To Be a Witch… A Life of Ritual and Devotion

It’s a common thing to hear that there’s a difference between our magical lives and our mundane lives. In reality, we have the ability to step into ritual and devotion each and every day.

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Gwion Raven

Gwion Raven

I've been a practicing witch and ritualist within the Reclaiming Tradition since 2003. I love being in service with this community of witches and world changers.   My own practice, my own way of changing the world is through devotional practice. It's my belief that we can re-enchant our lives by re-framing the so-called "mundane" as sacred and divine. By imbuing the familiar with a sense of wonder and infusing daily life with acts of magic, we choose to consciously make all of life devotion. Whether we engage in large, public rituals or sink sumptuously into the pure ecstasy of eating a delicious meal by ourselves or meditating at sunrise, our daily rituals can draw us back into harmony with the world and each other.  

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Witch Gives Thanks - A Gratitude Ritual

Thanksgiving, as celebrated in the United States has a complicated history. We are inundated with bucolic images of blue-eyed, cherubic pilgrims in the buckled shoes, sharing a bountiful table with the ever so grateful and equally generous natives who are just so gosh darned pleased that the pilgrims could stop by for dinner. Then, of course, after dessert, the genocide.

The "real" story of Thanksgiving is particularly bloody, and not just for the turkey. The Pequot Nation lost over seven hundred men, women and children.The ensuing decades brought near total devastation for the First Nations peoples living all around what is now New England.

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  • Jenya T. Beachy
    Jenya T. Beachy says #
    Gwion, I love this. It's very similar to what we do and I see some things here that I want to add to our practice. Especially now,

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A San Francisco Samhain

It's quite early. I'm the only one up and about this morning, except the dogs. It rained through the night and soft, fine drizzle is continuing to fall. Heavy drops of rain are clinging to the leaves on the tree in my back yard, those leaves hanging on precariously enough themselves. To my way of thinking, it's just about the perfect morning here in Northern California.

Later on today, after cooking breakfast and showering and tending to the dogs and their muddy feet, I'll be heading out to San Francisco. I have a couple of out of town guests and I love showing off "The City". There are magical places that we'll visit that are dear to me and dear to the Reclaiming Community. Reclaiming witches and many other witches besides have visited these spots regularly for nearly four decades. There's something comforting in that, especially at this time of year.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Magic At 10,000 Feet

Breath. The first thing I noticed at 10,000 feet was breath. Actually, it was the lack of breath that really struck me. I became aware of the incredible effort it took to breathe deeply and slowly, enough to fill my lungs.

Altitude sickness is a thing. It's not a condition to be taken lightly. First there's that inescapable feeling of not being able to quite ever catch one's breath. Then there's the nausea. Next it's dizziness. Left unchecked, the shakes begin, you know the ones, like when you have the flu and no matter how many blankets you pile up around yourself, you shake and shiver and it feels like your teeth are going to shatter in your mouth. If the shakes set in it's time to get down the mountain immediately.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Beautiful! Blessings on your deep breaths!
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Lizann

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Losing Persephone. Becoming Demeter

The room is mostly empty. A strand of Tibetan prayer flags dangles listlessly from a single thumb tack. The white walls are punctuated with tiny pinhole dots, the last reminders of where posters and photos once lived. A thrift store desk, repainted many years ago, sits empty. The lack of homework and hair scrunchies and change hurriedly deposited there makes it seem even older and somehow smaller.

The offering bowl filled with cleansing herbs floats alone on a sea of beige carpet. The charcoal is lit. A single, curling tendril of smoke rises from the center, and I close the door.

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  • Courtney
    Courtney says #
    This was good for me to read. My oldest is 14 and I'm already freaking out about the day she leaves. I'm only 34 so I can imagine
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Courtney, I remember being in my early 20's thinking about how young I would be when my kids hit 18 (ish) and were likely t
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I imagine that we all get to be Persephone and Demeter at some point in our lives, whether that's with children or a business or a
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    This is not an experience I will ever have, but you wrote it in such a way that it becomes real and raw and relevant to me nonethe

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
To Keep Silent - Listening and Remembering

It's mid-day. The air is crisp and cool. The fog is clinging to the tops of the redwood trees, wetting the forest floor with something not quite rain yet more than mist. Sunlight makes it's way, through leaves and branches to the duff below and highlights patches on the ground. I can see spectacular rays of sunlight, filtered and spreading out like fingers, illuminating stumps and bright green lawns of moss.

I'm standing still. The air and I are both still. There's no birdsong, just now, not even the distant croaks of the sentinel ravens, roosting high above me. It's as quiet as a forest can be. Practically silent, in fact. I take in one long breath and let it out with an even longer "ahh!". It is the only sound I'll utter for the next few hours as I wander about this oh so familiar spot in the woods.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Ritual For New Beginnings

I adore ritual. I couldn't imagine going through my life without those wonderful moments of devotion and pause and reflection. Whether you look at ritual as a grand event shared by a coven or a whole tradition or the simple act of stopping to smell the roses on a walk, we humans tend to love our special moments. Interesting side note: Quite a few of our furred and feathered friends also engage in rituals, but that's another story.

January provides us all with the great opportunity to take a big breath in and hit the reset button. Every year for more than a decade, I've taken part in a sweet, private ritual to mark the passing of one year and the beginning of the next one. My partner and I look forward to this ritual each and every year. It's basic and yet contained in the simplicity is a tremendously profound act.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Lizann.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely ritual.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
2015 Pagan Best of the Best

It's that time of year again folks, when the media starts releasing lists. The "Most Memorable Moments of 2015" or the "Top Ten Really Important Things That You've Already Forgotten About". I'm not a fan of lists. I find that lists make me grumpy. Why should I only remember these ten things? I frequently find that I didn't see any of those Top Ten must see movies and I'm pretty sure that those Top Ten Celebrities That Changed America, didn't actually change much at all.

So this is not a "list" blog. Think of it, perhaps, as a collection of my favourite seven (I like seven, it's sort of witchy and isn't Ten) Pagan writings that you might like to read at some point, and in no particular order (except number one on the list. You do have to read that one first). Imagine that the author (that's me) just sort of bumped into you at your favorite eating spot and said "Oh! Look what I think is interesting and compelling. Read these."

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