Friday, July 24, 2009

It's a Witch Thing

Today's entry is inspired by another blogger I follow. She wrote in her "Stuff Christian Culture Likes" blog that a popular response to good things happening in one's life is met with the phrase "It's a God thing".

Pagans and Wiccans are no different. When good things happen, or when people ask too many questions that the Witch in question cannot answer, one response is "It's a Witch thing. You wouldn't understand." A variation is "It's a Goddess thing."

So, if a spell seems to have worked (because there mustn't be any coincidences), it's a Witch thing. Why do Wiccans and Pagans do the things they do (such as spell casting, working skyclad, hugging trees, etc.)? When people ask about the rede or mixing pantheons, tell 'em, "It's a Witch thing. You wouldn't understand."

On second thought, don't say that. If you don't know the answer to a question, just say so. It doesn't make you any less of a witch, I promise.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Yup, Pagans love their ciggies. While not all Pagans/Wiccans/etc. smoke, a little time spent at any gathering or moot will prove that many of them do. For a group of people who claim to be into natural remedies and health for their bodies and the planet, an awful lot of Pagans can't resist these air-polluting, lung-soiling little sticks o' fire.

Maybe it's just being so close to the element of fire that is so appealing. Perhaps some people feel they are getting in touch with their faux Native American roots by using a plant that is sacred to so many traditions. Who knows. Just make sure you hold your next open circle outside, weather permitting, so people don't have to keep going outside for a puff.

Most Pagans are careful not to let their butts litter the ground, however, which is more than I can say for most people.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I'm going to try to not be so wordy from now on. I've been wanting to talk about chakras for a while, though. I still have more to say, but I didn't want to go off on a huge tangent. Oops.

Chakras are the wheel- or flower-like vortices of energy that, according to traditional Indian medicine, are believed to exist in our bodies from the crown of the head to the tailbone. Each chakra is thought to influence or even govern specific bodily functions. Practitioners of both Hinduism and New Age Spirituality (and many Pagans are more similar to New Agers than either group might admit) believe the chakras interact with the body's ductless endocrine glands and lymphatic system by feeding in good bio-energies and disposing of unwanted bio-energies.

Since there is an incredible amount of chakras from the traditional perspective available on the internet and in the more archaic vessels of information known as books, I will only discuss the Pagan and New Age point of view regarding chakras. For these groups, the chakras are usually flower-shaped, and each chakra is associated with a different color and sound. When a person is suffering from a physical malady or several ailments, it is often thought that the chakras are out of balance. Fortunately, it is easy to re-align one’s chakras, if one is a ‘professional’. The so-called professional may incorporate crystals, lights, and even tuning forks and singing bowls into the therapy, and charge the patient hundreds of dollars.

Check this quote from When your back or hip gets out of alignment you will make a trip to the chiropractor's office for a spinal adjustment. Similarly, a healer trained in manipulating the energy flow of energy can assist you in getting misaligned chakras back to functioning properly. It may take one or more appointments with a practitioner to get your energy levels up to par.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the chakra system, here is a quick and dirty guide:
Red – Base of the spine. Earth and grounding.

Orange - Spleen: Located just beneath the navel, and related to our sexual and reproductive capacity.
Blockage manifests as emotional problems or sexual guilt. (A person who claims you have blockage in this chakra could possibly be up to no good.)

Yellow – Solar Plexis. Emotions. Blockage manifests as anger or a sense of victimization. (Obviously, no one gets angry for any other reason than a blocked third chakra.)

Green – Heart chakra. Blockage can manifest itself as heart problems or problems with the immune system. It can also manifest as a lack of compassion. (If you’re having heart problems, please see a cardiologist, NOT a chakra ‘specialist’.)
Blue – Throat chakra. If this is blocked, it supposedly means you are not communicating your emotions properly. Apparently it manifests as a slight strangling sensation…

Indigo – Third Eye chakra. The pineal gland. This is where psychic abilities manifest.

Purple – Crown chakra. This is the one that connects us with god.

Do the chakras really exist? Possibly. There is a lot of wisdom in the ancient traditions of Asian cultures and their medical practices. Some therapies have proven effective, such as acupuncture. Still, it is important to remember that physical and mental ailments are not necessarily connected, and not being able to communicate your emotions doesn’t mean your throat chakra is blocked. If someone you know and trust is telling you this, take it with a grain of salt, then see a medical professional, especially if you are experiencing serious health problems, such as heart problems. If you are being given advice on your chakras by someone you have never met, there’s a pretty good chance that person wants to make some money off of you.

Many Pagans like to talk about realigning chakras. Sometimes they incorporate chakras, Reiki, and crystals into one big spiritual mish-mash, no matter what their chosen path. There are plenty of chakra meditations to be found, not only for balancing the energy fields, but for strengthening them or even just learning more about these mysterious energy fields. It's just another way in which people take old knowledge, mix it with a few other facts and a lot of crap, put a modern twist on it, and insist it's part of their Old Ways.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Calling People Fluffy Bunnies

Maybe you were wondering when I would get to this topic. Maybe not. Either way, it's a long overdue topic. I am talking, of course, about a term that I truly despise: fluff(y) bunny.

Many experienced Pagans/Witches/etc. out there (as well as quite a few of those newer to this whole thang) love to throw this term around. What, precisely, does it mean? Do they know? Chances are they do not. They probably have their own definition of the term, which is why it seems to be applied to so many people.

For some, a fluffy bunny is one who believes only in the lighter, whiter, brighter side of the occult. These people think even the darkest goddesses are big sweetie pies who have been misunderstood. Try calling Kali a big sweetie and see what happens. No, seriously, try it. The people who are calling our 'white witches' fluffy bunnies believe that in order to accept the light, you must also embrace the dark. If you can't harm, you can't heal, for example. I can see that. I tend to see everything in shades of gray rather than black and white, but I think that it's important to know about the less kind aspects of spell casting. I mean, if you're going to do it, you should learn everything you possibly can, even if you don't plan on using it. But I digress.

Other sources refer to fluffy bunnies as InstaWiccans - people who pick up one book and automatically think they are experts. The 'natural/hereditary' witches. The ones who call themselves witches or Wiccan/Pagan just to turn a few heads. The ones who are in it just for the fashion. Check out this site for more:

One bit of information from that site that I want to stress here is this: Being new does NOT make you a so-called "fluffy bunny". Honestly, calling anyone a fluffy bunny makes you sound pretentious and obnoxious. The people who meet the criteria aggravate me just as much as the people who use that damned term. Instead of rolling your eyes and calling someone a fluffy bunny (because YOU'RE so very experienced and already know everything about light and dark magic, your path, etc.), why don't you set a good example and actually talk to the person and at least attempt to teach him/her something? If the person won't listen, then you can roll your eyes as you're walking away. Or, I don't know, grease her broomstick or something.


Pagans love dragons. Pagans aren't the only ones who like dragons. Gamers and readers of fantasy novels are also crazy about dragons, but Pagans take it one step further. Many Pagans believe that dragons not only existed in the past (and may exist today), but they also believe that their spirit guides/totem animals are dragons.

These people may own dozens, or even hundreds, of representations of their spirit dragon. You've seen them at festivals and gatherings, wearing dragon-wrapped pentacles and t-shirts with pictures of flame-spewing dragons and busty maidens.
Dragon t-shirts, figurines, tapestries, necklaces, Tarot cards, and posters are just some of the items available for purchase.

Many Pagan dragon lovers favor the more Western dragon over its Eastern counterpart. The dragon, no matter how fierce it may seem in mythology and legend, is viewed by many dragon-loving Pagan as the scaly version of a big teddy bear. Well, only if you truly understand the creature, which of course they can.

If you wish to get into a discussion about dragons with a Pagan, you may end up hearing about how the person has met dragons on the astral plane or in a past life, or maybe the person is/was a dragon him/herself. Some festivals even feature meditations that will allow you to contact your inner dragon or your personal spirit guide.

I have to say my personal favorite is the person who believes him/herself to be a dragon. I actually know a person like that. In fact, he is one of the inspirations behind this blog. Thanks, Dragon K.

Just remember: Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Bright-Eyed Novice

If you haven't already seen the list of types of Pagans, follow the link to ecauldron. It is most amusing. Go here:

And now, for Sage's thoughts on the first Pagan type on the list, the Bright-Eyed Novice.

1. Bright-Eyed Novice:
You just read this cool book about a religion where there's a Goddess and a God, and they meet outside in nature, instead of some scary old building. They think sex is GOOD not evil, and you want to know where to sign up.

Distinguishing Signs:
Mispronounces god/dess names, has to think a moment about which is deosil and which is widdershins. Has a shiny new athame (rhymes with "A-frame".)

In my experience, the bright-eyed novice is one of the most amusing and flakiest of Pagans. Of course I am generalizing here, and not everyone who is new to Paganism is like this. I have known a few people who, in search of a path to the Divine, have been serious about learning. These people read more than one or two books (and didn't stop with Buckland or Ravenwolf), used common sense, and made informed decisions. Imagine that!

However, there are those who choose their religions based on shock value, or perhaps as a way to "get back at" their parents or guardians. This type of novice may or may not be bright-eyed, but s/he will most likely be a Natural Witch. You know the kind. They picked up a book or perused a website and realized that they have been practicing magick their entire lives!!!!111 That must surely mean there is another witch in the family, right? So they start interviewing relatives about spooky instances and maybe their mom tells about the time she was thinking about her brother and then he called. Spooky!

These are the little darlings who want to get straight to the good stuff – Witchcraft. Forget reading about different traditions, different pantheons, or ethics. To some of these people it isn't Wicca; no, it's WITCHCRAFT. It's all about raising power and casting spells. Oh, and psychic defense, of course, but we'll talk about psychic attack later.

Some of these newer people, once they have gained a bit of experience (read: read most of a book and purchased/shoplifted a Tarot deck), begin to sneer at other people's beliefs. Terms like "fluffy bunny" are thrown around by other members of the community, but the newer people, in my experience, have been more likely to use it. They are, after all, experts at spell-casting and Tarot reading, and many of them are psychic and/or have control over one or more natural elements. (Is the sarcasm oozing through your monitor? If so, I apologize. If not, remember to plant your tongue firmly in your cheek and read on.)

Occasionally these people straighten up, stop being dweebs, and actually acquire some practical knowledge. Sometimes they turn into one of the other types of Pagans on the list, namely Crowley-in-a-past-life (number 11 on the list), a Scary Devil Worshiper (10), or perhaps Our Lady of Intense Suffering (18).

While I certainly do not believe it to be my personal duty, I do try to interact with the bright-eyed novices, recommend reading material, and answer any questions that I can. I think it is a wise thing for those of us with a bit more experience to do the same. These new people represent our community as much as any other group, and if we want to be accepted and respected anywhere inside or outside the Pagan community, we need to try to nip the flakiness in the bud.

The Ways in Which We Present Ourselves, Part I

Ladies and gentlemen, as you have undoubtedly been told over and over, you only get one first impression. Actually we get numerous first impressions, unless someone goes through life without ever meeting anyone new. First impressions are important because, like it or not, people do judge others based on appearance, as well as a few other factors.

Many Pagans believe that the world is out to get them. The world is full of non-Pagans (read: evil, nasty, narrow-minded Christians) who will judge them no matter how nicely they dress (in their finest Renaissance Faire garb and largest pentacles), how qualified they are for a job, how nice they are, etc.

Now, people who know me know that I occasionally dress in weird clothes, but not for work or for interviews. In fact, my father calls some of my wardrobe my "gypsy trash" clothes, but I know better than to dress like Stevie Nicks if I want to land a job. I have to cover the tattoos and wear something professional. Another thing that I do, which is one of the topics I'm about to discuss, is BATHE.

Yes, that's right, I get into that big fiberglass tub and actually let warm water run all over my body.

I want to talk about the ways in which some people present themselves to the public and how even this can damage our image in the public eye. I am sorry to say that I know a few Pagans (and yes, even a few non-Pagans) who do not make themselves presentable in any way, shape or form.

Have any of you noticed this? What is it with the people who show up to an open circle, or even host a circle in their own homes, without cleaning themselves. The pre-ritual cleansing isn't just to get us spiritually clean and prepared for ritual. It's also to clean our physical bodies so we don't offend others with body odor, bad breath, and greasy hair.

Seriously, people! How do you think this affects the public's view of us? What kind of impression do you think people get of Pagans when they see a group of people with greasy hair, possibly decorated with dandruff, dirty clothes (usually something mis-matched, a faded/torn dragon t-shirt, or varying shades of black), rotting teeth, and a bunch of pentacles/Celtic knot-whatever/Thor's hammers/dragons, etc. Come on!

Think about the last time you saw a representative of Wicca on the television. What did that person/group of people look like? The last time I saw a priestess on television, it was on A Haunting, one of my favorite Discovery Channel shows. She had a fading bleach job complete with two-inch dark roots, was wearing too much eyeliner, had a smoker's voice, and was missing several teeth. Nice, huh?

Is there some sort of connection between Paganism and poor hygeine? Can someone explain it to me?

As for the dental thing, I can partially answer that myself. Many of us do not have health or dental insurance, but that's pretty common among Americans. Quite a large percentage of Americans have limited or no health insurance, and many benefits do not cover dental. That shouldn't stop people from brushing and flossing, however. Oral infections can spread to the rest of the body and even affect one's heart. A lot of people still smoke, which also has negative effects on one's oral health. (I would like to point out that I have used the word "oral" twice in one paragraph, both times with a straight face.)

Now, not everyone is into makeup. It's expensive, it takes a while to apply, and for some people, it doesn't fit in with their ideas of feminism. That's fine. I'm not saying you need to be perfectly coiffed and have expertly applied makeup whenever you leave the house. No one expects June Cleaver. Hell, I don't care if you choose not to shave your legs, even! But please, for the love of all things sacred, take a fucking bath. Please.

Has anyone else ever experienced this? I know I'm not the only person who has gone to an open circle and ended up sitting around with people who looked and smelled as though they hadn't bathed in several days. Personal acquaintances of mine fit into this category. I can honestly tell you that in all the time I have known a certain group of people, I have witnessed one of them bathing twice. I've known these people for about 8 years and have spent two or three days in their home for various reasons. I was the only one showering and brushing my teeth. What. The. Fuck.

Talk to me, people. Do you know people like this? Share your horror stories with me in the comments. Just change the names to protect the slovenly.