Sy Calaelen


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There’s This Super Duper Guy…

He is funny, very creative and one of my major inspirations. The one thing I’ve never been able to say is how much I appreciate having him as a friend. He inspires me in ways I wish I could say, but I will keep them to myself. Just thinking those thoughts makes me want to slap myself silly. For the time that I’ve known him he has managed to open up that old comfort of books, films and writing. These things I hold them very dear to my heart as they make my mind grow and expand with pleasure, curiosity and pure excitement. Only within the past few months that I’ve actually managed to catch a few hours here and there to sit and read up on my favourite authors. Writers who make me tingle with a creative passion, and push me further and further toward my goal of being a writer myself. When I sit in bed, curled up under my fleece blanket I mutter words from the pages to myself, whether they are in French, English or German. I just love a good book. Anything that makes my mind tick, anything that urges a response or anything that leaves me in disgust is how a good tale must make you feel. Guy de Maupassant, Albert Camus and George R. R. Martin are currently making me feel such things. See how these great writers made one turn the page faster as they sunk into each line? This is how this man makes me feel. His words are hard, rough and cool (as in cool to the touch, not “Yo!”).

I have often imagined what it would be like if we were to finally meet up, but knowing me I’d trip up and start a cataclysmic event of accidents and mishaps before I cross the road to greet him. As wonderful as he is, he makes me foolish, dumb and silly. I find I face palm after every time we correspond because he’s said something I didn’t understand until the next day; embarrassing and stupid old me.

This morning I read the short story Love by Maupassant and it made me wonder about how I could write such a hard hitting and thoughtful story (free on Kindle). If I could find a passion (which thank the Gods I have many), I hope to be able to publish words half as decent as them and more importantly like him. One day. Hopefully one day soon.

There comes a moment in time when you just lay back and evaluate life and the people around you. Often I find I smile at the thoughts of laughter, the sad moments full of tears and others full of oddity. Other times I narrow my life events down to a handful of people, and wish they knew how important they are to me. They never will. People come and go in life, and I’m glad I’ve met the few people I have as they are all amazing and unique. If I die, I’ll be happy because I was inspired daily.

—Just in case you are wondering why I haven’t told him, or the other people who have inspired me, I’m a freak, and freaks tend to freak normal people out – and for that I’m currently scared I’ll lose him/them as friends. (Plus he has no idea I love his works so much – or at least I hope he doesn’t…).

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to Pooh” ~ A. A. Milne

Sy xx xx

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In Moments of Weakness, Egyptian Deities Give Me Strength

The following spell can be found on plate 32 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead:

 “My hair is Nun; my face is Re; my eyes are Hathor; my ears are Wepwawet; my nose is She who presides over her lotus-leaf; my lips are Anubis; my molars are Selket; my incisors are Isis the goddess; my arms are the Ram, the Lord of Mendes; my breast is Neith, Lady of Sais; my back is Seth; my phallus is Osiris; my muscles are the lords of Kheraha; my chest is He who is greatly majestic; my belly and my spine are Sekhmet; my buttocks are the Eye of Horus; my thighs and my calves are Nut; my feet are Ptah; my fingers are Orion, my toes are living Uraei; there is no member of mine devoid of a god; and Thoth is the protection of all my flesh.” -From the Book of the Dead, Plate 32 – trans by RO Faulkner

The other night, I was having one of those moments when I lay back and just wonder about my life so far. I thought about why I was single, and why the men I’d like dislike me so much. What is it about my intelligence that is so off? Why am I drawn to comic books, magick & mysticism, Shakespeare, E. E. Cummings or Aleister Crowley? Why am I so alone in those topical subjects? What I have done wrong to be in this place, without a degree, decent job, a place of my own and in a relationship? Worst of all, I find I ask myself and the Universe what is wrong with my exterior. Why am I not attractive enough to be taken seriously? Those are the constant questions of a person who struggle’s coming to terms with their being. In times like this, I have to relax and repeat to myself that I am cool, nerdy and wise; so why do I suddenly become so crippled with these indignations?

I am a keen believer in fate and I am open to the path that the Gods are taking me down, and so far they have shown me to paths I would never change for anything. I have a deep faith in all things from the Gods. The path you have isn’t one where you just stand by and just things happen, you have to ask questions, you have to be aware of other ways in figuring out a situation. From that point, in some small way, I feel we have free will. When we break outside the barrier of fate, you fall into the hands of destiny. It is destiny that provokes a lust for life, learning and experiences. It is destiny that you define for yourself with or without the help of supreme beings or enlightened power. In other words, I’m not one who will stand by whilst the world rushes past me and shrug with “It is fate.” I will change that fate and run with the world.

I have spoken briefly before how I like to align myself in the way of the Gods. I like to make it known to them I am fully open at certain times, especially during meditation, mantra, ritual, yoga and other forms of connecting to higher energies, for them to instruct me in the correct ways. I am careful with these rituals as I make sure to cast a circle and protect myself energetically so other entities can’t interfere. Spirits are bloody annoying though… They are so bad with timing its shocking! – Another time. Once the Gods have bestowed what knowledge they want me to know, I use that lesson as a way of keeping tabs on my development. One of the most intense rituals I have written recently took about an hour or so to perform after the circle and quarters were called. It involved me asking the Gods to remove pain from my heart which ever means necessary. That is vague… but I must keep silent. For the past few days I have been feeling rough. Feeling really bad about my life at the moment, the shape of my body but directed at my face more than anything. Phoenix sent me the quote as we both have the same Book of the Dead by RO Faulkner and he basically fulfilled part of the ritual I had performed. I asked for a message, and there he was. Part une complete!

Today I looked in the mirror and read the spell with my black and white candles, dabbed my head with sacred oil and followed through with Egyptian gestures. I want to feel better knowing the Gods are with me. All I needed to do was remind myself that everything has a reason, but I need to make it work with the help of the Gods.

What do you all do in moments of weakness?

Sy x


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Friend Issues – Rant

I’m ranting…….. Sorry if this post seems grammatically wrong, and if the syntax is awful and the general sense of it is negative, but I’ve been having a conversation with Phoenix and I’m a little upset and angry….

Are a loner or an introvert? I am. Society would deem this ideal as wrong on an almighty scale. “You must socialise! Be with other people and make friends! (Or you will die a million deaths!)” That is usually what I get. Without fully understanding some of the basic reasons why I hate being lonely, yet revel in being an introvert you honestly couldn’t picture the turmoil of everyday living. Back in January after seeing something I didn’t expect, and then feeling even more phased out by the last set of people I saw as friends, I made the decision to be more relaxed and open minded about people, and friends.

I’ve always found it difficult to make friends and I’ve told people too many times, but the hurt that comes with spilling your guts to someone who does not care about you is too overwhelming for me. Making friends, trusting people and the idea of finding a love is so farfetched; it worries me and holds me back. Instead of fighting it, and working hard on how to be an extrovert I have decided to just be who I am. So far, it has been great. I’ve learnt to take my time and just accept things as they are and not try too much. Trying to be a good friend, a good person is probably the most damaging thing I could do to myself. I know that is negative, but I have a weird habit which renders me incredibly stupid. There are people in my life I would love to see reflect the love I have for them back to me. These people are part of what I would call my last chapter which ended back in March. I still consider them to be friends, just not close friends as I feel they have pushed me away. I won’t instigate anything, I’ll just be here to give them one worded answers and move on. I tend to cling to people because for a moment I feel like someone actually likes me for who I am and it excites me. I actually successfully made friends and also crashed to the ground due to the same people.

The worst thing that happens with a friendship is the one sided contact. I listen to your woes, but you never listen to mine (hence my blog), but for some reason the very worst news never reaches my ears via your mouth. I find out either through other people or on the modern sociable networks. When i confront you or those people about why they didn’t think to come to me, they either back off or assume saying sorry would make things better. I smile at them and pretend that everything is fine now that I know, but inside I’m crying. I feel betrayed and worse still, I criticise myself for being the person you or they repel. I found out about something horrible earlier this year from someone I no longer contact or trust, and for me that was the smack in the face I needed to wake up.

I was talking about toxic friends with Phoenix and he gave me a ton of advice. Phoenix and I have been friends for some time, but he came across my Youtube channel and his comments went from there.  We have gone from being online buddies to being best buds who meet up in the City for a spot of coffee and shopping when we can, and using Blackberry Messenger every single day. We argue, we laugh, we have fun but the main thing I love is the fact that our friendship goes both ways because we understand each other. I told him of a situation I had with a friend who had a few bad experiences, and just happened to forget to tell me (someone he called one of his best friends) and he said something that had been on my mind for months:

“See this is why people fuck me off. You tell them every detail of your life and then the other c**t don’t even tell you when someone just ups n dies one day. This shit is out of line!”

I must admit, I am a fool for thinking people like me for who I am. I guess that is just the annoying naive sentiment that has grown with me during my lonely years. As much as I hate being alone, it has only been the last few years that I’ve interacted with a ton of people thanks to Youtube and my blog and I’m learning to adjust to that. I still dream of having that circle of friends who I can go to at any moment and just relax, cry and laugh with. I know that dream is something I need to stop assuming will happen. It won’t. I need to stop myself and just be in the moment. Learn how to be alone properly and be okay with it. I need to stop being so negative about myself and stop assuming the world is messed up because of me. Like I said, I am becoming more relaxed. If you don’t want to tell me anything, that is fine. If you do, that is fine too. I’m not going anywhere.

I’m going to apply the Four Noble Truths to my future friendships I think… Otherwise I’ll end up assuming everything is fine when it isn’t.

Rant over… I’ve been listening to Limp Bizkit all day and they always manage to make me feel better.

Photography by Alais Photography


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Inception is Totally Hermetic and Gnostic!

First, and foremost I have been a student of the Hermetica for a few years now and without it to accompany my witchcraft studies I never would have had the amount of experiences I have shared with the OTG. My path is a secluded and secretive one, but mostly I just don’t talk about it as 95% of pagans are Wiccan and so my path goes unnoticed. I have met and conversed with a very small amount of people who not only understand my beliefs but they too study the Hermetica and its teachings. Those people, if coupled with witchcraft of any kind, I would immediately be a snob and say are true witches. I’ll go on a Wiccan rant some day, but for now I just want to stress the importance of study and learning how to see and value the things around you. Try and teach yourself through scriptures and various ritual practices what is reality and what is not. There are many methods to help guide you, but you are the maker of that reality. Put your trust in the OTG and he/she/they’ll push you if need be. Life is a valuable lesson, so live it.

Okay, onto the more mind blowing stuff, I was just doing the odd shopping list compilation list as I’ll be close to Oxford Street next Thursday and there is a lovely pagan and occult store Phoenix and I stumbled into with a ton of books and an underground gallery. I must say, the smell of the books gathered on the many shelves gave such a tantalising effect that I literally thought I was in a dreamland of sorts, as if I was meant to be there. I saw a selection of books on Crowley, the Hermetica and such so I need to go back and visit. I decided today to start looking for reviews or videos on the Hermetica purely to start of today’s ‘free time research’ and came across this video. I love the film Inception and understood it the first time I watched it. The days that followed when people were debating on what actually happened in the film, I seemed to be the only person who received looks of confusion and bewilderment when I tried to explain what happened and what it all could mean – people genuinely didn’t get the film… So, without going into too much detail, I’m a nerd and a pagan so… yeah… um.

Anyway! I found this video, and it blew my mind out of the water. Hopefully, as many of you had been asking where else I gather my knowledge and spruce up my mysticism, this would be a great introduction so enjoy =] (I have seen other videos, especially one from a seriously hot lecturer from Dallas, and the link is below =])

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ogG4nXipmE – taliesin939939

I’m going to lay back and watch Inception now I think…

Sy x


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Spiritual Interview | WayfaringJo

Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WayfaringJo?feature=watch

What gave you the idea for your username?

I’ve called myself Wayfarin’ Jo because this life is a pilgrimage, we’re on a journey. I don’t know where we’re going, but that’s not as important as HOW we get there… For example, peace is not just an end, it is both the means and the end. The same with love, it is both the means and the end… Anyhow. I’m a student and a seeker, always have been, always will be. (What a long-winded way to say; “I’m nosey!” lol!)

Have you always been magickal?

Yes. Have I always been magickal? Define magic? I’ve always been in touch with the Divine, from my earliest days. I’ve always believed that everything that breathes is animated, sentient, has a soul and power – I’ve always been pantheistic —> the one tradition that runs through every religion, interestingly enough. Not sure where I got those ideas, when neither of my parents believe them, when no one in my family believes them. But I remember having them from the time I was 5 or 6 on.

What got you started, and why?

I was born to an Anglican priest and a Roman Catholic mom. My first favorite tv series was “Kung Fu”. And we always spent our vacations on the Cherokee Indian Rez… My earliest years were formed with a healthy respect for all religions, races, cultures. So, I’ve never been afraid to ask questions, of anybody. In fact, I’ve been driven to ask questions of everybody! Truth is truth, and wisdom is wisdom, wherever you find it. And when you find it, when you practice and it works, it’s always a healing joy for you and everybody else.

If your path didn’t exist, what would you follow?

My path, at this point, is Zen, informed by both the Episcopal tradition and my ancestors’ Asatru practice. The Buddha has taught us, our prime directive is to relieve suffering. Unfortunately, there are no Buddhists in Cincinnati who are practicing social justice. They are meditating and collecting money. So, when I looked around Cincinnati, I found that the Episcopal Church is practicing social justice, saving homeless shelters from being torn down, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc. So I joined my practice with theirs. Lucky me, they have a Zen mass, so I feel more at home!… My path is flexible, it depends much more on action than on words. Doctrinarism does not unify, it divides – it does not heal, it rips apart. love and healing are the same in every language, smile and someone will smile back, tear your loaf of bread in half and hand it over the hungry person understands you care… Magick is about transformation, turning water (ordinary) into wine (extraordinary), or as the Buddhists say; Kwan Yin transforms the Hells into Paradise. Nothing is more transformative than a healing act… So it doesn’t matter if Zen exists, it doesn’t matter if Episcopal or Asatru or any religious path exists – transformative love and healing exists everywhere and in every language.

What is my secret to staying spiritual? – I’ve always been obsessed with spirituality, ever since my earliest years, even as a toddler. I don’t know why? Everyone in my family has been, I suspect some of it is nature and some of it is nurture… It doesn’t help my obsession either, that I’ve always been haunted. Everywhere I go, I experience ghosts or spirits. For the longest time, I thought religion would be able to tell me something about these experiences, tell me something about these spirits – but I’ve never found any answers that really satisfy. Not in any religion, not in regard to the topic of hauntings’ anyway… But I have found this satisfying and it is what propels my journeying these days; if religion doesn’t help me get out of bed in the morning, if it doesn’t help me cope when my neighbour gets on my last nerve, if it doesn’t move my hands to create a better world than the one I entered then it’s worthless and I won’t waste my time. Real religion isn’t so much about “other worlds” as it is about transforming this one.

And do you think labels such as ‘fluffy bunny’ or ‘flaming pagan’ are okay or harsh?… You’re going to get two answers for this one question. My first answer is this; It’s harsh. My baptismal vows, which are renewed every year, call me to “respect the dignity of every human being.” I would be forbidden to call someone a ‘fluffy bunny’, ‘flaming pagan’, ‘Jesus-Freak’, ‘Rag-head’, ‘Greedy Jew’, etc… My second answer, however, is that we learn a lot from these words. We learn a lot more from our enemies sometimes than we do our friends, because their criticisms are often a lot more honest, even if sharp and cutting. We do well to listen to all voices, to learn from them all. Sometimes, our best practice is take a derogatory title that is flung at us and make it a “reclaimed” word. For example, a lot of pagans today prefer to take the name “Witch” and wear it proudly. They’ve taken the name back, reclaimed it and turned it from something shameful into something honourable. Laurie Cabot’s website calls her the “Official Witch of Salem”, and Laurie for her part, dresses the part of a Witch every where she goes – regardless of the ridicule and the praise, she remains the same. I love that about her. It’s a very Zen quality, she takes the ridicule and the praise with equanimity, neither changes her. She is what she is and she retains her dignity either way. :o)

I’ll put you in a scenario. If someone sent you negative energy or went out their way to upset/hurt you, what would you do, and why? 

I’ve been in this situation many times, in different ways…My first reaction has always been the same. To call on my ancestors and the Divine to surround me, encircle me for protection. Then, to call on my community. And take whatever measures necessary for self-defence. At times, I have been ready to kill in self-defence or in defence of an innocent. I have never taken offensive measures, always defensive measures; mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually… But I want to tell one specific story.

Talk about negative energy, and someone going out of their way to upset & hurt me? I was a college intern, working at Church of Our Saviour for Rev. Paula Jackson. One day, our church received a threat that went like this; “I’m a Promise Keeper (fundamentalist Christian), and I promise you this; if you don’t throw the gay trash out to the curb, I’m going to firebomb your church.”… Our doors were (and are still) open to everyone; gay, straight, rich, poor, educated, under-educated, cross-dressing or transsexual, black, white, Hispanic, etc. And all of these people show up! Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote; “the most segregated hour in the USA is the church hour”. Half a century later, it’s still true, but NOT at Church of Our Saviour… This threat was a horrific trauma for me. It opened my eyes to the world of Christian Terrorism and it to all of the violence and blood within the Christian realms of Bible and Ritual. I got to where I couldn’t read the Bible, I couldn’t hear the Mass without gagging. And I sat in the pew in complete apprehension, in fear, waiting for the KA-BOOOM!, waiting for the breaking glass and screams of all the people I loved. Eventually, I had to leave, in fear, in resentment, in disgust… In the meanwhile, here’s Rev. Paula Jackson, a straight woman, a woman with a husband and 3 kids to love and protect, continuing to enter that church every day, faithfully, regardless. And it didn’t matter that the threat was credible, that local Jewish synagogues had been vandalised or that our local Islamic mosque was indeed bombed. Paula wasn’t going to be intimidated, she wasn’t going to let some prejudiced jerk stand alone to define Christianity in his way to the exclusion of others, she opened the doors of her Church to EVERYONE, day in and day out regardless. She’s my hero for that, my living Saint. After years of wandering through my ancestor’s Asatru and through Zen, I came back to Church of Our Saviour and to my Saint. As I’ve said before, I came back because religion is supposed to heal and transform the world, not just people, but all of ecology. And when I looked around Cincinnati, it was Church of Our Saviour that is doing that. If I were in Wisconsin, I’d probably be with Selena Fox’s pagan community, because Selena’s community is healing and transforming Wisconsin. If I were in California, I’d be with Thich Nhat Hanh’s Zen community, because his community is working social justice. To heal the world, to transform the world, we go to where the Saints are; like Selena Fox, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rev. Paula Jackson. Where they are is where thunder is happening, where the earth is shaking, where some people are rejoicing because change is happening and others are hailing down death threats because change is happening. (I’d be willing to bet Selena got death threats for going to the Supreme Court to have the Pentacle issued for USA military grave stones.) The question is; do we believe in that transformation enough, do we believe in that healing enough to risk our very lives?… I do. It took me YEARS to get to that point. But I do. I pass the test. Because to this day, my church receives threats, my Priest receives threats, I do too. And twice a week, I walk into that church with my Priest. And on occasion, we do protests together. like this one to save a homeless shelter from a corporation that wants to tear it down so they can “develop” the land;
http://www.wvxu.org/news/wvxunews_article.asp?ID=9924

Along with the link to the article which you can see, I’ve sent an attachment, a photo of my beloved Priest at the same protest.

Mtr. Paula @ Western Southern Protest

Link: http://www.wvxu.org/news/wvxunews_article.asp?ID=9924&fb_source=message


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Spiritual Interview | BlackholePancakes

Another fab interview. So far I have done 5 or, with an extra one I have yet to finish =]

Be sure to check her out, I love her words and her videos!

I do have a blog, it’s at http://iretenra.wordpress.com/.

Youtube User: blackholepancakes, but I’ve not had any interest in making more YouTube videos for a while and probably won’t anytime soon. Sorry to all of my subscribers!

What gave you the idea for your username?
Honestly, I just took two random words and put them together.

Have you always been magickal?
It would be hypocritical of me to say that I’m not a magical person, since I believe in heka, or Kemetic “magic,” but I don’t really do spells either. And for a while, I was a non-practicing atheist, so… I’d say no.

What got you started, and why?
I simply fell out of Catholicism. I didn’t believe any of it — or should I say, it didn’t really make sense to me. I didn’t feel any connection with God through it. Then I discovered that Kemeticism is still alive and real, if a small minority religion. Over the years, I’ve tried exploring other faiths, but I always kept coming back to Kemeticism.

Do you see it as something you’ll continue to develop in 5 years or so?
Yes.


If your path didn’t exist, what would you follow?

I’d most likely be an animist. Kemeticism is a form of animism already, so it wouldn’t be too far off. Barring that, a secular humanist, as I was that for six years.

So far, what do you enjoy most about your path?
My close connection with my Patron god. That’s all I really want or need in a religion.

And what are your pet peeves?
Regarding faith/spirituality? Not opening up to knowledge. Not doing research before proclaiming something is true. Close-mindedness and a quickness to judge. Blanket statements.

Now time to get even more personal, what is your secret to staying spiritual?
Not overanalyzing every little thing to the point where it drives me insane. Actually, the secret is to come to an understanding with your god(s). It took a couple of years, but now I’ve reached the point where I don’t need to validate my spirituality with constant practice and displays of practice/knowledge. I just am.

What do you think of labels in a general sense?
I like categorizing things and making things orderly, so I actually like labels. But I don’t think people are meant to be categorized so easily.

And do you think labels such as ‘fluffy bunny’ or ‘flaming pagan’ are okay or harsh? (Fluffy bunny is used to describe new people to the craft, and flaming pagan is used for over the top pagans):
I do not think “fluffy bunny” describes a person new to paganism. I think “fluffy bunny” describes someone new to paganism who refuses to learn, do proper research, or accept advice or others’ opinions. Actually, this webpage describes the term quite nicely:http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/fluffy.shtml

So yes, I think that label is okay.

As for “flaming pagan,” I’ve personally never heard of it before, but I figure that if it’s jokingly used and everyone is okay with it, then that’s fine. If it’s being used derogatively, then that’s not fine.

However, I’m also of the opinion that a lot of people don’t know how to chill and relax, so labels might be taken more derogatively than they really ought to be.

I’ll put you in a scenario. If someone sent you negative energy or went out their way to upset/hurt you, what would you do, and why?
I would tell them to stop being petty and childish, because it’s rude and reprehensible behavior.

Link: http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/fluffy.shtml


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Spiritual Interview | Erriender Ravenheart

Enjoy the words of this beautiful Wiccan lady, I tell you, she is awesome! =P

http://www.youtube.com/user/ErrienderRavenheart

What gave you the idea for your username?
My username is also my spiritual name, Erriender Ravenheart. I chose this name when I committed myself to following Wicca. It is how I identify myself as a spiritual and magickal being. I use this name in spiritual circles and to sign any spiritual journaling that I do.
I took a long time to pick the name. I am very connected with my star sign and element (Libra/Air) and so I started there. The first part of the name is meant to sound like the word ‘air’ but it looked better overall when spelt with an E! The latter part of the word comes from ‘lavender’ as it has always been a plant that I work closely with, even before I started down my spiritual path. When you put the whole thing together, it brings to mind the scent of lavender on a cool spring breeze. Or at least it does to me!
The second name is more straightforward but it has a significant meaning to me. I picked the raven as a sign of the magickal path. It is a bird that is thought to be able to cross the boundaries of the physical plane and the spiritual plane. That is how I felt at the time, like I was exploring the spiritual realms. Discovering Wicca filled me with a religious and spiritual passion that I never saw myself finding. It felt like the raven had been awoken in my heart and was bursting out to carry my forward on my spiritual path and to assure a safe journey. Hence the second name of Ravenheart.

Have you always been magickal?
Growing up, looking back on it now, I used to practise what I now think might have been ‘sympathetic magick’ and the concept that like attracts like. I used to concoct ‘love potions’ to attract a guy by combining sweet smelling bath scents in a bottle and tying a ribbon around it. Obviously as a kid, you don’t really know what you’re doing and I don’t think I honestly took any of it seriously. But maybe it was a sign that I was destined to learn about real magick.
When I was a little older, in secondary school, I was still attracted to the idea of spells and potions but again, never really taking any of it seriously and sometimes even laughing at myself for trying. A friend came in to school one day and she had burned her arm on her straighteners. She asked if there was a ‘spell’ to help her. I did some kind of elemental spell by combining a leaf, a feather, some sand from the long jump pitch *cringe* and some bottled water. I can’t remember the exact of it but I just know that my friend swore that it helped speed the healing process.
So who knows? Maybe I was just messing around in the way kids do when they are growing up, but maybe it was a sign that I was always meant to find this path.

What got you started, and why?
A friend of a friend, a little older than myself, told me about it in school one day. I had always thought she was a little bit weird and eccentric and I was so completely sceptic when she called herself a ‘Witch’. But for some reason I couldn’t get it out of my mind. For the next few weeks I just did some internet research on Wicca and Witchcraft and I was captivated. The ‘magickal’ side of it all was the last thing on my mind though. It was the lifestyle that it evokes and the moral guidelines that I loved. Combined with the freedom of ‘do what thou will’ I knew this was something I wanted to learn more about. I studied intensely for a year or more, buying books on the craft and working up the courage to ask this girl more questions. In the end I just couldn’t deny it anymore. I was a Wiccan and I wanted to admit it to myself and to my family.
Then I came out to my Mom and Dad, I did a small ‘self-dedication’ ritual and I have been a whole new person since then.

Do you see it as something you’ll continue to develop in 5 years or so?
I know now that this path is a huge part of who I am. And I have always believed that you can never stop learning about anything. I learn more about my path and more about myself every day. The people that I have met through the various online communities have played a huge part in that. Sharing their experiences and my own, I know that I will always have the opportunity to expand what I already know and enjoy the journey through other’s experiences of the craft. As long as I live, I know that my path and therefore everything that I am will continue to evolve.

If your path didn’t exist, what would you follow?
I don’t know where I would be now if I had never found a name for what it is that I believe in. I didn’t know that there was a kind of religion that didn’t follow a strict set of rules that had already been laid out in a holy book of some kind. The freedom to choose how to practise and how to express your love of life and the divine is a huge part of why I consider myself to be a Wiccan. I’m not sure that I would have found a way to channel my spiritual self and maybe, had I not turned down this path, I would now be an unsatisfied agnostic. I would hope that I could have found a way of being spiritual at the very least, without finding a specific religious alignment.
As it stands, I do use teachings and mythological stories from several religions and ancient religions, to teach me more about life and myself. Perhaps some sort of collaborative religion with a lengthy confusing title would form that I could fit under!

What is your secret to staying spiritual?
To be honest, I find myself drifting from time to time and getting the feeling of being disconnected. But I guess that to stay spiritual, you have to realise that the divine is all around you and that you are a manifestation of that same divine force. It’s not as simple as just saying it or reading it, but really knowing that and feeling it inside you. It’s easy to forget that we are all Gods and Goddesses. But by believing in ourselves and knowing – and I mean really knowing – that we have the power to overcome any obstacle and to carve out our own destinies, that we will always be spiritual beings.
Also, one thing that I’ve noticed recently, is how much more I get out of life by taking time just to observe the world going by. Catching the gaze of a bird when I’m walking down the street, or appreciating the silence when it’s too early for people to be up – they are very enlightening moments. I get a very uplifting feeling from noticing these sacred moments every day that I can’t put into words.

What do you think of labels in a general sense?
They have their ups and downs. I am very much split down the middle on this one. On one hand, it’s great to have a sense of community and to feel like you have something in common with others when you go by the same ‘label’. However, ‘labels’ can be associated with so much prejudice that they are often just as likely to evoke hate and cause segregation. Whether it’s football teams or religious views, they either bring you together or drive you apart.

And do you think labels such as ‘fluffy bunny’ or ‘flaming pagan’ are okay or harsh? (Fluffy bunny is used to describe new people to the craft, and flaming pagan is used for over the top pagans):
I dislike it when the term ‘fluffy bunny’ is used to describe solely new people. It evokes a sense of willful ignorance and someone whose intentions are not in the right place. New people to the craft should be embraced and helped wholeheartedly to find their own path and sense of belonging. However, I do use the term myself but under different circumstances. I think that there are people who get interested in paths such as Wicca and Witchcraft for very wrong reasons and I’ve seen it up close and personal one too many times. There are people who use it just to look mysterious or intimidate people, for attention or to be unique. It infuriates me that they have such little respect for the religion. And it is these people that I refer to as ‘bunnies’ because they just can’t be taken seriously as they themselves don’t take this path seriously. I think these people earn that title.

I’ll put you in a scenario. If someone sent you negative energy or went out their way to upset/hurt you, what would you do, and why?
In an ideal situation, the way to handle that kind of incident is to rise above it. I haven’t always dealt with life in this way though. For a long time I was incredibly sensitive and prone to drama-queen style strops if someone upset me. But it was embarrassing! It really is cringe worthy to think how childish it was to use techniques like ‘the silent treatment’ to make a statement about how it was affecting me. Acting out like that though, only causes you to feel worse in yourself. By reflecting negative energy, you actively fill your surroundings with negative vibes that maintain your bad mood. These days, I’m pretty good at just shaking things off. If something really gets to me, I like to vent with a good friend over coffee and then laugh it off later. Sometimes it takes meditation or a combination until I put myself at ease. The main thing though, is not to reflect. You just have to move away from the situation as soon as you can. Things only get to you if you let them! ‘Rise above’ is my official mission statement these days. I can’t say I manage it every time – no one is perfect! I certainly try though.