Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Hi, everyone!  Just a brief note to let you all know that I'm transferred the material here (and am writing in) a new blog over at www.thornthewitch.wordpress.com

Make your way on over!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

C is for creepy men at festivals

In my experience, Neo-Pagans tend to be more open about sex than the general population.  I've often repeated the maxim that Wicca is fundamentally about sex and death, and I maintain that with a hefty dose of adamance.  I saw a video recently on YouTube in which someone offered up an interpretation of the Charge that included arguing that "ye shall be naked in your rites" was some sort of metaphor for  being yourself and not trying to hide who you are.  That's a super sweet interpretation and I'm thrilled that this person was able to derive personal meaning in drawing this conclusion, but that absolutely wasn't the original intention of the piece (which, by the way, wasn't written by the Goddess Herself).  Naked means naked.

All this to say, witches and Pagans tend to not mind being naked, talking about and engaging in sex, etc.  We're not prudes.

That said, being Pagan does not require that one have sex, feel comfortable naked (especially in public),  or want to talk openly about sex, etc.  And yet over and over again I find myself having to deal with other Pagans who assume that, because I'm a Pagan, too, I'm promiscuous or okay with sharing the details of my personal life with strangers (who, just by virtue of being Pagan, are not automatically "family" or even "community").

I'll come out and say it: traumatic past experiences have left me with serious man problems.  I'm not inherently trusting, patient, or forgiving where they're concerned.  I've picked fights with guys who've catcalled me, I often call men out for harassing women or mistreating their wives and girlfriends, and I can't tolerate any sort of media that I feel encourages people to become desensitized to violence against women (*cough* Game of Thrones *cough*).  Yeah, I realize that women can suck, too.  I've heard all of that from the offended men in my life.  I don't give a shit. That fact is that men have more power in society than women do and are more likely to commit violent crimes against women than vice versa.  Having experienced such violence, I don't want to hear about how, "Well, men can be victimized, too!"  Go find someone else if you're looking for sympathy.  

I'm admitting all of this to the interwebs because I think it may be important in order for you to understand that I'm hyper sensitive to sexual harassment.

Leering at a woman while she's in sacred space, trying to hug her (because Pagans are supposed to hug instead of shake hands, right?) just so you can feel her up, or otherwise making unwelcome advancements repeatedly is unacceptable.  Being Pagan isn't an excuse to be a creeper.

While at festival, I had a merchant creep up behind me and offer to buy my underwear.  I was't sure how to feel after giving it some thought, but initially I was disturbed and offended.  Viscerally I was repulsed.  Needless to say, I left and maintained my distance for the rest of the week.  I've also had plenty of comments left on videos I've made that have been sexual in nature and otherwise off-topic and unwelcome.  When I've deleted the comment and said something to the perpetrator, what I usually hear is, "It was meant to be a compliment!"

It's not a fucking compliment.  It's harassment.  Knock it the fuck off.  You want to appreciate a woman's body from a distance and indulge in lusty fantasies on your own, fine.  Go for it.  Hey, I've objectified plenty of men in my day.  But bringing it to her attention so explicitly is not necessarily welcome, nor should you assume that it will be.

While we're on the subject of sex and nudity, I want to say something about clothing optional, family-friendly festivals like Free Spirit Gathering (where I was this past week):

Including children is great.  Encouraging children to be comfortable with nudity (both their own and others') is great.  But assuming that it's always safe to do so is not okay.  Yes, it's a Pagan festival.  The theory is that Pagans are more honest, more open, and more ethical than the population at large.  Sadly, this is not actually the case.  At a festival where anyone with the money can attend and where you're not always there to monitor your child's every move, maybe it's not the greatest idea that you allow your child to run freely, and unclothed, at that.  I want to trust people, I do.  I want to believe that things like rape don't occur at festivals.  But it does.  I don't understand why people are so readily willing to risk the safety of their children for the sake of idealism.

I'll close by saying that there's nothing wrong with promiscuity (and I'm applying that term to both women and men).  With regard to sex, I think whatever floats your boat (provided you're not hurting anyone else) is all good.  I just think we sometimes need to be more considerate of others and keep a closer watch on our children.

Friday, June 8, 2012

B is for I can't even be fucking bothered to do this.

I've been wrestling with 'B' for the last couple of days (obviously, I'm totally disregarding the original schedule for the Pagan Blog Project and just writing whenever I damn well please).  "Books" would be too obvious, and I just can't think of much else that interests me enough to write about it.  As I was flipping through some other blogs participating in the Project, I saw plenty of entries on the Burning Times, which made me pissed enough that I recorded a video basically to the effect of, "The Burning Times wasn't a real thing.  Shut up and get over it and read a fucking history book that wasn't written by Anne Llewellyn Barstow or Margaret Murray, for the love of all that is holy.  And stop comparing the witch hunts to the Holocaust.  You privileged fucks."

But that's just not very pleasant.  And I'm nothing if not pleasant.

It's not even a conversation that I thought warranted more discussion.  Everyone's got the Internet now, right?  And access to ebooks, free online historical archives through any number of universities, online lectures, etc.  There's just no excuse for that kind of ignorance anymore, right?  Surely nobody's tossing around the old "nine million women burned at the stake" thing anymore.

False.  In the last week, I've read this sort of horse shit in two books published since 2011.  TWO FUCKING THOUSAND ELEVEN.  One of these works was self-published by someone who teaches "Wicca" classes locally.

I just can't.  I can't even.  I have lost the ability to can.

So B is for Burning Times and bull shit and books that should never have seen a printing press.  B is for booze, of which I find myself immediately in need.

Monday, June 4, 2012

So I'm bad at blogging.

I actually write a lot more blogs than get posted, but generally after I review what I've written I throw it all out.  The writing itself is what's valuable to me, rather than the finished product.  Plus I really enjoy making videos.  It's easier, gets more responses, and is usually a little less embarrassing months down the road.  I've thought about consolidating all of my Pagan crap onto one website--the blog, Tumblr, videos, and maybe even the Etsy shop (which is just too much freakin' work to run casually)--but I think that might be more my ego talking than anything else.  I'm not nearly that interesting.  And (let's be real) I'd just end up ignoring it all a few weeks later anyway.

Not tons of news to report.  I had circle last night and then spent today visiting with my sister and my new faux friend, the Lazy Witch.  I say faux friend because I'm not on Facebook, so real friendship is impossible.  We have to do banal things like use the telephone and physically hang out with each other (ugh), rather than going to the lengths of true friendship that include writing on each other's "walls" and posting updates such as, "Frozen waffles are delicious!  I think I'll have some for breakfast."  You're not real friends until you're Facebook friends.  Everybody knows that.

In the spirit of Faux Friendship, on Thursday we took a road trip to Greensboro, NC, to visit Eclectic By Nature.  Charlotte doesn't have any witch or metaphysical shops.  Pretty incredible seeing as how it's one of the largest cities (if not the largest?) city in NC.  In fact, Ali and myself essentially are the local Pagan community as far as I can tell.  So we have to get our kicks elsewhere.  I found myself a new statue of Thoth.  I've got several images of him around my workspace, where he can watch me while I write, silently judging me for procrastinating, bull shitting, and researching under the influence of Jack Daniel's.

The Summer of Tarot is well underway.  I'm working my way through an audio course on the Major Arcana, and it's kind of blowing my mind.  Everything I know about Kabbalah I learned from Madonna and Britney Spears, so you can imagine how much of a culture shock this is.  I'm constantly trying to fill in the holes in my body of magical know-how, but I'M JUST ONE PERSON GUYS OKAY.  My readings have improved, though, and I've got my first gig as a Tarot reader at a benefit for Piedmont Pagan Pride Day.  Please note that Oliver made it into my headshot.

I'm also now the regular Thursday host at Our Pagan Opinions, stepping in for Allison, the lovely proprietor of The Witches House.  

Oh yeah!  And Free Spirit Gathering is coming up!  The highlight of my year.  If you're going, let me know!  Hawk and I will be in attendance (as usual), and I'm working to persuade Ali to come with.  Pictures and video are strictly prohibited, but I promise stories.

Happy evening, everyone!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Dark" Witchcraft

I'm feeling tired and frazzled, but content. Conferences are always academically energizing for me. They're good for my ego, mostly, but it's also great to interact with scholars that I respect and potentially make some new friends. My paper was well-received and I feel that I responded to all of my questions very well. FSU is on my list of potential Ph.D. programs, and it was great to actually see the campus and meet some of the professors.

Not a lot going on, otherwise. I haven't posted much of substance to YouTube in the last several days. I've watched with some bewilderment as the popular topic in the community lately seems to be "dark witchcraft," whatever that is. I get where these folks are coming from, I think. What I don't understand is why there needs to be yet another label for something that I think is inherent to witchcraft already. To call rites and rituals that somehow pertain to death "dark" seems to me to place a value judgement on them and automatically draws a comparison that I don't think is helpful. I don't see why death is any "darker" than any other human experience (if you ask me, childbirth and parenthood are way scarier, and definitely grosser).

People die. People suffer. Witches sometimes talk to dead people. A lot of us collect skulls and other dead bits. Cemeteries can be powerful places. Blood can be a powerful ritual additive. Pain can be a source of power. So what? If that makes me "dark," then it's news to me. That's just part of being a witch, as far as I'm concerned.

What I will say, since I'm on the subject, is that it annoys me when these "dark witches" describe themselves in direct contrast to Wiccans, who are supposedly "focused on light, love, and the positive." Like being Wiccan is a bad thing. I can understand why someone with only a superficial understanding of Wicca--gained primarily from the Barnes & Noble "New Age" section and YouTube--would think that Wiccans are all about kittens and moonbeams (both of which are admittedly awesome), but this is simply erroneous. Wicca is fundamentally about sex and death. And lots of both. Maybe Scott Cunningham's version of Wicca doesn't include scourging, magic involving blood, or work with the dead, but that doesn't mean it isn't part of Wicca.

I think what some people are calling "dark" is really just self-awareness. To quote The Princess Bride, "Life is pain. Anyone who says different is selling something."

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm what's often called a "hard polytheist." I see the gods as distinct entities with unique personalities, preferences, and agendas. My experience has been that some gods are more human-like than others. Some have more interest in humans than others. Some have more power and influence than others. Isis is no more a reflection of Hecate than I'm a reflection of you. Maybe on some esoteric, woo woo level we're All One, but for all practical purposes I am not you and Ogun is not Herne. Furthermore, not all gods have your best interests at heart (which is why the prospect of "using a deity" is so ludicrous).

That said, Yahweh is as real to me as any of the gods and spirits that I actually serve and work with. He's real and he's a pain in my ass. I don't really get the connection between Yahweh and Jesus. They're separate, they're the same, something about also being the Holy Spirit, whatever. But the second I get involved in anything Jesus-y, Yahweh is knocking on all of my doors, trying to push his way in. Like a persistent girl scout. I HEAR YOU I JUST DON'T WANT TO ANSWER SO GO AWAY. I DON'T WANT YOUR COOKIES.

This ethnography is going to be really challenging, as I'll be having to spend more time in church and reading scripture than probably a fair number of Christians. Thankfully I'm protected from his influence by my Satanic Wiccan powers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Just an update

Hooray for cleaning my house! Imbolc for me is all about preparing for the coming spring, and part of that involves getting rid of crap I don't need, fixing crap that's broken, cleaning everything else, and making sure that nothing in the fridge is rotting. Woo! Look for a couple of new videos on my YouTube channel (including a giveaway), as well.

Not much to report otherwise. My goal this year was to make time for myself and my individual Craft studies alongside of school. I'm making an effort to journal every day, read non-school books, and make time for solitary ritual. I have to remind myself that I'm an infinitely happier person when I do these things, but it's still difficult. I think this is something that a lot of people struggle with, particularly when they're new to witchcraft. Over the years, I've figured out that for me the key really is working to live mindfully and make each act magical in and of itself. There will never be a point where "life settles down" and suddenly there's time to be Wiccan. Most people don't speak so explicitly, but that seems to be the implication when folks say things like, "I don't have time to practice." What does that even mean? Like we're talking about committing to a sports team or something. Wicca is about all of that other life stuff, too. It's about cleaning your house, taking care of your family, choosing what to eat, who you have relationships with, and making career decisions. It encompasses everything. Of course it doesn't tell you exactly how to do any of those things, but practicing Wicca fundamentally affects who you are, and thus every other decision you make. At least, that's been my experience. I realize it isn't like that for some people.

Anyway, I should be telling myself this. I'm going to go finish my laundry and go to the grocery store now.