The workplace is a minefield of professional ethics, fast approaching deadlines, and really bad coffee. Whether you work at a bar or a PR firm or a school, each job is unique. When considering how you spiritual and professional life intersects, its up to you to decide how open you want to be about your faith. If you never bring Paganism into your office, that’s fine. But if you do decide to be out of the broomcloset at work, here are a few ideas to consider.
- Know Your Office Culture: Remember that old adage, “Never talk about religion and politics?” Some offices take this very seriously. Take your first month at a new job and figure out the boundaries people have when discussing personal issues.
- Tell Your Boss: I believe in being completely transparent about any aspect of your life that could affect your work with your superiors. So if you plan to take Beltane and Samhain off every year or if you attend week long festivals like the Pagan Spirit Gathering, have an open conversation about your need to have time off for religious reasons with your boss. Human Resources might be another person to tell as well.
- Be As Open Anyone Else: Some offices have strict rules about dress code and office decorations. Law and accounting offices are good examples. But most do not. If Christian coworkers regularly wear crosses or have Bible verses on their office decorations, go ahead and wear your pentacle. Express your witchiness as far as you want!
- Consider an Inconspicuous Altar: A dish of stones, an oil diffuser, a small plant. Even if you can’t be open about your faith at the office, having a few small items on your desk to connect you to the natural world will make the office feel like home.
- When Faced with Discrimination: Alright in my experience and the experience of other Pagans I’ve consulted on this topic, getting fired or discriminated against at work for being Pagan is exceptionally rare. Federal and state law prevents employers from firing employees based on religious reasons. However if you think you’ve genuinely been harassed, consult a lawyer. For more information on this topic, read this article or check Dana Eilers’s book Pagans and the Law out from your local library.
Anyone who has any tips and stories, feel free to comment!
© Ariadne Woods
Hi lovely readers,
My long time readers may have noticed I have been absent from posting since October. Part of that is grad school. I have had a ton of work lately because I’m finishing my degree and am preparing to go into the professional world. I needed a little more time in my week, so I cut a few of my obligations and put this blog on ice. But if I’m also being honest, I was starting to feel that when it came to this blog I was not completely being myself. In reality I hadn’t been practicing for months. While traveling in June I realized I had been using my spirituality as a crutch to hang on to tough situations and to be in that “woe is me” place. That is not me and I did not want that to be my practice. I was feeling so harried and down, so I decided to put my spirituality on the back burner. So clearly there was a little dissonance between what I was writing and what I’ve been doing. In essence, I felt like I was talking the talk but not walking the walk. And once I figured that out, I knew I needed to walk away for a while.
Recently, the distance between myself and my spiritual life has been bridged. I live in New England fairly close to Boston, so needless to stay I’ve been stuck inside since the middle of January. That was such a great opportunity for me to look inward and do a little shadow work. I never realized how important gratitude and daily practice is to me. Or how important herb work is to my connection to Mother Earth. Or how bull shitty I find divination (post about that to come). And I realized that I need to revive and renew my practice and continue to share it with people.
To put it simply, the witch is back. And I feel damn good about it.
© Ariadne Woods
Samhain is the season of reflection, honor, and reverence. Pagans and Witches take this time of year to accept the past, to honor the ancestors, and to look inward to discover what they really want. It’s also the time of year to get closer to family and friends.
- Clean out the house. Donate old furniture, clothing, and house goods to charity
- Frame photographs of family members
- Pull out a few old family recipes, favorites from when you were a kid
- Go to the cemetery to clean family members’ graves and to plant bulbs
- Winterize your outdoor spaces and bring in potted plants
- Break an unhealthy habit, such as smoking
- If your doctor says its cool, consider doing a detox (people with liver conditions or other serious medical ailments can’t do this activity). Some are super crazy and unhealthy (plus who wants to just drink lemon-chili water for a week?!), but the Vegetarian Times has a lovely weekend detox designed to safely eliminate toxins from the body
- Indulge in an extra bath or two to cultivate serenity and peace of mind as you reflect on your life. Make them super luxurious by infusing equal parts rose petals and calendula in a large pot of water. Let steep for at least a half hour, strain, then add the tea plus a gallon of whole milk into a warm bath. Throw in a hand full of bath salts to scent the water and soak as long as you like
- Start a journal or similar reflective activity
- If you feel you need a little extra help or get a little overwhelmed as you look on your past, talk to a mental health professional. If you’re a university student, you can get free services through your school. Otherwise, Psychology Today’s Find a Therapist is an exceptional resource. If money is the problem or your troubles seem more spiritual in nature, the Witch’s Voice can connect you to priests and priestesses with counseling credentials.
Work and School
- Have a meeting with your academic advisor or boss about your goals and future in your field
- Do some internal evaluations to figure out any problems in your department. A simple, anonymous survey given to each of your coworkers will do nicely. If you’re a manager or supervisor, take your workers suggestions seriously and make small changes if needed
- Usually for university students, professor and course evaluations will be in the coming weeks. Take them seriously and honestly, even if the class is terrible. They are the best way for students to make changes in their colleges, because they affect how the courses are taught and what professors get tenure
- Clean out and reorganize your desk
- If you’re feeling a little stagnant in your job or are looking for a change, start looking at job postings and revise your resume
- Unfriend or block exes and toxic friends on Facebook and other forms of social media
- Treat your parents or sibling to dinner
- If you’ve argued with a friend this year, sit down with them and resolve the conflict over drinks
- Do something joyful such as pumpkin picking or attending a corn maze with your partner and, if you have them, children to balance some of the heaviness of the season
- Do a little genealogical research to discover your ancestors
© Ariadne Woods
This isn’t a book review (it came out last week and I haven’t got my hands on a copy yet), but the publisher Penguin has recently released a book of transcripts and court records from witch trials including the infamous Salem trials. I’ve been reading a lot of positive reviews, so thought I’d let my lovely readers know this compendium exists.
There’s a of debate about the portrayal of witches and Paganism in popular culture. Television shows and movies with witches tend to fall into two categories: fairly tale based (i.e. Harry Potter) and Pagan based. Most of the material prior to the mid Eighties (think early Disney movies and Bewitched) pull from fairy tales. While I love them, this post is geared more towards the more Pagan ones. Most the discussion on these movies and shows is centered on the negative and harmful depictions the ones that propitiate negative stereotypes about the Witchcraft and the Path. In my opinion, portions of The Craft and the television show Salem are two really good examples of “bad pop culture witches.” While I will admit some of the rituals are spot on and Lirio the shopkeeper injects a bit of empowering morality into The Craft, the girls’ bullying actions off balance any good examples. And Salem is just a hot mess right out of the Maleficus Maleficarum.
With that said, there are also some really good portrayals of witches in pop culture. While the actual magic tends to get a little romanticized, what makes these ladies and gents so affirming to watch are their empowered sense of self as well as an accurate depiction of the Craft and its practitioners. Here are my favorite examples:
- Practical Magic: Admittedly a personal favorite. It shows the connection between self and magic. Also, it presents a strong, supportive network of women coming together to create positive change.
- Charmed: While it gets a little campy, especially in the later seasons, I think it does a nice job of balancing the dramatized magic with actual Pagan concepts.
- True Blood: I was pleasantly surprised when they incorporated witchcraft into Season 4. While Marnie does go off the deep end at one point, her and Jesus’s drive to help their community is so refreshing to watch.
- The Good Witch: I’m pretty sure this is a Lifetime movie, but it is super cute. Shows the virtues of being different.
These are just a few examples, and I hope to see more and more “good witches” in pop culture in the future. Readers, notice any good or bad ones I’ve missed?
© Ariadne Woods
The Waxing Moon is a time marked by growth and development. I mark it from the day after I spot a new crescent to two days before the Full Moon. Generally it’s a good time to start new projects and develop good habits. It’s partially psychological, partially energetic. As the Goddess grows, so does your success in all of your endeavors.
- Complete a few small house repairs (creaky stairs, paint crown molding, etc.)
- Incorporate a few new recipes into your repertoire with lots of nourishing herbs, fruits, and veggies
- Start a piggy bank or open a savings account
- Cut your hair if you want it to grow
- Spend some time working on your mind, which is just as important as your physical health. Go to a museum, lecture, or gallery; do some Sudoku or crossword puzzles; get a few new books from the library.
- Have a beauty evening. I like to get in the tub with a face mask and a glass of beer, but do whatever makes you feel good.
Work and School
- Keep on top of all projects and homework
- Take a client or coworker to lunch to cultivate a strong working relationship
- Attend any professional development courses or extra university lectures
- Go to drinks or go to a coffee shop with friends
- Have a date night with your partner or spouse. If you have children, try to get home after they’ve gone to bed so nothing can keep you from romantic moments
- Visit your parents/grandparents or send them a care package.
© Ariadne Woods
In a few days it’ll officially be Fall…and the start of cold season. In fact for me and my roommates, we already have our first sore throats and coughs. What’s a witch to do? Get better, of course. To be clear, this post discusses short term illnesses and their affects on spirituality and magic. Long term illnesses, especially chronic ones, have different effects on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual life. For all forms of physical illness while magical and spiritual techniques help in a holistic point of view, they DO NOT provide a cure for your condition. For any suspected bacterial infection or a cold lasting more than a couple of days, go see a medical practitioner. However, there are things you can do to heal the energetic and spiritual parts of your being.
- Indulge Your Food Cravings: When I’m sick, all I want is ginger ale and that canned soup with the mini hamburgers. Food I rarely eat when I’m healthy. Part of it is certainly the nutrients I need to fight the infection, but it’s also food that instantly makes me feel better.
- Avoid Big Magic Unless Your Have To: When you’ve got a cold or ear infection, that isn’t the right time or mindset to work spells. You’re run down and your energetic self is already trying to divert all its resources into healing. Even self healing spells aren’t necessarily a good idea. Get a friend to perform it for you.
- Use Homeopathic Methods in Tandem with Prescribed Care: Now just because magic is off the table doesn’t mean you can’t put your witchy skills to good use. Don’t be afraid to pull out the echinacea tea and diffuse a little eucalyptus oil. Of course discuss all medications and herbs with your doctor.
- Catch Up on Your Witchy Reading: Make a dent into that stack of unread books hanging out in the corner. Try to get through a chapter of Drawing Down the Moon or any other canonical Neo-Pagan tome.
- Bring Nature Indoors: There’s a reason you send flowers when someone is sick. Nature is healing. When you’re stuck inside and can’t get out, flowers definitely help.
- Offer a Sacrifice When You’re Back Up and Running: Remember to thank the gods for their assistance in your speedy recovery.
© Ariadne Woods