Keepers of the Flame....Brighid's flame attendants....

Short hiatus. Life's been weird.

So, after being asked, I joined a women's group which keeps an eternal flame lit for Brighid. From sunset to sunrise, the women are asked to tend a candleflame from a candle that was lit from a candle that was lit (repeat several more times)...that was lit from a candle that was lit at a shrine to Brighid at Kildare.


So...we made corn husks dolls, the daughters and I, and will probably be shipping them out to friends. It was kind of fun...and I see more coming...


Witch way....

So, with surviving Nattig, I've struck out to read Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, which turns out to be a very beautiful collection of hymns. The book was bought as 'good' condition, but had not only highlighting and someone else's footnotes scrawled in the margin, it was dog-eared, the corners were crappy, the outside cover was bent and part of the back was ripped up.

But hey, it's cheap. And just as a reminder, PLEASE don't write in books....it's annoying to the Nth degree.

But while I was out at Nattig, I chomped down on a piece of bacon and had an abnormal crunching sound emit from my mouth, then something was scratching my cheek. Now, personally, I've had a lot of crap that has gotten caught behind my back teeth, so I thought it was a piece of bacon. I reach back in my cheek and lo, and behold - there's a huge chunk missing. I'm guessing like a quarter of my tooth.

One of the kindly Sumerians let me borrow a nail file, which I promptly stuck in my mouth to file down the sharp end. While this is not something I would suggest to anyone at all, it did keep the tooth from flaying the inside of my cheek open, and her nails were in good shape, so I really wasn't concerned. My main concern was the idea of my tooth cracking and falling apart in such a way that I would be in intense amounts of pain. Or I would die of blood poisoning. Whatever came first. So, of course, the first possible opportunity, I went to the dentist.

They gave me an evaluation. Being that I really hadn't been into a dentist in 10 years, I don't think it was too bad. 5 cavities and the broken tooth probably couldn't be saved - it would have to be pulled.

So I go in, and during the evaluation, they surmise that I will have to be tranquilized. Because I am a high anxiety person. So...I swallow two valium and they set to work. Mind you, the scraping of my teeth wasn't too bad. But really, when the little Korean, soft-spoken doctor got at me, I was nervous. It was 10, and I know for a fact the drugs were wearing off. I was going to start climbing the ceiling. But he was soft-handed, took pictures which he then showed me, and set out to work. All the time, they commented on how they were astounded that I was such an easy patient, and that I wasn't really in any pain from the initial broken tooth. I asked them if I could keep it. I got an eyebrow quirk, but they agreed. So here it is.

I about fell out when I saw it. You could see the squishy interior of the broken tooth. No wonder they were in shock. But really, I didn't feel anything. I did, however, learn more about my teeth themselves that day than I had during any trip that I'd ever been to the dentist.

I think the most disturbing part of the whole ordeal was the way he had to use the pliers in my mouth. Granted, I got like seven or nine shots inside my mouth and they had to pause once to let me calm down (I started hyperventilating at one point, so we took a five minute break), but when he actually grabbed the tooth initially, I heard and FELT a ripping noise. I can only assume that was my nerves, ripping like the roots of a tree from the floor of a forest. Then the crunching, like rocks breaking. It was a horrible time. But...it's done.

Now, everyone heals differently. I've spent the past week sucking random bits of food out of this tooth hole. Rice. Pieces of meat. It sucks I lost the tooth...but really, it could have been worse.


Descent...listening to other interpretations....

At The First Gate, the Gatekeeper Demands Inanna’s Crown:

A crown symbolizes wisdom, age and status. Inanna’s crown is the emblem of her queenhood. In giving up her crown, she must give up her superior position. She must acknowledge that to be queen in someone’s heart is a privilege that is earned, not a right to be expected. She must also acknowledge that nobility obligates her to be generous and kind. Using her status to win relationship arguments is contrary to her goal of intimacy. Why would anyone allow someone with such arrogance and superiority into their deep, dark underworld? She must let go of being right and this is only the beginning of what she must let go.

At The Second Gate, the Gatekeeper Demands Inanna’s Scepter:

A scepter symbolizes force and the willingness to use it. A scepter is a threat, a way to control behavior.

Most people who bother to be in a relationship want it to continue and almost everybody feels a fear of abandonment, however well concealed it might be. If a relationship is seen as a contract to stay together and bond, then a threat of withdrawing love, attention or compassion is a powerful one.

This kind of threat is most effective when it is hidden; when seen in the light of day, it is clear what it is—a way to control. But a loving relationship is no place for coercion, whether obvious or veiled.

At The Third Gate, the Gatekeeper Demands Inanna’s Necklace

A necklace covers the throat, which symbolizes Inanna’s voice. A person’s voice is at once an aspect of her selfhood and a medium for connecting with others. To have a voice in a matter is to speak your mind truly, honestly and completely, leaving nothing out. However, to connect with others, you must modulate your voice, soften it and consider the other’s point of view when you speak, so that your words can be heard. You must also be prepared to listen, because communication is not just speaking—it is also hearing.

Inanna’s necklace covers her voice, thus muting her message. She might well be using the necklace to sweeten her voice, to persuade and manipulate and avoid speaking her truth. Or she may be using her words as weapons to sting and hurt. Either way, the necklace is in the way of her truth and the Gatekeeper says it must go. And if Inanna is struggling to speak, then chances are good she is having trouble hearing too.

At The Fourth Gate, the Gatekeeper Demands the Gems Inanna Wears on Her Breast:

Inanna’s gems represent decoration, charm and distraction. They draw attention to Inanna’s feminine assets. They sparkle and delight the eye, as if to say “but look how cute I am!” The gems are a way to seduce and persuade instead of really relating. They are a distraction from what is really going on.

When you feel you are losing a battle, do you switch tactics to seduction or enticement? Do you need to look good in front of your partner? The gems are distracting decorations that draw attention to your good parts rather than your flaws. What might happen if you stopped trying to look good—to your partner or to anyone?

At The Fifth Gate, the Gatekeeper Demands Inanna’s Ring:

The ring is a contract. The gift of a ring seals a bond between two. It is the physical reminder of an agreement to marry, to share one’s life with another and to hold fidelity. A ring symbolizes a pledge, a vow, a promise.

Promises are hard to keep—that is their nature. A promise to love and remain true to someone is easy to speak when the heart feels that love; but when the heart is out of touch with love—this is where the work begins. The ring is there as a reminder that love once was spontaneous, and that the work of getting back in touch with that love is worth doing.

Inanna’s mate has left her and gone to the dark underworld. She is following him there to reclaim the love they once had. He is lost in the dark, suffering: love has died. She cannot make him love her again and to forcibly remind him of his promise to love her would be cruel and would not reawaken spontaneous affection. In an earlier post, I hinted that Inanna cannot afford, while in the underworld, to take the attitude of victim. To hold the beloved to the letter of their promise when the heart of their promise is suffering is to beat him over the head with that promise. “But you promised!” is a poor welcome back into relationship.

At The Sixth Gate, the Gatekeeper Demands Inanna’s Breastplate:

A breastplate is armor for the heart. It is self-protection against life’s discomfort and pain. The armored heart feels no pain, but it also feels no love. Love cannot penetrate the hard exterior.

At The Seventh Gate, the Gatekeeper Demands Inanna’s Raiment:

Inanna’s raiment is her royal garments. They are the mark of her dignity and self-possession. They are the last thing that protects her. Her identity is vested in them. “But I’m a queen!” she cries, “These garments are mine by right!”

Without clothes, you are utterly naked and your dignity is no longer there for you to hide behind. In removing them you are removing the last vestiges of a false self-esteem. You are saying, “I need no embellishment; I am enough just as I am.” Pretense is entirely gone.

The human heart is meant to be soft and penetrable. Relationship is not a battleground.


I don't know that it is what I interpret it as, but it's a good interpretation for teaching about relationships. I'll meditate on it to see what I think.

Sharing the Drumming

They're just 30 second clips...but this is how we do it. :)


Hanging with the Sumerians

So...it's been a while. :)

It's been a while since I'd been to any kind of pagan gathering either. Because a lot can go wrong at a pagan gathering.

Firstly, there can be those people that give off the 'creep' vibe. Not everyone's a happy, loving pagan....but if you've ever hung out in the pagan community, it's kind of like hanging out with gay people - they're more accepting of you because you're different, and being different is okay. They've got their own norms (sacrificing anything living is NOT a norm, and you'll be generally shunned, honest!) and as long as you're peace-loving and friendly, most things are just accepted as differences.

Secondly, there are some groups that move out of your comfort zone. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but some people aren't comfortable with nudity. Some people aren't comfortable with natural drug usage. Some people aren't comfortable with drinking a 'home brew' (holy crap, what's in this bottle?). Some people aren't comfortable with anyone being in close proximity. Hell, some people aren't used to outhouses, or drumming, or overly large fires. Any of these things can happen at a pagan gather, but that doesn't mean that they happen at EVERY pagan gathering. It's pretty random and low-key most of the time when it does surface. So...sometimes, you never know what you're walking in to.

For me, this one was a little more nerve-wracking in the fact I didn't know anyone or anything. Literally. Because the difference between going to a large gathering and a small one, is that smaller ones have a tendency to be ONE group, which has ONE focus. This particular group follows the Sumerian Pantheon. I know -nothing- about them. Or didn't know anything about them (I've been reading some since...). So not only do I not know about the people, I am completely ignorant of the magic involved. I'm walking in blind.

Sort of.

All cultures have a lot of the same kinds of mythos, and this particular group was doing the 'end of the year/harvest' type of celebration. The honoring of the dead. We were going out there for that kind of thing, meeting some friends, so we would not be alone in a sea of people we didn't know and immersed in a sub-culture of paganism we knew nothing about.

So....after a long an grueling night after work, trying to get things washed and packed, and a very long, grueling day of getting things last minute to make sure we were ok...we arrived about an hour before sunset.

Any good pagan worth their eye-teeth help out their community and tribe. This gathering was no different. There was a lot of meeting, greeting, hugging and helping. That's not anything I'd ever experienced from a Christian church (no offense to my friends who are Christian...I'm sure there are some really good communities, I've just never run into any), and I have a hard time explaining this to a lot of people. Even past all the offers, feeling almost shy (me? shy?), my husband and I move to set up the tent.

Now, there are a lot of things that we are hard-pressed to agree on. But one thing that people never really get to see is both of us acting together on the same task. I know how to set up a tent, but this is the first time I'd ever set up this particular tent. The husband had set it up before for the kids to play in, but we had never really used it (and the other one is MIA, I don't know where it went off to). Anyway, within a few minutes, we're scratching our heads at it, because really, it's a 'summer' tent, and we know it's going to be DAMN cold, but there are no tie downs for the windows. Resigned to the fact that we're going to freeze, we unpack the car and have everything ready, all before dark.

There was a ton of stuff we didn't have. We forgot. Between us two, we had one flashlight, some glow sticks, drinks and frozen foods, but no cooler. A bizarre assortment of things, which were supposed to be partnered with other things for reasons which would have made it easier.

That's okay though, it's another story. ;)

Anyway, the fire is stoked up, the drums begin in the darkness, and people arrive well after midnight. We try to do the right thing and lend aid to those who are strangers to us, trying to be helpful in whatever way we can. Because although we are new to this group, there is a certain amount of etiquette that goes along with pagan gatherings. You help. You share. You take care of one another. You take care of the environment you are in and you 'leave no trace' of your passing through. You are polite, you are respectful, and you walk with an open mind. You don't take pictures without permission (or post them, dear gods!) and you don't use anyone's real name unless you're given leave to. Because a lot of neo-pagans think about their people as tribe and community, almost a type of living, breathing socialism. Any person that doesn't follow these basic rules is an asshole and a moron and really doesn't deserve to be in that place.

Beyond the ranting, everyone, and I do mean everyone, greets with open arms, hugs and kisses. Total strangers. You have no idea what kind of love people project, because you accept them and they are accepting you. They want to see if you are part of the tribe, if you are coming in love. And most certainly, your answer is in your response. Do you hug back? Are you comfortable enough to touch a person you do not know without cringing?

We bring food, because food is important. It's sacred. You don't break bread with enemies, and among family and friends, food is always given freely. I wanted to make sure to express that, that I was trying to be open and honorable and caring, that I wanted to be there. I did. So I made four dozen cuppy-cakes and brought along a slew of other things. They joined well with the dinner provided that evening and there is a gentle feeling-each-other-out thing going on, where we get to meet several members of this little tribe.

And in the first night was the honoring of the dead.

Somewhere, someone's got a beautiful picture I took of the candle-lit altar which housed tokens and photographs of those who have passed on. And in the course of the ritual, the flow of the energy moves (which I thought odd...was was kind of an amoeba of energy...not just a 'circle') into the darkness, by this altar, surrounded by a mock-graveyard that looks as if it could have been real in the darkness. We speak of our honor, our love, and our longing. A chosen one (a priest?) dressed as Nergal goes from person to person, hugging them, whispering love and comfort, reassuring them that he is gently leading them past this life and into the next. I can feel my eyes water, then I think about the little green skull made in sugar by the hands of my youngest daughter to honor the dead, sitting on the altar, and how my grandparents never got to really know her. And I weep just as openly as the soft sobs in the darkness of the little makeshift tribe chorus through the night. We speak of our honor, our love, and our longing.

Then the reveling begins.

And late into the night, there is drumming and merry-making (uh, I might need to omit the merry-making details, but it's quite a bit of merry-making). People ask about my friends, because they haven't shown, and we don't worry too much - things are taken care of, problems resolved, and we meet and greet and talk and get to know one another.

Then we freeze our asses off.

Well, I think I went to be about 4 am, but it was so cold, that I probably got up about three hours later. Someone else is kind enough to stoke up the fire and the offerings of coffee are a warm welcome. Somehow, time gets eaten up and everyone's running on PST.

Now, if you don't know what PST is, you're either new to the idea of paganism or you're not pagan at all. PST stands for 'pagan standard time', which generally allows for a half an hour to sometimes three hours past the original deadline given. Sounds crappy, I know, but really, time is just compartmentalized for our benefit and illusionary by nature anyway, right? Right??

Maybe about 10-11, we stagger down the way to where the outdoor kitchen is set up. Somehow, I find myself cooking eggs. I don't mind at all, I want to help. I feel a little adrift in so many people who are so familiar with one another, and I really know no one. But it is okay, I don't burn anything, and with the other cooks, we're soon munching along. At one point, someone is kind enough to let me charge my phone.

So...I find out my friends aren't coming. Fail. Well, it's okay, I suppose. At first, I was only coming out one day anyway, but it winds up that we decide to camp the weekend. Then my friends don't come out. That's not a bad thing, because I hope that I've made some new friends in the journey. A little prep work through the day and suddenly, it's evening again as people get ready for the next ritual.

Now mind you, I've been snapping pictures along the way. I want to take pictures, because I love to take pictures and to me, this is something that should be documented. Not just because the people here might want something to look back on and remember, but because of reasons that I hope someday will amount to something. The idea is that modern America is branching out from the right-winged conservative radicals. This is not a pagan nation, but the nation houses pagan people. In America, there are so many pagans that are 'in the broom closet', but it's living history that is not getting documented for future generations to see. It's being overlooked, this 'underground movement', which will eventually, I believe, reflect the change in our societal outlook in a century or two.

Regardless, it is getting dark and the time for ritual draws neigh. The bonfire has been spread out, restacked, but not lit.

We are lead through the dark by Nergal, into the Netherworld, with galla (demons) in the woods around us. I think of this as very surreal, but very true in analogy. We are beset on all sides by hazards we cannot see, and this ancient god leads us through the darkness. I am not really fearful, but I am in awe of the passage.

We watch as Inanna tries to dethrone Ereshkigal, to seize the Underworld for herself (there is an epiphany of sorts later on, but that is another story). As these vessels have invoked gods and goddesses, I realize that in all the time that I have practiced forms of paganism (the western idea of Wicca and Druidism), that although I have heard of such pageantry, I have never actually witnessed it. I was rapt. I was in awe. I wept openly.

We were all meant to sacrifice to escape the Underworld, leaving something behind that we wished to be rid of. What I left behind was as important to me as it was unwanted, but left it I did. (Another tale for another time...) And have had a series of epiphanies since then. In regards to my life and the things that I am. Was. Wanted. We shall see.

As far as comfort zones go, there was nothing there that was out of my comfort zone. Everyone was nice, upstanding and kindly. The way a group should be. In fact, the next time I'm able, I'm taking my children. There were free-range children out there, and by the gods, I moved out towards the sticks so my kids could be free-range children too. The adults are very guarded about the kids, knowing they're able to range out a little, but keeping a sharp eye. My kind of peoples. Tribal peoples. Takes a village to raise a tribe? Probably. But a herd of good pagans will do.

But I am waking up. I am deeply appreciative for the chance to partake of this event, and I do not know if they understood how much it meant to me. It reaffirmed who I was and reminded me of dreams that long ago I'd forgotten somewhere. I hope that with this new year, I am taken closer to who I am, who I am meant to be, and able to strive closer to being that in which I wanted all along.

Gods willing.

But it promises to be a grand adventure. ;) Thanks for the opportunity.


interjecting real life

I have to write this blog, because seriously, I can't make this crap up.

Right now things are going good. My best friend is camped out in my living room, which is fine if not sometimes kind of cramped (I feel for her, because she's got to survive the mornings through the whirlwind of people trying to get ready for work/school/etc.), trying to struggle with insomnia like I do.

However, working later in the day, there's just some things that I miss.

For example...apparently for the last two months, my kids have lost their key to the apartment. This wouldn't so bad, save for the fact that every single day, they've been borrowing one from the main office of the apartment complex instead of telling mom and dad they've lost their key.


In fact, my husband didn't know that until he had to go down there and talk to them about something.

For some sort of slip, my water didn't get paid, so I went down there this afternoon to pay it (five bucks, but really, the problem was on their side, not mine). I made idle chat with the lady processing the transaction, and she complimented me on my child, how bright she was, how polite and well-mannered.

My first thought was, "Wait...she's talking about my kid?"

My second thought was said aloud. "Gee....um. Do you see her often?"

Apparently, that little toot has been routing her walk home from the bus stop through the property management office, winsomely swiping candy along the way.


For me, this is a slow, kindly torture of parenthood when the younger child is involved. People tell me how ridiculously advanced she is, polite and charming. And I know she is. Because she wants something. And she's good at it, I'll give her that. But playing her strengths in that manner wasn't necessarily what mommy had in mind. And this kind of thing crops up a LOT with her, believe it or not.

So I practice my patience and I even have my mantra..."I love my kids....I love my kids...I love my kids...."


Missing the party - the aftermath

Okay. Don't hurt me. I missed the Practical Magic blog party.

BUT...don't hurt me. I'll go you one better. Reviews. Eh? Eh??? Little blurbs on all these different sites...

Wylde Wytch Soaps (yeah, I started from the bottom) looks like an amazing herbal sales-site. Not everyone has time to make all the herbal crafts that witches have a tendency to be into. The pictures are romantically stylish witchie and I prefer that big chunky-cake look to natural soaps. It looks very smell-good yummy.

Wood-wings...that one's interesting too. I don't really know if the picture-art belongs to the blogger, but the there is a collection eye-catching art which goes along with this individual's perspective of what is the expression known as art. The art is chosen to go along with random thoughts, which mesh well. Kind of like a 'thought of the day' blog. It's very pretty.

A crafter, the blog Wolf and Moon is trying to get revved up. Very hard-core and eclectic, I hope that she gets the energy and time that it takes to blog. :) Looks fun. She has a fabric shop, by the way, apparently. I really dig the old-school tattoo patterns. Makes me think about when I used to tattoo and pierce... it was fun...

An interesting eclectic, Witches' Poultice appears to be a the blog of a witchie mommie and her day to day life. Sweet and colorful, it is interesting watching other people grow in their spirituality.

Witch Reviews are just that - one witch that reviews movies, books, and music... Nice to have a witchier point of view. ;)

Wildwood Naturals is another store site. This one has handmade candles, smudge bundles, wooden athames (lovely) and even games for the family.

Now Wildberry Gatherings is a blog who's owner is a folk-artist. Hopefully we'll see more here. I like folk-art. Especially of the more magical nature. :)

I really do like Wendy's Adventures in Wonderland. It looks like all her stuff, artsy-craftsy-crazy and loaded with children. Sometimes children can bring the best out in a artist. You find yourself messing with media you've never dealt with before, throw in the creativity and craziness, and you've got some magical stuff happening!

Welcome to the Manor - I love all the blogging craziness. Especially with pictures, whether gleaned or a person's own. I like reading other people's insights. And the garbage soup with cheese looks delicious....

I like the thoughtfulness of Wandering in the Elven Wood. I completely agree too: with information overload, we have to pick and choose what we're going to take in.

The Wadsworth-Noll Studio is kind of a cool, artsy thing. Scuplture, photography and art - more of the modern-pagan feel to it. :) I like the little handcrafted 'zen-sible doll'. Very mod. :)

Wade MacMorrighan actually posted his MySpace profile...because he blogs. Which is cool. Networking is all good!

Another artist, Valerie Hart, catches my eye with her use of color. Her art has a whimsical feel to it, and I like the fact that there's so much that seems to go along with it.

Vagabond Creations is folk art gone wild. Love that. Folk art is cool, but I LOVE the explosion of color. There is something very different from usual folk-art or craft here, definitely.

And if shabby-chic is more your style, Two Wild Roses looks pretty happening! :)

There will be more to come...man...that list got long, didn't it?


zombie evolution revolution

Back to the thought of the evolution of ideas....the computer...the sound media...

When the hell did zombies evolve?

I think they were bad enough when they were slow, shambling things with rotting flesh dribbling off of them. But even Wikipedia has taken notice:

"21st century: Historically zombies have been portrayed as slow-moving creatures, however, zombies in recent popular culture have considerably increased their locomotion, as exampled in recent movies like 28 Days Later (and its sequel, 28 Weeks Later), the Dawn of the Dead remake, House of the Dead,Zombieland and the video games Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead 2, Dead Rising, Stubbs the Zombie, Plants vs Zombies and partly Prototype. A short independent film titled "Zombie Awareness - An Educational Film" recently hit the Internet which furthers this growing trend by purporting to dispel common zombie myths, for better personal safety."

Now they're not portrayed as the soulless, shambling automations which were cursed by witch doctors or voodoo kings. Now...they're biologically altered specimens of things that used to be human beings, with the same desire for blood, flesh, and brains, but the tirelessness of computers and the constant speed of a cheetah at peak.

Different incarnation, same kind of scary-as-hell, I suppose.

madly (otherwise, Change)

I might as well be moving. :)

Change is inevitable, and most of the time, you're not really prepared for it. It never occurs to me in steps, just large dollops that take over my own personal universe like the Blob. Sometimes it's wonderful, other times it's horrible, but any time I think it's good...because it means that I am not static, and that there is growth and life continues on.

Sometimes it's not entirely the change that's mine though, but it doesn't mean that I am no less effected.

For instance....both beautiful and horrific? The act of child birth. It's tension-filled, the time seems to slow, and the spirit can be beat up in the brutality of conflicting emotions that go along with a new child coming into the world. There can be tensions about who is there during birth, friction between families, and all of that is nothing compared to what the new parents go through.

I got to catch it on film.

I've been two two births since my own, where I was actually in the room during birth. The first one is not so clear as this last one (last week), but then again, I got to catch it with the 'sport' setting on camera. Each still frame could be matched together to make a 'action flip book' for the mother if she wanted. The craziness is the brilliance of shade, of color, and lighting that the camera captured. The colors of the majority of the pictures were the colors of the real life experience. And perhaps not every photo op was taken, but it won't let me forget the color of the placenta chillin' in a large, flat metal dish which is disturbingly akin to the ones they use over warmed water in cafeterias.

But change can effect us without directly moving towards us, or directly impacting us. But it does impact.

I have a tendency to teach when I explain things. Not because I just really think I am a teacher, but because I have a necessity to be understood, so I take my time, elaborate on the points that I am trying to make, and ask often if I am understood, which can sometimes lead to lengthy discourse. I caught myself a few weeks ago, explaining the changes that I watched through audio media...from six tracks, to eight tracks, to vinyl, to cassettes, to cds, and now the mp3s.....and how computers evolved. From the stories I heard from my friends that worked with NASA and the endless 'card' programs, through four shades of monochrome, to VGA and beyond. It is surprises me that none of the younger people get to hear this, that they are not taught the leaps and bounds in technology we have made in the last 30 years. It's an amazing change....magic, in its own right.

Change can be frightening. Sometimes the gods ask of us to leap, unseeing, into the void to prove our love and devotion. It's a test of mettle, and I would not say it is something that happens often, but it does happen.

When it does, will you jump?


the travelling

Just working at things. Post coming this week.


Practical Magic

Just to share in the online witchy community.....

Practical Magic Blog Party

Here's a font of magical experiences, spells, thoughts, dreams...all online bloggers gathering together on the 25th of September. I will be interesting. :)



My pirate name is:

Black Mary Roberts

Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. Two things complete your pirate persona: style and swagger. Maybe a little too much swagger sometimes -- but who really cares? Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

some days...

Things just seem to go around and around.


The Power of Words - Trust and Traditionalist

Most people who are interested in magical studies understand how powerful words are. They clarify our thoughts, hone our will, and help to resonate our intentions. When we raise our voices in song and chant, especially among our kin, we create great power.

But what about the power within ourselves? The things which create us?

Some things that have drawn me to a more traditional approach are the ideas of honor and integrity. These things have always been important to me and my life, and I find that it is not always so in the general pagan community. The more people I have had the fortune to meet in the traditionalist, the greater respect I have for them, particularly for the things that I am seeing develop - along the lines of what they hold near and dear to their heart (which makes me at least glad it mirrors my own).

As a seeker, coming forth, if I feel that there is a possibility to create relationships among traditionalists (as in, potential 'matches'), I am as completely honest and forthcoming as I can possibly be. I ask questions, and I very gladly invite questions. If I am vague about my answers (not intending to be, sometimes I really just don't clue in on what they're asking! LOL), then generally, I've seen them jump right in and ask very specific, pointed questions. I respond in the same way to the vague answers that I am given.

BUT...being the outsider, you have to have give the respect. If someone says, "I can't share that with you, it's oathbound", then that's understandable. Pushing any further is disrespectful and frankly, it's the fastest way to get the door slammed in your face.

I look at it the way I look at inviting people into my house. Not just anyone comes into my home, because I don't want them to bring along their 'baggage'. My home, albeit a bit disorganized, is a peaceful place and I don't want just anyone mucking it up. Plus I have children. Part of my evaluation on whether or not I let someone enter MY home is, "How will they effect my children?" My hearth is sacred.

The 'spiritual hearth'? Just as sacred.

If you don't believe me, invite a hobo to come stay the night at your place. It's about the same principle.

The biggest thing about that 'openness' is HONESTY. I can't stress that enough. Magic is a very personal, intimate thing. If I can't trust you at your words, most likely, I'm not gonna circle with you either.

There are 'friends' that you have from work, and there are 'friends' that you know your entire life. My dearest friends have no problem snoozing in a bed next to me or even sharing Listerine and a toothbrush (last resort, I assure you!) without too much incident. But there are some friends that do require their own sleeping quarters or at least an inflatable mattress on the floor. There are some you can change clothes in front of, and others you can't really.

As for a traditionalist circle....well, sounds like most of them will share your toothbrush, if you know what I mean. And that takes a LOT of trust.

SO.....with that being said....

Always be truthful. Speak your mind. Speak freely. Do not disagree on points of practice or belief, because these things differ. You are the outsider, you have no reason to 'correct' practices as you see fit. Patience, openness, and tact go a long way.

If you screw up, take your lumps. Walk away, learn, shore up, and come back. Try again. But the internet is a crazy place, and making multiple accounts on multiple sites, using multiple emails, changing identities, "re-making" yourself over and over as you try to push into a place where doors keep getting slammed. Giving false credentials and making things up. These are things that really look suspicious, sneaky, and downright untrustworthy. There's a lot of reasons why those doors are closing on you. Time to step back and re-evaluate yourself. Although I do not know if it is more common within traditionalist, but even the outsiders hear the terms 'In Perfect Love, In Perfect Trust'.

And TRUST is one the main contributing factors, isn't it?

And believe me, those that ARE traditionalist, they talk together. A lot. And if they don't know. They will. They'll find out. Even on the 'inside', you have to be 'vouched' and 'vetted' to move along. Your character makes up the breadth and width of you, and those measures are taken and accounted for among your peers and elders.

The truth shall set you free. :)


more attempts at learning more about herbalism

Bah. Who needs a stamp collection anyway?

reviews - outside of the box

I guess I need to start doing some reviews for the sites that I'm running into.

Augh. I hate doing reviews.

Anyway, Skidmore Bluffs is a web comic of photographs that combine art and sometimes, humor. The guy is an apparently professional artist and his photography is really beautiful to me. (Whereas, I am NOT a professional, but like to play at it. :) ) Anyway, if you're just wanting a quick comic, it's cool, but the guy doesn't post daily. And..it's not always something funny, but there are things that strike me as funny.

The thing of it is....sometimes we need to step outside of our own perspectives, because we get so caught up in the day-to-day we're stuck with, we can't always see past the box we're trapped in.

Humor is a cure-all. But beauty lets us know how much we're missing.

Just a thought.


dreaming again

The night before last, I dreamed of a friend of mine that I was kind of on the outs with (Actually, we were in fact not speaking to one another, with very good reason - in our own minds, anyway....because we were both very peevish with one another).

I dreamed he came to my house (that I don't own, I live in an apartment) and that we talked at great length. Then I told him I was tired, and he talked with me, followed me to my room and laid down beside me on the bed, sleeping.

This is perfectly acceptable in our world. It isn't uncommon for friends in my circles to climb into be together, even opposite-sex friends, to snuggle up and sleep.

But I woke up and the reality of the fact we weren't speaking to one another set in, and it was something very sad.

However, we'd been a little over two weeks of not speaking to one another, and the issue at the end of the day, from the night/morning of dreaming, the 'silent stand-off' came to an end.

So what is the dreaming? Is it a portent of that which is to come? Is it something which our minds send to us to comfort us, trying to give a little peace to the waking mind? Who knows.

But I found that the events were kind of interesting.

Also...I added a new feed. It's called "Surviving the World". I just found it hilarious. :) I hope you enjoy.


Amateur Herbalism (reposted here)

I've been collecting up herbs for a while in hopes that eventually I'll start making ritual/magical items for sale...soaps, bath salts, incenses and other kinds of crafting. This is not really an unheard-of activity amongst the flurry of people labeling themselves in the same general direction as I am.

However....one must proceed with caution.

Time after time, I've come across a nice quantity of something, looked at it both magically and medicinally....or seen it and thought, "Hmm...what could I use this for?" Stashed away in a dark cabinet in sealed jars, the collection has kept growing. A friend recently came to me and asked if I could help them find a blend of an herbal nature.

With a great amount of zeal, I went straight-away to looking at properties, balancing smells, breaking out the 'ole pestle and mortar and grinding away happily.

Holy toledo.

The first unwritten rule of herbalism - take great care to never wipe your face or any part of your body if you are using herbs you've never used before.

The second? If you think you might have, then wash immediately.

And the third? You can never be too careful.

So, the next evening, I decided that the allergic reaction was so bad, I had to go to one of those walk-in clinics (it was last Saturday, the doctor's offices were closed). When I finally got around to seeing somebody, my left eye was swollen almost completely shut and it was weeping in a feeble way. Annoyed, I was just working on relaxed breathing. The lady took one look at me and started rattling off stuff and writing hurriedly in the little folder that people generally get (mine's probably getting fuller). I heard the measurement "cc's" and asked politely, "Excuse me, what are you giving me?"

"An IV. This needs to go into your system immediately." She begins calling down the hall for a nurse practitioner.

"UM,....no disrespect meant, but I'm not about to get an IV in a walk-in clinic. Can you put it in a shot?"


"I am....REALLY...bad with needles. A HUGE baby. I can't take an IV. And my veins are small. Tiny. Minuscule. I'll be a pincushion for hours...." (Which really is no lie, everyone always had a damned time trying to tap a vein on me...) I brandish the insides of my elbows with great enthusiasm.

"Fine. And I'm going to give you *some measurement of some sort of drug here*, but you need to take Zantac and Benedryl over that as well. As long as needed. And if anything else happens, go to the ER IMMEDIATELY."

"Uh, sure. No problem."

"Did you actually drive yourself here?"

"Uh, yeah?"

*long-suffering eye-roll* "The nurse will be with you momentarily."

At which point, a marvelous woman came in, used my butt as a dart board, scored a perfect bulls-eye, and was slapping a band-aid on my ass before I could say, "Needles make me squeamish." I really could have hugged her.

(And a LOT of people find this amusing, because I used to pierce and tattoo....yet, if you look at me, for the tattoos I have, I've never really gotten more than my ears pierced. Why, you ask? Why the hell would I stick a perfectly good piece of flesh with a hollow needle and gouge out a chunk? Are you crazy?)

Now this does kind of daunt me some. Because the redhead, the partner in crime in this endeavour, is probably as allergic to crap as I am. BUT....we're still willing to give it a go. Just...more precautions. Ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure and all that. It's just taking it easier and going a bit slower at it.

So...for Yule, you people might wind up with homemade stuff. Mead. Wine. Soap. Whatever. For gifts, you get to be guinea pigs. So there. :P


a test of friendship

The worst part about loving people, is that you ultimately hand them weapons that undo you. Your Achilles' heel is vulnerable, your heart laid naked. So it is much easier (especially if they can't seem to communicate to them that there are things which are bothering them about your behaviors) to cut you to the quick and wound you deeply. People who love one another might as well be soft-bodied things with appendages of razors, gutting a person with merely a flick of a finger or a bat of an eye.

The friendship that can cease has never been real. - Saint Jerome (374 AD - 419 AD), Letter

Rule of thumb?

"Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell them." - Oliver Wendell Holmes


the Art of Teaching

As more and more people seek out spirituality in the pagan sector, there are many more people who have picked up paths generated in America as opposed to Traditional paths.

This is nothing new. This is nothing bad. To each their own. Spirituality is a very deeply personal thing, and any yahoo that would judge an individual over something so personal just needs to get a grip. There were just more people becoming interested in it than there were teachers, so they're not 'doing it wrong', they're just 'doing it differently'. (We'll skip the argument over what to call the 'modern wiccans' and just hang it up as western wicca, okay?)

However, when you are in spiritual starvation mode, it's kind of hard to keep from seeking in places that aren't the wisest of places. Particularly if you are caught up in that bright, shiny newness of a thing. We are blinded sometimes by our revelations and fail to realize in the seeking for peers and teachers, there are some fundamental things that we skip. Here's some thoughts to consider.

Not everyone can be a teacher. As skilled or as knowledgeable as a person is, this doesn't qualify them to teach. Some people have a hard idea communicating their thoughts. And yet some have no patience for it, skipping fundamentals as if you'd already know them, or not explaining a thing more than once. And that failing, some people just really don't know what they're doing, and it becomes the blind leading the blind.

Not every teacher teaches in the way you expect it. Just because you expect to pick up practical knowledge from someone doesn't mean it's going to happen. However, maybe this person has wandered into your life for other reasons. If they can't teach you directly, generally there is something about their lives, they way that they are going, which is going to teach you something. Sometimes we can't see past our noses. Maybe the lesson doesn't come directly from the person as opposed to a lesson through observation and interaction. This seems like a stretch, but it's true. In our haste to find what we are seeking, we may not evaluate closely enough the person we are seeking to be our teacher.

Be selective of your teachers. What method do they teach by? Do they lead by example, are they those that guide you through experience? Do they use paperwork, homework, and visual aids? - and that's just the 'teaching part'. What makes you think they will be a good teacher? Beyond their teaching skills, look at their life. Are they in a constant state of drama? Do those that fill their homes and circles seem unnecessarily needy? Is there an over-abundance of hero-worship among their peers or perhaps they seem to rule instead of lead?

As we move through the world, seeking to lean from people, we must be intimately aware that magic is a very visceral thing. It is something that moves us deeply, that connects us deeply, and changes ourselves and the world. With that in mind, this kind of evaluation will bring you to ask yourself questions. Do you want to be so closely entwined with someone who is less than scrupulous as a teacher of magic? Do you want to carry the baggage, the karma, of someone who's caught up in witch wars and epic drama? Do you want a charismatic leader, or a competent teacher?

Whether you are a new seeker or the seasoned initiate looking for a different path, it's just some food for thought.


so easy (I had to post this here)

And so I'm in the vehicle, passenger on a meandering journey. And what should I see, but a in a little town, a little sign which I read aloud.

".... Primitive Baptist Church...."

And the passenger in front of me quietly spoke, answering my question.

"So easy....a cave man can do it."


rethinking things (or IN MY HUMBLE OPINION)

One of the cute little idiosyncrasies of being a Seeker of traditional witchcraft is changing thought processes.

Now, some things are pretty inherent, that you can't really change in your outlook. Other things can be tweaked to fit a thinking process.

I know that didn't make much sense, but let me explain.

For ages, I have been using a ceremonial knife. Before, if asked, I'd have said, "Yes, sweetie, that's my athame. Please don't cut yourself." But after observing the highly secretive and eccentric BTW groups roaming about, athame is how I'd probably explain it, but I've been corrective in my mind set, calling it a ceremonial or ritual (magical) knife.

Does that make a difference? I think so. Most people would have taken offense to it, or even might (by some of the things I'm saying) still. The easiest way it was put to me was, "Are you Gardenarian?" "Uh, no." "You realize the concept of an athame is from BTW, is it not?" "Uh...a lot of cultures religiously use knifes for things-" "But do they call it an athame?" "Uh, no." "SO...is your knife an athame?" "Uh, no?" *pat on the head*

Okay, maybe it was a little more elaborate than that, but I got it. The fact of the matter is that most people that practice 'Wicca' practice a magical system that was jacked from a religion, and they liberally slap whatever the hell they want into it, with a semi-structured ritual and gobs of other bullshit.

That does not, in essence, make what any of the little fluffy pagans do specifically 'Wicca'.

I ran into a concept the other day by accident. It was a concept that I'd never encountered reading some of the books that I've read regarding Wicca, so I was surprised to see it. However, it made oodles of sense, and I didn't understand why it's never surfaced before for me. But...you don't see it in a lot of 'modern books' because people either didn't know about it, or it smacked too much of monotheism for a religion with a lot of gods.

Omission doesn't make something better, it changes. Restructuring doesn't make something modern, it changes it. Wicca doesn't equate to 'do what you feel is right for you'. Maybe you have it confused with the New-Age White-Light mumbo jumbo that has been breeding like rabbits. But it's definitely not Wicca.

Not that things DON'T change...but there are some things that remain unmovable. We don't omit the sun because we like pale skin. The sun is there regardless.

So...consider what you are doing and why. How far are you from actuality?

Who are you really?


if you haven't realized now...

....look above this post. Yes, there. That's where my main blog is. Really.


the same page

The more I think about the fluffiness of Modern Wicca....really, the less I am inclined to just hang out with any 'ole witches.

I remember when I was much, much younger, and we did the Lughnasadh games at a public gathering in Houston. They had the competition going on, and I really didn't care to join - I just came along for the socialization. I didn't mind helping set up for the events (never look up when someone says, "Don't look up!" and they're wearing a kilt...but crap...some things are instinctive), but I didn't really feel the need to compete. They weren't really that well organized and I don't care for competing against mixed company.

Somehow, somewhere, they split the men from the women (which....as re-constructionist Celts, I imagined that they'd have left them together) and they didn't have enough women, so I was promptly volunteered for the wrestling competition. I really can't even remember the two or three girls I was pitted against, or how I won, but somehow, I got them out of the ring and was declared the women's champion.

Then the men fought. Funny enough, somehow, my husband won. People were highly amused by the whole thing and thought it would be funny if we wrestled one another. So...we did.

And I won.

I will skip the grueling details for you, but suffice it to say, later on he admitted to me that he underestimated my skill, thinking that he could pick me up and set me outside of the ring. *I*, on the other hand, envisioned this vast circle as a plateau from which, once outside the ring, the victor would fall to a horrible death below, having sufficient time to contemplate their errors before splatting somewhere outside of the scope of normal vision.

He commended me on this visualization.

But thinking about it, during that time, I come to the realization of the importance of how, when working magic, this is SO important for groups. If you're not on the same page, who knows what will make itself manifest?

If one person wants something specific to happen, getting together a group, no matter how small, you've got everyone envisioning it as something entirely different.

Example. You need some extra money somewhere to make some bills. So you ask your fellow practitioners to get together for a prosperity spell.

You think of it as making ends meet. Someone else thinks of it as gaining a new car. Someone else thinks of it as vast wealth. Soon enough, you've got a strange hodge-podge of energy going out, and geez....

Anyway... if you're going to get together to make something happen, make sure that there is clarity in your collective vision. If not...well, SOMETHING might happen, but it is not necessarily the something you're hoping for.

Just a thought.


subtle differences

A few weeks ago, I was out at my Dad's place. We had very cold weather, but as soon as the snow touched the ground, it turned to watery slush, churning up mud. He lives at the top of a hill, the highest hill in the region, and it was turning into inches of mud (he's having the driving areas re-stoned).

We had a place to be, and soon, so we tried to get my father's mechanical wheelchair to the truck and up its lift. Unfortunately, I almost lost a shoe in the mud, because the dirt now was so thick and soft. We tried several things, even moving planks of wood, but we did not have enough wood and the chair itself is one of those electric, large jobs - we were afraid of getting it stuck.

This entire time, I'm trying to be helpful, but apologizing profusely. I knew he needed it, and I was unable to comply with what I saw as a simple request without getting the wheelchair or the truck with the lift on it stuck.

"I'm sorry," I said, probably half a dozen times, muttering at the futility of what we were doing.

After about the second dozen time, my dad yelled at me.

Now, I think that most people get beyond the moments of childhood when they grow up, save for the occasional paternal lecture. But this yell was sharp, taking me back to somewhere in the neighborhood of my daughter's age.

"Stop saying you're sorry!"

I was confused at first, because I'm am years unused to that kind of tone. I said nothing, but before I could speak, my father explained himself angrily.

"I just watched something on that. A report. But it talked about how people would say 'I'm sorry' and after a while, they believed they were sorry people. You're not a sorry person, stop saying it," he said vehemently.

Whoa. Go, Dad.

It was food for thought: a reminder of being careful of the words I use, the fact that my father is STILL constantly learning wisdom, and the awesome fact that no matter how old you are, a parent can still assert themselves.

All good lessons, yes?

Of recent, I've been going back and forth with a friend. I've felt that through his formal education, he still struggles with the concept that people who are not formally educated are perhaps not as intelligent as him. This is something that I've humored for quite a while. I haven't seen him recently, so we've bantered back and forth on the internet.

At first, it wasn't really all that obvious. We'd talk about the kinds of things he was interested in, openly debating, questioning, and disagreeing. Phrases like, "Well, I think I've read enough to know..." or "I've read plenty on that subject" started creeping in. These phrases were often used at the height of arguements/debates, and I took them in stride. For a while.

Then I found myself accommodating them. After a while, almost like "I'm Sorry", I started saying, "Well, I know I'm not as well read as you" or "I'm not an expert on the subject". I found myself apologizing for not being as well read, because some of his concepts he had to communicate without using the technical jargon. In essence, he was 'dumbing down' the ideas so I could understand them. I say 'dumbing down', because he was frustrated he couldn't use all the big and fancy words to communicate his new-found knowledge. I was frustrated that something he could have got out could have been half an hour shorter in conversation to convey a concept.

After several of these little mental skirmishes, one phrase set me on edge.

"Let me make this easy for you."

Don't ask me. I took it like a mental slap in the face. It occurred to me that my friend, a close and beloved friend, was treating me like a damn idiot. And after some subtle brainwashing, I was agreeing with him that I was an idiot. That my opinions were stupid and that my advice was stupid. All 'round, I felt like a complete moron.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Make that woman a witch and you'll have to head for a a fallout shelter.

It makes it all the worse when you realize the person brain-washing you into believing you're stupid is someone you love and trust beyond the scope of most people.

No, the jury is still out on that incident. We'll see what develops, won't we?

SO...in closing, be very careful of the words you speak. Be mindful of the words spoken to you. Words have power, and when you keep invoking the same essence in a nonchalant manner, you'll wind up getting exactly what you ask for.


repost from another blog: Permission

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” Mahatma Gandhi

I am SO DAMN TIRED of people whining.

And it's not the usual personality-driven whine, which is just whining to whine. But whining over useless bullshit.

I whined I had to go to work the past two days. It was two very long days, and it was self-inflicted, so really I didn't have the right to whine....I was mainly whining because I was tired.....piddly.

BUT.....some whining, I can't abide by.

I think the last whining "Yes, I am!", "No, you're not!" fit I threw was when I was 16. I was trying to convince my best friend's mom that yes, in fact, I was just one of the guys like him, and I should damn well be able to sleep over and play D&D all night long with the boys. She tried to be very kind about it, but I was frustrated to tears. Did she not see that I was just gaming, just like everyone else? My mom wouldn't care! But she didn't hear of it and out the door I went.

Believe it or not, this crap happens in Wicca. A *LOT*. So, if you're not up on the who's-who of witchiedom, or you're not pagan, the following will probably not be of much interest to you, so you have every right to skip the rest of this blog. If you're open-minded, you'll probably be able to relate to this at least.

In 'western Wicca', the stuff that comes out of books and is all over the place in America, people struggle to live by values of earth-based religions, have deep and meaningful spirituality, and some sense of honor. This is all well and great, but it comes from over the seas, and those who have spent lifetimes learning, practicing, and perfecting their magical art known as Wicca as taught by Gerald Gardner do not agree - if you weren't initiated, you're not Wiccan.

Can you imagine the howls of frustration for some? Being told, "No, you can't."

I don't need someone to tell me what I am or agree with my self-inflicted labels for me to have peace of mind. I'm not going to argue with anyone, "I'm a witch!", "No you're not!". I know who and what I am, and the hell with everyone else's assumptions.

So, to BTW (British Traditional Witchcraft), I'm not Wiccan. I understand their definition, as a person who is supposed to be directly oathbound from Gerald Gardner himself (until such a time comes where they can find others from that branching tree, I suppose). I, like many of the other people in my generation, picked up a book and began to read. I can handle this. Because it is clearly their definition. And words, well, many words have multiple definitions. The one they own clearly states I'm not. I'm okay with that.

So many people, to be PC and keep things light and bright and fluffy, have rescinded their words, or placated the drooling masses who want drive-thru spirituality. "Sure, you're what you say you are, because you read the book to tell you so!"

Please. Come on.

I detest the idea of that. Spirituality shouldn't be set-and-serve. It's supposed to be introspection, knowledge, and wisdom. Growth of a person. Development. No fancy cardboard box to hold it in place while you're eating as you drive. I can read about Catholic Priests all I want...but that doesn't make me one. I can read about being an astronaut, but that doesn't make me one.


So, please.....just understand that there are going to be people in the world that disagree with you. It doesn't really mean that you're right and their wrong, or vice versa. All it means is that you've a difference of opinion, agree to disagree, and leave it at that. Don't clog the Force with your piddly-babbling bullshit.

You are what you are, and no matter if someone tells you differently, it doesn't change a damn thing.


While Supplies Last

I thought this was funny, so I like to share....

Pink Ouija Board Targeting Young Girls Riles Critics

Saturday, February 06, 2010
By Joshua Rhett Miller

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This pink version of Hasbro's popular Ouija board game sells for $19.99, but some critics say the game is a dangerous "portal" to reach spirits.

A pink version of the popular Ouija board game has some critics seeing red.

The children's sleepover staple — sold by Hasbro since 1967 — now comes in hot pink, an edition released two years ago that gets tweens to call on "spirits" to spell out answers to life's pressing questions.

It's designed for young girls ages 8 and older, but some say the mysterious product is a "dangerous spiritual game" that opens up anyone, particularly Christians, to attacks on their soul.

The game continues to be sold at Toys R Us locations in the U.S. and Canada for $19.99, although it's currently being "phased out," company officials say.

"There's a spiritual reality to it and Hasbro is treating it as if it's just a game," said Stephen Phelan, communications director for Human Life International, which bills itself as the largest international pro-life organization and missionary worldwide. "It's not Monopoly. It really is a dangerous spiritual game and for [Hasbro] to treat it as just another game is quite dishonest."

Phelan, who has never played the game, said the Bible explicitly states "not to mess with spirits" and that using a Ouija board will leave a person's soul vulnerable to attack.

"All Christians should know, well everyone should, that it's opening up a person to attack, spiritually," he said. "Christians shouldn't use it."

Asked how the game differed from magic kits or Harry Potter-themed merchandise, Phelan replied, "The difference is that the Ouija board is actually is a portal to talk to spirits and it's hard to get people to understand that until they actually do it. I don't pretend to know how it works, but it actually does."

Phelan also noted that the pink version of the game is explicitly marketed to young girls who may want to partake in "something dangerous" during a late-night sleepover.

"It's pink," he said. "That wouldn't appeal to me when I was 8."

The pink edition is also available for $33.99 on Amazon.com, where some commenters likened the game to occult materials targeting "tween" girls.

"Just unbelievable," one posting read. "Hasbro — you should be seriously ashamed — you have lost your way. Ouija boards are NOT 'games' and they certainly should not be marketing these to children."

Toy expert and consultant Chris Byrne said he found "absolutely nothing" wrong with any version of the game.

"And if something doesn't fit your value or belief system, you don't have to buy it," Byrne said. "There's absolutely nothing remotely Christian or un-Christian about it. I think people are projecting their belief system on it."

Byrne, who writes for timetoplaymag.com, said he was unclear of the origin of the notion that Ouija players can somehow communicate with spirits or the dead.

"That is something that people have made up and it became part of our culture," he said. "It's always been entertainment. What I remember is trying to brain my younger brother with the board because he kept moving it. It's just funny that people make up this stuff."

Hasbro officials say they have received a "couple of dozen" complaints following a recent report on the pink version. Patricia Riso, a Hasbro spokeswoman, defended the game as, well, just that.

"Our response is that Ouija is simply a game — and it is intended purely for fun and entertainment," she wrote FoxNews.com.

Bob Friedland, a spokesman for Toys R Us, said the pink Ouija version has been on clearance at its locations and is being "phased out" moving forward as new products are being introduced this year.

"There are very few pieces in our inventory in store and it is no longer available online," Friedland wrote.

In a statement to FoxNews.com, the Toy Industry Association said the game is among thousands of options to bring "fun and excitement" to children.

"TIA encourages parents to make their own choices about which products are most appropriate for their families," the statement read.

Byrne, meanwhile, said the current version of the game is not much different from the first Ouija-like game first patented by patent attorney Elijah Bond in May 1890.

"It's been a popular toy for years, and I've played it and I don't do any Macbeth-like witchcraft," he said. "It's no different from watching a scary movie or a good ghost story."


unusual reflecting...

I don't know if I believe in ghosts.

I believe it's something. I mean, the pictures for 'ghost hunters' and stuff. Reason being is that reflective light acts a certain way, and I've captured some of these weird things on 35mm as well as on digital - over the years, I've had several different types of cameras and even archaic films. So I couldn't really say.

But it's something.

I think one of the most convincing pictures I viewed by complete accident. I flipped through a picture-book that someone brought back with them to work, after having gone to some sort of business convention. As I flipped through it, my boss was standing next to a very large, flat plasma. He beamed a cheesy smile, and next to him was one of those luminescent orb things.

I'll be damned it if wasn't reflected perfectly in the screen next to him.

I don't have any rational explanation of why it did it, because like I said, light doesn't behave that way. It means the thing itself was its light source, and that light source cast a reflection. Odd.

Anyway, my grandfather died Monday. I'm sad, because I didn't get to travel back to 'home' to commemorate him. In fact, I wasn't even sure that they were going to do anything at all. I loved my grandfather, even if we weren't so close as I grew up. He was a good guy, had a ton of people, and would give you the shirt off his back. A good man. I remember his deep, rumbly voice. His smiling face. The fact that he turned his head when I swiped cookies from the cookie jar when I was little. Sleeping idly on his porch swing. There's a lot of little things I remember.

And I'm flipping through pictures on Facebook, where my brother's posted some pics from the informal gathering at my grandfather's house....and inside is my Dad. And wouldn't you know? But an orb floating gracefully before him. I don't see anything else in the pictures. I suppose it could be reflection off the mirror...but I wonder how, being that the reflection is at an angle, and the orb is actually in front of him. So...the reflection from the light would be blocked.

Maybe he was just stopping by to say 'see you later'.


no promises

I am actively seeking to position myself better in such a way that my family benefits, that my spiritual well being benefits, and that financially we benefit. Trying to get everything in line.

"No promises," are the words I hear.

Heck, anything else and it would have probably been a warning sign.

But I ask for none and I expect none, and that's how it should be when you've moving through the world looking for spiritual enlightenment. Anyone who promises you something like that generally doesn't have anything to give you. Because the deepest parts of spirituality lie within ourselves, not through someone else's parlour tricks.

That's part of the reason why I don't get people who will pay hundreds of dollars for a prefabricated sword or some fancy-smancy wand. It doesn't make sense. The cost of those gilded crosses or gem-encrusted pentacles doesn't make it any more holy, or any more powerful. It is not the hundreds of social gatherings with the thin mask of spirituality that makes someone a spiritual person. Just because you pay an organization to romp naked through the woods twice a year doesn't make your spiritual well-being.

But...by the same token, it is hard for so many people to tell which words ring truly and which words are diluted in lies. I mean, face it, this world is full of lies. We lie to one another, and we lie to ourselves. Which is to say that it is hard to tell the difference between someone lying to you and someone embellishing the truth. Or telling the truth at all.

So which do you think would be true? Someone wanting to 'show you everything' or 'help you gain power', or someone who just simply says 'this is us, and no promises'?

No promises I can live with. It's the never trying that I wouldn't forgive myself for. So which is worse? Reaching out for possibilities or never doing anything?


Time can be one of the worse things to torture ourselves with.

Our anticipation of events to come, the fear of the unknown - these are things which can drive us to make rash decisions. Things that we would not normally do. We lose sleep, needling ourselves with 'what if' and 'should have' and 'could have'.

This doesn't make any sense, but we do it. It does us no good, but we do it nonetheless.

If you find yourself running over the same old ground, take charge. Take action. Do not be victimized by your fears. Charge forth.

Yes, it is much easier said than done. I wrestle with that concept myself, but I'm trying.

And trying makes all the difference.