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[Witch Way] Volume #3 Issue #12 -- May Showers and Flowers
May 13, 2011
Hi, Happy Beltane!

Ken's Korner

Itís been a long strange Spring. Normally by now weíve had mostly warm days with afternoon showers. This year itís been cold and gray, but until now, no rain. Even the sunny days have been cooler than normal. Now in the last two days weíve had an entire monthís worth of rain. Fortunately, itís come as rain. If it had been colder, we would have had 17 inches of snow.

Thatís not unusual for Spring, though that much snow would be odd for May. I talk to friends in other states, and they just canít get over how it can be sunny and 80 here one day, and snowing feet of snow the next. I grew up with that, so itís just normal. Welcome to Spring in Colorado, as we say.

I suspect that most every place has some unique weather pattern for one or more seasons. As Witches, we tend to work with a religion that made sense to western Europeans, and the seasons as they experienced them. One of the things I try to keep in mind while writing a newsletter that goes out around the world, is that while Iím celebrating Litha, those in Australia, and anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, are going through Yule.

Even if youíre in the northern hemisphere, and June is in the Summer, the weather, landscape, and nature where you are, is probably quite different from what we typically use in our spiritual practice. The whole reason that Water is the Element of the West, is because if youíre in the British Isles, thereís an entire ocean west of you. If youíre in California, that makes sense, but the most noticeable thing west of me is mountains. Earth would make more sense in the West, based on my geography.

Iím not suggesting that you completely change what directions you call each Element for the Quarters, but you must understand that unless you happen to live somewhere in Western Europe, the Archetypes we use probably arenít going to sync exactly. Thatís ok. Once you start to figure out how best to walk your Path, you also realize that not everything has to be perfect.

Blessed Be,

Ken Biles

Chironís Lyre

A Monthly Column For Astrological Insight

Since there isnít much happening transit-wise from mid-May through mid-June, I thought I would use this monthís column to delve into a more general and less time-sensitive area of astrology. Iím planning on returning to analyzing ongoing transits in next monthís column, unless you, my readers, would prefer I continue on the topic begun in this monthís column. I may also continue on the new topic (are you curious what it is yet?) during future months where there are no significant general transits. If you have any feedback regarding my new topic or how it is presented, I would love to hear it.

Most people who know anything about astrology at all, know that people are born ďunderĒ different Signs, and that each Sign is said to impart a very distinct personality on those born ďunderĒ it. The fact that astrology describes Aquarians as spacey, Virgos as picky, Aries as impulsive, etc. is a large part of what keeps people interested in astrology. Indeed, these descriptions often serve as the touchstone people use to determine whether natal astrology (the kind of astrology that describes peopleís personalities and life experience) is valid or not.

But, how do astrologers know what traits belong to what Sign, and do astrologers have a way of extrapolating from these traits what new experiences or tendencies a person born inó or a Planet moving throughó a particular Sign might have? This monthís column will briefly answer both of those questions.

Astrologers originally discovered the nature of each Sign through observation. After several hundred years of observation, they also discovered that there were correspondences between each Sign and other, seemingly unrelated things. These correspondences also proved to be very consistent. By keeping track of these correspondences, astrologers can get further insight into the nature of each Sign, and how people and events are likely to be affected when under its influence.

Each Sign can be seen as a combination of three components, that together can be thought of as the basis for the Signís observable traits. These three components are an Element, a Mode, and the Sign Ruler or Rulers (one or two Planets). There are four Elements (Fire, Earth, Air, Water), three Modes (Cadinal, Fixed, and Mutable), and ten Planets (the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) that astrologers use. Each Sign can be said to correspond to an Element, a Mode, and one or more Rulers. Every Sign is described by a unique combination of Element, Mode, and Ruler(s), which corresponds to how the effect each Sign has here on Earth is distinct from the effect of every other Sign.

Describing each Element, each Mode and the influence of each Ruler would make for a very long column this month, so for right now Iíll analyze one Sign as an example of how these components combine to describe a Signís traits. Afterwards, Iíll discuss briefly how analyzing a Signís components can help us understandó and predictó how the influence of a Planet that passes through that particular Signís area of the sky will manifest.

Iíll use the Sign of Gemini as my example, for no better reason than that is the Sign the Sun will be in for most of the time period covered by this column. Iíll talk a little bit about each component of the Sign, then talk about the Signís general personality attributes, and finally how the components of Gemini correspond to the typical Gemini personality.

Astrologers assign Gemini the Element of Air, the Mode of Mutable, and its Ruler as being the Planet Mercury. The Element of Air indicates that the Signís priority is thought and communication. Feelings, possessions, and even the ability to take effective action are much less motivating for Air Signs than the ability to think freely and have oneís thoughts be heard.

A Mutable Mode indicates that structure is something sought (or imposed) from the external world, rather than provided by the Sign from within. And finally, Mercuryís influence as the Sign ruler is very similar to that of the Air Element: fast-moving, very focused on communication, and possibly more than a little disconnected from the mundane considerations most of us find so important.

Looking at many peopleís experience of people born ďunderĒ Gemini, a Gemini often is very much like one of the traditionally small, gossamer-winged fae: An excellent (if overly fast) talker, often very charming, with a very light touch but a short attention-span, a need to always be moving, and a real lack of warmth despite other attractive qualities. The gift those born ďunderĒ Gemini have is the ability to multi-task. Natives of other Signs may believe that they can multi-task, but only Geminiís truly have this as a native ability. In fact, often the only way a Gemini can function effectively is to multi-task.

The correspondences between Geminiís components (Air, Mutable, Mercury) and its observed traits are fairly easy to spot. Geminiís arenít so much a rolling stone as a breath of wind: always moving and impossible to pin down. With an Element embodied by the wind, a Mode that has no structure of its own, and a Planet named after the god of travel, this correlation between the Signís components and its observable behavior is pretty clear.

The fact that talking is one of Geminiís primary giftsó and pastimesó is also clearly indicated both by the Element of Air (emphasizing thought and communication) and by its Ruler being the messenger of the gods. The Element of Air de-emphasizes emotions and attachments, and this detachment is reinforced both by the Mode (a Mutable Sign will tend to let itself be shaped by its immediate environment, changing shape when its environment changes), and by the Sign Ruler of Mercuryó ďmercurialĒ people are not known for their attachments or their sympathy for others, and Geminiís are the quintessential ďmercurialĒ people.

The gift of multi-tasking most likely comes from Geminiís Ruler: the mythological Mercury would simultaneously carry many separate dreams to many separate sleepers every night from the originator of dreams, the god Morpheus.

All of this tells us not only about the kinds of traits people born ďunderĒ the Sign of Gemini are likely to have, but also how Planets moving through the Sign of Gemini are likely to manifest their effects here on Earth. Any Planet moving through Gemini is going to have its focus shifted toward movement, communication, and immediate activity. For example, when Venus is in Gemini (as it will be from June 10 until July 4 this year), travel and conversation are more likely to be sources of fun, comfort, and even small profit, than at other times. Looking at the components of a given Signó its Element, Mode, and Ruler(s)ó help astrologers to make these kinds of analyses.

I trust this diversion from the normal topics of this column has given everyone a little extra food for thought. I wish everyone a very fun and profitable late Spring, and trust that we are all out there making the most of it.

Jim Trader
Jupiter Rising Astrological Services

NOTE: This is not a typical ďhoroscopeĒ 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 whatís going on in the heavens affects you, contact Jim Trader.

Bound to Honor

Putting your money where your mouth is.

You know, itís incredibly easy to sit back, look around and pontificate on all the things that are wrong in the world, or in a community. Back in February, I wrote a column about how my local Pagan community is fractured, and doesnít support those who are trying to make a difference.

I got exactly 6 emails in response to that article. I would have expected more, since the newsletter went out to over 600 people. Even so, out of those 6 replies, four were positive, from people who agreed with what I said, and they came from all over the country. The two replies I got that disagreed with me, were both from people who know me personally, which I found interesting.

One was a Priestess of many years, who I respect very highly. She made some good points, and I invited her to write a rebuttal to the article. The other was someone I thought was a friend, but it seems isnít. At least thatís how I take it when he says that I am no longer welcome at his fire. Still, I stand by my words. I donít expect everyone to agree with them, but the point is to say what needs to be said, not what people want to hear.

The one thing all these people who replied back, have in common is passion. They are all passionate enough about their spirituality, to take the time to write a response to an article they read in email. Even if the response was nothing more than a thank you, or I agree, or you suck, these people had the passion to actually respond to what I said.

This is important because if your spirituality doesnít bring out your passion, you are not following the right Path. If your spirituality doesnít ignite a passion deep within you, you need to keep looking for something that does. Passion doesnít mean screaming incoherently at anyone who doesnít agree with you, it means being moved by something, deep inside you.

I read an editorial on May 5th in the Washington Times online, that called the new Pagan Sacred Space at the Air Force Academy, a pile of rocks. The writer just didnít get it. He or she insulted us, and our spirituality, claiming that it isnít real, and that we have no right to practice it. The author also seemed to believe that Pagans all followed human sacrifice, and that they had all died out when the Christians ďsavedĒ everyone.

As of the time I write this, there are 143 comments, most of them negative, left about this article. I suppose if I had posted my article on a blog, it would have gotten more reaction, after all, itís easier to comment to a blog than to write an email... Yes, Iím being somewhat sarcastic about that.

You see, passion is something I see as lacking in many of the people I see around my local community. Everyone wants to be part of something larger than themselves, but few are willing to actually do anything to make that a reality. Letís face it, if getting people to work together toward a common goal were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Being a Witch requires work. Too many claim to be Wiccans, Witches, or Pagans, but are unwilling to do the work required to actually be what they lay claim to. Everyone wants community events, as long as all they have to do is show up. This isnít just a Pagan problem, itís an American problem. We live in a disposable society. We have gotten so used to someone else doing everything for us, that weíve forgotten how to do most of those things ourselves.

But Witches are supposed to be different, right? Arenít we supposed to be in tune with Nature? Arenít we supposed to be much more involved with the old ways? Arenít we supposed to be better than the society that surrounds us?

Apparently not.

Paganism is one of the fastest growing spiritual Paths in the world. Paganism in its many forms, strikes a resonating chord within a large number of people. Most of these people are used to religions where they arenít required to do anything except show up once a week, and sit through a lecture. They are supposed to give a percentage of what they make to their church, but as long as they claim to be saved, they are.

Witchcraft isnít like that. We donít require that our members pay us at ritual. On the other hand, you actually have to do the work. If you are going to have a personal relationship with your Gods, you have to actually speak to them. Itís called Witch Craft because it is a set of skills you must learn in order to be good at it. You canít just read a book, claim to be a Witch, and then do nothing.

Yet that is exactly what it seems a lot of people do. They are pulled to Witchcraft by the things that it has to offer, but when it comes to doing the work that is required, very few follow through. So you end up with a large percentage of wannabes, who arenít willing to do the work required for their own personal benefit, so why would anyone expect them to do any work for the benefit of the community?

These are the true Fluff Bunnies, and the community is full of them. It used to be that they were quickly rooted out, and simply not included in events that were run by various covens. The older generation, the generation that taught me, just didnít have the time to waste on people whose word wasnít good. If a Witch said they were going to do something, it was expected they would.

That is no longer the case.

Sure, there are times when everyone falls short of what they intend. Thatís part of life. The problem is too many people make offers they have no intent on keeping. I was recently invited to a formal dinner hosted by some friends. There were a total of nine of us there that evening, for the completion of the naming ceremony of the group being founded by the local Celtic Reconstructionists.

At this dinner were six Heathens, two Celtic Reconstructionists, and myself. It was explained to us that we had all been invited because we were the people who had supported by words and deeds, the formation of this group. The dinner was the completion of the ritual, and a way to thank us for our support. I should also point out that none of us knew the reason for the dinner until we all arrived. All we were told, was that there we were invited to a small dinner party that night. The hosts had been told by the Gods to keep everything secret until the correct time arrived.

I donít think of myself as anyone special. I was honored to be included in the dinner, but I didnít think I had done anything to deserve that honor, so I asked why I had been invited. The answer was simple. I was told that of all the people who had offered to help, when told about the forming of the group, I was one of the few who had actually helped, when asked.

That honestly, is a sad statement. While I donít think the trouble of a formal dinner would have been given if there had been several dozen people who had supported this fledgling group, everyone who offered help should have given it, or simply not offered. It really is that simple. If you arenít serious about what you say, donít say it.

This is something that the Heathens I know are very strict about. Your word is your bond, and you will be judged by how you uphold that word. Itís a lesson that Witches need to learn, and take to heart. No one wants to deal with a person who isnít trustworthy. In a community of several thousand, I can name on one, maybe two hands, the people who I consider absolutely trustworthy.

Truthfully, it should be the other way around.

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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