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.

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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.

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.

Reaffirmed Faith

Recently, I can’t pinpoint if the cause is seasonal depression or simply an overwhelming bout of laziness, but I’ve been in one of the biggest craft droughts of my life. Part of it, I know, is because I’m in Texas. I can’t stand it here. The energy in this state sickens me. I can’t explain why, but I haven’t been able to lock down a decent spell since I’ve gotten home. I did one after the Orlando tragedy, but I was too full of grief to really seal it. I’ll officiate it when I get back to school.

Because of this lack of inspiration, I’ve felt my faith slipping. I’d sit down and leaf through the closest book on witchcraft and feel a sickening sense of skepticism. How could anyone believe this? What if none of it is true? What if it’s all just the placebo effect and we really are just alone and meaningless to anyone? What if there are no gods up there to love us?

But then, last night, my faith was restored. Not in a grand Water to Wine kind of way, and honestly not even in a positive way, but it happened.

Last night I was talking on Skype with someone I’m getting very close to. I was just absently shuffling around my tarot cards simply because I always have to have my hands doing something, nothing more. In the midst of my absent mindedness, the three of swords called out to me. Loudly. I sure as hell still haven’t memorized the meanings to all the cards, so I placed it to the side and decided on a tentative “I’ll check that later.” But then, as I kept shuffling, the five of swords jumped out at me as well. This one shook me.

I put the deck down and looked up the meanings.

I’ll spare you to boring textbook lesson, but to make it as basic as possible, a three of swords symbolizes a separation and the five symbolizes deceit. I couldn’t ignore this. That psychic intuition that I’d written off as hormonal anxiety sparked up and I couldn’t stop myself. I asked my friend if he’d been hiding anything from me.

He was. I never would’ve known if I hadn’t consulted my cards. Not only is he a wonderful liar (the divine folly of all Virgo men) but he’d enchanted me into this mindset of fantasy. I thought no ill of him. It was a mistake on my part, of course, I should’ve known better, but I couldn’t even focus on the betrayal at that moment. I was too amazed by the power of the cards that I held.

I didn’t outright ask them, I didn’t lay out the candles and the crystals and get into a meditative state on the seventh hour of the full moon. I was simply absently hanging out with my cards, and they knew something was wrong. They let me know.

My skepticism has dissipated. There is no subconscious way I could’ve known this. There’s no scientific explanation besides the energy that flows through all things.

I don’t know how to thank them, really. I was thinking of charging them under the full moon in a few days. But I feel closer to my deck and my religion than I ever have. Yes, I feel hurt by the person I foolishly gave my trust to, but I’m so excited that what I believe and what I love is real and genuine and raw that I can’t even feel devastated.

How bittersweet.

Identity

No religion post today. Instead, it’s getting very personal and very sad.

So, last night I was reminded, once again, how isolated and friendless I am. Now, to some that would sound like just another teenage complaint and shit, but it’s not. I’ve got no “tribe.”

There was a study done that tried to explain how women dealt with stress and their go-to, almost across the board, was to go to someone for help. Women have groups, squads, tribes. Other female mammals do this too. I can’t. I never got the opportunity.

Growing up, I was taught to be a people pleaser. I never learned how to do anything for myself. That’s the reason I do everything I do. I dress how people want to see me, I act like people want me to act, I’ve lost 50 lbs just to make my partner happy. I now realize how detrimental to my development this is. I now have no personality.

I read once that people pick their friends by attraction, not in a sexual way, but just aesthetics. See, I’m not a beautiful person. I’m covered in self harm scars, I’ve got acne, I’m fat, black and nothing worth looking twice at. (Or even once for that matter.) When people are like me, they make up for it by having an amazing personality, right? They’re supposed to. I don’t.

I have no personality. No identity. There is no internal me that I don’t show anyone. What people see is all there is. I’m a book cover with no story on the inside. This is a jarring, unsettling realization. It makes me cold. I no longer care about myself. I cannot ever love myself because there is nothing there to love. That explains why I have no tribe, as well. How can people become attached to a blank space?

Because of this detachment and isolation, I’ve begun to relapse and not just a physical way. Everything has gone wrong. How can my gods love me if there’s nothing to love? Why stay alive if I’ll be forgotten in an hour? What’s the point of taking up vital resources and space if I’m not worth anything?

From being bullied from day one and trying my damnest to try and be what people would want me to be, I became a walking shell. I didn’t lose myself. You can’t lose something you never had in the first place.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not supposed to be here. That’s why my destined tribe will never show up, because I was never even supposed to be here. My partner is stuck with someone who they aren’t meant to be with, because I was never meant to make it this far. I was supposed to kill myself four years ago.

Butterfly effect, I suppose. How can I complain when it’s my fault that I’m miserable? I have the power to pull the plug. It’s just a matter of will.

Polytheist Favoritism

Well, “favoritism” isn’t exactly a good word for this, but it somewhat fits. In my polytheism, in different times of my life I find myself being drawn to different god. When I first got into paganism, the first god I became close with was Thor. Then I grew closer to Lucifer who taught me more than any being ever has, and now I’m drifting towards Persephone. I know why this is happening, and I’m not sure how to feel about it.

I was drawn to Thor for his strength. He taught me how to pick myself up when I couldn’t. That was right after my suicide attempt and once I learned what he could teach me, I moved forward.

The next was Lucifer. Once I learned how to pick myself up I had to figure out how to think inward. One of my biggest issues pre-suicide attempt was I always thought outward. I grew up more concerned with everyone around me than myself. I had no sense of individuality. Because of this flaw infecting my life at such a vital developmental time, I’m still struggling with understanding myself on the inside. Lucifer has helped drastically with this, but I’m still learning.

Now recently, I’ve began moving very much towards Persephone. It’s partly because of the changing of the season, partly because I’ve grown immensely these past few years and there’s a part of her story that I relate to on an uncanny level. The relationship I’m in is the underworld. I could just as easily choose to go the other way, go with Demeter (ie, a different direction in my sexual orientation), but I’m not. I can’t tell if it’s a decision or a command, but I’m dropping pomegranate seeds into my mouth one by one and choosing my Hades. It’s still debated whether or not Persephone chose this or the term “rape” was more literal than we want to think, and that reflects on my internal struggle greatly. I can’t tell if the relationship I’m in is abusive, or just what I need. Some days it feels like one more than the other. But I have to make a choice. The fact that I’ve felt pulls from Persephone shows what direction I’ll end up in. To me, Persephone represents choice, the conflict of being in a rock and a hard place, and difficult love. There’s so much of that in my life right now and it seems like no one on this plane will understand. She’s the only one that gets it. When I tell my peers about this issue, they brush it off, tell me to dump him, give bullshit black and white solutions… But when I pray about it, I can talk to Persephone for hours about this. She knows because her (alleged) choice to stay with Hades was difficult, her mother was livid, her flowers froze over from sadness, but Hades was happy. Hades had his queen and despite all the shit he went through; being tricked into ruling the land of the dead, being bullied by his brothers… he finally got what he wanted. He got Persephone.

It’s a complex thing to understand. I still don’t know how I feel about anything some days. Those moments are when I just pray. It makes it easier to talk about it.

In one of my stress theory classes, we were taught that how women cope with stress is different than men in that we create communities. When we have problems, we discuss them. It helps.

Persephone helps.

I’m not sure what will come of this, or come after this, part in my life. I don’t know if I’ll stay with my Hades or escape. I just don’t know. But for now, I’m in the capture part of the story. The next step is close, but I don’t know where or when.

But that’s life, I suppose.

Ostara

Today is a day of renewal for me. As Persephone arises from her kingdom to come to the surface and bring the world to bloom, I’m trying to rise and bloom myself. The spells I have planned for today are ones of new beginnings, new beginnings to better myself. But balance is a focus as well. As I dust away the dirt and negativity of my life, I’m hoping to place bright colors and plant seeds of yellow flowers in.

It’s a hope. A big one, with all the shit that’s going on in my life, I’m hoping I can use this day as a boost to be able to move forward. I’ve been stuck in this perpetual cyclone of bullshit for a long while and I’m praying that this will be the push I need to pull me out of it. I cleaned my dorm room more thoroughly than I have in months, I cleansed, full body grounded and just sat in silence for a few hours. It was a rejuvenating time.

But with a clean slate comes a case of “blank page jitters” that have sent me for a loop. I can either decide to go back to the trash that’s put me through hell constantly for the past few years, foolishly praying (once again) that it’ll change for the better, or I can dive into the unknown, grasping for a hand to hold knowing the entire time that there’s the much more plausible possibility that I’ll have made the wrong choice.

There’s no way of knowing. But Persephone made the decision to work in harmony with Hades, I can make the decision to do something that’s not only good for me, but everyone and everything around me.