Horses and Community

Last weekend was Hekate’s Sickle Festival, the second event for me in as many weeks. While last weekend was an opportunity for me to experience without responsibility, this weekend was an opportunity to serve my community through the experience.

horse celtic animal totemThe theme for this year’s Sickle was Celtic animal totems. I was the clan clergy for the Horse totem. Throughout the festival, clan clergy is there to lead their group through the event, answer questions, and be a support for the people in the clan.

I actually had a lot of resistance at first, because it wasn’t what I was originally asked to do. Originally, my husband and I were going to be clan clergy for Dragon clan. I feel a strong connection with dragons, and we have a TON of them in our home. Decorating for Dragon would be easy.

And then my family was asked to help with Horse. My oldest didn’t have a role yet, so I suggested that he help. (Because then I would not have to change what I was doing… resistance!) After another week or so, I found out that two people were needed – both the totem and the clergy.

My husband and I had a conversation. Neither of us really wanted to change. And then he pointed out that I have a better connection with our son. Drat! He used logic on me!

I still didn’t want to change. I didn’t do the same amount of research and preparation I normally do (well, not until the last minute, when it was more stressful). And we had nothing with which to decorate the cabin or a temple.

So I asked for help. (I also made Value Village a regular stop.) My community stepped up and helped. Someone brought some tack. Someone else brought horse teeth. Another friend had a whole bucket of horseshoes, and someone else had horse hair to make our tokens with.

This weekend was a continuation of last week’s lesson of asking for help, and I am so grateful for my community.

Horse taught me about strength, that I am often stronger than I think I am. I can go much farther than I give myself credit for. And that when I need it, the people around me will help carry me.

Thank you, Horse, for your lessons.



celtic horse horseshoe

But For the Asking

This weekend I went to a Pagan festival that I had never been to before. I almost didn’t make it. It has definitely been a lesson in asking.

ask-for-itWay back when I heard about Orpheus Ascending, I wanted to go, and I wasn’t sure how I could make it happen. Things were in flux at work, and I didn’t think I had the vacation time to go to both this event, and Hekate’s Sickle Festival, which is this coming weekend.

So I asked about how I could arrange my schedule, or work extra some days, or work on Thanksgiving and take a day off later. The manager and the accountant looked at my payroll, and found that my vacation pay had not been calculating correctly for a while – to my benefit. Suddenly I had extra vacation time, so that was no longer a problem.

Friends of mine were going to Orpheus Ascending, and so I asked if I could carpool with them. The answer was a resounding yes, and I was very grateful. There were going to be people at this event that I had not seen for quite a long time, and I was looking forward to it.

As the date approached, I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it. Plans had been made, and there was a lot to be done before leaving. There was work to do, and classes to teach, and other events to prepare for. It almost wasn’t real, it wasn’t something I could focus on until Wednesday after work. The excitement that it was almost here was finally hitting me.

However, the weather was a concern. Three storms were due to hit all in a row over the weekend. And my ride decided that she was not willing to risk being stuck somewhere. (She’s got a young child at home, which I can totally respect.) I was extremely disappointed.

I reached out to a few others who I thought might be going, and wasn’t getting anywhere. Instead of packing on Wednesday, I moped. All the excitement had burst.

I went to bed, and decided that if I was meant to go, the Universe would help me find and answer. And if I didn’t find a ride, then I wasn’t meant to go.

I woke up at about 2:30 am on Thursday with the thought, “I need to ask the question directly.” So I posted on the event page, asking if there was anyone else coming from Canada who had room for an extra passenger. When I woke up around 7 am to get ready for work, I discovered there had been a whole discussion while I slept, and voila! I had a ride!

Suddenly, I had to pack! All before leaving for work! It was a whirlwind of a day.

At the event, one message I received from Hekate, one of the Goddesses I am working with who also had a role at this festival, was that She will not make decisions or take action for me. But for the asking, She will raise her torches and shine the light on the next few steps.

I am supported by the Universe, and by the Goddess. I need to ASK for help and guidance though! My free will will not be violated. I am working on asking for help – not always easy for me to do, and it’s not always the first thing I think of. I don’t want to be a burden on other people. And yet I also need to remember to be open to receive. It’s a powerful lesson for me, especially as I move into Hekate’s Sickle Festival this weekend.

Do you remember to ask for help when you need it?



Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada. To celebrate, we’re having an “orphan’s Thanksgiving” at our house.

Thanksgiving cornucopiaIt started a number of years ago – we invited a few friends who we know did not have family nearby. Biological family anyway. We became a family of choice.

A few people came to expect it, though, which made it less fun for me. When it was a gift I chose to give, I enjoyed giving it. When it was something that was expected of me, I became resentful. So we took a couple of years off, and spent Thanksgiving with immediate family only.

We started out this year by inviting a couple of friends, and then a couple of others asked about it. So I decided to open it up to people from our Circle who did not want to be alone.

I got a much bigger response than I bargained for!

At the ATC Mother Church, they do an Orphan’s Thanksgiving in November, for the US Thanksgiving. They have a much bigger space in which to host. I have a fairly small house – only about 1100 sq. ft. There are five of us, and we are often bursting at the seams.

Today, there are going to be at least 10 people in addition to my family, here for dinner. I spent all day yesterday cleaning my house (I think I’ve said before that I am not a very diligent housekeeper). I have tucked things into nooks and crannies trying to make as much space as possible.

I am grateful to have so many friends who want to spend Thanksgiving with us. I am grateful for the roof over our heads, however small, in which to host them. I am grateful for the resources to be able to provide food. I am grateful that it is a beautiful day, and we can use the deck as well as the house!

Wherever you are, I invite you to reflect upon your many blessings. And I wish you a very happy and abundant Thanksgiving!



The Dying of the Year

We’ve passed the Autumn Equinox. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. The leaves are turning colors and falling from the trees. It is the dying of the year.

The Dying of the YearAnd we have a family friend who is dying. He’s been a part of our lives for… more than eight years, at least.

Jeff contacted my husband and me separately, about different interests, when he and his wife, Lani, were looking at moving to the Comox Valley. We were corresponding by email for several months before my husband and I figured out we were talking to the same person, just before they arrived.

We weren’t able to visit as much as we may have liked, as they lived on one of the smaller Islands when they first moved here, and ferry schedules are a thing. We discovered a lot of similar interests, from theatre to spirituality to tabletop and role playing games (those last two are more my husband’s interests than mine, though I’ve been known to play from time to time).

A couple of years ago, Jeff learned he had cancer. He’s been a trooper through several rounds of chemotherapy, and he was managing well. And then, this summer, he took a turn for the worse.

Though we were going out of town for the weekend, we took time to visit him in the hospital, because the doctors gave him days, or at most weeks, to live. Over the weekend, he improved, and the days turned into weeks, and possibly months. Husband and I (he more so than I because of my work schedule), regularly went to visit, and help our friend’s wife with whatever she needed help with – physical and emotional support.

jeff-2Jeff was improving, and they began looking at moving him into a nursing home, while we did what we could to assist Lani.

This weekend, he was moved to Hospice care. He took a turn for the worse. Jeff graduated this life at 7:53 pm last night.

He was not afraid of death. Neither am I. When one has lived a good and full life, there is nothing to fear in passing from this life, just as the trees do not fear the loss of the leaves.

I am honored to have shared a portion of his life. I will grieve his passing for my loss, not for his. For him, I will celebrate his good and full life.



Knee Deep in a Project

This update is going to be brief – I’m up to my eyeballs in a sewing project.

Thankfully, this hasn't actually happened in a while. Fingers crossed!

Thankfully, this hasn’t actually happened in a while. Fingers crossed!

And a research project.

And teaching.

This weekend was the first weekend I haven’t gone to the Market, other than when I was away, since May. I slept in, and did laundry, and watched Galavant on Netflix (which is hilarious, by the way!), and sewed.

I almost didn’t write today. I wanted to keep sewing. I’m at the point where I’d be making mistakes if I stayed at the sewing machine any longer, though, so it is time to step away and get some rest.

By this time next week, I hope to have the sewing project done, and feel more inspired to write. 🙂



Tell Me About Peace

Last week, I had the honor of speaking at the local Interfaith Celebration of Peace organized by Unity Comox Valley. The theme was, “Tell Me About Peace”. It was a wonderful event, with speakers from the Aboriginal, Buddhist, Baha’i, and Jewish communities, as well as myself. This is the speech I gave.

religion-peaceWhat is peace?

That’s an interesting question. Logically, my mind’s first answer is simply, the absence of war, or the absence of fighting. But that more accurately answers the question, what is peace NOT?

As a Pagan and a Wiccan, I don’t really have one set holy scripture to turn to for answering such questions. I look to mythology, and nature, and I turn to my own heart.

For me, I experience peace in the early hours of the morning, when I meditate. Peace is that quiet place inside myself, when I connect with my body and my soul, my guides and my Goddess. When I am fully grounded in the Earth, and fully connected to the stars.

Peace is a walk in the forest, listening to the robins and the ravens, and the babble of the creek, and the wind in the trees. It is being connected with the natural world all around me.

Peace is a walk on the beach, listening to the waves as they gently rush, or loudly crash, on the shore. It is wading in the water, and watching the crabs and fish, and digging my toes in the sand.

Peace is sitting in my home, drinking a cup of tea, and listening to my children laugh and yell as they play outside. Sometimes it is looking up when everyone is working on their own project, on their own devices and just being comfortable being in the same space together.

Peace is laying in bed with my beloved on a gray morning, listening to the rain fall on the rooftop, and softly sharing our lives with each other.

Outside of myself and my family, peace looks a little different. Peace is acceptance of each others’ differences. We may have different colored skin or different genders, different body shapes and sizes and abilities, different ways of seeing our selves and the world, different opinions, different food preferences or sexual preferences, different ways of connecting with the Divine. Peace is being able to BE different, to be able to say, “I am Wiccan,” or “I am bisexual,” or “I am Aboriginal” (not all of those are ways I identify myself) and NOT be afraid of what others will say or do because of that difference.

We are blessed to live in a country that is not at war (some might say it’s peaceful). We are blessed to live in a time and a place that has not seen bombing, or famine, or epidemic illness. And yet, there are many around us who live in fear because of what they look like, or how they identify themselves, or who their ancestors were, or what they believe. They do not experience peace.

I have been afraid. I have been afraid of sharing my beliefs because of the judgments of others. I have been afraid of the misconceptions that others’ may have when they hear the words Wiccan, Pagan, Priestess and Witch. I have been afraid that I might not get the job, or the loan, or even just make a new friend if they knew what I was. Who I am. Even now I don’t feel entirely comfortable calling myself a Witch, though many of my friends may be.

It’s been a long, slow process of becoming comfortable and confident enough to share who I am. And there have definitely been setbacks along the way! I have been encouraged by friends and mentors, and even strangers. By being confident, and yet vulnerable, by loving and accepting myself, by simply BE-ing who I am, I get to be a guide toward peace for others.

What is peace? Peace is acceptance, and peace is love. Blessed be.



Thank You, Brothers and Sisters

thanks unionsFor most people, today is just the last long weekend of summer, another paid holiday, another excuse to go camping, or have a barbecue, or sleep in. Tomorrow, it’s back to school, or work, or whatever daily life looks like for you.

And I admit, that’s what it used to mean for me, too.

This year, though, I am keenly aware of the original intent of Labour Day (Labor Day for those in the US). It is a day for celebrating the hard won rights we have as workers, and honoring those who fought, and those who died, to secure those rights for us.

We often take those rights for granted nowadays – an eight hour work day, a five day work week, meal breaks, safety precautions. But it was less than 150 years ago that unions were illegal in Canada, and the shorter work-week that people were fighting for was nine hour days.

I’ve been a member of several different unions in my working life. Most of the time, I could take it or leave it because I didn’t understand their importance. When things are going well, the Union is pretty quiet. Members will even start to grumble about why they are needed, or why a portion of their pay goes to the Union.

Women support laborHowever, when things are not going well, that’s when the Union steps up. Unfortunately, I got to experience this first-hand recently, and I have never been more grateful for being part of a Union, and having the support of my Brothers and Sisters. The Union had my back, and the backs of my coworkers. They fought to make sure our contract was upheld and that we were treated fairly. My work is once again a place I enjoy.

Thankfully, I already understood the importance of unions. My current Union, IATSE, has a traveling presentation called “Why Unions Still Matter” that I was blessed to be able to see about a year and a half ago. It describes the history of labour unions in Canada, up to current events. Businesses and government policy are once again attempting to limit workers rights, though more subtly than before.

So today, I am grateful for those who have fought for me, now and in the past, to ensure fair treatment of workers.

In solidarity,


Choices in Perspective

Today (Sunday, when I’m actually writing this), was the Pier Street Market. It’s the Market that I read tarot at every Sunday (almost) from May-September, in lovely Campbell River, BC.

Market Comparison Walks WithinIt’s right on the waterfront, next to the pier. It’s an absolutely gorgeous location – beautiful sea breeze, view of the water and Quadra Island. And most of the summer, the weather is great. We have the odd occasion where the wind threatens to take out our tent, but we’ve had sun almost the whole season.

Except today. Today, autumn announced itself, with wind and rain. Close to half of the vendors (I think) backed out or just didn’t show up today. We even sat in the parking lot for a while trying to decide whether to stay or go, and if we stayed, how and where to set up.

We did stay, and really had to adapt for the weather. Because of the wind, the rain got everywhere, even inside the pop-up. Every gust spattered us inside the tent. (Admittedly, the pop-up is three years old, and it gets regular use in the summer, so the canopy is showing its age.)

We used our van as a brace, and bungee’d the legs to the tires. We used the curtains that normally make a privacy area for reading to make a canopy within the canopy, so the tarot cards would stay dry. We pulled the table back further into the tent, and didn’t put out all of our normal display to avoid damage.

And then we waited.

And waited.

And smiled at the hardy folks who came to the Market. And waited.

I thought to myself, “This is it. This is going to be the first day that I haven’t even made my table fees.”

This isn’t actually the first time that I have thought that. I have had quiet days in the past. The mental conversation typically goes something like this:

“Quiet day today. It’s still early. It will pick up. Today’s going to be the first day that I don’t make my table fees. Grr! That sucks. Focus on the positive. Be attractive. Maybe that person will come for a reading. No? I’m so angry. They’re going to ask for my table fees and it has to come out of my pocket. GRRR! Calm down. Relax. I can’t have lunch, because I haven’t made any money, and now I’m hangry, too. Great. ”

Et cetera, et cetera, working myself up into a tizzy of frustration and poor me. Which usually ends up as a lot of wasted energy, because I have always covered my table fees, at a minimum.

Today was different. The conversation started out the same. Up until the “Grr!” Today, it was, “Oh well. I’ve done well at other Markets, and that’s part of the risk of coming out.”

I actually maintained a positive expectation to cover the table fees. Yes, I dipped into doubt a few times, and I was able to bring myself back up easily. Even when the Market coordinator came to collect the fees, I was OK with it. I didn’t complain. I mentioned that we hadn’t done any business today, but not in the hope of not having to pay (like I sometimes have before). More as information for how the Market went overall.

I tried to work out the reasons we weren’t doing as well. Was it the weather? Was it our location? Was it because our tent was set back a little from the rest of the row? Was it because we had less on display? Did it really matter?

No. It didn’t. I was in a position of abundance instead of lack. Is positive thinking and a positive attitude a cure for all your ills? No. It still helps.

Sure enough, in the last half hour of the Market, I had two full length readings back to back that not only covered the table fees, they also covered the lunch my husband and I had. Thank you, Universe!



Opening to Sacred Sexuality

I’m a prude. Well, not entirely, though I do have quite a few hangups when it comes to sex and sexuality.

Working with Aphrodite for almost a year definitely helped bring healing to some of my issues, mostly around body acceptance, self-love, and appreciating my own beauty. For those things, I am immensely grateful!

Sex-positive-and-negativeI’m currently taking a class on Sacred Sexuality at the Wiccan Seminary. And I’m learning so much about myself, and working more on becoming more comfortable with the idea of being a sexual creature.

I was raised with the idea that sex is sinful, bad, and dirty, as many Westerners, especially Christians, are. Eve was the source of original sin, and so women bear the curse of Eve, being cast out of the Garden of Eden.

Sex education in school was partly gender education – what happens to your body as you go through puberty – and partly sex discouragement – if you have sex, you will get a sexually transmitted disease or pregnant or both. Masturbation is also bad, or at the very least, not encouraged.

Sex before marriage was taboo. Teenage pregnancy was shameful. If you had sex in high school, you were a stud if you were male, but you were a slut if you were female. And heaven forbid you actually enjoy it as a woman! Sex is only for the purpose of producing children.

Wicca is a fertility religion. It, and really most branches of Paganism that I have encountered, are sex positive, meaning sex is something that is joyful, and pleasurable, and natural, and even healthy, between consenting adults. “The Goddess [God] is beautiful in ALL Her [His] forms,” celebrates body positivity and acceptance.

That doesn’t mean that there are tons of wild orgies, or that we have sex at all our rituals, or that Pagans are promiscuous. (As always, that may be true of some individuals, though not a generality of the whole group.) If that were the case, I probably would have run screaming and never come back. It would have been too big a step for me to take.

This idea that sex is beautiful and natural, joyful and pleasurable, though, while I yearn for this, I still have a hard time with it sometimes. I find myself feeling guilt or shame around wanting sex, or not wanting sex. I’m curious to learn more ways to share and make love with my husband, and yet, I have a hard time even talking about sex with him. Sex magic intrigues me and scares me at the same time.

I’m still a baby on my journey towards sex positivity. I’m lucky to have some pretty great role models in the Pagan community, people who are comfortable in their bodies, who take joy in their lovemaking and aren’t afraid to talk about it, and even joke about it.

I’m probably going to get a ton of spam with all this talk about sex. I’m ready for that. We need to make it more open and less shameful. And the more positive information there is, the better.

What is your experience with sex and sexuality? Is it something you are comfortable with, or still have hangups about? I look forward to hearing your stories. Let’s get more positive conversations going!