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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Magic of Dandelions

The Beloved who I live with, has a different sensibility about what our yard should look like than I do.  This Beloved finds comfort in order, in straight lines, and in carefully cut and trimmed plants.  Yet, in the over twenty five years in which this Beloved and I have been in relationship, they have also come to understand that I am nourished by the wildness of the wisteria vines and the buzz of bees that annually make our porch sing in the Spring.  I am nourished by the small red tea roses clambering up into the tree entwining with her branches so that red blossoms peer from unexpected places throughout the Summer.  I am nourished by the sweetness of blackberry brambles scrambling over and under the back fence from the neighbor’s yard, brambles with thorns that protect them so that harvesting must be done with full presence and attention in the midst of my rapture as Summer turns to Fall.  And then there are the Dandelions, which in our climate can bloom even in the Winter.  The Dandelions have come to almost fully populate what was once a grass lawn all around the house.  Even in drought years the Dandelions persist with their dark green leaves, brilliant yellow flowers, and whimsical puff balls.  I am most certainly nourished by Dandelions.

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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Today is International Women’s Day! In addition to my work online and face-to-face with women as well as with the products offered by our shop, I womensdaysupport two resources that help make every day “international women’s day.” I sponsor a woman through Women for Women International and I keep multiple microloans going at Kiva. We started making Kiva loans in 2012 when we covered economic freedom in the Cakes for the Queen of Heaven feminist spirituality class I was teaching at the time. We decided to put our money where our mouths were and make a collective loan, from our women’s circle to a women’s circle somewhere else in the world. We collected $50 from the members of the circle and I made two microloans to two different women’s groups, both in Senegal. A few more women contributed in later months, I contributed another $25 of my own and we got a $25 referral credit, and I’ve steadily kept microloans going there ever since, loaning a total of $800 to 32 different women’s groups in 20 countries since we began. The cool thing is that this did not cost me $800, instead it is the same, original money from that long-ago Cakes class that I keep relending as soon as my Kiva account builds up to $25 in repayments. There are 6 loans currently going, from what was originally only $50. Just a drop in the bucket. I encourage you to do this too!

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Heroes We Need

As for many people, the trash fire that was 2016 has not left me with a lot of hope for 2017.  Emotionally I’m quite torn between rage, incredulity, and bone-crushing despair.  At this point it’s become quite clear that we cannot simply rely on “the establishment” to build a better world, or even to sustain what we have now.  While it’s tempting to simply throw up my hands in disgust and go find a nice cave to hide in, maybe in Canada somewhere, I’m one of the poor sods that lives in the US and has to deal with the fallout.  That’s terrifying.  What’s a pop culture witch to do in the face of a fascist threatening their way of life?  Why, call on Peggy Carter and Captain America, of course!

The next four years are likely to be an uphill battle unlike any that I have ever faced.  Never in my lifetime has such a critical public figure be so openly racist, misogynistic, transphobic, honestly the list just goes on forever.  The tacit approval given to bigots to be unspeakable to anyone they deem “other” by the President-elect scares the pants off of me.  I grew up with my mother telling me stories about how she grew up having to sit on the balcony of the movie theater and go in the “coloured” entrance.  I never thought I’d have to worry about something as awful as segregation or internment happening again, but that’s a very real fear right now.  I for one am not willing to “wait and see” if things go as appallingly as I fear.  I refuse to see this country become a dumpster of hate.  That makes it my job to do everything I can to make things better.  Nobody is going to do this for me.  That means I need the strength, stamina, and fortitude of a superhero just to keep going, let alone make things better.

“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right. -Albus Dumbledore” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The way I see it we need the strength, courage, and honor of Captain America to make a stand against the theft of our rights and denials of our personhood.  We’ll need his determination to stand up against bullies and defend those that cannot defend themselves.  We will need his strategy and planning abilities to do the most good wherever we can.  However, even more than that we will need the indefatigability of Peggy Carter.  It is one thing to be the shining symbol of justice (Captain America) and another entirely to be the unwanted and unacknowledged hero (Peggy) that slogs tirelessly through adversity to save the world without so much as a thank you or to have their efforts claimed by others and continue anyway.  Every movement needs its figureheads, but it needs its individual, tireless workers even more.  We’re in this for the long haul and the tiny steps collectively taken by many individuals (all of us!) - sustained over time - are likely to make a far greater difference than a few grand gestures.  We need action from our fiercest warriors, our greatest speakers, our activists, and our workers, our volunteers, and our support crews.

I urge you to join me in casting the following spell to stand up to bullies and injustice in all its forms on January 20th. 

Spell to Stand Up to Bullies - No, You Move
(*underlined text in taken from the Captain America: Civil War comics)
This spell is written to call on Captain America and Peggy Carter because these characters mean a lot to me and embody the traits I know I’m going to need.  Please do rewrite it to use characters and references that have similar qualities and mean as much to you.  This spell could easily be done with other powerful characters: Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus from Rogue One, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings, or Hulkling and Wiccan from the Young Avengers - just to name a few.  The key is to use figures or characters that give you strength, determination and perseverance.

Ingredients: one small candle (standard or flameless), items representing Captain America and Peggy Carter, or whoever you are doing the working with (action figures, drawings or sigils all work - whatever works best for you), a blank piece of paper and a pen/pencil.

If you have a Captain America t-shirt and/or a fabulous red hat this is the time to wear it.  Consider running a Captain America movie or the Agent Carter TV series quietly in the background, cued to a scene of triumph.  You want to invoke your characters in a way that is meaningful to you and them.

Ground and center as usual.  Create sacred space according to your own practices.  Feel free to call on appropriate deities, ancestors, or other allies if you wish.

Place the items representing Cap and Peggy on your altar or temporary workspace.  Also put the blank piece of paper and pen there.

Take a deep breath and light the candle.

Say the following:
On this day and in this hour I pledge to stand up against bullies.
I vow to be part of the solution, never again the problem.
I call on Steven Grant Rogers - Captain America - to be with me and lend me his strength and sense of justice.
Captain, help me to stand up against bullies, to fight injustice, and protect that which is worth protecting. 
Give me the passion and determination to take necessary risks and make a difference.
I call on Margaret Carter - Peggy, Agent Carter - to be with me and lend me her strength, stamina, and clear sightedness.
Peggy, help me to stand up to bullies, to do what is right no matter how difficult or thankless.
Give me the stamina and will to keep fighting the good fight and to know my value. 

Grab your pen and paper and say:
Cap, Peggy, show me a sigil that will energize and sustain me in the fight against bullies - a sigil that will help me to do what is right, no matter how difficult.

Take a few minutes to allow the sigil to come to you and then draw it on the paper.  (If nothing comes to you in a minute or two just move on and don’t worry, it may come to you later - probably when you least expect it.)   You will be able to draw this sigil or carry it on you when you need it.

Hold your hands over your sigil (or the blank paper where you will draw it when it comes to you) and say:

“Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree besides the river of truth, and tell the whole world - 'No, you move.'"

Take a moment to thank Cap and Peggy (or whoever you worked with) for their help in your own words.

If you’ve called on any allies thank and dismiss them.  Then open your sacred space and ground - I recommend a nice piece of apple pie or coffee cake.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • aya ruje
    aya ruje says #
    A plant would be nice, yes. Energetic offerings are a good idea as well. I was reading another blog post where the lady did a 30
  • aya ruje
    aya ruje says #
    OMG lol i totally loved this post! you have a great writing style! And yes, 2016 was awful. On a global scale and even in my perso
  • Emily Carlin
    Emily Carlin says #
    I do daily incense or candle offerings for daily practice and leave food or flower offerings as a weekly thing - far less clean up
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Early last year I finished reading "The New Revelations" by Neale Donald Walsch. In it he wrote "You keep trying to solve the Wor
  • Emily Carlin
    Emily Carlin says #
    The next for years will be a spiritual workout for us all. All we can do is our best and nothing less.
Making a Difference with Pop Culture Magick

Unless you’ve been hiding under a particularly large rock for the last month you’re probably aware that the USA is in the process of setting itself on fire.  Regardless of your political ideologies, chances are good that you feel pretty threatened these days due to the escalating violence that seems to be everywhere.  We’ve gone beyond the point of “someone should do something about this.”  We’ve officially reached “I need to do something about this.”  It’s time for us to put on our big kid pants and actually do something about the state of the world.

In good times it’s usually enough to do subtle magicks to gently influence the state of the world, but we are not facing good times.  In troubled times we need to do everything in our power to make a difference because no one else is going to do it for us.  The most effective way to use your magick to actually affect the state of the world is to enhance your mundane actions.  Unless you’re the Sorcerer Supreme (and maybe even if you are) magick alone is just not going to cut it.   There is so much energy being thrown by all sides of the current political situation that the only way to cut through it is with mundane action enhanced by magickal action.  We need to do both.  Thankfully there are a lot of ways we can do this, particularly using pop culture magick.

Pop culture magick is particularly well suited for adding weight to our mundane actions.  Characters like Captain America and Superman are already rooted both in popular consciousness and the American cultural identity.  We don’t need to struggle in our magicks to find a sympathetic resonance with our goals of boosting truth, justice, and the “American way” because they’re already there.  Our pop culture heroes are famous for making a difference in hard times, making them near perfect allies in these times.  Further, because they are so rooted in our culture means that they already energetically touch just about everyone that we might want to affect with our magick, making hitting our targets that much easier.  We don’t have to bring our pop culture magick to the mundane plain because it’s already there, ready to help us make a difference.

As with any situation, change has to start with you.  For many of us the most difficult step in making a difference is the first one: getting off our couches and actually doing something.  This is where you can do workings with characters like the Hulk, Princess Leia, or Mulan to use your anger and defensive emotions as a catalyst for taking action.  Use the energies of righteous defenders like the Federation (Star Trek) or the Shadow Proclamation (Doctor Who) to motivate yourself into taking direct action like protesting and calling your local legislators.  One of the most effective things you can do to actively change the way things are going is to phone your senators and representatives.  You can boost the effectiveness of these communications by invoking righteous and persuasive characters like Superman, Captain America, and Aslan and letting their energies help you to make your voice heard.  (If you have anxiety about calling your reps here’s a great article on making things easier on yourself)  If you’re really uncomfortable calling your senators and representatives you can also email or write them a letter (though this tends not to be quite as effective as calling, it’s better than not making yourself heard at all).  Use the courage, determination, and persuasiveness of your favorite pop culture icons to make your voice boom.

Another great way to boost your ability to make a difference is to enchant donations as you make them.  Whether you’re sending firewood to Standing Rock, giving canned good to food banks, or providing hygiene products to local shelters, we all want to make charitable donations stretch as far as we can.  We can do so by putting everlasting gobstopper charms on food donations, casting a bag of holding charm on clothing donations, or a Wisdom of Gandalf spell on book donations.  You can enhance your volunteerism by invoking the strength of Fesik (Princess Bride) or the endurance of Strider (Lord of the Rings).  Use your magick to heighten the impact of your mundane actions.

You can do even more if you’re comfortable casting spells on others (do this or not according to your own ethics).  One options is casting clear seeing spells for the ignorant.  There are a lot of frighteningly misinformed and mentally manipulated people out there that could use a dose of clear understanding of their situation.  Call on characters like Hawkeye, Superman, or Wonder Woman to part the veil of ignorance and let people see the true nature of reality.  Llasso of truth anyone or perhaps a Mythbusters spell?  Another option is casting personal responsibility spells for the apathetic or inactive.  Call on characters like Tony Stark or Buffy the Vampire Slayer to bring the full weight of personal responsibility on the indifferent.  (See my July Boondock Saints spell against indifference)  You can even take it so far as to cast guilt spells upon the perpetrators of injustice.  Given the season, using the three ghosts of Christmas from The Christmas Carol seems terribly appropriate.  The possibilities are endless.

It doesn’t matter what action you choose to take in these times, so long as you do choose to act.  The current political situation in the US has seen an unprecedented rise in violence against anyone viewed as “other” and we are all “other” in some way.  This is not the time to “wait and see,” it’s time to take a stand before things get even more out of hand.  Inaction in times like these is effectively endorsing bigotry, hatred, and fascism.  Be brave and make a difference.  

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Staying Power

I took a few days off from the world so I could stay in it for the next few  decades. Many things have happened in the last month, that have pushed me off my center, upset the balance of my emotions. I was interviewed on June 10th about my work with AIDS as an activist and as the executive director for Delaware’s main AIDS/HIV organization in the 80s and early 90s. It was like a war zone during those years. One year I attended the funerals of 65 friends, I stopped going to funerals for many years. The memories opened old wounds. Then the massacre of LGBTQ people in Orlando happened. I have friends and personal connections there. I am also a Cuban that’s been in the US since fleeing Cuba in 1961, that was woven into my experience of the massacre as well. In addition to my own distress, I had to put on the clergy hat and be available for others who needed comfort and support. And all of this in the midst of a horrible election cycle, more tragedies for people of color, more glaring examples of rape culture, more bigotry against trans people, crises in the lives of my community members, internecine conflicts in my broader spiritual communities, and more. Then I was treated poorly by people that I have helped often. I shrugged it off, reminding myself that when you try to free an animal from a trap it is just as likely to bite you as to bless you when you help it.The last straw was the report of a father unwilling to pick up his son’s body for burial because his son was gay. I was thrown away by my parents when I was 18. I was done.

I knew I was in trouble. I tried to arrange a meeting to unburden myself with a friend, but didn't manage to call her. I started re-reading the Stoic philosophers, usually a bad sign for me. I doubled my meditative practices. It wasn’t enough. Most people tell me they experience me as perennially helpful, engaged, kind, and patient. Moment to moment I was flipping the Janus faced coin of incandescent rage and ice-bound sadness. I put away my cell phone, turned off my wifi, cancelled everything I could, and stayed home. I listened to music, read fiction, worked in the garden, hugged my husband, played with our dogs, and did not try to explain myself to anyone. My Jim, answered the land line, dealt with people who showed up at the door, warned off people that wanted to be helpful, and gave me the space I needed. This is not the first time that I have taken a break from the world nor will it be my last. It is the first time I am telling people of my struggles and why I drop off the grid. I intend to stay in the world and to stay on target with my work for many, many years. I’m back again, until I take another needed retreat from the world in several years. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Holli Emore
    Holli Emore says #
    love and gentle calm to you
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Brigit's balm, my friend.
  • Jae Sea
    Jae Sea says #
    It's so important to allow the space, uncrowded, to flow. I'm here for you. Hugs & Love.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Holding you, my brother. Always. I spoke your name to the Midsummer Moon at PSG and prayed a prayer of peace and justice, but abov
The Anti-racist Movement and Goddess Spirituality

As thousands of refugees are arriving to Greece from Syria, Iraq, and other countries, we see images that we've never witnessed before. Greeks are showing their solidarity in large numbers despite the efforts of Neo-Nazis, authorities, and the mainstream media. The poison of racism and Islamophobia is not finding fertile ground. All over Europe there's a massive movement in support of those who flee war, poverty, and oppression.

Anti-racist activists are preparing large mobilizations for March 19, the International Day against Racism. They're demanding the opening of the borders and the safe passage and stay of refugees and immigrants. Apart from Greece, rallies are going to take place in a series of other countries: Britain, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Cyprus, Lebanon, and more.

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  • Yia Alias
    Yia Alias says #
    Greetings Harita! Loved reading this article. Our treatment of refugees here in Australia does not sit well with Goddessians down
Claremont Pagan Studies Conference - II (2016)

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