Tag Archives: Witches

Happy, Happy. Wait. What?

Imbolc.

Ah, Imbolc.

I love it. I loathe it.

This is where we start to notice the first signs of spring. The earth begins to stir. Awakening. The crone sheds her robes for those of the maiden, and all of nature shows the promise of new life and rebirth.

I celebrate Imbolc on the 2nd February, not all witches share this date, some will celebrate on the first, some on the closest full moon – which, this year, is on the 3rd.

In our house, we share Imbolc with my eldest sons birthday. Plenty of festivities revolving around him, the family, and lots of cake!

I do always set aside a little time for my own personal ritual, sometimes one that is shared with friends, but mostly it’s my own.

For me, Imbolc begins the week before. I have a huge spring clean: I open all of the windows, regardless of the weather, I scrub and polish and sweep and mop. Once the physical act of cleaning is done, I will then cleanse the house. I sweep again, usually with my besom, I polish the light bulbs with lemon juice, I drum, and finally I go through each room with some healing, before closing all the windows again.

I will also spend time out in the garden.This is the time of year that I will potter around the garden, get some general tidying up done, and make a list of things I will need to do. This year, I’ve made my list early! Plans are afoot for a mosaic path, seeds have been purchased for ground cover; Thyme, Lobelia, Allyssum, and Chamomile. I can already see the signs of growth and new life showing. My roses are budding, the catkins on my hazel are gently nosing their way out, the crocus plants are pushing through! Even the birds are becoming more vocal.

By the time the day arrives, I will be buzzing with anticipation. Jakes birthday always rushes by in a haze. After the crazy, and the cake, I usually find myself lighting the candles, enjoying the moment, meditating, and relaxing into the flow of my ritual.

And then…

Boom! Snow, and frost, and ice, and cold, and the misery of wet socks!

I hate this time of year!

I am a complete grouch.

I am the bitch with the attitude of the wicked witch of the west – hell, I’m the wicked witch of everywhere…

Because I’m cold, I’m fed up, I grow weary of this wintery hell.

Woe. Woe. Woe. What is it with this holiday?

Hubby will, of course, be grinning at this point, he knows what’s about to happen. He has seen me getting excited about Imbolc, year upon year. We will have planned the birthday. He’ll watch me chase around and make lists, and delve into my house cleaning frenzy.

He also knows what will happen next: I’ll get my wellies on, my big coat, gloves, hat, etc, I’ll run outside with the dogs and enjoy the crisp air on my face, I’ll laugh at the dogs as they jump around like lambs, and I’ll go check the jobs on my list, surveying the situation. I might even at this point begin with clearing the ground. Then I’ll stand in the middle of the lawn and begin to cry. It’s true. Every damn year. It’s not a real “I’m so sad” cry. It’s frustration. My wellies aren’t keeping my feet warm, my coat is too bulky, my hands are useless in the gloves and my hat is, well actually, my hat is fine. I will then slam back indoors, crank up the heating and throw myself onto the sofa. Every year.

candle flame

Can I be different this year? I’ll let you know.

For now, whenever and however you celebrate Imbolc, I do wish you a happy one, and hope that the holiday brings you much light and warmth.

(Just please let it be soon!)


Changes

The winds of change are blustering at the moment here in Michelle-Land.

I got in a little time with my writing buddy last week, and the project that we are working on has come to the glorious point of the beginning! It’s taken us a long time to get here, with world building, creating our characters, and plotting the three books, but I’m pleased to say that the time has arrived!

It sometimes feels strange to write with someone else. I am so used to sitting and contemplating, then scribbling notes and sometimes just allowing myself to type as a stream of consciousness, that when we get together, I forget that another person is involved in all the ideas, the creation, and the work. Also, as we can’t get together very often, it feels as though we spend most of the time recapping, sharing new ideas and (ahem) finding pretty pictures on Pinterest. Still, it’s coming along nicely, and I can now begin writing the sub-plot which includes one of the villains. Yay.

As far as Wytch goes, I haven’t written a single word since NaNo. Bad, bad, bad. As I have said, I lost my way a little.

Things change.

Yesterday, as I sat in the garden chatting with my hubby, a gust of wind sent a bluster of leaves down the side of the house and up into the air, to land in a whirl on our patio. It was beautiful to see, this merry little dance. Instantly, I smelled the rain that followed the gust, and a few of the local crows flew across the sky to the rooftops behind our house. This small event, that took place in a matter of seconds, seemed to reawaken the wytch in me, and I suddenly had answers. I was shown the direction I needed to go. Good old Crow. Simple things can grab our attention, small gestures can spark a fire within us, and sometimes if you listen, the winds of change bring inspiration your way.

I’m off to write now, because I finally know what comes next.

Happy writing. x

 


My NaNo Week

It’s been a fairly productive week for me and Wytch. I’ve managed my personal goal of 20,000 words, and so far (fingers crossed) things are running smoothly.

 

 

I wrote my first 7000 or so on the Friday night, after all the celebrations of Samhain, and with NaNo kicking off at midnight, I thought what the hell. I sat up very late (or should that be very early?)

On Saturday (kick off day) I got myself into Town to the pub to meet with other NaNoers from my region. I didn’t stay long, as although they all seemed like a nice crowd, they obviously knew each other from previous years. With my previous late night and plans already for that afternoon and evening, I don’t think I was in the most sociable of moods. I won’t be going for the second meet-up, but may go along for the third – as long as I’ve had some decent sleep!

By Monday I had focus and determination gnawing at me. It was great! I’ve been very surprised with how much motivation this has given me. The pep talks are quite interesting, especially if you’re new to NaNo.

One thing I did learn about this little online club, is all the wonderful people – I’ve got some great buddies and we are messaging each other with words of encouragement and lots of cheer leading  as we all plod on with achieving our word target.

So far, it’s an interesting journey. One of self discovery as well. I never used to plan much with my writing. I enjoyed the act of sitting down with a notebook and free writing, which I would then type up and edit as I went. However, not much got to the finish line. I then took a great leap faith and decided to co-author a project. a great big project I might add, that has been some time in the making, and is not any where near completion yet, but that’s ok, because it’s a  lot of fun 🙂

My writing partner is a planner. Everything needs to be thoroughly plotted, planned, researched and organised. This is great too.

It’s what I started to do with Wytch. But, I recently discovered, something that just doesn’t work for me on my own. Over the last year or so, I’ve written more than I ever have done, I’ve completed lots of short stories! I have done so because, while I plotted and planned a little, I also allowed myself to sit and free write. I allowed the characters to tell me which way they wanted to go. And with Wytch, this has worked. Yes, I planned and plotted, I also ended up scrapping a lot of the material I had done. So when, at the stroke of midnight on the first of November rang out, I sat and I simply wrote. Things change. Writing is a fluid art form, ever changing.

This week I learned that my King is not happy with how much weight he’s recently put on. That my cross dressing prince is actually gay. That my guardians can only tell the truth, and that the Raptures are hiding because they’re scared.

Also, the Wytches are darker than I had first intended them to be. Which has been a happy discovery. I didn’t want to have a story that was as simple as magic vs mundane. I needed it to be more of an exploration between the good and bad personality traits of everyone, whilst not letting that exploration eclipse the theme of book.

Anyway, my Quene is about to be exiled, so I really should push on. Happy Writing 🙂


Which Witch Blog-Hop 2

Today marks the final day for the Which Witch blog hop. Up until now, I haven’t really had time to post anything. Leaving it until the last minute has always been my forte!

It’s the 31st. Yay. Halloween, or as we call it – Samhain.

Where the veil between the worlds is thin and we can commune with our ancestors, and light their path. We can make mischief too, or protect our homes from others who want to make mischief – Mash potato on the gate posts ward away the malevolent spirits, yes, I said mashed potato!

It’s been fun trying out a blog-hop, but something that I probably won’t do again on my own. Sure, I’ll take part in them, as I have discovered some new blogs which I may not have otherwise stumbled across, but it was a tad tricksy trying to figure it all out. I’ll leave it up to the pro’s from now on.

I do want to say thank you to all of you who took part, your posts were very informative and creative.

While I learned that the word “wicca” wasn’t actually coined by Gerald Gardener himself (it was Doreen Valiente, who was one of his initiates), I mostly learned that it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves. Most people now are familiar with Paganism and we are no longer persecuted for our faith – in the mainstream that is. Also, there are more people out there who follow a Pagan path without actually knowing it.

As for which witch is which? As long as it harms none, it really doesn’t matter.

Here are the bloggers who participated, with a post or two:

Steampooka 

The Wayfaring Otter 

Not Quite Wicked

Rose Laden Magdalene 

Notes Tied on the Sage Brush 

When my Brain Farts

Thanks again guys – You’re all great. And, I hope I didn’t mis anyone off – Let me know in the comments if I did, and I’ll add you. x

 


Which Witch Blog Hop

I’m absolutely thrilled that there has been a response to the blog hop. It’s the first one I’ve tried to organise and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right! So here are a couple of links of those who have so far taken part, I would love it if you would take a moment to read them and maybe comment too. I know time is precious, and the blogs keep us all busy in our already busy lives, but I think they are worth reading as I’ve discovered some things about other people that helps me with my own belief. Which, in itself, makes me a happy bunny!

Here they are:

The Rose Laden Magdalene

The Wayfaring Otter

Steampooka

However, with the deadline for this part of the hop not until the 17th of October, please do check my page “Blog Hop” as I will add more posts from others as and when they appear. They are all titled Which Witch Blog Hop, and will all be tagged as such too.

Now, for my own Which Witch.

Which Witch Badge

I was twelve years old when I found my way into witchcraft. It was 1984.

That’s 31 years. I have been a Pagan witch for nearly thirty of them, having settled on the craft as my spiritual home easily and quite quickly.

During those years, I have danced a little with spiritualism, I’ve gone to church, I’ve visited temples of one form or another. I like to learn what others believe in. I like to be informed. During those times, I have also had my faith tested and I’ve turned from it, especially during dark times. Those times when you need your faith even more.

I always found my way back. My way home. Back to the old path. I call it the old path, as you’ve probably heard others call it, because to me, it is an ancient belief system. Stretching back through time and space from the Shamans. Native Americans, Inca, Egyptians, of course, the Vikings, and more recently Wicca.

It is the word Wicca. The whole reason for me doing this blog hop. Can you be a Wiccan if you weren’t initiated into the craft by a coven?

The simple answer is of course No. Wicca is a word created by a man, Gerald Gardner in the 1950’s, which is derived from *wica and *wice. The male and female for witch. Basically, he took the word wica, added another c and developed a religion.

*words that seem to be lacking in definition over the years, I seem to recall them being of Anglo-Saxon origin.

So, in actual fact unless you have been initiated into the craft of Wicca, you can’t really call yourself a Wiccan, can you!

Gardner says he was initiated in 1939 by the New Forest Coven. however, there is no concrete proof of this, and as he was already involved in his own studies in the old religion previous to this year, I feel there are too many holes in the story. Some of the history is lacking. However, according to GG, a true Wiccan (remember it’s his word) can only be so if they are initiated into the craft, his craft, by a coven member and to his rules.

His rules for Wicca, are quite simple. Everything is secret unless you are accepted into the fold. His fold. His way. Personally, I think the man was a pervert.

Sorry. Just an opinion.

If I want to learn about the secrets of the earth, the universe, life, death, and rebirth, I’m going to try my hardest to seek the answers. However, I don’t feel it necessary to strip myself naked, shag some bloke, play with my faeces, don a hood and chant in Latin. These are initiations deemed worthy by GG to enter into the club.

Don’t get me wrong, this is history, history that changed witchcraft and the opinions regarding this beautiful religion. Gardner’s Wicca went mainstream, it spread like wildfire throughout England and America, and introduced so many people to the faith and helped so many people. He took something that was hidden and secret that would have quite possibly remained that way. He gave it a new name, devoted his life work to it, and taught others so that they may teach others.

I just think he went about it the wrong way. Whilst allowing the world to learn and understand, and finally accept, this old world religion, he created a divide. A divide among witches.

While the Wiccan is only allowed to be used by those chosen few, you can still call yourself a Wician.

Yeah! Let’s be pedantic.

Let’s be that bloody minded. If you say you’re Wiccan, yet haven’t been initiated into Gardner’s club, then others will say you’re wrong, that you’re not a true witch. Really. There isn’t enough trouble through religions across the globe on a daily basis, of one extreme or another, are we really going to be that pedantic? Are we?

With all the confusion around Paganism already, there has to be fighting within the circle as well?

Here it is simplified:

Paganism is an earth based religion. It is old. Ancient. It is within, and at the very root of All religions. It can be followed back, depending on the branch within Paganism, to the Shaman. It can be traced back throughout the world in all its rich culture and beliefs: The Incas, The Egyptians, The Vikings, Native Americans, The Greeks, Romans, Celts and more. It is as old as the earth. Because it is the earth. The natural order of the earth, the animals that dwell upon it and the seas that crash against its shores.

Paganism is an umbrella term for the many different paths of various magical beliefs. In fact, the word Pagan wasn’t used until religious persons began to describe the non-believers. The heathens, the atheist and the infidel. The range of beliefs beneath this Pagan umbrella are just as diverse as the religions and faiths that don’t fall under it.

Whilst there are a great many practices including Wicca, Druidism, Shamans and Eclectics, this is the crux of it:

If you believe in the turning of the years wheel.

If you honour your ancestors.

If you believe there is something beyond the human and physical world.

If you pray or meditate to a universal source that is both within and without your physical body.

If you believe in balance, equality, love, and trust for all beings.

If you honour yourself by seeking knowledge and aspire to better yourself, and to help others.

Then, you are probably Pagan. Most definitely in my book.

If, in addition to the above:

You honour the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit.

You practice magic in the form of intentionally focusing energy.

If you have studied or are studying the various meanings and uses of herbs, colours, numbers, signs and symbols, animals, etc.

If you look to the Moon, the Sun, and the Stars for answers of a spiritual nature.

Then, you are probably a witch. It is the way you do these things that will make you a particular kind of witch.

And, after all of this.

Does it really matter?

If you practice magic or not, we are all on the same journey with no destination set, travelling through space and time on a great big rock.

And if that’s the case, whatever your belief; enjoy the ride.

As long as you harm none – Do what thou will.


Which Witch Blog-Hop

After much debate and discussion, I have decided to start a blog-hop for the month of October.

I would like to invite everyone, and anyone who has something to say on the matter, regarding their spiritual and religious belief…

I know that this can be a dangerous ground to walk upon, and I do hope that everyone who joins will tread carefully. I don’t want any hurtful words or malicious comments. Granted, we all have our opinions, this is basically what I’m asking of you for this Hop, your opinion.

Many people in my Pagan community, walk different paths, some of them the same as mine but mostly, they differ. Recently there has been some speculation, yet again, about whether a witch can call herself/himself a witch if they haven’t been initiated into the craft. This is the subject matter. What makes you a witch. Which witch are you?

Having said that I also invite, and indeed welcome, others from different faiths to contribute to this Hop. What are your views on what makes someone a witch. How does the belief system differ to your own. Do you really know what it is that we’re about? Do we know what you’re about?

I have a great deal of friends who, although they hear me speak about my belief, are still a little unsure about what that actually means to me and my life.

Appropriately for us, it is October, and the season of the final harvest is upon us once more.

Halloween, or Samhain is a greater Sabbat, celebrated not just for the earth cycle, but for ancestral knowledge and honouring the spirits of those who have passed on before us – when winter itself is initiated.

I’m going to split the month into two halves. The first half running from now until the 17th of October, with the topic being “What makes a Witch a Witch?” or “Which Witch”

The second half of the month, 18th – 31st, with the topic continuing. I hope it will continue into a bigger topic about what we’ve all learned about each other. I think this part of the Hop will be a group led from the posts we read…

I will be placing the rules on a sticky post, but for now:

  1. Place the badge on your blog/post, so others will know the who and the why.
  2. Write your post “Which Witch Blog Hop” Use the tag #Which Witch Blog Hop. So people will be able to find you if searching in the Reader.
  3. Please be mindful of others. Play nice – I really don’t want to see any hurtful comments, generalisations, sexism or racism. We each have as much right as the next person to write about our own feelings and emotions and our own faith and beliefs.
  4. When you’re done, link back to me by commenting on this post. I will then put all the blog addresses on a separate page for you all to refer to.
  5. Comment. Comment. Comment! We are all bloggers and we all like to have followers and likes. Who doesn’t like to receive comments? Therefore share the love. Also, please make sure your comments and like buttons are available for others too.
  6. Any problems? Email me at wytchway@yahoo.co.uk

Here’s your badge!

Which Witch Badge


Which witch is which?

Mmh… It’s been a strange week thus far – and it’s still only Monday

Earlier today, I read a post from Crystal L, over at Not Quite Wicked. There is a link to a lady Brenda Crozier who is responding to the little question of whether or not to be a part of a coven. Actually, she’s responding to the fact that some say you are only a true Wiccan if you are a member of a coven. She isn’t in a coven, and that’s up to her having free will and all…

Her lovely description of her own faith is threefold: Her spiritual path is Pagan. Her religion is Wicca. Her practice is that of a witch.

The discussion she has started here, not only for Not Quite Wicked and myself, but for others too, is that if you are not a member of a traditional wiccan coven, you can’t really call yourself wiccan, or can you?

It raises for me a point, which disturbs me on a spiritual level, but also on a more global level. That is, if a group of like minded people can’t agree on their own religion or spiritual belief, then what hope is there?

I was once taught, in my first job as a trainee hairdresser,  that I must never get into a conversation regarding politics, religion or football. This, my boss told me, is how wars begin. I laughed, but it’s true.

I stick to the rule regarding politics. My lips are sealed unless with family.

As for football? I support Liverpool, if you don’t like that, I’m not sorry.

Religion however, I like to discuss this subject.

Is this because of my line of work (no longer a hairdresser, by the way…) As you know, I have been a therapist, and a teacher for spiritual growth. This doesn’t give me permission to preach, nor does it entitle me to convert others into my belief system. However, it has given me insight into other peoples thoughts and views on the subject.

I find it extraordinary that people will question me about Paganism and what it is to be a witch, with either out and out disgust, a curious raise of an eyebrow as to why, and of course the obligatory relish of “Teach me everything, I wanna be a witch!”.

 

Others have tried to convert me.

Once I was actually feared. A person requested to be seated at a different table to me at a wedding, because I scared her! (The Wicked Witch of the West music got hummed to me a fair bit that night! Lol.)

Having said that, I have many friends of many faiths, and our discussions are always enlightening, eye opening, occasionally challenging. They are always uplifting!

Sure, there will always be purists, there will always be traditionalists, and alas, the fair weathered folk, in all religions. But, to say a witch is not a witch, unless they have been initiated into the craft, is sheer nonsense in my book of shadows! (As with my football team, this is my opinion, my love, my thoughts.)

I myself, have been Pagan for thirty years, a practising witch on and off for the most part, and a wiccan for some of that time. I am what you might call an eclectic witch. I honour the God and Goddess in equal balance, I honour the turning of the years wheel and nature, I practise spell crafting, I write in my book of shadows and I continue to learn, even after all these years, I still need to know more.

I have questioned the fear and worried about the connotations of witchcraft and Pagansim, and compared the craft to devil worship, terrified that I was somehow wrong or dark! (I was about twelve at this point!)

I have hidden away in the broom closet, too scared to tell others of my belief. (Late teens)

I have practised solitary and within a coven. (20’s and 30’s)

When I was wiccan, I taught Wicca. I am no longer wicca. (30’s)

 

My spirituality is older than something that began in the 1950’s. My faith reaches through time and space and weaves it’s way throughout history, through many countries and cultures.

As the ancient shamans before me I have shifted and taken many forms.

My faith challenges me, it nourishes me and encourages me to grow, it empowers me.

My faith has given me strength to fight illness, and conquer it.

It continues to teach me.

I see how my friends faiths and beliefs do the same for them. They do not stand in judgement of me, nor I them. So why are there people out there of the same faith as this woman who are judging her?  And sadly, not just her. I have heard one too many stories now, and been a part of this conversation and discussion before, too many times.

I had a quick chat with Crystal L, and suggested we start a blog hop, about this subject. “What is a witch?”

October is on the horizon, and Halloween (Samhain) draws ever closer. Would any one be interested in joining us? It seems like the right time for it.

I need to check out how to start a hop – It involves some kind of linky tool, I am told… Research I shall!

If you are interested in joining in the discussion, leave a comment here or over on Not Quite Wicked, and let’s find out what it is that makes a witch, a witch, whatever your religion, belief, or football team!

*There will be rules – Mainly that no one is hurtful or malicious to any one else’s belief. But that will be outlined on the next post.

Until then, have a happy week, and try not to start any arguments about football. 🙂

 

 

 


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