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Happy Holidays!

I decided to give you guys a video blog for Christmas. Happy holidays and may you find joy and love for the rest of your days!
Blessings and eternal love,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Wicca Done Wrong

Back in October, I briefly touched on the idea that, while there are an abundance of right ways to practice Wicca, there is also a definite wrong way. That statement may have ruffled a few feathers, so I wanted to discuss the concept a little further.

When I say that there is a wrong way to practice Wicca, I don’t mean that one’s individual practice, if it isn’t strictly Wiccan, is inherently wrong. You decide what’s right for you and, if you aren’t hurting other living creatures, no one can tell you what to do. Your path is your own.

That said, a lot of people seem to call every Pagan practice they find Wicca. This is infuriating, to say the least. At this point, I feel like a broken record when I say that Wicca is a religion with rules, as are most other established religions. Wicca may not be mainstream, but it’s still one of the more popular religions in the US.

Unlike its mainstream counterparts, Wicca isn’t very strict about the methods we use to worship. And like many other Pagan paths, Wicca is flexible enough to be woven into almost any other faith system. So, it’s understandable that there is a lot of confusion and debate throughout the community as to which version of Wicca is the right one.

As I’ve stated, there are many “right” paths. However, if we look at the main and most important tenet of Wicca—If you harm none, do as you will—as more than just a “golden rule” archetype, we can see that this rule alone means that there are certain acts of magick that, by their nature, go against Wicca.

A few days ago, a friend asked my opinion on hexing, the act of casting a spell or curse with the intention of causing someone harm. I have to admit, I hardly ever think much about hexing. In the past, I cast a couple, one with potent results, but hexes aren’t really something I like to bother with on a regular basis. In my experience, people who are harmful or don’t belong in my life have a way of disappearing from my inner circle with or without any help.

The question was whether Wicca allows hexing. My answer, like many things, was yes and no. (Is this because I’m a Gemini? Probably not, but let’s say it is.) To give the simplest answer, I would have to say no. Hexing is one of the things that goes against the Rede and is inherently not Wiccan. Therefore, hexing is an act that true Wiccan would never do. Right?

This is similar to my (also feather-ruffling) theory that one can’t be Christian and Wiccan. I know, how dare I say such a thing? But take it from someone who was born and raised in a Christian home and spent a good chunk of her early adolescence trying to read the entire Bible, from beginning to end: Christianity does not allow Wicca.

Don’t believe me? Read what Revelation 21:8 has to say. Wicca is a magick religion. Whether you work spells or not, you work magick by merit of being Wiccan. You work magick in meditation, when you commune with spirits, or do any kind of divination. That means you are not wanted in Christianity and are promised to burn.

Yet, still, I have friends who consider themselves both Wiccan and Christian and it seems to be working just fine for them. As far as I know, no one’s been struck down.

Similarly, while Wicca doesn’t technically allow hexing, it doesn’t stop Wiccans from doing so. Plus, there’s no threat of fire and brimstone for a Wiccan who hexes.

I believe this inclusiveness of Wicca is the source of the confusion of what constitutes Wicca as a religion. In my opinion, you’re a Wiccan if you practice any pure form of Wicca—be it Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Celtic, Dianic, whatever. You’re an Eclectic Pagan if you practice any other magick system that goes against the Rede.

Obviously, I believe it’s totally fine to practice this way. But we have to be honest when we are doing something that is inherently not Wiccan. I prefer to say that I’m an “eclectic Pagan” or “eclectic Wiccan” when asked, because I don’t want to give the impression that my practice is what Wicca is.

Wicca is the core of my faith, it’s my anchor. Over the years, though, I’ve studied quite a few non-Wiccan magickal systems and incorporated them to tailor my practice to find my personal connection with my higher power, as well as a deeper understanding of myself.

I think it would be dishonest to claim that the other crafts I practice are Wicca. I think anyone who does is wrong. We have a responsibility to be educated about our religious practice and to educate others.

It’s bears repeating that Wicca is not a “do-anything” religion. People who claim so are using Wicca in a way it wasn’t intended. They use the “Wicca is what you make it” mantra to justify nasty behavior and acts of hatred. Forgive me, but screw those people for making Wicca so confusing for the newer generation.

Yes, Wicca takes numerous forms—all of which have their own beautiful traditions—but, not every magickal tradition is Wicca. You would greater serve yourself and your fellow witchfolk if you are truthful up front about the different paths you take. Don’t be ashamed to have a diverse and deeply personal Pagan lifestyle.

Say it out loud: “I do Wicca the wrong way. And that’s okay.”

 

Remember always, I love you.
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

 

Do you think there is a “right” or “wrong” way to practice Wicca? Let me know in the comments!

Rhyme All The Time!

Raise your hand if you love spells that rhyme. Just kidding, don’t raise your hand. I can’t see you and you’re probably disturbing the people around you. But if you figuratively raised your hand, I’m right there with you. Spells that rhyme are the bees-knees (not that I know much about bees or their leg anatomy).

In a previous entry, I mentioned some of our favorite Wiccan texts, including the Wiccan Rede. Most new Wiccans hear of the Rede early on in their practice, as it’s known as our “golden rule” of sorts. Nowadays, in the era of memes and short-form information sharing, the Rede is most often boiled down to the phrase “Harm None.”

However, as you probably know by now the Rede is actually much longer (and if you didn’t know, you can read it here). Harm None is a neat and tidy phrase, but it’s actually the end of a lengthy poem. Ten years ago, we’d only shortened it to some variation of “An it harm none, do as ye will.” Five years before that, I couldn’t open a book without seeing the mouthful that is the final line of our Rede: “Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill – An it harm none, do what ye will.” From the very beginning, I was drawn in by the musicality of our most basic tenets.

Recently, I was thinking about my first personal spell—that is, one I wrote myself—which I, of course, made rhyme. It was a love spell and while I never won my target’s affections, the experience of that particular ritual sticks with me more clearly than my first self-dedication, which I don’t remember at all.

Then I thought about some of my favorite and most frequently used spells and chants. While I don’t rhyme for every ritual or spell in my book, there are certain ones—like the spell to find a lost object—which I use rather frequently, so rhyming makes each of them easier to remember.

This is due to something called mnemonics. I can’t claim to know much about mnemonics, except that they’re tools used to help aid human memory, and there are plenty of useful techniques aside from rhyming. Still, rhyming is one of the oldest and best-known methods for committing something to memory, which can be useful for people who host group rituals and prefer to be off-book.

Perhaps that is why witches have done it for so long. The fourth couplet of the Wiccan Rede states “To bind the spell fast every time, Let the words be spoke in rhyme.” It’s a case of ‘right there in the manual,’ if you ask me. Which I suppose you didn’t, so let’s move on.

Not only does rhyming make it easier to remember something, but it also engages you with the words in a way you might not otherwise find. Most people don’t typically speak in a metered style. And most witches aren’t in constant spell-mode. Much like music, rhyming spells and singing chants provides a different way of interacting with language than we do in our day-to-day lives, and so it instantly creates an elevated kind of energy.

Whether or not a spell rhymes is entirely up to the person behind it. Some people don’t prefer it and that’s totally okay. I think many of us can agree, though, that rhyming is pretty fun and an inherently beautiful, yet practical, way to work our magick.

 

Where do you stand? Do you prefer rhyming or is it simply not for you? What are your favorite rhymed spells? Let me know in the comments!

 

With infinite love,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Today’s post would not have been possible if not for my lovely friend R, so I just wanted to extend a thank you with love to her here. So, thank you. 🙂

I also thought I’d share my favorite spell for finding lost objects below. I found this spell online many years ago, and have used it regularly ever since. Unfortunately, I can’t find the original source, but here it is:
Bound and Binding
Binding, Bound
See the sight
Hear the sound
What was lost
Now is found
Bound and Binding
Binding, Bound
Say the spell as needed, while visualizing the missing item. Then, just be patient. Depending on the item, and what actions you take towards your goal, it could take time to return.
I’ve used it for years, and it has always helped in a pinch!

Spreading the Word of Wicca

Merry meet and Blessed Samhain!

 

This week has just gotten on top of me and I forgot to type up a blog. The plan was to record a personal Samhain ritual for you folks, but sewing my costume and prepping my author newsletter took more time than I expected. So, to make up for it, I’ve gathered a couple of questions from a friend and I thought I’d answer them here for you. I tried to avoid the type of questions you might see on your typical “Ask a Wiccan” style blogs, because there are only so many ways to say “no, we don’t worship Satan.” That said, let’s move on to our first question.

 

Why do you think certain secular religions assume we worship the devil?

As I alluded to earlier, a common question that Wiccans get is whether or not we worship Satan or the devil. The answer has always been and will always be, NO, but we still get that question time and time again. According to the beliefs of Wicca, there is no such thing as “the devil.” There may be darkness in the world, but we generally don’t believe it all comes from demons nor does it come from a fallen angel. Why, then, do so many outside of our religion assume that we worship a being we don’t even think exists?
I think the best way to approach this question is to look within the religion of those who make such assumptions. Most often, when I speak of other religions and their relationship with Wicca, I’m usually referring to Christianity. That’s the only religion I’m as familiar with as I am with Wicca. Christianity is the religion I was raised to follow, and it’s the first religion I and many of my peers had ever been exposed to. In addition to that, I live in a country where Christianity is the dominant religion. Where I grew up, it was assumed that if you weren’t a God-fearing Christian, you were a bad person.

As an adult, I’ve done my research on the religion. While the underlying message can be seen as one of peace, it is still very clear what that religion thinks of anyone who is not a Christian. One of the books in the Bible states that anyone who worships a different god should be killed. Obviously, that sentiment is no longer widely held, but any witch will tell you about the many times our spiritual ancestors were hunted—how many innocent lives were lost—all in service to a twisted ideal.
Most Christians I know are peaceful, loving people. My mother is the absolute essence of love, and she is a devoted Christian. She works to understand people and be compassionate every day. She listens and accepts my beliefs. So even if she might worry a little about my soul, I think she understands that I am just as loved by God as she is. I am blessed and protected and, in truth, I am Wiccan because of the love my mother’s shown me.

Unfortunately, not every person is as understanding as my mom. Their religion says that we are evil. It says we should be killed, shunned, converted. According to those people, we worship the devil because we don’t worship their image of God. Our oldest gods had horns, and so they painted their devil with horns. We saw the strength and power of fire, and so they made that the symbol of Hell.

The relationships between various Pagan practices and Christianity are characterized by strife and conversion. Many traditions that are now common in Christian practice have Pagan origins. Some things, like our Yule, become beacons of joy and goodness. Others, like our Samhain, are demonized. These conversions occurred centuries ago, so I couldn’t say exactly why. But there are people who still believe we worship a being their religion invented.

So, what can we do about it? Or…

How do we support and promote the healthy education of non-Pagans about our beliefs?

If you’re reading this blog, then you’re probably already on the Pagan path. Most of my Maiden’s Circle related work is geared towards Pagans. The Covenpath course was created to guide individuals who have decided this is the path they wish to take. Still, I often find myself answering questions about Wicca for non-practitioners on a fairly regular basis.
As I mentioned, much of my life has been spent around non-Pagans. Since I love to share the things I’m passionate about with those I love, I’m always happy to engage in a fruitful chat about my beliefs. Now, of course, there will be those who only want to antagonize and have no interest in a friendly and educational conversation. We’ve got to be aware and know how to disengage, as those talks won’t lead to anything productive.

More often, though, the person asking is genuinely curious. I believe, as someone whose goal is to establish an educational facility for Wiccan families, it’s my responsibility to try to answer them as clearly and honestly, and with as much background knowledge, as possible.

One of the methods I used when sharing with my mother was to buy the short book When Someone You Love Is Wiccan by Carl McColman. I read it through to check for accuracy. Anything I thought was incorrect or unclear, based on my personal Wiccan practice, I added notes to. Anything I thought was particularly important, I highlighted. In essence, I provided a mini-manual of my practice that wasn’t overwhelming and was written specifically to help non-Wiccans understand us.

It isn’t always possible to give someone an entire book, and in some cases, that could be seen as lazy. Most of the time, when someone asks about Wicca, the answer has to come in the moment. The best method I have is to simply talk to people. What you know and love will come to you. Many Pagans are passionate people, so we do have to be careful not to alienate a person who is just looking for answers. We have to keep our tempers in check when someone asks a question that we might think is annoying, like “Do you worship the devil?” Most people just want to understand.

Times have changed from when witches had to hide in the shadows. The secrets we hid in the night are ready for the sun. People are inherently afraid of what they don’t understand, and now is the time to help assuage those fears. Talk to people when they ask genuine questions. Don’t engage in un-winnable arguments. Be open and share your truth. That’s the best way, I believe, to educate others and support the growth, respect, and understanding of Wicca.

How do you talk to your non-Pagan friends and family about your beliefs? How do you think they feel about your practice? How do you feel about their opinions and how do you deal with them?

 

Thank you and with all the love in my heart,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

 

Today’s post was late because I made this awesome cloak over the last two days without a sewing machine. Because I’m a masochist. And also, I was putting the latest newsletter together, which you can see tomorrow if you subscribe now!

For The Love Of Wicca

I’ve always been kind of relaxed and experimental in my practice. I’ve been the most lax concerning Sabbats and Esbats. Sabbats, if you’re unfamiliar, are Wiccan holy days that celebrate the changing of the seasons, while Esbats are what we call the celebration of the full moon. Over the last five or so years, I’ve managed to celebrate these special days in one way or another at least half the time. That’s a marked improvement on my observance of Pagan holidays when compared to my first decade of practice.

Truth be told, I’ve never been into any holiday except for Halloween. Subsequently, when I found my Wiccan way, I fell in love with Samhain and began attending group rituals to celebrate that and other Wiccan holidays in high school. A couple years later, I was celebrating the moon twice a month, full and new, with a group of solitary witches in Chicago. In September, I joined another group here in New York for my first public Mabon celebration.

This last full moon, on October 5th, I celebrated privately with a friend in her home. As always, we had a beautiful ritual. Working magick with her is consistently a fulfilling experience. While she’s held a mild interest in Wicca for years, she is now digging deeper into it than before and has graciously allowed me to take part in her journey. So, when we do private rituals, I prefer for her to take the lead.

I like this for a number of reasons, the most important of which being that I don’t want my personal practice to influence her so much that it over-powers her instincts. I can be a strong personality when I need to be, and I love to share what I’ve learned. But I find that most times it’s wiser to stay quiet and let someone find their answers on their own. Typically, I’ll sit back and follow her direction, offering input as we go, but ultimately deferring to her.

She’s been reading and exposing me to new books for Wiccans and, right now, she prefers using those books to guide our rituals. At first, part of me resisted; I’m accustomed to making up my own rituals, and I rarely use spells from books. But, for the most part, practicing with her has been a fun and intimate learning experience for me, and I can only hope she feels the same.

I’ve been a practicing Wiccan for around 16 or 17 years, and I forgot how much I relied on books in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I still have and love Pagan books and can’t resist buying a new one at every event, but the kind of books I read now are different. When I started, I stocked up on how-to books and every “Beginner’s Guide” I could get my hands on. As a teen, I found Patricia Telesco, who is still one of my favorite Pagan authors. Now, I’m less interested in guidebooks and more into books about history, philosophy, and spiritual balance.

At the moment, my friend is reading the books I read all those years ago, plus a ton of new Pagan authors that I’ve never even heard of. These are authors who, like me, or like Scott Cunningham before us and Doreen Valiente, seem to want to share our experience and reach out to the Pagan community, and so their material is for people in the early stages of their practice.

As an eternal skeptic, I do have a habit of bristling towards new Pagan works. Publishing online has never been easier than it is now, so it’s that much easier for people to put out inaccurate information and profit off of it. I have read books that completely disregard historical evidence, convolute different systems of belief, or imply things that are obviously untrue to someone who takes the time to do their research. It’s important for anyone starting on this path to study the origins of Wicca, meet Pagan elders, and read the bibliography of whatever Wiccan guides they choose.

That said, the majority of Wiccan books are written with good intention, and the authors have a true desire to help others. Each author offers a different facet, a new thought stream of a much larger, evolving religion. Wicca is one of the only religions I know of that is a wholly unique journey for every person that chooses it, while still allowing all of us to share and receive the message. I think it’s safe to say that (while there may be a wrong way) there isn’t just one right way to practice Wicca. Every Wiccan experience is somehow both unique and universal.

Whether you’re strictly solitary, a Circle hopper, or a coven-member, your journey is special, beautiful, and all yours. How you walk the Wiccan way is entirely up to you and I’m glad to help in whatever ways I can. Each singular experience is like a leaf on the universal tree, with its fingerprinted veins. We strengthen each other.

This entry was supposed to be about the pros and cons of following another person’s ritual word-for-word and of making up your own (either as you go or pre-writing them). Seeing as I’m already over 900 words in and I haven’t really gotten to that, I’m going to save it for another time. I suppose, this time, I had to say something about the beauty and diversity of Wicca.

What are your favorite resources to help guide you on your Wiccan path? What’s your favorite thing about being Wiccan?

With all my heart,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Did you folks know I have a newsletter? It’s where you can find updates on my personal life and writing career, as well as brand new flash fiction each month. The first 20 subscribers will receive an exclusive mystery gift, so sign up now!

The Lawful Witch

If you’re new to Wicca, you may hear a rumor in the online Pagan community that Wicca is a religion without rules. This isn’t exactly true. In the first lesson of the Maiden’s Circle Covenpath course, students are asked to read some common texts in the Pagan community known as The Ordains, as well as the Wiccan Rede and Witches Creed. These are sets of rules that Wiccans have used for guidance. Gerald Gardner, often called the “Father of Wicca,” first presented The Ordains to the public in the 1950s, and Doreen Valiente, well-known Wiccan priestess, gave us the Rede and Creed in the next two decades. For simplicity, I will refer to these collectively as the Laws.

While it is true that Wicca is an embracing and widely varied belief system that is constantly growing and evolving, these Laws have been accepted as the founding tenets for the religion. As such, they are included in the course’s introduction lesson. The lesson urges students to examine these rules and interpret them in a way that is best understood on a personal level. Students are asked to consider how they have or have not lived by these Laws and what each rule means to them.

Such a task, however, might lead to a slight panic when one realizes she doesn’t follow even half of these rules, especially some of the more archaic lines. At least, that was my response the first time I read the Ordains and the Rede. I followed that panic by trying to force every feasible rule into my life. You might imagine how overwhelming it was! I beat myself up every time I was less than pious. When that failed, I completely abandoned the Laws, waving them off as unnecessary. Doing that left me with a feeling of falseness, so I decided to take a few steps back and to re-examine these rules I’d long ago sought to understand while beta testing the course.

For a while, I just read them over and over. I thought about them in meditation and read them each time I opened my Book. I didn’t try to change my lifestyle or force myself to follow all the rules; I just read them. Over time, they began to sound different. With the Ordains, I’ve found myself incorporating most of the rules into my daily life without even noticing; and there are no feelings of guilt behind the rules I don’t follow. With the Rede, I’ve remembered history, lessons, and practices I had forgotten, concepts learned when I first began my Pagan studies over a decade ago. With the Creed, I’ve found guidance and a source of joy.

My experience this time around has been significantly less stressful, and I think that’s because I wasn’t actually trying to follow these rules when I set out. My goal was just to read them, to reacquaint myself with the words. In doing so, I’ve deepened my connection with Wicca and with the roots of my practice.

I don’t believe any set of rules should be adhered to with absolute obedience. And I think many in the Pagan community would agree. I think that contributes to the idea of Wicca being a lawless religion. But just because we aren’t a dogmatic religion, that doesn’t mean we don’t have guidelines. These Laws are a part of Wiccan history. I believe that anyone who chooses to follow a religion, no matter how eclectic their practice, should know the philosophies that helped that religion come to be.

Every Wiccan I’ve met does remember the main principle of the Laws. It is that principle that holds us together, that guides us, even when we know little else: to live our lives as we see fit, so long as we do not actively harm others. Many of us go further and take steps to try to alleviate the suffering of others, as we believe we’re all implicit in the unfortunate injustices of the world due to the makeup of modern society. We can’t cure the ills of society just yet, but we do what we can to share love and healing. That is what these Laws remind me of, and that is why they are important.

As always, with great blessings and endless love,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Am I just old-fashioned? What do the Laws mean to you, dear readers? How do they fit into your lives? Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

The Ordains
1. And ye harm none, do as ye will.
2. If you know the Rede is being broken, you must work strongly against it.
3. Watch, listen and withhold judgment; in debate may your silences be long, your thoughts clear and your words carefully chosen.
4. Never boast, or threaten, or speak evil of anyone.
5. Be truthful always, save when speaking would lead to a great harm.
6. Keep clean your body, your clothes, and your house.
7. Should you take a task upon yourself, work hard and well to accomplish it properly and in good time. Always do the best you can.
8. Do not haggle over the price of your ritual tools.
9. Witches know that there are no absolute truths.
10. Witches understand that the universe consists of perfect balance; therefore,
everything has an opposite.
11. Witches realize that for every action there is a reaction. (The Law of Three).
12. Witches know that we are all one, we are all connected.
13. Never lie to yourself for this is the ultimate act of deceit.
14. Witches understand that the ultimate act of spirituality is the act of positive creation through love.
15. Witches realize that the energy created through worship and rituals manifests as a circular stream of positive energy.
16. Witches should never close their minds to knowledge.
17. Never practice a magickal system that you don’t fully understand.
18. Do not set a price on your magickal work.
19. A Witch uses the magickal circle as a physical and non-physical representation of a temple on the earth plane.
20. Witches use the energies around them to assist in raising power.
21. Witches use common sense and do not share their mysteries with fools.
22. A Witch who knowingly breaks the Law (Ordains) will not be permitted to
incarnate on Earth again.

The Wiccan Rede
(Full Version By Doreen Valiente)
Bide the Wiccan Redes ye must, In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust; Live ye must and let to live, Fairly take and fairly give; Form the Circle thrice about, To keep unwelcome spirits out; Bind fast the spell every time, Let the words be spoke in rhyme.
Soft of eye and light of touch, Speak ye little, listen much; Deosil go by waxing moon, Sing and dance the Witches’ Rune; Widdershins go by waning moon, Chant ye then a baleful tune; When the Lady’s moon is new, Kiss hand to her times two; When the moon rides at peak, Heart’s desire then ye seek.
Heed the North wind’s mighty gale, Lock the door & trim the sail; When the wind comes from the South, Love will kiss them on the mouth;
When the wind blows from the West, departed souls have no rest; When the wind blows from the East, Expect the new and set the feast.
Nine woods in the cauldron go, Burn them quick, burn them slow; Elder be the Lady’s tree, Burn it not or curs’d ye’ll be; When the wind begins to turn, Soon Beltane fires will burn; When the wheel has turned to Yule, light the log, the Horned One rules.
Heed the flower, bush or tree By the Lady blessed be’ When the rippling waters flow cast a stone – the truth you’ll know; When ye have & hold a need, Hearken not to others’ greed; With a fool no seasons spend, Or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part Bright the cheeks, warm the heart; Mind the threefold law ye should, Three times bad and three times good; Whene’er misfortune is enow, Wear the star upon your brow; True in troth ever ye be Lest thy love prove false to thee.
‘Tis by the sun that life be won, And by the moon that change be done; If ye would clear the path to will, Make certain the mind be still; What good be tools without Inner Light ? What good be magic without wisdom-sight ? Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill – An it harm none, do what ye will.

The Witches Creed
Hear now the word of the witches,
The secrets we hid in the night,
When dark was our destiny’s pathway,
That now we bring forth into light.

Mysterious Water and Fire,
The Earth and the wide-ranging Air,
By hidden quintessence we know them,
And we will keep silent and dare.

The birth and rebirth of all Nature,
The passing of Winter and Spring,
We share with the life universal,
Rejoice in the magical ring.

Four times in the year the Great Sabbat
Returns, and the witches are seen
At Lammas and Candlemas dancing,
On May Eve and old Hallowe’en.

When day-time and night-time are equal,
When sun is at greatest and least,
The four Lesser Sabbats are summoned,
Again Witches gather in feast.

Thirteen silver moons in a year are,
Thirteen is the coven’s array.
Thirteen times at Esbat make merry,
For each golden year and a day.

The power has passed down the ages,
Each time between woman and man,
Each century unto the other,
Ere time and the ages began.

When drawn is the magickal circle,
By sword or athame of power,
Its compass between two worlds lies,
In the land of the shades of that hour.

Our world has no right to know it.
And the world beyond will tell naught.
The oldest of Gods are invoked there,
The Great Work of magic is wrought.

For two are the mystical pillars,
That stand at the gate of the shrine,
And two are the powers of Nature,
The forms and the forces divine.

The dark and the light in succession,
The opposites each unto each,
Shown forth as a God and a Goddess:
Of this did our ancestors teach.

By night he’s the wild winds rider,
The Horn’d One, the Lord of the Shades.
By day he’s the King of the Woodland,
The dweller in green forest glades.

She is youthful or old as she pleases,
She sails the torn clouds on her barque,
The bright silver Lady of Midnight,
The crone who weaves spells in the dark.

The master and mistress of magic,
They dwell in the deeps of the mind,
Immortal and ever-renewing,
With power to free or to bind.

So drink the good wine to the Old Gods,
And Dance and make love in their praise,
Till Elphame’s fair land shall receive us
In peace at the end of our days.

And Do What You Will be the challenge,
So be it in Love that harms none,
For this is the only commandment.
By Magick of old, be it done!

The Depressed Witch

If you’ve been following the blog, or you’re reading this later and paying attention to the dates, you’ll notice there’s a two-week break between now and the previous post. In the interest of transparency, I feel it’s important to explain my absence with more than just exclamations of a busy life.

I’m typically a private person; I consider compartmentalizing a sort of special skill. So, I originally intended to keep these posts related only to Maiden’s Circle business and separate from my personal life. The issue with that is Maiden’s Circle was born from an aspect of my life that is very personal. The core of Maiden’s Circle is my belief in the Divine and desire to serve Her. It comes from my desire to reach out to the Pagan community and, in turn, deepening my own relationship with the Goddess.

Unfortunately, there are times when I fall into a depressive state and, during those times, I have a knack for shutting down. I have cycled through these depressive states since adolescence. After being evaluated and diagnosed, I tried different medications and was in and out of  therapy. Over the years, and with plenty of help, I’ve learned many coping skills, and practicing Wicca has been one of them. Even with what I’ve learned so far, I know there’s still a long road ahead of me. It might sound cheesy, but recovery isn’t a destination.

That said, I have found myself in a low cycle. In the last few months, life has thrown a few curve balls my way, the aftermath of which I’m still dealing with. In response, I withdrew and nearly fell back into old habits. My days consisted of my day jobs and Netflix or game binges before bed. This is fine on occasion, but I wasn’t doing any work at all towards my goals. I couldn’t write; I didn’t even want to think about MCCA. I didn’t meditate or read or any of the things I’ve come to rely on to maintain a sense of balance. Instead of taking steps to improve, I almost gave up on myself and my goals!

I’ve given up before; as a teen, I harmed myself. I am not that person anymore. I’ve learned too much and there are so many more experiences to look forward to. However, I will never experience anything if I don’t move forward. If I allow myself to stagnate, then I will remain in this darkness. For me, that is absolutely unacceptable.

So, I’ve taken a vacation. This trip was planned months ago, but the timing couldn’t be any better. I need space from work and other societal obligations. I need this time to reconnect with myself, with nature, with my goals.

There’s an idea I often share, that you can’t help anyone if you aren’t okay. It’s one of the ideas I live by. I have to be well if I am to do any good for the world around me. One of the first steps I’ve taken to be well has been to start re-reading one of my favorite books. I’ve also begun bullet journaling, getting outside a little more, and, of course, writing this post. There’s still a mountain to climb ahead of me, but these little steps have already made me feel a bit more balanced.

Depression has been a long journey, and has never been easy–to deal with or to discuss with others. I’m grateful for the community here, those of you reading this. I’m grateful for those of you affiliated with Maiden’s Circle and others in the Pagan community. I’m grateful for my friends, witchy or otherwise, who have been a constant source of support. And, again, I am always grateful for you, the readers.

Expect more regular posts in the coming weeks. I’ll try to return to a regular writing schedule, but there may also be transplants from some of my other writings or even guests posts. Thank you for being a part of my journey, and for allowing me to take part in yours.

Deepest blessings and love,

Lady Morgana Brighid, MCCA HP

Myths and Tales

As a kid, I always loved myths, especially Greek and Egyptian stories. As I grew older and started to delve into Wicca and Paganism, this love of myth grew with me. With the recent success of the new Wonder Woman movie, and the ongoing obsession Hollywood has had with superheroes in the last decade, now seems like a good time to talk about what a myth is and how they’re seen today. This entry was inspired by one of the beta lessons in the MCCA course.

In the lesson, I asked students to demonstrate an understanding of mythology, why it’s important, and to consider any modern or long-standing examples that come to mind. Mythology, as I understand it, describes the stories people tell to understand their world and the changes that take place. Hundreds and more years ago, we didn’t have the level of understanding we do now when it comes to weather, the earth, space, or the ocean. We’ve only barely breached the surface now in the grand scheme of the universe. So, people told stories to explore topics like those, as well as the nature of humankind and concepts like love and power.

No society in history has existed that did not tell stories in some form, and many of those stories were what we now consider myths, fairy tales, and legends. Some of those legends have not only lasted in the minds of man, but have been revived–in a form. This brings us to the portrayal of ancient myths in modern media, as well as the creation of new mythological heroes.

If you’re a movie fan like I and millions of other people, chances are you’ve seen a superhero movie in the last ten years. The highest grossing superhero film to date, The Avengers, presents a perfect example of an old myth brought to the modern eye with the character Thor. In fact, almost since their inception, comics and the media that branched from them have a history of taking old myths and reformatting them to suit the times. Before comics, many children may have never heard of figures like Thor and Loki, or Diana and the Amazonians. They may never have become acquainted with the underwater city of Atlantis or the heavenly Asgard. Truly, comics have kept certain heroes alive for generations.

In addition to these older stories, we have seen an influx of new heroes and legends. It may seem silly, but children have their own legendary characters they look up to. Superman seems like an obvious modern-day American legend. Children idolize the Man of Steel. They wear his colors and think of him when they’re scared. Those in harsh environments dream of their hero swooping down to save the day. Whomever the hero is, these stories appear to us as grand legends until someone tells us otherwise.

But even after we stop seeing our heroes as real, extraordinary people, even when we learn the meaning of fiction, many of us hold on to something of our childhood heroes. As children, they helped us understand the world. Superman helped us deal with bullies and helping others in need. For me, Buffy (the Vampire Slayer) helped me see that the world is full of people who feel like they don’t belong. My hero helped me navigate the rollercoaster of emotions and fears that came with growing up.

It is true that there are many different types of stories which serve the purpose of helping people understand their world. That’s basically what stories do. But myths, fairy tales, heroes—they all seem to linger in the minds of people far longer than the general story. They teach lessons, help us to grow, and give us a common thread through which to connect with our fellow humans. They are valuable because they linger. They are important, and I look forward to the future of myths, fairy tales, and great heroes.

 

Many blessings,

Lady Morgana Brighid, MCCA HP

Not Just A School?

As you may remember from previous posts, MCCA began as little more than an idea for a witchy study group. Over the years, it has grown, only slightly as an online community. Admittedly, progress has stalled since the beginning of this year, and Maiden’s Circle seems to have taken a few steps back in favor of other endeavors.

It’s true that the academy aspect of Maiden’s Circle has not been my main focus as of late. In the last entry before my trip, I mentioned that I’m writing a novel. I actually started the book back in 2010, but I frequently put it down when I would reach difficult places, adding to it maybe once or twice a year. The story had no plot, no real concept of how things would progress or how they might end.

Then, in 2015, I decided to focus. I looked over what I had already written, the research and brainstorming I had done over the years; it had amassed into a book’s worth of notes. It became clear that not only did I still love the world and characters I had created, but that the story was there, jumbled up in all of those notes. I organized them, wrote an outline (which I had never done for short stories or essays), and now I have just under 50,000 words of my manuscript written!

As you may remember from an earlier entry, the goal for Maiden’s Circle has grown from a study group to a full on course that will hopefully someday be a major part of the world’s education system, offering a safe place for Pagan families. I intend to support myself through those and other goals. Lately, I have entrenched myself in the world of writing, and in doing so, have spent countless hours researching the business of publishing.

In the writing community, publishing methods are often the subject of debate. Mainly, the argument is between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Both options have plenty of pros and cons, but I have decided to go the self-publishing route. It will be a large investment on my part. I intend to offer editing services–my own and those of other talented editors I work well with–in an effort to help other writers and creatives achieve their goals. However, in order to offer those services and publish my own works, I would need to register a business to publish under. Since I will already be registering Maiden’s Circle as an LLC, I’ve decided to publish under the same name.

So, in addition to the academy, Maiden’s Circle will serve the writing community. In the coming months, as I write my manuscript and plan for the future of MCCA, I will smooth out the details so that all of MC’s services work cohesively. In time, I hope Maiden’s Circle will have even more to offer. I hope to share and grow in the name of the Maiden, of the feminine Divine, and to touch the world under the Maiden’s Circle brand. It won’t be easy, but I think it will be worth it. As always, I’m excited to continue this journey and to share it with you.

Many blessings and with great love,
Lady Morgana Brighid, HP MCCA

Q&A: How Do I Find the Time?

A question I often hear from beta readers: How do I make the time? Time to practice my faith? Time to meditate, to learn, and to pursue hobbies? How do I find the time around work, school, a family, and the hundreds of other responsibilities we all have?

This is obviously not an easy question to answer. In fact, I had intended to write this response over two months ago. I started, got halfway through, and realized that I had no idea. So I put it down, saying I’d come back to it when I had time. We see how that worked out.

Still, the question persists in my thoughts. It pops up when I’m hard at work at one of my day jobs, attending a weekly martial arts class, or spending time with loved ones. Any “free” time I have between that has to be divvied up for writing my novel, prepping and planning for the growth of Maiden’s Circle, and seeing to the basics of self-care, like sleep, food, and human interaction.

This new year has been one of change for all of us. Since October, I have moved to a new home, begun a new job, and entered a new relationship, among other changes. With these, came less time for my personal pursuits. In addition, I dove into writing the novel and let MCCA slide, resting on the fact that I was ahead in lesson planning and things seemed to be flowing forward without any need for a heavy hand (at least that’s what I told myself).

However, as the months rolled by, I meditated less, missed out on my usual rituals, and slept through full moons. Anyone who knows me in my personal life could probably tell you how important those things have been to me over the years, yet lately there seemed to be no time. At least, I kept telling myself there wasn’t. I believed it, too, until a little over a week ago, when I finally sat down and took stock of how I was actually spending my time.

Budgeting, whether time or money, is a skill I’ve not quite managed to master. Like many in our generation, I have made procrastination—and justification—an art. After a long day at work, I tell myself, “I deserve a little relaxation with Netflix; I can meditate before bed” (which I never get around to). Or after five hours of novel writing, I’m too fried to even think about Maiden’s Circle business. Worst of all, I have spent countless hours scrolling through Facebook, looking for nothing in particular.

This past week, I have been attempting to budget my time a little better and get it back under control. The flexibility of my current schedule actually makes that a little more difficult, as I don’t always know my day-to-day schedule for each week. At the moment, I’m timing myself. I’m looking at how long I spend doing activities I deem important, such as writing or MC work, and weighing it against the time I spend on unimportant things, such as Netflix binging or video games. Once I have a good idea of how much of my day is spent on these things, and factor in work and my dojo schedule, I’ll be able to readjust the ratios and be more efficient in my daily activities.

I believe this will allow me to finish my manuscript, to get Maiden’s Circle up and running, to return to my regular spiritual practice, and to reach my highest potential, as well as, help others to do so.

This may not be the most satisfactory answer, as I am still in the process myself. I suppose the real point is to keep trying. Don’t wait for the “right circumstances.” Don’t let yourself fall back on excuses. The only one who can determine whether you succeed or fail and who can tell you what you can and cannot do is you. Simply put, you decide what’s worth your time, and you decide how to spend it.

Many blessings and with great love,
Lady Morgana Brighid, HP MCCA

Thanks to everyone for the great questions! Keep’em coming!

Here’s one for you: What do you feel are essential and unessential uses of your time? Do you think there is a balance of the two? If not, which is dominant and what methods might you use to find that balance?