Archive for May, 2016

Another old blog entry I am reposting here… 

An excerpt from Mark Morford too cool not to share…

It would appear there are far more stars in the sky than once believed. In fact, the raw number of stars we once thought existed in space-time might just actually triple, thanks to new findings by scientists with very large brains. The number of stars, they say, might now be somewhere around 300 sextillion.

Tasty word, sextillion. And 300 of it is a 3 plus 23 zeroes, or three trillion times 100 billion, or a number so mind-scramblingly large that to imagine it crosses some internal threshold of basic understanding, hurling us headlong into realms of magic and surreality that makes the world turn tiny and translucent.

Oh and BTW? 300 sextillion, says our sly scientist, also happens to be the rough sum total of all cells inhabiting all human bodies on planet earth at this particular moment. 300 sextillion stars, 300 sextillion cells. Isn’t that fascinating? Isn’t that an odd coincidence?

Well, no, say the wise ones. Not really. Now pipe down and get yourself awed.


This is totally cool and us magical types call this synchronicity…  LOL

Speaking of Stars, there is also the knowledge that we are made of star-stuff.  A star had to live and die (explode) into the Universe for each of us to have the elements necessary for life.

The statement that we are all “star stuff,” coined by the late astronomer Carl Sagan (not sure if this was before or after Joni Mitchell sang “we are stardust; we are golden. we are billion year old carbon”), is meant to imply more than that we are made of the same elements that stars are made of. Beyond that, the elements themselves (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, etc.) were synthesized, cooked up as it were, in the nuclear furnaces that are the deep interior of stars. These elements are then released at the end of a star’s lifetime when it explodes, and subsequently incorporated into a new generation of stars — and into the planets that form around the stars, and the lifeforms that originate on the planets.

For every single atom of carbon within us, a star had to die.  Carbon is only created when a star explodes!


A wonderful video to watch from Brian Swimme on how our earth (and us) was birthed (there are seven, watch them all!):

The words, “As Above, So Below; As Within, So Without” isn’t just for witches but is the stuff of life as we know it.


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I wrote this long ago before my cat passed away and back when I still went into the office on a regular basis. I work mostly from home now and my cat has been gone many years. When my boyfriend traveled for work, she and I would hear a noise, look up from what we were doing to see that no one was there. Then we would look at each other and go back to what we were doing.

But one day, something ‘felt’ different… 

I had the gut-check sensation that someone had been in my house without my knowledge or permission today.  The water button was pushed on the refrigerator instead of the ice cube button.  A very small thing, but I know without a doubt that I left the ice cube button pushed last night when I went to bed.  I didn’t check it or use it when I left for work this morning but there it was tonight; the water button light was on.  The power had been shut off at some point during the day and I was greeted with clocks blinking the wrong time when I got home.

I later thought it odd that I was more concerned about the fact that a real person might have been in my house today than I am about the spirits that I believe live and move around the house all the time.  It is an old house, built in 1939, back when permits were not required and people did whatever they could to live.  I love this house but I know that there are more people living here than me, my boyfriend, and my cat.  Doors open by themselves and cracks and creaks go through the house at all times of the day and night.  The cat and I look up and nod to the others who live here too.


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Random thoughts from long ago that still hold true for me…

It seems so impersonal; writing on a computer. Not feeling the pen moving across the page. Not fretting over the poor penmanship, or worrying whether you will be able to read your own handwriting at some future point in time. No angst over misspelled words or misplaced paragraphs. Typing on a keyboard allows the thoughts to flow without emotional attachment. Perhaps that is the reason that so much of society is no longer personally engaged, but skims through life in sound bites and what passes for relationships in facebook posts.

I’ve often thought it was a positive movement that Bill Gates and Microsoft revolutionized human intercourse by putting a personal computer within most everyone’s reach. One must almost actively avoid using a computer; much like those who have eschewed Television for loftier pastimes or to make a political statement.

But now I am not so sure the revolution was good for humanity. We have more and faster access to information of all sorts, whether we want it or not, but what has happened to our relationships? What price did we pay for instant encyclopedic definitions and superficial interactions with our friends and neighbors? We can keep in contact with distant kith and kin, but isn’t email and texting more often being used to communicate with those who are within arm’s reach when we don’t want to reach out our arms?

Have we lost our ability to negotiate the intricacies of deep intimacy? Have I?

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Why Myth?

This is from an old blog of mine that I am shutting down. All will be posted here. 


Great quote!

“Life is infinitely more marvelous than our day-to-day business and work, money and illness, family and bosses would make it seem.  It is precisely the function of myth to thrust us out of the quotidian into the miraculous.  One lives life more deeply, with greater peace and joy, when one lives with the enigmas that permeate it.  These stories warp our minds, and allow us a perspective on life, on its incredible, enmeshing, magic web of Maya, and the dreamlike nature of our experience on this planet.  These myths are reminders from space-less eternity of the stuff of which our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits are made.  They wake us up, and help us live with, and within, the mystery that is the matrix of our being.”


What is my myth, I wonder?

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I haven’t rambled on here for a long time!

If you don’t all know by now, I just love being a Witch, and I LOVE being a HIGH PRIESTESS even more!

I am often reminded that even in my mundane life, the Universe and Goddess bring me knowledge and messages that reinforce my work on this Wiccan path.

Last night I was driving home from attending Willow’s EXCELLENT Wicca 101 class on Essential Oils (she really is a wonderful resource for any health issue and using essential oils as an alternate remedy among all the other uses she knows), and I heard an interview on NPR with author Sebastian Junger who wrote “Tribe – On Homecoming and Belonging”. He was talking how people who go through traumatic experiences (like soldiers or people in war) don’t suffer from PTSD or the mental illness we see in the West when they return to close and highly supportive villages and communities where the people are open and diverse, but exhibit the type of support seen during times of crisis. He cited studies of the London Blitz where much of the city was razed by German bombers, but the people slept together in families and communities underground in the subways (known as the Tubes) for protection or the modern kibbutzes in Israel (which are collective farms or settlements) where families or groups of people rely on each other deeply in a troubled region.

I thought of our AmTrad tradition that we call Kith and Kin. We celebrate with each other at an annual “Clan Gathering”. Many of us had to go through a lot just to get here and yet, here is our Tribe, our Homecoming and where we belong. It is our safe haven.

And all this was after I received the following at work. I read this and realized it is exactly what I teach about ethics and magic. To be careful what you send out as that is what you will get back.

[From a wonderful firm called Vital Smarts:


Verbal Violence: Creating a New Normal
by Kerry Patterson

One day, while waiting at the airport for a flight home, I watched an older fellow tear into a gate agent for not putting him and his wife on the next plane (it had been overbooked). At first, the airline employee maintained her composure, but after being verbally attacked for what seemed like ten minutes, she began making threats of her own. Getting nowhere closer to home—but far closer to an infarction—the angry senior finally backed away. Seeing that I was watching him rather intently, he stepped toward me with a menacing look that suggested I’d be his next target.

And then I did something I didn’t plan on doing. It was if someone had run his or her arm up the back of my shirt and I was now a puppet, controlled by an unseen force. I looked the apoplectic guy in the eye and quietly said (I can’t believe I’m confessing this), “Sir, the way you just treated the gate agent was simply horrible.”

Both he and his wife were mortified by my remarks. I was mortified. But instead of turning his anger on me, as I thought he might, he turned to his wife who had been trying to drag him out of the fray for most of the interaction. Both looked ashamed as they slowly walked away. Although I’ll never know how my remarks affected him, it appeared as if I had held up a mirror and the reflection had cut him to the bone. My suspicions were confirmed by his wife’s comment as they walked away: “It’s true, dear. You are yelling at people a lot nowadays. You didn’t used to be like that. I don’t know what’s happened to you.”

I had no right to be so judgmental and intrusive but let’s set my faux pas aside and explore the process by which normal, decent, everyday people (as I’m sure this grandpa once was or mostly is) transform into forceful aggressors—or at least into people who occasionally do things they said they would never do. Beware, this transformation can happen slowly and without notice. Nobody applies for a membership into a curmudgeon club or takes a course in verbal violence. No one decides to become an attacking parent, insulting boss, or a senior citizen who verbally abuses gate agents. But somewhere between, “Please and thank you,” and “That’s just plain stupid!” we lose our path. As you might suspect, there are lots of ways we do so, but let me share my experience with a very common one as well as a few ideas for how to change.

Creating a New Normal

In the fall of 1973, while I was serving as a junior officer in the Coast Guard, a senior warrant officer (I’ll call him Burt) was assigned to a job that reported to me. He soon displayed all of the attributes of a forceful (and sometimes scary and abusive) debater within a team that was largely soft spoken and respectful. Scarcely a day passed without Burt getting into a heated argument. To quote one colleague: “Burt could turn a lullaby into a shouting match.”

One day, after I’d chatted with Burt for the umpteenth time about the evils of taking an aggressive, often hurtful style into what should be a calm discussion, he blew a gasket and slipped into full debate mode (ironic, no?). I maintained my cool for a minute or two until I eventually started firing back at him (even more ironic). The loud and fruitless argument ended poorly and Burt stomped off in a dither.

It took a few minutes for my adrenaline to dissipate but then I noticed something rather chilling. The members of my staff who had heard and seen the interaction were staring at me in disbelief—giving me the same shocked look the people at the airport had given the abusive senior citizen. Finally, one of my direct reports said, “Wow! Mr. Patterson, I never thought that you could explode like that.” It was a nice way of saying, “That was inexcusable—and please don’t ever do that to me.”

I thought about this interaction without much insight until a couple of days later when I ran into Burt as he was putting on his jacket to go home. Two things surprised me. One, Burt seemed completely unaffected by the fact that we had recently had a heated and relationship-damaging argument. He acted as if we were life-long chums. Two, he was sliding a lead pipe into his sleeve—the kind of lead pipe Colonel Mustard routinely uses to kill Miss Scarlet in the library.

Noticing me staring at his pipe, Burt explained, “It’s for fights. You need to be prepared.” He then suggested that “Betsy” (the pipe) had often saved his bacon. “What fights?” I wondered. And then it hit me. Burt was a walking time bomb. He was so spontaneously aggressive in most interactions that he caused heated debates, even fights, everywhere he went. His view, of course, was that the world was dangerous and he needed to carry a lead pipe in case a fight “broke out” somewhere.

Like Charles Shultz’ character Pigpen, who walks around causing the very cloud of dust that surrounds him (and that’s all he sees), Burt created his own cloud of forceful and violent debate. Violence was all he knew because it was all he saw. It was all he saw because wherever he went, it was what he brought out in others. Of course, since he constantly saw others acting violently, he thought everyone was violent most of the time and that made his aggressive style, if not okay, at least normal.

Burt confirmed my suspicions that he was creating a false “normal” one day when he asked, “Why are you singling me out for being too aggressive? Everyone I work with is verbally violent. Don’t you remember that time you yelled at me?”

“True,” I answered, “but you’re the only person I’ve been verbally violent with in my entire career.”

“Are you saying,” Burt asked, “that I’m causing others to become argumentative?”

“To find out,” I suggested, “watch for heated arguments at work that you aren’t part of, then report back to me.” A month later, Burt reported that he had seen no verbal battles—except for his own—which had been plentiful. And then it happened. Burt began seeing himself as a causal force in his violent world rather than merely an innocent bystander. Then I asked Burt to look for what he was doing that might be causing the friction. He came back with a list that he started working on immediately.

Burt didn’t totally transform during the time we worked together, but the changes he did make only came after he realized that he had followed a dangerous path to verbal violence. First, his aggressive style often brought out the worst in others making him an active participant in creating his own unhealthy environment. Second, he had come to see the harmful reactions he routinely created as normal, even acceptable. In short, Burt saw no need to change until he realized that the world before and after he entered the scene was far more peaceful than the one he created through his own aggressive actions.

So, if you’re struggling with how relationships or conversations are being handled in your life, one first step toward change can be taking a good look around and questioning your own “normal.” It can be intimidating to review our own part in the problems we’re experiencing, but trust me, it sure beats carrying around a lead pipe.

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