Friday, November 2, 2018

Cold Season is Coming.

Blessings Darlings!

Every now and then, many of us get a few extra dollars.  Sometimes those extra dollars don't need to spent on immediate necessities like rent or this weeks food.  It's mighty handy to have a 'wish list' in advance for such times.

I'm at one of those times right now.  We finally got our tax refund (LONG story there!).  So, noting that it's now November, I took a look at my wish lists.  Winter is rapidly coming.  There are things that will happen this winter.  Someone here will get a cold, for example.  It could even be me!  Checking the expiration dates on our over the counter cold meds and replacing them would be a good idea.  Because especially if I'm sick - the last thing I need is to try to explain to the Chubby Hubby or the Spawn is what meds I can and can't take.

ALL the damn meds for colds, allergies, etc were out of date.  The burn relief spray was 5 years out of date.  Welp, that told me what list I was taking to the store with me.   We're now covered for most meds (two I'll try to grab when they goes on sale).  I also stocked up on canned stew.  Not only is it one of our go-to foods when folks have colds here (that and soup, but I had cans of that already), but it was on a GREAT sale ... and when I picked up the first can I saw that they had $1 off coupons on each of them!  Happy Fern was Happier. 

I'm also happy that facial tissue doesn't have an expiration date. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Freeze Warning!

Blessings Darlings!

There's a freeze warning for my area tonight.  This is VERY early for our area.  We've not even had a frost yet - my basil is still very happily growing.

Since my UPG is that Samhain is 3 days after the first freeze ... it looks as if Samhain will be very early this year.

I'm now in a hot sweat over the last of the garden.  All crops not harvested by Samhain are left for the Pooka, so getting them in is now or never.  Harvest today - process like a fiend for the next 3 days.  Then Samhain with the ancestors. 

This is why I tend to start working with the ancestors Oct 1.  All 'issues' between us get cleared up, they get offerings and I start to listen to them even more closely. This way, when ever Samhain shows up - the spiritual work is well under way.

How are your Samhain spiritual preps going?  I see lots of folks posting in Pagan groups about how they are decorating for Halloween - but not many posts about them prepping for their ancestors dropping in.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Black Walnuts

Been spending most my life
livin' in a prepper paradise ...

So - today's cheap preps was day 1 of going out to collect black walnuts. Lesson already learned: smaller bucket or fill it less full. I DID remember to grab a bucket with a handle, but it was a 5 gallon bucket. And I filled it. And it was heavy. And I was on foot.

Of course - most of these have their green/black covering on over the shell of the nut. So this isn't going to produce that much actual usable black walnut meat. OTOH, it's free and they have SUCH rich flavor - and buying them, even in bulk, would be about $15 a pound plus shipping.

These are NOT your tame English walnuts. I'll have to drive the car over them to de-hull them, then dry them, then use a vise to crack them so I can get to the meat.

FWIW - this is sort of why Black Walnuts can be used to break from the past.  They also are useful for dyes and the roots are great for protection/warding.

Over the next week or two I plan to collect a lot more. But for today - it's on to water rotation (we are not on city water. If power goes out our well pump stops. When you live like this - you store water because storms can take out power.)

I might just take some Motrin (okay, the generic version) and have a cup of tea first.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

That Blessed To-Do List.

Blessings Darlings!

My ambitions tend to outrace my grasp - which means that my To Do list is really, really, REALLY long.  So much to do!  So little time to do it in!

Today I got several unexpected free hours, courtesy of hurricane Florence.  Because I have the To Do list - and keep it prioritized - I checked my list and decided to catch up on the dishes then do a blog post or two. Wonderful uses of some 'found time'.  Without the To Do list, I'd have had to dither about what I should do with those hours.  Instead, I could IMMEDIATELY get to work.  Thus, the To Do list existing at all increases my productivity.

But ... literally the moment I stood up to go to the kitchen ... power went out.  Our water is from a well.  No power = no dishwashing (or flushing toilets, or washing kitchen floors, etc).  Doing any research online for one of the blog posts was also out of the question.  Writing the blog posts on the computer was iffy - how long would my computer battery hold out for that?

So, back to the To Do list (which I don't keep on the computer, it's in my daily planner.)  What chore that takes no power is the highest priority?  Dusting, then straightening the living room.  AND doing them would take about as long as the dishes would.  A great substitution!  So I did those tasks, then sat down and wrote this by with pen on paper.  Again - having the To Do list made life more efficient and increased my flexibility when power being out threw me a curve ball.

Heck - back in the day, when I was having a problem with insomnia, I had an entire To Do list made up of things to accomplish if I was up between 3 and 5 in the morning.  It didn't help me sleep, but at least I didn't have the added stress of feeling that I had 'wasted' that time.  

Make your To Do list.  Use your To Do list.  Get your goals done.  Or at least more of them.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Omen Or No Omen.

Blessings, Darlings!

Dear Gods, I just tried 'reading' the same of a murmeration of birds as an omen.  Not that I had just asked a question or had an issue that I needed guidance on in my mind.  Hey, it looks like boobies!  That, and the cow that was nursing, must mean that everything is tits!  And tits are great!  So everything is great!

Well ... that's not quite how omens work.

While omens can come in myriad forms ... there are some constraints on what constitutes one.

One vital constraint is setting.  If you haven't just asked a question or have an issue preoccupying you - then whatever you see is probably not an omen.  Most stuff is just the world doing its thing.  Cows with calves nurse their calves.  Murmerations of birds happen when a lawn tractor moves towards where they are feeding.  Snakes - or deer or bunnies or turtles or squirrels or whatever - cross roads.  The beautiful yellow flickers now around the house are here because the thistles have gone to seed and these birds LOVE thistle seeds.  As noted in the Psychopomp blog: it's not all about you.  But if I just asked a question or was pondering an issue - that one of them showed up RIGHT THEN might be an omen/message/whatever.

Another constraint is that you understand it/can interpret it.  A message you can't understand is worthless as an omen (or a message from the Gods.)  If it's a symbol that means nothing to you, then it's extremely unlikely to be an omen.  You shouldn't have to do further research on an omen.   If it's a message from something that comes in Gaelic ... that message isn't going to be something I can use, so isn't what my psyche will have picked up as an omen.  Th FACt that I'm picking up Gaelic MIGHT be.  An omen in Hebrew I'd be able to understand, even if it coming in Hebrew is unlikely to be important.

Sometimes repetition indicates an omen.  That wouldn't be true here about the 'cow nursing', even tho' Hathor and I have somewhat of a relationship - the fields around my house feature at least 25 cows that are still nursing their calves.  Mice in my basement is just an sign that we failed to block all the ways that they have been getting in.  Deer around here tend to eat the same patch of vegetation every day at the same time until they've eaten it all.  Crows are common.  But if I have something on my mind, and while I'm out doing things I repeatedly see murders of crows on the buildings I'm entering that day ... that's a sign.

Go forth and be amazing.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Psychopomps, or "I've Got a Hot Date Tonight"

Blessings Darlings!

A couple of weeks back I blogged about how the air in my land base is full of bats, moths, and butterflies, normal for this time of year.  That said - all these critters are well-known to be  psychopomps, magical critters that help you travel between the worlds.  Clearly, not every moth and butterfly in your area isn't there for your personal spiritual/magical service.  99.9% of them are NOT 'all about you'.  That's true even if your astrological sun sign is Leo.  IJS.

That said - one in 1000 probably IS 'all about you'.  So today as I was sitting outside, having a cigarette and thinking about the post I was planning on creating about psychopomps - getting some serious attention from a gorgeous red spotted blue swallowtail was the equivalent of being asked out on a date to do some traveling with ker tonight.  We chatted so I know what I'm supposed to do to prepare, I left ker an offering (mashed ripe peaches, heavy with juice - I know this species.  Actually if I was giving the offering to a 'normal' member of the species, it would be even better had the fruit been a tad ... uh ... fermented.  They REALLY like that.  But in the case of psychopomps the extra 'spirit' is redundant.)

In many minds, psychopomps are associated only with leading spirits after death.  That's certainly a psychopomp role, but it is far from the only role they take.  They are there at births (often with the Ancestors riding them, as in the case of dragonflies in Japan.)  They are there at soul retrievals.  They can be sent as transportation for your spirit by another spirit that is summoning YOU (which can be a scary thing.)  And they can (as in this case) be a spirit helper to a Practitioner heading to the Otherworlds.

At any rate - I've a date tonight to go soaring off with a Psychopomp.  See you later!

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, August 30, 2018

You and Me, Baby, Ain't Nothing But Mammals

Blessings Darlings!

In a conversation with the Chubby Hubby, I was again decrying folks looking to 'consume' spirituality - buying lots of items, saving lots of shared 'information' on someone's ideas of what each days correspondences are, short meanings of symbols, short info on herbs, memes, etc. The CH, being wonderful and brilliant (why else would I marry and have children with him?) pointed out that 'consumption' is a very basic animal survival skill.  He pointed to the cattle in the fields around the house - and that they spend darn near the entire day eating/chewing their cuds.  They, literally consume ALL DAY LONG.  He's certainly right about that!

OTOH - they eat grass.  Grass is very low in nutritional value.  They have to consume all day to get what they need, BECAUSE WHAT THEY EAT IS OF LOW VALUE.

We're mammals, yes - but we aren't cattle or sheep, right?

We humans are omnivores.  Our systems are able to handle food with higher nutritional (and caloric) density.  Eating a pound of meat will give us way more calories (the macroelement that powers our larger brains!) and still leave us more leisure time to focus on other things than eating enough raw spinach to provide us with the same amount of calories.  Even cooking the spinach - putting some effort in early on - provides us with the vitamins and minerals that are more abundant in spinach, and makes it faster to eat it.

Now, apply that knowledge to our minds.  You can try to fill up your mind using ... generic stuff shared on Facebook, from unknown and unvetted sources (even if you know the person sharing the printable cliff notes on herbs or crystals or whatever).  Feeding your mind well on that stuff is going to take ingesting that all day every day.  And not leave you time to do other things, whether than be your family, your job, cleaning house, overthrowing patriarchy - whatever.

Now, apply that knowledge to our spirits. Action (like at least cooking the spinach) helps you feed yourself better.  There is a difference in the 'nutritional density' between active an passive spirituality.  Passive spirituality would be things like consuming a public ritual done by others, where you are rather like an audience member at a performance, passively letting the actors move you 'between the worlds' and them doing all the work vs you being there and actively sending energy to everything from the casting of sacred space to the magical working (you've now cooked the spinach!) and doing ritual/magic yourself.  There is a difference between lying out in the grass 'open for the Divine to fill you' vs making offerings to a specific God or Goddess, or writing poetry for/about that Divinity.  There is a difference between gathering what you find from whatever unvetted source online and saving it on your hard drive vs getting stuff from vetted sources online vs taking classes from vetted sources vs putting what you learn into action.

You might just want to actively think about this.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, August 27, 2018

Wandering in the Mists.

Blessings, Darlings!

We are coming off a week of cool - almost fall-like - weather (if Fall meant 70 degrees and no rain.)  Today starts a week of more 'normal' hot weather.  As a result, last night was a Fog Night.  That's not unusual here - our subdivision tends to get very thick fog.

But last night I was outside relaxing as it developed, and it was back-lit by the Full Moon.  It looked amazing. 

The fog crept in from the East.  First it filled in the low areas of the fields, leaving the ridges still visible.  All of the stars were blotted out the stars in East.  There were a few holdouts in the West, and Mars - at about midpoint in the night sky - fought a valiant battle against being obscured.

The fog thickened, covering the ridges, then the trees.  By dawn visibility was almost zero. 

But now most of it is gone, wisps only remaining by the Rivers, probably making walking the old Tow Path full of encounters with the shades of the Civil War dead. 

For Autumn is a-coming in, and Summer's going away oh.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Breathing Room

Blessings Darlings!

Long time readers of this blog know that money - well, lack of it - has been a feature in my life for a bunch of years now.  Things have FINALLY eased up for a bit!  Since this ease is from FINALLY having some serious work for our home-based business ... we don't know how long this will last.

Still, rent being due is no longer panic inducing.  And bills that we've had to ignore are being paid off.  It feels really nice.

Of course, since the financial reality is still 'future uncertain', the basics of our lifestyle isn't changing.  I'm able to re-stock the staple foods we got very low on (flour, canned veggies for specific dishes we make a lot, coffee, tea, etc) but still did it with the 'low-end' replacements (generic tagless tea bags rather than nice loose tea, for example.)

That said ...  it's the Chubby Hubby's birthday.  The Spawn is treating us to the Maryland Renaissance Fair.  The Fair is a 2 hour drive from here, so we're planning on getting a hotel room for the night before, and are planning meals at three of my husbands favorite restaurants in the Annapolis to Baltimore corridor.  We'll use my employee discount at the hotel, and his senior discount at the Fair.

It's going to be a 30 hour or so family vacation.  With most of our money (vs the Spawn's) spent on food, since the motel won't be much.  Our first vacation in ... 20 years. 

I'm chuffed.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What's Up In YOUR Land Base?

Blessings Darlings!
Here in my land base, the fireflies are long gone. Night are LOUD now, with cicadas and crickets having meet and greets. I can count on seeing some shooting stars every night that is clear enough ... but I can also count on late day thunderstorms often enough that at least half the nights aren't clear enough.

And it is so very much butterfly and moth season! Monarch and swallowtail, lovely moths I don't know the name of, and the ubiquitous cabbage moths are everywhere.   Night features other moths, plus visiting bats (I'm guessing that they share barn space with the barn swallows).

The local peaches are ripe - and a local church is having their Peach Festival tomorrow.  My tomatoes are nowhere near ripe since I planted them late, but the cucs and peppers and occasional zucchini (I only started one plant) are producing.

The rivers are high due to all the rain over the past month.  Water practically pours out of cracks in the cliffs of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The humidity is high.  Every day the forecast is "Today will be much cooler than yesterday was," but that's just wishful thinking.  The temperature has been pretty constant.  

This is when county fairs should be.  Before school starts, in the gap between when farmers harvest stuff.  Everyone should be eating funnel cakes with diced fresh peaches and powdered sugar.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Petty Magic.

Blessings Darlings!

I'm in a lot of Pagan groups on FaceBook.  In some of them, I even use my real name!  The groups are where I get much of the inspiration for the Pagan posts on this blog.  (Stop the pearl clutching - I don't air individual's issues/private stuff - I note general trends.)

Having joined a few new-to-me groups, I'm seeing a lot of folks spending a LOT of their time on petty curses/hexes/etc.  That is - cursing/hexing folks for doing little 'wrongs' to the person doing the hex.  And doing hexes/curses rather than, ya know, putting up shields and wards and protecting themselves from all sorts of shit, large and small. 

I admit that no one has 'stole my boyfriend' since I was 16.  Wait - okay, when I was 20 a guy dropped me for another girl, but I didn't blame HER then, either.  He did it.  I didn't do any magic to get him back because even at that tender age I figured that I didn't want to keep a cheater.  At any rate - that was 40 years ago.  So I've not had to deal with those emotions and such in ages.  But ... just maybe there are reasons that your relationship didn't work for both of you.  Maybe you need to solve those things in your life before you CAN have a long-lasting relationship.  BTW, even without any magical intervention on my part - I'm pretty sure that my ex-BF married her and they divorced some years later.  So maybe he never worked on HIS part of the reasons, Fern notes smugly, looking at her 38+ years of marriage.

Yes - that line was petty.  Petty CAN BE entertaining.  Don't get me wrong, I'm ALL in favor of doing magic for 'petty' things - petty things that make your life better/easier.  Finding parking spaces is a good example, where a shot of focused energy will save at 5 - 10 minutes of your time.  Petty?  Yup - it's very far from a life-or-death situation.  Improves your life?  Yup!

IMO, most of us got into magic for petty reasons.  My first ''big" spell was a love spell, done at age 12 or 13.  I was charging rings to deliver a dose of  'fuck you' a year or two before that.  Petty can provide motivation to learn magic. 

But petty reactionary magic - 'someone did something I didn't like and I'm butthurt and need a curse so I get get them back' - isn't either learning how magic works (it's just following a recipe, which isn't bad, but it's not 'learning magic') or putting yourself in a position where others can't magically harm you.  And if you keep ending up with the same issue that you want to curse folks over - you really need to solve the issue in your life that makes you keep putting yourself IN that position. 

It's way harder to solve issues in your life, and way harder to learn to do magic other than canned spells from others, than it is to do reactionary magic when you're butthurt.  The pay off, of course, includes that you don't end up getting butthurt all the damn time.  That might not be an appealing pay off if you want to play victim all the time, or are looking to be rescued.  If you want to play those roles, that's fine - but you might consider saving it for sex play instead of as a life style choice. 

Thus Spake Fern.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Where Order Goes to Die

Blessings, Darlings!

I am ... disorganized ... to put it mildly.  Okay, I'm Chaos personified.  My house is where Order goes to die.  Adding that to my chronic level of depression, this means that a lot of stuff falls thru' the cracks.  And even more stuff FEELS as if it has fallen thru' the cracks.

So, again, I'm trying to change that.  So, again, I have bought a weekly planner (the least expensive one that the store had.)  I had the two OTHER notebooks I've been trying to use with me at the store, so I sipped coffee and moved stuff to the One Book To Rule Them. 

To my total surprise, I found that while I've not been reaching all my goals, and CERTAINLY not getting as much done each day as I'd like to - I WAS doing at least something on almost all of my goals each day.  Didn't write down the good sales from each grocer?  No, but I looked at the ads and made mental notes.  Didn't write down a week of meals?  No, but I did plan 4 days of meals.  Didn't have a full shopping list made? No, but it was mostly done.  Didn't go all the exercising I planned to each day?  No, but I got SOME in ... and found the weights I want to work with as well, and put a temporary fix in on the exercise bike.  Didn't get done all the non-JOB stuff I wanted, but I got to the JOB every day and even on the day I was sick I made sure that the co-worker I usually drive in got to work (I had to ask the Spawn to drive the co-worker in that day.) 

I still can't find my desk under all the papers and such on it, but MAYBE I'm getting a bit more organized that I had been, and didn't notice it. 

Oh - beware of crunches just after a cup of coffee.  On that path lies danger and acid reflux.

This post brought to you by the upcoming start of the school year (therefore planners are EVERYwhere), and Lora O'Brien's site Do The Work!

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Lammas? No.

Blessings Darlings!

Oh, goody - it's "Lammas".  Lammas it the neopagan holiday that demonstrates exactly how EXTREMELY cut off from earth/agricultural reality so very many American neopagans are.  (I can't speak for neopagans in other countries - my expertise (I was an agriculture major) is in US agriculture.) 

The winter wheat harvest ended at least a month ago.  It's WAY too late to be celebrating that.  Spare me the "Loafmas" references thinking that they mean  loaves of wheat bread.  They don't mean loaves of ANY bread - the root of Lammas isn't 'loaf' of bread, it relates more to "Lord" as in "Lord of the manor' that the serfs worked on.  It's about the 1%, darlings.

Barley harvest?  Nope.  That's just underway.  It won't end for a couple more weeks.  And no farmer is stupid enough to leave the fields during the harvest to have a harvest celebration.  So spare me the singing of "John Barleycorn". 

Spring wheat?  The harvest for that doesn't start for a few more weeks.

If you want to say that you are following a 'nature based religion', wouldn't it be nice to ... actually pay attention to nature?  Especially nature in, like, your local area?  Find out when your closest few county fairs are, or 4-H fairs.  THEY will be timed for between the local harvests.  They MAY feature newly harvested local foods = or not.  But at least you'll get the timing better.  

Me - I'm going to the racetrack and participating in politics for Lughnasadh.  Some of you know why this is way the heck more traditional than baking a loaf of bread.  Especially from store bought flour that is undoubtedly over a year old.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Personal IS Political

Blessings Darlings!

We old folks, who remember feminist activism in the '70's, remember the mantra "the personal is political" - that is, a lot of what you personally experience is a result of what the Powers That Be allow/encourage.   Your experiences reflect systemic problems - they are not JUST 'your problems.'  The phrase is just as true today, 40+ years later, as it was then.

To straighten out some of the big things in your life, you end up working against rather than with, 'the system.'  And even if you kludge some sort of solution, it only helps you - it doesn't solve the systemic problem.

Let me give you an example. I live in West Virginia.  It's an incredibly beautiful state, very rural, lots of mountains.  Getting almost anywhere requires a car ... ESPECIALLY if you're poor.  That's because housing in cities and towns where you can walk to a job (or - gasp - might have buses) is considerably more expensive that living out in a rural area.  Oh, sure, it might be physically possible to walk to a job, but it will be 3 - 15 miles away.  And you'll be walking 2 of those miles on unlit roads with relatively fast moving traffic ... and either going to work or coming home it will be dark out.  And the road won't be very plowed in winter, so you'd be walking IN the road after dark, no streetlights, icy conditions, and traffic.  It . is . not . safe . to . walk .  Even if it's summer and 'just' dark.

A coworker of mine lives that rural, and 15 miles from work, AND can't afford a car.  He lives with two other adults who work and share a car getting THEM to their jobs, but they work on shifts that conflict with his.  Before, several other coworkers were in positions to give him rides to and from work AND lived in his direction.  Due to staff turnover, that's not possible now (and child care issues for the poor are part of THAT problem, as is the lack of local services for children with disabilities).  So we've kludged together a solution that involves a couple of other coworkers who do NOT live in his direction providing rides. 

One of them is driving 180 to 240 extra miles a week because of this.  Obviously, that coworker is putting a lot of time and car wear into this (the person lives only two miles from our workplace, and in the opposite direction.)  Another coworkers drives when possible, but doesn't often work the same shift.

We're getting Rural Living No Car coworker to and from work.  This 'solution' works for that one individual.  The cost is ... kinda high to other individuals - it's fortunate that the person driving him the most loves to drive.  AND the 'solution' doesn't at all address the underlying problems - rural transportation problems, low pay in the restaurant industry, and housing costs.  We, his coworkers, can't fix those problems by ourselves.  Those are the systemic problems, that affect way  more people than just him.

Heck, as I recall (and I could be wrong), the rural transportation issue is the #1 cause of rural poverty.  It's systemic. In a very real way - the system is set up so that the rural poor will always be the rural poor.

These are some of the reasons I'm politically active. We need system solutions, not individual solutions.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Stitches, or How I Used My Health Insurance

Blessings Darlings!

I did NOT plan on needing to USE that  health insurance within half an hour of my post on having it going up - but no one PLANS on injuring themselves!

It started off as such a good day - I was whipping thru' my To Do list at a good pace.  Out in the garden I was  putting down a layer of newspapers and pulled weeds, to smother the weeds in an area I want to put more zucchini in.  I went to break off another stalk of Johnson grass and ... it fought back, breaking in a way that it cut the living crap out of the inside of my trigger finger.  Profuse bleeding occurred.  I wasn't afraid of 'bleeding out', but it was clear that the injury warranted some stitches.

Of course, I was home alone, the husband was out to lunch with a contact and has no cell phone.  Direct pressure with gauze, lots of gauze, kept in place with masking tape (I was in a hurry and didn't want to bleed on the carpets!) reduced the blood flow as I tried to get thru' to the restaurant.  By phone. At noon. Their line was busy for rather a while.  So I called work and sent word that I was going to get medical care and probably wouldn't be in today (Thursday as I'm typing.)  Reaching Chef was a bit of a problem, since there were Events at the hotel he was up to his ears in - I had to call the Tavern and have my son (who was at work there at the time) relay the message, and I texted the sous chef.  I also checked to see if B. was working at the front desk - she works at both the hotel I work at AND at the restaurant my husband was at, so I figured if she was at the hotel she could text the restaurant.  No luck there.

Finally got thru' to the restaurant, they had no problem identifying the Chubby Hubby from my description, and he came home with the car to take me to Urgent Care.  Urgent Care was empty, so we got in for treatment right away.  Well - right after adding my new insurance info to my account!

Four stitches and a tetanus shot later, I was good to go.  No meds -  the wound bled more than enough that it washed itself out to prevent risk of most infections, and no pain killers.  Just take Motrin if needed.  Ten years ago, and in Maryland not West Virginia, I'd have been given Tylenol with codeine.  Different times, different place, less worry about the epidemic of opiate abuse.

It really hasn't hurt at all - even before getting the stitches.  Most likely because it was a sharp plant doing a clean cut, tho' the numbness still in part of my finger tip hints at there being at least an insulted nerve.

But I sure didn't get more stuff done around there, other than taking the laundry off the line.

And now I can see I need to increase my preps.  First - I need to learn how to do sutures.  Second - I need at least one left handed can opener.

Frondly, the Patched Up Fern

Thursday, July 19, 2018

I'm JUST Poor Enough.

Blessings Darlings!

For the first time in rather a while - I have health insurance.  Because the home business side of our income has been suffering and we've not been able to pay ourselves, I now qualify for Medicaid (The Chubby Hubby has a plan under ACA that he pays $1.13 a month for). 

So my doctor and I are trying to get all sorts of tests/etc. in FAST, since the business is improving and I might lose my coverage next month or the month after.  Blood work, mammogram, colonoscopy, pneumonia shot, of course my annual exam/meds refill visit, etc.   All things I've needed for years (I know my LDL levels are high as are my triglycerides, but haven't been able to afford blood work in a decade or so).  I have a 50/50 chance of having the Ashkenazi Jewish colon cancer gene from my mother.  Two of my father's three sisters - and the only daughter born to either of them - had breast cancer.  I need those tests I couldn't afford.

This, my darlings, is the reality of 'health care' when poor.  Most of us simply cannot afford health coverage unless we qualify for Medicaid, and live in fear of making so much we don't quallify any more for that but won't be able to pay for 'regular' health insurance.  So when we get coverage - you bet your ass that we get our testing done and get treatment while we can.  Our doctors aren't trying to 'bilk the system' and 'run up our bills'.  They are helping us play catch up.

Do I fear what some of the tests might find?  Sure!  But facing fears is part of adulting.  I wish that NOT having fears came with being a grown up, but that's not how it is.

So for now, while poor enough, I'm going to get my basic health care.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

That OTHER "10 daily things witches do list"

Blessings Darlings!

It occurred to me that I should really do a blog on what was in that OTHER 'what witches do' list. The items and my brilliant (why doesn't this have comic sans as a font option) commentary.

Here goes - starting with the original post:

"10 Daily Witchy Things

1 - Cleanse your bed in the morning when you make it - to remove the stress and negativity of the previous night and have a peaceful sleep the next night.
2 - Make a cup of tea and charge it with positive energy to get you through the day.
3 - Clean your desk/workspace/wherever you do creative things and draw productivity sigils on it in cleaner or keep a clear quartz nearby to focus energy.
4 - Bless your car keys before you get in your car for protection on the road
5 - Use a special scrub or face ask in the shower for a glamour spell.
6 - Spend time outside or keep your blinds open to allow sunlight in.
7 - Take a walk outside, if you can and ground yourself with each step.
8 - Use wax melters, incense or other scented items to fill your space with an intended scent.
9 - Clense your phone/other electronic devices - clean out the old apps and photos, clean out the negative people from your contact list, and reset your ringtone and wallpaper to increase positive energy.
10 - Before you go to bed, take 10 minutes and thank your deities (if you have any) and reflect on your day.  Before you fall asleep, think of one thing that was good about the day, no matter how small, and be grateful."

Item #1 - If you're having stress and negativity in your bed at night ... what the hell have you invited   into your bed each night?  Look at THAT, not 'cleansing the bed'.  The BED isn't the problem!
Item #2 - Obviously I find 'positive energy' too vague, and would be far more specific.  The  last         clause is a bit worrisome, tho'.  I'm not sure if the writer meant "To last the full day" which is a useful affirmation, or if the "Get you through the day" is a sign that the writer feels that her days suck and she needs to be dragged thru' them almost against her will.
Item #3 - Of course a clean desk is nice, and some of my creative time is spent at a desk.  What bothers me is reliance on external things like a sigil or crystal.  Reliance on those things (as well as working at your desk) doesn't prepare you to work elsewhere.  I can be creative in the library, at a coffee shop, etc, in part because I don't rely on things like that.  Learn to focus your energy without props.
Item #4 -  At the very least - let's make that more general.  Not everyone drives, not everyone has a car, etc.  You CAN enchant your house keys for protection when you leave your house.  That would cover it all.  Or you can ... wait for it ... wait for it ... have personal shields like I keep harping about.
Item #5 - No special products needed.  Charge your soap.  Yes, I can see doing a glamour daily for a while. such as when starting a new job.  "Image" of competence until you actually have competence at the job.
Item #6 - Just a quibble.  It's summer and I'm NOT letting sunlight in that will heat the house.
Item #7 - Taking a walk is a nice idea.  Being able to ground anywhere is also a good idea.  Don't get tied to only one way to ground.
Item #8 - Just not my style.  Just like I don't have music/tv on in the background all the time.  For me - I often get 'messages' thru' scents that pop up out of nowhere.  AND many scents bother my son's asthma.
Item #9 - I guess I just don't have problems from 'negative people'.  OTOH, I'm the type who - while I don't worry about 'Mercury Retrograde' use all the posts about upcoming ones as a cue to back up my devices.  Backing up my devices is more important to me than 'clearing' them.  Devices can crash and 'clear' themselves just bloody fine, damn it!
Item #10 - Not a bad suggestion - but also make your 'to do' list for the next day, so you can put that list aside and out of your mind.  That might even help the issue cited in Item #1!

Work smarter, not harder, Darlings.

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, July 15, 2018

BJ's "Top 10 things to do as a Witch" list.

Blessings Darlings!

BJ responded to my 'suggestion' list with this.  It is, of course, wonderful, because that's how BJ is.

So, in it's entirety, and shared with permission:

Top Ten Things to do as a Witch
1. Be born
2. Have spirits
3. Be othered
4. Inner sense of being kind of fabulous but also meh because liminality
5. :. Be liminal
7. More POWER because Kraft means power.
8. More spirits because they're in your blood
9. Be a supernatural monster, but in the way you choose to be
10. Magic!

Frondly, Fern

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday the 13th this year is Chaotic Neutral.

Blessings Darlings!

I've been rather gobsmacked by all the memes and such that I've run into today along the lines of "Friday the 13th is the Witch Day of [Good] Luck!"  Look, folks, this is just bullshit. 

First - why do SOME folks think that Friday the 13th is bad luck? 
1 - 13 people were seated at the Last Supper (servers don't count, eh?)
2 - Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
3 - The slaughter of the Templars was on a Friday the 13th.

NONE OF THIS HAS SHIT TO DO WITH WITCHES.  Or Pagans, for that matter.  Get over it.  Just because it was 'bad' to Christians doesn't make it 'lucky/good/whatever' to us. It's neutral.

What IS true about today, Friday the 13th, 1028 is that it is a Dark Moon.  SOME of the folks going on about the Friday the 13th shit did notice that.  But virtually NONE of them noticed that it also featured at partial solar eclipse.  A solar eclipse - which, BTW, can only happen during a dark moon - is the chaotic combination of the chaos/Samhain like aspects of the Dark Moon combined with the strong hard-to-shape energy of the sun/moon/earth alignment. 

Chaotic  Neutral. 

How can people who claim to be so tied in to nature and the universe be more tied to the totally artificial calendar dates than they are to ... well ... nature and the universe, to the point that they don't even know what's going on between our planet, it's one moon, and the star in our solar system? 

I weep.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, July 12, 2018

10 Daily Things Witches Might Just Consider Doing.

Blessings Darlings!

I just read a really masturbatory and inefficient list of 'What Witches Do'.  It was immediately obvious to me that I had to create my own list!  Really, almost all of them come down to either "Work to bring down the Patriarchy" or "Do your craft more efficiently"

1 - Read the local paper, so they are informed local citizens. 

2 - Read a good 'National/world' paper, so they are an informed world citizens (New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, whatever).  Witches should never be ignorant twats.

3 - Ground and center where you are.  No need to go somewhere else to do it.  And "Long Walks in Nature" may not be available in your area nor safe to do.

4 - Charge all the food you buy with 'health and power' as you bring it into the house after shopping.
Sure, you can charge individual foods when you cook or eat them for specific purposes too.  But this way EVERYTHING has at least some charge.  And if you're bringing in some food that you know is going to NOT work for 'health and power' ... you need to face that.

5 -  Charge your vacuum cleaner (or broom, or carpet sweeper, or whatever) to deal with 'negative energy' as well as dirt/dust/etc.  And did you notice the word 'Daily' in the title of this post?  Use it/them!

6 - Charge all your cleaning products for the same purposes as in #5.  Again, note the 'daily use' clause. 


7 - Charge your bath soap for some purpose.  No need for a different product than what you're going to use daily.

8.  Fight for justice.

9.  Support your communities.

10 - Do what self-care you can.  Eat as well as your finances allow, and learn what your body works well with.  I can do neither Keto nor heavily starch/grain/bean based eating, and we are poor (I work two jobs. And I'm in my 60's).  Turnips are cheap. Cabbage is cheap.  Eggs are cheap.  Well, they are cheap if they agree with your body.  Otherwise they are expensive.  Try to get enough sleep.  Have that bed time routine that eases you into the arms of Morpheus.  If your body allows it, get some daily exercise.  Clean your body daily - even if it's a sponge bath -  you'll feel better. 

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bring Your Vegetable To Work Day

Blessings Darlings!

This post is not about bringing garden surplus to share with your coworkers.  Maybe next year I'll be able to post about that.  My garden's not going to provide that much food this year.  I'll probably post more about that some other time.

Instead, this is about me wanting to eat better but NOT wanting to cook at home/heat up MY house.  Work, OTOH, is in a hotel kitchen. And it's already hot and nothing I do will actually affect that fact one way or the other.  So today (the day I'm writing this blog post, Sunday July 1) I'm bringing in a whole bunch of veggies that I want to roast so I can cut them, season them, and roast them - all during slow periods at work - while at work.  This week has a federal holiday in it, so there will be LOTS of slow periods at work.

I got permission from the previous sous chef.  Hell, he'd have let me use the veggies at work for this.  Which is not something I'm going to do.  Thus I have onion, carrots, beets, turnips, and two types of summer squash coming to work with me today. I also have two half gallon containers to take the finished products home in.  And I'm bringing in the chef knife today, instead of the serrated knife or the boning knife.

It's gonna get real.

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, July 7, 2018

There's plastic in the Ocean!

Blessings Darlings!

I'm hoping that your reaction to the title of this was "No Shit".

Now, read this on an idea on where to put your efforts on solving the problem.  And feel free to point out why banning single use plastic or whatever is better.   We can argue here.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, July 5, 2018

That Which is Remembered, Lives.

Blessings Darlings!

Today (as I type) would have been my Mother's 102th birthday.  Not coincidentally, it would also have been my uncle Sid's 102th birthday, since they were twins. 

They have already been served their home-made birthday cake.  And before I served THAT I cleaned up more so Mom wouldn't be upset.  Not that she wants ME to clean - she wants me to hire someone to clean. 

Mom and I still have some disagreements, to say the least.  Sid and I probably do, too, but Mom is going to make sure that he keeps his mouth shut about them. This keeps him in the 'benevolent protector' mode he took towards me.  Unlike the mode he was in towards his own kids.

Ancestors that you KNEW are ... so very human.  You know their warts, their weaknesses, their fuck ups.  It's so much easier to only honor the far more ancient ancestors.  If you don't know their actual stories that is.  Knowing them as they were would make them more problematic too, I'm sure.

Happy birthday, Mom and Uncle Sid.  You are remembered.  That which is remembered lives.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Work, not Spells, Increases Will Power.

Blessings Darlings!

In my online travels the other day, someone asked for spells to increase their will power.  I was kinda gobsmacked by the question, and not surprised that the person asking hadn't done any mundane work on increasing their will power ... nor had done any work on learning how to do magic (BTW - there are no 'spells to make me know how to do spells', either.)

It's just way easier to increase your will power thru' mundane means than by magical means.  This is because you need to have a LOT of 'will power' to learn magic.  Learning to do magic is a long and tedious process.  You won't make it thru' that process without will power.  Going thru' the process you will develop will power ... but it's a side benefit.  Doing it directly is way more efficient.

For those who are wondering - I'm talking about 'small w' will power.  Not contacting/manifesting your Higher Will.  

So what mundane stuff helps a person strengthen their will power?

1 - Do things you want to do early. And often.  Don't put them off.  Procrastination is your enemy here.  Eat veggies with breakfast, meditate early, stop reading e-mail during the most of the day.

Which might mean you have to take a fearless look at the rhythms in your life.  In my case, my husband wakes up before I do, and when I get up he will interrupt anything I work on in the morning.  So to get MY important stuff done early, I have to be clear that I need to be uninterrupted for the next 20 minutes to meditate, or for the time needed to do offerings, or whatever.  I have to be clear about my needs and communicate them to him. 

2 - Build in a reward for having done the thing you want to do.  Brush your teeth after meditating (You're going to do that before leaving the house anyway, right?) Don't have that second cup of coffee/tea until you close down your e-mail.

3 - Put off doing things you want to stop doing.  Delay having that cigarette.  Or those carbs.  Procrastination is your friend here.  Throw in some distraction as well.  Maybe captioned cat pics. Maybe not if that's what you are doing instead of work.  Put on some hand lotion that you don't want to get on your keyboard if you don't want to be online as much.

4 - Build in a 'punishment' for doing things you don't want to do.  The old 'wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it if when you swear/whine/whatever".  Donate money to a cause you don't particularly support when you screw up.  I'd say not to go as far as to give $$$ to a candidate you hate, but ... maybe donate to a charity that's just not a PRIORITY of yours.  Maybe a public jazz station if you don't listen to jazz or such.

5 - Remove temptations/cues to do what you don't want to do.  Oust the desserts/cigs/computer short cuts/whatever. 

6 - Make it easy to do what you want to do.  Keep the foods you want to start eating around.  Maybe in frozen form, so they don't go bad while you push yourself to eat 'em.

7 - Work to make it a habit, rather than 'will power'.

8 - As ALWAYS - don't fear failure.  It's a process.  You're changing things.  It doesn't happen immediately.  Your BUILDING will power.

9 - Always Be Testing:  Some folks find that they only have a limited amount of 'will power', and that while it increases with time ... it's going to be weaker later in the day after they used some of it up by not killing coworkers, dealing with traffic, doing whatever practice, etc.  Maybe you need to limit the opportunities to test your will power by simplifying choices.  Or maybe you need to 'practice more' by inflicting your will power on meaningless shit like - I kid you not, this suggestion is all over the internet - brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.  THAT is going to be very individual.  It might vary by the amount of stress you're under, too.  Be aware of yourself and your limits on a day to day basis.

BTW, in researching this, there were lots of suggestions that 'regularly meditation for 8 weeks increases your will power".  Nope, the meditation wasn't it.  The daily 'do it early and make it a habit' things covered above is what did it.  It was the mundane, not the woo.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, June 28, 2018

June 2018 Political Post

 Blessings Darlings!

I don't have time to crank out a 'real' blog today.  I've been busy with the Trump policy of separating asylum seeking and immigrant parents from their children and other immigration issues.  So here's a copy of the letter we gave to two of our congresscritters yesterday (we also had a sign-wave outside their offices - FAR more approval from passing cars than disapproval!) 

                                                                                                         Your Constituent 
                                                                                                         Jefferson & Berkeley Counties, WV
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
Rep. Alex Mooney
300 Foxcroft Ave
Martinsburg WV 25401
                                                                                                                June 27, 2018
Senator Capito:

The Zero Tolerance policy has failed. All this punitive, "tough guy" stuff doesn't work. It is turning
the world against us, making the US more isolated and weaker.

And it is turning more voters against YOU.

The effects of separation on children are catastrophic, creating long-term irreversible effects on the
child's developing brain: increased aggression, withdrawal, cognitive difficulties, more likely to be ar -
rested later in life, much more likely to have drug & alcohol abuse, gang affiliation, and gambling
problems. As they get older, traumatized children become prime recruits for extremist groups.

This may well be creating a whole new generation of terrorists -- right on this continent -- who hate

We the undersigned strongly suggest that you try something more constructive:

  • Return the children to their parents, as soon as possible. Publicly state your support for this.
  • Do not attempt to incarcerate whole families indefinitely. Publicly state your support for this.
  • Support a bipartisan bill that does both of the above.
  • Scrutinize the commercial prison corporations that are making a profit from these policies.
  • Work with the Central American countries to reduce their drug cartel violence that is causing so many of their people to come to us for asylum.
  • Urge the President to nominate an Assistant Secretary of State for the region.
  • Call for a regional Conference to address the problem

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Types of Magic

Blessings Darlings!

Let's settle in with a summer drink for a discussion of 'types of magic', and try to get this done before my husband drags me off to practice holding webinars using Webinar Jam (*I* am not looking to do webinars, but an organization we're involved in is, and the Chubby Hubby offered to do the tech stuff so ...)

Now I'm not going to talk about Green magic vs hedge witchery vs water witches vs whatthefuckever.  Personally I see those divisions as micromanaging.  YMMV.  Instead, I'm going to start with what are to me the Two Big Divisions, and then look at a hierarchy of approaches to magic.

The Big Two: Theurgy vs Thaumaturgy  

THEURGY:  "Theurgy describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of achieving henosis and perfecting oneself."  (Wikipedia)  And henosis fundamentally means union with the Divine or Ultimate Reality.  Which is, really, what 'religion' means at its roots, that is re = again and lignon = uniting.  In short - Theurgy is magic for spiritual progress.  It's hard to measure results, as they don't easily translate into direct changes here in lovely Malkuth/earth/manifest reality.

[Side note - if you feel you're becoming perfected and other folks find that you've becoming a pretentious prat - go with THEIR feelings.  IJS.]

THAUMATURGY; This here is miracle working.  Measurable changes on Earth/shared reality from magical actions.  More money. New relationships. Measurable reduction in violence.  Healing/reduction of physical ailments (debate on whether 'feeling better' is theurgy or thaumaturgy is something I'm not going to cover here.)

 Those two categories are the Big Two.  I'm not usually into dualities, so savor the moment.   

A Brief Hierarchy of Magic

This hierarchy is about power, pure and simple.  

Basic Bitch Level Magics include chants and herbal/oil/etc mixes.  Making a potpourri to cleanse or bless your house.  Doing a chant for some purpose (didn't we ALL start off as kids doing the 'rain, rain go away" chant?)  Amulets. Sachets. Soaps. Washes.  Most crystal use. Herb use in food - heck, everything in the proposed "First you take a dead chicken" cook/spellbook.  I'd even add doing magic by planetary hours here.   Any time you are taking some item that is associated with your purpose and putting it together with other items associated with your purposed and that is the bulk of the spell.  Certainly these things can be layered like flavors, so you take your herbs and oils and do a chant over them.  That can help.  But it's still Basic Witch Level.

Intermediate Bitch Level Magics start when you consciously start raising/tapping, shaping, and sending energy.  You're not just doing a chant over that amulet - you tapped energy and charged that amulet.  You threw the ingredients for an herbal salve into the Instant Pot to slow cook ... but also charged a candle to power a specific magic into that salve while it cooks.  You 'woke' the Florida Water so it could do its thing. 

It can also include involving magical helpers with your magic.  Having spirits that you have alliances with help power the spellwork or the promise of offerings to the spirits involved if the spell works.

Badass Bitch Level Magics and you're going what you want, when you want, and only use herbs/other tools when you want to for the pleasure of using them. n You can do magic stark naked in Times Square with no tools while walking to an appointment and avoiding the police bothering you for indecent exposure.  OTOH, you might still choose to do 3 hour deeply ceremonial ritual timed to start in a 8 minute window between the end of a retrograde and the start of a full moon if that is what you choose to do another time for some specific reason.

 I am NOT Badass enough to do successful magic naked in Times Square, that's for sure.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Familiars - Is Googling 'Familiar Spirit' a redundant action?

Blessings Darlings!

TL/DR: If it eats and shits, it's a pet not a familiar spirit.

You KNOW it's true:  damn near every online Pagan group has constant posts of animals and people claiming that the animals/pets are their familiars.  Such posts take up a huge amount of bandwidth (I'm so old that I remember when that mattered).  So let's start with what a familiar spirit is and what its traditional functions are.

First - as alluded to in the abstract above - it's not a corporeal being.  It's a spirit that puts on the glamour of some being, usually an animal.  It works for the person, maybe gathering information, maybe securing hard to find magical needs, maybe making introductions to other spirits, etc.  Some folks say that one's familiar spirit also take 'magical hits' for you - it puts itself in the way of curses/etc sent towards their human. You don't feed them food.  You may offer them food, and they will absorb the spiritual essence of it - but the physical food will remain.  Since it's not a physical being, it won't need walks, litter box scooping, etc. 

Second - why are they there? Often folks were given them as gifts or part of an inheritance, but it's not clear to me why the spirit gets this job assigned.  I'm guessing that it has to do with the spirit's growth in this spirit incarnation, but I'm blowing smoke on that one so take it as even less than UPG.

Third - Purpose #1, information.  If you were a magic user in the days before the printing press (or were a typically illiterate magic user, since most folks back in the day were illiterate), the familiar went out and could get the information from manuscripts and bring it back to you.  Need a spell out of a grimoire you don't have?  Send the familiar spirit to get the information.

And here we see a role that the Internet can replace.  Google search and you will have more info on any topic than you can get thru'. Buy a book via Kindle or Nook, and it's yours instantly.

Forth - Purpose #2, materials.  Again, you're an isolated worker back in the day.  You want, say, ginger for a spell.  It doesn't grow in most of Europe, and you're in Europe.  Traders don't tend to bring it to your village.  But your familiar can arrange that it shows up.  Or if you need an herb/tree bark/whatever that IS local but rare - it can take you to that herb/tree. 

Again, a role that the internet has supplanted. You can buy anything you need online with a few clicks, and it will be delivered right to your door.

Fifth - Purpose #3, Introductions to other spirits.  I will probably date myself if I say that Familiar Spirits have big Rolodexes.  So fine - they've got lots of contacts in Spiritual Social Media.  They can arrange to introduce you to who you need to be introduced to. 

Now THIS is still a service that the Internet can't do for you. 

Let me again point out that NONE of these things can be done by your pet hamster, cat, or dog.

Sure, your pet may well be very close to you.  It might groove on the energy of your rituals.  It may see you are trying to focus on something and decide that since you're focused ... it should be the object of that focus.  It may come by when your sick or sad or whatever.  It's a pet, an animal companion.  You are part of its family (the lousy hunting side of its family).  But it's not a familiar spirit.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Are we all pagan/witch brothers and sisters?

Blessings, Darlings!

Subtitle: The distribution of assholes is pretty much uniform thru'out the world and amongst all groups.

 Yes, welcome to another installment of "oft bandied phrases" in the neopagan/witch world.  Today is "we are all brothers and sisters."

You're probably a nice enough person, but you are not my brother or sister.  My pagan/witch siblings are folks that I have built emotional bonds with over time.  I haven't done that with most of the folks who read this blog.  I CERTAINLY haven't done that with random folks in chat rooms, or folks I've just met at a Pagan festival.

Becoming family takes time.  And effort.  And shared crises.  It does not come automatically because we both say that we're pagan, or we both say that we practice witchcraft, or whatever.  It is NEVER automatic.  To pretend that it's automatic cheapens the shit out of it, it makes the term meaningless. 

                                                                                                                                                                         Every time you meet a new person - online or 'in real life' - you are starting off in Malkuth.  You need to practice Discernment to see if they are actually friend material.  You need to leave Greed behind - that is, you don't collect 'friends' for the sake of collecting friends.  Forced intimacy, pretending that they are your buddy immediately, sharing TMI immediately, etc - are warning signs, not invitations, about future intimacy and their respect of boundaries.

And not only are you starting off in  Malkuth - but you've got a whole bunch of Spheres to get to before you get to Da'ath.  It takes time. 

You're going to find that there are a lot of assholes out there, claiming to be your siblings.  To quote the Eurythmics, "Some of them want to use you. Some of them want to get used by you. Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want to be abused."  Discernment, baby, discernment.

Now, some folks are going to say that we're all trying to head in the same direction.  Uh -  nope.  We're not.  We are all on paths, but some paths are climbing one mountain, one a different mountain, one's heading for the sea, one to the plains, and they are on different continents.  Someone collared by the Morrigan is not heading the same place as someone called by Quan Yin ... or by Loki.  Don't paper over the real and profound differences between us - because THAT is part of what prevents actual intimacy.

If I don't know your phone number, so I can't text you for bail - you're not my brother or sister.
If you'd ask what I did to NEED bail money before saying you'd help raise it - you're not my brother or sister.
If you don't know if I prefer coffee or tea, you're not my brother or sister. (funny how I have this listed AFTER bail money ...)
If you don't know what my preferred pig farms are, you're not my brother or sister.

Just because a person is a pagan or a witch or whatever doesn't automatically make them ... friend worthy.  Let me repeat that the the folks in back: Just because a person is a pagan or a witch or whatever doesn't automatically make them ... friend worthy. And not all the friend worthy ones are going to become 'family'.  You're just not going to develop emotional intimacy with that many folks.  You certainly don't have it with strangers in chat rooms.

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Fern and Spawn Go To A Funeral

Blessings Darlings!

At this point of time I'm actively grieving the death of a friend.  Her funeral was this morning, my son and I (we both worked with her) were able to attend the funeral but not last nights viewing.

We don't go to many funerals.  Part of it is our ages (relatively few of the folks we're close to die very often), partly because for family deaths we are more likely to visit the family during the week of observing shiva ("the week-long mourning period in Judaism for first-degree relatives"), but mostly because we have a policy of being with folks for celebrations while they are alive.  When you move and leave family 600 miles away - I think that's a sound policy.  YMMV.

This was the Spawn's first time at a Christian funeral.  All the funerals he's been to before have been Jewish.  Judaism, being orthopraxic, has funerals based on respect for the body, remembering the person who died, and performing the appropriate prayers for the dead and for comfort to the mourning (specifics of those can be Googled but a good synopsis is available here).  

This funeral was not like that.  I don't know if it was a regional difference, this being West Virginia/Western Panhandle Maryland/flyover country and not some Big City Suburbs (the last Christian funeral I was at was in the DC suburbs) or if it was the brand of Christianity.  I didn't ask.  I expected hymns, Psalms of comfort, and, yes, I did expect an altar call despite none of the other Christian funerals I'd been at having altar calls. 

The altar call was there, calling on folks to come to Jesus and alter their lives.  The Spawn was surprised by that.  I'm going to have to have a chat with him that monotheism stuff again, and why some monotheists see their way as the only way.  

The secular country and pop music in place of hymns was a surprise.  Two of them I found jarring. Dudes - Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah" is about sex, not a religious song. I'm guessing that's regional?  The minister seemed, for quite a while, to be MCing the funeral rather than leading it.  Even when the one recorded Christian hymn was played ... no one sang along.  It was a performance to be heard by an audience, even the minister didn't sing.  Then, the only things he said about our friend herself (other than what a blessing it would be for her funeral to lead folks to Jesus) was to literally read her obituary.  That was it.  Again - jarring.

Yes, I'm used to both Jewish and Pagan funerals/memorial services.  The living people at those services are PART of the service.  That's what a Jewish minyan is all about - a quorum of folks working together.  Working together.  THAT'S what was missing the most.  The only thing that you could do to 'work together' was to show up and be a passive audience.  Jarring.

I'm still processing the death.  I'm still processing the funeral.  I'm pondering regional differences.

I'm still

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Wiccan Rede

Blessings Darlings!

It's time.  I can't put off looking at "An it harm none, do as ye will".

Let's start with this:  it's 8 words.  EIGHT  E*I*G*H*T .  Shortening it IN ANY WAY changes it completely.  It's meaning is not 'harm none' any more than it is 'Harm' or 'an it harm, do as ye will".  It has to be taken as a whole, or at the VERY least leave the clauses intact and see how the clauses interact.  You know that - you're a magic user, right?  You know that the number of the words matters.  8 is the number of magic.  And eight is the goal of the initiate, having gone through the seven stages.  Numbers matter as much as words do.

Let's move on to -  it's Wiccan.  It's not 'universal' in any way.  
Let's move on to - its "Rede".  Rede does not mean "law".  It means advice. 

Now then, let's get to the meat of the matter, and look at the first part of the saying, "An it harm none".  First, and most important, is that it only addresses acts that harm no one.  It doesn't say anything about acts that DO do any harm. Just like when we discussed that 'my worship is in the heart that rejoices' is just addressing ONE thing, ONE place that Her worship is but does not rule out other place - "An it harm none" is only addressing ONE category of results.  It's not pretending to talk about acts with other results.  And, clearly, the second part of the phrase is permissive "do as ye will".  So in the case of acts that don't harm folks - if you wanna, then it's ADVICE is that you can go right ahead if you choose to.  It is permissive.

But what about acts that DO cause harm?  Again - THE WICCAN REDE DOES NOT ADDRESS THEM AT ALL.  It has no 'blanket advice' for you about acts that harm.  You are going to have to look at the individual situation and decide what you are going to do/not do.  And you're going to have to take responsibility for the action/inaction.  You're not going to be able to blame/credit your choice to advice coming from outside of yourself.  

I supposed that I should say a few words on 'harm'.  Okay.   "While actual harm is not limited to the physical, being fucking butthurt is not harm."

Let me assure you that I did want to write a whole lot more about that.  But ain't no one wants to hear me whine about other people being butthurt.  Let's just pass them the lube and tell them to ... well, maybe SIT DOWN and shut up might be rude ...

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Personal Responsibility

Blessings Darlings!

Today's installment in my series on 'oft bandied about Wiccan/Neopagan sayings' is "Wicca/witchcraft/paganism is a path of personal responsibility."  Oh, you'll find that all sorts of folks mention that it's part of the path, investing one line or two - maybe even one paragraph! - to the concept, but then you look at what happens in almost every online esoteric group ... and you see them violate it.  And calling them out on it can easily make you a pariah in online groups and gets you booted and banned. I touched on this a LITTLE in an earlier post about how most online Pagan groups are dysfunctional.

Short definition of personal responsibility is that you are responsible for your actions and inactions.  That you do the best you can with what you have to grow and mature.  That when you fuck up (and you will) you admit you did and try to remedy the situation.  Most folks try to do that ... to some extent.  But we all have serious blind spots here (and in most areas of our lives.  And, yes, I do too.)

The biggest blind spot about personal responsibility that I see in others (because seeing things in others is WAY easier than seeing them in myself, sort of by definition) is that people take a lot of actions to DISable other folks' personal responsibility.

When a person asks a question in a group instead of taking the responsibility of Googling it - you do them no favor by NOT pointing that out.  By not pointing that out, you are enabling their lack of responsibility and initiative.  To put it Kabalistically - you are pushing them into the Vice of Malkuth.  Telling them to Google and read, and then when they see that sources disagree on something to come back and ask about the disagreement ... that is promoting responsibility.

When a person in a group complains about a situation (assuming it's a support group and that them posting that is appropriate there), you validate their experience and then help them go on to find solutions THEY can do.  And hold them responsible for taking those actions.  BY THE WAY - I've run real support groups.  The point of the groups is support in changing their situation, not in keeping them in that situation but letting them vent about it. 

Yeah.  Me.  I ran support groups.  Stop giggling.

Ain't nobody out there has infinite time to do anything, and most of us don't have unlimited money to buy supplies/get medical care/afford the best foods/whatever.  This is the reason that you should ask that folks stop saying that 'all books have at least one thing that is useful in them'.  Respect yourself enough to insist that folks respect your time/money/etc, by allowing folks to challenge the books/authors they recommend.  Because that info help you have responsibility for your choices.

And respect yourself enough to present yourself as ... a functional adult.  I don't mean LIE about your life.  I mean, be a functional adult.  You want to know about, say, 'how to cast a circle'?  GOOGLE IT BEFORE ASKING IN A GROUP.  Google it, read about it, think about it, TRY one of the ways - and then ask fucking INFORMED questions in a group.  We all feel isolated/alone at times.  We all ask for attention at time.  Try to not ask for attention by presenting yourself as someone too lazy to do any work on your own.  The only supportive attention that you will get from such an approach is by folks who will enable your laziness.  Is that what you want?  (BTW, if that's what you want, then why haven't you figured out that this blog is NOT a good place for that?)

You're not going to get replies to PMs or tagging most Pagan authors on Facebook ... because they take personal responsibility for their use of their time.  If they are participating in an online group on a topic, and your question is on that topic, they are likely to chime in ... because they have chosen to participate AND because it reaches more than one person.  Respect that in yourself as well.  Set clear and enforced boundaries.

You're going to find some group leaders want to hoard information, only giving out what they agree with.  They are trying to keep you a spiritual/magical child.  They are taking away discussion of their recommendations and limit your access to discussion of other sources.

There are lots of folks out there trying to limit your control and responsibility for your life and choices.  Be aware.  Be very aware.

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, June 9, 2018

This 'n' that.

Blessings Darlings!

Maybe I should blog on some of these, maybe not.  So I'm just giving short work on these topics right now:

1 - I hate pretty much all Pagan/witch memes/pics with 'what witches are/what pagans are not/etc'.  They are either too simplistic to be true, or they don't actually apply to all of every group.  In other words - they are stupid.  And when shared in pagan groups, if you try to discuss them and your issues with them, you  - okay *I* - get called 'negative' and that I should leave.  If I don't leave I get booted. 

2 - or they will tell you to lighten up, they are just jokes/funny/inspiring.  You just fucking 'othered' me, but I should lighten up? Your meme left no room for me as a witch/pagan/whatever.  Maybe it's you that needs to be more inclusive and less insulting.

3 - What started this was that damn meme "We don't kneel before our Gods ....".  There have ABSOLUTELY been times I've become too weak at the knees to stand before some Gods/Goddesses.  Therer have been times when I feel lucky I've not shat my pants.  Maybe everyone else is meeting Quan Yin ... but I'm sure not.

4 - I wish someone would do a study on those who see the Morrigan as "The Phantom Queen pushing us to be her bitchslapping hands on Earth" vs "Sweet Mother Morrigan".  I really would.  Someone needs to do their PhD thesis on this.

5 - Having a flashlight as part of my EDC (every day carry) is only useful if the batteries don't die at a critical moment.  Luckily I was able to get more at a convenience store minutes before the store closed.  Lesson: add spare batteries to EDC. 

6 - during the episode where we needed the flashlight, I made my son do the lecture on why he needs to get some stuff together so HE has an EDC supply.  Because that's how I roll ... I don't lecture a lot, so he doesn't tune me out.

Well, that's enough randomness for now.  Next scheduled blog post - in the 'oft bandied phrases' series, is scheduled for Tuesday.  Carry on!

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Blessings Darlings!

The oft-bandied about Wiccan phrase we're looking at today is "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust". 

Can imperfect people do anything perfectly?  And ... love and trust in who or what?

Let's start with an easier part of this.  WHERE and WHEN do you need to have perfect love and perfect trust?  Well, the only time that the phrase is used (and I'm talking about in the 'general Pagan community - I'm not talking about what is oathbound and/or in hand-copied lineaged BOS's) is when entering a circle.  Even then the only time I've seen that challenge given (that I recall) is to an initiate/member when they are undergoing initiation/membership ritual.  Again - that is MY experience.  Other than at that time, I've not seen a knife at anyone's chest.  Your mileage may vary. 

I've certainly not seen it at open rituals anywhere.  Have you?  The logistics of challenging everyone in at ritual with 150 people boggles the mind.  [Okay, I just ended up distracted by figuring out the logistics.  Many folks handling the challenge, but you'd still need either a HUGE opening in a pre-cast circle (making the work of the folks casting and holding the circle in place EXTREMELY difficult if not impossible, or you'd cast the circle after folks entered, making the challenge not actually about entering the circle making it just odd.  But I digress.]

That said, in any group work, you  need some serious trust.  First, do you trust the work about to be done?  Is it in line with your view of what should be done?  Is it being done in a way that does not clash badly with your approach?  If it's not well aligned with your approach, can you suspend your approach for the time?  Do you trust the people who have organized the working, so you can work with their system when it is different than yours?  If it's large public ritual - do you feel that they can control the energy of 150+ sources and knit it into a coherent whole?    Heck, with 150 + people, what are you going to do about your personal shields?  Not all those folks in an open ritual are going to have focused energy.  Some of them might be energetic predators.  Again - what's your real trust level of the folks running the show?  

Next let's look at perfect love and perfect trust in terms of a coven or other small working group of magic users.  Say from 3 up to 25 people that you know well.  Because for ME perfect love and perfect trust has to be based on actually knowing the people involved, or at least knowing the people who vouch for anyone you don't know.

I'm going to digress here a bit.  Loving humanity in general is easy.  Loving individuals is more problematic.  If you know folks well, you're going to know their weaknesses.  Their faults.  Their capacity to focus.  Their capacity to do magic.  Some of these things are going to matter when in a circle.  Some of these things won't matter in a circle.

Most of all - you should be aware of your own weaknesses, faults, capacity to focus, capacity to do magic, etc.  Can you put aside your self-doubt in any areas during your pre-ritual purification to do the work ahead?  If you do your preps, and still find yourself too whatever to do the work - can you trust yourself to keep yourself out of the ritual?  I've been at rituals where folks have done that.  They stayed outside the circle because they could still be supportive even if they felt they couldn't actively contribute to the working.  Sometimes they could go so far as to help with drumming from outside the circle.  But they understood that their energy would not mesh with the purpose so stayed out of the circle themselves.

Do you trust and love the purpose of the ritual?  Can you at least put aside your doubts about it working for the time of the ritual?  I've been involved in World Peace rituals that I felt were considerably too ambitious, but I did a fine job of putting that aside and giving it my all. 

Do you trust the Gods involved, or whatever Spirits you might be working with?  In some rituals coughGoetiacough you might not trust the spirits, but you could have full trust in the system that allows you to work with them safely. 

And now, finally - do you love and trust the members of the group?  Love them as they are.  Trust that they will be who and what they are.  And can you handle that?  At the very least, you have to trust and love them to do the work you are entering.  You  might now trust them enough to do a business deal with them out in the mundane world.  What matters here is that you trust that they will be in the right mindset and put their energy to the working you're going to do.  Are they taking the drugs they should be - I'm almost certainly addicted to the SSRI I take, and it would be totally reasonable for any magical group I'm in to make continued taking it a condition of my working with them.  Are they not taking 'inappropriate' drugs prior to the working?  Or will they show up stoned or high?  If they are -  what does your perfect love and perfect trust ask you to do about that?  If one of the members has 'trouble handing energy' and falls out during EVERY SINGLE INTENSE WORKING - do you stop having them at such workings?  You trust them to be themselves, and you love them.  What's the intersection of things like not handling energy or addiction or whatever and perfect love and perfect trust when what you trust is that they will break down at a crucial point of ritual?

There have been times when my purifications leave me able to focus on the ritual and do my part fully, but the best I can do on 'perfect love and perfect trust' is suspension of non-love.  Since I trust folks to be themselves, and 'themselves' are no more perfect than I am, perfecting that type of trust is something I can do pretty easily.   Love may not be harder to feel - but figuring out the proper loving action sometimes is a challenge.

Even more of a challenge than a knife at my chest.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mind The Three Fold Laws Ye Should.

Blessings Darlings!

Alternative title:  Have you paid your debts?

Today I'm looking at another phrase commonly quoted at folks in the NeoPagan community.  "The Three Fold Law."  Which folks tend to think of as a bean counter computer in the sky that automatically returns to you what you send back, three times over.  In fact, tho', that's NOT what the 'three fold law' is in Wicca.  And, yes, as always, by 'Wicca' I mean lineaged Wicca with all the bells and whistles and oral teachings and initiation and the original Egregore. 

"Mind the Three-fold Laws ye should three times bad and three times good." I copied that from  and it was written by Lady Gwen Thompson.  As you can see, in Lady Gwynne's poem it doesn't get into what the law is - it's just a reference to something outside of her poem.  So ... what is the three fold law in Wicca?

Some say that it has to do with the scourging that is done during one level of Wiccan initiation.  That the scourged initiatee gets to scourge the initiator three times as much/hard as the initiatee was scourged.  And that may or may not be true (I'm not going to confirm or deny that, it's not my place to do so.)

Whether it occurs in that setting or not - it would be a reflection of the larger application of the concept of three fold return.  Which is that it's something that the individual Wiccan is supposed to ACTIVELY do, not wait for the westernized Kalifornia Karma (props to Catherine for the term) or to some bean counter in the sky to do for them.  

It . Is . Not . A . Passive . Thing.

If you are being affected by someone else's spell - a spell for good or not for good (and let's not get into how spells someone thinks are for you own good can really be controlling and/or not in fact for your good) - YOU are to take action and return magical working on them three times over.    "Good" spells done for you create a debt for you to pay.  SO DO 'BAD' SPELLS.  A debt - for YOU to actively pay back.  As always in magic - ain't no one going to do your work for you.

Yes, I blogged a bit about this before, over at  

What do you think about THEM apples?

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Vices of Malkuth - Inertia and Greed

Blessings Darlings! 

Since I am dreading and thus putting off blogging about the Wiccan Rede ... this seems like a great time to talk about the Vice of Malkuth "Inertia", since I'm experiencing it.  But as long as I'm here, I'll look at the other vice of Malkuth as well.

You might not know what Malkuth is, if you're new around these parts.  It's the last Sphere of the Kabala, the beginning of the trip up the Heavenly Tree towards ... let's say enlightenment, given Ayn Sof.  At any rate, it's the start of any path - it's Earth and the mundane.  And you have to be functional in this Sphere before you can really get to the other spheres.  Taking the first NEW step can be hard to take. 

Malkuth is sphere most bound by Newtonian physics, and one of the laws of Newtonian physics is that a 'body at rest stays at rest/a body in motion stays in motion' unless some other force acts on it.  In magical terms, your Will is not a part of your body, so it can get your Malkuth-bound ass in motion. 

The problem is often that at that point ... the other vice of Malkuth takes over.  Greed.  And since we're talking Malkuth - materialism.  Folks tend to get this idea that you need All The Things to be able to move on the Path before you.  Pentacles! Books! Athame! Wand! Offering plate! Pentacles! Cauldron! Chalice! Pentacles!  Robes! Incense! Oils! Herbs!  Books! More Pentacles! More everything!  

People mistake "buying things" for 'doing the spiritual work'.   And often they don't know if what they are buying is actually useful or not.  Because without having done any of the work, they haven't developed the VIRTUE of Malkuth - Discrimination. 

So folks who are still at this point of barely tapping their big toe on Path start 'advising' others that 'buy all the books!  Every book has at least something useful in it" as if folks have unlimited money to Buy All The Things and unlimited time to Read All The Things - and they COMPLETELY ignore Working Any Of The Things.  Because all the tools and shit that you can buy is USELESS if you don't do the work.  If you fill your time with Buying All The Things and Reading All the Things (even if they are virtually worthless) you are NOT NOT NOT going to have time to do ANY of the things.

Do . The . Things. 

Yes, I'll write that blog today.  It won't be going up until June 14, the way I've got the 'oft quoted phrases' posts scheduled.  While it's on today's 'TO DO' list ... that doesn't mean it has to be the first thing done.  Using my Discrimination - doing THIS topic was inspired 'do this thing' to add to the list, not to crowd anything out.

So there.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, May 31, 2018

My Worship Is In The Heart That Rejoices.

Blessings Darlings!

This is the first in what will be (I hope) a multi-post series on phrases from Wicca bandied about in the neopagan community. 

While Wicca is primarily an orthopraxic mystery religion, it has a few phrases that are quoted y some as orthodoxy.  One of them all y'all have almost certainly heard/read the phrase: "My Worship is in the heart which rejoices.  For behold - all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals."  It's towards the end of Doreen Valiente's "Charge of the Goddess".

Unlike some other sound bites often quoted most folks agree that this is not the whole of the story.  The heart that rejoices is not the ONLY place that the Goddess' worship exists, right?  Folks accept that Her worship is often in the heart that aches or despairs.

No one (I hope!) would be crass enough to tell someone in the midst of crippling depression, or hospitalized with some other disease, or with heart-rending bereavement, etc. to rejoice or they are failing to properly worship the Goddess or are otherwise 'not a true Wiccan or Pagan'

So too, while 'all acts of love and pleasure" are Her rituals, Her rituals and worship is not LIMITED to such acts.  For example, honoring a loved one's  end of life directive - as a friend of mine recent had to do for a loved one - and removing a breathing tube was clearly an act of love but NOT an act of pleasure.  And yet it was certainly one of the Goddess' rituals.

Are you with me so far?

Any questions?  More parts coming, and I hope I have the energy to write them soon ...

Frondly, Fern.