Rebirth of the Spirit

The winter solstice has come at last. The dark time of the year has come to an end and the sun is reborn. The days start getting longer but we are also in the coldest time of the year. On the one had light is returning but we must endure six more weeks of winter chill before spring arrives on February first.

I celebrated this solstice with my coven. We had a feast dedicated to Freyr and had a blot to the Norse gods, spirits of the land, and our ancestors. We made a sacrifice of red wine on the outdoor altar. After that, we sat around the outdoor sacred fire pit in our winter cloths for a journey to our sacred thirteen oaks to seek wisdom for the new year. It was minus 17 degrees celcius out there but there was something peaceful about listening to the fire cracks while the wind blew at our backs. Each of us received a vision from the flames that was meant just for us.

My vision was reflective of my inner conflict. Lately, I have been struggling with what it means to be a pagan priestess. Even the words themselves don’t feel right. I am not a leader but I do have special knowledge and experience in my pagan path to share. I am forced to walk the path of a spiritual leader, teacher, and practitioner. Since I am in such a small community of pagans, we have very few pagan leaders and teachers, which means that any of us who have even just a few years experience are forced onto a path that we might not be best suited for.

Taking control of your own spiritual path is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have. When I say you are your best teacher, I mean it. You don’t need someone to show you the way, you know the way, you have always known it. Having someone feed you directions will likely only get you lost. As the old saying goes, there’s more than one path up the mountain. That is to say that just because one person found a “safe path” up, does not mean that your path will be just as safe. In the same way that all snowflakes look exactly the same before they fall to Earth, they change as they fall until each one is completely different from the others.

I have been contemplating the title of “priestess” as is stands right now. I have been feeling that the term I have been using is too akin to that of the Wiccan system. I am not a High Priestess nor will I ever be. I do not practice Wiccan ritual magic and I do not fully follow the Wiccan belief system.. My own practice is more akin to that of shaman or in the Norse tradition, a Seiðr or a Völva. I have some ideas for how I want to grow my pagan path next year and I have been given some ideas on how to do that.

This past summer, I spent a full moon cycle working with Goddess energy. This year, I want to grow on that experience and bring in my work with the Gods. I won’t be dividing my time though, I will walk with both types of energies. I will likely be spending more time on research for the Norse traditions. I have been feeling more and more drawn to Norse energies over the last few years. Some of the ways in which I plan on bringing better understanding to the ways of my ancestors is to revive some of their domestic practices, including clothing, food, and fishing and hunting. I don’t want to just become a reenactor but more of a revivalist. In our modern age of industrialization and mechanization, it’s easy to lose touch with our roots.

I look to cultures like the Sami who have managed to keep their roots and participate in our modern world. While much of their culture has been forced to change to other spiritual beliefs in recent centuries, they too are finding revival in their spiritual connection to the gods of old. I would argue that since our culture is so caught up in consumerism, it’s very difficult for us to break away from it. It’s so much more easy to buy food, clothes, and other possessions than it is to make them ourselves. The only this is costs us is hours of our lives to fill someone else’s consumer need. We are literally trading our lives for stuff.

This holiday season, my family and I agreed to go on a trip instead of doing gifts. My brother and I are at the point in our lives where we don’t need any gifts. So instead of getting more stuff, our family is investing in time and an experience together. We are going to Hawaii for sixteen days. This will be the longest family vacation we have taken in years and the first non-Californian vacation since our Grand Canyon trip in 1992. Needless to say, we are long overdue for taking a trip together like this. I have been looking forward to this trip since we first decided on it in June. It will be nice to have a change of setting for a while and not worry about everyday life for a bit.

Hawaii has always been a place that holds a special magic, in particular the Goddess Pele. I am fortunate that we have chosen to go to the Big Island, Hawaii herself where the volcano Goddess Pele lives. I cannot wait to see the act of island creation at its source and see where lava spill into the ocean giving way to new life. Part of me thinks that it will be hard to get me away from this island once I get there. The only other place that holds this same kind of magic for me is Iceland.

I have been waiting for the Asatru temple in Iceland to be finished before I go there. I don’t expect it to be a long trip, maybe a week but I don’t want to go until that temple is finished. I wish that we had something like that here in Canada or even in British Columbia. We don’t have any dedicated pagan temples where I live. It’s not that we don’t have a vibrant community that could sustain it if one was built, it’s the work that it takes to get said temple off the ground. What will likely have to happen is an elderly pagan will have to give an endowment in order to get the process started. Kind of like how someone in my hometown had to give the land to the Catholic hall in order for it to have been built in the 1980s. Not there there aren’t enough empty churches in Kelowna, we just don’t have the capital to get them off of the ground. Talk about a lifetime goal. I hope that one day, I will have land to build some sort of covenstead on it. Of course, that’s getting way ahead of myself. For now, I will just focus on my personal pagan path and growing my own tradition.

Spiritsong Dreamweaver


Pagan Americana

Sometimes it’s hard to express myself when it comes to issues that are affecting both Canada and the United States. I am proudly a citizen of both countries, I was born and raised in Canada but since my Mother remained an American citizen, I grew up with ideals of both nations. I find it hard to accept a monarch ruler and I have deep devotion to democratic system. The day I had to swear an allegiance to the Queen and her family in order to write parking tickets in my municipal community left a dirty taste in my mouth. To this day, I deeply regret having signed those papers. However, the day I went in to sign the paperwork for my US citizenship and had to swear an allegiance to America, I felt oddly proud to be a part of that.

Granted, I don’t always agree with what either of my governments are doing but I am proud to be part of both nations. Even in the light of the recent waves of racism and a political leader who doesn’t seem to understand how the world works, my heart aches for those living in the states. I love Canada for taking a stand against any form of hate speech. We value someone’s person protection over the right to free speech. Which is backwards to the states where they value the right to free speech over the protection of the individual. You would think that our parents and grandparents taught us that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Maybe we should all take that lesson to heart again.

This era we will in is totally unlike any era before us. Our access to information has never been more complete. Through the use of the internet, we can find out about anything happening in our world. We don’t need the mainstream media to tell us what’s happening, we can read and watch it on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit. Blogs offer us the ability to see the events from an individual’s point of view. I don’t envy our future historians who have to piece together the true using the millions of points of views that now exists on the subject. We are so overwhelmed with information that it is easy to get lost in what is true and what is fake.

Sometimes, I long for an age where we didn’t know what was going on. We had only our own individual needs to meet. I suppose, we can still do that but it’s hard when you see people suffering in other places. As humans, we like to seek ways to solves problems, so when we see a problem that we can’t solve by creating something, we don’t know what to do. There might come a time when the only thing we can do is give things up and make certain sacrifices. In regards to climate change and the use of fossil fuels, we might need to stop owning cars and start building trains again.

As a pagan living in this world of extremism, it’s hard for me to sympathize with the fundamentalist. Can you imagine if pagans united under a pantheon organized themselves to become extremists? Can you say return of the Vikings? Vikings were a proud people with rules, a written language, stories of the Gods, morals and values all their own. To die in battle was the highest honor. The rights of women and children defined by law but also the rules around slaves. They were not so unlike the Romans and Greeks in this regard. Can you say that our society is any more evolved than those? It’s only been 1700 years since the Romans became Christian. Did they really change? No, they kept doing the same thing only under a different God’s name.

When you get right down the bottom of it all, our society runs on the desire to own things. Whether it’s people, property, or possessions, we want things. For the most part, we let our media dictate what we want and keeps us distracted from our true purpose.

Can you say that you are truly satisfied with what you own?
Can you say that there isn’t something else that you want to make you more complete?
Are you filled with contentment?

If you said, “No,” to any of these questions, then you too are caught in the consumer trap. Sadly, we are all trapped in it. Our government needs us to be trapped in it so that they can continue to operate. There’s no easy way to stop it aside from stop buying “stuff”. That’s no easy task for sure. I actually started a group and page on Facebook called “Call of the Wild Pagan” dedicated to finding ways for pagans to start reclaiming some of those old practices of self sufficiency. The Facebook page shares articles about anything from hunting to making your own clothing and the group is setup for creating discussion and meet ups where people can try these things for themselves. One day, I would like to go so far as to help create traditions and ceremonies for these tasks like our ancestors did.

There are plenty of pagan sites out there like the ones I set up but I have found that many of them preach “White Pride” but not racism. Don’t kid yourself, white pride is racism. It’s the slogan used by many racist organizations such as the KKK and the neo-nazis. You don’t need white pride, you need cultural revitalization. You can be proud of your cultural heritage without falling into the trap of being associated with white supremacists. You can reclaim your heritage without needing to squash the beliefs of others and you can be better than other groups by opening your door to all who wish to learn about them. Just because you were excluded from a cultural event based on the color of your skin, does not mean that you need to do the same to others. You can be the better human, you can create a better world simply by not contributing to hate.

Blessed be,

Priestess Spiritsong

Out of the Broom Closet

There are still people out there that fear witches. I would say without any real good reason but it’s enough that some witches and pagans feel the need to hide their beliefs and practices from their friends, family, and coworkers. It’s what we in the community call, “Staying in the broom closet.”

I am most definitely out of the broom closet. I have have been since I was in college. At first, it was just with friends and immediate family but over time, I became more public about it. With the changes in technology and the adaption of social media, it is easier to be “out” as a witch then ever before. I have been writing pagan blogs for a few years now and been part of a few public pagan organizations in my community. I have no problems talking about my beliefs and practices with the public or being a public face for witches and pagans.

I can understand why some people would want to stay out of the public with their beliefs. I remember a friend who once told me that I was going to hell because of my witchcraft. I remember being really hurt by that because I don’t actually believe in a “hell” or the concept of “sin”, I believe in morality & ethics, not sin & damnation. However, that does not stop others from forcing their beliefs upon me. That being said, I know now that my friend was coming from a place of love, even if a little misdirected. One should never come to any religion or belief out of fear because fear only begets more fear. Since that time, I have come to just say, “Thank you for your thoughts of concern,” to those who attack me for my beliefs. I can tell you, it’s only happened once in the last ten year from a guy who came to Jesus out of his fear of damnation. I guess he figured just by being close to pagans, he would be damn to Hell (I always ask, is that one “L” or two?). Fun fact, the words “God” and “Hell” both come from old Norse and they refer to Odin, ruler of the Norse Gods, and Hel, the place where the dishonored go when they die.

I remain public with my pagan practice because I want to create a world where everyone can practice their spirituality without fear. I do not live in any kind of fear of what someone will try to do to me because I know that I have the laws of my country on my side. That and the confidence that most people don’t actually care what I believe and practice.

If you are still waiting to come out as a witch or pagan, take your time. There’s no rushing these things but when you do, know that there are others out there like you and will be there to support you.

Blessed be!

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

How I Came to Being a Pagan

I have always been a child of nature. I have the luxury of growing up close to the wild outdoors and spending a lot of time exploring. When I was kid, I used to pretend I was a witch like the ones in Hocus Pocus (just not evil like they are).

It was the spring of 1998 and I was 15 years old, my mom and I visited a new metaphysical store in Salmon Arm called, “Spirit Quest: Books & Gifts”. This was the first metaphysical store I could remember being in and on the shelf there was a whole section of Wicca & Witchcraft books. I had been watching a lot of Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and had learned about Wicca from doing some online searches. The internet was so new to me that I didn’t really know what to look for. So, my mom let me get a copy of Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca for a Solitary Practitioner”.

From there, I learned the basics of meditation, altar set up, the spirituality of the Horned God & Moon Goddess, the Wheel of the Year, and ritual magic work. I kept a book of shadows, I created my first wand from a branch in the woods, and used a pocket knife as my first athame. I spent many hours in meditation and contemplation of the Goddess and God. I created my first spells, mostly for love like many teenage girls do.

I was mostly private about my practices during my years in high school. I had a few friends who were interested but no one really wanted to start a coven. It wasn’t until I was in university when I started seeking out other witches and pagans. I met some of the local priesthood and various other practitioners through Witches Vox and yahoo groups but I still kept mostly to myself.

There was a brief time where I was exploring other paths like Christianity, Buddhism, and Shinto. I almost converted to Christianity but at the end of the day, I knew that I was pagan. I could not get on board with a religion that was so unforgiving to women and other beliefs.

I reached a point in 2013 where I wanted to deepen my experience with my practice, so I joined up with a teaching coven out of Vernon, BC. I learned more about the Wiccan ritual format for coven work, esbats, and sabbats. Eventually, I reached a point where I wanted something less formal in my practice and less hierarchical with my group work.

I ended up leaving that Wiccan tradition in the fall of 2015 and started a new tradition with two other pagan friends who also wanted to start coven work but under our own terms. Since that time, we have been working forming our own style of ritual work, learning shamanic practices, and playing with our own spell work. We are in our second year of work and we are just getting our style down.

Today, I have a strange mix of Wiccan, Druid, Norse, and Hindu beliefs. I am a certified yoga teacher and I have been bringing elements of that into my pagan practice. They go so well with European pagan traditions that it’s not hard to weave them together. I am what most would call an eclectic witch and pagan.

Merry Met!

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver

What is a pagan?

There seems to be this idea out there that people who live a pagan lifestyle have to be wizards and witches in funny hats and fly around on brooms and dance around the fire in the moonlight. Okay, yes, for some pagans, that is exactly what they do. For me and others of a more quiet pagan path, we try to live it everyday in some form or another.

In some Wiccan traditions, you would only practice your craft during full moons and the solars festivals but you don’t have to wait. Pagans aren’t set to a dogma that makes them attend church one day a week or pray every morning at sunrise and sunset. Pagans actually have there freedom to follow their own path. There’s no big secret to taking your pagan practice into an everyday life, it’s really up to you and how you want to practice.

There is only one rules to pagan practice and it’s that there are no rules. So then, what do I mean when I say pagan practice if there is no rules to it? To practice your pagan path is to make a conscious acknowledgement that you want to have a deeper connection with nature and the world around you. The word “pagan” comes from the Latin word “paganus”, meaning from the countryside or of the land. It was brought back into use around the renaissance age to describe a people who do not follow Christ. In a sense it became the common term to describe people who work with the land and spirits of the earth in their daily life. In our more open minded and modern age, we use it to label people have returned to following the ways of our ancient ancestors in regards to nature worship.

What exactly does a modern pagan do? Quite simply, we follow the changes of the seasons or the phases of the moon and seek guidance from the spirits who preside over those changes to help us in our journey. For some, they seek changes using witchcraft means and others use shamanic techniques to seek guidance. Others simply following the solar festivals to help guide them through life by using the lessons of the changing seasons. I, of course, am making it overly simple but I will go into more details about these at a later date, this is really just an intro for new people on the pagan path.

There are a great number of different pagan paths you can walk with their own set traditions, some of the more popular are: Druid, Wiccan, and Heathen. These are all European in origin and for those of us living most of our lives in North America, it’s hard to understand how these paths even relate to us. However, if you start to follow the Wheel of the Year and you live in an area with the four seasons, then you can see how they can work in North America. However, if you live in an area that is basically warm all year, it makes it harder. I do not have this experience since I live in a four seasons area of Canada. The Okanagan has a similar climate to many places in Europe and as such, I am able to follow the Wheel of the Year.

I am not part of any single pagan path, I have a mixture of pagan practices. In my coven, we pull from Wiccan, Druid, and Heathen for our influences. I would call us eclectic pagans and we practice a form of hedgewitchery.

If you are looking to start walking a pagan path, my very first suggestion for you would be to pick up a notebook and start recording your thoughts, feelings, and observations about nature. Some pagans call their notebooks their Book of Shadows or their Grimoire. This is the place where they keep all their spell work, their dream records, and any of their experiences with their pagan path. I have had many different Books of Shadows since I started my pagan path 19 years ago. The one I currently use is one that I made myself and it’s very me. I will do a future post about my Book of Shadows so that you can see it and how I work with it.

There is a certain amount of personal study involved in being pagan as it’s a very self exploration path as well as observational about your natural world.

Blessed Be~

Priestess Spiritsong Dreamweaver