Monday, December 31, 2012

Kwanzaa - Creativity

Today's theme is kuumba. When I think of creativity, I think of music, art, poetry, etc. I was watching the Africa Channel and I was reminded of group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. They have awesome harmony. The following is a cover of "Ain't No Sunshine."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kwanzaa - Collective Work & Responsibility

Immediately this makes me think of the family unit. Everyone has a part to do. It is the parent's responsibility to go to work, pay bills, and provide a loving stable environment for any children. It is the child's responsibility to go to school and get good grades. As the child gets older, s/he can assist with household chores like cooking and cleaning. I strongly suggest that teens should get a job. Once they have their own money, see how easy it becomes to teach value of a dollar.

Of course, ujima can be and is broaden to include the (Black) community. Way to often I hear Black folks being compared to crabs in a barrel. One gets to the top and the rest pull him down. Why are we like this? This is also said about women. Why are we so catty? We see a female in a high position at work and we automatically assume she slept her way to the top.

Let broaden this to the entire human community. Whenever there's a murder sensationalized by the media, everyone wants to point fingers - oh it's the parent's fault; let's ban guns; this neighborhood was fine until they moved in. The fault is ours as in society. We failed these people. So let's start taking responsibility. Support Black- and women-owned business when possible. In fact, support your local small businesses and farms.

Don't forget about the animal community. If planning to get a pet, please check your local humane society or shelter first. Even if you are looking for a purebred, check purebred rescue websites and shelters. Many of these shelters require you to spay/neuter your pet.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kwanzaa - Self-Determination

Who are you? What is your heritage? What do you wish to become?

I was watching Roots the other day and I started thinking about my ancestors. I wonder where in Africa they were from. What is my true family name? What would my Native (American) name be? How would my life be different if traditions from my ancestors were still in my family? What new traditions can I start for my family?

I've made a small step towards finding out who I am. It's been 1 yr since I've had a relaxer in my hair. It feels strange but good. I frequently run my fingers through my hair to feel the crinkly new growth which is about 5 inches now. How did relaxed Black hair become the norm?

My son had braids or locs from the time he was born until his father cut them without my permission. Our men don't relax their hair so why should we?

All children should be taught Black history and not just for one month out of the year. Yes, we were slaves, but we were also kings and queens and warriors.

Use this day to set goals.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kwanzaa - Unity

I thought about making this a Pagan Blog Post but Kwanzaa is not a Pagan holiday. In fact, it's not even religious. 

What exactly is Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa is a pseudo-African-American* holiday invented by Dr. Maulana Karenga based on a harvest holiday celebrated in some African countries. Kwanzaa is a static holiday; it is always held Dec 26-Jan 1. It is not a replacement for Christmas. As far as I can tell, there are no deities involved.

The holiday lasts 7 days with each day being the focus of one of 7 principles: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani). The kinara or candle holder holds 7 candles: 1 black, 3 red, and 3 green. One candle is lit each day.

Each day, the head of the family says "Habari gani?" The rest of the family replies with the principle for the day.

The official Kwanzaa site explains how to celebrate. Under Preparation, the site says to not mix Kwanzaa with any other cultural celebration. Okay, I have a problem with this. First, Kwanzaa occurs right in the middle of the 13 days of Yuletide. Second, my heritage is mixed. If I knew which Native tribe and European countries my ancestors were from, I would mix that in as well. Besides, I'm American by birth which can mean anything.

Day 1 - Unity
Unity focuses on the togetherness of the family and community. I'll go a step further and stress the importance of unity of the human race.

*Normally I avoid the term African-American. I'm sure some of my ancestors were African. Some were probably White and Native as well. But because I have brown skin, somebody thought it was politically correct to term me as African-American. I was born here in America as were my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. My race should not be confused with my nationality. Whites aren't referred to as European-Americans.

Joyous Kwanzaa!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Day After

Well, I wasn't expecting an earth-shattering kaboom. What I was expecting was some sort of divine message. I did get some ideas, like I want to give myself a Kemetic name and I drew an Ace of Swords for my theme this year. I also got some affirmations about my spiritual path. While I'm more Pagan than Buddhist, I am quite positive that I am on the correct path.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - Z is for Zecora

Yeah, we knew Z would be difficult!

Zecora is a character in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. She is a zebra who lives in Ever Free Forest. What does she have to do with the pagan project, you may ask. Well, Zecora is a witch. I don't think the series comes out and says it but the inference is there. When Zecora is first introduced, the other ponies are afraid of her. She speaks in riddles with a Nigerian accent and her hut is filled with potion bottles. Her cutie mark (the symbol on each flank) is a stylized sun. Once the ponies get to know Zecora better, they come to her for all sorts of ailments and include her in the town's celebrations.

This portrayal of witches is a bit stereotypical but I don't think it's in a negative way. People are often afraid of others who isolate themselves and are different. None of the other ponies have accents. They all live in town - the main characters live in Ponyville - not in the forest like Zecora. Witches are more accepted today than in the past. However, there are still some of us who still have the need to stay in the broom closet.

MLP:FiM is a kids show that has a whole community of adult followers. I hope that by portraying witchcraft in a positive light, society can continue to accept us.

This is a video of the G4 cosplayers for the 2012 My Little Pony Fair. Being Zecora was a no-brainer!

Blessed Yule!

Blessed Yule!

10th Solar Month - Capricorn

Length: 30 days (Dec 21 - Jan 19)
Nominal: Capricornian
Symbol: sea-goat
Element: Earth
Quality: Cardinal
Rulers: Saturn (day) & Uranus (night)
Detriment: Moon (day & night)

Tropical or solar zodiac is basically the same every year and is aligned to the seasons. Sidereal zodiac shifts and is how the stars appear in the sky at a given moment. Your true sign is the sidereal one and may or may not match the tropical zodiac.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - Y is for Year & a Day

When searching for info on Paganism, you will come across the phrase year and a day. What exactly does this mean? In covens with a degree system, the student will need to spend at least a year and a day before moving up. Seekers must spend a year and a day before being formally admitted into the coven. Before I get to the meaning of YaaD, I will need to define year.

What is a year?
A year is a measure of time and space, specifically, the time that it takes for a heavenly body to move around a fixed point. In our case, this is the time it takes for the earth to complete a revolution around the sun.

Why YaaD?
Apparently the timeframe YaaD is rooted in medieval common law. I couldn't find anything that pointed to a specific pagan tradition.

Types of years
Most places on Earth use the Gregorian calendar which is based on the tropical year. The tropical or solar year measures the time it takes for sun to appear in the same position of the sky aligned with the seasons. For example, March equinox to March equinox is one tropical year. The tropical year is averaged at 365.25 days.

The lunar year is a little trickier. The moon revolves around the earth which revolves around the sun. If we define a lunar month as 29.5 days, then a lunar year would be 354 (12 * 29.5) days. In order to sync the lunar year with the solar year, every 2 or 3 years a leap month is necessary. So a lunar year can be 354, 383, or 384 days.

But wait! If we take the average women's menstruation cycle of 28 days, which is roughly a sidereal month, the lunar year is 364 (28*13) days. The ancients maybe figured this was the best way to fit the moonth with the solar year with 1 day left over. Today, our moon does not have anything to do with how the months are figured.

I like to believe that the pagans of old paid way more attention to the moon than today's society. For that reason, I posit that year and a day originally referred to the moonth of 28 days fitting into the solar year. Now, many of us who practice Paganism are Neo-Pagans. We benefit from today's scientific and technological advances. If  YaaD means a solar year + 1 day to you, who am I to argue?

When does the year begin?
Just pick your favorite:

  • your personal year is your birthday. Since I'm into astrology, my personal year is marked by the sun's return to the exact place in the sky when I was born. This is called a solar return.
  • The Gregorian calendar begins on 1/1. Seems arbitrary to me.
  • Some refer to the Witch's New Year as beginning on Samhain which is 10/31 or 11/7 depending on your tradition. Other witches/pagans use other days. I like Yule / winter solstice.
  • Cultures around the world use either the full or new moon before a solar event (solstice, equinox, quarter day) to mark the beginning of the year.

How does your tradition define year and a day?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Raging Moon

New moon in Scorpio

On raging moon, we deal with all of our irrational desires and selfishness, all the parts of ourselves that we were taught to repress as early as kindergarten...The raging moon is the best time for shadow work, that task of going into one's psychological cellar and learning to love the most unacceptable parts of oneself for what it is, with no attempts to change it. Healing is not the point here. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

None of us are perfect. This moon is the time to reflect on our negative traits. Don't feel bad about them. Use them to your advantage. After all, you wouldn't be you without good and bad. New moons are always for "me-time", a period of reflection and contemplation. Throw your moral compass away metaphorically. If you have a trusted companion that you can explore your dark side with, that's even better. Remember, though, to be safe, sane, and always get consent.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Is Your Religion a Cult? Pt 3

Last night I was a show called Doomsday Cults. It featured Heaven's Gate, Jim Jones, and Church Universal and Triumphant. A couple years ago, I assessed Jehovah's Witness, 2 sects of Nichiren Buddhism, and Paganism for cultish behavior. Now that I am a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation, it's only fair that I assess them as well. If you disagree with my assessment, feel free to comment. My answers are based on my current knowledge.

Do the members depend upon a charismatic leader,
   or his memory, and upon whom they heap adoration?

     no. Each congregation is autonomous. The president of UUA is Peter Morales. I've been attending the Unitarian Universalists of Fallston for over a year and I don't recall his name ever being mentioned. In fact, I have no idea of what his personal beliefs are.

   Question 2

   Is there pressure to donate all or most of your
   disposable income?
   no. The congregation would like you to pledge a contribution so that it can make its yearly budget. An announcement is made at the Sunday meeting to donate. Members are not told how much to donate.

  Question 3

   Do members devote all or most of their spare time to
   organizational activities?

  not if they don't want to. No one is forced to participate although I have been nudged for some things :)

   Question 4

   Are the members inconvenienced, for example, expected
   to drive long distances to attend large central meetings?

I'm gonna say no. There is a general assembly every year I think but it's not mandatory. If you can make it, fine.

   Question 5

   Do the publications co-opt the names and accomplishments of
   famous people, even though the people being co-opted are not

no, I think. I haven't been pushed to read any UU literature. I have the magazine but it only features members.

   Question 6

   Do the publications ignore the feedback or criticisms
   submitted by rank and file members?

   The magazine has a Letters to the Editor section. I don't know about any other publications.

   Question 7

   Are members with long time chronic problems eventually
   looked down upon and made to feel unwelcome?

   not that I'm aware of

   Question 8

   Are there high-pressure targets for increasing membership?

 no, at least not in my congregation. I was a Friend of the congregation for about a year - year and a half. After going through the Intro to Membership presentation, I wasn't asked again. Ever. I signed up when I felt comfortable.

   Question 9

   Are decisions in the organization made top-down and

    Maybe some, but unsure. Congregations are autonomous and they make their own decisions. I guess they work within a basic UU framework. There will be differences between congregations.

   Question 10

   Are the organization's leaders appointed rather
   than elected?


   Question 11

   Are the organization's charter, mission, rules, and
   by-laws made by the top leaders without consulting the
   rank and file members?

   not sure

   Question 12

   Is there an absence of financial transparency?

   not sure

Question 13

   Are members pressured to give inflated testimonials
   at meetings?

  no. There has never been a testimonial at my UU congregation.

   Question 14

   Are non-believers regarded with aloofness and suspicion?

 no. I was welcomed from day 1. But this question doesn't really fit. There is not really a such thing as a UU non-believer. Non-member, yes.

   Question 15

   Are members told who to vote for in public elections?

  not that I'm aware of

   Question 16

   Does the organization interfere in a member's
   choice of personal lifestyle?


   Question 17

   Does the organization interfere in a member's
   choice of marital partner?


   Question 18

   Are scandals within the organization hidden?

   I'm not aware of any UU scandals. Time to do Google search.

   Question 19

   Does the organization attack competing organizations,
   denominations or religions?

   no, although it has been said that UU is not for everyone.

   Question 20

   Is culture misused, watered down, or bastardized, in order
   to help achieve numerous rapid shallow conversions?


   Question 21

   Are members discouraged from asking a lot of questions?


 Question 22

   Is individuality suppressed and conformity promoted?


Question 23

   Are some of the beliefs, doctrines, or practices bizarre?

   Interesting question. As a whole, UU is quite generic and I mean that in a good way. I guarantee that individually, there may be members who have "bizarre" practices. No one's complaining.

   Question 24

   Is dissent suppressed and hidden?

   no. If you no longer want to be UU, you can leave. They will be sad to see you go but won't force you to stay.

   Question 25

   Are members told that if they discontinue their
   participation, their personal destiny will

   no. Again, they will miss your fellowship.

Friday, November 30, 2012

pagan blog project - X is for Xochiquetzal

Xochiquetzal (shok ee KAY tsal) is the Aztec goddess of sex, love, marriage, prostitutes, and pleasure. Every 8 years a festival was held in her honor. Her name means feathered flower and she is usually depicted with gold ornaments and surrounded by flowers and butterflies. Xochiquetzal is always pictured as a young woman even though legends has her assisting with creating humans.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Earth Mother's Moon

Geb's Day

Full Moon in sidereal Taurus
Penumbral lunar eclipse

On the Taurus Full Moon, we take care of our bodies and the bodily needs of others. Don't try to shift the focus to emotional needs - those are important, but the physical must come first or all else will suffer...Are you eating healthy? Is there medical care that you need and aren't seeking? Are you getting enough sleep?...Are you getting enough hugs and regular body contact or are you suffering from skin hunger? - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

Guilty, guilty, guilty as charged. If you are a parent, you are most likely guilty of not taking care of your physical needs and health like you should. My health has been on the decline for some time now. Hopefully, I can find a doctor who will treat me to my satisfaction. Yes, I'm overweight. But instead of saying to me, "All you gotta do is exercise", how about treating why I'm tired all the time?

Not only is my tiredness affecting my everyday life but my magical life is suffering. Practicing magic takes energy. Witches look to the mundane or everyday world first to solve problems. When that doesn't (appear to) work or when the mundane issue could use a boost, magic is employed. I haven't done a full-fledged ritual in months. Not that my Goddess expects me to. I want to do it; being a solitary makes it that much more important.

The penumbral eclipse will take place today from 7:17 am - 11:49 am EST. Although not visible in my area due to setting at 7 am, I will try to find a live stream. I believe that eclipses are times to harness great energy due to the almost perfect alignment of the sun, earth, and moon - what I call the Great Triple Goddess.

Have you been neglecting your physical health? Is it affecting your spiritual practice?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Poet's Moon

Ra's Day

Waxing Gibbous in sidereal Pisces

On the Poet's Moon, we read the poetry that moves us, especially aloud in a group so that a variety of people can hear it. If you write poetry yourself, this is a good time to do it...and a good time to work on figuring out how to best open yourself to the Voice of the Universe. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

I haven't written poetry in such a long time. Perhaps because I haven't been inspired to do so. During one of my church's Open Mic nights, I read Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. Such a great poem! Another one of my favorite poems is love is thicker than forget by e. e. cummings. His poems are kind of weird and he makes use of formatting in strange ways.

One of the last poems I wrote was answered in kind by my husband. I won't reproduce them here because the content of both poems are very explicit. I told hubs that we should write and self-publish a poetry book together.

So I need to figure out what moves me, what inspires me. A clean house for sure. I cannot think in a mess.

Do you like to read or write poetry? If so, who is your favorite poet? Feel free to post your own poem in the comments.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - X is for Xiuhtecuhtli

Xiuhtecuhtli (Shee-u-teh-COO-tleh) is a fire god known to the Aztecs and Mayans. His name means Turquoise Lord and is associated with the number one. His symbols are the butterfly and the cotinga bird. Xiuhtecuhtli is pictured with the serpent of fire Xiuhcoatl on his back.

These ancient peoples considered Xiuhtecuhtli as the creator of all gods and goddesses. He is celebrated as the central deity in the fire ceremony held every 52 years. Minor festivals were held every year at the hottest and coldest point. He is the patron god of kings and warriors and is usually depicted with a crown.

According to myths, Xiuhtecuhtli arose from the underworld as a pillar of fire. By going through earth to get to heaven, he is said to be holding the realms together.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rebel's Moon

Geb's Day
Het-Hert 8

1st Quarter in sidereal Aquarius

On the Rebel Moon, we take social structures to task. This is the best time of all for activism. Even if there is no cause that makes you burn or that you'd burn for, there is certain to be some injustice that you would like to see cleared away, and no matter what it is, other people are probably already working for that. Put your back, not just your words or money into the cause. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - W is for Willow

My last PBP post dealt with wands. As a follow-up, this post will deal with a tree that you may want to use in making your wand.

There are over 400 species of trees and shrubs belonging to the willow family. I have at least 3 trees immediately behind my backyard fence. Willows are deciduous; the leaves die are the last to die in the fall and the first to come back in the spring. The bark of willow trees contain salicylic acid which is used to produce aspirin* aka acetylsalicylic acid.

Willow trees are associated with the Feminine, moon, emotion, wisdom and water. In fact, willow trees are planted near unwanted pools of water because their roots are quite thirsty. Bodhisattva Quan Yin, a Buddhist figure of compassion, holds a willow leaf that she dips into an elixir. In the Wiccan Rede, willow is mentioned as one of the sacred trees and guides the dead to the afterlife. In ancient Kemet (Egypt), the willow is sacred to Osirus; it gave shade to his coffin. A person's ba or spirit is said to reside in willow groves.
Grandmother Willow

*Aspirin with a capital A remains a registered trademark of Bayer in several countries. However, in the US, aspirin is now a generic term.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - W is for Wand

There are some general guidelines for making or using a wand. The wand should be a natural material, most commonly wood. Branches should not be torn from live trees; rather use branches found on the ground or from a dead tree. In a pinch, wood from your local hardware store will do. I read somewhere that metal is not recommended for wands but I don't recall the reason why. Again, any natural material will do.

If going the wooden route, you may wish to obtain a branch from a specific tree. I have willows in my backyard. Willows are especially magical. (Think Grandmother Willow from Disney's Pocahontas.)

The suggested length of a wand is the length of your elbow to the tip of your middle. For me this is about 18 1/2 in. You should use whatever is comfortable. Once you have the proper length, the wand can be decorated or left plain.

A wand is not necessary in witchcraft. It is an accessory which acts as an extension of your fingers and hand. Do not allow others to handle your tools and do not handle others' wands without their express permission. If purchasing a mass-market wand or one that you did not craft directly from nature, you may wish to cleanse it before using it. Use the cleansing method of your particular path.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

I did it for the first time ever! Felt good to be prepared. The entire process took about 1 hour which included standing in line. I brought a book to read but didn't need it since the line was steady moving. In case you care, this is how I voted on the hot races / topics:

President / VP - Gary Johnson / James Gray (Libertarian)
Why: The Libertarian Party aligns the best with my views.

MD Q4 - Allows for undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition provided that certain conditions are met; extends the time in which honorably discharged veterans may qualify for in-state tuition - AGAINST.
Why: one of the conditions state that the parents of the undocumented immigrants must file taxes for 3 yrs that the college student was in high school. The key word is FILE not actually pay. Upon doing research, UIs who do file taxes can get refunds. I do support a fast-track path to become legal for children of illegal immigrants. It's not their fault their parents brought them here. As for the 2nd part of the question, I wish it was separated. I would be FOR honorably discharged vets getting extended time for in-state tuition.

MD Q5 - Established the boundaries for the 8 US Congressional Districts - AGAINST.
Why: the new map employs gerrymandering - dividing up the state so that one party has a distinct advantage. It may be legal but certainly not fair.

MD Q6 - Allows gay marriage - FOR
Why: Marriage as far as the gov't is concerned is a civil issue, not religious. This law is not seeking to redefine marriage for religious institutions.

MD Q7 - Add another casino to be located in PG County and add table games to existing casinos - FOR
Why: While I don't believe that the extra money will go to education like it is supposed to, the casino will create more jobs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ExJW Therapy - Dedication and Baptism

This may be a new segment to my blog. As you know by now, I was raised as Jehovah's Witness (called a born-in). Only recently have I begun to deal with the fallout and mental breakthroughs of no longer being JW. Every now and then, I ponder on various parts of the doctrine. See, now that I'm out of the cult, I get to question the beliefs. You can't do that while you are still inside. From time to time, I will post thoughts on my new and unclouded understanding. Today's topic is dedication and baptism.

JWs are in the business of converting. If you are a non-JW or worldly, the goal is to study the Bible with you until you want to convert by dedication and baptism. If you are a born-in or the child of a convert, the goal is to push you to dedication and baptism. Dedication and baptism is like peanut butter and jelly - one is no good without the other. I was taught that baptism is the outward sign of your dedication. Dedication is private and between you and Jehovah.

I remember my dedication. I wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing. Really, should a 17 yr old commit to something for the rest of her life without having access to all available options? Doesn't seem fair, does it? Yet, I dedicated myself anyway. Teen mom with a kid under 1, still in high school, still living with my mother, can't drink, can't sign legal contracts like a lease, but I was able to "sign" my spiritual life away. I don't remember the exact date or even what I said. But that's not important because according to JWs the most important day in your life is the day of your baptism; your wedding date is a distant 2nd.

My baptism took place at a circuit assembly in March 1992. Although this is day is supposedly important, I have no idea of the exact date. Perhaps it is on file at the WTBS? Anyway, I had this nagging feeling that I shouldn't be doing this. I did not feel any different after the "big dip". No, scratch that. First thought was what have I done???

The Process
Although I was a born-in I still had to study 2 books and answer some questions. The questions proved that I had a firm grasp of the JW doctrine. Before being scheduled for baptism, all of the questions must be answered before a couple of elders. They ask you if you dedicated your life to Jehovah. Of course, you must be active in field service (door-to-door converting) and present and participating at meetings (3x a week).

The day of the baptism, all baptismal candidates (that's what they call us) are to sit in a specific section. After the talk that's specifically directed to us, we are to stand and publically answer 2 questions. These questions has changed over the years. The ones I had to answer are

  1. On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will? 
  2. Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization?

Questions that come to mind:
Why is baptism even necessary if the dedication between you and Jehovah is private?

Why does the dedication identify one as a JW? Assume that Jehovah is another name for God.

If D&B is something that will affect the rest of your life, why are minors allowed to make this decision?

Why is there such a great penalty (shunning) if one no longer wants to be identified as a JW?

For more info on JW baptism, see this link.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Warrior's Moon

Sekmet's Day

Full moon in sidereal Aries

On the Warrior's Moon, we fight for what we believe in. This is a lone battle, and it is especially effective if we are fighting with no approval from others...[This] is also a time of...learning patience. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

How appropriate for today! Right now the East Coast is battling with Hurricane Sandy. Everything is just about closed. My electricity is still working for right now so I want to get this post in. I had 2 dreams last night where I was fighting. In the first one it was with my sister; in the second one it was with my mother. As you know, I haven't had any meaningful conversations with them in a long time. Still a struggle being pretty much an only child and orphan while family is still alive.

I believe in my spirituality. Health issues are keeping me from doing as much as I want to do. Absolutely positive that Christianity is not for me. I look forward to celebrating public and family holidays. Since most of the world is Christian, Paganism is a religion that lot of folks are "scared" of. They point to all the scriptures that denounce witches, demons, magic, and spiritistic practices. I don't proselytize but I'll gladly answer any questions related to my path or Paganism in general.

Now that I'm registered to vote, I believe in voting for the candidate that best aligns with your views. I believe in being educated as much as possible about the election process. Yes, there's almost no change of 3rd party candidate winning the presidential election due to the electoral college. True sports fans still cheer for their team even when odds are against them.

What are things that you believe in that go against societal norms?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - U is for Unicorn

Unicorns are magical and are associated with the earth element. Originally unicorns are believed to be all white with cloven hooves and a goat's beard and can be tamed only by a virgin. Unicorns do not appear in Greek mythology but in accounts of ancient natural history. Perhaps the ancient historians saw a deformed animal or unicorns are now extinct?

The magic of unicorns lies in the horn. Ground up unicorn horn is said to be an aphrodisiac and can cure sickness. As you know, unicorns are very rare and should not be hunted simply to harvest the horn. The tears and blood contain magical properties as well.

Unicorns should not be confused with narwhals, a type of marine animal with a protruding tusk. Due to intermingling, many hybrids exist:

  • zebra + unicorn
  • pegasus + unicorn
  • non-white unicorn
  • centaur + unicorn

Diet of unicorns is that of horses. Unicorns prefer forests to open spaces and urban areas. However, if you are able to open a portal, say in between 2 trees, you may be able to coax one out. Being a virgin is unnecessary but you must have pure intentions. Unicorns are telepathic; they may appear in visions during meditation.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Maiden's Moon

Sekmet's Day
LuniSol - Moonth 11, Day 19
Metonic - Year 13, Lunation 209, Day 1
Dreamspell - Yellow Planetary Sun (10 Ahau) - Kin 140
Mayan Tzolk'in - 2 Ben (Red Lunar Skywalker) - Kin 93
Mayan Ha'ab - 16 Yax

New Moon in sidereal Virgo
Kemetic Month - Menhet

On the Maiden's Moon, we go alone to a beautiful place and work on being at ease without the presence of our fellow humans...It's a good time for solitary work but an even better time for quietly observing beauty and "sitting with time." - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

My vision board was completed today. It feels good to accomplish things on my to-do list. My habit of procrastinating has been getting the best of me but I'm really trying to do better. Still behind on the Pagan Blog Project but determined to catch up before the end of the year. Getting back into my daily chanting. Gave myself a lunar month challenge; this month has 29 days.

As a solitary witch, all of my work is done alone anyway. It would be nice to work with others though.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - U is for Uposatha

Uposatha is a Buddhist sabbath of sorts for meditation. It is held weekly on the 4 main phases of the moon. Not all sects observe Uposatha; therefore, it is not a mandatory observance. For lay people, the 8 precepts are followed: 

  1. No killing.
  2. No stealing.
  3. No sexual misconduct (or no sex at all).
  4. No lying (or deceptive / manipulative speech).
  5. No drinking (alcohol; can be expanded to include non-prescription drugs and smoking).
  6. Only eat after sunrise but before noon.
  7. Abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume (deodorant?), and using cosmetics and jewelry.
  8. No sleeping or sitting on comfortable furnishings; no long naps.
I've been lax about actually following some of these precepts. I'm sure Buddha didn't want health issues to be exacerbated by fasting or by sleeping / sitting on a hard surface. #3 & #5 conflicts with my Pagan practice. However having vegetarian meals once a week won't kill me. Instead of doing the things mentioned in #7, time should be spent in meditation and study of Buddhist teachings.

Several Full Moon Uposatha days hold special significance. For example, Vesak is May's full moon which celebrates Buddha's birth, awakening, and death. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TSC - Kill a Pit Bull Day???

Why would anyone want to hurt my cousin Titan and all like him?
Cousin Titan with my Auntie Bren @

Mom tells me that there are people who want to hurt pit bills and black cats on Halloween. Gladly, there are people who want to keep them safe. Some shelters are not adopting out because of this threat. That means no loving families for a whole month!

Not are breeds are good for all people. Mom said she picked me because I'm so small and cuddly. (Actually I picked her!) Auntie Bren is an advocate for doggies like Titan. He is a rescue like me and I'm glad he has a loving mom.

I'm pretty smart. But I still can't figure out why people want to hurt us. We are loyal and protective. Cats are magical and they have 9 lives. We provide companionship and health benefits to our human families. May we all be safe. Woof.

Pawfully yours,

Monday, October 8, 2012

Magician's Moon

Isis' Day
LuniSol - Moonth 11, Day 11
Metonic - Year 13, Lunation 208, Day 23
Dreamspell - Yellow Lunar Human (2 Eb) - Kin 132
Mayan Tzolk'in - 7 Chicchan (Red Resonant Serpent) - Kin 85
Mayan Ha'ab - 8 Yax

3rd quarter in sidereal Gemini

On the Magician's Moon we think about censorship and about our attitudes toward people we think are too untrustworthy to have certain knowledge...It's a good time to do magic, but be careful of your goals - are they themselves worthy? - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

I have plans on starting a magical working today and completing it on the new moon. Being as though my unemployment benefits are almost exhausted, it is a worthy goal to work magic for a job. A FB friend worked magic to prevent an annoying neighbor from bothering her. Remember the Law of Return when casting any kind of spell.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - T is for Triple Gem

The Triple Gem, also known as the Three Treasures or Three Jewels, are primary objects of devotion in Buddhism. Depending on the tradition the Gem is defined differently. I will define them for my practice.

  • Buddha - the historical Buddha known as Siddhārtha Gautama or Sakyamuni. Buddha wasn't a Buddhist any more than Christ was a Christian. According to the stories, Buddha was a prince who left his royal palace in search of something better. His search ended when he obtained enlightenment at the age of 35 under the bodhi tree. It was at this time that he realized the 4 Noble Truths. Anyone can obtain enlightenment in this lifetime. Buddha means Enlightened One. We all have the Buddha inside of us. The 1st Gem refers to the historical Buddha as well as our Buddha nature.
  • Dharma - teachings. Buddha's teachings are found in the various sutras. Different traditions place emphasis on different sutras. I think that good can be found in all of them. I would include in dharma commentary written on the sutras. However, like Buddha said, take what you find useful and throw the rest away.
  • Sangha - community of Buddhist practitioners, Some sects only include members of their own sects as the sangha. Practitioners who use technology like Online Meditation Crew (#OMCru) have a twangha (Twitter + sangha) where everyone is welcome. I like the all-inclusive definition better.

My practice does not require me to take refuge in the Triple Gem. I suppose this is sort of like a Buddhist dedication. At any rate, the Triple Gem is a good foundation for any Buddhist practice.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Builder's Moon

Geb's Day
LuniSol - Moonth 11, Day 7
Metonic - Year 13, Lunation 208, Day 19
Dreamspell - Yellow Spectral Star (11 Lamat) - Kin 128
Mayan Tzolk'in - 3 Imix (Red Electric Dragon) - Kin 81
Mayan Ha'ab - 4 Yax

Waning Gibbous in sidereal Taurus

On the Builder's Moon, we pick up tools and make practical changes in our worlds....If there's nothing to do around your house, call your friends. If that turns up dry, try local organizations...If you're really motivated, spend a couple of days working for Habitat for Humanity* or a similar organization. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

I'm definitely not the handywoman type. Instead, practical changes can refer to one's digital world. Slowly bur surely I'm clearing out my Facebook and my Twitter. Also deleting my profile from various sites. If you're not into building, what about organizing? With colder weather coming upon us, perhaps you can clear out your closet for a good cause.

*Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry.

1st post from Blogger app

Thanks to my gf Brenda, I now can blog from anywhere including the bathroom!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On procrastination

I'm a huge procrastinator. If it weren't for the ability to backdate my posts, you would be able to see just how bad it is. I've been out of work for 9 months now and have a few things accomplished but not as much as I would like. Perhaps a list is in order?

Procrastination can be linked to perfectionism. Guilty as charged! I frequently wait until the time is right to perform a task for myself. Sadly the right time never occurs and the task gets put off again. Procrastination is affecting my witchcraft and my personal willpower. The moon phase happens on a specific day. If I don't cast a spell for that time, I have to wait a month. I will come through for others before I come through for myself.

There are 2 things that I wanted to do today. Before I went to bed, I spoke these things to myself. I'll get on it, right after I watch Warehouse 13 on Netflix.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

National Ancestor Day

Ancestor - a deceased person from whom one is descended especially if the relationship is more remote than grandparent. One can trace his/her lines directly to from a terminal ancestor.

Who knew? I cannot find any history on this pseudo-holiday. Some pagans honor their ancestors as part of their practice. Others use Samhain (Halloween) to try to contact them on the spirit plane. My family has a Facebook group where one of the cousins is trying to gather everyone together. She has lots of stories to tell and wants to pass them down to the younger generation. I never knew my paternal grandfather and she told me a little story about him.

I only know my maternal great-grandparents, sort of. My great-grandmother remarried; they didn't have any kids. I vaguely remember my great-grandfather. He lived in Laurel and had cable way back when it was a status symbol to have it. I remember seeing my aunt (?) who looked like the stereotypical Native American with 2 long black ponytails. (Yes, I know lots of folks say "I got Indian in my family." I want to eventually prove or disprove this as it relates to me.)

There's this ancestor meditation where you recite your genealogy as far back as you can. Here is an example of a simplified genealogy. Insert your own information.

I am Buddhagan
daughter of DLP and MAH
granddaughter of DS and WJP, AS and LDH
great-granddaughter of BS...

end with child, daughter, or son of the (Divine, Universe, or Deity of choice) to show that we all are connected.

I'm Black American not African American. True, Blacks may have come to America via African but as of yet, I cannot trace my roots to any country in Africa.

Remember kiddies, Africa is a CONTINENT not a country.
I would like to honor the gods of all my ancestors which likely include First Peoples and European cultures.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Random Ramblings

I participated in a Social Justice retreat held by Towson last year. It made me realize that there are all types of "-privilege" and that I'm a minority in most of them. Humans are social creatures; even introverts come out of their fortresses of solitude to interact with people every once in a while. Ever since I was laid off in January, I've been isolated. I miss the camaraderie with my fellow employees. Now that we are down to 1 car, I feel trapped.

It's hard for me to make new friends. This skill was never fully developed thanks to my Jehovah's Witness mother picking my friends for me. Thank Goddess for social networking. There are so many exJW sites and groups online; it helps to know that I'm not alone. Now if I can only meet up with them IRL.

My online peeps are awesome. Nice to have folks cheering you on when you haven't even met them. Race and gender are irrelevant. Religion matters as an interest but everyone is respectful when interests differ.

Sometimes when I try to fit in I wind up feeling more awkward. I'm in this online group that supposed to be encouraging but everyone always quotes Bible verses. Not so encouraging to me. I've posted a few inspiring words from other places but no one seems to notice them. Probably time to move on.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - S is for Seshat

Seshat is the consort of Djehuty (Thoth). She is Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge, writing, architecture, astronomy, astrology, measurements, genealogy  and math. As the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and writing, Seshat oversees the library where spells are kept and is the matron of libraries today. As goddess of math, she is in charge of censuses and accounting. Her crown is a 7-pointed star (or cannibis leaf?) and her dress is of a leopard or cheetah pattern.

Seshat assisted the pharoahs in the "stretching of the cord" ceremony. This was important to ensure that new structures were built and aligned properly. She also made sure that rituals and spells were carried out as specified in Djehuty's scrolls. says that in modern times Seshat is regarded as the goddess of computers, operating systems, software, and even the Internet itself. I cannot find any other reference to this.

She is a Goddess of the state; as such there are no known temples to her. However she did have priests. I cannot find any definitive information on Her colors, offerings, scents, etc. I did however find this poem written in her honor.

Seshat and I
I read many times about pagans finding their god/desses. Granted, I didn't meditate as much as I should have but from what I've read of Seshat, She may not have reached out to me anyway. According to my personal calendar, I was born on the day of Djhuty/Seshat. Much better than being Wednesday's child full of woe. Seshat is the Goddess of several of my interests:

  • I love knowledge and learning about new things. Sometimes I wish I had a plug in the back of my head a la Matrix to download information. It will be a sad day if and when libraries cease to exist.
  • I used to write poetry. Haven't had the inspiration for some time though. I did write my entire wedding ceremony though.
  • I have 2 degrees: AS in Accounting and BS in Information Technology. In fact, I semi-jokingly declared my matron goddess as the unnamed Goddess of Technology. Seems that I have found Her.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - S is for Sabbat

As the Wheel of the Year turns, some Neopagans keep track by celebrating the sabbats. Sabbats divide the year into eighths and are sun holidays (mark the path of sun in the sky) as opposed to esbats which are moon holidays (mark the phases of the moon). It is not mandatory to celebrate sabbats but I encourage you to keep track for at least a year and watch the seasons change.

My path does not require a myth to go with the WotY. Therefore, I won't be providing any. The dates are not fixed due to the fact that the earth's orbit is not round. Sabbats are from a northern hemisphere perspective and I'm referencing the traditional (tropical) zodiac.

Dark half
Yule, winter solstice - 12/21
AKA: Christmas
0 deg Capricorn
Moon phase: new
Colors: red, green

Imbolc - 2/3
AKA: Groundhog Day
15 deg Aquarius
Moon phase: waxing crescent
Colors: ?

Ostara, spring equinox - 3/20
AKA: Easter
0 deg Aries
Moon phase: 1st quarter
Colors: all pastels

Beltane - 5/4
AKA: May Day
15 deg Taurus
Moon phase: waxing gibbous
Colors: all jewel tones

Light half
Litha, summer solstice - 6/20
AKA: St. John's Day
0 deg Cancer
Moon phase: full
Colors: bright reds, oranges, and yellows; green

Lammas - 8/6
AKA: Lammas, St. Peter in Chains
15 deg Leo
Moon phase: waxing gibbous
Colors: tan

Mabon, fall equinox - 9/22
0 deg Libra
Moon phase: 3rd quarter
Colors: dark reds, dark oranges, gold, brown

Samhain - 11/6
AKA: Halloween
15 deg Scorpio
Moon phase: waxing crescent
Colors: orange, black

The last 3 sabbats are sometimes known as harvest holidays. Since I'm an urban witch and not a farmer, it's hard for me to make that connect. Lammas is back-to-school time and Mabon is near my birthday. For Samhain and Yule, my family celebrates a secular version and a spiritual version on different days.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Widow's Moon

Geb's Day
LuniSol - Moonth 10, Day 14
Metonic - Year 13, Lunation 207, Day 27
Dreamspell - Blue Electric Hand (3 Manik) - Kin 107
Mayan Tzolk'in - 8 Ahau (Yellow Galactic Sun) - Kin 60
Mayan Ha'ab - 3 Chen

Waning Crescent in sidereal Cancer

On the Widow's Moon, we mourn and grieve for our losses. We also give our aid to people who are lost and grieving, perhaps helping them with the everyday tasks that seem so hard for a grieving person to manage. If there was anyone who has passed that you don't feel you properly grieved for, this it the time to do it. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - R is for the Right Stuff (Eight-Fold Path)

If you recall my post on the Four Noble Truths, the 4th truth tells us how to cease attachments to desires with the right stuff. The Eight-Fold path is divided into 3 sections.

  1. Right View - See things as they are. Know that your current situation and mood is not permanent.
  2. Right Intention - Give up selfish thoughts. Wish happiness for all.
Ethical Conduct
  1. Right Speech - Watch what you say. Avoid gossip and lying. Always aim to upbuild with your words.
  2. Right Action - Watch what you do. Stealing, harming others intentionally*, harming yourself, and sexual misconduct** are not proper. 
  3. Right Livelihood - We need money to survive. However, make sure that your occupation or the company you work for does not violate the other parts of the path. 
Mental Development
  1. Right Effort - Use your will to strengthen good thoughts and release bad ones.
  2. Right Mindfulness - Pay attention to what's happening right NOW. How often do we multitask? 
  3. Right Concentration - Pay attention to an object or thought and keep it there. Hard, isn't it? Meditation will help strengthen your concentration muscles.

*Some include harming animals as violating Right Action and are vegetarians. I believe this is a conscience and health matter. There is no Deity in Buddhism to condemn you to hell or some other tortuous place if you eat meat. I believe in humane killings of animals for food. I do not support hunting animals for sport.

**Sexual misconduct is not defined in Buddhism at least not that I can tell. Your personal values will come into play here. For example if you are in a monogamous relationship (gender unimportant), having another sex partner may be misconduct. If you are in a polygamous relationship, it may not be.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friendship Moon

Nut's Day
LuniSol - Moonth 10, Day 2
Metonic - Year 13, Lunation 207, Day 15
Dreamspell - Blue Self-Existing Eagle (4 Men) - Kin 95
Mayan Tzolk'in - 9 Lamat (Yellow Solar Star) - Kin 48
Mayan Ha'ab - 11 Mol

Full moon in sidereal Aquarius

On the Friendship Moon, we hang out with our friends. You can sit around and talk about what friendship means to you and to society, but it's probably a lot more fun to spend time with people you like and care about. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

I miss my cousin. And by cousin I mean a close family friend. She's JW and can't (won't) speak to me because of the religion. She used to always watch my kids. She has kids of her own that I don't even know.

I miss my sister-girl, my kids' godmother. Hopefully she will be here in the States for our high school reunion. I went to see her in Denmark this summer. We sat and chilled and had a good ol' time. We talk via Facebook and call each other occasionally due to the long distance charges. She's the type of friend that I can call after months and we will pick right up like we just chatted yesterday.

I miss my sister. We used to karaoke all time. She's not baptized but she won't friend me on Facebook because of all her more important JW friends.

Thank goodness for the Internet. I've met lots of folk that I wish I could meet in person. Witchy folk, exJW folk, techie folk, Trekkie folk, Buddhist folk. Nice to have people that understand what you are going through. The 'net has also opened me up to different viewpoints. I associate with folk that I would be forbidden to if I were still JW.

Tell me about your best friend or your circle of friends.

Pagan Blog Post - R is for Reincarnation

Growing up JW, I was taught to believe that the "dead are conscious of nothing at all." (Insert bible scripture here.) So when you die, that's it. No heaven, no hell, no purgatory. But there's hope of a resurrection after a whole bunch of stuff happens. This created some questions like, what if you die by fire? What about stillborn babies? What about aborted babies if you believe life begins at conception? JWs do not believe that the soul is separate from the physical bodies; if you are alive, then you are a living soul and if you are dead, you are a dead soul.

I'm not still sure of my views on reincarnation. I now believe that the physical self is different from the spiritual self. When I was JW, it was never fully explained how Jehovah would resurrect the dead. People would get a new physical body like Jesus apparently did. But this still didn't make sense. What about what makes me, me?

Some Buddhists believe in reincarnation; other believe in rebirth. These two concepts are not the same. Reincarnation implies that the soul or spiritual essence (what make you, you) endures and inhabits a new physical presence when the current one dies. Rebirth is when the "background noise" of the soul moves on and takes with it all karmic residue of the previous lives. At any rate, there is no holding place. As soon as you die, you are immediately reborn or reincarnated. Based on your karma stores, you may not even come back as human or even in the same realm that you are in currently.

Some NeoPagans / Wiccans believe that the soul goes to Summerland which from what I understand is some sort of waiting room. What Summerland looks like is anyone's guess but it's not good or bad; it just is. Souls that are done reincarnating stay there for eternity and assist other souls returning to the land of the living.

There is conflicting information on whether the ancient Egyptians believed in reincarnation. They certainly believed in the afterlife.

Well science doesn't exactly support reincarnation but hear me out. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It merely changes its form. This is a known and accepted law of physics. It is also proven that the human body produces energy. The brain has electric impulses. Our memories are formed via electrical impulses and a whole bunch of other stuff that I'm not going to get into.

Since energy cannot be created or destroyed, what happens to the energy when our physical body dies? For the purpose of this post, I'm defining this energy as the soul. OK, so we have a lifeless physical body and a soul that is now homeless. Where does it go? Ah, the age old question. I like the idea of a holding place (Summerland) but I can't reconcile my essence going into another body without any prior knowledge of my current existence.

So, I can't say that I personally believe in reincarnation but my beliefs are constantly evolving. I do believe in an afterlife but beyond that, I have no idea.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blue Moon

There's an upcoming blue moon tomorrow. Some of my pagan friends are doing something extra special. I don't think there's anything particularly special as I'm getting away from using the calendar month. Here are some definitions of blue moon:

A literal blue moon occurs when the (not-necessarily-full) moon looks blue due to dust or other foreign objects in the atmosphere. One may see this type of blue moon after a volcanic eruption.

This blue moon occurs when there are 4 full moons in a season. Equinoxes and solstices mark the beginning of the season. The 3rd full moon is the blue moon.

The modern definition is the 2nd full moon in a calendar month. It really isn't all that rare; it happens about every 2.5 years or so. It is this definition that is used for tomorrow's full moon.

If you're into astrology, the zodiacal blue moon is the 2nd of 2 full moons in the same sign.

Regardless of which blue moon you prefer, all full moons are magical.

PS I wonder why new moons aren't as special. If so, what would they be called?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - Q is for Quantum Physics

Yesterday's magic is today's science.

There are two sets of laws that govern our universe: the laws that explain the happenings in the universe at large and the laws that explains what happens at the subatomic levels.

Definition of Quantum Physics
Also known as quantum mechanics or quantum theory. As said above, QP explains what happens at the subatomic levels. It's also responsible for the parallel universe and multiverse theories. Are you familiar with Schrödinger's cat? A theoretical cat is placed in a box with poison. Until the viewer actually opens the box to see the cat, QP says the cat is both alive and dead. (I'm simplifying this thought experiment; read the link for a better explanation.) QP provides for nearly "anything " to be possible. Every possibility exists until the event has occurred. In other words, just as it is possible for the winning mega millions numbers to repeat themselves in two consecutive drawings, the Quantum universe when applied beyond the sub-atomic level says it is "possible" though unlikely to smash a coke bottle into a brick wall from afar and have all of the shattered pieces land in such a way as to reassemble the shattered pieces.

QP and Witchcraft
When I told my hubs about witchcraft, he told me about QP. I was amazed at how much sense they both made when applied together. What we see as solid objects are energy patterns densely packed together. QP  says that an event's outcome depends upon the expectations of the observer. The observer has direct influence over the outcome.

A spell is cast in the same way; for example, the wording for a new job spell is "I have a new job," not "I will get a new job." Most witches agree that details such as tools, potions, time of day, moon phase, etc. are extras. The most important part of the spell is the intent of the caster. If you have a bad attitude or do not truly believe the spell, it will not work or it will not have the outcome that you wish.

Are you a witch who is fond of science? Do you feel that science complements your witchcraft?

Special thanks to my hubs for some of the scientific content. Maybe one day he will write an entire post!