Sunday, July 25, 2010


The tree circle is nearly 4 years old. I find that odd to think about, because I know that there were other things in that yard before then. There was a swing set, and it was fenced, so the dog could run and the kids could play safely. The dog, the swing set and even most of the fence are gone, but the idea, the sense of safety, of sanctuary is still very much part of the personality of the space.

We started the planning of the circle not long after DH started his adult (as opposed to his teenage) studies and foray into Western Ceremonial Magic. Up until that point, I used our bedroom for my altar and working space (with the exception of anything that require large fires, actual outdoor doings, etc). But after DH had started working there, it took longer and longer for me to step into the proper psychic space. It bothered him greatly that he "threw me out" of space that I had been using, but I've come to the conclusion that it was more a case of pointing out the deficiencies of the space for what I had been using it for. I still have altars in the room, and I still use it for some ritualwork, but all of my more organic ritual and magic have moved outdoors.

We live in one of those suburbs "overrun" with deer. While we had our wolfhound, they never came in the yard. But I suppose the last generation of deer to "remember" the dog that was bigger than they were is now gone, and the last few years has seen more deer damage on our property. This year, with the seemingly wanton destruction in my tomato garden and apple tree, I declared war on the deer. (This war has not been without a few good points-the wonderful scene of DH, hair unbound, wearing nothing more than a pair of gym shorts and brandishing his Renn Faire Wizard prop staff while chasing a buck out of the yard is a picture I happily call to mind on a regular basis.)

We chase them. We yell at them. Most effective have been the rags, soaked in neem seed oil and tied to the garden fences and (soon) to the tree branches. The deer now know (at least this season) that we are not welcoming them. And yet...

I came home midday from a session with a client on Friday to see a pair of very small, spotted fauns reclining in the middle of the circle. They were clearly visible to the street and the neighbors dogs, and yet they looked perfectly relaxed and comfortable. Mama was nowhere to be seen, but it was clear that she had put them there and told them to "stay." There was no sense of fear from them as I walked towards them.

A safe place. Sanctuary.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Point lost

I think the point was lost in the (admitted) pathos of the previous post. My experiences were not unusual, but unless you have lived in non-Christian communities in this country, you would probably not be aware of such happenings. And, by non-Christian, I am not referring to the "we are Pagan, but we have a Christmas tree, only, you know, we call it a Yule tree, community." I am speaking of the Jewish communities, the Bahai, the Hindu, the Muslim, perhaps the Buddhist (I currently have no experience with intact, distinct Pagan communities in the mode of the others I've refered to, so I am not including them here.)

The problem with the concept of evangelism is that it is seen from the side of the "giver." "Ooh, look what I have to share!" There is no space available in the concept to ask whether the recipient is a willing one. And, no matter how enlightened, how "unpushy" some people may be in their beliefs, the history of humanity has shown that eventually, it becomes not "look what I have to share" but "you will take it, whether you want to, or not."

I made mention in one of my comments on another blog about the different versions of the Golden Rule. There are two (in English, at any rate) that I am aware of. The more common one: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. (attributed to Jesus, via Matthew)
and: Do Not Do Unto Others As You Would Not Have Them Do Unto You (attributed to Hillel)

So now I am curious. How many people are there who disagree with me and are neither Christian, nor of Christian background or heritage?

Framework, or some of where I am coming from

Imagine this.

A ten year old girl, going to sleep away camp for the first time. Being adventurous, the camp chosen is far out in the rural countryside, a world away from the city and suburbs that the girl knows. Before arriving at the camp, she knows no one else there. Adjustment is not easy, but since most of the girls at the camp come from the same area, she finds a friend or two. One day, the campers go on a field trip, to the local County fair. This being a bygone and far more innocent age, the campers did not have to walk through the fair in long strings, holding hands and counting off. Everyone wore shirts identifying them as from the camp, and as long as everyone showed up at the appointed place and time for attendance checks, the girls were free to wander.

Our girl visited the chickens and admired the 4-H rabbits, and then walked through the area with the craft and souvenir tables. Passing one table, a woman called out "Camp girl, do you know Jesus?" (yes, she actually called out "camp girl." damn t-shirt.) Politely, the girl answered "No, I'm Jewish." At which point, the woman came out from behind the table, along with 3 other people (2 other women, 1 man) and surrounded the girl. There was talk of Jesus dying for someones sins, even though she and her people killed him. There was talk of hellfire. There was no sense of personal space for the girl, nor any space between the sentences for her to speak, even if she had any idea of how to respond to this.

This is not the behavior of people sharing good news. This is the behavior of predators.

Finally, one of the camp counselors appeared, as the girl had missed one of the check-ins. At the sight of an approaching adult in a camp t-shirt, the girls hands were shoved full with pamphlets, "your mother will want them" she was told, and the 4 people went back behind their table. Needless to say, the counselor wanted to know what was going on, and as the girl and the counselor rejoined the rest of the people from the camp, the girl told the story. There was a bit of shrugging, but as the girl didn't get in trouble for missing check in, she was relieved.

During the car ride back to the camp, the driver (a local employee of the camp) stopped short and suddenly at an intersection. She then started joking about all the near accidents she has had over the years while driving campers and how even the "little Jewish girls" would start saying their rosaries. How she always had a extra one with her, "just in case one of them wanted one." She seemed to be completely convinced that she was being amusing.

This was not the behavior of a "born again fundie" but it was the behavior of someone whose religion and belief hold complete disdain (at best) for someone who does not believe as they do.

After Jason posted his Father Matthew video,
he professed surprise at the reactions he got to the post. While I can't speak for anyone else, my reaction, first and foremost was to this line: "Certainly among non-Christians, there is nothing that makes them less comfortable than the idea of Evangelism. The fact is though that it is a duty of Christians to evangelize."

Uncomfortable? Now why would you think that might be?

The video is not actually about evanglizing or reaching out to non-Christians, but rather counteracting, amongst Christians the onslaught of the fundamentalist movement. To which all I can say is: fine, clean your own house, and then we will talk about my discomfort.

Oh-and the reaction of the mother of the girl to this story and the pamphlets? Do you know the phrase "Hell has no fury...?"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Deb, at Charmed, I'm Sure

I don't know how many of the readers of this blog don't read Deb's blog :

but she has the lead essay at Witchvox this week. If you aren't a past reader of her blog it is an essay worth reading.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Upside

One thing I can say about this "learning how to draw astrological birth charts without using a computer program" project; my sewing skills are improving.

Since starting the astrology project I've made and finished a leine and a giornea. I've now started a second leine and have fabric and pattern for a (non-faire garb) dress. By the time I've done my tenth chart I should at least have some idea of what I am doing chart-wise and will have a nice wardrobe in addition.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Aura is Clear and Beautiful

Three times over the past year I've been told so, by total strangers. By now, you would think that I would know how to respond to a statement like that, but I have been taken aback by it, each time.

Last night in the circle the feel was giddy/happy/holy. What more could you want for a Dark Moon/New Moon/ Eclipse night? In the cup of my hands, I saw a blond woman, in a white "blousy" blouse. I didn't recognize her and later thought that she might have something to do with the Renn Faire, because of her blouse.

Except I met her today.

I had stopped in at a new store in town, an "astrology boutique" and the blond woman in the white blouse greeted me when I stepped into the store. It was she who told me (today) of the state of my aura. A sales come-on? Possibly, except I would think that mentioning a smudge or a darkening would be a better sales pitch. We started chatting and she realized that I came in as a local business person, to welcome her to Main Street, not as a potential (at least today) client. We exchanged business cards. As I was leaving, she also told me something that I had received in other types of messages.

So, how would you respond to an uninvited comment as to the state of your aura?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Spagyric Report Returns

(The work has been ongoing, but the blogging-well, you know...)

Back in October, when the Sun, the Moon and Venus were all in Libra, I put together the ingredients for the Venus tincture, 1/4 ounce of home grown and dried rose petals, even divided between pink and white (currently, we do not grow any other color roses) and the Everclear. 1/4 ounce doesn't sound like a lot, but when you are talking dried flower petals, the volume is significant.

My notes read: The pink roses had faded to sepia, except on the inside bases of the petals where they were still pink. The white rose petals were still white, except at the very edges of the petals, where they were beginning to brown. There was a very strong fragrance of rose as I crushed the petals. Once in the jar, with the Everclear poured over the rose petals the scent of the flowers became even more pronounced, as if the scent molecules were being carried aloft by any instantly evaporating alcohol. The Everclear picked up an almost gold tinge, but mostly seemed to magnify and emphasize the details of the petals in the jar. I wrapped the jar tightly, labeled it, and put it aside.

And there is sat, for months and months. When I first started this project, I went by the directions I had been given, having no experience with spagyrics. The time frame for the creation of each tincture was pretty short-as long as the moon phase was appropriate for the part of the job to be done, the actual time elapsed didn't seem that important. But as I've gone along, I've gotten far better as listening to the herb and tincture and working on that time frame. And Venus kept saying "Not yet. Patience." (so has Sun, which, as you may note, does not yet have a dropper bottle.)

This spring, with Venus, Sun and Mercury in Taurus was time. In fact, maybe having to do with the Moon in Leo, it was quite emphatically time. Six months had elapsed since I had put the herbs up to steep, but from the sensations I was getting from the bottle, I wouldn't have been surprised in the least had it been 9 months (I was a little disappointed, when looking at my notes and the calendar, that it wasn't 9 months.)

When I strained the rose petals out of the liquid, they crumbled and nearly disintegrated under their own weight. The menstruum was a deep gold, and the scent was heady and very sweet, but not noticeably rose-like. When lit, the petals burned to a fine ash very quickly, and once cooled, dissolved into the purified water without any residue. The crystals that formed out of the evaporated water were colorless, but very very bright. They were even and consistent in shape, and (for once!) easy to scrape out of the plate and back into the menstruum.

The taste/use/effect of this tincture? It is all sweet things, but not cloying. There is no scent or taste of roses, instead imagine the most perfectly ripe persian or honeydew melon. In fact, it brought to mind the idea of "round." Not a circle, a sphere. Whole. A deep, unrestricted breath. The idea that all the ideas, all the symbols that artists and mystics try to cram into the Empress Card of the tarot is sitting in this little dropper bottle, waiting for me so that I might know them.

Somehow, "cool stuff" just doesn't cover it.