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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

A work in progress. Explaining words and phrases that I often use. Noting new and interesting ideas. Discussing certain verbal warning signs. There’s no social justice or political correctness here.

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A dashed border and red banner means I don't agree with the defintion
 or that it is a dangerous idea.


Today's secret word is
be proud       Beal‑tine       Bealtaine       Bealtinne       Bealtuinn       bear       bear fetish pendant, malachite       bear medicine shield pendant       beartail       Befores       the Beloved Dead       Bel‑tien       Beltine       Beltaine       Beltan       Beltein       berm       Big Name Pagans       bilagáana       biophilia hypothesis       bisexual       Bless List       Blessed       blessed salt       BloodKin       blood magick       blood Moon       blue Moon       boline       BoneKin       borders       borosilicate       Boxing Day       bozo       bracer       Bright & Dark Blessings       bright & dark passions       bright Moon       Brigit's Day       burning man            
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be proud

But don’t invite trouble.

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bear     Ursus americanus, at least in Arizona

coyote pounce
I identify heavily with Bear. Not the same way as certain gay men, I don’t have nearly that much body hair and I don’t have the physical build. But personality, certainly. I’m an instrospective loner with only a few people that I care about deeply. I’d rather watch a tree or a mountain than peoplewatch. When I do peoplewatch, I prefer to be left alone. But inside my head, the wheels are spinning and I’m constantly looking for new patterns. That’s Bear’s curiousity. When I instinctively know “right” from “wrong” or the balance point between choices, that’s Bear.
The black bear is the only bear species still found in Arizona. It is the smallest and most widely distributed North American bear. It lives in most forest, woodland and chaparral habitats, and desert riparian areas. Black bears generally roam an area of 7 to 15 square miles.
Wildlife Living With Bears from Arizona Game & Fish

A naturally formed cave or den dug in the ground symbolizes the womb of the mother. Bear meaning speaks to us of retreating into the womb of the Great Mother, the earth, for rest and protection. Creativity is born during this time of retreat as we see when the mother bear emerges with her bear cubs. We think that maturity happens when we leave the womb, but bear symbolism teaches different. Going back into the great womb, the void, where all of creation is born actually brings maturity. If we are constantly out in the world doing, doing, doing we never turn our experience into wisdom. The meaning of bear is to turn inward for moments of silent retreat, meditation, and contemplation to synthesize ideas and reflect.

This coming into the core of who we are to find the infinite knowing of the cosmos is the essence of bear spirit animal. People with the archetype of the hermit will understand how fruitful and critical this “cave time” can be.

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bear fetish pendant, malachite (waxing Moon)
     See pendant, malachite bear fetish

bear medicine shield pendant
     See pendant, bear medicine shield


do polar bears have tails?When I go outside in public, I wear a beartail. It's like a ponytail, but it's about three finger breadths above the nape of my neck. The hair is doubled under so that it resembles an actual bear's tail.

I'd like to think I was the first to use the term in this context, but I'm not sure. From the front, I look almost respectable.

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Inspired by the writings of the late Zena Henderson and the Celtic Mighty & Beloved Dead. It's not quite ancestor worship, my version of a Before is closer to “revered inspiration” Think of it like “respected ancestor who I choose to honor by living their example. I've expanded the original idea, it is no longer limited to my blood ancestors. I have adoptive Befores, those who inspire me in other ways. Each year at the beginning of Winter, I name five.
  • Before of Bone - in my family line
  • Before of Heart - provided compassion and love in any of it’s forms. See Greek words for love
  • Before of Thought - provided wisdom or knowledge
  • Before of Deed - provided action that shaped my world
  • Before of Spirit - touched me beyond words and strummed my passions

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the Beloved Dead      “What is remembered, lives.”

Surely everyone has Beloved Dead, meaning those we've loved who've passed on from this realm. We celebrate these ancestors every year at Samhain. We grieve together and we often communicate directly with them, as well.

There is something about honoring our roots, even when it’s difficult. In southern families, those roots can be quite gnarled and twisted, like something straight out of a Faulkner novel. Staring down at the graves of a few of my relatives often makes me wonder how we could even be from the same bloodline. Then there are others I hold dearly and closely, and I wonder if I’m making them proud with my earth walk.

In my teachings, we divide the ancestors into seven different kinds. In the general category of Beloved Dead, we have 1) Ancestors of Flesh and Blood – genetic ancestors; 2) Ancestors of Milk and Honey – adopted ancestors; 3) Ancestors of Bone and Stone – ancestors of place; 4) Ancestors of Bread and Breath – ancestors of story and life work, often artists, musicians or people we admire and resonate with; and 5) Ancestors of Soul and Spirit – ancestors of the same spiritual legacy, either in a generalized form, say Witches, or a specific linage or tradition. Beyond these five Beloved Dead, we also speak of 6) the Forgotten Dead and 7) The Mighty Dead – the justified or sanctified ones.

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Beltaine     around the first of May

Traditional neopagan sabbat. Cross quarter day, Greater Sabbat, High Holiday, & fire festival. Beltaine marks the midpoint between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice and the beginning of summer. Major fertility fest, source of greenwood weddings. Celebrating the conjoining of the goddess and the god in the sacred marriage and creation. Light weird to Samhain.
Beltane, also spelled Beltine, Irish Beltaine or Belltaine, also known as Cétamain, festival held on the first day of May in Ireland and Scotland, celebrating the beginning of summer and open pasturing. Beltane is first mentioned in a glossary attributed to Cormac, bishop of Cashel and king of Munster, who was killed in 908. Cormac describes how cattle were driven between two bonfires on Beltane as a magical means of protecting them from disease before they were led into summer pastures—a custom still observed in Ireland in the 19th century. Other festivities included Maypole dances and cutting of green boughs and flowers.

In early Irish lore a number of significant events took place on Beltane, which long remained the focus of folk traditions and tales in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. As did other pre-Christian Celtic peoples, the Irish divided the year into two main seasons. Winter and the beginning of the year fell on November 1 (Irish: Samain) and midyear and summer on May 1 (Irish: Beltaine). These two junctures were thought to be critical periods when the bounds between the human and supernatural worlds were temporarily erased; on May Eve witches and fairies roamed freely, and measures had to be taken against their enchantments.

The Land represented by the Goddess is now ripe and fertile and the Young God expresses His Love for Her. This is a time of joyous reveling as the first flowers of Summer are gathered in Their Honor.

Beltane, on May 1st, marks the time of our adolescence and early wo/manhood. Spring is in full bloom, and twin fires would be lit at this time, through which would be passed the cattle after their long winter confinement, or over which those hoping for a child or good fortune would jump.

We see traces of the Beltane celebrations on May Day, when dancing round the maypole celebrates the fertility of the land and creates an echo of the ritual circle dances that must have been enacted in stone circles throughout the country.

See also Bealtinne, Beltine, Beltain, Beal-tine, Beltan, Bel-tien, Beltein, Bealtuinn, Bealtaine, A Celebration of May Day Beltane, Cetsamhain, Galan Mai, May Day, Roodmas, Shenn da Boaldyn, Summergate, Summergate, Summergate, Walburga, Walpurgi Eve, Walpurgisnacht

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A berm is simply a rounded mound of soil (and, sometimes, fill) built up on an otherwise level patch of land to improve the design of a property. The fact that a berm is rounded is what distinguishes it from a raised bed. The latter has a flat surface and a rectangular shape.
How to Build Landscaping Berms from the spruce

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Traditional Diné word for “white person.” It loses something in translation. I’m one of the few born among the Diné. Yes, I was born on the Navajo reservation. There’s not a word for that, but it’s understood on both sides that there is something more to the relationship. I’m what happens when Louisiana farming stock takes root in the Four Corners region.

The idea behind the origin of the Navajo word bilagáana is not entirely clear. It’s meaning is, though. It’s the Navajo name for white people, or people of Caucasian descent.

Irvy Goosen, an author of Navajo language teaching texts, posits the idea that it evolved from the word “Americano.” Since spoken Navajo has a history of adopting words, and since it doesn’t actively use “m” and “r” it’s plausible that it went through an intense adaption process to get the word we have today. The English language is referred to as “bilagáana bizaad” in Navajo.
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biophilia hypothesis

Biophilia hypothesis, idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. The term biophilia was used by German-born American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973), which described biophilia as “the passionate love of life and of all that is alive.” The term was later used by American biologist Edward O. Wilson in his work Biophilia (1984), which proposed that the tendency of humans to focus on and to affiliate with nature and other life-forms has, in part, a genetic basis.

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bisexual      See sexuality - orientation

bless list

Another concept I caged from Zena Henderson and mixed with parts of a Christian prayer chain. When I can, I ask permission before putting someone on my Bless List. With some exceptions, I keep the details private. I put it on my calendar so that each day I am reminded.
  • Get permission first.
  • Question human action, but trust in the wisdom of the gods and the universe.
  • Make sure it is deserved.
  • Carefully weigh the options, recognizing that sometimes a blessing for one can be a curse for someone else.
  • Try to make it what is NEEDED rather than what is WANTED.
  • Make it specific.
  • Make it private.
  • Better to build on what is already there than to slap a new structure down. And if you do have to put in a new structure, make sure the foundation is strong and won't be rejected.

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Blessed     (pronounced with two syllables, emphasis on the second)

The God-touched, the ones who walk between the worlds, agents and elements of magick.

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blessed salt

Salt that has been exposed and blessed with virtue. One of my favorite and most versatile spell ingredients. One of the great things about blessed salt is that it transfers the zap. You can do a circle with regular table salt, add a small pinch of blessed salt, do a bit of like calls to like, and the whole circle will share the zap. Usually the direct light of the next sunrise will disperse the energies of the circle.

Before blessing it, I mix equal parts sea salt and mineral salts. Then I grind very fine in a chemical pestle.

Always use different pestles for chemicals and consumables. Do not mix the pestles up.

Sun-blessed salt is very energetic and very volitile. Count on it losing it's punch after the next sunrise. Sometimes this can be extended to about three days or so if you store it in a light-proof container.

Moon-blessed salt works for about a month if you keep it out of direct sunlight in a dark blue or brown jar.

Dark-blessed salt works best to dampen or disperse energies. It keeps indefinitely as long as it's stored away from sunlight. There is a very potent variety of dark-blessed salt prepared in a dark cavern without any light, but it is extremely difficult to make. I am not sure the tradeoff is worth it, especially since dark Moon blessed salt works nearly as well.

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BloodKin     See kin

blood magick

Magick that uses fresh blood and often the letting of blood as part of the ritual.

Oh look, another topic that can be used incredibly irresponsibly. I mention it here because blood magick is risky even under the best circumstances.

I know very little about what's invovled in ritual animal sacrifice, so I'm going to leave that to others.

Despite what you may have been taught, blood magick has a rich and varied history. Chrion, Jesus, Odin, all are examples of what I call the Wounded Master. Chiron put himself in harm's way to protect another. Jesus and Odin sacrificed for knowledge and power. The key concept here is willing sacrifice. To a lesser extent, this is still practiced today with ritual scarification or the traditional Polynesian tattoos.

In some cultures and certain magickal tradtions, breaking the hymen is considered a powerful blood rite.

Exploiting blood magick has it's consequences. Using blood magick against someone even in defense especially if it's their blood is nasty. It's also fairy easy to turn against an attacker if the target knows what is happening.

Just like sex, blood magick without consent isn't ethical. It's abuse and should be treated as such.

See also dire wound

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blood Moon

A "blood moon" happens when Earth's moon is in full eclipse. While it has no special astronomical significance, the view in the sky is striking as the usually whiteish moon becomes red or ruddy-brown.

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blue Moon

This rare calendar event only happens once every few years, giving rise to the term, “once in a blue moon.” There are normally only three full moons in each season of the year. But since full moons occur every 29.53 days, occasionally a season will contain 4 full moons. The extra full moon of the season is known as a blue moon. Blue moons occur on average once every 2.7 years.

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boline      - the practical blade

A white-handled sickle shaped knife. Often called the "practical knife" or "sickle knife," it is the knife used for cutting instead of the athamé.

Except not really.

There's the very real question of why you need two knives when one would work. Also, most bolines I have seen can't be sheathed easily and are dangerous to carry while walking. Since the boline's main use is supposed to be cutting living plants, that's a practical consideration.

A properly blessed pocket knife can serve as both an athamé and a boline.

A boline was used more in ceremonial magick than in practical witchcraft before the Wicca craze. Waite's The Book of Ceremonial Magic describes the bolline or sickle.

See also athemé

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BoneKin     See kin


Where one area touches another, the border shares traits of both.

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Borosilicate glass is a type of glass that includes at least 5% boric oxide. The boric oxide makes the glass resistant to extreme temperatures, and also improves its resistance to chemical corrosion. This glass is very popular in the manufacture of scientific instruments, and it was once widely used to make glass for kitchens as well. Today, soda-lime glass is the glass of choice for kitchenware, due to the fact that it is generally cheaper to produce.

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Boxing Day     26December


A bozo is someone who thinks they are much smarter and capable than they actually are. They constantly over-estimate their abilities and under-estimate the risks and threats around them. They typically don’t keep an open-mind. They look instead for data that confirms a previously held bias.

An incompetent person, especially in new companies. Bozos have a net negative effect on morale and profits, and everyone knows it.

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A bracer (or arm-guard) is a strap or sheath, commonly made of leather, stone, or plastic that covers the inside of an archer's arm to protect it while shooting. Bracers protect the inside of the archer's forearm against injury by the string of the bow or the fletching of the arrow. They also prevent loose clothing from catching the bow string. They normally cover part of the forearm only, but chest-guards are sometimes worn, usually by female archers, and other areas have at times been protected. With some combinations of non-baggy clothing and bows with a larger distance between the bow and the string, the archer may not need to wear any bracer.

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Bright & Dark Blessings

One of my signature goodbyes.

Some may question if darkness has any blessings. Endings and transistions have purpose too.

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bright & dark passions

Some people (me included) enjoy giving pleasure and pain. When this is true, you can’t repress it, you have to find a way to express it or things can get ugly. Find your balance and acknowledge your passions.

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bright Moon

  1. the moon when the whole of its disk is illuminated, occurring when in opposition to the sun.
  2. the phase of the moon at this time.
The side of the Moon facing Earth totally illuminated by sunlight. A “full Moon.”

In most neopagan traditions, the time of the esbat.

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Brigit’s Day     See Imbolc

Burning Man     last Sunday in August to the first Monday in September

Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind. In this section you will find the peripheral definitions of what the event is as a whole, but to truly understand this event, one must participate.

An festival born from the society of pranksters and lighthearted industrial magicians known as the Cacophony Society (you may already be a member).

Existing peacefully and chaotically in the Black Rock Desert from 1990 - 1996, in 1997 Burning Man was hijacked by antisocial rouge elements. These rogue elements incorporated the event and formed an LLC. Each year since, Burning Man has lost more and more of its spontaneity and inspirational elements to the tightening grip of the corporation (the Borg), and has now become (in 2010) the antithesis of its origins.

Most people “get” Burning Man very quickly. But it can take time for new people, and hence new communities, to fully integrate into Burning Man’s culture precisely because it is difficult for people who haven’t experienced it to understand how to relate to art and community outside of commerce. It takes exposure to understand what’s possible, and then time to get good at doing it. (On a personal level, it took me about six years of practice to get really good at offering participatory gifts to strangers.) We all get better with practice. But once people experience it, they want to get good at it.
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