Five Things I Learned from the Women’s March

One. When women are in charge the world is more peaceful. The march was a gentle moment, just people walking. We can credit this to the fact that it was organized by and around women. Of course there are hawkish women leaders who have authorized war acts, criminal women who have committed assault and murder, women soldiers serving in the military. Even so Joshua Goldstein in War and Gender concluded that in the history of the world it has been... Read more

Christmas is for Pagans too

Christmas started out life as a Pagan holiday. Pagans know that the birth of Christ settled on December 25 to take advantage of the celebrations already happening around that date. We discuss the Victorian origins of our current customs. We point out that Romans lit candles and traded gifts during the December season of Saturnalia. When I converted from Catholicism to Witchcraft in my late teens I self-consciously rejected Christmas. Candy canes are Christian symbols – out with them! We... Read more

Resistance to Trump: Seven Magical Tips

Justitia from WikiMedia The resistance is forming. It’s official: the electoral college confirmed the election of Donald Trump. The times call for action from everyone who cares about social justice and the web of life on the planet. Here are seven ways we can stand up to the tide of oppression using our best tool – magic! Magical Resistance Tip One: Look to our traditions for guidance. Magical folk have been the underdogs in the Western... Read more

Prayer for Standing Rock

The Standing Rock tribe has asked that we join them in prayer. Here is a prayer to Athena. I hope this inspires you to create your own invocations, chants and spells calling on the powers you recognize to come to the aid of people who are acting to protect their water source. Athena of the shield, protector of the people, extend your shield to the water protectors, run before them as they run to the front lines, keep them safe... Read more

When your ancestors are racist

As I was absorbing the body blow of the presidential election where a racist demagogue took the most powerful office in the world I reached out for spiritual support. Ancestors, guide me, I said. Immediately I realized they weren’t going to be helpful. My ancestors are Trump people. I was raised in a Southern white racist family. My uncle taught me that the Civil War was triggered by Northern resentment of the economic success of the South. My mother gave... Read more

We need art now more than ever

Art saved me this week. My life changed on election night. I settled in front of the television expecting to see an historic and hopeful moment. After the celebrations I planned to hold elected officials to the progressive agenda. Instead a sexual predator with an autocratic agenda that threatens American democracy and the climate of the planet rode into office on a wave of rage and hate. I spent three days just processing the waves of emotion. A sense of... Read more

Helping a loved one die

I helped someone die this week. It was a sacred privilege. It’s Samhain season, the time of year when magical folk talk about remembering our ancestors and recognizing death. American culture pushes the actual process of death out of sight and we don’t talk about it much. So I want to talk about what it is like to be actively engaged with the death process. My partner Ted’s mom Carol Gill has been a second mother to me. After the... Read more

The best devotional method

I’ve been doing devotionals to deities for several decades. When I started it was difficult to find instructions on how to do it. My working group (Coven of the Mystical Merkabah) invented a method we call the temple-research feedback loop: study the deity, go into temple, use what you’ve learned to refine your research. In recent years as true polytheism has gained traction a number of Pagans have discussed their approaches to making offerings and dedicating to a particular deity.... Read more

Writing a book as initiation

Containment, transformation, emergence. Virginia Beane Rutter describes this process as an initiatory pattern. That’s a good description of my last three years. In September 2013 I drove out to a friend’s country house for a weekend writing retreat. I was so eager to get started on the new work, filled with plans for getting it done fast! Six months of weekends later I emerged with a manuscript that was technically done. I was startled when it did not land well... Read more

Six things I learned from the O.T.O. Women’s Symposium

Vivian Meretrix and Brandy Williams “Ladies of Force and Fire” are fierce! Sixty of us met in Minneapolis on the first weekend in August this year. The single-track event featured eight presentations, a panel discussion, a wine tasting and one blow-the-roof-off ritual. Here are my top six takeaways. One: We need a women’s symposium. Question number one for the afternoon panel was: why have a woman’s symposium? Doesn’t that marginalize us? Aren’t we all people and... Read more