Words for Wednesday — Donald Trump’s Dead Soul Edition (They Hang Traitors, Don’t They?)

Breathes There the Man

~ Sir Walter Scott

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said, 
    This is my own, my native land! 
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd, 
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd, 
    From wandering on a foreign strand! 
If such there breathe, go, mark him well; 
For him no Minstrel raptures swell; 
High though his titles, proud his name, 
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; 
Despite those titles, power, and pelf, 
The wretch, concentred all in self, 
Living, shall forfeit fair renown, 
And, doubly dying, shall go down 
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, 
Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung. 

O Caledonia! stern and wild, 
Meet nurse for a poetic child! 
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, 
Land of the mountain and the flood, 
Land of my sires! what mortal hand 
Can e'er untie the filial band, 
That knits me to thy rugged strand! 
Still as I view each well-known scene, 
Think what is now, and what hath been, 
Seems as, to me of all bereft, 
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left; 
And thus I love them better still, 
Even in extremity of ill. 
By Yarrow's streams still let me stray, 
Though none should guide my feeble way; 
Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break, 
Although it chill my wither'd cheek; 
Still lay my head by Teviot Stone, 
Though there, forgotten and alone, 
The Bard may draw his parting groan. 

Picture found here.

Monday at the Movies, Wolverines! Edition

Here’s how we deal with a Russian invasion of America.  (The right wing USED to LOVE this movie.)


The Magical Battle for America 7.15.18


I’m honored that you’re willing to do this Magical Battle for America work.  But, first,  are you registered to vote?  The election this November promises to be one of the most important in American history.   You must register to vote.   Please do it now.  Thank you!


Today’s working is going to be just a bit different from our previous workings.  Before we start, please spend some time examining your state flag.  (If you feel closer to the state of your birth, or to the state where you went to school, or to the state where you vacation, feel free to work with that flag.  I have dear friends and family members who claim Louisiana no matter where they’re physically located.)  You can find images of your state flag here.   When you look at your state flag, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a Goddess there.  My own state, Virginia, has a flag with the Goddess of Virtue on the front and with Libertas, Ceres, and Aeternitas, the Goddess of eternity, on the back.  Similarly, New Jersey’s flag shows Libertas and Ceres. New York’s flag shows Libertas and Justice.  Other flags represent important aspects of the state’s history.  For example, the Wyoming flag represents the American bison and the California flag shows a grizzly bear on a field of grass.  The Kansas flag shows, inter alia,  a settler’s cabin, a wagon heading westward, First Peoples hunting bison, and a large sunflower.

We’re going to do some work over the coming months with state symbols because, as our federal government increasingly comes under the control of fascists, state and local governments are going to become more and more important as bastions of liberty.  Consider today the opening skirmish in the Magical Battle for Your State. 

Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone to check/refresh the wards on your home or wherever you do this work.  Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable position.  Maybe wrap up in a blanket or cloak and grasp a stone or talisman that matters to you.  Grow your roots, send them deep into the soil, let them intertwine and grow small hairs to attach to the mycelia in your own landbase.


Anchor yourself firmly to your landbase.  Notice a small detail that will call you back when this working is finished.

Ground and center.  Cast a circle.


As you move to our American plain on the astral plane, you can see again the safe hillock where you do your work.  You can see the five giant banners, shining in the sky: Walden Pond, the Underground Railroad, the Cowboy, the Salmon, and Lady Liberty.  Do they seem more defined since we began our work? Do they have anything special to tell you this week?

For a few moments, just sit on your hillock and allow yourself to become comfortable.  This place should be feeling very real to you by now; we’ve been working together to create it for months and months.  What’s become familiar to you?  A tuft of prairie grass?  Buffalo off in the distance?  The scent of sand carried on the wind?  You’ve been involved in a months-long magical working here, joined with magic workers from across the globe.  Feel your connection to this place on the astral plane. It is always here for you, always a source of strength.

Now, move on the astral plane to the capital of your state.  See your state flag flying high over the state capitol.  See it standing in each courtroom, state office, and schoolroom in your state.  What do the symbols on the flag say about your state?  With which of these deities, animal spirits, ancestors, ideals can you commune?   Which can you ask to help protect democracy?

Is there an offering you can make?  Maybe you can plant seeds for your state flower or set up a feeder for your state bird.  Maybe you can sing your state song or make an offering of your state food.  What would happen if you made your state motto  into a chant and drummed to it?  Can you make a pilgrimage to your state’s capital and leave a charged offering of your state’s mineral or gemstone there?  Can you carry a small sample in your purse or pocket to connect you to the capital?

What is unique about your state that will allow it to be a bulwark against fascism?  Work with that aspect on the astral plane, building it up, strengthening it, seeing it grow.  Know that this is happening now because it is your will that it happen.


As you sit on your hillock and rest, know that you are not working alone. The resistance — both magical and in all of its mundane (phone banking, check writing, representative calling, letter-writing, canvassing, voting, volunteering, tutoring, restoring wetlands, growing plants for bees) manifestations — is huge. Know that you are a powerful worker of magic, rooted in your very own landbase, working with the strong archetypes of this land, assisted by countless unseen others who labor in league with you. You are brave and growing braver. Your magic and your practical workings can make the difference. America’s state symbols are always available to you when you want to do magic to strengthen America.


Return to your own body, your own landbase. Open your eyes. Rub your face, move your arms and legs. Notice the detail you selected to call you back from the astral. Open your circle. Have a sip of your state beverage — rye whiskey here in Virginia or cranberry juice in Massachusetts.  If you like, have a few bites of your state food — almonds in California or gumbo in Louisiana.

During the course of this week, you may want to visit the bannered prairie several times in order to strengthen its presence on the astral. You may want to repeat this working. You may want to place a picture of your state flag on your altar.  What other actions are you inspired to take for the resistance? If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working went.

Picture found here.


Art Is Also The Resistance

I’m on yet another business trip, only this time I was able to schedule a few extra days on the front end and bring my spouse with me, which I try to do when I’m going someplace good, particularly if it’s someplace out of the US (smell that Trump-free air!).

In the past two days, we’ve heard two terrific bands: a Afro-funk band headed by a woman with fantastic stage presence and killed pipes, and a local blues band that just released their second album. We’ve viewed outstanding exhibits on Picasso and African art, the art of the First Nations people of the country we’re in, the history of the Jewish community on the city we’re visiting, and a retrospective on haute couturier Cristobal Balenciaga. We’ve eaten at a French bistro set in an American diner-like space (including an amazingly eclectic soundtrack) and had a delicate and astonishing farm-to-table tasting menu dinner. We’ve viewed spectacular architecture and verdant city gardens and feasted our eyes on people watching on the streets and in the subway.

Why am I recounting all of this? It’s not to make you feel envious that you aren’t with me, or fortunate to be able to take such a trip.

It’s to remind you that art matters.

It’s tempting, when everything seems to have gone to shit (as it currently has in the US) to decide that we can’t afford art, or beauty, or the frivolity of the admiring the perfect lantern sleeve or enjoying the perfect bite of bagna cauda with fresh local vegetables and a sip of cold, dry rose wine.


We fight for our rights, we fight for the most vulnerable among us, we fight for the health of our beautiful, blue-green, fragile planet, we fight for each other.

But we also fight for art and music and beauty and love and tenderness and the joy of that perfect bite.

So pour yourself your favorite beverage or make yourself your favorite, most delicious only-in-the-height-of-summer snack and take 15 minutes and listen to the Duke Ellington Orchestra play one of the greatest live jazz recordings of all time.

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Nature Always Bats Last Potpourri


I’m honored that you’re here to read my Summer potpourri.  But, first,  are you registered to vote?  The election this November promises to be one of the most important in American history.   You must register to vote.   Please do it now.  Thank you!


My neighbor and I were out weeding at the same time yesterday and she called over, “What IS it with bindweed  this year?  Isn’t it weird how every year it’s as if some other weed gets its turn?”  She’s right; this year the bindweed has been going mad.  (Last year, it was vetch, with those pretty purple flowers and the vines that take over everywhere.)  There was a bit of bindweed  here when I first came to my Bit of Earth, and I’d mostly gotten rid of it, but this year it’s on a tear.  As soon as you rip a bunch of it out, it grows back double.  Of course, my neighbor puts hers in her green Yard Waste Cart, and I save mine, dry it, and use it to bind, but, hey, we both want it out of our flower beds.


I’ve said this before, but it’s now more important than ever.  The Supreme Court will very likely reverse Roe v. Wade.  After that, they’re coming for your birth control.  If you don’t want to have children, or if you have all the children you want to have, seriously consider sterilization.  It’s quite safe and much cheaper than raising a child.  If you may want to have children in the future, you should stock up on condoms (shelf life of 3 to 4 years) (also important if you are gay, bisexual, or want to prevent sexually transmitted disease) and Plan B (shelf life of 5 years) before birth control is outlawed.  I wouldn’t count on being able to go to Canada or Europe.  Pregnancy tests at the border are coming.  Oh, and vote.  State elections just got a hell of a lot more important.


And, while I’m on the topic of state and local elections, a huge part of the reason we’re in our current mess is because too many of us sat out these “mid-term” elections in the past.  Too many of us only show up to vote in the presidential elections every four years — if then.  But this November, America will choose half of all our Senators and all of our members of Congress.  Want someone to exercise some restraint over Trump or to possibly impeach him?  We need majorities in the Senate and Congress.  You need to vote on Nov. 6th.  We’ll also be voting on hundreds of state and local officials.  Whether or not your local Board of Ed is controlled by fundie whack jobs who want textbooks that say slaves were happy on the plantations, whether or not the local sheriff dreams of getting some surplus military equipment and running raids with ICE, whether or not your state legislature will spend its time on draconian bathroom laws instead of saving wetland — I could go on and on — are all going to be decided on November 6, 2018.  So register to vote.  Check with your registrar and make sure you haven’t been purged from the electoral rolls; that’s one of the Republicans’ new tricks.  Make sure you have the ID needed to vote.  Find out where your polling place is.  If you can possibly vote early or absentee, please do so because long lines can make it impossible for working people or people with family responsibilities to vote.  If you’ve already voted, you’ll have made it that much easier for others to vote.  Get a bunch of friends to agree to go together to vote and then head out for waffle breakfast at the diner, a potluck lunch at someone’s home, dinner at the local pub.


Mid- to late-July is the height of farmers’ market culture here in the Magical MidAtlantic.  There are two good ones near me.  I go on the weekends and it’s kind of an-almost-too-intense experience for a woman whose worship is shaped by the seasons.  I’ve been buying tons of tomatoes, zucchini (I swear, they are almost paying you to take it this time of year), yellow squash, kale, plums, and cantaloupes.  (It’s possible that I buy from one particular stall just to hear the farmer’s Tidewater accent; I’m an impossible sucker; don’t tell.  And then I do this thing where I ask him to pick out a really ripe cantaloupe for me — “One I can cut up tonight.”  Girl, you haven’t really lived until you’ve seen one of those Tidewater men squeeze and sniff a few melons.  I am just saying.  Have I said too much?)  It’s not true that you can’t freeze zucchini and yellow squash.  You just have to freeze them for use in winter soups, where the texture of the vegetables is supposed to be soft.  Saute them a little bit — I throw in some onions and garlic — and freeze away.  When it’s bitter cold outside, you can throw them into almost any soup (or casserole) shortly before serving and get tons of vitamins, fiber, and the taste of Summer.  This time of year, I make and eat a lot of what I call “squash pie.”  It’s not exactly pie, because (trying to cut down on processed carbs) I don’t make a crust, although you certainly could.  If you made just a bottom crust, maybe it’d be a vegetable quiche.  You could call it a frittata or even a baked vegetable omelette.  Whatever you call it, the key, although inelegant, word is:  chop.  Chop up a bunch of zucchini and yellow squash, onions, garlic and — and then — whatever else you’ve got.  Kale is good.  So is spinach, but so is chard, bok choy, creasy greens (which I’m growing this year in pots), garlic scapes, early turnip greens, carrot and radish tops, very ripe tomatoes.  You can shred carrots if you have them and chop up peppers, too.  Basil, or thyme, or tarragon can be chopped up and thrown in.  Corn kernels and okra work.  Saute all of it in good olive oil, starting with the most dense stuff first.  Mix up eggs and milk and pour over the vegs.  (I make the squash pie in the same cast iron skillet that I use to sauté the vegs, but you could use a pie plate if you’re having company.)  Sprinkle with grated or soft cheese.  Bake at 375 until the cheese is brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out dry.  This is good for brunch, or dinner, or — either heated up or cold — for breakfast.  Summertime and living is easy.


Years ago, one of my mentors  wrote that it’s important for us to ask ourselves:  What are Witches for?  Sure, you’re a Witch.  The day you learned that Witchcraft, or Paganism, or Druidism, or whatever, was a real thing, it was like coming home for you.  You were like the the man who suddenly realized  that he’d been speaking prose all his life.  But what purpose do Pagans serve in this world?  At this point, here, right at the midpoint of the Holocene Extinction ?  What’s your role in that?  Just now, when the Moon is dark and there’s so much stuff  going on, might be a good time to take your journal and your Tarot deck off to the bank of some creek and have a good think.


I love Fern’s idea  about blessing your groceries when you first bring them home and plop them on your counter.  Here’s me doing this:  I’m out of breath; Merlin starts sniffing and pawing the bag with the salmon in it and I’m like, “No, no, no.  Stop or I’ll get the bottle.”  Meanwhile, the frozen cherries are melting, Nimue is pawing the bag with the cheese, and I’m desperately trying to put the lemons and limes in a bowl on the counter next to the tomatoes.  “Nimue!  No!  Please!  Here, here, who wants some of the cat mint I picked?  ‘Great Hygeia!  Goddess of health!  Bless and ordain this food for me, and my family,’ — Merlin!  No! — ‘and friends.  This is my will; so mote’ — Nimue!  Bad girl! — ‘it be.'”


What are you cooking to eat now?  What are you freezing, canning, drying, storing for the lean times?  What local seat would you run for if you dared????


(Belated) Words for Wednesday


Here’s a lovely summer poem by Reginald Gibbons, but, first, are you registered to vote?  The election this November promises to be one of the most important in American history.  Please do it now.  Thank you!

At Noon
The thick-walled room’s cave-darkness,
cool in summer, soothes
by saying, This is the truth, not the taut
cicada-strummed daylight.
Rest here, out of the flame—the thick air’s
stirred by the fan’s four
slow-moving spoons; under the house the stone
has its feet in deep water.
Outside, even the sun god, dressed in this life
as a lizard, abruptly rises
on stiff legs and descends blasé toward the shadows.
Picture found here.

Do Your Job


Even when things seem grim, you are still the Witch of your place.  And, as Granny Weatherwax once explained, “A Witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”

So be the Witch.

When you salt the soup, salt health and savor into it.

When you plant the seeds, plant growth, prosperity, and wealth.

When you run water on your hands, come back into the presence of the Goddess.

When you see evil, bind it, hex it, return all of its energy to Mother Earth because, as we all know, “One thing becomes another, in the Mother, in the Mother.”

When you see beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence, guard them, grow them, strengthen them, for that is the charge of the Goddess.

If you’re not the Witch of your place, who’s going to be?

Picture found here.