The Cradle of the Goddess

There are many official Wiccan paths, ranging from Chaos to Georgian to Celtic and many more. And many sets of rules therefore exist for following the Goddess path. There are many Wiccans who chose to remain solitary because it allows greater freedom to experience Spirit on your own terms, and in ways that speak to YOU, and that are not spoken to you by another person-- however enlightened and educated that person may be. To those who do not follow a set tradition of practice, or who welcome practitioners from many traditions to their events and activities, the label of "eclectic" has been given. I can't think of a portion of my life that does NOT fit the term "eclectic;" I know my practice certainly does.

Many Traditions follow the rule of requiring dedicated study of the "Wiccan Tradition" under an ordained Priest or Priestess of the faith for a year-and-a-day, before one can be officially recognized as a Witch. Literally. They count. There are many covens which follow a specific Tradition, and whose traditional path you must adhere to if you are to be one with that coven. But there are many more covens who simply call their Wiccan affiliation "eclectic." This generally means that they work by group consensus, and they work what feels most appropriate for their coven-- regardless of whose tradition they may borrow from or what "rules" of a tradition they may ignore. The one rule that is never ignored is that of "An it Harm None, Do as Ye Will." It isn't about a traditional offshoot within the broad spectrum of Wicca-- it IS Wicca, in some sense. And "harming none" has a broad definition, to include trees, animals, and Gaia herself.

The witches who do not live by this rule do not call themselves Wiccan. Many of these are good people, too. They are simply less hesitant to work with the energy they have available to will that the jerk who cheated them out of $50 lose all his money. Or that the mean person who spray painted hate messages on their local schools get a bad case of tennis elbow (for example)... Revenge is a very dangerous tool. It leads the practitioner to be the wronged party, the judge, and the jury-- all in one. And in such a scenario, perspective and balance are easy to lose.

Anyway-- the reason I got into all of this is that I have definitely not been researching Pagan practice and casting meditation circles for a year and a day. Not yet. But a few nights ago, I had a spontaneous dedication ceremony. The magick involved and the Guidance I received throughout the evening... I don't know how to tell you about the intense feelings of being in the presence of grace, of great appreciation, of receiving a high honor, and of radiant joy I felt... and still feel when I think about that Circle, and the Spirit I encountered within.

There are, traditionally (I use this word when I'm making a generalization, or talking about a format that most of the authors I've read use-- but that isn't a hard-and-fast rule of the practice), several steps to a Dedication Ceremony-- and these differ somewhat from the traditional components of your basic Sacred Circle experience. After the Sacred Time was over and I'd felt the Circle wall dissipate into the air, I began to journal and record my experience-- and I realized that even though I thought I was simply going about my regular Circle-casting, etc... all the components for the Dedication Ceremony had been included in my evening, even if I wasn't intentional about the process. It made me feel better about my understanding of that evening as it unfolded.

I feel a new sense of equilibrium-- of balance-- in my outlook (and my in-look, so to speak). I also feel approval when I call myself a Witch, and a practicing Wiccan Woman. The approval of an action taken that is in harmony with my greater purpose and my intention of right-living. It is appropriate that I call myself by these names now. I don't know everything. I am not a Teacher at this point, and some mysteries are meant to simply be enjoyed for what they are. But I'm learning, and growing, all the time. And I am Dedicated to my Goddess/God in all Her forms. This connection is strong.

As my Guide said within me at the end of my Spirit Ceremony,
Blessings be, child. Blessings Be.

The Beauty of Fertility

So speaking of fertility, I don't really plan to have children. I might change my mind, but for now-- I really like not being responsible for anyone but myself. And I like sleeping in on the days I don't work. And I like not smelling (or touching) someone else's bodily functions because they are in diapers. I like knowing that the folks who visit my home don't take a carrot to the dip, and lick the dip off, and put the carrot back in the dip again. Watch any kid under the age of about seven interact with a veggie tray, if you don't know what I mean.

Anyway, the vitality and the real beauty of fertility struck me right between the eyes yesterday. I was walking through a Garden. It was beautiful. It was magickal. There was reproduction, blooming, birds calling their mates, biology and botany, yin and yang. Here are some of the visions I encountered and stopped to breathe in:

Through the lower branches of this beautiful blooming magnolia, you can see the bright red berries of some sort of holly bush. The ripening of Spring.

This sweet bird spent about ten minutes singing his song over and over, while in the distance, I could hear his mate answering in a slightly different key. He knew I was watching, and it wasn't until I pulled out the camera that he turned away from me. I hope he wasn't offended.

Can you believe how delicate and wild these tree buds are? I can't wait to see the leaves they become! It feels as though a gentle wave of Spring is rolling through the air, and taking the branches of this tree with it.

These baby leaves were so glorious against the background of tall trees and green bushes! You could taste the energy of their laughter and zest for growth in the wind.

This is Trillium, sometimes known as "Wakerobin" for its tendency to bloom early in the Spring. It's wild, and endangered, and very sweet. Native Americans used some forms of Trillium root for medicinal purposes, and the leaves were eaten as salad greens. Unfortunately, Trillium is almost impossible to transplant, and picking the leaves will kill the plant. So please enjoy from a distance, or buy seeds for your own wildflower garden.

The leaves on this beautiful tree were a dusty red, like freckles in the sun. A couple of the leaves are just visible on the right, and a delightful purple flower just made it into the photo on the left. Happy Spring! By the way, March 20-23 was the Spring Equinox. A celebration of the moment when night and day-- light and dark-- are balanced in equal proportions. It is the celebration of the coming Spring, and of creativity at it's most inspired. It is about fertility, and regeneration. It is about Creation.

On April 30th (or May 1 in some traditions), we will celebrate Beltain-- also known as May Day, "Night of the Witches," and Walpurgisnacht. This is a very important time for witches and pagans. We celebrate the fullness of Spring, the fullness of passion. Traditionally, it was the night for young (and old) lovers to tryst in the woods and fields. The ribbons were wrapped round the Maypole in dancing celebration of the Great Rite, great bonfires are lit, and great enjoyment is had by all.

This does not mean that you must have sex to celebrate or participate in this festival. No. Instead, it means you must celebrate your sexuality and your passion-- in whatever form that takes for you. Safely, comfortably, with great enjoyment of your own experience. It could be a fantastic and wildly vibrant painting session in your back-yard studio. It could be a delicious bower of flowers, candles, and chocolate as you take a warm bath in the privacy of your own home. It could be passionate dancing in your favorite club, or a warm and well-loved group of friends laughing the night away under a wreath of colorful ribbons and colorful comments.

Whatever you do, remember... "An it harm none, do as ye will."
Blessings Be.

Force of Nature

So I have ants. I mean- I've successfully overcome 3 assaults on my home by ants intent on finding food and annoying me-- since December. It's the fourth one that got me. This time, they are swarming my baby plant sprouts. Specifically, they seem drawn to the one I dedicated to the Goddess, and that I was really really excited about. The "Renee's Garden" Mini Jack Baby Pumpkin starts, to be exact.

The persistence of the ants has led me to do a bit of meditating on the persistence of life and of life force. How unstoppable it is. How strongly it is connected to the Yin-- the water element that simply goes around any impediments, or wears them down over time, to continue it's original intended course. It appears passive or unintentional-- and yet it is this force which perseveres and overcomes to reach it's original goal time after time. The return of the ants has lead me to wonder what greater message I'm missing here. Particularly since they are focused so specifically on my "Goddess Plant." As much as I feel justified in protecting my home and my sacred spaces from invaders such as ants... they have also received the blessings of the Goddess. In fact, they work primarily at night-- by the light of Her moon! And they have a very strong sense of social responsibility. There are no solitary ants. There is no sense of self-preservation if the good of the whole is at stake.

I picked a pretty earthy green ceramic pot for my plant. Nice'n deep for those baby jack roots. I planted five seeds, as they say you should, if you have enough space around them above ground for the plants to grow into-- and because they might not all come up. I got three valiant little starts. They are already about nine inches long, with lots of pretty leaves reaching REACHING toward the sunlight that comes in through the window where they live. See-- the directions say that you shouldn't plant them (or transplant them outside, anyway) until the weather is staying above 50* all the time. So I've been waiting to take them to their more permanent home on my back patio (I live in an apartment-- 2nd floor! and I have ants!) until the nights weren't quite so chill.

After the third ant invasion about two weeks ago, I stopped spraying peppermint essential oil all over the place because I decided it just wasn't working. Big mistake. What I didn't notice was that I was spraying the windowsills where I'd been seeing the ants the first two times-- and they were no longer on the windowsills. They were now on the ceiling. Taking the most direct route they could find toward my kitchen. I still feel terrible about this-- the third time, I called the pest control guys. And even though the ants keep appearing on the ceiling and the window sills, the spray guy sprayed the baseboards. Apparently, ants have to start at the bottom and work their way up like everyone else.

Well, here we are. Two weeks later, and I've got MORE ANTS than I ever had before. And most of them are congregating on my BABY PUMPKIN PLANTS! My apartment manager tells me that if they are attracted to a plant, and I keep the plant, the ants are no longer the apartment complexes problem. So, I've found a new home for my starts-- with a good friend who will love them, even if she can't protect them from the chilly nights like I've done.

I'd no idea it would be this emotionally wrenching to consider finding a new home for my "Goddess Plant!" I know I'd been daydreaming about how these little sprouts were growing with a combination of sunshine, moonshine, and water I've used in sacred circle rituals... and I know I had plans to harvest the mini pumpkins, dry them, and use them again for All-Hallow's-Eve and Winter Solstice, and maybe even Christmas... but I obviously wasn't looking deeply at this connection I'd made between the life cycle of my plant starts and the greater wheel of days and lives.

I have, however, started spraying everything with peppermint essential oil again. Going on sheer number and speed of the ant invaders this time around-- that stuff was actually doing a VERY good job of keeping the majority of ants at bay! I bought a cheap plastic spray bottle (I recommend using a nice glass one, really)... and put about 5-10 drops of oil in for every 1/2 cup of water it holds. I wasn't messing around. That's one heck of a concentrated spray! To be really effective, you have to respray every few hours, as the oils are not nearly so effective once they dry. And remember that ants can just as easily go up and around, or down and around... so make a complete circle around whatever you are trying to protect.

And put all your foods into closed containers. If cold air won't hurt it, consider putting food you wouldn't normally keep in the fridge-- in the fridge. I'm keeping my cutting boards there for a while as well, actually. I'm even considering putting my nice beeswax candles in the fridge! There's not much in my home that can match the pure beeswax candles for sweetness. And what I have are most likely the same sugar ants that started looking here for sweet things three months ago. ...the number 3 sure has come up a lot with these guys... in fact, all the numbers connected to the situation (that I've kept track of) seem to be related to the Goddess in some way... Well, something more to ponder in my next meditation.



So I realized a day or two ago that although I am excited to share Wicca with the world, and especially with OTHER WITCHES AND PAGANS... I am not experienced enough to be a teacher. I suspect that teaching others, and helping others find themselves, was my hidden motivation for starting this blog. And it's not the right thing for me to try and do just yet.

So instead, I'm hoping to share the resources I've found, as I sorta started to do already... and let you find your own excellent teacher/facilitator/wisewoman. I'm still looking for mine. I know she'll be there when I'm ready... and I know that before she appears, I really have to work on keeping my eyes open for opportunity. I've run into two wonderful wisemen so far already-- and had other things on my agenda at the time-- and rushed away from each of them. Of course, as soon as I left, I realized my mistake... have you ever noticed it is much easier to move forward with new knowledge than it is to take your new knowledge into the past, and try again at something you already left behind ungraciously? I'm working on it.

I'm so glad to wake up each morning and have the opportunity to be better than I was the day before. And I'm glad that truly wise women know that we are all in the process called learning, and that the best learning often comes from the biggest mistakes. Just ask me about my divorce sometime! Talk about life-changing. But that's another story... or at least, another blog. We all share the same story, really, I think. We just each get to share our unique perspective of the story as it happens. And as perspective changes, so do worlds.

Blessed Be.



Well, I started my research online, because the internet is the tool I'm most familiar with. I learned that as much information as there IS on the web about the neopagan community, and about the many different branches of the Wiccan Faith, the best and most helpful information just at first, was what I found in books.

Now that I have a basic understanding, I am forever searching for some arcane bit of knowledge or a website that offers just the right information about ordering food-safe cauldrons or who to contact about participating in the next big holyday or what THIS representation of the Goddess is known for.

So-- a few places to start. I'm giving you the websites first, because you're probably as impatient as I am, and the library or the local bookstore might be closed.

*Celtic Wicca Index of Information (and store)
*Z.Budapest's Website
*The Witche's Voice Newsletter

Now, having learned just enough to know I needed to learn more before I could really get started with anything, I found a couple of VERY useful books-- for me. You may find that locating the "Pagan Religions" section of your local bookstore or library is the best way to figure out what you are interested in learning about. You may relate strongly to some non-Wiccan pagan religion, and therefore need to read a book I haven't really noticed.

*Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshipers and Other Pagans in America; by Margot Adler
This woman did wonderful original research on existing Pagan communities in America. She was allowed to participate in some of their Sacred Circles, and she has read most of the literature that is or was out there about each facet of Pagan Religion to date. This book is a GREAT way to really understand all the different forms of Pagan worship out there, what they are called, what they believe, how they worship, and the meaning behind the words we all use.

Now, being a scholar, I read all the prefaces and introductions before I got around to reading chapter one. They are dry in places, and a bit repetitive. But they definitely helped me understand the way in which she wrote the rest of the book, and gave me great insight into WHY she wrote the book. Basically, Drawing Down The Moon was originally written in 1979, based on a survey Margot Adler did at the time. You want a copy of the revised edition-- published sometime after 2005. She has done another survey and a complete re-researching of Pagan religions in America TODAY-- and has included both her original observations (take it as historical background on your potential religion), her new research, and her comments on the difference between the two. And there are tons of resources in the back of the book.

*Simple Wicca; by Michele Morgan
This book really does lay out the holydays, the meaning of words, the most common tools and symbols and rituals of the religion, and gives you some sense of the way magick is practiced. As I was first starting out, I found it unbelievably helpful to have someone tell me WHAT THEY DO, and WHY! And not just give spells and throw terminology around and assume you understand what a mixed-gender Dianic Wiccan would and would not believe (for example). However, this is just one person, and just one way of being Wiccan. There are all kinds of Wiccans, styles, beliefs, spells, and guidelines, and she only presents the ones SHE uses. They may not all be right for you. Take what resonates, and keep searching for more.

*The Chalice & The Blade; by Riane Eisler
This book looks at the archaeological records of what existed before Jewish and Christian Faiths were born-- before Christ was born, before the year 1 A.D. And it talks about how life, learning, and worship may have been. You see, Goddess-worship has existed for many thousands of years in many different parts of the world. In fact, considering that written historical records have been found in archaeological digs and anthropological studies up to and more than 8,000 before the coming of Christ, it's rather ironic that we call everything before the year 1 in our calendar (based on the coming of Christ-- A.D. stands for more or less "After Death) "PRE HISTORY." That the most meaningful way our whole society can date such events is "B.C"-- basically, "Before Christ." Many Pagans today use C.E. and B.C.E. (before common era) for this very reason. Their histories are not ruled by a god that has only been in existence for 2,000 years.

Well, that's a lot to get through all at once. I'll sign off and get some other work done while I still have hours left in the day. May the falling rain cleanse your skin, nourish your body, and inspire your soul.
Blessed Be.

The Decisions I Make/ The Actions I Take

I do say Goddess, and I see Her as a woman... but I also honor the Horned God, Her consort. He is eternal. In my vision, he has deer antlers, a leather hide covers his head, shoulders and back. He holds the essence of Fatherhood, of Forest, of Animal and of Protection. He overlaps with the Goddess on many of these in my mind. With all, he has a place in my energy, too, and in the great circle that is birth, growth, death, decay, regeneration... You see... in my resonance with the Spiritual Path, there is one great Energy around and in us-- we are all one in that sense-- and the Goddess/God is one. One. We do not "connect with" something outside of ourselves-- we ARE CONNECTION-- because our energy is Her energy. It is up to us to make good use of it.

I see this belief echoed over and over in many religions today. That there is One, that there is Energy, and that feeling that energy within ourselves is our way of having a relationship with that One. Most religions also seem to believe that creating or recreating ritual actions-- ritual songs, ritual books, ritual ceremonies-- is the best way to enhance that relationship. There are many many variations, many ways and words to describe the energy, the relationship, the feeling of connection with something so much greater than just me or just you... Many names for the One... Even many people who can talk scientifically about Energy, and feel it, acknowledge it even where science has not yet proven it to be-- without ever feeling that any GREAT ONE exists. Myself, I am far more comfortable with the idea of Energy than the idea of Magic. I've seen some Pagans differentiate between fake hocus-pocus, and Spirit-Energy by spelling the word, "magick," and sometimes I do the same. Developing the language of my conversation with the Goddess.

One of my favorite aspects of Paganism-- especially the NeoPagan Movement here in America-- is that the vast majority of Pagan Paths all have great respect for the right of each other person to practice their own belief and forge their own rituals of connection with their One or their Energy or their Spirit Guide. True freedom of religion. That level of acceptance-- and the fact that there is still a feeling of community among all these individuals... that really resonates with me.

(Bear in mind that forcing your beliefs, expectations, or your demands, on others in the name of your religion is wrong. In fact, connection and acceptance -- true acceptance-- of a spiritual path CANNOT be forced. Undertaken in those conditions, it will be only a way of "keeping up with the Joneses" --brittle, fake, and for the sake of appearance, so that those so forced might somehow be accepted by their oppressors. I've seen lots of teenage girls haunting the magick shops, trying to find acceptance by wearing the "right clothes" or looking "enough" like they think they "should" to be convincing in the role of Witch. That's just not how it works.)

There are a very few firm statements I hold with so far in my research and my Journey, and even these have had contradictions in my experience of life as we live it:

-The Rede: An' It Harm None, Do As Ye Will
-The Rule of Three: karma-- your actions will come back at you three-fold.
-Meditate on Abundance (You won't find this directive in any well-known guide book or rule book about religion or paganism or even Wicca... It's mine. But you can add it to your way of life if you want. Visualizing what is deeply important to you and what is good in your understanding and your way of life is a great way to generate the energy you need to make it happen, I believe. Of course, you are free to disagree with me, so long as you don't hurt anyone in the process.)

And yet, I read a personal story from a Cottage Witch who acted to protect her children and her neighborhood from a masked stalker. She did this by calling on the great Energy of the Goddess in her protective form to return the stalker's bad actions back on him. She willed him to find no hiding place, no haven, and no pleasure for his bad actions toward others from that time on, until his own karma forced him to stop these bad things. From that day on, he was seen, confronted, and chased away every where he went. She believes that her spell worked, and so do I. And I honor her action. For all that the protective energy she deployed could easily harm this man, and that he did not agree to the magick that she laid on him... I believe she acted within the intent of the Rede. I believe that she called on the forces of karma, and did not work for revenge or for harm on another human being. And I know there are many who would disagree with me on this. But I have also found many who would (or did) do the same.

This brings me to the topic of personal responsibility. I was hoping this post would be a bit shorter than the first few, but apparently not. Hold onto your patience with BOTH HANDS, friend.

I have felt, and do feel, that each person is individually responsible for their actions, or lack thereof. So when guys got drunk at school parties, and did or said bad things-- yeah, they were drunk. But that doesn't absolve them of blame. I believe they are still responsible for what they did because THEY DID IT-- and because THEY CHOSE TO DRINK themselves to a state where they COULD do it. And if I say something hurtful about someone, and they are hurt by hearing it-- even if they heard it because I trusted someone to keep it a secret and THEY TOLD-- I am still responsible for hurting that person because I SAID IT. Personal responsibility.

Another example-- right now, I should be doing homework. In fact, I should have been doing homework for a good eight or ten hours now. I don't have a lot of wiggle room in my Masters Degree program as it is, grade-wise. But I have to take responsibility for the fact that I decided sharing my spiritual journey was more important (or more interesting) to me just now than doing my homework. And I have to accept the consequences of that decision. Which really sucks, now that I think about it.

Of course, it can be a good thing, too. I get to take personal responsibility for my success in the world of fiber arts. I get to take personal responsibility for the choice to take better care of myself and limit the number of responsibilities I take on at any one time. For getting my Masters in Library Science, and for following the budget I set each month. I get to take credit for my intelligence, and my good choices, and for the good works that I choose to do to make the world a better place. Because I am responsible for the decisions I make, and the actions I take.

You see, I've come to the awareness that it is only through action that change can occur. If we will change-- WILL it-- and act accordingly, we give the Goddess room to play and to bring those changes into our lives. To give us our Abundance. We cannot control the circumstances we sometimes find ourselves in, nor the things that others do, but we can control our reaction to them, our decisions and the actions we take because of those decisions. In the Spiritual as well as Mental, Emotional, and Physical realm, our decision to make positive changes in our lives and in the world around us are our own personal responsibility. I feel that this is the basis from which our power springs. It is the power of choice. The power of Whitch, if you will.

We are all living beings, infused with energy, who live and breathe and die and return to our Mother Earth. You do not have to share my Spirit Journey to share my belief, or to have something I say resonate with you. In fact, each of us is in some ways a Solitary Practitioner in that we cannot truly be anyone but ourselves, each individually. And it is only when we each act from our most authentic self that we can feel our connection with the Earth and with the Energy that pervades the people in it. (No, "in" was not a typo-- I count the air we breathe and the magnetic energy holding us to her surface, the atmosphere and the clouds protecting us from burning to death from the sun, etc, to be a part of our Earth. We are definitely IN it, from this perspective.)

So... All who came here, thanks to thee.
Go in peace, and Blessed Be.


Looking at Us

In looking at my family and friends, and trying to decide if I can share the joy of my discoveries with them, I've noticed a few things. And I've slowly told a few people that I'm "researching Wicca." I may be a functioning adult, but I'm apparently still young enough to need parenting. My mom felt a sudden need to discuss the importance of a good relationship with god. My artist friend discovered that SHE wanted to talk and learn about Wicca, too. My old high school girl friend (that is girl-space-friend... I've often regretted being straight, as there are so many really awesome women out there who aren't!) smiled, nodded, and changed the subject. But I've made a start. I've started living the life I feel is best for me, and letting others know what *I* think is best for me. Looking around was actually a good way to start.

You see, in addition to my Grandparents, my Aunt and my Mother... There are several Reiki masters in my family, several counselors, many musicians and artists. People with a passion for what they do, and conviction about who they are meant to be in this world. Each is functioning as a solitary practitioner, accepted into the family fold as they are, once they become strong enough to remain true to their practice even among so many Christian Traditional beliefs they-- and the family-- still hold dear.

My uncle-- my mother's brother-- planned to major in Philosophy in his youth... but after a semester or two, he found an error in the fundamental statement of one of his teacher's teaching books-- one that no one else had noticed for the many years it was in use at that school. He pointed it out, and after much deliberation, they agreed with him. He decided they didn't really have much to teach him after all. He's now a gifted photographer-- has been for years upon years-- telling stories with pictures, describing philosophy and the greater knowledge that is played out over and over throughout the world with beautiful captivating photographs of the natural world. He never did get a college degree.

I have always been the peace maker in my family. The pleaser and the good girl. I have always taken others' goals as my own, and seen them through to completion. I have always had some level of understanding about each person's struggles that the other family members would turn and ask me what I thought was going on with this relative or that one. They could tell something was off, but didn't know what. They thought I would know. I have not always been accurate. I have not always wanted to answer, either. I have not always followed my intuition or my personal compass of how to honor my self and my sense of spirituality and connection.

This is why the Witch's Way has become so important to me, and why it's so hard to talk about. I've assembled the pieces of my own practice bit by bit as I learned of something that resonated, or found a tool I'd seen in my mind as being useful or meaningful to me in some way. Some things are not right. Some things I am not using to their full potential. Some things I still have not found. Many many things I have yet to learn. But I am continuing on this path, and I am happy about it. The abundance in my life fills me with joy. And that is what I want my life to be about-- Abundance, Joy, Creativity, Laughter, Community, Connection, Peace within the storm... And all things in the hands of the Goddess.

I've started my Path, and in this blog, I effort to share the Journey with you. May the sun brighten your day, encourage your growth, and bring a spark of Energy to your actions.
Blessed Be.

Coming Home

As I started my quest for understanding of this thing called "wicca," I did it out of sheer curiosity. I continued my research out of relief. I discovered over and over a feeling of coming home. I'd be reading a book or a website, and I'd say "Hey- other people do that!" or "Wow-- I thought I was the only one who felt that way!" I often found myself crying with relief at what I was reading. And I finally gave myself permission to do what feels right to me spiritually, and not what I thought my family, friends, and most of society would find acceptable.

Since the church never felt appropriate to me unless we were singing and I didn't listen to the words... I had never been troubled by the concerns my mother expressed about my 'lack' of spiritual connection. She often tried new churches around our new home when we would move-- and brought the family with her. I cannot tell you how sacrilegious I felt-- how out of place-- each time we were noticed as new comers, and asked to introduce ourselves and be welcomed into that religious community. It wasn't right for me to be there, and it wasn't right for me to let them think of me as a part of that group, and I knew it.

The more I learned about Pagan beliefs, practices, and specifically about Wicca in America, about Goddess History and our sacred connection with the Moon and the Earth and all things between... the more I recognized my own family in the descriptions. I venture to say that I come from a long line of people from many traditions who practice magick and healing-- and who fit like hot candle wax into the Pagan/Wiccan mould-- but who would never call themselves and their doings by those names.

My Grandfather was a Mason, and a healer. He taught a woman not of his family (Their rule to spread knowledge states that you can only teach someone not of your family, and not of your gender.) how to blow the heat out of burns, and to stop bleeding, among other things I don't know about, having never been initiated. He had magick hands, and we all went to him when we needed healing or comfort. The hardest thing to see as he slowly became one with the Great Crone, was the way his hands shook and refused to do his will, as the Parkinsons claimed him. When he died, his pastor came to the hospital without being called. He told the family gathered there that at the time of Grandfather's passing, he was napping, and had a dream. In his dream, my Grandfather got up from the hospital bed, and strode over to the door. (At this point, he was bedridden because he could no longer walk, and had hurt himself falling many times via the Parkinsons.) Grandfather opened the door, and there was great light shining from the other side. He turned to his pastor, and said, "THIS is how an old man walks!" and walked through into the light.

If that isn't spiritual, and regenerative rebirth in the hands of the Goddess, I don't know what is.

My Grandmother held our whole extended family together, as a great wise, loving Matriarch. We did not see the extent of her influence and efforts in our lives until Grandfather had died. She lived a full and happy life for several more years. I don't think we realized how much we owed our close-knit relationships to her until she died and there was no one to bring us all together anymore. One of my favorite stories about her inner strength and will is the way she had of turning her car off her home street and left against traffic onto a very busy very fast road in her town. The philosophy she employed was: "Wait three, then me." She'd count three cars, and then she'd turn on into the road. And she always made it safely, too.

When she died, my mother was with her in the Hospice room. It was just after sunrise-- the perfect time for my Grandmother, I think. Mom said she looked out the window, and saw two sunrises. One sun was rising below the clouds on the horizon, and she saw for a few minutes another sun rising above those clouds. She cried when she told me about it, because it was so beautiful to her. Again, I feel that this was her Spirit letting us know she was doing better than ever now, after death.

My eldest Aunt in that family became an Ordained Presbyterian Minister. She called God "Her," and worked with the parts of each ancient religion that resonated within her. She practiced traditional Christian ceremonies. She cleansed auras. She worked with the healing of the Spirit through her own inner connection with the Greater Power and through the use of essential oils and ritual cleansing. She met many famous religious leaders, and taught and learned with many many people. She began a school of Spiritual learning called CrossRoads, and published a meditation CD.

She left a geas on my parents when she died. My mother was left with all her papers and tape recorded musings-- to write the book that my aunt never managed to write about her life, learnings, and realizations about the fabric of the world. She told my Papa to make a permanent meditation platform over her grave for anyone to stop and contemplate. She fought cancer several times successfully before it finally claimed her. But even then, her Spirit was so strong-- she decided the time of her death. Noon on Christmas Day. She wanted to live through Christmas. My family is strong in death and in their connection to the Crone. For this, and many many things, I am grateful. (You know, I always want to spell it "greatful," because that's what I am-- greatly full of appreciation for the abundance in my life.)

My mother was born the fourth of five children. Her eldest sister was 9 years older, and her younger sister was 9 years younger. When Mom was born, she came into the world still protected by her amniotic sac. She was born still inside it, and had to be cut out of it to take her first breath in this life. My family has always believed that this was a symbol of my mother's purity, and spiritual connection with truth in the world. Throughout her life, my mother has prided herself on her honesty and her purity, in an earthy way, at times.

She is a gardener and a chef. I would say she is a Kitchen Witch, if she was not so intent on the Divine in its Christian form. A small wood-framed scrap of paper has hung in each of her kitchens, wherever we have lived. It says, "Don't worry spiders, I keep house casually." And she has so many wonderful old well-used wooden spoons and cast iron cooking pots, spices, organic produce, home-grown herbs and vegetables... and she has never been comfortable killing any living creature, no matter how small. Papa must catch the spiders and the laurel bugs that constantly invade their home in the woods. These days, they even prune the little orchard themselves, and prayer flags hang on the back porch to slowly disintegrate into good energy and good luck, like the wall of a sacred circle dissipating into the air.

So you see, I have grown up with so many familiar tools and rituals around me... Wicca, Witching, and Pagan Practice have indeed been the center of the spider's web for me. They bring all the pieces of my past and my practice that I most love together into a cohesive whole. The circle is complete, for all that it never ends, and for all that I will always have more to learn.

I've started my Path, and in this blog, I effect to share the Journey with you. I so wanted to know how others found their way into the Moonlight those first few months! May the wind lighten your load, cleanse your being, and bring a sparkle of Energy to your actions.
Blessed Be.