Asking for Help

 

  1. It is not enough just knowing when to ask for help. You have to know WHO to ask.

As a pagan and witch, I live in a world of Venn diagrams.  While some may share parts of my ideals, their entire world view may not be the same. That’s not a complaint. That’s just a fact. Furthermore, even if someone else shares most of my views, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can help me in a time a crisis, magical or mundane. Again, not a complaint, just a fact. A few more just for giggles, we have to factor in how far way that “help” is in terms of: do they have their own life; have they just finished working way too man shifts and are burned out; are they in their own crisis mode; are they literally hours away in the form of distance and time zones; will my problems be a burden to them; did my spirits tell me to ask someone else; and a whole other host of parameters.

 

What all of this boils down to is that when the big mojo is going down, I may not ask YOU in particular for help. That’s not a slam on you. It’s just how I have to roll. Now this can go bad a number of ways.

 

When I began this path, there was this unspoken rule of “self sufficiency.” You broke it? You fix it.  We all know that doesn’t work out. Why? In this world of “Insta-Witchery” and “Credit Card Conjure,” it’s real easy to follow instructions from any webpage or conjure kit and find that you’ve cursed yourself. It’s not so easy to figure out how to undo those things. Now, as time passed and I learned better, that self sufficiency bullshit can still bite me in the ass. Why? Let’s talk about the shame you can feel when you have to admit that you messed up and can’t fix it.

Yeah. That.

It’s hard enough to admit that you’ve messed up. No one wants to get a dressing down from anyone. In that cycle of self shame, we imagine all kinds horrible things that someone could tell us about our follies. However, that’s not my warning in this. My warning is about those “teachers” and “elders” that will make you feel TERRIBLE while they “attempt” to “help” you out.

Yeah. Them.

Here’s where the witch earns their wand, though. Many of these teachers and elders have no idea how to help you – and they won’t even say that they can’t. The humiliation alone will be enough to drive seekers away and into the arms of apathy.  In my work with Beaux Magique, the hardest part is convincing people that they can come to me if they mess up. Hell, come to me BEFORE you do the crazy magic so we can keep the mistakes to a minimum.

So yeah, send out that help signal when you need it. However, please think hard about those who you accept help and assistance from.

 

 

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It’s not osmosis

9. The advice about hanging around successful people only works if you all have similar goals and you actually learn from the others. Hang out with billionaires all you want. Unless you stop buying lottery tickets or shit you don’t need, guess what?

It’s not Osmosis, people. However, it goes deeper than that.

You can buy all the statues you want. You can purchase all the cool clothing from local vendors that you wish. You can even buy all the oils, sprays, and ritual items that your heart desires. You can drop every dollar you have and get the really big tattoos of your gods, and faith. Guess what?

Artwork by Teemu Jahani

IT MEANS NOTHING UNLESS YOU ARE ACTUALLY FOLLOWING THE PATH.

Yeah you can get all those things. Unless you’re doing the homework, you’re gonna fail the whole dang course. Having the fully decked out Instagram-esque aesthetic altar is nice. It’ll get you lots of likes and lots of attention. Don’t actually *work* that altar? Ha ha ha. Cuz that’s what the gods and spirits are gonna do when you actually try to petition them for something.

However, it goes deeper than that.

You can buy all the books you want. You can listen to all the podcasts you want. You can watch all the videos you want. You can buy all the magazines you want. Unless you are taking notes and using the information? IT MEANS NOTHING. Sure you can parrot to your Wannbe Wednesday witches that you heard of or saw that using rosemary in any spellwork is totally acceptable (It’s not by the way.). That might make you look “cool” or whatever you think is cool. Ya’ll know what I’m gonna say, right? IT MEANS NOTHING. If you’re doing the homework, journaling your spellwork and following the instructions? You will have a long record of RESULTS to show what herbs are truly effective for you.

And that’s what I’ve been getting at. All the successful people you idolize? They are RESULTS driven. You want to see change happen in your life? You want to have all the things? This ain’t osmosis. You learn and put those lessons in to effect.

WERK.

 

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Make Mistakes

Make Mistakes

Yes, this post is late on purpose. SMILE AND NOD.

6. You will make mistakes. Once you’re done beating yourself up, go back to the first entry.

So. Why would I send you ALLL the way back to unlearning the “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game” post? It’s simple…..and it’s not.

Here’s the thing. We live in a ridiculous world that’s made even more terrifying with the addition of social media.  Whether we want to admit it or not, we’re in a horrible loop of looking for approval and validation. We’re drawn to other people’s drama. We’re quick to judge the train wrecks happening in the lives of others with thumbs up or some other emoji. It’s a human thing.

When we post to social media and our own little “court” of followers, we are looking for approval and validation for ourselves. We are constantly trying to: course correct our social lives by asking the “hive mind” questions we can google on our own; get validation for our feelings and mindsets if there are few people locally who “grok” us; and sometimes we need that touch of assurance that we did the right thing when drama goes down in our own lives.

Did you catch it?

Here let me single it out for you:

.…”and sometimes we need that touch of assurance that we did the right thing when drama goes down in our own lives.”

Yeah, we’re constantly looking to be “right” in our lives, to always do things the “right” way, and to always get a pat on the head and a cookie when we “win.”

HOWEVER!

Humans don’t work that way. We make mistakes. We mess up. We don’t do things right all the time. And in the Kangaroo Court of Social media? One “misstep” can spiral our already low self esteem filled minds right to the depths of whatever hell we’ve made for ourselves.

It’s even worse when you’re living a Witch Life.

Most of us are studying alone. We don’t know exactly when the Gods and Spirits are talking to us. We don’t know all the pitfalls that are around us… AND, the last “elder” or mentor we had was stark raving mad… Ahem.

For the solitary practitioner, we’re obsessed with doing things “right” so we don’t accidentally curse ourselves or burn down our houses (remember the first two rules of Fire/Candle Magick).

Guess what? We’re not going to be 100% right all the time. That’s why you use your “book of shadows” / grimoire / journal to track your work. From there you can learn what works and what doesn’t – and what fails spectacularly. Remind me to tell you about the time I: 1. Almost burned down my house; and 2. Nearly cursed myself into oblivion.

Good times.

Now, that you’ve gotten through all that? Here come the warnings:

  1. RESIST THE URGE TO SHARE YOUR FAILURE. Are you’re talking to a trusted colleague who won’t talk down to you? With they help you fix it? If the answer is “no” just stop. You’re just setting yourself up for ridicule. AND! Yes, people who you think are your friends will definitely say some crap like “well you should have known, blah blah blah,” and you will get your feelings hurt. Also?
  2. RESIST THE URGE TO COMMENT NEGATIVELY ON THE FAILURES OF OTHERS. Lookit, we know that we messed up. If we’re talking about it? We are looking for that virtual hug while we clean up the mess. No need for “I told you so” or “I hope you’ve learned your lesson.” We get enough crap from our haters. We don’t need it from our friends. Why? Because:
  3. TRACK YOUR RESULTS: Good, bad or ugly, you need to know what happened so you can see where things went sideways or wrong. That journal of yours will be your lifesaver, cherry flavor, after time.
  4. Lastly, DON’T GIVE UP! The reason why we humans go through this horrible cycle of shame is so that we can evolve. When the first humans ate berries, no one knew which ones were poisonous… soooo you can see how that worked out. As a species, we look to the failures of others to make sure we don’t make the same mistake. And yet, taking those chances made us better human beings.

 

So take chances, get messy, and make mistakes. Learn from them. Forgive yourself, and get busy making more magic.

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The Blog Is Back

The Blog Is Back

After a year and a half, I’m back. Things got bad. Then things got real bad. Then things got weird.

That’s when I got angry and sh-t got real.

 The rest of the backstory is boring. Let’s skip it for now. Let’s focus on when I got mad and things started happening. Since summer 2016, I learned a lot of things. There’s no divisive line of good or bad in those things. Just the truth I found for myself.  Funny thing is? When I spoke those truths, when I acted on those truths… Life changed for me.  Here are a few things I learned. I’ll go into depth in future posts.
1. Unlearn the modern hip maxim “don’t hate the playa, hate the game.”  Don’t bother hating unless you’re going to use that energy to get things done.
2. No one is under any obligation to help you out of any situation or teach you skills for free. #NotSorry
3. Humans are ultimately self serving. Each and every time, they will choose themselves over you. Deal with it.
4. When things go wrong, go back to the basics. Remember one of the lines in the Princess Bride: when things go wrong go back to the beginning.
5. There are no shortcuts to success or enlightenment.  #StillNotSorry
6. You will make mistakes. Once you’re done beating yourself up, go back to the number 4 entry.
7. It’s not your job to fix anyone else. Give them all the tools and encouragement… And walk away.
8. Your job is to fix you. If others learn from your example, great. If not? Move along.
9. The advice about hanging around successful people only works if you all have similar goals and you actually learn from the others and do the work.
10. You can’t be a spiritual leader in a vacuum. No tribe? No flock? No f-cks given by the gods.
11.  Whatever title you choose, unless your prayers or magick gets reliable results? You are wasting your time.
12. Drama will always go down. Mind your business and let it go down.
 Oh yeah, y’all. It’s gonna be like that. Happy New Year
Rev. Terrie

Durham Region Pagan Pride Day 2015 ~ Pray

As we people gather ‘round, we mark this space our holy ground. East, South, West, North, and Spirits of place, we call you forth!

Gods, Goddesses and Deities, of earth air fire and sea; Grant blessings here, and harm to none and bless our work that will be done.

Well that was the way it was supposed to go!  I had the pleasure of leading the main ritual for this year’s Durham Pagan Pride Day. Usually the day has it’s challenges. Today was no exception. I completely forgot that I was vending, scrambled to make it all work and promptly realized that there was no way I’d be able to go home for my full ritual supplies and come back.

Thankfully MY community stepped up, stepped in and got everything going right for me.

While many are thanking me for main ritual, I wish to thank everyone who came out, supported the event, bought from vendors, helped set up and take down. My thanks to the local coordinator, Kat who made sure that I didn’t roast in the sun!  I also want to thank my sister in spirit Lady Charissa and the Pagan Business Network for their contributions, ideas, support and general cheerleading! See, that was the gist of what the main ritual was all about.

I had pretty words all set up for it, too! Here are all the pretty words. I said most of them! I swear!

(I had the wreath set up ahead of time:)

Many pagans believe that we are all connected to each other – by energy, by faith, by commonality, by the myriad of deities that we honor. This connection is like a spider’s web.  This connection is like fine embroidered stitching. This connection is like a network of nerves in our brains. This connection is like a map of veins in our bodies. And like veins we all go back to the source, back to one main energetic place. You can call it what you will: Heaven, The Summerlands, The land of the dead, another plane, another reincarnated life or back to the earth from which we came.

(This is where we strung three different lengths if ribbon around the participants. Some were looped. All were told to hang on to the ribbon.)

And yet, though we have this connection we are divided.

( Some were short, some long, some ended up with two or three pieces.)

We are divided by the different pantheons we honor. We are divided by the ways we honor Deity. We are divided by the songs we sing, the way we dance, and the magic we work. We are divided by the distances between us and our holy places, the distance be us and our chosen kindred and even by the festivals we can actually attend.  We are even divided by those who can proudly claim their faith in public and those cannot for fear of unwarranted persecution.

Look at your ribbon, a representation of your connection to your deity and your people.  Each of you honors Deity and your kindred a different way.  Each of you can feel cut off from the source, alone, dealing with things you believe that no one can even comprehend.  We all know this is far from the truth.

 

I have spoken to quite a few classes at Durham College about what it means to be pagan.  For me, at it’s roots it means to spiritually survive, to connect to Deity and community the best you know how.  To  know that when we feel divide, all we have to do is reach out and make a connection. No we don’t wait for things to happen to us. I don’t know about you but my deities remind me that faith without work is dead. I can lift my voice in prayer, then I lift my butt and get it in gear.

(I showed them the wreath.)

Plain Wreath

You’ve seen and worked on a wreath like this before.  However, this time, we will do something different. Look down at your ribbon, let a small amount your energy flow into it.  Let those who are able come forward, and tie their ribbon to the wreath and to each other, to make the connection again to Deity.  You can weave your ribbon through the vines making sure that your ribbon ties onto another one to be secure.  You can ask for help!  You can work  together!  You can tie your ribbon to only one or entwine it with others.  All that matters is that you know that you are not alone and your community stands with you. If you are unable, will bring the wreath to you.

(We made sure everyone  was included.)

Working Together

Folk of Durham Region Pagans. This has been a very different ritual for Pagan Pride Day.  We have celebrated the simplest and most holy of who and what we are – energetically connected to the Source, to Deity and to each other. That is truly magic.

 

 

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Gentle folk, this is your Community Wreath – a representation of all that we are and can be.  I will take this wreath with me to any pagan event I go to, to represent those who cannot be there  and that those who wish to add their energy may do so.

 

Gentle folk is this acceptable?

(Thank the gods they said yes!)

 And yet,  even I can’t be everywhere. I propose that should there be an event that I cannot attend, the organizer contact me to have the wreath present, tie on more ribbons, to make more energy connections and then return it to me.

Gentle folk is this acceptable?

(Another yes!)

This is where we all empowered the wreath with our energy. It was amazing, awe inspiring and fantastic. What can I say?

It’s different in Durham! We’re a community, maybe divided by our paths, yet we are all connected through community!

smilingfaces