Article

Temple Astrolog: We Need to Talk…

There are some serious things going on right now in people’s hearts and minds, things that have been brewing for a long time and that need to be talked about. Things buried so deep inside that we might not even realize they are there, until it is time…and now it’s time.

Mercury (communication, friends, neighbors, siblings) is in the sign of Cancer (family, things close to the heart). Mercury in the sign of Cancer wants to talk about the things that are close to us, and we need to talk about them.

Losing your words and balancing the scales

Everyone has something that is hard for them to talk about. It does not matter who you are, if you are a journalist, writer, or a teacher or have any other sort of communication job: when it comes into the core of who we are, there are some things that are hard to put into words. Things that hurt us and need healing deep within.

In fact, if you talk a lot about something difficult, it may even be a clue that you are not close enough to the core. That you are verbally dancing around the “hot-spot” to avoid the center where the flame is strongest. This center also has the power to heal you the most.

Right now Mercury (communication) is in a hard aspect to Chiron (deep healing) in the sign of Aries (fire, bluntness, abruptness). Together they work on healing those times when the hurt has been so bad you have lost your words, the times when you could not stand up for yourself because perhaps you were too afraid, too young, or perhaps did not realize you were, in fact, being hurt.

They get assistance from the asteroid Juno, bringing in some tough love through the sign of Libra (relationships, law, justice, balance) also forcing us to realize we need to balance the scales to be able to continue forward. Juno often signals the starting and the ending of everything from projects to relationships or phases in life.

Mercury: Turning things around

Mercury is a master communicator, but also a master of illusions. Part of the shadow-side of mercury is when we fool others or even ourselves. So in this combination with Juno and Chiron, we may be in a position where we realize that things, events, people, and situations were not, and are not what we believe them to be.

This can come as a shock, lightening striking from above, or as a hunch that has gown so big we must recognize it is, in fact, the truth. Even if we don’t like it. Especially if we don’t like it.

Whatever side of the table we are on, we all need to sit down, listen and figure out what is going on right now. What am I healing at this moment? What are my closest companions saying to me? Who wants my attention and why? Because if we don’t listen, it can lead to a place later on where we’d rather not be.

If someone is saying “can you please sit down, we need to talk,” do it. Don’t wait. It might be one of the most important conversations of your life. It can be your child telling you about having depression and you have not seen the signs. It can be your partner telling you your relationship is heading in the wrong direction. It might even be your higher self, or your body, pulling the hand-brake and saying: “Stop. Listen. I need your attention and your heart connection.”

Chiron: Demanding shamanic healer

Chiron is demanding, disturbing, confrontational, and often a real pain. But he is also a shaman, initiator, wise guide, and mentor. He is always making a transit somewhere in the natal birth chart, making aspects and making us continuously grow and develop. When he makes his return to the same position as when we were born, after around 52 years, he starts over again until we’re 104. So if you are ever in doubt whether the healing journey is finished, just check out your Chiron movement and he will confirm that yes, you are still on a healing journey. Chiron develops with you: If you have mastered one aspect or layer, he opens up the next, and the next and so on….

This Chiron/Mercury/Juno transit will be until the end of July. It can be helpful to work with ceremonies for releasing and cutting cords. Flower essences for healing and doing shadow-work like Black-Eyed Susan can be very helpful. It’s great in combination together with the stone Apache’s Tear. Working with Lavender for healing, loving communication and peace, is a great combination with the stone Amethyst.

Atlantis-Sirius Connection and Crystals

Right now the asteroid Atlantis is at 15 degrees in Cancer, right next to the fixed star Sirius at 14 degrees in the same sign. Both Atlantis and Sirius are known for their connection to advanced healing and work with crystals. This energy is like “crystal thunder” that has the power to break through limitations, heavy and dense energies, and old paradigms.

Don’t be surprised if you feel called to obtain more crystals and meditate more with them. Perhaps you are drawn to explore earth healing with crystal grids or other methods? You may also learn new healing skills during meditation or in your dream-time. We are now in the middle of this transit that ends around the 11th of June when the asteroid Atlantis moves forward, so don’t miss out on this! Go and meditate and work with your crystals! You won’t regret it.

A good combination of stones for this energy is Apophyllite (sky, transformation, and high frequency ) and Aquamarine (ocean, healing, Atlantis) This could be a strong combination right now so you might want to start working with it in a small dosage and then increase.

Atlantean Karma and Star Connections

I feel that it’s not a coincidence we get a chance to work on healing communication in relationships (Mercury, Chiron, and Juno) at the same time as this Atlantis-Sirius connection is active. On a global level, each country has to decide how they want to watch over their citizens with the modern technologies available for us now, technology that only a few years ago seemed like science fiction.

On a personal level we have the opportunity to go back or forward in time and connect to whatever star or Atlantean connection we have related to healing and communication, if we have incarnations in these places. Sirius is also an important star in many old cultures around the world, Egypt being one of them. The Egyptians called the star Sirius “the shining one” or “Sirius Isis.”

Visions, Missions and Healing

The two different themes (Mercury-Chiron-Juno and Atlantis-Sirius) will culminate and join together around the 6th of July, when both the Sun and the asteroid Vesta join Sirius at 14 degrees in Cancer. A date to remember. At that time, the asteroid Atlantis has moved further in the sign of Cancer and is located at 29 degrees (a challenging degree) and is in direct opposition to Saturn at 29 degrees in Capricorn. Saturn can help anchor the energies from Atlantis and strong healing powers, especially in the sign of Capricorn. Because Saturn is connected to working with karma, we do well to look out for karma from Atlantis being played out. This is on a personal level, but also on a larger, more collective scale.

If I have read the stars correctly, we will have a lot of intense healing work ahead of us. If you have connections to crystals, healing, or Atlantis, your higher self may already have signed up for intensive healing work this summer.

Blessings!
— Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Recommended Reading

  • Fixed Stars, Bernadette Brady
  • Chiron and the Healing Journey, Melanie Reinhart
  • Love Is in the Earth: A Kaleidoscope of Crystals: The Reference Book Describing the Metaphysical Properties of the Mineral Kingdom, Melody
  • Crystal Basics: The Energetic, Healing, and Spiritual Power of 200 Gemstones, Nicholas Pearson

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

Our Coven is the World 

by Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle

Recently I had a conversation with a friend who is re-evaluating his relationship to the word—and to the identity of—Witch. Actually, I tend to have that conversation a lot with friends, all for different reasons. Some are the old-guard traditionalists who have never quite adjusted to the world created by Raymond Buckland and Scott Cunningham. Others are folkloric intuitive Witches, at the edge of the community and setting up their own shops, literally and figuratively. Some are old-world occultists or folklorists who are steeped in magic and their own unique blend of it. Some are healers, artists, advocates, or servants of the greater good in some capacity. Yet they—and we—all go through a phase where the Witch makes us uncomfortable, even amid other Witches.

Some of this discomfort is due to the rise in popularity of Witchcraft. There was a time when the quest was a part of the learning and experience of it all. You couldn’t do everything from your bedroom alone. You had to either go out and meet other practitioners or go out into the woods. Today, however, from the Insta-Witches on social media to a new wave of popular books, it seems that everyone is a Witch. And maybe they are. And maybe they are not. YouTube, podcasts, and infographics make claiming this identity so much easier. But that’s nothing new. That’s always been happening. We could argue that it started with the first interviews and documentaries of Gardner and Sanders, with someone seeing those and then getting naked in their basement with a sword and drawing chalk circles on the floor. Yet I’m sure it happened before that, down to the first Witch gossiped about or slandered, and someone, often a rebellious kid, hearing about what they did and thinking, “I can do that too” and giving it a try to the best of their ability.

People will often pretend to be what they are not, casting a spell upon themselves to become it eventually. I auditioned as a “rock singer” for bands before I was ever in a band, presenting myself as someone who could do it, without any real understanding of what that would entail. And after I got my first gig, I was what I wanted to be. Likewise as a little kid, I read my Time-Life Wizards and Witches book, thinking, “I can do that” and gathering little flowers and roots and stones and mixing them together in what was half pretend but all seriousness. In every generation there is a rise-up of interest, and those who successfully cast the spell upon themselves will go onward, and those who don’t will lose interest. Many in my first circles no longer identify as Witches and have moved on with their lives in other directions.

Some witches raise their hackles at this generality, as “Witch” is a specific thing, but even though we don’t all agree on what that thing is, generally those of us who are open-hearted and open-minded know it when we see it. Are Witches clergy? Teachers? Healers? Shamans? Mystics? I think of us as Keepers of the Mysteries. But we each have a different sense of the mysteries.

A friend would say anyone can be Pagan, but not everyone can be a Witch. Can we have Witch families? Yes and no. I’ve known a few, but in most, the children grow up to self-identify with something other than being a Witch. But does that experience still inform them? Can we even have Witchcraft communities? Some would blame this massive influx on the rise of educational systems, classes, and schools outside the coven structure, particularly those online, such as our own Temple of Witchcraft, building a bridge between deeper magickal training and community service. Should those things be linked together? One of our continual internal conflicts is how much we offer—or don’t offer—to families on the path together. We get many requests, few bites, and yet I think it is an important part of what we do, just not the focus. I don’t care if kids grow up to be Witches, but I love that we might provide a magickal experience or worldview they take into adulthood.

That level of subversiveness is part and parcel of Witchcraft for me. At heart, my intention in creating the Temple as a religious organization was to provide a repository for occult technique and training in a world of growing Pagan and Heathen fundamentalism. Traditional covens hold it one way, and this is another. Can a deeper community form out of it? Possibly, depending on how you define community. I envision the village of Witches, the island retreat where the old and new ways are kept. This vision is obviously an ideal, and the reality will be far messier, but it is an ideal I hold nonetheless. I’d like to see a village of Witches based in the celebration, not the historic persecution, of Witches. Could it be the Witchcraft equivalent of the Spiritualist’s Lilydale or Cassadaga? Of the eco-village Caer Mabon? Of Findhorn? Of Damanhur in Italy?

I often compare Witchcraft to an orientation to life, like being queer. You can use Witchcraft, meaning spell work or meditation, and never make it your identity or life, just as you can have same-gender sexual encounters or explorations of gender and never make that change in your life or sense of self. Others have the same experience, and like an initiation, they are utterly changed. Yet I also think about this analogy in the age where the lines of orientation, gender, sex, and social roles are blending, blurring, and breaking down into something else. What does that mean for the Witch? Does it matter?

Self-identification is important, at least when you start. The identity and separation of “what is” from “what is not” is a huge part of the path of discovery. You can’t do everything at once. As time progresses, you can hold principles dear, but attachment to identity grows less so. As you get older, you realize you’ve already been many people. You’ve changed so much, and there will be more change. Certain words, ideas, and actions become guiding stars. “Witch” is a guiding star for me, and the word is helpful in pointing out that star and then being able to share what being a Witch and practicing Witchcraft is to me. It starts a conversation and opens a door.

I don’t care so much how other people use the word. Things will change and rise to meet the needs of community. There was a time when my views of Witchcraft were unpopular, then became popular, and then unpopular once again. I hold to what it means to me, and how it’s changed for me over time. Just as words, identities, and communities around the LGBTQIA concept changes—adding letters, shifting from social groups and night club community to something new—I still identify as gay as that term serves me. If people want to get into further conversation about being a polyamorous queer with two husbands, we can have that conversation. The same holds true for me being a Witch.

My best vision forward is a world of magick, a land of enchantment, and for that, we need magick and mystery. I don’t think everyone wants to be a Witch, but I see many acting as sorcerers, magicians, and healers, even if some will not know it. That is the beauty of magick. Some will be poets, musicians, shop keepers, baristas, accountants, and nurses. I dream of a world where the inspired traditions of all faiths and cultures are expressed in the mystery of life, in the magick that is a part of being in this world. I think that is the key to being a Witch, and that little slice of witchiness crosses all people, even if you don’t call it Witchcraft. Quoting the controversial author of The Witch’s Dream, Florinda Donner, I take to heart her sentiment, “All of us have a bit of witch in us.” Like the Buddhist teaching that we all have an inner buddha nature, whether we are Buddhist or not, I think we all have a witch nature within us, whether we’d call it that or not. It is the part of us that sees the awe and mystery in all things and acts from a place of magick. We each have a little bit of Witch within us, and our coven is bigger than we think. Our coven transcends any small group of three to thirteen practitioners. Our coven is beyond traditions, temples, and lodges. Our coven is truly our kinship with all creatures. That is our true union in magick. Our coven is the world.

Making Natron

Natron—or soda ash—was used in ancient Egypt for a variety of purposes, both spiritual and practical. These include mouthwash, early soap combined with oil, water-softening, combining with castor oil as a smokeless fuel that wouldn’t damage wall paintings, and to dry out corpses for mummification. Most of its practical applications were replaced with sodium bicarbonate in the modern world.

We use natron in the Temple as a powerful cleansing agent. We add it to water to make holy water for clearing. Add it to bath water for a spiritually cleansing and protective bath.

This recipe is simple and simulates the soda ash you might not otherwise be able to obtain:

Preheat the oven to 150 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine equal parts:

  • Baking Soda
  • Sea Salt

You can grind the ingredients in an electric grinder or in your mortar and pestle. Mix these dry ingredients with small amounts of water until you get a paste-like consistency. Spread it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for at least 20 minutes until the consistency is like crumbly chalk. Let it cool a bit, but not too much, before you put it in a dry air tight container, so as not to reabsorb moisture from the air.

In this video, Virgo lead minister Adam Sartwell guides you through the natron-making process!

A new moon happens every month and every moon cycle. It is when the sun and the moon are in the same astrological sign and right next to each other. Because they are next to each other, the sun cannot light up the surface of the moon and therefore we experience that the moon has gone dark. When they are opposite of each other and the sun lights up the whole beautiful side of the moon, we experience it as a full moon.

The new moon starts the whole moon cycle as the moon passes by the sun and we set the seeds in the darkness that will grow with the growing light of the moon. In our modern days, it is easy to check in an astrological calendar or app when the new moon happens. But for our ancestors, it was another thing. Most of them had to wait until they actually could see the first glimpse of the silver new moon up in the sky. (When there is no visible moon up in the sky the pagans call it dark moon and the astrologers call it new moon.)

But that also gave them a few days to rest in the space between the two moon cycles, one ending and another one beginning. And that space can be important, especially if you are a magickal practitioner or healer of some kind. We all need time to rest, digest, and let things fall into place. Doing nothing and letting the empty space speak for itself.

Honouring the space between

It’s easy to get into the mode of always being active and having to be magickal all the time, never missing any full moon, new moon, or star alignment. But if we are to reconnect with nature, we also need to honor the space in-between. Another way of seeing it is that to be a really good player in the game, you need to sit on the bench and recharge sometimes as well, or your performance will not be optimal and you will start to burn out your resources.

If your schedule is filled with many things to do the whole month. It can be a good idea to also schedule doing nothing. If you schedule three days in a row you will probably find out that it takes the first day to shed your stress, the second day to relax and the third day to truly recharge and get inspiration to the next phase after your mini-retreat. Three is a magickal number in many ways and has an interesting movement of processing energy.

If you menstruate, you may find scheduling your doing nothing time around the dark moon regulates your cycle to those days and that it can bring many gifts of balancing both body and soul. If you are post-menopausal or otherwise do not menstruate, scheduling your doing nothing days at this time of the month can assist you in releasing heavy energy from your womb associated with moon-time.

It can be a challenge to remember to release heavy and dense energy from your womb after reaching menopause. What the body did naturally during your cycle, now has to be done more or less intentionally. There will naturally be more healing powers moving through your body at this time in your life, but you need to help the womb with releasing the energy that does not serve you anymore. At this time of your life you are also probably holding space for the generations before you with older parents, and the generations after you with children and grandchildren, and that space needs to be looked after to keep you healthy on all levels.

If you have signs of PMS, but you have left your menstruation behind you, it can be a signal that you are holding built-up dense and heavy energy in your womb energetically. That can be signs of depression, anger, tension, irritation, sadness, out of balance for seemingly no logical reason.

Giving yourself the time for doing nothing around the dark moon can help to let go of that heavy energy and offer space for something new. The thing is that you need to literally do nothing during these days that you have set aside for this to work. No ceremonies for others, no healing, no magick other than connecting yourself to yourself and allowing that nothingness and time to heal you.

I’ve had the honor to assist some of my healing clients after menopause, when many of them have developed illnesses, hormonal imbalances, and chronic conditions. If we, as the generations that comes after them, want our elders in our traditions—both women and men—to live long and healthy lives, we have to respect that they need to rest and recharge. They need to retreat from the needs of their communities from time-to-time to be able to continue to hold the beautiful spaces that they do. If elders in your tradition are not available for you for a while, don’t take it personally. See it as a gift that they are doing this for themelves, so they can continue to serve others for hopefully many years to come.

We are living in very special times and while most people are dealing with making sense of this world, the elders of traditions and ceremony-keepers are juggling not only this world, but also the world of spirits and holding space for that, and trying to map out and open up the road ahead for their communities!

New moon in Gemini and retrieving knowledge

We have an exciting new moon arriving on the 22nd of May. The sun and the moon are joined at two degrees in the sign of Gemini (communication, learning, friends). Here they make a grand trine (positive aspect) to the asteroid Juno (relationships, beginnings and endings) in the sign of Libra (relationships). They are also in the grand trine to Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn, and Pallas Athene and Saturn in the beginning of Aquarius.

What is interesting is that Pluto, Jupiter, Pallas Athene, and Saturn are all in retrograde motion. When a planet is in retrograde motion it is said that it goes more within and becomes internalised. But we can also look at it like we have an opportunity to go back to something, and in this case with the connection to the new moon in Gemini, the power to go back to retrieve information and knowledge. You can look at it like you are given a key to an old house where you used to live so you can get into the house and retrieve important things for you.

There are definitely more interesting things going on in the sign of Gemini besides the new moon. We also have Venus (love and relationships), Mercury (communication and Gemini’s ruler), Vesta (dedication, fire, priest and priestess) and the north node. A lot of communication and signals in the air for sure!

I don’t know about you, but I am definitely going to put up my intergalatical parabolas and be ready to catch some interesting knowledge! If you have the possibility, this is a great moment to not just do a quick ceremony but to go deep with the new moon and the retrograde planets and do a longer ceremony or retreat for three days. One day to tune-in and let go of stress, the second day to go deep and get clear messages and the third day to digest and reflect. The number 3 is also a symbol for the crossroads.

In whatever way you meet up with this energy I wish you a great New Moon in Gemini, and may you catch some beautiful knowledge to guide you further on your path!

Blessings!
Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

Service of the Mystic and the Mundane

by Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle

Every two years or so, I graduate an advanced class to the level of High Priestess/High Priest in the Temple. We call this class Witchcraft 5, having four levels of magickal, psychic, and personal development and a fifth degree that is certainly rooted in the mysteries, but also draws upon the lessons of service and community. Some leave the program and go onto further study within and/or outside of the Temple. They may never work with others in community or service directly. Some forget and get involved in other things, and the magick doesn’t becomes a focus, but an undercurrent. Others leave to go on and do their own thing, taking the teachings to inform their work and way of life. They might offer their service in a variety of ways, not all public and noticeable. And at graduation time, I have many conversations with students about service, and the final “gate” in our temple, ordination, as we distinguish ministerial members who are High Priest/esses and ordained ministers, with legal support from—and responsibility to—the Temple.

Many want to go into teaching or ministry in the Temple community or take leadership roles in our various projects, and passing through the gate of ordination is a final vetting. We do this because (as you may have noticed if you’ve participated in a lot of other Pagan organizations) when people on a variety of paths come together to co-facilitate community and various projects, there is often disagreement and conflict that results in drama and schisms. While we can’t avoid that, we can take steps to minimize it. Our ordination process is a way of vetting those who have gone through our training and established shared ideals, goals, techniques, language, and culture. While we are still individuals, encouraged in our individual practice, this base gives us a greater understanding of how that practice informs the larger whole, and it has become one of the ways the Temple of Witchcraft has decided to address the roots of community conflict.

In one of these post-graduation conversations, I was told by a student with a lot of technical expertise that they felt their path forward was more “squishy” in the sense of emotional care of others and mystical exploration, but not necessarily putting the technical skills or administrative structures to use. That was a job for other people. They would advise, but not do. I must admit, my hackles went up a bit. That sounded lovely. I certainly wish I could do that, and while I could, you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation together if I did. It echoes a greater misunderstanding I hear often.

When community is formed—particularly young community, be it Paganism, Modern Witchcraft in general, or specifically our Temple of Witchcraft—you are building and rebuilding systems of support and community resources. Those resources held the door open for you. If you have taken advantage of that, and want to continue to take advantage of the resources available to you by community, when you reach a certain level of training and maturity, you have a certain responsibility to participate in their upkeep, at least for a time.

Many of the hard-working and dedicated community members of any magickal organization that is open to the public would most likely desire to just do the magickal, the mystical, and the emotive. It’s not to say those things are not difficult. They certainly are, but they also require levels of practical support. Many who are enamored with the idea of helping people cross over wish to do so in vision and speak to the dead as a medium. Often as a minister, we need people who are not only willing to sit with the dying, but take the hospice training required to do so with the appropriate sensitive and awareness of that situation, in that particular institution. And beyond the hospital and hospice visits that many see as important service, we need people who will write letters and make phone calls to the hospital and hospice administrations, deftly introducing us for their Pagan/Wiccan/Witch patients who might need support and pastoral care. We need people who are willing to not only go through the trainings illustrating the finer points from a magickal perspective, but who will then help teach and create the materials and policies to guide people. And since no one person decides these things, we need people willing to be in the committees and meetings to have these serious discussions, even though to most of us these events can be boring and administrative.

Potential volunteers often get disenchanted when they ask to help and find out the community needs the kitchen cleaned or the garbage taken out. Graduated priest/esses often expect ritual roles in large public ceremonies to be handed to them in recognition of their magickal skills and are often shocked when someone they consider less magickally talented gets that position. The key to understanding is the realization that most of the people with the largest magickal jobs and special mystical educational opportunities have been the ones most willing to volunteer in the mundane, the administrative, and the organizational. Those who take on their fair share of that leadership also have their pick of opportunities for the mystical, because we would have no mystical, at least publicly in community, without the mundane.

“That is not fair!” I hear people say. Yes, I agree, but it is also not fair when a small group of dedicated people hold open the doors and no one comes to help them. You can always walk away. You can always find other community. You can create the thing you wish to see in the world. You can stay home and be a solitary or dabble in a lot of communities with no deep connections in any. You are free to do anything you wish as long as you are not harming an innocent. I didn’t like aspects of the community in which I was trained. The community I sought to establish was a response to that, a process that began with many years of traveling, talking to other leaders and organizers, and asking, “What would you do again? What would you do differently? Why?” Ours is not the only way. It is not even the best way. I hope others learn from us and create something different as well. But if you expect things from community, you have to participate to the same level of your expectations.

We always teach that magickal action must be followed up with real world action, or your magick will be ineffective. Service on the mundane level is the real world foundation that supports the magickal experiences. Perhaps you will hold the magickal door open for someone new who goes on to be a greater leader, teacher, activist, or organizer in the magickal community. If you are not there to continue that line, we will all be poorer for it. Determine your will and seek out the mystical, the emotive, the “squishy,” but also realize a lot of work had to go into creating the space for you to learn and do that. How can you support that work as well?

The planet Venus (love, romance, magick, artistry) is joined with the asteroid Vesta (dedication) in the sign of Gemini (communication, learning). This is a very interesting combination. People with strong placements of both Venus and Vesta tend to have a strong urge to get to the bottom of things when it comes to finding the original source. It can happen earlier in life, but it is more likely later down the path.

I’ll give you some examples. Take a talented chef with a strong Venus in his chart. As he develops his cooking skills and opens his own restaurants, he becomes more and more interested in getting the original recipes of his favorite dishes. He may even start to grow his own food and search for original seeds to growing his salads. Or the dedicated intendent at the Egyptian museum with a strong Vesta continuously deepening her research trying to find the original meanings of manuscripts.

Now as these two ladies Venus and Vesta are joined together in Gemini, we may all on a collective plane want to dig a little deeper, searching for the original source of things. That might be our family, our tradition, or our personal magick. Reading through old notebooks, grimoires, and books of shadows is a great idea.

We may even, if we are sensitive and open, be able to hear those ancient voices whispering to us across time and space. So this could be really good if you are an investigator, researcher, magickal practitioner, writer, artist or the like. Now of course we would like this information to stream as easily as Netflix, and it can, but it probably won’t. Venus and Vesta are in a challenging square to Neptune in Pisces and could make the information clear one minute and barely understandable the next. The key thing to remember is write it down, bring it down, and sort it out later.

The influence of Venus and Vesta together will be strongest around the 14th to the 16th of May, but will last until around the 25th of May.

Other people have lives too

Now, as some of us will become more nerdy than usual, being even more “professor-like,” it is both good and healthy to remember that life does not revolve around our own personal interests and findings. People can have good lives not knowing anything about the original Vikings or how to grow their own food, or how to summon daemons in the most efficient way, for that matter, right? So remember to take a break, connect to other people, and be a good person to hang around.

Unrealistic expectations

Venus in its challenging aspect to Neptune can bring unrealistic expectations. These can be about yourself: perhaps you have done many things during the day, everything from cleaning the house to doing webinars and shopping online to having supportive conversations to colleagues, family, and friends and still, at the end of the day, you feel like you have accomplished nothing important.

A good antidote for this is to make a list of the things you do, so at the end of the day you can see how much that you have accomplished. Remember to put in those more supportive and nurturing aspects as well: a considerate call to someone is as important as a strategic meeting. Stones that can assist in being kind to yourself and others include:

  • Mangan Calcite: A pink stone that feels like a hug. Soft and strong at the same time. If you don’t have one, you can use rose quartz instead.
  • Blue Lace Agate: A soft blue stone that helps you to flow with things. Calms the nerves and brings clarity as well. Another pale blue stone can work as well.

You can carry them with you as they are, or put them together in a small pouch and add a pinch of rose leaves and some lavender.

Pale blue and pale pink is a colour combination commonly seen in the auras of pregnant women. In the Aurasoma color system it is called the “star child rescue” and the colors of pale pink and pale blue in combination can work wonders on a tired crown chakra. Right now many healers and energy workers are channelling healing energy both day and night and the presence of spirits is intense in all worlds. The light pink and the light blue can bring soft, comforting healing on many levels, bringing down the message that we are all doing our best in the moment, and that the healer also needs to be healed and nourished.

The unrealistic expectations can also be directed towards others. If you become upset with someone or something, it can be a good idea to check-in with yourself, making sure it is not your own unrealistic expectations they have disappointed.

Venus begins to go into retrograde around the 13th of May and the square to Neptune will be the strongest around the 20th of May. In the beginning of June, Venus and Neptune will be far away from each other and it’s not until around the 25th of June that Venus goes direct again.

Allowing things to sink in

Mercury (communication, learning, friends) has entered the sign of Taurus, the first of the earth signs. Usually this is not seen as the best placement for Mercury, as it makes communication and processing of information a bit slow. Right now, however, it could be a good thing. Taurus can help us to digest things before we act upon them. Allow information to sink in before rushing into action. This could help the countries that are starting to open up again after  corvid-19 isolation measures to take it slow, one step at a time. Taking your time is not always a bad thing.

On the other hand, Mercury in Taurus can mean energy and processes linger in our physical bodies and in the nervous system. So if you are doing readings or holding classes online, you may have to do longer clearings and more grounding afterwards than you usually do. Take your time and make sure everything that does not belong to you or is not helpful is leaving your system. Mercury will be traveling in the sign of Taurus until around the 28th of May.

I wish you a great welcoming of Spring, even if your Beltane celebrations have been different this year. Personally, I imagine many small lights being lit in homes everywhere, welcoming in spring, love, and laughter. Lights building bridges of love and hope between and all around the different worlds of humans and Spirits alike.

Blessings!
Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

The May Day Art of Making-do

It is April 26th, 2020, as I write this and, for the first time in a long time, I will not be with my fellow Temple ministers and community turning the Wheel of the Year at our Beltane celebration. There is an aspect of grief about this, as if I had lost a part of my life. With all the changes we have had to adapt to during the covid-19 pandemic, I have definitely felt overwhelmed. You may be able to sympathize to some of these feelings. Whatever your situation, I think the message of this Beltane is the ancient art of making-do. Witchcraft’s roots grow from our ancestors who had to make-do with what they had to create celebrations, rituals and magic, and just to get by day-to-day.

As the wheel turned to Ostara, I have switched to holding the third ray, the yellow ray, the ray of the ancestors and mighty dead. So I have been taking the time to listen to my ancestors and get their advice about surviving this time in my morning meditations. A story from my grandmother Sartwell bubbled to the surface. She once had a squeaky door on her car and told me she fixed it with some petroleum jelly that you would usually use to soften your feet. I remember asking her why she didn’t use some wd-40, grease, or some extra oil. She told me how she was born in the Great Depression and, when she was a kid, they learned early to find a way of using what they had on hand and petroleum jelly was what she had. She taught me to make-do with what one had. Our ancestors survived hard times, they made-do, and so can we.

So in the spirit of my grandmother and our ancestors, I wanted to share this teaching about making-do when it comes to this year’s Beltane. We may not all be able to get together, we might not have all the things we want to celebrate on-hand, We may feel overwhelmed and not want to do anything. Access where you are, what you have on-hand or can easily get, and choose something simple to create a ritual that will turn the Wheel. Here are some suggestions to practice.

  • One of our members is braiding some embroidery floss to simulate the Maypole.
  • You might light two candles and “process” between them in ritual to cleanse yourself in the fires of Bel for health in the coming year.
  • Gather some flowers from your garden and make a flower crown or put some cut or potted flowers on your altar.
  • In ritual set out tarot cards that align with the lessons of the season like the Lovers, the Empress, or the Three of Cups and meditate on them.
  • Make a May King-and-Queen cake, baking a coin into the cake to share with your family. Whoever gets the coin has a magical year ahead.
  • At dawn on May Eve go out and bathe yourself in Beltane dew for youth and beauty.
  • Make a fire in your fire-pit, throwing in herbs or baked goods as offerings for a better year to come.
  • “Go-a-maying” and have a picnic out doors with your love—or just yourself.
  • Burn some of that special incense you have been saving for a rainy day and cleanse the house after ritual.
  • Go draw some sigils and encouraging words to the world on the pavement or sidewalk with some colored chalk.

These are just a few ideas of how to celebrate Beltane and I am sure you can come up with more. So get creative with what you have and make-do!

Adam Sartwell (New Hampshire) works as a certified Consulting Hypnotist with the National Guild of Hypnotists and ICBCH, and professional Tarot reader. He is a co-founder of the Temple of Witchcraft. Award-wining author of Twenty-one days of Reiki and The Blessing Cord, Adam has been published in anthologies such as The Green Lovers, Ancestors of the Craft, and Foundations of the Temple. For more information on his work as a hypnotist and online hypnosis courses, visit hypnointuitive.com. To see more about his work as an author, psychic reader, and teacher check out his website, adamsartwell.com.

The Occult Theory of Everything

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

by Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle

The occult Witch is not looking for religion, or to be told how to do something. We are looking for traditions, yes, but we are looking for the “why” behind them, and that “why” must make sense beyond “that is the way we have always done it” or “that is the way it should be done.” We are seeking answers to the mysteries of the universe, even when we don’t always know the questions.

I was recently reading a more academic book on Egyptian cultures, specifically the concept of justice, Maat.* The author made a refreshing point that as modern people, with our materialistic and reductionist views, we can’t really understand the perspective of the ancient Egyptians and their thought processes. While of course there are elements common to the human experience, there is a lot of time, space, and understanding that separates us. Even the perspective of the chronologically closer ancient Greeks diverged from ancient Egyptians, emphasizing reason and logic. Language, art, and writing shape our world views, and when we look at the ancients today, it’s through biased filters, and we could be more wrong than right overlaying the legacy of our Judeo-Christian world, with its materialistic science and methods of obtaining information, onto our attempt to comprehend that culture. Even the complex Egyptian soul—with many becoming one and separating again in death—is alien to most of us who were raised with a body-and-soul, cut-and-dried, split-dualistic paradigm of the afterlife. Teaching multiple soul theory to new Witches is one of my greatest challenges.

I agree with the author whole-heartedly, but in the end, academics and occults are going to work with what they have, with their different tools and paradigms, and often come to different conclusions. For the occultist, the laboratory is their own life and consciousness, apply the magickal paradigms to greater and lesser effect.

Ancient Egypt is often mythical as a birthplace of the secret science of occultism, or one of them. Makes perfect sense. Here we have a land where various aspects of knowledge appear holistic and interconnected, much like traditional Hindu society. Science was not separate from religion, art, music, agriculture, medicine, architecture, politics, and law. They were interwoven.

We feel the disconnect of this and yearn for it again. Occult tradition teaches us that there was a golden age and motherland where thing were perfect, and we fell, devolved, or wandered away from it and forgot. We grew separate and fragmented. Today, we feel that myth is true because we do feel separate and fragmented now—internally and externally.

Much of religion is seeking the remedy of heaven, to be saved or reassured that all will be well if we do as we are told. It doesn’t work that way for us. An occultist will know that it is all about alchemy. Separate and reunite. Dissolve and coagulate. Break apart, purify, grow richer in experience, and then return richer, purer, to the whole. From the alchemical occultist’s perspective, we were meant to divide and separate, to learn separate things and return together to share those lessons and knowledge to make us all more whole and better off in the next collective union, the next Golden Age, before we do it all again as something new.

“For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.” – The Book of the Law

That is why we seek a deeper understanding of how things are interconnected in consciousness. If we see a pattern in one myth or philosophy, we seek confirmation of the same pattern in different cultures or philosophies. Then as artists, we seek to synthesize this pattern in our own consciousness as we don’t live in those past cultures, and it would be a bit difficult and ridiculous to reconstruct those cultures unless you go all the way. You can’t immerse yourself in the Iron Age while still using your computer, cell phone, global travel by air and international cuisine options. It becomes something else then, and once you let those things into your perspective, it seems foolish to ignore the theological and magickal wisdom of other cultures if you are not ignoring the benefits of technology. But that is when you are an occultist seeking the mysteries and not simply seeking religion.

While most of us advocate for a secular society where all manner of paradigms are legal and basic cooperative and individual rights, values, and structures are established and maintained, we are not seeking to integrate one specific form of esoteric practice and paradigm in the government, society, and world. We do seek a society that values the integrated paradigms as much as separation and specialty, where art and myth hold as much esteem as finance or science, where medicine includes consciousness leading to illness and the medical procedure can include poem and song. We seek a world where the secret virtue of all things and the reciprocal circulation of Life Force is more acknowledged and honored. We seek greater paradigms that take everything into consideration, not just the material reductionist view.

There will never be one theory of everything, but the theories and paradigms that consider more and more will come closer to explaining the Nature of the universe and how to navigate our relationship with it.

* Maat Revealed by Ana Mancini

The Sun has just moved into the earth sign of Taurus. This is the first of the earth signs and is associated with things like stability and comfort. But, we have another friend that is positioned right now in the beginning of the sign, and that is Uranus. He is rebellious, unpredictable and likes to stir things up. As the sun moves through the sign and passes over Uranus, we can expect unexpected things to happen. Yes, unexpected even in the time of coronavirus. Another way of saying it is that things can become a bit crazy. But the good thing is that the sun moves 1 degree each day, and will pass rather quickly over Uranus, so much of it is hopefully temporary craziness. This transit is until around the 4th of May.

At the same time we have Lilith Black Moon (the blind spot, what we cannot see) in Aries close to Mercury (communication, transport, technology) and that is a kind of “Mercury retrograde” in itself. They are also in opposition to the asteroid Juno (partnership). This can create late deliveries, problems with transports, and all sorts of misunderstandings. There may be stops in the system, whether it is a data system (Mercury) or body system. My advice is to be cool and don’t assume the worst. Investigate and try to solve the problem, but don’t go crazy about it.

Perhaps you wake up with a stomach ache and immediately assume the worst, cancer! But it turns out that it was just something that you ate last night and after further investigation you find out that you have a minor food allergy. Or, you log in your account and there’s money missing, but later you find out that you logged into a forgotten account. Not really a disaster, but a glitch in the system somewhere and, once you find it, it will be okay.

There is need for caution though, as Mercury is associated with Hermes, the god of thieves. We need to be awake, alert, and focused when things don’t add up. Together with Lilith Black Moon, which makes things hidden, there may be more people working with scams, fake news, and shady things.

You may also have to watch out so that you don’t find yourself suddenly operating in the “gray areas.” You see Aries, the first fire sign, can be very self-absorbed, a bit immature, and see things in its own unique way. Let’s make an example and call her Alexandra. She works in a shop that is not her own, but belongs to a friend of hers. In the shop there is a lot of cash flowing and sometimes Alexandra “borrows” money from the register when she’s short of cash. She always pays it back, but a few days later. When found out she says:

“Of course you can’t wait to put in the money in the company account immediately. That would be like stealing. But when I stall the payment it’s more like a loan, you know. Me being a friend with the owner and everything. And I’m so hard working, I’ve earned that!” Well, that is not good, not true, and not a good idea. Lilith Black Moon may keep things hidden, but she’ll also come up with the hidden truths in the end. She just has her own way of doing it.

This transit can also create confusion in relationships. Once again, don’t assume the worst, but take care of the misunderstandings. And if your relationship is important to you, don’t play in the gray areas.

This transit started around the 11th of April and will end about the 22nd of April, but you may feel the effect from it a bit longer.

Earth Walks and Earth Talks

As the sun and Uranus are joined in the sign of Taurus, the sound of the Earth will be stronger and easier to tap into and listen to. As humans we are all earth walkers, but how many of us consider themselves as earth talkers? This is easier than you may believe.

Ground yourself by taking deep breaths all the way down to your feet and toes. Imagine a root growing from your tailbone all the way down into the earth. As you breathe there is an energy exchange between yourself and the earth. You exhale heavy and overloaded energy, and inhale fresh energy.

When you have done that, quiet yourself and your inner dialogue and listen with your body, and with your feet. You may feel your heart and energy body expand.

When you are done, say thank you and gently follow the energy back into your body as you allow your tailbone to become “normal” again. Some people get messages right away with this exercise. Others notice a change in their dreams, or that their senses becomes stronger and clearer. Of course the more you do this breathing and connecting technique the stronger the connection gets. You can do it outside next to a tree, in your garden, or in you apartment. As walkers on the earth the voice of the earth is never far away from us. We just need to connect and listen.

When Uranus is meeting the sun, the earth herself can make her voice heard. If you live in a sensitive area in danger of earthquakes now is a good time to ask for blessings and protection for the area where you live. The channel between the different worlds are more open right now.

Staying grounded is a good idea

Energy is shifting a lot right now. It moves from being very slow and sleepy, to being very intense and fast the next minute. We go quickly from high to low and back again. In times of cosmic weather like this it is a good idea to stay grounded and well-anchored.

Some stones that can help you stay grounded are: black tourmaline, hematite, bronzite, and smoke quartz.

Some of the essential oils that you may want to try out are: patchouli, sandalwood, frankincense, and vetiver.

Another thing to make you feel safe, grounded, and cared for is the smell of something home baked! Who doesn’t become relaxed by the smell of vanilla, cinnamon, and a home-baked apple pie? So don’t be surprised if you are drawn to making miracles in the kitchen. We may see more of that soon as the asteroid Ceres is about to move away from Aquarius and into the sign of Pisces.

Remember your training

Most traditions have basic exercises you begin with that follow you throughout the training. Same thing when you are practicing martial arts. You do them over and over again until you get bored of doing them and until you are able to do them without even thinking about them. They become second nature, something you are able do instinctively. There is a reason for them being basic exercises. It’s because they always work, and they are always a blessing. Every religion and spiritual tradition that I know of has meditation and contemplation as a basic exercise. Why? Because it works and it is always a blessing. I bet that you can tell me a bunch of basic exercises you have done yourself.

In times of distress, bad cosmic weather, or chaos I hear my Spirit teacher’s voice loud and clear, saying the same thing every time: “Remember your training!”

Yes, it’s time to be impeccable in doing the basic exercises and disciplines that create a solid foundation to stand on. The things that you know will help you stay in balance.

Blessings!
Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

Holding the Door Open

by Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle

A member of our community asked me if I thought our elders sold us out by seeking to be accepted by the mainstream. Essentially, did I feel they watered down Witchcraft to the detriment of us all by working with other religions and the community at large?

I asked him to examine how he and many of his peers came to “real” Witchcraft, and by “real,” I meant effective and operative Witchcraft, not armchair occultism or wishful thinking.

While our first experience with magick and Witchcraft often comes in childhood, with some amazing and undefined experience that starts our quest into the wyrd, we don’t usually find anything helpful until later. Some learn from books, and although there are more “how to” guides than ever before, many discover how to put book knowledge into action by finding a group, a mentor, a public circle, or a class.

In days past, books had less explicit instructions, like the works of Sybil Leek, or too many hardline instructions, like Raymond Buckland’s big blue book. Before Witchcraft was public, you had to know someone who was willing to share and trust. I came in through my art teacher of eleven years, and only after I was eighteen. Simple conversations led to an invitation to her coven and their celebrations and eventually an introduction to her teachers and a greater community.

Yet she, living in the New Hampshire suburbs, found it many years before through the very open and public work of the Salem, Massachusetts community, the Temple of Nine Wells, and Laurie Cabot. Simple but powerful classes and rituals gave her the inspiration, setting, and experience to more deeply develop her own practice, and find and create small and secret community. It started the network of wyrdos and magicians, readers, and alchemists, that continued to inform her practice and her eventual service as a reader, teacher, and shop owner.

Until there is connection and often confirmation of the deep wyrdness of the Witch, people remain book collectors and armchair magicians. There is a transmission that occurs in such contact, a type of non-lineage initiatory experience. I call it “holding open the door for another.” Something invisible but very real is transmitted to those truly seeking.

Without public community, you are at the mercy of fate to find that connection or drum it up from within on your own. Some say that is the way it should be. Fate is our goddess. When the student is ready, the teacher will magickally appear—poof! If it doesn’t happen, you were not meant to come into the fold.

Yet I think of the same process in the LGBTQIA community. At one time connection and initiation into queer mysteries was through backrooms of adult bookstores, behind the bushes of parks, public bathrooms, and in back alleys. Likewise, secrets signs and symbols connected us. Many know the hanky code, but do you know the flower code of green carnations and violets? Do you know about the secret language of Polari? (Such secrets seem like their own Witchcraft!) Then came the evolution of clubs, the social groups and protests, Gay Pride, and eventually even online dating and phone apps. Now we have people living openly and out in many places. Each part of the process has good and bad points, and each still occurs simultaneously. For every couple that assimilates to a heteronormative paradigm, there is the radical polyamorous anarchist collective fighting social norms simply by existing, loving, and fucking. I’m no less queer for not meeting my partner at a bathhouse, and no one is less a Witch for coming to it through a class or public Sabbat.

One of the most radical and subversive things we can do is be out in plain sight talking to people. In this time of global trouble, rather than wait for the village to come to the Witch, the Witch is coming to the village, but bringing her wyrdness and magick.

We keep saying that the Pagan, Earth-reverent point of view is missing from local and global conversation of how human community operates, so we need to be present in some way. We need a seat at the table. My elders had dreams of creating Pagan temples to rival Catholic cathedrals in our cities and of returning rural folk customs to our smaller communities. I do too. Their magickal function in society and in society’s relationship with the land and spirits is important to our collective good, restoring the reciprocal flow.

Those who fear our discourse is too watered down when we speak to other faith groups or civil councils and civic boards don’t realize how the seeds of thought that we plant shift and open paradigms. I had a whole conversation with our town planning board on how manicured, pesticide-laden gardens were against our religion in many ways, and how the wild and sacred, the hedge and the thorn, are holy to us. But just as in the LGBTQIA community, my behavior and conversation at the dinner table with my partner’s family is different than when I’m at a club or in the bedroom. A magician uses the language and skills that will most be effective for the setting. Our ability to shift our shape figuratively (and almost literally) is a part of our authenticity and legacy as Witches. We will use the words and images our audience is familiar with to get the point across, such as the infamous and reviled saying “spells are like prayers.” They are, and they are not.

When the Temple of Witchcraft began the process of establishing a religious organization, which meant obtaining and preserving land and community resources, we had to use the terminology of church, service, liturgy, belief, and congregation to be understood, so every step was not a long explanation of a minor point. As we get more involved with the public sphere, we are now explaining circle, quarters, how people participate through trance and dance and the sacred trees and plants.

We do this because of every meeting place, sacred circle, covenstead, and store community that has gone away when the founder/owner had a life-changing circumstance—moving, going out of business, a falling out in the core group, divorce, and even death. While it’s natural for such entry points to wax and wane, community based in sacred land should have at least a few contiguous points of repeated ritual and celebration that outlast a single lifetime. To do that fairly and cooperatively so that continued success is not solely linch-pinned to the good grace of one person requires a cooperative legal structure accessible to the community.

Showing up to the interfaith council or town meeting is like the wicked queen of the fairy tale showing up at the wedding or baby blessing to remind the community they are still a part of the community, even when shunned. We often have to say what is necessary but not wanted, sometimes simply by our presence alone. We are like the questing knight who claims the empty seat at the round table, the Siege Perilous. We don’t always know what we are getting into! Those who feel that showing up and participating in such over-culture groups is silently endorsing the politics and dogma of other religions or becoming complicit in the crimes of modern society against nature should reflect upon that as they post from their cell phones upon social media, taking part in such global corporate services, networks, and products. We must also recognize that by having us there, those mainstream religions are implicitly recognizing our theology and politics. It cuts both ways.

In opening dialogue with other faiths, you may find you have more in common that you thought. There are a number of Christian denominations working deeply for environmentalism, and others using the language of physics to bridge the gap between scripture and the modern world. Outreach and dialogue do not water down what we do. One can’t look at the interfaith work of the Massachusetts community Earth Spirit, with their work in the Parliament of World Religions, or talk to any attendee of their Twilight Covening Gathering and not see deep, powerful magickal work. One cannot look at the global mix of faiths in Glastonbury—and the amazing life-changing experiences at the sites and events there—and dismiss it as not real or deep because of the commercialization of the metaphysical shops. I’ve known people to return from Glastonbury utterly transformed by the magick there.

For a while, the work of figures like Traditional Witch Robert Cochrane, in its free poetic wildness, was used to diminish both Traditional Wicca and eclectic Wicca, yet his mysteries had much in common with the Christian mystic and traditional Qabalistic magician. As occultists we continually do the cross comparison between traditions and paradigms, seeking truth. Ironically, despite his public disdain for Gerald Gardner (such as coining Gardnarian as a pejorative to separate them from what he considered “real” Witches) one could say that Cochrane’s work has inspired both the formal traditions of Trad Craft and a wide swath of eclectic practitioners of it, not unlike formal and eclectic Wicca.

An elder friend of mine was down on popular simple books, specifically Scott Cunningham, whose work I happen to adore. He feared that it watered it down too much and lost the mystery. While I understand his point, I look at it as a gateway, holding the door open for others. I read those books and went deeper. “Yes, but mostly people don’t,” he complained. So what? If we can get more people to see the Earth as alive, populated by spirits and gods as well as humans and animals, if we can encourage them to appreciate the reality and value of the magick of nature rather than hold a grim Christian paradigm of salvation, sin, punishment, restriction, and apocalypse, I would rather have that. The collective world would be a better place. The deep mysteries will be there if and when they are ready.

With that magickal paradigm interwoven more deeply, we can more easily have a civil society with sane environmental justice and health. I think we forget the underlying collective paradigm seeing humanity and the world as sinful and how that idea has unconsciously poisoned policies and attitudes throughout major parts of the worlds. The further mechanical and materialistic division of the modern world exacerbates the problem, and the holistic philosophies of our ancient Pagan past, our occult traditions, and the practices of indigenous peoples can be potential cures for shifting our worldview.

I am grateful for our elders who came before us and those who are still doing this public work. I am grateful for Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente for opening and sharing despite conflicts between them. I am grateful for Alex and Maxine Sanders and the vast trail of publicity surrounding them. I enjoy the books and films documenting them. I am glad for Janet and Stewart Farrar for sharing so openly. I am grateful for Robert Cochrane for providing a different view of that time period. I am grateful for all the TV show appearances done by Sybil Leek, along with her books. Likewise I am deeply grateful to Laurie Cabot, and the work of all early shop owners establishing the first of our community and education centers.

There were more than you think quietly representing in the days before the internet.

I am deeply indebted to authors such as Raymond Buckland, Scott Cunningham, Silver Ravenwolf, Dorothy Morrison, and Raven Grimassi for making ideas known and accessible. I am grateful for the work of Starhawk, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, Lady Rhea, Z. Budapest, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, and the continuous and tireless efforts of Selena Fox and Circle Sanctuary. We are all grateful to Fritz and Wren who created the pioneering Witch’s Voice, and all the publishers, authors, bloggers, podcasters, and group leaders who run gatherings, conventions, festivals, Sabbats, Pagan Prides, covens, circles, moots, and book clubs.

Just because you see their public work and one level of participation, you might have no idea what goes on at other levels. What you think is simple can be the public face of something more. I’ve been surprised at the homes and altars and libraries, and most importantly, the conversations with those I thought were “simple” public Witches. I have no fear of our craft being diluted as they have also created the space for us to have more connection, more resources, and more safety. They took the bricks through the window and faced death threats and lawsuits so that we don’t have to (as much). What we do now lays the foundation for what is next. If you want it deeper, take it deeper. Set the example and challenge others to go deeper still. All those things can now have the space to happen concurrently. Just as LGBTQIA community still ranges from outdoor hook-ups to marriage ceremonies and everything in between, so does Witchcraft. If you just want to attend big Samhain and Beltane, you can do that more easily. If you want to be solitary but have access to more books, videos and even online mentors and peers, you can. Interested in joining an oath-bound initiatory coven? You can probably can find the right one for you more easily. Seeking an in-depth program of study? There are a few. Work in community as a healer? There are lots of us now—welcome! Build bridges with other faiths and communities? Great! Practice a non-modern Trad Craft? More options now. Just do whatever the hell you want to do? Go for it.

While it was fun for a while to feel like we were in a secret occult club, we can’t hold it from others anymore. The days when you couldn’t speak openly, when a sly smile and a subtle “blessed be” told you that you were with a fellow, are over. That exclusive club mentality was selfish and childish and based on ego. That is not the paradigm of the new aeon. Let it pour forth. Let us share and talk and experience. We can all be part of the secret club. We can’t control how others will express it. Everyone is unique, and everyone is connected. There will always be people with whom we disagree or who express things in ways that we wouldn’t. I’m confronted with them all the time online, but I have to encourage what I think is truly magickal and holy for me, and let others find their way as I find mine.

Hold your virtue responsibly and engage with it to the best of your ability. Encourage others to do the same. And when you have the chance, hold the door open for someone else and let them in from the cold. Share your fire and food and allow them to do the same.

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