Thursday, 12 December 2013

Announcing The Common Sense Spell Book

My book has been published and is available from a number of places.  Shortly, it will be available from Cauldrons - when I get in the copies I had to buy that is - and I will even autograph them if that's what people want :)

It's been an interesting process.  Actually writing the book didn't take very long.  I was inspired and it all flowed from there.  Then I spent several months re-reading, editing, adding snark and removing it again, adding fluff and removing it again, getting excited, getting arrogant, getting depressed and doing my own head in.

Then I sent it to Luana for proof-reading.  It took a while.  I know she was busy and was doing it as a favour but that just about drove me crazy.  I would frequently be thinking that it must have been such total rubbish that she was having to totally rewrite it and was maybe procrastinating because it was so awful or she was dreading telling me how bad it was.  Yes, I am my own worst enemy.

The edits really weren't that bad.  There was some rearranging to do and that was fine, I hadn't really given a lot of thought to the structure.  Some of it was Luana still getting my message across but in a far less brutal way than I'd said it.  Let's face it, I'm generally pretty blunt when I write.  There were also a few things that I'd worded quite vaguely and badly and they needed to be clearer.

But now it's out there and I'm equal parts excited and terrified.  I haven't yet had my first review (although part of the marketing package I've paid for includes several reviews from critics of my choice).  I now have my author's copy and it's strange seeing it all together in actual print.  I'm excited because it's out there.  I'm terrified because it's out there and part of me just wants everyone to love it.  I know that's unrealistic.  I know that I'll ruffle more than a few feathers with my treatment of ethics and witchcraft and that's one of the reasons I thought this book was needed.

It's available from Amazon and Book Depository and the Xlibris website.  I've found it on a few others too, but for me the other most note worthy was on Scribd where it has a preview and is the only place I've found it available as an ebook so far.

I'm open to any reviews.  If it's terrible, tell me and tell me why.  If you like some of it but hate other parts, tell me and tell me why you didn't like those bits.  If you love it, tell me that too.



Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hallowe'en Time Again


It's Hallowe'en again, with all it's related dramas.  We have Southern Hemisphere Pagans saying it's not Hallowe'en because it's Beltaine.

Well, no, that's not actually true.  Hallowe'en is a Catholic/Christian vigil for the night before All Saints Day.  It's Hallowe'en on October 31st regardless of where in the world you are, it's just not Samhain for us on that date.

Then there are the Pagans who find traditional, historically correct depictions of witches offensive and use Hallowe'en as their soapbox to bleat about it. Let's get real for a moment.  Before the 1950s, when Gardner redefined it, witchcraft meant malicious folk magic.  The cunning folk of the past thousand years that we're trying to reconstruct or emulate would have been horrified at being referred to as "witches".  Many of the spells I've been reading in old books are protection against witchcraft.  Please note - not protection against bad witchcraft, or against evil witchcraft or against black, malicious, malevolent or anything else witchcraft - just protection against witchcraft.

Just because one group have chosen to use a word does not automatically give them the right to redefine it for everyone else or for the rest of history.  It is not religious discrimination or bigotry to depict or define witches as evil, ugly old hags - it's the correct traditional meaning.

Then there is this kind of rubbish - while yes, most of the principles are sound, I'm still struggling with the whole dictating what treats are suitable to give to random children coming to your door.  But I also have issues with this asshattery again while agreeing in principle.

To be honest, I struggle with the whole Trick or Treat thing at Hallowe'en anyway.  Maybe it's because here in New Zealand it's only just starting to be done.  In my 40 years I've seen two trick or treaters come to my door - ever.

My issues are that we spend the entire year teaching our children not to take sweets from strangers, but on that one night, we're supposed to totally contradict ourselves and send them out to demand it?

And then if you don't like what you get for your demands it's okay to commit acts of vandalism?

I find this a bit of an issue.  Maybe it's because I'm the mother of a child on the autism spectrum - I can't have "sometimes" rules.  The rule is either this or it's that.  If there is one loophole then the rule is invalid.  I don't think this kind of consistency is a bad thing for any parent - regardless of whether or not your child is autistic in any way.

I've read the Celtic history and some that were worse than that too.  I know the practical history.  This was the last night of hijinks before Winter had you closed up indoors.  If all of your food for the coming winter wasn't prepared and stored properly (or if you hadn't saved enough) there was a high chance you'd die before spring.

Given that these are no longer issues in our society, is it still a relevant thing to celebrate? 

Given that I've been hearing stories about poisoned or drugged "treats" being handed out by sickos for the last 20 years, is it a safe thing to celebrate?  Even with parental supervision.

Given that we're constantly complaining about the sense of entitlement youth seem to have, that kids today have no manners or respect for anything, why would we encourage it even once a year?

Either way

Happy Hallowe'en :p

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Isms and Oppressive Societal Systems

So my day has just been soured with a discussion about the power of -isms.  Racism and sexism to be specific.

When I say soured, well, let me summarise the discussion:

A black man made light-hearted jest about how he'd spent last week surrounded by 8 menstruating women - and survived.

He got a barrage of abuse about how it was a terribly sexist thing to say and perpetuates the oppressive system of gender stereotyping.
I shouldn't have to explain to you how dehumanizing the 'crazy hormonal woman' trope is.. I shouldn't have to tell you that sexism banks on the 'irrationality' of 'hormonal' women in order to make us seem less logical and more emotional, ie more 'crazy'.. It's not funny even when men think it is.. Don't forget that you will never have your hormones used against you to make you seem less sane and capable of rational thought..
I was left looking at this and saying "Wut?!!"

Maybe it's an older woman thing but we use men's hormones against them all the time.  It's a commonly acknowledged 'truth' that men are like linoleum - if you lay them right the first time, you can walk all over them forever.  At least half of the media advertising that is aimed at men is designed purely to get them thinking with the wrong head and if that isn't using their hormones against them what is?  Sex sells and it sells to men most commonly.

It continued and the original chap was cast as the Terrible Misogynist Oppressor making jokes at women's expense - worse than what I've just posted above.  I commented at this point.  I felt that this woman was projecting her own issues and that commenting on a fact doesn't not equal prejudice.

Apparently letting the little -isms slide because it's come from someone who "doesn't really mean it" is what enforces the big -ism mindsets and institutionalises the oppressive systems.  This is offensive to the educated and empowered women out there.

As a strong, educated and empowered woman, I found the rampant sexism in this woman's post to be more offensive than his observation.  Let's be honest, when we're menstruating, women usually are more moody, sometimes irrational and sometimes just downright crazy.  My teenage daughter went through a patch of going into a violent rage with only the merest provocation (and sometimes none at all) when she was pre-menstrual.  Denying these facts - or implying that they're faulty through some sort of "everyone knows" pseudo-science - is to demean us as women.  And the hardest thing for me is that women are the worst for doing it.

I struggle with the way women are expected to be in the workforce.  I remember a woman I worked with who had every fourth Monday off work.  It didn't take a lot of guess work to figure out why, but she was quickly labelled as 'unreliable' and 'needed to get it sorted' and 'it's not an excuse for anything these days, there are all sorts of medicines and products that allow you to just soldier on.'  Why should we?  Why should we pretend that it doesn't happen?  Why are we expected to be the same every day of the month when the truth is that we aren't?

When did we become so de-feminised? (Yes I think I just made up a word).  It's come from many of the feminists, sadly.  To so many in our modern society, equality with men has come to mean we're the same as men, indistinguishable without some sort of genital examination.  That's just not true, it's not fair and it's dishonouring us as women.

This dreadful conversation then went into the realm of totally crazy - she can't be sexist, she's a woman.  Just like black people can't be racist.  I was then further insulted by being told that I was going by dictionary definitions rather than academic ones and better educated than me people understood the underlying truths of those statements in ways that I really was just not smart enough to grasp.  (Not quite those words, but that was the message).

And it went around again to institutionalised -isms and oppressive systems and then white privilege.  And I was insulted based on being a white woman, but it wasn't racist because "people of colour cannot be racist".

What is now being taught in university is that the isms can only be instigated and perpetrated by the Oppressive System, since any examples of said behavior by the oppressed are reactionary.

I bowed out of the conversation at that point.  If this is what Universities are teaching, the Gods help the next generation - they'll need it.  I'm not the oppressor, how is it reactionary when aimed at me?

The "racist and white privilege" complaint brigade (and worse, those who make claims to being educated and smarter than the rest of us) seem to have missed something.  The couple of hundred years of American slavery is apparently the Ultimate Oppressive System.  We can't possibly compare it to many more years of Feudalism or Vassalage or Serfdom or the Pogroms or the Inquisition or the Holocaust.  We can't be playing games of "more persecuted than thou", we can't even see the "ethnic cleansing" between black tribes that is currently happening in Africa as being remotely similar.   No one can complain about any of these things or even discuss them, unless you're part of the oppressed.

All of these isms and this kind of reactionary (or should that be over-reactionary) responses are missing a simple concept.  One simple thing that if people could grasp the world could be a better place.  But they don't, and then we either have the silly overdone histrionics like the conversation that spawned this blog post, or we have apologetics from people who see their own race or gender as the root of all evil and I find myself feeling embarrassed for them whenever they start apologising for how they were born.

What is this simple concept?  We're different and that's okay.  It's okay to notice that we're different and sometimes to celebrate our differences.  It's not okay to treat someone as less than you because of those differences.  Being pro-Women doesn't have to mean being anti-Men.  Being proud of your race doesn't have to mean you're discriminating against or oppressing other races.

I attended a friend's Pacific Island Graduation ceremony.  This was a special occasion held at the Christchurch Town Hall for the Pacific Island students who were graduating from University that year - it was organised by the Pacific Island group on campus and the only requirement for membership to that group was Pacific Island birth or parentage - ie, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian etc.  This was separate from and in addition to the standard graduation ceremony that all students have.

My friend commented that she felt a little sad because if she'd been a white New Zealander she wouldn't have had this extra ceremony.  She also commented that she felt sad that you could never create such a group - it would immediately be labelled as racist and white supremacist and you'd be getting death threats.  And she was right.

But it can't be racist because it's not white folks doing it.  Just like women can't be sexist and other such idiocies.

I read a Ruth Rendell murder mystery.  Race was a huge part of the plot.  There was a comment that has always stuck with me. 
How would you know when someone is truly not racist?  When they're told that the person they want is that black fellow over there and they have to ask which one.  The one with the yellow tie. 
So being not racist is to be colour blind too?  How can you tell the colour of a tie if you can't see skin colour?  Is being aware that there is a different skin colour being discriminatory about it or oppressing that person?

I don't want the world to be Melting Pot like the song says.  I like that we're all different.  I don't see being all the same as a worthy goal for humanity.  If we were all the same the world would be a boring place.

I like that men are men and women are women and all the variations in between.  I like that men and women are different, they look different, they think differently, they have different strengths and weaknesses, they smell different, they often react differently to situations, to threats and to emotional events. 

I like that black people are different to white people and different again to those from Asia and the Pacific Islands and Australian Aborigines.  I like that Germans are so fundamentally different to Italians in so many ways.

I love learning about these differences, I love finding the similarities too but I don't believe that those differences should be ignored or we should pretend those differences don't exist.  I think our differences make us special.  I know that there will always be those who think that different equals a threat, but there are fewer of them now than there were.

It's okay to be different.  It's okay to celebrate those differences.  It's time we did more of it.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Random Spring Musings

Another Body Mind Spirit Festival is over.  As always, I'm left with things to mull over.

Some things have come from the festival and some have come from other things going on in my life right now.

As always, I love to meet the people who read this blog and follow our internet presence.  I love it when those people come up to me and tell me that they liked my post on this or that, or that they bought a Kyphi incense from us through Trade Me and absolutely love it.

I'm always a little surprised by this and I do feel a little weird. When I am writing, I'm sitting at my computer, in my home in the lovely North Canterbury rural countryside.  I have no real idea of audience.  There are all the masses of "internet people" that I'm in contact with.  Some I don't think I'll ever get the opportunity to meet face to face but I still have a relationship with. There are my friends who read, comment (although usually they comment on the links I put up on facebook) and sometimes we chat about my posts over the phone.  But mostly, when I'm writing, I feel as though I'm talking to myself in a thinking aloud kind of way.

So it is a bit weird when someone I've never met before tells me that they were looking forward to meeting me because they follow my stuff.  It's also a little weird when someone that I've gotten to know through Coffee Meets and Festivals asks about how things are going in relation to things they've read in this and my other blog.

It's weird in a good way, but still a bit weird for me.  Sometimes I consider the impact of my words but a lot of the time I really don't.  This was brought home to me when I did a reading for someone I'd read for a year earlier.  She said "I was thinking recently about what you said last time". Well bugger.  That messed with my head for a while.  I talk a lot.  I try to explain and illustrate some of the points I'm trying to make in a reading.  It hadn't occurred to me that the person I'm reading for might take away the things I say and be still pondering them a year later.  That feels like a weight of responsibility in an aspect that I hadn't considered.

The task I believe the Gods have set before me is to make people think for themselves and question everything.  That includes everything I write which leads to the next thing I'm musing about.

My book.

I've gotten Luana's edits back.  I've reviewed them and made some changes and there are some we need to discuss.  The publisher tells me I can have it in time for Christmas if I can get it to them by the end of the month.

I spent a few months staring at my manuscript, making the odd tweak here and there, having a few down moments where I believed it all to be shallow and naive and a few arrogant moments where I insulted anyone who was going to read the book.  I couldn't think of anything to add that needed saying or that would be of value to the overall book.

Until I sent it to Luana.  In the last couple of weeks before she sent it back, I thought of several very salient points that I'd missed.  One I'd always intended to include but somehow had missed it completely and then missed that I missed it.  Others were things I should have thought of, but just didn't.

This makes me nervous about what else I may have forgotten that I'll only think of once it's published.

I'm also part of a group that fights Pagan Plagiarism and Copyright theft.  Recently, one of our members stumbled across a group that had over 400 books for download in their file section.  Every single one was still under copyright.  That this was blatantly illegal and harming the authors was raised with the group.  There were excuses made of "I got all of these as public domain, so it's okay" and "I'm just trying to help people and make things easier" and "so a library is wrong too then?"  Then it turned nasty.

If you aren't sure what constitutes Copyright theft, piracy or fair use; Fyre Lyte Rioter made an excellent blog post explaining it all here.  And it's worth reading through the comments, there is a wealth of links and information as well as common objections too.

In despair, many authors and publishing firms were contacted.  Suddenly group membership swelled with the addition of a lot of well-known Pagan authors.  All of whom explained (patiently to begin with) that this was illegal, these files must be removed or legal action will follow.  Then it got really nasty.  A pirate site was named with the comment "why bother, you can get all of this from here". (I am deliberately NOT naming the site btw).

I went to have a look at this pirate site.  I saw the brag page about all the legal threats they've received, including the copies of all of the cease and desist letters and legal correspondence.  These threats came from Microsoft, Disney and Warner Bros to name just a few.  This site also brags that they have removed 0 torrents and will remove 0 torrents - regardless of the threats.

So I agonised over whether I wanted to expose myself to that kind of thing.  I know I'll never be rich from writing books but to have a little to make it okay for me not to have a 'real job' and not put so much pressure on my husband would be ideal.  If that little is being sucked up because someone can download it for free (and believe that they're doing nothing wrong) where would that leave me?

There is also a feeling of naked vulnerability with publishing.  I write all sorts of things here but I can edit or delete them.  I can refine the post if there's something I've missed or something that is too offensive.  I can tidy up little mistakes, I can make it easier to understand a point that was vague.

I can't do that with a book.  Once it's out there, it's out there.  I can't recall the copies to fix or reword something and I can't remove a chapter that may get taken the wrong way and expose me to abuse.

I want it out there, but I'm feeling a bit afraid too. This is one of my "feel the fear and do it anyway" moments.

The last thing I'm going to ponder out loud here is PaganFest.

As many of you know, we're holding our 'annual' PaganFest in January.  I handed out plenty of fliers to people over the weekend.  My wonderful helpers popped them in bags with sales too.  We all talked to stall holders, to interested people and to anyone who'd listen about PaganFest.

Many people were keen and said they'd be there or they'd try to make it.  Sounds wonderful.  Except this happens every time.  Everyone is really keen when they hear about it.  Everyone tells us that they'll be there, that they can't wait and that this is the kind of thing they'd been wanting to see in our region.  Somehow, that ends up being maybe two new people each time.

There are people who run it down - stuff gets back to me you know.  Of the four people running it down that I can think of off the top of my head:
  • One has never been to anything we've run.  Ever.  In fact, I held the first ever conversation I've had with this person yesterday.  I've heard plenty of what they've said about me though.
  • One has been to one PaganFest.  The people associated with that person expected us to bend over backwards for them, mucked us around, insulted most of the other attendees and have the cheek to bitch about it afterwards.
  • One attended one PaganFest (a different one).  I think she expected to be treated as a celebrity but she took drugs, made a total fool of herself and insulted not only us loudly and repeatedly throughout, but everyone else attending.  And then started shit-stirring and trying to cause trouble afterwards when most people saw through her tragic and pathetic little empire building attempts and games.
  • The last became the Festival's pariah at the one PaganFest he attended.  His understanding of social etiquettes was a bit lacking, but his ritual etiquette was non-existent. 

This all reminds me of when I first started to run coffee meets.  I tried, but didn't like the way it worked and then began to run them under the NZ Pagan Centre.  The first coffee meet consisted entirely of myself and four friends in the corner of an empty pub.  The second coffee meet was attended by a local Pagan Shop owner.  She came along because she'd been told that all we did was sit around and backbite everyone else in the community and wanted to sort us out.  Given that the only attendees to the only previous one had been friends, there'd been no chance of eavesdroppers and we ended up making plans for an open sabbat and talking about what our kids had been up to, I was rather baffled and at the time horrified as to how she'd heard what she did.  It was like being in High School again.  Unfounded rumours and needless trouble making.  I'm saddened that adults and alleged Elders are still capable of this kind of behaviour.

We would love to see more people come to our PaganFest but don't want anyone to feel pressured.  Please don't tell me you'll be there if you have no intention of going.  It's your loss, not mine and saying what you think you should say to make me feel better just doesn't work with me.

If you hear stuff about it, check with us.  I can put you in contact with people who have attended every single one and are brutally honest about our failings and our successes.



Thursday, 12 September 2013

You Can Lead a Horse to Water...

For some people, this will be a clarification of my Spiritual Food posts.  I know this will make others angry and offended and that is partly my intent.  If you do happen to find yourself getting angry at what I say, ask yourself why it makes you angry?  Did it touch a nerve?  Did I strike too close to home? Did I challenge your perceptions of how it works or who you are?  Or am I genuinely wrong?

There’s a thing that happens in the Pagan Community.  Actually, there are a couple that I am going to talk about here, but we’ll start with the one that has inspired this post.  Spiritual Trends.  Because of the isolated nature of New Zealand Paganism, we don’t tend to see it often here, but with social media sites, I see it happening overseas.  For a while it was Goetia.  Now it appears to be the African Tribal Religions. 

There is one young woman that frequents several groups and I’ve seen this meme used to describe her (and it fits).  She has also inspired the coining of a term – the Google Pagan.  She flits from one path to another studying and learning (Gotta catch ‘em all!).  She can often be a good indicator of which way the trendy crowd is heading.

This is apparently a reason to point and laugh.

At no time does she put herself out there as an expert in any of these paths or traditions.  If someone says something that doesn’t make sense to her, she asks the right people if it’s correct or to clarify it for her.  Sometimes she will jump on the bandwagon and join in the general ridicule or running down of someone ‘exposed’ as a ‘fraud’ but I put that down to her youth and mob mentality.  Let’s face it, most of us get caught up in that kind of thing at some point.

For this and for the fact that she is young, I applaud her, even if she does grate on my nerves sometimes.  She is making an effort to learn what Spiritual Path best suits her before she settles in and commits to one.  I think that’s a thing worthy of respect.

Now with the trends that come and go, some of it may be the same thing and some of it may be fads and fashion.  Superficially spiritual people will always be around.  It’s not new and I can’t see it ever going away.  Some will find a deep and true connection with that stuff they only found because everyone is into it right now, and some will move on to the next one.

While I understand some of the frustration that the older, more serious practitioners feel, I don’t understand all the moaning and at times outright hostility that they express.  I will have a chuckle at the girl who chose her Deities based on how expensive their altar statues were (seriously, she did and then set herself up as a teacher).  I hear someone refer to Bast as Bastet and it sets my teeth on edge – not everyone is aware of Budge’s mistakes – but I don’t get angry about it.  I don’t see a need to denounce these people as fakes or post angry status updates.

So someone isn’t following your path in the right way, how does that affect you exactly?  You don’t accept it when they express their disapproval of what you do, why should your disapproval of their practices matter?  Does it diminish your own ability to do your thing?  Does it reduce popular opinion of your path?  If so, why does that matter to you?  Are the Gods somehow limited by it?  Is there not enough Deity to go around? Why do you behave as if it’s a threat?

Perhaps it may be that the credibility of your path is threatened?  Why does this matter?  Who is your spirituality for?  Do the opinions of the uneducated masses make that much of a difference to you?  If so, why?  Are you doing your thing for you or for an audience?  Is it to make money off those who haven’t achieved your own lofty heights? 

Are you perhaps offended on your Gods’ behalf?  Do you not think that the Gods are more than capable of taking care of Themselves?  Do you think it’s wise to presume to speak for the Gods?

So anyway, this leads to the next thing that is also part of this thing.  Gurus.  Plastic Tent Shamans.  Psychics with access to Special Secret Angels.  People who claim to be able to teach you to become A Living God.  Or have the secret information to help you Win The Jackpot. Or have The Secret Wisdom Passed Down in Secret For Hundreds Of Years that only special people can learn from them, if they can keep the secret. Or even have The Secret that will totally remake your life.  All for a fee of course.

These people are a problem.  Most are exploiting the gullible.  Some may believe the stuff they teach but I don’t really see that happening.  I see fakes and frauds with their get-rich-quick schemes.

There is obviously a call for it, there are clearly folks in society who fall for this kind of thing or it wouldn’t still be happening.  It’s like the Nigerian money scams, the email lotteries and the cryptic facebook statuses to raise awareness for whatever the cause is this time.  If people didn’t fall for it, they wouldn’t keep doing it.

These people cash in on the latest trend in Spirituality and try to convince you that they can provide you with all you need to achieve perfect happiness, wealth and pull with the opposite sex, with the added bonus of calling it something magical (or majyqual or whatever the latest silly spelling is) or spiritual.

What can you do?  You can warn people, but the ones who are going to take notice are unlikely to be the people who get sucked in.  You can educate, but same again – the ones who are genuinely interested in the education aren’t likely to fall for the hype anyway.

One of these was raised on a group I’m in.  Folks were watching the (2 hour!!) youtube clip of his presentation and pointing out the flaws, inconsistencies and downright idiocies of his teachings.  Mostly (because this is an intelligent group) people were having a laugh at it and taking the piss.  But a few others were getting really worked up about it.  When I raised the points above I heard stories of someone’s uncle who’s been rescued from two cults already and is currently missing and assumed to be in the clutches of yet another nutjob cult.

This was supposed to make me shut up, but I thought it illustrated my point.  This uncle is clearly searching for the ultimate fix, is gullible enough to believe all the hype and rescuing him is not going to make the slightest lick of difference to him – he’s proven that repeatedly.

Does that mean we should sit back and do nothing?  No, I’m not saying that at all.  But you can’t make people see reason, no matter how hard you try.  You can point out the fallacies, you can point out the dangers and warning signs but as with anything in life, the ultimate decision is with the individual.  To a particularly paranoid ‘guru’, this will be fuel.  This illustrates their points about the hidden elite subculture that is trying to keep you all down *coughcoughDavidIckecough*.  People seem to love feeling persecuted in this way.  “It’s all a conspiracy, they’re jealous, they’ll lose their power if everyone can do it so they’re trying to stop me sharing it all with you”.

Seriously though, what can we do?  I’m over all the pointless anger and ineffectual posturing about this kind of thing.  I don’t see that it achieves anything useful.  I’m all for a bit of natural selection but to know something is wrong and to do nothing makes you just as responsible.

Can anyone help?  I’m fresh out of ideas on this one.

I was going to post links to some of these ‘gurus’ websites, but realise it would give them increased traffic and that would be counterproductive.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

But... You're Pagan, You Should Support Me!

Another one of those *headdesk* moments.

All over facebook, there are protest posts about the page Witches Must Die By Fire

This page is dreadful.  Witches are equated with Islamic Jihadists and both are Satanists and therefore evil and must die by fire - caused by prayer from the faithful and backed up by tabloid stories about women giving birth to birds, mice and frogs - daily.

It's almost tragic, the way all the protest posts direct more people to this page and then they comment and send private messages - which the page's creator then publishes publicly on the wall.  I'm sure that most of these people really think they're helping their cause by baiting, arguing, belittling and frankly, sounding like whiny children.  Posting some of the light and fluffy Wiccan stuff that makes me nauseous as proof that he's wrong doesn't help them either.

When I read through the page, I found myself laughing at the amount of crazy shown by the page's creator.  The story quickly becomes clear - an ex-lover was a witch and this person takes no responsibility for all that's wrong in their life so it must be the doing of the witch and the devil.  One of those perpetual victims who has chosen Witchcraft as his nemesis.

I saw a hilarious CNN iReport about it - you can see it here - that is so filled with teen angst type whining "Why aren't they doing anything about the big bad meanie who says awful things about us?" This has been supported by this petition, asking facebook to stop ignoring violence and hatespeech about Pagans.

So anyway.  I'm in a group (well a couple actually) that is usually very common sense, no knickers usually get knotted and as long as you remain polite and on topic, you can express an unpopular opinion without all the histrionics that seem to abound in many Pagan groups.
Someone posted about this page and announced that they've set up their own page to counter it. I thought about it, thought about which group I was currently in and answered it. (This is not a direct quote, just what I remember of it).

I struggle with this kind of thing.

It seems perfectly okay for Pagans to say all sorts of things about Christians (and Satanists for that matter) and to suggest they die by fire is quite mild compared to some of the suggestions I've heard from Pagans over the years.  But when it's the other way around it's not?

For the record, I don't personally think it's ever okay to belittle, demean or threaten anyone based on their religious choices - in either direction.

Good on you for standing up for what you believe in, but why would facebook remove it?  All the drama is getting the page more views and the ads are seen by a wider audience.  Nowhere on the page does he incite or suggest violence, there really isn't anything any different to the bs put out there by WBC or on Pagan groups about Christians.

All this will achieve is more people go there and comment and the troll gets fed.

I went off and had my dinner and watched Big Bang Theory with my husband and didn't think much more of it until I went back onto facebook to check a couple of things to do with calendar orders.  There was a notification to say several people had commented on that thread.  Clicking on it seemed to freeze my facebook.  Eventually, I refreshed and tried to find the group to have a look.  The group had vanished from my sight and abilities to find.  OMG I had been banned!


I spoke to a very good friend who is also an admin on that group and asked her if this is what had happened.  This morning I found out that a real shitstorm had followed my comment so one of the admins deleted the thread and banned all concerned.  I'm told I was an accidental banning because my post wasn't inflammatory and stayed within the group's clear rules.

I really wish I could see the shitstorm.  I wish I could see what was said and then point and laugh.  I've seen this kind of thing before though.  Apparently, by being Pagan I'm supposed to just automatically support another Pagan who thinks they've been wronged.  The worst one I think I ever saw was from a failed art student who was claiming religious discrimination was the reason she was failed.  I only read through the evidence provided by this art student and her husband and still couldn't see any grounds for religious discrimination.  Unfair treatment, sure, but not religious discrimination and I said so.

I was treated to a barrage of abuse about the lack of support from the community and basically, "You're Pagan, you're supposed to agree with me and support me regardless of whether or not I deserve it".

As I've learned though, common sense and objectivity never go unpunished in Pagan Circles.  You're supposed to just accept the word of some random stranger who uses the same word to describe themselves as you do.  Thinking is bad, checking facts is evil and Gods help anyone who can actually see both sides of the situation.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Trade Me Trolls

Every time I think I've seen the worst society (and our modern education system) has to offer, someone comes along to surprise me.  Sadly, much of it comes from Trade Me customers.

I don't like surprises of this sort.  I'm quite happy in my ignorance of the idiocies and unrealistic expectations of these people.

The most recent example was a customer who made a purchase Monday last week.  Thursday, she emailed to ask where her purchase was.  It was answered.  Saturday, she emailed again to say it still hadn't arrived.  Our reply asked for patience as rural post takes a bit longer.  She responded with she doesn't live rurally, so that doesn't work as an excuse and on Tuesday laid a non-delivery complaint with Trade Me.

I sent her item a few days ago, but hadn't been near the computer to send her an email.  So I emailed her today to let her know it was on it's way and pointed out that while she may not live rurally, I do.  I've driven into our nearest town and posted parcels fastpost and they've still taken a week to arrive.  In the interests of staying polite (I've been a bit touchy lately) I signed off as I always do with "Blessings".

I got an email back that simply said, "Thank you.  Bless yourself."

I posted neutral feedback stating that she had unrealistic expectations.  She posted bitchy feedback and comments to my feedback - "Oh I don't give a toss about your feedback and your lady emotions. Live long and prosper. BLESSINGS"  After that, I changed mine to negative feedback.

My son looked at it and shook his head. "Mum," he said, "You're being trolled."   Trolled on Trade Me?  Over a $5 sale?  This is a new low for teh interwebz.

And frankly, we have 350 positive feedbacks from 276 separate customers (that's a lot of repeat business in there) and a rating of 99.3% positive, she now has 15 from 10 and a rating of 90%.  Do I care that she's trolling?  Not in the slightest, not hurt, not angry, not having "lady emotions" (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean) and I'm not taking it personally.  I'm just generally disgusted at the behaviour.  My teenagers (who like to troll on facebook) have better manners than this - and they're better trolls.

In all honesty, I've had times when I don't send parcels out for a couple of weeks.  Sometimes it's because it's such a small item that "I'll do that one shortly, it'll be quick" type of procrastination drags on for longer than it should.  Sometimes, I've had it all packed up and ready to go, but keep leaving it on the bench when I drive into town.  I could put it in my letterbox with cash for the postie to pick up, but I don't usually have cash to use.  Sometimes, I just have too much other stuff going on.  Today, all my best laid plans went out the window when I stepped outside to find my pigs had escaped and were eating the angelica in my herb garden and cleaning up all the spinach and ruby chard from my vege garden.  It took me hours to find the fault in my electric fencing and then round up my lovely pigs and try to get them back in their paddock (ever tried to make an adult pig go where it doesn't want to?).  This time though, while I was probably a few days later than I should have been in sending it out, I think that her little tantrum really was unreasonable and a symptom of the expectations of instant gratification that really are a problem in our society.

I've had the odd customer issues in the past.  There were the parcels sitting on my deck waiting for the courier to pick them up when the earthquake of February 22nd happened.  I was a week without power, 3 weeks without post or courier services and had a whole lot of bigger concerns going on.  Most of the customers were fine.  Send it when you can, they said, so I added something extra to their parcels as thank yous for their patience.  One asked for a refund and then posted negative feedback because the sale wasn't completed.  Luana had been in touch with her very quickly, but this wasn't good enough.

There was a lady who bought our calendar and then asked if she could send it back for a refund because she'd bought heaps of fairy calendars for $5 and couldn't see why we charged $25 for ours.

There was the trader (who has done this to me repeatedly) who buys stuff on Trade Me but has big major dramas and will definitely be paying me next week - this can and has gone on for six months on more than one occasion.  Now as someone who seems to have constant dramas over the last couple of years, I'm generally sympathetic but I'm not stupid.  I know it takes longer than six weeks between finding that you have gallstones and having the surgery.  The urgent waiting list is more than twice that long.  Keep your lies simple (or better yet, tell the truth) or they'll trip you up when you forget what you've already said.

Seriously, if you're buying stuff on Trade Me, be realistic, be honest and don't buy something if you really don't want it.  If your kids were playing on your account and hit buy now by accident or with no intention of following up (I've had that one come to me before) then let me know.  I'm happy to let it go.  But don't dick me around and expect me to remain nice about it.  I've got much better things I could be wasting my time on.



Thursday, 1 August 2013

Cauldrons 2013 Yule Calendar and Other Stuff

This years Yule Calendar is finally done and at the printers, in time for Imbolg, only a Sabbat late.  There have been many dramas and hold ups and I swear something happens every year at Calendar time, but except for when the earthquakes happened and we decided to make it a Yule calendar, it’s never been quite this late before.

I don’t want to sound as though I’m making excuses, but please let me explain the lateness this time.  And be aware from the start, this is a blog post that will go into some darker aspects of my life lately.  I don't need sympathy, or understanding or anything.  I just need to be able to put this out there for anyone else who may go through the same thing.

Last year, we began work on a companion diary for the calendar but one that does a normal calendar year.  So as I was working on the second half of this year, I was working on this calendar too.  For some reason, I thought I’d done the whole thing except for artwork.  I then forgot all about it in the joys, sorrows and plain hard work that is lifestyle farming without all the gadgets.
A customer contacted me towards the end of April to ask if there was another one coming.  It was quite the wake-up call and one that I’m grateful for.  At the time, my sow had given birth to her first litter of piglets and then abandoned them, I was fighting to keep them going and ended up with just one (who is still living in my bathroom 3 months later).  My son had been living at his father’s which had just turned to complete custard and I took him back via the CYFS system (a long and convoluted story - needless to say, I have a young man on the autism spectrum who was hurt and angry at the world and those who were supposed to be looking after him).
Luana got on to Stacey, our artist who is now living in Canada with the new love of her life to get the artwork under way and I found I still had six months worth of astrological and moon information to calculate and input, a years worth of feasts and holidays to research and enter and then go through everything to double check and make it tidy. 
Customers started to order and some began to pay even though I’d let them know it wasn’t ready yet.  I got all of my part done, I received the artwork (which as always is stunning) and placed all of that.  I just didn’t have cover art.  I emailed Stacey and waited.
I sent her a message a couple of weeks later, she hadn’t received the email.  Then halfway through July, I said something to Luana, who got busy and created something wonderful from photos and bits that we had from previous works.  This was the one thing that I had the least control of, it took the longest to get sorted and meanwhile, I’m being contacted by the customers who’ve paid to politely ask if I’d received their payment (in other words - “where’s my fucking calendar?”)

During this period of three months, my son has attempted suicide four times.  Two were serious enough to require hospitalisation and a lot of to-ing and fro-ing from Christchurch to visit him and meet with various professionals.  He’s finally getting decent help from the mental health system, which I am eternally grateful for. But it’s been a hard road.
He’s slipped through the cracks, being diagnosed as “just behavioural” for most of his life.  I’ve had Psychiatrists that I didn’t feel took anything we said seriously and as he didn’t relate to them at all it was a total waste of time and energy.  We now have people who pick up that he’s on the Autism spectrum from a 20 minute chat with him.  We now have people that he can relate to and don’t just dismiss him as a difficult attention seeker with a lousy mother.

The first hospital stay was at the start of June.  I trucked along, staying strong for him and the rest of my family.  I expected I’d have a meltdown, but it never happened.  There have been moments that no mother should ever have to endure.
He chose to overdose on paracetamol.  Many people still believe paracetamol to be harmless, but it’s not.  A small overdose isn’t an issue it’s true.  But taking 45 500mg tablets can be fatal if not treated very quickly.  Paracetamol, in large doses like this one will cause liver failure.  If it gets to that stage, there is nothing that can be done for you.  All the best doctors and hospital staff can do is make you comfortable while they watch you die.  If it’s caught in time, however, there is an antidote that flushes it out of your system before it affects your liver.  It’s just not particularly pleasant while it’s doing it’s thing.

When I first got a text from his friend to tell me he’d taken this much, I checked and found the empty cards and rang an ambulance.  Part of me didn’t really believe he’d taken them all, I thought he may have flushed them down the loo and was being dramatic, but I couldn’t take the chance.  Having the blood test results come back to me and tell me that he did in fact take that volume and had truly intended to die (he didn’t know there was an antidote at that point) was one of the most awful moments for a mother to face.  Sitting at his bedside while he slept (and occasionally vomited) on my own in the Emergency Department at the hospital at 2am didn’t make it any better.
I spent that week at a friends place in town, being close enough to come and go from the hospital and youth inpatient ward and not needing to worry about looking after my seven year old daughter or run around after my husband.  It was great that my friend looked after me, made sure I ate and that I got enough sleep and space, but it made coming home harder.  I wanted to be able to just let go - it was all over and I could have my meltdown, except I couldn’t.  My daughter also needed me - she didn’t know exactly what had happened, only that her brother was sick and nearly died - and my husband needed me.

This time, as in, I brought him home from hospital yesterday, he sent a goodbye text out to a lot of people.  While I was waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I received calls from the School counsellors from two different schools who’d had students come to them in a panic.  I received frantic calls from his youth group leader and my ex-husband.  I’d been in a meeting when I’d received the text (which I wouldn’t normally look at straight away, but did this time).  I’ve had people out the wazoo offering help and support and I’m grateful for it.  But.  Sometimes all the offers feel like another burden.  I truly am grateful for all the people thinking of us and offering to help, but I’m sick of my phone constantly going off with yet another call or text message. In a way I almost feel that not to take up these offers is to seem ungrateful for them, like it’s rude of me to not need these people to do something for me.  I hadn’t told a few people that I probably should have just because I don’t want to have to deal with any more of this.  I also just don't know how to tell some people without sounding as though I'm fishing for sympathy or something.

I haven’t coped quite so well this time.  I’ve had some pretty dark moments and thoughts that would horrify you if I shared them.  Then I feel shocked about them and feel guilty and a lot of self-loathing.  I’m scared for my son, I’m worried about my youngest daughter - she’s not stupid and is asking questions that I don’t know how to answer.  I’m worried that with all the evasion about why or how he’s sick, she’s going to start thinking that an apparently well person can very suddenly get sick enough to nearly die.

I’m tired of being everyone’s rock.  I’m tired of needing to be strong for everyone else.  I’m tired of being someone that others depend upon so much. I’m worn out.  I have animals that are being neglected because I just don’t have the energy to be caring for them too and I have no one else to rely on.  I could call on some people to help, but they’re not going to be up for feeding out hay on a daily basis (and this is a wheelbarrow load of hay per cattle beast) so therefore, nine trips up and down my farm.  The friends that have been supportive are starting to tell me what I should do.  That’s not actually helpful, in fact, it’s pissed me off.  Which starts up another round of guilt and shit.  My mother seems almost hurt by the fact that last time I didn’t go and stay with them. I just don’t need that.

In this time, I also paid the publishing company for my book, I sent the manuscript to Luana for proof-reading and editing.  I appreciate that she’s doing this as a favour, in her spare time around her busy life.  I want it finished, but don’t want to hassle her about it.  The fact that it’s taking so long makes me doubt that what I’ve written is any good.  She keeps telling me that it’s great, but I’ve written this one the way I talk, which doesn’t work so well in a book.  I’ve received daily and weekly calls from my publishing consultant asking where my manuscript is.  It’s great that they don’t just take the money and vanish - this is one of the reasons that I chose to go with XLibris after all - but when I’m in the midst of dealing with other crises it felt like just another burden, another person needing something from me that I wasn’t able to provide.  Then my husband starting hassling me.  So what’s happening with the book?  It’s been months, we could have been earning interest on that money, why did we pay it back then when you weren’t ready for it?  Because the money would have been needed for something else, fence posts, pig feed, the power bill, something.  And I would have been sitting here not doing it again.

So anyway.  The calendar is at the printers.  I hope to have it available to send out very shortly.  And then I think I’m going to hide from the world for a while, lick my wounds and try to recover from all of this.

Blessings until I re-emerge.


Spiritual Food Part II

We return to our story of Spiritual Food. (Part One can be found here).

In each group there became Master Chefs, they spent many years working hard to understand each ingredient that went into their food, they could smell a little mould in the onions, or know why this cake sank in the middle and how it could have been prevented, they grasped the balance of flavours and ideal texture to create the perfect dish.  It took a great deal of training and dedication to reach this status, a Master Chef was both a scientist and an artist.
There were the Sous Chefs, the kitchen hands and the wait staff.  These people studied to help prepare the food and serve it to those who were content to just eat it.  Their work would sometimes lead them to moving up to the next level and some would become Master Chefs in their time, but some couldn’t cope with the study, or lacked the ability to grasp the finer, more delicate intricacies of being able to tell when your batter was mixed just right or the merest pinch of salt was needed to perfect this dish.
There were also the home cooks.  The people who could create wonderful food at home.  Some created poor imitations of the fine food of the Master Chefs and some whose cooking could have rivalled them if only they had the pieces of paper and recognition.
Some Master Chefs wrote cookbooks, describing how to make their food and while their recipes could be recreated at home by these home cooks and many people loved what they made and were satisfied by it, it was never quite the same as having a Master Chef cook it for you.  Although, not everyone realised this.
Some home cooks were content making food their own way, using the cookbooks and perhaps adapting the recipes slightly to suit their own or their families tastes.  This worked well for them and they had a rewarding and healthy diet, their families were satisfied and well fed.
Other home cooks started to believe that the food they were making was at least equal to if not better than that of a Master Chef and tried to claim the title of Master Chef.
Some Master Chefs became blinded by their own brilliance and became arrogant, believing themselves to be completely infallible.  Sometimes they didn’t notice that this kitchen hand hadn’t cut up the onions finely enough or that the baking powder was a bit old and had lost its fizz.  Others started to charge too much for their food, making it too expensive and therefore out of reach for most people.
Packet mixes became available.  Anyone could buy a packet of Cake mix or Bread mix or Pizza dough and just add water.  The foods appeared to be just as good as those prepared by a Master Chef, but it was easily (and cheaply) cooked at home.  Unfortunately, many of them also contained other undesirable ingredients that most people weren’t aware of and slowly poisoned them.
Then came the fast food revolution.  People could order the food they wanted and have it delivered to them in a very short time.  It was fast and cheap and meant that many people came to expect instant results in everything else.  There often wasn’t a lot of nutritional value in these foods, but those eating them felt a hole was filled (in their belly) and that this was perfectly acceptable.
Many turned to the Master Chefs and accused them of taking so long and being so expensive for selfish reasons.  They suggested that the Master Chefs were out of touch with the modern world and reality.
Some Master Chefs bowed to the pressure and created buffet dining in their restaurants.  Any number of foods were available for you to help yourself to, pick and mix and eat all you want.  The sad thing was, you didn’t know who had dropped what on your potato salad or sneezed on your bread rolls, or licked the gravy spoon and dropped it back in the bain marie.  While it seemed fulfilling and many people could be fed quickly and easily, with food that was more nutritious than the fast food variety, it could also make others terribly sick and disease could spread quickly and with devastating effects.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a fix for this.  Some people will always go to a Master Chef for their food.  Some will be happy to cook at home.  Some will always want their fast food or turn to it for convenience now and then.  Some people may cycle through and try them all before settling into what works best for them.
And sadly, there will always be those claiming to be Master Chefs when they haven’t earned that title, their culinary creations appear similar on a superficial level, but the proof is in the pudding!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Spiritual Food

Once upon a time, there were various people around the world who each ate different things.  Some thought that their chosen food was the right thing to be eating and all should eat the same as they did, others didn’t mind, as long as they got to eat what they wanted.
There were those who ate Potatoes, those who ate Cake, those who ate Pizza and so on.
Some of the people who ate Pizza were taken from their homes and forced to eat Cake.  They found that they could play with the way Cake was made and add Pizza elements to it.  After a while, they created Savoury Muffins, which combined both Cake and Pizza but wasn’t really either.
Another group of Cake eaters remembered a time when they ate Bread and went back to Bread.  There were many varieties of Bread, with a lot of different flavours and components.  One group liked to have a hard crust on their Bread, others liked Brown Bread with seeds and nuts in it. Some liked Cake and Bread but were told they couldn’t have both so they created Scones.  Others discovered they liked Potatoes with their Bread and created Potato Bread.  Yet another group found Pizza, they found it too much to have on it’s own, but the toppings worked for them on Bread, so they created Pizza Bread.
Many of these groups didn’t understand how the others could possibly like what they did.  “It must be either Bread or Cake” they said, “It doesn’t work to combine the two.” 
“You’re not eating your Potatoes the right way,” they said, “You have to eat them our way or not at all.” 
And when it came to Pizza Bread, “Your tomatoes, onions and garlic aren’t real tomatoes, onions or garlic,” they said, “You have to learn the secrets of making and eating Savoury Muffins before you can truly know if you really have tomatoes or peppers pretending to be tomatoes.”
On the whole, each group was getting all the nutrition they needed, they grew and were healthy.  But some diets caused their eaters to grow outwards instead of upwards and the eaters became bloated and sick.  Some found that their foods made them ill and they had to go and find a different food in order to become well and healthy again.  Sometimes what a person needed was a combination of foods because they lacked something that was only eaten by another group.
The problems came when most groups became jealous of their food.  They didn’t like it when someone used something they thought of as theirs to create another type of food.  It was as though by eating it differently it threatened their own food choices or made them invalid.
Wars raged about who had the right to eat each food.  They argued and battled about who had risen in the ranks of making food to be able to say how it was done correctly and just what was the correct way to cook up your ingredients and make the perfect food.
There was enough of each ingredient to go around.  No group was ever at risk of running out of ingredients to make their food and be able to eat it. If there had been a chance of not enough tomatoes being available to make either Pizza, Pizza Bread or Savoury Muffins then perhaps the wars, the nastiness and bad feelings between these people could have been understandable.  But there was never that risk.  There were always plenty of tomatoes to go around and satisfy everyone.
Many wise people tried to understand why these wars went on.  Most of them failed.  Many tried to mediate between the groups, pointing out the similarities instead of the differences.  Not enough people cared and they also failed.

It is my hope that one day, we can all eat whatever we want without being told that we can’t have this with that, or we’re holding our forks the wrong way.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Publishing My Book

As some of you may know, I've been working on a book for the last few months.  I think the bulk of it was written in a very short period of time.  I've added to it, deleted bits and now seem to spend most of my time re-reading, editing and tweaking with it.  I think it's time for me to pass it on to Luana to proof-read and edit before I mess the whole thing up. 

I considered trying a crowd sourcing campaign to pay for the publishing of my book.  I've got it pretty much finished and I've chosen to self-publish.  The self-publishing choice has come about for a number of reasons - I saw a friend publish a book through ECW quite a few years ago and I saw her heartbreak when she had no say in the fonts, cover art or even the title of her book.  I am not interested in giving up that kind of control, I don't even like it when an editor changes a few words.  I also struggle with where to send my book if I was going to submit it to a big publishing house.  Llewellyn might take it, but have such an auto-fluffy label with serious pagans that while I may have a book selling lots, my name would be banded together with the likes of others that I do not wish to be associated with.  I don't believe I'm scholarly enough for Avalonia.  Print on demand seems like the best option, that way, if I only sell a few to good friends, then there aren't several hundred books floating around looking for their way to the bargain bin.

My best self-publishing option costs approximately $1,000 NZD.  I made jokes about giving my first 10 copies (signed with a personal message) to anyone willing to buy it for $100 (first edition and all).  I thought perhaps trying the crowd sourcing would give me an indication of whether or not people would be willing to buy my book, it would potentially show interest (or lack thereof).  Thing is, I might buy a book, but wouldn't contribute to the concept of a book in a crowd sourcing campaign.  If not enough people contributed, I would make the assumption that no one wanted my book and probably can it with no further thought.

I put it out there to the Universe and my Deities.  If this book is meant to be, I need the money to publish it.  If the money comes through, I'll give up smoking. (There I've finally said it publicly, so lots of you can hold me to it).  The next day, I received $10 for some of my writing.  That felt like a message.  I need to work harder to increase that amount (I'm now seeing $10 every month) but it feels less like a handout and more like inspiration.  That source has currently gone offline (again!) so something else was needed.

Something else has happened.  We sold our other house, currently we're between it going unconditional and possession by the new owner.  There will be some left over after mortgages and debts are sorted.  My husband subjected me to a fierce grilling about my options, what I've looked into and given me the go ahead to use some of the proceeds to publish my book.

I've been talking about it to some people, so far to positive responses and hands up to please get one when it is published. But I'm starting to doubt.  I am starting to second guess it all and feel that it's a naive and superficial work instead of the common sense, stripped down, mechanics of folk magic book that it is intended to be.

Crowd Sourcing

Lately it seems that crowd sourcing is the way to go if you want to get a project off the ground.  I've heard of several and wish at the moment that I had more disposable income so that I could contribute towards one of these worthy causes.

Well, I say worthy, but one of the first times I ever heard of this type of thing was when pagan blogger Star Foster tried to convince the world that we needed to pay her to write her blog. That fell rather flat and since then Star has decided she's not Pagan after all and appears to have given up blogging.  I'd never heard of Star before this, although, I've since heard plenty and little of it nice.

But then another person I have come to know first through her books and then online in groups where we are both members is Tamara L. Siuda.  Also known as Her Holiness Hekatawy I of the Kemetic Orthodox faith and Mambo Chita Tann of Haitian Vodou. 

I love Tamara's works in Egyptology.  I've been following them for many years.  It's her work we refer back to for the Egyptian festivals in our calendars.  So when I heard of her Ancient Egyptian Daybook as a kickstarter project, I shared it all around.

Another online friend, Houngan Matt is using Indiegogo to fund a shop opening with two friends. 

And a subject dear to my heart is where does the money we donate to disaster relief actually go to.

I've been looking through the Kickstarter and Indiegogo websites and notice that for the most part searches for "pagan", "wicca" or "witchcraft" show very few projects and those were mostly unfunded when they reached their time limits.

Each project has rewards or perks for those who pledge money.  Some are pathetic (undying gratitude and a personal letter) and some are truly fantastic (mention in movie credits or a fully paid trip to meet people).  Perhaps this is one difference between success and failure, well that and whether the cause is actually worth donating money to.

Star Foster's campaign finished without coming close to her goal.

Tamara Siuda's campaign raised more than $14K more than her goal, in fact reaching two of her stretch goals - 50 Daybooks to be sent to 50 libraries of the backer's choices and a special edition coil bound DayBook for backer's rewards.

Houngan Matt's campaign is still running and as of today, is nearly at a quarter of it's goal with over three weeks left to run.  The rewards are great, check it out.

The Relief Project still has a long way to go and if you're not sure about this, 50% of all readings from KiwiMojo during this campaign will be donated to this cause.

This is community.  Let's work together for stuff instead of complaining about what we don't have.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Cauldrons PaganFest 2014

We're all go!

We are returning to Journey's End, the venue for our first festival in 2009.  It is a little more primitive than Eyre Lodge where we held the two in between, but it's half the price, the managers are actually sensible and even respond to communications (without trying to say it must be a fault with MY email) and it is by far a more beautiful setting, with no concerns about having sheep wander into ritual space.

Houngan Liam (Papresse Soulage Minfo Edeyo Bon Hougan) with Hounfo Racine Deesse Dereeyale - the only traditional Haitian Vodou society in the Australasian region will be presenting our Saturday night ritual, as well as an Ancestor Workshop and a Vodou 101 talk.  More information about them can be found on their website - KiwiMojo

Why Vodou this year?  I hear a lot of comments regarding Vodou, usually suggesting that it's something dark and evil.  I know this to be untrue, but in New Zealand there is so little exposure to Vodou, there are few opportunities for us to learn the true nature of this beautiful and rich tradition. I became friends on Facebook with Houngan Liam and thought I'd offer the chance for more people in New Zealand to become aware of what it truly entails, to experience the richness of the religion and to  have any questions answered by Houngan who really know what they're talking about.

Many of you were asking about the PaganFest last year and it's true, we did skip a year.  This is because I got married and one big event to plan in a year was quite enough thankyouverymuch.  Although, after three Pagan Festivals, a wedding was easy.

For more information, check out our website and join our facebook page where there are already discussions about transport and car pooling going on.