Monthly Archives: March 2012

Guest Post: Springtime Fun

Hey there! It’s Soull Soothslayer from the blog University Witch!

Spring has finally hit, and along with Spring comes a few things we’re all familiar with: spring showers, pretty flowers, and of course, all of those silly fertility and bunny-humping jokes that your friends crack. But is Spring any different for a witch? What does a witch do for such a festive season?

While the more popular season is the fall and winter (due to Samhain and Yule creeping up on everyone), there are fun things to do during the spring, too! Here are a few things that might kick-start the mood for you!

1. Music – The Green Children

The Green Children are a European music group duo that write and produce super cool, atmospheric music to the likes of trance and electronic pop. For those whom find themselves harking back to Enya and Loreena McKennitt for all out new age music, this younger band is a great and more “modern” alternative, especially to those in Generation Y. Two songs in particular, “Black Magick” and “Dragons” are of interest. You can take a look at Dragons here!

2. Recreation –  Scarborough Fair

Taken by Soull Soothslayer

Oh my Ra. Scarborough Fair. This is the Dallas branch of it, but really, with the warm weather coming, any and all Renaissance festivals should be starting to spring open. Hahaha, get it? Because its spring… yeaaaah. Anyway, with food, fun, and festivities, its just another way to get you off the computer and to the outdoors! With the charm of beautiful crafts and good-smelling food (and of course, the awesome costumes!), its a great idea for you and your family, or a group of friends to go and spend time doing things together.

3. Crafts – Flower Petal Paper


With the return of spring comes along a wealth of beautiful flowers to use! While making flower chain crowns is a great past time, you ca also use them for doing a fun craft.. such as making handmade spell paper to write on! You can collect a single color of flower, or use multiple colors, as well as add seeds and spices! There is a fun tutorial I did on how to make some of your own, which included step-by-step instructions, including pictures.

Don’t let spring pass you by! There are magickal and fun ways to celebrate every season, so hop to it!

With Creative Love,
Soull Soothslayer, the University Witch


Developing the Grand Canyon and Other Great Natural Areas

I read an article recently about how certain leaders of the Navajo nation want to build a resort and tram down to the canyon’s bottom on the eastern rim. (“Navajo Nation Eyes Grand Canyon for Development,” on Yahoo! News.)  They want to create jobs and revenue for the Navajo people in the area by attracting tourists to the resort, which would require massive infrastructure additions (i.e., paving a road, inserting piping and plumbing, etc.), and would include an RV park, a restaurant on the canyon bottom, and a gondola.

On the one hand, I sympathize entirely with the plight some of these people face.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to live on a reservation, or what it’s like to live in poverty.  These are situations I have never had to face, and while I can understand on an intellectual level, I have never had to actually experience hunger, or poverty, or what it’s like to not have a decent roof over your head, or anything else these people may or may not have faced.  The Navajo, and the native population in general, has been seriously mistreated and ignored over the past 400 years, and this is a situation that will need to be addressed.  I understand that the Navajo need to find a way to bring in revenue and jobs for their people.  I’ve driven through the reservation when I visited the Grand Canyon last year.  I saw, to a small degree, what the Navajo face.

On the other hand, building a resort in that space that would bring in so many more people will destroy what has been protected and revered for thousands of years.  Imagine what a new paved road would do to the landscape.  Imagine what thousands more people coming into a space that has previously only been visited by a handful at a time in comparison would mean to the environment and the ecosystem.

Imagine how that would affect the plant and animal life in the area.  We know that people are slobs.  Most people ignore the orders not to feed the animals, for example.  A lot of people litter, despite the best efforts of the park services to prevent it.  And a gondola bringing people to the canyon bottom with a restaurant placed there as well–while it sounds like a neat idea, it also sounds like a bad one to me.  I can’t see how that would in any way be a benefit for the ecosystem around that area.  I can see how that would actually detract from the environment and how that would ruin the very thing the tourists are there to see.

I agree that something needs to be done to help the Navajo create jobs.  If this is the absolute only way to help them, then OK.  But I think a plan like this should be a last resort because of the inherent damage it will cause to the environment that they’re also trying to protect.  I just can not see how this plan will be beneficial in any way to the environment of the canyon.

Another issue that I find confusing in this matter–and this likely comes from my own misunderstanding of native practices and which areas are considered sacred to which tribe, so bear with me a bit–but to my understanding, the canyon is considered a sacred area to a number of different tribes.  So not only is it protected by the park service, but it’s also a sacred ancient site for Navajo and other tribes.  Shouldn’t that mean that the Navajo should protect the site rather than build on it?  The question arose while I read the article and I couldn’t find an answer while doing some research online on which tribes consider the canyon area sacred/protected ground.  But according to my understanding of native practices, shouldn’t they be protecting the canyon rather than enacting a plan that would detract from it?

My opinion is that the resort should not be built.  I hope the Navajo can find another way to attract jobs and revenue.  While I think this plan would in fact bring them what they’re looking for in the short run, I think in the long run it would backfire. The canyon would begin to lose its natural appeal because of the massive changes to its environment, and the tourists would eventually stop going to a place that has lost its special appeal, the things which make it alive and wonderful and beautiful.

Question of the Week: Pagan Community

Well, a lot has happened this weekend which has me questioning whether a “Pagan community” actually exists.  Can we claim that we are a community?  Does this community only exist online, or are there real-world communities as well?  I read a number of opinions recently that seem to be saying we can’t call ourselves a community, or that Pagans as a general whole are not a community at all.  These opinions seem to imply that the subsets of Paganism may have some kind of community–such as a Wiccan community, an Asatru community, a Druidic community, etc.–but that a general, umbrella-term Pagan community does not in fact exist.

What do you think?  Is there a Pagan community?  Is it only online or does it have a mirror in the real world as well?

As usual, post opinions and responses in the comments section. No flaming.

Anti-Wicca Sentiments in the Pagan Community?

What is with all the anti-Wicca sentiment lately?  Is this something that’s been around for a while and I’ve just not been aware of?  While browsing Tumblr and some forums recently, I’ve come across a bunch of anti-Wicca sentiment, with statements such as (only pasted mild quotes):

“If you are close to one of the Sabbats, then you will see a Wiccan complaining about how Christians stole the holiday from Wicca!”

“Stop saying all Pagans are Wiccans!  Wiccans keep getting it wrong!”

“Oh, also, stop freaking appropriating other cultures for your Pagan practices.”

Cultural appropriation is a topic (a very long, in depth topic) for another day, and it is an issue that needs to be addressed within Wicca and within the larger Pagan community as a whole.  But back to the main topic of this post, Wicca and annoyances about Wicca(ns).

People, please.  Let’s not make the same mistakes that other religions have made by turning on each other and creating divisiveness where there was once solidarity.  We need to remember that there are some people out there among us who are misinformed, who do not do their research, who have not been taught real history, and who will speak without thinking.  Understanding and patience are called for, not denigration or derision.  Some of them are merely misinformed–to play off a stereotype, remember back when you were a teen and thought you knew everything and pretty much trusted the first resource you came across.  And then you talked about it incessantly (OK, not all teens, but generally, most teens are like this at some point).

To speak more personally, while I identify more easily as simply “Pagan,” I am in fact Alexandrian Wiccan.  I came to this path with clear eyes and a sound mind–I knew what I was getting into, both in terms of Paganism in general and Wicca in particular.  That being said, I still find it more comfortable to identify as Pagan when speaking with other people.  It’s a term that is generally understood without getting into too many details–and most people don’t really want the details, to be honest.  They may want to confirm or ask about some of the sensationalized stories they’ve heard about Paganism, but they don’t really want to know the actual details per se.

I find it rather upsetting that people within the Pagan community are behaving this way, both on the side of condemning Wiccans for being Wiccan and on the side of those who aren’t doing their research and spreading misinformation (albeit unknowingly).  One of the biggest examples I saw repeatedly brought up was that of Wiccans who say that Wicca predates Christianity.  Well, anyone actually involved in Wicca should know the history of their spirituality and that Wicca as a religion was created in the 1900s based off of pre-Christian practices.  Wicca itself is not pre-Christian.  Paganism, as a general term for mostly earth-based, polytheistic spiritualities, is pre-Christian.  (And yes, I know that the definition of “Paganism” is debatable, but for clarity’s sake, we’re going with that one.)  And the little baby Pagans and baby Wiccans are being slammed for this, for believing a little too fervently in something they found online.

Rather than slamming each other, how about we encourage each other to learn?  Ask questions.  Point out factual errors and provide better sources.  If they’re interested in correcting their mistake, they’ll be grateful you helped.  If not, then you can slam them for spreading misinformation and so on and so forth.  But I believe most people are prepared to learn at least something more about the spirituality they profess to be a part of.

Reacting with hostility and anger is only going to breed more of the same.  Creating bad experiences for newbie Pagans, whether online or in person, does not do our community credit.  We have to remember that the Internet is only an extension of real life–the effects of communication online have real world consequences.  Hiding behind anonymity on the Internet in order to criticize and complain about other people not only hurts our community by spreading poison, but it makes you look bad, regardless of whether you are “anonymous” or not.

I understand that it can be frustrating for those who are not Wiccan to have the assumption that Pagan = Wiccan and vice versa, or that things that are Pagan are assumed to be specifically Wiccan.  There is a lot of misunderstanding out there, not only within our community but outside of it as well.  While it can be very frustrating, I think we also need to realize that not everyone is going to understand.  Not everyone is going to do their research, and not everyone is going to bother with fact-checking or delving any deeper into a subject than what they read on Wikipedia.  Part of our responsibility, then, is to educate.  If we want people to understand, then we must be willing to teach and to share.  We can’t hide in the broomcloset forever.  If we do, we must be willing to accept that stereotypes will persist, misunderstanding will persist, and a lot of misinformation will persist.  We must be willing to challenge the people who do spread false information, find out whether they are doing so intentionally or unintentionally, and find out if they are willing to listen and to learn.  If not, let them go on their merry way.  It’s their choice.

I think many Pagans forget that largely our collective spiritualities are based on the concept of choice, and having a choice in our lives.  We have the choice to sit and complain about these people–but we also have the choice to get out there and actively do something about the source of our complaints.  Complaining on the Internet accomplishes nothing except letting you blow off steam.  It does nothing positive for those who read your poison, it does little to help you, and it does nothing about the people who are the source of your complaint.  If you want to keep bitching about Pagans who don’t know what they’re talking about, then fine, go right ahead.  But you don’t solve anything by doing so.  You only make yourself angrier and the person on the other end who sparked your complaint either doesn’t read your words because you didn’t respond directly to them, or they do read your words and get offended and angry in turn.  It’s a vicious cycle that does absolutely nothing good.

Part of why I started this blog was to try to help others see that Pagans aren’t what they’re portrayed as being.  I have tried, to the best of my ability, to help spread truth and start discussion of real issues for Pagans and the broader community.  I think I’ve succeeded fairly well in the past three years, but I am one person.  There is only so much I can do.  I can only start the spark of discussion with my words.  The rest is up to the rest of you.

Happy Ostara

Happy spring equinox!  This year, the equinox officially occurs on March 20 at 5:14GMT.

For some ideas on how to celebrate the holiday, and for some of its history, have a look at my previous post, “Ostara, the Spring Equinox.”

Some other ideas I want to add to my previous list are to spring clean the house or room, and wear new clothes.  Now, the clothes don’t have to be brand spanking new–not all of us can afford it!  New clothes could mean something as simple as a shirt altered to look slightly different, or add a pin or accessory to it, or shorten a skirt.  The point is that they’re still different from what they were before.  Why new clothes?  Same reason that spring cleaning gets done around this time every year: bringing in the new, vibrant energy and clearing out the old, stuffy, stagnant energy from winter.

In honor of Ostara, I’ve collected some artwork from around the web that celebrates the holiday.  None of it belongs to me; all credit goes to the artists, and links to the original are included where possible.  Enjoy!

(c) Lucid Source