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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Their falling-out had been terrible: so much so that when the woman who had brought her into the Old Ways died, she did not attend her funeral.

She knew, immediately, that this had been a colossal mistake, that by cherishing her anger over doing right, she had torn a rent in the fabric of being.

But what was there to be done?


“How did you know Hilary?”

It's the kind of question one asks after funerals.

Her answer surprises me.

“Actually, I didn't know her,” she says.

The woman tells me the story. She tells me that, ever since, when she hears of a pagan elder's death, she has made it a priority to attend the funeral.

Call it reweaving.


A rent in the fabric of being can never be unmade.

No: but it can be repaired.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs



 Witches and Other Predators


Like other predators, witches are territorial animals.

You can be a witch and not know anything about Tarot.

You can be a witch and know nothing about astrology.

You can be a witch and know zip about crystals, the I Ching, or Egyptian mythology.

You cannot be a witch and not know your own territory.


The Sybil's Voice


Back when I was taking my first steps on the Crooked Path, I read everything I could get my hands on on the topic. In practice, this meant that I was reading mostly books by the Witchcraft Revival's remarkable First Generation of Priestesses: Doreen Valiente, Patricia Crowther, Sybil Leek.

Why, then—though arguably I got more information from the first two—was Sybil's influence on me so outsized?

Easily told.

Sybil was certainly the best writer of the three; unlike her colleagues, she told stories, rather than just imparting information. But there's more.

Aunts Doreen and Pat were what my friend and colleague Macha Nightmare refers to as “Witches at Large.” Wherever they were from, the Craft itself was their home.

But Sybil was the Witch of somewhere. Even after she had emigrated to the States and lived in Florida for years, she was still the Witch of the New Forest.

Of all those early witch books, only hers had a sense of place.

All witchery is local. You cannot be a witch without a territory.


The Witch of....

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Naturally Dye Your Easter Eggs - The New York Times


If ever you've wondered why we greet Spring with colored eggs, I can tell you in two words: sympathetic magic.


Spring is When the Eggs Are


In Autumn, the birds fly away. After a long, bird-less Winter, they come back, bearing Spring on their wings. Soon there will be eggs, and the cycle will begin anew.

The chicken got to northern Europe in Roman times. Before that, eggs were a strictly seasonal food. Even in domestic fowl, egg production is photo-dependent: more light means more eggs.

Just when food is starting to run out, behold.


Color, Come Back


Winter, especially here in the frozen North, is the colorless time, when all the world, Heaven and Earth, becomes one vast, undifferentiated whiteness.

Then comes Spring. Spring = color.

Therefore, to bring Spring, you take what was the color of snow, and transform it.


Bridging the Gap


In the old days, we dyed our eggs using vegetable dye-stocks: onionskins, beets, purple cabbage. (Witches still do this.)

Thus do the fruits of one growing season bridge the grinning gap of Winter to herald—and induce—the coming season of growth.

Call it alchemy, transformation. Call it Turning the Wheel.


The Daily Spring


Dawn is the daily Spring, Spring the yearly Dawn.

Just before sunrise, go look East. What do you see there?

Dawn: the eastern sky filled with color; in fact, the very colors that those natural dye-stocks produce. After colorless night, color floods back into the world.

Welcome to the Dawn of the Year.

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Virtues, Values, and Modern Folklore in Ariadne's Tribe

A member of Ariadne's Tribe recently asked what our main virtues and values might be, and that got me thinking. We don't have a formalized list of virtues and values the way, for instance, modern Norse Pagan groups often do. But the values that matrilineal societies have traditionally supported are a big part of the attraction of Minoan spirituality.

The Minoans appear to have valued egalitarianism, inclusion, interdependence, and an animistic reverence for nature. Those are among the major values we espouse in Ariadne's Tribe. They inform our spiritual practice and our daily lives. They're enshrined in our Official Policies. We do our best to be living examples of these values as we interact with the Big World.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Dreams: Death of a Loved One

Losing someone you care about in a dream can be extremely upsetting. It’s the sort of dream that can have you waking up in tears, full of relief to know that you were just sleeping and none of the pain you suffered in your dreams is real. Some people think that this dream can be a premonition that someone in the real world is going to pass away, but that is rarely the case. If you take this dream too literally, it can fill you with a lot of unnecessary fear. Death in dreams usually is symbolic of transformation. There might be some big changes going on in your waking life or some aspects of yourself that are being transformed.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
On Lodhur and Loki

Lodhur is the original third brother in the trinity Odhinn / Honir / Lodhur. This triple god form appears in the Lore in two major places: when the brothers sculpt the world out of the slain giant Ymir, and when the brothers sculpt humans out of driftwood trees. Both of these are major acts of creation described as sculpting life from a dead form. 

When the Lore relates stories about Odin and his brothers going on adventures together, the name of the third brother becomes Loki. It is clear that Lodhur and Loki are the same god. But they are very different aspects of the same god. 

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 Consider baked beans | Food | The Guardian

First off, I'm a man. I've never participated in the Women's Mysteries; by definition, I cannot, and never will.

Nor, being a man of honor, have I ever asked my women friends to reveal to me the secrets of the Women's Mysteries. (Being women of honor, of course, they wouldn't have told me, even if I had asked.)

Nor, frankly, would I reveal to you the secrets of the Women's Mysteries, even if I knew them. Call it a professional courtesy.

This much I can tell you, though: behind those Mysteries, Men's and Women's both, stands yet another Mystery.

That's what I'm about to reveal here.

Kind of.


This coming Summer, the men of the Driftless Tribe of Witches will be celebrating the Men's Mysteries, in conjunction with the Rites of Man-Making.

As Mysteries do, they will end with the oath of the Great Silence, in which we swear to keep secret that which we have seen, heard, and experienced.

(At the heart of life with honor lies the ability to keep a secret; but that's a mystery in and of itself.)

Liturgically speaking, the Men's Mysteries are a masterpiece. The central metaphors are so deep, so articulate, so true that I'm staggered each time I re-encounter them: so true, so articulate, so deep that they have the power to create transformation in those who experience them for the very first time.

They encode in themselves a deep meaning which lies at the heart of our tribe, and define us as a people.

As guardian of these Mysteries, there is much that I am pledged not to reveal, nor will I reveal them here.

But let me tell you my suspicion about the deep Mystery underlying them all.

Call it an educated guess.

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