Blog

Raising Up Power: A Midsummer Reflection

“The God is wild, but his is the wildness of connection, not of domination and violence. Wildness is not the same as violence. Gentleness and tenderness do not translate into wimpiness.”

“In the Craft, we do not believe in the Goddess ~~ we connect with her; through the moon, the stars, the ocean, the earth, through trees, animals, through other human beings, through ourselves. She is here. She is within us all” ― Starhawk

Recently, we celebrated the Sabbat of Litha. Litha is a time during the cycle of the year in which we honor the masculne energies of the world and lift up in celebration the God at the height of his power. It was a beautiful ritual, my very first Sabbat– intense and full of energy. Looking out the window of a dark and lonely room, it was as if all the light, power, and connection of the God was bursting through. Reflecting, I find myself blending theologies as a former Christian seminarian and as a current student of Aquarian Age Wicca. I wonder, as we witnessed the drawing down of the sun into the body of a priest, are we also experiencing what Christian tradition would call the Imago Dei, the image of God within us– our own sacred divinity at play? 

It is easy to forget the divine grace that resides in all living things: in plants that are destroyed by global warming, in animals lined up for the slaughter, and in the flaws, brutality, and fragility of human experience. Most days it’s hard for me as a person with PTSD to remember my own sacredness, my own blessedness, and it is even harder to ever imagine reaching any height of strength or power like the God.

Therefore, I found myself wrestling with a question that night: As the sun continues to burn at its brightest and longest in these summer months, how did he get there? How did this God who once was merely an infant in the arms of the Goddess ignite his greatest of strengths? 

Like the God, we too are infants, sobbing and struggling in our mother Goddess’ arms. Frail yet resilient. Fractured yet determined. Underprepared for this world and yet in constant forward motion. And like this once infant God, I realized– we are never alone. You are never alone.

The Goddess above and within walks alongside us. Picking us up as we fall, teaching us, loving us, and sometimes even scolding us so that we, like the God, might also grow in power. 

 I wonder what it would look like to see the Goddess in all that we encounter: in the flowers and the water, in the candle flame, in sparrow or rabbit, in me…in you. How might we raise one another up as a Goddess community? As a reflection of the way in which the Goddess raised up the God? 

How might we care for one another as she cared for him? How might we cradle the vulnerable in our circle of arms? Our intentional embrace? How do we kindle and ignite the power of one another? 

There are many in this world who are made vulnerable, not by choice, but by violence and greed. We see it in the enslavement of human beings, in colonialism, in capitalism, in factory farms, in health care. We see it everywhere. Beings who are beautifully and wonderfully divine, and who are suffering; their growth and their power and their light forcibly restricted. 

As students of Wicca we are called first and foremost to do no harm. So, I ask us all: How might we honor the Sabbat of Litha in our daily practice? How might we honor the divine in ourselves and in one another? What will I do today, what will you do today, what will we as a community of faith do today to lift up, raise up, and empower all beings so that they, like the God, might shine long and bright. Change is coming, power is coming, let us be the ones to help shepherd it in as we continue to traverse through this Aquarian Age.

By CJBC

200 Days

 

For 200 days, I’ve been Vegan. In that time, 200 lives have been saved. In that time, I’ve discovered countless ways of eating plant based and cruelty-free. Many questions with heavy implications have been asked of me: “How long will you be vegan?” “How much weight have you lost?” “Why would you give up meat?” “How will you get your protein?”, and many more. I’m not annoyed by the questions or comments. I actually embrace them and take advantage of the teaching opportunities. Most don’t understand my decision, and that is fine by me. I’m not here to tell others what to do. I’m here to lead by example. 

My dad, grandpa, and great grandpa were all butchers. I grew up in slaughter houses and butcher shops. I knew no other options. I also knew that unless my dad cooked the meat I was eating, I would not eat it. I never really liked eating animals. Unfortunately, I felt that I didn’t have any other options. 

Once I became a part of AAW and was taught very briefly about vegan lifestyle, I was intrigued. I did my research and learned all kinds of ways to live your life without hurting animals. During one ritual we did, while reciting the Wiccan Rede, the mantra “Do no Harm,” really hit me. I had this tightness in my stomach and I just was not able to shake it. I woke up the next morning and said “This is it, no more harm!”. On Sunday December 4th, 2019 I told myself that I would do no harm. From that point on I made sure that with every walk, with every thought, with every word, and with every meal I would do everything in my power to harm none. 37 years old and I have managed to break a life long habit. 

With that said, here are the answers to the questions. “How long will I be vegan?”, I will always be vegan. “How much weight have you lost?”, I have lost the weight of 200 animals that are still able to live and breathe because of my choice. “Why would you give up meat?”, I don’t feel like I’m giving up anything. I’m giving animal lives an opportunity to breathe. “How will you get your protein?”, “I will get my protein from plants and eating a variety of plant based meals.” 

I love all and live to protect all. Just because animals can not communicate with us clearly does not give us license to harm them. They still feel, they cry, they scream, and they deserve to live.

Written by Janine Portillo https://linktr.ee/Janineportillo

Aquarian Age Wicca: A Community of New Age Witches

 Astral Spirit Animals and why do we sometimes neglect them?

Today I thought I’d talk about something that a lot of people seek to hear more about: Spirit Animals. How many of you neglect to spend the ample time needed to forge a connection with your spirit animal? Not all of us. But many of us do. My own spirit animal has told me off on many the occasion for not spending enough time with him. So let’s start from the beginning: what is a spirit animal? In Wicca, this simply is a term for an astral guide whom we were born connected to. We are their connection on earth and they are our connection to the astral. We were born connected. You can have many guides come and go throughout your life but only one birth guide. When I was learning Wicca, this was taught to me to be called my *birth spirit animal*. Your spirit animal is likely not what you think it is. Most people tell me they have a wolf or a hawk or an owl – sometimes , more often than not, their spirit animal is a turtle or a beetle or a toad. They are probably an animal you haven’t thought of. And could be strangely specific too. I’ve had someone come to me for teaching and I discover their spirit animal is an animal that’s extinct on earth! Or, rare but possible you could have a human spirit animal. Humans are animals after all. What is not likely to be your spirit animal and I’d likely tell you is something visiting you entirely different: any mystical animal that is “made up” on this realm but is entirely real in another realm – if one of those contacted you, they probably belong to the fae realm and are not your spirit animal. Your spirit animal belongs to the astral realm. This may sound confusing but once you explore the astral more it will make sense to you.

Why do I avoid spirit animal circles in the Wiccan community or circles I’ve held and when I have had them why are they generally unsuccessful? This is because most spirit animals aren’t a big fan of circling with your pagan friend and all their spirit animals. There are always one or two that show up but many specifically don’t show up because they are nervous, or they show but are annoyed or shy about being called upon for frivolous reasons. Imagine it like all the spirit animals of your pagan friends get together and call you to the astral realm at once and you’re trying to do something important with your family here on earth but now you have this nagging feeling you are being summoned to the astral realm and the feeling wont go away – its like that.

The connecting with your spirit animal is very personal. The best way to meet them and grow a strong connection is to go visit them in the astral realm often, and to encourage them to come visit you here in your realm as much as they like. Sometimes they will walk around with you in this realm when you are doing day to day tasks! My spirit animal has joined me on vacation before. One time I was at an antique store and there was a bowl he liked. He told me to buy it as an offering to him to have in my home. I said to him “its over $100. If they let me have it for $50 I’ll get it for you.” I said this to him knowing that what store owner is going to give me 50 percent off an item – I figured it just wasn’t going to happen. I asked the store keeper “Are you willing to go any lower on this?” At first, the shopkeeper looked maybe slightly annoyed and then a look came over his face like he was totally overcome with confusion and he said “You can have it for $40.” The other shopkeeper protested but the man who made the $40 offer was firm. I was beaten by own sneaky spirit animal who influenced a shopkeeper. I smiled to myself and begrudgingly bought the bowl.

If you don’t have the kind of connection yet where you can just walk around with your spirit animal and talk to them, try to set out offerings and ask for them to come greet you in a circle.

Remember that you are here for your spirit animal and they are here for you. They are not here to serve you or please you. It is a mutual relationship with give and take. It is easy to neglect your spirit animal. But the first step to astral work and astral adventures once you have your energy work down, is developing this connection, so it is crucial to talk to them often if you want to strengthen that bond.