Friday, January 18, 2008

Determination of Life, Christianity and the Craft

Merry Meet,

I have been checking out the news on the net and noticed that it will soon be the 35th anniversary of the Roe V Wade decision legalizing abortion.

It is a controversial subject. I suppose that from the beginning of time, there were women who felt slaves to their bodies because they were unable to limit the number of pregnancies they would have. Of course we all know that the only sure way there would be no births was to be celibate unless you wished to increase your family size. Of course men also dictated when and how often sex was to occur. Women died like flies from being "bred out" and it was not uncommon for men to have three or four wives as each successive wife died in child birth. I believe that St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus and the spouse of Mary was likely a widower, which explains the reference to Jesus' brothers and sisters (I won't get into the Protestant argument against the perpetual sexual virginity of Mary at this time).

As humans became more sophisticated, there was some thought of how to keep women from being pregnant. Cleopatra was known to use a contraceptive sponge dipped in vinegar which kept her from getting pregnant until, presumably, it worked in her favor to become pregnant. Later, mid wives learned how to prescribe herbs for baths and teas that would prevent pregnancy or induce an abortion early in the pregnancy. Manual abortions appear later in Midwifery and are always more dangerous. And though there are many who would deny it, there were infanticides performed by Midwives. They smothered or strangled babies or pierced their temples with long needles and the babies would die.

Why did women have to go through this? Primarily because there was little in the way of choice. Women were the chattel of fathers, brothers and husbands. And this is long before the coming of the Judeo- Christian Church. Even among aboriginal tribes of North America, we know the culture was dominated by men, as in Asian cultures, Norse cultures, Celtic cultures and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures.

And the Catholic Church is not the only Christian church to ban the use of contraceptives. Many primitive Protestant and orthodox Jewish sects either prohibit or curtail the use of birth control.

As a Catholic, I wrestle with the issue of Abortion. There is a part of me who disagrees with it as an on demand medical practice namely because I believe in Birth Control, unlike many Catholic people and the Catholic hierarchy. I recall a Catholic priest I knew that said: "Anyone Catholic against Birth Control has never worked in an African mission."

But there is a part of me that would hate to see a day when a woman cannot make a decision to terminate a pregnancy she finds untenable for whatever reason. I don't think any woman should use Abortion as Birth Control, but I think every woman should be able to make a choice and I don't think any man, whether it be a father, brother, husband or lover has the right to make that choice either.

As a Christian, I believe in Birth Control and limited abortion on demand, but as a Christian I think we must start making decisions to take responsibility for ourselves. If you are out there living a promiscuous life (and only you can determine whether you are or not)you may want to decide whether or not children will ever be a factor in your life. If you know they won't, do something permanent about it. Have a surgical procedure to prevent you from ever becoming pregnant. It is easy, simple and effective and if you don't have the money, your family planning clinic can help you by getting the procedure free of charge. And if they turn down your request you have the right to appeal the decision.

But what about the Craft? What about the aspects of fertility and growth and maternal earth? Can you be a good witch and be in balance if you don't procreate within yourself? Some say that you can't. Many say that you can, that creation is about more than being a baby factory , that you can still nurture and grow things and people and help people become whoever they want to be by being a mentor, a teacher/tutor, an advocate or just a good listener to a young person. You can be a helper to that young couple who has a couple of children and a couple of jobs and not a lot of down time by volunteering to babysit for free a couple of times a month. You can donate time to a local school to tutor kids. You can volunteer at your Church or coven group to organize a sports team or an arts and crafts group or even a reading circle at the local library.

Though I am not a mother, and cannot be a mother, I know I can contribute to the lives of children and other people. I also know that sometimes, despite the best laid plans of mice and men, we have things that happen to us beyond our control. I know too, there are ways to try to avoid the worst case scenario. But above all, I know that no woman should be forced to be pregnant when she does not want to be and I know that no man has the right to make those decisions for her. And I know that though I don't believe in abortion as birth control, I further know that we must preserve a woman's right to chose.

Brightest Blessings Be
Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Which Bible for the Christian Witch?

Merry Meet!

The Bible is full of esoteric knowledge, including herbals and rituals and affirmations but what Bible should you use? Should you use the King James Version? The Catholic Version? Which Edition? Translation? What about the Gnostic Gospels? While no one edition, translation or version may be the right one, or the whole one, we must all begin somewhere.

I was brought up a Protestant so all of my experiences were of the KJV Bible. When I became Catholic in later life, and was going through my conversion process, I demanded that the priest defend the doctrine of the Catholic Church with the KJV translation of the Bible. Later, after I was a Catholic, I read the books that made the Catholic version different from the KJV.

Catholics include in their Bible Deuterocanonicals, also known as Apocryphal books by the Protestant Church. These books include I and II Macabees, The Book of Wisdom, I and II Esdras, Sirach and Baruch and Tobit. They imparted critical cultural practices of the Jews and told teaching stories and recorded historical events in the lives of the early Jews. These books were written in Greek and were a part of the Greek Septuagint. These Greek texts were not only known by the Jews but to many tribes of Gentile people who loved and respected the wisdom contained here.

They were orginally included in the King James Version of the Bible as the apocrypha, non canonical but a part of Biblical history. It was not until England's increasing tension with Catholics in Ireland the apocryphal books were removed.

If you want a good edition of the Bible with an extensive and non denominational historical overview of the organization and translation of the Bible with the Apocryphal books of the Bible included, get the Oxford edition of the Bible. It is wonderful and very denomination neutral.

As for the Gnostic Gospels and or the Lost Books of the Bible, I have no problem with reading them as well as books like the Book of Mormon for a sense of scriptural fullness and wider view of how the Bible influenced or is influenced by these collections.

I also recommend the reading of the Talmud and the Koran. No scholar of the Bible can ignore the interconnection of these books and faiths with one another.

If you are a witch, keep a notebook devoted to Biblical Craft knowledge. One of these days, I will get my notes togther and put them here on my blog.

Until next time,

Brightest Blessings Be

Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Book Recommendation for the Christian Witch

Merry Meet!

So often we Christian witches are confronted in our studies by Craft books that are Wiccan/Pagan centric and are even quite intolerant of witches of other traditions and practices. And really, I do understand how they feel and I hope in the future we can bridge that gap. I have found a wonderful book called Power Spellcraft For Life and it is written by Arin Murphy Hiscock and it is published by Provenance Press and it goes for $10.95. Much of it is for the beginner, but if you are a Christian Witch or a Christian Wiccan or Christo-Pagan and you have felt self conscious about writing spells, adapting spells to suit your religious beliefs, or if you are beginning the path, this book is for you.

Arin is a High Priestess with the Black Forrest clan and she understands and embraces the notion there are witches from non- Wiccan, non-Pagan backgrounds who need guidance and help understanding the element of spell working, casting and writing. As I read her book, I made note of my approach to Spelling and how it compares to what she advocates and it appears that I am dead on and I have intuitively drawn upon my own sense of witchcraft.

So, if you are out there struggling and you need a little guidance, even if you have been practicing for years or just beginning your oddessy into the Craft, this book is for you.

Until next time,
Brightest Blessings Be
Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Witches Book of Shadows

Merry Meet!

When I first got my computer, I learned rather quickly that I loved to do graphic pages with it, using pictures and different types of font but I always drew the line when it came to my Book of Shadows because witchcraft is so much about being traditional. But now, in my old age, I have begun transcribing my BOS into my computer and I love the way it is coming together.

After many years of collecting JPEGS and clip art, I have begun to create my BOS as I always wanted it to look. I have Learned how to bind books and how to make covers for them and I have discovered a penchant for the unusual and the bizarre.

While I still advocate the writing of your first BOS by hand, so that you get a feel for writing the rituals you will do and the spells you feel the most intimate with, I encourage those of us who have the technology and the wherwithal to transcribe your BOS into the computer and have fun with the images you have in your print shops or photoshop or collected JPEGs. Buy beautiful paper to print it on and learn to do your own bindings. And by all means, have fun and create the beautiful BOS you always wished you had.

Brightest Blessings Be

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Witch Abuse: When friends take advantage

Merry Meet!

We have all been through it. We have a circle of friends that you relate to and you share with them that you practice the Craft and suddenly, everyday you have someone who wants "spiritual" advice in the form of tarot readings or other Craft work. And though you spend a lot of time and effort and energy to work for them and give them advice, they do not follow it or they completely ignore your advice and end up coming to you oer and over again. What should you do?

One of the things that you can do is expalin that you cannot help them if they are not willing to take your advice. You can also tell them that Craft work done on their behalf is defeated if they are not willing to work with the energies you have made on their behalf. If they work against it their situation will not improve.

Finally, you may simply have to tell them that you can no longer help them. Be compassionate but firm. Tell them why you can no longer help them. They may be mad at you but if they are true friends they will accept what you have said to them and recocile with you. If they don't they may have been those pesky psychic vampires we witches spaek of from time to time.

If you are ending a therapeutic relationship, it may be important for you to recharge your energies and rid yourself of spiritual debris. Take a ritual bath, cleanse your sacred space, and do a healing ritual for yourself. Remember, the rede includes yourself, too.

Brightest Blessings Be,

Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy New Year

Merry Meet!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Yule and enjoyed being with families friends and loved ones. I hope eveyone took some time out to thank their Sacred Spirits and practice some aspect of their Craft.

I just thought that I would let you know that I am doing some reading on Maragret Murray. She is quite controversial in the Craft community. I have begun my readings on her and will give you my humble opinion forthwith. I am also very interested in hearing from others and getting their meaningful, well thought out opinions.

Brightest Blessings Be
Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk