Sunday, November 29, 2009

"I see no connection between religion and violence."

Huh? That phrase was recorded in a legal deposition by the former president of the University of Texas's San Antonio campus back in the late 1980s. A book connecting religion and violence had been published by one of the history department's young, well-liked, professors. The best defense against giving the man tenure was, "I see no connection between religion and violence."

I don't know where he was getting his daily news but mine has always been full of religions enacting crimes of hate against other religions, or even against those who practice a slightly modified version of the same religion.

Wouldn't it be nice to say the silly "Witch Wars" of the 1970s are over and Pagans worldwide live in peace and harmony? In my opinion things have improved, at least for us in the Americas. For us and our European "co-religionists" there looms a gap as wide as the ocean that separates us. The hundreds of choices those of us in Americas have on our huge spiritual buffet are astounding. When we lift up one of the choices we find many other layers of choices derived from or formed in opposition to the one most visible on the buffet.

I love western Europe, and most North American Pagans know we have western Europe to thank for the foundations of our thousands of Pagan traditions. We live in a country in which people change residences on an average of once every 1.8 years. We are united by cable TV! We meet people from other ethnic and spiritual backgrounds every day. We cannot help but be open to many cultural expressions in every aspect of our lives. And when it comes to the spiritual we also look at what Native Americans can teach us, we look at what the syncretic religions of Latin America have to offer, and we look at our own European heritages, and we blend these until they become what many of us refer to as Eclectic Wicca.

When I came to the craft in 1981 I was taught Wicca referred to only the Gardnerian and Alexandrain traditions of England. So I called myself a Witch, and still do. Today I am referred to as Wiccan by many people and I have learned the labels they place on me are irrelevant and I do not argue over them. What is important is my inner-faith, something no one can tamper with without my consent. I keep an open mind and read critically in hopes of new insights. What I do not do is slam ANY other faith, Pagan or not, for what they believe, do, or practice. The universal "Golden Rule" is part of all religions, including Paganism's: AS IT HARMS NONE, DO WHAT YOU WILL.

Over the last few years relations between North American and western European Pagans have been strained about as far as they can be without snapping. A well-known and respected American Pagan author was invited to England about five years ago to present some workshops. His reception was less than warm. He was corrected every time he used the word Wicca in a context his London-based audience felt he should use the terms Witchcraft or Paganism.

Oddly enough, it was the wife and co-founder of the Alexandrian Tradition (one of the British Traditional Witchcraft lineages), probably the single most codified tradition in all of modern Paganism, who befriended him and became one of his personal heroes. Maxine Saunders above all others certainly has the background to claim a right to "correct" the language of Witches from the Americas but she chooses not to do so. She knows religion must grow and change to fit the people it serves or it dies. She knows American Pagans have European DNA but we also have global minds.

The most difficult battles we have to face are over cultural claims for which we Americans have little tolerance. This is not to say we deride or disrespect anyone's specific European culture or any specific Pagan religions the natives of those countries deem to be theirs alone. In the America we pick and chose our Paganism, its traditions, and varied practices as we chose marriage partners or best friends. We want to have some things in common but ethnicity, spiritual tradition, and how these are expressed to others is something Europeans have a difficult time understanding, much less accepting.

I am only one American Pagan/Witchcraft author who is weary of lobbing the verbal missiles back and forth, but I'm not alone. I know a Celtic coven who worships the Greco-Roman God Pan, and another who prays to Diana. Not very Celtic in the truest sense of the culture. Do we care? Usually not as long as we understand from where these dissonances come. We are not illiterate. We know Pan's origins are not in Ireland, but one coven chooses to use him.

We Americans tend to pull deities, spellings, rituals, customs, and other accoutrements from the world over, toss them into our multi-faceted cauldron, mix thoroughly, and call it by whatever name we like. The same is done in Latin America where the numbers of people practicing religions that blend African Paganism with Catholicism and western European Paganism reach into the millions. Many call this blend "another form of Catholicism," a label that does not sit well with the Vatican which, by the way, is in Europe.

I have been forced to listen to loud and long negative diatribes about books on Scottish Pagan that are not acceptable in Scotland, heard variations on Italian Strega excoriated, and sat nearly silent while an Irish-based trad I once belonged to was trashed.

What our European counterparts can't understand is how we can draw from sources outside a small, cultural framework then hang an ethnic label on it. For example, the Irish who claim to practice a pure, pre-Celtic version of Irish craft excludes the words Wicca, Wicce, Wita, Witta, and Weeka. Yet, in spite of this controversy, many still accept some books with the word Wicca in the title to be considered part of their cultural spiritualism.

Though my own book on the Irish-based trad I was taught is long out of print, I've lost touch with many who practiced with me, and little about it part of my current Pagan practice, I still find myself goaded into defending my claim that it is Irish-based. Note that I do not call it Irish or say it is THE Irish way of Paganism, nor do I grasp why these ideas are so threatening to European Pagans. No one is asking them to model their practices on ours. For Goddess's Sake, we don't even try to make someone in the next county practice as we do.

Diversity in the Americas is reflected in everything we have, do, or say, which is one reason we have our own infighting about what is truly American and what is not. National identities fight against our many ethnic roots daily. If we can't get it straight among ourselves, I doubt we will reach a compromise with our European friends on any of these practices and terms.

Think about all the many Pagan expressions we have here in the Americas to try and to use if so moved. Is Santería merely another form of Catholicism here? Yes, it is if the practitioner worshipping Ellegua believes it is. Can aspects of British Traditional Witchcraft be the basis for American versions of Irish, Scottish, Italian, or German Paganism? Yes they can if the practitioner wants it so. Can Celtic deities be brought into the Norse pantheon and the coven still be said to practice a Norse tradition? In America it can and it is.

At American Pagan festivals I meet thousands of people every year from whom I learn wonderful insights into new ways to practice or to think about my Paganism. In the almost 30 years since my dedication I have worshipped in a myriad of settings. I've seen rituals from ceremonial magick interpolated into Egyptian Pagan rites, listened to a Celtic priestess of the Morrigan call out to Pan on Samhain, and in Latin America I see Santería shops actually built onto the annex of staunchly Catholic churches. I have taken folk saints from Latin America and prayed to them for assistance and never have a I felt my Anglo-Irish-Scottish DNA fight against me.

Let's get over the semantics, my friends. Words have power, yes, but they have the power to harm as well as heal, and using them to denounce someone else's Pagan practice benefits no one. It just makes us tired and likely to snap just when we should be offering the hand of friendship and understanding. We all change, grow, move on, move out, move in, carry forward, blend, borrow, and bend our Paganism into systems that work for us, and, with luck, our ideas may stir a need in someone else.

.... I was going to conclude this blog entry at this point when I friend read it over for me and said I needed to declare myself first.

"Declare what?"

"What tradition you are."

"I don't think I have one any more and that's the point."

"You must call what you do something," she persisted. "So name it!"

"It has no name--it just is!"

"Not good enough. People expect a brand."

"But that's what I'm arguing against," I say as I lose the fight.

My agent, also a Pagan author, Denise Dumars, and I have talked about the use of these terms and who "owns" them and who may use them as they wish. She and I are as content in an Eclectic Wiccan circle as we are in the rites of Santería or Umbanda. We've done Celtic, Nordic, and Egyptian and felt at home. We do not feel we are bound by any person, culture, or spiritual leader to define ourselves. We ask no one to do as we do, and we cause no harm.

I suppose I recently realized that I am American in the broadest sense of the word. My Witchcraft and my Paganism are inherently American, a blend of the practices of both North and South America and, should I ever find myself living in Europe, I would bring these practices with me and continue to build upon them.

Maybe the time has come for Pagans in the Americas to stop trying to ID ourselves using European terms. Our practices might be based in old Europe simply because the majority of our ancestors came here from Europe and we feel that connection, but it is also clear we say and do little that Europeans would recognize or with which they would be comfortable when it comes to Pagan practice. But that's OK. It should be OK with everyone. It's all part of the many paths to the creator--the end purpose of all our Pagan rites--and there will always be those people in Europe who hold tightly to the local Pagan traditions. It would be a huge cultural loss if they vanished forever and we Americans would miss learning about and seeing these rites enacted in their native lands.

Back to the issue. My current Pagan tradition, you ask?

I'm a PanAmerican Witch and very, very proud of the rich, multi-cultural heritage of the Americas, and of my European ancestors, all of whom contributed to the special spirituality that is mine today. As for tomorrow.... who knows? I may bring in some Russian or Thai practices, but I will still be, now and forever, a PanAmerican Witch.

I wish you peace and blessings in all languages and customs,

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"You want fries with that?"

A long time ago I was told having a college degree--any degree--would open doors in my future. As anyone else reading this who also majored in the liberal arts knows, this door opening was not always wide enough for us to squeeze through. If we did land a good paying job we worked hard to keep it, fearing our next job would involve the phrase, "You want fries with that?"

Maybe after a long wait liberal arts students are being valued in job applicants. Having a degree got me in the door at Charles Schwab where I first got my broker training and licensing. Schwab actually told us that the economics, accounting, and finance majors often did not perform as well as those of us with a broader background of knowledge. My younger-than-me boss admitted to being a philosophy major! One day I asked him what he had been thinking. His reply, "I don't know. It was the 70s."

Like most of my countrymen I now find myself struggling to hold on to being middle class as food prices, banking fees, and interest rates go up and the only work ethic remaining seems to be that of greed for greed's sake. I've been forced to take on a second job, and sometimes a third.

This year I am substitute teaching, something I was not sure I could do. I am always uncomfortable giving workshops or lectures, but those audiences were of my peers. Always nerve-wracking when you know the people you're talking to know as much as you do, and some of them know more. I tutored one-on-one for a while and really loved that. It sounds cliche to say it was rewarding, but it was beyond belief. To see a young person's eyes light up when he "gets it" is one of the best natural highs I've known. I also work with a company that grades standardized tests both from Indiana and other states. The things the various boards of education look for have helped me tutor so my students can excel in these.

Though the school district in which I live tries to place subs into their declared areas of knowledge, sickness and sub shortages mean venturing into areas I struggled with in school. To my surprise I'm finding I can actually be helpful to students in a wide range of subjects. I credit much of this to having a broad background of knowledge. My life experiences too, my travels, the jobs good and bad, the voracious reading, all have helped broaden my awareness and hones my critical thinking skills. I am not the girl who graduated with a bachelor's in history. To my surprise I'm finding the rewards to be found in the classroom. They are small but I hope I'm lighting a spark in the minds of today's youth that just might blossom into a broad background of knowledge for them as well. Then they can pass that spark to the generation after them.

This is all just another facet of the cycle of life. Yes, I'd rather be paid the big bucks--who would not? Lucky for me, I've discovered that being paid in satisfaction and peace of mind is worth almost as much as a paycheck.... almost.

BB, Edain

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Samhain 2009

As the Witches' new year comes in I've noticed many issues coming forth to be dealt with, dismissed, or modified before Samhain comes and goes. I will definitely be doing a "get rid of the old baggage" ritual. I've also been made aware of things I need to carry into the new year, issues and needs that must manifest ASAP. Like most every working person I know, I have been smacked down by the economy and improving this aspect of my life has become a priority not only for me but for many of my friends and family as well.

I'm substitute teaching--again--and finding the classroom atmosphere has drastically changed in the last 15 years. The need for bilingual teachers is helpful to me and I enjoy working with those kids. I never thought the elementary level of school would interest me but I'm much happier there than in the junior high or high school. It's true that no one is safe from surprises until they're dead, and I'm not convinced they stop even then.

The other exciting news is that one of my closest friends is finally forming a coven. At first myself and another friend were going to "co-priestess" because we are all aware of the vast expenditure of time and energy a coven takes. With family, school, and job issues the two of us cannot commit for the foreseeable future and are pleased our "little sister" is forging ahead. Samhain will be our first gathering. It will be small, intimate, containing a coven birthing ritual, and allow us to honor our ancestors. The coven's future should be bright. I'm excited!

Everyone have a blesséd and beautiful Samhain,

Monday, October 19, 2009

An opera-singing spirit?

Being clairaudient around Samhain, when the veil between all worlds thins, the unexpected chatter of unseen guests can be a challenge both to concentration and sleep. I've come a long way in my acceptance of them, as have many Witches. What terrified us as children is now either interesting or annoying because we understand the source. Understanding always defeats fear. We also know when well-meaning spirits know they are welcome and will have an audience they love to drop in for a visit. Even my mother, who viewed my talk of disembodied voices with skepticism, is now a believer because sometimes the chatter has been loud enough to be heard by anyone with functioning eardrums.

I freely admit I would not want to return to a time when the voices of spirits were not audible to me or--worse still-when I was afraid of them. Still, I've been asking those who pass through my home on their autumn roaming to please lower their voices, especially when I'm sleeping. Last week I was awakened from sleep by a very nice, but robust, tenor voice doing a piece from the opera "The Barber of Seville." I sat up in bed trying to figure out what I was hearing. I saw the security alarm was set, meaning the television was not on and I was alone in the house with my dogs, one of whom also looked around trying to understand what she was hearing.

An opera-singing ghost was a novel experience. An opera ghost? Hmmm.... does this make him a "Phantom of the Opera?"

Gotta go ponder this one....

Friday, October 2, 2009

Scariest thing one can face...

... a room full of 13 year-olds! Most of them completely out of control and their hysteria escalating as they feed off one another's unbalanced adolescent energy.

But is there any other kind of 13 year-old? I know that was the worst year of my life and of my brother's. For an entire year we drove our parents and teachers to madness. This year I've watched two friends with 13 year-olds contemplating duct-taping their young teens somewhere far away from a phone but very near their homework. "Aye, there's the rub," as the Bard of Avon wrote. Unfortunately, in 2009 homework is done on computers which means they can and will communicate with friends near and far, an activity exceeding homework in priority and placing it somewhere between scrubbing the bathroom and learning to like all foods that are green.

Some of you know I used to tutor for 8th grade and up, including standardized test prepping. Most of my clients were parents with 8th graders--13 year-olds--who they wanted to give a jumpstart to before they moved on to high school. I loved this! The parents cared and asked for updates from me and from school teachers and the kids were terrific. I found if you isolate one from the herd you can actually teach it. To say that the work was rewarding is cliché, but it is true. Watching a kid's eyes light up as he or she "gets it" creates a natural high not unlike a caffeine jolt.

In this economy even the most concerned parents cannot afford private tutors for their kids, not even here in relatively inexpensive Indianapolis. So I decided to apply for a substitute teacher's license this year. Yep, you read that right. Gasp, shake your head, say I'm crazy. I've had the same reaction from nearby family and friends and, at first, I also had doubts as to my sanity.

At first I thought they were right to be afraid for me--be very afraid. When in the company of their own kind a pleasant 13 year-old student turns into a mouthy monster with a butt that has an adverse reaction to being placed on a chair behind a desk. The said student likes to throw things at other students, swipe notebooks, and make so many trips to the restroom that I wonder if the kid needs a catheter and bag.

In spite of the hair-yanking moments the kids provide, to my surprise, I don't hate being there with them. None of us likes "work" but I discovered I am learning a lot from this job myself. As a Witch I should not be surprised by this because most of us believe we are always students and always teachers who keep knowledge growing and circulating.

As I watch the antics in the classroom, see the glee in the eyes of students who think they've slipped something past me, I find it difficult (sometimes impossible) to chide them for things I did at 13. They have unlocked a safe of forgotten memories of what life was like for me at their age--the good and the bad--and I feel a bond of kinship growing inside me rather than a them versus me mindset. I have been made to wonder just how much I really got away with at 13 and how much a teacher saw but ignored. It's humbling to think you weren't the super-sneak you believed yourself to be.

I've always gotten along well with teens, maybe because I worked my way through college managing the sort of restaurants where lots of teens work. I enjoy the company of most of them. But in the classroom I pick my battles with care. Perhaps I am too easy on them or perhaps this is just the reality of the modern classroom. In either case I know only one thing for certain. Karma is a bitch!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Owen Glendower --What Could it Mean?

Pagans have different ideas about whether the Goddess is calling her children back to earth to help heal her and the life she supports. While I have not have not closed my mind to this idea it strikes me as a too-easy way to justify the growing Pagan population worldwide. Some of the Pagan authors and researchers I know believe in this return and I respect their opinions, but I have never been able to form my own.

At Beltane 2007 I was finally given reasons to reexamine my thoughts and decided to share them with you today.

At Beltane 2007 I was at the Florida Pagan Gathering sharing a cabin with longtime friend and author Ann Moura and also with Janet Farrar. Janet is an amazing woman. She and her husband Gavin Bone are incredible researchers and I know Ann and I learned a lot. But it was the conversations that occurred in our cabin after the main ritual, and later that summer at other festivals, that rocked my world.

We on Cabin 5 had invited our friends--both old and new--to join us in fun and drink in our cabin. My friend and high priest of The Coven of the Raven, David Owen Norris, was there. He got his middle name because it was a family name and he likes using his full name. He was talking with Janet and she revealed her maiden name had been Owen. In the full dramatic voice only Janet can manage, she pointed at David and said, "Owens are many but Owen are few."

This caught the attention of everyone, including a young woman dressed as a faerie who came bearing drink and proceeded to wilt into sleep slumped in a chair. Janet went on to tell those of us who were conscious that all Owen (with no 's' at the end) are descendants of Owen Glendower, the last Arch Druid who stood against the foreign armies invading the the one remaining Druid stronghold on the isle of Anglesey off the coast of Wales. His clam symbol was a raven.

David and I looked wide-eyed across the room at one another. David loved ravens. He is not only the high priest of the Coven of the Raven but also one of the founders of the RavenMyst tradition. (For info on the trad please check out This in itself was fascinating enough, but Janet had a second surprise.

Janet quickly discovered that she and I shared a past-life on the American great plains. We died as a young girl from snakebite. We pulled up our ritual robes to reveal the same fang scars on the inside of our right heels. I have two bumps there which are raised and white and they often irritate me. The sense that we were somehow connected seemed proven, but there were still more surprises ahead.

At that same FPG Beltane I met the indefatigable Selena Fox who invited me to Circle Sanctuary to do some workshops for the Green Spirit Festival which corresponds to Lammas. After the hectic excitement of the festival was over Selena and I allowed time just to sit on a beautiful rock outcropping overlooking the Sanctuary and just talk. She asked me what I knew about the RavenMyst trad because she was unfamiliar with their history. I filled her in and then mentioned the strange coincidence of Janet Farrar and David Norris being connected through the Owen line.

Selena said, "I have Owen ancestors too."

"Owen?" I asked. "Not Owens?"

She nodded. "Owen."

Over the years I've learned to expect many interesting revelations from attendees at Pagan festivals. They are places where the collective consciousness and its attendant energy feel like an electrical charge you stay plugged into for days. The Owen connection was interesting, and after Selena's revelation I began wondering how many Pagans have Owen blood. Of course, we are talking about someone who lived many centuries ago and, since populations tend to expand exponentially, there could could be many, many millions. The estimated number of Mayflower descendants in the United States alone is already 34 million.

I put thoughts of Owen Glendower on a backburner of my mind and, after my last commitment of the year to the New York Witch Festival, I spent some time online double checking my family's ancestral records in Ireland against what my elders had written on yellowing paper that had been passed down to me. The reason was because Janet had invited some of us to visit her and Gavin in Ireland. Several of us planned to go and we wanted to scatter and do some geneaological research for ourselves. (The economic slump squashed our plans.) I was thrilled with the amount of information to be found on the web related to ancestry. On a whim I decided to try to find Demarius McCoy, an ancestor of my maternal grandmother who loved that name and tried unsuccessfully to name her daughter or her granddaughters Demarius.

I knew Demarius came to the American colonies sometime in the 18th century but it did not occur to me that she would have come with a husband and that her birth name was not McCoy. When I found the entry for her I just stopped and stared at my screen. "Demarius Owen McCoy" was the name of my foremother.

After I tamped down the goosebumps I e-mailed David who really didn't sound too surprised by this revelation, but I have thought a lot about it over the past two years. There may be more Owens than Owen out there, but we are talking about a relatively common Welsh name, so I had to consider that had I been at a Christian gathering of people with roots in Wales that a few Owen would have appeared. At the same Beltane festival it also came out that author Gavin Frost and I were likely related through another Welsh line of Pryce or Price.

My opinion remains firmly on the fence on this idea of the Goddess calling us back. I would love to converse with anyone else who has an opinion or has had a similar experience. Are you an Owen? Do share other interesting names with Pagan friends? What do you think? Drop me an e-mail at I am very interested in knowing what you think.

Blesséd Be!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

MySpace, Facebook, &

I want to repeat what I said in my former blogs about MySpace, Facebook, and for those who have not read them and are waiting for responses.

I closed my MySpace page and my Classmates accounts when they began eating up too much time. Face it, both of them are much more fun than working. Facebook and I had issues over how many friends I was permitted to add in a given time period and I bailed on them. Those of you who are not getting friend responses to Facebook are not being shunned, I simply refused to pick and chose what few people I could add each day. Punishment for adding too many friends--which I thought was the purpose of the site--was having it blocked to me for up to a week. I may return to MySpace someday, but for the time being writing, going to grad school, teaching, and taking care of my family and pets has me in a time crunch where something had to go.

Thanks and BB,

Best Laid Plans... ?

Merry Meet Again!

Here I was all set to blog on a regular schedule when both my mother and brother came crashing down onto my plans with illnesses and surgeries. In fact, I had to cancel a Mabon festival, the first festival I've ever had to cancel in order to take care of issues at home. I felt awful doing so, especially with the Mountain Mysteries Mabon organizer was so understanding. Deb Striker, thank you for not making me feel worse than I did.

Then, to my horror, I was rudely reminded that non-organic objects also get sick. Yep, the hard drive on my less than 2 years old computer burned out and had to be replaced. Thank Goddess that I learned long ago to back up everything and to do it in more than one location.

Now that the "missing Edain" explanations are out of the way I can discuss my mixed feelings for blogging, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, texting, and all these other "stay in constant touch" devices. A few weeks ago while sipping my morning coffee in front of the Today Show (I can't take hard news first thing in the morning) one of the hosts declared all these devices to be the "most narcissistic tools" ever developed.

She pinpointed my problem faster than a sharp shrink. The constant updates we feel we must share with the world have always made me uncomfortable. I love socializing at Pagan festivals, I enjoy my friends, and anyone who has seen my website knows I have two passions: dogs and dance, the latter being a definite social event. Many years ago someone commented that I was a very private person. I couldn't wholly agree with that assessment either, but just to prove her wrong I added a "photos" page to my website showcasing my life. It made me uncomfortable to share pictures from my childhood or of my hobbies. I couldn't understand why anyone would care about my life outside of the subject inside a book I had written. I remain astounded that I receive many e-mails from readers who love that I "share so much of myself" with my readers.

I suppose that is the point at which I realized we all have a curiosity about the person behind the byline. Politicians and actors have put up with the world knocking on their private lives since the advent of legislature. Before that people looked to the rich and famous for their prurient curiosities. I try to see the positive in all things, so I will be grateful I never have been, and probably will never be, a target of the relentless media, and pleased to know there are readers who want to know about me as I want to know about them.

So I return to my blogspot in hopes that I can post something of interest at least once a week.

Currently I am co-authoring a book on Latin American magick in English-speaking North America with another author. This is the first writing project I've been honestly excited about in a long time. There is a lot of information, variation, ideology, etc., within these magick traditions that one author could never have enough personal experience to capture them all. Between Denise Dumars and myself we cover a broad range of these practices. We've also done our interviewing and research to fill in as many gaps as possible. As with some EuroAmerican Pagan traditions, secrecy regarding specific practices are not revealed until a sincere initiate has reached a specific level of practical experience. Denise and I have made the trek up the ladder of some of Latin American practices, stopping halfway up at some points, and continuing the climb in others.

We want the book to be a practical guide as well as an informative one. Even in our proposal we inserted popular spells from different traditions and look forward to using more in the finished project.

And just in case you think this interest in magickal traditions is only flowing from south to north, we can tell you from experience that we meet many Euro-based Pagans calling themselves Witches or Wiccans than ever before. More "Wiccan" books are being published in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Madrid for the Spanish-reading markets in the Amrericas. This blending of yet more aspect of our lives in the Americas often irritates--even angers--our European friends. Many do not understand how we can take Celtic myths, toss in a few Nordic practices, include a Native American ritual element in our sabbats, and still use the word Wiccan to describe ourselves. And just try calling this mish mash an Irish, Scottish, or Norwegian tradition and watch your inbox flood with messages that are sincerely outraged.

I've begun using the terms Scottish-based or Nordic-based to try to be more PC, but, trust me, it does no good to compromise our semantics. Eclectic Wicca may be an unacceptable term in Europe but, here the bottom line is that we in the Americas love our spiritual diversity. Like a big family we may squabble among ourselves from time to time, but just let someone from another family come after one of us and insist we are doing things "wrong" and we will band together faster than cold fusion.

Until next time I wish you many blessings and a joyous Mabon!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Technology has finally beaten me. LOL! It has taken me five minutes just to figure out how to log back in to this site. I'm so glad I can laugh about it. Humor can get you through almost anything. In fact, the curandera I studied with in Texas taught me powerful lessons about laughter and magick. There is little stronger than mirth and joy. It will topple discontent and anger every time.

Now to dispense with one common question I see repeatedly from those who have found their way to my new e-mail addy who are asking about forthcoming books. My last two projects have me moving away from the subject of just Witchcraft or just Wicca, not for any lack of love for my religion, but because I feel I've said all I have to say at this time about Witchcraft. There are plenty of 101 books out there and now a whole new onslaught of books addressing the Craft from the point of view of neurosciences, quantum physics, DNA magick, advanced shamanic practices, and I think they are all fantastic sources for pushing we "old-timers" into new directions of thought and understanding. I do not feel I have enough to add to these intensely Craft-focused tomes to make writing a book of my own worthwhile, not to readers and not to myself.

In answer to the question, I do have book proposals circulating the publishing houses on topics of interests to Pagans, folk magicians, and to those who practice or are curious about syncretic or blended PanAm forms of magick and worship. These are the areas in which I feel drawn to share my experiences.

I have also been asked about a sequel to both my "A Witch's Guide to Faery Folk" (1994) and "The Healing Power of Faery " (2008). First of all, my heart-felt thanks to those who have enjoyed these two books. The world of the fey never fails to entrance me but, until faery itself choses to escalate my faery shaman skills into the advanced levels I see no sequel coming soon. I was pleased to be part of the children's book "Fariypedia" from DK Publishing and hope it finds a happy home with Pagan children and children at heart.

Now for the non-question portion of the program. I do not want my blogs to be about my books. I don't want to feel I'm shoving a sales pitch into your face whenever you pop in to read this blog. Yes, I know this is what publicists want authors to do but I know I cannot handle reading lengthy blogs attempting to disguise a sales pitch. It just gets old. I'd rather share the fun anecdotes that all Witches encounter, the kind we share with laughter around the balefires of coven gatherings, PPDs, and festivals. Since I cannot answer all my e-mails I want this to be a place I can address questions, and to let you know I'm flattered and humbled to be asked anything.

One of my latest encounters with "be careful what you wish for" occurred last winter. One of my best friends--and sister Witch--had just moved into a condo without a fireplace. Morganna, the said friend, is a fire magick fiend so the switch to a non-fireplace home meant getting creative with spellwork. I can't even recall what the spell was that we were putting so much energy into that night. I do know we hand wrote the spells on parchment, added oils and charged herbs, and that we rolled it into a tube. Multiple candles illuminated the spacious livingroom/kitchen area in a golden haze. No one was outside in the raw weather and all was quiet except for the light splintering of ice crystals hitting the windows. Morganna's four cats lolled around the room in sleepy complacency. By our standards this was the perfect mood for serious spellwork.

"How are we going to burn this?" I asked. We always used her fireplace before. "There's too much wind outside." We didn't want sparks flying out of control nor did we really want to try to focus on a spell when the windchill was in single digits. What were two determined Witches to do?

Morganna took the tube over to the stainless steel sink and turned on the kitchen vent. That seemed like a good spot to me. If the fire got messy we could just drop the parchment full of herbs and oils into the sink and turn on the taps. The serenity of the event remained intact.

Morganna's Craft teacher started her out on Silver RavenWolf's books and, because of this, she used many of Silver's chants and incantations in her spellwork, spells she knew to the last word. We focused our concentration on the tube and focused again on our goal, speaking it in the detailed poetry we had written on the parchment. Morganna lit the tube and began chanting one of Silver's incantations for burning paper spells beginning, "Paper does give way to flame..."

The edge of the parchment caught fire as we kept the spell moving. At first it appeared that the flame was going to expand with the swell of the incantation. Near the end of the incantation comes a command to the spell. The exact words used as "fiery bird." As we got closer to this point in the spell the flame began to ebb. No matter how we turned the tube the fire was just not going to cooperate. We started to giggle and Morganna shouted, "I said 'fiery bird!'"

In that instant the parchment ignited like flashpaper. She dropped it into the sink. The flames shot above the sink's edge. An instant later the deafening wail of the smoke alarm shattered the quiet of the night. All four cats leapt in the air like cartoon figures and, hissing and spitting, they each ran to a different quarter of the condo. Some heavy fanning with a kitchen towel silenced the alarm but Morganna and I were laughing hard enough that bodily control was endangered. We got our fiery bird and probably scared several lives out of the poor cats.

Did the spell work? I absolutely do not know. When I look back at this all I can recall is the "fiery bird" and I remember the early Craft lesson which is oh so wise: Be careful what you ask for.

Have a blesséd rest of July. BB and MMA,

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Here I Go Again... Attempting to Blog

Merry Meet, Everyone!

Once again I am attempting to use a popular webtools to connect me with friends and readers. My time on MySpace was overwhelming and I had issues with Facebook not letting me add everyone with a friend request. I'm still not sure what that was all about. Someone suggested this venue. In other words, here I go again.

I don't like to back down from a challenge, but the truth is I have so much trouble just finding time to write books that the idea of posting to a blog--even occasionally--seems like an amazing feat. But, hey, I'm a Witch, right? I should be able to do this, right? I'm certainly going to try. To the authors who can do this daily, well, you just astound me and I admire you beyond anything you can imagine. I spend my days dog-paddling to keep myself from drowning in the "must do" stuff everyone has to cope with. Adding a new "must do" scares me. So, please, everyone, be gentle and patient. Please? (There's my *%$-+!*&@ insecurity again.)

Naturally, my publicist thinks this is the best place to post a blog from time to time just in can you start to forget who I am. Contrary to popular belief we writers are really insecure and we are our own worst critics. Writing is hard work for little pay unless you're Nora Roberts or Stephen King, and the belief that anyone wants to read about my daily, weekly, monthly (you get the idea), thoughts just doesn't register with me as logical. To those who do care about my postings, Bless You and I Love You! I do mean that.

Ah! I almost signed off without the obligatory shameless promotion, which is supposed to be the basic idea for blogging... I think. (I told you I'm really insecure.)

I have two new books out right now, both about faeries. My longtime friends and reader know this is one of my favorite topics. In November Adams Media published The Healing Power of Faery, a beginner's guide to faery shamanism. The book turned out much better than I expected, but it is the workshops that have wowed me the most. I've presented it in several venues, including Florida Pagan Gathering and at Circle Sanctuary. These workshops have produced spontaneous healings or the appearance of new totem animals who pulled the seeker onto the path which he or she needed to find. Surprises that like excite me. The fey are just fabulous.

I was the "faery consultant" (not the author) on one of DK Publishing's "Pedia" series. The Fairypedia is aimed at children, but I know several adults who have copies just for the fun of it. I think the final product is fantastic and is something Pagan kids are going to love. It was refreshing to find a publisher willing to go out of its way to make sure their book was as true to various world faery mythologies rather than perpetuating the Victorian flower faery stereotypes. The DK people were great to work with, and my agent, Denise Dumars, also enjoyed working with them. Thanks to editor Shannon Beatty for all her hard work.

So that's it for my first posting. It makes me feel strange to promote myself, but this is what I'm told authors must do because publishers cannot afford to promote everything. Since I don't like to "promote" myself in general I will probably be sharing with you Witchy and paranormal experiences I've had. They are much more interesting than the fact that today I had three cups of coffee, was awakened early by one of my three Shelties, and helped my mother put away groceries. Whoo, Hooo! What a reckless life I love.

To those who have seen my sad website lately I must apologize. Without my cousin, Don, keeping things updated I know my site is hopelessly behind. I promise to update it soon or find another willing cousin. (Watch my family run!)

BTW, my e-mail account was hacked more than once in 2008 so I shut down the elderwise link and everything connected with it. I cannot answer all my e-mails, but I read every single one of them and respond when I can. My new addy is Please feel free to drop me line.

I can't believe Litha 2009 is already behind us. I hope this summer season will contain everything to make your happy, prosperous, and healthy.

Bright Blessings, Edain