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Branch of Yew, Feather of Owl... Appreciating the Darker Aspects of Paganism Photobucket "One may not reach the dawn save by the path of the night." - Kahlil Gibran "[Y]ou know all about God, I suppose." "Well..." The Savage hesitated. He would have liked to say something about solitude, about night, about the mesa lying pale under the moon, about the precipice, the plunge into shadowy darkness, about death. He would have liked to speak; but there were no words. Not even in Shakespeare. - from Brave New World by Aldous Huxley As Wiccans, we know that the spiritual and the mundane do not have to be perpetually restricted from overlapping. Unlike other religions, we have not divided life into "sacred" versus "profane" components, and in fact we hold that the divine emerges in our physical, earthly realm as well as in other planes of existence. We are those who walk "between the worlds," as is the common Craft axiom. All of this can be true for us because we recognize that every thing is irrevocably tied to every other thing, and that the universe is not the battlefield that polar enemies use to wage war. Instead, the universe is viewed as a beautiful and dynamic interplay of complimenting opposites. It is the great cosmic dance between Goddess and God, earth and air, fire and water, summer and winter that is necessary for balance. Intrinsic to this system of beliefs comes the realization that while both portions in proper amounts are required for balance, the very existence of one portion is entirely dependent on the existence of its opposite portion. Lao Tzu expresses this fact succinctly: "When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long and short define each other. High and low depend on each other. Before and after follow each other." Most Wiccans and Pagans accept these ideas, and are even eager to incorporate the concepts more consciously into their relations with the universe and the Divine. In general, our community has done a fairly good job of this (if the books, poetry, articles, websites, and other publications we produce are any relevant gauge), with one major exception: darkness and light. For a faith that supposedly embraces balance, it is strange that everyone is scrambling to snatch up the term "light" and plaster it all over their work, and yet they will only regard darkness with a ten-foot broom handle. Where is the place of darkness in our religion currently, and why and how have the scales become so horribly out of alignment? Many have conceded that the dark is indeed a necessary part of life, but they suggest that it is by far not desirable. They do not directly come out and profess (most of the time) that darkness is equivalent to evil, but denying it in preference to light is almost as bad as condemning it as a Satanic figure. Some only acknowledge it because it is seen as a pause before the return of the light, not giving it credit as a truly meaningful aspect in and of itself. At best, darkness is described as layers of ignorance or obscurity that need to be shed, it provides for learning, but again it is only a roadblock on one's way to light. As the quote above of Lao Tzu's from his Tao Te Ching makes quite clear; light would not even exist without darkness, it cannot just be utterly discarded as one would do with an old pair of shoes. The attitude that some Wiccans have toward darkness can be attributed to a few sources. Many Wiccans have come out of Judeo-Christian-Islamic backgrounds, which stresses a competitive duality between two major universal forces: the dark, which has become synonymous with evil in those theologies, and the light, which represents all that is good. Wicca, as cited above, does not contain this world view of two constantly opposing forces, but sometimes Wiccans who have come from that type of background carry this idea over into Wicca. They may disregard the concepts of the Devil/Satan/Lucifer etc., but they still have the idea ingrained in their psyches that darkness equals evil. Another influence on Wiccans' perception of darkness is the New Age movement, which is regrettably even more one-sided than most of Neo-Paganism. The result of these factors are those who honestly think Nature is all "light and love." These are definitely not ill-intentioned people, but they are living in a sugar-coated fantasy. The New Age community, as well as some forms of the Goddess revival movement, has contributed to the obvious super-emphasis on the mother aspect of the Goddess. Again we have those who prefer to bask in the light of an all-giving, all-loving entity while denying Her shadow side, which is no less valuable. Yet, even when the names of darker forms of the Goddess are mentioned, Their power is often downplayed or Their true characters are grossly misrepresented as kind and beneficent (classic sloppy Pagan scholarship at work). Darkness can be cruel and savage just as light can be harsh and exhausting. The vices of obsession with the dark side have been well documented, and I shall not repeat them here, but what about the vices of obsession with the light side? From my experience, this results in gullibility, a dearth of depth and substance, paranoia, and a major lack of understanding of an integral part of all life. Not to mention it results in some very annoying people and immensely overpriced crystals! There is no debate that such things as evil and harmful energies exist, but these things do not belong only to darkness. Evil can be committed in broad daylight as under the cloak of night. The tragedy at Columbine happened during the day, as did the Oklahoma City bombing, the occurrences of September 11th, as well as many other horrendous acts. It is interesting to note that Lucifer actually means "light-bringer." Suggesting that evil is the sole province of darkness is as ridiculous as stating that criminal behavior is the sole province of a particular ethnic or age group. Good and evil exist independently of the number of present visible wavelengths, or lack thereof. Death, night, destruction, chaos: all of these are necessary parts of life, and wonderful in their own right. The ancients did not worship Deities like Kali Ma, Hecate, Hades, Set, and others for no reason. They knew that volcanic explosions, floods, storms, and earthquakes (all of those things we consider 'Acts of God' today) really were acts of God. These occurrences are as much a part of nature as birth and growth - not acts the Divine uses to punish humanity, or as flukes that unexplainably disturb the normally peaceful course of nature. They are awe-inspiring, and deserving of respect and honor. Above all, darkness is mystery. It is the shaded and shadowy regions that cannot be discerned by a superficial evaluation alone. You must plunge into the depths and explore them personally for them to yield any of their secrets. Sometimes, once we have exited, we find that even though we experienced the dark for ourselves, we cannot properly articulate it to others, for even then it retains its mystery. Things can be further complicated by the fact that darkness is different for everyone, it speaks uniquely to each person. There are a growing number of Wiccans and other Pagans who are discovering the solace that can be found in darkness. If Paganism is the individual's kingdom, a country that beckoned to them as their home, then darkness is their personal place of sanctuary and primary residence, their own secluded cave or grove within their country. These are the Pagans who have reclaimed darkness. What then does dark Paganism imply for the individual? Firstly, being a Dark Pagan does not require one to be Gothic (this term is mainly used in reference to fashion sense and musical taste, in the stereotypical respect). I personally have a fondness for the Gothic aesthetic, but such an appreciation is hardly a pre-requisite. If anything, Dark Paganism implies that beauty can be found throughout the entire landscape of our existence. This receptiveness to beauty is not limited to only the places bathed in sunlight or familiarity, but extends to those deeper, uncharted places that modern society would deny the title of beauty to. There is a haunting beauty in things like solitude, silence, introspection, night, melancholy, winter, sorrow, and even suffering. Everything in moderation, of course, but the beauty is still there. Just imagine the ruins of a cathedral bathed mysteriously in the light of the waning moon, the webs of spiders flowing gracefully in the wind, the stark presence of bare trees, a somber graveyard embraced by luminous mists: peaceful and full of history, the sonorous sound of a cello playing an achingly beautiful melody, the stars etched into the velvety black concave of the sky, the hooting of an owl or the call of a crow in the distance: all deserve the label "beautiful" just as one might describe a bright spring morning as such, and the list is endless. Dark Pagans can perceive beauty in something even past its prime. They can see beyond the bursting flowers, anorexic super-models, and tropical beach scenes. Their view of the God is not limited to a muscular man with antlers and a loincloth, nor is the Goddess limited to a busty blond woman decked in daises. While Dark Pagans may have a preference towards things of a less brighter nature (much as others prefer certain types of music or art), they are not blind to the beauty on the other side of the spectrum. To refuse to see beauty that is present in lighter things would make them as ignorant as some of the Fluffy Bunnies, who cannot see the beauty and value in the dark. This is not a call for everyone to become "dark" Pagans, but for some, it is home and understanding. What this is a call for is for us, as a whole Pagan community, to re-evaluate some of our false connections with darkness, and restore some of that balance we pride ourselves on. Suggested Dark Archetypes for Contemplation Goddesses: Arachne, Sekhmet, Hecate, Persephone/Posperpina, Meretseger, Artemis/Diana, The Morrigan, Isis, Nut, Kali Ma, Durga, Athene/Minerva, Nephthys, Selket, Spider Woman, Ammitt, Pele, Skadi, Hel

Enlightenment At Home Many spiritual seekers feel called to far-flung places across the globe in the interest of pursuing the path of their enlightenment. This may be the right course of action for certain people, but it is by no means necessary to attain an enlightened consciousness. Enlightenment can take root anywhere on earth as long as the seeker is an open and ready vessel for higher consciousness. All we need is a powerful intention and a willingness to do the work necessary to move forward on our path. In terms of spiritual practice, at this moment there are more tools available to more people than at any other time in history. We have access to so much wisdom through the vehicles of books, magazines, the Internet, television, and film. In addition, the time-honored practice of meditation is free, and sitting quietly every day, listening to the universe, is a great way to start the journey within. There is further inspiration in the fact that the greatest teachers we have are our own life experiences, and they come to us every day with new lessons and new opportunities to learn. If we look at the people around us, we may realize that we have a spiritual community already intact. If we don’t, we can find one, if not in our own neighborhood then online. Meanwhile, if we feel called to travel in search of teachers and experiences, then by all means we should. But if we can’t go to India, or Burma, or Indonesia, or if we don’t have the desire, this is not an obstacle in terms of our spiritual development. In fact, we may simply be aware that our time and energy is best spent in our own homes with our meditation practice and all the complications and joys of our own lives. We can confidently stay in one place, knowing that everything we need to attain enlightenment is always available right where we are.
*A*lways stir in a clockwise motion *B*efore you chop veggies, offer thanks *C*ut mindfully, gratefully *D*o all preparations in a loving spirit *E*nergize food with good thoughts *F*east gratefully *G*ive and share what you can spare *H*ome and hearth are sacred *I*nvoke blessings of God and Goddess on all food *J*oin hands with friends often *K*indness shows in serving food *L*ove goes into every dish *M*indfully gather ingredients *N*o wasting - recycle, compost, feed animals *O*pen your senses, enjoy your surroundings *P*lay as well as work *Q*uench thirst, thinking of clear clean rivers *R*esolve to be grateful and waste not *S*alivate as you smell fragrance and anticipate flavors *T*hank the Universe and God & Goddess for health *U*se utensils carefully, then clean up *V*alue time spent with loved ones *W*hen possible grow and harvest your food *X*tra food is for creative recombining *Y*early rituals and feasts build traditions *Z*estful living in every area is our goal.
You know you are a aging witch when... The ritual feast is puréed. Last Beltaine the coven decided it would be nice to go out to dinner to celebrate. The last time you tried to do a spiral dance your oxygen feeds got tangled. Viagra is kept in the coven supplies. The maiden of the coven is a grandmother. The ritual room is outfitted with defibrillators. The coveners drive their RV's to Scottsdale for Mabon. When you are at a festival you go to bed at sunset. It takes the whole coven to move the cauldron. The high priest still has a vendetta going against Richard Nixon. You find yourself using your pendulum over the stock pages in the newspaper. You tell an initiate that in your day you had to slog through 5' of snow uphill both ways when you did a Yule ritual. You drop your teeth in the ritual cup. At Samhain you see more of your coveners in the Wild Hunt than you do in circle. You put your athame in the chalice during ritual but you can't remember why. You hold an all night blow-out drum frenzy and none of your neighbors Noticed. You use Glenn Miller records for trance music. All of your ritual robes are tie-dyed. Your coven has a 401(k) retirement plan. A nitro pill vial replaces the crystal on your pendant. No one has successfully jumped the Beltaine fire since 1983. You set comfy chairs around the circle. You sit on the floor and can't get up again. You do anointings with Aspercreme. The oak tree your coven planted died of old age. You use Bran Muffins and Prune Juice for Cakes & Ale because you need the fiber. You don't use salt to consecrate you altar because you need to stay away from extra sodium. You use a walker during the Wild Hunt. You prefer to rent a Hall for rituals because the bathrooms are closer. You need a flashlight to find the candles.
Casting spells and wearing pentacles? No. It's deeper than that, more powerful, more revolutionary. It's The Goddess. Witchcraft is one of the many religions that recognizes divinity in feminine as well as masculine form. Witches are not monotheistic; they do not believe there is only one god who lives somewhere upstairs. To witches, divinity is multiple: God and Goddess. God in the sky, Goddess in the running water; God in the stag of the forest, Goddess in the birds of the air. Witches find divinity everywhere. In creating rituals and art and spells and poems, Withes draw from the great reservoir of human wisdom called mythology. For untold generations, people have created stores that describe how they perceive the Goddess. There are innumerable Goddesses, so many they cannot be counted. Goddesses of the sky and sun, of the moon and stars; Goddesses of the rivers and the ocean; Goddesses of birth, death, love, war; Goddesses of the doorstep and the harvest and the spinning wheel. So naturally there are Goddesses of magic, for magic is one of the most ancient spiritual tools of the human race. Here is a short primer of Witch-Goddesses from various lands. You can use their names, their emblems, their stories in your own witchcraft. But don't stop here for there are many more: Goddesses who are shape shifters, shamans, prophets, midwives, healers, herbalists - all specialists in arts that the witch might practice. Witchy Goddesses: Adsagsona: Continental Celtic Goddess (from France or Germany), called "the weaver of spells." In Celtic lands, words were power; finding the right words was a magical act. Arianrhod: Welsh Goddess whose=name means "silver wheel" and who lived on a magical island, either in the sky or in the ocean, where she was served by innumerable maidens. Carman: Powerful Irish witch who could destroy anything she chose by chanting secret spells. Cerridwen: Welsh Goddess who could brew magic in her cauldron and knew the secrets of all plants. She was also a shape shifter, able to change her form at will. Circe: One of the most famous mythic witches, the Greek Circe ("circle") lived on a magical floating island in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by wild animals - Lions and wolves and bears - who did her bidding. With magical herbal mixtures, she was able to turn people into animals when they deserved it. Dahut: this passionate magician-princess lived in Brittany, the westernmost part of France. She built the worlds most beautiful city, the crystal -walled Y''s, with the help of the fairies of the sea - the Korrigans. Hecate: Famous Greek Goddess of witches, she was worshipped a the dark of the moon at places where three roads met, for it was said she was the only being in the world who could look three ways at once because she had three heads: Serpent, horse, and dog. In her honor, "Hecate suppers" were held, when her followers would feast together and share their witchy knowledge. After dinner, they left the remnants of their food outdoors as offering to the hounds that accompanied their Goddess on her night journeys. Heith: The Scandinavian witch or shaman specialized in casting spells what were subtle that no one knew she had spoken at all - although the thoughts she desired her targets to think appeared magically in their minds. Hekt: This Egyptian frog- Goddess ruled not only human magic but that of the earth as well, especially the magical transformation of seeds into plants. Louhi: A fierce, canny Finnish Goddess, she was so powerful she was able to steal the sun away from the sky, and hide it in her house at north farm. She owned the sampo, a magical tool that created abundance, which was stolen from her by a Finnish hero. Marinette: Among the followers of Haitian Voudoun, Marinette is the spirit of sorcery, causing her followers to wave their arms like owls and screech. She haunts the woodland at night in the form of an owl. Medea; Great Enchantress of Greek myth, Medea, was able to create dangerous potions that could either bring love, sleep, or death. She was able to fly through the air in a dragon-powered chariot. She had several human husbands, none of whom were faithful to her, so she eventually transformed herself into the Goddess of snakes. Meroe: She was a witch of Greek legend who could bring the sky down to ceiling height, turn people into beavers and teleport wherever she wished to go. Morgan le Fay: In the legends of Britain and Wales, this is the name of a great witch who had the blood of fairies in her veins. She was a student, perhaps the lover, of the great magician Merlin. Nimue: This is the Welsh name for the mysterious sorceress called, in legends of King Arthur and Camelot, the Lady of the Lake. That lake protected her magical world, Avalon, from human sight. There she lived in perpetual summer in a land where there was only beauty. Pamphile: A legendary Greek witch, Pamphile could change her shape into anything she desired, merely by anointing herself with an ointment she made from special secret herbs. To return to human form, she bathed in water in which bay leaf and anise were steeped. Thorgerd: A Scandinavian woman, she was so powerful at sorcery that she became a Goddess when she died. One of her skills was divination - using magickal tools to see the future. Viviane: This Welsh witch was one of the lovers of the great magician Merlin, and was the only one of his students who became more powerful than he. She entrapped Merlin in a tree where he still sleeps today. Yaoji: A Chinese Goddess of sorcery she reveals her closely guarded secrets to us in dreams. There are other Goddesses that witches honor. Some look for Goddesses that represent their ethnic heritage; other for Goddesses that rule a certain area of life, such as love or money. There is no one right way to honor these Goddesses, but rather many different rituals and chants that call them into our lives. Some claim, in fact, that Goddesses are really parts of each woman, and the rituals of witchcraft allow that part to manifest itself. Whether to the Goddess is within us or without, she is real, and waiting to come to the side of any Witch who calls on her… Brightest Blessings, In Love and Light, may your path be true unto yourself! Blessed Be.
A PRAISE TO GREEN TARA Here is the Green Tara, Towering above the trees, Looking upon us here on Earth, To see how we are doing. Her beautiful eyes are open, The eyes in her head are three, And one of them in her forehead. Her hands sweep from side to side In a graceful rhythm... The eye in each hand, looking over; Over the actions and beauty Of the world and the peoples in it. Her strong, graceful feet walk on, Each having an eye in it to see, Each sensing and knowing all things. Green Tara, beautiful green, lovely one, Queen of Nature. Green Tara, protect us and show us The way toward the Light, To feel our Light Within, O Mother. Green as the trees are, Green as the grasses Green as some of the animals Sparkling, clean green as in waters. Listen to us, O Mother, As we praise you. Enlighten us. We look at you in awe, Marveling at your grace And the depth of your compassion. Protect our Earth, Help us To protect the resources here. Protect us all from evil beings. Help us be kind and caring And protect the innocents, As you do, Gracious Mother. Help us with our healings, Adding your energies. Grant us your happy laughter, Let us rejoice at what we have And make better what we can, Appreciating the Earth's bounty. We feel joy at your approach. Bless us, Green Mother. © Copyright 10/2/05 Written and Submitted by Beth Clare Johnson (Mystic Amazon)
Greetings to the natural world The People Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People. Now our minds are one. The Earth Mother We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send greetings and thanks. Now our minds are one. The Waters We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms - waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of water. Now our minds are one. The Fish We turn our minds to all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the Fish and send our greetings and thanks. Now our minds are one. The Plants Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come. Now our minds are one. The Food Plants With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting and thanks. Now our minds are one. The Medicine Herbs Now we turn to all the Medicine herbs of the world. From the beginning, they were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines. Now our minds are one. The Animals We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so. Now our minds are one. The Trees We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many peoples of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life. Now our minds are one. The Birds We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds - from the smallest to the largest - we send our joyful greetings and thanks. Now our minds are one. The Four Winds We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds. Now our minds are one. The Thunderers Now we turn to the west where our Grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers. Now our minds are one. The Sun We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun. Now our minds are one. Grandmother Moon We put our minds together and give thanks to our oldest grandmother, the Moon, who lights the night-time sky. She is the leader of women all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon. Now our minds are one. The Stars We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to all the Stars. Now our minds are one. The Enlightened Teachers We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring Teachers. Now our minds are one. The Creator Now we turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator. Now our minds are one. Closing Words We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way. Now our minds are one.
O Great Spirit, who art before all else and who dwells in every object, in every person and in every place, we cry unto Thee. We summon Thee from the far places into our present awareness. O Great Spirit of the North, who gives wings to the waters of the air and rolls the thick snowstorm before Thee, Who covers the Earth with a sparkling crystal carpet above whose deep tranquillity every sound is beautiful. Temper us with strength to withstand the biting blizzards, yet make us thankful for the beauty which follows and lies deep over the warm Earth in its wake. O Great Spirit of the East, the land of the rising Sun, Who holds in Your right hand the years of our lives and in Your left the opportunities of each day. Brace us that we may not neglect our gifts nor lose in laziness the hopes of each day and the hopes of each year. O Great Spirit of the South, whose warm breath of compassion melts the ice that gathers round our hearts, whose fragrance speaks of distant springs and summer days, dissolve our fears, melt our hatreds, kindle our love into flames of true and living realities. Teach us that he who is truly strong is also kind, he who is wise tempers justice with mercy, he who is truly brave matches courage with compassion. O Great Spirit of the West, the land of the setting Sun, with Your soaring mountains and free, wide rolling prairies, bless us with knowledge of the peace which follows purity of striving and the freedom which follows like a flowing robe in the winds of a well-disciplined life. Teach us that the end is better than the beginning and that the setting sun glorifies not in vain. O Great Spirit of the heavens, in the day's infinite blue and amid the countless stars of the night season, remind us that you are vast, that you are beautiful and majestic beyond all of our knowing or telling, but also that you are no further from us than the tilting upwards of our heads and the raising of our eyes. O Great Spirit of Mother Earth beneath our feet, Master of metals, Germinator of seeds and the Storer of the Earth's unreckoned resources, help us to give thanks unceasingly for Your present bounty. O Great Spirit of our souls, burning in our heart's yearning and in our innermost aspirations, speak to us now and always so that we may be aware of the greatness and goodness of Your gift of life and be worthy of this priceless privilege of living.
You Might Be Giving Pagans A Bad Name If... You insist that your boss call you "Rowan Starchild" because otherwise you'd sue for religious harassment. (Score double for this if you don't let that patronizing bastard call you "Mr. or Ms. Starchild.") You've ever confused the Prime Directive with the Wiccan Rede. You've ever cast a spell with twenty-sided dice. You said it was bigotry when they didn't let you do that ritual in front of city hall. It had nothing to do with the skyclad bit. You picketed The Craft and Hocus Pocus, but thought that the losers who picketed The Last Temptation of Christ needed to get lives. You've ever publicly claimed to be an elf, alien, vampire, faerie, or demigod, and been genuinely surprised when not everyone took you seriously. You've ever publicly claimed to be the reincarnation of Gardner, Merlin, Aleister Crowley, King Arthur, Cleopatra, Morgana Le Fay, or Jim Henson, and been genuinely surprised when not everyone took you seriously. You've suddenly realized in the middle of a ritual that you weren't playing D&D. You've failed to realize at any point in the ritual that you weren't playing D&D. You've suddenly realized that you are playing D&D. Your Book of Shadows is a rulebook for Vampire: The Masquerade with notes in the margins. You've ever effected an Irish or Scottish accent and insisted that it was real. You talk to your invisible guardians in public. (Score double if you save places for them in crowded restaurants)(Score triple if you admit to having sex with them) You've ever claimed to have met the Vampire Lestat or Dracula. (Score double if you got into a fight and escaped)(Score triple if it was no contest) You own a ceremonial bong. You've ever tried something you saw on Sabrina, The Teenage Witch You've ever had to go along with someone's ludicrous story because it was twice as likely to be true than most of the crap you spout. You expect your employer to exempt you from the random drug testing because of your religion. You've won an argument by referencing Drawing Down the Moon, knowing damn good and well they haven't read it either. You've ever referenced the Great Rite in a pick-up line. Someone has had to point out to you that you do not enter a circle "in perfect love and perfect lust." (Score double if you argued the point.) You claim to be a famtrad (hereditary) , but you're not. (Score double if you had to tell people you were adopted to pull this off.) You claim to be a descendant of one of the original Salem Witches. (Score to a lethal degree if you don't get this one.) Someone once lost their boat delivering your ritual incense from Mexico. You've ever used tongue delivering the fivefold kiss. (score double if you did it more than once.) You've ever used reincarnation as the intro for a pick up line. (You may deduct this point if it worked.) You think it's perfectly reasonable to insist that, since every tradition is different, and no one tradition is right, there's no reason not to do things your way. You request Samhain, Beltaine, and Yule off and then bitch about working Christmas. The thing that drew you to the Craft was the potential to dance with naked members of the opposite sex. You strip in a club like the one in Porky's under your craft name, and consider it highly appropriate. You've ever been psychically attacked by someone who conveniently held a coven position you crave, and suddenly had a glimpse into their mind so you could see how evil they were. You've ever achieved position or influence in a coven by sleeping with half of it. You claim yourself as a witch because how early you were trained by the wise and powerful such-and-such. Of whom nobody has heard. You complain about how much the Native Americans copied from Eclectic Wiccan Rites. You're not a hereditary witch but you have a good disposition to it because your ancestors (the ones before your German parents) were Native American or Irish. You don't know the difference between Irish and Scottish, and you alternately claim to be both. You think it's your Pagan Duty to support the IRA, not because of any political beliefs you might share, but because, damn it, they're IRISH. You think the number of Wiccan books you own is far more important than the number you have read, regardless of the fact that most of your books are for beginners. You hang out with people who each match at least fifteen of these traits. You recognize many of these traits in yourself, but this test isn't about you. But, boy, it's right about those other folks.
Powers of the Ancient Ways, In this place far from my home and my family, I honor you and call upon you. Powers of Earth, Strengthen my physical body and the bodies of my peers and commanders. Powers of Air, Keep me vigilant at my post, My mind clear and sharp. Powers of Fire, Give me courage, Even when my duty is hard or bitter. Powers of Water, Grant me restful slumber and good dreams after a long duty day. Powers of Spirit, Balance me in honor, nobility, and spiritual purpose. Powers of Goddess & God & Their Unity, Be with me & around me, bless me & protect me as I carry out my mission. So Mote It Be.
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