27 November 2013

Pantheacon 2014

Pantheacon has just released it's 2014 programming guide! 


This is my favorite event of the year and once again I will be presenting a workshop.  On Monday Feb 17th I will be presenting Pop Culture Magick for Geeks at 9am.

Do you love Doctor Who, Star Wars, World of Warcraft, Superheroes, and Dungeons and Dragons? Want to learn how to harness that geekery into effective magick? In this workshop we will explore how to use the characters and iconography we love from sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming to perform magick that takes advantage of the pathways already seared into our brains by geeking out. This workshop is appropriate for people of all paths and ages, at any level of nerdiness.

This is the only event that I'm willing to get on a plane to attend, so if you haven't been to Pcon before I suggest you give it a try.  It's an amazing event and the workshops and rituals this year look fantastic :)

26 November 2013

Urban Offerings

Here in the States it's almost Thanksgiving; that wonderful time of family "togetherness" and gorging yourself until you pass out.  I'm not always as grateful for my family as I feel like I should be, so I like to look at Thanksgiving more as a time for making offerings - particularly to the spirits of the place where I live.  It's fairly easy to remember to make offerings to the beings that we ask for help, but it can be quite difficult to remember to also make offerings to the spirits that just happen to be where we spend our time.  The spirits inherent to the places where we live and work can make our lives easy or difficult, almost without being noticed. 

I live in the suburbs and work downtown, so I like to make three special offerings around Thanksgiving: to the spirits of the area where I live, the spirits of downtown Seattle, and the spirits of I-5 (on which I travel every day). 

The easiest offering for me to do is always the one to the area where I live (a slightly betwixt and between bit of Snohomish County). The spirits of the place where I live are used to me and I don't really have to go out of my way to get their attention (doing magick in any place for a prolonged period of time draws spirits like moths to a flame).  It's also easy because I can give the same kind of offerings that I usually do, since I have an altar on which I can burn incense, place sacred objects, etc.  I also have the good fortune to have a yard so if I want to make offerings of food or flowers outside I can very easily. 

However, I do like to make a little extra effort when giving special offerings by trying to make them more relevant to the spirits I'm making the offerings to.  I try to think about what spirits are in the area and what they'd like.  The area where I live used to be quite rural (it was chicken farms when it was first settled and forest before that).  There aren't a lot of ghosts that live near me (fields and forest don't exactly hold on to human energy), but there are some nature spirits and the spirit of the land itself is fairly strong.  One of the things I've done as a sort of permanent offering to the land is to promise not to use chemical pesticides or fertilizer in my yard, making it more hospitable to nature spirits, as well as slowly replacing the plantings with native species. 

For Thanksgiving I like to put out a small offering of organic, local fertilizer in the part of my yard where I do workings.  It's a large clear space under some big cedar trees and I put the fertilizer right in-between them.  I'm always careful not to put it right on the trees as some fertilizers can actually burn plants in high concentrations.  I also try never to user too much, since I don't want to encourage weed growth - they do that well enough on their own thank-you.  Although it would make sense to make an offering of food (like home baked bread) I have to be careful not to put out too many offerings of food because my area has a bit of a rodent problem that I don't want to encourage.  I also tend not to make offerings of bird seed because I have an outdoor cat that is a ferocious hunter - the birds do not need to be brought to her.

Making an offering to my city is always a bit more challenging.  I do a fair bit of work with the spirits of my city's founders, so I like to go up to Lakeview where most of them are buried and give them some attention.  Most of them are fond of offerings of whiskey and the rest enjoy a good cup of coffee, so they're easy to appease.  I also like to make an offering to the spirit of the city itself, which is a little more complicated.  Sure, I could do a symbolic offering of incense or flowers on my altar but that doesn't really do much to help the city itself (it's spirit is well fed and doesn't really need it).  I prefer a more direct approach for offerings to my city.  If I were less lazy going out and doing charity work in the city would be an ideal offering, alas I am not less lazy.  So I like to give donations to the local food banks.  Many food banks get the majority of their donations during the holiday season, so I make sure whatever I give has a really long shelf life (I tend to go with canned fruit and big bags of rice - lots of nutritional value and very shelf stable).

Offerings to the spirits of I-5 is also a little funtastic.  The interstate is an interesting beast because it's energy is so fluid, influenced by the people constantly moving on it - never staying in one place for more than an instant (unless there's gridlock).  There's also a fair amount of negativity on I-5 from road rage and accidents.  Although I take the bus for my commute, I do drive on I-5 several times a week.  The best offering I've been able to come up with is to make a drive where I'm particularly attentive to being a polite driver and where I have a good time on the drive.  Putting out a little positive energy on the road is really the best thing I can do, so that's what I go with. 

22 November 2013

Shadow Magick for New Beginnings

It's official, after nine years I will be leaving the Grey School.  I've been everything from a student to a Board member at the school and it's time for me to do something different.  I've loved being a part of such an interesting organization, but it's time for me to spend more time on my personal work.  It's a huge change and it's also the perfect time for a bit of shadow work. 

Whenever we make big changes in our lives we create the opportunity for altering our own energy patterns.  Any change in our regular activities creates a bit of momentary chaos in our energy flows before things settle into new patterns.  We can take advantage of that confusion and chaos to deliberately forge new and better patterns, rather than letting the chips fall as they may.  Here is a little spell designed to help shift your energies into more advantageous flows when you make a big change.

Shadow Magick for New Beginnings
To be done at the time of any large changes in your life (e.g. moving, getting a new job, at the end or beginning of a new relationship, etc.), if it can be done during the new moon - all the better

  • 1 white tea light
  • 1 black tea light (I tend to stock up on these during Samhain season)
  • prosperity incense (try something with cinnamon or bergamot)

Set the stage for the working in your usual manner.  For me this means casting a circle, calling the quarters, and calling on my Deities.

*light the black tea light to honor the past* 
I come this day to end one chapter of my life and begin a new one.
I have spent countless hours and untold amounts of energy forging my path through this world.  Today I change directions.
I honor the work I have done and the energy I have spent.  I honor the lessons I have learns and the gifts I have received.  I honor the challenges I have been offered and overcame.  

 My past has created the person I am today and I am thankful for it, but now it is time for change.

*light the white candle in honor of the future*
Today I begin anew.  I start new endeavors; I choose a new path, a new direction.  
I have learned from my past and have moved on.  
I welcome new lessons and new challenges, fitting for the new person I have become. 

*light the prosperity incense*

Today I usher in new prosperity for myself.
Today I start afresh.
I have grown from who I was and deserve new and better things.
I know I will make new mistakes and face new obstacles and I embrace the challenges they will bring.
I honor my past, as it has shaped me.  I honor my present as it is who I am.  I honor my future, for it is who I shall be - let it be better.

As I do will so mote it be.

13 November 2013

Change Is Good

One of the key aspects of Shadow Work is letting go of the things that no longer serve you.  Of course, that is usually easier said than done.  I never said Shadow Work was easy now did I?  In fact I think it's more worthwhile because it is difficult - but I'm a bit of a masochist.

As you may have noticed, I haven't been particularly active of late.  I haven't written anything substantial in a while.  I've been suffering from ennui of the most emo kind, to the point where I'm a little bit disgusted with myself.  This state of things cannot stand, therefore it's time for me to suck it up and look at the things that are creating all this damnable inertia and act like the shadow worker I am.

I had to take a good long look at how I've been spending my time and determine which of those things are actually feeding my soul and which ones aren't.  I came to the realization that some of the things I've dedicate a good portion of my adult life to just aren't serving me anymore and it's time to move on.  It's kind of like when you've been watching a television series for years and one day you realize that it's actually sucked for a while now and it's time to stop watching (if you're a completist like me that's actually really, really hard).  You still kind of love it, but it's just not where your energies need to go.

Death in the Shadowscapes Tarot
What were my big clues that it was time for a drastic shift?  First off, I stopped looking forward to spending my time on things.  Then I started avoiding them.  Then I just sort of stopped doing the things I was supposed to do and didn't even want to talk about them.  Then one day I realized that I don't actually care about fixing the problems I was presented with.  That was the kicker for me.  I'm a puzzle person.  There is nothing I like better than being presented with a challenge and then twisting my brain until I can come up with a solution.  I love problem solving.  It makes me all tingly.  When I don't want to solve a puzzle, then I am well and truly gone.
The Tower in the Shadowscapes Tarot

And so I now have to face the rather frightening prospect of saying goodbye to something that has become part of my identity.  There's a reason that big changes in life are indicated by the Death and Tower cards in tarot.  On the one hand this is going to create a void in my life - which is very scary, and on the other this is going to create a void in my life which can be filled with something significantly more awesome - which is very exciting.  I'm going to do my best to be a glass half full person just this once so I don't start hyperventilating into a paper bag.  I'm going to choose to be excited by the prospect of doing something better for myself and allow myself to be proud of making a hard decision.

Now that the decision is made I actually have a lot more energy for interesting things, like shadow magick (all magick actually), so expect to see more of me again.

**Update 11-19-2013 It's official now, so I can say what the change is.  As of December 1st I am leaving the Grey School after nine years.  It's incredibly liberating :) **