Obligatory New Year’s Post

Oh god it’s 2015 and I could swear 1995 happened ten years ago. Jesus.

As a perpetual student and academic, my new year really begins in the fall when classes start. January has always struck me as a dark, in-between place of sadness where nothing good ever happens (but thank god the champagne is on sale). As a Wiccan, I’ve always thought of the new year as beginning at the Feast of Torches (that’s Imbolc or Candlemas to others), and that’s really when I start to feel more like myself. I know for others, Halloween is the “Witches’ New Year,” but for us it’s really just the end of the old, marking the beginning of a liminal period characterized by darkness and cold. January is just when the fireworks happen, as far as I’m concerned.

Nonetheless, I thought it would be worthwhile to lay out some goals for myself in 2015. I’ve found over the years that I’m way more likely to actually do things if I write them down and then tell everyone I know about my intentions. Then I’m socially obligated.

Leaving off the boring, mundane stuff about running and finding a job that doesn’t shame my parents, most of my goals are tarot and Craft-related.

For those of you who weren’t aware, I’ve taken my tarot reading beyond the party and festival circuit and am now offering readings throughout the year. I’ve got a gig at a local shop (Laughingbrook Spellcrafting & Ancestral Arts in Huntersville, NC) and now provide readings through my Etsy shop, Widdershins. Along with my own website just for tarot things, 2015 also marks the release of my monthly newsletter, The Tarot Skeptic (first issue out tomorrow). All of this has been a great way to foster my own studies in tarot, provide a service that is actually useful and enjoyable, and meet a bunch of new people doing something similar.

The biggest news is probably my recent decision to complete the book proposal I shelved after graduate school. I’ve already put a lot of work into this, but the malaise that set in after graduation caused me to shun any kind of even vaguely academic writing, and this project is a heavy one. It’s something of a crossover, designed to appeal both to other Pagans and to those simply interested in Pagan communities. To my knowledge, there’s no comparable work on the market and early drafts of my proposal received enough publication interest that I think it’s worth pursuing. I feel like it’s time to actually start writing something substantial, because there’s just no way around it: it’s going to be a butt load of work no matter when I do it. May as well do it now. And if I tell you people I’m writing a book and the proposal is going to be done by the end of the year, then I will actually do it. Please feel free to harass me about it.

Foxfire is growing and changing, now operating with an inner court and outer court. It’s exciting and enormously nerve-wracking, but I’m grateful that we’re healthy and happily functioning, which is more than most covens can say in their first two years. It’s thrilling to see a growing Gardnerian presence in North Carolina.

I guess that’s all.

Here. Enjoy a YouTube video on the word “Neo-Wicca” for those who didn’t catch it earlier.

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8 thoughts on “Obligatory New Year’s Post

  1. Ariawn

    Ye gods, I HAVE been a hermit…”Neo-Wicca” is trying to be a thing now? I agree with you, the term doesn’t give you any real information about where a person is coming from. I also have never heard it used in the “real world.” Like most things I would not be surprised if it started off with positive intentions, but for a group of folks who love pointing to the antiquity of pagan beliefs and practices (true or not true) it seems to carry very heavy negative connotations. Like salt in the wound of Wicca not being the millennia old mother-worship cult Margaret Murray thought it was.

    Reply
    1. Chas Clifton

      @Ariawn, actually, Murray’s hypothesized witch cult had a god (Janus, Dianus, Cernunnos, etc.) but no goddess. Gardner brought in the goddess.

      @Thorn: what do you think is the best theoretical work on the Tarot? In other words, not a book that says “the 9 of Swords means such and such,” but on the larger patterns and structures?

      Reply
      1. Ariawn

        Thank you Chas, you are correct. Her research is often incorrectly portrayed as lending credence to an ancient witch cult, leading people to falsely assume a goddess and female centered cult, I’m assuming because it got filtered through the lens of the feminist movement on its transmission to us today (ie the development of the premise that Wicca and witchcraft by its nature is female focused, though it was not founded on this principle). Turns out my initial source material did a poor job of accurately portraying her work. I thank you graciously for the correction and will look for better information on the topic.

      2. thornthewitch Post author

        Hi Chas! I hope you and yours have been well! I was sorry to miss AAR this year, but I’ll definitely be in Atlanta for the next.

        I just finished reading Helen Farley’s A Cultural History of Tarot, which I thought was very helpful. It reads a bit like an MA thesis (and might have been, for all I know), but it seems like a really solid intro, and it’s given me leads for pursuing other sources. I’m moving on to Ronald Decker’s and Michael Dummett’s A History of the Occult Tarot, which Farley gently critiques here and there in her own work. I’ve been on a major tarot history kick lately and will happily let you know how it turns out if you like.

  2. Verdant Radicle

    Regarding your video topic, I think labels and definitions are fascinating things: when used one way, they describe where different people might fit in with an overall group or community; but when used another way, they just divide.

    Regarding your text, I wish you luck with your goals and endeavors for this year! Congratulations also on the growing function of your coven – that has to be a really good feeling. I also look forward to the possibility of reading a book from you: I know you can’t reveal much about it right now; but what you have written here has my curiosity piqued!

    Reply
  3. Daniel

    I agree that labels used as perjoratives are pretty much useless and divisive but, as a Mohsian 3rd who teaches in an outer court type setting, I struggle to find a way to distinguish between various groups when generalizing about “what we do” in contrast to others claiming the term Wiccan but who are not traditionalists/BTW etc. Outer Court seekers often come in with a large amount of reading under their belt, and this means preconceived ideas about what Wicca is and isn’t, so to make sure they are in a place that is right for them it is important to let them know what to expect from us and our perspective. Sometimes we have to develop labels for the sake of clarity. I am continually seeking for a way to make these distinctions without offense. If you have ideas, would be grateful to hear them. I really enjoy your blog, by the way.

    Reply

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