Verdant Adventures

Flight soundtrack, Anthrax,

VGS was the target. 

Into the house of Storax 

Along the wooded market.

Comradery in darkness

And Ointments of night,

Truth bright as starkness,

Another nocturnal delight.



In the early days of my witchery, I was obsessed with plant magick. I consumed any and all books on healing, hexing, spirit journeying and entheogens. The plants of magick always held my attention as their mystery is in plain sight...only those sensitive or curious enough to access can find. In my fledgling years I experimented with any and all ways of connecting. I made teas of mugwort and chamomile for lunar workings with my coven or to induce prophetic dreaming. I produced sachets or gris-gris bags for fertility and money with patchouli, green rice and other potent materia magica. I was lucky enough to have a teacher who’s consort took me into the mountains of Shasta every August, to gather under the auspices of full lunar light wild mugwort, pennyroyal, desert sage, mullein and rose hips. We fed the dragons of this volcanic land, springs given offerings of honeyed-milk and strong spirits, the trees sentinels of our gratitude. We made fluid condensers, witches’ candles, herbal charms to hang in our homes. I wanted to go further, explore deeper mysteries of poisons and witching herbs associated with baneful workings. At one point I remember, in my inexperienced and adventurous mind, grinding up morning glory seeds to make a powerful tea in an attempt to recreate spiritual awakenings. Needless to say, I was lucky there was no kidney failure as I vomited and shit my brains out for 8 hours. I never saw any visions as the poison slowly worked its way through my body...but I learned a powerful lesson in entheogens: leave processing to experienced professionals.

When I became a mother I left behind these dangerous and magickal plants; the fear of my daughter accidentally handling or ingesting them changed my praxis and attitude. I worked with more accessible and safer ingredients, which I discovered were equally as potent. I learned the necromantic ways of yarrow, the purifying power of basil, how a plant’s healing can be accessed through flower essences and other more subtle measures. I became more sensitive to their communication as I grew my witches’ garden in containers, placed high to be out of reach from small fingers. Now she is older, becoming much wiser than I in her magickal explorations, and I have begun to revisit these old friends. In only the last few years have I kept plants again; many are fairly harmless but potent allies in witchery. 

In an attempt to immerse myself in the verdant current again, I attended the wild and weedy adventure of Viridis Genii Symposium. Sorted into cabins named after various herbs, much as the houses of Hogwart's in the Harry Potter series, I was happy to know most of my room mates already. Situated right next to the market, and conveniently the bathroom, we had full access to all the wonderful wares and craftspeople at our very doorstep. It was almost overwhelming to see the creative arts made available, and even being created publicly over the course of our weekend. It felt like we were all on a journey together, sharing space and knowledge of our common passion.

The Verdant Path…

The Verdant Path…

The first morning included a walk through the nearby woods and then the keynote speaker, Karin Di Giacomo, a Hermeticist and Herbalist. Di Giacomo was an excellent orator, especially considering German was her first language. Personal, kindly and brimming with knowledge of the greenways, it was easy to fall into her charm. Exploring the terms Mysticism (experience), Gnosis (sharing of information) and Magic (action of will) throughout her talk was refreshing ,as most presenters generally tend to assume everyone’s definition is the same. Di Giacomo spoke about these perspectives to approach when getting to know plants... the various levels of intuitive connection. It really came together when she shared as an example Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum), found to be rich in German folklore, especially surrounding the making of summer wines. A bag was passed around and I stuck my nose right in. This was to be a recurring theme of the entire weekend: scents and smells intoxicating my spirit. 

The first official lecture was given by Brandon Weston, who shared local lingo and methodology of folk medicine in the bioregional landscape of the Ozark Mountains. The nature-based resources for healing came from what residents call ‘yarbs’, practical herbal application for remedies of physical ailments. There are also more ‘faith-based’ herbal medicines that can sometimes include the employment of talismans, counseling services and physical paraphernalia such as feathers and stones. I found this to be especially of interest to me as I have ancestors from the region; one being my Great-Grandfather who was a well known faith-healer. 

Later in the day was a very entertaining and confirming (for me) lecture by Daniel Schulke, the topic being Phytognosis: knowledge passed on to practitioners through interaction with plants. I found this to primarily be a great sharing of ethics and experience from Schulke, who shared real tales of caution and insights from his decades of work. Some truths he shared included reminders to recognize limitations in both plants and humans alike, the power of First Vision, using discernment when sharing /using information given by the plant.. 

The next morning’s 2 highlights for me were lectures presented by first Ella von Castel, “Ars Moriendi: Verdant Allies in the Kingdom of Death” and Vex Blóðstjarna, “Verdant Versipellis: the Arte and Role of Flora and Entheogens in Shape-Shifting”, both of Ars Feralis. Von Castel reminded me of all the beauty surrounding funerary rites in Ancient Egypt while exploring different herbs associated with them, which also included several multicultural connexions. Some favorites she discussed were juniper (Tibet), sandalwood (India) and the blue lotus (Egypt). Blóðstjarna’s topic was even more fascinating, including strange stories of lycanthropic tomatoes and beer wolves. His presentation style was easygoing and funny, which made me want to listen for longer than his allocated hour. But really, this was true for all the presenters. 

By far the lecture I was entranced with most was with Julia Semproniana of Occvlta, who traveled all the way from the Pyrenees to present at VGS on the topic of thorns. I think it was especially important how Semproniana explained the difference between witchcraft (maleficum) and folk magic, which tends to be more in defense of witches (beneficum). Witchcraft is, in fact, practiced by spirits and not humans within the cultural context of this region.  Typical of many European traditions, there was a lot of overlapping with Catholic folk praxis; which included the remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion thorns when worn as a protective amulet (briar rose) and tool of cursing (blackthorn). 

There was also afternoons filled with hands-on workshops, for those of us who paid in advance. In addition to Di Giacomo’s lecture I attended her workshop, in which we created spagyrics based on the elemental expressions of certain materials; this subtle alchemy had both practical and metaphysical results. For example, a fire remedy was created with motherwort and oil to create a spicy, upward energy for action of will. The oil was key to this infusion as it feeds fire...so does it naturally draw out the effective plant properties. The other workshop I took was dealing with plants and other materials associated with second sight, facilitated by herbal-folklorist Corrine Boyer. We started with a great discussion of plants which help in communication and assistance from ancestors/human dead; those made in offering of safety, and for clarification/discernment with them. Afterwards we were able to apply this knowledge in the creation of a fumigation blend and a scrying powder for communication with the Dead. 

I did skip out on a few lectures, being my first year in attendance and the fun distraction of a scavenger hunt. I was sorry to have missed some sensual, hilarious and amazing presentations/workshops. It was already overwhelming the amount of information exchanged over the course of one weekend, among both the scheduled lineup and the interaction with other patrons.

In making these formulas of Elements, of Necromancy… I found the process so much simpler than my own. No need to be consecrating this tool or that part: the herbs brought their own magick that did not need dedication at every step. It reminded me to work with what is already in my own landscape, and not some faraway land... someplace romanticized by novelty and nostalgia that I will probably never experience. I have no blackthorns or yew trees near me, but there are thousands of invasive blackberry bushes and mullein stalks standing like towers everywhere. Our ancestors brought with them the knowledge of our Ancestral Folk when they immigrated, but had to adapt their practices to this New World to what grew here. 

Magick just accepts whatever qualities are already naturally inherent in the materials being used. Everything in the natural world contains all four elements, with one or two being dominant; but everything in this world is already perfected in both it’s raw and decaying existence. It was at the end of this weekend I realized that we, living people, are built this way as well. No matter the imperfections, any attempt to change the undesirable nature of our Selves erodes at the magick already present. The potentiality of power is diminished by an overbearing person; much as a large obtrusive plant can take nutrients and sunshine away from others. Even in the shade of enchanted forests, a moldy dog turd can be an unusual fungus...in the right light, beauty and magick is found. 

Communal Altar of Team Storax…

Communal Altar of Team Storax…

Spiritual Depression

Sometimes, I don't want to meditate. I don't want to look at my altars or shrines. I don't want to fast or cleanse. I don't want to sing adorations or compose hymns. I don't want to serve some unseen things for which I faithfully lift my heart up in offering. I don't want to read the books or ask the questions. I don't want to burn the things, pour the waters or anoint the body. I don't want to listen and argue and understand others. I don't want to travel or work in otherworlds. I don't want to gather flowers, herbs or sweet smelling oils. I don't want to sit on that cushion. I don't want to acknowledge the difficulty and ordeals of my Will. I don't want to be naked and bathed. I don't want to wear silks and soft cottons against my skin. I don't want to hug you. I don't want to become intoxicated or numbed. I don't want to walk in the woods. I don't want to eat the good foods rich in sunshine and dark loam. I don't want to fly with birds. I don't want to wash the dishes or sweep the floor or vacuum the rugs. I don't want to communicate with ancestors or deities or spirits of this land. I don't want blue skies. I don't want hard cement with cracks of rebelling lawn beneath my feet. I don't want to draw cards or divine the future. I don't want central heat in lieu of a fireplace. I don't want to snap out of it. I don't want to hear advice. Sometimes, I want to Love and be enveloped by Love. I want to not hurt. I want equanimity for every being. I want the impossible and unattainable, manifested. I want to face Hekate without Fear. I want poetry written on falling autumn leaves. I want to walk in beauty. I want to give and receive compassion. I want to be the messenger of Gods. I want to shower every day without making huge efforts. I want to wash the dishes, do the laundry, go shopping and pay the bills with a dharmic attitude. I want to take my loved ones with me to the next level. I want to gather and worship under a full moon with other witches of integrity. I want to get off this couch, walk in the sunbeams with rainbow energy rays shooting out my butt. I want to bury myself in His arms, feel His fur on my face and His tears to wash away all sorrow. I want my readers to know how much they mean to me. I want to write truth into the akashic records of internet for future generations to see I didn't know WTF I was talking about, but still dared to do ALL the things. I want clean water, air, books and food accessible for everyone. I want to stop grasping at this world and be liberated from it. Mostly, I want lactose-free pudding that tastes delicious.

Always, this is OKAY: our spiritual lives are not defined by what we do during active seasons, but how we handle our own limitations. A constant routine is a good habit to make but sometimes it needs a break. Allowing ourselves to step back and let the magick HAPPEN is what a true practitioner needs from time to time. It does not mean we are lazy, or unproductive, or any less devoted to our Gods and Spirits. We need time to rest, refresh, reorganize, re-strategize and revisit our own spirit every now and again. To come back from the depths with strength and a renewed vigor is not always a necessity either; always slow and methodical is a safer, more productive means of rejoining the ranks of powerful magicians and witches. It is not weakness, nor does it prove any superhuman strength, to wallow in the Underworld for so long that we cannot see the stairs of ascension. In our own way and patience, we will not rise like a phoenix in glory as so many books and teachers promise, but softly like a grub beneath the compost of garbage we allowed to be piled on top of us. We are part of that heap,  fertilizing the garden of transcendence. The scars thicken our skin and allows for whipped welts to unburden our spirits. Have that good cry in the shower, eat what your body craves, bathe in the piss and shit and vomit with our broken souls...because it all washes off eventually.

Fire and Water, Then Earth Begins

The past two months have been a whirlwind of activity...which makes sense after 30 days of Air invocations. It ended in the culminating passion of Fire, the Will, the pentagram drawn from the heavens, that starlight straight to the belly:

“I call forth the power and the presence of Fire,
May the Powers of Passion,
Be present within Me.”

And with it came the nausea and vomiting for weeks. At one point it was reminiscent of morning sickness. But as the passion rose, so did the flames...burning much including karmic debts and bad luck. Where Air expressed itself through my libido, Fire was heart-centered. Compassion and feelings in general bubbled up very easily to the surface. Tensions were high in my household among all family members. Unfortunately it also meant my husband was laid off from his job. This came as a shocking effect...but he had several interviews a day within the week (and employment after we 'moved' into water, later on that). Fire brought warmth of belly and center; the hearth flames were re-ignited with the furnace of my Will. During these Fire invocations was the first time I practice Dark of Moon Devotionals without the company of my beloved Hermetikoi and Hekatoi. I was not feeling well so did the entire service from my mind; every act including the listening of others singing the chants. But I fell into a sleep and dreamed of being in Her torches, seeing my Will in Her hands. I became enflamed in Her and remembered what it was like, just when it was Her and I. No Priests. No traveling to another location. Now I am different; before it was just my Lady and I. Hermes and Hekate stood behind me and placed hands on my shoulders, armoured and broad enough to handle their tasks.

"The Four Elements" By Jacob Matham (Holland, Haarlem, 1571-1631) [Public domain]
"The Four Elements" By Jacob Matham (Holland, Haarlem, 1571-1631) 

The day I began invoking water, it rained. California has been in a horrible drought and much of my prayer work has been centered around this delicate matter. But the storm, She came in from the Pacific... cold and fierce rain. It made me smile. It snowed like 5-7 feet in Buffalo, New York that day as well...but I figured the wrong coast to lay any claim.

I moved from the Bay Area to my hometown, in the foothills of Northern California. Only 2 hours from ocean, desert, mountain or swamp. The spirits called me home...so I agreed. Funny how when you decide to let Deity and other allies take the lead, things easily happen. My husband got a fantastic job working from home, I had some job opportunities come up as well, so we made the decision to move. Action was put into play: packing and collecting materials, finding a house, school, doctors, having utilities turned on. Although we ate really crappy, somehow my husband had managed to lose twenty pounds, and I ten over the course of relocation.

Aligning my Self with the energies of Water, I thought about how it moves around obstacles...strong enough to carve mountains with meandering patience. Time is relative as water is solid, liquid and gaseous in forms. In the waters of mind is the heart of intuition:

“I call forth the power and the presence of Water
May the Powers of Intuition,
Be present within Me.”

In listening to those inner voices, that rain kept coming. It washed over the aches and soothed my spirit. Where Fire blistered or rubbed raw, Water was a salve.

With only two weeks settled in, I erected the altars to my Chthonic Lord and Lady... attuning to the Dark Moon Devotionals from afar... but this time I saw my fellow Dedicants. I saw them each going up before the Herm, sprinkling incense and offering wine...and I chanted along as if there, lifting my voice for them as witness to the Shining Ones. In the moment, there was no physical distance or time. I hovered about, sensed someone was missing even (I later confirmed it)...it wasn't a cliche after all. Just as all water IS one water, never ending in it's cycle on Earth, so are we connected to spirit. No distance too great, no depth untouchable. I saw the streams of rain wash down the sides of those Sierra Nevada mountains, into the dry and cracked creek beds. The wells, aquifers, underground lakes all need to be filled before any run off is truly visible, but they ARE being fed...and that is all that matters.

Today I began the invocation of Earth... the Mother, where roots gather and clutch to hold ahigh the trunk of me. From the dark, moist loam I reached down and gathered it to propel my pentagram:

“I call forth the power and the presence of Earth
May the Powers of Stability,
Be present within Me.”

This promise of mountains is not far behind, as I see the snow covered caps of Mount Shasta to the North, and Mount Lassen to the East. A glacier resides inside the Northern Mother, with the fiery sulphur and boiling water which spews from the volcanic Eastern Sister. The spirits of these majestic and dangerous pillars are axis mundi, conduits of power and portals between worlds. The local natives believe Shasta to be a place of the Dead, where Ancestors travel to. On the other side of the valley is Lassen, who birthed all of creation. And I am at the Crossroads, as Hekate and Hermes would have it.

The Air

“Every man and every woman is a star.”
― Aleister CrowleyThe Book of the Law

Astrology confuses me, only in that I understand Astronomy. Some schools of astrology say my Sun is in Gemini, others that I am a Taurus: both I identify with whole-heartedly. However, I am still very much an Elemental creature. All living things are, as Crowley's quote suggests, made from starstuff. In the beginning maybe some God put it together, or we crawled from water, or crashed here from another planet...the Earth, the Water and the Fire still needed that key ingredient which set us apart from our floating-rock neighbors: Air. And I have been spending the last 30 days breathing, shouting, invoking this all-encompassing Element...tool of intellect and mindfulness. Sharp as a tack and willful as wind, I very much identify with this element. Since I can remember, my mind has been involved with two modes of action: reading or writing (this is why I love being in school so much I suppose). During this time period of daily invocation and manipulation of Air, there was a different effect than I expected. Mercurial, feathered and flights in dream I experienced academic revelry in my undergraduate studies...this was the last time I did an Elemental discipline. One week of each Element as a young witchlet, was a way of experiencing them purely, getting to know the 'critter' (as my teacher would say). And as I greeted the Eastern Sun every morning, chanting the seed mantra to Wind, my mind became sharpened, grinding quicksilver, hardened on steel.

Alchemical symbol for the element of Air.
Alchemical symbol for the element of Air.

But I am a different person these days, and my relationship with the Elements has changed as well; environmentally rather than spiritually. Whilst I lived in the rural areas of Northern California, it was much easier to interact with the Be-ings of primordial magicks. I mean, they are EVERYWHERE! The rivers are full of water sprites, mountains alive with flowing lava and sulfur springs, the trees sentinels and stewards of all who walk beneath their sappy arms. But I am in the suburbs now, as they call it...too urban still for this country witch. The property I live on has six sad baby palm trees and a few bushes; no trees to speak of. All my plants are in containers, keeping them somewhat protected from any soil pollutants. The nearby freeway fills the atmosphere with sounds of busyness, not to mention exhaust. The Fae and other unseen folk are hidden in the landscape, hardened by the asphalt and cement which line their land. They do not come so easily with offerings of sweets and shelter, but draw near to the light which only gets brighter with magick.

For the first week of invoking Vāta, I used the traditional invoking pentagram as provided in the GD system. After performing my Star Ruby, I take refuge in the tradition of our Hermetikoi...and begin the invocation. At first I used one written by my brother Devotee, only in that I loved the way it sounded coming from him. I soon found this was not necessarily true for my Self. Coming from my voice, the invocation left me feeling weepy the whole rest of the day. I was confused as the wording was quite practical and reminiscent of my academic years...a focus on the sharpness of mind, quick of wit, eloquent speech and seeing through deceit. I asked my Priest why he thought this was happening...he told me to ask the spirits of Air and invoke through improvisation. The problem with this, I didn't want to use my old style of “off the cuff” magick as had always worked so well in the past. I have been on a strict diet of Thelemic ritual with tried and true words. I was doing this as a spiritual challenge. Focusing on the one Element after a month of all four...well, let's just say the unbalancing effected my practice. It shifted and I needed to INSPIRE my Self.

My invocation is short and sweet:

“I call forth the power and the presence of Air,
Powers of the Mind, Be present within Me.”

I say this aloud, commanding and firm, with the appropriate invoking pentagram in time with the words. Drawing from my right shoulder, my dominant hand...the only wand I'll ever really need. No athame can withstand the magick a living, human bone does. I draw this energy into each of my chakras...illuminating and spinning the wheels with winds of spirit.

Throughout the day, I think about the air I breathe and the other creatures who share it with me; animals outside, bugs, birds...but people most of all. I see light polluting atmosphere, stars are so dim and washed out. I see smoke from fires to the north, sacred lands burning as part of a natural cycle. To the south, a hurricane with torrential rains. Why could not wind blow this storm north to help with these wildfires? If there was a witch among us in California who could, why did it not happen? Because there are some natural cycles, such as wind and weather, stronger magicks than all; Mother Nature is the last wildness of our planet some days. I also became immersed in a fantasy novel...and enjoyed it a little too much.

My friends, the spirits of Air are fast, flighty but also fierce in the focus; like fanning fires of fastidious fashions. Forever fawning over the facts, leaves fantasy in a final funk. Fussing and fighting is fucked. Face forward, find flowers and frolic in the forest.

The Star Ruby

Facing East, where beginnings come and illuminate from, I start the ritual. APO PANTOS KAKODAIMONOS Striking out from the sign of Harpocrates, I am rested and still until, with these words, I drive all energies misaligned with my work. Flee all spirits and mischievous divinities with intent to harm or distract. Be gone all thoughts of mundane events or feelings, for magickal transformations are about to take place. Crossing the traverse of my body, I bless and commit from head to phalle, sealed in my heart and gathered before forming the first banishing pentagram in my mind's eye, the energy propels the star as I bellow THERION. After the call, I receive the response. Returning as a powerful wave rushing onto my toes in sand...facing the land, the beast ebbs and flows. Activating this primal power, the essence of our human beginnings. With horns at my temples, I snarl and rut.

I resonate NUIT to the Northern quadrant, a Star as the central gem in the crown of the heavenly queen. The light of a midnight sun brightens the pentagram. With a motherly embrace, cool as the night sky and black as space, She returns unto me. My heart and womb are filled with Her expansive grace, stardust covering. Nothing happens without Her witness.

With all courage I muster to approach the Western realm of BABALON, mother of abominations and liberation. In a whisper I send the sticky sweet pentagram, throwing open my arms to widely embrace Her wide hips. With yoni in my nostrils, Her scent is musky, salty and wine drenched. She is the modern Mother, Goddess of the New Aeon.

Facing the Southern fires, I turn to call forth HADIT, in a quick mercurial thrust the pentagram travels. The promising future is delivered on scales of a serpent, as He wraps around my womb, like a fiery Orphic egg. I draw it up to my arm, releasing spent passion shed from coils.

Armed with the blessings of the Gods, the consorts surround my temple, blasting away all shreds of UN-necessaries. Turned round again widdershins, I sing: IO PAN, the gestures seal the deal. Hail and praises to the PHALLE, phallus and axis from which all revolves! Hail and praises to the PAMPHAGE, devourer and destroyer. Hail and praises to the PANGENETOR, forever creator. I greet and give honor to all that is, was and ever shall be.

With the TELETARCHAI of completion in front of me, whirling JUNGES behind me, to my right the SYNOCHES have joined with the DAIMONES on my left...I am whole and humbled. The enormity of the pentagrams, the gem between my hands as I raise them above my head....in a quick hand-clap it becomes fixed as the six-rayed star, drawing it down into my Self. My body is the husk of this genuine and authentic piece of my Soul. It is precious, as each living thing is precious. Knowing it is in there, I am it's guardian to defend from those who would try to harm or steal the magick contained. The seed of enlightenment, my True Will is the secret contained within.

I reaffirm as at the opening of this ritual. Bringing together all of the elements, all of the Gods' empowerment which have filled my mortal shell. My Being is no longer the smallest in this nesting of spiritual layers. Inside, the deepest part of my Self illuminates as a rainbow, a hologram which changes and moves slightly within the light. All shadows gone, with castings sloppy like watercolors, dragged across my body to form the Crossroads over again.

Something is different, transposed and morphed. There is a surety, a confidence which was not there before. I am centered like bamboo, flexible with incredibly deep roots. A raw existence is left behind. Whereas the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram left me feeling empty and angry, the Star Ruby fills and empowers me. Like an occult superhero, ready for battle and on note with the greater potential of humans it does not give me immense pride as expected. Oh no... whilst this could feel like the swelling of ego, it is more of a letting GO of it. That part of me which is attached to this world, which is not of the Gods is ego; it is extra baggage I am banishing, with help from some spirits of the New Aeon. How can one be expected to travel across the desert dragging luggage full of rocks?

Here is the version I used.

"Whore of Babylon" by William Blake.
"Whore of Babylon" by William Blake.

The 'Angry' Post

Angry Vagina

Facing the unknown is terribly frightening, but so is a vagina. Not many women have actually SEEN their own, or better yet a yoni attached to another woman...except perhaps unnatural ones in most porno films. Sometimes stretched liver and onions, or bald lipless wonders, they make ordinary woman’s lady parts seem as foreign lands we only can see in postcards. I was lucky enough to see midwives as a young woman and exposed to radical feminist ideologies in my witchcraft as well. I am sure at one point or another all women put a mirror on the floor or lay down with a hand mirror...but it is NOTHING compared to seeing the secret places of the womb. With a soft plastic speculum inserted and opened, the cervix is completely vulnerable. Like the inner part of an orchid reaching from deep vulvic folds, pink and wet, it waits for pollination. I can only imagine how carnivorous it would seem dilated, opened like a Georgia O'Keefe magnolia except red and shiny with it's swelling. In some ways, I am glad for the cesarean birth my daughter had;  my cervix and vaginal canal have remained intact. Happily, it has been kept pure for the pleasure of sexual magicks. Besides, the scar has it's own story.

"Gateway" by Amorella Moon, Snapdragon Photography Unique.
"The Gateway", by Amorella Moon of Snapdragon Photography Unique.

My vagina is a chalice, a cauldron, a vessel churning and reacting. It eternally pulls and pushes, ebbs and flows, has it's own ecosystem with natural flora in a delicate balance of co-habitation. Yes, it is sometimes angry and rages. The hormonal swings and cycles that spread throughout the rest of my body, including my brain, takes over...possesses me as a spirit of prophetic wildness. And that is okay. It will age and change over time, much as Dorian Gray's painting hid the scars and debauchery of his existence, so will the bud of cervical mystery transform into a deflated balloon, gray and wispy in appearance. I know, I've seen an older woman's cervix. I applied for a job at the Women's Feminist Heath Center in Chico after graduating with my Bachelor's. Part of the interviewing process included a peek at the vagina of an older woman...a nurse practitioner and midwife who casually jumped up on the table and did the deed. We each took turns viewing...they said it was 'optional' but I figured it could possibly turn into extra credit towards being hired. Sadly, I did not get the job and in a way am glad to not look at vagina all day.

LBRP Update *Angry version 2.1

I need to finish the progress report of my LBRP blog...how did it go in the end? The 30 days of performing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram? Well after doing it for 28 days and writing all about all the issues I was having, my wonderful teacher/mentor/friend Sam Webster gave to me some tips and suggestions...or as we call it in our Hermetikoi, 'hacks'. I had so many issues...I decided to start over. And it was so much more effective! The biggest problem to begin with was issues surrounding angels and Yahweh and the whole Judeo-Christian lineage. Woah...if we take all that stuff out, what is gonna be left of it, right? Well the thing is...even by doing it in the complete traditional style I don't believe it would work. And it kinda hasn't. I wrote back in April about this and had to stop processing it from the very beginning; starting with the Rosey Cross. Not only am I intoning HEKATE at the heart of my ethereal body, between ATEH and MALKUTH, but reversing the order of VE-GEBURAH and VE-GEDULAH also broke me from a lifelong habit of Catholic self-crossing. Starting on the left-hand side, instead of the right shoulder, is cathartic whilst also subtle. It's like saying the “Our Father” prayer backwards...breaking these old patterns which have been programmed into neurotransmitters and webs of our ethereal bodies.

The first pentagram invoked in the East was intoned with the sacred name of feminine divine....ASHEREH. In a breath it flows, soft and willowy as feathers. The primordial energy from the beginning of time, the chaotic winds of potentiality within Her womb . The first few times I intoned this in replacement of YOD-HE-VAU-HE, it seemed strange until I understood WHO this was. Ashereh is the wife of Yahweh, the consort of the One who is not One... Drawing the banishing pentagram whilst intoning it BEFORE sending on it's way....my form and order were all wrong. So I breathed in through my mouth and on the out, pushed the intonation into my pentagram causing it to swell enormously, seal it with hands extended and come back to seal with a kiss.

With dominant hand, I draw the circle connection onto the next direction of South. ADONAI; a common enough title of Master, sometimes I use this in the feminine Adonaia for Hekate. My breath became fiery, with the burning brightness an illumination came: I am driven by the Light...I search for the beacon in my darkness which the whole time was me. I send out the signal and feel the warmth growing in the pentagram. In the West is EHEIEH, the chill likened to Lord Charon who ferries the Beloved Dead across rivers in Hades. The blue energy that shot form my finger was ice-cold and sharp in it's almost guttural sound, resonating from somewhere deep in my lower lungs.

The MOST difficult part of the entire procedure, AGLA... an acronym for 'Atah Gibor Le-olam Adonai' (You, O Lord, are mighty forever)? Somehow, it works...but it would be like using OMPH instead of chanting the “Om Mani Padme Hum”; it is not effective because the WORDS have meaning for a reason. The sounds produced when resonating a mantra, or intoning a magickal formula, were believed by me to be the meat of the effect. Because it has been in practice for so long, and the intention behind the intonation seems to be more important in this case, I have learned to just flow with it. It's short, sweet and to the point. Never mind how in the first weeks of intonation, a “shit demon” arose from my septic tank..the banishing had become invoking and still leaves a foul smell in my nostrils when I get to the “GL” part. Is it the compost and dark matter of deepest caves? The energy dripping as mud off my fingertips and splashed across the pentagram, drying as stucco.

As I bring my projecting fingers back to the eastern quadrant of this line of giant, pulsating stars...both arms swing out as my head lowers to acknowledge before me the approachable RAPHAEL, my head drops back behind me is the guardian GABRIEL, as mine is also God's “right hand man” MICHAEL, and the lefthander's choice of URIEL. It is only when they have fortified the pentagrams and gathered them up in front of them, do my arms extend above my head.. surrounding me. My hands and arms are the two pillars, holding a balance between all worlds as I am the middle pillar, the axis mundi, a six-rayed star lighted between hands...the shining beacon. I draw this down, and through my rosey cross. Upon completion, my fingers to chin in a praying position....I take a deep, cleansing breath and send those pentagrams and angels FLYING out, far from me, penetrating all in their paths and dragging behind the un-necessaries. But what is left behind?

Spiritual Anger

I find after 40 days of performing the LBRP three times a day, my life is not at peace. On the contrary, I am quite irritable and quick to anger. Although I really think this is more of a repressed rage, it is still unchecked and the very last demon I need to face. Religious folks eventually have to face anger, and although it is considered a poison of spiritual development, it is a powerful demon that can also morph into a vengeful angel of justice. When everything is stripped down, and I know I am on the brink of total surrender, the anger arises. And what can we DO with it? As energy workers and spiritual docents, we are kinda trained to be peaceful and in the middle place of things. I always thought being 'angry' was a spiritual poison. What does being mindful in our anger look like? When I get pissed, I like to go mow my lawn or pull weeds....tend MY garden. But what can I do when it arises from meditation?

I have always struggled with expressing Anger. As a girl growing up it was 'unbecoming' to get angry. In my angst-ridden teens (and early twenties) I was a 'riot grrl'...third wave feminist in a small ranching town, who practiced witchcraft and could drink/smoke/curse/outwit with the best of the manly folks. The boys in my hometown had no clue what to do to me, let alone talk, and most of my time was spent peacefully reading or meditating or yoga or some other activity that could quell the rage. When I later made a family upon 30, the anger was pressed down even further...complacent wife, nurturing mother, quiet daughter, supportive sister, class clown. So many titles and roles bogged me down, but kept the anger busy. I focused it on co-dependent projects, giving all of my Self and then some was filial piety: body destroyed by pregnancy and chronic illness, soul thin from holding and pulling the hands of endless students/friends/family towards success or satisfaction. The only thing I have ever done for my Self, and against the wishes of many, has been pursuing my academic and spiritual thirsts.

So here I am now. EHEIEH, the “I AM” of Self; sick and tired of being sick and tired. The LBRP cleared away all the rubbish, given over to Hekate for compost. The spiritual waters have quenched my parched roots and Hermes is ushering me back into my body, into the places I hold anger. The Lord of physics, psychopompic gladiator, He has literally manifested a gym in my home; a family death gave us a treadmill, stationary bicycle and rowing machine. A serpentine priestess sent me a yoga dvd. My food has become cleaner as I take the very little power I have to purchase organic foods to eat, slower cooking and mindful patience. I have, under my primary care physician's advice and observation, weaned off my anti-depressant medication to be replaced with 5-HTP, and whilst a little edgy I am FEELING again. The Multiverse is telling me something, the anger is speaking back. Spiritual warrior, shaman, priest, witch, lama, magician, tantrika...Odin's ravens sit in the large oak talking and confirming as I write this. The time for gentleness is over.

Purification: 30 Days of LBRP

Here we go again....writing about the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Recently, Hekate has placed me upon a path of Dedication to Hermes. I attended Dark Moon Devotionals to Her and Hermes for a year, with the exception of Disneyland and husband working late once. Even during these times of what I considered to be a spiritual failure the words, songs and offerings were there in heart. At my household shrine and Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyland, I offered libation and cakes at these fabricated crossroads. I followed the oneiric signs to the service every month with Sam Webster, learning by doing and re-learning Tantric technologies I had long placed upon a shelf. There is fire in my head, heart and root of Soul as it reaches to weave Self into the Multiverse. Over the past year, I have also performed the LBRP sporadically, on an “as needed” basis instead of disciplined schedule. Having a multitude of familial spirits and the big ol' toe of Hekate is more than enough protective beefiness , so I felt a daily routine would give me the same effect: a boring conjuration of Angelic Be-ings I don't believe in, but adapting the ritual to include Mother Hekate has kept it within my devotion to Her in check. During this time I was also lead to begin a Dedicant path to Hermes, which included a period of Purification as the first step. And so I began the LBRP three times daily for 30 days. I could have chosen something else but to receive any benefits from the practice, a true activation occurs once devoted to the routine (according to Sam).

The first week was the hardest; introducing a new daily activity to an already busy and often chaotic schedule challenged Self and family. In the same time period, my daughter became ill, husband worked from home and in-laws came for a weekend visit. How was I going to do this? Swinging a black athame around, resonating ancient names of God my redneck brother-in-law wouldn't recognize except for the occasional 'AMEN'? But I did it anyway, in my bedroom, the shower, the halls of my mind whilst laying in bed: all are rituals of manifestation, sending fiery pentagrams around and throughout. My five year old daughter has taken to imitating now, with a foam pirate sword and exoteric mumbling, she is a magician in the making!

Pentagram_whiteSo HOW does the LBRP purify, you might ask? Aside from the fact divine beings are invoked to swoop through, cleaning your ritual space, something else going on from the practitioner's perspective. In the very beginning of ritual the "Middle Pillar" is a suggested preparation; I use a similar visualization of grounding which I learned during my training in ADF, called “The Two Powers". Granted, in the beginning that too took time to learn, but after a year of daily practice I am able to accomplish it in three long breaths. I extend roots deep into the chaos of Hekate's womb, through the loam and rocky soil, through the very bedrock into secret black waters. Pulling it up, it swirls through my body, and out the top of my head, bathing me in blessings from the Underworld. My consciousness rises to the top crown like foam, reaching further into starlit skies to ascend. I bring down the cosmic starfire, lighting the flame within heart, hands and foot soles. I become a flaming, swirling ethereal column of potential and a clear conduit for blasting away anything not wanted, needed and given to the pursuit of my True Will. or something to that effect.

To be continued....