The Reason for the Season

Samhain.  All Hallow’s Eve.  Halloween.

Each of these names mean something different to everyone you speak to.  And the legends, stories, and mythology come from many different sources and histories.

Some you talk to, will say it’s all about the costumes and the candy.  Some will say that it’s about decorating your house with ghoulish images, and about setting up scary scenes for people that come calling.  Others will say it’s all about spooky movies, and hiding behind corners to pop out and frighten your friends. 

There are a lot of different ideas about the holiday found at the end of October.

And so, I’m here to tell you about my reason for the season.

Yes, I love the costumes, the candy, the decorations filled with spiders, bats, ghosts, skeletons, and other creepy things.  I love the spooky, scary movies and the rest of it.

But, when you get right down to the whole feel of the month of October, and the actual night of Samhain… something changes for me.

In the Wiccan faith, and in fact, over many of the Pagan beliefs, there is a consensus that the veil between the living and the dead is thin at this time of year.  That those on the other side of this barrier have the opportunity during this season to come to our side a little more freely, with a stronger sense of purpose and energy.  They have greater access to the living, and can speak to us, bringing us signs of their presence.

More magickal spells are done at this time of the year, I believe, than any other.  Partly, I think, because of the heightened awareness people have of the possibilities of what magick can do, with all the attention that paganism get.  Witches play such a huge role at this time of year, due to the media hype, that they get asked at this time of year more than any other for spells. 

But the strongest magicks are those that deal with honoring those who have passed before us.  Seances, which I personally will not do, just for personal reasons, are popular during this season.  I don’t believe that the spirits need a seance to manifest during this time, and to hold one… well, I feel that it’s disrespectful to those spirits who wish to remain at rest, as it more or less pulls them from the other realm to speak to and interact with this one.  Leave those at peace, in their peace.  And those that wish to cross over, temporarily, will do so in their own time and manner, without our interference.

Divination, the use of tarot cards, pendulums, runes, palm reading, etc., is done more at this time of year, as well.  The reason for this is that many people believe that it is spirits from the other side that bring these messages of the future for the person getting the reading.  I, personally, believe that the messages come from within the person being read, not from an outside source, but their own belief that Halloween allows this to be a stronger, clearer reading, opens them up more to this form of fortune telling, so it works better, because they believe it will.

In essence, the outward trappings of Halloween are fun.  I’ll be the first to throw on a creepy costume and traipse around behind my children for trick-or-treating, or simply to get into the spirit of the season for those that come knocking at my door.

But the reason for the season… for me… is to honor those who went before.

 And that, I do privately.  Quietly.  With dignity, respect, and love.

May Spirit light your way, and guide you home through the darkness.

Tuesday Theology – An it Harm None

The main tenet of the Wiccan faith is the Rede, shown above.

Basically?  It means that as long as you are not harming anyone, including yourself, you are free to do what you wish in your life.

Imagine that.  Freedom of choice.  Freedom of will.

Freedoms that we now enjoy in our nation.

After the news on Sunday night, I know that many people rejoiced that one of the world’s most heinous terrorists had been stopped from ever harming another living soul.  I was one of the people that found this to be welcome news.


I also know that there are many people out there that find the idea of killing someone, even someone as evil as that man was (I don’t wish to give his name anymore space here, or anywhere, because names have power), to be just as wrong as what he did.

I disagree.

I do believe that you need to refrain from doing harm, to the best of your ability and knowledge. 

When I do any magick, and when I teach people about the ethics of Wicca and Witchcraft, I teach them that they need to be mindful of the consequences their actions could have.  They need to remember that all actions have results, and when you seek to change the world around you, you not only have to be aware of the changes you’re seeking to make, you also need to remember that everything you do, will affect others.  Not always positively.


You have to accept it for the things you do in your life.

And whether that man ever took any real responsibility for the horrible things he did, is debatable.  I won’t debate them here, however. 

He’s being judged by a power by far higher than anything that we humans could ever hope to be. 

But, to get back to “An It Harm None”.

Yes, you should seek to avoid harming others.

But when the cost of not harming is greater by far, such as in leaving a man to run free, and allowing him to cause so many others to be harmed, or killed, on his orders… then something has to be done.

And yes, his followers may choose to follow in his footsteps.

But he won’t be making any new ones.

And his days of harming others….. are over.

I, for one, breathe a little easier today.

And, whether you believe in Allah, God, the Goddess, Buddha, or any of the other millions of names of God, Cosmic Karma, or whatever – Justice and Responsibility will always catch up with your actions.  Whether it happens in this life or the next, it will come. 

It has come for him.

“I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” — Mark Twain

Bits and Pieces

Time once again to play one of my friends’ favorite games…..

What’s on Brea’s mind these days?

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

My head is often a jumbled land of the ridiculous and ranty, topped with a generous dollop of the truly weird.

This week has been no different.

*  I had a dream last night about vampires.  I know part of the reason I dreamt about this is because I’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I have all the seasons, and just started watching them from the beginning again over the weekend.  The really strange thing, though?  They were not in Sunnydale… they were in the little town I used to call home, when I was a single mom, and where I spent most of my time as a 19-20 yr. old… the town of my favorite time of life.  Also?  One of my friends, one that passed away a few years ago, was there, and was helping me to fight the vampires.  I have no idea where he popped up from, but we were royally kicking vamp butt, and it was awesome!  It was actually a pretty cool dream.

*  I’m anxious about my divorce (naturally), but what I’m most anxious about right now is the fact that although my attorney told me that the papers have been signed, there’s still no word on when it’ll go to the judge.  There was a small mixup on the visitation schedule that requires an affidavit to correct it, and my attorney is supposed to tell me when it’s ready to sign.  I haven’t heard anything yet, and it’s driving me crazy.  Did his attorney send the paperwork back to mine yet?  Is there yet another hang-up to be dealt with?  I hate the waiting.  I really hate waiting without knowing what’s going on.  I need to be able to get on with the next phase of my life.

*  Speaking of the next phase… I was able to get back into my old bedroom this weekend.  After painting it!  After 10, almost 11 years, of the awful dirty pastel teal that was in the room, I chose a beautiful yellow called “cornmeal”, because it’s light, and soft, and relaxing, and warm.  The old room was a lot like the bat-cave, because it was always dark.  The windows were blocked off to allow my husband to sleep during the day, since he works nights as a baker.  There was never any real light in the room.  Now there is.  I worked all Saturday on it, and only have a bit left, which can be done in small bites, as I feel like it and have the time.  My nephew came over on Sunday and helped me move my bed upstairs into the room and I got it all set up.  I slept like a rock that night.

I love my new yellow room.

*  YoungerDaughter has such a gift for making me laugh!  She came home from work tonight, and after her shower, popped a huge chunk of chocolate in her mouth.  I looked at her in dismay, and she said, mouth working hard to contain all the chocolatey goodness, was:   “Awwa Wabbid’s foo… IS’ wuucky.”

All a Rabbit’s foot.  It’s lucky.

That kid kills me!  All she has to do is smile or giggle, and I’m overcome with joy.  Truly, a gift and talent that will be invaluable to her throughout her life.  She’s amazing.

*  OnlySon has been quaking in his sneakers since he came home on Monday.  I told him that we’re cleaning and reorganizing his room this weekend.  Tremble in fear, boy.  Mama’s bringing the YARD BAGS.

*  I’ve been really thinking hard about the book lately.  I want to get back to work on it, but by the time I get home at night, lately, I’m exhausted.  My friend, Sparrow, told me that this is normal at this stage of the divorce process.  Emotionally?  I’m spent at about 10 pm.  And… this leads to some rather odd texting late at night.  Sorry, B.  I mean it when I say I’m going to start keeping my phone in another room.  Everyone’s safer that way!

*  As tired as I’ve been, though?  I’ve been picking and poking at small bits of Spring house-cleaning.  I want to do a thorough, top-to-bottom, deep house cleaning this Spring, really get everything organized and ship-shape. 

Then I’m going to do a total magickal house-cleansing and re-blessing.  I want this house to lose that “bad ju-ju, emotional sinkhole” feeling that it’s had for so long.

I may just have a grand re-opening house party when I’m done, and fill the house with light, laughter, music, and good friends.  Kick this thing off right!

*  I’m so glad that the weather is starting to turn the corner here.  It’s been cold for so long, and even though we’ve got a lot of flooding here, due to the fast snow-melt and winter clingage, there have been a couple of really nice, sunny days.  I want so badly to get outside and walk in the park, instead of just sitting in my vehicle, watching the geese from my heated seat.  I want to walk.  Smell the fresh air, face the breeze, and let it blow through and around me, taking away all the anxiety and anger I’ve been hanging on to.  I’m ready.

Now, how does this all coalesce to a cohesive and comprehensible whole – namely, my brain?  Well, it doesn’t.

That’s half the fun of the game!

Thanks for playing we have some lovely parting gifts for you – Monty?  Tell the good folks what they’ve won!

How bout a lovely year’s supply of waxed turtles, Brea?

Uhhh…. ok!  They don’t call ’em sliders fer nuthin’, I guess!

Tuesday Theology – Beltane

May 1st is Beltane.  It’s a joyous celebration of Spring, complete with flowers, ribbons and fire.

And yes, it’s a fertility holiday, too. 


It’s not just about that.

Beltane is a fire holiday that celebrates not only the creation of new life, but the creation of prosperity.  In the old days, people would light the Beltane bonfires in celebration of the sun returning in full force to help everything grow.  Couples would hold hands and jump the flames to show their commitment to one another, with those that jumped the flames at their highest, without letting go of each other’s hands, bringing good luck to their relationship for the years to come.  Usually, the eldest couple in the village would wait till the end of the night, when the fire had dimmed to just coals, and holding hands, they’d step over the remaining fire calmly.  This was the culmination of the night, and afterwards, everyone would take some of the leftover coals home to light their hearthfires, knowing that they contained all that hope and love that had been infused into it by the people that leapt the flames.

The villagers would also bring their cattle, and drive them past the bonfires, to bring fertility to their herds, and luck to their farms.

Beltane is about the earth breaking open, to release the magick of the seeds that had lain just under the surface, and growing into the crops, flowers and grass that was necessary for life.

It’s about the breaking open of all sorts of magick, that’s lain fallow over the winter, waiting for its moment to come forth and spill good luck and prosperity over those that wish for it.  It’s about the fulfillment of hopes and dreams, and seeing the beginning of new and wonderful things in your life, after waiting through the darker times, and working for this new start.

And then, there’s the maypole.

Young maidens and young men were typically chosen to dance around the maypole, weaving the ribbons round it in a certain pattern.

It was designed to bring the young people together, allowing them to meet one another in a supervised setting, giving the parents a chance to find “good matches” for their children in the future.  It was also about “weaving the magick” to the earth, through the wooden pole stuck into the ground, making it stay in one place, to “hold” the magick and good luck in one place, ensuring the prosperity of the villagers for the whole year.

This Beltane, some friends and I are finishing a ritual that we began at Ostara.  Eggs were cleaned out, decorated, and a slip of paper containing our hopes and wishes were placed inside of them, and sealed with tissue and wax.  In this way, we were “planting” our dreams, giving the magick time to grow within.  At Beltane, we will crush the eggs in our ritual, releasing the magick into reality, and burning the slips of paper to deliver our dreams to the God and Goddess, in the hopes that they will be received and fulfilled for us.

No one speaks about their wishes that were written, safeguarding the magick with silence.  I know, though, that the magick has already begun.  Speaking with one of the others, as well as my own experiences, tells me that this is so.

And on Sunday….. everything will become the reality that I’ve been wishing for.

So Mote It Be.

Good Night Moon

The full moon occurred on Friday night, and was carried over through the weekend, into the Spring Equinox, or as we Pagans call it, Ostara.

I captured this picture from my driveway on Friday evening.

I love the moon.

When I was a kid, I was frightened of the dark.  Terribly, awfully afraid – almost to the point of phobia.

It wasn’t until after I finally started learning about Wicca, that I stopped fearing the dark, and learned that it could be a comfort, too.  The moon is now, to me, the Mother’s face, watching, protecting, empowering me.

She hangs up there, throughout the night, my favorite time, and even when her face is not full, there is a special magick that follows her, and makes me smile when I see her.  It’s always been said that there’s a “man in the moon”, but they lie. 

It’s the Goddess’ face I see there.

This second picture was sent to me via text, the same night, from someone very dear to me, who knows about my fascination with the moon.

I love the fact that the camera on this phone turned the moon blue.  Beautiful, absolutely stunning.

It was a thoughtful, sweet gesture, and it was the perfect gift.

The next night, EldestDaughter came into town, as she had agreed to go to prom with a friend here in our town.  She stopped by the house, just so I could take pictures of her in her dress, as I didn’t get any when she actually went to her senior prom (a tale for another day), and so I FINALLY got my prom pictures of her…. 2 years late.

I told her about the “supermoon”, and later that same evening, I received this:

EldestDaughter also knows about my absolute love of the moon – and that she was thinking about me while at a dance with friends?  Priceless.

Also, one of EldestDaughter’s favorite books is “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown.

It was one of my favorites to read to the kids when they were little, and I think we have 3 copies of this book floating around the house. 

My favorite part?  The ending.

Goodnight stars

Goodnight air

Goodnight noises, everywhere.

(Goodnight, Moon, I love you)

Tuesday Theology – SPRING!

March 20th signals the Spring Equinox, and I am SO READY!

Spring Equinox is one of 2 days of the year when the light and the dark are nearly identical in length.  This is when we in North Dakota generally truly begin to feel the warmth of the returning sun, and the signs that life is returning to us once again.

I, myself, begin to start getting horrible cabin-fever about this time of year, after hibernating for the last few months.

Wiccan theology paints the Goddess, at this time, as the Maiden Spring – Persephone returned from the depths of Hades, and once again reunited with her mother, Demeter.  Persephone is gowned in flowers, and is followed by rabbits, ducklings, lambs, and all manner of baby animals.  She is the first blush of Spring, the mist of green that adorns the trees and carpets the ground, telling us that the grass will be returning shortly.  She is the joy of sunlight and music, after the long cold silence of winter.

And to celebrate this, we paint eggs and we plant seeds, infusing them with magickal wishes for the upcoming growing season.  We plant our hopes and dreams in the fertile soil of the world, nurturing and watering them carefully, providing them with the warmth of our hearts and protecting them from harm by keeping quiet about them.  Like making a wish on a birthday candle, you don’t speak about it, allowing them to sprout in their own way, with the consent and aid of the Goddess and God.   Knowing that, if they come to fruition, then they were meant to be beneficial to us.  And, that if they do not grow, that it was not the right wish, or maybe, not the right time for it.

And so, this Spring, I plant the seeds I wish to come to fruition.  I will nurture them, care for them, and nourish them with my hopes and love.  If it is meant to be, the Goddess will allow them to grow.  I have faith that what is meant, will happen. 

And, I have already had my sign that Spring is coming.  The geese are back in the park.

Wish #1 – fulfilled!

Sanctuaries in Time

I have always been a person that loves nature.  Throughout my life, I’ve found great joy and peace through climbing trees, walking through the woods, and crawling my way down a cliff that we had behind our house in Iowa.

And there were certain places, special places, that I always fled to, when I was really down, or simply needed the peace and serenity that these places held for me. 

The first such place, was at the bottom of that cliff I mentioned, in my hometown of Nora Springs, Iowa.  The Shell Rock River ran behind my house, and at the bottom of the cliff, there was  a small path, which ended at a large rock situated on the edge of the river.  Whenever I was needing time and space to myself, or fleeing troubles, I would go to this place, tucked away at what, for me, was the back of beyond, and outside of reach of others.

I could lay in the sunshine, with the rush of the water flowing past, and simply disappear in time.

Or I would make small leaf boats, and set them sailing down the river, imagining that they would make their way all the way to the ocean before stopping.

I went back a few years ago, and walked all the way down the hidden path to that same rock.  It’s smaller now, having worn a bit, and the waters having risen, but it’s still just as magickal to me as it always was.  A place tucked out of sight, out of mind, and out of time.

Today, I have another special sanctuary.  A place that I retreat to when things get tough, or I simply need a moment, a breath, of silence and serenity.

A public park in my city.  This place is not large, but even though it’s in the center of the city, it’s almost eerily silent inside the park.  Roads run all the way around it, with a small river winding through it, and I spend a lot of time there during the nice months, walking through the small paths, sitting in the grass, and simply soaking up the peace.

Walking along the paths, you get to see the Canadian geese that fill the park from spring to fall, and you get to feed the little goslings, who are totally adorable, as long as you keep your distance, as the parents are pretty protective and very hissy.

There are also a multitude of red and black squirrels in the park, who are very bold, often to taking food right from your fingertips.

This place, this park, is a very special space.  And even though it’s a public park, I still feel like it’s all mine.  There’s a stillness, a silence, that fills me when I’m there, and it brings me a lot of serenity. 

The sanctuaries I’ve found have always been outdoors, close to the earth.  And knowing what I know now, about myself, my faith, it makes a lot of sense.  And so, I’ll leave you with this.  There are places on this earth; wonderful, peaceful, serene places.  And if you’re lucky enough to find one, mark it on your mental map.  Hold on to it.  Because this could become a sanctuary, a resting place, for you, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  And that – is a treasure.

P.S. And yes, I ate the other half of that cookie. He shared with me, after all.

And the Award Goes to…

Holy crap.  Me?

The Stylish Blogger Award!

So, while surfing through my blog-reading today, I spied something cool.  My friend and sister, Sparrow, had received the Stylish Blogger Award!  Being the cool chick she is, this was not unexpected.  But the next thing I read was –

She tagged me with it!

Stylish?  Me? 

Sarcastic, yes, totally.  Strange, outspoken, slightly twisted, and tormented?  Uh, yeah.  Those too.  But Stylish?  Didn’t see that coming!

So, in keeping with the rules of the awardedness (is that a word, or am I setting yet another trend? Oh, somebody please puncture this bubble before I start singing the Allelujah Chorus!), I am supposed to play the game like this:

1.Supposed to link back to who nominated you.
2.List seven things we might not know about you.
3.Share the “love” and pay it forward by naming six other blogs you enjoy.

Ok, so here goes:

1.   Sparrow, my fine feathered friend, is an amazing woman and blogger.  She writes beautiful words about our home state, the facts of life, being a single mom of two growing teenage boys, and her love of self-sufficiency.  She’s strong, organized (deny it, you know you are!), funny as hell, and a kind, caring, compassionate woman with a flair for humor.  She is a great friend in real life, as well as on the internetz, so y’all should check her out!

2.  Ugh.  7 things you might not know about me.  Since I talk about myself almost non-stop on here… what’s left?  Ok, ok, I’ll give a whack at it.

* I am sort of a twin.  The day I was born, my mom shared a room with another couple, who also named their daughter, born the same day, with the same first and middle name as me.  We used to play together a lot when we were small.  She is TOTALLY opposite from me.  I am 5’8″ (well almost), she’s 4’sumthin, I’m a washout at sports, she was in everything, I was a total geek, she was totally popular.  But it’s still fun to say occasionally “Hey!  I actually have a twin!”  Being a Gemini just kind of makes that all the more crazy and funny to me.

*  All 3 of my children were born on Wednesdays.  And, according to “that” poem, “Wednesday’s child will have its way” is SO true.  I sometimes think my son worked at being almost a week late, so he could hit Wednesday, just like his sisters.

*  I talk in my sleep….. and so do my children.    Genetics, anyone?  For me, it’s mostly just mumbling, or so I’ve been told, but with the kids, they’ve been known to actually hold conversations between themselves – while completely unconscious.

*  Speaking of sleeping, I used to sleep with my feet on the pillow, and my head under the covers when I was little.  I was deathly afraid something would grab my head while I was sleeping, and drag me under the bed.  I obviously didn’t care about my feet.  Cause, you know, monsters don’t like feet. They want braaaaiiiiins…

*  I wanted to be a horse vet when I was younger.  Just horses, nothing else.  I was horse crazy, like a lot of pre-teen girls, but I was lucky enough to actually have access to them. 

* My eyes are blue, but depending on my mood, they will change to green – or gray.  It’s weird, freaky, and kinda cool.  They were green today.  They’re like a mood-ring I wear on my face.

*  I sometimes wish I could go back to school, and get a psychology degree.  But, I feel like I’m too old for that now, and besides, they’d want me to do math somewhere in there. ::shudder::  I’ll stick with what I know, and keep writing. 

Ok, so that’s it for the 7 things.  Now on to, and in no particular order….  6 people I think deserve kudos for their skillz! 

1.  Mckenzie (with a LITTLE k) at  The Unabridgedgirl:  This young woman is such a talented writer, and a made-of-awesome friend!  She’s the one that got me interested in NaNoWriMo in the first place, and in Flash Fiction Thursday.  Now, I’m hooked on both.  Her talent for pulling you into a story with her characters is something I strive to emulate.  Her talent for being a funny, compassionate, totally optimistic friend?  That’s not something you can copy, only pray you get to give some of it back.

2.  My gal, Regan, over at 365 Gratitude – Soul Connect:  Working at finding things in life to be grateful for, as well as a finely-tuned sense of sarcasm, Regan is truly like a “sistah from anothah mothah” to me.  There are so many ironic coincidences in our lives… we had to be related in another life.  A beautiful woman, with a beautiful heart, take a glance, and you’ll be glad you did!

3.  Viv, at Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking:  A lovely, thoughtful woman from across the pond, I got totally hooked by her stories, and stayed because of her depth and beautifully ordered mind.  She’s amazing, brilliant, and funny!  She makes me think in new ways, on a regular basis, which is totally intriguing to a geek-girl like me!

4.  Taryn, at A Peine For Your Thoughts:  I must admit, I started following Taryn because of her sassy mouth.  Oh, and her fluffy, adorable dog, Truman.  And her crafting, and her tongue-in-cheek humor, and ….. well, she’s just adorable!  And now that she and her husband, Drew have added 2 shiny new Peines, named Amelia and Henry, there’s double your funny, double your adorable!

5.  Fox, at Journey of a Wild Spirit:  A pagan friend, and great source of comfort, Fox is a lovely writer, who also makes spectacular silver jewelry!  Ooh… siiiiillllllvvveerrrr….. sooooo preeeetttyyyyy……  Also?  A phenomenal photographer with some seriously mad skillz.  I like taking pictures, but these?  WAY out of my league.  Stunning.

6.  Dawn, at Not Your Average Diva:  A relative newcomer to the blogging world, I tell you, this woman is not only a good friend and co-worker in real life, but she is THE DIVA EXTRAORDINAIRE.  There is nothing average about this woman!  She speaks her mind with a lot of self-deprecating humor and, when her alter-ego, Tia, comes out to play?  She pulls mine, Tawanda, right along with her.  Makes a day at the office jam things right up a notch!  Scares the other co-workers sometimes, too! *giggles*

To all of you, thank you for playing!  We have some lovely parting gifts waiting in the green roo– what?  No gifts?  No green room?  crap. 


Well, Thanks anyway, everyone!  And thanks to my beautiful friend, Sparrow.

You like me!  You really like me!

(Yeah, I had to do it.  You know I did…)

Tuesday Theology 2/22/11

Kwan Yin – Mother of Mercy, Compassion and Love

Saturday, February 19th, was the birthday of my Patron Goddess, Kwan Yin, also known as Guanyin, Kannon, and Avalokitésvara, among others.

My Goddess has a murky past.  Doing some research this weekend, I learned that there are many people that believe that the deity began as a male god.  Others believe that KwanYin was a hermaphrodite, being both male and female at the same time.  Still others say that Kwan Yin was a real person that lived in the Shang Dynasty in China (1600 BC–1046 BC).

My favorite story of Kwan Yin involves the legend of Miao Shan.  In this legend, she was a Chinese princess, raised by a cruel man that wanted her to marry well.  Miao Shan told her father that she would marry, only, if the marriage eased 3 misfortunes:  1.  That her marriage would ease the misfortune of the suffering that people feel when they age.  2. That it would ease the misfortune of the pain people feel when they fall ill.  And 3.  That the third misfortune it would heal was the suffering caused by death.

When her father asked who she could possibly marry that would ease these misfortunes, she replied “A doctor.” 

Her father, furious, wanted her to marry someone of wealth and power, not a “healer” of no note, so he threatened her, locked her up and took away many of her privileges. 

Miao Shan didn’t balk or back down, though.  Instead, she begged her father to let her live in a temple, as a nun.  Finally, he let her go to the temple, but told the monks there to give her only the worst jobs, thinking that would soon bring her home to do his bidding.

Instead, Miao Shan worked tirelessly, until finally, even the animals began to love her, and help her with her chores. 

Her father was enraged when she refused to return and marry as he wished, so he ordered the temple burned.  Miao Shan put out the flames with her own hands, but suffered no burns.  Frightened, her father then ordered her executed.

There are many tales of how she was executed, but they basically all tell the same story, Miao Shan was first sent to the Buddhist version of “hell”, where, through her compassion for the suffering she found there, she released all the good karma she’d built up over her many lifetimes, freeing so many souls that she turned hell into a paradise, and was kicked out by the ruler there. 

As she began her ascent to “heaven”, Miao Shan/KwanYin heard a cry of suffering, and turned around to see what was happening.  Upon seeing someone crying out, she decided that she could not ascend to heaven until all the suffering on the Earth was cured, and descended back to help.  Thus, she became a revered “bodhisattva”, which is a semi-divine Goddess. Forever between Earth and heaven, she hears the laments of the world, and seeks to comfort all.

Is it any wonder, that she is my Patroness? 

Happy Birthday, Blessed Kwan Yin.

Tuesday Theology 2/15/11

What is Wicca Anyway?

I know I’ve talked a lot on my blog in the past about being Wiccan, and little bits and pieces, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually described what it is to me.  The word carries so many different connotations for so many different people, and it can be difficult to get a description. 

There’s a saying:  “Ask 10 Wiccans about Wicca, and you’ll get 15 different answers”

So, today, I’m going to define my religious beliefs. 

You’ve officially been warned. *insert smirk*

The books all say that Wicca is “A Nature-based religion encompassing the belief in both a Goddess and a God as Deity, with a reverence for all living things, incorporating magick to cause change in every-day life.”

True, so far as theoretical theology defines it.

To me?  Wicca is the belief that all life has a sacred value to it, because everything is, in fact, connected.  At the atomic level. 

Yes, I use Science to define Religion. 

Blasphemy, some might say, including some of the Wiccans I know.  I’ve been told time and time again that Science and Religion are mutually exclusive, and can’t ever be combined.

Hooey, I say.

Because, one of my core beliefs is that all things in the universe are made up of two things:  atoms and energy. 

Atoms are the substance, and Energy is the force that catalyzes motion and change in that substance. 

All the atoms in the universe are touching at some point.  The floor’s atoms are touching your feet’s atoms, are touching the atoms in the air, are touching atoms from a tree outside my house, are touching… you get the picture.  To affect one thing is to affect all things, even if you can’t see the effect of it, it’s there. 

The Butterfly Effect.

Now, as far as Deity is concerned?  Well, check out the symbol for Yin and Yang.

Perfectly balanced between light and dark, male and female, in motion and at rest.  Everything in the universe struggles for that balance.  Nature abhors a vacuum, and seeks to fill it with the opposite element, to correct the imbalance.

So, for me, there must be a balance between male and female.  God and Goddess. 

In fact, the largest part of why I began to study Wicca was that search for balance.  Learning how to balance home and work, spirituality and mundane life, moods, etc.  Finding emotional and spiritual balance was something I’d searched for – for a long time, and Wicca gave me the freedom to find it in my own way, and the acceptance of peers that were also searching for their own way, without being told we were doing it wrong.

And I’ve found it.  I carry it.  In my heart, within my head, and on my body.

A balance between light and dark, male and female, and the elements: Air, Fire, Water and Earth.  It’s all there.  It’s all within me, attainable.  Sometimes I forget that, and I don’t act the way I profess to work toward, but that’s human nature.

I get back up, I strive, I stretch myself, and I try again.  That, too, is human nature.  And, as the books say… Wicca is a Nature religion.

~Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.~ Albert Einstein