Friday, February 29, 2008

What does it mean to be a Witch - Part Two

"To reclaim the word witch is to reclaim our right as women to be powerful" Starhawk: Spiral Dance
Here we have one of the single most important features for me when it comes to neo paganism.

I grew up in a family which was governed by a strict christian code. We attended church maybe 4 times a week, the women or 'Sisters' were subordinate to the men (Brethren). Sisters took no part in any of the services and were not allowed to speak, they also had to cover their heads with hats or veils. To have an uncovered head was considered blasphemy as God was the head of Jesus, Jesus was the head of the Church and Man was the head of the woman. Sisters are allowed to play the organ, teach in sunday school and organise any catering. A few slipped through onto committees such as choosing the topics for bible class but it was rare (and daring!) I have had bible study classes in my home where I was expected to wear a head covering because one Brother was in attendance. That also meant that I had to keep silence.

Women were encouraged to keep house and raise children to ensure future generations continued on the straight and narrow. Careers were frowned on. Outward adorning was frowned on. Most things were frowned on. Clothing had to cover the body properly, and too much flesh on display would bring swift rebuke from a senior Sister. After all, Eve was the originator of sin, she persuaded her husband to eat from the tree and only through childbirth would womankind redeem for her sin. "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children".

Sexuality was repressed. No sex before marriage, no divorce, no marriage to anyone not of the same faith. Mortifying sin in the flesh was the ultimate objective and as women were sin personified then they had to be even more supressed and repressed.


Wicca, witchcraft, paganism ... call it what you will is the most wonderful opposite to all of that vile wickedness. It redresses the balance. Women are no longer evil but the embodiment of Goddess, to be revered, celebrated and enjoyed. The Goddess .... symbol of the divine feminine brings power to women downtrodden by a patriachal heirachy.

Being a witch means that sexuality is sacred. Sex is allowed, it is activly encouraged ... it is a natural expression of the soul. To deny our bodies and our sexuality is not required.

In most major religions the preists, prophets, gurus, buddhas etc are male. In paganism it can be either, but is predominantly female. I act as priestess at my coven rituals. Each time I do, I want to shout aloud with joy - I can express my spirituality, I can speak, I can sing, I can conduct the ceremony. It is so liberating and empowering. I have spent my life being taught to submit to male authority and masculine perceptions. Being a witch means that being female is an ADVANTAGE!

The Goddess is vitally important for women - and for me. In Goddess, as a woman, I see myself as divine, my body as sacred, the changing phases of my life as holy - and not to be feared. Maiden, mother and Crone - all carry power and wonder. The qualities of aggression, anger, the power to nurture and create as well as destroy are encouraged and validated.

So what about the men that embrace the path? Men are tragically oppressed in patriachal religion. The oppression is more subtle than for women, but still they are encouraged to emulate spiritual perfection and destroy their 'base animal' nature. This puts men at war with themselves and hence that war gets projected outwards in behaviour. Paganism allows men to connect with symbols of divinity that show more humanity; that are at ease with sexuality - they dance, they create, they are free to play and express.

"All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals" - a quote from the Charge of the Goddess. The sensual pleasure of the body and mind are expressed freely and are seen as an expression of the life force. Therefore they are sacred within the guiding principle of love. (Its no wonder the controling church/state tried to supress witchcraft. We cant have people being happy now, can we - and finding out they can be at ease with themselves).

Pleasure is part of the ethos. Fear of judgement is removed.

After so much constraint, and so much indoctrination about the sinful nature of being a woman - to be a witch is like bursting from an underground coffin into the bright, clear air. I can breathe, I can feel, I can dance with the sheer joy of being alive. I can luxuriate in the knowledge that to be a woman is a good thing, not just good - FANTASTIC!

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Son

I know I have been quiet. It has not been deliberate just how its worked out.

Last week my Son turned 18. It was an emotional experience for me. I am not the kind of Mum who enjoyed the baby phase, toddler or small child bit - I felt guilty about that for ages but not anymore. I never had a desire for them to be small again and have embraced their teenage years with joy!

However, on the morning my son was officially a man I did cry. All I could see was the golden haired blue eyed cherub who used to run round the house with his own little language. He had hearing and learning difficulties after the MMR vaccine went badly wrong. Thankfully he made a full recovery but I put in hours and hours and hours of one to one time with him, trying to show him that events were sequential and not stand alone experiences.

Once diagnosed his ears were operated on, and his tonsils removed. It took him weeks to get used to sound. The toilet flushing really frightened him and the first time he heard the ice cream van outside he was totally confused. He was in speech therapy for 2 years. He was designated as special needs but I refused to accept it, or allow him to be singled out. So I did the extra teaching myself.

It was so scary to be a mother when he was so ill. He was ill on and off for a long time and each time his ears would fill up and he would be sick for days (and long, long nights). It seemed like it would never end. I taught him how to relate to other children - he had existed in a world of his own for those crucial early developmental years. I am really proud of what I did.

His school life was a total success. He made lots of friends. He got 10 GCSE's all A*, A and B's. He is taking French, Psychology and History A level and is off to university this September. He sings in a band and is one of the most popular guys at his school. He is about to take his driving test and is off to Estonia this Summer on a holiday he has organised with his best mate. He got on a plane by himself at age 15.

Even as I recall all of this its like I am talking of someone else. The poorly child that fought and struggled with what the doctors poison did to him, bears no resemblance to the confident, attractive, gregarious young man that he now is. Not a hint of his former difficulties.

He is a man now - and I love him.

Monday, February 18, 2008

How do I get out of bed in the morning?

Just had a 'major' embarrassing moment. Funny ... but embarrassing. Let me rewind a little because background will certainly explain my eccentricity.

I slept like the proverbial log last night. Toasty nightdress, 12 tog duvet, extra two blankets and that was me piping hot and cosy for the duration.

Was rudely awakened at 8.20am - had to be out of the house at 8.50am, fill the car with petrol and then 45min drive to my place of work.

Managed to get downstairs to eat and make a packed lunch - had a go at the kids and somehow got ready for work. At this point I was still having difficulty focusing - I mean visually. Not a great start to the day.

Anyway, I arrived in my consulting room, saw my patients, had successful sessions; managed to grab a cup of tea and sit back to do some admin.

In walks one of the GPs, we have serious chat about a patient who has to be seen urgently - crisis team cannot do it etc etc. Just so happens I have a slot next Monday - so she thanks me and just before she leaves says,

"I think I ought to tell you that you have your top on inside out".

At first the true horror did not sink in, then I looked down and noticed that the cluster of wash care labels were indeed on the outside and there for all to see, the buttons where nowhere to be seen and all my seams were out enjoying the sunshine.

Even now I am still in a state of shock - oh the mortifying shame!

Thankfully the GP in question was a woman and she thought it was hysterically funny. My parting shot was,

"Well that has blown any credibility the Counselling service may have had ... we cant even dress ourselves!"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Distractions and Dissertations


First 5,000 words written and proof read. Referencing will come later once my supervisor has sent the first draft of the first bit back for ammending - always ammending to do!

I have battled through today with a hang over. My own stupid fault for drinking a whole bottle of wine last night and casting caution to the wind.

It has taken three days to write this bit - I have to admit it would have taken much less time if I had not have indulged in a particularly (snigger, giggle) naughty bit of distraction. I have been surfing google images for erotic art. Even as I tut at myself, and hang my head in mock shame I am aware of Bob and Mary Gouldings treatment suggestion for OCD - "instead of performing a ritual choose to have a sexual fantasy instead". So I did, lots of them all courtesy of good old Google.

The images are now stored in my own private stash on my computer and I may just post one or two on my blog. All are rather tastefull and stylish - so much more erotic than the explicit stuff, in my opinion anyway.

So there you have it, my confession - well actually not all of it, not one of the images were of men!

Make of that what you will.

Well I am off for a cup of tea and a lie down. The kitchen needs doing but I am pretending its in a parallel universe and therefore does not really exist in this dimension.

Friday, February 15, 2008


OK - deep breath, lock, load.

What the f**k are those stupid, idiotic illuminated road signs about - the ones that say 'slow down' and flash into life when you are doing one or two miles over the speed limit.

Please stand up if you were the idiot that invented them, or that thought it was a great idea to have them on our roads emphasising the idea the 'we cannot think for ourselves, make decisions or be trusted to act in a safe and responsible manner'.

Please also stand up if you are one of the compliant sheep that actually slow down. Shame on you! However, you are not alone! Sadly no.

There are two of these 'offenses against the thinking capacity of the autonomous adult driver' stationed not a mile from my door. I regularly pass them, one helpfully advises us all (says she with an ironic sneer) to 'Slow Down' the other flashes up '30' in the biggest, boldest, raucously outrageous characters. I am surprised the powers that be did not go the whole hog and start up with an air raid siren every time an errant driver passed such signs. Maybe even alert the closest orbiting satellite to nuke the offending vehicle out of existence.

I am weary with all of this nannying - the tut tuts and finger wagging disapproval of the 'Big Brother' state. I personally stand and salute every time I hear of a brave brother in arms who burns down a speed camera after being zapped for the third time, or who sticks up a big fat middle finger to a cctv camera before ripping it from its self important perch. I am a decent law abiding citizen yet I feel terrorised and persecuted for simply using the roads.

Where has free will gone - and no I am not advocating maniacal driving, speeding or anti-social behaviour - but the freedom to exercise choice. Where is the right for an individual to determine their own behaviour within the basic boundaries of the law? I tell you - it doesn’t exist. It’s gone! Eradicated in a world where 'the three little pigs' are considered an offense to religious sensibilities and people can sue your arse if you defend your own home from attack. Cotton wool and bureaucracy gone mad. Before long we will need an nvq and written permission from the counsel to wipe our own arses!

I for one speed up deliberately when passing a sensor triggered road sign, I sound my horn if anyone in front of me pays it any attention whatsoever and I elevate a finger as I fly past. My personal protest against the criminalisation of the motorist and a world gone half mad with fear of litigation, and rampant loony views of the terminally nitpicky 'jobsworth' conforming, controlling ranks of the anally retentive.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I got a mwah!

Thanks dj for my mwah. Much needed and much appreciated.

I am supposed to be handing some out too. As I just got accused of getting all frisky and erotic (Nooo me?) I shall hand out a mwah to some of the fellas on my roll.

So Darlings ...

Silent Observer
Wow-like- Pow

You can all have a mwah. I know two of you are single, one considers himself single and the other is shrouded in mystery. So there you go - no guilty consciences there then.

Disclaimer: This was all done in the best possible taste, no malicious intent intended, no friskiness anywhere near the place and the being alone all night with cider did not feature one little bit.

Imbolc and my Power Animal

Last week I celebrated Imbolc with my witchletts. We had a fab time - we always do! Imbolc is the mid winter festival of Brigid; A time of poetry and inspiration in the midst of snow and frost. Let me quote from the blurb inside my Starchild Imbolc incense,

The ice is melting and the ground turns muddy and soft. The water cleanses and prepares the earth womb to become fertile once again. In the hidden depth of the earth hitherto dormant seeds are beginning to germinate and life is stirring. The Sun Child is gathering strength, the days are getting longer and light and warmth are beginning to return. Almost imperceptibly the earth is quickening and the buds are beginning to swell.

Imbolc is a time of fasting and cleansing. The larder is getting sparser. It is time to clean out and get rid of old stuff in preparation of next season's growth.

That explains some of the festival - or what it means in the Wheel of the Year, and the cycle of birth, growth and death. Clear out the old, prepare for the new - be inspired because Winter will not last long. Imbolc, as most pagan festivals did, got pinched and incorporated into other faith or folk customs. Groundhog Day, Pancake Day all carry similar themes.

But the really exciting bit ... I mean really really exciting is that we got to go on an Astral Journey, a kind of deep trance that is so vivid it’s like you are really there, WITHOUT the use of any kind of dodgy herbage. Once of our little group is a Shaman so she whipped out her drum and off we went. It’s a curious sensation to float out of your body and observe yourself lying on the floor! The purpose of the travel was to discover our power animal. We were taken on a guided visualisation and asked to watch out for the animal that appeared three times. There were a number of candidates that appeared for me, at one point I was rather alarmed as I thought a mouse was going to come forward. Nothing against mice (I used to keep them as pets) but it was not what I wanted to see.

In the nick of time a great big leopard came running over the horizon towards me. She was beautiful and powerful. Just what I need right now! Leopards are one of the stealthiest predators ... silent.... patient.... ultimately deadly. Phew! My leopard is very welcome.

Now whatever you may think - and yes I mean you, rational boys - trance is an effective way of making contact with the subconscious mind, the deep child wants and fantasies, and the unconscious process that motivates all of us out of our awareness. My power animal epitomises the qualities that I value right now and has given an outward focus for such qualities.
Silent watching
Power that can be called upon at any time; latent, present and swift.

Power Animals and guides are important in Native American spiritual beliefs – I am happy to go along with that (with my fondness for psycho spirituality) - they are metaphors for who we are inside, and the qualities we need to survive the habitat of our lives in the here and now.

I am really interested to know, dear readers, what you would like your power animals to be. Reasons optional, but simply focusing on the qualities will help bring them into sharp relief.

Friday, February 08, 2008

How do you eat yours?

How do you eat yours? - overused cliche? Maybe, but as I swing round the cusp of the year and into Jan/Feb/March I inwardly groan because in spite of all the resolutions to get fit and slim Cadbury's Creme Eggs appear in the shops.

I LOVE Cadbury's Creme Eggs. Always have - always will. It is a short lived 'season'; once Easter has passed then I no longer have the urge to scarf down the tempting little blighters.

I become furtive in my habits, I secret the eggs about my person and my house. There are egg stashes in my drawers and I get the shakes if I think I have not got the safety net of at least three in reserve at any one time. Woe betide anyone that touches my eggs!

The ritual of enjoyment is always the same. Not for me the quick chomp or eating on the run. No, eating of a Creme Egg is a precise science, a work of art, a traditional ceremony.

First there is the tea - there has to be tea, steaming hot and in a mug (no poncey cups) and there is the clearing of space. Minumum of 20mins. The Egg is taken while reclining on a sofa. Next the wrapper is peeled off, only half though, half remains in place to provide non chocolately handling. Then the anticipation, looking at the smooth brown promise of it, knowing that inside is the white, creamy fondant just waiting to be released in a flood of pleasure.

So then comes the dipping. The exposed egg is dipped into the hot tea, the warmth beginning to melt the chocolate which is licked off slowly, savouing every moment on the tongue - with each lick the fondant gets closer and closer to the surface, till only the thinnest and most exquisite layer of chocolate prevents the full experience.

The anticipation, the delight!!

Then comes the release - in one glorious moment the fondant is revealed and its time for fingers. Mmmmm plunging the finger into that well of sweetness and scooping it out into the waiting mouth. Sheer bliss! This part is the fullness of satisfaction, the epitomy of decandence. Sensual, satisfying - making sure that all is extracted till nothing remains in the empty shell.

And finally with the tea still warm the remaining chocolate can be eaten savagly and quickly, something to really get the teeth into. A lovely twitch in the tail to complete the experience.

OOOooooh aaaahhhh. Creme Eggs!

How do you eat yours?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Perfect Circle

Wanted to share these with you guys, one of my most favourite songs - its evokative and holds for me an entire experience that will never be repeated - the words say it all.

Threw you the obvious and you flew
with it on your back, a name in your recollection,
thrown down among a million same.
difficult not to feel a little bit disappointed
and passed over
when i've looked right through
to see you naked and oblivious
you don't see me.but i threw you the obvious
just to see if there's more behind the eyes
of a fallen angel,
the eyes of a tragedy.
here i am expecting just a little bit
too much from the wounded.
but i see through it all
and see you.
so i threw you the obvious
to see what occurs behind the eyes of a fallen angel,
eyes of a tragedy.
oh well. apparently nothing.
you don't see me.
you don't see me at all.

Friday, February 01, 2008

What does it mean to be a Witch - Part One

I got asked this question some time ago by Kahless. At first I squirmed about the label, after all, I do come from a staunch christian background where witchcraft is up there with adultery and murder as the unforgivable sins. However the biblical definition of witchcraft has nothing to do with modern Wiccan practice ... says she soothing those Parent voices in her head.

However I am a witch - I do believe that thought influences reality (magick), I can alter my conciousness at will and I do celebrate the 8 festivals in the year, plus I like all the velvet dresses, cloaks and magical tools. I am also a woman - and I believe deeply that witchcraft is the ONLY religious persuasion that truly celebrates the feminine, that sees divinity as female first, then male. I subscribe to that point of view, if that makes me a Witch then so be it.

I am directly opposed to the ethos of patriachal society which has done nothing but destroy and oppress based on its interlocking pillars of sexism, racism, class exploitation and environmental destruction.

Being a Witch is a stand against those philosphies and so the first and foremost reason for taking this path is because Witches treat the planet and humanity with respect.

Deep Ecology and ecofeminism are encapsulated in the Wiccan path. If you want to learn more about these concepts then I recomment

I watched the BBC series Planet Earth and was filled with awe as well as deep sadness. Who are we to rape and plunder this wonderful planet? Who are we to set ourselves up as Masters of the natural world?

Being a Witch means that I experience myself as part of the living earth and therefore I must play my part in protecting the planet. Witchcraft is a hybrid indiginous religion, and as with all such paths it originates from a time when mankind HAD to respect the earth. He had no choice but to work within his environment and live in harmony with the seasons. All other religions came along much later. In fact 'Christian Cultures' were responsible for the great colonial horrors of slavery, the decimation of native american society and most indiginous peoples who by and large lived in harmony with nature and only took what they needed to survive.

In formal religion God rules the world from outside. In Witchcraft Goddess is the world manifested in each one of us and the ecosystem of the planet. Worship of an external God who has given permission for mankind to bring the planet into subjection, rationalises the belief that mankind can plunder the planet. As he is encouraged to conquer sin in his own flesh, so he has been encouraged to conquer the natural world and the peaceful people that live in harmony with it. Think of the crusades and the missionaries; whole societies have been crushed or dismantled either by war or dogma until they are no longer able to sustain their original life styles. Witchcraft recognises ecological balance - it is a religion of ecology. It also recognises and values indiginous culture.

These things are very important to me. They touch my soul - therefore being a Witch is a political as well as a spiritual statement.

I observe the 8 festivals which follow the seasons; the solstices and the equinoxes. I observe the phases of the moon. It is a rhythmic path in which nature plays the most important role. I recycle, I buy ethically farmed foods, I am aware of my carbon footprint and am now making choices that reduce it. I support charities that work for the environment, I avoid supporting organisations that dont. Its not perfect, no doubt I contribute to the destruction as much as the next man but I do make sure my spiritual path has some impact on my life.

Being a Witch means being alive now! It is a joyful path. I love it.

OK, so thats probably enough from me. I have had to rush it due to time pressures so do forgive me if it is not constructed as well as I would have liked. Part 2, 3 and possibly 4 will cover the female aspect and more of the fluffy stuff.

Is it me or is this just priceless?

Entry in the Imbolc edition of Pagan Dawn - in the gatherings and get together section;

Great Oak Interfaith Moot. Upstairs at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. Second Sunday monthly.

Pagans and a trip to Jerusalem. Irony?

Well I thought it was funny ...