Ye must live an' let live, fairly take and fairly give.

This time I will focus less on what Mark Ventimiglia says in his book, because this line I would like to interpret for myself. It may seem self-explanatory. To me it almost is, but my opinions do differ here from his. So below, this is all me.

"Ye must live." This line has several meanings in itself. The Rede urges us to live. Does it mean to let our lives go naturally, or to live life to the fullest? To me it is both. Realize that each day, you are alive. Your choices influence the world around you. One should strive to make positive contributions to the world as often as possible. Help a friend, show someone you care, do something to take the load off of someone else. These things can be small, but they build up to be something huge.

"An' let live." This is the other side to life; realizing that you are not the only person in the world. There are other people, other valid points of few, and an infinite number of things that deserve respect and acknowledgment. These three simple words bid us not to interfere with another life in a harmful way. Do not kill an animal just for the sake of killing it. Try to disturb as little of nature as possible. Perhaps this also goes into the "fairly take" part of the line as well. If you must disturb life, either harvesting plants or hunting animals, then take as much as you need but don't become greedy and wasteful.

"Fairly take." One should only take as much as they need, or what actually belongs to them. There is a morality here: do not steal, do not more of anything than you deserve.

"Fairly give." Greed is an ugly thing. There is a true pleasure in being able to share with others. You share love and happiness as well as good will. But there is a line in giving that one has to be aware of. These are covered much later in the two lines, "When ye have an' hold a need, hearken not to others' greed" and "With a fool no season spend, lest ye be counted as her friend." I will save these two for their own time, and only say here: do not let people abuse your good will. True friends will stay with you even if you have no wealth to share.

In all, this line of the Wiccan Rede teaches us to live our lives in balance. Recognize the importance of everything around you, and your own place in the world. Do not let greed get the best of you. If you have what you need, then everything else should flow. There is nothing wrong with enjoying some luxuries, but overindulgence takes the fun out of a treat. ;)

What do you think?

Bide the Wiccan Law ye must; in perfect love, in perfect trust.

This is the first line of the Wiccan Rede, and where we'll start off.

Mark Ventimiglia starts by describing the rise of Christianity and the Church's efforts to convert other countries to their religion. (Any typos are mine.)

"However, there was not the immediate mass conversion to Christianity that history often suggests. The new religion was just that, a newly created man-made religion. It did not evolve slowly over many millenniums, as did Paganism. In fact, often entire nations were classified as Christian countries when in truth it was only their leaders who had adopted the new faith. Throughout the whole of Europe, and Britain as well, paganism continued to exist, more or less, during the first thousand years of Christianity." -- Mark Ventimiglia

There is no doubt that the Catholic Church held great power in this time. In my opinion, it was more influential than kings, especially at it's height. It still holds power today. Now I mean no disrespect to the Catholic Church, but I don't think I would have enjoyed being alive during that time. Despite the pressure to convert, paganism lived on through different people. There is enough history of witch hunts to prove this.

The height of witch hunts in Europe began in the 1500s and largely came to an end in the late 1600s. Nearly everyone is familiar with the famous Salem Witch Trials that occurred in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Nineteen people were hanged for witch craft, one man was pressed to death, and several more died in prison. There are many different theorized causes of that time of hysteria. All that I can say is that many good people had their lives destroyed by these hunts. Many of those killed probably had nothing to do with paganism, but that is a different story.

Fact is that anyone who actually did practice witchcraft had every reason to fear during that stretch of time. Just looking at the implements of torture that were also popular during the time, I couldn't blame them. I can't even bear to read about those methods of torture. Again, I'm very glad I didn't live during that time period.

So we come to the point, and what Mark Ventimiglia believes the first line of the Wiccan Rede means. It is an oath for practitioners to live by. This is almost hard to imagine today, because in their time it meant that if a member of the coven was captured and tortured, they would never reveal whoever else was a witch. I cannot attest to how well they were or were not able to keep their oath. Many non-pagans were tortured until they confessed imaginary crimes as well.

The dark times are behind us, fortunately. What does "perfect love" and "perfect trust" mean in today's world?

Love and trust are essential in a relationship with another person. When joining a coven, it is important that you are able to completely trust the other members and that they are also able to trust you. You should feel completely comfortable. Magic isn't about glitz and glam, or snapping your fingers and turning people into toads. It is a spiritual religion, a way of thinking about the world and how to live your life.

"In perfect love, in Perfect trust", in my opinion, reflects a deep level of commitment. There is true belief involved, dedication, and love in your heart. If any of these are lacking, then nothing else will work, which is why the Wiccan Rede begins with this line. After all, you have to believe in magic for it to work. What is the point in following a faith, a system of beliefs that you yourself do not believe in?

Thoughts? These are just mine.
I haven't made any progress on writing my novel, so I thought I'd begin something I wanted to do for a little while.

Wicca is something I've been interested in for at least 6 years. I don't practice it anymore nor have I ever claimed to be Wiccan, but I still find it interesting and would like to study it again. The thing I like about it is that the beliefs are unique to each person. Personally I always believed that there should be some core principals that ground it, and then everyone can have their own unique ideas of how to practice and branches of what else they believe. Apparently that isn't the case. But oh well. That's probably why I would never get along with a coven.

I have this lovely little book called "The Wiccan Rede" by Mark Ventimiglia. It is largely devoted to explaining the Wiccan Rede verse by verse, and then there is added information about some spells, the lingo, herbs, etc. I thought I would read through it and make a post of my thoughts for each line, or a few at once if I don't have much to say about something. I will add links as I update with my thoughts on each line.

This is the Wiccan Rede, as written in the book:

Bide the Wiccan Law ye must; in perfect love, in perfect trust.
Cast the circle thrice about, to keep unwelcomed spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be spoken in rhyme.
Soft of eye an' light of touch, speak ye little an' listen much.
Deosil go by waxing moon, chanting out the Seax-Wiccan Runes.
Widdershins go by waning moon, chanting out thy baneful tune.
When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to her times two.
When the moon rides at her peak, then thou heart's desire seek.
Heed the north wind's mighty gale, lock the door an' trim the sail.
When the wind comes from the south,
love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the west, departed spirits have no rest.
When the wind blows from the east,
expect the new an' set the feast.
Nine woods in the cauldron go,
burn them fast and burn them slow.
Elder be the Lady's tree, burn it not or cursed thou'll be.
When the wheel begins to turn, let the Beltane fires burn.
When the wheel has turned to Yule,
light the log an' the Horned One rules.
Heed ye flower, bush an' tree, by the Lady, bless'd be.
Where the rippling waters go, cast a stone an' truth thou'll know.
When ye have an' hold a need, hearken not to others' greed.
With a fool no season spend, lest ye be counted as her friend.
Merry meet an' merry part, bright the cheeks an' warm the heart.
Mind the Threefold Law ye should,
three times bad and three times good.
When misfortuned is enow, wear the witches' star on thy brow.
True in love forever be, lest thy lover's false to thee.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
An ye harm not, do as thou will.
I visited my step father in the hospital today. As it turns out, the right side of his heart (the side that still works) is dying. The main reason why he's in the hospital, though, is because his lungs are full of fluid. They're only working at about 30% capacity right now. He can't have surgery for his heart because he would die on the operating table.

Basically, all we can do is try to keep him healthy for as long as possible. I hope he'll get to see me graduate high school. When he gets home, he'll have to be on oxygen. They recommended he quit smoking, but at the same time I guess they don't expect that to happen. My mother told me they looked at his father's history, and his father went down the same road. His father had to quit smoking, and died 6 months later.

He's still Harry, though. He was absolutely disgusted with their diet plans for him, and their mutant "cholesterol-free" eggs. He told me the hospital custard tasted like shit. :P I don't think my mother will make him stick to the diet when he gets home.
So my step dad Harry is in the hospital right now. He hasn't been right for a while. His feet and legs were turning a ghostly blue and swelling up. He was getting more and more limited in his ability to walk. He has having chest pains and difficulty breathing, along with dizzy spells.

The other night my mother took him to the hospital yet again. This time instead of giving him a medication and sending him out, they realized that he had fluid in or around his lungs. I'm not sure, but my mother told me he was choking on it. He spent the night while they medicated him heavily to get the fluid out, but it didn't work too well I suppose. His breathing was still strained from that fluid so a few hours ago from writing this, they sent him to a different hospital a few hours away.

I keep trying to think of what his chances are. He's in his early 70s now, with a heart so bad that supposedly there's literally only half of [the original?] left. I'm not sure, but my mother implied that fluid buildup is related to his congestive heart failure. As my sister in law told her 2-year-old and 1-year-old, 'He's strong. He'll be back.' If it's very serious, I'm not so sure, unfortunately. He's a hell of an ornery guy, but he's been talking about death so much lately. My mother was in tears, but I can't trust that to see how bad it is. I have to focus on facts. The facts don't sound too good right now.

My mother just left and will be gone the weekend to stay near Harry. I sent my unicorn and whale ahead of me so that he will have me by his side tonight.

I hope the next time I blog about this, it will be to say he's doing much better.

P.S. for my mother's sake, and Harry's, I kindly request some prayers and good thoughts his way. Thank you. ♥
I was hoping to dedicate my first post to some benign about-me shindig. Instead I find myself actually having something important to blog. Really wish I didn't, in fact.

"There's a fire in the basement; get out!"

That's what I woke up to this morning, along with my mother running out of the house. I didn't know how much to panic. I put on my shoes and couldn't find my dog, so I grabbed her muzzle, thinking of the parking lot swarming with fire fighters and police officers. We didn't know what to do with the box of kittens, only a day old. They got left upstairs, even after my mother went back up to get my dumb dog out of the house.

My neighbor Steve was leaning over the porch railing, coughing and spitting onto the ground. His (very pregnant) wife had been the one to run upstairs and warn us. A small crowd was already gathered outside of evacuated tenants. There was a police officer directing traffic, and sirens in the distance. When I touched the railing on the porch, it was incredibly hot. I thought I could feel an incredible heat, imagining the entire foundation of the house ablaze. It wasn't good. I wanted to scream out, "Please help" when the fire truck finally ambled into the parking lot.

The last time the fire fighters were here, they tore up to another apartment building to find that the "blaze" they came to put out was a pizza box in an oven. It was surprising then they are didn't find a large stash of drugs in the person's apartment. This time they walked slowly to the basement as if they didn't believe us.

The crowd of people had migrated and clustered together, staring on. A lot of people were smirking. I couldn't bear to stand by them so I went to the truck where my mother had put my dog and made sure she could breathe in the heat. I realized about then that it was probably just the summer heat I felt, not a blaze that was consuming the entire foundation of the house. Still I had to know exactly what had happened so I could assess the level of danger for myself.

It didn't take long for my mother to come back with a full report of what happened. Living with a busybody manager has its perks. She told me that a pipe had cracked in the basement and was leaking water near a bunch of wires. What they thought happened was that now and then water would hit the wires and send sparks flying. Each time that happened, some flames might have ignited.

My neighbors had been up earlier socializing over coffee when the smoke detector went off. They have access to the basement in their apartment. It's very good to know that it's in safe hands. When Steve opened the basement door he said he smelled wires burning. He saw fire and told his wife to call 911, then confronted the problem himself.

Steve had the initiative to use his fire extinguisher on the flames, which was what caused him to cough and choke so much later. The fire chief said that if not for this the fire would not have been contained as well and could have been more serious. If my neighbors had been gone, those sparks and flames would have kept going until the entire basement really was a blazing inferno. Even if Steve hadn't had the nerve to do anything but leave his house, who knows what might have happened?

I've known too many people who lost their homes or businesses to fire. For a while, I felt the acute possibility that I was about to become one of them. I gave Steve a very big hug and thanked him for what he did.

Thank you, Steve.