Tumblr “What Kind of Witch Are You” Tag

Tumblr Tag! Which kind of Witch are you?

 

1. Are you a religious witch? Which religion?

2. What is your preferred herb?
Lavender! I love the scent and smell of lavender. Peppermint is a close second.

3. What is your preferred gem?
Sapphire! I love sapphire. My second favorite “gem” is amber. It reminds me of my grandmother.

4. Do you do divination? Which kind?
I throw bones! Still new to it, but I love it. I’m also desperately trying to learn the Tarot.

5. Favorite Tarot card?
Oh man, I don’t know the Tarot well enough to speak intelligently on that.

6. To Curse or not to Curse?
I’m honestly not sure where I fall on this one. Part of me says that the universe always has a way of evening things out. Not necessarily a Wiccan Rede type thing, but all will equilibrate eventually.

7. Do you have a familiar?
I don’t, but I do have a cat that joins me for ritual. I wouldn’t call him a familiar though.

8. Favorite candle color?
I know it’s cliche, but black.

9. Favorite rune?
I don’t know enough about runes.

10. Do you celebrate the solstices, full moons, etc?
I celebrate the sabbats, and I *should* celebrate full moons and dark moons, but honestly I forget most of the time and am too busy.

11. Do you wear a pentacle?
Sometimes. I have two, but I don’t wear them to work or anything.

12. Do you have a broom?
I do not have a broom. Except for the one I use to clean my house ;P

13. Do you have a pendulum?

I have a bunch! When I first started out that was my favorite tool of choice. I don’t use them so much anymore.

14. Do you have an athame?

I do, but I want to get a new one.

15. How often do you meditate?

I’ll go for months at a time meditating every day, and then months at a time not meditating. So, depends ;P

16. Do you do yoga?

I used to. I was my best self when I was doing yoga, so I really want to get back into it. If I could recommend two books: Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras and Kundalini Yoga for the West. I’m still in the process of reading them, but I’m finding them very insightful.

17. Whats your favorite herbal tea?

Lavender, but peppermint is a close second.

18. Do you support manipulation magic?

I don’t support anything that alters someone’s free Will.

19. How many alters do you have?

Oh boy….6!

20. Do you do magic outside often?

For seasonal rituals, with my coven, yes.

21. Can you read palms or tea leaves?

Nope!

22. Would you ever open your own metaphysics shop?

Aw man, that’d be livin’ the dream.

23. Is your third eye open?

Lolz prolly like half shut.

24. Do you like Astrology? Whats your sign?

Nope. But Sagittarius.

25. Favorite flower? Or Tree?

I love marigolds. Don’t have a favorite tree.

26. Do you have an animal guide?

Nope! Although a crow has been a symbol in my journeying.

27. Whats your favorite kind of magic?

just… magic. rituals for connecting with deity and getting guidance from them.

28. What time do you feel most like a witch?

When I get to wear black lipstick and wear my pentagram. ;P (I normally wear bright, flowy outfits.)

29. Are you out of the broom closet?

Partially. To my work and half my family, yes. To everyone else, nope.

30. Are you a hereditary witch? Or self discovered?

Self Discovered!

31. Are you in a coven? Or solitary?

I work both in a coven and alone.

32. Do you want to be in a coven? How big?

I’m in one with 8 people.

33. When did you become a witch?

I don’t identify as a witch. I tend to not like labels, but if you had to put me in a box I’d be  a Thelemic Pagan Magician.

34. Do you make your own spells?

Yes, but they’re usually on the fly.

35. Do you make your own sigils?

Yes. Sigils have been very helpful.

36. Why did you choose this path?

I didn’t. This path is who I am.

37. Whats your favorite element?

Earth. I need more groundedness in my life.

38. Do you do any misc. magic? 
(Dragon, Sex, etc.)

I work with Deity, I do sex magick, I do ceremonial magick, I do celebratory magick, etc.

39. Magic or things you will never do?

Anything that affects other people’s Will.

40. Strangest way a spell backfired?

I’m drawing a blank rn.

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Labels

Something that’s been on my mind recently is how we label ourselves. Since joining the OTO and getting into ceremonial magick, I’ve been identifying with the label ‘magician.’ Now that I’m joining a Wiccan coven, I’ve found myself questioning what I should be calling myself. Am I a magician? Am I a pagan? Am I a Wiccan? What am I?

After a long discussion with my husband, he reminded me that labels are all ego. Yes, they can be useful, but it’s good to not get too attached to any one label. So instead, I’ve decided, when people ask me, to name my spiritual practices, that I’ll instead tell them what I do not what I am.

I practice magick, low and high but there’s really no difference between the two of them when you get down to it, labels just help and I have a relationship with deities that falls under the category of it’s all in my head, but how big is my head? (Thanks for that Lon Milo DuQuette.) I’m not a polytheist, but I’m no atheist either. More on that in another post. I also have a belief that everything has its own unique energy that we can tap into.

So that’s what I do, and it makes me who I am.

Update!

So, I’ve been gone for about two years. What’s changed? I took my Minerval, I*, and II* in the OTO. First degree had a profound impact on my life; it had me questioning my identity in a way I hadn’t before. Everything got turned upside down. My partner stuck with me during all of that chaos… he really is a godsend. I have another partner, who’s long distance (unfortunately). He’s really amazing. I might go more into my relationship with him at some point.

I also am in the process of becoming a dedicant in a Wiccan coven. That’s really expanding my view of magick.

I had to take a hiatus from school for my health, for 9 months. I’m back at school and also got married to the partner I’ve been with the longest. That was a really amazing experience.  I might share the wedding ceremony here, with my husband’s permission. (He wrote it.) It’s quite magickal. ;P

Our cat contracted FIP, at only a year old, and we lost her. We got another kitten, and he’s a sweetheart, whom we’ve had since August. We just got another cat, who’s taken a liking to our sweet boy. They’re best friends now, and it’s only been a week since she arrived.

My perspective on the Gods has changed dramatically (which I will go into), as well as my daily magical practices.

What can you expect from this blog? Updates on my religious and spiritual practice. Views on witchcraft and Thelema, and the occasional life update.

Is belief the right path?

What is belief?

I’ve been dealing with this question a lot recently. How does belief affect my life? Does it affect my life? Should it affect my life?

Do I still consider myself an Atheopagan?

A lot have things have changed for me in the last two years, but in particular, the last six months. To answer the question about Atheopaganism, I think it’s important to note that ultimately what we label ourselves is a matter of ego. Yes, labels are useful when relating to other people, but we shouldn’t get hung up on them. But I am moving away from Atheism in general. I’d say I’ve moved into the realm of agnosticism, but I may be moving out of that soon too.

I’m coming to find that having belief in magic makes it work better. So I’m trying to let go of my preconceived notions about what belief is, and give it a shot. And it’s working out for me really well so far. Do I still think the Gods exist in our brain, largely? As Lon Milo DuQuette said, and I’m paraphrasing, “but how big is our brain?”

There will be more to come on the topic of belief, as I explore it further.

“Astral Bodies” by Shepherd King

Naturalistic Paganism

♀.

Your dawn foams red in

blushing, dancing waves, teasing

the flesh of the day.

☉.

Shafts of light from your

golden bow pierce clouds and crown

the sakura sky.

☿. 

Heaven-helmed, you hold

aloft the spiral spear, the

shield-wheel of the stars.

☽. 

The cloud-veiled crescent

grail of your smile overflows

and phantom rains fall.

.

Your jade skirt sprouts from

mudslide mountain thighs, smearing

earth with afterbirth.

♂. 

Dogs and serpents feast

on bone-pale flesh, nursing blood

from your rotting breast.

.

Compassion burns and

blossoms forth, fragrant on the

thorned cross of your heart.

♄.

Your torch reflects the

parchment sands, unfolding the

face of time grown old.

♅. 

The dharma shines through

diamond eyes, sparking rainbows

on your lotus feet.

♆. 

Your cosmos swirls like

pearls of milk on the quickened

waters of the void.

♇. 

Scattered ashes dust

your tongue; their grave-dance feeds…

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Update! Atheopaganism, Grad School, and Thelema

It’s been an interesting 7 months since my last post (wow- I can’t believe it’s been 7 months already!). I’ve completed my first semester at graduate school relatively successfully. I made up with a good friend who I’d been on the outs with. (He’s now my best friend here.) Dated someone. Ended things with that someone. Fell mad(den)ly in love with someone. Got a (hypoallergenic) kitten. Started doing real research.

Oh… and I discovered Thelema (Aleister Crowley’s Thelema…not knowing that much about AC, the fact that his name cropped up in this made me initially nervous, but I got over that) and the OTO(Ordo Templi Orientis) at the local Pagan Pride Day, went to my first mass in late October, and am taking Minerval initiation in about 6 weeks…and I’m so incredibly excited.

Like I said.. an interesting 7 months.

I’ve been, at least a passive part, of the pagan community for around 7 years. I’ve never been hugely active online, but have followed a lot of people’s paths in seeking a path that fit me. A lot of those individuals had described a ‘coming home’ moment, which is something that I always wanted, but never really quite identified with. Paganism always *mostly* ran true for me, as did Atheopaganism. And I would still consider myself an atheopagan, but now I would consider myself a Thelemite as well.

After going to my first Gnostic Mass, and then reading about Thelema, I felt a fundamental shift in me. It felt like I was coming home, and that my life’s path had permanently changed in the direction of Thelema. I had never found something that so closely aligned with what I already thought to be true about the world, and human interaction.

And the best part? No belief in deities required.

A catchphrase often common when describing Thelema is: “The method of science, the aim of religion.” Sounds right up my alley.

I’ll still be writing about my experiences as an Atheopagan, along with books about general paganism..but in addition, I also will write about my experiences with Thelema and the OTO (nothing oathbound of course, once I get to the point of having oaths), as well as thoughts on the books of Thelema/about Thelema.

(Hopefully reading of more books will ensue after Semester from Hell: Part II finishes in May.)

Cheers!

Here are some Thelemic resources, for anyone that is interested. (All of Crowley’s work is published online for free.  Class A Documents (Thelemic Holy Books) )

These are a few I’ve read so far:

-The Book of the Law, in print.

-The Book of the Law, online document.

The Weiser Concise Guide to Aleister Crowley, a great primer on AC’s life that was recommended to me by my local OTO body.

The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford, an introduction to the Qabalah. Another book recommended by my local OTO body. I’m still going through this. (Read: my graduate degree is currently taking over my life and I haven’t finished it yet.)

Liber Oz, online document. It’s one of my favorites. Very Libertarian. (Which I *mostly* identify with. I’m not quite so extreme as a lot of people are in the modern libertarian movement, but I identify closely with a lot of libertarian ideology.)

Liber Tzaddi vel Hamus Hermeticus sub figura XC, online document, beautiful poetry. My favorite bit:

  18.  Only those who fear shall fail. Those who have bent their backs to the yoke of slavery until they can no longer stand upright; them will I despise.
19.  But you who have defied the law; you who have conquered by subtlety or force; you will I take unto me, even I will take you unto me.

Spell crafting and Inner work

As I mentioned ~2 posts ago, I’ve been reading (finally) the Spiral Dance by Starhawk.

I didn’t expect to like her as much as I do. To be honest, I was mostly reading her because…well…it’s the Spiral Dance by Starhawk…it was on my bookshelf…and a tarot reading with the pagan chaplain from my undergraduate institution said that Spirals would be meaningful to me. (and to watch out for cockroaches as I looked for new apartments Down South. We don’t really have those in Upstate New York.)

Starhawk speaks about ritual…frankly. She speaks about paganism as if her audience members are real adult pagans, and really truly serious about what they are doing. Maybe it’s just me, but the impression that I’ve gotten from a lot of the new pagan books (especially, but not limited to, 101-level ones) is that the author is talking down to the reader, and not talking to them about how to actually do magic, and what doing magic is *actually* like. As a person who is very literal and scientific minded, I need examples, structure, reactions…I need a well-documented lab-notebook of witchy stuff…something resembling what a Book of Shadows should be. Most of the 101 books I’ve read, and even the 201 books, are very formulaic, but lack documentation on the results and how the author/witch felt about the ritual, and how it affected the people in the circle.

After all, if paganism is anything, it’s personal.

Okay, enough blathering on about why I’ve had difficulty growing in my practice with a lot of pagan texts. I’ll get onto the discussion of some more things I liked in The Spiral Dance.


In the same way that I view Tarot as a method of personal development, I see all of magic as a way towards self-improvement. In so many words, Starhawk says just this:

“A spell may highlight otherwise hidden complexes. A person who has conflicts about success, for example, will find greater difficulty in concentrating on a money spell. Practical results may be far less important than psychological insights that arise during the magical working. Discovering our inner blocks and fears is the first step to overcoming them.”(Starhawk 138)

I’ve always wanted to do spell craft, and believe in it 100%. But, even as all of the 101 books say, it won’t happen unless you believe in it. The way that Starhawk represents spell craft as revelation towards the Self is something I can get behind; this makes sense to me. It makes sense with all that I know about psychology and science. This gives me a reason to do spell craft and be successful at it. I like that she defines success as something that you learn along the way, instead of the ultimate result (as cliche as it sounds).

The next part I can get behind, but struggle with. I am not as practiced nor as comfortable with it:

Spells also go one step further than most forms of psychotherapy. They allow us not only to listen to and interpret the unconscious but also to speak to it, in the language it understands. Symbols, images, and objects used in spells communicate directly with Younger Self, who is the sear of our emotions and who is barely touched by the intellect. We often understand our feelings and behavior but find ourselves unable to change them. Through spells, we can attain the most important power–the power to change ourselves. (Starhawk 138)

I am a creative person, I swear. No, really. I paint sometimes, and I do photography, and I used to write in high school…eight years ago…

Creativity is something I struggle with, and I think that a lot of people who are much more intuitively creative have an easier time reaching inward to their younger selves. I like the idea, though, that using spells (and journeying…and trance work) we can communicate with our Younger Self through symbology and images.

A problem that I sometimes have when doing guided meditations or journey work, is that I let the intellectual side of my brain take over and lead the path, planting false images. It’s like I can’t make that part of my brain relinquish control for long enough to figure out what the rest of my brain is thinking. I’ve been trying to combat this with more exercise, yoga, and mediation, but it’s challenging. Have any of you ever had that problem?

The practice of magic also demands the development of what is called the magical will. Will is very much akin to what Victorian schoolmasters called “character”: honesty, self-discipline, commitment, and conviction. (Starhawk 138)

It makes sense. If you can’t commit to completing a task (professional or personal) by a given self-imposed deadline, how can you expect to achieve anything magical? (Which, arguably for me, takes a whole lot more concentration than writing an academic paper or finishing code for my research meeting.)

I haven’t been doing this though, in the mundane world. I like to think of myself as someone who is good at doing exactly what I say I will do. And I do…eventually. I don’t stick to deadlines like I should and want to. (I’m working on it, though. I’m a whole lot better than I was 3 years ago.) I never really gave much thought to how this would affect my magical life. I knew that in order to be fully receptive to the Universe and my Younger Self that I had to open up, but unless I implement this change in my daily, mundane life, my  magical workings can only get marginally better.

But to a person who practices honesty and keeps commitments, “As I will, so mote it be” is not just a pretty phrase; it is a statement of fact. (Starhawk 138)

Let me know what you all think!

Cheers!


Starhawk. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1999. Print.

Why Atheopaganism? Why not just Paganism?

I get it. People don’t like Atheists.

Really. I get it. Even though I identify as one. At least, I get part of it. A lot of people in the New Atheist movement are militant, intense, harsh, cold, and other (not-so-nice) things. They (seem to) center so much of their lives (especially online) on one thing in which they don’t believe.

What does Atheism mean to me? It means I lack a belief in a deity. That’s it. That’s all. It defines nothing about my life other than the fact that I don’t believe in a deity or deities.

So, if that’s it, why do I find it necessary to label myself as an Atheopagan instead of just a Pagan?

Most all of the pagans I know are some form of deist. They experience their spirituality and paganism differently than I do. The fact that I don’t believe in a deity and still consider myself pagan bothers some people in the pagan community, I’m sure. It is important to make that distinction so as to be able to communicate with others in the community. Labels are important, and this label was not chosen lightly.

My atheism is the one constant in my life, or rather, lack there of. I don’t experience my atheism in daily life- my lack of belief does not bother me, nor does it follow me around in my peripheral vision.

My lack of belief in deities gives me room to breath. It is automatic- I don’t notice it’s not there.

Cheers!