Lakshmi, Kali, and frustrating misperceptions


An interesting article on getting your research done.
“…second, if we’re getting this much wrong about goddesses with a living tradition whose worship is well-documented, what are we getting wrong about ancient goddesses about whom we know even less?”

Originally posted on Mistress of the Hearth:

Mata Kali

Kali, the Divine Mother

ma-kaliTwice in the past week I’ve been offended by something a Pagan book said about a Hindu goddess. It’s made me think two things: first, that I need to write a book about the Devi for Pagans; second, if we’re getting this much wrong about goddesses with a living tradition whose worship is well-documented, what are we getting wrong about ancient goddesses about whom we know even less? Are the gods more multifaceted than we imagine them to be?three faces of kali

The first time was a book I’d seen reviewed on Patheos called Goddess Spells for Busy Girls. The book sounds lightweight and fun, but the reason I’d looked into it was because the review called it “a really important move away from the commercialism that plagued teen witchcraft marketing ten years ago” and said, “The “Spell for Grief” calling upon Mary (Mother of Christ, pg. 55)…

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Laxmi Redux

Sometime last year, I discovered “Awakening Shakti” by Sally Kempton. Of the Goddesses Kempton highlights, I was drawn to Laxmi (quelle surprise) and other emanations of her, if I recall correctly, Lalita and Sita. I did a round of Lakshmi’s mantra for the traditional 41 days. During that time, we finally received a $500 dollar reward we had earned for writing a grant that we had previously been unable to collect. 


And then I put the book back on the shelf, and I don’t know. Did other things.

I was getting a book off of the same shelf weeks later, and “Awakening Shakti” fell off the shelf, along with it and hit me in the head. Great. The book I was aiming for, had a chapter it it on Lakshmi, that I had not read. So I did.

Later that evening, I found an unlabeled perfume bottle with a piece of tape on top that read “Lak”. Turned out to be Lakshmi by Conjure Oils.

Finally, when looking for a condolence card in the desk, I found this: 


I do not recall owning this.

So I suppose it’s time for more Lakshmi. 

Lakshmi is found in the physical form of money, especially coins. 

The most precious coin I own, is an American Gold Coin. 


I’ve had it for over a decade, and no matter how thin things have gotten, I’ve never sold it. I’ve never considered selling it. It was a gift from a Vietnam War Veteran, whom I loved. He was decades older than I and he’d received it from his parents after he got drafted. He wore it for two tours of active duty, along with his dog tags. As he told me about all his time in Vietnam, I felt for him. Of course he still had lifelong habits, patterns, and issues that affected his life adversely, When he gave me this, I told him I couldn’t accept it. He had no children, and insisted. So I have “her” his guardian, and as I have no kids, I don’t know who I’ll leave it to. Maybe I’ll use it to get across that river when I go.

It’s resting on the Laxmi altar, along with the rest of my coins, cash, and credit cards. I’m starting another round of her mantra and working my way through the exercises in Kempton’s book. 


24 Thoughts on Tanisha

1. What would people say about you at your funeral?

 That I was beautiful, kind, loving, and charitable. 

2. What do you believe stands between you and complete happiness?

The dog and the distance between my beloved and I.

3. When will you be good enough for you? Is there some breaking point where you will accept

everything about yourself?

Gosh, I hope so.

4. If you were at heaven’s gates, and God asked, “Why should I let you in?” what would you say?

I don’t know, I’d be so shocked to be at Heaven’s Gate. I just think I’m headed for almost any other afterlife than the Christian one.

5. Do you fear death? If so, do you have a good reason?

I don’t fear death, while I don’t think of it often, I do fear the type of death. Long illnesses, burning alive, drowning. Not many check-out options are pleasant.

6. If you lost everything tomorrow, whose arms would you want to run into? Does that person

know how much they mean to you?

So I assume, by “everything” you don’t mean people or family? 

My mom, she’s my best friend, despite everything. 

7. If you had the chance to go back in time and change one thing, what would you change?

My college major.

8. If you could make a 30 second speech to the entire world, what would you say?

Stop hurting yourselves, each other, and all the flora and fauna. Humans have such amazing potential, let’s help each other rise to them.

9. If you had all the money in the world but still had to have some kind of job, what would

you choose to do?

Something charitable, Master Gardener, Humane Society, or run an animal sanctuary, yoga teacher, dance teacher, interior/fashion design…

10. What would you change if you were told with 100% certainty that God does not exist? Or if

you don’t believe in God, that he does exist?


11. What would you change if you knew you were NEVER going to die?

Ask if suicide was a possibility.

12. If this were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you were about to do today?

Grocery shopping and laundry? No.

13. If your life was a movie, what would be the title?

The Scent of Roses and Orchids or Tanisha, Honey and Cinnamon


14. If you could ask for one wish, what would it be?

For people to lose their ability to be cruel.

15. How could you describe yourself in 5 words?

Curvy, brown, loving, graceful, charming.

16. Are there chances you’ve passed up that you wish you’d have taken?

Certainly. Mostly men I could have loved.

17. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?


18. If not now, then when?

Now is good.

19. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

That’s a good question. If we could afford it, I’d not work and just garden, volunteer, keep bees, make mead, go back to scool for a Master’s. Be a Kept Woman, I guess.

20. Are you aware that someone has it worse than you?

Of course, but that shouldn’t stop me from improving my garden in life.

21. If you had to choose between a book and a movie what would you choose?

Depends, if the movie relied on visuals, say “Big FIsh” movie. If it didn’t, say “Wuthering Heights” book.

22. If you could see your whole life ‘til now on a movie, would you enjoy it?

No, I was there, I’ve lived it already.

23. If you could ask one person just one question, and he would answer honestly, what would you ask him and who would you ask?

I’d ask Johnny Cash and June Carter what their love is like, because they seem so idyllic in their love.

I’d ask Marilyn Monroe how she died.

I’d ask Josephine Baker how it felt in Paris the first time.

I’d ask Jezebel what her life was like.

24. What would you do differently if you were reborn?

Tell my parents that my uncle was molesting me.



your Godphone is okay


A very good checklist on developing trust in your own spiritual path.
Sometimes a lemon is a lemon.
Sometimes a lemon is everything.

Originally posted on Loki's Bruid:

Today’s post is begat by some “never trust your godphone, it takes years to develop” type posts floating around on the interwebs. I’m not picking on anyone in particular because I can’t even tell you which one I saw, just that it annoyed me into telling a friend that I felt like that attitude is demeaning and that telling someone to disbelieve all their UPG is to undermine their trust and relationship in the Divine. I also expressed to said friend that I felt like saying that was a losing battle, because so many people drink that kool-aid right from the start. Hel, I drank that kool-aid initially, y’all.

I was rewarded with a dream of Spirit Worker school where everyone was handed out adult diapers. “Put ‘em on, you’re gonna need ‘em.”

“I don’t understand why we need these…I mean, won’t they be uncomfortable? And for number two, it’ll…

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Tori Amos, Father Lucifer

“I’ve always said that Lucifer understands love better than anybody.”
“Some of my girlfriends-liberal London girls-had a problem with the idea that I was writing a song called ‘Father Lucifer.’ One of them heard it and cried and said, ‘You made him so beautiful,’ and I said, ‘What if he is beautiful?’”
~Tori Amos

Lucifer’s Beauty



Paul Fryer is the artist of the above statue. When I posted the link to the article, several of my friends lamented that he isn’t beautiful. So here’s a small testament to Lucifer’s Beauty.



Chaire Cathédrale Liège,

My mom told me as a child that Lucifer was beautiful, that he was the most beautiful angel, that he was a great gentleman, and that he was smooth as silk. She told me he defied God, so he was thrown out of heaven. Now, as a 5 year old, I knew that you just didn’t throw out the most beautiful. The most beautiful one was the best one, and you kept the best one. (You also kept the least beautiful one, but for entirely different reasons…) I dreamt of meeting Lucifer, the most beautiful angel, because he was the most beautiful.


Lucifer by Franz von Stuck

The first Satanist I ever met (I don’t believe Satan and Lucifer are the same, but for the moment, let’s pretend) was a co-worker of my dad. I played Candyland with him when I was 4, we had him to dinner. He was just kind and patient, and loving. When I was 15 I found out that he was a “devil worshipper” and now recall the Baphomet tattoo and the odd pendant. He had kind eyes and was from Budapest, I believe. Point is, I loved him, and he loved me, his beliefs didn’t make him inherently evil.


Aede Chan

This I never knew.
“Joseph Campbell (1972: pp. 148–149) illustrates an unorthodox Islamic reading of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, which champions Lucifer’s eclipsing love for God:

One of the most amazing images of love that I know is in Persian – a mystical Persian representation as Satan as the most loyal lover of God. You will have heard the old legend of how, when God created the angels, he commanded them to pay worship to no one but himself; but then, creating man, he commanded them to bow in reverence to this most noble of his works, and Lucifer refused – because, we are told, of his pride. However, according to this Muslim reading of his case, it was rather because he loved and adored God so deeply and intensely that he could not bring himself to bow before anything else, and because he refused to bow down to something inferior to him (since he was made of fire, and man from clay). And it was for that that he was flung into Hell, condemned to exist there forever, apart from his love.”
Isn’t that what hell is? To be separated from the Beloved? My heart breaks for Lucifer, light bringer. God knows, I love a Beast. 
Pietro Calvi
So while I haven’t worked with him enough to consider myself a Luciferian, he does have a place in my heart, and will always be welcome. Besides, when you’re as venusian as I am, you don’t pick and choose. he comes with the territory.
Viggo Mortensen as Lucifer

Scentual Education

Because life has been challenging, I’m writing to celebrate something I adore and that brings me joy: scent. I love scent in all its forms, essential oils, natural perfumes (I only use natural products), cleaning products, meals cooking, incense. Here are some scents that changed my life, and the lessons I have learned from them.

When I was a child, my mom had a bottle of Anais, Anais. She wore it only on special occasions. At four I decided that I would never, ever go a day without smelling beautiful. Whether it is a scented bath, scented sheets, a flower in my hair, an essential oil dispersed into a room, I experience scented glory every day.



Ylang Ylang- a tropical flower from the Philippines with a sincere scent. I was in a store walking down an aisle, when a bottle of ylang leapt from the shelf and broke at my feet, releasing it’s scent. A worker looked at me and said “I saw that. You should buy a bottle.”

I did, but I totally forgot about it until I received a single note sample vial in the mail. No return address, no note and nothing else in the padded envelope. Ylang is heady, complex and striking.  Ylang is used in aromatherapy as an aphrodisiac, anti-depressant, and both a relaxant and a stimulant. The flowers are strewn upon the beds of newly married couples in Indonesia.

Ylang makes me feel as if I am on a South East Asian vacation. As if I am doing yoga on a Balinese coast by firelight. It makes me feel divine and feminine. I look for it as an ingredient in scents, and use the essential oil mainly for bathing and diffusion.


Vanilla- Vanilla comes from Mexican vanilla orchids, originally and comes from the root of the plant. It has been cultivated since the time of Pre-Colombian South Americans. Currently the plants are mainly hand pollinated, which leads to vanillas high price.

I adore both orchids and vanilla. It makes me feel safe, protected, and I believe no evil can withstand its glorious presence. It has an almost universal appeal, and is used as an anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, and relaxant.


Jasmine- From the olive family, Jasmine is an intensely scented night blooming flower. I first noticed jasmine as a neighbor’s bush, When I got home from dance classes, I could smell it a block from home. Jasmine oil is very expensive, but a generous friend gave me a bottle. It doesn’t smell good in the bottle, it smells dense, heavy and oppressive. It has to be diluted to smell heavenly.

Jasmine is not distilled into an oil, its an enfleurage, meaning that flowers are repeatedly put into a base oil and strained until the desired concentration is achieved.  It’s used in aromatherapy to calm the nervous system and assist in menstrual difficulties. It’s a magical process, the flowers are gathered in the late evening when they release their scents.

Jasmine is an easy scent to enjoy. It can be found in green tea, lotions, soaps and incenses.

Chanel No 5- I wanted a bottle desperately. It was the scent of Marilyn Monroe, after all. It was also the first major scent created in a lab, with aldehydes. I finally got a bottle of the parfum from a boyfriend, only to be disappointed, not by it’s classic scent, but by the fact that they still use musk from civet cats kept in Africa in horrible conditions to create it. There is artificial civet musk available, but the Chanel company won’t use it.

This was the first experience I ever had where my ideals didn’t allow me to enjoy a product.

Tabu- Tabu was the first perfume I ever wanted. All my friends were wearing these Calgon sprays and Love’s Baby Soft, but Tabu smelled like root beer and came in a beautiful violin shaped bottle. I felt so adult, so lady like and mature.

 Savannah Gardens-Crabtree and Evelyn had star jasmine as it’s main note.It smelled like drinking iced tea on the set of “Steel Magnolias” at sunset.  I went through a Macy’s and a salesgirl tried to convince me that whatever she was pushing was the only Star Jasmine scent on the market. It was the first time I knew that I knew more than the salesgirl. This was also the first time that a scent I adored was discontinued. I miss it like a lover.

Venus Oil, by Randy of The Sword and the Rose, San Francisco. We lost Randy, recently in a fire. He was a devotee of Asherah, and I found that gave him a clear understanding of Venus, which Asherah is associated with. I loved it more than all his other scents. I wore it each Friday for months. I’d check the rising and setting of Venus and apply it then. I adore Venusian powers and energies and will always appreciate Randy’s work.

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal-Possets. This perfume is everything that I have ever wanted in an Oriental. There is a full bottle of it on its way to me right now. It has ylang which I mentioned earlier, and is the first scent that ever caused me to accept patchouli. It is the first perfume that caused me (briefly) to believe I could get rid of all others. I adore it. It’s everything. I could almost commit to this one.


Courtesy; wikipedia

Serengeti-Heaven and Earth Essentials. Discontinued, sadly. It has an, African orchid as its main note. Orchids are my favorite flowers, so wearing this is always a treat. This is the perfume that I have gotten the most compliments on, the most memorable of which was “You should always smell like that.” from a complete stranger. It is heavenly, unobtrusive, womanly, and unique. I really wish I could get some more.

Poison-Christian Dior- I tried to wear this because my first husband loved it. I hated it. It was medicinal, acidic, expensive, and made me feel like I was decades older than I was. I appreciated other Dior perfumes, not that I owned any, but I had tried them. The bottle was still nearly full when I left him. I left it in his medicine cabinet in case his next lover liked it.

Madame X-Possets Musky, creamy, close to the skin, I have adored Madame for years. Inspired by John Singer Sargent’s notorious painting of socialite Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau. The painting was revealed, and Sargent had painted it with the strap slipped off of her shoulder. This was so scandalous that he fixed it, and the painting we have today shows the strap in place.

Madame X is the first womanly perfume I ever owned. It wasn’t fruity or floral, it had gravitas and encouraged me to see myself differently. I feel womanly, mature, and prepared for any event whenever I wear it.


 Scent is an important part of my life, it is hands down the most useful key to change my state of awareness, put me in mind of an energy or a deity, or a person. I have dozens of perfumes, dozens of essential oils, dozens of incenses. I also have a keen awareness of what to wear when or how a perfume will make me feel, as a matter of fact, I usually choose a scent by how I want to feel that way. Scent is an intimate thing, and an individual one. If you first encountered the scent of violets as you fell off your bike and broke an arm, violets probably remind you of fear and pain, whereas I associate them with idyllic tea parties in Cape Cod. Scent isn’t so easily removed, once I take my clothes off, chances are that I will still smell like a particular perfume. It is an invisible gate between you and the world. It can be a solace, a refuge- many times on public transportation I have smelled my wrist to escape a foul smell. Men have always commented that when I leave their bed, my scent remains, haunting them-for good or ill.

Scent leaves your mark. Make it count.