Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pagan Fiction

I am a huge fan of Pagan Fiction and I thought I would share some of my favorites for those who haven't encountered them yet.  So in no particular order here are my top five Pagan Fiction books (or series)

1. Bell, Book & Murder: The Bast Mysteries by Rosemary Edghill

This is actually a composite of 3 books:  Speak Daggers to Her, Book of Moons and The Bowl of Night all of which feature the character of Bast a New Yorker and Gardnerian.  All three books have memorable characters and interesting storylines.  I love that the magick they show is realistic and the description of the inner workings of Bast's coven.  A great light read for all Pagans!

2.  Book of Shadows and The Love Spell by Phyllis Curott.

While perhaps not strictly fiction, I chose to include these books because I enjoyed them so much.  They describe the author's discovery of and journey through the world of witchcraft.  Phyllis Curott presents an enjoyable and interesting view of her own path to the Goddess.  I find it very refreshing to read about real-life magick as well as other people's practices and would love to see more books like these two.

3.  The Circle of Three Series by Isobel Bird.

Circle of Three is a series of 15 books.  The books tell the story of Kate, Cooper and Annie, three young girls who are drawn together by the craft.  They feature real life struggles of parental acceptance, loss of friendships and searching for your own path.  I particularly recommend them for teen witches (scary that that phrase always makes me think of Silver Ravenwolf now - but I digress) but they are also a fun read for adults.

4. Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan.

Sweep is another series of 15 books all aimed at teens.  Of the list so far, this is the most fantastical.  The books begin with Morgan Rowlands discovering that she is a "Blood Witch".  The author takes tidbits of real magick (for example the use of crystals) and then expands them to fantasy proportions.  All in all they are a fun read, but I prefer a little more realism and a little more religion in my Pagan Ficition.

5.  Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

I am being very loose with the term Pagan Fiction in order to include this series in the list.  There are 6 books in the series and involve characters like Percy Jackson who are half-bloods (half human half god).  The books are delightful and feature many of the Greek myths and monsters.  I chose to include it because I am a huge fan of Greek Mythology and love to see it being used as inspiration for new fiction.  These series is also very popular with my teenage students (even boys!) and is a great pic for those kids who never seem to get into books.

So those are my top 5, what would your top 5 be??

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Amethyst can help with anything!

If you read my last post you know that I am a big fraidy cat when it comes to the new school year.  So I ventured out to my new school again today but this time I came armed.  I brought along a spray bottle filled with spring water, sage, rose petals, a piece of quartz and a piece of amethyst.  I sprayed this around the room in order to cleanse some of the bad energy and bring in some positive, calm and relaxing energy.  I then placed a piece of natural (not polished) amethyst in each corner in the room.  
For those of you who don't know much about crystals, here is why I did that:  Amethyst is a stone that emits calming energy and promotes peace and tranquility.  It helps balance energy and is especially recommended for children with ADHD.  Amethyst is the very first stone I was ever attracted to and I wore a large piece of it for most of my teenage years, which may have helped me not get into the trouble that many of my peers did.  I have more amethyst in my home than any other stone and, in my ritual room, I have a beautiful little fountain that cascades water over a pile of Amethyst.  

I feel a little better now that I have taken some action and made the classroom a little more "mine".  I'm still incredibly nervous about meeting all the new people and trying to make connections but at least I have made some progress in feeling more comfortable in my own little part of the school.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The First Day of School Approaches

The first day of school is fast approaching and a day that usually fills me with excited anticipation is now filling me with dread.  I have been teaching at the same school for the last two years, it was a lovely new building with sweet (relatively) well behaving children.  I was happy there, but more than that, I was comfortable there.  This year, I will be moving to a new school.  It is NOT a new building and by reputation the children are NOT well behaved and I am incredibly nervous.   Please don't get me wrong, it has been a very hard year on young teachers and I am thrilled and grateful to have a job, any job.  But I spent a great deal of time at my old school entrenching myself in the community and making myself a vital member of the faculty.  Now I have to start all over and the thought of that is just exhausting.  I hate having to re-build my reputation with staff, parents and most importantly, students.  I hate that sussing out period of time where students push boundaries in order to find out what you are made of.  Perhaps this is simply my Taurus nature coming out.  I have always hated change, I like the known, the secure.  I hate walking into a place and not knowing my way around, and I am terrible at meeting new people.  I can't remember names, I forget details of what people have told me and I either come on too strong or appear completely aloof.  I am a complete mess!  Any suggestions (either magickal or mundane) on how to deal with this whole situation?

Rant – Why do we attract Bat Shit Crazy

I am constantly floored by the number of articles featuring people who claim to be Wiccan, Druid or otherwise Pagan and who are, subsequently, claiming discrimination because of their faith. I am sure that there are legitimate claims out there and that there are people who truly need to get the message out there that treating someone badly because of their faith is wrong. But it seems that more and more often, the people who are making these claims are out of their frickin minds! Is it the openness of our path that attracts people who are a few cards short of a tarot deck or is it that those same people simply look at themselves and think “hmm, I’m white, physically average and of the middle class, how can I blame my problems on someone else – I know! I’ll be Pagan!!!”
It is not bad enough that these people take up valuable time and tax dollars with ridiculous lawsuits but do they have to proclaim their Pagan faith one minute and, with the next breath, claim that “the Goddess is going to take me to the moon on her rainbow spaceship” or “I’ve put a hex on the whole world and that’s why everyone hates Mondays and rainy days”. *handface* Perhaps these people need to make these claims because they ran out of the “good” drugs didn’t get enough attention as children. Perhaps they simply haven’t been picked up by the men in white yet (or are able to avoid them due to their super duper magic wand wielding abilities). Either way, I am so tired of every news story containing the word wiccan, witch or pagan to be featuring someone who clearly lost their grip with reality somewhere between “magick sounds cool” and “I am the grand supreme master of the dark arts, thou shall bow to me and worship before I smote thee” (I assume that most crazy people also like to use words like thee and thou). So please, if you are one of these people – and you know who you are – stop running from the nice doctors and let them help Prince Valium take you on a magical ride to the Goddess, through a gumdrop field, on a unicorn, who can talk, and poops out rainbows. But please, for the love of the Goddess, STOP TALKING TO THE PRESS!

Bible Thumpers and Blasphemy

Best way to wake up in the morning:

*Ding Dong* (the sound my phone makes when someone is at the front door to my building)

Me: (hoping it is the mailman with my new tarot deck) Hello (read in sleepy drawl)

Doorbell Lady: Hello, we have some wonderful free magazines for tenants.

Me: (not hanging up because I'm too tired to be rude)

Doorbell Lady: We have a wonderful issue about how to understand the bible better

Me: (chuckling) No thanks, I'm a witch.

Bible Lady (formerly known as Doorbell Lady): *sputter*

Now come on, is it really necessary for bible thumpers to actively recruit. If Jesus is so god damned powerful shouldn't he be able to get his own followers. Shouldn't people all around the world be running into the streets screaming "I found Jesus, I found Jesus, well actually he found me, he showed up with a free bible and told me to read the whole damn thing, then he told me to quit my job so I actually had TIME to read the whole damn thing". But wait, this chick wasn't even giving out free bibles, it was a cheap ass magazine ABOUT the bible. I bet it didn't even have any of the cool smoting shit, just the love and peace and happiness crap. Oh and burn the witches, isn't that whole "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" required text in EVERYTHING EVER WRITTEN WITH THE WORD BIBLE IN IT! You see, this is what happens when you wake me up with this "Lets go find Jesus" bullshit. So if I had been more awake I might have been able to come up with something a little more clever than "I'm a witch bitch" well, without the bitch part. The lady did have my apartment number after all and christians seem to be rather fond of putting witches and fire together for disasterous consequences. So, what should I have said: Perhaps

- I'm sorry, I have a baby in the oven I just must check on

- WTF! You are interrupting my human sacrifice!

- I just heard from Jesus, he wants me to ask if you have found Cernunnos?

- I was looking for Jesus for a while, but Satan found me first, and you know he invented all the good stuff, sex, chocolate, reality tv.

- I'm sorry, I was just about to have gay sex, while watching Harry Potter and reading The Origin of Species, can you call back later?

And as if I wasn't going to hell already (good thing I don't believe in that shit) here is some more blasphemy:

Where are the Teachers?

I, like many Pagans, am no fan of pop teen authors like Fiona Horne and Silver Ravenwolf. However, I would like to propose that they, and authors like them, have emerged because we, as pagans searching out a new path, need them. There was time when finding such esoteric knowledge meant finding a teacher. A wise woman or man willing to spend time and share experiences with a younger acolyte in order to impart their own sense of the Goddess and their skills. This would involve lessons on spellwork, herbal craft, stonework and anything else that the teacher felt was pertinent. A student might even find numerous teachers and go to each one for a particular specialty, in the hopes of learning all that she could. Learning the craft was a much more interactive process passed on through stories, crafts and actions. There was a time when we relied on our teachers.

Now, we read. It seems the teachers in the world have disappeared. We have become a society so bent on individualism along with our own sense of privacy that we no longer seek to share our knowledge with others. We have become so determined to allow others to "do as thou wilt" that we shirk from academic discussion and instruction for fear we might insult someone's own beliefs. Even the ancients in our community spend so much time bickering with one another that they cannot possibly have time left for one on one instruction!

So I propose that writers like Horne and Ravenwolf have emerged in such rampant popularity because there are generations of witches out there searching for answers and thirsting for knowledge and the best we, as community, can offer them are a few books from which we expect them to glean some spark of information while being knowledgeable enough to discard any over-the-top and ridiculous notions that were simply added because of a) the author's extreme bias or b) the publishers need to soften a viewpoint, scandalize a viewpoint or find some angle to sell books.

If we continue to ignore our young pagans by patting them on the head and shoving a mediocre book into their hands they will continue to spread misconceptions and half truths. We must claim the youth of our community, we must take responsibility for their learning and we must bring back the teachers!



I always find introductions to be very difficult. How does one sum up their entire existence into a few sentences? Unfailingly, I fall back into defining myself based on where I grew up. Hello, I call myself PhoenixWitch and I am from a small town on the East Coast of Canada
My hometown is only about 800 people strong, and that is including the large percentage of men who spend copious amounts of time in Fort Mac. It is mainly a fishing village and I am a fisherman’s daughter. As a teenager I found small town life to be incredibly stifling. And, as such, I searched for any way I could to escape. This led me to the wonderful world of literature. I read and re-read (and re-read again) everything of interest in our very tiny school library and dreamed of shopping at Chapters on those rare trips to “Town” (Town being St. John’s which was a 4 hour drive away). As many pagans, I was first drawn to this path because of fiction. I read everything I could with the words “witch” or “magic” in the title. I watched movies like The Craft and started to get a glimpse into a world that was much more interesting than the boring Catholic one in which I had been raised. Again like many pagans, my first foray into “real” pagan books was through Ravenwolf (Jeezy Creezy, we have got to change that and get some teen friendly books out there with a little more substance).
It wasn’t until I got out of my parents house that I could freely practice my faith and even then I found it incredibly lonely. There were no Pagan stores in St. John’s, there were no pagan groups at that time. I found a few great websites and forums and read as much as I could (Goddess Bless Chapters website for supplementing the crappy New Age section in the local store).
Moving to Halifax has allowed me to grow in ways I never imagined possible. I have the freedom to display my books and tools (though I find I am hiding less and less as time goes on) and I have real friends to not only discuss this path with but to actually work with – remind me to blog later about the awesome Samhain ritual we did in a graveyard last year! I only hope I can continue to learn and grow and that maybe, through this blog or my contributions to other sites, I might be able to help that kid who right now is growing up in a small town and searching for something that finally feels “right”.
I started this blog as a place that is all my own, in order to post whatever comes to mind in my magick and mundane life. I was asked a while ago to join a blog with friends of mine and we created Pagan Views from the East Coast
I quickly realized that I was quickly monopolizing the blog and posting almost twice as much as they were! I never knew that I had that much to say! I certainly don't want to be the one "taking over" so I moved here, though I will continue to post there as well. So I hope you will enjoy my ranting and raving about life, love, magick and teaching.

Who I Am

I hail from a very small town (read: miniscule). I grew up surrounded by family and truly learned what it means to be loved. As such, I don’t enjoy large groups of hanger ons but I am fiercely loyal to those that I call Friend.
My path to the divine involves tarot, meditation, herbs and lots and lots of magick.
I love gazing at the moon and stars unfettered by buildings. I like plunging my hands in the earth and the smell of home grown herbs. My first loves will always be the barrens of Newfoundland and the view from my parents living room window.
Wishing you the best in Life, Love and Magick,