Kindling the Fire at Home & in the Community

All About Bridey

Reconnecting with Nature

After spending the last year immersed in the world of academics and very little rest, I decided that when I graduated, Jay and I needed to get away. Far away from the everyday hustle and bustle of our lives here in southeast Texas. We needed a break, some fresh air, a little perspective and an opportunity to reconnect with our families and the divine in nature. So we planned to make our way back to the west coast for a 2 week vacation that consisted of spending time with family, friends and the great outdoors. It proved to be exactly what we needed.

ImageWe flew into Orange County California and on the flight we were giddy to see the peaks of mountains reaching into the sky. Silly, right? It felt like seeing an old friend after a long time and it was a welcomed sight. Jay seemed to be as excited about it as I was, so that was funny and secretly made me happy to see him feeling the same things I was. We were like little kids flying over the mountains with giant Cheshire cat smiles on our faces. It was hovering over these first peaks that I started to really feel the presence of the divine greeting me and welcoming back home to California. I’m not sure what it is about the Pacific Northwest… if it’s just the familiarity, the history I have there or simply the beauty of the landscape, but being there always makes me feel a concentrated surge of spiritual nourishment. Like water on a hot summer day it quenches my thirst in a way unlike any other place.

Once we arrived in Orange County we picked up our luggage, rented our car and drove to my Dad’s place in Corona. The traffic on the way there was ridiculous and quickly we remembered that the good always comes with a little bad.  Even though the majority of the drive isn’t particularly lovely headed from Santa Ana to Corona, the climb over the grapevine was an opportunity for us to soak in the fact that we were really there! When we arrived at Dad’s place in Corona we were greeted with enthusiasm, hugs and an invitation to Indian cuisine! Yum! We spent a few days spending some quality time together. I got to visit with my Grandma and talked about art, family history and just enjoyed her comforting subtle presence and her dry sense of humor. She didn’t disappoint!

Image

After our visit with Dad we headed up north to San Francisco. The place where we met… the place where we grew up. It was another welcomed change of pace. Despite dealing with some potentially disconcerting news regarding his moms cancer prognosis, we managed to find a few moments to enjoy our time in San Francisco. One afternoon we spent time in Crissy Field with a friend from high school and had lunch together. Watching the fog roll in across the Golden Gate bridge brought on a sensation of being wrapped up by the divine. I think I may have been looking for a sign that things were going to be okay with Jay’s mom, but the divine did not disappoint in revealing them just when I needed them. We enjoyed the sunshine, the company, the cool ocean breeze and the best deli sandwiches in the Marina district from Lucca Deli.  Walking familiar streets, shopping at old haunts and seeing the faces of cherished loved ones filled me with a sense of wholeness and rejuvenation in a big way. It was a good visit and we both left there feeling like we had achieved the sense of connection to our family, our friends and the divine in the place we both hold so close to our hearts.

Image

From San Francisco we made our way up to Southern Oregon. The drive up is so beautiful. Even though I’ve driven it probably a thousand times I never tire of the bounty that nature provides in that area. It’s so green and lush with the fullness of evergreen forests and groves. The entire way up I found myself drinking in the vision of the treetops, mountain sides and valleys. I held them in my thoughts and made space for contemplation. I reached out to the divine the whole way up and offered up prayers of thanks and gratitude. From the sunlight peeking through the trees to the hawks flying beside our car to reaching that first point where Mount Shasta was visible I felt the presence of the Goddess. Usually with a long drive your thoughts are focused on just finally arriving, but much like life truly is… this trip wasn’t about the destination, it was about the journey. I made every effort to savor the drive, our conversations and every part of reconnection and rejuvenation we started our vacation seeking. We sang songs out loud, joked as we usually do and enjoyed the space. Jay couldn’t help, but tease me about acting like a complete tourist… I took a lot of photos. I guess I just wanted to make sure that I was able to document the time we spent together on this little adventure.

Image

We took turns driving and when it was his turn to ride shotgun he spent a lot of time looking out of the window and resting. I know that he had a lot on his mind with his concerns regarding his mom so I just kept quiet and let him have some peace and time to relax. As much as the time we spent “doing” something helped deepen our connection to each other, our families, our friends and the divine… the time when we weren’t doing anything, but driving seemed to satiate our spirits in a different, but equally vital way. Many times I looked over to see his smiling face and knew with a deep sense of certainty that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. In those moments my connection to the divine felt even more palpable and alive. When you are immersed in routine, daily tasks and the ritual hum drum of daily life it’s not nearly as easy to find, feel or see that clarity. So I was thankful for that.

Image

We stayed with my Aunt & Uncle in southern Oregon, which was a smart move. They live out in the country on a mountainside. Talk about quiet serenity. The creek running through the back part of the property, the redheaded woodpecker visitors and the explosion of stars in the night sky away from the city lights met and exceeded our expectation of a calm, drama-free and quiet place to just be. Our second day there Uncle Paul, Jay and I headed to a favorite swimming hole and he was pretty amazed at how beautiful it was right there in town. We took advantage of the alligator-free, crystal clear water and took a dip despite how cold the water was. A few minutes to adjust and it was fantastic! We stayed a few hours enjoying the quiet cove, the cool water and the quiet buzz of nature. Unfortunately the skies weren’t clear due to the fires in Glendale, Oregon just north of my Aunt & Uncles home … but even with the haze-filled sky Jay couldn’t stop gushing about how much he loved the area, the scenery, the sense he got about the community and the overall vibe of where we were. The more we talked about our future, the more we realized that we belong out there among the trees, the clear rivers and star filled skies of southern Oregon. As the days went by we started to think that maybe we had some reevaluating to do about what we need to be happy. Sure, you can be happy where you are, but shouldn’t you seek out where you want to be? We think so.

My Aunt & Uncle provided a comfortable and non-intrusive space for us to call home base during our stay and reflect on all of the things you need to reflect on when you’re taking a break from “the real world”. Their company, my Aunt Tina’s delicious home-cooked meals and the free reign of their property was amazing. It was the first time Jay had met my Aunt Tina & Uncle Paul and my first time seeing them in nearly 8 years. There are certain kindred spirits in this life that no matter the time, the distance or the changes life throws at you… when you are back together in the same space, life carries on like you were never apart. That was my experience with my Aunt Tina & Uncle Paul. We caught up on our lives, talked about our plans for the future, hung around playing games and did a bit of adventure seeking together. It was the perfect balance of rest and activity.

ImageDuring our adventures we went to the Redwood Forest in Klamath Falls. We hiked for probably close to an hour and stopped several times to listen to the audio tour. There were some bizarre trees growing in all different manners. Redwoods are so resilient, they can grow sideways and uprooted and on the side of cliffs. Those great big trees teach an important lesson about staying power, resilience and silence. They stand guardian watching on the coast in all their majesty. Standing among them is a humbling experience… it makes you realize just how little the space is that you personally take up on this planet. Even more humbling was the opportunity to see what they see from the tops of their canopy. I didn’t anticipate facing my fear of heights during my vacation, but my desire to see the top of the trees outweighed my fear. So, I went for it. I’m one of those people who gets the racing thoughts when fear creeps in… and being hundreds of feet in the air is a sure-fire way to feel vulnerable when you are petrified of heights. I kept trying to tell myself to “JUST LOOK AT THE VIEW”… “LOOK AT THE TREES”… “LOOK AT THE BEAUTY” and of course “Don’t think about crashing to your death. This lift is safe. You’re okay. It’ll be worth it when we get to the top.” All this internal dialogue going on was doing very little for me. The racing thoughts kept racing. Finally I had the presence of mind to just close my eyes, take a deep breath, say a little prayer and LET GO. A feeling of complete calm washed over me almost immediately.

Image

The rest of the ride I spent taking photos, watching the squirrels play high in the trees and taking in how awesome what I was doing was. I was so high up in the sky dangling from a little lift and life was pretty good. I wasn’t willing to let fear ruin the experience and I’m glad I didn’t. When we got to the top of the tree lift my reward was a bird’s eye view. Despite the fog, we were able to see the ocean on one side and massive osprey nest on the other side. I stood there just taking in the panoramic view. It was pretty awesome. I couldn’t believe how sweet the air was that high up. My lungs filled and I imagined blowing out every bit of anxiety and shred of fear that I had been feeling. Getting up was one thing… but now I had to ride the lift again to get back down. My only other option was a 1.5 mile hike recommended for advanced hikers that included extremely steep inclines to navigate. Call me crazy, but I was more willing to risk safety in the lift again than I was to try my hand at advanced hiking down a steep cliff.

Webs up high

Just before heading back down Aunt Tina and I decided to make a pit stop at the ladies room. On my way back towards the lift I was giving myself the pep talk and out of the corner of my eye something caught my attention…

Who needs pep talks when the Goddess puts a symbol of feminine energy, patience and the weaver of destiny right in their path. Not this girl. I took this beautiful web as a sign to take comfort in her presence and to rely on my own internal strength as a woman and a daughter of the Goddess. No more fear and the ride down I was cool as a cucumber. For some reason I have never feared spiders. Even as a child I can remember allowing wolf spiders to take up residence in my room from time to time. I never squished them. Something about them seems sacred and worthy of respect, so I give them that.

Our trip to California & Oregon brought Jay and I closer together. It also gave me the peace of mind and serenity I was hoping for when we left on our adventure. It was the perfect escape from the sweltering humidity of southeast Texas and a great transition from my life as a student towards my new life as a registered nurse. Even doing simple things I felt like I had the time to see the magick in all that was around me. I took the time to be present and grounded in my surroundings. It was a welcomed change of pace and something I hope to do more often in my every day life. Life gets busy and you forget to do the little things that make all the difference. I’m going to try to stop what I’m doing and take that time. It really is it’s own reward. In the coming months I hope to seek out mini-adventures for Jay and I to fill our cups with spiritual nourishment and rejuvenate from the mundane world. We don’t need to “get away” for that though… we just need to shift our focus. Work on the core instead of seeking out fulfillment somewhere else. We are all we need. This trip made me realize that in a big way. Life is truly what you make of it… no matter where you are. My challenge to you is to not wait to take a 2 week vacation… take 10 minutes in the morning or an hour in the evening… take an afternoon or a weekend for yourself or for you and your partner to reconnect to what is sacred. Find some place where you can be alone with the divine in nature. You will thank yourself for taking the time and your every day life focus will shift from seeking the divine outside of the mundane to seeking the divine within. Do it! You’ll be grateful you did. I know I am.

Blessings,

Bridey-signature


Superstition

superstitiousThe thought of superstition brings to mind all sorts of things. Black cats. The number 13. Mirror safety. Finding pennies. Sidewalk cracks. Fingers crossed. Walking around, not under ladders. Knocking on wood. The list really goes on and on.

Superstition is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition as:

1 a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation

 b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary
This definition sounds pretty harsh to me, but I suppose that’s because I do trust in magic and believe in the existence of supernatural occurrence. For the average non-magical person I suppose the idea of the supernatural is both ridiculous and scary. Ridiculous because they don’t want to believe something like that is possible and scary because what if it is?
Now according to the Oxford dictionary definition superstition is defined as :
  • excessively credulous belief in and reverence for the supernatural:he dismissed the ghost stories as mere superstition
  • a widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief:she touched her locket for luck, a superstition she’d had since childhood

Well that seems less harsh, but still definitely defined for those who are not magically minded. I don’t think that I’m particularly irrational, but I suppose there are many who would.

As a child I knew several little jingles that went with the superstitions, but have no idea how or where I learned them. “Find a penny, pick it up… all day long you’ll have good luck!” and “Don’t step on the cracks or you’ll break your mother’s back!” come to mind for me. I don’t really know that I even knew they were superstitions, but as a child I jumped every crack I saw in the sidewalk and collected every face up penny I encountered. Even as an adult now I catch myself intentionally stepping over the cracks more often than not. Funny how those things stay with you like that. Just the other day the youngest of Jay’s boys, Huckleberry,  found a penny on the ground and sang the little jingle I know. I had to ask him “Where’d you learn that?” and he replied “I don’t know. Do you know it too?” When I told him that I did he thought it was cool and went about his business. So I decided to research that particular superstition, along with a few others, because I am genuinely curious where they all came from.

According to wikipedia, “Finding a penny is sometimes considered lucky and gives rise to the saying, “Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck.” This may be a corruption of “See a pin and pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck” and similar verses, as quoted in The Frank C. Brown collection of North Carolina folklore and other places.”

Well who in the world is Frank C. Brown and how would I have learned a saying from North Carolina folklore living in California & Tennessee as a little girl? Who knows… what I do know is that the Frank C. Brown collection of North Carolina folklore has 7 volumes that I could find and that they go back as far as 1912. They’re packed full of games, rhymes, beliefs, customs, riddles,proverbs, speech, tales, legends, folk ballads from North Carolina, folk songs from North Carolina, the music of the ballads, the music of the folk songs, popular beliefs and superstitions from North Carolina. Interesting. One superstition solved… now on to the next.

jump over crackWhat’s up with not stepping on sidewalk cracks?

Stepping on cracks has long been subject to superstition. In addition to the danger of breaking your mother’s back, a 1905 book, Superstition and Education, lists several other grim superstitions: that if you step on a crack, you will have bad luck, or that you will not get a surprise at home that you otherwise would.

Many claim that the original rhyme was “step on a crack and your mother will turn black,” and that the superstition went that stepping on a crack meant that you’d have a black baby. Indeed, Iona Opie noted that one was fairly common in parts of the UK in the 1950s, but there’s no real reason to think it’s the original, not just another variation that came and went. At the same time, kids were saying that if you stepped on a crack, you’d be chased by bears. This idea was invented by A.A. Milne in his poem “Lines and Squares,” but, from Opie’s description, was a more widespread superstition than the racial one. So I guess that one has various versions.

Fortunately, stepping on a crack has never resulted in a broken back for my mom or anyone else’s mom that I know of. What a strange superstition!

As for the rest of them… black cats crossing your path being bad luck, I should never have a day of good luck because I had a black cat for 8 years and the number of times she crossed my path… I have no idea. I personally LOVE black cats. They’re pretty. I don’t like when my mom has one because she always seems to pick the most insane paranoid black cat of the bunch, but generally my personal experience with black cats has been good.

The number 13… well I noticed this most in the hospital. There was never a room 13 and I wondered why… people never had an 13fridayanswer except that “they never had it”. Some buildings don’t have a 13th floor. Well they HAVE a 13th floor, but they number them from 12th to 14th skipping the 13th floor entirely. To eliminate an entire floor based on a superstition seems silly to me, but some people take their superstitions seriously. I wondered if maybe it’s associated with the scary movies Friday the 13th, but the fear predates the movies. The fear of Friday the 13th (as an actual day) has it’s very own phobia name: friggatriskaidekaphobia.

The fear of Friday the 13th as a phobia seems fairly new since it only dates back to the late 1800s. Friday has long been considered an unlucky day (according to Christian tradition, Jesus died on a Friday), and 13 has a long history as an unlucky number. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina, about 17 million people fear Friday the 13th. Many may fall prey to the human mind’s desire to associate thoughts and symbols with events. Crazy, huh? I think it’s safe to say I don’t fear Friday the 13th since I was handfasted in 2000 on Friday, October 13, 2000 on the full moon. I will be sure that  I don’t repeat that same mistake, but it had nothing to do with the day… it was the guy.

I’ll admit it, breaking mirrors freaks me out a little. I don’t like it. It probably has a lot to do with the superstition, but I also hate to hear the sound of glass breaking. Besides, if the superstition is accurate… 7 years is a long time to be unlucky! Interestingly enough, this superstition comes from something I consider kind of silly. People used to believe that mirrors didn’t just capture your physical image, but also captured a piece of your soul. This is why many people in the south would cover all of the mirrors in their home when a loved one passed on… to prevent them from getting trapped in the mirrors of the house. I just make it a point to be careful around mirrors and I cannot remember having ever broken one.  Which leads me to… I better “knock on wood” to make sure it stays that way.

knockKnocking on wood to keep away bad luck? How does this work?

Well, I’ve always heard it was supposed to ward off bad luck or evil spirits that mean to cause mischief or strife. It’s just one of those things that I have seen my parents do and other people I trust or respect do… so I just automatically adopted the custom myself. Whether or not I think it’s accurate… well I don’t know, but I’m okay with knocking just to stay on the safe side. From Romania to Italy to Spain to England and right here in the United States, knocking on wood has been used to ward off evil spirits, keep bad luck and the Grim Reaper at bay and keep positive/favorable or good things in the path of the one knocking. I think here in the US we use a little bit of all meanings when knocking on wood. You know, because we don’t want to jinx anything. This is one that I often see others do too. I haven’t ever asked them why they do it, but I can almost guarantee that the majority of them do it because that’s what their parents did and it seems better to be safe than sorry.

One thing that really strikes me as odd is that so many Christians are superstitious. If most Christians see the occult, the spirit world and the supernatural as dangerous and scary, why do some of them take part in so many superstitious customs? It makes sense that Pagans might be superstitious because we acknowledge the existence of a supernatural world out there and accept it for what it is. In my opinion it is neither good nor bad, it just is. Maybe that’s why so many people believed in these customs to fend off evil, bad luck and the like. Believing in the ability to do simple gestures like knocking on wood or jumping cracks in the sidewalk  shifted the power from the unknown to yourself.

Superstition is not anything I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, however… I trust that my instincts and experiences have been accurate in proving to me that the supernatural is a very real entity. It is not “out there” somewhere, it is right here sharing the same space and time. For the most part I believe that spirit entities leave us to our living and rarely have the ability or the inclination to reveal themselves in even the smallest ways. On the rare occasion that they do, I don’t see any harm in keeping in their good graces. So does superstition affect me? Not particularly or on a regular basis, but occasionally it does. It is usually in such a small way that I don’t even realize when I carry on with the traditional custom and go about my day. Being a magically minded person I don’t see the spirit world as scary or daunting. On the contrary, it’s quite fascinating and interesting to me. I don’t mind mingling with the spirit world on occasion so long as they are playing nice. So far, my superstitious customs seem to have kept any interactions pleasant. For that I am thankful.

So tell me, are you superstitious? If so, how does superstition affect your life?

Blessings,

Bridey-signature


Pagan Ethics and Morals

right-or-wrongLast year we asked the members of our circle to think about Pagan Ethics & Morals and what those words/ideas meant to them… Rowan expressed “One of the questions that people ask (or silently wonder about), especially in the ‘good ol’ South’ is something along the lines of, ‘if you don’t believe in the Bible, then where do you get your morals/ethics from?”, or ‘how do you know the difference between right and wrong?’”

Here were my thoughts on this topic:

My morals & ethical code don’t come from my spiritual beliefs, they come from my parents. I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who allowed me the freedom to explore many different spiritual paths as a child, but before they sent me out in the world to explore they made sure that I knew certain things about how to behave and the difference between right and wrong. My dad was in the Navy and appreciated a sense of order and his expectation was that respect was earned, not freely given (despite age/status/position). Both my mom & dad taught my brother and I to respect them through love, not fear or power. We learned early on that dad was easier to make budge than mom when it came to what we wanted, but they were both fair for the most part. I don’t remember them sitting me down to tell me what was right and what was wrong, but I do remember living & learning as I went.

brave-merida-elinorIf I made a mistake, i.e.: was sassy to a great aunt or grandparent, they would correct me and explain what was and wasn’t acceptable and over time I came to appreciate praise over reprimands. I was taught to share with others, to help when asked, to be kind to others, not to use language around other adults that I wouldn’t with my parents, to listen without speaking, not to steal, not to lie, leave the land as I found it, treat animals with reverence and kindness, say please and thank you, keep my hands to myself, don’t give up, try… try again, admit when you’re wrong & apologize… you know, all those things most kids learn without really realizing they were learning them.

As an adult and as a witch, I reflect on the times my parents, other family members, teachers or friends taught me a life lesson and I realized that not much has changed. Those are the same things I still try to strive for in my life today.

Kindness. Respect. Honesty. Integrity. Reverence. Hospitality. Perseverance. Love. Personal-Accountability. Fairness.

In addition to those, there is a code of ethics that I abide by as a nurse. It deals with treating patients with dignity, practicing with respect & compassion, treating patients as equals despite socioeconomic status, race, religion, gender, sexual identity, etc., about being an advocate for the patient, protecting health, safety and rights of the patient, to practice competently, collaborating with nursing peers, ancillary staff, doctors and therapies when necessary on behalf of patients, represent nursing positively through articulating core nursing values & maintaining the integrity of the profession and practices.

I think about what kind of example I want to be to others in my personal and professional life, as well as in the greater community. While I know that some of what I have learned has shaped the kind of witch and nurse I am, that has more to do with where I came from than what I learned from the Craft.


Returning with the Fullness of the Moon

From September 2012 until May 2013 I was extremely busy drafting case studies, care plans and mental health assessments for the Registered Nursing program I was admitted into last July. The schedule I was keeping for school left very little time for me to do the things I quite enjoy doing on my spare time, like reading fiction and writing for this blog. Fortunately that has changed.

I am happy to report that as of May 10, 2013 I’ve graduated with my Associates of Applied Science in Nursing. For now, I’m working on finding a groove to get into. I will still have studying to do for my state boards test (NCLEX-RN), but I also have plenty of free time to devote back to the leisure activities I have been neglecting over the past 8 months. Namely my writings here. I hope that you will join me as I recommit myself to exploring my thoughts, experiences and feelings while living openly as a witch in SE Texas.

Blessings,


Opportunity Knocks

Recently Rowan & I have been talking a lot about leadership and what our roles entail. We’ve also been discussing how we’d like to expand on our knowledge as leaders and grow our circle. There are a lot of ideas being tossed around. We’re both ordained and considering what that could mean for our circle and our lives personally. While we hold the title, both of us want formal training and some guidance from other people in leadership roles. It’s one thing to call yourself a High Priestess and another to actually fill that role appropriately. I feel that we both live up to the standards of what I believe a High Priestess should be, however, it doesn’t hurt either of us to ensure that we learn how to better serve our community.

The other day we started talking about formal Pagan clergy programs. Most of them are geared entirely towards Wicca, require that you are there in person or require such far-fetched time periods (2-4 years) that neither of us were sure we were going to find something we could both feel comfortable paying money for & committing to. It was about the time I thought screw it, that Rowan was thinking up ways to create our own training program… And then I remembered Covenant of the Goddess.

Prior to moving overseas I had considered joining CoG and went so far as to ask for letters of recommendation from my circle mates who were already members. They had provided me with them… and then life happened (divorce, move back to the states, being without my belongings for months) and I completely lost sight of that goal entirely.

A few days ago I asked a former circle mate who had previously vouched for me, Lady Justice, if she’d do it again and she said she’d happily write me as many letters as I needed. (Goddess blessed me with amazing friends!) She also mentioned that Merry Meet (annual CoG shindig) was going to happen this year in Albuquerque, NM. That just happens to be where my friend, Lady Justice, and her adorable family all live. Not only did she mention that Merry Meet was happening in her town, but extended an invitation to Rowan & I to stay with her, eat her food & get carted to and from Merry Meet via her chariot if we got our booties to Albuquerque for August 16-19th. Yikes! That’s only a little over a months time to save up. After figuring our travel expenses, overnight lodging in a hotel 1 night on the way there and 1 night on the way back, food/snacks on the road, general entrance fees for Friday/Saturday & the leadership conference… we estimated about $500 each. Gas alone is going to be about $400 because we’re driving 1,900 miles roundtrip.

Never fear… Bridey has a plan, because while I think we’re quite capable of saving $500 each, I’m not sure we can both do it in 6 weeks time. Well, not on our own.

SO, this is where you come in. If you think you’d like to help us make our way to Merry Meet for a much needed leadership getaway, then click on the little link provided below & contribute to our cause! Not only will you be helping our circle here in Beaumont, Texas thrive, but you’ll also be supporting the greater Pagan community when we become recognized clergy too!

Contribute to the Merry Meet Fund!

Thanks in advance & Blessings,


Merry Meet & Welcome!

After many moons of thought and contemplation I’ve decided to make it a point to dedicate some of my time to writing geared solely towards my spiritual endeavors. I have kept a journal or some sort of blog for nearly 24 years, but never consistently contributed to my “Shadow Book” or wrote about my experiences & adventures as a witch.

That is about to change.

My hope is that with a dedicated space for my musings on: what it means to me to be a witch, how I perceive different things from my “witchy” eyes and my thoughts on topics relevant to modern day Pagans, that I’ll share the fire of inspiration with others.

So, a little about me. I’m Bridey, that’s not my given name, but my name in the Pagan community for some time now. I’m a 30-something witch, nurse, lover, daughter and the founder of Golden Triangle Pagan Alliance (teaching circle) & Circle of the Black Moon (ritual circle counterpart). I’m originally from Northern California, but currently reside in Southeast Texas. I live with an assortment of characters. My Mom- Irish Rose, her significant other of 15 years- Trucker, my love- Jay and our pack of Aztec chickens… um, I mean chihuahuas. There’s Leilah & Ozzy- the lifemates and 2 of their daughters Lulu & Maggie. The first 3 of the pack belong to mom, but Maggie is my babygirl.

I grew up in a very liberal military family with parents who were both very open to religion. As we got older it was pretty apparent that my mom believed in something “alternative”, but what that was, we weren’t sure. She was into herbs, crystals, clairvoyance & mediums. I remember attending a psychic faire with her when I was about 10 and thinking it was the coolest thing EVER. It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I realized my mom was Pagan. As for my dad, he identified as a Protestant while he was interested in the Christian religion. In my teens I told him I was Pagan and he said that was fine with him. Never a fuss out of my parents about my beliefs. They have always supported me in whatever I did. In my early 20’s my parents both attended rituals I was part of with my former circle in Northern California. Somewhere around when I was 24 my dad confessed to me that he thought he was agnostic. Now in my 30’s my dad says he’s an atheist, but an atheist who believes in ghosts and spiritual entities, if there is such a thing. I say he’s still agnostic.

(He also says he’s a Republican, but he raised a staunch democrat daughter who is both Pagan & bisexual. He’s fully aware of those things and hasn’t chastised or disowned me… PLUS, he’s a HUGE supporter of the separation of church and state. I say he just hasn’t come to terms with his liberalism yet.)

Jay & I have known each other since high school and remained friends for 20 years now. Last year our friendship blossomed into something much more and this February he moved from San Francisco, California to SE Texas to start a new life with me. He is my twin galaxy in this universe and the biggest part of my heart. I feel blessed and overjoyed to have such an amazing man in my life. In addition to loving me exactly the way I need to be loved, he is very open to different types of spiritualism and relishes the idea that his lady love is a “witch”. I’d say he most likely identifies as Agnostic, but he is quickly becoming a part of our teaching circle and is eager to learn about Paganism.

Aside from the people I work with, I am mostly out of the “broom-closet”. All of my family know that I’m Pagan, as do my friends. I have been fortunate in that I have been surrounded by love & support. I feel obligated to pay that forward to those I meet in the Pagan community who have not had the same reception from family or friends when they have discussed their spiritual beliefs with them. The same goes for those who are forced to practice in secrecy & cannot tell their friends or family because they fear losing them if they were to find out.

My path has grown & evolved over the last 20 years, where it is now can be most easily described as eclectic pagan because I am always lead by diverse inspirations, which are not often from a singular source. I draw on many different ideas, practices and beliefs then forge a blended spiritual path that works for me. While some people may say that I’m “doing it wrong”, I say doing what feels natural and right is what matters most to me. Doing it any other way would feel like I was indeed doing it wrong.

It is my path, I’ll be the one to walk it. You are welcome to come along for the walk, but don’t be surprised if I decide to skip or turn cartwheels if the inspiration presents itself!

Being in a leadership role for both teaching circle & ritual circle, I feel a great responsibility in creating a safe space for everyone involved. A space where everyone feels validated, respected and loved. Our circles consist of a diverse group of people of varying traditions & spiritual paths, this seems to keep things very interesting. Our discussions are lively and having such a mix of people offers different perspectives to see things from. We both enjoy and encourage members to learn from one another and teach what they know in both teaching circle & ritual practices. This has fostered a deepened sense of connection and community within our circles. That gives me a lot of pride in the fruition of a vision that my friends Rowan, Kai & I had when we decided to start our circle.

I hope that this blog helps to express the spiritual side of me and serves as a record of my adventures (or misadventures) living as a witch in the bible belt. Come along for the journey, it’s bound to be an amazing one!

Blessings,