gay-witch

Recommended Reading: Queer Myth, Magick & Spirituality

All Acts of Love & Pleasure: Inclusive Wicca - Yvonne Aburrow

Blossom of Bone - Reclaiming the Connections Between Homoeroticism and the Sacred - Randy P. Conner

Cassell’s Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol and Spirit: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Lore - Randy P. Conner

Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America - Will Roscoe

Coming Out Spiritually: The Next Step - Christian de la Huerta

The Double Goddess: Women Sharing Power - Vicki Nobel

Essential Gay Mystics - Andrew Harvey

The Fire in Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries - Mark Thompson

Gay Body: A Journey Through Shadow To Self - Mark Thompson

The Gay Canon: Great Books Every Gay Man Should Read - Robert Drake

Gay is a Gift - Salvatore Sapienza

Gay Mysticism - Andrew Harvey

Gay Perspective: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe - Toby Johnson

Gay Soul - Mark Thompson

Gay Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness - Toby Johnson

Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning - Mark Thompson

Gay Spirit Warrior: An Empowerment Workbook for Men Who Love Men - John R. Stowe

Gay Tantra - William Schindler

Gay Witchcraft: Empowering the Tribe - Christopher Penczak

Gender And Transgender In Modern Paganism - Gina Pond

Hermaphrodeities: The Transgender Spirituality Workbook - Raven Kaldera

Homosexuality in Greek Myth - Bernard Sergent

Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love - Will Roscoe

Living the Spirit, A Gay American Indian Anthology - Will Roscoe

Lovers’ Legends: The Gay Greek Myths - Calimach Andrew

The Man Who Was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore - John Dececco

The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same-Sex Love - Gilles Herrada

The Path Of The Green Man: Gay Men, Wicca and Living a Magical Life - Michael Thomas Ford

The Queerness of Native American Literature - Lisa Tatonetti

Queer Religion [2 volumes] - Donald Boisvert

Queer Spirits: A Gay Men’s Myth Book - Will Roscoe

Rites of Pleasure: Sexuality in Wicca and Neo-Paganism - Jennifer Hunter

The Scarlet Wand: Sex Magic For Gay Males - Raji Dorotez

Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature - Qwo-Li Driskill

Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture - Walter L. Williams

Tantra for Gay Men - Bruce Anderson

Transgender Spirituality: Man into Goddess - Sakhi Bhava

Two Flutes Playing: A Spiritual Journeybook for Gay Men - Andrew Ramer

Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality - Sue-Ellen Jacobs

Two Spirit People: American Indian Lesbian Women and Gay Men - Lester B. Brown

Visionary love: A spirit book of gay mythology and trans-mutational faerie - Mitch Walker

Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture - Arthur Evans

Yoga, Bhoga and Ardhanariswara: Individuality, Wellbeing and Gender in Tantra - Prem Saran

Image Credit: Richard Taddei


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Being a Witch on a Budget

If you’re like me, you’re a little strapped for cash these days. For whatever reason. And you may not always have the funds to fuel your witch-y adventure in style, the way you want to. I certainly don’t. I’ve got a few helpful tips that have served me well thus far, and I’m hoping they help all of you too: 

  • Repurpose Old Items as Tools: The tools of the craft can be numerous, depending on your tradition -and it can be expensive to go out and buy them all at once. Something that I have taken to doing is to scour secondhand store, thrift shops, and online auctions for tools -as well as repurposing some items I already owned. Let us not forget that in the early days, the tools of the craft were indistinguishable from everyday objects. Many early witches took to hiding their tools in plain sight! The purpose for this was to reduce the amount of things that would have to be hidden, or explained, if a witch-hunter came a-knockin’. In-keeping with that mentality, don’t think that you need to get too fancy if you can’t afford it. A teacup saucer could serve as your offering plate. A ramekin or decorative ash-tray could serve as a censer. A wine glass can serve as a chalice. I’ve even painted rocks with symbols or sigils to represent the elements and the God and Goddess. I view some of this as ‘placeholders’ -until I can afford to replace my tools with higher quality items, a simpler version serves its purpose. After all, it is function, not form that matters here. That being said, many argue that having your tools be a collection of a kind of 'objects d'art’ can improve your craft… well they’re absolutely right. However, there’s nothing wrong with staying within your means when you have to. Whatever you use, just be sure to consecrate it. Also, items that already have a history with you may be more willing to assist you in your magical workings. 
  • Grow Your Herbs: If you haven’t tried growing any, it might be time to try. Starting an herb garden is simple, and many herbs do not require constant attention. Although the cost of the initial planting might be more than you want to spend, consider how much you normally spend on herbs in a year. Now consider that it costs about as much to buy the supplies to plant your own as it does to buy a single packet of herbs. I’m estimating about $5-6 here. I spend $2 per terra-cotta pot, $1-2 for the seeds, and it equals out to be less than $2 per pot for soil. You could also use dirt right out of your own yard. Also, if at all an option, learn to identify herbs out in the wild. I live in New England, and I can’t tell you how many times I come across burdock root, lady slippers, wild rose, hawthorne trees, eye bright, and other magical plants out in the wild. 
  • The Dollar Store is Your Friend: Sometimes, this is where I end up buying my candles. They may not be super high-quality, smokeless, soot-less, fancy-pants soy candles… but I promise they’ll still light, and serve your purpose. Often times, you can also get 2 for $1 which means you can stock up pretty quickly. Dollar stores can also be a great place to pick up various vessels, bottles, incense, censers, glass figurines, mirrors, etc… some of which may have relevance to your practice. Craft stores also usually have a pretty decent supply of things that can be used in witchcraft. I always peruse the clearance aisles in home decor stores, craft stores, and local boutiques to see what I can find. 
  • Create a Monthly 'Witch Budget.’ For me, I put aside about $50 per month, sometimes less, that I allow myself to spend on items for my craft. By putting physical money aside, you’re showing intention -and the power’s that be are apt to reward you. I put my money into a jar, which has some stones and a note at the bottom that are charmed to help to attract more. I put in the cash, and then whatever change I get through the course of the month. Everyone else in my home, without knowing what the money is for, also seems to put change in there for me… so it adds up right quick! But the overall purpose here is two fold: One, by setting a limit to what you can spend, you’re not sacrificing any necessities, and Two, you’re also allowing yourself the opportunity to grow your craft a little more EACH MONTH. Rather than worrying about where you’ll find the money, you’ll know that you have some set aside specifically for this reason. 
  • Engage in Trade, or Barter: Whether it’s with other witches, or with a local tradesman or shopkeeper, engage in trade when you can. Of course, I recommend developing a good relationship first, but you’d be surprised how many folks of various Pagan traditions are willing to trade or barter with other fellow Pagans. The thing here is, you have to have something they want. (Enter herb garden…) So keep this idea in mind, especially if you begin replacing older altar items or tools. 
  • Consider your Skills: This goes along with the last point, and the one below. Look at your strengths within your craft. Are these skill marketable? Are you able to do something for other people that they might not be able to do? Are you an artist? Are you adept at crafting potions? Do you have a talent for divination? Is there an ability that you have that another person might not? Now, I don’t sell my magical talents (not that I claim to be prophetically gifted anyhow), but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t open an Etsy store that sold odd’s and ends and other bobbily-bits of magic. I have an eye for curio pieces, and I fix them up, and sometimes repurpose them into fun magical charms or talismans. Make your strengths work for YOU!
  • Develop a Specialty: You might wonder why this is on my list. The answer is simple: Rather than spend bundles of money buying items or books for various different aspects of your craft, it’s going to be more cost effective to find a specialty, and spend your time and money honing that one special skill. If you’re going a hundred directions at once, it’s going to be very hard to get anywhere… This way you can also direct your resources (Time and Money) into developing each skill to the fullest before moving to the next. How many of us spent an arm and a leg gathering up different books and tools for off-shoots of our craft that are now gathering dust while we work on something else… it’s foolish to try to do too much at once. 
  • Do your Research: Most people’s least favorite part. We live in a world of instant gratification, and unfortunately most Pagan religions promise no such thing. Every witch knows there’s a delay after you cast a spell. Well, I say there should be a delay with purchases and just about anything else involved in your craft. If you’re considering a purchase: think about the authenticity of the item your buying; think about what it’s actually worth to you, versus what the price tag says; think about the credibility of authors as you buy books; and think about the quality of the materials. I know that I said that I buy candles at the dollar store, but let me tell you -you get what you pay for. If it’s a one-time ritual, it might be worth it. If it’s for a ritual that happens every full moon, maybe that’s when you should invest in higher-quality items. KNOW WHEN YOU’RE BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF. I’ve gone shopping for supplies in Salem, MA many times, and I can tell you that some stores there exist because the owners truly believe in Wicca, or Witchcraft and place a high value on their reputation with their Pagan clientele. But there are also a few stores that come to mind that are definitely only there to take advantage of the hype, and to make money. 

Ok, so that was a wee bit longer than I intended, but all of that information is heartfelt, and hopefully helpful! 

This information, and more available on yankeeinblack.com

“The divine is recognized as having both heterosexual elements and homosexual elements, and attributes far beyond our physical understanding. Aspects of the Goddess and God unite to form the cycles of physical life and creation, honoring the heterosexual, while other aspects unite honoring the homosexual nature of the divine. Both are important aspects of creation. Even science is now recognizing that both orientations, and bisexuality, have always occurred in nature, in the animal kingdom. Modern witches look to the wisdom of the animal kingdom, those who have not lost their way and connection with the divine, to lead us back to our true roots, our true nature.

As Aleister Crowley suggested, whereas heterosexual relationships help keep the cycles of life going in the physical plane, homosexual relationships - not directing their energy to the physical conception - directs energy to magical pursuits, perhaps continuing the life cycles of the magical realms, such as the collective unconscious. Although the magical realm is very energetic, I believe that it requires less energy to maintain than the dense, physical world, so the population of homosexuals is smaller, because less are needed to maintain the spirit worlds.”

― Christopher Penczak
Gay Witchcraft: Empowering the Tribe
http://amzn.to/1qOMhXH

Image Credit: Charlotte Grimm

Casting the Circle

This is a step by step post on how I’ve learned to cast my circle thus far in my practice. It is not the only way to do it, but it has served me well.
I did NOT write this myself, I am utilizing a format I found on the web many months ago. I am simply sharing what has worked for me! It’s a bit non-denominational, so it should work for any witch, Wiccan or not. Feel free to customize to your personal workings.

  1. Clear your Space. Clear the area both physically and psychically: Sweep the area with your besom from east to west. You may also choose to scatter drops of witch-hazel, or salt water to purify your space.
  2. Draw the Circle. Identify the boundaries. You can do this with a cord, stones, or chalk -as I do. Your circle should be as wide as you are tall.
  3. Set the Altar. Gather your articles at an altar in the center of the circle, or in the north. Either way, your altar should face north.
  4. Set your Candles. Place your candles at the cardinal points of the compass. Walk the interior of your circle, lighting candles and/or scattering salt as you go. Recite the following:

    “Bright blessings o creatures of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. I cast out from thee all impurities and negative influences.So mote it be." 

  5. Walk thrice around the circle saying:

    "Cast the circle thrice to keep evil out.”

  6. State your Intention. Kneel at your altar and state the reason you are casting the circle, then recite:

    “I conjure thee, o circle of power, That thou beest a meeting place of love, and joy, and truth. Be a shield against all wickedness and evil. A boundary between men and the realms of the mighty ones. A rampart and protection that shall preserve an contain the power we raise within thee.”

  7. Invoke the Powers. Invoke the elements and deities that you wish to work with. Call them to the objects that represent them within your circle.
  8. Cast your Works. Cast your spells and rites, and pay respect to the powers that you have invoked. At this time, you may choose to make an offering. 
  9. Closing. To close your circle, cast out the powers that you invoked in reverse, and at the end break the boundary. 

Rede of the Wiccae

Not everyone knows the Rede in it’s entirety, so I thought I’d share. It’s packed with helpful tid-bits and advice if you read it carefully. There are many ‘condensed’ versions, that get the major points across too. 

Rede of the Wiccae

“Bide the Wiccan laws ye must,
in perfect love and perfect trust.

Live an’ let live,
fairly take an’ fairly give.

Cast the circle thrice about
to keep all evil spirits out.

To bind the spell every time,
let the spell be spake in rhyme

Soft of eye and 'light’ of touch-
speak little and listen much.

Deosil go by waxing moon -
sing an’ dance the Wiccan rune.

Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
an’ the werewolf howls by the dread Wolfsbane.

When the Lady’s Moon is new,
kiss the hand to her times two.

When the Moon rides at her peak
then your heart’s desire seek.

Heed the Northwind’s mighty gale -
lock the door and drop the sail.

When the wind comes from the South,
Love will kiss thee on the mouth.

When the wind blows from the East,
expect the new and set the feast.

When the West wind blows o'er thee,
departed spirits restless be. 

Nine woods in the Cauldron go -
burn them quick an’ burn them slow.

Elder be ye Lady’s tree - 
burn it not, or cursed ye’ll be.

When the Wheel begins to turn -
let the Beltane fires burn.

When the Wheel has turned a Yule,
light the Log an’ let Pan rule.

Heed ye flower, bush an’ tree
by the Lady blessed be.

Where the rippling waters go
cast a stone an’ truth ye’ll know.

When ye have need,
hearken not to other’s greed.

With the fool no seasons spend
or be counted as his friend.

Merry meet an’ merry part - 
bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Threefold Law ye should - 
Three times bad, an’ three times good. 

When misfortune is enow,
wear the blue star on thy brow.

True in love ever be
unless thy lover’s false to thee.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill - 
an’ it harm none, do what ye will. 

-Lady Gwen Thompson

“The bear is associated with Goddess energy as well, viewed as an embodiment of the Mother archetype, nurturing and protective on one hand, and bringing death through the hunt on the other. Most important, the bear cave is the womb of the Earth goddess, symbolizing going within for a period of regeneration - a death and resurrection experience. The cave is also associated with the center of the brain, finding balance in hibernation and reclusiveness. Bear medicine asks us to quiet the mind, come to stillness, balance, and to listen to the unconscious. […] Bear is associated with Athena and the huntress Artemis/Diana. Artemis’s lover Callisto, and her son Arcas are transformed into constellations, with Callisto forming Ursa Major, the Great Bear. Odin of Teutonic religion held Bear sacred, particularly to his warrior berserks. Odin exemplifies both the wisdom and potential danger of Bear. Bear tells us that everyone must leave the cave at some point. Bear teaches us to find the honey of life, and some priestesses of Artemis were associated with bears, others, with bees. Bear mothers give birth to their children in winter caves, and nurture their playful spirits, reminding us about being joyful, taking care of ourselves and family. Finally, bears are known as great tree climbers. Trees are a sign of wisdom, and climbing them gives on a greater view, connecting to higher, divine consciousness.”

- Christopher Penczak
Gay Witchcraft: Empowering the Tribe
http://amzn.to/1BBAe5v

Image Credit: Joshua Coffry

Staying in the 'Broom Closet'

This post is going to hit a little close to home for some people. There are many blogs out there with similar posts, and I encourage new witches to gather as many different opinions as possible -rather than relying on the opinions of one blogger or another. 

I  started down my path of Paganism quite some time ago, albeit quietly. It wasn’t until about 6 months ago that I decided I wanted to actively change my life, and become a Wiccan. I won’t get into why, for now.

That being said, my entire family is Catholic. Including my partner. (Womp.) I have since told my partner, but he refuses to talk about it so… I continue to hide my objets de sorcellerie. My sister has become my confidante, however she neither lives with me, nor shares my faith. 

Now, I don’t necessarily advocate deceiving the ones that you love. It’s a tough road, and it can lead to feelings of guilt. But remember, as I had to, you’re doing nothing wrong. You’re free to believe whatever you want -it’s a personal journey. As long as you are doing harm to none, you have no reason to feel guilty.

That being said… You may still have to hide bobbily-bits of magic from time to time. Here’s how I’ve done so.

  • Store what you can in plain sight. That’s right. Totally counterintuitive,  but highly effective. In a previous post I mentioned that early practitioners of the craft used tools that, to untrained eyes, would be considered ordinary. Now I don’t recommend leaving your Athame out on the coffee table, but your censer? Why not? Candles are incredibly inconspicuous as long as they haven’t got markings, or runes. Crystals or stones can be set out -I leave mine on the windowsills. It doubles as charging, and it looks pretty! If you have a bookshelf, try nestling pieces in like ordinary knick-nacks. My bell sits on my bookshelf, along with my cauldron (filled with little quartz beach stones) and my fan, horn cup, and other assorted things. I’ve sort of curated my collection of tools to just look like an eclectic antique collection. It fits in perfectly with the rest of my decor. If you try to do the same, and you can’t go wrong.
  • For what you have to hide… There are many different places you could hide things that no one would think to look. For a long time, I hid a lot of my altar pieces in a vintage suitcase. Yeah. Which was great because I could use it as an altar itself -just unpack, and set it all up on top. Not glamorous, but it’s effective. I also have a book-safe (I bought mine on Etsy) that I keep small things in like my flying ointment, scrying mirror, pendulum, and a few crystals. It’s also handy because then I can grab these things without having to dig up the whole collection.
  • As for what rooms, or spaces to hide things… If you share a bedroom with your significant other, don’t hide anything in the bedroom. You really want to explain why you’re digging through the closet in the middle of the night during a full moon? Hide things in common spaces, ones where you are least likely to be disturbed in the night. Most everything I have is in our office. 
  • Hide your Book of Shadows separately. I do this for two main reasons. One: If I need to use it quickly, I don’t want to have to dig up the whole suitcase full of altar stuff. It’s more convenient to have it somewhere that’s easily accessible. Two: If my suitcase is ever dug up, it won’t be associated with the magic, because the book isn’t there to further insinuate what it’s all for. I have an antique dress form, and my book sits peacefully inside her. Sort of like an embodiment of the Goddess, protecting it! But don’t over think it! If you have a vast collection of books, put your BOS right in there! Other ideas are: False bottom drawers; inside old board game boxes; above the door jam in a closet (Although I recommend using thumb-tacks and a bit of ribbon to keep it in place); under a table top (again, a-fixed with ribbon); under a loose stair (Nancy Drew style). 
  • Holiday Fixings… Fortunately, there are very few Pagan festive traditions that stick out like a sore thumb. So just go with it. Outwardly you can appear to celebrate whatever Christian holiday is at hand, inwardly you can celebrate the Sabbat. Besides, who doesn’t love parties? 

All of these are ways of carrying on your Pagan ways, surreptitiously, in an oppressive environment. I will say that I do encourage you to practice openly whenever possible. When my partner goes away, I’ll set up my altar and leave it in all it’s glory until the day before he comes home.

Find a confidant with whom you can talk about your faith. Even if they aren’t also a Pagan, there are always people in the world willing to listen. Even if it’s online! Remember that you’re never alone, and that there are people out there going through the exact things that you are! 

I’ll share my ‘coming out’ experience another time, for now I think this post is plenty long enough. 

Blessed Be~
-Justyn

“Arthur Evans, in Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture, suggests the term "faggot”, used to refer to queer individuals, originates from these persecutions. A faggot is a bundle of sticks, used for kindling. Faggots are used in cooking and home fires, and were used in the burning of heretics. When the words “faggot” and “flaming faggot” are used to refer to homosexuals, it is a reference to the Burning Times. Academics have strongly argued against this point, but in any case, it makes one think about the etymology of such slurs. “Faggot” and “fairy” possibly have a connection, as the root word, fagus, refers to the mythic ruler of the beech trees (a source of kindling), who devolved with the pagan faiths into a tree spirit, or fairy. What was once a derogatory remark is now a title claimed by gay men on a pagan spiritual journey. Evans suggest some historical records equate heresy with homosexuality. In the historical records, it is often unclear if someone is being accuse of witchcraft or homosexuality. A popular defense against the charge of heresy was to show a wife and child to prove one wasn’t gay.“

― Christopher Penczak
Gay Witchcraft: Empowering The Tribe
http://amzn.to/1uS4OpX

Image Credit: André Durand