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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Making Dark Art

"I really like your artwork - it's beautiful and powerful.  But it's too dark for me to hang in my home." These words came from a middle-aged woman (my guess), standing in front of my table at a recent art show.  While most of the other attendees were in some form of fandom or cosplay attire, she was in regular clothes - well put-together, conservative yet confident, reminiscent of my mother in style.  

Though none of that really matters, it was just a quick observation on my part while trying to come up with a response.

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The Struggle of Sacred, Sensual, Sexual

In 5th grade, we had an assignment to make art depicting "innocence and the light and grace of God" (or something similar). I chose to draw a young boy and girl standing bathed in the light of the Holy Spirit (in dove form), their backs to the viewer, their bodies lightly covered in transparent shifts.  To me that showed the purity of creation, a clear symbol of innocence. I thought it was a beautiful drawing. 

My classmates called me a pervert and were horrified. My teacher told me they needed more clothes.  I didn't see anything wrong or shameful in what I had drawn.  

I grew up with big books of museum art full of nudes, wallpaper with naked women bathing in my parents' bathroom - which was no different than the metallic lions and tigers in the jungle on the walls of the bathroom my brothers and I shared. Bodies are used in art because they are amazing things.  I inherently understood that being naked didn't automatically mean being sexual. 

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Very interesting and well put. I too grew up with an artist mother and parents who didn't hide their bodies. My mom used to invite
Manifesting Your Path As An Artist

This past weekend at Paganicon in Minneapolis, MN, I gave workshops on Witchcraft, Ritual Movement, and Art.  The latter especially focused on my own path as an artist and where it intersects with my Witchcraft.  Alas, 90 minutes wasn't quite enough time to get it all in, so I figured I'd write up 6 key points here for y'all.

In my lecture, I talked about how art schools rarely give artists the tools they need to really succeed.  Sure, we can learn the craft of being artists from a technical standpoint and refine the use of our media - but when it comes to promotion and being professional, those areas are sorely lacking in formal art education.  Which means finding your way through a lot of trial and error. 

So how do you get your work out there as an artist?

1) Have a presence on the internet: a facebook page for your work, Instagram account, your own website, or being on a portfolio website (deviantart, behance, etc), etc.  This requires also getting good photos and/or scans of your artwork, as well as crafting a short biography, artist statement, and build a resume of shows/events/awards/education. Watermark your art! 

2) Have a physical presence in the real world: invest in business cards, postcards, etc - that you pass out with your work and online presence on them. Network with other artists, check out local groups, galleries, and other events.  Does your local town/city have an artwalk? Check out the spaces, see what the art is like. 

3) Craft a plan for each year, setting goals for what you want to accomplish.  Goals can be along the lines of: doing a series of 10 paintings on X theme, participate in 3 group shows, get a solo show, do 1 outdoor festival, etc.  It all depends on your media and where you want to go with your artwork.

4) Keep your word and be realistic.  This seems like a common sense thing, but unfortunately there is often a lot of substance behind the idea of the "flakey artists."  I can't tell you how many times I've filled in at events for artists who have flaked at the last minute because they didn't get work done for the show. However, shit does happen, so if you suspect you're not able to do an event or make a deadline, give the host/organizer PLENTY of time, so they can adjust accordingly.  Saying yes and falling through again and again damages your reputation, no matter how good your work may be. 

5) Presentation and Products! Consider the ways you can show and replicate your artwork so that you can get it out there and make money off of it.  Is your work easy to frame? What size works best? How durable is it? How much will it cost to hang it properly? Be creative! Prints, notecards, calendars, magnets, t-shirts, etc - can be really awesome - or a money pit. Go to events and see what similar artists (subject, media, etc) are doing, and consider what can be your own take. Look to create a variety of pricepoints as well.  For example, I have notecards that are $4, prints from $20-$30, higher end prints from $45-$150, and then original art - so art for a variety of budgets.  

6) Make art.  No really, make it. Don't just think about it or talk about it, or plan it. MAKE IT. The only way to expand as an artist is to keep making art, keep producing it, keep developing and trying out ideas.  

Now there's a lot more that can be done, but these 6 points I believe are at the root of developing your brand and growing as an artist.  "Overnight success" is the result of years of hard work that most people never see. 


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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Art of #WeAreAradia

What is #WeAreAradia? 

As I wrote over here, #WeAreAradia says we don’t need a savior, or one voice to save us.  We need to save ourselves, we need to be the teachers.  We need to be the learners and the guides. We need to be the Witches.  It’s a call to stand up for your beliefs.  A message, a call to action to build and use your practices to protect and to empower everyone who needs it. I would like to also note that this is a call across traditions, genders, colors, creeds, ages, and abilities.  We can revel in and honor diversity – AND bring everyone up together.

And as Storm beautifully says here:  #WeAreAradia is a call to action for witches and warlocks everywhere: Stand up. Speak out. Cast proud. We offer whatever magic we can to the cause of freedom and resistance to tyranny. Some of us are healers. Others are artists. Some are diviners. Still others are warriors. Aradia wasn’t teaching us how to enable our oppressors, but how to defeat them. It will take all of our skills together in order to survive what comes next, if we pay attention to what history has taught us. I believe that the time has come for witches to remember our history. Dark times require dark arts.

It's inspired me to create some artwork as well as right a new charge to inspire.  Keep an eye out for more artwork soon.  

The Charge of the New Aradia
When sense and world has parted ways,
Whenever need is great and dire
In brightest sun or moon’s dark phase
Bring forth will to light the fire.
Send down the roots, raise up your arms,
Call forth spirit, summon its charms
With wand and cauldron, stang and knife,
With cloak and horn and lore of wife
Build your wisdom and bide your time
In eyes of heart, and blood sweet wine.
In city and wood gather still
To protect and guide with our will.
Now is the time to heed the call
Witches together one and all.
In our truth, we know the power,
That our voice brings down the tower.
To banish, cleanse, bless, heal, and guide
With our secrets and sabbat ride.
It’s the hour to change the tides
For now as witches we all rise!

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Claim Your Power

I know I've been quiet over here - really got leveled by a nasty cold that wouldn't go away, then as soon as I could, I was back in the studio making artwork and finishing the first draft of my second book, Sigil Witchery.  I'll be sharing with you some insights into the artwork I made recently, but for now, I wanted to share a new colored variation of the Power Sigil.  

To read more about it, please visit this blog post - which will also get you back to the original post on the Power Sigil.  You can also read about the Power Sigil more in this blog's archives.  This version follows all of the same protocol I released on the original one - so you can save it, print it out, tattoo it, making cross-stitch of it, etc - as long as you don't use it in such a way to make money off of it. Thank you! 

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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 SageWoman Blogs
Ritual: The Power to Persist

If you’re a heart-led individual, you know it’s hard to be an agent of love in a world where vision is often scorned by those who prefer greed and narrow-mindedness. Sometimes, we just want to give up.

When hate tramples you, Gaia, and the lives of others—whether they are people you know or strangers—suffering can be so great that you feel too broken to keep on going. 

But love and the forces that oppose it have battled throughout all time. So we need the ability to continue fighting the good fight over the long haul. Here is a ritual that helps you persist, with the support of your Gods, ancestors, and All Your Relations.

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