Let Freedom Ring

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This week has been a challenging one.  It seems that I have put on my counselor’s hat most every day.  Everyone I have talked to seems to be bound up…bound up by things that they can’t control.  It is like I have watched as people wrap themselves tighter and tighter in issues that they have either created or have let into the cracks of their lives and irritation resulted.

I talked to one woman who was consumed by jealousy.  When I asked her what her husband had done to build such jealousy and distrust in her, she answered that he had done nothing….that it was just the way she was.  She searched through his phone when he wasn’t looking, she followed him constantly (only to see him go exactly where he told her he was going), she questioned him and needled him every waking moment.  He had simply told her that he was tired.  She was so tightly wrapped up in her own mind, that she didn’t realize that she was exhausting the relationship.

A male friend I talked to this week, could do nothing but mourn the loss of a relationship that he had seven years ago.  He blamed all of his inadequacies on this person deserting him seven years ago and how this other person was ‘his heart.’  He kept going on about how I could never understand that kind of loss in my life. (Honestly, at this point, my eyes had rolled back into the back of my head in an ‘oh please’ type of reaction.)  No, I doubt that I could understand losing someone…never mind that I had dealt with the loss of a partner to AIDS.  As I sat there listening to him tell me how painful every day still was, I wondered why it was easier for him to wind himself up in the turmoil that he had created and not live his life a little more carefree.

As I listened more than talked this week…I think I realized something about people, in general.  People are afraid.  People are afraid that, without drama in their lives, they will be overlooked.  They are afraid that they will just blend in with everyone else.  As I talked to the jealous wife, I realized that her value didn’t come from her family or her relationship. It didn’t even come from who she was.  It came from being able to weave the tales of his betrayal…to be able to earn sympathy for something that her husband had given her no reason to believe.  When she told me that he hadn’t done anything and that jealousy was just a part of her nature…it told me all I needed.  Her nature was the damaged part of the relationship.

My male friend, even as he spoke about living with his heartbreak….in that same breath asked me why I don’t have any photos of Jim.  I told him that it wouldn’t be fair to my current partner and that was a part of life that was finished. There was no way that it could ever be what it was.  When I buried Jim,  I also had to bury that relationship.  I still carry the love and memories, but the love and memories don’t possess me.

Many may read this and feel that I am cold and heartless.  It isn’t that.  I just can’t imagine being bound by anything extra.  Life throws enough at you.  Why hold onto things that can make your life even crazier.  I have always been the type of person who believes that you live and you let live.  As long as you don’t hurt others or aren’t spewing vile…then I will peaceably live my life alongside of you.  Just like with my friend that is seven years out of a relationship….I asked him, “How often do you think he sits and thinks of you?”  Just like I asked the woman bound by jealousy, “Have you ever thought that if you let go of the jealousy that you could actually be with the love of your life, living your ‘Happily Ever After?”broken-chains

So many times, we concentrate on such tiny things….the things that rub like sandpaper.  If we were to just give a tug on those chains, we may just find that they are made out of paper.

My step-grandpa used to have cattle.  I watched as he trained an old bull not to tear down the fence.  My grandpa used an electric fence.  He would walk that bull up to that fence and right into it.  The bull would get shocked.  He did this many, many times until finally that old bull wouldn’t get anywhere near that fence.  While I don’t condone his methods, they were effective.  After that bull had it ingrained in his mind that the fence would shock him, my grandpa turned the electricity off to the fence.  In that bull’s mind though, that fence was still capable of shocking him if he went near it.

We have pretty much done the same thing.  We have confined ourselves based on past experiences.  The electricity has been off for years, but we don’t dare test it.  I guess I was always the stubborn child.  I would constantly go up to the fence, touching it to test it every time….not for fear of getting shocked, but in the hope that the next time I touched it, it would be powerless.

I have watched some witches become like Christian church.  I have always believed that whatever your path, faith is the primary part.  Faith puts feet to belief.  I can believe that the fence won’t shock me all I want, but until that moment I reach out and touch it, it is something only my brain has concocted.  The cunning men and women in the community were the ones that the townsfolk would come to for guidance, for magick, for something that everyday life couldn’t supply.  Isn’t it really time we lived up to that?

A friend of mine posted a photo today…I took it to heart.  Most might get offended, but it struck me as an epiphany.

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Blessed Be!

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Incantations and Curiosities…

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Sticks and stones, fur and bones…

Serpents skin and feathers

Skull of crow and blackthorn’s stick,

Break the chains that tether.

 

Winds I engage to blow away,

Water drown it all…

In Earth it’s buried, deep and still.

Flames around it sprawl.

 

Mandrake, hellebore aconite…

Poison to the core

Raven’s wing and ground wasp’s sting

Drive away forevermore.

 

Lightning, Thunder, Wind and Rain…

Encircle me with power.

Wipe away those things that interfere

At my intention, cower.

 

With all my strength, I do push through

Evil’s held at bay.

Success and magick, all that’s good

Are now my life’s due pay.

 

Funny, just as I put that last line into the blog…the wind whips outside, thunder booms, and lightning flashes.  We were just hit with a gully-washer of a storm.  It always intrigues me, the things that take place when one is fed up.

This week has been a struggle.  Not just a struggle, but one of those weeks where it feels like you have someone standing next to you with the sharp end of a tack pointed toward you, poking you at any moment you find yourself peacefully resting.  I have been poke to the point of feeling raw and irritated and bruised.

I have been in an internship program at work now for three months.  I have pushed myself beyond my comfort levels….I have out-performed those who were years younger than me….I have watched the initial group go from eight to now two people.  Last week and tomorrow, we have been and will be going through assessments to see if we fit the positions available.  My gut feeling Friday told me that I did not do so well on the written part of that particular assessment…but then, I have never tested well.  Sit me down in front of the product and I can show you, with determined accuracy, the things that need to be done.  I have watched as one by one, those who did not perform well, were ushered out the door.

Those of you who are familiar with the Weathered Wiseman know that I am my own worst enemy, my own worst critic, and my harshest competitor.  I have beat myself over the head continually over the past week….I have given myself many more lashes than anyone else could ever deliver.2014-04-27 17.52.37

Last night, I went a friend’s house for a night of playing cards and drinking.  Funny how those who have known you the longest tend to pour sympathy over you…..”Well, you have been in worse spots.” “It isn’t like you haven’t worked hard.  You don’t have anything to worry about.”  It is also amazing how much of a difference a whole bottle and then some of wine will make.

There is always the tender, warm fuzzies that you get from witches when you are feeling sorry for yourself.  Encouraging? Yes.  Supportive?  Yes.  Warm fuzzies?  Yeah, not so much.  LOL!!  One friend, whom I treasure dearly and is always there for me…spoke harsh truth, “Go outside NOW!!  I am sending strength to you on the wind!!  GO OUTSIDE, NOW!!!  The Morrigan HAS SPOKEN!!!”  She knows better than anyone that I gather my strength from the elements….and of course as I stand outside, a strong coolish breeze wraps around me like a hug and a spanking all at once.  I realize that I am a stubborn witch…I also realize that most of the time, I need my ass kicked rather than kissed.

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Yesterday, during the day,  I was in such a funk that I sat inside all day long with the shades closed, cup of coffee in my hands, “Bewitched’ dvd’s in replay mode on the television.  The only thing missing was the big fuzzy robe and thumb sucking.  Friz didn’t know what to do with me. We didn’t go through our usual romp through the woods or pond.  We didn’t lie down in the leaves under the canopy of trees.  There was no backpack with candles, no skulls.  Just re-runs, coffee and chocolate….not even good chocolate.  We are talking Easter leftover chocolate bought on sale in the Kroger candy aisle.  At one point Friz climbed up my chest and looked at me eyeball to eyeball.  If he could have talked, it would have been, “Heifer, get off your butt and walk with me to our private place.  Take your magick stuff and you will feel better.”  Instead, I stayed in my lump until we went to play cards.2014-04-13 19.23.21 HDR

I woke up this morning a little more determined.  Friz did too.  This morning, he headed to the woods.  It was evident that he was going with or without me.  Luckily, I packed my backpack.  I didn’t realize that I had put everything that I could think of in it.  I took out the skulls and bones and stones and feathers and fur and as I addressed the directions and invited the elements in, I sat and quietly started to address my own self pity….my own feelings of inadequacy…my own feelings of depression.  I pulled out a small journal that my friend Jackie gave me and I wrote the spell that started this blog.

I know my own heart.  I know my strengths and abilities.  I know what I am capable of.  I know that I have poured all of my talent and knowledge and drive into this internship.  My only prayer to Lord and Lady is that those around me and those with the decision making power see that.  I have never given anything less than 100%, no matter what it involved.  I don’t do half-assed.  I am not without fault and not perfect, but I am who I am and I pour myself wholly into people and life.  One incident does not define me.

Peculiar…it takes a chihuahua, a handful of boisterous witches….and a bottle and a bit more of wine  to make me realize that the only time the magick won’t work is when I stop seeking it and expecting to see it all around me….and also realizing that it is working and all around me whether I see it and believe it or not.grey_wizard_2014_01_01_14_by_skydancer_stock-d70elsn

Blessed Be!

Making Friends With the Things That Haunt You

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I had the strangest dream last night.  I dreamed that me, my partner and my roommate all went in together and bought an old dilapidated victorian house.  It had previously been divided into levels for apartments, but our intent was to take it back to its original state.  We found out after we bought the house that it was haunted by a dastardly man who made it difficult for anyone to stay in the house for very long.  victorian

I remember, in the dream, moving from room to room with the fear of this horrible spirit in the back of my mind.  The last place I went was the very top floor.  The fireplace was going and this was where the spirit supposedly spent most of his time.  I walked into the room and he did everything he could to make me know that I wasn’t welcome.  I continued to talk as he continued to try to scare me. The flames of the fire would rage higher as he grew angrier.   He moved swiftly in front of my face and screeched.

By this time, I had grown tired of the game.  I calmly told him that I wasn’t afraid of him and that we were going to bring the old place back to its former glory.  I quietly talked through all of plans…even our intent to leave the top floor to him alone, with an occasional visit if he wanted.  I could see that he was calming down by the flames in the fireplace.  They were now down to a soft comfortable glow.

We finished the remodel and all lived a peaceful coexistence with the spirit in the house.  He grew to be a friend as the years moved forward.  He was a source of protection for us as well as source for much historical knowledge.

I am often offered solutions to issues in life through my dreams.  It is often where I deal with and face my darkest fears.  I realized that the man in this dream was representative of where I am heading in my own life right now.  I am slowly moving through levels of a new job.  With each level there comes a new fear…I am having to refurbish old ideas and rethink old thought processes.  I see, now, that the biggest hurdle is that within me that wants everything to stay comfortable…unchanging.  I must embrace that that is a part of me and that it may never leave, but I also have to be willing to move forward with plans and hopes and dreams.

When I woke up this morning with my head crowded by the visions of last night’s dream, I remembered when I was a little boy living with my parents on Walkup Avenue in our old hometown.  The house had belonged to my great grandparents (both of whom had died there) and it was located by a section of woods that didn’t quite have the right kind of energy for a five year old.  We had also been robbed in that house.

In that house, I lived in fear….of everything.  I was scared of the house, of the woods, of the ‘people’ that I could feel there…and the dark.  My mom and dad tried everything they could to alleviate all of those fears, but unfortunately, in those days it meant letting me sleep alone in a pitch black room….no nightlights for me.  It also meant that my bedroom was the furthest away from it if I had to go to the bathroom.  It also meant that if I wandered too far in the wrong direction, our German Shepherd Rascal would hear me and begin to growl and all I could see of him were large yellow eyes.  I lived my life petrified of anything that happened when the sun went down.  There were many nights that I would lie in my bed with the covers to my neck horrified to move.

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Once again, it was one of my grannies to the rescue.  This time it was my very Scotch-Irish granny.  Her face seemed to always be engraved with smiles and her hands were charged with soothing energy.  I remember that she had come to stay with us one weekend and I guess it got the best of her to see this child cowered in fear and shaking the moment the sun went down.  She came into my bedroom after I had been tucked in and she asked me what was wrong.  I shook uncontrollably as she pulled me into her lap.  I spewed out every one of the things that I was scared of the most.  It was like my body was vomiting the fear on the floor in front of me…..the dark, the woods, the dog, the house…I put all of it right there in front of her.

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I can still hear her soft laughter as she quietly told me that the secret to not being afraid anymore was to make friends with the things I was afraid of.  I remembered thinking, “Why in the world would I want to make friends with them?!  I am scared of them!!”  She picked me up and carried me in her arms toward the front door.  She opened the door and the screen and walked with me clinging to her in horror out toward the back steps.  I remember that the moon was shining brightly that night.  Quietly she made the introductions.  “Miss Moon, this is my grandson, David.  David, this is Miss Moon.  Stars, this is my grandson….Woods, this is my grandson….Old Man of the Dark, this is my grandson.”  She went on and on, telling me how she had made friends with each of these things over her life.  Finally, she called Rascal over…the German Shepherd that I was so determined was horribly mean.  He softly licked my cheek and I started laughing.  She explained that the reason he jumped up on me sometimes was because he wanted to play and that the reason he growled at night was because he heard noises and wanted to keep everybody safe.

So now, all of those things I was scared most of didn’t seem so scary.  I made it a point to venture out in the woods more during the day to see more of what was out there.  I talked to Miss Moon every time I was outside.  It made it seem as though there was a family member watching over me.  The stars became my watchmen….and Rascal and I were often found lying on top of each other at the edge of the woods sharing secrets.  I look back on all of that now and I laugh out loud….most of the things that I was most afraid of have, indeed, become my dearest friends.  Mama Moon and the stars, dogs in general, the darkness…even spirits.  German Shepherd laying on the green grass

I got up really early this morning (the first time) and  the little blue chihuahua and I made our way to the woods around the four a.m. mark. Hopefully we didn’t scare anyone on the way.  I had my cloak over me and my backpack under it so I looked a bit like Quasimodo.  When we got into the belly of the woods, I settled into the dirt.  Stones were placed in strategic spots all around us in a circle formation, the candles were placed and lit and the skulls were given their positions of honor.  In remembrance of my old friend Rascal, I sprinkled dried wild flowers over the skulls and burned sage.  I also burned an incense mixture that a friend gave me that has done wonders in gearing my mind toward success and strength.

I sat there in the midst of so many of the things that made my heart pound in fear.  I thanked them all for their friendships over the years and at this point Friz leaned in to give me a lick on my nose….I thanked him for his friendship, his loyalty, his protection, and magick.  As I felt the heartbeat of the Earth Mother beneath me, I was reminded of how much fear we, as humans live in.  We fear what others think of us.  We fear change.  We fear the world around us.  It is time to look those things that we fear the most in the eye and introduce ourselves.  It may become your biggest ally.

Blessed Be!how_to_train_your_dragon_12

That Place Between Sleep and Awake

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We have all had those moments when it seems like we are lost in our own darkness.   Having struggled with depression for most of my life, I have learned to fight my way through the tangles and snarls of vines that depression seems to lay along the floors of the forests of life….or so I thought.  Over the past couple of months, I have been making my way through those forests…plodding out trails…hacking through the vines, only to find myself at the beginning of the trail I had started, wandering aimlessly like a man lost in his own thoughts with all the monsters that he has created keeping a steady pace behind him.

I couldn’t even seem to avoid these battles in sleep.  The moment my head would hit the pillow, dreams of battles and terror and anxiety would invade the calm that I tried to manipulate into being before lying down.  I found myself becoming edgier and angrier because there was no rest to be had.  It was easier when people around me asked how I was to reply with a short, curt “Fine.  Hope everything is ok with you.”

Yesterday morning, I got up really early and retreated to the woods.  Inside the house, I have no escape.  Every room is full with humans or animals at every minute.  I can’t even take a long hot bath anymore without someone knocking on the door, asking me where something is.  There is no silence.  It is broken by the sounds of barking or meowing or a television blaring….so I go to the woods.  I sneaked Friz out of the kennel…away from the eyes of the other pets.  I gathered my cloak and backpack (for some reason, I have come to think if I wear my cloak, I can’t be seen).

We got into what I think of as the middle of the woods…I know that they go on farther, but this is the center of my woods.  I set everything in the place that I feel it needs to go, and I face-plant in the dirt  Friz curls underneath my cloak…and there we stayed for a while.  By a while, I mean that we were there from about 6:30am until around 10:30am.  Just a face-plant…no rituals, no wand-wielding…just a face-plant.

As we walked back to the condo, I snapped a pic here and there of the trees and bushes that caught my eye.  The colors stirred something inside me and for a time, took me away from myself.2013-11-02 17.24.58

Even in the midst of that beauty, I felt lost.  As I went through the rest of the day,  everything that could happen….did.  I even went as far as to doubt where my relationship with my partner stood.  It is funny to me how the universe around us has a way of knocking us out of self-pity.  To side-track my partner and I from an argument….we had a dishwasher that burned a hole in its own bottom….we had a pup that became a living, breathing diarrhea machine.  We had to stop, pull ourselves away from ourselves and concentrate on other things and animals around us.

I went to sleep last night completely exhausted wondering where the magick was in this magickal life.  I hadn’t been asleep hardly anytime before I felt pressure on my side of the bed.  I can’t tell you if it was a dream or reality….those lines were blurred.  I looked up and saw a familiar face.  It was the face of Jim…my partner who had died many years ago.  He looked at me and my partner.  He quietly smiled and began to stroke the side of my head and cheek. Jim looked at me frankly and said to me, “When are you going to stop trying to see in the dark?  Everytime you try, you end up stumbling over yourself.  Why don’t you try walking in the lighted part of life around you?”  He told me about a bush that I had taken a picture of yesterday.  It is called a beauty berry bush.  The leaves are such a vibrant chartreuse that I got caught up in that coloring.  Jim said to me, “That bush isn’t named for the leaves.  You looked right at it and were so overtaken with the color of the leaves that you didn’t look past them and see the berries.  The berries are where the bush got its name.  It is the bright, brilliant purple berry that makes that bush stand out.  You think you have no place to run and hide when you are feeling like this…..STOP  running and hiding.  You will never defeat something while you are running from it.  Face it head on….run directly into it with the intent to make it run.”2013-11-03 09.31.33

I woke up feeling rested, even though it felt like I had been up all night talking.  I know the veil is thin this time of year….I just never knew that it could be like that.  You feel that sense of comfort, but you also feel like you have been whopped up side the head.  I put on my crocs and went to where I had seen the beauty berry bush.  I picked a leaf and a stem of berries to dry for my book of shadows…my book of remembrance.  Sometimes it only takes something small to remind us of the love and energy that surrounds us on a daily basis.  Sometimes it takes that which only magick can supply to show us who we are in the grand scheme of things.

Yes, I am still fighting through….but I am fighting.  The sword is drawn and the shield is up.  I am winning.  I will come forth stronger and more powerful because of it.

“You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you, Peter Pan. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

Season of the Witch

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Distraction….that is the million dollar word.  Lately there seems to be so many different things pulling at me.  I don’t tend to be the stretchy type lately either….rather, I break or end up running around like a crazy man.

It has come to my attention, especially over the past few days, that I let myself become side-tracked far too easily.  I am too much like that dog in the movie “Up.”  I can be talking one minute about the power of magick and…..”Squirrel!!!”  I throw myself into many things at one time and end up swirling like a cyclone.  My body rebels and my immune system retreats and sickness overtakes.  When sickness comes on, it seems to take forever to get my body back in line.

Over the past month, we had been preparing for a Halloween party.  This is a party that we look forward to every year.  We did a group costume this year and I spent weeks searching for all the right accessories.  I scoured eBay for deals and went to every costume shop in Atlanta.  I threw myself into the costume with all four feet.  The issue wasn’t the costume, but more the fact that there were other things that really needed to take precedence.

I am an ‘all or nothing’ type of guy.  I feel that if I am going to do something, it can’t be done halfway.  When I was working in the theater, I was introduced, through a show I was doing, to clogging.  Clogging is a type of folk dance in which the dancer’s shoes are fitted with taps and by striking toe and heel, a rhythm is created.  This dance is quite popular in the mountains and foothills of North Carolina….where I was raised.  It wasn’t enough for me to learn how to clog.  I had to become a part of a team and dance competitively.  While it was enjoyable, I wonder what ever made me pursue it.  Was it just another check mark on my blackboard of life?

Last night, late, I needed some air.  I decided to spend some time in the courtyard.  It was coolish…but not too cool and the wind was still.  I sat on the stoop of the condo and stared at the mandrake plant that I have been nurturing since early summer.  That plant has been a lesson in patience. They are very particular about light and condition and temperature.  I have had to tend that plant with kid gloves.  About a month ago, I started to finally see some growth.  Growth does not come quickly with a mandrake either.  What started as a bump in the soil, is now three small (and I do mean small) leaves….and this is on a two year old root.

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The only thing that it concentrates on is growing stronger.  It pulls from the elements and slowly gathers the strength and nourishment it needs to become the perfect specimen….when the time is right.

Samhain is upon us and in the midst of preparation, I have let myself meander away from what it means.  I have let other things push and pull me until I no longer feel that I know which direction I am headed toward.  Even the crows realize it.  Normally, I am besieged by throngs of crows on a daily basis….with Mama Crow leading the noisy choir.  When I go through times like this…the crows grow silent.  I haven’t seen or heard a crow in at least a week.2013-10-14 16.32.33

I have decided that Samhain, for me, this year….will be a new beginning.  This is a time to call on the ancients, the ancestors to help strengthen my resolve.  The coming year for me will be the “Season of the Witch.”  This is my time for growing…..not that quick, over-fertilized growth….but a slow methodical growing time.  In this year I will become even more intimately acquainted with herbs and potions.  I intend to absorb everything that the stones and crystals will give me.  My time with the Lord and Lady and the elements will be even more deliberate.  I have been on this path far too long to let it just be the shocking revelation of ‘Yes, I am a witch.’

It is my time to revel in what it means to be a witch.  It is time to let that part of my spirit sing out.  Let the magick that is within me flow.  The power behind my beliefs should flow from me as easily as my own name flows from my lips….it is that much a part of me.

I have seen too many try to show themselves as something they are not.  We are not Harry Potter….not Samantha from ‘Bewitched.’  We are not the ladies from ‘The Witches of East End’ or ‘Practical Magic.’  We are, however, a strong group of individuals with energy and power that cannot be matched.  We are people who have healing in our very fingertips….our backbone is strong…..we hold access to the spirit realm and the playgrounds of the fae.  We are not here by accident and we were born to fly.  We were given relationship with those who many toss aside….the animals follow us closely and give us access to their hearts and spirits.  We are many traditions and many beliefs….but one strong heart grounded strongly in the old ways.

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I look forward to the wonderful things that are coming for me in this new year.  There are no dragons to be fought….but there are plenty to ride.  On Samhain night, as the moon rises in the sky and the clock strikes midnight,  I will whisper my desires into the ears of the Lord and Lady.  I will offer myself to the elements and I will begin a journey of growth led by the spirits of the ancients and those ancestors who desire to teach me.  I am a witch…nothing more and I sure as hell will not be anything less.

Blessed Be!

 

When the Past Comes Calling…

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This week was a very tiring week. There has become so much to do at work. I feel as though I am trying to cram two weeks into one. It has become the practice of the management to continue to add more and more duties to the ones that already exist for me. Of course, when I become overtired, that is an opportunity for things to surface in my life….most of the time, things that require working through.

On Tuesday, on the way to work, thoughts came racing to my mind from a good twenty five years ago….a time when I wasn’t so confident in the person I was….a time when the very essence of who I was needed, in my opinion to be kept secret. I was serving a church in the foothills of North Carolina. I was full time there as a project coordinator and part time in the local funeral home. I was struggling with what the church said God required of me and what my insides were telling me. I was living with one foot in the church and one foot in the gay community. I tried to live the way the congregation expected me to, but I felt like there was a constant war being fought in my heart and in my spirit. I remembered my last day at that church. I remember the accusations being hurled at me….the words spat at me in anger. The requirements made of me by someone completely ignorant of who I was or what my heart held.

I remember the pastor’s wife coming into the office that I was being sequestered in. She looked at me scowling. She roared at me, “You are a homosexual!!! You have AIDS!” I will never forget that punch in my gut…the sick, I’m-gonna-puke feeling. I was forced and driven to the local health department and made to take an HIV test. As I look back on this now, there are so many things I should have said and done, but I was a scared 22 year old kid. I did well to even remember my name in all that ruckus. This one incident effected the rest of my life.

I was required to take a mandatory leave of absence from another organization I worked with until I “worked through my transgressions.” I had to report to elders each week like someone in prison reports to a parole officer. I had to walk past faces filled with disdain and hatred as I walked past congregation after congregation….”working” my way back into the good graces of the church. To this day, that is why I hate to hear the phrase, “We need to talk about something.” and why I hate someone looking down their nose at me. It still haunts me…and this past week was one of those times.

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Throughout this past week, I have also been struggling with the need for “me” time. It seems that lately there has been no respite from anything. I escape to the woods and the pond as much as I can…but the mosquitoes are now getting fat. At home, my partner takes over our bedroom, the roomie has his bedroom, the living room is common area….sometimes I just take my phone, notebook and a pen and I sit in the bathroom floor for an hour, just for a bit of peace.

Yesterday morning, though, I knew that I was going to have some time to myself. I got up extra early and suited up my partner in crime. Friz wasn’t quite wide awake yet and wasn’t too keen on coming out of the kennel. After much coaxing, he finally stretched his way out, I harnessed him up and we disappeared to the woods. There was no ritual this time…no purposeful seeking out. I wound up my cloak and put it under my head…Friz curled up in the middle of my stomach and we slept. This was by far the weirdest sleep I had ever had. I dreamed constantly of the church scenario that I described above. Each time I would close my eyes and dream, it felt as if a tiny piece of my spirit and my heart was being ripped and shredded.

I lay there for what seemed like hours and tried to make my mind obey me…to stop re-living something that was no longer a part of me. At that point I heard Mama Crow caw loudly. It snagged me away from that horrible memory and jolted me back to present. It was a loud, harsh caw….I look back on it now and realize that it was a call to magick. She was reminding me to take control of a situation and not let something so far away control my todays. It was time to take the person I have become and let that person battle the person I used to be. I created a scenario in my head of what I thought I should have done to respond to that situation and as I drifted back to sleep, I let that person take over the dream….who would have ever thought that one could reclaim a memory so easily and work it out for my benefit.

After I had reclaimed that memory, I scooped Friz up and we made our way to the pond. He yawned as I cradled him and we moved toward the water. We both sat closer to the water than we normally did. I got a stick from nearby and wrote in the water with the stick. I wrote all the negative things about myself that had been brought to mind this week…..all those horrible memories. When I finished writing, I took a nearby rock and threw it into the middle of where I had been writing. I watched as the ripples dissolved all those memories I had written in the water. Then I took the stick and wrote words in the dirt that described who I am now…who I have become over the course of the practice of the Craft. I smiled as the letters took form…..Strong…Outspoken…Wise…Dependable…Gay…Role Model. It took a long time for me to love the me I have become, but I am proud of the person I look at every morning. There is no need for me to let small minded criticisms from far too long ago take root.

I have decided that from now on, when the past comes calling, and it isn’t something that I want to visit with…a locked door can be my best ally. Why let the past take pieces of my spirit…..when it really isn’t worth the memory wasted on it.

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Blessed Be!

Haters Gonna Hate…

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A few years ago, I worked for a dreadful person. She had a way of making you feel as if you could accomplish nothing on your own and that anything tried without her assistance would fail. When I left that position, I remember feeling as if every part of my ego…my self-confidence had been crushed. I doubted everything I did and I questioned every word I spoke. She had a way of making you feel that she could crush you at any moment and leave you lying in the rubble of what you considered your life.

I am a pretty strong person. I have endured a lot….so for anyone to make me feel that way was unusual. I look back and still can’t believe I allowed anyone to have that kind of power over me. After all….I am that male witch who pretty much says what he thinks….does what he wants…and to hell with the rest. Then again, sometimes our foundations get shaken a bit. Sometimes those things that are comfortable to us get taken away and we are forced to stand only on our beliefs.

A couple of weeks ago…on a trip to Walmart, mind you…I was shaken once again. This time, it did not bring self doubt and questioning. This time, it brought about determination. I was leaving the store, and as I walked to my car, I was confronted by a man with a bible in the crook of his arm. He calmly asked me if Jesus was my Lord and Savior and if I died tomorrow, where would I be. I calmly thanked him for his concern for my place in the afterlife and told him that I was fine and proceeded to walk on to my car. He then rushed in front of me, raised his voice a bit and asked if I was prepared for what life without Jesus would bring. Again, I thanked him for his concern, told him I was fine, and proceeded to walk. Once more he pushed himself in front of me and raised his voice even more and yelled his question to me. “Are you prepared for the day that Jesus returns?” I finally was so frustrated….after all, I was just trying to get home before the ice cream melted. I stopped dead in my tracks and said, “I am a witch.” I did not raise my voice…my face was dead-pan. This man proceeds to get in my face and screams at me like a Banshee. My personal space was being invaded over and over again. He was screaming so loudly and being so confrontational that the Walmart security came out and interceded.

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Now, being a gay man, I am used to protests and arguments. I have walked through Gay Pride Celebrations surrounded by picketers. I have listened to the screams of “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” I have even endured the “God Hates Fags” rants. I have even been beaten up for who I am…..but this time I stood there. I was not moving. I was ready for whatever was going to come at me…and quite frankly, I was ready to give back. I felt the power of the Lord and Lady stirring inside of me. Honestly, I was not angry…..I don’t know what the emotion was that was cycloning inside of me. A mixture of confusion and sadness and hurt maybe…..my roommate told me later that I never should have told him I was a witch. I told him that I may as well go back in the closet then…..I may as well try to live life as a straight, church-going nobody.

I told him that the moment I begin to compromise any part of who I am, I may as well crawl under a rock and die. Being a witch is so much of my makeup….just as much as being gay. If I were to try to compromise on either, then I am nothing more than a shell of a man. Cernunnos, Pan, Hekate, the Morrigan are all a part of me….they help to create that person of adventure and obstinence and love and power that I am. They are the creators of destiny within me. They are the dream-givers in my life. The Morrigan is the reason I have any fight and warrior spirit at all in me. Pan and Hekate nurture in me that taste for the wild and my love for the beasts of the earth. Cernunnos pulls out the love of the forest and the hidden places. Without each of them, I am but a lump.

Who I am is as much alive as the elements…..It is Fire that stirs my passion….Water that soothes and offers healing…..Air that calls to spirit…..and Earth that strengthens and grounds me. If I were to compromise my relationship with them….if I were to call to one more than the other….there would be no balance inside of me. Asking me not to be gay or not to be a witch would be like asking a wolf not to be a wolf and a crow not to be a crow…..it defies their very essence…their very spirit and brings confusion to the universe.

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I was told many years ago by a Lakota medicine man that the worst thing that I could ever do was to pretend to be something I wasn’t. “To lie to yourself confuses the spirit within.” He explained this to me using a piece of frybread. He held the frybread in his hand and he tore pieces off. He explained that each tear represented a lie that I told myself. When he finished tearing, there were nothing but pieces and crumbs left…..no matter what he did, he could not piece them back together. He told me that inside me was something unique that only I could offer the world and those around me. I could not do that if my spirit lay in pieces in front of me. “Not all those that you meet on the Good Red Road will like what you hold inside of you….but that is not your concern…..live your life honestly before Wakan Tanka.”

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As I write this tonight….I sit here in tears. The Lord and Lady have used this to rekindle in me exactly who I am. My heart is leaping and under my feet, I can feel the heartbeat of the earth. I smell the breeze through the open window. No one….I mean no one can ever take my heart…my spirit…the essence of who I am away from me. I am stronger…mightier than what I even dream.

I am, along with those gods and goddesses who surround me, the creator of destiny….not just any destiny…..MY DESTINY!!

Blessed Be!