Stepping Into the Light

stepping-into-the-lightCreating a Better Life For Yourself

Changing for the better is not easy. Any sort of change is difficult, and we resist it. The training montage in movies often leaves out the sheer reluctance to even try.

Where we are is safe and dark. It might not be where we want to be, but it is an easier place. We can complain all we like, but we won’t move from it, because not trying means not failing.

Often in life, there is no clear consequences to attaining a goal either. You can forsee yourself getting a degree or a promotion, but … what comes after?

That fear of the new and strange can be paralysing. Most people don’t even realise they can be scared of something good, and wonder what is wrong with them. They catatrophise, making mental lists of all that could go wrong.

After all, it is safe and dark in the hole.

But I’m making a commitment to myself to not do that any more. It’s hard to stick your head above the parapet. It gets harder every day, as more often than not you get hit in the face with a rock.

But those days that you don’t? Those days where you can see forever, feel the sun on your face, and have or do something truly joyful? Those days are worth fighting for.

So this is my commitment to fight, and I hope you’ll make one too.

Here are the rules of the battle:

  • No trash talking myself. I can’t stop the negative thoughts coming, but I can refuse to listen.
  • Fuel my body with the right things. Water, fresh fruits and veggies. Joyful and sensible people, who realise the depth of the fight ahead. No ‘just think positive’ snake oil.
  • Do one thing everyday that scares me. I will pitch editors. I will reach out to influencers. I will launch products. I will speak to the cute guy on the bus. I will tell the haters to piss off.
  • I will spend half an hour a day on spiritual matters, and half an hour a day making some kind of art. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to be right. It just has to be done.
  • I will finish projects, instead of letting them drag on or giving up on them.
  • I will listen to myself, and rest when I need to.

Will you join me in this fight to create something better for ourselves?

Living by the Moon – Moon Magic Course Review

moon-magic-course-reviewLiving By the Moon – Moon Magic Course Review

Heart of the Forest is a great online school run by Serena White. It’s got courses on all kinds of things, including chakras, meditation and essential oils. Some of her great lessons are free of charge, and some of them, including the one I want to talk to you about today, are super great value.

Serena recently let me take her Living by the Moon course for free, and when I finished it I decided to look at the usual price, because I’m nosy like that. My jaw hit the floor when I saw it.

I would have happily paid $7 for the beautiful Moon Journal download alone, but the course has great information, exercises and meditations.

Serena really knows what she’s talking about when it comes to Moon Magic, and her lessons are short and to the point with no waffle.

Moon Magic can be a really tricksy thing to get hold of, but with this course, I found it really easy. Serena also gives you tips and advice on how to really live by the Moon, including non-magical activities like gardening.

It’s a great course, and at $7, you really can’t go wrong!

(Some links in this post may be affiliate links)

10 Things to Do on Samhain

10-things-to-do-onsamhainTen Things to do on Samhain

A collection of divinations, rituals and customs you might like to try out this year.

Apple Divination

Take an apple, and peel it. Try and peel it in one go, so it is just one long piece of apple peel and throw it over your left shoulder. If you can’t, take the longest piece.

The letter it forms will be the initial of your next love.

Dumb Supper

A Dumb Supper is a meal shared with your Dead Ancestors or relatives. Cook a meal, leaving a portion and a chair for each of the Dead that you wish to join you. However, you must cook and eat the meal in total silence, or they’ll vanish. Make sure not to season the food with salt either – it may keep them away!

Tarot Readings

Samhain is the end of the year, so it is perfect for Tarot readings or other divination. The results are usually the most accurate on this day about all others. Provided, of course, you use the ancient calendar – each day actually starts on sundown, not sunup. So, Samhain starts at sundown on the 31st. So you have a pretty decent excuse to break out the pumpkin spice candles.

Costume Parade

The original purpose of costumes on Samhain is to fool the wandering Dead that you’re one of them. So, if you’re planning to be out and about, dressing up as a Sexy Cupcake
is probably not your best option.

Although if any dish had a soul, it would probably be cupcakes.

Burn it Down

Building bonfires on Samhain, Hallowe’en and other similar days is something that crosses many cultures.

The two most common uses are to either dispel bad luck, or bring in good luck. I usually make my Black Salt from the ashes of either a Samhain or a May Day fire.

Leave a Light On

Again, there are two reasons to leave a candle, light, or Jack O’ Lantern in your window.

The Jack O’ Lantern is built to ward away evil spirits, again by fooling them into thinking you’re one of them – specifically the titular Jack, cursed to wander the earth with nothing but a turnip for a lantern.

The other reason is to actually signal spirits to you – usually your Dead relatives, to either welcome them into the house or give them a light to move into the proverbial Light.

You … probably can’t do both at once, so I’d choose how haunted you want your house to get – you don’t want some randos crashing the party. As we all know, the Spirits are strongest this time of year.

Mirror, Mirror

Another romance divination you can do, this is best done in a group, in the dark, and scare each other senseless.

If you’re unmarried, you can look into a mirror after midnight, and over your shoulder will be the face of the one you will marry. But beware – if they will die soon, you’ll be face to face with a skeleton instead.

If you choose to do this in a group, only one person should be reflected in the mirror at a time.

Spider Wisdom

Spiders can be great allies if you treat them right. When bad witches are near, they are said to fall into candles and burn to death. If one is scuttling around on Samhain, a Dead relative is watching over you.

And, at Samhain or any point in the year, if you catch a spider in your house and refrain from killing Her, you can ask her a question.

Take her outside, and before you set her free, remind her you had every right to destroy her since she was trespassing. Ask her to answer your question as payment, then ask the question. Look for your answer in the next three days.

(Don’t kill spiders though. That’s rude and unneeded.)

Hazelnut Divination

Another love divination! This one is useful if you are having trouble deciding between lovers. For each suitor you have, set a hazelnut beside a fire. Chant ‘ f you love me, pop and fly. If you hate me, burn and die!’

Trick or Treating

If you are going to be giving out sweets/candy for the Trick or Treaters this year, can I ask you to do one thing?

Keep a few sweets or chocolate behind suitable for kids with allergies or intolerances, not only to nuts but to things like gluten or lactose.

It doesn’t have to cost you any more – it’s getting much easier to find these things now, and a lot of popular, cheap sweets are fine as well.

Your whole stash doesn’t have to be Free From, but if you can keep a few back for anyone that asks.

I’ve heard of some kids who never got to go Trick or Treating because there were very few sweets they could eat without ending up in the hospital, and that broke my heart.

There’s no way you’ll be able to cater for every allergy, but if you could keep one or two things without lactose, gluten freelactose freeand without nuts, as those seem to be the more common ones.

(I also knew an old lady who would give out little bags of about 50p’s worth of 2ps, and some people give out inexpensive small toys or stickers too. Or fruit, but I don’t see an eight year old being too grateful for that one.)
It’s a small kindness that will make someone’s day!

Book Review – The Learn by Tony Halker

Today we’re doing something new – I’ve been very kindly asked to take part in a blog tour organised by Authoright. Please follow along the tour and visit the other great blogs taking part!

Buy it here: The Learn
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(I don’t usually do novel reviews here, so if you like this be sure to let me know in the comments below and I’ll dig up some similar novels.)

The problem with Druidic historical fiction is that so little is known about our Ancestors that one has to fill in the gaps much more than with other historical areas. This means that one Druid/Bronze Age book will be completely different from the next, so it’s hard to say ‘Oh, this one is like that one’.

Tony Halker has a lyrical voice that will appeal much more to lovers of poetry and visions than people who like a tight novel structure, which this book doesn’t have.

More About the Book:

The Learn by Tony Halker

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.
A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior.  Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging.
Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.
At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by.
A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

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Book Review Monday – A Legacy of Druids by Ellen Evert Hopman

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Buy It Here: A Legacy of Druids

Anyone who is interested in the history of religion and Druidry in particular will really like this.

This is a collection of interviews from roughly twenty years ago with Druids from all over the world and from different backgrounds.

In Druidry, and I think in religion in general, everyone looks towards the distant past and argues about precisely what the colour blue meant to someone living 2000 years ago.

This has some relevance, of course, but what happened twenty years ago is, in some lights, vastly more important.

We cannot understand where we are today without understanding where we were yesterday.

It is at once vastly comforting and vastly infuriating to read these interviews.

Comforting, in the way that so many of the fears back then never came to pass, which bodes well for some our fears today.

Infuriating, in that a lot of the problems that plague this community are still around. However, this does give me some hope, in that we do have proof that these are in fact, serious problems, and not some PC sensitivity that too many people insist is the truth.  We should be able to delight in our differences, not spurn them.

This is a fascinating glimpse into our history.

PBuP 04: On Writing, and Remembering Why You Started This

Today I’m talking to Nimue Brown, author, druid, and quiet activist, about doing the Pagan Business thing for the right reasons.

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Buy it here: Druidry and Meditation

On Knowing What to Write About

It depends on what I’m aiming to write – if it’s a blog post, it’s a case of what have I learned recently, or what’s annoying me! Some things come as a response to what’s needed – so I’m looking for radical ideas for my quiet revolution column at Pagan Dawn in an ongoing way, I’m thinking about alternative responses to the seasons for Sage Woman blogs, radical poetry might go to Gods and Radicals, miserable poetry goes to a local event.

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Buy it here: Druidry and the Ancestors: Finding our place in our own history

When it comes to books its a slower and less coherent process. I tend to have some long term interest in something before I get to the point of wanting to write a book about it. Usually there will be a combination of reading other people’s ideas on a subject, exploring a practice or an idea for myself, and it flows from there. At any given time I’m reading and exploring in a number of areas, some of which go into books, some don’t, and its not usually obvious when I start whether I’ll take it to fiction or non-fiction.

Sometimes both – Druidry and the Ancestors(non-fic) and Intelligent Designing for Amateurs (fic) both started life in my reactions to Ronald Hutton’s Blood and Mistletoe.

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Buy it here: Pagan Portals – Spirituality Without Structure: The Power of finding your own path

I think the first thing to say is that being a writer does not pay my bills and probably never will – this is true of a good 95% of authors. Most of us have second jobs. Some of us manage to align those second jobs with the writing work, but that’s not always the case. It’s certainly true that being an author in this day and age tends to mean spending more time tying to draw attention to your work than you spend creating the work. I give talks, now and then, I take books to events (easier for people who have cars, I suspect), interviews (!) I write articles and columns and blog posts and lurk around on social media trying to find ways to say ‘you could buy my book’ without boring people to death. I’m not a great self publicist, I’m much happier when I’m talking about other people’s books. I find it easier to be excited about other people’s work.

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Buy it here: Pagan Dreaming: The magic of altered consciousness

 On a Writing Career in the Pagan Field

My first advice would be to drop the ‘career’ notion. I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the Pagans who earn enough as professional Pagans with writing as part of the mix, to be wholly self supporting. Even best selling Pagan authors tend to have a second job – it’s realistic to think you could be working part time and being professionally Pagan part time. So, don’t do it for the fame and riches! Do it because there is something you feel called to share, because you’re inspired, driven, passionate about something. Then at least there’s the job satisfaction, even if you aren’t getting any money out of it. Most Pagan events can’t afford to pay most speakers more than their travel costs. I know there’s a widely held belief that authors all rake it in JK Rowling style, that people charging for teaching are exploiting the community and all that. The truth is that many of the Pagans you’ve heard of are either paupers, or have a day job. I won’t name drop, but as an author, reviewer and member of various things, I’ve talked to a lot of famous Pagans along the way and I know something of what it costs them to do the work. If you’re looking for a career, this isn’t going to provide.

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Buy it here: Pagan Planet: Being, Believing & Belonging in the 21Century

Siobhan’s Advice:

You can find Nimue at all of the places she mentioned, the links embedded will take you straight there. If you buy something through the links either beneath or about books, you support Nimue and myself at the same time without costing you extra, which is great, right? Considering this is coming to you from a table in my local library because I’ve used up all my internet. If you’re ever considering purchasing a mobile internet package, by the way, don’t. It’s like dial up, but worse.

Diversifying your income will help, but probably the best advice is honestly, do this because you have to, not because you wanna earn some cash. But, if you’re reader this as a reader and not as a writer, know that there’s some simple stuff you can do to really help writers out. Review books, not just where you bought them from, but if you have a web presence, not matter how small, do it there too. Tell your friends and family about the books you love. Buy books where you can, and use the library where you can’t, because, at least in Britain, authors still get paid when you check the book out of a library.

More from Siobhan

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Tarot Readings and More

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Reconsidering the Elements: Fire

reconsidering the elements

 

Fire is typically hailed as the creative and destructive element, but since all other elements also have a claim to creativity, you’re then left with destruction or sexual energy.

Which is honestly a bit of a cop out, because then you end up with some very strange Tarot readings with only those two answers for fire!

To understand fire’s role in magic and metaphysics, I think we first need to understand fire’s role in human culture.

I truly believe that without fire, we would have led the same existence as other animals. Without fire, it’s harder to digest animal and plant matter. Without fire, it’s harder to make effective tools. Without fire, it’s harder to stay warm. Without fire, there is no home. Without fire, grasslands would become ineffective and diseased, cutting us off from our main food sources. Without fire, you can’t see in the dark.

Fire is human beings taking something from nature, and controlling it.

The only other beings on Earth to use fire are certain plants, who wait for the grasslands to die, become hot, and eventually flame up, then causing these plants to spread their seeds. They require fire, but they don’t control it.

I think controlling fire the way we do is a purely human idea.  Many corvids use tools to get what they want, sometimes even making a tool from something in their environment to aid them. But they don’t use fire. Elephants use tools and higher reasoning, so do chimps, even dolphins.

But none of them use fire.

There are so many myths and legends about fire, from all corners of the globe. Think Prometheus, think Brigid.

Fire is the bit of us that sits behind the eyes, that tells us to push. To explore . To take the other road. Fire is the voice that whispers ‘What if?’

And sometimes, of course, fire leads us astray. Fire is our greatest ally, but also our greatest enemy.

Without control, fire will destroy us. It can wipe away whole cities if left unchecked.

And that, I think, is what fire represents in Tarot, magic, and metaphysics. Control, or the lack of it.

If we control fire, we can live in luxury, with warm air, hot water, hot food and items made of metal, glass and plastic. We can achieve all our dreams with that voice that screams out for more, better, faster.

But if we don’t control fire, we die in agony, with everything we’ve built in ashes.

Fire needs respect, and if you don’t give it, it will run away and take down everything you love.

Fire is something almost unquantifiable in magic terms, it is a process, not a thing. And that is what makes it special.

If you want to work with fire, consider whether you are ready. Consider why you want to work with fire.  Any magic that you want to enact great change will benefit from the use of fire.

But of course, use it wisely.