The Witchy Blog Award

Happy Samhain!

First of all I want to thank Ayslyn for the nomination.  I am truly touched.  I want to commend both of the lovely ladies behind this project for not only creating awesome blogs, but also for starting something specific in the WordPress Pagan and Wiccan community.  This is so cool!

This is a message from Ayslyn at Ayslyn’s Corner regarding the rules and whatnot:

Today is a very special day. Not only is it Samhain, the most important Sabbat on the Wiccan Wheel of the year, but it is also the unveiling of a project Cassandra and I have been working on for a couple of months. Over the past weeks, we have both been graced with several blogging awards, but we couldn’t help but notice that none of the awards floating around were Wiccan in nature. And so, the idea was born to create an award specifically for Wiccans/Pagans/witches.

Thus the purpose of this award is to bring positive recognition to those bloggers who share their experiences on the less-traveled path, whether in the form of a journal or by standing up for themselves and others. Our award logo was a collaborate endeavor made with love that we are both very proud of. So without any further ado, onward to the details of the newest award to find its way to the blogsphere!

The Rules:

  • Post the award logo within your blog post
  • Thank the blogger who passed the award to you
  • Answer the seven questions below
  • Nominate five Wiccan/Pagan bloggers (If you don’t know five other Wiccan bloggers, nominate as many as you can)
  • Notify your nominees of their pending award
  • Give a short description of the blog/blogger and why you nominated them
  • Stop by Ayslyn’s Corner and Book of Shadows to add your name to the list of bloggers awarded
  • You may customize the questions as long as they are still Wiccan- and Pagan-related

Seven Questions:

  • How did you “discover” Wicca/witchcraft?
  • Do you grow herbs?
  • Are you “in the broom closet”? If not, share your coming out experince
  • What tradition do you follow?
  • Do you consider yourself a witch, Wiccan or Pagan (or maybe something else?)
  • How much of witchcraft/Wicca are you able to incorporate into your everyday life?
  • Do you have a familiar? If you do, tell us how you meet him/her and how s/he takes part in your practice (if at all)
So onto the questions!
  1. How did you ‘discover’ Wicca?: Okay so I was sitting on my bed at home a couple of summers ago when it just clicked.  I am a witch.  At first it kind of freaked me out because of all the misinformation and misconceptions I had encountered about Wicca, but after doing some research I found it really was for me.  I have been a witch ever since.
  2. Do you grow herbs?: I wish.  I live in a dorm room, so I keep a few potted plants and that is it.
  3. Are you in the “broom closet?”: About half in-half out.  My family does not know, but a lot of my friends do.  My family is full of Christian evangelical clergy whom aren’t the most tolerant people in the world.  I am not sure I will ever tell them mainly because they will not understand. My friends, however, have been overwhelmingly accepting about my faith.
  4. What tradition do you follow?: Eclectic solitary Pagan with strong Wiccan influences.
  5. Do you consider yourself a witch, Wiccan, Pagan, or something else?: Witch.
  6. How much witchcraft do you incorporate in your daily life?: I use my prayer beads with out fail every night.  I used to do a small morning centering ritual too, which I plan to start doing again soon.
  7. Do you have a familiar?: Not at the moment, but hopefully I’ll find one when I start grad school!

My nominees!

Neferet at Stay for a Spell
Check out their blogs they are fantastic!
Thanks again, Ayslyn, and everyone have a good Samhain!
Bright Blessings,
Ariadne
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Book of Shadows

Samhain is a great time of year to start, to improve, or to edit a Book of Shadows.  Consider adding this element to your ritual.

A Book of Shadows (BOS) is a collective trove of spiritual and magical knowledge a witch or practitioner collects over time.  It can be created in many forms.  They can be leather-bound, spiral bound, binders and pages, parchment sheets, notebook paper, 8×10, JPEG, DOC, typed, calligraphy, scrawled, green, polka dot, plaid, stained, perfect, but most importantly yours.  Some people keep their BOS to themselves and others share them with friends, family or coven.  That is a personal decision never to be pressured.

They are organized in a variety of ways.  Whatever is more logical to you will be best.  A couple of suggestions as far of content: dedication, sabat information, correspondences, charts, herbal information, divination spreads, deities concepts, elements, spells, rituals, or poetry.  It is completely up to you.  Whatever you want, put in the book.

One thing to keep in mind is to let your BOS change with you.  For example when I started my book, I did not want to add information about the Zodiac.  However I am converting forms from a computer DOC to a binder, so I have been editing my pages.  Along this process I realized that I hate Googling information about the Zodiac, so I added appropriate content before I printed the document.  Perhaps the way you edit your book informs the form you decide to choose.

Just remember that this is your book.  Use and create it as you see fit.

© Ariadne Woods

Hurricane Sandy

Hi Readers,

I go to school in the area in the path of the storm heading towards the East Coast.  I have been told by my university to expect power outages and technology disruptions.  So I am sorry I may not be posting for a few days.

For any one in the affected area, may the Goddess and God protect you and your family from harm.

Bright Blessings,

Ariadne

Parting of Ways

This is the time of year for goodbyes.  Whether it’s from a habit or a relationship or a way of life, Samhain is all about the pinnacle of a cycle.  That point of both hello and see you.  Tonight, that is acutely a factor in three situations:

  1. I had a relative die a couple of years ago at this point of the year.  I was really close with them and miss them a lot.  While I am mostly healed, the last week of October is still a little rough for me.  Therefore, I can’t help feeling loss more acutely even as I embrace new beginnings.
  2. I do not think its a coincidence that two very good friends of mine are breaking up right now, or at least are going through a rough patch.  Oddly enough, I just did a tarot reading for them and found a lot of abundance in their relationship.  I am hoping that means that this is not the end.  But it’s that time of year.
  3. In my spiritual practice, I’ve been feeling a little conflicted.  Yes I am Pagan, but what does that mean for my life?  I don’t want to give up on my spirituality, but maybe I need a break from studying to get some perspective.

As the Earth dies, so must what is holding us back.  May the God and Goddess give you strength and wisdom to show you how to let go.

© Ariadne Woods

Witch Tips: Continuing Your Pagan Education

In the Northern Hemisphere it’s getting colder.  Where I live the leaves are absolutely gorgeous, but are falling pretty regularly.  For us college students, campus residence life (or whatever it’s called at your school) have switched from air conditioning to heating in the dorms.  We will temporarily be cut off from the vibrancy of nature.  So why not cultivate a vibrant mind?  Even if you have read all the books, there are alternative forms of getting information.  Here are some ways to get started.

  • REALLY Read Your Myths: Not to say you didn’t the first time around, but treat them this time as meditations.  Seriously contemplate a myths implications on your way of life and your relationship with the gods.
  • Podcasts and Youtube: These are two active communities full of people willing to share information and knowledge.  For students still in the introduction stages, try CharmingPixieFlora, TheShoeWhisperer, and TipToeChick.  They are people who have been practicing Paganism for a long time and are genuinely willing to help you out.  As I subscribe to all these ladies, I know things are kind of rough in the Pagan Youtube community right now, especially for Flora, so make sure to show them some love.  For people a little further down their path, I would recommend concentrating on podcasts.  They tend to have more in-depth discussions than Youtube can provide.  Right now, Selena Fox and the Circle Sanctuary group are hosting a series called Circle Craft Studies.  She covers a wide variety of topics and recommends books and articles to get more educated on a given topic.  Also, Another Pagan Podcast is by far my favorite.  They’re lively and still informative.  iTunes offers many podcasts for free, so go crazy!
  • Take a Class: I am a firm believer that sometimes it really is better to ask an expert.  I know when I started studying herbalism, I learned a lot easier in a class than I did reading from a book.  Try something you’ve never done before.  While there are a lot of great classes online, perhaps try one in your community.  That way you’ll always have that connection to at least a part of your local community.

© Ariadne Woods

Halloween v. Samhain

It might be a radical thought but while Halloween certainly has its roots in the Celtic festival neo-Pagans call Samhain, they are not necessarily the same holiday.  According to Starhawk in Circle Round, Samhain represents both the festival of the dead and the beginning of the new year.  It is a serious holiday full of remembrance and reverence.  The veil between the spirt world and our own is said to be the thinnest, so people take measures to protect themselves from evil spirits and to divine wisdom from ancestors.  In the twentieth-first century context, Halloween is a fall festival of mischief.  At least in my household growing up, it marked the beginning of the holiday season (we have a lot of November and December birthdays in the family, my own included!).  It involved elaborate costumes and pounds of candy.

From my perspective these two wonderful holidays are Janus-faced qualities and represent a greater duality.  While I tend to separate them in my own practice, they are a good example of the idea that there are many different sides to the same thing.

© Ariadne Woods

Witch Tips: Working with Spirits

Working with spirits comes in many shapes and sizes.  Some witches and practitioners make contact through a variety of methods, including dowsing and mediumwork.  Yes, Ouija boards qualify here, but be careful they are easy to manipulate.  Others, myself included, give offerings to the spirits of heroes, ancestors, and admired figures to aid them in the spirit world.  Workers also call on spirits to aid in craftwork.  All spirit workers revere this time of year and its thin veil between the spirit world and our world.

For those interested in working with spirits, Samhain is a good holiday to begin this practice.  I have a few tips for the ingenues

  • Spirits lie.  Get used to it.  Even the one of your sweet grandma.  But you can still learn from them.
  • Have a healthy amount of skepticism.  You shouldn’t go approach it disrespectfully, but at the same time use your common sense.
  • When beginning on this path, try to find someone who’s done this before to help you.  I am not talking about a book, I mean someone who regularly and expertly contacts the dead and DOES NOT get paid to do it.  Why?  There are a lot of unknowns in the universe and in the metaphysical work.  An expert can help you navigate them safely.  Advertise on the Witch’s Voice or ask around your local metaphysical shop to find one.
  • Veneration is spiritwork. Honor your ancestors often.
  •  Stick close to home.  Most dwellings unless they are brand new contain some sort of spirit activity although 99.99% its completely benign and unnoticeable.  My teacher described them to me as quiet observers. Treat them with the same respect you would your individual spirit guides.
  • DO NOT HANDLE BIG PROBLEMS ON YOUR OWN.  I have never come across a true spirit infestation that harms to household.  I believe that most ‘contact’ that the media publishes is bull shit.  But at the same time I will not discount the possibility that it could happen.  If you think you are encountering a bad situation, ask your teacher or an experienced friend to help. Not only will they give you a better perspective on the matter, but in the case that it is a serious problem you’ll want the extra help.
  • You should not approach spiritwork as trying to have a paranormal experience.  You are attempting to find wisdom from whatever source you can.

I encourage anyone with long-term experience to comment.  My experience has been mainly reverent ritual to honor home dwellers, so I’m limited in what I can say.  Just be careful.

© Ariadne Woods