On playing well with others

I’ve tried. Really, I have. I just don’t think that what I want out of my craft is going to be realized in a group setting.


Many years ago, when my small was actually a small, we tried to start a group. We met on the full moons. We crafted. The smalls ran around. It was lovely and short-lived and we never gave it a name.


A few years later a tribe started to form. We met at each other’s homes and celebrated the turning of the wheel. Most of the time I initiated the gatherings and planed the events. Food was brought, rituals were performed, traditions came into being.


But then life changed and what I wanted didn’t mesh with the rest of the tribe. Things dissolved and I went back to a solitary practice. I imagined that they continued on without me, and I think they did for a bit.


Recently I was asked to join in a coven that was just forming. I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to have that piece of my practice back. I made it a couple of months before I couldn’t take the disorganization, the lack of direction, and the one member that annoyed the piss out of me.


Back to the drawing board I guess. Oh well. “Doesn’t Play Well With Others” will be on my memorial.

On coven names and group dynamics

Sometimes you get lucky. The people you spend the most time with have similar beliefs. Everyone shares their practices and traditions. You start adopting things that make sense or that you like the feel of. And maybe, after a few years, you all sit around drinking a bottle or three of moscato and someone proposes a name for the group. And it’s perfect. And you all laugh and say “YES” and an image comes to mind and you make it so.

And sometimes you don’t get so lucky.

I was recently asked to join in the inception of a new coven. There are eight of us (do you see an immediate issue?). I’ve known four of them for years. I’ve been in a fledgling coven with three, and three were in the group I mentioned above. There has been strain and hurt though, the last few years have not been easy. So to agree to form a working relationship meant I was going to have to try to put that aside and move on.

I don’t move on easily.

The other three in the group are a couple from out of state and a man I had met years ago.

The coven we are hiving from has a strict “no spouses” rule. I have a feeling we will see why before this is finished.

So, this new coven is nameless. It is also leaderless. It’s supposed to be able to be run by consensus. But did you note the issue that is going to make that impossible? An even number of voters means that there will always be the possibility of a draw.

We’ve been tossing around names.

A few like long names.

A few want a short one.

Some want it to sound “witchy”.

Others want to avoid pretension….

We’ve looked at plants, both local and magical.

We’ve bandied about locational markers.

We’ve tossed out colors.

We’ve tried incorporating something about the group we’ve hived from.

There’s one of the group that shuts down every discussion.

Without strong leadership or a well defined group dynamic we aren’t going to go very far.

I just want someone to sing the songs with. To understand why I stomp around to wake the earth. Who also salutes the moon as she rises.

Is that too much to ask?




Drunken Divination as the veil thins.

Every year I try to do something for Samhain. I like to give people a chance to play around with something they might not be familiar with. I’m a divination junkie. I have yet to meet a system that I didn’t enjoy.

This year I hosted Drunken Divination at my new house. Before you stress about divining for the inebriated, dinner was served as well. I assure you, no one was too far in their cups to participate.

Invites went out about a month in advance and read something like this

“Step into my parlor as the veil thins and see what the future holds…

Or just come and hang out and talk

Bring your favorite form of divination to share or pick through mine. Read for yourself or have your fortune read by another guest.”

I ended up with 13 guests. How perfect is that?


The new house lent itself well to a multitude of stations for divination night.

There was fire scrying in the back yard.


Serpent Stones

Junk Drawer Oracles

Tarot and Playing Cards


DD 3

A Collection of Miscellaneous items.

An ancestors altar.

It took a bit of conversation and cocktails to get the ball rolling, but then it really took off. I couldn’t have asked for a better night. I got to introduce people to things they hadn’t heard of. We had talks about the validity of newer interpretations of cards and the trend to just use the images on the cards, learned how many tea leaves give the best reading (I swear I saw Pooh with her balloon), found out that the dice were just as unforgiving in the living room as they were in the dining room, and tried out some new tarot spreads.

The only station that didn’t get used was the libanomancy one on the porch. It was too damn cold!

The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it. – Arthur Schopenhauer

I ended my fortieth year last week. If that is the text of my life I think I’m OK with it. It’s not a fast rise to the top of the best seller list, full of daring adventure or devastating trauma. I’d like to think that it’s more the hidden gem that once read you can’t forget.

This last year packed quite a punch.

I was involuntarily off work for the first time since I was 16. I had to really decide if what I was doing was worth trying to keep doing.

I lost my father. Parental relationships are never easy, and the last few months of his life I was flooded with questions that he was physically unable to answer.

My small turned 16…

The chimney caved in and one wall of my house almost came down (tuck pointing is a necessary thing and should not be ignored).

But it all worked itself out, fairly smoothly without too much strain on my part. If nothing else can be taken away from the narrative, I am a lucky bastard.

I always try to pull cards at milestone times. What was I to take away from what has happened? Where am I headed now?

This year’s birthday reading was done at the kitchen table, surrounded by containers of baked goods and the dregs of another’s birthday gifts.

I have found that if I wait for the perfect setting, or need to be in “sacred” space that things get put off. Instead I treat all of my space as sacred; cluttered, dirty, borrowed, it doesn’t matter. It exists, and so do I, and we are both sacred.

I received a deck of Gypsy Witch cards as a gift, so that is what I used. This deck is similar to an Italian sibilla deck, as it has all 52 cards, but unlike the sibilla it has the meanings printed on it. In a pinch, it can also be used as a Lenormand deck (see Donnaleigh’s post for more info).

Space only allowed for the smaller of the described layouts, but at 17 cards small is retaliative. 18095939_1873520882889854_5377323170833367040_n

As in Lenormand, the lady is the significator and where the cards fall in relation to her tells how important their message is. ALL of the cards are read, and they all have a message to impart. The direction of items is also something to note. The back of the book is to the lady’s front, crossed swords are at her head, the letter is at her feet.

Good fortune, success, happiness, and good health account for more than half the cards.


There is a mighty enemy to my left, a loss by speculation above that, threats at my head, and a mystery to my right.

It should be an interesting year!






Blessed Imbolc

In our family Imbolc is a simple celebration. We eat eat foods heavy with dairy to celebrate the milk that is flowing with the new lambs being born. We bake oat cakes to smash into the door ways.  We weave crosses to honor Bride and hang them in the rafters for protection. 

Crafting was first. 

I soaked beautiful black bearded wheat from http://www.franksupply.com for this year’s crosses.  They’re simple to weave once you get the hang of it and I love that moment of triumph when someone “gets” it. 

After we admired our handiwork we went outside to stomp the earth awake and smash the oat cakes into the doorways. It’s an old tradition that my friend Steven Posch wrote about for Circle Round, and one that we’ve included since my small was actually a small. 

We decided to try something different with the menu this year. Fondue. Rich creamy melty cheese fondue. There was broth and oil fondue as well, but the cheese was center stage. The most wonderful thing about the meal was how comfortable we all became with one another. Fondue is not a solo experience. 

That was about the extent of the woo. We ended the night with a game of Aggravation, the newest of our vintage games, and then went home to hang our cross in the rafters. 

May the sun continue to warm the earth as the days lengthen and we prepare for spring. 

Full Moon Mussings

My small took this amazing pic as we were leaving our esbat celebration. We haven’t had the opportunity to join our coven for the full moon in quite some time. The night was beautiful, cold and clear. 

I struggled to find a sense of peace this month. The relationships that bound my little group together have started to fray and little things hurt more than they should. 

Ever since I can remember keeping the peace has been my special gift. I’ve been told that butterflies come out of my mouth when I’m diffusing a situation. Somehow I don’t think that’s what would have come out had I opened my lips this night. 

It was a little thing. It shouldn’t have bothered me. But it did. And trying to not let it cloud the evening was difficult. 

Ah well. The food was filling. The hostess was lovely. The scene was set in the way it has been set for almost all of our esbat nights. 

As the candles burned low we prepared for our divination. A crystal bowl filled with water took center stage as the wax from a candle was poured into it. The bowl is then passed around the table so each participant could reflect on the shapes and settle on a message. 

My small immediately saw a mouse (though to be fair, the conversation we had just had centered around a mouse story). When it came to me I saw a T-rex that morphed into a turtle. 

I’ll let you decide what that means. 

Witch’s New Year

Samhain marks the end of the modern witch’s spiritual year and November 2nd is the start of the next. That means the 1st is the day between years, and it’s a perfect time to see what the new year will bring. 

I’ve been playing around with a new oracle system. A half dozen years ago this article popped up http://www.ata-tarot.com/reflections/10-05-10/junk-oracle-2.html with a type of divination that really spoke to me. Junkomancy, flotsam and jetsom oracle, found object oracle, charm casting, trinket oracles, there are lots of variations on the theme, and quite a few people coming up with kitchy names to market their set, but they all boil down to the same basic premise. A take on throwing the bones, a collection of bits is assembled, a handful are chosen blindly and tossed onto a cloth or surface, and the resulting pattern is interpreted. 

My throw included a crystal ball, a race car, a more sedate car, a key, and a goat. Some symbols have universally accepted meanings; keys open doors and make the way easier, cars are travel, goats traditionally are a new enterprise that includes risk, and crystal balls look into the future. 


If I worry too much about the future, or try to go too fast, I’m going to be derailed, but if I step back and let things flow the doors to new things will open without effort . 

I added a tarot card to the reading, asking for what my personal year should focus on in regards to relationships and my emotional state . The Queen of Cups. Trust my intuition. Listen to my inner voice. Show compassion. 

Yeah. Sigh. I’ll work on it.