Family Gatherings: How to Cope


…here’s my question.  This Thanksgiving I’ll be required to spend the holiday in the company of conservative Catholic and “born again” in-iaws who are very “in-your-face” with their views.  Is there a prayer or meditation I can do to remain sane and calm in this situation?  Also, is there even a spell to keep them at bay? I’d appreciate any help you could offer.

It’s hard when you have to spend time with people who aren’t as tolerant or respectful of others, particularly at the holidays. Rather than anything magical, my personal tried and true method for dealing with such people, especially when I know it’s not worth engaging them in any sort of discussion about the issue, is to just smile and nod, and then try to steer the conversation to another topic if possible.

It depends to on exactly what sort of things they are saying, but in cases where someone is continually offering prayer or blessings – a simple “thank you” works well. Remember that even if it’s not your faith, the fact that someone cares enough about you to petition their higher power on your behalf should mean something. I realize this is really awkward too, if it’s unwanted and, for some people, it really is a huge issue for them (having unwanted Gods “blessing” them), but sometimes, unless we are willing to make a big deal out of it, it’s easier to just take the words as a sign that they care and let it go. It’s important to note too, that sometimes, people don’t actually realize that they are doing these things. Their religion is such a huge part of their lives that a lot of what they say is simply ingrained habit and not done as a conscious effort to annoy others.

For the more condescending stuff or holier than thou type people, avoiding them as much as possible may be the best option. Of course this may not work if it’s a small gathering, but again, actively looking for ways to change the subject can help. If necessary, spend a little bit of time before the gathering to look up some neutral topics and keep them in reserve for when things get really bad.

In terms of mantras, really anything that is comforting should be fine. It’s hard to give something concrete without knowing more about your practice and beliefs, but would suggest just using a simple “God/Goddess give me strength.” (feel free to state a specific God or Goddess if there is one that you have a relationship with or work with frequently). Alternatively, or in addition to that, you can visualize a shield surrounding yourself which absorbs or reflects unwanted and/or negative comments.

Spellwork is a bit trickier. If you are going to their house or the house of someone who you know would not appreciate you using witchcraft, then I highly suggest avoiding doing anything magical in their house or even directed specifically at them. Obviously, they are being disrespectful to you (and possibly others), but being disrespectful back won’t necessarily make the situation any better. (this of course will depend too on how you feel about performing magic on others without their permission – some don’t do this, others have no issues with it, and for others it’s a mix of the two)

If the gathering is at your house, you could do something directed at having a peaceful day. For something super simple, I’d start by cleansing the area and “sweeping” (visually or actually physically sweeping the house as you go) the house of negative energy. Then visualize the house shielded (similar to personal shielding) from negativity. Alternatively, you can also create a spell directed at yourself for helping to maintain calmness in stressful situations. For something more extensive you can use/modify the following, and particularly if you don’t have a lot of extra time, just visualizing the desired intentions into any food that is made can help make a difference.

PART ONE

Items Needed:

– food item (ideally oil or seasonings or something that you know everyone will eat or that can be mixed into a larger dish) that will be used in the upcoming meal
– container to hold the item

Spell:

– Cast your circle/create sacred space, etc… (or however you normally do your spellwork).
– Take a moment to ground and center yourself.
– When you are ready… place both hands around the container, visualize peace and harmony (or whatever other intentions you want to promote) spreading from you into the food item within. Visualize it permeating the item and visualize those feelings transferring to anyone who consumes it. At the same time, see any negativity being blocked.
– Chant (silently or aloud) three times:

Only peace and harmony will be found
As strife and discord this day are bound
We gather today – joy in our heart
This food we consume must play its part.

– take a few extra moments to continue charging the food with positive energy, then, if you have no other ritual activities, you can banish your circle/end the ritual. Be sure to thank any deities (if called upon) for their assistance.

PART TWO

Items Needed:

– Your blessed food item
– Ingredients for the meal you will be cooking (your choice – as long as the food item you used in the previous step can be mixed in)

Cooking:

– If you are cooking before you guests arrive, you may cast a quick circle around your kitchen area (if you feel called to do so). Sacred Space is always nice and adds to the specialness of the meal. Obviously if you will have other people running in and out of the kitchen (or you are going to be going in and out), then this can be skipped.

– Cook your meal with the food item. Visualize as you mix/prepare it, that the dish is taking on the blessings that you have charged the food item with. See the peace and harmony permeating your meal, see everyone gathered together having a good time.

Serving:

– When serving your meal, take a moment to give thanks for those who are gathered and offer blessings, as appropriate to help continue the positive intentions of the spellwork.

_____________

Hopefully, there is something in here that you find helpful. Here’s wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

🙂

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Midsummer/Midwinter Celebrations…


It’s about that time again, and I know many of us are getting ready to celebrate Midsummer (or Midwinter if you are in the Southern Hemisphere), or any number of other holidays that tend to occur around this time of year.

If you have something special planned, we’d love to hear from you – not only what particular holiday you are celebrating, but how you celebrate it, and of course pics are always welcome as well.  In any case, no matter what you are celebrating we hope you have a wonderful holiday!!

Need to know the exact astrological date for the Solstice, check out Archaeoastronomy.com

TIP: Expanding Our Horizons


This week’s TIP comes via a recent rant. It is a perfectly legitimate rant, because it‘s something that happens all the time, it’s frustrating to see when it does, and really, it lessens all of us when it occurs. Especially, when you consider the wealth of knowledge on different cultures and practices that we are missing out on because of it. I think (except for those that it affects directly), we’ve probably all done it at one time or another, but this doesn’t make it right. It just means that we all need to be more careful and actively make the effort to try to change the way we think when it comes to those we are interacting with.

This doesn’t apply to everyone (to be sure), however there seems to be a tendency within the Pagan community to assume that everyone is Wiccan, or on a Wicca-based path, and that we all celebrate the same Sabbats around the same time, and in generally the same way. There is a bit of “tunnel vision”, often forgetting that there are many different paths, all who have their own various holidays and celebrations. Not all of them are Sabbat related (or called Sabbats) – even if some of them are celebrated on, or around the same dates.

It’s also very frustrating to see how many people forget entirely that the Northern Hemisphere is NOT the only Hemisphere that exists. Many tend to ignore completely those Pagans who live on the “flip-side” as it were. Which means that even if they do happen to celebrate the Sabbats (which again, not all do) they will be doing so on a schedule that is completely opposite to what would be done in the Northern Hemisphere. It wouldn’t make any sense to celebrate seasonal holidays, outside of the season that they occur in, but for some reason, we often assume that those in the Southern Hemisphere do, if we even consider them at all.

So this week’s TIP is a reminder to expand our horizons just a bit. While clearly if you are discussing something with your local coven or group, it might not be such an issue, but in larger gatherings, and especially if you are participating in an online Pagan community or discussion, it’s worth the extra effort to remember that not everyone does things exactly in the same way. Nor would we want them too… imagine how boring it would be if we did.