"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God Who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."  - Galileo Galilei

"It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil.  If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui."  - Helen Keller



I think I could turn and live with animals,

they are so placid and self-contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long. -
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied,

not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another,

nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.


- From “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman

(and quoted in the original “Wicker Man” movie)




Here and now are the Mysteries.

Out of no stored and storied past

Of things long lost;

But the breathing moment of time.

Out of no twilight

But that which falls upon the hills this night.

The old trees partake of them,

And the voices of the grass;

The ghost-white blossomed elders,

And the first clouded glow of the rising Moon.

If we can hear,

If we can see,

Out of no buried past they come;

But from the fields of our own home

Is reaped the grain

That makes the bread of their feast.

Out of the flowers of every Summer

Flows the honey of their mead.

Look, between the stones is a blade of grass;

And all the rites of the high Mysteries,

And the runes of all witcheries,

Are written upon it.


- Doreen Valiente,  “Natural Magic”






Bide the Wiccan laws ye must, in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust;

Live ye must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give;

Form the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out;

To bind ye spell well every time, let the spell be spake in rhyme;


Soft of eye and light of touch, speak ye little, listen much

Honor the Ancients in deed and name, let love and light be our guides again;

Deosil go by the waxing Moon, chanting out ye soulful tune;

Tuathal we go when the Moon doth wane,

and werewolves howl by the dread wolfsbane;


When ye Lady’s Moon is new, kiss ye hand to Her times two;

When the Moon rides at Her peak, then thy heart’s desire do seek;

When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast;

When the Wind blows from the South, love will kiss thee on the mouth;

When the Wind whispers from the West, all hearts have found peace and rest;

Heed the North Wind’s mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail;


Nine woods in the cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow:

Birch represents what the Lady knows;

Oak in the forest towers with might, in the Fire it brings the God’s insight;

Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to grow and flower;

Willow at the waterside stands, ready to help us in the Summerland;

Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw the Faerie to your eye;

Hazel is the tree of wisdom and learning

and adds its strength to the bright Fire burning;

White are the flowers of the Apple tree, that brings us the fruits of fertility;

Grapes that grow upon the vine give to us both joy and wine;

Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen;

Elder be ye Lady’s tree; burn it not, or cursed ye’ll be!


Four times the Major Sabbats mark, in the light and in the dark:

As the old year starts to wane, the new begins, it’s now Samhain;

When the time for Imbolc shows, watch for flowers through the snows;

When the Wheel begins to turn, soon ye Beltane Fires will burn;

As the Wheel turns to Lughnassadh night, power is brought to magick rite;


Four times the Minor Sabbats fall, use the Sun to mark them all:

When the Wheel has turned to Yule, light the log: the Horned One rules;

In the spring, when night equals day, time for Eastre to come our way;

When the Sun has reached its height, time for Oak and Holly to fight;

Harvesting comes to one and all, when the Autumn Equinox does fall;


Heed ye flower, bush and tree:  by the Lady, blessed they be;

Where the rippling Waters go, cast a stone, the truth ye’ll know;

When ye have and hold a need, hearken not to others greed;

With a fool no season spend, or be counted as their friend;


Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and warm the heart;

Mind ye Threefold Law ye should, three times bad and three times good;

When misfortune is enow, wear the Star upon thy brow;

True in love must ye ever be, lest thy love be false to thee.


These eight words the Rede fulfill:


An harm ye none, do as ye will.


Blessed Be!


(In 1974 a complete twenty-six line poem entitled "The Wiccan Rede" was published in the neo-Pagan magazine Earth Religion News. Each line contained a rhymed couplet laid out as a single line, the last line being the familiar "short rede" couplet beginning "Eight words"


Another, slightly different, version, shortly followed this poem entitled the "Rede Of The Wiccae," which was published in Green Egg magazine by Lady Gwen Thompson. She ascribed it to her grandmother Adriana Porter, and claimed that the earlier published text was distorted from "its original form." The poem has since been very widely circulated and has appeared in other versions and layouts, with additional or variant passages. It is commonly known as the "Long Rede".)






One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of the Goddess they were,
But mine were not along the shore.

But then some stranger prints appeared,
and I asked Her, What have we here?
These prints are large and round and neat,
But much too big to be from feet.

My child, She said in somber tones,
For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait.

You would not learn, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt.

Because in life, there comes a time
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their butt prints in the sand.

Author Unknown





-by Eliza Cook


Whom do we bud as gentlemen?  The knave, the fool, the brute –

If they but own full tithe of gold and wear a courtly suit!

the parchment scroll of titled line, the riband at the knew,

Can still suffice to ratify and grant such high degree;

But Nature, with a matchless hand, sends forth Her nobly born,

And laughs the paltry attributes of wealth and rank to scorn;

She moulds with care a spirit rare, half human, half divine,

And cries exulting, “Who can make a gentleman like Mine?


She may not spend Her common skill about the outward part,

But showers beauty, grace and light, upon the brain and heart?

She may not choose ancestral fame his pathway to illume –

The Sun that sheds the brightest day may rise from mist and gloom.

Should Fortune pour Her welcome store, and useful gold abound,

He shares it with a bounteous hand and scatters blessings round.

The treasure sent is rightly spent, and serves the end designed,

When held by Nature’s gentleman, the good, the just, the kind.


He turns not from the cheerless home, where sorrow’s offsprings dwell;

He’ll greet the peasant in his hut – the culprit in his cell.

He stays to hear the widow’s plaint of deep and mourning love,

He seeks to aid her lot below, and prompt her faith above.

The orphan child, the friendless one, the luckless, or the poor,

Will never meet his spurning frown, or leave his bolted door;

His kindred circles all mankind, his country all the globe –

An honest name his jewelled star, and truth his ermine robe.


He wisely yields his passions up to reason’s firm control –

His pleasures are of crimeless kind, and never taint the soul.

He may be thrown among the gay and reckless sons of life,

But will not love the revel scene, or head the brawling strife.

He wounds no breast with jeer or jest, yet bears no honeyed tongue!

He’s social with the gray-haired one and merry with the young;

He gravely shares the council speech or joins the rustic game,

And shines as Nature’s gentleman, in every place the same.


No haughty gesture marks his gait, no pompous tone his word,

No studied attitude is seen, no palling nonsense heard;

He’ll suit his bearing to the hour – laugh, listen, learn, or teach,

With joyous freedom in his mirth, and candour in his speech.


He worships God with inward zeal, and serves Him in each deed;

He would not blame another’s faith nor have one martyr bleed;

Justice and mercy form his code; he puts his trust in Heaven;

His prayer is, “If the heart means well, may all else be forgiven!”


Though few of such may gem the Earth, yet such rare gems there are,

Each shining in his hallowed sphere as virtue’s polar star,

Though human hearts too oft are found al gross, corrupt, and dark,

Yet, yet some bosoms breathe and burn, lit by Promethean spark,

There are some spirits nobly just, unwarped by pelf or pride.

Great in the calm, but greater still when dashed by adverse tide –

They hold the rank no king can give, no station can disgrace.

Nature puts forth Her gentleman, and monarchs must give place.




Prayer from the film "The 13th Warrior":


Lo, there do I see my father.
Lo, there do I see my mother.
And my sister and my brother
Lo, there do I see the line of my people
Back to the beginning.
Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them
In the halls of Valhalla
Where the brave may live forever.




This was inspired by Ibn Fadlan´s 10th c. account (Ar-Risala, "The Letter") of the Varangian Rus.

The original was spoken by a slave girl following her deceased master by ritual death.




Hear the Voice of the Bard

Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who present, past, and future sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word,
That walked among the ancient trees,

Calling the lapsèd soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen, light renew!

O Earth, O Earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass;
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumberous mass.

Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.


- William Blake  (Writing of the Druids)






Oh, I have been beyond the town,

Where nightshade black and mandrake grow,

And I have heard and I have seen

What “righteous” folk would fear to know!


For I have heard, at still midnight,

Upon the hilltop far, forlorn,

With note that echoed through the dark,

The winding of the heathen horn.


And I have seen the fire aglow,

And glinting from the magic sword,

And with the inner eye beheld

The Hornéd One, the Sabbat’s Lord.


We drank the wine and broke the bread,

And ate it in the Old One’s name.

We linked our hands to make the ring,

An d laughed and leaped the Sabbat game.


Oh, little do the townsfolk reck,

When dull they lie within their bed!

Beyond the streets, beneath the stars,

A merry round the Witches tread!


And round and round the Circle spun,

Until the gates swung wide ajar,

That bar the boundaries of Earth

From Faery realms that shine afar.


Oh, I have been and I have seen

In magic worlds of Otherwhere.

For all this world may praise or blame,

For ban or blessing naught I care.


For I have been beyond the town,

Where meadowsweet and roses grow,

And there such music did I hear

As worldly-righteous never know.


Doreen Valiente,  “Witchcraft for Tomorrow”




Beltane ritual song


O do not tell the priests of our arts. For they would call it sin, For we will be in the woods all night Aconjuring conjuring summer in.

And we bring you good news by word of mouth. For women, cattle, and corn: The sun is coming up from the south, With oak and ash, and thorn.


How strange and wonderful is our home, our Earth,

With its swirling, vaporous atmosphere,

Its flowing and frozen climbing creatures,

The croaking things with wings that hang on rocks

and soar through fog, the furry grass, the scaly seas.

How utterly rich and wild

Yet some among us have the nerve,

The insolence, the brass, the gall to whine

About the limitations of our Earthbound fate

And yearn for some more perfect world beyond the sky.

We are none of us good enough

For the world we have.


- Edward Abbey, from “Earth Prayers from Around the World”






Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever Gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeoning of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.


It matters not how straight the gate,

How charged with punishment the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.


-William Ernest Henley




Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church


Some keep the Sabbath going to church;

I keep it staying at home.

With a bobolink for a chorister,

And an orchard for a dome.


Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;

I just wear my wings,

And instead of tolling the bell for church,

Our little sexton sings.


God preaches, - a noted clergyman, -

And the sermon is never long;

So instead of getting to heaven at last,

I’m going all along!

- Emily Dickinson




A Pledge of Allegiance to the Family of Earth


I pledge allegiance to the Earth,

and to the flora, fauna,

and human life that it supports,

one planet, indivisible,

with safe air, water and soil,

economic justice, equal rights

and peace for all.


- Women’s Environment and Development Organization

of the Women’s Foreign Policy Council




How Might Your Life Have Been Different?


How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you….


A place of women, where you were received and affirmed?  A place where other women, perhaps somewhat older, had been affirmed before you, each in her time, affirmed, as she struggled to become more truly herself.


A place where, after the fires were lighted, and the drumming, and the silence, there would be a hush of expectancy filling the entire chamber….   A knowing that each woman there was leaving old conformity to find her self….  A sense that all of womanhood stood on a threshold.


And if, during the hush, the other women, slightly older, had helped you to trust your own becoming….   To trust it and quietly and prayerfully to nurture it.


How might your life have been different?


Judith Duerk,  “Circle of Stones”




How might your lives have been different, women of the world, if you had been born into a world where Divinity still had a feminine face, and a feminine name, as well as a masculine one?


A world where the sacrifices of every daughter of the Goddess were honored, rather than feared or disparaged, every time they bleed, every time they give birth, every time they die in childbirth, so that humanity may continue?


How might your lives have been different if you were encouraged to speak up in church, seen as your husband’s equal partner,  permitted to teach and become clergy the same as a man, and not seen as the creature who committed the original sin, causing the “fall” of humankind?    If you had not been seen as an afterthought, created as a “helpmeet” for the man who was created first,  in God’s image.


How would your life be different if you were not encouraged from birth to become the “weaker sex”?   To be pretty, soft-spoken, demure yet sexy, and obedient, always obedient?


There was a time when the woman owned her hearth and her children.  There was a time when women were not mutilated, beaten or raped.  There was a time when women were listened to.  There was a time when those women who chose to do so, fought at their mate’s side in battle, led men in battle, and were victorious.


Remember that time and take it back.   There are good and decent men here still who will stand with you, as equals.  But you must stand up first.


- Anonymous




The New Our Father


Our Mother Who art in Earth and Heaven,

(as we are in the Mother and Heaven is in us)

Hallowed, respectful, joyful Thy name.

Thy holy realm is already come,

Thy will awaits us to be done.

Give us this day the strength to love,

To be the lion and the dove.

Forgive us as we tread Your flowers,

Ignoring duties that are ours.

Lead us from annihilation

To celebrate all creation,

For we share in the life and in the power

And in the glory forever and ever.


- Priscilla Baird Hinckley




The Charge of the Goddess (excerpt)


I, Who am the beauty of the green Earth,

and the white Moon among the stars,

and the Mysteries of the waters,

I call upon your soul to arise and come unto Me.


For I am the soul of Nature that gives Life to the Universe.

From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.

Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold –

All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.


Let there be beauty and strength,

Power and compassion,

Honor and humility,

Mirth and reverence within you.


And you who seek to know Me,

Know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not,

Unless you know the Mystery:

If that which you seek, you find not within yourself,

You will never find it without.


For behold, I have been with you from the beginning,

and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.


- Doreen Valiente (Starhawk adaptation)

from “The Charge of the Goddess”




Woodman, Spare That Tree!


Woodman, spare that tree!

Touch not a single bough!

In youth it sheltered me,

And I’ll protect it now.


‘Twas my forefather’s hand

That placed it near his cot;

There, woodman, let it stand,

Thy axe shall harm it not!


That old familiar tree,

Whose glory and renown

Are spread o’er land and sea –

And would’st thou hew it down?


Woodman, forbear thy stroke!

Cut not it’s Earth-bound ties;

Oh, spare that aged Oak,

Now towering to the skies!


When but an idle boy,

I sought its grateful shade;

In all their gushing joy

Here, too, my sisters play’d.


My mother kissed me here;

My father pressed my hand –

Forgive this foolish tear,

But let that old Oak stand!


My heart-strings round thee cling,

Close as thy bark, old friend!

Here shall the wild bird sing,

And still thy branches bend.


Old tree!  The storm still brave!

And, woodman, leave the spot;

While I’ve a hand to save,

Thy axe shall harm it not!


- George P. Morris




Tiger People  (for Joy Harjo)



Lying along the wide branch

in a fist of gathered tension,

the panther waits, watching her prey.


When the panther springs,

You will see such a motion of fluid grace –

like blinding lightning framed in frozen rock.


The cubs watch their mother,

Eyes wide with love and awe –

By her example they will learn grace and beauty,

And how to survive in a hostile world.




I make it down to the stomp-dance grounds early.


In the back of a beat-up pickup,

Two men and a woman quietly sing Muscogee songs,

And check the turtle-shell rattles

Before the dancing begins.


There is such calm-enshrouded tension,

Betrayed only by the motion of expectant eyes.


It is going to be a good dance.


- Geary Hobson






Remember the sky that you were born under,

know each of the star’s stories.

Remember the Moon, know who She is.

I met Her in a bar once in Iowa City.

Remember the Sun’s birth at dawn,

that is the strongest point of time.

Remember Sundown and the giving away to night.

Remember your birth, how your mother struggled

to give you form and breath.

You are evidence of her life, and her mother’s, and hers.

Remember your father, he is your life also.

Remember the Earth, whose skin you are:

Red Earth, Black Earth, Yellow Earth, White Earth,

Brown Earth, we are Earth.

Remember the plant, trees,

animal life who all have their tribes, their families,

their histories, too.

Talk to them, listen to them.  They are alive poems.

Remember the wind.  Remember her voice.

She knows the origin of this Universe.

I heard her singing Kiowa war dance songs

at the corner of Fourth and Central once.

Remember that you are all people,

and that all people are you.

Remember that you are this Universe,

and that this Universe is you.

Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.

Remember that language comes from this.

Remember the dance that language is, that life is.



- Joy Harjo




IF  - by Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;


If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;


If you can dream, and not make dreams your master;

If you can think, and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;


If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken,

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;


If you can make one heap of all your winnings,

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,

And never breathe a word about your loss;


If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them:  “Hold on!”;


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings, nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;


If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!