Imbolc

One of my favorite writers on Witchcraft is probably Ellen Dugan.  Granted, I haven’t read a huge variety of authors on this topic, but with those that I have read so far, Ellen has a great sense of humor and her writing style really mimics my own, so I can relate to everything she says.  She also seems very down-to-earth, which I love.

I have her book Seasons of Witchery on my Kindle, and so every time another sabbat comes around, I read about it in this book.  The first thing that caught my attention about her Imbolc chapter is that it is a time to really focus on personal powers and intuitive gifts.  It makes me wish that I could have had another extra ounces of space in my backpack so I could have brought my Tarot cards to this country.  My deck was the main divination tool that I was working with in the months leading up to my departure, and I wanted to bring them badly.  However, the set was quite heavy, and my mom started rooting around in my backpack, wondering “What the heck is in here?” and so I decided that I had to leave them behind in my table dedicated to Witchcraft.  That table is simultaneously really important and terrifyingly unguarded, and unfortunately I left my room in shambles when I had to leave, so there is a pretty good chance that my mom will open one of those drawers and see some crazy books and stuff.  Ideally not.  But perhaps it would lead to conversation.

Eh, still.  Ideally not.

Anyway, despite reading up on Ellen Dugan’s interpretation of Imbolc (and yes, I know it’s just one interpretation), I’m still not feeling too informed about it.  I know it’s a sabbat of light and preparation for spring, marked by the goddess Brigid of the hearth and home, by red and white candles symbolizing fire and snow, and by Lammas corn dollies all dressed up in bridal attire, but I’m not entirely sure still what exactly it all means, you know?  I understand that it’s important that spring is coming, and I know that weather divination had its importance in the past also, but Imbolc doesn’t seem to have the vital themes that the other main sabbats do.  Like, Samhain is all about the spirit world becoming close to the living world, and Beltane is about fertility and the beginning of the warmest months, and Lammas is about the harvest.  But Imbolc, what are you? 

Additionally, there is no real parallel celebration in popular culture right now.  Samhain has Halloween, which essentially kept most of the traditions of Samhain, and Yule has Christmas, which, again, kept much of the Pagan symbolism and tradition, and Ostara is Easter and even Beltane’s got May Day and the maypole and whatnot.  But Imbolc has become…what?  Groundhog’s Day?  Valentine’s Day?  A combination of both?

I guess what I’m going to use this sabbat for is, of course, celebrating the proximity of springtime, and lighting candles and everything.  I’ll probably try to eat some festive foods, and I would even like to do some Imbolc cleaning.  I have never really worked with the concept of Brigid, so I have never grown an attachment to her, but the traditions including her seem pretty cool, so I might leave an offering or some cloth to bless.  (I want to reiterate quickly that I do not actually believe in Pagan deities, but I do enjoy honoring traditions associated with them and celebrating them as conceptualized understandings of different aspects of the Universe.)  Even though this is a major sabbat, I think my Yule ritual was a lot more close to my heart, so I’ll also use this time to evaluate my progress on my Yule goals (spoiler: they haven’t exactly been that great).  Thankfully, the weather right now is a little milder than usual, so I’m enjoying the extra motivation coming from this and using it to get off my butt and actually do some of the things I’ve been wanting to do–basically, yoga and exercise.

I definitely accept that this Imbolc is not going to be groundbreaking for me, but this marks about a year since I really started looking into Witchcraft.  I don’t count that time as starting my “year and a day” of study that most Witches strive to endure before describing themselves as a Witch, but I think it doesn’t matter if that time is included or not.  For me, a year and a day is not really enough to get to the bottom of my own philosophy or to decide what the best path is for me.  I think this journey is going to take me a long time, but it’s not hurting anybody, and I’m willing to go the extra mile to find something that makes me happy.

 

Blessed Imbolc, everyone.

)O(

 

 

 

 

Being Good to the Environment, ft. LUSH Cosmetics

As I’ve said numerous times, I’m currently in a foreign country.  This particular country is actually generally much cheaper than the United States.  For example, you can buy a train ticket for an overnight journey for what would be the equivalent of $15.  Your trip to the grocery store for enough food for the week might only cost you $10-$12 (if you buy frugally and cleverly).  Of course, the wages match this level, so depending on your job, you might only make $500 a month as a professional, and your rent might be half of that.

Thankfully, my rent is covered by the company I work for, since they specialize in hiring international people (they need native English speakers).  So all of my money is take-home pay.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate well into dollars for when I go home, but I’ve been trying to save up a decent amount that I’ll transfer.  In the meantime, though, I haven’t been stressing too much about the money I’ve been spending.  I try to spend smartly, but sometimes I just go for it when the whim strikes.

The one thing I’ve spent a substantial amount of money on so far in this country (maybe $100 worth?) is LUSH.  LUSH is a cosmetics company that is now found in dozens of countries around the world.  In this country alone, there are almost 60 locations, and many of them are in my region, since I live near one of the bigger cities.  I found the store that’s on one of the big streets in town, and since then, whenever I have to go into town, I stop by.  I do this for several reasons–1) I couldn’t bring many cosmetics into this country, so I had to buy some here, 2) LUSH is much cheaper in this country than it is in America, and 3) I really like what LUSH stands for, and I think their values coincide with my own.  Plus, I’m just probably addicted to the smell of the place.

Now, while I’ve been in this country, my environmental impact has not been what I would like it to be.  As I’ve said before, recycling is not widespread here, and it is nearly impossible to find a place to recycle.  It’s very common to throw out plastic, glass, cans, and paper in the same trash bag, into the same dumpster.  Likewise, there’s no place to compost.  Even more, water is often wasted here–it’s pretty common to leave the water running while washing dishes, brushing teeth, etc. (my roommate is guilty of this, and he’s from England), and sometimes even not shutting the water off properly after bathing, resulting in a lot of water going down the drain.  Now, this water is not exactly potable from the get-go (it must be boiled before you can drink it), but that doesn’t mean it should be wasted.  Thankfully my parents instilled in me the habits of turning off the water while doing mundane tasks, and while my showers sometimes run long, I’m working on that too.

So, what I mean to say is that I’m trying to lessen my environmental impact wherever I can.  This means that if my cosmetics are environmentally friendly, use sustainable harvesting practices, come without packaging, and have mostly natural ingredients…like, sign me up.  I’m so glad to have found LUSH while being here, even though it is still far more expensive than I would like.

The truth is, though, that just buying LUSH products is not enough.  I love what they’re doing, and I think that being trendy is helping them really break into the mainstream cosmetics industry, but I hate seeing so many people on YouTube and other social media just buying LUSH because it’s trendy.  Like, sure, they buy LUSH, and they love getting LUSH products, but they don’t actually have the mentality that LUSH does–or maybe they say they do, but they only say it for the video.  They’ll be like, “I don’t condone animal testing!” and “There’s no packaging, so it’s totally eco-friendly!” but then in the next shot they’re gushing over their mainstream products, which come in plastic bottles and non-recyclable containers, or use harmful chemicals or test on animals.

I realize this.  I realize that enjoying LUSH products is a step in the right direction, but more than that, I’ve realized that it is doable, and necessary, to find and use products that are good for the environment and don’t harm other living things.  And even more than THAT, I’ve realized that my choices as a consumer are a major way in which I can support the practices that are healthy for nature.  So, even though LUSH is very expensive, I want to keep coming back to their company.  I believe in companies like LUSH, and how they’re changing the industry.  I hope their mentality spreads to other industries.

And of course I’m not being paid by LUSH or anybody to say any of this stuff.  But I would definitely recommend them, if not because they’re an awesome company with great values, then because the store smells fabulous.

 

)O(

Blessed be!

 

If I Went to Hogwarts

I’m sure that many Pagans out there, especially those that identify as Witches, have had people who said to them, “You know Harry Potter isn’t real, right?”  There are probably a lot of Witches out there who kind of wish that Harry and the gang didn’t exist, because now whenever they mention their identity, people are thinking of the pop culture phenomenon and not of the spirituality and the history behind that word.  They think of Bellatrix Lestrange or Hermione (my personal favorite) and they don’t really understand what’s going on in your head.

That being said, I’m not one of those people who is upset about the Harry Potter franchise, because I’m in the broom closet.  And, to be honest, I think that Harry Potter has done a lot more good than harm in this world.  Because of Harry Potter, the term “witch” isn’t just reserved for the creepy old women in Disney films who try to poison the beautiful main characters.  Witches can be powerful, smart, and kick-ass.  Most importantly, Witches are, well, people.  Hermione is a completely well-rounded character.  Being a witch is not the biggest part of her identity.  She is a human, who is also a witch.

Additionally, the Harry Potter series got kids (like me) to love reading and writing, and it’s never a bad thing to have a more-educated populace.  I will always be a HUGE Harry Potter fan, no matter what people say about it or how much people suggest that it has caused damage to the Pagan community.

Anyway, the reason I’m bring up HP is because the other day, on the Internet, I realized that YOU CAN TAKE ONLINE HARRY POTTER CLASSES, as if Hogwarts was really a school, but you could go online.  You actually get graded, do essays and stuff, and really study and do lessons.  Seriously, that’s pretty freaking awesome.  As soon as I did a little more research into it to make sure it was legit and completely free, I signed up.

Unfortunately, I made a couple of huge mistakes when I signed up.  One of them is that for a very brief moment, I imagined that maybe taking these Hogwarts classes would benefit my studies in Paganism.  I’m working toward educating myself on Witchcraft and everything (as you can tell by this blog), and I kind of thought, “Well, obviously not everything is going to be accurate, but what if there is actually some good info on here?”

Secondly, I signed up using my Witch name, because I didn’t want to use my real name.  The reason these mistakes are problems is because I really shouldn’t have associated this fantasy world of Harry, which is something that really took my whole imagination growing up, with my potential spirituality and religion.  By connecting these two things, which are very different, I’m basically guilty of what everyone thinks Witches are, which is believing fantasy to be real.  The moment I “enrolled” in my Herbology class and looked at the “syllabus” and first lesson, I immediately recognized how foolish it was to think, even for a moment, that “studying” at “Hogwarts” was going to help me in my spiritual studies.  The reality is that these two things are not connected, no matter how deep down I’ve always wanted to be a witch (with a lowercase “w”).

The truth is, since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to be Hermione, or some witch from the Harry Potter universe.  That’s just how my life was, because that book series completely changed me.  Coming forward all these years and staring down the face of a new spiritual path, and I have repeatedly had to face the question, “Now, do I want to be a Witch?  Or do I want to be a witch?”  Being introspective is a part of this path, I know, but…damn, that question sucks.  What if all of this is just an illusion I’ve created for myself?  What if I’m not looking for religion–what if I’m looking for fantasy?

Time and time again, I’ve had to ask myself this question, and sometimes I’m too frustrated or tired to answer it.  But sometimes I really do think about it, and, once in awhile, I do make myself feel better.

Because, really, when I look at what Pagans are doing out in the world, when I talk to my Pagan friends, or when I watch the Pagan Perspective channel on YouTube, I see some people that really hold beliefs I want to understand.  I’ve already tried to understand the Christian God, and Jesus Christ, and in the end it just didn’t make sense to me like I wanted it to.  Paganism can be baffling and mysterious, of course, but the fact that you don’t have to adhere to one doctrine is pretty refreshing, and the fact that it’s self-empowering is also pretty nice.  And really, when I look back at messages I’ve sent to my friends, or when I think about how I feel when I’m in a forest alone, I know there is something there besides wishing I could make stuff levitate.  There is a real search for meaning in the Universe, and there are real fundamental beliefs that back this path.

I know that doubt is a natural stage of any process, but sometimes it’s hard.  I just have to pick myself back up and remind myself why this Path spoke to me in the first place.  And it wasn’t because of Hermione (although I still think that would be a freaking awesome name for my kid one day).

So I’ll probably take a look at that Herbology class, but instead of going at it like I’m Chloe the Witch, I just have to pretend that I’m some witch, and lose myself in the fandom of it, and know, that really, it’s just a fantasy.

And Chloe might be real life.

)O(

 

 

Bonus: My first Herbology homework assignment.  Actually some interesting questions here that I should ask myself on a daily basis.

 

Quick Answers: Who are you? What is your name? What is your gift? Everyone has a gift; some people are writers, potioneers, some people are excellent at charms, and others are gifted at drawing. (Plants are the same way, aren’t they). Please spend some time thinking about how unique you are, and how you contribute to the environment around you.

What does Herbology mean to you? Include what your expectations for this course are, your current perception of magical plants, and of non-magical plants. Are there any plants you already are knowledgeable in, and are there any plants which you are excited to learn about. Do you have any plants in your home? Why did you decide to take Herbology?

Yule Blessings

Today is my first Yule!  I know that sounds strange, because really, I’m twenty-two years old, but at least this is the first Yule I’ve had where I celebrated the Solstice, and not just Christmas (having been raised Catholic).

Of course, I’m still going to celebrate Christmas.  One cannot go twenty some years celebrating a certain holiday and building up traditions and then decide “eh, not anymore” and go with something completely new.  Some Pagans might argue that Yule is close enough to Christmas to just kind of switch them out and keep lots of the same traditions, but for me, there really is something in honoring Christmas, and saying, “Yeah, this was the day that Jesus of Nazareth was born, and he was a pretty cool guy.”  Plus, I am deeply in love with most Christmas music, and honestly, I’d really just be mincing words if I said that I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas anymore, because by celebrating Yule, I’m celebrating everything about Christmas, just not the word “Christmas,” per se.  So I might as well just call it like it is, and celebrate Yule, and celebrate Christmas.  I mean, who ever said no to two holidays?

Even more interestingly, in the country that I’m working in right now, they actually celebrate New Years like Christmas (it’s a bigger holiday), and “Christmas” (again, just mincing words in my opinion, but it’s cool) is celebrated in January.  So I get to celebrate Yule, then Western Christmas (Dec. 25th), then New Years (as New Years and as a big, Christmas-type event), then Eastern Christmas (which is basically just a religious day).  So FOUR HOLIDAYS FOR ME.  Of course, I’m not taking them all off work, but I get about a week or so coming up with no work, so I’m satisfied.

Anyway, I really wanted to do something special to celebrate the Solstice.  I’ve been slowly working my way up to bigger and bigger celebrations of each of the Sabbats, because I’ve become a little more confident in what I’m doing.  For Litha last year, I made some sun water and worked outside.  For Lammas, my family had a picnic and a campfire (remember, I’m in the broom closet, so there was nothing special about the fire for them, but I was pretty stoked).  For Mabon, my roommate and I made pizza and got our first paycheck (which is awesome because Mabon is for prosperity), and I got treats for everyone at work.  For Samhain, I got a little more gutsy and I actually decorated my apartment a bit, and then on November 1st I had a silent dinner to honor my grandpa, my grandma, my other grandma, my neighbor, and my dog–all of whom had died in the past two years.

So for Yule, I wanted to get pretty geared up and have a nice ritual.  So, despite not getting much sleep, I knew that I wanted to get up early and celebrate the moment of the Solstice, which was, for me, at about 7:48 am on December 22nd.  So, even though it’s really early for me to get up before 11:00 am (I work very late at night), I planned my ritual last night, got some stuff together for it, and got up at 7:20 this morning to get it all together.

I recorded a lot of what I was planning to do in my journal and used it kind of like a Book of Shadows, in the absence of an actual BoS.  For my ritual, I started by cleansing my room with water and salt, and then cleansing the closed balcony where I was going to have my ritual.  Then I decorated the altar with some pine boughs (very small ones) that I cut last night (no other option, unfortunately…the streets around here are kept notoriously clean of any natural debris, so I couldn’t find anything already on the ground), and got all my candles situated.  I made sure everything was on the balcony, then I cast my circle (which I’m not very good at, but hopefully I’ll continue to get better at that).  Then I sat down on the floor in front of my altar and started.  It was a little strange to sit on the floor of a balcony, because you can do like, no grounding there, but I think the ritual was very fiery and ethereal, so maybe grounding wasn’t entirely necessary.

So I’ll confess that I took a lot of the ritual from About.com and its spirituality section, but there are some pretty awesome rituals on there (who knew?).  Of course, I tweaked the ending a bit and put my own spin on everything.  The key idea was starting in complete darkness and contemplating what the meaning of the Solstice was for our ancestors, who knew that they were going to go months without being able to get more food and adored the Sun as the bringer of life.  Then one candle is lit on the altar, and some words are spoken about the meaning of the Solstice.  The second candle is lit, and the winter goddess is invoked.  Then the rest of the candles (and there can be many, and even electric holiday lights) are lit, and the reborn god is invoked.  It was such an amazing thing to go from sitting in complete darkness, squinting to read my journal notes, to having the balcony be flooded by candlelight, which was shining out of the windows to all of the town and the few people on the street below heading to work.

Once all the candles are lit, an offering of incense is given (the recommendation was frankincense, myrrh, or cinnamon on a charcoal disk, but mine was frankincense and pine in one of those water-based oil heaters).  Additionally, you can offer food, so I offered dried buckwheat and a cup of hot wassail.  One thing that’s tricky for me is that I don’t really know what to do with food offerings.  I guess that if I were outside, I would just leave them for animals or nature to eventually absorb.  But I can’t just leave them on my altar inside and let them get old.  So I drank the wassail, because I figure that having that energy go into me and then out into the world is a better way to offer it, and the buckwheat will maybe sit there for a few days, and then I’ll toss it out the window to the Earth (I could toss the wassail, but I’m three floors up and you never know if somebody’s going to be sticking their head out the window below).

Once the offerings are given, you can pinch out the candles and finish the ritual, but first I contemplated all the new things I want to bring to fruition in my life for the rebirth of the light.  I wrote them in my journal next to my ritual notes, and they filled a page.  I would love to check in at Imbolc and see how things are going.

Then I gave an additional offering of music.  I wore red/silver/green jingle bell earrings, so that the sound of the bells could be an offering, and then I sang a song that is near and dear to me, As the Dark Awaits the Dawn.  Not only have I sung this before in choir, but we sang an arrangement by one of my favorite people in the world (my choir director).  It also can be for Christmas (my choir director is Christian), but the words are very universal and have more about light than about religion.  So I sat on the floor of my balcony and sang this song.

As the dark awaits the dawn, so we await your light.

O Star of promise, scatter night, loving bright, loving bright,

Til shades of fear are gone.

 

As the blue expectant hour before the silvering skies,

We long to see your day arise, whole and wise, whole and wise,

O lucent Morning Star.

 

As the moon reflects the sun until the night’s decrease,

May we your healing light release, living peace, living peace,

Until your holy dawn.

 

Shine your future on this place, enlighten every guest,

That through us stream your holiness, bright and blest, bright and blest;

Come dawn, O Sun of Grace.

 

And the ending really is “Sun,” not “Son,” so really, this was a great song to sing for the Solstice, and I imagine I’ll sing it again and again every year.

The sun actually still is yet to rise.  Around here it doesn’t come up until 10:00 am in the dead of winter (and likewise, we have white nights in the summer), so I still have a half-hour, but now we are in the “blue expectant hour,” so the sky is lightening.  As the end of my ritual (it’s still kind of ongoing), I’m going to make a buckwheat breakfast.  I don’t think buckwheat is really traditional for the Solstice, but I’m working with the few resources I have.

So anyway, that’s most of what I did for my Yule ritual, but I fully expect to keep honoring the Yuletide season for the next couple of weeks, until the Eastern Christmas is over, definitely.  I kicked it off with a great ritual and filling up our Christmas stockings for my roommate and me.  He’s going home to his own country for Christmas, so I will be alone for the next week at least.  It’s okay though, because I made the stockings part of my Yule ritual, rather than for Christmas.

Anyway, I have to go and make the buckwheat to finish before the sun rises, so then I can greet the dawn.

Blessed Yule to everyone.  I am sending out love to you, wherever you are in the world.

)O(

By the way, if this blog post was kind of strangely written, keep in mind that I’m writing this way before I usually get up in the morning.

Killing the Planet

This is not one of the Year and a Day Journals, though it actually has something to do with entry #12, which I should be writing.  Entry #12 is about the earth, but in order to write it, I’m supposed to go somewhere where earth is, like, abundant.  Which, I guess I could say that earth is everywhere, but I think I’m supposed to go find a forest.  So…I suppose I have to go find a forest.  But not at this time of night.

Moreover, finding a forest seems really hard these days.  I mean, I’m probably exaggerating a bit, because I’m actually located in a fairly wooded suburban area, with lots of trees integrated into the layout of the town, and not far from here, there is a meadowy area with some space and a few trees, and I mean, generally when people think of the country that I’m located in, they think lots of space and nature.  So I guess that it’s not so hard to find a forest.  But in some ways, it is.  We’re cutting down trees, we’re messing with our planet, possibly irreversibly.

Even worse, sometimes it can be really, really hard to prevent destruction, even from your own actions.  For example, the town I live in does not offer recycling.  Yes, you heard me right–there is no recycling service in this town.  I don’t even think there is a major recycling service in this country.  The only time I’ve heard of recycling is one day per month, in a two-hour window that is nearly impossible to achieve and even harder to do without a car or some motorized vehicle in which to lug your recyclables.  So everything–everything–goes into the trash.

What is a Witch to do?

I try to be good to the environment, I really do.  I try to use glass bottles when I can, and I really try to limit the amount of plastic I use on a daily basis.  Sometimes, though, it’s unavoidable.  How can I live with killing the earth that gives us life?  What can I do to feel like I’m not a detriment to this gorgeous planet, when I live in a country that doesn’t seem to have programs to help it?

This time, I’ve got nothing, really.  I can just keep doing the little things they teach you to do to help conserve resources, like turning off the water when I’m brushing your teeth (my roommate doesn’t, and he is the first human being I’ve met who just lets the water run for ages, and even walks away from it while it’s just running into the drain).  I can keep my glass jars as tealight holders and I can use reusable cups instead of disposable ones at the work water fountain, and I can limit the amount of gas I use on the stove, but…is it enough?

I love the earth, obviously.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be interested in a nature-based path.  But how can I reconcile that as a human being, I’m the worst thing that has ever happened to the planet?

Just thinking out loud (er…in type…)

That’s all I got.

Blessed be!

)O(

Death?

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.