Spring’s Flame Begins to Smolder

Brigid

We are at the cusp of Imbolc.  The home fires have been stoked and the pantry filled.  The days are starting to get longer.  Here in the south, we are starting to see signs of daffodils, snowdrops, crocus and even hyacinth peeking eagerly through the dirt.  I have also noticed that particular change in the natures of the animals. The outdoor female cats around the complex are becoming more vocal and rubbing against anything they can find.

As the earth begins to awaken again, so does that part of us that calls us to the mating ritual.  Our bodies and our minds begin to feel alive again.  The heartbeat of the earth around us beats with the pulse of sexual energy.

This week has been a phenomenal week for me.  I have touched a part of my spirit that has lain dormant for quite a long time.  As I went to sleep Sunday night, my dreams drifted toward a school where I was taking classes.  An old pickup drove up through the field surrounding the school and I got in.  Inside the pickup was a friend…as my leg touched the seat, he reached out to touch my leg, then my arm…and then he leaned in and we passionately kissed.  Moments later, we were in an abandoned cabin where the touches and exploration continued…the heat of the moment rose more and more.  It was if there were flames and ice around us at the same time.  And then I woke up.2015-02-01 08.19.17

The heat and passion inside that dream stayed with me through the day.  I could barely concentrate on work at times, because I could feel the same sensations I was feeling in the dream happening to my body over and over.  I kept a cool damp cloth with me all day.

Don’t get me wrong….I love my partner very much.  He means the world to me, but I came to the realization this week that we work so hard to push that sexual, fiery part of our nature out of the way….it has to find a release. As I drifted off to sleep each night this week, new people would become a part of my dreams.  Each dream was just as intense and heat inducing as the first.  I started receiving messages from those I dreamed about. “Did you, by chance, dream about me last night?” “Yes, why?” “Was it a strongly sexual dream.” “Yes, why?” “Because it felt like you were here with me….I could feel your lips, your touch.”

I didn’t try to ‘conjure up’ any kind of sexual dream and I definitely didn’t go in with any person locked away in that part of my mind…but still it manifested.  I decided that it was, once again, time for me to sit down with myself and see what I needed to do to give this part of myself acknowledgement and an outlet.

Late last night after everyone went to bed, I slipped off to my sacred space. Now guys….as you read this…don’t gloss over it or tune it out.  Believe me, it applies.  I had lit red candles throughout the space.  Sandalwood, Dragon’s Breath and Bergamot incense filled the space.  As I entered, I removed all my clothes.  We have all become so self conscious of our bodies…I’m too fat, too skinny…I don’t measure up…I am too hairy, nothairy enough.  Women…how many times have you stood in judgement of your own body?  You threw out the good before you even had time to acknowledge it.

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I watched as the candlelight flickered against my body.  I felt the heat begin to surface.  I used my breathing as a substitute for the heartbeat of the earth mother….and I felt the emergence of the Horned God.  I began to visualize the strength of the Horned God manifesting inside me.  My breath quickened.  I could smell the musk of my own sexuality filling my nostrils.  I could feel my face flushing as I breathed and concentrated on the candlelight.  As I came down from this indescribable high, I extinguished the candles one at a time until the final candle in front of me was the only one lit. I used my fingers to extinguish the flame…the pinch of the fire only added to my experience.

I apparently fell asleep in my sacred space.  My roommate woke me up as he was heading out the door this morning.  What a visual that mush have been as he moved past the pillows and candles to find a large, hairy naked me sound asleep.

I got up and got dressed and went to the woods.  I went alone this morning. I needed time with me.  Friz must have understood because I could hear him snoring from inside the kennel.  As I settled down into the dirt, I took my shoes off so that I could feel her heartbeat a little stronger.  It was as if I could feel every breath….I could feel the life incubating inside her trying to burst forth early.  I could feel her heartbeat as she gave herself to the God in complete abandon.  As each pulse of her own flame met each thrust of his, her heartbeat quickened even more.  In these moments, I had not only become more intimate with the Horned God, but I had also experienced that same intimacy with the Goddess.match

I am a living breathing sexual being.  The spiritual part of that same nature is just as strong.  It is a brooding, pulsing part of my magick.  This afternoon, I lit some incense…the same as last night but with cinnamon added.  I lit red candles throughout the bedroom.  I brought out the massage oil and I slowly removed mine and his clothes…I always have said that magick is something that should be shared.

Blessed Be!

Be the Witch You Are

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Sitting outside, minding my own business, playing with my phone and eating my lunch while overhearing a small group of inconsiderate Buckhead Bettys talking smack about everything from their husbands to the maids and everyone in between. When a bird flew by and crapped in one of their salads. You should have seen the look on her face and heard the shriek she let out when she bit into a spoonful of bird crap.

This is from the Facebook post of a friend of mine.  We have all been fed crap at some point in our lives.  We have been told that we aren’t doing something correctly or that something we believe isn’t the truth or that we are wrong for being who we are.503155

In looking back, in so many ways, I was a chameleon.  I was always changing to blend into my surroundings.  I think back to my high school years…I was neither jock nor redneck or geek or popular.  I blended with all of those crowds.  It was easy to fade into the background, never having enough voice to speak to who I really was.

As I aged, I became more confident in who was inside my skin.  It became easier to say the “G” word.  I was confident enough to walk down the street holding hands with my partner.  Charlotte, North Carolina was not quite as confident in my ‘gayness’ as I was.  I remember being beaten up a few times just for standing strong and believing in who I am.  I couldn’t understand why other people should be allowed to show the love they had for their significant other in public places, but I couldn’t.

More years added more callouses.  I came out of another closet…the broom closet.  Once more the chorus of background voices started singing the “you need to…you ought to…you’ve got to…” serenade.  People can’t seem to understand that others have to walk their own path.  We feel the need to push them bound and gagged down the path we think they should follow.

Social media has become a great source of access to those practicing the Craft, but with the many groups, it can also be a great source of judgement for those who may be new and walking with a bit of uncertainty.  Don’t get me wrong, there are groups out there that are honestly interested in the growth of those new to the Craft.  It is when I see others take a holier than thou attitude when it comes to aiding someone in their journey that starts that slow burn in me.  I also have no time for those who will question or ridicule a path that someone walks because it doesn’t mirror their own.1375283_10152309486609007_5108159257972466424_n

Our lives are an evolution.  We are constantly growing…branching into many different directions.  We have to allow others to walk, to fall…but we have to be willing to pick them up.  We have to be willing to change.  The world around us shows us that change is the only constant in our lives.

This morning, when Friz and I made our way to the woods, I could smell change in the air.  Even though it was still warm-ish out, there was a crispness in the air.  I carried Friz most of the way this morning.  It had been a week since we had seen each other (I was away on business in Florida).  I honestly have to say that as we rounded the corner to the column where the Green Wizard normally shows himself, I felt a bit disheartened when I didn’t see him.  I walked toward the woods with Friz cradled in the crook of my arm.  We got to our little clearing and I started unpacking…candles, bones, magickal what nots…and breakfast.  Just as I settled in, I heard a rustling that startled me.  I turned quickly and let out a short yelp as the Green Wizard rushed toward me.  Friz was all excited.  I think I peed a little just from the surprise.

He fell onto the leaves laughing and I did a mock scowl.  He chuckles out an apology.  I can’t be mad….after all, I was so disappointed when I didn’t see him…and it was so good seeing the twinkle in his eyes coming back.  We talked about everything and nothing all at once.  He asked about the trip to Florida and I questioned him about his journeys for the week.  We talked about the approaching change in seasons and Mabon.  We talk about things to come.  The Green Wizard’s mood becomes more somber, “You know you are the only person who doesn’t look at me and see a homeless bum.  You have taken the time to get to know me.  You understand who I am.  You have taken time to understand my hopes and my dreams…to know that there is more to me than ragged clothes and a wandering path.”

I explained to him that to some degree, we are all wandering.  We are all ragged and dirty from all that life throws at us and throws us into…but we continue the journey.  We find who we are buried in those moments when no one else is looking at us…when we fade into the background.  It is in the silence that we learn to hear and recognize our own voices.

I read a piece written and shared on Facebook by a dear friend of mine, Cindy Maluna,

Mabon…September 22. The second of the three major harvests, and also the autumn equinox. The balance between light and dark. Southern hemisphere….Ostara…spring equinox. The days grow shorter, darker from here on out. Things die, or will become dormant…a necessity. This marks the descent of the Sun God….he will return at Yule. Just a short time actually…and the coming months are full of activities to keep us busy. We’ve enjoyed the veggies…will savor the fruits…and survive the winter. We will. We’ll order bulbs…plan our gardens….tend our houses. You can’t change the cycles…one balances the other…death. Rebirth. You have to look at it with practicality, with realism. Our bodies change, we grow old, we die. Those who give birth….our legacy…goes on. Those who don’t have children….you leave your mark on this world…your thoughts, deeds, yes…you are still part of the great thread of life. We’re entering the Crone stage….and believe me…it’s an awesome time…can’t have children anymore? Give birth to yourself….create this special time of YOU. I move slower, ache more, take longer to do things….but I enjoy what I do, what I create….I savor it. I love it. You have so much to contribute to this world…until the day you die…you have opportunities right in front of you. Don’t miss out by looking back… what you were…..create what you will be. Harvest, eat it up…and enjoy. You are on this Earth….make it count. Become a legacy….welcome Mabon. BB2014-09-20 18.38.13

 

I explained that it was through Magick, through our own legacy of the Craft, I came to know and to understand him and him, me.  I walked him through my own daily journeys….learning every day to be a more genuine, effective me.  Those closest to me see my failures…they watch me fall.  More important than anything in the world, though, is the fact that they see me pick myself up, brush off the dirt and keep on moving.  I have only one desire and that is to be the best I can personally be.  I fully intend to be the witch I am.

Blessed Be!

Slow Dancing and Living Life On My Terms

Choices

Friday was my birthday.  I made possibly the worst decision of my life.  I sat down at 11pm and watched a movie by myself.  The movie?  “Marley and Me.”  I heaved and I sobbed for the last hour of the movie.  I had to get a hand towel from the closet, it was so bad.  It pulled every emotion I felt for the past twenty years up and out.

Now this little sob fest had nothing to do with the fact that I am now two years from fifty.  It had nothing to do with the fact that life in general is a whirlwind.  It was because this movie takes you from birth to old age and finally the death of a beloved friend.

I have always believed deeply in the quote at the top of the page.  It has always been my mantra that we are the end result of all the choices that we make in our lives.  Our hearts, spirits, bodies are the summation of every good, bad, or so-so choice we have ever made.  If you think back far enough, you can take a choice that you have made and correlate it with a later event in your life.

I was in Florida most all of last week.  Many things were presented to me in that leg of my journey in life.  I was able to visit with a friend…able to walk by the water with him….feeling that balmy breeze against my face.  We were looking for makeshift ingredients for a spell.  I look back now and see that it wasn’t looking for ingredients as much as it was about listening to the sounds around us.  I think back on that night and I see more of who I am becoming.  It is becoming more obvious that the Morrigan is the goddess with whom I work.  My words, my actions are becoming more blunt…less willing to allow things that I think are harmful to come into the picture at all.

I know that age is a part of that too.  Too many times I have wanted to pull someone aside this week and ‘enlighten’ them…simply because I have been there before, I want to save them the pain, I want them to be able to see with the eyes of the crone…one who has felt that pain and moved past it.  But I also know that each one has to walk out their own path, their own journey.  I can’t do that for them.  We each have to feel the pain and elation that comes with life.  The only thing that I can do is pray for clarity.

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One thing that I have mulled over in my mind all weekend is the fact that we, as witches, are often quick on the draw with the spellbook.  If you think about it, though, every word that leaves your mouth is a spell of sorts.  Whenever you sit and fume over what the neighbors do…you form intention and out spews exactly what you wish would happen to them.  Each argument that you have with your spouse or partner has the power to build up or rip to shreds.  The words you say speak your own truth daily. Think of your own self speak.  What do you speak into your own life?

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Last night, I dreamed that I found a baby raven.  There was no mother or father anywhere to be found.  As I sat talking out loud to this little black ball of fluff, it ambled out of the nest and plopped itself right down into the middle of my hands.  I picked it up and carried it home with me.  I wasn’t sure what to feed it, how to feed it, or how to nurture it.  Throughout the dream, with no help from me, the raven seemed to grow and mature.  It was a time span of only a month, but this raven had grown into a throaty, raspy voiced adult that only attached itself to me.  Wherever I went, it went with me….riding contentedly on my arm.pet raven

Has a new vision been birthed in my life?  Is it a vision that is going to take a growing strength? Or maybe I am adding to the vision inside of me.  I won’t pretend to be this gentle, plodding soul of a Cunning Man who constantly navigates the woods or creeks or ponds of life.  There is also just that much of me that lives life here in the city and curses when he is cut off in traffic.  He is that person that struggles sometimes with whether or not to break out a poppet and stick it full of pins instead of blessings.  I am the witch who would honestly rather use “Bitch Be Gone” Powder more than “Come to Me Oil.”

I feel that as I move more into the Samhain of my own life, when not everything is about ‘love and light,’ that I have to become more confident in the magick that is brewing inside me.  If I were to feel little bubbles of light all the time…honestly, knowing myself, I would just have to chalk it up to gas.

The one thing that I strive for more than anything with the rising number of years that come with each birthday…is transparency.  I always want to show forth exactly who I am.  Some days that can be a good thing…some days, not so much.  I always want people to look in my eyes and see that no matter what, I will never compromise who I am.

While I was away last week, we were thrown a party.  There was food and drinking and dancing.  I sat at my table and watched as the men and women danced.  I watched as heads were lain on shoulders and people got lost in the moment.  It was during my little daydream that a male friend of mine sat down at my table.  “I feel bad for you.  You don’t have anyone to dance with.”  With those words, this tall, rugged looking straight man takes my hand and leads me to the dance floor.  “You’ve got me for the rest of the evening.”  With that, I put my head on his shoulder and listened to him hum.  He was no less straight and I was no less gay.  He was completely comfortable with who he is and living his life on his terms….and forever, he will be my hero.

Blessed Be!

slow dancing

So When the Moon Tells You Something… Believe It.

2014-06-14 15.19.13Darkness. That’s the first thing I remember. It was dark, it was cold, and I was scared. But then… then I saw the Moon. It was so big, and it was so bright. It seemed to, chase the darkness away. And when it did… I wasn’t scared anymore.

 

Why is it that all secrets seem to be cloaked in darkness.  We feel that secrets protect us when all they do is hurt us in the long run.  This has been a week of ‘Can you keep a secret’s.’  The truth is, no, I can’t.  My face gives me away every time.  If I even try to tell the smallest white lie, I go all red in the face…I giggle like a twelve year old trying to tell a dirty joke, and I try to escape.

I remember when I was a small child, my father had planned a surprise for my mom’s birthday.  Everyone around her was sworn to secrecy.  My mom comes into the room one afternoon as we were making plans and asked what we were doing.  Yes….you guessed it…I sang like a canary.

When I joined the ministry, I was scared to death.  I had heard all of these pastors around talk about ‘pastor/parishioner confidentiality.’  It horrified me.  I did find, however, that it was totally different than telling a lie or keeping a secret.  It was just a matter of not acknowledging the information at all.  Even now, at work, if someone comes up and says, “So you’re gay?  So you’re a witch?”  I just smile and answer with yes…it just saves me the stress of trying to hide it.

I determined very early in my life that I would never give anyone the stress of holding onto my secrets.  I never wanted anyone else to feel that feeling that I would get in the pit of my stomach when someone asked me for information that I had promised to guard.  It was in those early years that I began telling my secrets to the moon.  I could whisper them or yell them, she never ridiculed me and she never told those secrets to anyone.2014-06-04 08.50.15

Lately, I have come to trust others with my secrets.  Now I share those secrets with Wolf and Crow.  Wolf guards them ferociously and Crow takes them high into the sky on her wings and drops them among the clouds.  I am never threatened with them coming back at me at the wrong time.

I remember the hardest secret I ever had to keep.  It came about when I began my first long-term relationship.  I had been dating a wonderful man for about four months and like was turning into love.  He was tall, dark, and handsome…an ex-marine.  When he held me in his strong arms, the world stood still.  He invited me to his apartment for dinner one evening and after we ate, he sat me down on his sofa and said softly, “I need to talk to you about something.”  My heart broke many times in that moment.  I imagined everything from him breaking up with me to him telling me he was moving out of state or re-enlisting.nightmares

He grabbed my hand and told me, “Now you can’t tell anyone.  I am trusting you with my life.  I am HIV positive.”  You have to remember that this was in the days before much was known about the disease and everyone was afraid.  I was just as afraid, but my love for him was stronger than any disease or any fear.

I stayed at his place that night.  After he went to sleep, I opened the french doors to his balcony and walked out into the moonlight.  I called to the moon and I sighed deeply as she appeared before me.  I whispered my troubles and secrets into her ear.  The moon always actively listened and sent her energy to strengthen and to hold me up. She was full that night.

I think it is funny…the things that follow us through our lives.  As much as I leaned on the moon for strength in those years…she has always been there.  Nowadays, she has learned to text…”You OK?”  I text back that I am ok.  Somehow, she always knows when I am not being completely honest.

I have heard some of our friends simply call her ‘the Moon Lady.’  To me, she will always be ‘Maluna’ and to me that will always mean ‘my moon.’  It seems that she has always been there…I have known her in my heart and spirit for as long as I have known the moon herself.  When we talk, it isn’t about secrets…it is about where our energies and magick can better be spent.

Thursday night, I got home late…honestly just in time for the full moon.  I gathered everything with me, except Friz.  He fought valiantly to stay up until I got home, but sleep won that battle. I walked to the woods in silence…almost a feeling of reverence under the moonlight.  I could hear her calling.  We needed to talk.  As I settled into the warmth of the night with my cauldron and candles burning, I could feel her energy soaking into me.  She has always been faithful to me…even when I felt like I was alone.

I have honestly never been alone.  The moon is who called Wolf and Crow to me.  It was under that moon that Friz was dedicated.  It was under that same moon that I made promises to my first partner and also that moon where I made promises to my current partner.  She is an old friend…she is there through every season of the year and through every season of my life.  She is the one who first called me the Weathered Wiseman, and she will be the last one to call me that name.  It is by her that I rest and by her sleep that I awaken.  It is the moon who promised that magick would always encompass and encircle me.

I share that magick with you.  So when the Moon tells you something… believe it.2014-06-14 21.44.57

An Ounce of Intention…

intentionsWe always have the best intentions, don’t we?  I’m talking about the “Oh, someday I will….”  Well, lately I have been in a whirlwind of newness and changes and plodding forwards.  One thing that I have learned about life over the years is that it and time never stand still for anyone….they never wait on you.  You either move with them…alongside of them or you get left in the dust to wonder why your life never changes.

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By now, readers, you know that one of my spirit animals is Crow.  I ran across this wonderful bit of information this week:

Crow is the left-handed guardian. Crow knows the unknowable mysteries of creation and is the keeper of all sacred law. There are several species of crow. Raven is one of these and magpies are another. Crow medicine people are masters of illusion. Do not try to figure crow out. It is the power of the unknown at work, and something special is about to happen.

If you have a crow as a totem, you need to be willing to walk your talk and speak your truth. You must put aside your fear of being a voice in the wilderness and “caw” the shots as you see them. Crow is an omen of change. If he keeps appearing to you he may be telling you that you have a powerful voice when addressing issues that you do not quite understand or feel that they are out of balance.

Crows are the bringer of messages from the spirit world, and is thought to dwell beyond the realm of time and space.

When you meet crow, he could be telling you that there will be changes in your life and that possibly you should step by the usual way you view reality and look into the inner realms …walk your talk…be prepared to let go of your old thinking and embrace a new way of viewing yourself and the world.

Crow is the sacred keeper of the law. Crow medicine signifies a firsthand knowledge of a higher order of right and wrong than that indicated by the laws created in human culture. With Crow medicine, you speak in a powerful voice when addressing issues that for you seem out of harmony, out of balance, out of whack, or unjust.

When you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth. The prime path of true Crow people says to be mindful of your opinions and actions. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life’s mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape shifted world of peace.

I have, as of late, been steadily on the path of self-discovery.  Finding out more and more each day who I truly am.  It has required much discipline and willingness to look inside and dig out the thorns of the past that have been buried so deeply for so many years.  It has also required me to learn to ‘get over myself.’  I have had to learn which habits have hindered me from reaching full potential.

Being a witch encompasses so many things…..it encompasses sharing power with nature and animals and spirits of all sorts.  These are magnificent and wonderful responsibilities.  In my soul searching over the past few months, I realize that it means so much more.  Being a witch, to me, means genuinely being who you say you are and respecting the rights of others for being who they say they are.  Do  you have to like who they are?  No.  Is it any of your business? No.  To me, it compares with being gay.  Do I want or need anyone’s opinions in my bedroom? No…no more than I need them in my cauldron.  If I say that I am the Weathered Wiseman, though, I had better walk it wholeheartedly and uncompromisingly.

I have also learned to be mindful of the energy I surround myself with. I have spent more time over the last few months blocking and banishing the energy of others that hangs off of you like one hundred pound weights and sucks every ounce of life and joy out of you.  I have found that what was required was eliminating that from my life all together.  If that means walking away from certain people because they refuse to take the steps required to change or improve themselves, then that is what I have done.  I have had to make the difficult decision of distancing myself from our roommate.  He has been offered the opportunity over and over again to better himself, but chooses to wallow in the muck and mire of circumstance and self pity.  While I feel like I am a very strong person, I am not strong enough to carry another human through life.

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My beautiful friend Maluna said it best during the waning moon:

Last day of the waning moon….it’s been very productive…but looking forward to the new….new projects, plans, moving forward…always….it’s time to banish the unwanted, things not necessary, simplify and enjoy the warm days of summer. With this new moon….growth, gardens, summer trips, children out of school, new adventures, fresh produce, exercise, a healthier lifestyle. So much to look forward to!

Society has taught us to no longer look forward….always back.  I have learned that the only reason I need to look back is to see how far I have come.  I choose not to whine about the things I don’t have, but to enjoy and be thrilled with what I do.  I can take a lesson from my partner in this.  He can be very child-like at times.  He looks at something and most times can see the wonder and newness in it.  He can easily get lost in the fun of some of the most mundane situations.  He believes in meeting the immediate need.  He saw an old orange cat wandering the complex a couple weeks back….nowadays, most people would call the pound.  He called the cat over to a bowl of food and then made him a place to sleep.

I have determined that I am looking forward from now on (for the most part).  When you walk, you don’t walk backward….obstacles constantly get in the way. You always walk forward with a purpose.  This morning, I got up around 5:30am and Friz and I headed toward the woods.  Friz can sometimes get tangled up in his surroundings because he likes to meander.  Friz had his head to the ground sniffing….and as he did, he wandered into some branches that had fallen from the rainstorm yesterday.  His leash got tangled first…then his feet…until Friz was rendered completely immobile by this branch.  The only thing he knew to do was to look up at me and whimper.  I spent a good part of fifteen minutes getting him loose.  Afterwards, he decided to bark at the mean old branch that caused him so much trauma.  It didn’t seem to matter that he wasn’t paying attention to begin with.

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But you know, isn’t that how we are?  It is often easier to get mad at what gets us tangled up than to be accountable for the fact that it was our carelessness that brought us there to start with.  Even better, it is easier for us to play the part of that person who has it all together and look down our nose at others as the dirt castle around us turns to mud…or we are that person who people have invested themselves and their energy in…but we choose not to change ourselves at all…we enjoy the attention we get by whining and being the victim.  No matter what the scenario…it is time to change.  It is time to be the genuine you.  Will everyone like you?  No.  Will everyone hate you? No….but who cares.

We, as witches and magick workers, have learned over and over that the spellwork is about the intent.  Isn’t it time that we actually poured some intent into our own lives?  You aren’t going to be happy 100% of the time, but you can be content.  This morning, when I went to the woods with Friz, I took ‘flying paper.’  I wrote goals for the next few months on each sheet, twisted them just a bit, then set them on fire.  I watched as they soared upward….giving wings to my intentions.  I smiled as I watched them fly.  I laughed at the little blue chihuahua chasing them as they rose.  He was so traumatized only minutes earlier, but now all was forgotten as he chased hopes that were lifting toward the sky.

Isn’t it time to finally live life with a purpose and stop winding ourselves tighter?  I choose to watch my intentions soar.

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Run and Hide Your Crazy…

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I heard a phrase on the radio the other day that I haven’t heard since I was a young’un.  I was listening to a country music radio station on the way home from work and a song by Miranda Lambert came on.  The song is called, “Mama’s Broken Heart.”  In the song, Mama tells the girl to ‘Run and hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.’  I laughed out loud because I can remember Mama telling her brothers and sisters that they needed to just ‘run on and hide their crazy.’

It is just so funny to me how things just kind of surface in our lives to give us a ‘heads up,’ so to speak.  Who knew that I would be dealing with bat-shit crazy this week?  Something always seems to be stirring, huh?

Let me preface what I am about to write.  Firstly, I am not Wiccan.  I am not Gardnerian.  I am not a Voudouist.  I am a Witch.  I practice in many different ways.  I employ animism, rootwork, herbalism, spoken and written spells, rituals to God and Goddess, dancing (naked and clothed), naturism, shamanism, and Native American medicine.  I am accountable to a small circle of friends, not a coven.2014-03-26 22.26.35

 

I have had a love of magick (and yes, I spell it with a ‘k’ because I choose to).  I am a part of the universe and the elements and they are all a part of me.  I make no excuses for anything I do in my Path…and I ask for no one’s approval.  As long as I feel the energy of the earth, sky, seas, sun and moon….all is well with the world.

I will also say that I have many friends who walk many different paths….Wicca, Voudou, Gardnerian, Shamanism–so many it is hard to even count.  They walk their paths with integrity, purpose and devotion.

So…you may ask, what brought all this on?  I received a scathing message this afternoon from someone who read my blog.  In this message, I was berated for not having been initiated properly by a High Priestess and Priest.  I was told that my ‘practices’ were essentially for naught because I did not belong to an  authentic tradition, and that I had not fulfilled the ‘year and a day’ requirement.  I was told that my spellwork  and rituals were too simplistic and my blogs too ‘fluffy.’  I was also warned of my association with the ‘dark’ gods and goddesses.

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Did I get angry, you may ask?  No.  Did I send a message back ripping this person from horn to hoof?  No.  Did I hurl a powerful, gut-wrenchingly painful curse or hex at this person?  No.  This person has already made their own bitter, hate-filled, narrow-minded cave to live in.  Just by this persons own divisive way of thinking, they have alienated themselves from such a powerful part of the magickal community.  They will never allow themselves to get to know some of the most creative, lively magick-filled folk ever created.

I do speak a warning to those of you reading this.  Do not discount the power that others hold.  Be warned, lest you fall into the ways of the mainline church.  If we start to behave the way this person did, we will soon be denominationalizing paganism (though I have already seen some leanings).  When we start to get ‘preachy’ about one way being right or wrong, others start to walk around us and avoid us…just like the street envangelist standing on a wooden box at the crosswalk.

My question to you is:  How do you respond when you find out that someone’s path is not like yours?  Are you open to what they believe?  Do you listen intently as they tell their experiences…even though they may not line up with what you were taught or do you stand there with little besoms and flames  darting in your eyes just waiting to tell them how wrong their chosen path is?

I am more than used to being told that I am wrong.  Being gay, I have been told that my ‘lifestyle’ is not natural so many times, I could circle the world with all the little gay rainbow fairies that passed out by the sheer shock.  Being told that something I do is wrong doesn’t even phase me anymore.  If I am wrong, I will be the first one to tell you.

It is not your job to live your life as a dementor.  It is not required for you to suck all of the happiness and joy out of the world.

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If the pagan community were to join energies, despite our differences, just imagine the magick that would encompass this world.  To most of the mundane community, magick has been confined to fairy tales and fiction.  Gods and goddesses have become only mythology and dragons and other magickal beings have been relocated to artwork and toys.

We have the potential to show paganism and witchcraft as honorable and full of integrity.  We have the ability in our very minds and hands to focus intention in ways never dreamed possible.  All we have to do is Learn to Play Nice!!!   2014-03-30 19.45.34The power is right there in your hands!

Blessed Be!

Though the Sorrow May Last Through the Night…

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I have been hated for many things over the years.  I have been hated for things I have done….things I have said….my belief system….who I am.  Through all of the persecution, I have always tried to be the bigger man.  I have always tried to reason with my brain and respond with compassion and love.

For some reason, though, the events that have bombarded the United States and the world over the past few months have drowned my heart in sorrow.  I am referring to the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda and Russia….also this “Turn the Gay Away” bill that seems to be rearing its ugly head in so many states.men-holding-hands-3CROP

I am a tolerant man.  I try to respect and honor all faiths. I try to respect and honor all races.  I try to embrace the differences that make us all individuals and make this world a more interesting place to live.  I try to surround myself with people who have the same kind of heart.

For those of you who don’t know, I served as a pastor for two mainline denominations for over ten years.  In those ten or more years, I was only met with intolerance once.  In that instance, the pastor of the church told me that he suspected me to be gay.  At the time, I was not out of the closet or quite as sure of who I am as I am now.  He told me that I needed to have an HIV test done and have the results submitted to him and his wife.  I had never been so humiliated.  In that moment, I hated myself for who I was and tried to hide anything about me that would give me away.

Fortunately, after that incident, I was hired into a large church in Charlotte.  I was met at the door with open arms and a love for any uniqueness that made me…me.  In time, I became more confident in who I was and more secure in my sexuality.  I remember one day when I went into my lead pastor’s office.  I had requested a meeting so that I might talk to him about my being gay.  He sat thoughtfully in his chair with his glasses perched on the tip of his nose.  I mustered all of my courage and said, “Pastor, I am gay.”  No reaction.  I said, “Pastor, perhaps you didn’t hear me.  I am gay.”  No reaction.  He picked up his bible and started thumbing slowly through it.  All I could think was that I was about to be blasted with scripture.  Instead, he turned to me and smiled.  He said, “Did you grow an extra head or something?”  I said, “No.”  He looked at me and laughed and said, “You are still one of the best pastors I have been blessed enough to serve with.  Now get back to work.”  With that declaration, he pulled me in for a hug, then put his hand on my shoulder and sent me back to my office….feeling more loved than I ever have.

There was a song we did in that church….the lyrics still come to my mind as I type:

I’m trading my sorrow
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord

I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord

[Chorus:]
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I’m pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I’m blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy’s gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

Thinking of these lyrics today reminded me….it is only in squeezing or crushing the grape, that the sweetness of the juice is released.

I know that there are those out there who would call themselves Christian who would rather spew out hate and vitriol than take the teachings of the biblical Christ to heart.  My days in the church were not spent studying a Christ who belittled and hated.  I spent hours in my office composing sermons of a Christ who sat and ate and drank with tax collectors and prostitutes (the vilest of the vile in his day).  I became acquainted with a Christ who, when told that a woman was caught in an act of sin and should be stoned, looked down at the ground and said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”  He then looked at the woman with compassion and asked, “Where are your accusers?” She said, “There are none.” “Neither do I condemn you…go and sin no more.”004-jesus-washes-feet

My fondest memory of this Christ who receives the blame for so much of the hatred that spews from man….is the Christ who spent the night before his death washing the feet of his disciples.  He knew that one of them would betray him that very night….but he chose to take on the role of servant.  And again, I studied of this Christ….the one whom people blame for their right to picket soldiers funerals, and burn the sin out of people…this Christ returned from the grave to offer those who had denied him and spat on him and killed him, another chance for redemption.

So, if I have all of these wonderful memories of the church…all these wonderful remnants of who Christ was, buried inside me, why did I become a witch?  Because Christianity, to me, was limiting.  Why limit myself to one god….even if he was a three in one.  Gods and Goddesses encompass so much more than we are willing to give them credit for.  Humanity has always wanted to keep that which we don’t understand confined….if you don’t believe this, go to a zoo.

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My trip to the woods this morning was a heavy-hearted trip.  As Friz and I settled in, Friz could tell there was something different about my spirit.  He quietly licked my face. He nuzzled me…he stayed close by.  I called on the elements, the directions…and this time I did not stop at the Lord and Lady I normally call upon.  I called upon the Christ that I had been acquainted with years ago.  We chatted about those who are using his name to hurt and harm and hate.  We also chatted about those followers of his who actually “get it.”

It doesn’t matter what faith you pursue or what you believe….there is never a place for hatred.  Hatred only destroys.  It turns the hater into a predator whose thirst for blood can never be sated.  It turns those who are hated into prey…constantly pursued and never able to rest.

As I lay back onto the earth this morning, I saw Mama Crow perched in the trees above.  She has only ever asked one thing of me….”Be true to myself.”  I have not been able to hide who I am in years, and I do not intend to start now.

I will stand tall with my sword at the ready…not fighting for the sake of the fight, but so that change may actually be affected.  I will love stronger than I have ever loved, and with every swing of the sword, I shall breathe compassion and healing over any who become part of the battle.  I will never go back into hiding. Witch or gay, my true self will always shine through.

As I lay there this morning, feeling Mother Earth pouring her magick into me and the Wild Man of the Woods pouring his stamina into  me,  I looked to my side to see a grouping of daffodils…not yet bloomed, but the color of yellow just barely peeking through.2014-02-22 15.13.15

Though the sorrow may last for the night
Joy comes with the morning!

Blessed Be!

You Better Work It…

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I have been reading about the New Moon coming up on January 30th.  They call it the “Black Moon.”  It is the second New Moon in the month of January.  It is an omen of change and during this moon, hidden truths are brought to the surface.  It is in the midst of this “Black Moon” that I will be moving into another phase of my life.  I am leaving behind my work at the animal clinic and moving back into corporate work.

Am I sad in this transition?  Maybe I should be.  Am I?  No, not at all.  This is a time of celebration for me.  It is time to move past a time of oppression and stagnancy into a time of joy and forward movement.  This change has been a long time in coming.  I have done ritual after ritual devoted to this change…..friends have dedicated ritual after ritual to the same purpose.  It has not been an easy road, but finally I am able to see the manifestation of months and months of magick and hard work.

Work?  Yes, work.  Any real witch will tell you that magick takes work….and dedication….and purpose.  Most folks are used to seeing what is represented on television as far as the Craft goes.  While I love the fantasy that most of those shows represent….the Samantha Stevens, the Endoras, the Charmed Ones, and the newer Witches of East End….we all know that instant gratification is a rarity in the Craft.

I remember the first “spell” I ever cast….*note I used cast here and not ‘the first spell I ever worked.’  Being a new witchling, I stood in front of my altar and waved my hands like a fool and uttered something that I thought was magickal  and waited to see the puff of smoke and the explosion of glitter….or even the little ‘tinkle, tinkle’ sound I heard on “Bewitched” whenever a spell was cast.  Nothing.  I was devastated.  Of course, I had not studied under anyone or with anyone…I knew nothing about the elements, directions, herbs, intention….not one thing.  I only knew what I had seen on television.  All I could hear in my head was the sounds of large tongues blowing raspberries.

Now some folks would have probably given up after casting with no sparks, bells or whistles.  Not me.  I was determined to find out why it didn’t work.  I began to devour books on the Craft.  Some of the first ones I got my hands on were Scott Cunningham’s books.  I was transported to a world of magick I had no idea existed.  Then one day, when I was browsing in the ‘occult’ section at a local bookstore, I was invited to a local coven to take part in their program for initiates.  I enjoyed much of the teachings and the natural setting.  I settled in there for a time and then realized that the path they were on wasn’t the path calling to me.

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That was the one thing that I enjoyed so much about the Craft.  There was no one path for everyone.  There were so many directions one could pursue.  No matter which path I was interested in, I found that it still entailed work.  There were still so many things to learn….how to send energy without depleting your own energy stores…how to charge crystals, candles, etc…how to pour yourself into the workings of the magick and how to ground yourself before, during and after so that you didn’t become one big ole quivery jello witch.

The biggest things that I personally had to learn was how to listen to and utilize and trust my intuition  and how to purpose my own intent.  I compare it to a baby learning how to talk.  It surfaced on its own….at first it was clumsy and broken and hard to understand, but the more I practiced; the more I worked….it flowed better…it became second nature.  I still work and practice on a daily basis….there is no room for laziness.

As I continued to grow in the Craft, there were other adventures that were opened to me.  I had always heard other witches refer to spirit animals.  I thought that it was a wonderful thought….having the spirits of animals at your beck and call.  Again, I got every book I could find on the subject and read and re-read.  I talked to my grandma about the Native approach to spirit animals…then I began the work….the constant vigil of observation, the energy work.  I will never forget the day the first manifestation came.  I was lying in the dirt…my mind lost in thought about my spirit animal.  I closed my eyes and focused my energy.  It was in that moment that I heard that lovely, melodic scream of the crow.  I looked up and there she perched on an old fence post.  In that same week, wolf came to me in my dreams….again, after a time of focus and intent.   The work had been worth the end result.

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This morning, I went to the woods.  This morning, there was no little blue chihuahua to be seen…he was allowed to sleep in.  This morning, no calico kitten showed up.  In my backpack were the usual tools…my skulls, candles, incense, matches.  This morning, more offerings were carried than normal.  This morning was a morning of gratitude.  The directions were called upon….the elements invited…Mama Crow and Wolf took their places.  Candles were lit, incense was burned.  Notes of gratitude and adoration were written on flying paper to all involved in the magick that was manifested.  The notes were carefully twisted and set on fire.  I watched as they flew into the air and disintegrated into the breeze….the wind carrying the magick forth.  I cracked an egg onto the ground for the animal spirits to devour.  I poured milk, honey and wine into the earth in gratitude to elementals and any other spirits involved.  For the lady herself, a small bouquet of dried flowers….grain and corn rounded out the offerings for the Horned One.

Was the work finished?  Only for this phase of the magick….it continues every day.  I have found through my studies and experiences that magick is a living being.  It is constantly moving and changing…just as we should be.  So it is because of magick that a 47 year old witch is now embarking on a brand new adventure.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Blessed Be!

The Lost Boys

 

2013-06-13 11.04.28This week I have wanted time outside more than any other.  I know that most folk, when the weather starts to chill and the wind picks up, want to cuddle up inside with a blanket and hot cocoa.  It is with that briskness and bite in the air that I want to wander….I hunger for exploration and romping.  It is like that primal animal part of me kicks in and has to get outside.

I have done so much people watching in the past few days.  I have noticed that many people are afraid of themselves.  We have learned to hide behind facades in our lives.  I have watched many, this week, smile sweetly and feign pleasantries when it was so very evident that they wanted to scream and cry and run.  It has become second nature anymore for humankind to pretend that life isn’t there and that we don’t have to deal with anything…..after all, no one wants to hear it, right?

It seems, this week, that so many people have crossed my path….men particularly, who have become adept at blending into the background or becoming invisible.  I have met fellows who have taken a part of themselves….the part that doesn’t seem to fit with what society expects of them and bury them.  I mean, bury them deep….so deep that you might need a jackhammer and dynamite to unearth those pieces of themselves.

These men, I have found, have powerful magick.  Most of the time, as they grow in their abilities, they encounter some part of themselves that society has deemed inappropriate.   I know that in my own life, it was that very essence of my spirit that I have come to know as “Wolf.”  In many Native American traditions, wolf appears to you only when you have requested the tribe’s greatest teacher.  Wolf teaches you who you are and teaches you to develop strength and confidence so that you don’t have to constantly prove yourself.  Wolf brings forth the teacher in us and guards us fiercely. 2013-11-09 22.26.48

In my own life, fear of punishment for those things which “weren’t right or permissible” was what brought wolf energy into my life.  I was always told that it was wrong to be the way I am….you can use any scenario you want there….for being gay, for having certain ‘special’ abilities(talking to animals), or for just being ‘artsy,’ as my uncle called it.  When Wolf stepped in, he stepped in strongly and confidently and has been teaching me ever since how to live by my own inner guidance and not get stuck in the safety of a well-worn path.  Wolf teaches you to listen and communicate with the other animals through body language or that long soulful howl.

In my encounters with men from many different walks of life this week, Wolf has again stepped in strongly and confidently.  In my mind and with the help of a friend and ally,  I have formulated a name for these men….”The Lost Boys.”  With each of these men, spirit has been calling and calling hard.  They have been listening….and with each instance, they are being called to a truer existence.  Some have been called to abandon pre-existing ways of thinking about themselves and spirit.  Some have been called to leave hurt and distrustfulness behind.  Others have been called to abandon the cage of what society thinks and run toward the primal part of themselves that pulls its head back, opens its mouth and releases that roar that has been building inside their own spirit for years.

I have learned, over the years, that when it comes to releasing our inhibitions and opening our spirits to be guided….we can be our own worst enemies.  We go…..but we go kicking and screaming.  We walk the familiar paths with weapon in hand, ready to attack anything that doesn’t look familiar.  We forget that it is in leaving the familiar path that brings adventure.  I remember a quote by Rita Mae Brown. “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”   That is what makes us the lost boys.  Men….even gay men, are notorious for not asking for directions.

In magick, we are given guides…whether it be ancestors, animals, angels or gods and goddesses.  Too much, we like to go it alone.  For some reason, we have come to think that makes us tougher, stronger, more powerful.  It is one thing to be solitary….it is completely different to become isolated.  Wolf travels in packs, but may not always stay with the pack.  Wolf likes loyalty, but also thrives on freedom.  Wolf does not follow a prescribed trail.  He weaves in and out of trees, moving on and off paths and trails and across long stretches of land.

It is in this season….the season when darkness begins, that if I listen closely, I can hear that strong heartbeat of the Earth Mother.  Some may hear it as drumming….music.  That heartbeat is calling to that part of my spirit that hears it strongly and clearly.  There is that primal part of me that connects with every part of the Earth Mother and the fur people and the feathered people and the finned people.  It is like the energy of the buck seeking out that female….that musky strong rutting energy that courses through each of us….that part of us that seeks out nourishment to store up until spring.  My spirit hungers for so much more than the mundane that I encounter each morning……I release myself….I let my spirit run.  I open myself to the teachings of the guides I was given.

You see, I never really was lost.  I was forging a new trail.  My nose was to the wind the whole time…I just never saw what was happening inside of me.  Now I know…..it was all about the magick.  I opened myself up to what my spirit hungered for….what I starved for, and there it stood…right in front of me.  I only had to reach out and take it.2013-11-10 00.14.01

 

Blessed Be!

The Song of the Sea Witch

2013-09-24 16.54.56This past Friday, my partner and I packed the car and travelled with seven friends and disappeared into the sand and waves of St. Simon’s Island.  This was a much needed vacation and I had not been to the ocean in eight or more years.  The drive was uneventful and I slept most of the way.  When we arrived a little after three, I could smell that warm salty air…it was calling me.  We hadn’t even unloaded the cars before we all were shedding our shoes, rolling up our pants and running through the sand.

My partner and I quickly waded through the pool of standing water to get to the little wedge of sand just over the horizon.  I watched as my partner took on a child-like wonder as he saw crabs scurrying into holes and minnow-sized fish jumping in and out of the puddles.  The beach was fairly empty so we took hands and walked along the shore in the sunlight…amazed at the beauty that lay right there at our feet.

We all reconvened at the house, made dinner and then relaxed with a glass of wine.  Most everyone in the house knew when we got there that day that I had a little surprise for my partner.  I asked him if he would join me for a walk on the beach just a little before midnight.  We walked just below the house to a log that I had seen earlier that day.  I was completely nervous and breathing heavy.  He asked what was wrong and we sat down on the log to rest.  At that point, I pulled a wooden box from my pocket, opened it…exposing a basic silver band, and asked him if he would be willing to share the rest of our lives together.  He grabbed me with both arms and whispered yes into my ear.

2013-09-24 16.57.30Afterwards, it was a scene from “Steel Magnolias” with a bunch of gay men running through the house.  I had to laugh.  We are all pretty much like family to one another anyway, so for the excitement and toasting to be rather boisterous was not surprising.

The next morning, I got up early.  The sky was in that place just between dark and light….the soft gray that comes before sunrise.  I sat down on that same log my partner and I had shared the night before….it seemed as though it was charged with as much love and peace as anything could be.  As I cradled my coffee in my hands, I thought about how different my life was becoming and where I had visualized myself at the age I am.  I think I had always thought that I would be quite the different person.  I had always fancied myself someone not so settled.  I have always lived my life with the philosophy that I didn’t want to be sitting around at 80 years old saying ‘I wish I had,’ but instead saying, ‘Damn, what a ride!’  I had always wanted to be so much more than the person who sits around watching the dark hair turn white.

2013-09-24 16.55.45As I watched the sun begin to push its way through the clouds, I realized that I am exactly where I want to be for the time that is.  I have very few regrets…I have always lived my life to the fullest.  I have been all those things I mentioned above and then some.  I closed my eyes and listened to the voice of the sea.  She is constantly moving…constantly changing yet she never changes her position.  I could smell the movement in her….that fresh salty scent that overtakes your soul.  My heart was quickened by the breeze around me.  If I had hair, I would have flipped it through the breeze with joy…instead, I settled for feeling the rush through my chest hairs.  I could feel her magick all around me.  It is no wonder we hear so many stories of sirens by the sea…..her allure is very powerful.

As I sat there lost in the mists of contemplation, I feel a hand softly placed on my shoulder.  I knew who it was the moment it came to rest on me.  I looked up to see my partner smiling down at me….he had a look of peace and contentment about him…..it positively radiated from him.  My mind could only think that where I am now is exactly where I should be.  It made me realize that we humans have forgotten how to be content and how to live in the moment…..we are too worried about the things that could happen that we sometimes forget to look at the things that are happening.

2013-09-24 16.54.06We spent a lot of time enjoying the day that Saturday.  We visited the pier (where we were surrounded by blackbirds that I nicknamed ‘sea-crows’) and shopped in town and walked quite a bit.  When we got back to the house, my partner and I prepared a low country boil for dinner.  We all gorged ourselves until we couldn’t hold anymore.

2013-09-24 16.52.46The group of guys we were with had told me that they wanted to be a part of the ritual that I was planning by the ocean for the Fall Equinox.  I had told them earlier in the day to find one seashell that ‘spoke’ to them and to think of something in their lives that they wanted to set in motion.  When we all got to the beach, I explained what would take place as far as creating a circle….inviting the elements….acknowledging the Lord and Lady.  Everyone was reverent and excited.  I handed each one a feather and a small container of food coloring and told them to write inside or on the seashell they collected that ‘thing’ they wanted to set into motion and put it down at their feet.   I told them to visualize that ‘thing’ coming to pass.  We talked and laughed and acknowledged all the good things in our lives.  I thanked the Lord and Lady and the elements and opened the circle……we returned to the house to eat and drink with some couples lingering behind for their own midnight beach stroll.

The next morning, we walked to the beach at sunrise to find our shells gone….swept out into the depths of the ocean by the waves.  I encouraged each person to now visualize their dream becoming fluid….moving into reality.  As we closed the morning time together, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that a small dog came bounding up to us.  The spirit of wolf and crow will find me wherever I go.

I think, though, that we all came to realize one thing.  Your dreams will only go as far as you are willing to take them.

2013-09-24 16.53.26Blessed Be!