Monday, December 28, 2009

Pine Oil

So I have started making my own simple oils, starting with some pine needles from our yule tree.  I have no idea what I am doing, but I am bumbling my way ahead and doing okay. 

I took some pine needles from our tree and bruised them with my mortar and pestle.  My Christmas tree is a beautiful white spruce that my mom and I picked out.  It is a little on the dry side, but it still smells wonderful.  The bruised needles were very fragrant.  Ive heard that bruising the herb before placing in oil increases the release of the plant's oils and whatnot.  So I put the bruised needles in an empty and clean baby food jar and filled it to the brim with olive oil.  I have been turning the jar and making sure that everything mixes.  I have heard that this process takes some time, like a few months to be exact, but I have patience (well some anyway).  Hopefully after a few months I will have some lovely pine oil.  I will let you know that results when i have them.

If anyone has any more ideas or suggestions I am more than willing to listen and try them.  I am still an amateur witch, and willing to learn all that I can.  So send your suggestions and thought my way please.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Eclectic Hodge Podge

As I have yet to do a sort of introduction, i feel that I need to.  to do so, I am gonna talk about my religion.  I believe that the best term to describe what I am is eclectic Wiccan.

I know that many of the traditionalists look down upon eclecticism, but i find that it works well for me.  I draw my current system of religion from many cultures and and traditions from all across time.

Modern day Wicca is the base for my religion.  I read from Buckland and Cunningham and, though i cringe to admit it, a little of Ravenwolf, as well as several other authors.  I read them to learn the basic idea of what witchcraft and wicca is.  I never followed them strictly, but used them as a springboard for my later ideas.

I draw a good part of my beliefs from the Celts and the druids.  I usually use the Celtic pantheon in workings, and i draw a good portion of my practice from Celtic witchcraft.  My magickal name, Iolair, means eagle in gaelic.  I got it when a friend and I were playing with the druid animal oracle, and the eagle card became my significator.  I have since found out more about Celtic Wicca and i find it much to my liking.  However it was not all encompassing to me.

Animals have always been a huge part of my life.  I want to be a veterinarian, and i have always had some pet of some kind to take care of.  Even here at college, I didn't last very long before buying a fish tank and filling with exotic fish and one rather troublesome crayfish  (RIP Thor).  My love of animals has lead me to both druidism and to native American spirituality.  Animals play a very large part in both religions, and i have found that the channeling of animal energy came quite naturally to me.  It is still a work in progress as i do not know the typical energy of each animal, but i find it being a very important part of my religion.  I often ask for the guidance of one animal spirit or another before performing a ritual.

Overall, i think that individuality is the most important portion of my religion.  I don't adhere to any one tradition or creed.  I follow my own path.    I take tradition and mold it to my own means so that my religion is truly my own.  I watch nature and allow her to guide me.  My religion is my own, and only mine and I will follow it with my lantern held aloft.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Out of the Broom Closet

Alright, I am having one of those weeks in which i thoroughly regret being out of the broom closet.

When I first decided that I would be openly pagan, I was happy, overjoyed even to be able to openly and loudly call my self a "witch." I knew that I would experience a level of prejudice, fear, and general immaturity. The idea did not daunt me in any way, after all these are not the days in which we scream witch and string 'em up. My parents were shocked and quite a bit confused, but after some explanation they were okay with the idea. My friends accepted the fact and welcomed me with open arms, which i love them for.

High school proved to be pretty easy, far more easy than college. I decided to go to a religiously affiliated school in western Ohio because of their pre-veterinary medicine program. It is the top one in the country. I knew that i would experience some issues here, not from the university, but from my fellow students, as we attract many of the fundies around here. But I put my career before my reservations and came here anyway.

I love this college. Their program is amazing and I have learned and experienced more than i ever imagined on this side of veterinary school. However, i have definetly received my fair share of dumbassery and ill wishes due to my religion. I have lived in the dormitories thus far and have found them not worth the over a thousand dollars a month that i am paying to live here. Last year, my first year, i was in a hall of jackasses who came to college for no other reason than to waste their parents money and drink themselves into alcoholism. Among them, there were one or two admirable souls who were content to leave well enough alone and go on with their lives. However, there was a group who were lead by this southern, white supremacist, christian asshole. They all tormented me verbally and through fucking with the things on my door. I chalked it up to something to be ignored and just stoically accepted their idiotic words and actions. I am still at odds with the group, but i have moved to another dorm hall. i thought I was better off in another building, but i seem to find the fundies wherever I go.

This year, my sophomore year, i live in a first floor dorm in a hall full of men. While they are not as obnoxious as my hall-mates last year, they are even more prejudiced against me. I accepted the verbal, and literal abuse with my usual stoicism. I have grown used to unkind words and i have learned to just ignore them. I erased any unlikeable writings from my dry-erase board without a second thought. My stoicism, however, only lasted until my dry-erase board was stolen from my door. I informed my RA and she filed a report, but, in the end, nothing was done and I am still without a board on my door. This all paled in comparison to the final straw.

Yesterday, i came back from a questionable and stomach-irritating lunch in the university dining hall to find that i was missing many objects from my room. My candles, incense, incense burner, smudging stick, and ritual athame were all gone from my room. Also, my tarot cards and animal oracle had been rifled through. As these were all things (with the exception of the cards) that were questionable things to have in a dorm room, i automatically assumed that the university had confiscated them (I had been burning some incense that morning that could be smelled in the hallway). But if it had been the university they would not, or should not, have confiscated any of my belongings without me knowing about it. There was no note in my room, no email, or anything. The other option was that they were taken by the creedist assholes who have been giving me trouble all semester. However, my laptop, iPod, jeep radio, and many other things of value were all left untouched. I do not suspect my roommate only because he was far to concerned over the death of a family member to even consider such things, plus i cleared the burning of incense and candles in our room with him long before i even started rooming with him.

I am, needless to say, baffled. There are good for and against both sides of this story. If security had done it, they are not allowed to confiscate my property without notifying me before hand and they are also not allowed to open boxes like the box that i had my tarot cards in. On the other hand, the things that are missing are all objects that the university would take. we are allowed to have candles and incense, but not burn them. I understand taking the burning incense or even the burner, but all the rest of it, NO. there was no reason. If it had been the discriminators, i believe that more would have been missing. However, if the thieves performed a targeted theft, they may have tried to make it look like a security raid.

I am so very confused, and I am also wishing that I was still in the broom closet. It is a stress that i could live without at this moment in time. I think that this feeling will go away soon, but honestly i am very discouraged. I will continue to answer people honestly if they ask about my religion. I am still a witch and I am still damn proud. I will continue to move forward from this, with my lantern and my chin held high.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Samhain 2009: my experiences

Alright, this is my first attempt at a real blog and I find that I am rather excited. I look forward to being able to write about my witchy doings and receive feedback.

For my first blog. I will write about my 2009 Samhain ritual because i found it fascinating and very very fun.

After spending many hours on Friday night deliberating over what to do, my friend and I finally figured out what we were going to do for our Samhain ritual. We also decided to do it in her apartment because we could have privacy from unwelcome guests.

We started off the night with free Chipotle, which I must say is an awesome way to start the night. We then wasted an hour or two exploring the college town and checking out the many costumed drunks wandering around main street. It was entertaining and really got us in the Halloween spirit. We then made our way back to her apartment to prepare for our ritual

She tidied up her apartment while I set up our makeshift altar.(its amazing what you can do with a simple printer stand and a handmade pentacle tile) We Lit a bunch of candles around the room because we wanted to have the whole thing lit by only natural light. Once we had adequate lighting with a horde of candles aflame and only slight worry about the smoke detector going off, we began. In the spirit of Samhain, we began with a guided ancestor meditation. My friend guided us through. We focused on those ancestors who have passed on whether or not we knew them. I seemed to focus on my great grandfather. I called him papa when i was little. We invited our passed ancestors to join us in the circle so that they may be present while we meditated and worked out spell.

After naturally coming out of our meditative states we reflected on the successfulness of said process and then moved on into our ritual. We used the elements to mark the four quarters. Air in the east, fire in the south, water in the west, and earth in the north. We used burning incense for air, a lit candle lantern for fire, a bowl of water for water, and a jar of salt represented earth. we cast a circle in a non-traditional way. Instead of the typical walking deosil a number of times while casting energy down to form it, we joined hands over the altar and raised the temple through speech and meditation. i prefer this method of circle casting as it is more simple and i find it much more effective.

After casting the circle, we called each of the four quarters, asking for them to lend us power in order to perform our ritual. my friend called air and fire, then I called water and earth because these elements correspond to each of us.

We then spoke about our purpose in the circle. The veneration of our ancestors as well as to recognize that this is the time of death, before the rebirth of spring. To represent the death, we both wrote down something about ourselves that was holding us back from being the person that we are meant to be and then burning it using the ritual candle. I will keep our writings private, its none of your damn business.

Once the the paper was no more than ash, we continued to the next portion of our ritual. We decided to each charge an amulet for two reasons. One to help us if ever that portion of ourselves that was ritually burned came back. The second purpose we charmed the amulets for was to help us if we ever were in a position where our spirituality was becoming far from us. The second purpose was especially important because both of us have had troubles keeping up with Wicca while at college and dealing with things in our lives and neither of us wanted that to happen again.

With our purpose met, we thanked and released the elements and then released the circle. We then made our way around the room extinguishing candles until only the altar candles were lit. By that light we gathered the water from the west, some salt from the north, ash from the incense in the east, and all the ash from our burnt paper and used matches. We then took our lanterns and the container holding the representation of each element outside to a nearby wood. We dumped the conents at the base of a tree after dedicating them as our offering to nature.

We then made a run to sheetz for food as we had no cakes or ale, given our limited resources.