[Manic Mondays] They Can Catch Us/ They Can Kill Us/ But They Can’t Break Our Spirits

It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten swept up in ritual planning. A really long time. Usually by the time my turn comes around to Priestess for my Dianic Coven, I’m like, ‘Iron Pentacle, it is!’. When I was on vacation, I finally got to read The Red Goddess which Gordon told me to read like a year and a half ago but. . . listen.  You know me by now, right?  I’m very easily distrac–

Anyway.  As usual, Gordon was annoyingly right as he generally is (but I’m still holding onto reality television with my claws for the moment) and it’s not like any other magic book I’ve read (which is a huge plus because I like maybe ten books total).  It’s just full of beauty and glamour.  It’s not a direct “how to” in terms of tips ‘n tricks that some of you still stubbornly cling to, but it is a “how to” insofar as if you can’t use it to open your heart, soul and pussy/cock to beauty and being present in physical experience, then . . .you’re not there yet and that’s okay too.  I really liked that Peter expresses that there needs to be a place for the mythic past that never was.

During this time, I got super into The Red Tent and Mary Magdalene (who has rather persistently been circling me).  I know, we’re all supposed to free ourselves from the shackles of our (recent) ancestral religion and whatever, but frankly?  1. They don’t have to live with MamaFran and she lives three blocks away from me.  2. For me, it has been way more freeing and deliciously blasphemous feeling to instead embrace the parts of Catholicism that resonate with me and nesting it into my magical nesting dolls of ritual practice.  It’s been a very ecstatic experience for me and it’s been particularly satisfying as it vaguely offends both my radical occultist friends and my Catholic family.

Reasons Why I Personally Like Mary Magdalene:

1. She fights with her sister
2. She clearly has money
3. She does whatever she wants to do
4. She’s the Apostle to the Apostle
5. She has a cult of French fan girls in 12 AD
6. She’s the patroness of perfumers
7. She believes anything is possible, including resurrection
8. She tell Caesar that Jesus’ trial was bullshit and he listens to her
To me, that seems like enough to qualify as a red Goddess.  Whatever occupation she ever actually had, she was clearly a sexy woman and she (much like [St.] Bridget) can’t be stamped out by The Man which is also a huge deal to me.  She represents rebellion to me in every way – she doesn’t let her sister tell her what to do, she doesn’t let the apostles tell her what to do and she doesn’t let the government tell her what to do.  What a freaking badass that we still know her by a full name and she’s been in all the gospels.
Even though it was right after tax season, I spent a full week feverishly preparing for my circle.
We started with this as our meditation (which rips my heart open in ways I can’t describe every time I hear it):


After the meditation, I got down on my hands and knees and washed all of my sisters’ feet with warm water, warmed oil and myrrh.  We’ve done hand washing before, but this is intimate feeling on a completely different level.  At the end, they all washed my feet together which was so beautiful, I still feel tears well up when I think about it.

We read from the Apocrypha.  We burned the incense I made full of roses and myrrh on an altar swathed in red silk. We then entered the red tent alone.  On the small altar was a selection of creams, oils and ointment for each sister to use on herself, along with a black scrying bowl with rose water and cherry blossoms.  At the foot of the altar was a basket of eggs that I had painted scarlet with gold sigils.  Each egg was tied with a piece of sari silk and a word to describe our root of power.  We selected an egg, selecting our words for ourselves.  We looked into a red jeweled mirror and used the oil I had made in Mary Magdalene’s honor to seal into ourselves.  We made offerings of myrrh, roses and perfumes.  We feasted on a selection of dishes I made from places Mary Magdalene could have been.  We laughed, we cried, we held each other and became more deeply rooted in our power.


Drinks: Lemon Rose Spritzer (non alcoholic)
Appetizer: Fresh Herb Platter (Sabzi Khordan)
Salad: Shepard’s Salad
Dinner: Pomegranate Chicken (Fesenjan) with orange scented rice
Dessert: Rose Madeleines with Fig Honey Sauce
When I make a feast for my sisters, I always do it as a charity fund raise.  I selected the Malala Fund as she wants education for all children and is a total badass herself.  When I think of a spirit being unable to be crushed, I think of her.  You can tear the veils from our heads, you can crucify our teachers, you can deny us our education, you can break our bodies for our beliefs, but you can’t crush our spirits.  You can oppress us but you can’t stop us from rising up.
In the name of God Herself, forever and ever, alleluia, amen.
Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  


3 Responses

  1. That sounds like a lovely ritual. I’d love to know more.
    Meliad recently posted..Beltane Virtual Garden Tour – Pictures of What’s Been Growing in the YardMy Profile

  2. There’s a chant I learned during the 80’s-90’s women’s spiritual circles in Australia. (a heady time) It stays with me still, and breaks my heart open every time I sing it …

    ‘You can’t kill the Spirit.
    She is like a mountain.
    Old, and strong,
    She goes on and on and on.”
    widdershins recently posted..Bon Voyage Messenger. May the Fourth be with youMy Profile

  3. Jennifer

    I too am a fan and devotee of the Magdalene. This is beautiful! 🙂

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