Episode 11: Teachers

Published July 8, 2015 by The Forest's Edge

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Back after a LOOOOOOOOONG break, we catch up on what we’ve been up to, then discuss the teaching of Witchcraft.

What is a Witch teacher? What purpose does having one serve? And what are the pitfalls of being one?

It’s good to be back!

Info about cover crops (in case you want to expand the metaphor).

Chickens–the coolest/weirdest heads ever.

The NWW episode we referenced.

Isaac Bonewits cult evaluation.

Sarah Lawless’s take on teacher evaluation.

Betwixt’s chickens!!!!

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Are you seeing this adorable chicken coop? Super-cute. Coop.

 

 

 

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Between’s kitchen–before… (okay, it had linoleum, but no one thought to take a REAL before picture)20150621_022340[1]

…and…not quite after, because it is far from finished!

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And the lovely new paper-bag floor. 20150628_185148[1]

 

Episode 10: Spellworkin’

Published September 30, 2014 by The Forest's Edge

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What is a spell? When should you do one? What are the consequences? What are the mechanics? Betwixt and Between chat about their spell experiences, philosophies, and even foibles.

Note: We are not Law-of-Threefold-Return Witches. We are more equal-reaction Witches, which we both feel falls in line with the natural order of things. So actions, even magical ones, have consequences. Absolutely. No question. But the Law of Threefold Return doesn’t ring true for us. If it has been your experience, that is more than valid, and I certainly hope you are getting back three times the awesomeness you’re putting out there.

How we end up defining spell: an intentional direction of energy in this reality to change this reality; magically using this reality to change this reality, albeit possibly by working with or moving through elements of the Otherworld.

How is that different than magic? Well, magic is just…everything.

Our Three Elements for the Most Effective Spells:

1. Focused Intent

2. Relationships with all of the things (self, elements, spirits, ancestors, gods, etc.)

3. Effort in planning, constructing, considering, gathering…this plays back into focus of intent, essentially

WEEDS!

This is the “blue flower” Between goes on about: Asiatic Dayflower. It is called dayflower because its blooms last only for one day (not even–I got this pic from clipart.com because the ones I saw on my walk this morning had already withered by the time I went out to take my own pics). It turns out that this native of China is a bit of an invasive weed, but doesn’t really detract that much from native species. It can be eaten, and even has antibacterial and antitussive (cough) properties, and has been used in Asia to make a beautiful blue dye, albeit not a long-lasting one. In disturbed areas, particularly ones recovering from mining, dayflower can flourish, and absorb much higher levels of heavy metals like copper, zinc, lead, and cadmium than most other plants. Here’s what I found most magically interesting: though of course this plant produces pollen, it offers no nectar. Its appearance, however, tricks pollinators into thinking they are going to get a big nectar hit. I think this plant could be utilized very effectively in glamour magic, but also could be applied to healing, especially healing of the land.

Whitemouth_dayflower

Ah, Purple Deadnettle. Once upon a time, Betwixt wrote a blog about it, so I’m just going to link to it here.

Purple Deadnettle

Here is the VERY PREVALENT Three Seeded Mercury. Betwixt and Between both agree that this weed is great as a hastener in spells, due to its rapid spread, triple seed, and association with Mercury. Maybe even try it in workings for communication. It has also been used medicinally, although sparingly. It irritates the gastrointestinal tract, which make me think of using it to light a fire under someone who I need to get back to me about a matter…

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What are you, mystery plant that I thought might be Three-Seeded Mercury? Between is slightly useless at Google Image search.

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However, the nightshade plant that Betwixt gave Between is very happy…

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Books mentioned in the episode:

Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells by Judika Illes

Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael

The Silver Bough by F. Marian McNeill

Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History by Owen Davies

Episode 9: Gardening, Ungardening, and Wilding

Published August 22, 2014 by The Forest's Edge

 

garden woman2

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Betwixt and Between take time this episode to describe their gardens and how creating and tending them contributes to their individual spiritual practices. The discussion touches not only on the tended spaces, but on the untended spaces as well, and finally veers into a brief take on the recent online dialogue around Apocalyptic Witchcraft.

Some views of Betwixt’s Gardens:

2014-08-15 11.09.56 2014-08-15 11.12.01  download_20140822_084830 download_20140822_084836

 

Some views of Between’s Gardens:

2014-08-21 16.32.412014-08-21 16.24.58

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Some gardening and Green Witchy resources:

http://rueandhyssop.blogspot.com/

http://permacultureprinciples.com/

 http://witcheskitchen.com.au/the-witches-kitchen-garden/

http://www.alchemy-works.com/witchs_garden.html

http://www.tnps.org/ (or google your local native plant society)

 

For those interested in the Apocalyptic Witchcraft dialogue, check out the following links(this is just a sampling):

http://scarletimprint.com/2014/06/rewilding-witchcraft/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2013/10/apocalyptic-witchcraft.html

http://sarahannelawless.com/2014/07/01/the-witch-and-the-wild/

http://thearrivalandthereunion.com/

 

Episode 8: Cultural Appropriation

Published July 21, 2014 by The Forest's Edge

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Betwixt and Between talk with Mihika, a dear friend, scholar, practicing Hindu, and blogger behind OneHindu.net. This discussion asks what is cultural appropriation, why can it be problematic, and then turns to how to share another’s culture in a (hopefully) non-problematic way. Together they explore power dynamics and privledge, aesthetics vs. deeper cultural meanings, and the role of guilt in approaching one’s non-native culture.

Thank you again to New World Witchery, the iPod Witch, and any other podcaster or blogger who has been supporting us. What a great community this is!

Hail Saraswati!

saraswati

Yaa Kundendu tushaara haara-dhavalaa, Yaa shubhra-vastra’avritaa

Yaa veena-vara-danda-manditakara, Yaa shweta padma’asana

Yaa brahma’achyuta shankara prabhritibhir, Devai-sadaa pujitaa

Saa Maam Paatu Saraswati Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadya’apahaa.

Shuklaam Brahmavichaara Saara paramaam Aadhyaam Jagadvyapinim,

Veena Pustaka Dhaarineem Abhayadaam Jaadya’andhakaara’apahaam

Haste Sphaatika Maalikam Vidadhateem Padmasane Sansthitaam

Vande taam Parmeshwareem Bhagavateem Buddhipradaam Shardam.

(She, who is as fair as the Kunda flower, white as the moon, and a garland of Tushar flowers;and who is covered in white clothes

She, whose hands are adorned by the excellent veena, and whose seat is the pure white lotus;

She, who is praised by Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh; and prayed to by the Devas

O Mother Goddess, remove my ignorance!)

Resources that informed this show:

onehindu.net

Inciting a Riot, Episode 38: Inciting a Hindu Riot (and the latest episode, #88, is about privledge. Co-inkydink!)

Devin Hunter’s Modern Witch (Not Pagan Rapport, which is also lovely) Season 4, Episode 16: Pagans and Privilege

Lamplighter Blues, Episode 10: Baucherei (Not Pow Wow. Sheesh! Not batting 1000 here with the references…)

The Wild Hunt, “Hinduism, Indo-Paganism, and Cultural Appropriation” by Jason Pitzl-Waters

“Why I Can’t Stand White Belly Dancers” by Randa Jarrar

And special thanks to Milk and Magpie for creating some wonderful Betwixt and Between artwork for us!

Melody's B

Below is a selection from a Privilege Walk Workshop, designed to give participants a visceral experience of their own privileges in relation to others without focusing solely on race, gender, economic status, etc.  It is meant to open up dialogue and perceptions.

The Privilege Walk Workshop is designed for students in college level courses across the country that are devoted to race, diversity, and the study of whiteness. This workshop has also been designed to provide college students with an opportunity to understand the intricacies of privilege. This exercise is controversial and should be voluntary, and it is very important that all who participate in this workshop remember to keep the things which are discussed confidential.

You will need a room that is large enough for all students who are participating in this workshop to stand in a single file line, shoulder to shoulder.

The facilitator should lay masking tape in middle of the room so there is equal distance to the front and to the back. The students should stand behind the line, so when the sentences are read aloud, the students will walk forward to go over the line for the privilege walk, or stay behind the line and take steps back on the privilege walk. Each step depends on the participants responses to the sentences that are read aloud by the facilitator.

The following is a list of some statements that apply to privilege–more can be added.

Please take one-step back: If your ancestors were forced to come to the USA not by choice.

  1. Please take one-step forward: If your primary ethnic identity is American.

  2. Please take one-step back: If you were ever called names because of your race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  3. Please take one-step forward: If there were people of color who worked in your household as servants, gardeners, etc.

  4. Please take one-step back: If you were ever ashamed or embarrassed of your clothes, house, car, etc.

  5. Please take one-step forward: If one or both of your parents has a college degree.

  6. Please take one-step back: If you were raised in an area, where there was prostitution, drug activity, etc.

  7. Please take one-step back: If you ever tried to change your appearance, mannerisms, or behavior to avoid being judged or ridiculed.

  8. Please take one-step forward: If you studied the culture of your ancestors in elementary school.

  9. Please take one-step back: If you went to school speaking a language other than English.

  10. Please take one-step forward: if there were more than 50 books in your house when you grew up.

  11. Please take one-step back: If you ever had to skip a meal or were hungry because there was not enough money to buy food when you were growing up.

  12. Please take one-step back: If one of your parents was unemployed or laid off, not by choice.

  13. Please take one-step forward: If you attended private school or summer camp.

  14. Please take one-step back: If your family ever had to move because they could not afford the rent.

  15. Please take one-step back: If you were ever discouraged from academics or jobs because of race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  16. Please take one-step forward: If you were encouraged to attend college by your parents.

  17. Please take one-step back: If you were raised in a single parent household.

  18. Please take one-step forward: If your family owned the house, where you grew up.

  19. Please take one-step forward: If you were ever offered a good job because of your association with a friend or family member.

  20. Please take one-step back: If you were ever denied employment because of your race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

  21. Please take one-step back: If you were paid less, treated less fairly because of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

  22. Please take one-step back: If you were ever accused of cheating or lying because of your race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

  23. Please take one-step forward: If you ever inherited money or property.

  24. Please take one-step back: If you had to rely primarily on public transportation.

  25. Please take one-step back: If you were ever stopped or questioned by the police because of your race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

  26. Please take one-step back: If you were ever afraid of violence because of your race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

  27. Please take one-step back: If you were ever uncomfortable about a joke related to your race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront the situation.

  28. Please take one-step back: If you were ever the victim of violence related to your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

  29. Please take one-step back: If your parents did not grow up in the United States.

  30. Please take one-step forward: If your parents told you could be anything, you wanted to be.

 

 

 

Privilege Walk:

Episode 7: Initiation

Published June 23, 2014 by The Forest's Edge

Hear here!

What is initiation? Who does it? How do you do it? Why should you do it? Is it necessary? Betwixt and Between discuss the purposes and elements of initiation in this episode, as well as sharing some personal updates and fielding more animal hilarity.

download_20140623_084609Between’s wee one in Betwixt’s flower garden.

2014-06-23 08.42.20Between’s garden, end of June.

2014-06-18 16.17.00

Masks made for the summer solstice ritual with the local Tradition group.

2014-06-20 11.32.21

Henbane ointment from Black Arts Foundry. Squee!

Initiation: A Transformative Experience.

This includes a stage of preparation, some kind of “breaking down” or becoming truly vulnerable, a rebuilding, remaking, or being made new, and an emerging onto a new path or into a new state of being.

This episode discusses Christianity quite a bit, for the simple reason that the initiation experiences included in Christianity are not oathbound mysteries or great secrets in any way, but still within a religious/spiritual context, and so made for an excellent analogy to Witch/Pagan initiation experiences, which generally are.

Episode 6: Spring Update and a Personal Wheel

Published May 24, 2014 by The Forest's Edge

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* Disclaimer: No drugs or alcohol were consumed prior to or during the recording of this episode, by humans or animals. It was just one of those nights.

After a brief review of what they’ve each been up to recently and how they celebrated the Spring Sabbats, Betwixt and Between discuss why the Eight Sabbats, and how they connect with each personally and augment with additional celebrations throughout the year. Hilarityensues when sleep deprivation and one crazy little cat take their toll.

For these two Witches, celebrating the Wheel of the Year provides balance and a sense of presence, both in the moment and in a scope of time and community. It also involves a balance between understanding a sacred narative and a heightened awareness of/deeper connection with natural events.

Betwixt likes Mary…

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Tradition members gearing up for Ostara celebration

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An Ostara nest made by wee Witchlettes

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A backseat of plants for Between’s garden

2014-04-12 10.04.20

Betwixt’s early permaculture garden.

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Betwixt’s Spring hearth

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Between’s Summer hearth

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Ripening blueberries in the permaculture garden

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Between’s baby cottage herb garden

2014-05-17 16.27.03

Resources from the show:

The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling ed.

Night of the Witches: Folklore, Traditions, and Recipes for Celebrating Walpurgis Night, Linda Raedisch

Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life, Pauline and Dan Campanelli

Ancient Ways: Reclaiming Pagan Traditions, Pauline and Dan Campanelli

All Year Round: Christian Calendar of Celebrations, Ann Druitt et. al. 

Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection, Jessica Prentice

Totoro!

Argiope aurantia (The GIANT SPIDERS in Between’s garden, esp. last year)

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Bee Dancing! (Scroll down and watch the video. It’s quick and informative)

The Moon Lists

                                     Betwixt                                                                                                                                        Between

January                 Snow Moon                                                                                                                                  Cold Moon

February              Wolf/Hunger Moon                                                                                                                   Hermit Moon

March                    Robin/Weed/Worm Moon                                                                                                     Robin Moon

April                       Planting/Redbud/Violet Moon                                                                                           Violet Moon

May                         Strawberry/Fleabane/Leafy Moon                                                                                    Strawberry Moon

June                        Birthday Moon                                                                                                                            Festival Moon

July                         Mosquito Moon                                                                                                                           Heat Moon

August                   Drought Moon                                                                                                                              Fruits/Butterfly Moon

September           Harvest Moon                                                                                                                               Spider/Long grass Moon

October                Marigold Moon                                                                                                                             Witches’ Moon

November          Gratitude Moon                                                                                                                             Gathering Moon

December          Long Nights Moon                                                                                                                         Mother Moon

Episode 5: Balancing the Liminal and the Now

Published May 3, 2014 by The Forest's Edge

Hear here!

Betwixt and Between are joined by “Glinda, the Witch of the North,” in this discussion about returning to mudane reality after experiences of altered consciousness. If you have ever had trouble grounding after trancework, hedgecrossing, or even have just had one too many visions out of the corner of your eye, tune in to hear how three Witches bring it on back home.

Here are our favorite tips for grounding:

– Identify how you feel when you’re NOT grounded, so you’ll know when you need to.

– Identify what works for you–not everyone grounds in the same way.

– Plan ahead. If you know you’re going to be doing work that will entail needing to come back to this reality, have what you’re going to need to do that at hand.

– Get in the habit. Make touching the earth, drinking tea, or whatever works for you an every-time part of your magical practice, and try employing it in non-magical circumstances, too.

Episode 4: Beyond 101

Published April 15, 2014 by The Forest's Edge

Hear our podcast here!

Betwixt and Between discuss the process of getting to the next level of Witchcraft from pretty much wherever one is–anyone from newbie to advanced initiate can learn more–but especially when growing from the basics. They have book recomendations, practical suggestions, and of course skip down multiple bunny tails along the way. Ultimately, getting “beyond 101” is about devoloping a Witchy lens on life, and then narrowing the focus of that lens down to something specific you feel really inspired to explore.

After defining what they consider to be “101,” they review some of their favorite Witchy books in both the 101 and 201 categories:

Craft of the Wild Witch, Poppy Palin

Christopher Penczak Temple of Witchcraft Series

Advanced Witchcraft, Edain McCoy

Cunning-Folk and Famliar Spirits, Emma Wilby

To Fly by Night: Craft of the Hedgewitch, Veronica Cummer ed.

A Grimoire for Modern Cunning Folk, Peter Paddon

Carmina Gadelica, Alexander Carmichael

The Fairies in Tradition and Literature, Katharine Briggs

 

And after much chittery-chat, they came up with the following steps for advancing one’s craft:

1) Reading (Witchy 101 books)

2) More Reading (2o1 books, Witchy and otherwise)

3)Practice (practice, practice)

4) Seek a personal ancestry

5) Bioregionalism (know your local…everything)

6) Draw on your natural talents and interests for inspiration

 

Here are links to some other things that were discussed:

U.S. Geological Survey

Nature: “What Plants Talk About

Self-defense

 

And a peak into Between’s garden…

2014-04-15 08.56.09

Episode Three: Witchcraft and the Daily Grind

Published March 18, 2014 by The Forest's Edge

Podcast

How do you keep up with your practice, and do you see what you already do for what it is? Betwixt and Between examine their personal devotions and discuss overcoming obstacles to both engaging in integrated everyday practice and pursuing more specialized practices. Talk ranges from gardening to altars to hedgecrossing, complete with plenty of personal anecdotes.

Below you can find pictures of both Betwixt and Between’s seasonal celebration altars:

IMG_0743_2                                                                                                     Betwixt, Imbolc

IMG_5098

Betwixt, Samhain

2013-12-10 16.00.30Between, Yule

2014-03-10 11.18.45Between, Ostara

Betwixt’s Goal Setting for Witches
Or STIRR-ing the Cauldron

What could be more mundane—are you truly going to talk about goal setting? Indeed, I
am. But first, let me say two things.

One: If all is working perfectly for you in your practice of the Craft then this document is
not for you. There truly are times when a witch is not called to an expansion or
refinement in his or her practices. If that describes you right now, then excellent! Come
back to this document later. However, in the course of decades of practice change is
inevitable. Some change is spontaneous and some is planned, while most is a
combination of the two. This is good. It is a living practice. So if you feel an irritating
itch, a tugging toward something more, then this is for you.

Two: More or less all of the advice on goal setting available in the broader world is
applicable to witchcraft. There is a lot of this sort of advice. It is all good advice to
whatever extent it works for you. I am offering a small subset of basic advice here. Many
people struggle with this sort of intentional change process and it can be very helpful to
talk your plans through with someone who can be strategic and organized. Such a
someone could be a dear friend or he or she could be a professional life coach or
counselor.

In any event, on a lark I have invented an acronym for a few helpful qualities of witchy
goal setting: STIRR: Specific, Timely, Realistic, Reflective. As in STIRR the cauldron of
your life (with goal setting) so you don’t get stuck. Cheesy? Oh my, yes! Memorable? I
can only hope.

Once you have concluded that you really would like to expand/refine/modify/whatever
part of your practice…

1) Be SPECIFIC. Crazy specific. For example, “I will do more divination,” is not a goal
formulation that is most likely to help you accomplish your desires. Consider exactly:
Who? What? Why? How? (When it so important that it gets its own step.) Try to use
action verbs and only set goals that rely on your own behaviors. If your goals depend
entirely on the choices of others, then you will not be able to control the outcomes.

2) Be TIMELY. Create a timeline for your plan. Have a due date. Make sure that now is
really the right time to approach this goal. When working on the time portion of goal
setting being specific still applies. Having a deadline for making changes helps you stay
accountable—to yourself and to any accountability partner you might choose. Whether
you have met your deadline or kept up with your schedule is how you know if you have
met your goal or if you need to reflect and readjust. Consider: Daily, weekly, monthly—
every other full moon for the next six months beginning on July 24th for one half hour per
evening after the dinner dishes have been cleared away.

3) Be REALISTIC. Setting a goal you cannot possibly reach does you no good. It is just
discouraging and dispiriting. Many witches dream big dreams, which is important, but to
be accomplished the biggest dream needs to be organized into reasonable, bite-sized
chunks. Baby steps, if you can bear the term. I like to call them mini-goals. This is not a
glorious, mystical, inspiring process, but then neither is so much of practical witchcraft.

4) Be REFLECTIVE as the work unfolds and readjust as needed. Often times the process
of setting and trying to reach goals can help to reinforce the skills of good goal setting.
Failure is an opportunity to reconsider and readjust your goals. Was your original
timeline too tight? Is something else far more pressing and important? Was the action you
specified too easy to be interesting? Too hard? Did it rely on the actions of someone else?
Did you skip a step without realizing it? Maybe now you know you need to read up more
on a relevant subject or find other people to work with or what-have-you. Maybe you feel
discouraged and need to set and celebrate small goals on the way to a big goal. These
reflections are excellent information to use. Readjust your goals accordingly.

Episode Two: Making Holidays Your Own

Published March 3, 2014 by The Forest's Edge

Podcast

Show Notes: Post holiday season (i.e. Samhain-Yule), Betwixt and Between recount their experiences of making the winter Sabbats personal and relevant to our own families and small children (with a sidebar about Passover), and involving community in our celebrations, with a look ahead to the coming year.

(And all that jazz.)

Solstice Spiral 2013

The 2013 Solstice Spiral

Resources we cited in this podcast:

A Grimoire for Modern Cunningfolk, Peter Paddon

The Old Magic of Christmas: Yuletide Traditions for the Darkest Days of the Year, Linda Raedisch

To Walk a Pagan Path: Practical Spirituality for Every Day, Alaric Albertsson

Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort and Joy, Sarah Ban Breathnach