Saturday, December 20, 2014


   Sovereignty. It’s a word that can mean many different things.  There is the sovereignty of a nation.  There is the concept of sovereignty with Celtic mythology, bestowed by the goddess of the land and at times stripped away when a leader rules unjustly.  In a modern sense sovereignty can be claiming your own skin, ruling your life justly, recognizing your own self-worth and rising up to take control of your life like the King or Queen you truly are. 

   My own sovereignty has come to mind often over the past several months.  Not allowing others to take my sovereignty was part of a vow I made to the Morrigan at the Morrigan’s Call Retreat this past June.  There were other vows made that night, when we faced Macha’s sword in ritual.  And those have weighed upon my mind as well, but it is both the idea of what sovereignty is and if I have claimed it, that my mind keeps circling back too.  Because really it’s a process.  It’s something I have claimed in different ways at different times and in different parts of my life.  And looking back I realize it’s something that is continually claimed, not simply claimed once.  Sovereignty is something we continually become worthy of.  And it requires taking action.

   That is perhaps the hardest part.  Taking action.  We resist change in our lives.  Sometimes being unhappy is safer than taking a chance.  Unhappiness can become something familiar, and if we do break the negative cycles in our lives, if we go out on that limb, there are no guarantees anymore.  We question ourselves, we think ‘Maybe this is a good as if gets?’.  And so out of fear we resist change, we let others take our sovereignty from us, we let them rule our lives instead.  Because it easier. But it also means we never make room for good things to come into our lives, the things we are truly worthy of.   

   When I first encountered the Morrigan I felt broken.  She gave me the strength to leave an abusive situation, and probably saved my life.  It wasn’t easy, but I had reached a point where I had to take action.  I had to be pushed and reach my breaking point before I did anything to help myself.   I went kicking and screaming, while the Queen tapped her foot and waited for me to realize nothing was going to change until I stood up and MADE things change.  I had to accept what was going on was wrong, and if I didn’t leave it was never going to end.  I had to be the one to end it.  And I did.

  And afterwards I struggled.   I could barely pay my rent, I worked two jobs and went to school full time.  But I was happy, really happy, for the first time in my life.  I had claimed a little piece of sovereignty.  But there was still an emptiness inside me.  It would take a long time for that to go away, for me to put those broken pieces back together.  And at times I find pieces I thought I fixed, that need to be addresses again.  Because as I said, sovereignty is a process.  To be worthy of putting that crown on our heads, or that torc around our neck requires that we really dig down and look within, really look at ourselves, and accept ourselves, both the good and the bad.  And that takes time. 

  After a while I began to heal, that broken darkness began to ebb.  I brought new and better things into my life.  But I faltered in that sovereignty many times.  At times I let the wrong people into my life, I let other people walk all over me.  I gave too much of myself, not really owning that my time and energy had worth.  I let old cycles repeat without knowing it at first.  And again the Queen challenged me.  There were times She forced me to face my demons, and at other times She became silent.  I could feel Her waiting, restless, somewhere just at the edges of my perception, tapping her foot, probably raising a fierce looking eyebrow at me, waiting for me to cut the things out of my life that no longer served me before I reached a breaking point. In my mind I could hear Her say “You are the daughter of a Queen, act like it.”  Because it’s easier to embrace change when we hit rock bottom, when there is no other option, and we can’t hide behind our excuses or the things we put in our lives to distract us from owning our actions and ourselves.  The trick is to learn to be brave and stand up for ourselves, to know we are worthy of good things in life, without having to be backed into a corner to finally face these things.  And I’ve found I’m good at making excuses.  “I’ll take care of x after I finally do y”  or “When I do x, I’ll be strong enough to finally face y”.  Sometimes you just have to feel your way through the dark, you have to stand on the edge of the cliff and jump, not knowing if you are going to fly or fall.  Because if you don’t, nothing will change in life.    

  Claiming sovereignty has been a slow process.  It’s taken years.  I’ve hit plenty of speed bumps.  I’ve had to jump off of a few metaphorical cliffs and take chances.  And I’ve learned along the way its ok to be broken, sometimes you have to fall apart to rebuild yourself and your life anew. 

  At Samhain this year a friend had suggested that as part of our ritual we should remember not just the ancestors but who we have been.  You aren’t the same person you were ten years ago, or even a year ago.  We change, we evolve, we are constantly in a state of becoming.  And so we did just that.  We honored the ancestors, but then we spent a moment honoring, remembering and perhaps mourning the people we had been.  The parts of ourselves that were gone, and recognized that we had changed.  It’s something I plan on incorporating into my private Winter Solstice ritual tomorrow.  I will mourn and remember the person I was, and recognize that I am someone new.  Someone who strives to be worthy of that torc around my neck.  Because although at times I’ll wear a pentagram, or a little silver raven pendant, it’s always the torc that I prefer to wear as a symbol of my faith, as a symbol of my devotion to the Morrigan.  The Morrigan is many things, but She is always the Great Queen.  She doesn’t apologize for who She is, but revels in it, and so should we.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Morrigan's Call Retreat

Where do I begin?  My heart is so full, I don’t know if I have the words to do the events of this weekend any justice.  I suggest reading Morgan Daimler ( and Ed Rickey’s blogs ( about The Morrigan’s Call Retreat.  Their thoughts do it better justice than I will here, but planning this event has been a part of my life for over six months and I feel I must write something.

There was a certain sadness in leaving on Sunday.  I get this way after packing up and leaving from other festivals, but this time it was particularly sharp.  I went to work the next day feeling oddly out of place, clutching my coffee and doing mundane things. As I walking into work a crow calls out not far away.  It’s voice both harsh and beautiful.  I felt its call echo through me, and I thought to myself “I know that voice.”  And I smiled, I know the Morrigan is always with me, even here.
At my desk I think that only hours before I had been in ritual garb, spear or sword in hand, covering in battle paint, telling stories with friends, teaching workshops or listing to the workshops of our wonderful presenters.  I connected with old friends, made new ones, got to spend time with many of my Sisters, most of whom live many hours (or a plane ride) away, and together we honored the Queen. As I do my work I remembered the feeling of Her sword pressed up against my skin and the oath I spoke while a friend acted as Her vessel in a private moment in the temple we created together for Her.  I think of the Washer at the Ford, and kneeling at her cauldron, of the messages spoke on that first night of ritual work. The Great Queen’s tribe gathered, her ravens, her children came together and it was amazing to see. And I think of our last ritual, of singing Mama Gina’s Ruby song, and how we truly came together as a Tribe throughout the entire weekend.

I feel changed.  It is amazing how often I have said that in the course of a handful of years.  So much has happened, my life has taken so many interesting changes, never the ones I expected but sometimes what the Gods have in store for you is far better than the futures we imagine for ourselves.  The Morrigan has been an ever present force in my life, and I didn’t think I could feel closer to Her, but I do. 

What I loved the most about this weekend was how everyone came together in kinship.  We gathered to honor the Queen, and the fact that we came from different places, paths, traditions etc made no difference at all.  Morgan Daimler said it best in her own blog:

“People came to this retreat from as far away as Canada and Florida, from California and Virginia. People came representing many different pagan paths and belief systems. Women and men, old and young, different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, different education and life experience backgrounds, different beliefs and approaches - a diverse group of people, all coming together for one purpose, to honor the Great Queen. Without melodrama, without interpersonal conflict or ego, without tension between the many, many different people's differences. We came together to honor Her, and we did; in word, and song, in ritual, and prayer, in communion with each other and by sharing our experiences and insights with each other. And it was an awesome and amazing thing to experience.” 

 And that is what Morrigu’s Daughters has been about since the very beginning.  People from all paths coming together to honor Her.  And that is what we did, through workshops, three amazing and intense rituals, creating a temple in Her honor, and simply coming together and opening our heart to one another.  The sense of kinship and Tribe was beyond words.  I can only say my heart is overflowing.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


“To dishonor the Land is to dishonor Me”
– Message channeled by a friend during a 2013 Samhain ritual

I sit on the old but sturdy wooden deck on the cabin I will be calling home for the weekend.  My feet are barefoot, a cup of tea in my hands.  The air is finally warm, almost all traces of an exceptionally long and harsh winter fading away from the landscape.  And my usually hectic life has stilled to silence and quiet serenity.  Other than the sound of the wind blowing through the pine trees, there is nothing but blessed, blessed, silence.  This is one of the many reasons I love the woods.  When I enter the woods or some wild place it as if the burden of the world drops away like a heavy cloak.  All the many things running through my head on a normal day – there are always things to do, things to plan, emails to catch up on, friends to catch up with, work to finish, on and on the list goes – vanish.  There is only the sounds of the woods around me, the feel the earth, not pavement, under my feet.  I always feel more grounded in my body and in the heart of myself.  I am usually out hiking the trails in the state parks nearest me as much as possible during the summer months.  It’s something I’ve missed during the long winter months.    

In a few short weeks this cabin and all others at Temenos will be filled with people coming to honor the Morrigan, for the Morrigan’s Call Retreat.  It will be filled with the voice of some of my Sisters, friends, and fellow devotees of the Queen.  But now all I can think about is the blissful silence around me and the stillness within me.  I had planned on doing some ritual work and journey work, but finding the silence within has become its own kind of ritual over the weekend. I haven’t spoken a word or seen another person since the director showed me around the cabin.  And it feels as if there nothing else exists save for myself and the presence of the land  that fills my vision, that I feel beneath my feet and sense in my heart.

Part of the point of coming to this place was to, as I like to call it, “make friends with the land”.  If I am doing ritual work in an unfamiliar place I like to take some time connecting to the land.  At times it may only be a few short minutes in meditation before a ritual, in this case it is a weekend spent in the woods, away from the business and drama of life, far away from cell service and without electricity. 

Each morning I make offerings to the spirits of this place.  When I come back from hiking the trails and feel the unseen eyes of the Sidhe watching me curiously I leave them offerings on a moss covered tree stump next to the cabin.  I sit by an old mineral spring and think of my ancestors leaving offerings at the wells sacred to Brighid in Ireland.  There is a tree by the spring with ribbons hanging on it, left by others coming to this place.  I tie my own ribbons on a branch, one for the Morrigan, one for Dagda, and one for Brighid. 

When I first arrived at Temenos the retreat director spoke of how she feels this place is sacred.  And I think about part of a message a friend channeled this past Samhain “To dishonor the Land is to dishonor Me”  And I think it is no wonder that I feel the closest to Her when I am in the wild places of the world.  That I feel the most content in a grove of trees, or here on the deck of a cabin that lacks any modern amenities, listening to the wind move through the pines.

By the end of the weekend I am sad that I am leaving this place for my busy life. But I know there will be other days spent in the woods, other hours spent on more familiar trails.  And in a few short weeks we will make offerings to the land, to the Sidhe, and of course to the Morrigan.     

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Line in the Sand


   It’s been quiet here on blog as of late, mostly because of I’ve been doing a lot of traveling in the last few months and secondly because I’ve been busy with all the final planning for the Morrigan’s Call retreat coming up this June.  I’ve gone back and forth for days, thinking about whether or not to blog about the whole Kenny Klein situation.   There are dozens of blog posts out there right now, and ten times as many posts and reactions all over social media.  I asked myself if blogging about this was just beating a dead horse?  I only met Klein once very briefly at this past PantheaCon.  What can I possibly add that hasn’t been said already?  But ultimately I think simply talking about the issues Klein’s arrest has dredged up is important.  Even if I’m the hundredth or two hundredth voice to chime in.  I am deeply saddened that many who had bad experiences with him kept silent, and angered that those who did have the courage to speak up were not taken as seriously as they should have been.

   There is a general culture of trust at most Pagan events and festivals.  For many it’s a rare opportunity to fully be ourselves.  To partake in rituals, workshops, and conversations with other like minded individuals.  We forget to question things, we forget to use common sense and caution.  And we forget that not everyone is a good person.  Yes, even Pagans.  So what is to be learned from all this?  What can we take from this situation that will prevent another person like Klein from victimizing others?  I think as a community we need to draw a line in the sand.  We need to make it clear what is acceptable, and not acceptable, in a sex positive religion.  Will we tolerate a culture of silence?  Or will we stand up for ourselves and others in our community and say this is what is acceptable, and this is what is not?  How we handles issues such as these will define us as a community.   

   That brings me to the events of the past few days, with the new uproar about Gavin and Yvonne Gavin and Yvonne Frost teaching at several events this year.  I started receiving emails and messages, from those in the online community, and even from my own students, asking if I have ever come in contact with the Frosts, and what exactly they were promoting? What was all the "fuss" about?  If you are not sure what I am talking about I suggest you read T Thorn Coyle’s blog posts about the Frosts here:  , she makes many excellent points.  I personally have never met them, all I can comment on is their writings, and the serious red flags they raise.  I will remind everyone that this issue isn’t new.  The Frosts being controversial is old news, that after Klein’s arrest we are looking at with new eyes.  And honestly I am proud of my community for taking a step back and saying, this is a problem, we’ve been silent about it before, no more.  There is nothing wrong with admitting we have been wrong in the past.  Paganism is “growing up” as a community in many ways.   As we grow we need to think about how we will, both now and in the future, handle situations where people are participating, as Klein did, in illegal activity, or as the Frosts have for the last thirty plus years, promoted abuse via the sexual initiation of minors within ritual.  Some of their own words from the Good Witch’s Bible:

 “It is hoped by Wicca that the first full sexual experience will take place in the pleasant surroundings of the coven and that the spiritual as well as the physical aspects of the experience will lead the child to a complete life.” 

“At the last sabbat… before the initiation, the female novice is given the sacred phallus and the instruction sheet in Table 5 so that she can learn to insert and remove the phallus quickly and comfortably.   She is also taught how she should lie and what she should do during the initiation ceremony.”

Table 5 (Instructions for Female Novice) begins thus:

"You have been entrusted with two phalli; these are in our care until your initiation. We would like you to be initiated at the next coven meeting, which will take place on ... This means that, excluding your menstruation time, you have three weeks to prepare your muscles for introitus. Your father or your sponsor will help you if you have any difficulties or pain. "

   Now take a moment to think about an initiation ceremony like this being promoted in a current title about Witchcraft, rather than something from the 70’s, and from someone who hasn’t been in the community for decades.  Would it still be ok?  In my mind there is a big difference between having a positive attitude towards sexuality and exploiting others by masking abuse as spirituality.  In the 1999 edition the introduction to this chapter had a disclaimer included stating that initiations should not be done in this way until the age of 18.  Yet still what they have written remains unsettling.  And as Coyle says in her article, words have power:

“Do I think the Frosts have sex with children? I doubt it. But as an author, who knows the power of the written word, I wish they would explain. I wish they would retract. The fact that they have not taints their work for me and makes me wonder why they are invited to festivals to teach… And I like the Frosts. Remember, they are gracious, kind, warm, funny, knowledgeable, and apparently dance a mean tango. I am not here to demonize them, but to voice concerns.” (

And like Coyle, I’m voicing my concern.  Do we serve the community by sweeping things under the rug again?  Again we must draw that line in the sand.  We need to reevaluate how we have responded to issues like this in the past.  And I think we are beginning to do that.   And as a result unfortunately  events where the Frosts are speaking have been coming under fire.  I am proud of my community for standing up, and making their voices heard.  Yet I also understand the precarious situation this puts event planners and organizers in, the mud slinging that goes along with this, and how a situation can quickly degrade into a shouting match between two sides that ends with both parties feeling attacked and unheard.  When things fall apart like that, nothing gets resolved.  No positive change can occur.  The dialog that NEEDS to happen, never does.  This is another growing pain within Paganism that we need to deal with.  We need, as my friend Ody pointed out to me today, Transparency in our community.   We need openness, communication, and most importantly accountability. 
   This issue is bigger than any one event.  It requires us to speak up about our concerns, and most importantly to come together as a community.  So I urge you to make your voices heard.  Respond to this blog, post on social media, talk to the leaders and organizer in your community.  Lets break the silence, and draw the line in the sand. Lets take an ugly truth, like Klein being exposed for what he is, and use it to create positive change.