Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Don't Rush Your Rituals

I recently went to a Pagan Samhain retreat, and we sat down for a good, long ritual that lasted a couple of hours at least-- I'm not even sure, I lost track of time. At one point we all sat around and chanted the same thing for over a half hour (again, not sure, could have been an hour). 

It was refreshing... a lot of rituals I go to these days feel super-rushed to fit into a specific time frame. Or people grow impatient. Fifteen minutes of chanting and they feel like they're ready to move on or they're wasting their lives... but the truth is, being all time-conscious and trying to rush through like that leaves you only scratching the surface. 

My Tip for You Today: Give yourself the luxury of time in ritual. Perform your invocations slowly. Stand and close your eyes and sense what is going on around you-- take a minute to make sure the energies of each element are present, the deities have entered the circle, that the circle is properly cast. Spend a moment giving your full effort to cleansing and consecrating. Spend more time in meditation or trance to really let your consciousness go to those places where magic happens. 

This is obviously not something you can do every day, but when you consider that there's only an average of 21 rituals per year (13 lunar cycles + 8 sabbats), out of 365 days, surely you can set aside time for at least some rituals to really let loose and not make time an issue. 

Do you put time pressures on yourself in ritual?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Really Getting Back Online

Just took an awesome Pagan retreat, and here was my cabin.

After the kind of crazy-busy last few months I've had, it was much needed.

I finally feel like things have settled down a bit... thank goodness.

I just have to get back into a routine again.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, so here is my first step. 

Oh, and check out my new website, a kind of 'headquarters' for all my writings and creative activity:

Sign up and be entered in a chance to win my E-book coming out by the end of this month (one of the reasons I was working so hard):


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Getting Back Online

Happy October, everyone!

I'm not quite ready to get back on a daily basis, but I have gone through mounds of e-mail, posts, WWG plans, and I'm starting to slowly make my way back into my cyberspace activities. My next stop is to go through all my Google notifications and Hubpages... if you sent me a message through G+ or Hubpages, be patient! I'm getting to you!

Postings should commence by next week, though it might be a couple of weeks before I get back to my regular daily schedule. 


Monday, August 24, 2015

Still On Hiatus but All is Good

Well, for those who have Emailed me or left me messages on Facebook or G+, I'm very sorry I have not responded. I have not dropped off the face of the Earth. 

I'm still on a hiatus, though. Life's a busy as hell right now.

August is always bustling because we homeschool our kids, and we start in August. So with all the planning and settling into their studies and all, it's always a bit more hectic this time of year.

I'm really absorbed in the E-book I'm writing. I'm finishing it up and trying to polish it, and I plan to put out in October. More on that.

I'm working on a website so people can find all my writings that are spread far and wide throughout the internet in one place.

And on top of that, I am still writing for my regular clients to earn a living.

So as anyone can imagine, things have been a bit crazy. 

I just wanted to check in for those interested in the Wiccan Way Grove-- don't worry. My current internet hiatus will not interfere with it at all. I'm reviewing applications little by little, and as promised, those who are accepted will be notified in early October. Grove is set to start on time as planned.

As for me, I will probably be back to blogging, Tumblering, Facebooking, Hubbing and checking my emails next month. For now, I don't want anything to distract me from my book. So I'll talk to you then. 


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Get Ready for Lughnasadh on the Full Blue Moon, but Beware Venus!

Lughnasadh is coming up in a little over a week, and it falls on not just a full moon, but a blue moon. 

That's pretty cool-- makes it an excellent time for working magic-- but do keep one thing in mind. Venus goes into retrograde this week! So you may need to tweak some spells to work with that. 

I explain it all in more detail here: Magic for Lughnasadh: Simple Spells, Potions, And Other Magical Inspirations

My Tip for You Today: Enjoy your Sabbat! Blessed Lughnasadh and I'll see you next week. 

I'm going to be taking a break from blogging and social media until after the sabbat, giving myself a push to try and finish my first book on Wicca, which will be released in October. 

So I will see you in August!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Daily Bomb #6: You Don't Actually Want to Banish Negative Energy, it's Good For You

The Daily Bomb was explained in detail in this first Daily Bomb post here. 

In a nutshell, there is a terrible epidemic of misinformation in Wicca... and it is important that Wiccans start correcting it (even if it means re-examining your previous ideas). 

Here's one of those fundamental basic mistakes that everyone makes, and I made this mistake for probably about 20 years banishing 'negative energy' before I really understood what that meant, and realized it was a mistake. 

#6 Negative energy is GOOD for you, don't banish it. 

Okay, I'm not a sciency kind of person by any means (I was an English major; 'nuff said)... so bear with me here. But this one can really change your life, and you can definitely do your research on this to figure out for yourself if you agree:

- Energy has 2 charges: positive (+) charges, and negative (-) charges. Like a battery, or a circuit, right? We know they are not good or bad-- they're just both necessary to keep energy flowing.

- Your body generates energy and picks it up throughout your day. Charges can get built up in your body as well-- both positive (+) and negative (-).

- Positive charges are actually bad for you. If you've ever heard anything about EMF sensitivity, free radicals (which accelerate aging and cause inflammation), etc. -- these come from the positive (+) charges.

- You get rid of the positive charges through grounding. This can be done spiritually (grounding yourself) or physically (what is popularly called 'earthing'). 

- What is it in grounding/earthing that helps get rid of all those positive charges? NEGATIVE charges. Yes, negative energy.

So when you banish negative energy, you are banishing the GOOD negative (-) energy charge, which prevents you from getting rid of the BAD positive (+) energy charge. 

Anyone who has worked with electricity enough to understand how your house wiring works, you know that you always want to be able to ground. 

Negative energy got a bad rap because of the word 'negative', which people sometimes use synonymously with 'bad'. But negative in the universe is merely the opposite of positive.

Think of the universe like a computer-- what you put in is what comes out. Manifestation takes the path of least resistance. So when you ask to banish negative energy in your room, or in your home, or in yourself, you are banishing the energy that allows you to ground.

When you aren't grounded, you are disconnected from nature. When you are disconnected from the nature, you are disconnected from yourself because you are part of nature. This can lead to all kinds of feeling lousy. 

So, to wrap it up, be more specific about what you're banishing:
- banish negative (bad) emotions and thoughts
- banish negative (bad) circumstances and situations
- banish negative (bad) entities and people
- banish negativity from your life (anything holding you back, useless, harmful, baneful, etc.)

But don't banish negative (good) energy. You need it.

People pay a fortune for earthing mats to have access to negative energy... you don't need expensive equipment, you just need to connect to the Earth, both spiritually and physically. That's a major part of what our religion is about. When you are able to do that, don't ruin it by going on to banish it all away in a spell; you just end up putting yourself in a vicious cycle. 

So I'm going to take tomorrow off from writing, and I'm going to resume with your regularly scheduled Tips for Living Wicca on Monday. I have more daily bombs to drop, but lets take a break from it for a while, or it just starts to be too much negativity (which, is a bad thing-- so I shall get rid of it by going to the beach and reveling in some much needed negative energy). 

My Tip for You Today:  Spread the word. 


Tips for Living Wicca: Daily Bomb #5: The Threefold Law... not what you think it is.

The Daily Bomb was explained in detail in this first Daily Bomb post here. 

In a nutshell, there is a terrible epidemic of misinformation in Wicca... and it is important that Wiccans start correcting it (even if it means re-examining your previous ideas). 

Now that we've cleared up some stuff on the Wiccan Rede, let's move on to another saying that's majorly associated with Wicca.

#5 The Threefold Law was pulled out of Gerald Gardner's fiction.

Once again, many modern Wiccans will tell you that the Threefold Law is is a universal Wiccan rule that everyone adheres to, and the way they talk you'd think it was some ancient wisdom that is never doubted. 

So wrong. Again we have to go back to Gerald Gardner to understand how this particular piece of liturgy came to be blown out of proportion today.

Back in 1939, it's generally accepted that Gardner was initiated into a coven. He wanted to write about Witchcraft in the 40's, but he couldn't because of anti-Witchcraft laws in effect.... but that only meant he couldn't write non-fiction. The laws did not prevent him from writing a fiction novel. 

And he did: he wrote High Magic's Aid-- a fiction novel about sorcery and witchcraft set in the 1100s. Gardner added tidbits about his coven, disguising it as fiction. The Threefold Law was not one of those disguised tidbits.

In High Magic's Aid, an initiation scene includes the quotes,  "Then she said; Thou hast obeyed the law. But mark well when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold."

That was it-- just a sentence. And if you notice, the sentence merely says that if someone does something nice to you, you should do nice back times three. It says nothing about a universal pay-back system based on a multiple of thee.

A few years later, the anti-Witchcraft laws were repealed, and Gardner wrote a nonfiction book about Witchcraft. Guess what? Bingo... no Threefold Law.

That's right... the Threefold Law was Gardner's fiction. NOT in his non-fiction.

And what of his own High Priestess and co-creator of Wicca and all it's liturgy, Doreen Valiente, the Mother of Modern Witchcraft-- what did she have to say about all this?

Let's turn to this 1991 interview with Fireheart Magazine:

Fireheart: Maybe it's karma or the threefold return, and they're saying, "We'll give it to her one way or the other."

Doreen Valiente: I don't believe this stuff about the threefold return, you know. I've always been very skeptical about that, but I'm a lot more skeptical than I used to be. The older I get, the more skeptical I get. I don't believe in all sorts of things that I used to believe in.

Fireheart: Where do you think the threefold idea came from?

Doreen Valiente: I think old Gerald cooked it up in one of his rituals, and people took it terribly literally. Personally, I've always been skeptical about it because it doesn't seem to me to make sense. I don't see why there has to be one special law of karma for Witches and a different one for everybody else. I don't buy that. 

In other quotes you can find with a quick search, Valiente says outright she thinks Gardner made it up, and that she's never seen it in any of the 'old books'. And remember: she would have seen it; she reworked all of his liturgy and rituals.

Some people try to connect it to the Hindu concept of karma, and indeed, the Hindus and Buddhists DO have a concept of karma, but it has nothing to do with x3, and it is a very different concept from the Western/Wiccan view of karma. The threefold law got associated with karma later, but it did not come from the concept of karma.

So how did all this Threefold Law stuff become some entwined with Wicca? Mostly Raymond Buckland pushed it in his books. And then people seemed to latch onto it eventually... not everyone; but you wouldn't know that from popular Llewellyn books or the Internet.

Once again I must point out-- if you believe in the Threefold Law, THAT'S OKAY!!!!! I'm not saying you're WRONG for believing it.

The problem comes when people keep telling everyone that this is some kind of Wiccan 'Rule'-- or that ALL Wiccans follow it. Or believe it. Or that it's always been some bit of wisdom at the heart of Wicca. That's simply not true...

My Tip for You Today:  Spread the word. 


Friday, July 17, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Daily Bomb #4: Wrapping Up Shocking Revelations About the Wiccan Rede

The Daily Bomb was explained in detail in this first Daily Bomb post here. 

In a nutshell, there is a terrible epidemic of misinformation in Wicca... and it is important that Wiccans start correcting it (even if it means re-examining your previous ideas). 

Aaaannnnddd, just to neatly wrap up the Wiccan Rede bombs, here is the third and final one on it:

#4 The Wiccan Rede does not say Wiccans can not do harm. 

Before anyone's panties begin to bunch, I'm not saying that Wiccans should run around like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. 

Not recommended!!!

Wicca is an ethical religion; and it was ethical before the Rede ever got into it. It didn't need the Rede to be ethical before, and it doesn't need the Rede to be ethical now. Sorry to be so blunt, but if you really need a little commandment written in stone to stop you from going around hurting other people, then you might want to re-evaluate the issues of ethics and morality.

Come to think of it, anyone who needs an arbitrary commandment threatening telling them they have to be good, is probably not the kind of person that is going to follow arbitrary commandments telling them what to do.

The Wiccan Rede gets twisted a lot into some kind of commandment to do no harm. This makes no sense at all in the context of nature-- to live, you must do harm. You gotta eat? Well, you just killed plants and animals. You want to grow your own food? You just murdered millions of organisms by plowing your field. Want to be cancer free? Or get rid of that flu virus? Fine, but they were living things. Not in love with your girlfriend? Okay-- you have to break up with her. But it's going to wound her emotionally and there is nothing you can do about it.

Life is harm, there is no escaping it. There's no possible way to prevent harm.

The Wiccan Rede is an If/Then statement, it just omits the word 'then'. Let's take a look at If/Then statements:

  • IF you do your chores, THEN you may have some candy.
  • IF you break curfew, THEN you will be grounded.
  • IF it's raining out, THEN you can take the day off.
  • IF it harm none, THEN do what you will.  

If the 'IF' part doesn't get done, the 'THEN' part does not apply. 

  • IF you DON'T do your chores, THEN... (original statement doesn't say)
  • IF you DON'T break curfew, THEN... (original statement doesn't say)
  • IF it's NOT raining out, THEN... (original statement doesn't say)
You see where this is going... the Wiccan Rede is saying, "IF you're not doing harm, THEN go ahead and do what you will (or want, depending on how you want to translate that)." You don't have to feel guilty or let people jump on you for that. You're not hurting anyone, so don't worry about it. 

Sounds fair enough? I agree.

But IF you ARE doing harm? THEN... the Wiccan Rede doesn't say anything. It doesn't tell you what to do, or not do, if your actions cause harm. It doesn't say you can't do the action. It is completely silent on it.

You might imply it means 'THEN don't do what you will'. Okay, but it still doesn't tell me what I should do.  And it still doesn't tell me not to do the harm. Maybe I don't want to do harm, but it's necessary. The Wiccan Rede doesn't tell me what I should or shouldn't do.

Why? Because complex issues require complex moral reasoning... and the Wiccan Rede is just not that complex a moral statement. It's actually pretty trite and useless for most issues.  

Sometimes you just have to do harm, besides survival situations. In fact, you could argue that it is more immoral to let certain things happen than it is to cause harm and stop them. Ethics and morals are always debatable. 

So now that we've shattered some misconceptions about the Rede, how are you feeling? Are you angry? Confused? Feeling Let down by the Wiccans who have misinformed you? Or are you nodding your head like it finally makes sense? 

I hope you're not taking it personally. I really do; I'm not trying to cause anyone to have a crisis of faith, I'm trying to help you understand your faith better, to be aware of the facts. 

And It's not over... I've got some more bombs to drop in the next couple of days on other topics, so stay tuned.  

My Tip for You Today:  Spread the word. 


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Your Daily Bomb #3- More 'Wiccan Rede' Revelations

The Daily Bomb was explained in detail in this first Daily Bomb post here. 

In a nutshell, there is a terrible epidemic of misinformation in Wicca... and it is important that Wiccans start correcting it (even if it means re-examining your previous ideas). 

#3 The Wiccan Rede wasn't part of Wicca until around the 1970s, and not all Wiccans pay attention to it. 

You might still be picking yourself up off the floor after yesterday's post when I explained that the real Wiccan Rede is, and always has been 8 words, so I'm sorry if this new bomb knocks you over again. But, again, this is not just merely my opinion-- it's a pure, proven fact. 

When Wicca started, there was no Wiccan Rede... if you don't believe me, look up Gerald Gardner's Book of Shadows... you will not find the Wiccan Rede in it, anywhere. 

Look up any Wicca book or article or video (if you can find one) from before about the early 1970's, and you will not see hide nor hair of it. 

Ask a Gardnarian, who can confirm that the rede was not originally part of Wicca, and that not all Wiccans follow it.

Let's put the Rede in perspective for a second: the word 'rede' means 'advice'. That's all it ever was-- advice, from one Wiccan, in the very late 1960s, that got much more popular a couple of decades later. 

  • It was NOT some kind of foundation for the Wiccan religion. 
  • No ancient Pagans or Witches were uttering it. Or heard of it.
  • It was never meant to be a commandment in Wicca. 
  • It was never meant to be a prime directive in Wicca. 
  • It was never even meant to be a major piece of liturgy in Wicca.
  • And it was never universally accepted by all Wiccans as the pinnacle of our morality. 

These notions didn't even exist in Wicca until around the 1990s and later. 

A lot of Wiccans (mostly traditionalists) still don't use the Rede, and many more place very little emphasis on it. 

What's more, people who find that a shocking revelation probably don't understand what the rede means very well. You probably think it means you shouldn't do harm, right? 

Well, it actually doesn't mean that at all. But I'll drop that bomb tomorrow

My Tip for You Today:  Spread the word. 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Your Daily Bomb #2- the Wiccan Rede

The Daily Bomb was explained in detail in this first Daily Bomb post here. 

In a nutshell, there is a terrible epidemic of misinformation in Wicca... and it is important that Wiccans start correcting it (even if it means re-examining your previous ideas). 

Bombs Away:

#2 The Wiccan Rede is only 8 words

That's it. That's all there is. Really. I swear. 

There is no long version. There is no short version. There is no rhyming... those poems are just poems people wrote about the Rede later on, in the 1970s. They were never the Wiccan Rede (until people started misrepresenting them as 'The Wiccan Rede' and passing them around that way on the internet,) that is. 

I've written much more in depth about this before, and the best resource for the Wiccan Rede to date that I've found is by John J. Coughlin... he traces the Rede to its origins and examines how it developed in Wicca. His research can be read for free on this website. 

About every traditionalist or old-school Wiccan is pretty well aware of this. Yet these poem versions get passed around over and over and over.

And yes, I am including (especially) the whole 'bide the Wiccan Rede ye must in perfect love and perfect trust' yadda yadda yadda mumbo-jumbo poem that Adriana Porter wrote in the 1970s and lied about it being from her grandmother before Wicca existed. Porter was not even Wiccan. And I'm not just saying I don't think she was Wiccan-- Porter has specifically gone on the record to explain that she is a Celtic traditionalist, and not a Wiccan. Neither was her grandmother. She just use the word 'Wiccan' and the 'Wiccan Rede' in her poem because in the 70s it was becoming popular for people to use the word Wiccan instead of Witch.

Everyone seems so serious about the these long-ass poems, dissecting them and trying to turn it into some kind of Wiccan scripture. 

Well, it's not. Wicca doesn't have scripture, and the Wiccan Rede has only 8 words:

If it harm none, do what you will.

And you would think that being only 8 words, people would not have such a problem understanding it. But, unfortunately, people misunderstand the Rede, too, and don't even have a clue as to where it came from. But those are bombs for dropping on another day (maybe tomorrow). 

Now if you Like one of those poems about the Wiccan Rede-- then you should certainly embrace it. There is nothing wrong with that... there's lots of things a Wiccan might personally choose to follow, or a coven might embrace. 

But if you consider yourself Wiccan, you should know what the actual Wiccan Rede really is... and you should know what it's not... and you should not spread around the myth that 'this 44 line poem is the Wiccan Rede and all Wiccans follow it," because that's simply not true.

My Tip for You Today:  Spread the word. 


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

WWG Application is up

Tips for Living Wicca: Watch Out-- I'm Going to Start Dropping Some Bombs Around Here (or, Your Daily Bomb: #1)

I keep getting messages, emails, etc. of people 'correcting' me, or I run across a lot of comments by others trying to inform the masses on Wicca, but then they go on to perpetuate mistaken information.

There is a terrible epidemic of misinformation in Wicca... because a lot of well-intended people latched onto certain ideas, and have passed them around and around without really thinking about them or digging for the source. Even the most famous authors will quote these ideas from each other, without trying to figure out where they came from. 

So, I'm starting a new series here. And it will last indefinitely. And I may revisit it occasionally. 

If you knew any of these, good on you. You're ahead of the game.

If you are one of those people who get sick in the stomach, or who fly off the handle, when something you previously thought is contradicted, you might not like this very much. So you're at a crosswords: you can use it to do better research and dig for facts, or you can brush it off, ignore it, live in willful ignorance and continue to be a virus in that epidemic. The choice is yours. 

If you are one of those Wiccans who is not content to just regurgitate the information that seems most popular, and you really want to strive to understand where all these bits of information came from and how they worked their way into Wicca-- if you really prefer the truth and facts over romantic fancy -- this bomb's for you.

Bombs Away:

#1 Wicca is about 70 years old. It is not ancient. At all.

Yes, way. 

The 'Old Religion' Gardner believed in... it's been debunked by every reputable historian and sociologist for the last 50 years. The works he based those  beliefs on have been debunked. 

There was no underground Goddess-worshiping Pagan religion trying to escape persecution.

There were people who used magic, of course, but it was something done in conjunction with one's religion (be they the rare Pagan survivor, or Christian, as was most often the case in Western civilization by the 9th or 10th century). They did not consider doing magic a religion.

The idea that Witchcraft was ever a religion came from -- surprise, surprise -- Christians.  

Of course, they thought it was some evil, devil-worshiping, baby-eating, orgiastic trippy stuff going on in the woods at night, but they're the ones who first connected the concept of Witchcraft and religion.

Drawing from some ancient ideas (and some mistaken ideas about what ancients believed) does not make your religion as old as those ideas... if it did, Christians could say their religion is as old as Judaism (over 4,000 years). But we know, despite the fact that Christians borrowed liberally from Judaism, it was a new religion started 2,000 years ago.

The band Iron Maiden from the 1980s is not hundreds of years old just because a medieval torture device called the iron maiden has been around for centuries. The original torture device had nothing to do with the band. The band just took the name. 

Wicca is a modern religion. It just borrowed from some older sources (as well as from contemporary sources, and even fictional sources in some cases). Often what it borrows it applies completely differently than ancient religions applied it.  

If you are Wiccan you are not practicing an ancient religion. You're just not, and you look as silly as young earth creationists if you say you are.

My Tip for You Today:  Spread the word. 


Monday, July 13, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Raid Everywhere, Everything

you fill up my senses
like a night in the forest
like the mountains in springtime
like a walk in the rain
like a storm in the desert
like a sleepy blue ocean
you fill up my sense
come fill me again...

What is this? A hymn to the Earth Mother? A call to the Elements? A ritual chant?

No, it's actually an excerpt from Annie's Song, a love song written and performed by the late, grate John Denver, folk musician of the 70s.

This has long been one of my favorite songs for a really long time. Whenever it came on, even when I was young in the 70s, it would be like this wave of wonder and awe for nature would wash over me. 

I'm really big on using music and drama in ritual; this is my trad and as a creative person it really speaks to me to pull in poetry and songs and artwork and enactments when designing or planning a ritual. I occasionally use Annie's Song when the focus is on nature/the Earth... 'come fill me again' I call out to the planet, the seasons, the elements, as I revel in all of its beauty through Denver's lyrics and sway to the simple tune. 

In the past I've also used in my ritual poetry (often the Romantic poets-- Wordsworth, Burns, Keats, but also from Chaucer to Shakespeare; I love Yeats especially, though he seems to defy categorization as well).

Heck, one of my favorite songs to sing with my kids during Sabbats came from the original Charlotte's Web film, and we've even worked scenes from E.B. White's book into our seasonal enactment (Charlotte's death scene reworked into a seasonal enactment being very powerful, and much more appropriate for children than myths like the Rape of Persephone). 

My Tip for You Today: Don't just limit yourself to Pagan sources, to Pagan-specific tools and rituals and songs and poetry. 

You can find a lot of beauty and inspiration for your rituals in places that are not necessarily Pagan-specific.

Look around-- the world is more Pagan than you realize.

By the By, I highly recommend watching this video from Youtube: gorgeous images of nature set to this beautiful song... and for you youngin's out there who have never heard Annie's Song, listen to the beautiful lyrics as well.

Where do you get spiritual inspiration?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca; Stop Arguing, You Might Learn Something

Okay, so have you ever observed this type of behavior (or perhaps you've been in the teacher, or the student's place):

A student has been seeking and is just frustrated and is trying to find a way to make changes, improve, learn, move on, etc. 

The student starts seeking, reads a bit, explores and finds a teacher. Now not all teachers are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but the student finds a teacher (either online, or in classroom, or as a personal mentor, etc.) and this teacher really seems to know something-- is in the place where the student longs to be, maybe. 

But right away, instead of really listening and really trying to make a change, this student starts to  challenge question everything the teacher is saying.

The teacher has heard such questions before. Questions are good. "Okay, I can explain that," the teacher says, then offers advice on how to correct or solve the problem. 

Student jumps back in with endless responses and more and more challenges:
- But that doesn't work for me...
- But I can't...
- But what about when...
- And what if...
- But...
- But...
- But...

Teacher at first tries to answer, gets to the point where all they can do is shrug and shake their head and throw their hands into the air. Tries to move on to prevent this kind of negativity and these challenges from dominating the discussion and getting in other people's way.

Student assumes their special case even stumped the teacher. 

Okay, so what happened here? Is the student's problems really bigger than anyone and every else? Is the student really just screwed, a victim of circumstance?

In the vast majority of cases, no, not at all... the student just demonstrated that, despite the fact that they're having problems and want to improve/learn something new/move on... he is unwilling; he's unwilling to change, to try, to listen to people with knowledge and experience (people who probably HAVE overcome the same problems). 

The student doesn't like his situation; he WANTS change, but he wants it to come from the outside. He wants something to cure the problems and make him feel better. He's looking for the proverbial magic pill... he wants to get his crap together; but at the same time he is resistant to the only things that will actually accomplish that: the effort, the embrace of change, the internal work.

Now I have been that student, so I am very familiar with the type. Into my 20s, I was horribly that student., and I understand that perspective. I understand that that student doesn't get that he's his own biggest problem, and his attitude is his own biggest roadblock.

When I stopped being that student, and just shut up and listen, and started doing what people with more knowledge and experience said-- Lowe and behold, things started to change. 

And now, what comes around goes around- I am that teacher. Any student who is willing to try, I know I can work with them, and they will succeed. 

But it's difficult to work with that student. Any student who gives me excuses, who questions what I tell them to do without trying because they think it will waste their time, who tells me they know this or that won't work for them... well, I feel bad for them. 

I wish them well, I hope they come around (as I finally did), but I'm not going to argue with them. I'm not going to waste my time explaining things over and over. I'm not going to be able to give them a secret that will bypass the stuff they don't want to do or don't think will work. I hope they get something out of what I'm teaching but I'm not sure they're going to really walk away with the change they seek.

And it's not because their circumstance is really so special that there is no hope for them, and it's not because I'm hiding the easier shortcuts to success from them. .They actually have more in common with a lot of people than they realize: they don't have actual limits, they have self-imposed limits

They are in a mindframe that continues to reinforce those limits on themselves, and until they are ready to let go of that frame of mind, they will have those limits. Until then, no one is going to have the answers for them that they're seeking.

My Tip for You Today: Don't be that student. You're only holding yourself back.

Have you ever imposed your own limits with a negative attitude?

ETA: After typing all this up, I see this-- talk about synchronicity:

Tips for Living Wicca: If You Like to Write A Lot of Messages Online, Make Some Money Doing It

If you like to write, blog, or even just have an interest that you love to talk about, you might think about getting paid to write about it. 

Try Hubpages. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of this page you will find the link to sign up for it-- it's free, and has the potential to make a nice side income if you have the patience to get it rolling.

While I may not be getting rich from it (yet, lol!), it's turned out to be an enjoyable experience and it's opened some doors for me... took my life in a bit of a different direction.

Plus, my income there is starting to shoot up, and I think I've figured out why-- and how I can keep doing better.  

I just reached a milestone: my 200th hub (article). If you're interested in a little business venture, check it out.

 Hubpages Success Story: What I Did Right, What I Did Wrong

My Tip for You Today: Figure out ways to earn money by doing (or writing about) what you love. It's the best way to live. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca; Relax; it's Good For You

Ever feel, like, totally relaxed? I feel that way... like I'm melting, like butter tonight, lol. 

I finished up my work today and submitted my invoices. I had the night free-- hubby is working, my youngest is at grandmas, my teen is with his friend. 

So I admit, I'm a bit of a neat freak. Every day this week I spent a little extra time cleaning to really get the house fresh & ship-shape; like beyond the normal chores, I organized some drawers, decluttered a few closets, moved out the furniture to dust behind it, cleaned the blinds... my husband and teen son had the chore of really scrubbing the bathroom tiles, tub, floor, mirrors, etc. Really made it shine.

Last thing I did was to make the bed-- oh, I love my bed; have I told you how much I love my bed? Holy cow. I'm not big into luxurious furnishings. In fact, I buy almost everything I have at thrift shops, garage sales, get it on freecycle, etc... I like to paint, upcycle, etc.  Except the mattresses and bedding, of course, which even to me would be just a bit creepy to get second hand (unless I knew the people... but not from a stranger).

We sprang for a huge king-sized mattress  a couple of years ago-- very dense memory foam, so it's good and firm. 16 inches deep, with a cooling pillow top on a platform. My bed is just huge and cozy and perfect, it is one of my favorite things in the world. So tonight I changed the sheets, pillowcases, put on a fresh comforter, it's fluffy and white with blue trim. Just looking at it makes me long to go to sleep, ha ha. 

So finishing my work load for the next few days and finishing the chores was just a great feeling... especially with the clean house. But it got better.

I took a long, hot bath with some herbs and oils and soft piano music set to the sounds of nature, and I could see the sky as the sun set through the bathroom window ~ well, the sun wasn't in view, it was on the other side of the building. But I could see the purplish clouds against the slightly pink and orange sky.   

I gave my hair an ACV rinse... it's so soft now.

I gave myself a pedicure while listening to some Pagan music. 

Then I hopped on the internet and browsed a bit, wrote a bit, played around.

Now I'm just sitting here with lavender incense burning and some candles flickering sipping a cup of sleepy time tea and am ready to put on some soft sleep music and crawl into my bed. 

I'm just so relaxed right now... hopefully that will continue for the weekend... I plan to do some writing, go out and stop by the thrift shop. Maybe I'll  I might hit the beach, watch the dolphins play while the sun sets, get some ice cream, come home and read a good book... 

My Tip for You Today: Relax.

Relaxing is good for the soul. It recharges your batteries. If you're a busy person like me who's attention is always on something-- work, kids, homework, chores, house, hubby, activities, etc... you have really got to just let yourself wind down and enjoy.

Like I said, I don't live in the lap of luxury-- I have a little 950 square foot condo, which I share with 2 teen boys (both of whom tower over me, and I'm 5'8") my hubby and ... well, if you've read my work you know Ben, my 40 lb lap dog. Most of my stuff is upcycled, or my own crafty conversions. I'm artsy like that. I just try to keep things clean and as pretty as I can make them (no matter how creative I have to get to do it). 

But take pleasure in the little things-- a soak in a freshly scrubbed tub and a fluffy white towel. Freshly laundered bed linens (even if it was just a $40 bed-in-a-bag from A cup of tea, a bite of Hershey's dark chocolate, a manicure with supplies you got from the dollar store. A nature walk, or a walk through the local park. Watch the dolphins, or the  birds, or the squirrels-- doesn't matter, they're all equally as entertaining.

Relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. 

And I am now going to go crawl into that big fluffy bed that's waiting for me... night. 

How do you relax?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Hang Your Flag This Way

In America, flag etiquette says that the US flag flies on top of the flag pole, other flags go below it. I read today in the news that a group of Christians churches are defying that; they're flying a Christian flag on top at their church, and the American flag below it. 

You can learn about it here at the God before Government movement. The premise is that your faith/religious beliefs should come first, even before your government.

Some people are slamming these Christians... I actually don't disagree with them. 

I'm a religious person-- I'm Wiccan, and my religion is a huge part of my life. I consider myself a fairly patriotic person-- I love my country, I would defend it against enemies both foreign and domestic, etc. etc... however, this group got me thinking, should your government really come before everything?

And I have to agree with Dr. Rit Varriale, founder of the God before Government movement: no, a person's relationship with their Gods should come before their duty to their government.  

That shouldn't exempt people from the US laws, of course. If you want to live in a theocracy, move to one. But displaying your devotion to your Gods (and Goddesses, which goes without saying) above your dedication to your country? I see nothing wrong with that. After all, a country is a country; but your Gods have to do with, like, life, the universe and everything. 

Not only do I fully support it, but I think all religions should feel free to follow suit by putting their flag on top of the American flag. I think we should support each other in doing it. 

I respect people who choose not to do it as well... that is the beauty of living in a free country. 

Seriously... I'm not even being sarcastic here.

My Tip for You Today: support your country, as well as your Gods, and feel free to put your Gods first. 

I went to the God Before Government movement Facebook page and posted this in support of their cause with a few words of praise.


Sadly they don't appreciate my support and quickly deleted my post... guess they're not as gung-ho on freedom as they claim to be. But it's still a good idea. 

Tips for Living Wicca: Resolve Your Personal Conflicts with Ritual Drama and Symbolism

Are you feeling conflicted about something? Maybe your heart is being tugged in two different directions. Maybe your gut is telling you one thing, and your head is telling you another?

Even if it's not happening now, it's probably happened to you at one time or another... but for some people, live is a constant roller coaster of ambivalence. 

I know that I used to be torn up over everything, all the time. This was my guilt... my mother had programmed my subconscious mind with a lot of guilt. So it was terrible; I was always torn between doing what I thought was really right, or what I was taught I should do. No matter which I chose, I felt guilty as hell... so even though I made a choice, I was still conflicted over it and could not move out from under the shadow of the path I rejected. 

A lot of times I couldn't even choose, so I would just sit there frozen, like Bambi in headlights, in the middle of the road. I thought making the choice would make me a bad person, that it was selfish to move forward and do something wrong/bad. But as it turns out, the only wrong/bad thing was to allow this conflict to consume my life.

Of course, everyone's subconscious programming and personal issues are different, but trying to resolve personal conflicts comes down to the same thing: learning to let go of one thing, and embrace the other. 

How do you do this? Well for me, I do this ritually at my altar. I use the drama of ritual and symbolism to choose one path and let go of the other. This might be burning something, burying it, writing it on a paper and tearing it up and letting the pieces blow away in the wind. Write it on a cheap plate from a thrift shop, then shatter it. Symbolically, let it go.

Embrace the other thing-- write it on your arm or leg or in a hidden place on your body so you can look at it a few days. Write it on a piece of paper and put it on your altar, set a candle in a holder on top of it and burn the candle for peace with your choice and success on your path. Stick a piece of paper with your choice written on it inside the stuffing of a pillow-- and literally embrace it whenever you think about the choice you made and worry about it.

A final step you might have to take is to forgive yourself-- it is necessary to grant yourself absolution for making your choice, for letting something go. Take a shower and 'wash away your sins' so to speak with some salt water or a cleansing herbal infusion. Repeat to yourself as often as necessary that you didn't do anything wrong; it was a sad situation and you did what was necessary.

My Tip for You Today: Resolve your personal conflicts, and use your spiritual path to help you. 

It's not healthy to carry on in that state for longer than you need to be. And if you find yourself in that state a lot, then you need to begin mastering yourself and learning to move past it because it's not healthy for your overall well being. You need to find a healthy balance. 

The mind is a tricky thing; sometimes ritual and drama speak to it more clearly than sitting there agonizing over the choices, so use them. Think of what symbolically represents resolving this conflict in your own mind, and do it. 

It's necessary to unblock your path so that you can move forward on it.

Do you use any kind of symbolic acts or drama to get things through to your subconscious mind?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Support the Satanic Temple Monument

Yes, it is odd that a Wiccan -- considering we don't believe in Satan -- would urge others to support the Satanic Temple (who, incidentally, also does not believe in a literal Satan). But differences in religious beliefs aside, sometimes when there are bigger issues at stake, you have to work towards a common goal. 

This rant post is in reference to the 10 Commandments monument in Oklahoma on the state capitol grounds. Read more about it here: Oklahoma governor says Ten Commandments to stay at Capitol during appeal.

Here's what's been going on in a nutshell:

* Oklahoma legislators had a massive stone 10 Commandments monument placed on government ground. 

* They claim that it is not religiously motivated at all, but that it is a historic monument (of course, people against taking it down keep citing religious reasons, such as how it's a shame to take 'God' out of the public arena; even those who worked to erect the monument said they had to be 'very careful' about the language they chose-- code for 'we had to play semantics big-time to dispute accusations that the 10 Commandments is a religious topic.').

* The ACLU and various groups in support of the separation of church and state took it to court. It's been a long, drawn-out battle going on for about three years now. 

* The Satanic Temple applied for the right to install a 9' tall bronze monument of Baphomet in order to present a more fair and balanced view on the capitol lawn. They don't actually want the statue there; but they feel if a Christian monument is to be erected, then there should be other monuments as well to represent diversity.

Credit: Satanic Temple

(For the record, an atheist group also applied for the right to put up a Flying Spaghetti monument, which if this 10 Commandments monument stands, I would support as well. I would support a monument for one of each religion to clutter that state lawn and donate to each cause, just to avoid having one single religion represented on government property-- even if that single one were my own).  

* The case went to the Oklahoma state Supreme Court, and the court ruled it was against the Oklahoma state constitution, which states that government property cannot be used to promote any religion. Good on them! 

* The state had until this week to remove the monument. 

So it sounded like the matter was settled, but apparently not. 

Now, the same politicians who sought to put up the monument (some of whom even privately contributed to it's creation) are fighting to have the OK Supreme Court hear the issue again-- but first they're trying to have an amendment made to the OK state constitution to allow for the 10 Commandments monument-- and only the 10 Commandments monument, no others (such as the attractive Temple of Satan monument).

In the mean time, the governor Mary Fallin  decided to go against the court ruling and keep the monument in place.  

Please feel free to contact the governor through her website to let you know how you feel about that, or contact Attorney General Scott Pruitt to share your feelings about the governor blatantly disregarding a state SC ruling.

It is seriously absurd for anyone to argue that a 10 Commandments monument is NOT religious, when about 40% out of the 10 Commandments require people to obey and worship the Abrahamic God. 

Our founding fathers did include in the U.S. Constitution that a 'Creator' endowed us with certain rights, though they did go through great lengths to keep out any name or specific concept of that creator, or any specific alleged creator's requirements of mankind. In fact, the Constitution gives us express rights not to follow the 10 Commandments.

We are within our rights to have other Gods before the Abrahamic God. We are perfectly within our rights to create idols if we choose, take the name of any God in vain, and ignore the Abrahamic Sabbath day. 

Frankly, there's no laws telling us that we have to honor our parents, either-- and I'm the first to admit that some parents don't deserve to be honored. Beyond respecting their rights by law, we don't have to honor them. 

And if I feel like coveting something, that's no one's business but my own. As long as I don't cross legal boundaries and actually take something that doesn't belong to me, I can covet all the live-long day. I'll covet the hell out of something if I feel like it.

And as far as adultery goes, I don't personally believe that should be a criminal offense; breach of contract, sure. Reason for divorce, good enough. But I don't believe the government should be criminalizing personal relationship problems. 

So unless they want to pare down the 10 Commandments to numbers 6, 8 and 9 it really has no place on government property serving as some kind of moral compass for people who are within their Constitutional rights to not share that particular faith point of view. 

Frankly, I really hope someone takes the Governor of Oklahoma to court for deliberately violating a state Supreme Court ruling by not removing the monument.

Many of the founding fathers were deists and Masons; and Puritans believed in fairies and hated Christmas, but you don't see the same people fighting for the 10 Commandments monument fighting to have 'historical monuments' pushing those points of views... so saying this 10 Commandments monument has nothing to do with  trying to push a religious agenda into the public arena is the biggest, bold-faced lie since the story about Washington saying "I cannot tell a lie" after not actually chopping down a cherry tree. 

These same lame-brains who thought the Satanic Temple's monument would have been an outrageous offense on public property don't seem to understand why a 10 Commandments monument might be viewed in the same way by others. 

Recent SCOTUS rulings on other cases have actually said that it's okay for religious displays in public buildings as long as the locals vote for it. The problem is, the locals who make up the majority are being exclusive to other religions, and that's as good as promoting only one through the government. The Constitution says that the government cannot endorse a religion, but religious people are using the government to endorse their religion by voting to allow only one religion to be represented.  

I also hope that the Satanic Temple, who in all fairness withdrew their application to place the monument on the Oklahoma capitol grounds after the ruling on the 10 Commandments was made, reconsiders, re-applies and takes the state on in a legal battle. To keep up with news for the Satanic Temple and their plans you can view their Facebook page:   Satanic Temple on Facebook.

My Tip for You Today: If you also think that religious advertisements of one group (to the exclusion of all others) have no place on government land and in government buildings that we all share, write your letters, give to the causes fighting against religious monuments, make your blog posts, spread the word on your blogs and social media, sign petitions, and basically keep at it.

The 10 Commandment monument is beautiful, and should be displayed because it is so meaningful to so many people, but it should be displayed in a more appropriate place-- a church, a museum, a historical landmark, anywhere on private property. And if privately funded religious monuments and messages are allowed on public property, diversity should be represented (though honestly, I'd personally prefer to just keep government buildings and lawns uncluttered). 

Wiccan religious monuments should not be on public property while all others are excluded. Muslim religious monuments should not be on public property while all others are excluded. Satanic religious monuments should not be on public property while all others are excluded. Likewise, Christian religious monuments should not be on public property while all others are excluded. 

People who push this kind of display will cry that their liberties are being trampled, however the agenda behind pushing for these kinds of displays is with the very deliberate goal of obliterating the liberties of others. This kind of hypocrisy needs to be stopped in its tracks.