Where the Wild Things Are: Magick versus Magic

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, September, 11, 2003.

Magic versus magick. Where do you stand on the word?

Magick isn’t in the dictionary, so far. But I think it’s a good addition to the language. It shows a difference in magic as done by a magician versus magick as done by a Witch, Wiccan or Pagan type person. We aren’t doing card tricks to amuse kids at a birthday party. Our magick is not entertainment. As much as I appreciate and enjoy magic, I don’t want to see magick called magic.

Confused? Then let’s add to your confusion. What is a Witch compared to a Wiccan or a Traditional Witch?

In my opinion (notice the qualifier) a Wiccan is someone who follows the ideals set out by Gardener and friends in the last century. Traditional Witches are those who come from a family of Witches, thus they inherited the traditions. Meanwhile Witches are those who base their witchery on herbalists, wise women and men from ages ago and whatever else they can discover from the long ago past.

Does that help or do you want even more confusion to add to your confusion? Let’s just add the words eclectic and solitary to the mix. Can you be a solitary eclectic? Of course. Solitary just means you choose to be alone, not a member of a coven or some such group. Can you be solitary and a coven member? No, that kind of defeats the whole solitary thing. Anyone can be eclectic. There are so many ideals, traditions and so much history that it’s really hard to find someone who agrees with another person about everything. So, most of us could call ourselves eclectic. Does that mean you should? No, it’s too confusing. Find something to describe your style of Wicca or Witchery and stick with it. You don’t have to be a carbon copy of everyone else but you can make everything simpler to understand. Besides, in the end we are all part of the group of Pagans.

Confused?

Go find some answers. Don’t be shy.

Where the Wild Things Are: Pagans and Writing

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, November, 7, 2003.

What have you written or published lately? Not that every Witch or Pagan needs to be a writer or share their writing with others. But, we do tend to be journal keepers of some sort. Most like writing in their Book of Shadows; thoughts, ideas and experiences. Some choose to go farther and share those same ideas and experiences with others. Of course, each of us chooses where and how large our audience is. Also, how personally connected they are to yourself.

Anyway, I’ve found a lot of Pagans in the arts: writing, crafting and so on. We’re a pretty artsy bunch.

If you do want to dip your toes in the water and share your Pagan writings you can find plenty of online groups. Some are geared to specific areas of Paganism and some are geared to those who are Pagan and writers. It’s not trading one craft for another, it’s growing yourself and your craft.

Of course, you are taking a chance. You can count on finding someone to disagree with whatever you write about. Sometimes they disagree in the form of an attack against you personally. You can choose to ignore this immature stuff, though it’s not easy to stop yourself from feeling defensive. This is all very personal stuff after all. But, if you’re lucky enough to stumble into a group of like-minded people you will have so many new ideas, new angles and slants on old ideas and access to so many experiences. It’s like finding a vast treasure vault without having the expense of hiring a boat, getting seasick and risking pirate attacks, well something like that. You get the idea.

Anyway, this newsletter is one of the things I have written to share with other Pagans. Before this I write a few articles for a print zine and assorted other odd bits here and there. Some newsgroup postings too but that was quite a long time ago before the newsgroups got so snit picky.

I wouldn’t count myself as some grand high authority on everything Pagan. But, I do think I have some ideas and a sense of what I believe to be right and good that I can share. You, the reader, can decide how you feel about what I write. I’m always glad to hear from you, even if you don’t think everything I write is glorious and completely right. We all see things differently and what feels right to me could seem completely crack-brained to you. I don’t mind. I’ll listen to you and make up my own mind. Just as I expect you do with the blatherings I type in here.

If you do post/ publish your Pagan writings online let me know. I’ll be glad to give you a link in the newsletter. Although I believe in reading things I don’t agree with, in order to get more perspective, I won’t link to or promote something I believe is completely harmful.

Seasons Greetings (cause it’s always some season).

Where the Wild Things Are: Karma, Goodness and Light

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, August, 12, 2003.

Witches don’t believe in hell, or devils or satan, none of that Christian stuff of nightmares. (Note: I’m sure there is someone who is thinking even now… “that’s not true, I believe in devils, imps and the like”. In my opinion, that’s your choice but most Witches wouldn’t agree).

Anyway, if Witches don’t believe in Christian baddies, is there anything evil that we do believe in? Or is everything all light and good and pure with the world?

No, we do believe there are consequences to your actions and choices. There is the three fold law, there is karma and there is the Wiccan Rede. But, that doesn’t really answer the question, does it?

I do believe there are bad things out there. I don’t trust that everything around us is goodness and light. But, I tend to seldom think about anything negative in that way. It’s not a focus in my day to day doings. If you don’t dwell on evil (whatever word you would call it) it won’t notice you either.

To me even talking about evil sounds a bit looney toon. In the end, people make choices and that is what brings consequences to themselves and the rest of the planet/ people. The evil comes from ourselves, not so much from an outside source. Yes, I think there is an outside source but it’s only as strong as we ourselves make it.

Each day is a new day and you have to choose who you will be, what you will believe in and what you will do.

Where the Wild Things Are: Shades of Grey in the Wiccan Rede?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, March, 16, 2003.

I’ve strongly felt that the Wiccan Rede defines the rules. With a few simple words, everything important is said. I’ve never thought it was open to many shades of grey, but people tend to find what they look for when they want to bend the rules. Sometimes the rules have been bent like cooked spaghetti. As soon as you have to ask “what does harm mean” you’re drifting into grey. Harm is harm.

Of course, I have encountered my own shade of grey when it comes to killing bugs. Not that I use magick to kill bugs, but if you are a true Witch you shouldn’t be causing harm, right? Bug killing is pretty harmful to the bugs. But, I finally decided if the bugs invade my space they must die for it. However, I will not kill them outside, that’s their space. Grey, but it works. Not quite what the black and white Rede would agree with but I can live with that bit of grey.

Anyway, this week this quote in a quiz was interesting and has given me something to think about.

“Nature is neither black nor white. Nature is. As am I.” From the Paradox Discovered website.

It makes sense and yet… The philosophy of the Rede also makes sense, a lot of sense. The idea of karma (and reincarnation in a sense) has always seemed based on the Rede. If you bring harm to others you will see it come back to you, eventually. I don’t see the Rede as a threat though. It wasn’t created to be the Pagan version of hell. Still, it’s very black and white.

Nature is made of colours, more than just grey for sure. Nature is also hard and based on survival as much as it is on life and nurturing. Should the Rede be more flexible? Can it afford to be flexible? How far can it bend before it becomes irrelevant? Or has it always been irrelevant? After all, being Pagan is about nature, not human history. The Rede however, is man made, not something taken from nature.

Very interesting, something you could debate and philosophize about for a very long time.

Where the Wild Things Are: Pagan Word Association

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, April, 3, 2003.

Let’s play word association.

Magick?…

Life’s energy.
Sparkle.
Power.
Fantasy.
The art of the wise.
A gift from the angels.
The air I breathe.
Acts of will.
Directed Energy.
Something science can’t explain.
Medicine.
Science of the mind.
Nature and the elements.

How do you label magic/k? What does it mean for you? Could you put it all into a haiku? Just curious.

Where the Wild Things Are: Say Something in Pagan

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, May, 23, 2003.

Say something in Pagan…

But Paganism is a religion, not a language.

Oh, well how do you worship?

Not all of us worship anything.

Well, then how is it a religion?

Because we say it is.

OK, then say something in Pagan.

Life is confusing, like being on a tilt a whirl long after you’ve been sick, lost all your pocket change and enjoyed as much of the ride as you ever wanted. It doesn’t matter, it just keeps going. Being Pagan adds to the confusion and yet, if you learn to lean back and enjoy the ride, let some children pick up your change and clean yourself up, you can weather the ups and downs of the tilt a whirl.

I always think it’s silly when someone calls another person Jewish, based on how they look, talk or who their family are. Being Jewish is a religion and in part a culture. But, it’s not something you’re born. You can be born Canadian, black, blue-eyed, and so on but you can not be born Jewish, Christian or Pagan. That is something you choose. Even if you grow up in a Jewish family you still make a choice to remain that way or change.

What’s my point? I’m not perfectly sure, but I know it’s out there, lurking somewhere among the talk of Xtians, funny hats, and traditional holidays. OK, I’ll admit it, WE make what we are. You aren’t Jewish because of your nose, you aren’t Christian because you have a family bible and you aren’t Pagan because you like nature. Although religions and culture go hand in hand and you can’t really separate them, they don’t force us into molds, we do that ourselves. Now and then we all need to stretch a bit, learn to speak Pagan, if that’s who we are.

Where the Wild Things Are: Pagan and Sexy?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, April, 18, 2003.

Is it ok to be Pagan and sexy?

Sounds like a strange question doesn’t it? But, think of the standards for women in other religions. If we are a religion shouldn’t we have some standards in common? So, should Pagan women try to hide the fact that they have breasts, faces or a great ass? After all, we know how hard it is for men to control themselves. Especially those wild Pagan men who dance naked by the light of the moon. You just KNOW what’s on their minds…

Or not.

Being Pagan is about being free. You can choose to conceal your assets, but you don’t have to. There is no condemning, threatening hell to come swoop down and snatch up your evil, dirty filthy wickedness. Pagans don’t believe in hell. You can’t send someone to hell if they don’t believe it’s real. You can’t make threats that aren’t scary enough.

So, Pagan women and men can be sexy. It’s a shame more religions aren’t brave enough and free enough to give people the choice.

Where the Wild Things Are: Introduction

I’m going to re-post my old newsletters for the BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are newsletter. There aren’t many of them but I’d like to have a hard copy of them floating around somewhere.

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, January, 10, 2003.

Where the Wild Things Are: Pagan tradition, culture and spirituality

Welcome to the very first Pagan newsletter at BackWash.

Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?

This will be a blend of Pagan culture, occult mysteries, history, science, craft making, simple living and the odd bit of magick tossed in for good measure. You might find recipes where you least expect them. Sometimes there will be humour, sometimes rituals, art or the unexplained. Expect a little chaos, it’s unavoidable.

You even might find more than you ever wanted to know about skeptics, hoaxes and ranting Christians. Those are part of being Pagan, knowing who you are and where you stand. I believe you can’t really explore being Pagan without learning the opposing points of view.

This time I’m including links to Christmas past. People do tend to think more about religion and traditions during the holidays and Pagans are no exception. After all, Pagans are people too.

Quietly an Earth Witch

I don’t blog about being Pagan very often. It’s a personal decision and something I mostly keep to myself. But, now and then I think of something to say to more than just myself.

When the Internet was newer there were some really good sites for Pagans. Also, many personal sites which were a mix of good and flamboyant. I don’t see many good sites still around. It’s a shame. Some of those which were my favourites have been gone a long time. It’s not an easy road to take, to put yourself out there as a Pagan and an authority on what being Pagan is. When I wrote a column about Wicca I would get a few upset emails but more often it would be questions from young women who wanted to know how to cope with family who disagreed with their choices.

I still think about those young women, now and then. I sent them replies, did my best to explain that for me being Wiccan (as I called myself at that time, it’s a bit more generic and easily understood) was all within myself and I did not need to tell anyone anything. I did hear back from a few of them, nothing long term though. I wonder how they did, if they understood what I was trying to say and if they stuck with being Pagan or changed/ evolved in another direction.

Anyway, for any young women who come across this and have the same issue. What I would most like people in general to understand about being Pagan is that it is personal and does not need to be displayed. You don’t need to buy the “Kiss me I’m Pagan” t-shirt, or the “I’m a Witch, I can put a hex on you” poster or all the fancy tools, jewellery and books available in Pagan and New Age stores. You don’t need to create elaborate rituals and altars. You don’t need to work on casting spells. I’m especially against spells as those are always about changing something in someone else. You can only change yourself.

Being an Earth Witch, as I call myself now, is inside of me. I’m quiet about it because I don’t need recognition for it. I don’t need to join a club to have someone else tell me I’m who I am. I don’t need to stick it to Christians. I don’t think I’m better than they are. I don’t want to upset them or try to make them understand what being an Earth Witch is about.

Being an Earth Witch, quietly, means I only change myself and all the magic comes from me as I work on being a better person and do my part to make the world better. If I am being the best person I can be then the world is that much better too. I don’t need to change the world or anyone else. I don’t need to broadcast who I am or stir up others. I let them do their best too and when I can I encourage them too. I don’t cast spells. I have love and respect for everyone, letting them have the benefit of my optimism.

Of course, there are people who let me down. There are people who have gone too far down the wrong road. I can’t even try to change them or feel I should. I can keep myself going, on the right road and in that way be a good example. I’m not perfect and don’t want to be. I just keep working on it. We are all works in progress after all.

So for young women who want to buck the system, insist their family accept them as Pagan and so on, stop! If you really do want to be Pagan, do it quietly. Be the best example of what being Pagan can be. Once your family see you doing well and being happy they will be happy and eventually they may see that being Pagan is part of that for you. If they see no reason to fear you being Pagan it will be just a little quirk, rather than a stand of aggression and rebellion.

A practical idea… if you want an altar and don’t want it to seem out of the ordinary, get a goldfish. A small goldfish bowl with water, rocks in the bottom, a red feather beside it gives you all the elements represented. You can think up something that will work better for you. But, as an example it shows that you can have an altar without anyone knowing it is anything more than a goldfish.

Best of wishes to all the quiet Pagans and Merry Season to everyone.

Spirituality for the Home

The original link is 404 now, as are all sites from Geocities.

The Hearth

Folklore

For ancient cultures, the hearth was the center of the home.
It was the provider of warmth through the harsh winter months,
and also provided heat for cooking all meals. It was the
gathering place of the household.
Fire has a special attraction for all of us. Within its
smoke and flame lie the origin of many religions.
Fire, the element of transformation, causes change to occur. It can be
destructive, but through destruction comes creation.
The fire in the house was never allowed to die. It was considered
unfortunate if the household fire went out during the night.
If this occurred, hot coals would need to be borrowed from neighbors.
If the coals died while being transported home, it was an omen
that the family would have an unlucky future.

Read more