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[Witch Way] Volume #2 Issue #9 -- Imbolc, Astrology and a Rant
February 12, 2010

Ken's Korner

I hope you had a wonderful Imbolc.

Every year WSLA, the Women’s Spiritual Leadership Alliance holds Grand Coven. This is an event that has been going on ever since I’ve been in the community. What they did, was pick a Sabbat, and hold an invitation only ritual, then every year they moved it up by one Sabbat.

This year was Imbolc. There wasn’t one last year because the last Grand Coven was Yule, and it would have been only a month between the rituals, and it’s just too hard to plan everything out in such a short time.

Grand Coven is more than just a ritual, it’s a night where people are recognized by their peers in the community. You must be Initiate level in order to attend, and you must be sponsored your first year. What happens is that after the ritual (which is always theatrical, and well executed) teachers in the community announce their students, and what level they have attained.

This year I took my student from last year, who I Initiated last month. Her Initiation ritual was unique in that I had a Norse Heathen Priest & Priestess who helped me perform the ritual. I can’t give details, being an Initiation, but it was a lot of fun, and Magni got to be mean and gruff, which he enjoys.

So I took my student to Grand Coven, and she got to see one of the few public rituals that really has magick. This year they called all nine Classical Muses. Nine Priestesses of high skill called down the Muses in the same manner that they would Draw Down the Goddess. Everyone else spiraled into a cauldron at the center of the circle, and was given a colored slip of paper with the name of one of the Muses.

This split everyone into groups, and we all went to see our Muse. Each Muse did something different. I got Thalia, Muse of comedy. I have to admit, she is not one I would have chosen for myself. I don’t have anything against comedy, it’s just not what I would have chosen.

Therein lies the point of the evening. While I would not have chosen Thalia, She chose me. As it turns out, we had a wonderful time talking with Her. While She seemed very somber in manner, She got us to think about the amusing or ridiculous things in our lives. She pointed out that laughter keeps us from giving up when times get tough.

After the ritual, many of us helped pull tables and chairs out and we ate a catered dinner of Chinese food. They even had a few pairs of chopsticks. We got time to talk to people we hadn’t seen in years, and others we see often. I got the chance to introduce my student to the woman who taught me.

This is an event that is rare, and all the more special for the rarity. Take time to recognize the rare events in your life, and remember them. These are also the things that keep you going when life gets tough.

Blessed Be,

Graphic Signature

Chiron’s Lyre

A Monthly Column For Astrological Insight

For the mid-February to mid-March time period, four days stand out in their astrological significance: February 14th, 15th, 27th, and March 11th.

February the 14th, in addition to being both Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year (bringing in the Year of the Yang Metal Tiger, for those who keep track of Chinese astrology) has several transits happening all at once. The Sun will conjunct both Neptune and Chiron (which themselves are conjunct) in late Aquarius.

The Moon will over the course of several hours conjunct both Venus and Jupiter in early Pisces. Mars in early Leo will sextile Saturn in early Libra, and Venus in early Pisces will sextile Pluto in early Capricorn.

Before discussing each transit individually, three general observations can be made. First, all of the major Planets are involved in some kind of a transit on the 14th except for two: Mercury and Uranus. This means it is unlikely that what takes place today will be particularly disruptive, and that intellect and communication won’t have much to do with it.

Also, since the transits involved are all either conjunctions (representing neutral reinforcement) or sextiles (positive opportunities) we can expect the 14th to be a pretty good day for almost everyone on Earth. And finally since this appears to be a very important day astrologically, and it coincides with the Chinese New Year, it is very possible that 2010 will be a watershed year for China.

With the Sun conjunct both Neptune and Chiron on the 14th, the expressions “simple is beautiful” and “small is powerful” may suddenly become very meaningful to almost everyone.

This is a good day to begin moving toward the simple and the small, and move away from the complex and the oversized. Those who embrace these movements— which may involve the need to radically simplify one’s life-- will probably feel called to contribute to larger humanity, or possibly withdraw to meditate or reflect in some way, along with simplifying their own circumstances.

Those who do not embrace these movements will probably be conspicuous by their denial of the un-sustainability of their lifestyles, and possibly out-and-out escapism. Drug use of any kind on February 14th will be particularly powerful (and therefore especially dangerous), and people may find themselves more vulnerable to allergy attacks on this day as well.

The movement from the complex to the simple, and from the large to the small, may be something that has been happening (or needed to happen) for some time, but on the 14th people will become particularly aware of it. This will probably be more of a visceral than an intellectual awareness. There is unlikely to be a newsworthy event that occurs that people can point to as a catalyst for this new awareness. It is more likely that the awareness will arise synchronistically among seemingly unconnected individuals.

The Moon will conjunct first Venus at about 1PM Denver time, and then Jupiter at about 6PM Denver time on February 14th. This indicates people will need to emotionally connect with their priorities, and their priorities will probably involve the welfare of those around them.

This would seem to indicate that the 14th will be a wonderful day to come together with family or like-minded people, to share and just have a good time. This evening, many gatherings may take on the appearance of adventurers coming together to share their exploits over good food and good company, as each person feels the need to share with those around them what they’ve accomplished that others should recognize.

It is unlikely that this sharing will be overly competitive or create any bad feelings, but will reinforce people’s sense of community and a “we’re all in this together” camaraderie.

Venus (and briefly the Moon) will sextile Pluto on the 14th of February. This will reinforce many people’s need to connect to those around them and belong to a group. Responsibilities will not frighten people today, and many people may find themselves taking on more responsibility (or otherwise sacrificing) for their loved ones or their community than they ever have before.

Although this may be frightening for those who stop to think about it, such responsibilities taken on or sacrifices made during this transit will probably be quite rewarding and be discharged well by those who commit to them.

Mars will sextile Saturn on the 14th of February as well. This means long-term goals will be the focus of most people today. Many of us will realize in our hearts that self-discipline, frugality and deferred gratification are tools to accomplish greater things, rather than curses we are forced to endure.

Many projects will be conceived on or around the 14th of February, that cannot be started until mid-March and that will not bear fruit until late July or early August. These projects will be generally successful, possibly even life-defining for those who undertake them. The only danger of this transit is in setting oneself up for an “all work and no play” approach to a goal.

If you decide to pursue a goal or take on a project at this time, make sure to allow for time off and regular play-time to balance out all the effort you put into accomplishing your goal. Unlike the 14th the 15th of February is important not for what happens, but what stops happening astrologically.

Namely, the ongoing Saturn-Pluto square ends...for the second-to-last time. While the square was ongoing, many of us felt a shortage of money and other resources that we were previously accustomed to having. Meeting responsibilities became difficult or even impossible, and a lot of involuntary sacrifices had to be made.

With the temporary end of the Saturn-Pluto square, the pressure is temporarily off. Money or other resources will seem to flow freely again for the time being, and it will feel like we can relax and get back to “normal.” Don’t get too relaxed, though, since the square will activate one last time in August. It’s quite likely that the squeeze Saturn and Pluto have been putting on so many of us represents a “new normal,” not a temporary setback.

A good use of this respite is to save up the extra resources that are available to us during this time, and simplify our lives to the point we can discharge our responsibilities and “live within our means” when the lean times come back to stay. The “lean times” will probably return in August, and it is possible they may not leave in most of our lifetimes. The 27th of February will probably be exciting for many of us, although we may not actually get a handle on why we’re excited or what it is that’s really happening. While Mercury will be joining the ongoing Neptune-Chiron conjunction for a day in late Aquarius, The Sun and Jupiter will also be conjunct in early Pisces.

This is a great time to express— or appreciate— the subtlety or nuance of emotion. Going to an art show or a theatrical performance would be very enjoyable, as would spending time on any kind of creative endeavor of one’s own. However, this is not a good time for understanding what is being seen or heard.

Getting involved in any kind of negotiations, intense study or debate on the 27th is not a good idea, since it is too easy to misunderstand what others are saying and easy to be misunderstood in turn. Wait until the 28th or even the 1st of March to undertake any of these activities.

Dishonesty will probably receive an added boost on the 27th, so be careful that you are not being deliberately lied to that day. The key to the 27th’s transits is to appreciate the spectacle of what others are saying and doing (and allow others to appreciate your spectacle, as well), without putting yourself in a position where you need to understand or be understood.

Last but not least, the 11th of March is a significant day because it is when Mars goes fully direct after stationing for a couple of days at 0 degrees Leo. From late December through early March, many of our lives seem to have been in a “Truth AND Consequences” mode: We have learned the truth of what we have been doing for ourselves by feeling all the consequences of our long-term actions.

With Mars going direct, the T&A period is over. It will probably feel like we can get on with our lives, after hunkering down in the basement for a few months while storms blew over. Many of us will find new energy and new things to get excited over around the 11th, and be anxious to prove to ourselves— and everyone else— how well we can do with our new lease on life.

Although the official start of the New Year was as always in the beginning of January, it may feel for many of us that the real New Year begins this year sometime between February 14th and March 12th. I wish all of you the very best with this Chinese New Year, and I’m excited to see what we all do with it.

Jim Trader
Jupiter Rising Astrological Services

NOTE: This is not a typical “horoscope” reading, breaking astrological influences down by Sign for a given period of time. The information in this column should apply to most people, most of the time. If you have any questions, or want specific personalized information on how what’s going on in the heavens affects you, contact Jim Trader.

I don't want to get off on a Rant, but...

CyberWitchcraft may have to close.

It’s now February, and I have to come up with several hundred dollars to pay for hosting by April. That wouldn’t be a problem if I was making any money, but I’ve spent most of the last several years unemployed.

I started CyberWitchcraft with the intent of getting original information out to the people who wanted it most, and with the idea that if I offered quality products for sale, it could support itself. In just under two years, the website has made about $200.

I know that times are hard and the economy is bad.Believe me, I know. I’ve had three job interviews in the last 6 months even though I send out resumes almost daily.

The problem CyberWitchcraft faces is two-fold. First, Pagans are free spirited. They seem to think money is bad, and that the world would be a better place without it. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. I have a lot of friends trying to build businesses that serve the Pagan community, unfortunately the Pagan community isn’t interested in buying.

That brings me to the second part of the problem. I did some research to see what the Pagan community wants, in the hope that if I could provide it, they would buy. If you build it, they will come. What I found out is that those looking for information, especially on the Internet, aren’t interested in purchasing anything, they just want free information.

Now I know that not everyone is that way, but the vast majority is. What the majority fail to realize is that knowledge is never free. You always pay for it in some way. People have no problem spending $50 on books to learn Witchcraft, even when those books either say the same thing as every other book, or they each give a different way to do the same thing as every other book.

When I started CyberWitchcraft, I promised myself that I was going to put out only the most unique information I could, and that I was going to offer it without cost. Because I kept getting emails and other notes from people asking if there were other Witches near them, I put up forums and spent quite a bit of money on setting up a voice chat so that Witches and those who wanted to learn could find each other, and perhaps form community.

No one was interested, and both the forums and chat just sat there. So I took them down. I can’t afford to spend money on things no one is interested in using. I continue to get new subscribers to this newsletter, and every so often I get an email telling me how the person enjoyed that issue. I tried to run a contest to see how many people were actually reading this, and out of over 400 subscribers, I got 26 entries to win a free product, even though I gave the answer to the contest question.

If I were a Christian Priest, I’d pass the plate every Sunday, but Pagans don’t do that. People wonder why they can’t find any Pagan clergy who can do for them what the Christian clergy does. The answer is that no one can afford to. I have performed many Hand Fastings over the last couple of years, and most of the time I don’t get paid for it. Would anyone even consider not giving a Christian Minister a gratuity?

But we’re not real Clergy, are we? I mean anyone can call themselves a Priest or Priestess in the Pagan community, after all. There’s no formal training, unless you were part of a Coven, and everyone has access to the same books, so what gives me or anyone else the right to proclaim as Clergy? Self proclaimed Witch, isn’t that how the media labels us?

I always thought that if I really wanted to make money, all I’d have to do is put myself out as a Christian Minister, and lie through my teeth. Unfortunately for me, I have ethics that won’t allow that. You see, the Christian community supports their Clergy. They give into the plate on Sunday, they tithe yearly, they help make sure that their Clergy will be there for them when they need. Not Pagans.

That’s not to say that there aren’t those who do support us. I have friends who have given me food, and one friend even bought me some shoes because she was tired of seeing me in my “religious” tennis shoes with the holes in the toes. Last month a friend lent me money so that I could pay rent. But for the most part, Pagans are not the giving type.

Friends will do anything for you, if they can. That’s what friends do, and I do appreciate it. The problem is, I don’t want to rely on my friends. I want to make my own way in the world. That means getting paid for work that others value.

Every so often, I get a note from someone who read something I wrote, thanking me for doing what I do. I do it because it is my passion, and it needs to be done. I appreciate the praise, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

I currently have around 500 people actively getting this newsletter, that I spend time each month writing and putting together. If each of the people getting this newsletter were to send just a dollar, I would have the money to keep the site up. If each of you were to send me a dollar a month, I wouldn’t have to worry about rent.

I put up several ways of donating on the site, in the hope that the people who got something out of reading it, would send a little money my way as a thank you. With about three exceptions, it didn’t happen. I put up the Kiss a Witch campaign thinking that through a little humor, people might donate a dollar. Nada. In the real world, if someone helps you with something, you might buy them coffee, so on the pages where people ask questions, if I answered them, I set up a link where they could buy me a cup of coffee. I didn’t really expect donations to pay for the site, I took weeks or months to create what I thought would be useful products.

I started with a Witchcraft 101, and audio file that explained the basics of Witchcraft. I got three orders, one of which asked for a refund. I created 7 Secrets of A Successful Witch, to help people realize how to be successful. I gave away more copies than I sold. I started a video series, and through YouTube, I gave away ten minutes of each video so that people could see what I offered. Not a single sale.

I also set up a small online store so people could show their pride in spirituality. Ok, my bad, everyone is so worried about being in the Broom Closet, no one is going to buy a t-shirt that says on it. I did think though that as a way to support something people found useful, they might at least buy a mug.

I don’t want anyone to misunderstand, I’m not trying to beg for money. I’ve always said that a leader is the person who does something because it needs to be done, not because they’re going to get anything out of it. It would just be nice to get a little support. It’s really hard coming up with reasons to continue something that no one seems to care enough about to support.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Pagan community as a whole just isn’t that serious about their religion. This seems to be validated every time I go to an open ritual. With few exceptions these rituals are poorly planned, and badly executed. The people performing the ritual have little or no idea what it is they are doing, and every single one is the same exact ritual, just different words. There’s no creativity, and no uniqueness. No life.

If I can find a job in the next couple of months, CyberWitchcraft will remain up because it is my passion. I’ve just come to realize that I can’t rely on the support of the people I do this for. That’s ok, I’m used to doing things for myself.

If you have an article you'd like to submit as a guest author for Witch Way, or for CyberWitchcraft, go to the Contact Page and click Submissions in the drop down box. Let me know what the article is about, and I will reply back to you so that you can attach it in an email.

Articles for Witch Way should be at least 500 words, and those for CyberWitchcraft should be around 2000 words.

If you have any comments or suggestions, you can go to the Contact Page on CyberWitchcraft, or simply reply to this email. This newsletter and the website are created for you, your thoughts and ideas are important to us.

Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,

Blessed Be,
Graphic Signature

Ken Biles

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