Full Moon Glory!

Full Moon Glory!
Luna Bright, Full Moon Light!

Lullaby by Nox Arcana - Absolutely Lovely

Monday, October 14, 2013

Let's Get Witchy!

 The Witches have kicked off the Holiday Season.  I'm writing this blog post as lightning is cracking in the sky and the wind is blowing.  Its good to be a Witch!

The above photo was taken on Saturday, October 12, 2013 as I was on my way to Denver's second Pagan Pride Day!  Not only did I attend Pagan Pride, I also taught a class called "Crossroads Magick". I am grateful to Melanie Marquis, organizer of Denver's Pagan Pride for spearheading the event, now in its second year, which was a blast, and for giving me the opportunity to teach.  Perhaps more of these opportunities are in my future!

Back to the Season of the Witch!  TV is bursting with Witchy shows, none of them really to my liking, although I love seeing Witches portrayed on TV and in film. What saddens me is television and media never address the sacredness of the Goddess, and if you follow me on Facebook, you may have already read how I feel about that subject. 

Thinking about the sacredness of the Goddess and this time of year, it is so awesome there are so many events to celebrate our Witchyness!  Balls and events abound.  I know New Orleans will be kicking off their Witches Ball.  I was so happy to attend in 2011 and maybe next year, we'll be able to return.
Denver will hold 2 Witches Balls, one at the Mercury Cafe and one at the Masonic Temple.  I am very much looking forward to attending the Ball at the Masonic Temple.  For the past two years, the Ball was held in another location and we're all happy it will be back at the Masonic Temple.  I've been attending the Witches Ball at the Masonic Temple, now in its 22nd year, for longer than I can remember.

And of course there is Halloween night and Samhain ritual.  At Samhain we honor our Ancestors and loved ones who have crossed the veil, to the Other Side.  Its an important night and ritual.  In our society we simply do not honor our dead.  An exception to this, is the celebrations of All Soul's Day, which does address death, but from a very different perspective.  Outside of All Soul's Day, there is our one time funeral for our loved ones, and Memorial Day for the Military.

I believe strongly in ritual and feel its one of the things deeply lacking in our culture.  To me, the monsters and goblins of Halloween are an expression of our fear of death and the unknown.  Although I do enjoy good costumes and children trick or treating!
Samhain sheds a light on death, brings it to the forefront and places it in its rightful place.  I practice the Dumb Supper at Samhain, where a place is set at our table for our loved ones who have crossed over.  Many cultures honor their Dead, including the wonderful celebrations of El Dia De Los Muertos.

In addition to Samhain ritual, if you're even remotely aware you can feel magick is afoot and a change is in the air.  One can just tell the atmosphere is changing and is charged with an otherworldy sense.  Samhain is also a great time for divination.  I can hardly wait to see what the cards hold.

Wishing you a wonderful Witchy Season,
Blessed Be,
Priestess Najah

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pawns in the Shutdown Game

The Wheel turned to October and with it came the "Government Shutdown".  As a Federal worker, the act of shutting down the Government, has deeply affected me and thousands of my co-workers.  We are pawns in a chess game, with each side, telling us they are doing their best for the country and our lives.

How can that be so, when thousands of Federal workers had to leave their jobs yesterday, with no idea of when or how they will be paid?  For the first time in my life, I am working with no idea, if I am going to be paid for my time. 
Its a bittersweet feeling.  Kinda like having survivor's guilt.  I was deemed "essential", which means I am working, but still not getting paid.  Supposedly people deemed "essential" will get back paid, once this madness all comes to an end.  And my co-workers who are furloughed are not working and won't get paid, once the Shutdown ends.  Madness, complete and utter madness.

The Shutdown also closed the National Parks. 
I can just hear Park staff saying "sorry the Grand Canyon" is closed. 
"Closed?" What do you mean "closed?!"
Our National Parks are the breath and beauty of our country.  They are places of rest and renewal. They are places to reconnect with one's soul and Nature.  Its a travesty and a damn shame that they are closed. 

I have no idea how all of this is going to turn out.  I do know the people we have elected to provide leadership have failed.  And while they play games with our lives, and continue to collect their paychecks, thousands of Federal workers are scrambling to figure out, how they are going to make it, while this dangerous game, continues to be played. 

I'd like to be thinking about Halloween, Samhain, decorating my home, planning parties and events.  But right now, my ass is tied to the yoke of the Shutdown game, living precariously day by day, hoping the knuckleheads will get a clue, grow up, and do their jobs - just like myself and hundreds of other Federal workers are still doing - regardless of whether we are getting paid or not.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Writer's Nirvana - My First Writer's Conference!

Its hard to know where to start, or exactly how to put into words, my feelings and experiences from my first Writer's Conference.  I'm still "high" from it.  Never having been to a Writer's Conference before, I have nothing to compare the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's 2013 Conference to, but I know a good thing when I find it.

I've never been around a more open and friendly group of people.  Never before have I been around so many people who are deeply passionate and excited about their craft.  Who knew being around approximately 400 Writers for three days, would be so overly stimulating and intellectually satisfying, that at one point my brain actually hurt from the input?!

When I checked in and got my swag bag, I dove right in, being hardly able to contain my excitement, at what goodies awaited me.  I was ecstatic to find that the pitch appointment (more on that later) with the agent, I had wanted, had been granted.  Also included was a free book by one of the keynote authors, a flashlight, a pen and of course a RMFW journal, for note taking.  What  I was really excited to find was my name on my Conference badge.  I was official!  However, also attached to the badge was a sticker (to be attached) that said, "First Time Attendee".

Hmmm.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to put that sticker on my badge.   In my past experiences,  I have found sometimes its not good to walk around with "Newbie" plastered on your forehead.  I hesitated putting on the sticker, and then I noticed other attendees walking around with their "First Time" sticker on their badge.  And then a seasoned attendee said to me,  "You should put your sticker on.  People will come up and introduce themselves to you."
So I put my sticker on and lo and behold, it was if a magic wand have been waived.  People did start coming up and talking to me, and I too said "hello" to other "first timers".  It was the first time, when being a "newbie" was actually a benefit, and later at the awards dinner, all the first timers (and there were 100 of us) were recognized!

The Conference wasn't just great because of the friendship and camaraderie, but also because of the high level of nuts and bolts workshops and panels that were offered.  There were so many good ones, that I wished I could have taken more.  Here's a list of classes that I took:

Visiting Author Panel  
I listened to best selling authors Rob Thurman, Ronald Malfi and
Margaret George, describe their lives and and paths to publication.

First Sale Panel 
I listened to authors who had sold their first novels, this past year.  It was fascinating and inspiring.  I learned there truly is no one way to get your book published.

Romance, Myth and the Divine Goddess - Sharon Mignerey  
This was a fun, fun class.  Sharon was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher.  We had great class discussions and I learned how the seven goddess archetypes are used in Romance novels.

In the Middle: Pluses and Minuses of Small Press Publishing - Katriena Knights  
I learned a lot about small presses and the advantages and disadvantages of going with a small press.  I picked up some great lingo about the publishing industry.  Katriena Knights was a great speaker as well and a fun person to spend an hour with.

Chinese Ghost Lore - M.H. Boroson 
What a wonderful 2 hours spent learning all about the Chinese Culture and their relationships to  ghost, spirits and their dearly departed.  M.H. Boroson gave an intriguing and enlightening workshop.  I learned about "Hell Money", "Hopping Corpses" and so many other things, I hope to use some day in a story.  Great class!

Plot, Structure and Pushing Your Characters - Hannah Bowman  
I felt like I couldn't breathe after this class.  Hannah Bowman was on fire!  Never has an hour passed so fast.  She shared so much information in so little time, with so much intensity, that I could hardly keep up.  But I loved being in her class and listening to her and more seasoned writers dialogue.  I know what I learned is in my mind somewhere.

Agent/Editor Panel - Hannah Bowman, Karyn Marcus, Kristin Nelson 
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to sit and listen to agents and editors speak openly and candidly, about their business, how they run things, what they look for, their relationship with each other and with the writers they represent.  Truly, truly a wise investment of my time and it was just fascinating to be in the room with them and listen to all they had to share.

Writing Is Rewriting: The Art and Science of Revising Your Work - Cindi Myers 
If I ever needed a class it was this one!  Seems like that's all I've been doing is revising, and Cindi Myers gave tips and helpful suggestions, that I was able to put into use as soon as I got home from the Conference.  Her workshop was so packed, that every available seat was taken, and the staff had to bring in more chairs.  Apparently all writers need all the help they can get, when it comes to revising our work!

These were just the workshops I took over the weekend!  This doesn't include all the wonderful conversations held at breakfast, lunch, and the great dinners in the evening, or even in the elevators while everyone was making their way to their destinations.

And then there was the palm sweating, cold chilling, knee knocking,  "10 Minute Pitch Session."
All writers who were pitching were told to arrive at least 10 minutes early before their session.  When I arrived for mine, I learned there were 6 other writers who were also going in at the same time.  Our names were called out as if we were lining up to see the principle.  One guy said his palms were sweating, and they rest us chatted nervously like school kids and my mouth felt dry.  I felt like I had disassociated from my body, and only a holographic image of myself was actually walking into the "Pitch" conference room.  But damn it, I was going through with it!  I know that sometimes life gives you opportunities, ones that may not come your way again, and even though this was my first conference, I had to take advantage of the opportunity to meet an agent face to face!
I'm happy to say my say my session went well, and I've got some serious writing ahead me this winter, which is just fine with me.  I'll have something to focus on while winter passes, which will be a good thing for me.

I can't finish this post without giving thanks to my friend and author, C. R. Richards, who told me to get my butt to the Writer's Conference.  What a blessing it is to have her friendship and mentorship.  If someone successful is in your corner, I feel its best to listen to and follow their advice!

So, if you've never attended a Writer's Conference, I would definitely recommend attending one.  For me it was a Writer's Nirvana.  I've been inspired to be in a better place with my writing by next year's Conference.  I've got some goals and deadlines to meet.  I am looking forward to accomplishing them.

Here's to Happy Writing!

Monday, September 16, 2013

13 Goddesses

We just passed September, Friday the 13th!
That day I felt the power of thirteen powerful Goddesses.  Below are thirteen powerful Goddesses whose energy and Spirit, coursed through me that day.
Two of them are not "Goddesses" per se, but this list would be incomplete without them:

Goddess Lilith - the primordial one.  She who refused to lay beneath Adam! 
Goddess Kali Ma - Destroyer, Creator!
Goddess Freya - Warrior Priestess for whom Friday is named! 
Goddess Hecate - Keeper of the Crossroads, send your hounds! 
Goddess Sehkmet - Great fierce lion-headed Queen! 
Goddess Isis - Great Mother of All!
Goddess Cerridwen - Dark Mother of the Cauldron! 
Goddess Oya - Powerful African Mother of Storms! 
Goddess Minerva - Great One of Battle, War and Water! 
Goddess Bellona - She who shall not be conquered! 
Goddess Persephone - She who conquered the Underworld! 
Marie LeVeau - Great Hoodoo Queen of Conjure! 
Tituba - Dark and Powerful soul sister of Magick! 

On Friday the 13th, while I was listening to my favorite dark and powerful band, Nox Arcana, these words came: 

Thirteen Goddesses at the door.
Lilith, Hecate, Oya and several more. 

Battered, bloodied and bruised,
I bow before them. 

Crawling on my hands and knees
I stand before the Goddesses of the Dark. 

Hear my cries,
Hear my pleas,

Oh great Goddesses 
I am on my knees! 

You survived,
You overcame .

Help me,
In my time of crisis,
To do the same! 

"Daughter of Light,
Of powerful, fierce, and loathsome Night. 

Do not crawl.
The light is brightest after the fall. 

We know the darkness of which you speak,
We too were cast down amongst the meek.

Our way is not for the timid or small. 
Your Power is magnificent,
Stand brave and tall. 

The small-minded,
And shallow,
Shall always try,
To belittle the ones,
Who are made to fly. 

Hear the Raven,
The Magpie,
And Hawk.

Pierce the sky, 
Stand tall and walk. 

Do not fear,
What you cannot see,
We are with you,
So Mote It Be!" 

The season of the Witch is upon us.  I've taken to wearing a bracelet of tiny skulls.  I like it.  The number 13 is powerful and magickal.  May we embrace the power of the Goddess, remember Her and keep Her ways.  Blessed Be.

Loving Kindness

Yesterday my husband and I toured "The Loving Kindness" Tour at the Zen Center of Denver. I have long been fascinated with Buddhism as it seems to mirror so closely my own Spiritual path. As a Shao-lin disciple of Kung Fu, the practice of mindfulness and daily meditation has become even more important in my life. After traveling to China in 2011 with my school, and seeing the bigger than life size Buddhas, I've grown to have a fondness in my heart for the Buddha. 

Years before I studied Kung Fu, I was blessed to travel to the two Stupas located here in Colorado. What a blessing it is to have two Stupas in our state. One Stupa is located in Red Feather Lakes, CO, which is in the northern part of the state and the other is located in the mystical town of Crestone, which is in the southern part of the state. Our state is grounded between the two Stupas, one in the north and one in the south. And even though we as a state, have suffered through some horrible acts of violence (Columbine and Century Theatre massacre) I still feel the presence of these holy places helps us on some level, whether we know it or not. 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect for the Loving Kindness Tour. For years we have wanted to enter the Zen Center of Denver, just based on the building itself. The Center is located in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver, which is a beautiful neighborhood filled with large old trees and brick buildings. The Zen Center is located in old, beautiful building that just by looking it gives one a sense of peace. I was excited for the opportunity simply to enter the building. 

Before we could enter, we had to remove our shoes, just like when I go to Kung Fu class. Without being told, immediately we felt the silent instruction, to speak softly, and walk softly. I've seen on other sites where the tour was held, people waited in long lines for hours to see the Relics. However for us, there weren't more than ten people ahead us in line. We stood on the staircase leading up into the sanctuary and quietly waited our turn. 

The room was filled with a golden peace and immananence that is hard to explain. Another one of those blessed, mysterious, moments of life, that can only be felt and not explained. 

As my husband and I walked the display of relics, we stopped at the places on the display, which were interactive and asked us to ring a bell, pour water, say a prayer or read a text. We also paused with reverence at each relic display. We are not Buddhists but we could feel the sacred energy emanating from the display and we bowed appropriately at each one. 

At the last display, there was a sacred text, which said just by reading it would help to enlighten one. I was thrilled when I saw the text included the word "Goddess".

 At the end of the tour, we bowed on a cushion and received a blessing from the relics. We also took a small offering of holy water, that the Zen Center gave to everyone who took the tour. The water has been blessed by the relics.

 This morning as the church bells rang from the Catholic Church, which is a block from my house and whose daily, hourly, ringing of church bells, disturbs me greatly, I found peace knowing the Zen Center is just a few blocks away. I felt peace knowing they are one end, the Catholic Church is in the middle and I am on the other end. It brought me great peace to know the Buddhists are alive and well in my neighborhood. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Passion For Writing

I've hit a milestone. I "finished" the story I've been working on for the past several months, which I actually started 9 years ago. Next week I'm headed to my first Writer's Conference, the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Gold Conference, which will be held here in Denver.

I'm nervous, scared and excited about the Conference.  Writing is my passion and naturally I want to make a good first presentation.  Thankfully I found a a wonderful Youtube video by Teresa Funke, which has been extremely helpful in preparing to "pitch" at a Writer's Conference.  If "pitching" is in your future, I highly recommend it!  As a writer, I would scribble on walls if I didn't have paper or a computer. I am one of those people who appreciates the opportunities technology has brought to share one's writing. And I thank anyone and everyone who takes time to read my writing!

Now that I've put my story to rest for a while, I find myself wondering what next story or opportunity will captivate my interest. I've got story fodder dancing around in my head, which is good - so I don't feel I'm at a loss for material. I did my New Moon Tarot reading, and it appears doors are opening for me.  Yay!  I'm going to step through them, whether my mundane self is ready or not!

I'm working on getting over my sadness of Summer leaving. Each day I see the leaves change and spiral down to the ground.  I love warm weather, my garden, flowers and green trees. Yesterday I spent the morning at the Denver Botanic Gardens and took in the beautiful colors of the season. 

Spiritually I'm not looking forward to Winter.  I'm not looking forward to scraping ice from windshield, wearing 50 pounds of clothes and brown knuckling it, through icy roads and crazy drivers. I know I can't control the weather, no matter what kind of Witch I may think I am, so I've got to find a way to embrace to the upcoming season. And don't get me wrong, of course I love Halloween, but after that its pretty much downhill for me, until Spring.

I hope wherever you are you are enjoying the last days of Summer and if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, the ending of Winter and you're looking forward to Spring!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

City Life - Not So Much

I've just returned from a glorious vacation to South Fork, CO, with my husband and our little dog.  We followed our favorite highway, Hwy 285 to Hwy 160 and into the town of South Fork, CO.

For many years I've gotten the towns of South Park and South Fork confused.  Lots of folks recognize "South Park" from the cartoon, but the town of South Fork is something completely different, and much farther away from the city of Denver.

I've lived in Colorado my entire adult life and have been blessed to crisscross travel, its mountainous terrain several times.  And each time I cross over the Western Slope, I never want to return.  We are so blessed that just 30 minutes away from Denver, you can see the Continental Divide and a few hours later, you can be in some of the most beautiful, pristine wilderness on planet Earth.

As this was our first trip to South Fork, we weren't exactly sure what to expect.  What we found completely exceeded our expectations.  We found a quiet town, sitting on the Rio Grande River.  We found the quaint, jaw-dropping beautiful towns of Creede and Lake City.  We followed the trail of the infamous Alferd Packer, Colorado's Cannibalist and sat in the Restless Spirits Saloon and had a shot of whiskey.

We bowed in reverence when to our delight we stood at the headwaters of the Rio Grande River.

We walked in grateful silence in the quiet mornings and watched the Sun rise.  We sat in stillness and listened to the water of Mother Earth flow:

Each morning I rose and faced the four directions and greeted the dawn with reverence.  Nature opened her arms to us and we fell into Her.

I was born in the city.  I've lived my entire life in the city.  And yet every time I get away to the mountains, spend quiet evenings in a cabin by a fire, rise early and walk in the meadows, something deep, deep, inside me relaxes and acknowledges that I'm truly in my right place. 
The City with its constant challenges is really starting to lose its appeal.  Perhaps its because I'm getting older and I need a slower pace.  Maybe its because my Pagan Spirit needs a mountain town to truly bloom.  But one thing is certain, Nature is calling and tugging at my heart.  I'm open to any and all avenues for change.  The Wheel is turning in my life.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Piercing Full Moon

It was a piercing Full Moon - literally.  Today I am still feeling the mystic high from my Blue Moon initiation.

Yesterday I got my ear pierced.  Mind you this is not the piercing at the Mall type, where you sit in a chair and they take the gun, and bam(!), your ear lobe is pierced.

No, this is a "piercing" right through the cartliage of my ear.  I earned it. Just like the badge of courage one gets when you get a tattoo.  And I got it on the Full Moon at Blue Door Tattoo, here in Denver.  A Blue Moon Piercing at the Blue Door Tattoo shop.  Its kind of poetic.

I was terrified.  I was grateful my girlfriend went with me and held my hand.  I had to had everything explained to me in great detail.  I give the utmost credit, to Cami, my piercer, for her kindness, gentleness and professionalism.

And oh yeah, I felt it when she pushed the needle through the my ear.  But it was quick and I was thrilled when it was done.  I felt high.  I'm sure anyone who has gotten a tattoo or piercing can relate to the feeling, you feel when your tat or piercing is done.

I love my piercing.  It looks like it has always been there, which to me is a good sign that we put the hoop in the right place.  Its still very tender and sore.  It definitely lets me know its there, when I touch it, and it will take a significantly long time to heal.  But thats ok, because I know that in the caring for it, I will learn much.  I've already learned much about myself and my dedication, through the experience.  I will always remember that I got my first piercing (and maybe my one and only) on the Blue Moon of August 2013.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Changing It Up

The trees are changing.  Mother Nature sends little hints every day that my favorite time of year, Summer, is fading away.  So as much as I would rather stick my head in the sand and pretend, winter isn't far behind, I must acknowledge "Change" and go with the flow.

I changed up my blog design.  I was bored with it.  I think it looks fresh and even better, it inspires me to return to it and write.  Thank you everyone for hanging with me, as its been approximately one month since my last post!

I have been busy, busy.  My world has exploded with writing and writing opportunites.  I finished my two articles for Llewellyn publications, which will be published next year.  And now I'm working on a fictional story.  What makes me think I can write fiction, I have no idea.  But as a writer, the world is only limited by my imagination and you'll never know unless you try.  Plus I'm pretty attached to my protagonist and its exciting seeing where the story takes me.  I'll update more on that progress as it comes.

Back to the seasons and change.  I look forward to Samhain (as we Pagans and Witches) call Halloween.  I find myself already loading up my calendar, then going "whoa I need to back off there a bit!"  Its so easy to get overwhelmed with the Halloween season.  And it always strikes me funny, that my Witch calendar is booked solid during the month of October, and then its completely open through New Year's day. 

And honestly speaking, another reason I hate to see Summer end, is because I dread the Thanksgiving - Christmas  push and pressure.  The months of July, August and September are so simple and laid back.  There's no mad rushing around to get this gift or that, no parties to plan, no Holidays to figure out how to observe.  And I always have a tough time with Christmas.  Somedays I just want to puke from the "Our Savior" overload.

Anyway, its great to be back on the page.  I hope your Summer has been delightful!
Peace and Bright Blessings,
Priestess Najah

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Trayvon Martin - The Verdict

Sadly I am not surprised by the verdict for George Zimmerman.  The whole thing makes me feel tired in a deep part of my soul.

I said a prayer of hope, comfort and strength for his family.  I know that's all I can really do. 

I can't light a candle for Trayon.  That's too close, for my empathic, compassionate, mother-bear-rage, heart.

My son is 22 years old.  When he was a teen, I myself had to have a conversation with local police, about his right to sit on his own front steps, at 2 o'clock in the morning - without being deemed suspicious.

Trayvon Martin's case opens up such deep-seated feelings and issues that I feel the need to tread carefully and thoughtfully with my words. 

Trayvon is dead.  Funny how we were refer to him in the first person, as if we knew him personally.  His spirit has reached into our soul, and we won't forget him.  Neither a "guilty or acquitted" verdict was going to return to him to his family.  This trial was about his family.  Providing some sense of closure, that their son's death had not been in vain.  I can only the imagine the heartbreak and injustice they must feel.

I have never been a person to judge people by their race, creed, or color of their skin.  I hate labels.  My life is blessed with a true diversity of people and that''s how I like it.  I don't want to feel other's judgements and irrational, lopsided beliefs are now going to change, how I feel about being a Black person in American society.  That's where the true work comes in for me.  How to hold to my faith, in the face of things that seem so achingly familiar in my people's past. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Renn Faire Magick

The Colorado Renn Faire opened June 15, 2013 and I went this past weekend.  How I love the Renn Faire!  I've been attending since 1992 and every time I go it just gets better and better.

The first time I set foot on the Renn Faire grounds, in the summer of 1992, I knew I had a found a magickal place.  The Faire was filled with people who thought like me and loved the Rennaissance period of history.

Like other Faire goers, the first few times I attended the Faire, I did not wear period clothing.  That just seemed a little too much for me.  Plus its silly right to dress and pretend your're wench, a fairy, a knight of the court, a lady in waiting, or a mysterious, magickal person, a Witch, walking through the realm, right?  WRONG!

As the fates would have it, one year I took my son to the Renn Faire when he was just a little boy.  We noticed ta "costumes for rent" tent, right outside the Faire gates.  We took the plunge, rented costumes and the magickal doors of the Faire opened to us.  We didn't know at the time, we'd picked a prince's costume for my son.  Everywhere we went through the Faire, people bowed to him, and he went before the court and bowed before the king.  Oh what a great day that was and I've been going in "costume" ever since.  I put "costume" in quotes, because now I have real Renni clothes, that I just love wearing to the Faire and any other place that is appropriate.  To me, they are my real clothes.  When I get dressed up in my Renni clothes and saunter through the Faire, I feel at home:

You meet the nicest people at the Faire.  After years of attending, I've now got friends who come to work the Faire for the 8 weeks the Faire is running.  I'm secretly jealous of their ability to do this!  I've always fantasized about having my own little Gypsy cart and traveling the country, going from Faire to Faire.  Well, it still could happen!
This year I took a friend to the Faire who had never been before.  She was a "Renn Faire Virgin".  I supplied her with clothes, stressing to her how much more fun she would have, if she dressed up.  Thankfully she is good sport as well as being an author, and she loved it!  We had such a good time.
And to put an end to our magickal day at the Faire, as we were leaving, a woman came up to me and asked, "Are you Witches?"  Of course I turned to her and said, "Yes, I am! "

Blessed Be.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Little Coffins

I am a True Blood Truebie.  Love it, love it, love it and can hardly wait for Season 6 to begin on Sunday.

Tonight on Twitter, TrueBlood@HBO was asking us to post our "bad thing" with the hashtag #badthing.

I tweeted,  "I keep little coffins around just in case I need them for a spell".  Which got me thinking why do I keep little coffins around and what type of spell work would I use them for?  Why do I find peace in cemeteries? 

I do enjoy cemeteries.  Always have.  And I do find them peaceful.  Sometimes I just like to stroll through cemeteries.  I like to read the headstones and see what kind of life a person may have had.  I like to see how loved ones construct tombs to their dearly departed.  So much knowledge can be gained by hanging out in a cemetery.

And the little coffins, what about their use?  Little coffins come in handy for getting rid of stuff that no longer serves you, or things you want to let go of and bury.  These things may be bad habits, thoughts, mistakes or feelings.  Little coffins are also symbols for the turn of the Wheel and the season of Samhain and Halloween.  They symbolize those who have crossed over and that are our own coffins are waiting for us as well, if you can think in those terms.  They remind me that life is fleeting and fragile, and that we can go at any moment.  So yes, I like little coffins and I find them to be very useful magickal symbols.

Priestess Najah

Friday, June 7, 2013

Vampires, True Blood and Anne Rice

True Blood returns to HBO on June 16, 2013.  I can hardly wait.  I have a passion for Vampires, Witches, New Orleans, cemeteries and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. 

I fell down the Vampire hole when I first saw "Interview With the Vampire" in the theatre.  During that time lots of people were reading Anne Rice and excitement about her writing was everywhere.  Honestly at that time I didn't understand what was the big deal.  And then I went to see the movie and this scene appeared before my eyes:

When she opened her eyes and looked at "Louis" a recognition shot through my soul, that I still have a hard time putting into words.

Who was this writer, who were these characters that spoke so deeply to my soul?.  I was a changed person after seeing "Interview With the Vampire".  I became obsessed with Anne Rice novels and and read all her Vampire Chronicles.  I was like a parched traveler in the desert, finding an oasis.  My favorite Chronicle is "Tale of the Body Thief".  And to my great glory, I met Anne Rice at an Author's signing and she signed my copy of  "Tale of the Body Thief".

I feel in love with Lestat and his unapologetic nature.  There is nothing sexier than a Vampire without guilt or remorse.  And definitely one that doesn't twinkle.  No sparkling Vampires for this woman.

On my first trip to New Orleans, I had a wonderful day touring the Garden District.  As fate would have it, I was alone the day I walked the Garden District and stood outside Anne Rice's home.  At the time she was still living in New Orleans.  I also toured Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.  While I was in the cemetery I had a creepy experience with one of the Guides.  Of course he was dressed in a top hat and had on round, blue sunglasses, which made it all the better.

Fast forward to True Blood.  I was hooked after the first episode of Season 1.  I could live and work in Bon Temps.  I'd have a little shack where I wrote and sometimes did Conjure work for folks, if I was in the mood to do so.  I'd take walks in the cemetery and have lunch at Merlotte's.  And I'd be a friend of the Vampires, but knowing their nature and that immortality is not what its cracked up to be, I'd stay away from their fangs.

Priestess Najah

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Training With Grandmaster Sin Kwang The

Yesterday for the very first time I met and trained with the living Grandmaster of our Shao-lin Art, Grandmaster Sin Kwang The.

Each year he travels to the schools to teach us and our Masters, and have those moving up in the degrees of Black Belt, to test before him.

I was giddy as a school girl waiting for him to arrive.  If was if we were waiting for Santa.  And then he was there.  Small in stature, humble in nature, gigantic in skill and talent, he led us through 12 hours of training, teaching us two Immortal Forms of Shao-lin Kung Fu! 

Grandmaster Sin Kwang The

I have always loved martial arts.  I grew up in Los Angeles, CA where Asian culture has a huge influence on daily life.  I went to elementary school with many Asian-American children and I've  been fascinated with Asian culture since I could remember.  Surely there must have been a past life as a Chinese or Japanese person.  Visiting China in 2011 was an amazing experience.  What a blessing it was to travel to China with my Shao-lin school in 2011 and see and perform at the Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Kung Fu.

Yesterday I felt the same reverence as we trained with Grandmaster The.  Even in his humbleness, I could sense the lineage and the time and training he has put into Shao-lin Kung Fu, and he is 70 years old! Wow! 

Shao-lin Kung Fu continues to train my mind, body and spirit, and take me places I never thought I would attain.  I feel inspired to continue training to my next degree of Black Belt.  Attaining my next degree will take at least another year of dedication and training, but I am inspired by the dedication, friendship and support of my Shao-lin buddies.  We shall continue to carry on!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Paper, Pen and Llewellyn

In my past life I was a scribe.  No one has ever had to tell me this, I know this to be true within my own being.

I am passionate about all things that deal with writing.  I love new journals, the smell of paper and fine writing utensils.  Keeping a journal is as breath is to my lungs.

That is why I am so excited to announce I am under contract with Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing!  My first article will be published in the 2015 Witches' Companion.

Can you say stoked, floating on air, dancing on the ceiling?!  Truly this a manifestation of a life long dream and a manifestation of the Goddess, in whom I live, move and my have my being.

To further add to the joy and excitement, I received my contract on my birthday.  Oh blessed be!

I follow the signs and omens.  Over and over again, the signs and omens told me the Wheel would turn and things would come right.  Sometimes that was hard to believe when dark days and doubts clouded my thinking.  Perhaps you too have felt that way.  You know something good is coming, but it seems everything conspires to test your faith and patience.  In the world of magick when a spell is working we must be still, silent and wait.  Oh how hard it is to wait and be silent when your dreams are at work! 

Here's to bright blessings that your dreams may come true as well!

Priestess Najah

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The rites of Spring and a Magickal Land called Beltania

On Thursday of this week, my beloved husband and I rolled into the Land called Beltania.  My community of Living Earth and the Beltania staff had worked long and hard, tirelessly, well maybe not tirelessly!, to put on this year's Beltania festival, located in Florence, CO.

We left Denver in the pouring rain.  As is always the case, especially in Colorado, one cannot count on sunny, dry, weather simply because its the month of May.  Be that as it is may, we arrived at the land of Beltania, in the pouring rain.

The road was muddy and slick.  There was simply no good way to make it up the road, to camp.  So we pulled over, and settled in to our spot for the night.  This year, we took our adventure to a new level and rented an RV.  That itself was an adventure and much fodder for another story!

Even in the rain and mud, it was fantastic to be out of the city.  The smell of forest and clean air, is a ritual within itself.  We made it up to the festival grounds, checked in and hugged and greeted our friends.  Since the weather, was insistent upon rain, all festivities and rituals had to be delayed to the next day.  But not to worry, as Pagans we embrace the power of Mother Nature, and go with her flow.
We returned to roadside campsite, set up our fire pit, built a fire, and had a wonderful night, with all the travelers who were making their way up and down the road!

The next morning, we awoke to clear skies and deer silently padding through the forest!  Oh Blessed Be!  Sunshine and ritual!  Yay, Yay, Yay!

On this morning, which was Friday, I was tasked to be the element of Air in the Opening Ritual.  How blessedly beautiful it was to gather with everyone and welcome in Beltania!  The Circle was enormous and everyone radiated the Spirit of the Mother and Father of the Earth, Time and Spirit!  The heavens opened to us and we circled and sang, danced and welcomed in the rites of May.

Once the Opening Ritual was done, I moved to my next task, which was to be Mother Nature and welcome in the new May Queen!  Myself and Father Time thanked the 2013 May Queen and Green Man for the service and crowned the new May Queen and Green Man for 2013-2014.  It was truly a joyful experience.

Now that my tasks were done, we were free to simply be and wander around and participate in the festival activities.  We had a glorious time listening to the musical performers, taking workshops and dancing around the hottest fire into the wee hours of the night.

The next day, which was Saturday we danced and weaved one of the most beautiful May Poles I've ever seen.  What a thrill it was to watch the May Queen be hoisted upon the May Pole and the men carry her through the grounds.  Then with everyone chanting and yelling the men successfully inserted the pole into the fertile ground of Mother Earth.  We then danced and weaved the most beautiful bright ribbons around and around the May Pole.  Spectacular.  Simply joyful and wonderful.

We met so many wonderful new people for whom this was their first Pagan festival or as a solitary they had made the decision to come out and be with other Pagans on the mountain.

I can't thank enough all the People who work so hard to put on a safe, fun, Spiritually rich, diverse, open, welcoming, event for people of all paths, faiths, genders and ages.  We are truly blessed to be a part of the Living Earth Community.

Blessed Be,
Priestess Najah

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Fellowship of Paganism

May is right around the corner and I'm getting ready for Beltania.  Not just me, but a whole host of like-minded people are planning, preparing and thinking about one of the biggest outdoor Pagan festivals of the year, held here in Colorado. There will be music, dancing, singing, laughing, trancing, workshops, national authors and much more.

Each morning as I arise and face the Dawn, my thoughts turn to upcoming festival.  I think about how wonderful it will be to fellowship with my fellow Pagans, Witches, Believers and first-timers to a Pagan festival.  I can see the fires burning and hear the drums drumming.  In my mind's eye, I see smiles on faces and hear laughter in voices.  And I feel Her presence as She smiles upon us as we remember Her and Him and celebrate the ways of Nature.

Fellowship is very important. There are many of us who are solitary and even for those of us who belong to organized covens or groups, the chance to gather in fellowship in Nature, is a welcome and necessary rite.  As Pagans, we don't have Buildings or Churches that we regularly gather in to meet, Nature is our Temple.  Although I will say, my group, Living Earth has been blessed to acquire a physical space.  We hold open rituals, celebrations and workshops there on a regular basis.

But Beltania is so much more.  It is truly a reverent, mystical, fun-filled four days.  I need it.  My soul, mind, body and spirit need it.  This year I'm blessed to play the part of Mother Nature in a ritual and boy am I looking forward to it! 

In the world of virtual groups and meetings, I believe its imperative to break away from the machine, and get outside with your fellow sisters and brothers.  We are charged with keeping and preserving the Old Ways, infusing them and co-creating new ways to honor them in modern times.  It is not an easy task.  Many are trained in specific ways and modalities, but during Beltania we put these aside and gather as a whole to honor and pay reverence to our Earth-based, Spirit filled, Goddess and God paths.

The saying "The Goddess is alive and magick is afoot" truly presents itself at Beltania.  We can see Her presence growing and becoming more mainstream day by day.  She shows up in commercials, TV shows and in the movements toward tolerance, peace and acceptance.

We have been blessed with tolerance, peace and acceptance from the tiny town of Florence, CO where our festival is held.  What a blessing it is to have the town's support for our festival.  Truly we are moving forward as a community and fellowship.

If you've never attended an outdoor Pagan festival, I encourage you to do so.  I feel it is paramount in the growth of our paths, to gather and fellowship with your sisters and brothers of like mind.  And if you're in Colorado, consider coming on down to Beltania!

Bright Blessings to You.
Priestess Najah 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Broken Finger, Mended Spirit

I broke my finger during Black Belt glove sparring, in my Shao-lin Kung Fu class.  I'm in a cast for three weeks, which has seriously underminded my ability to write and type.

Ever the adaptable Gemini I've looked for ways to adapt, and cope with my injury.  One of the best things I've done was to order decorative art for my cast, from a company called "Casttoo"  .  Their motto of "Happy Healing" has been a truth for me.  Since putting my Casttoo on my cast, I've definitely felt better about my injury:

Of course too, I've earned some serious props (thumbs up) from my Shao-lin Buddies!

But what about the spiritual lessons?  Was the Universe telling me to slow down?  Did I need to learn not to take my fingers for granted?  Or perhaps I needed the Kung Fu lesson  of  "don't block a kick with your hand!".

Slow down, ok.  I can hear that message.  But the slowing down has happened in different ways; how I eat, open doors, drive.  I've found deeper compassion for people who are permanently disabled and have lost the use of one or more of their limbs.  I am so, so grateful to have two hands.  I'm grateful I only need to be in my cast for three weeks, which is very short compared to others who have been casted.

But the thing I miss most is "writing".  I have a deep love and passion for pen and paper, and the loss of being able to write has been significant.  My mind is swirling with thoughts I would like to write in my journal.  On the upside I've been having deeper dreams.  Somehow I feel the deeper dreams are connected to the lack of being able to write.

And then there was the experience of feeling panic and anxiety, the first few days after I was casted.  What a trip that was once the cast was set!  Once the cast was set it hit me hard that I couldn't get my hand out of it, without a saw to cut through the cast.  Thankfully those moments were short-lived and now I've gotten kinda used to being in the cast.

I've also learned I'm pretty good with my left hand, except for writing of course.  I got a thumbs up at a Vietnamese restaurant for being use chop sticks with my left hand.

Any time I have an illness or injury I look for the spiritual aspects in the event.  One of the hardest things to do was to return to Kung Fu.  I am so glad I went back.  Even though I won't be sparring for a while, it was an invaluable lesson to face the fear. 

My injury is also teaching me how to sit with my thoughts since I can't write.  Sure I'm typing, but I can only do that for so long before it becomes uncomfortable. And typing definitely isn't the same as writing.
However each day I'm grateful for feeling good and moving closer and closer to cast removal day!

Blessed Be and the Brightest of Blessings to You!

Priestess Najah

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Powerful First Week of Spring 2013!

The first week of Spring has come to an end and what a rush it has been!  On Tuesday, March 19th, we celebrated Minerva's Day.  On my Priestess Najah Facebook page, you can see some wonderful photos of my visit to Bath, England and my photos of the Roman Baths.  It was here that I was introduced to the Goddess Minerva.  I had hoped upon traveling to England, I would be introduced to facets of the Goddess I had not yet known.  What a blessing it was to meet Goddess Minerva in her temple of Sulis Minerva, in Bath, England!

On Wednesday, March 20th, we welcomed Ostara and the first day of Spring.  I previously posted my Ostara altar and photos.  As we move past Ostara, I am grateful for those of us that keep the Wheel,  follow and acknowledge the turn of the seasons.  For years before I found my path to the Goddess, I always wondered, "what does a bunny and an egg have to do with Easter?".  I am grateful I no longer have those questions!

And on Friday, March 22nd, it was opening day at the Denver March Powwow!  The Denver March Powwow holds a very special place in my heart.  For years I attended the Powwow as a spectator, then for a few years I was blessed to be a vendor at the Powwow.  How special it was to arrive early and set up the booth, hang out and chat with other vendors, and dancers before the general public arrived.  Now I have returned to spectator mode and I'm having a great time. As a person who hails from Black and Cherokee ancestry, the Powwow holds special meaning for me.  My paternal Grandfather was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian.  In addition, while we follow paths of a European nature, the Powwow gives us the opportunity to be with and honor the Indigenous People of North America.  We have wonderful power, right here in the native soil of North America.   Below is a photo of the beautiful Denver March Powwow Grand Entry, followed by a video the Teen Girls Fancy Shawl dancing:

To end the week,  today (March 23, 2013), Mother Nature has sent Denver a wicked Spring Storm.

 I suppose we need to slow down a bit after such a busy week.  However I am grateful for the burst of life that comes with the first week of Spring. That's really what its about, right?!

Hope you are enjoying your first week of Spring.

Bright Blessings,
Priestess Najah

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hail and Welcome Ostara 2013!

Hail and Welcome Ostara!  Blessed be the Waxing Light and the turn of the Wheel.  We gratefully bid farewell to Winter and welcome Spring!  In the Southern Hemisphere our sisters and brothers bid welcome to the Autumn.

This morning it was a bit chilly here in a Denver, yet the Dawn came bursting forth with the call of a new day, a new season.  The birds are chirping, the flickers are drumming.  As this Ostara comes with the Waxing Moon, its a wonderful time to give thought to what one would like to increase and grow this season.

Ostara Altar of Priestess Najah

May you blessed with the brightest of blessings this season!

Priestess Najah

Monday, March 18, 2013

Irish Gratitude

I've long felt that Black people and Irish people share a common bond.  We share a love of fiddle music, we understand oppression in a way most people don't, and we're deeply religious people.  As a Pagan, I am grateful for the Old Religion of Irish ancestry.  Where would we be without the Celtic folklore, and the history and mystery of Ireland?  Many of the practices that are common in Paganism and Wicca come from the Irish, especially if you are one who follow the practices of the Druids or the Fey.  "Scratch the topsoil of Irish Christianity, and you come at once to the bedrock of paganism" - Janet and Stewart Farrar, "The Witches Bible".

Yesterday was St. Patrick's day.  Over the weekend many people including myself celebrated, by listening to great music, wearing green, and drinking large amounts of alcohol.  All things in moderation it was a great time, and I have deep gratitude for my true love, my hubby, who is a "Bagley" of Irish/Scottish descent.

Yesterday as we were celebrating, we were blessed to hear live fiddle music.  I love the sound of live fiddle music.  It speaks to me. 

It reaches down into my ole West Virgini roots and to the roots of my paternal Grandfather who was from Barton, Alabama.  Mind you I've never set one foot in Alabama, but I did have some wonderful family reunions in West Virigina.  Nobody ever played fiddle music that I can recall, but I do remember my Mom showing me how she could play the spoons once.  I also love Bluegrass and Irish music.  Recently I feel in love with the band, Civil Wars, who had unique folk, blues sound and recorded the awesome song, "Barton Hollow".  Unfortunately their band has broken up, but perhaps in the future they'll record some more great songs.  Even though I didn't grow up listening to this type of music, obviously one never gets too far from their roots!

In conclusion I gratefully raise a toast to the Irish!  Blessed Be their Culture, their Old Ways, and Spirit!

Priestess Najah

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A New Pope

Yesterday the Catholic World elected a new Pope. I watched the pagentry, pomp and circumstance with mixed emotions. 

I was glad to see the Catholic Church elect a Pope from Argentina.  My thoughts had been if the Catholic Church wants to keep moving ahead and growing, they should elect a Pope from lands where people live their faith and practice it.  In my mind that clearly was Latin America.  And that's what they did.  So bully for them. And that's where my enthusiasm ended.  Clearly I do not support a religion or way of life that is steeped in misogyny.

Next I wondered, would I ever live to see the day, where thousands of people are gathered on a hillside worshipping the Goddess, openly?  Would it make media coverage, would the World be rapt in awe as we honor Her presence, Her wisdom, Her ways?  Probably not. 

And it came to me this will not happen for many reasons, first and foremost being, we do not proselytize.  We don't seek to convert.  If you find us we are here, but we will not seek you out.  And it for this reason many of us are drawn to practice the Old Religion, Nature Religions, the Old Ways.  We don't actively seek to infringe our thoughts and beliefs upon others.  We simply seek to practice our ways, in peace.

It struck me odd that Catholicism is growing rapidly in Africa.  When I think of Africa, I think of the Motherland, there's that word "Mother" and of tribal ancient communities.  Why would Catholicism be taking root there?  However we know the power and the long arm of the Church and their missionaries are strong.  It made me a bit a sad to think of Africans in the Motherland coverting to Catholicism.

This morning my Earth Psalm prayer was a good one.  I use my Earth Psalms as an Oracle and I am always pleasantly surprised by what returns.  The ending line in today's prayer was "I await that day Goddess.  I will work and prepare for that day".

And so we continue to work and prepare the way.  Bit by bit little by little, we keep letting the World know we are here, and even more so, SHE is here.

Blessed Be Upon all Pagan, Witches, Believers, Priestesses and Priests, Everywhere.

Priestess Najah

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In Between Seasons

Hello Blogosphere!

Not much going in my realm.  It snowed here in Denver today, which was unexpected.  I hate it when the forecasters are off their game.

Its in between seasons or turns of the Wheel time.  I am anxiously awaiting Ostara, the Spring Equinox.  Personally I'm ready to be done with Winter.

For me these are the long days of winter, the months of February and March.  I noticed my last post was on Feb 10, 2013 so I've definitely been in my cave.

My latest Tarot spread turned up several cards that showed people waiting, including the Hanged Man.  And that's where I find myself, waiting...waiting for Spring, waiting for the energy of the Earth to quicken and flowers to blossom, longing for green leaves and sunny days.  Waiting for seeds that have been planted to begin blossoming.

As we wait for the Wheel to turn, may bright blessings be yours!

Priestess Najah

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Year of the Snake! Happy Chinese New Year!

Its the New Moon, Year of the Snake; Happy Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras is going on in New Orleans!  Whew, its seems like the whole world has a reason to party today!  And boy am I glad of another opportunity to began again.

Its nice of Mother Nature to give us the opportunity to begin again with each New Moon.  Even though the skies are dark, we await Her first silver crescent with great anticipation.  We know She's coming back.  A fresh new cycle has begun.

The Chinese celebrate the "Spring Festival" from the New Moon to the Full Moon, a full 15 days of celebrating.  How nice of our Chinese brothers and sisters to keep the lunar cycle!  Its awesome to know that somewhere in the world, there are billions of people who follow the lunar cycle in addition to us Pagans, Earth Worshippers and Witches here in the West. 

I pray that this cycle ushers in newness of being and well wishes for us all. 

Bright Blessings to YOU,
Priestess Najah

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Cave and My Blanket. Taos, NM.

As the calendar turned to February, I found myself thinking "where is my cave, where is my blanket?".  My calendar reminded me of how unnatural it is for us to go against the grain of winter.  All I want to do during these days is stay home, read, write and watch movies.  In short, hibernate.

But our society doesn't work that way, at least not in a big city.  We've constructed our world to run 24/7 nonstop and anyone who doesn't keep up that maddening pace is seen as going against the wheel.  "Move over or get out of my way!" seems to be the language of morning and evening drive traffic.

As one who follows the Wheel and is keenly tuned to the seasons, I feel the Earth slow down.  I'm blessed to live in a state where the seasons change.  As the leaves begin to fall in Autumn, I feel a sadness come over me.   As the days get longer, dark and cold, well, some days I'm down right miserable.  I know all about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but that's not it for me.  Its the going against the grain of Winter, when I all want to do is hibernate.

There is a place not too far from my home where time seems to move at the correct pace.  The enchanted land of Taos, NM.

Taos Pueblo, photo taken by Najah Lightfoot Bagley

Here the Tiwa People of the Taos Pueblo have been in continual existence for over 1000 years, making the Taos Pueblo the longest continually inhabited place, in North America.

And the magical town of Taos has grown up around the Pueblo. 

Taos Inn, photo taken by Najah Lightfoot Bagley

It takes a bit to get to Taos.  Its in the Northwest corner of NM, surrounded by the Blessed Sacred Mountains.  When you drive into town, you can smell pinion and fireplaces burning. Its quiet.  Taos is the home of mystics, writers, artists, cowboys, farmers, chili lovers and friends.  It is sanctuary.  Georgia O'Keefe stayed a spell at the Sagebrush Inn and painted.  Its the only place where I can get my favorite margarita, "Fire on the Mountain", which is made with Mezcal, at the Taos Inn.  In Winter, You can walk down the street at night and barely see another soul.  Yet take a turn into an Inn or Cantina, and there the whole town is enjoying dinner, drinks and camaraderie.

You can visit the Pueblo and feel the Spirit of the Earth, but watch out for the Pueblo dogs who take no prisoners.

We stayed in Taos for a few days, recently. We've been blessed to travel there since 1996.  In Taos, I can smell the pinion, hear the "quorking" of ravens, watch coyotes pad across the road and see the dogs take them down.  I can walk down the road, have a fantastic New Mexican breakfast or buy some sage at the Pueblo.  And even better, I can sit, be still and hibernate.

Hail to the peace and stillness of Winter.  Hail to the cycles of the Earth and to the Turn of the Wheel.

Winter Blessings to You,
Priestess Najah

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blessed Be Imbolc

Image courtesy The White Goddess.UK

Last day of January. Tomorrow the Wheel turns and we celebrate Imbolc/Candlemas. The Moon is waning, the year is moving on. Although in the Northern Hemisphere, Winter holds us in Her grip, Spring is coming. Light a candle to dispel the darkness and winter blues, and to herald the promise the Spring. Hail Blessed Imbolc!
Bright Blessings,
Priestess Najah

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Who Can You Turn To

I've shed some tears lately.  Life has been tough in our household as of late.  We've been going through some shit.

I've found myself adrift, alone and wanting.  Feeling let down by practicing my Craft as a religion and the lack of direction for when times get really tough.

One thing that I have always found difficult about the Pagan path is its lack of reliable dogma (for lack of a better word) when things get hard and you're reaching for guidance.  Sure I love the beauty, the mystery and the freedom, to practice any way I please, but sometimes, one needs a sure foot to stand on when life gets hard.

I don't belong to a coven.  I'm solitary.  Solitary also means alone.  I'm very grateful for my friends.  It seems in time of need, truly the only place we can turn to is each other.  The Moon for all Her glory has felt far away and distant.

Spellwork has lost its luster, taking on a persona of something you do for fun and entertainment.  Perhaps we have done the community a disservice by rambling on and on, about the legitmacy and effectiveness of Spellwork.  I have found it to be a distraction from the real work one needs to do, which is to be right within yourself.  Sure, I like my talismans and I have truly found comfort in the light and prayer of a candle, but spellwork, not so much.

And a book.  The Craft, Wicca, whatever you want to call it, has no central book.  So where do you turn when you need comfort and reassurance.  Perhaps if I had grown up Pagan, I would be used to wandering all over the place for reassurance, but I came to the Craft from traditional organized religion and for all its deficits, there is something to be said about the word "organized".

I do have one book, which I was led to by my Year and A Day teacher.  Its called "Earth Psalms" by Angela Magara.  It truly is Goddess Psalms for life.  I'm glad I have it.  I turn to it daily and it is becoming my book.

And I have found comfort and strength through my daily practice of Shao-lin Kung Fu.  As Elder Ed Fitch so succintly put it "the world is not a peaceful or tranquil place".   My daily practice and training in Shao-lin Kung Fu and Tai Chi has helped me weather these times and become strong in ways I could have never imagined.

We're a new religion and new way.  We don't have the legacies of time behind us and that makes it hard sometimes.  We're all still figuring it out.  Sometimes that's good and sometimes that's annoying.

I had to find a new way to be with the Moon.  Last night's Full Moon was in Leo, a selfish Moon.  A time to ask what for you need.  I asked to find a new way, a new way to stand and be in right relationship with Her.  I realized in my dark hours the Moon is ever changing.  She appears, disappears, waxes and wanes.  She leaves us in the dark every month.  But she leaves her stars behind to guide us, help us and to let us know we're not alone.  Even though the stars are not as bright as the Moon they are still there as our guides.  The Sun and bless you Sun, is always there.  It is constant, never changing.  But the Moon has her ups and downs and then she goes away.  While she goes away, we have to faith that She will reappear.  And when She does, oh what joy when we see Her first silver Crescent in the sky.

So perhaps this is the way of faith.  Of our path with the Goddess.  Sometimes she goes away and feels cold and dark.  But She's never gone for long.

Blessed Be.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Congratulations Mr. President!

May Goddess Bless him and keep him!

Blessed Be,
Priestess Najah

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Drawing Down", Myth, Mythology and Religion

"Arms outstretched wide, I open my Spirit and Being to the Goddess.  I recite "The Charge" fueled with Her presence and feel the glory of the Divine wash over and through me".  It occurs to me that as I describe my ecstatic experience, I use words describing the experience as outside myself, bringing something into myself which is not within me.  Have I done myself a disservice?

Lately my thoughts have been turning to Myths, Mythology and Religion.  I have found myself returning to the powerful PBS series, "The Power of Myth" with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers.  How refreshing it was for a deep thinker such as myself to find the series online.  I recently reviewed the Episode 5, "Love and the Goddess" and you can view it here:

My altar is covered with statues of the Goddess.  She who cannot be named, She of ten thousand names and faces; Yemaya, Isis, Ishtar, Lilith, just for starters.  I call to Her, pray to Her, but am I really calling to a place deep within me?  When I meditate I close my eyes and go within.  All pointers for a making connection with a Higher Power, say to go within.   Perhaps in the ritual of "Drawing Down the Goddess", instead of "Drawing Down", we should be "Drawing Out".  If we are made of Stardust and Earth, She dwells within us.  The Moon reminds of us of what is within.   Tapping into that innate Higher Power is the hard part. Bringing it forth and acknowledging the Power is within us is even harder, all the while maintaining our humility.

And so I venture forth into the morning dawn and dark night, greeting the Sun, the Moon and Stars.   Trying hard to see inside myself, that which exists in timeless, nameless spaces and places.  Let the Moon and Stars remind me of my true Divinity, that which is within and not separate from myself.

Blessed Be and Happy New Moon,
Priestess Najah

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Winter Prayers

The icy days of winter are upon us, in my corner of the World. Thanks to Llewellyn, Ellen Dugan and the wonderful Witches' Calendar for 2013, we are ready for winter prayers. The festival of Holda and Perchta. Wonderful prayer for January 6, 2013:
"All around me now, icy winter winds do blow,
I call Holda and Perchta, the Queens of Snow,
Leaders of the Wild Hunt,
Great Ladies please hear my cry,
Watch over and defend me as you sail through the sky.
By the powers of Earth, Air, Fire and Water,
Guard and protect your magickal sons and daughters".
Blessed Be.
May your Winter be a Magickal One!
Bright Blessings,
Priestess Najah

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hail and Welcome 2013! It Hath Arrived!

2013 Circle of 13 Candles and Potted Rosemary

In the 13th hour, the above candles were lit to celebrate the arrival of 2013.  How awesome to be alive in the year which ends in the number "13". 

I find strength and power in the number 13.  It is sacred to me.  It is sacred because it is the number of Full Moons in a year.  I embrace the number 13 and honor it.

We can thank Pope Gregory XIII for 2013.  Without his embrace of the calendar that replaced the Julian Calendar, we wouldn't be counting years that led to 2013.  Hence the name "Gregorian Calendar". Actually, there are several calendars running in the World at all times.

Our New Year is a celebration of the Civil Calendar which actually runs on an agreement the Church made for tracking Easter!  Can you believe that one?  We're all running on a calendar made to design and track Easter!  Mind-boggling isn't it?!  As a Goddess Devotee, Earth worshipper, Nature Lover, I say we remove the veil from our eyes and realize the illusion and break it!

The Witches calendar actually started on October 31, 2012.  That was our New Year's Day.  The Chinese are still running their calendar and Chinese New Year doesn't begin until Feb. 10, 2013.  Of course there's the calendar of your solar return, your birthday, so there is another calendar that's running.  Orthodox Hebrews and Muslims also follow their own calendar for religious events.  So pretty much whatever time you're following is up to you!  Of course for business sake and to keep the world from going wonky the World agreed to follow the Gregorian Calendar.  But knowledge is power.  I know now from whence this calendar comes, so for me this is year 1!

May we all be Brightly Blessed whatever calendar and time we are following.

Blessed Be!
Priestess Najah