Ancestor of the Craft – Cora Anderson

I am currently engaged in a year-long Priestessing Apprenticeship program with three amazing Reclaiming teachers. More about that in a future post. An assignment on getting to know an ancestor of the craft has provided an amazing catalyst for my own relationships with ancestors and descendants both. Thought I’d share it here.

My study of/work with Cora went broad and deep for a couple of months, taking me on all kinds of journeys. For many reasons, writing this study by hand felt more devotional, so I’m sharing it in that form. It took more time. And because much of what I wrote was direct quotes from Cora and others, it allowed those things to go through me rather than simply cut and paste. The link to Thorn’s poem from when Cora was dying is the only exception.

This work was the final push to get me to create space for an ancestor altar. A cool thing about that is: I used to have two kind-of ancestor altars, one for my mother, and one for my big sis, who were killed 6 years ago. The altars were more about my grief – it was pictures of them with me, etc. I have now moved them into place on the ancestor altar, and the pictures are more about their life and their essences, rather than just about their roles as sister and mother in my life. They are surrounded in other ancestors of my blood-, milk- and story-lines. It’s a big change, in my home and in my heart. It feels really really right.

Gratitude for all this…. To my teachers, to the teachings, to Cora, to all who have taken time to write about her life and record her wisdom, and to my community in apprenticeship.

Timeline of Cora’s Life

Cora on our Ancestor Altar

Written about Cora by Others

Writings by Cora

And because we learn from how our ancestors lived as well as how they passed, I’ll include this poem from T Thorn Coyle, a student of Cora’s, and one of my teachers, written as Cora was dying.

❤ Queermagic

Blog Post by T Thorn Coyle written 4.30.08
Anderson, Cora. Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition. Acorn Guild Press, LLC, 2005
Anderson, Cora. Kitchen Witch: A memoir. Acorn Guild Press, LLC, 2010
Witch Eye: A Journal of Feri Uprising. Issue 16. Several articles and poems in memorial.
Email correspondance with Ravyn Stanfield, Feri Initiate.
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For my Astrology Freaks and Geeks (time sensitive material) … New Moon Wishes for tonight! And Mercury IS Retrograde. Yup.

It’s about to be the new moon in Cancer, baby! If you need a reminder of what Cancer is all about, please refer to this (terrible and) hilarious Harvey Sid Fisher video. It’s really awe(ful)some.

As many of you know, new moons are good times for wishes. And I LOVE wishes! Here’s a bit about this new moon and wishes from the lovely and brilliant Jan Spiller (click on the title link to read even more, including more specific instructions for new moon wishing). Note that us west-coasters will experience this new moon at 9:24 this evening:

NEW MOON REMINDER… Thursday, July 19, 12:24 am EDST, is the New Moon Power Day in July!  Don’t miss this opportunity to make wishes for goals you’d like to reach and experiences you’d like to have.  Mercury is retrograde, so take your time in compiling your wish list and check out how you ‘feel’ about the wish before deciding whether or not to keep it on the paper.

This New Moon is in the sign of CANCER, and is a powerful time of the year for wishes involving your home, improving relationships with close family members, and gaining a greater sense of personal security in any area that is important to you:  your job, relationships, health, money, romance.  Things you may have wanted to happen in your life for a long time can begin easily manifesting through using the boost of the deeply emotional, heartfelt CANCER New Moon.

For success, your wishes must be handwritten on paper and ten wishes maximum are allowed on each power day.

And here’s a more general and fittingly intense post from the Saturn Sisters about the new Moon in Cancer.

Finally… (also from Jan Spiller‘s site (only a couple more weeks, really, eh? ;-))

MERCURY RETROGRADE, July 15 – August 8, 2012

From the point of view of the Earth, the planet Mercury appears to be going ‘backwards’. During the time period of this phenomena, we are all experiencing certain psychological effects in common: confusion, reversals of decision and then getting back on the “right track” again, indecision, unexpected, emotionally-charged miscommunications with others, and the necessity of repeating actions more than once to get them “right.”

This psychological confusion leads to predictable physical consequences: mistakes with paperwork-due to inattention and lack of focus; often having to go back and get repair work redone – such as work on autos or teeth. Also, certain physical objects ruled by MERCURY seem to go haywire at this time: computers, printing, all fields related to transportation or communication are particularly vulnerable to malfunctioning during the MERCURY retrograde cycles.

While the time of Mercury retrograde constricts success and advancement in outer, worldly activity, it expands the opportunity to connect with one’s inner world. Hence, it is a time well spent in meditation, writing or reflection, or private projects done on one’s own. You have a rare opportunity to get in touch with what you really think about various situations in your life from a subjective, holistic point of view that takes into account your inner feelings, as well as mental reasoning.

Good luck!

xo QM

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Falling in Love with God Herself…over and over and over. A Dedication.


“As Hers was the first act of creation, God Herself – the Star Goddess – is present in all of creation.

Immanent, She fills the interstices of our lives with mystery and beauty: in the pineapple weed pushing through the sidewalk cracks, or the flash of lightning, shattering the sky. Immanence is the voice of the breeze in the trees and the pounding of the waves on sand. Immanence is a kiss, a touch, a breath. It is your body sliding across your lover in lust and celebration.”

-T. Thorn Coyle, excerpt from Evolutionary Witchcraft

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A Book I Like – The Witch’s Shield: Protection Magick and Psychic Self-Defense


In my house, we are one witch fairly new to the Reclaiming Tradition of the Craft, having found the community as an adult (me), and one hereditary witch (my partner). And let’s not forget the cat, I suppose. We don’t know much about Willow’s history, but she came to us at 10 years old, and magic clearly comes naturally to her.  All this is to say that I am the person in our family that has to do the most seeking, research and fumbling around (at times) to learn the disciplines/arts of the Craft. The coursework I’ve done and the community I’m involved in is amazing, but there’s so much to learn.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the process of discovery. But sometimes I do get jealous. The other day my love looked incredulously across the table at me and said “You should be protecting yourself at all times!” Like, hello! But I didn’t have an elder in my life as a kid who taught me that – let alone how to do it.

At the end of a major internet research sesh, enter an incredibly useful book for someone like me: The Witch’s Shield by Christopher Penczak.

Here are some things I enjoy about the book:

  • Penczak explains all concepts clearly and simply. His writing is so accessible.
  • This book presents us with a toolbox. There are a wide variety of strategies to use for protection – from symbols, stones and herbs, to incantations and rituals. There were some sections that didn’t appeal to me, but I could just skip them, and still have a whole lot of other tools to study, which was awesome.
  • The meditations on the CD included were useful. His pacing is slow for me on the tracks, but I appreciated being led through the practices that way first.
  • The book is comprehensive. Penczak covers topics from psychic hygiene, symptoms of psychic or magickal harm, and discussion of ethics as pertains to protection magick.

This is a book I imagine I will reference often throughout my life. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone embarking on the study of protection magick.

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Mars Retrograde: An Astrological Explanation for some Effed Up Sh*t







One of my all time favorite magical people of all time is astrologer Gretchen Lawlor. If you were to ask me who I want to be when I grow up, her name would be several places in my description. If you told me you wanted to go for an astrological consultation and asked who I’d recommend – Yup. Gretchen.

In her latest Astro Bit email, she wrote the following about Mars Retrograde (January 24th-April 14th):

“Imbalances of power, especially between men and women, activate ancient furies. Hmm, the recent all-male birth control review scandal in Congress . . .”

We’re just that much more enraged because of this image and the story behind it. It propels us forward. Think of all the power in that! And I love the concept of ‘ancient furies’. I feel that. I’ve felt that a lot lately. Mars Retrograde, baby.

Here’s the rest of Gretchen Lawlor’s Mars Retrograde wisdom:

Mars, planet of action and assertion, is retrograde (in Virgo) from January 24th through April 14th. Only occurring once every 2 years, Mars retrograde causes ordinary activities and affairs to become filled with effort. A sudden cessation of interest or drive in a project or relationship invites review of goals and objectives. If you are feeling hypercritical (especially towards colleagues), obsessing over minutiae, brooding over trivia, retrograde Mars is working AGAINST you. To work WITH Mars retrograde, be more accepting of imperfection during this time. Don’t get lost in the details or spin your wheels in endless redoing. Reflection before reactivity offers insight.

Unresolved hostility flares up, an invitation to clear it up. Systems suffer from disorganization and chaos. Exercise and time in nature help to redirect Mars. Imbalances of power, especially between men and women, activate ancient furies. Hmm, the recent all-male birth control review scandal in Congress . . .

Be especially vigilant around March 15th for flare-ups. The shadow of this Mars retrograde will slowly dissipate by late Spring. People with strong Virgo or Pisces placements may be most aware of this Mars retrograde.

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My Tender Gay Heart

I was laying in bed last night, in that tender and vulnerable place between waking and sleeping. My sweetie didn’t know I was drifting in the sweetest way, otherwise she might not have brought up sad politics.

In that in-between moment, I got a current news update from her about fearful people exercising their “right” to vote on whether or not we’ll get equal rights under the law.

The everyday little things are like the ocean I swim in: My self censorship. The times I feel like I have to ‘pass’ as straight and play the disgusting pronoun game when talking about my partner to be safe. To not be discredited in my work. Or over-sexualized. The sometimes excruciating process of choosing an outfit (and a gender expression) in the morning when I don’t know how I’ll be received where I’m going. Showing sweet, beautiful love and getting pushed back in subtle ways, or harassed. The slightly held breath. Bracing myself a little, not knowing what might come next when I talk about my life authentically.

It can be hard to really feel something that I can identify as grief about those everyday moments. There’s a hardness most of the time, protecting me from letting all that touch me where it can hurt.

But after unintentionally letting it in to a space it’s usually never allowed last night, today I hold my Tender Gay Heart in my hands. And there is some mysterious relief in feeling the ache of that heartbreak. Some melting into place of all those parts waiting in the wings to be held.

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Coming out as Fierce – Prince Thaeo the Fierce

c. Holly Lee

On Monday, my magical name was still Prince Thaeo Fantasia the 2nd (although already for awhile not quite fitting right – like that article of clothing you have to keep adjusting and tugging at cuz it’s just…a little off somehow). Long story how it got to be that. Had something to do with a Shih Tzu and dreams of drag king fame.

Last night I finally let the new words and images and magic that were a-brewing fall into place. And today I am coming out. As Prince Thaeo the Fierce (and sometimes Thaeo the Fucking Fierce when I fucking feel like it).

I have had the opportunity to study/learn/heal with some incredible magic-workers in my life (my term for them, not theirs, just to be clear). Recently, I took a Saturn Return Women’s Group and Leadership Workshop with Laura Close, Women’s Leadership Coach. She had us do an exercise where we asked people who know us about our gifts. I asked as many people as I could. It was so awesome to hear all of it! After we compiled our results, she asked us to pick out a gift that brought up some doubt for us. “I’m not really ______, am I?”

Mine was ‘fierce’.

Even though I had always daydreamed about being fierce, and felt envious of the fierceness I saw in others, I was hesitant to believe that I had really earned the three times that the word fierce showed up in what three separate people said about me during the exercise. Our next task: notice where that characteristic showed up for real in our lives. That, on top of the other work we were doing in the group with recognizing  internalized sexism, catapulted me deep into some fiercely transformative work. And it kept unfolding.

The second cauldron that supported the evolution of my magical name was the work I do with my really amazing therapist. I’m not sure I can do justice with words to even a few of the threads in this part of the story line. But there is one moment I’d like to mark:

I am alive with agitation and anger. I speak with clear voice from a part of me I have been getting to know much better over the last months (it’s really fucking fierce at moments like these). I’m pissed about a lot of things. And fully witnessed and heard. And then I don’t remember exactly what happens next, but there is a settling. And perfectly timed words about a third image of what’s possible, less polarized than the ones I had before (how do these magic-workers do the magical things they do? I don’t know). And rather suddenly I have a clear image of myself as animal.

Everything else slips away and I am inside my skin, imagining myself stalking the person who killed two of my beloved kin in a random act of violence. Survival. Bared teeth and the anticipation of tearing flesh. And all the while my God Soul is watching, keeping me connected to the Divine. And the space is still being tended. And it’s just a flash of a moment.

And then I’m swaying with a pulsing, grounded calm. I am not hearing words, just rhythm. The ferocious protector takes up her rightful place. Right size. Right power. 

Dear ferocious protector,

I see you much more clearly. I need you. To aid me in protecting my people, including me and all of my parts.  I love the way I can feel the hum of your energy inside me consistently now. Welcoming that hum helps me feel alive in the face of danger. So grateful to know I have you forever.

…And I can hold it all. I can hold my compassion, patience, forgiveness, sense of justice, responsiveness, playfulness, creativity… and still be fierce.

Thaeo the fucking Fierce

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