The Maniacal Rantings of the Urban Crone

Bear witness to the rantings of the Urban Crone as she emparts her wisdom in her own rather quirky way.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spelling and Usage and Grammar.... Oh My!!!

I have a pet peeve. Actually, I have a whole farm of pet peeves, but out of all of them, this particular pet peeve is probably the largest, most sanity-testing creature of them all.
   As Witches, I feel we should be reasonably intelligent beings. Before the days of the Internet and Google paste and plug, Witches were required to not only read books, but understand them. We were required to have the intelligence to not only understand what we read in the book, but the ability to apply that understanding in some sort of real world application, whether it was casting a spell or creating a ritual. We handled words with thought and care because they carried weight, they had meaning, and we understood the power of the written word, so much so that we held it sacred. To me, an extension of holding the written word sacred was in its usage, that is, Spelling, Usage and Grammar.
   When I scroll down Facebook, or go to someone's blog, or look through someone's website, someone who is claiming to not only be a Witch, but be a Witch of some intelligence, and I see things like misspelled words, improper usage, and seriously poor grammar, I cringe. I don't cringe because I am some spelling/grammar warden. I cringe because this person is professing intelligence and knowledge, yet everything I am seeing screams otherwise. You see, to be a Witch is to understand and respect the Power of Words. They carry weight. They have significance. Yet, how is it that you could possibly understand and respect the Power of words if you cannot use or spell them correctly, if you cannot string them together in an intelligent manner, complete with at least punctuation where needed?
   Are you adding an ingredient "to" another ingredient before adding it to something, adding it to something as well as to something else (too), or are you needing more than one of that ingredient (two)? Usage matters, sometimes to the point of being detrimental to one's health and well-being.
  I have actually seen a page where the person was talking about creating Talismans, all the while spelling the word as "Talisments". If you cannot get something so basic as the spelling of the word right, do you really expect to create a functional Talisman? The very word itself has such power, such significance that you can write it on a piece of paper, tuck it in your pocket and it can serve as a Talisman all on its own, with only the energy of the word mixed with your own energy to drive it. That is how significant a single word is, and to misspell it shows a lack of respect.
   I went to a public school. I did not have any extra education as far as grammar, usage and spell, except if you count the quality of books that I read when I was younger, and more so as I started my path as a Witch. Crowley, Mathers, Waite, Spare, Fortune, Regaldie, Levi and so on were just some of the authors at my fingertips, and their writing was beyond measure. It was almost an orgasmic experience to turn each page of a book so intelligently written, even if I didn't agree with what was said. Those people understood the weight of words, saw them as full of a sacred power that required reverence. It would not even be thought of back when they were writing to bring the intelligence of their work down to the lowest common denominator, as we sometimes see today in literature and the Internet. Their expectation was that you should be intelligent enough to read what they were writing, or you probably should not be reading it.
   I got a message once from a woman who claimed that she had been a practicing Witch almost as long as I have, claimed to have read and understood some of the materials I have, and who also claimed a certain amount of intelligence. Yet, the entire lengthy message was one long run on sentence, void of any punctuation or capitalization, and full of misspelled and misused words. I could still decipher the message she was trying to convey, yet my mind instantly marked her as someone I would not seek council from, see as an equal, want to share circle space with and so on. Why?
  Words carry weight. Words have meaning. If you cannot even be bothered to take a moment to spell a word correctly, you are not understanding their significance. If you cannot even be bothered to take a moment to use them properly in a sentence, complete with punctuation and all the due they deserve, you probably show a lack of respect and care in other aspects of your practice.  And if you are not understanding the significance of words in general, how they carry weight and power with their mere presence, stop calling yourself a Witch as you probably are not understanding the significance of that word either.
  I know that sounds harsh, and I do understand that I am the one with the pet peeve, but to not respect the power and energy that the written word brings to the table is to not understand power and energy itself. And to lack an understanding of power and energy, even in the simple sense of the written word, is to lack a certain key piece of knowledge that I feel should be required to be a Witch. After all, even in written form...
"Words cast spells. That is why it is called Spelling. Words are Energy. Use them Wisely..."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Embracing the Gray, and What I Have Learned...

I have dyed my hair religiously since I was 16. I have been pretty much every shade from the darkest black to a red the color of a cherry twizzler to the color of a shiny new penny, and colors in between. It was just one of those things I did without every really thinking about it.

I woke up one morning this past fall and made the decision that I would stop dying my hair and allow the gray to grow in. I had been going gray since I was around 18, but had never really been brave enough to forgo hair color to see what would happen. There were moments where I had given consideration to no longer dying my hair, as the roots began to grow out a week or two after each dye event, and I started thinking about how much of a pain in the ass it was to maintain some random color. But, then I would spot those grays and panic, and grab the closest box of hair color to ease my anxiety.

But, this time I was serious. With 4 grandchildren, and creeping up on my mid-40’s, I decided that I was really over the hair color thing and I wanted to see what it would look like without the color. Growing out the gray became my latest self-challenge, and from this, I have learned a couple of interesting lessons.

Gray hair does things at its own pace:

 It is incredibly ironic that when you dye your hair, the color starts to grow out within a matter of a week or so. Get a great color, and a week later you are already seeing those roots grow back in. My assumption was that this would be the case, that not dying my hair, the gray would grow back in at that pace and I wouldn’t have to wait around for it. Not so. Gray hair is in no rush. It moves at its own pace, which is pretty slow and tedious.

 I have learn from this that I have to be patient with some things. I cannot make hair grow any more than I can make the Sun rise and set. Too often, we get in a rush to see things manifest. We have become a society of instant gratification, and have lost our ability to be patient and allow things to grow in their own time. The universe will move at its own pace, and I have to learn to not only respect that, but go with the flow that is presented to me.

And, gray hair definitely does its own thing:

I have known women with gorgeous gray hair. Beautiful pale soft grays that look like finely spun silk. Glorious steel grays that are fun and playful. Gorgeous salt and pepper grays that look like angels came and granted them the perfect blend of dark and light with threads of shimmering silver locks. So, when I decided to go gray, all of these images were in my head, giving me the courage to embrace my gray and see what unfolds. Not what I got.

I have the crazy gray. They grow unruly and wiry gray. The go whatever direction it wants gray. There is no lovely uniformity, perfect blending of dark hair with the gray. Nope.  My hair is like the love child of Einstein and Don King at this point, and a true test of sanity some days. I come home from work at the end of the day, or wake up in the morning and look in the mirror to see it going in every direction like I licked a light socket. I keep telling myself as I pull it back and try to be patient that it is still growing out.

What I learned from this insanity is that gray does what it wants. I think that is almost an anthem for every woman I know who has embraced her gray, this sort of feeling of freedom, like you have reached a point in your life where you do not have to conform to what others think you should be. Gray is not about conformity. It is about having the courage to do as you will, when you will, to not have to apologize for being yourself, for being your age. Gray is that point when you decide that you do not need to try to look younger because it is far more fun to just be your own age and do your own thing.  I still dress like I am in my twenties because I am comfortable. I still blare grunge and alternative music as I go down the road because that is what speaks to me. I am an artist and writer with a wicked day job building vans, and living a rather free bohemian lifestyle that really just requires me to be, well, me.

That is what I have learned by letting the gray grow out, to be me. To ride the flow of the universe and live as myself. Embracing my gray meant embracing myself, who I am as a person and accepting myself as is, flaws and all. I am not saying that I don’t get the urge to grab a box of color every once in a while, but those urges are becoming fewer. I am having fun with myself, embracing my gray, and releasing the things I have allowed to color my life that are not really serving a purpose in my life. Watching my life grow out has become as interesting as watching the gray grow out. You just never know what is going to sprout up from where next…
Laurie Sherman/Urban Crone