It’s been far too long. Have an article from even longer ago.
We just found something horrifying on the internet. We know, we know, that never happens, ever, but OMGs, it just did. To us! Nothing horrifying EVER happens to us because we’re so magical and above it all. But alas, the human condition strikes even witches of the highest breeding, lineage, and caliber at times, and this is just one of those situations.
Now, everyone knows that lineages exist within Wicca. (Keep in mind that we’re speaking in the British sense of the word Wicca, meaning traditional, initiatory Wicca. You know, the way Jesus meant the word to be used.) Ostensibly, because we are the biggest, baddest, and loudest on the internet THAT WE INVENTED, the good old boy American line (coughcougholwencoughcough) is the pinnacle of Wiccan lineage on the gods’ dear earth, because once you get something right, you stop (or you passed away on a boat while near Tunisia. Rest in peace, but come back soon please). Either way, the epiphany is that Craft has been perfected, and obviously angels sing and pagans show up covered in gold (the Italian ones on Long Island anyway) with frankincense and myrrh and you can finally throw out your Christmas tree.
So, being of the one, true, right Wiccan lineage known as God’s favorite™, we are uniquely enabled to speak about lineages and which ones are better than others, which ones count, which ones are the result of bad training, and which ones are never really invited to any parties*. Let’s tell a story about various family members and their dynamics, and how younger siblings and cousins are oftentimes doomed to make the same mistakes as their older kin, possibly because of socio-economic, genetic, or cultural reasons (most of which probably involve a lot of booze and pub moots, because why not, right?)
Once upon a time, ‘Gerard’ invented/found/channeled-from-the-Pleiades-before-it-was-cool, his family, and their surname was Wicca. Gerard got around, clearly, and he had many wives who held the surname Wicca, including famous ones who wrote books like Dorothy and Pearl, and less famous but equally effective ones like Dana, Louise, Ellen, and Monica. (There was also Olivia, but we don’t talk about her.) Gerard had a lot of kids with these various women and they all inherited his family traditions and were seen as matriarchs in their own right. They didn’t always get along, but sometimes they bandied together to keep their ex out of trouble and one of them went so far as to go and have his grave site moved when needed because love, people. Love. It was a typical modern witchcraft family that would have made a hilarious dramedy on HBO or Showtime. Probably HBO though, let’s be real, even though Showtime has more nudity.
So, everyone lives on this little magical island that is smaller than California and floating in the Atlantic, which we will call Atlantis, because why not. When large families live in insular places, they tend to see each other, hear from each other, hear ABOUT each other, talk to and about each other, and otherwise continue to co-exist. Even when Lord Gerard has passed away and he leaves Downton Abbey to his last wife, Monica, the rest of the family is there to vehemently disapprove of what she does with the place, exposing the old renaissance paintings to light and otherwise selling off family heirlooms (some treasured ones on accident) in order to move to the mainland for perfectly understandable reasons. Also, she may have been French.
Now, Monica had the most grandkids. By a lot. Everyone had kids with Gerard, except maybe Dorothy (no one is sure) because she left and went to Oz to write weirder books about other kinds of witches using different cardinal directions or something (that show started January 6th btw. We hope it’s good but IMDB indicates that the witches are only in like 1 or 3 episodes, which sounds like a fucking terrible decision, but we digress…) but by far, Monica had the most grandkids. And the thing about Monica’s grandkids was that they were (apparently) all born in a foreign country. Before Brexit. And you know how the Brits like foreigners now that Brexit is on the books…
Anyway, the thing about families of a certain ethnicity or culture that are born in far away places outside of that culture is that they tend to cling to their identities and culture because they live in exodus from their roots. When they are large enough in population and they left under duress, like the Irish in America, we call it a diaspora, especially when the Irish in America far outnumber the Irish in Ireland, because there are clearly more potatoes here and Jameson exports splendidly. The phenomenon of diasporic cultures clinging to their traditions is called something in either sociology or anthropology, but our Google Fu is failing us at the moment. Suffice it to say that in certain immigrant cultures in America, they speak an older version of their native language than what is currently spoken in that modern day country. This will cause New York Italians and Italy Italians to argue over the pronunciation of mozzarella until the cows go dry (because witchcraft!) and we’re somewhat certain the same thing is going on with the Greeks over in Astoria. Cultures in their native countries evolve, and cultures in diaspora crystalize (hopefully not ossify) to preserve their identity and keep traditions from changing because OMG where are we…?
When the threat of losing your culture due to assimilation is apparent, people clamp down. Intentions are usually good, but when they come back into contact with the motherland because the internet said they could, they start to fight over the correct way to make grandpa Gerard’s pot roast. Arguments erupt on Yahoo email forums about whether the roast has the ends cut off because grandma Pearl’s pan was too small or because grandma Dana’s oven was too small or because grandma Monica was slim, and chic, and French, and didn’t want to get fat, who knows. The point is that you cut the ends off the roast. But great arguments about why and when and how ensue and that’s how families pass recipes and traditions.
Back to Monica’s grandkids: they outnumbered everyone else. They got dial-up internet first and dominated bulletin boards with their own infighting, setting the hard-line standard before their Atlantean cousins even logged on. And what do you do when you see people (especially relatives) infighting amongst themselves on a public forum in spectacular and embarrassing fashion? You grab popcorn, keep quiet, and enjoy the show, that’s what you do. Free entertainment is free entertainment, especially when you already know the proper way to make the roast and one of your cousins is calling another of your cousins a bastard and saying that she never had grandpa’s recipe in the first place and had to look it up online because someone leaked it. The drama! Omg they tossed out an entire state?! STAHP.
But then you remember that there is a line of cousins in Atlantis that was never even invited to the table. Apparently one of your aunties had a kid that had a kid named Alan out of wedlock, allegedly, and no one wanted to believe it, but when that baby was born oooooh it had the family nose and eyes and a penchant for publicity that would give grandpa Gerard and aunty Monica both a run for their money. They were obviously related, but no one wanted to admit it, least of all Aunt Pearl because it looked just like her. But that kid and his kids were all ostracized because they were different or not born right or whatever (because we’re all lords and ladies, oh wait, that’s America), but they shared the recipes and traditions anyway and after a while you tolerated them and then eventually people got together with them when the old people were dying off because family is family and eventually we all need to stick together. Just not in America.
America is different. America is a giant, scary place, with lots of orphaned kids claiming to be related to grandpa Gerard, even though they clearly aren’t, they just went to some of the same parties as some of his grandkids at some point, and learned a few herbs and spices and used it because why not? Cultural appropriation hadn’t been invented as a term yet, and everybody was European anyway, so it was easy. Then, that other, bastard offspring of Alan’s showed up. They had the audacity to claim to be related to grandpa Gerard, even though they most assuredly were not because no one was married at the time, even though they looked like us, talked like us, walked like us, circled like us, and sometimes did it in a prettier, more colorful, happy, and creative way, with all the same recipes and instructions. And they throw the best parties. Those assholes. So grandma Monica’s kin and cousin Alan’s kin started feeling each other out, even though back in Atlantis, the rest of grandpa Gerard’s family and cousin Alan’s family was getting along just fine and going to each others’ homes for the holidays and also omg having more kids because once it’s like 2nd and 3rd cousins that’s ok, because it’s Brit, er, Atlantis. Gross.
Flash forward to today, in America, where Donald Trump is about to be president and minorities are literally being shot with seeming impunity by the authorities. Grandma Monica’s family still outnumbers everyone else, but even they, the holiest of holy, final, and perfected line of the Wiccan family™, are starting to realize that their one-true-wayism is just one true way out of a few true ways that grandpa taught, because apparently he kept innovating, and holy shit you guys the real tradition he taught was innovation around a very, very few key things which we all share. And OMFG cousin Alan’s kids share those same things. And that same innovation! Fine, we’ll go to THEIR house a few times for Thanksgiving, and just not overly share.
So, we, the true and rightful heirs to the throne of Wicca who couldn’t stop infighting amongst ourselves for like 4 decades because that’s how superior we are, chill out and get our ecumenical family swirl on at the no-longer-bastard cousins’ place, sharing recipes and hanging out and innovating, on American soil even! Family grows apart and together, and we’re on a together kick and it’s great, and right when we show up, we hear cousin Alan’s kids start that age-old conversation that we basically invented: “Those other cousins of ours aren’t legitimate. They’re not doing it right. They’re fakes. They never learned how to cook properly. They’re basically tainted by great-aunt Monica’s cookbook. No, we don’t care if Pearl is our great-grandmother, we only care about grandpa Alan and grandma Marlene. In fact, grandma Marlene is still alive, so her recipes mean more than grandpa Alan’s recipes and everything she says supercedes anything he may have done, like that one time he asexually reproduced and had a kid without her, or any of the kids he had before her. They ain’t right.”
And Monica’s grandkids all groan and say “Here we go again,” and roll their eyes and think to themselves, “you know, for the branch of the family that was exiled by the rest of us for the longest, you’d think they’d not want to do that same thing to each other…” but alas.
So that’s what happened to us on the internet a scant 35 minutes before writing this. We found this website whose entire most recent at the time post is dedicated to describing in detail, how other Wiccans aren’t as legit as they are, aren’t proper, aren’t taught right, are tainted, etc… We mean, it almost sounds just like this whole article you’re reading, except they’re not joking when they say it.
If we were especially optimistic, we’d say “Cousin/grandpa Alan, they need you,” but sadly, this is a set of grandkids that already rang him up via Ouija board, and if even that can’t help, then we’re basically doomed to repeat Atlantean history all over again on these beautiful, unsullied, unified, and egalitarian American shores. With Trump. Let’s not ever forget Trump. Ugh.
One of our familiar silver spirits tipped us off to something she had read on the interwebz today, and it delighted us to no end, because it was about US! We love us! And we know you love us too, so we’re sharing it with you in the spirit of siblinghood, camaraderie, and behoosiery. So grab a snack, get comfy, and go read the lovely stylings of Frater Barrabas, and remember, the term of the day today is “Reading Comprehension.”
Gardnerian Snark Exposed. <———click here. Also lol @ the idea that our snark wasn’t already obvious, and at witches who work skyclad being exposed. Hee!
Seriously, read it first, before you read our delightfully tacky, yet unrefined response below. Did you read it yet? Did you? Don’t miss out! Ok. Here we go.
Nice name! We are DELIGHTED (yes, in all caps!) that you were so moved by our writings as to author your very own screed in its rightly-due honor! (PS Thanks for that word. We LOVE it. LOVE.)
We must say, your last paragraph here was almost our exact thought in your first! Please, deign to teach us about your Alexandria tradition. Is that the way the true, old school witches amongst you refer to it? Was that N at the end just superfluous and tedious, or was that just your attitude? So many questions! We would take the time to detail all of the other grammatical errors in your blog, but an informal examination of it indicates that you really, really don’t care, you were just grasping at any straw you could to levy an argument against us. We love it. Good for you. Live your life.
Since you’re Gardnerian-lite via your “more circuitous yet no less valid lineage,” I daresay you’re being a bit disingenuous in this gloriously self-righteous diatribe of yours. As fun as it is to have Wicca mansplained by someone on the internet going by Frater anything, you’re BTW enough to know that everything we wrote in our blog about Wicca is true. Had you even the tiniest bit of critical reading skill, you would also have noticed that in several places on our blog, we differentiate between Wicca and witchcraft. We are not in the business of saying who is and who is not a witch. That is for each person to decide. What we are in the business of doing is identifying, vouching for, or denying those who make claim to being members of the Wica, a term brought into public by Gerald, who was initiated into the cult in the New Forest, and taught that initiation was necessary to become one of that priesthood. But you go right ahead and pretend like it’s still 1960 and the two terms mean exactly the same thing and remain interchangeable. Quite traditional of you, and, in your very own words, perfectly full of “obnoxious conceit.” It’s so particularly egregious that we’d love to have you as a guest blogger representing the ‘Alexandria tradition” on the Gardnerians blog! People really should know how some traditionalists actually think, no?
We loved this statement: “What we can’t do is to judge others who are not part of our various traditions by the same measure that we would judge ourselves or our lineage members.”
Some further critical reading would also clue you in to the fact that the particular piece you’re warbling about was written in response to those attempting to claim Gardnerian lineage specifically, from outside of BTW. These people are actively claiming to be members of our specific priesthood. It would make sense then, to someone with a reading comprehension level above the fifth grade, that the initiation rites we’re talking about also apply only to Wicca, which we use in the traditional context, per our entire blog. Again, we’re not talking about witchcraft at large. Just a tiny sub-sect within the greater craft which identifies its members as the Wica. You can preach that self-initiation exists and is as legit as initiation into the cult by its priesthood all you want. All that does is open the floodgates to every IRAB 14 year old HPS who started her own coven in the same grade you abandoned your reading comprehension and logic skills. Maybe this was the founding of this mysterious Alexandria tradition? The mind boggles.
While we understand that some persons on the internet such as yourself have absolutely no sense of humor and will obviously fall all over themselves at any attempt at sarcasm or jest, we do thoroughly enjoy it when both members of our shared cult and those outside of it hit us up with how funny they think our writing is and how often they refer others to it. In fact, we enjoy it almost as much as we enjoy the vitriol spewed by our haters. We’ve never really felt empowered enough to wear one of those horrid ‘I ❤ haters’ hats from that hillarious millennial fuck boy starter kit, but thanks to you we might just purchase one! Thanks, Lexiepoo!
This blog itself is presented as an over-the-top hot mess with occasional bits of truth laced throughout it to get across a basic understanding of how Wicca works from a traditional context. One of those bits of truth that you decided to refute is that there is one shared book of shadows within traditional Wicca. I don’t know which member of the ‘Alexandria tradition’ brought you in, but she should have also equipped you with a version of this book. Your version of this book, if it at all resembles the copy I have in Alex Sanders’ handwriting, would be very, very similar to the one I also have in Gerald’s handwriting, Doreen’s handwriting, Gerald’s other, very-difficult-to-read handwriting, and type-writer, word processor, and e-formats from multiple traditional Wiccan lineages/traditions, several continents, and 7 decades.
Assuming that the “quite provisional” first degree initiation you underwent was Alexandrian in nature, I have multiple copies of it in front of me currently. The fun thing is that they all contain the same things, all of which originated with Gardner’s initiation rite. I mean, we can neither confirm nor deny whether the one in the Alexandrian BoS is EXACTLY THE SAME. We said there was one book, and there is. We never said there was only one authorized version of it. Those are your silly little words. Regardless of what others have added to any version, each copy of the book is a repository of rituals, and it would need to actually have the rituals, including that ‘provisional’ one you supposedly went through. Tell us, does your HPS describe it the same way you do? Is that part of your oral lore? Delightful.
The point of having a tradition is that there are certain things that we maintain. The initiation rites are some of them. The oral lore is part of it. The sabbat rites are part of it. The esbat rite is part of it. Sure, we innovate. We’re witches. We add our collective knowledge as we progress and we pass it down. All 967 pages of it. But we always maintain that which we consider core to the tradition. The core rites and rituals are the skeleton upon which we stand, the shoulders of the giants who have come before us, and that which connects us in a chain of lineage and spiritual ancestry backwards in time and forwards to those who come after us. It is how our spirits know us, know our call, and heed our words. If you remove that from your book of shadows and practice, we daresay you’ve abandoned the tradition, and wouldn’t recognize your initiate as one of us. It would be an extremely provisional view of our shared praxis and history, and one destined for conflict if one wishes their initiates to remain counted amongst our ranks. But we can already tell that you haven’t abandoned it all. You just felt like mouthing off on a straw-man argument you constructed for attention.
Have we mentioned yet that we’d love to have you as a guest blogger? Pretty please.
The rites exist in extremely similar form in books of shadows of many different BTW traditions. It is in identifying them that those of us who reach across traditional lines are able to recognize our brothers and sisters of the Art and share with them in an oathbound context without violating our oaths. The book of shadows exists to enable us to practice our most basic and fundamental rites, and to tie us together, even if some of them recommend a lot more incense than others 😉
As for the need for familiar spirits to be a witch, I have no idea where you got that definition. Yes, having a familiar was certainly something touted in the middle ages and early modern period (and probably in current trad witch circles and sabbatic craft grimoires that want you to crucify a frog over an ant hill to contact the devil), but witches existed in Africa and Asia long before then. They are mentioned in the bible under various names and various languages, and they are present without that delightfully European moniker, or that requirement. Rage against a narrow definition now, son! 😀
To be a Gardnerian, to have Gardnerian lineage, or any BTW lineage, you do, in-fact, need to be initiated by a qualified member of the priesthood. We stand by this, and remind all seekers that the doors are open. If we weren’t open to those who feel the call, we would have died out a long, long time ago. Besides, we’re delightful and hilarious in person.
We’ll leave you with this and then go back to referring to ourselves in the first person:
A witch is born. A Wiccan is made (by another Wiccan, regardless of who made the first Wiccan).
And really dear, every quote of ours that you used was grammatically correct and contained no misspellings, though it certainly utilized the all caps feature that seems to get you off so.
Ta, broseph! Thanks for the attention!
(Only 11 years in the cult, more to come.)
P.S. Seriously let me know about that guest blogging spot. You can write about anything and say anything. In the words of our venerable founder, it would be #glorious!
Fun fact about us traditional Wiccans: we LOVE to argue. We specifically love to get all up in arms whenever a very tiny minority of vocal maroons (that’s the moron spelling of moron), and those trained in a vacuum by them, attempt to tell us what we can and cannot do within the pale of the tradition. Most of their stone-aged arguments tend to fall into the “but that’s never been done before” category, which is immediately equated with “you’re changing the tradition to suit what you want when you should be growing to suit the tradition” adage. What they frequently don’t take into account is that Wicca is a growing, thriving religion full of innovation, much in the spirit of how Gerald Gardner practiced. They also tend to forget that as we grow, we learn, and we take our new knowledge to our practice of witchcraft, and lo and behold, we propel ourselves forward along with the Mysteries, without losing anything other than old, annoying exclusionists (even if they are really fun to keep around because they piss off everyone else and it’s kind of hilarious watching opposing factions freak out about each other).
This lovely Wiccan dichotomy, which is unsurprisingly tilted way left forever because duh, this is witchcraft and its all about liberty and freedom and autonomy and being free from slavery, is never better witnessed than when it comes to gender. Our Gods are gendered. Our rites are gendered. Or sexed. Or something that has to do with holy shit everyone’s naked, who’s doing what? And since the advent of the age of trans awareness,™ the definition of gender and its distinction from physical sex has launched a frequently Jerry Springer-style conversation across all of neopaganism.
While it’s fun to watch idiots like Z Budapest continue to dig themselves deeper holes on the wrong side of history, in a stark reversal from the empowerment of marginalized populations they once preached and now fight against when applied to anyone who isn’t them in the most holy-shit-she’s-finally-turned-into-an-actual-threatened-heterosexual-white-man manner ever, what happens in the closed ranks of the traditional Wicca isn’t always as apparent. Until our Gardnerian brohab Benny wrote this awesome blog article about it. Go read it. Go learn something. We’ll be having a cocktail off to the side and going by the traditional Wiccan names Waldorf and Statler.
P.S. Run-on sentences are awesome. Deal with it.
In modern-day eclectic Wicca, we come across the terms patron deity and matron deity quite a bit. This is similar to the Catholic concept of the patron saint, spirits who are the protecting or guiding saint of a person or a place, and frequently of a group of people, or a function. For example, St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost items, and St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes, such as people who think you can be Wiccan but not a witch.
A great example of a crossover between a patron Saint and a pagan God is the Irish St. Brighid of Kildare. Brighid is the most popular Irish saint next to St. Patrick. Her symbols are holy wells and sacred flames, and she is petitioned for healing, inspiration, and anything really, especially by tying ribbons onto a tree next to her wells. She is a syncretization of an ancient Irish goddess who appears in Irish mythology as a member of the Tuatha De Danann, daughter of the Dagda. The Dagda is so badass that he gets a ‘the’ in front of his name, because he held the Undry, a cauldron or cup that never went empty, and had an endless herd of pigs, so he’s legitimately the Irish god of bacon and thus worthy of everyone’s adoration. His daughter Brighid is a triple deity of healing, inspiration and smithcraft, and her worship continues in both Christian and pagan form to this day. I am 100% a traditional Gardnerian, and I work with Brighid about as much as I work with the traditional Wiccan gods, because she is that badass.
But what do patron/matron gods have to do with Wicca? Well, that depends on how you define godhead. You see if a patron saint is a saint of a certain group, and a patron god is the God of a certain group, then the Wica, as a group, can obviously have patron deities. But is there a patron god of witches? Yes, there are tons of them in ancient paganism.
Hekate, Aradia, Diana, Nicneven, the Queen of Elphame, Herne, Cernnunos, Uindos, Cerridwen, Circe, and a host of others are all deities traditionally associated with witchcraft. There are two more that we can add to this list, and they are the God and Goddess of the Wica, whose names are bound by oath not to be repeated to the uninitiated. Across varying lines of traditional Wicca (e.g. Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Central Valley Wicca, and half a dozen more that will never make sense to us) their names have slight variations in spelling and pronunciation, but they are the same two gods with the same lore. Some lines teach that each of them has more than one name, like layers of an onion, each getting closer to the core. But each of these names is seen in a monist fashion to be the same deity, which begs the question of how far one’s personal monist ideals stretch, covering all gods, or only the gods of your own group or tribe in a henotheistic fashion.
Let’s pretend for a moment that you are a witch who is not initiated into traditional Wicca, and Diana is your patron (matron sounds silly) goddess because you either work with her the most and have developed the closest relationship with her and you have decided that she is looking over you or guiding you. Or perhaps she has made herself known to you and the call is real, guiding you forward. Perhaps you just know it, from a feeling or a dream or an interaction. So you work with her and she works with you and the relationship grows to the point where she is supreme in your own spiritual work, and thus you identify her as your personal patron deity. Then one day, in the course of your life, you are brought into contact with a traditional Wiccan coven, and you want in. You like them, they like you, having noticed your devotion to your goddess, and after a year and a day, you are initiated.
Upon initiation, you are taught the secret name of the Goddess. Let’s say, for hypothetical example, her name is Hekate. What if you thought that the Goddess of the witches was Diana, and now you find out that within traditional Wicca, it’s Hekate? Does that make Diana no longer your patron? Does that mean you have to switch patron gods too just to try to match things up properly? How much logical sense does your witchcraft cosmology have to make in order for it to feel right for you? (The correct answer is none.) Can you have two patron goddesses? A personal one, and a group one? How many gods is too many gods and at what point will it start getting confusing? What if your patron was Artemis and then you found out that the traditional Wiccan goddess was Hera, who tried unsuccessfully to have Artemis and her twin Apollo killed in the womb out of jealousy and propriety? Do you freak out and run screaming away? How do you rectify opposing mythological roles? Maybe your world just collapses for a bit because the traditionalists told you something you build part of your ego on is false and you fall into darkness, but eventually another voice calls you out of your depression. (All hail the goddess Celexa!)
Many traditional Wiccan covens also work with gods of place. Diana and Apollo could be the gods of the Wica, whose names are taught at initiation and about whom the entire Wiccan cosmology and ritual cycle teaches, but your coven resides in Germany, and so you work with Frau Holde instead…or something. Which goddess is your matron? Does each have a claim on you? One is personally in touch with you, the other has been introduced as She whom your worship revolves around, except now you’re directing said worship at the goddess who reigns over your town or city, because why not?
The answer to all of these questions is obviously yes. Yes to everything. Work with 3 patron deities. Freak out about working with three patron deities. Wrack your brain about how to reconcile 3 voices, 3 beings, maybe even 6 beings. Create a personal cosmology which allows you to function fully as a witch, as a Wiccan, and as a spiritual human being. If you ring the phone and someone at the other end picks up the line, you should speak to them. Why not in witchcraft, especially if they already know who’s calling?
Human beings lay claim to an endless host of spirits. (Especially the Vodouisants. I have no idea how they keep up with all that, personally, but God bless them and all those colors for it.) Wiccans are human beings. Some are monogamous in life and may be similarly disposed in religion to one set of gods. Some are polyamorous, and while that’s wildly and hilariously confusing for the rest of us and makes for truly awful and awesome reality shows, it might be better for many people than the alternative both physically and spiritually. And some people are just boring *coughcoughatheistscoughcough.* What is important isn’t what you title each god with which you work. What’s important is the strength and clarity of each of those connections, and the mutually beneficial effects that such connections bring to our spiritual and mundane lives. As we’ve mentioned before, witchcraft is more than just doing spells for stuff; it’s also communing with spirits/gods. So if you want to have one patron or ten, go for it, and don’t let anyone stop you. Just know who’s who when you call.
P.S. I’m really a José Cuervo Reserva de la Familia fan, but that didn’t work as well for the title.
One of the best part of being an initiate of Gardnerian witchcraft is, by far, the community. It’s probably the second best aspect of the craft, just behind the connection to our Gods and all that that brings to us. Gardnerians are the primal, fundamental party pagans who know how to throw a rocking good time and also ensure that the vehicle for the Gods is well-oiled, running, and ready to facilitate their worship and service. A coven is only as good as its members, and a tradition is also only as good as its members. That’s why Gardnerian gatherings are such a totally tits thing. We have the best scotch, the best jello shots, the best fire dancing, and the best ecstatic communion with the divine (and with each other).
Gardnerian gatherings are different than pagan festivals that are open to the public because you know that everyone there, everyone at the ritual, has been brought to the doorstep of Mystery and had the opportunity to cross through it. You know that everyone there has the keys imprinted within them, and that the possibility to work Wiccan magic exists within each of them. You also know through virtue of their attendance there that they have the drive to connect to other priests, other witches, in a fundamental way that helps us to better know each other, our gods, and ourselves in the process. Basically, Gardnerian witch camp is the best thing ever, and there’s one coming to the West Coast for Lammas. So if you’re a Gardnerian initiate of any stripe, be sure to check it out. It’s guaranteed to be a rip-roaring good time.
Also, the HPS who runs it is a HOOT. ❤
(This is a response to a letter from Mario Martinez, the person who has unsubstantiated claims of being a Gardnerian initiate in Brazil, who has had every opportunity to prove it over the last decade, but hasn’t yet. Read his letter before this response for maximum effect.)
Dearest Mr. Martinez,
Thank you quite sincerely for noticing the sarcastic and trashy nature of our blog. We are glad that you get it, as some people mistake it for actual value and that absolutely terrifies us. You have made our day, sir.
Now, however, we will drop the schtick (that’s a Yiddish word for an act. You should totally incorporate it into Portuguese down there. It’s great). Instead of making light of an obviously tawdry situation, I’ll speak in the first person, in a civilized manner, which is unusual for me.
Sir, I would love for you to join the big family. If you could prove yourself to have a vouch from a verified Gardnerian that is vouched for by others who are not ultimately reliant on you for their vouch, I would be happy to see and treat you as a brother of the Art. However, until such a time as that process is completed, then I would be in violation of my oath, as would any of us in the US or the UK or the rest of Europe or even in Brazil. However, I am hoping that this discourse will prove exactly that you are legitimately initiated and elevated, because one thing that I love more than poking at a silly bee’s nest is meeting actual brothers and sisters of the Craft. Hell, I even recognize Alexandrians as brothers and sisters of the Wicca, and that’s not very ‘Hard Gard’ of me. So please, let’s get this taken care of.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Seamus McKeon, and I live in Los Angeles, California. I am a third degree High Priest and I run a coven in West Hollywood. I am downline from Raymond Buckland and from Theos and Phoenix, and I am a member of the Long Island line which you seem so keen to attempt to discredit based purely on ad hominem attacks. I am such legitimate Long Island line that I even grew up on Long Island about 25 minutes away from where Ray established the first Wiccan coven in America. However, as I said before, I’m not a hard gard. I recognize Alexandrians. I am a High Priest and I run my coven, as opposed to our HPS running it, because I am still training her. These are very, very un-hard Gard things to do, and they are two among many, yet still, I am a recognized initiate of the Gardnerian tradition and not even the most Hard Gard of priests will deny that.
This blog is meant as both a joke and also a blunt way of looking at Wiccan subjects that most of us are far too nice to say aloud. We have articles ranging from initiation experiences to yelling about amusing shenanigans at Pagan festivals happening between friends, because the vast majority of us are friends with other Gardnerians and we like the sense of family that we enjoy because of it. Articles here are written by multiple initiates with no regard for saying who’s who, because all opinions here belong to Gardnerians. The point is its diversity of thought, regardless of who happens to be writing any one piece. We celebrate the mirth and the reverence of our tradition and our lives. If that is not a part of your group, then we heartily recommend incorporating it, as it makes for some truly great bonds. The situation down there with you has been so consistently pathetic and full of contradictions that we just had to comment on how much rope it seems that you have been given to hang yourself (that’s an American idiom that suggests that you’ve been given opportunities to prove your points but have only managed to shoot yourself in the foot and make your cause all the more difficult for yourselves).
But, I digress, this post is about mending fences and finding family. As far as I can tell, people have checked with you and with your people in order to obtain a vouch. The fact that one has not been forthcoming since 2005 is extremely telling. Hell, some of us even accept vouches from Alexandrians. The only attempt at legitimacy that I have ever heard of from you is the fact that you somehow got onto a list that Fred Lamond wrote and he didn’t kick you out. That is not a vouch. That is an English person being polite. If Fred Lamond has never met you or circled with you and doesn’t personally know anyone else who has, then he can’t really vouch for you. That’s not how it works. So, I ask you quite sincerely, who can vouch for you? I have read comments in which you claim to have been initiated by Olwen herself on the Isle of Mann, and other claims by those downline from you that you are teaching them that their lineage flows through you to an Ann Tyler. I have also been informed that you tried to claim degrees off of Patricia Crowther, and she denied ever knowing you. So which is it? What is the truth?
Who are your initiators? What are their names and how may we contact them? If they are deceased and unable to vouch for you, is there anyone else who has been in circle with both you and them who can vouch for you? Is there anyone who is not your initiate or an initiate of your initiates who can vouch for you? Can anyone else use their good standing in the Gardnerian priesthood to vouch for you without also being ultimately reliant on your vouch as a part of their lineage? I have stood in circle with Long Island people, with Kentucky line people, with Rae Bone-line people from both the United States, England, and continental Europe. I have people who are completely unconnected with my lineage who can and will vouch for me. Do you have the same? That would help immensely. This is how it works.
Let’s next address the BoS in question. Someone (I thought it was you, but if it was one of your downline then I apologize, but my point still stands) sent a sample of your/their book of shadows to a High Priest that you subsequently maligned because he rejected it as proof of validity. His name is Brian and he is a HP in good standing in Texas. The reason why this sample was sent was to serve as proof of your legitimacy by way of having a legitimate book of shadows. The interesting point is that your book, per your version of history, would have been copied from your initiators in England 45+ years ago, because that is where and when you claim to have been initiated, but this “proof of legitimacy” sample was from an American HP with notes that he wrote in the 1990s on the west coast of America. This is one of the things I was referring to as giving you enough rope to hang yourself. If it was one of your initiates who sent this, as it seems to be people other than you who are always transmitting your messages, then I invite you to provide proof of your own.
I’ve been through the rites, and I have experienced the Mysteries, and they have led me to understand that the Wica are everywhere, waiting to be found, having already been known and loved again, and stand ready to bring in those that come after us. I will circle happily with people whose vouches are good, and I dislike disunion almost as much as I dislike lying and overbearing pride. We are taught to be humble in the craft, and so, I offer to you to serve to stand witness to your veracity as soon as you can provide me with an adequate vouch. I am, as you say, “a 3rd degree member who wishes to talk to you, compare texts, and take a look at your material,” but I am also a 3rd degree member who values my oath, and will need a vouch to satisfy that requirement before I will feel comfortable enough doing so. I am available via email. I am available via telephone. I can Facetime, Skype, Viber, or WhatsApp you. Just let me know.
I assure you that despite whatever reasons you may have to think that any of us envy you or your situation, you are wrong. We neither envy you, nor do we hate you. We pity you, because we’ve seen other people go through this same process. It’s happened in the United States. It’s happened in Canada. It’s happened in England. It happens, and no one likes it, least of all us. As much as we would love to throw our arms open to everyone who professes to love our tradition, we can only do so once we have validated that they have been through the initiation rite. I am sure that you understand, as our oath requires it. So, I very much look forward to hearing from you and speaking to you directly, in order to confirm your lineage and attain a vouch for you from a recognized initiate, per the rules of our shared religion.
A Mediocre Coward
(Por favor, veja abaixo para Português.)
Some time ago, back when we thought that writing on this blog was something we would actually do regularly, we posted a piece about what to do when your lineage isn’t Gardnerian, other than cry. We posted this because it seems that a very large swath of the eclectic Wiccan community has no idea how lineage works, what purpose it serves, or how to figure out their own if they actually have any. We recommend that you read it sometime. The ultimate example of mistaken Gardnerian identity was Silver Ravenwolf’s claim of Gardnerian lineage stemming through a bunch of eclectic witches who were initiated into multiple different traditions leading back to Ray Buckland’s Seax Wicca tradition, and from there, to Gerald, somehow, because it sounded fun.
Nowadays, after that whole silly kerfuffle, we shift our attention to the magical land of Carnival and Umbanda, of terreros and Candomble, of feathered head dresses and a Globeleza Carnival Queen who was deemed “too black” for the role. We turn our attention to the lovely Brazil.
Why do we turn our attention now to the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world? Is it because we were out late the other night practicing Umbanda with a friend of ours who spends way too much time in Rio? Not really. It’s because there are Gardnerians in Brazil! And just like in the United States, when you get a lot of people who identify as Gardnerian in the same country, a shit storm erupts, except this time it’s in even worse English than usual, so get ready to pour a drink and Google translate for your life.
Claudiney Prieto has been an internet friend of ours since people actually used things like Tribe.net and random Pagan ning sites that predated Facebook. In tween terms, that means we’re both really old now. Claudiney has long been an active witch and Goddess-serving pagan of various stripes. In fact, he’s so good at it that the notorious Zsuzsanna Budapest, who everyone just loves to death, even ordained him as whatever the dude version of a Dianic priestess is. (We think he’s the only one that exists and we bet that more than a few militant feminists blew their gaskets at it.) Claudiney is also, less impressively, an initiate of our little cult: traditional Wicca. He’s a Gardnerian. He was the only Gardnerian there that any of us even knew, and still today it’s a fun thing and we all love him for it.
But there are other Wiccans who identify as Gardnerians down there, and they don’t like that there’s a new kid on the block, and that he may or may not have a working partner, and that they may or may not have formed a new coven down there which stands on its own. This is because the other group identifying as Gardnerians all stem from one fascinating and eloquent guy named Mario Martinez.
We don’t know Mr. Martinez, but what we have heard of his story goes a little something like this. “46 years ago I was in the UK and I got initiated, and maybe elevated, and I brought Gardnerian Wicca back to Brazil.” Ok, that sounds totally plausible. When people make claims about being Gardnerians, there are certain ways that other Gardnerians handle it. First, we check to see how many leagues away your covenstead is, because some old made up laws require that if you’re close enough, we have to show up with a LOT of liquor and have a drinking contest with you, of which the loser must slather himself in flying ointment, naked, and run down the street with a broom between his legs singing God Save the Queen. But if you live far enough away that we can’t egg your house on Halloween, somewhere like Brazil (Brasil?), well, then we just ask for a vouch.
A vouch is simple. If I am a Gardnerian and another Gardnerian knows it, he will take my word seriously and I can vouch for others to him. If I know that Claudiney is an initiate of Gardnerian Wicca, which I do because his HPS told me and a few other hundred people more than once, then I can vouch for him, because I am also vouched for, in private and in public, and also I run this blog for Gods’ sakes. Back to the royal ‘we.’ So, when we encounter strangers who claim to be us, we ask for the vouch. When we are asked, we have someone else known to the Gardnerian community vouch for us. Usually this is our initiator, or their working partner, or anyone we’ve ever been in a Gardnerian coven with, or anyone that we’ve ever been in a Gardnerian circle with, because they can neither confirm nor deny that they have seen us totally nude dancing around with a bottle of scotch while also weaving rushes together into a Brighid’s cross while chanting furiously. Or something. Vouches create a system of validation and verification that we all have access to.
But what happens when someone can’t get anyone else who has been vouched for to vouch for them? Well, that’s the problem with Mario Martinez. Pretty much every Gardnerian on the planet knows how to get a vouch, but somehow this guy can’t find a one. This is always curious to us. Let’s imagine that something like death has gotten in the way. “My initiators are dead.” Ok, that puts a damper on things. Is there anyone else? What about their coven siblings? Their initiators? All dead? What about their initiates? Did any of them ever hear of you? Do you have any photos? Papers? Communications? Proof that you were initiated? Do you know the oral lore that helps to prove that? No? Well fooey, that’s just too bad. Luckily, if you are Mario Martinez and you have no vouch, you can just launch a Facebook page called Gardnerian Manifesto to prove how bad ass and legit you are, right? Have luck reading it, cause it ain’t in English or even Engrish.
There is a very fascinating situation that happens from time to time when Gardnerian covens hive and new covens spring forth in distant lands: whoever was already in those distant lands and pretending to be Gardnerians tend to FREAK THE FUCK OUT. Why? Well, for gods only know how long, persons like this Mario Martinez were operating under the radar, claiming to be Gardnerian and building a potentially sizable group of people who have all been misled into thinking that someone without a vouch from another Gardnerian could have been initiated by us. When the real deal subsequently arrives (Hi Claudiney!), shit hits the proverbial fan, because now there’s someone else who can either confirm or deny the claims of the other, and this new someone happens to be the initiate of a rather well known Gardnerian author in the NYC-metropolitan area.
So now the shit is flying back and forth in Brazil, and it’s quite marvelous to watch, despite how immensely difficult it is to read because it’s not in GOOD OLE AMERICAN ENGLISH. Now, we’re not the type to play compassionate person, but let’s pretend for a second, that Mister Martinez’ claims are true. Certainly, a few people have been left without a vouch because they were from small, remote covens (usually in the Canadian wilderness) and their initiators died and were not really in touch with anyone else. These cases happen, and they are sad, but there are hallmarks to a Gardnerian that all of us can recognize. We were taught the same things. We know the same words. We do the same stuff. So we ask each other, and when it comes out that this person is obviously legit but lacking in a vouch, we wring our hands and the delicate dance of “do I recognize them without this crucial thing or offer to reinitiate them to restore the link in the chain and hope they don’t find it to be horridly offensive?” begins.
But this is not the case down in Brazil, from everything we’ve read. Mr. Martinez claims as proof of his legitimacy that he has a copy of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows. He even sent a copy to one of us up in Texas. What we found was that we can neither confirm nor deny that this was part of the actual Book of Shadows, because duh, but what we CAN confirm is that it has footnotes and annotations from a wonderful, but deceased High Priest up in Seattle or Portland or whatever gloomy, rainy American city he loved, and that it makes NO SENSE that someone who claimed to have been initiated in England in the 1970s would have a copy of a book that was compiled and edited with footnotes in the 1990s in the San Francisco Bay area of America. So if his book didn’t come from his initiators and was instead possibly stolen from an accidental Yahoo posting in the early days of the internet, the question is “where is your own book? Why do you have an American version?” His response? “Everyone down line from Ray Buckland is invalid.” Calling those who disagree with you and cite proof bullies? Brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that it’s almost as American as that book you lifted.
The situation speaks for itself. If you or someone you love speaks Portuguese, feel free to translate this article and spread it around down there. I’d LOVE to read the hate mail in the comments ❤
PS Hey Mario, if you can prove that you have a vouch from anyone, and not Philip Heselton telling you to continue practicing without worrying about it, we’d love to hear it. Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE that attempt, but we bet you can even one up it. Have at it.
Algum tempo atrás, quando pensamos que escrever este blog seria algo pare ser feito regularmente, publicamos um artigo sobre o que fazer quando sua linhagem não é Gardneriana além de chorar. Postamos isso porque parece que uma grande faixa da comunidade Wiccan eclética tem ideia de como linhagem funciona, para que serve, ou como descobrir a sua própria se eles realmente tivessem uma. Recomendamos que você o leia algum dia. O penúltimo exemplo de identidade Gardneriana equivocada foi a reivindicação de linhagem Gardneriana por Silver Ravenwolf por meio de um grupo de bruxos ecléticos que foram iniciados em várias tradições diferentes que levam de volta a tradição Seax Wicca de Ray Buckland, e de lá, para Gerald, ou algo assim, porque parecia divertido .
Atualmente, depois de todo esse tumulto bobo, voltamos nossa atenção para a terra mágica do Carnaval e Umbanda, de terreiros de Candomblé, de adornos de penas para cabeça e uma Rainha do carnaval Globeleza que foi considerado “muito negra” para o papel. Voltamos nossa atenção para o lindo Brasil.
Por que voltamos nossa atenção agora para o maior país de língua portuguesa do mundo? Será que é porque estávamos fora até tarde noite passada praticando Umbanda com um amigo nosso que gasta tempo demais no Rio? Na verdade não. É porque há Gardnerianos no Brasil! E, assim como nos Estados Unidos, quando você tem um monte de pessoas que se identificam como Gardnerianos no mesmo país, uma tempestade de merda explode, só que desta vez isso está ainda pior do que o inglês habitual, então prepare-se para tomar um drink e Google translator para sua vida.
Claudiney Prieto tem sido um amigo nosso de internet desde quando as pessoas realmente utilizavam coisas como Tribe.net e circulavam os sites Pagãos do Ning, que antecederam o Facebook. Em termos resumidos, isso significa que nós dois somos muito velhos agora. Claudiney tem sido um bruxo e cultuador pagão da Deusa ativo de diversas matizes. Na verdade, ele é tão bom nisso que fez com que a notória Zsuzsanna Budapest, que todo mundo ama até a morte, o ordenasse como algo parecido com a versão masculina de uma sacerdotisa Diânica. (Cremos que ele é o único que existe e apostamos que mais do que algumas militantes feministas bufaram por isso) Claudiney também é, menos impressionantemente, um iniciado de nosso pequeno culto: a Wicca tradicional. Ele é um Gardneriano. Ele foi o único Gardneriano de lá que qualquer um de nós já conheceu, e ainda hoje isso é uma coisa divertida todos nós o amamos por isso.
Mas há outros wiccans que se identificam como Gardnerianos lá embaixo, e eles não gostaram que existe um novo garoto no bloco, e que ele pode ou não ter uma parceira de trabalho, e que eles podem ou não ter formado um novo Coven lá que se sustenta por si só. Isso ocorre porque o outro grupo que se identifica como Gardneriano derivam todo de um cara fascinante e eloquente chamado Mario Martinez.
Nós não conhecemos o Sr. Martinez, mas o que ouvimos de sua história é mais ou menos isso. “46 anos atrás eu estava no Reino Unido e eu fui iniciado, e talvez elevado, e eu trouxe a Wicca Gardneriana para o Brasil.” Ok, isso soa totalmente plausível. Quando as pessoas fazem afirmações sobre serem Gardnerianos, há certas maneiras que outros Gardnerianos lidam com isso. Primeiro, vamos verificar para ver quantas léguas seu covenstead está, porque alguns antigos fizeram leis que exigiam que você estivesse perto o suficiente, temos que te dar um MONTE de bebida e ter uma competição com você, do qual o perdedor deve se lambuzar com pomada para o voo das bruxas, nu, e correr pela rua com uma vassoura entre as pernas cantando Deus Salve a Rainha. Mas se você vive longe o suficiente para não podermos jogar ovos em sua casa no Dia das Bruxas, em algum lugar como o Brasil, Bem, então nós apenas pedimos um Vouch (Comprovação/Testemunho).
O Vouch é simples. Se eu sou um Gardneriano e outro Gardneriano sabe disso, ele vai levar a minha palavra a sério e eu posso testemunhar por ele aos outros. Se eu sei que Claudiney é um iniciado da Wicca Gardneriana, o que eu sei porque sua Sumo Sacerdotisa e algumas outras centenas de pessoas mais de uma vez me disseram, então eu posso testemunhar por ele, porque eu também tenho testemunhas, em privado e em público, e eu também mantenho esse blog graças aos Deuses. Voltando para o real “nós”. Então, quando deparamos com estranhos que se dizem fazer parte de nós, pedimos um Vouch (uma Comprovação/Testemunho). Quando nos perguntam, temos alguém conhecido pela comunidade Gardneriana para testemunhar por nós. Normalmente, este é o nosso iniciador, ou o seu parceiro de trabalho, ou qualquer um com quem já estivemos em um Coven Gardneriano, ou qualquer um com quem já estivemos em um círculo Gardneriano, porque eles não podem confirmar nem negar que nos viram dançando totalmente nu por aí com uma garrafa de uísque ao mesmo tempo, tecendo junto uma cruz de Brighid ao cantar furiosamente. Ou algo assim. Vouches criam um sistema de validação e verificação ao qual todos nós temos acesso.
Mas o que acontece quando alguém não pode obter qualquer outra pessoa comprovada para testemunhar por eles? Bem, esse é o problema com Mario Martinez. Praticamente todos os Gardnerianos do planeta sabem como obter um Vouch, mas de alguma forma esse cara não consegue encontrar um. Isto é sempre curioso para nós. Vamos imaginar que algo como a morte surgiu no caminho. “Meus iniciadores estão mortos.” Ok, isso coloca um abafador sobre as coisas. Existe mais alguém? E quanto aos seus irmãos de coven? Seus iniciadores? Todos mortos? E sobre aos iniciados deles? Será que algum deles já ouviu falar de você? Você tem fotos? Papéis? Comunicações? Prova de que vocês foram iniciados? Conhece a tradição oral que ajuda a provar isso? Não? Bem querido, isso é muito ruim. Felizmente, se você é o Mario Martinez e não tem Vouch, você pode simplesmente criar uma página no Facebook chamada Manifesto Gardneriano para provar quão fodão e legítimo você é, certo? Tem sorte, por não está em Inglês ou até mesmo Engrish.
Há uma situação muito fascinante que acontece de vez em quando, quando covens Gardnerianos são formados e novos covens brotam em terras distantes: quem já estava naquelas terras distantes fingindo serem Gardnerianos tendem a SAIR DO CONTROLE. Por quê? Bem, porque só os deuses sabem quanto tempo, pessoas como este Mario Martinez estavam operando nas sombras, afirmando ser Gardneriano e construindo um grupo potencialmente considerável de pessoas que têm sido enganadas pensando que alguém sem um Vouch de outro Gardneriano poderia ter sido iniciado por um de nós. Quando o negócio real chega posteriormente (Oi Claudiney!), a merda atinge o proverbial ventilador, porque agora há alguém que pode confirmar ou negar as reivindicações do outro, e este novo alguém passa a ser o iniciado de uma autora Gardneriana bastante conhecida na área metropolitana de NYC.
Então agora a merda está voando para todos os lados no Brasil, e é maravilhoso assistir, apesar da enorme dificuldade que é ler, porque não está escrito no bom inglês americano. Agora, não somos o tipo de pessoa que brinca com compaixão, mas vamos fingir por um segundo, que as alegações do senhor Martinez são verdadeiras. Certamente, algumas pessoas foram deixadas sem um Vouch porque eles eram de covens pequenos e remotos (geralmente no deserto canadense) e seus iniciadores morreram e não estavam realmente em contato com mais ninguém. Estes casos acontecem, e eles são tristes, mas há marcas em um Gardneriano que todos nós podemos reconhecer. Fomos ensinados as mesmas coisas. Conhecemos as mesmas palavras. Nós fazemos a mesma coisa. Por isso, perguntamos um ao outro, e quando aparece que essa pessoa é obviamente legítima, mas falta um Vouch, nós levantamos a mão e a dança delicada do “eu os reconheço sem essa coisa crucial ou ofereço para reiniciá-los para restaurar o link na corrente e espero que eles não achem isso terrivelmente ofensivo? ”
Mas este não é o caso lá em baixo no Brasil, por tudo o que temos lido. Sr. Martinez alega como prova de sua legitimidade que ele tem um exemplar do Livro das Sombras Gardneriano. Ele chegou a enviar uma cópia para um de nós no Texas. O que descobrimos foi que não se pode confirmar nem negar que isso era parte do Livro das Sombras real, porque hummmm…, mas o que podemos confirmar é que ele tem notas de rodapé e anotações de um maravilhoso, mas falecido Sumo Sacerdote em Seattle ou Portland ou qualquer sombria e chuvosa cidade americana que ele amava, e que não faz sentido que alguém que afirma ter sido iniciado na Inglaterra na década de 1970 tenha uma cópia de um livro que foi compilado e editado com notas de rodapé na década de 1990 na área da baía de San Francisco da América. Portanto, se o livro dele não veio de seus iniciadores e foi em vez disso possivelmente roubado de uma postagem acidental no Yahoo nos primeiros dias da internet, a pergunta é “onde está o seu próprio livro? Por que você tem uma versão americana? “Sua resposta? “Todo mundo abaixo da linha de Ray Buckland é inválido.” Citando aqueles que não concordam com você como prova de intimidação? Brilhante.
A situação fala por si. Se você ou alguém que você ama fala português, sinta-se livre para traduzir este artigo e espalhá-lo aí em baixo. Eu ADORARIA ler as postagens de ódio nos comentários ❤
PS Ei Mario, se você pode provar que tem um Vouch de alguém e não Philip Heselton dizendo-lhe para continuar a praticar, sem se preocupar com isso, nós adoraríamos ouvi-lo. Não nos leve a mal, ADORAMOS essa tentativa, mas apostamos que você pode inventar um. Fique à vontade.
It’s that time of year again. Mid February is a magical mini-season where people everywhere in America use the barbaric murder of a Catholic saint as an excuse to buy red crap and spend money on food. It’s also that time when Pantheacon happens and then every pagan with a keyboard (which is every pagan) starts bragging blogging about how they went to P-Con and how awesome it was. And it is. We’re getting the jump on all of them because there’s one night left and our liver is currently hiding under the blanket in bed at 6PM.
Pantheacon is an ancient word that translates roughly into English from its original Greek as “open bar.” Everywhere you go here, people are tying one on, and the majority of the hospitality suites on the 9th floor are basically an excuse to flout liquor laws and prove how bad ass your group/tradition/friends are. Having it occur during Valentine’s day this year puts it roughly on par with St. Patrick’s day, because holy mother of Gods, we are hungover.
Pantheacon is also a liminal place like a Mexican border town. There’s seemingly limitless alcohol everywhere, every conversation sounds like another language, and people are constantly disappearing. Missing phone calls while one is out at a bar is normal, but when we wake up in this DoubeTree every morning after never leaving it, we see roughly 23 unread text messages and 17 missed calls, all of which involve the most Pantheacon-esque saying: “Where are you?”
This conference is also rife with the Northern California spirit of faction fighting and social justice warrioring. People here are offended by everything, and it even has it’s own Godwin’s law. Godwin’s Law usually proves that the longer an online debate occurs, the higher the likelihood that someone will mention Nazis or Hitler, except that here, all conversations turn to privilege. The first night we arrived, Pantheacon magic happened and we suddenly found ourselves sitting at a table in a casino across the street (because paganism) populated entirely by white people who were discussing race. It was harrowing and absurd and there weren’t enough Jameson and ginger ales in the world to erase those rough 25 minutes, but at least the food was good. Now, most of America is used to being all white and shit, but we’re from L.A, so the second we realize there is no one around of any noticeable Mexican descent, it starts to feel like the Village of the Damned and we get seriously unnerved.
Pantheacon is also a brilliant adult playground. This hotel turns into the Las Vegas of paganism, and nothing that happens in Vegas is usually healthy. Just like in Vegas, extremes come together and interact in stunning and hilarious ways. We were sitting at the Green Fairy party on whatever blurry night that was, which is basically just a giant drinking game featuring absinthe, and watched a man walk up to woman after woman and completely and surprisingly violate their space by brushing his hand down their backs while simultaneously standing next to guys sporting “Ask first” ribbons promoting consent within hug-culture. We sat at Chipotle this morning trying to eat our hangover feelings while listening to one of our straight best friends describe in hilarious detail how she was the object of affection from a relentlessly persistent lesbian the night before, and literally mid-sentence, a totally random stranger sitting at the table next to us leaned over and said, “I’m surprised you’re even upright after all of the whiskey I saw you imbibe at that party last night. I’m impressed.” Pantheacon is magic, and booze fuels it all.
Another notable occurrence occurred when the east coast met the left coast and we saw Thorn Mooney sitting on the floor making a Youtube video with her phone. While we already knew that we would be immediate besties, what was not as obvious at first was how exponentially hilarious she gets when you add whiskey to whatever she’s drinking. She literally took us by the hand and lead us over to an artist drawing caricatures and had him paint us as the cover of Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch. We died. Dead. We couldn’t even keep a straight face in the damned drawing because we were trying not to pee our pants. Photographic proof of Thorn Mooney’s LEGIT Wiccan street cred featured below.
Also, this needs to be said to everyone who can read: Thorn Mooney walked me into a wall last night and I had no idea until everyone was laughing about it this morning. SHE WALKED ME INTO A WALL. Fine, I may have accidentally flung her drink across the room and onto another wall, but that is no excuse for the blonde leading the drunker blond through the second degree mysteries of her aforementioned violated alcohol. Touche, woman. Touche.
Pantheacon truly has something for everyone. Apparently there are official classes and workshops all day, but we don’t think we’ve attended one in years. People love them though. Shit is so obscure here that a friend of mine was denied entry into a class about Baba Yaga due to maximum capacity being reached. Who knew? The only thing this convention is missing is a medical suite called the Hydration Station offering IVs in the morning. Whoever pulls that off will make a killing.
One night left, and our hangover is beginning to fade. Pray for us. Pray for us all.
Not enough can ever be said about the tremendous influence that Doreen Valiente had on the modern practice of witchcraft, in many, many of its forms. This is why she is widely considered to be the Mother of Modern Witchcraft. For more information about witchcraft and its practice, please click the image and check out our brother Si’s website, Mandragora Magika.