Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Revelations

It is now clear to me that I am allergic to dried flowers, incense dust and white sage. This is going to make further spell casting very difficult.

Working on three at the moment. Gotta love it when the first day of the menstrual cycle coincides with the final day of the year! Power and renewal. Score.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I've been traveling and prayed to Brid a lot that the plane I rode--the kind with the rubber-band engine, the one they have to twist the propellers and give the bird a big push--wouldn't crash, or that I wouldn't be sick on the nice girl sitting next to me, reading part of the Twilight series.

That was the extent of my spiritual journey today. Well, all that I'm going to tell you about right now, anyway.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More from Church.

I'll be back in New York soon and won't have to go to Church for another year.

Anyway, we went to Mass today with my other grandmother. I went in, excited to say hello to Mary, but this particular Catholic church had her locked in the soundproof "crying" room for the bad children.

What is the world coming to?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Talking Trees in SC

I asked the haunted forests around my Gran's house why they insisted on being so menacing and creepy. They said it's because people keep cursing them (feeling a presence and sending them back to Satan, or whatever...), after they go cut down their trees. They weren't expecially friendly with me, either, even though I was kind in my questioning. I'm mortal and drink coffee from paper cups. Why should they be nice to me.

My cousin asked me why there were Heebie Jeebies in her house after I left that night. I told her the forests don't like Baptists, and a couple of them followed me home.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Despite my uncouth performance at Yule (which few people seemed to notice except for my Priest), the message of the Child of Promise stayed with me through Christmas this year and at Church with my family on Wednesday night, I found myself truly celebrating, for the first time, not just the birth of Jesus, but the birth of renewal, of new life, told through an ancient myth of the Holy woman giving birth to a divine child—a story that dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt when Isis gave birth to Horus.

My extended family attends an Evangelical Baptist service on Christmas Eve, even though they’ve all scattered to different churches for their weekly attendance. This is the kind of service that jumps under the skin of your common Pagan—the Southern accent ringing in the rhyme, “Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Have you been born again?” It’s the kind of place that stereotypically prays for homosexuals to denounce their natural born tendencies, for women who have had abortions to seek forgiveness for making an excruciating decision, for George Bush to get sainthood…whatever. Now I probably sound like I’m preaching on the other side of the pulpit and maybe I am. But it’s churches such as these that seem to keep Pagan safely tucked into their altars, and causing our number to grow. Perhaps I’m being too judgmental. None of these topics were touched at the Christmas service—just the question of if Jesus had become our personal saviors. Well, my personal answer was no. But when asked if I’d been born again, I could honestly say, yes. Except it was to Brid and Pan, Goddess of Fire and Creation and God of Fertility and Gateways. That experience is another story. But yes, I was “saved” the way Baptists were saved by Jesus. I knew Jesus as a child. He bid me farewell with a blessing when I told Him I was leaving to pursue Wicca.

Therefore, tt was good to spend an evening with Him and celebrate His birthday.

The preacher said, “When the body and blood passes you by, you can take of it if you have honestly embraced Jesus and have been born again.” I could feel a couple of my “knowing” family members eyeing me as I did indeed take of His body and blood—and didn’t start simmering. It doesn’t make sense for a Witch to shun Jesus. He doesn’t hate us. He never did anything to us. His followers have done a lot of bullshit over the years, but why spurn Jesus, who has been nice to me as long as I can remember, and was certainly the first God I was exposed to? Maybe I looked to be a hypocrite. But I didn’t care.

When it came time to pray, I said this prayer along with another prayer that I wouldn’t start crying, lest my relatives think I’d gone and repented and was coming back to Christianity: “Jesus, it’s been awhile since we’ve talked. But I do good work that I know you would approve of. I’ve consulted every other Diety that I’ve come across and I could really use some help with something. (insert something here—not going to tell you because it’s between me and J.C.) If You could do this for me, I can’t say I’m going to be like every other person who asks You for something and swears to follow You completely. I’ve taken vows to another path, as You know, but if You help me with this, it will not only benefit You but will benefit another who works intimately with Your Church. Helping me, us, with this will ultimately strengthen the path that I’m on which while it isn’t Your Church, is of a nature of which You would approve—carrying Your message in a different form. I was a good Catholic, as You recall. Please remember that when going through Your prayer lists this Christmas Eve.

Many thanks. Amen.”

He heard me. I know He did.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Should write about faith....

Last night, I had an intense, powerful conversation over IM with a friend about faith. I ought to recap it, but I have a very bad cold and need to sleep!!!

Having a cold on vacation sucks.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Tarot Cards followed me here.

My Tarot cards followed me here.

After an exhausting reading gig at the Rainbow Room, I resolved to take two weeks off from doing readings. That’s not a hard break to take in the South, where people are generally as frightened of oracles as they are fascinated by them. But yet, somehow my Waite-Smith deck ended up in my suitcase, as much as I swear I left them behind on purpose. This must mean that someone is going to ask for a reading. I hope they don’t. I very much need a break.

Witchcraft works similar muscles as painting, writing or other forms of creation—except with the Spirit even more firmly lodged behind it. And sometimes, you run out of steam, particularly when you’re not actively seeking to replace the energy you expended. My adviser told me this was what I did at Yule—because I’m still such a control freak (my words, not hers…) and it’s very difficult for me to delegate energetic tasks to other members. Not because I don’t want to. But because I usually forget to. I’m used to having others look to me, but this is the first group where people are chomping at the bit to get to use their new-found powers. My Priest was worried. “We don’t want people to make mistakes,” he said. “But mistakes are inevitable,” I said. “We need to make sure no one is making a DANGEROUS mistake.”

At Samhain, I made a tiny coffin and after we made offerings to the ancestors, we encouraged attendees to write down things they were ready to put to rest and put it in the coffin. Later, I would take the coffin to the Cloisters and bury it under a Cedar tree we’ve discovered (as many have…) that has special spiritual powers. However, I drove the point home that no one was to write down a person’s name or the name of an organization.

“Don’t say that!” said one of my long-time Group members. “Don’t even put that idea into their heads!”

I had to, I explained. The danger was less about people coming up with ideas of harming others, but unintentionally doing so. Many Wiccans are heavily exposed to the Llewellyn, mass-marketed concept of “It’s all about the intention.” But I’ve discovered the Universe has a different set of ears and hears things, just as people do, but not always as we intend. Sure, someone may write the name of an Ex on a piece of paper to bury in the coffin—intending it to be the dissolution of the relationship with that person. But the Universe would simply see the person’s name in a coffin and think it was time to take them to the other side. Not in my house. Not on my watch.

This entry turned out to be nothing as I originally thought it would be.

I meant to talk about going down to the river below my grandmother’s house and getting back in touch with my birth soil. I was looking forward to the red clay, but the stretch of land I was on was brown, sprinkled with beautiful quartz shards. I rubbed my hands in it, smeared my spit into it, inhaled its sweet smell. No garbage. No fear of needles. Fresh earth and I was happy to see it. But I didn’t stay long because I was so isolated. Even in matters of witchcraft, safety comes first. Don’t go hiding in the woods and get so enraptured by the Goddess’s beauty that you don’t hear Her telling you to get the fuck out of there because creepy-ass people are lurking about. Sometimes I can’t tell my own intuition from the forced-intuition I’ve developed in New York City: don’t go where there are no people. Because there’s probably someone and you don’t want to meet them.

So, I said hi to the land, and ran back along the path barefoot to the opening of the park. When I got back, I didn’t tell my grandmother where I’d been—but she knew. And she told me never to go back there again. “I went down there once…and saw something. And I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Stay above the railroad tracks.”

Of course, this being my Gran it could have only been two teenagers and a carton of beer. But yet, I was quite relieved to be back in the safety of her house. Maybe my intuition isn’t so off anymore.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My grandmother's house is delciously haunted.

I arrived yesterday at my grandmother's house in South Carolina. This state is so friggin' haunted. It's fun except when I'm trying to go to bed and it's dark and creepy and I feel a million curious spirits looking at me. Part of this may be childhood psychology (or psychosis...). My cousin used to terrify me with true ghost stories when we'd come to visit our grandmother, and therefore, all scary stories I've ever read or heard I've unintentionally set in this old house.

However, the house really is haunted. But most of them are friendly.

Last night, I came into the kitchen and the side door flew open. Gran keeps it latched tight, and the garage door was closed, so no wind could have opened it. Sure, there could be explanations, but out of politeness I said, "Thank you! I'm glad to be back!" choosing to believe that the door opening was a way of my grandmother's house spirits saying, "Welcome back!"

The most haunted room is the one my grandmother always sticks me in. My cousin, unprompted, reported the same experiences in that room that I've had. You wake in that room between 2 and 4, no sounds or discrenable reason, completely paralyzed in the bed, fully aware of several beings standing around and calling your name in these terrible voices. You try to sleep and they'll just start again, laughing at you when you try to "pray them away." Back when I was Catholic, I used to chant the rosary over and over to no avail. Once, I swear even the Holy Virgin Herself appeared, frustrated that a nearly grown woman would summon Her to deal with a case of what are called down here, the heebie-jeebies. "They're not going to hurt you," said the apparition. "Get over it." And She left.

This room is one of the reasons I started practicing Witchcraft--to figure out how to deal with these kind of issues. A few years ago, when I was a young witch, I came to my grandmother's house and insisted on sleeping in that room, even though my grandmother offered me a different room.

Sure enough, between 2 and 4, I awoke to my name being called in horrible voices.

"I will open my eyes and you will not be there," I said aloud. "I am of the physical world and you are not. I am of blood kin to the woman of this house. You will leave me the fuck alone."

I opened my eyes and nothing was there. Of course, I could feel it, and even hear gasps around the room, shocked that the usual tricks had no effect on me.

"Told you so, motherfuckers," I said. "Now, I'm going to sleep."

Last year, there were no awakenings, but I had nightmares every night I slept in that room.

Last night, when my cousin helped me get my things into the room, she was nervous. "I just can't sleep in this room and I don't know how you can." I said to her, "They're not going to bother me. They know better." Yet, I was nervous that by saying such things would invite the heebies to return.

I went to sleep, saying a prayer to Brid and Pan to keep me protected and safe through the night. But as usual, I woke for no discernable reason around 3 in the morning. However, instead of hearing creepy voices calling at me, I heard one voice, clear as a bell, giving me a beautiful prayer.

" When they tell you your soul will burn for what you do, tell them 'Then may it burn in the fire in the core of humanity's soul so that it creates and destoys, heal and loves through the actions of my fellow man'."

Wow. I think I love that haunted room.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I wait in an airport.

I have about 30 minutes of sleep to my name, so there's little I can say.

I had a Tarot reading gig at the Rainbow Room last night, reading Tarot cards for a group of lawyers. There were two other readers there, one of whom was especially kind to me and checked in to see how things were going.

Someone stole my quartz crystal, though. Or else it was ready to leave me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Questions

I find these kicking around in my head after a ritual:

-What went well?
-What didn’t work?
-Did people get something out of it?
-Did I get something out of it?
-Did we fully, properly invoke?
-Did we properly ground?
-Does anyone want to come back for next ritual?
-Did people feel it or did it feel like they were playing pretend?
-What can I do next time to ensure I don’t feel like I’m falling apart when I finish?

It’s taken me two days to finally get my energy back after last Yule. I must learn how to better concede control and stop trying to do everything myself.

And I think about the spells I cast and hope that I do right by all accounts when I do so, and hope any Karma yet to arrive doesn’t eat me whole.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It is a bad idea...

To drink all night and then try to run a Yule ritual the following day. You will do lousy Priestess work.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Forgiveness, take two.

As the year draws to a close, I find I’m churning on the notion of forgiveness. It’s a tough one.

I grew up Christian; Catholic. I was quite devout and agonized frequently over committing sins and tried hard to forgive other children when they were simply doing as kids do—sometimes being mean. But as an adult, I believe the notion of “Turn the Other Cheek” has lead to much emotional abuse in many people’s lives—including mine. Jesus said to his disciples, “How many times must you forgive your brother? Not seven, but seventy times seven…” (or something like that.)

Jesus, with all do respect, if I have to forgive someone THAT many times, I’m going to forgive them—but do it far away and avoid that person at all costs.

2008 might as well be called The Year Courtney Figures Out Forgiveness. Not that I’m going to get it figured out in the next three weeks, but the Gods have certainly provided me with plenty of fodder to test that one out through a number of slams to the soul. Not the kind of hurt that is appeased with a couple of beers and a belly laugh with good friends. The kind of hurt that wakes you from a dead sleep, sitting up in bed in tears, like the 9 of Swords in the Waite-Smith deck; the kind that requires pilgrimages, meditation and therapy to overcome.

This was a lot of forgiving to do. And how do we do it?

Brid, my Goddess (and an AWESOME GODDESS SHE IS!!! Xoxoxoxoxo!!!), said to me one morning, “The problem with Turn the Other Cheek is not just that it invites people to repeat their patterns toward you, it sends a message to all those around you that that kind of behavior is acceptable.” I understood then that letting a wound roll off of you with an, “’Sokay” or “Whatever, don’t worry about it” perpetuates the behavior. When we call someone on their shit, at the right time, and say, “NO. What you did was wrong,” sends the message to the world that those actions do not belong anywhere, with anyone.

So, how do we forgive without condoning the action?

This page remained blank long after I typed that last sentence. I fooled around with the editing of this page a bit and found I still don’t have the answer. Duh. Like the ability to articulate the formula for forgiveness is just going to roll right out of my fingers and onto this screen. It’s not.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Rune for the day...

(which I draw every morning...)

was Constraint: Pain. Suckage. The Day You Wished Would Go Away.

It wasn't that bad. I didn't get the job I applied for, but I'd decided I didn't really want it, anyway. I was highly nervous about the possibility of our party being canceled. And I'm tired. So, I guess Constraint was a bit of an exaggeration, but not wholly inaccurate.

Just to be on the safe side, I'm staying in tonight.

Tomorrow is my friend and my holiday Gala! Sunday will be Yule. This means there won't be much time to write about anything in the next few days, but this does mean there will be lots of things to say when I return.

Stay warm and check out that MOON!!! IT'S GORGEOUS!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

If you are a Witch, make some damn Magick.

Contrary to popular Wiccan belief, the “Old Ways” probably did not involve calling in the four corners, drawing down the moon, etc.

Witches of old dug shit out of graveyards, kept the entrails of dinner, snipped hair and drew their own blood to mix into things that would either bless or curse. It’s probably true that some witches did come together to leap over bonfires in the dead of night and summon the Gods of Old (read Montague Summers, who wrote a scathing portrayal of the Craft. It’s nasty, but even bad rumors can illuminate some of the things that probably happened, although killing Christian babies and sex with Satan is certainly an elaboration. In most cases.)

We don’t know much about the Old Ways. I could go on about the fallacy of The One Great Goddess Who Once Ruled All Religions Before Christianity Fucked It Up (Because there were a bunch of Goddesses, and different Gods too. Depends on where you went in the world. Plus, a number of areas converted willingly.) Instead, I’m going to lecture you on making magick.

Do you consider yourself a Witch? If so, how often do you cast spells? Do you know how to make a proper tincture? Can you uncross a cursed person? Can you create any healing potions? Do you know how to curse, even if you choose not to?

If you call yourself a Witch, you sure as hell better know how to do at least some of the above. Otherwise, what the Hell are you doing with yourself?

Our Group’s Yule celebration is this Sunday. We’re having a Magickal gift exchange where everyone is required to make a charm, potion, tincture, etc and bring it to the ritual. We’ll each walk away with a gift we never knew we needed.

Because Witches make magick. That’s why we are who we are.

I'm asking Santa for a money potion under the Yule tree. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Forgive me for not keeping my promise from yesterday--and not having anything more interesting to say.

I started writing about forgiveness last night, but it got heavy and complicated and I went to bed with a heavy and complicated soul. But its concept is churning in my head right now, perhaps it's the end of the year approaching at break-neck speed. But I didn't post it today.

A number of people I know are hearing from old friends and former lovers this week. I heard from several, and did some reaching out of my own. Is that an astrological thing or a year-end thing?

I found the classes I want to take at Union this spring. Intro to the New Testament and Intro to Spiritual Formation. Yay!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I'll post something more interesting tomorrow.

But FYI--my boyfriend cleansed his room with the sea salt/spring water and had no nightmares last night! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tarot for Witches

Is fun.

When I read for Witches, often I don't even have to read.  I just throw the cards down.  The Witch will either laugh or cry.  I don't have to say a word.  They get the message because someone else threw it.

Yesterday, I read cards at the NYC Pagan Pride Yule Celebration.  That was fun.  I'm enjoying getting to know other Witches in the NYC area.  A beautiful woman who spends a lot of time in Santeria gave me a bag of clairvoyance incense and told me to put it on my cards.

I sprinkled some in the bag.

"Oh, you're not that cheap, are you???  Roll your hands in it, shake it all up!  Throw some in your lap!"  In short time, I was covered in rich, musky incense powder the lady made herself.

Then...we got into a sticky conversation.

First of all, did you know there is a Goddess of the Hudson River?  She made Herself known to me and my Group when I went to Her shores to make an offering to Oschun--the Santeria river Goddess of love and beauty.   Over the next few days, several of my Group members (not knowing I had gone to the Hudson to worship) said they were dreaming of a "Lady of the Lake" type character, but from the River.  They know Oschun and would have known if it were Her.  We pieced it together.  I'd unknowingly stepped on the shores and worshipped the wrong Diety in the wrong Temple!  Oops!

I did, just so you all know, make it up to the Hudson and brought Her a present of rain water I gathered in May and said I was sorry.

Anyway, I was asking about the Hudson and the lady said, "Ah, yes!  I know Her!  She is beautiful and She wishes to wed the ocean.  Go to Her if you've been wrongly accused of something.  Bring fish and rice and share a meal with her, but never anything brown.  Pray She does not ask you to share Her food with Her...or you'll be eating worms!"

She had to be kidding.  Right?

Oh, no.  She wasn't.

The incense lady said that waterbugs are delicious in honey and rolly-pollies are tasty when sprinkled on a salad.  

"If you want to know the Gods," she said.  "You must eat their feasts when offered."

I couldn't have been more thankful that Brid is a Goddess of beer and cheese.

Eating bugs and gross stuff in order to be more like the Gods?  I just don't think I could ever do that.

"Not now, maybe," she said.  "It's like Kindergarten to College.  You'll be able to do more as you progress.  But to know their true power you must eat like them."

I don't know.  If Oschun wants me to eat waterbugs dipped in honey...maybe I'm in the wrong circuit.

I'm going to talk to my Voodoo/Santeria advisor about this.  Eating bugs makes you God-like?  Witchcraft is weird, but some things are insane.

In other news, reading Tarot in my boyfriend's bedroom gave him nightmares.  I didn't properly cleanse the room when I left it.  As in...I drank another three Sangrias and didn't cleanse the place at all.  Poor guy has been dreaming about being trapped in a place with a bunch of doors that lead nowhere and being surrounded by people he can't talk to.  I suggested he mix up sea salt in spring water and shake it into the four corners of his room.  He said he would.  I guess he isn't so Muggle after all!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yesterday, I was mugged by a three-year-old.

In a Church.

I was! My friends (for some reason...) were performing at the re-opening of St. John the Divine, which by the way, is spectacular and must be seen immediately if you're in the NYC area. I carried with me a fake Barbie called "Rebecca" made by a Japanese company. The English translation on the box is quite poor which made it even better. My boyfriend was holding a toy drive at his party and due to my moment of insanity the other night, I felt it doubly important that I not only bring a pretty toy, but one with several outfits.

While watching my friends painfully modify their normally x-rated material into something that could POSSIBLY be performed at the re-opening of a grand cathedral, a little girl ran up to where my Rebecca doll lay and said to her Mommy, "I want that!"

Mommy said no, which made the child irate. "But Mommy, I WANT that!!!"

Again, Mommy said no.

The dialogue continued for another few moments when the fed-up child declared, "I'm TAKING IT. IT'S MINE!!!" and ran off with my Rebecca doll. She didn't get far. She refused to follow her mother's wishes to return the doll. So, I tried. I squated down and said gently, "Sweetheart, that's my doll. I really wish you'd give it back." The child finally understood and said, "Okay. You can have it back," and returned Rebecca to me.

See? The first messenger was right. Communication is key.

Then, I got a beautiful voicemail from my sister telling me she admired me for "doing what I do" in the faces of our disapproving parents and that she supported me. All this in St. John the Divine. A Kwanzaa miracle!!! And by that, I do really mean Kwanzaa. (My sister will get this, but don't ask me to explain to anyone else.)


Tarot makes people do strange things. Fortunately, last night, this was not the case.

I read for three lovely women. The rest of the guests were civilized about it. I'm often gang-rushed by the curious and the voracious. Many people don't even ask for a reading, they simply say, "I'M NEXT!!!" which in case no one told them, is very rude.

However, last night people quietly expressed interest, but no one pushed for one. Therefore, I didn't push back. Tarot reading is exhausting and decreases my alcohol tolerance. If I'm reading and drinking, I get drunk far faster than if I didn't.

My boyfriend looked at me strangely each time I emerged with one of his guests. "Geez, you were IN THERE long enough..." I should have told them I was having sex with them. But I don't know his friends well enough to know if that would have been too inappropriate.

Truthfully, I read for each lady for about thirty minutes, but it felt like five. We touched on serious, personal issues none of them were prepared for, but my cards like to do that. They start opening up childhood issues that need addressing. As a Priestess, I always encourage people to seek a spiritual path immediately. Most people do not have one. It's one thing our mainstream society is desperately missing. People simply don't realize that a healthy spiritual life is a vital part of overall health. It's the first thing people put on the chopping block, mostly because of past experiences.

One thing I rarely encourage though, is for people to become Wiccans.

Wiccans do not promote. We do not recruit. This is not because we don't want people in our faith, but we don't believe in the concept of "saving souls." Only oneself can save their own soul--not from Hell, but from becoming lost along the way. And one must do that by finding their own path, not by following a path someone tells them is right for them.

I know a Witch when I see one. If I come across one that hasn't been practicing, somehow we begin speaking as though we've known each other for years and are picking up on a conversation we left off from the day before. We cluster, hive, buzz off to do our own work and come back together when we need each other. Usually on the holidays. Getting a Witch at a Tarot reading is delightful. It's like unwrapping a present long overdue.

I'll be reading for lots of witches today, which I'm excited about. Meanwhile, I'm going to raid my BF's fridge for more Italian ham.

I wish so much that individuals in this country could find their spiritual feet. Not necessarily their religious ones. Religion should come second to spirituality. Make contact with your gods first, and find a house for them later.

In other news, I don't think it snowed last night and I am shocked.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Going off to read some more Tarots....

Now that my new boyfriend knows that I'm borderline psychotic at every third lunar click, I'm off to go read cards at his birthday party!

Tomorrow I'll be reading at the NYC Pagan Pride Yule Festival.  

The festival goes from 1-4 and there will be a coat drive, as well as vendors and workshops: New Dance Group, Studio 4, 305 W 38th Street, NYC.

I'm praying for accuracy this go-round.  Being a Tarot reader is part mentor, part therapist, part under-ground celebrity: but unfortunately, the fear of being a charlatan breathes constantly down my neck and probably yours too, if you read.

I'm bringing my Brid candle today.

Friday, December 5, 2008

O, What a Rogue and Peasant Dinkus am I....

Decided to have a talk with my Muggle boyfriend about the issue I had with him charging me for the make-up he got for free at his job--he'd planned to sell the items at his party tomorrow.

Discovered he was using the money for a charity--not to pay off the HD TV, as I originally suspected.

Maybe this is why that first messenger woke me up yesterday.

Now, I'm getting into bed and never coming out due to extreme shame.

It's been nice knowing you all.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I am Ebeneezer Weber and I am to be visited by three spirits.

Well, messengers.

One of my Group members sent me a text the other night saying I would be receiving three messages, shortly. She's always right about this. I laughed and thought of saying "What, Christmas Past, Present and Never?" But joking about spirits isn't very funny.

Early this morning, a short, squat, male spirit came and sat on the bed with me--telling me lots of things, but the final word I heard just before becoming fully awake at the sound of the alarm was "Communication." I reset it to sleep another 30 minutes and told the spirit he had that long to finish telling me what I needed to know.

I woke up three more times this morning, mostly the fault of the cats, and heard "Communication" each time. Got the message. I'm supposed to communicate.

I put on Poe (not Edgar Allan, Poe Poe--the alternative singer from the 90's who released two albums, the second of which sucked, but the second of which is the one I cannot stop listening to.) Her second album is one gaping wound from the loss of her beloved father and the loss of her douchebag boyfriend. She mixes the songs with recordings of her father rattling on in the tone of the brilliant: one would could speak poetically of love and learning from one another, but you get the sense he never was able to accomplish either on a tactical level. "Communication is not just words," Poe's dad says. "Communication is architecture."

The second to last stanza of that song terrifies me. It's a combination of her haunting father's words, a 911 operator call and a small child repeating, "What's happening? What's happening?" When I was a child, I was afraid of telephone operators. That album opens that fear.

If that's true, my house is built a lot better than it used to be.

I had lots of things to say this morning about communication, with the Spirit world and with one another. But now I'm tired, need to read my Tarot, go to the store, wash my hair and clean the kitchen. Maybe I'll go the store first.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

G-Chat with my Muggle Boyfriend

I don't think he knows I blog.

: I just picked up a case of beauty products for the party
it's insanity
What kinds???
10:49 AM CC: there's about 70 pieces of make-up
moslty blush
I'm just going to sell for a $1 each, honor system
10:50 AM a few I'll put up for auction, there are some scents and make-up kids
10:52 AM me: Are you serious? yes, mame
10:53 AM The ammount of make-up we get is criminal
the InStyle people just basically filled a boot box with stuff
10:56 AM me: You're not going to charge me for make-up, are you? ;)

8 minutes
11:05 AM CC: sweets, think of the children

5 minutes
11:10 AM me: :p

11 minutes
11:22 AM me: You're really going to charge your girlfriend for the make-up you got for free? I don't think that sounds like a gentlemanly thing to do...;)
CC: deal with it, girly
me: Okay, then....
How much are you paying me to read Tarot at your party? ;)
11:23 AM CC: you'll get special attention
me: Forget it.
Sweetie, how many people will be at your party?
11:24 AM CC: probably around 20, down from last year, because the whole hoboken crew can't make it
me: Okay.
For a party of 20 people, I would normally charge $200.
11:25 AM CC: Perfect, when I was a male prostitute I charged $300
me: Babe, all I'm saying is that if you're really going to charge me for make-up, I'm really going to charge you for my readings.
11:27 AM CC: okay, you win
me: :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Amazon purchasing.

Hey! Look at what I bought today!!!

Maybe this will help things along. I'm going to read it first before I start distributing it as required reading in my family.

In other news, my crown chakra spontaneously opened right before lunch. I guess the morning meditation is helping!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Come out, come out, Witchy-poo!!!

Coming out of the Broom Closet. There is no easy way around it, and eventually we all have to do it.

The first few Wicca conversations with my parents ended with them insisting that I would have problems getting a job and was going down a dangerous path. This was just after I’d graduated college with Honors, which I did while taking only 400-level classes, working 20 hours a week at a regional theatre AND teaching a Freshman-level college class. I applied for jobs in New York and was employed in an Off-Broadway company, starting my new career exactly three months to the day as I graduated college. It’s no small feat to begin a career in New York coming in from anywhere—but especially 3,000 miles away. All the while I was kicking serious theatrical and collegiate ass, I was practicing Wicca in a Grove in Vancouver, Washington. I began Priestess training just prior to moving to the East Coast. I did not see my parents’ connection between Wicca and ultimate failure. Wicca had given me confidence and focus. However, my well-meaning, hard-loving parents did not see my connections, either.

I went back into the Broom Closet at the age of 22, figuring that if I were still interested in Wicca at 25, I would come back out.

Two minutes later, I was 25 and not only still interested in Wicca, but running a Coven. (Not highly recommended at the age of 25…but life happens). Please go to the previous entry to see how my coming out went.

I’m now 27 and pursuing a Master’s of Divinity. My discussion of my latest scholastic goal did not sit well with my mother over Thanksgiving. Here’s an edited transcript:

My Mom:
Wicca is a cult. My company blocks its website.
Wicca has no central organization. There are some sects that are cult-like, but every religion has those. And companies block lots of websites that aren’t work-oriented.

Wiccan people are spiritually empty and constantly searching.
How many Wiccans do you know besides me, Mom? (“None.”) Well, Mom…do you find me spiritually empty? (“Absolutely not!!!”)

People won’t want you around them if you are Wiccan. They’ll push you away.
The only time I felt that someone didn’t want anything to do with me was in one po-dunk store, when I was down south visiting YOUR family, and the clerk wouldn’t wait on me and Izzy (Izzy is my friend and Coven sister). Other than that, hasn’t been a problem.

You won’t get a job.
But I have a job. A good job. And I have worked steadily since college.

You’ll have a hard time meeting someone.
But I have a boyfriend. A real boyfriend who works at People magazine and blogs about music who isn’t concerned by the Wicca at all. Sometimes the Wicca is the ONLY thing a dude likes about me—which presents its own problem.

I think Wicca is the reason you didn’t get into Grad School. They didn’t want to read stories about witchery.
I didn’t submit stories about Witchcraft in my portfolio. I didn’t get into Grad School because my mainstream fiction isn’t that good. P.S.—That was a low blow.

The most difficult part of our conversation came when I asked to explain the tenets of Wicca to my mother, in order to appease her concerns. She did not want to know anything about it, and said so. I declared our conversation complete at that point and went to cry in the shower for an hour.

At moments like these, we can pour our pain into our journals. We can call our Elders and ask their advice. We can vent over IM to our friends and Circle members—but no one can make our loved ones accept our path. This is when we turn to our Gods.

“Brid,” I said aloud in the bathroom. “You found me and brought me to this path. When You have a moment, please send me some tools to deal with it.”

Sometimes Brid audibly replies. Sometimes I hear Her laugh. Usually I simply feel a warm embrace of peace, which is what I felt at that moment. I let it go.

I’m lucky. Some people get turned out of their families for being gay. Some women get buried up to their necks and stones are thrown at their heads for the crime of being raped, before a crowd of thousands. My mom doesn’t like my religion. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme. Plus, she still loves me.

Because I won’t get disowned, dis-employed or dismembered for coming out, it is my responsibility to do so, in hopes that other Witches who have more pressing challenges in being open might someday find more acceptance.

Why should we come out?

A few years ago, I was at a Trance Prophecy workshop lead by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone. During the Trance, one woman allowed The Morrigan to possess her and spoke through her. One of the first thing She said was, “How lucky you all are to live in a time when there are laws to protect you! Why must you all keep hiding? There is no wonder why people think you do bad things when you hide your activities?”

I’ve strived to live openly ever since. I am a Wiccan—but I also work 40 hours a week, pay taxes, dress well, shower daily, work for change in my community and have (mostly) healthy relationships. I am friendly and open and do not need to “hide” what it is I do or believe in. I have a Goddess named Brid and a God named Pan, and I honor my ancestors daily. I acknowledge and respect a multitude of other Gods in this world, and even call on them for assistance when necessary. I do not believe that any one religion holds all the answers because there is no way any human could ever possibly understand the Gods. There is nothing weird or shady about what I have just revealed about myself.

Our Group, Novices of the Old Ways, has a policy that nothing we do within the Circle remains secret. We have no need for it to be. We worship Old Gods and honor our Ancestors. We cast spells to better the world around us. We eat too much cheese and prefer Budweiser to wine in our Chalice. But if we were to hide these actions, why wouldn’t people assume we were drinking the blood of virgins?

We also live in New York City, where people are accepting of the new and different—if they even care enough to pay attention. We can safely wear our pentacles in public. There are other places in the world, and in this country where some people are not so lucky—who might, as my mother feared, struggle with getting a job or even face verbal and/or physical violence for being open. But maybe if we, who can safely do so, show the world that Wiccans are not creepy people who gravitate to shady lifestyles.

If you live in a place where you are safe to be openly Wiccan but yet you remain in the Broom Closet, ask yourself why the hiding is so necessary. Is it possible your hiding may be merely reinforcing stereotypes that harm other Wiccans?

How to do it?

Unfortunately, that is only an answer that you can come up with. Most people find coming out to their friends first is the easiest. In many cases (like mine…) my friends responded, “Duh. We knew you were Wiccan before you did.”

In families, siblings may be easier than parents and a good first step. But whether you sit your family down, write them a letter, or rent a place and fly a banner over their house, do it joyfully. Express your excitement for your new path. If you act scared or nervous, they will be scared and nervous about your news.

When challenged, remember these things:

Sometimes, love makes people act like assholes.

This doesn’t mean you should put up with it. But if your family reacts negatively to your new path, remember that they are scared of negative rumors about Wicca and simply want the best for you. Even if it is presented in a fucked-up way. (i.e. “THAT COURTNEY BITCH IS GOING TO CUT YOUR HEART OUT AND EAT IT BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WITCHES DO!!!”—the mother of a Group member, who now buys me clothes and invites me over for dinner on a regular basis.)

You knew this path wasn’t easy, but you chose it because it called to you.

Right? If this whole difficult thing is news to you…well, welcome to the unmarked trail! We are a new religion. We may have many practices that could be called “The Old Ways,” but as a recognized faith, we have only really been around since the early 20th century. All religious pioneers faced problems. At least we’re not getting burned anymore.

Ways to respond:

-Offer to sit down with your family to explain the tenets of the Craft. If you have a Group, offer to invite your High Priestess or High Priest to come and visit. Your spiritual leader should be open to your family’s concerns. If they are not, you need to find a new group.

-If your family, like mine, is not ready to hear about the Wiccan tenets, simply announce the subject closed and let them know you’re open to talk more about it when they’re ready.

-Remind them of the accomplishments in your current life and let them know they didn’t raise a fool.

-All religions, at their core, are based on peace, love and understanding. If your family is religious, find a passage from their doctrines on love and acceptance and have it ready for quoting.

-Keep your Gods in on the loop. Remind them that you’ll need some help with this.

If you MUST be a smart-ass…

(These are for your Christian relatives—my specialties are Catholics and Baptists. If you have good responses for family members of other faiths, please send them to me!!!)

- “Well, yes, the Bible says, ‘Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live,’ but it also says that women should not pray in Church. (1 Corinthians, 14:34) Should I tell Aunt Flo to knock that shit off?”

- “Why don’t you let Jesus do the judging, okay?”

- “It’s your Hell. You burn in it.” (this one is better on a bumper sticker).

Oh, and….

Prayer for the Fed-up Witch:

Goddess Grant me the Serenity to Accept what I Cannot Change

Courage to Change the things that I can

And the Wisdom not to curse anyone for lame reasons, no matter how tempting

For Karma will fuck bastards on Its own terms.

Staying in the Broom Closet limits your spiritual development. How are we to grow if we stay close to our altars? It is in our challenges that we grow closer to our Gods. In addition, it reinforces painful stereotypes that we are due for overturning. When we hide, others will think we have reason for hiding.

You don’t have to walk around in a cone hat or Ren-Faire cape. But dust off your pentacles, wear them to the job if possible. If asked, tell people that yes, you are a Wiccan. If a co-worker or curious acquaintance asks about your weekend, tell them you and your Group had a lovely Full Moon gathering.

I think I made my point. And this entry is really friggin’ long, anyway.