Pagan Blog Project: H is for Herbs

When I was a baby witch, just learning my craft, I got really into herbs.

From Pixabay
From Pixabay

Like REALLY into. 🙂

I had the classic Herb Book, which is likely still in my library somewhere!

I bought herbs at magick shops and food co-ops.

I had mason jars and containers full of herbs.

Cooking herbs.

Healing herbs.

Essential oils.

Tinctures.

I made my own incense.

I made massage oils and candles.

I made tea (technically tisanes) and potions.

Wet and dry potpourri.

Cordials.

I’m not much of a cook, but give me a shelf full of herbs and a pot of water, and I’ll mix something that smells good, at least.

At various times, I’ve had herb gardens.

Herbs are at the heart of magick for me. laurel-272961_640

In pretty much every culture, there has always been a healer, a witch, a wise one that knew the ways of plants and how to use them to ease suffering or to conjure dreams and visions.

And this is another thing that somewhere along the way I lost touch with.

I had an herb garden when C was a baby. When we lived in Washington, there was a huge herb farm nearby (which seems to have “retired” now).

But as we moved around, I had to leave behind living plants, or give up space on my shelves for things that had a higher priority.

I used up or got rid of my stash.

Eventually, all I had were the basic cooking herbs.

As our financial situation worsened, and my daughter grew, and my faith waned. . . I gave up my herbs. I gave up my magick.

Last summer when I was going to one of the local farmer’s markets, there were big bunches of purple basil and mint.

I brought them home and used some of the basil for a tomato sauce and mint to flavor my water, but I didn’t want to waste the huge bunch, so for the first time in a long, long time, I hung up my herbs to dry.

Weeks later, I was looking for my regular, old, bought-for-cooking dried basil and couldn’t find it.

Then I remembered, among my cluttered shelves, I had hanging this beautiful basil.

My mortar and pestle, if I still have them, are in storage, so I pulled the leaves off the stems into a bowl and rubbed the dried leaves between my hands to make them smaller.

As I was doing it, I wondered, “How did I ever get away from doing this?”

My hands smelled like fresh basil, and the taste of the herb was strong in my sauce.

Basil is for flying, faithful love, and drawing money to you.

I felt so good to be doing that simple thing. Refreshed.

One of my Core Desired Feelings is “Restored”.

I felt restored.

As my daughter is pretty much grown up now, and I’m rediscovering who I am without the “C’s mom” added to my name, I know that I need to bring the herbs back into my life.

I regret leaving them behind and not bringing my daughter up with the full appreciation of the art of herbal magick.

I don’t know if I can realistically fill up my shelves again the way I did in my early 20s, but I want to start again.

I wonder if the apartment complex will notice if I cut a few rosemary branches?

 

Pagan Blog Project, D: Divination & Dreams

Oneiromancy: Divination by dreams.

Dream divination is not a new thing. It’s been around as long as humans. The earliest cultures talk about dreams and interpreting them, from Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh’s dream to Gilgamesh sleeping on things to think them over to Aristotle’s treatise, “On Prophesying by Dreams“.

Image
from lucindafaye on Pixabay http://pixabay.com/en/users/lucindafaye/

I think Dreams may have been my initial introduction to divination and magick.

Being young (preteen maybe?) and experiencing very strong cases of déjà vu, remembering a flash of a dream months earlier. Luckily my mother was open to the idea that this might actually be divination, in fact, she’s probably the one that told me that’s what might be happening.

Over the years, I’ve kept a dream journal on and off. Sometimes my dreams have been intensely rich, colorful and true-seeming. Other times, they have been confusing, dark, scary.

You know, like everyone else’s dreams. 🙂

But sometimes, still, that strong sense of déjà vu hits and I start flipping through my dream journals, and sure enough, I find something in there that directly relates to what I was experiencing. The frustrating thing is that I can never tell what dream is going to be “real” and what’s just stuff working out in my head – until an event actually happens.

For a few years I didn’t remember my dreams very well at all. Maybe that was sheer exhaustion and depression. Maybe it was medications. Maybe it was my crisis of faith. For whatever reason, I lost touch with dreaming.

It’s coming back – strong, vivid dreams that I can remember in meticulous detail. I need to put a notebook by my bed again.

Do you keep a dream diary/journal? Do you talk to other people about your dreams? Do you think dreams are significant, either from a psychological or magickal perspective? Have you ever analyzed your dreams?

Pagan Blog Project: C: Cunningham

I was almost certain my “C” post was going to be about candles or candle magick.

But I also felt like that is soooooo overdone – I’m sure there are at least a million websites and blogs that talk about candles. After all, they’re a mainstay. And I’m not sure my take on it/them is unique in any way. I couldn’t think of a way to make it interesting.

Then I looked at the prompts given for the week.

And I saw Scott Cunningham on the list.

This is an old story, one my close friends have probably heard way too often, but others may not have heard at all.

1988/9.

I was in the Navy, training to be an electronics tech in Great Lakes. Some of us started playing with psychic energy – and when you get that many young adults in one place that can get interesting all on its own.

There were some things that I knew instinctively were “right” and, well, some were bullshit. My personal life was an absolute mess.

But somehow I managed to make it through, and was high enough in my class to pick my own specialty school.

Shortly before I left, there were rumors that this one girl, K, was a witch. Like a really real witch.

I was not friends with her; she was fairly new as I was getting ready to leave. But one day I saw her give a book to someone else. It was this one:

A couplefew weeks later, I was home in Florida on leave before driving out to San Diego for my specialty school.

My mother had just bought the same book. She hadn’t read it yet, but it was sitting on the table.

I picked it up and read the back and the “about the author” blurb.

And I found out the author lived in San Diego.

Well, if the book is going to follow me around the country, maybe I should read it.

And read it I did.

When I got to San Diego, I checked out some of the stores he mentioned in the back of the book. Well, haunted them really.

Whenever I had money, I spent a good chunk of it at this one particular store. I used to spend a lot of time there. They had free psychic fairs every couple of months, and speakers/classes happening quite often.

One day when I was just hanging out, Scott Cunningham walked in the store, greeted the store owner, and started signing some of his books. I had a total fan-girl moment. 😛

The most recently published was his aromatherapy book. He was in the store to make arrangements to teach a class on the topic. I chatted with him for a few minutes and signed up for his class.

I went on to immerse myself in Wicca and magick for many years. I made contacts at that store that led me to others. The really real witch from Great Lakes came out to San Diego and we connected for a time.

Would I have found this path without his books? Maybe. But these were the events that led me to this path.

Cunningham’s books were many people’s introduction to Wicca, and I’m glad that I found them. They lacked oppressive dogma and arcane knowledge and didn’t hint at more secrets to come. They were ARE straight-forward and easy to read and easy to begin a practice with. I’ve passed some of them on to my daughter.

When he died, I was once again living in San Diego and attended a public ritual for his passing. I was grateful to be there.

 

Pagan Blog Project Week 1: A is for Archetype

This week, I discovered the Pagan Blog Project – it’s essentially a blog challenge, focusing on Pagan stuff. I’m supposed to post every week (or every other week) on Friday about something pagan dealing with a specific letter, spending 2 weeks on each letter.

Since one of my goals is to be more consistent on the blog, I think this will help me and help make the blog better.

I chose Archetype for this first post.

Archetypes are sort of a . . . pattern for things.

Carl Jung defined archetypes as:

universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious and are the psychic counterpart of instinct. (from Wikipedia)

What’s that got to do with modern Paganism?

If you look at different cultures through time, there are different themes that show up over and over.

The innocent, sweet, kind, young woman (maiden).

Tricksters.

Wise old teachers, male and female.

Fathers, philandering husbands, and the Hero.

These days, when I read mythologies, I see the Gods/Goddesses as divine archetypes – examples and amplifications of human behavior.

There are still lessons to be learned in the ancient stories, from these archetypes.

I have been away from Pagan politics and the evolution of modern Pagan thought for some time now.

When I went to research and refresh my memory on a few things, I came up with several blogs/articles about people being down right angry about my point of view, as if seeing the Gods as archetypes somehow takes away their. . . divineness? God-ness?

I’m not going to link them, because I found them to be a little too . . . hidebound for me.

I fully admit that I’m not as religious as I used to be, in any sense of the word. I think what I think, I feel what I feel, I work my own way and don’t worry about how others do theirs. I don’t think everyone needs to follow my path, and mine has evolved over time.

Raised loosely in a Protestant Christian tradition, I do still think that there is something we don’t yet fully understand that may be called Divine.

I think every culture has tried to connect with this Divine thing in various ways.

I think our brains are finite, and so by nature cannot fully encompass the entirety of this thing.

And so, we create stories around the parts we can see/find. And as the stories grow, belief in the entity grows, and the entity becomes something new.

To me, using archetypes to define and describe the Gods is not sacrilege – it does not take away from divinity.

It creates a path to understanding of the Gods, of humanity, and of ourselves.

Here’s some scholarly info on Jung and archetypes to get you started.

Returning to my true self?


I stepped away from being a Priestess/spiritual teacher many years ago because my life was messed up, and I didn’t feel like I had any business telling others how to heal their spiritual selves when mine was so broken. 

But what if. . .

What if it took me so long to heal because i stepped away?

What if walking away from my inner truth kept me from healing?

I know my archetype is Teacher.

This was confirmed for me when i began tutoring. That began to help me connect with my inner self, and began to turn my financial situation around. It also gave me the confidence to find work again, and helped me break the worst of the depression.

I don’t know if it was the aspect of helping someone else, or if it was the hanging out with teens that have energy to spare that helped me find energy to do what i needed to do at the time, after so long of being completely idle, withdrawn and depressed. But it did help me turn it around.

In 2012, C had expressed an interest in priestess training. But she isn’t really ready yet. I was willing, but she’s not putting in the work. She doesn’t yet understand that it takes work, time alone to reflect, intense discussion and practice. Of course, maybe I’m not supposed to be her teacher. Buddha’s wisdom says that when the student is ready the teacher will appear, and I have found that to be true throughout my life.

But beginning again. . . Reconnecting with my Priestess-self, my spiritual-self. . . .seems to have me returning to a different state of being. In part because of C and in part because of actually connecting with Goddess Leonie’s stuff instead of just ignoring it in my inbox.

I’ve mentioned that my spiritual roots are pretty fluffy-bunny-new-agey. I was one of those wanna be hippies that talked about love and light and everything being an opportunity to learn and healing and intuition guiding my every move. I believed in the ability to manifest things into my life with my will.

And I was able to. 


For example: I got the military assignments that I wanted, when I wanted them. 

Seriously, do you know how hard it is to get the Navy to move someone from Europe to the west coast? The assignment coordinator said it Could Not Be Done. He told me I would probably have to spend a couple years in Virginia before i could go back to San Diego. I said, “We’ll see, I will talk to you tomorrow,” and went to fill in my wish list.

When I went back, he looked through the assignments available to me and almost had kittens. 

There was an assignment in San Diego, only one. It required part of my skill set, a month’s worth of training in Virginia and reupping for a couple years, but it was there. One assignment on his list. It was exactly what I needed/wanted. He was stunned. That kind of thing happened more than once. I was able to manifest exactly what i needed usually right when I needed it.

And then I lost my faith (which I may or may not talk about at some point – I can pretty much pinpoint when it was) in myself, in the ability to manifest, in, well, everything, and I was no longer able to bring such miracles into my life. 


Not being able to bring what I needed into my life reinforced the negative thought patterns, deepened the depression and pushed the ability to manifest further away.

I became cynical, sarcastic, even more withdrawn, judgmental, angry, more depressed, isolated and completely self-flagellating.

Reconnecting with Teacher through tutoring helped start me back onto the right emotional track, but I had still built up a lot of negativity in my Lost Decade.

It’s not gone, and it will likely always be there now, but I’m being called back to be Priestess and/or spiritual teacher again.

There is a part of the spiritual journey that is about confronting and integrating your shadow-self into your being. Maybe I’m finally coming out the other side of that.


While I still don’t feel like I have any business telling people how to run their lives, maybe sharing my experiences can help someone.

There is no light without dark, a witch that cannot hex, cannot heal, and one cannot ignore the dark or push it away, it must be acknowledged and walked through, each in their own time.