Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Claiming Space

It feels like for the past three years, and especially the past two after my extended run-in with the psychic vampire, I have very much been a Witch in name only.  Admitting this feels a bit like going to the stereotypical AA meeting:  "Hi, I'm Jessica, and I am a WINO."  But admitting it to myself is what I have been doing this past week.
I'd still been going through all the motions, of course; I always know what the moon phases are, and I mark the Wheel of the Year on the Solstices, Equinoxes, and the four Cross-Quarters (the 'real' astronomical ones, not the Roman-Calendar-ified ones--sorry, Wiccans), like a good little Witch.

But, it's all been very academic and intellectual; the very definition of, as I said, going through the motions.  Yes, I know when all the holidays are.  Congratulations, Jessie, you've grown up to be a fine calendar.
I'm making light, but I'm also serious:  Knowing when they are is a job for the paper chart on the wall.  Remembering what they are at their roots, and experiencing the spirituality of it, that is the job of the Witch.

I think I'm admitting this to myself now because it's starting to change--because my spiritual nature is reawakening, starting to heal from the damage that has been done to it.  If I had to point to an event that started the change, I think it would be the trip to the Mukilteo beach, being with the Water and putting my feet in it, sitting under the Moon, and sharing time with a good friend who is also a spiritual person (and, I'm beginning to suspect, a fellow Witch, though she hasn't said so).

Like I was saying to Joanne's sister last night, I think the most important thing I can do from here to help this change is to spend less time in the "virtual world," and get out into the real world more.  There's no spirituality to be had on the internet.  The closest thing you will find are writings that may remind your intellect that there is a spiritual world to be experienced, but in the end I do believe you have to step away from the keyboard if you are to experience it.
I need to go to the Water more.  To stand under the Full Moon and feel the cool moonlight.  To feel the energies of the tall evergreens, whose reach to the sky dwarfs my own.  Maybe one of these days, even go visit a Mountain.

Most of all, I need my soul to remember that, like the wind in the trees, like the water, like the mountains, I, too, am a Force of Nature.

Then, I will be back to truly being a Witch.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Shining Half

Apologies to my sister for plagiarizing her old screen name for the title of this post; it seemed short, catchy, and appropriate to the subject.

As people around me have doubtless noticed, I've been off in a dark mood lately.  After yesterday's visit to Joanne's shrine at the columbarium, though, I think that is changing.  I had considered trying to message Jill to see if she wanted to meet with me while I was there, but I let time get away and didn't end up doing it; I think it was actually for the best for the trip (dare I call it a pilgrimage?) to be just about me and Jo, to be able to sit and have a quiet time to try to commune with her, and not be worried about what time it was getting to be or any of that.  I feel like it renewed and re-strengthened my connection with her.

I'm happy to be 'back into the light' for now, but I sort of have this feeling like it's my destiny to go back and forth between the darkness and the light for the rest of my life.  For the past couple of weeks, during my dark mood, I've said to myself over and over again that I feel like I have died already.  To an extent, it's true; while it's hopefully obvious I'm not literally dead, an important piece of me did die, back in April.  And a decade before that, I did experience what would be described as a "near-death experience."  So while I haven't truly died, it does feel like I have a bit of experience with it.

It gets me thinking, it feels like it's my lot in this life to be 'in between worlds' on a lot of different things:  Alive, but having experienced death.  Female, but having experienced living as male.  Pagan, but having experienced being Christian.  Maybe it's why that image of the asymmetrical being, the One-Winged Angel, light on one side and dark on the other, has always resonated with me.

(As an aside, I think it's interesting that the "dark side" is called the Left Hand Path in modern occultism; whenever I visualize myself as the dichotomous being, the "light half" is always on the left and the "dark half" is on the right.  It's probably just because I'm left-handed though.)

Spirituality, especially earth-based, Pagan spirituality, does seem to revere the dichotomy; light and dark, day and night, sun and moon, fire and water, wind and earth.  The Wiccan 'Charge of the Star Goddess' asks for the blessings of "beauty, yet strength; power, yet compassion; honor, yet humility; mirth, yet reverence;" all these are dichotomous phrases, and it is meant that the ideal is to possess both at once.
So maybe, hopefully, there is strength and not weakness in existing on both sides at once, the way I seem to be?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


As of sunset, tonight is the Fire Moon (at least according to me).  It will be the fifth Full Moon since Joanne passed.

The Eternal Flame I lighted for her back in April has yet to be extinguished; it has survived two different multiple-day work trips (using a very-long-burning oil candle) and other than the nights I was away from home, I have tended it every night.  (Except one; I had too much to drink one night and missed that day, so it is nice to know the lamp will actually go 48 hours if necessary.)  It is a daily ritual that still gives me comfort, and it feels appropriate to mention it and give thanks for it on the Fire Moon.

I've still been very slowly, and somewhat painfully, trying to go through some of her things; I recently encountered her engagement ring that I gave her in February of 2011, and that has made its way onto her altar as well.

Tomorrow, I will go to Seattle, and visit and decorate the niche like I have done each Full Moon's Day since I enshrined her over there.  It will be the first time I go just to visit--to sit with her, and leave flowers--without having other business with the funeral home and cemetary; it almost feels a bit weird.

I think I've written before that "I know she's not really there," although I don't know if I was talking about the niche or about my Heart relic.  Either way, I want to correct myself.  I know she is there.  I know this, because I placed her there myself when I Enshrined her.  I chose icons to place with her that have strong meaning to me, and therefore hold strong power, even if only for me.  Not only is she there, but I am with her, on her side of the glass, because I've also placed powerful icons that represent myself.  Now, I'm not going to say her spirit is there 24/7, because I think that would be very boring for her, and she wouldn't like it and so she just wouldn't do it.  But when I am there to visit her shrine, our niche, I can feel she is there with me, and I am there in the niche with her, and we are there together.

I'm not completely sure why I'm restricting myself to going there just once a month on or near the Full Moon, but I think it might be that I want to make sure it stays special.  If each time, it feels like it's been a little too long, then I won't take those times for granted.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sinister in its etymological meaning, "left-handed," naturally.

Or do I mean more than that?

Okay, start at the beginning.  I think I've been questioning matters of faith and spirituality of late.  Specifically, I think I've decided that all those ideas about "karma" or "The three-fold rule" and other variations are crap.  Not only is it crap, but it's the same crap that I already turned my back on once, the whole "through faith you can move mountains" thing.  If only you have enough faith, if only you send enough positive energy out, if only you follow The Secret, good things will happen to you.

These things all sound good until you realize that, logically speaking, the contrapositive is also implied to be true:  That if good things don't happen to you, it's because you didn't have enough faith, didn't send enough good into the world, weren't positive enough.

Joanne was as positive as anyone I have ever met; she always wanted to look for the good in people, and never spoke ill of anyone, even in private.  She pushed herself to do things that weren't easy.  What did The World give her in return?  More difficulty, more strife.  Constant pain from degenerative disk disease, mobility problems from lymphedema.  And, once she had found the love of her life that she said she had been waiting for for fifty-one years, The World gave her death.

Interestingly, it's possible that Gerald Gardner himself never intended the "three-fold rule" as it is taught by modern Wicca today.  According to this blog, in his book 'High Magic's Aid' he described the rule completely the opposite:  The witch should note when a kindness is done to her, and attempt to return the kindness three-fold.  That's significantly different than "give X so the universe will give you 3 times X".

In among all of that, I also ended up reading some things about the Left-Hand Path, the "dark side," if you will.  I think I had already had thoughts down those lines without really knowing it.  Rejection of religious authority?  Check.
Seriously though, I like that it seems to give you agency.  Instead of waiting for some cosmic 'karma' force to reward you for your good deeds, you take control.  You reward others' kindness with kindness of your own, and punish others' bad behavior; in other words, you teach people how to treat you.
You put yourself first because nobody else is going to--looked at from a positive view, you put yourself first because you damage your ability to take care of others if you neglect yourself.

I don't know.  I suspect, much like with everything else in this life, that the truth is somewhere in the middle, the narrow path between the two ditches we all end up running off into for most of our lives.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


New Moon tonight.  I think I'm back to wandering the Dark Black Forest again, and there will be no moonlight to save me this time.

The extended time off from work has probably been a good thing, as good as a thing can be these days.  I've been having violent mood swings though.  It's enough to make me question my sanity.

Thanks to Facebook "Memories to Look Back On Today", I ended up delving off into some stuff from six years ago, personal private stuff that was between Joanne and me while we were already a couple but separated by distance.  It is funny how we became so inseparable in just a week of being together in person; I think we were both grieving the loss of the other one while we were apart.  The long distance relationship was hard.

I've been saying I'm not in denial, but maybe I'm in denial about being in denial.  I mean, I know with my intellect that she isn't coming back.  But it doesn't feel like she's not coming back.  It feels more like it did six years ago, where we were very much a couple but just weren't together right now.  It feels like I am still in a relationship with her.  I guess I am still in a relationship with her.  Maybe I always will be.

Then I of course fall off into the rabbit hole of thinking that, you know, we talked about a lot of things during that long-distance part of our relationship, and once we were together, it seems like things were different than we had imagined, and a lot of the things we talked about never happened.  And I end up thinking to myself, I hope I didn't disappoint her too badly.  I hope I was really as perfect for her as she was for me.

She believed in reincarnation (as do I); she felt strongly that she had seen visions of our previous lives together and she often talked about them.  She thought I was always a woman, but she went back and forth between being male and being female over the course of our lifetimes, and until now things had always happened (I drowned, she drowned, I was a geisha and couldn't marry her, I was a witch and got burned at the stake, she was an airman and was killed at Pearl Harbor, etc.) where we never had long enough together.

We didn't have long enough this time either.

But I try to take comfort in the fact that if she thought that I was her one true Special Someone who had shared multiple lifetimes with her, if we had conversations together about how we wanted our next life together to be, then she must not have been so disappointed with me.