I Have Been Away.

It was a long and long overdue hiatus. I have been busy. Busy with life, with work, with digging deep into the core of what it is that I am here for.

Now, I know. I know with a bone deep knowing. I know in a way that I don’t necessarily like at times, but I know.

In the time that I have been gone, I have had two jobs. The last one seems to have stuck, though, why, I have no idea. I never thought I was made for retail, but it would seem that this, like so many other things in my life are predestined and arranged perfectly.

I have also been called. Called specifically to a role that I have run from for a really long time. Called to serve the Great Mother of All, though again, why She chose me, I will never understand.

I have become an Ordained Minister, enrolled in Priestess Training, and I have been convicted to start a ministry in my area. Well, ministry may be a bit of a reach, but it is certainly a good work, and the world needs more of that right now, more than ever.

Look for more from this witch, and in the meantime, stay blessed.

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My Other Side

Most people know me as a crafter,  a witch,  an amateur herbalist,  and most recently,  a writer. While there are certainly other aspects of me, most people would be surprised to learn that I have another, far different aspect.

Me and my Bate

Yep.  That’s me.  Riding behind my soul mate and twin flame.  We were on our way back from a weekend long trip.  We rode 528 miles round trip.

Our trip began around 7:30 in the evening last Friday.  We were riding in a group.  Standard for a motorcycle club.  Now for those of you who are not familiar with MC’s,  allow me to clear up some misconceptions.

  1. I am not a member.  My old man is.  The club he is a member of is men and Harley Davidson only.  See that vest I’m wearing?  On the back it has a pretty controversial (to some) patch.  It reads “Property of Freedom Seekers.” The Freedom Seekers are a Georgia club.  This event was an anniversary party for one of the chapters.  Every old lady wears this patch. It does not mean that we are treated poorly.  I consider it a sort of shield.  If hubby and I get separated at these functions, which often have other clubs present, it identifies me as off limits to other men.  If there is an issue,  I can count on any of my old man’s club brothers to come to my defense.
  2. The club routinely does charity work.  Sponsoring rides and parties to help needy families and homeless shelters, toy runs for less fortunate children, both at Christmas and Easter.  I was driving Wednesday and saw one of his brothers stopped on the side of the road,  his motorcycle pulled alongside an older white Cadillac.  An old woman was leaned against his bike talking to him, and he was working on changing her tire. That’s just the kind of thing they do.
  3. The MC is NOT a street gang.  These are all men with wives and children, jobs, homes, and other interests. Yes, most have the stereotypical beards, long hair and tattoos,  but they are still good people.
  4. My patch does not mean that the brothers can pass me around.  I do not ” belong” to the club in the same way as their clubhouse properties.  Read “property of”  as “protected by”.
  5. Yes.  Everyone of the brothers and old ladies are aware that there are dangers involved in getting on a motorcycle.  There are dangers in driving a car too.  Or walking down the street.  Or getting in an airplane, or on a cruise ship, or train.  Please don’t try to “educate”  those who ride motorcycles on the dangers.  It won’t be well received.
  6. And finally,  motorcycles are everywhere.  They have as much right to the road as anybody.  Look twice, save a life.  Give them plenty of room,  and for Goddess sake,  don’t cut them off in traffic, ride too close, or deliberately slow down when one comes up behind you.  On our trip this time, we were cut off on I75 three times.  We were nearly run off the road by two cars attempting to change lanes without checking that it wasn’t already occupied.  We were harassed by truckers. There were six motorcycles riding together. We were highly visible.

In conclusion, most people wouldn’t look at me and think ” biker chick”.  Most people look at my old man,  with his long hair,  beard and tattoos and think “troublemaker”.  When in fact he is the most caring,  stable,  loving family man I have ever known, aside from my own father.  Don’t judge folks based on what you see at first glance. You’re only cheating yourself if you do.

A Short Excerpt From The Light Within Her, Aradiana Series Book 1

Holy Mother Of God, today just is NOT my day! I should have left an offering. Rheta’s body shook with the pressure of her position. Her fingers and toes were numb from a combination of strain and cold. The frigid wind whipped about, threatening her with certain death if she lost her precious hold on the ledge of the wall.

She needed to move, in one direction or another, but she was tired. So damn tired. Walking day after day in the nearly ceaseless, dusty wind had left her completely empty. Drained. It would be so easy to just let go. She longed to let the winds that swept the waste that had been society carry her into the oblivion. That is what would happen anyway, should the water tank on top of this building prove to be empty. Or worse, contaminated by the acrid red dirt that somehow found it’s way into everything, eventually.

She pressed her forehead against the rough surface of the plaster. Her hands were extended above her head hanging on to an architectural groove. Her eyes were burning with tears she didn’t have. Her throat was parched. She was ready to just say “fuck this” and end it all right now. Her father’s voice reached through time, clear and concise to find her there, on the side of a building, tired, cold, hungry…

“You have to keep moving, keep going. Even when you don’t think you can. The Good Lord won’t ever give you more than He made you able to handle.”

Rheta had not been to a church in more than a decade so she was not entirely convinced. She did know that if she had truly been meant to be dead she would be lying in the heap of twisted metal on the ground, seventy feet below.

Okay, think. Rheta commanded her attention back to the moment. She knew she couldn’t hang on much longer, and as soon as the wind slowed, she needed to be ready to make it to the window she had passed on her assent.

The wind’s eased up. Now it is time to move.

Pressing closer to the wall she cautiously slid her toes along the scant three inch ledge until she was under the window. She rested for just a moment, sending out a vague and shapeless prayer to her Gods, the universe, or whatever force might still be listening to the concerns of one woman alone, that she have the strength to pull herself up onto the wide window ledge, and still be able to get the window open.

Taking as deep a breath as she dared, and with a surge of strength she didn’t know she still had, she heaved herself up, arms straining to lift her small frame up and onto the relative safety of the ledge.

As her head and shoulders cleared the ledge, she saw a small hole and fissure of cracks in the lower right hand corner of the large picture window pane. She smiled a genuine smile for the first time in weeks. Finally, a small break. She laughed out loud at her own pun, outright madness threatening to take over as she threw her right leg up to the window ledge. The moment her steel toed boot found purchase there, she gave a last push and found herself laying on the wide ledge.

Thanking the universe for ostentatious buildings and the architects that built them, she tried to regulate her breathing. The alcove formed by the window offered some relief from the wind.

I wasn’t built for this shit. She pushed her body in closer to the window and up into a sitting position. With her back against the wall and her legs along the ledge, she looked down into the alley. Suppressing the horror of what had almost occurred, she blew out a hard breath.

Her back pack and sleeping bag thankfully had avoided getting buried under the rubble of the fire escape when it had flown out of her hand, as the deathtrap that had once been a life saving device had started to buck and tumble, just as she made it to the top floor of the four story building; she had scrambled to grab anything that might keep her skull from smashing like a melon on the hard concrete below.

She was actually grateful that she had shrugged out of the rather heavy pack to give her aching shoulders a break. It’s weight and bulk would have made clinging to the building much more difficult.

She cleared the thick coating of red dust from the glass. Peering inside she saw that this particular window belonged to someone that obviously had a flair for the dramatic. A dark, ornate wooden desk and glass fronted cabinet holding useless trinkets kept company with the deep crimson leather sectional couch. Heavy crimson velvet draperies with gold fringe obscured part of her view.

“Ugh!” Rheta muttered as her eye went back to the hole. She scooted along the ledge the few feet to it. The room was better than her current seat. Weary of being perched so far above the ground, Rheta stood carefully, staying as close as she could to the window. As her boot met with it the first time, a tell-tale creaking issued from the glass. Her second kick brought the glorious noise of shattering. She wasted no more time, quickly making the hole big enough to get through.

Her feet made next to no noise as she landed on the thick carpeting, which true to the room’s tone, was a crimson so deep and rich that it looked black where the dim light of the hazy sunshine from the window could not quite reach.

Something about this room felt as dangerous as the ledge outside. No trace of the room’s previous inhabitants, though, just like everywhere else she had been in the last two months.

Still, the icy prickles of panic skittered along her nerve endings as she let her gaze sweep around the room. For the first time in weeks, Rheta felt that she wasn’t alone. Instead of the sweeping sense of relief that she should be feeling at being safely on the inside of this rather ugly room instead of dead in the alley below, she felt an icy dread.

“Snap out of it! Just because this room has a not so subtle Dracula vibe going, you get all freaked out like you are three years old.”

Rheta had felt foolish the first time she spoken to herself for the sake of hearing a human voice, but as the days had stretched into weeks, and the weeks lengthened into months, she stopped caring.

Shaking off the sensation of something breathing down her neck she scanned the room. Time and again her eyes were drawn to the etched glass fronted cabinet that she had seen from outside.

What appeared to be actual books, hardbound with leather coverings and gilt lettering on the spines shared shelf space with various porcelain bowls, vases and trinket boxes.

The cabinet was locked when she tried to open it. This only increased her curiosity. Real, actual books. In another life, before all this, she had only ever seen real books once, in a museum. Before the event, e-readers were all anyone she knew ever used.

Well, Daddy’s Bible, but that was a family heirloom. Moving to the massive desk that dominated the wall along the far left side of the room, she tried every drawer only to find them locked as well.

Blowing out a frustrated breath, Rheta allowed herself a moment to sink into the soft leather chair. She was thirstier than she ever remembered being. The pounding headache reminded her that she needed water. The water tank on the roof.

Knowing she should try to find the access stairs, and see if there was still water in that tank, she sank deeper into the surprisingly comfortable chair. I would give anything for this nightmare to be over. Muscles, sore from exhaustion, exertion, and the driving cold she had been traveling in began to relax, though she still felt like she was being watched.

Closing her eyes, she let her mind drift back over the last twenty four hours. The tornado, the fire escape and now this creepy ass room. What next, fucking undead coming after me?

She opened her eyes several minutes later to the ugly gothic room. Her head still ached but the ferocious pounding had stopped. Her mind went to her provisions, down on the ground, and again to the water tank on the top of the building. Not helping myself much, sitting here on my ass.

Her reprieve over, she got to her feet and made her way to the large double doors opposite the window she had entered.

Stepping out into an equally ornate hallway, she looked around. The carpeting and dark stained wood paneling that dominated the room she had just exited was continued, and half globe sconces of crystal cut glass ran along both sides of the hall every few feet, mounted about six feet from the floor.

Posh digs. They were all dark now, but enough light came in through the large window at the end of the hall that sported the same creepy, red velvet drapes that she was able to see.

She quickly found the elevator, which was nothing more than a useless box now, with no power. A small table sat on either side of the doors, both held a large quartz crystal and a vase of now wilted roses. Two months ago they had most likely been a vibrant red, but now the heads hung, shriveled and black. Her eyes were drawn to the quartz crystals.

“Damn, what stones.” She actually drooled a little. They were perfect and perfectly matched, each around a foot and a half tall and easily twelve inches in girth. Oh, I must. She simply had to touch the magnificent stones. Never in all her witchy practice had she seen such fine crystals. Smaller stones of various colors and sizes she had in ample supply, both in the small leather pouch in her pocket and in her tiny cottage on the outskirts of Strata. The coven temple grove had contained several, but none this large.

As her hand grazed the one on the left hand side, a tingle of power shimmied up her arm, bringing out goose bumps, and further inciting her passion for all things crystalline. She stood between the tables facing the elevator door and reached both arms out to the crystals on either side.

As her hands made contact with the smooth surface on either side, the tingle of energy grew. A loud buzzing sounded in her brain, drowning out the last of the headache. She thought she must be hallucinating because she could swear that the little numbered lights above the elevator door were flickering. The sensation of raw power tripped happily along her nervous system, gaining both speed and power and she struggled to stay upright as the flood of euphoric energy surged though her. She could see the waves flowing into to her and through her as the sconces in the hallway begin to flicker on and off rapidly.

“What the hell?” She started, and let her hands fall away. She found herself back in the dim hallway, staring at a dead elevator door. The crystals seemed to glow softly for a few seconds before the illusion was gone. Even when The Coven Of Twelve had been fully focused on a Sabbat she had never felt anything like that. It was intoxicating and terrifying, at the same time, like when she had found Dani’s bottle of Absinthe when she was twenty. That was the only time she ever raised her voice at me

The lights had stopped flickering the moment the contact was broken, but the energy flowed through her still. Her vision became clearer and she heard a dog barking somewhere outside, down below on the street. She pitied any creature caught out in that, and said a brief prayer to Brigid that it would find shelter and nourishment. Dismissing the sensation that she was somehow changed from touching those quartz crystals, she turned her attention to the only other door on this floor, down at the end of the hallway. It opened easily enough and there she found the stairwells, one flight up to the roof, and several down to the ground floor.

Up she went, but at the top she found the door locked with a padlock. She had a toolkit including bolt cutters in her bag, down in the alley.

Turning with a sigh to go back down the stairs, she made her way to the third floor door.

Read more. Get your copy today!

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Beltane Blessings

My chamomile and sage were covered with blooms so I carefully plucked the tender flowers. I rinsed them under cool running water in my special wooden bowl. The mingling of the scents, the sweet of the chamomile with the savory, clean sage was a delight.

I decided to use my dragons blood candle, and ran the bath. Then I sprinkled the blossoms into the water and lit the candle. As I soaked,  I called on my dragon. She helps me to focus,  and I wanted to focus. Needed to focus on how thankful I am.

I’ve have recently achieved something that I have dreamed of for a long time. Something that I firmly believe wouldn’t have been possible had I never taken the first steps on this path that I now walk.  The path of a witch, and more importantly as a lightworker.

I have been given the tools and the talents that I need to help change the public perception of the pagan community. I am honored and humbled. In the series that I am writing, Rheta struggles with her faith. She will go through a very dark time as the series continues. 

I love my path, and am proud of it, much like Rheta at the beginning of the series. But there have been shadowy times, times when my faith and dedication have been tested in ways that defy description. Times when my faith was ultimately rewarded because I stood firm.

That is what my Beltane represented.  Giving thanks in the simplest way that I could, by reconfirming my commitment to my deities with a ritual bath.  In their typical fashion they have already responded.  I sold my first paid copy today.  Sure, I know that the royalties at this point wouldn’t even buy me a decent glass of wine.  Do I care?  No.

That one paid sale represents their acceptance of my humble supplication. And that makes my feet all the more steady as I continue down this path.

Blessings my friends, to all of you.

Lineage, or Digging Up My Roots.

Ever notice how when most people talk about family trees, they refer to the ancestors as the branches? This never made sense to me. It makes way more sense to me to think of my ancestors as my roots.

As a solitary, eclectic witch,  I have been curious for some time now, as to where I came from. Outside of my immediate scope which included literally loads of my dad’s side, and a limited interaction with a limited number of my mom’s folks, I had no idea.

I knew the story of our name, Rountree, and its origin, in England.  Daddy told me the story often when I was little. A landowner was out inspecting his land and found a baby boy under a rowan tree.  He took the boy to raise, giving him the surname Rowantree. The boy grew up, took a wife, and had two sons, who changed the spelling to Rountree.

I loved that story. All I knew of my mother’s side was that she was one quarter Cherokee. I took the plunge. I signed up on ancestry.com. I highly recommend this.  It has been tremendously rewarding.

I have been able to verify my Daddy’s story, to some degree. Sure enough, the line stops in 1475,  in Yorkshire. Along the way, I found myself in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia before crossing the Atlantic to Ireland, and then on to England. There are other grandparents roots to explore,  but that’s as far as the Rountree line is traceable.

So,  at my Mom’s request, I began digging her side.  She wanted to uncover those Native American roots, and frankly, I did too. I may have found more than either of us expected.  Her line is traceable back to 400 BC. it goes further,  I just haven’t gotten that far.

Update: found a taproot on Dad’s side that goes pretty far.  I don’t know whether I find it cool or weird that it turns out that my mom and dad share ancestors.  I found documented proof that my paternal 34th Great Grandparents are also my maternal 34th Great Grandparents. This is the ancestor taproot that stretches into antiquity,  so,  I guess it’s kind of cool.

I have found royal and tribal and tribal royal blood in abundance on both sides.  It humbling.  Very humbling to know your roots.

This genealogy project has inspired me.  I want to write about the spiritual relationship between descendants and ancestors. I’m still ironing out the concept, while work begins in earnest on Book 2 of the Aradiana Series. There might be some genealogy themes touched on in this series, too.

Book 1 is still available.

 

A Modern Day Epic

The warm sunny weather has kept our household busy. Between spring planting, yard maintenance, end of year standardized testing for the boys, and the onset of the social season we have barely stopped.

I have managed to get very little writing done, and next to no crafting. I have managed to finish planting the Garden, even as the sprouts of silver queen and sweet corn broke the ground.  This process was blocked at several points by the biggest small problem ever to plague a gardener.

We have been tireless in our fight against the fire ants.  For generations our kind and theirs have lived side by side, in relative peace. Things changed in the event that will live in infamy,  The Siege Of The Feet 2016.

Picture it:Sicily, 1910…. No wait, wrong story. Picture it: my back yard, 2016.  A radiantly happy witch works the soil under the cloud dappled sky, a gentle breeze lifts her hair. The soft, rich dirt moves freely under her hoe, and her bare toes dig deep into its soothing comfort.  She has found a moment of nirvana.

She lifts her face to the expanse of infinity as she gives thanks for the sheer perfection of this moment. Little does she know, she has disrupted the colonization of The Grand Solenopsis Empire.  This gross affront has only one recourse for them; Vengeance.

Stealthily, they moved into position, between toes and along the arches, as far North as the ankle.  These brave, selfless elite fighting ants waited for the command, knowing that they most likely would be killed in this battle. The command came, and unleashed all of the rage at the insult to their great Queen. As one they attacked, causing the witch to curse and strike them dead, before she retreated to nurse her many wounds.

Many days later, which to the ants is centuries, the tale is still being told in the hatching chambers, as they re-establish their hatred for the enemy with every retelling.  Her feet healed and she caused a great poisonous snow to fall wherever they tried to establish a new colony, until they were forced from The Chosen Land. They now reside in smaller, clandestine groups in the outlying areas.  It has been rumored that one day the tribes will all unite again, finally take down the giant witch, and regain their glory.

These rumors are unfounded, and as yet unverifiable. As for the witch, she regretted the use of poisonous snow(the entire point of her garden is to provide chemical free, wholesome food for her family) and she resolved to find a better option for ant control.

Maybe fire.

I’ve Been Absent

And I apologize.  I have had a good bit going on.  Last Wednesday,  I bit the bullet and hit publish on the first in series short novel that I’ve been working on.

Of course I proofed it a dozen times,  but some errors and formatting issues showed up in the finished work.  I frantically made revisions,  and consequently found other errors.  The process continued.

So,  long story short,  I am now a published author.  I’ve never felt such gut wrenching anxiety. At last check,  38 free copies have been downloaded.

I gotta admit,  my brain kind of short circuited long about the 15th download.  I had to unplug and reset.  So I lost myself in dirt and sunshine until I felt normal.  We have had our garden spot plowed for a couple of weeks,  but then the rain came. I had to wait until the soil dried out before I could plant.  Since Friday,  I have planted yellow squash,  acorn squash,  cucumbers,  silver queen corn,  sweet yellow corn and okra.

Then my son decided he wanted to learn how to garden and we planted three kinds of green beans, blackeyed peas,  carrots,  onions,  spinach and tomatoes. This afternoon we will planting some more tomatoes and seven different kinds of peppers. We love our peppers.

I have also started on the second in series book.  The story centers around Rheta.  She’s no spring chicken,  but she is naive.  She is a witch and priestess in training who finds herself seemingly alone on an empty planet,  battling weather gone crazy,  crippling loneliness,  and a sorcerer that she doesn’t trust.

Unbeknownst to them both,  the rest of humanity has been “evacuated” by an alien race ruled by a powerful deity, who is bent on finding her heir.

It is going to be a series of several,  with each book being considered a short read.

If you are so inclined,  you can check it out on Kindle but it has occult and pagan themes and adult situations. Today is the last day of the free promotion.

So on to today’s work,  featuring a small mountain of laundry,  a vacuum cleaner, two bathrooms in need of swabbing, and a kitchen that needs a deep clean. All that before at least two more hours of planting this afternoon and getting dinner on the table. Ah,  the glamorous life of an author.