Monday, October 27, 2014

Comparing Spells to Prayers

It's a comparison I see often, especially when one is trying to explain what a spell is to someone who is unfamiliar with witchcraft. It's a quick and easy comparison to make, but it's not always an accurate one. This comparison makes it sound like a spell is simply petitioning a deity for aid in achieving a particular goal, but there are many who do not include deity at all when working a spell. The aid of a deity, or even belief in deities, is not needed to preform spellwork. Which is not to say one can't include deities in their workings, certainly you can, just that it's not necessary, and that there are many who do not do this.

I think it also reinforces the stereotype that all prayer is about asking a deity for something, when to many prayer is much more about communing with a deity, building a relationship, giving thanks, honoring, and not always about needing or wanting something. My reasons for praying and my reasons for spellwork often come from two totally different places - even if I do include a deity in my working, it is not the same as communing with that deity during prayer.

Again, I fully recognize that some choose to invoke a deity or deities for all spells, and there's nothing wrong with that in itself, I just wish it wouldn't be presented as the only way it's done, or as if it's a necessity to spellwork in itself.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Certain segments of the pagan community are really into 'psychic' powers and abilities - and by that I mean things like telekinesis, levitation, controlling fire with their mind, and whatever else - and it's very odd that so many of these people are just totally unquestioning about the claims others might make. Someone says they can levitate objects, and everyone else is just unquestioningly like, wow, cool. It's just accepted, and that's just completely bizarre to me.

I think sometimes the justification for this becomes "I believe in weird things, so I can't judge someone else for believing something weird," but I really don't think that flies with a claim like "I can control fire!" That's not a belief, it's not a spiritual practice, it's something that would actually be able to be demonstrated if the person could actually do it.

Once a person making such a claim did send me a link to a video of them showing their power. It was a video that was a few minutes long where they were sitting in front of a lit candle, and they had their hands on either side of the candle, and the candle was... flickering. I said to them that I didn't see anything unusual, and they said the candle was flickering even though there was no draft in the room, and they were causing that flickering with their mind.

Which is, of course, not how candles work. Even if one was absolutely sure that there was not even the slightest movement of air in a room (which can be quite hard to achieve, actually), candles still flicker as they burn because as the wax melts down, sometimes it hits small bubbles in the wax, or slight impurities, the melting of the wax itself, or there might be a slight curve in the wick, and of course the candle itself can create air currents because it's creating heat in the air which rises, and is replaced by the cooler air of the room.

How do I know that's why candles flicker? Because I spent about three minutes on Google. I find it very, very problematic that this person skipped that step and went right to "I have psychic powers," and wanting to know how she could strengthen them. Granted, they were a bit younger, but it's troubling that this section of the community seems to encourage these ideas of what power is, that you can read about these powers online and in books, and it's just not questioned like it should be.

And I know, going back to the an earlier point, that certainly there is someone out there who says, well, how can you judge these people when you believe in weird things like Greek Gods and nature spirits?! I can't prove these entities exist, I know that, but at the same time I'm not saying someone else should believe what I do, or that there shouldn't be skepticism around such beliefs... but the thing is, a lot of these claims of powers could be easily proven, and again, people just seem to skip that. It's almost like they think being skeptical would be rude or unsupportive, but in all honesty there is nothing wrong with a bit of skepticism. Unquestioningly accepting everything is going to come back to burn you at some point. Questioning outlandish claims is perfectly okay, and more than that it's a perfectly healthy thing to do.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


I've done a good bit of traveling in the last decade. At nineteen I moved totally across the US from New Hampshire to western Washington, and lived there for five years. During that time each summer I went on a coast to coast road trip to visit family and friends. While living there I traveled around the Olympic Peninsula at least twice. I even flew up to Alaska once for a few days. Since moving back to New Hampshire I still go on a road trip once a year to visit family. I've traveled through a majority of the states in the continental US.

I know I'm lucky to have been able to have these experiences. There are a lot of people who rarely ever get to leave their little area of the world, but would love the opportunity. (Heck, for all my traveling the only other country I've been to is Canada, so there's still a lot of the world I want to see, too!) Still, there's one experience I've come away with, that I wasn't really expecting when all this began... an appreciation for home.

Home, in this case, means to things to me. First, an appreciation for the actual physical home that I live in. My home isn't perfect, but staying in someone else's house for weeks at a time can really get you appreciating your own space a bit more. There's just a feeling that walking into your home after over a month away brings.

Staying in other's homes also teaches me what I am grateful for about my home, and what I want in my own home. As an example, while staying with my fiance's parents, he somewhat jokingly said to me we should each start a new game on his Steam account every week, so we'd eventually play them all. (For those not familiar with Steam, basically it's a service where you can buy and download video games, all digital, and they're known for having amazing sales, so you very easily end up with a large library without spending huge amounts of money.) His father said that we should each just buy a book of poetry every week.

Now look, I'm not going to get into the whole benefits and worth of poetry versus video games thing, but I am going to say that's 104 books by the end of the year. Now this is a man who has bookshelves completely filled (if not overflowing) with books in every room in in home. I know a home that is a library is the picture of heaven for quite a few people... but not me. It's not that I have anything against books, but being in crowded house after crowded house, it just takes too much out of me, I can't live that way. Through traveling I have also learned to live with less from day to day. Fewer clothes, fewer things. I'm not by any means a total minimalist, but I do find the idea that less is more works for me - and every year I find myself connecting to that idea more. I find caring for clutter to be emotionally and physically draining, and that's energy better spent elsewhere.

Still, it's more than all that, more than just the building I live in, it's also the land itself. When I'm gone I do miss New England - specifically the upper area of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The seasons, the weather, the feel and look of the land, all of it. Especially around this time of year. I passed through many states on the way home, and none of them really felt like autumn to me. None of them feel like home feels.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

30 days on pause...

I've decided to put Hestia's 30 days on hold until a little later in the month (or maybe even until the beginning of next month). I wrote a bit before on how I'm away from home for a while, or I think I did anyway, and at this point I'm going to be on the road again in a few days, visiting with family, and then back on the road. Not a lot of time for writing, and there are some interesting prompts coming up that I want to be able to give my full attention to.

When I actually get home, I've also got to spend some time getting things ready for the coming cold weather, make sure the heaters are clean and working, get the coats and gloves out, get the blankets out, and all that good stuff. It'll be good to finally be home again, though.