Monthly Archives: February 2013

Well, Then, Son … You’ve Got a Condition …

Back in the day, when I was fully-steeped in the energetic model of magic, aura work was how I began and ended any magic I did.  Hell, more than half the time—especially during the Basement Years, when getting a finger-hold on my sanity was the main object of my magic—it was the Work.  That started to slip during the Ceremonial Experiment: the banishing work had about the same effect, and the kinds of aura work I knew were actually counterproductive, as the ceremonial work was making some radical and positive changes to my aura.  It’s slipped further since starting on Project Null.  Actually, that’s a lie: since starting Project Null, the cognitive dissonance I’ve experienced between the various Wiccan schools I was originally trained in, the things I learned during the Ceremonial Experiment, and the Chaos Magick theories I’ve encountered on aura-work, basically amounted to a paradigmatic train wreck.  I mostly managed to hold things together through the end of Christmas Break.  But there’ve been some oddities.

The first oddity was a sort of psychic “sore” at the small of my back.  I first noticed it while doing some banishing work with Aradia toward the end of break.  As we cleaned it out, it felt like it was linked to my Root chakra.  I’m not bad at doing psychic/aura healing work on other people—I can even manage a certain amount of physical healing—but I’m shit at doing it for myself.  The angles are off, I guess.

Time passed, I came back to school, and the “sore” persisted, thought never as bad as it had been at first.  Until I went to do my first serious banishing work at January’s Full Moon, and discovered a …. giant, black, slimy lamprey-worm-thing attached to the wound in my aura.  Not really certain what it was or what to do, I pulled it off, threatened it, and threw it across town.  The “sore” finally closed up altogether, and I went on with my life.  I noted the whole episode, but never have been able to determine if the thing was an astral varmint, the work of one of the two psychic vampires I’ve crossed in the last six weeks, the product of my own Chaos Magick-induced delusions, or something else entirely.

Then, this last week, as I was recovering from a mundane illness I discovered a new “sore” on my aura.  This one lays about where my neck joins my back, but doesn’t seem to correspond with any of my energetic centers.  Squirming around in the psychic wound were a mass of writhing black worms in a sick column down to the original wound: miniature versions of the larger one I’d already thrown off.  Local spirits have proven ineffectual at helping me clean out the mess—on or two smaller spirits even appear to have been injured by the things—although the manifestation of That One God who dwells at the on-campus chapel was surprisingly willing and able to help dispose of the ones I could extract (it seems to have taken it rather personally that such vermin would move into its territory).

I’m hoping that tonight’s performance of the Stele of Jeu will fix the problem.  Barring that, that when I finally “create”* my guard-dog servitor tomorrow night, it will be able to deal with the problem (since that is what it’s going to be made for, after all).

In the mean time, has anyone else had an experience like this?  Any advice?

*I’m not entirely certain, given the way things have been leaning, that I’m actually going to end up creating a servitor so much as recruiting a local spirit for the task.  The distinction, however, is largely moot.



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My Liberalia

English: Dionysus is equated with both Bacchus...

English: Dionysus is equated with both Bacchus and Liber (also Liber Pater). Liber (“the free one”) was a god of fertility, wine, and growth, married to Libera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Calendars are a problem.  The more of them you have, the harder they are to match up.  At this stage in my life, I’m struggling to reconcile four: the Gregorian, the academic, the lunar, and the Wheel of the Year.  Sometimes, it can be a fucking mess, especially as I try to splice in ancient festivals AND keep everything relevant to the life I actually live.

So, it was very much to my delight last year when I learned of an interesting coincidence: namely that Saint Patrick’s Day (an “Irish” American drinking festival, for those who don’t live in the USA) and the Liberalia fall at about the same time.  Even more fortuitous, both coincide with the beginning of Spring Break (an academic American drinking festival) at my particular institution of higher education.  My celebrations last year were impromptu and (mostly) solitary.  But I did start a batch of mead with this year in mind.

Now the date approaches and  I watch with some curiosity as Sanion anticipates Anthesteria. I am trying to find time to do research into what “traditional” festivities would have included, and then decide / beg for divine inspiration as to which elements to maintain, which to adopt from other festivals, and what to make up whole cloth.

There will be wine, of course, and mead: both drinking the mead I started last year and will bottle in about a week, and the starting of a new batch for next year.  And feasting: I never open the Sunrise Temple without providing food.  Offerings aplenty to the God, and a special altar erected to him for the occasion.

But what else?  I don’t really have the resources to put on a play of any kind, and playing movies in the background seems … a weak

Statue of Dionysus of the "Madrid-Varese ...

Statue of Dionysus of the “Madrid-Varese type”. Roman artwork based on a late Hellenistic original (ca. 125–100 BC). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

substitute at best.  (Besides which, all the appropriate movies that I own will be played for the same people three weeks prior at my Midsem party.)  Perhaps I can encourage participants to declaim from the various hymns to Dionysus; a lot of them are thespians, they’ll probably get a kick out of it.  And should I bring in elements of the Urban Dionysia, which falls about the same time of year (depending on the vagaries of the lunar calendar) but much less fortuitously in terms of free time to devote to worship?

I’m thinking that there may be some ritual (and playful) flogging, both to purify and to excite (though, contrary to Pausanius’ Skiereia, it will be everyone getting lashed).  Possibly arts-and-crafts, especially the making and donning of masks and thyrsoi.  I may encourage cross-dressing, in honor of the god’s youth spent hiding from Hera, and in memory of Tieresias and Cadmus, who donned women’s clothing that they might participate in the rites when the other men of Thebes followed Pentheus’ lead in denying Dionysus.

Hopefully everyone will have enough fun to get naked, because … Maenads and Satyrs, duh.  Should that happen, face and body paint are great games.

I have numerous Tarot decks, and it might be an interesting occasion on which to employ the oracular powers of Dionysus.  Also, the ouija board.  (Of course I have a ouija board.  Don’t look at me that way.  You have one, too.)

All this would be just a little easier, of course, if I had a more concrete relationship with the god.  When I do my thrice-weekly offering rites, I hail him as I pour the libations: “Dionysus, Liber Pater, Lord of the Vine, source and surcease of madness.”  But if those things were all that he is to me, then I would not need to have a festival: I would simply meditate on what passes for my sanity whilst drinking until I cry.  But Dionysus is more than that.  So much more.

I struggle in my search for how best to honor him.


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Weekly Sigils Shoals

IMG_5601Since coming back to Indiana for the Spring semester, I have fired a shoal of sigils every week.  The idea is that doing practical, results-oriented magic on a regular basis will, a) improve my mad magic skilz in a practice-makes-perfect sort of way; b) force me to be more creative with my sigil-making and sigil-launching techniques lest boredom undo my Will; c) proivide me with raw data for deterring IMG_5602which desires and which techniques go well together; and, finally, d) result in improved efficacy of any technique I might employ, as the universe becomes accustomed to bending to my will.

So far, the project has been going well.  My “target” is a shoal of three to six sigils every IMG_5608Sunday morning, as part of my regular offering schedule.  So far I have not actually made that target: half my launches have been Sunday afternoon or evening, the other half on Monday nights.  Still: that’s progress.

The first week’s sigils were all aimed at personal outcomes: memory and discipline.  The second were social: still trying to engineer myself a new lover here in Indiana.  (High standards, highly specific notions of consent, a complicated life story, and an overabundance of undesirable near-misses make that more difficult than it might otherwise be.).  The third were aimed at memory and discipline again: being where and when I say I’ll be, and getting my assignments done on time.  The first two sets were done in what has become my most frequently employed method: drawing the sigils on a notecard and chanting “It is my will” at them until they get fuzzy.  The third week was done using a freshly-consecrated mirror as a launching platform.  That seemed to work very well, actually.

2013-02-10_11-19-41_167This week’s Work, however, had a different target which required an entirely different approach.  My parents are embroiled in an inheritance dispute.  Frankly, I should have intervened months ago, but it’s an adequately messy situation that, without any real brilliant inspiration as to how to intervene, I was more 2013-02-10_12-12-30_384than a little afraid of collateral damage.  Having been struck by a bit of that much-needed inspiration, though, what you see to the right are sigils drawn with planetary Kamea and empowered at the appropriate planetary hours this past Sunday.  Basically, I dropped Saturn and Jupiter on the matter, by the logic that the two celestial god-kings were the best way to bring a legal dispute to a close.

Results, so far, have been mixed.  My social and discipline sigils have been slow to manifest.  Perhaps my chaos sigilization technique needs work.  Perhaps it’s my launch technique.  Or maybe I just need a bigger lever to fight my own nature.  This Sunday’s planetary sigils, however, have already manifested: the situation has shifted from the lawyer saying “they should sign the paperwork soon” to the bank saying “the check is in the mail”.

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Devotion and Worship: What Is This? I Don’t Even ….

As I have probably mentioned before, I was raised without religion.  Christianity was pervasive and ubiquitous throughout my childhood, of course: on television and in the Cub Scouts, in my textbooks and in everyone else’s assumptions.  I even went to church for Christmas, sometimes, and Easter.  But my upbringing did not include any actual, direct instruction in Christian religious doctrine or practice.

My early explorations in religion, such as they were, were self-guided, and—ultimately—their own undoing.  One hears about That God and the Bible quite a lot in Cub Scouts and in a Kansas elementary school, but always in ways which presume that one already knows what the speaker is talking about.  Now, generally, this is actually a very effective indoctrination tool: the presumption of knowledge backs most people into a corner where they will agree to anything to avoid admitting that they don’t know what you’re talking about.  That never worked on me.  Gathering the impression that the explanations for all the gibberish could be found in a certain book, I picked up the children’s Bible my parents house.  There were rules, I learned (so many rules, but mostly the Big Ten), with dire consequences promised for breaking them.  But I could see that those punishments weren’t being meted out.  The only conclusions that my pre-teen mind could make from this contradiction were that That God must be absent or unjust.

Thus began my decade-and-a-half “phase” as an angry agnostic.  I wanted no part in any gods.  I found the Neo-pagan movement (Wicca and its offshoots, in particular), and although I found a home, of sorts, for myself … I rejected their gods, too.

All of which is to say that I have no early-life framework for worship or devotion.  I have, in fact, often compared worship of any sort to spiritual slavery.  So…. For about twelve years I celebrated seasonal festivals to satisfy needs I can no better articulate now than I could then.  Nor am I yet certain what changed in my head or why, that day in St. Louis when I suddenly called out to Dionysus, Hephaestus, and Apollo.

Six years after that sharp about-face, my altar is home to nine gods and three familiar spirits.  The spirits I have solid working relationships with: although we are still negotiating the precise terms of our arrangements, we are friends and partners.  The gods, though … Dionysus, Hermes, Hephaestus, Baphomet, Rhea, Athena, the Kouros, the Witchmother, and the Sun … some of them are as uncertain what to do with me as I am with them.  Each has reached out to me, or me to them, and made solid contact at least one time.  Rhea was the first power whose voice I could discern calling to me from the darkness; Athena found her way to my altar through a series of omens; the Kouros answered my call when I went searching for meaning in the Divine Masculine, and the Witchmother came to me through the statue I had used to search for the Divine Feminine; Hephaestus stood at my side when I sat at the bench; Hermes is the chief god of the modern Western esoteric tradition; and Dionysus …  well, that’s a slightly longer story.

I recall deciding, in the strange days leading up to that first call, that if I were ever to worship the gods, Dionysus would be among them.  A youthful, effeminate, sometimes cross-dressing god.  The god of wine and ecstasy, of loosing yourself in the beat of the drum, and of running and fucking in the woods.  The god who causes and cures madness, and who disdains the kings appointed by his father Zeus.  Himself an initiate into the Mysteries of an older, more primal goddess.  As long as I have made mead, I have done so in the name of Dionysus; those of you who have had my wine can attest to its improbable efficacy.  Dionysus was the first god to appear before me at my initiation, and he is always the most firmly present when I perform my pentagram rite.  His leopard visits my astral temple.  And yet, at the same time, he is the most inscrutable of the gods upon my altar.  When I seek him out, I cannot find him.  Only Athena has less to say to me when I pour the libations.

I wonder, sometimes, if it would be easier if it were in my nature to devote myself entirely to a single god.  Could I then count on the god to tell me what was wanted of me, and what I would get from it in my return?  If that were my only dilemma, though, I could simply go the other obvious route, joining one of the Hellenistic recon communities.  I could be well-loved there, as an actual Classicist.  But my own UPG is too far afield, and my witchcraft too radical (to say nothing of my feminism) for those groups I’ve seen.

Each of the powers who has come to me has told me a little bit of what I need to do.  Just enough that, with a little bit of luck and creativity, I have (so far) been able to struggle up to the next step.  I make offerings of coffee, candles, wine, and/or mead at least three times a week.  I must not abandon my visionary practice—I must, in fact, escalate it—but I must also have daily planetary ritual.  But the Orphic hymns aren’t quite …. working.  There’s something lacking : something maybe 25 degrees off.  And while they’ve been showing me how to make masks, magically, I’m still trying to puzzle out some of the material components of the process.  And I have to keep with the lunar and solar calendar I have already devoted so much of my life to.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  So far, none of these are hardships (well, except for the occasional extremely hung over Saturday or Sunday dawn offering rite, and they’re usually pretty forgiving if I’m late).  But … there are disparate pieces that I haven’t figured out how to smelt into a cohesive hole.

How do you obey the gods when they talk so little, and you can’t quite hear them when they do?  When you have no background in “religion” as it is so frequently understood?  When your knowledge of history, and the way in which the gods have been deployed to further—or, given a less charitable set of assumptions, participated in and even instigated—injustice in the name of power for as long as there have been priests and kings, makes the whole idea of “religion” more than a little suspect?  When your grip on sanity is adequately shaky that you’re not one hundred percent certain you’re hearing anything but the echoes of your own derangement?  And, perhaps most to the point, where do you find the missing pieces of a ritual practice that has never quite existed in the form you’re working toward?

True story, y’all: I have no fucking idea what I’m doing.


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Hyperbolic Masculinity as an Expression of Queerness and a Source of Magical Power

In the ancient world, the power of magic was sometimes understood to be fueled by twistedness and inversion[1]: twisted, spiraled, and backwards writing; calling upon the restless dead for aid; binding.  In a sense, I have been drawing on that for years: flaunting my difference, my Otherness, and making it into a source of distinction and recognition.  I have, at times, less-than-half-jokingly referred to my gender identity as “witch” rather than as masculine, feminine, or even genderqueer in the sense that word is usually understood.  I wear skirts instead of pants whenever possible, and make elaborate ritual robes for myself which double as “costumes” and festival garb, and I wear my peplos in effeminate fashion.

I am queer and I am a witch and people fucking know it.  I am that I am.  Certainly there are disadvantages to this, but there is power in it, as well.

And yet …. Gayatri Gopinath would argue that my “cross-dressing”[2] is, itself, an expression of another form of hegemony, which conflates same-sex desire with gender deviance.[3]  Thus, disdaining the Euro-American emphasis on androgyny and inverted gender expression, she argues that what she describes as “hyperbolic femininity” can be and is a clear expression of queerness and queer desire among some women.[4]  Because she is largely discussing this phenomenon in the context of popular South Asian culture and the tension between nationalist and diaspora populations, she cites a number of films for exempla of this phenomenon: Fire (1996), Ustav (1984), and Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! (1994), in particular.[5]  This idea is particularly moving to me at this stage in my life, when, given my career choices, publically “cross dressing” as I currently do may well be barred to me. 

I am not willing or able to live without being visibly queer. Interestingly, though, I have already been engaging in behaviors which could well be described as “hyperbolic masculinity”: adopting and adapting exceptionally butch tropes to serve my queer sorcery.  For much of my life I have shaved with a particular brand of razor; to my annoyance, they have phased out my preferred model, and even if they had not, my environmentalist and feminist ethics, as well as my poverty, all agree that I should cease to patronize the company.  So I have acquired an old fashioned straight razor from an estate sale, and am simultaneously learning the art of shaving with a deadly blade and the skill of keeping it adequately sharp.  When not in use, the razor lives in the box on my altar with my Venusian seals and talismans.[6]  Having recently given in to social pressure and conceded to the wearing of a neck tie—at thirty-two years of age, a (hypothetically) cisgendered-presenting male can’t get away with disdaining them in a “professional” or formal environment—I have committed myself to learning complicated and uncommon knots.  My favorite, so far, is the Eldredge knot, which I find works particularly well with my Jupiterian tie.  The Trinity knot is also fun, though I haven’t quite mastered it.  My taste in the ties, themselves, is just as eccentric.  I wear a vests and jackets at times and in places where they are entirely over-the-top: my co-ed campus where pajamas are as common as cargo pants and my favorite dive bars, for example.  My chivalry knows no restraints of class or virtue:  I hold the door open for everyone;  I will come to the aid of anyone who asks nicely, male or female, “purest” virgin or even sluttier than myself; and I do the damnedest to keep my nose out of other people’s business unless that business is actually hurting someone else.

The thing of it is, I take a great deal of pleasure in my male body.  It’s the constraints and strictures of masculinity which I despise:  The presumption that I must dominate or be dominated.  The presumed (and violently enforced) limits on my capacity for emotion and its expression: that being hurt by someone, or sympathetic to the pain of others, is proof of weakness and failure.  The constant “threat” of loosing my Man Card—I burned that piece of shit long before I began identifying as a queer or a feminist—and all the Guy Rules I’m supposed to follow in order to keep it, and the way in which my refusal to play those games threatens the masculinity of others, and thereby exposes me to the risk of physical and sexual assault.

But my my body?  The flesh which thousands of years worth of mystics and puritans have said that I must despise if I’m ever to touch the divine?  I love it!  The mass and strength of it: the wide shoulders and large hands, and the long, square lines.The warmth and shelter and pleasure I can offer by virtue of my size and above-average core temperature.  All my hair; both that on my head and all the rest. The nipples which serve no purpose save for my pleasure, and being pierced.  The push and pull of penetrating and of being penetrated

It helps that I’m pretty, of course.  But I think I’d like my body even if I weren’t.

And it infuriates me that the value of my flesh—the likelihood that I will be aided by the police, or assaulted by them; the quality of the medical treatment I will receive; my chances of promotion or even employment; and so many other things—depends on the degree to which I conform to the hegemonic expectations of others.  I hate that my ability to survive in the world is dependent on playing into a rigged game that literally kills the losers.[7]  I hate even more that, when I play, the game is stacked in my favor.

All of which is why I have, traditionally, drawn my power from my identity as an outsider, the monstrous Other.  Sadly, though, that game may be played out for me.

My best hope, now, is to discover if I can draw power from from the other game, too.  There is magic in the authority that flows from being perceived as a butch (cis-het) man. I just have to hope that if I’m very clever, maybe I can figure out ways of making certain that my share of that hegemonic current always undercuts the banks of its headwater. And I have to hope that if I’m very lucky and careful, as well, maybe I can do it without being poisoned when I drink from that most bitter well.

1 – Ogden, Daniel. “Binding Spells, Curse Tablets, and Voodoo Dolls in the Greek and Roman Worlds.” Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: Ancient Greece and Rome. Edited by Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999. p.29

2 – A problematic frame that implies there is some validity to the distinctions between gendered clothing, that the “line” I am “crossing” in my dress is in some way real.

3 – Gopinath, Gayatri. Impossible Desires.  Durham: Duke University Press (2005).  You should read it.  It will make you smarter.  It also digs into the way heteronomativity and nationalism are intertwined.  Good stuff.

4 – Ibid. 104

5 – Ibid. 24, 103-13.  Actually, it’s pretty much her core methodology, but these passages are particularly relevant.

6 – In an unrelated note, even if you don’t use a straight razor, I really recommend making the switch to an old school shaving brush and mug with a good organic soap: it’s actually cheaper than chemical shaving cream, works much better, and feels really, really good.

7 – Through race- and class-based differences in health outcomes, a racialized and classist prison industrial system, and institutionalized racial violence in the forms of police brutality and murder, and the unequal enforcement of the death penalty.  There are months of research to be done on this subject, though, so, no: I’m not just going to cherry-pick you some links.  The science is in; do your homework.


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An Early Experiment in Shape-Shifting

I wouldn’t have called it that at that time, of course.  Shapeshifting was something that happened to your body, something dragons and gods could do, but mortals could only pull off in the pages of the trashy fantasy novels I liked to read.[1]  Sadly, I don’t remember what I actually did call it:  it would be misleading to say that my notes from those earliest days were a shamble: I didn’t keep any.  All I have are some drawings that I can date back to 10th and 11th grade, and four lines of notes dated 8.11.98.[2]

It might be an understatement to say that I was socially awkward.  I was never actually that kid with no friends, but when I say that I often felt like I was, I think a lot of you might know what I’m talking about.  But, unlike a lot of socially awkward people, I understood the principle of trial and error: when I identified a behavior that wasn’t working, I would try substituting a new behavior.  And I sometimes got very, very creative with my “new behaviors”.

In the process of one such episode of social (and magical) trial-and-error, I “identified” (read: developed and then “discovered”) four “facets” of myself which I understood as other “selves” inside me.  Each one had a name, which I will totally not share because … well, I was a 17 year old who read too many fantasy novels, and I’m embarrassed by my former self.[3]  Each also corresponded roughly with one of the four Classical elements.  The language I use to describe these things today, of course, bears little resemblance to the way I conceived the experience at the time: again, the lack of journals.

The first was my academic self: small, self-contained bordering on asexual, a creature of elemental Air in a brown trench coat surrounded by walls upon walls of books.  At times I identified with him very closely, even using him as an online identity.  At other times, though, I feared that his erudite reticence served me poorly.

The second was a sort of Fiery shadow-self: hot, sharp, dark, and savage; he carried a sword, wore a black cloak, and had black eyes with no visible iris or pupil.[4]  He was my rage, my hate, my impulse to violence …. I believe, at the time, that I framed him as a sort of self-defense mechanism, or protector.

The third was a great, horned beast-like figure: massive and furred, with wings and claws, even digitigrade legs and a tail.  Interestingly, the drawing from my oldest Book of Shadows depicts him standing on an ocean shore—someplace I had never yet been, nor ever felt the elemental pull to that so many seem to experience at some point in their life.  He was elemental Earth and—more interesting still—the bearer of both my sex-drive and social impulses.

Fourth and finally was an aspect of myself that I was never able to put an image to: Watery and female, the keeper of my emotions, intuition, and pain.  This is the earliest point at which I can recall having conceived of myself as partially female.  Not much later than this, I would come to the conclusion that I was “Yin instead of Yang”[5] in nature; if I’d had the framework, I might have experienced this as gender dysphoria, but instead I was simply bitter that my sensitive, emotional nature was so difficult to reconcile with my masculine body and socialization.

I worked with the first and third “facets” extensively: calling upon the one or the other when intellect or social grace was called for.  I worked with the second mostly to the end of keeping him at bay: I have feared my own temper for many, many years.  I had no framework within which to relate to the fourth, though I wanted to: my experiences had already taught me that my emotions were chiefly a means through which others could torment me.

Over a period of several months, however, I found myself increasingly unable to function without slipping into one of my personas.  I felt like I was fragmenting internally, splitting into four separate entities.  To my credit, I immediately recognized this as a bad thing.  My solution, which I actually still stand by in retrospect—I might or might not do differently, now, but knowing what I knew then, it was the only sane solution—was to reincorporate all four.

In essence, I created four separate magical personas, then devoured them.  All at the tender age of seventeen.  Now, to put this in a little bit of context: I had read Eliphas Levi’s Doctrine and Ritual of Transcendental Magic, but I hadn’t understood a damned word of it; following that, the most sophisticated thing I had ever gotten my hands on was a dumbed down version of the LBRP.  These were my days of DJ Conway and Amber K and Scott Cunningham.  I had no way of understanding that this magic might be called invocation by some, or shape shifting by others.

Given all that, then, I don’t think I did too badly.

1 – Still like to read, actually, though I don’t talk about that side of my nerd-ness, much.

2 – Yeah.  That’s right. August of 1998 and before.  We’re stepping into the Wayback Machine.

3 – If you think that I have an overdeveloped sense of drama now….

4 – See note 3.

5 – People who know something of Chinese mysticism need not inform me of how asinine this was.  I do know better now.

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Personal Practice: Imbolc

Imbolc is a holiday generally associated with the coming of the spring, the lactating ewes, germinating seeds, and the waxing year.  It’s a fire-festival honoring the goddess (or saint) Brigid (however you prefer to spell her name), overlapping a little with the simultaneous holiday Candlemas.  Of course, all these things are rooted in the climate and culture of England, where Wicca and modern Neopagan witchcraft were born.  I do not live in England.

I live in the Midwestern United States.  I can’t speak to what the ewes are doing, but there is no germination going on here, no coming spring.  Growing up in Kansas as I did, I’m accustomed to Beltane festivities being interrupted by snowstorms every once in a while: the second of February isn’t the end of winter, it’s her darkest heart.  And, unlike last year, it even feels like it.

Further, I don’t live and die by the agricultural calendar, like my ancestors did.  Nor do I romanticize it in quite the same way as many of my Neopagan peers.  No …. I live and die by the academic calendar, by which measure Imbolc isn’t the beginning or end of anything in particular.  This year it happens, coincidentally, to be the first Saturday of the month and the end of the third week of classes.

So I celebrated small.  Offerings of beer and wine the night before.  That morning, I bolstered my usual weekend offerings with an inordinate amount of candles.  Then, the night of, I made more offerings of wine and mead before I went out drinking with a few close friends.  We celebrated the hope that it might someday again be warm.  I had two bottles left of the Imbolc mead that was bottled last year, made from Pasiphae’s blackberries, and I brought one of them to share.  Those who partook enjoyed it immensely.

Blessed Imbolc to those of my readers who celebrate it.  May your hearth be warm, your beer frothy, and your belly full.

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