Thursday, August 19, 2010

Playing With Dolls

"If you build it, they will come..." like the Wiccan version of that Kevin Costner movie about the baseball field for ghosts, I was told if I cast it they will come. And they did.

Nearly a year ago I founded Mill Creek Church, and several times a month we rent a large room at the local metaphysics shop. It's started out slow, just a handful of friends in town. Then a steady ebb and flow of first and old timers would come and go.

But lately there has been a surge of activity in the Pagan community in general. I've gotten more calls in the last three weeks than in the last three years. Handfastings, Blessings and personal spiritual counseling have kept me much busier than normal.

I have always been extremely fulfilled by my personal spiritual path and practices, the only thing it has ever lacked was fellowship. Our last meeting stands out as quite possibly the best ritual we've ever had there, because of the degree of fellowship. I am surrounded by people who take their path seriously and invest in themselves and their practice. A friend called in advance to make arrangements to provide the "cakes and ale" for our communion, she brewed her own rose water and baked some wicked cookies. This sort of contribution and sincere investment on our ritual is a blessing.

Another blessing is diversity. Our membership is an all star cast of various traditions of Witchcraft, and every meet someone shares something they do. Another friend is a very serious Hoodoo practitioner, who really knows her stuff. She gave us a crash course in Hoodoo and her practices, complete with a very brave show and tell of some of her tools of the trade, like Voodoo dolls.

Now I may be a fluffy bunny Wiccan, but I'm all about the Craftwork or the Craft at work, and much of what I do comes from my training and experience in not so warm and fuzzy Witchcraft. We use dolls too, but we call them Poppets and other than the name, everything else is the same. But my friend talked a lot about making a doll in your own image to cast magic on yourself. As I Veritas Wiccan I love that because the main purpose of our tradition is the Craftwork of self improvement. Most people use systems focused on command control and manipulation of the outside world. But pound per pound, your going to get better bang for your buck working on yourself. You just have to have the courage to work on your issues. It is surprising how many people don't.

My wife made her doll from scratch and it came out so good, she placed certain items in certain areas of the doll to address certain issues, she had a lot of fun doing it and gave me a lot of ideas. So this weekend I will start working on mine.

Almost 40 and I'm still playing with dolls. Thank you Lord and Lady for my friends and their toys. Blessed Be!

Monday, August 2, 2010

So Long And Thanks For All the Fish

When do we become men? When do we stop being boys and officially cross the threshold into manhood? For ages many cultures tell their children when its time. For hundreds of years indigenous cultures have practiced puberty rites of passage, often marked by some test of character or endurance, some feat which earns them the right to cross the threshold and join their peers in adulthood.

America has a culture, has lost these rites. Forcing our youth to create their own rites of passage. Loosing virginity, joining a gang, committing their first crime or first visit to prison. A point sharpened by the admissions of several inmates I minister to is that they're in prison because they were trying to prove they were men.

I submit the absence of these rites contributes the to decline of western civilization.

Our "Book of Shadows" teaches the observance of our Sabbats and Esbats throughout wheel of the year, but it also contains our rites of passage.

Several months ago at one of our ceremonies, my oldest son was handed a weapon. He reached out and grasped it with both hands and as we held it together we recited this catechism:

Q: What is this?
A: A weapon.
Q: What do weapons do?
A:Weapons kill.
Q:Why do we kill?
A: Only to feed and protect our own.
Q:Do you swear to feed and protect us with honor.
A: I so swear.

We recited this catechism every time he held his weapon and we practiced and trained until winter came. This summer he was handed a different weapon, one that's more focused on the "feeding portion of his oath."

It wasn't easy, the current was strong but that's where the fish are. Its difficult enough to swim in the cold flowing waters, the six foot spear made it more awkward. He swam over an hour before the perfect opportunity presented itself. He slipped under the water quietly and glided silently towards his first fish, he waited until the fish turned sideways showing his full side. The tri-tipped spearhead shot straight through the midsection and into the earth below. He leaned in holding the spear down as the fish flailed to free itself, his lungs burning he stayed beneath the surface until the fish gave up.

He finally came bursting out of the water gasping for air, holding the still impaled fish over his head, as he made his way back to shore. He cleaned it the way he was taught, never hesitating. When we returned home later, he presented his mother the meat from his first hunt. She was so proud. Tomorrow we'll go to Grandmas to cut the firewood for the coming ceremony, his rite of passage. I don't know which one of us is more proud.

Thank you Lord and Lady for such a powerful fish, blessed be.