Hekate, triple goddess of magick, witchcraft, the moon, ghosts, necromancy, crossroads, herb work, and the keeper of the keys. The divine mother of witches, and guider of the lost; and the one who called me, but was sent to voicemail.
You see, as a lifelong witch and pagan, I am no stranger to the call of the divine. Whether it was tea with Cernunnos in kindergarten, or learning of herbal healing with Cerridwen in late elementary school, I knew to answer the call when it came through. But like most people, there would come a time when I would send an important call to voicemail out of arrogance. A pigheadedness and need to "go against the grain", would cause me to ignore a divine message from the dark goddess, delaying my work with her until much later.
I was fifteen years old when one night in, ritual, a deity, cloaked in darkness and sprinkled with starlight, would speak to me, "I am Hekate, goddess of witches, and you are my child. Come to me, and walk the path of mysteries and I will teach you, and guide you towards your divine purpose". I was taken aback by her presence, she came without evocation and stood with such power in front of me, that I could barely grasp what had happened. I was awash with emotion and a sense of confusion that I had never felt before, so I sat in silence.
After the ritual had ended, Hekate did not ascend with the other energies and gods that had been called, instead choosing to follow me for the coming days. I knew of Hekate, how could I not, every teenage girl who watched the craft or charmed was a "pagan" and held Hekate as their "matron goddess! Like, omg she's so dark and so cool!", and a part of me resented that. I had been pagan my entire life, I spent years learning and growing as both a pagan and a witch, being taunted and bullied because I was perceived as wicked and evil. And now every Brittney and Ashley who'd once tormented me was a charmed one wannabe because they thought Hekate was cool. In my teen angst, a part of me blamed her, the goddess, for causing this, and so I cried out, "Go away! I am not one of those basic cheerleaders! I don't want to be seen as a wannabe because now you are "cool"! NO!". Hekate tilted her head slightly, "as you wish my child, but if you should ever have need of me, I am only a call away", she said softly before fading from sight.
As the years went by and adolescence turned to adulthood, the Brittney's and Ashley's went back to their Christian churches and I continued to study further and settled in angst. After taking my third degree vows, I traveled the spiritual world, guesting with many groups and learning of many traditions before finally returning home and founding my beloved Covenant of the Rose, and working therein. But a part of me still felt a calling, like a notification your phone sends you when you have an unopened voicemail; unfortunately, it would be quite sometime before I was ready to open it.
As the Covenant grew, and more members came and shared their practice and beliefs with us, the great mother was ever present. Even while guesting with other groups and traditions, she was there, waiting. By this time, my arrogance and pride had faded; the reason I could not call on or approach her wasn't that I was fighting a current, no, I was simply too ashamed.
You see, throughout my life, I have learned more about myself and the world than can accurately be expressed. The main things being that it is okay to like popular things, it isn't cool to reject them out of an insecurity towards conformity and fear of being lost in the crowd, and most importantly, when you have made a mistake, even towards the divine, you must make amends. "But how does one apologize to the goddess? Will she be angry with me? Will I be punished? What do I do?", I thought; "don't think, just do" my soul answered back.
In preparation for my apology, I spent days meditating and looking at my existence, seeing issues, and letting go of that which did not serve me. I banished the feelings of insecurity around my practice, I addressed why I felt that way, and then worked through my issues before banishing that negativity as well. And then began the planning. If I were a goddess, and was to be given an apology, what would I like to receive? What would be a sign that the person apologizing was truly remorseful?
I decided to go all out, I picked baskets of lavender and hung them around my sacred space, I lit a charcoal and allowed Myrrh to simmer on top, I painted a portrait of the great lady and her ravens, and added a photo of my familiar, a dog, to the altar adorned with sparkling fabric, mead, and sacred stones. It was time; I called my quarters and blessed my circle, and finally, I knocked on her spiritual door, "Hekate, I evoke thee! Please bless me with your presence!", I called out three times. No sooner had I finished the third call, and there she was, as glorious and powerful as the first time.
Hekate smiled a soft smile, "My child, you have come back to me! Are you ready to answer the sacred call?". I bowed my head, "Yes, but that isn't why I called you here today. I must apologize for the way I acted in my youth. You were the go-to goddess for anyone who just discovered paganism and the craft, and I was terrified of being seen as basic. I didn't want to associate with you out of fear that I would be grouped in with those I disliked; it had nothing to do with you, and I take full responsibility for my arrogance. I am sorry goddess, I am so sorry, and I will understand if you no longer wish me to walk your path, but I would very much like to know your mysteries".
The goddess suddenly laughed; I was so shocked by the mirth from her, that my jaw literally dropped. "Oh my child, I knew of your reasoning, and I know of your remorse, but no matter what you say or do, you are my child. And I am your mother. The call to my mysteries was never a one time offer, but an open one, yours to answer whenever you are ready. And Now you are! And I could not be happier. You need not apologize to me, though your apology is lovely and accepted. Come, let us walk together...".
That night transformed me, like a phoenix arising from the ashes I was invigorated on my path towards divinity. The goddess has called me, and I was finally ready to answer, finally after all these years. And so dear reader it is my hope that you too have learned things, let my mistakes guide you. Follow your heart, and answer the call; do not care what anyone else thinks because your craft is your own. You are a uniquely spiritual being, follow the path that speaks to you, and be the best pagan and/or witch you can be!
First and foremost, I apologize for the delay in posting. Existential circumstance took hold of my day and prevented me from working on this week's post. Rest assured I will make sure to get things in on time this coming Sunday!
For our new readers, these weekly Q&A discussions will be posted on Sunday evenings, and will feature questions submitted the previous week, with a submission cutoff of 11:59pm on Saturday! To submit your questions, please email us at CovenantofTheRose@gmail.com, or Wynnie@covenantoftherose.org!
Q: I keep hearing about this Second Life thing that witches and pagans are using to connect during the pandemic; do I need an account to participate? And does it cost anything?
A: Awe Second Life, it’s a great program but it can be confusing for those who aren’t familiar. So a basic rundown; Second Life is similar to the sims in that you create an avatar that can be augmented and adjusted to your liking. The main difference, however, is that unlike the Sims, Second life is interactive and players/users from all over the globe can communicate, meet, and otherwise interact with each other virtually. In order to be a part of this, you DO need to make an account, but a basic account is free and allows you to have an avatar. If you decide to upgrade to premium though, you get to choose a virtual house, and get a weekly allowance of sorts that allows you to purchase items for your avatar or virtual home!
Q: My laptop isn’t equipped to run a program like Second Life, isn’t there an easier way?
A: Unfortunately, that can sometimes happen as Second Life is a large program. If you are unable to use the aforementioned, try talking to the host of the event and seeing if they’d be open to also doing it via Google or Microsoft teams!
Q: I am concerned that I will not feel as connected if I am not in person, am I alone?
A: That is a very legitimate concern for many, but rest assured, event organizers go above and beyond to make sure you feel included and connected. Many of us will even send out a “things you may need” email prior to the event to help. If you are still worried, try reaching out to the host directly to see if they can help in any way.
Q: I recently got a call from the goddess, but how do I know Wicca is the right choice for me?
A: That’s a great question! Sometimes the call comes as a surprise, and for those who are less familiar with the goddess and her mysteries, it can feel like a shock. The best way to discover whether or not this is the path for you is to meditate and think on; weigh your options and your conscious and choose the best path for you!
Q: I have a calling towards paganism, but the call isn’t coming from any specific direction, how do I decide on a pantheon?
A: Well, there are a couple of ways you can go about this; What is your heritage? Are you Celtic? Norse? Egyptian? Does your heritage have a pantheon that you could explore? If so, start there. If not, or if you simply do not connect with it, start by looking up pantheons one at a time and learning about their gods. For example, if you are reading about Hellenic gods, and Hecate calls to you, explore her path further. If you read about certain gods and do not have a connection, it is OK to move on and keep looking. Explore until you find the fit that is best for you!
Q: God’s from multiple paths have called to me; is that OK? Can I cross worship?
A: Absolutely! You can worship whoever calls to you regardless of their origins. The craft is unique and tailored to the witch.
Q: The coven I am interested in joining isn’t holding in person gatherings as a result of the virus, but I would still like to join when possible. What should I do?
A: Unfortunately, the virus has limited most covens for the foreseeable future, but many of us will be welcoming new members as soon as it is safe to do so. Until that time, reach out to the leadership of the coven and see if they’re doing any virtual work while in quarantine.
Q: I have a dietary restriction or allergy that may be problematic in a coven setting; what should I do?
A: Communication is key in the case of allergies! Most covens will do whatever they can to accommodate the allergy and not cause discomfort, but you need to tell people about the allergy so that can be done. For example, I am allergic to the glue used to make incense cones and sticks, and as a result our coven only uses loose herbal incense. It’s an easy fix, and most allergies are too!
For the past several months, most of us have been in quarantine, or at the very least, restriction; while most of us may have more time to tend to our interests, the inability to go out has drastically limited some of our educational resources. This is especially true for the witchy community, as many of us conduct our craft work solely in person, making it hard for newcomers to connect with us.
Because of this, we here at Covenant of the Rose were inspired to begin doing weekly Q&A sessions where we will answer questions sent to us by the community! These questions can be witchy, spiritual, or mundane and we will do our best to either answer them or point you in the direction of someone who can. For this week’s column, we will be focusing on frequently asked questions sent in by new witches over the past month!
These weekly Q&A discussions will be posted on Sunday evenings, and will feature questions submitted the previous week, with a submission cutoff of 11:59pm on Saturday! To submit your questions, please email us at CovenantofTheRose@gmail.com, or Wynnie@covenantoftherose.org!
Q: Are Wicca & witchcraft the same thing?
A: They are not! Wicca is a Neo-pagan religion, and witchcraft is a practice. While many Wiccans are witches, not all witches are Wiccans. In fact, there are witches in many religions, and even atheist witches! It's all a matter of personal preference.
Q: Do I have to be a coven or be formally initiated to be a witch?
A: Nope! Many witches practice solitary, or in small informal groups. If you want to find a coven, then you totally should! But you d not need to!
Q: If I want to join a coven, how do I find one?
A: That is a great question, and there is good news and bad news on that front. For many years, the witch community relied on the Witches' Voice, or "WitchVox", a social media type site for witches, to locate each other, The bad news is that it is unfortunately no longer around. The good news however, is that in this day and age most covens and traditions will have a website where they can be contacted, and where seekers can find information! The easiest way to find them is to search the word "coven" and the area you live into Google or Facebook, and search through the responses!
Q: I want to join a coven, but I am a minor. What can I do?
A: Unfortunately, most areas have laws regarding the inclusion of minors in religious or spiritual groups, (these include covens), and as a result, most adult groups require you to be 18. Now, in some areas like Seattle, minors over 16 may participate in the aforementioned activities with written parental consent. While many covens won't initiate you as a minor, they typically will help you study, find resources, and explore your path with them as a seeker until you turn 18. This varies from group to group though, so it's best to contact them directly.
Q: The books I read say I need expensive tools and fancy items to practice, but I cannot get them; does that mean I can't practice?
A: Of course not; you do not need anything to be a witch! Many of us use these items, but it is a personal choice, and you shouldn't feel pressured to make purchases.
Q: Does my Book of Shadows need to be leather?
A: Nope! "Book of Shadows" is simply the name given to whatever you use to store your magickal records. This could be a journal, a binder, a group of google docs, or even a spiral notebook if that's what works for you! It's all about preference!
Q: There isn't a coven in my area so I would like to start one, is that allowed?
A: Absolutely! While many people like to base their covens off of an established tradition, it isn't for everyone. So if you feel that starting your own group is what's best for you, so mote it be!
Q: How many people do you need to form a coven?
A: Traditionally? Three, but it's fluid.
Q: Do witches actually fly on broomsticks?
A: Sadly, no.
Q: Does my cauldron have to be cast iron?
A: Nope! cast iron was the most common, and typically cheapest, material for hundreds of years which is why witches' cauldrons are often portrayed that way. But really any heat/fire safe pot can be a cauldron with the right intention!
Q: Can my chalice be a coffee mug?
A: Absolutely! It's all about intent!
That's all for this week folx! But feel free to tune in next week for more Witchy Q&A!
Witchcraft can often seem extremely expensive; tools and spell items can range anywhere from a few to thousands of dollars. But they don't have to, and in this article, I'll teach you how to save money without cutting corners in your craft!
First and foremost, you do not NEED fancy tools to be a witch, a chalice can be a favoured coffee mug, a cauldron can be a simple kitchen pot, really anything can be anything with the right intent. "But what is I WANT to have special items? is there a way to do it less expensively?", you may be wondering; and the answer is, of course! Here are some of our favourite budget witch ideas for all your craft needs!
1. Daiso and Dollar stores- Inexpensive stores like Daiso Japan and Dollar tree often have lots of inexpensive items that can be used in your craft. Scented candles, prayer candles, votive candles, candle holders, bottles, jars, incense, and so on are frequently found for as little as dollar.
2. Witch Swaps- Many areas have witch swap shops where you can leave things you no longer want or need and take that which you do. Often times these take place at established events, so keep an eye out! Online swap resources can often also be found on Facebook!
3. Thrift stores- Thrift stores, especially Goodwill or Savers (Value Village) are great for finding ritual items such as chalices, altar bowls, boxes, and even journals! At my local stores, I have scored one of a kind ceramic chalice, cast iron cauldrons and pots that can be used as cauldrons, brand new leather journals, and even god(dess) and elemental figures! As an added bonus, many thrift stores are non-profits or charities that put money back into the community for job training and community relief resources!
4. Local Vendors- Most areas have local vendors of some sort that make and sell wares that can be used for magick! To find vendors near to you, try reaching out to your local SCA chapter, or search Facebook or google! For persons in the Seattle area, Both Edge of the Circle Books and Gargoyles Statuary are in the university district right off 45th, and should they not have what you need, they can likely help you find it. And for our friends down in Arizona, the Astrology Shop in old Glendale is one of our favourites as well!
5. Online- In the age of technology, pretty much any item you could ever want is available online! And if you are hesitant to use mega corporations like Amazon and would like to avoid sites like Etsy or eBay’s listing fees, try checking the sellers page, as they likely have a website that allows you to buy directly.
Prior to any magickal workings, most of us like to do some sort of grounding meditation o get into a good head space. Covenant of the Rose is no different and uses what we call the "Growing Rose Grounding Technique" to prepare. The directions for which are below!
You begin by closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths; inhale for five counts, hold for two, and exhale for 3. This should take a total of 30 counts.
Once you have taken your deep breaths, begin by picturing that you are a little rose seed, planted in the nutrient rich soil, feel as your roots go deeper and deeper into the earth, through the crust. Deeper, deeper, and deeper until you begin to feel the warmth of the earth's core.
Let that warmth flow up, up, up back into your seed pod, and then farther still, allowing your stem to grow ever upwards. Feel your branches grow out and upward, up through the atmosphere, through to the stars. Feel as the rose blossoms bloom throughout your being and allow your branches and your petals to dance on a gentle wind.
As you sway with the breeze, feel the warmth of the earth below you, the chill of the stars above you, and the mixing of the two in your core. You that you are a diving being, a child of earth, sea, and sky, and are perfect in every way. Breathe in and feel the energies within you grounding you in your body and begin to breathe yourself back into consciousness. Breathe In 2-3-4, out 2-3-4, as many times as you need.
When you are ready, open your eyes.
If you're like most of our coven, you probably live in an area that has at least some type of stay at home order; but what does that mean for covens? Well, in the interest of public health, most covens and even study groups have decided to move to virtual means for coven meetings. In the case of Covenant of the Rose, we have been utilizing Second Life and Microsoft teams to host rituals, classes, and magickal study groups; and will be doing so for the foreseeable future. While this is certainly unconventional, Covenant of the Rose is dedicated to our coven and students, and are working to make this transition as easy as possible.
One of the benefits of this arrangement is that classes and study groups can be set up easily and on the students schedule. Moreover, rituals are now easily attended from the comfort of your own home; and while you can dress up both in real life and virtually, pajamas are more than welcome! To join our Covenant of the Rose group in second life, please follow this link secondlife:///app/group/3c29856d-3f2b-415b-0c9c-961e2c989c15/about, or add me directly by following this link, secondlife:///app/agent/ece8407d-cb8d-438c-ad04-a38b2abf7e6e/about !
Lady Wynnie is the ArchPriestess and founder of Covenant of the Rose. She is also a talented writer who will be blogging about the coven and it's happenings!