deities, it focuses on your personal connection to the Divine in general. The official site, which I will provide in a moment, states that "Other pagan religions... should be compatible with FlameKeeping." This means that you can be say, a Hellenistic Pagan, as well as  FlameKeeper. For more information, be sure to check out http://www.flamekeeping.org/

So now you have a nice list of different types of Paganism to choose from! But before I close this, I would like to touch on Eclectics. In the Craft, an eclectic is a person who doesn't identify with one specific branch or pantheon. They take information from all over, and pave their own Path. I myself am an Eclectic. The foundation of my Witchy training was almost strictly Wicca. Then I moved on to General Goddess work, then Kemeticism, and now, I'm just plain Eclectic. And don't feel bad if you try on the shoe and it doesn't fit. In my opinion, the option to choose our own paths is my favorite part of the Craft.
But, that ends our little lesson for tonight! Have fun, be safe, and blessed be!


Recommended Material!

Any good witch knows that the greatest power of all is the power of knowledge. As cliche as it may be, I think it's important to share with others who want to learn. Therefore, I'd like to take a moment and give my lovely readers a list of works that I have found to be very helpful and fulfilling. =)

I'll start with my favorite source: books! Something about an open book is just so calming to me. One word of advice, though, especially to those just starting on this Path: you do not have to follow everything you read word for word. I had to learn this the hard way. I used to stress out big time over "getting it all right". Wicca and Paganism are not religions full of strict boundaries and "you must do it this way!" rules. If a certain piece of information doesn't feel right to you- move on! Chances are, you will find something else that makes more sense. There is a plethora of different ideas and flavors out there- eventually, you will find your niche!

Scott Cunningham
I highly recommend the late Cunningham to anyone and everyone. He was a great teacher, and I've found his references to be accurate. There is a lengthy list of books written by him, but I'll stick to my favorites:
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (published 1985)
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic (1987)

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic (1991)
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen (1993) 
Silver Ravenwolf
Ravenwolf is a delightful author. She makes her books seem like a conversation that's always upbeat and cheerful. I particularly enjoy her work that offers you lessons. Her book on Hedgewitchery is wonderful!
HedgeWitch: Spells, Crafts & Rituals For Natural Magick (2008)

To Light a Sacred Flame: Practical Witchcraft for the Millennium (2002)

To Ride a Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft (2002)

To Stir a Magick Cauldron: A Witch's Guide to Casting and Conjuring
The Spiral Dance - Starhawk
Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft - Raymond Buckland
Gypsy Witchcraft & Magic - Raymond Buckland
WitchCrafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic - Phyllis Curott
Dedicant and Initiate - Thuri Calafia
Walking an Ancient Path: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth - Karen Tate
Awakening Osiris - Normandi Ellis
This is a partial list- if I listed ALL the books I've gone through, I'd be here forever! But these are great for anyone on any point of the Path.
Miscellaneous Material
This next list covers websites, forums, and other resources that always offer loads of new ideas and information.
Llewellyn's Witch's Calendar - Easily found on the Llewellyn website or Amazon, this calendar has a ton of features for the average Witch. It lists the color of the day, planetary movements, Moon signs, and historical information pertaining to Wicca or Paganism. I highly recommend!
http://www.ecauldron.com - This is a website that has a wonderful forum. The members are nice and polite, and tend to answer all your questions and more! It's a wonderful community to be part of.
http://paganwiccan.about.com/ - surprisingly enough, this site offers a TON of information. I really enjoy their articles about the Sabbats. You can even post pictures of your altar!
http://www.tarotforum.net - The Aeclectic Tarot site is a MUST for anyone who works with Tarot. It's another forum, but it's a great place to find new spreads and check out different decks.
Well- I think I've given you enough work for now! If you have any questions, feel free to let me know! Happy hunting!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Witch!

For my first official post, we shall ponder on that bewitching creature that so many have found both terrifying, and alluring... The Witch!
From fairy tales to the Salem Witch Trials, we are all familiar with witches. However, the term has been twisted far from its original meaning. Think of all the scary witches you've heard of- The Wicked Witch of the West, Ursula the sea-witch, Hansel and Gretel's evil captor, Maleficent: the list goes on! Now, let's think of all the good witches we know of: Glenda the Good Witch, The Charmed Ones, Sabrina the Teenage Witch... it's a much shorter list, no?
I will not dive into the depths of why or how the witch got such a bad name. Instead, I shall reveal to you the elusive, the very-real Modern Witch.
Many folks (both male and female) who are Pagan or Wiccan identify themselves as a Witch. While some may wonder why- I mean, don't people look at you strange? Sometimes yes, but a Witch usually bears the title with a quiet pride. Witches are turning the tables, and revealing that we are not kooky, toothless, cackling wenches who made a deal with the devil. In fact- Pagans and Wiccans don't believe in a devil of any sorts, so how could that be right?
Instead, witches are shockingly normal. We have families, bills, jobs, and minivans. We don't ride on broomsticks (although I truly wish that were possible!) or change noisy neighbors into toads. We just see the world differently. We believe our deities reside in nature, and take part in our day - to - day lives. We see a certain magic in the world, and feel that we are able to harness that magic to create our own reality. And hey, guess what? You don't have to be a witch to harness that magic. ANYONE can do it! In a Witch's mind- all are equal in the eyes of the Divine. Witches practice a very real religion- full of love, and most importantly, self-responsibility.
This leads me to my next point. Witches are far from what you see in the movies. Most witches you meet don't curse everyone who crosses them into oblivion. I'm fairly sure that's impossible, really. Magic is not like Harry Potter- you don't get results immediately. Trust me, I wish it was that easy! True Wicca and Paganism is a positive, white-light kind of religion. "An' it harm none, do what ye will" is the Wiccan Rede. That's our first and most important rule! And what happens if you violate that rule? The Threefold Law. The Threefold Law states that whatever energy you put into spells or ritual, will come back to  you threefold. So that means, if you send out positive, joyful vibrations, you will have good things coming your way! If not... well, it's not a pretty ending. In fact, I have personally met a Witch who used her gifts primarily to "punish" people. Instead of allowing Karma and the Gods to do their job, she took matters into her own hands. And I hate to say it, but she has paid for it. She always has some serious illness, major depression issues, and just plain unhappiness. It's truly a shame. So if you are looking to do this sort of thing- I highly advise against it. I have never wished harm upon another in the form of a Magical Curse, and I never will. If you are searching for Black Magic and the like, you shall not find it here.
All in all, I have met many fabulous Witches. They live normal lives, and practice their Craft happily and with love. Anyone can be a Witch- it just takes some open mindedness and a little practice. And you will rarely find a Witch who tries to force her beliefs or practices upon you. A Witch will most likely be open to helping you if you are interested- all you have to do is ask!
I end on this note: forget the horrid reputation that witches have been given. It's all a bunch of superstition and nonsense! And if you are a Witch- be proud, and Blessed be!

New Beginnings

Hello, dear readers!
Today I am officially launching the "re-vamped" version of my blog. For a long time now, I've felt the urge to help others, to "teach" so to speak. I am a pagan, a practicing witch, and a future soldier in the United States Army. This blog will mostly be about the paganism and witchy stuff. I think this will be an excellent tool to reach out and share information and ideas with other Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, and anyone else who is interested!
I've been involved in the Craft (I will use this term from here on, so I don't have to type so much) for six years now. I've researched and practiced as much as I could lay my hands on. One thing I've noticed, though, is that many books offer the same information over and over again. After all, how many times do you really have to read about the use of an athame until you get the picture? Of course, the authors of these books have the tall task of trying to write a book that appeals to both beginners and advanced individuals on the Path. I don't think I could manage it all that easily, either. However, I am going to try to provide information that is not only reliable, but also useful to many Craft practitioners. I am, however, going to skip a lot of the "basic concepts." I'm doing this because A.) You can find that information ALL OVER THE PLACE, and B.) Because my basic concepts may not be the same as everyone else's.
I will quote as much information as I need to, from different books and websites. However, alot of my personal information is simply hand-copied into my Book of Shadows- no need to cite there! I will make a big effort to give others' their due, so don't worry. So, all in all, I thank you for taking the time to check out what I'm building here, and I do hope you find it helpful. If ever you have any questions, comments, or ideas, feel free to contact me. Blessed be!

(Note: I will try and post a bunch of blogs up in the next few weeks. I am going to be out of commission for a few months for training, but as soon as I can, I will be back at it! Thank you!)