Saturday, March 5, 2016

Creative You

Identity and the Quartered Circle: Chapter 1 In the Beginning

Creativity and Identity intersect. The shape who you are.

If you think you are not creative, take another look. What creative actions do you have in your job, in the kitchen or workshop and with your kids? When do you think for yourself and jump out of the box? What is quirky about you?

In looking at ourselves as creative spiritual beings, we pagans claim creativity. People who follow the crowd don't end up identifying themselves a pagans and witches. Such a thing is unthinkable to a conformist. So if you are a modern day neo pagan, you are being creative every time you celebrate the full moon or a sabbat. Even if your ritual is lifted whole cloth from a book or website, the act of affirming yourself as someone who honors the earth, moon and seasons is far far from the herd mentality of organized religions people inherit.

I'll take that a step further. The rush we get from creating art, whether it is music, graphic arts, crafts, dance, visual arts, drama or written works, that rush is the opening of spiritual channels of kundalini energy. It is connected to our love and passion with our lovers. It is woven in to our spiritual ecstasy under the full moon and in the act of grounding. Spirituality, Creativity and Sexuality are fibers in the same cloth.

I doubt there is anyone reading this who is not interested in spirituality, asexual and blind to the arts. Not all three at the same time. The creativity you find in one of those areas can awaken your creativity in the other areas. Come join the discussion. Have faith in yourself. Be a creative consciousness. You can do it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Magic in Many Forms: Candle Magic by Lucya Starza

Magic in Many Forms

Lucya Starza wove a fine little grimoire in Pagan Portals Candle Magic: a witch’s guide to spells and rituals published by Moon Books. Candle Magic jumps right in from the first page supplying the reader with hands on teaching about spelling with candles. All my favorite spells are in there: money, love, health, happiness. She encourages the readers to trust their instincts and to use colors and scents that are meaningful to the practitioners. I think that is important.  For example, she typically uses yellow and gold candles to symbolize wealth since the pound coin is gold color. She acknowledges many people use green, perhaps because US money is green.  She’s right, but there is something so fitting about a gold candle and a money spell. I fortify mine with a little vial of gold flakes on the altar. Now I’m going to add citrine and a gold candle with the green.

Starza says she writes for the beginner. In many ways she does. Her style is upbeat and readable. She levels her information and sends it directly to the reader with a clear shot to the soul. Yet even an old experienced witch like me can find a new idea. I was particularly pleased to read about the fondue pot spell. You anoint the warming candle; write your group wishes on it, perhaps for harmony, healing or a decision that needs to be made together. Then you prepare the fondue chocolate, supply the long forks, strawberries, bananas or marshmallows and dip away together. All the while, everyone focuses on the wishes for the spell. When the food is gone and the candle burns down, the spell is done. I’m teaching a Wicca I class this spring, and this feels like a good opening or closing ritual. I think they will love it too.

Candle Magic provides more than spell formulas. The reader learns color correspondence, gemstone significance, herbs and aromatherapy uses. Starza packs a lot of information about magic in a little book. In addition she holds to a responsible ethical standard, directing people to add “an’ it harm none” when formulating spells. She’s not afraid of a hex now and again to bring back stolen goods and take justice to a thief. I general discourage new witches from doing that, but the truth is they do it anyway. All in all there is much to admire in this book. I’m adding it to the reading list for my next class, Wicca II: To Will the Magic coming this autumn.  I recommend Candle Magic that strongly.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Names and Identity.

The beginning of self=knowledge is in naming.

Some names are given. Some are chosen. What do your names say about who you are?

What are the names in your ancestry? They can be significant. My family surnames are Abrams, Russell, Lyon, West, and Parkman  for starters. Oh and Hagenbrach.

The Abrams shortened their name from Abrahams around 1800-1810. Were they Jewish before that? not immediately but maybe. The rumor persists. Seven generations back John Abrahams was a carpenter in Newburgh NY. The book of British surname indicates that the name came from Adburgham, a place name in Lancastershire. That is an interesting possibility too.

The Russells were British but which country or county? I'd like to know. My great grandfather Russell was an immigrant from Canada but his father was born in Vermont to David Russell and Keziah Plympton, she of Sturbridge MA. The Plymptons were named for a city in Devonshire England. The Russells  appear to have been farmers and perhaps investors. I don't know if they were successful investors in Canada or not. I suspect they were there because they backed the Royalist side in the American Revolution. People lost their fortunes and their lives doing that. They were given passes to Canada, short term passes which meant they left everything behind.

The Lyons were likely Irish, but I haven't proved it yet. The name comes from the French city of Lyon. They ones I can trace were farmers in central New York, Michigan and back to New York.

The Wests all came from southern England. Our branch landed here in 1640. My immediate ancestors were Wests in Oswego County. They ran a saw mill as a family venture.  The name could be Norse, Flemish or English. Vestarr, for example. It might mean a person lived west of a given settlement. Or it might be linked to the old county of Wessex.

The Parkmans were an old and revered family out of Boston, many of whom were ministers. Before that they were English. One of them founded Parkman Ohio and his progeny went on to settle in Mexico. My branch ended up in central New York as farmers. The name comes from the occupation, a park man ie gamekeeper.

The Hagenbrachs were German immigrants who moved to Oswego NY in the 1850's. He was a butcher/grocer who closed up and went home for lunch trailing change from his pockets for the neighborhood kids to find. I think he did that on purpose. This is from a place name in Germany.

What does your name mean? Dorothy means gift of the gods.

Why do you have it? My mother and her close friend who died just before I was born were Dorothys. I never like being named for a dead woman. It felt creepy. But I liked the meaning. I tried to live up to it from an early age. A gift from the Gods does good stuff for other people. It is my aspiration.

How do you name yourself? Webweaver and Anemone. Eric calls me Lulu which is what one grandfather called my grandmother to annoy her. It really was her name but she didn't like it and went by Pearl. Can't say as I blame her.

What about you? You may not want to share info on line but write it down in your journal. Check it out on Ancestry. Find out who your grand parents, great grandparents and great great grandparents were. It is their love that formed you. If you need me to check something on Ancestry, I can do that. Google the surnames and find their meaning or origin. But be advised. You might get hooked on the research.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fourth Thursdays: Book Discussion on Identity and the Quartered Circle

Beginning February 25th, I will hold Fourth Thursdays at the Web PATH Center, 2 William St. Lyons NY 6 pm to 8 pm for book discussions. Leading off with Identity and the Quartered Circle, going chapter by chapter through my own book. You can get one through all major book sellers including Amazon, e books or hard copy. For those who can't get to Lyons, I'll post some discussion questions on my Facebook writer's page and along with my favorite replies from the group. You can join in through the comments over there.
One of the differences you will find in Identity is in the journaling and artwork projects included with the chapters. I included those because I believe creative expression is an important part of spirituality. We will give the discussion group opportunities to do the projects that interest them. Perhaps we can post some of them here on the Blog.

So come on out and have some fun. Chapter of the month and projects will be announced here and on Facebook. Tell your friends! This is open to the public.

We won't start until next week but here's the first teaser. Keep private what you wish to keep confidential. This is the internet after all.

The beginning of our new self-knowledge is in naming.

Do you know anything about names in your ancestry? They can be significant
What does your name mean?
Why do you have it?
How do you name yourself?