26 June, 2013


Hey, Readers,

Once again, there are several things I want to talk about, and they keep piling up before I decide what to talk about and when. So I'll start with the first one I can think of and move on from there. Sometimes, it is best to begin at the beginning.

An obligatory post-solstice note. On the eve of the solstice, I spent hours of the day divining with my oracle cards. I wore a "witchy" outfit to rehearsal and got back to the house around 10pm. Grams asked me to fetch the mail, so I used that as an excuse to spend a few extra minutes outside in the dark--after which I composed this Tweet:

Click to view on Twitter
On Solstice Day/Litha/Midsummer, I spent most of the day on the warm, sunny porch, again working with my cards and generally soaking up the sun (not physically--wear sunblock!). On Sunday I had a Circle meeting where we were scheduled to watch a documentary about mythology and perform a Solstice celebration ritual. (I Tweeted a photo of my gold toned attire.) We ended up spending the first hour and a half of our meeting playing with the adorable foster kittens my friend is caring for, and then finally getting to the documentary a while later after some snacks. It was a History channel Clash of the Gods episode about Medusa, which certainly makes you view the gods in a different way. But after that, no one else seemed interested in doing a solstice ritual. Nothing formal was planned but I don't mind spontaneity, so I was hoping to get to do something. However, everyone else was content to just eat and chat for the next couple hours. So I'm very glad that before going to Circle, I went to a local park/nature reserve by myself, found a secluded spot in the woods off the main trail, and did a short devotion there. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gotten to do anything for the sabbat at all.

Oh, and afterwards it was still light out at 6:30pm, so I went to the lake by my old house where I had celebrated Litha last year at dawn, and where Willow resides. The beach has been grown over a lot by grass, and algae creeped along the water line so that I had to search for a section of water I could wade into. I shared freshly picked strawberries and blueberries with the fish, and left some for Willow, as well. It all made me think of the song we had listened to in church that morning--"Canned Goods" by folk singer, Greg Brown. This is the video of it that we watched during service.


Fast forward to Monday evening at rehearsal, and the director and I were walking toward the back door to get something from her car when we passed by the tech director. The director asked of him, "How was your Solstice soirée?" He proceeded to describe how he and his kids (two of my cast members) went to a show reunion party and then to the Observatory Park for the solstice event. Then he asked me how my solstice was. Mind you, I have not told anyone there that I'm pagan, though I do wear pagan jewelry every day, so if they know what it is, it's visible. No one's ever said anything, though. So I told him, I was supposed to go to a group celebration but we just watched a documentary instead and no one wanted to do a celebration, to which he responded, "Oh, TELL ME they didn't blow off an esbat for a documentary!" Not just everyone in the world knows the word "esbat." All in all, this summer working with the show has been a lot better than last year when the young kids always managed to work the topic of dying into the conversation, which was followed up by going to Hell, the devil, Satan, and so on. This year, I've received multiple compliments on my pentacles (I wore a few different ones over the past three weeks), heard about a cast member's love of Greek mythology and who her divine parents would be if she were a demi-god, and had a short conversation about everyone's solstice/esbat plans. The director has always randomly talked about solstices and full moons, all the years I've known her, and she wears a lot of crystal jewelry. But I never let myself assume that meant she was pagan/a witch/anything similar, whatever the term. And I was never aware if she knew that I was. But it certainly is an interesting feeling to have someone whose religious affiliation you don't know, ask you casually about your sabbat. Through years of being met with strange reactions, I got used to editing my statements so as not to startle people. I even said "celebration" instead of "ritual" when I described what I did, just to feel it out and see what was really going on. Might I live in a world where finally, a question like "How did ritual go?" is as commonplace as "What did you learn in school today?"

Click to view on Twitter

Blessings, and I hope you had a Happy Solstice~

19 June, 2013

Trance Work (video script)

Hey, Readers,

It took me three EXTRA LONG tries to upload my Pagan Perspective video this week about trance work. It finally posted today, a day late, while I was at rehearsal. I made it public even though Eric's video was already up by then, so his video shows at the Featured Video today. But that's okay, people will find it! Not everyone watches our videos on the first day they're up, anyway.

So because it took so long to put the video up, and because I had a script written out that I used for the video, I thought I would post the text version here. The video does vary slightly from this script, and I elaborated a little more on a couple things in the video. Otherwise, this basically covers it! It was a short video this week (so I thought it would upload quicker, but noooo, I had to have trouble!).

This week's topic:
from MrAbhainn [pron.: owh-anne] / Níall
--"I'd like to hear your thoughts on the growing trend of trance work in modern paganism and witchcraft. With a collection of Traditional Wiccans and Ecstatic Witches on the channel as well as solitaries whose individual paths are varied should be interesting. Trance work is a large area so I am as always very open to people interpreting as they will, whether it be trance seership/prophecy or possession such as with loas or orishas. Drawing down the Moon/Sun is another form or godform assumption."

--Trance work is not just in paganism/witchcraft. It is found in many religions and spiritualities, and even non-religious environments where the focus is more on what actually does on in our body and mind.
--I think it's really popular because there are so many different ways to go about it that people who are interested in it don't have to do something they're uncomfortable with, they can use another method that fits them. Just like meditation in general. A lot of things that people hear are beneficial or just really cool, such as meditation, yoga, lucid dreaming, ecstatic dancing, or generally reaching an "altered state of consciousness", are elements of trance. Daydreaming or getting really focused on a specific task is also trance, any time you slip into another level of consciousness or focus and other things are sort of blocked out.
--I don't personally know about any GROWING trend within the community, because so much of trance work is what I think of as things that the pagan-related community already does, like meditation or astral travel or any number of things. So I can't really comment on why I think there is a growth in the trend because I'm not directly involved enough to have observed an increase from the past until now.
--However, with the mention of seership, possession, and so on, I will say that I have never used trance with the goal of having another spirit speak through me, or anything. It's usually on my own and any messages I receive are for me so it doesn't have to do with another spirit coming into mine or using mine to communicate audibly, as with Oracles or seers.
--For me trance is all about getting to another level of consciousness where messages can come through or skills can be worked on, but it's never about bringing those things through to someone else or being a transmitter, although I do recognize that as another part of trance, but it's not what I personally have worked on.
--Drawing Down the Moon for me is not about bringing the Goddess physically into me and speaking through me or acting as the Goddess, it's just about connection to that energy and where it already lies within me. That's probably a difference due to solitary practice versus coven work, but that's what it is for me.

--There are four links in the description to pages I looked at when refreshing myself on what is considered trance: Wikipedia, a Wiccan page, a blog from someone exploring trance in their own way, and a psychotherapy site. So all that should provide a decent overview of the same basic topic from different perspectives.

That's all I have for this week. Thank you very much for watching, &c.

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trance
2) http://bluemoonwicca.org/trance.html
3) http://herbalwitchcraft.com/blog/2011/10/05/beginning-with-trancework/
4) http://meridianpsych.com/trance-therapy/


16 June, 2013

Updates and Upcomings

Hey, Readers,

This post is going to be full of links!

I want to take this opportunity to tell you what's been going on and what's coming up, as I recently posted an "Update" video on my YouTube channel, so this is another place to update. I'll talk a bit about what's been going on online, what's upcoming, and then also what's been going on/upcoming in my personal life.

What's passed:

What's to come:
  • I'm currently uploading the next video that I said in my update video was coming up--an update of my 2009 "Five Must Haves" video. This video talks a bit about physical items I feel I "must have" for my practice (meaning the things I LIKE to have), but also gets into non-physical traits and qualities that I feel allow me to practice the way I do, such as honesty, humility, and so on.
  • After that video, the next two uploads will be about coming out of the broom closet. The first video is about how I told my family (mother, Rev. Rose) about my path and how I worked it out with her, which I've talked about before, but I mostly talked about it on Pagan Perspective. The last time I made a video about it on cutewitch772 was in 2009, guest starring my mother, so this one is an update just from me alone. The second video is "For Parents" (or guardians or other loved ones), addressing the people on the OTHER side of this issue.
  • To go along with my "For Parents" video, I am asking my mother, Rev. Rose, to make a video about the subject from her point of view, as a Universalist type Christian, as a ULC minister, as a non-pagan mother of a pagan child. She will watch my video before doing hers, because she likes to respond to what I've already said as a sort of structure or outline for her response, so her video will be up significantly after mine, but we'll have it to look forward to.
  • Yesterday and today I recorded a new t-shirt recon video (which is more relevant to my other blog).
  • And today I recorded a book review of a Catholic book, which will be posted... erm, probably in a couple weeks, judging by the list of videos I have to post first!
That's quite a lot of links, isn't it? Explore!

Personal Life:
What's passed:
  • 3 June began the summer theatre workshop for which I am the Assistant Director/Stage Manager, or in Theatre-speak, the AD/SM (which is just said as letters, A-D-S-M). I'm working on a teen version of Shrek, the Musical. It's much more politically incorrect than you'd expect if you've seen the movies. I quite enjoy it!
  • I applied for another part-time job at a retail/garden shop/farmers market type place. Not sure I'll hear back from them because Sundays are really my only busy day and they appear to only need workers all day on Sundays.
  • I've done a lot of cleaning and organizing and moving my belongings, sorting them into what I want to keep and what I can either try to sell or donate or give to people I know. This is in anticipation of moving to another kind person's house where I can stay until I move still elsewhere.
  • I started reading The Lovely Bones. I haven't seen the movie, but I own the book.
  • My boyfriend was in town briefly, between the end of his grad school year and his summer visit to his family across the country. So I'm glad we got to have a brief day and a half together. He'll be back next month.
  • I am now the co-chair of the environmental committee at my UU church.
What's to come:
  • Several more weeks of the theatre workshop.
  • More job applications. (Seriously what happened to jobs that end at 5pm so I can still do theatre in the evenings? Or jobs that let you have Sundays free for religious activities or personal time? Or jobs in theatre or religion that pay well?! =P)
  • More reading. More studying. More watching. More more more.
  • This month I will be able to attend my Magick Class meeting because the director of the workshop gave me the night off. But she's taking the cast to see Shrek, the Musical at another theatre that evening, so I will miss that instead.
  • Next week I have a Circle meeting and I believe we'll be focusing on mythology.
  • Next month is the anniversary of my circle (when they started it, of course I wasn't there then), so we'll be having a party, and also taking a trip to Lily Dale, NY in August.
  • My birthday is in August. I'll be 23.
That's about as far ahead as I have any plans, so that's all! I really just wanted to take this time while my video is uploading to update this blog in some way, and this seemed the most appropriate, before I dive into anything new. That's why I made the update video for my YouTube channel, as well.

Every so often, it's good to step out of the routine and just take stock of everything. It's the same reason why I sometimes prefer to get stopped at red lights. It gives me a chance to look around, breathe, and ready myself for the next move.


05 June, 2013

Earthseed, SolSeed

Hey, Readers,

It's sort of funny how things come to us, isn't it?

I have a friend through YouTube who I think looks like Genevieve Pearson, a writer who was a competitor on the TBS show, King of the Nerds. She was my favorite contestant, and I was really rooting for her to win! But alas, she came in second. I am still very upset with the way the votes went. Genevieve is my King!

Anyway, today I decided to search for a picture of Genevieve to compare how much she looks like my friend, when I found her website, GenevievePearson.com, and checked out the made-up Q&A section. In it, she asks herself, "What is your religion?" and the answer she gives is "Earthseed."

Of course, I had to look this up, and I learned that it comes from a trilogy of books by Octavia E. Butler, a woman whose writing I happen to adore. I haven't read the trilogy it comes from yet, but I am familiar with her Lilith's Brood trilogy and the world she creates there, and the laws and intricacies of that universe. So in reading the article about Earthseed, I'm seeing it sort of fit together with what I know of Butler's work, and how very earth-based it is. Earthseed is a fictional religion, written by Butler, which is based on the premise that "God is Change." The only constant in Life is Change. We hear that a lot, whether it be from people who believe it or from those who want to point out what an oxymoron it is. Regardless, it's an idea I certainly try to remember throughout my life, and my UU minister even pointed it out in a sermon a few weeks ago, as I recall.

From the Wiki page on Earthseed, there is a link to the page for an actual social movement that has begun, as a response to the fictional religion from the books. That movement is called SolSeed, and its central tenet is that "Life is Precious." Their creed page says that SolSeed offers a way for those "who embrace science and reason, rather than superstition," which is only a bit offensive, as it harkens to those who discount any religious belief as being non-scientific, even if scientists have religion, or if certain religious beliefs take into account the things that science has taught us. But I digress. SolSeed is not a religion, but a social movement, and they welcome everyone of any religion or non-religion to join.

The only thing that turns me off about this, is that TheDestiny is to create new worlds among the stars, to plant the seeds of life elsewhere in the Universe, creating children for Gaia. I recently had a short discussion via text message with a friend of mine about lunar colonization. My friend is very interested in life being sustained on other planets because of the great scientific advances it necessitates. I, however, am extremely discouraged by the way people treat our home planet, and find it extremely annoying, for lack of a more technical word, that people presume to live upon other celestial bodies when we can't seem to take care of the one we have. My friend assured me that a good thing about lunar colonization (which the US does not have a plan for, but other countries do) is that in order for it to happen, we would be forced to get things together here on Earth first. So perhaps the possibility of expansion, or "planetary globalization" as I think my friend called it, will be a catalyst for people to get their act together. Besides, said my friend, this wouldn't happen for hundreds of years. I, however, cannot let myself say I'm okay with something just because it won't happen in my own lifetime. I won't leave problems for my children and grandchildren that I had a chance to solve for the better.

In conclusion (for now, at least), SolSeed is really too big of an idea to claim to understand after five minutes. There are several pages of information to sort through, so if you're interested, click the link I gave above and search around! Many of the principles of this movement are admirable at a glance. I can see where this group has a lot in common with other groups I know. But some parts of this don't seem appropriate for where I'm coming from, personally. Earthseed seems more relevant to my life, and though SolSeed is based on it, it definitely has its own Life.