Altar & Offerings,… & a birthday wrap up…

Dear Friends,

So the March Equinox passed with only a few brief prayers from yours truly, work and the mad rush of days conspired against anything deeper for Ostara… I was also a little moody and distracted this week, for a number of reasons, and distracted by some up-in-the-air things at work, and then too Sunday the 27th was my birthday.

Saturday night I was lured out of my lair by The Fabulous Jonathan to watch the Universal Studios Mardi Gras Parade at the park, after a brief but spectacular fit of moody-bastardy on yours truly’s part, need to work on those control issues of mine some more it seems.  I eventually went out and had a very nice time with Jonathan and his mom Kathleeen.  TFJ and I rode The Mummy, a requirement of any park pilgrimage, and then went back to where his mom had parked herself in the handicapped parade watching spot and enjoyed the imitation spectacle of it all.  I didn’t actually catch any beads, although I did get slapped in the face by a set… that counts doesn’t it?  (I kept trying to get Jonathan to show them his tits in an effort to get more beads, but he balked and alleged shyness.)  The Krewe of Dionysus float was especially festive this year as was King Gator.  Jonathan and I have promised one another that someday we will journey to someplace that does a genuine Mardi Gras parade and see a real one.

Then it was work on the overnight at the motel, then a brief nap and off to 1U, my local U.U. Church, for my regular Ushering shift, and some socialization with folks there and then I was taken out by my dear friend Sandi for the new and delightful experience of Vietnamese food.  Sandi is a retiree who became my first friend at Church and occasional pew-buddy, has unofficially adopted a number of us at Church and we are all very blessed for it.  Sandi and I have been working together on the food/catering committee for the upcoming U.U. Florida Disctrict Assembly coming up in April and as a consequence a number of us on the foods committee have ended up lunching together each Friday and discovered a shared delight in culinary arts and exploration… thanks to them I have discovered some fabulous local restaurants I might not have known about otherwise… including a nice Middle Eastern Deli and a fantabulous Thai Restaurant… and now a Vietnamese place.

I’d never had Vietnamese food before, and Sandi was my guide as I tried a fantastic Beef Noodle Soup… “Pho” something-something…. (here’s where being bad with names is a big hindrance) … and some Summer Roll (which are the uncooked, wrapped in rice-dough, rolls I knew as Spring Rolls in Anchorage…)  … and dish which featured a very yummy sauce and vegies and shrimp and chicken with some wedges of fried noodle cakes.  I find Vietnamese food hard to describe but insidiously delicious!

Jonathan, however is a strictly “Chinese” Buffet man… despite this deep flaw in his character I love him still.

So after Lunch I came home, passed out for a while, woke up and responded to numerous Facebook birthday greetings and called some of my family and friends.  Then more sleep.

Today, I woke up to thunder in the distance and the sounds of rain.  There is a much welcomed and blessed and needed rain falling intermittently today, and projected to continue throughout the week.  Florida has had intermittent but ongoing drought issues for the last few years, so any extended period of rain is to be welcomed…

I have been contemplating the sporadic nature of my devotions and spiritual practices of late, partly as the seasons change and partly as I have recently filled my journal and am starting on a new one.  I have reserved the first 9 pages or so of the new journal (gifted to me Christmas of ’09 by TFJ’s mom) for notes for myself about my goals and needs and desires and hopes moving forward… and that plus  the review of the previous journal has given me some food for thought and a nudge about practice and devotion…

So I have lit the candles on my altar, and poured an offering or water to the Gods and Guardian Spirits of my home.  The Money Candle has been cleaned and lit so the flame shines through the silver and gold lines of ink script on the glass, the Bridhid Candle from Imbolc has been lit, my Chalice is lit (it’s a U.U. thing my dear Pagans….), and a trio of black votives are lit before Hecate’s altar-shelf.

A cup of water,  a dish of rice, and some Lavendar mixed with Frankincense and Myrrh and Copal,  have been placed by the open windows, offered to the cleansing and healing and nourishing rains and winds and weather.

Rest and contemplation before game tonight, and then some much needed paperwork and maybe some professional development or some work on the some of my writing projects.



Stand up, or Shut up!

Dear Friends and Pagani,

Like so many of you, I am following the news posts at the Wild Hunt pagan news blog, and at the Pagans at the Parliament site, about the participation of many members of the Pagan Movement in the Parliament of the Worlds Religions (here, and here , and here, for information).

And, of course, as they invariably feel that they must, some folks have posted messages around the internet to the effect of…

Well who elected THEM to represent us?! Nyah-nyah!! Who says they get to  speak for us?! Whine, whine!!”

… insert an assortment of snide and snotty commentary and observations and opinions about the Paganfolk who have gone to the Parliament here…  Ed Hubbard of Witch School, had a very polite response in one of the Wild Hunt comment streams…

“Actually the Parliament believes in self-representation, meaning that each individual chooses to attend, either through their own means or their community support. This is not a popularity contest, and those who make it to be speaker or volunteer or trustee do so because of merit shown to the Parliament. Each tradition could send someone, or no one at all. No one can or does claim to represent all of anyone. Certainly not the Pagans, who have many trads present, and many organizations.”

Polite, and well spoken.  Which is part of why Mr. Hubbard is where he is in our movement.

I am not nearly the luminary he is, and am feeling much less polite…

“And where in the ~BLEEP~ did you get the idea that Paganism is a Democracy?!?”


(clears his throat and takes a deep and calming breath…)

Now certainly the democratic process is used in many of the Traditions and Organizations within the Pagan Movement, among a number of other organizational/power distribution structures, cause lets face it some paths are VERY Hierarchical and some groups strive for Consensus.  Quite frankly and honestly, Virginia, Paganism is NOT a democracy!

I can tell you from years of participation and observations that the Pagan Movement is, over all and in the long term, what is called a Meritocracy.

Say it with me know… “Mare-it-ok-russ-eee”… VERY GOOD!!

What does that mean?  Well in the case of the Pagan Movement it means that…

It is those individuals who are willing to shut up, stand up, and do the work; the people who lead rituals, organize groups, who seriously study,who willingly teach, those who give of their time and energy NOT for “fame” or attention (certainly NOT for money) but for their Gods, and quite simply because they see a need and sincerely believe they can fulfill it – and who do so, and do so well over time; THOSE are the leaders, the powerful, the respected in our Pagan Movement.

Unfortunately this doesn’t sit well with the folks who envy the popularity and ability of our movements Elders and Leaders.  All too often voices of pettiness, jealousy, insecurity, and fear will clamor to obscure the good work being done by folks in our communities.

Well I say ENOUGH!

If you don’t like what your local leaders or groups are doing.  Instead of trying to tear them or their efforts down, get off your butt and DO SOMETHING USEFUL OR CONSTRUCTIVE!!  Run for Board President or volunteer to steer a committee, or start your own project and do it better!  Stop whining and stop trying to tear others down!

NOT that the envious and insecure are the only ones whom, I believe, need a loving “SNAP OUT OF IT!!” slapping.  On one of the lists I am on I saw in an exchange between two Pagans whom I respect and admire for their schollarship and experience.  A couple of good folks who are respected within their Traditions, and in the course of a larger discussion there was an exchange along the lines of the following…

Respected Pagan A: “As for my local community, I find that what passes for the the general level of social skills and emotional maturity is at the level of high school on a good day…”

Respected Pagan B: “… Sigh, yeah.  That is why I finally decided to back out of being involved here!”

NO, NO, NO!!!  Naughty respected Pagans!!!

Not that I haven’t felt the same way in the past.  But I am realizing that it is Adults, of both body AND mind, who are supposed to model correct and mature behavior for Children.

It is not easy, nor is it fun, but I truly believe that if we are best to serve our Goddesses and Gods and our many Pagan Paths, that we must be willing to participate in our local and regional Pagan communities.  It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve written or how much you’ve done for the movement if you aren’t involved in community; not just your coven or grove or kindred, not just you and some of your fellow Pagan friends hanging out socially, active involvement in your local community Pagan and otherwise.

and you want to know a secret?!

All of our most respected Elders and Leaders, the people who are referenced in our own conversations about the Pagan Movement, folks like those who have chosen to attend the Parliament of World Religions; they are the ones who NOT only have decided to stand up and do the work, they also have worked hard to surround themselves with a beloved community of friends and teachers and students and co-conspirators, and they continue to be willing to engage their local Pagan communities as well as engaging the larger community.

Stand up or shut up folks!



Solstice Musings June 21&22 2009

Dear Pagans,

So on the day of the Solstice itself the Big Guy had roped me into helping our friends Jolly and Canita (Note: Names changed to protect me from Canita!) move into their new house.

In some ways it was not at all unusual to be working hard in record setting heat, sweating underneath the Solstice Sun. There was then a bit of an impromptu Pool Party at their new house to thank all of us for the moving help.

Monday I was able to take a bottle of wine into the back yard and stand beneath the Summer Sun… breathing in the warm and heavy air I focused my mind and spirit on the Seasons of Solstice and Gay Pride, and upon the Spirits of Summer and Life, and of the ‘ancestral’ Spirits of my Queer Predecessors, and Dionysus and Antinous. I took a few moments to breath into my connections to these many Spirits of the Season; then I poured my libation of wine unto Them and poured myself a glass to also toast Them and I was able to light a single stick of incense before my lighter ran out of fuel…

Then, later that night, it was off to dinner with the same group of friends who had helped to move J & C…

Not a bad way to spend the Sabbat!

Peace and a Happy Solstice to you all!

Stream of Consciousness on Offerings and Prayer

Shouldn’t it be magic enough that we come together in religious fellowship seeking, and achieving, in ritual a moment of gnosis through united prayer and offerings and communion?

As you know, if you’ve been reading and poking around this blog and its pages, I pray on a daily basis, and I make offerings of insence on a regular basis.

I was also, sort of, challenged recently to put more of myself and my experience into this blog.  I wrote the above quote just a little earlier today and find my mind returning to it.

I also have prayer and offerings on the brain lately… maybe I should work on the relevant pages… but I think I will just write some things out and see where they lead…


My offerings of incense…

I ready the incense cone or stick in my special dish of salt.  I have a lighter ready.

First, I breathe.  In through my nose, and out through my mouth.  A moment spent concentrating on my breath, on the rythm of it, focusing inward.  Centering myself as best I can.  Starting to tell myself, and the universe, that I am doing something special.   If I think about it, I also Ground, but for the purpose of offering I find it isn’t as necessary as it is for other things.

I stand, raising  my arms so that the upper arm is roughly paralel to the ground and my forearms are upright, my hands are open and palms upward – roughly paralel to my upper arms and the ground.  When I stand in this ancient posture or prayer, known as the orens position, there is a part of me that thrills to the knowledge that I am trying to speak with and honor my Deities in the same way that They were honored in the ancient world.

On the mental level, I know that repeating this position will help signal to the Universe and the Gods, my intention.  On the physical level I can almost feel the atoms and cells of my body tingle; the subtle parts of me that are also part of the Divine recognizing that I am trying to reach out and up and within to Them.

If I cannot stand, I will at least raise my arms.

When that subtle shift in …something… lets me know that I have gotten Their attention, I speak.

“I make an offering of incense to the Gods,

and the Guardian Spirits, of this Home.

Blessed Be, So Mote It Be.”

Then I bring my hands down and together, to my face, where I kiss them at the point where my thumbs meet my palms; sort of a physical ‘blessed be’ and a small gesture of my love for the Divinities, and our Guardian Spirits.   Then I bring them to touch my chest above my heart; this is sort of a physical ‘so mote it be’ and ‘thank you’, and a physical reminder that They are a part of me.  Then I lower my hands, pick up the lighter, and light the incense.

I will usually take a moment to stand there soaking in a small moment of peacefulness and Presence.  Then I will go about my day.


You can read about my daily prayer on the Daily Practice page.  I usually will be saying this when I am driving to work.  This necessitates a lack of prayer gestures… and a slight change of wording…

“Mother Celestial and Father Divine,

Let me walk and drive in…”

For most situations of prayer durring my day I don’t do much in the way of gesturing if I am at work.

I am minded of the commonly discussed definition of prayer as ‘asking Deity for something’.  That is so, so sad.

Prayer is speaking to, communicating with the Divine or Divinities of your choosing.  Prayer, and Offerings, and Ritual, should be about our relationship with the Gods and not about getting something from them!   The benefits of prayer and offerings are secondary to the truly important work of building and improving the relationship one has with the Divine.

That relationship nurtures our spirits everyday and nourishes our souls through times of trouble.  Those delightful fleeting moments of knowing are why the ancient monuments were built and why the sacred songs were sung.

I’d like to think I am another, budding, Gospel Pagan!

Notes from a Pagan Evangelical 12/10/2008

Now, in some ways I don’t feel like I am a very good Gospel Pagan.  I have a tough time accessing that Spirit filled part of myself that Sara, and some of the best Pagan authors and bloggers out there, seem to be able to write from so blessed easily.

This has been getting easier, recently, as I have been working on this site and building up some of the pages and contemplating things like my daily practice and my relationship with the Deities.  In some cases though I still feel more like a pallid imitation of folks like Sara Sutterfield Winn, and Diane Sylvan, and Sannion, and Phyllis Currot, and Evn, and Sia, and Pagan Mehgan and Markys ny Deseret; more like an imitator rather than a Spirit filled Pagan writer.

Then, every once in a while, some kind soul will post a comment, or nominate me for the Meta-Pagan feed, or e-mail me a note.  Then will I know that some magic has happened.

Other times I will feel the magic and the Spirit come upon me, it will be a sudden burst of inspiration; although as I write more about my Witchcraft and Faith and Spirituality, recently, I have begun to find some small somewhat consistent stream of Inspiration and Spirit.

Like that moment in Spring when the drip, drip, drip of the icicles and snow becomes more of a steady stream, not unlike a barely open faucet slowly blossoming with The Sun’s love into something new and wonderful.  In those moments some small wonderful thing begins to happen.

When I participate in or write of the Gifts of Giving, about making my offerings of incense to the Gods, or when I pour my libations and I feel touched and embraced by my nearest and dearest Deities.   It’s happening.  When I cast Circle and honor the Esbats or Sabbats of Witchcraft, it happens.  When I talk or write about establishing a Loving and Stable relationship with The Lady and Lord of Witchcraft ~ or of my budding relationships with Hecate and Dionysus, its there too.  When I seek to speak or write or live the gospel truth of my Pagan self seeking, not to convert, but to simply share the joy and wonder The Good News of my own Pagan experience, in those moments I am most true to the Gods, and to my self, as a Pagan and as an Evangelical.

Sedentary, yet undeniably invigorated and alive!

So as I am working on this site, today, I am also thinking about my daily spiritual practices and my relationship with the Lady and Lord of Witchcraft, as well as with Hecate, and Dionysus, and the rest of the Universe…

I started this blog as a spiritual journal, with the hope that it might also be of use to other Pagans in their own spiritual journeys.   It is the only such spiritual journal I have been able to keep up, for whatever reason.  This is no small blessing as I can honestly say that I have learned a lot about myself and my relationship with the Gods by keeping this little blog of mine…

Thanks, oh Powers and Principalities!!

I am feeling very centered and wonderful as I write a piece about different ways of relating to the Gods and of the Gifts of Giving, that strange paradox where by making even a simple sacrifice of incense or pouring a libation of water or wine, you are touched by the presence or remembrance of the Divine…

So many strange little Mysteries on the Pagan path.  So many things that our community lets sepparate us when there are so many wonderful things that unify us, so many minor mysteries that we share on our journeys.

Revel in the sharing my dear Pagans, enjoy yourselves and the simple pleasures and have a beautiful Yuletide!



The Journey goes on…

So I have been working on this site, adding links, and adding some new pages here and there, one of which is published if in continual progress.  The new page of this site is one on Daily Spiritual Practices.  An important topic and one that I can tell I needed some more reminders of.  Perhaps I should do like T. Thorn Coyle and regularly change my daily practices so they do not become routine?

On the other hand, while changing it up would help me remain mindful of my daily practice, as one blessed with ADHD routine… or at least structure, can very much be my friend…hmm… time to think on this I think!

I have also been working on an article I am hoping to sell for publication.

I am also now engaged in a permanent part-time position (hooray!) which in the theme park world is a lot better than being a seasonal employee.  Money is still desperately tight, but then I am not alone in that this Solsticetide Season.

Sunday will bring with it the Anniversary of Pearl Harbor and an opportunity to honor some of The U.S. fallen heroes, and those who currently stand guard over our freedoms.  While I may disagree with how we got into one of the Wars we are in, I will never hesitate to honor those who serve in the armed forces.

The Full Moon follows next week, with an opportunity to observe some aspects of my own personal Solstice observances.  Which I also need to think about in the near future.

Off to think and to bed!

Peace, and Blessed Be!


One Witches Journey… into activism and optimism


I am blogging a lot more on my other site.  Or at least I am working on the site, and adding links and adding to the blog roll and learning a lot about my LGBT community.  I am also learning a lot about myself.  I am learning about my ideals, and my hopes and dreams.  I am also seeing, once more, the parallels between my two communities… the GLBT (or LGBT if you prefer) and the Pagan.  I find myself trying to figure out how to balance my new found passion for standing up for the Highest Ideals, with the practicality of working an exceptionally part time job and looking for work in one of the worst economies in the last 100 years.  Yet I feel more alive, more truly myself, when I am working on my GLBT civil rights blog, and when I am contemplating similar projects within the Pagan community.

In re-reading this post and contemplating publishing it I looked again at that last sentence…

Yet I feel more alive, more truly myself, when I am working on my GLBT civil rights blog, and when I am contemplating similar projects within the Pagan community.

Hmm… I am reminded of my ideas about Beauty, and my thought that when we are striving to live our Virtues as Witches, and to live out our Highest Ideals is when we are most Beautiful.  I also find myself remembering some of the times where I have invoked the Lord and Lady, and how at those times too I have felt most truly alive (if not necessarily myself).

I know that the weeks and months to come will require me to keep a balance between feeding my pocket book and feeding my soul.  In the past keeping a balance between my professional (or job) life and my spiritual and personal life has been a difficult zig-zagging between priorities.  I would like to believe that I am at a point in my life where I can actually do this, seemingly simple, balancing act.  So many other folks make this sort of thing look so blessed effortless!

I know that in these times feeding oneself, ones family, and ones pocketbook, is becoming increasingly difficult.  I know that there are a lot of tough decisions and times ahead.  In the end though, I am not afraid.

I know that the Lady and Lord are with me.

I know that if I continue to tread the path they have laid out for me, if I continue to speak and live in accordance with Truth, and Beauty, and the Highest of Ideals, if I strive to find within myself Love for All Beings, including myself, if I honor Them, and remember to honor the Gods and Godesses of my heart and the Heroes of my Nation; if I do these things I will find a way through the troubled times and I will be able to keep my ballance and do right by my Gods, my family, and myself.

A random thought on the gifts of giving this Samhain Season

I took part in a public moon circle last year where we were supposed to banish qualities we were done with in our lives and do magic to bring qualities of thought or personality we were ready for in our lives to fruition.

But ,really, isn’t that just what seemingly every. single. blessed. Pagan open Event,  Circle or Sabbat working or rite seems to end up being about?!.

Now I now that the above scenario doesn’t describe recon Pagan workings, or a variety of Witchcraft Trad workings, but the whole pushing something bad and pulling something good working as a focal point of the right seems to be a dominant theme in open events in the Pagan community.

I’d love to put together a public rite someday where the participants write down things that they love doing, creative and fulfilling things, and burn the pieces of paper offering their next such project to the Goddess and God.

That is it.   No asking for anything in return, just giving, sharing, a treasured part of oneself with the Divine.  No asking or bargaining, just giving a little bit of the best of ourselves to Them.  Maybe then the Pagan community could start looking at one another with more of a community minded eye…