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Updates for September/October

Merry meet, my darling Witchlings!

If you’ve been watching the YouTube channel, you might already know some of what I’m going to say, but I wanted to be sure to get these updates anyone who may have missed the news.

For the last two years, I’ve tried to maintain a weekly posting schedule. Of course, that hasn’t always been a successful endeavor, but I did my best. There have been quite a few changes in life over these two years, so it’s only natural that this blog and all my other projects change a bit, too.

In addition to life changes, my energy has had a shift over the last few weeks. That’s bound to happen at times. Whether it’s due to the loss of a loved one or physical illness, our personal energy often fluctuates. And, even though meditation can make the fluctuations a bit smoother, no one is immune to these shifts.

Instead of resisting, I find it’s best to simply go with the flow. So, I’ve made some changes to our posting schedule, as well as a few other Maiden’s Circle offerings.

So, what’s new?

Posting Schedule

As I mentioned above, we’ll be changing our schedule when it comes to these blog posts. For the past two years, I’ve tried to post weekly, but that’s no longer feasible. So, now I’ll be posting once a month, publicly. We’ll also have a private post for a select few. I’ll give you details about that in just a moment.

In these public posts, we’ll have our standard fare: series and updates. But, in the private blogs, we’ll be getting deeper into magick and spellwork. I’m looking forward to talking more about those topics. Of course, that doesn’t start until there’s demand for it.

Tarot Schedule

In addition to reducing my posting schedule, I’ll also be reducing the amount of tarot videos I post. For quite some time now, we’ve had “daily” tarot readings posted on the weekdays. While this schedule forced me to really train my intuition and allowed me to get some meditation in every day, it eventually got to be a bit overwhelming.

The daily schedule also began to eat into my writing time and the time I spent on other creative projects. That aspect of my life is just as important as the spiritual aspect, so it’s important to me that I have balance.

It’s that need for balance that has led me to reduce the amount of tarot videos I make myself record each month. So, official as of last week, I’ll be doing pick-a-card readings once a week and Life Path Number readings once a month. This change will give me a little more time and wiggle room when it comes to these readings.

Patreon

Of course, even though I am reducing my overall posting schedule, I wanted to provide a few special offerings for Maiden’s Circle’s most loyal supporters. So, Maiden’s Circle now has an official Patreon!

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have a way to maintain operations and keep a healthy, balanced life. I have been putting so much of myself—so much time and personal energy—into Maiden’s Circle, but it wasn’t providing me the stability necessary to continue at the rate I’ve been going. I have workaholic tendencies, and this Patreon is an effort to justify that work.

On Patreon, you’ll receive an extra private blog each month, as I mentioned earlier. I’ll also be offering a private monthly reading along with a spiritual channeling, a monthly live chat, some Maiden’s Circle branded gear, a free spell download, and more. What you receive depends on the tier level you choose.

So, if you want to directly support Maiden’s Circle, either click here or copy and paste the following link into your browser:

Https://www.patreon.com/mcca13

Thank you so much for your continued love and loyalty to Maiden’s Circle. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. Please know that you are appreciated. Since this update is coming so near the end of the month, this will be your only blog post this month. Look out for the next one in the first two weeks of October.

Thank you again and blessed be.

Yours in service,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Maiden’s Circle 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.

Air and the East

Hello! This is the second entry in our series on the natural elements. In this series, we’re going to have short entries on the main cardinal elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. We’ll explore their connections with other aspects of the craft, such as color and direction correspondences.
We’ll start with those basic correspondences, then move on to tools of the craft which are used to represent these elements. Then, we’ll follow that with various activities one can do in relation to the elements and finish off with elemental connections to the Zodiac.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this series, so be sure to leave comments and say ‘Hi!’ on the Facebook page!

Air and the East

While I’ve never seen a ritual opened in the East, I’m sure there are some traditions which do just that. In any case, since most traditional rituals begin in the North and move clockwise, Air usually follows, placed in the Eastern corner.

I couldn’t say for sure why Air always follows after Earth, but my own theory is that this is due to the actual rotation of the planet. Earth is the dominant element because, well, it’s our home. And because of the Coriolis Effect (a phenomenon that pushes air and water currents either clockwise or counterclockwise depending on the hemisphere) we in the Northern Hemisphere—where Wicca and similar crafts originate—naturally follow the clockwise direction.

So, that explains why we move from North to East, but why is Air associated with the Eastern corner? I think this may bear a slight stretch of the imagination. If you’ll allow me, I’ll take you through what’s running around in my head.

Picture yourself in space. It’s large and infinite, but no air moves there. There’s no atmosphere. Now, see yourself floating downward, safe and unafraid, towards Earth. You see Earth and know it’s there, so it influences your senses even before impact. Then, you enter the atmosphere. Air is the next element to influence your senses as it breezes across your skin.

So, in this macro, zooming-in sort of scenario, Air follows Earth because it’s the second we come into contact with. And, since East follows North, Air resides squarely in the Eastern corner.

Of course, that’s just my theory, and there are a ton more from a million other sources. I’d suggest looking into your own path or paths that catch your interest to see why they associate certain elements with a corresponding direction.

Since I’ve pretty much explained why I believe Air corresponds with the East in this section alone, I’ll tell you some of the reasons I think Air is a wonderful element of the craft.

Air is Uplifting

Have you ever been out on a nice day, where the sun wasn’t too hot and the breeze was just right? Those are the kinds of days in which nothing can dampen my mood. Because I spend so much time inside sitting at my computer, I prefer the days I do go out to be nice.

Of course, living in my city means “a nice day” differs depending on the season. Still, my favorites are those bright-but-not-too-hot Fall or Spring days when the wind is blowing just hard enough to make my skirts dance. Just as the breeze raises my skirt, it also lifts my spirits. Those days are often good-mood days, barring something terrible happening.

The buoyancy Air offers to birds, balloons, and plastic bags can be tapped into energetically. We can use that symbolism to raise our spirits and heighten our vibrations to improve both our lives and our magick.

Air is Calming and Cool

Sticking with our weather example, there are days in New York when the heat can be truly oppressing. It sticks to our skin like paste, and all we want is a cool breeze to bring sweet relief.

Or, say we’re in a crowded station and the proximity of hundreds of people begins to overwhelm us. Our chest tightens and our anxiety is suddenly through the roof. All we want is to be able to take in a nice, clean, full breath of air.

Air has a way of soothing our discomforts. It can cool our heads when we’re angry if we take a walk. It can calm our overactive minds through meditative breathing. We can use air to create balance before our rituals through breath exercises, through dance or moving through the air, or through meditation with incense smoke. We can use air to bring a sense of peace and focus to our rituals, as well as a bit of levity to counteract the somewhat “heavier” elements.

Air is My Element

The main reason I love the element of Air is that it’s the element associated with my Zodiac sign. We’ll get into the Zodiac in a future article, but I will say that I resonate pretty deeply with the generally accepted Air sign personality traits.

For one thing, Air signs are known to be big on communication. As a writer, singer, occasional actress, and Pagan teacher—pretty much everything I do relies upon my skills as a communicator.

It took me years, though, to get to the point where I could speak up for myself, let alone for or in front of others in any capacity. I was in my mid-twenties before I finally grew into this aspect of my sign. Now that I’ve found a voice for myself, I want to use it to free myself of old mindsets and help others do the same.

Of course, that long and ever-growing resume is yet another trait of my sign. Constantly moving from one project to another, taking on more work than I probably should—not because of some societal declaration that I must do so, but because I have an endless stream of ideas running through my head and they’re all super exciting. Those are the traits given us by Air.

Before I learned about my signs and numbers—the various charts that can help us understand ourselves—I lived in a state of resistance. I followed a path I thought I was “supposed” to follow and it led me into depression and confusion. I struggled so much with my identity. Then, I began to really understand my charts and explore sides of myself I’d suppressed. After all—art doesn’t pay. Writing isn’t a job. So, why bother?

Now, I can happily say I am definitely an Air sign. Letting myself pursue the things I love, instead of doing the things everyone else wants me to do, has provided me with balance and freedom like I’ve never known before. Yes, I have taken on more work than might seem normal, but I’m doing what my soul directs me to do. And just knowing that leaves me feeling light and airy.

How do you use Air in your ritual work? Do you use it for more mundane things, like calming panic attacks or just cooling yourself down? Do you associate any other directions with Air? Let me know in the comments!

With infinite blessings,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Maiden’s Circle 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.

5 Witchy Things To Do After A Vacation

Merry meet, Witchlings!

It’s been nearly a month since our last post, so I want to share a brief life update with you. We’ll get back to the Elements series in our next post, but I figured a personal update or something different every now and then couldn’t hurt.

First the Update

My partner and I returned home a few days ago from a lovely two-week vacation to the UK. Life got very busy leading up to our departure, and most of my writing took a backseat to other tasks and entertainments. We’d planned and saved for this trip for over a year, and with how busy this last year got, it was so very needed.

I read so much!

Being able to read for enjoyment has always been one of my favorite pastimes, but I haven’t been able to binge-read in years. The last four weeks or so, leading up to and during the trip, allowed me to read the first full series I’ve read since my teen years (and only the second full series in my life). It reminded me a lot of why I write and why I adore certain stories.

Now that I’m back, I’m more excited and motivated than ever to continue the variety of projects I’ve got in store for you. Still, even after a refreshing break, I always need a little time after a long vacation to get back into the dance of my everyday life. In addition to time, there are a few things I need to do to settle back into my home space after being away for so long.

If you’ve ever left home for a few days, you may have noticed that it feels different when you return. Whether the place is empty or occupied by a cat-sitter, the energy of our apartment shifts when we’re gone. To get our place’s vibes back into balance after a long separation, here are some of the things I like to do within 24 hours of getting home.

Five Witchy Things I Must Do After Vacation To Reconnect To My Home

Shower
Image by Fifaliana Joy from Pixabay

It may not sound witchy right off the bat, but showering is a well-known tool for spiritual cleansing. Of course, for me, I’m usually more concerned of getting the grime of travel off of my skin. Whether it’s eighteen hours on a Greyhound bus or ten on a plane, the recycled air filled with the respirations of a hundred other people always leaves me feeling sticky. It’s typically my first thought upon getting home.
In addition to body cleaning, there’s something very grounding about showering in your own home. Using my own tub, knowing the perfect position to turn the knob for my preferred temperature—it all serves to reconnect me with my sacred space. It’s a step I can never skip, and I tend to do it within an hour of getting home.

Express Gratitude
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Once the grunge of travel is off of me, I begin to assess the moment. Either immediately after my shower or during it, I start thinking about all the things I’m grateful for to further ground myself.
I’ll typically say thanks for getting home safely (especially since flying kind of freaks me out), and I’ll give thanks for having a place to rest, for my pet, my books, my friends, and all the things that remind me of the best parts of my life.

So, even though I may feel a longing to go back to the freedom and adventure of a trip abroad, it’s easy to feel joy for all the good stuff I’m returning to. We may already be planning our next trip a year and a half away, but I can focus on all the things I’m grateful and excited for in the meantime.

Clean (Both Physically and Spiritually)
Image by annca from Pixabay

I typically try to clean our apartment just before we leave, so that I have less to do when we get back. Sometimes, though, we have a cat sitter stay at our place to avoid upsetting our fluffy girl, Brooklyn, too much. While they don’t go “hog-wild”, most people I know aren’t nearly as particular about cleanliness as I am. Because of this, I tend to go into deep-clean mode after anyone else has stayed at my place.
Having a physically clean living space settles my mind, while the activity itself tends to bring me down to earth. If I mix up a batch of enchanted cleaning spray, I’m able to put magic into the actual structure with each spritz. Simply put, cleaning up after a trip plops me squarely back into the reality of my life.

After a physical clean, I need to clear the energy in the air. Depending on my mood, this can be done with smoke from a sage or mugwort bundle, cleansing mists sprayed throughout the room, a boiling potion allowed to evaporate into the air, or any other method that strikes my fancy. Whatever methods I use, the goal is to clear any stagnant or negative energy that may have settled in my home when I wasn’t there to do my usual spiritual upkeep.

Light Candles and Incense

Once all that old energy is cleared, it needs to be replaced with something positive and healing. To do that, I usually light a long-burning candle after blessing it with a prayer and dressing it in ritual oil. The candle burns down and, as it does, I go about my day, occasionally imagining its firelight filling the place with positive energy.

I basically follow the same concept with incense, letting it burn and visualizing the smoke spreading my whispered blessings through the air. While the incense tends to burn out quickly, the candle can last most of the night, often remaining alight until just before I go to bed sometime around sunrise.

Meditate
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Finally, once my body and home are cleansed and we’re both filled with positive energy, I can take the time to actively meditate. I say actively because, throughout the whole process, from shower onward, I will typically be in a meditative state.

But, I think it’s important to sit down and focus entirely on meditating when all those other tasks are complete. The meditation can last from two minutes to half an hour, depending on my mood at the time. I usually focus on grounding and visualize my personal, internal light bonding with that of my cleansed and blessed space, as well as with the light of the planet and cosmos.

Bonus: Stare At My Pet

Of course, as I do all of these other things, I take frequent and long breaks to do one of the most relaxing things known to mankind: stare at my cat, Brooklyn. She’s a perfect grey Tabby with perfect ears who smells like pure magick. I honestly don’t know how I ever felt at home anywhere before I had her to come home to.

Traveling has always been a dream of mine, but leaving her makes each trip a little harder, and having her makes coming home a thousand times more exciting. She makes me feel like I’m “home sweet home” more than anything else.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

These few things not only help me settle in after being away for a while, but they help me to realign spiritually. Seeing as I can’t bring my entire sacred space with me, my practice is temporarily altered whenever I go anywhere for long.

These things bring me back to me. They bring me back to the path, to my work, and to the things that bring me a sense of fulfillment. As much as I love to travel, I love my work and feeling like I have a purpose even more. Maiden’s Circle, writing, card reading, and all the things I hope to accomplish drive me every day and fill me with passion. And I wouldn’t give that up for a million dollars.

What sorts of things do you need to do to reconnect to your living space after an extended absence? How do you realign your energy after being away from home? Let me know in the comments!

Be blessed,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

P.S. This site is at risk of being lost due to a hefty bill. If you’d like to help support Maiden’s Circle, you can become a Patron of me as a writer HERE (and maybe switch over when Maiden’s Circle has an official Patreon). You might also want to request a personal tarot reading, which you can do HERE.

Check out our Maiden’s Circle 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.

Earth and the North

Hello! This is the first entry in our series on the natural elements. In this series, we’re going to have short entries on the main cardinal elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. We’ll explore their connections with other aspects of the craft, such as color and direction correspondences.
This series starts with those basic correspondences, then moves on to tools of the craft which are used to represent these elements. We follow that with various activities one can do in relation to the elements and finish off with elemental connections to the Zodiac.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this series, so be sure to leave comments and say ‘Hi!’ on the Facebook page!

Earth and the North

If you’ve ever attended a Wiccan ceremony, you may have noticed that most rituals begin with participants facing the North. This is more common than the Maiden’s Circle tradition of starting in the West. North is the default direction for most navigating tools, so it makes sense that people consider it the “dominant” direction. (The University of California, Santa Barbara has this interesting and short article on why that is.)

Of course, Pagans have a number of different reasons for why we start our rituals in certain, specific ways. For some, it’s simply because that’s what they were taught. For others, we make a connection with the corresponding element. In this case, that element is Earth.

I can’t speak to why other Pagans may associate Earth with the North, but I can tell you why I do.

Earth is Grounding

In ritual, we call elementals or guardians to join us from their associated directions. Guardians of Earth share traits with their element, as you might imagine. And, as one of its names suggests, Earth has a grounding nature.

Grounding, in witchy terms, is the process of connecting metaphysically with the earth’s core. It allows us to stabilize our energy and connect with our fellow practitioners. This is because we associate the earth with a solid foundation. It symbolizes stability, strength, and wholeness.

When we need to ground, we imagine the energy of the planet filling us with the essence of those traits, and it allows us to feel strong and ready to do the tasks ahead of us. Perhaps that is why so many Pagans start rituals in the North, as that grounding energy is necessary for effective spellcraft.

Earth is Cold and Dark

Imagine what it would feel like to be buried deep underground. The heavy soil piled on top of you and blocking out the light. It’s a scary thought, a reminder of life’s harshness, and of the dichotomy between vitality and death.

What does that have to do with the North? That harsh cold can be found at our northernmost peaks. Admittedly, the southernmost peaks have even colder temperatures. But where I’m from, the North is known for its cooler climate and harsher weather.

If you’re wondering why “cold and dark” would be considered a good aspect of Earth, know that it’s simply a matter of perspective. For some, “cold and dark” describes their ideal aesthetics. Personally, it reminds me to be grateful for the warm and bright aspects of life.

It also shows me what I’m capable of withstanding. So, by enduring the harshest of winters, I am made stronger. And I am that much more thankful when the spring comes around.

I Was Just Taught That Way

When I was just a few years into my Pagan study, I had the honor of working with a variety of groups in both high school and college. By that time, most American Pagans knew pretty much the same associations thanks to the torchbearers of our community such as Scott Cunningham and D.J. Conway.

These witches paved the way for writers and Pagans like me with their books, and they established certain connections that many of us still adhere to today. That is, Earth corresponds with the North, Air with the East, and so on.

Whether it’s arbitrary or not, I couldn’t say. All I know is that these associations make sense to me. They just feel right. Sure, that probably sounds a little woo-ey, but look around—this whole blog is woo-ey!

That’s all I have for you today. I’m hoping this series has a bit of a lighter tone than that last one. I spent half the year writing about a pretty serious topic (which I encourage you to read for a more in-depth look at the core beliefs that make up the Maiden’s Circle tradition). Now, I’d like to be just a little less strict for a while.

I hope you enjoyed this start to our new series, and I’ll see you next week for Air and the East.

What other reasons would we associate Earth with the North? Do you associate any other directions with this element in your own practice? Let me know in the comments!

Love,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Maiden’s Circle 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.

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!

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!
**PLUS** I’ve decided to start a new MCCA newsletter so that you can be updated whenever there’s a new blog post, as well as on any other MCCA matters. Don’t worry, I won’t spam your inbox! Sign up now!

*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.

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

Did you folks know I do weekly Tarot readings? Check out the videos here, and subscribe to catch them every Monday. Be sure to reach out through the contact page with your questions and topic ideas!

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!