Monthly Archives: December 2007

Update on Fundraising to Help Child “Witches”

I have put together a sponsorship form and sent it to Stepping Stones Nigeria for review.  It included a picture by Robin Hammond at the UK Guardian/Observer, so I need to ask permission to use it.  Cross your fingers!

I am also asking a local group if it would be willing to act as financial agent for the project by depositing all donations in their bank account and sending one/two lump donations to Stepping Stones Nigeria.

Once I get those things in order, I need to write up some directions to help other knitters get involved without having to do all this foot work.  I want to make a handy package of resources that others can use easily.

Taking Responsibility

Some months back, a good friend Hecate posted about personal responsibility.

How do you live as a woman of integrity in these times? Where’s the balance between private action and civil action? To what extent is it going to be OK with my ancestors if I show up in the Summerlands and say, well, hell, I was doing the best that I could, given how little impact one woman was likely to make in any event? I planted herbs and spread poems and was kind to everyone I encountered? I spent a long time earning that law degree and getting that job and why should I have had to give all that up just because other people were evil?

A witch takes responsibility. What is my responsibility in these times? It’s not that difficult to take responsibility. It’s more difficult to figure out what responsibility to take.

This, along with stories coming out about the “witch” children of Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, has me wanting to do something. I took the first steps this week– beginning to think about my intent in this blog and emailing the folks at Stepping Stones Nigeria.

I have gotten some supportive responses from friends here and elsewhere, and I received a wonderful email from Gary Foxcroft, the founder of Stepping Stones Nigeria, in which he wrote: Having read about your group [Becoming] and beliefs it is especially interesting for us to hear from members of different spiritual communities….Ultimately we believe in the power of intention and of serving humanity, which is what took us to Nigeria in the first place.

Rather than feeling helpless, I am beginning to feel hopeful. I am setting my personal goal of service: knitting 10 bears and raising $5000. That would be $500 per bear. I would need 25 people to pledge $20 per bear or 50 people to pledge $10 per bear. Of course, if someone could only pledge a few dollars per bear, or a set amount for just one bear, that would be okay too.

I’m still working out the details for myself, then I will post the information for other knitters to use to do the same.

Finding a way to actually do something

I had an idea last night that I would like to get some feedback on.

I would like to organize a fundraising effort for Stepping Stones Nigeria and the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN). These two groups that work directly with sheltering, feeding, and educating street children in Nigeria who have been accused of witchcraft and beaten, tortured, killed, and/or abandoned by their families and neighbors.

Child ‘witches’ in Africa
African Crucible: Cast as Witches, Then Cast Out
Children are targets of Nigerian witch-hunt

What I would like to do is call upon the knitters in the neo-Pagan community (starting locally and with my on-line circles) to knit stuffed bears and/or children’s clothes for the children. Each person doing the knitting would get other people to pledge to sponsor them at either $5, $10, or $20 per bear/item of clothing. The knitters would also be working a spell of love and healing into the hand-made items.

For example: I get five people to pledge $10 per bear that I knit, and then I make 5 bears. That’s a toy of love and healing for 5 kids, plus 5 sponsors times $10 times 5 bears equalling $250. If I can find 10 knitters to do the same thing, that would be 50 bears and $2500.

I have sent an email of inquiry to Stepping Stones Nigeria (which has a 1% overhead, so most of the money goes directly to the children’s shelter) about the logistics and legality of collecting the money centrally here and sending it in one lump sum to them. Obviously there would be logistics to work out as well.

So, what do you think? If you knit, sew, crochet, whatever, would you be willing to make some bears/items of clothing and get sponsors? If you don’t do hand-crafts, would you be willing to be a sponsor for something like this?

I know this is a band-aid compared to the poverty and health crises in Africa, but this issue has touched my heart and I can’t just do nothing. This is something I think I can do.

You Get What You Ask For…

Just not necessarily in the way you thought you would.

Last night I asked Simbi Dlo for help in understanding the patterns beneath the surface, the patterns within the strange and wonderful things that tend to happen in life when you are paying attention. For the last week, I have been trying to do what my teacher has told me — to look at my life through my dreamtime lens, to interpret happenings around me shamanically, rather than literally or dismissively.

So, I asked for Simbi to guide my journey in not only noticing the signs and patterns but understanding them as well.

This morning I decided to wear a blown glass pendant I was recently given. This pendant reminds me of a water snake, and I have placed it on my altar next to the glass of water and blue candle I have for Simbi. I have only worn this pendant two other times, and I love it. At the metro station where I transfer trains (a transitional place, perhaps?), the necklace came apart and the pendant fell to the ground, breaking. I was stunned and spent a few minutes trying to determine if the two pieces I found easily could be fit together and glued.

No. They didn’t fit. I took a deep breath and really looked at the pieces and remembered the flowing form of the pendant before it broke. I understood that there should be a large U-shaped piece. So, I began looking at the train platform — very carefully. I’m sure I looked like a crazy person just staring at the ground and walking in tight circles around where the pendant landed.

After about 15 minutes of quietly freaking out, I decided to get on the train but keep my eyes peeled on the platform. Maybe by walking away and releasing, I would find it. Sure enough, just as the train pulled away I spied a largish glint about 15 feet away from where I had been standing. But was it the missing piece? I couldn’t rationally tell.

And I was now 30 minutes late for work.

Naturally, I went to the next station, waited for the next train going the opposite direction, and went back. I told Simbi that if the piece was still there, if indeed that was the missing piece, I would officially dedicate the pendant to him and wear it during his work — going into the unconscious depths, looking for the patterns under the surface, and bringing them up again. I stepped off the train, walked right up to where I saw the glint, bent over, and picked up the missing piece. Without missing a beat, I continued across the platform to the waiting train going in my original direction.

Broken pendant

At work, I checked the three pieces to see if they fit. They do, with only one chip missing from the back. I have wrapped them in tissue and will glue them together tonight at home. This pendent is now dedicated to Simbi Dlo, and I am only wearing it with intent when I am working with him directly.

Fixed pendant

Yeah, I get it.  Quite effective, really, Simbi Dlo.  Ashe and blessed be.

Esoteric Geek

The meaning of the Hebrew word Hod is Glory, and this suggests at once to the mind that in this, the first Sphere in which forms are definitely organized, the radiance of the Primordial is shown forth to human consciousness. Physicists tell us that light is only rendered visible as blue sky owing to its reflection from the particles of dust in the atmosphere. Absolutely dustless atmosphere is absolutely dark atmosphere. And so it is in the metaphysics of the Tree. The glory of God can only shine forth in manifestation when there are forms to manifest it.*

I stood at the train station in the early morning. Looking up into the formless gray sky, I saw nothing. As I lowered my gaze to the horizon, the trees, and the people around me, I could clearly see the snow falling around me. Against the backdrop of nothing, I see nothing. The forms of the world around me provided the necessary background against which I could see this glorious dance of whiteness and air.

I am saturated in Hod right now. I am reviewing concepts initially encountered and not quite understood years ago. I am delving into Hermetic qabalah, symbology, and what I consider “geek” astrology. My personal practice is taking on ceremonial overtones. As my teacher tells me, I am building the necessary vocabulary for the experiences I will have on the next sphere of Netzach, the sphere of raw potential and creativity.

I am building cognitive networks and nets of symbols and correspondences. Disparate things that I am reading or snatches of conversation heard are beginning to click in new ways, as I see for the first time for myself what certain symbols stand for certain concepts. The lightbulbs are turning on. And I am excited.

And then there is the challenge of defining my terms and explaining what I am doing and why, so that people without the shorthand references will understand as much as possible. We are doing a working at Becoming’s monthly circle this Sunday which rests on some “geek” astrological references that I didn’t get without a few hours of research. But once I did, WOW! So, I need to find the forms — the words and ritual actions — that will allow the emotion to easily flow through into the working and make it strong.

The energy around me is almost crackling. Can you hear it?

*From Dion Fortune’s Mystical Qabalah