In Tune

I feel like it’s been so long since I blogged the last time, but it really hasn’t. I hope you guys missed me, ha! 🙂

So, really quick life update, everything so far has been the same, except a lot of different opportunities have come my way this year, but with those opportunities bring a larger duty.
Along with my day job in wireless, I’ve started work with Voodoo Queen Management and Voodoo Queen Digital Magazine, which has been a blast so far. It’s all hard work, but I enjoy doing it. If you didn’t know already, I really love music, and I love going to concerts. That’s just part of the job. The biggest part is doing promotions and connecting with other people, which I also enjoy. I particularly enjoy doing this because since I’ve picked up the guitar again, I’ve decided that being involved in music is something that I feel more comfortable doing than programming. I thought to myself that I have way too much personality to be a programmer. While the career is fun, it doesn’t work my brain the way I want it to, especially if all I’m doing with my hands is typing. At some point, I have to do both. Writing fulfills that need, and since I’ve done a few reviews for VQDM, I’m like “yay, I get to do what I love”. It’s nice getting to see how much work goes between getting a band together, and getting them up onto the stage. I feel there isn’t much of a chance to really “slow down”, always pushing, promoting, and creating new ideas is always exciting. The rest of the staff works incredibly hard, and we motivate each other, which I am super happy for. Major shout out to Yvonne and Kathey and the rest of the crew for being so awesome and welcoming me onto their team. ❤

On top of that I’m now co-owner of The Naked Parrot. While I’m working on the website, I’m creating merch to sell and pretty much helping get the business back on its feet after Dana had her near fatal accident. I’m very happy to be part of this business again, because I’ve helped out a bit before with booth vending and such, I’m always having a good time, and even better now I get to work with my hands more. I’ll be focusing on this for most of the day.

The reason I titled this “In Tune” was relating to my musical interests. I feel like things are falling into place and I have so many friends out there willing to help me and my musical adventure with my fiancee on bass.We’re both beginners having fun with this, but we’ll be putting together a band. I feel like this is where I need to be. For the first time In my life, I can say I truly feel content. Money is always an issue, but overall, I feel content with what I’m doing in life.

I play guitar. I picked it up again after I did once in high school, back then I simply wasn’t “getting it”. This time was different and I sought my own guitar and amp, one that was just perfect for me (not one in a kit like last time), and started practicing again. This time was much better than before and I finally feel it picking up. I learned all my basic chords and now I’me learning the scales. I slowly feel myself growing more fluid with how I’m playing, and I’m getting tips from great people I admire who have been guitarists for a long time. It’s very heartwarming hearing your favorite musicians give you valuable advice, it honestly is. It tends to ring in your head. If you’re out there reading this, thank you.

Music is the universal language that describes how we feel.

And that is incredibly relevant. Music in all its forms have existed for millenia, the musical tools have grown and evolved into greater things. I’ve incorporated my spiritual practice into this.

First you learn the rules, and then you break them.

The guitar, and all stringed instruments correspond with the element of fire, for several reasons. We can open our mind to the concept of fire and what brings with it. Fire can be fed, you can add more fuel to it, or it can be snuffed out. Fire, when touched, can burn– or it can warm your home, or burn it down when left unattended. Fire is a symbol of passion- we can think of the late musician Prince, and so many other talented musicians we have lost and what they brought to the music industry. These people have changed the game of what we hear and see every day. Fire changed the game of humankind. Fire gave us life, nourished us, helped us travel, and in a spiritual sense, seek the things that are greater than us.  Fire is the element to bring us together, in either curiosity, or fear. Fire is probably the greatest element of creation and destruction, which should be handled firmly, but diligently, with skilled hands to help you if needed.

You can use your instrument of choice as your spiritual tool, to carry energy as far as the ear can hear, and even heard by those beyond. Music can be felt more than it can be seen, which makes it one of the most powerful tools you can use. 🙂

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Keeping stones with my tarot cards

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I do this especially with decks of tarot or oracle cards I carry with me. I charge the stone(s) on the full moons and keep them in the bag or wrap with my deck. In a way it works like a battery- to keep them spiritually clean and charged, and helps me make a better connection in my readings as well. 🙂

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The “mother” is not in my version of Paganism

It’s not, at least according to the traditional version of “maiden, mother, crone” as in being a mother and giving birth, etc.

After having talks with some other childfree friends of mine, we’ve noticed that there is an overabundance of focus on the “mother” aspect of Paganism, especially since most of it relates to Wicca. It’s not necessarily because some of us may be repulsed by motherhood and completely reject the idea, or that any little bit is too much, but Paganism doesn’t have much of a focus on the non-mother aspect of Paganism, in the very least the non-traditional version of the nurturing feminine body. I ask myself, what are we really doing honoring the Goddess in her many forms, if we’re just going to reduce her down to her “primary” function- that is, giving birth?

I feel this also comes along with sweeping the more “scary” versions of the Goddess under the rug (see “Dark Goddesses”). The Mother facet (or aspect) of the Goddess is something most people can relate to, because we’ve either had a great mother we aspire to be like, or seek some kind of nurturing figure to fill a space we haven’t had for some time where the mother in our lives was absent. Others aspire to be mothers, so all of this makes sense. But where are we nurturing the “maiden”? Why are we avoiding frivolity and calling it naivete? Why are we still hung up on that cultural fear of getting old, saving up for botox injections instead of welcoming the smile creases and crows feet and still be regarded as beautiful? Why do we stop at cronehood with the air of “I’ve learned all there is for me to learn, so now I have it all figured out, you should too”?

Most of it chalks up to personality, even though I know some amazing elders I hope to be like when I am older, I still find many other crones to be jaded and judgmental and putting down younger Pagans for making mistakes because “they don’t know better”. Yes there is a lot of information out there, at the same time, we should really be doing better bringing forward “accurate” information, and then watching the younger Pagans develop and enrich their own practices. I genuinely feel that this is what we should be nurturing.

Back to going over the “mother” fixation, we can look at basic things and see that there is little to support the decision NOT to be a mother. Infertility rituals are “black magic” (as a matter of fact, you really cant find them because most regard infertility as a grave sin and not even to be wished on your greatest enemy), the earth is synonymous with “womb”, the Venus of Willendorf is still very iconic of womanhood and feminism, and considering how many feminists there are in modern Paganism, you would think there would be a balance on fertility rites, right?

Childfreedom is still an aspect many people are trying to accept and bring to the forefront as an acceptable alternative to parenting. My own group has a childfree focus- less about the mother, and more about the other faces of the goddess, and reflecting upon our youth and ourselves as we age and coming to terms that sometimes we have to bite the bullet and make difficult decisions for ourselves and our environment. Personally I’m more interested in looking into the Crone and Destroyer aspect of the Goddess (again, see “Dark Goddesses”), and that women of all kinds (yes transwomen are women) can tap into that primal instinct of protecting their own and themselves without being referred to as “mama bear” mode or “raging pregnant hormones”.

It’s slowly starting to creep up on society that motherhood is not a mandatory life stage, but just an option, and I think this honestly scares people. Society gets hostile towards the idea that some women aren’t making that life changing step that seems to be the norm for most people, and they assume that childfree women just cant make the decision for themselves. This seems to be normal in modern Paganism, and still looked down upon, as if the decision to be childfree was somehow irrational, or evil, as if all of us are sitting around dreaming of raising our own “little witches”. This couldn’t be any further from the truth.

(By the way, I’m still working on that infertility spell for my fellow childfree Pagans. Why? Because why not!)

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Turning a memory into something magical

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I couldn’t wait blog about this one, but now is the perfect time!
So there’s this thing some of us go through, called “post-concert depression”, after you go to a concert so good, the feelings just linger and you miss it so much, and you want it to happen again and again, but it’s like one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences.
Well that’s what this year’s Farm Rock Chicago was like, the lineup was amazing and my fiance and I particularly went to go see (and hopefully meet) Tom Keifer- which we did meet him and it was amazing. We were on cloud nine during the whole thing, I couldn’t ask for a better experience and such an amazing chance to meet such down to earth people. I left my windows partially cracked open (it was a hot September day), and I found dust all over the outside and covering the dashboard of my car from people driving up and down the dirt road behind us. I couldn’t even get mad about it, instead I was like “oh my god I can do something with this!”

So, I did.

Its like literally putting a memory in a bottle, and it’ll be great during the winter, especially if I’m feeling the winter “blues” (haha pun). I grabbed one of the empty bottles I had lying around and labeled it. (Remember I mentioned about how things shouldn’t be expensive?  A whole travel pack plastic bottle set for a dollar, and a pair of rubber bulb droppers for the same price. Bam.)

So if I’m making a witchy bottle, what stuff should I add to it? I dug into my black box of herbs and pulled out Clove. Each bag of herbs I have cost a dollar a piece, sometimes less if I’m buying in bulk. I took out five dried buds (thats a good power number to go with). So why clove? It’s magical properties associate it with Jupiter, fire, prosperity, friendship, healing, protection, and psychic awareness (among a few other things). On top of that, Clove is an essential staple of the herbal first aid kit. It’s a well known antibacterial and anesthetic (the traditional toothache remedy- yes I’ve used it for that too). This was really the first thing I thought of.

I throw my clove in the bottle and now what do I want to add? A stone. I found the cutest clear quartz that’s just small enough to fit. Mental clarity, protection, healing- perfect.

Now I decide if I want to use water or oil. I decided to use oil for this, and specifically almond oil. Almond oil is a carrier oil and if I want to bring out the scent of the clove, almond oil was my best option at hand. (Almond oil cost me a few bucks but it lasted me a very long time.) I also added some flowers too (they look cute suspended in fluid and the oil  will bring the scent out a little too.)

Last but not least- the dust. I took a clean Q-Tip and went out to the car and got a good sample of that farm rock dust on my dashboard. I dipped it in my bottle of oil and herbs and swished it around and disposed of the Q-Tip. I put the cap on the bottle and shook it. When to charge it? On the full moon! 🙂

Voila, and that is how you make a memory into magic!

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The only tool you need: you.

Before I made my own altar, I used a portion of my dresser as my “altar” for years. My altar cloth is made out of remnant fabric, I got my candles at the dollar store, my goddess statuette was discounted, my chalice was a gift, making my altar only cost me $15 bucks to build and suit my purposes and I’ve been able to move it with me, conveniently placed on top of my altar box with similar dimensions (also discounted).

Bottom line is, making decent magic(k) doesn’t have to be expensive. I know, there’s so many altar tools out there that are shiny and cool, but is it going to make your magick better? Do you need to spend $100 on an athame, or $200 on a staff? Is your magick breaking your bank?

Understandably, every now and then we will need to buy things, at the same time, these things should be reasonable. We don’t need to buy the brass wand for $300. We don’t need to buy the $20 candle because it says “wicca” on it. Walmart sells unscented, colored 7-day candles for a buck. This is where I began collecting my parts for my rituals. I said I needed to have a candle at each quarter of the circle. Tealights from the dollar store did well for a while until I wanted to see a representation of each quarter- Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and of course, spirit.

While supporting small businesses is definitely a good thing, it’s necessary to know when the consumer is being taken advantage of. Personally I’m not sure if the market for Witchcraft is as big as it was throughout the 70’s and on, when everybody wanted to be the next “Sabrina”, or wanted to be in a coven like The Craft in the 90’s. Lately the sensation has been all about the series Supernatural (which I could never get into, but “Winchestercest” is an insanely popular ship), but most just end up at Hot Topic for that stuff. Recognizing when a product is being hyped up over its name and not its quality is something to keep an eye on, and also remembering that small businesses often sell these products as a source of income, so it’s good to help them out. Unfortunately, Pagans aren’t made of money.

There’s many resources related to “witchcraft on a shoestring”, websites, books, you name it. The only thing I really spent money on was my books. These books really support the authors they’re coming from, especially buying new, otherwise yes, I am a huge fan of Half Price Books- I buy a ton of books and research stuff as part of my craft.

So, expensive tools does not make better magick. At one point in time it was common for witches to literally use the earth to perform spells. Sometimes that can be hard especially if you’re in a metropolitan city or a very urban area, being able to improvise is essential. You are the being that calls out the quarters, you do the drumming, you cast the circle, you read the sacred words to call the elements and the gods, and the intent is all yours. You’re in charge. The only tool you need is you.

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About finding your familiar…

This particular blog subject was a request, a man (a certain man in particular, you know who you are haha) was interested in my input, so I gave him my two cents and I told him I would write a blog about it to elaborate on the smaller parts I spoke about. It’s been a long time since I made a real blog post, so forgive me, life has been busy.

Also, before I begin, I would like to add that today is the first day I have purchased my own domain, so welcome to the OFFICIAL MyrnaDragonchild.com! Joy! Celebration! Much congrats!

Now, back to the subject… familiars. There’s several different definitions of what a familiar exactly is depending on tradition, whether it be physical or spiritual, it all comes down to an animal that aids you (the witch) in magick.
There’s a ton of information out there about familiars and how to obtain one, though there’s some conflict in whether or not a personal assistant in which you have a spiritual bond with can actually be “obtained”, in the fashion of “I want this black cat in the window, it is going to be my familiar”.
In an intuitive sense, a cat’s curiosity for example can be translated as “aid” or interest in whatever the practitioner is doing, as if wanting to help. There’s nothing wrong with that, all it comes down to is- what is the cat actually doing?
Now, there’s a nice thing about working with animals of all types, and that’s instinct. There’s something particularly exciting about tapping into the raw, pure nature of animal instinct. Looking at the concept, this natural instinct- no matter how “domesticated” the animal is, is always still there in its un-tameable form and powerful in nature. This can be incredibly useful in rituals and spells- but is having a familiar necessary?

If you were to ask me, I would say no. It’s common neopagan practice to find a familiar, an animal companion to aid you in spiritual practice. A common trend I find in the concept of having a familiar (at least in the physical sense), that it’s either a cat or a dog (stereotypical, right?). Now if I had taken the concept of a familiar and ran with it to this date, my familiar would be a parakeet. Why a parakeet? Well that was my first pet that I would probably claim as my familiar. An animal I could probably say I had a spiritual bond with, and still do.
Would I know this Parakeet is my familiar? It would be purely intuitive. We are receptive to each other’s body language and gestures, emotions, and core desires (food, water, shelter). That’s just part of what it’s like to own a pet- understanding your pet. Asking my pet to lend its energy in ritual, or assuming it is already doing so? Questionable.
For those already doing so and having great results, by all means, that is wonderful, keep doing so. But for the rest of those starting out in general Paganism or Wicca 101, is claiming a familiar going to be necessary for you? The next question to bring up is, is it ethical to pull energy from your animal companion when they may not give their express consent? Is your pet going to remain as your household family member, and not your four-legged (or feathered or scaled) magical partner in crime?

So what’s with the need of weeding out what is or isn’t necessary? It’s to help you the practitioner get down to business and study, practice, and develop all you need to without having to go through the maze of unnecessary little things you may not have at your disposal that can stop you from reaching your full potential. This will bring me to my next blog on tools.

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“Mundane witchcraft”: during the winter months!

Some people like myself are usually more active during the spring, summer and fall months compared to winter when it comes to casting spells and performing rituals.
These winter conditions usually call for a lot of introspection, maybe some pathworking, depending on your personal practice. Sometimes I would go without doing a single spell for months but sometimes a quick spell or prayer is necessary, especially if you’re expecting brutal weather.
One of my favorite things to do during the winter is a winter salt blessing. (Even though the salt might not purely be salt, its still something cool to do for a peace of mind.)
So, when I need to go outside and lay salt around the perimeter of my house, I scatter the salt on the ground walking clockwise (to invoke) positive energy and protection during the winter weather, usually with some impromptu invocation that comes to mind. Counterclockwise if your focus is on repelling negative energy instead (especially if winter gives you the blues).
If I’m just throwing a cup of salt outside on my front porch, I’d bless the salt first by either invocation or visualization (or both), and then throw the salt out.
Little things like this are usually really nice to do simply so you don’t feel “stagnant”, and you’re still putting your “magickal muscle” to some use, even in less than optimal conditions (unless you LIKE this weather lol).

What other “witchy” things can you think of to do while its cold and frosty outside?

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