Serious Magic on the Witches’ New Year


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Samhain is nearly here and I find I’m not in the mood for witty, outrageous, creative Halloween costumes or parties. Nor for the memes and photos of Halloween I’m seeing in social media. It is just too serious of a time–the stakes too high. I seek quiet for my important, solitary magic. hecate-2016Soon I’ll set up the altar for my meal with the Ancestors  tomorrow. They always tell me to laugh. Maybe they will again this year. Laughter is healing and energy-opening, after all. Maybe after my ritual tomorrow I’ll chuckle at the silliness I’m seeing in social media.

Samhain is the holiday when the veil between the realms of the living and the dead are thin. It is a time when I commune with my Ancestors, and the Ancestors of the land where I live. I feel them draw near. I ask that those who love me beyond measure, and those who love the living Earth beyond measure witness my rite, and speak if they will. I ask them to hold the space for magic that affects all the worlds. Magic that will heal all the worlds.

Today, just ahead of my Samhain rite, I join the vigil for the Water Protectors in North Dakota. Those of Indian nations and allies who have come together to protect their lands and stand up to colonialist land & resource grab. Today I send love and healing to the Protectors, and prayers for those who have been injured or killed. I ask the Ancestors to hold the space for Right Action in and near the Sacred Stone camp, and send healing to the Water Protectors.

Whatever energy you are feeling at this time, may your Samhain be fruitful and blessed. May the Water Protectors feel energized, protected, healed. So mote it be!


Fantasy Government


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Here we are in the U.S., just ahead of a presidential election that I’m sure you’ve heard about. A tragic comedy of errors. What if, like fantasy football, I could put together a fantasy government? pres-warrenMy picks would govern as if the Earth and all beings were sacred; and clean water and air, healthy soil and food, and wild and natural lands were our protected birthright. They’d assure the right to make a living wage in a healthy way, and the right to safe and affordable lodging, food and other necessities. The right to protect and enhance our quality of life. A government that values diversity as a root of a healthy, sustainable society and ecosystem. They’d know that the capitalist model of continuous growth, and wealth accumulating at the top needs major overhaul.

My picks?  No question, Elizabeth Warren for U.S. President! She is so intelligent and well-spoken, with a record of speaking truth to power. I would trust her decisions. Zephyr Teachout would hold an influential post. Perhaps Vice President. Progressive allies like Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich would populate Congress, along with ecofeminists, pagans, Occupy-type activists and other Earth and Justice defenders. They would be of diverse colors, gender identities, backgrounds.

Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow would be policy advisors.

Starhawk would head the Environmental Protection Agency, which would incorporate Agriculture and have a proactive mission:  assuring a sustainable, regenerating Earth and healthy food systems. Assuring policies made by all arms of the government and regulation of corporations pass the Earth-is-sacred test.

Indigenous Americans (Indians) would populate the Department of the Interior. Federal lands would be returned to tribal nations with agreement to manage parks and wilderness areas for sustainable public access. Our defense policies would change so that we most often ignore taunts, aggression and terrorism. We model cooperation, diversity, consensus, peace and thinking well of others. So the Defense Department becomes an office within the Department of State with Joanna Macy as Secretary. I’d collect Labor, Treasury, HUD and HHS into one department in charge of all aspects of the economy aligned with social welfare with Robert Reich as head.

You get the picture. Who would be your picks?

Peace and War

A sustainable, regenerating, peaceful world where the Declaration of the Four Sacred Things (air, fire, water, earth) underlies society: YES! fifthsacredthingI just finished rereading The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk. Juxtapose that wonderful way of living that Starhawk promotes and the way the people of ecotopian San Francisco of the near-future uphold their society in a non-violent form of civil disobedience when they are invaded by the dominant society that surrounds them–the society controlled by corporate interests that control all water, food and medicine amidst the toxic environment–juxtapose that world with War of the Roses and Tudor era England. Why would I wish to do that?

Because of the other books I’m reading at same time: the violent conflicts that set up and strike down the royals one after the other feature prominently in Phillipa Gregory’s historical novels set in 14 and 1500’s England. Similarities? Gregory gives life to and writes from the perspective of the ruling women of that time, and through her writing we get glimpses of what emerging feminist thought might look like in those times when women were owned by men and had no right to land or property without a husband. Yet most of the leading women characters (all real historical figured) are as ruthless and violent as the men. There is no paradigm for a different way of living. Starhawk’s strong leads are women working cooperatively with men, weighing the need for violence to protect a sustainable way of life against finding new paradigms to create and protect the future they wish to see.

A lesson here?

If you can imagine it, you can make it real.

Something Starhawk and I will offer in workshop and ritual soon: Stories for the Future. Join us in creating a sustainable, regenerating future!

Weave and spin, Weave and spin,
This is how the work begins.
Mend and heal , Mend and heal,
Take the dream and make it real!

As an aside: it’s been such a long time since I published anything longer than a tweet or facebook post. I’m at the very end of the final rewrite of my novel, which has taken my focus. I plan to make more time for blogging. Hope you’ll follow me!

Spider Portal


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(c) BrightFlame 2014Portals in the woods draw my eye to other lands. To other realms.

When I am among the trees my aura brightens, my energy flows more strongly, and I fill with the nourishment Mama Earth offers. 

From this state I am more apt to hear the calls of those from other realms, and see energy twinkles and ripples here and there.

I feel the energy between.

It tickles me and makes me laugh. This, because it thrills me to feel the touch of energies beyond the mundane. I am honored by the sacred trust of the Others. That I am an ally. I protect the Earth. Protect the portals and sacred places. I welcome them here.

The tall, shining ones are near. The fey.

Returning home, I’m drawn to share this with you. So I do!



Verdant Green


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The forest called to me today. Come! Play! Notice my vibrance and abundance!

When I am in the forest in Spring I think, Verdant! And when I think verdant I think of Jane Siberry’s wonderful song, Bound by the Beauty.

And first I’m going to find a forest
And stand there in the trees
And kiss the fragrant forest floor
And lie down in the leaves
And listen to the birds sing
The sweetest sound you’ll ever hear

And everything the dappled
Everything the birds
Everything the earthness
Everything the verdant, the verdant, the verdant, the verdant green

Jacks everywhere!


This is an abundant year for jack-in-the-pulpits. They are popping all around the forest floor.


Bloodroot pod poking up!

Bloodroot pod poking up!





The bloodroot flowers are gone now, but the pods poke upwards from the lush leaves.

Wild Geranium

Wild Geranium


Wild geraniums are in bloom.


Wood anemones too. White flowers dot the low canopy from the blooming dogwoods.


Is there any doubt that the cycles continue? that fecundity born in decay gives rise to abundance? that Pan will dance each Spring and Persephone will rise? that the Earth is abundant?

I can’t wait to see what more will pop up since we curtailed deer browse in the forest by fencing!

My favorite ritual


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Actually, I now have two favorite rituals  of those I created in recent years in NYC.  The first was one of the 2012 public sabbat rituals:  Beltane was awesomely wonderful! It played out effortlessly–all participated to priest/ess the energy and bring through Mystery.

The ritual structure was simple: we built magnificent altars for each element, and people drawn to each altar created a short experience of the element for all of us. Such Mystery and awe and magic came through! And the altars were beautiful.

Plus, I didn’t have to do all the priestessing!

To Beltane 2012 I add the ritual from this week’s Walking the Pentacle workshop–a truly awesome experience of Mystery. I saw the energies moving and dancing among us throughout the evening, and felt us on a great plain that stretched across all the worlds, affecting all the worlds.

We created a large pentacle on the ground, invoking the energies of the Healing Pentacle into its points: Love, Peace, Beauty, Justice, Freedom. We walked the pentacle to feel and sense these energies, and receive any messages that came through. We also walked it to balance. Then, with one person on each point, we asked the energies to talk with us–to look to the next point and tell us about its connection.

Finally, we raised energy through a really fun movement exercise and a chant, growing and growing the energy in the Pentacle. I added a few drops of Waters of the World (a Reclaiming thing–waters from every continent and thousands of sacred sources) and we sent this Healing out to the world.

What was common to both awesome rituals?

Both were effortless in the sense that the energy ran fully and clearly without redirection, without stuttering. It was clear that the Allies invoked wanted these rituals to happen! They wanted to be heard.

Both rituals were near Beltane. A coincidence? A synchronicity? Good timing?

Mystery and messages came through magically! I have witnessed the magic of having a scribe at rituals where we are poised to receive information.  I wish I’d created that role for both of these rituals. Yet I know that those of us who participated took the messages into our souls, whether we can recall the details of the information or not.

Were you at either ritual? I’d love to hear your comments about these or other rituals you’ve deemed “Awesome!” What made them tick and click?


ps  A contest: how many times did I use the word awe in all its forms here???!!!

Flora over Fauna?


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Today we finished fencing much of the land my partner and I tend in order for the forest and the meadow to regenerate. Though rural, this area has a huge herd of deer that stay together and forage on all the green ones that try to rise. Only a few invasive species survive (autumn olive, multiflora rose, japanese barberry and stilt grass). Other than these non-natives that create unyielding monocultures, no saplings rise from the fertile earth.

I have known since 1995 that I stand for the trees–just like the Lorax.  loraxI recall the first Vermont (Reclaiming Tradition) Witchcamp where we worked with the story of the one-winged swan. At the closing ritual, Starhawk led a trance journey for us to find who/what we stand for that has no voice of its own. The trees! This came through loud and clear for me.

We lost dozens of large trees to Hurricane Sandy. I mourn the loss of the huge beech that stood in the ravine at the corner of our property overlooking the Delaware River way below. And the many mature maples, at least 80 years old, that fell across the path all in a row. And the huge ash trees that toppled, taking other trees with them. One just missed the house–thank Goddess!

One of the largest sassafras trees that graced this land is tilted at a 45 degree angle, leaning on a black birch. It still attempts to grow, though may yet topple the birch and several other trees before severing its roots from the ground.

Yet, no tree seeds turn to saplings to take the places of these tall and mighty ones.

And so we fenced the land. We know from fencing smaller patches that after more than a decade of deer browse, amazingly, the green ones will still rise. The native understory will regrow. The jack-in-the-pulpits, the May apples, the wild geraniums. The bloodroot, the Soloman’s seal, the ferns, and so many more. Though milkweed graces the meadow, it is the only native plant that survives.

Rainbow over land

Rainbow blessing the land

Now we’ll see other grasses and wildflowers rise! We hope that the natives will out-compete the stilt grass that is nearly impossible to eradicate (I won’t use poisons).

And by next Spring we’ll notice saplings dotting the land!

So did the spirits of the land agree with our choice to fence much of this property? To choose Flora over Fauna? See the photo taken just after we were finished. I take that as a Yes!



ps There is still time to come and play with BrightFlame at her NYC workshops. Next is May 8th, Walking the Pentacle. Final one on May 22nd includes magical activism and learning to shape energy effectively. [These were offered 2014. See BrightFlame’s website for newer classes here.]

pps I wrote the above in 2014. Three years later, the meadow has lots of natives flourishing, sassafras saplings and spring ephemerals dot the woods. I look forward to seeing maple, oak, hickory, beech, birch, walnut, ash seedlings rising.

Beltane Dreaming


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Fire and water combine to raise mist off the land. Ahhh. I feel the elements so viscerally this Beltane morning.

follow your path

Refreshing the path!

I think about my Craft–my witchcraft, my magic. What is the purpose to which I put my magic? How best may I align with my path?  What is the augury of this day?

This morning on the subway a Christian woman preached without pause, loudly proclaiming about sin and the devil. Grumble, grumble: I wanted to read my book. (Fantasy genre about the alliance of fire and water, creating magic in service of justice–ha! so appropriate!) Feeling annoyed, I changed cars when it became evident the subway preacher wasn’t getting off anytime soon.

Is there a message in this for me? Feeling my connection to all humans, even those who annoy me? …even to those who poison the earth in the name of profit?

That feels right, but there is more to the message.

Like many of us, I close myself to the All when feeling annoyed, angry, [insert emotion here]. I do this despite knowing better. Despite the teachings I have received over the years, and the teaching that I offer. I know how powerful I feel in my centered, authentic self. When I open to the All, how much energy passes through me and flows all around.

I am a conduit, a wand for Her energy. Be it in all conditions, says the augur.

I connect again to the sun raising the mist from the damp sidewalks. Feel life all around me. Find my steam and sustain it as gentle mist. The mist seeps in where harsh flame or pointed steam cannot enter. The mist reflects and radiates your brightness. And so I affect the world, channeling sustainability and sacredness.

Blessed Be!

ps Come and play with BrightFlame at her May 8th workshop in NYC: Walking the Pentacle.