Sometimes you get jam on you

StrawberriesI’ve been thinking about working magic lately.  If you’re in the United States and are not hidden under a rock, you can probably guess what the subject is.  I don’t want to go into what I’m considering doing, but one of the steps along the way.

In the vast majority of cases, magic affects people.  It might be targeted to only affect you, or it might be targeted to affect a lot of other people, or a single other person. It could also be targeted at a corporation, or a culture, or a governmental institution, but those are all full of people. As responsible magicians, we should consider the impact of our magic. It’s our responsibility to consider other people, to avoid carelessly doing things that would have negative impacts, and to be considerate of other people. I’m not saying that you should only stick to positive spells, or that you can’t do a negative spell, a binding, or a curse – I’m saying that you need to consider the costs of doing that.

Since I’m not a Wiccan, I don’t really follow the Rule of Three (1). I do, however, believe in the Strawberry Jam Theory (2). The Strawberry Jam theory states that, like making a strawberry jam sandwich, you’ll end up with some the effects of your magic on yourself. There’s a balance in this theory, and a recognition from the magician that they may be affected by the spell in addition to the target.  You can, and should, do a personal cleansing after any spellwork, but depending on the Work, you still need to consider the effects on your life.

For instance, say that you bind someone to be unable to tell an untruth – chances are that you’ll find it difficult to tell untruths as well. If this isn’t something that will change your behavior, then you’re fine. But if you often find yourself in situations where you need to speak words that are not true, it may become more difficult for you.

We are all connected, and our magic is always connected to us. Consider this as you plan a spell.

(1) The Wiccan Rule of Three is a belief that what you put out into the world comes back to you threefold.  Not all wiccans believe in it literally, but most consider the perspective that good begets good, and hurt begets hurt.

(2) The Strawberry Jam Theory originates from John Michael Greer

Variety is a wonderful thing

Image by Flickr user mantas_tr.
Romuvan priestess officiating ritual.

One of the things that I love about ADF is the variety of beliefs.  In a survey that I did for a class a while ago. The survey included responses from OBOD, ADF and general Californian Pagans. One of the questions asked had individuals select one of the options for how they define their theology. 32% of the responses were either Archtypist or Humanist.  That’s a lot of folks who consider themselves pagan, and mostly druids, who are not theists.  While in ADF we tend to have more theists and non-theists, there is still a wide variety of beliefs.

The ADF Core Order of Ritual requires us to act as if we believe that spirits act as if they are different aspects or individuals – but it doesn’t require that we believe that.

At Pantheacon this year, we called upon the Spirit of Unity to help us remember that we are all part of the community, we’re all part of the world, we are all connected.

It’s a good thing to remember – that we don’t all need to have the same belief to come together, to support each other and to be there for each other.

Image by Flickr user mantas_tr.


Roses on the Wall
Flowers against a garden wall

Many of my photos on Instagram include the hashtag #getoutside. The reason for this is to encourage everyone who can to spend some time outside. It’s easy for us to forget our connection with the rest of life, to forget our connection with the plants and animals and the spirits of nature that exist outside of our day-to-day awareness.

Even if you live in a big city, or a small city like I do, there’s an opportunity to get outside and experience nature, to connect with life. I don’t generally spend time to go to parks, or go on hikes.  We have a park with an animal rehab/rescue zoo-style area.  We’re even members of the “zoo” but we go there only a couple times a year. Even there, the animals are contained and the plants are manicured.

Blind Peregrine teaches us about falcons

But even in this world of manicured plants we can connect with nature.  Outside of my third story window is the top of a tree, and there are little songbirds and squirrels who live in that tree. As I walk along the road, heading to the shop, I see birds and squirrels – in addition to the pets being walked. All of this helps me to connect with nature in the concrete of the city.

Beautiful Weeds
Beautiful weeds in the garden

One or twice a week, I walk to or from work.  It’s a bit over 3 miles, so it takes a chunk of my day.  Still, I experience frost on the leaves, the songbirds building their nests, the struggle of the weeds in the grass, and walk through gusts of flower puffs. At the same time, I’m staying away from cars, crossing bridges and highways, and staying aware to stay alive. In this way, I connect to life.

In our hectic world of virtual connection, it’s easy to forget our connection to life. Where ever you are, take what opportunities you can to experience the outdoors. If you can’t get outside, if you can open a window and experience the outdoors that way. Look away from the screens, and SEE the world around you.

Image Credits: All photos by me

Do You Really Need a Patron?

Cerridwen Statue on my altar
Cerridwen Statue on my altar

Admittedly, this is a bit of a hot button topic for me. In the Pagan world, I find a lot of people using the terms “Patron” or “Matron” to refer to a particular god or goddess that they are working closely with.

The traditional meaning of patron that I learned is an individual who is your supporter and protector. There’s a very deep level of relationship between the patron and the individual. When I’ve heard people use the word “Matron” in this context, they usually mean a female patron. There are individuals who have this depth of relationship with a god or goddess. Many of these individuals call themselves a priest or priestess of their god, but not all do.

In ADF, we often talk about finding your patron god as part of your journey, but do we really need one? Need? No.

Consider your relationships with the gods in the same light that you have relationships with people. Sometimes we have one really close friend, sometimes we have a couple of really close friends, and sometimes we have a lot of relatively close friends. And then we have all the other people with whom we have different levels of relationships.  The gods and goddess are similar to that. The exact nature of the relationship is a little different in how we interact, but there is a range of relationships from super close, BFFs, to individuals who you just casually wave from across the room. What relationships you have with the gods and goddess is up to you. The amount of effort you put into the relationships may affect the closeness, but like with humans, not every relationship works out perfectly.

Work on your relationships – with whatever beings you desire – and see what happens.

The Challenge of Moving

CreekOur Landlady told us that she was raising the rent – raising it further than we were comfortable paying. So we’re moving. And I really don’t like it.

This discomfort is completely aside from the effort of packing, and organizing the moving of utilities and internet, not to mention the extra expense for new security deposits and paying people to move our lovely – but heavy – furniture.

Our new place is great. It has a wonderful area for entertaining, and it’s providing me the opportunity to re-work my Craft/craft room to more accurately reflect my current interests and activities. Yes …. UGH!

I finally figured out what it is … this place doesn’t feel like “home” anymore. Half my stuff is in boxes and I can’t unpack yet, and so I can’t do what I want, when I want it. In a couple days I move. I now realize that I need to claim the new space quickly. So I have a home – even if lots of stuff is still in boxes.

In my family, we have a symbol that means that “this is home.” It’s a simple lock with hooks to hang keys.  So I’ll take that item and put it in the new place first thing. Then maybe, I can have “home” again.

Women’s March

March for Women's Lives, 2004 from Wikipedia
March for Women’s Lives, 2004 from Wikipedia

I don’t usually venture into politics on this blog, but I feel that it’s a good day to do so.

Today people throughout the US are marching in the Womens’ March – standing up for their rights. There are marches in many different towns throughout the US, and in towns that don’t have organized marches, people are still getting together.

The goal of the march is a great goal – every human deserves to be respected. We, as humans, have the right to be treated equally, to be treated with respect, and given the opportunity to succeed as much as we are able.  Everyone is different, everyone’s limits are different – but no one should tell you what your limits are.  Your limits can only be determined by you.

From Women’s March on DC web page reflects how this March came about.  It’s about the current batch of politicians and what behaviors the media and political parties seem okay with.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

I hope that one day I can live to see a world where we don’t have to worry about this anymore – at least not at a national level.

If you can’t march, for whatever reason, lend your energy to those who do.  I once heard Selina Fox say that for every front line protester, there was 1,000 people behind them.  We can’t all be on the front.  If you’re not at the front, I urge you to do what you can to support them.  People can’t effectively protest without support – money, letters/calls to politicians, people bringing them food, re-tweeting, liking, commenting.

May these Marches have the desired effect.

Caring for Charity

A while ago, I made a blanket for charity as part of an offering to Freyja. I asked for something pretty big and it worked out – so something pretty big was returned. So I made the blanket, and then left it out at a train station with a hand towel, a bar of soap and a note that someone who needs it should take it. I have no idea who took it, or if someone even tossed it in the trash, but the next morning it was gone. It felt so great to make something that I would just send into the world.

Since then, II’m currently working on 2 blankets for Project Linus and am on the lookout for additional charities to make items for. It’s one of the ways that I can help people outside of my little space. Each of the blankets are worked with a spirit or god in mind so that the spirit of the being is infused into the yarn.  One of the blankets is focused on the Harry Potter world – with each of the houses represented – focusing on working together even if we’re different.

Charities provide care and help for people in need – both for the people that they give items to and the people who help out and work at and with the charities. As we consider gifts for our fiends and family, perhaps we can also consider gifts for those who are in need.