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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Throng of Boars

In the old Witch language, the constellation that we know as Orion was called Eofor-ðring: literally, “Boar-throng.”

We don't know why.

It's likely that there was once a story to explain the name. Doubtless this Ever-thring (as we would say today), this throng of boars, belonged to—or was defeated, or captured, by—some god or hero, and ended up in the sky as a result.

We'll never know.

Boars were meaningful to the ancestors. Their likeness appeared on battle-gear. Boars are fiercely protective, and nothing stops them. You can always recognize a boar-spear because it's got a cross-bar. If it didn't, the spitted boar would drive his own body up along the spear-shaft, just to get at you. Seriously.

In Old Norse mythology, the boar belongs to the phallic god Frey, whom some would identify (controversially) with the God of Witches. His name means “lord.” The Anglo-Saxons had the same word with the same meaning—fréa—but whether to them it also was the name of a god we simply don't, and probably never will, know.

So much has been lost since the old days, like the story of the Ever-thring. What has come down to us has come down to us in pieces.

And thereby hangs a mandate.

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An Integrated Model of Wellness for Difficult Times

“What drains your spirit drains your body. What fuels your spirit fuels your body.” 
― Caroline MyssAnatomy of the Spirit


As a chaplain working in a healthcare setting, I am intimately familiar with the current efforts to include the emotional and spiritual aspects of health into a more traditional allopathic medical model. In many respects, we are seeing great progress as integrative and functional medical models are starting to incorporate more holistic and alternative treatments like reiki and acupuncture in treatment plans for patients. But what does it mean to have an integrated model of health? And why is that so important in times of distress, especially now around the holidays and as a result of current political events?

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Be Dangerous. Make Art.

“Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters on Cézanne

(This is a companion piece that I wrote the same time as the post I published yesterday over at Patheos called The Dangers of Witchcraft)

Time and time again, I find myself pondering the above quote from Rilke.  It came to mind again recently as several people have remarked to me about the importance of making art in the years to come.  I pondered it from both practical (making a living) and spiritual (making a cultural impact) contexts.  

To make art - in a historical/evolutionary context - was a dangerous thing.  Think about it -when you focus on creating something that isn't specifically devoted to food or shelter, it's taking a risk.  Yet, it's an investment in fully living, an opportunity to enhance and transcend our experience, to connect with the divine and the Other.  It was a struggle for our ancestors - yet it was the creation of art that advanced us forward as a species. Today, surviving may not seem so balanced on a razor's edge, but there's still risks in making art. 

Art is the expression of the soul, the exploration and manifestation of intent. It not only suggests the vulnerability of the maker, it magnifies the whole of society - its best attributes, as well as its worst.  The latter is especially disconcerting to the comfortable, the entitled, and those seeking to control.  Art is fine, as long as it's on their side, promoting their ideals, matching their proverbial couches. 

A struggle against the making of art may not have seemed so apparent in modern society, but the evidence has been slowing creeping in for decades.  A little story for you to explain:

I didn't have any issues with sports until my teens. That's when it was starting to become apparent that schools were cutting back on the arts.  There was often the explanation that it was for saving money, but suddenly the sports programs would see new equipment, more investments in stadiums and so forth.  Yes, sports are great for keeping folks active and team-building, but there's also an undercurrent of herd mentality.  Be part of the crowd, support the team, have school spirit.  You could perhaps argue that maybe the arts don't benefit a school in the same way - but there are plenty of noteworthy competitions and events that involve the arts, and band, orchestra, dance, theater, literary magazines and newspapers all involve working in team structures. The arts also encourage critical thinking, valuing individuals for their diverse talents, and giving young people creative outlets to express and discover themselves. 


So I don't think it's a coincidence that soon after we began to see the cuts to art departments in schools, we were rocked by Columbine and similar tragedies.  We've continued to see a disturbing rise in school/mass shootings, to a point where it's become so much more common over the years, that it's become practically "normal."  There are so many different reasons cited for the why and how, but not many correlate the lack of funding for the arts with mental and social well-being. Take away the arts and you cut off the stimulation of creative thinking, self-healing, and the access to reasonable outlets to channel expression through. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_psychicpower-web.jpgThere's an illusion that art is elitist, that it's for the genteel and the high-end (an effort to take it out of the hands of all people), but art has always been a process for and by all. It is a product of and by the dangerous, of those who see differently, those who wish or need to make their voice heard.  When art has not rested peacefully on a wall, it has been banned, shunned, and ridiculed - until its message is absorbed.  Every major movement in art has gone through the eye of the needle before finding acceptance and understanding. 

The truth at the essence of the concept of the "starving artist" is not a romance about a person unfit to make a "proper living" - but someone with a vision strong enough that they reject being silenced and risk being comfortable to see it through. 

So many cultures have plundered and destroyed art that has come before them - as a means to silence history, to rewrite and change the narrative.  From Nazis destroying the work (and lives) of European artists of the late 1930's-40's to fundamentalists destroying ancient artifacts in the Middle East and China imprisoning their artists who dare to speak out through their work. Whether it's through violence or a slow stealthy strangle, art has been attacked because it has been seen as dangerous. 

All because art is the result of focused intent. Intent is the root of magick. Art is magick, and art is dangerous. Art can change our viewpoint and that of the world. Don't forget that, and for the love of all things human and divine, don't stop making art. 

(painting: "Spellcraft - Psychic Power - by the author)

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Planet of the Magi is published

My space fantasy novel Planet of the Magi is published. It features a female protagonist who uses magic and is influenced in her moral choices by her planet's pacifist pagan minority.

The book includes people who follow two different kinds of pagan religion grown from the same root, one that remained on a planet that one that is practiced on a space ship. I proposed that the culture that remained on a planet is polytheistic, and tied their religion to seasons and agriculture and the gods that govern those things, but the ones who live in space developed into a henotheistic religion that honors a single creator goddess. There are also three different magical systems, one practiced by the ship group, one by the majority culture on the protagonist's planet, and one practiced by an order of warrior monks founded by aliens but now including humans. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_dapl_overnight_clash_11-20-photog_clayton_thomas_muller-twitter.jpgWater cannons in sub-freezing weather. Prayers. Rubber Bullets. Devotion. Concussion grenades. Love. The Indigenous response to tyranny and violence today is what it has been since 1492: band together even more deeply, practice ancient traditions, speak truth to colonial power, and pray and pray and pray. No matter the problem, the answer is always Love and Remember the Stories of Who Indigenous People Are and How to Live Correctly on Mother Earth. b2ap3_thumbnail_image.gif

Since Monday, November 21, violence has escalated in Morton County, Cannon Ball, North Dakota where hundreds of protestors stand around-the-clock watch to prevent an oil pipeline from being dug. Greenpeace spokeswoman Mary Sweeters calls it "nothing short of horrific" and Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune calls what the militant police in riot gear are doing "act[s] of brutality" and "nothing short of life-threatening and inhumane." Meanwhile, top American government officials remain silent. Police are also stressed and under duress while their leaders make decisions that they are required to obey if they want to keep their jobs. Nevertheless, sacred objects are being confiscated and destroyed; the 528 people arrested are herded onto trucks that are little more than cages and then incarcerated in over-crowded cells--medical attention is not provided. These are Third-World country responses to peaceful protests--this is not supposed to happen in the United States. Above is a photograph by Rob Wilson published in Indian Country Today Media Network.

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Affirmations with the Tarot - Using the Power of Imagery and Symbols to Create the Life You Want

My new Affirmations with the Tarot eBook is now available! Woohoo! 20 affirmations for EACH card. That's 1,560 affirmations!

Affirmations are a wonderful compliment to gratitude practice, and help steer your emotions, thought processes and life in the direction you want to go. Coupling them with the symbolic images of Tarot makes them even more powerful.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Congrats on another book!
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Thank you so much, Francesca! XO

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
My Cup Runneth Over: A Ritual for Abundance

This little prosperity/abundance ritual comes from my book Ancient Spellcraft. The first edition is out of print but I'm hard at work on a revised and updated second edition that will be available in 2017. It's the first book I ever published, the first publishing contract I ever signed, a whopping 15 years ago - how time flies! So as we approach Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I wish you all the abundance, beauty, and gratitude life has to offer.

My Cup Runneth Over

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Oh my, Laura, I was delighted to see this post and love the job you did with it. For decades, been channeling rituals with milk an
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Thanks very much for your kind words. Yes, we really have missed out on a lot of really powerful symbolism and connection by remov

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