Year and a Day Journal #9: November 9th, 2015

Still knocking these out, one by one.

Today’s journal prompt: What would you consider your “code of ethics” for your path?

Well, as I have said before, I’m an avid Pinterester, and fairly early on I came across the (seemingly standard) 13 Goals of a Witch, which are

  1. Know yourself
  2. Know your Craft
  3. Learn and grow
  4. Apply knowledge with wisdom
  5. Achieve balance
  6. Keep your words in good order
  7. Keep your thoughts in good order
  8. Celebrate life
  9. Attune with the cycles of Earth
  10. Breathe and eat correctly
  11. Exercise the body
  12. Meditate
  13. Honor the Goddess and God

Now, these aren’t exactly a code of ethics in the traditional way; I mean, there are some ethics in here, like treating yourself well.  But on the whole, there are no rules–only goals.  If I wanted to look at a code of ethics, I suppose I could reach over to the Wiccan Rede, but I don’t really identify as Wiccan, so that would be a bit beyond what I subscribe to.

So, to be honest, I kind of just use the moral code of, well, myself.  Maybe that doesn’t suit some people (which is probably why we have organized religion), but even back when I was a staunch Catholic, part of me wondered why I didn’t just do what my heart said.  Part of me thought, “I know this is right, but God says it’s wrong.”  This strong sense of morality that I find within myself has been the basis for much of my religious searchings (and really, the rejection of religion).  This, as well as the inability to believe in God, has really shaped my path.

This is one of the reasons that I’m hesitant to say, “I’m a Wiccan,” because, for me, saying that I subscribe to Wicca would be like foregoing the two fundamental reasons for my giving up of Catholicism, just to join another religion (even if they are totally different).  While I can’t deny that Wicca is undoubtedly more fitting in my mind than Christianity, I also don’t want to look at the Rede and say, “Yes, these are rules that apply to me, just like the Ten Commandments.”  Similarly, I don’t want to look at the idea of the Goddess and God and say, “I believe in these deities the way that Christians believe in God and the Son of Man.”  Because, really, I can’t shy away from one idea of God and then turn to a different one, because the idea of a god in general was what I couldn’t get behind.  I can see that the universe might hold some great cosmic power that I don’t understand, but I don’t believe that there is a God out there who is in charge of it all.

Similarly, I believe that my own ethics provide a sufficient source of morality for my actions.  Now, perhaps I’ve been taught this by society, because my views tend to be on the liberal side, but man, if Republicans these days are getting their morals from the Bible, that is not the book that I want to follow (although I’ve read the Bible, probably far more than many Republicans–or my conservative friends–and I have to say that, on the whole, it’s not that much better or worse than any religious text).  I just wish that we could be decent human beings.  Why do we need religion to tell us right from wrong?  Of course, we can be pretty selfish, irrational, and emotional in life–nobody’s perfect–but I do kind of think karma is a factor (you know, the Rule of Three), and honestly, if you are awful to people, people will probably be awful to you.

One of my other friends also said I’m a “relativist,” meaning that I believe everything is relative to who you are and the society you were brought up in.  This friend is a fundamental Catholic who seriously posts some of the worst stuff on the Internet.  We’ve had hours-long conversations about life, religion, and pretty much every topic, but after knowing her about a year, I finally told her, “Do you know what is the hardest thing about being your friend?  I know that no matter what I say, you will never believe me.  You will always look at me and think you know more than I do.  It’s not a give and take.”  I’m still in that friendship, though I don’t know why.

Anyway, if she wants to call me a relativist, she can, but I believe that’s just the way things are.  You can never have one big “Truth” with a capital T, because different things are true for different people.  It’s the same way that one religion will not work for all–and, as it seems, will not work for me.

So I guess I’m trying to figure out what my ethics are, exactly, but so far my own internal code has not led me too far astray.  The 13 Goals of the Witch are kind of right in the sweet spot–they remind me of what I should be doing, without saying, “Do it or you’ll go to Hell.”  So maybe that’s why I want to be just a Witch, and not necessarily a Wiccan.  Part of me feels like I’ve had enough religion for a lifetime.






Year and a Day Journal #8: November 8th, 2015

I’ve fallen a bit behind, but this is a process, and this is more introspective work in writing than I’ve done in a long time.  PROGRESS.

Anyway, the prompt for today, I think, is not so easily answerable for me, but easily answered by many a Pagan that has come before me.  The prompt is as follows: How would you define magick?  Do you have a specific magickal practice?  (A type of shamanism like druidry?  Voodoo/Hoodoo?  Chaos magick?  Etc…)

I think in order to answer this, I’ll just briefly explain how I stumbled into magick and Witchcraft.  I was chilling out on Pinterest in my room in college when I somehow came across this video.  (For those of you who don’t want to click the link, it is a YouTube video by cutewitch772, “Sh*t People Say to: Pagans, Neopagans, Wiccans, Witches, Etc.”)  It actually wasn’t the first time that I had watched it, but this time I really watched it.  I had had Wicca on the mental radar since my first boyfriend had talked about his interest in it, but at the time I was in my very Catholic phase and I was entirely skeptical on the idea of magick.  I was basically that girl who was saying, “You know Harry Potter isn’t real, right?”  How could somebody light a green candle and money would just come to them?  Why would anybody think that would work?

But I watched the video again.  Here was an intelligent-looking person, not much older than me, clearly college-educated (judging by the dorm room), talking about magick, Witches, and doing it all with a pretty awesome sense of humor.  I went to her YouTube channel and started watching her other videos.  I went to Pinterest and started searching terms like “witchcraft” and “witch” and “wicca”.  Having been pissed off with Christianity for awhile, I realized that I was not as nervous to learn about this other stuff as I had been in the past.

When I came to cutewitch772‘s video called “What is Magick?” and subsequently her video called “Coincidences and Magic(k),” I realized that it was actually plausible for humans to truly believe in magick, and, what was more, it could actually be plausible for me to believe in magick–because what she was saying in those videos was kind of making sense.  Besides, I had never really felt empowered by being a Christian, and thinking about Witchcraft made me realize that I actually could have an impact on the world.

Of course, those were only the first few things that I saw related to magick (as one should always have more than one source, I have done lots of reading and blog-searching since then, of various authors), but I find that I still agree with the views on magick that cutewitch772 presents in her videos.  Magick is everywhere, in everything, and happening all the time, in ways that people might consider coincidence.  We can tap into that magick and it can have real results.  No, you’re not going to be able to bewitch a broomstick to fly (don’t we all wish though???), but some real things can happen when you apply your energy to an intention.

For now, none of my spells are more than a little thing here and a little thing there.  My biggest (and most successful) spell by far has been when I got pretty horribly sick only a couple weeks into being in this foreign country, and I decided to make a healing soup on the night of the full moon.  I made it with just all of the regular things–potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, all vegan things–and then added herbs, which I had set my intention into.  I stirred the pot in the deosil direction (clockwise, to bring energy in.  I think.) and I had my “magick” candle lit the whole time, and I lit the gas stove off that magick candle.  Honestly, I didn’t write anything down before I went into it, I just did what I felt was right as I went along.

I didn’t feel better the next day, but that night I finished the rest of the soup (maybe I had to finish it to complete the spell), and the day after that, at work, I felt like a new person.  I felt pretty confident that it had been my own work that had made me feel better.

When I told my roommate (who is atheist but has a psychic for a mother), he asked, “Are you sure it wasn’t just a coincidence, or a mental thing, or the passing of time?”

At the moment, I said, “Yeah, I guess, I don’t know.  Why would you ask me that; you know I’m already not sure!” but now, I feel like I would want to just turn to him and say, “Yeah, probably.  But isn’t that kind of what magick is?”


Thank you to cutewitch772 for all of her help and support!


A few years back, when I was in college, my friend showed me a video of Lindsey Stirling on YouTube.  It was her Elements video, and I freaked out, because I play the violin, and she was really badass.

Fast forward to this summer, when we got tickets to see her Music Box tour.  We were really far away from the stage, so we couldn’t see her or the band well, but we had seen enough of her music videos (and videos from her other channels) to know that there could only be three people on that stage–Lindsey, Drew (on drums), and Gavi (on keyboards).  The trio were pretty much like Harry, Ron, and Hermione–inseparable.

Now, traveling abroad has made it difficult to keep up with some types of news.  So I didn’t hear that Gavi, who, in Lindsey’s videos, is probably the funniest person known to mankind, was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, a type of cancer.  He also seemed a perfect complement to Lindsey, and everybody kinda shipped them.  But yesterday morning, I read a post from Lindsey that made my heart drop.  As I read it, I realized I was missing good chunks of the story, but the main idea was there–Jason “Gavi” Gaviati had died.

When I called to tell my mom, she had no idea why I was so upset.  To be honest, neither did I–though my period might be one contributing factor–but regardless, I felt pretty upset about it.  It was a little like when Robin Williams passed away.  Once you’ve seen someone in countless films and on television, you start to feel like you know them.  It’s like how you can develop a crush on celebrities, even though you’ve never met them before.  Well, I felt like I knew Lindsey and Gavi, and it was not only news of Gavi’s death that I received, but it was news of Gavi’s death via Lindsey herself.  You could read the devastation on the page.  Lindsey lost her best friend, and that’s not something you would wish on your worst enemy.

The thing is, Lindsey’s Mormon, and I don’t know what Gavi was, but I know they prayed before every concert.  I’m sure that they’re going to have a Christian funeral, and pray that Gavi’s soul is at rest in Heaven.  I get that.  That’s what I grew up with.

What I DON’T get is what I’M supposed to do.  For me, the concept of the afterlife is confusing, because, as for myself, during the dark days, I was like, “Yeah, I would rather not live forever?  Because that would be really annoying?  Like, I’m tired all the time now.  I’d be pretty happy with just lying in the ground and decomposing when all of this is over.”  And I’m probably still okay with that idea.  But what do you do when someone else–someone young and with so much life and hope and optimism–kicks it way before their time?  How do you justify that?  How do you cope with that?

And how do you pray when you don’t believe in the Christian God?  My opinion on prayer has long been, “Don’t pray.  DO,” because so many people hear about problems and say, “Ooooh, I’ll pray for you!” like it’s the most selfless thing they’ve ever done, and I hate it.  Don’t pray for me, give me a damn hug and then help me with my problems if you’re so inclined.  But some people ask for prayers, so should I pray for them?  Last night I did a mini-spell to send some peace to Lindsey, but is a spell the same as a prayer–I believe it does something (just as Christians believe that prayer works) but it’s just for me to feel better about doing nothing?  Am I a hypocrite?  And what can I do besides a spell?

At times like this, I wonder the original question that drove me crazy in college–What is it all for, and why am I fooling myself with religion?

It’s maybe a pretty heavy topic for a Monday, and for the death of a person I didn’t even know.  But I’ve seen a lot of death in the last few years, and I want to figure out how to deal with it.

Year and a Day Journal #7: November 7th, 2015

Well, my friend can’t find the Day #7 prompt for me, so….


And by that, I mean recycle the age-old question you see pop up every day on Pinterest.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

I’ll tell you in semi-completed list fashion.

  1. WRITE A NOVEL.  I would write a novel so hard.
  2. Become a yoga instructor so that I could encourage other people to slow down a little, and also make money by talking softly to a room of people lying on the ground for an hour.  2b: become a good yoga instructor and actually help people live better lives.
  3. Be so vegan that not another animal is ever harmed by my food choices.
  4. Get married–for keepsies.  None of this try-it-and-get-a-divorce stuff.  I love my boyfriend now, and I hope the great institution of marriage doesn’t mess that up in some way.
  5. Learn how to dance so that people actually like watching me and I actually feel good about it.
  6. Cook amazing, all-natural food all the time.
  7. Become a physically fit person and love my body.
  8. Figure out my religious situation–whether I want to follow a pagan-type path, whether I want to be atheist…I have no idea at the moment.
  9. Travel the world.  Seriously.  It freaks me out that when I die there might be places on this planet I have never experienced.
  10. Raise some amazing children and adopt a few, too.  (In the future, obviously.)

Well, of course this list is not complete, but maybe I’ll come back to it in the future.

NOW it’s getting late.


Year and a Day Journal #6: November 6th, 2015

Today’s prompt makes me want to crawl into a hole.

Based on all the history in which you have written, how would you define paganism? How do you define paganism according to your path?

Man, I don’t know.  That’s a crazy-hard question.

I’ve seen paganism defined in like, twenty different ways.  I’ve seen it defined as every religion that’s not monotheistic.  I’ve seen it defined as everything but the core three–Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  I’ve seen it defined as nature-based religion, or anything polytheistic, or…yeah, the list goes on.

It would be foolish of me to say that I have any idea what paganism really is.  There have been thousands of years of pagans before me, and their religion was sometimes literally all they had.  Me, I’m just a young woman sitting on a mattress in an apartment in a foreign country, ticking away on her laptop about my ideas on the world and hoping that somebody might read them soon.  Religion is like my luxury, something I still want to convince myself I can live without.

I think Neo-paganism might be a little bit easier to talk about….  It’s like paganism, but a modern revival, I suppose?  Okay, yeah, I have no idea what the heck I’m talking about.

I guess for me, paganism is what I’ve seen in the community, what I’ve noticed on some social media.  It’s people coming together to help each other live various religious paths but with the common umbrella of paganism.  It’s people loving nature and taking responsibility for their own actions.  It’s people believing in themselves and in the world around them.

Well, that came out pretty sappy.  But it’s still kind of true.  I haven’t had the opportunity to be to a lot of pagan events, well, like, ever, but I did go to a pagan-run brewery in my home state once.  It was such an accepting community, and even though I was nervous that my family would hate it, I brought them (they probably had no clue I was also interested in the ideology of the people).  They loved how open it was, actually (it gives me hope that someday I can have an honest conversation with my family about this aspect of my life).

So, okay, I don’t know exactly what paganism is.  But I’m trying to find out, piece by piece.



Year and a Day Journal #5: November 5th, 2015

I have some time, and it’s not quite dangerously late, so I think I’ll do prompt five.

Here it is: What are the names of your ancestors (by blood or spirit) who have helped guide you on your path? How have they helped?

Now, I get the question, but to be real, I don’t have any Witchy ancestors.  That’s not to say that I don’t have ancestors who are awesome and have definitely influenced my life, but I don’t know if that necessarily applies to this prompt.

That being said, I’m going to talk about my ancestors anyway.

Since I’m posting under a pseudonym, I really can’t do the full names of my relatives either.  I will say that my maternal grandmother’s name influenced my Witch name.  She was a German, Catholic woman, who grew up during some of the most defining moments in American history.  She was alive for almost the entire 20th century (born before women had the right to vote!) and lived to almost be 100.  She was truly a great lady, and a woman that I simultaneously associate with water and fire.  She had a temper but nobody cared about her grandchildren more than she did.  Looking back as we come to just over a year without her, I’ve realized that she taught me a lot about family and myself.  I remember one time when she came to visit.  She stayed for probably five days, and by the end I remember telling my brother that I was sick of having her around (I was pretty young).  She was quite hurt by my comment, and I realized that words spoken, even if there is some truth to them, can be poisonous.  After that, I tried to never take having her around for granted.

I also have my dad’s side of the family, which I know more about.  My grandma and grandpa were alive until recently also, and I did a lot of work to document their history.  I loved my grandparents dearly, and they were at the head of a family so close it sometimes seems like we’re all crazy.  We did camping trips all the time and they were very active for their age.  I loved my grandpa dearly, but nothing gutted me more than when my grandma unexpectedly died.  She was in the middle of crocheting an afghan for me as a college graduation present–something she did for all of my cousins.  When she died, she had only finished about enough to make a violently pink table runner.  Because she taught me to crochet, I’m hoping to finish it someday in her honor.  Maybe I will do it over several years, and I suppose that someday I could pass it on to my children.

Now, I don’t know much about my ancestors beyond my grandparents.  As you could probably tell by the fact that my grandma lived so long, our generations are spaced quite a bit farther apart than most families, so I never met anyone in my family older than my grandparents.  That being said, because I did so much research on my family with my dad’s side, I do know who they were and what they did.  Most of them, of course, were farmers, homesteaded in the Midwest when they immigrated from Norway.  Because of this, Norwegian heritage is a big part of my life.  I will always be proud of being Norwegian, and I’m definitely closer to that heritage than the German heritage I have.  But I love both.

I think my ancestors have helped me by getting me to where I am.  Everything I am, every part of who I am, comes from them.  Nothing would be the same if they hadn’t made the sacrifices they did, if they hadn’t been the people they were.  My relatives influenced my outlook on myself, on my hobbies, on my idea of family, and on my entire identity.  This path is not the path that they chose by any means, but just as everything is connected in some way, I couldn’t follow this path if it hadn’t been for my ancestors.



I hope that they are resting in peace.

Year and a Day Journal #4: November 4th, 2015

I’m slowly making my way through these journal prompts.  Even if I’m tremendously behind, I’m feeling pretty good about having done several written things this month, when sometimes I could go weeks without touching my blogs at all.

So the prompt for this day: What is the history of the craft of your region?

The prompt suggested, for example, if you live in the United States, you could talk about the Salem witch trials.

And, oh MAN could I talk about the Salem witch trials.  I love the Salem witch trials.  I mean, not the part where people died, of course, but as a historically fascinating time in our nation’s history, I’m crazy about this event.  It has spawned so much interest in the supernatural in this country, and even though several men and women had to give their lives, the trials have created an ongoing conversation, even over 300 years after their conclusion.  That is some pretty powerful history.  We probably don’t talk about Titanic as much as we talk about the Salem witch trials.

I’ve actually done some really interesting research (well, I think it’s interesting) into the trials based on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.  Now, I’ve heard that a lot of Witches have a sore spot for this play, and I can completely understand why.  The women are basically demonized, the cheating husband uplifted, and a strange, effed-up love story is added to smudge female sexuality.  It’s not great in that way.

However, like I said, this play has ensured that conversations are still being had about this event, and the crazy persecution that awaited them at the hands of the church.  Even if the conversation is not perfect, it will get people talking about some of the basic injustices of the event.  And even the most basic English teacher will know that the events of the trials are stretched a little for authorial creativity, and hopefully they’ll tell their students this so teenagers don’t go their whole lives thinking that Abigail Williams was really banging John Proctor (heads up, in real life she was something like eleven, and he was in his sixties).

My research (which was conducted for a term paper) was actually about Tituba, and it was inspired by the idea that Tituba might really have been a precursor to what we consider a Witch.  At the time that I wrote this paper, I was truly becoming fascinated with the idea of Witchcraft, and so I wanted to sneak that into the paper (it pretty much became my hypothesis).  I wish I could find the paper now, but after college things seem to kind of get lost on your computer hard drive, of course.

Anyway, the Salem witch trials were certainly an incredibly interesting part of American history, even if they were part of the horribly tragic persecution of witches across Europe and the Americas.  Thankfully, as an American, I’ve grown up hearing about this fascinating moment in our history and I have been able to help continue the conversation about witchcraft persecution in the United States.

Well, that’s all I’ve got on that one….



Year and a Day Journal #3: November 3rd, 2015

Two in one day!  Let’s go.

The prompt for the 3rd of November: Where does your path originate? What is its history? Is it based on ancient tradition or is it completely original to you?

I am obviously still in the stages of not knowing what in the heck I am doing, so I don’t know how well I can answer this question.  I guess I’ll just kind of describe what I’m looking into right now.  I like the path of the solitary Witch, like I’m some woman living in the forest, drying my herbs and casting small spells to keep my family safe.  This sort of thing appeals to me a more than being in a big coven.  That being said, I’m also a very social person, and I think that if I found a place in the Pagan community in my town, I’d be pretty happy to go to events or meet lots of people with similar ideas.  That being said, I think the path of the solitary Witch is just about as traditional and widespread as you can get.  Tons of cultures have the idea of the little old lady who lives alone in the woods.  She might be wise or she might be creepy and eat children, but she exists.

Because I’m interested in following the Wheel of the Year the way that many Neo-Pagans accept it (Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh/Lammas, and Mabon), my path has a lot of its foundations in Celtic traditions.  These festivals are often still celebrated in parts of Great Britain, despite them being ancient holidays.  The names are certainly derived from old Celtic festivals and words.  That being said, obviously I am also used to traditions that come from Italy (Roman Catholicism), as well as ideas from various other cultures, especially the culture in which I am living now (since I’m living and teaching abroad at the moment).  I have experience with Norwegian, Russian, and Mexican traditions, even if only in small amounts.  So, perhaps the best way to describe my potential path is that it is an original one, but the components are all based on various cultures that have their roots in ancient times.

I hope that as the year moves on, I will have some clearer idea of what I want to do.  Or maybe not.  I’m learning!


Year and a Day Journal #2: November 2nd, 2015

Okay, so I’m not really posting this on November 2nd.  Time gets away from me, as it does us all.  However, I’m going to try to catch up!

So the prompt for today is: Who are you and why are you on this path?

This is tricky.

I’m a 22-year-old cisgender straight white female with a Bachelor’s degree.  So, I’m pretty lucky.  The only way that society can doubt my privilege is because I’m a woman.  Other than that, everything has really fallen into my lap.

I’m a daughter, a sister, a friend, a girlfriend.  I’m part of the middle class.  I’m a teacher.  I’ve been a retail worker, a library worker, a cafeteria worker, a fast food worker, and a camp counselor.  I’m not super political, but I usually vote on the liberal side.  I try to be tolerant of all people’s experiences, as long as they’re not hurting others.  I identify/identified as Roman Catholic (as you all know, my religion is really up in the air right now).  Technically I am a confirmed member of the Catholic Church, even if my beliefs are on the fence.

I would say that my feet have wandered toward this path for a variety of reasons.  It seems welcoming, like a great community that accepts anyone as a member.  It’s tolerant (even celebratory) of same-sex relationships/marriage (and the LGBTQ community in general), other religions, and of many different mindsets.  I can appreciate a community that doesn’t judge a book by its cover.

Additionally, I got tired of the Christian idea that every victory we achieve in life must be given up to God.  I can accept that the universe helps me, and that I am only where I am because of some cosmic chance, but when I graduated from high school and my parents wanted me to go to the Baccalaureate celebration, where we had to give all the glory to God for being where we were, that just didn’t sit right with me.  It seemed like I put way too much personal effort and sacrifice into being where I was to say, “Oh yeah, none of that was really me.”  What I like about the path of Witchcraft is that Witches take quite a lot into their own hands, and they consider themselves responsible for their own morals and their own actions.  That’s refreshing in a world that blames others or gives all glory to a higher power.  Of course, I know Witches tend to have a spiritual connection with nature and the universe, and there may be offerings involved and/or some gratitude shown the universe, but this seems different than saying, “Well, none of it was me.”

The first videos I watched on YouTube about this path were put out by a woman not much older than I am, and her ideas really inspired me to keep researching this path.  I’ve purchased some books and read quite a bit, studied some practices like Tarot, and gotten the opportunity to meditate on this path.  I’m definitely excited to keep doing research as time goes on.


Year and a Day Journal #1: November 1st, 2015

My friend is a member of a Pagan group on social media, and another member thought it would be a good idea to start a “club” of sorts about starting on a path.  I’m not in the club, but my friend has been giving me the prompts so that I can write about them, which is super helpful.  It seems to be pretty common for a Witch to do research for a year and a day before she really starts to call herself one, and so this club is useful because the member will be posting prompts and you can either respond on the prompt with your ideas or use the prompts for your own journals.  Well, guess which one I’m doing?

I think it will be useful in not only helping me think about this potential path every day, but also help me to write more in general.  So here goes!

#1: What are your goals for this upcoming year?

I think I shall brainstorm a list.

  1. I want to figure out who I am and who I want to be.  I have some vague ideas now, but I really want to solidify this search for spirituality if possible.  I’ve spent too long in a mini oblivion, where I don’t know what I want and I don’t know what I believe.  I think it will help if I make a list of my specific beliefs and see which paths can accommodate those, instead of shaping my beliefs to a path.
  2. I want become healthier, physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.  My physical health sometimes takes a backseat, but that affects all the other areas of my life as well.  It’s important to remember how each of those aspects of life affects the others and to not let one fall behind.
  3. I want to take some risks, but only if the benefits exceed the costs.
  4. I want to figure out what kind of professional I am, and what kind of amateur I am.
  5. I want to do things I’ve never done before and share in the cultural exchange I am experiencing in my foreign country.

To be honest, this is probably only a partial list, but I think that it’s a good start.  This Samhain I think I did a good job of kicking off the year in a positive way (except the physical health thing…that one needs some work), and I’m excited to see where the rest of the year takes me.