19 December, 2017

Trust & Who We Are

Hey, Readers,

Have you ever noticed people whose energies and personalities seem totally out of line with what they say they do?

I have. In the past, and again today, a similar thing.

In college, for instance, one of my friends and I got into a course that was usually for Nursing students only, because it fulfilled a core requirement we needed and overlapped with our studies in theatre. It was a course on bioethics and how narratives (theatre, fictional stories, non-fictional accounts, etc.) can help have difficult conversations about ethics in medicine. So it was myself, and one of my theatre friends, in a class full of people who were studying to be Nurses.

Long story short, not only did half of the Nurses-to-be in the class have poor attitudes and not seem to care at all about other people's needs, but a few of them actually actively fought back against having to learn about other people's views and needs, arguing that the Western medical system always knows best and everyone needs to just deal with it.

Needless to say, I hope no one I know ever ends up with such uncompassionate nursing care. But it's out there. There are a ton of people in fields like that because the medical field makes money, and has a certain amount of prestige. Thankfully there are also those out there who are amazingly caring and compassionate, and passionate about their work helping people--PEOPLE, not just names on clipboards, not just means to a paycheck. One such nurse is a friend of mine who also happens to be a High Priestess. Another is my partner's mother, who recently retired from many, many years caring for people. A third, though not a Nurse but a Nurse's Aid, is my mother. My mother cares deeply about people, who they really are, what they really want and need.

But, this isn't about Nurses. That was just an example, one of the more startling experiences I had, in that classroom with these people who were meant to care about people and flat out refused to do so. This is about people whose personalities make them seem out of place with what they're doing. Nurses who don't care about people seems a little odd, if the way you think of nurses is as people who care for others. Care-givers. Nurturers. Nurturers who don't nurture? Seems like maybe something else would be more suited to their personality and views, right?

Today I came across a pair of women in a restaurant, one of whom was wearing a very Eastern style necklace, with a chakra lotus charm and the Om in the center. When I see things like this, I think, "Hey, my people!" What I mean is, "people who are interested in/know about the same things I do!" But despite this, I feel a knot in my chest, closing my heart chakra area. As I've learned from my previous work this year, this is the area through which I feel the most.

I quickly realized that these women, including the one wearing the necklace, didn't actually know what they were talking about. I see this a lot, especially with people who get into Yoga though classes recommended by their friends, classes which don't teach principles of Yoga in an Eastern way, don't teach history, or really any form of practice beyond he physical asanas. And they definitely don't talk about the Deities involved.

(Some classes do. I've been to some. But some definitely don't, and you can tell when those are the only classes someone has been to. A while ago I had a conversation with a woman I had gotten to know over a few months, and I knew she was into Yoga and practiced it regularly. One day we got into a conversation in which it was revealed that she never knew several pretty basic things about the practice's background or origin. She said her classes hadn't taught that. I'm not surprised, given that many classes are taught by people who took 200-hour training from another teacher who wasn't taught the background in their 200-hour training, either. 200 hours is about 8 days total... Think about that. Study of Witchcraft recommends a year and a day before you even decide whether it's right for you, a minimum of 365 days to even reach the point when a coven will consider having you join, before they begin teaching you... And people today get to the point where they're certified to teach Yoga without knowing about it's history or meaning, in the equivalent of a little over one week's total time. But I digress... this isn't about Yoga, either.)


The women are discussing. They don't know how to pronounce any of the things they're talking about. They're getting things slightly wrong. I don't want to correct them and sound like a know-it-all, even though we had just been talking moments before. But then--THANK YOU, INTERNET--one of them realizes they're not sure how to pronounce something and pulls out her smartphone to check. They start looking up and reading about Reiki (RAY-key), energy work, chakras (they learn that it means "wheel" in Sanskrit), and I'm proud. I'm happy these women are taking the initiative to learn about something more fully, looking up pronunciations when they realize "Oh I've only read this before, I've never said or heard it out loud, I don't know how to say it." I'm kicking myself for forgetting my bracelets this morning because I would have loved to talk about my chakra bracelets with them, and I start thinking I'll recommend my favorite chakra website that I use so they can learn more. I start to wonder what my heart constriction was all about, because this is great!

Then, in the middle of telling her friend about healing rays of light that help people fight depression, Lotus Necklace woman becomes a huge jerk.

She starts complaining about the food her friend is eating. It looks bad. It looks wrong. Her friend seems fine with it, continuing to eat. But the woman continues to get angry. She yells at the server, who immediately removes the food and offers the woman who ordered it another meal free of charge. That woman says no, that it's okay, she'd just like some new bread, but the rest of the meal is fine and she'll keep it. This takes place. Shortly after, Lotus Necklace gets back up and returns her friend's whole meal, saying it's horrible, she tasted it and she's not letting her friend eat it, and they're not paying for it. They are told that the charge was already removed, and they are happy to provide another meal for free, the bread she asked for was provided, what else would she like instead? The woman kept insisting that she didn't want anything, her meal was fine. But Lotus Necklace said "No, we don't have TIME for you to make a whole new meal for her." She spooned her own meal onto her friend's plate and made her eat that. (I don't know about you, but if my friends try to mess with my food, they've got another thing coming.)

The server is in the back talking to the chef, who is crying. Not about the returned food, about something else, because she was crying before... but this probably isn't making her feel any better.

Meanwhile, back at the table, Lotus Necklace is talking sweetly about her grandkids and upcoming holiday plans. But when the server returns, she's surly and biting. She snaps, "Of course it's one check, there was only one meal!" I might point out that this was quite a long time after the initial issue. Plenty of time for the restaurant to have made them another meal. Or they could have taken it to-go. But, oh well, some people would rather be bitter and try to justify the anger they already have within them, than be willing to accept a correction of a mistake.

I've worked in food service, and I can tell you, some people really do think the old adage "the customer is always right" (which is bullshit, by the way) is a license to be an asshole. At least we know this person wasn't just out for free food, because she repeatedly refused the free meal for her friend. And her poor friend just wanted to eat! Yikes.

So why am I blogging about this?

Two reasons. One, when our energy field picks up on something, it may not be clear immediately, but we need to trust it. My energy field knew something was wrong right away, but the outer circumstances seemed inky, and then much better, so I thought I had misinterpreted my body's own sign. But finally, the truth revealed. This woman, for all her talk about healing energy, and her attempts to begin to learn, still has a long way to go. And the energy she was in--of Anger, of Spite--is not the energy she was just teaching her friend about minutes before. It seems, like the uncaring nurses, out of place. And that's the second reason I'm blogging about this: because some people might wear the jewelry, might go to the classes, might look up the correct pronunciations, but they still don't necessarily comprehend the values. They haven't done the work--either they're so new they haven't done it yet, or they've been doing this for a while and still just don't get it, haven't gotten to a place of their own inner progress. Which reminds me of a video a posted this week, "When We Don't Change." When I say these things, I'm never claiming that I've mastered them. I'm noticing patterns in myself and others around me, noticing when our behaviors, thoughts, and words clash with what we say we believe, the work we say we're doing.

Scott Cunningham included in his "Goals of a Witch" that we must keep our thoughts in good order, and keep our words in good order. Think before we speak, and after we speak. Pay attention to what we're doing versus what we're saying. I have a blog about my interpretations of those goals, as well. (In looking back at that post, this topic touches on several goals... or all of them!)

I am partially blogging about this to say that it bothers me. And I'm not always sure if it should. Why does it bother me when I catch people talking about certain topics--like energy work, healing, chakras, meditation, these things that are so much about Self evaluation and Self-healing--and then learn that they don't embody those teachings at all? Is this because I think I'm better? Is it that I take offense? Is it unreasonable to expect people who preach such things to try to make an effort, not just in their yoga space, but in all aspects of their lives? I don't think so. But I don't pretend to know who people are outside of the short interactions I may have with them. In the video linked above I talk about people I've had interactions with over many months or years, and can observe their words and behaviors a little more. In this instance today, I only have this instance as a mirror of what this woman is like in public around strangers. Maybe it was a bad day? Who knows? I have bad days, but even on my worst days I don't think I act that way. I hope I don't. Either way, I do tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes too often. People have actually told me I offer the benefit of the doubt to many who don't deserve it.

Wasn't it Maya Angelou who said "When people show you who they are, believe them"?

I think I need to be a little better at that. Trusting my gut, my instinct, my intuition... and trusting that when people show us who they are, that is who they are. And I do wish people who claim to work on such inner-peace and balancing type work would actually do it. Not saying you have to be perfect, because no one is, I'm not. But. At least try to do the actual work. That's all I ask.

This has come up for me a lot in the past couple weeks, and I've seen others post about similar things coming up for them, or with people around them. How about you? Noticing anything like this coming into your awareness lately?


03 December, 2017

Dissociation & Sub-Typing

Hey again, Readers,

I was writing a blog post about generalization and seeing other groups as one big group that believes all the same (outgroup homogeneity) while simultaneously seeing our own groups as diverse and made up of unique individuals. I wrote too much for one cohesive blog post, but I wanted to talk more about another aspect of this kind of thing, which is dissociation. Here's a recap from the other post:
When members of our groups do something we disagree with, we might dissociate from them, saying they're not representative of the whole group, or aren't actually members of the group at all. (And sometimes this is true.) Or we put them into a sub-type. Sub-typing is one of the reasons stereotypes persist as long as they do, because when one stereotype is revealed as not actually being true of the whole group, we just add a sub-type! Instead of saying "Hmm, this must not be true," we say, "Oh this is true of the group, but this individual is part of this sub-type, over here, which is different in these ways..." 
Human beings love stereotypes so much that we'd rather create more, smaller, more specific ones, than admit that a stereotype can't possibly be true of a whole group. We are silly.

Now that we're caught up, I want to talk about dissociation and sub-typing.

If a group is highly varied, then it probably has sub-types. Paganism is a large group containing many paths under its larger community title. In our case, sub-types might be thought of as the different types of paths within Paganism. So we can have stereotypes about Pagans as a WHOLE, and sub-types that explain why not all Pagans fit those stereotypes. On the other hand, if a group largely agrees on something and some members (or a very small fringe group) have a different view, we might instead dissociate from them, explaining that they are not core members and do not speak for everyone.

For example: If I have a stereotype of Pagans as all being Nature-reverent, and then someone comes along who says they're Pagan and doesn't give a crap about Nature, I might dissociate from them, saying they're really a minority view but MOST of us are in fact nature-reverent. We might even think that person isn't really Pagan, but something else entirely. It depends on how important that stereotypical characteristic is to us in our definition of our group identity. However, if I already know there's a whole group within Paganism, or multiple groups, which are not focused on Nature as part of their path, then I can go for the sub-type, saying "Oh yeah they're Pagan, too, they're just part of this specific path that focuses more on Deity than Nature." Or whatever the case may be.

It depends on who you know, in a way. And it depends on who you like. Because we tend to know more about, and have more positive feelings and thoughts toward groups we like and get more familiar with. This is why we say education and exposure are such key parts of prejudice reduction.

This reminds me of a specific example from my life:

At a discussion in Arkansas at one of the Universities there, with Pentacles of Pride, International, I went around asking members of the Pagan group in attendance what they consider their path. One person there identified as a Satanist. When talking about dissociation, I asked them how they felt about the fact that so many people still begin explaining their Pagan, Wiccan, or Witchy path by saying "But I'm NOT a Satanist/Devil-worshiper" pretty much first thing. Their answer was that being a Satanist, they figure it pretty much comes with the territory, that deciding to be a Satanist means they just have to put up with that. And I think that's pretty much crap.

If we consider Satanists members of our community (which I do), and we know that they don't all even actually worship a Devil, why do so many of us still feel the need to defend ourselves by saying "Don't worry, I'm not a Satanist or anything"...? Think about it. What do the actual Satanists get to say? "Don't worry, I'm not a... Wait. Actually yes. I am the thing everyone else eases people's fears by saying they're not. That's me. Take it or leave it."

And maybe some people like that. Maybe some people enjoy the shock value, or scaring people. Some people DO actually get into Witchcraft because they want to look cool and feel powerful, we know that. So sure, maybe some Satanists don't care. But overall, as a community, I think we can do better.

How about we define ourselves by what we are, instead of what we're not?

Maybe I did the "I don't worship the Devil" thing when I was younger. I probably did. But I haven't done it in years. I don't need to. We don't need to. I talk about what I DO believe, what I do, how I personally define "Paganism" and what the major factors are for me. Probably 99% of the time, the Devil never need enter the conversation. That other 1% of the time, it's the other person saying something about "Wait, I thought that was all Devil-worshipers", and then, and only then, do I begin to explain that. It's too complicated of a subject to just bring up first thing and toss away in a one-liner. Besides, what if you're talking to someone who has actually never heard that stereotype, and you just put it into their heads? Yeah. Let's not do that.

That's just the biggest example I have to use, because it's something that so many people still continue to say when explaining their path to non-Pagans. It's one of the first things they say, and it's reinforcing a negative stereotype about a certain group of people within the community, in the hope that we will lessen the negative stereotypes about the parts of the community with which we identify.

It's pretty rude--

But it's not the only way we dissociate from people within our community. Try to think of other ways you have done this, or have seen or heard others do it, and think about who it's leaving behind. Sometimes it's the whole community dissociating from extremists who truly do not speak for us, any of us, wide variety and all. And that's probably as positive as it gets, because it attempts to ensure that reprehensible acts are not continually associated with our community based on the actions of an individual or small group who really isn't connected or embodying the community's beliefs. (The overall Pagan community speaking out against white supremacy comes to mind as a great example of when dissociation from people who claim to be part of our community is important.) But in other ways, like shunning Satanists, or Wiccans, or solitary practitioners of any path, or Christo-Pagans, or people who we think are only focused on the Dark, or people who we think are only focused on the Light (I love those, because people think they know everything a person does in their own practice and, they usually don't), or any number of groups that we casually dissociate from... We could actually be breaking our community further apart.

I'm not saying we have to believe all the things. Not gonna happen. I'm saying, instead of saying "We don't do that," maybe say "I don't do that, but some people do." Instead of erasing things we simply don't like, we can acknowledge that they do exist in our community. And if we don't actually know what other people do, the least we can do is make it clear that we only speak for ourselves.

Now, I'm talking about differences that don't actually harm anyone, like differences in beliefs in Deity, or the way we do ritual. But this can apply to actual harmful beliefs that exist in the community, as well. We don't have to pretend they don't exist. In fact, we shouldn't. As we've learned in United States politics recently, a lot of shitty beliefs still exist in our society, and we need to deal with it, not just act like it isn't there. If it really is something that needs to change, we need to change it, not ignore it. Talk about it. Transform it. If we don't, it'll just continue.

What do we do about dissociation, then?

As always, these are just my ideas. We can start to pay more attention and notice when we are tempted to dissociate from an individual or group. (I definitely do this. This isn't about never doing it, it's about noticing it and figuring out our reasons, to hopefully reduce it to only really necessary occurrences.) Ask ourselves questions about what we feel. What are we dissociating from, and why? Then, make sure that what we say matches the reality of the situation for us. I'm a Witch, and this is just an example, but let's say I dislike a group of Witches for some deep, moral reason. Then I might say "Yeah, I'm not like them. No way. I really disagree with what they do on a fundamental level because I believe this and they believe that and it doesn't sit well with me." If the difference between us is also hugely different from my overall definition of what a Witch is, I MIGHT even go so far as to question their Witchiness. (!!!) But if I feel the need to dissociate and upon inspection of my feelings I learn that it's just because I don't prefer the way they do their circle casting, then I might say "Yeah, we don't do things the same way, but that's true of Witches as a whole. We're a very diverse group. I do this, they do that. To each their own."

I think you get the point. =)

For me, this work is all about just trying to pay more attention, looking at why we react the way we do to certain things, and figuring out how understanding our reasons can help us look for strategies for reducing negative reactions, stereotypes, and prejudice.

If you didn't read my previous post, go ahead and do that!

Otherwise, I hope you have a great day. Thanks for reading.

Generalization: "ALL Witches" etc.

Hey, Readers,

After posting a miniature version of this post (really just introducing the ideas/thought process) on my Facebook Page, I'm happy and unsurprised to see that those who responded basically already get what I'm going to say here. Happy, because that's great! Unsurprised, because they're people who watch my videos and hear me talk about this stuff a lot, so it's really a "preaching to the choir" situation. Nevertheless, I hope some of this provides food for thought and gives a little more background.

For a quick recap, I mentioned that I get comments on my YouTube videos saying things like "Wiccans all think ____" or "Witches are all ____" or even "All Pagans ____". These are coming from someone outside whatever group they're commenting about. But then what gets me is that in the same comment, they'll talk about their own groups in a much less generalized way, talking about the diversity and variety that can exist in their group. This is something that happens a lot. We have a tendency to see our own groups as diverse and able to be different from one another while still part of the same group, and to see groups we aren't in as being made up of people who are all the same as each other (and very different from us).

There's a term for this in prejudice psychology: outgroup homogeneity. Our outgroups (groups that we do not identify with/that we are not a part of) seem like one big, homogenous group of people with no variety. We generalize them into people who all act, think, believe, or look the same. But since we know the groups that we are part of, we know how different they can be... because they're made up of real people... whose personalities and quirks we know well. And accept.

There's another side of this, which is dissociation. Or, related to this, we sub-type.

When members of our groups do something we disagree with, we might dissociate from them, saying they're not representative of the whole group, or aren't actually members of the group at all. (And sometimes this is true.) Or we put them into a sub-type. Sub-typing is one of the reasons stereotypes persist as long as they do, because when one stereotype is revealed as not actually being true of the whole group, we just add a sub-type! Instead of saying "Hmm, this must not be true," we say, "Oh this is true of the group, but this individual is part of this sub-type, over here, which is different in these ways..."

Human beings love stereotypes so much that we'd rather create more, smaller, more specific ones, than admit that a stereotype can't possibly be true of a whole group. We are silly.

So let's talk about outgroup homogeneity and generalization for a bit.

As many of us know, stereotyping & feelings of prejudice are things that are natural to human beings for many reasons. They help us in some way, otherwise we wouldn't continue to do it! This is called the functional approach to stereotyping & prejudice: the idea that stereotypes and prejudice serve a function, or multiple functions. Different functions have different sources, and different methods for reducing them, so knowing which function is at play makes a difference in how you approach reducing it.

If you'll notice, we don't typically refer to "getting rid of" stereotypes/prejudice. This is because we know that on some level human beings will always be doing it--and that has to do with the functions it serves (which I talk about in my Pagans & Prejudice workshop, but is perhaps too tangential even for this post). But this is why we say "prejudice reduction". We're looking at how to reduce its frequency, severity, and so on. That sounds a lot more doable than getting rid of it all at once, right?

Let's go back to my specific example with these comments. People say things like "All Witches think ___ about my group, but MY group is not all like that. We are really like this, but Witches don't realize that. They all think we're ____." This hypothetical commenter sees their own group as diverse--allowing that maybe SOME people in their group are whatever it is they're talking about, but they're NOT ALL like that--while at the same time grouping all Witches together as ALL believing that everyone of this other group is the same. To which I might say, well, in my experience as a Witch and knowing lots of Witches, I know that some Witches do believe that about your group, but not all of us do.

Of course not. And we all know this. On a certain level, we all realize that we cannot accurately generalize a whole group, whatever that group is. All Witches, all Muslims, all Milennials, all Whovians, all whatever. Can't be done. We know that, because we see it in practice with the groups we're a part of and know well. Therefore it should follow that we can't do that about other groups, either. And yet, it doesn't seem to follow for a lot of people... We still keep doing it. Stereotypes persist.

Stereotypes persist for several reasons, and I don't want to go too much into that kind of stuff (I talk about it in my Pagans & Prejudice workshop, which I will get around to putting online at some point, but it's definitely too much to go into now), but I will say that knowing why we do it, or even just starting to think more about it, helps us to become more aware of when we're doing it, which helps us begin to reduce it.

For me, one of the things I do is just try to catch myself when I find that I want to say "All" of some group does/is something or other. If I stop to think for a fraction of a second, I remember that the thing I'm talking about really can't be said to apply to EVERYONE in that group. So I ask myself, what do I mean to say? And how well do I know this group? How much is what I'm saying really characteristic of the group as a whole? Based on my answers to those questions, I'll change what I'm saying, usually something as simple as changing "all" to "some", "most", or "many" depending on how prevalent this thing (whatever it is) really is, and how well I think I know the group that gives me reason to think I can actually make such a claim.

In reality, I never know a group I'm not in as well as I know a group I am in. And because the groups I'm in tend to be extremely varied, such as Pagans... How well do we even know the groups we're in?

So usually I go a step further and get more specific. Instead of saying "All Pagans" for example, I might say "Most of the Pagans I know," "many of the people who watch my channel," or I might allow a very specific "all" such as "All the Pagans I've worked with" IF the thing really does apply to EVERY ONE in a specific group I can actually speak to.

I don't know a single thing that I feel I can authoritatively say about "All Witches" except that they practice Witchcraft. And you know some Witches out there would even try to argue that.

I did a video on the "Principles of Paganism" from the book "PAGANISM: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions" wherein Joyce & River Higginbotham shared seven things that, through their research, they found to be the core beliefs tying together ALL Pagans. I asked my viewers who identify as Pagan for their thoughts, and only one of the principles was debated as far as I could see, which was our beliefs (or lack thereof) in the Afterlife. So, there's that. We've tried to come up with things that are true of All Pagans. It's not easy! The best we can usually say is "most".

Until next time, thanks for reading!

29 September, 2017

Long Live Uncle Ray

Dear Readers,
Me with Ray at the Buckland Gallery opening, April 2017

As you may know by now, especially if you follow me on other social media, Raymond Buckland, known by many as Uncle Bucky or Uncle Ray, and more formally/historically as "The Father of American Witchcraft," has passed on. He has left his mortal body in favor of his Spirit body. In other words, he has died. We say all kinds of things instead of "died" often, don't we? In this case, since Ray is a Spiritualist, we know that he believes Consciousness survives Death. So while it is true that he died, I feel totally comfortable with the flowery language of "Raymond Buckland left his mortal body on this Earthly plane."


I had the pleasure of meeting Uncle Ray (my preferred name for him in casual speech and writing, though to his face and in our emails, I ALWAYS called him Mr. Buckland) five months ago today, at the grand opening of the Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft and Magick in Cleveland, OH. Before that, we had exchanged a few emails a couple of years ago, about Wicca, different definitions, and things that my online viewing audience had asked me about repeatedly over the years. Who better to ask than someone who was THERE? Who was actually first-hand part of the history of Witchcraft in the United States, as such? I believe whenever possible, we should go to the source. For me and my purposes, that source was Raymond Buckland.

There are many articles about Ray's life, work, and influence online today because of his death this week. I can't claim to do a better job than any of them, but I can talk about my own experiences and share in my own way. The Ray Buckland I corresponded with, the man I met five months ago, is a wonderful, warm, and encouraging energy. In some posts I wrote in my private Facebook groups with people who are working with me currently (and maybe on my public page, I really can't remember, I wrote so many posts while processing the event yesterday), I said that in meeting Uncle Ray it was clear to me that he embodied the Goddess' wishes for us, and by that I mean those named in The Charge of the Star Goddess. Ray exuded both, and all,

Beauty and Strength
Power and Compassion
Honor and Humility
Mirth and Reverence

Chatting with Ray at the Buckland Gallery opening.
Thank you, Steven, for taking the photos!

In many ways, I am grateful to have met Ray in his twilight years. He retired years ago, has been over the "hustle and bustle" of public appearances and huge online courses for quite some time, and he has been living for years right here in my own state of Ohio. He is a grandfather, a well respected Pagan elder to many, and that calming, charming, goofball energy that is the prerogative of folks who've done more than their share and they're ready to just kick back and relax, is wonderful to have known, even for a short time.


Everyone processes things in their own way. As I have been enamored with Numerology and Tarot this year, it's only natural that I decided to look up some of Ray's Year Cards, as though I were to do one of my Year Card Readings for him. Then, while reading other folks' articles about his life, I decided to see what cards matched up with some of the major moments in his career (at least, as far as the dates are publicly reported). Just for a little insight, here is some of what I learned.

Raymond Buckland was born in London, England, on the 31st of August, 1934.
*All Year Card dates are based on your birthday, and the year in question. We add them together, then reduce to get a number between 1-22, the number of cards in the Major Arcana of Tarot, with 22 standing in for the number 0, The Fool. Some people choose always to reduce to a number between 1 and 9, working only between The Magician and the Hermit. I prefer to use the whole Major Arcana. So if you've seen it done another way, perhaps that explains it!*
Thus, his Life's Purpose or Personality card, based on his whole birth date, is Judgement (20). His Soul's Purpose, then, is The High Priestess (2). One of the key words for "Year Card Lessons" for Judgement is "dealing with criticism," which Ray definitely did in all aspects of his work. And the High Priestess, a card of spirituality, occult wisdom and knowledge, instinct and intuition, more than describes the work Ray was here to do, as a Spiritualist, as a teacher and author, and as a High Priest.

Being a Virgo, his Zodiac card is The Hermit (9). The Zodiac card represents what we need for self-expression. In this case, The Hermit points to a need for introspection and solitary study and work. Ray spent the last several decades as a mainly solitary practitioner, having left the coven he first formed in the US. Others who knew him better could speak more to how solitary a person he liked to be. His Shadow/Hidden Factor/Teacher card is Justice (or Strength, depending on the deck) (11). A Master Number, speaking to either balance, harmony, and integrity (Justice) or endurance, staying the course, and standing your ground (Strength).

In my Year Card Readings, I look at your current year, and also the previous year and next year, to see the transitions in between. Ray's card for this year, 2017, is Death (13). We know that Death as a symbol, as a card, is not always literal, but signifies a great change, a new beginning. While in this case Ray did actually die this year after his birthday (in some systems the card of the year begins its energy on your birthday that year, in others it begins at the top of the calendar year--I prefer the system that looks at both overlapping), it also still most certainly represents a great change in the status of his Spirit, and a change in that the worldly plane on which we exist, in which I am typing this, is now short one Raymond Buckland.

His card for last year (2016) was The Hanged Man (12), symbolizing gaining of wisdom through seeking new perspectives. And his card for next year is Temperance (14), which is about compromise, give & take, blending of ideas, finding a healthy balance, and making things stronger and able to handle more. Depending on your beliefs in what happens after physical Death, I'd venture that's a pretty good thing for a Spirit to be doing to prepare for its next lifetime, if it believes in that sort of thing.

My set-up for Ray's Year Cards, using The Vertigo Tarot.
This is the first I've done so far with all 7 being different. =)


Those are the 7 card positions I work with in my Year Card Readings. But I went a little further to see what cards match up with some of Ray's published life moments, just to see. Hindsight is 20/20, as we know. (When the cards repeat, just check above to the first mention of the card for the meaning.)

  • 1955: Ray marries his first wife, Rosemary.
    • (5) The Hierophant. Teaching, studying, professional development, spiritual development and guidance.
  • 1957-59: Ray serves in the Royal Air Force.
    • (7) The Chariot. Movement, goals, taking control, overcoming struggle.
    • (8) Strength (or Justice, in some decks, but I read it as Strength). Courage, endurance, standing your ground, allowing without forcing.
    • (9) Hermit. Solitude, contemplation, taking a break, taking stock, caring for health.
  • 1962: Ray & Rosemary move to Long Island, NY & begin studying Gardnerian Witchcraft and corresponding with Gerald Gardner.
    • (3) The Empress. Abundance, developing creativity, nurturing, settling down.
  • 1963: They go back to the UK to be initiated into Gardner's lineage. Gardner was present at the initiation, from what I've read.
    • (4) The Emperor. Important decisions made, tradition, lineage, taking charge, leadership.
  • 1968: Ray opens his collection of artifacts as "The First Museum of Witchcraft and Magick in the United States", running it out of his basement by appointment only.
    • (9) The Hermit.
  • 1969: Ray's first book is published, A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural.
    • (10) Wheel of Fortune. Luck, fate, completion and turning of cycles, major change.
  • 1973: Ray & Rosemary separate/divorce (some sources use different words) and both leave the Long Island Coven, as the coven they founded on Long Island came to be called, although articles with interviews say that Ray said the coven didn't have an official name.
    • (5) The Hierophant. (I found it interesting that the year they married and the year they separated and left the coven had the same card energy.)
  • 1974: Ray married his second wife, Joan. / Publishes The Tree, a book on Anglo-Saxon Witchcraft that is now considered to be the kind of guide for solitary practice that Cunningham's Wicca is, years before Cunningham's was published.
    • (6) The Lovers. Relationships, choices, taking responsibility, following your heart without losing your head.
  • 1978: Ray shuts down his museum and moves all the artifacts into storage.
    • (10) Wheel of Fortune.
  • 1982-83: Met Tara Cochran, who was to become his third wife. / Married her in 1983.
    • 1982 meeting: (5) The Hierophant
    • 1983 marriage: (6) The Lovers
  • 1986: Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft, also known as "The Big Blue Book" is published.
    • (9) The Hermit.
  • 1992: Ray & his third wife, Tara, move to a farm in Ohio.
    • (6) The Lovers
  • 2015: Ray's health begings to decline. / Also, his museum collection artifacts are turned over to a coven in Columbus, OH, which he co-founded, for them to put them on display again. That collection eventually opens as the Buckland Gallery (see 2017, below).
    • (11) Justice. Balance, harmony, legal issues, integrity, what is fair vs. what is just, partnerships. (or Strength, in some decks, meaning listed above)
  • 2017: The Buckland Gallery opens in Cleveland, OH. / Raymond Buckland dies in September.
    • (13) Death. Letting go, releasing the old to make room for the new, transformation, regeneration, dealing with emotional pain, end of old life. (As mentioned, this is the overall Card energy of the year 2017 for Buckland.)
    • 29/April (4)/2017 - Buckland Gallery opening date - This specific date adds up to (7) The Chariot. Forward movement, setting goals, etc.
    • 27/Sept. (9)/2017, Buckland's exact date of death - (10) Wheel of Fortune.

All of this, to me, makes me feel like I know Ray a little better because now I've read more about some of the major things he did in his life. This isn't the same as knowing him in person, of course, but is a little more than we may know otherwise. And obviously there are tons of books he's published, interviews he's done, etc. and we could look up the years for ALL of them, but I chose only some of the most major ones, and of course the first one.

Ray's Zodiac card, or "what he needs for self expression" is The Hermit, and I find it interesting that several of his major moments that I looked up, happen during other Hermit years for him. He opened the first iteration of his museum and gallery during one of his Hermit years (it cracks me up that opening a museum in his basement would be a Hermit year! Of course!), and published his first book the following year (The Wheel of Fortune makes a lot of sense for publishing his first book, being a big change that made him into a published author, but this also means he likely did a lot of the work on that book in the previous, Hermit year). "The Big Blue Book" was also published in a Hermit year for him, and he did his last year of service in the Royal Air Force in another Hermit year.

The Hierophant and The Lovers repeat through many of his relationship milestones--marrying and separating from his first wife, marrying the second, meeting and marrying the third, moving to Ohio, as well as leaving the first coven he established in the US, which is definitely another kind of relationship and partnership with people.


What energetic patterns repeat for you? What years have you experienced milestones in different aspects of your life, and what does that card's energy tell you about the experience in hindsight? Use numerology and the Tarot to find out for yourself and explore the possibilities of what those patterns can tell you! And if you'd like, get a Year Card reading with me and I'll help with some insight from a third party perspective, from me to you, in video format.


Dear Ray, this is part of my way of processing the surreal nature of your not being here with us on this plane anymore. I hope it isn't too much. You are worthy of so much respect and thanks. My gratitude to you. Blessings on your journey, and bright blessings to your family and friends at this time, and always.


28 August, 2017

Reclaiming - Principles of Unity

Hey, Readers,

This past weekend at Cleveland Pagan Pride, I presented two back-to-back workshops. The first was co-taught by myself and my friend Ariawn, a High Priestess of a traditional English coven. We talked about the Art of Ritual, comparing and contrasting public/private ritual, and traditional/eclectic/solitary ritual. My second workshop was my Pagans & Prejudice workshop that I've done before, but in a rebooted format, with more activities to help with understanding concepts.

During the event, I mentioned to people that I'm on the slow but steady track to becoming a teacher in the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft. A few people know what that is, but most people I talk to around here do not. Then I ask, "Have you heard of Starhawk, and the book The Spiral Dance?" Even when the answer is yes, people haven't necessarily heard of the Reclaiming Tradition, because in that book, Starhawk didn't really talk about it as a tradition. It wasn't, really, at the time. It started as a collective, and over the years has grown into a tradition that has groups and practitioners in pockets all over the United States and in other countries, as well.

I'd like to encourage anyone who doesn't already know about this tradition to add it to your mental list of types of Witchcraft you know about by reading about it at the Reclaiming website. And below, I wanted to share the Reclaiming Principles of Unity. The bold formatting is my addition, but the words are directly from the website.



Principles of Unity

"My law is love unto all beings..."
- from The Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente

The values of the Reclaiming tradition stem from our understanding that the earth is alive and all of life is sacred and interconnected. We see the Goddess as immanent in the earth's cycles of birth, growth, death, decay and regeneration. Our practice arises from a deep, spiritual commitment to the earth, to healing and to the linking of magic with political action.

Each of us embodies the divine. Our ultimate spiritual authority is within, and we need no other person to interpret the sacred to us. We foster the questioning attitude, and honor intellectual, spiritual and creative freedom.

We are an evolving, dynamic tradition and proudly call ourselves Witches. Our diverse practices and experiences of the divine weave a tapestry of many different threads. We include those who honor Mysterious Ones, Goddesses, and Gods of myriad expressions, genders, and states of being, remembering that mystery goes beyond form. Our community rituals are participatory and ecstatic, celebrating the cycles of the seasons and our lives, and raising energy for personal, collective and earth healing.

We know that everyone can do the life-changing, world-renewing work of magic, the art of changing consciousness at will. We strive to teach and practice in ways that foster personal and collective empowerment, to model shared power and to open leadership roles to all. We make decisions by consensus, and balance individual autonomy with social responsibility.

Our tradition honors the wild, and calls for service to the earth and the community. We value peace and practice non-violence, in keeping with the Rede, "Harm none, and do what you will." We work for all forms of justice: environmental, social, political, racial, gender and economic. Our feminism includes a radical analysis of power, seeing all systems of oppression as interrelated, rooted in structures of domination and control.

We welcome all genders, all gender histories, all races, all ages and sexual orientations and all those differences of life situation, background, and ability that increase our diversity. We strive to make our public rituals and events accessible and safe. We try to balance the need to be justly compensated for our labor with our commitment to make our work available to people of all economic levels.

All living beings are worthy of respect. All are supported by the sacred elements of air, fire, water and earth. We work to create and sustain communities and cultures that embody our values, that can help to heal the wounds of the earth and her peoples, and that can sustain us and nurture future generations.

Reclaiming Principles of Unity - consensed by the Reclaiming Collective in 1997. Updated at the BIRCH council meeting of Dandelion Gathering 5 in 2012.

07 August, 2017

Saturn Returns Course 2.0 (Sept.-Dec. 2017)

Greetings, all!

It's time for the second iteration of my Saturn Returns course! Here is some information about this course, links to relevant videos, and at the end, a link to your way to start the journey if you are ready to go!

Saturn has been called the Taskmaster of the Skies, and also, perhaps less intimidatingly, our planetary Life Coach. Every 29.5 Earth years or so, Saturn completes a full orbit. Thus, in your 30th year of life, when you are age 29, Saturn makes it's first return to the place where it was at your birth. The second time this happens, you are around age 58/59. A third return occurs when we reach age 88 or so.

What happens when Saturn comes back around?
People experience the effects of Saturn differently, and pick up on different things. Because we are in different places in our lives, the tasks that Saturn has set up for us will vary. If you're pretty much on course, you may not need a lot of additional guidance, maybe just some support and confirmation. But if you've wandered far from your path, you may feel some pretty extreme turbulence as good ol' Saturn whips you back into shape. What it all boils down to is this: We get 29.5 years to live our lives. When Saturn comes back for inspection, we get a progress report, and if we've gotten off our marks, we get... well, readjusted.

You can feel these effects as early as years in advance, because nothing in the Universe happens immediately and suddenly, as far as the movement of planets into different places/signs goes. And something as big and foreboding as Saturn? You can feel it. I've been going through things for maybe three years now--definitely two years--that can be classified as Saturn Return *STUFF*, and I'm only 27 right now... If I'm already being prepared and given homework and being guided to turn my life upside down and inside out... what the heck is going to be in store for me when I turn 29?

What about for you?
What's feeling strained in your life these days? What is changing? Do you feel a profound desire to make a change, but don't know what, why, or how? Maybe you're feeling called, pushed, or prodded into making a change already. Relationships changing or ending, jobs changing or ending, moving, getting rid of, letting go of... Feeling like you lost track of what you're doing, who you are, and where you're going...

I know that feeling. And it's not even here yet.

What is this course?
This is the second iteration of my Saturn Returns workshop/course, which takes place from September to December, 2017. It includes eight "lessons" which will be sent and shared in video form--one "lesson" (or exercise, or activity, or ritual, as it were) will come every two weeks, over a span of those four months. We will talk about Saturn and some of the ways its lessons can appear for us, and do exercises and activities aimed at looking into what's going on, where we are, and figuring out what our goals are, what we feel our limitations are... And getting some guidance for working past that. There will also be more obvious "Witchy Stuff"--Tarot, spells, ritual. Between lessons, there will be other, smaller prompts and activities on our private Facebook group, and an opportunity to interact with everyone in the workshop, for feedback and sharing.

This course is taking place during the Saturn in Capricorn return (view the video linked above for more on this), but this work is open to those who have already gone through their Saturn Return (once, or more times) and to those who have not yet reached their first or are coming up on another one! There will be some Saturn-in-Capricorn specific energy and information at times, but the work is appropriate for Saturn Returns in general, regardless of your Saturn sign. In the private FB group, there will be discussion time to tell everyone what sign your Saturn is in (and I will show you how to do this, if you don't already know how), so that I can provide some insight for you personally, as well.

Some expectations/requirements for participants:
  • It IS NOT required that you be going through your Saturn Return right now. Parts of this course are geared for Saturn in Capricorn folks, as Saturn Returns to Capricorn this December 2017, but this course is open to anyone regardless of Saturn status. =)
  • It is expected that you have an interest in astrology or specifically learning about Saturn Returns and what it can mean for us. No prior knowledge of what Saturn Returns is, or what your Saturn sign is, is required--I'll teach you all that if you don't know! And the video linked above is full of good info on that, too.
  • There will be a private Facebook group for folks in this session only, to chat privately among each other and with me. So it is preferred that you have a Facebook account in order to utilize this element, but you are welcome to do this course via email only, with the understanding that you will not necessarily hear from everyone in the group or be able to join in those chats. (If you don't have Facebook, let me know, and we'll all try to work something out!)
    • After you finish this session, participants in this and previous Saturn Returns sessions will be invited to join a larger group together, to keep up discussions with everyone who's done this course at some point or another--Participants in future Saturn Returns groups will be asked to join it after they finish it, too!
  • Active participation in group discussion! You don't have to share all your deepest, darkest secrets, but I will be posting various small discussion topics in the group in between sessions, and others may post thoughts of theirs, and it's very nice when everyone participates and responds in some way, just so people know they are being witnessed, if nothing else.
  • The ability to disagree respectfully, communicate with dignity and respect, and not be rude, or belittle others in any way.
  • At the onset of the course, mid-way through, and toward the end, I will be sharing links to surveys that will help me get a feel for where the group stands before, during, and after the course. These help me to improve your experience in the course as we go, and will help me to improve things for the future, so I would let to let you know in advance that when those come around, I would like you all to complete them! They don't have to be done same-day or anything, but within a reasonable amount of time. I'll let you know if their are specific deadlines, and remind you.
  • Sessions should be posted every other week. You do not have to complete them right away, but the course is designed so that you have two weeks between each session to complete it. This way, any ongoing work or discussion in the group can be specific to work that has been done.
  • I will be posting discussion topics in the Facebook group between sessions, and you are also free to create prompts yourself, ask for guidance, share a dream or insight with others in the group, etc. You do not have to wait for me to post something if you feel called to share!
    • I also ask that we all, of course, respect each other's privacy in the group. The group is private to only current participants in the course. Do not share anyone's personal experiences, words, or anything with those outside the group. If you want to share something outside the group, please ask that person's permission and see if they mind. If people want to be called by their Craft name in the group, let's try to remember and respect that, and so on. More on this will come in the group itself, but I wanted to include it here so you are aware in advance. =)

That's a general idea of participation/behavioral expectations for respectfully working together in an online group with me. More specifics may come as needed. =)

If you're ready to start your journey, click here to view the options for how to sign up and get started!

The deadline to sign up is Saturn's Day, August 26th.

This session has begun! Reach out to let me know if you're interested in future sessions through Facebook at facebook.com/cutewitch772, or at cutewitch772@yahoo.com

**I'm also offering an additional reading currently, that is not on my Readings page on this blog. If you are interested in using Numerology and the Tarot to look at your Year Cards, finding the connections and transitions from last year, to this year, and into the next, please read the page here. If you sign up for this Saturn Returns course and would like a Year Card reading, let me know once you've signed up and I'll make special arrangements with you!**

Email cutewitch772@yahoo.com or message me at facebook.com/cutewitch772.

If you are unfamiliar with my work and my style, please do watch the Saturn Returns video I have linked above, but also check out my YouTube channel (cutewitch772) to get a feel for who I am and how I teach!


28 June, 2017

Priestess and Witch

Hey, Readers,

I recorded a video a while ago, which is being posted today, about Priestesshood and Witchery, in a sense. The questions I had for myself and viewers/readers were along the lines of what we think a Priestess is, what we think of when we think of a "Witch", who they are, and what they do. Is a Priestess the same as a Witch? How do they differ, and where do they overlap? Are all Priestesses Witches? Are all Witches Priestesses? And, for those who are Priestesses*, are we a Priestess OF anything in particular?

*Some who identify as men, using masculine pronouns, also choose to identify as Priestess, for their own reasons. You'd have to ask them to know exactly why. Feminist traditions particularly choose to combat preconceived gender roles by using certain words. Others may use Priest the same way I use Priestess in this context, in NeoPagan terms.

I said I'd be doing a blog post to further discuss my own thoughts on this subject, as far as my own path is concerned. So here we are!

Are Priestesses and Witches the same?

  • These terms in my opinion and usage are not interchangeable, but neither are they mutually exclusive. One can be both a Priestess and a Witch, and in fact, I think this happens rather often. But to me, they are separate things, each with their own functions.

So what's the difference? Who is a Priestess, and who is a Witch?

  • I'll start with what I think is the easier/clearer definition for me. A Witch is a practitioner of Witchcraft. Simple as that. Not all of these people identify with the terms "Witch" or "Witchcraft"--that is, I recognize that people who would be considered Witches by my own definition, based on their beliefs and practices (Witchcraft), do not recognize what they do as Witchcraft, and do not identify as Witches. While I would consider these people kindred spirits of a kind, I think that in order to be a Witch in fullness, we must accept and acknowledge that title. (Side Note: This is part of the reason I like the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft, which began in California. The name itself requires that Witches reclaim the title, and in order to be a Reclaiming Witch, one must own and hold and take pride in that title.) So many Witches dissociate from the name because it is misunderstood. I personally don't think any understanding is gained for a word when people refuse to use it.
  • A Priestess, as I mentioned in the accompanying video, could in one sense be defined as someone in an initiatory/degree system tradition who has reached a certain level of knowledge, or perhaps someone who is qualified to teach. The "High" Priest/ess of a tradition is typically the leader, while Priest/esses (without the "High" modifier) might make up other members of the group. So it is a title that shows a certain level of knowledge/practice, and ability to pass it on. Another way I see this term is as a devotee to/of something or someone, such as a "Priestess of Isis" or a "Water Priestess" such as the one I described in the video. If I maintain an altar to Gaia, for example, and do regular work for her, I may call myself a Priestess of Gaia. Or if my work primarily involves and is for the Earth, I may call myself an Earth Priestess. Similarly, because I teach, some people may call me a Priestess based on knowledge/ability.
  • The one final association I have with the word "Priestess" is in a way leadership, but is deeper than simply being the leader/teacher of a group. This definition for me comes from the Reclaiming Tradition, with whom I've done some Priestess training and other similar work, both at Witchcamp and at subsequent weekend intensives I have attended. This definition is not so much hard definition... It's more an idea, so, bear with me. Within this work I do, a Priestess takes on a role almost of spiritual guide or counselor, but also kind of like your Soul's best friend. Priestesses hold sacred space, or create that space, for someone (or all someones) to do deep, transformative work. As a Priestess in this regard, I might be designing and then facilitating a ritual for a group that will allow them space to do some awesome work for themselves, each other, and the world, or I may be working one on one with someone, listening deeply and witnessing their own journey. I find this work immensely fulfilling, and enjoy practicing it and improving my skills to help others every time.

Squares and Rectangles: Are all Witches Priestesses? Are all Priestess Witches?

  • This is not a case of "all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares." This is a Venn diagram. Some people are both Priestess and Witch. Some are one or the other. Some are neither. Not all folks who practice Witchcraft also have either 1) the level of ability/knowledge/recognition (yet!) to be considered Priest/esses, 2) something or someone to which they are devoted to the level of being a Priestess of it, or 3) the desire/ability to do the kind of Priestessing work I briefly attempted to describe above. And not all Priestesses may be Witches (those who practice Witchcraft). The utmost example of this in my mind would be some more hard polytheistic practitioners, who are devoted deeply to the service of their Gods, but who do not engage in Witchcraft. Their practice is mainly Deity-centric, focusing not on the Earth and its cycles, nor on spellcraft and other forms of magick, but on ritual for Deity alone. Many people we chat with online these days are certainly both, but I do know some folks who are Priests and Priestesses of their gods who are not also Witches.

What about me? Where do these terms fit into my life?

  • I am both a Witch and a Priestess. I practice Witchcraft, and proudly call myself a Witch. And as I mentioned, I do Priestessing work. I am not part of a lineaged initiatory tradition, though some may consider me to have the equivalent level of knowledge/ability within my own practice. This doesn't mean I know how to do things in other, specific traditions, as these have their own ways to do things. This refers only to the level of ability I have within the practices and traditions I am a part of. (In Reclaiming, initiation is not required, and Priestess work is done by many. But being a Teacher, someone who is trained to teach in the style of the tradition, requires certain training and pathwork. So Priestess and Teacher have different requirements in Reclaiming, different than traditions which confer the title of Priestess at the point of being qualified to teach.)
  • But my main question for myself was, am I a Priestess OF anything? So let's look at that...

Am I a Priestess OF anything in particular?

  • Ah, there's the rub... At first, I don't think I am! I do maintain altars to certain Deities, and do regular work with Universal forces/energies that are big in my practice. But none of these are daily, sit-at-the-altar-and-do-this-thing practices. I don't have regularly scheduled devotions. I do them when I feel called to. The deities I worship, work with, and have altars to, do not require daily anything from me, and I currently am pretty bad at just doing it anyway. Sometimes I try to start a daily practice, because I think it will be good for me. And sometimes I keep it up for a few days. Inevitably, though, it drops off for quite some time before I pick it back up again.
  • Am I boxing myself into a false ideal of devotion? Just because I see those who are deeply devoted to Deity blogging about their daily or weekly specific devotions to specific Gods (One on Mondays, one on Thursdays, all of them on Saturday, or whatever it may be), does that mean this is the only way to be truly devoted to something? It certainly shows a lot of dedication and effort, especially for those who are busier than I am, to carve out this specific time. I do not do this, and I consistently beat myself up for it, while also telling myself it's okay, that's just not who I am or how I work. But does this mean the Deities I consistently meet with in trance, the Goddesses I have altars to, the Gods and Goddesses I call upon in ritual, are not Deities I am devoted to? Am I, or am I not, their Priestess? With some, I feel that I am not. Not because of these presupposed boxes and requirements for ritual based on what others do, but because I know my relationship with them, and I do not feel that it has that type of connection at this time. Others, I feel I am, or could be Priestess to. I could call myself a Priestess of two or three of the Goddesses I work with and worship, because of the strength of my connection to them and their presence in my daily life. From there, it's up to me to decide whether they need their own day when I should always do some kind of devotion to them, in addition to just the everyday, all throughout my life connection. Should I? *shrugs* That's up to me and them, not anyone else. As I said, sometimes I have done this. I enjoy it when I do. I even purchased specific incenses for them at one point, scents that evoke their personal qualities. I only burn these incenses at their altars, when doing devotional work. I just don't do it daily, or on a regular schedule.
  • In the video that goes along with this post, I talked about a woman who is a Water Priestess. She keeps a sacred water altar, doing daily work there, and regularly uses the water to heal the waters of the world. Do I do anything like this? Hmm... not really, but also, maybe. I tend my herbs about this frequently, and use them in healing work. Most people would consider this Green or Kitchen Witchery, but not everyone would think of this as being an Earth Priestess, or Herb Priestess. Is some of this just personal preference in how you see these terms for yourself? I think so. I have a very strong connection with the main herbs I grow and use in tea and cooking, and with certain trees. I can call myself a Green Witch (I don't typically, I just consider this all part of Witchcraft), and/or I could call myself a Priestess of Willow, or of Apple, Chamomile, or Mint. I tend them regularly, I sing to them, I praise their growth and progress, I ensure natural remedies to anything ailing them, I give offerings, and I use their gifts in magick to heal myself, others, and through us, the World. Is this not Priestessing? Though we don't all call it that, I think it is. Calling it Priestessing in addition to magick or Craft adds a layer of seriousness, of depth. It implies that I don't just casually grow and pick herbs. I don't just like this type of tree. I maintain a relationship with them, the Spirit of them, and that connection is part of my ongoing work for myself and the planet. The Water Priestess is undoubtedly a Witch. She described other Witchcraft she employs. She could call herself a Water Witch (very Coraline, is it not?), but she calls herself a Water Priestess. The work of the Priestess is different from, but compatible with, sometimes overlapping, the work of the Witch.
  • There are also major Universal forces/energies that I find myself Priestessing a lot, both for myself, and for other people in my personal life. Much of my personal Priestessing work is for Love, but also--and this is a connection I only really made recently--for Death.

Love and Death

  • Our main Purpose as human beings on this planet is Love. To Love, and to vibrate with Love. This is a teaching I have come across a lot, and I love it (pardon the word choice). Everything comes from Love, everything goes to Love. As Ginger Doss sings, "There is nothing to fear when it's Love that you come from. / There is nothing to fear when it's Love that you're made of." Sound familiar? I've quoted it before, because it's awesome. Love is not just Romance, in case you needed that reminder. Love is bigger than anything. And the Love of the Gods, of the Universe, is truly boundless and unconditional, beyond human comprehension. Every day I strive to work in Love, with Love, for Love. You might call me a Priestess of this energy/force.
  • Death, or Loss, is something that I think about a lot, and Priestess for people a lot. I've often said, in circles especially around Samhain when we honor our ancestors, that I am lucky that Death has kept its distance from me so far, but I feel a lack of connection to many people who have lost people very close to them. One day, of course, I will experience this. It is inevitable that I will eventually lose multiple people who are very close to me. But so far, those I've lost haven't left enormous holes in my life. I have frequently found myself the only person at a funeral or wake holding everything together, being strong, not just in show, but in earnest. I didn't know then that what I was doing, what I have been doing for years, was Priestessing. I was holding, and continue to this day to hold space for people who are grieving. As a child, at funerals of older family members who I didn't know very well, I was often looked at strangely as people commented that I did not cry. They joked that I had no feeling. This never bothered me, although I thought perhaps it should. But as I've recently been thinking more about my work as Priestess, and what kinds of things I Priestess, I've come to a new understanding of my relationship with Death and Loss. I cried when my pets passed away, initially. Some much more than others. But after the initial cleanse, there were no more tears. I took on the duty of putting them to rest. And I create videos in their remembrance. (Mystery. Sierra. Kitty Lizard.)
  • Recently, another family member passed. Again, they were not close to me. It took me some effort to connect to the event, realizing that to their closest loved ones, this was a devastating blow. So while I didn't need any healing, I knew they would, and I did my work not for my own grief, but for the departed soul and those left behind. Nothing to interfere with personal will--which I hope I don't have to specify to many of my readers by this point, but just in case you're new here--but sending them Love and healing. Here again, Love and Death work in concert.
  • Thinking back, I remembered other times I was a Priestess of Death. One vivid memory, when I was working as a housekeeper at a medical facility. I entered a room I had cleaned multiple times before, with or without the patient there. This day she was there, and I was forewarned by a nurse that she was dying. We didn't know when it would happen, just that the medical team thought it would happen soon. I've told this story before, so you can skip ahead if you've heard this one. As I was cleaning, I saw and felt someone behind me, tall, and wearing black. I stepped out of the way to avoid them and said "Excuse me," I saw and felt them so close. When I turned, there was no one there. A favorite poem of mine came into my head then, and I began to recite it, out loud, in the room of the sleeping patient while I finished dusting and cleaning:

Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The carriage held but just ourselves
and Immortality
We slowly drove, he knew no haste
and I had put away
my labor, and my leisure, too
for his civility 
We passed the school where children played
Their lessons scarcely done
We passed the fields of gazing grain
We passed the setting sun 
We paused before a house that seemed
a swelling of the ground
The roof was scarcely visible
The cornice but a mound 
Since then 'tis centuries, but each
feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
were toward Eternity 
--The Chariot, Emily Dickinson 

  • I finished cleaning and went on to the next room. The next day, I was told that the patient had passed away later that morning. I also learned then that her name was Emily.

  • I do believe the figure I saw/felt in the room was Death, in some form. I've rarely seen beings of Spirit with my physical eyes, even in my periphery. The only other time I can recall physically seeing a Spirit was my grandfather, shortly after his death, when I was a child. It is one of my earliest memories. This instance in the patient's room was unlike any other I've experienced. The presence I felt was so strong and concrete that, as I said, I actually moved out of the way and spoke to it, so much so did I think a real, tangible person had walked into the room behind me. I've also seen the Spirits of my previous cats for brief seconds. But never other human-esque figures, besides those two examples.

  • Whether that was Death or not, I consider that experience an instance of Priestessing that transition, again, years before I knew what Priestessing was, or that I am a Priestess in such a respect. I was holding space, offering my Love in the form of art/poetry to someone I knew was probably going to die soon. I have never felt particularly afraid of Death or people dying, or dead people. There is no uneasiness. I used to think this was just me being morbid and a little weird, in a quaint Addams Family kind of way. I mean, I enjoy spending time in cemeteries, after all. And I've always thought about Death and had strange thoughts about it, from the time I was a child.
  • Something I read recently actually helped me with this old story from childhood, the one where people said I had no feelings because I never cried at funerals. I'm reading the autobiography of a Witch currently (and I'll be doing a review video when I finish it, or beforehand, depending on when I feel like it, but I'm almost done reading it, so maybe soon) and in one chapter she briefly mentions how she dealt with Death as a child, and the reactions of people around her to her apparent lack of emotion surrounding Death. In her case, she had future sight, and was able to know when someone was going to die. But to the question of why she didn't cry, she did not say that it was because she already knew and had time to grieve, but simply that she was a Witch, and Witches typically do not cry at such times because they tend to have a very different concept of Death than other people. Instead of fearing it or misunderstanding it, Witches recognize Death as part of a cycle. This may not explain things for everyone, and certainly some Witchcraft practitioners may cry at funerals. But this helped me to realize I'm not the only one.
  • So am I a Priestess of anything? While on one hand I think, no, on the other hand, yes... several things. I am a Priestess of my Herb Garden, even as a Witch working in her garden. I am a Priestess of a few Goddesses I am close to, in varying ways. (While some Gods have accepted/claimed me as among their followers, I am not particularly a devotee to any of them.) I may be called a Priestess of Willow and Apple. Of Love. And of Death.

I am a Priestess and a Witch. A Witch Priestess, perhaps. Though that sounds a bit pretentious, I may just use it from time to time. ;)

What about you?

I hope this gives you lots to think about and muse upon. Thank you for reading!


27 June, 2017

Slice of Life: Today

Hey, Readers,

The heat is broken at my grandmother's house.

But let me back up.

Today, for the second time in a few months' span, my partner and I had to get up early to get our cars out of the parking lot so a crew could come fill in cracks in the pavement. Last time, it turned out they couldn't do it because it had rained, so we had gotten up and rushed out and stayed out for hours (my partner going to their job an hour early, me going to Grams' place to do some work) for nothing.

It's raining. So it's happened again.

This time the rain date is tomorrow, which means I'll have to get up early again and go... somewhere... again tomorrow. This is already quite inconvenient, but to have to do it three times is carelessness.

I got here and my grandmother wasn't even awake yet. I left without my sweater, so I'm cold, but she has sweaters. I make coffee. 100% Columbian. Sugar. I make toast. There is no peanut butter or jelly. I'm vegan, so the regular cow's butter in the fridge is out. I eat it plain. I put my laundry in downstairs. We fold the clean sheets my cousin left in the dryer. We notice the heat isn't on.

And just now, as I typed that, the television cut out. But we have power. Light. My laptop. Still on. (My laptop battery is shot, so it would immediately shut down if it lost power.) But the digital clock across the room is out.

I forgot my flash drives at home in my rush to get out on time, so it's a good thing I uploaded the video I need yesterday, so I can just write up the blog post that accompanies it and set it to public when I'm ready. I also forgot my phone charger, but I had a cord in my car and can plug it into my laptop to charge. I have to get home later to work on some craft things that need to be done by Thursday morning. I've been working on one for a couple days, and haven't started the other yet, so I can't spend all day away from home. Since it's raining, though, they probably aren't fixing the pavement, so I can go home any time.

I'm working on another blog to go along with a video I'll be posting.

Today is a strange day.
Making the best of it.


13 April, 2017

Saturn Returns Workshop #1

Dear Readers,

A little while ago on my channel, I announced that I have felt called to create a Saturn Returns course for those of us who are going through our Saturn Return (or who maybe just went through it, or have been through one in our lives and are now onto the second or the third) to work together on some tools to aid in this time.

I've also mentioned that the process of creating these courses and recurring subscriptions is new to me, and I am happy to say that I have finally figured out a way to get us started! So here we go...


Saturn has been called the Taskmaster of the Skies, and also, perhaps less intimidatingly, our planetary Life Coach. Every 29.5 Earth years or so, Saturn completes a full orbit. Thus, in your 30th year of life, when you are age 29, Saturn makes it's first return to the place where it was at your birth. The second time this happens, you are around age 58/59. A third return occurs when we reach age 88 or so.

So what typically happens when Saturn comes back around?
People experience the effects of Saturn differently, and pick up on different things. Because we are in different places in our lives, the tasks that Saturn has set up for us will vary. If you're pretty much on course, you may not need a lot of additional guidance, maybe just some support and confirmation. But if you've wandered far off the beaten path, you may feel some pretty extreme turbulence as good ol' Saturn whips you back into shape. What it all boils down to is this: We get 29.5 years to live our lives. When Saturn comes back for inspection, we get a progress report, and if we've gotten off our marks, we are about to get seriously readjusted.

You can feel these effects as early as years in advance, because nothing in the Universe happens immediately and suddenly, as far as the movement of planets into different places/signs goes. And something as big and foreboding as Saturn? You can feel it. I've been going through things for maybe three years now--definitely two years--that can be classified as Saturn Return bullshit, and I'm only 27 right now... If I'm already being prepared and given homework and being guided to turn my life upside down and inside out... what the heck is going to be in store for me when I turn 29?

What about for you?
What's feeling strained in your life these days? What is changing? Do you feel a profound desire to make a change, but don't know what, why, or how? Maybe you're feeling called, pushed, or prodded into making a change already. Relationships changing or ending, jobs changing or ending, moving, getting rid of, letting go of... Feeling like you lost track of what you're doing, who you are, and where you're going...

I know that feeling. And it's not even here yet.

This, the first iteration of my Saturn Returns workshop, will take place from May to August 2017. It includes eight "lessons" which will be sent and shared in video form--one "lesson" (or exercise, or activity, or ritual, as it were) will come every two weeks, over a span of those four months. We will talk about Saturn and some of the ways its lessons can appear for us, and do exercises and activities aimed at looking into what's going on, where we are, and figuring out what our goals are, what we feel our limitations are... And getting some guidance for working past that. There will also be more obvious "Witchy Stuff"--Tarot, spells, ritual. Between lessons, there may be other, smaller prompts and activities, and an opportunity to interact with everyone in the workshop, for feedback and sharing. 

Ready to get started?
If you feel like, Yes, this is the thing for me right now!...
(Subcription box removed: Course has started)
The deadline to sign up is Saturday (because why would it not be Saturn's Day?), April 29.
A welcome message will follow at the beginning of May, and lessons begin arriving after that!

If there is enough interest, I plan to do this workshop again at the end of the year.
And in the coming years, we'll go even further as Saturn approaches its Return for more of us.
Saturn Returns into the sign of Capricorn in December!

The first iteration of this course began in May 2017,
but look out for more information on the second course,
which will begin in September and go through December.
Sign-ups will be ready at the start of August 2017
and the deadline will be toward the end of August. =)

Thank you!


I'm also offering an additional reading currently, that is not on my Readings page. If you are interested in using Numerology and the Tarot to look at your Year Cards, finding the connections and transitions from last year, to this year, and into the next, please read the page here.

Email cutewitch772@yahoo.com or message me at facebook.com/cutewitch772.

If you are unfamiliar with my work and my style, please do watch the Saturn Returns video I have linked above, but also check out my YouTube channel (cutewitch772) to get a feel for who I am and how I teach!


14 March, 2017

Let's Look at Your Year Cards!

Hey, there!

As you probably know if you watch my videos or follow me on other social media, or especially if you sponsor my videos on Patreon, I learned about the concept of Tarot Year Cards using numerology only a couple years ago, and since then have really enjoyed getting into it! I have done two Patrons-only videos on the subject for those who sponsor my videos, which are private videos, for my Patrons exclusively.

But something I've loved doing ever since I learned about this system is figuring out my friends' cards and walking them through what that means for them. Many of my friends IRL are interested when I bring such things up, but are not the type who want to go out and learn tarot and numerology for themselves--and why? I mean, that's what they have me for! Haha. So, the other day I was doing this casually for a friend, as it just happened to come up in conversation, and I decided,

Why not make this into an offering to my friends/viewers/followers online, just as I do for my personal friends?

So that's what I've done! It's not really a specific laid out SPREAD so much as a grouping of your Year Cards/other major influential cards (along the lines of the system Mary K. Greer discusses in her book Tarot for Your Self). This "spread", or group, consists of anywhere from 3-7 cards, depending on YOUR personal numbers, but consists of 7 separate "positions" that we'll look into.

We'll take a look at

  • Your Year Card for this year (2017, in this case)
  • Card for the previous year (2016)
  • Card for the upcoming year (2018)
  • Your personal Birth Card/Life's Purpose
  • Your Soul Purpose Card
  • Shadow/Teacher card
  • Zodiac card
  • and how those last four tie in to your life overall, and in combination with your current year cards.
My Cards/Layout

As you can see, there are seven distinct positions to delve into. The reason I say this could be as few as three cards is that sometimes the card positions are made up of the same card. For example, my Birth Card and Soul Card are the same card, and it is ALSO my card for 2017. Thus, three separate positions are packed into one card--that card has a heavy influence for me right now! Also, my Zodiac card is my card for next year, which combines two more positions into another single card. Thus, this "spread" for me consists of only four cards, covering all seven positions (pictured here). 

My friend's 5 cards
When I did this for a friend this week, his spread consisted of only five cards, because his Birth and Soul are the same card, and his Zodiac is his card for 2017. So I estimate this could be as few as 3 cards, and as many as 7 if they're all separate. But more likely, some will overlap. And how the "spread" looks depends on which cards overlap--I have a basic layout in my head, and then based on which overlap and how they relate to each other, the actual way your cards get laid out will change. You see my personal one for this year above, and my friend's is pictured here for comparison. Mine is laid out a certain way to acknowledge what multiple positions the cards hold. My friend's is a little more traditional-looking because of how his numbers were. Yours will be unique to your numbers and their relationship to each other, as well!

The deck being used is The Vertigo Tarot, based on Vertigo comics (part of the DC universe). It was created by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean, and Rachel Pollack. It should be noted that these year card calculations utilize ONLY the Major Arcana. This is the deck I'll use to work out a layout, but the meanings of the cards are transferable to other Tarot decks, so if you have your own, you can lay it out, too, and see how the images compare and deepen the work for you.

Are you interested in taking a look at your Year Cards with me and The Vertigo Tarot?

The investment for this small but mighty journey is $45.00 USD.
Send to cutewitch772@yahoo.com via PayPal (using the "send to friends and family" option to avoid any additional fees), and include your FULL BIRTH DATE (month, day, and year) in the Notes section. All these cards are determined just from your birth date!

These readings, unlike my others, will be recorded in a private (unlisted) VIDEO & you will be sent the link to access it. No one else will be able to access this without the link--so you may share it if you choose to, but I will never give the link to anyone but you. (If you have a Google/YouTube account and would prefer this video be actually "Private" meaning you have to be logged into your account to access it, not just have the link, we can arrange that!) Bullet points of the card meanings for quick reference will be listed in the video description, and I will include a still frame "photo" of the spread in the video that you can screenshot to keep as a photo for your personal notes, as well.

Thanks for doing the work! I can't wait to help as your guide for this fun, informative process. =)