Follow this link to connect with
the energy of this ancient goddess…
Follow this link to connect with
Follow this link to connect with
the energy of this ancient goddess…
If you’d like me to do this reading for you (in audio format), go to the newly updated Home Page of The Witch’s Corner, scroll down, and you’ll find it in the right hand column. You can purchase this reading there. ~ https://amythystraine.blogspot.com/
Be sure to include a working email address with your purchase so I can email you a photo of your cards and the audio file of you reading.
First, I want to start off by saying that I respect ALL religions. I want to start off by saying that there is no one true right path. I want to start off by saying that each individual has the right to choose their spiritual path and the beliefs that they adhere to, and they deserve this right to be respected by the world community without coercion, ridicule, or prejudice.
I have nothing against Christianity or Jesus. I have dear family members who follow this spiritual path as well as individuals close to our family circle, and I would not think of interfering with their decision, or degrading their practices, beliefs, and dogmas. Among my own immediate family circle, we are a wide and diverse group. My seven children include, not only Christian practitioners, but Buddhists, agnostics, Wiccans, atheists, and more. Apparently this is something that makes us unique as a group of people that are close knit in spite of our varied and often conflicting spiritual beliefs.
It’s all good.
The ONLY thing that I find offensive about Christianity and the Jesus cult is the hard-core Christians who have a very obnoxious attitude of “My way or the highway”; their incessant domineering insistence that you must believe what they believe; and their often disrespectful attitude and response to people of other spiritual paths. Sometimes this is very over-bearing and “in your face”, and other times it’s very subtle with biting quips and off hand remarks.
How should non-Christians respond when confronted by disrespect regarding our spiritual paths, practices, and deities without being disrespectful to someone elses’ spirituality?
It’s a conundrum.
A brief note to Christians determined to convert the non-Chrisitian ~
1. Just as grounded and passionate as you are about your Christian faith, we are just as grounded and passionate about our faith.
2. “But the Bible says…” — You are assuming that everyone in the world views the Bible as a divine work from the spirit world. Not so. I can’t speak for other non-Christians, but I view the Bible as a piece of literature written by men, from a male perspective, over the course of centuries, and modified much through various translations since then. (Although the original was bad enough.) There is nothing divine about it to me. As a matter of fact, as a woman I find it very insulting and reflective of the negative attitudes towards women that prevailed back in the day, and even survives to some degree in modern times.
What the Bible says does not impress me.
3. “You need God in your life…” — I’m assuming as in “god” you are referring to a super-natural entity of a high vibration. If this is the case, I call this entity “Goddess”, and She indeed enriches my life and life experiences through my connection with Her and the daily spiritual practices I use to connect with Her energy. I can only speak for myself when I say that I view divinity as a universal consciousness expressed around the world through a variety of pantheons, spiritual practices, mystical stories, and archetypes. However you personally connect with “Divinity”, it will be a unique and blessed experience. Just because your experience is different from my experience, it does not invalidate my experience, or the higher vibrational entity that I connect with on my spiritual journey.
4. “I’ll pray for you…” — Under certain circumstances, this can be a positive statement to hear. For instance, you’re facing a problem or a decision and close friends or family who are of the Christian faith want good things to happen for you. It’s like saying, I’m on your side, or I’ll add my energy for a positive outcome, or I’m concerned about you and I want to help. But when this comes from the lips of someone who is trying to convert you, someone who has pestered and preached to you about your spirituality, someone who has been at you to try and convince you that you are wrong in your beliefs… Then this statement can be chilling.
All thoughts are energy, no matter who they come from or what they consist of. The energy that these people will be sending out into the universe will be very negative and conflicting with your soul and your connection to divinity. Personally, I view this as the ultimate insult.
I like to respond without being negative or rude if at all possible. I usually say, “Well, while you’re praying for me, I’ll be casting a spell for you.” This generally brings about a very shocked reaction. Maybe they never considered that you would reciprocate in kind, or that this was even an option.
5. “It’s heaven or hell…” — Actually, this is inaccurate. The non-Christian has so many other options. First, I have to say that the idea of “hell” came from the Bible, the book that was written by controlling domineering males who wanted to intimidate and frighten people, which would make it so much easier to control people. So we can just let hell go all together.
Other spiritualities have a variety of beliefs in what happens to us after death. I can only speak for myself. The following perceptions were typed out randomly, as they came to mind, in no specific order:
I believe in life after death; I also believe in reincarnation. I believe that it’s possible for some very enlightened gifted individuals to connect with the spirits of those who have passed and communicate with them. I believe in the Wiccan idea of “The Summerland”. I believe that certain soul connections are so strong and indomitable that they reconnect through many life times. I believe that the soul is set free of the physical body at death. I believe we have spirit guides to help us through major transitions in life, which includes death.
Thank you to one of my Youtube viewers for these thought provoking questions, both personal and spiritual ~
Herbs: cedar wood, juniper, sage,
star anise, carnation
Stones: lapis, smoky quartz, lazulite
Scents: violet, patchouli, frankincense,
myrrh, rose geranium
Colors: red, white, black
Trees: pine, fir, holly
Deities: Hathor, Hecate, Athese
Astrological Signs: Sagittarius, Capricorn
Crafting Your Magic:
Balance carefully the energy of the traditionalist and that of the free spirit. Cast magic to seek knowledge from your ancestors, or to contact your spirit guide; cast magic to temper loyalties, and to reveal true feelings. Use magic now to throw light on shady situations and to call upon the energy of male divinity– the God. Magic for transitions are potent during the time of the Oak Moon. Work on long term projects; now is the time to put into motion spells that will come into fruition with the Spring Equinox.
The information in this blog post is an excerpt from my book:
“The Gray Witch’s Grimoire”
To order your copy,
Amythyst Raine is an author and psychic/clairvoyant. The tarot is her tool of choice, which she uses as a key to tap into universal knowledge. Amythyst is dedicated to helping others live better lives through self-examination, as well as through psychic revelations, spirit contact, and spiritual guidance.
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Everyone wants to cast spells. That’s the first thing people think about, and the most popular aspect of witchcraft. I think it might have something to do with the awesome feeling of regaining your personal power, of being in control of your life, of being responsible for your destiny and it’s outcome. But it also has to do with mystery and drama, the visuals, and our childhood idea of “magick”.
That’s what everyone seems to concentrate on at the beginning– learning to cast spells and do magick. For most of us the idea is new and daring and exciting, made more so by society and the mainstream view of religion and witchcraft. It’s “taboo” in so many social circles, conservative communities, and even some countries around the world. Witch hunts still exist in Africa, and your life is literally in danger if you’re labeled “Witch”. Likewise for certain areas of the Mid-East. You can be put to death. This idea seems outrageous, doesn’t it, in our modern world. But we’re not always as modern as we’d like to think we are, and people still tend to be frightened and irrational when it comes to things they don’t understand, or things they were taught to view as evil.
I remember the early years, pouring over books of correspondences, aligning moon phases with intentions, jotting down ingredients, planning the moment of the casting down to the astrological hour– spending days planning and aligning and gathering. It’s all part of the process you know, it all plays into raising energy. And then, that magickal moment, when the circle was cast, and I was “between-the-worlds”, sitting there with the spell candle and ingredients, the athame and crystals and stones and figurines of the god and goddess; and yes, even the black cast iron cauldron (so clique, but so necessary).
Did the spells work? Actually, 95% of the time, they did. Don’t count the foolish one’s of youth, or the spells whipped up in the white heat of anger. They don’t work, the energy being too fractured and scattered (maybe Spirit is looking out for us this way, maybe this is like the safety on a gun, so that we don’t unintentionally do harm in a rash moment). Casting spells is a lot of work, raising energy to move energy in the universe takes a lot out of you. The power is there, no mistaking that, but it takes considerable effort on the part of the witch to work with it.
You reach a point, after the first few years, after you’ve immersed yourself in that first frenzied layer of activity, when you start to look at witchcraft and see more detail emerge. You see below the layers of magick spells and spell casting, and all the hoopla surrounding it. You start to look at the fabric of witchcraft- and you start to weave this into your daily life, creating your own mosaic, slipping quietly into your niche in the universe.
Okay, you’ve got spell casting down pat, you’ve experienced The Power, you know the magick is real, you are “Witch” through and through. Now what?
For me the second stage of my journey actually began with a spell. The spell was done to touch the universe, my Spirit Guide, and other higher energies floating through the astral, and ask them: “What am I suppose to be doing? Why have I been drawn to this path? What is my Gift? How am I suppose to use it?”
The answer emerged in the flames of a purple candle.
The second aspect of my journey was a new learning process, which included learning about, handling, experimenting with, and using various forms of divination– the pendulum, runes stones, I-Ching coins, crystal balls, Ouija boards, divining rods…and ultimately coming upon the one tool that would finally speak to me: the tarot.
Round three for me– immersing myself in the study of tarot cards.
It started, actually, with a trip to our local bookstore, walking past a shelf full of decks of bright colored and beautiful cards (tarot cards). One deck popped out at me, and that little voice in my head whispered , “Buy them.” It sounds easy and simple, but it wasn’t. Learning anything new requires a lot of work and realistic expectations. No one is going to pick up anything overnight, especially something that works through your own personal energy and special Gift– at the beginning you have no idea what this gift is or how the hell it works. You have to start by learning to listen to your own inner voice (your sub-conscious, your intuition) and allowing the cards to trigger images, memories– clairvoyant, clairaudient, and clairsentient experiences. It’s all very confusing. You’re hesitant to trust yourself, or the cards, in the beginning, and a lot of people, when they reach this stage, give up. Fortunately, I wasn’t one of those people.
The biggest obstacle I had to overcome: Being afraid of being wrong.
As that magickal guiding voice in your head is whispering from one direction all the insights and information you are suppose to be relating to the world at large, and one particular individual specifically; that conscious big-loud-bossy voice in your head is screaming at you: “What if you’re wrong? What if you’re wrong? What if you’re wrong?”
And what if you’re wrong?…divination is not an exact science; and no reader is going to be 100% accurate 100% of the time. But I can honestly tell you that I have more regrets– lots and lots of big in-your-face regrets– about what I DIDN’T say, rather than anything I said.
When it all seems comfortable and settled down; when you’ve learned to accept who you are, what you are; when you’ve learned to use your Gift, or at least accept that it exists; when you’ve learned to incorporate all of this into your daily life somehow and get it all to work…then you know that you’ve arrived.
And just when you get ready to level off at this plateau, thinking you’ve learned all you were meant to learn, and you’re doing everything you were meant to do, something unexpected happens. Curiosity comes to call in the guise of crystals and stones, an unusual friend, a new book, a new blog, a study group, or whispered questions sent to you by the universe. Just when you think you’ve arrived at your Spiritual Destination, it dawns on you in a magick flash of twinkling lights– that the Journey has not ended.
(The images are courtesy of Pinterest.)
Big BOOK NEWS!!!….Here’s the cover for my next book, “The Spiritual Feminist”!!! I love it!! Thank you to all the talented editors & artists at Moon Books! (You guys are awesome!)
The artist who did the Apple Heart sculpture for the cover is my daughter Anne! This piece is inspired by the Adam & Eve myth and is part of her Broken Hearts collection. I’m just thrilled to death that her art made the cover! It feels like an amazing and unique mother/daughter collaboration.
Ladies!!!…This Book Is For You!
RELEASE DATE: April 24, 2015
“Part devotional, part grimoire and part empowerment manual, The Spiritual Feminist offers readers her-stories, anecdotes and correspondences for dozens of goddesses. A wise, accessible and often irreverent guide, author Amythyst Raine-Hatayama reveals the Goddess in us all, showing women of all ages how to honor, embody and invoke Her many facets. Once I began reading The Spiritual Feminist, I couldn’t stop. The feeling of understanding, and being understood, forged an intimate connection to the Goddess—riveting me to the page—stirring spiritual yearnings and opening new ways of seeing Her…almost as if for the first time.”
~Janet Boyer, Amazon.com Hall of Fame Reviewer, PaganSquare Sacred Symbols blogger and author of Back in Time Tarot, Naked Tarot, 365 Tarot: Daily Meditations and other titles
My Next Book!…It is *Finished*!!!— I typed the final paragraph this morning. Next week I will print it off and start the tedious job of editing, getting it ready for submission to my publishing company. (hand-springs…happy dance!!)
You’ll find “Teasers” for this book at my FB Author Page– be sure to click the “Like” button!https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amythyst-Raine-Hatayama-Author/154076247986813
I’d like to thank Ayslyn’s Corner & The Purple Broom for nominating me for “The Witchy Blog Award”. I’m honored to be added to the list of bloggers who strive to educate the public and expose them to Pagan religions and nature-based spiritual paths.
Thank you, Ayslyn, for your own efforts in educating the public about Pagan spirituality. You’re so right, the world needs to learn that these nature-based natural god/goddess oriented religions are not harmful or scary or evil– they are beautiful, inspiring, and uplifting spiritual paths that add loving energy to the world.
I watched a wonderful DVD series this week highlighting the birth of feminine spirituality. It was full of all the inspiring women of the time– Starhawk, Jean Bolyn, Merlin Stone, Shekinah Mountainwater, as well as a score of other eloquent and beautiful Ladies (authors, activists, film producers, artists, etc.). The main concept that struck me was the idea that the emergence of the patriarchal system, along with the fall of the goddess, all contributed to the erosion of feminine spirituality, the end of matriarchy, and its biggest impact was on women’s relationships with other women. We lost the “Sisterhood”. We became suspicious of each other. Something was stolen from us, something almost intangible, something undefinable. The unity was gone, the respect was gone, the connection was warped and broken.
With the advent of the snake and the apple story, the whole women-are-responsible-for-the-downfall-of-civilization phenomena, respect and power, camaraderie and trust, were all lost for the women of the world. The new patriarchal culture threw a dark shadow on womanhood, and it was contagious, contagious even to us, to women. My mother and I talked about this once, how women behave towards other women, the back-stabbing, the bitchiness, the suspicion. It was an accurate observation, and it left us to ponder.
Can it be repaired? And if so, what can be done to fix it?
1. We come towards each other already suspicious, suspicious of motives, intentions, sincerity…
and this crap involves all aspects of life– beginning with men (husbands, boyfriends, significant others). Why? Why don’t we trust other women in our lives with our partners, even when we have no legitimate reason not to? Is it just a hormonal mating Neanderthal thing? I hope not. I’d like to think that we’ve evolved past this. Maybe it’s our own insecurity– Are we attractive enough, are we too fat, are we too thin, are we satisfying sexual partners, are we successful enough, are we accomplished enough? Is this other woman prettier, is she younger, is she more accomplished, more successful, more desirable?
We have to work at building and maintaining a healthy ego. We have to learn to appreciate ourselves, to meet our full potential, to find the joy in life. We have to learn to be all that we were meant to be; and we have to learn to be proud of this. We have to learn to relish pride in ourselves. This isn’t being egotistical; it’s being healthy, it’s being honest, it’s being strong.
2. We’ve got backstabbing down to a fine art…
There is nothing worse than a hen-party that takes on a very dark energy when the hens start pecking at a missing sister. Why do we do this? And it gains momentum, it really does, as each woman in turn comes up with a negative observation, a piece of gossip, something that they would never dream of saying to the victim’s face. Why?…enjoyment, in some weird and twisted way?…a primeval instinct to travel in packs, and to gang up on a member who doesn’t fit into all the correct forms, all the politically/socially correct boxes and niches? Or is it a power play, since we still obviously possess pack mentality, and there has to be an Alpha female, so we’ll spar and battle until only one is left standing?
3. There is no sense of “Sisterhood”, no sense of loyalty, real loyalty, the old-fashioned kind..
“I’ll be your friend till the end.”…what a beautiful sentiment, but I don’t believe a word of it. It’s more like…”I’ll be your friend until you don’t conform to my idea of what you should be; I’ll be your friend until someone else comes along that I’m more infatuated with, I’m more in-tune with; until someone else comes along that satisfies me emotionally in the friend department, someone who agrees with me, someone who will follow me. I’ll be your friend, until I don’t feel like it anymore.
I wrote a blog post a few years ago, in which I describe my idea of a friend and ‘sister’…
“A Sister, should be a Sister, should be a Sister…*Forever*. It’s not a ‘when-I-feel-like-it’ thing; it should not rely on the conditions of outside influences, human frailties, insecurities, or pettiness. A Sister is someone you grow old with; and on your way to this destination, you pass all the other stages of life– bumpy, smooth, unpleasant, and joyous– and you know, without a crumb of a doubt, that your Sister will travel this road with you, shoulder to shoulder, to the end and beyond.”
4. There is no common spiritual ground (the goddess) in today’s culture, patriarchy dominates the scene…
I know that I’ve personally lost friends because of my spiritual path– from Jehovah’s Witnesses, to Christian Fundamentalist, to just plain Christians in the mainstream. If we don’t travel the same spiritual path, apparently, we cannot travel together at all. Why? It’s joyous to share a friendship with someone who views life and spirituality in the same way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace friends who forge different trails. There can always be a general meeting place in the center of the forest, a sunny clearing where we can all lay aside our differences to gather together and share life’s experiences, and plans, and disappointments, and victories.
This is the hard part of this essay. I feel that the reader will expect me to end with some magickal solution to this problem, some instant fix, and I don’t think this is possible. In that case, it makes this blog post more of an observation, which leaves more questions here, at the end, than it did to start with. But I believe we have to look back, far into the past, when the Goddess ruled the earth and woman’s power was respected. We have to look back, far into the past, when society viewed woman, in all stages of her life, with reverence and awe. We have to look back, far into the past, to an ancient time, when women had respect for themselves…and respect for their sisters.
We think that the Pagan, all hippie love-child neo-nature spiritualist, are above the snobbery of the mundane middle-of-the-road Christian mainstream society. Well, we’re not. Pagans are just as human as the rest of the population, and we fall into all the same societal traps, we just don’t like to admit it, and we tend to fall back on the peace, love, nature theme to justify ourselves (look at how spiritual I am, look at how in-tune with nature I am, look at how white is my magick, how pure my intentions, how saintly I am).
This is how it really is: Just because we practice witchcraft, just because we believe in magick, just because we worship the Goddess, does not mean we are perfect by any means, nor does it imply that we are necessarily even nice– some of us aren’t. Sorry, but this is reality. Pagans can be snobbish, elitist, bigoted, holier-than-thou, and just as irritating as any Southern Baptist, as any Catholic, as any Fundamentalist, as any anything.
There is always conflict in the Pagan community, among ourselves. Pagans are just as opinionated as the next person; and there are very definite views and contradictions, contentions and disputes. The disputes range from how to practice witchcraft; how to practice goddess worship, what about the god; how to practice magick, what’s acceptable, what’s dark, what’s too dark, what’s light, what’s too light; pantheons– you can’t mix them, it’s okay to mix them, a Greek goddess would be angry if her energy was mixed with a Nordic goddess and your magick won’t work; you weren’t initiated by another witch, or you weren’t initiated in a coven, so you can’t be a witch; you can only do spells on certain days aligned with certain energies or it won’t work; you should cast spells in the heat of the moment; you should never cast spells in the heat of the moment; I’m a Very-Important-Witch because I was initiated by someone who was initiated by someone who was initiated by someone (however many times back) who was initiated by another Very-Important-Witch…and so it goes.
The goddess from one pantheon would be angry if her energy was mixed with the goddess from another pantheon– who the hell knows that? What mortal can say this with finality? In truth, if magick works through energy and there are five goddesses out there, all from different pantheons, whose attributes all work for the same purpose, their energy aimed at the same outcome, why couldn’t you work with all five of them for some kick ass enormously powerful energy? Truth is, you could, and you can. At the other end of the spectrum is the pagan who embraces and immerses themselves in the deities from one pantheon, who swears by and only works with the gods and goddesses from one culture, and this is okay too
The truth is that paganism, or any spiritual path for that matter, can be practiced anyway that the practitioner chooses. You cannot police another person’s spirituality. You cannot force people to believe, or to practice what you do, or how you do it.
There’s been a segment of Pagans, around for some time now, who combine witchcraft and Christianity, and this has driven both hardcore Pagans and hardcore Christians nuts. “They can’t do this!” both sides howl in indignation. Why not? Who says?…I mean who says, who says who really has any authority, whose opinion would really count? No one, nada. If a Christian Witch wants to cast a circle and use Christ for her god-form and Mary as the goddess, who’s going to stop her? Whose going to be standing around policing her spiritual practices? The fact is that no one has the right to interfere in this case. This witch is what she is, she’ll find her energy through the magickal means available to her, and I predict that the universe will work with her, blessing her endeavors.
There are also cliques. Really. You think this is a phenomena relegated to the halls of Junior High? Well, you would be wrong. Adults are just as guilty of being cliquish as teen-agers, and Pagans are no exception to this. Sometimes these cliques are disguised as covens, or as literary groups (who has the magickal stamp-of-approval from the powers that be and who does not), or social site groups, pagan internet societies, or any other such society by which people must be okayed and allowed in. I can understand this to a point, as in the case of a coven, where a very specific number of people are desired; but in a vast internet social site, or a Pagan Page, etc., it gets a little stickier, a little trickier.
A spiritual path is suppose to enlighten us, to inspire us, to help us live better lives, more productive lives. We find our inspiration where we do, by super-natural and miraculous means. It really is magickal, this business of finding one’s path, working ones spells, solemnizing life with our little rituals. The most we can do is to try– try to be better human beings; try to be kinder; try to be more open-minded; try to be understanding; try to love other people and treat them well; try to see the world and the universe in the big-picture scheme of things.
All we can do is try– and some of us will succeed.
1.You call yourself a witch. Do you ever worry about the negative connotations behind the term?
I identify completely, specifically, and thoroughly with the word “Witch”. It is who I am, it is what I’m made of. It envelops me genetically through familial connections, through spiritual connections, ancestral connections, through universal esoteric connections. I revel in the word. I worship the word and the idea of the creature behind the word. It is one of the most positive connotations in the world. It is the wise-woman, the healer, the mid-wife, the herbalist…it is the ultimate image of the perfect woman.
Here I should note that in modern times many males who embrace the pagan path refer to themselves as ‘male witches’, and they are, by all means, free to call themselves whatever they wish. But for me, within my world, within my practice, within my experience, within my coven…”Witch” is “Woman”.
[*note: scroll to the bottom of this post for further info]
Do witches have a creed of some sort?
Some do. Those who follow specific paths and formal traditions, those who consider themselves Wiccan, those who practice what they call White Magick, those who stand at the edge of the cauldron and only dip one toe daintily, cautiously, carefully within the bubbling depths, they will have a creed. The Wiccan creed is, “Harm none, do what ye will.”…this isn’t a bad creed. It actually makes a lot of sense. Those of us who follow this pagan path did not choose to do so in order to harm anyone. Harming anyone or anything is not our intention, it is not what magick is for. But there are exceptions. Within the world of the Gray Witch, there are boundaries that, under certain circumstances, can be crossed. The one thing that breaks the Wiccan Rede for me is the need for protection, the need for self-defense, the need to keep safe myself, my family, my home, and anything else connected to my world which would directly affect my standard of living, or my sense of well-being…Harm me or mine, and you will experience the wrath of the dark angels, the animosity of those spirits called upon for protection, for retribution, for justice.
What are today’s witch’s like?
Today’s witches are a diverse panorama of women from a varied melting pot of humanity. They are immersed in our culture and within our communities so completely that they have become part of the tapestry of our modern world, rather than some medieval myth.
As I state at my website, The Witch’s Corner:
Who is the Witch?
She’s a teacher, a librarian, a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, a shop keeper, a writer, a mother, a student. She’s a blue collar woman, she’s a professional woman, she runs a business, runs for office, runs a household. She’s a companion to her spouse, a grandmother, a partner to her same-sex mate. She could be any woman you’ve ever met and any woman that you interact with everyday.
What makes her different from other women? She sees things that other women don’t. Nature speaks to her in an ancient tongue that has been forgotten by most. Her body responds to the waning and waxing of the moon, to the powers of the planets, the changing of the seasons, the behavior of wild animals, the energies of the plants, the energies of the stones.
The Universe speaks to her with the colorful images on cards, by the crystal images of a glass ball, by the movement of the pendulum, by the visions only she is shown.
Who is the Witch?…She is the Sorceress, the Mother, the Healer, the Wise Woman, the Priestess. She is part of a dim and distant past, and she is the shining light of our future.
Witches celebrate the earth and the seasons. What specifically do you do?
We most certainly do celebrate the earth, the turning of the seasons, called “Wheel of the Year”. The progression of the Goddess’s story is highlighted throughout the year; it’s connected to the natural world, through the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. And it’s interesting that you ask me this question, as this very topic is part of my next book. As I try to explain about the significance of the Pagan holidays in our modern world:
“…I think, for one thing, we have some innate deep-seated unspoken need to have our lives punctuated by milestones; whether personal milestones like weddings, graduations, and births; or societal, communal, and spiritual milestones. There’s a strange reassurance that the universe works in an ordered and predictable manner and time table. And maybe this is comforting to us because so much of life is unexpected, unpredictable, played without a script, and undeniably finite.
Long after we are but a memory, there will still be people celebrating these pagan holidays, punctuating the end of summer, welcoming with open arms the predictable end to the season of light and warmth, retreating into the dark and comforting confines of winter and the still peace that it will bring, only to return to a new season of light with spring.”
What specifically do I do to celebrate these holidays?
Some of these holidays might pass quietly, barely noticed by the rest of the household, significant only to me, celebrated with somber reflection in the flame of a candle upon my personal altar. Other holidays are more all inclusive; like Samhain, when we get all giddy and excited, decorating the house and grounds for the evening, opening our doors to friends and family, reconnecting with our ancestors; but also reconnecting with each other. As the bonfire burns late into the night on Samhain Eve, and the air gets cooler, we huddle together, punctuating another year, reminiscing about the past and looking toward the future.
Is a coven supposed to be 13 women?
A coven can be anything you want it to be. As far as I know there are no written rules and laws to be followed, there are no Pagan Police who will break down your door and serve you with a warrant if your coven is all female or all male, whether it has 13 members or a hundred. A coven is a very personalized group of people, like-minded people, gathering to celebrate their pagan spirituality, gathering to support each other in the day to day humdrum of daily life. Coven members provide a shoulder to cry upon, an ear for listening, a field board for new ideas. Your coven consists of people you can laugh with, be totally yourself with, and they are a group of individuals within this great big wide world with whom you can depend upon for loyalty. Your coven should be a safe haven.
My personal preferences?…My coven (The Coven of Bristolwicks) is an all female coven consisting of 13 members. I prefer the all female energy, the hen-party aspect if you will; I prefer a small group; I like the number 13- it’s significant to me and it ‘feels good’. I want Coven Sisters for all the reasons I just stated in the first paragraph.
Reality check– when you put any group of people together, it might take some time, some experimenting, some failures, before you create a group of individuals who will work well together, who will successfully support each other, who will get along, and who will ‘click’. But when it works, you know it; and when it works, it is an amazing experience.
Is there a prescribed form to your rituals?
Yes and no. I’ve performed formal rituals; I’ve written formal rituals. I’ve done so in the past, and I probably will do so again in the future. But this is not the only way I connect with the Divine; this is not the only way I celebrate my spiritual path; this is not the only way I create magick. My favorite form of witchery lay in the world of the Kitchen Witch, the Green Witch, the natural witch. Spells put together by the seat of your pants, on a wing and prayer, have been some of the most powerful– and successful–magickal endeavors of my life. When Spirit hits you, when you make this connection, you want to grasp it when and where you find it. My special connection with the Goddess does not rely upon getting all dressed up in formal robes and wielding a ceremonial sword to cast a formal circle.
How does being a witch help you in your everyday life?
Being connected to your spirituality, no matter what path you take, is reassuring in the idea that there is more to ‘the big picture’. There’s something larger than ourselves, there is a higher power, there is a rhyme and reason to the Universe and how it works; and thus, there is a rhyme and reason for existence within this realm.
Witchcraft is a very unique spiritual path, in that the power to create change, the power to shape our lives, the power to overcome obstacles, all lay within us. Divinity is part of us, not some intangible stereotype hovering in the heavens above watching as we screw up and drop to our knees. I embrace the Goddess– I am the Goddess– and the Goddess is me. All of life’s infinite possibilities lay in the knowledge of my own being and within the energies and entities that I have aligned my life with.
If you approach your spirituality in this way, everyday is a celebration of the miraculous.
*Note: This blog and my experiences are related to the world through my eyes, through my world; it is a Woman’s Point of View. My focus is on the feminine aspects of my spirituality, my beliefs, my practices, my experiences. I could not, and would not, try to explain or write about the male pagan experience.
I receive a considerable number of questions from people, and I’ve answered a handful of them here. I’ll be re-posting on this particular blog from time to time, when I get the opportunity. This just seemed like an easier solution rather than trying to answer individual emails, as more than one person often asks the same question. It just seemed logical to gather the answers all in one place. Remember that these are my opinions, this is about my path– and you asked.
Is there a difference between a Witch, a Wiccan, and a Pagan?
What do you feel are some of the major differences?
Yes, there is a difference, and still, most people tend to lump these categories together indiscriminately.
“Pagan” is a broad term that covers a variety of beliefs and practices. It’s an umbrella term that includes witches; Wiccans- every tradition, clan, or solitary path you can think of; Druids; and a garden variety of spiritual practices that stray from the mainstream religions, primarily Christianity.
“Witch” implies someone who is knowledgeable in the ‘Olde Ways’, someone who casts spells, practices divination, herbology, etc. A witch is steeped in earth-based shamanic methods in free-form, not tying her/himself to any particular creed, to any particular set of rules or regulations, group or clan. The witch tends to be a free spirit and often treads where others fear to go when it comes to practicing the occult.
“Wicca” is a religion which encompasses organized and ordered membership, regulations, and practices. It is also an earth-based and nature religion which has grown to include a wide variety of paths, traditions, clans, and covens. Most Wiccans abide by the Wiccan Reed, and seek membership that comes with required study and initiation.
When did you first realize you were a Witch?
I always knew that I was different and that I often perplexed people, though as a child I wasn’t sure how or why. The earliest memory I have of a ‘realization’ probably came when I was about five years old, crouched alone on a terraced hillside. It was a hot summer day, though I was in a dark cool place, as the hillside was full of trees. I looked to my right, past the wire fence that separated the yard from pasture, and watched a herd of cattle grazing in the hot sun, only a few feet away from my cool dark world. I reached to the low branch of a young locust tree, wrapped my fingers around a small green stem and gently slid the leaves off, into my palm. I stayed there for quite some time, crouched beneath the tree, closing my eyes to listen to the wind in the trees, believing that they were speaking to me.
I don’t remember what I did with the leaves, though I do remember that I wanted them for a reason.
Is it important for a Witch to have a code of Honor?
It depends upon how you look at it. If by a ‘code of honor’, you mean that she must abide by someone else’s rules, someone else’s measurement of what is right or wrong, then I would have to say no.
Each individual, witch or not, who is an intelligent human being knows when they are doing right and when they are doing something questionable. And ‘questionable’ in this instance doesn’t necessarily mean something you shouldn’t do, it can mean something that isn’t always done but needs doing, it can mean something gritty and serious that must be done.
The Witch, a real witch, moves in a landscape that is neither white nor black, it’s filled with shadows that are shades of gray; and to the witch these shadows are not off limits. Balance is required in all things, including the practice of Witchcraft; and once in a while boundaries have to be broken to maintain this balance.
How would you define “Mojo”?
I would describe ‘mojo’ as ‘magick’…magick that incorporates natural elements to produce physical manifestation: herbs, stones, bones, personal items, bodily secretions, potions, powders, images, symbols, etc. Mojo also relies on intention and will, but not at the same level or intensity as Wiccan magick. With mojo, the magick resides in the molecules of the items used. The traditional voodoo priestess does not consecrate or empower her mojo bags; she believes that the power is already there.
How do spells work?
Spells work by using the energy of our will and intentions, along with strong visualization, coupled with natural objects such as candles, fire, water, herbs, stones, photos, images, etc.; to produce physical manifestation into the real world. You must be able to see the objective of your spell as though it already exists. If you cannot visualize what you desire as though it already exists, you will not be able to manifest into the physical realm.
Why do you practice so many different
forms of witchcraft on your path?
I am an eclectic Witch.
There’s incredible knowledge and magick to be found on a number of occult paths. It’s like a magickal buffet of rich and varied practices that all work in different ways and on different levels. To me, it’s there for the taking, there for my use. We just have to be open-minded enough not to be afraid to explore other religions, other forms of spirituality. Human beings have a terrible habit of pigeon-holing everything, thinking that everything must fit into specific boxes and that you can’t mix and match or you’ll mess things up.
I don’t eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, I don’t wear the same kind of clothes everyday. And as much as I love chocolate, if that were the only thing I was allowed to eat, it would get monotonous.
The Noble Truths:
1. Nothing lasts forever. Expecting to be miserable when things come to an end. This is called “impermanence”, often stated as “life suffering”.
2. This suffering starts because we are attached to the idea that things will last forever or that if we can just find the magic formula, we can make things the way we want them be , always. This is called “craving” or “attachment”.
3. We don’t have to be miserable. We can teach ourselves to let go of our cravings and attachments so that we don’t have to suffer as much when things change, as they inevitably will. This truth is called “freedom from confinement” or “extinction”. It is like getting the key to our jail cell or blowing out a candle that‘s burning us.
4. There is a path to liberation from suffering and getting burned by our expectations. This path runs between the extremes of hedonism and asceticism.
The Eightfold Path:
1. Right Understanding
2. Right Intention
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action,
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration
The information above is taken from:
“The Witch’s Almanac”, Issue 27, Spring 08-09
One of my daughters practices Buddhism and although my path is different, I still found this article to be representative of basic truths. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people crushed when a marriage, job, lifestyle, relationship, etc. changed, because they apparently expected it to go on indefinitely…and it doesn’t.
Anne Lindbergh stated in an essay that a woman’s life goes through major change about every 20 years or so, and she’s right, it does. Beginning with the end of your school years and marriage, on to child bearing and rearing, then possibly to widowhood or divorce, and so it goes. And isn’t it mind-boggling to think of the thousands of changes that take place within all those phases, some good and some not so pleasant.
I view the Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path as yet another unique collection of wisdom to add to my very eclectic path. I feel that, when all is said and done, it’s basically reminding us that we need balance in all things.
I don’t know if it’s this time of year or this phase of life I’m in now, but I feel a tremendous magnetic pull to The Crone. I relish her– I revel in the beauty of her darkness and the depth of her knowledge and all the life tasted that she represents to me. She is a milestone, a goal, an accomplishment.
She brings to me a sense of peace, as I hope she does to all of you.
It is the Mother aspect of the Goddess that seems to encompass most of our lives– we are the nurturers. Whether we are women who have given birth to our own children, or find ourselves entrusted with the care of other women’s children. And it is not only the children of the world we nurture, but the animals, the earth itself, and the men in our lives. We nurture growth in all things, including new ideas and ventures, in the arts and literature, in all things worthwhile that need careful care and a magic touch. Within that magic touch is the promise of creation and growth.
It has been my experience that the older a woman gets, the farther away the Maiden feels. It is probably a natural progression. And yet, even women entering the more mature phases of life need the vital life force of this aspect of the Goddess. She is what propels us forward with strength and tenacity and the self-confidence to discover our inner selves and our hidden strengths.
Lady Amythyst Raine