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Posts Tagged ‘goddess’

singing and drumming in front of around 500 people or so.. no biggie

This summer solstice the family and I traveled to PSG for a week long adventure in pagan community, music, celebration, ritual and camping hosted by Circle Sanctuary. It was my 5th time attending and once again I found that a great love and understanding permeated every interaction that I came across. The first time I attended, I lost my phone card and someone tracked me down just to give it to me again. I can leave a folding chair anywhere for a whole day and not worry about someone taking it (very different from my own front yard!).

Besides a great deal of trust that flows throughout the festival, it is wonderful to see how our pagan community really works. Activists, musicians and pagan leaders are accessible (I chatted with activist Patrick McCollum, author Loren Cruden, musician Arthur Hinds, some members of Spiral Rhythm, pagan leader Selena Fox and the editor of Circle Magazine,  for example). Also, if you, yourself has a special talent, you are encouraged to make a contribution. No where will you find more of a safe and supportive environment to let your talents shine. Last year I attended a chant circle and shared some of my own original chants. I received such a strong, positive feedback that this year many were looking out for me specifically to hear more of my songs! A few even sang some of my chants back to me and told me that they had been sharing it with others all year!!

This year I found the courage within me to sing an original song on-stage at the talent show (probably around 500 people in the audience). That’s us in the picture!! This is only the second time I have sang on stage (the first was when I sang the Cranberries song, Zombie for a neighborhood block party). My two friends JJ and Tulie got up there with me to accompany me with their voices part of the time and a djembe and a rattle and we rocked!!! So much so, we are deciding to start a band!!! Youtube videos are shortly in my future so that others can use my chants if they wish and I’m sure my friends will be joining me singing a few of them. Side note: if you are close to the Quad Cities Illinois area, can play an instrument and are wanting to take part- LET ME KNOW!!!

I feel so blessed to be part of this amazing community. As Pagans and Wiccans, we are all making history as we are some of the first generations to be part of this growing earth-based religion!

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Khalil Gibran.jpg

As a witch, I follow no one sacred book. We are all children of Spirit and so all of our lips speak eternal truths. However, many of us are in a cloud. It shrouds us with illusion- we perceive reality from a only a small perspective: like trying to know a large house by peeking in through the front door’s key hole. There are so many possibilities out there that we are unaware of.

The writings of Kahlil Gibran light me up from the inside- it reminds me of my own luminosity housed in the hearts of all creation. His poetry is like that cloud of illusion lifted. His words comfort, inspire and dance in my head like a new found lover. I feel like I can take his poems and fashion them into healing charms and love spells and chant their sacred words to wake the dead.

“Love is the lover’s eyes, and the spirit’s wine, and the heart’s nourishment. Love is a rose… Love is the poet’s elation, and the artist’s revelation, and the musician’s inspiration…Love is the sacred shrine in the heart of a child, adored by a merciful mother…Oh seekers, Love is Truth, beseeching Truth, and your Truth in seeking and receiving and protecting Love shall determine its behavior.”

“Marriage is the union of two divinities that a third might be born on earth. It is the union of two souls in a strong love for the abolishment of separateness.”

-from Secrets of the Heart

I started reading his books just two weeks ago. I found the book Secrets of the Heart among my grandmother’s things when she moved into a nursing home five years ago, however I never started reading it until recently. It was always one of those books that beckoned me to keep it around, glance at her signature printed neatly within the inside cover every once in a while. I thought the book was strictly Christian (which it is not-)  and so I never bothered to do much more than skim it. But now that I have reached a new point in my spiritual path- where I honor all paths- I was pleasantly surprised when I began to read. And then by fate’s grace I came across a large book in a thrift store that contained many (it not all) of his writings, The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran.

“…the whole earth is my birthplace and all humans are my brothers.”

Kahlil Gibran was a true mystic- he followed no one religion- all inspired him and he wrote of the Spirit of Love as his guide. His writings contain many figures- including the Goddess herself. He was born in Lebanon into a Catholic family but was surrounded with those of many faiths and later as a teenager he moved back and forth between the United States and Lebanon. His family history was tragic- his father was imprisoned as when Gibran was a child and his mother, brother and sister all died of illness in his adolescence (I look up to anyone who can survive all of that) even his own lifetime love could not rightly marry him due to her family’s conservatism. However, the words that flows from him speak of joy, beauty and truth and point to the great mystery of the soul. He was also an artist and a fiction writer and knew Carl Jung (which makes him instantly cool, by the way). According to wikepedia, he is the third best selling poet of all time. His picture is also quite dashing, no?

And so it is with his words that I have been recharging this last week. I feel like the process is not fully finished, but I wanted to peek my head out of my hole for a bit to sing my praise of this wonderful writer.

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Last night in my multicultural counseling class we had a gay couple guest speak about the coming out process. I realize that there are many differences between the Wiccan community and the LGBT community, but I always find it interesting how many similarities there are because of us both identifying ourselves outside of mainstream society.

For one, we both face possible discrimination if we are publicly “out” and we have to constantly stand up for our human rights (so LGBT pagans really get a double whammy of work). Another thing they said was most LGBT people have usually felt a little different growing up, like they didn’t quite fit in to the main crowd so easy. Almost all of the Wiccans and Pagans I have known have said the same thing.

The couple went on to talk about the facts of coming out: it is not just a one time deal and you never have to do it again! The process never ends!! It is the same for Pagans… think about it: You may be out to your friends and family and maybe even those who you work with, but we are still having to judge the right time to come out to people we have just met, too.

For example, I have made some new friends at grad school, but I haven’t brought up my religion till last week because I wanted everyone to know who I was before any possible stereotypes would get slammed on me once I announce that I am Pagan. But here is finally how it went-and I wrote a nonfiction story about it so enjoy…

The Lesbian, The Christian and The Witch

Three female graduate students in their twenties are talking. One is a lesbian, one is a Christian and one is a witch:

The Christian to the Lesbian: “Sometimes I feel that others may be judging me on being a Christian because the stereotypes of Christians being judgmental, but I just want you to know that I completely accept and support your lifestyle. Not all Christians are the same… many of us do focus more on the love side.”

The Lesbian: “Thank you, that means a lot. I never really thought about how you are worried about stereotypes, too.”

The Witch: “Wow, I am so touched by this conversation and I am feeling ready to tell you both something: I’m Pagan!”

The Lesbian: “Pagan?”

The Witch: “Another common name is Wicca.”

The Lesbian: “No way! That is great- I don’t know any Wiccans. Hey my mom is really interested in the Salem Witch Trials.”

The Christian: “What does it mean to be Wiccan?”

The Witch: To honor the masculine and feminine divine and see the sacredness of nature mostly.

The Christian: “It sounds really interesting to learn about. I’m glad you told us. It sounds like we all have something we worry about being discriminated for. ”

The Witch to the Christian: “I owe you an apology, I was worried about telling you because I was placing that judgmental Christian stereotype on you. I have experienced a lot of prejudice from Christians in the past, but now I see that is not true of all, or maybe even most Christians- thank you for being so brave and talking about your feelings.”

Three friends walk back to class… and it doesn’t matter which one is the lesbian, the witch or the christian, because the first word they think about when they see each other is, “Friend”.

The End.

awww… now I am all teary eyed just thinking about it again 🙂

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vending

Finally!!!                                           She is here…

I felt her creeping up through the soil.

I heard her awakening the roots and waiting seeds.

I tasted her in the flowing sap and smelled her in the bird filled breeze.

Persephone: Awakened.

Many new things are awakening now. My spirit arose with the March Moon last night and I blessed my sacred tools in the last winter’s snow. Twitchywitchy has become greatly successful in just one week. I had my first vending event at a woman’s magickal conference over the weekend and my magnets, poetry booklets, paintings, prints, jewelery and painted up knick-knacks were a hit. Yes, you heard right: my poetry book is finished! I took the best of my spiritual poems over the years and combined them into a poetry booklet to nourish the mystic soul. I would have never pursued this project if it hadn’t been for my many friends nudging me along the way to get it out there.

poetry bookpoetry book 3

I’m still in the process of posting up more items to my store, so more busy work awaits me but I am finding it so rewarding to be able to inspire others through art. As I got to sell face to face with my customers I was able to hear about the sentimental emotions they had already attached to my handcrafted items. One woman bought a moon painted cow for her wife as a symbol of their closeness. Another woman loved a red painted pentacle bowl and planned on using it to store her flowers she had gotten while in the hospital for a kidney transplant.

I feel so blessed to be part of the community around me and I am so glad this blog helps me connect to the spiritual people of the world. (Oh and I am stepping outside of what I am used to and finally posting a picture of myself !) May more doors continue to open as the world reawakens to bloom.

~Brightest Spring Blessings~

~Cicada

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keeper of the fire painting“Keeper of the Fire”

I have met a new love and it is infinite with paint.

Painting has become quite a surprising pleasure for me this year. Compositions of plants, gods, magick, love and desire dance in my head. With each paint stroke, I overcome my self-doubt. With each picture accomplished, I realize my ability to manifest creation.

The White Goddess, Raven and Crone

“Raven and Crone”

If you have been wondering what I have been up to lately, this is it! Magick has become swirled paint alongside my normal busy world of family, kids, school, sabbats and songs. The top picture is going to go on a poetry book I am in the process of getting ready for my store, Twitchy Witchy. The other paintings are currently for sale there, too.

 priestess of the fields

“Red Priestess of the Fields”

Me, being the proud mamma I am, had to share my daughter’s rendition of this:

Aiyana's red priestess

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(sign my friends and I put up along a highway for Pagan Pride Day)

Rewind my life about eight years ago…

I had been assistant coaching high school color guard with a respected older role model in my life for years and I was afraid to tell her that I was Pagan. I was afraid to tell anyone at that point. I grew up with so much discrimination because of my faith in my own family that I was convinced everyone else would despise me too if they knew my true religious identity. And then one day one of my pentacle wearing friends visited me at practice and the other coach made a comment after my friend had left. It was then that I made a decision: I am not going to hide who I am anymore. I told her I was Pagan. You know what happened? Not what I initially expected: because she was actually pleasantly surprised! She said that she had met a Pagan couple on her honeymoon and that they were the nicest people she had ever met! A few years later she came to my handfasting and enjoyed herself.

If it hadn’t been for that one experience with that nice Pagan couple, this important woman in my life could have responded much, much differently. I am so grateful  for all of the friendly Pagans and Wiccans before me that have been proudly out of the broom closet. Wicca and Paganism is still very, very new for our society to grasp. Often new= scary.

The other day I was in my graduate school classes and we were talking about multiculturalism, tolerance and diversity appreciation. When the teacher asked us to name different subcultures someone mentioned Earth Based Spirituality. The teacher went on to use that as an example of how we are going to have to be understanding of different beliefs, “like Wicca”,  to be effective counselors. Looking around the room made my heart sink. A look of disgust swept across one woman’s face and I wanted to cry and yell at the same time. The subject was quickly changed but I knew that once the subject came around again I would reveal my religious identity for the sake of educating everyone in the classroom about my faith, like I had so often done during my undergrad. This is not a small task to be open. I risk  losing the respect of some of my professional peers and professors.

There are so many stereotypes that can hurt us. The most common is that Pagans and Wiccans  are either evil or are just a big joke. Both perceptions are hurtful and highly disrespectful.

Watch this shocking video to see the media openly mock Pagans and Wiccans:

http://www.causes.com/actions/1733105-demand-fox-news-apologize-to-pagans-and-wiccans?recruiter_id=46939271&utm_campaign=own_timeline&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb

I wanted to slap these ignorant reporters after watching this, but I thought back to that mysterious “nice Pagan couple” from before that had so willingly helped pave the way for me to be accepted. These reporters had never known any Pagans or Wiccans, but I am willing to bet you that they actually had- but the people were still in the closet about their identity. I know a lot of openly Pagan people, but it would shock you to know how many more people I know who are Pagan and do not tell others. I am not judging them, it is their own business why they want to stay in the closet. My only point is that there are way more Pagans out there than people realize!

If you are out of the “broom closet” I want to give you a big hug! It is only through exposure and advocacy that  people can begin to tolerate and accept us. The public needs to see that we are a diverse population with varying personalities, education levels, ages and ethnicities. It can be a scary thing to be out, and we won’t be able to win everyone over, but simply wearing a goddess or pentacle necklace in public can lead to wonderful conversations with people who are generally curious. Let’s not let the few intolerant “bad apples” of the crowd deter us from being open if we really want to.

~Blessings,

Cicada

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black madonna

January’s Full Moon brought a night of magic and friendship at my seasonal women’s circle. The woman who hosted it rented a room at a historical lodge in our area and she set up “stations” for us to freely travel through while we did our introspective work.  Stations are a great way to keep the energy flowing in ritual by having a liberated sense of how one can go about it. For example, stations include a drumming corner, divination area, fire scrying, altar gazing, meditation mat, journal exploring, art creating, sacred dancing, and more. No matter what size of a group you are working with, people can benefit from the freedom of listening to their inner spirit regarding what to do first.

Before we began she read us a passage about the Black Madonna from a book by the author of Women Who Run With the Wolves and I just have to get my hands on it:

Untie the Strong Woman

Once we separated into our stations I approached the altar filled with Goddess representations that we all brought. A black figurine called to me and I knew it was the Black Madonna. It is a wonderful moment when you connect with something new. Why did she call to me? When new deities approach you take it as a sign that a new message is coming for your life. I welcome change. The Black Madonna called me to the Earth, to be a servant of Love, to give myself to a greater cause. My other blog, Love is My Spirit, reflects this expansion in my Spirit.

Afterwards, I did more research on her and found a powerful and inspiring article about her here.

Then, I painted my own Black Madonna to honor in my home (pictured above). Thrift stores usually are in abundance of the Virgin Mary statues, so it was easy to come across one that could be painted to my liking.

And finally, here is a Virgin Mary picture I painted earlier this month for my step mom:

mary painting 1

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Language is what defines our reality. In a postmodernistic view, where reality is subject to everyone’s own perceptions, language helps form our realities and can be different for different groups and individuals.

Words convey symbols. But what one word may convey to one person, can mean something so different to another. (Just think of all the connotations connected to the word “magic”).

It seems that with all religions, everyone has a word for God, but the words themselves do not match.

In fact, I personally think the word “God” is still too limiting to what it is I feel the Infinite Spirit represents. The word God feels so human to me. I once read in a Hindu scripture (can’t think of exact one) that people need a personal view and an impersonal view of God, so all the deities help a person connect to God, as there is a humanistic image of He or She, the impersonal view is called Atman (God within) and Brahman (God outside of ourselves). The goal is realizing that they are identical.  I like this perspective, as do many.

However, the word God, or even Goddess, is still limiting in it’s symbolic form. At least for me. Even if I try to connect to the impersonal God, I still end up imagining this old dude in the sky. Some people have an androgynous form of God they like to connect with, but it is still so human. Here’s the thing… out of all the hundreds names for God, what is it that God really means? What is it that God is?

=

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~LOVE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If everyone could just accept this about everyone else’s gods, this would be the start of peace.

If everyone could just place LOVE on their altars, we would have the ultimate ideal for our lives.

LOVE is limitless. It has infinite forms. This is why there are so many deities and ideas of what they are. The world needs so many forms of Love. From the love of creativity to the love of the future generations to allow for death. Love is why we are here. Even if your parents conceived you from what most would deem as loveless sex, you were still conceived because they desired connection.

LOVE IS CONNECTION.

I am not saying I’m giving up on paganism or the God’s. Since love is infinite and we are part of this Infinite energy then there are many forms. Just like there are many, many people born to serve Love in many ways (teachers, musicians, librarians, leaders, garbage truck drivers, mothers, morticians, acrobats, etc…) there are many deities needed to serve Love in many ways  (Allah, Kali, Diana, Jehovah) and yes, many saints and prophets and wise ones (Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Mother Theresa, You?). And let’s not forget about the animals and plants of this world!

Thus, I am a servant of Love. I am love and you are love.

So Blessed Be

Picture by

http://www.cianellistudios.com/spiritual_paintings.html

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If I don’t make some sort of art in any form for a week, I get a bit twitchy and feel like I will explode. Art, along with spirituality, keeps me in balance. Writing poetry, stories, music, dancing and creating visual art forms ground me to my ancestral roots and at the same time, help me blossom over where I have once been. I need outlets in order to actively let out all of the energetic inward stuff that fills me up, but threatens to decay if not given back to the universe properly.

I was good at art as a child, but I didn’t do it nearly enough to justify that I would be doing it later on in life. (Not like my own daughter who draws compulsively.) However, art was already in my blood. My parents, both artists in their own right: My mother a creative quiltess, my father- a poet and painter. His mother- poet and painter. Her father- a poet and painter. Spirituality also dripped down the generational line in the form of art.

It wasn’t until I became a teenager that art began to take it’s hold. For a pond spirit as a muse and a love that was cursed from the get go, I wrote pages and pages of emotional poetry. Then, when I moved my sophomore year in high school, I immediately fit into the art-minded crowd and started working in an art gallery. Later, I really began to flourish when I moved out of my parent’s home and in with my now husband. With way less energy sucked away to the drama of my family, I started to be able to devote more of myself to art…

And now I am so excited that I am moving my art into an arena that I can share it. Not only is there a CD in the works, but this week I opened an etsy store! My TwitchyWitchy Store!  

I’ve been having fun up-cycling statues into divine deities, creating jewelery, and making other pagan inspired art to sell. I think I have created enough stuff for my friends and I over the years and so now my territory extends out to the whole world. There is a lot more to come. Enjoy and blessings!

~Some of the items in store

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My labyrinth is completely done!

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My living room wall mural is completely done!

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My rough draft CD to give to my backup singers and accompanist: done!

(okay, so not a good picture for lighting, but this is me singing last weekend on stage for the first time)

Whoooo, hard work pays off!

The Labyrinth… Today I hosted a women’s circle and I had them place the stones and bless the labyrinth with white sage, cornmeal, salt, roses, moon water and ringing a crystal bell. These women have been role models for me for the last 10 years and I am so grateful they came… even in the pouring rain! Tulie, my husband and I found almost all the stones around the Mississippi and a nearby creek. Lots of sweat went into finding those. My daughter and son helped me dig it (well, I mostly dug and they played in the dirt). So basically, almost everyone who has supported me spiritually in my life has taken part of this labyrinth and I feel so blessed.

The Mural… We bought our house six years ago and never planned on living in it this long because it is a small, two bedroom home. This means that we never went to extreme lengths to make it feel like a home. Two kids later, we find ourselves still here and finally we have decided we are going to stay here at least until I am done with graduate school (three years)… so we finally are starting to make this place feel like a home! We put up a fence so the kids can run free and I can do ritual skyclad if I want.  We are also making plans to make the attic into a bedroom. This mural was started to mark this important milestone in our lives.

The CD… After working repeatedly on tweaking many of my songs, I finally recorded a CD to give to my accompanist and backup singers! This CD is a collection of some of my favorite pagan songs that I have written over the last five years. I look forward to the future blog about my music finally being open to the public, but until then, I am just thankful for this moment in the process where I am only moving forward with the goal in graspable sight!

About two weeks ago I was sharing a new song to Tulie and our kids outside with our drums. Her son, who is five and is only recently begun to talk about his spiritual side, suddenly announces that a cicada on a tree started to come out as I was singing. None of us had seen this before (even me, who has the cicada for a totem), so we all got very excited and took it as a sign that my songs are ready to take on a new form and fly. We drummed and sang for an hour until the cicada completely left his shell. It was quite the experience that none of us will forget!

Thank You Infinite Spirit for giving me the health, support, inspiration and opportunity to finish these projects!

So Blessed Be.

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