A note: The “gate” I refer to is the gate mentioned in the guided meditation I was following. The narrator says to ask for a key, and then open the gate with it, and following this your spirit guide will appear.
20 February 2016
I was attempting to channel my spirit guide. Throughout, I was entranced by an overwhelming white light. Sometimes it would be embellished with various other colors such as blue, green and red. As I relaxed and concentrated more on the gate, I asked for the key several times and it was handed to me by an unknown source. I stood for many minutes, for what seemed like an eternity. When I finally let myself open the gate, the white light burst out and flourished many other colors. Slowly, a human-like figure appeared. I believe it was a woman, though her face was hard to distinguish. It seemed a pale blue, her eyes looked up and outward. She said nothing to me. When I opened my eyes, my body felt tingly and light, like a soft breeze.
Homosexuality tends to be an ambiguous topic in the Wicca and pagan community. But it usually depends on who you ask. Many in the New Wicca tradition welcome gay followers, not just tolerate them. They realize that in the spiritual realm, labels that the outside world has given them don’t apply as much. They also know that there are many advantages to having LGBT members in their coven. (to be discussed later)
On the other hand, gender roles may be called for in traditions such as Gardnerian Wicca. It can be difficult to join a coven or tradition that is Gardnerian or Alexandrian due to its heavy emphasis on gender and sexual polarity. Usually, it will feel totally inappropriate for a gay person or couple to be in a “traditional” coven. However, it is possible if they focus more on spirit than on reproductive organs. With a bit of clever rewriting of gender pronouns, you’d be all set to rock n’ roll! Just make sure you proceed with caution, since some Gardnerian’s will argue against this. They may not be flexible when strict gender assignments are involved. Most pagans understand, though, that the Divine has no genitalia.
According to official Wicca beliefs, there are three natural sexualities: heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality (Religious Tolerance). Most of us believe that sexuality is a gift, and ought to be regarded and valued as such. Of course, one must engage in it with responsibility and respect, and never with coercion or manipulation. Sex can be a very joyous and fulfilling experience for a committed couple, whether they are straight or gay. As you may know, there is even a ritual that involves sexual intercourse called The Great Rite. It must always be celebrated consensually, by a loving couple, in private. The conclusion here is that it is perfectly acceptable to be gay and follow witchcraft or paganism as your spiritual path. The official rules are on your side!
“Wicca Spirituality arises from the creative heart of each person who practices it.”
No matter which path you choose to follow, you can adapt it to fit your own personal and spiritual needs. Wicca emphasizes personal responsibility and independence. Most queer folks are fiercely independent and have learned how to follow the beat of their own drum. The New Wicca is not stained with judgmental attitudes of the past, nor does it try to tell its followers exactly what it can and cannot believe. Same-sex relationships are typically seen as identical to straight ones. Lastly, LGBT people are skeptical of gender assignments and intolerance in general (and rightfully so!)
Now, there are many gifts that gays can bring to Wicca. First off, LGBT people are usually considered “two-spirited” people. In other words, some gay men have Goddess qualities, and likewise some lesbians also possess God qualities within them. This oneness can help us get past the duality of the world. It can also help us cross barriers that have been erected in society that place people in boxes. We are not made of ticky-tacky! Each person is different, however each person holds within them Divinity. This is what connects us all.
LGBT people are being brought into the world in abundance during this period in history. In my humble opinion, the reason is to bring their healing gifts to the human race and help us to realize that the heart is greater than hate. So go ahead and let your queer flag fly. You never know when it might help heal someone’s soul!
Great news! My novel, Some Kind of Vengeance, is now published and available (in e-book format) for only $4.99.
Check it out here:
It’s a blitz-read as I call it. In other words, you can finish it in 90 minutes or less if you read it all in one sitting.
Just a quick update for you guys. I should be putting up a full post soon. Stay tuned!
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Michael Marino has finally finished the manuscript for his novel, Some Kind of Vengeance! (Formerly known as Good Criminals)
Indeed, after three long, grueling years of typing like a crazed madman at all hours of the day and night, as well as taking looong hiatuses from writing (the last one being about 8 months I believe)… I have completed. It’s quite an ambiguous feeling because on one hand, it is done: the basic plot is there, start to finish, and it is a whole story. Most of the characters are fully developed, understandable and at least somewhat relatable. But on the other hand, there is still so very much to be done. I will have to edit all of it with a fine-tooth comb, and go through the process of getting it self-published on Amazon and the like. I refuse to go through a traditional publisher because it’s too much money and I have a super limited budget, considering I currently go to school full time and only work part time.
It’s taken a lot of coffee and a lot of support from people (namely my mother, and my two best friends) to get where I am today, and it will likely take a whole lot more to get to the final stage of actually publishing the book for the world to see. I am fully ready to go 110 miles per hour at this point to get it all done. I’m set to move on to my next writing project, although it will likely be difficult because I’ve grown so attached to these characters over the past 36 months.
Anyway, thank you for reading this update! I will be sure to keep you all in the loop as I round each corner to finally get this thing published.
I can feel the nostalgia coursing through my veins as I write this post! I just discovered a bunch of my old “Weekly Writings” from my 8th grade year of middle school on my laptop’s hard drive. It was just 3 short years ago, but it feels more like 30 to be honest. I was about 14 or 15 when I wrote this; I am now 18. I thought I was soo clever back then. I have replaced my school’s name with brackets  where it appears to protect my privacy. Without further adieu, my summary of eighth grade:
Oh, eighth grade, how fast you’ve gone by. My entire time here at [a public] Middle School seems to have gone very quickly. It seems like just yesterday, I was timid little sixth grader, just trying to fit in. That didn’t last for long though. Soon enough, schedules were memorized, old friendships were rekindled and new ones were made. We all sort of formed our little groups; our special clans, without knowing it really. Yes, yes, soon enough we all knew our place.
This year, my eighth one at [middle school], has really been a blast. I’ve tried so many new things and been in so many clubs I can’t even count them! From ReACT to Student Council, Track to Marching Band. I’ve made some really great friends and we all shared the fun on the wild ride of grade eight… there’s way too many to list in one Weekly Writing. If I said I was ever bored, I’d be lying. If I said I never had to challenge myself, I’d be wrong. But that’s what makes the game of middle school (and life) so great! Constantly expanding your mind, and always trying something new.
The memories I’ve made over the past eight years have truly been something. I’m a bit nervous to move on to high school, to tell you the truth. I’ve never known a school besides [this one]. Whatever am I to do next year when I’m surrounded (well, sort of surrounded) by strangers and teachers I’ve never met? I suppose I’ll just have to “go with the flow” as they say. But no matter what school I attend, what I choose to do with my life, or how life in general turns out, I’ll always remember the big red school in which I grew up. I’ll always be a lion, and [this school] will always be in my heart.
The more I think about death, I realize it’s nothing terrible within the overall scheme of nature. It’s just part of cycle of the universe. Our physical bodies are just temporary vessels, but the soul is everlasting. There are more dead souls than there will ever be living people. This is a grand idea because if I were to die right now, I could go and be free with the universe without limitation. I could meet all the greats of the past… Aristotle, Galileo, Martin Luther King, Jesus etc. I would rather be free than trapped in this bubble of judgement, hatred and cruelty we live in called “Earth.” However, I’m not one to try to and tempt fate. When my time comes, I will welcome it, but I’m in no hurry to find out.
A poem about autumn
The winds of change are blowing
I can feel its harshness as it rushes across my face
and see its hand print on all the leaves
As the grass turns from green to brown
And my skin from dark to white
I feel the world compressing, condensing
as Nature cleans out the closet of the living
and prepares for the yearly death.
Wicca is a little known, neopagan religion that I find fascinating and inspiring. I am fascinated by its uniqueness and inspired by its simplistic yet powerful beliefs.
The main difference between Wicca and most other religions is that it is decentralized, meaning it has no hierarchy of leaders or authority figures. Most (about 90%) of Wiccans are solitary practitioners, but some may form small groups called covens. These covens usually consist of a high priest or priestess, sometimes both to represent the polarity of the genders, which will be explained in further detail later.
Due to its lack of leadership, there are many different sects and denominations that are known as traditions. There are about as many traditions as there are followers! Each has its own particular set of beliefs, however in 1973 a group of 73 representatives from many different Wicca paths came together in Minneapolis to form a temporary “Council of American Witches” under the leadership of Carl Weschchke. The group successfully created a list of core beliefs that harmonized the systems of Wiccan traditions at that time. Shortly thereafter, the group disbanded. But today, most American Wiccans still endorse these main principles: (also, the ones I find so moving and powerful)
- The Three-fold Law: Otherwise known as karma, the three-fold law states: “All good or harmful deeds a person does in this life, are returned upon them three-fold.” This belief strongly motivates each Wiccan to avoid attempting to dominate, manipulate, or harm another person in any way.
- The Rede: This is the most emphasized teaching of Wicca, it says: “An’ it harm none, do what thou wilt.” Translated into modern English, this means “If it does not harm anyone, including yourself, then do what you wish.” This has been criticized for being too permissive. However, the Rede is actually quite demanding because it requires a Wiccan to carefully evaluate all of the effects that each of their decisions have on themselves, other people, future generations, the environment, etc.
- Respect for Nature: Wicca is a natural religion, grounded in concern for the earth. Some Wiccans believe that all living things (including stars, planets, humans, animals, plants, rocks) have a spirit of some type. Many Wiccan rituals deal with bringing harmony and healing to nature. The vast majority of Wiccans share a great concern for the environment.
- No Absolute Evil: For this, I will simply quote from the meeting of 1973: “We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as ‘Satan’ or ‘the Devil’ as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by harm to another.”
- Gender equality: Wiccans celebrate the sexual polarity of nature. For example, the fertilizing rain is one manifestation of the male principle; the nurturing earth symbolizes the female. Females are respected as equal (and sometimes at a slightly higher rank) to males. In a coven — a local group of Wiccans — a priestess is often the most senior person. They aim for a female-male balance in most of their covens , although men are typically in the minority.
- Magick: “We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it – a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft – the Wiccan Way.” According to most Wiccans, magick is not the supernatural hurly-burly that the mainstream media portrays to us. They seek to understand and control their world through spells and rituals that are meant to enhance their lives. The magick performed by Wiccans are subject to all other beliefs listed above, including the Rede and three-fold law. Black magic, or evil magic that is intended to harm others or oneself, is frowned upon by Wiccan people.
I will be continuing to write posts related to Wicca in the near future, including how the religion has interacted with modern issues, discussion of the different varieties and sects, etc. Until then, remember: whatever you do, it will come back to you! So spread positive vibes and be the change you want to see!
Recently, NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo helped out a barefoot homeless man by buying him some socks and a $75 pair of all-weather boots.
According to CNN, he said:
“It was extremely cold out, and … you could see the blisters from like 10, 15 feet away. He was a gentleman when I had spoken to him, and I knew I had to help him.”
DePrimo was captured on camera while performing this random act of kindness, and has since received over 513,000 likes, 185,000 shares and 39,000 comments on Facebook. Most of the comments were praise for the officer, but of course, there are some people who have to be negative ankle-biters. People who said things like:
“This guy is only barefoot as a begging strategy,” wrote David Levy. “I’ve been seeing him around midtown for years. I’ve even witnessed someone buy him slippers in a freezing day which he promptly put in his shopping cart.”
“Clever stunt! The (man) is ‘parked’ at the entrance of a shoe shop. He got like 10 pairs that day,” commented Louis Zehmke.
Now, I know that there are some people who just beg for money because they are too lazy to get a job or sustain themselves. But can’t people get over that for just a moment and recognize the goodness in all this? It warmed my heart that there are still people like Larry DePrimo out there. People who are so selfless, so giving, that they would drop everything and buy an old homeless man a pair of boots. $75 boots!
And I really doubt that the man is a “professional beggar.” I’ve seen some pretty clever begging stunts, but being barefoot in twenty degree weather is a little extreme. Seriously, people like Louis Zehmke absolutely amaze me! Does she have nothing better to do than watch some homeless dude all day? (That wouldn’t surprise me, actually.) Get a hobby!
Well, that’s just my humble opinion. Agree or disagree with me? Well… whatever, I don’t care.
Well, I’ve completed Chapter 4 and am currently working on 5. Sorry it’s been so long, I kind of got side tracked from writing for a while! I am considering the title “Caliban”. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments. Anyway, enjoy the fourth chapter!
“Don’t move!” they said grimly. Daniel immediately knew it was a woman by the voice. She had him in a choke hold, with a knife in one hand and a rope in the other.
Daniel’s mind and heart were racing. At first, he didn’t even know what hit him. But he quickly realized who was attacking him. So this is it? he thought, she’s going to kill me and I have no clue why.
“Don’t say a word or I’ll cut your throat!” she hissed. She began pushing him forward and down the stairs slowly; tying his hands behind his back at the same time. Daniel was stumbling on each step. “Keep your balance, dumb ass,” she said.
Eventually Daniel and Caliban were standing in front of the parking lot.
“Which one of these is yours?” she asked.
“I don’t have to-
“Tell me or you die!” she snapped.
Daniel did not object further. He pointed to his little red Mercury.
“Lead us over there,” Caliban said, “and don’t try anything stupid.” She still held him tightly around the neck. It was becoming difficult for him to breathe and his mouth felt like desert sand.
Daniel seriously considered kicking her in the stomach, but decided against it. It probably wouldn’t phase her much and she’d just catch him anyway.
Daniel slid into the driver side, as Caliban advised him to, and she in the passenger side.
“Drive,” she said.
“Well, I can’t exactly drive with my hands tied,” Daniel said. He almost laughed… almost.
She sighed, hurriedly untied him and said again, “Drive.”
“Just drive,” she said, “and make it snappy.”
“I don’t have my keys,” Daniel said. Which was a lie.
Caliban reached over into his pocket and pulled out his key ring before he could even react, and dangled them from her hand. So much for that idea.
“You think you’re funny?” she said, and slapped the keys down on Daniel’s lap. “Now drive, smartass!”
Soon they were on the road, driving along in silence. Caliban decided to break the silence.
“So, how ’bout them Steelers today?”
I’m being abducted, and she’s making small talk? Daniel thought. What is this? He said nothing.
“Don’t want to talk about it?” she said. “Fine, let’s start with something simple. What’s your name?”
Daniel remained quiet.
“Look, kid, I know this isn’t something you wanted to happen. But now we’re together, so let’s talk. What’s your name?”
“Here’s a question for you.” Daniel said. “Was that note you left at my door true, or was it a lie?”
“Fine, I’ll answer that.” she replied. “No, it wasn’t true. It was meant to scare you, possibly confuse you. But I could not tap into everything you did. Get on the interstate here. Okay, your turn. What’s your name?”
“Daniel. And Caliban isn’t your real name, is it?”
“No, my name is Nora.”
“So what do you want from me, Nora?”
“I shouldn’t tell you now. But just to be clear, I didn’t kidnap you to kill or rape you. Right now, just keep driving to my house.”
“So that’s where I’m taking you? Your house? For what?”
“Just keep driving.”
“No!” Daniel said, and pulled off to the side of the highway abruptly. “No, I’m not moving another inch until you tell me why in the hell you’re abducting me and taking me to your fucking house!”
Nora stared at him for several moments before sighing, and finally saying, “Fine. I need you to help me kill someone.”
Daniel just looked at her for a minute. “Please, do elaborate,” he said almost satirically.
“My brother Mark got hurt in a car accident recently that wasn’t his fault. And by hurt, I mean badly. Nearly paralyzed. His car was flipped onto it’s side. The guy who caused the wreck was drunk. Normally, that would have gotten him some prison time and a hefty fine. They even had evidence found at the scene, a six-pack in the back of the guy’s car; but it was never officially turned into the police. But that doesn’t matter, the problem is that the dumb ass who did it is the son of a cop. A dirty cop. A cop that would do anything to protect his child from facing their consequences. So now his little shit faced coward of a son is pretty much off the hook for almost killing my brother.”
Daniel sat and considered this. After a while, he said, “So you want me to help you kill… the cop?”
“No, his son. He’s a career drunk. We get rid of him, it’ll mean one less scumbag for the earth to deal with, and it’ll teach his dad a lesson.”
“Don’t you think you’re overreacting just the slightest bit here?” Daniel said.
“Not at all. And if you help me, there’ll be a reward. A nice reward,” Nora replied.
“Even so, why would I want to risk my entire life to help you, a stranger, kill someone that I have very sketchy details about?”
“You’re looking at it the wrong way.”
“Looking at it the wrong way?” Daniel repeated. He was becoming slightly irritated with this woman. “How exactly am I looking at it wrong?”
“Well, that reward I mentioned, it’s five thousand dollars and plus…”
“And what if we get caught, Nora?” Daniel interrupted. “Both our lives would be over. Completely. Done. We’d be in prison for the rest of our days. I have a life, you know. I have friends, a family, a college degree to get, a career to pursue. And I’m sure you have other things to take care of in your life.”
“Sure. Right,” Daniel said angrily. “Well, I’m not helping you, and since you promised not to kill me, just get out of my car and walk your ass home. I don’t have to take-”
“Please!” Nora said with a sudden despair in her voice. “Please, you have to help me. You don’t know what this means to me. Justice for my baby brother. One less monster to deal with…” She trailed off. She was nearly in tears. “All my life, I’ve had nothing but pain. My mom died when I was eight, my dad was a drug addict. I had one friend in school, and she died in a motorcycle accident. I barely graduated high school. Just, please help me do this one thing. Please.”
Daniel couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. There was something sincere about they way she spoke; something tragic. She was certainly an attractive woman for all her hardships. He slowly began to have a change of heart. He didn’t really know why, but he felt something within himself. Maybe it was because of her tragic story, maybe it was his underlying desire for justice in the world, or maybe it was just because she was damn good looking. Whatever the reason, Daniel made the mental decision to help Nora in whatever way possible. This woman threatened to slit his throat no less than a half-hour ago, and now he was agreeing to help her kill someone else. What a coincidence.
“Alright, I’ll do it,” Daniel said.
“Really? You promise?” Nora asked, surprised.