Monday, March 11, 2019

Episode 127: Inciting A Professional Psychic Riot

Episode 127 of Inciting A Riot features an interview with professional psychic, author, and tarot adviser Courtney Weber.

We discuss what it means to be a psychic, charging for services, spotting a fraud, and dealing with stubborn clients. Don't worry, though, we also discuss the expectation for results and repeat clients, scientifically testing psychic claims, being proved wrong, and what it means to be a scrupulous psychic.

This special, unedited edition of Episode 127 also features a mock psychic hotline call. So, Patreon supporters, check your feed. I ask Courtney real questions about my real life and get real answers...just like if I called her phone line. You can judge for yourself how you think it goes. Did she draw only Death cards? Is the Tower looming over my future? Find out!

Find Courtney at:

CourtneyAWeber.com
ThatWitchLife.com
@TheCocoWitch

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!

Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Thoughts on loneliness



I’m 32. I have a great job. My boss likes me. I’ve been with my husband for almost 13 years. I have a blog people read. I have a podcast to which people listen. I have sold art in over a dozen countries. I’ve published a book that people like and that continues to sell regularly - maybe not in large quantities, but it sells. As you look at my life you might think I’m happy, fulfilled. But, like many of you out there, I’m dealing with something that people are only just now starting to discuss: loneliness. 

Some writers have attempted to blame the advent of social media. Others blame increasingly burdensome work schedules - smartphones mean that your office can always be found in your pocket for a late night request from the boss. Some folks blame pocket cultures - several write-ups last year dealt with loneliness in the aging LGBTQ community due to a number of factors. I don’t blame anyone or anything. I’m just...putting this out there to acknowledge it. To name it. 

The problem with getting older and maintaining an active, in-person social circle is...well...it’s due to everything I referenced above. People get busier as they advance in their respective careers, have children, buy homes that take them away from the neighborhood you used to share. You go from being able to share an evening cuppa a few times a week to seeing one another once a quarter if you’re lucky. Meet-ups to wander the aisles of an antique store or try out a new lunch spot or just drink a glass of wine on the back porch turn into text messages longing to do those things that turn into someone you forward memes to on Facebook. It’s sad. It’s a sad thing. It doesn’t feel like the death of a relationship(s) so much as it feels like you stuck your relationship in a food dehydrator and it’s getting really crispy. Slowly.

My problem with loneliness, though, then becomes the spiral of loneliness. If I turn to my friends, they think I’m guilt tripping them because our work schedules haven’t aligned in months to see one another. If I turn to my spouse, he’ll take it as an insult to our relationship. Turning to my parents is hard, because they see it all wrapped up in being gay and moving far from home and everything would be much better if I wised up, met the right girl, and moved back to Texas. I see their point. Well...I see the point of my friends and spouse. They’re there. They want to see me, too. My ideal relationship with my husband isn’t exactly coming home everyday to quietly unwind next to each other on the couch for an hour before it’s time to go to bed. So we don’t talk about it, because everyone realizes it’s happening and acknowledging it feels like an attack. 

And there’s no easy solve here. I have no tips for you. Making a community online only goes so far. It is only so fulfilling. 

But...being an adult in 2019 means it’s hard to add to that in-person social circle. I can’t make friends with my co-workers, because it’s 2019. Social media is mined by your employers on a regular basis to determine whether your Friday night outing meets with their standards of acceptable after hours behavior. Venting on Facebook or posting a picture on Instagram can get you fired if someone from work sees and complains to HR. So...I close myself off. I don’t go out on Friday night for end of week drinks with my co-workers. I don’t go to their parties when asked. I don’t engage in their celebrations or follow them on social media, because I’ve done it before and lost my job or lost out on advancement because of interpersonal relationships or social media. And because we spend a majority of our waking hours at work, it’s hard to meet people. Where do lonely adults go to meet other like-minded lonely adults? The wine aisle?

Every week as the weekend approaches I have these fantasies of what I’m going to do: sleep in on Saturday with my husband. Maybe cook breakfast, catch up on our DVR, and do a few chores around the house. Go to the gym with someone. Meet up with friends for a movie or drinks or take a train to the city for...I dunno...a concert? Walking along the lake? Going to the Green Mill Jazz club for their legendary poetry night? But everyone is busy, and I can never seem to line my schedule up with anyone, and oh my various gods do you have any idea how much laundry I have to do, and the city is far away, and going by myself isn’t any fun, but the person who is free doesn’t want to go do anything because they also had a long week and have their own obligations or spouse or pile of laundry that deserves their time. 

But have you seen this hilarious meme? 

Maybe if we talk about loneliness we’ll begin to break its spell over us. Maybe if we realize how lonely the other adults are we can stop pretending we’ve got our shit together, that it doesn’t bother us. Maybe we’ll all be a bit more willing to plan for one another...to prioritize one another, because texts and email forwards and social media can only fill our cup so much. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Monday, January 7, 2019

Book Review: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren



I’m a millennial gay man. This means I am old enough to remember when Will & Grace was revolutionary. When Brokeback Mountain was a movie that you had to sneak around to go see, and then cross your fingers and pray nobody saw you enter the theater so they wouldn’t ask your family why you were seeing that gay movie. I remember discovering the shelf of LGBTQ literature wayyyyy in the back of Hasting’s next to the books on sex and Wicca - that was, let’s face it, mostly collections of smut stories. I remember discovering gay movie culture. Movies about LGBTQ people, made by and for LGBTQ people. They were tiny, independent films that looked like someone had made them with a shaky personal camcorder purchased that morning from Circuit City and acted with the kind of stilted ability that told you these guys had only barely learned their lines. But they were my stories, and for good or for ill - as queer cinema has grown into some mainstream success - I needed them; I clung to them. So, when I say that I understand what it’s like to hold onto a bad or problematic story...I speak from experience. 

Now, with all that said, I’d like to talk about the absolute disaster that is Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. And, yes, there are spoilers. It’s a review. Get over it.

Autoboyography is the story of a bisexual culturally Jewish teenager named Tanner who - for reasons I’m still not quite clear on after 407 pages - falls in love with closeted gay Mormon publishing wunderkind Sebastian while in a class about writing novels where...you guessed it...Tanner writes about his love story with Sebastian. Wait...you might say...wait! Bisexual AND Jewish AND Gay AND Mormon AND they spend the entirety of the novel...WRITING A BOOK?! Does the book come with its own hashtag and instagram filter, because I STAN! At least, you might say that if you were exactly the audience at which the book is aimed. 

I spent so much of this book thinking that there was something off about the main characters. They didn’t feel as though they were based on humans; they felt like they were based on YA tropes and a passing obsession with an early 00s gay film.

Tanner, the bisexual guy, didn’t feel like an authentically bisexual human being. He felt like those problematic stereotypes about sex-crazed bisexuals that the bisexual community has spent a long time trying to combat became a person that was heavily influenced by a need to check off as many YA tropes as possible. Tanner is, apparently, an incredibly gifted writer that doesn’t believe in himself, but angels almost assuredly sing every time he sits down in front of his keyboard. His bisexuality is addressed in a way that the author(s) - we’ll get to them in a moment - must have patted themselves on the back extensively for doing, as he’s a 17 year old that has “always been out” and known he’s “into guys and girls” most of his adolescence. However, according to the book, he’s had sex with several girls without ever seeming to have developed a romantic connection with any of them. To be crude, he seems to have used women as a place to put his dick until the right guy comes along. 

There is in no more stark and problematic example of this than in the latter part of the novel where the main characters have their breakup - all YA romances must have a breakup moment - and Tanner runs off to have sex with the only female character in the book who isn’t related to either of the main characters: his “best friend” Autumn Summer Green. (If that isn’t the most...I mean...I can’t with this name.) It’s the most problematic sex scene I think I’ve seen in a book since...well...all the problems with consent found in 50 Shades of Gross. Autumn seems to exist to fill the gender-flipped role of “friend who is only hanging on as a friend because they hope you’ll some day realize they’re THE ONE for you”. If Tanner were a girl and Autumn a boy this scene would have readers screaming. 

This scene is exactly the kind of thing that bisexual people have been trying so hard to overcome - that bisexual people cannot control their genitals or their sexual urges and will absolutely sleep with someone else if they feel even the slightest bit sad. The other problematic trope that the book seems to...celebrate?...is the notion that bisexuals use one gender for sex and another for love. This is most commonly is found in the idea that bisexual girls would love to have a threesome with a girl or otherwise have sex with a girl...for her boyfriend/husband’s pleasure or to fill some sexual itch. This notion that you’re sexually open to pretty much anyone with a pulse, but that you can only romantically fall for one gender or the other isn’t the way that most bisexuals I know experience bisexuality, and it certainly isn’t a healthy way to have it portrayed. 

Tanner runs off and has sex with a girl who’d been waiting in the wings for him in an emotional fit, taking her virginity in the process, but then these authors seem to force Autumn to carry the emotional aftermath. She’s completely fine, and, in fact, attempts to make Tanner believe she was the one who wanted it the whole time. Then, when Sebastian finds out, these authors don’t let him process that in any way that resembles authenticity. 

For many gay men the idea of being left by a man for a woman is incredibly painful. It’s a source of a lot of biphobia in the LGBTQ community, with many gay men saying they simply wouldn’t date a bisexual man for this reason. This feeling is wrapped up in internalized homophobia, in pleasing families that would much rather you come home with an opposite sex partner than a same sex one, religious upbringing, and the - wrong - idea that if you could choose to be with a member of the opposite sex, why wouldn’t you? Life would be easier. Sebastian repeatedly inquires about the nature of Tanner’s relationship with Autumn, which makes the subsequent sexual betrayal even more painful to witness. The book makes half-hearted attempts in a smattering of scenes for Tanner to explain to Sebastian that he cannot choose who he falls in love with, but there is nothing in the book other than that bit of dialogue to support Tanner’s appeasement. 

Let’s talk about Sebastian. There once was a movie called Latter Days (2003). This book, and Sebastian explicitly, is exactly the kind of book/character you’d write if you saw Latter Days 50 times and then wrote a fanfic of Latter Days. Latter Days was about a closeted Mormon young man who, after meeting a magical out and proud guy, comes to a poignant realization that he can no longer hide who he is and comes out to his family leading to a suicide attempt and shunning by his family. Honestly, the only reason I think Sebastian doesn’t attempt suicide in the book is so the authors didn’t get sued for intellectual property theft. I don’t quite understand this fetish with closeted gay Mormon men, but it needs to stop being a thing. From Latter Days to Book of Mormon to The Falls...this territory is very, very well tread. Get a new trope. He has nothing resembling an authentic gay coming out experience that wasn’t directly cribbed from independent gay film tropes and then watered down to fit into this incredibly unrealistic YA novel. 

Sebastian is the hottest Mormon that ever wore a white button down and black tie. Sebastian wrote a hit novel in a class called “The Seminar” where super genius students crank out hit novels during their senior year of high school in Mormon Paradise. Sebastian has a lot of muscles and a great jawline, which Tanner would like you to know about. I can’t quite pinpoint what, exactly, about Sebastian is so intriguing to Tanner other than his muscles and jawline, but since they’re copying the plot to Latter Days the writers weren’t terribly concerned with making Sebastian a full human being. And there’s no excuse for this. It’s lazy. It doesn’t get a pass because it falls in the YA category. 

Other YA gay romance novels are somehow able to fully realize their characters, adding depth and pain and triumph to their stories. I’m thinking most specifically of What if it’s us, which was co-authored by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli. While that book didn’t give me the sparkly, Hollywood ending that I craved, it gave me a realistic portrayal of growing up queer. (And, oh look, one of the main characters is also Jewish; the other is Latinx. Somehow they were able to be fully realized beyond their literary tropes and societal stereotypes.) 

The problem comes down to bad writing. Let’s talk about the author, Christina Lauren. Or, rather, authors: Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. Christina and Lauren seem to be Nice White Ladies™️.



Nice White Ladies™️ are defined loosely as:


Are you a member of a marginalized community? Nice White Ladies™️ would love to let you know they are WOKE! They have read all the books, seen all the Netflix documentaries, and shared all those articles on Facebook about women writing letters to gay folks at Christmas that can’t go home to their families. They are here to SUPPORT YOU! Sure, their only personal experience with being gay/black/trans/immigrant/etc. is what they’ve read in their YA novels - that they’re TOTALLY ADDICTED TO - or seen on that latest heartbreaking viral YouTube video or their token coworker, but they feel they’ve got the general gist of what it’s like and they would like to tell you all about it in the next 407 pages. 

Tanner is bisexual and Jewish in a way that accurately reflects the kind of character that two Nice White Ladies™️ would craft after spending a decade ensconced in YA literature and never actually having met anyone who is bisexual or Jewish.  Coincidentally, Tanner is gay and closeted in much the same way you’d expect two Nice White Ladies™️ would craft a character after watching the movie Latter Days a few times and deciding they know what it’s like to be a gay kid in an extremely religious family where being gay might very well mean never speaking to your family again if you come out. These characters are surface level caricatures of plot devices that have long been played out in media of all types. They do nothing new with these tropes and stereotypes, and the few times they do engage with Tanner’s bisexuality or Sebastian’s coming out, it’s problematic. Why? Because it’s not based in lived experience, which is something you can only get by being part of a community. 

I’m not saying authors cannot write about communities or people that they do not belong to themselves, but that doing so must be done after serious research, investigation, and checking in with people in the community you’re writing about over and over and over again. I’m getting pretty tired of straight people being so fascinated with LGBTQ culture that they want to try it on, to be part of it. Love, Simon was great, but of course the male lead with straight, and the book it was based on was also written by a straight woman. Brokeback Mountain? Straight guys in gay roles. Dallas Buyer’s Club? The trans character was played by a cisgender man who won an Oscar and was lauded for his bravery in playing the role. 

There’s a reason Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians and Pose are doing so well and resonating with audiences of all types. It’s because when stories about a community are told by that community and supported with the same funding that would be given to straight, white, cisgender stories, they’re allowed to shine with an authenticity that doesn’t require you to have lived the experience in order to empathize with the experience. I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I remember early independent gay films from the late 90s/early 00s, because in many of those films - especially the ones with larger budgets - some of the actors were straight. Stephen Amell, notably, came from a really weird, but delicious supernatural LGBTQ soap opera style show called Dante’s Cove - his first film credit was actually Queer as Folk. But the community is pretty much done with letting straight people center themselves in our stories. As fun and endearing as those movies and tv shows were, there are layers of authenticity that just cannot be achieved by someone from outside, that hasn’t had to endure the complex series of emotions one must go through while coming out...or discovering that your worst fear of having your bisexual boyfriend have sex with his best girl friend and...maybe he’ll choose a heteronormative life because it’s easier, but I don’t have that option because I’m gay...but I get that bisexuality isn’t a choice...has been realized and then immediately being silenced by your bisexual boyfriend who assures you it wast just a one time thing that’ll never happen again. 

Seriously, Nice White Ladies ™️ need to stop deciding they love our culture so much that they want to try it on or tell our stories. 

Many reviews of this book are glowing. Why? Because in 2019 we still don’t have that much LGBTQ media, especially not media that’s aimed at younger audiences. They crave it the way I craved those silly independent films and TV shows of my latter teen years. I know the feeling. But, as an adult millennial gay I can tell you that upon reflection it is much better to have stories for us be created by us. This book is a problematic prime example of why. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Friday, January 4, 2019

Unexpectedly Witchy Programming

When people talk about representations of magic, “witchcraft”, Paganism, etc in media, they typically mean shows like Charmed or Sabrina or The Vampire Diaries. While those shows surely have bits of inspiring dialogue or flashy effects that might speak to us about the fun side of the craft, they don’t speak - to me - of an authentic reflection of my spirituality. Instead, when asked to name media that is both inspiring and authentic, I name shows you would probably laugh about. The below is a very likely incomplete list of the lesser known or unsuspectingly charming (get it?) shows I’ve come to love in recent months. 




The Good Witch - a Hallmark channel drama - has always been a stalwart of how I view the practice of magic. I’ve raved about this show for years. Cassie, the main character, is undoubtedly a witch, but her magic is more likely to resemble the kind you perform. You might carry a stone with you to ease tensions at work or school. You could cook up a dish to inspire confidence. The show sees her and her cousin perform summonings, break curses, move karma along, and overall live the kind of magical life that feels as close to an accurate depiction of everyday spellcraft as I can find in film or television. It’s Hallmark, so there’s plenty of cheese and easily resolved plotlines. Nobody is ever in grave danger - well, usually - and it exudes cisgender, heterosexual, wealthy white privilege. But, for what it is, it’s pretty great. 




Hilda is an animated show for kids and adults alike that premiered on Netflix in 2018. It is based on the hit graphic novels series by Luke Pearson, and it features a little girl named Hilda who promptly sets about teaching you and your child that the world is filled with spirits. While this is still a fantastical setting, it relies heavily on an exploration of Scandinavian folklore. So, if you’re a bit tired of the same retreading of Zeus’ sexual exploits or Thor’s giant...hammer, you’ll be delighted by this show. If you’re like me, you’ll keep the Wikipedia app on your phone while watching so you can look up all the various and wonderful beings Hilda and her friends encounter. 




On Amazon Prime there’s another kid’s program that I’ve become obsessed with called Just Add Magic. It is also based on a book by Cindy Callaghan. This show doesn’t have much in the way of flashy magic - though in some later episodes you’ll see time travel, magic gardens, and some other sparkly bits of CGI, but these are pretty tame and not part of the majority of episodes. It honestly inspired me to dig out my copy of Supermarket Magic by Michael Furie and get back to intentionally witchy cooking. The girls find a magic spellbook in the first episode that was once possessed by the main character’s grandmother. They use the recipes to do everything from finding lost pets to improving memory. I like it because the magic is a bit unpredictable. It takes work, doesn’t solve all your problems, and usually ends up just facilitating your mundane actions. (If you want a job, you’re not going to make Job Jell-O and have a job fall in your lap. You still need to go out and apply for jobs. You just might be more likely to get an offer quickly.)




The most recent addition to my OMG THAT IS SO MY KIND OF PAGANISM list of shows premiered 4 days ago on Netflix. It’s called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. HEAR ME OUT! It’s a show where a nice little Japanese lady comes into your home and teaches you how to keep your home neat and organized. (I SWEAR IT IS PAGAN-ISH...keep reading...stop rolling your eyes. ...put that tongue back in your mouth, too.) Kondo spent 5 years as an attendant maiden at a Shinto shrine, and the religion’s animism is apparent throughout the show. Before Kondo begins, she greets your home, and teaches everyone she meets how to appreciate the spirit and effort immanent in all the things in your life. If the events of this show are not an example of magic in action I cannot think of a show that is. Her clients discuss how the energy in their homes and personal spaces changes as they move through her method of tidying, which includes giving a heartfelt blessing to any items being discarded and a focus on keeping that which gives you joy. There are no flashy before and after photos. This is not a makeover show. There is no furniture budget or professional stagers. There is no judgement about what “tidy” looks like from one family to the next; it is simply a focus on joy and elevating energy. (It’s also incredibly inspiring if you’re like me and feel like decluttering and organizing your life is one of the most anxiety-inducing things you can do. It’s daunting.)


What are some unexpected sources of witchy or Pagan inspiration you’ve found in film or tv in the last year?


Love and Lyte, 


Fire Lyte

Monday, November 19, 2018

Episode 126: Inciting A Bad Tarot Riot







Episode 126 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast is an interview with Matt Harris, whose hilarious memes about Tarot you’ve probably seen bouncing around social media over the last few months. We talk tarot, gatekeeping culture, and we spend a little time comparing decks. (Come on...I’m allowed one dirty tarot pun.)

For more of Matt, you can find him @BadTarotReader on Instagram or BadTarotReader.com.

Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!


Love and Lyte,


Fire Lyte


Blog: IncitingARiot.com

FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com

@IncitingARiot on Twitter

Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast

Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Episode 125: Inciting A Hallowed Riot (2018)



Blessed Samhain, Rioters! 

Music

Noe Venable - Feral
Cool to be a Witch - Alexian
The Dead South - In hell I’ll be in good company 
Melanie Martinez- Milk & Cookies
The High Price of Necromancy- Split Lip Rayfield
Shores of Avalon - Tina Malia
The Witch Song - Julie Felix
A Little Wicked - Valerie Broussard
Bartholomew - The Silent Comedy

Poems

The Moss of His Skin - Anne Sexton
Her Kind - Anne Sexton

Spells

To Be Rid of Anger - Valerie Worth - Crone’s Book of Magical Words
Water Divination - Gillian Kemp - The Good Spell Book

Knots of Chaos - Dorothy Morrison - Utterly Wicked

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Monday, October 22, 2018

Episode 124: Inciting Sarah Lawless' #MeToo Riot



Episode 124 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast is a candid interview with Sarah Lawless, whose recent series of blogs and social media postings have brought the #MeToo conversation to the forefront of Pagan conversation. 

For legal reasons, we will not be discussing the details of Sarah's allegations, nor any specific occurrence mentioned therein. Rather, we will be focusing on the discussion of sexual assault, abuse, and impropriety in and around Pagan community spaces. 

Also, I would be remiss if I did not give a TRIGGER WARNING. This conversation is frank, honest, and blunt about Sarah's experience. If sexual assault, emotional abuse, abuse of power by leaders, or other related areas are triggers for you, you may want to skip this episode or put a support system in place for when and how you listen to it. 

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, abuse, or other related trauma, there are resources to help. 

The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673)
Sexual Abuse Resources

Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!

Subscribe on iTunes 


https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/inciting-a-riot/id337689333?mt=2


Or Google Play


https://playmusic.app.goo.gl/?ibi=com.google.PlayMusic&isi=691797987&ius=googleplaymusic&apn=com.google.android.music&link=https://play.google.com/music/m/Ioklloy5zwmyha7j72qxnyoj3gy?t%3DInciting_A_Riot%26pcampaignid%3DMKT-na-all-co-pr-mu-pod-16


Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast
Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Episode 123: Inciting Mickie Mueller's Riot

Episode 123 of Inciting A Riot: the Podcast is a discussion with author, illustrator, and Pagan artisan Mickie Mueller. We celebrate the release of her latest book, Llewellyn's Little Book of Halloween, and talk about how to make your Samhain extra witchy. 


Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Blog: IncitingARiot.com
FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com
@IncitingARiot on Twitter
Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast

Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Episode 122: Inciting A Problematic Pagan Riot



Episode 122 of Inciting a Riot: the Podcast finds us discussing some of the recent expressions of problematic behavior in the Pagan community. Also, there are two interviews from Chicago's Pagan Pride. 

A trigger warning: the latter part of the show has a discussion of sexual misconduct inside the community. While it is by no means graphic, the topic is discussed. 

Support Pagan media! Consider giving a small donation to Patreon.com/IncitingProjects! You’ll get cool rewards like unedited video and audio podcasts from Inciting A Riot and Inciting A BrewHaHa, as well as bonus extras not published anywhere else, plus deals and coupons! Patrons are charged on a per-creation basis, so you only pay for the content you want!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Blog: IncitingARiot.com

FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com

@IncitingARiot on Twitter

Facebook.com/IncitingARiotPodcast

Subscribe/Rate/Comment on iTunes: http://bit.ly/iTunesRiot

Monday, October 1, 2018

In Support of Sarah Lawless

Over the weekend Sarah Lawless came forward with what can be described as a bombshell blog post in which she recounts her personal #MeToo history inside the Pagan community. It is harrowing, frank, and brave. In the blog she chose to withhold the names of those she accused for fear of her family’s safety and retribution from the community at large. In a follow up post to her multiple social media accounts, however, she has named names. 

Those of us that have been in and around Pagan podcasting for the last decade had already pieced together what she later confirmed: Mojo, cohost of the Wigglian Way Pagan Podcast, is the one she refers to as “the rapist” in her blog. 

I was shocked, hurt, angry, and sad when this news first came out. I became a Pagan podcaster in no small part due to the inspiration of Mojo and Sparrow. Even as of my last episode of Inciting A Brewhaha I cited them as an influence and a powerful force in our community. It does not give me joy to report this news. At times over my near-decade of Pagan podcasting, I have called the cohosts of the Wigglian Way teachers, mentors, peers, and friends. 

There’s a phrase that came out in the midst of the AIDs crisis from ACT UP in the late 1980s: Silence = Death. It is a message to everyone that if we don’t talk about problems, if those with a voice and platform remain silent, then it only leads to more pain and hurt and an ever-increasing body count of victims. I believe firmly that it is my responsibility to publicly come out in support of victims everywhere speaking their truth, and to let them know they will be validated, believed, and their abusers will be held accountable. 

Sarah, I cannot offer you justice, but I can offer you solidarity. Let there be no uncertainty. I condemn the actions of your abusers and others like them in our community and beyond. I believe you, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because - it should be reminded -  victims are statistically telling the truth by an overwhelming margin.

To everyone else in the Pagan community, there are a number of problems that our small but mighty community has let go for far too long. In the last couple of years I am relieved to see that we are finally addressing them. As Pagans we tend to believe that the problems of society at large do not exist for us, that by dint of simply not being Christians we have eschewed the problems of the macro culture. But whether it’s racism in Nordic reconstructionism, or transphobia in “women only” circles, pedophilia and child porn, or sexual misconduct at festivals and beyond, our community needs to recognize that we are not a magical microcosm that are free of the ills of society because we believe in magic. 

I began this blog in January of 2009. For almost 10 years, Inciting A Riot has been known for being blunt, provocative, loud, and full of hubris. The one thing I have always strived for, however, is to speak out against dishonesty, injustice, and the marginalizing of those that society is not built to serve. I hope that other Pagan voices will show their support publicly for Sarah and others like her at this crucial time. We cannot afford to be silent. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Rise of #HimToo in the #MeToo era

There’s a new movement that’s gaining ground online that will soon be coming to your social media feed if it hasn’t already. It’s called #HimToo, and it’s a reactionary hashtag seeking to undercut the momentum of the #MeToo movement. If you were a fan of the #AllLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter hashtags, thought that “both sides” were to blame for Nazis marching in Charlottesville, or generally think that black people should stop complaining when white officers barge into their home without reason or cause and kill them out of... “drunken confusion”... this is probably your new favorite thing. 

Here’s one of the memes being shared across all social media platforms:



Supporters of the #HimToo movement are pushing back against the notion that women are to be believed when they come forward with allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct. They think...well...let me let them tell you in their own words:



In short, these people think that women who come forward are lying. En masse. The logic is, of course, that women are coming forward to ruin the lives of men. I believe Simcha Fisher said it best:



I want to address this notion that women are vindictive bitches that are simply seeking revenge because of grudges or perceived slights or whatever some troll has drummed up as just cause for invalidating their voice. (Seriously, search the hashtag. It’s nothing less than deplorable the kind of things this movement’s supporters are saying.) Numbers don’t lie. People do, but numbers don’t. Numerous studies have been conducted in an attempt to determine how many allegations of sexual assault are false. You may have seen some numbers such as 2% or 10% floating around. Those don’t seem to be supported by modern studies. The number is somewhere in the middle. Somewhere between just over 4% and 5% of allegations of sexual assault - rape, specifically - are believed to be false

These studies have their own downfalls. One study in 2017 doesn’t include cases of disputed consent, where one person says yes and the other says no so the compromise was that the yes person got their way. Studies that find larger numbers tend to include things such as intoxication, delayed reporting, victim retracted their statement, or they could find no evidence of bodily harm. The most important number amongst these, however, is that of those cases where the allegation is false (remember, that number is something like 5% of the whole), only 3% of those cases were done for malicious reasons - ie they wanted to do harm to the person’s life by bringing forward a terrible allegation according to a long term study by the Ministry of Justice in the UK.

Some quick math for you. If we have 100 cases of sexual assault and 5 of them are not true, that means that 95 of them were. Also, of the 5 allegations that aren’t true, 0.15 of them were brought forward for malicious reasons. Less than 1% of allegations of sexual assault are brought forward for malicious reasons. Or, to translate it into internet troll lingo, 0.15 of all accusers are “lying bitches”. 




This says nothing, of course, for the fact that many of these crimes go unreported. It says nothing for the fact that 1 in 6 women are survivors of sexual assault. That the average age of victims starts at 12. That these statistics compound if you’re a trans woman, especially a trans woman of color. The numbers for sexual assault are enough to make you cringe. 

But not everything is sexual assault. Not all acts being brought to light in the #MeToo era are forced intercourse. Brett Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, isn’t alleging that she was raped. She was assaulted and held down, but not raped. Anita Hill did’t come forward to say that Clarence Thomas raped her. She brought to light the serious issue of workplace sexual harassment, an issue that 81% of women say they experience.

The #MeToo movement is about empowering victims - not just women - of harassment, abuse, and assault to come forward with the understanding that their allegations will, for the first time in modern memory, be given legitimate belief, empathy, and that their abuser will be brought to justice. This is true for all levels of income, renown, and political leaning. Sure, proponents of “men’s rights” or #HimToo may try and point to cases where false allegations were made. We must recognize that they exist. We must accept that as fact. But, there is at least a 95% chance that the person coming forward is pointing to the correct person and that the abuse or assault actually happened. And, if it’s not true, there is less than a 1% chance that the allegation was a malicious lie. Those are good odds for belief. 

Accusers have nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming forward. The Patriarchy doesn’t crumble over night. Cisgender, heterosexual, Christian, wealthy white men are still the ones that hold the wealth and power and given the benefit of the doubt in all cases. They are disproportionately responsible for the majority of crimes, but they disproportionately serve less jail or prison time for those crimes than their minority counterparts according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. 

And, as a cisgender, middle class, white man myself, may I say something to the #HimToo movement.

You say that “no man is safe.” I don’t want to feel safe. I don’t need to feel safe. I shouldn’t feel safe. Nobody is owed wealth or status or fame or a seat on the Supreme Court. Nobody should feel safe and secure that their crimes will go unanswered and that they are above the law by dint of being a man. Men should not be seeking safety, because women and minorities in this country and around the world by and large haven’t ever felt safe. If a person loses their job because they committed a crime, that is not the victim’s fault. Likewise, it is not the victim’s fault if they have a problem seeking employment in the future 

Growing up gay in the south meant that I was constantly terrified, and going back to visit as an adult leaves me on edge the entire time. After I was bashed, I stopped going out to gay clubs - and I rarely went out alone at night to unfamiliar locations - because my attackers were waiting outside to play capture the fag. Nobody seeks to be victimized, and victims are rarely believed and even less often see justice. 

The #HimToo movement is cowardice. It is seeking to silence the over 99% of victims who come forward with good faith allegations of harassment, abuse, and assault. And, sadly, it’s growing online and is being echoed in press conferences as of yesterday by the President of the United States. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Monday, September 24, 2018

Bad Pagan Confession: I didn’t celebrate Mabon



You know how you have friends of circumstance? You worked together at that one shitty job, but being around each other made it all worthwhile. You had the same 3 classes one semester in Sophomore year of college.They lived in your apartment complex and did their laundry on the same day as you. And, for a while, you felt like you’d known them forever and that you were going to know them forever. Then the unthinkable happened. 

You got a less shitty job. You declared a major and took different classes. You moved. 

Thanks to social media we can now keep up with one another, but it’s never truly the same. You go from making time to meet up with one another, to telling each other on Facebook that you need to make time to meet up with one another, to feeling bad that you don’t make time for them, to texting Happy Birthday and liking each other’s Instagram posts, to no longer feeling bad that you don’t make time for them, to almost forgetting that they exist until TimeHop reminds you of those good good times you had 12 years ago. 

That’s how I feel with the sabbats. 

There are spokes on the Wheel of the Year that come and go and I simply have stopped feeling bad if I miss them. I want to feel bad. I want to go on a guilt trip that I didn’t at least make a modicum of effort. 

Sure I didn’t do a ritual per se, but I bought a nice loaf of bread from a baker and left some out for the spirits - one might say if they were me 5 years ago. 



When I was growing up in all the various closets I grew up in while gestating in the belly of my small east Texas town, I told myself that when I finally moved away I’d be all these things. I’d never miss a ritual. In fact, I’d have a room dedicated to my Pagan practice. I’d have special tools and grow a garden separate from my daily eating vegetable garden that I was definitely also going to grow. It would have mandrake and mugwort and white sage and some...nightshades...or something. I didn’t even really know what any of those looked like, but I knew I was going to have them.

Whatever god that listened to those dreams must have laughed and laughed and laughed, because, instead, I got a busy life and a slowly dying relationship with the sabbats aided by halfhearted posts on social media wishing everyone else who’s also skipping the holiday a VERY BLESSED ONE! 

On the flip side, I have the entire week off work for Samhain, and my circle is getting together for our annual festivities that includes a big ol’ sleepover at my ranch. I’ve been planning menus and decorations for a while, and I’ll spend most of October prepping for it. I have a Yule log and always enjoy the extra witchy not-quite-Christmas gathering with my friends. I still paint my eggs with wishes and bury them at Ostara. So I tend to forgive myself for the holidays that I simply do not remotely care if I miss. 

I was listening to the latest episode of New World Witchery where Cory interviewed Paige of The Fat Feminist Witch (great episode...go download). In it they talk about the resurgence of the witchy aesthetic on places like Instagram and Tumblr. People glom on to accounts that make it look as though the person is living in a slightly sideways reality from the rest of us, off in a mystical cabin in the mountains surrounded by bones and spirits and writing in a grimoire that would make any Owens woman quake with jealousy. Those accounts are pretty, and they provide some nice wallpaper for my phone from time to time, but they aren’t real. Just like a good gym selfie, the witchy aesthetic posts are carefully staged and edited and photoshopped in order to achieve that otherworldly feel. 

They’re not real. Real is busy. Real is obligated. Real is rushed. Real is complicated. Real is running so many errands on your one day off in weeks that you get to 8pm in the evening and flop on the couch ready to watch Will & Grace reruns and eat some garbage food out of a bag and pick up your phone to scroll through social media and then think “well shit...it’s Mabon.” 

Ok...I did make one thing. This was a banana nut bundt cake I made just because.

If you, like me, also missed Mabon and have zero shame...come sit by me. We’ll half heartedly text each other “BLESSED SABBAT” and then clink spoons and share a pint of ice cream. It’s one of those new kinds with all the same and guilt trips removed. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Monday, September 10, 2018

#WitchKitChallenge



Recently, witch kits have seen a revival (err.. revile?...pardon the pun) in and out of the Pagan community. In a recent blog, and through many discussions with you all on social media, I’ve heard that many of you don’t necessarily mind the idea of an all in one kit. But not every kit has what you want, and even if it has all the “stuff” it might not look like something you’d want to prominently display. And, even if all that is true, it still might not be something you can afford or access. Thus, I am giving birth to a new project I like to call the...

#WitchKitChallenge

The goal of the challenge is to take a budget that more or less most people can afford - if not all at once, realistically over a short period of time - and shop only at stores that most people can access to see if you can build a solid “kit” of everything the starter Pagan might want/need to get their witching off right. 

The rules

  • Budget - no more than $50 pre-tax
  • Must get everything on the list, or have a reasonable substitution that makes sense for your practice (but you cannot get fewer items...no saying 1 item does 3 things)
  • You can only shop at 1 of the approved chain stores, or a similar chain establishment that most people have access to (you cannot go to, say, 3 different chain stores to get everything)
  • You don’t have to purchase everything, but you need to record the pre-tax prices for all items and take a picture or video of your “kit”. 
  • No seasonal items! For this challenge, you must resist the urge to go spelunking in the Halloween decor. 
  • Post it to social media using the hashtag #WitchKitChallenge
  • Challenge 3 people to do the same

The List

  • 4 Elemental Representations
  • 1+ Representations of Spirit/Deity
  • 1 Knife or Carving Implement
  • 1 Offering Dish
  • 1 Blank Book
  • Something to do (this piece is open ended to allow for variety... You could choose a divinatory tool such as a scrying mirror, some dice, a deck of cards. The choice is yours, but it should be something you can do magically at your witchy workspace.)
  • Bonus Points if you can also squeeze in a place to put your kit - a shelf or cabinet or something - but it’s by no means required (and would be quite difficult at most of the stores on the list, but you get bragging rights if you can fit it in)

The Stores

Remember, each “kit” can only be comprised of items from one of these stores. No combining items from different stores.
  • WalMart
  • Target
  • Goodwill
  • Dollar Tree
  • Dollar General
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s 
  • HomeGoods
  • Ross
  • Michael’s
  • TJ Maxx

My First Challenge



For my first challenge, I went to Target. Because...of course I did. I saw my first $20 eaten up pretty quickly with a beautiful metal charger and a complimentary blank book. But, like...they were really pretty and I became convinced my kit would simply be incomplete without both of them. 

My items were:
  • Blue drinking glass for Water - $3.99
  • Metal charger/offering plate - $9.99
  • Playing cards for divination - $2.99
  • 2 taper candlesticks - $1.99/ea
  • Paring knife - $3.99
  • 2 Taper candles (black) for spirit - $3.99
  • Blank book - $9.99
  • Salt for earth - $2.09
  • Dish for salt - $1.99
  • Bubble wand for air - $.98
  • White candle for fire - $4.19
  • Total pre-tax cost of my kit - $48.17
(Oops! Here’s the candle...)


I wanted a few “nicer” things like Himalayan pink salt, but that was $6, and have I mentioned how much I wanted that charger in my kit instead? I had also originally selected a much nicer knife, but that was $7.99...and I was already at the limit. 

Some limitations were trying to find a suitable representation of air. I also wanted an actual living plant as my earth element, but this Target didn’t have anything like a succulent or air plant or something beyond the fake, plastic potted decor. I fully realize that if I’d chosen a cheaper book I’d have had room for nicer things, possibly even a shelf, but I found something I liked...and that’s kind of the point of the challenge. To surprise yourself. 

I plan on repeating the challenge at some of the other stores in the coming weeks. It’ll be interesting 

The Gauntlet

I challenge Velma Nightshade, Cory Hutcheson, and Chris Orapello! 

And, of course, if anyone else wants to play along, feel free to post your photos using the hashtag #WitchKitChallenge! I’ll be reposting all of the ones I can see. (So make your posts public! Or, better yet, tag me!)

tl;dr 

Here’s a video:



Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Sephora’s Witch Kit and Pagan Gatekeeping

I remember when my Paganism took the form of a single, small shelf facing the back wall on the floor of Waldenbooks in the mall and a deck of playing cards. I remember when my Paganism looked like hearing Piper on Charmed use the word “sabbat” instead of “holiday”. I remember when my Paganism was falling in love with Hogwarts and Narnia and Greek mythology. I remember when my Paganism was a generic, playing card size deck of tarot cards I bought from a store that mostly rented movies and sold used CDs, and a  book by a guy named Scott Cunningham borrowed from the girl I sat next to in band. And, for some kid in 2018, their Paganism might just begin at Sephora.

If you’re a Witch or a Pagan or any other such magical person, and you have access to social media, you will have undoubtedly seen the absolute tizzy our online community has worked itself into over this:


What’s in the box?


It’s called “Starter Witch Kit”, and it’s made by a fragrance company called Pinrose and will be sold at makeup giant Sephora in the coming days. It retails for $42. It has 9 different fragrances, a tarot deck, a bundle of white sage, and a tumbled rose quartz. As “witch kits” go, it’s not the worst I’ve seen. It’s a little less “Wicca Flavored Witchcraft” and more “I Like to Look at Pictures of Burning Man on Instagram”. The character...let’s assume she’s the High Priestess?...on the Tarot deck appears to be a big fan of Prince (we all caught that that is definitely his unpronounceable symbol, right?). It’s pastel, which is apparently enough for Pagans around the interwebs to write it off as puerile. 

But let’s look at it for what it is. From the blogs and podcasts I’ve listened to over the years, I’ve been led to believe that practically any tarot deck will work with the right training and intuition. I remember once that someone recommended cutting out labels for cleaning products and using them as oracle cards - Joy, Gain, and Tide all seem pretty evocative. So...the New Age festival goer on the deck doesn’t bother me. There are nine fragrances that correspond with desired effects. I am appearing at Chicago Pagan Pride this upcoming Sunday, and, unless this year is wildly different from every other year, I fully expect to see scents and oils that make the same claim from at least a dozen different booths. Go to Etsy and witches around the world sell balms and ointments and soaps and perfumes and oils and all sorts of other smell good stuff that all claim to have magical properties. The tumbled stone and white sage? I have those. You have those. We all have those. 

So what are we mad about? 

That it’s being sold at a makeup store? That it’s pink? That nobody asked you if you specifically wanted this? That it’s a cheap imitation of what “Real Witchraft” is? That last bit seems to be the consensus

OMGs It’s Fake & Plastic & a Kit


I’m also old enough to know that this isn’t the first witch kit. In fact, many - M A N Y - of the people decrying this kit from Sephora have a very soft spot for this:



This is (err...was) the Teen Witch Kit created by pagan author Silver Ravenwolf and sold by Llewellyn publishers. You can still buy one on Amazon for ... around $42. It has the following product description:


It had some plastic/pewter coin looking things - I’m still not really sure what those were - a teeny little bell that looked like it came from a cat collar, a polyester shoe string “cord”, and you can even use the cardboard box for an altar! Sure, the whole exterior wasn’t pastel, but the title was pink, and it prominently features the Wiccan Power Rangers:


AKA the super edgy Wiccan teens from the last time we tried to market witchcraft to teenagers. 

Seriously, search the term “witch kit” in almost any area of the internet where you can buy things. Here’s a quick selection from Etsy.

Witch kits are not new. It’s not new to sell them at big box retailers, especially during Halloween season. Similar items have been sold over the years at Barnes & Noble, Target, and more. Upscale retailers in the last year have been seen selling crystal kits and other New Age/magical paraphernalia. Stop acting like this is new. 

Basic White Girl Sage




I’ve seen arguments that the Sephora kit is promoting the over harvesting of white sage in order to satiate white girls’ desire to be rid of bad vibes while sipping pumpkin spice lattes and binging reruns of Gilmore Girls in between sets at Coachella. (Otherwise known on the Pagan interwebs as the “ugh...basic white girls” argument...by the same crowd that revere Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed as holy, sacrosanct, liturgical television viewing.) There is this argument running around Pagan internet circles that white sage - salvia apiana - is endangered. That we’ve overharvested it to the point of extinction. That Native Americans don’t have enough. If this is true, it is news to the governmental agencies that track things like whether plant species are “threatened” or “endangered”. It isn’t categorized as such by the USDA or by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. I’m not saying it isn’t happening, but I’m saying that I cannot find supporting evidence for its occurrence. 

However, there is a good argument that this highlights cultural appropriation of Native American spiritual practices. White sage has become a pretty integral part of most Pagans’ practice - mine included - while ignoring the history and culture behind its use. It is a good reminder that modern Pagans tend to select bits and pieces of other, older cultures and shove them together on the same altar. This can be both a beautiful example of the belief that many have that all the gods are merely different faces of the divine, and a shocking example of privilege. 

We should embrace opportunities to seek out other ways of performing spiritual cleansing. And, should we use a method found from a culture, especially a living culture, we should do more than lip service to honor the people who have kept the method alive and the culture from which the practice comes. It might also do us some good to ask, Should I really be using this? 

I’m a white guy. Using a spiritual remedy from Native American culture is an example of white privilege. I can claim that lots of other people do it. I can claim I mean no harm. I can claim that I use it alongside other methods of cleansing such as salt and blessed water and incense and certain woods and all sorts of other things. And...I suppose I do all those things. But, it doesn’t mean that I should get to absolve myself of at the bare minimum understanding where the practice of burning white sage came from and honoring its history. Or, perhaps better yet, find other methods that I can enjoy. The history of white people taking from indigenous people and making excuses for why they should get to is long, bloody, and real. 

All that said, the witch kit sold at Sephora is not the progenitor of this issue, nor should it be a whipping boy for this particular argument. The wider Pagan community, and the even wider...everyone else, are guilty of the same appropriation. Whole Foods has been selling white sage for years, and you’d practically have to actively avoid it at any shop selling wellness products. 

But this is OUR thing

This is the crux of the issue, isn’t it?

Pagans, witches, Wiccans, Reconstructionists of all types, and magical people here, there, and yonder absolutely despise the idea of this thing that we do becoming mainstream or welcoming in people that don’t fit with our collective idea of What Makes a Witch. This is gatekeeping at its finest. I have been sent the story about the Sephora Witch Kit a dozen times a day at least every single day since this story broke from people expecting me to be outraged about all the “blonde Becky’s” that will think they’re doing witchcraft.

I’m not outraged. I’m not upset. I’m not flummoxed. I’m not even miffed. I’m glad there’s magic being practiced out in the world, and I don’t really care very much if it looks like the magic that I practice. I’m quite positive that if you were to look at the altars and humdrum witchy practices of a host of different Pagans, you’d get a host of different ways of practicing magic and worshipping the gods of old. 

There are people I greatly respect that spend their time dissolving roadkill in various chemicals in order to harvest the bones for their ritual use. There are people I greatly respect that knit spells into gifts for their loved ones using wool they sourced and dyed themselves. There are people I greatly respect that keep a poisoners garden filled with herbs and plants whose usage has been carefully researched and honed with years of practice. There are people I greatly respect who work with ancestors and spirits and keep items from their beloved dead in a prominent place of importance in their home or on their person. 

There are people I greatly respect that never miss a full moon, that put out amazing spreads for every holy day, and have handwritten books of shadows that would make the grimoire from Practical Magic look like a bargain bin Halloween prop. 

There are also people I greatly respect whose Paganism looks like blessing their mint tea with healing energy before giving it to their child. There are also people I greatly respect whose Paganism looks like a small jar of tumbled stones and a drawer full of shirts they wear every October. There are also people I greatly respect whose witchcraft looks like less than half a dozen rituals throughout the year and cursing your iPhone as you scroll through Facebook and realize that you missed Mabon...again. There are also people I greatly respect whose spells look like dancing or scented candles or wearing specific colors or keeping a dream journal. 

Some of my very favorite books of spells came from Target. They weren’t exclusive to Target, but that’s where I found them. As a teenager. Who, coincidentally, worked for Target in the early 2000s when Charmed and Sabrina were our witches on TV. Fast forward to 2018 and Charmed and Sabrina are...still witches on TV. Along with a host of other witches. 

I’ll be honest, the hypocrisy of the Pagan community makes me laugh. A lot. Actual, real, genuine belly laughs. We are perfectly ok incorporating Disney magic into our practice as well as other pop culture figures and spells. We share memes that say that the best way of dealing with an unruly spirit is to tell it to Get the fuck out of the house, Arthur. We laugh. We nod in agreement. We hit share. We all have fond memories of discovering witchcraft for the first time in a bookstore or a tv show or a textbook or a friend and realizing...magic is real and I can do it?!

But we do not extend the same courtesy to the new, especially to the new that doesn’t look like the old. 

I’ll say it loud for the people in the back:

THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO BE A WITCH.

And the people feeling very superior about the fact that their witchcraft wasn’t bough at Sephora need a reality check. So what if it’s a fashion statement? Tess Whitehurst wrote a whole book about magical fashion statements. So what if a girl named “Becky” picks it up? Rebecca Nurse was a real life woman killed in Salem as a witch. Plenty of Becky’s and Rebecca’s and all other iterations of that name have been and continue to be witches. Who cares if they’re blonde? I’m blonde. Samantha on Bewitched was blonde. 

Buy Local


One last thing. There’s the argument that buying these witch kits is somehow taking away from business that could be going towards local pagan owned businesses. None of you folks that are complaining about that honestly think that the people that will pick up this witch kit are buying it in lieu of buying a kit from “real witches” at real Pagan shop, do you? Was your first contact with witchcraft at a Pagan shop? Or was it the New Age section of Barnes & Noble. Maybe next Halloween, the boys and girls who picked up this kit will be knocking down their local Pagan shop to dig a little deeper. Or maybe not. But come on... Be realistic. 

And buying an item from your local witchy shop doesn’t necessarily mean you’re contributing to some local, Pagan artisan’s tireless efforts to sell their handcrafted Pagan goodies. The majority of metaphysical shops sell statuary from Sacred Source, herbs from Azure Green, Books from Llewellyn and Weiser, and a very small number of other suppliers that deal in major international wholesaling of the spiritual. You could very likely buy what you need to buy online, which, for many, is a handy option as they don’t live near a witchy store...or at least one worth their blessing salt. 

Pagan Enough


I think it’s time to revive Project Pagan Enough. 

I think it’s time we declare who we are, what we believe, how we found our path, and, sure, where we get our witchy stuff from. 

I’ll start. 

I’m Fire Lyte. I’ve been on the path for over half my life. My altar came from Pier 1. My current Book of Shadows came from Lapulia studios. My previous Book of Shadows was a three ring binder I covered in fabric. My first was a little $5 journal I bought at my school’s book fair. My stones came from rock shows, the side of the road, witchy shops, a museum, and friends from around the world. I take inspiration from pop culture, mythology, traditional practices, podcasts, and blogs. Books on my witchy shelf are everything from Pagan owned and published instructionals to various encyclopedias on mythology to poetry to historical collections of folklore. I’m good to remember 8 holidays a year, because I might be lucky if I celebrate 3. My full moon rituals might, at best, be raising a glass of wine at the end of the day to the moon and taking half a second to thank the gods that I still breathe. I don’t for a second take myself or my practice too seriously. 

And, I’m Pagan enough. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Episode 121: Inciting The Lost Queen's Riot (with Signe Pike)



Signe Pike returns to Inciting A Riot to talk about her upcoming debut novel The Lost Queen, on sale September 4, 2018 from Touchstone Books. 

Signe discusses what she's been up to in the 8 years since publishing Faery Tale and how she brought the as-yet-untold story of a queen lost to time to life. If you enjoy being swept up in historical fantasies like Outlander or The Mists of Avalon, you'll want to run straight to your nearest bookstore to pick up The Lost Queen. 

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Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Blog: IncitingARiot.com
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