My First Failed Spell

There’s some parts of life that I think witchcraft shouldn’t be influencing it. Physical life and death, immoral fiscal income, and, most importantly, the gods.

I see people on Tumblr and such talk about how they interact with their gods and I feel disgusted. The gods are indeed above us. Whether you strive to be them, be beside them or be loved by them, they are higher beings. Higher beings that, if you claim to worship them, you should do just that. Worship. Maybe this is a personal ideal, but I don’t see worship as manipulating, disgracing or ignoring these god’s demands. This is the only way eclecticism works. If worshiping the Theoi calls for certain shrines and tools, you get those shrines and tools. If worshiping the Theoi calls for a certain attitude, no matter what, you have that attitude while interacting with them. People on Tumblr calling their gods “little shits” and “douche bags” is so horrifying to me.

Back to my initial point, I do consider nature a god. The earth, the skies, weather and everything that nature outputs, is a deity. The Theoi give names to these acts. And I said before that I don’t approve of using witchcraft to influence the gods, right?

Well last weekend Knoxville raceway was having their sprint car opening and there was rain in the forecast, of course. It is April, after all. But I so badly wanted to see this race and even more so I wanted my boyfriend to see it. Sprint cars are this guy’s passion. Seeing his face light up when hot laps start is like seeing the sun rise. So, I worked out a Rain Stay Away spell.

I had my reservations from the very beginning, which probably added to the outcome, but I did it anyway. Hell, it’s Iowa. The weather around this part of the world is sporadic as fuck, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad. The spell was carefully crafted, I Incorporated a offering to Zeus, Hera and Iris within it, all the major sky gods I could think of plus a general offering to nature herself. I knew deep down this was going to blow up, but I tried it anyway.

I was wrong.

The race got rained out, so my boyfriend and I went back to the camp site. From there, there was hail, violently terrifying lightening and thunder that sent me into a panic attack (which isn’t common at all, I love thunder, but this just shook me to a deeper point that night). It got so bad that we slept in the car.

Afterwards, I went through my stages of grief. Before that moment, I could, with confidence and honesty, say that a spell never failed me. There was always a desired outcome, although not always exactly how I plan, but things always worked out until now. I was convinced for a moment I wasn’t a real witch, that I didn’t have the spark or the drive inside me, that I was nothing but a sad loser that ruined everything.

The next morning I felt slightly better. My boyfriend (I’ll just say the Virgo from now on) reassured me that this was just a circumstance thing. That every other spell I did for him worked and has continued to work. It was just a lesson I needed to learn.

I unraveled the spell and offered the herbs within it as an offering to nature as an apology for trying to control her.

The drive there and back was safe, I actually did have a good time, because I love travelling and camping and my Virgo. My mental illness can’t even ruin that weekend for me, I genuinely did have such a good time. It was definitely eye opening though. I know my god’s boundaries now and I’ll respect them completely. I guess it’s something to brag about, I’ve been doing this for seven years and this is the first time a spell of mine has backfired.

Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

Witches Against Trump

I felt that I had to document my response to this, so here we go.

I’ve seen multiple articles saying that a mass curses/hexes in general don’t work, that they do nothing but waste energy, but especially in a time like this where the political climate is moving steadfast in the wrong direction. (Fuck that “there is no wrong opinion” nonsense, if your opinion is rooted in the hatred or oppression of other people, it is not correct.) And witches and non witches alike claim that the mass hex is a waste, that instead people should be out contacting reps and marching on the front lines.

My issue here is, why can’t we do both?

I’ve been going to protests in my town non stop for the past three months, I’m planning to go up to North Dakota to an anti-DAPl demonstration, I’ve been to prayer circles, marches, had endless arguments and discussions with people from every side of the political coin, but at the root, I’m a witch as well as an activist.

I just finished a binding spell. My intention is to bind Trump from doing any more harm and replacing the hate he feels for marginalized people with genuine love and understanding. Will the spell do anything? Will any of our spells do anything? I have no idea. But my craft is a part of every aspect of my life, including my activism.

I consider my busy schedule of balancing finding time and skipping class to attend protests and town hall meetings and forums as a privilege. I am able bodied enough to attend these things. I know my family is privileged enough to help me if I’m ever arrested during a protest. I don’t have a full time job commitment to the point I can’t attend protests unless I want to eat that month. For people without this privilege of time and physical health, a spell, a shared article, an email to a senator that will be shoved in the slush pile of hundreds of thousands of emails and ignored, is all they can do. But it is something. To belittle someone’s activism because it isn’t as loud and proud as yours, is elitist and just all around fucked up.

So if you are a witch, before you criticize the mass trump hex, ask yourself what are you doing to help? What privileges to do you have that other witches don’t?

Another worry that I have about this entire thing is how outrageously big it’s gotten. Normal, non pagan, unknowing news sources have written (ignorant) pieces about what witchcraft is, which has brought tons of negative, dubious energies. This happens every single time the rest of the world is reminded that witchcraft is a practice. It’s irritating. A part of me is excited and hopeful, that maybe if people know that witchcraft and paganism is normal then more people will normalize and respect it, but the other half of me is devastated. This is just more eyes of scrutiny on us. Sometimes I just wish witchcraft was a secret, like in the old days.

Anyway, do I have high hopes for the mass trump hex? Of course. Realistically? As with any other demonstration or form of activism, it is out of my hands. I will do my part, speak my piece, do my work. What comes next is up to those in power.

A Prayer

I send you, protectors of water and champions of peace on the front lines, behind the scenes, being detained and terrorized, signing petitions and attending meetings, I send you strength.

I send you the strength of myself, the strength given to my by my ancestors and spirits. I send you the strength of every ocean before man attempted to tame it. I send you the power and authority of Poseidon, the peace and forwardness of Aphrodite, and the flowing love of every water spirit.

I send you, Missouri River, daughter of a force unnamed by society, all my gratitude. You have faced the adversity of generations, and still you ebb and flow, swallow the dangers imposed on you and continue to flourish. Yes, I remember the days when we could not see the other side of your banks. Yes, I remember when you were pure enough to bathe in, clear enough to see the bottom and quick enough to wash away even the deepest of pains. I remember you at your prime and I promise, my love, I promise, that I will fight for you in any way I can.

And finally, I send you, oppressors, capitalists, anti-intellectuals, anti-climate change believers and ultimately trump, knowledge. It is taking my all my will to not send you my anger, frustration and violence. I won’t, though, because you are young. I send you enlightenment. I send you a reminder, that we only get one earth, and religion specification aside, this planet is a miracle and a gift. Why take a gift and do this to it? Why not take care of it, love it and be grateful for what a wonderful thing you have been given. I send you these things with no ill will, simply hope.

A Ramble

I have nothing specefic to talk about today, I just feel like writing. I’m guessing this is a normal feeling. I have nothing to truly say. Well, that’s not true, I always have something to say, but the issue is will anyone care? There’s an issue within all art, I think, that people believe there’s no point in making art unless someone is going to look at it. I don’t believe that. For instance, I paint. All the time. It’s not good, I’m not an expert at shading or proportions or blending. I just enjoy art. On a technical level, it’s horrible, but I love what I do. I have no intention of showing anyone because I know they will think it’s hideous. There’s nothing focused, black women’s faces and bodies surrounded by glitter and poetry, gnarled trees being struck by lightning, lots of collages of torn up patient confidentiality contracts. 

But, since this is indeed a religion blog, I’ll focus my ramblings on my religion. There’s a lot that’s been going through my head. As most pagans that aren’t devoted full time high priestesses, I feel like I don’t put enough time into my craft. I’ve only done one spell this year and it’s the middle of February. I feel the need to journal my thoughts on things more, but I truly don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t have many questions. I have a very solid comprehension of my beliefs, but I don’t doubt it would help me to keep writing it down.

Why not plop it down here, just because I don’t have anything else to do at the moment.

Who I worship:

  • Goddess and God / sometimes referred to as Mawu Lisa
  • The sun and moon and all the planets
  • All the theoi, but especially Persephone, Hecate and Demeter
  • Lucifer, although I more follow his ideology as a teacher

Beliefs

  • The zodiac
  • Spirit realm, Summer land and then reincarnation after death
  • Witchcraft and the manipulation of energy
  • Environmental protection
  • Intertwining political activism into my religion / 
  • Do no harm, but take no shit
  • We are all pieces of energy, of the universe, and we can connect to all things that the universe created. We can communicate with trees. We can recharge in a storm. 

Witchcraft

  • Energy comes from all things, but especially things that come from the earth. Different things put off different energies and to get a specefic intention through in a spell, use those specefic items (such as crystals or herbs) in a spell
  • Cursing is necessary in certain situations. Energy that isn’t expelled inside a person can become poison. Cursing can be used to get this anger out.

It’s so hard to put this into words. I just know it when I do it. My perception of life is different than it would be if I weren’t Wiccan. I notice things differently. I worry about different things. When I drive over the bridge that’s above the Missouri River, I don’t look over and see water, I see a moving, flowing, breathing thing. When people point out parts of where the river used to be before man channeled it into this small thing that’s being polluted and desecrated, I feel disappointment. Why did we do this? Why couldn’t we work with her instead of cage and shrink her? The Missouri River used to be massive, and we’ve dwindled it into this manageable thing, like a “domesticated” wolf. The river doesn’t belong to us. We belong to it.

This post is all over the place, but it’s something. I need to write more. Organize more. Pray more.

I need to do more.

Imbolc 2017

Blessed Imbolc, friends. Although I haven’t been able to actually celebrate it yet (it’s a sunshine holiday with no sunshine, so I’ll just be doing my ritual tonight), because I haven’t been in my dorm at all today, I’ve still got the holiday in my mind. Now, I don’t know much about Brigid, and I don’t personally worship her, but since the holiday was made in her name it would only make sense for me to do some reading up in my spare time. She’s beautiful, I must admit. A goddess of poetry and storytelling, protector of cows and rivers. She’s the life that flows through all things, which explains her survival through the centuries. She was so beautiful and important Christianity tried to kidnap her. She is resilient and powerful. I have infinite respect for her.

Personally, I associate (almost all, but especially) this holiday along with Beltane strongly with Persephone. During this time, she is returning to this world to bring color and warmth to it once again. Hades is kissing his wife on the temples, packing her suitcase and telling her to say hello to Demeter for him. This is a time of excitement for me, because my goddess will be back. It’s a lovely feeling.

For my ritual tonight I’m going to do a lot of cleaning of my ritual space, dust off the cat hair and spilled cinnamon, meditate, make a few wishes and then paint something in honor of Persephone, an offering to welcome her back to us.

Later I’ll add in images of my ritual and painting, but until then, happy almost-spring!

They/Them and Paganism

I’ve accepted that I’m agender for about a year now. Just recently this semester after meeting a very out and wonderful human, I’ve been inspired to go through the social transition of letting everyone else (excluding my parents) that I’m trans.

It’s been a bitch of a struggle, I won’t doubt that. My self confidence took quite the blow the last few years and I’m just now getting it back, but still, the remaining habit of internalizing every negative comment instantly and brushing off the positive lingers. Every time some bigoted asshole insists that there’s “only two genders” or that “they/them pronouns are grammatically incorrect” (which is bullshit) it hurts, of course. To finally find a label that explains everything that I’ve been feeling my entire life and knowing that I’m not alone was exciting! But then listening to crowds of assholes scream at me that I’m just trying to be special, or that it’s all fake, can really fuck someone up. On top of all that, the body dysphoria that came my first semester of sophomore year was unbearable. I used a makeshift binder (two too small sports bras) for the first time and the feeling of comfort was indescribable, like finally dropping a hundred pound weight. The thoughts in the back of me head that none of this was real and I was just faking it were constant though. It brought up a frustrating question with an answer that seemed permanently out of reach.

Until one day when I was neck deep in my studies, I found a solid reason as to why I never felt connected to gender. Now, this might only apply to me, but I have a firm and unwavering belief in reincarnation and the residue that can spill over from past lives. Gender being one of those residues. In my past lives there’s no telling what kind of being I was. A female plant, a grumpy cis man, a trans woman. All I know is the variety is there and it explains the why I even felt a connection to nonbinary gender in the first place, or why I couldn’t shake the feeling after I learned that there was in fact a label for what I’d been feeling my entire life.

Now, the kicker is, even though I found a word for how I felt, the pagansphere was just as unaccepting of it as nonpagans. Dianic terf wiccans, heterocentric mythos and equating binary sex organs with all my craft tools was everywhere. It seemed escaping transphobia was even harder in paganism than it was in the normal world. It made sense. The earth runs on fertility. Seed to bloom to seed to bloom. But this ideology morphs with the times. Humans don’t need fertility stories anymore. In fact, we need the opposite. Overpopulation is a thing and we are killing our earth because of it. Those I’ve seen that insist that the Maiden Mother Crone cycle specifically applies to cis women and nothing else make me want to yank my skin off. The maiden can be a sprout. The mother can be a tree dropping acorns. The Crone can be the skeleton of a plant shivering in a winter storm. Everything on this planet has a life cycle. This planet itself has one. To pretend that cycles are exclusive to cis humans is foolish at the very least.

This is where I focus my practice. On the cycles of the earth. My Wheel of the Year doesn’t celebrate a woman giving birth, but a tree giving life. And with what the climate is going through, nature deserves more love than us humans do.

Settled and Sorted

I’ve settled on a faith. Hellenic wicca. The issue lately has been incorporating my faith into my every day life while being the busiest I’ve ever been.

This month alone I’ve performed at multiple events and attended more protests and activism events than I have in my entire life. I pray at night, rant and talk to my gods, but I haven’t had any time to do a ritual or formal offering. Because of this I’ve had to make due. My formal offerings are my time.

Attending activism and anti-fascism rallies, calling to Dike, Nike and Athena and Ares. Embracing who I am and evoking Hera. Speaking on diversity panels and educating people on LGBT and black rights and invoking Apollo.

It’s the little things, I think.