Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Vow of Prosperity

I've seen complaints rolling around the internet lately: How come, as Witches, we aren't all rich, healthy, famous, thin and gorgeous?

The short answer: These things are temporary states in a multiverse which is always in flux.

The longer answer? Because there are challenges and temptations each of us must deal with. Because we are part of the world and not everyone else in it makes decisions with that in mind.

I was recently thinking about my husband's aunt, the nun, and our last trip to see her. She, and all of her fellow nuns, have made a vow of poverty. They depend entirely on the church to provide for their needs. The facility where she lives is nicer than what most people have. I've been told and read different reasons for this vow: Jesus had no money so the point is to be like him; Money and property decisions distract from spiritual life, so let the church make the money decisions. (So much for the spiritual life of the decision maker, huh?).
As I've said in previous blogs, I admire, and relate to, her commitment to her deity/deities and to her vows.

So why not make a vow of Prosperity? Of Health? A vow, moreso than a petition or spell, is about taking matters into your own hands. It's being active rather than passive. Yes, candle magic is passive. You put together the ingredients, you "charge" it with your "energy" but really what you're doing is making an offering and hoping it is accepted. A vow to accomplish something in the name of your Patrons is a much more involved matter. It is on you to arrange the details to make it happen. Yes, you can still work your work to nudge the universe in your direction, but if I vow to make curtains for my mother's window as a gift, I'm not going to ask her to buy the material and take the measurements for me. 

"Prayer indeed is good, but while calling on the Gods a man should himself lend a hand."

- Hippocrates

What did our Ancestors do? They didn't have the same challenges we face today. There wasn't the same emphasis on fame and beauty and wealth. Sure, these things are nice (maybe except for the fame part lol), but it was more basic: You honor your Gods and Ancestors and the Land and the Sea and Sky. The work done was practical: Glamour to improve your looks/find a good mate, health for the family, a good harvest, protection from the elements, and so on.

Are there vows you have made in haste? Are there vows you have kept/are keeping? Are there vows you would like to get out of? There are ways to do that as well, but that is for another time. Is there a vow you plan to make? Something you have been contemplating?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Last week there was a kerfuffle about Witches from Salem, including Lori Bruno and Lorelei, who cast a circle and did a spell to help the New England Patriots to win against the Broncos. You can find the article here at the Boston Herald site. An excerpt from the top of the article:

Lorelei and fellow Salem sorceress Lori Bruno will conjure up some pigskin hocus pocus at noon today — which BTW, is Friday the 13th — to neutralize the Sports Illustrated cover curse for Brady and send some Pats-ical magic to Foxboro.

“I’m going to raise the energy of the universe and send out all the good mojo,” said Lorelei (nee Lori Stathopoulos). “Lori will call in the Angels.”

Sadly, the ladies won’t put any hexes on the God-fearin’ Broncos QB at today’s Circle — because that’s not their way...

A friend of mine sent me the link to the article with the question:

"Do you really think things like this advance* us?" *(as in gain acceptance)

My answer:

Absolutely, and without a doubt, Yes.

So many people take their spirituality too seriously, including Pagans and Witches. ZOMG- how can u use ur powrz to influence the outcome of a mere game?!!!*#&#!#!

When the new Yankee Stadium was built someone buried a Red Sox jersey in the cement to curse the place. When it was discovered, one of the Witches from Long Island came out to the stadium and cleansed and blessed it. The newspapers ate it up! The sports segments loved it. It was welcomed and appreciated by Yankee fans. Sports fans can be a tiny bit superstitious! They will take "luck" as they get it. Those of us who nudge probability in our chosen direction... well, this is our meeting point with the muggles, especially those who are into sports.

This was an opportunity for area Witches, who happen to be Patriots fans, to connect with the greater community in a positive way. They didn't hex the other team, they did positive work for their own team and specifically for the quarterback.  Notice the quote from the article which pointed out that they weren't putting a curse on Tebow? And that it was seen as SAD that they weren't?

Would the team have won on their own? Likely. Did the spell work? When was the last time you saw a QB throw SIX touchdown passes in a single game? The record for most td passes in a single game is seven, and it's only been done a few times, with the last instance in 1969. Interesting- we're under similar planetary influences right now. I wonder if someone has developed Football astrology! I digress!

This was a great, lighthearted way to reach out to the other locals. I think Pagans need to get over this idea that there is a big, high wall between the sacred and the profane. Doing things the hard way, or without joy, doesn't earn you extra holy points, it just makes you boring and bitter. When did the Stoics take over the craft?

Will this make bible thumpers turn around and embrace the next Witch they meet? Maybe, maybe not. But this at least reinforces the idea that we are all human, and all on this planet together, and we might even have something in common.

My question to all of you: What are you doing to advance* us?

Saturday, January 14, 2012


So sorry I missed the Friday the 13th triskedecaphobia marathon which was yesterday! I saw an article go by which noted that there are 3 Friday the 13ths this year, each being 13 weeks apart! Interesting! However! This is not a superstition in Italy.

I had intended to blog on Wednesday, but was busy hosting the first Temple of Diana podcast! We're in the process of prepping it for itunes and will let you know when it's available!

I miss the Loyal Horde! When a topic arises, I'll write about it here, instead of saving it for a weekly post!

For your amusement, here's a link from Italian Notebook detailing the way some Italians predict the weather for the year with an onion and salt!
Onions and salt to predict the weather in the New Year? Over our years on the land, I’ve learned how farm women can take off il malocchio, how St. Anthony’s image in a stall will keep the animals healthy, how a cross made of woven reeds can protect the crops in the field and that you never shake out a tablecloth nor throw out the crumbs swept off the floor after the Ave Maria (ie, after 6 pm) – and now I’ve learned how to predict the coming year’s weather with onions and salt.

I love this opening paragraph. I don't know this person, but while reading it I was nodding the whole time! Paisan!

Saint Anthony is a patron saint of animals even though Saint Francis is the one who is most often associated with them. The animals in Saint Anthony's lore include a Wolf, a Crow and Lions. Meditate on that for a while once you've read about which Pagan deities he is sync'd with. Makes sense!

The woven cross is a crossroad symbol, like the crossed keys and one of protection.

Never shake out a tablecloth- why? You're throwing away your food supply, prosperity, etc. Crumbs should be swept off the table! The throwing of crumbs after 6 pm? No idea where this comes from. It sounds like common sense, you don't want animals at your door foraging for crumbs. I'd love to know more about this one!

Until next time, Loyal Horde!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dea Strenia

This Goddess is viewed as the pre-christian origin of La Befana. Strenia was a Sabine Goddess of strength and endurance. She had a temple on the Via Sacra and was honored at the start of the new year. Emperors would receive gifts at Her temple and the monies collected were used for the upkeep and expansion of the public temples of the Roman state.

From the book Vestiges of Ancient Manners and Customs, Discoverable in Modern Italy and Sicily by Rev. John J. Blunt (John Murray, 1823):
"This Befana appears to be heir at law of a certain heathen goddess called Strenia, who presided over the new-year's gifts, 'Strenae,' from which, indeed, she derived her name. Her presents were of the same description as those of the Befana—figs, dates, and honey. Moreover her solemnities were vigorously opposed by the early Christians on account of their noisy, riotous, and licentious character."
From the book Domestic Life in Palestine, by Mary E. Rogers (Poe & Hitchcock, 1865)::
"An 'Essay on the Fine Arts,' by E. L. Tarbuck, led me to believe that this custom is a relic of pagan worship, and that the word "Bastrina" refers to the offerings which used to be made to the goddess Strenia. We could hardly expect that the pagans who embraced Christianity could altogether abandon their former creeds and customs. Macaulay says, "Christianity conquered paganism, but paganism infected Christianity; the rites of the Pantheon passed into her 'worship, and the subtilties of the Academy into her creed.' Many pagan customs were adopted by the new Church. T. Hope, in his 'Essay on Architecture,' says: 'The Saturnalia were continued in the Carnival, and the festival with offerings to the goddess Strenia was continued in that of the New Year…'"

From The Roman Forum: a topographical study:
"The Roman antiquaries inform us that the term Sacred Way is applicable to a road leading from the Sacellum (chapel) of the Goddess Strenia, in or near the Carinae, to the Capitoline citadel..."
Christmas and epiphany gifts in Italy are still called strenae .  

Here we have a Sabine Goddess (remember il rapimento delle sabine?) who is honored at the start of the year with gifts of sweets and boughs from Her sacred grove and with money. It's not a leap to surmise Her worship was continued as La Befana, or as the personification of La Epifania. 

This Friday I'll be exchanging strenae with Family, making a donation of money in Her name, donating shoes and coats, and sharing the vegan struffles I'm making for the occasion!

Monday, January 2, 2012


I subscribe to many communities, and "like" many groups on facebook and belong to many yahoogroups and on-line communities. In addition to my varied interests, I like to know what the folks in the magical community are talking about, what they're up to, and I like to see where various traditions meet/overlap and where they differ.

This past week there was a kerfuffle because a blog author has made claims about channeling and other things tho "untrained." They're apparently getting a lot of hate mail because of it.


There is no need to hate on others. If you don't believe their claims, follow the age old wisdom: If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. If you think someone needs help, share your concern in a kind way and move on.

Here's another great article by Ariana. It wasn't written about this specifically, but it should be read and several quotes are apropos:
As a Strega I respect all faiths for to stick my nose up at one I do the same to my own, to point a finger at another I point that same finger back at me.

The Gods As Above do what is necessary and they give us information and knowledge, they give us hard times to see who and what we are made of, are we worthy to be their Priestesses and Priests this is our test.
What she said.

I don't know why this whole thing bothers me so much; I don't know the people involved, I've just seen blogs and emails and commentaries and the bs that's been going on. I think it's the bile from the community which is so upsetting. Why can't we all just get along? People need to take their baggage and agendas and stuff it. It's a new year! Stop dishing out the same old shit!

That, of course, is not directed at the Loyal Horde. All of you? Hearts as light as a feather ;)

Oops, I forgot to stop blogging daily...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rollin with the Resolutions

I hope everyone had fun ringing in the new year and was able to take advantage of the worldwide rolling spell!

While my year of blogging is technically complete, it's hard to stop when you're on a roll. I don't know when I'm going to take a pause, but it won't be tonight! This is just a quickie to break the seal on 2012.

I want to keep my momentum going and just shift the focus from on-line to terra space. This year will see more gatherings, more study groups, more workshops, and more getting out there in other mediums. There are several irons in the fire and I can't wait to share them!

I've been pondering a new resolution for this year. I still intend to blog at least weekly, likely on Wednesday, Mercoledì in Italian. The rest will be revealed as the month progresses!

On the first of the year I like to do a tarot reading for the year ahead. I've seen so many variations on this theme over the years. Some layouts use all of the cards, some use 5, and all manner of variation in between.

I like doing a 14 card spread:

One card: Overall theme for the New YearOne card for each month

I've seen variations where you either add 4 more cards, one for the theme of each season, or 8 cards, one for each turn of the wheel.

I also fancy a tarot spread which is 6 cards:

Last year's theme, this year's theme, this year's goals, this year's finances, this year's health, You can also add Pros and cons: one card represents a boon for the year and one a pitfall to avoid.

I am a fan of creating your own spread, and as I wrote about last year (bizarre!), interviewing Patrons and Ancestors.

However you do your readings, or even if you do a reading, I wish for all my readers the best in the New Year!