If I Could Turn Back Time

“I wish I could turn back the clock.”

“I wish I could go back to high school.”

“I wish I could talk to myself ten years ago.”

I’ve heard some iteration of these questions many, MANY times.  I’ve been asked them.  I have pondered them.  I know for a fact that I wouldn’t want to go back to high school.  It wasn’t the best time of my life.  Far from it.  That time was awkward and full of times that, while they weren’t damaging, weren’t fun.  Sure, if I could go back and tell myself that everything would be okay, I would.

Everything will be fine.

Learn from this.

Hang on to those happy times.

The one thing that I would do, though, is go find myself as I’m teetering on the cusp of paganism, grab myself by the shoulders, and shake myself violently.

Kinda like this.

I would tell myself to listen to my gut.  The books aren’t the end all, be all of how things work.  The elaborate rituals sound amazing and probably look amazing, but for the time being you’re solitary.  Work with yourself.  Listen to the whispers.  If something seems right, do it.  Read mythology and pick up books on ancient practices when you find them.

Believe in the magic you weave.  It works!

Thinking back on it, I started everything at the age of 13.  That means I’ve been practicing paganism for nearly 20 years.  I have to tell myself that.  This isn’t a phase.  This isn’t some passing fancy.

I am pagan.

I am a heathen.

I wish I had found blogs, websites, forum posts on paganism on a budget at an earlier date.  It would help me with the idea that the books aren’t the only way.

I have a box full of books on Wicca.  It was the path I started on.  I bought books when I could.  Bought the ones that jumped out at me.  A few with pretty covers.  Some that worked with dragons.  There was so much stuff.  So many guidelines and things that I had to remember.  I was a theater kid.  I should have been able to remember how to call the quarters.

None of the books mentioned going with your gut feeling.  Listening to your inner voice.

Do these sorts of spells when the moon is in this phase.  Use these herbs.  Use ONLY these colors.  Black is the color of negativity. Evil. VOID.

There is white magic and black magic.  Don’t do black magic.  There is grey magic, because some times you need to hex a bitch.  No one warned me that I should be careful with voodoo.  The local library and book store only carried books on voodoo that dealt more with the anthropological side.

Don’t forget the rule of three.  Or is it nine?  Don’t forget the Wiccan Rede.

I don’t know when it was that I shrugged off that oppressive feeling of so many rules.  When I got back to the root of it all.  I know it was after I began my relationship with Grendal.  After I found out his family was perfectly fine with paganism.  They read tarot cards, talk with spirits, and believe in faeries.  He sees things, speaks with them.

We’ve come together in our different practices, Grendal and I.  We talk about these feelings we have.  He encourages that I follow them.  He is also the voice of reason and has stopped me from cursing people in the heat of the moment.

I use magic as I cook, as I work.  I talk to the spirits in the garden, using three lawn trolls as physical representations.  I talk to crows and squirrels when I can.

I wish I could have done this earlier.  Embraced the fluidity and organic nature of what paganism should be.  You shouldn’t HAVE to buy all the things.  Those items aren’t needed.  They’re extensions of yourself, used to focus and pour yourself into.  It is nice to have but not necessary.

Things have change so much for me.  After 20 years it feels like I have finally become the witch I was suppose to become.

Frances. I’m supposed to be Aunt Frances.

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When in Doubt

I seriously just spent ten minutes trying to find a spongebob gif to finish this quote but couldn’t find it due to Pinky and the Brain and My Little Pony.  What the heck.

Anyway, quick blurb!  I have been meaning to write a proper post but I need to get things figured out in my head before I get it down.

So! The other day Grendal and I decided to do some spell/craft/magic stuff together.  It is honestly the first time I’ve done anything with anyone in YEARS.  I don’t want to go into the specifics of the work but I wanted to mention the interesting thing that happened.

It was set up where Grendal was focusing his energy at me so I could channel our combined energy into our working.  We’re sitting at the kitchen table, eyes closed.  I’m doing my thing and I’m nearly done.  I open my eyes.  Across from where I sit is a set of windows that look out into our front yard.  We had a curtain open to let some light in since it was a sunny afternoon.  To my surprise there was a crow in the yard.  In plain view of my seat.  I was floored.

Crows, for what ever reason, don’t really bother with the neighborhood we’re in.  We can hear them blocks away, maybe see them flying off among the trees in the direction but they rarely, if at all, come along our block.  Let alone hang out in our yard.  Yet, one was there.  Bobbing around in the grass.  I quietly got Grendal’s attention.  He peeked out the window and then looked at me with wide eyes.

We took it as a positive sign.

Here’s to hoping our little magical working, well, works.

It’s Not a Phase, Mom

GAH.

Everyone goes through some phase or another.  I know I have.  The longest running one was my obsession with Phantom of the Opera that sprang into existence when I was in second grade.  I was going to see a stage production of Heidi with a school friend.  Her father was taking us.  I think they really liked theater and I remember he was playing a recording of the Phantom of the Opera.  Like, someone had sat in the audience and recorded it sort of thing.  I was enthralled with the music.  He told me little bits about it and I remember he mentioned that the actual opera house had a lake beneath it, AND that the theater we were going to had a river beneath it.  Looking back on that now, I don’t know if THAT was true but let me tell you, it sent my imagination spinning.

Needless to say, I begged for a tape of the Phantom of the Opera when I got home and I received it.  So since roughly 1991 I have been obssessed with anything Phantom of the Opera. I have different recordings, saw the Weber musical, read the original novel, read and watched the HORRID sequeals, love Susan Kay’s version, I know the entire script by heart, etc etc.  My prized possessions are music boxes from the San Francisco Music Box company.  Every year from middle school I would get one for christmas.  I treasure them still.  Hell, I LITERALLY just looked at their site and they have them still.

I’m no longer a HUGE fan of it.  I mean I like it and will watch it every so often….

But that isn’t the point of this post.

Way to go me for rambling so damn much.

Anyway, PHASES!  We have them.  I have them.  They go in some odd cycles (PotO may come back to me at some point).  The one that bothers me and I don’t know if I ever touched on is my spirituality.

My beliefs never go away but my wont to practice is VERY lackluster.  Want to know a sure fire way to kick my but into gear and get me actively practicing again?  Show me pictures of altars, documentaries that talk about these practices, or movies.  Hell!  Watching The Craft is a sure as shit way to get me doing SOMETHING.

Speaking of documentaries, I ended falling down the rabbit hole known as youtube and watched a few things from VICE/Broadly about different people and their practices.  I enjoyed them to a certain extent and, wouldn’t you know, I have that itch to get things spruced up around here and get back to practicing a little more actively.  I was already getting that tingle thanks to the season change but these videos just sent me over the edge much sooner.

 

 

 

It was specifically that last one.  I am always fascinated and in awe of the people have gone back to “ancient” practices and brought them to the modern day.  It just strikes a cord with me, no matter which pantheon.

There is something else that has always put a damper on my practicing.  I’ll cover that, though it will be in another post.  My ramblings about Phantom of the Opera has made this post seem a little over full.

I’m a dork.

And given the chance to ramble on about Phantom of the Opera, I can, will, and have gone on for hours.

 

 

Slowly but Surely

Things are getting better. For a while nothing good not bad seemed to be happening in my circle of being. Just the same ol’ routine.  Then the bad things rolled in:

My older sister and brother-in-law filed for divorce, a friend is in the same boat with his wife, Divo joined me at my workplace only to quit due to poor management, I was in line to be trained as a manager but was passed over, my grandfather passed away, and a friend moved in and has been without a job for over a month.  We’ve been stressed due to that.

It changed this past week. I had put in an application a month ago at a rehabilitation center to work in their kitchen. I pretty much forgot about it until I received a call about setting up an interview. I accepted it. The chance to eventually leave my current place of employment was nice. The job, while it paid more, was part time. I took the interview anyway.

On the way to the rehab center a van was following me. I was a little nervous but that’s how I am. I turned, they didn’t. I glanced in the mirror and saw a flash of an image. A man with long hair, a large aged hat to hide a portion of his face, and a staff in one hand.

All I could think of was Odin I took it as a good omen. The interview went well and I placed an offering on the later in thanks and in hopes things would go my way.

I got the job.

I start this afternoon.

Maybe, just maybe, we can breath a little easier.

In Which I Reminisce About Young, Pagan Me

[sorry to the folks who saw this posting before.  it was very far from finished. this is what I get for using multiple devices to post.  also, GIF WARNING!  there are a few here and one were there is lightning/flashing lights. so just a heads up to those who are sensitive.]

I love The Craft. Always have! There was something about the movie that just captured my interest.  I had been in the 6th grade when it came out, not seeing it until it was on television some time later. I have two memories about the movie.  The first was my older sister telling me I couldn’t be a true fan if I didn’t know which actress was Fairuza Balk (she is the same one who said I wouldn’t get a quote from Revenge of the Nerds because “it was before your time”[it was before hers as well]).  The other one was going to a slumber party where we did try Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.

LaaF,SaaB

Sadly, it didn’t work.

What it did end up doing was jump start my journey down the pagan path. That slumber party was the turning point of it all.  Sure we played the game, talked about and watched the movie, but then a few us of TRIED stuff.  Specifically voodoo dolls.  Long story short about that bit in particular, I stay away from it because I nearly hurt myself and obviously didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  I mean, a few young, middle class white girls in the midwest had to business messing with the stuff.

The girl who was hosting the party and I REALLY got into the witch stuff, though.  We picked out ‘code names’ and had a notebook we traded so we could share information.  She checked out the witch books because I couldn’t.  Unfortunately she got caught and, in turn, so did I.  I ended up rediscovering everything, so to speak, only a few years later but she stayed away from what I can recall.

But The Craft was the beginning of it all and set me up with a very romantic version of witchcraft.  The first few seconds alone roped me in.

 

giphy

It was beautiful then and even more so now.

Like I said, I had a romantic view of witchcraft thanks to the movie.  Even now I prefer the movie up to the circle on the beach.  After that, everything goes to shit because Hollywood. Yet it was the scene on the beach that was most powerful and amazing.

beach

I watched the movie only a few days ago and Grendal and myself both agreed that this movie was perfectly fine up to this part.  Like I said, everything after this goes to shit but it’s because of the whole Rule of Three bit.  They stuck with it and made things roll out so everyone got what was coming to them.  Except Sarah, who is the movie’s hero.  Sure, the dude she roped with the love spell got way too creepy and died in the end, but it wasn’t her doing for that.  She never TRULY got what was coming to her and quickly got onto Manon’s good side before shit went down big time.

High School was my re-initiation, so to speak, into paganism.  I found websites, snuck away at the library to read books, and eventually asked to buy one.  I was shot down because my mother freaked out.  She was born and raised in a strict catholic community and while she no longer follows the religion it was very much a part of her still.  I remember printing up a bunch of pages of information about Wicca to show my mother that it wasn’t bad.  It did the trick.  She was still nervous but she finally let me do my thing.

College, though, was where things began.  I remember trolling around our school’s online community and going into the religious board.  Usual fair of stuff.  I loved, and still do, religious debates and discussions.  There was someone on the board looking for anyone interested in paganism.  I shoved aside my shy side and responded.  We chatted for a few minutes before she asked if I was currently on campus, and I said I was.  She wanted to meet up and do a proper introduction and asked where I was.  Turns out we were both in the library.  I was on the main level and she was on the second.  We met and it was amazing. She is still a dear friend to me.  We hit it off right away. Discussed things and connected quickly.  It wasn’t long before we gathered a few other girls on campus that were also interested or practicing pagans (all I still talk with, though the first girl is the only one besides myself who still identifies as pagan).  We quickly had our own little group of five girls.

We had a few circles, we went to a local pagan Halloween ball, supported an amazing local New Age store, celebrated the Holy Days, the works!  While things were going, it was amazing.  We were never able to make ourselves into a school club but it was an amazing time of growth for all of us.  Like most things, though, it ended when life began and people wandered off to different schools or finished there time at the college.

Watching The Craft made me miss those days.  The time that I had a close group and even a small sisterhood of sorts.  I miss it and find myself now part of the bitter old pagan brigade (don’t think that is a thing and I’m not REALLY bitter, it just seemed funny).  I truly want to immerse myself back in my own craft and stretch those muscles once more.  While it’s no longer new and I’m seeing it with world weary eyes, I know that I can reach that spot again.

I’ve gone through this many times before.  Times where I go to rediscover things but always end up in the same spot.  This time, though, I can reach that happy medium.  I have Grendal to help me along the way if I stumble.

It will be glorious.

Witches of November and Haunting Dreams

So the past few days here in the Midwest have been windy and chilly. Not to mention we had sudden rain and some amazing lighting. A little out of season and worrisome but beautiful nonetheless. Though, as I heard, not too strange. I mean, common enough to have an interesting name:

Witch of November.

Sounds rather cool to me.

The night before the winds whipped through the state I had an odd dream. If you remember my mentioning I rarely dream, so this was another big thing! In the dream I was getting ready for someone’s arrival. I was giddy and nervous. I was doing things only reserved for special events. Then I woke up.

Now I told Grendal about it and he seemed curious. I told him it may have something to do with Odin. The last dream I had was Odin telling me he would return. Months later not only does this dream happen, the heavy winds showed up on a Wednesday, and we had a large number of crows in the neighborhood just hanging out in the trees near our property. The crows themselves were odd because they were completly absent from the neighborhood during the summer.

I don’t know what’s happening or going to happen, but someone is on their way.

We’ll Dream of Many Things

I don’t seem to dream as much as I used to. I don’t have a clear reason as to why. I remember having many strange, frightening dreams as a child. When I heard about dreamcatchers I was excited. Me being 10 or 11 I decided to buy a little dreamcatcher necklace and hang it over my bed. Sure enough the bad dreams seemed to stop. Then again, all my dreams seemed to stop.

This isn’t to say that I don’t dream at all. I do and the dreams have a tendency to be quite random. Grendal, though, is something else entirely.

Grendal is a lucid dreamer. Has been for as long as he can remember. Within the last two years he has been having very random night terrors. He knows, in the dream, when it’s happening because he cannot control them.  They have dealt with recently dead family members and strange spirits. Some how I manage to wake up before he begins screaming/moaning/shouting. It frightens me to no end and we usually lay in bed together, him holding me while we both calm down and he makes sense of it all.

He had a dream the other night. One he couldn’t really control but it wasn’t a night terror. He described it, roughly, as this:

We were running down our old street. For some reason we were living with my parents again. Anyway, we were running down the street to the house and the trees were electrified. Arcs of lightning between branches, jumping across the street. Flowers were lighting up like christmas lights.

I was freaking out but you couldn’t see any of it. You were getting so upset. I tried pointing it out but you only saw trees.

We finally get in and go to our old room.  I find an outfit made up of a white, sleeveless tunic and black pants with metal threading.

I thought about that dream for only a short time when something cropped up in the back of my mind. Thor.  I have always thought and told Grendal as much only recently, that if he ever really ventured down the Heathen path he could very easily become a Thorsman. He has always liked Thor’s imagery, symbology, and has an odd connection with goats.  This dream had also occurred the same day he tried crafting a bow for me. While it has never been stated in lore (as far as I can tell) both of us have associated Thor with crafting weapons and, well, blacksmithing.

So Grendal is thinking of an offering to place out for Thor and we have discussed dedicating his forge and workshop to both Thor and dwarves.

Things are gonna get interesting.