Uncoven Issue #9
Episode #17 – Delayed but on the way!
Episode 17 will be ready toward the end of December, fret not! We will be discussing the incredibly important subject of cultural appropriation and how it can and should be avoided in witchcraft – and how to carefully honor those cultures to which you may be drawn.
In the meantime, hit us up on the facebooks and grams and let us know your thoughts and questions on this topic!
Check out our web-o-net pages at Hex Rated Podcast!
Yule tidings, everyone! I hope you are enjoying the stillness and peace this time of year can bring – it can also bring much activity, but I prefer to dwell in the quiet, reflective moments that the season and the end of the year provides, if I open myself to those moments. It is nice to be able to set aside some time for myself amidst all the baking, crafting, and general hubbub this time of year can mean.
Speaking of still moments, you might recall that we discussed having a Dumb Supper, what that entailed, and how to go about hosting your own. We finally did it, and it was a fantastically powerful experience. For those of you that missed the first article or the episode in which we discussed the history of the Dumb Supper, here is a quick refresher: It is a dinner you host in complete silence, sometimes served in reverse order, to honor departed loved ones. A setting is placed for them at table, and the meal revolves around reverence and contemplative thought of the dead.
We laid out the courses in reverse order ahead of time so as not to be confused. We then grounded and centered after we called for silence with my bell. We then set the table in reverse order, and proceeded to serve each other and our honored spirit-guest – dessert first, which was a lovely shortbread made by Scarlet. Then the main course, which was a pasta with yellow squash, zucchini, and a cheese bechamel made by yours truly. A delicious soup course followed, which was an amazing Polish potato soup by Scarlet. We finished with a salad, provided by the lovely Jaye.
Having an entire meal, four courses no less, in total silence was quite moving. It really not only forced all of us to contemplate all the flavors of the food we had prepared, it gave time for all of us to reflect on the reason for the supper in the first place. Many silent toasts to the spirits were made, and we also had a separate area set up as an altar for those we wished to honor. It’s an experience I would like to repeat every year, as it was a humbling act of getting in touch with feelings that we often cast aside or push down. We were all filled with gratitude to be able to join together for this communal sharing of honoring our dead.
Vade in pace,
I named my daughters, these twins inside me, after a bird and a tree. I should have known.
I have never felt called to the Tuath Dé Danann, not a single drop of Celtic blood runs through the veins beneath this olive skin. But I named my daughters after a sacred bird and a sacred tree and theirs is a heritage born in part on the shores of Ireland.
I should have known.
At night my aching body keeps me within the liminal, on the cusp of sleep, but when I finally succumb to exhaustion, if just for an hour or two, my soul flies. Pregnancy gifts us with the most bizarre and telling dreams of our lives. We straddle a line when we’re pregnant, one foot firmly in the mundane while the other floats beyond the Veil. We pull and twist and call to the souls of our children to join us in our world, to temporarily leave the darkness of the Other and dance with us in the corporeal. Pregnancy can be a sacred time that allows us the ability to slip further beyond the hedge than normally we could or would dare.
One night I dreamed I was in a field, a battle raged around me, neoliths surged from the ground beneath my feet, carved deeply with archaic symbols I had never seen. I twisted and turned, my feet bare, and around me there was chaos. Deep within my chest I knew this was not a place for me.
From above I heard the unmistakable cry of a raven and my neck snapped, eyes darting to gaze at a blackened sky. Three black birds circled their descent towards me and even this follower of a different path knew who they were.
The Morrigan reached the ground as three black haired women, quelling the movement around me until all I could see were Them Three. They opened their mouths and spoke as one in a voice as feminine as it was sharp, but they were not speaking to me.
The wind began to surge, howling around us as Them Three continued to call out not to me, but at me, speaking past me and into me. I cannot even recall their words, words that were not for me.
Soon the wind was a torrent, drowning out and becoming their voices, whipping my hair against my face with a force that could bruise until my own eyes flew open to the startling darkness of my bedroom.
The dream had not been for me.
I should have known.
Here are my suggestions for air, water, and especially earth signs to try out some earth vibes. Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, treat yourself to what comes naturally.
We all have our stories, our image, our brand that we tell ourselves and others about us. Immersing yourself (sometimes literally) in something that is completely unrelated to that can launch you right out of those egoistic fictions into that space where real transformation takes place. At the very least, getting right up close to that which makes you feel uncomfortable, icked out, or afraid can help to get to root about why you feel that way in the first place.
Make it a sensory experience
-Channel up your inner Melisandre and try fire scrying. You can either stare at a flame to clear and focus your mind or you can try to look for shapes and portents like you would in a mirror or crystal.
Use it as a sacred object
– Write a wish, prayer, curse, something you want to banish and burn it. If it is something good, imagine it dissolving and mingling with the spirit world to expedite your desire. If negative, imagine it dissolving into the earth and its spirits to be broken down and recycled into something useful. Bonus points, write it on a dried leaf from the yard or a bay leaf from the spice rack.
Contemplate the dark side of fire. It’s pretty obvious but you still have to do it. Donate to California wildfire relief if you can, or write a word of encouragement to local firefighters and first responders.
Snuggle up under a heated blanket and watch Kawa Ijen, Mystery of the Blue Flames, a visually sumptuous French documentary about a volcano that produces otherworldly blue flames. Decidedly less romantic but still captivating are the local men who mine the volcano for sulfur to support their families.
A quick banishing: A day in the life of a scatterbrained witch
I decided to jumpstart some projects by banishing my procrastination.
Working with the element of earth, I chose to bury my banishment. In that way, I would be getting the monkey of procrastination off my back and away into the ground, but also be planting the seeds for the earth to fertilize solid, practical action.
For extra pizazz I wrote my banishment out with a quill and handmade ink I bought at the Renn Faire and hadn’t gotten around to trying out yet (procrastination strikes again!). I inserted the paper into two halves of a pomegranate just because it seemed poetic and cool. I bought the pomme a week before and thankfully it hadn’t gone mushy because –SAY IT WITH ME– I’d been procrastinating on doing this banishing. Bonus: I ended up with a pomegranate blood Rorschach blot to interpret later.
I buried m
y banishing at the southeast corner of my house outside the property line, a four-way crossroad. Fun fact: being a weirdo and digging in the ground at night while drivers look at you when they stop at the stop sign you are under feels deliciously transgressive if you just keep going about your business like, “Yeah, I’m doing WITCHCRAFT over here. WHUT.”
Once buried, I walked away without looking back.
Open Source Witchcraft
Our rituals are Frankensteined and Mad-Libbed together and they are free for you to share! Keep what you like, ditch what you don’t. Cut, paste, curse, and cure. Tell us what happens.
Google Doc- click for full text
Last year we kept the ritual simple by using our basic outline and some homework and plugging in Yule/Winter goddesses and folktales. Being pagan doesn’t mean missing out on give-gifting creatures sneaking into your house! Scarlet included in Lady Bertilak from Gawain and the Green Night because just like “Die Hard” is a technically Christmas movie, the Arthurian poem also takes places during Yuletide. Also featured: Perchta, Danu, la Befana, Frau Holle, Cailleach, and Skadi.
–1An on-going list of political and social action items to keep you aware in these rage inducing times.
– Mystic South is now taking application for presentations. We didn’t get to go last year, but the inaugural lineup looked tantalizing!
– Ohio Senate passes bill that bans abortions if patient received diagnosis of Down syndrome. Keeps eyes on this story as it sets a scary precedent.
– Rural Maternity Wards Are Closing, And Women’s Lives Are On The Line.
-Check out this photo project their captures women’s faces before, during, and after orgasm to help normalize female sexuality.
– Admire these cute drawings and try some ideas our yourself: ‘Boring Self-Care’ DrawingsCelebrate Everyday Mental Health Victories.
-Spiral Nature’s run down of witch activist groups including W.I.T.C.H.pdx and Yerba Mala.Hyperlinks to more activism and witchiness galore!
-Join Texas Texas Freedom Network in demanding that Texas cancel the Heidi Group contract immediately and fund real women’s health care services. Sign the petition.
Below you will find items from previous newsletters that are still relevant:
– Join the Handmaid’s Resistance! Get updates about events, resources, organizing your own event and more.
– fire up that cellular device and oppose the rollback of birth control coverage, defend childhood immigrants and DREAMers, denounce Trump’s ban on transgender troops, tell DeVos to maintain title IX protections for campus assault victims. Or pick any other five issues from 5 Calls, there are 31 active issues! Bonus points: follow up with emails and faxes through an app (see below) or good ole snail mail.
– Try the Stance app. Record a voice message and will send it directly to your representative’s phone.
– Head to the House of Representatives website to find your rep in congress and contact them! Emails are great, phone calls are better, but do something. Contact them until the poor, unpaid interns who have to answer the phones all day know you by name. Contact them until everyone cries because you will not stop until your rep knows exactly where you stand on all the issues.
– Follow your congress(wo)man on Twitter or periodically check-in (if clouding your social media feed with their trash is too repulsive), representatives will often tweet about upcoming town halls. Attend town halls.
– If you are in a time crunch and want to contact your senators or representatives but can’t get to a town hall, check out this genius texting bot called Resistbot. You will have to come up with a short message, but the bot will fax your legislators DAILY if you so desire.
– The Women’s March is a goldmine of resources and suggested actions to combat the growing voice of racism, bigotry, and sexism. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well!
– Check out The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) handy-dandy doc Know Your Rights for when you’re out there on the street peacefully protesting and expressing your motherfuckin’ right to civil disobedience. In fact, while you’re at it, donate some cash monies if you can. Here in ‘Merica we vote with our dollars.
– One of the handiest resistance guides out right now is the Indivisible Guide. A wealth of information and actions.
-If you are a Texas resident, you can go to the Texas Legislature Online and sign-up for an account, allowing you to view legislative content and add bills to an alert list. Whenever a bill you’ve put on your list is updated, you’ll receive an alert. Also, feel free to check out our list of Texas legislative bills that we are monitoring and updating. Stay woke, witches.
– Don’t over extend yourself! Yes, we’d all like to fix all the problems right the fuck now, but that’s not practical. You will burn yourself out if you try to keep up with everything in this country (and world for that matter) that needs fixing, so we recommend you come up with a short list of the most important social issues to you. This does not mean you don’t care about everything! We know you do! But we can’t all be doing everything all the time.