The Broom Closet (NaNoWriMo Series, 2015)

Why this term, the Broom Closet?  Usually this term is used to state that the Pagan in question has decided to keep the fact that they are Pagan from families and friends.  While it seems that there has been progress made in terms of acceptance for the LBGT community.  However, it is not exactly an accepting community that welcomes a person who appears to consort with dark and negative energies that can harm anyone.

It is more difficult that anyone can imagine to be rejected and torn away from family, and have to restart all over.  Or, if the Pagan was young, the family can force the Pagan to renounce their faith, and abuse them. With those who decide not to divulge the information, they sometimes assume other names and have to assume online identities that is not connected with their true identity. During festivals members indicate whether or not they want their pictures taken and put on the internet in some fashion.  There can be a lot of accidental outing of a Pagan during these times, so if and when you visit a Pagan festival, please keep in mind that the pictures you subsequently post to your friends on Facebook can make it around to others you have just friended, and your pictures show up on their non-magical facebook feeds, and accidentally out them to people they would rather not inform of their current faith.

It is very bad form to out another Pagan.  At this time I have fifty percent of my friends who have come out to their family, mostly in the last year, and fifty who are NOT out.  Recently my coven had conflict with a specific person, who had found us through a profile that we had set up to login to various pages.  A member of our coven panicked badly, as she believed that if that person could accidentally find us, then members of her extended family in the south could find her, and then she would have a terrible time of it.  To top it all off, she was in the middle of a personal crisis, and she really hates conflict.  So the three stressful items on her plate, plus the thought of being outed to her family almost caused a meltdown of epic proportions. Being estranged form her only blood family would have caused a rift in our group that may not have been repairable, and at best, left a strain on our relationship with each other.

As for my experiences, I came out fairly quickly.  There are two trains of thought regarding this.  Either I am too cocky for my own good, and being bold thus far has not taught me the meaning of good common sense or caution; or that I have a lot of self confidence, healthy boundaries, and firmly believe that I will not be taken advantage of, abused, or used, and I will put someone in their place should they decide to do any of that.  So far my experience has been the latter. Has it caused some weirdness with some of my relationships, sure!  Have I been preached to? Yup.  But I refuse to Christian Bash, as they have the same rights to free speech and freedom of religion as I do, and the same right to respect by me as I have the same right to respect from them.  Whatever they say behind my back has stayed there, and I do not worry my brain cells over their discomfort or pettiness. Honestly, I have had more trouble with those from my own religion than Christians.  Someone I was very close to had an utter breakdown because she believed that my daughter threw black magic at her heart and almost caused a heart attack.  This occurred only months after I figured out that the Goddess had spoken to my heart and I was likely on this path for a good minute of my life.  What the hell was I supposed to do??? ACCKKK!  So I lied.  She wanted my daughter’s magic bound, so I lied and said it was, and I had done it that day.  The catch to this had me realizing I was being manipulated.  This friend then told me that my daughter had some deep emotional issues that my daughter was trying to escape, and shed some of it off on her.  But don’t worry, this friend of mine knew Reiki, and could cleanse and heal my daughter.  That was the beginning of my divorce from a good friend.  I, being me, let her know where to take that and shove it, and then disentangled myself from her forever.  I did lose a friend, sort of, from it, but I am a healthier and happier person for it. Had I not, I would have had some very deep anxiety and issues from the relationship that would have prevented me from growing spiritually.

But enough of that.  Due to the current social climate that is brewing within the US, the Pagan community does not feel as safe to come out of the Broom Closet, as other groups with just as much stigma or negativity directed toward them.  We applaud and completely understand the Gay and Lesbian community, and understand the lesson of needing, at some point in our lives, to be open about our faith, and to take on the battle of those who would rather do some horribly nasty things to us due to their religious dictates.  I do understand that not all Abrahamic faiths believe that they should commit physical harm or atrocities, but there are enough of those denominations out there that will encourage their congregation to illegally act against Pagans, either overtly, or underhandedly.  We are very cognizant of that, and would rather gently integrate into the community rather than be confrontational.

While many who read this will be a little incredulous to my claims of the need to be under the radar, but if you google witchcraft, you will find a plethora of  religious websites devoted to discouraging interested individuals from involving themselves, or being curious about the Pagan faith. Worse, if you google witchcraft and Africa, Saudi Arabia, India, South America, or other foreign third world countries, there is a deep and abiding hatred and fear of those who perform witchcraft, and you will read on those who cut up and cook albino Africans for witchcraft practices, or stone and murder in the most horrendous ways women suspected of performing witchcraft. This may seem very difficult to believe, or understand, but missionaries who go to these countries to bring the cultures into Christianity have done this, and the Christian home base in the US or a first world country may condemn the practices, but I can guarantee you that this is discussed, as local indigenous practices that do not align with Christian faith and practices are condemned as being witchcraft and evil, and must be burned or destroyed, often in violent means.  Being in a first world country only protects Pagans due to the established laws, and the willingness of some of the people to enforce the laws.  Recently there was a Florida, USA killing of a person, and the local sheriff went on to national media to inform the public that it was a ritualistic Wiccan and Pagan murder that was a standard practice of the Pagan faith.

Mid Point Update (NaNoWriMo Series, 2015)

How am I doing?? well this weekend I am going to exercise some self discipline and make it half way to the finish line!  I have to make twenty five thousand words by the end of the weekend, or I feel that I will just give up and never finish!  SO here is my pep talk… mrhaohahy, whoenrafdj, rwherjhaoifdj!  What is this, you ask?  Well it’s wookie.  Can’t you read wookie?  No!!  well damn, that’s a shame!  All I said was mrporporpomrrmrpo mrporep mporepom.  WHAT, you don’t speak Mermaid either? Well, damn, what do you speak?  What do you do to expand your horizons and get different points of view?  where did your inspiration come from?  How often have you had to explain your book to a stranger and have inspiration thrill your bones and make your fingers itch to get back to the keyboard and type?

Did I just inspire you?  Go out, and explain to the first random stranger our idea. See what question they have, and if they have any need for further explanations, there you go, you have a gap and hole in your story, and you need to build it back up.  That does not mean editing. Goddess no, no editing.  I am actually fearing December because of that! But add paragraphs to your story to explain those holes!  put them into a document for later, for the editing process that are good backups for that editing process that needs some oomph!

I hear yah, I can hear every one of you saying that you had a drive this early in the game, and now that you have exhausted your fingers and your drive, what do you have to write for now?  probably still a lot, believe it or not!  Maybe you need to go out to a place that had inspired you, and solicit the advice of those who gave you a character idea, and instead of having multiple flat characters, you have a few more dynamic individuals that add richness to your plot line.  Or, if you are like me, and writing nonfiction, at this time you need to agitate the system, and get more information and research. Or you need to speak with clergy members that will allow you to incorporate their point of view that gives a deeper richness to your work.  For myself, I have exhausted more of my enthusiasm than I care to have used up. At this time I now have to dig deeper and get some motivation somewhere and get to cracking!

Covens (NaNoWriMo Series, 2015)

Covens are often shrouded in mystery and rumor.  Many Pagans believe that there is a requirement to have 13 members, a hierarchy of priestesses, and spells cast to change the course of their fate. I love how this perception has kept many from feeling safe to explore paganism.  Unfortunately, there is more to the story of Pagans refusing to join and form groups together.  In the US it is expected that women cannot form healthy relationshipstogether, and the groups that do form havve a significant number of problems that can leave it’s members emotionally scarred. Due to this perception, some members do strrive to live up to this negative stereotype and the group becomes a nightmare to the other members.  Inwould reccomend to many new groups to read together the book Sacred Circles, Women’s Spirituality Group Workbook.  The authors of the book provide a wide variety of points of view and various group focuses to give you an idea that it is not just in the Pagan community that women have a difficult time getting along, but inalmost all groups.  Then they give you the why’s, and how to avoid or fix them. As a group, my group came together, and I bought this book for each member, and we all began reading together.  As each began, all of us made new and exciting discoveries about the groups they had belonged to, and could now move on from the hang up they had over why their group had failed.  Fortunately, we are all pretty bright women, and it feels that each member brings strengths,a dn compliments each other in some awesome ways that can be very unexpected!  This book opened us up to each other, and we are able to progress without the fear of failure.

But you’re not here to read about that, you want the juicy details of how covens operate.  Idealy there is some personal connection between the members that make them friends, and more tha friends in many ways. In a way you become extended family, as each member will begin to open up and share intimate details that are normally reserved for spouses and close family members.  The trust required to be a member is great.  I would not say it is a burden, but it is not to be taken lightly.  You, in essense, become an extension of a group that will accept and take you in as you are.  The hope is that with each new layer of trust built, the group, etiher as a whole or individually, will mature and grow spiritually.  There are no hard and fast rules about the number of women, what they do together, and how often they meet, but having a connection to someone else of your faith when there is generally not a connection, feels like a safety net for those times when you feel yourself in a spiritual conundrum.    Or, any kind of conundrum.

Magically, the members of the group come together to raise energy and cast a spell or perform a ritual with the combined energy of the group.  How the energy is raised can vary. Chanting, increasing personal energy and sharing through hand holding, and adding to specific parts of the ritual or spell are all ways to raise energy.  Much of the coven dynamic has more to do with the socialization dynamic than the energy dynamic.  I have read somewhere that some practitioners will only come together to do magic together, and then drift apart until the next scheduled event.  Some groups may never do any ritual together, however this is rare.

The hieigharchy of a coven is often as diverse as snowflakes.  Some groups come to a mutual understanding that based on the greater experience of one member or another, that person shall preside as the senior priest or priestess.  Others with less will be required to attend some specific training in order to reach the experience and capability as the senior member.  The determination as to what the ritual should look like, or how a spell should be cast is often the decision of the senior priestess.  This group formst is not the same in all groups.  Some groups have individuals of varying degrees of experience, yet none are higher or less than any of the other members, each ritual or spell is agreed upon by all members, or a member at any time can agree to be in charge of hosting and casting the ritual or spell work, and make the decisions for the group until the next time, when it is someone elses turn.

As far as membership after a group has already established, the methods of training and integrating the member can vary.  Should the new Pagan member have no training, but request it, some members may take it upon themselves to mentor the Pagan until they are ready to be a full

Another Attempt at NaNoWriMo!

So I will be attempting another NaNoWriMo, and this year I have a plan, and a team! I SHALLL NOT RUN OUT OF THINGS TO WRITE! That will be my motto throughout this series. What is my topic you ask? Well, I have to give credit to my newest friend Jessica, who asked me about my coven, and what we do. To which I responded that this was a complicated answer with no quick response. She then asked if there was a book I could recommend, and Viola, the idea was born! I have plenty to say, and it has inspired the rest of my coven to do the same. I will be writing on an easy on the eyes and spirit, gentle to the touch, book on what Paganism is to a sympathetic person that will not make them run screaming for the hills, or laugh themselves silly! Trust me, there is plenty to say, and a better way to say it than throwing spells at them and expect them to come to their own conclusions on what kind of medication I am on. Anyway, stay tuned!

Another Gather Around for the Kids

You can now help save animals by looking at ridiculously cute selfies
http://www.sciencealert.com/you-can-now-help-wildlife-by-looking-at-ridiculously-cute-animal-selfies

The map we are using is not to scale:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/true-size-map-relative-size-of-countries_55eed0f5e4b002d5c076789d

http://thetruesize.com/#?borders=1~!MTQzMjA4NDY.OTY3MjMyMA*MjMzNDI3NDQ(MTQzNDI3NDQ

Another Mammoth!
http://www.iflscience.com/farmers-find-mammoth-skeleton-their-soybean-field

I began National Novel Writing Month!

This is my second attempt to do National Novel Writing Month, which for me, is a really hard thing to do because I do not write for fun or for a living!  But I like to do random things that are out of my norm, and I would love to increase and improve the content of the blog, and improve my writing skills.  Normally I write what I think, and I have found my thoughts are fairly disjointed.  The Samhain 2014 post was rewritten twice because after reading it through and editing twice, it was clear I needed more than just a rough draft, rewrite, final draft help.  I needed practice.  I would love to be as clear and concise as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, who is the Yarn Harlot.  Now there is a lady who could be a professional writer on any topic, and at the moment is a professional knitter who writes about knitting.  The other person I love is The Bloggess.  She not only writes well, but has some of the best ideas!  I want ideas like that to stem from me!

So I am in day 3 of NaNoWriMo–as the coined nickname is for this endeavor, and i am off to an ok start.  I counted the Samhain blog post. But that was not enough words, so I used a trick suggested by the NaNoWriMo contributors, to pick a picture, and just type.  I found a lovely picture of a Kwan Yin statue under water as a part of an underwater garden.  I think the hope is to get wildlife to grow on her in order to reconstruct coral reefs.  And while looking at the picture I felt inspired to write a poem to her, pouring out my thoughts.  There was a lot of fast and furious typing, and most of it did not make sense!  But for me, it really doesn’t matter.

The second attempt became very disjointed.  I typed to see if I could randomly type without needing to have a purpose to see if I could crank out the average number a day, if I didn’t take a day off this month, 1,667. I definitely had to use some of the inspirational pictures I saved at Pinterest.  And I realized there were two things that could really fill my time.  I could write letters to my kids all month, so they had them for when they were grown up.

The third day of writing had inspiration from a wholly different source, my kids who I would love to lecture everyday!  That’s right!  In my head during a day when the kids are being difficult, I make up these moral stories that I would one day tell to my kids, and they would see how their grumping negatively impacts the family.  So I started off typing, and you know what?  I actually got 1,900 words out of that story!  I feel fantastic!  and it took me less than an hour to do!

I don;t think I would post any of the stories I make up on this blog, because the point is to improve, not to inundate everyone with the random things floating in my head, but if there is something really juicy that I manage to bang out, I will definitely share it!