Tuesday, 28 July 2015

PDU – New Ideas

Or there lack of?

The Pagan community is an interesting place whereby everything old is new again. Whether it is traditional witchcraft, shamanism, making flying ointments or crafting an eclectic path – there aren’t any real “new” ideas; just old ones re-invented. It’s not a bad thing by any stretch, it’s an amazing thing, to take ideas seemingly lost to time and bring them back into the public eye, creating new traditions from old traditions, creating new products from old ideas (witch bottles, flying ointments, spirit traps). It brings a new depth and creativity to the Craft, preventing it from stagnating and becoming something that everyone is doing the same of.

However, these old ideas made new do become new ideas in of themselves and they create opportunities for growth on the path. I have found of late that so many are taking old traditions and incorporating them into their Craft, me being no exception to that. It is creating a rich, vibrant tapestry of witchcraft, giving every practitioner an individual path that is different from the next practitioner. We all interpret things differently; the ideas presented or created being no exception. I’m now finding myself moving into the art of shapeshifting (early stages) and have found a wonderful mentor and teacher to guide me on the journey. This is an old idea, but for me, it is a new one, a new road in my journey, a new art to learn and use.

Although, I do find somewhat amusing how when it rains it pours in the Pagan community, and with new ideas or repurposed ideas, more than one person seems to have them at the same time. An idea I had in August last year but didn’t act on immediately was an idea others had and have acted upon. It’s an interesting dilemma but also interesting how some of us think of the same things. I’m not sure if I’ll go ahead with my idea or not – I don’t really want to be accused of copying or imitation (which is also another issue with new or “old made new” ideas in the community), I think I’ll see how I get on (so many things on my plate right now).

I hope the continuation of new ideas continues, it offers a rich tapestry of information, practice and eventually history to furnish the Craft with. I’m proud to be some one who is contributing to that, in whatever way I may be doing so.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

PDU -Ethics

Ethics is always an interesting topic. A long time a go I wrote a lesson on ethics for part of a course I was teaching but I think, even now, my views have changed again somewhat.

So what are ethics?

Ethics:

1. (Used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture. 
2. The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics. 
3. Moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence. 
4. (usually used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

From here.

I hold to ethical idea of personal responsibility. I don’t believe in, nor adhere to, the ‘karma’ or ‘threefold’ or ‘harm none’ philosophy. I find them quite unrealistic and honestly, a bit of a control mechanism. I do believe that the universe keeps a balance on its own, I tend to ascribe more to the ‘equal and opposite reaction’ idea. But I don’t believe that all magic attracts consequence or an opposite reaction. I think if you work magic for petty, mean-minded reasons then you more than deserve an ass kicking in return in equal measure, but if the actions are necessary, justified or for personal gain that is not at the (deliberate) expense of some one else, then there’s not going to be any sort of consequence or reaction. My personal theory of course, I’m sure there are many that would disagree. I do believe that some actions bring about our own destruction as much as they bring about good things for us – it depends on your perspective. To be clear, I do believe in cursing, hexing, binding and all manner of “black magic” (oh how I hate that whole shade thing – it’s just magic people, just magic!!) and I do believe that in some cases those actions are absolutely necessary.

Another of my personal ethics is never to discuss exact usages of entheogenic herbs in public, I’m a cynic, people tend to be stupid and not exercise much common sense (that sounds a bit harsh huh?) so to put that info out there where it could potentially end up in the wrong hands would be irresponsible of me. If I was to teach some one or was to work within a coven or circle I would share it, but not outside of that. I will discuss generalities though, it’s good to share some things, and information on certain topics can be hard to come by so if I know it, I’m happy to share it to the extent I’m comfortable with.

I suppose my ethics are pretty flexible, I’m not a malicious person so my nature isn’t toward magic of that sort, but I see no reason to not do magic to protect, gain or change. I’ve done all of those and will continue to do so.

What are your ethics when it comes to magic?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

PDU - Yule

Lucious, ripe Firethorn

I always struggle with Yule at this time of year. It’s not really cold enough for me to think ‘winter is here’ – not to go all GoT but winter is coming, just not yet. It’s very cool, yes, and being that I’m a soft touch, I have a water bottle, flannie sheets and a very warm doona but still, I think winter won’t show until July proper. I’m looking forward to it, I like the cold, I like to curl up with a hot water bottle and a book. I like an excuse to have those few extra minutes in bed simply because it is too cold to get up and the cocoon I’m in is so cozy.

Winter is also interesting where I live; it’s unpredictable from year to year. Some years we get high rainfall, other times biting cold, even the very occasional bit of snow (which tends to melt before it hits the ground). We have dewy mornings, frost – some years ‘black frost’ which tends to kill everything that is sensitive. Last year we had a black frost, it temporarily killed off my Jacaranda (a surprise) yet the things you think would die off didn’t. But no two winters are ever the same. This year we’ve had relatively decent rainfall, no frost as yet and the cold is obvious in the morning, but hit mid morning it’s brisk but not cold. The coolness doesn’t start setting in til about 3pm or so, depending on the day. Some days we have lovely warm sun at 4pm – our verandah is a good place to be sitting when it comes. Even our Oak was late to the party; she’s still hanging on to some of her autumn leaves.

I didn’t celebrate Yule on the 21st of June, I likely won’t be celebrating yet for quite some time, I would rather have a meaningful connection with it and have it make sense than to enact a hollow acknowledgement to it. I will know when it’s time because the Cailleach will be breathing down my neck, her icy breath letting me know that it is now time to pay tribute to Winter, to see the season in it’s full glory and revel in the highs and lows that come with this season. Winter is my quiet time, my reflection time, my planning time and my indoor herbal madness time. I have plans for this season and I’m looking forward to enacting some of them.

Like cheese-making.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

PDU - The Element of Earth

For my PDU entry this fortnight, I thought I would share some of the photos from my trip to the cemetery. It might seem like an odd choice but a cemetery to me is almost the epitomy of Earth, for when we pass it is where we return to - it is what we become a part of. The great heartbeat of Mother Earth and those who lie upon and within her, serving her in some capacity as stewards, keepers and creators.









 "Eternal slumber long and deep
Returning to the Mother
As the Earth spins and spins
Life is life is death is again
Lying below, lying above
The trees whisper, taking root
Part of all and part of none
Changing, evolving, growing
Into a spirit of Earth"

© Stacey Carroll

Monday, 1 June 2015

PDU - Underworld

The dirt beneath my fingers, the earth calls to me. I lay within her bosom and I hear her heartbeat.

A breeze touches my mind
And lends to me its strength
As I walk into the darkness
Of a forest hidden in shadow

I feel the earth tremble beneath
Its power so potent and strong
The energy rises inside me
To meet the challenge to come

I walk further into the darkness
To find the cavernous heart 
Nature is my spirit twin
My heart beats to its rhythm.

For the magic held within these woods
Is older than the oldest
Primal and ancient it calls
I heed, I join, I know.

Embraced within her natural womb
The darkness is no longer frightening
As I meld my mind and spirit
I feel its call to me, its pull.

To be within this earthy womb
Is to feel like coming home
To know that within this place
I will find who I am.”

© Stacey Carroll

This poem speaks to me, it came from a hidden part of my mind long ago (I may have even published it here on the blog before), it reminds me of the path we all walk, from the surface, to the Underworld and back again. It’s perhaps not the most traditional imagining of the Underworld but for me, as I walk the hedge witch path, the Underworld is not necessarily the domain of Hades or some dark, mysterious place but another realm on a journey, another place to seek knowledge, to walk with spirits and talk with those who know of things that I do not.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Autumn Flowers

It might be getting cold now but the flowers are coming out now, showing their beautiful faces to the small flashes of sun. Small flashes of colour here and there amongst the burgeoning green. 

Stevia

Carnation

Elder

Feverfew

Climbing Geranium

Lavender

Bulbs

Blue Potato Bush

Rose

Rose

Snapdragon

Monday, 11 May 2015

PDU - Life and Death/Ancestors/Samhain


I’m very late on the PDU posts so I’ve decided to combine the last three topics together. I also think they all correspond to one another in one form or another. I’m not even sure what to write really, maybe I’ll just type and see what comes out.

Life & Death

Interestingly, I don’t fear death. It’s an inevitable part of life, perhaps it’s the consequence of living or maybe the reward. Could it be the journey’s end when one has accomplished everything or the full stop to a life of regret? I fear the manner in which I might die but I think that’s natural, overall it’s not something I give a lot of daily thought to, why borrow trouble? Perhaps being Pagan I tend not to worry overly much about it because this realm, this life is only one life in the many that we have, will have or have had. I’m a student of the mysteries, a wild mystic who sees beyond what is now. I’m also studying Past Life Therapy (among so many other things) so it does lend itself to a thought process of there being more beyond what is currently this life. I believe in the ancestral soul, which means that our memories, our past lives, perhaps even the very core of who we are is passed down in the blood, we are so much more than just the sum of our parts, we are also parts of those who walked before us and we carry the soul knowledge of them and also the soul knowledge of those who will come after us. In some ways we are immortal, because whether it is past, present or future, we all live on in some form. So essentially, I would say my final thoughts of life and death is that we live, we die, we love, we share, we cry, we hurt, we grow and we eventually return to the darkness before moving to wherever it is our souls move on to beginning the process of existence once again in whatever form that happens to be.

Ancestors

I don’t really do ancestor worship, it’s not something I as yet feel comfortable doing because my ancestors are just names on a page – my family is not the closest. What do I think when I think of my ancestors? Mystery – yet I also know some of them better than I know my own blood. I’m descended from convicts and immigrants. My maternal line has a rather interesting lot of characters in it. Four of them were all First Fleeters - two former slaves – one African American (thought to be very musical, especially on the harmonica and tambourine), the other either West Indian or Carribean – although some also claim Africa American as well. One found guilty of ‘felonious assault and putting him (the victim) in corporal fear of danger of his life’ (English) and finally the future (English) husband of the felonious assaulter who was transported for ‘felonious stealing’ – he was originally intended for America but due to ‘mutinous behaviour’ on board the ship was put to trial again and sent to Australia. The two Johns (both slaves, a.k.a John R and John M) must have become quite good friends as John R’s daughter married John M. There was also the dear George Bowerman who was eventually hung for highway robbery. John M's daughter Mary married George's son George Jnr and their daughter married Mary's sister's son John (guessing the options for spouses must have been quite limited - and John was a popular name). There is plenty of Irish and English in my maternal line, explains why I burn like a tomato instead of tan, my lucky brother on the other hand must have inherited the darker genes from the Johns, as well as my Spanish ancestor – he tans not burns.

On my paternal side was a Spaniard who immigrated to Tasmania, his daughter had 3 husbands – I’m descended from husband number #2 – a little mystery surrounding one William Carroll (very generic Irish name), some say he came to Australia escaping the law in Ireland. We’ll never know because no one knows anything much about him. My paternal line, outside of that, is mostly English with a rather large Cornwall contingent. I’ve investigated a little bit, I know names, places, dates but I don’t particularly get the essence of any of my ancestors, so perhaps one day, I’ll come to think about working with them but not right now.

Samhain

Not particularly working with the Beloved Dead or Ancestors, my Samhain is generally reserved for seasonable observance and nothing more. It’s an indicator on the path of Autumn, the time when the shades of trees begin to change and the weather cools. I don’t even recognise it as a time when the veil is thinnest because being a hedge witch, you tend to always be one side of the veil or the other. Perhaps that will change; I’m still learning which seasonal observances I truly wish to honour.