Painted Rock Cactus

I think this is a great idea. If you have the skill or pattern/ design to make it as detailed as this one is. Great idea for a rock garden, literally.

Katie Loves …a plant for those who lack any sort of green thumb. Paint smooth stones to look like cacti and nestle into a planter just the same. No watering or sunlight required.  Photo: El Nido de Mama Gallina

Source: A Painted Plant For The Gardening Impaired

How I Chose to be a Pagan Earth Witch

When I was about 20 I decided to look into religions. I knew the traditional Christian ways were not for me. I didn’t like they way these religions viewed women. I had just read a book where the women were put into isolation after having their period or giving birth, they were “unclean”. This was on top of growing up with the Adam and Eve mythology. From that point the Bible (written and rewritten by men) just goes on to look down on women, and worse. If I were a male, I would probably never have become Pagan. I would never have begun researching other religions and beliefs and looked deeper than the surface. Most likely I would have put religion behind me as not being all that important.

My Early Pagan Experience

I started with Witchcraft and Wicca because I found a book written in the 70’s. It’s a book I wouldn’t choose to read now but parts of it were enough to send me looking for more information from more reliable sources. I found a Pagan bookstore referred to in a book. I made the hour long bus trip to downtown Toronto and found the place. Entering for that first time was not easy. I felt daring and yet I also felt I was walking into a place I didn’t fully belong and might not be welcome. I wondered if they could see inside of me, my mind and my thoughts. Would they know what I was thinking, could they see my future and my past, my aura…? That was creepy.

The first thing that really happened was the smell. Ever since then I have noticed the same smell, strongly of incense over time, in every Pagan bookstore. I like pulling out a book I bought in a Pagan store. Even a couple of decades later I can smell it in the pages. If the smell ever goes away I don’t know. So far it hasn’t.

My adventure in that first Pagan store was intimidating. If I were less determined or less curious I doubt I would have tried another Pagan store. The people there did watch me and yet said nothing. Maybe they thought I was going to walk off with something, maybe they were just curious too, I won’t know and I didn’t ask then. I was already the shy type. I bought a book and a couple of polished rocks and I left, glad to be out of there. I was left with the feeling of not belonging and I never did go back to that store. Luckily there were others and more came along later.

Finding Where and How I Fit In

A few years more and the Internet came along too. By that time I was making my own decisions about what I believed and how I believed it. I didn’t accept Wicca as it came. I took what felt right to me and put it together with how I felt about the world and it’s people. I still believe this way; I’m very much an eclectic solitary type of Pagan. I gave myself the label of Earth Witch and I’ve stuck with that, to keep the explanation simple. To me an Earth Witch means I focus on the Earth, the natural and I don’t feel influenced by deities or magick. I believe we each create our own magick from ourselves and it is up to each of us to choose how to use it, or not use it.

I have written about my Pagan beliefs before but not shared much of my actual experience. I used to get email from young women who wanted to know more about being Pagan. The main thing they wanted to know was how to hide it from their parents. I was never behind this. For one thing, if you have to hide it, maybe you should rethink the whole thing.

I do understand that some families are very Christian and close minded or even afraid of Pagan ideas and Pagan ways. If that is the case and you are living at home, this is not the time for you to explore being Pagan. Wait until you can do it openly. In the meantime, there is no reason you can’t do simple things like have a collection of rocks, maybe some shells and feathers, keep a journal about your observations of nature, history and people. These are things you can do without upsetting your parents and family. You can be Pagan without having to prove you’re Pagan. Know it yourself and start there.

Nowadays…

For me, being Pagan is a personal thing. I mainly keep it to myself. I’ve found a local group with weekly meetings but I have yet to venture out and attend one. I think I will. Each time I have stepped out and met other Pagans I have enjoyed the experience and learned new things about history, religion and beliefs. But, I’m comfortable with what I believe now, the way my feelings about being an Earth Witch have evolved. So I’m not as eager to stir myself up as I was when I was younger and just starting to explore and discover.

International Day Against Homophobia???

International Day Against Homophobia – Is this really about protecting gay rights or is this just an excuse to bash another group of people? To me this is a giant step backwards when it comes to our rights and freedoms in general. Are we no longer allowed to have our own opinion? Do we have to all agree with the popular choice? Are we going to end up throwing rocks at people who don’t agree with homosexuality now?

This is crazy. Totally unacceptable!

Whatever you feel or think about the issue of homosexuality is irrelevant – should we not have the right and the freedom to express our opinion without being judged this way? Where is your free speech and free thought now?  You now have no right to disagree, no right to your own opinion and your own freedom of choice is gone. This cause is even supported by the government! I think this is too much. The government is supporting an event which is all about taking away our free speech and free choice. Think about that before you jump in with both feet.

www.homophobiaday.org 2012-4-3 11:54:28

International Day Against Homophobia

IDAHO

Why I Like the Old Houses

I was asked to write why I like documenting the old, abandoned houses. I had different ideas in mind right away but none really fit. Since then other elements have come along and I’ve tried to build the full picture. Part of it the loneliness of the old place and yet their strength in standing, enduring.

Today, while watching a documentary about the geography under the Great Lakes I had another idea:

I like the old houses because they show our own history, the impact we have had on the land and at the same time the old places erode and become part of the physical geography, just another bump on the land of rocks, earth and water.

Quietly an Earth Witch

I don’t blog about being Pagan very often. It’s a personal decision and something I mostly keep to myself. But, now and then I think of something to say to more than just myself.

When the Internet was newer there were some really good sites for Pagans. Also, many personal sites which were a mix of good and flamboyant. I don’t see many good sites still around. It’s a shame. Some of those which were my favourites have been gone a long time. It’s not an easy road to take, to put yourself out there as a Pagan and an authority on what being Pagan is. When I wrote a column about Wicca I would get a few upset emails but more often it would be questions from young women who wanted to know how to cope with family who disagreed with their choices.

I still think about those young women, now and then. I sent them replies, did my best to explain that for me being Wiccan (as I called myself at that time, it’s a bit more generic and easily understood) was all within myself and I did not need to tell anyone anything. I did hear back from a few of them, nothing long term though. I wonder how they did, if they understood what I was trying to say and if they stuck with being Pagan or changed/ evolved in another direction.

Anyway, for any young women who come across this and have the same issue. What I would most like people in general to understand about being Pagan is that it is personal and does not need to be displayed. You don’t need to buy the “Kiss me I’m Pagan” t-shirt, or the “I’m a Witch, I can put a hex on you” poster or all the fancy tools, jewellry and books available in Pagan and New Age stores. You don’t need to create elaborate rituals and altars. You don’t need to work on casting spells. I’m especially against spells as those are always about changing something in someone else. You can only change yourself.

Being an Earth Witch, as I call myself now, is inside of me. I’m quiet about it because I don’t need recognition for it. I don’t need to join a club to have someone else tell me I’m who I am. I don’t need to stick it to Christians. I don’t think I’m better than they are. I don’t want to upset them or try to make them understand what being an Earth Witch is about.

Being an Earth Witch, quietly, means I only change myself and all the magic comes from me as I work on being a better person and do my part to make the world better. If I am being the best person I can be then the world is that much better too. I don’t need to change the world or anyone else. I don’t need to broadcast who I am or stir up others. I let them do their best too and when I can I encourage them too. I don’t cast spells. I have love and respect for everyone, letting them have the benefit of my optimism.

Of course, there are people who let me down. There are people who have gone too far down the wrong road. I can’t even try to change them or feel I should. I can keep myself going, on the right road and in that way be a good example. I’m not perfect and don’t want to be. I just keep working on it. We are all works in progress after all.

So for young women who want to buck the system, insist their family accept them as Pagan and so on, stop! If you really do want to be Pagan, do it quietly. Be the best example of what being Pagan can be. Once your family see you doing well and being happy they will be happy and eventually they may see that being Pagan is part of that for you. If they see no reason to fear you being Pagan it will be just a little quirk, rather than a stand of aggression and rebellion.

A practical idea… if you want an altar and don’t want it to seem out of the ordinary, get a goldfish. A small goldfish bowl with water, rocks in the bottom, a red feather beside it gives you all the elements represented. You can think up something that will work better for you. But, as an example it shows that you can have an altar without anyone knowing it is anything more than a goldfish.

Best of wishes to all the quiet Pagans and Merry Season to everyone.