Plenitude, Fortune, and Success.

Fern branch to represent tree of Yggdrasil. Photo by Lís Clíodhna on Unsplash

Hello, Folks, and Welcome to My Existential Crisis.

Since tomorrow is the full moon (European time) and I’ll be off to Vienna in the morning, I decided to draw from the moon’s power tonight and perform a spell. I made a makeshift altar on the desk of my apartment. All of my spell casting equipment is back at home so I used what I could find, including a dinky branch from a leafless, rather twiggy tree. I drew a rather sad looking pentacle on a piece of notebook paper, lit some candles, and placed a witch figurine from the Harz mountains on top of the “spirit” of my focus.

Lately I have been interested in Norse mythology and the Norse gods and goddesses (my husband is an Old Norse scholar). In Norse mythology when spells are performed for the Blót, a branch is dipped in mead and flicked at the directions of East, West, North, and South. I dipped my twiggy branch in a bowl of water and hailed the directions for the Blót. I called on the god Freyr and the goddess Freyja for this particular spell.

I chose to hail the god Freyr and the goddess Freyja for this spell tonight to attract plenitude, fortune, and success. I hailed Freyr for plenitude and to plant within me seeds of inspiration. I hailed Freyja for inspiration to create and to bring about fortune and success with my husband and I’s future endeavors.

My reason for performing this spell is because the future for the both of us is wide open. There are a lot of things dangling in the distance, with no concrete promises. Both of our career endeavors are in sight, but it is just a matter of being blessed with fortune, which is why I also invoked this Norse god and goddess to bless us with the inspiration so that it can be brought about. Fortune can only truly be won with hard work, and hard work starts with the seeds of inspiration.

Blessed be.

Fin.

Alles Liebe, DJ von Bank

Feeling Blue and Not Knowing What to DO.

Sometimes the answer you’re looking for isn’t in a spell.. but a glimpse within. Photo by unsplash-logo
Halanna Halila
.

You know the parlor trick.

Wrap your arms around your own body

and from the back it looks like

someone is embracing you,

her hands grasping your shirt,

her fingernails teasing your neck.

From the front it is another story.

You never looked so alone,

your crossed elbows and screwy grin.

You could be waiting for a tailor

to fit you for a straightjacket,

one that would hold you really tight.

“Embrace” by Billy Collins (1988)

Hello, Folks, and Welcome to My Existential Crisis.

I have to be completely honest… I haven’t looked at my blog since last March. I finally decided to unearth it from the bowels of my internet usage. The main reason being because I’m currently living in Germany on a Fulbright grant as an English Teaching Assistant and have to find ways to pass the time when I’m not teaching. The last blog post I wrote I had to make private because I was in loooovveeee. We all know how crazy love makes us, haha. Every heartbreak and longing emotion. Life kind of swept me up at that point and a lot of major life events transpired since then. First I fell in love, won a Fulbright grant, got into a car accident & wrecked my car, then I got engaged, moved to Germany, applied to a handful of MFA programs for creative writing in poetry, and ultimately… I got married!

Don’t get me wrong… 2019 was an awesome year! It was by far the best year of my life. Of course, with every up, there is a down (note: car accident). I take my luck where I can find it, though, and count every blessing that I have. However, there are some things that nag at you every day because it’s quite obvious that they are there. The worst part about 2019 that has carried over into 2020 is that my husband (then fiancé) is in the US while I’m in Germany. I will be returning to the US for good at the end of June, but until then I have to mark the days off the calendar and (try to) enjoy the time that I have abroad. That’s probably the hardest part about it… I have to try to be happy when I just should be happy because I get this awesome opportunity to live in Germany. And then I feel guilty and spoiled for feeling blue when I should be waking up with glee every morning. It’s really a complex bouquet of bittersweet flowers.

This blog post has been a bit of a thaw from a long freeze. I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing. It will definitely help keep me occupied while I find ways to pass the time in a country by myself. That reminds me that I have a lot of spell craft to get back into… (something I hate to admit I also haven’t worked on in a long time). I also should mention that in terms of being vegan in Germany, it is relatively easy. Groceries are pretty cheap and most stores have alternative meat/cheese products (although I find where I’m living I have to go to a few stores to get mayo, tofu, and vegan Schnitzel, for example). I’ve even been lazy when it comes to cooking. I have a kitchenette. No oven. Just a a two-burner range. Most days I just eat Brötchen, cucumbers, vegan Schnitzel, and instant noodles. The problem with being lonely and having a lot of time on your hands is that you get a bit blue and then get lazy. Some days I don’t even feel like leaving my apartment. I realize I probably have some symptoms of slight depression. I expected as much. That’s okay. I have a strong mind and a willingness to be well.

The reason why I chose the poem above to include in this blog post is because it’s how I’m feeling. From one perspective it seems like I got it all going on. But from the other side? Well, I’m still just a crazy mess. I have poor social skills and anxiety up the whazoo. I don’t fit in with others. Like, EVER. The only person who I fit in with is my husband and he’s a thousand million miles away.

Anyway, I don’t want to end this post being all sobby and whiny. I want to end on a positive note. Yes, one might look like a lunatic from one angle and a superstar from another. The superstar angle is always most likely a facade. People are just boring people, after all. I think it’s okay to be a lunatic. We all are.

FIN.

Alles Liebe, DJ von Bank

It’s All a Bunch of Toadflax Crowned in Snow

Marty McConnell

vivisection
(you’re going to break my heart)

the frog ready for inspection, skin flaps
opened and pinned back, organs

arrayed for the taking—this is how
I approach you. and you. here, my spleen

for the squeezing. my intestine
to be strung out, perhaps wrapped

around the neck like a lariat. not
for the squeamish, my heart thudding

to be plucked out with a delicate thumb
and forefinger, dinner for the willing,

and beautiful, and broken. I am not smart
about love, is what I’m saying. not even

smart about whose face I will take
in my hand and press against my face

until we are a single organism. the mouth
is not an organ but I give it to you

anyway, I give it all away is what
I’m saying. I’m easy to adore. my torso

a life raft strung with Christmas lights
and full of all your favorite things, beer

and expensive cheese and songs
about leaving. I’m so beautiful

splayed out on this tray full of tar
and entrails. I’m so useful

I could be a meal for an army
of traumatized surgeons, I’m full-time

at this job of bleeding, my esophagus
a stripper pole or cocaine straw.

when I say eat me I mean
suck the bones clean, leave nothing

for the waiting, nothing for the vultures
or the travelers to come.

Welcome to My Existential Crisis. Last week was spent in my college town where I was collecting info on MFA graduate programs in Creative Writing, catching up with professors, and getting my picture taken as a Fulbright semifinalist. I had a delightful time visiting with friends. One night we stayed in a cozy cabin with a hot tub and cross-country skied on a frozen lake under the moonlight. Nights were spent cooking vegan meals, playing music, and watching foreign films. I even performed an Imbolc ceremony and made a hearty wintertime feast. I got trapped there for an extra couple of days due to blizzard conditions and icy roads. My liver still hates me and my head pounds ever so, but I feel thankful for magical times like these. 
In regards to the above poem, part of my “homework” for grad school preparation is to read contemporary poetry. I have trouble finding contemporary poetry that speaks to me like the old greats; however, I have been really enjoying Marty McConell’s refreshing voice and vivid imagery. Along with reading poetry, I have to create a creative writing portfolio. I have a lot of poems to edit and a lot to write still. For once I do not feel like I am wasting time when I write. It feels like I am actually moving towards an actual goal. I wrote a poem today that utilized some interesting spacing and line breaks. Unfortunately, I am not supposed to publish my own poetry online if I want to send it in to get published in literary magazines or journals. For now on I will just be posting contemporary poetry finds. I did send 6 of my poems in to The New Yorker a couple of weeks ago. I expect they will all be rejected. At least I feel like a real poet now. Among my other preparation tasks, I have to study for the GRE test and research more potential programs to which I want to apply. 
Meanwhile, I am still between jobs and running out of money fast as bills keep piling up. My anxiety is through the roof and I often wake up several times in the night with extreme heart palpatations worrying about past, present, and future life. My love life is non-existent and I am starting to worry I will not be able to keep up my celibacy because I am human and want love like everyone else. I think too much for my own good and I am always tempted to do things I know I should not do. I was conditioned from the start, and conditioned I will always be. You ever notice how February is an ooey gooey month? I want to chew it like bubblegum and blow bubbles that will explode over everyone so that they will all be a sticky icky mess and feel it too. Stick to me, please. 

FIN.

Witchcraft on the Super Wolf Blood Moon

This is my first blog post about anything “witchy” and I am a bit terrified. I am a solitary practitioner, which means I am very secretive about my practice. I am not part of any pagan community, except for my Long Distance Coven (LDC), and as far as I know, I am the only witch in my bloodline. My approach to witchcraft is very personalized: I set up my altar the way I like; I use whatever herbs, incense, and colored candles I feel at the time; and until recently my chalice was an antique teacup. My pentacle is also hand-drawn and the candles I have to represent the female and male deity are Catholic depictions of Mary and Jesus that I got from a Mexican market. Needless to say, I am my own witch. On this Super Wolf Blood Moon I am brave enough to say that.


Normally I would perform an Attraction spell on the New Moon, but since the timing is just right, I performed my Job Attraction spell on the Super Wolf Blood Moon, which happens to fall on a Sunday and is right before the job fair I am going to tomorrow. I am currently between jobs right now because I want to find something that is more in-line with my career path. Usually I write my own spells, but tonight I just kind of found one that works perfectly for the intention that I want to put out into the world.


The point of this blog post is to show that you can individualize your witchcraft practice the way that suits you. Some witches thrive in numbers and like more structure and others feel more energized when they are alone and enjoy the freedom that solitary practice brings. There is no right way to be a witch, just like there is no right way to be a vegan. You either are or you are not.
Blessed be!

DJ von Bank, die Eule

New Year’s Failures

Poem of the Week

“Tap Water”
by DJ von Bank

I’m pure like water from the tap
— metallic to the taste —
My leaky pipes are caked with
Rust, and thus and thus
I weep.

Ma crise existentielle resounds —
a ting
ping

dingt
a ting
ping

dingt
I lull you thusly to drink.

A dark pink tongue wiggles
Under the sink —
It waits, it thirsts for
a ting
a ping
and
a leaden drop of

dingt.

Hello, and Welcome to My Existential Crisis. In the “spirit” of the New Year I originally planned on writing something inspirational but we all know how life works, and this past week has been anything but inspirational.
I found myself tipsy in a green sparkly bathtub, numb, with my lips to the waterline. I pulled the drain loose with my toes and sat there as the water slowly chugged down the pipes. The water drained and I drained too. I lost my spirit as the new and old demons within me warred between themselves. Here are some examples:

How many vegan witches are there in this world?
Why do I aways feel like an outsider?
What if I never make it in this world?
I was a terrible person in the past.
I should suffer for my sins.
Why can’t I be free of the past?
It wasn’t my fault; I was wronged sick sad raised badly neglected bullied not enough

Thoughts can be a slippery slope. And so can resolutions. It’s because we set these high expectations and then when we don’t do so well, we completely collapse. We then feel like failures. The truth of the matter is you can’t fail at something unless you give up trying to achieve it. My best advice is: get back up again and again even when you’re in pain. If you don’t try to get back up, I can guarantee that you’re going to hurt staying where you are: on the ground feeling sad for youself. That might be insensitive. I don’t care. Sometimes you need to splash yourself in the face and face whatever is in front of you. And then you need to forgive yourself and thank yourself and tell yourself to please behave better next time.

Next time you find yourself in a green sparkly bathtub, splash yourself in the face, feel alive, and goddess bless yourself for chugging along when your chug chug train has run out of fuel. Be unapologetically yourself. The world won’t do it for you.

Recipe of the Week

Peanut Butter Chocolate Oats
by DJ von Bank

1/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cups water

2 tbsp PB2
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
dash of cinnamon

1/2 sliced banana
1/4 cup frozen/fresh raspberries
1 tbsp ground flaxseed

Mix together PB2, water, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.
On medium-high heat, cook oats and water in a pot. Stir consistently until boiling and oats are a creamy, thick consitency. Turn off heat and mix in peanut butter cocoa mixture.
Top oatmeal with sliced banana, raspberries, and ground flaxseeds.

Welcome to My Existential Crisis.

“I am the ghost of Troubled Joe
Hung by his pretty white neck
Some eighteen months ago
I travelled to a mystical time zone
And I missed my bed
And I soon came home
They said:
‘There’s too much caffeine
In your blood stream
And a lack of real spice
In your life…’”

Lyrics from “A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours” by The Smiths

Hello, Folks, and Welcome to My Existenial Crisis. I’m DJ von Bank and this is my very first ever blog post on The Vegan Witch. How exciting! I hope all my wicked witchy women are staying warm this winter! In this post I’ll be discussing what The Vegan Witch is all about, what I want to do with it, and where I see it going.

What is The Vegan Witch all about?
I first want to begin by touching on the title of this post, “Welcome to My Existenial Crisis”. As everyone knows, we don’t choose to exist, we just do. Our parents never asked us before they made us. Existing is easy because it requires little effort: you just are. However, learning how to navigate what it means to exist is where things get a little sticky. At some point in our lives we may begin to question our purpose and what value we add to the world. This is called an existential crisis, and this is where you come in — my audience, my readers, my wicked witchy women (and men). I’m welcoming you on my existential journey where I turn my crises into crutches — my crutches being the things in my life that fill me with purpose, such as veganism, paganism, and writing, to name a few. The Vegan Witch is my existential adventure. What’s yours?

What do I want to do with The Vegan Witch?
Remember the good ol’ days when blogs were basically just online journals? I don’t remember because I never read any. I was still lost in the analog world of pen and paper. But I’m trying out this electronic medium now! Wow, what it is to evolve! That’s what I want to do with The Vegan Witch: I want it to evolve. I’m starting at the basic level. I don’t want to apply too many rules or guidelines because lordess knows I always break those. I will be posting anything from random ramblings and advice to recipes and poetry.

Where do I see The Vegan Witch going?
I see The Vegan Witch as a start to me becoming a freelance writer. Being a freelance writer has been my dream ever since my sophmore year of high school when I fell in love with reading so much that I then felt this desire to write for myself. I see this blog as my own personal space to create what I want out of it as I move through different stages of my life. The first step is getting my voice out there and writing about subjects that I can share with others.

Welcome to My Existential Adventure. Make yourself compfy 😉

Fin.

DJ von Bank