Growing Old Disgracefully

Next week I turn 57 years old. At 50, I didn’t feel old. Even at 55, I still didn’t feel old. But now that 57 is just around the corner, there’s no escaping it. I’m getting old. Most of last week I was in a severe depression, thinking about things I’ve accomplished, or have yet to accomplish, and wondering if it is all pointless or really matters. Then I realized, if it matters to me, then it matters. I’ve accepted the fact that some of the things I’ve wanted to do are simply out of reach and that’s just how it is. There’s nothing wrong with having ambitions, as long as we face the reality that we might not achieve every single one of them. We can still dream, we can still hope. Doors can still open to make those things happen. Just because I’m getting older doesn’t mean I can no longer do those things, although it might feel that way sometimes.

As a pagan, growing older also means I should probably start exploring the works of some of the younger, popular pagans and witches. I realize just because someone is popular or has a best-selling book doesn’t mean their work is necessarily wonderful, but there are few well known ’30-something’ author/teachers who have released some amazing books on witchcraft and psychic ability. I avoided these authors for awhile because I found them a bit narcissistic on social media, (but aren’t we all?), and I decided that I should look into their work. Even though my own witchcraft is geared more toward Old-World and Celtic Paganism, these new young authors have some worthwhile things to contribute to the practice of witchcraft. I don’t have to agree with everything they say.

I hate most pictures of myself and I delete over 90% of them. I never look at a camera straight on because of my broken, crooked nose. As far as looks go, I’m no model, but I think I’m still fairly attractive at my age. There’s a few more wrinkles around my eyes and on my hands, and I have hair growing in unfortunate places, but I’m not bad looking. I don’t mind approaching DILF-hood. (If you don’t know what a DILF is, look it up. I have a few friends who are definately DILF’s). But I refuse to age “gracefully”. Just because I’m getting older doesn’t mean I have to start acting feeble and dressing like Grandpa Walton. Maybe more like Grandpa Munster. Even when I hit 60, 70 and beyond, I’ll still be getting tattoos. I’ll still be practicing witchcraft. I’ll still be watching gay porn and shoving my gayness down the throats of bigots and homophobes. I’ll still be listening to the Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Idol. I’ll still be protesting gun violence, racism and inequality. I’ll still be wearing Harry Potter t-shirts and enjoying whatever I please.

The older you get, the less you care what others think. When people ask, “Aren’t you a little old to still be doing that?” I tell them, “Absolutely not, get the fuck out of here“. If something brings you joy and isn’t hurting anyone, then what other people think about it is completely irrelevant. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too old to do what you love. If there are people around you who are criticizing your interests or lifestyle, then maybe these are not people you need in your life. I’ve gotten rid of more than one toxic “friend’ in the past. Sometimes it has to be done. Get rid of them. Don’t make a big, dramatic production of it, just quietly disappear from their lives.

I accept that I’m getting older, but that doesn’t mean I have to “mellow out” or “act my age”. Fuck that. I will forever be a defiantly out and openly proud gay man who practices witchcraft. I plan to grow old disgracefully, as I become a cross between Henry Rollins (hot, tattooed punk rocker and spoken word artist) and Diana Trent (cynical troublemaker from the BBC comedy Waiting for God). These are my new role models. I’m at the point now where I’m going to live my life the way I please. No apologies, no regrets. I’m not here to impress anyone. Except my dog, but he’s easily impressed.

Til next time,

Rick

Looking Ahead, Looking Back

It’s very hot today, over 90 degrees, as it was yesterday. We were inside most of the day yesterday, so today we did go out for a little while. We went back to an antique store we visit sometimes, it’s a large place, with rows upon rows of interesting things. I took a few pictures that I will post on my Twitter later this evening. We then went to Taco Bell, where they had very poor service. Just while I was waiting for our order, at least three people complained that something was wrong with their orders. Thankfully nothing was wrong with ours. We don’t go to fast food places often, but it seems like the customer service at these places is getting worse.

I’ve decided I’m not going to teach anymore, at least not privately. If I’m asked to do a local class, then I might, but I will not be offering private classes anymore. I’ve already deleted the Blackthorn website. I will continue to do readings for those who want them (see the Services page). I taught Blackthorn Witchcraft for seven years, inspired by my own personal practice. When Covid arrived, I lost all of the locations where I could hold classes. When people began renting spaces again, they were much more than I could afford, or they were just too far away. I was preparing home-study lessons as well, but soon realized I had bitten off more than I could chew. It was incredibly stressful. There are some amazing Witchcraft and Druidry teachers out there now, and I think it’s better that I take classes rather than teach them. Although, some of those classes are a bit pricey as well. I have to be frugal with my choices.

Even though witchcraft and druidry are still part of my practice, I refer to myself as ‘pagan’ now. It’s much simpler than explaining what Druid Witchcraft is, as it’s something not many people seem to have heard of. “Pagan’ sort of covers everything I do and believe in, but if people want to know more then I’ll tell them more. I’m a solitary pagan, and I prefer it that way. I’ve belonged to groups, groves and covens before, and even served as High Priest for some of them, but now I’m happy to just do my own thing, in my own way. I’m not thrilled with some of the local groups anyway. I’ve found them terribly elitist and condescending toward others. Some of the local pagan shop owners are a bit snobby, so I rarely visit them. If I need anything, I make it myself or order it online. It’s just as well, since I’ve become a bit more outspoken and some people don’t like that. These days I have less patience and less tolerance for bullshit.

This month I will turn 57. I look in the mirror and sometimes I think I still look fairly good, and other times I see a fat old man looking back at me. My hands are a bit more wrinkly. My cheeks are a bit fuller. I don’t mind getting older, I just don’t want to look ancient. I want to grow old in a cool, Henry Rollins/Billy Idol sort of way.

Which gives me an excuse to get more tattoos.

Til next time,

Rick

Strange and Abnormal

All throughout my childhood I was called strange and abnormal. I wasn’t like other boys. I didn’t play sports. I wasn’t interested in girls. I was always reading. They were usually books about magic, mythology and the occult.

The library was a place of refuge for me. I would grab a few books, sit in a comfy chair and read for hours, sometimes until they closed, since I dreaded going back home. One book that really made an impact in my younger years was “Escape to Witch Mountain”, by Alexander Key. It seemed to touch upon a lot of things I was feeling at the time. It is the story of two children who had unusual gifts. They were different from everyone else. They were strange. They were abnormal. They were “Other”. They were looking for their own people, those who were like them. I happened to randomly discover this book in 1975 on a library shelf. I was 11 years old at the time. I had no idea that a movie version would be released just a few weeks later. It seemed I was fated to read it, that it had a message, that I had been guided to it somehow. It seemed to give me glimpses of things to come. While I loved the film version, it was very different from the book, which had a more mystical quality. It seemed to have been written just for me. There were sequels and TV spin-offs but they were all crap and didn’t have the same effect. Escape to Witch Mountain, the book moreso than the film, had a huge influence on me in my pre-teen years. It gave me the sense that I was not alone, that there were others like me. The children in the book had adopted the last name ‘Castaway’, which was sort of how I felt back then. An unwanted castaway who didn’t belong and everyone thought was weird. It would still be some years before I connected the dots that I was a witch.

More recently, the Harry Potter stories had a massive impact on me. There were so many connections to my own life. Like myself, Harry endured verbal abuse growing up and had been called “strange and abnormal”. Like myself, he was 11 years old when he began his magical discovery. His story inspired me to stop using my birth name and start using the name Potter. His story affected me deeply. Just because Rowling made those comments doesn’t mean I have to suddenly turn my back on all of it. She’s not the first famous author to have unpopular opinions. She may have given birth to Harry and his story, but the way I see it, the Potter fandom now exists independently of her. We’ve sort of taken it over and made it our own. “We’ve eclipsed her”, as a friend so succinctly said. The Wizarding World has meant a lot to me and still does. Harry will always mean a great deal to me. Harry Potter was one of the things that helped bring my mother and I closer together. I have used the name Potter for over 20 years. My father’s last name meant absolutely nothing to me. I hated it. The bullies in school used it against me as a slur, an insult. Everyone I remember from my dad’s side of the family were either alcoholics, fiercely racist and homophobic, constantly in and out of jail, or all of the above. I severed myself completely from the whole lot of them. The name Potter suits me just fine, thank you. I consider it my real name even though it is not the name on my birth certificate.

People still think I’m strange and abnormal. I’m perfectly okay with that.

Portions of this article came from my new book “Spells and Scars: Confessions of a Gay Pagan”, available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Confessions of a Gay Pagan

The updated version of Spells and Scars is now available on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites, though oddly difficult to locate on the publisher (Lulu) website. I had it listed for General Access, but somebody screwed up somewhere and listed it as Private. I contacted them and they changed it back to General Access, but it looks like I’ll have to order yet another proof copy before they will release it for sale on Lulu. Do I really want to go through all that hassle? It wasn’t my mistake, it was theirs. Anyway. You can still get it on Amazon for free shipping if you have Prime. It’s only $12.99. I like this new version better with all the things I added.

I keep thinking of all the people I would like to read it, and that maybe I’ll send them a copy, and then I think maybe they’ll hate it and they’ll criticize it to death, and then I’ll regret even writing it in the first place. This is how my mind works. So, I won’t be sending it to anyone. Not that many people read my little self-published books anyway. It’s a creative outlet for me. Click the photo below if you’d like to order a copy for yourself.

I’ve been seeing a huge amount of toxicity on pagan social media lately. There are so many people trying to dictate to others how they can or cannot practice, what they’re “allowed” or “not allowed” to do. They’re claiming that just about everything is a “closed practice” unless you’re <insert adjective or ancestry here>. I will continue to practice how I want, using whatever practices I want. I need no one’s approval or permission. It’s ridiculous the things they are calling a “closed practice” now, meaning “You can’t do this unless you’re…”. It’s all complete nonsense. I’m not Wiccan, but Wicca is not a closed practice. It is not “invitation only”. Tarot reading is not a closed practice. Burning sage is not a closed practice. I’ll tell you what really is a closed practice. Kissing my tarot reading, sage burning ass.

I took Monday off since it’s the husband’s birthday, so this is a three day weekend for both of us. I needed some extended time off desperately. I’ve been rather irritable lately, cynical and exhausted, all of this brought on by anxiety. I was in bed by 8:30pm last night. I don’t mind talking about my anxiety issues. I believe in realness, openness and honesty. We don’t see much of this on social media, especially among pagans. You’re frowned upon if you show any kind of weakness or vulnerability. Too many pagans and witches like to project some spooky-spiritual persona that just isn’t authentic. I won’t do that. I’m a regular guy with regular problems. I just happen to be a pagan and practice witchcraft.

We recently applied for a home loan, and we already have a substantial amount of money put aside, but we decided to sell some of our more rare collectibles to add money to the house fund. Star Wars items mostly. We had quite alot of them, still with their original boxes, and someone from North Carolina is actually driving here to pick them up. There’s no way we could have shipped all of them. They’re all packaged and ready to go. Right now they’re taking up space in the living room.

Now I need to take a shower, have some more coffee, then go pick up our grocery order. They put them in the car for us, we don’t even have to get out.

Buy my book if you feel so inclined, and leave a nice review on Amazon if you like it.

Til next time,

Rick

A Quick Update

I ordered a proof copy of the updated version of Spells and Scars, but I’m told it may be awhile until I actually get a copy, due to all the Covid insanity, limited production, etc. I may not actually get a copy in my hands until the end of the month. You would think with all the people getting vaccinated now, things would be getting somewhat back to normal. Once I verify that all looks good, then I’ll make it available for general purchase. Updating it was the easy part. Navigating the website, uploading the PDF and making sure I clicked all the right buttons and boxes is nerve-wracking as hell.

This past week has been very challenging. My day job has been pushing me to the limit and my anxiety has been through the roof. There are alot of things stressing me out right now. I may need to have my anxiety medication increased. I hadn’t been sleeping well at all, waking up several times during the night. Yesterday after work I was so exhausted and drained, I was in bed by 5:30pm. I didn’t even eat dinner. I slept for 12 hours straight. I keep saying I don’t know how much longer I can continue doing this kind of work. Add to this the stress of driving my car and it’s issues with over-heating and multiple other things wrong with it. Every day I’m surprised it’s still running. I’ve been putting coolant in the radiator to keep the engine temperature down. I need a new vehicle badly.

I’ve been contemplating the idea of writing a fiction novel for young adults, about a family of witches. I’ve been brainstorming lots of ideas, plots, character names and personalities. I don’t think I’ll be writing any more books about the real practice of witchcraft, as if that many people read my other books anyway. I’m just a small-fry, self-published author, and what could I write about witchcraft that hasn’t already been written? I think writing a fiction novel may be the way to go. Spells and Scars is sort of an auto-biography, but I won’t be writing any more of those.

I don’t think I’ll be teaching anytime soon. There are other things in my life I need to address right now. Perhaps at a later time I will offer classes again, but for now I need to be taking classes rather than teaching them.

To keep my sanity, I surround myself with things I love, things that make me happy. Chocolate. Light-hearted British comedies. Audiobooks. My collectibles, of which I have many. Meditation. Our dog who sticks to me like glue and is by my side this very moment. My notebooks and journals. I limit my time on social media, because of all the toxicity and gate-keeping bullshit. Cultural appropriation my ass. I’ll do what I please, thank you.

Thank fucking god tomorrow is Friday. I’ve scheduled some time off in the coming weeks, just for my own peace of mind. The world has gone mad and the less I have to deal with it the better. I’ve become rather cynical these days.

Me on most days.

Til next time,

Rick

The Worst Job I Ever Had

Years ago, I worked as a bank teller for Great Western Bank. I was there full-time and the pay was good, but it was a terrible place to work. The branch manager was a domineering woman who liked to show her authority, and she was constantly reminding us how easily we could all be fired. There were a thousand and one things that could get you fired, and for awhile it seemed like someone was getting fired every week. The atmosphere was always tense, partly because we were all wondering who would be next. Once a friend of mine stopped in to say hello. There were no customers in the bank at all, and he wasn’t even there 2 minutes. When he left, the manager walked over to my window and said, “Be more careful in the future, that’s the kind of thing that could get you fired“. She literally ran the bank like some kind of Nazi. In our staff meetings, she told us that she wanted us to “eat, sleep and dream about checking accounts”. That was the big thing, getting people to open checking accounts. She wanted all of us to obsess over checking accounts and she wanted our job at the bank to be our whole life. We were all encouraged to donate a small portion of our paychecks to a charity, and she strongly suggested specific ones. When I skipped her choices and chose AMFAR (American Foundation for Aids Research) instead, it was frowned upon.

But that wasn’t the only issue there.

One of the supervisors was verbally abusive to some of the tellers, on a daily basis. She was very rude and condescending, with many insulting comments, and would often have some of the girls in tears. Management knew this was happening, and did absolutely nothing to stop it. She would frequently threaten us with mandatory overtime. My work day began at 8am, and one day I walked in the door at 8:01 am. She told me to put on my timecard that I was a minute late. Several of us had complained about her behavior, and we were told, “She’s having problems at home” and to just try and deal with it. They made excuses for her behavior and allowed it to continue.

Eventually it was my turn to get fired. One of my responsibilities was to count the Traveler’s Cheques every day before we closed. This was a 2-person job, with the other person verifying that everything was correct. One Monday I had come back to work after a short vacation, and at the end of the day I was brought into the manager’s office. Apparently some Traveler’s Cheques had gone missing over the weekend, and I was accused of stealing them. I did not steal them, and I told them so, but they chose not to believe me and I was let go. I wasn’t the only person who had access to them. The other person was a supervisor, who we all knew was having sex with another supervisor in an upstairs storage room. Since I wasn’t the person who stole them, it had to have been him. He wasn’t questioned, as he was a favorite of management who they thought could do no wrong.

When I walked out of that bank for the last time, I was more relieved than anything else. I was glad I didn’t have to go back there and put up with bitchy supervisors and egotistical management. When I later learned the branch had closed down, I silently celebrated. I could never be a bank teller now. I don’t have the patience that I used to, and that “customer is always right” nonsense doesn’t fly with me. We had some really shitty customers, I can tell you. Some of them were exceptionally rude, and you had to stand there and take their abuse and you weren’t allowed to defend yourself.

Fuck that.

Tattoos, Books and Self-Care

I finally got another tattoo. This one is on my right hand, and I’ve been wanting this for a long time. It is the words “I Must Not Tell Lies” in a black gothic font. You may recognize this phrase from Harry Potter, which I still love and still means a great deal to me, despite recent comments from the author. It doesn’t mean I have to suddenly turn my back on all things Harry Potter, and anyway, she didn’t make any money off my tattoo. A few people have asked why I didn’t get it in a red font, or make it look more like a scar, and the reason is I didn’t want it to look like that. I didn’t want it to look like it does in the films. I wanted it to be bold and noticeable, and in a gothic style. For me it’s more about what the words represent. In the updated version of Spells and Scars I have added a short poem that explains what I Must Not Tell Lies means to me on a personal level. While I was getting the tattoo, it did sting a bit, but it didn’t take long at all. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine what Harry must have felt like when the words began to carve themselves into his hand. I have to keep the Sani-Derm strip on a couple more days, it’s a breatheable strip that protects the tattoo and helps it heal faster.

I’ve been reading a few different books, some are witchcraft studies, and this new series of books that explore the concept art and graphic design of the Potter films. There are 12 in the series, each one exploring a different theme. Each book comes with an art print suitable for framing. Amazon has them fairly cheap, and when they’re all together they look like this.

Photo: Amazon

Remember the Dark Shadows audiobooks I wrote about in an earlier post? Well, I received the first one, only to discover it was an MP3, and it will not play on either of my CD players. Apparently they’re all like that, so I won’t be ordering any more of them. I’m not sure if Amazon will take it back since I’ve already opened it. I don’t have an MP3 player, and anyway it’s on a disc. No big deal. It was only $6.99.

The state of the world continues to be a horror story. Thankfully we have a sane president now who is making positive changes and un-doing some of the damage caused by the orange dictator. I am hoping he is able to pass some stricter gun laws. America has the highest rate of gun violence in the world and other countries are warning their people about coming here. There was a shooting in a town not far from here, some whack job just shooting random people. I think in America it’s about macho ego, Rambo wannabe’s and “does this gun make my dick look bigger”. We need stricter gun control laws, the gun situation in this country is awful. Most of the gun-worshippers were supporters of the orange dictator. I do not and will not associate with Trump supporters. And yes, I was one of thousands of witches casting spells to have him removed from office. Now he’s gone and good riddance. I am grateful that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are working to restore some normality back to our country.

Self-care has become more important than ever. I am doing whatever makes me happy, whatever brings me peace. I read. I listen to music. I watch British comedies and documentaries of European history. I take naps with the dog. I browse the internet. I write. I make candles. I have plenty to do at home. Other than a few hours out on the weekend, I go to work and then come directly back home. I’m avoiding people as much as I can. Right now I need as much solitude as I can get.

Til next time,

Rick

Spring Shadows

The flowers are growing, the trees are sprouting leaves and warmer days are ahead. My day job has had to limit some services, but my schedule hasn’t changed much at all, for which I am thankful. Even so, this kind of work has it’s own challenges and I continue to wonder how much longer I can keep doing this. I’m not getting any younger. I’ve stayed with the same company for so long because I get great benefits and lots of paid time off. So there’s that.

Here in Pennsylvania, COVID cases are on the rise again, due to all the sociopaths who still refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated. You really see how widespread mental illness is in this country when you see all these people who still think the virus is a hoax, or that it alters your DNA, or that it was created by the government so that people would have to take a vaccine, thereby “controlling” them. You have to question the sanity of a person who willingly believes these whacked out conspiracy theories. I’m avoiding people as much as possible these days. I still have to go to work, however, but even then my contact with others is limited. The husband and I will go somewhere on the weekends, just to get out of the house for a few hours, but that is quite enough for me. Today we did a little shopping and stopped at Taco Bell to get something to eat. Of course, as soon as we walked in, an argument broke out between two of the customers. People are losing their minds.

I get my new tattoo next Friday, and I’ve taken the whole day off. It’s been a long while since my last tattoo, but this one will be on the back of my hand, so I’m not expecting it to be as painful as the ones on my neck were. After this tattoo heals, I want to take some new pictures for the updated version of my book. I’ve made it a little less formal and a bit more artistic and creative. I’ve expanded on some things and added some poetry and a few specific ‘flashback’ memories from favorite places and experiences. I’m still calling it Spells and Scars, but I’m dropping the tagline “My Personal Story of Magical Discovery” and changing it to “Confessions of a Gay Pagan“. I think this will be more interesting to potential readers.

I’ve become much less concerned these days about what others think, and I’m doing whatever makes me happy, whatever brings me peace. There was a time when I would say to myself, “I shouldn’t write that, so-and-so will be reading this and what will they think?”. Now I just don’t care anymore. I’m much more outspoken than I used to be. There are so many people on social media telling others what they should think, how they should practice, dictating what they can or cannot do. They will say you can’t do Yoga, chant mantras or do chakra work unless you’re Hindu. They will say you can’t use tarot cards unless you’re Romani. They will say you can’t burn sage unless you’re Native American. They will say you can’t connect with deities outside of your own culture. Bullshit, I say. Complete and utter bullshit. I will practice how I want, using any practices I want. I don’t mind being a rogue pagan.

The husband got his 2nd Moderna shot on Friday, so now we’re both fully vaccinated. We hope to go back to San Francisco and to Universal Orlando late in the year. I’ve been thinking about San Francisco alot lately. I miss it terribly. I write about some of my experiences there in Spells and Scars. We would move back there in a heartbeat if we could afford it.

Before the Taco Bell fiasco, we were at a used music store, and I picked up a CD from U2 and the soundtrack from “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them“. Both were deluxe editions with bonus tracks and they were only a few dollars each. I also found a 6-disc collectors edition DVD of the original Dark Shadows, which I’ve become mildly obsessed with lately. We’ve been watching it every night when we have dinner. I also discovered they have recently released all the old novels as audiobooks on Amazon. I listen to audiobooks when I go to bed at night, so these will come in handy. It looks like there’s over 30 of them, and they’re fairly cheap.

These will keep me busy for awhile. I plan to get all the audiobooks since they’re so inexpensive (around $6.99 each).

Okay, I have laundry that needs to go in the dryer and the dog is feeling neglected, so I must end here.

Til next time,

Rick

What a Week…

We’ve had more chilly weather this week, I thought it would be a warmer by now. A few snow flurries this past Wednesday threatened my already fragile emotional state. But it’s Saturday now. I don’t have to be anywhere. No one is expecting me, and I like it that way. I have a cup of strong coffee next to my laptop, right next to my anxiety and blood pressure pills. It’s the first cup of the day, with more sure to follow. This weekend will be all about unwinding, relaxing and creativity. Behind them are little figures of John Cena, whom I’m a bit obsessed with. If you don’t think he’s gorgeous, there’s something wrong with you.

This week was not a good one for me emotionally. Issues with my crappy car triggered my anxiety and had me on edge for three days. It’s an old car, a 2001 Chevy Tracker. I hate driving it. The windows don’t work properly, the heating barely works at all, and it drives like it’s about to come apart at the seams. Remember that scene in Herbie, The Love Bug when the little Volkswagon is splitting in half, and the passengers inside are all holding on to straps to keep it together? That’s what my car feels like. The tires easily slide even when it’s been raining, I have to take corners slowly. It overheats if I’m sitting in traffic for too long. The driver seatbelt is knotted and twisted, I have to contort myself to get it on. For the kind of work I do, sometimes I have to use my car. I haven’t needed it for work in a long while, but Tuesday I was informed I may need to transport someone on Wednesday. This triggered an anxiety attack. Tuesday night I was in bed by 7pm. I was mentally drained and physically exhausted. Wednesday morning I went to get gas, and when I pulled the door handle to get out of my car, the handle broke in two. I tried to open the door with the little piece that was still attached, but it wouldn’t budge. I called my supervisor and and my husband to get advice on what to do. My supervisor said not to worry, I could use a company vehicle. Husband said to schedule an appointment with the garage. I drove it to work and climbed out the passenger side, which isn’t easy due to the gear shift in the middle. When I drove my car home from work on Wednesday I noticed a “Power” light was on. Whatever that means. It’s never happened before. Maybe I somehow turned On/Off power steering? I don’t know. When our Kia Soul is paid off (husband drives it), which won’t be long now, I’m getting another car. So there’s that. But until then, my current car is a constant source of worry and anxiety. My husband drove me to work Thursday and Friday, and I have rides home. My car has an appointment to get the door handle fixed on Monday.

All this anxiety about my car brought about some other things as well. I had some moments of low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. I was thinking things like, “My books are crap. No one likes what I do. I should stop writing and making candles and the other things I do“. Then I would think about all the pagans I see on Twitter who are so narcissistic and critical of what others are doing, and I would get angry and realize, “You know, I’m not doing this for them, I’m doing it for me. Fuck what they think“. I don’t need anyone’s approval for how/what/why I do what I do. I don’t get some of these people on Twitter who project a sensationalized image of themselves, like they are some kind of super-witches with perfect lives and no vulnerabilities or weaknesses. They’re not being real or authentic. It’s a false image. I don’t agree with this idea going around that if you’re a witch, you’re not allowed to have anxiety or personal struggles. Being a witch doesn’t make you omnipotent.

As far as my own classes are concerned, I think I should hold off on that until I get my anxiety more under control. I’m in no condition to teach others when I have my own issues. But I can still create. I can still write. I can still make candles. I can still make other magical tools and offer them to the community.

I get my next tattoo near the end of this month, and once that has healed and looks good, I’m going to release an updated version of Spells and Scars. I have some new material to add, along with some new pictures and poetry. I’m changing the format a little, to something a but more artsy and avant-garde. I think that will be my new writing style, a sort of magical buffet. A little of this, a little of that, but all centered around magic and self-awareness, and very personal. I’ve been reading some of Sandra Bernhard’s old books and I find them inspiring.

It’s 10am now, and my husband will be waking up soon. I foresee a Mocha Latte reaching my lips in the very near future.

Rick

Cafes, Cookies, Pumpkins and Crystal Balls

This is my Black Obsidian crystal ball. It looks small in this photo, but it’s actually about 6 inches in diameter. Getting a photo without many reflections in the ball was nearly impossible, so this will have to do. When researching information about the magical properties of crystals, there is a lot of conflicting details out there, so I usually read the works of practitioners I respect. I love that Scott Cunningham describes the energy of Black Obsidian as “quiet power”. I can totally identify with that. Nicholas Pearson states that Black Obsidian brings protection while sharpening focus and the powers of the mind. Black Obsidian is wonderful for divination. Some people say you should only use clear quartz crystal balls, but I say hogwash. You can use any kind of crystal ball for divination. I’ve seen beautiful Amethyst and Rose Quartz crystal balls. I use my Black Obsidian crystal ball during the New Moon or Dark-of-the-Moon phases. I mainly use it for personal private divination, never publicly.

Most of the evil snow has melted, and tomorrow is the Spring Equinox, or what many pagans call Ostara. I will do a private ceremony here at home this evening. Every year I make a new wand from an oak branch, and release the previous wand back to the earth. Near where we live there is a park with a waterfall and a rushing stream. I will release it there this weekend. I have many new things to bring to tonight’s ritual. New changes to my classes, new books, new transformations taking place within myself. I will offer all of these to Cerridwen and ask for her guidance and inspiration. I need to order more copies of my latest book, “Spells and Scars” and take them to local bookshops and ask if they will sell them there. Have you ordered your copy yet?

I’m already planning a three-volume series of short books called The Magic Cafe. These will be avant-garde style books, with a buffet of personal anecdotes, poetry, photographs, witchcraft, gay male sexuality, memories and lots of other things. Since Lulu (the publisher) requires a table of contents before they will publish it, I will have to think of some creative way to separate sections into chapters. However, I want these books to be more of a collection, a scrapbook of sorts. I’ve seen these kinds of books before, and I’ve been inspired by them.

The husband and I have been watching the original Dark Shadows every night when we have dinner. It’s become an addiction. Vampires, witches, creepy experiments…love it.

Sometime today I’ll be scheduling my next tattoo. I’m going to the same place where the husband got his, because I liked the level of detail they did. My new one will not be so elaborate. I just want the words I Must Not Tell Lies placed on the back of my right hand. You may recognize this from Harry Potter. The husband asked me why I wanted something that was intended to be a punishment, but for me it means something else. It expresses my desire to be true to myself, to be authentic, to not hide who I am for the benefit of others, to express myself freely.

I recently developed a new appreciation for OREOS. They have so many new flavors now, and I just can’t get enough. Birthday Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut, Red Velvet. And they’re a gay-friendly company, always supportive of the LGBT community. I eat them with almond milk, which by the way, is the only milk I drink anymore. I stopped drinking regular milk months ago.

As much as I love the words Witch and Druid, and still proudly use them, I’ve found it easier to call myself a pagan, as that encapsules everything. I’m not just a witch, not just a druid. Pagan covers it all, so that’s what I’ve been using lately. Also, I have a few new items available on the New Products page. If you’re interested in any of them, contact me for Paypal information.

Now here’s a song that makes me happy, from one of my favorite bands.