Good Year, Bad Year; Predictions for 2018 and Looking Back at the Past Two Years

2016 was the first year in my memory where it seemed everyone agreed that the year sucked. Looking back on 2016 I remember a few major events that caused the word to shutter and be happy it was over but nothing like 2017. Personally, 2016 was a huge year for taking out the garbage. It was a year of pain and numbness and by the end, I was left in a state where I had no blood relatives, single for the first time in my adult life, unemployed, in more duet then I ever been in, and essentially homeless. Due in no small part to amazing friends 2017 became a year of growth, and like all growing came to a lot of pain. On top of the political strife and unease of the world, I had to pick myself up and figure out who I am. I had an amazing support system that followed me through the year, but I had a lot of work to do and still do. At the end of 2017 for a second time, the world let out a sigh of relief and begged that it wouldn’t get worse. All across the magickal community, I see everyone predicting 2018 to be a positive and uplifting year full of prosperity and hope; but on social media I still see memes joking that the worse is yet to come.

2018 flowers

Where I fear the memes of social media may be correct for our political future I hope my horoscope is correct on a personal level. I needed a year of prosperity, career movement, and personal happiness. Aside from my personal feelings of the world needing a year or possibly a decade of average citizens saying enough is enough; I want to focus on the positive predictions and how individuals and the magickal community can make 2018 be the year we are hoping for. I don’t know about other signs but all that I have read for Aquarians is 2018 will be a year for career growth due to Pluto’s location in our career house and personal growth. I have read on several platforms that Aquarians will see a major turnaround in “luck” that will last past 2018. I am no astronomer and have no education in this field so cannot say for myself; please if you know more or better feel free to comment. I am sure we all need this kind of luck but how can we ensure 2018 is better?

On a magickal note, January is the best month for preparing magick for the year. The first falls on a Full Moon Monday! So much power for magickal use right at the start, but if you are reading this after the first fear, not the 31st is also a Full Moon, Blue Moon, and a Super Moon! What a powerful start that screams use it and one of my New Year’s resolutions (made back at Samhain) was to do more magick. My plan for January first is to do a job spell, one that I have done before but with a little more grown up magick to it. I am no longer looking for just a job but a career to build on and will be focusing my intention on longevity and financial independence. We are witches; we have the power through our magick to change our circumstances this should be the first thing we do to make 2018 our year.

fullmoon

As I have said before, I do hope all of the predictions for a positive 2018 come to light but I am not going to just sit around and hope. I intend to do everything I can about it. As every good magick practitioner will tell you, you can’t expect results without putting in the work. Do the magick and do the normal stuff to get you to your goals. Changing my grandmother’s favorite saying to fit “The Gods help those who help themselves.” Some of the things I am planning to help 2018 be positive and uplifting are:

1. To make a jar of positive thought- I am going to take a jar and fill it with fortune cookie slips, yogi tea tabs, and other small pieces of happiness; so when I feel down I can just pull one out and read it. To further this practice I might also use the thoughts to meditate on. I would defiantly help change a negative mood.

2. Work on my smile- My Christmas present to myself was a water pick, and since then I have used it every day! I have had bad oral health most of my life and it is definitively and expensive problem. I hope the water pick will help the current issues and prevent more.

3. Minimize my footprint- 2018 I will stop using one-time use plastics. Including shopping bags, straws, cups, containers, etc. I will refuse Styrofoam and seek out new ways to minimize waste in my daily life. I know this will be a work in progress but I have all year to do it.

What are your New Years resolutions? What kind of magick are your going to do to make 2018 your year?

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com, or follow me on Twitter @AutumnIronWolf

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My 101 Reading List

Two years into my serious studies of Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism I realized something most avid reader of Pagan books comment on. A lot of material is repeated and that there are a growing mountain of Wicca 101 books. At that time I was quite certain that I had mastered the basics but there was still so much I wanted to read. So, I wrote myself a reading list. A steadfast curriculum to finish what some call their Dedicant Year(s). This list was written base on books I already owned and had not read yet. I have finally finished this list!

This not a list for seekers, ones who just found the craft. Where a lot of the books on this list are advertised as such there are some I would not suggest as a first witch book and some that I would not suggest to read at all. I am a slow reader, fearless in perusing the end of any book and enjoy reading textbook like texts so these books might not be everyone’s cup of tea. As I said before these were not my baby witch books and most certainly not all the books I have read on Wiccan and Paganism or the only things I have read in the past year. The following list is completed marks for me a personal acceptance to move toward higher concepts and serious education. My homework is done. Now I will show my work!

  • Wicca Revealed- Wicca Revealed is the Wicca/ Witchcraft 101 course given by MagickaSchool.com.  MagickaSchool.com is a great resource not only for Wicca 101 and 202 lessons, but also Tarot, Kabbalah, Herbalism, and Spell Crafting. Wicca Revealed its self is a fantastic course for the new witch but a word of caution; the tests are hard. The questions are not necessarily relevant to a spiritual pursuit, or for a solitary eclectic. If you don’t care to remember exact dates or feel associations are a personal choice I would just take the test to unlock the next lesson and don’t feel the questions are what makes a witch.gbg
  • Witchcraft Today by Gerald B. Gardner– My homework would not be complete if I did not crack open this historic text. For without Witchcraft Today none of this would have been. Personally, Gardner was hard to get through. You can tell he thought highly of himself and he is definitely a storyteller, but I do have to respect his moxy.  He was one of the first to jump out of the broom closet and allowed the light to shine. I am marveled at how far we have come from then.
  • Wiccan Beliefs & Practices: With Rituals for Solitaries & Covens by Gary Cantrell– Oh my! This is one of the few books I sold back to the bookstore instead of adding it to my Reclaiming Community book swap bin. Cantrell speaks a lot about a Pagan community that doesn’t exist anymore and not in a positive light. The book is a good overview of basic beliefs and principles of Wicca but is highly outdated of information on the Pagan community as a whole. Cantrell is also rude and dismissive of other paths. I would not suggest this book personally.
  • Wicca, for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham– I read this book as one of my very first baby witch books when I was a teen and knew I needed to reread it when constructing this list. I strongly suggest not just reading Cunningham and then never picking up another book, which I see very frequently. Instead, read the books he references. Cunningham has a very light and clear way of explaining difficult concepts and is an author I strongly suggest.
  •  Living Wicca by Scott CunninghamlivingLiving Wicca is the follow up to Solitary Practitioner and gives more information. If a new witch were to pick up these two I do suggest reading a few books in between them instead of reading them in direct succession. Not because he leaves gaps making it difficult to follow, but because if they are all you have to base on you’ll have a very light knowledge.
  • The Spiral Dance by Starhawk– The copy I read was the 20th-anniversary edition with 10 years and 20 years notes on how Starhawk currently perceives the concepts written. This is slightly frustrating and fascinating. You get to watch an Elder in the craft grow as a teacher and practitioner but you also get some contradictions. I know a lot of witches that have read Spiral Dance and we all had a similar experience. It reads at its own pace and if you try to power through it you will be slowed down even more. The experience has its own magick to it, ensuring the reader allows for chewing of concepts; and everyone learns something new about themselves while reading it.         margot
  • Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler– This book is probably the most textbook like book on this list. Adler performed numerous tests, handed out dozens of questionnaires, interviewed several people, and completed field research to such an academic level equaling that of a cultural anthropologist. All of her work preserved a fully formed view of the Neo-Pagan community of the 1970’s, giving witches today an amazing resource on our development. Readers would be opened to how groups like Covenant of the Goddess formed, Z Budapest first came on the scene, and the formation and subsequent dissolution of many groups otherwise forgotten. I suggest this book to avid readers, history buffs, and any witch that is willing. In all honesty, there are sections I skipped and even a chapter I only grazed over, but that’s ok. Read what you can, I guarantee you will get something out of it.
  • Earth, Air, Fire, Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic by Scott Cunningham– I picked this book up hopes to learn how to develop a stronger relationship with the elements. This was the wrong book for that. In his sequel to Earth Magic, Cunningham wrote a spell book focused on natural magick and gave the readers a lesson on how to develop their own spell work within the natural magick structure; with each element and some places, the elements can be found. Such as the difference between water, snow, and ocean magick, or how to use star magick. I still liked and learned from the book it just wasn’t what I was hoping it to be or at a level I was looking for.
  • Maiden, Mother, Crone: The Myth and Reality of the Triple Goddess by D. J. Conway– I honestly was not expecting Conway to be such a feminist, or for this book to be a copulation of myths and stories of the three faces of the Goddess. Once again, I picked up this book and the one below in hopes I would be able to develop a stronger relationship with the Goddess and God. Where this book set me on the right path; it was not as deep on relationship building as I wanted. lord of lightAfter introducing the aspect of the Goddess there is a chapter devoted to breaking down mythos from their patriarchal retellings. This was the first book where I read the story of Persephone completely void of Hades. Where it was Kore’s choice to become the queen of the underworld to help the dead not out of marital restrictions, rape, or kidnapping. If you read this and liked Conway’s views I suggest reading Jailbreaking the Goddess by Lasara Firefox Allen.
  • Lord of Light and Shadow by D. J. Conway– Like Maiden, Mother, Crone Conway wrights to give a feminist view of the Pagan Gods, and I liked it. Now knowing what to expect Conway’s Lord of Light and Shadow gave me more stories that I haven’t read and concepts to chew over. Both books set me on the path to understanding my Patron Gods and Goddesses but only just a taste of their full potential. The main take away I got from Reading Load of Light was that a patriarchal society such as the one we live in also harms men and male passing individuals. I have learned to be more sensitive to the struggles of others.

In the end, every book on this list taught me something new and gave me the foundation I have today. I can not express how important it is for Pagans to keep reading and developing a deeper understanding of themselves. My plan is to take a break from “witchy” books and catch up on my fiction list before diving back into a new list.

What are you reading?

Please share with me in the comment!

I started a Twitter! Follow me @AutumnIronWolf

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com, or follow me on Twitter @AutumnIronWolf

 

The Wiccan Rede, and How to Live by It

 

Reviewing past posts I found a promise I made in The Ethics of Hex and Curses; a promise I have yet to make good on. “Harm none, Do as thy will.” Is one of many modern interpretations of the Wiccan Rede, followed by countless Neo-Pagans. The original, first seen in Green Egg (1975) under the title of “Rede Of The Wiccae” was a full-length poem written by Gwen Porter and can be found republished and updated on the internet. The most common take away from Porter’s poem is the statement above; how far do we go with harm none is debated amongst its believers.

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A section of the full-length poem Rede Of The Wiccae by Gwen Porter

Like many Neo-Pagan beliefs, the Wiccan Rede is not believed by all Wiccans and not limited to Wiccans. However, the extent to which it is practiced differs wildly. A common way of implementing the Rede into life is to apply it to magick only but this does come with a problem. If a practitioner casts a spell to get a job and gets the job someone will not get it. Does that cause harm to the person who did not get the job? Yes, could harm someone is avoidable with or without magick? No, but not all who look at the rede from a magickal standpoint see it that way. Another view is to apply the Rede to daily life, but again to what extent differs among practitioners.

A large amount of Pagans limit the harm to no harm to the earth. Meaning they work very hard to minimize their environmental impact. You will also see Vegetarians and Vegan Pagans refusing to eat meat and animal products to limit harm to animals. Following the Rede may even drive some into the healthcare profession. My first life-altering commitment to follow the Rede was to stop using make-up and beauty products tested on animals.  After doing a small amount of research I was floored by how many beauty companies still test their products on animals and how many lie about their testing practices. To go completely cruelty-free I had to start from shampoo down with my beauty routine and now make no qualms about turning down free or gifted products that have been tested on animals.

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Leaping Bunny Program’s logo seen on certified cruelty free products.

The easiest way to pick products that have not been tested on animals is to look for the Leaping Bunny symbol on the back. The Leaping Bunny Program is a Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) created in the 90’s as a third party unit to define and regulate cosmetic companies that want to be certified cruelty free. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) also maintains a list on their website of companies that produces and distributes cruelty-free products. Even with these resources, it is not always easy to shop cruelty-free on a drug store dime. Most of the quality cruelty free products are pricier then their common competitors and certain products are hard to find cruelty free. I am still struggling to find a box hair dye with a pigment that lasts and is cruelty-free.

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PETA’s logo for cruelty-free products.

I have recently branched out from beauty products to household cleaners and goods such as candles. It took me a year or so to get beauty products that I liked cruelty free so I expect a similar curve with household goods. Other ways I work toward no harm include bringing reusable bags while shopping and refusing to use one-time-use straws. The bags have become common practice and the country of France recently outlawed one use shopping bags, but I still get strange looks for the straws. I recently made the commitment to stop using one-time-use straws after watching a YouTube video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck down his nostril. I am not above saying this video traumatized me into action.  I took a few days to become aware of how many straws I go through in a day and then reviewed an image I used in the previous post on recycling to see how long our one-time-use straws last.

In this time I decided there were instances that I favored having a straw and did not believe I could get around not having one so I purchased a pack of reusable straws from Starbucks. The pack I got had three green straws that fit in most medium to large beverages and the packaging fit into my purse. So like reusable shopping bags I started carrying around a pack of straws. After a month I saw myself getting better at refusing straws at restaurants and remembering to pull out my own straws for to-go cups, but I found smaller cups to be an excuse not to use my big straws. In response to that excuse, I went back to Starbucks and got a pack of smaller straws to carry as well. I have every intention to minimize the amount of useless and unsafe trash I produce, at any cost. Some people do not like trading one type of plastic for another and for them there are plenty of stainless steel reusable straws out there for purchase.

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An Image from that video of Texas A&M University researchers removing a straw deeply in bedded in the nostril of a Sea Turtle.  If you want to support the Marine Biologists that saved this Turtle’s life please follow this link: https://www.gofundme.com/wuhvd6zj

So as I have demonstrated there are many ways to do as you will without causing harm. You don’t have to do everything all at once but making small changes every day and becoming aware of the harm you can cause makes the world a better place.

How do you implement the Rede into your life?

Please share with me in the comment!

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

Refuse Single Use Plastic: http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/

 

My Morning Prayer

In a lot of the beginners’ books on Wicca, there is an emphasis on creating a daily practice, and I always brushed it off as something I would work on down the line. A daily practice wasn’t something I wanted to focus on right now, I just didn’t have the time, I’m too inexperienced; were my excuses. Its surprising now to think I didn’t really have to “work at” adding prayer to my morning. I clock in at 7 am five mornings out of the week and find myself four stories up looking at Camelback and the Papago Mountains between 8 and 10 am.18342211_10155333921268417_6852586912892122644_nMost practitioners prefer to ground on solid ground but seeing the largest representations of earth for my region above the building is very humbling to me. It is heard where I focus my breath and release all that will not serve me throughout my day. Then with my head down and eyes closed I send my attention to the four cardinal directions, calling the elements in my mind’s voice as I go. Once I have a circle I call the Goddess and God to help me through my day. Normally asking for attributes I feel I need for that day or their protection. Then I thank the spirits of the land I live on for nourishment, ending with a chant of “may the summer be short” repeated once.15941431_10154943040248417_8857899218113315545_nI then close my circle and go about my day. This practice does not take long and does not affect my work, but it is quickly becoming not enough. I have only been unable to complete this practice at work once and it has become such an important part of my day when I don’t work I feel like my day got off on the wrong foot. Sadly I have only ever noticed this is the cause of the feeling until evening and not the time for a day starting prayer. Also, before starting my prayer every morning I think to myself that I should also be doing an end of day prayer to thank the Goddess and God for their gifts but the memory to do so does not stick. I hope to expand this practice in these ways. I actually feel more focused and clear after my prayer and would like that feeling to wash over to days I do not work and before bed.

 

Do you have a daily practice? Do prayers or devotions? How would you like to expand on these?

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

Back and Ready to Write

Hi All,

Sorry for the long absence. Between my life getting busier and the ever-changing political environment writing seemed harder and harder, but I’m ready to start posting again. I have been in a stand still with my magickal practice as well. My work scheduled has made it difficult for me to go to ritual, I was stuck in one book for almost two months, and my book club has been woefully neglected. You could say this witch has fallen off her path. Well, its time to dust off my pointy hat and get back on the broom. I know I don’t tend to post personal stories but coming out and clean about my absence is how I see myself restarting. I hope you don’t mind!

I personally feel a type of spiritual practice is necessary for our mental health and when you let it fall from the level you are happiest at it leads to downfalls in other areas of life. So here I am taking the reins back and saying I’m in charge! Who’s with me? Coming up you can expect from the IronWolf Circle a look into the American legal battles and what protections they granted Pagans, how I incorporate the “Harm None” clause into my daily life, and Initiation. Please feel free to contact me here or through email.

Blessed Bee,

Autumn Wolfe

autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

How to Handle Protesters at a Pagan Event

It’s that time of year again! When Pagan Pride Festivals and open rituals start popping up in our communities, and with them all the problems of being pagan in public. In light of the protesters visiting Nashville’s Pagan Pride day I thought it would be fitting to give some advice on how to still enjoy your day out with fellow pagans while protesters try to ruin it. These suggestions are for attendees and not organizers and I do encourage all to follow the rules set forth by the event coordinators, but sometimes everyone is following the rules and there are still gray areas on how to deal with these issues.

  • A majority of the time protesters will not be allowed into the event or will set up “shop” at the front entrance to discourage attendees from entering. For the protesters, this tactic can be very effective, especially on people who would be coming to their first event. As an attendee of a Pagan event, the best way to handle this type of protest is to walk by without acknowledging the protest. I suggest eyes down, ears closed till you get into the event or the sign-in table. If the protesters signal you out, physically touch you, or otherwise make your entrance difficult inform organizers, police, or event/ venue staff as quickly and calmly as possible.
  •   Sometimes, with open public events, protesters are able to walk in an attempt to disturb the event from the inside. This can be the most difficult time when dealing with protesters; since they are not just using volume to disrupt but their persons. As with the Nashville Pagan Pride, these protesters could also videotape their actions. If you are “in the broom-closet” this can be terrifying. I do want to take a moment and remind you that in some cases when going to an event you are giving permission to be photographed or videotaped. Before going to an event check their rules to be sure this is explained for the event its self. When done for the event or vendors they normally ask before the picture is taken and give you a chance to move. However, when the protesters are videotaping it is best to just turn your back and let them pass by. You can find the video the Nashville protesters posted online and see individuals that can be identified are clearly standing in front of the protest. Other attendees are not identifiable. I would not suggest going up to them to engage or trying to impend traffic through the event.
  •    When protesters become verbally or physically violent the best thing for an attendee to do is to get out of the way. Let the police handle the assault and give a clear and calm description of what you witnessed when asked by police or organizers. If you were involved or saw what happened to stay at the event to give your account. Help injured or angered friend remain calm and walk a safe distance away from the altercation. Do not describe parties involved by religion or group when giving police statements. Describe by the apprentice from foot to head. If people fled or left this is extremely important for police follow up as they can get group names from people involved in the groups but not always personal descriptions. Remember in the aftermath most parties are going to protect their own. This includes lying about who started what and who was involved. If you give a clear, impartial, and honest statement you will be presenting the event well and help police better investigate and prepare for next year.
  • When you see a person you know involved in the protest do not walk up to the individual or engage with them later on the issue. Maintain distance and if they notice you be polite and do not confirm your reason for presence. This is especially important if you know this person from your place of employment. Say hello, it was nice to see you, then move on. If this person later attempts to reveal your presence at the event you can then go to your HR department and honestly state you never confirmed or denied your involvement in the event while reporting the inappropriate workplace behavior.

Most importantly while attending a Pagan event remember you are representing all attendees, the event its self, and Pagans. The best way to do so is with positivity and light. When our events end up on the news because of protest mainstream media will take anything to make Neo-Paganism look bad. So don’t be the one to give them fuel, only give them the story of protesters came and were handled by the appropriate authorities or left out of boredom. Have a fun and safe festival season!

Do you have any stories about protesters at a pagan event?

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

 

Fluffy Bunny, How Pagans Bully

“That group is full of fluffy bunnies, look at their clothes!”

“She is such a fluffy bunny, I can’t carry on a conversation without her insisting Margaret Murray’s Witch-Cult was real.”

“Oh, I’m not a fluffy bunny. I embrace the dark and the light.”

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  Upon entering a new community you start to pick up on the lexicon, different terms used to express ideals, stereotypes, and common experiences.  The same is true with Pagan communities, whether online or in real life you learn the difference between a bolin and an athame fairly quickly; but what about insults. Words are thrown around to distinguish the others or less than. The ones you are not. You will hear them but are they always defined?In Christianity, you will hear someone called a “rainy day Christian” or a “Christmas Catholic” both are terms used to describe a believer who only shows up to service when it suits them. In Paganism we may have a similar term, but an even more hurtful insult is being called a “fluffy bunny”. I have seen the fluffy bunny insult used in three different ways but it always is meant to distinguish an individual or group that is not authentic or a real Pagan.

The three common uses for the term fluffy bunny are 1. The first and most common is to describe the dabblers, or the Pagans that have read one book and they know it all (IReadits) and the fad followers. These are the ‘kids’ (can be adults) who wear all the jewelry they can get their hands on and buy up all the fancy tools. 2. The second is the Pagans that don’t like to think about the dark side. The Pagans who are all rainbows and sunshine and never would talk about the negative. Peace, Love and keep all the underworld away from me. 3. The third are the Pagans willing to throw away all recent historic findings to embrace the rhetoric brought forth in the early years of Neo-Paganism. These Pagans refuse to hear about the Burning Times, Gerald Gardner,  and Margaret Murray in any capacity then how they see it.

fluffy-bunny3

You will encounter people who fit into these three stereotypes and want to call them a fluffy bunny. You will hear other Pagans use the term and now know what they mean, but should you repeat it? With Neo-Paganism being so open to all walks of life and personal interpretation do we even have the right to bully others for practicing in a different way or choosing what they are about? I had a hard time dealing with the “Wiccans” described in the most common use of fluffy bunny when I was younger. I believed not only “Fluffy Bunnies are frequently attracted to Wicca for the sake of appearance” but anyone in my age range was as well. Anyone in my school who said they were Wiccan got lumped in with the goths, emo kids, and attention seekers. If I knew the term I would have spat it at them just as frequently as I was called a weirdo and loser.

Image result for fluffy bunny pagans

Which brings me to my point. As teens, most of us were bullied. We know the sting for being called names and as teens expect it. As adults, in a complicated community that does require some level of maturity to participate should we be throwing around insults like fluffy? I agree the “fluffiness” needs to combat, but how many people who are insulted for a lack of knowledge suddenly become deadly serious to learn? Instead of insults and saying behind these bunnies backs, they are”air-headed idiots more at home in a Walt Disney cartoon than in the Pagan community” Why can’t we give the opportunity for dialect and education?  I bet some of these fluffy bunnies were never given the opportunity to brush down their fur.

Sources:

http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/fluffy.shtml

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/msg0019.htm

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com