Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Article ID: 15327
Age Group: Adult
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Author: The Redneck Pagan
Posted: February 17th. 2013
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So I am embarking on a whole new challenge this time around… everyone seems to love a nice, easy list of things. So I am going to periodically create my own top ten lists. To get the ball rolling I began to think of some things that would make a good top ten list… and well, my own misadventures in “Witchland” will fit the bill. Now I want to be very clear here: I still do stupid sh*t. In fact, I usually stop and ask myself “what on earth are you doing” at least once a day. But these are the ones that really stick out in my mind from my pagan practices:
10. Wearing a dress for a Yule Ritual: I live in Central Alberta, which means by as early as October the snow is flying and the temperatures are well below freezing (I remember being a little girl and we had a snowstorm in August!) By Yule you can usually expect several inches of snow on the ground and, unless a Chinook blows in, it will be cold. I was born and raised in Alberta, so I really do know this… I’m just not always wise with it. You see being born and raised in this environment convinced me that I am a hardy individual, and that I was used to it. The cold did not really bother me all that much and I figured I was tough.
Now when I first began to study Witchcraft I devoted myself to the idea of a Year and a Day. I had nobody to really guide me but I made up my own plan and was determined to stick to it. I did my own dedication ritual for the year and a day, and the ritual went reasonably well, other than a small hiccup (I’ll tell you about it later down the line) . To celebrate I went to my local Value Village and found an old Halloween Costume to use as a ritual dress. It was an Actual Witch’s costume, so full skirt, belled sleeves, nice velvety material. It had some ugly cobweb stuff sewn onto it but I removed that with a stitch ripper in no time. And because it was a few days after Halloween, I was able to get it at 75% off.
I had to do a little tailoring to get it to fit right (I’m 5’ 3”; I swear the dress was made for somebody 6’ tall) and it was all ready to go for Yule. I used it once for a little full moon ritual and found it was very warm. So I figured this dress with a winter coat over top of it would be warm enough for Yule. And as I typed that last line I had to stop myself from laughing manically.
On Yule, I waited for it to be rather late at night (we lived in a rather new community, our backyard had no big trees yet, so it was like a lovely little fishbowl) . I carried everything outside, got all of my ritual things ready. I was a good little Witch-to-be and had made a list of everything I would need. I even remembered matches and a lighter to be safe! So with everything set up and ready I went inside to change. I came outside and took a few minutes to see where the neighbors were… none in site, perfect! I did the entire opening of the ritual and it went well. Then I realized my toes felt a little cold. I kept going… hmmmm, legs feeling chilled…. Ok, having a hard time walking now… About halfway through the ritual I should have shut it down, but I was determined to finish the ritual.
When I finally went inside my legs were white! No, I was not smart enough to put on a pair of pants under the dress. So I nearly froze. At 12:30 at night, I had to pour a hot bath and drink tea to try and get feeling back to my legs and toes. I’m lucky that particular moment of stupidity did not cost me a toe. I have since done an outdoor Yule ritual… with one huge bonfire and in a snowsuit!
9. Hand mixing herbs/oils: On the surface this does not seem like such a bad idea; I am sure many Witches do so. I just happened to have a momentary lapse of sanity at the time I did this. You see, I was working on making an Altar statue for myself. I had studied lots of pictures of simple deity figures and decided to give my creativity a chance to play and try to make one. I made the first set out of some clay that I baked in the oven and painted when it was dry. They did not look too bad, other than the God’s antlers weren’t straight and the Goddess leaned to the side. After a while these little imperfections began to bother me (The lopsided antler was sending my OCD tendencies into overdrive) .
I decided that I would be brave and make an all new set, and this time I would really do it right. I read through my Magical Almanac, checked moon phases and the correspondence charts I had on hand and picked the perfect time! I then selected the clay carefully from what the local drafting store had on hand; beautiful Terracotta clay seemed to be perfect. I decided to add some essential oils and herbs to help infuse the statues with good intentions. After some basic research, I chose rosemary as one of the herbs for the statues. Not a bad idea, so I decided to work it into the clay and placed several drops of the undiluted oil on my hands, along with the Yarrow I already was holding. And now I can hear you all smacking your palms to your foreheads.
Yep, you see essential oils are very concentrated… and can cause skin irritation… actually delete the “can cause”, replace it with will cause! Plus Yarrow in some people can cause an allergic reaction, and I was one of the lucky ones who reacted to it! My hands were on fire. I had started working the oil into the clay when I realized my hands were feeling warm. I initially thought it was from working the clay, for about 10 seconds. Then my hands got really warm, and tingly… then came the initial pain, then the burning sensation, as if I had scooped up some cooling magma from beneath the surface of the Earth. I dropped the clay and began to do a funky chicken style dance to the sink and turned the faucet on (no easy task when using one’s elbow) . After ten minutes of washing my hands the burning subsided and my palms got to be a delightful shade of red for about a day or two. I did finish the project, with a pair of gloves from the first aid kit.
8. First Cleansing with Sage. About a year after discovering the world of Witchcraft, my mother passed away. It was a very difficult time for me. My spirituality was in limbo, my ideas about the world were in flux and the most important person in a girl-almost-woman’s world was gone. I went through a long period of grief before I began to heal and move on from her death. Eager to work on beginning anew, I began to read through my books to find some rituals and works I could do to help bring more positive energy into my life… I came up with cleansing. Interesting. I loved the idea, the concept of cleansing your space, your energy and your body with some simple techniques. I began taking frequent sea salt baths, keeping things like rose quartz and positive affirmations around me. I cruised along nicely until the first Mothers Day. I was a wreck all day!
I felt icky for several days, and after a sea salt bath and my crystals did not seem to be doing the trick I decided to sage my room. Now I had used some sage for the past year or so, but never indoors. On a road trip to the big city I stopped at a new age shop and purchased a nice large sage bundle (you know the ones that are like seven to ten inches long and at least two inches thick) . I really wanted to make sure I fully cleansed everything and figured the larger bundle was needed. That night when I got home I warned my dad that I would be burning some sage and retreated to the bedroom. My bedroom was in the basement and my dad was in his office upstairs.
I lit a white candle and said a little prayer, then stuck the bundle in the flame, and let it get good and engulfed. I then blew out the flames and placed the sage in the shell I was holding. Instantly, I was surrounded in a plume of smoke! The smoke was so thick that I could barely breathe! I had to fight the instinct to drop the shell on the floor as the smoldering fumes of the massive bundle sought to leach out every drop of water in my body out of my eyes. I managed to stumble over to the corner where I kept my cauldron (a little brass flower planter) and drop the shell in it.
I fell over twice as I staggered to the window. The mess of books, stones and clothes that were strewn upon the floor became a sadistic obstacle course intent on breaking every bone in my body as I tried to race around them with tears obstructing my vision. I finally fell against the wall where the window was and groped around until I could unlatch the blasted thing and open it. The life saving breath of fresh May air streamed into my room as I finally gulped a breath full. And then the smoke detector went off… the ear shattering scream that infernal machine emitted caused a stream of language to fall out of my mouth that would have embarrassed truckers and sailors alike. I had to once again swerve about the obstruction of junk on my floor to race to the door. I got into the hallway and realized that it was too tall for me to pull off the roof, so off to the laundry room I ran and proceeded to throw every switch in the house off to shut off power to the unit.
My dad, meanwhile had got a whiff of the cloud of smoke I had released and was standing at the top of the stairs where he got a delightful view of me flying about trying to make the smoke detector stop. When he finally was able to stand up again and breathe without laughing at me, he suggested next time I try using less. As it was, I had to place my cauldron on the front lawn and dump a water bottle over it to stop the smoke, which caused some perplexed looks from the neighbors, along with an offer to call the fire department over the massive cloud floating away from my bedroom window.
(to be continued)
The Redneck Pagan
Location: Lacombe County, Alberta
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