#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

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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

 

Merry Mabon/Second Harvest!

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I meant to do another “Larkie’s Library” but got side tracked by a vacation and crazy week at work. I will be sure to put it out soon, but since today is the Autumnal Equinox I figured I’d put out a short celebratory post to everyone.
I was actually able to celebrate Mabon properly yesterday and today, so I’m feeling extra witchy. I went apple picking yesterday and then today I started my morning with some yoga, then cleaned and cleansed my house, and broke out all of my Fall decorations and put away the Summer stuff. I even created a Fall wreath for my door (with craft store items) and then decorated my altar for the season and dead headed my white lavender so I at least had something to represent a true harvest.
I look forward to colder days, rain, sweaters, scarves, warm tea and cocoa, slipper socks and cozy cardigans. This is truly the greatest time of year. Wishing you all a very happy equinox, a bountiful second harvest, and merry Mabon!

~Larkie

Building My Earth Body – Do Over

So I haven’t been great about my Earth body building practices this week. Earth is tied to the section of the Witch’s Pyramid called “To Be Silent/Secretive” which I think is important to remember. Part of the practice is to get out into the wilderness, take hikes, walks, garden, etc. I have not been taking time to do this much this week even with the holiday. We’ve been so busy and had a family illness (which is on the mend, thank goodness), but it hasn’t been the best week for this.

Another task is to practice choosing my words and opting to be silent more often than not. Basically, focusing on listening and only speaking when absolutely necessary. My job involves animal health and wellbeing, so that does require a lot of necessary verbal communication. However, at home I’ve been a chatty Kathy on mindless subjects that really don’t deserve or need that much discussion/attention.

So, starting Monday I will be redoing the Earth Body practice, which will be good. That’s why they call it practice, right? We all have our off weeks ::shrug:: Otherwise, I have continued my Fire practice of being active, my Water practice of increasing my water intake, and my Air practice of deep breathing, so I’ve at least got that down!

Until next time, blessed be!

Lark

Learning Patience by Writing My Grimoire

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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 Air Body

Last week’s Water Power Base practice went well and was actually perfect timing for understanding and meditating with my feelings, because it was a very stressful, frustrating, and depressing week. However, I completed my tasks and I’ve started remembering my dreams more, so I think it really helped.
This week, I am to focus on my Air body. Air is tied to imagination and creativity, so this week focuses on those aspects. My tasks are to continue recording my dreams each morning and then have a “stream of consciousness” where I write down everything I am thinking, everything that comes into my mind until I fill a whole page. I must also do deep breathing exercises/meditations and do something “creative” each day.

I really do feel like these practices have been helpful in making me more aware of myself, feel more in control of my energy, intentions, and emotions and I’m hoping this practice will inspire me to do a lot of the things I’ve been meaning to make time for, but keep excusing away (which the practice with my fire base will hopefully help with as well). To continue the influence of the fire and water body practices I will continue being active daily and consecrating my water and drinking more of it (I didn’t do well on the latter today, but I’ll do better tomorrow).

Hope everyone has a great day and if you are interested in practicing building your elemental base you can find these lessons at A Witch’s Primer Definitely start from the beginning if you can, it’s really great.

Until next week, blessed be!

Lark

Building My Water Body

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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