The Birch

The Birch is a short horror film based on a story and creature design by Cliff Wallace. It was adapted for film by writers Ben Franklin and Anthony Melton. The film was created for Crypt Tv. Produced by Ben Franklin, Anthony Melton and Cliff Wallace. Director of photography Johnny Franklin. 

 

The film opens in the forest where a young man is reading a book and making the talisman that is described in the book. You soon find out that the young man is the victim of bullying. His grandmother who has cared for and protected him all of his life is dying. She gives him the book and tells him that “her”  will protect him after she is gone.

 

The man takes the book to the forest to look for “her mark” as instructed by his grandmother. Little did he know that the bully had followed him into the forest. The talisman is his only weapon so he holds it out like a shield. The bully snaps the talisman in half. Suddenly the guardian is there her body made of a birch tree and her arms and head of the twisted and gnarled roots. The creature design is breathtaking and brutal all at the same time. The concept of this guardian is brilliant and left me wanting to know more about her and how she came to be the guardian of this young man.

 

The film had excellent special effects the final scene of the dismembered body was realistic and well done. For a film that was under five minutes I found myself drawn into the story and special effects. I am a horror movie enthusiast and I personally would love to see more of this creature and story line. I would love to know more of the history with the grandmother and the book that brought forth the guardian when he needed her.

 

I urge you to do as I plan to and search for more creature and concepts by Cliff Wallace. I know we will be seeing much more of this man in the future and would not be surprised if someday we didn’t see his name on the big screen. Well done to him and the rest of the crew that worked on this excellent short film. Thank you to Crypt Tv for bringing it to the internet for us to enjoy and learn about these talented individuals.  Follow the link below to sign up for more from Crypt Tv so you don’t miss out on new projects from this team. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Google plus, Twitter, Youtube and Snapchat. 

www.crypttv.com

 

 

 

 

Pagans in the Bible Belt

Exodus 22:18  

18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

That is a verse of scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible. So imagine the lives of open Pagans in the deep South better known as The Bible Belt. As an Eclectic Witch living in Alabama I had to overcome many hurdles put in my path. I am not the only witch in the Bible Belt to face uncertainty because of the religion we choose.

“Some may ask what is the Bible Belt exactly The phrase “Bible Belt” is an informal term for a region in the southeastern and south central United States where socially conservative evangelical Protestantism plays a strong role in both the political spectrum and in society in general. The Bible Belt is in the southeastern quarter of the U.S. running from the New Mexico-Texas border up to Kansas and then northeastward to Missouri all the way to the east coast and includes Kentucky and Tennessee all the way to West Virginia and Virginia and all the way down to Florida.” – Jack Wells, “What is The Bible Belt?”

Predominately a conservative “God Fearing” region it is extremely difficult for Pagans to come out of the broom closet.In the Bible belt Pagans are considered evil because we worship “false Gods”. In the Christian faith there is only one true God. The Christians believe we worship demons.

“Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of The Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both The Lord’s table and the table of demons.” (1 Corinthians 10:19-21 NIV” http://www.keyway.ca/htm2000/20000924.htm

 When you are an open Pagan in the deep south this is the thought process you have to deal with.

I remember one day at work in the ER one of my doctors noticed my pentacle necklace. He immediately stopped and turned to me and asked if I knew what I was wearing. I laughed and told him of course. He immediately wanted to start preaching to me telling me I was going to hell. I was a demon worshipper. I went to the computer printed off some pages from a few of my favorite sites and gave them to him. I told him to educate himself a little then come back to me because I refused to fight with an unarmed person. He never approached the conversation again.

My ex-husband used my religion against me in a custody case for our children multiple times . At one time he actually got a judge to believe I was evil. I lost my kids for nearly 2 years. He later in life told the deacon of my boyfriend’s church I was a devil worshipper, etc. The good deacon didn’t let his shirt touch his back before he told Matthew’s mom. That destroyed any hope of a lasting relationship for us. I don’t understand why but southerners believe any type of Pagan religion is devil worship.

I have talked with some of the local pagans in my area about what if any problems they have had because of their faith.

Robert-Tony Papoi told me I have been open about my Spiritual Path, and except for a couple of people who I have met at my job – One when they meet me stated they went to mental health. I have NOT experienced any problem.
I have been able to gain decent employment, even management positions dealing with millions of dollars of inventory flowing under my control daily.
I honestly think the biggest problem is the mental fear of being bashed as if we are in middle school and Big Boob Betty will not go to the prom with us if we are different.”

He is one of the most fortunate ones I talked with of late.

Brian Meetze had this to tell me. “my son and I have had a very strained relationship all his life (his mother and I divorced while he was still in the womb and I have played immortal hell trying to see and spend time with him as he grew up) in 2010 as he started his adult life and college for the ministries we had decided to try to start a relationship but it was very short-lived. I found out recently that the reason he backed off and broke all contact was because of my involvement with (at that time Satanism, a practice that didn’t even have anything to do with the “Christian Satan”) even as this discovery came to light he still is apprehensive about my pagan walk now but at least he wants to talk and gain a better understanding of what it is about. Not to convert or like that but to better understand. I’m very proud of his attaining his bachelor degree in the ministry and now starting classes on his masters.

The point of this bit of information is that I have lost my son not from our strained relationship but my spiritual belief. Although most will shun you, they will also eventually, come around seeking understanding as to whether or not this is wicked or evil or if it’s just another spiritual way of living that is innocent and good. I refuse to allow my spiritual belief and walk to be dictated by those who simply don’t understand and refuse to be , at very least, open-minded enough to respect and acceptable to my choice of belief just as I am of theirs.”

Lady Amethyst, who requested I use her Magickal name for the protection of her family, told me ” I have kept the bulk of mine private for my children’s sake, but the Goddess continued to push for this group and for the community we are now building …. I find myself trying to walk a fine line between staying in the broom closet and following my heart.” The group she is referring to is a Facebook group she is administrator of. 

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https://witchsweb.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/20120522-190549.jpg

I have my own experiences and opinions as most people do. I have lost a lot of acquaintances who feared me and my faith. The battle we have is that the southern roots are so deeply in Baptist Christianity. Most of us were raised Southern Baptist………at least in Alabama. We either found that faith lacking or such as my case hypocritical. I believe that the Bible has been translated by man so many times that it has lost its true meaning.

Matthew 6:6-8 of the King James Bible says….

“6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” 

The verse above accuses Pagans of being vain and long winded………….LOL. Who has turned on late night television to see the preachers asking for money. According to their very own Bible they shouldn’t be doing this. Our religion was distorted and changed to their holidays. Our people were burned and tortured by their people. THEY CALL US EVIL?

Death and Dying in the Millenial Generation

I have always been told if you open with a joke it makes a sad subject a little easier….

ME 265 GriefMemory.png

Nina Paley cartoonist 

We were all raised in a different walk of life. Some were raised in the Christian faith and some in the Pagan path. Though we all learned our core values from the people who raised us we all share one thing. That thing is that we are human and have human emotions. We deal with life and death according to the faith we have come to believe in at this point of our life. Millennia generation is ranged from 18-33 years old.

Research shows that millenniums were born between 1984 and early 2000s. Millenniums are more civic-minded with a strong sense of community than the generations before them. They are more irreligion than any generation before meaning they are indifferent to religion even hostile to the thought. Studies show approximately 25% of the millenniums  are irreligion.

I raised 4 millennial children and they all deal with life differently. They all follow a different paths in life and their faith is all different in one way or another. The only thing that they all have in common is how they dealt with the death of their grandparents. We all deal with death basically the same way. We may go through the emotions in a different order maybe but they are the same. No matter your religion or irreligion in this case we are all still human with human emotions.

In 1969 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote “On Death And Dying” and introduced the world to the 5 Stages of grief. The first stage is Denial. We protect ourselves by refusing to believe that our loved one is dying. We may stay in this stage for a long time or move through it quickly. No matter our faith we all face the death of someone we love with denial.

Tom-Attig-Grieving-is-a-journey-380x300

Because the Millennial generation is the internet driven generation they are more driven in career and less into relationship. Millenniums  are living at home with parents longer so their core support system is their aging parents. This leaves them spiraling when a parent dies. They can’t understand why the world keeps moving in its normal routines while they are dying inside. They don’t have religious ties to find help so they turn to the internet to find ways to deal with the pain they feel. WWW.Modernloss.com  is one of many new websites popping up to help this generation deal with death.

The second stage of grief is anger. This is where we lash out at our God or Goddess. Some people scream and yell. Many people have a crisis of faith at this time because their anger with their deity. We blame them for the pain of the loss.  I remember the morning I was  told mom was gone. I had stayed at her house late the night before and my roommate came in to wake me.  I picked up a plastic bookcase and threw it across the room. I could not understand why my Goddess would take my parents from me  4 and 1/2 months apart. Anger passed quickly for all but one of my children.

Fifteen years later he is still living with severe anger over their deaths.  He believes that there is no Higher Power because if there was he/she wouldn’t have taken his grandparents. It seems  maybe because of their greater expectations, that millennial generation kids stays in this stage longer or even revert back to it later in life.

grief-quote-4l
Bargaining is the third stage. We plead with our deities asking them to save our loved one offering almost anything if they will. From there we slip into the fourth stage depression. The sadness overwhelms us because of the loss. You may still try to call them and remember they are gone from here. Millennial kids may find this stage hard and may need to seek professional help. Even if they are faith-based they may not find the help they need. Some groups are starting to form all over the United States founded by millenniums for millenniums.  They find more comfort with those of their own generation than they do within their faith.

Fifth, and final , stage is acceptance. We finally come to terms that they are gone. Acceptance doesn’t mean it gets easier, but that we finally realize we can’t change what has happened. This is the stage most millenniums will struggle with because they want to change the future for the better. The loss of a close friend or family member alters millennial generations  future in a way they can’t control.

Whether you are from the Baby Boomer, Gen X or a millennial we all go through the stages of grief. Our faith helps us with dealing with the grief because it gives us comfort. We see our loved one in Heaven, Valhalla, or the Summer Land happy and healthy or being reborn into a new life.  That is acceptance and how it protects us. As Pagans we still feel them, hear them in the wind or the fires. We do not lose our loved ones they are always there with us guiding us from beyond the veil. That in my opinion is the blessing of being an Eclectic Witch. I still can talk to my parents and friends that have crossed over so I never truly lost them.

Kübler-Ross model

Millennials

This youtube video is a Pagan song by Velvet Hammer called “We Do Not Die”