Zora Neale Hurston: Hoodoo Heroine

According to Google, today is Zora Neale Hurston’s birthday, an early popular documentarian of hoodoo, voodoo, and other folk magics.  If you have never read any of Hurston’s delicious stories or anthropological texts, then start Googling.  When I first started down my Pagan path,  I didn’t have access to all these fancy Pagan how-to manuals written by fluffy folks who live in an Azure Green world.  But I did have access to Zora Neale Hurston’s books at the public library.  The first book of hers that I read was Tell My Horse, about anthropological adventures in Haiti tracking down Voodoo practitioners.

As things progressed, I found my way to Their Eyes Were Watching God, which is a wonderful unintentional version of the Descent of the Goddess imbued with sex, magic, and word tapestries.   I haven’t looked at cantaloupes the same way since (put that in your pipe and smoke it!).

Almost all of her books, even her novels, are liberally littered with bits of magic that can easily be incorporated into your current practice.  Look at it like trying a new spice blend on your hamburgers.  if you’re not up for making your own brews, Quadrivium Supplies (http://www.quadrivium-supplies.com/) has several oils listed that are mentioned in Hurston’s books, specifically ‘Red Fast Luck’ oil.

“The way we tell it, hoodoo started way back there before everything. Six days of magic spells and mighty words and the world with its elements above and below was made.”         –Zora Neale Hurston

These folks have the mojo:

Mystic Artisanshttps://www.facebook.com/mysticartisans

Quadrivium Supplies: http://www.quadrivium-supplies.com/

Passion And Soulhttp://passionandsoul.com/

Tonia Brown:  www.thebackseatwriter.com

Hyperdreams Interactive Sex Stories:  http://www.hyperdreams.com/

 

Squeeze My Melons and Plow My Furrow, Part 7: Guerrilla Gardening, Squatters’ Circles, and Urban Foraging

As anyone who has gardened knows, gardening is dirty work.  It’s sweaty, dirt gets under your nails, your hair gets messed up.  Sounds sort of like sex!  For me, gardening is a very sensual act.  You’re plowing furrows and fingering seeds into the warm, moist earth.

Gardening is also a very magical act.  The act lends itself well to sympathetic magic.  You can imbue your desires or intent into the seed and then plant it.  As it grows, so too should your intent or desire.
Magic can also be added to gardening by following the old traditions of planting by the signs.  There are two systems to take into consideration when planting by the signs.

System One is to plant by the phases of the moon.  New moon to Full moon is good for planting above ground crops and seeds and for digging new beds.  The Full moon is best for harvesting.  The Waning moon is best for weeding and pruning.  Root crops should be planted in the dark of the moon.  System One is the simplest system.

System Two is to plant by where the moon is in the Zodiac.  It’s more complicated than System One and requires the use of a Farmer’s Almanac.  System One and Two can be combined together, but it’s sometimes difficult to find compatible days. Just like with most magical workings, timing is important, and folks, especially Old Timers, will swear that plants do better when planted at the appropriate time.  If you can’t wait to dig into magical gardening, there are lots of good books out there, particularly by Kate West and Ellen Dugan.

What should you do in the garden when the moon’s in Scorpio?

For many people, myself included, gardening space is at a premium because they live in an urban or suburban environment.  Container, balcony, and rooftop gardening are all wonderful options, but so is Guerrilla Gardening.

Guerrilla Gardening is a concept that started in London to fill the empty, arable spaces in the city.  Some of the land was city owned, but most of it was vacant private lots.  The movement has now grown worldwide.

Except for the subversive nature of it, guerrilla gardening is not much different from regular gardening.  Both Wikihow and Guerrillagardening.org have step-by-step guides and tips for beginners.

Seed bombs are a common guerrilla gardener’s tool. Made from seeds, soil, and water, the bombs are made to be nonchalantly tossed into vacant lots and will burst open on contact.  They work best if they are made from seeds that do not have to be covered by soil to germinate.  Germination requirements can usually be found on the back of seed packages. Seed bombs are perfect for garden spells, especially if you are without a garden space.  First, figure out the proper timing for the spell.  Then, imbue your seeds with your intent and desires.  Your seeds should be representative of your intent.  To ensure this, consult correspondence charts or a language of flowers guide.  More than one type of seed can be added to the bomb to create a complex and longer lasting spell.  If you want, writing a chant to say while you make the bomb and at launch time will strengthen your magic.  Now choose your location. Ideally, it should be a location near something related to your spell intent or near you.

My god looks like Che!

When it’s time, travel to your launch site, and on the way invoke the God and Goddess to aid your seeds and desires to germinate and grow.  Now throw!  If you wrote a chant for the spell and you pass the site often, recite your chant every time you go by.  The more you put your intent out to the Universe, the more likely the Universe is to make it a reality.

In a way, guerrilla gardens are squatters.

Real squatters–not her–use unoccupied land without the owner’s permission.  Squatting is common everywhere, and every place has different rules about it.

Depending on your locality’s  laws, you may be able to make a guerrilla garden into an outdoor worship area.  Many urban and suburban Pagans don’t worship outdoors because they don’t have a piece of land to worship on.  Some Pagans utilize parks, but many don’t because of the number of people milling about.  However, with some strategic planting, lots of invisibility thoughts, and good site scouting, circle squatting is a much better option than the park.  Before you start your outdoor circle, make sure to research the laws in your area about squatting.  While you’re of course going to claim ignorance if a cop stops you, it’s always best to know beforehand where you stand legally.

Vacant lots and other “wild” urban and suburban places are also excellent for foraging and gleaning.  Foraging is when you gather edibles from the wild.  This can either be done along the marginally green areas

or in the wilds of the park.

There many good field guides available specifically geared toward foragers.  Make sure to get one that’s specific to your area.  Some easy foraging foods are fruits, dandelion greens, Queen Anne’s Lace tubers, wild strawberries, and nuts.  If you’re not sure if the plants you’re foraging from have been sprayed with chemicals, then leave them be.  Treehugger.com has an informative guide for beginner foragers.

Ruth gleaned a rich husband!

Gleaning is similar to foraging, except that it occurs in a cultivated setting.  Gleaners collect the produce that has been left behind by farmers and gardeners.  The produce may be slightly bruised, wind fallen, or simply left by a harvester.  Following old hospitality traditions, many farmer and gardeners will purposely leave behind a portion of their harvest.  There are many aid agencies and food banks that rely on armies of foragers to harvest the extras for the hungry.  However, there’s no reason why you can’t harvest for yourself.  Many cities now have websites and Facebook pages that have up-to-the minute information about where to get wind fall apples or forgotten tomatoes.  Seriouseats.com is a good starting point for finding free food in your area.

Good food doesn’t have to be expensive, nor is a lack of land a good excuse for not growing your own food. Food grown by you tastes better, is healthier, and it puts you closer to the God and Goddess and their holy union.

Sub-Shop.com: http://bit.ly/subshop
Tonia Brown: www.thebackseatwriter.com
Erotic Sensations:  eroticsensations.us


Squeeze My Melons and Plow My Furrow, Part 6: Nothing’s Better on a Cracker than Aphrodite’s Oyster!

Raw, succulent meat; the juices trickling down your mouth as the flavors create star bursts in your eyes and make you hard and throbbing.  The experience of eating meat in its original, or close to its original state, can be truly orgasmic.  It excites the primal urges in us that day-to-day living often suppresses or squelches. The same primal urges that push us to occasionally tear into a piece of raw meat are the same urges that rule our sex drive, and for many of us, the urge to worship in a Pagan format.  Raw meat encapsulates sex and Paganism in all its forms:  from the super elegant sushi 
to the fun and vibrant ceviche
to the familiar but slightly exotic carpaccio,
to the raw, harsh, and just a little dirty, tartare.
By eating raw meat, you take the essence of life into you, just like you do when you swallow during oral sex.  When you partake of the essence of life, how can you ever truly hunger?  Try eating raw meat protein for cakes and ale during your next ritual and see how big of a difference it makes.  Once people get over their initial ignorance and actually try it, they’ll be begging for more because it entices the body to make endorphins which makes you feel wonderful!  Then they’ll be begging to leave to hook up with the one(s) they like best, unless you belong to one of THOSE groups.
While all of the above mentioned raw meat dishes can act as an aphrodisiac, the raw meat that most people are familiar with is the oyster.  Slurping oysters can range from absolute decadence to pure primal passion.  Why stop at dozen?  Give me the whole net full!  Just from looking at a raw oyster, it’s easy to see how early humans assumed that the mollusk would aid in the marital bed.
Some oysters even have a little pearl to rub, just like the real deal!

Before slurping, you first have to learn how to shuck oysters, which sounds an awful lot like you’re doing something else to the oyster……

Now comes the most wonderful part of all:

She looks like she can feel the Goddess exciting her taste buds and sliding down her throat!

Evangeline the Oyster Girl, a goddess in her own right.

Although oysters are thought to be an aphrodisiac, one of those wonderful eponymous substances from the goddess Aphrodite, Aphrodite is not usually associated with oysters.  Instead, it’s the fabled scalloped that she is known for.

Out of the sea foam she came, riding the waves on a scallop shell after being created from Uranus’ severed testicles.  So in essence, the goddess of love, beauty, and passion was conceived in the ocean (a most feminine of forces) from the scattered seed of a god–and given the nature of the seed giving, it could almost be seen as a conception from rape.  I guess that’s what you can expect when your name is Ur-anus!

Among the many things that are considered sacred to Aphrodite, like scallops and horses (because you know the goddess of Love loves to ride), sparrows (that’s me!) can be counted in the number.

Just like oysters, Aphrodite’s scallops can be eaten raw.

So, where should all this raw meat be leading you?  To rekindling the passion in your life–whatever passion that might be!
Sparrow’s Aphrodite Passion Ritual

Like most of my rituals, this one is very free form and can be done with a magical partner or alone.  You will need to assemble the following items: rose scented candles, myrrh incense, apple slices and seeds, a pomegranate (and the juice or wine), raw meat–preferably sea food, raw honey, pearls (real or fake), scallop shells, and any sexual aids you may want.

Set up your ritual space as you would normally.  Then light the myrrh and call out to Aphrodite to join you in your rite to rekindle passion in your life.  On your candle, write or etch the areas of your life you want to be more passionate in.  Focus on these for a minute, and then light the candle.  As the candle catches, see yourself becoming more passionate in those areas.
After the candle has burned for a bit, pour some of the wax into the scallop shell.  Before the wax cools, add in pearls, apple seeds, and pomegranate seeds and see with each item, passion returning to you.  If you have myrrh resin, you can add some of that as well.  You can make a pattern or be free form. This is your passion talisman.  Just as a woman’s shell is filled with the passion of her lover, your shell has now been filled with your passion.  Hold the shell as you consume the raw meat, honey, fruit, and drink.  Don’t forget to libate to Aphrodite.  As you consume your meal, feel the passion of Aphrodite fill you up, starting in your groin and working outward from there.  Feel her passion being infused into your talisman.  Enjoy yourself.  Enjoy the feelings and textures that you’re experiencing.  That’s what passion is all about.  If you wish, the ritual can be sealed and ended with passionate sex or some steamy self love.  If possible, let the candle burn itself out.  If not, extinguish it and relight it when you need a passion boost.
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For more information about incorporating raw meat into your every day diet, visit: http://www.rawpaleodiet.com/.

If slurping fish just isn’t your thing and you much prefer cans, then have fun exploring other things to eat on a cracker.

For real pearls, check out these awesome folks:
Sub-Shop.com: http://bit.ly/subshop
Tonia Brown: www.thebackseatwriter.com
Erotic Sensations:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/EroticSensations

The Scourge Part 3: Gardner and the scourge’s falls

Gerald Gardner

In case you didn’t know, Gerald Gardner created the religion of Wicca based on other world religions, his travels in the East, Victorian ceremonial magic, the scholarship and pseudo-scholarship of others, and the knowledge of English witches.  I’m sorry to burst your bubble if you think Wicca is an unbroken lineage from ancient times until now.
In the Gardnerian tradition, and in many other traditions, the scourge is number 7 in the list of the Eightfold Path that leads one in the ways of worship and magic.  In his books “Witchcraft Today” and “Meaning of Witchcraft”, Gardner mentions using a scourge in ritual, primarily in initiations as an ordeal and for purification and energy raising. In “The Gardnerian Book of Shadows” he discusses scourging a magical partner to bind a spell and using scourging for maintain coven discipline.  He also goes on in great detail about using number magic and scourging as a way of giving an offering to the Goddess.  According to Gardner, “It is not meet to make offerings [scourgings] of less than two score to the Goddess, for here be a mystery.”  3, 2, 5, 7, 9, and 21 are also acceptable numbers and number multiples to use in a scourging ritual.
Since Gardner created Wicca, why would the use of a scourge be included in ritual?  From what we know, Gardner possessed a vast knowledge of myth, so we can assume that he knew about the Greeks and Romans using the scourge in their various rites.  He would have also known about various Hindu sects using scourging and other methods of pain to cause enlightenment from his time in India (the tradition of sky clad and indeed the term itself was something that Gardner borrowed from the Hindus).  Gardner was also a product of his times.  He was most likely influenced by different Victorian flagellant clubs as well as different scourging rituals that occult societies like Crowley’s OTO practiced.  Gardner also borrowed heavily from, and sometimes outright plagiarized, Charles Leland’s books about Strega and Italian witchcraft.  It is also believed that the Traditional British Coven that Gardner studied with used the scourge as a way to maintain discipline and secrecy, although there are some sources that dispute this.  The most compelling reason why Gardner included scourging as a tradition in Wicca is that people went along with his addition of the practice.  If his original coven had balked at the practice, it would have fallen by the wayside, as we’ll see later.

Alex Sanders and scourging during an initiation
                                      As time went on, Gerald Gardner taught others about Wicca and the “secrets” of the faith.  These other folks went on to start their own covens, and in some cases Pagan traditions.  One such person was Alex Sanders, who started Alexandrian Wicca.  Although he eventually broke from Gardner and claimed to come from a family tradition, a good many of his practices mirror Gardnerian Wicca, including the use of the scourge in initiations and other rituals and magic.  Raymond Buckland, another student of Gardner’s, discusses initiatory bondage (another Gardnerian practice), sensory deprivation, and scourging in his “Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft.”  Doreen Valiente and Janet and Stewart Farrar all discuss the ritual use of scourging in their writings.  Of course, Valiente had direct dealings with Gardner and the Farrars were students of Alex Sanders.
So when did the scourge fall out of favor?  The easy answer is “when folks started to object”.  More seriously, however, I suspect it started to happen when Wicca came to America.  Americans have always been into eclectic modes of worship, and the practice of Wicca by Americans has been no different.  The further Wicca got away from the strict rules of Gardnerian Wicca and its offshoots, the less you see “unpleasant” things like scourges and secrecy.  If you look at the books published by American authors, most of them don’t mention the use of the scourge, even in initiations.  In fact, in most “beginner” books, you’re lucky if the scourge is even mentioned as a ritual tool.  Gavin and Yvonne Frost, well known for their views on sex magic, don’t even mention the scourge in their writings.
Another reason why scourging is no longer widely practiced in Wicca is Starhawk and the feminist/Dianic Pagan movement.  If you’re advocating for women’s rights and women’s mysteries, chances are you are not going to take the time to reconcile a religious practice that could be perceived by the outside world as physical abuse and patriarchy with your political views.   From the 1970′s onward there is a marked decline in the use and mention of the scourge.  Many groups today either don’t own a scourge, or have one that is only used as a witch prop.
Part 4 will be a survey of current groups and their use of the scourge.