Book Release: Calling to our Ancestors

CallingToOurAncestors_Front_lowres I’m excited to announce that Calling to Our Ancestors, an anthology of devotional work with ancestors, has been released. I have an essay in it called, “Ancestors and Descendants: Building Connections.

Below is an excerpt, and a little more info about the anthology.

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Predators, Cheating, and Lying

20619462_xxlThis post is a tangent off of my series on Pagans and Predators. I want to talk a little bit about cheating, in other words, infidelity, and why cheating is 1. bad and 2. a red flag as far as the issue of predatory behavior in the Pagan community. Well–in any community, for that matter.

I hear a lot of Pagans prevaricate and tell me, “Cheating’s not so bad, you shouldn’t be so hard on people just for cheating. It’s not like it’s abuse or something like that.”

And in some cases they are right, and in some cases they are wrong.

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Lughnasadh: Abundance and Seeking Your Dreams

Lotus Queen

The Lotus Queen: One of my large mixed media pieces with gold, metal and glass pieces.

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I’m joining the Tarot Blog Hop on the theme of the Lughnassadh (harvest), and the abundance of the Queen of Disks.

In order to harvest, you have to have first planted the seeds. I find that when I’m the most often wrapped up in the spiral of self loathing and overwhelm, the root cause is that I wish I’d gotten things finished (or started) sooner.

You can’t realize a dream if you haven’t watered the garden and tended the land.

In my case, I look at the magical map I’ve created as an intention setting. I call it a Grail Map. I see the crucial projects that must get finished so that the bigger, larger-reaching dreams can be realized. Sometimes I get stuck thinking, “I should have had a novel published when I was 25,” “I should have gotten those MP3’s recorded by now, ” “I should have finished that book on facilitating ritual by now,” “I should have done dozens more paintings,” “I should have gotten more gigs doing magazine covers and book covers.”

“I Should” is a pretty big red flag; it’s a big time blame game.

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Challenges with Personal Transformation

1979075_xlThere are some inherent challenges with the process of personal transformation. To put it into geek terms, you are hacking your own programming. And it’s going to impact your life. In other words, there are sometimes unintended consequences.

I think that facing the shadow tends to have repercussions–we’re hacking our self identity. We’re saying, “Yes, I identify that thing as bad, and yes, I do that thing, and I now have to accept that as part of my identity.”

Our ego doesn’t cope so well with that.

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Roundup: Sex, Ethics, Predators, #YesAllWomen

9046129_xxlSo there’s more that needs to be discussed on the sex, ethics, harassment, predators, abuse, and consent front. There’s the #yesallwomen movement, and there are a lot of conversations happening. I’ve written more blog posts on the topic–but I’ll be honest, I haven’t published them. Why?

Well…I know I tend to go raw with my posts, but the posts I wrote may be too raw. I’m not sure if I want to go there. Maybe I’m not sure I want to reveal that much, or be that much of a bummer. Maybe I’m sick of triggering people.

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Beltane and the Union of Opposites

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I’m joining the Tarot Blog Hop on the theme of the Beltane and the Union of Opposites.

More and more I have a challenge with opposites, or more specifically, binaries. Here’s what I mean. I think that they can be useful way to frame things, and in fact, I think people naturally think in binary terms. However, binary also creates black/white thinking. We humans get too used to the boxes, the pendulum swing…and we forget about the spectrum in the middle. This causes us no end of problems; typically when I write about that it’s in one of my leadership blog posts, but it finds its way into our magical and personal growth work as well.

On the other hand, there is some seriously powerful magic when we find that centerpoint, that balance of opposites.

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What is Magic? Part 3

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I think that, with magic, we want proof. We want flash. We want miracles.  And when we don’t get those, we wonder what magic is. When we see how magic works, it doesn’t seem very flashy…or, we realize how unimportant the flash really is.

Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to put my finger on magic. Because magic is, at its core, one of the mysteries. You can’t work it til you experience it, and it’s really hard to put it into words.

People try. They write spell books that read more like recipes, they create informational graphics like the Kabbalistic Tree of Life to explain how the universe works…but that doesn’t teach what’s going on beneath. It’s a map, but it’s not the terrain. Nor is it the only map. It’s not the actual underpinnings of the universe, just one map to it that may or may not work for you or for me.

And at the core, I think that word magic has so much bound up in it. It’s a powerful, loaded word all on its own.

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What Is Magic? Part 2

9181063_xlI think the word magic has different meanings in different contexts. I think across the board, it tends to mean “the hidden.” Or, things that happen in a way I can’t easily see/unravel.

A related definition might be how I see most people use it in terms of spellwork. “Magic is doing a spell and getting what I want without having to do any work.” I think the idea is that you set your intention, light the right colored candle, and the universe brings you what you want if you’re cool enough.

Obviously there are some problems with that concept. But if you haven’t read Part 1, you might want to go to the previous post and check that out so that this one makes a bit more sense.

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What is Magic?

9312433_xlI’m currently taking Taylor Ellwood’s online class, The Process of Magic. Largely, I’m interested in this class because I’ve never done any formal training in the Western Mystery Traditions when it comes to magic, and I’d like to piece together what I’ve learned through osmosis over the years.

Probably the more pressing reason for me to take this class is that over the years, my definition of magic has changed a few times.

When I wrote my Hexes and Curses article I got a lot of push-back from people who said I was wrong, that I didn’t understand how Hexes worked, or who even said, “Well, you obviously don’t believe in magic at all.”

The truth is, I do believe in magic–but, my relationship to magic has gotten both more complicated–and yet in some ways more simple–the more I’ve learned over the years. Like many things, I’ve gone back and forth to different sides of the pendulum, and so I’ve been asking myself this question a lot. What is magic? What do I believe about magic?

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Harassment and Boundaries

3481712_xlTechnically this is part of my Pagans and Predators series, but in this case, I’m largely not talking about intentional predators. I’m talking about the ambient harassment and physical boundary-pushing that happens at every Pagan event out there, to a certain extent.

It’s worse at some events than at others.

I’m going to describe a few situations I’ve found myself in at Pagan events, and at some science fiction and fantasy conventions, that I would consider to be in violation of my physical boundaries. In other words, harassment, or even the mild side of physical assault.

And at the time, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t speak up. In some of these cases, I didn’t even realize it was harassment until later.

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