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!