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Wicca: A Living Tradition of Witchcraft

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May 17th, 2015

Dear Grammy (Grandmother) and Pop-Pop (Grandfather),

You have both taught me so much. You both taught me to have great respect for all life on Earth, be it Human or otherwise. You both taught me the Ancient Ways of Wicca and Witchcraft. You taught me to respect and about the way the life energies that surround us and bind us together work and their uses. You taught me patience and tolerance for others, even if they don't treat me in the same manner. You also taught me how to love, yet be tough at the same time.

Grammy, you showed me how to honor Mother Earth and all of her children, human and otherwise. Grammy, you showed me the secrets to having a successful flower garden as well as a fairy garden. You also showed me and taught me about birds and their individual names and habits. You, Grammy, treated them the same way you treated your Human children. You also taught me about flowers and their individual names and habits, as well as their likes and dislikes and also treated them as if they were your children. Grammy, you also taught me the basic core values I have now and about Karma and its workings. You and Pop-Pop were the first ones to teach and show me unconditional and undying love.

Pop-Pop, you taught me to respect, or at least be tolerant of, those that follow other paths and/or religions, even if they do not show me the same respect and/or tolerance. You also showed me how to plant a successful vegetable garden. You, Pop-Pop, showed me all of your secrets to growing huge, tasty tomatoes and having the biggest, juiciest watermelons. You also showed me the secrets to cooking the finest snap beans and pole beans ever. Pop-Pop, you disciplined me and taught me everything I know nowadays with nothing but love in your heart. Even when I acted in a deplorable manner, you and Grammy disciplined me and set me straight in a gentle, loving, non-threatening manner. You and Grammy never yelled at me nor did you strike and/or spank me. And you both treated me like an adult in my later years-even supporting me in, and guiding me in, my individual Wiccan/Pagan path.

To both of you: I love and miss you both. Even though death may keep us apart physically, you are both still with me in Spirit, Heart, Mind and Soul. One day we will meet in Summerland. But not today. You both are still loved and missed, if not by your children, then by your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

With Love,
Your Wiccan/Pagan granddaughter

May 9th, 2015

dear dear

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Dear Rude Customer,

You came in my line screaming and yelling at your 3 year-old grandkid just because she was being a typical 3 year-old. I never said a word. When I greeted you, you glared at me like I was a common slug. Then I saw what I thought was a bag of chips in your grandkid's hands. And I mentioned it to you. Lord, I thought that you were going to kill me. You, for no reason, started yelling at me loud enough for all to hear about what a horrible, judgemental B**** I am and that I should mind my f*****g business. I asked your grandkid what her name is and you called her sh*thead! Really?! Your chronilogical age may be 45 but your actions say that your mental age is otherwise-approximately 2 years old. And just because your grandkid wasn't living up to your expectations and did not look like a baby Barbi doll does not give you the right to call her names and treat her like trash. So grow up and get over yourself. You aren't exactly a Barbi doll either. Have a horrible day because that's what I had because of YOU!
Sincerely,
The courtesy clerk who had to deal with your ugliness.

May 7th, 2015

What do Wicca and Paganism mean to me? To me, Paganism is the worship of the many Old World Gods and Goddesses, such as Egyptian or Greek Gods and Goddesses, in addition to the worship of nature. Just as there are many sects of Christianity or Islam, there are many sects or branches of Paganism. In addition events or even rituals are a part of Paganism. Magick or Magic is another, minor part of Paganism and so is the worship of the magickal creatures.


However, Wicca is a little more clouded and mysterious to me than Paganism. To me, Wicca is the worship of nature, but can also encompass the worship of many Gods and Goddesses or just one God and Goddess. Wccans also worship magick or magic and the creatures involved. Although similar to Paganism, Wicca is also very different. Wiccans, even though they too have different sects, participate in events and rituals, also practice their craft on their own and/or in a small group called covens.

However, as with any religion, both have many sects and sub-sects.

So this is up for polite discussion or polite debate. Please be gentle because I am still new to this and still learning my path. Thank you.

March 25th, 2015

"The true meaning of Paganism" by Ryan Stone, 9 Nov 2014

This came up on Facebook today and I find it a bit annoying.
Problems I had with this article:

There is nothing wrong with the word 'pagan'. It is not historically "inaccurate". The "true" meaning of pagan is 'country dweller' much like heathen is 'someone who lives on the heath'. The article seems to want to make the point that classifying other religions as 'pagan' was done to facilitate destroying them. Fair enough. But that still doesn't make it "inaccurate". Pre-Christian people did not call themselves 'pagans'. But then they didn't have a word for 'religion' either. We have a lot of words and make a lot of distinctions that they didn't have or do back then. That doesn't make the words we use or the distinctions we make "inaccurate".

The article argues that classical religions were indicated by "locality" and that "political and religious aspects of life were a unified entity". Well, sort of. The proper words here are 'ethnicity' and 'culture' not locality and politics. What we call religion' used to be the same as what we call 'ethnicity' now. Ethnicity is related to locality but is not the same as locality.

I agree that "many so-called "pagans" would have not considered it important to differentiate themselves based on the number of gods they worshiped." This obsession with how many gods you worship or believe in is a monotheist thing. Polytheists really don't care about how many gods there are exactly (lots is just fine with us). Which is why the next sentence really annoys me: "many cults within each sect had a primary deity at the center of the religion, beneath which subordinate deities were also worshiped". There is a fundamental difference between believing that there is only one deity that exists and believing in multiple deities but favoring one over all the rest. This recent trend of equating ruling deities or just preferred deities to monotheistic deity is really annoying to me. 'Pagan' does mean 'not monotheist' because that is how words work. The intent of the Christians who used the word 'pagan' was to make a distinction between themselves and everyone else. Everyone else is us.

He lists Michael York's "Pagan Theology" in the bibliography but I don't think he read it. The premise of "Pagan Theology" is that most of the world's pagan religions share a common theology and Paganism should be considered a world religion. Which is almost the opposite of the premise of this article: that pagan is a word made up by Christians to facilitate destroying other religions and should not be used at all.

John Michael Greer's "A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism" might have helped too. That book explains the very important differences between polytheistic and monotheistic philosophy of religion.

And then there is this: "their rituals, beliefs, and traditions were undefined and fluidly interpreted, orally passed down rather than rigidly studied." First of all don't conflate rituals, beliefs, and traditions. Rituals and traditions tend to be very well defined and structured. Beliefs less so. It is the Christians who decided that beliefs and ritual practices have to be tied together under the term "religion". And just because information is passed orally doesn't mean it is less defined, structured, or rigid. Modern people have no concept of how important memorization and accurate recall are to people who don't use writing. Don't assume that just because they didn't write things down they didn't have rules and structure.

It's just that what parts of the rules and structure they thought were important are a lot different from what we think is important now. The Christians have convinced us that 'religion' is about belief and gods. A lot of what we call religion classical pagans called tradition and custom. The other half of what we call religion they called philosophy. Every religion is a 'way of life' if practiced properly.

Modern people tend to conflate religion with institutions. That makes no sense at all when studying pagans. One of the many reasons I believe that modern Wicca is more accurate in spirit than many re-creationist traditions is that Wicca has many independent schools and traditions and no central authority, just like classical pagans.

Classical paganism was a "Cultic Milieu". People were raised in a culture that had beliefs and practices (as all cultures do). And they formed (or joined) organizations that cultivated (the origin of the word cult) those beliefs and practices. Or sometimes they created new organizations with new practices. They also belonged to schools of philosophy that advocated specific beliefs about the nature of life and how one should live. These schools were independent of the particular gods or spirits one choose to honor.

Look at the Hindus of India. Many people will tell you that Hinduism 'isn't really a religion' because it has no central organization. Hinduism just refers to the beliefs and practices of the Indus valley. Among the people of the Indus valley there are thousands of independent temples to thousands of gods. And probably just as many holy people and Gurus offering to assist people on their spiritual journey. Christians used to say the Hindus didn't have a holy book either. Although the Vedas are the some of the oldest religious writing in the world, they are not sacred in themselves and not attributed to the gods. The Vedas are just records of past beliefs and practices. Writing them down did not make them more important than when they were passed on orally. Which I think makes Hinduism a better religion than those monotheistic people who insist that all wisdom comes from a book someone wrote a long time ago. Don't get me wrong, I love books and I value ancient wisdom. I just don't think 'the Word of God' is something that can be written down or spoken.

Many Westerners will tell you that Buddhism isn't a religion because Buddha didn't say anything about gods. But from a Buddhist perspective Christianity isn't a religion because it doesn't say anything about how to escape the wheel of rebirth. Which is why I don't use use either of those as ways of determining what is a religion.

March 5th, 2015

My days

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Yesterday was a wonderful day. Full of fun and magickal experiences and spell casting. While I was walking around in my backyard-the empty lot behind our fenced in backyard-I saw two Hawks. One of them was a Swainson's Hawk in dark phase. The other was a Red-Tailed Hawk. Both Hawks were actively hunting. One was hunting for Ground Squirrels and the other was hunting smaller Birds. I took these two signs as a message that good things were to happen but I should proceed with caution. You see, Hawk and Squirrel are just two of my 4 Spirit Animals. As this happened I performed a simple money (change) spell and bound it to the message that was delivered/received. The result was astounding. As soon as I got to my job and started working, I was finding change everywhere I went. And not just pennies, but quarters, dimes, and whole dollar bills! For the past couple of weeks I have been collecting change and putting it in a large jar. So as soon as I got home with my work pockets full of change, I put the change in my collection jar and gave thanks to the Spirits who helped me in this endeavor and for helping me have a great and magickal day. It is also worth mentioning that I also got the chance to see some unusual birds up-close and nearly personal. Here is a list of birds that I saw. FRONT YARD: Ruby Crowned Kinglet, Lesser Goldfrnch, Northern Mockingbird, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, White-Winged Dove (Mourning Dove is another one of my Spirit Animals). BACKYARD: Phainopepla, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch, Red Tailed Hawk, Swainson's Hawk, Black-Capped Chickadee. I also heard the songs and calls of these birds and others that I didn't see but heard. These are the birds I heard: Gila Woodpecker, Gambel's Quail, Ladder-Backed Woodpecker. I even saw and identified some wildflowers. However I will have to look them up and see what their magickal uses are. I was able to identify Red Cinquefoil, Golden Aster, Desert Marigold, Little Golden Zinnia, and Purple Ground Cherry. I cannot wait to see what their magickal properties are and what spells they are used to enhance!

However, today was a very trying day. It started out okay but I felt just a tiny bit tired because of the spell I cast yesterday. While I was outside walking around in the front yard, I had the fortune/misfortune of meeting Coyote Trickster. It was my fortune because I have never seen a Coyote before. However it was my misfortune because this meeting led to a series of unfortunate events. First, my cellphone died and its charger doesn't work well anymore. Then a Jumping Cholla Cactus threw a ball or segment of spines at me and hit my lower ankle and I had to pull them out of my foot one by one. Then I was almost late catching the bus to go to work. At work, I was called to clean up two separate spills with little to no help from one of my fellow Courtesy Clerks/Baggers. When I asked her to do a SIMPLE task and get me two more wet floor caution signs, she gave me an attitude, rolled her eyes and wandered off elsewhere. Just a bit of background, this girl has a history of having a bad attitude with others. Then I had to deal with some extremely rude people. I guess the old addage 'Once you hit rock bottom, the only direction you can go is up' holds true in this case. Well hopefully tomorrow will be better when I wake up. But for now I will pray to the Spirits for a better tomorrow and sleep. Blessed Be and So Mote It Be everyone.

February 26th, 2015

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596568033914181&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596573050580346&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596579177246400&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596571287247189&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596568177247500&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

I know that the bird photo is unrelated but I found that during this troubling time for my family, I find it very relaxing to do a bit of gardening and planting new growth as well as taking photos of plants and nature. It's like a mixture of practicing a bit of meditation exercises and creating a bit of Magic. It is that relaxing. I also do a bit of birdwatching, hence the photo of Goldfinches gathering twigs and leaves and building material for a nest. Both activities are very relaxing.

If anyone has any family problems, I find that the best escape is to get outside, go for a walk, take nature photographs, do a bit of gardening, plant new plants, prune old ones, and the list goes on. I also practice a bit of healing meditation (self) and Self-Healing Spells (Beginner). This list is a great way to escape family issues. I also find that drawing, writing, listening to relaxing music, and talking to friends are great escapes too. So if anyone has any family problems-please don't hesitate to try any of these and reach out to friends for help.

Also, I would like to add a spell that would be helpful if it is okay with the maintainers. I will write down that spell in another journal.

Sincerely,

Chaos (Rebecca M.)
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February 24th, 2015

Dear Maw Maw, I already miss you, Maw Maw (my paternal grandmother), even
though you haven't Crossed Over yet but are getting ready to
and are so close to doing so. May you leave this world in peace
and in serenity. I don't know how my family and I will manage
to stick together without you but we will make an effort to.
When you pass a part of my soul will be ripped out of me forever. I know and knew that you were/are battling terminal
cancer and were/are in a lot of pain. You see, death is never
easy, even though in some cases it is a blessing. Some never
Heal at all after losing a loved one. Some are driven to insanity
while others try to find ways to join their loved ones. You see,
death is never easy and is always a hard road. I do not know how I will be able to function as a normal, functioning, living
being in society without you. Without you, I am stuck, unable to
move forward or backward without you. Without you I feel like
I'm nothing. Without you, I feel lost and that I cannot go on.
But I must find my way. I must go on and live your memories! I
have inherited your good looks, your youthful appearance(s), your artistic talents, your understanding of the natural world,
its Magick and Magick in general. From you, even though you
decided to convert to Christianity two months ago, I learned
the art of witchcraft and Solitary Wicca in general and I thank
you for teaching me. I thank you so much from the bottom of
my heart and the depths of my soul for teaching me to respect the natural world, the living things and beings in the natural
world, the Magick the natural world and its beings create and
Magick in general. I thank you for passing your knowledge and
acceptance of other religions down to me. I will try to live your
memories in your honor, but please understand that I need to
live my life too and that I need to make my own memories and my own way in this world. I may make mistakes along the way,
but with your gentle guidance and the guidance of my
ancestors and Spirit Guides, I will learn from my mistakes. I
don't know how I will manage but I must. I may heal from your
Passing but not completely. You see, one may never
COMPLETELY heal from losing a loved one because a part of one's soul is taken away from them when their loved one dies.
I am just glad that my ancestors will be with you when the time
comes for you to Cross The Veil. Please go peacefully with
both your, as well as my, ancestors and do not look back.
Have no regrets and don't worry about the living anymore. I
know that you have suffered and had joy too. But if it eases your Crossing, know that I will do my utmost to keep your
memories alive and that I will make an effort, although
monumental one, to move forward in my life and help others
move forward with their lives as well! When you Cross Over, please update my ancestors on what is
going on, in this world. Please let them know about me and
the rest of the family and how we are doing. Please tell my
maternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, and paternal
grandfather that they are sorely missed and that I, Rebecca G.
McCord, would like them to visit me in my dreams. Also tell my pet familiars, two dogs, a Miniature Schnauzer named Chelsey,
and a Beagle/Pit Bull named Whiskers, that they are also sorely
missed and that I would, when the time comes for ME to
Cross Over, like to see them playing near the Rainbow Bridge. I understand that you are tired and must go soon. All I can say
is Bon Voyage and you will be missed sorely. As someone wise
once said, ''With Life comes Death. With Death comes New
Life. That is the way of things.'' And that is so true but with
Death comes Grief and with Grief comes the promise of a New
Dawn and New Life.
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February 1st, 2015

May the fires of Bridget warm you in the cold of Winter.

And Happy Lamas to our friends in the Southern Hemisphere. I hope you are having a plentiful harvest.

I was just reading up on Chinese New Year. The Chinese calendar is Lunarsolar. Which means they have lunar months but try to keep them in line with the solar year (like the Jewish calendar* but unlike the Muslim calendar which is totally lunar). Chinese months begin on the Dark Moon (not the full or the first crescent). And the days begin at midnight (not sunset or sunrise).

The first month of the Chinese new year in the current Han calendar is the dark moon closest to the Vernal Commences. Which (as near as I can figure) is set to Feb 2 (Gregorian calendar) by a day count from the Winter Solstice. Technically they divide the time between winter solstices by 24 (twice as much as a zodiac sign). Since the Gregorian calendar (our current calendar) is designed to keep the spring equinox as close as possible to March 21st this is sort of handy.

So, this year the Chinese New Year is Feb 18 (the dark moon closest to Feb 2).

Our current calendar could be called a strict solar count with arbitrary "months" that were once associated with lunar months. Apparently the Roman calendar was a political football that got kicked around a lot for reasons that have nothing to do with astronomy of the seasons. The Romans sometimes counted years from the founding of Rome. But usually they counted how may years into the current consulship (usually seven). Julian tried to fix things, but after the fall of Rome everybody started messing with the dates. Individual kingdoms would count the years from the coronation of the current king. And some places liked to start the new year on the spring equinox. So the new year would being on March 21, instead of on Jan 1 or even at the beginning of a new month. When the US accepted the Gregorian calendar adjustments George Washington's birthday not only changed dates but changed years.
George Washington was born in Virginia on February 11, 1731, according to the then-used Julian calendar. In 1752, however, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar which moved Washington's birthday a year and 11 days to February 22, 1732.


People tend to take calender dates for grated but they are totally arbitrary and indeterminate. We may feel that we have good reasons for counting days and years the way we do but other people have had just as good of reasons to count differently.

*Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) was Jewish Year 5775 beginning sunset September 24, in 2014 and will be Jewish Year 5776, sunset September 13, 2015
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December 22nd, 2014

Now you may be thinking that solstice morning was yesterday, and if you live a couple of timezones east of me you are probably right. But the solstice was at 6:03 pm EST last night which was after sunset here, so that makes this solstice morning for me and the rest of North America.

Ah, the joys of living on a round planet where celestial events happen at different times in different places.

I hope those of you in the southern hemisphere are enjoying your summer.
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