Sunday, 18 November 2012

Witchfest 2012

This year saw me attending my second ever Witchfest. I wasn't sure what I was expecting this time around, I was going on my own for one, meeting people when I got there, both people I knew and didn't. I wasn't sure on the sessions I wanted to go to, and I was anxious that tiredness levels would come into it soon and that I'd have to go early which actually saddened me as I wasn't going to see Damh the Bard :(

Once again Witchfest was an experience that has left me feeling more knowledgeable in some aspects, though largely in aspects of myself. I know that I don't like the complications that can be found on the pagan path, I don't like the whole idea of ritual. It's only something I've ever done once in my life and I felt really awkward so I decided to not do it again. But then I didn't really know what else I should be doing and I never really took the time to sit and look at what I actually wanted to do and how I actually wanted to practice things.

My path kinda went stagnate. I go through so many phases where I feel witchy but I don't really know what it is I am actually after. I might have decided the core of my beliefs but I rarely practice anything and do feel somewhat foolish standing with my hands above my head...

So what I learnt this year was simplicity. I learnt that things don't have to be complicated. All I need for a spell is to raise some energy, charge a candle et voila. Done. I  learnt new ways of doing Magick by moving, largely based on group exercises but I found things in there I can implement myself, interesting ways of casting circles of raising energy and of doing things with kids...when the time comes. I found confidence within me in the latter workshop which was the Moving Magic one as I volunteered for things, I was in the class on my own with no one else I knew. I Volunteered to be a quarter at the dispelling of the circle and I really enjoyed it. Group working has always scared me, or at least the idea of it as I'd never done any group working until yesterday. I think because it wasn't a formal ritual with a huge altar and tools and what have I didn't feel too pressured that I was going to fuck something up.

I did witness a formal ritual, or as close to one as I'm going to get with the closing ritual to the festival. There were proper parts and concencrating and circle casting (kinda...) and blessings to be given and received. It was wicked and I really enjoyed it too. I have, however, been going around telling the Husband I can't do things because I am an anointed one. (I got anointed with oil as a blessing on the way out of the ritual) I don't think he's falling for it sadly.

So as with last year I bought me pretty things, I took £80 to the fest but I didn't end up spending it all oddly, although even odder was the fact I was struggling to spend it! So in the end I bought...

  • Some Crystals: I bought Lavendar Quartz, Zebra Jasper, Mixed Tigers Eye, Blue Aventurine, Amegreen, Fire Agate, Blue Moss Agate, and Seftonite
  • Damh the Bard's Antlered Crown and Standing Stone Album.
  • Tylluan Penry's Staying on the Old Track,
  • Spirit of Albion Movie (
  • A Green Ceramic Leaf Bowl (
  • A Book of Shadows (
  • Two pairs of earrings, one Garnet and one Amethyst.
Pretty good haul I think :) Impressed everything and can't wait to get into my Book of Shadows and do work in it. I do feel a bit apprehensive with starting it as it's technically my first, although it's slightly imperfect so I'm going to try not to worry about messing it up!

Can't believe it's all over again for another year. I loved every minute of being there, of opening myself up again and being with friends. Roll on next year and the Artemis Gathering :)

Monday, 12 November 2012

The First Step

So this is a little later than I had anticipated, but I have finally re-read my first two books!

Since my initial blog on starting again I have managed to read Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner and Doreen Valiente's Natural Magic. The latter took a little longer to read than I would have liked due to time and other things going on but I finally managed to finish reading it. As I said, these were the first two books I ever read on Wicca and Witchcraft, and I find it easy to see where my beliefs fall within these two books. Firstly, my spirituality comes from Wicca, my belief in the God and Goddess I firmly believe I got from Mr Cunningham's works. What I got from Doreen is what I believe Magick should be. Although I believe she did have some form of ritual (though not evident in Natural Magick) everything seems to be far more back to roots and some serious old style magick.

Natural Magic looks to folklore, old correspondences and old beliefs. I suppose I like the fact that this feels like a more traditional path, one of old. It covers many topics  from weather magic, to colours, elements, herbs. It even covers the second form of divination I ever practiced, using playing cards. (The first was dominoes for anyone interested!) This magic is very homely, it's the kind of information you'd expect your country residing Grandmother to know just off the tip of her tongue, just because she did, and it was the kind of thing everyone knew. It's not necessarily a book for a beginner but at the same time it's a nice introduction to the ways of magic without being bogged down in the more modern Wiccan trappings.

Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner is where most start their path. I can see how this book makes Mr Cunningham "immortal" as I have heard many claim he will be. As the first book of this kind I can see why it was so popular, it was everything everyone wanted to know about Wicca and made it so accessible  This is what made me fall in love with that path, I love the knowledge of the God and Goddess and the information on rituals and the Book of Shadows at the back with the chants and recipes. I didn't know it could be so exciting, before all I really knew was what I could find on the internet and a lot of that was dubious at best. Having re-read it this excitement was exactly why I came to my path, and it is exactly why I've stayed on it. I bought this book and read it for the first time over 7 years ago, and I know my path has changed from this, my initial path. Though retrospectively it has started my interests in many things and they have changed me for the better.

When I initially came to Wicca I was going through a difficult period of my personal life. The spiritual practice I follow, although little means so much to me. It opens my heart and my soul and I feel alive. I enjoy being alive with nature. Although I feel as though I have had some time away and rediscovering my path this way has already made me feel more connected with everything again.

Saturday the 17th I'm going to Witchfest run by Children of Artemis. This is my second one, last year I had some eye opening experiences but I think that is for another blog. I can't wait to be around people of similar beliefs and to attend talks I hope with enrich my path and practices. That and go shopping of course! I'm looking forward to meeting old friends and new ones, and feeling like I belong. Something I feel too infrequently.

My current read is Wicca: Magickal Beginnings by Sorita D'Este and David Rankine. This isn't a re-read, I got this book on Kindle earlier in the year and it's been staring at me for ages, I now also have a physical version which doesn't seem any less formidable! It's a bit daunting in chapters (I'll post again when I finish that one as I feel it needs it's own post!) but I feel that what I've read so far really helps me with my path. Looking at it from a historical point of view and trying to figure out where everything has come from has been quite an eye opener for me so far. Still have lots of it to read so more of that later!

Blessings )O(

Friday, 5 October 2012

Connecting with Nature, or Why It’s Important To Hug Trees

Nature is all around us, regardless of whether you are in the middle of the countryside or in the middle of a city. Admittedly, it is easier to see in a park or in the country than it is in a big city, but it is always there, whether you can see it or not. Part of the ability to see nature everywhere comes from being connected with it. In this twenty first century, with its expanding settlements and waves of technology, people are becoming more and more distanced from nature and unable to see the wonders she can bring, even if they like on their very doorsteps.

Pagans, you would think, would be the last people to be disconnected with nature, with their Earth based religions, moon worship and appreciation of our ancient lands. Though this is not always the case and I find pagans too can be prone to disconnecting from nature from time to time due to life stresses, family commitments, work etc. Over time I have become disconnected for these reasons, moving from the country to busy towns however, was the first thing to block me.

Coming from a village where I was surrounded by fields, with a stream at the bottom of the garden, surrounded by hills, the concrete world of a busy town was completely foreign to me as a place to live. Although I passed through parks to get to work, would occasionally marvel at squirrels, and delight at the colours of spring and autumn, something wasn’t right. The nature didn’t feel accessible to me although it was always within reach. I couldn’t see the stars at night due to the light pollution, I daren’t wander around barefoot in fear of treading in some errant dog mess and I’m not sure I could have even brought myself to hug a tree. I’m not sure things got much better initially when I moved to my next concrete based prison, though this place had something different about it. It had history, and that history left a beautiful energy.

I soon felt a pull, towards parks, with rivers or wild places, cared for enough I could go barefoot, sit against a tree and feeling that energy seep into me, feeling that almighty love within I used to feel when connecting with deity back home. Empowered by both the energy of the ancestors of this place and the energy of nature. This energy changed me, from the dark, woeful girl of my teenage years in to something much happier and loving, in only a year I had changed dramatically. And it was in this concrete town, with its various energies I first saw the God in the way he wished to be seen by me. Now that was a magical moment! I now see nature everywhere, even in the busiest of places, be it a single bird song above the din of traffic, a spider making a web in a shop doorway, the smell of weather turning or even just the chill of winter frosts. I smile at each of these things in turn and feel that love in my heart that lets me know that deity is there, my God & Goddess by my side, still surprising me.

Through this I learnt the importance of nature. I now know that having a physical connection to nature is vital to human beings.

One day, not so long ago, I was walking through a small church garden on my way to work. The garden was empty, save a few birds and the odd squirrel. There were trees surrounding me, grass and bushes, but I felt very disconnected. I felt as though they were out of reach, there but no there. I craved the touch of them, I wanted to walk barefoot in the grass, touch the trees and the flowers. Embrace it. I craved it, I needed it and I believe it’s a connection we all need. How many of us can say we’re in touch with nature daily? Even weekly?

There are many ways to start, connecting with nature. I believe the best way is to go to a park, perhaps a quiet corner if one can be found, and sit under a tree, pressing your back against the bark. Close your eyes and let the energy from the tree and the Earth embrace you. You will feel more relaxed with every breath you take. Pay attention to the noises you hear, how many different birds are there? If the wind is blowing listen to the whispering of the trees and let them ease you into this meditation.

It has been proven that “tree hugging” increases happiness, being in nature increases happiness. This physical connection not only increases your happiness but it allows deity into your heart. It allows you to feel your God and/or Goddess by your side. That overwhelming feel of love, personally, puts me on a high that lasts for ages.

Without nature and without the contact and feeling the energies I would be a very different person to who I am today. So take ten minutes, five if it’s all you have. Go outside, sit with nature and let it truly surprise you.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Starting again...

It's been a couple of months since my last post, I know, I'm sorry. Life has been kinda crazy the last little while so I haven't been able to focus on any aspect of my path too much, but this is where this entry comes in.

There is always one thing I regret with my spiritual path, and that is the lack of writing I have done. I love writing, but when it comes to my path I will write about 4 pages in a notebook, maybe copy the Wiccan Rede then something else will distract me. Possibly a sign that my heart isn't in it or that it's not the right time for me and that kind of activity.

Last night I watched on youtube Pagyptsian's "All of my BoS's!" Watch Here! She decorates her journals beautifully, not something I could do, but she keeps referencing how important it is to have this record, and how to look back and see how much spiritual practices have changed and how beliefs have changed. I know for one thing that when I started out in Wicca it was the spells that drew me to it first, and they are now the thing I do least in my practice, I also know I've decided I'm not Wiccan but I don't have the documentation to go back to and read to see when or why I decided I wasn't necessarily Wiccan, was there some event that happened that made me stop following that path? I don't have records of the very few times the God and Goddess have actually communicated with me, although I remember them clearly, having them in my spiritual journal or book of shadows or what have you would be a nice thing to look back on and to show my children if they chose this spiritual path.

Sadly, I don't have a TARDIS so I can't go back and tell myself I'm doing things wrong, so what can I do? I could write a retrospective view which I have done in the past, probably missing large bits out where it's all a little bit sketchy in my mind. So I've figured that the best thing for me to do is to start all over again. Almost wipe the last 10 years out and go back to the beginning of everything.

So I'm going to start reading my beginning books again. I'm about to start Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, and I've order Doreen Valiente's Natural Magic, as that was my very very first book in Witchcraft. And reading through these books I will take notes on how I feel on various aspects contained within there and which I apply to my spiritual beliefs and which I don't and why. I will do small rituals and spells and note success and I will once, and for all, learn to read the Tarot.

I think one of a lot of pagans fears is being accused of being a fraud. It's ridiculous I know, but it's something I fear because I don't have a set practice. I don't spent every full moon doing rituals, if anything I'll just stick my head out the window, blow a kiss and be done with it. As I said, I don't do spells, not really. I am too scared of things going wrong to actually do one, but I know if I actually sat down and read about them and wrote notes I could evaluate my fears and over come them. So I might feel less of a fraud if I actually cast a spell every now and then, and I know it's not all about the witchcraft side of stuff, but it's something I want to do.

When I have read books I'll try and post up my thoughts of them up here. Might do a couple of books at a time so I won 't rush you suddenly with lots of posts. If anyone has book recommendations please comment, I feel I have a somewhat restricted library, and I am always looking to expand it!

Until next time,

Blessed Be!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Witch's Study

I've always found it difficult to develop my path. For someone who was scared of practicing until fairly recently, development is usually the last their mind.

As I said I have studied some form of paganism on and off for about 10 years. A large portion of that time I was living at home, or staying with other people and I never felt comfortable enough to start with an altar or practicing properly. When I finally had my own home with my husband it took me a good long while before I decided to have my own little witchy corner in the spare bedroom. Something I only set up last October. After I had got married I had sworn to myself that I was going to start studying properly and firmly set out my beliefs.

It never really happened, though I do have a better understanding of my beliefs, I feel it's more that my beliefs aren't not what they are. It's something I really want to work on, and I know I really need to give myself a kick up the bum study wise.

But where does a girl start? I suppose if one is looking to further their beliefs they should start with their basics and go from there. Which is a sound practice in theory, I can blog all my results here. But I think that my problem is that I require some kind of structure to my study, and I have no idea where to find it.

I have books that are set out in a "study" format, one is a Wicca Introduced Course which I'm not going to do, as I know that Wicca isn't where my path lies. I have got the First Degree of Witch School's Cornelian Tradition, and I know they offer basic student courses on a number of topics, so that might be worth looking into.

I also have Kate West's Real Witches Craft which is magical techniques and guidance for a full year of practicing the craft. Then I have access to other sources of free courses for herbs and tarot, and I have my crystals I'd like to learn properly too.

I think part of my problem is that I lack direction. I know what I want to study its just the how and the when. I can study fine for a week, but the next week I'll be distracted by something shiny on the internet, so how on earth do I stick to it?

I'm going to buy myself a notebook, to those of you who know me, this might not come as a surprise. I am a bit of a notebook addict, the prettier the better. I like taking notes, so I'll sit and take notes throughout my studies and try and post something a bit more coherent on here, show that I am learning!

If anyone has any topics they can suggest for something "different" then please do, or any sources for studying would be brilliant!

Best come up with some kind of schedule I guess...

Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Broom Closet

The Broom Closet is a place in which many pagans and witches reside. Not physically, for those who might be a bit confused, the Broom Closet is a figurative term. I can’t imagine broom closets are particularly practical places to stay in, for many a reason. The broom closet to pagans is as the closet is to the LGBT community. The notion that someone has stepped out of it is usually quite a big deal. Either it means that they feel their family and friends are accepting of their beliefs and path, or they have accepted that their friends and family will condemn them to a life of misery for their “satanic” ways. It can be quite a difficult thing to approach in one’s life, particularly the growing teen pagan community.

When I first picked up Paganism I was about 13 or 14, probably after watching something on TV like Charmed thinking “I could do that”. Alas, I still haven’t found the method of setting blue sparks out from my fingers or even how to freeze time, but I’m working on it. As young as I was there wasn’t anything out there for me to read, so I went to the internet, as many young pagans do. I don’t recall what the website was but some of the contents was not particularly friendly. After reading this website for a few weeks my brother made comment that he’d seen that I’d been on it, and he was going to “tell on me” and I was going to be in trouble. Swiftly, I stopped visiting the website and all went quiet.

A little while later I went back to the internet, and joined some communities and engaged in conversation and learned. I had at this point “come out” to friends, some accepting, some just thought I was downright weird. Oddly, the ones who thought I was downright weird were the ones messing about with tarot cards. Pot, kettle. There was one girl in my English class though who was Wiccan, and she loaned to be the Idiots Guide to Witchcraft & Wicca. I never did finish the book before she wanted back, but it was brilliant. I loved it so that when I had money of my own, I bought my own copy.

I didn’t properly come out to my parents. I think my dad has his suspicions due to me desperately wanting his Doreen Valiente book, he nearly gave it to me but due to a section on “sex magick” he decided I should wait until I was older. I got the book about an hour after this exchange as he didn’t exactly hide it very well.
I probably owe a lot to my dad about my belief. He introduced me to start-gazing, told me stories of myths and legends. My father loves the Green Man and moon gazing hares. I suppose he probably got me onto magick in some way or another too, wishing on stars etc, deep down that is a kind of magick. So I have a lot to owe him. However, he also showed me scary programs like “Strange but True” when I was little and I’ve never quite got over some of the things I was shown. I shall never walk through wheat fields on my own now or run downstairs with the lights off. You never know what might be awaiting you.

I moved to England from Scotland when I was 18, although it wasn’t official for a while beyond that. Having the freedom from my family allowed me to explore further, buying books on different aspects of the craft, writing notes. My boyfriend, now husband, was aware I was into it, though didn’t and doesn’t believe. He left me to it. Happy enough for me to do what I was doing. It’s remained that way, which makes me happy.
My husband and I married in August last year, a few days after Lammas. We had a pagan ceremony, which, when discussing the wedding with both sides, I mentioned with caution. Both sets of parents, fortunately, were really interested. So it was settled, handfasting it was. I don’t really know what I was expecting when I came out, my parents aren’t particularly Christian, my husband’s parents are Catholic though no longer practicing. They all loved the ceremony (including my somewhat Christian Aunt), and I had the wedding I’d always wanted.

Fear is what probably stopped me coming out properly, and from coming out for a long time. From the moment I knew I was pagan I felt persecuted. From friends at school turning from me to a lady at work actively trying to convert me to Christianity after I had come out at work. Although I am proud of being a pagan, I am still very careful who I mention it to. If no one asks, I don’t tell. Simple as that. It’s a difficult thing to gauge, you don’t know how someone is going to react. Someone could go way over the top and want nothing to do with you, others will just going “Well, that explains everything.” Trust me, it’s happened.
If anyone is reading this who hasn’t “come out”, I wouldn’t say hide it. Unless you are really scared that something is going to happen to you, don’t hide it. Paganism is becoming such a huge force out there at the moment, and although there are still persecutions, no one is going to tie you to a stake. Let coming out be your choice, not that of someone else, you will know in your heart that it’s something you can do. You might be surprised with how accepting people are, I know I was. Also, if you’re a teenager you might find that everyone will accept it as a phase, as “one of those things”. The only thing I will say is do not lie. If you don’t want to put it in words, then put it in writing. I’m rubbish at speaking but I find a good letter gets your views and opinions across, and you don’t even have to be in the same room!

If anyone has any questions for me, on anything throughout my blog, drop me a question via comment and I’ll be more than happy to respond to you as I can :)

Blessings )O(

Monday, 25 June 2012

Introductions and My Path

I have wanted to start a blog on my path for a while, mainly to encourage me to get out there and experience it more than anything. It’s a bit too easy to say “yes, yes, I believe this” without really knowing if I do. I’m a lazy pagan and I won’t deny it. I think the closest I get to pagan practice these days is fiddling about with crystals or occasionally gazing at a tree. I’m not really a big one for rituals, either sabbat celebrations or a three hour endeavour to cast a spell (thought I could have been doing something wrong there). Neither am I a “doer” I don’t create or make, or cook particularly, or produce salves and potions or charms. I suppose there are those of you reading this going “So just what do you do?” and I should tell you.

I am pagan. That I think I have known deep down for years. I’ve been studying various aspects of paganism for the better part of 10 years. As a teen I was drawn to Witchcraft and Wicca, as one is, and was determined that that would be me. A lot of it seemed right, and even if it didn’t I accepted it anyway, after all, the man in the book said so. I didn’t know at that time that paths were explorable, interchangeable and least of all experiential. I had one book that took everywhere with me, Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. An excellent book for the beginning Wiccan, it was the first book I read properly on the path of Wicca, the other being Natural Magic by Doreen Valiente, a hand me down from my father. It introduced me to magick, I saw the simplicity of it, and that was what drew me to the path. Simple magick? Yes please! When I picked up Cunningham I had pretty much left Valiente behind, I felt that Cunningham was the religion side, not Valiente, and that was what I wanted. So I read it, and read it, but I never practiced. There was a fear within me that I was going to do it wrong. Of course, being on my own and with no one to talk to there was no one to tell me that I wouldn’t do anything wrong. What happened would happen. And I wish I had heard of some of the funny ritual stories I’ve heard now then, I might not have been so worried. I felt like I had done one year of Wicca about seven or eight times before I grew fed up. I was more active with online discussion forums and blogs piquing my interest, but I still wasn’t practicing. I was still scared. I had even toyed with the idea of moving to Druidry as it seemed less complicated (that didn’t pan out either). So I got stuck until Tylluan Penry’s Seeking the Green came to me. It was reading that I realised that I didn’t need to do the rituals or the magick if I didn’t want to. One of the wonderful things about paganism is that there are so many different paths to choose from, and if one of those doesn’t fit then 9 times out of 10 someone will create their own. I’m not going to say that my path is unique, but it’s mine. And that’s what matters.

My path has some of the basic points I find that a lot of paths do. I believe in a God and a Goddess, I see them in everything and although when I connect to them I see them as human formed individuals I do not necessarily believe that they are humanoids sat on clouds awaiting our wishes. I believe that they will appear to us in forms that are either comforting to us or less obtrusive. So perhaps they come to me as animals as opposed to just appearing in a human form going “cooee, look at me!” I think that would scare me to death to be honest. I largely feel them instead of see them. I know they are there when I feel their radiating love though nature or elements or what have you. Sometimes just in the middle of the night, perhaps when I need some reassurance. Yes, I’m a witch that’s scared of the dark, shush.

I do believe in magick, it’s something I have a great interest in and it is something I am currently researching. I’m looking into the science of magick, so that’s a lot of physics. So I'm engrossed in Stephen Hawking at the moment. I think that too many people are just generally accepting of magick, it is there, it works. But I want to know why it works, how it works and what laws, if we know of them, control it. Once I have got so far as to having an understanding and a way of putting it into words I will put that up here as I can't be the only one interested in the science behind magick!

The main difference in my path than others, I find, is that although I will follow the principles of harm none, I'm not sure how far I believe in the "what goes out comes back". I don't think it comes back threefold, I don't see there being harm in doing a little something for yourself. Naturally I'm a kind person and so I would never do something that would go against someones will, love spells for me are a huge no-no. Equally, I am highly unlikely to curse someone. So I suppose my morals probably aren't any further than most pagans and witches.

I am largely nature based, I would rather be outside than inside, though sometimes nature conspires against me and inside is best (hayfever :( ). I can’t begin to explain how I feel when I am truly enveloped in nature. I feel the love of the God and the Goddess certainly, I just feel an immense happiness. Like nothing in the world could stop me feeling that way. When I’m down, I only need to go and hug a tree to get back up again. And that t me is probably the most important part of my path, the nature aspect, it helps me, it helps those around me and it helps the world. The energies that our mother and father put out there for us are the best magick of all.

I’m not 100% sure where this blog is going to end up. Expect pictures, expect me to get things wrong, expect the unexpected! Whenever I have an experience, a thought, a ritual, a finding, or just want to coo over the newest crystal, I’ll post here.

Thank you for reading.

Blessings x