Memorial Day 2011

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend in the US, a time to honor our veterans who have passed through the veil. This link is a good reminder that Memorial Day is not just about softball tournaments, barbeques and sunshine. It’s because of these men and women that we have the chance to enjoy our rites of summer. So, light a red, white or blue candle this weekend, for those who have passed. Even if you don’t believe in the war, know that these soldiers believed in it enough to put their lives on the line for us, and make the ultimate sacrifice. Light a candle for the families and friends of our fallen heroes.

Themes of the Summer Solstice

Litha is fast approaching- it falls on June 21 this year. I will be on a cruise during the longest day this year, but planning on celebrating the best I can- maybe greet the sun as he rises. There are many ways to celebrate the summer solstice, also called Midsummer and Litha.

Some themes of Litha incude:

• The God at his strongest
• Fire festival
• Faerie festival
• Anything sun-related, especially honoring sun-related gods
• The greening of the earth
• Battle of the Oak and Holly kings
• Relaxation and enjoyment

In your ritual circle, you might stage a ritual drama of the Holly King defeating the Oak King, or use your time to tend a ritual garden. You may honor sun deities, such as Apollo, Ra or Helios. Evoke the fey into your circle and leave offerings out for the faeries. Drum and sing around a bonfire, or work some fire magic. This is the time between the planting season and the time of harvest- it’s time to relax and enjoy while the earth does the hard work, making food! Decorate your altar in green and gold, with flowers and objects that make you happy.

Outside of your circle, you may want to make fairy wings, sunbathe (safely), weed your garden, or gather flowers. The first fruits of the garden tend to be coming up around this time in many areas, and you can imbue your meal with this energy by cooking or baking with some of your first veggies, fruits or flowers. To me, June is a month of salads, light food like grilled chicken and roasted veggies. Add berries or other garden fruit to your salad to align your energies with your garden. Wash that down with a crisp white wine or sangria (lemonade or sweet tea for those who don’t imbibe alcohol).


Just so excited- had to share a picture... my beans are beginning to sprout. This is the first time I've ever tried to grow green beans, so I'm pretty darned excited.

Connecting with the Four Elements Ritual

Earth, air, fire and water- these make up the four most widely known elements of life. Rarely passive, these elements are dynamic- always energetic. We can tap into these energies and use them to balance ourselves, and to connect with the world around us. The four elements are almost always moving, their energy manifesting in their physical being. Rarely do you see a body of water very still- it's usually full of ripples, a babbling brook, the ebb and flow of the tides. Fire leaps and crackles as it gives off heat. The air moves with breezes and currents, and the earth is ever moving- not just the plates- but the soil being worked beneath our feet. Here is a short and easy ritual you can do to connect (or reconnect) with these building blocks of life.

Set up your area with a colored candle at each of the four compass points. Red in the south, blue in the west, green in the north, and yellow at the east. At each point, also place a physical representation of the element. I suggest a bowl of water in the west, incense at the east, a separate candle in the south, and a bowl of salt in the north.

Cast a circle if you wish- this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if you are comfortable doing so, do it.

Approach the east side of the circle and light your yellow candle. Hold it and envision everything that represents air to you, how you have experienced air in the past. Has it been windmills, a warm breeze in the desert, a cool chill of the winter air? Envision this with all of your senses. Taste it on your tongue, feel it on your skin. Say out loud: "Air." While you are envisioning these manifestations, say words that you correlate to this air element. For example, breeze, communication, Mercury, knowledge. This is your personal connection to air, so don't feel as though you have to be "traditional." When you feel like you are finished, light the incense and walk it around the perimeter of your circle (even if you didn't cast circle, still trace it). Envision a yellow line of energy demarcating your circle. Replace it next to the yellow candle and move south to your fire candle.

Pick up the fire candle and envision fire. How have you experienced fire in the past? Bonfires, candles sunshine? Envision it with all of your senses. State words that you associate with the element of fire, like passion, will, candle, flame. When you feel as though you are finished, light the other candle and walk it around the circle. "See" a line of fire energy around the circle, overlapping and weaving in with the yellow energy placed there by your incense. Replace your fire candle and move to your west quarter.

Light your blue, water candle. Envision water as you have experienced it. Have you swam in the ocean, a pool, a river? Have you felt the water move around you as you swam? Feel this and imagine waterfalls, brooks, or a serene pond. Speak aloud words you associate with water- intuition, dreams, serenity, peace. When you are finished, pick up the bowl of water, and sprinkle it around the edge of your circle, adding a blue thread of energy intertwined with your red and yellow energy. Place your bowl back near your water candle and move to the north.

Pick up your earth candle and light it. How do you see earth? Do you see it as the trees and the plants? Do you see it as the soil, warmed on a summer day? Feel your connection to the earth as you have experienced it in the past. As you are feeling this, state words that you feel connect with earth: green, new beginnings, security, life. Take up the bowl of salt, and like the water, sprinkle it upon the perimeter of the circle, seeing a green strand of energy among the yellow, red, and blue already there. Once you return to the north, put down your bowl of salt.

Take a few moments inside your circle. See in your minds eye, the four colors that make up your circle edge. Feel the constant movement of the elements at all four quarters. Really take the time to feel your connection to it all.

Once you are finished, return to the east. Say aloud, "blessed be, air," and blow out your yellow candle. Envision the yellow energy making up your circle to dissolve. Move to the south, and say, "blessed be, fire." As you blow out the candle, "see" the red thread of energy release and dissolve. Repeat with the water, and the earth candles.

If you cast a circle, uncast or open it. Take a few deep breaths and ground, if necessary.

Baking Bread!

This past weekend I made bread- no breadmaker or stand mixer... all me! I used the bread recipe on the back of the whole wheat flour package, but below is the recipe I used for my french bread (found on

1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. soft shortening
4 c. flour

Sprinkle yeast into 1/2 cup of water and stir until dissolved. In large bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in 1 cup of water; add shortening and yeast; mix well. Add flour; mix. Work with a spoon 5 times at 10 minute intervals. Divide in half and shape in 2 balls. Let rest for 10 minutes. Roll into 12 x 9 inch roll, as for jelly roll; seal edges. Place on baking sheet, score top by snipping at one inch intervals with scissors. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Brush with melted butter while warm.

Spring is so fickle!

The weather has been so fickle the past few weeks. From super hot, to cold and rainy... well, I guess that's spring!

My radishes have all been harvested, and the new seedlings are about ready to be planted in their place. My zucchini has a bunch of leaves... still small, but it already has a flower. My green beans are flowering, and I need to thin out my cukes. Green tomatoes are on a few of my tomato plants, and my heirloom pair tomato plant went from halfway dead to a growth spurt.

Next on my list of things to acquire is a kit for canning. Whether or not my tomatoes come in, I'm going to make homemade pasta sauces and salsas, and can them. I'm hoping to have lots of cucumbers so that I can make pickles, as well. This is part of my homespun agenda. At some point in my life, I'll be able to have myself a little homestead. Until then, it can't hurt to learn some skills.

Starting a vegetable garden has really helped me connect more with the earth and Her cycles. Now, if I can just get the "healthy eating" thing down pat! Part of me has this wonderful plan to create healthy meals and eat them! And the realistic part of me is exhausted when I get home from work. Add to that consistant back pain and it's just not feasible for now. But, like canning, I'm learning how to cook healthy meals, so that when I am not exhausted, I will already have the skills I need.

I celebrated the full moon with my coven sisters this past Tuesday. What a lovely ritual we had. <3 I am lucky to be a part of these women's lives.


Do we accept our limitations or strive to break through what holds us back. How long is too long to work on something before accepting that it will always one one back? Five years? 10 years? 20 years? Is there a "higher Reason" why this happens? Should we focus on something else in it's stead?

I cannot do public speaking. When I first joined the industry that I am currently in, I couldn't speak at my first sales meeting. There were about seven other people around the table. All I had to say was one personal success story for the week. I eeked it out and felt profound relief. I've always had issues talking in front of people. I've taken speech classes, oral interpretation classes, drama classes, to try to feel more comfortable, as people have always told me that this was the best thing to do. Still. when I have to speak on a conference call, I fall into an overly mental place, listening to how my words sound, and basically psyching myself out while at the same time, trying to present whatever piece I'm supposed to be talking about.

As a high priestess, this hasn't really held me back too much, as I know what I'm talking about, and speak to only small groups of people (usually already friends, or brand-new friends). Sometimes during class or ritual, I'll find myself falling into that overly mental place. but am able to bring myself out of it. Maybe it's easier, as I don't feel like I need to prove myself or advance in any way.

This year at work has been a little bit better, as my job has required me to hold several WebEx conference calls with small groups of people. It's a lot easier to speak on a topic when I know what I'm talking about. I have never had any problems with training people, nor speaking up in a meeting, when I feel that I have something that needs to be said. It's just that weird middle- just talking about something- that's difficult for me.

Now, I have tried to push past this for about fifteen years now, and it's definitely an obstacle in my career path. My question is, at what point do I give up on trying to advance myself in my career? Do I have to choose to either be happy where I am forever, or feel like I'm Sisyphus, trying to forever roll my boulder uphill, only to have it roll back down, never making any progress. That's something I'm trying to work out.

May's Full Moon

Tonight's the full moon! I love it when it's stormy here, especially while doing witchy workings. I feel that it adds energy to whatever I'm working on. May is the Hare Moon or Planting Moon (depending on the culture), and the energy that it brings is an energy full of growth, fertility and workings toward keeping ourselves fed. Today, I'm focusing on fertility.I do have a few things to plant in the ground, but am unable to do so in the rain.

Here are a few ideas on what you can do for this full moon:

  • Focus on making a baby!
  • Focus on renewing your creativity
  • Plant seeds in the ground
  • Charge seeds in the moonlight
  • Start some seeds in small containers
  • Or of course, do a working for whatever you need at the moment

If you are looking for some easy plants to start from seeds, I suggest radishes. They go from seed to food in about six weeks. If you start new seeds on week 4, they should be ready to plant by the time you are pulling your grown radishes out of the ground. This is a great lesson to kids about how food doesn't originate in the grocery store.

On Being High Priestess

Being a High Priestess of a coven isn’t an easy job, even if you have experience in some of the skills needed: organization, small-group management, project management, counseling, or leadership. These skills –outside of the witchy skills most associate with a high priestess- are important to have as part of a priestess’ skill set, but even if one has seemingly mastered these skills, becoming a high priestess will demand more of you than you can really think of. It demands more of a person than one really realizes. Even if one is proficient in delegating, there’s a good chance that one will fall victim to the very high burnout rate that seems to partially define the Pagan priesthood. There are many articles on the internet about the high burnout rate of Pagan leaders, along with articles wondering why we don’t have more Pagan groups. Because the role of High Priestess is one of much responsibility, even if a person is new to leadership, the Gods will mold her into a leader, if she takes the role seriously, and keeps the good of the group always at the forefront of her awareness.


My journey to priestesshood was initiated by an experimental idea and set me on a very interesting path. Over a decade ago, I started an online group (that I then called “coven”), and worked with energy online. This group was structured like a traditional Wiccan group, and gave me the opportunity to observe small-group dynamics in an online format, as well as experiment with raising energy over great distances. Three years into this group, I found a local coven to work with. This coven was a new one, just forming, and I was initiated into this brand new eclectic group, as the Maiden (second in command, assistant to the priestess), as most of this coven was much less experienced than I. As I took more responsibility in this group, my online coven ended up disbanding, as I didn’t have enough time or energy to sustain both groups. I ran weekly classes for the online coven, and at the time was working 10 hour days.

I spoke almost daily to our High Priestess, and she confessed to me that she had some mental health issues, though she was being treated. She had a very nice, albeit not commanding, mien and everyone liked her. On the day of initiation, however, she ended up initiating a few people whom the rest of us had never met. Our eclectic coven was formed and bonded. During the first meeting, it was clear that she hadn’t had a plan for how the coven should be run. We had bylaws, but I later found out they were pretty much copied word for word from Amber K’s Covencraft book. The bylaws didn’t mention new membership, parting from the coven, or any sort of mission statement. The first few meetings were disorganized and full of confusion. A few young drama queens shattered the conversation by interrupting to speak about themselves several times. People argued about membership- some wanted the circle open, some wanted membership closed to new aspirants. Some needed classes, others didn’t feel that classes should be necessary. People were commuting from all over Los Angeles and Orange County. No one was on the same wavelength at all. After the first ritual, a splinter of this group split off to form their own group. After about four months, the High Priestess became ill and her treatment made in infeasible to continue her role as leader. I was elected to her position. At this point, the group was so fractured, that more people left, and it quickly became clear that this group had no future.

Having completed all of the coursework to become elevated to third degree by the high priestess, and having the experience under my belt, I decided to start a coven of my own. I spent several months carefully crafting a group that I would like to lead. I researched bylaws and compacts and created a set of bylaws that would easily manage the expectations of an aspirant. I created a hierarchy that I felt would work. I did readings and listened to the Gods during meditations, and created a coven tradition that I felt could easily last well beyond a year, as most covens dissolve before their first anniversary. I’ve always excelled in organization, and I really enjoyed the creation of the structure and the dedicant class syllabus. These were my strengths.

After a few meetings, six women came together to found the coven. The meetings were informal at first, and ended up more structured as the group found its feet. New sisters joined, some sisters left, and some left and then returned. As we all matured, so did our gatherings and rituals. Now, our meetings are structured, our purpose is clear and focused, and our sisters are all over thirty, instead of under twenty. Seven years makes a big difference in many ways.


Now, looking back on the time that I’ve spent as a High Priestess, I can see how the experience has molded me into the person I am today. When I started my current coven, I thought of the role of High Priestess as little more than a study group and ritual leader. Now, I know that the role encompasses so much more than a leader. The High Priestess is ultimately responsible for the success of the coven, as well as the spiritual lives of those in the coven, to a point. Even if one’s strengths include delegation, the ultimate responsibility falls of the shoulders of the High Priestess.

There are rituals to plan, meetings to organize, dynamics to manage, gatherings to attend, finances to figure, aspirants to communicate to, history to document, and classes to teach. Even if one excels at all of these responsibilities (or successfully delegates), a new High Priestess might underestimate the amount of time she may devote to thinking about the coven. Ideas for rituals come up at inopportune times. One will spend time figuring out ways to make every event accessible to all coveners, regardless of any financial issues, disability or personal issues. The High Priestess will create handouts, syllabi, packets of trip information, and maps. The Goddess will give one insight in the middle of a conference call. In addition to all of this, it’s imperative that a High Priestess continue her own personal practice. In addition to all of this come the readings she may do, meditation, and the rest of her personal life- her mundane job, family and friends.

Being a High Priestess is much more than a hobby, as the Gods won’t let the coven sit on your back burner. It’s a commitment to both your coven, and to the Gods. It’s hard work, made much more difficult if you deal with any sort of mental illness. It’s not all dramatic robes, enthusiastic acolytes and spookily burning candles. It’s also putting out literal fires, dealing with misguided law enforcement, asking dedicants to depart, and taking the blame when something clearly goes wrong. The role of High Priestess is very fulfilling and wonderful, but it is not without its challenges.