Friday, October 1, 2010

I Owe It All to Stephen King

I always wanted to be a writer when I was a kid. I used to write stories all the time. When I read my first Stephen King book, It, when I was in Junior High School, I changed all my writing projects from that point on. I turned everything I wrote into a scary story or thriller. I added in skeletons, haunted attics, and occult happenings as often as I could. The annual paper "What I did this summer" was never the same for my poor teachers after that.

I am a little bit more than just a Stephen King fan, but I am also a little less than a scary stalker. When I was about 19 or so the book Wizard and Glass came out. This was the forth book in the famed Dark Tower Series. I loved this series and was so excited to get this installment.

At first I was disappointed with the book. Instead of picking up where the third book left off it went back in time. In fact it felt like a prequel. It told the story of Roland's, past (the main character). But as I read, it quickly became (and still remains) my favorite Stephen King book ever.

When I read Wizard and Glass something inside me changed. Something shifted. I looked at things differently. A main character died and I felt like someone I actually knew died. I was so affected that I wrote Stephen King a letter to tell him about my emotional connection to his character, (who I really felt was my character). I so wanted to be a part of the story that I included a picture and my description, just in case he felt compelled to use me in a future book. *wink wink*

I was so emotionally transformed from this character connection that I stopped writing. I wanted to be able to bring characters into people's lives, like this one had been brought into mine. I started to doubt my abilities. I started to lose faith in myself. I let go of the dream and focused on being a "responsible adult".

Many, many years later the final installment of the Dark Tower finally came out. It was called The Dark Tower, appropriate right? About half way through this book a character named Daneeka Rostov, also referred to as Dani, is introduced. Dani is my name. When I read this I got a lump in my throat. I know logically it is a long shot that it has anything to do with me, but for a brief moment I felt like I had made it into the story. I felt like I was truly a part of it. I was again, forever changed.

I picked up writing again not too long after that. I worked on a fantasy novel in my spare time at the office. I found myself getting really attached to my characters. They would do things that surprised me. They would be weaker than I expected or stronger. I felt connected to myself like I never remember feeling before.

It has taken me a long time to come to this place, but I see it now. I am a writer. I don't need to be the best. I just need to do it. Thanks Mr. King, you have no idea how much you've changed my life.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fairy Goddessmothers

I have been doing a lot of writing lately. Writing on a variety of topics. Some of them interesting and some of them not. One thing has become very clear to me. I do really love it. I don't love writing for writing sake. In fact, some of the writing I have been doing I don't really like at all...but overall I do enjoy it. There is a point to this (I promise), I am just getting going...

I went to California Witchcamp over the summer. Right before leaving for camp I was faced with a serious decision that I had to make. It involved employment and money and fear. I have struggled with the thought of going back to the corporate world that spat me out last year. It would earn me the money I need, but it would kill my soul. I didn't know what else to do and I felt lost and really alone.

Since then I have been lucky enough to cross paths with two Fairy Goddessmothers....

The first one was at camp. She saw that I was struggling with something and engaged me in a conversation. By the end of our talk I was bawling like a baby and talking about how much I loved writing fiction. I admitted to her (and myself) how I had always wanted to be a writer when I was a kid, but got caught up in not being good enough. I spent too much time comparing my work to others. I wasted so much time trying to be like someone else and not honoring who I was and am. By just asking me a few direct questions, Fairy Goddessmother 'E', helped me to see what I should be doing. She helped me to see what my heart was longing for. She helped me to see what I had always wanted to be and had forgotten along the way.

The second Fairy Goddessmother came along after camp. She help me to put my dreams into a plan of action. She showed me that it is possible to follow my dreams and make money at the same time. I really look up to all she has accomplished and know that I can blaze my own trail, just like she did. I actually took her advice (which I am not always good about) and have seen it come to fruition. Fairy Goddessmother 'I' gave me the tools to make my dreams possible.

I am excited about what is happening in my life. I have been so busy since getting started. I am working ten hours a day, but it feels like ten minutes. I am getting to write about Witchcraft and things that I love (and sometimes things I could give a crap less about). I am working on a fictional book that keeps me excited and engaged.

All around me things are in upheaval and transition, but I have never felt more clear or happy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Burbs

I live in the suburbs. Now, when I say suburbs, I don't mean a little town that popped up organically. I live in a town that was completely planned. The town is split into sections by the alphabet and each street in eache section starts with the complimentary letter. We moved here when I was a kid, after my parents divorced.

Prior to that and every summer following, I was in Portland. Not a huge city for sure, but a city nonetheless. My dad stayed up there and I always enjoyed the freedom and endless exploration a city could bring. Each year as I got older I hated the burbs more and more. I counted down the day to when I could move out and get away.

As I got older my dad moved away from Portland into a very rural area. As an adult, I also chose to live out in the sticks for awhile, but certain circumstances brought be back to the same suburban town I despised so much. Right now, I sit at the border of a planned community and a rural organic township. When people ask where I live I tell them the rural township, even though, technically, I live in the planned suburb. (Oh the embarrassment!)

The burbs have neither the soul of the city, nor the heart of the country. The burbs dont' fit in either category. A misfit village full of people caught up in watching the latest reality television to help fill void of their meaningless consumer driven lives. At least that is what I thought....

For reasons I won't go into, I took a shower at my sisters house the other day. She lives just a few blocks away from me. As I was lather, rinsing, and repeating my eyes focused on a huge tree in her back yard that can be seen from her tiny bathroom window. For a moment I forgot that I was in the burbs. For a moment I was able to pretend that I was in the country. For a moment that one lone tree was a forest just on the other side of the wall. When I turned in the other direction I saw a satellite dish. For some reason the view of electronics made me think of the city. Of fast motions and loud noises. And for a moment I thought the hustle and bustle of the city was on the other side of the wall.

These two things exist in one place....that is when it struck me. The most magickal places are the liminal spaces. The ones that are neither here, nor there. The places that are not one, nor the other. Really the suburbs are a liminal space, between the country and the city. There is beauty and motion here. What an interesting development....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The World of Relationships

I decided to watch an episode of the popular 80's television show 'Thirtysomething'. I'm not really sure what over came me, but perhaps I thought that since I am "thirty something", it might have something to offer me. Alas, I was sadly mistaken.

In the pilot episode of this relationship drama, we are introduced to the main characters of the show. They are a married couple with a seven month old baby girl. The wife has decided to stay home to be with her daughter, because (as she states many times in the episode) she feel closer to her child then any other person. The husband, in the meantime, has started his own business and struggles to deal with following his dream. Throughout the pilot these two people try to figure out a way to fit into their new roles in life and somehow manage to still be happy. From what I gather, those two things can't happen at the same time.

As I watched this show I started to feel, well, sick. These two unfortunate people are forced into family dynamics that do not fulfill them. They do all of these things because it is what married people are supposed to do. Ugh!!!!!! All through the show the husband dreams of having an affair and the wife stresses about being a good mother. I am amazed I made it through the whole show! The typical nuclear family rears its ugly head.

Being a Pagan has helped me to open to the fact that there are many possibilities for intimate relationships. Many of which, I think, are overlooked in the dominant paradigm. Why are we expected to get married, have babies, and then give our all to our families? I know when I found out I was having a baby, eight years ago, I felt like my life was over. I worried that I wouldn't get to have fun anymore. I thought I was going to have to roll over, buy a minivan, and disappear into a life of meaningless suburban hell. Which is exactly what this television show reinforced.

I know that there are many people out there who want this family dream. They long to get married, have babies and become the soccer mom, and good for them! But I would ask if that is their true desire, or a lifetimes worth of social programming?

Through the Pagan community I have met people who explore intimacy and relationships on many different levels. The queer community, the poly community, and those who practice celibacy, have all taught me a lot about what it is to love and be loved. There is no one "right" way to do things.

My partner and I explore the labels of our relationship often. What works for the both of us today might not work anymore tomorrow. Relationships require work because each person needs to be an active participant. Each person needs to be living their own life, which will form the partnership, and not let the partnership tell them how to live their life in the world. If my partner expected me to become the 'stay at home mom' we would not make it very long. That is not who I am. That is nowhere near who I want to be.

These are by no means easy topics, with simple answers. I don't think there are ever simple answers. But it would be interesting to see a show exploring these deeper issues. A show that goes beyond the gossip and intrigue of 'The L Word', and the Mormon tones of 'Big Love'. It would be interesting to see a healthy poly person exploring the world. I know they exist.

So for now I have decided that 'Thirtysomething' is not for me. And if that is what it means to be "thirty something", I will stick to 29 until all the craziness is over.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Musings from a Pagan Nun

The other day I was leaving Berkeley when I saw her. She was standing on the corner waiting for the light to turn so that she could cross the street. She was short and just a little older than I am. She wore a gray skirt and shirt with a blue cardigan over it. She had on dark stockings and very sensible shoes. So why did she stand out, you might be asking yourself? What was it about this woman wearing a sensible, perhaps bland outfit that caught my attention? Well, it was the head covering she wore. She had on a habit, she was a nun.

I don't see a lot of nuns in my area. I don't see a lot of Christian/Catholic ministry in general. Part of that might be because I don't go to church, but it is not every day you see a nun strolling down the streets in my town. I was fascinated by this nun. I felt myself well up with pride and maybe a little bit of jealousy.

Anyone that looks at this woman (including me) knows that she has dedicated her life to her faith. She has made a commitment to her God to do His service. What a beautiful message. What a beautiful vocation.

I am a Pagan. I love the Earth and the Goddess. I consider myself a Priestess in service to the Goddess. I am dedicated to my faith. I have made a commitment to my Gods and I do Their service. But you don't know that by looking at me. I don't have a uniform, or a specific symbol or sign that makes me stand out a 'Pagan Clergy'.

So for a moment I felt jealous of this beautiful women dedicated to her God. Anyone that sees her sees her devotion. And for the most part people do not see my devotion at first glance. There is a part of me that feels sad about this. But when I let go of my jealousy I can see the situation in a different light. This nun, this woman on the street corner is my sister. We both serve the highest good in our own ways. I honor her for standing up for what she believes in and I honor myself for doing the same thing.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I am part of the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft. I have been on the outskirts of this group for many, many years. In the past my only level of involvement was to attend public rituals and flirt with the idea of taking classes. In the past year all of that changed and I find myself getting more and more immersed in the community known as Reclaiming, which is a beautiful and amazing thing.

There is a process in Reclaiming that is really quite awesome. It is known as 'twinkle'. Here is what twinkle means: twin-kle - verb: to show you are in agreement or understanding of another persons point of view or position. i.e. "I twinkle that."

To twinkle is to put your hands in front of you palms down and wiggle your fingers in the direction of the speaker. This developed because active listening is a very important part of the Reclaiming community. You don't want to continually comment when another person is speaking, but often there is a need to show that you understand, or are in agreement. To twinkle is actually using the ASL sign for 'applause'.

So why am I telling you all of this....well, good question! Now that I spend so much time around Reclaiming people, in Reclaiming classes and so forth, I find myself 'twinkling' a lot! So much so that I have to consciously remember to NOT twinkle when I am with non-magical folks. I cannot even begin to explain how many times I have wanted to twinkle someone in the check out line at the grocery store, or at a restaurant, or at the kids school! So I have decided instead of trying to modify my behavior for the rest of the world, I am just going to start twinkling when I feel called to twinkle! If someone asks me what the heck I am doing, I will explain....and hopefully twinkling will become a world wide phenomena.....How awesome would it be if everyone you encountered was engaged in active listening? What a different world this would be.

Friday, January 29, 2010


So today I went through a beautiful, simple, but powerful initiation process. Over the last few weeks as this ritual was coming closer and closer I started to really look at my name. The name that I was born to, and really the nickname that it had become, no longer felt like 'me'. I was ready to take a magickal name for the first time in over fifteen years, but the hard part was figuring out what name to take.

I won't bore you with my process, but needless to say when I came across the name, when I finally decided, when I accepted it and said YES, it felt like it was so obviously "mine", like it had been my name all along and I just now figured that out. Looking back on all the things that I have been through in the last year, looking at the specific challenges I have faced and the spirit helpers that have been working with me I am surprised it took me so long to see it.

At the end of the ritual I announced my new name. Leaving the name of my parents behind and moving forward into a more magickal time in my life. When I got home I started to go through the process if changing my name on message boards, Facebook and Twitter. When I went to update my email I clicked the wrong button and ended up changing my email address. My old email no longer exists. My new magical name is now my email address, which has caused me to change ALL kinds of things I didn't expect to have to change, but these things happen for a reason.

That is how these things go and it just solidifies the fact that it's time to let go of the old. It is time for me to move forward with my new name. It is time for me to step into my big girl pants and be who I am truly meant to be. How exciting.

So with all of that out world, here I come.


Phoenix LeFae

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaching the Pagan Way

So I had my first teaching experience this past weekend. I student taught a class called Elements of Magic. It is based off of the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft and is their prerequisite for other classes that are offered in the tradition.

Ten years ago I had multiple opportunities to take this class, but I felt that it was 'below me'. I didn't want to take a class that taught the fundamentals of a practice I was already familiar with, so I scoffed and moved on. Not taking the intro class meant that I was not able to take other more challenging classes, but my pride would not scoot over enough for me to actually start at *gasp* entry level.

Fast forward nine years and you will see me finally taking the Elements of Magic class almost exactly one year ago this past weekend. Tired of playing the solitary practitioner game I finally decided to reach out to the Pagan community in my area, by way of Reclaiming. The teachers had changed, as had many of the community members. People that I had met ten years ago had moved on to other places and that ended up being a really good thing for me.

Was Elements life changing for me? Well in a word, yes. I did not learn anything earth shattering about myself during that intensive weekend, but I did learn many things that I was able to fold into my personal practice. I did start getting more and more involved with my local community and I did end up forming and amazing Circle with two women who were also in the class with me.

A year has passed since that fateful weekend and now I have become the teacher (well student teacher for now anyway). I helped to lead a class that ten years ago I felt was beneath me. It was an honor and privilege to work with the two beautiful women who have taught me so much over this last year. And it was way more exhausting than I thought it would be....

After taking so many workshops and classes I have always thought that the teachers have it easy. I figured their hard work was in the prep....putting the class together, figuring out what activities will take place, all of the set up. I was surprised to find that teaching, even co- or student teaching, is exhausting. So much more so than attending. I have a new respect for those that I have taken classes from.

So now a new beginning. I have one class under my belt and I look forward to many more in the future. Riding a new wave with promising possibilities.