Fire! Its Alive!

When I first started writing Farfadel novels, I did not have access to a fireplace. Fire was a fun thing to dabble with via candles on occasion.

But now? Its been two years of living with a wood burning stove, and this winter I’m actively trying to keep it alive and burning to heat our tiny home. And, well, I’ve noticed a large change in how I approach fire.

Maybe its my overactive imagination, but I’ve started enacting rules from my Farfadel novels around my own fire! For example, I do not speak to the fire, unless I am certain what I say cannot be taken out of context to cause damage or silliness. I am cautious, really, not to speak disrespectful things around the fire. You wouldn’t want the Fire Lady to appear, in spirit of course, but I wouldn’t want to piss off the element of fire!

It sounds silly, right? But I’ve really come to see the fire as a living entity within my home. I cajole it quietly some days, trying to get it to burn higher. It burns my hands when I try and feed it without my thick gloves on. I wake up grudgingly to feed it at nighttime, and relay the care thereof with my wife.

Now, I can’t say this has affected my writing that much. But it has brought my writing about fire to be more… alive? For me, at least. It has brought what I thought of as a silly, fun thing, into a real life application!

I dont have great shards of wisdom to share about this. On one hand, I do feel like this brings my novels eerily into a realm of reality im not sure I want them to be. In another, it reminds me cozily of the truth and reality that permeates all things. So… I have no great conclusion. But I wish you well, wherever you are, and hope you are warm and safe 😊 ❤

Magic and Mental Exhaustion/Depression

I saw my psychiatrist recently. When she asked me how I was feeling, at that instant, I couldn’t tell her. Even when I was tearing up, I couldn’t get in touch with my emotions. Well, she said, time to get in touch again.

And so I’ve signed up for an emotional healing course at Woolston. Long story short, we were doing a fire grounding exercise and it made me feel sick. But the important thing was that when I did the next exercise, I realized that I didn’t have the inner energy to shield myself.

Now, a little idea clicked within me then. Maybe a bit dumb, but it bears laying out for those of us with magical lifestyles. And that is that: when you’re mentally/emotionally exhausted, you won’t have the energy to draw on for energy/magical practices.

Be it writing into a candle, or reaching down into the earth, I found that it was inaccessible. I did not merely feel tired, but I had no energy to reach within to tap into. The pool inside was empty, to the point of making me feel sick when I tried to expel/use some.

Alright, so? What’s the use of that?

The use of this is, if you are depressed and chronically ill/fatigued, do magic that doesn’t require you to have any inside of you. Wield the magic of the runes, of the woods you live next to, or what have you. But if you feel dead beat tired and emotionally spent, you might just have no energy, and your spell work may hurt you more.

So be wise, and be a vampire! I’m joking, of course. But really, try and find passive ways of doing magic and grounding. Ask the gods for aid, use elemental magic, and do grounding techniques that don’t require you to output energy first.

Currently I am trying to do grounding and body check ins (as is instructed in the class) and I shall see if any more insights come from that.

I hope this helps someone.

Blaaargh ~ Still not Feeling Well and Children’s Activities Book

So I’ve been trying to write and keep my chin above water. It hasn’t been going well. I saw my social worker recently and that helped, but, yeah, no writing has been happening.

It’s not like I’m in crisis mode, so please dont worry. I’m just… not so well. Everything feels monumentous. I do my basic chores, and feel I have no energy left. I’m easily obsessed with the need to “work” and get “stuff done”, which has left me overworking on a particular project -> that of a pagan childrens activity book.

Now, this book is aimed at kindergarten level children. It will feature a bit of math, some coloring pages, some word puzzles, and more. But absolutely everything will be pagan or nature themed. From the word choices to the pictures, everything is pagan/earth centric.

Now, of course, this book features my very own “twolovebirds” birds as the main characters, featured in almost all the activities and accompanying the children through the book. They will be shown in ritual gear, worshipping, and engaging with nature.

Do I think I’ll make a ton of money selling this book? Fuck no. I doubt it’ll sell at all. Honestly, I’d be shocked if more than 5 copies get sold. But, it’s something I really want to do. I’m insanely proud of every little part of this book, and consider it to be quite an accomplishment. It’s teaching me a lot about formatting and it’s pretty fun, when I’m not obsessing over “getting it done”.

Overall, I really wished I had a bit more of a grip lately. I’ve been dropping in and out of my schedule due to lack of energy. I really wish I was capable of doing some awesome networking/sales pitching for my books. But hey. Not everything is perfect.

A quick sketch/practice!

Welcome to Circlet School ~ Chapter Six, Part Two

The next morning, I woke before any alarms went off. For a moment, I just lay in bed, wondering where the hell I was. Then, when I remembered where I was, I wondered what was about to go wrong. I sat up, half expecting an alarm, a whack across the head, or some evil spirit to go boo.

Nothing of the sort. I was a clear half an hour before anyone else was to wake, and so I cautiously crawled from bed. Seeing that I had the time, I sat down for some meditation and to finish my witch’s ladder. Again, nothing bad happened. Sure, I was a tad sleepy, but nothing was catching fire.

Once my ladder and meditation was done, I felt refreshed and happy. Today was going to be a good day it seemed. I slunk away to an early shower just as the alarms started going off and people began waking.

As I left the showers I ran into Bjorn. “You’re up early,” he said gruffly, his breath smelling like a dragon’s butt. I nodded with a smile. He grinned. “And you remembered the hair this time. No conditioner.”

I sighed. Was I going to be known as ‘the dude who forgot the conditioner’? But I shrugged and went on my way. It was nothing, really. Not enough to make my day suck.

Once more in my room, I found myself relaxing. Maybe not everything was destined to explode or catch fire in this place. Maybe, just maybe, the ritual had worked and today was going to go harmlessly.

Yes, I thought that maybe things would go smoothly.

Breakfast was a gentle affair. Sapphire told everyone that the rest of the staff were arriving this morning, and that we had better memorize school rules in order to enforce them. To which Amethyst hung her head miserably and nodded to her toasts.

To lighten the mood, Crystal lifted a foot on the other side of the bench she was sitting on. “I remember one!” she said, pointing to her shoe.

“Excellent,” said Sapphire with a wisp of a smile.

There really was nothing more to note about that breakfast. Coffee was had, Cheryl left early for a smoke (strictly off campus, as smoking was not permitted on school grounds – which led me to wonder what she had been doing smoking on the lawn last night). Bjorn started raving about a new book he was reading, and Paulette was happily announcing that she was all ready for the students to arrive.

Cool, cool. All was good. Groovy. Swimmingly. I was half-way back to my room to finish class prep work when an email dinged in on my phone.

It was from the principal, succinctly reminding the staff to have student greeting procedures memorized and be ready to greet and guide the parents tomorrow.

I froze, a hand on my doorknob. We were greeting the parents and new students? Ugh. Somehow this had flown over my head, because apparently this was the second email she had sent on the topic.

Okay, okay, that didn’t mean that today was going to shit. That just meant I had more than enough work to do. Okay, I could manage this.

I was seated at my desk and mid-way to lighting some incense to help me concentrate when I remembered last nights fiasco, and the no-incense rule. Right.

Dumping that incense into the trash (just so I wouldn’t be tempted to light it later), I sat down and decided to work, incense-less.

The day crawled by. I finished my course work by noon and was attacking the emails about greeting the students when ding! My alarm went off to notify me about lunch. Groan. With one final skim-through of the page I was reading, I was just about to get up when a knock was heard at my door. Ah?

Part of me hoped it was Sapphire. Part of me dreaded it being Sapphire, because that would probably mean I was in trouble.

But it was Paulette. “Hi!” she said, waving nervously. “Just reminding you that it’s lunchtime. In case you were too busy.”

“Oh, thanks,” I said, jangling my keys out of my pocket. “Uh, I was just going.”

“Oh, great!” she said with that nervous pep that anxious people have when they enter social situations.

We walked quietly to the lunch hall. As we entered it, Paulette piped up again. “The new teachers should be here by now. Have you seen them?”

“No,” I said, just as I laid eyes on them.

They were with Sapphire, standing before the cafeteria, talking. They all just looked so professional together. There was Sapphire in her black suit that was, really, just amazing on her. She looked like an FBI agent here to kick ass and steal your identity or something.

There was a woman who was short and portly, with a big grin and a calm aura. She was dressed in a button up shirt and a pair of jeans. Her skin was olive and she had soft eyes.

Then, there was ‘her’. She had dark purple hair that cascaded down her shoulders in perfect curls. She was curvy and sculpted in her suit. She was pale, in a sort of Irish way. Beside her, Sapphire’s darker hues came out.

Wow, I thought, crushing on both of them so hard I almost missed the last step that descended into the hall. I didn’t even notice the two other dudes, security guards both of them, until I was passing them.

“Oh, this is Thunder and Paulette,” said Sapphire, gesturing to us as we slid up to the group. “This is Amanda,” she said, gesturing to the purple – haired woman.

What was it with me and women in suits? Gorgeous. Heart-stopping. She looked at me like I was an interesting speck of dirt. I instantly wanted to be the dirt on her shoe.

“Hi,” I said robotically, lifting a hand.

“Hi!” said Paulette at my side excitedly.

Amanda was our school psychologist. The nurse was named Phoenix. The security dudes were named Fred and Jason. One of them had a Thor’s hammer tattoo on his beefy forearm, and the other didn’t. That was how I was going to tell them apart.

“Food!” barked Cheryl, lifting up the grid that closed the cafeteria to indicate it was closed.

“I hope you’re going to be more charming when the students arrive,” said Sapphire staunchly as we turned to the food.

“Abracadabra! Food! That charmin’ enough?” sniggered Cheryl as she began to hand out frilly sandwiches.

Sapphire gave her a ‘look’ and Cheryl swallowed that comment. “I’ll try ma’am,” she said to her sandwiches.

“Good,” said Sapphire tartly. Then she took her tray and marched away to the staff’s usual table.

The rest of the staff arrived in a burst. There was Amethyst and Maria who were chatting up a storm, and who immediately grouped around the newcomers like they were fresh coffee.

“I just love your hair,” said Amethyst, gushing.

“Thank you,” said Amanda, completely composed, as if she was used to people gushing over her all the time.

“You look so professional,” said Maria.

“That’s because I am a professional,” said Amanda tartly.

Okay, maybe I liked her a little less now. Which was a good thing anyways. I didn’t need to crush dramatically on every woman around here in a suit.

So I sat down and hoped to finish lunch, get the hell away from all this sexiness, and bottle back up inside my room.

“So what kind of Wiccan are you?” Ivy was asking Amanda as they sat down with the rest of everyone around the table.

“I’m not Wiccan,” Amanda said scornfully. “I’m a reconstructionist. Kemetic.”

“Orthodoxy?” I hear Aurora ask.

“No, independent,” said Amanda tartly. “I don’t take well to being told who my deities are, and that’s part of entering into the Kemetic Orthodoxy.”

There were agreeable hums from around the table. “Well!” exclaimed Amethyst. “I’m not one for structure either. I like things to be free, creative, and whimsical!”

“Oh, I like structure,” said Amanda coolly. “I just like choice too.”

Amethyst was baffled. Amanda was smug. I was starting to think that Amanda was secretly a jerk. Bjorn leaned forward, trying his hand at the newcomer. “Have you heard that this place is haunted? It was a residential school?”

“Oh?” asked Amanda, wholly undisturbed.

“I had it cleansed by a Mohawk shaman,” said Sapphire calmly, eating away primly.

“And it wasn’t enough?” asked Amanda.

“Oh no it wasn’t!” gushed Amethyst. “The vibe was awful! I tried to do a cleansing ritual but it was too powerful – my altar caught fire!”

Amanda’s eyebrows rose. “It was too close to the fire,” muttered Sapphire as an explanation.

“It ex-ploded!” enunciated Amethyst tearily. “All my statues! Gone!”

“Oh,” said Amanda quietly. “That is awful.”

“Yes,” sniffled Amethyst dramatically before saying mournfully. “So we had to bring in an expert. We brought in Madame Hoffier.”

“Who?” asked Amanda.

“A local,” said Paulette with a squeak.

“Oh,” said Amanda, as if locals were cheap and useless. My dislike for her grew by ten percent. I tried to tune out the conversation, but kept being dragged in by quips of this and that. As it turned out, Amanda was some sort of big-wig psychologist who was speaking at this and that conference. She name-dropped a few psychologists she was presenting with, and I guessed it was supposed to be impressive, but it was just getting on my nerves.

I was clearing up my tray quickly, trying to escape, when Paulette flashed me a smile. “Back to getting ready?” she asked.

“Ready for what?” asked Amanda as if she was automatically included in all conversations.

“The apocalypse,” I said as a joke, but it came out serious.

“Oh, so you’re a christian witch?” asked Amanda, laying those professional eyes on me.

Sapphire looked at me at the same time. The whole table looked at me. Amethyst gasped in awe, as if I was a rare specimen.

“Uh, no I, don’t talk about my personal beliefs,” I stumbled, trying to dig my way out of that hole. But it was too late. Like tomato sauce on a white shirt, I was stained now by the touch of Christianity.

“Oh? Why is that?” asked Amanda, sipping her coffee with such a professional air that it was grating.

“I thought you were Gardnerian,” asked Crystal curiously.

Sapphire cleared her throat. “No one is under duress to talk about their beliefs.”

I flashed Sapphire a smile, turning to drop off my tray and leave. As I walked away I heard Amethyst whisper “He says ‘Jesus’ all the time!”

Oh, great, I thought as I walked out of the hall. Now I’m the Christian witch in a group of traditionalists. Great.

Welcome to Circlet School ~ Chapter Four Part Two

“Next,” Sapphire nodded to the security guard, who was at my other side.

“Well,” he said, leaning back and puffing himself up. “I did say that a fire extinguisher should have been nearby, and I’m going to repeat that. And I think it’s a downright bad sign for an altar to go up in flames-”

And I just tuned it out after that. He wheedled on and on, saying how safety should always come first and not actually sounding sad or thoughtful at all. After five minutes, he finished with “yeah, safety.” And then he smiled as if he’d actually said something.

Next was the phys ed teacher, Maria. “You know, I’ve got native ancestry,” she said boldly. “Not sure from which tribe, but definitely in there somewhere, way back where.”

Always a good start to anything. Claim ancestry to back up your claim.

“I think it was the shell that did it,” Maria continued. “You’re not supposed to burn it in a shell. It’s offensive. I think there’s a connection there between burning offensively and your shrine catching on fire.”

“But it was white sage!” Amethyst declared, as offended as could be. “It would have purified-”

“Not your turn to talk,” muttered Sapphire, still writing.

“It can’t be that!” finished Amethyst, crossing her arms over her heaving bosom.

Maria held up her hands. “Just taking a native’s perspective on it.”

“This was a residential school,” said Sapphire cautiously. “Perhaps we need to be extra cautious to be respectful of native traditions. There has been enough harm to them committed on this land.”

Maria nodded righteously, but Amethyst burst up. “But it was not disrespectful!”

“Sit down. Next,” demanded Sapphire.

Amethyst thumped down, face crinkling with restrained tears.

Bjorn was next. He mumbled that it was ‘quite the fire’ and that he ‘wasn’t sure what to make of it’, which was all lies. Except for it being a big fire. That it had been. But not having an opinion? Despite his big beaming smile at the end, the guy was obviously just not wanting to tread on toes.

After Bjorn was Crystal, who went on a similarly cautious walk-around of the issue. Then there was – MoonRaven, our nurse.

“I think it shows a deep disturbance in the psyche of this place,” she said with a nod. “Definitely wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some native burial grounds here or something.”

“Children were sometimes buried on the residential school lands,” said Sapphire with a nod, scribbling away.

Great! So now it was official-ish! We were on a native burial ground. Just perfect.

I barely heard the thoughts of Ivy, Sapphire’s secretary, but Paulette drew herself up with gumption. “I think we didn’t exercise perfect caution, and it bit us in the butt,” she said defiantly.

Amethyst looked away angrily.

“We are all to blame in some part,” she went on to say. “But good ritual is like math. I know math, and so ritual,” she paused “I think I second what Thunder said. It didn’t quite go right. We ought to look inside instead of just outside. What did we do that made them, the spirits, want to set our stuff on fire?”

Not just ‘our’ stuff, but Amethysts’ stuff specifically, I noted silently to myself.

Then, it was Amethyst.

Sapphire designated her with a hand, and the entire table held its breath. Probably, even the wood of this table literally stopped being porous for a minute. That’s how the energy was in the air right then.

Amethyst stood up, clearing her throat. Pen still scribbling, Sapphire said “You can sit down,” in a very flat voice.

Amethyst sat down with a face. Sapphire completely ignored it, still jotting down stuff. Then she looked up, just to see the whole table holding its breath and amethyst staring angrily at Sapphire.

Sapphire straightened, shaking out her hand. “It’s your turn to talk. So talk.” Let us have it, she seemed to say. I braced myself mentally, deciding that I would keep in mind that Amethyst was a … fully fledged adult who ought to be in control of her emotions? Eh, oh well. Good luck to us all.

Amethyst sucked in a breath, then said with a broken voice damp with tears “I can’t believe you all have been attacking me!”

Sapphire kept a very neutral face, but she wasn’t writing this down.

“I, held that ritual,” Amethyst was breathing in heaves and starts. “Out of the goodness of my heart!”

“We weren’t questioning that,” started Paulette, only to be interrupted by Sapphire.

“Not your turn,” Sapphire said flatly, still not writing anythign down.

“I, do NOT see the point of all these ad hominem attacks!” Amethyst wailed, tears beginning to stream down her face.

“They were not ad hominem attacks,” said Sapphire matter of factly, clasping her hands over her notepad.

Amethyst wasn’t listening, gulping and sobbing. “I did my best! And you,” here she looked directly at me “Attacked me! After my shrine burned! And you!” she glared at Sapphire. “you brought us all to this evil infested place!”

Sapphire raised just one eyebrow in a very unimpressed way. It was sexy as hell. But now was not the moment to dissolve into a pile of goo at her feet.

“I can’t imagine the sorts of trauma that the children who come here will have to endure!” she wailed. “This place is dangerous! Haunted! And you,” she looked around the table “Will blame them for their own problems!”

Amethyst rose up to her feet, glaring Sapphire down. “I can’t believe this place! I can’t believe you!” she shrieked at Sapphire. “I am a high priestess! I know how to do ritual! And you are all doubting me-”

“Actually, it is because you are a high priestess that we are holding you responsible for the results of your ritual,” said Sapphire tartly. “You led a ritual that, according to some of us, may have been poorly done. Surely if you weren’t powerful your mistakes wouldn’t have had such a catastrophic result.”

Was she- trying to compliment Amethyst? Was she? Was it working? Amethyst was standing there, mouth ajar.

Sapphire looked down at her paper, tapping her notes with her pen. “Your ritual’s result was dangerous, and seems to have greatly upset you. However, it is not an attack against your personality or powers or will. I think everyone here will agree that you did it out of goodness and concern. We all appreciate your presence, I am also sure. I think that, what I have mainly heard around this table, is that your ritual’s disaster was caused both by your own accident as well as the spirits of this land. The spirit’s actions are not your fault.”

Amethyst sniffled. Sapphire pressed on. “No one here wants to attack you.”

With a sob, Amethyst plunked back down onto the bench. It squeaked loudly, or was that her?

“We are all worried,” Sapphire insisted. “The way the ritual ended was a powerful sign. I think what we need is to work together to solve this issue, instead of letting it divide us.”

Amethyst nodded with another squeak. She held out her arms for a hug from Sapphire. Sapphire cleared her throat. “I uh, not the hugging type but uh?”

“Group hug!” declared Crystal, lurching up from her spot.

Oh, good Goddess. Cries of ‘Group hug!’ went up, and the table mobilized itself. Like a swarm with Amethyst as the wounded bee, everyone rushed to coagulate around her.

I sat there, me and Sapphire exchanging a look while everyone else patted Amethyst and exchanged body warmth. I shrugged. “Not a hugger,” I said. Sapphire nodded, smiling awkwardly at this display.

After a few moments of hugging and patting and laughing through tears (in Amethyst’s case) everyone took their places again.

“Alright, we have one more person to hear from, then we brainstorm solutions,” said Sapphire before handing ‘the floor’ to the woman sitting at her right.

The woman, who I recognized as the detention teacher, merely shrugged. “I think it’s all been said,” she said warm-heartedly. “I really hope we can find a working solution, and make sure that this place will have good luck and protection going on.”

Everyone nodded and hummed appreciatively at that.

“Alright, good,” Sapphire said with determination. Flipping through her notebook, she drew a packet of cue cards from the back and set them before herself. “We are now going to try and find solutions.”

Everyone leaned forward eagerly.

Once again, the air was full of suspense. Possibilities! Endless opportunities!

“So,” Sapphire flipped through her notes. “It seems like we need to fix whatever it was that caused the upset. Maybe a ‘we’re sorry’ sort of ritual, to pacify the spirits?”

There were hums and haws around the table. I nodded vigorously. Sapphire wrote in large ‘we’re sorry’ on a cue card and set that before herself. Then she took another and, while talking, wrote ‘banish’ on it. “We could banish all negativity-”

And that, that’s where it went screwy, if you ask me.

“That’s what we need!” declared Amethyst, gasping in awe at her own revelation. “A banisher!”

“M-hmm,” said Sapphire, “we can-”

“No, we bring in a real expert!” exclaimed Amethyst.

Sapphire just looked at her, shoulders heaving in a sigh.

Amethyst waved her hands as if ushering us all to lean in and share this secret. Except she was now talking super loud and fast. “I know a lady! A real witch! And I mean- she teaches!”

Uh, okay? You’re saying that to a room full of teachers, but okay?

“M-hmm?” Sapphire set down her pen, face completely nonplussed.

“We can have her come and – we don’t even need to tell her what we think! She will just,” Amethyst swept her arm sideways as if clearing the table to spite the floor. “Everything! Clean it all! She’s intuitive!

“Oh, that could be nice!” chirped in Crystal.

Aurora nodded.

“A real expert!” claimed Amethyst. “And she’s cheap! Only a hundred an hour!”

“A hundred an hour?” asked Sapphire tartly.

“Oh yes!” said Amethyst. “That’s cheap!”

I … wasn’t so sure. Neither were several others. And yet – Amethyst was passionately ranting on, declaring this woman a ‘friend in the Goddess’ and a ‘good, strong soul’ and a ‘really skilled banisher’!

“It won’t hurt to try,” suggested Bjorn.

Sapphire raised her eyebrows.

“I will message her!” Amethyst began rifling in her bosom and pockets. “If she’s available, we must have her come before the children get here-”

“If we decide to call upon her,” said Sapphire tartly.

“I think it’s worth a shot,” said Paulette slowly.

Aurora nodded. “Sometimes a blank slate, without judgment, is the best thing.”

Sapphire nodded slowly while Amethyst typed away at her phone. “This is an emer-gen-cy,” said Amethyst, probably narrating what she was typing. “We need this woman straight aways!”

Sapphire raised an eyebrow. “And, what accreditations does she have?”

“Oh!” Amethyst raised her hands. “She does it all! Fairy reiki, dragon summonings, elf shamanism, elder channeling, you name it!”

Sapphire, to her credit, kept on a very composed face. “Elf shamanism?”



Sapphire stared off into the void as if somehow broken. “Hmm,” was all she said.

I tried to rescue this situation. “Well, I’m sure that if we were to put our heads to it, we could do another ritual that would fix things.”

“I’m not leading another ritual,” said Amethyst tartly.

Sapphire looked to Aurora. “You could, if you’d like. Or I could.”

Amethyst looked pointedly at Aurora. “How experienced are you at banishing? It can get gritty sometimes!”

Aurora kept her cool. “I haven’t led many rituals.”

Amethyst, eyes bulging, pointed to her phone. “This lady has seen it all! Demon summonings, oh!” the phone buzzed and Amethyst grinned. “She says she can be here today!”

“Alright, all in favor of this raise your hand,” said Sapphire grimly, as if she already knew the outcome.

Most of the table raised their hands, to my surprise.

“Hmm,” said Sapphire grimly. To Amethyst, she said “So where was this lady trained?”

“Oh, she’s intuitive,” said Amethyst. “Do I tell her to come?”

Sapphire smiled grimly, like she was telling someone to nail her inside a coffin. “Yes. Do it.”


Welcome to Circlet School ~ Chapter Two Part One

Put up wards, she said. It will be fine, she said. Well, fuck no!

I’d set up my shrine, as any good pagan will do. I then prayed to the Goddess and God and asked them to protect my room from oogie boogie activity. Then, even though I was exhausted, I sprinkled salt all around my room. So far, it seemed good. Sure, the window looked cold and menacing, but a curtain would surely fix that.

I went to bed damned and determined to be positive about this venture. Sure, the place was haunted. But we were Wiccans! That shouldn’t be a problem. Witches unite! What good were we if we constantly fled from supernatural activity?

This, I decided, was going to be a great venture. I put my head on the pillow, closed my eyes, and told myself that yes, all was going to be good.

And then the nightmares struck.

I was in a dark corridor in a school. Monsters crawled over the walls, hanging with caterpillar like bodies and moth like faces with wings for mouths. Wow, I thought, the children have grown.

I pushed a door, and entered a classroom. There, the seats were filled with monsters. Saliva drooling, axe-bearing, monsters. They watched me with fly-like eyes, their large bodies bulging from the seats.

Wow, I thought. Still not combing their hair, I see. What brats!

‘Brats’ stuck in my mind as I jolted awake.

Sitting up in bed, I looked around. What the hot fuckery was that? What the-?

My tiny room looked back at me. Suddenly, I was envious of the principal for having a service dog. Something alive to keep her company when she woke up.

I rolled out of bed and stood, stretching. What time was it? Was it too early? What had woken me up, aside from the nightmare?

Checking my cellphone, I found it to be six am. Fabulous. Just a tad bit early, but not too bad, really.

Trying not to sulk about the sleep I lost, I kneeled before my shrine for a moment of prayer. I closed my eyes and relaxed, focusing my thoughts on the God and Goddess, asking them for insight about the dream. A state of peace came over me and I felt revelations flowing to me, like a gateway was opening. I remembered the principal speaking about the residential school and-

It was brutally interrupted by a viking voice roaring “RAGNAROOOOOOK”.

Metal guitars chimed in and music began wailing from the room next to mine, then was silenced mid-riff.

“Sorry!” our residential viking’s voice called out. “Forgot to turn off my alarm!”

I wanted to slam my head against the wall. Alright, I was cranky now. Very cranky. I hated getting interrupted mid-prayer, mid-ritual, mid-sacred stuff.

Okay, okay. I tried to refocus. Ground, channel my thoughts, and focus on the God and Goddess. But my mojo was broken. I couldn’t stop thinking about Ragnarooooook. Ugh.

Giving up, I shed my sleep gear (not a onesie, normal respectable pajamas) and dressed in the first thing that touched my hand. Jeans and a plain black t-shirt. Then, in my socks, I walked out to go to the bathroom at the end of the hall.

In the hallway, I crossed paths with the principal walking away from the bathroom. She was in a long-sleeved shirt and pressed pants, and shoes. “Good morning,” we chimed in at each other, her in a steely voice and me drowsy. Then, over her shoulder, she called at me. “Shoes!”

Oh, goodness. I pinched the brow of my nose and fairly ran into the bathroom.

In the eating hall, half an hour later, I was sitting across a table from the ‘viking dude’.

“I’m so sorry about the alarm,” he said for the umpteenth time.

I chewed on that, deciding about hexing him or not. I’m joking. Of course I shouldn’t be hexing. Plus it was against the rules of this damned place.

“No problem,” I muttered before taking another bite of cereal.

“I’m really, so sorry,” he said.

“That alarm has got to go,” said Crystal as she dropped her tray down next to him. “Hi Thunder,” she said to me.

I grunted around my cereals.

The viking began apologizing again. Crystal nodded, propping her feet up on the bench beside me. Bare feet.

“You need shoes,” I said, gulping down my mouthful.

Crystal winked at me. “She won’t notice if I keep my feet up like this.”

That might have worked if the staff weren’t all congregating around the same table, being ours. Aurora arrived, the cook left the kitchen to come sit, and I found myself sitting in the middle of everyone with what looked like an empty spot beside me.

Once more, people introduced themselves. I began trying to keep track of names. Amethyst was the shawled woman – still wearing so much black and silver. Bjorn was the viking. Cheryl was the chef.

“Shoes,” announced the principal, seemingly appearing out of nowhere with her tray.

Crystal lowered her feet guiltily. The principal plopped her tray next to me, her corgi shuffling to lay down beneath her. The principal sat, straight-backed and cold of aura. Her hair was impeccable, there was a hint of eyeliner, and her lips were a sraight line.

I tried not to stare. She looked tired, but strict as ever. Butterflies did their thing in my stomach. I focused on my cereal, hoping not to spill them on myself.

Chatter resumed, somewhat quieter. Hahaha. As if.

“I had such bad dreams last night!” announced Amethyst tearfully for the whole world and the other ones beyond to hear. It would have been an excellent summoning.

The principal looked completely nonplussed as she buttered her toast.

“Those poor children! I couldn’t help but think of them all night-”

The principal opened a sachet of sugar and dumped it into her coffee.

One by one, voices chimed in. Most hadn’t slept well. All felt terrible for the ‘poor children’. The principal focused on her food, nodding as she listened.

“I dreamed I was teaching a class full of monsters,” I piped in.

“Hopefully not a prediction,” said the principal dryly, knocking twice on the wooden table.

“How can you say that?” wailed Amethyst. “Children have died and suffered here!”

I’m a teacher, I thought groggily. That’s why.

But I had to admit. Compared to everyone else’s overflowing sympathy, my dream was terribly badly placed.

“Ritual has been done,” said the principal crisply. “But if you feel more needs to be done, you are welcome to do so.” She nodded at the chef. “I’m sure there is enough salt in the kitchen for everyone to use-”

“Oh but we must use himalayan salt!” squeaked Amethyst. “And, you know, it’s supposed to sit on the altar for a moon’s cycle for it to be blessed!”

The principal’s face remained stoically neutral. “If you feel the need-”

“We should do a ritual!” Amethyst fanned her hands (and arms, and shawls) around herself as if to draw in everyone’s aura to her. “We must!”

Bjorn didn’t seem completely thrilled. We exchanged a look, but shrugged. Crystal was alert and nodding quickly. Farther down, the chef was captivated and Aurora seemed interested.

“The souls of these children need to be released!” wailed Amethyst.

The principal’s eyebrows rose, but she bit into her toast.

“Let me see, we will have to do a banishing of all negativity,” Amethyst said, looking up at the ceiling as if answers were written there. “We will have to invoke Demeter-”

“Evoke, I hope you mean,” said the principal starchly.

“Sorry?” said Amethyst, totally not sorry.

“You’re not allowed to bring a deity into yourself,” said the principal while stirring her coffee. “But you may summon, so that means evoking, not invoking.”

“Oh, yes,” said Amethyst feebly. But then she waved her arms and re-invigorated herself. “A banishing! What moon phase are we in?”

There was a rustle of phones being drawn out.

“Waxing,” someone announced.

Amethyst sighed loudly. “That will not do! We will have to wait for the waning!”

“Or you could just do it tonight,” said the principal. “The students will be arriving in three days, you don’t have much time to do this.”

“On a waxing moon?” Amethyst was gaping as if, well, as if someone had contradicted her.

“Some would say it doesn’t matter,” said the principal flatly.

“I agree,” chirped in the chef, Cheryl.

“If we raise enough energy, it should be fine,” said Crystal happily.

Amethyst was still gaping. “but the moon-”

“Or wait,” said the principal, standing. “but you all have three days before the students get here. I suggest you get your classes in order, as well as familiarize yourself with their names and faces. It’s all in the emails.”

The principal walked away, and something inside me sighed wistfully. But then she was out of the hall, and it was silent.

Amethyst was flustered. “I can’t believe she isn’t staying to help!”

“She probably still has plenty to do,” I mumbled. Like the rest of us, actually. This wasn’t going to be a cakewalk.

“But we have spirits here!” Amethyst’s eyes grew wide. “These poor children-”

“Well,” Bjorn leaned back in his chair, massive frame stretching his shirt out as he straightened. “Didn’t she say she’d already had the place cleansed? It can probably wait.”

I nodded at that.

But Amethyst did certainly not nod. “I feel like this is pressing. These children, all this pain- it is going to transfer into our school year if we are not careful!”

Crystal nodded empathetically. I sensed drama. Then came the kicker.

“I’ll write out the ritual,” said Amethyst with a haughty sniff. “I’m a high priestess, I can do that.”

I almost smacked my face with a palm. Oh, good gods. As if it took a special Goddess-given stamp to be able to write rituals. But okay, sure.

“In my coven,” began Amethyst, and my eyes wanted to glaze over.

But, as it turned out, most of us didn’t have covens. So everyone listened with rapt attention, thoroughly impressed or at least interested. I have to say, I was curious. I didn’t attend other rituals aside from those of my coven that often, and sometimes I found their going-ons to be thoroughly dramatic and binge-worthy.

Amethyst went on and on about how, in her coven this and in her coven that. “There must always be the high priest and the high priestess,” she went on so passionately. “Otherwise the whole ritual will be imbalanced and the whole energy will be just so off and-”

Okay, my eyes did glaze over for a few minutes there. Did she think we didn’t know any of this?

A foot nudged me under the table, drawing me out of my thoughts. The whole table was staring at me.

“Will you?” asked Amethyst.

I blinked, looking around. “What?”

Amethyst was leaning earnestly over the table, eyes glued to me. “Will you be the priest for the ritual?”

I looked to Bjorn, offering him with a palm. Look! Wayyyy more manly manly over there-> but he was shaking his head and leaning back with his beefy arms crossed over his chest. “I ain’t Wiccan,” he said cheekily. Then, for added victory (or to deal a death-blow to me maybe) he said “I’ve never led ritual.”

“He’s not even a first grade,” said Amethyst passionately. “You’re third grade, right? You can help me lead!”

Help her? Oh, good gods no. I looked down the table. Ah. Hah hah. Bjorn and I were the two only males here. “No one else male-identifying?” I asked hopefully, fishing out there for some trans or non-binary person to step forward and take the spot from me.

No such luck.

“We need a priest in order to bring balance to this out of balance place, so full of male toxicity-”

“Okay, I’ll do it,” I said, feeling it was my duty. Of course, I regretted it the instant I said it.

“Oh good!” Amethyst said dramatically. “We’ll have to wait for the full moon, of course, if not the waning, but I’ll write it out and get the material- and we will need to be thirteen, so she will have to be there-”

“What’s her name? By the way?” I asked suddenly.

All heads turned. “I forgot,” I said, feeling stupid. I knew her last name was on the contract somewhere, but I wanted to know her magical name.

Amethyst smiled forgivingly at me. “Sapphire. Her name is Sapphire.”

Oh, okay. Sapphire.

Welcome to Circlet School ~ Chapter One, Part Two

The wind was cool as we stepped out of the building. The principal had been right, we couldn’t miss the fire pit unless we faced the completely wrong direction. It was the only thing out here, besides the sloping field. Actually, we couldn’t see the fire pit, more like we saw the people sitting around it.

We walked over, Crystal eagerly waving at everyone and Aurora holding a starkly gothic face on. I just walked over, putting on my best party-going smile and, discreetly, beginning to count everyone.

It was when we reached the circle, everyone shuffling aside and saying hi, that I finished the count. We were thirteen. Seriously? Thirteen, unless someone was missing.

But the principal was here, sitting on a wooden chair with a very straight expression on. The security guard was here. There was a burly man who looked like a viking, who had obviously trimmed his beard to be exactly one foot in length. Beside him stood a portly woman who radiated through black shawls and glistening silver ornaments. A dark-skinned woman who looked ready to launch a soulful CD of some wiccany sort shook my hand and smiled. Oh, and there was no fire.

I mean, there was a pile of wood and everything there to light it in the middle of a brick pit, but it wasn’t burning.

The principal clapped her hands. “Everyone, please take a seat.”

I looked around for a seat. I sat. Slowly, chattering loudly, the portly woman moseyed over to a chair. Others sat, still chattering. It took Crystal a run-around to finally get to the last chair. One look to the principal, and I could see she wasn’t pleased.

But she didn’t bite any heads off. “Everyone,” she said, and the chattering slowed, petering out until it was just Crystal giggling. The principal waited. Crystal stopped giggling to grin expectantly.

The principal did not grin. She looked at the fire pit as if it was speaking to her (was it possessed?) and she seemed deep in thought. Then, composed, she looked at us.

My skin crawled with suspense. She took a breath and spoke with certitude. “Welcome to Circlet School. You are the staff, all of it.”

So there was really thirteen of us!

“I expect you all to get along, but to also maintain a level of professional demeanor within and without the school. Being the first Wiccan school, we will be under intense scrutiny. There will be rumors, there will be angry parents, and there will be drama. As mentioned in your contract, you are not to speak with any member of the press about what happens here. This includes pagan institutions as well. Even your covens. Rumors run fast, and I don’t want to hear about one of your sex lives at the next pagan moot. Is that clear?”

The circle nodded, laughed a little, and nodded some more. I felt an oppressive presence taking place. I couldn’t help but glance over my shoulder at the building behind us. It looked angry, if a building could be such a thing. A cold wind brushed up, rustling everything.

“Now,” the principal continued, serious as could be. “Religion is going to be a large part of your school life. Every day will begin with a morning guided meditation ritual and prayers, every meal will be led by a blessing of thanks, and every class will begin with a meditation. There is an evening ritual of guided meditation every night. Sunday contains theology courses, philosophical discussions, and time for personal rituals. As such, I expect you all to be on exemplary spiritual behavior and prepared to discuss spirituality with your students whenever they feel the need. You are not all Wiccan, and you may answer spiritual questions with your own beliefs, if the students ask for it. If not, you are to reference the beliefs as laid out in our theology courses. A copy has been sent to all of your emails. Is that clear?”

The circle nodded, much more serious now. The principal seemed satisfied. Did she relax a little? Just a little? “Are there any questions?” she asked.

The chubby woman held up a hand with a cheery smile. “When we lead these rituals, will we be allowed to wear our ritual gear?”

The principal’s gaze turned steely. “Circlets, belts of color, and reconstructionist clothing are all forbidden, as well as medals and necklaces that proclaim a rank or other. Aggressive magical talismans are also forbidden. Nudity is also forbidden. Attempts at invoking deities and attire that would suggest one has invoked a deity are also forbidden.”

There was a silence. The woman seemed to tremble a little. She drew herself up, tucking her shawls tighter around herself. “But circlets are symbols of the Goddess!”

“And are absolutely unnecessary to our means and end,” said the principal flatly. “You may wear whatever you wish to for your own private rituals, in your rooms. Any other questions?”

More silence. The principal raised her eyebrows. “Well then,” and she picked up a file folder from the grass by her chair. She stood, motioning with a flick of the fingers for us all to rise. “We will begin our first ritual then.”

Ah hah! A ritual! A tremble of excitement went through all thirteen of us. A ritual! And we were exactly thirteen! Perfection!

The principal rose to her feet, flicking her fingers to order the rest of us up. We stood, and more than one of us were grinning. The viking dude stroked his beard like it was a good luck charm. I couldn’t help but grin. What were we going to do? Would she be leading?

Of course she was leading, now that I thought back on it. But then, I wasn’t sure. It was odd for me to imagine someone in a suit leading a ritual or performing the Great Rite, no less doing the quarter calls.

As we stood, she drew several pieces of paper from the file folder. “We need someone to invoke air,” she said dryly.

“Oh!” the portly woman chirped up, waving a hand up in the air. “That’s my element!”

The paper was passed around to her. Fire, water, and earth were called out. I pointedly volunteered for none. I was going to just observe and shut my mouth.

The principal looked around, then up to the sky. She raised her arms, and silence fell. She bowed her head, eyes closed, and we held our breaths. Magic was about to happen!

Now, I might be a Gardenerian, but I’m not going to spit on others’ magic as not being ‘magic enough’. I still felt my hairs raise that moment, and was sure that something was about to go down, even if it wasn’t in the Gardenerian way.

The principal opened her eyes. “I summon the spirits of the God and Goddess to be here with us now. Cleanse this space, make it pure and beautiful.”

Summoning first? Alright.

“I ask each of you to summon your spirits of helping, those who aid you in your teaching, to be here with us now.”

Many closed their eyes. I left mine open, staring down at the grass. In my mind, I repeated a rhyme I’d concocted long ago to an ancestor, to ask them for their strength and bravery and speaking skills with teaching.

A familiar presence enveloped me, and yet, I sensed they were not pleased. Maybe because we had no offerings at the ready?

The principal had lowered her arms. “Elements!” she demanded. “Do the callings, beginning with the east.”

“East! Element! Of intelligence! Of Air! May this space be your home! May your presence be our guiding thoughts. Come here, and stay with us now!” The woman happily recited, definitely adding that many exclamation marks.

The other elements were called in similar words but different manners, some more somber than others. The principal was poised, her eyes glued to each one who recited as if searching for flaws.

Once the elements were called, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, her hands raised slightly at her sides. The wind blew over us, crisp and cool. My hairs raised and –

“Are we doing a circle at all?” piped up the chubby woman in the shawls.

The principal’s eyes snapped open. Were this an anime, she would have jumped into the air and slammed down a fist upon the insolent speaker.

As this was not an anime, the speaker kept going, gesturing widely so her shawls swished and swept around her. “I just – I feel the lack of a circle. We are losing energy and I just have this urge to cast one and I feel as if the spirits are speaking and-”

The principal’s face said so much, in such a succinct glare. It speared the woman- and went right through her, who was oblivious to it all.

“You know, in my coven we usually cast the circle first, just so that this sort of energy loss doesn’t occur. We usually do a triple casting with the salt-”

“We are not casting a circle,” said the principal angrily. “We do not need one.” She stretched out an arm, gesturing to the fields. “This whole land has already been consecrated.”

In the back of my mind, I wondered if she really had walked around the whole property, sprinkling salt and water and incense all around. Actually, probably.

The viking loudly cleared his throat, looking pointedly at the outraged woman (the one in the shawls).

“But!” she protested.

“We shall continue,” said the principal. “Now,”

The shawled woman sighed loudly, shaking her head.

The principal crouched down, drawing a fire lighter from the grass. She began murmuring an invocation as she clicked the lighter on.

Whoosh! Fire leaped up, dancing at the paper that had been neatly tucked away beneath the wood.

The principal rose, smiling in a grim sort of way. “Now,” she said, drawing the file folder to herself. “We are going to meditate, asking the Goddess and God to clear away any and all obstacles that will block us from success. Close your eyes.”

I closed my eyes in a snap. The principal’s voice turned into a gentler version of itself, guiding us through a breathing exercise and into a journey within.

I was surprised to feel myself sink within easily. I heard the crackle of the fire dimly as we journeyed to an inner space where we reflected on our paths with mirrors, seeing in them any and all obstacles.

It was about then that I saw a black shape in one of the mirrors. It was a piece of the building, and it jolted me out of the meditation.

My eyes opened and I looked around. Everyone else had their eyes closed, including the principal. I quickly closed mine again.

Again, the image of the window came to me, reflected in the mirror.

Strange, I thought. But okay.

Accepting it, I focused on the principal’s voice as she guided us to draw these obstacles out of our mind and into our hands, to cast them out to the fire to destroy.

Snap! Once more I saw the window.

Fucking window, I couldn’t help think.

Then, we went through a visualization of drawing energy from the earth and the fire and the air and the nearby pond, balancing ourselves with these elements and the presence of the Goddess and God. It was lovely, but I remember it hazily, so smoothly it went.

Once we were all balanced and had absorbed so much divine energy, she drew us back out to sit on the earth and ground.

After a few moments of more deep breathing and kneading the earth with our feet and hands, the principal ordered all eyes open.

“Now,” the principal clapped her hands. “Cakes and ale, everybody. While eating, we can talk about what we saw in the meditation.”

I couldn’t help but grin. Food!

At least I wasn’t the only one grinning. One lady, who was absolutely scrawny and turned out to be the cook, stood and began directing us all to the kitchen’s hall at the end of the building. There we discovered with pleasure that she had made bunches of sandwiches and that there was juice.

Once we were all back around the fire, sandwiches and glasses of juice in hand, we sat back down in our chairs.

“So,” the principal turned to the unfortunate who was standing by her left side. “Did you see anything particular in the meditation?”

This unfortunate happened to be Crystal. Crystal gulped down her mouthful. “I saw so much in the mirrors.” Her eyes turned round. “My self consciousness, how I’m so shy. You know?”

The principal nodded, chewing thoughtfully while still staring like a hawk.

Around the circle we went, everyone sharing what they saw. Insecurities, strange shapes, it all got appropriate humms and hawws from the principal.

When it was my turn I wasn’t sure what to say. But, in the spirit of being truthful in circle (even though this wasn’t quite an official circle), I mumbled. “I saw a window.”

“A window?” the principal asked.

I nodded, pointing over my shoulder at the building. “From that building. Like the building was angry.”

The principal nodded. “That could be.” And she took a sip of her juice. Something about the action seemed defensive.

I paused, mind scurrying. “Does anyone else get a weird vibe from that building? Or is it just me?”

The principal’s eyes darted around as she lowered her cup.

“Buildings carry so much memories!” the woman in the shawls fairly exploded with eagerness. “It all depends on what has been there before and what kind of measures have been taken – I’m sure you’ve already cleansed and blessed everything?”

“Of course,” said the principal into her cup.

I frowned. “I get a weird vibe too,” said Aurora abruptly.

“It all depends on the history-”

“It was a nunnery,” said the principal. “A high school as well. It’s been cleansed.”

“Oh,” I said. That couldn’t be so bad. Maybe it was just the leftover Christian vibes that were unhappy at our activities.

Around the circle we went again, the shawled lady sharing how she felt her weight was going to be an issue, and the viking dude saying that he was feeling particularly inspired by his ancestors. Finally, it came time for the principal to share.

She stared into the fire deeply, cup at her lips.

“What did you see?” asked the woman with the shawls a little savagely (I really had to ask her name).

The principal stared some more into the fire. Her shoulders sank in a sigh. “Children. Very unhappy children.” She set her cup aside on her chair’s arm. “Nuns haven’t been very nice teachers, historically speaking.”

The shawled woman gasped, leaning forward as if to absorb all this drama.

I couldn’t help it. “As long as we’re not on a native burial ground, I think we’ll be fine,” I joked, trying to dispel the thick suspense in the air.

The principal glared at me. “It was a residential school.”

My stomach vanished into a pit of doom. My jaw fell open. The principal scowled at me, as if it was my fault that the secret was now out.

“What’s a residential school?” someone asked.

“It was when the Canadian government took a bunch of native children away from their parents and tried to educate the ‘native’ out of them in boarding schools,” murmured the viking.

There was gasps all around.

“Did any of the children die?” squealed the woman with the shawls.

The principal’s eyes narrowed. “Well of course they did. Many committed suicide.”

There was a horrified silence. “So this place is haunted?” asked Crystal with a nervous giggle.

The principal drained her cup. Then, matter of factly, she said “Of course it is.” She looked carefully around the circle. “I’m sure you can all deal with that. You’re spiritual people.”

Judging by our silence and the pit in my stomach, no. No, we were not prepared to deal with that.

The principal smiled fakely. “Put up your wards, bless your rooms, and everything will be fine. If anything gets out of hand, we will do ritual.”

Welcome to Circlet School ~ Chapter One Part One

I stood on the street corner, waiting for my lift. I had my bags piled around me, and was wearing my black trenchcoat to try and retain some semblance of normalcy. Still, people were giving me weird looks. Must be… I wasn’t sure what, actually. My aura? I’d cleansed and smudged though! Plus my pentacle was hidden.

Then ‘the car’ arrived.

Of course, I knew which one was my lift the minute it pulled up. I could hear it coming too, and that wasn’t because I was psychic or anything. It was the blaring folk metal music that tipped me off.

“Nice hat!” the passenger called out as the car pulled to a stop before me. “Circlet school, am I right?”

Oh right, my hat. It was black too, and was a steampunk thing. Maybe that’s why people were staring.

“Yup,” I nodded, hefting up one of my three bags. “Circlet school indeed.”

The passenger jumped out to help me. She was scrawny, but full of energy. She was barefoot, in hippie peasant skirts, and a purple tank top. Her dreadlocks fell all the way down her back.

I couldn’t help but wonder whether dreadlocks were considered ‘professional’. But hey, this was Circlet school. Maybe, probably, things were different there than in most schools.

Bags packed in the trunk, more like squished in with their bags, I let myself into the back seat. The passenger hopped back into the front.

“I’m Emma,” said the woman who had helped me out, “And this is Aurora.”

Aurora nodded curtly at me. Okay, fellow goth in the house! She had thick black lines around her eyes, red eyebrows painted on, and lolita curls. And a corset. She shoved the car forward aggressively, punting our way into oncoming traffic.

“I’m uh, Thunder,” I said half-heartedly. Was I going to be the only male teacher at this school? Maybe, actually.

“Nice!” said Emma, turning around. “Is that your magical name? Mine is Crystal!”

“Hi Crystal,” I said with a forced smile.

“So, you excited?” asked Aurora.

“Very excited,” I said. “very much so.” Yeah, there I go, repeating myself. Wow, social skills.

“I mean, this is a Wiccan school!” cheered out Crystal. “Can you believe it? I can’t?”

“I feel very lucky to have this opportunity,” I said, sounding like something off a pamphlet.

“Yeah,” chimed in Aurora.

Then, the fateful question. “What do you think of her?”

“Who?” I asked, trying to buy myself more time.

They both looked at me in the rearview mirror. “The principal. Didn’t you meet her?” asked Crystal happily.

“Oh, yeah, I met her,” and I tried not to turn red in the face. “She’s uh,” I cleared my throat. I half heartedly hoped they would inject something. No such luck. They waited.

“She’s special,” I said feebly.

“Good special or bad special?” asked Crystal peppily.

“She kind of makes me want to follow her into battle,” popped in Aurora before slamming the brakes.

“Well uh,” I searched my mind to think of something professional to say. “She’s-” I shrugged and decided for honesty. “She seems in charge. Seems really smart.”

They nodded in unison. We wove through traffic, then eeked out onto a highway. There, trees began running past, just beyond the massive Quebec ditches.

“So are you both Wiccan?” I ask eventually. After all, we knew our craft names, we could talk about that, right?

“Eclectic!” chirped Crystal, raising her hands in the air as if to represent.

“I’m a druid,” said Aurora coolly. “I used to be a wiccan though, so I know all about it.”

“Oh yeah? Were you in a coven or group?”

“No coven,” she snorted. “I’m a solitary.”

“Oh,” I felt myself depress a little.

“You?” Aurora stabbed with those eyes and that eyeliner. “Coven or no?”

“Coven born and raised,” I said, trying to sound cheerful, but actually managing ‘sheepish’. “Gardnerian.”

Crystal turned around in her chair at that. “Whoah! You were raised wiccan?”

“Yeah,” I admitted with a grin. “It was nice.”

“Nice,” said Aurora with solid approval. “I was raised Protestant.”

“Yeah?” I nod along.

“I was atheist,” chirps in Crystal. “Not bad though.”

Aurora scowls but nods. I intuit that her upraising wasn’t ‘not bad’.

“Hey,” I pipe up. “The principal, she must be Wiccan, right? I guess? I mean, she’s starting this school?”

Crystal nods, but Aurora frowns. “I don’t know. Wicca is the largest branch, maybe it was just easier to start.”

“Oh, yeah,” I admit. Somehow that makes me feel kind of lonely. I was expecting to find other Gardnerians here, for some reason. Certainly not a lolita druid.

We cycled through farmlands after farmlands, fields and patches of forest plantations (and the odd unkept place). We were definitely going into the boonies, so to speak.

After nearly an hour of this (and talking about crystals and which chakra we thought we had that was blocked), we took a sharp turn down a dusty dirt road that was lined with pine trees. Then, like a revelation, it dawned on us. A vision – not exactly of splendor.

It was a long rectangular building. Gray, dilapidated, and it made me want to run off in the complete other direction.

There was a sense of doom to it as we circled around a giant (and I mean, giant) pine tree and took a turn into the crunchy gravel driveway.

There, pressed and ready, was the principal. And, oh crap, was she ever taller than I remembered her being. There was a security guard standing beside her, and I was more afraid of her, thank you very much.

So let me give you a picture. The principal was tall, but her aura was impressive. She was wearing a light gray suit, her silver hair hanging down to mid-chest and her pants pressed impeccably. Her mouth was set in a thin line. Beside her, heeling perfectly, was a fat-looking blonde-white corgi.

The security guard was slouching, balding, and was just missing a piece of grass in his mouth to complete the look.

And the building! It was… Gray. Overshadowed by giant pines. There was a miniature pond between the building and the road, and it looked dilapidated too. Beyond the building, a field stretched, hemmed in on all sides by thick pine trees.

Was I the only one reading this place as a miserable disaster in the making? Apparently. Crystal launched herself out of the car. She took two steps and twirled on herself, arms held out and face lifted to the sun. “Oh, this place is perfect! The aura here is incredible!”

Aurora and I stepped out of the car somewhat slower, but I was still the slowest. Aurora strolled around the car, and I saw that she was wearing a long gothic skirt and boots. I, forgetting my hat in the car, stepped out just in time to hear the principal fairly growl, pointing at Crystal’s bare feet.


“Oh,” Crystal looked down at her feet as if surprised to find them bare. Then, cocking a smile at the principal, she stepped back to the car and put on some eco-friendly leather somethings.

“Good,” and the principal nodded. Her eyes scanned the rest of us, checking our feet. Then she swept us up and down, probably checking everything else she had inscribed in our contracts. With a frown, she nodded as if we were barely passable. “Alright. Welcome.”

Yeah, welcome. I forced on a smile. “It’s nice to be here,” Aurora said.

“Yeah,” I chipped in lamely. The principal’s smile stiffened as she looked each of us over once more.

“Bring your bags,” she ordered. “Your rooms are this way.”

Okay, I hopped to it. Crystal and Aurora were somewhat slower, but I felt a miltary-esque sort of performance was wanted here.

Within seconds we had our bags out (my hat still forgotten in the car) and we were following our principal into the building.

Inside this entrance was a long corridor, simply put. Rooms lined either side, with doors every so often.

“This is the lowest floor,” the principal said as we walked past the cream painted walls. “This is where the early grades will have their classrooms. Second floor is the last two levels, and top floor is the laboratories and the library.”

Oh, you could sense excitement sparkle around us as she said that word. ‘Library’. I grinned, imagining what every pagan probably dreamed of, great big tomes of magic and volumes of folklore. As if reading my mind, Crystal piped up. “What sort of books will there be in the library?”

“For now, the standard,” said the principal. “Folklore, mythology, and several popular books. Unfortunately, we do not have a huge budget yet for books.”

I found myself still grinning, thinking that maybe my sense of doom was misplaced. This couldn’t be so bad, could it?

We reached a large dead left turn, and passed through a modern set of double doors. “This leads us to the rooms,” the principal said, gesturing to what looked very much like the rest of the building, just with more doors. “As the rest of the building, the students are divided by the floors, with the staff living on the highest floor.”

At the end of the corridor we were let into a brightly lit stairwell. Up we went. My bag’s straps were digging into my shoulders as we walked up. Crystal was puffing and Aurora was red in the face, but their general mood was good.

Up on the third floor, there was more fresh paint and more and more rooms. It really was a ‘one scene’ building. One picture, and you’d have seen the whole thing. There were no posters, no colors, no nothing.

Oh wait, there was one poster. The principal marched us up to it and made a point of pointing at it, turning to face us as she stood beside it. It was a giant (and I mean, it was as tall as she but stuck up on the wall) poster of a black and white printing of rules that I vaguely remembered from the contract. “The rules you’ve all agreed to,” she said crisply. “I expect you all to adhere to them at all time. If you forget them,” she gestured with her hand. “They’re right here.”

O-kay. Sure.

She turned and began pointing out rooms. “You’ve all been assigned rooms already, by order of your time of contract signing. You are not permitted to change or swap rooms, and you are solely responsible for the contents of your rooms and the cleanliness thereof.”

“Are we allowed animals?” Crystal chirped happily.

Snap! Like a robot, the principal pointed to a rule mid-way through the paper. “No,” she said dryly. Then, pointing down at her corgi, she said “Service animal.”

“Ohh,” said Crystal. Then, stooping over, she pulled a huge grin at the dog. “What’s your name? What do you do?”

“None of your concern,” said the principal with a hint of impatience. She checked her watch on her wrist. “Now, deposit your luggage. Unpack. In half an hour, we will hold circle out back, around the fire pit with the rest of the staff. You should be able to find it, it’s the only thing there.”

O-kay. Okay, sure.

“Don’t be late,” she said sharply before turning around and marching to the stairwell.

For a moment, we all just stood there, watching her go with the security guard. Then, as soon as that door shut and her footsteps died away, we all exhaled.

“I didn’t remember her being that strict,” said Crystal wistfully.

“Me neither,” said Aurora, shocked. “But I guess she is the principal.”

“What’s her name again?” I asked. “I don’t remember it.”

The two stared at me, then down at their shoes. “Don’t remember,” said Aurora.

“Hmm,” Crystal said, nodding to herself.

“Oh, okay,” I said to myself. “Well,” and I set down my bags with a thud. “Let’s do this.”

The doors that were unclaimed had our names on them. Apparently the rest of the staff was already here, for apart from us, there were no other names stuck on the doors.

My room was smack beside Crystal’s. Whether that was a good or a bad thing, I was going to find out soon.

It was a medium sized room, obviously having housed two bunkbeds and a chest or so before. Now it housed a bed, a desk, and a small handtable.

Quickly, I unpacked the essentials, laying out my altar hastily on the handtable and checking to be sure nothing had broken. I shoved my clothing bag at the foot of my bed, moving on to unpack my essential teaching basics onto my desk.

No matter what though, I checked my phone for the time every five minutes. I absolutely did not want to be late for- circle? Were we doing a ritual? Already?

After fifteen minutes I declared myself done. Leaving my room behind, I locked it (the key had been on the desk), and found Aurora already waiting for me in the hallway. She was staring at the giant poster.

“I didn’t know we weren’t allowed to wear colored belts,” she said with a frown.

“Oh,” I said. I vaguely remembered it being in the rules, along with a host of other things. Such as no cursing. No pointing fingers or wands at students. No spitting or throwing salt at people. No hex jars. No spinning counter-clockwise. No poppet dolls of fellow staff or students.

The list seemed to go on and on and on as we stood there and read them.

“What denomination do you pin her as?” Aurora asked under her breath.

“Seems like a ritual magician,” I muttered.

“Hey!” Crystal whisked over as Aurora snorted to herself. “Are we ready to go?”

Aurora pointed to Crystal’s feet. “Shoes.”

“Oh!” Crystal laughed and ran back into her room. When she returned, she had her leather things back on. “Do you think she’s really strict about everything?” she asked hopefully. “Maybe she’s just trying to make an impression, you know?”

I seriously doubted that. I did, however, have the feeling that we had been reeled into more than we had planned.


Circlet School? What’s that?

I couldn’t think of a better name, y’all, so bear with me.

Like so many of my projects, I haven’t thought this through.  Today and yesterday I’ve had terrible writers’ block on so many projects (except Ranger’s series) and even then I cap out after 2,000 words. So what else am I supposed to do with my writing time? I decided to bash together an old story idea, just seeing if anything woul happen.

LO AND FUCKIN’ BEHOLD – something happened. Circlet school is what happened. Now, if you want spoilers, keep reading. If not, skip this whole post. The story will self-explain as I post more parts to it.

HOWEVER. If you are ready for spoilers (cracks knuckles), read this!

So, since last summer, I’ve had a story idea about the shenanigans of a Wiccan/pagan private high school, but told from the perspective of the professors. It would be filled with pagan shenanigans, including all the miraculous mishaps that happen when magic is practiced, along with prayer wars with christian organizations.

But when I tried to write it, it just never got rolling. I figured the whole concept was silly, and scrapped it.

Now, today, I was doodling around with another idea, in my boredom. Again, another old idea. Loosely, it went ‘what if Sephiroth from ffvii was a trans woman?’. And I was like ‘hmmm’. And then I squished both ideas together and cackled deviously.

So that’s how you got it, folks. Circlet school is (hopefully) going to be set in Canada, somewhere, and will have an ex-special ops principal who is a trans woman. The main character remains to be developed beyond being a goth. The children will be … special? The parents will be outrageous. And hopefully, it’ll be a fun, pagan, read. With a teensy bit of romance and ghostly apparitions smooshed in there.

I really hope y’all will give this story a chance. I know it’s not Chaos, but I just don’t feel like writing Chaos these days (boooo, sad 😦 ) and I don’t feel like any other ‘more serious’ story is ready to be read. So please give it a read, pass it on to your pagan friends, and let me know what you think!

Much blessings and love to you all ❤


Welcome to Circlet School – Prologue

She walked into the room like a breath of fresh air, if air was terribly sexy and choked you up.

She was- wow. Silver hair hung down in curls across her shoulders. She was wearing a black suit that looked somehow classy while bearing some ruffles on it. She had on a pencil skirt and – to baffle it all, knee high black boots. Her face was oval and pointed, her eyes a steely gray. She was taller than me by far, though I wasn’t hard to beat.

I rose from the waiting chair and we shook hands. “Hi,” she said in a sweet but stern voice. “Come this way, please.”

I followed her, eyes glazing over. I watched her silhouette, wondering how I’d manage to even stand in her presence. Something about her just – hit me in my core. I followed her like a lost puppy, down the stale hallway and into an office.

Let me give you a visual. She was like ‘wow!’ and I was like … puppy? I hadn’t been sure how to dress for this interview due to its strange nature, so I’d chosen a plain black t-shirt and jeans let my blond hair do its thing in various spikes. I let my pentacle hanging out on top of my shirt, for the first time in an interview ever.

“So,” she took her place on the ‘boss’ side of the desk and sat. “Your name is Thunder?”

“Yes,” I relaxed slightly. It was always nice to meet other pagans. Around them, you felt like you could just be yourself. Even if it was just in tiny ways, like using your magical name.

“Well Thunder,”she drew up her tablet and propped it up on her desk. “Let’s see, you’re a third degree in the Gardnerian tradition in Willowsvale, right?”

I nod, palms sweating.

“Any reason you haven’t started your own coven yet?”

I nod again, but then remember I’m supposed to say something. “I uh, not very good with the whole people part of it. I mean- I get along well with people but with organizing? Not so much.”

“I see,” and she nods. She stares intently at her tablet and I feel like running. Not because it’s bad that she was intimidating, I kind of liked that about her. She felt really, really, in charge. It’s that I felt so worthless before her.

Maybe if I was one of those super buff manly witches who could lift a woman in each arm and then squat with them both…

“And- you’ve got a degree in herbal medecine as well? And reiki third degree?”

I nod. Yup yup.

“And you have teaching experience,” she adds.

“Five years,” I say proudly. In a high school no less!

Under the desk, I cross my fingers. If I got this job, the horned man was getting a nice cup of wine tonight. Heck, he could have the whole bottle!

“Now,” she looks me full on in the face. “What is your approach to teaching?”

“I’m flexible,” I said, hoping that was the right answer. “I understand this school to be very learner focused and that’s an approach that I’m very passionate about,”

I drone on and on, trying to convince her that, yeah, she should hire me. In the back of my mind, I visualize my spell unfolding right now, rooting my good qualities in her mind and bringing me this job.

Once I was done my schpiel, she nods. Then she looks back to her tablet. “Now, given the specific nature of this school, how do you expect to interact with the parents?”

I clasp my hands and say a quick prayer to the horned one. Aid me! “I am hoping to really connect with them on a grounded level. On a one on one level, but to still maintain a level of professionalism -”

Again, I go on. She nods, and I feel like I’m either sinking or synching it. Either way, I say my reel. Then she nods some more.

“And your approaches to gender theory?”

I balk. That was not on the ‘top 25 teacher questions’ on the web. Uh. Well. I clasp and unclasp my hands. “I,” I try and think fast. Fast but honest. “I think it’s important for students to feel safe. I think, that in this case, we will have students who will be exploring their gender within various frameworks. I do not know all the cultural frames that they will have, but I am always open to listening and willing to research more so I can help them understand themselves better.”

A spark goes off in those steely grey eyes. Ah, hah. I did it.

Moments later, the contract comes out. Absolute secrecy is a special clause. Professional silence and discretion all the way is harped on one final way. No hexing is another one, as well as a clause on no nudity or barefoot-ness in the school. No sex rites.

“Beards cannot be longer than a foot,” she said firmly. Then, with a smile, she adds “No matter who you were in your past life.”

I grin and sign my name. She takes back the contract. We both rise, and she shakes my hand. Her grip is firm, and her eyes spark with excitement.

“Welcome to Circlet school,” she says proudly.

Damn straight. I got hired! And not just anywhere either. I got into the first ever Wiccan private high school in Canada. First year, first try.

As I walked out of that office, I said a prayer of thanks to the Horned One. This coming school year was going to be so… exciting? Whatever came, I was sure it was going to be great.