Tag Archives: What Are Witches For

Holding a Dying Planet in My Arms

Wildfires Scorch Three States: It’s Like Nothing I’ve Seen Before

Colorado Wildfires: 3,2000 Flee Their Homes.

Colorado Wildfires Signal One of State’s Worst Seasons Ever.

Torrential Rains Cause Flooding, Damage in Florida Panhandle.

Biblical Flooding in Progress Near Tallahassee, Florida.

Florida Flooding Causes Millions in Damage.

Fire Rules: Energy, spirit, heat, flame, blood, sap, life, will, healing and destroying, purification, bonfires, hearthfires, candle flames, sun, deserts, volcanoes, eruptions, explosions.

~ Starhawk in The Spiral Dance: Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess (20th Anniversary Ed.)

Water Rules: Emotions, feelings, love, courage, daring, sorrow, the ocean, the tides, lakes, pools, streams, and rivers, springs and wells, intuition, the unconscious mind, the womb, generation, fertility.


I came home last night to see a glorious waxing Half-Moon hanging in the Western sky. The Half-Moon represents a time of balance between the promise of the New Moon and the Fulfillment of the Full Moon. I sat in my garden, full just now of flowers — daisies and white day lilies, Queen Anne’s lace and silvery sage — that are especially lovely in the moonlight, and meditated upon balance.

When Witches cast a circle, we strive for balance among the Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.

And, yet, it certainly seems that Mama Gaia is out of balance.

Too much fire in some places, too much water in others. Record-breaking heat waves covering much of the country, even though it’s only June. My own watershed is technically in drought, but, when we do get rain, it comes in a deluge and brings with it winds that rip the roofs off of buildings. Editors are running out of adjectives; floods are now “biblical,” and fires are “unlike anything ever seen.” And, beyond the irreparable loss of huge forests, liminal wetlands, precious plants, and endangered wildlife, there’s a huge amount of property damage and even loss of human life. A dear Sister who does mental health work in disaster-struck communities has been educating me about how the emotional damage caused by these “natural” disasters lingers for years after the actual event.

As a Witch I grieve and I try to hold Mama Gaia in my heart and rock her as she burns with fever and sweats and cries and rages with too much rain. As a magic-worker, I send healing energy to the affected landbases and watersheds and hope for renewal. I call to Brigid, Hestia, Pele, and Stata Mater to protect Colorado. I call to Chalchiuhtlicue, Vellamo, and the Nix to protect Florida. I burn incense and I make other offerings.

As a citizen of Planet Earth, I am outraged. For years, every single suggestion for controlling our out-of-control population, for decreasing, via conservation, the amount of carbon-based fuel that we use, and for substituting less-polluting forms of energy for coal and oil has been fought tooth-and-nail as “too expensive.” Every day I read a round-up of energy-related news and every day I see corporations and Republicans (but, then, I repeat myself) and, sadly, even Democrats, insisting that moving to renewable energy will “kill jobs,” (it wouldn’t; it would create them) or would make it “too expensive to do business in our state,” as if the expense of re-building after a flood or wildfire were negligible.

And, so, my magic does not stop at meditating on balance, grieving with Mama Gaia in her death throes, or sending healing energy to the mountains and the swamps.

My magic includes my vote. My magic includes protests, and letters to my representatives, and speaking up for the environment whenever I can. My magic includes my decision to have only one child. My magic includes my rain barrel, and my hybrid car, and my decision to not run the air conditioner. My magic includes my efforts to buy food and other products from local merchants.

Yes, I do understand, as Derrick Jensen so eloquently says, that we can not consume our way out of this problem. But I can recognize the first rule of healing which is: Do No Harm. It’s significantly close to the Wiccan Rede: “An’ it harm none, Do what ye will.”

Tonight, I will sit at my stone altar and breathe, and center, and ground. Tonight, I will send all the energy that I can send to Mama Gaia. Tonight, I will conserve all of the energy that I can conserve. Tonight, I will write a letter to my representatives, on paper that I have blessed, with ink that I have spelled, under the waxing Moon which adds increased energy. Tonight, I will move what magic my old, broken body can move in order to help re-balance the circle.

I shan’t be gone long. You come, too.

Picture found here.

Grounding with Fungi

The other day, Beth Owl’s Daughter, posted this amazing video:

I was struck by the role that fungi play in connecting trees and other plants. Fungi hunt for nutrients next to the roots of forest trees and the exchange that they enable, meters away from the trunk of the tree, provides for communication and a sharing of resources, even between species. I love the description of the process as similar to brain networks comprised of neurons where the neurons are related not only physically, but also metaphysically due to the manner in which they send messages back and forth and build upon each other.

I come back almost daily to a question that Sia Vogel gave as a gift: What Are Witches For? There’s, to paraphrase the Cowboy Junkies, more than one answer to that question, pointing me in a crooked line, but, for this Witch, the primary answer is that I am here to be in right relationship with and to my landbase and then to act upon that relationship. That’s a big assignment, but I work at it in little chunks.

A significant portion of my work involves really, seriously grounding here, into this ground, this specific Bit of Earth that surrounds my little cottage near the Potomac. I don’t mean the sort of generic grounding that we all do at a public ritual, at the home of a sister-Witch whom we’re visiting to perform a group spell, at an office, or courtroom, or car dealer when we need to work some instant magic. I mean running my roots into the soil that I’ve worked, and fed, and weeded, and handled for years and years. The soil fed with compost from the meals that I’ve cooked to share with friends. The soil that I worship with my bare feet in the Summer and that I rake free of leaves each Autumn. The soil upon which I stretch out to perform the Iron Pentacle.

I mean letting my roots re-establish connection with the roots of the ancient oaks that have grown here since America was young, with the giant magnolias that Landscape Guy and I planted and nursed along the Southern border of my woodland garden, with the lavender and sage blooming just now in the herb bed. I mean letting my roots play with the worms, and chipmunks, ants, and armadillidium vulgare that live in the ground.

Lately, I’m seeing if I can get fungii from the oaks, maples, magnolias, cryptomeria, lilacs, and calycanthus floridus to play with my roots, as well. After all, I want, in Joanna Colbert’s words, to be in on the gossip of my landbase.

What is your grounding practice like? What are you a Witch for?

(And of course, it is both synchronicity and lagniappe that the forester in the video concludes her discussion by invoking the metaphor of an ancient tree performing a “a passing of the wand.”)