Tag: astrology

You want to be a Witch?

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Get yourself a book, darling

I often get inquiries from what the internet has termed “baby witches.” As time goes on, I’m less enamored with that term, but people instantly know what you’re talking about. However, I am likely to use Novice Practitioner, or Emerging Witch or some such instead. Regardless of the term used, those beginning on their magical path ask me about how to learn. Without hesitation, I tell them to begin to grow their Witch Library. Read everything you can get your hands on. Use what speaks to you; discard what you don’t vibe with naturally; and embody the things you love. 

When I was first starting on my path, circa 1979ish, hunting down books on living a magical life were harder to find than they are now in this time of “new age” shelves at commercial book stores. Calling yourself a Witch in public was not as accepted as it is today or even necessarily safe. For many of us, we still work under a glamour of “normalcy.” Finding books became a bit easier with the strengthening of Weiser Books, Llewellyn, or even the now defunct Walking Stick Press, and of course that behemoth Amazon, and the surge of independent publishing. My Kindle was my mobile Witch library whilst living the traveling life and holds dozens of Witchy texts like Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic by Lisa Lister, Intuitive Witchcraft by Astrea Taylor, and Waking the Witch by Pam Grossman. But back when I was a Wtichlet, I had to hunt libraries, and used book stores, couching it in terms of Neo Spiritualism or Occult Curiosity. One particular Saturday, all dressed in black with matching gothy eyeliner and obnoxious pentagram earrings, the clerk in a long-gone secondhand book seller in the heart of Detroit pointed me to the very back room without a word. I still giggle about that.

Reading with the familiars (Granny Shadow & Ms. Snickle Fritz), one of my favorite pastimes and how I grow my craft.

One of the first books I read on magic was Witch Amongst Us by Lois Bourne, who entertained letters from a young girl living in the East side of Detroit. This led me to The Spiral Dance by Starhawk, whose continuing bibliography populates my bookshelves, both physically and digitally. Next I found myself reading Positive Magic by Marion Weinstein, which I often re-read when things looked dark. Yes, I re-read it in 2020. The point is I systematically found myself reading everything I could get my hands on — books on crystals and spells and on and on. 

When I lived in Europe (1993-1996), I was able to get many more volumes on everything from palmistry to tea-leaf reading. I spent time in the woods or on mountaintops with established covens and learned more from them. It was then that I learned about dream interpretation and Runes and deepened my connection to those things as well as herbalism and alchemy. And although I encountered people along my journey that shared and gifted me some of their knowledge the bulk of it has been by self-education through reading and practicing.

You can explore everything and really dive deep into the callings that speak to you best via books, whether it be Moon Magic, Solar Holy Days, or Divination, and more. It’s out there to explore. My tactic was to acquire everything I could and read everything I could. In doing so, I recognized that things like Wicca didn’t appeal to me, and that being in a coven or circle wasn’t always good for my energy. I felt more empowered and aligned with the cosmic energies by doing my craft as a solitary. 

My Library before The Great Purge of 2017.

I am currently in the midst of rebuilding my Witch library, having gifted many of my books in the great purge of 2017, including the first volumes that nudged me along my path, as we readied for a life of nomadic existence. Thankfully, I had my book of shadows throughout the years and those records let me know where I need to refresh my Witchcraft texts. As I rebuild this library, I plan to post reviews of books I read that would appeal to both early and experienced Mystics, Witches, Healers, Lightworkers, Energy Workers, or any of the other names that Witches call themselves. I hope to do the first review here next week. So look for a continuation of this Witches Library discussion to come. 

Slowly but surely rebuilding my Witch Library. As I do, I’ll review the books here.

If you are just beginning on your magical path, may I suggest you meditate and ask Source to guide you to what book(s) would serve you best and allow you to be your truest self and live your best life. You could also just go into a book store and head over to their spirituality shelf and find something that makes you pick it up. 

Like many Witches having a library, a garden, and some familiars makes life super magical. And they all seem to go hand in hand, like a Triple Goddess Venn Diagram. What books did you start with on your path? What books are you looking for? Where is your favorite place to read? Do this Writing Witch a solid and tell me what book has informed your path and clarified things for you. If you, like me, had to sell all your books, which ones would you keep? If you’re re-building a library, like me, which ones are must haves? Let’s talk books, Witches. 

Astro Profiling

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We Are All The Signs

Witches and Pagans are typically a very inclusive group, until people start mentioning zodiac signs and talk astrology. Then it’s “those Geminis!” or “Are you kidding me? A Taurus?” As someone who has their Sun in Scorpio, I have heard all the things about how I’m “such a typical Scorpio…” and think about nothing but vengeance and sex. However, I’ve never been one for vengeance, it’s not worth my magic; and well, sex…sex is good. I mean, it’s a delicious part of life as a human, but I hardly think about it nonstop. My very first astrologic reading (decades ago) was very much what I have come to term as “Astro Profiling.” The reader seemed to pick not just every stereotype about Scorpio, but all the negative ones. Fortunately, I was not about to listen to that.

As we entered Aquarius season, I’m hearing all the things about how Aquarians are this and that. Married to one, I can attest that they are not these analytical, stand-offish creature; nor are they simply some kind of air-headed hippy child. Also, so many people were like “He’s an Aquarius; you’re a Scorpio, it won’t work.” After 15 years, I think we can prove that myth wrong. In short, none of us are the one thing! No two signs are exactly alike. If you know any twins, you know they are not exactly the same. Just because they look a like, they are not the same. No, they are individuals. Each of us is unique. We are not one thing or the other. We are multifaceted. Like any kind of profiling, Astro-Profiling is really not appropriate. I’m working hard to not fall into the trap of it. I’m hoping others will as well. In general, my hope with this post is to help us all spotlight and highlight where we have unhealthy patterns where astrology is concerned and how we might improve.

Now we’re all guilty of it. I mean, as much as I defend for all the Scorpios out there, or for the sun signs of all my loved ones — Aquarius, Pisces, Virgo, Libra… I’ve been known to talk shit about the Capricorns and Aries in my life. They make it harder to defend… but wait, see? That’s not all Capricorns and Aries. I know some pretty bitching people who are Capricorns and Aries. But many of them I’m not related to. Just kidding. Or am I? I mean if I was an Aries or Capricorn, I’d have a hard time believing some Scorpio was kidding. But that’s my point exactly. You have to believe a Scorpio is saying something nice about an Aries, and that Capricorns aren’t always as grounded and all-business as some people think. Think about it, have you used your sign as a crutch? Have you caught yourself saying, “Oh, sorry, I’m a Cancer, I can’t help it.” If you recognize that and your behavior is questionable, um, maybe you can help it.

This past year I decided that becoming even more versed in astrology was a path I needed to walk. What a blessing the Painted Goddess’ Astrologic Lab has been. The first class I attended was called “Everyone is a Virgo!” We happened to be in Virgo season during that, but each “season” our lovely professor astrologist brings that theme forward again: “We are all X sign.” Why is that? Well, of course there’s the influence of your rising sign and your moon sign, too. Then you have to know where the planets were when you were born. Does Mercury in Virgo affect how you communicate? You betcha!. How about where Venus was? Did it sit in Sagittarius when you were born, you better believe that will affect how you interact with people. Each planet, its aspects, how it sits and in relation to other planets and signs, they are a whole other piece of the pie that makes you who you are. So literally we all have more than our sun signs influencing us. There’s also Pluto generations and planetary returns (oh, hello Chiron!), and on and on. (If you want to know more, come join the lab!) You can see that it isn’t all one sided, or one-sign-ed.

I had just finished typing that paragraph and got pulled away from my studio because the familiars needed some outside time (oh my goodness it’s freezing out!), while I was waiting for them, I was scrolling Instagram and BAM! Serendipity how I adore you. @QueerCosmos (Colin Bedell) posted a quickie video about people basically doing the same thing, again RE: Aquarians. That Long Island accent makes it all the more poignant, don’t you think? <3 Ah, the collective conscience. It’s vibrations are everywhere. I felt so validated when I saw that post. Thank you, fellow astrology lover.

I mean it’s fun to see things about our sign we identify with, for sure. I’m guilty of sharing such things. How many of us have giggled and raised our hands and re-shared one of the  tons of cute tik-toks and IG Reels that are like, “here’s my impression of all the signs ordering food in a restaurant”? Again, in the case of many of those, I think, “hey, that’s not me.” And that’s because…yep, you guessed it, it’s a stereotype, generalization, or just a weird interpretation (outlier) of the natal data. I would be remiss, as well, to not point out that our circumstances as we develop into the person we are impact us immensely,  especially where all the “isms” are concerned — racism, classism, sexism, capitalism, and the like. These systems and applications to who we are hugely impact the kind of person we become, without a doubt. It’s not just about our birth date, time, and place.

Instead of astro-profiling, what we learn about tendencies in astrology about a particular sun sign are things we can use to understand ourselves better. Note I didn’t say judge ourselves better. Nope. Understand. Because isn’t that what the goal is of any of the paths we walk: understanding? Understanding of ourselves, our family and friends, our place on this planet and universe? When we reach that understanding we’re able to be our truest selves and live our best lives. So if you understand you’re a Cancer and you’re probably going to “mother” too much, you can check yourself before you wreck yourself. Follow? Understanding those tendencies lets us work towards a healthier way of living.

As with everything in life, as I’ve entered this crone phase, so much of what I deal with daily has become clearer, more focused, and I give much side-eye to anything “established,” except food forests. Established food forests are a good thing. 😉 Astrology and some of the profiling conventions which have been readily accepted are not established food forests. Let’s break that down and dispose of it like last week’s horoscope. If you can compost it, even better.

And let me clear the air right here, I don’t bite, even though I’m a Scorpio. ;P

~Runa