At the Crossroads

Over the last few months I've been re-evaluating how I interact with people online and how much energy I allow myself to expend on different endeavors.  As well as a full time job and running a business I was also working on a couple of different blog projects and a few special events online.  I also have several vending events over the last few months and doing some fostering.

I have been totally drained of all my energy.  I've decided to cut back on a few things and expand in a few other areas.  Recently I was fostering a litter of kittens who brought a very serious disease into the house.  I’m on quarantine for a few months so I won’t be doing that for a while.

I've also decided that I cannot change the world.  I cannot help everyone and there are only two things I can control in this world.  What I say and what I do.  So I plan to try to spend more time focusing on those things.  When people say things, write things, do things, I have to accept that I cannot do anything about it.  I cannot change it.  It is not on me.  I have to accept that I cannot judge myself harshly for believing people.  I am a trusting person by nature.  I am a giving person by nature and sadly that makes me a pretty gullible person at times.   I've decided that I’d rather be gullible, than jaded so barring any directly obvious statements to the contrary I will err on the side of innocence and assume that the actions of others are not intended to be or interpreted as an attack.

I've also decided to work on my spiritual health.  I've found myself over the last few months asking questions of other regarding their spiritual practices and beliefs.  I've spoken out loud of my concern for my path and if indeed, I am on the correct one.

This past weekend I had several dreams helping me find my direction.  I've started that journey by ordering a few books.  Over the next six months to a year, I plan to start going through each of the books and reporting on them here as if they were assignments in classroom.  I’m starting with Magic in the Ancient World by Fritz Graf.

 My goal is to ultimately complete the reading requirements and apply to become a Torchbearer for the Covenant of Hekate.  If I can stay focused I plan to cover at least 2 more books in addition to Hekate Liminal Rites & Hekate Her Sacred Fires.  I have ordered Hekate Soteira & Arcana Mundi.  I also have The Temple of Hekate on e-book so I’m pretty much booked (pun intended) for a while!

I’m hoping that my followers here will find the information interesting and feel free to contribute comments to the self-discovery I hope to accomplish on this journey.  Some may see my participation in groups and discussions wane as I work toward this new goal. 

May her mysteries be revealed in your dreams.
Sosanna



Pagan Blog Project - T is for Torch

T is for Torch

When I think of a torch I think of a flicker in the night. A drop of brilliant light in a wall pitch black.  The light does not shows me new things, rather it just reveals what is already there.  Things that are right in front of me, but I cannot see.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Goddess Hecate has many titles. Dachouchos means torch-bearer while Phosporus  means light-bearer.  (From Hekate Liminal Rites pg 20) To me, these are very similar, what does a torch bearer do but bring light.

Historically Hecate is generally depicted with torches.  As early as 5 Century BCE she can be seen standing next to Kybele holding a torch in front of her and a vase shows her holding out two torches.

My hubby recreated this altar tile for me based on an image we found on the internet. You can see it here on my altar.  It shows a three headed Hecate with her torches on each side.  It sits on my altar next to my bronzed Hecate sculpture.

Photo Credit - Hecate Statue - Artist Renee Olson


Modern artists often show Hecate with her torches high.  Either in paints or clay these are very common images. 

The image below is used with the artist, Danielle Suplicki permission.  While researching for this piece I found this image while looking for art related to "The Torchbearer".  To me the stars shown in the sky in this painting remind me of Asteria (The starry one) looking down on her daughter, watching her and guiding her torch through night.  Seeking out those night wandering souls that are looking for entrance in to the underworld or perhaps the misguided looking for the correct path to continue their journey.

The halo around the body and drifts away into the dark shadows fall behind her as the torch lights the three paths ahead.  Truly stunning.


Photo Credit & Artist - Danielle Suplicki of HeartRoot Studio
If you're interested in contacting Danielle for custom work or would like to see what she currently has available in her shop check out her Facebook Page and her Etsy shop.


This is a piece I created out of wet clay.  Here the Goddess is shown in triple form, with a torch held on opposite sides of the sculpture.  Her midnight blue form showing under a bronze crescent moon joining with the torch light to guide her path. The back filled with a deep black to show the darkness left behind and the torches light up what comes ahead.

Photo Credit & Artist - Renee Olson of Sosanna's Closet

To me, one of the most specific things that speaks to me about torches and Hecate is the annual event I participate in called “The Rite of Her Sacred Fires.”  I've always been drawn to fire and as a child could easily get lost in the dancing flames.  I would sit for hours staring at the fire as it burned and burned.  At time it was almost as though I could see little movies playing in the embers.  To me that attraction and seeing those images in the fire make me believe that even as a small child, seeking out an answer in the flames, she was there for me.

Each year on the full moon in May devotees and followers of the Goddess Hecate join together in their own sanctuaries and around their own altars to complete a single right.  Spoken with one voice the chorus joins together to pay honor to the Hecate Dacouchos, the torch-bearer, Hecate Phosporus, the light-bearer.
Below is a recording shared on YouTube filmed by TaraSanchez in 2010 showing Sorita d’Este completing the Rite of Her Sacred Fires.





I believe that when you are open to answers they will be revealed to you.  Much like the way a torch opens up the darkness for you to see what is really already there in front of you.  Over the last few weeks I've been reaching out, searching for answers related to the paths I want to take next in my life.  I've been presented with roads that lead into directions that are worrisome and unknown.

When preparing for our last vending event, hubby commented that I was making too many *Hecate specific* items.  Over the weekend I had five or six people come in and mention her by name.  Others asking for items that could be related to her.  Keys, Owls and graveyard dirt.  I think of each one of these people came into my life in a moment of darkness, like that torch showing me the answer to my question.  I've decided that I put too much emphasis on some things in my life and not enough on others.

Over the next months, maybe years, I will be focusing on Hecate.  Learning as much as I can.  I plan to be more active in the CoH and begin to study at what I hope will lead to a Torchbearer role within the covenant. 

I am confident that if this is not the right path, the Mistress of the Crossroads will guide me with her torches to my right destination. 


Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(



Hecate is a Harsh Mistress

This week/end I've been struggling with the possibility of pointing myself in the direction of "Torchbearer" for my goddess, Hecate.

I first began discussing it on Monday with hubby.  That afternoon a snake appeared in our doorway, dropped to the floor and dove past him into our *storage* area for Sosanna's  Closet.  Snakes are sacred to the goddess.

Hubby and I chatted bout a recent event in the Covenant of Hecate where they are looking for *Torch Bearers*  These are individuals dedicated to the Goddess .  Recently I've had a question of faith, but  have found that honesty, all answers can be found within.

This past weekend we participated in Central NC Pagan Pride.  In the weeks prior, I created several items which hubby said were too deity specific.  I made a few necklaces for her as well as some other items.

These were the questions I encountered this weekend:

Do you have anything for  Hecate?
Do you have items with keys?
Do you have items with dogs?
When I come here, I feel a need for keys, do you have those?


It appears that the Goddess has called to me.  There are set steps for becoming a Torchbearer for the Goddess, and I am happy to learn, and possibly follow in those steps!

Namaste and Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - S is for S

This week for my S post, I had several that I wanted to do.  They were all promo type pieces and fairly short.  Which to pick?  What should I do?  I know, combine them all!  So for my post on S, my S is for S.  Have a look at all these S’s in my life.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Stew Chef Button
The Sunday Stew
My first S is the Sunday Stew.  Formatted and presented by Kallan Kennedy on her blog – The Secret Life of the American Witch, the Sunday Stew is published weekly on each Sunday of the month with special Sabbath Editions following the wheel of the year.

The Sunday Stew is a wholesome serving of life experiences from an eclectic group of Chefs.  Like getting a three card reading from a dear friend, the Sunday Stew offers a look at the past through the Pagan Lore; a look at today with the Pagan News and a look at the future with the Astrology section. 

Look for the Mabon Edition coming out September 22nd and if you’re interested in contributing to the Stew email Kallan Kennedy for more information.



Samhain's Sirens Button
The Samhain’s Sirens Blog Extravaganza
My second S is the Samhain’s Sirens Blog Extravaganza.  This is the second year I have participated in the Samhain’s Sirens Blog.  It consists of a full month of wonderment beginning October 1st and ending on Samhain, the 31st.  This year the event is being hosted by the lovely Serena Siren.  She will be announcing updates on her Facebook Page and welcomes new friends. 
Serena has created a Blog page on Facebook that will provide updates on the new posts as well as any *extra* special editions to the blogging.  The extravaganza will consist of bloggers from all over the internet with each day ending with a special giveaway.  The blogs will be published on the Samhain’s Sirens blog page found on Blogger.

I will be hosting the Saturday Craft-Tacular again this year, offering an assortment of crafts with easy step by step instructions.  Each one ending with a chance to win the featured craft.
Be sure to head over and *like* the Samhain’s Sirens Facebook Page & follow the blog on blogger so you don’t miss any of the fun.

                                                      Sosanna’s Closet
My third S is for Sosanna’s Closet.  My own shop that I created out of my home just a little over two years ago.  With the assistance of my soul mate, I take my wonderful creations around to different events in Eastern/Central NC and Southern VA. 

My goal for the shop was to offer quality products at a reasonable price.  For the last year I've been creating clay statues as well as protection masks and pendants out of natural wet clay and polymer clay.

Protection Mask by Renee Olson

We offer altar supplies that don’t come from a big chain.  Each one individually made, each spell written by me and not copied from a book.  From the Juniper berries to the grave yard dirt, each ingredient comes from one specified source and when possible my own property.

Patchouli Oil - Renee Olson
Ritual Bath Soaks - Renee Olson
In addition to the retail part of the shop, I also conduct a dark moon ritual monthly where offerings to the Goddess Hecate are presented at the crossroads.  I accept energy requests, blessings and ceremonial magic for protection, prosperity and cleansing at no charge.

On both this blog and on the web page I have information on energy requests.  My Facebook page lists new products before they are added to the webpage.  So for a sneak peek at my new items head over and *like* my page.


So that’s it.  These are a few of the S’s currently in my life.  I hope you've enjoyed this look at some of things I really enjoy working on. 
Until next week
Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - S is for Spells

A spell is defined as set of words, either written or spoken. For most of us, spells are very personal things.  We sit down with our books and being to jot down the words one at a time.  We look up correspondences to ensure that we’re calling on the correct planet or herb. 

Being a proper witch means casting spells in a proper manner.  This is something that really scares new people coming into the practice.  With wonderful authors out there creating their own spells ready for easy download or copy, it’s often very tempting for the new witch to just copy a spell and use it as their own.  When you’re working at home as a solitary using someone else’s spell may be just fine.  Using them in a ritual that is.  When sharing the work however, always cite your sources. 

I've spent a great deal of time over the last few weeks looking at different webpages and I wonder why people don’t just write their own spells.  Chants and rituals at times are repeated.  For example, I participate in the Rite of Her Sacred Fires each year.  We have set invocation that we do and for this I download the direct steps and complete it.  But the rest of the time, my spell work is my own.

The steps for writing a good spell are really very very simple. 
  • 1.       What is the purpose of your spell?
  • 2.       How will you cast your spell?


That’s it!
I know it sounds very simple.  But that’s really all there is to it.  What is the purpose of your spell?  If you identify your purpose of your spell you can then decide if this is something that requires ingredients or just the written word.  How will you cast the spell?  This will help you understand if you need music, chants or more. 
For many out there who follow the Wiccan Rede, there’s a verse in there that leads directly to spell casting:

"To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be spoke in rhyme"

This can be challenging to new witches.  Keep in mind, no one is judging you on this.  The goddess isn’t going to come down and scold you if your words don’t rhyme correctly.  Have fun with it.  Make it your own.  If it’s a serious subject, lead with your heart.  The intent is what counts.  As an exercise for yourself take a few moments each morning and just write a few lines.  I've been posting these as status messages on Facebook.  I’ll share a few here.




Betrayal destroys a heart once true,
Taking away the love within.
Curses coming from out of the blue
Turning a saint to sin.
9-10-2013


Ego can be a monster,
If allowed to grow.
Self-esteem is a fresh green field never needing a mow.
Manage the two, with strength and grace.
Those who judge you, have no horse in the race.
9-10-2013


It’s best not to put others on mountains high.
Judge for yourself what is right or wrong.
It only leads to a hearts long sigh,
When witnessing the fallen's swan song.
9-9-2013



Time moves through us
As we through time
Opening and closing doors
Allowing us to sparkle and shine.
9-5-2013

Through sleepy eyes I look at the world in awe
My heart, open and my mind steady.
I open my window and absorb the dawn
I look to the future at the ready.  
09-04-2013


As you spend more time working on the cadence of the lines, you’ll lead more into the chants and spells.  Sometimes a chant is only one word, sometimes a spell can be a hundred words.  Just take your time and remember to speak from the heart.  All the rest is just pomp and circumstance.
Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna

)O(

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - R is for Rede


Rede is defined as counsel and advice.  So when we look at something such as the Wiccan Rede, it makes sense that is would be advice or counsel as it relates to Wiccans. (Wikipedia)
There is a full version and the short version being,

“These Eight words the Rede fulfill: “An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will”

Many people in the pagan community following this phrase and the full version of the Rede as the “law”, in that they take it that no harm should ever be done for any reason.  On the other hand, there are those that believe as we discussed in a previous post, “A witch that cannot hex cannot heal.”

For me, as a solitary and a Hecatean, I do not hold the Rede as law.  To me, my Rede would be a single word.  Justice.  To me, in order for there to be happiness, love, understanding and any other harmony in the world, be it magical or mundane, there needs to be Justice.
I've been interested in justice for many many years.  As a child I felt I was not heard, and I was hurt by those in power.  As a young mother, I felt as though my power was taken and no one was there to fight for me.  As a woman, I've felt that my place in this world was always set upon that gender. 

To me justice is very different than revenge.  As a young student in a paralegal program I quickly learned that there are indeed, many people in prison that are innocent.  I learned that things like the death penalty are not really justice.  They serve as no deterrent and no real way to provide justice to the family.  
  
I've spent my life since, doing what I can to do the right thing and to work to see that justice is served.  I've been accused of creating drama, and bringing in negative energy on some of my fights.  At times I feel like I’m jousting at windmills in some of these battles.  But I believe, that in the end you must stand by what you believe in.  You must stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. 

To me, that’s what it means to have a Rede, or a law if you will.  More directly I believe that the Wiccan Rede and my personal Rede is personal law.  Something an individual signs up for and holds themselves accountable for.  

I believe, that what you send out comes back to you.  With Hecate as my Goddess, I invoke her often to help me see what is unseen and to dispense justice.  What I send out, I am not afraid to have come back to me.  If you say what you mean, and tell the truth, generally you have nothing to hide.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(


Gods, Goddesses and Windmills

As many of you know I've been on a personal crusade lately to identify and notify material that is not cited correctly.  I've found a mixed bag of responses to it.  Both in my contact with the offenders and in my contact with the general community.

When I approach an offender this is what I see:

1. How dare you accuse me
2. I can share what I want it’s on the web
3. Artists are happy they’re getting shared

These are the usual responses.  However, every now and then I run into a gem of a response where the offender is truly unaware of what they have done.  They quickly take the content down or provide the correctly cited material.   

When I approach the general community this is what I see:

1. Everyone Does it
2. They just don’t know better
3. I don’t need that negativity
4. Don’t put it on the web


Had it not been for a few people getting annoyed about what was happening to African Americans in the south, we wouldn't have had the civil rights movement.

Had it not been for a few people getting annoyed about how LGBT people are denied basic rights, such as marriage, we would not have the changes that we have and are continuing to change today.

You don’t walk past a child being beaten because you don’t want the drama or negativity in your life.  You stand up and protect that child.  You don’t walk past someone robbing a store or ignore a pick pocket because you don’t want the drama.  

If you are a good person, you stand up for what you believe in.  You do what you can as an individual to protect the rights of those around you.  You defend those that cannot defend themselves.  

If I steal something and no one catches me, am I wrong?  If I take another’s work and call it my own work but the artist never finds out, am I wrong?  If I witness another stealing, and I do nothing, am I wrong?

As people who claim to be in touch with the earth and joined to each other by a spirit of community and oneness I believe that we are indeed culpable.  If we walk past the homeless as if they do not exist or turn a blind eye to an injustice; we are culpable in their suffering.




Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza, 1863, by Gustave Doré




I’m not saying grab your horse and begin jousting windmills.  What I am saying is if you are in a position to help fight injustice, pick up the sword and worry about negativity later.  

One of my favorite quotes from the movie “The Color Purple” is from the character played by Oprah Winfrey, Sophia.

Sophia says: "You better bash Mister's head wide open first and worry about Heaven later"


We all learned in school that turning in someone else’s work as your own is indeed wrong.  If I witness something wrong, my pointing out that wrong is not a negative thing.  I am not creating drama.  I believe I am doing what I feel is right.  If that bothers you, I recommend you remove me from your life now.

Referring back to the move “The Color Purple”, there’s a scene where Shug confronts her father during the song “God is Trying to Tell You Something.”  

For me I’m doing the work of justice.  It may not be a mission from the Goddess, but I do believe if I am not true in my work; like Paul, I’ll end up getting knocked off my horse.  If this fight not be for Justice, Hecate just let me know.




As I sat writing this today, I saw that a page that was sharing content actually apologized.  I really hope that they mean it and that they will change.

We can only hope.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(

I Like It Like That - A study of Facebook Likes

Royalty Free clip-art - Office.com


So over the past few weeks I've been paying attention to Facebook “Likes”.  There have been several articles shared that talk about how likes mean nothing.  Levley Marketing recently posted an article about Likes and Success.  I completely agree with the following from their page:

“Another misconception is that social media will automatically get you sales. This is a common misconception. Social media is there to have a great ongoing relationship with you clients. In layman’s terms, it is extremely good customer service and brand representation. It can drive people to your website, but that should not be your main focus. Your main focus should be connecting with your customers and giving them information that they need about your company or new products they might be interested in.”

Similarly, Sprout Insights posted this article last year.  When looking at an artist for example, last year Eminem surpassed Rihanna in likes, what do they really mean? Sprout Insights had this to say:

“There are thousands of comments on each of Eminem’s posts, but very few of them are actually related to the artist, his music, or his label. The bulk of the comments are requests for people to Like other Pages, Internet chain mail, or other spam posts. That gives Eminem fewer opportunities to reach out and connect with real fans, since people who really do appreciate him will likely get turned off by all the excess noise on his Page.”


In one of the Plagiarism groups I belong to there was a discussion around a bot that is used to basically ‘steal’ your Facebook Like and add it to page you haven’t gone to.  This intrigued me.  How is it possible that someone can take my like and go to a page and add it?  I did a quick Google search and found tons of pages that not only offered likes for sale in packages but also pages on how to hack these pages.  Meaning there are some people out there that are using hacks to steal YOUR LIKE. 

When I navigate to a page, I judge that pages validity based on how many of my friends have liked this page.  This is what some people are counting on.  You see ten friends have seen the page and approve of it with their “like” now you like it.   There are even pages that say you can get paid to sit down and like pages on Facebook.  We've all seen the “get your free iPad” by clicking here messages on our friend’s status messages.  The page Facecrooks.com reports on spam pages like this.

Buying likes has become such a business that there are even sites created that will give you the best and worse buy likes out there.  I found the following page with just a google search. 

Photo Credit - Screenshot header - FB Likes Reviews


I also noticed I’m not the only one out there interested in this trend.  A quick search of Goggle lead me to Pam Moore, CEO and Co-Founder of Marketing Nutz.  I found this great article related to fake followers on Twitter.   Using a tool called “Status People Fake follower Checker”, Pam shared an image that shows that 51% of a particular user base is fake and 29% of the remaining are inactive.

Just stunning.  She goes further to refer to a Cnet article where Facebook stated what in 2013 8.7% of their accounts were fake.

So what can you do?  How can you be sure that the businesses you are dealing with are legit businesses and worthy of that like you hold?

One thing you can do is check your source.  Before you share something or like something just because a friend does is follow up.  Sites like Facecrooks.com and Snopes.com are great ways to find out information on the newest scams as well as do a bit of digging to see if what you’re sharing is legit.  If you’re a blogger, sites like Copyscape.com allow you to add a url directly in and check to see how many times content has been shared.

Photo Credit - Screenshot - CopyScape



Another thing you can do is check your own page.  Check out the activity log on your page to identify if the pages that you are shown to like, are pages you actually like.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Once you’re in the activity log, check the left column for “Likes”.  When you expand that you can see “pages and interests” and “posts and comments”.  This divides your likes up in a usable format.  Looking through your page likes, you can see if there is a suspect page there.  Remember just because you see a page listed you didn't like, that doesn't mean the page owner is to blame.  They could be a victim just as you are.  Simply remove your like and move on.

Below is a screenshot of my likes from the 31st.  I was talking with a few Facebook Friends about eShakti’s site and a lovely dress they had as well as the new info coming out of the Al Jazeera America network. 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Anyone who knows me however will immediately identify the “like” that you want to remove.  Generally I don’t go around liking Christian news media.  To remove the like, click the pencil and choose “unlike”.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Keeping a close watch on your account and limiting the information you share will keep your information much safer in social media environments.

I hope this information will help someone. 

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna

)O(