Witchy Wednesday: Take 12

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is going to wade into some touchy subjects, specifically politics and religious based discrimination. If you don’t want to read about that kind of thing, we totally get it. (not me (Dissy) I don’t get it at all. I read plenty from all sides. You can put up with this blog for the 10 minutes it will take you to read it.)

As most of us are already aware, evangelical christians have been flooding the court system for a number of years doing everything they can think of to dismantle civil rights protections for, well, anyone who isn’t them.

Which is why this headline caught my interest:

The fight over whether religion is a license to discriminate is back before the Supreme Court

Now I’m fully aware of clickbait, so I did what any reasonable person would do, and started researching.

What I found out scares the shit out of me.

To cut things down to the barest bones, the city of Philadelphia does not grant taxpayer money to any organization that doesn’t follow antidiscrimination laws. Period. So, an evangelical adoption agency is suing them, because they want to flout the law and
still get paid.

And the Supreme Court just agreed to hear the case.

There are two main reasons this makes me worry.

First, the large Evangelical groups that are funding these lawsuits have openly bragged that attacking the LGBT community is only the tip of the iceberg. Their ultimate goal is to have it codified into law that evangelicals (and ONLY evangelicals) hold a position in this country of absolute power, where they can literally do anything they want.

The second reason is because with what has happened to the Supreme Court in the last few years, they may get away with it.

Ever since the grossly unqualified “Justice” Kegstand was installed, he has made no secret about how excited he is to get his grubby hands in there and start ripping away basic human rights from women, people of color, the LGBT community, non-christians, and pretty much everyone who isn’t a white, male evangelical.

And we no longer have enough members of the court willing to serve as a firewall against
the most extreme among us.

I’m horrified that my LGBT brothers and sisters continue to have their very existence debated, and, selfishly, I’m also concerned about the risks to my distinctly not christian family. Does my marriage get erased?

Do I lose my kid?

Where does it end?

Okay Dissy, your turn to let me know why I’m being a fucking lunatic again…

Okay, Barb, to start, in OUR blog, words like “christian” and “evangelical” do not get proper noun status. It simply isn’t done here.

This whole thing reminds me of an episode of that show on Hulu where the women wear the bonnets. What the hell is it called?

I really hope that there are enough people in positions of power, on that side of things, who see that freedom of religion means all religions, and not just that religion. I mean, I do know some conservatives who see this for the hogwash it would be. In fact, I know quite a few. Hopefully, when push comes to shove, they rise up as well.

We shall see…

Until then:

Cent’anni Witches!

Witchy Wednesday: Take 3

Satan? Who the hell is that?

Today, class, we’re going to talk about misconceptions.

Barb here, we decided this week would be a good time to tackle misconceptions about our faith. One thing I learned quickly as a newbie Witch is how quickly people get weird about it. Like, really weird. Now, I’m totally down with people asking questions, in fact I PREFER IT. Want to know about us? Ask us! Having said that, please remember that you are, in fact, talking to an actual human being, and try to avoid things like:

“You’re a devil worshipper!” – This isn’t even a question, it is issued as a statement, usually very loudly. It is also complete and utter bullshit. There is no devil in the Craft, that particular bit of nastiness is totally the creation of Christianity. Why on Earth would I worship something that doesn’t exist? If you believe the only options in life are people worshipping as you do, or being evil, maybe you need to think about what’s going on in your own life to make you think that way. Just stop yelling at me in the middle of the grocery store.

I mean, they look like fun guys.

“What’s up with all the naked stuff?” – Here’s the deal. Firstly, the term for holding ritual without any clothes is sky-clad. No, I’m not sure why they call it that. Secondly, in my more than two decades on this path, I have not encountered a single person who regularly does this. So, sorry to tell you gross dude, but even if you managed to wrangle an invitation to participate in ritual, there is a zero percent chance it will be a bunch of young, hot, naked chicks running around the woods. Do you want ticks in your squishy bits? Because that’s how you get ticks in your squishy bits.

And finally, yes, my husband and I have been asked if we eat babies. Not as a joke, not someone just goofing around, but in seriousness. I cannot even begin to wrap my head around what has to go wrong in your life for you to think like this. I’m not going to unpack all the layers of ick that go into this question, because if I think too hard about it, I’ll be nauseous the rest of the day. Just know that if you learn that someone has a different religion than you, and your mind immediately jumps to cannibalism, you need therapy. Therapy is a great thing; the world would be a better place if more people went. Definitely go if you think people who are different than you commit acts worthy of a Clive Barker novel.

What bizarre questions/accusations have you dealt with Dissy?

Oh, hey, sorry I’m late.  I had to clean up after my morning breakfast of Roasted Toddler.  I think I finally got the recipe just right.  I’m so glad I got that Insta Pot. (If I must tell you that’s a joke, then you don’t need to be here (“here” being wherever you are, but, specifically, on this blog.))

I’m not sure I ever heard anything particularly bizarre.  Most of what I get is more annoying than anything else.

Let’s see…

Baby eating… pfft… This is not ancient times.  ALL ancient religions have, at one time or other, (yes, YOURS, too) have participated in human sacrifice.  The thing is? Everyone has evolved past that. Period. Stop asking dumb questions.

I’ve spent a ton of my Pagan life as a single gal, and I would regularly get asked by potential suitors, “did you cast a spell on me?”  Oh, come the fuck on!  That, and that alone, was grounds to move a dude to the trash heap. I believe most of us call that a, ummm… “deal breaker.”

So, basically, when you say that to a person, you are telling him or her that the only conceivable way they would ever possibly get your attention is by manipulating the cosmos and interfering with your free will.  Nine out of ten times? That attention is not worth the effort it takes to put into spellcasting.

Look, here’s the skinny on that.  Has anyone ever done that before?  Absolutely.  It always goes with the warning, though, of “be careful what you wish for.” I would like to believe that no self-respecting Witch would ever do such a thing. It’s much better to put a general spell out there (if you absolutely must) to attract love. Most of us want to be liked, loved, valued, and appreciated for who we are and not because we “made” you want us. Bottom line? Get over yourself.

I, too, get the devil worshipping question.  It bothers me to even talk about a “devil” concept.  I believe that words are energy, and whatever we put out there, we have the potential to create, so giving energy to an entity such as a devil? No thanks.  The only acceptable Satan in my world is the one on South Park.  Come on… if you don’t love him, you’re just a dick.

See? He even helps with the dishes.

One amusing thing I was asked before:

I had let my mom borrow my car, and she was coming over to pick me up so I could take her home.  After I dropped her off, I was going to a Samhain ritual/party at a friend’s house.  I had my robe and cloak on a hanger, and I was carrying it out to the car. My mom looks at it and says, “did you have to buy that, or did they give it to you when you signed up?”

Oh… man… so much fun can be had with that question.  Did she think it was like the Girl Scouts?  That could be fun.  I wonder what we’d sell instead of cookies.

Anyhow, like my lovely cohort, I would always prefer to be asked rather than have something nasty assumed or to have insults and accusations hurled at me.  Don’t you always get more flies with honey, anyhow? OOOOh… Honey… maybe I’ll add some of that to my recipe!!

Well, toodles… I’ve gotta go earn a badge in Ouija Board skills.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate.

Cent’anni, Bitches!

Witchy Wednesday: Take 1

Why Are You Like This?

Barb here, Dissy and I were discussing what we should write about for our very first Witchy Wednesday and settled on answering the main question everyone gets when talking about non-mainstream religious beliefs. Some people are nicer and more polite about how they ask, some are mind-blowingly nasty, but the general gist remains the same. “What happened to cause you to be this way?”

Interesting how no one asks that of people who belong to “acceptable” religions, but that’s another rant for another day. The reasons for following this path are as varied and individual as the people doing it, so these…. are our stories. DUN DUN! (I couldn’t help myself, totally not sorry!)

I was raised Catholic, which in my family meant spending my entire school career at Catholic schools, and sporadically attending church on Sundays because it was required to stay enrolled. The most important thing I can tell you about Small Barb is I was relentlessly logical. I’m still fairly practical and like things to be orderly and sensible, but Today Barb seems positively wild compared to Small Barb. Imagine if Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy had a baby with a Vulcan and you might start to understand.

The other important thing is, 1980s Catholicism had no patience for anyone who felt compelled to Understand All the Things. No questions, no looking deeper, simply obey and believe. You can imagine how well that worked out.

The story I most frequently use to illustrate my experiences comes from when I was very young, I think about 6-7. We were being taught the parable of the good shepherd. Being the tiny Spock that I was, I asked the teacher in all earnestness, “What if I no wanna be a sheeps? What if I wanna stay a peoples?” Instead of giving me an age appropriate explanation of what metaphors are, the teacher sent me to the principal’s office. Things did not improve from there.

By the time I reached high school, I was pretty well over it. I wanted to feel the connection other people talked about, I wanted to know what it was like to go through life confident that Something was out there that loved me and was looking out for me. Somehow it just never happened. At 20, my life was not going well, and I had given up, convinced that either nothing was out there, or if it was it didn’t give a single solitary mouse shit about me.

The day that changed everything I was at the mall, wandering around a bookstore (this was back when malls and bookstores still existed, haha!). I happened upon this small, purple and silver book that I felt like I HAD to pick up. In that book, I started finding answers to all those questions, answers that made sense. I haven’t looked back since that day.

Dissy’s Story:

When I was a youngster, and, by “youngster,” I mean between the ages of 3 and 9, I was both fascinated with and terrified by tales of the strange and unusual. I had the odd connection with the grass, the dirt, the trees, the leaves, the sky, and the sun, moon, and stars, that imaginitive children tend to develop when they spend most of their days playing alone. They were my friends. I talked to them, and they talked back in the offer of a soft carpet for my bare feet, a sturdy place to lean my back, or the generosity of shade on a hot day. If I had a book with me, I’d read aloud to the trees, grass, and sky.

In my bones, I feel that I’ve always been a Witch, and not because some facebook quiz told me I was. When I began to learn of paganism, it felt more like coming home than “discovering” something. I can’t swear that, left to my own devices, I’d have always been a witch, but that connection to all the world, feeling the life force energy in all things, well, that’s what always felt right for me.

When I was a child, my sister and I were raised in holy-roller type churches. That never felt natural to me. Needless to say, that type of environment terrified any kind of esoteric bend I may have had right the fuck out of me. I mean, who wants to burn in hell for an eternity? So, I tried. Spoiler alert: I eventually gave up on the notion of heaven/hell/christianity. I’d say the largest break came when I was 12 and some woman stood in front of a youth group and told me that my father, who had just died a few months before, had likely gone to hell. I mean, maybe he did, but WHO SAYS THAT TO A CHILD? Still, I kept going because my mom made me, and, when I was old enough to put my foot down, I quit.

Over the years, I tried to find a path within the “norm,” and I always failed. That’s why I laugh to myself when people inevitably say “not all christians…” Well, sir/ma’am, that has been MY experience. People become more about serving and maintaining the “religion” than being about the principles that built the religion. I mean, sure, I know some good people. I would never know they were christians unless they told me. I don’t hold that up as the reason that they’re good people. They’re just good people the same way I’m a good person, the same way atheists I know are good people, the same way trans-gender people I know are good people… you get the picture.

So, there I was in 2006. I was reeling from the fallout of a horrible breakup. I didn’t lament the loss of the relationship so much as I was having massive difficulty with the “me” aspect of the breakup. The self loathing that comes when you realize that even a worthless shitbag doesn’t love you, so what are the odds that someone who isn’t a worthless shitbag ever will. Let’s compound that with the ridiculous amount of self loathing and inner contempt involved when your whole adult relationship experience is a seemingly endless line of one worthless shitbag after another. There were a lot of other hideous things going on with the demise of that particular relationship that I’ll keep to myself for now, but let’s just say I was NOT in a good place internally.

I tried the prayers. I really did. I mean, that’s how I was raised. That’s what I was told would work. That’s what I was told would help me. Guess what? It didn’t, and all I wanted was a little comfort, some hope for fuck’s sake. Alone, I prayed suffered and cried until the day I just wanted to die. Luckily, I didn’t, but that really, that was my breaking point with traditional spirituality. There was nothing to help me, nothing to comfort me, nothing to save me, and I was goddamn tired of fearing a hell that I wasn’t even sure I believed in. The realization then hit me. I was on my own. It was up to me to save my own soul. I own this life, no one else, and no one is going to clean it up for me. Instead of depressing the hell out of me, it was probably one of the most freeing thoughts I had ever had.

The next day, I re-acquainted with an old high school friend on MySpace (how’s that for a blast from the past?) I quickly became friends with he and his wife, who was an openly practicing pagan. She asked me if I’d be interested in learning about it after I’d asked about 17 billion questions. I said I was, and we were off to the races.

One night, about a month later, I looked outside and saw the most beautiful full moon I had ever seen. It was a warm night in July, and I just had to be outside in the moonlight. I took a simple candle outside with me. I sat on the ground, placed the candle before me, lit it, tilted my face toward that gorgeous moon, and I closed my eyes. I sat like that for what seemed like an eternity just soaking in the energy I was feeling. When I opened my eyes, I took a chance, and I poured all of my shame, self-loathing, and misery into the earth in the same figurative way one “gives it to god.” You know what? I’d love to say I have never questioned myself since that day, but that’s not true. I did, however, feel better. I felt hope for the first time in ages. I felt capable of getting through it, whatever “it” may be. For me, that was a miracle.

As my lovely cohort says above, “I haven’t looked back since that day.”

Basically, Witchy Wednesday will be about witchy topics. Feel free to ask questions. We will do our best to answer. We welcome your inquiries. If you haven’t figured it out yet, we LOVE talking. Have a FANTASTIC Wednesday, folks!

Cent’anni, Bitches!