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The Ordains 22: Follow the Rules or Be Banished From Earth

This is the final entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener, Aleister Crowley, and more. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.
Read to the end for a special note!

“A Witch who knowingly breaks the Law (Ordains) will not be permitted to incarnate on Earth again.”

I can already hear the collective groans. The notion that breaking a certain list of rules will lead to some sort of cosmic punishment is reminiscent of certain dogmatic religions. Because of my upbringing, the first to come to my mind is Christianity, but there are tons of religions that uphold a similar concept.

Don’t fret, witchlings. Even though the intro for each entry has stated that the Ordains in their current form represent our core beliefs, this one doesn’t actually fit that mold. This last Ordain won’t be found in the Maiden’s Circle Book of Shadows. It was included in this series to demonstrate how everything must evolve with time, including religion.

Personally, I believe that, without change, there can be no growth.

Rules change and, while most of the Ordains are essential to my own practice, this one reminds me to accept those changes. They’re not only inevitable, but they’re necessary for us to fulfill our various paths throughout our lifetimes.

The men who created most of our laws lived in a different era. Their views about the world are old and outdated today. Even in their time, people were already beginning to question these kinds of ideas. And the idea of a witch simply deciding these Laws aren’t for them leads to their soul being forced into some arbitrary quarantine from Earth—well, that idea has no place here.

In my own practice, I believe that a soul will reincarnate if it needs or wants to, regardless of what choices were made in its previous life cycle. Of course, if it chooses to, I believe they may need to face karmic consequences. This leads into the second reason we’re including this Ordain in our series.

It makes us question what really happens after life ends, and what the consequences may exist for breaking the main Law of “Harm None.” No one alive can say for sure what happens after we die, though plenty will tell us their theories. Whether it’s ascension into some netherworld, reincarnation, or oblivion, everyone has some belief concerning the afterlife (or lack thereof). I shared some of mine above.

This old law is just one belief, representing the mindset of a man from another time.

Throughout this series, I hope I’ve demonstrated how no law is 100% all the time. I believe that goes for all laws, especially those of men. Occasionally, this puts us in a grey area. Who decides which laws are to be followed and when? I feel that, if we follow the most important one, “An ye harm none,” and if we let ourselves be guided in love, we might make the right choices. If we try to live in a way that helps other people and is good for our planet, breaking the Ordains or other written laws isn’t going to lead to any sort of punishment—at least not spiritually.

(I am in no way suggesting anyone engages in illegal activity, just to be clear.)

What I believe in is the freedom to choose. No spiritual law written by humans can dictate what our souls are called to do. The only law that must be honored in the Maiden’s Circle tradition is that you harm none, save for in defense of yourself or others who request your aid. Naturally, though, it’s up to each of us individually to decide what that means for us.

What do you think of this or any of the past Ordains? Do you believe we face punishment or banishment from Earth if we break this or other spiritual laws? If so, why? Is there something we must do to be allowed to incarnate again? Do you believe in reincarnation?

P.S. This is the end of our series on the Ordains. This has been such an interesting journey, and I sincerely hope it was educational and entertaining for you. Stick around. Next week, we’ll have a brief update before moving into our next series. See you there!

P.P.S.

Please forgive me for posting this so late in the week and missing last week’s post altogether. For the last month or so, I’ve been considering closing the blog. I have posts planned until next year, but in two years, I just haven’t seen the growth I’d hoped for. I love writing about Pagan things and feeling like I’m providing a service to my community. Over these last two years, however, I’ve added so much to my life—all of it I adore. Some things just take a little more out of me than others, and I’m searching for the best way to manage it all while still taking care of myself.
In any case, I’ve decided to continue this blog for as long as I have ideas. That’s how I feel for now, anyway. Sure, there may be only about three of you out there who read it, but all three of you are appreciated! And in the future, I know it’s going to be a valuable resource for the Covenpath students. Plus, writing this blog is good for my practice. It forces me to routinely check in with myself, which I believe is a good thing.
So, I’ll have to ask you to forgive me when the blog is occasionally late. I tend to take days off to care for myself when I notice stress or depression creeping up, and that’s not likely to change. It’s the best way I know to keep stable. But I will make sure you get something from me every week. If not a full blog entry, I’ll drop in with something.
Thank you so much to those of you who are here, and who encouraged me to keep going. And thank you to those who’ve been here all along, lurking in the shadows.
I love you and blessed be.

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Check out our forums and say hi! Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page! PLUS Did you know we have an MCCA newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!

The Ordains: Part 18 – Don’t Ask Them To Pay

This is the eighteenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.

“Do not set a price on your magickal work.”

This one is complicated. I’ve always had mixed feelings about money in general, and this law didn’t help. As early as ten years old, I learned the necessity of money. I also learned how discussions about money made people uncomfortable and therefore needed to be avoided. This created a confusion and uneasiness around money that I struggle with today.

My rocky relationship with money made it easy to accept this law into my practice at a young age. In fact, I held to the belief that it was unethical to charge for magickal work throughout the majority of my Wiccan life. In recent years, however, my viewpoint has taken a natural shift. The more I’ve come to understand just how unhealthy my views on money have been, the more I question this old adage.

After all, it was written in a time when society was structured differently.

No matter how “enlightened” Gerald Gardner might seem to us today, he was still a product of his time and, as such, his views on money reflected a rejection of mainstream society. Whereas a musician who made a lot of money was considered a “sell-out,” a witch who received pay for magickal work was cheapening the practice. This was also a time when many people believed that money was the root of all evil, so it stands to reason that Gardner would have had some hang-ups.

Nowadays, most Pagans have a different idea of how money works. Many of us see it as one of a million methods of transferring energy. I struggled with this concept for years before coming to accept it. Intellectually, it made some sense. If you exchange money that you earned for goods, how is that different from exchanging time or efforts for goods? You’ve just added a physical representation of your effort.

Of course, that would be true in an ideal world where money wasn’t used as a means for control and separation amongst the people. In reality, there are some issues with money that I believe everyone who hasn’t always had it can sympathize with. In our country, it’s used as a weapon and a method of hierarchical control for certain unsavory sorts.

Still, as a simplified concept, I can see money as an energetic exchange.

This shifting of opinions has helped me to feel a little less squirmy about making money through spiritual pursuits. I realize now that, if I am to follow this path, I need to be healthy. I need to make sure I have food, a safe place to call home, and the freedom to create; only then am I able to fulfill the purpose I believe Goddess has for me. And, in our current society, money is the tool that allows me to have those things.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Over the years, I’ve spoken to many witches who agree that this “Law” is old-fashioned. If we’re to thrive in the current systems and still do our spiritual work, we need to be able to pay our bills.

Someday, we’ll have a world in which everyone is guaranteed a home, food, security, and healthcare without having to worry if they miss one paycheck. A world where people are free to pursue their true cause in life.

For now, we witches need to adapt to survive.

There are limits, of course. While I’m fine with charging for tarot, spell kits, teaching magick, and the like, I’m a little less comfortable with the idea of doing actual spells for other people—especially if those people aren’t there in person to lend their energy to the work. I firmly believe that magick comes from within each of us; and if we have no personal ties to the subject of a spell, it’s not likely to do anything.

Some witches may feel it’s perfectly fine to cast spells for others in exchange for some sort of payment, but I’ve never felt good about that. Even so, I try not to look down upon those who do make money that way. Like I said, we’ve all got to eat and live. So, as long as a witch is behaving ethically and not taking advantage of others, I choose to withhold judgment.

In my eyes, this law speaks to those who would manipulate and lie to coerce people into paying them for magickal workings. This is utterly disgusting, predatory behavior and, unfortunately, we see it all the time. It’s impossible to walk through Manhattan on a Saturday without some street-side “psychic” telling you that you’re carrying a dark shadow. People like that are part of the reason legitimate readers and healers aren’t taken seriously.

Unfortunately, those folks probably aren’t going anywhere.

It’s up to the rest of us to act with honesty and to treat our craft and those who come seeking it ethically. I don’t believe a witch or an artist or teacher or anyone should have to forgo the basic necessities for living a healthy, balanced life—nor do I believe one should have to choose between doing spiritual work or taking some arbitrary “day job” to make due. If a person is drawn to spiritual work, they should be able to do so without the fear of not meeting their basic needs.

What do you think? Should people charge for any spiritual work? Should we find other means of making money while still doing spiritual work? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Abundant blessings to you and yours,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page! PLUS Did you know we have an MCCA newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!

The Ordains: Part 14 – Achieve Spirituality Through Acts of Love

This is the fourteenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.

“Witches understand that the ultimate act of spirituality is the act of positive creation through love.”

As a child, before dedicating myself to this faith, I believed I was a Christian. At that time, my church taught us that God was a very specific type of being. God was a man—or at least, a “He.” God loved the people who claimed to love him—regardless of whether they hurt others. They only needed to repent and be forgiven, no matter how many times they repeated their actions. And God loved to punish anyone who questioned him or believed in something different.

To be clear, I’m only speaking of what I gathered from the few Christian communities I was a part of. This is in no way a reflection of every single Christian. It’s just what I was taught. Which was that questioning God or the pastor, questioning one’s “elders”, or questioning the Bible or related stories meant one risked eternal damnation in the fiery pits of Hell.

Naturally, as evidenced by this blog and my life-to-date, the teachings of my church and others I’d attended didn’t sit well with me. The idea that our worship should be based in fear of a jealous and vengeful deity always seemed ridiculous to me. Even if I do believe that jealousy and anger are characteristics of the Divine (and I do), the idea that those are Her main personality traits never felt right.

At some point, I found the idea that God could be about more than Hellfire and commandments. That I didn’t have to live my life in fear of breaking some arbitrary rules about who I could love or what questions I was allowed to ask was truly a game changer. This was around the time I began looking into Wicca, and I came to the personal conclusion that the God I was taught about as a child wasn’t the true essence of the Divine.

I will always believe that the true essence of God, of divinity, is love.

When I figured that out, it blew my mind. The belief that God is Love became the early foundation for my spiritual practice. I chose to approach my faith with that belief as my guide, and it’s led me to where I am today.

Today, I’m secure in my spiritual beliefs. Even as I regularly evaluate and alter them, my beliefs remain always grounded in the thought that Love is the Divine’s most important gift to us and is Her most prominent aspect. It is her love that leads me through life—in both good and bad times.

This ordain supports that belief for me. I feel closer to the Divine and more in-tune with my spiritual guides when I engage in loving acts. When doing spellwork, meditation, manifestation, and anything else related to my craft, I do it in the name of Love. In fact, in my experience, those things work best when I actively remember to put myself in the headspace that emphasizes the love in my heart.

Sometimes, I do this by simply remembering what makes me happy. Other times, I’ll play with my cat, Brooklyn, or dance to joyful music. I’ll look at pictures of some of my happiest times and sing at the top of my lungs. All these things serve to raise my vibrational energy to that of love, and I’ve found that my craft work is far more effective than when I just jump right into it with no joy-building warm-up.

Often, in online forums and in-person Pagan groups, I hear people complaining about how their spells don’t work or about how they feel negativity around them all the time. Unfortunately, many of those people seem to carry worry or fear or sadness in their hearts. They have trouble finding joy, and therefore trouble feeling the elation that one has when experiencing a surge of Divine love. That, in turn, makes craft work difficult.

Eventually, as you traverse your Pagan path, you’ll no doubt hear about the concept that what you send out will return to you.

Many people seem to think of this in terms of Karma or the Law of Three. Personally, I don’t think Karma affects us in our current lifetime, rather it determines our next life cycle, and I’m not crazy about the Law of Three, either. Instead, the concept that “what you send out will return to you” refers to something that occurs at many levels—not least of which, the energetic level.

When you carry fear, worry, and other negative energy, these are the things you’ll attract. Unlike magnets, when it comes to energy, like attracts like. So, when we make a concerted effort to fuel our everyday thoughts and actions with the energy of love, we invite more love into our lives, along with all of the positive energy that accompanies it.

When we flip the narratives in our own heads and actively inject love into our spiritual work, we may find the experience much more fulfilling and healing much more attainable. Anything we create in the name of Love will be divinely inspired, and so will be more connected to Spirit and our Higher Selves.

How do you imbue your spiritual practice with love? What do you do to raise your energetic vibration before working the craft? If you don’t do that, do you find it affects your magick?

With love always,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page! PLUS Did you know we have an MCCA newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!

Was I Born A Witch?

I’m in a lot of Pagan Facebook groups where Pagans of all traditions can come together to celebrate, grow, and learn. A question that pops up time and time again in these groups is something along the lines of How do I know if I was born a witch?

If you’ve wondered this yourself, you might have gotten some pretty varied responses. Well-meaning websites list anything from marks on your palm to just not giving a damn in general as “signs” that you’re born a witch.

Those erroneous articles aside, most practitioners know the truth: no one is born a witch. It’s true that some witches are born with certain spiritual gifts. You may have always “known” things beyond what you’ve been exposed to. You could even have been born into a family with a long-practiced witchcraft tradition. However, while anyone can be born with spiritual gifts—that doesn’t make one a witch.

What does make someone a witch is choice. You choose to practice witchcraft, to learn what it has to offer, and to make it a part of your life. No one else can tell you whether you are. No special marks or gifts. You choose to be a witch, and it’s as simple as that.

For most of us, it’s a lifestyle and endless journey. Sure, there are those who call themselves “dabblers,” but most witches have spent a significant amount of time learning our craft and incorporating it into our daily lives.

In the beginning of my own practice, I asked this very same question. Was I born a witch? I had many gifts and didn’t fit in with anyone, instead choosing to drift through social groups, mainly in shadow. I knew things others didn’t and saw the world differently from just about everyone around me. There are quite a few in online communities who’d claim those are signs I was a witch at birth.

I believe that I was born with the potential to become a witch. There are spirits, deities, and such varied otherworldly beings who interact with us on the earthly realm all the time. Whether in this realm or another, it’s possible for these beings to become attached to others. They may choose to guide and protect certain people, much in the way we might choose to help and protect our friends and family.

That’s why it might seem like witchery has been “calling” you. In a way, it has been. Some people are more inherently tuned into the spiritual realm and are therefore more likely to pursue a Pagan practice. Still, you are not a witch until you take on that mantle.

No one is born a witch, but most of us are born with the potential to become one. If you feel you’re guided to this path, I encourage you to pursue it for at least a year before deciding one way or another. Remember that no one else can decide for you whether or not you’re a witch—not relatives, not other witches, and certainly not strangers on the internet.

So, what are some of the signs you saw or experienced growing up that lead you to this Pagan path? How did you discover your connection with witchcraft? Let’s discuss in the comments!

 

With love always,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

 

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Reflection and the Future of Maiden’s Circle

You may have noticed that I skipped the last update. I had begun two separate blog entries, but neither felt ‘right.’ Both entries focused on topics I’ve had lined up for months, so you’d think they would be easier to write. That has not been the case.

The truth is, I’ve always had some difficulty writing this blog. Non-fiction has never come quite as easily to me as fiction writing. Due to the specificity of this blog, I’ve also realized just how much I’ve had to limit my writing here. Somewhere in the search for appropriate topics, the seeming necessity for a broader reader-base, and my desire to be easily accessible while still providing useful information—this blog became somewhat of a chore.

Recently, I read something along the lines of, ‘in order to have a successful blog, you have to first and foremost know what you want to say.’ That struck a chord and forced me to reevaluate the purpose of this blog. This is a Pagan blog, yes; but what do I want to say here?

While I’ve got plenty of topics lined up, I haven’t given myself plenty of reasons. Yes, all of the topics are things I like talking about. But are they helpful? Does each entry somehow feed into this blog’s original purpose? Do the readers even know what that original purpose is?

In the beginning, this blog’s sole purpose was to aid the growth of Maiden’s Circle Coven and to draw in students for the Academy. However, I didn’t want to just talk about Maiden’s Circle. The practice behind Maiden’s Circle is one of growth and eclectic Pagan practices, so that’s what I chose to write about.

Instead of focusing on the coven itself, I aimed my energy on discussing witchy issues, history, and spiritual beliefs—topics I’d hoped would spur some sort of conversation. I figured, the more people who join that conversation, the further reach Maiden’s Circle would have, and that would mean I could share the gift of healing on a larger scale.

However, in the pursuit of that larger scale, I feel my writing has lost some of its meaning. The last few topics have been on my list since the birth of this blog, and I do believe to be important, but I’m not sure similar posts can’t be found elsewhere. That’s not to say I want to be the only person who knows something, but I do want my content to be relatively unique and to add something of value to the Pagan community.

In addition, because I diverted so much energy away from the actual Coven and have focused on more general Pagan things—on top of building my fiction writing career—Maiden’s Circle has been in a nearly standstill state. The course is no closer to being complete than it was at the end of 2017*, and I’m considering outsourcing its structure and administration to lessen my workload.

I’m hesitant, though. Having someone build the structure and put everything into place is one thing. But, it doesn’t seem proper to have someone who isn’t a member of Maiden’s Circle administrate a program that is integral to this Coven’s existence.

So, again, I am searching for beta students to take the course. This time, however, taking the course gives you the opportunity to actually join Maiden’s Circle Coven. In this case, you would not only be able to take part in MCCA’s inner-workings, but we’d meet up regularly to celebrate Sabbats and Esbats.

Becoming an official member is only open to New York and New Jersey residents (or other close states, so long as you can make a meeting once a month). There are other forms of membership, however, which have no location restrictions. I’ll be updating you on all of this within a couple of weeks.

One thing I know now is that I do want to continue writing for you. The desire to inspire conversation, to reach out to the community and touch hearts—that desire is still here and still strong. I’d like it if you joined the discussion, but I won’t pressure you. I’ll just keep writing until you feel ready share your journey.

Who’s to say what the future holds? For Maiden’s Circle? For me or you? This blog might change a hundred times over the years. I’m happy as long as it keeps a Pagan heart. I’m happy if it helps just one person.

More attention is going to be given to the Coven as an organization in the future. I will still use some of the pre-planned topics (because I think they’re pretty interesting!) but I do want to recenter the focus on this blog’s original purpose. I do hope you’ll stick with me through the changes.

Other than the aforementioned topics, what would you like to learn more of from Maiden’s Circle?

Remember that I love you,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Come see Maiden Circle’s Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every Monday!
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*After some reflection, I realize this isn’t entirely true. All of the lessons have been written. I’ve just been unable to choose a proper format for delivery—one that allows us to connect as a community. So, it’s closer yet simultaneously…not.

How To Relax For Maximum Magickal Effect

In the last entry, we discussed the dangers of aiming for perfection and the need to just relax. Of course, that’s easier said than done. This week, I’d like to talk about some of the different ways to aid in relaxation that allow us to be the most effective in our Pagan works.

These are a few of the methods I’ve used in times of high stress or when I need more focus. Some of these methods have become such integral parts of my personal routine that going a day without leaves me feeling imbalanced and anxious.

You can tweak these anyway you’d like to best suit your practice. None of these techniques are strictly Pagan, but incorporating them into your Pagan practice will help you find a deeper connection by achieving a more relaxed state.

1. Reading

Pagans love books. Visit any of your Pagan friends and you’re bound to find a variety of spell-books, how-to manuals, “beginner” books, and more. We read a lot, but our reading material tends to skew towards non-fiction.

Make sure that, along with gathering knowledge, you’re setting time aside to read for entertainment. It could be fiction or narrative non-fiction, but it’s important that you allow yourself to be taken away by stories.

Whether it’s witchy-themed, a heart-racing thriller, or a cozy kid’s tale, getting lost in a story will improve your imagination and soothe your mind. An especially good story will make you feel things—joy, hope, sadness, excitement, and so much more.

It’s necessary to connect with these emotions and expand your imagination not only for an improved Pagan practice, but to live a fulfilled life.

2. Coloring

Did I mention that Pagans love books? Coloring books included. If you think you’re too old for coloring books, you’re sorely missing out.

Connect with your inner child and get yourself a spiritual or nature-based coloring book. Let yourself be drawn into the images and change your vibrations.

Color magick is old school, so this is the perfect relaxation method to bring into your spiritual practice.

3. Exercise

It might sound counter-intuitive, but pushing yourself to do short bursts of exercise is a great way to relax. If you’re feeling unfocused or unable to settle down, brief, vigorous exercise allows you to funnel any anxious energy out of your body. This, in turn, allows you to chill out.

Each day when you wake up and each night before bed, take about five minutes to engage in some sort of physical activity. This could be anything from jumping jacks to walking up and down stairs to doing seated triceps dips.

Not everyone is capable of such physical exertion, but if you are, this is an ideal way to relax and improve your overall health.

4. Aromatherapy

The human brain is uniquely connected to scent in a way that makes aromatherapy a rather powerful tool. Aroma is one of the fastest ways to human emotions, so it’s a perfect tool to relax.

You can use essential oils, incense, scented candles, and many other methods of aromatherapy. One of the most used and beloved scents in the witchy community is lavender, so do yourself a favor and pick up a vial of the essential oil today.

5. Bathing

Baths have been a source of relaxation for centuries and that hasn’t changed. Sure, nowadays many of us tend to think of baths as people soup. Ick.

However, a spiritual cleansing bath is imperative for any Pagan practitioner. It allows you to cleanse your aura, to release anything that may be holding you down or causing you discomfort, and clear your head.

I highly recommend taking at least a monthly spiritual bath. Make it part of your New or Full Moon ritual. By adding this simple practice to your routine, you’re sure to find all of your witchy workings improved, along with a lightening of your overall mood.

6. Meditation

I recommend meditation for just about everything. That’s because it is so amazing. Meditation is one of the best methods we have of connecting body, mind, and spirit.

If you aren’t meditating daily, then you should start. Having a base of meditation will make every working that much easier to get into. It helps your brain to focus faster, calms your body, and allows you to tap into other realms.

Meditation is my number one method for relaxation and is possibly the most important aspect of my spiritual practice. It’s important that you find a style or system of meditation that works best for you and put in the effort to maintain a regular practice.

7. Walking

More specifically, I mean walking away from whatever is causing anxiety. If you’re having trouble relaxing and getting focused for magickal work, then don’t do the work!

It’s important to remember that mindset plays a huge part in manifesting, and sometimes it’s better to just walk away from the work than to try to push through our anxiety.

Stepping away from the problem allows us to see it in a different light, so when we come back to it, we may be better equipped to move forward. So if you’re having trouble relaxing enough to do magick, walk away and try out one of the other methods above.

Those are just some of the ways I currently use to calm my mind and aid me in achieving my best form for magickal workings.

What do you do to relax? How do you prepare for magickal work? What’s your favorite method?

Let me know what you think in the comments!

With all my heart,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Did you folks know I do weekly Tarot readings? Check out the videos here, and subscribe to catch them every Monday. Be sure to check out my other works HERE
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The Emotional Witch

I have a confession.

While I often speak of MCCA in terms of a group, the Maiden’s Circle community isn’t very large. At the moment, it exists solely online. Ultimately, the goal is to establish a physical academy, but for now, all of MCCA operations have been via the Internet.

That said, it may be a surprise to learn that—although I’ve attended dozens—I’ve never personally led a group ritual. In my experience with coven/group work, I’ve always been an attendee at someone else’s event. For a long time, this was ideal. I simply did not have the time or confidence to comfortably lead a group in ritual.

That lack of confidence also contributed to the setbacks with MCCA’s earlier incarnations. Despite my experience in my personal practice, I didn’t believe that I had anything of value to offer the Pagan community. At times, that doubt still crops up, but I’ve found that pushing myself to move forward eventually pulls me out of that mindset.

It’s lately become important to look at what causes me discomfort and why. I’ve learned that many of the things that make me uncomfortable are the result of Fear. This isn’t exactly the adrenaline-based, run-for-your-life Fear. This is something that governs my every move.

This Fear lives deep in my psyche, as I suspect it does for most people. This is the Fear that tells me not to take a specific route. It tells me to try just enough, but always reminds me of the risks of trying too much. It’s the Fear that says that any moment of happiness can be taken away in an instant.

It is that Fear that I’ve allowed to stop every grand endeavor I’ve attempted. Of course, a life of self-sabotage doesn’t seem like a very sustainable model, so I’ve been taking steps to confront that darkness. This means willingly stepping into situations that aren’t always easy in order to better understand myself.

This month, I’m facing down my fear of loss, as well as that lack of confidence I mentioned earlier. I’m forcing myself to pay attention to my reactions, to analyze them, and to accept them for what they are—whatever they are.

This doesn’t mean I’ll allow myself to wallow should my response to certain stimuli be negative. But I will accept what I feel in the moment as a completely authentic expression of my experience. Whether I’m nervous, sad, or over-the-moon-joyous, I make an effort to stand in these emotions—to let them wash over and through my being and do whatever it is they’re meant to do.

I may have lamented before that we’ve created a society where emotions are seen as weak or “less” than the alternative. Fortunately, we’ve entered a new age of thought in the last seven years known as the Age of Aquarius. During this period, more and more people are getting in touch with their emotions.

In the last few decades, we’ve drastically altered the way we see human emotion and mental health. Instead of suppressing, we now know the overwhelming benefits of truly experiencing. I believe that we can’t be whole without allowing those most true aspects of our personality to breathe.

We have to study our Fear, but we can’t let it stop us. We have to touch the things that break our hearts and still move forward. We’ve become too reliant on aversion.

The ability to run away from what makes us uncomfortable has become a modern crutch, but that’s not the life I want for myself or my future children. I don’t want to let the Fear of emotion keep me from a fully realized life.

So while I do sometimes feel a bit impostor-syndrome-y, I know without question that I was called to provide something to the Pagan community. What that something is, I can’t claim to know—but Maiden’s Circle is a start. In addition, I’ll be leading a ritual for the first time this coming Full Moon in Brooklyn.

I am terrified that I’ll screw it up. I’m nervous no one will listen or even show up. But just as I continue to write this blog whether anyone reads it or not, I will be there on the Full Moon for all who arrive. Will it be perfect? No. But I’ll be there.

Emotions can only stop us if we don’t understand them. We can’t understand them if we avoid them, and we can’t heal. We must have the compassion for ourselves to open our hearts and heal whatever hurts reside in there.

 

How do you experience your day-to-day emotional journey? Are there things you can do to treat yourself better? Are you suppressing anything that you want to get rid of?

 

Let me know your responses and opinions in the comments!

From the depths of my heart,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

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The Importance of Gratitude

How many times have you had someone say, “you should be grateful”? How many times did that lead to you actually feeling grateful? Often, being told when we should feel gratitude only serves to make us feel somehow “wrong” when we don’t. It’s important to take time and get to the root of why that is. And if you find yourself saying things like, “you should be glad”, take a moment to consider how they might affect the person you’re speaking to. These comments are typically said with someone’s best interests in mind, but they can be seen as dismissive.

Let’s say a person (Shane) is telling their friend (Jess) about their hard day at work. Jess responds: “At least they pay well.” Jess may have simply meant to encourage Shane, but the result is that Shane’s complaint is diminished. What Jess has essentially said is that Shane shouldn’t talk about the less pleasant parts of the day because they should be grateful for the money. The message Shane receives is that their complaint doesn’t matter—their feelings don’t matter. And every time someone tells Shane that they should be grateful for something, it adds to their discomfort.

Eventually, Shane finds the simple act of expressing gratitude difficult. They may not even notice this discomfort, but it shows in a few ways. They’re perfectly fine thanking a cashier or waitress (and we all should be), but the idea of living a grateful life is foreign. They push against it—preferring instead to focus on the negative in their life.

I’m willing to bet that Shane isn’t alone. We’ve all had someone tell us that we should be grateful when we didn’t feel it. Even children experience this. And we all feel bad about it whether we want to or not. This negativity can make true gratitude that much more difficult to feel or experience.

Last Wednesday, while washing dishes and listening to music. I was overcome with a wonderful surge of joy that brought me to tears. I started thinking about the good things in my life. I thought how lucky I am to have a home to clean, how awesome it is that I have an understanding partner, as well as a pet and day-job that I love. I thought about my friendships and the lessons I’ve learned over the years and where I was just a few years ago.

The truth is, I could have ended up in so many negative situations. My background, without going too much into detail, is riddled with addiction and abuse. I could easily have followed the patterns of my family—and I nearly did.

I credit my mother and my faith for giving me the vision to change my path—and for allowing me to suffer the consequences of my own choices. Experiencing certain hardships has made seeing the beauty in my life that much easier.

After a recent period of darkness, I began to put more effort into living a grateful life. It seemed like the only way to find joy again was to sort of force it. So, I wrote in my journal at the end of every day about something that I was grateful for. At first, it was a little tough, but I began to see more and more good with each passing week.

The act of forcing myself to be grateful eventually led to me seeing real change in my outlook. In fact, every time I’ve found myself in a cycle of depression, I’ve used a similar method to get myself out of it. Simply put, I pretended until it became real. Were there days I didn’t actually feel grateful? Definitely. But I wrote something in the journal, anyway. Finding things to be grateful for helps to improve my life, and I think it can do that for anyone.

You don’t have to work hard to find something you’re thankful for. The fact that you wake up each day is a thing to be celebrated. If you’re capable of doing something someone else isn’t, be grateful for your good fortune. If you’ve gone through some hardships, take notice that you’re still standing—you’re strong. Tell yourself to see the good in your life and you will. “Fake it” as they say.

Every day, I find some reason to thank the Goddess. For inspiration. For holding me up when my pain seemed too much. For making Entenmann’s donuts so good. Whether it’s in song or silent prayer; whether I simply close my eyes and feel grateful or I spend half an hour crying and blubbering about the beauty of my life—there is no wrong way to thank Her.

How do you find gratitude in your daily life? Think about what you’re grateful for. Do you think you could bring more gratitude into your life? What are some ways you express gratitude?

Let me know your opinions in the comments!

With love always,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page!

I’m Not “Sensitive” Enough (When Everyone Else Seems More In-Tune)

Have you ever gone to a Pagan gathering and found yourself surrounded by people who all seem a little more witchy than you? There’s the lady decked out in crystals and charms; the professional tarot reader; and, of course, the ritual leader (usually the founder of the group). Do you look around and see that everyone seems to have their own Pagan niche but you’re still trying to figure yours out?

Believe it or not I go through the same thing at almost every Pagan Gathering I attend. Even though I have over 15 years of experience and practice—and I’ve probably read all the same books that the others have—I still feel like I haven’t done enough. Like I’m not Pagan enough. I don’t make and/or sell Pagan products—at least not yet. At the moment, Maiden’s Circle is a coven of one. I do think of MC readers and students as part of the Maiden’s Circle family, but I’m the only one initiated.

So despite my years of experience, I still feel like a newbie Pagan around many of these other people. Sometimes, these are people who have been on their path for 2 or 3 years and just decided to start a group—so they did. I think starting a spiritual or Wicca group is an amazing feat, and it’s not an easy task. These people are almost intimidating to me. They’re people who have done something that I would like to do, but am just not there yet.

How do we deal with feeling like we are less connected than others in our Pagan community, and therefore somehow less witchy or less of a Pagan?

I think it’s important to understand that what we are feeling is insecurity. I am confident in my relationship with the Goddess. However, I’m not as confident when it comes to knowledge of witchcraft. Sure, my spells work—but I only do one or two in a year. I’m not as trained (or self-taught) as my peers when it comes to crystal healing or picking wild herbs or Tarot.

Being aware of these gaps in my knowledge, as well as meeting people who seem to know all of these things and have learned them in a short amount of time, makes me feel like I’m not doing what I should be doing—especially considering my chosen blog focus. It leads to me wondering if I’m a fraud. If I can’t figure out a basic Tarot reading without using the book as my guide, then what makes me think I’m good enough to talk about and teach Wicca?

Of course, this kind of insecurity is not good for us. A common response to this feeling is to shut down or turn away, to pretend that it’s not there. I have certainly been guilty of avoiding certain topics so that I don’t have to expend the energy of learning about them–and still feeling like I know nothing.

When these feelings strike, I like to use a few different methods to remind myself that I am as much a witch as any of these other people.

First, I talk to them. It can be a frightening thing talking to strangers. Even if you go to a gathering where you know you haven’t met anyone, talking to the people there can still be a source of anxiety. That said, I encourage that you push yourself to do so, because you will find that you are not alone in your experience. You will find that every witch you meet is aware of these gaps in their knowledge and they are feeling the same insecurities as you are. (And if not, then this path will hopefully help them to see their own blindside.)

Another thing that I like to do is meditate for at least five minutes every single day. This is hard and I don’t always succeed. But in general, I meditate at least 6 days a week. It can be difficult to set aside time for meditation, so I prefer to pull a tarot card at the beginning of my day everyday. I meditate for 5 minutes before I pull, starting with a grounding and centering. Then, I gather my thoughts and feelings for whatever it is I would like to know, which is usually what the day holds and pull the card. If I can manage to do this within my first half hour then it can affect my entire day.

I have noticed that when I skip this meditation: I feel unbalanced, become irritable, and have low energy. I simply don’t feel as productive as I do on the days that begin with meditation.

The best way I have found to combat this insecurity is spending time talking to Goddess. You can call it prayer or whatever, but whenever the mood strikes, I just speak with her. I give thanks and look at the signs of the Divine in my own life. I talk with her when I’m sad or overjoyed. I talk with her when I’m scared. And I talk to her when I’m mad—even if she’s the target of my anger. The feeling that she is there—listening and guiding and touching my life—it is the best reminder of our connection. My Goddess is with me always.

I feel her when I’m hugging my friends and loved ones. See her when walking past parks or playgrounds full of children. Hear her when trying and struggling to create something and improve my existence in this life. Knowing that the goddess is with me means that I am just as witchy and connected and sensitive as any of my peers.

There are things that I need to study deeper and understand more. The journey that we take is endless and it is changeable. We will always have gaps in our knowledge. We will always be less sensitive in some areas than our peers. We have to accept that and be okay with not knowing. We also have to be aware of what we don’t know and take the steps to understand it—if it’s meant for us to do so.

So what can we do when we don’t feel as sensitive as our peers? We start with understanding that this stems from a place of insecurity. We fill in our gaps of knowledge and create a connection with our higher power that is so strong that even these moments of doubt are little more than passing memories.

Have you ever experienced the feeling I’m talking about? If so please share your story in the comments, I would love to hear from you. How do you deal with these moments of doubt?

Thank you so much and remember always that I love you!

From my heart to yours,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

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The Magickal Fire (Of Motivation)

As is common during the first weeks of a new year, the air is laden with the energy of forward motion. Many of us resolve to use this time to start new habits and break old ones. For example, you may resolve to meditate once a day and to spend less time watching Netflix. Often, we stick to these resolutions for a few days or weeks before we slip back into our usual behaviors.

We may blame it on “life getting in the way” or an increased work schedule following a holiday lull. Whatever the reasons, many of us give up on our resolutions within the first three months of a new year. According to U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February. So even though we start out full of fervor and vim, the odds are stacked against us.

How do we hold on to that spark for the rest of the year? The spark that inspired us to want to change our lives for the better? In order to answer that, it’s important to understand why so many of us don’t succeed with our New Year goals in the first place.

One of the reasons we don’t succeed is because we don’t choose the right goals. Oftentimes, we offer vague resolutions, such as meditating more, but make no actionable plans to follow through. We hope to figure it out as we go.

Continuing with meditation as our example, let’s take a moment to imagine how a typical year might pass for some of us:

In the beginning, we’re excited and make our lofty resolution. We stand around with loved ones—or retreat into ourselves for personal reflection—and decide, “I’m going to meditate more often this year.”

For the first two weeks, we do it daily. Five minutes after we wake up. Half an hour during our workday commute. In the final moments before sleeping. For those two weeks, we feel amazing and we know that—this time—we’ll stick to it.

But then we reach week three. It’s mid-winter and business has picked up. We come home a little more tired than usual, because it gets dark so early and kind of throws off our rhythm. All we want to do when we get in is crash on the couch and catch up on our favorite shows.

The little voice in the back of our mind whispers something about how we forgot to meditate that morning. That’s okay; we wave it off, promising to do it in the five minutes before bed. We have dinner, watch our shows, and then it’s time for bed. We go through our nightly routine and lie down, and it’s not till morning that we realize we skipped a day.

Maybe we maintain it for a few more days, but the winter blues hits and another day is skipped. By summer, we’re stressed about not meditating. We spend hours complaining to our friends that, because of said stress, we can’t focus enough to meditate and have locked ourselves into a vicious cycle.

We turn our heads when asked how the meditating is going, disappointed in ourselves. We avoid the Halloween party we always go to because we know all of our meditating friends will be there. (That’s probably unlikely, but bear with me…this is the metaphor I chose, and I’m sticking with it.)

Just after Christmas, we admit that maybe we didn’t do so well. But, you know, we’ll definitely do it in the New Year. This time we mean it. For real. Like seriously.

Whether or not your goal is to meditate more, get more exercise, be more patient, make more money, or anything else—it is extremely easy to fall short when you don’t have a real, actionable plan in mind.

As you can see by now, this isn’t a strictly Pagan post. I feel this topic is valuable to people from all walks of life. Since my practice is so integral to who I am and how I live my life, it seemed appropriate to speak on the topic of motivation here.

I’d like to offer you some of the ways I have used in the past and some I’m implementing this year to keep and track my goals for 2018.

1. Bullet Journaling –

I began bullet journaling in July, and it’s changed the way I think. I’ve never been good at journaling, nor have I ever actually used a planner for more than a few weeks. The beauty of bullet journaling, for me, is the freedom to do it however the heck I want. I want to track how much water I drink? Put it in the journal. Need a simple calendar? Easy as pie.

In 2017, I kept it simple and practical. In the front was the year at a glance, a few pages with holidays, birthdays, and a 12-month calendar. Immediately following was the month in overview, my tasks for the month, followed by short, daily diary-style entries; later I added a section for the Tarot card I pull each day.

This year, I’m doing many of the same things, but using different methods. I’ve also added some personal trackers for things like savings and my mood. There’s even a page for my goals. Bullet journaling is the main tool I’ve used to better organize my life in the last six months, and almost all of the methods below can be added your own journal. It’s definitely a habit I’d recommend to anyone wanting to live on their own terms.

2. Daily Goals and Tasks –

In my bullet journal, I still have a dailies section, but instead of a feelings diary (for which I now use a simple mood chart), it is my guide for each day. Sometime before bed, I prepare a list of the next day’s tasks and goals. I leave space for the card I pull, and for anything new in my life. I try to keep the goals simple, to ensure that I can get them done with as little stress as possible.

One thing that motivates me is previous success. So, if I have three or four tasks that I can do within the first hour of waking up—for instance, meditating to pull a Tarot card, doing squats, and drinking a full glass of water—then it sets the tone for the rest of my day. Each time I check off a task, it sends a message to my brain that tells me I’m being productive and rewards me with a dose of dopamine.

According to Entrepreneur.com, we actually learn best through success—not through failure. Failure can be an excellent teacher, but our brains are naturally more attracted to success. This means that if we’re trying to create a new habit, we’re more likely to succeed if we have smaller goals towards our ultimate desire.

3. Accountability Buddies –

One of the best ways I find to stick to my goals is having someone other than myself to hold me accountable. This other person doesn’t always have to be someone I know. They don’t even have to be real.

I have no idea if anyone is actually reading this blog, but I choose to believe you’re there. In my head, you’re sitting at your computer or on your Monday morning commute, and you’re coming here every week. So, I’ve got to show up for you.

If you partner with a friend, make sure you’re both on the same level. You want to motivate one another, so it’s crucial that you’re both committed to your respective goals. This means that both of you are taking the steps necessary to achieve them, are in similar places in your journeys, and can offer each other support as you travel your paths.

When someone else is counting on you, you’re more likely to step up and follow through. First, decide what your goals are. Decide the milestones you’ll need to reach to get there. Then find someone in a similar place, with goals and the steps they need to take, and keep each other going. Be there for one another during the slumps and cheer each other on during the good times. You’re far more likely to succeed when you have someone to share your journey.

4. Choose the Right Goals –

The last thing I want to mention isn’t exactly a method for success throughout the year, so much as it is the key factor behind lasting goals. Choosing the right resolutions could mean the difference between an abundant, successful year and a year of disappointments.

Do you pick goals because they seem like the right thing to do? Did you decide to meditate more because you want to fit in with all of your meditating friends (the ones from the party), instead of pursuing something that’s true to you?

In order to triumph over procrastination, fear, and anything else that may come between us and our goals, we have to choose ones that are aligned with what we truly need and desire.

 

What are your goals this year? How do you plan to achieve them? Let me know in the comments and be sure to like our Facebook page! (If you don’t already…)

May you succeed in gaining all you seek, so be it in love.

With all my heart,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

I’m tepid towards the “listicle” format, so I’ll definitely be returning to the more intimate style. But would you folks hate it if I did these every now and then? Let me know in the comments!