Practical Magick

I’d like us all to take a moment to remember, Even just 10 years ago how much harder it was to find reliable information on paganism outside of books. Places like tumblr and Facebook groups have made it a lot easier to get good information if you don’t have access to pagan books for any reason. There’s even been a rise in pagan ezines and newsletters. I don’t feel that will ever really replace the need for those new to paganism to read every book that can get their hands on, but access to those books is no longer such an obstacle. I remember when I first started out Witchvox and the About.com pagan/wiccan pages were about the only truly reliable resource. Googling anything to do with Wicca and paganism was a nightmare. I also had a huge obstacles to getting books in that my dad didn’t support my newfound faith and turned my mom and sister against it too. It was extremely hard to smuggle books into the house and even harder to keep coming up with new places to hide them. I think that’s why I rely so heavily on upgs, because without them I had a lot leads to go on. There’s just so many more resources now! I feel like it would be so much easier, information wise at least, if my learning process has started now.

We usually save red hearth candles for winter (cinnamon, peppermint, etc), but hubby to be just called to remind me that red poppies are sacred to Demeter and the we actually have a red poppy candle. It was gifted to me a year ago and I hadn’t been able to figure out what to do with it. It’s always nice when the universe solves my dilemma with a single piece of trivia!

A blessed sabbat to all who celebrate today!

Whether you celebrate Imbolc or Lughnasadh/Lammas today, the time of changing seasons begins. As a Hellenically minded person, I ascribe to the idea that one should honor the land and seasons where you live. In fact, Greek colonists often added new holidays for their new home and would, if needed, alter the dates of seasonal holidays to match the seasons of their new home (though I doubt it often differed dramatically). Personally, of all the seasonal cycles I’ve researched, I think the Irish matches the closest (i.e. Lughnasadh is the first day of Autumn, Samhain the first day winter, etc). The Irish cycle pays no attention to the equinoxes or solstices, which in the northern Midwest (where I live) rarely match our seasons. Some years “summer” weather begins as early as March, or never comes at all (I remember summers that barely got warmer than 75 and I wore long sleeves most days), in the same vein, some years Winter comes as early as October and some years it never gets cold enough for snow. But local agricultural seasons are less varied. Greenhouses plant the first seeds in early February (or our Imbolc), and the first plantlings outside can often be seen by early March, depending on the weather. Gardens and fields are often planted in May (Beltane) and the leaves return to the trees, some years not till June, but always long before the solstice. The beginning of August brings the local harvest. Corn and hay are being cut, county fairs and renaissance festivals abound to show off wares and produce. Our local ren faire actually has a small field where each weekend it has a more seasonal market (cider sellers, pig roasts, pies, etc). It also brings the official start to the back to school season. I’m some areas, the leaves will already have begun changing before September ever arrived, sometimes they’re green almost till Halloween. I’ve seen both occur at the same time in the same neighborhood! Mabon lines up nicely to our apple and pumpkin harvests. And Samhain, marking the beginning of winter as the end of harvest is likewise apt. If it hasn’t been picked by November, it’s probably not going to be picked. Also, it lines up to the time when most people remember their dead. If you don’t get out to grave sites in early November to put out wreaths and grave blankets, the ground might be too frozen to work with.
So today I honor the beginning of the harvest, especially the grain harvest. Think corn bead, pasta, corn on the cob, toast, beer. I’ll pray for a good harvest and give thanks to the gods of the field. Demeter holds a very special place in my rites today, as a goddess of the harvest and a corn mother (my neo-Wicca background is showing isn’t it?). We’ll ceremonially change out our green “summer” hearth candle, to a golden “autumn” candle (though it officially won’t take place for a few days. Hubby to be forgot to buy it as it’s been a hectic week). Tomorrow brings the start autumn cleaning, the changing of the seasonal scents, colors, and decorations around the home (generally, the coconut and mango is replaced by apple and pomegranate; blues and greens by reds and golds; seashells, flip flops, and dragonflies by dried herbs, brooms, apples, gourds, goodies from fairs, and, gradually, Halloween decorations). I’ll begin praying for students, including myself, to get what they need for school and for them to have a fulfilling school year. I also begin my preparations for winter. Herb harvesting, candle and soap making, the making of cold remedies and mouth repellents, mending and airing out autumn and winter clothes, sewing, knitting, crocheting (scarves, hats, and gloves before the autumn chill arrives, then on to Halloween costumes which need to be done before October for my job, then on to next treat’s ren fair garb). Canning with my mother and grandmothers. Wine and mead making with my sisters (autumn is the best time to make rose hips wine). I think you get the picture :) the leisurely days of summer are past and the hurried preparations for winter have begun. I wish you all a blessed harvest, and or southerly friends a blessed spring!

Pagan Celebrities?

So there’s a screen image of a list of supposedly openly pagan celebrities going around. I rather doubt many of the names on the list so have tried to research them. 

Alyson Hannigan — As far as I can tell it’s just a rumor tied to her being Willow on Buffy

Avril Lavigne — She apparently declared herself openly as a wiccan in an interview a few years ago but I was unable to find it. It’s also been cited that she’s a Roman Catholic. (Could she possible be a Christopagan??). So, she’s either Wiccan or Catholic. 

Fairuza Balk — She’s the only one on the list that’s a “maybe” that I believe to be pagan. She was openly pagan after The Craft, and owned at least for awhile an occult shop. 

Fred Durst — He was apparently raised a Wiccan, but I was unable to find this cited anywhere reliable. 

George Lucas — He’s also a pretty likely maybe. But most listed him solely for “the Force”. 

George Takei — Can’t figure out why he’s listed. I found absolutely no reference to him being pagan. 

Tamora Pierce — Yeah, she’s seems to only be listed because most of her books use made up pagan religions. 

Vanessa Carlton — again, nothing reliable. She apparently uses pagan imagery in her music, though I’ve never heard it in any of the songs I’ve listened to of hers and that’s a lot. 

Virgina Woolf — She’s likely a neo-pagan, which is what she apparently claims to be. I couldn’t find any reference to this at all tho. 

Yoko Ono— As far as I can tell she was only listed because she was into tarot and psychics. 

The entire list can be seen at www.angelfire.com/ia/Geoff/famous.html but the site seems to have been inactive since about 2006. I was going to contact the author to hear his references for my own personal knowledge, but he has absolutely no contact information on the site, not even an email address, instructing visitors to sign his guestbook in order to contact him. The guestbook has been disabled. 

Do you know anything that could solve this debate?

If you do, please include the source or information to find it. Thank you. 

As someone who actively studied the French language and culture for 3 years in high school and had a hell of a time trying to translate pagan related sentences/paragraphs due to lack of accurate vocabulary, this is fascinating!

I actually cried reading this. I’ve never understood how anyone claiming to be religious or a devout practitioner of any religion could be so cruel and kill someone for practicing another religion, especially if the the religion in question (the one doing the persecuting) has actual laws against murder!

Invocations is open for business!

It’s taken me longer than I anticipated, and not all products are up yet, but Invocations has officially opened. 

The shoppe is located at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/InvocationsShoppe

And it’s facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/invocationsshoppe

If you order before March 29, enter the code: Practical-Magick in the comment box and receive a free Ostara bracelet!

Imbolc blessings everyone!

I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me yesterday. I’ve been learning to knit this past week. Yarn is made from wool. Wool is from sheep. Ewes are female sheep and lambs are baby sheep. Knitting should be traditional for today. I have a sneaky suspicion that a certain creativity goddess tied to Imbolc had her hand in this. 

Also learned that the colors for Imbolc are also the colors for Lent, which starts next week. Hello Irony. 

So tomorrow I decorate for Mardis Gras/Lent. Mostly Mardis Gras. 

I made two Brighid crosses. I originally intended to make them both purple and white, but found out I only had two purple wires left. So I made one out of a mix of greens, whites, silver, and gold. It reminds me of Ireland and St. Patrick’s day. So I’m going to make that part of my St. Patrick’s/Alban Eiler/Easter decor. Then after mass today I made it to the store and picked up more chenille wires and make one from white, lavender, sparkling whie and violet. That one’s sitting on my altar right now. Also happened upon some wall plaques of the Virgin Mary. The one I put on is of her in Renaissance-ish garb bowed in prayer. I’m hoping it will inspire me to pray more often and to stick to my Lent sacrifice/fast if I can ever figure out what I’m giving up. 

I’m a little sad Easter and Lent are coming so early this year. Last year Ash Wednesday and Pentagram night were on the same week. Pentagram Night is a bit like the Wicca Ash Wednesday so it was very fitting. Instead I’ll have to right something up to celebrate on Ash Wednesday itself. 

And if you didn’t hear: while my area of Michigan got a few more inches of snow this morning, it was announced that Puxatawny Phil did NOT see his shadow so spring should be showing up any day now. Part of me feels this is correct. There’s been a certain something in the air lately that reminds me of spring and rainbows, green grass and daffodils. Just something. But on the other hand, I can look out my window and still see piles of snow and it took so long this year for Winter to fully get here… I think Spring will START arriving early, but I don’t think it will be full spring until the vernal equinox. Of course I’m old school Irish when it comes to the seasons so as far as I’m concerned Spring started today. 

Do any of my lovely followers fast for Lent? Do you fast for other reason?