Witch Tips-- Unpleasant Truth: Your UPG

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

"UPG", in case you weren't aware, stands for Unverified Personal Gnosis.  It's becoming a more and more normal part of the magical experience, especially where traditions are in short supply.  UPGs can create new beliefs, new practices, and new traditions.  So what is a "personal gnosis"?  In simple terms it means mythology that was revealed from the Gods only to you.  It doesn't reflect or connect with ancient tales of the Gods; it is new information gleaned directly from the source.  UPG is fascinating, enlightening, life-altering.

To you.

Only you think your UPG is amazing.  You were blessed and given insights only known to a few in history.  Like discovering a hand-written book in an old trunk, there's treasure in the discovery itself and dense mystery in every word within.  UPGs can inspire intense creativity, connection, and a feeling of universal adoration.  They can make you a better person, a better practitioner, and certainly a better follower of the God or Goddess who gave it to you.

To everyone else, however, it's just as interesting as you describing last night's dreams.  We'll say "uh-huh" and "wow," but there's nothing in it.  We just don't care.  And that's because no one loves your experiences like you do.  We weren't there, we didn't feel it, and we have nothing to gain from getting excited over it.

Or you may be lousy at relaying the story.

Or we may have had a contradictory UPG that now feels invalid and we have to deal with that.

Or you may be changing something essential about a deity we follow and we're choking back the words "S/He would never do that, you idiot!"

Truth is, the Gods are not static.  Eternal spirits of any kind still grow and change.  I believe that UPGs are a way to help specific followers understand this, but I can't imagine anyone but their original receiver really getting it.  Sharing this kind of information with other practitioners may seem important, even helpful, but that's rarely the case.  Instead, you'll risk feeling like others don't care about you personally (not true...probably), your experience was silly or meaningless, or even that over-exposed feeling we get when someone else has private information about us that make us vulnerable.  You can nonetheless share it if you like, just don't be too shocked if you see nonplussed faces still waiting to hear something important.

Quick Link--Review of The Wicker Man

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Review of The Wicker Man

You know, sometimes I have to take a moment's pause for the many ways that magical thinking and Pagan beliefs have set my opinions at odds with what would be expected.  This review is a fine example of it.

After seeing The Wicker Man for the first time (happily, with no one spoiling the ending for me beforehand), I was puzzled at how it was considered a horror movie.  Sure, the nature of what is considered "horror" has changed since the '70s, just as "heavy metal" means something quite different from when I was a teenager, but I think it goes further than that.   Was anything truly scary going on?  If so, how did I miss it?  Lord Summerisle, to me, was a figure of grandeur (and not just because he was played by the incomparable Christopher Lee) and I would have been a willing pupil to his wisdom.  Willow, in my eyes, is a self-assured young woman enjoying the place of prominence that her youth, cunning, and connection with eternal Goddesses affords her.  Sounds great to me.

Unlike the woman in the review, I don't see anything sexist going on.  Yes, the penis is revered as a generator of life and given prominence but men are not.  Men are no better than women on Summerisle.  Many of the characters who do the truly important things in the story are female.  Willow, easily the most prominent female character, is unattached and doesn't consult with anyone else before acting.

And the suffering of Sgt. Howie?  He's not suffering at all to me, at least no more than anyone else playing out the fate of their lives.  I don't feel bad for him; it's the way things must be.  I also don't think that any of the deception of the people of Summerisle was devious.  There was something at stake which was of greater importance than any one person.  It all makes sense.

I suppose this is what made me also side with the townspeople in Thomas Tryon's "Harvest Home."  This was their whole world and its continuation was essential if anyone or anything was to survive.  The fact that some unpleasantness must ensue was, by ancient Pagan standards, completely reasonable.  There is always death before life and struggle before peace.  This is an essential part of true reverence of the earth.  We must shed the rose-colored glasses that make us see the world as a place of unending happiness and open our eyes to what it really is--a place of potential and possibility.  Sorrow eventually begets joy, pain will give way to pleasure, and death opens the door to life.

Enjoy this darkly comic review and think about which side makes sense to you.

About Me

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at QuillsOccultSupply.Etsy.com) full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 

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