Ian update: I’m still here!!!

Hello Friends,

A quick update to let you know I am still here. If you follow me elsewhere you’ve seen some of the pictures of my Hurricane adventures. I am writing a post about it in between clean up and several long delayed projects around the house and yard, and work, and… and…and..

*takes a breath*

Ok, so there’s a lot going on, but I am here and I am getting things taken care of for my home and my family.

Bliss and Blessed Be,
Pax/Geoffrey

Craft Notes: Magickal Baths and adding Magick to ones daily routine

Friends,

                The Magickal or Sacred or Lustral bath is a well-established idea in contemporary occultism, and one can find roots of the idea of a ritual cleansing of oneself as a part of religious or magickal ritual as a theme across cultures and faiths over time.

                Now in your research you will find any number of recipes for herbal sachets and instructions that this music or these candles or those crystals should also be involved in the production of a ritual bath.  Perhaps it is my beginnings in the Neo-Pagan Witchcraft and “Wicca” (1) of the 1980’s and 90’s, but I tend to go for a less is more approach to my own magickal bathing.  I also tend to prefer an element of practicality and being both poor and (as I am blessed with ADHD) sometimes rather differently organized than most, the simpler the better.

                Although now that I think of it, I also think some of it has to do with the improvisational and in the moment nature of a lot of my own Witchery.

                Blessed Salt added to the Blessed Water is the classic or most widely known stand by.  Any number of beginner books on Witchcraft suggest this as an essential preparation for ritual.  If you use a shower, a salt scrub or (if you must) a simple muslin bag with some blessed salt in it can work…well…wonders.  For myself whether bath or shower, the water needs to be as hot as I can take it.  I also like to turn off the lights or have a minimum of light in the room, either a single candle or electric nightlight in the room or perhaps just the door slightly ajar and a touch of light coming in from the other room or the window.

                If I am doing a magickal bath with a specific purpose, I tend to prefer an essential oil to a packet of herbs.  Practicality and ease of clean up are key for me.

                Even if I am not doing a specific working or bit of spell craft, I will often select soaps and shampoos along a variety of themes.   If you take the time to go to a health-food oriented grocery store you will often find what I like to jokingly call the White Girl Santeria Aisle.  You know the one, oils and incenses and candles and various notions lotions and potions… including bars of organic soap in varieties like Dragons Blood and Tobacco and Sandalwood among others.

                It is surprisingly easy with the right frame of mind to turn ones daily routine into a time for reflection and magickal preparations for one’s day!

                This sort of mindset can also include your selection of products for grooming.   For example, I affect a goatee, and when it is in a bushier mode I will use beard oils with Sandalwood or a delightful Three Kings blend I found online.

                I hope this helps stir some thoughts and inspiration into your own craft and daily routines!

Bliss, and Blessed Be,

Pax / Geoffrey

Notes Upon the Journey September 10th 2022

9/10//2022 Saturday the Day of Saturn
11:42 am Hour of Venus
Waxing Gibbous Moon near Full

Friends,

            Another month and more gone since last I wrote here.  This post will be a quick check in I am afraid, I have another post to post and some things to take care of before delving into the Hospitality mines of Orlando once more.

Several things heated up at the Hotel.  One of the last few weeks I ended up working a bunch of overtime including an 85-hour week.  Call outs and unexpectedly being rethrust into management duties and a number of reminders of both what I have done in the past and how rusty in some aspects of my work life I am after the last 4 years of misadventure. I often hesitate to post here of my work or mundane life much, partly because like most people working for a large company there are any number of clauses and preconditions to my employment that limit what I should be saying about work in public forums.

            Suffice it to say it has been very busy, and a needed reminder of my capabilities and worth in both the personal and professional spheres, it also has me questioning if I am in the right place for my best interests, but that is a topic for my journal, my resume, and other venues.

            A few days of surviving a mad onslaught of work, see the previously mentioned 85 hour work week, but in the only slightly less hectic days after I got a lot of practice in my grounding and centering exercises and a few bits of self-care spell work.

            Look for a few different posts here over the next few days as I shake some dust of my writing skills, in the last month I have had some time for thought and contemplation and ideas.  Rather I have pulled my ADHD blessed brain from well worn tracks of work related thought to spend some ME time in contemplation of both what I want to happen in the Life portion of Work / Life balance, and also of some of the ideas I’ve been mulling over to write about.

Bliss, and Blessed Be,

Pax / Geoffrey

Kitchen Sink Gnosis: The Sacred & Profane

Friends,

The other morning, I was doing some dishes at the kitchen sink.  As I was washing some cups & utensils, I noticed that the offering cups on the windowsill altar needed washing out as well.  The offerings had evaporated/concentrated & were on the edge of getting nasty.  So, I took them down, rinsed & washed them with the everyday cups.  While things air dried, I disassembled my altar, cleaned everything off, took a mental stock of whether each item was still appropriate for the altar, then reassembled my altar.

I also found myself musing over the concepts of the sacred & profane.

sa·cred
/ˈsākrəd/
adjective
connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.
“sacred rites”

pro·fane
/prəˈfān/
adjective
1.
relating or devoted to that which is not sacred or biblical; secular rather than religious.
“a talk that tackled topics both sacred and profane”
2.
(of a person or their behavior) not respectful of orthodox religious practice; irreverent.
“desecration of the temple by profane adolescents”

~from our friends at Google and Oxford Languages…

As I washed the offering cups & cleaned off my windowsill & the various blessed tchotchkes from the altar, I thought about how some folks would be simply horrified that I was mixing the cleaning of my mundane dishes & my offering cups & magical/religious items.  There was a time when many of the texts for new practitioners discussed the importance of maintaining the sacredness or ritual purity of one’s magical tools & ritual items.  Some texts or quite full of bits of superstition or folklore presented with little context.  Admittedly this can be very useful at the beginning of one’s journey into the New Aquarian Frontier as we gain understanding & perception.  At a certain point however, at least to my experience & observation, practicality takes precedence as we seek to continue our Work & grow in our understanding & Practice, & our relationships with the many Holy Powers of the world.

I found myself musing over how we live in an over-culture strongly influenced by Monotheism & an accompanying This or That dualism.  Actions, entities, & ideologies that are seen as either Good or Evil, Right or Wrong, Either/Or.  At the same time many of the philosophies & practices within Witchcraft, Paganism, & Occultism can lead one to a pluralistic both/and framework for life & reality.  I found myself contemplating the metaphor of The Crooked Path and how the simplistic either/or world of childhood & of the early days of my practice as a Witch have given way to a more complex understanding of myself and of my world that encompasses a lot more both/and understandings of myself and my world.

When I make my offerings, it is admittedly sometimes it is a simple pour & a few “Hail to The Holy Powers” maybe some incense and a few moments contemplation then off to the races of my day.  At other times it is much more formal.  Raising the empty offering cup high, slowly lowering it as I speak my prayers of welcome, of invitation into my rites & works & life, of offerings, of prayers of gratitude, & in the cases of the Dead & the Spirits of healthy boundaries.  In these formal times I am inviting the Holy Powers into my life, my every day…

Honestly, I am STILL contemplating these ideas, stirred in a moment of practicality, of self-care, & of devotion.  I am not sure if I would say there is no such thing as the profane, that everything is sacred; I might say that everything partakes of the sacred?  That in my life & Craft I seek to celebrate what a dear friend liked to refer to as The All That Is.

For the moment though I am not sure what else to say about this moment of kitchen sink gnosis, except to wish you all…

Bliss & Blessed Be,

Pax / Geoffrey

Notes Upon The Journey July 14th 2022

7/14/2022 Thursday the Day of Jupiter
7:52 am Hour of Mars, cusping towards the Hour of The Sun
Full Moon

Friends,

A brief check in today. So, I kind of disappeared there for a bit…

I’d like to think I was doing all right on my Pride series.  Unfortunately, as last month progressed with every few days some new tidbit of pain and misery coming across my various social media and news feeds, I started to spiral downwards.  Work was heating up for various reasons, and I found myself beginning to feel overwhelmed.  Then in the aftermath of the Supreme Courts overturn of Roe v Wade, and Justice Thomas’ concurring opinion, where he outlined an interest in questioning several of the decisions that have given LGBTQ people acknowledgement and legal protection under federal law…

It really awakened a lot MORE fear and anger, and as I review some of my posts from the last month, trauma, than I was expecting or aware was still lurking within me.  I pretty much went into a day-by-day survival mode for the most part.  Not the first time, especially if you’ve perused this blog at length or followed for a while; I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things over the years though. 

I recognized and acknowledged what was happening, including posting in a couple of places,

The realization that current events related trauma has you in a spiral…

*takes a deep breath*

Me to myself and the universe

Acknowledging such things, both to oneself and to others, can be the first step towards UNspiraling yourself.  At least that’s what I’ve found over the years.

So I’ve spent some time engaging in some base level spiritual practice, and some thoughts about what I wish to do with my time and tallents and this blog.  I am going to be posting as often as I can, and trying to put out resources and posts and various writing each month.

I am questioning some of my workplace situations in light of recent changes there.

I am also looking for ways to be more involved with my friends and social circles, and with some segments of my local community.  Even before the Pandemic my life and world had shrunk to one largely occupied by work – sleep – work again, and that is not living!

Now to deal with some much neglected things around the house.

Bliss and Blessed Be,

Pax / Geoffrey

Facing the Fear


Friends,

This is very much NOT the post I thought I was going to write.  I thought I was going to be working on part 3 of my Pride series and discussing spiritual exercises and spells and rituals for honoring our Ancestors, practical ideas for engaging in Queer community and building stronger communities.

This is not that post, but this is something I realize I needed to write.  Sometimes the act of writing is an invocation or an evocation, and sometimes it is an exorcism.  Even as I have been working and writing around Pride as a Holy Celebration and about how to take the fears and anger stirred by recent outrages and use it productively, I’ve been dealing with some of my own and with some ghosts from my own past.

A memory from my childhood.

Many years ago, sometime in the early to mid-1980’s…  I don’t remember the exact time as being blessed with dual time blindness of ADHD and childhood blurs the timing of some memories for me.

My father and I were walking through a mall.  We were walking towards the exit and a man walked past us, some sort of biker.  He was tall and broad shouldered and burly with a belly and a beard and a glorious mane of long brown hair.  The mingled scents of his leathers and pipe tobacco swirled around him as he passed.  I remember looking up and pausing in my walk, my gaze following him for a moment.  I remember thinking how very handsome he was, beautiful to my eyes and heart.  Then, of course, I clamped down on that instinct and looked down and hurried on to catch up with my father.

Because even then I knew that that reaction could get me made fun of, that reaction could get me hurt… or much much worse.  I was somewhere around 10 years old.  That’s kind of a heavy mental and emotional load to carry at any time of ones life, especially difficult in childhood.  Especially when you believe that there is no one you can talk to about it.

I grew up as a Queer kid between the first wave of Gay Liberation, and the onset of the Age of Aids, and my time as a young adult was in an era of increasing efforts and organization in our community’s movement towards equality.  Now as a man in his 50’s I am seeing many of the old enemies returning with many of the old tactics of violence and terror and fear and manipulation. 

This year for Pride we are seeing increased of the uses of the phrase ‘Groomer’ in the public discourse to discount LGBTQ+ voices, the return of an old and once upon a time all too effective slur against the Queer community or voices that speak in support of our community.  We are dealing with public figures engaging in stirring up fears and bigotry in the media.  In the last week we have heard news of a narrowly avoided act of domestic terrorism at a Pride event in Idaho.  News of hate groups entering a public Library in San Lorenzo, California to hurl slurs and insults and disrupt a children’s reading hour/literacy event because a drag queen was reading.

I, like so many of my Queer siblings, am dealing with fear and anger.  For some of you this is a new experience, for others of us it the return of something we had thought we had left behind.  One of my responses has been to deep dive into the idea of Pride as a Holy Season and celebration.  A time for honoring my LGBTQ+ ancestors and for doing ritual and work around Queer community and empowerment and self-empowerment.

Last week I was present for a homophobic incident at my corner store.  Some guy started being rude and confrontational to a trans woman or drag queen who was in line behind him, and then when he turned to the clerk and asked him something along the line of “you don’t think that’s right do you?” and the clerk pointed out that he himself was gay, the homophobe started shouting about how the clerk was “a destroyer”.  After the guy left a few of us regulars and the staff and security guy were joking around about it.  At the same time something about it stuck with me.  It has been many years since I had experienced a random act of loud and self-righteous homophobia.

The other day my bear and I went to a public pool for open swimming.  We both love swimming, even though it’s been ages since we’ve been, and it’s especially good for his lingering left side paralysis from his stroke.  We spent an hour splashing around amidst the other families out at the pool.  I was keeping a careful eye on my beloved because he tires easily and is disabled now.  At the same time, I am realizing I was on a level of wariness and alert I haven’t been familiar with in years.  I was waiting for a slur, an accusation, I was on guard for trouble in a way I haven been, haven’t felt the need to be in many years.

This wariness and the mix of fear and anger at its heart is at once a reasonable reaction to the current assaults upon our lives and liberties AND AT THE SAME TIME exactly where our enemies want us.  They want us to return to the closet.  They want us out of the public eye and public spaces and public discourse.  They don’t want us back in gay ghetto’s, they want us eliminated from society.  They yearn for a return to a world where being Queer was a criminal act and a diagnosis of sickness and something to be cured.  They want us to know fear and anger and they want to make us helpless.

Fuck. That. Noise.

So for now I write, and pray, and engage in spiritual practice.  I begin to seek ways to reweave myself and my family into bonds of Queer community and other communities.  For now I spend hours I should be sleeping writing out a bunch of feelings and facing some of my own fears.  I do the work I can do and the work I need to do.

I hope the same for each of you.

Bliss and Blessed Be,

Pax/Geoffrey

Beginning with Ourselves (or) Pride: pt 2 of ?

Friends,

What does it mean to begin with ourselves?

We live in an over-culture that constantly bombards us with messages of how we are not good enough… unless…. We buy this product, use/wear/play/listen to this or that.  Where most forms of social media are fueled by algorithms that thrive on engagement, and all too often accidentally or by design fuel that engagement through outrage and conflict.  Where the flow of information has become an onslaught, where news and opinion about the latest atrocity is beamed into our minds and heart in an almost constant stream.  Where we are constantly exposed to marketers, advertisers, and propagandists striving to bend us and our society to their wills.

As LGBTQIA peoples, the affect sometimes only seems magnified.  Changes in culture and society over the last 20 plus years have led to breakdowns of the old networks and community groups and organizations or lessened engagement as many of us felt that these were no longer as necessary as they once were.  There has been a sense of splintering and factionalization within the Queer community.  A sense of disconnection with our own history and culture.  At the same time we face continuing and renewed attacks from extremists.

What can we do in the face of all of this to celebrate Pride as a Holy Season as LGBTQIA Pagans and Occultists and fellow travelers?  What can we do to begin?

One of the first things we can do, and in some surprising ways, the simplest and most empowering, is to connect with our Queer culture and ancestors through learning about our history and culture.  The idea that we as a people have our own history is not such a radical notion, and indeed academia has embraced Queer Studies and LGBTQ History.  There are numerous books, movies, academic studies, documentaries, podcasts and all other manner of media exploring the human record where Queer people have left a mark that has not been struck from the record by bigotry and intolerance.

The idea that we have a unique culture may seem more out there, but when we start looking at our history and the works and lives of our LGBTQIA ancestor’s certain themes do emerge and as we continue forward perhaps other aspects of Queer culture will come to light.

Some of the points that come out as elements of Queer Culture include:

  1. Honoring our collective past.  Including remembering and honoring our ancestors, our heroes, and our dead.
  2. A culture of flexibility in what constitutes one’s family and immediate community.
  3. Openness to a variety of definitions and configurations for intimate relationships.
  4. An active and widespread embrace of creativity and artistry and the arts and crafts; including and especially where such things may be contraindicated by the social or cultural norms or the role one is seen engaging in in either the larger society or the LGBTQIA community.
  5. A rejection of violence within Queer spaces and events, an active investment in Queerspace being safe and free of violence.  Which is in no way to say an embrace of pacifism, although some do.  Every LGBTQIA person you will ever meet has at one time or another had to face the possibility that they might face horrific violence, violation, or death, for the simple crime of our existence.
  6. Not just Mutual Aid within the Queer community, but also a strong tendency towards both personal and taking part in organized altruism for others.
  7. A strong theme of solidarity with the struggles of other oppressed peoples.  Not that our history as a people or culture is not interwoven with a complicated legacy of sexism and racism, but I would argue that these are not intrinsic to LGBTQIA community or culture.  They are cancers present within them, just as they are within the overculture.

    Some of the above points come to my understanding from my own readings and studies of LGBTQIA history and my own lived experience.  Some were also inspired by reading The Soul Beneath The Skin: The Unseen Hearts and Habits of Gay Men, by David Nimmons (2003), which while focused on Gay male culture and sadly out of print I can highly recommend!

One of the ways I am celebrating Pride this year is by intermittent bingeing of the Making Gay History podcast.  This series by author Eric Marcus is named after his book of the same name.  At least in the second edition of 2002, original title Making History 1992, the podcast features biographical notes and author remembrances interspersed with taped interviews of a variety of LGBTQIA pioneers in the ongoing struggle for LGBTQIA civil rights.

I really wish I had encountered the book in either of it’s editions when I was a much younger man and a much more voracious reader, but I am loving the podcast.

There are almost, too many, resources currently available to list for someone wanting to explore LGBTQIA history and culture.  Here for our mutual edification and continuing journeys are a few of them…

Podcasts

Making Gay History

Queer as Fact

Queer News with Anna Deshawn

A Couple of Books & some Reading Lists

The Soul Beneath The Skin by David Nimmons (2003)

And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts (1987)

10 essential non-fiction books to learn about LGBTQ history and culture

The Queer History Book List

LGBTQ History Month: 17 must-read books about queer history

Documentaries

The Celluloid Closet

How We Got Gay

An Online Resource

The National Aids Memorial Interactive Aids Quilt

Blessed be our Jouney’s into Queer History and Culture and Bliss & Blessed Be,

Pax/Geoffrey

The Holy Season: Notes (or) Pride: pt 1.5 of ?

Friends,

As is the nature of a mixed format blog sometimes, a post is evolving into a series.

This series will explore the many ways we can engage as LGBTQIA peoples (and as allies) in Pride as a Holy Season. There will be practical suggestions, ideas for spiritual or metaphysical practice, and several resources presented across an as yet unknown number of posts.  My hope, is to do this all within June of 2022… but the series much like ones journey as an LGBTQIA person and in Pride is ongoing.

Now, my own preference in referring to myself, despite being a mostly Cisgender Gay man, is the word Queer.  I have written a bit about this decision of mine elsewhere.  Some people object to this word for a variety of reasons, I would invite those people to please dwell with and upon their discomfort with Queer in this work, although for the sake of ‘verbal’ variety I will be using it interwoven with other terms, and would welcome discussion of this decision and of any of my ideas in the comments.

Bliss & Blessed Be,

Pax/Geoffrey

Welcome to the Holy Season! (or) Pride: pt 1 of ?

Friends,

For some of us June is not only the time of the Summer Solstice Sabbat, it is also the Holy Season of Pride.

Pride is about honoring the memories and works of our Queer Ancestors, those of both body and spirit. Pride is about recalling that in the face of oppression and societal and institutional neglect we have been able to come together as families of love and choice and blood, to come together as communities and coalitions, to come together as people of decency and character and many faiths, and not merely survive but to gloriously thrive! Through art, and joy, and family bonds of blood and choice, through mutual aid, through laughter and often heroic perseverance through many trials and tribulations we were able to bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice.

Perhaps most importantly, Pride is not only about reminding ourselves of what we have done as a community in the past, to Never Forget, but to also remind ourselves that….

We. Can. Do. So. Again.

In the face of the many recent laws passed targeting Trans people especially and the LGBT community in general, and the rise of Don’t Say Gay bills and weaponized ‘Groomer’ discourse and the ‘no kink at Pride’ discourse (itself a mutation of the old ‘no drag no trans at Pride discourse’) I have seen a LOT of fear and anger floating around social media from LGBTQA folks.

I think a lot of us have forgotten what we as a community and culture have accomplished in the past, forgotten the lessons and inspiration of our Queer Ancestors. In the 1970s and 1980s we came together through art and protest and activism and mutual aid and community building and working towards economic empowerment. As (for many of us) culture and society opened up and became more accepting of LGBTQIA people, and the hard work of the old coalitions and community organizations came to bear fruit in the 90’s and early 2000s, as laws in many places changed and so may of the old groups and organizations went through various stages of (one of) the organizational life cycle(s), as we started taking a greater place and part in the over-culture and Queer culture became a thing of self deprecating or even disparaging memes… we have forgotten ourselves and our strength and beauty and our individual and communal power.

This was highlighted for me in one of the Discords I lurk in, one specifically for Queer Witches and Occultists of various stripes, the chat was trending towards how many of us were feeling ill or under the weather, and someone suggested that it being the astronomical New Moon might be a factor, and the following chat ensued…

Me:  “Maybe because I work with Hecate but the astronomical/modern New Moon and the Noumenia are always good energy for me?”
Them: “Oh deipnon/noumenia and new moon generally can be great times, I’m just saying it seems like several of us feel something fucky at the moment and I’m just recommending caution”
Me: “Fair enough, though given we are all Queer and some form of Witch or Occult type… a part of it could be all the free floating fear and anger in our communities re: the legal and political fuckery going on against our people?
Perhaps I should say unchanneled fear and rage… starts thinking”

From a Discord chat, (posted with ‘Their’ permission on condition of anonymity)


So what do we do? How do we once more channel our fear, our pain, our outrage and outrageousness into action and events and results once more? We have to begin with ourselves, “Let it Begin with Me” as the old folksong and hymn says.

I will be writing and working this Holy Season towards a deeper exploration of the question of what do we do, what can we do, and sharing that journey here. I hope you will join me.

Bliss, and Blessed Be,
Pax/Geoffrey

Thrice at the Third Hour

(C) Geoffrey Stewart 2022

Three times at the Third Hour,
The bells ring out for Esbat,
Singing out their clarion call,
In the darkness of the Night,
Between the New Moon & Noumenia.

Three times at the Third Hour,
The Holy Powers are called,
Offerings are poured & incense lit,
Blessings cast & Protections invoked,
Before the start of a Holy Season.

Three times at the Third Hour,
Powers & Fears & Attachments recalled,
Cleansed & Blessed & Reclaimed,
Beginning again once more,
The Witch reawakens.

Notes Upon the Journey May 30th 2022

5/30/2022 Monday day of The Sun
12:39 am Hour of the Moon
New Moon & Noumeniatide

Friends,

In the last few weeks since my last Notes on the Journey post, I’ve managed to post a couple of brief pieces here, and with the aid of some input from some folks in a couple of Discord servers make a few key updates to the Online Resources page. 

Truth be told though; I’ve been hesitating to update here until I had some time to process and untangle some of the events of the last couple of weeks and the synchronicities and cledons that happened beforehand.  There has also been some wrestling with the question of how much detail to go into as some of the goings on are not entirely my story to tell.  At the same time, I know I need to write about it, to write it out, to vent things into the limnal space that is the internet to release some of the hold they have upon me.

There are also a few different influences at work that have sort of interwoven to bring about some new wrinkles in my practices and Craft.  As a result, our narrative tonight will take a few detours as life sometimes does, especially when different areas and interests unexpectedly Venn Diagram one at the Crossroads.

Last year after my Bear had his stroke and was unceremoniously discharged from the hospital as quickly as they could get away with, given his lack of insurance, I had reached out to a friend of mine who I knew was having trouble making ends meet and offered him some money to watch my husbear while I returned to work.  I had used up my ETO and Jon was nowhere near ready to be left on his own.  My almost Sister-on-Law was coming down in a week or so and we were trying to figure out so many things during a time of chaos and fear.  He showed up the first night, running late but he showed, and I paid him in advance because his own bills were hitting my friend hard.

The next day he never showed. 

I became increasingly worried about him and started reaching out to some of our mutuals whom, like my friend, I was not in close touch with for a while. As it developed that day and over the next few, he had picked up a meth addiction I was not aware of at the time.  He had a number of incidents where his addiction became increasingly debilitating and obvious to those of us who know him.  Stories not matching up, a mutual who tried to help him with a place to stay and within 24 hours had kicked him out, online drama… all against the background of my own very full days trying to keep my job and take care of my recovering stroke patient partner.

Over the next couple of weeks I tried to be there for him as a friend even after I had determined he was not going to be getting money from me again.  We talked, and when he lost the vehicle he was living out of when not in some cheap motel or another, he finally admitted he was powerless before his addiction.  He entered a several months long rehab program, and I visited him a number of times and we went out to a couple of dinners, and I helped take him shopping for some things on a couple of his free days where he could check out of the residential rehab for a few hours once a week.  I also tried to be an encouraging voice and as good a friend as I could.

This may be surprising, considering he took money from me and left me and my beloved very much in the lurch, but as the son and grandson of alcoholics I have had to educate myself quite thoroughly about addiction and recovery.  If I believe someone wants to change, I will help them as best I can.  These days I do so with increasingly healthy and strict boundaries that I wish I had learned years earlier.

A week or so before my last journey post, I had helped my  friend move their meager possessions from the rehab facility they were in for Meth addiction and into a mutual friend’s apartment.  The condition of living there for a few months while he got his life in order before making a move out of state, was that he not use….

Now, In the weeks before my last journey update I have been deep diving on Twitter and lurking, making comments, following every Witchy/Occult account I find interesting, and tweeting.  This has led to new blogs and websites and Youtube channels, all helping me reconnect with my Witchy and creative self.  Different threads and conversations have had me going back to books from my personal library and notebooks from over the years making different points and comments in conversation with some of my new friends.

One of my new inspirations was to start crafting my own version of a 3 Kings essential oil, equal parts Frankincense, Myrrh, and Copal essential oils.  This version of 3 Kings incense was for years my go to, until my husbear’s allergy to resin incense led me to curtail their use.

His allergy to said holy and purifying incense being the source of some hilarity on my part.  Well, I think I’m hilarious anyway, he has his doubts.

One of the references I ran into repeatedly over the last couple of months was to the Lesser Banishing Ritual of The Pentegram, I even dug out my own notes on the rite in a conversation about the song Lilly by Kate Bush.

So, the day after my last Notes On the Journey post when I got the call from my friend telling me “I screwed up.”, and the somewhat desperate contact from some of his roommates, asking for help in getting him out of the apartment I was strangely primed to deal with pretty extreme situations.

I sent my friend who had relapsed links to resources for a number of shelters, partly hoping that he would find something even though it was after 5pm and on a Saturday no less.  I spoke with the roommates, who were partly at a loss because the main host was out of town.  Probably a blessing given his temper.  I told them that I would make my way over to the apartment when I had finished some things with my partner.  We had gone out and done some shopping and picked up some meds from the pharmacy and were stopping for a late lunch/early dinner date at Fresh Kitchen.  We had just pulled into the parking spot at the restaurant when I got the calls and texts.

My Bear and I talked about our friends and the situation briefly, and them simply talked about many other things and enjoyed our meal and our time together.  I messaged a few other friends for potential resources, and we came home.   I was also in communication with my lapsed addict friend, and his soon to be former roommates, and the out of town roommate/primary host.

I got Jon settled and spent some time gathering myself together for what looked to be a difficult evening.  I showered, shaved, and dressed myself.  I made some offerings to the Holy Dead, the Holy Spirits, and the Gods.  I grounded, I centered, I breathed up through my Chakras and slathered myself in 3 Kings Oil.  Then for the first time in something like 20 years I performed the LBRP.

Then, I went over to the apartment.  I spent the next several hours getting my still very high on meth friend to start drinking a bunch of water, to flush the meth he still had on his host’s nightstand down the toilet, take a shower, made bargains with his soon to be former roommates to keep his stuff safe, and with the accompaniment and moral support of one of the roommates got him to a Hospital and into a Detox unit for the next few days.  All the while in and out of texts and phone-calls with assorted mutuals and the roommates as I stayed close to my methed out friend and tried to bring him back to himself enough to get it together and get some immediate help.

Within a week he had gotten a bus up North and out of state, his plans expedited by the fact that all the shelters here are full and that no one in town was willing to take him in at after everything involved in his relapse.

I have his things and will be packing them in a couple or three boxes and sending them up to him.  I continue to communicate with him, and wish him the best.  At the same time I have to keep my own mental and emotional health and safety and that of my husbear, in mind and really cannot do more for him at this time.

Since that night any time I am leaving the house for an extended period where I am going to be dealing with the general public, I’ve done the LBRP.  I’ve re-read up on it and refined my technique.  I am also continuing to use my 3 Kings Oil.

So, yeah, been processing that night and dealing with other things in life and work lately.

Bliss, and Blessed Be,

Pax / Geoffrey

PS- a few useful links about the LBRP or Lesser Banishing Ritual of The Pentegram Here, Here, & Here.

People of The Library: The Rebirth of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente

First published in 1989, The Rebirth of Witchcraft is an intriguing blend of autobiography, history, lore, and what we might now term unverifiable personal gnosis from ‘the mother of modern paganism’.  Focusing on early to mid-20th century Witchcraft revival including snippets of her own role in it, this book sheds some light on several key moments and personalities as well as providing anyone interested the history of Witchcraft plenty of avenues of further reading and research.  This book also, naturally enough, primarily deals with the topic of Witchcraft from the view of Witchcraft as a Pagan or Neo-Pagan religion.  This may be a turn off for some readers.  Honestly though it is like sitting down to a cup of coffee or tea with a respected elder and having a deep and delightful conversation and free of some of the mythologizing and spicy details that feature in autobiographies from other prominent Witches of the revival.

My well marked copy of the book in question…

In the first two chapters Valiente sets the stage for us by reviewing legal and social changes, esoteric currents, and various publications that helped set the state for the emergence of Wicca and other forms of Witchcraft and Paganism in the 1950’s and 60’s.  From there she weaves together stories of her interactions with Gerald Gardner and her co-founding and liturgical writing within The Gardnerian Tradition, with encounters and practice with Robert Cochrane, reminisces of her friendship with journalist and occult researcher Leslie Roberts, explores the topic of the life and claims of Alex Sanders, an approving exploration of Feminist streams of Witchcraft, an examination of the Pickingil material, and ends with a look at the then current state of events within Witchcraft and a note of hopefulness for the future.

There are places where one gets the feeling of a rather private persons sharing details that they feel they must share for the record of history and a culture or perhaps more accurately a subculture she helped create.  In other places it feels as if she is dealing with topics, issues, and episodes from her either her past or that were current at the time of writing that she felt needed to be addressed by her to either close the book on them or give them her stamp of approval.  In places it also weaves together it’s narrative with cautionary notes related to dealing with the larger community outside of the Craft as well as the want to be cult leaders and cranks within the Occult scene in any era.

One wonders if the advance of age or perhaps a health scare or personal loss may have prompted her writing of this.  The Occult boom of the 80’s and 90’s, the second or third occult boom of the 20th century with outbreaks every 20 years or so as each new generation of seekers discovers it, was in mid upswing at the time she wrote this and with the proliferation of the Internet and online forums and means of communication one can imagine she might have felt the need to address the theories and suppositions that are rife in any online community.

It is a book I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone studying Witchcraft.

Craft Notes: A couple of tidbits of Magickal Theory and some personal History

Friends,

Shortly after the official beginning of my journey into Witchcraft I was blessed to be living in a city with a thriving and eclectic used bookstore.  This is how I ended up reading both Sybil Leek’s Diary of a Witch, and Patricia Crowther’s Lid Off The Cauldron fairly early in my path despite both being likely out of print in the 1990’s.  Both authors drag Aleister Crowley into their narratives, the first in a reputed encounter in her early childhood, the second posthumously kicking and screaming and tossing crockery about the house after a séance.  This was right around the time I realized I really would need to read Crowley to get an idea of just what all the fuss was about.

Now even before I formally began my journey, I was a magpie for all sorts of folklore and information about the occult and things woo-woo and even Fortean.  I spent hours as a kid pouring over an old Time Life series called (I think) Mysteries of the Unexplained (black hard covers with bright red question marks all over them) in my school library.  I read every snippet and story and explainer book I could get my underage hands on, and a number of ghost stories and stories of witchcraft and magick and fantasy and science fiction.  I had heard of Crowley previously, but something about the two previously mentioned books invocation of his reputation and memory finally set me towards reading him for myself.

I knew beforehand I would probably need to read up on Ceremonial Magick first, so under the advice of a friend who had studied CM, I read a couple collections of Essays by Israel Regardie, and Psychic Self-Defense and The Mystical Quabala by Dion Fortune.  As I had also told my friend, I was curious as to the theories of how magick actually worked and wanted a better understanding in addition to prepping for reading Crowley.

By the time I finally read Crowley I had also gotten a good handle on some of the theories and ideas of Magic (or Magick, or however it is now fashionable to spell it…) AND I had developed what I call the GUI theory of Magick.

In reading those early 20th century occultists, and the writings of Witches and occultists of the mid to late 20th Century, I developed the idea of that I call the GUI theory of Magick.

Essentially the idea is that if part of what the rites and spells we engage in does is to access that part of our minds that is somehow connected to both the collective unconscious of humanity and to the divine or universes conscious, then we are basically using the words and spells and symbolisms as a graphic user interface to communicate with both the deepest parts of our selves and with the wider universe around us.

Now I am sure this is not an original observation, merely my own, but I have not seen anyone really compary the theories of how Magick works to the GUI which seems odd given my age and the times I was coming of age in.  On the other hand I have dropped in and out of the cultural streams of Paganism and Occultism several times over the last 30 years or so, so perhaps I’ve just not read the right work?

Any suggested sites, blogs, and books along these lines are welcome in the comments!

Now the other aspect of magickal theory I need to touch on today, is the idea that certain rites and words and prayers can over time and with repeated and/or widespread application become etched into the group mind of the collective unconscious and perhaps even the fabric of the Universe to become singularly effective or useful applications.  Rather like a quick app or a simple “If this, then that” program.  Casting a Circle or Laying the Compass would be two examples of this idea, as would something like The Lesser Banishing Ritual of The Pentagram.

For now, I will leave you with these two ideas, which will I will be referencing in some of my narratives in the near future.

Bliss & Blessed Be,

Pax / Geoffrey