Saturday, March 31, 2012

G is for... Ground, Center and Shield

My method to ground, center and shield is very simple. I can't pinpoint exactly where I got it from, I believe I took various ideas and instructions, and created my own version that works for me.

So, here goes:

Ground and Center

Choose a quiet, undisturbed location. Outside is best, but this will work indoors, as well.

Sit in a comfortable position on the floor (though a chair may be used if you cannot get down/up). Place hands flat down on either side; if using a chair, place hands flat on thighs, and feet planted on the floor. Close your eyes.

Focus on feeling a connection to Mother Earth. Visualize the flow of energy up from the Earth, through our body and down through your arms, hands and fingers abck to the Earth, in a continuous cycle.

Continue the exercise until you are feeling calm and focused, and refreshed; all excess energy safely grounded and returned to the Earth.

Slowly break connection. Stop the flow of energy. Lift hands, take a deep breath in, open your eyes, breathe out. Stand up.


Visualize a wall, made of any impenetrable material (plastic, glass, brick, energy, light, etc.) that negativity, or any other harmful thing cannot pass. Feel that this wall is surrounding you. Check it regularly to detect any weak spots that may need reinforcement. The more you use your shield, the less energy and attention it will require to maintain itself. Over time, you may find that the "appearance" of your shield changes. For example, if you started with bricks, you may see that it is now pure energy, or a web of energy. It may have been clear, but now has blue tones to it. This is fine, as long as it works for you. If it stops working, tear it down, and build a new shield.

Well, these are taken from my own BOSN (Book of Shadows Notes), and have worked for me for many years.

Of course, once you're comfortable with these, or any methods, you should be able to do it "on-the-spot" as needed.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

F is also for ... Fertility

Spring is in full force here in sunny Southern Texas, and with Spring comes thoughts of fertility in all it's forms.  This is the time of new life; many animals are birthing their young about now, plants are sprouting, and the energy of the Earth is revitalized.

The year is young, and this is the time of the Maiden and her counter-part, the youthful Sun God.  There are many, many deities associated with Springtime and fertility; fertility of animals, plants and people.

There is evidence to suggest that historically our Pagan ancestors performed fertility rituals in order to ensure the continuation of the herds and flocks, abundance of agricultural crops, and, of course, their own reproduction.  Such rituals would have included blessing the fields and animals, and perhaps a reenactment of the mythos in which the Goddess and God consummate their relationship.

From these ancient rituals, we now have many symbols of fertility, such as grain, corn, rabbits and eggs.  There are myths and stories, particularly relating to Ostara and the Spring Equinox to help us to understand the vital role of fertility in our lives and the continuance of the Earth and life here.

Fertility Deities

There are many, many gods and goddesses of fertility.  There are god/desses concerned with people, women's fertility, pregnancy and child birth, men's virility, animals and crops.

Solar deities are often considered to have fertility aspects because of the sun and it's regenerative properties and that it provides sustenance for plants.

Lunar deities are connected with women's menstrual cycles, and therefore have a prominent role in fertility matters.

And, of course, deities associated with water are commonly believed to be concerned with fertility due to the connection with birth waters.

Following is a chart listing many deities from many cultures, who are considered to be fertility gods and goddesses.  The list is by no means complete, but should give a good general idea of whom to call on for a particular purpose relating to fertility, reproduction, pregnancy, childbirth, prolification of herd/flock animals or health and abundance in agricultural farming or even gardening.

(*Properties below are as related to fertility and are not comprehensive of all aspects of a deity's domain)

Deity:  Artemis
Properties: health and disease in girls and women, virginity, fertility, childbirth

Deity:  Gaia
Properties:  Earth Mother

Deity: Demeter
Properties:  agriculture and fertility of the earth

Deity:  Hera
Properties:  women, marriage, childbirth, heirs

Deity:  Ilithyia
Properties: childbirth, midwifery

Deity:  Hekate
Properties:  midwife

Deity:  Hepate
Properties:  goddess of midwives

Deity:  Heket
Properties:  lunar goddess concerned with the birthing of all animals

Deity:  Adonis
Properties:  rebirth

Deity:  Pan
Properties:  god of sheperds, herds and flocks

Deity:  Priapus
Properties:  god of fertility & male genitalia, protects livestock, fruit plants & gardens

Deity:  Hathor
Properties:  motherhood

Deity:  Mesenet
Properties:  childbirth

Deity:  Sopdet
Properties:  fertility of the soil

Deity:  Tefnut
Properties:  water and fertility

Deity:  Osiris
Properties:  afterlife and the underworld agency which grants all life

Deity:  Sobek
Properties:  fertility, the river

Deity:  Amun
Properties:  god of creation

Deity:  Min
Properties:  god of fertility and reproduction

Deity:  Brigid
Properties: fertility

Deity:  Damara/Damona
Properties:  goddess of fertility

Deity:  Nantosuelta
Properties:  goddess of Nature, the Earth, Fire and fertility

Deity:  Cernunnos
Properties:  horned god of fertility

Deity:  Macha
Properties:  male virility

Deity:  Parvati
Properties:  marital felicity and devotion, fertility

Deity:  Bhumi
Properties:  goddess of the Earth and the aspect of Lakshmi concerned with fertility

Deity:  Lajja Gauri
Properties: abundance and fertility

Deity:  Manasa
Properties:  snake goddess of fertility

Deity:  Chandra
Properties:  lunar god of fertility

Deity:  Kokopelli
Properties:  fertility god and childbirth

Deity:  Partula
Properties:  pregnancy and childbirth

Deity:  Terra
Properties:  Earth goddess, motherhood, pregnant women and animals, marriage

Deity:  Liber
Properties:  male fertility

Deity:  Mars
Properties:  fertility and associated with vegetation

Deity:  Fascinus
Properties:  embodies the divine phallus

Deity:  Picumnus
Properties:  marriage, infants and children

Deity:  Robigus
Properties:  crops

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Well, even though it's on my calendar, today kind of snuck up on me.  I've had so much else going on that I didn't even plan for a special dinner or any activities with the kids :(

So, what we'll be doing, besides taking a day off from school, is reading a few stories, and looking at all the gardening magazines to start planning our garden we'll have in our new house.  But right now, the kids are outside playing; the grass is green, the sun is warm but not hot, and everything looks and smells clean and fresh, thanks to the thunderstorm we had all night long.  (They are both wearing clothes I don't mind them getting muddy...)

We'll save dying eggs, the egg hunt and baskets for a couple weeks, and should be in our house by then. 

At least we'll be acknowledging today's significance in the grand scheme of things, even though we're not doing anything fancy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

F is for ... Forgetting

For me, part of being Pagan is alot of "forgetting".  While it sounds negative, it really isn't.  It isn't about forgetting who I am, what I believe, or where I'm going in this life.  It's more about forgetting the negatives of the past.  Forgetting the negative structures of the religion I was raised in.  Forgetting to judge people based on what they believe.  Forgetting to be so worried about "getting it right".

See, lots of forgetfulness going on.

By forgetting the negatives of the past, I don't mean to forget entirely.  Just, to try not to be influenced overly by them.  This also included the negative structure of the religion I grew up in - Mormonism.  Plenty of people, including other Christians, view the LDS Church as a cult.  That's not entirely accurate, but it is a widespread opinion.  In fact, many Christians do not consider Mormons to be Christian, they are somehow "other".  But that's really besides the point.  The negatives I'm referring to are primarily the Mormon Church's views on men and women's equality, roles and the importance of each, as well as some hypocritical opinions the Church and its members hold.

In the Mormon Church, men hold positions of power and leadership, while women are expected to follow; there is no priesthood option for women; essentially, the Church implies, if not outright states, that a woman's place is in the home, supporting her husband and raising the children.  She should not, if she can avoid it, go and find outside work, and it is certainly not the man's place to "be in the home taking care of children" while she works.  This is really quite detrimental to a girl growing up in the Church, to be told that, basically, she is not as important as the boys and men in the view of her religion.

Then, there are the hypocritical opinions, besides men and women's equality.  Many years ago, before African-Americans really had any rights in this country, black men did not have the right to the priesthood in the LDS Church.  When the laws changed, all of sudden, the Church's prophet received a revelation that black men should now be granted the priesthood.  Women's rights have similarly affected the Church's stance, and I can only imagine how the Church's opinion on the LGBT community will change if/when the laws change favorably toward those individuals.

However, moving on: In the beginning when I first discovered Paganism and Witchcraft, even though I knew being Mormon wasn't for me, it just didn't add up, it was difficult to overcome, to "forget", my lifelong conditioning.  It took me a few years to sufficiently put it aside to really move forward spiritually, and ultimately to get to where I am now (and still progressing!  I certainly haven't learned all there is to know :)

Another thing that I was raised with, is while I was supposed to love everybody, I was taught that only people who had chosen the One True Church (aka Mormons) would go to heaven.  I was taught, indirectly, to discriminate against those of other Christian faiths, and don't even get me started on the impression I was given of non-Christian/Judeo religions.  I had to do another bit of forgetting to get past that as well.  I was lucky, though, because my parents had not be raised in that religion, only converting after they were adults, so they were more open-minded about other religions than people who had been indoctrinated since birth.  My mother taught me respect for all religions, making a point of allowing me to attend other services with friends, and accompanying me later when I wanted to go but knew no-one to go with.  My parents were also more lenient when it came to judging people based on their choices.  For example, the LDS Church prohibits drinking coffee, tea or other "hot" drinks (but allows hot chocolate, and Coca-cola), alcohol and smoking.  Well, my grandparents drank coffee, tea and smoked.  My dad smoked and drank beer until he converted to the church.  My parents were not so quick to judge people who did these things as evil, therefore allowing me the room to form my own opinions.

Pagans, as a whole, tend to accept people for who they are, not what they do or what/how they believe.  I have always accepted this principle, but it did take some time to fully put it into place, and I am still not perfect.  We are open to the idea of many "right" paths, and that no one person's opinion is entirely true for anyone other than the person who holds that view.

Even so, as I have traveled on my chosen path of Eclectic Witchcraft, there have been times I've gotten stuck, simply because I was afraid I wasn't "doing it right" or I "didn't know enough".  I've had to learn to forget about that, too.  Because there is no right or wrong way, as long as you work from your heart and do what feels right.  And while there may be a lack of knowledge or experience, you don't gain that knowledge and experience by sitting back until you have it, you have to "do" in order learn and grow.

So, after lots and lots of forgetting, I'm at a point where I don't feel the need to undo, or forget, what I grew up with, I can move forward and change what needs changing as it comes. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

E is also for ... Elements and Associations

from one witch's perspective.

The elements and their associations have as many potential interpretations as there are witches and their paths.  That being said, I know not everyone will agree with everything I'm about to put down.  Being eclectic, I've read and drawn on many sources, plus using my own intuition to come up with my correspondence/association lists.

In my practice, I recognize 5 elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit.  Fittingly, with this week bieng our second "E" prompt, I'll start with the element of Earth.  Perhaps because I'm a Capricorn, or perhaps for some other reason, I have always been very drawn to the Earth and Her elements; feeling that all elements (with the exception of Spirit) are aspects of Earth.

So, without any further rambling, following is a brief chart of my elemental associations:

Element:  Earth
Gender:  Female
Direction:  North
Colors:  Green, Brown
Herbs:  Wheat, Honeysuckle, Fern
Stones:  Salt, Emerald, Moss Agate, Jet
Tools: Pentacle, Salt, Dirt, Green Tiger's Eye
Properties:  Grounding, Stability, Financial matters, Fertility
Tarot suite:  Pentacles
Zodiac signs:  Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo

Element:  Air
Gender:  Male
Direction:  East
Colors:  Yellow, Light Blue
Herbs:  Dandelion, Lemon Grass, Lavender, Mint
Stones:  Topaz, Citrine
Tools:  Wand, Incense, Bell, Yellow Tiger's Eye
Properties:  Intellectual thought, Knowledge, Imagination, Legal matters
Tarot suite: Wands, Staves
Zodiac signs:  Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Element:  Fire
Gender:  Male
Direction:  South
Colors:  Red, Orange, Yellow
Herbs:  Marigold, Carnation, Basil, Dill, Ginger, Cedar
Stones:  Ruby, Amber, Obsidian, Garnet
Tools:  Candles, Red flowers, Athame, Sword, Fire, Red Tiger's Eye
Properties:  Passion, Will, Power, Protection, Destruction
Tarot suite:  Swords
Zodiac signs:  Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Element:  Water
Gender:  Female
Direction:  West
Colors:  Blue
Herbs:  Jasmine, Hibiscus, Gardenia, Elder
Stones:  Lapis Lazuli, Aquamarine, Jade
Tools:  Cup, Chalice, Cauldron, Shell, Blue Tiger's Eye
Properties:  Emotions, Memories, Ebb & Flow of Life
Tarot suite:  Cups
Zodiac signs:  Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Element:  Spirit
Gender:  Neutral
Direction:  Center
Colors:  White, Purple
Herbs:  Moonflower, white and purple blooms
Stones:  Moonstone, Quartz
Tools: White Candle
Properties: Energy, Balance, Outer Circle
Tarot suite: Major Arcana
Zodiac signs: n/a

Friday, March 2, 2012

E is for ... Eclectic-ness

The word "eclectic" is one we hear quite often in relation to Paganism: Eclectic Pagan/Witch/Witchcraft/Wicca/Path/Tradition, and more.

So, what does it mean, exactly?  I guess that really depends on who you ask.  Generally, it means that a person draws on multiple sources to create the whole.  In Wicca, it means that a practicioner does not subscribe to one of the more established traditions, instead choosing elements from several to create their own path.  In the wider sense, an Eclectic Pagan/Witch might draw on multiple traditions across several cultures to formulate a cohesive system.

The next question could be what are some reasons a practicioner might choose an eclectic path?  I can think of several.  Perhaps s/he has not had the opportunity to work with someone from an established tradition.  Or, they might have left an established tradition after finding it was not a good fit.  Another possibility might be s/he simply prefers eclecticism.

Does being eclectic mean you have to be a Solitary?  Not at all.  While there are Eclectics who are Solitary, there are also Eclectics who work with a group.  The coven I belong to, for example, is eclectic in nature.  Our "tradition" borrows from many sources - retaining what works well, modifying or discarding what doesn't.

I consider myself a witch practicing Eclectic Witchcraft.  Some aspects of what I do/believe come from Wicca; some from the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians; bits gleaned from what we know about pre-historic peoples; Green Witchcraft and Kitchen Witchery.  There are even a few Druidic tendencies and Native American traits thrown in to spice it up.  You really can't get much more "eclectic" than that.

While some may say Eclectics lack structure, I can't agree.  Sure, some Eclectics do, but certainly not all.  I won't sit here and try to say I follow a very structured eclectic path.  I don't.  But, I do practice within the structure I have created, and that which my Coven Sisters and I are creating.  My system allows for flexibility (not saying traditional paths don't).  I can keep what works.  And, if something worked before, but quits, I can get rid of it or change it.

I'm not just an Eclectic Witch.  I am also an eclectic mom and eclectic homeschooler.

I use the term eclectic referring to my role as mom because it is applicable.  I am constantly learning and growing, and as I do my parenting techniques evolve.  I use what works until it stops working.  Then I try something new.  My kids are so different from each other, but my son is just like my brother (to the point the whole family mixes up their names!) and my little girl is a carbon-copy of my sister.  This gives me an advantage: I know what my parents did with my siblings, therefore I can borrow what was successful and discard what failed.  Then try out new ideas based on what my friends and other parents have tried.

When it come to homeschool, again, eclectic is the way to go.  My son is such a unique learner, for all subjects, that no one program or curriculum completely fits.  So, I take what works, and find other methods and materials when necessary.

Being eclectic is very much a personal choice.  It's not right for everyone.  But it is right for me, for now, because it works.  I might someday get to know someone within an established, *gasp* structured tradition and have an opportunity to learn from that group.  If that happens, I might find it suits me.  Or, I might not.  Who knows?  Only time will tell.