The new Dick Blick

The new Dick Blick store in Portland opened this past week and so we went on a field trip to check it out!

I didn’t even look at half the store as we had the two girls with us and a friend and I was so overwhelmed. I ended up getting those things that I really “needed” which were pencils, a couple pens,  paper and tempera paint for the girls.

Melody is so into peacocks and they had a lot of peacock  things so she got a few including one on her face! They also had free cotton candy. It was like a wonderland of fun for Melody and Willow because they have so many cool art supplies grouped by color plus we were in the city and then they got free goodies! I tried to explain that it’s not like that all the time it’s just a special grand opening thing they were doing.

C is for circle and coven

A coven is a group or circle as I call it of witches that meet to honor the deities and celebrate the turning of the wheel together. In general terms they meet for the 8 holidays and 13 full moons a year but also may meet at other times too. Many covens keep a limit on the number of witches that are in the group and it’s usually 13. I have been in a group as large as 13 and as small as 2 and it’s very different the bigger the group gets.

Covens and circles are usually by invitation only and have a 3-degree system of ranking if you will. I was in a coven for three years and went through second-degree initiation and did all the requirements including papers and tests beforehand! When starting my own group in the tradition I was from in 2001,  I set it up exactly the same. After a few years of people coming and going and then realizing that there was too much paperwork from classes and attendance, I changed the coven structure a little bit. I looked into why we do the things we do. This led me to my belief that what is important is the relationship between the people in the group and how they are getting along and forming friendships in a circle with love and trust. I didn’t feel the need for degrees and a strict heirarchy that some groups have that technically makes me a high priestess but I prefer the term “leader” as I don’t think of myself as above everyone else in the group. So we don’t do the set rules, initiations with degrees and that kind of thing. We do celebrate rites of passage in each others lives including births, deaths, members leaving or special blessings if someone has reached a certain point or achievement. The circle is in effect a group of people who like to honor the pagan gods and goddesses together and work on furthering their abilities together rather than solitary.

I am a solitary person and don’t fit what would be the typical coven member I don’t think. From when I was first in a coven in college I realized that I got a lot out of my spiritual experience by being able to share with others and to talk about things and celebrate those things that we all have in common with each other. If I have set times scheduled for things then I am going to participate rather than let it pass. Covens used to be more sparse especially in some areas of the country but now it seems you can find covens or circles in every town. The West Coast is very pagan friendly in my opinion and so it’s sometimes easy to find others of a like mind. Our circle meets for the 9 holidays we celebrate plus every Sunday and sometimes a field trip somewhere. A circle has no beginning and is never ending and even if there are two people or 13 together in a circle it is still a sacred thing.

B is for

I don’t know if I am supposed to be on the letter “b” or the letter “c” this week.  My “b” word is beauty. I was told once that the way that I see beauty in nature comes through in my photos. This also relates to my appreciation of nature and honoring all spirits which is part of my faith.

A is for athame

I decided to motivate myself to write more I would try the Pagan Blog Project which is to use different letters of the alphabet as a prompt and write about them.

So of course the letter A is first. A is for athame which I don’t use. It is a witch’s knife with a double edged blade for directing energy while casting a circle and the like. Initially when I was 16 and found that I was indeed a witch I wanted to have all the tools. Included in these tools is the knife or the athame which is used as an extension of your hand to cast energy into something. I used one for a couple of years and engraved the handle of my athame as well. People find knives scary and I realized that there wasn’t a reason for me to use one. I could use my hands and use a wand instead. Even if you make the end rounded a bit it still can be dangerous if it’s not properly sheathed. You never use an athame to actually cut things with other than unseen energy. I love wands and have since used wands for casting a circle or I use my hands. It can symbolize the male energy and is the sword in the stone and it is the representation, when it’s in the cauldron or cup of male and female energy together.

I like to make my own wands too and put my energy into them which I will share when we get to the letter W maybe. 🙂

Winter is hard

Winter is cold and in some places dreary and even painful. How we react and deal with the Winter on a daily basis forms our opinions about it though.

There are some positive things about the season as it’s the time of the solstice when we gather with friends and family and there are different animals that are not present and others that journey toward us at this time. There is time for introspection, reading, talking with friends and family and visiting neighbors, making things indoors like quilts to keep us warm or knitting mittens.

Weeds and plants that were annuals we tried out that may or may not have done well are gone. They are frozen in some cases to the ground and have lived their cycle. In the spring when the earth wakes up again there will be space and nurturing elements for all that we have dreamed up in the Wintertime. I have been looking at my seed order and am ready to place it so I have those to look forward to.

Today there are 68 days left until the Spring Equinox when the earth is awake and flourishing giving life to all. Until then we still have time to dream, make plans and enjoy the stillness.

If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up. -J.M. Power

La Befana visits

We have a Christmas time tradition on Twelfth Night (give or take) and celebrate the last night of the season. La Befana, the Christmas Witch from Italy comes to give little gifts to the children. We always eat Italian on that night even though we have 0.0 percent Italian on either side of either family. My husband was stationed in the Navy in Naples and he learned about her while living there. I thought she sounded great and she either leaves gifts or comes to the door or comes inside to deliver them every year. We also have  fire in the fireplace and roast smores with our circle, tell stories and think about the year to come.

This year she looked a little different like she is maybe more Muslim and also wasn’t getting around very well and it took her a long time to hobble off. 🙂