All posts by adriannebrennan

Romantic dark fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction author.

Travel and the modern pagan

One of my patron deities is Hermes so the idea of not doing something when I travel, no matter how small, is unthinkable. At bare minimum a prayer to him before boarding a plane for smooth, uneventful travel is a must. Sometimes I’ll find money right before a big trip and will honor him with an offering later. The morning of my last trip, I found a $20 bill on the ground. Given I was seriously broke and traveling on the company’s funds, it was a blessing and then some!

Some people I know have travel altars, others find small ways to make their days meaningful. If you already have an established morning meditation or prayer routine that requires minimal preparation and ritual, keeping it going while on the go is easy. For people performing something more intense for a duration of time such as the Abramelin, I would imagine this would be far more challenging!

When you travel, do you have any special rituals, offerings, or habits you have as a modern pagan? You certainly don’t have to be a devotee of Hermes to appreciate what it means not just to be a pagan on the go, but maintaining whatever practices you have while away from home.

I board a plane in a few hours, and while I don’t do much ritual these days, Hermes will undoubtedly be remembered before/during/after my vacation. 🙂

How about you? I’d love to hear from you. Chime in on how you honor the gods while away from home, especially if it’s for a vacation you rarely get to take.

 

Love & Magic,
Adrianne
www.adriannebrennan.com

The price of knowledge

Over the course of the past decade and change, I have been involved with a number of different initiatory organizations and traditions. Among them are the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the OTO, and smaller orders here and there. At present I am only involved with two groups, one of which is a synthesis of Arabic mysticism and the Western Mystery Tradition and another which is a local coven which combines Strega with a particular Wiccan tradition. The paths change, the people change, but some debates and concerns remain the same: do you charge for initiation and learning? If so, how much is too much? Or too little? Is there a price that can be satisfactorily placed upon spiritual knowledge? This debate exists in both the ceremonial magick and witchcraft communities, and I suspect will always exist as a bone of contention amongst its members.

I have seen groups charge outrageous sums of money only to learn it was funneled through to their leader so they could have a form of income. In such cases, obviously the intentions and methodology of collecting the money is corrupt, and has led many on a “no charge” policy out of retaliation. I have been in groups which refused to charge a dime on grounds that it was unethical by their standards. And yet a middle ground where the group only charged for the cost of the materials, no more, no less. Some offered a reasonable sum of dues per year to cover web expenses, materials, and the like.

In the world of the Internet, it’s actually quite easy these days to locate an initiatory body and either travel or receive long-distance initiation. The benefit of this has been to unite those who ordinarily would be excluded from the mysteries and obtaining knowledge due to geographic location, but the downside of this has been not truly knowing who you are initiating, and thus would be the equivalent of offering a stranger a place in your family without knowing who they really are and what they truly want.

Then there are the finances involved, and what groups expect in return for initiation. There are some who argue that if someone is willing to pay a huge amount of money then they must be sincere in pursuing the mysteries. And yet there are others who say that this is classist and excludes the poor, the unemployed, and the financially struggling from pursuing their spiritual goals. After all, if people are going out of their way to provide you with a spiritual experience, shouldn’t they not be expected to provide the full costs of that initiation to you out of their pockets? Very few people these days are rich and have the capacity to go to Kinkos and copy study materials for many, many students–and some will refuse to initiate more than a few at a time due to these grounds and more.

For those of you who are initiated, what price did you pay for it, if any? Do you feel that it was fair? For those who initiate, do you charge a cost and if so, why? I personally feel that while it’s reasonable to expect the initiated to compensate for the cost of materials should they exist and help donate their own resources towards their initiatory body at large, that one should not charge for initiation. People may argue that an exchange of energy needs to be made, and I would claim based on experience that if an experience is had by the candidate and they are indeed initiating, they pay back that price in their lives through the alchemy they undergo.

What do you think? Should people be charged to receive initiation into a chosen tradition, or not? Why?

 

Love & Magic,
Adrianne
www.adriannebrennan.com

Art to support art, by women for women.

One of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life was to let go of a long-standing friendship. She had repeatedly gone back to her abuser, insisted she’d never meet a better man, and in the end wound up walking down the aisle with him. I had sheltered her in my apartment for a week after he chased her around their place, threatening to kill himself with a jug of booze and a bottle of pills because she had tried to break up with him. He was, in a word, dangerous. And I could do nothing. I had never felt so helpless, so frustrated, and so terribly afraid for someone as I watched her personality morph over time and become as toxic as he was.

I couldn’t save my friend. She was like the sister I never had, and walking away hurt like hell. But I knew if I continued to stay and enable her choices, eventually my own health would suffer. Given how her abuser had treated me in the past, I had reason to believe that being involved with either one of them would endanger me. I sometimes wonder if she’ll ever walk away, realize her self-worth, and get back on her feet.

I’m not a professional when it comes to dealing with abuse; I only know what I’ve been through and what I’ve watched others go through. I’m the survivor of an abusive relationship myself, all verbal/emotional. Too often people think abuse is strictly physical, but no one can show bruises when they are being verbally threatened, bullied, and taunted by their significant other. Too many women out there, some with children and some not, suffer at the ends of their tormentors. Women’s shelters exist to help these women get back on their feet, stay alive, and learn how to survive away from the significant other who had threatened them.

When I was invited to contribute to the Dreams and Desires vol 4 anthology, I was thrilled. I was even more ecstatic when I heard its proceeds go towards a worthy cause: donations towards A Windows Between Worlds, which provides art supplies and art training as therapy for battered women’s shelters. It was the chance to do something positive. It may not save my friend, but others like her wind up at these shelters every day–four million per year, in fact.

I hope that you will consider purchasing either my short story in the volume, or the entire work in support. It will be out in print in a few weeks for those of you who prefer that format, but for now both releases are out today in ebook:

Love & Magic,
Adrianne
http://www.adriannebrennan.com

Blogathon tomorrow to benefit Boston Area Rape Crisis Center! Please sponsor me…

I’m doing a Blogathon this Sat (7/31) to raise money for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (http://www.barcc.org)! My blog is at http://adriannebrennan.blogspot.com/ and I will be blogging every half hour for 24 hours.

My posts will include my thoughts and advice on writing, never-before posted excerpts of my works, and answers to any questions you pose to me beforehand.

To sponsor me, go here: http://tinyurl.com/AdrianneBlogsforBARCC then email me your receipt at adrianne@adriannebrennan.com so I can keep a running total.

Love & Magic,
Adrianne Brennan

Greene v County of Sonoma, and why you should care

Imagine living with your partner and the love of your life of 25 years. Then imagine your partner suffers an injury and is hospitalized against his will, separating you from your loved one during the last three months of his life. Then to add insult to injury, the county decides to auction off your and your partner’s partners personal belongings.

This is a real situation. This happened to Harold and Clay, and Clay Greene is fighting for the basic financial and medical rights he and his partner should’ve had.

You can read more details about this court case here.

It is rightfully a LGBT rights issue, but even more importantly it is a civil rights issue. The trial date has been set for July 16 of this year, and funds are being raised in support.

You too can support by either donating directly to NCLR via the above link, or purchase a book from an author who will be donating funds towards the case at All Romance eBooks during the month of May: HERE.

Although my books are among those whose proceeds will be donated this month to the cause, I urge you to support by buying anyone and everyone’s books. Most if not all of us are LGBT authors who either write LGBT and/or are in the LGBT community ourselves. I myself am both.

Someday blog posts like mine will no longer exist, but until the next social revolution comes we must do what we can to help people to stand up for their rights as human beings.

All the best,
Adrianne

Website

Earth Day and the Importance of Earth

It’s no secret that Earth is one of the four basic elements along with Water, Air, and Fire, but it’s often a mystery to me as to why it’s an oft-neglected element in the occult community. Perhaps it’s that desire for distance from the “earth-based” pagan religions like Wicca and a drive for distinction. Or maybe it’s more that most people don’t realize that without a firm foundation, one cannot provide manifestation. Without manifestation, you cannot perform basic acts of Will–let alone magick.

Did you know that in the Hermetic Qabalah, Earth is considered to contain all of the elements within it? This is because it is the element of foundation. There are reasons why houses often have four walls: four is the number often associated with a solid foundation, and without balancing all of the elements,one can’t have that. This same principle of a firm foundation weaves its way through all aspects of life. What is the point of being able to meditate for 30 minutes or perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) if one cannot balance one’s checkbook, maintain good health, and take care of all aspects of themselves in the physical world? Is it from the erroneous assumption in the subconscious that the spiritual world must abandon the material? Have people forgotten the old adage “As above, so below”?

All acts of alchemy and magick derive from the same idea: the key to transformation is in manifestation. Ideas and dreams are just that: ideas and dreams. That is, until they are made concrete in some form or another. Spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being are all interconnected and we must remember this not just on Earth Day, during the LBRP, or meditation but during every waking moment of our lives. We must strive for mindfulness all at times.

Where does one begin? At the start where things take root: thoughts and ideas. Begin by taking the idea that one must be grounded, eat right, and be able to take good care of one’s physical health. What does it mean to be grounded? How does one ground oneself? Everyone is unique in how we most connect to ourselves and the world around us, and while some are more visual others require physical stimuli.

Here are some ideas depending on what suits your personality best:

1) Meditate on becoming balanced in all elements. One of my favorite meditations is to imagine myself on the beach: the sand beneath me, the hot sun over my head, the wind on my face, and the water lapping on my toes on the shore. There you go, all the elements right there: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water.

2) If the above isn’t enough, go to a location that suits the description and spend some time there in quiet repose or meditation.

3) Exercise. The very act of being in touch with one’s physical body is often enough to ground. I highly recommend yoga as both a form of exercise and great way to meditate. Ashtanga and vinyasa style yogas are my favorite.

4) Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Becoming attuned to the element of Earth means not succumbing to the temptation to eat nothing but fried food, chips, red meat, and candy. Listen to your body’s needs. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re not. Drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest.

5) Invoke! Do whatever best practices are in your chosen tradition for getting in touch with this element, whether it’s a god or goddess associated with the element, an invocation rite to the appropriate spirits, et cetera. Research the correspondences. Find out what herbs, planets, colors, shapes, and various other correspondences exist that are associated with the element of Earth.

I chose this day to write this post not just because it is Earth Day, but because it is my birthday and it is a topic near and dear to my heart. I believe in the power of manifestation and without it, we cannot perform anything in our lives from miracles to fulfilling basic needs. Being in touch with ourselves and the world around us is a necessity to being healthy, whole individuals.

Embrace it. Live it. You can’t begin to take care of an entire planet until you can take care of yourself.

Happy Earth Day! 🙂

Love & Magic,

Adrianne

http://www.adriannebrennan.com

Pagan Women in Fiction

I love reading and writing about pagan women in fiction, especially ones who are a) true to life as both people and being pagan, b) are sharp and witty, and c) are interesting in general. I think there’s a real dearth of non-Wiccan pagans in fiction, as many seem to believe that Wicca is the default religion for all pagans. It’s also good to see women portrayed positively within the context of their faith and in their general lives.

In an upcoming short story I wrote, “My Big Fat Greek Pagan Lesbian Wedding”, two women who are Greek pagans–a devotee of Hera and another who is a devotee of Aphrodite–are getting married. Along the way they encounter obstacles due to their sexual preference, road blocks from their families and friends who have their own ideas on how (or even if) they should get hitched, and even trials from their own religious backgrounds and from people who share their faith on the “proper” way for them to undergo their ceremony.

Remaining true to oneself is the overall theme present, and the empowerment that comes from following your own heart over what others want. This is a struggle for many women who fight stereotypes and ideas on who and what they should be versus who they truly are. It’s not limited to religion, sexual preference, race, or class. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by me that being female, in a minority faith, and of the GLBT persuasion is a triple whammy. Add ethnicity for additional spice, and you have the makings of a serious struggle in dealing with being in our culture.

I often say that while I may be in this culture, I am not of it. It’s good for me to see writers and readers banding together to represent in fiction what we’d like to see our society demonstrate.

What are some good examples of pagan and GLBT women in fiction who rise above prejudice, bigotry, and societal expectations of them? I love compiling a list of new fiction to read and perhaps some good but old ones which I haven’t thought about in a while. Share away!

Love & Magic,
Adrianne

http://www.adriannebrennan.com