Monday, October 25, 2010

The Dark Night, and the Blood Moon.

To my ancestors, all my relations, even down to my great-grand parents, grandparents, parents and myself, this is the last harvest. I'm bringing in some of the last wildcrafted fruit, mostly persimmons, and a few exceptionally late-ripening berries. I'm topping the plants for their seeds, and bringing in fall-tinged leaves for artwork.

When we had Rabbits this would've been when we picked the breeders we wanted to keep, and my mother's cousin would come out to butcher the rest, taking half the lot as his fee. The discussions would center around the practicalities, financially and physically, of feeding forty individual animals over the winter. Would it be cost-effective? Would they freeze anyway? That one is too weak, this one is a better mom. Remember that one? He had snuffles all winter. Let's go ahead and cull him.

Blood soaked the soil, and -that- is why these days get dark.

Humanity has walked pathways for so long, the energy of their footfalls has dented the earth. Like the floor-stones of Buddhist monasteries, it has been worn down. Like a riverbed, it has been shaped. The energy flows there, a sort of ley-line, a new artery. Places which saw great celebrations, and slaughter have remembered. The earth there wells with the memory of it, the power still stuck between the grains of dirt.

"Power flashes from newly shed blood" said Ol' Gerald. To me, it is a shimmering radiance, it is Life, clinging to the carrier of it, fading slowly (but always, like a stone, refracting a little of that fire). As we bleed the life from this world, by our hands and by nature, so it blooms in the Otherworld. Our fall is the fey spring.

It is because of this that now is a good time to remember our ancestors. I make little distinction between "not currently a living human" and "never has been human" - the otherworld is the afterworld as far as I concern myself. Our fall is their spring, and our ancestors surge to a new life therein.

To The Ancestors

To all who share my blood, I give thanks. Without you I would not be, without your actions this world would not be the one I know.

To all those who share my family-tree, I give thanks. Without you,the lives of my ancestors would have been poorer, and would have lacked love.

To all of those who walked the path I now walk, to all of my fore-bearers, I give thanks. Without you my path would lack the signs of life which give me the strength to go on.

To all those who share the suffering of my life, my body and my soul, I give thanks. Without you I would never have known it could get better.

To all of my relations, from the least to the greatest, I give thanks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Curses pt 2, and other such things.

The clutter is starting to recede, like a tsunami that can be beaten back with hefty bags and curse words in five languages (including Klingon).

This means that I'll be able to start pouring molds in the house, since the shop is now nearing the point of hopelessness. A system involving tubs, buckets and racks should mean that I can make everything from chalices to oil lamps on my "coffee table".

But as I was cleaning I noticed some odd things. 1: An over-abundance of dead or living arachnids, 2: shit I don't remember buying, 3: items that, disposed of, suddenly found their way back into the clutter. Um...

Curses, Part Two!
The Reckoning.

After the first spate of shit I used a random letter generator for an idea as to who might be causing my woes and got "UU" - the obvious for me being the current witch-war going on amongst the Unitarian Universalist (pagan) camp. I had mentally (I suppose issuing some sort of Notice of Intent on Ye Olde Immaterial Plane Between This Glittering World and The Abode of The Great Ones) sided with someone, or some camp, and had caught the flack directed at that camp.

But putting out my "STFU" juju in that direction didn't exactly help, and I've been suffering from nightmares and intrusions. Unless I consciously remember to re-affirm wards, throw up consecrated space around the bed, and post The Beasts (servitors) at the four corners, dark dealings happen in the night. We've been getting knocking, shit falling over, strange gnawing sounds, etc. Some of those I attributed to the pre-earthquake jazz the earth does, but others - not so much.

The Problem: I hemmed and hawed, I stalled. I knew that all the pieces were in place for a curse or crossed condition. Instead of acting immediately, I sort of stomped my foot and told it all to screw off. I could have stopped, taken a breather, and done the sort of cleansing I knew needed to be done, but I kept questioning whether or not I actually needed to.

We were making our dinner quite late last night, figuring out our new rice-cooker/veggie steamer to make sticky rice, and kept hearing odd sounds from the living-room. It sounded entirely and wholly like a large rodent gnawing at something hard and crunchy, and no matter how many nooks and crannies I investigated, I could find no traces of any rodent. After a bit we settled in, assuming it was nothing, only to hear voices...

It took us a few beats to realize they were getting louder, and a few more to realize that it was the surround-sound in the living-room. As I rose to go turn it off, the volume blasted up quite high. Beating the remote into submission, I turned back to the bedroom and saw a tall, fair-haired, figure with a shaggy sort of haircut wearing neutral toned clothing standing in my bedroom.

The clarity with which I saw the "apparition" caused me to then search the entire house armed with a knife, to ensure I hadn't ACTUALLY seen someone. No physical body found, and no traces of any. I got quite pissed.

The Problem: By stalling I allowed whatever situation was going on to develop. From a seed into a weed that proves more tenacious than it ought to. The mental effects, the physical and spiritual effects, began to redouble - it was my fault. Whenever you suspect a curse or a crossed condition read your cards ASAP, and then as a precautionary measure do some damned cleansing.

A Reading (or three) For A Level Head.
(Lovecraft Tarot, various readings, condensed for your convenience)

I screwed up. I waited too long to act on what I KNEW was transpiring, because (as usual) it could simply be "all in my head". My will faltered, my Work faltered, and I essentially gave them a king's welcome.

As much as I -want- to blast the everloving fuck out of them with my boom-stick, and let my cat poop in their shoes, I probably should not. Maybe I want to burn their fields, salt the earth, and ruin their women. Maybe I want to pry open their jaws until they snap and unhinge, but I probably should not. The sudden lashing out may be misdirected, this may not be what is intended here.

I have caught others up in my tailwind before, and the same could be happening to me. I could simply be an unintended casualty of some weirdness. My mental and emotional states have been affected rather seriously, which means I have open avenues to whomever is responsible. I need to disengage from a struggle I should never have been a part of in the first place.


I will clean, and scrub, and wash down the walls. I will clean and scrub -myself- and bathe in the smoke of White Sage. I will share drink with the Old Ones, and I will be patient. I will stop second-guessing signs, and take more proactive approaches. I will stop charging in with guns blazing when I finally do catch on. This darkness is not my own, and attacking it will only lead to ruin.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Persimmons - Godfood.

Diospyros virginiana, the Eastern Persimmon, has a large part of my childhood tangled up in it's corky, fruit-laden, branches.

Persimmons are late-ripening. It's mid-October here and the majority of the fruit is still unripe. Only a few are sweet enough to tempt, and the high amount of tannin still present makes them very drying to the mouth. But oh, they are sweet - so delicious and sweet! They would make an excellent marmalade, or fruit addition to breads/cookies.

One of the stories my grandparents used to tell was of how you could split the pits open (like a split pea) to foretell the winter's weather. A general consensus was taken of the seeds from that single fruit, who's "germ" takes on the shape of cutlery.

Apparently it's GON' RAIN. Also, I have the dorkiest paper towels ever.

A spoon meant a wet winter, or heavy snow. A knife meant a bitter, cold winter. A fork meant one that was mild, or dry.

Persimmons are shaped rather like a pomegranate, and pair well with them. Their fruit is best eaten after all others would've been considered spat upon by the phouka. Here, they're not good for eating until they begin falling off of the tree in November. They are a fruit of winter, wrapped in autumnal shades, and hanging on the tree after the leaves have fallen.

They are fruit of the underworld in this regard, no less special than pomegranate, and sometimes sweeter still.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Some more mini-reviews!

Title: Hedgewitch
Author: Silver Ravenwolf.

The Introduction gave me pause and then the suggestion that "dirt" is the first step to being a hedgewitch, or that Nature is a primary focal point of Hedgeriding.
"We're going to change our lives to be just like that garden, and we're going to do it in just two weeks." - What the...? Nothing good happens fast, and this book is an exemplar of that. The quicker I read it the worse it got.

This book conflates Hedgewitchery (the practice of hedgeriding, that is to say straddling and crossing into the otherworld) with crafty kitchenwitchery (a craft which focuses on the home, especially the kitchen and domesticity). This explains a lot of problems with the book, honestly. In addition, conflates "the universe" with the subconscious mind.

"I designed the art and science of HedgeWitchery in concert with my own outdoor projects" She did not design hedgecraft, she pulled something out of nowhere and gave it that name. Nothing in this book (as far as I managed to make it in) resembled Hedgecraft.

"What's growing in your Belief Garden?" - Need I say more?

Title: A Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches Handbook
By: Janet and Stewart Farrar

This is an old classic of Witchcraft. Written by two Alexandrian Elders, it's understandably NOT the Wicca they practice, but rather an assemblage of non-oathbound lore and rituals designed to give the look and feel of BTW (as they experience it) for the consumer.

For what it does, it does it beautifully. For what it does not do, well, it's glaringly obvious. It's a bit dated, and relies on the old wiccan stand-by of "the greatest power in the world is innie + outie" that I don't really get on well with, and some implications that homosexuals don't belong in The Craft. A product of the times, I am assured.

Fortunately, this book doesn't tend to be the first acquisition of a newbie-witch, meaning that by the time most get around to it, their bullshit meter can suss out what doesn't sound right. And that by the time they get to the book they know enough to realize it's not the full secrets of the Sanders downline in print. It is an excellent reference book for groves, outer courts, and unitarian-sytle covens looking for something with a slightly more traditional flavor.

Title: The Witchcraft Reader (Second Edition)
Edited by: Darren Oldridge.

This is not a newagey book on "wicca-good-and-love-the-earth-and-woman-power" shtick. It is a book of scholarly articles on the era of witch persecutions, and what may've caused it. It references not only trial records, but ceases to use a 21st century mind on things. No author within spends precious time bemoaning the superstition of locals - instead they ask why the locals believed as they did, and what events conspired to create such a climate of hostility.
And it turns out climate (as in weather) had a big role to play.

What you will not find is instruction on being a neopagan witch, or how-to for evoking the Witchfather. What you will find is the precious, tenuous, history of Witchcraft. There are concepts which have already proved enlightening, and countered a lot of the "it's truth because someone said it sometime" mythologizing in the modern Craft, and has given me numerous avenues of exploration deeper into historical record.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Dandelion.

The Orbit of The Solar System in an unassuming,
occasionally bothersome,
--- weed ---

Dandelions are the bane of suburbia, and for that I already like them. Millions of dollars a year are bent on their destruction, and ultimately these efforts will fail spectacularly. Unfortunately for these grass-obsessed suburbanites, Dandelion's deep taproot makes it beneficial, breaking up hard soil and bringing up nutrients to less hardy, shallower-rooted, foliate brethren... like grass.

Dandelion leaf packs more nutrition per cup than spinach, being a significant source of Vitamins A, C, K, Calcium and Iron. It also contains Biotin/B7, which proves itself valuable in regrowing hair and (some say) aiding in weight-loss. My mother used shampoo infused with biotin and regrew her hair in a matter of about a month after Chemotherapy. It is also useful for liver detoxification, and as a diuretic.
Dandelion leaf and root can be consumed in teas, leaving it's nutrition more or less intact, a caffine-free "coffee" can be made from the roots, for either medicinal or ritual purposes.

They like to grow just about anywhere, but I've found them to prefer shadowy places where they will often overrun other plants (saturn), iron-rich soil (mars), and damp corners (moon) which bring a far different picture to the Lion's Tooth than one might think. It's radiant flowers (sun), white, globe-like seed heads (moon) and lush foliage (venus) round out a picture of a very complete little herb. As a bit of an aside, I have never found so many grub-worms as in the plot of dandelions I harvest from, and some of the roots wound right through a fire-ant hill (ouch).

Dandelions are said to be sacred to Hecate. This association, oft-quoted in folklore, is hard to track down to it's sources (Hekate Liminal Rites certainly doesn't discuss it) but it seems universal, and I certainly cannot disagree with it. It bleeds a cloudy sap - possibly referred to in The Root-cutters by Sophocles: "Medea recieves the juice whitely clouded, oozing from the cutting". Dandelion is liminal to it's core, sending as much plant below as above.

In magic they assist with communion with the underworld. Like the taproot of the Dandelion, the witch using it may reach into the deep places and bring up something of value, otherwise lost. Here, too, is a tie-in to psychic "sight" and insight and in calling and summoning spirits.

Some modern Traditional Witches have employed Dandelion root as an alraune/alrune. The root does have a tendency to grow in the manner of a human figure, and is far less troublesome to obtain than the Mandrake ordinarily is (of course, a quick stop at Alchemy-Works can nab you a mandrake/seeds). The investment in the Dandelion is less about finances or rarity, and more about willingness to dig deep enough to get the whole thing. Even small dandies can reach down very, very far.

In incense the leaves are generically leafy, providing a papery "lady's mantle" quality of scent. The roots are deeper, sweeter aroma. I like to add one or both to blends designed to contact and summon spirits. A particularly strong tisane/tea of the plant makes an excellent wash for scrying mirrors, or (filling a bowl) a nice substitute for one. Particularly thick roots can be carved into some rather lovely beads, strung into prayer strands, or hung around the necks of votive statuary.

No part of this article may be reproduced without permission. If I find this chopped up and plastered all over neo-wiccan sites I will issue takedowns.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Clutter, Ancestors, Alrune and Familiars.

Note: There's a bit of venting ahead, understand that that's -all- it is.


The clutter in the temple room has, yet again, reached a feverish pitch. Usually the clutter was isolated around work-tables, but with another person's computer in there (probably very soon to be changed), it's getting downright ridiculous. Time for cleaning, and throwing things away. Let is hope I am merciful. In our future home there will be a small room divided into "enough space for a desk" and "temple" areas. Oh, I cannot wait to see it finished.

I'll be permanently dismantling my salt water "Nano" tank. It's housed a lone hermit crab and a lot of fireworms for the past two years. Because of the clutter it's getting neglected, thus suffering - that isn't polite. Next to it is a small fresh-water tank, which I may or may not keep (probably will) after a good cleaning. This is the aquarium in which I raised several leopard frog spawn to "frogginess" this summer.

The clutter is making it hard to work, so it really has to go.

Drama and The Ancestors.

I should honestly, by this point in my life, know better than interacting with parts of my family at get-togethers. The laundry list of problems with one relation in particular has grown so long that I have been reading carefully over my state's laws about stalking.

This got me thinking about my Ancestors. My family has had issues staying together, we just fricken scatter to the wind, even though a lot of us live very close together. We don't visit graves (even the ones we know of) much, if at all. But this is an incomplete life, and I think is part of the reason misfortune keeps rearing up. SOMETHING is trying to tie us all back together, but we're having trouble listening.

Because of that I'm going to be reworking my little ancestor shrine, and getting back in touch with the Spirits of my Fore-bearers. Hopefully, also visiting some graves. Though I think that the relationship with the above-mentioned living relation may be too fractured to really fix.

Alrune, Dandelions and Familiars.

I went and selected about a dozen good Dandelions today. The size of the greens was deceptive - some revealed themselves to be babies. Most of the roots went into a container to dry out and be used for incense, oils and other such things later on. The greens are all on a tray drying and three whole roots are in water waiting for me to get to work on them. The three in water show promise for Alrune, though one in particular calls to me.

What I learned today is that Dandelions like to grow in shadow (saturn). I don't mean "shade" I mean -shadow-. You could see a clear line where they were hiding in the North-side shadow cast by the ceramic shop. The thickness was comparable to leaf lettuce in a garden, with barely any grass making it through the cover. The roots ranged from the thickness of a robust toothpick to roughly the thickness of my pinkey-finger and about 8" long. They favor the pure red clay (mars) over any other soil in the yard.

With Sun-like flowers, Moon-like seed heads, lush Venusian foliage, Saturnine growth habbits, Martian environments and ARGH - can't they just make up their minds? But, again... this is Dandelion. It's everything and nothing. Salad green, and weed. Spirit communion and utter pest when it tries hard enough. Though the tufts of Yarrow, defiant even after the first frost, might beat Dandelion out for utter pest.

This whole mess brought me 'round for Familiars. "Goatboy" has been visiting in my non-flight dreams off and on, bringing me roots. I'd asked him to bring me a mandrake, and he's been trying awfully hard. More than likely trying to remind me that I have a yard full of them, and to try to think outside the box. Of course, the moment I do that I get a rather interesting e-mail ... The Goatboy works in mysterious ways.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Apparently I pissed someone off, again. It happens every now and then that something I says gets under the skin of someone else who can do things like I do. And they decide the perfect course of action is to sling a curse. Per usual, they make a critical mistake which caused physical manifestations - Spiders. Any time stuff is going down of an unusual character or quality (read: Curses) spiders show up in droves.

They've been about like that. Hordes of them sweeping across the deck, or singular specimens dropping down on my keyboard while I type. Jumping spiders, tarantulas, little cobweb spiders. Oh how they have presented their many-eyed faces and pronounced as one "Someone's shitting on your lawn." Once in a while they seem to be the agents of the curse, generally they seem to warn of it.

And so, as is a good and just course of action, I whip out Gager's "Curse Tablets" and scrape up a few ideas.

It got me thinking about justifications on curses. When is it okay to curse? When is it okay to retaliate? For me: I don't tend to whip out curses unless someone is raping, murdering or molesting children OR throwing curses. At which point I tend to bind AND curse as a way of saying "stop shitting on my lawn."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some Brief Reviews.

Pagan Prayer Beads
John Michael Greer and Clare Vaughn
Weiser Books, 2007
190 pages, $16.95

Over all this isn't a bad book for someone interested in starting on creating prayer beads for the purposes of meditation or as a votive. The upside of this book is that it explains the physical process of making beaded strands and discusses what materials are suitable, or which work better in certain applications. It also addresses approaching the buying experience as meditation and ritual. Unfortunately, it's downside is that it is primarily a practical instruction manual and does not really discuss how to use them, why you might want to, or really give much meat on the obvious links to rosaries, mala, etc. Given that I already know how to string beads, and how to select them for spiritual purposes, it didn't have a lot to offer me personally, but for those who do NOT know the processes involved, it should actually be quite helpful.

Wiccan Warrior
Kerr Cuhulain
Llewellyn Publications 2000.
192 pages, $18.95.

Wiccan Warrior -is- valuable for those interested in the warrior archetype as presented within the "harm-none" framework of ecclectic wicca, however, one must push past a rather large amount of Mr. Cuhulain's personal , extremely heavy-handed, politics in regard to the nature of Wicca to extract that value. His assault against the wellspring of his own tradition starts early in the book, and follows through to the last page.

Love is in the Earth: A Kaleidoscope of Crystals
Earth Love Pub House 1995,
726 pages, $22.95.

The Phonebook of Rocks, as I lovingly call it, isn't a book you can really do a weighty review of. It's a reference book filled with the descriptions and metaphysical uses of a thoroughly exhaustive list of rocks, crystals, minerals, fossils and "stonelike" organics. Each entry discusses the forms in which the mineral can be found, what astrological sign, numerological vibration (etc) that it associates with, and it's uses in physical healing or spiritual applications.
The largest downside of the book is that it utterly lacks illustrations. So, unless you know what a stone looks like, or your local store labels very carefully - good luck. The revised editions also seem to have had their indexes neglected, as they direct to page numbers which are incorrect a lot of the time. Another small bump in the road is the book's use of "Extra-terrestrial masters", "Atlantean records", "Lemurian Seed Souls" and other newagey kinda BS buzzwords.

Since the release (and my purchase of) "Kaleidoscope" Melody has (reportedly) accumulated all of the Love Is In The Earth series into a single volume "LIITE: The Crystal and Mineral Encyclopedia"/Last Testament. I have not had the pleasure of reading this one yet, as it costs about $100 ($60-$70 more regularly), comprises almost 1000 pages, and weights almost ten pounds.

Wylundt's Book of Incense.
Wylundt (Steven R. Smith)
Red Wheel / Weiser 2007
312 pages, $14.95.

I like this book. It's a fairly decent guide to making your own incenses, be they loose or formed cones. I used it as the jumping-off-point for a whole slew of handmade incense cones for stinking up the house and doing Work. There is a section about creating cone/stick incenses, discusses the various types of incense, gives handling and storing information, recipes and a small "herbal" geared toward incense making. Yes, it does include recipes which involve saltpetre, and binders - but what do you think is in the stick-incense you store buy?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Some October Notes.


My dreams have been particularly intense lately. Tonight's involved journeying to visit someone that I -think- was Harold. Point being? If a person with long reddish hair, likely wearing all black in some form of tank-top, jeans and possibly a coat invades your dreams - sorry. Can't help it.
Incidentally, I'm nearly always male in my dreams (irrespective of boobs) so assuming it wasn't me because it was a dude may not be accurate.

Re: Reviews and Commentators.

I will not be accepting/publishing any more comments on critical reviews unless I feel they have actual, valid, points to make. "I disagree with your review and here's why" is fine and dandy once or twice (and I will happily put through such disagreement while it holds merit), but multiple posts going after not only the review/s, but everyone commenting in agreement with, or even -discussing- interesting aspects of the review, is beyond the pale. When it is from Authors or those in their employ it is also incredibly unprofessional. I know the author is going to disagree if I dislike their book - they wrote it. And when it comes from someone other than the author, but in the author's employ, it gives the impression of a hired opinion.

The purpose of reviews are to present different views of different materials so that those interested in the work can form an opinion on buying it. There will be glowing reviews and there will be scathing ones. These all help to form a realistic picture of the work in question. Reviews are not a point of debate. I at least do my best to present positive points with negative points, but if all I can find is negative - well... sorry? If I wish to review Twilight with only a photograph of a page of the book smeared with something brown, floating in a white bowl full of water (which I'd never do... I don't want it touching me there), I would.

Speaking of Reviews - Upcoming Reviews!

Hedgewitch by Silver Ravenwolf. - This one was a request by a friend.
Pagan Prayer Beads by John Michael Greer and Clare Vaughn. - An interesting read about pagan "rosaries" and similar tools for meditation and worship.
Call of The Horned Piper by Nigel A. Jackson - A thoroughly fascinating read on the nature of the horned god, night goddess and a meditative look at "the sorcerous arts".
Familiar Spirits by Donald Tyson. - Another book on Familiars to either love or hate.
and while we're at it The Necronomicon by Donald Tyson - FANGIRLSQUEEE!
Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone by Lupa. Familiar book of sorts.
and if I feel up to it Grmassi's "Beltane", and Conway's "Dancing with Dragons".

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Cemetery.

I had a very interesting dream almost a month ago. Most of it is hazy around the edges, except for the fact that I was visiting a fellow Filthy Magician out in California. At some point the question was raised: "Can you find a place of power here?" and at once I indicated off in whatever direction lie behind his kitchen.

His comments suggested that, yes, there is something off in that direction but that's hardly a place anyone wants to go. I, of course, wanted to go there. Amid protestations that one does not simply walk into Mordor, off I traipsed - directly through the wall. I called his bluff.

It was an excruciatingly beautiful cemetery - I've seen it before. I know it by it's scent, it's sight... by the waymarks at it's gates. It is, more or less, the exalted double of every cemetery that has ever, or will ever, exist. It is picturesque, moss-draped, and rife with the cthonic power of decay and rebirth. Here soma grows upon the knolls where the beloved dead sleep. Mandrakes sprout here, datura blooms, the whole place stinks of dark earth, and poisonous perfection.

I have spent whole nights roaming this place, greeting it's citizens and royalty. A particularly large tree overshadows a portal to the underworld. My magician companion is standing back, smiling fondly at the scene.

There was a funeral in full swing, a family who's attire and regalia marked them as practitioners of some form were laying one of their own to rest. Attending the services was a skeletal woman (her skull had been painted into the likeness of makeup) wearing a large flowered hat, and carrying a truly ruined parasol. She even had a tiny skeletal dog tucked under her arm as though it were a fashion accessory. My mind hesitates to say this is Holy Death, but perhaps her emissary, Vainglorious Death? A man lowers himself into the grave and impatiently motions for soil to be piled on.

The headstones read names that I knew - and yet did not know. Though I got the impression that a certain row was actually just me. Numerous copies of me from centuries passed, dead bodies I'd once worked with living vigor. And at the end of the row was an open grave - a promise and warning.

The ground is soft with growth, the trees bear no leaves, but stunning blooms and fruit. The fruit are stunning, in colors and textures of minerals rather than vegetation. Here, I get the sense, the Apple of Sodom and Fruit of Knowledge are not so mythotypal.

Being there, hell - thinking about being there, it seems to fill my lungs with air and soothe me and with the right eye, on the right "day", you can see into an unending green land, overcast, and misty. Bits of sun glinting through heavy clouds and intermittent showers.