Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Which the Coven Coins a Catchphrase

"My neighbors have a new baby with colic. One of us really just needs to witch up and eat the damn thing."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Open Memo to Anyone Who Participated in the Penn State Riot

Dear Anyone Who Participated in the Penn State Riot,

By participating in said riot, you actively endorsed the rape of children. That aside, it is my sincere hope that you get deeply and personally violated, followed by a thousand or so ignorant, uncaring, ultimately useless members of society making self-indulgent shows of support for the people who could have brought your tormenter to justice.

May each and every one of you have an interesting life.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Very Merry Samhain...

... from the bottom of Inanna Dentata's heart to the bottom of your choice.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amuse-Yeux (updated)

A conversation between myself and my buddy Storm:

Me - "Hey, want to go see Paranormal Activity 3?"

Storm - "Well, that depends. Are you going to scream uncontrollably and throw punches everytime something even remotely scary happens, like when I took you to see Paranormal Activity 2?"

Me - "Um... probably."

Storm - "Because remember how you almost kicked that one lady in the head? Honestly, dude, everyone sitting in front of us was more afraid of you than they were of the film."

Me - "I can pretty much guarantee more screaming and kicking."

Storm - "I mean, hey, no offense, but you're an absolute shitshow during horror movies."

Me - "I agree. And I completely understand if you don't want to go with me."

Storm - "Are you kidding? I wouldn't miss this for the world."

If anything, I'm glad to know I keep my friends entertained.

ETA: Storm shrieked like a little girl the entire time, while I only had to hide behind him twice. Who's more butch? Yeah, that's right, I'm more butch. Testify. (snap snap)

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Sometimes My Life Is Gay Pagan Algebra

Today is Houston's official Pagan Pride Day, involving various events and celebrations at a funky downtown venue. Although receiving several sincere and much-appreciated invites, I chose not to attend, mainly because I knew who else would be showing up:

1 - This guy I briefly dated. Let's call him GPA.

2 - This other guy (GPB) who I've never actually dated, but whom I've slept with a few times. No big thing at face value, except GPB was in a relationship with GPA for several months, and he's not aware that GPA and I even know each other, much less that we've held hands and had some... shall we say, enlightening discussions about him. Also, while GPA understands that GPB and I are technically friends, he doesn't know that GPB and I have thrown down, nor does he know that back when they were together, GPB made a couple of... unfortunate comments about him.

3 - Two hundred innocent Pagans who would accidentally get mown down in the ensuing crossfire.

After reviewing the overall equation, I decided my interests were best met by staying home and watching horror movies on cable. Because, y'know, less bloodshed that way.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Touché, Baptists. Touché.



(And before anyone asks: No, this was not a product of the Church Sign Maker. I snapped this photo while running errands on my lunch break. Welcome to Houston.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Effect of NeoPaganism on Manslaughter and Marigolds

A telephone conversation between myself and the sales clerk at a local occult shop:

Him - "Hello! thanks for calling [redacted]!"

Me - "Hi, I just have a quick question: Do you carry an herb called calendula?"

Him - "We sure do!

Me - "Great, I'll be right..."

Him - "Do you know the other name for calendula?"

Me - "Actually, I don't. But I just wanted to see if..."

Him - "Marigold! So if you're ever looking for calendula and can't find it, you can also ask for marigold."

Me - "Good to know."

Him - "Because you see..."

[Insert 10-minute lecture on the mystical properties and various ritual uses of calendula/marigold.]

Him - "... so after you've asked the Goddess for Her permission, leave the polished stones in a bowl of blessed water under the Full Moon. And that's how you use calendula correctly."

Me - "Well, wow, very interesting, thank you for the information. So I guess I'll drop by in a bit to pick up some calendula."

Him - "Oooh, sorry. We're sold out."

Had this exchange gone down face-to-face, I'm confident no jury in the world would convict me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quote o' the Moment - In Which I Begrudgingly Accept The State Bird of Texas as Totem and Muse

"Mockingbirds are the true artists of the bird kingdom. Which is to say, although they are born with a song of their own, and innate riff that happens to be one of the most versatile of all ornithological expressions, mockingbirds aren't content to merely play the hand that is dealt them. Like all artists, they are out to rearrange reality. Innovative, willful, daring, not bound by the rules to which others may blindly adhere, the mockingbird collects snatches of birdsong from this tree and that field, appropriates them, places them in new and unexpected contexts, recreates the world from the world. For example, a mockingbird in South Carolina was heard to blend the songs of thirty-two different kinds of birds into a ten-minute performance, a virtuoso display that served no practical purpose, falling, therefore, into the realm of pure art."

-Tom Robbins

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Little TMI Between Friends

Back in college, I met these random straight guys named Patrick and Bobby. Through various twists of fate, the three of us imprinted on each other and quickly became the BFF Triumvirate Kings of Wacky Misadventures. The upside to this is that we've shared some amazing experiences and have truckloads of hilarious stories (surprisingly few of which involve us almost getting killed). The unfortunate side effect is that we know way too much about one another. As such, any two of us in tandem can read the third like a Little Golden Book.

With this in mind, you'll understand why, after meeting at our favorite pub last Friday, trading bro-hugs and settling into our standard booth, Patrick and Bobby instinctively sensed that Something Was Up.

"So dude, seriously, we haven't seen you in forever," Bobby said. "What have you been doing?"

"Not much," I replied. "Just working. That's about it."

"Just working?" Bobby asked, cocking an eyebrow.

"Yep. Lots of work. Work work work. Wooo, work."

Patrick and Bobby exchanged glances. "And what else have you been doing?" Patrick asked.

"Nothing, really," I said. "Just, y'know... stuff."

"Uh huh. What's his name?"

After a bit more cattle-prodding, I broke down and confided that I'd recently met a very cool guy, and that we'd been spending some quality time together.

"But we're not a couple or anything," I added. "We're just hanging out and getting to know each other."

And with my feeble attempt to downplay the situation acknowledged and discarded, the interrogation officially commenced, Patrick and Bobby both gleefully flinging barbed questions based entirely on my effed-up dating history:

"Is he a Republican?"

"No."

"Is he twice your age?"

"No."

"Does he live with his parents?"

"No."

"Is he twice your age and living with his parents?"

"No."

"Does he have a girlfriend?"

"That only happened once. And no."

"So where did you meet him?"

"Um..."

Patrick buried his face in his hands. "Oh God. You picked him up at a leather bar, didn't you?"

"No. We met at a party."

Another set of glances were exchanged. "What kind of party?"

"It was just a party," I said, trying my best to look meek. "Honest."

There was a brief, pointed silence, and then Patrick and Bobby were all, "You did something bad and will share the details immediately."

"FINE," I yelled. "IT WAS A POOL PARTY, OKAY? A BIG, GAY POOL PARTY WITH A BUNCH OF GAY GUYS IN A POOL BEING GAY."

"Ah, I see," said Patrick, nodding sagely as the group of people next to us suddenly decided to move to a different table. "You were naked."

Bobby's eyes lit up. "Oh, hey! So this was like that time you went to a hotel and had to give a password to get in the room and then..."

It was my turn to bury my face in my hands. "Okay, first of all, stop remembering that. And secondly, 'pool party' does not automatically translate to 'orgy.'"

Another pointed silence. Then, Patrick: "But you were naked, right?"

"Well, I mean, not everyone was naked."

"But you were."

"Does it even matter?"

"Only until you admit it."

A telepathic Mexican standoff ensued, with me pulling a bulletproof pokerface and Patrick making a valiant effort to see directly into my brain. Which was the moment Bobby decided to ask, "So was the other guy naked?"

I didn't have a snappy come-back on hand, so I just started banging my head against the wall.

"Well, I for one am very happy for you," Patrick said between bangs. "And to be honest, meeting someone at a pool party is a lot less creepy than the time you had sex in an orchestra pit."

Eventually, Patrick and Bobby finished laughing their asses off over that particular anecdote. [Ed. Note: No. I'm not telling.] So, with most of my forehead, dignity, and vengeance skills intact, I took the "honesty is the best policy" route.

"You know what? I was naked."

Patrick and Bobby smiled triumphantly, proud of themselves for successfully dragging a confession out of me.

"And most of the other men there were, too," I said, clearing my throat and launching into a dramatic monologue from To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar:

"Men wanting to be with one another. Men touching each other. Their stubbly chins rubbing up against one another. Manly hands touching swirls of chest hair. An occasional whiff of a rugged aftershave. Their low, baritone voices sighing, grunting. They hold one another in manly, masculine arms. Hold one another. Tight."

And then Patrick and Bobby were yelling, "MAKE IT STOP," and I was yelling, "I WIN ALWAYS," and our waitress was all, "Another round for you boys? Or... perhaps not?"

We took that as a cue to settle our tabs, tip generously, and head our separate ways.

My personal life under glass aside, it was an excellent evening. I don't get to see my best buddies anywhere near as much as I'd like, but their presence is always a touchtone; whether they realize it or not, and even if they are sometimes bastard demons from hell, they are instrumental in helping me remember and appreciate who I am.

Also, I really did meet a very cool guy. We're becoming good friends. Which means at some point in the near future, I am going to have to introduce him to Patrick and Bobby.

And if he doesn't run screaming into the night after that, then he's more than welcome to join us as the Wacky Misadventures continue.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keats and Yeats Are on Your Side*

A cell phone conversation between myself and Co-Witch A.:

Co-Witch A. - "Hey, it's me."

Me - (quietly) "Hey."

Co-Witch A. - "Did I call at a bad time?"

Me - (a little louder) "No, no, not at all. What's up?"

Co-Witch A. - "Well, you know how we were talking about re-reading Paul Huson's Mastering Witchcraft together?"

Me - "Yeah, I'm enthused about that."

Co-Witch A. - "And you know how we've also been talking about building up more of a visible profile in Houston? I was thinking, what if we combined the two and offered a monthly book study?"

Me - "This is a great idea."

Co-Witch A. "Because it's such an iconic book, y'know? And I really feel like the serious practitioners in this area could get some good information out of it."

Me - "I agree."

Co-Witch A. - "But here's my one reservation. Huson covers a lot of fascinating, useful stuff, but he also doesn't pull punches with his writing. I'm not sure that everyone who might agree to participate will want to hear what he has to say."

Me - "That is a conundrum."

Co-Witch A. - "And... okay, do you mind if I just vent?"

Me - "Sure, go ahead."

Co-Witch A. - "I'm tired of hearing people talk about what amazing Witches they are, when they're not doing anything. Do you know what I mean? It's like, fine, you're a big ol' Witch, but what actual Witchcraft are you practicing?"

Me - "I understand."

Co-Witch A. - "And I know there's this trend right now to separate Wicca from Witchcraft, and to make Wicca all mainstream or whatever, but still, I can't be the only damned one in this city who feels like..."

Me - "Oh, shit."

Co-Witch A. - "Evn? Are you alright?"

Me - "I think a security guard just spotted me."

Co-Witch A. - "Um... pardon?"

Me - "Crap, he's definitely coming this way. I need to get back to my car."

Co-Witch A. - "If you don't mind my asking, where are you right now?"

Me - "I'm in a cemetery."

Co-Witch A. - "And you are in a cemetery, running from security guards at 4 o'clock on a weekday afternoon, because...?"

Me - "I needed graveyard dirt, and they lock the gates at 5."

[beat]

Me - "Everything's fine, though. I paid off the guardian spirits with old coins, and I wiped down my offerings for fingerprints before I left them. But I'm sorry, I interrupted you. What were you saying?"

[another beat]

Co-Witch A. - "I fucking love you."

*I own that this reference is little obscure. So in case you didn't catch it, click here and bop along. Manchester style.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Get 'em Young, Raise 'em Right

My coven celebrated the Spring Equinox this past weekend, which is a deeply reverent and important Sabbat that the Co-Witches and I traditionally acknowledge by stuffing ourselves with as many hot cross buns as humanly possible. It's normally a pretty laid-back affair, although this particular Equinox included a fun plot twist: After ritual, once we were all kicking back in Co-Witch A.'s living room and hanging out with her family, Sean decided to announce to his parents that I'd promised to take him (and I quote) "drinking and whoring" on his 18th birthday.

Which is just wrong. I would never say something like that in front of an 11-year-old, the lying little varmit. What I'd told him is that I'd take him to get a tattoo, which just goes to show that children don't listen.

In related news, my brother called last night to formally ask if I'd be my niece's godfather:

Me - "Of course! I'd be honored! But is this, like, legal in the Episcopal Church? Because I'm kind of a godless heathen."

My Brother - "No, it's totally legit. We researched some stuff. You're good. And awww, little Lauren just wandered in!"

Me - "Ooooh, I want to talk to her!"

My Brother - "Sure, let me put you on speaker phone. Lauren? Can you say hello to Uncle Evn?"

Lauren - "Fish!" [Ed. Note: All Lauren can say right now is "fish," "ball" and "Zuzu." Zuzu is the name of one of their cats. I swear she's not aphasic.]

Me - "Hi, Lauren!"

Lauren - "Fish!"

Me - "That's very good! Now, can you say 'gender equality'?"

My Brother - "Um, what?"

Me - "C'mon, sweetie, you can do it. Gen... der... e... qual... i... ty."

Lauren - "Ball!"

Me - "Okay, wow, not even close."

My Brother - "I'm not quite sure I understand what's going on here."

Me - "Don't worry, I've got this. Lauren, can you say 'size acceptance' for Uncle Evn? Size... ac... cep... tance."

My Brother - "I... think she might be a little too young for the vocabulary you're throwing at her."

Me - "Dude, stop oppressing your daughter. Lauren, honey? Just FYI, anyone who can say 'political independence' gets a free tattoo on her 18th birthday."

My Brother - "Yeah, it's time to go. But we'll see you at the baptism! Probably!"

At this point, there's a very good chance my brother and sister-in-law are frantically updating their wills to name our wealthy, conservative cousin as Lauren's official legal guardian. But assuming I'm still in the running, I assure you that I'm going to godparent the shit out of this kid.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Things Witches Say (Hen Wen Edition)

I present the following with no context whatsoever:

"If the pig escapes, I'm blowing a dog whistle."

Monday, February 14, 2011

And this is why I (heart) Witches

A conversation between myself and Brother Christopher:

BC - "Happy Valentine's Day! Got any fun plans?"

Me - "Ugh. I hate this holiday. I'm going to spend the rest of the evening hiding in my apartment with a pint of ice cream and a box of wine. What've you got going on?"

BC - "I bought a bunch of silly, Disney-themed cards and blessed them on an altar dedicated to Aphrodite. Later, I'm going to hit the town and hand them out to random strangers."

[beat]

Me - "You completely freakin' win."

BC - "Yeah. I know."

Officially, I still hate this holiday. But off the record, Brother Christopher smacked me upside the head with a nice, hefty clue-by-four, reminding me that the world can be a hell of a lot of fun, provided one doesn't take certain things too seriously, stubbornly or pessimistically.

Such as oneself.

So Happy Valentine's Day, dagnabbit. Now cue the music.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Tasty Chaser of Rusty Nails

I don't think I've ever had as much fun shopping as when a dear friend took me on a tour of Salem last year. In one boutique, we came across these cute little handcrafted witch bottles, and I snatched up a pile of them to bring back to the Co-Witches. Mine ultimately ended up on a shelf in my dining room, nestled between my geomancy books and a statue of Thoth, where it sits to this day.

On a metaphysical level, a witch bottle basically acts as a sponge, absorbing any harmful spells or curses directed at its owner. According to the charmingly Medieval brochure that came with the product, "Witch bottles have been discovered in the walls and chimneys of old European houses for centuries. These bottles were placed in the houses for the protection against Dark Magick, and Evil or Mischievous Spirits." Then, in ominous bold italics: "If the witch bottle is ever opened, everything that has been trapped inside will escape, with much mischief, and the magick will be spent."

Last night, I dreamt that I drank my witch bottle. As in, I popped out the cork, poured in some water, shook it vigorously and slammed it like three fingers of whiskey.

I woke up nonplussed.

Although I've never seen this particular doo-dad as anything more than a kitchy souvenir, the idea of ingesting the contents of a witch bottle is unsettling at best, if not flat-out toxic, which makes me wonder why my subconscious came up with the image.  From an occult perspective... well, perhaps it's time to deal with some of the unsavory and/or malicious influences in my life, absorbing and transforming those currents to strengthen myself instead of letting myself get beat down by them. On the other hand, this could very possibly be my liver trying to telling me I really, really need to cut back on the 5-Hour Energy Shots.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Today in Corporate Chutzpah

I ran out of soap this morning. As such, after work, I stopped by a nearby drugstore to buy more.

The side note here is that it's winter, which means it's cold, which means my skin's all dried out and itchy. So I wanted something moisturizing and exfoliating. Found a reasonably priced bar of oatmeal soap, with NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS printed boldly across the package.

Intrigued, I turned the box over to read the ingredients.

The main ingredient was tallow.

So... cruelty-free rendered beef fat? We don't test our animals on other animals?

This has been Today in Corporate Chutzpah.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Haven't you always wanted a monkey?

I was getting ready to go out Friday night when Sphinx called:

Sphinx - "Hi, Evn! Chase and I are on our way over."

Me - "Aren't we supposed to meet at Matthew's?"

Sphinx - "We were, but his monkey escaped."

Me - "Oh, in that case wait what?"

Sphinx - (matter-of-factly) "His monkey escaped."

Me - "I was... unaware that Matthew has a monkey."

Sphinx - "He does. But the monkey somehow let itself out of its enclosure and got a little rambunctious and then apparently cut its arm on something. Matthew's on his way to a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic, so Chase and I decided to just hang out at your place."

Me - "Matthew seriously has a monkey?"

Sphinx - "See you in a few minutes!"

Me - "A monkey?"

Matthew called a couple of hours later to let us know that the monkey was resting comfortably and recovering quickly. Any relief I might have felt aside, I obviously don't know my friends as well as I think I do.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Quote o' the Moment - Try Not to Smile

"I arrive at the front of the supermarket. Now I have twenty-one candles to stack up on the counter. The people behind me wait impatiently for me to finish lining them up. The people in front of me get out of my way quickly. The black woman behind me asks, "Why you buying all them candles?" I answer, "Because they're cheaper here." The Latin cashier rings up seven Guadalupes--three green, three white, and one bright pink. She looks at me quickly and lowers her eyes. Gold Caridads. Red Miguels. Blue Reglas, and a host of others, unmarked, unnamed.

"I walk out of the store to the music of candles dancing and change jiggling in my pocket. Before I get to the car I hear the woman who was behind me say to her husband, "She ain't fooling nobody, that woman working magic with those candles." She knows. I turn around and look at her. We both try not to smile."

-Luisah Teish