Sunday, December 26
I know I keep saying I want all you to let me know you are out there. Well, If I expect something from you, I should expect something from myself as well. In light of this, I expect to start making a blog post every week. Expect to hear from me at least every Sunday. Feel free to go off on me if I don't make it in by midnight Sunday.
So for today's post, I want to address the issue of witch schools online. After listening to a podcast from the Dark Side of Fey, I found myself wanting to address it here. While I enjoy the podcast, the episode on witch schools raised a lot of issues for me. Fey said a lot of things about why witch schools were unethical and have no value whatsoever. While she is entitled to her own beliefs, I cannot help but address why I think she is wrong. There are a lot of witch schools out there online. While I do not have personal experience with them, I have no reason to write them off because of that lack of experience. First, I will address the issue of the subject matter in the courses. If the course covers nothing more than something that can be found in a book, not only is this failing to provide valuable information to the community, it also borders on plagiarism. The same goes with websites, if nothing of use is added to the community, then there is no motivation for its existence. If the courses teach their students to interpret information or examine it in a manner not done before, then it has a reason to exist. Next, there is the issue of money. Many say that if a course charges, it is unethical because traditional witchcraft was taught free of charge. I would like to point out that not all communities have the type of elders that is needed for decent education. Within my local community, unless you join a coven, the only classes that can be found are horribly expensive for a class that only lasts a few hours. The idea of quality classes, even online, for a reasonable price, is wonderful especially when someone is not out of the broom closet and might not be able to freely search for a teacher within the community. While traditionally, it is right to offer teaching services free of charge, we live in a world where covering personal charges for a class may cost quite a lot. A basic charge could be useful, especially in making sure that the people involved are looking for something out of their class, rather than just having information fed to them. In short, if a class is made with the best intentions and does not charge for the course in order to make a profit (costs are designed to cover charges), then there should be no problem. Online classes provide an important service for those who cannot get a quality education in their community.
As always, let me know what you think of today's topic. Any future topics you have are welcome and I will try to address as many as possible.
Friday, December 17
I am taking some time now to finally write out for myself what it is I believe. Hopefully I will have the time to go into detail as to where I got ideas from or why I believe in the way I do. Because of this, I am starting to see the importance of reevaluating those things we believe in. There is nothing more important than knowing why we believe in the way we do. There is so much more to life then blindly believing something just because it was told to them. I grew up in an atmosphere where belief is fed to the next generation and we are expected to believe every bit of that information that was passed on. Question the Bible even when personal interpretation does not correspond with what you have been fed, and people will automatically jump on you for being wrong. When we learn to question that blind faith, sometimes we forget that questioning belief means we must question everything. All aspects of belief must be understood on a personal level, rather than just because we have been taught to believe it. Main point here – question everything. If there is a belief you haven’t looked at in awhile, maybe it is time.
Saturday, November 13
So, today I have begun to formulate a theory that there aren't only 5 elements, but ten. And more so, there is a heirarchy to the extent that one element can mix and combine with any element below it but cannot on its own doing contain any of the elements above. I will have to add a diagram later, but here is the basic idea in logical order, not in the order the elements actually exist in. First off we have our four basic elements that make up the earth. Air makes up the atmosphere of the planet. It mixes with Water that resides mainly on the surface of the earth. Then we have Earth itself that forms our crust. The earth melds with Fire to form the mantle. Now, the next part gets a little trickier. We say the core or the earth is solid. However, I suggest this cannot be just another layer of earth. There has to be something we don't yet understand. That lack of understanding leads the core to be percieved as solid because there is a boundry we cannot yet cross because we cannot understand its contents. Now, going back out from earth, we see that earth moves within a concept of Time. There is an individualized concept of time for each planet based on its rotation around its orbit thus time cannot be an overarching constant. It is the idea that time itself manifests in each planet that makes it an element. Next, we see that the earth and every other mass has a relative position in Space. The material that occupies that space cannot define space because the space is a relative location and thus an element unto itself. Only after we see these constructs of the universe can we delve into the idea of Deity. There is a greater power that sets everything in motion and maintains it. We have no way of understanding this element, other than to say it is our ultimate authority. However, I suggest there is something greater. Once we wrap our minds around our concept of deity, we continue to seek knowledge beyond that authority that we seem to grasp the concept on. Because of this, the ultimate element becomes Thought which transcends all else. Now, you might be thinking, "wait a minute Franchesca, that's only 9!" And you would be right. There is one more element that makes up our very existance. This is the element of Life. Life is what runs through every being, including plants and sometimes even objects which we normally perceive to be lifeless. Life has to transcend earthly understanding however or the concepts of spirits remaining on the earth after death would not be possible. Therefore on our hiearchy, life has to exist someplace outside of earth. Since time comes next, we have to look at life in terms of time. All life has an eventual beginning and end where it comes into and leaves any sort of existance, therefore life is above the elements of that make up earth, but below the constraints of time. So, in order, we have the unknown, fire, earth, water, air, life, time, space, deity, and thought.
Wednesday, November 3
Elements - the forces that make up the universe (fire, water, air, earth, deity)
Deity - the 'One' (combination of masculine and feminine) power that rules, creates, maintains, and changes all of existance
Goddess - feminine portion of the One
God- masculine portion of the One
A goddess - some aspect of the Goddess
A god - some aspect of the God
Magick - the attempt to change circumstances and influeence in the universe, which reflects upon reality
Magic - a change in appearances within reality
Monday, November 1
The ability to listen to ideas contrary to your own without judgement. Wheter the idea is appealing to you or not, it is our place to listen and support others, even when we think what they are saying is complete shit. If you believe you fly on fairy wings, more power to you. All I know for sure is I am stuck on the ground. I can try and find out how you fly, or reject your idea as silly, but either way I listened, considered its possibility, and did not belittle you for ideas that do not correspond with mine.
So, samhain didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, but somehow it all worked out. The clay I was using for my alter pieces didn't feel like cooperating, so I did not get to make anything. A few minutes into the ritual I was persuaded by divine influance to have only a short ritual so that I could pay attention to school work instead. I followed directions and felt wonderful about it. So, not onlt did I get my homework done, I got to bed at a sort of reasonable time.
Now I want to speak about juggling responsibility with religion like I had to do yesterday. Mundane life does not mean it is less important. When your life is too busy for a full ritual, that's okay. The gods understand, they are busy too. Light a candle or incence with purpose if you can, a short apology, and take care of business. The important thing to remember is balance I your life and the mundane is just as important as the sacred because it allows for life to continue. So don't stress or think that the mundane gets in the way. All aspects of your life should coexist, not create strife and stress. Time for the divine is great, but don't make it something you have to do, and don't let the stress keep you down!
Well, my samhain ritual didn't exactly go as predicted. The clay I was using didn't want to cooperate, so none of my tools got made. I had no trick or treaters, which I found a little sad, and I had to cut my ritual short.
Thankfully, it was not my own will that cut the ritual short, but the divine. I had homework to
Thursday, October 28
Alright time for a real entry! Well, at least a short one.
Samhain is coming up and I thought I would throw out my ideas for alter set up. On holidays, even if I don't have time for a full on ritual, I take some time to reset my alter. I change the seasons appropriatly or change out a few things depending on time of the year. So, I got to thinking, if Samhain is the beginning of the year, why not use it for the new things you have been wanting on your alter?
Personally, I will use this holiday to make some small coin like objects out of clay where I can put some cheap and easy symbols on my alter that others might not find so useful. Also, I have had a wand waiting to be made. I didn't realize it was waiting for the perfect piece of wood, which I found a few weeks ago, so what better way to start a new year than with new tools!
I always try to add a small pumpkin and some gourds to my halloween alter. My cloth will be spider webs. Maybe if I feel like it I will put up a novelty tombstone or two. Point is, be creative with your alter! Let the holiday speak to you. Don't let your. Alter get barren or loose its energy from neglect in your busy life when a small reboot a few times a year does the trick. Light some incence and candles in you can, and have a blessed Samhain!
Monday, October 25
I am starting a meetup group in my area and will have to see how that turns out.
Samhain is coming up! Look for a special Samhain post soon!
PLEASE let me know what you want me to talk about, or else it's just a shot in the dark!
I will try to start doing mini-updates from my phone when I am bored. Let me know what you think!
Sunday, August 8
Wednesday, July 28
Saturday, July 17
been stuck at home for a few months now and while I have been able to
pursue my ideas much more deeply without constant use of the computer,
it has made me pick my battles as to what I actually do online, and
sadly this fell by the wayside. Fear not however, I have learned a lot
this summer and have bigs plans for this blog in the future. I will be
moving on July 20th, so there may not be any posts until a few days
after that, but when I start back up for real, I want to outline
ritual and what I have come to think of it as welll as outline what I
have learned about the Tarot and divination in general from my free
time. Thanks for sticking with me and hope I get some comments for
ideas of things to explore!
Thursday, June 3
for the summer and with my parents driving me batty of course I am
pouring myself into researching religion. If anyone knows and good
pagan/witchy sites or anything relating to any sort of mythology, the
help would be appriciated. I haven't done much, but will try to keep
In other topics, my parents are always mad and I am afraid of the
negativity this is bringing into my life. I try to cleanse it (duel
action candles, white candles, and incense on my alter) but since I
can't do much as far as ritual here, I would like some tips.
Meditations, whatever internal magic, just something I can do easily
since even incense can only be done when my parents aren't in the
house. I will post what I find personally, but anything would be
Wednesday, April 7
So, on to my post that hopefully will make up for my wasted time.
The other day, I was meditation on a ring that I bought not too long ago at a local RenFest. I saw it and immediately had to have it, despite the fact that the fit was a little off, I had no idea where it would fit among the many other rings I wear, and I had no idea why it was appealing to me. The ring has a simple silver spider. I have always been attracted to spiders and only recently decided it must have a religious context for me, although I was unsure of it's true importance. I always connected the spider with the web of life but never took the time to fully explore it.
When I meditate, I tend to focus on the tree of life to take me to a place that reveals what I need to know. An opening will appear and I will follow it to where I need to be. I focused on the spider and wanting to know it's importance. My journey thorough the tree was much shorter than it had ever been before. I found myself in the center of the tree, high above the field I normally end up in. A spider web forms my footing. I talk with the spider who resides there. She told me that I can call her Arachne, since this is the name most comfortable to me, and told me of how she serves much the same purpose as the fates, whom I have always been attracted to. She led me to the web of life and told me of it's magical strengths and that it could be very important to me in time. First, I must complete a project so that I may fully understand the importance of the weaving of life. She told me to make a loom out of a picture frame and from that, weave a long scarf or shawl, however you want to see it. When I have finished, I will understand. She sent me away and I went to talk with my spirit guide (a beautiful sea otter that never talks for long) and I came from my meditation intent on this new project that had been sent to me for a purpose.
So, I got a frame and made a loom. Everything went fine until I started weaving. I am two lines in and let me tell you it is a lot harder than it looks. I know now that the difficulty of the task at hand is why it was given to me. I don't know if I will ever be able to finish it, but I must do my best to try. It is not my place to know everything about the spiritual realm, but I hope that I can somehow finish this project and enrich my understanding of the great Arachne.
Wednesday, January 20
So, you have probably noticed that I write here under a magical name. My name is Franchesca Aurora Moonshadow. No, this is not my given name, and will never be my legal name in any facility. In my own mind, I have been known as Franchesca since early High School, but in reality there has only been one person that has ever called me that outside of the pagan community online that knows me by this name. I feel confident however that if my friends were to hear me called by this name it wouldn't come as much of a surprise and those that know I use it in this capacity completely agree with the name I have chosen. Before I go into the origins of my name itself, I will explain why I use a name that is not my mundane name because I know this can be a source of tension.
I am going to be referencing a lot of podcasts in this post by the way...
MeadowMoon from the A Pagan in the Threshold podcast says it all in the name of her podcast and I love the way she presents the idea of a middle ground for being 'out of the closet' or not. I am a Pagan in the threshold of the proverbial broom closet. My good friends know of my choice, and the Pagan community I interact with know of my religion. There are a few people at my school that know I am Pagan, but most of them have no concept of what that means. I am a religion major after all so they shrug it off as something to do with my choice in field. To the majority of people though, it is not well known. I have no problem with most people knowing and will openly wear a pentacle when I feel like wearing jewelry. In my daily life, I don't try to hide what I am. However, there is the issue of family that must be attended to. My family is all very Christian and beyond closed minded. While I find that I want more than anything to be open with them, I know I cannot. The slightest deviation from the norm frightens them. It is enough of a problem to them that I walk around wearing Converse...but because of my chosen field for my job, I constantly hear them in not so obvious threats asking if I have been tainted by my studies. One time I came home with a statue of Ganesha that my best friend gave me for Christmas and my parents almost flipped, despite the fact I have carried Ganesha on my keychain for years (which was also a present from the same friend). Every time they see that symbol even, they flip out screaming about how it is anti-Christian. It's a good thing they didn't see the Siva statue that was in the same bag I received for Christmas. In short, my family would basically disown me if they knew the truth and as much as it pains me, there is no way for me to tell them without loosing what little relationship I have with my rather insane family. I would have no problem using my magical name in daily life as I think it accuratly portrays who I am, but the fact that the truth could get to my family by association with others makes me keep a bit of a lid on my social circles and will lead me to use my magical name in all Pagan situations. I have no problem with people face-to-face knowing my real name, but in cyber-space, it is best to go by the name that in many ways I feel a much deeper connection to anyway.
Now how I got my name. When I was debating the creation my name, I hear name podcasts most notibly from Brook the iPod Witch and Drake over at Get Out Of the Broomcloset. They both went over the numerological approach to a magical name. It was very informative and I used it on part of the formation of my name, but it was in no way my main decision maker. My name is in three part, mainly because I see this as the aspects of my persona. Both of my main names came from characters that I wrote about in High School. Franchesca was a pirate character that lived a life I only wished I could (fantasy life...I still consider myself a pirate however odd that may sound...don't worry my associations get odder.) It wasn't long before I started using that name for everything and anything. Characters are representations of their authors after all so her name became mine. A few years later I worked on a rather complicated story about a vampire named Aurora. Yes, I consider myself a vampire as well. A psychic vampire mind you, and probably not in any traditional sense of that term, but my boyfriend helped me discover fully that part of me and I am very grateful to him for being open to my more eclectic side. In any course, my vampire changed names and I stole her name as well because that is another side of me that is not in the realm of ordinary life. I took my more eclectic parts of my personality, described them with these names, and decided that there was still a part of me not defined. It didn't show the side of me that is very connected with my religion and would be completely lost without the passion that comes from it. I have always connected to the moon. I spoke to her all the time when I was little, long before I had any concept of what she was. I knew the moon was a part of many names, but before that I was known as Franchesca Raven (the full name of my pirate) and after realizing how wide spread that name was (again, was chosen long before I knew anything of Paganism) I decided that the name Raven no longer went with my life. At first, I was having a dilemma of whether I wanted to be a Moonshadow or a Moonfire. I have always believed I connected most with fire. That was proved wrong later and I will talk more about my association with the elements at some other time, but in any case it is a good thing I decided Moonfire was not for me. When I went to my best friend asking which fit me better, he definitively said I should choose Moonshadow and I have not looked back.
Well, now you see how I chose my name and why I use it. Today I got in a ring that I had my name engraved in. That's part of what sparked this whole discussion. For years now I have been wearing a class ring that has my given name in it and soon will be receiving my college ring that will also contain my given name. While that is who I am, I have never felt a connection with that name. Because I have a name that I chose myself to accurately represent who I am, I felt it was important that I had a piece that to me would be of equal importance to those other rings because even though it didn't cost as much, it more accurately shows who I am. Not the scholar or poor college student, but as a growing person with a very deep connection to my life.
Monday, January 11
Today I noticed that it gets very cold all of a sudden when I happen to be inside for more than a few moments, whether the sun is out in all his glory or not. All my life I always put this up to weird weather. Well, today my mind decided to integrate the mythology of the Sun God and it all made since. The God is supposedly dead this time of year (that's why he appears less often than the moon - longer nights). Now, if I am getting my mythology wrong here I would love for someone to tell me since I have only learned this stuff be reading about it, but I can only conclude that it makes since that the temperature fluctuates in the winter because the God is not around to bring us his warmth. On the same key, I have to bring in the story of Persephone. The land becomes winter when she is taken away from her mother to join her husband, Hades. Persephone in this case is not around to bring the warmth to the land and it has nothing to do with the sun God which in this case would be Apollo. Now as if this wasn't enough of the circular thinking for one post, there is also the fact that I have heard floating around that the powers of the universe are not necessarily feminine and masculine it just happens to be how the world relates to it (thanks to Drake from the Get Out of the Broom Closet podcast for giving me something to think about). So if this is true, could that same symbolism of the Sun God not be applied to Persephone who also dwells in the land of the dead until spring? Seems like much the same story to me...except of course with the Sun God he is reunited with his love when he is born.
Well....this leads me to another question. If the land is in mourning without Persephone, then it would seem that Persephone herself is in mourning. This part doesn't make sense to me. She is with her husband during this time. I know he kidnapped her, but wouldn't she eventually come to love him as a husband rather than just spending her time alone with her mother as being the only joy she has? I can't help but see the romantic side of this and maybe its cause I am a writer, I don't know, but in any case, let me know what you think. I would love to see some discussion on this.
And now for my rant. This has nothing to do in any way with Paganism and is part of why I have a disclaimer on this page. If you don't care about reading about the more personal parts or don't wanna hear me bitch, then stop reading now.
So, last semester I set out to do a project in my Educational Psychology class about Giftedness or Gifted and Talented as being a type of disability. My teacher said that the idea had it's implications but couldn't help me in any way other than that. Well this semester I am taking a course in education called Survey of Exceptionalities and on the syllabus it plainly states that Gifted and Talented is part of a Special Education curriculum. It is a program dedicated on meeting the needs of a specific group of students that even has a pullout program. Now, my problem with all of this is not the fact that GT is considered a disability because in many ways I have considered it as such for a while now, but the fact that schools cover this up. There is no one that is going to tell you that GT is a bad thing, but if a student is not in it that should be, it is very possible that they will not learn on the level that they should and thus loose out on quite a bit of education that they could have had. On the same token, if someone is labeled as in Special Education, it is for some reason labeled as a bad thing. Point being: aren't they doing the exact same thing? We are taking students and giving them what they need to learn. SpEd kids have special needs. Guess what, so do GT kids. The only difference is the kind of service given. So why is it that people like my Ed.Pysch. professor just wave off the fact that GT is just another kind of disability? It gets even more recognition than any of the others in schooling and yet it is denied that it is a problem. Who the hell has the authority to say kids with one kind of learning problem are better than anyone else with a learning problem. I know in my school growing up, it was an honor to be in GT, while the kids that were in Sp.Ed. were quite often treated like shit, most prominatly by the students in GT who had their own issues. Why the hell can't everyone be seen as equally 'special' in their own way and get rid of these damn labels?! Yes, I grew up GT. Yes, I realize that what I am saying means I am not any better than anyone else just because I am smart. Well you know, knowledge isn't always the most important thing and all of my life I have been singled out for being a geek, even among my peers in GT. Not everyone was part of the pullout. I was. Does this mean I was a little more GT then some. Yes. That also means my disability was worse than that of my classmates that made up the popular click (which btw, the females in the popular crowd were almost always GT. Males weren't. Most certainly wasn't the pullout GT kids though that were supposed to be something special.) Long story short, I understand the differences in the needs of learning and no one way of treating a problem is better than any other. People are people. Teach our kids and respect them. Quit trying to tell me that 'genius' isn't a problem. You may not see it, but when's the last time you saw the smart kids not singled out by their peers? Smart is a social problem in a society where we are supposed to be intelligent....figure that one out....let me know if you can find a reasonable explanation cause I certainly can't.
Right. Rant over. I know this will probably be my longest post but I don't care it needed to be said. Happy New Year all and may it be blessed.
Blessed be. To all.