Friday, March 23, 2012

Secrecy, Truth, and Hiding (or in pagan speak, the broom closet)

I believe in speaking the truth.  It's very very rare that I ever tell a lie, because something in me just jumps up and bitch slaps me if I even consider it.  I do also believe in knowing when to keep silent, because sometimes speaking the truth serves no purpose other than cruelty.  Knowing how to change the subject without the person whose request for truth you're avoiding realizing that you just avoided a topic can be a pretty magical skill.  It's also a skill that can consume a large amount of energy if you have to practice it on a constant basis.

I've been in the shadows for a long time.  Not so much on the internet, but in my face to face interactions.  Very few people actually know anything at all about my thoughts on spirituality, religion, magic, death, morality, etc.  And avoiding speaking my true thoughts about these things has been taking up more and more of my personal resources.  I live in the Bible Belt, there's some pretty serious fundamentalists here who don't hesitate to call DFS on "those Satan worshippers".  BTW, to some of these people, any non-christian is automatically a "Satan worshipper". *sigh*  There was a time, back before I had a child to think of, when I spent countless hours explaining the differences in Satanism, Luciferianism, Wicca, Hermeticism, Gnosticism, and many more things to these types of fundamentalists, many who happen to be part of my family.  But then I got tired.  And then I had someone else's welfare to think about, my child's.  So I shut up.  I went into a deep secrecy.

It's been 6 years now.  The secrecy has accomplished what I wanted in regards to safety.  Most of those people assume that I "settled down", got over my "occult obsessions", and they hint now and then that I should come to church.  heh  Due to the fact that in the past I didn't hide so much, these people tend to ask me a lot of pointed questions about my thoughts on religion, and occult theory. Unfortunately, the energetic drain from  constant effort to speak truth but only the truth I wish to be known, has made me feel somewhat fractured.  This was made really apparent to me in a session of automatic drawing recently, because what came out was literally "Fractured Woman".  It took some more work to come to the conclusion of exactly what Fractured Woman was telling me.

I started thinking about just exactly why I am hiding quite so well.  Of course I want my child to be safe.  Every good parent wants their children to be safe.  But there is a big wide grey area between blood rites in the front yard for all the neighborhood to witness and hiding as deeply as I've been.  The only answer I can boil it down to regarding why I'm hiding so deeply is fear.  I fear that my child won't be safe if anything, ANYTHING, is known locally about what I actually do.  And... I don't like that.  I shouldn't have so much fear.  First off, I have common sense.  Even before I went into such deep hiding, I was never a 2 pound pentacle and black lipstick type (although I have nothing against 2 pound pentacles and I think black lipstick is kinda hawt).  Secondly, I know my magic works.  Why wouldn't I trust it a little more when it comes to the issue of keeping my child safe from mundane repercussions of gossip?  Again, I have common sense, so this shouldn't be that big of an issue.  Third, I have a supportive agnostic partner. So, what the hel.

The next thing I considered is - what would I currently do differently, if I wasn't in such deep hiding.  The first thing that came to mind was finding out what pagan events will be coming to my nearest city soon and attending one or two.  Meeting some magical friends face to face as opposed to strictly internet contact.  Not stressing that someone might see me at the local metaphysical book store.  Most of my practice consists of things that I just wouldn't do or talk about publicly for many reasons, and the things that I would do differently actually seem laughable in their simplicity and harmlessness when I list them out.

Whatever it is in me that can't abide blatantly lying is boiling to the surface over the way I've fractured myself with hiding so deeply, because I have hidden deep enough to be living a lie, a secret life.  I think this force is telling me that it's time to stop hurting myself this way, to trust myself more to keep my child safe without completely mutilating who I am with obsfucation and silence.

Forcing myself into silence about this also fostered a level of silence in me about other things that I strongly believe in. I used to speak out often for causes such as environmentalism, GLBT rights, feminism, etc. but I silenced myself on these issues too.  Again, out of fear of repercussions.  As a bisexual female earthlover, this silence was also particularly fracturing. 

I've come to the decision that at some point, I have to take the cross off my back, and quit sacrificing myself to safety.  I must teach my child what they need to know, put myself back together and pull off the veil.  Learn to show my magical face a little more while covering my magical ass, so to speak. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trees, Blood, Books, and Random Looks

Just a rambling post about stuff I've got going on because I feel like writing about it. :)

My dogwood trees have fat buds on them and if the weather stays in the 80's the way it has been, they'll be bloomed out in all their magically delicious beauty soon.  Dogwoods have so much to offer, their branches, flowers, and berries.  They've been reported for some time to be associated with wishes, protection, and secrets. This seems pretty accurate based on what I get from the dogwoods on my land.

I have three big sycamores in my backyard, that really seem to be coming alive in the last week.  Awhile back I got the message that I needed to do a blood feeding of my trees, and it happened to be during my monthly cycle.  So I gathered some menstrual blood, diluted it with water, and fed it to my trees.  The transformation in the sycamore's energy was amazing.  They seem much more awake, and more aware of me, than they did before.

I've posted this elsewhere, but here's my method of gathering menstrual blood since I don't use a diva cup - which appears to be most female witch's preferred way.  Buy a bottle of cheap wine in a clear glass bottle with a screw top. Open it and pour the wine down the drain (for the love of all that is holy NEVER drink wine that comes in a screw top bottle!!). Fill the bottle most of the way with water, and when you have a blood soaked tampon stick it in the bottle. You'll probably need to use something to push it down through the neck of the bottle. Be sure and hold on to the string. When you've got it past the neck of the bottle and submerged in the water, screw the lid on over the string to secure it. The blood will slowly seep out into the water, usually dropping down in a line (similar to the way incense smoke rises in a line) and is very pretty to watch for those of us who aren't weirded out by such things, very relaxing and meditative. After a day or two, most of the blood will have seeped into the water and you can take the lid off and pull the tampon out.  You now have a wine bottle of lovely dusky red moon blood water for whatever purposes you need to use it for. :)

I recently ordered 3 new books I'm eagerly anticipating.  Talismanic grimoires fascinate me.  I am not a grimoire purist, there's no way I could take someone else's path (whether current or ancient) and follow it exactly to the letter, but by experimenting with the practices outlined in the ones I choose to work from I can learn new things and evolve on my own path.  

On the subject of random looks - I'm not sure just what the hel's going on lately but everywhere I go people are staring at me like I have two heads! This is a sudden development, and as I just completed a rather dark magical work and haven't yet moved the remnants of it out of my home, I'm beginning to think I'm projecting something related to it that makes the local public quite uncomfortable.  I'm a "hidden in plain sight" witch, not going around dressed in goth (although I think goth is lovely) or sporting a pentacle.. and nothing about my dress or demeanor has changed that I'm aware of.  The remnants of the work will be moved on tonight and a cleansing of the space started, so I'm curious to see if this stops the "deer in the headlights" stares people are giving me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Romaticizing Ancestors

At times, in conversations with other witches I've noticed a tendency to romanticize ancestors who practiced any form of magic.  I've fallen into it myself more than once.  So this post isn't a "listen up magical newbs" thing, it's self reflection on a tendency that I think many have, and I most definitely do.  I'm not an expert in necromancy or ancestor communication, but certainly not new to either.  I'm sharing some thoughts for other non-experts interested in either practice (ancestor communication and necromancy are different, but occasionally overlap IMO).

Several of my ancestors, living and dead, practiced folk magic.  For this post I'm going to focus on two of them.  One female who was initiated into a form of trad craft who is now deceased, and one male who I have no clue where he picked up his practices and is still living.

The female ancestor I remember had what many in my family refer to as "the sight". She would hear death bells and tell us what direction death was coming in and how many souls it would take (and she was always accurate), make charms for people, etc.  She would walk to the crossroads at times and never tell anyone why she was going there. She used blood in her works, and there were curious stone circles on her land with bones in the center that weren't talked about.  She was also a Christian.  Much as I would like to think that she and I are alike and that she would have taught me her ways had she lived till I was older, I know that she most likely would have saw my bisexuality and Luciferian philosophies without having to be told of them, and would not have approved.  And as much as I respect and appreciate family traditions, I respect and appreciate myself more, so I would not have tried to be something I am not just to continue the line.  Based on what I knew of her, she might have considered me too much 'on the dark side'.

The male has good luck charms, bone crafts, and many other folk magic works around his home and land that he's made over the years.  He knows a lot of traditional lore that would be interesting to document. He has no truck with any type of religious philosophies on afterlife punishment (hell, karma, etc.) which is something we have in common.  But, he is an asshole.  He is racist and has shown extreme cruelty to children and animals more than once.  I would like to preserve the lore of my family, but I don't want it bad enough to go through him.  Based on what I know of him, he would consider me too 'soft' to handle the information anyway.

So here I am, more than one ancestor who practiced a form of magic, but none that I would feel comfortable actually asking them to teach me anything beyond what I picked up through observation.  Instead, I commune with ancestors whose magical practice or non-practice is unknown to me, but are people with a character that is open minded enough to get to know me and still want to interact with me.  I will also open communication with some who would not fully approve of me (like the female ancestor described above) if they're willing, but I don't get quite as intimate. 

The reason I am thinking of this today, is that lately I've talked to so many witches who want to start working with ancestors, but only ancestors who were witches or had a magical practice.  I would offer that there is so much information and experience that is useful to a witch that can be obtained from communication with any ancestor who's open to it and benevolent toward the one calling them, not just magical ones.  Just the communication itself, and not necessarily even the information gained, is experience that will help us grow.  And I think it's really important to keep in mind that just because someone practiced a form of magic (such as my male ancestor described above) doesn't necessarily mean that they'll be good to communicate with.  That's not to say we shouldn't attempt to contact them, but to go into it carefully and cautiously until we've made sure they're benevolent.  That goes for any ancestor, but I feel it needs saying more in regards to those where there's evidence of magic or witchery, since some of us have a tendency to think that those types will automatically be safer and benevolent toward us.