#MeToo and Paganism: Time to Change

So as I’m sure many of you who are in the Pagan community know, Sarah Anne Lawless recently came out with an amazing and desperately needed blog post about sexual abuse in Paganism; primarily by Pagan leaders and BNP’s. She only named one of her abusers after he commented on her post, but the rest she kept silent about until she released their names in a FB later on.
I applaud Ms. Lawless for exposing her story and her abusers. I’ve never been involved in any form of Pagan community (save this blog, if that even counts), so I can only imagine the courage and stress it took to write that post, knowing how many may become upset at her (rather than for her) and how many will victim blame, call her a liar, etc. I was completely shocked when I realized one of her abusers was in fact MoJo from the podcast “The Wigglian Way” a podcast that I followed fairly closely and really liked and enjoyed the hosts. It made sense though. I had a sense in the episodes after Sarah left, it may have been due to a possible affair. I felt ashamed suspecting an affair between the hosts when one of them was married, so I pushed it aside, but I guess that wasn’t entirely unfounded.

I have chosen to stay away from any covens, groups, meet-ups, and even Sabbat celebrations because I feel like I can’t 100% trust the intentions of the leaders and even participators. That’s not fair to them, because they’re probably wonderful people and it’s not fair to me because I may be missing out on a lot of wisdom and guidance. Unfortunately, I’ve heard and read about horror stories of being pressured to go Sky Clad for rituals, to kiss or embrace while in circle at certain points. And then there’s the sex. Now, admittedly, I’m in the group of Pagans who also fall into the BDSM community, but BDSM is very, VERY consent oriented and the events I’ve gone to absolutely has that safe feeling to it. However, just because I enjoy these things (with my husband and only my husband) doesn’t mean I’m down for whatever, which seems to be the idea a lot of Pagans push onto each other, regardless of gender. This idea that being a “free spirit” and nature worshipper means you should be polyamorous or basically a human nymph is ridiculous and also super off-putting.

I’m hoping Sarah’s story and the stories of other Pagans coming forward about their own experiences will help spark change in the community. We need to be zero-tolerance no matter what coven the person belongs to or heads, no matter how many books or classes they’ve taught, no matter if other people think they’re “nice” and we shouldn’t “ruin their lives” over this. No. Paganism receives enough criticism; we don’t need to or want to fall under the same umbrella as Catholicism when it comes to how our elders behave. I know that there’s always a scramble to protect our own, but rapists, sexual abusers, and domestic abusers are NOT our own. A majority of us try to follow the “Do no harm” rule right? Well, we need to stop letting these individuals get away with harming us and our community.

To anyone out there who is a survivor; I support you and I believe you.
Blessed be.

~Lark

Advertisements

Larkie’s Library: “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” by Scott Cunningham

Finally read my first Scott Cunningham book this Summer and decided to go with the ever popular and always recommended “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” as my intro to his writings. Before I go any further with the review I’ll give a disclaimer that I am NOT Wiccan. My Pagan practice is eclectic and takes a few notes from Wicca (mostly the Wheel of the Year), but it is not very much related to the religion itself. With that being said, just remember that my review is coming from someone who is not involved in this specific practice.569e7bf3-ae55-4b49-99d6-a59c5c06bd0c
I can see the usefulness of this book as a beginner’s intro into Wicca specifically (not as a general Pagan book), but that’s about where it ends for me (which is fine, since it’s supposed to be introductory in a way). It is written based on Cunningham’s views on Wicca and his own beliefs, complete with examples of his craft, so it’s not super educational on the history of Wicca. It’s possible you could offer it to family or friends who don’t “get it” as a way to further explain what Wicca is for you, but that’s if you’re okay with some of the potentially embarrassing moments in the book, which I will get to next!

There’s a tiny bit of shade thrown at Christianity in the book, which may or may not upset more sensitive family if you do so choose to share this book with them. It’s not hateful, but it does come off a bit “this way is better” which isn’t necessarily true; the faith that speaks to you (if any) is the path that’s truly better for you and if Christianity is not it, that’s fine. My biggest issue with the book, as far as cringe-worthy notes go, is the woo-woo. Some of the things, or really examples, he claims are magic is so out there. For instance, claiming that rubbing your hands together really fast, then holding them apart and feeling a tingling is magic energy shooting from your palms. While, yes, the heat you’ve activated by rubbing your hands together is a form of energy, it’s not magic…this is simple physics. He also used an example of casting a spell to obtain the funds to pay your phone bill, but pretty much leaves it at “do this spell and the money will come eventually” whereas really you should focus intention and motivation to pay the bill, but still put work in to actually getting money to pay it (like saving up, selling items you don’t need, etc). That was just too much for me.

Other critiques I have are that I felt his section on the tools, while easy to understand, were too simple. Not much information on the history of the tools or anything. I also disagreed with his views on dark/black magic. He constantly talks about the duality of Wicca, but once light and dark are there, he kind of pushes dark away and claims it as a no-no for good Wiccans. There’s a saying I heard somewhere that goes “If you can’t hex, you can’t heal,” a much better example and embrace of duality, in my opinion. Now, I’m not saying you should bind, hex, and curse after every little slight you experience, but I don’t view dark/black magic as an ultimately bad thing either.

All-in-all it wasn’t a terrible book and I do see value in it for a beginner Wiccan, but I wouldn’t recommend it alone; it’s definitely not a text that stands on its own for Pagan study. I will be reading more by Cunningham eventually, as this book didn’t totally turn me off to him and I’m interested to read some more of his work.

Keep reading and learning, everyone. Blessed be!

~Larkie

 

Learning Patience by Writing My Grimoire

33e13e4370112662e71895e3e89c033757513194bd10e0e63ca850225e26a3bf

So, as part of my air body practice I need to do something creative everyday to tap into my creative energy/use and improve my imagination. Today, I decided to put another page into my Grimoire as my “creative activity”. Past BoS/Grimoire’s I’ve had have been in 3 ring binders since it was easier to store and organize, but I’ve always desired a “real” witchy looking book to keep my correspondences, tarot readings, meditations, etc. and so I finally bought a leather, hand bound, unlined journal. It’s white with rough paper (kind of parchment looking) and thick so my pens don’t bleed through. I love it and felt connected to it from the moment I saw it.

My perfectionist (at times, not always!) nature is probably not the best combo with this type of book, so I’ve been very slow to add to it. I’ve only done my dedication page and Wheel of the Year, so today I decided to add my Moon Phases page. I mixed up my Crescent and Balsamic Moons and accidentally called my Gibbous a Crescent; ugh! It was so frustrating to cross out and rewrite those names, so I’m trying to avoid getting too stressed over it. It makes the book more authentic I suppose. Life is not perfection, so a handwritten book of any kind will not (and probably should not) be without a mistake or typo here and there. If anything it makes it more personal. More my own. So to relieve my anxiety and accept the mess up, I’m taking a page from Bob Ross’s book and changing my outlook on it. I should really practice this more often with other things in my life, because this has helped me get over this small thing.

Otherwise, this week of practice has been going very well and I’ve also been listening to a new (to me, not “new”) podcast called New World Witchery with hosts Cory and Laine. It’s really well done Pagan podcast that goes over folklore (primarily American-based or American, but with other influences) and covers different Pagan beliefs and even Catholic/Abrahamic beliefs and lore. I highly recommend checking them out.

That’s all for this update! Blessed be!

Lark

Building My Water Body

waterfall

This week’s lesson from A Witch’s Primer involves building up my water body and focusing on the “Faith” portion of the Witches Pyramid. Water is seen to be more feminine vs fire which is seen to be more masculine. Therefore, it is viewed to be more connected to the inner self and being peaceful and in touch with one’s emotions and feelings. So this week, that is what I am tasked to focus on: my feelings, emotions, dreams, etc.

I am to perform daily tasks, just as I did with building my fire body, to help get in tune with the water power base. These tasks involve a lot of meditation and journaling. I must record my dreams, but not analyze, just write them down for now; same with my feelings at least once a day as well as meditate on them. Other things I need to remember are smaller, but just as important; things like increasing my water intake and blessing the water I drink at least once.
I look forward to this practice as I think it will help me understand a lot of the anxiety and stress that I have been feeling lately and maybe learn to control it better.

As far as the lesson plan for building my fire body from last week, I enjoyed it very much and think it went very well. I did fail to complete one of my 7 To-Do’s, but in retrospect, I think I was expecting too much from myself on that particular day. I was already really busy and the chosen activity to complete that day should have been obvious that I may not be able to get to it, but I’ve learned from it. Everything else was able to be achieved and at the end of the week I felt ready to start the next power base lesson plan. Of course, just because I’m moving on to the next power base doesn’t mean I should immediately stop all activity from the previous lesson, so I will be continuing the task of being active/exercising every day (which is easy since I pretty much already do this as I find exercise to be the best way to build and expend my energy).

So far I’m still really loving Ariel’s class and teaching style and I would recommend his podcast/class to any beginner. He tries to keep it nondenominational as well which is helpful for anyone similar to myself who doesn’t follow Wicca or really doesn’t focus a lot on Deity.

Hope you all have had a wonderful week since I last wrote. Take care and blessed be!

Lark

 

Finding my Spirit Guide

It has been forever and I apologize for that. I had a wonderful vacation hiking in Utah and work has gotten crazy, so I just haven’t been able to find time or motivation to blog until now. Aside from the ever stressful goings-on in our White House, life has been running fairly smoothly over here and I have had fun keeping busy. Too busy, however, to do much in the way of witchy practice, but I’m hoping to change that.
I digress.

A few weeks back, I decided to do a guided meditation ran by Ariel from his educational podcast “A Witch’s Primer” to discover my spirit guide/mentor (you can find this meditation here.) I found it to be very well done and easy to follow along and, I think, I did manage to meet my spirit guide…or guides? It was interesting and I’m hoping I did it right, because my mentor appeared to me in an interesting way and I am going to layout the scene for you now.

colorful-fantasy-unreal-world-photos-by-robert-jansen-9(Photo credit to Robert Jansen)

In my meditation I found myself in a place very similar to the image above. A misty forest with a wood plank and rope bridge that led to a round platform with a roof and railings along the entire edge, except where it met the bridge of course, instead of walls (not a house like in the image) and vines and small rounds lights surrounded the platform to create some privacy and yet also lighting. The sky was blue and felt like mid-morning with a very comfortable temperature.
I stood alone in the entryway and saw before
me 7 (or 8, I can’t recall exactly) small figures wearing bright red cloaks who were perched on the railing directly across the platform from myself. 012dbcb713b477546ec34f3b17772d81I did not hear voices, but felt an urge to step towards them. I reached the center of he platform when they hopped down from the railing in unison and walked over to me, forming a somewhat tight, but not intimidating semi-circle in front of me. The cloaks fell from them and revealed…robins. 7 (or 8) normal, everyday robins looking at me.

Even in my meditation, I felt a small bit of confusion, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I’ve always had a love of birds, feathers, etc. I have two nests and even egg pieces that have been found in the wild (I actually have a robin’s nest and egg half in my home). Our wedding theme was “Put A Bird On It” and I even have a bird tattoo. So, this actually made a lot of sense. I was a little worried that on trying to find a spirit guide, I may have instead called my animal totem, but as time has passed I don’t believe that is necessarily the case. When they revealed themselves to me in meditation (and the initial surprise wore off) I felt very well taken care of, like I was in good hands. The symbolism behind robins is mostly positive and usually mean renewal, change, growth, etc. so I feel confident they will be quite helpful in getting me through the process of renewing my path and learning where I should go with it next.

Do you have a spirit guide? Do you believe in them?

Thanks for reading! Blessed be!

Lark

Quick Pagan Podcast Plug!

Merry Meet!

I wanted to do a very quick post to talk about and recommend two Pagan Podcasts I’ve recently been listening to and am absolutely loving. Seriously, for those who have not yet gotten into podcasts, I strongly suggest you give them a try. Even if you don’t care to listen to a Pagan one there are some really great pods out there (e.g. This American Life, My Favorite Murder, Sword and Scale, Myths and Legends, Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, The Babysitter’s Club Club, etc.) I’ve actually learned a lot from following many of these podcasts and others allow for just good entertainment when the day is slow or there’s nothing on TV, which is most of the time since I don’t really watch cable and am basically Netflix only these days.

Anyway, back to my point: Pagan podcasts!

The first I want to recommend is Inciting A Riot hosted by Fire Lyte. It is a very well done podcast and is currently still putting out episodes (the last one was about the Women’s March in January), so they don’t come out as frequently as they did in the past, but he’s still around. Fire Lyte is also a co-host of the podcast Inciting A Brewhaha with Velma Nightshade, which I’ve mentioned in a previous post before (also very entertaining and the episodes are long). Fire Lyte is very opinionated, but I kind of love him for it. Plus he is a big supporter of science and looks at magic and witchcraft in a more “real world” manner rather than this fantastical idea with sparkles and fairies and three-fold law (which I LOVE and agree with). He also does a great 10 episode segment on the 10 largest religions and it’s a quick, but informative look at other beliefs around the world and it’s really great. I enjoy learning about other beliefs, it helps me understand the followers better as well as commiserate with them on similar beliefs I have and, well, knowledge is power and I enjoy learning new things about other people. Avoid the bubble effect basically.

Speaking of Velma Nightshade, I also finally started listening to her podcast Witches Brewhaha which is no longer being updated (hasn’t been since 2013). However, I still find it to be an informative and very well done podcast, so if you don’t mind listening to a podcast that essentially no longer exists, I do recommend it. She has mentioned on Inciting A Brewhaha that she may consider bringing it back to life, but time will tell if she is able to or not.

That’s all for my Pagan podcast promotions, I have checked a couple of others out, but barely made it through one episode so didn’t feel it was even worth mentioning. Check these out if you like and have a safe week!

Blessed be!

Lark

9th Day of Yule: Odin/Father’s Night and The Virtue of Honor

yule-welcome-mat

This is the day to honor Odin, the chief God in norse mythology (or the chief God of your pantheon). Odin is the God of many things: war, victory, magic, wisdom, etc. and there are several ways to honor/celebrate him. Being that he is the head honcho, honoring the fatherly figures and positive male influences in your life is one way to celebrate him (this is also a good option for those who are non-deistic, but still wish to participate in Yule traditions). A night for fathers and to recognize the male aspect in life (as Wicca or Wiccan influenced Paganism tends to celebrate the feminine overall, but it’s nice to recognize the male counterparts).
We also remember the Virtue of Honor. Honor is very important in Norse tradition, but it should be important in general to everyone. I look at honor as something you should fight to keep clean and, if possible, you should stand up for the honor of others you care for. However, I really don’t believe in violence, so beating the Hell out of someone to defend your’s or someone else’s honor, just tarnishes it further so a certain amount of tact and professionalism should be used.

That is all I can come up with for today’s Yule study topic. Thank you for reading!

Blessings!

Lark