Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I Feel So Protected by Jeff Sessions and His Religious Liberty Task Force!

My name is Anne Johnson, and my religion is under attack. I'm glad to see that someone in the government is willing to do something about it.

Last month, attorney general Jeff Sessions announced a new Religious Liberty Task Force as part of the Department of Justice. As Mr. Sessions put it so eloquently, "a dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom."

How did he know?

As a Pagan, I have closely held religious beliefs that are under attack all the time!

Let's take a small example: holy days. I have never, ever had the right to worship on Samhain or Imbolc without incurring a financial penalty. My choices, on my recognized religious holidays, are to take a personal day or a sick day. Now let's say that my state compensates its workers for unused sick and personal days. Over my ten years of teaching, I have lost $700 on Halloween alone! Is this fair? This challenges my tradition of religious freedom!

I expect shortly to see Mr. Sessions address this. By next year, all Americans should have a day (or two) off for Halloween. This dangerous movement away from religion needs to be curbed, and I mean right now.

Now let's take a larger example of my closely held religious beliefs as a Pagan. I believe in personal agency, in the freedom each individual has over his or her body. If, say, a court of law overturned precedents that provide women the right to choose how to govern their own bodies, I would find that an attack on my free exercise of closely held religious beliefs. If nuns can be excused from providing health care that includes contraceptives, then a Pagan employer should be required to provide health care that includes contraceptives. It's a belief that we live by.

I expect shortly to see Mr. Sessions address this. We shouldn't waste any time, because there are a lot of young women out there who need the protection of the Pagan path in order to secure their personal agency!

According to our attorney general, "Religious Americans are no longer an afterthought." Well, thank all the Gods and Goddesses for that! I don't want to be an afterthought! Not when I can use my platform as a public school teacher to promote interest in my faith! Gone are the days when I will deflect questions about the magic wand I keep on my desk. Now, that wand is a "teachable moment." I might write a whole "back to school" blog post about how to make your teacher desk an altar to the Gods, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits. Afterthought, indeed!

Yes, it's time to restore religion to its proper place in our Godsless society. I'm sure Mr. Sessions will take the steps I have requested above as part of his Religious Liberty Task Force. And Jeff, you are welcome any time to drop by my classroom and see how my faith and my beliefs are lived out every day as a shining example to my students.

Blessed be! 

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Magic Wands and Why You Need One

Hello and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm your hostess, Anne. I have a magic wand. Two, actually: one for ritual, one for everyday. In a post below I explained how to make a magic wand for everyday use. You don't need some polished, expensive craftsman-made item! In fact, that item probably has its maker's mark on it too deeply. A self-made wand. That's what you want.

But why do you need a wand? Why are you reading this? Did you Google "use a magic wand" and find me? If so, howdy!

If you're a regular tourist on this site, you too might want to consider making a working wand. I've been writing "The Gods Are Bored" since 2005, and I've been alive a lot longer than that, and I have never known a time when I was more in need of a magic wand.

Maybe you've noticed, things are scary out there.

Maybe you've noticed that people are carrying guns.

Maybe you hear people talk harshly about other people who look like you, or feel like you do.

Maybe you have to keep deep secrets about yourself ... things you wish you could talk about with your friends and family.

Maybe you wonder why God is male, and why He tortures people for eternity if they don't follow His narrow path.

Maybe you feel a profound disconnect between what you see and hear from the president (or about him) and the respect he gets from your parents, your church, your community.

Maybe someone you love is sick or dying. Maybe someone you love has just died.

Maybe you have a child, or children, and you want something different for them. Something better.

Maybe you are struggling with drugs. Alcohol. Body image. Identity. Gender. You are struggling all alone, so far as you know.


Well, a wand is a helper, not a cure-all. But would you rather have help, or nothing? Halfway there is better than never getting started.



Your magic wand has two purposes: protection and comfort. You cannot damage another person with your wand. (Better said: just don't do it ... Do you want to be worse than the worst person you know?) But you can preserve and protect yourself.

Remember that wands help turn your intentions (sort of like deep wishes) into actions.

Magic wands give protective power to people who feel powerless. They stem from a time when the forces in power -- the king, his lords, the Church, the law -- could prey upon ordinary folks with no consequences. But a wand. A wand. In the right hands, whether known or secret, a wand could stem the damage. It is the work of the Old Ones to heal and protect. The Old Ones, lingering in the shadows but never overshadowed, have seen all of this before. They give you the idea to create a wand. They give your wand the magic, so you can ride through these storms.

Grasp your wand lightly by the Earth end and say, "This wand brings me peace. This wand brings me power. This wand stands between me and the mayhem."

Start there. It works.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Magic Wands and Romantic Love

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," witchy stuff by a witch and for anyone who is interested in witchcraft! I'm especially glad to hear from you if you're having a crisis of faith with some other religion, and yet you still feel spiritual -- and curious.

In a post below I explain in simple steps how to make a magic wand. I have a working wand, and I take it with me often. (In fact, I just lost my working wand at a LARP, so I have to make a new one.)

In another post below, I explain what you can do with a wand, and what doesn't work.

So now we find ourselves at perhaps the #1 reason that young people want to try wands and spell work: love! Of course! You need supernatural help to get that certain someone to look your way!

Okay. Before you do, please read the following cautionary tale. I didn't write it. My good friend Anansi the Trickster Spider God didn't write it either (although He wouldn't mind taking credit for it).

LOVE POTION NUMBER 9

There was an old man who ran a shop that sold potions and other magical items. One day a young man came into the shop and said, "Tell me, kind sir. Do you have any potion that will cause someone to fall deeply and completely in love with me? There's this girl ... and she has no interest in me ... and I want to change that. I want her to be so in love with me that she wants to build her whole world around me."

"I have a potion that will do that," the man said. "All you have to do is fling it into her Diet Coke."

"Wow!" shouted the happy young man. "How much does it cost?"

The old man smiled. "Five dollars," he said.

The young man couldn't believe his luck. Five dollars! That was something even he could afford! He parted with the money, and the old man gave him the potion.

The young man wasted no time finding his crush, and he sneaked the potion into her drink. Not five minutes later, she struck up a conversation with him, and within an hour she was hanging on his every word. He took her out to dinner. Then they went to the club. And then they went to his place, where she was on fire for his bones like he just couldn't believe!

The next morning the alarm went off. The young man was due at work.

"Don't tell me you're leaving!" the girl said. "Stay awhile! I don't want to be without you."

So the guy called in sick. He spent the whole day with his ladylove. They had a swell time, going out to eat, strolling in the park, and OH yeah, more of that bedroom activity!

But alas, morning rolled around again, and this time the young man had to go to work. His new girlfriend actually cried. She said she didn't know how she would get through the day without him. He kissed her goodbye and went to work.

She texted him every 15 minutes and called him three times before lunch. After lunch she started calling every hour to find out when he would be home. When she wasn't tying up the phone, she was texting nonstop, including some photos that were definitely NSFW.

When the guy got home from work, his girlfriend mobbed him at the door and smothered him with kisses. She had prepared a lavish dinner for them, and she stared lovingly at him throughout it. Then he remembered that it was Dev Night.

"Sweetie," he said, "every Tuesday I go to Dev Night. That's where a bunch of us talk about video games we are creating ... you know, throwing ideas back and forth, checking out the coding, critiquing other video games ... I always go."

Again the girl began to cry. She said she couldn't stand it if he was out without her, after she had to spend the whole day without him. She begged him to take her along, so he did. The whole night she clung to his arm and tried to distract him from the conversations. But when they got home, OH yeah! Back in the sack! He didn't sleep too well with her curled around him like a python, but what's a guy gonna do?

Every day was the same. The girlfriend would scream and cry when he had to leave for work. She would text and call him relentlessly until he returned, and then she wouldn't let him out of her sight. He couldn't get a beer with the boys. He couldn't even watch a ball game without her climbing all over him. She seemed to have no other life than just him. All the time.

Finally the young man went back to see the old fellow who made the love potions. The old man didn't seem very surprised to see him.

"Say, remember that love potion you sold me?" the young man asked.

"Of course I do," the old man responded.

"Well, do you have any potions that can undo the potion you gave me?"

"Of course I do!" exclaimed the old man. "I wouldn't make a potion that didn't have an antidote."

"Well," the young man said, "How much is the antidote? I really need it."

The old man stroked his chin. "Ten thousand dollars," he replied.

Now look at old Anansi! He's really disappointed He didn't come up with this one! I know, Anansi. It's a doozy.

How, you ask, does this charming tale relate to your magic wand and how you might use it to make someone fall in love with you? I'll just say this: Weaving love magic is tricky business. There's an old saying, "Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it." That gal or dude you are sizing up for a magic-wand-moment might not be exactly what you bargained for.

This is a roundabout way of saying that I personally do not recommend using a magic wand to make someone fall in love with you. But stay tuned, because wands are really, really terrific at making you fall in love with yourself.

See you soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

How Do Magic Wands Work?

Hello, and welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," dedicated to Gods and ancestors and Nature Spirits and Sacred Animals and Silly Tricksters ... and not necessarily in that order! My name is Anne Johnson (really), and I've hovered over the proceedings here since 2005.

Before I address the complicated question of how magic wands work, I feel like I should offer my credentials as a Pagan, so you'll know I'm not a phony or anything.

I see faeries. I worship vultures. I am crackerjack at explaining weird dreams.

No diploma, no particular set Path or pantheon. "To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle." (Walt Whitman) And that's good enough for me. So, we will proceed.

In the movies, people point wands, and stuff explodes. Or they point wands,  and the bad guy goes reeling off a convenient cliff. Well, that's the movies. If you want to make something explode, buy some fireworks. Follow the safety instructions.

Wands exist to make inner intentions manifest in the material world.

Whoa. Whoa! Complicated lingo there. Let me try again:

Wands help to make what you're feeling on the inside come to fruition in your everyday life.

Let's take a very simple example.

You need money, and you have a magic wand. You hold the wand by the "Earth" end, and you say, "I need to increase my financial fortune." You picture in your mind the way this can be done, both in miraculous ways and in everyday ways. The wand will probably lead you into the everyday means of money-making (and you'll go with power, since you have a wand). But it may also reward you with some unexpected (i.e. "miracle") money. How? Well, if you are intending to find money by legal means, you'll be more vigilant in your search for it. You might put your hands deeper into the pockets of your coats. You'll look more sharply along the street for some dropped cash. If your intention is to get some money, and you are positive about it (and not negative, meaning of criminal bent), the wand will strengthen you.

Now, my dear young readers, the few other Pagans who read this blog are now rolling their eyes, because it's such a stereotype to suggest that a magic wand can increase your fortune, or make someone fall in love with you, or save Granny from her cancer.

But I say, if you have a magic wand, and you drive it with positive intentions, it will work for you. Do you intend it to work? Intention is more than half the battle.

And so but you are saying, "Wait. Can a magic wand really save my dying Granny?"

What do you think? Granny, like all of us, faces the laws of Nature. So no, the wand can't keep her in the apparent world forever (or as long as you need her). However, if you adjust your intention with the wand, you will forge a bond with Granny that will transcend the apparent world.

Suppose instead of pointing the wand at Granny (Earth end in your hand) and saying, "Magic wand, save my Granny," you held the wand and said, "May my bond with Granny never be broken." The power of the wand will create such a fantastic connection between you and your ancestor that, so long as you live, she will be a guide and a deep part of you. And then, no matter what pantheon you follow -- even if you're a non-believer -- you will be reunited with her at another time.

EXHIBIT A: WANDS SAVE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES


This is me, with my working wand, placing an intention at the Environmental Protection Agency on the day of the Women's March on Washington. I didn't say, "Wand, save the EPA." I said, "Intentions for protection of this space." Now I intend individually to protect that government agency, and the wand powers me up to do so. It also empowers me to seek others who can do that work with me.

Wands concentrate your intentions and give them power, so you can enact them. Oh, yes! This can be good or bad. I'll talk to you more about it another day ... so don't go love-wanding just yet.

For handy instructions on making a wand, see the post below.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

How To Make a Magic Wand

The Harry Potter series made magic wands kind of popular and trendy, but wands have always been around. There are two kinds: ceremonial wands and working wands. Today, Teacher Annie is going to tell you how to make a working wand!

Steps for Making a Working Wand:

1. Find a stick that is no longer than your forearm. Half the length of your forearm is better. You need to be able to hold it in your hand with about four to five inches of it extending beyond your hand. Your stick can come from a tree that is special to you. You can find it along the road. Personally I like driftwood, since it's smooth, but a nice sturdy stretch of any tree or branch is good. (A loved one can give you this stick. This includes the trusty canine.) It's also okay to buy a fancy carved wand from a vendor or artist. Me personally, I don't want to call attention to my working wand, so I favor ordinary sticks.

2. Power your working wand with Earth. Place the end you'll be holding into the soil of a land base you love. (If you love the beach, placing it in sand will be great.) Tell the wand what you are doing. Example: "I am charging this wand with Earth energy from this land that I love."

3. Power your working wand with Water. Place the whole wand in a body of water that has significance to you. This can be anything from your fragrant bubble bath to the churning surf of the ocean ... and everything in between. You can power a working wand in a rain puddle or a bird bath. I wouldn't recommend a bottle of spring water, because all that plastic, you know? Instead, fill a casserole dish with tap water, if you're in a hurry. Tell the wand what you are doing. Example: "I am charging this wand with Water energy to surround it with a power source."

4. Power your working wand with Fire. Place the end you'll be pointing in any fire, from a campfire to the flame on a gas stove or a candle. Remember, all you want to do is char the tip. You don't want to burn the whole thing or your fingers! Tell the wand what you are doing. Example: "I am charging this wand with Fire energy for purity and light."

5. Power your working wand with Air. Take it to a musical concert or a drum circle. If there's no concert handy, turn on your favorite tunes really loud. Hold the wand in front of the music. Music is vibration in the air. That's why it's so wonderful. Tell the wand what you are doing. Example: "I am charging this wand with Air energy so it becomes filled with the sky."

6. Power your working wand with Spirit. Hold it close to your heart. Speak kindly to it. Fill it with your most loving and positive thoughts. Take it to bed with you while you sleep, keeping it close to your face. Don't deliberately fill it with nastiness or negativity! You don't need that kind of aggravation in your life. The whole world is nasty. You want your wand to be different.

There you have it! A working wand. It's really that easy.

 I carry my working wand in my purse or in a pocket. When I'm teaching school and I want things to go smoothly, I put it on my desk.

So, what do you do when curious minds ask you about your wand?

Example: A student said to me, "Miss, why do you have a stick on your desk?"

Sample answers:

*I like sticks.
*Why don't you have a stick on your desk?
*This is my favorite stick.
*Get back to work.

(Actually I think I said something like, "Have you finished the assignment, Student? Let me see how you did.")

The important thing here is to not divulge that your "stick" is a working wand. If you do identify it as a working wand to a friend or colleague, be sure you totally trust that person. Magic isn't showy. It's not fashionable. It's best kept secret, just between you and your wand ... until you need to use it in the public sphere.


Now that you have a working wand, you must be asking yourself: What can I do with it? Stay tuned. I'll address that in my next lesson!



Friday, July 06, 2018

I Was Wrong about These Creatures, but the Battle Is Engaged

I started blogging in 2005 because I opened the morning newspaper and read that some woman got her dog's vet bills paid by her blog fans. I had a cat, and so I thought, "What the hell? Give it a go."

So I came here to Blogger, and suddenly I had choices to make:

*What would my blog be about?
*Would it be funny or serious?
*How long before I could ask my readers to pay the cat's vet bills?

Turns out the answers to those questions were:

*Paganism and politics
*funny
*never have -- but Gamma Cat is still young

EXHIBIT A: GAMMA


I began "The Gods Are Bored" as a humor blog, and nowhere was my stinging wit more focused than upon "prayer warriors," those so-called Christians who have weaponized the faith and seek to impose their worldview on the rest of us through politics.

Back in 2005 I thought these people were stupid and harmless. I compared them to hippies, even calling them "chippies" because they were such a small minority of Americans, and yet they had an outsize influence on the national narrative.

They are still a minority of Americans. But they are calling the shots. They will soon own the Supreme Court -- not because they feel like corporate overlords should have free reign, but because they want to make abortion illegal. The sad thing is, while they will gleefully celebrate getting their way on abortion, they might not be ready for the blow-back.

Chippies, you will be the victims of your own battle tactics.

In your zeal to overturn Roe v. Wade, you've allowed big money to gush into politics. That would be great if all the rich people were of your mindset, but they aren't. Some have gladly harnessed your single-minded religious zeal to promote their agendas (fossil fuels, union-busting). But now there are other rich donors stepping forward, tossing great hoards of ducats around to thwart your plans.

In your zeal to overturn Roe v. Wade, you allied yourself to a foul-mouthed, childish brute who is detested across the globe and loathed by quite a hefty number of your fellow Americans. Chippies, how are your children behaving, with Donald J. Trump as your family hero? Do you take your kids to his rallies? Do you tell them that it's okay to support someone who is an unabashed sinner if he supports your agenda? What kind of message are your kids getting from that strategy? Do you tell your kids that Donald Trump is a "baby Christian" who hasn't quite learned the Holy Bible yet? How long will they fall for that, in light of Trump's behavior? Remember, they admire who you admire ... they're just not sophisticated about it yet.

In your zeal to overturn Roe v. Wade, you have created a hostile environment for living children all across the globe. Let's see: We've got climate change causing political turmoil, floods, and drought; we've got immigrant kids locked up in cages; we've got planned rollbacks in nutrition programs for poor children, and we're slipping backwards into a degraded environment full of pollution and toxins. But all that's okay, right? The baker doesn't have to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

In your zeal to overturn Roe v. Wade, you may be alienating your most important constituency: your own descendants. You can home school them, you can surround them with only people who think the way you do, you can choose their friends and set a good example of godliness for them. But the ones who can think will desert you. The ones with curiosity will spurn you. The ones with critical thinking skills will do a zero sum analysis while checking out a banned podcast and decide that you are truly evil human beings. This will be your legacy. Your children will jump ship.

Wow, Anne, that's a bold prediction! However could you make it?

I was exposed to chippies as a kid. My mother sent me to their church because she felt like her own church wasn't stern enough. It took me six months at the tender age of eight to realize that the whole "prayer warrior" thing wasn't what Jesus would do, wasn't in fact based on the Bible at all.

But you go right ahead, chippies. You celebrate your Pyrrhic victory.

Your children will be in other rooms, listening to other voices. Listening to other, more sensible Gods.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Many Uses for Kidnapped Children

TRIGGER WARNING: This post is not funny. It contains ruminations on child abuse.


A few years ago I took a tour of a place called the Coriell Institute. At Corielle, scientists are trying to engineer stem cells to grow new organs. They are also working on reversing the aging process.

This research is funded by billionaire philanthropists. It's a tax write-off.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out why super rich people would want to fund this kind of research. They live the high life, and they love it, and they want to live forever. They're funding Coriell hoping that it will be able to reverse their aging and provide them with new organs.

Trouble is, scientific research takes time, and some of these billionaires are getting up in age. What if they need a heart, and Coriell hasn't perfected their heart cells yet?

Let's rewind a bit.

When I was in college, I had a professor who had fled Cuba in the 1950s. He wrote about Cuban prisoners, and how their organs were "harvested" when people in the ruling regime needed them. There's also the well-documented case of "the disappeared" in Argentina. Young people who vanished without a trace, leaving behind frightened and grieving parents.

There are more than 2300 children floating around our country right now. It's clear that some of them are in for-profit care centers and ultra-Christian foster homes. But are they all accounted for? Will we ever know for sure that these children have returned to the arms of their mothers? Frankly, I wouldn't believe it if I witnessed it with my own eyes.

America, welcome to the Heart of Darkness.

My family says I'm crazy. History says I'm not.

Defenseless children are trafficked.
Defenseless children are enslaved.
Defenseless children are valued for their healthy organs.
Defenseless children can be used as research subjects.
Defenseless children are easily "disappeared."

When Donald Trump was elected, with a Republican majority in both houses and a Supreme Court seat left deliberately vacant, I braced for the worst. But I never imagined this worst.

Somewhere, a billionaire hedge fund manager needs a new heart. Somewhere, a little refugee kid is having his blood typed.

Reader, I am sorry. This was once a humor blog. But that was before everything I joked about the most actually came true in the apparent world.

To the wealthy donors of Coriell Institute: The Reaper will come for you. You can only delay Him. And I hope you do ... long enough that you will be able to look up into the sky and see the asteroid that will lay waste to you.

The wrath of the Gods onto billionaires.
The wrath of the Gods onto "prayer warriors."
They are creating a Hell and calling it holy.