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 Three Part One

The sun was beginning to set. It wasn’t quite hitting the horizon, but it was definitely on its way there. We had about, maximum, an hour of light left. I told myself that we should be well done and over with by that time, but I knew it was a lie. We wouldn’t be done until three am, if Amethyst didn’t insist on doing something else special for that occasion.

It was then that I wondered if I was getting paid enough for all this drama. Seriously, I thought, I’m holding ritual with a bunch of random pagans who aren’t even of my particular faith – it’s like a very strange pagan gathering. A very strange one, I thought, taking a look around and especially at the corgi-turned-witch.

“Merry meet, everyone!” cheered Amethyst as our little troupe of mish-mashed pagans arrived at the fire pit. A fire was already crackling there, a bit crooked and piled precariously high. “Brightest blessings and -” her eyes landed on me, then flicked to Sapphire. “No ritual robes?”

I shrugged and held up my wand. “Brought a stick!” I said playfully.

There was several snorts, as my wand was a bit more than a stick. It was a carefully carved twist of wood with engravings → but it might as well have been a stick for the big frown that it brought up on Amethyst’s face.

“No robes?”

I waved my wand feebly, hoping to redeem myself. But it flopped like cold spaghetti onto the floor. Amethyst looked at me with a frown. “You’re not even wearing black.”

I looked down. Green t-shirt, jeans, brown shoes… Okay, maybe not the witchiest attire but… one look to Sapphire’s gray suit and I figured it couldn’t be all that bad.

“Ritual robes are not necessary for many of the faith,” said Sapphire primly.

“Yes, actually,” said Aurora.

Amethyst’s frown settled on Sapphire, then hopped around. Then, just as she was trying to smile, she looked down. Her eyes landed on the irreverently dressed corgi. She paused. Her eyes looked to Sapphire, who smirked.

Ruffling her shawls around herself, Amethyst cleared her throat. The group began to settle around the fire pit. I tentatively stepped to her side, but that wasn’t good enough. “You go here,” and she positioned me beside her, then began flitting around positioning people. I stared on in abject shock as she had Bjorn stand switch places with the math teacher, then ordered Crystal and Aurora to swap sides of the fire. Then she fretted, frowning at the principal. “I just don’t know where you go,” Amethyst huffed, wringing her hands.

The principal flashed a smile that was a bit nasty and gestured to the earth beneath her. “I go right here.”

The innuendo flew like an unseen dove over Amethyst’s head. “No, no, maybe over here?” And she gestured to beside Bjorn, then while the principal walked over, Amethyst shook her head and pointed a little more to the left. Biting down on her patience visibly, Sapphire stood there, which just so happened to be on the polar end of the circle from where I was standing. Our eyes met and I tried a feeble smile. She raised an eyebrow. My smiled widened.

“Ah! Perfection!” Amethyst crowed as she ran around the circle to come and stand beside me, to my right. “Now!” she turned around and gestured us back. “We need to include the altar! Widen the circle! Bigger circle, everyone!”

Indeed, just behind where I had been standing, outside of the circle of light of the fire, was one of the chairs, covered with a cloth beneath which poked up various things. Curious excitement and morbid realism clashed within me.

On one hand, I was all ‘ooo, flashy wiccan goodies! I wonder what kind of statues she brought!’, but the realistic part of me figured it was going to be badly painted plastic things with pointed breasts and giant phalluses that could knock out a satyr. Good grief, the stuff was probably a glitter fest and hideous.

Amethyst shuffled the chair/altar farther into the light of the circle, getting it dangerously close to the fire.

“Watch the fire,” said Sapphire, ever the grim voice of reason.

“It’s not too close,” said Crystal.

“Just close enough,” beamed Amethyst, rushing around to check its distance. I found it a tad bit close, but hey. It wasn’t catching on fire and it wasn’t my stuff.

Satisfied with her altar, Amethyst drew the cloth back from it, revealing all her goodies. A crooning of oohs and aahs went up from nearly everyone. As a whole, the group leaned forward to look.

There was several statues to say an understatement. There was a small army of statues would be more accurate.

There was a dragon statue. There was three fairies, one sitting on a moon and all with glittering wings. There was a chunky buddha, the lucky one that was laughing and with a bag slung over his shoulder. There was three goddesses on a stand, the triple moon framed behind them. There was a pan with (mercifully) no whack-a-mole penis. There was even a Kali, dancing on her husband’s body with a lolling tongue.

“We have everything we need!” cheered Amethyst, shaking her arms in the air as if this was the first step to victory.

“Did you buy all these today?” asked Sapphire, seemingly in awe of the army.

“Only some, the rest are part of my shrine,” said Amethyst with a cheerful flap of the hand. “Now,” she began pointing at the rest of the shrine things. “We have white sage, a seashell to burn it in, all the pink salt we need,” which apparently, was a whole jar full of the stuff “we have moon water,” a large jar of it “our candle holders for the elements,” which, oh goddess, were each sculpted things with pointy breasts and large phalluses “incense,” because apparently we needed stick incense as well. “The bell,” an ornate thing with leaves and twigs on it. “The sacred oil,” a little glass decanter full of what looked like seasoned olive oil. “a pyramid,” a pink crystal pyramid the size of a palm, because why not? “and!” she drew up the piece de resistance. Which was, just to rub Sapphire the wrong way, two circlets.

“To represent the Goddess and God,” said Amethyst, beaming as she held them up. “No one will be wearing them,” she flashed a smile at the very stoic Sapphire. “But they will remain on the shrine.”

Sapphire flashed back a similarly double meaning smile. Glowing with her victory, Amethyst placed them at the head of the shrine.

Aurora piped up. “You do know you’re not supposed to burn the white sage in the shell, right? It’s offensive to lots of Native American beliefs.”

“Yeah,” I muttered.

Amethyst flashed her beaming smile. “I’ve never heard of that. But White Sage is purifying, so it’ll destroy any negativity from the shell,” and she flipped a hand at Aurora to dismiss that idea.

The principal raised her eyebrows and folded her arms across her chest. It really was too bad she was straight across from me. Her face was just too expressive right now.

But Aurora wasn’t done. “Are you lighting a candle for each of the elements?”

Amethyst nodded as she rearranged everything on the altar a final time.

“So a flame is going to represent the element of water?” asked Aurora slowly.

The principal snorted, badly disguising it as a cough, then she seemingly did choke on herself and coughed. Bjorn was grinning widely.

Amethyst drew herself up, readjusting her shawl on her shoulders primly. “The flames represent their presence, their essence, and their spirit!” Then, waving her arms as if to dispel any more questions, she said “We are going to begin!”

Okay, well, that was a way to start things off.

Everyone shuffled their stance a little wider, as if bracing themselves for what was to come. Deep breaths were had. But that was all before me, in the rest of the circle. Amethyst was already beginning, sweeping her arms out and upwards to the sky, letting out a warbling cry.

Warbling was the word for it. It wasn’t one note, nor was it several clear or distinct ones. It was a battle cry of sorts. Or perhaps a dying wail of all our prides and prejudices giving up the ghost.

Dramatically Amethyst thrust her hands down, as if flicking lots of goo off herself while uplifting her face to the stars that had begun peeking out.

Oh, I insanely regretted being here. I wanted to break circle and leave – would it really be breaking circle if the circle hadn’t been cast yet?

But already, it was too late for that. With a flair of the arm, Amethyst picked up her wand from the side of the altar. Gulp. Here we go.

Like a certain video game character, Amethyst struck a pose, wand up in the air and legs braced for war. In a large arc, she drew the wand down to point towards the ground at our backs. “Above, below, and in the in-betweens, I cast a circle! So MOTE IT BE!” she fairly boomed out the words.

Well, I thought as she began walking around us. She was stern-faced and stiffly holding out her wand to trace the circle in the air about us. In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but think that if there was wildlife observing us, they’d be startled by our strange social rituals. And, oh my, suppose a Christian was to drive by? It was a good thing the building blocked us from the view of the road…

My mind was racing with humiliated thoughts as Amethyst marched back. She drew the circle closed behind me, drawing the line up and seemingly sewing it shut with her wand. She then turned to face the rest of us, belting out “The circle is cast! As above, so below!”

Pretty sure that wasn’t how that phrase was supposed to be used, but oh well.

“Yay,” muttered someone, unironically.

Amethyst stood there, glaring off into the space between us. The fire crumbled on itself a little, shifting as it tumbled lower.

Amethyst placed her wand back on the altar. Then she selected the white sage, the shell, and drew a lighter from her bra. “Here, hold this in sacred trust,” she said, handing me the shell.

Uh, okay. I held it carefully in both hands, the papers tucked under my arm. On first try, Amethyst lit the white sage bundle. “Thank you,” she said loudly, taking the shell from me and setting the white sage in it.

Well if we had any hard of hearing spirits around, at least they could hear us.

Then, like a video game character having unlocked something, she thrust the sage and shell up into the air. “I cleanse this space, by the power of the ancients, ancestors of all, sacred lineage, and powers within!” She fairly bellowed before beginning to march around behind us, waving around the white sage that was still sitting in the shell.

The sage burned well (always a good sign), the smoke wafting out and out as Amethyst walked around. In fact, there was a lot of sage smoke going around. A heckton. A lot times a lot. The air was turning thick and mist-like when Amethyst finally placed the sage bundle back upon the altar. My nostrils were burning with the smell.

Amethyst straightened beside me, taking in deep breaths with her eyes closed and arms lifted a little at her side. Bjorn sneezed into his sleeve. Drawing a final deep breath, Amethyst opened her eyes. With purpose, one could say, she strode the step to the altar and picked up the incense. With a flick of the lighter, she set the stick a-burnin’. Again, she held it dramatically high, declaring that it was lit in so many words. “By this incense, living proof of fire and air,” say what? Everybody knows fire and air exist? “I cleanse this circle!”

Once more, she marched around, wafting the stick. I began to feel sleepy. And irritated. And bored. I looked down into my papers, and saw that I didn’t have anything to do until the elements, watchtowers, and Goddesses were invoked. Then I had to invoke the phallus-thumping god with flowery words and – oh my. Such words. Much phallus, much thump, as the internet would say.

I was still staring in dismay at these words when Amethyst returned, doing a final waft with the incense. It smelt sweet, but there was a hint of acrid in the air. Maybe it was cheap incense.

Humming loudly, Amethyst then poured a chunk of pink salt into the sacred water. She shook the jar, still humming with her eyes closed. Then, holding it aloft in what I was going to call the ‘hero pose’ she declared that she was, by this water and salt, “living proof of water and earth, consecrating this circle to the sacred work of the Goddess and God!”

Well, that was it. Now she was doing another lap and we were all just standing there. Boredom settled in even harder.

Alright, focus Thunder, I told myself. This doesn’t have to be painful unless you make it! Focus on the numenous! Focus, my friend!

So I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and tried to feel. But there was that acrid smell in the back of my throat. There was no wind, there was just smoke. I felt irritated, like I was itchy all over. Something just felt wrong. Annoyingly wrong.

Wow, I thought to myself, I’m being such a jerk. I mean, this isn’t my way of doing a circle, but I really shouldn’t be so judgemental, right?

So I made sure to put on a smile when Amethyst finished her last lap, sprinkling salted water in all directions. She beamed at me, then at the circle, and placed the salt back on the altar.

She picked up the oil and struck a two-handed ‘hero pose’. “Oh, great Goddess and God! Bless this oil with your purity of thought and power, so that we may be like you in our essences!”

Then, solemn as she could be, she turned to me, tipping the decanter over with her finger plugged in it. So unsanitary. “Blessed be,” she said emotionally before reaching down and sprinkling my feet with the oil. She then repeated the phrase, sprinkling my knees, my hips, my chest, and my face.

It was a good thing I wasn’t wearing something that I didn’t mind getting olive oil stains on, I thought grouchily in the back of my mind.

On she went, blessing every one in the circle like that. Alright, I may be a stick in the mud, but that blessing was usually reserved for the high priest and high priestess to do to each other.

So guess what? I waited for my turn to bless her, watching attentively as she went around the circle and blessed every single one.

Except when she took her stand by my side, she didn’t hand me the sacred oil. Instead, she blessed herself, murmuring ‘Blessed be’ and sprinkling herself all the way up.

I had to stop myself from gaping. How? Why? What?

Then, beaming as if she was fully enlightened now, Amethyst placed the oil back onto the altar. Alright, okay, I thought. Let’s move on to – I checked my papers – the watchtowers. Good gods I was bored.

Of course, thinking you are bored in a ritual is just asking for trouble, right? Spirits love to play tricks and we seemed like the perfect victims.

As she reached for a candleholder, Amethyst knocked over the sacred oil with her arm. Splat! Oil splattered over the altar, dousing the Kali statue and beginning to pour out onto the chair.

“Oops!” Amethyst snatched up the bottle, chuckling to herself. “Guess they wanted a blessing too!” and she set the oil bottle upright. Then, smiling to herself, she picked up the candleholder.

It was painted with white swirls on a black background, with the silhouette of a hunky man on it. Perched atop it all was a tall candle.

Clearing her throat, Amethyst picked up her papers that she had folded into a corner of the altar. I groaned inside, thinking that if there was enough of an incantation that she needed to read it, we’d be here a while.

And I was right.

“oh, element of air! Brilliance of the mind, wind of the sky,

Oh, element of intellect! Element of the high mountains that caress the sky,”

I groaned inside, annoyed and so annoyed. Just annoyed. On and on Amethyst waxed, invoking the element until she dramatically lit the candle, culminating with a “I summon you!”

Oh, finally, I thought as she set that candle holder back onto the altar in the small puddle of oil that was collected there. Now only three times more of that to go. Ughhhh.

Amethyst picked up the next candleholder, which was fire, symbolized by bright orange flames painted all over the candleholder, which was in the shape of another hunky man. And then, lighter in one hand and candleholder in the other, the invocation began.

I sighed. Alright, I did it. I really, really, was fed up. I was tired, sick of this, and was it me or that acrid smell was just getting worse? What element of air had she invoked?

A wind picked up, wafting the fire towards us. The smell got worse, like the smell of burning plastic –

OH SHIT! I thought, as something clicked into place in my head and I stared at the altar chair, very much a plastic lawn chair coated in oil next to a fire that was blowing towards it.

Okay, stay calm, I thought. Just pull the chair away from the fire.

So I stepped towards the fire just as Amethyst finished her schpiel and lit the candle. “What are you doing?” asked Amethyst, still using her boombox voice mode.

“Just pulling this away from the fire,” I muttered as I tried to drag it back. But it wouldn’t drag. And just then, Amethyst set the candle of fire onto the altar.

I’mma go out there and say that, ritually speaking, it was a bad move. She set the element of fire onto the almost burning chair. What could go wrong?

Fwoosh. The tip of the chair, which I suppose had been smoldering until then (hence the horrible acrid smell), officially caught fire.

Welcome to Circlet School ~ Chapter Two part Two

Sapphire. Did she always walk into places like a breath of cool, no-nonsense fresh air? Or more like a tornado? Or, would she some days bring a bit of laughter and cheer with herself?

Staring at the work on my laptop, I thought about these very important (not) questions. What sort of things did Sapphire like? What was her service dog called? What were her core beliefs, the things that fueled her life forward?


“Jesus!” I yelled, jumping up in my chair and nearly toppling the whole thing over.

Sapphire stepped up to my side, corgi in tow. Her arms were crossed over her chest and a smirk was on her lips. “The irony of that, in this place,” she said.

I shook my head, trying not to feel like an idiot. “I’m sorry, I was – focused.”

“At least you weren’t masturbating,” she said flatly. “Your door was open so I just came in. I’ll be sure to knock next time.”

I nodded some more, like a bobblehead. “Sure.” And then I couldn’t stop myself from adding. “And walk loudly too, just for safety.”

She smiled. Oh my gods, she actually smiled. It was a beautiful thing. And then it vanished.

“So,” she took a look at my computer screen, then back at me. “How goes the work? Are your course plans ready?”

“Yes, I uh- getting ready.”

She leveled me a serious look. “Getting?”

I held up a hand. “Very much nearly there. Don’t worry. I’ll be ready in a day.”

“Good. That’s what I want to hear. Have you gone over the students? Their names and faces?”

“Uh, yes.” Just a little, and it showed in my voice. Another ‘serious look’ from her.

“I’ll have a good grasp by the time they arrive,” I said. “I usually learn their names better in person.”

She nodded curtly. “Everyone does. Do you have any concerns or things you wanted to talk to me about?”

“Uh, no?”

Her eyebrows rose. “Really?”

I paused, looking from her to my computer. “Physics is pretty straight-forward. I’ve been teaching it for a while. I mean,” I held up my hands. “I’ve gone over the sample meditations for the beginning of classes. I can do that. Everything else seems pretty under control. So,”

“Oh,” she looked at the window. “Alright. Good.” Then, looking down at her corgi, she said “You’re the first one without questions today.”

“Oh,” was I supposed to have questions?

“Which is fine,” she added sharply to me. “As long as you’re sure? No worries? Some are particularly worried about the state of this building.”

I pressed my lips together. “Well, I uh, haven’t, uh,” I shrugged limply. “No. I,”

Sapphire smiled at me. My brain drew a complete blank.

“Well, don’t hesitate to let me know if there are any pressing issues.” She straightened even more and the smile vanished. “Have a good day. Lunch is soon, by the way.”

“Oh, yeah, thanks,” I said, sounding every bit absent-minded and weird. I watched her reflection in the window leave. Within a few seconds, she knocked on Crystal’s door.

“Shoes!” was heard, predictably.

I chuckled to myself. Then, with a sigh, I returned to my classwork. Yep, it was going to go well.

I remember, very distinctly, wondering what could possibly go wrong.

Hah. Hahahaha.


Lunch was a grueling affair. Amethyst raved on about how we needed more time! More time!

“I spent all morning writing this ritual- and I just feel so compelled to, like, cleanse this place inside and outside and-”

I speared my fried eggs, and raised my eyebrows at Bjorn. He smiled back cheekily. I silently wondered how many times Amethyst would say the word ‘feel’ in a conversation.

As it turned out, a lot. A frickin’ lot. Even Crystal’s eyes seemed to be getting glazed over by the time that Amethyst dabbed her eyes with a corner of her shawl and announced “I’m getting emotional.”

I couldn’t be the only one who wanted to roll my eyes at that.

“Must be the energy,” said Crystal gently.

“This place is SO unstable!” sobbed Amethyst, tears running down her cheeks.

“It has been cleansed, you know,” said the principal under her breath from the other end of the table.

“By who?” wailed Amethyst. “I still feel so much residual -”

“A shaman,” said Sapphire tartly to her plate. “A Mohawk.”

There was a silence. Bjorn nodded wisely, leaning back in his chair to say to her around Crystal. “That sounds like good.”

Like good?

“Very good,” said Sapphire stiffly. “They did a nice job.” she leaned forward conspiratorially, eyes flashing above a smirk. “You should have felt the place before they came by.”

“Why did you ever take this place?” wailed Amethyst. “It’s going to cause us nothing but trouble!”

Sapphire set her utensils down with her napkin on her plate. “It was a decision with the investors.”

Well, yep. True. I nodded. Investors were a thing. She probably didn’t have all that much say in everything some times-

“But this place, can’t you just feel -”

“Well, it’s what we have,” said Sapphire as she rose, collecting her tray. “I expect you to still perform your best, and to keep the theatrics away from the students.” She leveled a glare around the table. “We don’t need them to start making up ghost stories as excuses.”

“But what if- oh no no No!” Amethyst threw her napkin down like it was the proverbial medieval glove. “We have to do this ritual before the children arrive! We can’t have them here like this!”

“Suit yourself,” said the principal in a calm tone. She turned to walk away, and I faintly wished I was doing the same.

“We’ll do it tonight!” Amethyst called out to her. Sapphire nodded, dumping her tray in its allocated spot. She was walking away when Amethyst jumped up and shouted out “You’ll have to be there!”

Sapphire froze, even her back looking unhappy. She turned around, face neutral.

“Pardon?” she asked as if this was a bad joke.

“We need to be thirteen!” pleaded Amethyst. “You can’t not be there! Or the whole energy will be off!”

Sapphire paused. “We are thirteen?”

“Yes!” Amethyst burst. The table nodded.

Sapphire paused. Then, with a shrug she said “If you insist on doing it tonight. But the second security guard will be arriving tomorrow in the evening, as will our social worker and psychologist. So,” she held up her hands. “You could wait until then.”

“Oh no!” Amethyst looked around the table desperately. “Then we won’t be thirteen!”

If telepathy was a thing, we all heard the ‘so what?’ and a few curse words that went through the principal’s mind.

But Sapphire was collected, she was cool, and she was a professional. She would not swear in front of us, I was sure of it. Instead she folded her hands before herself and tilted her head to the side in an understanding sort of way. “Is it that important to you?”

Amethyst looked ready to choke. I half expected her to start seizing or something. “We need to be thirteen! Haven’t you -”

“There are many covens that aren’t specifically thirteen members,” interrupted Aurora.

“Exactly,” said Sapphire calmly. “But if it will put your mind at rest, I will participate.”

“Oh, thank you!” crowed Amethyst. Holding out her arms, she rushed towards Sapphire for a hug. Sapphire turned to walk away – and got hugged from behind. Amethyst squeezed the very stiff figure, sniffling through tears. “We’ll all get through this together!”

Oh, Goddess.


That afternoon, Amethyst supposedly went to the nearest supply shop to get all the necessaries for the ritual.

“I think she’s a bit high strung,” said Crystal, standing on one foot by my desk.

“A little,” I said testily. Crystal smiled at me.

“She runs her own coven,” said Crystal. “She’s very qualified.”

I had already guessed the coven part. High priestesses were – just a breed of their own I supposed. Not that high priests were any better (hah!).

“I just hope the ritual will go well,” I said flatly. I didn’t want to have a headache argument over who was more ‘spiritually qualified’ than who. I didn’t want to hear about why one ritual might work better than another. For all I cared, this place ought to be plenty clean enough. I mean, my nightmares were probably just normal teaching anxiety.

Crystal hummed, fidgeting with a dreadlock. Then, looking intently at a bead in her haid, she asked too casually “You’ve got weird vibes about this place, don’t you?”

I nodded half heartedly. “Yeah. But-”

“Oh, me too!” she gasped as if this was such a relief. “Aurora thinks I’m exaggerating and I know that it’s already been cleansed but-” she plopped down onto the edge of my bed. “Don’t you think it feels weird around here?”

I nodded, wondering how I was going to get her out of my room now, without being rude.

As it turned out, I wasn’t able to. Crystal talked and talked about these ‘just weird’ nightmares she’d had last night, and about how the principal was ‘way too strict’ and how ‘the children are going to pick up on this’ and how the sun didn’t even seem to shine around here.

“It’s just always so cloudy!” she was saying as someone knocked on my rooms’ doorframe.

“Hey,” said Aurora.

“Hey!” we said in unison. Crystal schooched over on the bed and patted it, inviting Aurora over in all her gothic glory.

Great, another person in here. Now how was I going to get my stuff done?

“So, does anyone else have a bad feeling about this ritual tonight?” Aurora asked as she sat down on the bed.

I wanted to slam my head on the desk. Crystal, however, lit into it like feelings were the new drug.

“I really don’t know!” she said.

And bam. Another hour or so gone. My eyes were dry and I was downright grouchy when the time came for supper.

I made the mistake of not outrunning anyone on the walk over there. Had I done that, I wouldn’t have been just picking up a bowl when Amethyst burst into the eating hall.

“Nobody eat!” she shrieked, running in with papers in one hand and a giant eco-friendly shopping bag under her other arm, bursting full of stuff.

The chef raised her eyebrows, just about to ladle chow mein into my bowl. I almost reached across the counter to pour it in. But Amethyst rushed up to us, panting.

“What are you all thinking?” She looked around the hall, but we were all in the one line at the counter. “We need to do the ritual! Have you forgotten?” And she shoved the papers at me, all crinkled and sweaty from her grip.

Sapphire’s cool voice rang out. “Yes, but it’s supper time. We can do ritual after-”

“Oh no! A beginner’s mistake! You see, the cakes and ale is for after the ritual -”

“I think she knows that,” I muttered, but Amethyst wasn’t listening, preaching as if our principal was an uneducated Baptist or something.

“You see, fasting is very potent,” said Amethyst, beaming at everyone. “Our magic will be pure and-”

“Your food’ll be cold,” said the chef, nonplussed with this whole idea.

Amethyst smiled in a way that said ‘elementary, dear Watson’. “There’s a microwave, I’m sure.”

We all looked around. There was, indeed, a lonely black microwave in the corner of the kitchen.

“I have all the essentials,” Amethyst was babbling, rifling in her eco-friendly shopping bag. I took a look at the papers in my hand. Namely, I noticed the thickness and the quantity of the print on the page.

Hopefully, I split the stack in two and tried to hand her half. “You’ll want your half,” I mumbled.

“Oh, no, that is your half!” she said cheerfully, waving a hand at me.

Aw, fuck. How long was this ritual going to be?

“So! I will go set up! Everyone, in ritual robes and makeup and-”

“Robes?” echoed Sapphire in a disbelieving tone.

Amethyst ignored her. “And bring your wands and whatever you want charged with protective energy!” Then she beamed again at everyone.

Cheryl took off her apron and fairly threw it onto the counter. Sapphire looked like she wanted to hit herself over the head with something brick-like. Aurora looked tense. Crystal, however, looked so thrilled.

“Okay,” I muttered. “I’ll uh, get my stuff.”

We walked like a very unhappy troupe to the staff’s quarters. No one said much on the way there, and less as we all split off into our own rooms.

I’ll admit, a bunch of silly thoughts went through my head as I began grabbing my stuff. It’s always exciting, preparing for a ritual. You get to see an aspect of people you don’t normally see. It’s an intimate glimpse into them. So, naturally, hormones raging, I wondered what Sapphire would be wearing. A flowing skirt? Horus eyes?

I was being an idiot, obviously. It didn’t matter what she wore, because it was none of my business. She was my boss.

So I grabbed my wand, drew out a crystal from my stash to have it charged with protective energy, and took a moment to leaf through the ritual. Holy fucks. It was full of long poetry, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if we were drawing down the moon and the sun and stars, just for the fucks of it all. What, did she copy out the full Wiccan Rede into here? The Charge of the Goddess as well? For fuck’s sake.

I left my room and was nearly attacked by Bjorn. In fact, the guy did pretend to attack me, bearing a sword and all.

“JESUS!” I yelled, shielding myself with the ritual papers from this viking that had just burst out of nowhere. Because, uh, yeah. Bjorn was wearing leather cuffs, a rugged one hundred percent natural fibers shirt that was beige, pants and a leather belt, and the giant sword. There was even a drinking horn at his belt.

Bjorn laughed, swinging his sword up onto his shoulder. Then, laughter done with, he chuckled at me. “You’re not getting dressed?” As if it was a capital crime.

“I don’t,” I shrugged and looked down at myself. “No robes.”

“Oh,” said Crystal, appearing behind me. She was dressed much the same, but had a shawl on, and was bearing even more necklaces and had a wand in hand.

One by one, everyone else appeared. It was a shocking revelation for each. The chef, Cheryl, came out in full viking gear, with a small spear with runes on it. Aurora looked like she’d taken a bath in her gothic makeup palette, and was wearing ripped stockings and a lolita skirt. The math teacher, Paulette, was wearing boho chic with a modern witch’s hat on. Maria, the phys ed teacher, was wearing a medieval dress that just so happened to look extremely witchy.

And then Sapphire stepped out of her room.

She may as well have come out with a cloud of smoke, bats flying and stars sparkling in her hair, for what it was worth. Everyone had obviously been waiting for her by the stares she received. And, just to set the record straight, she was wearing the exact same suit as before. Her hair hadn’t changed. Her makeup hadn’t changed. But what had changed –

“Aww!” crooned Crystal, crouching down. “She’s in ritual gear!”

Indeed, the little corgi, grinning in that way corgis do, had on a little costume cape and witch’s hat tied onto its head. It was so adorable and hilarious, I wanted to crack up laughing.

“Alright,” said the principal primly. Then, eyeing Crystal she said “Don’t pet her.” Crystal ‘awwed’ and straightened. Sapphire straightened her shoulders and looked around. “Let’s do this.”

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.”

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.


Another Strange Dream

Greetings, earthlings! How’s everyone doing? I’ve been doing good. Writing has been going well too! I’ve been busting around 5,000 words a day in my fantasy novel. I even finished the first novel in that series and was trying to start part 2. That was going well too, until I hit a wall last night. Ah, I told myself, it shall sort itself out. I will sleep on it!

Well, you wouldn’t believe the dream I had! Basically, I dreamed about another story involving pilots (a recurring story dream for me), mixed in with Ranger’s story – and the urge that I had to stop writing my fantasy novel and switch to THIS ONE.

I woke up very confused. What was this ‘other’ story? I was sure I had already begun it, but just couldn’t remember it. It was just on the tip of my brain!

So, this afternoon, I checked my files. I actually did have an older story about a pilot based on a dream that I had typed out, but had never gone further on. And that was it. No other stories. I’d completely dreamed up another story.

Presently, I’m really not sure what to do! It feels like Chaos’ novel is on a full stop right now. Perhaps my fantasy one should be as well. If that was the entire goal of the dream, cool. I can deal with that. But YET ANOTHER story? I’m not sure if I should be happy or just throw a temper tantrum. Don’t I have enough novels to work on? Aren’t I overloaded enough?

I mean, I definitely don’t remember enough from the dream to start a story! I tried to write down my memories and it went something like ‘young pilot. Dark hair.’ to which I could add ‘lots of rivers and forest scenery’. And that’s it.

I feel like shaking my fist at the sky and shouting ‘That’s it? Come on! Give me a break!’

Not to say I don’t find this amusing. I feel a bit like a poor tortured artist who gets messed around with by the muses, and that’s kind of funny. And hey, I’d rather be told to take a break from a story rather than screw it up spectacularly. It’s just this whole ‘new story’ business that’s annoying me. I mean, I already have lots of stories to work on! Part of me wonders if I’ll ever finish anything, or if I’ll just end up with thousands of half-finished novels all over my grave.

Oh well. Does it matter, ultimately? I don’t think it does, but I feel it does, at least to me. I want to be able to finish my novels. And yet, I write so much faster and better when I’m compelled/inspired for a novel. So it’s a balance between ‘writing what’s inspiring’ and ‘getting shit done’.

I think, right now, I’m going to have to wait and see if I get any more dreams on this new story, or if I can at all write anything on it. If I can – that will be the least I’ve ever started a story on. But if I blend it with the other dreams, there might be enough material but gah! So confusing! Such a mess!

Anyways, I will keep y’all posted as I try and write. We shall see what happens! If we’re lucky, there may be a new story hatching!

Stay safe y’all 🙂