Thursday, August 30, 2012

R is for the Voice of Russia

Any time a member of the Pagan community is contacted by the Media there is a potential for problematic public relations issues, because by default, like it or not, when you speak as a Pagan you end up speaking for all of us.

Not by design, but by result.

Because of that fact, many of us are more than a bit suspicious and hesitant to speak to the media. Jason has written on the topic numerous times in the past and recently wrote an excellent article about how we [Pagan organizations] should best respond to good or bad news.

We have seen and read some real hatchet jobs by media doing an expose on the local Witches a week before Halloween, but having been in the local papers more than a few times, I have never been misused or misrepresented. This does not however, ease my suspicions when someone new comes along wanting to do an interview.

Needless to say I was a bit surprised when I received an email from a reporter for the Voice of Russia, who was interested in writing a piece including Witch-Doctor-Me. We had a great telephone conversation, I started out asking what the purpose, interest and intention of the article was and in listening to her talk I quickly got the feeling she was coming from a place of good intentions.

Her article was published online today, you can read it here.

Thank you Lord & Lady for all the Positive Press, Blessed Be.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Q is for Querent

For as long as we have occupied this planet with cognitive thought we have looked up at the sky and asked why. Why are we here? Where did we come from? And where are we going after this?

And those are great questions, but unfortunately the answers are oath-bound secrets. *Wink-wink*

That's what The Fool card always reminds me of, the way he tilts back his head, casting his gaze upwards without concern for what lies at his feet. That's why I keep a framed Fool on the wall in my home, to remind me that I am, we all are, Fools...

One of my favorite books, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, taught me to embrace The Fool in myself at a very young age. In the book, the Teacher questions the student and the conversation goes loosely, something like this...

Q: Where are you?
A: Here.
Q: Where is here?
A: Berkley.
Q:Where is Berkley?
A: In California.
Q: Where is California?
A: In the United States.
Q: Where are the United States?
A: On a continent in the western hemisphere of earth.
Q: And where is earth?
A: In our solar system.
Q: And where is our solar system?
A: In our galaxy.
Q: And where is our galaxy? 
A: Umm... I don't know...
Q: Then you don't actually know where you are do you? Admit it, you're lost. Just a fool.

I have always believed that all religions are just the most popular "Best Guesses," and that these best guesses are mostly about confidence and control. But the brutal trust is we just don't know for sure. Well I do, but most people don't believe me. *Wink-wink*

Being the Querent is a good thing, asking questions is always good, but asking the right questions is fundamental, and there is a difference. I submit that it's not so much about why, where and what's next, as it is about the here and now. Don't waste too much of your precious time here, looking up and asking the great unknowable about the great unknowables. Just be a The Fool and enjoy yourself as much as you can while your here.

Thank you Lord & Lady for getting me lost.

Blessed Be.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

P is for Pamela Coleman Smith

As I have mentioned several times in the past, this blog was originally a divination project for my second degree work. When I originally became seriously interested in studying the Tarot I took my time, researched and shopped for different decks before settling on the Rider deck, or rather the Rider-Watie-Smith deck.

As a Freemason I have long been a fan of A.E. Waite's writings on The Rosy Cross, Golden Dawn, and his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry was one of the first books I ever owned on the subject. Perhaps what I loved most was his use of Roman liturgical elements in his ritual work, something else we have in common. 

 I have long been a collector of Masonic Tracing Boards, and I suppose that was the origin of my interest in the Tarot. Since Waite was a Mason I assumed there would be an element of the old Tracing Boards to be found in his Tarot designs. But that wasn't the only reason I chose the Rider deck, I simply, instantly and totally fell in love with the artwork.

This last Father's day I made out like a bandit, I always do. Among the gifts my wife had bought me the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Box Set, and it's pretty awesome. It includes a Centennial Edition of the Deck, a copy of Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot, three frameable prints by Pamela that are not used in the Tarot but really look like they should have been, and a copy of The Life & Time of Pamela Colman Smith by Stuart R. Kaplan. I is a happy daddy.

Long time readers know I don't go by the book when it comes to the Tarot, or much else for the matter. When I first started this project, I threw out the traditional meanings and scryed the cards for my own interpretations. In doing so, I obviously depended totally on the visual elements, the images, the artwork itself. I have long wondered if the cards were all the sole product of Waite's design or if Pamela was given any leeway in the creative process.

In reading the biographic text of the set I came to learn that she was. In fact it seems as though Waite's soul concern was the design of the Major Arcana, leaving the Minor Pip cards to Pamela. As someone who has been successfully utilizing the Tarot and therefore her artwork, in an Introspective Divination Process, to treat Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, this is really a pretty big deal when you stop and think about it.

And as a side note; on several of the cards in the deck such as the 2 of Pentacle, Swords and Cups, there is a horizontal line which divides the foreground from the background. I have always associated this with the Stage and the backdrop, and in reading the biographical text, I was correct. Pamela had a life long love of acting and of the stage, an element she deliberately employed in her artwork. It's nice to get confirmation after all these years.

I specifically choose Pamela for this P post because I have always felt Pamela and her artwork has always been a bit unappreciated and unrecognized. But have benefited so much from it personally, I felt it was high time we started acknowledging her significant contribution to probably the most popular deck in the most popular form of divination ever.

Thank you Lord & Lady, for the courage to throw away the book, and figure myself out.

Blessed Be.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

P is for Prima Nupta

You know that "Love at First Sight" thing? Yeah it's real. I met her the day I drove into town and we have been together ever since. My mother made me promise not to marry until I had spent a year and a day with her, she said that we always put our best foot forward and hide our faults, issues and differences for as long as we can, sometimes this is weeks, months and sometimes more. She said hiding your personality is like holding your breath and we can't do that for too long. So give it time, spend all four seasons with a her and you will know all four sides of her. And I did.

We didn't want too wait, not one day more than we needed to. But a promise is a promise, and a promise to your mom is a million times more. She respected that so much, and that was another green light to me. So we were Handfasted on the anniversary of the day we met, almost on the hour.

We had been practicing together, alone, for some time and had our own way of doing things. We had written it ourselves, every word. I seemed to mean so much more to us that way. I began working on some additional pieces and elements to add to our usual ritual. We opened our home and invited the whole community to our Handfasting. It was the first time we had ever performed our ritual publicly, not only it was a ritual expression of our beliefs but also of our love. And it was beautiful.

Afterward people remarked on how much they had enjoyed the ritual and asked where we had learned it. They seemed so surprised when we told them it was our own. They suggested that we "do it again," and we explained that that's how we always do it, except without the Handfasting in the middle. They said that we should do a full moon ritual that way, and again we said, "We do." The response changed everything...

"Can we come?"

From that first Handfasting ritual a Coven grew. From that Coven, a Tradition. And from that Tradition, a church, a prison ministry and now a Seminary. Prima Nupta means the "First Marriage," and is in reference to our Handfasting ritual, the first ritual, the marriage that gave birth to the Witches of Mill Creek. This past July 19th we celebrated the 6th year anniversary of our Marriage and much, much more.

Thank you Lord & Lady for our own divine union, BB.