Home They Say, Is Where The Heart Is

October 072

So I had a half written post about using magic, specifically a magic spell to find a home, using a combination of Kiwiana, and perhaps other more ‘traditional’ magical stuff, but I stalled and have only written about one object, the 21st Key Mirror, a Kiwiana staple for 21st gifts, generally given to you by your family.  It has strong significance of love, family and independence, which is for most of us, what we are looking for when finding a new home, rather than just a place to live.  I was also going to include things like tiki’s, and teapots, but in actually that was nothing like what I actually did.

What I did looked nothing like the spells in books or described in blogs, I did not wait for the waning/waxing dark moon, or other significant timing, I did not purchase a Mirror Key or make one myself, in fact I didn’t really use any of the Kiwiana objects that I had been contemplating.  I also didn’t set up an altar, with the correct red blue orange candles, and matching altar cloths, even though I do love my altars, and have quite the collection of wonderful altar cloths,   I didn’t’t call on any specific deities who help with such things…  What I ended up doing looked nothing like ‘magic’ spell work, that you read about so often in those instructional spell books, actually what I did I have never really found in any book or blogs.  What I did looked like me walking into town one morning.

I took the day of work for my birthday this year, I haven’t had much time off, over the last year, so I decided to take two days of for my birthday, Thursday and Friday whoot.   So when I woke up that morning, I didn’t actually know that I was going to be working and act of magic for finding a house, but for me this is generally how it happens.  When I need something or if something needs doing, I just do it, I don’t wait for the right time or day or moon cycle.  Instead I get an urge, message, prod, err a thing, which is actually difficult to describe, not just because it is often different, while also the same, or how else would I know, but because this is always difficult to put into words, as it is not until after I have acted that I generally understand what I did and how it all worked.   Anyway when this thing *waves hands* happens I know that it is time to work, and so, I do.  On my birthday morning I didn’t know that I would be doing this working, I had not even told my flatmates that I would be moving out soon, at that stage..  I think by the end of the day I did, tell my flatmates that I was planning on moving out.
Pathway
After several cups of tea, morning showers, and a present of a Firefly DVD I was of out the house and walking down the path into town.  I have walked to work or caught train and or buses for most of my working life, and use this time to contemplate things. For me this commute is like between times, between my time and work time, and I am either going to or coming home from, so it is transitory in nature to.   I am often in a daze, or if you like trance like state, as I contemplate my morning, or think about things I have been reading about, dreams I have had, or I talk with the spirits and ancestors of place.   It is as I have come to realise, a party of my daily practice.  On that day I was actually thinking about how to write a blog post on how to find a house using kiwiana as spell components, but it was all seeming a bit flat, somewhat contrived, sure I could use a mirrored key but would that actually work for me?  Then I happen to look down and on the path in front of me was a small nest that had fallen out of the above tree during the spring wind storm we had been having the previous few days.  Spring for us here in Wellington, New Zealand is often rainy and strong winds as the Winter Southerly and the Warm Spring Northerly vie for airspace, the weather is very changeable and often wet and windy.  I then picked up the little nest and gently tipped out the little bit of bird poop, and carried on down the path.  This had triggered me into a light trance so as I was taking the next few steps I became a lot more aware of my surroundings.  That urge, message, prod, that thing that has no words but translates into ‘time to do work’ had happened, and while now looking back and trying to describe it, I can see when that happened, when it was happening, I probably would not of been able to tell you.  But I do know that from experience if someone disturbs me during this time I am often dazed, and it can take some time to figure out what happened?

After a few steps further down the hill and at the beginning of the stairs, of one of the oldest pathways here in Wellington, I spotted a rusty twist of 8 gauge wire, (No 8 fencing wire) which I also picked up, and no sooner had I done that then I spied a rusty nail, both of which I placed in the same hand that I was carrying the nest, not in the nest but more under it.  As I neared the bottom of the first set of stairs, I glanced down and found a plated length of synthetic hair, someone’s hair extension had fallen out while they walked up or down the path. I picked that up and looked at it in my hands for a while, then carefully, the thoughtfully, placed it around my fingers in of the hand where I carried all the other objects.

I now had a handful of randomly found objects that were becoming more magical the more I focused on them with intent. The intent of finding a home, a place where I felt safe and at home.  Each found object now that I think about it has significance of its own, they all have meaning, a nest that feels safe that is protected by iron, a place where I feel at home and can let my metaphorical hair down, you get the picture right?  These objects where not planned, but because I was aware of my surroundings I could recognise the objects that would be needed.

However I didn’t want to take these objects to the place I was moving out of, as that would set the intention wrong, plus I was on my way to purchase a new sewing machine, so I ended up popping in at the place where I work, with a handful of strange objects, and placing them in a box, much to the amusement of my work colleges.  As the weeks passed I added to this box of strange objects.  I found the shell of a blue egg, that was no longer in use and added it, I also kept the kettle my mother gave me for my birthday for my new home, and the pink salt lamp, that I had brought with my new home I mind, and occasionally when I was staying late at work I would take the nest out of the box and sit it next to the lamp.

And then when the time was right, after one false start, I went and looked at a place, and it is home.

spell

 

Sewing as a Sacred Act

Sewing as a Sacred Act.

by Polly Lind 2013

Bobbin and cotton

Up in my tower that has views down the valley, with pins, needles, and thread,

 I weave magic in to the fabric that I lay out on my ironing board.

Creating sacred designs, with Gods, Ancestors, Snakes, Toads, and Hares,

And Piwakawaka whispering in my ear, laying my soul bear.

With fabric, sharp shears, iron, bamboo and interfacing,

 I create doorways where spirits, magic and the divine, when invited, come through.

With pins, charms and wool stuffing, I create pillows that induce sacred dreaming,

and witches ladders to keep the not wanted at bay.

With incense, sewing machines, cotton and thread, I dance with the fabric of the divine,

and I will until I am dead

My sewing a sacred act, of offerings and service,

I will my surrender to the whirling of the bobbin, touching the magic,

imbuing the divine,and emboldening the spirit.

Up in my tower with views down the valley, I offer my sewing as a sacred act.

You Say Folklore we say Kiwiana

Altars July 2013 007 - Copy

New Zealand is not really old enough to have magical folklore as such, we were settled about 150 years ago, wait let me rephrase that, Europeans did not really settle in any great numbers here until about 150 years ago, around the late 1800’s and early 1900s with larges amounts of immigration happening after World War I and World War II, well after, it can be said, the time when magic was something other than fairy tales that you told children.

This means that Magical Folk Lore, from far of places like Europe, didn’t really make it here, and if they did it didn’t really stick.  New Zealand was a pretty harsh and isolated place to live for those early settlers.

The Maori have been here a bit longer, with their estimated time of arrival being somewhere in the middle of the 13th Century (1250 – 1300).  This is a very difficult thing to pinpoint as much of the housing, clothing, weapons and things require for living were made from very natural materials, and thus did not last the test of time so that they could be dug up by intrepid anthropologist and carbon dated to give an accurate reading.  There are a few objects, which can be found in our museums,  but for the most part there was not very much, so we have I believe relied on a combination of myths, educated guesses, geology, and the few items that have been found to give us and idea about when the Maori people arrived and settled in Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud.

The  Maori People who on the one hand, have been here longer, have a culture and tradition that is steeped in Magic and deeply spiritual lore, however we as Pakeha understand that this is not our culture so to speak, and do not want to be seen to be stealing said culture.

On the other hand Maori Spirituality is our nation’s civic spirituality, the guardian if you will of our public buildings, schools, libraries, and the like.  The Maori culture is also something that can be difficult to completely understand and the use or nonuse of it is littered with so much conflict, politics, anger and unhappy outcomes that it can be better to just mind your manners and be respectful and thoughtful all things Maori.

I know for sure that the majority of Kiwi Pagans want to be able to honour the spirituality of this land that was here before the settlers, aka Maori deity, culture and spirituality, but also do not want to go so far as to misappropriate as that would be rude. I did a study on this back for Honours when I was at university.

Also by the time that settlers arrived here Magic had pretty much been deligated to the realm of superstitions and fairy tale. 

So what this all means is that for those of us who lean towards a more ‘traditional’ style of magical witchcraft practice, there is no obvious folklore for use to use, as such, especially if we are also interested in practicing the magic of the land we physically live in.

So what is a Urban Witch to do, sure some folklore made its way over here via the various settlers and where they come from, but like I said before it was less magical folk lore and more customs and culture, because by the late 1800’s and early 1900’s people no longer believed in magic in the same way.  Maori spirituality however has become New Zealand’s Civic Spirituality, it is how we open parliament, bless new public buildings, schools and public spaces.  It is pretty much what we as a nation turn to when we need formal ceremonies and that in and of itself is magical.

We do have something that we call Kiwiana, which is as I see it, a precursor to Folklore,  and something that is going to be the topic of my blogging here, along the practicalities of being a practicing Witch who is born and bread in New Zealand.    I will also be cross posting the posts to my main blog, Another Witches Blog,

Bibliography of sorts

King, Michael – The Penguin History of New Zealand 2003 (http://www.amazon.com/The-Penguin-History-New-Zealand/dp/0143018671)

Lind, Polly (yup that’s me)  The Appropriation of Maori Spirituality into Paganism in New Zealand.  2003ish also if you want a copy if could probably hunt you one down, it is not very long, it is however in the form of an academic essay.. J

Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival, A Book I loved and Hated

Pagan Revival review 007

Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival; A Magical Anthropology

By Melusine Draco,

Published by Moon Books  August 2013

So how do you review a book that you loved and hated, that you were given by the publisher and that you have not quite finished, but it is time to review it anyway??

In a word, Honestly.

Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival, by Melusine Draco is written by intelligent, critically thinking witch who is polemic, which means argumentative, but in a challenging way rather than in a troll in the dungeon way if that makes sense.  To put it plainly I get the feeling that Melusine would call a spade a spade and what’s more burry you with it if you crossed her.

This has created a book about the Pagan Revival that I loved and hated, a book that I agreed with and didn’t agree with.  I spent a lot of time yelling ‘would of it killed you to put dates of publication in your references’ combine with ‘oh that is an interesting way of looking at that particularly bit of history’ and ‘oh I didn’t know that, most interesting.’  Over all this is a book that challenged me and best of all, made me think which are the types of books that I enjoy reading and get the most out of.

Right from the introduction you very quickly get a sense that Melusine is a person who has very little time for the ‘love and light brigade’, nor fools.  So it is obvious to see where the author s’ filters are, how she sees the world is always useful to know, well I like to know this, as it helps with understanding the wider context of the book.  The down side to this is that there is a somewhat of a condescending tone in places, and some of what this writer says can be very challenging.  However having said that, I do enjoy having my assumptions challenged, in a way where I can see a new viewpoint and decided for myself which one I think is more accurate.  The upside though is that is not the over explained flowery prose that is sometimes found in other books.

The author has obviously had years of practical experience as well as being well read of the subject of Modern Paganism,  Magic, Witchcraft, History and a passion for the topic, which shows in her writing.  In the introduction Melusne sets out an interesting frame work of how she sees Pagan information, knowledge, wisdom and understanding, which she further breaks down into ways of approaching knowledge, wisdom and understanding, animistic, eclectic, syncretic and synergetic .  Like I said this book has much food for thought content and things that make you think about what you are reading.

traditional witchcraft and the pagan revival

Melusine starts out examining the roots of Modern Paganism and its revival, in a similar way to most other books on Modern Paganism, by starting in the ancient past.   And while she does reference the material she has used to paint this particular angle, there is a distinct lack publishing dates in the referencing.  There is not even dates of publication for the various source materials and books that in the bibliography. For me this becomes an issue because what was truth, several hundred years ago,  is no longer truth today.  Lets face it was once believed as truth that the earth was flat, and so things were understood with in that context until Galieo said no it was round and Collumbus and his ship did not fall of the edge of a flat earth, then the contexts changed.

This too is true of the Pagan revival, when Gardner first wrote Witchcraft Today, Wica and Witchcraft was an ancient fertility mystery cult with an unbroken line, whereas today we understand that it is not as simple as that.  Instead it is understood that the belief and practices of magic, in a variety of forms from folklore, and legend has always been about in various forms, and that there have always been people who have unexplainable gifts, all of which you can read about in Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival, just remember that it is missing the contextual giving dates.  See I told you I loved and hated this book.  Ok I will stop ranting about dates now.. *coughs*

Melusine writes an accessible book while not dumbing down the subject down so much as to make it twee.  She also challenges the reader and commonly held beliefs about Modern Pagan History, but again not so much that you are unable to disagree or come to your own conclusions. In several places the author provides several view points and opinions for the reader to mull over, and think about.  Which is most excellent.

Sprinkled amongst the pages are tantalising snippets of information, such as the idea/theory that it was the Black Death that instigated the change of approach the church to convert the population to a more aggressive plant, which ultimately led to the witch trials.  A most interesting theory that I would like to know more about.  And it is this snippet and others similar that temp the reader to further study into the history of not just Modern Witchcraft and Paganism but also historical Witchcraft.  It is this aspect of the book that I love.  I love books that encourage me to think, questions, and that challenge my strongly held beliefs and understandings of Magic, Witchcraft, History, and Paganism in General.

So do I recommend this book for purchase, yes, it is intelligent, well written, thought provoking and accessible.  Melusine, has researched her topic very well and come to some interesting conclusions regarding history and the Pagan revival.  Just remember that publication dates of source material give context and read it with a critical eye and questioning thinking mind.  I am also quite curious as to the authors other books in the Traditional Witchcraft series, to see what she writes like about a practical topic rather than a historical one, as she strikes me as someone who walks her talk, and doesn’t just write about it.

I have several Moon Books on my reading pile, now which I will be looking forward to reading, as this publisher is picking interesting and thinking authors to publish surely a boon to pagan publishing.. and what’s more they sent me copies of three books to review.. yay me..

This book gets 4 cups of tea out of 5, cause of not having the dates..  and you can pre order it at Amazon

cup of teacup of teacup of teacup of tea

Sewing for today

In lue of a post about trains, which is taking me longer to write than i first thought, have a picutre of two Wall Hangings that i created today.

I give you Tane Mahuta God of the Forest, and Mahuika Goddess of Fire, well my take on them.

Tane and Hine Wall Hangings 022

Tane i depicted as a horned god, using Tiki designed craft fabric. Despite not having any ‘native’ deer or many mamals for that matter, in New Zealand.  However Red deer where  introduced into New Zealand, and I can’t see Tane having to much of an issue with them as they are a great source of food for some, and as far as introduced specises go one of the less destructive ones.  it also speaks to those of use who were born here in New Zealand with British Ancestors.  so i see it as honouring both peoples.

Tane and Hine Wall Hangings 005

Mahuika i depicted as a Goddess, using a fiery  red traditional Maori Design print fabric.  there are not a lot of Goddess with in the Maori Pantheon, and I am not sure if this is because of European influence when writing down such information or because some of the understanding of deity and gender was lost in translation, when the information was recorded. but Mahuika is often spoken about as a Grandmother, or Aunty, both of whom are respected women.  Mahuika is the Woman, who gave Maui Fire, but Maui being a bit of a trickster demi god of course got his cheeky self into trouble, but did manage to bring the secret of fire back to the people.  

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Spring is Coming

Spring is coming here in the Southern Hemisphere

Dandilions

I have taken a break from intensely reading about Magic, Paganism and the Esoteric for a spell.  I am about half way through several books, Kristoffer Hughs Cauldron BornAya: A Shamanic Odyssey by Rak R Razam, and Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival, by  Melusine Draco, which was sent to me by Moon Books  Pagan and Esoteric publisher, the book is due to be published this August.  All three I would like to review, but seeing as this is not a book review blog, I figured, it was time to post about something else.    So on my train rides to and from work I have been reading novels and pondering what to write about here.

While I have taken a small break from reading about Magic and Paganism, my Witchy practice as such and as off beat as it is, has not taken a break.  And this weekend was all about preparing for the coming spring.  This year for me spring has not come early as it has done so in other years, but it is coming and it’s not far off now.  I can almost smell it in the air.  My Saturday was spent taking a part of protest against the GCSB Bill,  with about 10,000 other New Zealanders around the country, which has left me with an image of a hand full of sand being held so tightly that the sand just slips through the fingers, and the hope that because governements all over the world are clawing so tightly to the way things were that, what will be in, and the people of that future will slip through their fingers.  But I digress.

My Sunday was about spring cleaning.  It was a glorious sunny day on Sunday and apparently time to spring clean my room, dusting my various altars, picking up all my clothes from the corner of my room, and chasing the dust bunnies out the door.  I cleansed as I went, as is the witches way really, using two smudge sticks made by a fellow Witch and Artist, both work wonderfully and whats more smell great.

So for your viewing pleasure, some of the fruits of my labour.

The Goddess Altar, and the God Altar

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A little while ago I decided that I wanted to explore masculine and feminine as such.  It is much talked about within the various pagan traditions, and comes in many different forms, Goddess and God, Lord and Lady, Brigid and Lughnasadh, Dark God and Light God, Dark Goddess and Light Goddess, the list goes on.  So in order to help me understand the masculine and feminine I decided to create two altars, which are more like shrines, one for the Goddess and One for the God.

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Did I discover anything new about said Goddess and Gods? The Masculine and the Feminine?  Sort of yes and sort of I am still working on that.. I figure it is an on-going process like most things on this path.

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This is my current working altar, which is new, not the working altar so much as what is on it and how this has been arranged.  You see I am going to do some exploratory work on what is known here in New Zealand as Kiwiana, which I figure one day will be our folklore.  It sort of is already but not called that. When you Google New Zealand folklore you usually get Maori Mythology and Legends, which is all very well but I feel that it only tells part of the story.  What about the traditions the Europeans brought with them when they immigrated here? It was not so long ago that I can call them folk traditions, but there were various traditions that arrived on our shores with the settlers which has evolved into something distinctly Kiwi,  hence my exploration into Kiwiana.

In short Kiwiana   is a collection of objects that have over the last 100 – 150 years or so become iconic.  Some are old, as such and others are not that old.  Some are Maori in origin, for example the Tiki of which I have two forms on my working altar. (the statue on the right, and the green figure hanging on the glass thing in the middle)   Other objects, are from the countries where the settlers came from, for example Lamingtons, a sponge cake coated with strawberry or chocolate thin icing and coated in coconut, which could be Australian in origin, or actually Hungarian, where it is called coconut cake, or coconut square but in Hungarian of course. What is important here, is that they are quite iconically kiwi, hence the title Kiwiana.  Over the next little while in amongst the various reviews and other posts I am hoping to also explore various aspects of Kiwiana and its magical application.

kiwiana

Photo taken from here

Now I am going to be using a principle that comes from American Hoodoo and root work, which is, from what I understand that Hoodoo and Root workers used pretty much what was on hand.  So instead of purchasing expensive and hard to get object and ingredients to do their hexing and root work they relied on local knowledge and a keen mind to use what was on hand.  So with these things in mind I am going to be exploring Kiwiana and with magical uses in mind, exploring the objects that I already have and their magical, spiritual and kiwi meanings.

 

 

The Māori Oracle By P.A Minnell a Review

Maori Oracle

Right from the start I will tell you that I know PM Minnell, and have known her for years, I know her as Polli with an I because I am Polly with a Y, I meet her at a pagan festival many many years ago and while we have not meet face to face very often we certainly hit it of and I consider her to be a friend.  I was thrilled to learn that she had created these cards and book and was having them published all professional like.. how exciting is that.  So as soon as they came out and I was able I ran of to my local metaphysical store and ordered a set.  I was very curious as to what they would look like in person, so to speak, I had seen several of the image on Polli’s face book and was intrigued.  And I have to say very attracted to the New Zealandness.

I was a little surprised that these cards and deck had been picked up by an overseas publisher, but also not surprised as New Zealand is in comparison to most other places a tiny county a very long way off from anywhere, and we have a considerably small population.  But I know that these cards will sell well on an international market as they are and will be for many exotic seeming.  To me they are not so exotic so much as homely.. If that makes sense? *ponders this*  What makes these cards standout is that Polli has strong Māori heritage so is speaking from experience and the way these cards are presented in the book people weather they use them for divination purposes or not will be learning some very interesting things about Māori language, spirituality, mythology, culture and customs, all of which is difficult to extract out in any single thing because they are very tied into the Māori world view and cosmology.  If you want to know more then you are just going to have to purchase the set and read the book for yourselves. My deck and book arrived just after the winter solstice, well into the season of Matariki, which is the Māori New Year and a very apt time of year to receive this particular deck.

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There are 58 Cards with pictures of native bird, plants, trees and Māori objects, so even if you never use the cards for readings just looking at the various pictures and reading the corresponding page in the 80 page booklet they come with, you will be learning new and interesting things about Māori Culture and New Zealand. 

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I really like the box these cards come in,  magnetic closure.  The box is designed to keep the cards in rather than just being packaging, and I have to say that is most excellent.

The Cards themselves are a good size for shuffling and they feel nice in the hands, they are glossy so strike me as being quite hardy and will last a long time with regular use, which I think is important for any oracle type deck.  The back ground of these cards is green with a lovely Māori carving motif also in green, which brings out the actual pictures of what the card is nicely.  I like the drawings of these cards, it looks like they were hand drawn on parchment paper and then digitised and made into cards.  This lends a very kiwi ingenuity feel to the deck while the artwork remains lovely and appealing to look at. 

The book is written in a very accessible way, with an excellent pronunciation guide, and sections on spirituality, ancestors, [tipuna] and a very detailed section on how to treat these cards, which I found very interesting, things that I am accustom to mostly, *smiles*.   Polli points out that you do not have to follow what she has written exactly, but instead points out that these cards and probably other decks of divination cards that you own are Tohunga, a sacred treasure and should be treated as such, whether you follow the Māori traditions as instructed in the booklet or you have your own way of honouring them, or use a tradition from you own ancestry, the important thing is to acknowledge that they are special, sacred, they are set apart from the everyday world.

I also enjoyed the various myths and mythology that is associated with each of the cards explanations and the brief but evocative bits of mythology found at the beginning of the book and through out it really.. it adds a nice mystical? Magical? And for me homey feel to it.

So reading these cards

“All Knowledge, in Maoirdom, is said to come from three baskets called Nga Putea Wananga” and it is a three card spread that is used with the Māori Oracle.  The first Card/Basket representing Knowledge of the physical world, the second Card Basket represent customs laws and what is right, and the third card/basket about magical and spiritual knowledge.  For me these will be a deck of cards that I use in situations when I need some very personal and gentle clarification, and or understanding, for when I needed some gentle but a deeper understanding of my own magical path, as a Witch in New Zealand. 

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From the booklet I get the impression that these cards are designed for personal work rather than being a deck that is pronominally used to read for other people.  This is not to say that they can’t be used to read for others. It is also important to note that while the author has very strong suggestions about how to treat these cards, and work with them, Polli does go on to say that these are just suggestions what I understand about what is empathising is about treating these cards as special, sacred, and about how you can connect with your ancestors.  About the only thing I can see wrong or wish about this book and deck is that I wish the book was longer.. I enjoyed reading it, there was much food for thought.

All in all I have enjoyed reading the book and having a little titu [play] with the cards.  Like I said I will be using these when I am looking for some clarity on specific problem solving, they will not be an everyday kinda deck, they feel too special for that.  These cards will live in their lovely study box, along with a reading cloth, because that feels right.  These cards are also going to be most helpful as I begin research into something called Kiwiana, and its magical applications? But that is for another post.

Like the back of the box says these cards and booklet will be useful for anybody in any culture, and along the way you will lean some unique things about Māori Culture and spirituality and a little more about Aotearoa ♥

I give this oracle deck 5 cups of tea out of 5!  A most excellent oracle deck!

cup of teacup of teacup of teacup of teacup of tea

This review was written during a swarm of very rattling earthquakes 

here in Wellington.. just so you know.. O.O

Recently I got a flurry of various tarot cards, oracle cards and electronic cards, several books, also both physical and electronic..(There will eventually be some reviews) so while I am busy reading playing and coveting my new shinnies, I will leave you with some interesting things I have read in my corner of the pagan interwebs.  And a couple of interesting thoughts I have had, in lew of an actual post.. enjoy!

The Gospel of the Princess Bride

princess bride

 This from the Quaker Pagan blog, caught my interest this week as it speaks to the way I have been feeling of late about the Pagan community here in Wellington, especially the bit about old and new, as the people change in the group,  new people come through, take leadership rolls, change is inevitable.  So it is nice to know that this is somewhat normal.

Next up this week was the Wild Hunt an excellent blog/pagan news site that you should be visiting regularly anyway, mostly based in teh northern hemisphere but it has some excellent contributers, good articles, and good Pagan Reporters

Adventures in Self Publishing With John Matthews

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This is of interest to me because I have after much deliberation and research gotten an Ipad mini.. which love, and with this I have started reading electronic books, and being that I am a Witch who is also an avid reader, I have spent some time searching the internets for good electronic books on a variety of Pagan subjects, from Ariadia to Voudou, from Traditional Witchcraft to Asatru, from Tarot to Seers there is quite a lot out there.  And now apparently there will be more..

It is also of interest as my yet unfinished masters thesis is about modern pagan books and how they have developed, changed, been published and by whom so a most interesting read.

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Wildwood Tarot

Some interesting conversations I had revolved around tarot cards, physical or electronic, and how people found electronic verse physical.. for reading and sacredness.. then I wondered, as I stared at my shine ipad mini, how would you go about cleansing them? Or making your electronic reading device sacred?  So far I have a nice cover, and have filled it with pagan ebooks, and two card apps, as well as a moon app.. that should do it..  what do you reccon?  Maybe I will put that on the list of blog post ideas..

And meanwhile in Canada, where my Canadian pagans resided the first Witches Sabbat Weekend has happened at Ravens Knoll , put together by several wonderful people, you can find out more about them here .  So I will leave you with this wonderful picture of hold Horney.

Taken by the lovely Angela G
Taken by the lovely Angela G

The Cloak

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The Cloak
By Polly Lind
2013

She sits there plating, knotting and weaving, as she learned to do so many years ago when she went to live with her Grandmother.  It was the tradition in her family.

She plucks a feather from the basket at her side and weaves it into the cloak she is making and she remembers.  She remembers how homesick she was those first few weeks of living with her Nan and how she missed her mother.  And how, many a night, with tears, she had fallen asleep in her Nana’s lap while Nana stroked her long dark hair, and whispered, shh bar bar shhh bar bar.

She plucks a feather from the basket and weaves it into the cloak she is making and she remembers.  She remembers that time when Nana woke her early one dark morning just after Matariki, that first year.  “It’s time’ Nan had told her and handed her some gumboots and a kit bag made out of flax.  After a quick breakfast, Nan had taken her out and shown her how to cut the flax and bundle it together so that it could be brought back. 

She plucks a feather from the basket and knots it into the cloak she is making and she remembers.  She remembers on the walk back from cutting the fax Nan had shown her plants that healed, plants that you could eat and those that were poisonous to eat but could be used in other ways.  And so it was that every time she and Nan went out to cut the flax, she would also learn about the flora and fauna, what was good to eat and what to use for healing.

She plucks a feather from the basket and glances across the room where her Nan is, cold up of tea by her side, but she must not stop weaving as she has a cloak to finish and there is not much time.  She remembers, she remembers when Nan gave her the basket for collecting feathers, and how the basket had been in her family for a very long time, and that she was only to collect black feathers in this basket. 

She plucks a feather from the basket and plaits it into the cloak she is making and she remembers.  She remembers Nan’s two best friends, sisters really.  Noelene and Mavis and how they used to visit each other, staying a night or two.  They too had their granddaughters living with them as was the way of the weaver sisters. 

She plucks a feather form the basket and weaves it into the cloak she is making and she remembers.  She remembers how Mavis taught her to measure the flax so that it would be turned into fibre and used for weaving, plaiting and knotting.  Mavis also taught her how to sew and how to brew beer.

She plucks a feather from the basket and knots it into the cloak she is making and she remembers.  She remembers that it was Nolene who taught her to weave the flax.  She started of with weaving a small square basket with a lid.  Nolene had instructed her that this basket was to collect only white feathers. 

She plucks a feather from the basket, this time a white feather from the smaller basket and glances out the window, to where the men are preparing the hungi, the earth oven and she remembers.  She remembers the night Richard was born and how in the middle of the night Nolene had come and gotten Nan in a flurry of activity and worry.   Nolene and Nana often helped to deliver babies. 

She plucks a feather from the basket and weaves it into the cloak she is making and remembers.  She remembers helping to bring Richard into the world, and how in the process his mother had died, which sometimes happens as Nan had explained later that evening as they were cleaning up and Nolene was instructing Richards father on how to take care of his newborn son.  

She plucks another feather from the basket and weaves it into the cloak she is making and she remembers.  She remembers the day Richard as a small boy came running into the house saying, nay, screaming at how he had killed his older brother.  Hemi however was not dead, he had fallen out of the Pohutukawa tree and had passed out from the pain of his broken leg.  She and Nan soon had Hemi patched up and off to hospital, and Richard calmed down enough so he could go and tell his father what had happened.  She always did have a soft spot in her heart for Richard after that.

She plucks a feather from the basket and notices that there are only a few feathers left.  She is almost finished.  She remembers, she remembers her first born, a son, she had, had him when she was just 19.  Nan was none too pleased but welcomed him with as much love and pride as she did all the children the night he was born.  He is a grown man now, just finished university. 

She plucks a feather from the basked and weaves it in to the cloak she has nearly finished and she remembers.  She remembers when her daughter was born, she was about 25 then.  Nan was well pleased as 25 was a much more suitable age, but then Nan could be a bit old-fashioned about some things.  She lives with her grandmother now, as is the way of the weaver women.  She is almost old enough to have a daughter of her own.

She plucks the last feather from the basket and knots it into the cloak.  She ties off the excess flax and plaits the longer bits for decoration.  She stands and carefully removes the cloak from the frame and she shakes it out.  On the outside of the cloak is woven flax in an interesting but uniform pattern.  On the inside thought, on the inside there are black feathers with a smattering of white in a distinct and familiar pattern.  As she is looking at the inside of the cloak she realises that this, this is a door way to the universe.