Full Moon Glory!

Full Moon Glory!
Luna Bright, Full Moon Light!

Lullaby by Nox Arcana - Absolutely Lovely

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kung Fu Priestess

I take my faith seriously.  I practice my Craft as a religion.  I follow the cycles of the Moon closely, honoring the Full Moons and celebrating the turn the of Seasons.  I follow the turn of the Wheel and take my cues from Her seasons.

Several years ago I followed a desire which had been with me for many years.  I had longed to study T'ai Ch'i.   I grew up being a martial arts enthusiast and a lover of Asian culture.  Along the way, as a young adult I developed asthma.  I had read somewhere or learned somewhere that T'ai Ch'i was an excellent remedy for asthma, as it helped to slow down your breathing and cultivate your Ch'i, the energy of life.

Years passed before I acted on my desire to study T'ai Ch'i.  It just seemed to be one of those things I never got to, yet the desire was always lurking around in my mind.  Then in 2009 I finally took the step and began to study T'ai Ch'i, which was being taught at a senior center.

As I began to study T'ai Ch'i, I shared my experience with one of my very best friends.  Little did I know that she had been a Shao-Lin student for many years.  I had been to her home several times, seen her weapons, but it was just a subject that never came up.  I truly believe it is one of things that you don't see or understand until you are ready.  In sharing my experience, she asked me to show her my T'ai Ch'i.  After showing her the tiny bit I had learned, she suggested I might enjoy coming to her school, The Chinese Shao-Lin Center.  This suggestion scared and un-nerved me.  I was comfortable in the senior center.  Going to a real school was more than I was prepared to consider.  However, I also ran the suggestion by a trusted co-worker, and he too having studied martial arts as a teen, thought I would enjoy the structure and discipline of martial arts as it is taught in a formal school.  Thankfully I listened to the advice of my friends and I joined the Chinese Shao-lin Center (CSC) in 2009.  But I only went to learn T'ai Ch'i.

The CSC has a marvelous program of offering free classes for a month.  For one month you can take all the classes you like, for free, in T'ai Ch'i and Kung Fu.  I used all my free T'ai Ch'i classes and was hooked.  However while taking my free classes I noticed all the different belt levels.  There were belts of white, yellow, blue, green, brown, and the all hallowed, Black.  Intrigued, I asked how one achieved the belt levels of advancement.  A senior student told me "you get those from studying Kung Fu".  Hmmm.  Study Kung Fu?  This was not what I had come to learn, but those belts and the training looked awesome.  I took one free class and decided to learn Kung Fu.

However, beyond those serendipitous moments, another truth lie hidden.  In my study of The Craft I had come across a beautiful used copy, of Ed Fitch's "Grimore of Shadows".  Ed Fitch is a pioneer of the Old Ways, having been around during the days of Scott Cunningham, the beginnings of Wicca and Raymond Buckland.  In studying Ed Fitch's grimore, I came across a passage that read:

"Study of Defensive and Martial Combative Arts"
"The world is not a peaceful or tranquil place, and it is seldom prudent to fully trust outsiders - even those appointed by the Law - with the safety of oneself, one's family or those of one's coven.  All should be encouraged to take some training in Karate, Hapkido, Judo, Ninjitsu, Aikido, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, or other such martial arts which have a strong (if subtle) metaphysical and Magical philosophy behind them."

There it was in Black and White.  Ed Fitch extoling the virtues of martial arts and the benefits of training for a practicing Witch.  I knew then and there I had to continue with my studies.  I needed to see the course through to develop as a person, a human being, a Priestess and a Witch.  And so I committed to learn and study Kung Fu, honoring the commitment I had made to myself and to the Goddess.

My study and training in Shao-Lin Kung Fu has only really just begun.  On Sunday, August 26, 2012, I was thrilled to achieve my First degree Black Belt in Shao-Lin Kung Fu:

I have no idea where this journey will take me now.  I remain open and committed to the Craft and to Shao-Lin Kung Fu.   I am grateful to Ed Fitch for publishing his knowledge and to my school, The Chinese Shao-Lin Center, where I study under the wonderful guidance and training of Masters Sharon and David Soard.

Blessed Be, So Mote It Be,
Priestess Najah

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To Be A Witch In This Age

This morning I was giddy.  I woke up earlier than usual, which for me means 4:30 a.m.  I just couldn't sleep.  I was hoping to catch the New Moon Crescent in the sky, but alas She wasn't there.  However I was rewarded with peace and quiet, the dark of the morning, and beautiful stars overhead.

Then I sat down to begin reading my latest gift, The Witches Tarot Deck by Ellen Dugan.  My deck had arrived by mail yesterday and I could hardly wait to delve into it.

After reading a couple of chapters, I posted on my Priestess Najah Facebook Page:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lilith Awakens on True Blood

"Blessed Lilith, Primordial Mother, She who hath been banished.  She whom is hidden, lying in wait for our consciousness to remember, to know we were created as whole, as powerful, not to be subordinate, but as equals, as the Great Living Mother who gives life unto all."

Lilith has awakened on True Blood.  I'm a True Blood fan, dipped in the waters of Conjure and Magick, and one of my truly favorite places, New Orleans.

Not one to be a spoiler I won't go into details about Lilith and her character on True Blood.  But I will say this, the writers have done their homework.  Lilith is present and she will not be ignored.

Perhaps the mainstream know their religious history and perhaps not.  As a child I went to a private Baptist elementary school.  The Bible was part of our daily curriculum.  No where in those teachings did I ever hear of or learn about Lilith.  Not until I came to the path of the Goddess and the Divine Feminine did I learn about Lilith.

One of my most beloved books is "The Witches' Goddess" by Janet and Stewart Farrar.  The Witches' Goddess gives detailed history on the history of Goddess worship and devotes entire chapters to prominent Goddesses, such as Isis, Ishtar, Ma'at and Lilith, just to name a few.  Truly a book no practicing Witch, Pagan, or Practitioner of the Old Ways, should be without.

From the chapter on Lilith:

"The disturbing Lilith...being the most dangerous and subversive threat to the established male order, was buried in the furthest depths of Hebrew unconscious. ~ Jean Markale

...As recorded in the Talmud, Adam's first wife was Lilith...but Lilith refused to subordinate herself to Adam or the male God - even physically: when Adam insisted Lilith always lie beneath him during intercourse, she quarreled with him, flew up into the air and vanished.

It is significant that...Lilith (is) condemned to become (a) night-owl, perfect symbol for the dark-side magic of the feminine principle, of which patriarchy is terrified.

Doreen Valiente (An ABC of Witchcraft, pp. 225-6) sums up the accepted picture of her as 'the archetypal seductress, the personification of the dangerous feminine glamour of the moon.  Like Hecate is visualized as an old crone, Lilith is instead the the enticing sorceress, the beautiful vampire, the femme fatale. '

Lilith the True Mother of All Living must be reacknowledged - so that she and Eve can become one again. "

Years ago I attended Sara McLachlan's Lilith Fair.  I had a great time.  The fair was dedicated to Women and it raised over 10 million dollars for charity.  I purchased a CD from the fair and played it over and over until it skipped.  I was captivated by the beauty, power and strength of the Women's songs.  At that time, never did it occur to me to learn who Lilith really was.

One of my favorite quotes is  "The Goddess is Alive and Magick is Afoot".  It would appear with the popularity of such shows as "True Blood", She is indeed making a resurgence.  The word "Goddess" is becoming commonplace now.  I even see it in TV commercials.  Is this all just coincidence?  I think not.  I truly feel in my heart the Wheel is turning and I am grateful to be here in this time, in this moment.

Blessed Be,
Priestess Najah

Friday, August 10, 2012

Misinformation in the Media

The article cited "Hoodoo" as a religion with the following quote:
"Practices like animal sacrifice are also played up by the media for tantalizing headlines. Voodoo and related faiths, like Santeria and Hoodoo, are called into question when a dead animal is found or a seemingly ritualistic crime is committed. Yet, Deos notes, the use of animals in Voodoo is very rare, and when it does occur, it is in...
the context of a ritual of thanksgiving, and the animal is cooked and consumed by the community as a meal."

SIGH. Even in an article describing the misinformation regarding minority religions, once again, Hoodoo was described as a religion and it is NOT a religion! Furthermore, most practitioners are deeply Christian (which I am not obviously). Sad, they didn't take the time to check their facts.

This I why I do not use the words "Hoodoo" or "Voodoo" to describe my practice. I've already written a blog article about the differences, http://sistermoon13.blogspot.com/2012/07/hoodoo-voodoo-conjure-witchcraft-what.html

Hopefully my comments will help to educate the public on what Hoodoo and Conjure is and what it is not. Furthermore I do not use animals in ANY type of sacrifice or work. This is against my personal code of ethics. I find all I need through the use of prayer, Nature, herbs and roots, oils and candles and the blessings of the Goddess.

May we all be thrice blessed as we continue to carry on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lady Hops

Lady Hops

A few years ago I planted a little Hops plant.  Over the years we've watered her and loved her and affectionately called her "Lady Hops".  Today for the first time I took a photo.  You can clearly see the womanly figure! 

I love the Earth and I love gardening.  It soothes my soul.  I love planting, weeding and watering.  I love searching for kitchy things to add to my garden.  For the first time this year,  my husband and I grew zucchini.  Hard to believe its taken years before I tried zucchini, but oh it is wonderful fresh from the garden with our tomatoes.

Even though I do truly enjoy the change of seasons, summer is my all time favorite. What a treat it is to see the Goddess personified in my Hops plant.  Its as if she is wearing an elegant evening gown. 

We  just passed Lammas, or the first harvest day.  I know we're heading towards the end of Summer, and I believe its going to be a beautiful Fall.

Blessed Be!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

"Oh, To Be In Salem"

Today Laurie Cabot of the Cabot Hermetic Temple in Salem, MA, posted a photo on Facebook, of their new High Priestesses:

This photo made me happy and it also made me sad. 
I am happy to see The Craft is strong and practiced and celebrated and revered by such wonderful people. Sad because that type of ceremony and guidance was what I thought I would find when I set out on the path many years ago. Sad that what I see in the picture seems not to be the norm of the experience of a modern day Witch. These Witches and High Priestesses are thrice blessed to have Laurie Cabot and her training as part of their path.

I've been to Salem twice.  It's what I thought it would be, cobblestone streets in the old part, Witch Stores, Craft stores, cemeteries, and history.  I'm sure most of us know the history of Salem and the Witch Trials.  And being a modern day Witch, I know that Salem also has its unfortunate share of Witch Wars.  But none of this matters to me.  To me Salem is my pilgrimage for all things Witchy and what I love about practicing the Craft.

When I set out on my path many years ago, I thought I would find what is captured in the picture above.  I thought I'd find a teacher, a coven, a group to hold me, guide me, direct me.  What I found was lies and deceit.  I had a teacher for while, and for reasons only the Goddess knows our relationship came to an abrupt end.  I was forced to dig deep into my own soul, to know in my heart my path and continue on.  And Blessed Be I did.

But being solitary is sometimes a lonely path, especially for a social person like me.  I have come to know the value of a good mentor in one's life.  I have come to deeply appreciate teachers of integrity.  I have been blessed to find a wonderful community with whom to celebrate the Seasons and Full Moons.  But when it comes to a deep teacher relationship in regards to the Craft, I'm on my own. Perhaps this is part of my mystery, my journey.  I can honestly say the burn I received many years ago, still stings at my heart, especially when I see pictures like the one above.  Perhaps too, it's similar to the burn a lot of practicing Witches feel when they seek to come out and practice their faith in the open.  It's not too far back in history where we were persecuted for our beliefs and in some parts of the country and the world, we still are.

I seek to take the hope I see in the photo, the happiness in their faces and carry it into my own life and practice.  May we all be thrice blessed.

Blessed Be,
Priestess Najah 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Priestess of The Moon Tis' I

I waded in the water.  I felt smooth stones and sticks under my feet.  I stood for a while and watched dusk settle over the trees.  It was so quiet.  I heard the babbling of the creek and realized I was alone, yet not.  Birds flew overheard, breezes blew and I was certain Mother Nature's critters were also looking at me, I just couldn't see them, but I knew they were there.

Plum Creek, site our August Full Moon Celebration

I am a Priestess of The Moon, dedicated to the Great Goddess, Mother of All Living.  She goes by ten thousand names and sometimes I call to Her by those names, other times She is simply the Divine Blessed Mother who watches over me, sustains me.

I know the rising and setting of the Moon.  I greet Her each day and watch for Her in the night sky.  When I see the Moon I am at peace and feel secure.  I know all is well.

I work my magick by the Moon cycles.  When the Moon is waxing I work for increase, when the Moon is waning I work for letting go.  When the Moon is dark, I wait and go within.

I listen for Her guidance.  I meditate upon prayers dedicated to the Great Goddess, the Earth, our World, and the Great Mystery which is our Universe.

I love the Sun.  I love sunny, warm days.  I love sunrises and sunsets.  Yet, it is the Moon that fills me, guides me sustains me.  I've come to know that even our monthly calendar is based on the lunar cycle, not the solar cycle.

The Moon is hidden, even when She appears in the sky.  There is a side of Her that can never been seen, much like ourselves.  She too has a powerful shadow side and only one side of Her face is lit by the Sun.

Last night we celebrated the Full Moon in Aquarius. How wonderful it is to gather with others of like mind, and worship in Nature.  We don't need to go into a building for prayer and worship as the sky is our chapel, the Earth our floorboards, and the grass our pews.  Just recently watching the Olympics I was touched as London clearly honors and remembers their Pagan roots, by evidence of the Glastonbury Tor and the Maypole so prominent in the ceremony.  I felt the Goddess was happy to be remembered and honored.

I walked a lot of paths before I found Her.  I'm so happy and grateful She waited for me.  I believe She waits for others to remember and honor Her.  Our world has spun out of balance by focusing only on male perspectives and patriarchal religions.

May She continue to rise each night and may we continue to honor Her.

Blessed Be.

Priestess Najah