Saturday, May 08, 2010

Witchy Work

I've been thinking a lot about this post, in which an African Witch blogs about preparing for Winter:

As I weed and rake leaves, I spend some time recalling my animal companions who gifted me with their presence so briefly and from whom I have learned so much. It is a time of the year when seeds are sown in darkness, a time of dying and gestation. In preparation for the coming winter, I store firewood and sacks of charcoal, make sure that the guttering is not choked with leaves, lay down mulch on beds of pak choi seedlings. garlic chives and broccoli. Since this is a winter rainfall region, steps need to be taken to ward off damp or mildew, the loft checked for leaks, electrical connections kept dry and insulated. Some of this may not sound very witchy, but it is practical magic, burrowing down for the dark months ahead. Out here the wind blows from the north strongly enough to uproot unstaked trees and I have some young olives and pecan nut trees as well as a pomegranate that need extra protection. And I keep a watchful eye out for birds who may have chosen to over-winter here rather than flying south.

My first reaction, upon reading it, was, of course making sure that the rain gutters are clear of leaves is the work of a Witch. Of course mulching vegetable beds and staking trees is witchy. Of course feeding birds is a ritual of the Goddess. Maybe we tend to see the work of Spring -- planting seeds, enjoying flowers, watering plants -- as more witchy. But only if we're fluffy bunny witches and, well, we're not.

I was thinking about it this morning, as I pulled out of the fridge all of the veggies that my CSA has delivered and concocted a stir-fry with them. I don't pretend that belonging to my CSA is the same in terms of, for example, carbon footprint, as growing my own food. But it's closer to local and, IMHO, better than the grocery store. Not the least because my CSA knows from where they've gotten the food. Thus, this week, when there was a recall of some tainted lettuce in the US, my CSA was able to tell us: Please be assured that none of the Romaine lettuce that you would have received from us is affected in any way by the recall. All of our Romaine was sourced from one farm.

But it is work belonging to the CSA. I sometimes work some long hours, have to eat out with clients, etc. And, somehow, I have to cook and either eat, freeze, or give away what the CSA delivers. It's different from the standard American method of meal planning: "Let's see, I'd like to have grilled tilapia, asparagus, and a pear tart so I'll go buy ingredients for those things." Instead, it's: "CSA delivered carrots and fennel and oranges this week; I'll go on line and look for a recipe for fennel and orange salad to which I can add grated carrots." Or, "If I make tuna salad for my bag lunch tomorrow, I can use up the celery from the CSA, add some grated carrots and leeks, throw in some brocco sprouts." That's, to my mind, the work of a Witch. You can do it while working at being fully present and in relationship with the food that you're preparing. You can spend time sending blessings to the people who grew it, picked it, delivered it. You can do it with intent, imbuing each meal with health, vitality, strength. And, then, there's the waste. You can't chop up a bunch of vegetables without making a lot of compost. My compost bin is one of the most serious magical sites on my property and Goddess knows there's scraps of paper, poppets, egg shells, and other things in there that I've magicked with stuff that I want to go away, stop being harmful, be transformed. And, after a marathon peeling and chopping session, I'm left with a delicious stir-fry and a paper bag full of peels, ends, etc. I take a minute, imbue them with something that I want to see transformed, and into the Sacred Compost Bin of Transformation they go.

Is it the work of a Witch? it must be. I'm a Witch and it's my work.

It's Almost As If Everything Were Part Of Some Great Big Whole

It's become rather fashionable to poo-poo the notion that was popular for a while that some of the theories of quantum physics "prove" what many Pagans believe: that everything is connected, that magic works, etc. And, I get that, in the sense that some of that discussion may have been a bit simplistic. And, Goddess knows, I am not a girl with a mind for the maths. Still, articles like this one always make me smile.

ERWIN SCHRĂ–DINGER called it the "defining trait" of quantum theory. Einstein could not bring himself to believe in it at all, thinking it proof that quantum theory was seriously buggy. It is entanglement: the idea that particles can be linked in such a way that changing the quantum state of one instantaneously affects the other, even if they are light years apart.

This "spooky action at a distance", in Einstein's words, is a serious blow to our conception of how the world works. In 1964, physicist John Bell of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, showed just how serious. He calculated a mathematical inequality that encapsulated the maximum correlation between the states of remote particles in experiments in which three "reasonable" conditions hold: that experimenters have free will in setting things up as they want; that the particle properties being measured are real and pre-existing, not just popping up at the time of measurement; and that no influence travels faster than the speed of light, the cosmic speed limit.

As many experiments since have shown, quantum mechanics regularly violates Bell's inequality, yielding levels of correlation way above those possible if his conditions hold.

. . .

Or is there really an influence that travels faster than light? Cementing the Swiss reputation for precision timing, in 2008 physicist Nicolas Gisin and his colleagues at the University of Geneva showed that, if reality and free will hold, the speed of transfer of quantum states between entangled photons held in two villages 18 kilometres apart was somewhere above 10 million times the speed of light (Nature, vol 454, p 861).

Magic happens. When we move between the worlds, (Hel, even when we don't) what we do in one, affects them all. Welcome to what lots of native peoples and mystics of every time and culture have always known. And it's not "spooky" at all; it's glorious.

Hat tip to Moonbotica in comments at Eschaton.

Picture found here.

Friday, May 07, 2010

My Japanese Maple

Goddess Sexuality

I blogged a while ago about a festival in Kerala, a monthlong festival that begins in Kumbha (February-March) and finishes in Meena (March-April). It’s . . .the annual gathering for thousands of largely lower caste, practising oracles (among whom women appear to lead) from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. At the Bharani, old oracles offer themselves to the goddess again and new ones are chosen.

an interesting discussion of the cultural issues inherent in the festival.

And, some additional information about the festival:

The festival is also unique for its ‘Bharani pattu’ – sexually explicit songs, meant to appease the Goddess. These songs deal with the sexuality of the Goddess and humans and emphasises sex as part of natural life, while deriding sexual hypocrisy – especially of upper caste women. The songs make it clear that sexuality is not only natural, but is also present everywhere. In a place like Kerala, with itfrighteningly crude mechanisms of sexual repression, the Bharani provides a venue for people to be freed of the need to pretend that the sexual does not exist.

Picture found here.

Um, OK

The ever-controversial Kevin Carlyton, who is now, apparently, not only the "High Priest of British White Witches," but also "The Official Protector of Lock Ness and the Loch Ness Creature," is is organizing an event to "show" that Nessie is a ghost.

The High Priest of British White Witches, Kevin Carlyton - who calls himself "The Official Protector of Loch Ness and the Loch Ness Creature" - is organising the one-off psychic gathering and is hoping to prove the monster is in fact a ghost.

The white witch, who claims to have thwarted the plans of "monster hunter" Jan Sundberg from Sweden coming to Loch Ness to attempt to capture Nessie a few years ago, believes the monster will never be caught, because she's not actually alive.

Kevin explained: "The creature is a ghost from a bygone era and its image has been captured by the surrounding landscape. On certain weather conditions, particularly very warm or thunderous with a lot of static in the air, images of the creature are 'replayed' and people who are slightly psychic see the creature as if it is here now."

Now the white witch hopes to prove his point about the monster, which drums up hundreds of thousands of pounds in tourism business every year for the area, by organising the coming together for those who have psychic abilities.

He said: "I predict there will be at least 200 people present at the event. I've only mentioned a small bit about the event on my website and the interest so far has been phenomenal.

I'm sure the lovely people from the Loch Ness Tourist Association will welcome the visitors.

Picture found here.

Are You A Good Witch Or A Bad Witch?

Here's an interesting discussion about the difference between witches and witch doctors in African tradition. Interesting contrast with European traditions, as well.

Old map found here.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thursday Garden Blogging

Blue barlow columbine.

Photo by the author; if you copy, please link back.

Thursday Poetry Blogging

A Mermaid Questions God by Kelli Russell Agodon

As a girl, she hated the grain of anything
on her fins. Now she is part fire ant, part centipede.
Where dunes stretch into pathways, arteries appear.
Her blood pressure is temperature plus wind speed.

Where religion is a thousand miles of coastline,
she is familiar with moon size, with tide changes.
She wears the cream of waves like a vestment,
knows undertow is imaginary, not something to pray to.

Now her questions involve fairytales, begin
in a garden and lead to hands painted on a chapel's ceiling.
She wants to hold the ribbon grass, the shadow of angels
across the shore. She steals a Bible from the Seashore Inn;

she will trust it only if it floats.

Picture found here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Forty Years? Where Are Ms. Krause's Grandchildren?

Where the Hel did the time go?

Why the Hel aren't we farther along?

And, Right Away, I Know: My Pipple

Four horses passed us, their riders cloaked in maroon blankets, their faces painted black. At the top of the hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath there is a vast saucer-shaped meadow, of more than 40 acres, which was dotted with wicker huts, wigwams, and sculptures of horses and other creatures, made from willow rods. There were stalls selling cider, and roasted pig, potato cakes and rashers. There was a vegetarian soup, a bouncy castle, and hundreds of people eating sausages, and listening to Sharon Shannon.

. . .

Everyone was unwinding. Phoning each other. Eating bacon. Looking for music sessions. There were ribbons on a hawthorn bush in the middle of a clump of stones.

. . .

Summer had been inaugurated. People sat around the fire as if some fragment of eternity had broken through the night, for everyone.

Teenagers wrapped in blankets, gazed at each other, full of desire, as if they had stepped, not just into summer, but through a portal to some magical “now”, where they were about to enjoy the time of their lives.

Being old, I left them there and walked back down the path, where sculpted angels stood in line with outstretched wings. I passed a boy and girl hugging each other at an upturned barrel of flames, their faces lit like something from Carravaggio’s dreams.

Read about the whole thing here.

PIcture found here.

Tuesday Poetry Blogging

A reader sent this to me and it seems quite appropriate as we all focus on the Gulf:


Any fool can get into an ocean
But it takes a Goddess
To get out of one.
What’s true of oceans is true, of course,
Of labyrinths and poems. When you start swimming
Through riptide of rhythms and the metaphor’s seaweed
You need to be a good swimmer or a born Goddess
To get back out of them
Look at the sea otters bobbing wildly
Out in the middle of the poem
They look so eager and peaceful playing out there where the
water hardly moves
You might get out through all the waves and rocks
Into the middle of the poem to touch them
But when you’ve tried the blessed water long
Enough to want to start backward
That’s when the fun starts
Unless you’re a poet or an otter or something supernatural
You’ll drown, dear. You’ll drown
Any Greek can get you into a labyrinth
But it takes a hero to get out of one
What’s true of labyrinths is true of course
Of love and memory. When you start remembering.

Monday, May 03, 2010

We're Witches. Maybe We Can Do Something About This.

As noted below, the Moon is currently waning (in Sagittarius, today), which makes this a good time to do magic to decrease the flow of the oil well that is threatening the Gulf of Mexico. I'll be at my altar tonight; please join me if you feel moved to do so. This sort of disaster seems to me to be ideal for knot magic, but whatever works for you works between the worlds. And, what we do between them, affects them all.

Here's a short list of Goddesses and Gods associated with the Ocean:

Yemaja - Goddess of the Ocean

Mama Cocha - Inca Goddess of the sea and provider of the sea's bounty. She is a favorite of sefarers and fishermen.

Enki - God of Water

Branwyn - Goddess of love, sexuality and the sea

Latis - Goddess of Water and Beer

Morgan LeFay - Goddess of Death, Fate, the Sea and of Curses

Aegir - God of the Sea

Njord - God of Fire, Wind and Sea

Oceanus - Produced the rivers and the three thousand ocean nymphs with his wife Tethys

Tethys - Produced the rivers and the three thousand ocean nymphs with her husband Oceanus

Poseidon - God of Horses, Earthquakes, Storms and the Sea. Brother of Zeus

Naunet - Goddess of the Ocean

Nun - God of Water and Chaos

Namu - Goddess of the Sea

Since the oil is gushing forth from the Underworld, here's a list of Goddesses and Gods associated with the Underworld:




Dress your altar with shells. Go skyclad or clad in shells. Burn candles of blue and green. Wear water and fish, listen to the sound of waves, burn incense related to water.

Call the Elements, with an emphasis on Wind and Water. Invoke the Goddesses and Gods of your choosing and cast your circle with salt water and visions of dolphins.

Meditate on your objective: seeing the gushing of oil from the Underworld stopped, capped, undone. See the proper seals between the Worlds restored.

Raise energy. Raise it by dancing, swimming, singing, chanting, floating. And, then, release the energy into the Gulf.

Ground. Thank Deity. Thank the Elements. Open your circle. Enjoy rum and seaweed crackers or water and shrimp skewers or margaritas and cerviche for cakes and ale.

Ground again.

Blessed be.

Picture found here.

I stole the title from a comment by Mr. Penzack.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Waning Moon

Good time to do some magic to decrease the flow of oil in the Gulf. You in?

Sunday Dance Blogging

My State Has The Stupidest Attorney General In The Entire Country

No. Really. We do.

Good thing there's no crime or consumer fraud or anything here in the Old Dominion and we've got tons of tax dollars to spend on making colleges discriminate against gay people and covering up the Goddess on our state seal. Oh, wait.

I have come to understand that xianity is about nothing -- and I do mean nothing -- so much as control of sex and the female body.

May the Goddess Virtus (lovely naked breast and all) guard us.

Picture found here.

Sounds Like Fun

Now here's a book I'd like to read with G/Son. Positive children's story about witches, plus, you know, raspberry pie.

Picture found here.

Local Coverage

Here's a nicely-done article about Ontario Pagan groups and how they practice and perceive Beltane. It avoids the usual, "And they really don't eat babies or worship the devil!" trope and includes some interesting discussion of volunteer burn-out.

Now if only they could manage to capitalize the name of a religion. I don't suppose they'd write about catholics at xmas, jews at Passover, or moslems at Ramadan.