Thursday, December 29, 2011

Midwinter Supper, Holy Supper, and "Traditions"

15° of Scorpio, The World Dies.

The world dies as the Last Harvest come in, and the whole of the wilds begin to fold in on themselves to face the cold.  It doesn't come back until "Spring" - there is no hint of life renewing here when Yule comes around, espousing some "return", or if it is it is a vain lie before the icy horrors of January stomp the lingering green out entirely. Normally that means that other than perhaps visiting the local Pagan group for Yule, and the usual Secular Christmas... I don't do jack shit in the winter. The Altar is stone cold, lights are not set. It usually gets veiled, shrouded, and left "in state".

The Hungry Dead

But there is something that does go on. The world gets cold, bitter and hungry. Birds begin to flood in colorful waves over the feeders, clinging to suet cakes until they're leaden and stuffed. Spirits begin to drag themselves by, eyes pleading, voices scorched. Because those dead that cannot pass over into the otherworld do not get to experience the lush bounty the restful dead are experiencing at this time. They get our world, cold and lifeless, with not even the spark of trees to draw from.

The Compassionate Supper.

Miss Dirty, for whom I have great respect and admiration, recently shared a holiday Tradition from her blood family - that of the Holy Supper, or Sviata Vechera. It is a grand feast to ancestors, family, the dead. And I liked the idea. Maybe I wouldn't do it quite like Miss Dirty (I'm hard-hit by the U.S. economy, and though I'd love to feast boldly, our once gastronomically lush Christmas was sparse... and sandwichy), I signed up to do it none-the-less.  For me this was less a feast, and more "sharing what I had" with those who needed it. 

Oxtail Stew - Scyllastyle.

Ingredients:
Approx 1lb of Oxtail.

Approx. 1cup chopped Celery.
Approx. 1cup chopped Carrot.
1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely.
1/2 medium-sized white or red onion... I chose white.
3 small red-skinned potatoes, chopped.
1 cup Good Red Wine (I did Cabernet Sauvignon, the only wine I drink).
3 cups Chicken Stock (we make our own from chicken wings, and veggies).
1 16oz can of Diced tomatos AND Juice.
Salt and Black Pepper to taste, and a few pinches of Thyme.

Extra: 1/4cup AP flour, salt, pepper, spices (such as curry) to taste.

Instructions:

Roll your oxtail in the flour and brown it slightly in a skillet with some olive oil. Add ingredients in listed order, more or less, to a large Crock Pot or Slow Cooker, and utterly ignore it's existence for 20hrs. After 20hrs, skim the top - you will not regret skimming off the OUNCES of fat (this gets added to Their Portion). Then crank to high and "offset" the lid for another four hours to partially reduce. It won't reduce much, but will lose it's raw wine flavor, and begin to develop more subtleties. Total cook time is an entire 24hr span, and it is well worth it.
Serve in crust bread bowls, with a dash of Sriracha sauce and some lime juice. Maybe a tiny pat of butter.

Supping With The Dead.

It was LATE by the time it was all done and ready. I'd set out an extra place-setting, and doled out a little wine into the glasses. The bowls were heaping and fullsome, a little shiny from beef fat, and a little glossy from butter. We did not eat in silence, we laughed and "mmm"d and "OH MA GAD"d, we got flush from wine and watched scary movies. And after my Dear Sweetie was tucked into bed I returned for Their Portion.
I took some Christmas candies, and some bits and bobs, the remaining wine and the bowl of food out into the chilly night. I was instructed to finish the wine seeing as "You'd only have to dump it out, and never waste wine!" and I shared the meal with them as they, those not of my Family, tore specks of spirit from it. And there it sat, empty as a hollow log, but still a piping hot bowl full of stew... and then the animals were welcome to it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dowsing, Water-witching and Object-Findin'.

A long time ago my father started managing the local water system. It was sort of a volunteer position, one had to go get certified to test the water according to the standards of DEQ, and that was pretty much it. The problem was that while there are miles of water-line running to every single house and lot in our rural edition... there was no information as to where the flying fuck any of those pipes were.

Someone trenching to run power to their house would often crunch their way right through the damned things, shutting down the system for days at a time. If someone wanted to tie into the system, or alternately needed to be cut off, they could spend weeks looking for the shutoff valve. My father usually wished there were a better way than simply blind-digging, and my grandmother offered sage wisdom:

"Dowse for it"

My Maternal line is rich in Ozark lore and "Mountain Magic" - most of it beaten into an unrecognizable form by the passage of time and influences, but a few nuggets were still there. "Get a couple of pieces of copper wire, like this (holding her hands about eighteen inches apart) and bend 'em into an L. You hold the short bit in each hand, and when they make a cross, that's the water."

So, my father got some copper wire, and made the L-shapes, and walked around like a bloody fool... until he crossed our own water lines, and the wires snapped into an X. As he walked forward the wires seemed locked to the spot, and disentangled from their X. As he backed up, they slid forward re-forming the X. 

Being utterly convinced of his success, he began searching for water-lines all over the community. And found them. Every time. Except sometimes it wasn't a water-line, but phone or power-cables buried under the ground. And sometimes it was pieces of metal.

We discovered that not only could he do it, so could I. But some of our neighbors could not. That's when I became pretty certain that it had nothing to do with magnetism - but rather had something to do with "woo".

Okay, so what now?

The dowsing tools, which can either be rods or a Y-shaped bit of wood, or even a pendulum, don't really matter. It's a physical tell, near as I can figure out. When someone lies to me (if it's important) I often feel a muscle twitch. My body is searching out what it needs, and gives a response upon finding it. Neither I, nor my father, know the water line is buried there - consciously. But you can bet hard cash our bodies know... somehow.

Start with a feature you know exists - a water, power or phone line. A buried piece of something important. Have someone hide things for you - then dowse for them. Learn to feel, and embrace, the "tell" - until it is second nature. At that point you may not even need the tools, using your hand in the manner of a New-Ager feeling crystaline energies. Envision that your hand is a magnet, and the thing you are looking for is it's mate. Feel the twitch, jerk, or pull of the two calling to each-other.

Now, and this is where it gets weird... you can do this over longer distances. I feel that this is where it crosses from a physical sensory mechanism to something far more esoteric. This is where it goes from "The electromagnetic field around my personage is sensitive to the disturbance" to "I'm a witch, and this is witch shit."

And I'm afraid that's the only advice and instruction I can offer - work with it, develop it, master it. Find a that you start tripping over silver dimes in the street. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Faithful Retinue.

It starts with an itch. I can't define where it is. It becomes annoying. Then it is a thirst, and it gnaws. Then it is a buzzing that won't cease. Then it is a call, subtle and sweet as music. It is the music that is the most maddening.  I wrap myself in my ritual robe, I slip my blade into it's sheath, and I run - barefoot - into the woods.

First I run. I run like a hunted beast. Then I dance, dance to the music only I can hear. Then I sing, shaping the tune with my voice. It is a song of summoning, of seduction, of fearful prey. Then I cease to sing and only bellow. The bellowing becomes a howl. And I find myself on all fours. I can only howl, and moan. My mouth hangs open, and I am drooling onto the soil.

I tear at the robe, and hunch naked on the ground. I am beyond sensation. The spirits are coming. They are on me, in me, over me, beside me. This is what the Maenads felt. Were there more than me in the woods we would rip at each-other with our teeth, and fuck like animals.

I am aware of only my eyes, and a spot somewhere above and behind them. I cannot communicate with the rest of my body - it is no longer just mine. It is Him. And it is something else entirely. It is a sensation like the rolling waves of orgasm, but it does not cease, does not plateau, does not decrease. It grows ever-stronger, and begins to consume me.

But it is not me. And I twist, and fall, and slither on the ground. I dig my fingers in the loam, worms crawl up my arms. Torches flickering, lamplight, owls hissing and screeching in the trees, wine runs from my lips, satyrs run through the undergrowth - the world around me dissolves into thousands of years of revelry. Vines grow through my skin, using my bones as their trellis. I am utterly broken down, into dust, into loam, into mold.

And suddenly there is a stillness and clarity in the chaos of my destruction. My mind slips itself, and becomes another. Fluid flows through me, and my limbs come alive. I begin to see through other eyes, and hear through other ears. I speak with a voice that is not mine... and I don't understand. Suddenly the whole of creation is alive around me, with figures darting here and there. They are the pipers of the circle, my faithful retinue.
Because, I am no longer the witch in the woods, nor the maenad in the leaves. I am the god who comes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Dangerous Knowledge."

The Necronomicon - Archetype of Dangerous Knowledge

I do my best not to shy away from any topic here. I feel that shying away from something in a medium as non-confrontational and hopefully tone-neutral as a blog means that I can't discuss it calmly and I don't like that idea one whit. I've discussed insanity, self-sacrificial magic (twice), and a myriad of other stickiness hidden in the bowels of my blog. And I'll be adding this one to the heap.

There has been a recent spate of blog posts about "dangerous knowledge" and/or "oversharing".The crux of the arguments being that if one shares knowledge and experience, "teh noobs" are immediately going to go out and get themselves all fucked up on it. Except... it's just not that damned simple.

The issue of "Dangerous Knowledge" is not easily summed up. Not even a post with 30-odd comments has yet managed to rectify the misunderstandings, benefits and/or pitfalls of concealing information. A dozen other posts broaching the issue hasn't clarified it either; it's just muddied the water and made a few people rather cross.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Photos"

I recently got a few questions (anon, so possibly from the same person) about why I do not post ritual photos here and on my blog - unlike other bloggers.

I do not post up photos of ritual work, detailed photos of my temple/tools, or much in the way of pictures of my Familiars, Allies, and Chamberlains because they don't want to be photographed and I respect them too much to display them for non-attribution, mis-tagged, reblogging. 
I could beg off, showing low-quality photos taken in bad lighting, so motion blurred that all you get is a vague sense of it - I could retire, satisfied that I made it look all very mystical without giving anything away... but instead I'll say "I don't want to show it, and the spirits don't want it to be shown."
I could simply re-construct a few ritual setups, a few things omitted, and take photos... But what purpose could anyone have in constructing a ritual just to photograph it? Staging shit for photos smacks of trying too hard for street cred.
I could show my tools, but they are given to me and empowered by the work between myself and the spirits. Why would I profane that gift by using it as a vehicle for self-aggrandizing?
I could show Famulus bones, or Homes, but showing the privies of an Attendant without permission is like putting a pic of your ex on one of those "Burned that bitch" websites. 

Hope that answers the questions.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How I Accidentally Became A Toadwitch.

This season is, I am not ashamed to admit, the most sacred time of year for me. It has always been during this time of year that things "happened" for me, and so that has informed decisions and timing for a long stretch of years. It's also the time of year where I get free-er with my tongue, and tell stories I would not ordinarily tell. 

On the Menu are three stories, starting with the strangest, and ending with the most reasonable. 

I Want To Post A Clear Disclaimer Here.
I am not posting about this to brag, nor encourage. I've removed details, spirit-guidance, and waymarks that are necessary to making anything happen. I have done this so that only those who have the proper who are called may come. 

I doubt many people who have claimed to perform this rite really have. The actions of this rite shape themselves - details emerge that are not spoken of by even Chumbley, but are consistent with those who have performed it.
Of those who went through the actions, I doubt many did the inner work. This rite cannot be performed in actions alone. The spirit work behind it is required for it to have any effect, any success, and any impact.
Of those that actually did the actions, and the inner work - I doubt many actually had success. They speak of it too fondly, to gently, and too lazily. This rite is not to be played with- if you do not have the stars right, and the permissions in place, it will exact a serious toll on you. If you are not secured like a vault, impervious to the assaults that come with this rite, it will devour you. IF you are not mentally balanced, it will unhinge you (when the insects in the night start to speak to you, good sirs, I challenge you to keep your shit all in a row).

There are a million other ways to get the same "results" - all of them a far better, safer, saner, and more accommodating to not getting your world wrecked.  Once it is started, it cannot be aborted. It has to be seen through until IT, not the witch, the rite itself, decides that it has concluded. This rite is best described as Lovecraftian in nature. It is a crash course, a hard-wiring, and a quick butcher job to jack someone in. It is utterly, utterly, unfriendly.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Finding a Mentor/Coven.

Anon Asked: I know this isn't even your most recent post, but it felt too "off topic" to post this there. I would have hunted down your email, but I figured if you were open to that direct of contact it would have been front and center somewhere.
I've been wondering just how does one find a mentor. I've tried to obtain one through the means of internet and real life connections. I've had nothing but bad luck on both ends. Maybe my standards are just too high. Any tips (that go beyond "find a local coven = profit")?
Well, Anon... you're right - Direct Contact is not one of my strong suits. I do have this blog and my tumblr, though. My Tumblr (same name as this blog) has questions enabled as well, and I get some interestin' ones from time to time! To get forward with it... Mentors, covens... hmmm...

Wherein I Tell You What A Dick I Used To Be.

Once upon a time I was a young pagan. I had a demonic entity driving me mad, and then I ate it. And that sort of dietary change does things to a person - in short, I got in a massive heap of fucking trouble because I had a massive heap of fucking power coursing through me. And I found some folks that "jived" with me. I pestered them. A lot. And they said "No, you're too young, and too crazy."

I knew I was fucking up. I knew I was doing dangerous work - I was desperate. I crossed their fucking conditions, I jammed my fingers up their asses and yelled "1,000 years of pain!" (metaphorically), I hassled them endlessly - illustrating my knowledge of them, their system, and shit I should not have known. Until the Elder finally said "Alright, someone needs to train her, because she won't leave us alone, and she's one of us, and she's an asshole."  I was initiated into that system, and into another one of it's members was a part of - both places were squarely "Family".

So, my technique was "batter the gate until it falls" - that was stupid, and wrong, and assholish. Don't do that.

Wherein I Offer Advice Completely Not What I Did.

So, what do you do? Find the things that are important to you, and find parallels with others and their paths. Find someone you trust or admire who is a little further along the road you feel that you're on.

If they blog, or do classes... read/attend. Build a rapport, comment frequently.  Never doubt the value of Internet Occultists - I've known Jack Flash since the late ninties or early naughts on various journal and blogging sites. I'd probably jump in front of a knife-wielding madman to ensure his safety.

Ask them one or two REAL important questions (to you). See what the answers are. If the answers jive - if you feel like "AH! THIS!" then ask them what Trad they are part of, if their Trad trains, if -they- train (if they are non-trad), ask them about their sources of inspiration and Work. Ask them about avenues you might find proffitable - of course, that assumes they're personable and will answer.

And The Real Core Of It All.
The BIGGEST thing is to find someone/someones with whom you feel a connection - and that connection ought to be mutual. It may not be everything you asked for, but it may be more than you ever dreamed. Be flexible - be willing to accept a mentor who occasionally rips ass in front of you, or looks different than you expected. Be willing to travel, or at least jump through weird and seemingly nonsensical hoops to provide -them- with information on who you are magickally. Be willing to accept a No, or a Yes, or a "Yes, but not now." or a "The Gods are saying yes, but I say no. Because XYZ" But be willing to accept a "Yes. And not only yes, but come over here and give me a fucking hug, bro!"

Set firm boundaries,but don't consider your boundaries to be an immoveable force. You may never be called for the things that squick you, so never behave as though the demand is currently present (unless it is).

Wherein I Bitch And Moan About Being Lonely.
I get the want, and the need for Family.  My "Family" is no longer with me in the flesh - when I touch my feet to the Sabbat Hill I find fewer of them each year - some old, some hateful toward rogue upstarts like myself, some dead and gone. Where there was once a great, big, united coven... now it's splintered. Some have simply gone to other hills, and other ways - their blood a bond, but Family may not always meet for Thanksgiving. I sought it with CUUPs - and I did not find it. I sought it with Pagan Pride and Psychic Fairs - and I did not find it. I sought it with online communities - I did not find it. But between them, in the cracks and little places, I found a few people with whom I can converse openly - and honestly? Not in the places I looked!

Sometimes we ask for something, and we get something a little different. Eventually, longer than we'd like, we get something amazing. Keep your chin up - Witchpower does things, you don't step on the path without garnering notice.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Devotional

When she sits she is Kerridwen at the Cauldron.
          When she stands she is Kali on the neck of Shiva.
                    When she walks she is Hecate of the Crossed roads.
When she covers me in her grace, she is Isis on the roof of the world. 
                    When she curses she is The Morrigan of Spears
          When she snarls she is Sekhmet the Strong.
When she smiles, she is the terror of a black hole.
In all things she is of the roads, the ways, the keys, the cooking pot, and the tomb.
And I am humbled before her, trembling, in the dark.
-Scylla,

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Charm Against The Evil Eye.

This charm/spell is adapted from the Carmina Gadelica. It combines elements from several of the charms found there, giving it a little more punch, and a bit of bite. I use this, among other protective prayers when I feel that things might be getting a bit hinky. The Evil Eye can be cast through malevolent prayer, through spellwork, and even through raw envy or spite.

I trample upon the eye,
as tramples the duck upon the lake, as tramples the swan upon the water,
as tramples the horse upon the plain, as tramples the crow upon the grain,
as tramples the host of the elements, as tramples the host of the elements.
Power of Wind I have over it. Power of Wrath I have over it.
Power of Fire I have over it. Power of Thunder I have over it.
Power of Lightening I have over it. Power of Storms I have over it.
Power of Moon I have over it. Power of Sun I have over it.
Power of Stars I have over it. Power of Firmament I have over it.
Power of Heavens, and of worlds I have over it.
In the name of the Tree of Life, and the utterance of the Sacred Names,
In the name of all of the Secret Ones, and of the Powers together I say...
Whosoever made this eye, may it lie upon himself, may it lie upon his house,
may it lie upon his flocks, may it lie upon his substance, may it lie upon his fatness,
may it lie upon his means, may it lie upon his children, may it lie upon his works.
I will subdue the eye (Horns up) - I will suppress this eye (Fig down) - I will banish this eye (flip the bird).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Obligation.

I pour out perfectly good wine on the soil. Because I Have An Obligation.
I drink a poisonous brew to induce an altered state. Because I Have An Obligation.I consume a ritual meal that will leave me rolling in agony the next day, and ass-blasting my way around the countryside. Because I Have An Obligation.I writhe and dance, busting up my already fragile body on the ground, furnishings and ritual implements. Because I Have An Obligation.
I dream restlessly, her words pounding in my ears like thunder. Because I Have An Obligation.My home is a never-silent port-of-call for spirits, wights, the dead, the gods, familiars, fetches, fetiches and hungry wildlife. Because I Have An Obligation.

I do not rest (read: I am not permitted to rest)... until my obligations are taken care of. Why anyone would ask for these things - beg for them, seek them out, lie about and glorify them, unless there is no other way for them to exist is... beyond me.

Unless you have to. Unless the spirits demand it. Unless you have no other option: Do not walk the Witch-path. You'll come out the other side mad, dead, or a shaman. And them ain't the best odds.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hiatus.

I may polish up old drafts (there's about a hundred) - but I'll be going off-"grid" for a while ... so to speak.

There is work that needs doing, and ... well, I always wonder how much heart one can hope to put into their Work if they are stopping every five seconds to reflect on just how everloving witchy it is, and what angle will yield the best photo for the blog.

SI.VM E.T AV.VM

Monday, August 15, 2011

Appropriate Responses

 A post over at Deep Woods Tea Party sparked some ideas in my head. In concert with some recent bits of conversation, I felt like writing about a topic near and dear to my heart: Watching Pagans go all Chicken Little over stuff that a: isn't really worth the fuss. b: isn't any of their business. c: all of the above.

Every incident, every entity, every potentially crossed condition, must be met with guns blazing and scorched earth scenarios. Bad day? You're hexed and you need to literally counter-hex the feces clean out of their colon, NOW, before they really get you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Crow's Ethics.

Picking apart date-fruit with my fingernails, mixing it in to a blend of roses and other herbs. It smells sweet, and yet dark - it is the fruit of the tree of death and it is the perfume of funerals.

I'm angry while I do all this - I had to go down to the police station and report a man. He's a level three registered sex offender (for acts with a child, not simply a minor or statutory offense) - and he has not been disclosing this information. Not to the people he has stayed with, not to the groups he has interacted with, and likely not to the local authorities as he should.

Crow's Ethics.
On the way home I saw a crow, roadkill, in the middle of the median. I think it's only the second I've seen in my entire life. It was nearly perfect. And I wanted it. I planned to go back after dark and take it. I was readying my funerary blend, and getting my kit together, and suddenly it hit me.

I could take what I want, ignoring the law of this land, and in the eyes of the law I'd be a felon. I'd be on some of the same lists with this motherfucker - this worthless waste of tissue that has the audacity to breathe my goddamned air. And I don't want that. 

I realized exactly what that crow was teaching me. I don't need to bring it home, macerate it's bones, and turn it's tail into a smudge fan. It cleansed me from the median. It told me "Tow the line, grasshopper. I broke the rules and look where it got me." And it also said "You want me? Find me the right way."

Burdens and Blessings.
I've bitched a lot on this blog about my community, and I had a very sudden realization in the middle of my sleepless morning. My community is diseased by silence. Everyone tip-toes, everyone lies. Everyone tries to hide and protect and ... enable?

This is MY land and I will not permit this bullshit in my territory any longer. I will not permit the diseased, the criminal, the -slime- that has infected this community to continue to do so without fear of retribution. The claws come out - poisoned, and dripping with the blood of my enemies.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Vessels and Their Contents.

I turn the small clay pots in my hands. They are weighty, hand-sculpted (rather than thrown), and still bear the marks of fingerprints. I worked the clay hard, and it speaks softly. Spirit is woven into each press and smoothing. I shape the bodies, the physical houses, for the spirits I will care for. I handle them as gently as I would handle paper-thin glass. I whisper words into their hollow, and stroke power into the surface.


"I bathe you in the sacred smoke, and nourish you with the breath of my mouth. I re-awaken you. This is the cradle of your skull, and the hollow of your chest - your heart rests here."

This all started a long time ago, and sometimes I do my absolute best to forget about the whole mess for a while, just so that the room doesn't slowly fill with greedy raccoons making grabbyhands, or hissing opossum with cataract-white eyes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shapeshifter's Poem and Chant.

What good is a witch that can't take off her skin, How will she gallop, or fly, or swim?
What sights can she see, that cannot be doubled, with Cougar or Owl or Toad's warty stubble?
How may she come to the Sabbat's Hill, if hobbled on flatfeet, and lacking the skill?
Where will she go when foes dare attack, if not as a Raven or uncanny Bat?
How will she find the Root of the hollow, if she has only her nose to follow?
What good is a witch that can't take off her skin, or mimic the words of unkindly kin,
or lose herself in a bustling crowd, or change her face when her own ain't allowed,
or speak in a voice that twists men to her ways, or vanish, traceless, for a long count of days,
or hide so that no one may see, or run, flee, fast as can be!

WITCH, WITCH, take off your skin! Put on another of your most favored kin.
WITCH, WITCH, hurry apace! Leap from the land and flee from this place.
WITCH, WITCH, go to the hill! Bend the whole world with your cunning and skill.
WITCH, WITCH, fast as you may! But be back yourself, 'fore the coming of day.

Both of these are © Scylla, please include such information if you plan on copying these down to a BOS. Provide linkbacks in electronic media.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Grumpbutt The Alraun.



Meet Grumpbutt - the grumpiest Alraun. This is a Dandelion, out of the ground about 10hrs. It’s not fully dry yet (and won’t be for some time). It hasn’t been shaped beyond cutting off the greens. It had that face right out of the ground. The grumpy, sullen, slightly pervy face.

On the opposite side? It has an ass. Two, tiny, dandelion-root, buttcheeks. Hence the name “Grumpbutt”.  This guy won’t be for sale, but some of the others (admittedly, less… er… animated) will be.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bone Flutes.

Over the years I've made a few bone flutes and whistles. And even more out of random things like hollow reeds, bamboo sections, rolled up pieces of paper and whatever else is on hand. Here, then, is a short tutorial for those interested in how to construct flutes and whistles... likely for ritual purposes.

ATTENTION: This tutorial assumes you know how to do a few artsyfartsycraftsythings. I will not walk through bake times for clay, the ups and downs of de-fleshing bones... etc.  This entry was written after a flicker comment with Ms. Graveyard Dirt.

Additional Note: If you're going to whinge about my blog's content, I'm gonna delete it. If you don't like what's here, clearly it's not intended for you. Find another place that better suits your fancy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Half-Man in Old Hornie's Eye,

I've mentioned, before, the strange things I have seen in Old Hornie's eye. It was a post over at Feral Druidry  that prodded me into writing about it a little more. This is something tender, a sacred, precious, perilous thing. I step here because I am permitted, I caution others to tread on this territory (in their minds and hearts) very carefully.

I also caution that Old Hornie is never so easy to nail down. He'll probably change his tune to spite me, but then... this is one instrument in an orchestra that sounds with his footfalls. One tiny note in the symphony I see there, one that I can blessedly capture and savor.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hours, Days, Planets and Cards - Incase You Care.

Once in a great while, I'll actually care about those Planetary Hours, or what moonphase I'm making offerings on. And when that happens, I reach for the following websites.


Moon Phase, Moon Data, and Other Lunar Stuff.
U.S. Naval Observatory - Phases of the Moon - Data on the moon's phases by year from 1700-2035.
Current Moon Phase Widget - Shows the current phase in a graphical representation.
Astro-Calendar - Shows moon's phase, sign, course and other such things.

Planetary Hour, In Various Degrees of Ease.
NCGR Planetary Hours - Really simple, not sure how accurate it is. Only works for "today", I think.
Lunarium Planetary Hours - Also pretty simple, works for (I think) any date.
Astrology.org Planetary Hours - A little more complex, still pretty easy to use. Works for any date and seems to be fairly accurate.
How to Calculate Planetary Hours and Sunrise/Set times in your area. - The hard way. I used to do it this way, but most of the time I cannot be arsed to do it unless it's something -really- important that I need to double check. 

Current Astrological "Forecast" 
Astrolabe's Current Astrological Weather - This. So much this. Right now it looks like there's a badly lopsided pentacle with it's head in Aquarius, and it's legs made of Moon (VOC)  in Cancer and Jupiter in Libra and for some reason that makes me want to hide in the closet.

Online Tarot Readings.
Facade Free Readings - All cards use the same meanings, and the readings are pretty simplistic. BUT, if you are an intuitive reader yourself, it can be a bit easier than dragging a certain deck out of storage.
Llewellyn Free Readings - Same deal as above, though a little more restrictive on reading types.
Facade Rune Readings - Here's some runes, too.

The Point of All This Crap.
Why? Hmm. Moon phases aren't the end-all, be-all, but they can be helpful. Using these tools, I can better define the general shape of the thing I'm working on. I can narrow the hazy edges and give it a more solid, and hopefully more potent, form. But I only really do that if I have both the luxury of time, and desire. When wildfires were ripping through my state I didn't bother waiting for the moon to be waining to banish the fire. I did not bother for it to be waxing to summon rain. I did not ensure it wasn't void of course before either of these. I damn well just did 'em.

If it's not an emergency, I can set down with a pen and paper and create a list of words and ideas that I think sum up the Work. Then I can get out my tarot deck and do a reading. It might hint to me certain times, or influences to include. I will select herbs, oils, curios and ingredients that I might need, fitted the desired 'feel' and effect. Then I can use the above tools and techniques to shape my work into that form, ensuring it is well-refined, and has all it needs to be effective.

Sometimes throwing a gob of mud does the trick. Sometimes you need an armor-piercing round.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Waters of The Moon.

I was up to my elbows in the muck. It was black as coal, made of decomposing leaves and rotten meat, and the roots of water lilies. Something softer than leaves, and cooler than the black water, brushed my arm. I twisted, and gripped, and out it came - it's back was black as the shadowy moon, it's belly as bright as the full.

It was all empty inside, water flowing from the nose and mouth. And into this emptiness I called to something, and it became full. With thorns I pinned it down on a hill, crucified, and covered from prying eyes. And then I waited for the Little Ones in the Hill to take away the flesh.

And then came secret things, and dealings here unfit.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cautionary Tales: Unseelie.

I've mentioned before an entity (an unseelie fey) "living" on the West side of a nearby lake.

I've heard of numerous people attempting to deal with that nastiness, and getting burnt. I, myself, had only roughly felt around the edges - and I felt it was time to actually say hello to what can only be a batshit crazy fay... after all, it lives in a lake so full of iron that the water is red. 


Monday, February 14, 2011

Tips and Tricks: Preserving Things

I pointedly don't talk about the work I do with bodies, bones and other remains. The reason I do not talk about it is because there are other people already doing a better job of it, and because I really don't like anyone to be up in my private business.  And rest assured - that business is private. That said:

For something that was once alive and ambulatory, such as rabbits feet, bird's wings and gator-feet, I strongly suggest this handy mixture:
Equal parts Baking Soda and Salt  to 1/2 that of Cornstarch/Cornmeal and Diatomaceous Earth.

Baking Soda and Salt pretty much compose Natron, once used by the Egyptians to assist in Mummification. The addition of Cornstarch (or, I suppose cornmeal) and Diatomaceous Earth helps to wick away even more moisture. Party-bonus, Diatomaceous earth is a wickedly potent critter for killing insects. It's the porous, glass-like fossilized remains of diatom algae. It's sharp enough to slice up insects, especially soft-bodied ones, and wick away their moisture, dehydrating and killing them.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Huzzah!

With some effort, I finally got my blog converted over to the new system, and got "Cuts" working. This means I will be posting slightly more meaty entries, with warnings about content and length (and hiding the goods behind a "follow on" link).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snowed In Reflection.

There was 10-12" of snow a few nights back, precious little of it melted. Today it's snowing again. Already 1-2" has fallen. I'm going a little stir-crazy.

I'd been planning on posting up some lovely photography - but the memory card for my digital camera refuses to work in my reader. I have to manually move things via a cable. Which means I also have to re-charge the batteries every time I want to move photos. Hideously involved for something that's made to be easier than developing film.

However, leering out over the blanket of white with not a good-goddamned to keep me occupied, it got me into some thinking.

"Guys, I mean... what's Magic? I mean... no... like what is it?"

I've been reading a lot of articles lately that have, I'm sorry to say, come down to very inspiring versions of standing around going "Guys, ... what is Magic? I mean... really?"

What are we doing? Does it matter what the figgity we're doing? I think that if we are putting ourselves out there as Gurus on the mountain, we'd damned better be doing, y'know, something important. But if we're just moving about our lives, do we need a master plan? Does any one of us even have a master plan for tomorrow, let alone their life-long spiritual pursuits?

Pagan Roots.

I started on my path (at current) nearly 14 years ago, because a malevolent entity wouldn't leave me alone, and I had to find -something- that worked. And then I went "Oh... this is where I belong." - a call-after-the-fact, so to speak. Or maybe the entity was the call. I've thought about that entity over the years - I know why it's around. I can only guess that it came after me because it saw that it could. Of course, one of the spirits I routinely deal with says it best - "If the right things happen, the worst demons of hell become more kind and benevolent than angels."

My master-plan at the time was to make the thing go away. Well, I got that out of the way. After that it's been a series of goals, little ones for no other reason than the joy of discovery and mastery. Maybe to please a spirit here and there. Do I need a "why"? I mean, the way I was trained - that "Why" - is that the wheel must be turned.

Gods, Goddesses and Assumptions.

Person: Best of luck communing with Brigid tonight!
Me: Er... I don't "do" Brigid, but thanks!
Person: But that's what Imbolc is!
Me: Don't really "do" Imbolc - I do a celebration of the first pangs of Spring. Bringing back Old Hornie. No Brigid in sight.
Person: You're just misguided, all Goddesses are one.
Me: Eat a slice of my ass.

I honor a few beings I'd call Goddesses, not a-one of them goes by the name Brigid. No offense to those that honor Her in Her historical context, but the "Bride" waffled about by most Playgans is Eowyn gently cradling her belly - pining after a man to "fulfill" her, not a fiery Goddess of the forge. All Aryan-centric, woman as womb-an, and downright incompatible with my swinging wand.That's a vibe I want nothing to do with; In fact, that might be the antithesis of my vibe.

The deities I deal with this time of year are my Folk's, namely Horn-Wearer. Cauldron-Stirrer is there, because of course all roads lead through Her, but She does not give birth to anyone, nor does She mate with anyone. The suggestion that she HAS to fit into this role really does not sit well with her, and by extension rather irritates me.

She reminds me of Hecate, and a little bit of Erishkegal, and a touch of Cerridwyn's sorcerous cunning and guile. She is old and young and weaponized beauty. She is queen of poisons and keys, and ways. She stirs the cauldron of decay and doles out the elixer of life. She is the maw of a black hole.

"Dual", "Tripple", "Manifold"

If I were to call Her the "Aspect" of anything, she'd likely turn me into dinner. She does not change in age, or countenance, depending upon the season. She is neither old, nor young. She's somewhere between. She's about as far from "Mother" as you'll get - excepting that she is the fore-bearer of all my Folk. I have reason to believe she was once a Priestess who's face became so associated with "Their Goddess" by her clan that when she passed onward, it was her they called on in the Between. And over great lengths of time, with such great mantles of power laid at her feet, for HER folk, She supplanted the old Name and old Face. She became one of the Faithful Retinue of that Goddess, assuming Her throne at the disparate reveries.

I try not to assume what someone does on their own. I tend to think we're all a little different, which is -great-. Monoculture kills. There are some people out there, doing what I do, and many who are not. I like that, lonely as it can be. No stuffing my Powers into the wrong mold - they'll poop in your shoes (using your cat as the Medium).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Taking a day... or three.

Photo by "Treebeard"

I dance and twist and rattle, my bones all come apart.
She scoops me up, like roadkill dinner and chucks me in her pot.
I dissolve, and churn, and roil, and nearly lose myself.
She drinks me in, and spits me out, and serves me to her kin
and as their bodies wring and move, I become alive.
My bones, she boils smooth as stone, and cracks the marrow fat.
She sucks it down between her lips and cracks a crooked smirk.
As the feast winds to a close, she plucks a seed pitch-black.
She shoves it in between my teeth, and plants me in the dirt.
My skull the cradle of a growing tree, around which they will tie ribbons.
- Verse by Scylla



I'm tired of the drama on pagan forums, between adults who really ought to know better, then stomp around like ass-mongers (purveyors of ass, similar to a "cheese-monger", but universally reviled) and then turn themselves into the hero of their own story. Tired more of them dragging me into it, bitching me out - then underhandedly trying to suck up for a gift I'd offered them years prior. Sickening.

I'm off to make incense, burn candles, ward like the dickens and entrust certain people to the kindly blessings of Hecate.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reflection

Sometimes, dear Pagans of the Internet, it's time to take a step back. Time to read old posts that might be from ten years ago, or two months ago, with new eyes.

And realize what a dick you were.

No one's immune, but some places foster a kind of mean-spirited, dog-the-newb, attitude that just doesn't work. I left a forum high and dry because the regulars were getting downright nasty - and then flouncing when they were told this. I take a long break, come back, and see the flouncers now calling people out (and having the gall to get angry when they don't take it so well).

It leaves a rotten, nasty, taste in my mouth.

I used to be one of those dicks, and then I got better. I strive every day to stay out of that trench, and every visit back to that forum reminds me to keep my nose clean.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Feri/Faery split.

I hate to see it come to this, as Feri was one of the Traditions I had an interest in, and a lot of respect for. But it did have to happen.

You cannot water down Mystery and sell it to the highest bidder, as though it was your own possession. When you inherit Tradition, it is not your belonging. You have to keep to the y'know, TRADITION part of Tradition, or else it becomes something different. And when it changes, it's name should change too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Thanks", just ain't enough.

Libations to you, Enodia. Key-holder, way-keeper, many-formed.
Water, and wine, bread and blood to you.
For you have blessed me as no others have.
Incense, and perfumes, sweet resins and fruit for you.
For you have blessed me as no others have.
Libations and thanks to you, Enodia.
Pale and darksome.
Shining and black.
Illuminatrix, initiatrix.
Poisoner and thief.
The Hosts of the Sabbat bow and scrape to you.
You alone.
Libations and thanks to you, Enodia.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tip/Trick - Candle Recycling.

I'm no master chandler by any means. I've played with making candles before, and had some really good success, but I have yet to advance to hand-dipping or casting them regularly. However, I do cast a few candles about once a year.

All year long I save the scraps from my altar and votive candles ("votive" in the sense of "votive offering") in a bowl. This includes the tea-lite tins and wick stands. Whenever the bowl gets full, I melt these down and re-cast them into new candles.

A few days ago I turned a few stubs, and a lot of left-overs into seventeen new tea lites. I used stuff just about anyone can obtain. If you'd like to give it a try, here's how I do it:

1: I dice the wax chunks up into 1/2" or smaller pieces, making sure to remove any unburnt wicks, and the "wick stands" from votives and tea lites. I clean any excess wax rings or residue out of my containers. NOTE: If I want to color the new candles, I separate my waxes into colors, but usually I add 1/4-1 whole "dark" crayon and make the whole lot dark brown or black. If I want to "Extend" the batch into a larger number, I incorporate blends of palm, beeswax, and soy wax. Crushed activated carbon (a small amount at that) also provides a DEEP black color to candles. Whenever I am making all-natural ritual candles, this is the colorant I use.

2: I re-open the hole in the wick stands using a corkscrew on an old swiss army knife. An Ice-pick also works well. I thread about 1.5" of good wick through the wick stand (for tea lites), or 4-ish inches (for votive cups), crimp it with a pair of pliars, and snip off the excess. These are "wax set" into the containers. For votive cups I also wrap a loop around a pencil across the cup, and secure with a clothespin. This keeps the wick centered.

3: I add a couple of tablespoons of wax chunks to the reservoir of an "oil burner" with a removable glass dish. Like this one. And let it melt completely. I use a pair of pliers to handle the glass dish, the rim on mine means a pair of "Parrot's Beak" wire cutters hold it perfectly. However, a pair of regular pliers do the trick just as well. I fill the container to within about 1/8th inch of the rim, and move on to the next.

4: When I've got all of the containers "filled", I melt more wax and return to the first, topping off the top where it has shrunk down . All of the candles get topped off like this.

5: I let the wax cool overnight, clean up any spills, and snip the wicks down to 1/4".

The tea lites burn a little shorter than normal, owed to thicker wick than factories give 'em, however the votive cups will burn about a day, sometimes longer, continuously. Almost nothing goes to waste. I take a lot of time and effort to consecrate my candles, and it seems somewhat disrespectful (and wasteful) to discard unused portions as "trash".

In this way, I can recycle an altar candle several times, bit by bit, until it's just -gone-.