25 May 2015

Questions on Pop Culture Paganism

A few days ago a call went out for folks who work with either technopaganism or pop culture paganism to talk about what they do for a piece in Vice Motherboard.  Naturally, my hand shot up immediately like Hermione Granger's.  I got in touch with the gal doing the research and here are the questions she sent me and my answers.

**Update 6-15-15** You can read the article here.

Note - She asks some fairly specific questions regarding my past writings on pop culture magick, so you may want to review my previous posts on the topic.  

On 2015-05-22 09:41, Creatrix Tiara wrote:
1. You talk about how geeks' tendency for passionate near-obsessive energy works really well with magickal practices. This brings to mind notions of "celebrity worship" and "fan shrines" and how a lot of language between spirituality and fandom can often be very similar. Could you talk more about the connections you draw between fandom and spirituality?

I think fandom and spirituality can, but don't have to, overlap.  In both fandom and spirituality, people feel a deep personal connection between themselves and the object of their attention that makes their lives better.  It's that sense of connection and personal understanding that really makes both worthwhile - to me at least.  In fandom we get connection both to the people creating the object of our attention and other fans.  Less obviously but perhaps more potently, we get a sense of resonance with the material that lets us feel deeply understood, if in a round about way.

For example, I'm a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That show came out when I was a sophomore in High School and Buffy Summers was exactly my age.  In a sense we grew up together; faced the same challenges of growing up at the same time, if in different ways.  I saw that character struggle with the same kinds of problems that I did and make the same kinds of mistakes I was making, and then got to watch her overcome them and move forwards with her life. At a time in my life where my family and friends had trouble understanding me I got to see a girl on television that I knew would understand me completely and then talk to other people who loved the show and totally got it.

When spirituality and its resultant community is healthy the sense of support and understanding it gives is virtually identical to that of a healthy fandom.

The main difference I see between fandom and spirituality is intent.  The point where a person goes from "this is an awesome thing that I love" to "I'm going to use this thing to improve myself and my life" is where someone passes from fandom into spirituality.  You can absolutely have both (e.g. I love Doctor Who and I use the image of the 10th Doctor as my spirit guide), but you don't have to.

One thing that a lot of people factor into spirituality that they don't factor into fandom is what they get back from the object of their attention.  In many spiritualities there is the belief that the thing you love loves you back. Some might disagree, but I would argue that this is totally possible in a fandom. First, it's not uncommon for the people responsible for creating major fandoms to go to conventions and other public venues and express their appreciation for their fans, and that can mean a lot.  Further, a lot of major fandoms (e.g. Star Wars, Marvel, Doctor Who, Sandman, etc.) have so much energy poured into them that they exist as thoughtforms on the astral plane - functioning in very, very similar ways to other spiritual forces.  They might not be as old, as big, or last as long as some other spiritual forces but they are quite real and potentially potent.

2. Similar to talking about passionate obsession in fandom - is there such as thing as a casual pop culture pagan, the same way there might be casual fans of a pop culture product? Does someone need to be a True Fan to incorporate that fandom into their spiritual practice - or, in the reverse, does someone need to be very spiritual to incorporate pop culture into their spirituality?

Overall, yes I'm sure you can be a casual pop culture pagan (PCP). In practice, I think it really depends on the fandom.  As of right now, 5/25/15, I think just about anyone on the planet could call on Imperator Furiosa and get a solid response because that character is so intensely in the public eye at this moment in time. I think just about anyone could call on the character of Sherlock Holmes because the character is so well known and so ubiquitously part of mainstream culture.

Beyond major characters that are actively in the larger public eye I think it would be more difficult to be a casual PCP.  Working with pop culture icons isn't that different from working with any other metaphysical entity.  If you want to work with established metaphysical entities (like the fay) you're expected to develop a relationship with them over time: giving them offerings, talking to them, working with them regularly, etc. Working with pop culture figures is no different; you'll get better results of you've got an established relationship than you would if you didn't.  That's not to say you can't work with something casually, just that you might not get the same quality of result as you would if you were less casual about it.

3. What got you interested in pop culture paganism? How does it connect with your overall spiritual practice? Do you feel connection, disconnection, something else with other forms of paganism and
spirituality? (Part of my draw towards pop culture and techno paganism is that I never really connected with how people revered nature - but the things people were feeling about nature were the same things I felt about tech and art.)

I've always worked with a mixture of pop culture and more traditional pagan iconography.  When I was first starting out I had trouble feeling a personal connection with the idea of the traditional four elements, so I visualized them as the four members of Metallica and that solved my problem.  I often visualize the deities I work with as modern day characters or people, just because it's easier for my brain to do so than to try to pull an image out of the astral whole cloth.  I don't see anything remarkable about it, it's just the way I've always done things.  When I call powers to aid me in ritual I've got old gods, figures from myth and legend, literature, and modern pop culture characters side by side and they've never had any problem with it, so why would I? I'm a big believer in doing what works for you when you need it to work, whatever that happens to look like, as long as everyone involved is OK with it.

4. Neil Gaiman's American Gods plays with pop culture paganism to some degree, with his notion of modern-day gods. Do you see pop culture and technopaganism being explored in the mainstream elsewhere? On the one hand, when the mainstream _does_ acknowledge witchcraft, it's often in
a Hippy Nature Woo sense, but on the other hand I'm thinking that sci-fi and cyberpunk would eventually lead towards technopaganism as a given.

I hadn't really thought about that before.  I could certainly see how the current flow of pop culture, particularly online pop culture, could make technopaganism and pop culture paganism more appealing and more natural for a lot of people.  In the comic books The Wicked and The Divine (
http://www.wicdiv.com/ - I highly recommend these), you see modern day deities using our current cult of celebrity to gain the powers and worship they want. In reality, our contemporary cult of celebrity is quite similar to how folk saints have been created in the past (seriously, just visit Elvis' grave and tell me folks aren't using his name in magick).  Similarly, you could easily look at things like memes as modern versions of spells or bardic magick. Look at the power of the trending topic to shift world wide perceptions in a matter of hours and tell me that isn't a form of contagion magick gone, quite literally, viral.  Do I think our current culture is on a crash course to technopaganism - no, but I think all it would take would be the tiniest push from a person in the right position.

5. I've noticed pop culture paganism really jumping in popularity with young people on Tumblr who are active in fandom (and possibly social justice). How in your view has Internet culture and social media boosted or interacted with pop culture paganism?

I think internet culture has been huge in spreading pop culture paganism, particularly amongst the under 30 crowd.  One of the gifts of the information age is that people are exposed to a lot of different viewpoints on every possible issue.  For those of us that have grown up steeped in internet culture, it is very easy for us to understand that, for most issues, there is more than one "right way" of doing things.  This means we don't cling to tradition the way that older generations tend to, making us more open to new ideas - like pop culture paganism.

For those of us who grew up stewing in pop culture, using those ideas in magick seems only natural.  With the proliferation of smartphones and other internet connected devices, many people spend all day connected to the stream of pop culture - why wouldn't we want to harness that and use it to our advantage?  Working with pop culture today is no different to us than connecting to the stories and legends of the past was to people in their day; what we now identify as myth was their pop culture at the time.

6. You talk about how you're not entirely comfortable with the idea of worshipping pop cultural figures as deities since they haven't been around a long time. However, it can be argued that some of these figures are reworkings of age-old archetypes; some even are often deliberately designed on known mythological figures. One could also argue that since pop culture is man-made, it's not as spiritually pure - but a lot of myths could also be said to be man-made even if divinely inspired. Could you talk more about your thoughts on this?

The way I see it, pop culture figures are essentially thoughtforms on the astral plane.  The more energy we in the mundane world pour into them, the bigger and stronger they get in the astral.  I see many of the metaphysical entities worked with in modern magick (spirits, fay, loa, saints, deity, etc.) as also being astral entities that are, at least partially, shaped by the energy fed into them by people on the mundane plane.  The entities that I call deities are generally very, very old and very, very strong - to the point that they can function entirely independently of the energies fed to them from people.  I see pop culture figures as being lesser than deity in that they are still almost entirely dependent on the incoming energies from people for their existence.  As such, while I might respect and even venerate a pop culture figure, I wouldn't worship it.  To me worship requires a sense of subordination to the thing being worshiped that I just don't feel for pop culture figures.

I don't really subscribe to idea of spiritual "purity." Sounds like snobbery to me. As I've said before, I belong to the "use what works" school of thought.

7. You have a page discussing "which Doctor" - as in, which iteration of a character would you incorporate into your practice. I know that even in general fandom there can be a lot of debate and discussion about certain characters and settings, and when the original author does something that contradicts fanon, hell can break loose! How much does authorial intent play into pop culture paganism? Could there be any connections between differing fandom interpretations and differing
interpretations of holy text?

Now you have me thinking of differing "ships" in fandoms being akin to different sects of a religion with "god" (aka the author) standing on top of a mountain shouting, "What the f**k are you doing? I didn't write any of this!" The image is almost frighteningly apt.

When it comes down to it, pop culture is essentially a majority rule.  Whatever it is that the most people agree upon and embrace is what becomes pop culture.  For that reason, authorial intent isn't as important as it would be for something like literary interpretation.  The meaning of art is in the eye of the beholder and the creation of pop culture is in the hands of the masses.  It's the ultimate in egalitarianism.

My Pop Culture Magick Index

17 May 2015

Book Review: Penumbrae

One of the books I was most looking forward to this spring was Penumbrae, an anthology of occult fiction edited by Richard Gavin, Patricia Cram, and Daniel Schulke.  I was not disappointed. When I say this book was good, I mean it was practically perfect in every way.  Seriously, stop what you're doing, go order it, and then come finish reading this.

Penumbrae is unlike any other book of fiction I have ever read.  Instead of being a book of stories about the occult, it's a book of stories where the occult is just part of the landscape.  In most "magical" fiction you get heavy handed stories where the magick is the point of the story - the young boy learns to use magick to defeat the antagonist, the girl saves herself through the use of an ancient charm, etc.  In Penumbrae you get a more authentic occultism.  In these stories the magick simmers underneath the action, flowing through the story the way real magick lies beneath the surface of our everyday lives. 

The magick you find in "Turquoise on a Bed of Skulls" by Patricia Cram is the desperate folk magick of the hopeless.  Of all the stories in this anthology I found this one the most striking.  It's not a story about magick, but a story about terrible circumstances in which a woman takes power in the only way she can.  That happens to be through the use of what amounts to a series of Hoodoo jar spells.  However, the magick is not the point of this story.  This story has a much deeper message that sinks in to your skin and makes you itch for days afterwards. 

Most of the stories in this anthology are...not outright horror stories, but they are unsettling.  There is often something "not quite right" with the characters and their actions.  The magick and occultism they encounter tends to be extremely otherworldly - it doesn't quite fit in our reality.  So many works of fiction portray magick as a wondrous cure-all that just makes everything better, and yes real magick is a glorious thing, but it's not all white light and rainbows.  Real magick runs the gamut from gorgeous and uplifting to filthy and wrong.  When you really see magick changing reality is can be deeply, deeply unsettling - like when you see a movie displayed at the wrong frame rate and every movement just looks "off."

"The Spider" by Hanns Heinz Ewers was probably my favorite story to read: it's half mystery, half horror with just a pinch of the unreal.   This story has such a subtle thread of the unworldly.  It begins as a mystery that slowly deepens from the purely mundane to "that which should not be."  As someone who has practiced magick for a long time and who is widely read, I caught on to the occult elements fairly quickly.  I can't help but wonder how different this story would be for someone who didn't know the occult at all.  Still scary I would imagine, but much more shallowly so.

There were several stories in this anthology that had strong ties to Lovecraftian lore, though none so clearly as "Andromeda Among the Stones," by Caitlin R. Kiernan.  This story perfectly straddled that line between being uncomfortably close to reality and bearing the weight of unspeakable horror.   It highlighted the madness that deep occult studies often skirts and the consequences of allowing too much rigidity into our practices in the face of evidence that we should be doing things differently.  Unsettling, frightening, and yet magnificent.

So if you haven't done so yet go order this.  Then read it slowly while sipping a nice glass of red wine while listening to Debussy during a rain storm.

15 May 2015

Sweetening Spells

I’ve done a lot of spellwork over my magickal career, but until very recently I had never done a sweetening spell.  I think I’d skipped over them in the past because they’re often grouped with love spells, which I just don’t ever do.  However, I recently got a really fantastic bone casting and the reader told me that I should consider doing a sweetening spell to make the people at my new firm act more favorably towards me.  So, I decided to take a closer look at sweetening spells and really liked what I found.

In essence, a sweetening spell is done to make a person or situation more favorable – to make them be sweet to you.  Sweetening spells are close kin to love spells, but are a lot gentler and less coercive.  Instead of trying to force people into specific actions or emotions (e.g. make Jim love me or make my boss give me a raise), sweetening spells are aimed at making people be nicer, be more open and receptive.  Sweetening spells are the magickal equivalent of bringing someone cookies in the hopes that they’ll be more likely to do you a favor.  In fact, sweetening spells can be happily used in conjunction with bringing someone cookies ;)

While there are many different types of sweetening spells out there, the one that resonates the most with me is the honey jar.  In its simplest form all a honey jar spell needs is a small container, honey, a small piece of paper, and a pen.  You write the full name of the person or situation you want to sweeten three times on the piece of paper, then rotate the page 90 degrees and write your own full name across the other person’s name three times.  Put the piece of paper in the jar, letting some of the honey get on your fingers.  Then suck the honey off your finger saying, “As this honey is sweet so ___________ will be sweet to me.”  You can enhance the spell by adding something linked to the spell target to the jar (a photo or signature are your most hygienic options).  A bit of candle magick is often added by burning a small chime candle (of the color most appropriate to your desired outcome) on top of the jar, letting the wax drip onto the lid and jar.  In most of the sources I looked at, both tasting the honey and the candle burning should be repeated weekly as long as the situation lasts or until you’ve reached your desired outcome.

Gotta love locally sourced magick :)

For the honey jar I made, I got a small jar of local honey (purchased from a local vendor very close to where I work) and used both paper and a pen from work.  My targets for the spell were pretty much all the supervisors in my department, so rather than writing a bunch of names three times I created a sigil that represented them and wrote it three times on the paper and then crossed it with my own.  I also drew the sigil on the lid of the honey jar with a sharpie (an invaluable magickal tool).  I folded the paper nice and small and stuck it in the jar.  I then burned a small yellow candle on top of the jar, right on top of the sigil.  I’ll be doing this every Sunday in an hour of the sun for the foreseeable future.

Sigils make writing out long lines of text so very much simpler

Hoodoo Honey and Sugar Spells: Sweet Love Magic in the Conjure Tradition http://www.luckymojo.com/honeyjar.html

07 May 2015

Psychic Self-Defense for Ghost Hunters (2015 edition)

Last weekend I gave a lecture on Psychic Self-Defense for Ghost Hunters down at the Spooked in Seattle's Metaphysical Market.  I wanted to share the important points of that lecture for those that were unable to attend.  

These days it seems like everyone and their grandmother wants to have an exciting paranormal experience like the ones they see on TV - hearing whispered voices, having their hair be moved by unseen hands, seeing shadowy figures, etc.  Just a few days ago I was telling a friend about the haunting of the restaurant we were eating in (Kells in Post Alley, highly recommended)  and the table next to us got terribly excited and asked how they could experience the haunting for themselves.  For most people most of the time ghost tours and ghost hunts are a fun and completely benign way to spend an evening.  However, every once in a while something goes amiss.  There are a few quick and east things you can do to make sure your experience is as safe and fun as it can be, avoid the dangers of attack, attachment, or bringing something home with you.

Visit the dead but don't join them prematurely

Brief Disclaimer: The following tips and techniques are things that will make you safer, not safe.  You will certainly be better off doing them than doing nothing at all, but the unseen world is unpredictable and nothing short of sealing yourself in a psychic bubble and never leaving your house again will guarantee that nothing metaphysically untoward will happen to you - and perhaps not even then.  Use common sense - if you ever feel like you are in danger in a haunted location you should leave.  Ghost hunting is about interacting with the dead, not becoming one yourself.  


There are certain things you should do before visiting a potentially haunted location:

  • Know your environment - For maximum safety you should learn as much as you can about the types of experiences people have had in a location and what types of entities are generally believed to be present.  The more you know going in the more appropriate your protections can be.  However, knowing too much about what other people have experienced in a location can bias your own experiences.  The human mind is amazing at seeing what it expects to see.  As a result, you may choose not to find out too much about a location in order to guarantee a more authentic experience.  Most of the time that's an acceptable risk as long as you have something at hand that can increase your protections if necessary (I'll talk about that in a moment).  At the very least, find out if the paranormal activity in a location is generally benign or if it's considered malevolent; if it's benign then going in blind is probably an acceptable risk, if not then your safety should trump the desire to be "surprised" by paranormal activity.

  • Choose how much protection you want going in - Psychic protection, at its core, is something that strengthens the barrier between you and the world around you.  It makes it more difficult for unseen entities to do things to you that you don't want - like pushing, scratching, or attaching themselves to you.  However, it can also make it more difficult for entities to do things you do want - like touching or talking to you.  Think of it like the difference between wearing rubber gloves as opposed to wearing a full hazmat suit.  They each put a protective barrier between you and something potentially dangerous, but one dulls your senses a lot more than the other.  Ideally, you want just enough protection to keep you safe, but not so much that it deters activity.  After all, the whole point of going on a ghost hunt or tour is to experience something.
  • Basic Pre-Hunt Protections - These techniques are good for most situations (e.g. mild/med hauntings).  Do these before entering a potentially haunted location.    
    • Prayer - If you are a person who prays it will probably be beneficial to pray for protection and good fortune before entering a haunted place.  The powers (gods, spirits, angels, etc.) that are a part of your personal belief system generally have a vested interest in helping you out and are probably willing to do so.  It never hurts to have a little outside muscle on your side.  However, keep in mind that prayer alone is almost never enough to be considered complete protection.  Also, depending on how your faith views the unseen world, the protective entities you call on might scare away all the ghosts.  Think about it and do what makes you comfortable.
    • Ground and Center    
      • When I use the term “grounding” I mean the act of flushing out negative or excess energy you have in your body into a place where it is naturally neutralized.  This is generally done by visualizing all the energy you don't want as static electricity and then moving it down your body and into the ground where it is neutralized.  Grounding helps to make sure that your energy doesn't interfere with the energy of the place you're visiting and it makes you more energetically stable.
      • The act of centering is essentially finding the place in your body where you feel your energies the strongest and aligning your energies to concentrate and flow from that place.  For many people that place is the lower abdomen or the base of the spine - it make be different for you.  I generally center by visualizing my center (just below and behind the navel for me) and breathing into it until I feel my energies focus and stabilize there.  Having a calm and focused center makes it easier to pay attention to what's going on around you and adapt accordingly.  
    • Shield - Shielding is the practice of forming a layer of protective energy around yourself in order to strengthen the barrier between you and the outside world.  The easiest way for most people to shield is to visualize an egg of white or pale blue electricity surrounding them like a bubble - just like the shields around the Enterprise on Star Trek.  Depending on how safe you feel in a given location you will want to make your shields thicker or thinner.  The nice thing about shields it that you can modify them at any time in response to what's happening around you.  This is also a great technique to use when dealing with angry co-workers or relatives.  It helps keep their negative energy off of you!
During a Tour or Hunt

  • Statement of Intent - I consider it a common courtesy to introduce myself when first entering a haunted location.  You can do it out loud or in your head, paranormal entities are generally able to hear thoughts expressly directed at them, though I like to say it aloud unless it would make me look like a crazy person in the given situation.  I recommend introducing yourself, expressing your respect and compassion for the unseen entities present, and inviting the experience you would like to have, e.g. let the entities know that you'd like to hear them speak or be gently touched and that you do not want to be pushed, scratched, or otherwise harmed.  By expressly saying (aloud or silently) what you do and do not want to happen you actually make it easier for the entity to do what you want and make it more difficult to do what you do not want.  Clearly expressed desires create their own energy that can help or hinder paranormal entities to act.  It's also just the courteous thing to do.  Wouldn't you be more likely to be friendly to a stranger that introduced themselves and asked you to do thing rather than just barging in an making demands?    
  • Protective Items - These are things to have on hand in order to escalate your protections as necessary.  Depending on the item and your own risk assessment you make choose to carry some of these things on your person (in a pocket or bad) or choose to leave them in a secure and easily accessible place just outside the haunted location.  I recommend choosing just 2-3 items to have on hand for most investigations.    
    • Talismans/charms     
      • Objects of faith (cross, star of david, pentagram, hand of fatima, etc.)  
      • Personal objects of special significance (family heirloom, love token, etc.)     
      • Bundles or small bags of protective herbs (Angelica, Bay, Cinnamon, Cloves, Fennel, Garlic, Mullein, Rosemary, Rue, Sage)    
      • Mojos (bundle of protective objects in a red cotton bag worn next to the skin - to begin I recommend choosing an herb, a stone, and a metal charm, eg. a bay leaf, a hematite, and a small pewter dragon)     
    • Protective stones (hematite, jet, obsidian, malachite, black tourmaline, etc.). 
    • Salt water, salt, black salt - Salt has a unique ability to disrupt and neutralize negative energy.  Black salt is salt that also contains charcoal or crushed lava rock and it cannot be beat for absorbing and grounding negative energy.  Something as simple as putting a few grains of salt on your tongue or rubbing salt on your hands or feet can make a huge difference in mitigating negative energies.  You can also wash your hands or feet in salt water for the same effect.    
  • Shielding - As I mentioned earlier, you can and should adapt your shields in response to what you feel in a haunted location.  If you feel threatened you can thicken shields or change their opacity, e.g. if your shields are a translucent electric blue you can change them to be made of solid steel or concrete.

What you do after a paranormal experience may actually be more important than anything you do before or during it.  If you do nothing else, I urge you to always do all three of the following:

  • Closing statement - Before you leave a location, inform the spirits that you’re finishing up and give them one last chance to communicate with you. Thank them for allowing you to share their space and wish them well. (Being kind and courteous costs you nothing and can go a long way towards ending things on a positive note - especially if you think you might come back!) Then tell them that you’re done and that they are to remain where they are, that they are not allowed to follow you home.  As with your statement of intent, just saying that the spirits are not to follow you will make it more difficult for any troublemakers to do so.    
  • Ground - After any paranormal experience you're likely to be either keyed up or extremely tired. Take a few moments to consiously let the energy of the experience calm down.  The easiest way to do this is to have some food and drink (fruits, nuts, cheese, bread, water or fruit juices all good - stay away from over processed or sugary foods for the best results).  Eating has a wonderful way of closing any open psychic connections and bringing down energy levels.  Rubbing your hands with salt or putting a little in your shoes is also an easy way to help you ground. 
  • Cleanse - Cleansing after a paranormal experience is absolutely critical.  You never really know what energies have gotten on you during an investigation and you do not want any potential negatives lingering. Here are a few things that you can do to cleanse yourself energetically:    
    • Smudge - A Native American technique of essentially fumigating yourself with the smoke of smoldering herbs, most often sage, cedar, and/or sweetgrass. 
    • Spritz - Have a spray bottle with a few drops of cleansing essential oil in water or hydrosol (rosemary, cedar, sage, lavender all good) and give yourself a good spritz or three.  This technique is particularly useful while traveling. 
    • Wash hands in salt water 
    • Bathe/Shower -  If you can, I highly recommend taking a shower - standing in running water does wonders for washing away negative energy.  Try using cedar or sage soap, florida water soap (available at your local Hoodoo supplier), or a van van wash (also available at your local Hoodoo supplier).
Try out these techniques the next time you visit a local paranormal hot spot and see how different your experience is. 

tl;dr - be courteous (ghosts are people too), be firm (say exactly what you do and do not want to experience and mean it), be prepared (have some quick and easy methods of increasing your protection if necessary)

My previous post on this topic - I've refined things quite a bit over the last few years.

01 May 2015

Beltane Blessing 2015

I've been celebrating Beltane for...a good long while now and this year has, by far, the most tumultuous energy I've ever felt on May Day.  With everything that's going on in the world it seems appropriate to turn the traditional blessings of fertility and personal prosperity into blessings for understanding and fruitful communication between all people.

A brief aside for Seattle area folks - I've got two events going this weekend. I'm facilitating a Beltane Ritual tomorrow at 3pm in Carkeek Park.  It's going to be fun and low key, so come on by :) On Sunday I'll be teaching a workshop on Psychic Self-Defense for Ghost Hunters at Spooked in Seattle's Metaphysical Market at 4pm.

Beltane Blessing for 2015

As I reach down to feel the earth beneath my feet I feel it pulsing with the energy of new growth.  The seeds we have sown are awakening and burgeoning with new life; changing the landscape with bursts of energy.  I shall ride these currents of growth and change and harness them to my will.  With them I birth a shift of consciousness in my self. The vast and unfathomable energies of the Sabbat flow through me and change me from within 

The bright fires of Beltane burn within and purify me.  Beltane fire burns away prejudice and privilege so that I may grow true, unburdened by the mistakes and misconceptions of my past. 

The seeds of expression bear the fruit of clear and effective communication.  The seeds of listening grow into true hearing. The seeds of knowledge within me blossom into real comprehension.  The seeds of compassion I've sown flower into true empathy. 

I manifest this growth through right action in my life.  I know that all change begins within but must be brought without in order to take hold.  I walk through the world enacting comprehension and empathy with all those around me.  I model the behavior I would see.  I inspire others to manifest positive change through right action.

Beltane blessings take hold within me and through me move into the world.