Monday, October 12, 2015

A Chat With Rosemary Nissen-Wade ~ On Poetry and Witchcraft

We have an extra special chat for you today, my friends. Our very own Passionate Crone, Rosemary, besides being a phenomenal woman, and a talented and internationally recognized poet, is also a witch. Recently , one of her witchy poems sparked the idea of us having a chat about the Craft, and you are in for a treat. Rosemary tells all! Draw your chairs in close, we'll brew some ginger root tea sprinkled with lavender blossoms, and have a witch's tea party. I can't wait!








Sherry: Rosemary, I am really thrilled to be chatting with you about this topic, which interests me greatly. Tell us how you came to the Craft, will you, please? We are all agog! 


Rosemary: Well, I could give you a very long and complex answer to that, which would leave no room for further chat, but here is the condensed version. I've been a witch (and a psychic medium) all my life, but it took me a long time to understand that. I shut it down hard in childhood, because my adults told me it was my 'wonderful imagination,'  and I quickly absorbed the lesson that if you believed it was real you must be mad – which could have unpleasant consequences.

Me, about four


Sherry: You  seem to have been your full, powerful self from a very early age, Rosemary. I so love this photo of you!

Rosemary: 
I actually became shy and timid for most of my childhood and young adulthood. I wonder now if that was because I was suppressing so much. It wouldn't stay suppressed, however. In my early forties I had experiences that could not be explained away in what we consider rational terms, though I tried hard – in great agitation and fear, with severe headaches. Eventually I noticed that I was still functioning in my life, and doing no actual harm to myself or anyone else, so if I was building a delusional construct in my head it must be fairly benign. I gave up and decided I might as well believe my own experience. The headaches etc. promptly stopped and I discovered that the effort of resisting it was what had been driving me mad.

In the following decades I explored meditation, personal development, I Ching, Runes and other oracles, ceremonial magic, shamanism and Druidry. Some of my training came from books and/or knowledgeable people; most of it came from what some call 'Spirit' and I often refer to as 'Upstairs' or 'The Universe'. (Why are we so reluctant to say 'God'?) Along the way I also trained as a Reiki Master, in the old-school one-on-one way, over a period of years.

I was guided to use the Tarot, and later a crystal ball in conjunction with it, and to use these tools professionally. 

However I had a huge block in relation to witchcraft. Most of my life, people had said to me, only half-jokingly, 'Oh you're a witch' and I always had an intense knee-jerk reaction: 'Don't call me that!' I realise now I may have suffered for it in another life.



Sherry: I am so enjoying the telling of this journey, my friend!
                                   
Rosemary: One day, I don't know why, I suddenly thought to myself, quietly and calmly, 'Of course you're a witch. You've always been a witch.' I realised, looking back over my life, that yes, of course this was so. It was said in the second person, so perhaps it was my Higher Self or one of my guides speaking to me, but I opened to the message at once, so deeply that it seemed it was my own thought. It felt peaceful and right, like a  homecoming. 

Sherry: Yes, a coming home to oneself - which is the journey for each of us, whether witch or not-witch. Tell us about crystal balls and wands, Rosemary.

My first crystal ball

Rosemary: The crystal balls belong to my career as a psychic medium, to help me focus on the messages I receive for my clients. I began with the tiny one but have long used the large. I am more clairsentient – knowing things by feeling and touch – than clairvoyant, so I don't scry with it (i.e. gaze into it). I put one hand on it, hold one of the client's hands to make a connection, shut my eyes and get whatever I get. 

The large crystal ball I now use

However, I did scry with the tiny crystal ball when I used that, and it was amazing the different things I saw for different clients, even though the ball didn't change physically. (I am somewhat clairvoyant too; also clairaudient.)

Sherry:
 This is fascinating, my friend.

A favourite wand

Rosemary: The wand is one of my tools as a witch. I use it to direct energy. This one was channelled for me by the woman who made it. She didn't know that traditionally a witch's wand is the length of one's forearm from inside elbow to middle finger-tip; she certainly didn't measure me – yet this is exact. The scarf I wrap it in when it's not in use is purple silk.

The magical powers are in the user. If I was caught without a wand and needed to direct energy in that kind of way, I'd use my forefinger. Or if I was outdoors I could pick up any stick off the ground (regardless of length) and use it successfully. However, wands can enhance the witch's own energy by such things as crystals at the tip, the kind of wood they're made from, any anointing with oil that they may have received or charms said over them, etc. Many witches like to make their own.

The witch's hat was just for fun. A cheap Halloween item from the toy store, it disintegrated many months ago. It was never used in ritual, but I did enjoy wearing it as a joke on various occasions.

Sherry:
 I love you in the witch hat! So how does one come to the Craft, if she suspects she may be so inclined? (she asks, with a throaty cackle.)

Rosemary: Witchcraft can be innate, or you can learn it – or both. There are hereditary witches, where it's in the genes, and I think I may be one through the maternal line. We have both Celtic and Indian (Hindu) ancestry. Many of the women in my family have been quite psychic, and my Nana had a naturally healing presence. 

My Mum and aunts would say airily, 'Oh we're all witches' when anything particularly intuitive or spooky happened – and yet they didn't mean it seriously; most of them were actively Christian. Well, they sort of meant it. They did and they didn't – it's hard to explain. Anyway, they were certainly not practising the Craft (unlike me; I of course take it perfectly seriously). 

Sherry:
 It's interesting that they knew of this heritage, or proclivity, yet discounted its appearance in you, as a child. Likely in hopes of you having a "normal" life, whatever that might be. 

Rosemary: What's a witch, anyway? Not a worshipper of Satan; let's make that quite clear. We don't believe in the existence of any such entity. We do revere the natural world. 

Sherry: That is the part that draws me so strongly, as you know. Earth-based teachings, reverence for nature, connection with the natural world.

Rosemary: Some of us are polytheistic; some of us believe in a single great Source from which all emanates; some of us are pantheist, seeing the spark of Divinity in every living thing. It is possible to be all of these things at once, e.g. I see all living energies, including those known as Deities, as (symbolically) sparks from the Great Fire. I also like to see God as the Great Mother rather than Father, so I most often use the term Goddess (but God covers it too). In reality I believe God to be beyond gender and other limitations; I just prefer to focus on the feminine aspect.

Sherry: This speaks to me, too, Rosemary.

Rosemary: Not all witches believe exactly as I do. As there are many denominations in Christianity, and different varieties of Buddhism, so there are various forms of Wicca. Wicca is the religion of witchcraft. I like it because it lacks dogma. We distinguish it from what we call 'the book religions'. Its only law is, 'Do as you will so long as it harms none' – which I think is the most stringent moral code there is, as you have to rethink every situation on its own merits. It's hard to live up to, but we must do our best. 

We also speak of the 'rule of three', which postulates that anything you send out comes back to you threefold. I personally don't take 'three' too literally; it's more that it comes back multiplied. I have been Wiccan, but am not strictly so any more. I prefer to see witchcraft as my spiritual path rather than a religion in any prescribed way. 
                          
I now call myself a Pagan witch rather than a Wiccan. 'Pagan' is a broader umbrella, including various earth-based and/or magical traditions, such as Druidry and ceremonial magic. My practices are eclectic. I have been in a coven, but these days I mostly work solitary.

Sherry, did you know I also have a witchy blog, Cronewyze, where I address various magical matters? You might find it interesting. There are lots of good books one can read, but I think the classic text for beginners is still The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.
                           
Sherry: I have several of Starhawk's books on my shelf, including this one, and am now motivated to read them! My witchy senses are perking up, under the resonance of your words. And I shall definitely be poring through Cronewyze, my friend.

Rosemary: At a certain point, after studying by myself for a long time, I got a notion to acquire some kind of official accreditation, and was led to the Correllian tradition, based in the USA with roots in Italian Stregheria and in the founders' Scottish and Cherokee ancestry. It was originally a family tradition. The heads of the family decided to go public and ally themselves with the larger Pagan community. Their online outlet is Witchschool.com which has evolved a great deal since those early days. I did the first two of their three degrees and a number of electives, and have the right (though I don't claim it) to call myself a Priestess in that tradition. I found their teachings excellent, including some things I haven't seen anywhere else, and they remain an influence in my eclectic practices. 

Sherry
: I can see your power as Priestess in your regal bearing, my friend. Let's take a look at some of your "witchy poems". And maybe you can talk a little about the beliefs or teachings around each one, to give us a further understanding of the Craft? I love "Innocence", which states its intent so clearly.  



‘I must believe,’ he said.
I understood. ‘Yes,
because you have seen.’

He nodded. He was speaking
of the witches in his home village
in Karangasem, past the mountain.
His uncle was one of them.

Already I too believed,
though I didn’t know then
that I myself was a witch.
There were just these things I did,
these things that happened....

I think of that acceptance
now, in my own country,
where so many ignorantly think
witches are evil, magic is wrong.

In Bali the villagers knew
witches are healers, magic
like all things, is a gift from God.

Sherry: Witches have always been natural healers. It was fear and ignorance that once thought them otherwise. 

Rosemary: Yes. Also, in the days of the Inquisition, when witches were persecuted and killed, very often the victims weren't even witches in the first place. It was a convenient excuse for eliminating someone you had a grudge against, or whose property you coveted. There are places in the world where, shockingly, this kind of thing still happens, such as parts of Africa.

Even in Western countries such as Australia and America, real witches can suffer for their spiritual path. It is only a few years ago that a Melbourne woman nearly lost her job for this reason – a very public case, which she won because religious discrimination in the workplace is illegal here. (But I imagine it wouldn't have felt like a very friendly place for her to work, thereafter.) And it's only a few years ago that an American online friend fighting a custody battle for her children was at greater risk of losing them because her ex outed her as a witch.

I'm not secretive about it because I am not in a position to be hurt by active discrimination – I'm no longer in the salaried work force and my kids are well grown up, live elsewhere, and have different surnames from mine anyway. But a friend in my town is very careful not to be too obvious about it, as any prejudice could affect her children.

There is still much ignorance. This is partly because people imagine we worship that Devil whom we don't actually believe in, and partly because of the oft-quoted Biblical injunction: 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.' I have read that the word 'witch' here is a mis-translation for 'poisoner'. In any case it comes from the Old Testament, not from the teachings of Christ.

Sherry: It is amazing, but not surprising, that such misinformation and prejudice and fear still exists. Which is why I am enjoying this chat, as we can help spread awareness about its true intent. I found one poem you wrote that seems to explain the Craft to perfection. Let’s look at it.


My most elaborate altar



1)

Sweep with your special broom.
Cleanse, exorcise and charge water.
Cleanse, exorcise and charge salt.
Mix. Sprinkle around the perimeter
in an anti-clockwise circle
(we are in the Southern hemisphere).
Place your altar in the north (west /east).
Set the sacred objects upon it
in their right places:
dagger, wand, chalice, pentacle.
You will already have
your statues and pictures
your crystals and candles
displayed around the room.
If you wish, make a circle of rope;
it can be permanent.
It will be good if there is a window
through which you can see the moon.
Speak the words of consecration.


2)

Just walk outside
into a space among trees.
Clear away any man-made litter.
Find your directions.
If you don’t know, use a compass
(essential equipment
for the urban witch).
Find a feather, a twig,
a shell, a stone.
Look up. Breathe in.
Extend your finger.

Sherry: Marvellous! I love it.


A simple outdoor altar ~ in outdoor ceremonies,
one must observe fire safety of course

Rosemary: That poem is one way – no, two ways – of describing how to prepare the space before doing ritual: the very formal way, in this case indoors, and a very simple outdoor version (without even the basic altar shown above). Both extremes are valid. 

Here is Australian witch and international singer, Wendy Rule, casting circle on stage - the Northern Hemisphere version. In the Southern Hemisphere, we switch fire to the north (the Equator) and earth to the south (the nearest Pole.)

   


Sherry: Oh, my goodness! I am an instant convert, and must buy some of her music immediately! I shall play it with the lights off, and candles flickering, when the moon is especially full and beautiful.

Rosemary: This next poem also indicates something of the purpose of ritual.


I use my laser-tipped shaft
– a long crystal laser –
wand and athame both.

I cast a simple circle,
no elaborate ritual tonight.
I’m a plain and basic witch.

I welcome the elements,
creating sacred space
in my small back yard.

Even in moonlight
the trumpet creepers
glow bright orange.

The trees bend in
above me; the rose bush
has tight new leaves.

It has been a strange day.
Now I reach night, and accept
that some friendships grow old.

This, though, is constant: me
and the full moon together
in a garden, year after year.

I let the day go, in its pain.
With raised arms, I accept
into myself the moon’s white light.

I draw it down, and use it
to bless the plants and my cat
and the listening nature spirits.

I ask that the world will know
love, peace and truth. I ask
to be strong. And wise.

Sherry: Strong and wise. One can ask no more than that.

Laser-tipped wand / athame

Rosemary: This is the tool referred to in the first verse of the above poem. An athame – pronounced either ATH-uh-may or ath-AH-me (I say ATH-uh-may) – is a witch's dagger. It is not used to cut anything physical but only to carve space, to create a circle of sacred space 'between the worlds' during ritual or for special magical workings. Some people use the wand for this purpose, as well as to direct energy. In this case, because the crystal at the tip is not a point but a shape known as a laser, which is considered esoterically to have properties of cutting energy, this tool doubles as both wand and athame.
                                                                                           
When I am using a more traditional kind of wand, without a laser tip, I use it only to direct energy and I use an athame to cast circle – this one, shown here with its sheath:




 Sherry: This is all fascinating, my friend.

Rosemary: Ritual is often based around the Full Moon. Or it can be a celebration of the seasonal turning-points of the year – such as Imbolc, held in late Winter, foreshadowing Spring.


The moon is bright
and nearly full,
almost directly overhead
when I go out late
to make ritual for Imbolc,
for the coming of Spring.

More and more
my small back yard
becomes a sacred space:
place of daily meditations
and communing with Nature.
The energy gathers and builds.

I cast my circle simply,
with my right forefinger.
Deosil (sunwise)
is anti-clockwise here.

I bow as I name the directions
then open my arms
to call down the light of the moon.
I feel her enter and fill me.

I have some prayers,
I have some praises,
I have some thanks to give.
All this is quietly done.

Then it is time
to open the circle
and free all spirits
which may have been trapped
inadvertently or otherwise,
bidding them go in peace.

I step inside my door
strengthened
calmed.

At Spring Equinox 2014

Sherry: This is all so glorious, Rosemary. I am enjoying this conversation more than you can imagine. For we, the uninitiated, Wikipedia tells us that Imbolc (pronounced i-MOLG) is a Gaelic festival halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox,  celebrating the coming of spring. Historically it was observed throughout Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Rosemary: Nowadays, of course, it is observed by witches and some other Pagans, such as Druids, all over the world. Many of our practices have their roots in ancient Celtic culture. (While we can't know every unrecorded detail of what these ancestors did, much has come down to us through folk lore and folk festivals.) We continue to use those old names for our seasonal celebrations, known as Sabbats. I think even in ancient times pronunciation varied with place. In some places Imbolc was known as Oimelc. I pronounce it IM-bolk (rightly or wrongly). 

Sherry: Rosemary, when we hear about witches, we hear about spells and hexing. Let's talk a bit about that, shall we? (she says, drawing her shawl around her shoulders, and edging ever closer to the fire, which is cackling. Er, crackling!) 

Rosemary: We regard spells as prayers – active prayers, in which we not only make a request but also set the energy in motion in various ways to support bringing it about. 

Often that's done in a very physical way, using (for instance) herbs, oils or crystals; maybe creating some specific object with magickal properties. E.g. I was recently taught how to make a 'mojo bag', which comes from a form of witchcraft known as hoodoo. This one was for prosperity, and involved sewing the bag myself, putting inside it things believed to attract prosperity, and keeping it with me.

Some spells consist of, or include, written words. There are specific words of power that can be used – but all words have power. Some verbal spells can be done with thought alone. An author called Marion Weinstein has some good teachings about this in her book Words of Power. I refer you to the Kindle edition, because the paperback is now incredibly expensive. Alternatively you could get her earlier book Positive Magic. It has a long chapter on Words of Power, which was the basis for the later book.

Shows like Charmed (remember Charmed?) are not true representations of the Craft. For instance, it's not essential that verbal spells should be rhymed – though they can be if you like. As a poet I was highly amused in one episode of Charmed, when new family member Paige spoke a non-rhyming spell, the other witches stared at her and she said defensively, 'It's a haiku.'

The witches I know are very ethical and wouldn't use spells to manipulate other people. It's OK to make a spell to attract love to you; it's not OK to make a particular person fall in love with you. Many of us add a caveat to any spell: 'According to free will, for the good of all and harm to none'.

And yes, in case you're wondering, spells do work! For that very reason we don't do them lightly. This is another case of 'be careful what you wish for' – and even more careful when you're actively working to manifest the wish.

Sherry: Good advice, Rosemary. I love "for the good of all, and harm to none."

Rosemary: Opinion is divided on whether to hex (i.e. curse). The well-known witch and author, Z Budapest, believes it has its place. She tells a story of a large circle of witches meeting to formally hex a serial rapist-killer in their area. His next intended victim escaped and the police caught him. Whether magic is good or bad may well be a matter of intent.

I personally don't hex. But I will do banishing spells in case of need, albeit rarely. The idea is to banish the evil a person is doing rather than the actual person. I don't mind if that comes back on me multiplied, because I would rather not be doing evil anyway. 

It can, however, result in removal of the person too, if that's what The Powers That Be decide it's going to take. There was the time a friend of mine finally ended an abusive relationship, but the man wouldn't leave her alone and subjected her to so much harrassment and mental torture that she was a complete mess. I thought she would go mad. So I did a very thorough banishment. Usually I like to fuel my spells with the energy of love, but this one was powered by white-hot rage! Soon afterwards he unexpectedly moved, not only right out of her life but to a different country. 

It's not done to boast of one's magical workings, but I do tell this story from time to time as a teaching example of what's possible.



Dark rainsky
I think the moon
will be hidden.

When I go out
into clear cold
she is right above.

I tilt my head
her white circle doubles
the two overlap.

Around the vesica piscis
bright blue light
shines and deepens.

Lady Moon
I stand on the earth
and beg for blessings.

The hour grows late
help me now to fulfill
all my promises.

Sherry: Beautiful, Rosemary. In closing,  what would you like to leave us with on the topic of witchcraft, to help those who aren't familiar with it to better understand its practice?

Rosemary: I've enjoyed the opportunity to discuss it, but would like to make it clear that even those of us who hold it as a religion are not evangelical about it. We're not the least bit interested in getting converts! We think there are many valid paths to God, and that people should be free to find what best suits them. That's their business, not ours. 

You can even be a witch and have another religion. I have come across Christian witches, Hare Krishna witches, Buddhist witches, agnostic witches who aren't sure about God but understand energy, and people who refer to themselves as Christo-Pagan. 

If you are drawn to the Craft, it's up to you to seek it out. (Be discriminating. In all walks of life, including this one, you may come across criminals, frauds and controllers.)

All that being said, I do believe that once you freely give yourself to the Goddess, the connection is forever. She will never abandon you.


First there's the walk downstairs,
each step a new colour:
violet, indigo, sky blue,
apple green, golden yellow,
orange, and the bottom step's red.

I find myself in a tunnel
which leads to a gate.
Through this gate I see
a sunny meadow with wildflowers.
On the other side is a creek.

I walk out onto the grass.
A beautiful woman
comes to meet me, gliding.
I raise my eyes to hers.
She is smiling at me.

In a clear voice,
but soft as a whisper,
she tells me my secret name.
I stand in the sunlight,
free and perfectly happy.

I know that this
is the half-way mark.
From here I must turn,
walk back the way I came
and complete my journey.

When I retrace my steps
I'll carry her loving smile
in memory, making me strong.
I shall be changed, and the old paths
will lead me to new places.

My purple cloak

Sherry: That is so lovely, the old path leading you to new places. I so adore a recent poem of yours, which gave me the idea for this chat in the first place. I would love to close our conversation with its beautiful message. 



After the feast of Brigid
these were left,
some in the glass flower vase
we set on the altar before her,
the rest in a box in the fridge
on a sheet of wet white tissue paper.

‘You can eat them!’ said one
who had gathered them for us,
her smile lighting her face.













It is three days later,
but they kept.
I pick up a few, singly,
and place them in turn on my tongue.
Surprisingly, they don’t melt.
I must chew the tiny petals.












Then I scatter them all
on my morning cereal, and eat.
My senses open to Faerie.

I am at once ethereal
and rooted in earth;
more decadent
than Marie Antionette,
yet innocent as a wisp of air
breathed from a baby’s lips.

I thank the Goddess for sharing,
and open my mouth
to speak beauty.

Sherry: Yes. You open your mouth - and tap on your keys - and speak beauty, my friend. I adore this poem. In fact, I Wish I'd Written It!

Fellow poets and potential witch novices, be sure to check out other glorious witch poems on Rosemary's blog. Scroll to the bottom, click on "witch poems", and enjoy. 

Thank you, Rosemary, for giving us this wonderfully generous explanation of what it is to be a witch. It has been, in a word, spellbinding. Smiles. One of my favourite chats!

What a treat this visit has been, hasn't it, my friends? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you.

83 comments:

  1. What a wonderful chat between the two of you, Sherry and Rosemary! Rosemary, it was very interesting to learn of your journey....and I thank you for being so open. Somehow we must all find our own paths, and it is obvious that you found one that works for you! I enjoyed this very much.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I wonder if I found my path or it found me! (Smile.)

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  2. Thank you, Sherrry and Rosemary (you are so aptly named for the Wiccan world). I'm a Jewish Pagan Quaker who attempted the craft back in the 1970s when I joined feminist friends in a coven, so I recognize the tools and some of the names (Starhawk and Z). And I believe that once a faith has served you i'ts part of you--the Goddess and her path in Mother Nature are still in my poems. But I love how these things are focused and magical and beautiful in your poems, Rosemary. Thank you for writing with your whole self.

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    1. Susan, I think that is something you do too! I like all your sensibilities as expressed through your poems.

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  3. Isn't this a wonderful chat? I so enjoyed putting it together, with considerable hands-on help from Rosemary, and I love the look of it here. Thank you, Rosemary, for, as Susan says, writing with -- and being - your whole self.. You are a joy!

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    1. So are you , my friend! And it was a joy to do this chat with you.

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  4. Sherry and Rosemary this was a delicious treat....I have been told I am sensitive in many ways but we do suppress it don't we....the old Celtic traditions seem to be where I am drawn, but it is all fascinating so I really enjoyed all this much info and especially these wonderful poems...thank you Rosemary!

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    1. Well, Donna, if you keep being told that, it must be true! It's not wrong to be a little cautious, but if others can see it in you, perhaps you could trust it more?

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  5. Thank you, Sherry and Rosemary. This was delightful. Much I did not know but some I am very familiar with.

    Your poetry is magic, Rosemary.

    I called Mom's gift The Knowing. She tried not to use it and thought it was a curse. Granny was a midwife and a Healer so I tend to think we may have a Gift in our blood line. I "feel" things sometimes when I touch objects or visit places. I hope I have their gift, too.

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    1. Gail, it certainly sounds as if you have! I wouldn't doubt it. It can be troubling to have fore-knowledge of disasters you can't prevent. Luckily it doesn't happen that way for me, but for some people it is as if they are given incontrovertible evidence of their gift, to help them accept that it's true. Perhaps that is what happened for your mother. How sad that for her it had the opposite effect.

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  6. Whoa...!! This is one enchanting interview :D thank you so much Sherry and Rosemary for sharing this treat with us all. I must admit it came as quite a surprise to me to learn about this quality of yours Rosemary and I m glad to share that an aunt of mine is also psychic!

    Since a tender age she was able to predict things and would leave people with their mouths hanging open. You're right to say that perhaps it is hereditary. She even receives messages from people who have passed over to the Hereafter and has visions of some sort.

    I love the poem "Innocence" it is so difficult for some people to accept things that seem out of the ordinary.. but at the end of the day, all that really matters is how much you're willing to believe.

    I have learned so much about witches and their history through this wonderful chat, the subject has always intrigued me. I feel blessed to have come to know you through this blogosphere :D wishing you loads of health & happiness.. you're precious to all of us.. and you look soo cute in that witches hat!

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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    1. Thanks, Sanaa, for your good wishes. You are such a loving presence in our poetic community! One advantage of shutting things down and having to re-open to them later is that I'm not 'on' all the time. Like your aunt, I can receive messages from spirits of those who have passed, but mostly I only do that on request from clients who feel a need to get in touch with their dear departed. (Of course, my late husband does visit me from time to time, and in his case I'm quite happy for him to pop in unannounced!)

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  7. That was a fascinating interview, Sherry and Rosemary! You have a rare and beautiful power, and I know there are many that exist with such energy, Rosemary.I had no idea how little I actually knew about modern paganism until I entered this conversation. This turned out to be one of my favorite interviews of the series, Sherry!
    Beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence are all part of the wiccan journey. It is fascinating to see people, actually practising these ancient religions today.
    Enjoyed reading the interview and the beautiful poems. Thank you for sharing...

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Panchali. Really there is so much more, and I only scratched the surface here. It would take a book ... and lots of good ones have already been written. (Smile.)

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  8. Rosemary, if you wrote The Book, I would be first in line to buy it! This is one of my favourite chats too. I am so happy everyone is enjoying it and finding it interesting.. I am absolutely fascinated.

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    1. Ha, I would buy the book too, Rosemary. Think about it!

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    2. Thank you both; I will. A local friend who saw this via facebook phoned to suggest a book of witchy poems, which I am thinking about even more.

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    3. Oh a book of witchy poems would be DELIGHTFUL. THEN a memoir! (There are your winter projects, LOL. You're welcome.)

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    4. Me too!!! As Mary said....think about it, Rosemary!

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    5. Well, luckily for me it will be another 8 months before it's winter here Down Under, lol.

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  9. I am so glad I came to read this chat. Thank you Sherry for being interested enough to ask questions. And thank you Rosemary for being so honest as to answer them with a clear and gentle sensibility. Unaware of your path, I have been drawn to your poetry, realizing that we share a great deal. This reading helped me understand that draw and the why and how of its existence. I too have similar gifts like those you express and have often been drawn to others who do as well. You helped me understand much about my own path and I can't thank you enough.

    Elizabeth

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    1. You are so very welcome! It is always lovely to meet our spiritual kindred.

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  10. Thank you, Sherry and Rosemary. I learned SO much!

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  11. I am so glad I read this. It will lead me on to more exploration. Thank you so much Rosemary for your willingness to share and teach us a little about your spiritual self. I used to visit a witches blog. She no longer blogs though and she never really shared what you have done here today. Thank you too for the book referrals. I want to check some out. Sherry, this is a stupendous interview. I am so grateful!

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    1. Thank you Myrna. I am thinking it would be good to put up a more comprehensive book list at my Cronewyze blog, so I'll do that some time soon.

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  12. You look very cool in the purple cape and floral wreath ...a plain and basic witch ( I don't think:)
    Thank you for the explanation of wicca. Interesting chat. Sadly witches historically have a bad reputation and I can imagine the discrimination that witches suffer. I do believe that certain people are psychic and it is probably an inherited gift.There is a degree of magic in both Christianity and Hinduism. I am glad you made the distinction between the New Testament and the Old Testament when you referred to witches and Christianity...it is a common mistake to label both as Christian. Enjoyed this talk immensely.
    PS
    I could never be a witch. The broom stick I could handle but eating wild violets...Nah!
    Cheers
    Rall
    x

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    1. Oh, eating wild violets is not compulsory, lol! (Few things about witchcraft are.) With the broomstick, the magic is definitely in the handle. ;)

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  13. Fascinating to read about the poet and her craft. Great insight. Thank you Sherry and Rosemary.

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  14. Oh my goodness - Wild Woman & Witch = Wonder-Full. I have felt this sense since childhood - although never studied nor practiced the craft - and as Rosemary mentioned in a "joking" way this heightened sense of connectedness in my mother and her mother was linked to "Romanian" witchcraft. ... At any rate, not my interview so I'll stop- but listening to The Circle (which I just downloaded) and do believe that it is time to become more knowledgable about what I feel and who I very well might be. I have spoken to a female entity that is all embracing for a very long while and walked through a meadow to quietude - drew circles of light for protection and ... okay... thank you both .... my birth religion is Judaism and although I have had an interest in Kabbalah I respect any 'craft' as more serious than sticking a toe in to dabble ... As said this interview has affirmed the sense that it is time perhaps to lose the trepidation and to add knowledge to knowing. We shall see. Thank you Sherry for the interview and to Rosemary for the wealth of resources and calm conversation. Kudos and wild violets.

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  15. Oh forgive me I was so swept away I did not even mention the lush - gorgeous poems throughout - thank you for this interview - thank you ❤️❤️

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    1. You surely know I'd forgive you anything, you generous soul! Fascinating to learn of your own experiences, which I had no idea of. I am trained as a teacher of Qabala, but it's the magical one, which may be different in some ways from what you know. xx

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    2. It is time I believe to learn about what I feel to be true :). Thank you. I am formally uneducated in all such things that I have felt since early childhood.

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  16. Rosemary, have you ever submitted poetry to We'Moon datebooks? You must have. If not, you must! They'd love you.

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    1. Christine, thank you,. No, was unaware of them - but my local pal just suggested them, too. I think I must, yes. :-)

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    2. You DEFINITELY must - their books are amazing - last year's was about Wild Woman! Check them out, kiddo. Chris, thank you for reading and for the suggestion. Yay!

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  17. What a fascinating interview is this! Thank you Sherry and Rosemary. Most of the time our gaze is towards the outside world and never towards the inner world. What treasures we are born with! But most of us are unaware except a chosen few. You are one of the few souls Rosemary. May this beautiful and fascinating journey of yours be full of light, healing and love. Your poems beautifully reflect this. Thank you so much for making us aware of this great journey of life. And Sherry you are magicKal too!!

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    1. Yes, Sherry is, isn't she? (Grin.) I have been telling her that. Thank you, Sumana, for your beautiful good wishes.

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  18. Great interview from both you ladies Sherry and Rosemary. Witches I thought was invoked to frighten little children to be more responsive to what were expected of them.Never thought it could be so technical as to be called upon to solve certain types of concern. Would never see witches in a bad light again. Thanks for sharing Rosemary!

    Hank

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    1. Thank you, Hank. I'm glad we have eradicated the stereotype for you. :)

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  19. Dare I say a magical interview - thoroughly enjoyed learning more about you Rosemary - thank you both. I knew you were special...what resonated most for me was your sense of self and inner being which you can see in that early photo which is gorgeous..such a shame ŵe have to surpress ourselves...although we can change that and eat violets for breakfast..whatever our beliefs that is a good inspiration and lesson to learn from..

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    1. Thank you, Jae. The 4-year-old me looks entirely integrated with her body, which I feel again now. I think that has something to do with that sense of being fully oneself.

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  20. Loved this chat and nice to get to know more about you Rosemary. And thanks for the information a lot of which I did not know. Loved your poem Innocence. Thanks Sherry for this interview - such a magical one.

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    1. Thank you, Suzy. It is also good to be known a little more. :)

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    2. As you may sense Rosemary, you have connected with many of my inner worlds. As a child I was painfully shy, but was very tuned to peoples' lives...predicting the death of a little known aunt to name one incident. My mother always brushed it aside as co-incidence or a vivid imagination. Not till many years later did she tell me that there were clairvoyants in her mothers' family, but she did not enlarge on this. I still harbour a social shyness, (never have been comfortable at parties or even in small social gatherings) and yet I am a teacher.. hardly shy in this mode. The students love how I sense them, their needs. That is just the thumbnail version. Your open comments have stirred the old wonder whether I really should explore further. Thank you Sherry for the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful dialogue between you and Rosemary.

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    3. Gemma, I've always had a feeling we're like-minded, but I didn't know how many points of likeness there were! (I am no good at parties either, or even small gatherings, but shine as a teacher – and have been an uninhibited performance poet in my day!)

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  21. One additional comment, I think I am more clairsentient than clairvoyant, but sometimes the two seem to enhance one another. It is great to voice and share these thoughts. Thank you.

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    1. Yes, I can relate to that. When I touch my crystal ball, I then get mental pictures and verbal messages.

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  22. Thank you both for this. Delightful interview and poetry. Rosemary, I'm heading for your blog now.

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    1. I hope you find it interesting, Mary. It's a bit ad hoc. :)

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  23. This is a very interesting interview. Thanks Rosemary for your openness in sharing your path on this beautiful planet earth. Thank you Sherry for drawing her out. If I were a witch, and I'm not I would opt to be a good witch. To do caring, healing , loving, things and helping people out of distress.

    Much love...

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    1. You don't need to be a witch, Gillena. You have magical personality which unfailingly brings joy through your poetry.

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  24. I am fascinated by this other side to Rosemary's life which I did not know about. For me, witchcraft is about following more ancient and natural rhythms and such lifestyles seem an antidote to the increasing materialism in the world today.

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    1. Kerry, we see Witchcraft through a very similar lens. I'm not religious, but I love the way natural witchery approaches the world and the way it interacts with the world. And yes, a perfect "antidote" to the path the world is walking these days.

      I have an old friend who always says that a Witch is a hippy with a magic panache. ;-)

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    2. You are right, Kerry. We remain aware of the seasonal rhythms, and honour them; and we are of course all environmentalists and animal-lovers.

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    3. Magaly, your friend has a point – however, I don't know any dope-smoking witches, lol. (Some shamans use plants to help themselves go into trance, but at least as many don't.)

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  25. The world of witchcraft has always been presented as satanic and scary so I've never taken it as an art. I am not drawn to it though I think the church (Christian) has removed too much mystery and magic from our knowing.
    Rosemary, your sweet face shines with goodness and love. If what you are is a witch then I can see the positive (and goodness) in you. Lovely interview, thank you and Sherry both.

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    1. Bless you, Debi, and thank you for the kind words. The early Christian church, at a certain time in its history, sought to consolidate its position by giving 'the old religion' a very bad press, and those ideas have persisted. I think there are people who are drawn to the Craft in the mistaken idea of using it for power over others, but I have never personally met any although I know a lot of witches (and Pagans of other stripes). Many witches are still very private about it due to centuries of persecution, and you'd never pick them. We look – and are – quite ordinary people, really; just with this extra dimension to our lives.

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  26. I love this. In fact, I love reading this sort of coming of age (coming of witch?) stories. They are all so different, but extremely similar at the core. Many of us, especially those who grew up in a household that belonged to a major religion, feel that sense of being different the moment we become aware of our person-hood. I grew up in a Caribbean Catholic home, meaning that there was tons of witchcraft but no one called it that. My transition was an easy one. But like you, I also have many friends who haven't had an easy time of it. The bit about your friend almost losing her children made my heart beat a tad faster, for the same happened to one of my former clients.

    Things are getting better, but they aren't perfect yet. This kind of sharing will certainly move us closer to as best as it can be. ♥

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    1. My own parents were agnostic, though most of the extended family were Christian – but not fundamentalist or proselytising. It was just that I could see the living energy in blades of grass, caught glimpses of nature spirits, and there were people around me whom others couldn't see or hear....

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  27. Wonderful, Wonderful Rosemary! Thank you both for a wonderful chat between two wonderful women! Loved learning more about Rosemary!!!!

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    1. It was a pleasure to do it, Annell. Sherry is so easy to work with.

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  28. Well, I am just thrilled at the wonderful, positive response to our chat. Thank you to each one of you who took the time to read, to wonder, to stretch your horizon, and to support and appreciate our wonderful Rosemary. And thank you again, Rosemary, for your openness and willingness to share, to explain and to inform. We are all the richer for it.

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    1. Yes, I too am thrilled with these warm, accepting responses. And I deeply thank you, Sherry, for having this idea in the first place.

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  29. A very interesting chat, thanks to Sherry and Rosemary ~ I must say my ideas of witch and craft have changed with this conversation ~

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    1. That's good (I think!). I tend to forget how much misinformation is still out there.

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  30. Oh!! You two! This is so interesting for me, I'm so excited to learn so much about you Rosemary and the practice that you live...shamanism has been a powerful concept and spiritual calling that I would so love to learn more about...if only I lived nearer...sigh.

    Such wonderful selections of poetry as well...the Universe/Source/Upstairs would love this, too!!

    This was striking for me, "It felt peaceful and right, like a homecoming." Yes. That feeling...there's nothing like it!

    Thank you, Sherry and Rosemary for bringing this together! Such a wonderfully witchy interview!!

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    1. I highly recommend the book Urban Shaman by Serge Khahili King.

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  31. Sadly often habits, practices, colour and religion because of their differences from how we have been brought up sometimes appear and even feel alien to us. This is particularly so when certain people want to control the way we think. In poetic circles we are constantly learning from others and find it easier to accept differences because we can see that there is beauty and rhythm in different forms. So it is with your explanation of Witchcraft Rosemary. Many of us have had our thinking biased by prejudices from history and hysteria and this wonderful interview only goes to show that poets should have a greater influence on world affairs than others!

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    1. Oh, if only we could! Still, I believe there is some point in speaking up anyway. Thanks for this thoughtful comment.

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  32. What a fabulous interview Sherry & Rosemary. I love getting a better insight into your craft Rosemary. I so enjoyed all the items you use for your ceremonies.Your poems in the section "Preparing the Temple" really spoke to me. I know I don't really do enough to prepare myself and my surroundings for spiritual matters.

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    1. Inner space is surely the more important consideration for that, It's nice, and respectful, to create a good external environment too, and helps create a good frame of mind – but when it comes right down to it, one only needs oneself and God.

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  33. If everyone hasn't moved on already – I have now added a book list on my Cronewyze blog: http://cronewyze.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/good-books-for-witches-shamans-etc.html

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  34. beyond understanding, simply to know, with humble joy.
    G-d's connection is usually depicted as a feminine attribute, refered to in Judiasm as Shechina, probably why that power is more prevelent in women. G-d bless Rosemary ;-)

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  35. Hi Rosemary and Sherry~
    I am intrigued and love the last poem-offering! How wonderful your spirit is to share these experiences with us~ I enjoyed all that you shared, Rosemary!
    Thank you ladies for sharing~ I feel so, much connect with the earth that I too, will pick up one of the books you suggested! Thank you~

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  36. How glad I am that I stumbled upon this superb interview - one of my favourite interviewers talking to my very favourite witch/crone/magic woman. Thank you so much, Sherry and Rosemary - such an elucidating article filled with words of wisdom and poems to match ... it made my day to find it. Bless you both.

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  37. Rosemary, your words cast a spell on me often. I am particularly enamored of these:

    "Find a feather, a twig,
    a shell, a stone.
    Look up. Breathe in."

    Thanks for sharing yourself with us.


    Sherry, you're an interview master, always. Thank you for this glimpse further into Rosemary's life.

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  38. Wow --what a great interview--Rosemary, how did I miss this side of you in your poetry??? Very cool and thank you for sharing this side here--Thank you Sherry!!

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  39. How good is was to read you here, dear Rosemary. The Spirit coming out in your words and in your poems. I used to think that I was lucky, but now I believe I was given a little facility in reminding others of the good in them and then re-weaving it. It just lasts a moment, but it is sweet. (I think you have done that here too.)

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