The first rule of Fight Club is: you don’t talk about Fight Club.
For that matter, the first rule of a coven and a cult are exactly the same.
To hell with that. I had a secret name when I was a witch. It was Hazel. I had a secret name when I was a [insert label here] and it was Esther. There you go. No more secrets.
Lulu isn’t my real name either. What’s in a name? To quote Juliet.
Alright, brass tacks. Things that a coven (withcraft) and a cult (religion) have in common.
They both believe in magical thinking. In a coven, it is manifestation with various props (crystals, candles, herbs, written notes, photos, blood, spit, semen, etc.) while in a cult, it is prayer with various props (scripture, rug, incense, candles, head covering, stool, flail).
Both involve, from time to time: chanting, laying on of hands, speaking in tongues.
My childhood denomination of Christianity was extremely against glossolalia, i.e. speaking in tongues……….. unless you were the Prophet. That was different. Somehow.
Actually, it was explained to me once thusly: the Prophet was almost perfect (kind of like Mary Poppins, or Ivory soap, so about 99.99993% perfect/pure). Of course, he was not completely perfect because only Jesus was completely perfect. Since the Prophet was just that perfect and holy, however, he could channel the language of the angels and speak in tongues without being corrupted and possessed by lurking demons. So the rest of us naughty little bags of sin needed to stay the hell away from all that pentacostal tomfoolery, because the Devil kept an eye on everyone (even you, Susan… he sees you, so return that stapler to work!) and would slip into the revelation stream and before you know it, you’re having a lark with your friends and a Ouija board, and bam… PEA SOUP!
Truth. I had friends growing up who had drank the Kool-Aid so often and so deeply that they wouldn’t even touch a deck of regular playing cards.
Me, I play a mean game of gin rummy, which I learned from a childhood of being stuck somewhere boring with my cousins and nothing else but a stack of cards.
And my family has no belief in that particular superstition. Like I was riffing with my sister-cousin just last week, if we had accidentally called the Devil while playing cards as kids, we would have handed him a guitar and made him sing us some Van Halen.
So, no surprise, I own three tarot decks currently. One of which I accidentally stole, because I borrowed it from a fellow graduate student who moved away all in a flash, and I wasn’t able to return it to her. I only use it on Fridays, when I pull out one card and ponder on what I should learn from it. Kind of like reading scripture, I-Ching style.
And I only do tarot card readings for people who don’t believe in tarot card readings. Because, if they do, then they place way too much stock in fancy pieces of paper.
BTW, my mom collects Nativities and I see no difference between that and tarot decks.
It’s all just an attempt to explain the unexplainable. To make peace with the numinal as postulated by Immanuel Kant. And all of it is part of the same collective consciousness as postulated by Carl Jung.
So, yes. Follow your bliss and find your holy. But if you are going to place stock in fancy pieces of paper, place it in fancy pieces of green paper. And stocks. Am I right?
Speaking of money, covens believe we can all live on air, apparently. It would be très gauche to ask for money at a gathering. At least directly. But it would also be very tacky to show up without an offering of some sort: food, art, marijuana, chocolate or alcohol.
I use the term art very loosely here, because a coven functions on Kindergarten rules about beauty. Which is to say, as long as your heart is pure, then the art is good.
C’est magnifique! Oooh la la.
In comparison, to the very last one, religions are tax dodges. They were set up, perhaps, with the best of intentions (perhaps), but are now run by greedy little fuckers who think they are above the law. Therefore, we should revoke their tax exempt status and force them to release all their records en masse.
Yep, I said it. Put that in your Pope pipe and smoke it.
Sometimes my parents will say things like “your life would have gone so much smoother if you had just paid your tithing and said your prayers”.
That all sounds like bribery to me. And if I am going to offer something of value to an invisible and theoretically all-powerful entity, then I am going to offer chocolate to a picture of myself. And then, I am going to eat that chocolate, since it was a gift.
Wow, I have to say it: I have nice boobs.
Moving on, which I know is difficult, but focus please.
Annointed oil is a big deal in both coven and cult. I have about four boxes full of essential oils so I can make the perfect infusion for any particular pagan holiday.
You are also supposed to rub it up and down a candle lovingly, before casting.
It is impossible to do this, as a red-blooded female, without thinking about cock.
No, not that one.
Back when I was a girl, we had a bottle of expensive olive oil that my dad had blessed with his own hands, and the power of his righteous priesthood which was given to him by some other righteous dude, going back all the way to Adam. I grew up in the 1970s, so it was the only olive oil we had in the house (Crisco, and Imperial margarine, to answer your questions) and we kept it in the back of the fridge for any unplanned, random “blessing and annointings” like when my brother broke his arm, or I had an ear-ache.
Funny thing, my father has a degree as a doctor. But the man is not a scientist, not a bit. He’s just a grubby ol’ backwoods faith healer down in the holler, Appalachia way. Preach.
Just don’t call him a witch. Even though that is exactly what he is.
So if he gets to be a witch in a white shirt and tie, all crisp and blessed on Sunday morning, calling himself a Man of God, then I claim the right to be this, time to time.
The great part about being from Arizona is that you can be both witchy and still status-quo mainstream religion too, if you dress up for Dia De Los Muertos, like I am this year.
And I am posting this now precisely because I won’t be home tomorrow.
I love Halloween, and I will be out there in the dark, being witchy and speaking only in Spanish and giving people a false name and identity. Because…….. well, because I can.
BTW, the name I give guys in bars is Marlena. A story there for another time.
In the meantime, I have published another book of poetry. And my first two books of poetry will be free, starting tomorrow and through the weekend. Happies!