Cucina Aurora…. check it out!

Hello Friends,

I recently found this fascinating site, Cucina Aurora, advertising itself as a Kitchen Witchery website.

“Here is a Kitchen Witch’s sacred space. As you enter, feel your senses come to life with the smells of freshly baked breads and a cup of warm tea with cinnamon and fresh chamomile. Put up your feet and take a sip while the cat curls up on your lap with a charming purr. A warm breeze comes through the window making the flame dance as the vanilla and apple scented candles burn on the kitchen alter. Herbs hang from shelves as they dry leaving subtle hints of sage and Rosemary on the wind. Here rests comfort. Here lives love. Here thrives magic…” from the site intro…

They have a number of delicious sounding recipes and it is an attractive and interesting site that also features a Witch and Pagan oriented store with a variety of Culinary tools and supplies.

…now I just have to figure out where on the Online Resources to link to them!

Peace,

Pax

 

PS- Hat Tip to Pentacles and Pavement for leading me to this fascinating site….

Libertas, Tiananmen Square, and Me

Dear Friends,

So this years Nobel Peace Prize winner has dedicated his award to the memory of those who died in the June Fourth Incident, as the  Tiananmen Square massacre is known inside China.  It took me a while to decipher the reasons why this news stirred my heart.  Since that time, the Chinese government has done what they can to block the incident or otherwise discredit the ceremony.   When this news broke in early November, though, I was transported back in time….

21 years ago, 1989, the Summer between my Junior and Senior year of High School.  Technically speaking I wasn’t really a Pagan or a Witch yet…  and yet… from early childhood I had had a fascination with stories of magic and the occult and E.S.P. and folklore and mythology.  From the time I got a couple of fill-in-the-blanks word/spelling workbooks with the stories of the Greek and Roman gods started  my fascination with Ancient Greece, which was later aided and abetted by my passionate love of Wonder Woman tv show; I had immersed myself in mythology and folk-lore and stories of the unexplained and such, and if there had been a book in any of my school libraries on such topics I had read it.

My family didn’t go to Church or anything…. we prayed at the Holidays but I wasn’t Churched growing up except for a couple of Christian Summer School experiments that I think Mom and Dad tried out because they felt I should get some species of religious education.  While I am sure that the Baptist Afternoon Bible Summer School must have spoken of God’s Love, all my A.D.D. blessed brain caught a hold of was the whole tow-the-line-or-go-directly-to-Hellfire-and-Brimstone-do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-$200 part of the theology…; this left young Geoffrey with some issues with Christianity and organized Religion!  I had begun skirting the barest edges of metaphysical and magickal practices from readings in the folklore and Mysteries of the Unexplained Woo Woo readings I had done over the years.  It hadn’t really yet occurred to me that there were other games in town OTHER than Christianity/Judaism (which, since I didn’t know one could convert to, I considered myself wholly ineligible for)/Islam;  I had yet to start reading any Daoist or Buddhist books, that would come later….

Like many people of my generation I found great hope and inspiration in the early days of the coverage of Tienanmen Square, people finding their voice and demanding redress of their grievances from their government…. as a young man born in 1972 and raised with all the patriotic fervor of the U.S. Bicentennial floating about and the (admittedly rose-colored and simplistic) emphasis on U.S. History and Americana and Democracy etc. etc…  how could I not feel moved by the happenings across the Pacific from my homeland of Alaska U.S.A.?

Then, then I saw Her.  It was not simply that they had raised a statue resembling Lady Liberty, although that did stir my soul, but that they outright named Her as Goddess… The Goddess of Democracy… I did not know then that Lady Liberty who stands beside the golden door is meant to represent Libertas…  Yet, something about the fact that people all over the world were being enthralled and inspired by the struggle for freedom and inspired by the image of The Goddess of Democracy, stirred within my mind the idea that the ancient Gods and Godesses were still abroad in the world, stirred my senses and struck chord in my heart and soul and knocked upon the doors of my perception.  It was a deep and abiding and everlasting and celestially symphonic chorus of…

“Yes!  Yes, yes, oh Sweet, oh Divine, oh Glorious; Yes!!!”

…that rang forth from and within my every dancing atom and singing cell.   The swift winged winds of change blowing through my soul, inspiring me and stirring a sea change deep within me.  Even though I didn’t have the language for it at the time, and even though I did not formally start my studies or formally separate myself from the mainstream or from the presumed Judeo-Christian matrix of my late 20th Century U.S. upbringing until a few years later, I can honestly say THAT was the exact moment I truly became a Pagan.

What about you?  When did you say YES?

Peace, and Curiosity,

Pax


PS- after this post was written and posted, a series of posts entitled “My life with (some of) The Holy Powers and The Spirits” started trickling out of me, and this post was too obviously a part of that NOT to be included… for ease of cross referencing Links to the other articles discussing the characters in my life’s Divine and semi-Divine Dramatis Personae will be included below as the posts are written…

Intro

Libertas (this post)

The Witches Goddess

The WitchFather

The Morrigan

Hecate

Dionysus

The Honored and Beloved Dead

Spirits of the World Around Us

Our Power and The World

“A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.”~widely attributed to M.K. Ghandi

“I wonder if this is why so many people talk about being ‘spiritual’, and not religious?”~Pax

Dear Friends,

I was originally working on this as a response in the comment stream but it started to get unwieldy for such a venue and, really, what good is a blog unless one can rant upon it on topics that stir the passions?

So it all started with Thorn Coyle’s Facebook page where she posted about the MoveOn.Org political action to support Senator Bernie Sanders and speak out against tax breaks for billionaires…

(my Senators voicemail box is full, so I will at the least draft a polite e-mail and try calling back)

Anyhow, someone said,

“My new age friends think I’m driving myself away from the “Source” by being so involved in the negative energies of the political process. My feeling is the “Source” has “heart” and a sense of “righteousness” and holds Bernie Sanders very close to Itself. Where else did this 69 year old man get the energy to stay on his feet for 8 1/2 hours!?!”

I breathed a prayer of patience and replied,

” ______, I think its time to lovingly explain to your new age friends that some of our best exemplars did not retreat but engaged in the political process and even revolutionized it in the face of overwhelming negativity.
You know, like Ghandi and Martin Luther King?
You can also point out that if they are so afraid of their light or fire being drowned out by the negativity of the political process then clearly it is not particularly bright nor well fueled,…but then I’ve been accused of having an attitude problem…”

Another of my Friends, B, said,

“…I’ve run into that attitude; I think a good bit of it has more to …do with laziness and Ostrich Syndrome than any higher level of enlightenment.”

I know where the fabulous Ms. B is coming from with that and part of me would tend to agree with her, and yet…

I’d say its more likely the constant stream of information/propaganda/advertising bombarding us from the over-culture saying how

“You aren’t good/attractive/ worth/strong/healthy enough, unless you buy this….” ,

or

“What difference could one person make these days….”,

or, most insidiously,

“It’s not your responsibility because…..”

You, know… the sort of messages that seem to be rapid fired at us day in and day out from birth onward with few exceptions?  What we put into our hearts and minds and eyes and ears influences our lives easily as much as what we put in out mouths folks!

I would also say that some of the difficulty comes from the very poorly understood differences between the core ideas and rules of Magick as a spiritual practice and a tool for communicating with the Universe, and between magical thinking.

A true Magick worker, whether their Practice is grounded in Religion or from a more Philosophical and Practical basis, does some sort of discernment practice to figure out if Magick is the best option, if not they find mundane ways to get things done.  If Magick is indicated, they do their Magick AND act in accord both before and after the Spell or Ritual is done.

If a Magick Worker wants to bring more money into their life  The spend time before the Ritual or Spell engaging in some serious discernment, they ask why isn’t the money they’ve got coming in enough?   Have they been open to new income streams/job opportunities?   They look at their budget and spending habits.  THEN, if their answers tell them they need to do more, they START by doing a Ritual or Spell.  THEN they update their resume.  They look at their current job situation and see what they can do to improve their job and  income prospects.   They work to be more aware and ready to receive whatever blessings come their way.   They bend their every pre- and post, Spell or Ritual, efforts and thoughts and actions to their Goal.

Magical thinking just wishes for more money and tries to have a positive attitude.

To reference another widely popular paraphrase of Ghandi, being the change you want to see in the world, means more than just being!  As a result of changing ones state of being, can we really call ourselves changed if our actions and reactions do not undergo similar changes?   Whether you are trying to effect or affect change you’ve got to DO something for the change to happen.

Now I have yet to run down a direct citation for the quote I opened with today, I am choosing to include it anyway because it resonated with me in relation to this conversation I found myself in.  Which also stirred within me the response of my own I have quoted up at the beginning of this piece;  all too often in the Pagan community you run into these New-Agey Crystals&Light types talking about how…

“I’m Spiritual but not Religious…”

With this air of superiority or especial purity or something… like religion is icky and messy somehow, which it is but not for the reasons they think.  What, you may wonder, do I mean by that? Let’s invoke the power of Words…

Merriam Webster defines Spiritual as…

“1: of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : incorporeal <spiritual needs>
2a : of or relating to sacred matters <spiritual songs> b : ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal <spiritual authority> <lords spiritual>
3: concerned with religious values…”
Which gets interesting when you look up spirit… most of which relates back to the idea of an individuals spirit or soul.

Merriam Webster defines Religious as…

“1: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity <a religious person> <religious attitudes>

2: of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances <joined a religious order>…”
The first fierce irony is that the two words are SYNONYMS… they have nearly the same meaning and you could just as easily say
“I’m Spiritual but not Spiritual,” or “I’m Religious but not Religious.”
…and be making just about as much sense.
The second fierce irony, is that someone who is Spiritual is focused upon themselves and what affects them.  Someone who is Religious is concerned with the world and universe outside themselves.  So what these folks who like to position themselves as above the fray of various political or social concerns, or who like to distance themselves from ACTION on issues with a smile and talk of being spiritual rather than religious are REALLY saying is…
“I’m more interested in myself than in anything outside myself…”
Of course this doesn’t sound NEARLY as mysterious or mystical…
I think the true goal should be to balance Religion and Spirituality in ones life.
Peace,
Pax
PS-  YES, I understand that as a part of our Spiritual journeys many of us are healing from difficult or traumatic experiences in our past Religions, but the Gods or the Universe are NOT going to just go away because you run away from them and focus on your navel people!  It is not just that The Gods want us to be happy and whole and powerful, shouldn’t we want it too?

12/27/2010
UPDATE:  In getting caught up on some things, I came across the recent Sermon Spirit of Life by my Minister, Rev. Kathy, she preached this one on one of the week-ends whilst I was out with sinus-ick.  In this Sermon she discussed some compelling ideas and definitions of Spirituality…and I am juggling these ideas with those I presented above and am seeing what new patterns of thought emerge….
Peace,
Pax

Solsticetide Eclipse and learning to respect the moments momentous and mundane…

Dear Friends,

Tonight I have had the privilege of seeing the Waning and Waxing Crescent within hours of each other.  The chill night air and the Moon in the sky dancing with the shadow of the Earth.  Strange to watch this celestial dance and think of how they and we are all, somehow, the stuff of stars.

Thou art God, Thou art Goddess, we and They are all one and many and interconnected and miraculous.

There is wonder in this old Universe yet!  Once more the Child of Promise is stirring, as the Crone and Maiden and Mother dance in the jewel bedecked halls of Night.  The Miracles of the Solstice are nigh, my friends, and we will welcome Him back into life and light soon.  Solstice Eve tonight (21st) and Solstice Day in the morning (22nd), and we shall welcome a New Year round soon.

I have always related to the Solstices and Equinoxes as major occasions, a natural result of an Alaskan upbringing when the Winter Solstice shall see 4 hours of daylight if the sky is not blanketed with thick gray clouds.  The Winter Solstice is the turning of my spiritual New Year, followed shortly by the Calendarical…

Drink deeply of mystery and wonder and poetry and promise my friends, drink deeply of mulled wine or sweet Sangria and Breathe deep the Breath of Life and sing and hope and dream and smile and laugh and feast with friends.  Whether you huddle round a bonfire in a chill night or spend the night bbq-ing with friends, or savoring stew cooked on the stove of by the fireside.  Light Candles and kindle fires and stare deep into flames listening to the wisdom from the flickering tongues that whispered to our ancestors oh so ever so long ago.

There is wonder and power in any Winter Solstice, and this one is more precious still for the overlapping of the Eclipse…  and yet one of the lessons of my own journey that I am filled to overflowing with this year as I feel the strange alchemy of the Solstice tide turn what had been a sense of stillness turned to stagnation and a spiritual bleakness cracking open to the wonder and possibilities and hope of this time of year; one of the lessons I have learned and should like to share is this, there is wonder and magick and Mysteries and power and possibility in our simplest acts if we open to it.

I am reminded of this, especially this time of year as I watch so many people get caught up in the mad rush of days, indeed a dear friend, who lives in the North East U.S., expressed exhaustion at everything that needed doing this Holiday Season… and some part of me began to flow with the first stirrings of the Solstice miracles…. I wrote to her…

Breathe the breath of life, Inspire, draw in life giving air, life force, and Spirit, take a step and feel air and blood and magick flow. 

Know the simple blessing of breath and movement and magick. Feel the blessed benediction of the bloo…d in your veins. Where there is soreness then stop for a moment, stand and breathe into the pain… sending air and energy to whatever needs strengthening and balancing loosening the pain and repositioning your body until it moves from “ow” to “ah, that’s alright”, then stride forward once more with grace and ease.

Movement is more purposeful now, more the prowl of a panther than the leap of a gazelle, but every movement and every breath and every conscious action is a blessing and benediction unto ourselves and the world.

If we remember the powers of Air and the benediction of breath.

~~~

Light a candle, or pour a hot toddy, take a moment to warm yourself by the wood-stove or the fire or simply with hands clasped around a cup of strong black tea with cinnamon and citrus rind…. take a moment to breath in the fragrant steam, take a moment to lose yourself in the candles flame.

Look inside yourself and seek your spiritual fire and inner light. Take a breath and send air and energy to your personal fires, take a breath and open yourself to the Light of Lady and Lord, to His Light, to The Light of which we and They are a part.

Remember the blessings and benedictions of Fire.

~~~

Bundle up and take your freshly poured tea outside a moment. Look at the snow and ice around you and realize that one of Mysteries of Water is that it can be so many things…. It can be hard enough to scour the mountains to fine fertile dust, in can fall and fly crystalline and wind borne, it can flow along the earth, it can fall warm or cold from the sky… We are also capable of many things and forms in our emotions and our ways of acting and reacting…

Make a snowball and throw it at a wall, how does it react on impact? How are you reacting to the impacts from the mad rush of days?

Take a likely icicle and stir your tea with it, cooling the overheated liquid until it is drinkable, turning a burning liquid into nourishment, Transformation…

Go inside and mix salt and water and draw stars and snowflakes on your window panes… leave them a while and then when the patterns shine through later remember to yourself that you can transform you can choose how to react and what form your spirit and emotions shall take..

Take time for a hot hot bath, or a shower and a lustral bath, with soothing herbs…

Luxuriate in the Mysteries of the Waters…

~~~

Breathe in the fragrant scent of the pines, stir up a pot of stew on the stove, light a few scented candles in the rooms of the house and just take some time reveling in your home. It is a place of wonder and blessings and nourishment and nurturance. Determine to take 10 minutes to do nothing but sit in Your Spot and sip something and eat something and silently enjoy Your home and hearth and what health you have.

Bake something for your beloveds, go through the pantry and see what supplies you need to stock up on so that on the next expedition you can fill the pantry and plan something special for those you love and for yourself…

Savor the mysteries of Earth….
~~~

We are all magickal, we are all miraculous, there is wonder and power aplenty if we open ourselves to them.  Whatever your climate, wherever you are dear friends, you too can take time, MUST make and take the time to savor the moments and the Mysteries.
Bright Blessings and Much Love to you all,
Pax

“Where’s Wisdom in there?” / Notes on the Journey 12/08/10

Geoffrey Stewart practices Googlemancy: (Noun) A divination technique whereby one uses the critical reading skills, reasoning, reading comprehension, and creativity to find objects and information.

Dear Friends,

I had this as my FB Status recently, and I got a couple of positive responses from it.

I also practice Blog-o-mancy, which is somewhere between Bibliomancy and seeking a Cledon (and here).  Anyhow I ran into this wise post by my friend Jane, and then this at the dance of the elements.  This is not the first time I’ve run into this phenomena.  I have often found much needed bits of Wisdom this way, something that somehow articulates something in my own life or that stirs my soul in a much needed way…  it is indeed one of the reasons I have such a ridiculously long blog-roll here….

I have been running into this a little more often lately.  Coming across a needed sentence or phrase or idea or video.  I have also been feeling much more… myself.  Centered and creative and, even though the money is tight and the car is frightening to drive and I am in a barely above minimum wage job right now, I feel stable and strong and confident.   I have a game plan and am capable of following.   Words and ideas and creativity are flowing, I am settling into a regular and coherent Spiritual practice. ..


Getting Through

by Geoffrey Stewart

Inertia, fear, complaceny, powerlessness; The Wall has many names.

Spiritual Practice is sometime a spoon scratching off flakes,

Sometimes a chisel taking out chinks and chunks,

Or a sledgehammer pounding through,

Or dynamite, or a bulldozer

Sometimes a ladder or a hot-air ballon,

Sometimes Practice is the shovel that you use to dig under The Wall,

Finding its Foundations,

Tunneling under and moving on,

Or weakening it until it collapses.

What is your Wall and how will you get over, around, or through it?


Creativity and curiosity overflow.

In the last couple of days I have fallen into breathing a Centering breath when I wake up… the other night I did my variation of the Cleansing Life Force excercise…. will have to try this some more and see if this rhythm resonates with my ongoing life… after scratching and chipping at my Wall, I feel like I have created a couple of hand and foot holds and am now climbing up  up it or carving something rich and strange as bas-relief of pracitce?

So my friends, what is your experience with your many Spiritual Practices?

Peace, and curiosity,

Pax

PS- the quote in the title comes from a conversation I once had were I shared some of my thoughts on ethics and virtues and values in Witchcraft and was asked that question…

The Wisdom is what you learn on the Journey, and the reading and research and thought and effort and practice you put into your Witchcraft Spiritual Practice and Relgion and Life.  Right now I feel like school is back in session.

(updated 12.09.10)

A Remeniscence…

So,

Once Upon A Time,

N–, one of my oldest and dearest friends, used to go by the nick-name and nom-de-net The Incubus.

Now N– had moved away, to Florida actually, and then was moving back to Alaska.  We were all thrilled of course, N– is wicked smart and funny and a delight to be around in many social situations, and I determined to find something amusing and warped for his return.  Inspired by his infernal nick-name and the many ongoing jokes and routines that he and I and our circle of friends had come up with over the years, I typed up and printed out a bakers dozen of contracts, with the signer granting full possession and control of their Immortal Soul to N— to do with as he saw fit.

Now, I am not sure if it is a tribute to N—‘s popularity, my ability to seem quite innocuous, or the lack of forethought of people in their late teens and early twenties, BUT when he stepped from the plane I was able to present N— with 13 SIGNED contracts granting him full ownership and oversight over the immortal souls of a bakers dozen of our friends and acquaintances!

The best of the incidents was with J.H., a fine piece of American military manhood, who quite proudly insisted once he had signing the contract (1)…

“That’s ok, its not like I really  believe in an immortal soul so its no big deal.”

“Well,” said young Pax, who while he wasn’t a piece of military manhood  HAD lettered in Speech&Debate (2) after all, “obviously you DO believe in your immortal soul because you just signed a formal document pertaining to it.”

“For that matter,” he continued cheerfully, whilst discretely tucking said signed contract into the folder with the others and carefully backing away out of lunging range, “by signing the contract you not only admit belief in your  immortal soul but give ownership and control over it to N— all in the same moment!”

J.H. stood there a moment, blinking, and working his jaw as if to speak…

“Uh…uh…Damn It!” he said.

“Well, that’s really no longer your decision, now is it?”” said young Pax as he merrily bopped off into the crowd at the Java Joint in Spenard, Ak.

ah, the folly of youth….


Footnotes…

(1) – In ink, for those that are interested.  In the interests of expediency, and given that the contract was printed on a dot-matrix printer, blood seemed a bit over the top.  It WAS red ink though.   Although I suppose you could use a mixture of Pomegranate Juice and Red Wine and Dragons Blood Ink in a reduction as a substitute…

(2)- Technically speaking I lettered in Drama, Debate, and Forensics… Forensics as in formalized informative or opinion based speeches.  I figured though, that this explanation might distract from the narrative flow, and telling people you lettered in Forensics can get you some really odd looks, especially if inserted into the above…