Strategic Sorcery Homework #9

14633060984_f0ea357ab1_nWorking for a client…this homework ended up being a very valuable lessons not only in client relations, but in setting boundaries.  

A client approached me for something to help keep negativity out of her home and her life.  Now, this woman seems to attract disasters like nothing I’ve ever seen, so I figured it would be something of a challenge. I had already made a witch’s bottle for her, and done some other energetic work, but it was becoming increasingly clear that this may have been more a case of mental instability and paranoia than actually malevolence.

So, I tried the approach of making something positive for her instead. I felt like flexing my sacred geometry muscles, so I designed the following combination of sigils and shapes to draw and hold on to good energies/luck.

Since part of magic is psychology, and the resulting paper wasn’t all that impressive, I decided to brush up on my origami skills.  There are a variety of spells which include dead frogs or toads as materia magica. Since I have a soft spot for these little amphibians and tend to think killing them in the name of a spell is bad juju for the health of your garden, I thought the origami version would be preferable. Still effective in my experience, with without taking away a valuable predator from the veggies and herbs.

My client ended up being so pleased with the first one (red) that she asked me to make a second for her back door (green).  And, for good or ill, she hasn’t asked me for any workings since. (I tend to think it’s for good, as most of my divinations surrounding doing work for this woman warned to be very careful lest illusion/dependency begin manifesting.)

Strategic Sorcery Homework #8

img_1264This was the lesson on changing one’s own habits.  It was, for me, the absolute hardest assignment to complete because I had thought I was fairly happy with my habits throughout most of the course.  Then, this past winter, I started putting on weight as I never had before (for me this was 10 lbs., but I didn’t want it going any further!).

In truth this shouldn’t have been a surprise. Two years ago I ended up in a sedentary job and the outlet I had used for exercise, Kung Fu, well…my newly ex-husband was a teacher at the school, so that was less than comfortable. I stopped going to class, and didn’t put any effort into exercise aside from the occasional walk or gardening.

However, earlier this year, the ex stopped teaching there–around the same time it became obvious that I needed to start looking out for my health and wellbeing again.

So, I made offerings to Macha and Gwynn ap Nudd, the two deities that I work with who would be most invested in me bettering my physical form. I switched around my offering schedule so that I was focusing on them the day I had Kung fu class.  Any time I found myself coming up with excuses to weasel out of it, I could recenter and focus on them as an inspiration to keep moving forward.  I would wear Gwynn or Macha’s symbol (arrowhead or crow) to remind myself of the oath that I gave to them, to be strong in both mind and body.

I’ve now been going to class once a week since February. I love it. As an extra bit of motivation, my son (age 6) is taking the kids class right before mine. Even if I were tempted to skip my class, I’m already at the school because he needs to be there for his.  I have gotten back down to my “fighting weight” and more importantly, I’ve slimmed down (I can fit in my favorite pants again!) which indicates I’m turning that fat back into muscle.  I can pick up my boy again, and am feeling more energy than I had in months.

So, not much in the way of materia or sigils for this assignment, but a hefty dose of offerings and divine inspiration!

Strategic Sorcery Homework #7

One of the things that I did during my blogging hiatus was complete the remaining homework for Jason Miller’s Strategic Sorcery  course.  I’m happy to say that I did in fact manage to graduate and found it to be one of the most valuable trainings I’ve undergone.  So, without too much further ado, the next few posts will be slightly redacted versions of the assignments that I had remaining.

8009806568_a1209cc56d_kLooking over the various Strategic Sorcery grimoire spirits, the one to whom I felt the most affinity was A., the Strategist.  I went for a walk in the woods like I often do when contemplating a magical working, and was rewarded with a perfectly formed owl pellet (smack in the middle of the trail!) as confirmation that this was going to be a wanted and beneficial alliance.

I continued thinking upon what symbols, colors, and tools would be appropriate.  Obviously the owl and by extension browns, golds, and amber.  I cut the paper for his sigil out of an old atlas and centered the drawing on my own physical location (I credit him with helping me stay in the same neighborhood after my divorce).

8009799163_05b6fc4898_kOther materia include symbols for strategy (chess pieces, gears, rulers), money to grease otherworldly palms, opened locks, and an acorn for strength (it’s a Druid thing).  And of course, the sacred owl pellet as the heart link!

Finally, I crafted a necklace that included many of these symbols. Normally it stays draped on the jar, but when summoning A. in ritual space, I wear it to strengthen our connection. At least once a week I make an offering of incense and tea.


What Dreams May Come

14591850_1313000015400142_1552090880361809642_n.jpgAs I mentioned in my last post, my father died at the end of September.

My neighbors and family were kind enough to organize a small memorial for him. It brought me great peace and relief.

The night after the memorial, I dreamt that he, mom and I were in the kitchen. He looked like he did in his 40s (complete with tweed jacket and professorial elbow patches) and was talking excitedly about some lecture or other that he was about to attend. Mom and I look at each other, confused and I whisper to her, “Didn’t he die?” She whispers back, “Yes!”

So I interrupt him and say, “Dad, what are you doing here? You’re dead, remember?”

And he just shrugs and says, “Oh, that. Whatever.” He puts his tea cup in the sink and heads out the door.

Love you, Dad. Blessed Samhain, all.

Simply, gently, we begin again 

It’s been a while. Since April, in fact. A lot has happened during that time, not all of it good, but much of it powerful.

The pilgrimage to England changed me. The depths of the Ovate grade changed me. The death of my father changed me.

So here I am, riding on the dregs of the super moon in Aries to get out a post. Break the logjam, let a trickle of words through.

For now, it’s enough.


The Luxury of Fragmentation

Many gods, one altar.

 After reading several of the Internet dust-ups over the past few weeks, it occurred to me that we are in a unique forum where we no longer have to tolerate anyone.

As I’ve mentioned before, I live in a co-housing development. It’s another iteration on intentional living, where everyone still owns their own property, but funds are pooled to accomplish larger community projects such as herb and vegetable gardens, carports, and common meals.  There is a lot of diversity–the youngest, in utero, the oldest in her mid-seventies; whites and people of color; priests and layfolk; five-flavors-of-Pagan, Jewish, Christian, Atheist; six-figure incomes and 40B housing; able-bodied and wheelchair-bound; public schoolers and homer schoolers and unschoolers; monogamy, polyamory, gay, straight, bi, transgender…we pretty much run the gamut. And still, there is one thing that we all have in common.

We have made a commitment to living in community.

This stands in stark contrast to what I see happening on all sides of the Pagan Internet Social Scene. (See what I did there? Because, really, anything one can walk away from so easily can hardly be called a “community.”) Sitting face-to-face in a discussion circle, working though disagreements and differing opinions with my neighbors, operating by consensus (yes, we’re that crazy)–this is growth. This is community, in all of its painful fits and starts.

Because really, exile and shunning has never been easier than in the age of the internet. Don’t like someone’s politics, fine.  Smear them. If that won’t stick, grab your gods ball and go home. We succumb to the insidious luxury of fragmentation–we no longer have to learn to get along because we can always divide ourselves into a smaller and smaller subsets of people who are just like us.

Doesn’t that get boring after a while?

The Pagan Internet Social Scene has its uses, potentially. Debating ideas is one of the most powerful ones. Yet, it is a rare thing to see ideas debated and tested. More often than not, a blog post will descend into a mire of puffed-up egos, an insatiable need to be right, and a veritable smorgasbord of the worst behaviors the web has to offer. Add in a golden flounce for good measure, and presto! Another scene is born, perhaps this time for the Libertarian Vegans who worship N’zoth.

When you are in community, especially if you live in proximity to someone, it necessitates a different sort of behavior. The threat, “I know where you live,” well, it becomes pretty meaningless. You wanna flounce? Ok, but you’re going to have to sell your house first. Proximity raises the stakes. Not everyone is going to be a bosom companion, but they are going to be able to sit in a meeting together to pass the budget when it’s time. From what I’ve witnessed of the Pagan internet scene over the past 15 years, it’s done little to build actual communities–if anything the witch-wars and heathen-harangues are worse than ever.

My co-housing community isn’t perfect. What we do have in our favor is that we’re willing to struggle. We have skin in the game. We’re willing to work to get along with people who are fundamentally different from ourselves because we know our diversity is in fact our greatest strength. Community-minded Pagan and Polytheists could stand to learn quite a bit from this attitude.


As one fellow put it, “Some days I want to kill my neighbors, but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”