Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love & the Single Witch

Who am I? Got a few hours? Some day I’ll write my memoirs, and when I do, I’ll title it “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been,” which is a line from a Grateful Dead song, “Truckin’”. Yes, I’m from THAT generation. No, I never was a hippie. I had to work for a living, and I didn’t drop out of college. I also like taking showers and baths too much to be a hippie. I’ve been a Witch almost 38 years, maybe more. I actually sought out Witchcraft when I was in college. I started with what would in the ‘80s be called “ghost busting” and divination with playing cards.

I received my first Tarot deck for Yule, 1969, from my then boyfriend. I bought De Lawrence’s book on the Tarot, which I still have. I don’t have the deck, however, I gave it away to this gay guy I used to know. I taught myself to read Tarot from that book, but had at least three actual teachers along the way. Unfortunately, one of them is deceased. I learned a lot from her. But in early 1970, I knew only what was in that book. But it was enough to tell a cop I was dating how unethical readers bilk their clients. I can’t tell you how I knew the tricks; they just came to me.

In April of 1976, I was initiated into the 1st degree of the NROOGD tradition. In 1984, Barbara Frederick and I formed the Witchaven Society, a group (not really a coven) that grew out of her correspondence with a few prison inmates. I didn’t approve of her choice of menfolk. I’ve always been fussier about who I would be with than she has been. I wouldn’t give her choices a second look, except to think to myself “She’s seeing THAT?” She was satisfied that the guy would want to be seen with her. For me, a man had to bring some benefit to Witchaven. Our apprentices didn’t always work out. We decided to set requirements candidates had to meet in order to be taught by us. She decided to have them wait 3 or 6 months. I decided to have a task oriented set so that if they qualified, they’d have a head start on their learning. I took my cue from the Witches in the faery tales. I’ve always been fond of and came up with five tasks that the candidate had to perform to get hir dedicant necklace. I’ll list and describe them for you now.

1) Read three books from the 13 book long reading list. I prepared the reading list with care, looking for books that would give the dedicant a good idea of what Wicca was all about, at least the trad I was teaching. I didn’t have to have a formal book report, just an idea that the apprentice had read the books, and understood what was in them, and why I had assigned it.

2) Start a magickal diary/journal. This will be your lab notebook, where you will put the conditions under which you performed a given spell or ritual, and any spiritual experiences you have.

3) Write an article or poem for the Greymalkin Gazette. The poem should be at least ten well chosen lines, and spiritual, preferably Pagan in subject matter. The article should be either a “Who I Am & How I Got Here” or a how to article on some spell or tool pertaining to Wicca. One young lady did an article on how to make ritual robes. The article should be at least 300 words long and no longer than 900 words. A quick and dirty way of counting the words is to count the words in a typical line, then count the number of full lines on a page, then multiplying the number of words in a line by how many lines in a page. A line that is a half a line or fewer words long can be combined with another half line to be counted as a full line.

4) &5) These tasks go together, but are two separate steps. First identify some reason why we might not work successfully together. Such reasons can be such things as substance abuse (alcohol, nicotine or other drugs) attitude, or other. I may make it easy for you by mentioning some obstacle. Then you go directly to task #5 which is to remove that obstacle. This may be the most difficult task of all, but #4 may be tricky. If you believe that another person is your obstacle, be careful. The other person is not the obstacle, your attitude towards both the other person, and me, your teacher is the true obstacle here.

Since the Greymalkin Gazette is now a group, which I will eventually bring here, task #3 will be published in all the Greymalkin Gazette groups we have so far.

I was with my Significant Other Doc Richard Fulton for 16 years and 3 months. During that time I was deeply in love, perhaps for the first time in my life. I should have known it couldn’t last, that the Gods and Goddesses would take him away from me. I trusted him more than any man I have ever been with in my life.

As my profile will tell you, I’m a writer, a Witch, a Druid, a Thelemite, a diviner, a craftswoman, a reader and a mother. But that doesn’t really tell you much except that I like yarn, embroidery floss, beads, books, and whatever my daughter does. I’m a writer because I have to. It’s a good thing that I like to write, otherwise I might become a substance abuser, such as alcohol, as so many of my fellow writers have done, in order to escape from the compulsion. Yes, writing is a compulsion, an obsession, and an addiction. The difference between writing and other compulsions/obsessions/addictions is that nobody ever tries to keep me from doing it except when he (it’s always a he) wants me to do something else like housework. I like music. I especially like music that elicits an emotional response. I like to write to music, and have collected a library of music that will enable me to write stirring scenes. They come from several genres of music; New Age/world beat, classical, classic rock, and movie soundtracks.

What else is there about me that you’d like to know? My interests in the Wiccan field are performing spells and rituals, writing spells and rituals, and divination. I practice three main methods of divination: Tarot, Runes, and Ogham. But I do have smatterings of others such as scrying, favomancy (divination by beans), and reading scarabs and Witching Stones. I have Buzios (Brazilian reading shells, but haven’t tried them yet. I love the dance, and now that my my ankles are in better shape, I can resume it. It’s my favorite form of exercise, yes, even over sex.

I have one child, a daughter, aged 30, who is doing post doctoral work in computer cryptography at UCSD. She has taught me a lot about computers, and when she’d come to visit, she’d amuse herself by improving something on my computer. It was she who downloaded and configured Firefox, my favorite browser, on my old HP Pavilion Windows XP machine. On my new one, which I’m writing this on right now, I did all the downloads myself.
When I say I’m a Witch, I also include that I’m a shaman, because Witchcraft is European shamanism. I got this from Christopher Penczak in his book the Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft. I agree with him. Hedge Witches are very shamanic, since they use animal guides and “ride the hedges” which are the boundaries between this world and other worlds to make healing soul journeys, both to find out what steps will heal a patient, and to retrieve soul fragments. They also make tools, magickal objects, and potions, brews, incenses, and oils from found objects and plants. I think you can even be a hedge Witch in the city or suburbs. You simple make your tools and craft objects by recycling other people’s “junk.” I have a dear friend I call Snoodlady who made planters out of defunct computer monitors. You can find great treasures at garage and yard sales, flea markets, and farmers’ markets. We have a group which we’ll bring here eventually.

The other part of “we” is my friend, house mate, and partner (Business, not romantic) Stephen Abbott, aka abbottsinn. You may have heard of him. He and I are fairly notorious on the Internet. Together we run the Abbott’s Inn International School of Magick. It was started over 40 years ago, went on the Internet 9 years ago, and I joined it as his partner 3 ½ years ago. Some years ago before this, we started starting and maintaining groups on several networks, and we are hoping to bring branches of our groups here. We have over 60 titles for different groups, but I’m going to talk him out of having me start more than a few fairly representative groups. One of these is Hedgecraft 4 Us. Our groups cover a plethora of topics, from serious discussions on magick and paranormal phenomena to humor. Yes, humor is important. The best and simplest
way to banish demons and other malefic spirits is to laugh at them. They take themselves very seriously, and their only real weapon is the fear they inspire in people, so if you laugh at them, they will be unable to cope, and will go away. I’ve always had a rather playful attitude towards daemons (note the different spelling, it’s quite deliberate I assure you).

Let me tell you an illustrative story. Back in late 1986 to early 1987 I lived in a magickal household. I was between residences at the time, so was living in a small basement room with the man who would later become my third ex-hubby. In the same house, just on the other side of the bathroom lived another couple, Caitlin, a young woman who had fled her possibly abusive husband was living with Chris, a young magician, who supposedly was very intelligent. He was always calculating these complicated magickal formulae. He never did any magick, he just worked on the formulae. He also took crank, and drank, then was plagued by daemons stirred up by one of the other denizens of the house who was doing the Abra Melin Working for Knowledge and Conversation with his Holy Guardian Angel. I invited the daemons to our room, where I played with them while Delphinius was gone. We would laugh about how silly Chris was to be so afraid of them. He was too tainted by the Judeo-Christian to really understand about magick, which included Witchcraft, which is what I practiced then, as now. I think the daemons liked me and my playful humorous attitude towards them. They also, however, enjoyed tormenting Chris. I never did manage to train them to bring me money.

In closing, I want you to know that I will answer any question about myself except my age. You probably have some idea of the general range when I say that I’ve been a Pagan for almost 38 years, and that my daughter Janvier, is 30 years old. Those of you who haven’t been Witches as long as I have can ask me anything about the modern Wiccan movement, including the inception of CoG, the Covenant of the Goddess. I also have a lot of history in my head about the Reformed Druidry Movement. Some of it can be read in the Druid Chronicles, but there’s a lot that happened in California in the Bay Area in the mid- to late 70s that I was there for. What I don’t know, I can ask Stephen, who’s been a Druid four years longer than I have. And now I’ve got to read some of your blogs so that I can learn about some of you.