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 stead fast curriculum to finish what some call their Dedicant Year(s). This list was writen 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 be read at all. I am a slow reader, fearless in perusing the end of any book, and enjoy reading text bookish writing 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 being 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 choose 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 though. You can tell he thought highly of himself and he is definitely a story teller, 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 book store 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 for 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 Starhaw 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 though 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 text book like book on this list. Adler preformed 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 into 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 braking 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 Conways 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 on 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 deeper understanding of them selves. My plan is to take a break from “witchy” books and catch up on my fiction list before diving back in to 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

 

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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 to 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 hear where I focus my breath and release all that will not serve me though out my day. Then with my head down and eyes closed I send my attention to the four cardinal directions, calling the elements in my minds voice as I go. Once I have a circle I call the Goddess and God to help me though 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 effect 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 a 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 hear I am taking the rains 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 hear or though 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 aloud 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 and 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 video tape 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 video taped. 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 video taping 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 though 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 do 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 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 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 work place 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 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 cloths!”

“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.”

fluffy (1)

  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 thrown around to distinguish the others or less then. 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 are 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 in to 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 combated, 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

 

 

High and Low Magick

At my first Pagan gathering I was sitting around the sacred fire with the High Priestess of my coven and few others who, like me, were unwilling to move from the warmth of the blaze. When, a class just happened to be scheduled for that location began; the class was Magick 101. Since I was already there I decided to stay in my seat and listen politely to the instructor. The first thing the instructor did was ask each of the people around the fire their level of knowledge. Some people where members of different covens, others were solitary, and I was honest about being new to my coven and serious study. The next thing the instructor did was ask “What is the difference between High and Low Magick?”

Que me slinking farther in to my blankets and hoodie, it was going to be a long class discussing the same information I just wrote a three paragraph essay on for the woman equity buried in microfiber beside me. The instructor looked around the circle, and the second answer he received is one I remember shaking my head to. The High Priest of I don’t remember coddled his answer in the form of a story with an ending moral of High Magic was when you impose your will on someone else. I guess I was to noticeably surprised, or disused by the implications of his answer since I felt two pairs of eyes on me. My High Priestess wanted me to speak up and the instructor wanted the “new girl” to give a go. I untangled my moth from my cave of fuzzy materials to be heard and gave a short one sentence answer, before like a grumpy dragon retreating to her cave gave the instructor the floor to continue. I will not be giving you readers just the one sentence answer I spewed on that 19°F October afternoon. Instead lets brake down these forms of magick to understand better what they are.

Low Magick also referred to as Nature Magick, is any magick performed using tools of nature to incite change on this plane of existence. High Magick is ceremonial magick intended to bring the practitioner closer to deity. Normally very strict in performance or done on the astral plane. So, as you can see the high/low is not in reference to a hierarchy but the plane in which the magick is intended to affect. Almost all magick a witch performs can be considered Low Magick.

Historically speaking Low Magick was preformed by the healers and cunning folk of the village. You needed your crops blessed, your child healed, the pests out of your home; the magick preformed was to affect your plane of existence and preformed by someone of similar social standing as you. So, another way to look at why they are distinguished in High and Low is noticeable. High Magick took training and time, everything had to be preformed perfectly, and the magician was of high stature. Not to be bothered with issues of the common folk but communing with the Gods for King and State.

The first book Gerald Gardner published on Wicca was “High Magic’s Aid”. Published at the time as fiction, Gardner’s book divulged methods of Magick he learned from his time with the Golden Dawn, and how modern pagans open and release circle can be traced to High Magickal practices. So, where the distinction of high and low is not an indication of strength or one being better then the other, it does assist the practitioner in understanding the differences in both practices.

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

 

 

Recycling as an Act of Devotion

When I lived in apartments in North Georgia recycling was next to impossible. My complex did not participate in any program or pick up and the closest plant was an hour’s drive away. I hated the amount of wast we were generating as a two person family, but I personally was unable to do anything about it on a regular basis. Moving out to Phoenix there was a large difference in the acceptability of recycling resources. Now living in a three person household we may generate a bag of waste a week and up to two bags of recyclables.

Why did not being able to recycle bother me so much? As Pagans we practice an earth-based religion, and if so then what happens to our scared space should be a major influence on our practice. Look at other religions that hold sacred space in buildings and special places. Do they leave these “houses” of their deities dirty and neglected? No, so why is the earth, our sacred space any different? Taking care of the earth is an act in its self of devotion to our home and to the Gods when placed into this context. But, your thinking, recycling is a no brainier due in part to the large recycling movement of the ’90s; however according to US Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) 66% of the materials we throw into landfills could be recycled.

That means all that talk in the ’90s and early 2000s didn’t really make that large of an impact. I don’t think I know a single person who would not say recycling is important, but how many of these people recycle on a regular base? When Earth Day rolled around the company I was working for made a big fuse about how green and energy efficient the buildings were, but the free cups in the brake rooms were styrofoam and there were no air driers in the bathrooms. As you can see above, one strofoam cup takes 50 years to decompose and a paper towel 3 or 4. So, a large company that has over 500 employees at one campus; witch an average of each employee using up to three cups per day and six paper towels. . . I should see some astonished faces.

So, not only are we not recycling what can be recycled; we are not making simple changes to recyclable or earth friendly materials. Why? cost. Styrofoam is cheep, people prefer patter towels because driers are loud and unreliable, its hard to remember reusable shopping bags, and so on. Are you taking part in recycling in your home and office? Is your neighborhood and work place recycle friendly? If you said no to any of these, then what are you doing about it? There are a ton of resources out their on the internet for learning how to recycle in your city so I implore you as a Pagan, show gratitude to your Gods for such a beautiful earth and keep it that way.

If you live in the Phoenix area please see this link to understand the recycling program hear: http://www.recyclecleanphoenix.org/faq/

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