Pagan Blog Project 2013 - K is for Karma... Sort of

When I started to write this post, as I typed the word Karma, I asked myself, what is Karma?  I had to admit that when I came to actually defining the word, I needed a little assistance.  I started reading about the different groups that use the word and found Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and lots of other “isms” all use the word in some form.  Even Christians have a similar belief in “So shall ye reap, so shall ye sow”.

When I think about Karma I was one of those that saw someone who committed what I thought to be a horrible crime, being handed a hard life coming for all their evil deeds.  I also saw people doing good deeds and thought, oh they well so be rewarded. 

I never really stopped to consider that this thought process is very similar to Christianity in that, one believes that if they are “good” while on earth, God will reward them with crowns, streets of gold and no pain.

For some reason that thought struck me as odd.  When I do something for someone.  When I light a candle, send good energy or pick up a kids shoe that’s falling off from the shopping cart and hand it to the parent; I’m not doing this because some time in the future I’ll be rewarded.

Now, what do I deserve? Am I a good person?  I continued to read and some of the lines were, eating meat is wrong and some other “commandments” if you will, that appeared to be more of an eye for an eye type belief.  One cannot say, you deserve that to happen to you, when a rapists rapes, without fully understanding that with that judgement, they are now the rapists. 


So, if we look at that concept and then think about it from a “typical” pagan prospective we see things like, karma spells and reflective spells.  Even though we're a live and let live group of people, if attacked, we have been known to direct things back at the attacker.  Does this then make us an aggressor?

And then what is the purpose anyway??  So I’m a jackass in this life, right?  If I realize I’m an ass; do I slowly get better as I’m re-incarnated?  If my life is really good now do I then think that I used to be an ass?  What about people who are really “bad” now?  Were they worse before?  

Does karma deal us a hand and it change based on the moves we make in it?  What about little babies that are killed?  Again, how is this not like the heaven/hell theory? 

So many questions flying through my brain. 

One thing I've learned is that as I look at karma closely, I get mixed messages.  I love the thought – get what you deserve, no more, no less.  I’m not sure I’m clear about who gets to say what I deserve.  As I've seen it, everything in organized religion is from a human.  Perhaps that’s all we have, but to me, that’s a bit suspect. 

I believe that when you are doing something, “right” only you can decide if it is.  You created that event, which becomes the cause for the beginning of “Karma”.  I don’t believe anyone else can point at the things I've done in my life and say, this is good or this is bad.  Only I truly know what those things are.  Someone may see me steal from a grocery store at 8 years old.  They do not see me sitting in the field next to the store eating the food I just stole with a vengeance because I’m starving.  

I also believe that if there is something I’m doing that isn't the right way.  I’ll know it.  I’ll know that I’m not doing this the completely honest way.  At times, I've been leaving the store and a get the wrong change, I quickly gave it back.  Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

I do everything I can to be honest and very upfront with people.  I try to be polite and courteous all the time.  I try to treat other people how I want to be treated.  If I drop something on the floor, please give it back to me.  If I leave my bag at the checkout, yell for me.  If my kid drops his shoe, tug my shoulder.
I guess to me, Karma is just like another K word.  


Namaste & Blessed Be


Pagan Blog Project 2013 - K is for Kleidouchos

Kleidouchos is one of the many titles given to the Goddess Hekate/Hecate.  It means Key bearer.  Hecate is said to hold the keys to the underworld, the keys to hidden mysteries and the keys to unlock the secret knowledge.  The term is also used in reference to the priest who hold the keys to her temples.

In this modern age of social media I see all of the followers of Hecate to be these key bearers.  We all hold the key to information and can help guide others to learn about the Goddess. On my key ring I have decided to share keys to locate resources about the Goddess.

My first key is to our annual event that occurs this weekend.  (Rite of Her Sacred Fires)  There is a group set up on Facebook with members who have planned rituals around the full moon to honor the Goddess Hecate.

My second key is to my web shrine to the Goddess Hecate.  Here I list some of my favorite videos, publications and a prayer I wrote to the Goddess.

My third key is to a playlist created by Sorita D’Este which lists various groups preforming the Rite of Sacred Fires.

To me, these will help open the doors and unlock many of the mysteries around the Goddess.  She is much more than a representation of the Crone aspect of the triple goddess.  She is an ancient Goddess with a life that precedes modern Wicca.  She is a light bringer, a holder of knowledge and a deliverer of justice. 

The video below is an introduction and a FAQ around The Rite of Her Sacred Fires 2013.

This year in celebration of the Goddess and The Rite of Her Sacred Fires I had a new tattoo created. 

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Tattooist

Photo Credit - Elijah Olson - Tattooist

I’m readying myself by collecting my offerings and adding a single key to my altar.  This key represents my place in her service.  I hope that my key will open doors for others to learn about her many mysteries.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - J is for Jesus

So a few months ago I got into a major tiff with a member of a Pagan Group on Facebook.  This question was posted to the group.  

What are the deities you worship?  Are they male or female?

Some of the answers to the question were very typical and nothing I didn't expect.  I tossed mine up there.  Hecate - Female.  Others posted Thor and Pan or Diana and Isis.  Then one person posted, the following response.   Jesus Christ – Male.


I was completely dumbfounded at how this was even possible.  Apparently they identified as a Pagan but were a follower of Christ.  I was confused.  Immediately I was questioning this.  How can one be a Pagan AND a follower of Christ.  Since there are several references by Jesus about Pagans specifically and those are not held in the highest regard.

Matthew 6:7
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words

Matthew 6:32
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

Matthew 18:17
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

The website lists 47 different verses that they attribute to Pagans.  Again not in a positive way. 

That being said, I can totally see how you can be a person who reads the bible and says, “Hey Jesus was a cool guy, he did cool stuff. I want to follow his philosophy.”  However, in order to be a Christian, there are very strict rules associated with it.  One of which is to believe that there is only one God, and Jesus is the son of that God.  You have to believe that he died on a cross for your sins and that through that blood sacrifice you are saved from eternal damnation.  Through that sacrifice your sins are washed away by the blood and allowed entry into the kingdom of Heaven.  
Now, I’m not one to poke at people who believe what they want to believe.  Heck I believe in an energy that flows through everything on the Earth.  I believe that energy stays present even in death and that if we listen closely enough we can channel that energy and change the physical world.  Really not too much different than what some believe prayer is.
Jon Stewart is amazing.  He said it best in the following skit.

I understand that many of the cultures adopted or incorporated aspects from Christianity into their Pagan religions after having their own beliefs “Christianized” by conquering forces.  I fail to see how one can actually be a Pagan Christian that follows Jesus.  I would think that would be akin to being a Christian Atheist.

That being said, I’m certainly not saying that you cannot say that you are that.  And my understanding of that belief system is certainly not required in order to legitimize it. 

Namaste & Blessed Be

Meatless Monday - Thai Spring Rolls

As a compliment to my Pad Thai Noodles I came up with this great recipe for Thai Spring Rolls.  I started out trying this recipe with the rice paper wrappers.  I had a lot of trouble with them.  After frying them there was a film left on my teeth which was quite bad.  I decided to redo the recipe and remove the rice wrappers for egg roll wrappers. 

* This website has a great list of vegetarian substitutions

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Here are my ingredients
1 cup of sliced dried black mushrooms
1 cup of bean threads
2 tablespoons Oyster sauce
9-12 spring roll wrappers (I use egg roll wrappers)
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons sliced carrots
2 tablespoons sliced Napa cabbage

4 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
5 tablespoons White Sugar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flake


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl of water to re-hydrate (Save the water)
Place noodles in a large bowl and fill with hot water and allow to sit

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Slice the carrots and Napa cabbage thinly

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Mince the garlic

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Squeeze the liquid out of the mushrooms and dice finely

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add one tablespoon of oil, one tablespoon of oyster sauce and two teaspoons of soy sauce and cook over high heat for five minutes.  Use the mushroom water to add moisture to the mushrooms until the cooking time is complete to keep moist.  Remove from heat.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

In another pan add 1 tablespoon oil, carrots, cabbage and garlic on high heat until fragrant, and then add the mushroom mixture, the drained noodles and rest of sauce.  Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the noodles are done.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Remove from heat and allow dish to cool to room temperature.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Beat one egg in a small bowl to use to seal the egg roll wrappers

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Place 1-2 tablespoons of mix in the center of the wrapper then fold up from the center

Photo Credit - Renee Olson 

Fold the sides into the center and roll to the end.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Cover the edges with the egg mix and seal

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Place in hot oil and fry until golden brown

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Place on towel to absorb extra oil and serve with the dipping sauce*

*The dipping sauce is adding the vinegar; sugar and pepper flake on high heat and stir until thickened

Photo credit - Renee Olson

Have you tried one of my recipes? Do you have a suggestion or a tip on a meatless dish?  Send me your comments at or leave me a comment here.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - J is for Judging

Judging – To form an opinion or conclusion about.
This week a friend of mine shared a photo with me that really irked me.

So I decided to head over to the Facebook page of the church to voice my annoyance at their little photo.  I left them a message and it was soon joined by other Pagans who put their thoughts there as well.

Photo Credit - Heather Ray
I am completely blown away by how easy it is for a group who’s on book they walk around with and thump constantly specifically states “Judge not lest ye be judged” and yet they stand and point the finger at so many others.

I've said for years that I don’t need saving.  I don’t need to be prayed for, I’m really good.  I look around at our Pagan community.  I’m not really sure why I would want to tell a mother not to let her kids grow up to be like them.

We are creative, open minded and positive.  We have writers, artists and warriors.  I really don’t understand why Pagans are so hated/feared.  Why can’t they just live and let live?  Why must they do things like this?  It leads directly back to my post last week on intolerance.  Pagan author Kryja Withers home is being shot at and even bombed because she does something really awful, like write children’s books.   I’m so beyond livid right now it’s unbelievable.  I cannot even think clearly.
I believe that maybe if people really understood what Pagan means and what we represent they would be less likely to be so critical of us.  Because Paganism encompasses so many beliefs it is really hard to give a single definition.  While working on a blog project a little over a year or so ago, I included Native American Spirituality under my umbrella of paganism and was actually accused of running them down.  Even though the term is generally used to refer to all non-Abrahamic religions, which would include any spirituality not related to the Jewish/Christian Abraham.

I believe we should open a dialog with the people that would call us less than because we are non-Christian.  We should let them see who we are.  I know that we’re all very different.  We follow different Gods and Goddesses.  We have different rites and rituals.  Some of our groups are segregated based on gender, others welcome all to follow in their path.  I believe that as a group we can show others through the love and compassion I see daily from pagans from all walks of life, that we are a truly great people and we are something that any mother may want their kid to grow up to become.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Meatless Monday - Pad Thai

I love Thai food.  Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes.  Cooking on a budget doesn’t have to be boring.  We went up to our local Oriental market and picked up all the ingredients to make this dish for under $20.

Finding new Thai dishes to cook is easy as checking out this great website.  It lists several traditional Thai dishes that are very easy to make. 

As I've mentioned before I’m not a strict vegetarian so the fact that many Thai dishes use fish sauce or oyster sauce as a base doesn't bother me.  To make this dish as a vegetarian dish you’ll need to substitute the fish sauce for another sauce that does not contain an animal product.  One way to do that is to mix Hoisin or Miso with low sodium Soy Sauce as a replacement.  This website has a great list of vegetarian substitutions

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Here are my ingredients
12 oz of rice noodles
½ cup white sugar
1 ½ tablespoon white sugar (added at end of dish)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 egg beaten
1 slices of tofu
2 tablespoons Napa Cabbage
1-2 large green onion chopped very fine
1 cup Bean Sprouts
1 cup chopped peanuts


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Chop the onion really fine and dice the cabbage

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Mince the garlic and chop the Tofu
Scramble the egg by itself and set aside
Next placed the dried rice noodles in a bowl and pour hot water over them and allow them to sit

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

In the skillet add the sugar, vinegar, fish sauce and tamarind and bring to a simmer over medium/high heat.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson
 (Note if not using a processed tamarind paste, you'll need to dissolve in water and strain before adding to dish)

In another pan add 1 tablespoon of oil, the minced garlic and the onions and sauté.  When it is cooked down add the tofu to the pan and stir until coated. 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Drain the soften noodles from the bowl they were soaking in and add to the frying pan with the garlic and onion mixture.  Add in the tamarind mix, the egg and Napa Cabbage and cook for about 3 minutes or until the noodles are done.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Toss in the bean sprouts and peanuts at the very end and serve.

I have texture issues so I leave out the peanuts.  I know this is very traditional Thai with the peanuts but I just leave them out.  This dish can be made with any other protein instead of the tofu but I found firm tofu cut in ½ inch cubes works best.

Have you tried one of my recipes? Do you have a suggestion or a tip on a meatless dish?  Send me your comments at or leave me a comment here.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - I is for Intolerance

Intolerance as defined by is as follows:

in·tol·er·ance  [in-tol-er-uhns] noun
1. lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.
2. incapacity or indisposition to bear or endure: intolerance to heat.
3. abnormal sensitivity or allergy to a food, drug, etc.
4. an intolerant act.

Coming from a background in LGBT activism as well as being a pagan, I can honestly say that I have seen my fair share of intolerance.  From shouts on the street to my car window being busted out to even actually losing a job over my religious views, I have found that many in our society today are completely intolerant. 

I've spent a great deal of my life blogging and attending events to share information about both of the areas of my life that seem to attract intolerance.  I've found that for the most part, people will listen and if they disagree, they tend to go elsewhere to voice it. 
I've not had to deal with direct attacks on my person unlike Balpreet Kaur a baptized Sikh who was publicly attacked on Reddit for her appearance.  As a Sikh she does not alter her physical appearance.  She does not shave or cut her hair, which would include facial hair.  A Reddit user took a picture of her in an airport and she found it from the help of a friend.  Her reply to the hateful post about her appearance was eloquent and amazing.  
One quote from her entry is as follows:

“Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it?”

Wow.  If only I could look at myself in the mirror and feel the same peace.  The original poster did reply back and apologize for making such a horrible judgment against her.  But we can see that his intolerance to her appearance was so strong that he felt it was completely acceptable to put her picture on the internet and run her down. 

People in our society today believe it is ok to attack what they don’t understand.  Take Kyrja Withers for example.  Kyrja is author of a set of children’s books for pagans called Rupert’s Tales.  Last month Kyrja’s house was shot at by someone driving by her home.  As if that were not enough on the 15th a blue car drove by her house and threw out two bottles with fluid inside.  Kryja tried to get away before the bottles exploded but she could not.  She is being treated with steroids and an inhaler from the swelling of her lungs due to the event.  She’s being physically attacked by her “neighbors” for her beliefs.  Even her Youtube Channel – Friends of Rupert is considered fair game for these folks.  Kryja has had comments left with profanity and name calling.  The Lady Liberty League has recommended she update her security around her home, The Glitter Dome, in order to protect herself and her family from these attacks.  She’s started a fundraising protect to assist with the expenses. 

Intolerance is all around us.  We only have to look at our news feed to see bits and pieces popping up around the world.  We have the power to stop the bullying.  To stop those people who feel they can threaten and pick on those people who they see as different. 
Today I light a candle on my altar to send energy out to those who are being victimized but also to those who are the aggressor.  I want to send positive energy to them so that maybe one day, their eyes will be opened and they will see the error of their ways.  Much like the poster on Reddit, they’ll understand that they are judging others way too harshly and their words, and their actions were indeed intolerant.

Namaste and Blessed Be