Friday, August 14, 2015

Corn Dolly

I made a Corn Dolly for Lughnasadh and the beginning of harvest season. Having moved to a place that has seasons, it's a lot easier for me to want to honor the holidays then it ever was before whilst living in the desert. While some of the aspects still don't apply in part of the world that can have fresh fruits and vegetables every day of the year (while other parts go without) it felt good to make a symbol honoring the thoughts and ideas that I want to harvest and store throughout the oncoming fall and winter months. Winter becomes dark and rainy, so I shall hold onto her as a reminder of the light of the summer and offer her up to the gods once the wheel turns and it is Imbolc once again.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Longing for the place I'm not sure exists

This is the story of my life. I'm sure many introverts and fantasy nuts like myself have had this similar feeling. When I was a kid, I could find myself stuck in my own imagination, feeling like I was supposed to be a part of something bigger. I felt as though Gandalf would appear at any moment to give me a quest that only I could fulfill or that Falcor would fly in and wisk me away to Fantastica where only I could help the Child-like empress with a new name. It never happened, of course, but even at thirty-two, I still feel like something is supposed to happen.

I also suffer from depression, and I think the two feelings are linked. I have my fair share of real life goals, many that I have accomplished, but as soon as I achieve them I get stir crazy.

It's finally come to the point where I am realizing that this feeling will never go away and it's not because of something that I haven't done yet. It's just engrained in me like some sort of spiritual brand. I have this striking feeling that no matter what I do or accomplish, I will feel as if I was meant for something else. I will always be restless. That's why I have decided to work a lot more on mindfulness lately. My brain is always in five-thousand other places and I need to just relax, take a deep breath and be.

I also think this is why I love witchcraft and ritual so much. When I am practicing, that feeling of being homesick sort of disappears, or at least, quiets down a lot. It feels as though I am tapping into something or someplace where I was meant to be. When I cast a circle, it feels as though I have erected a hobbit hole around myself and the mundane world just falls away. Whether this is all in my head or not doesn't matter. I feel it in my heart. It's real to me.

I've been seeing things out of the corner of my eye a lot lately. The skeptic in me wants to brush it off, but the thing is this hasn't happened in a long time. I'm just going to go with it and let it happen. If it's mundane, it's mundane, but I am going to note the frequency in which it happens. It feels like it might be important so I don't want to ignore it completely.

We shall see. We shall see.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sludging through my skepticism and embracing "Witch."

Oh, skepticism. We have such a love/hate relationship, don't we? I need you in my life and yet there are times when you bully me with your arrogance.

But I get it. Without you, we would have nothing but snake oil and homeopathy. You help me wade through the ocean of antivaxers and charlatans with confidence and security. You have taught me so much and made me a better person for it. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I thank the people who have taught me to be critical; Sagan, deGrasse Tyson, Randy and so many more. Reading books like Demon Haunted World and Billions & Billions were life changing. They helped snap me into a comfortable place of rational thinking like a snug little Lego. For once in my life, I felt smart. I am smart.

And yet, there was still something missing. I tried to make you enough. For a while I was confident that you were all I needed and, thanks to Sagan, you were romantic. You will always be a part of me. You will always be there.  You are my voice of reason, perched upon my right shoulder, whispering mathematics and science to keep me on the ground, where it is safe.

My true nature is more dualistic than you will allow as a singular label and there is a being on my opposite shoulder that speaks to me just as loudly, and just as lovingly. It is no more a demon than you are an angel, but it is there and as much as I have fought over the years, I can not deny their existence.

Dawkins, for as much as I loath the individual, has said some interesting things. One of those being that "Pantheism is sexed up atheism." I can agree with this. As much as one can say I am an atheist (and I am) I feel like it's not the best term for myself. Pantheism implies more of a spiritual feeling surrounding the Universe more than atheist does at this point which is why I prefer the former over the latter. Skepticism seems to go hand in hand with atheism, especially within non-believer circles and it makes sense. Agnostic atheist, is a great term for me, but again -- it describes what I don't believe, but not what I feel.

This is where the word witch becomes important to me. "Witch" is what I feel inside. "Witch" combines my agnosticism and pantheism and throws in my romanticism for nature and my need for magick/ritual as a form of meditation.

For far too long I fought it. It's easy to be skeptic and agnostic and hard to find a point in embracing spellwork even on a mental level. Why waste the time lighting a candle and focusing intention if it was all coming from me anyway and not some outside divine source?

That's when it just recently hit me. Skepticism and it's parents science and mathematics explain to us how the natural world works. It slowly unlocks the mysteries of our Universe and helps us cure disease, invent technology and explore space, but it can't feed the artistic parts of my brain. Much like art is subjective and there are people inspired more by Escher than by Pollock, my brain is inspired my mythology and parables more than history. My brain needs a story to focus. I need to activate my senses. If poetry, storytelling, incense and candle flame strikes a match under my ass, than that is what I need to do--not because I think it is necessary for the outside world, but it is most definitely necessary for my inside world.

And if there is any truth to magick and it's power to change, isn't it the power to change your perspective and your mind? Changing minds can change the world.  In that way, I believe in magick and always have.

So I have finally broken the chains that I put upon myself years ago. I now have the permission to explore. These chains were merely my ego taking control of what I really desire. It was the fear of looking crazy. The fear of looking like I had fallen off of the metaphysical deep end, but in turn I fell off the secular one. I haven't lost either, but had to figure out how to reconcile them both in my heart and my head. For once, I feel like I finally have.

Maybe there is a part of me that will always wonder. I will always entertain the ideas of ghosts, aliens and magick in an outside sense, but there is a difference between wondering and knowing. I know very little and I don't expect to convince anybody else without legitimate evidence, and that's ok. I don't need to convince. I just need to wonder.

And wondering is enough for me.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Becoming a Born Again Witch

I'm sitting here in my living room. It's dark, the sun having just finally dipped below the horizon. It would be quiet except for the loud forced air sound of the air conditioning unit and I'm tired.

I've spent the last few days in transition. Throughout my life I have many similar transitions, but what's different about this one is the fact that I feel like I have come home, as opposed to finding something I could rationally support. I can not scientifically support this, but I have finally accepted myself enough to know that this is inside me and it is never going to go anywhere.

I am a witch.

I won't go into my definition of the word. I'm hoping this journal will demonstrate that enough. When I start over analyzing definitions I get in trouble and I am not going to let my analytical mind take the reigns in this. This needs to come from my soul. It needs to come from that place, deep inside my belly where all of my primitive feelings and reactions reside. It just has to be.

When I open up myself to it, I can feel divinity all around me. It's not a god or a goddess, but an everything. An everything that fills up the universe like a thick blanket of fog, drifting in and out of our molecules, pulsing within and without.

I need to smell the woody scent of burning incense and meditate on the meanings of the Tarot. How does the Eight of Wands relate to my life in this current moment? What sort of things can it teach me?

Magick has become the way in which I deal with my emotions and with my fears. It turns on that switch in my brain that makes me calm and capable. Without magick, I am a dried husk of a person. It's like trying to be mindful without a mind. Magick is my road map through a life that I find increasingly hard to find direction.

I am a witch.

There is no better word to describe me. I have no religion, but I have a spiritual home. My home is where my hearth is. It's a warm, inviting place. It smells of cedarwood, yarn and cooking food. My altar is my kitchen, my fireplace, my dresser top. My church is my backyard. My gods are the rain, the wind, the sun and the dirt. They lift mountains and carve canyons. They smell like the top of my son's head and the rich black soil underneath the garden.

The shadow of death hangs over us all, and I honor that shadow on Halloween. The winter comes, and the electricity in the air increases. This is the moment to honor ancestors. I fear death, but I respect it, and the cycle of life holds a deep and ever-present hold on all of us. Forgetting that is detrimental and dishonest. Understanding is the cure for fear.

I am a witch.

It's a loaded word and not everyone understands. Not everyone feels it like I do and that's ok. For now, that is the only word I can use that describes myself and how I see the world. It's the only word that can define my lifestyle and the way my brain needs to process life. You can call me silly, crazy or damned. I make no excuses or apologies anymore. I choose to honor myself for the first time that I can remember and the first way to do this is to be honest. If I want to be happy for this brief spark of consciousness, this is what I must do.

So mote it be.