Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tarot 101 Circle from TBW

/begin shameless promotion

In case anyone is interested...

Beginning on April 1st, the Tarot 101 Circle will be working through the 22 lessons in "Tarot 101: Mastering the Art of Reading the Cards" by Kim Huggens.  We plan on taking it one week at a time, but participants may move at whatever speed is comfortable for them.  Anyone interested in learning to read the cards and experienced readers of all levels are welcome to participate and share their knowledge!

To join, become a member the Tarot 101 Circle on the Circle of Balanced Witches. Participants will need to have a journal to do the homework in and acquire a copy of the book before the class begins (or soon after).  They will also need a Tarot deck by Week 3.

/end shameless promotion

Friday, March 18, 2011

Giveaways Going on at The Balanced Witch

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to give you a heads up on some phenomenal giveaways going on at my blog, The Balanced Witch.

Spring Fling Giveaway

Spring has sprung down here in SE Texas!  The sparrows greet me in the morning and I can hear a chorus of frogs when I go for my walk each evening.  The Earth Mother has awakened from her Winter slumber.

To celebrate this lovely weather we are having and to brighten the spirits of those still covered in snow, I have put together a giveaway!

This drawing will start with five (5) winners, each who will each receive a $10 gift certificate from  For each 100 entries, I will add another winner up to 10.

RedWheel / Weiser Book Giveaways

The Balanced Witch has teamed up with the fantastic Red Wheel / Weiser Books to celebrate women and reading by giving away twelve (12) female-focused books!
Best of luck to everyone who enters!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Harnessing Your Anger

“The world needs anger.  The world often continues to allow evil because it isn't angry enough.” ~ Bede Jarrett
As with fear, most people think that anger is a terrible and destructive emotion.  They may have been on the receiving end of someone else’s rage and didn’t like how it felt or were programmed that way.  The truth is that it can be negative, but if wielded properly, anger can be an amazing force for good and a catalyst for positive change.

When we are children, we are conditioned to believe that anger is wrong.  A young child who is expressing his displeasure by acting out is having a “temper tantrum.”  The teenager trying to communicate her anger is “acting out” or “talking back.”  The parent is always right and the child is left to suffer in silence, pushing their resentment deeper and creating a generation that doesn’t know how to deal with its emotions, especially anger.
“At the core of all anger is a need that is not being fulfilled.” ~ Marshall B. Rosenberg
Anger should be an indication that something is not right.  It is also the GPS that will lead you to figure out what is wrong and also gives you an idea of what your personal boundaries are.  Others don’t like when we have boundaries, so expect some resistance.  People that have been walking all over us for years are not going to be too pleased at us asserting ourselves or telling them “no.”

Once you have figured out what the problem is that is causing your anger, brainstorm on how to change it.  If it is a person, talk to them about what is causing the anger.  If it is a social injustice or cause, find out how you can get involved and lend your energy to make a positive change on the issue.  The worst thing that you can do is to ignore it and let it continue to boil and fester in your subconscious.

Anger is energy and it is up to you to choose what to do with it.
Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.  ~Lyman Abbott

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What I Learned at the Sacred Space Conference

I was asked to be a vendor at the Sacred Space Conference in Maryland. I have never been a vendor & I was so excited to actually be asked that I could hardly stand it. I worked with a darling young woman, Gwendolyn (her magical name is Gwendriel) and she could not have been more helpful. Anyway , since had never been a vendor I couldn't decide what to make & take or how much, how to display it, & so on. The first thing I did because I love all things girly & cute was order bags with pretty tissue! So even if I only sold one thing, it would look good. I put together an interesting, take-apart-able peg board screen thingey and made LOTS of oils, candles & cauldron splashes. I was still "making" the day before I left. I hand screenprinted some aprons with my "Spelled" logo-so that as I was selling my one thing & putting that one thing in the darling bag, I would coordinate.

I drove to the conference, about a 4-ish hour drive, listening to books on my ipod.
I got there to check in & right in front of me was this tall, young man with dreads, long woolen cape, hat, scarf & bejeweled. I am always so easily cowed, assuming that I do not measure up & certainly not in "coolness" with the young & so I got anxious, a thing that I do really well-get very anxious, very quickly.
I began to unload the car & a Gwendolyn told me that Scott, a volunteer would be glad to help me & pointed his way. Scott was my man in cape & dreads. But, reminding myself that I am 57 & a crone for goddess' sake & I was grown up & didn't need to be such an ass, I asked Scott if he would mind helping me. Okay, to shorten the already lengthy tale, Scott could not have been sweeter. He helped, we talked & it turned out he was a new knitter. I had my knitting with me & we shared. I love Scott. He stopped by my vending table after every class of the 3 day conference. He told me about the classes & what he learned & at the end of the last day we hugged & said goodbyes & agreed next year would be great at Sacred Spaces. See you there.

What I learned #1- I am a lot girlier than I realized. I always thought I was sort of a rogue, radical, can-do gal. I am all that but more, too. I LOVE tying bows. On packages, bottles & boxes. All my things that I sell have bows-rafia, hemp, suede but bows. Some with charms & cute tags.
What I learned #2-A lesson I have to learn over & over: Do NOT judge a book by its dreadlocks & cape. Those are trappings. My ribbons and bows are, too. I am nice. Scott is nice. Most of us are nice.

What I learned #3-being with a group of pagans is SO MUCH FUN! I didn't have to whisper that I was a democrat. Or a witch.
What I learned #4- There are a lot more ways to be pagan than I ever dreamed of. I met a wonderfully nice & interesting young woman whose name tag read, "Devon, Maid of Epona." She had the most marvelous divination "Pony Pennies" that she had made. She read, quit accurately, my pennies. It never occurred to me that their was anyone who was a devotee of Epona. And I met a lot of other super interesting people but Devon stuck with me. I expanded in a big way by meeting her.
What I learned #5If you want to know what a pagan does for a living do not ask them what they do. That illicits, "I follow/worship/believe....." You must ask what one does in the mundane or real world. What is your job?
The other part of this is that pagans are: bankers, teachers, librarians, monks, artists, mothers, homemakers, massage therapist, IT geeks, in the military, and everything else under the sun. I just read that the majority of pagans are well-educated, generally at the post-grad level. 
What I learned #6- Being a pagan vendor is so much fun & also makes pretty good money. There seems to be a general angst among vendors about the guilt of making a profit. Isn't that silly? But I feel like that all the time. That I should charge what something costs me-exactly. No profit, no charge for my time. But I learned also that I really like coming home with wads of cash & that the ability to swipe credit cards on my iphone was the best thing I ever did. It makes it so much easier for the buyers & for me.
What I learned #7-I still miss my new vendor friends, Ruth, Kathy(& her mystery man, Shahid,) Kat & Richard, Becky & Niell(sp??), the book vendors & the monks. It was a mini-world in the vendor's room & it was wonderful.
The very last thing I learned- MARNA is not the same thing as IWANA. MARNA is an acronym for the Maryland Naturist & IWANA is a church youth group thing. One is a group of naturalists and that is not bird-watching. I am so naive, sometimes. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Learning from Fear

In my honest opinion, fear gets a bad rap.  We have it for a reason, but we are too petrified to look past the surface at what lies below.  There is much we can learn about ourselves from it if we take the time to look.

Fear is an emotional response to something that might cause us harm.  It is a way of protecting ourselves and triggers the fight or flight response in our physical being.  That being said, fear is there to keep you safe.

When we grow up, we start out with a set collection of fears that have been instilled in us by our parents and other authority figures.  We learn not to talk to strangers or to cross the road without looking both ways.  Some of these early fears are also the result of experience, such as the fear of things that are hot after putting your hand on a car’s exhaust (which hurts, btw). 

Add in a healthy dose of television and our fears increase.  Now we have an irrational fear of sharks (thanks Jaws) and are worried that vampires are going to attack us when we go walking in the woods.

With the invention of the Wide World Web, the globe is shrinking and news travels faster.  Instead of just being afraid of what is our own back yard, we have to worry about all the other evils in the world that are out to get us.

This is enough to leave us completely paralyzed in fear and make sure we never step outside of the house!  Stop and remember – fear is a tool to keep you safe from things that would cause harm to you.  You have to control the fear instead of letting it control you.

So what things can you learn from looking at your fears? 

Examining your fears can help you break some of your bad habits or patterns of behavior.  For instance, if you are afraid of being along, you may be clingy or invade other peoples’ space.  Acknowledging this fear and owning it will help you see this pattern in your behavior.  This is the first step to making a change.

Looking at your fears also helps you to decide which ones are genuine and the others that are superfluous.  I fell down the stairs as a child so I have an aversion to walking up stairs, standing on chairs, and other “heights.”  It wasn’t until I sat down and thought about it that I finally realized where it came from.  On the other hand, my fear of spiders was the result of a coach showing us the movie “Arachnophobia” in high school health class.  This makes for an interesting experience when you have a spider for an animal messenger, which has happened twice I might add.

Another use of your fears is to fuel your creativity.  In author Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways: Career Survival School For Writers we learned to use our fears as part of our works of fiction to give it added emotion and intensity.  If you are scared of aliens, have your hero face off against them or your heroine come to terms with being one.  The possibilities are endless.

Here is a little exercise that Holly taught us to come up with a list of our fears called clustering.  Put the word "fear," "Things I fear...," or something similar in the middle of the page and begin to build a network of concepts and ideas from the center point.

This is a cluster that I created last week in about ten minutes.  After I scanned and looked at it again, I saw some stuff was missing so make sure to give yourself enough time.  I recommend working for about ten minutes, taking a break, and then working for another ten or until you feel like you are done.

So spend some time shining a light into the dark recesses of your psyche and examine your fears.  Like with everything else on this path, get rid of the things that are not serving you or causing unwarranted drama.  Get to know yourself better and stop allowing fear to rule you because you are in control.


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