Monday, December 31, 2012

Not a Resolution List, Really

Ok, so maybe this is more like a personal journal entry, rather than a blog post.  Maybe I should start out with "Dear Diary", but there is something about putting these words out to the world that makes it feel more real.

This isn't a list of resolutions.  This isn't a checklist of things that I want to accomplish in the next year.  What this is, is a list of the things that I would like to shift, change, challenge, and transform in my life.  I would like this to serve as a personal reminder for myself going forward.  A place where I can check in, see where I am, and where I might want to change trajectory.

So with that said, here we go...

  • I will improve how I communicate.  Sometimes I let emails sit too long in my inbox without response.  Sometimes I let voice mails go too long unanswered.  Sometimes I think about reaching out to someone I need/want to communicate with, but come up with a million delay tactics.  I want to return calls, emails, voice mails, etc.  I want to be a better communicator.
  • I will make better food choices.  I don't mean that I will eat right for some sort of physical reason, rather, I want to have a clear understanding of where my food comes from.  I want to make healthy choices for me and my family.  I want to help support the local economy by making smarter purchases.  But I will also be kind to myself when I don't make the best choice.  I will not beat myself up if I go to Taco Bell, order pizza, or make some other lazy meal decision; as long as it is every once and awhile and not once a week.
  • I will release grudges.  It is time to let go of the hurt that I keep inflicting on myself.  If this means letting go of relationships that make my feel yucky than so be it.  I will only let people in my life who make me feel loved and supported.  But this doesn't mean that I will just walk away when feeling challenged.  I also want to deepen intimacy and sometimes that can feel scary.  I will be clear when I am feeling scared about growing relationships or when someone is just toxic for me.
  • I will be dedicated to my work, in all its myriad forms.  I am a Priestess and a writer; in that order.  I will not let electronics interfere with my work.  I will not let myself get distracted from taking risks, putting myself out there, and doing the work that fills me up.  I will write the things that I enjoy writing and not just the things that put a few dollars in my pocket.  Ideally, I would like to earn money writing the things that I love to write.
  • I will read more than I watch television; like I used to do.  I want to stop using television and the Internet as a way to escape feelings.
  • I will get outside and experience nature.  I want to get wet at the beach.  I want to breathe fresh air.  I want to feel my connection to the earth and let that fuel my spirituality.  I want to honor the cycle of the moon and share my excitement about these things with others.
So there it is.  The six things that I will do to shift my life this year. I like that it is six things.  Six is a good number.  I think that ultimately, I want to put me first.  I want to only commit to things that make me feel good.  I want to make better choices and enjoy the choices I make.

Blessed Be! )o(

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wait, Nothing Changed?!

The world didn't end.  Am I relieved?  Well, yes, but I am also disappointed and I will tell you why.

On Thursday, December 20th, I spent the day looking at the world as if it might be the last time I ever saw it.  I held gratefulness in my heart for running water, central heat, and electricity.  I looked at the people driving in cars and felt overcome with emotion.  I went to a restaurant for breakfast, thinking that it might be the last time I got such a simple and amazing treat in my life.  I walked through the world marveling at how simple, easy, and smooth life is for me living in California.

Before I went to bed, I set my alarm for 3 o'clock in the morning.  That was exactly eleven minutes short of the actual Solstice.  (I wanted to be awake if anything happened.)  But as we all now know, nothing happened.  Instead of the power going out, an asteroid hitting the planet, or aliens taking over; I said I prayer for peace on earth and real positive change and then went back to sleep.  I repeated this prayer at the moment of sunrise with my daughter.

There was (and is) a part of me that felt really sad about 'nothing happening', but it has led to some rather startling realizations about myself.  Of course, anytime I have a startling realization, there is some twisted part of me that feels the need to share it with the world; hence this blog.

Now that the world is moving on as it always has, I've been thinking what now.  And I've been thinking about the plans and commitments that I've made moving into 2013.  And here is what I have discovered....

Somewhere inside of me, I really believed that *something* was going to change.  Something obvious.  I've put everything in my life into a kind of holding pattern, because I figured that I wouldn't have to worry about certain things moving past the Winter Solstice of this year anyway.

What is sad, and scary, is that this belief was so ingrained, I didn't even realize that it was there.  Consciously I didn't realize that I was holding myself back in so many places.  I didn't realize that I was choosing not to do things in order to wait and see how things turned out.  I have kept myself in a half frozen existence.  Somewhere deep inside my noggin, I was forcing myself to hold back and rest up because I believed that all those creature comforts would be gone.

Now I have to face the fact that nothing happening.  Nothing.  Life is moving forward in exactly the same way that it has my entire life.  And as much as I want to feel happy about that, it is a difficult pill to swallow.

Here is how things have changed....Now I have to face reality.  I have to do the hard work of owning up to my addictions.  I have to look at how I've let myself fail.  I have to stop using my creativity to make excuses for not being creative.  I have to release the hold that I've placed on myself and actually step into action.

There is nothing scarier than that...

Friday, December 7, 2012

The End of the World

As we rapidly approach the supposed end date of the Mayan calendar I find myself vacillating between two things.  On the one hand, I feel much like I did about the whole Y2K drama.  Basically; *yawn*; this is silly, nothing is going to happen, anyone who thinks so is nutty.  And on the other hand, I find myself thinking; OMG WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE!  Actually that's not true, I've not considered the fact that I could die.  Instead, I am finding myself focused on the possibility of a severe lack of the creature comforts that I have known my whole life.

And when I dig down a little deeper I am able to determine what it is I am really afraid of: people.

All of the history that I have ever been taught is filled with stories of conquering, fighting, war, taking land, and flat out aggression.  All of the history, filling textbook pages, is the writing of one society conquering another.  Hitory is told from the vantage point of the victor.  Where are the stories of peace, community, and co-creation?

This leaves me asking myself; what is in the true heart of people?  Deep down are humans solely looking for more power?  Are we williing to take what we want no matter what?  Are people just wired to be aggressive?

These questions hurt my heart.

I want to believe that if the world, as we know it, falls apart, we would band together as members of humanity and change the way we deal with each other.  I want to believe that deep down people are good and want to see others survive and thrive.  I want to believe that if the world as I know it ends, my neighborhood would band together, help each other, and find a way to create a new and better world.

So although the thought of no running water, no central heating, and no Internet bums me out; what I am really worried about is fear of scarcity, aggression, isolation; and what this would do to people's reactions.  These are my real concerns, real worries, and they go well beyond the looming date of December 21st, 2012.  I know that I can't trust the infrastructure of the world that I am used to, but can I trust the people?

Every single day I pray that I can.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Just Call Me Baldy - My (Not So) Private Battle with Hair Loss

This is a blog post that I have been thinking about writing for some time now.  There is so much I want to say and I don't really know where to start.  This is a highly emotional subject for me and I also find it really embarrassing, which is probably why I have taken so long to start writing it out.

I have been on a journey of medical self discovery for over a year, and it feels like a long story to tell.  I already started to write about the beginning of my journey when I blogged about PCOS.  Since first being told I have PCOS, I have done a lot of investigating.  Unfortunately, my body has continued to change and do things that I don't really like.  Which brings me to the subject constantly running around in, or maybe on, my head (pun intended) loss.

Yes, by some ugly twist of fate, I seem to be losing my hair.  Like, not a few strands here and there, like seriously, it's leaving and not coming back.

I noticed the beginnings of hair loss a couple of years ago.  I didn't really think anything of it.  My braid seemed a little slimmer than it had been in the past, whatever.  Then last year I started to freak out because the hair loss seemed to be happening more than "just a little bit".  I knew that hair loss could be connected to PCOS, so I started a regimen of herbs and supplements to try and get my hormones in order.

Nothing changed.

It got to a point where all I could think about was my hair loss.  I was having terrible dreams about going bald.  I would (and do) stand in front of the mirror every night staring at my scalp as if I would be able to discern some secret message hidden in my hairline.  I was constantly complaining, worrying, and stressing over it.  (Let's get real here, I am writing like this is past tense, but it totally isn't.  Just writing this is proof that I am still totally worried, stressed, obsessed, and freaked.)

My partner (who has been very supportive), and probably most of my friends, must be really sick of me talking about it all of the time; cause I do....all. the. time.

I kept researching, PCOS, hair loss, thyroid disorders, and so on.  There are actually many reasons that women lose hair.  Some reasons are connected to issues with diet, stress, and rapid changes in weight.  Well, I lost thirty pounds this past year, so I was hoping that the hair loss was connected to one of these simple issues and not something else.

It is believed that anywhere from thirty to fifty percent of women lose their hair.  Most often this happens when women are in their fifties or sixties, but it can happen at any time and at any age.

Most people lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair per day and on days when the hair is washed the number can be as high as 200 plus.  I haven't started counting the stands as they fall out, but let me assure you, I haven't been losing any more hair than what I would consider 'normal'.  The hair isn't falling out more quickly, it just isn't growing back.  What's more, the individual strands that are growing back are much thinner.  *Sigh*

There are some serious medical issues that can cause hair loss; thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, PCOS, high lead levels, and other hormonal imbalances, just to name a few.  Unlike men, women tend to lose hair in the front half of the scalp or in the middle.  Women typically don't get a receding hairline. 

Armed with this information, I went to a new doctor who isn't convinced that I have PCOS, she thinks that I have endometriosis.  Yay me!  (Note the sarcasm.)  Basically two different reproductive issues that are hard to prove and you can do nothing for.  (Two great flavors that go great together. *wink*)

Doctor number two sent me for a barrage of blood tests and guess what?  All the things that can be tested are in their normal range.  There is nothing 'wrong' with me, oh except I am losing my hair and I have chronically painful menstrual cycles.  "But don't worry, we can take care of your menstrual pain with drugs.  As far as the hair loss goes, well, thirty percent of women lose their hair, you can always try Rogaine." Said my doctor.  Bang, boom, crush went my heart. 

Let me say this.  I don't have a terrible fatal disease.  I know that I am really lucky that all my tests came back normal.  I know that I could have it a lot worse.  I KNOW that, but in the back of my mind, I feel like if something was officially 'wrong' with me than something could officially be 'fixed'.

Feeling utterly deflated by western medicine, I went to see an acupuncturist.  She tells me that endometriosis is totally treatable and she can help me; the hair loss, she's not so sure about.  Since I have been watching this so closely for so long I literally cannot tell if my hair is still falling out.  I can't tell if it is getting worse, but I know that it isn't getting better.

Dermatologist, Wendy Roberts, says that up to fifty percent of women will lose their hair; fifty percent!  So why was this something I didn't know?  How come I never heard about this before?  Why I am I so scared, embarrassed, and feeling so isolated about it?  Why aren't more women talking about this?  Is this just another part of aging that we try and hide, cover up, and pretend isn't happening?

Throughout all of this I have started to notice other women who are losing their hair or have thinning hair.  There are a lot of us out there.  Most of these women are older than me, but still.  Now that I am looking, I see my balding sisters everywhere.  In some ways it makes me feel better and in some ways it makes me feel worse.

Is wig wearing in my future?  Perhaps.  I guess it's a good thing I love drag queens so much and have paid attention to their fashions tips.  But in the meantime I did breakdown and get Rogaine for women.  It's been about a week now.  It can take up to four months to see if it will work and if it does, I will have to use it for the rest of my life.  Nothing like a little vanity to make me feel crappy.

So why am I writing about this on my Pagan blog?  Well, this is part of my process.  It is part of my work.  It is part of my own personal 'fire in the head' Shamanic transformation of sorts.  And it is a way for me to release, to let go, to stop feeling guilt for my vanity.  Because that is part of it too, guilt for being so vain and worrying about something so trivial.

For now no one can tell that my hair is so thin, except for people who have known me a really long time.  Who knows if that will be true in the future.  All I know is it makes me sad for so many more reasons than I can express.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Five G's

Poster from
Good, God(dess), Girl, Get a Grip.  These are The Five G's as taught to me by the fierce drag queen Latrice Royale contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race.  And yes, I realize that this is not the first time that I have blogged about drag queens, and trust me honey, it won't be the last.

The Five G's are just one of Latrice's many founts of wisdom, but this one is a powerful Pagan affirmation.  When she talks about this phrase it holds two meanings: One - get your shit together and calm down, and Two - cut the drama.  Of course, I have modified the saying from God to Goddess, but use it at your discretion.  As always, your mileage may vary.

The reason The Five G's are so powerful, is because sometimes I just need a quick verbal slap upside my head.  Some days I get dragged down in the mire and crap that can fill our thoughts.  Some times it seems that everyone on Facebook is posting only the most horrible, sad, terrifying, and upsetting stuff possible.  Some days anything, and everything, other people do pisses me off.  Some days it just isn't worth chewing through the straps of the straight jacket, know what I mean?

On those days, when I am letting the yuck of the world invade my space I need a quick reminder, I need an affirmation, I need The Five G's.  Because no matter how many horrible things are happening in the world there are also plenty of good things happening. 

There are people helping each other, people succeeding, people loving, and finding happiness all over the place.  There are people working to save the planet.  There are people lending a helping hand to others.  There are people doing good works in the world.  And the more I can remember that, the more I can follow in those footsteps in my own life.

Life doesn't have to be a constant battle or a march AGAINST something.  Life can be a cooperative exchange where we work FOR something together.

This is what I learned from a drag queen.  Ain't life grand?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Feeling Shame and How That is Magick

I am in the process of some deep and transformational personal magickal work.  In this process I am looking at different ways that I perceive myself and the world around me.  I am looking at my relationships, my connections, and my triggers.

In the last few months I posted a blog that had some typos in it.  (Its not the first time that I have done it and I'm sure it won't be the last.)  But someone pointed them out.  It was done in a way that could have been considered playful or it could have been considered snarky, but whatever the intention, it sent me down a shame spiral.

I didn't realize that was what had happened, until today, actually.

Yes, publicly pointing out my mistake to the world caused me to feel some serious embarrassment, but connecting that to shame didn't flood my awareness until today when I was walking to a wise witch I am lucky enough to call a friend.  She asked me one simple question, "What would happen when you were a child and did something wrong?"

My first response was, "Well, nothing".  My mom was, and is, a loving and caring parent.  She always wanted the best for me and supported me in all of my endeavors.  But then I remembered the times where she lost her patience with me.  Like if I broke something that was important to her or if I spilled something on the clean carpet.  There were times when my mom lost her cool (mom do that).  During these times she would occasionally say things out of anger or frustration.  These altercations often left me feeling stupid and ashamed.

It's one thing to do something and feel shameful about it on my own, but when someone else points out the mistake, or there are witnesses to that shaming (like my little sister), the pain it can cause goes much deeper than what I could ever inflict on myself.

This was a powerful acknowledgement for me.

So, what does this have to do with Paganism?  Well, everything.

Part of my daily practice right now is running the Iron Pentacle through my body.  Each of the Iron Pentacle points has a "rusted" side.  The rust comes in to play when you are deflated in that energy center.  The rust of the Pride point is shame.  When not im right relationship with Pride it can manifest in your life as shame. 

Dude, this realization hit me like a truck.

The Pride point is the point of the Iron Pentacle that I have the most struggle with.  It is the most charged for me.  It often feels the most deflated.  It is the most difficult point for me to bring into its right size.  I am so concerned with the possibility of that point shifting into an inflated state of arrogance that I don't let myself feel what it is to have right Pride in who I am and what I do.

What I have come to discover is that I am not alone in this struggle.  Feeling shame is rampant in our culture.  Not have right sized Pride is rampant too.  And publicly shaming others might have an intention of fun snark and silliness, but it is actually much more insidious than that. 

So, I invite you (as I am inviting myself) to look at those moments where you are feeling shame, or shamed.  How is this connected to your Pride.  Where is the root of this shame and how can you shift from shame to Pride and be right-sized in your power.

Life is totally amazing, no?


Friday, March 9, 2012

E is for Evil, Which I Am

No this blog isn't exactly about Paganism, and yet it is.  Because, you see, I have many traits that have been considered evil. (Cue maniacal laughter.)

Back in the days of the Witch Trials and Inquisition there were specific tests that were done to determine if you were in fact E-Vil - Like the Fru-its of the Dev-il....  These tests turned into superstitions, many of which (no pun intended) continue to have energy today.

Here are some of those markers:
Weight Test - If an accused witch was weighed against a metal bound bible and was found to weight more.  She was guilty of Witchcraft.
Dark Marks - The accused would have her naked body scoured over, if any strange birthmarks were found, this was often considered a sign of her being in league with Satan.  Especially if there was a mark on the back of the neck.
Black Cats as Pets - Having a black cat was a clear sign of having a demonic familiar and therefore, being in league with the devil.
Lefty - Writing with the left hand was considered a sign of demonic possession.
Red Hair - People with red hair were considered more likely to fall prey to the devil and should not be trusted.

The reason that I am bringing this up, is because I actually fall into all of these categories above.  Yes, I weigh more than the bible.  Yes, I have several birthmarks and one on the back of my neck.  Yes, I have a black cat.  Yes, I am left handed.  Yes, I have red hair.

I don't think that it is a secret that I have rather enjoyed assigning these "evil" traits to myself.  I relish that in some circles of the world people would automatically assign me as a demonic minion.  Since discovering Witchcraft I have many times enjoyed the shock factor of telling people that I am a Witch.

I guess I am writing about this because the more that people believe in something the more power it has.  I don't believe that I am evil anymore than I believe drowning a woman will prove her innocence, but assigning this energy to myself has helped to shape who I am.  And I like the thought of people perceiving me as evil.

I find it silly, but then again, as I have already said the more people believe something the more power it has.  So does that make me evil?

These are the things I am pondering this week.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Danger is My Middle Name

I got my first deck of tarot cards when I was about sixteen.  I still have them, although I rarely use them for readings anymore.  They are the Rider-Waite deck, nothing fancy, a classic really....but I digress.

When I first got the cards I did readings all the time.  I did readings at school, during classes, at my job at Subway.  I did readings for my little sister and for myself.  But the first time my mom saw the cards she wasn't happy about it.  She said that she didn't like me messing around with 'that stuff'.  Those words planted a seed in my mind that what I was messing about with could actually be (cue dramatic music) dangerous.....

There have been times along the path where books, teachers, and friends have talked about some part of the Craft being dangerous.  (And yes, I have seen someone have a psychotic break, not pretty.)  But did that really come from dabbling in magick or was it something that was going to happen to them anyway?

I have seen and experienced things that have blown my mind, shifted my beliefs, changed the way I look at the world, left me shocked and amazing, left me without logical explanation, and given me the heebie-jeebies, but never have I, ever, felt like I was in danger.

This has led me to thinking about the dangers of the Craft.  Are there really any?

If I am totally honest it kinda excites me.  I mean, if there wasn't something spooky and potentially dangerous out there, maybe I wouldn't be as into all of this as much as I am.

That afternoon, when my mom told me not to mess with things I didn't understand, she didn't scare me away.  Instead her words filled me with a desire to understand more.  It encouraged me to want to learn as much as I could and continue to dive into the things that scared me, both out there in the world and hiding in my own inner shadows.

Overall I suppose that is a good thing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Wedding at Pantheacon

Since I have nothing to add to the gender debate that hasn't already been said, I am going to talk about something else that happened at Pantheacon.  In fact, this is probably something that most people don't even know about.

You see....Saturday night while I was busy shaking my buns at the drum circle, there was a wedding reception happening downstairs at Club Max.  The (very young) happy couple were having fun and getting extremely intoxicated; as were their wedding party.  There were several young men randomly wondering around the Pantheacon scheduled events.

One of these men was waiting in line right behind me at the 9 o'clock time slot.  He was asking other P-con goers how he could "get into this party".  He was going down the line soliciting hugs and stumbling around from room to room.  An hour later he was upstairs and eventually he was escorted out by hotel security.  (Not quick enough in my mind...but whatever.)

I figured this would be my only encounter with the strangest wedding party ever, but noooooo, I was treated to much more.

As my group of friends and I were leaving the drum circle the inebriated Bride and Groom (plus several members of their bridal party) were leaving Club Max.  The Groom stopped us in the lobby.  He was very concerned for our well-being, almost to the point of anger.

He wanted to let us know that Jesus loved us.  He started to get insistent, as if it was his mission in life to convert us heathens and show us the path to God.  I am not a fan of confrontation, so I kept on walking, but the Groom started to corner the people in my group and he started to get a little 'handsy'.  As his insistence increased, his beautiful new wife started to loudly ask us drunken questions like, "are you all fags?"  (Nothing prettier than a beautiful young woman in a gorgeous white dress yelling "fag" across the lobby of a hotel.)

I was nervous and more than a little worried that these messy drunks might escalate things to an ugly place.  I wanted to keep moving and get away from them, but they weren't making that easy.  Finally my partner said, "I know Jesus loves me and I love Jesus too".

The energy shifted.  The Groom was relieved and wanted to hug us.  Suddenly we were part of his brotherhood again.  We were acceptable and everything he thought about us a few minutes earlier was out the window.

Sometimes I forget that other people aren't as lucky as I am with being out of the broom closet.  I live in a place where people are mostly accepting and open minded.  I never expected to run into something like that at Pantheacon of all places.  It was so late at night that I felt vulnerable.  My group of five friends were up against an inebriated group of six or seven.  It easily could have been ugly.  And yet, the power of Jesus shifted everything.

Even thinking about this now, several days later, I am struck by how sad, scared, and angry the whole situation made me.  I was really mad when we got back to our hotel room.  I almost wished that I had picked a fight.  They were so ready to come at us with anger and righteousness when we were the "wrong ones", but when they learned we were on the same side, suddenly it was all okay?  Uh, no, I don't think so.

Now that I think about it, there are actually a lot of parallels between this situation and the gender debates.

Lucky for me I had a chance, later in the weekend, to let go of what they said and my anger towards them.  I wish the couple all the best in their new marriage.  I hope they have a long and happy life together and that they truly use the teaching of Jesus as their guide.

Friday, February 17, 2012


This has been quite the year so far when it comes to loss.  I'm not sure how much this blog is going to relate to Paganism in general, but it is what it up for me so there you go and that's what you get...

There have been several deaths in my life so far this year and just yesterday brought the loss of my sweet cat Molly.

Molly didn't start out as my cat in this life, but she became my cat.  It's actually a long story on how she came to live with me, but it isn't worth going into all the details.  I'll just say that when my partner and I moved in together, she came along shortly after.  Molly was born on my partner's lap five or six years earlier.

It became clear to me, rather quickly, that Molly was a special cat.  She was a healer.  Anytime someone was sick she would go and lay with them.  My daughter was sick a lot when she was little and anytime she was under the weather, Molly would find a way to be with her, lay next to her, and help her to feel better.

This was a behavior she repeated over and over again.

She was also a kitten.  I mean, when she became a part of my life she was five or six, but she always seemed like a kitten.  Not that she was a small cat.  She wasn't.  She was huge, fluffy, and black.  But there was something young and spry about her energy.

Sitting with her at the vet's office yesterday as she struggled to breathe was difficult.  Her energy was diminished and she seemed like a different cat.  After she was gone I didn't want to leave her body there.  I was worried that she would be lonely.  Even though intellectually I knew that she really wasn't there anymore.

Pagans hold death so differently than most other people.  There is an acknowledgment of sadness and the loss and yet, there is also an understanding that this is what happens.  I get that although her body is no longer alive, her energy has gone somewhere.

I feel like I should be okay with death, but I'm not really sure what that means.  I've lost pets, family members, friends, and community member in the past two months.  It's been hard, and yet, until Molly, none of the losses felt real.  I have yet to experience the loss of a human that is close to me.  I wonder how different it will feel and how I will handle it.

Okay, this post is starting to feel a little rant-y and lost....I don't think I even know how to say what I want to say.  I'm just looking at life very differently this morning.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Costumes The Magickal Art of Dress Up

**Disclaimer:  There are many DORKY pictures of me attached to this post. XO

I am a big fan of dressing up for ritual.  There is something totally amazing about what a little dramatic clothing and make-up can do to shut down the incessant chatter of the monkey mind.  Plus, I love the drama and the excitement of dressing up and changing my outward appearance to shift my inner self.

I know that many magickal traditions don't use any tools, and work skyclad, as a way to be totally unencumbered to the natural flow of energy.  Logically, I get this.  It totally makes sense; and yet it doesn't work for me.

Maybe my inner 12 year old is more active than other people's (or maybe I am too influenced by societal "norms"), but I am often distracted during skyclad rituals.  The human body is an amazing and beautiful structure.  During skyclad rituals I am frequently preoccupied because I am taking an interest in, finding an attraction to, and sometimes even experiencing a surprise by, all of the various shapes and forms that the human body can inhabit.

With costuming and make-up, you have the ability to transform your outer self into whatever you want your energy to come into alignment with. I find this especially helpful when working with Deity.  If I want to work with aspecting (often called possession or Invocation in other traditions), making my physical form look as much as that Deity as possible, helps to shift my mindset.

Plus, certain costuming items can start to hold specific energies after using them enough times, (just like any other magickal tool).  Slipping into my black cloak automatically shifts my energy into a focused magickal space.

For me, it is a way to trick my Thinking Self and engage with my Younger Self.

Plus, it's just plain fun.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Change - Can Your Relationships Survive?

I've recently been through a break up of sorts.  My longest held non-familial relationship is going through a serious rough patch.  What I mean is that my BFF (let's call her the Queen of Hearts or QoH for short) broke up with me.

Me and QoH have a long, silly, interesting, smart, creative, and often challenging relationship.  We became friends my sophomore year of high school.  We became friends in French class, after I got dumped by my first love.  QoH didn't really like me at first, but somehow we got past all of that.

In the 18 (holy cow!) years that we have been friends there have been times when we see each other every weekend and there have been times when we hardly talk for a year.  We've grown apart more than once, but somehow we've always managed to come back together. I could go into detail here, but really what is important is many times life took us in different directions. 

So, what's the point?  And, more importantly, what does this have to do with Paganism?  Hang on, I'm getting there.

I attended my first public ritual in 1995 with QoH.  In my beginning years of witchcraft we played at magick together.  We read rituals out of books and did little spells in her parent's living room.  We read tarot and dreamed of magick being more like the movies (well, maybe that was just me).  Over time my interest in Paganism deepened, while her's fizzled.

No biggie.

But in the last couple of years it has become a biggie.  Our lives have taken us in completely different directions again.  Although I feel that we still have a lot in common and we have a long history of love, there are a lot of differences too.

Part of this most recent growing away from each other has been related to me getting deeply involved in my spiritual community.  Because of the connections that I am making, some of my more mundane relationships have suffered.  In my search for spiritual community, I lost some of my personal community; the people who love me as Dani and don't know Phoenix.

I love my spiritual community and I am happy with the commitments that I have made to it.  Changes are going to happen and there is nothing that we can do to stop that, but life is all about balance.  I am okay with the two of us coming together and playing catch up because we are living different lives.  That actually feels really good to me, like coming home.  But it wasn't good for her.  She still needed the relationship that we used to have, the me that I used to be.

QoH isn't the same QoH that she used to be either, just like Phoenix isn't Dani anymore.  I get it in my head, but it doesn't change how yucky it feels in my heart.  I don't really know what the answer is on this one.

But I do know that going forward I will use all the lessons that we learned together on how to be friends.  I hope that we grow towards each other again, but I understand that might not happen.  And I know that the foundation we built together will continue to support the new relationships that will come into my life.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Beloved Dead a Love Story - Sort Of

On Sunday I went to a memorial service for a friend who passed over.  I've only been to a few funeral/memorial services in my life and for some reason this one was really frustrating.

On one hand it was great, but on the other hand I wanted to tell everyone else that they were going about this all wrong!

My friend was a beautiful, vibrant, spiritual woman just shy of 80 years old.  She loved life and she made connections with people everywhere she went.  She understood that life was about love and truly touched everyone who ever met her.  As we sat there in this funeral home, I felt like we were doing her spirit a disservice.

Instead of sitting in this bland, dull, boring mortuary space, we should have been somewhere lush and beautiful.  We should have spent our time honoring her in a place that honored her spirit.  Instead of playing watered down versions of her favorite songs, we should have been playing Nat King Cole and dancing; like her daughter said she loved to do.  We should have been celebrating her vibrant life and sharing stories that brought tears, laughter, and memories of her bright inner spirit.

I know that everyone needs to grieve in their own way, but this didn't feel like a service to honor the woman that I knew.

The good news is that what is remembered lives and it was clear that everyone in that room knew her the same way that I did.  Her vibrancy, light, and love of life will be carried on.  For that I am grateful.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Boredom The Art of Transformation

I primarily practice in the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft, which is considered to be an ecstatic tradition.  This means that our rituals have a lot of singing, dancing, and intense experiences in them.  I love this about my tradition.  It is alive, exciting, and juicy.  But there is also something to be said for boredom and in an ecstatic tradition this can get overlooked.

I have heard plenty of ritual feedback over the years where I was told, "that one part of the ritual was boring".  Waaahh!  (I don't mean to be snarky, okay, maybe I do, a little bit.)  As ritual goers and participants sometimes we can get caught up in the flair and the drama.  Sometimes we can miss the point of the inner work because we are waiting for the moment when the fireworks go off.

Guess what people?  In life, fireworks don't always go off.

If there is one thing that some of the other non-mainstream religious practices can teach us, is that the ecstatic can often be found right on the other side of that boredom.  We are so used to going at the speed of light; checking our email, catching up on Facebook every ten minutes, and tweeting our hearts out, that if we don't have flashing, lightening, and high intensity we feel like we are missing out.

The truth is, just beyond that place of being bored and distracted is a place of powerful transformation and transcendence.  Sometimes all you need to do is sit with that boredom to experience something more powerful than even the most dramatic fireworks show could ever offer.

It sounds crazy, I know this.  But life is paradox and this is just another example of it.

So, the next time you are at a "boring ritual", I challenge you to keep at it and see what is waiting for you on the other side.  It might just blow your mind.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Avalon or My Secret Obsession

I'm not really sure when my relationship with Morgan LeFae started, but it has been a long and mysterious journey.  In my late teens she tapped my shoulder and took me under her mantle.  For many years I heard the whispering of the Fae ones, not really understanding what that meant or even what was happening.

Because of my connection to Her I was introduced to the Mists of Avalon, (I mean c'mon what Pagan girl doesn't love that book?)  When I lived along the Russian River I read each and every book that Marion Zimmer Bradley had written connected to the Holy Isle and the Priestesses that were a part of it.

I dreamed of walking up the Tor.  I wished to walk on the holy grounds where I felt my spiritual ancestors would have called home.  I was desperate to taste the water of the Red and White Springs.  And  luckily I got  my wish...

Several  years after my foray into the fantasy world that Marion Zimmer Bradley had created I found myself on an airplane on my way to England. 

After many magickal discoveries that I was not expecting I finally got the one that I was.  As the bus turned a corner and revealed the valley below I got my first glimpse of the Tor off in the distance and I knew that this was home.  This was the place where I belonged more than any other place in the world.  Once in the town I walked down the narrow streets that all seem to wind their way to the top of this magickal peak and it felt like I had done it a million times.

At the top of the Tor I sat and looked out over the land.  My partner made a joke, asking if I was in the process of calling the mists.  Shortly thereafter the mists started to fill up the valley and I felt as if Morgan herself was welcoming me home.

Every step that I took around the town of Glastonbury felt like I was treading on familiar ground.  There wasn't one place I went where I felt lost, confused, or out of place.  On my last day I felt as if my heart were breaking.  I didn't want to leave.  I wanted to stay there forever.

And now my longing remains.  It has been several years since my trip to England and every single day I have a longing to go back.  I check the weather in Glastonbury often, I pull it up on Google Maps to get a peek at  my homeland, and I look at pictures to remind me of what I am missing.

So yes, it is my secret obsession.  Everyone knows that I want to live there, but the intensity of my longing is something that words cannot express.  I don't live there right now for a lot of reasons, but I know that I will, and in the meantime I love Avalon from a distance and hold Her hand while waiting.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Agreements.  This is a word that gets a lot of use in my spiritual community.  We talk openly about the agreements we have in our romantic relationships.  We share agreements with our magickal circles.  We explore and discuss the agreements that we make with Deity.  All of these things are freely talked about and shared with others..."what are your agreements?"

I might be missing this, but I don't think I've ever heard someone talk about their personal agreements. 

What agreements do you make to yourself?  How do you hold yourself accountable to keeping those agreements?  How do you honor your need, wants, desires, and still push your edges and grow?

This blog is one way that I am answering that question for myself.  This is the first in a weekly, year-long, agreement that I have made.  A series of synchronicities led me to taking on this challenge; which is why I know it's right.  I know that it is going to be hard.  I know that it is going to challenge me and probably annoy and frustrate me at times, but I made the agreement. 

I made the agreement with myself and I intend to keep it.