Saturday, April 30, 2022

A New Day


As I've said before, the first few days of  any new year have always felt a little fuzzy. Maybe it's the " time out of time " aspect, or the uncertainty of a new beginning.( Yes, I know it's Beltane Eve. Still trying to navigate 2022.)

Maybe it's that these days are drenched with seasonal superstition and ritual. I love all of it and wish it would last just a wee bit longer...but then again, the fact that it's fleeting and impermanent makes it all the more special. I try to pack as much meaning into these few precious days as I can, and I'm not always successful.

Ah, well...we humans often fail with the things we want to hold close. To paraphrase some ancient philosopher whose name escapes me at the moment,  "At first you must be willing to let go of that which you wish to hold onto tightly."

Pandemic not withstanding, the last couple of years have been a miasma of hellishness, especially in the US where I live.I think it's been a much needed eye-opener for all of us here that the image of America we've presented to the world is little more than a mask. We've been deceiving ourselves as to who we really are, and I for one as a citizen am ashamed to admit that we've foisted that image and perpetuated it onto the rest of the world. We can and must do better in the coming year and moving forward. May we spend time exploring our roots in order for the true story of our history to emerge and replace the inventions wrought by colonization at the whim of our ancestors, no matter how painful that may be.

So too, we need to take a hard look at who we are in our Occult/ Pagan/ Witch ?/Whatever-you-prefer-to-call-it community. It's not only about how we identify as individuals, but how we are seen in the wider world. ( And yes, this is an old saw, and yes, I am personally a bit nonplussed by the whole subject because we have beaten this dead horse into dust...and yet...yet...we still have to keep coming back to it because we still have lessons to learn.) In fact, Pathos Pagan just posted an article about this very thing today. It's a timely coincidence and worth reading.

I will be the first to confess that I have a tart tongue and an armory full of snark at the ready and am not afraid to use them when I feel the situation requires that response. Because sometimes the fuckery is such it demands a heaping helping of bitchiness. Like all things, however, experience has taught me when it's necessary and maturity on what and whom to unleash it. At least I'd like to think so, and believe me, I know I've been mistaken.

How we approach one another does matter. It matters individually, it matters in relation to how we're seen by others, and it matters as to the vibration it sets off in the Universe. It affects our energy and  magickal ability- " like begets like" is a very real thing and not just another pap saying. Before being cheapened by New Age clap-trap, the Law of Attraction was and is still a very necessary  element of magick because characteristics of particular types of spellwork are symbiotic. Those who think highly of themselves, who think their snarkiness (online in particular) is proof of  being a superior or clever, gifted being are in for a very hard fall eventually...because it is a universal truth that you reap what you sow. Constantly being a smart ass may favorably impress a few in a particular fish pond on Facebook, but in the larger scheme of things, does that really matter? It's all ego, smoke and let's all try to mind our manners and be a little kinder to each other in our social media discourse.

That's not what I actually wanted this post to be about, but I feel better for getting it out of the way because it's been bothering me.

It's a new day, in a new year. It's a clean slate, a blank journal waiting to be written. And guess what? You and I get to write it.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Cyper Craft and Curious Seekers


Let's face it...we were all new once. We were curious, and maybe not so serious in our early days...or we were overly serious because we felt we had something to prove ( mostly to ourselves). We were newbies, dabbling in the unknown, and damn it was exciting as hell.

We had no earthly idea what we were doing and were afraid of doing anything and screwing up. Or, we plunged in head-long into an occult practice we knew nothing about, but were too arrogant and stupid to admit it.

Yeah, me, too. I didn't know everything then, and I sure as hell don't know it all now. I am still a seeker, still curious, but a lot more cautious because I am much more knowledgeable . We're all students in the Craft. Even the teachers.

At least the majority of us were civil. Sort of. Yeah, I'm old. I think we were much kinder to one another 'back in the day'. Common courtesy seems to be in short supply now. Scoring Brownie points for snark rudeness is in high demand.

I'm not saying the Good Old Days were better because they weren't. We were occult in the truest definition of the word. We kept silent about our practice because in some instances it was actually dangerous to be out of the broom closet. We didn't parade around in our ritual clothing and only a few dared to wear a pentagram or other symbol of the Craft in public. Our spirituality was hidden, and in some places it's prudent to keep our sacred symbols tucked inside the collar now. No, that's not fair, but it's certainly safer.

In America, Raymond Buckland brought Wicca to the edge of the light , but the Craft was still marginalized. There were some notable others, of course. We had individual camps called traditions, and from those practices covens were formed. Scott Cunningham-love him or hate him- can be credited with placing magickal practice into the blinding light of day. His version of Wicca was simple in it's presentation but complex in results. It was unabashedly nature based and very do-it-yourself, and an abhorrence to Euro-centric and Ceremonial Magick traditions. Self-initiation simply wasn't done then and was an affront to the old guard who followed the degree system that took years to achieve. I learned from Cunningham's books, but later joined a traditional coven. Today, as a solitary who occasionally yearns for the fellowship of group worship, I land somewhere in the middle of the road.

Enter the Internet. In the early days there were a few groups on Juno or AOL which were private difficult to find online. As the Internet grew and social media became the standard, enter the Cyber Witch. We were all over My Space and customized sites like Coven Space. Traditions tightened their organizational models  and created individual websites. In a few key strokes you could find a spell for anything. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. Not at all. Especially where no in person teaching available, it's indispensable...but with discernment, because frankly, there are a lot of "teachers" out there who simply don't have the experience, or the  principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. In the same vein, there are some simply marvelous unknown teachers out there.

My biggest beef with the Internet Craft is the level of nastiness I'm seeing. Personal attacks are openly and flippantly vitriolic. I don't know when smart mouth became a desired characteristic, but it seems to be the basics of certain popular Witches and Big Name Pagans' fan clubs, and it's growing. My opinion, for what its worth, is that it childish and immature, and unworthy of the image of someone publicly representing the Craft. We have enough public relations difficulties without the ego stroking of assholes. You shouldn't be dismissed because you're new to the Craft, or because you're older than dirt. There is something to be said for both. And we need all for the diversity of our chosen spiritual traditions.

And while I'm in crabby mode, I absolutely despise the term Fluffy Bunny. It's demeaning and pejorative because we were all in that spot once. It's unnecessary. Be better. Be more tolerant and helpful in cyberspace to curiosity seekers. Chances are those individuals left a mainstream religious tradition ( e.g., Christianity) because of similar treatment.How sad they came to the Craft and received the same thing.

I don't have a finger on the pulse of the future of the Craft. I just know what isn't working- for me or anyone else. We are capable of being better.

Friday, October 29, 2021

When Did You First Fall In Love With Halloween?


When did you first fall in love with Halloween? For me, it was when I was quite young. My grandmother spent $2 on a paper fold-out centerpiece of a haunted house( an exorbitant amount in those days) when I was in second grade. 58 years later, I still have it. It's missing the little picket fence that attached to the front, but over the years I have carefully preserved it and packed it away.

Halloween is my childhood. It's also the holiest day in my personal calendar. I was seven years old when I hung my first Halloween decorations, and since that time I've had a special affinity for the holiday.

Autumn is my favorite time of the year : the colors of changing leaves, cool, crisp mornings, darker nights and the silence that reflects the echo of train whistles and nocturnal animals vocalizations and movements. And the Beloved Dead...

I have always known there was another dimension other than the one I've currently inhabiting. I didn't know what to call it or how to describe it, but I instinctively knew it existed. And I have never been afraid of the Dead. Even as a child I knew that Death was a transition, like stepping through Alice's looking glass. I knew there were spirits that were mischievous- some were down right evil- but the majority of those who have made the transition through the veil mean the living no harm. I still hold with that belief.

I love the folklore, the stories, the myths and the legends that come out of Halloween's past. The history of the holiday, though often not apparent, has formulated our current celebration. I like the idea of giving out treats because in it's own transformed way preserves the tradition of ' souling' ( children going house to house asking for a specially baked cake in exchange for prayers for the departed of the household). I like seeing the costumes, reminiscent of the living dressing up to fool the malevolent dead so no harm came to them). I give to everyone because it's a small way to spread joy and community...and yes, I even give to the kids traditionally too old to be out trick or treating, because whether or not they know it, they've chosen to retain a bit of their childhood when they could be out doing other more destructive things. It's not really about the candy. Maybe they don't know it, but it's something more, something intangible they don't yet understand.

So, a few friends and  I stand on the corner of the main street in our little town and hand out treats as the Trick or Treaters run by, barely containing their excitement of dressing up and shapeshifting into the persona of imaginary beings ( we don't want the possibility of a liability issue with the apartment complex, so we move off the property.) Their excitement is contagious, and at the same time, a bit of child-like wonder rubs off on us. I dress up, too! As dour, serious adults, we need this recharging  of our psyches at least once a year. Later we normally retire for our own gathering to partake of coffee and cake in someone's apartment, for reminiscing about past Halloweens, and those who are no longer with us. It's a bittersweet moment among the evening's gaiety.

Afterward, I retire to my own sacred space to spent time with my own beloved dead. The ritual begins formally, but becomes a time of joyful remembrance and tears, and I am at once grateful that my spiritual tradition allows me to spend time with those who have gone before. I spend time honoring my ancestors, even those I didn't gravitate to when they were alive, even those who abused and traumatized me, because I believe they deserve recognition for their contribution to who I am, and they deserve their due. There are photos of ancestors I never met, who died long before I was born. I don't even know their names. They were relatives of my grandparents and great grandparents, but they are my ancestors just the same. I confess that I spend more time with my own friends and acquaintances who have crossed The Veil. The list grows longer each year as more people pass on. The first few years I'm a bit sad, actually. This year, Sabrina Underwood Hodges-Sabrina the Ink Witch- is among the gathering. Her sudden death is something I never fathomed happening so soon. I wasn't ready to say goodbye, and neither was she. But the human body is fragile, and we're all subject to failure of it's mortality. But ... my heart and head undeniably know we never truly leave this plain, even if we only return for one night...this night, the eve before All Hallows.

My human companions aren't the only spirits invited to visit: I welcome my animal companions, from those of my childhood to the most recent, to spend time with me. I place the ashes of the latest, Kitty Boo, on my ancestor altar, and photos and mementos of others. They were truly my companions ( I no longer refer to animal companions as 'familiars', even those who participated in ritual with me, because  as Uncle Birch pointed out earlier this year, that's the name those who prosecuted witches called them.
( I understand the propensity to want to continue the cultural reference, and if you wish to do so, that is your choice, just as it is my choice to stop doing so.With me it's just a personal fine point, so, no judgement;  I don't have a problem with incorporating changes as our Craft evolves.)

So, as I dust off my pointy hat, I wish you prosperity and peace and a bountiful harvest of whatever you need. Happy Halloween, and a Blessed Samhain!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Whispering Leaves


"Autumn is an artist who uses an oak leaf to paint a masterpiece"
                                                 ~ William Allen Ward

We sit at the edge of the Veil, leaves of every color dancing round in circles at our feet, a crisp nip in the air in the morning, the sun rising up later and lower each day.

It is finally my favorite time of year. I don't mind wearing a jacket when I go to town to shop: you can always take it off if you get too warm while doing errands, but you can only remove so much clothing to stay cooler in the heat of Summer.

I have said before that I am not a Summer person. No matter how much or how thickly I slather on sun block, I turn a bright, painful pink within the hour and feel like I'm frying-because I am. No tanning for this redhead! Thankfully I no longer freckle, but subsequent sun burns has left me with  a pesky spot or two of pre-cancerous skin lesions that have amounted to little more than a bother. Still, I am careful.

I love the dusky smell of fallen leaves that have turned crunchy, and damn it all, I do like the combination of ingredients that make up Pumpkin Spice. Not the commercial stuff : the blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger that you grind into fiery dust with  a mortar and pestal and use to flavor pies and quick bread. Mix a little in with ground coffee and make your own version of what cost $5.00 a cup at Starbucks. It's fresher, and the shot of spice will surprise you.

That same mixture can be sprinkled around your house, or stuffed in a sachet or used to dress a candle, because those spices ( sometimes along with mace and cloves) are protective. The afore mentioned spices all correspond to the element of fire and deities called upon for safeguarding home and hearth.

Mainstream healthcare finally acknowledges the bioactive and healing  properties  herbalists have known since antiquity. Herbs and spices like rosemary, sage, thyme and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, ginger, tumeric and mace (among others) are now being recognized for their polyphenol content ( Read up on it yourself, it's too complicated to list here. It's a rabbit hole, but you'll learn something if you do.) Ah, Science...

Back to those Autumn leaves that we love...

Did you know that the changing colors are a form of chromatherapy? The therapeutic use of color and light to balance the body's energy and vibration has been used for centuries. The vibrant colors of Autumn are a natural expression of this alternative form of healing... and it's free! Take a walk in the park or the woods among the varieties of colored leaves and see if it doesn't leave you revitalized and ultimately happier! The use of color has long been used to elevate mood and relieve anxiety.

We finally come to the part about the whispering leaves. The clamoring of leaves and branches in a soft breeze create "white noise" : the frequency of sound masks other distractions and leads to relaxation, much as the sound of rain, the ocean, and other sounds of Nature. ( And although I'm using the term "white noise" broadly here, frequencies of sound are actually matched to colors of light; for example, the sound of rain is technically  considered as "pink noise" by auditory experts-which I most certainly am not. You don't need to be an expert to understand the science/theory on a very basic level..)

If you have any thoughts on the Autumnal season, I'd love to hear them in the comments.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Your Path, My Path

Like many of you, I am tired of , for lack of a better term, "witch wars". Likewise the haughty attitude of  "My tradition/magick is better, stronger, more worthy, more authentic, more _______( fill in the blank)."

ARGGGH!!!! That was me screaming in frustration because I thought we'd been over this a few thousand times at least.

Just stop it. Stop it now. We have better things to do than to spew hatred and negativity at each other.

Don't we get enough of that from those outside the Craft and NeoPaganism who don't understand what we do? Isn't it enough we aren't taken seriously by the majority of society? Leave.Other. People Alone. The continual bickering and backbiting looks bad and makes all of us appear ridiculous. Stop the damn in-fighting on Facebook, Tik Tok, and Twitter. It makes us no better that the Christians some of us love to mock. No one tradition, occult/magickal or otherwise is right for everyone; each contain a grain of Truth. 

Social Media is filled with Witches, Pagans and other occult/magickal practitioners lecturing, degrading and 'correcting' each other of perceived and imagined gaffs in methods, techniques, beliefs and other faux pas regarding particular traditions or practices.  I was formally initiated into a Gardnerian coven, so yes, I am well aware of magickal groups having "rules" and a belief system to follow. I also am aware that for the serious and experienced, those rules and beliefs are , unbreakable and static. What it is is what it is, and unyielding to change.This is what you do, and how you do it; there are steps to follow because that's how it's done because it works. I'm not disagreeing with that if that is your tradition, and that is how you practice, then that is right and correct for you.

Others have a more eclectic approach, picking from a variety of sources and traditions which meets their needs and suits their intentions because they get results - and that is right and correct for them..

You may not agree with their practice and think it's scatter-shot or appropriation, or whatever popular term is currently in vogue to express your level of personal outrage. That's fine, too. You get to be upset about what you perceive as bastardization of your sacred rites and tradition, and you get to express that outrage as much or as little as you see fit. But what you don't get to do is condemn anyone else for doing what works for them because however you feel about it, you are only a self-appointed expert. You may think that as a follower of a particular spiritual practice or tradition that you  know the character or nature of a deity, but you are not that deity, and I suspect the majority of those deities can and will speak up for themselves without any of us mere mortals putting in our puny two cents worth to someone causing them offense. Bellyaching is a waste of precious energy and time unless you like hearing yourself talk, talking down to the next person doesn't make you superior, it makes you sound like an ass. While it's perfectly acceptable to say, " I disagree and I believe in doing it this way", it's not okay to tell the other guy he's going to be damned by the gods ...because YOU might just end up reaping the result of your vitriol. I'm of the mind to let the gods handle it. We learn from our mistakes.

Everyone of us have a different understanding of worship. Everyone of us has an individual concept of how things are or should be.That is what is right and true for the individual. Each of us have developed a personal practice, whether a seasoned devotee or newbie. For what it's worth ( and because it's my blog), my opinion is that an individual's pure intention is more pleasing to the Divine than a few gaffs or false starts, or faltering on the fine points. You may disagree, and you may say so...but you don't get to bitch about my way of doing things because the ultimate truth is that everything we do, in all of our traditions and practices, originates from Mystery. I've heard the simple statement that we all draw from the same well, and for the most part, I believe that to be true because my experience is that all  occult practices stem from The Unknown. Poisoning that well with hatred and negativity negates the work of the Greater Good, and it's a fact they you often die from poisoned water.

My way of the Craft, how I form it, how I practice my spirituality, is between me and the Divine. What I do to get the results I need to have my needs met, are strictly up to me. If I screw up, well...that's on me. I do what I believe is right because it feels right for me. You do the same. I may not agree with your methods or beliefs, but if it benefits you, then that's all there is to it. To be frank, your opinion of what others do doesn't matter. And neither does mine.

Last year Witchdoctor Utu published a book about Harriett "Moma Moses" Tubman and the role conjure played in the Underground Railroad. Utu, who is the founder of the Niagara Voodoo Shrine, was vilified by of armchair voodoo and hoodoo experts for 'appropriation' of African spiritual traditions. These haters forgot one very important point in their criticism - that few direct lines to the traditions of years gone by exist and that what we now do is reconstruction from history, oral tradition, and myths. Our spiritual practices consist of an amalgamation, a blending, of beliefs.

Seriously, folks...let's go easy one each other. Yes, I do think there's a lot of silliness and grandstanding and bullshit, but there always has been and that's not going to change anytime soon. Go on about your business, do what you do, and give one another space to be who they are.

May the Path you're on be blessed.


 There's a bit of a situation going on with the name of this blog and a new Facebook community calling itself Broom With A View.

To be clear, this blog, has been in place as Broom With A View for 10+ years with 10,000 monthly hits globally. To say I am humbled to have readership in places around the world as far reaching as Australia, China, New Zealand, England, Ireland and the Ukraine. That is beyond my wildest imagination, and I am grateful for each of you.

This blog is not affiliated in any way with the Broom With A View community on Facebook created by

I have contacted the owner/creator of that page/community and we are currently working things out.

There is no harm intended by the other page; no one is stealing content, etc., as some readers have assumed.Thank you for contacting me. This is not like the situation last year where 140 posts were maliciously stolen and claimed as original by another site when I took legal action to have them taken down. I believe this new situation is an innocent mistake that does not require reporting to Facebook or Google. Like I said, we're working things out. Sometimes FB and Google analytics don't work for name approvals when searching and there is a geographical error.. Things slip through the cracks.

Thank You for your concern and loyalty, and may you Be Blessed.