Witchin Wednesday- My Path to Hekate #Hekate #WitchinWednesday #ShadowWork



In early 2019 I started on a holistic path to healing from trauma, both my own trauma and generational trauma. I started with a meditation class.

One of my early assignments was to meditate on who am I. 

I had so many problems with it.  Every time I would meditate with the question “who am I?” the answer I received was Darkness. 

That scared me! I mean who wants to hear that they are Darkness? I felt like I was doing something wrong. So I kept trying. But Darkness was always the answer…

As I continued to meditate on this I realized that Darkness and Light must coexist for balance. And while I knew this to be true but still, hearing “you are Darkness” repeatedly can feel ominous. Though it shouldn’t. Not for me.

I've always been drawn to the darker side of life- ghosts and paranormal stuff, and all things spooky. I love the Goth aesthetic. I love dark beauty. I love dark roses. My favorite colors are black and red and my favorite holiday is Halloween so I shouldn't be surprised when the answer to “who am I?” turned out to be Darkness. 

I don't revel in the light. I'm not a creature of sunshine and beaches. I like Moonlight and Darkness and shadows. So why did I have such a hard time accepting that I am Darkness? 

Soon after my meditation I was talking to some of my witchy friends and one mentioned a book she was reading. The book features keys being used in spells and different magical workings. In the book keys are cleansed like crystals.

The mention of keys turned a key inside me and opened the door to the knowledge of my Darkness.

I have always had this self-imposed title “The Keeper of the Keys”. This was something I gave myself as a child because it sounded magickal and mysterious. Throughout my life I've collected keys even though I had no purpose for them. A couple years ago I started doing some crafts and framing some of the prettier keys but I still have tons of keys that I've never really done anything with other than stick them in boxes and jars.

Keys combined with my owl animal totem or spirit animal, or whatever you want to call it, …these are symbols of the Goddess Hekate. 

Hekate is known as “The Keeper of the Keys”. And here’s another kicker- her colors are red, black, and white….anyone who knows me knows this has been my personal color combination since I was 15. My bedroom is even red, black and white.

Most spiritual New Age love and light stuff kind of push Hekate deeper into the shadows because she is the goddess of Darkness, the night, the moon, magic, and witchcraft. She is so many things…including the embodiment of the triple Goddess- Maiden, Mother, Crone, but many Wiccans find her too ominous to work with. 

Some on the Wiccan path push Hekate to the side because she is not sunshine and rainbows, light and love, peace and tranquility. However, there are many Pagans and Witches not on the Wiccan path who embrace her.

I learned that she is much more than Darkness.

Among her many symbols are the owl and the key that I feel connect me to her. 

Symbols that have personally been part of my life for as long as I can remember and when I learned that these are connected to Hekate it helped me feel like I finally found my way and accepted my path of Darkness.

Once I discovered Hekate I started doing shadow work. And by shadow work I mean it was time for me to do a really deep dig into my darker self. 

This does not in any way mean evil, this does not mean devils or demons or Satan or anything like that.  It just means the hard stuff. Dig deep into the parts of me I find hard to deal with, the things I tell no one, the things I don’t let out. Finding when and where things went wrong. Digging into my timeline and pin pointing the sources of trauma. 

Hekate is the perfect goddess for shadow work. Dr. Cyndi Brannen, author of Keeping Her Keys, has guided meditations available for Death Walking and Soul Retrieval among other things. These are deep dives into shadow work and soul repair. 

Another thing that draws me to Hekate is that she is the goddess of liminal spaces, the crossroads, the goddess of the in-between, sunrise and sunset, Dusk and Dawn, shores and shorelines, places that are neither here nor there. And this may be the thing that resonates with me most of all because I have always felt neither here nor there, like I didn't belong in any box or any space that is commonly defined. I was born on September 21st. On some calendars this is the last day of summer, close to the first day of fall. It’s an in-between space because the weather can go either way it can still be 80° and sunny or it can be brutally cold and rainy and chilly. 

I was born right after midnight at 12:42 a.m. but that's not really morning. It's still the Darkness of night. I'm on the Virgo and Libra cusp. I have mostly Virgo tendencies. I’m very organized. I’m a perfectionist but my Libra stands out from time to time because I do love beautiful things, I love giving gifts, I love art and music and books. So I can't be categorized as strictly either. I'm both. I’m in between.

Discovering Hekate made me realize that she been calling to me all my life but I didn’t have the tools or knowledge to hear her.

Hekate came to me when I needed her most. In March 2019 my world was rocked with health news that could have broken me. But Hekate was there. She helped me go on. She guided me through the Darkness, through my darkest time. 

Now I honor her by learning more about her. The best sources I’ve found are KeepingHerKeys.com and Dr Cyndi Brannen’s books. 

Before Hekate I just honored The God and The Goddess, no specific god or goddess. 

It wasn’t until Hekate made herself known to me that I had a specific deity.

Since then a few others have come to me with messages, and been there for me in times of need. 

I may introduce you to them on a future Witchin Wednesday. 



Love the Art Not the Artist - Whedon's Fall Won't Change How I Feel About Buffy

The latest celebrity to fall demonstrates why I have never idolized anyone. I don't put artists and creators on pedestals because they are human and humans are dumb. Even the brightest ones can be downright stupid. And many of them turn out to be not nice people.

Some people suggest that power corrupts. I personally think power allows people to do what they want, showcase who they really are. 

I never understood why Joss Whedon was considered a feminist pioneer. Yes, he created strong kickass female characters but he put them through it.

Just because you make a woman strong doesn't mean you are a champion for women.

Strong female characters gave him more ways to hurt them. A weak character would fall and be done. No fun in that, nor is there much of a story. Certainly not one that could keep audiences interested for 7 seasons.

A strong character gave him seasons of ways to torment and torture her and he really put Buffy through it. And every step of the way there was a man trying to control her, hurt her, or fuck her. 

I had men in my life that contributed to my becoming a strong woman but they didn't do it through being nice. They were abusive assholes. Nothing feminist about that. Whedon was never a feminist, just an artist that loved to torment his creations and the people that portrayed them. 

The revelation that Whedon is an asshole will not change how I feel about Buffy or what it means to me.

I discovered Buffy in September 1997 sitting in a hospital waiting room while my grandmother was dying. The show had been out for a season or part of a season already, and they were doing a marathon to lead up to the new season premiere. 

I was drawn into the show, hooked. It gave me an escape while waiting for the worst news. After she passed it gave me something to look forward to each week, something other than grief and nightmares. 

Several weeks after she passed I found a tiny baby kitten under my mom's front porch. The old mother cat had abandoned her. I saved her, fed her from a tiny baby bottle. She fit in the palm of my hand. I named her Angel. She was my saving grace and I had her for 13 years. 

Every so often I do a Buffy rewatch. From start to finish. I revisit my past. Memories both pleasant and bittersweet.

Joss Whedon can't change that or take that away from me no matter what he does.

Though cancel culture might take away my ability to rewatch the show if it is removed from streaming platforms. 

You can love the art while hating the artist. 

Or better yet, not knowing anything about them. Sometimes I miss the days when creators were mysterious beings we really knew nothing about. Social media gives them the ability to be accessible and seem like real people. It also gives them the ability to put their foot in it and ruin themselves. Social media also brings secrets to light. There is no privacy, there are no secrets. If you are an awful person it will eventually come to light.

So plan to see a lot more celebrities fall. But don't let their fall ruin what their art meant to you.

Once a creation goes out into the world whether it be a book, movie, music, tv show, or painting it no longer belongs to the artist. 

It belongs to each individual who experiences it. 

Because art is an experience unique to each person.

What Buffy means to me is not what it means to you. My memories won't change. 

What Harry Potter means to my children, and the memories we have of reading the books and watching the movies together will not be tarnished because Rowling turned out to be a raging TERF. 

What a couple Marilyn Manson songs represent to me, the memories they hold from that time in my life, those can't be erased because Manson is a huge asshole.

While future support can and should be pulled from these people, erasing their past creations will not fix anything. 

Don't let their mistakes ruin your memories. You can continue to love the art, not the artist. 



Witchin Wednesday- Being a Witch in the 90s

 


How did we find things before the Internet?

How did we know what was going on? How did we stay connected? Or get connected? I barely remember, yet somehow we did it. 

Newspapers, magazines, bulletin boards...

Baby witches today have no idea how good they have it, with social media they can easily join groups, ask questions, and find meetups and events.

I suffered through high school and college with zero witchy friends. I know there had to be some Witch/Wicca/Pagan people in my area because we had two metaphysical stores. Supply and demand, those didn't stay open if no one was buying. 

I should have asked if there were groups or events in the area but I was so quiet and shy I just browsed, bought my things, and left. 

Most people find their tribe in college. I found a sorority. Basically the antithesis of what I was really looking for. My sisters were great but I never felt like I fit in or belonged there. I was looking for like-minded souls and unfortunately, 95% of those girls were not it.

I worked for the Cultural Liaison at UM-Flint and got to help plan events like the Chinese New Year Celebration, a Latino Dinner, and a Native American Pow Wow but there were no Wicca/Witch/Pagan groups at university, so no solstice events to plan.

The Internet was still new and I didn't learn my way around it until the year 2000. 

So throughout the 90s I was still old school. I picked up a few magazines from the local stores- Circle Sanctuary and Sage Woman was around back then I think.  I would scour the classified sections, look for local events but they were always too far away or too expensive for me to attend. Somehow I ended up with a couple witchy pen pals. And those ladies made all the difference. They helped me feel less alone. Less like an outcast. I finally had people to chat with that were like me. 

In the mid, to late 90s witchy movies and tv shows like The Craft, Practical Magic, and Charmed started popping up. It made being a witch more mainstream- or at least made looking like one more popular. But it didn't help me find my tribe.

90s new-agers filled the metaphysical stores. They were so "out there" they scared me away. I might believe in some woo woo and be a witchy woman but something about 90s new agers was very hippy trippy and didn't vibe with me at all. 

By the late 90s I was a mom with two kids and had pretty much given up on ever finding people like me, finding a place to fit. So I focused on raising my family and finding a career that fulfilled me.

I had no idea that eventually all those places would meet at the tip of a pointy witch hat.

Throughout the beginning of the 21st century, I continued my witchy learnings- thanks to Amazon books were easily accessible and websites were filled with knowledge on everything from astrology to spell casting.

I returned to my first love, books. I began writing professionally in 2005. In December of 2010, I took a leap and opened my own business Bewitching Book Tours. Simply putting Bewitching in the business title opened doors for me and connected me to the Pagan/Witch communities in Michigan. I became a sponsor for the Michigan Witches Ball and started attending every year. But I still didn't fully immerse myself because the ball and the group that planned it are in the Detroit area and I'm in Flint.

In 2018 a friend, Davonna, from high school and college (she is also one of my sorority sisters) launched Witches Tea Flint. It's funny how she was one of my confidants in high school but never really was into the witchy stuff at all. Years later when we reconnected she was all about the witchy world. 

Witches Tea Flint made me realize that witches are all around me. The Tea Talks and events were such a wonderful way to connect with local like-minded people. 

Things were going great when the pandemic hit. Now I miss people. I miss events. I am so over ZOOM. So over it. 

I'm hoping by mid to late 2021 we can get back to meeting up again. 




Witchin Wednesday- My Witchy Beginnings

 


Today I'm starting a new feature- Witchin Wednesday.

On Wednesdays, I will start featuring posts about all things witchy.

Today I'm going to start at the beginning. My beginning as a witch.

As a child religion was a curiosity to me. My mother was a Christian, read the bible, taught me to pray before bed, and read Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories to me. These were Christian based tales that were more heartfelt than preachy. I can count on one hand the number of times my mother took me to church, so I was never indoctrinated into the cult of Christianity.  She taught me God was good and forgiving, that God was love.

As I got older I realized most people used religion to judge, exclude and hurt those who were different. I was different. I felt different. I didn't fit into their narrow parameters. I didn't buy into their stories.

I started reading about different religions. All patriarchal, men dominating women, Women should bow to their husbands as they bow to god and all that crap that just didn't fit my narrative.

My household consisted of my grandmother, my mother, and me.  My mother was a strong independent woman. She could do anything. Fix anything. Use power tools, build things. Bowing down to men or male deity wasn't on my agenda.

It was the 80s. Women no longer had to be housewives and mothers. Women could have careers and do whatever they wanted. 

My life was all about female power. 

And I was always interested in the woo-woo side of things. Ghosts and spirits were discussed without a doubt to their realness. My grandmother was from backwoods Alabama and though there were never any words used that described magic or witchcraft she certainly had the air of a granny witch and her own unique way of doing things that were magical to me. 

I started researching witchcraft.  There was no internet for me to browse on back then so I had to go to the library. I was lucky to have a wonderful open-minded librarian who would order whatever books my curious mind wanted. One week I would want to learn French, the next acupuncture, then aromatherapy, and eventually, witchcraft and Wicca. 

The book that sealed it for me was Power of the Witch: The Earth, the Moon, and the Magical Path to Enlightenment by Laurie Cabot and Tom Cowan.   

What a life-changing read. There are many things from that book that still stick with me today. That I have carried with me on my journey.  I read the book when it was first published in 1989. I was 13 years old. 

Description of Power of the Witch:

The earth, the moon, and the magical path to enlightenment. Written by a practicing witch who conducts classes and seminars on witchcraft—the oldest Western religion, a means of power and enlightenment, and a healing art.

“Laurie Cabot has written a fascinating account of a beautiful and sadly misunderstood religion, witchcraft. She has with her life and work done a great deal to legitimize this ancient pagan form of worship. I am among the ecumenical Christians who have discovered the truth about witchcraft, that it is neither demonic nor evil. Power of the Witch is a marvelous introduction to the magical and highly ethical world of wicca.”—Whitley Strieber


After reading Power of the Witch I devoured any and every book I could.  I originally identified as a Wiccan. 

The rede of  "An ye harm none, do what ye will." fit with my belief system perfectly. Why limit yourself? Why care so much about what other people do as long as they are consenting adults and no one gets hurt?

Being a witch/Wiccan in the 90s wasn't easy. I was a teenager that had a belief system no one else I knew had. None of my friends were witches back then. I was the weird girl. There was no social media, no chat groups, no places for witches to meet up.

If I wore my pentacle I was called a devil worshipper and Satanist. I was told I would burn in hell quite a few times. 

As I look back on it now....wow, the sheer audacity of perfect strangers saying that to a child is just awful. Some things never change though. My son was called a dirty Pagan at school. 

Even though I didn't know any other witches I was lucky enough to have not just one, but two metaphysical stores in my area. They had witchy books, crystals, incense, and all the tools I could want, if I could afford them. Which I couldn't so I just got books. But I loved walking through the stores and dreaming, making wish lists in my mind.

One of my first books was Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft . It was amazing but also overwhelming. I still have the book today but I feel I lost many years of being a practicing witch because this book and several others made me feel like I needed a bunch of tools and supplies to be a witch. Silver Ravenwolf's To Ride a Silver Broomstick is another book I got way back then and still have today.

Bell, chalice, bowl, cauldron, mortar and pestle, incense, candles, oils, herbs, robes, athame....

I was a poor teenager. I couldn't afford all that stuff.  But I kept reading and learning. I started improvising. Kitchen finds became witchy tools. A wooden box with a lid became a portable altar I could keep under my bed and set up when I needed it.  I learned that intent mattered more than tools and accessories. The power is in the person. Tools, moon phases, days of the week- all those are bonuses. Power boosts. They can be used to direct and power up your spells, but the real magic is within the witch. 

As I got older I became witchier, less Wiccan, more Pagan and eclectic witch. And very private. I never joined a Coven or talked much about my life as a witch. I practised in private but not really in secret. My family knew I was a witch, but not really what that meant. 

As my children got older they started getting curious and they wanted to know more about being a witch. I started going to the local Witches Ball, Pagan Picnics, and Witch's Tea Flint events. I met other witches and like-minded souls and fully came out of the broom closet. My family joined me at events. My two youngest children now walk their own paths of discovery. 

Now I know many, many witches, Pagans, and Wiccans. And I continue to learn day after day new things and new ways to be a witch. To incorporate that witchiness into my everyday life. It is a constant learning experience. 

On Witchin Wednesdays I will share some of my journey with you, details the paths I have walked, the things I have learned and I'll share some of my Witch Crafts with you. 

And please, feel free to share your own journey in the comments. 


Theories on Why Some Locations Are Haunted


I’ve been fascinated by ghosts and spirits since I was a child. I wanted to grow up and be a parapsychologist. Imagine my surprise when I realized I couldn’t just go to college and take classes for that.

As a child, I was told stories of my psychic aunt and my mother always attributed weird happenings to the spirits trying to contact us. As an adult, I look back at some of those occurrences and totally agree because even now there is no other logical explanation. 

My family members have gifts of being able to see, hear, and sense spirits -some of us more than others.

I flat out said “I don’t want to SEE spirits!” when I was young. I don’t remember what prompted this dead-set refusal to SEE but I must have been terrified. I have come to believe that my refusal has led to problems in my life, with my health, and with my vision. At this point, I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve tried to be more open. 

Just a couple weeks ago I did see the swish of a peach-colored skirt out of the corner of my right eye in my kitchen. I was sitting in my reading chair in the living room and I heard a noise. I looked up and my cats were staring into the kitchen. I felt a chill and froze. I didn’t turn my head but just moved my eyes and caught a glimpse of a skirt like someone had just moved from the doorway and was walking away. At that time no other living women were in my house and my husband and son were both in bed. I’ve never seen anything substantial in my home before other than shadows and mist and even those were decades ago. The rest of my family has seen 3 different female spirits and the kids have all seen the tall man in the hat.

As for the tall man in the hat…this was something I had forgotten about until my kids started talking about him. I used to see him when I was little. Then I didn’t.

My kids say they used to see him all the time. But unlike most “man in a hat” spirits and stories, he’s not malevolent. The emotion he emanates is one of protection. He seems to be the family’s watcher, perhaps a guardian. I don’t know.

Anyway, I digress…

As I was saying, my children all see spirits, in our home and elsewhere. 

My oldest used to hide under the blankets in his room when a spirit would walk through his room and out into the living room. One spirit was always on a loop around 7am on Saturday mornings. Her hair done up and wearing a business suit circa 1960 (maybe 1950s).

My daughter, who is now 21, sees things often. Most recently she’s spotted the apparition of a jogger near her apartment. The woman is frozen in place. Standing like a statue in a jogging pose. The first time my daughter spotted her she thought “wow that’s weird, why is she just standing there? It’s getting dark.” As she drove by she looked in the rearview mirror…the woman was gone. A few nights later she saw the frozen jogger again. Standing still like a statue, then poof she was gone. 

That’s just one of many strange things my daughter has seen. We also have many reasons to believe that she has a spirit attached to her. One she has had her entire life. I’ve been doing extensive research and contacting people but so far not much luck. No one has any information about life long spirit attachments, ones that seem to age at the same pace as the living child. It’s like she has a twin, but she’s not alive. I’ll go into more details at some point but right now it is a very long story for another day.

My son who is currently 14 was almost lured into the woods this past summer at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes by a ghostly young woman. How does he know she wasn’t real? He took photos of her, but there was no woman in the photos. He said he felt weird when he saw her, like he had the urge to just run to her and follow her. I tried to find stories to see if anyone else ever had a similar experience but so far have not found anything about a ghostly woman in the Silver Lake dunes.

I can sometimes hear “something” – mostly faint voices, whispers, and music that has no source. Occasionally I hear a sneeze, cough, or “oomph” when no other living human is in my house with me. 

There are spirits everywhere. But sometimes not where you think they would be.

Why are some places haunted while others aren’t?  People die everywhere. There are old homes and buildings everywhere. Yet some places have stories of wandering spirits while others don’t.

I don’t think there is one easy answer or explanation. The hauntings may each be as unique as the individual. Why do we do what we do? The same variety of answers may continue after death.

One spirit may linger because they had unfinished business. 

One may stick around because they fear leaving the mortal plane. They fear what may be on the other side. 

Some spirits may get stuck here due to the trauma of their death, while others may be confused and linger because they don’t understand they need to cross over. 

Some might not even understand that they are dead.

While others may get attached to a person, place, or object and are not able to move on.  

One hypothesis I had before I really started searching for ghosts was that a graveyard would probably be a place you wouldn’t find any spirits lingering. Why would you stay at your grave instead of at the place you died or a place you loved or even with someone you loved?

But during my research, I’ve encountered more spirit activity at cemeteries than I have in haunted buildings.

So I had to adjust my hypothesis. 

Now I think some spirits may follow their body or grieving family members to their graves. Then they get stuck in the cemetery. 

There are many theories that ghosts cannot leave cemeteries because it is hallowed (consecrated) ground. They can enter, but they can’t leave. 

Or perhaps some spirits just stick around their grave because they don’t know where else to go. 

I recently read Ghost Story, book 11 of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files. In it the spirit finds safety returning to his grave during the day because sunlight can destroy him and he didn’t have a building to find refuge in. While I really don’t think daylight deters spirits, because I have encountered all my cemetery spooks in broad daylight, I do think perhaps the grave is a place of safety spirits can return to.

Perhaps it is their “death home” and offers comfort and protection. That’s a nicer thought than the one that just leaves them trapped in the cemetery with their grave and no way to leave. 

One theory about ghosts involves energy. The whole world is made up of energy - including people. We’re energy wrapped in flesh and blood. 

I think some spirits have energy that leaves a mark. This can go back to theories of trauma and confusion. A strong event energy imprints on a location and it stays there replaying over and over again. While other spirits are on a different frequency, a conscious one, that allows interaction with the world of the living.

The living who encounter these energy forms just happen to be vibrating on the right frequency to see the spirits.

Non-neurotypical people, such as those with ADD, ADHD, and ASD, operate differently than neurotypicals. It is well documented that non-neurotypical folks are highly sensitive to their environments. Some researchers think that also makes them more likely to encounter spirits.

My family is filled with non-neurotypical people. We are a blend of ADHD, ADD, and ASD, a few of us with two or more factors making us non-neurotypical. This could explain why all of us tend to be sensitive to spirits. It could also explain why ghostly “gifts” run in families. 

You can see an intro to these theories here

And learn more in these two books- 

The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, the Body, and the Sixth Sense by Michael A. Jawer, Marc S. Micozzi

The Ghost Studies: New Perspectives on the Origins of Paranormal Experiences by Brandon Massullo dives into some of the theories about hauntings and the people who sense them.

Massulo’s dissertation, Environmental Sensitivity, and Paranormal Experiences quotes Jawer's theories and research. You can read the entire dissertation here.

Quick Abstract:

"The physical environment affects every individual differently, however past research suggests that certain individuals exhibit a greater susceptibility to environmental factors than the general population (Jawer, 2006). According to Jawer (2006) these environmentally sensitive individuals are also significantly more likely to report paranormal experiences than non-sensitives. The current study set out to test the hypothesis that environmentally sensitive individuals will report more past paranormal experiences as well as more haunt-type experiences in a natural setting.”

Everything vibrates on a different frequency. Everyone and everything, including individual spirits. This is why some people can interact with certain spirits but not others. This could also explain why some gadgets pick up certain spirit activity but not others. 

I also think that the more you are exposed to a certain frequency the more likely you are to eventually pick up on it. For instance, you visit a “haunted” location numerous times but never see anything. Then after several visits you finally catch a glimpse of the spirit. 

Of course, another explanation may be that the spirit finally felt secure enough to say hi to you. Remember human emotions are still part of any spirit that was once human. So a shy person will be a shy spirit. 

So to sum up my random ramblings on why places are haunted- It's all about energy and it depends on the spirit and the people that see them.