Activist Witch Modern Witchcraft

Lewiston, Maine

Photos I took of Lewiston, Maine on a random day in April of 2002.

This final photo is more recent and from the GoFundMe for Maxx Hathaway’s family.…/brenda-in-this…/donations Please consider donating–his wife is expecting their 3rd child soon.

Maxx was in my very first group of students my first year as a full-time classroom teacher, when I taught high school at Lisbon High over 20 years ago. He was a great person. The news that he is one of the victims who died in the horrific mass shooting in Lewiston is so shocking and so devastating. 🖤🖤🖤

Spirituality and Spiritual Practice in Times of Grief

As things would have it, another former student of mine from the LHS class of ’06, is also a witch and posted this Hekate graphic on her social media. It was exactly what I needed to see in this time of deep shock and grief.

I evoke various goddesses each day at the end of my daily “Morning Pages.” — Morning Pages are a practice from the book, “The Artist’s Way.” You take 3 pages to just cogitate and expatiate AKA a “brain dump.” After I do that, though, I then take some more pages to write down the following:

  • daily affirmations
  • 3 things I’m grateful for
  • 3 things I’m looking forward to
  • what deities I wish to evoke to help guide my day

When I speak of evoking deities, I am not thinking of celestial beings in the clouds looking down upon us. Instead, I consider them as archetypes within our consciousness and subconscious, whose essence or spirit we wish to call to mind in order to have the most mindful, connected day we can live.

Every day, my list starts off with Brigid, who I am–in essence–named after, and Hekate, the goddess of witches. I call on Hekate to help me infuse my day with my spiritual practice. I consider her the goddess of self-assuredness, self-identity, self-esteem, and sense of self. I also consider her the goddess of smashing the MFing patriarchy. Her misalignment in traditional mythologies makes her the representation of this ultimate goal of my existence.

I find the more connected I am to my spirutal practice and spiritual identity as a witch, the more connected I am to the world at large and the specific day unfolding. When I don’t take the time to do these daily practices, I feel instead like a hamster on a wheel, spinning in place and merely plodding along rather than purposefullying living my life.

It’s been difficult for me to journal these past days since the shooting though. Putting everything down in words on this blog and in my journals forces me out of the shock mode I’ve been in since Wednesday night at 9pm, when I got the first news by text of what was unfolding in my former home. I have not been as regimented as I normally am. I’m still doing some writing, some meditating, some rituals of calming and reflection. But it’s hard to go into one’s mind in traumatic times like this.

I will keep at it though, because I know it is what nourishes me. I received many hugs from my fellow UU church members, after I shared my sorrow during Joys and Sorrows. Hugs are good.

I Don’t Really Want to Go Here Right Now but I Have to Say It: I Have and Always Will Hate Guns

Our mental health services and infrastructure need a huge amount of support, funding, and promotion. People of all kinds needs to be more assuredly enabled to address and process their vulnerabilities and emotions. Having a gun, statistically speaking, makes you less safe and more likely to suffer from gun violence, either through accidents, suicide, or homicide. We are the only nation in the world with the epidemic of mass shootings, because we are the only nation with the ludicrously lax gun laws. I hate guns. I was raised to hate them, and I agree wholeheartedly with my father, a Vietnam Marine Corp veteran, who instilled in us a loathing of guns. The NRA and gun manufacturers’ stronghold on our gun laws at the state and federal level is an abomination. I attribute this all to the kyriarchy, aka the patriarchy, which fills people’s minds with the notion that we are more free and more safe with unfettered access to guns. We are not. I’m writing this on my blog, but not really on social media because I do not want to debate people in that online platform about this issue. The only thing I plan to do is work even more diligently at the local level to get better gun safety laws in place in my home state of Rhode Island.

Life in Lewiston, 2001-2004

I want to wrap up this long post with a personal story about how meaningful this city of Maine is for me.

I moved to Lewiston all by myself as a young grown up, aged 23, in September 2001–another month fraught with tragedy. The only person I knew was my college BFF, Jenny. I left in 2004 having met hundreds of people. I made dear connections with students and colleagues in education, from Freeport and Lisbon.

Like many others I have vibrant memories from early adulthood going to the recreational places like Schemengees and Spare Time, sites of the shooting. Lewiston offers these type of places to the whole surrounding area, as the second biggest city in Maine. Mostly I used the Blue Goose as my Cheers 💙 but each one of these taverns and recreation spots of Lewiston have a special place in the social lives of the people in the area.

And most importantly, I found extra family and lots of lifelong friends from my 3 years in Lewiston.

One night from my apartment on Russell Street, I had a conversation with my Gramma out in San Francisco. She let me know that my father “was born in Florida but he was conceived in Lewiston, Maine.” 😆 I was delighted by this TMI. It must have explained why I always felt at home–my dad was “from” there.

I love Lewiston. ❣️❣️❣️

Activist Witch Modern Witchcraft

Unitarian Universalist Pagan

On Joining Bell Street Chapel Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Providence, Rhode Island and the Convenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS)

As of Beltane 2023, I am officially a member of the Bell Street Chapel Unitarian Universalist Church of Federal Hill, Providence (my old neighborhood). And I am now an official member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS).

This is the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans Vision Statement:

CUUPS is an organization dedicated to networking Pagan-identified Unitarian Universalists (UUs), educating people about Paganism, promoting interfaith dialogue, developing Pagan liturgies and theologies, and supporting Pagan-identified UU religious professionals.

Bell Street Chapel is a small church but it’s full of wonderful people 🥰 Every Sunday, I drop my mother off at her church on the East Side of Providence, the Church of the Redeemer. It is also a small church, and Episcopalian, and also full of wonderful people. (A very LGBTQ+ friendly, social justice oriented congregation, which is important to my mother.) Then I drive back to my old neighborhood and go to the UU service.

For this past Sunday, we danced around a May Pole and had readings dedicated to the Spring season and nature. And I signed the church membership book and took part of a new member ceremony.

I like the music, the people, the space, and I really like unplugging for an hour and having some deep contemplative time. I also love that modern pagan holidays are incorporated into the services throughout the year, along with services about social justice issues.

To turn a phrase, the spiritual has always been the political for me. That’s why I renounced the Catholic church a long time ago. But upon renouncing Catholicism, I have always missed the fellowship, the education, and the spiritual congregational aspects of the Sunday ritual of going to church. This is exactly why being a modern pagan witch, a Unitarian Universalist, and a member of CUUPS fits so well with my spiritual identity and practice.

Happy Beltane to those who celebrate! Happy middle of Spring/middle of Autumn, depending on your hemisphere. This has been a momentous one for me and I’m really happy to have a spiritual home.

Modern Witchcraft

Strawberry Moon Declaration

I Am a Solitary Eclectic Pantheist Modern Pagan Witch and I wholly and fully repudiate the religion I was originally baptized under

Reposted for the 50th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision.

Note: this post was first published in 2018 (at my arts and culture blog), when former Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. Though he was a reputed centrist, he knowlingly retired when the political powers in place in the Legistlative and Executive branches who would nominate his replacement were hardline conservatives, intent on seeing Roe v Wade overturned. His replacement was Brett Kavanaugh. I knew in my bones what was to come, though I had hoped I would be wrong. This spiritual declaration was one of many ways I did and continue to do what I can against the threat of liberty and bodily autonomy, which the overturning of Roe v Wade signifies with the Dobbs decision.

The Catholic Church Has No Claim to Me as a Member Despite My Baptism and I Declare Myself an Apostate Who Wholly Repudiates the Catholic Church

For today’s Strawberry Moon 🍓🌝❤️ I declared my un-baptism from the Catholic Church, on the website 🇮🇪 Joining and declaring your apostatehood on that website is only symbolic. Canon Law makes it really difficult to remove yourself from the official tally from the Catholic rolls. But on this day especially, with the announcement of Justice Kennedy’s retirement, I want it shouted from the mountaintops, or at least all over social media: I am not Catholic. 

I do not believe in the tenets of the Catholic Church. I am not Christian. I do not believe in monotheism as conceived in the Abrahamic religions. I do not believe in sin, nor in the devil as conceived in the Abrahamic religions. I believe you should do right by yourself and others based on your own inherent morality and not for or on behalf of a religious entity. Further, I do not believe that sex and sexuality have any inherent morality in absolute form. I believe that to assert actions regarding sex and sexuality have inherent morality has lead to much of what is wrong in this world, and it needs to stop. 

I am a pantheist: I believe there is a spirit in all living things. I am a modern pagan, and I observe the Celtic earth-based holidays. I don’t think magic is a hocus-pocus imaginary thing; I think it’s often science intuited and not yet proven. “The myth is proof of fact.” Further, and most importantly, I believe that if you harm none, you can do as you will. 

I am pro-choice. I am pro-women’s rights. I am pro-women as dynamic, whole, wholly capable beings who need not feel shame for their body, or feel any inferiority to men, or feel they are only vessels for children, or feel that taking pleasure from their body and in their bodies is wrong.

To my mind, and to my spirit, I feel that any of the good that comes social justice work done by factions within Catholicism is, unfortunately, moot. While I will always have an affinity, admiration, and love for the legacies of certain figures within Catholicism who have informed much of our current notions of justice, equality, and love, such as St Francis of Assisi and the spiritual figure I was named after, St Brigid of Kildaire, they and their likenesses have always been outliers of the institution of the Catholic Church. The church itself chose to focus more on hate: for women and pregnant people by being anti-choice, for children by enabling predatory priests, for the LGBTQ+ community by focusing on Augustinian & Thomistic notions of sexual activity sanctioned solely for procreation, and for all those stances taking precedence in Church doctrine and politics over, “Love thy neighbor.” 

I am not Catholic, and I denounce the Catholic Church, and all anti-choice entities–religious or otherwise–for focusing vehemently on the politics of a pregnant person and/or woman’s right to choose what to do with their bodies, over all other concerns; for bringing the very real impending threat of the end to this democracy that has brought–along with the bad–so much of the good we have in this world. 

Consider this a schism. Consider me a heretic. Consider me an apostate, wholly and fiercely repudiating such a loathsome, hateful, destructive institution. 

I love this earth. I love justice, equality, and freedom. I am a pantheistic solitary eclectic modern pagan witch. That is my declared spiritual practice. 

It is so ordered ⭐️

Modern Witchcraft Things To Do

The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming

A Virtual Field Trip to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

In October 2021 I went up to Salem to the Peabody Essex Museum to see their exhibit, “The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming.” Even on the first week of October, Salem is WILD. It’s a lot like being in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I love it, but if you’re crowd wary, take note.

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, I have put together a “Virtual Fieldtrip” for those of you who didn’t make it up to Salem, Massachusetts to see the exhibit for yourself. It ran from October 2021 to March 2022.

Part One: The Reckoning and Reclaiming

The first slide show has artifacts of the accused, primary source documents from the time of the Witch Trials, and a timeline. It ends with a featured couture gown from the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2007 line. He dedicated that show to his ancestor, one of the accused, named Elizabeth Howe. The gown was made in her honor.

Part Two: Major Arcana, Portraits of Witches in America

The second slide show captures another part of the exhibit, titled “Major Arcana: Portraits of Witches in America.” This section featured photographic portraits of modern American witches such as StarhawkPam Grossman, and Juliet Diaz. It ends with a quote from M. Macha Nightmare, “A Witch is a mover and a shaper who draws power from the natural world and from within herself.”

Modern Witchcraft Things To Do

A Witch’s Treasury of Local Hocus Pocus 2 News and Events

Hannah Waddingham in Hocus Pocus 2 (Disney+)

Witches of Northern Rhode Island and All Over New England Celebrate the Premier of Locally Filmed Hocus Pocus 2

The long awaited sequel to Hocus Pocus, Hocus Pocus 2, premiers this weekend. It was filmed in my backyard, practically. Ha! Well, filmed in nearby Lincoln, East Providence, and a block from my old apartment in Federal Hill.

(Side note: it’s silly to have my main graphic be Hannah Waddingham and not the Sanderson Sisters, I know. But my love of Ted Lasso only grows, whereas And Just Like That has diminished my devotion to SJP and Sex and the City. Hahaha. Anyway, that’s why Hannah gets pride of place!)

Hocus Pocus Happenings in Rhode Island

To commemorate the occasion, Rhode Island is chock FULL of celebrations and tributes. And there’s a lot of great stories of people who worked on the film some way or another.

Blackstone Valley Events

Super sad that the BeWitched and BeDazzled Event at Chase Farm is sold out! It is going to be AMAZING! If you’re lucky enough to somehow get a ticket, I hope you have a great time.

Maeva’s Cottage in Woonsocket, a metaphysical shop in my neighborhood

However, 1 mile away from me, the delectable Wright’s Dairy Farm is having a special Hocus Pocus menu for the occasion, so I can pop by and check that out!

And, EVEN CLOSER to home, just a half a mile from my front door, the new metaphysical shop, Maeva’s Cottage, is have a Hocus Pocus Takeover event:

For even more Hocus Pocus-ery check out the Tour Blackstone website:

c/o @TheFemmeBrulee on Facebook

The Official Costume Sparkler

A while back I used to volunteer for Front-of-House duties for Boston-based burlesque shows sometimes. One of the best costumers and burlesque performers I know, Robyn “Femme Brulee” Girgosian, was the official Costume Sparkler for the Sanderson Sisters’ costumes. How freakin’ cool is that?! She posted about in on her Facebook account in a public post. Read all about the intricacies of the costuming at her post:

Enjoy the Hocus Pocus Focus This Halloween Season!

If you’re a fan of the original and excited about the premier of the sequel, I hope you enjoy the magic of the Hocus Pocus premier weekend!

Modern Witchcraft Word Witch

The Truth about Witchcraft Today by Scott Cunningham

Book Review: The Truth about Witchcraft Today by Scott Cunningham, first published in 1987

This is actually an “oldie but goodie” as far as #witchbooks go but I will never understand this cover. Ever. 😆

Someone said maybe it looks like this to convey that yes, even “young women in 1980s businesswear with jobs that require briefcases can be and are witches.” 🤔🤷🏼‍♀️

I guess back then, as now, there’s all sorts of people about with the misconception that witchcraft has anything to do with devil-worship? When anyone with an ounce of sense knows that the fictional entity called “the devil” is a purely Christian construct.

A poet friend, @gildedy made me remember this cover because she has a whole other cover to submit to the “Misleading Covers Sweepstakes” so thanks for the inspo, Gilmore. 

This short but comprehensive books, first published over 35 years ago, has a lot of information that is still relevant today. I think it’s a good place to start for self-described baby witches, or others who are magick/pagan/witch curious.

It’s is still available for sale, and I bought mine at Better World Books, but you can also find it on Amazon and other online book sellers.