Grim, Enchanting, Dark and Gory

I used to have very low tolerance for fairy tales. I thought they were unwise, unrealistic and unattainable. More than that, I felt they were an insult to magic.

If you read my fiction, you might never guess I once felt that way about fairy tales. My fictional witches are always doing impossible things… I have to thank Neil Gaiman for that. It wasn’t until I read his “Snow, Glass, Apples” that I fell in love with the grim, enchanting, dark and gory side of fairy tales.
AelysiaSEDAI's interpretation of Neil Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples"
But I still hated the traditional tales with impossible happily every afters. Then, as an adult, I read The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim and The Annotated Brothers Grimm by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, and I came to the realization that I didn’t understand fairy tales.

I believed fairy tales were fantasies that put strange ideas in children’s minds, and set them up for failure. Now I understand this kind of writing is of extreme importance, for it engages kids’ imagination, helps children conquer their fears, it empowers them, and it helps our little ones develop a sense of autonomy that we can’t pass onto them, regardless of how much we want to; for no one learns with someone else’s head.

How much is knowledge worth? And how destructive is it to stay ignorant?

The above questions came to mind when a commonly lovely person asked me “Why would you put down the worth of something as sacred as Samhain by calling it All Hallow’s Grim? You should think about what the general public is learning about we Wiccans.”

First of all, and this is not awfully important to this post, but I should say it anyway: I am not Wiccan. I am an Eclectic Witch who has many friends. Some are Witches… Some are Wiccans… some are Santeros… Some are Christians… Some are Atheists… Some are Jewish… Some are Catholics… Some are Druids… Some are Muslims… Some are Buddhists… Some are Hindus… Some are Shamans… Some are… yes, some are that, too, and ALL are exactly who and what they want to be, and I admire and love them for that.

I also like my friends because, like my witchy self, they too, promote the value of teaching and learning. I love—and use—every opportunity I get to show the Pagan and non-Pagan worlds what my Witchcraft is all about. All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, El Dia de los Muertos, Samhain… or whatever we decide to call it, is the perfect time for this kind of sharing.

All Hollow’s Eve offers precious common grounds for the dead and the living, for people who like to dress up and individuals who enjoy sweets, for those who appreciate something grim, enchanting, dark and gory on October 31st and for the ones who know the day is hallowed.

Know what else? While the non-Witch witnesses the magic of All Hallow’s Eve and the Witch enjoys gore, horror and sweets, all of us TOGETHER get to experience a day that has nothing to do with evil and everything to do with community and tradition.

So if you ever dislike something to no end, but don’t understand what the damn thing is all about, please remember that at one point in her life your Wickedest Witchy Writer hated fairy tales.    

Now let’s move on to a sensible monstrosity of a giveaway, inspired by someone who told me: “Wow, Magaly, I just finished Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and now I must read Jane Austen. I know I missed too many jokes because I haven’t read the source.” You see, my Wicked Darlings, the seeds of knowledge are planted everywhere…
This is all you need to do to enter this sensible giveaway:
1. (Mandatory) – leave a comment with your thoughts about the importance of sharing our traditions with those around us.

For extra entries (worth 1-3 entries each):
2. Blog about this post (leave a link/3 entries)
3. Tweet about this post (leave a link/2 entries)
4. What is your favorite All Hallow’s Eve tradition?
5. Be a Wicked Darling (follow Pagan Culture through GFC)
6. Follow Pagan Culture on Twitter 
7. Friend me on Facebook 
8. Snatch one (or all) of my NEW buttons from the sidebar
9. Visit at least one Fanciful Twist Halloween Partiers; leave a comment that starts with “Magaly, from Pagan Culture, said I should haunt your blog!” Then copy and paste your entire comment (with a link) on this post.
* Leave your email address and a link to your site with your comments.  
* This giveaway ends October 24th at 5:13pm. 

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And while sexy, dark and grim spirits haunt the air…
Let me present the winners of the All Hallow’s Grim Giveaway!
1st Prize – Judy – $31.13 from Pagan Culture
2nd Prize – Craftymoose – Two CDs from Paradise Music
3rd Prize – Danielle Suplicki – Three creepy books from Pagan Culture
Congrats, my Darling Luvs! Please send me your info:
magalyguerrero @ live .  com

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Day twenty-two to Get Off Your Broom, and The Real Witches of Halloween and The 2011 Countdown to Hallowe’en and yeah, party! Have you visited Danni, Lyn, Serenity and the rest of the witchy partiers yet?

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71 comments:

  1. SunshineShelle10/22/2011

    Love this post, I also LOVE Neil Gaiman (LOVE LOVE) and am soo happy you embrace all blog buddies, religious (or non) no matter what your lovelies are about or believe... I always think the world would be so BORING if we changed the rest of the world to be the same as us (thinking 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers)... I don't get it, I like treading that rich plush carpet of oh so many opinions & beliefs... 
    :)

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  2. Slommler10/22/2011

    I too believe the sharing of traditions is so important.  For fellowship and community and for the education of the youth!!  We need to hold hands and face the sun together!  And as the evening comes, laugh and share the joy!! 
    Hugging you
    SueAnn

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  3. I love your fairy, she's full of fun!  I share with you on the change of heart and mind about ideas. I'm finding everything I thought I disliked, something in life would teach me to change that view. Its got quite funny now, as I speak I think, what is coming to change this one,lol!  Life is so cool in this way, you go fairy awesome lady and share your awesomeness! :) Have a great weekend!

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  4. I used to feel the same way about fairy tales too, Magaly. The beautiful princess and the handsome prince living happily ever after...bleurgh! The real fairy stories, the ones without the saccharin are wonderful. Grim, gory, scary and have such a powerful meaning. These are the tales my daughter will grow up listening to :-)

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  5. WrightStuff10/22/2011

    This is one of those posts to bookmark and read again and again - it's so full of insightful wisdom you clever lady.

    I especially loved what you said about community and tradition. I loved how here in the UK, the tradition of a Royal Wedding this Spring brought the whole country together in a  spirit of romance and celebration. I felt so proud to be British :)

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  6. jonquil10/22/2011

    while i am not one to share my Business with anyone, i do find the traditions around holidays especially important. i observe halloween & all hallows grim.....i find that halloween allows me to bond with my grandchildren while quietly correcting, if not introducing, all hallows grim.  especially important given all the malarky mass media spits out this time of year & a rather mundane soninlaw *sigh*.  more importantly, traditions allow a continuity, roots, that help a culture support itself.  plus which, raising your grandchildren in your own image is one of the surer paths to immortality ;)

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  7. jonquil10/22/2011

    we're facebook friends!  it took me a year before i would let my daughter watch disneys' weirdness they called 'the little mermaid'.  i love the actual fairytales, the disney versions are 10 steps beyond lame. have always wondered why copenhagen is so proud of their little mermaid statue....haven't they ever read the story?

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  8. Ellen Abbott10/22/2011

    Fairy tales also imparted important information for survival. The woods were dangerous places that may not have contained a witch in a candy house but were indeed full of dangerous animals and men. And values, sort of the Aesop fables of the times.

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  9. Kathryn-Collage Diva10/22/2011

    I think it is so important for us all to live our lives with an open heart. I happen to work for the Catholic Church and I'm not Catholic. In the last 7 years I have had the opportunity to more fully appreciate their traditions and what is important to them. This has really engendered a sense of compassion for others. I have been so fortunate to have dined with Krishnas, celebrated dark Masses with folk who walk on the left-hand path, received teachings from Buddhist Rinpoches and so much more. I love stories particularly myths from all cultures (fairy tales included) and look for the heroic theme as identified by Joseph Campbell.

    When you get back on your broomstick swing by my blog - I'm serving brain tonic and three witches brew. Mildred the spider will give you a ride to the river where you can pick up a boat that will take you on one magical adventure.

    Have fun visiting all of the parties today.

    http://collagediva.typepad.com/collagediva/2011/10/fairy-moment.html

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  10. Linda Wildenstein10/22/2011

    You clever girl....did ya get a rotten apple again? Yes, ignorance is a blight on human kind and I have always thought how sad it was to have to separate people like socks...putting only the ones who go together in a drawer. I love the adventure of reaching in and getting whatever is the "intended" pair for the day. People for me are like that...some may not fit just right or go with what I am wearing but hey, I can manage to make the best out of it and learn from it. Fairy tales are like that...and I am glad you wandered into that light. Now faery tails are something else. The Omalator

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  11. Kelly Jeanette10/22/2011

    I have always enjoyed the darker fairytales-you know, not everyone wins in the ends and really bad things happens sometimes. I believe traditions are important to bring everyone together. With no traditions everything is just randomness.

    http://kellysalteredart.blogspot.com/2011/10/ghost-adventures-wannabes-halloween.html

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  12. Georginamorley10/22/2011

    Ist...Congratulations to the all hallows winners :D
    I guess you fell for the Disney Fairy story line haha! The Faerie folk have always been naughty creatures here in UK, the irish are especially fearful of them. The chorus to one of my fav irish folk songs goes
    "so here comes the human child, through the waters and the wilds. With a Faerie hand in hand, for the worlds more full of weeping than he can understand"
    Which I suppose backs up your theory that they empower children to cope with life, though actually the song is about I child being stolen away. XXX

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  13. zombiegoddess10/22/2011

    The original fairy tales by Grimm are the stuff beautiful nightmares are made of, not the PC, safe for the family, everyone must smile at the end modern fairy tale.  "The Little Mermaid" instantly comes to mind.  From walking on pins and needles and sacrificing herself to become seafoam to losing her voice and living happily ever after.  Like Kristy Cotton said in Hellraiser 2, "Sometimes fairy tales come true.  Even the bad ones." (prolly destroyed the quote, but you get the idea :))

    Congrats to all your wicked winners!  And SSASM is amazing!

    \IiiI

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  14. Great post and so true! When I was a little girl, my best friend was always excessively practical because her grandmother insisted on bursting all her fairy tale bubbles because they were "nonsense". She's turned out to be a law student but I always felt a little bad for her back then because she never got the chance to just be a kid. Fairy tales are important!! :)

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  15. Oh Magaly, you make me want to delve into those books you mentioned on fairy tales and folklore...I love a good dark story!

    Knowing the backgrounds of these would be so interesting, I'm sure!

    You are always so welcoming and nurturing to all those who come here....I don't know why anyone would take issue with anything you do :)

    I think blogging is a great way to share bits of our different worlds with eachother...it really has changed my life!

    Happy Haunting,
    Cameron

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  16. Thanks for sharing. I think it's important to share our traditions with others so that we each understand each other a little more and learn something about another culture or belief so that we open our minds and bring in different opinions and thoughts. For example, many people around me do not know of our understand Dia de los Muertos, and when they ask me what it is and I share with them they always seem facinated, or at least appear to be ;)

    Have a lovely Halloween!

    Kim

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  17. Oh Magaly, you make me want to delve into those books you mentioned on fairy tales and folklore...I love a good dark story!

    Knowing the backgrounds of these would be so interesting, I'm sure!

    You are always so welcoming and nurturing to all those who come here....I don't know why anyone would take issue with anything you do :)

    I think blogging is a great way to share bits of our different worlds with eachother...it really has changed my life!

    Happy Haunting,
    Cameron 

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  18. I  honestly never would have thought you disliked fairytales so much; you learn something new every day!
    I love this time of year; it's the one time of year you wont be persecuted for claiming your a witch, because the people who are narrow minded enough to do such a thing are also too narrow minded to realize that you're serious! My only issue is that it goes by so fast!

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  19. Kelli Lusk10/22/2011

    I think it is very important to share different traditions with everyone.  You can sometimes clear up the misconceptions that people have of other peoples traditions and beliefs.   I have always loved learning about different cultures and beliefs of different people.  Come by and visit my blog party. 
     
    http://kellibearhaven.blogspot.com/

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  20. What a fascinating posting, filled with so much to think about and consider... I must admit I've had my share of times when I turned my nose up at something only to have my perspective changed at a later time simply because I was too naive or ignorant to see the importance through another's eyes.  I think that's why it's so vital that we share our thoughts and feelings with one another, we wind up learning so much more than is we lived as little islands. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Magaly.
    ♥Sharon

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  21. MagicLoveCrow10/22/2011

    Yeh, to the lucky winners! Magaly, great post! Traditions are very important! With out them, where would  we be? We learn so much from them and we learn so much from other people's traditions too! It's so much fun and you get to experience so many different things! 

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  22. Valeriotedesign10/22/2011

    LOVE Neil Gaiman. So wicked and wondrous. Happy Halloween : )

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  23. Marcia Colette10/22/2011

    I love traditions!  Though I've never participated in any (that I recall), I enjoy witnessing them.  I feel like a seed of culture has been planted inside me and it's something I can share with others who might ever get that same chance. Plus, I feel as though I've expanded my small view of the world an inch at a time.  It also makes me more tolerant and sensitive of others and their way of life.

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  24. "A rich plush carpet of oh so many opinions & beliefs..." I love how you  put that. Guess our feet might start aching if we forever stroll on the hardwood floor we know so well.

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  25. Isn't the sunset way more beautiful when you have someone to share it with?

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  26. Live and learn, huh? Same say cliché, I say wisdom ;-)

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  27. I know that the fairytellers (ha, funny made up word) I know they want to give children a way to express themselves, but those children who grow up too fast (and adults don't notice) can get really confused with a world were everything is perfect.

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  28. The wonder of culture... isn't it a great feeling? To smile, look at others smile, and know you are all smiling about the same thing?

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  29. I believe personal information is different from cultural and traditional bits. Someone once asked me for my rekindling recipe and I said I would her him create his own, but I wouldn't shared mine. Some things are too yours to share and we all need to have a least one thing like that.

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  30. We are indeed facebook friends ;-)

    Don't get me started with this topic... I get a little disturbed every time I watch their Cinderella.

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  31. Little Red Cap comes to mind.

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  32. Things tend to look at lot different when we see them to eyes that care about them, don't they?

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  33. I hope you are happy I almost bathed myself in coffee when I read "Faery tails," my dear Omalator.

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  34. Eclecticism can be great, but randomness without knowledge can get quite messy.

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  35. I actually didn't fall for the sweet happily ever after bits, I was just pissed off at the fact that everyone else around me didn't feel cheated too. It gets really lonely when your are 7, 8, 9... years old and your friends don't understand why you think certain version of Cinderella is insulting.

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  36. I breathed the day I first read the Brothers Grimm! I realized that I wasn't insane or too dark-minded, I just saw life differently and through the eyes of reality. 

    And yes, yes, yes, SSASM! I will never look at seafood or at guys with tentacles on their faces the same way ;-)

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  37. I hope she is a very happy lawyer, and that when she gets home from court (or whatever kind of work she does) she enjoys a bit of good ole fantasy ;-)

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  38. The first time I talked about El Dia de los Muertos, in detail, I got a few "she is really weird" looks lol

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  39. Oh I've learned so many things through blogging... if the world only knew...

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  40. We just never know, huh? 

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  41. Sharing is a great debunking method. 

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  42. When we share we usually find out that we aren't as different as we thought, don't we?

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  43. Without our traditions we would be a boring ignorant mess!

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  44. Happy All Hallow's Eve to you too ;-)

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  45. Life can be very lonely if we choose to live it in a little box.

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  46. Oh!  Neil Gaiman is one of my FAVORITE authors!  I just finished reading "The Graveyard Book" to get myself into the spooky spirit and am now reading thru various volumes of "The Sandman."  :)

    I agree with so much of what you've written.  Commonality, tradition and respecting all views and belief systems.
    Thank you for having me here.

    I am one of Vanessa's partiers.  You can visit me in Paris, circa 1789 here:
    http://inthelandofspice.com/2011/10/22/halloween-party-bloghop/

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  47. I really enjoyed reading this - I love fairytales, both the ones with happy endings (who doesn't love a happy ending?) and those that are more..."Grimm" =)  I am also ALL ABOUT traditions and I think they are super important to us in our families as well as in our cultures.  Traditions are just another way to tell a story.  That is what I think, anyway!

    Thank you soooo much for taking the time to stop by my little party place for zombie cookies, a story and a walk through the tiny cemetery and also for you very kind comment!

    Enjoy the rest of the party!  Blessings to you!

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  48. Diandra Linnemann10/23/2011

    "Snow, glass and apples" is one of my favorite short stories. And incidentally I am living right across the river from the place where the historically original Snow White is supposed to have lived - a young princess who was cast out of her home when her father remarried, and who was said to live with a tribe of weird people in the deeps of the seven mountains. ^^

    I like fairy tales, but quite often it takes some probing behind the scenes to find "my true story" behind what is on the pages - these stories have been retold again and again (and again), things went lost and were replaced, and from time to time the original meaning would get lost and be replaced by then contemporary explanations.

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  49. Vanessa (A Fanciful Twist)10/23/2011

    I love that you were able to see the value or fairytales, and then, bonus and amazing, come to find your own!!  Imagine that!  Awesome tale.

    I was told fairytales from a very youngs age, and all the ones I heard were super scary with no happy ever after.  They were intense tales, and began my whole love for mystery, and of course, the love of a little fear in the belly ;)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and how yours changed Magaly!!  So lovely!

    ♥ Vanessa (A Fanciful Twist)

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  50. mad madam mel10/23/2011

    I love the old fairy tales especially the darker earlier versions. the local tales of the fairies are still important where we live, and rightly so :)

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  51. I read THE GRAVEYARD BOOK in one sitting. I think I spent half the time wishing I had a graveyard like that near me, and the other half wanting to dance ;-)

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  52. We all need our happy endings, don't we?

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  53. How cool! Is that the river you swim in? Because that would be too freaking cool!

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  54. I think one of the things I love most of certain fairy tales is that even as an adult, I find myself trying to figure out the meaning of that bit of worry in the back of my mind after I read one.  

    Thanks for hosting such a great party, Vanessa! 

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  55. I like the darker earlier versions way better, too, and I'm thankful because I've learned to appreciate the sugarcoated ones as well.

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  56. Mina Crump10/23/2011

    Oh Magaly, I ADORE Neil Gaiman. His writing opens my mind to so many possibilities and wonders. Plus I think he is darkly sexy. ;-) 

    I never fully appreciated fairy tales until I reached adulthood and found Jungian psychology. I was so surprised to learn that the fairy tales we know today have been heavily edited removing the guts and gore they were originally written with. It is a shame that people want to deny their dark sides because honey, we all got one. Wholeness for myself includes that honesty.

    I am not Wiccan and truth be told, I am not even certain how to label myself anymore other than to say I am an Earth loving Witch still in a phase of self discovery. I believe everyday is sacred and the beauty of the wheel of the year means that I get a full, rich experience into all that I am.

    If I haven't told you, I love your posts and I admire the woman you are. Hugs, my love.  

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  57. Geckostone10/23/2011

    Once an Iroquois guy told me a story that goes something like this:   " Long ago Great Spirit crafted a beautiful pot to give to the People. The name of this pot was Truth. At first everyone shared the gift equally and got along, but soon some of the People decided they wanted the pot of Truth all to themselves alone. They began to fight among themselves for the power and prestige of saying they were the real owners of the pot. They even began to kill each other over it. Finally Great Spirit decided to take the pot back. He snatched it up to the heavens and in anger threw it back down upon the People. It broke into a million tiny shards. The People frantically began picking up the pieces individually. " There!" Great Spirit said, " Now each of you will only have a piece of the pot of Truth. Until you all share and bring your individual pieces together you will never agian know the Whole Truth!" That is why I think it is important for us to have open minds and share our traditions with each other. We ALL have a little piece of the Truth and this is how we will come to know the ONE TRUTH! Magaly this post is why I love you so much! You ROCK!!!!!! Deb

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  58. We are on the same note when it comes to what label to claim. People think I'm so many things, but I'm just me: a Witch. Sometimes I think that if I had not paid attention to old CJ (yep, we're that close lol) I would have had very ugly self-image. I've embraced the dark bits of Magaly and understood that without them I wouldn't be the Witch I am today. Extremes are boring and really ugly.

    And if I haven't told you, the admiration is mutual, my Green Sparkly Witch ;-)

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  59. Oh Deb what a wonderful story. 

    I can see you in the middle of a circle of wide-eyed youths, 

    a bonfire burning, telling this tale. 

    You are wearing a dress that shows the imagination of Mother Nature, 

    your hair is combed by the wind, nearby a river echoes your words, you feet bare... 

    so that the knowledge of Great Spirit comes to you from above and below. 

    I might have to write this one. My muse is dancing! 

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  60. fairy-dust-princess10/24/2011

    As a Pagan, this post rung so true for me as well.  Thanks for saying it, I agree completely!  Also thanks for saying that you are not Wiccan.  SO MANY PEOPLE use Pagan, Wiccan, and Witch interchangeably and that is like using the terms spoon, knife, and fork interchangeably.  Happy Halloween!!

    http://broomsticksandlace.blogspot.com/2011/10/happy-halloween-fanciful-twist.html

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  61. I'm happy you could relate. And I think if we continue to point out that although we share some similarities, we are different (and there is nothing wrong with that) those who are listening (or reading lol) will learn.

    Happy All Hallow's Eve to you too!

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  62. Very interesting to read about your process through the understanding of myth and fairy tale.  I think stories about people's real journeys are the best yet.  Although don't get me wrong, I love me some fiction!!!  I try to share my traditions with others simply as part of who I am, so people can watch, observe, but feel safe not having to be pulled into something that they might not understand.  Most of the time just a taste of something sincere will make people intrigued enough to come back and ask for more, or be more open to possbilities next time something unfamiliar or untried comes along.

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  63. Judy-JudysPhotos@blogspot.com10/25/2011

    YYEEHHAA I'm going shopping...

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  64. The thing that makes this world great is the fact that everybody can have  a different method to get the same thing accomplished; we should do what works for us. In my case, I believe fiction can deal with issues reality can't even start to approach.

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  65. Shop away! Congrats again ;-)

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  66. Thescrappytree10/25/2011

    Thank you for inviting us to your party and visiting ours, it was a pleasure to have you there. I liked your post about how you changed your mind on fairy tales. 
    Traditions is what makes each of our cultures different and interesting, it is important to share them with our future generations so they don't get lost in time.
    Happy Halloween!

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  67. Lisa Skiles10/25/2011

    Here is to tolerance and not being afraid to evolve!  Wonderful post.  Stop by my enchanted oven if you get a chance for party sweets.
    Lisa

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  68. I love the idea of traditions as ways to keep ourselves from getting lost. So true...

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  69. I shall stop by and see what's cooking,um... baking ;-)

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  70. Spiritdogstudios10/27/2011

    Sorry for being so late to the party! Love the post! I too, always thought fairy tales a little harsh for children. But what would childhood have been like without them? I do think they teach us of the reality of life. Sometimes life does turn out like a fairy tale, and sometimes not. Either way you go through both good and bad in your life. I think this prepares us for both. People say fairy tales are fantasy-yes-but without dreams where would we be?
    Tradition brings us a unity and something to share and be learned from.
    Thank you for visiting me and Mister Bug at our party! Big hug for joining my site. Hope to visit with you again soon!

    Happy Halloween Haunts!
    Chrislyn

    http://spiritdogstudios.typepad.com

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  71. "Without dreams where would we be?" I wish more people understood how important those words are, and not just the dreams that come to us while we sleep, but the ones we concoct too. We would be very limited without the aid of our imaginations.

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