by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
These are, without a doubt, my favorite series. I must warn you though, some are biographical, some auto-biographical and some pure fantasy. I leave it to the reader to decide which is which.
CONTENTS- For reasons known to myself only, I gave these stories numbers instead of names. There are almost 2 dozen so far.
Go on to Part 6-9
Go on to Part 10-13
Go on to Part 14-17
Go on to Part 18-?
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Some years ago I had been invited to lecture at one of the old Pan-Pagan Festivals. As one of my closest teachers would be there I was determined to attend no matter what, so one of my students and I, both Air Force, decided to save money by hopping a MAC flight east. (for you civies, MAC is the Military Airlift Command which no longer exists)
We sat in the base terminal in our blues waiting for the flight when the loudspeaker came on,
"Due to a forest fire in California, Flight is filled to capacity. Only emergency cases will be allowed to board. We regret any inconvenience."
My student began to get upset but I calmed her down and went over to Traffic Control to see what they could do. Upon returning to my student, I said,
"There aren't any more flights out of here for another three days. If this were a MAC base there wouldn't be any problem but as this is a SAC base, we are out of luck. However, they did suggest that we go to the main airport and see if there are any private aircraft heading east."
Thus, we travelled over to the flight tower at the international airport a few miles away. I sat my student down and checked with the tower officer to see who had filed a flight plan for our destination. Good Luck, there was a twin Beech heading for Chicago which was only a dozen miles from the Festival.
We hunted the pilot down and found that he was a fundamentalist minister who was taking his wife and two friends to visit family in Chicago. Since the Air Force Knew that I was a Witch and I had little trouble with them and was happy about the Festival, I didn't hesitate to answer his questions about where we were going and why.
Unfortunately, when he found out that we belonged to a religion that was not on his list of officially holy faiths, he informed us that he wouldn't give us a ride. As we turned away, my student was depressed to no end but I said,
"Don't sweat it, the Goddess will provide if we work at it. Somewhere in this airport there is a pilot who isn't a bigot."
The xian overheard that and recanted. In an effort to prove that his god is love, and, I suspect, to convert the heathen, he called us back and said that we could ride with him.
The plane trip was almost a nightmare with the xians preaching to us and we, out of politeness for our hosts, resisting the urge to rip their arguments to shreds. Then an engine failed.
There was some panic while the xians prayed and cried and we invoked air and the pilot spent half his time looking for a place to land and the other half praying to jesus. Finally the other engine quit and the pilot said,
"We have to bail out and there are six of us and only four parachutes. So, since I am the representative of god, my wife and I are taking two of them." And with that, they took two parachutes and jumped to safety.
We and the remaining xians looked at each other, at the remaining parachutes and finally, the xians said,
"Since we are the chosen of god and you two are going to burn in hell for devil- worshiping, we deserve to live, and you deserve to die." And before we could respond, they took the remaining two parachutes and jumped out.
My student began to panic but I was calm and said,
"Mellow out ... everything is going to be okay."
She grabbed me, began to shake me and screamed,
"How can you be so calm ... We're going to die."
I responded calmly,
"First of all, death is nothing more than a path to rebirth so why be afraid. And
second, the chosen of god just stole our backpacks."
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My father is an avid fisherman, a sport which I consider to be the fourth most boring thing in existence (football, baseball and basketball being the first three). So boring do I consider fishing that I'd almost be willing to do visualization exercises instead, but, one should attempt to share with family their enjoyments. But he invited me and, in order to learn something about the sport, I called up my student and asked her to teach me how to fish.
She responded that her neighbor, like herself, enjoyed the game of trying to convince some stupid fish to bite a hook and they were planning a trip to a lake in the nearby mountains and I would be welcome to attend. There was one catch, the neighbor was a xian minister.
I considered this a bit strange as my student was Wiccan and made no bones about it. In fact, sometimes I would avoid her during a lightening storm because of the vast amount of silver jewelry that she sometimes wore. But, she assured me that all would be cool as her neighbor made every effort to be extra polite to her in the vain hopes that she would 'see the light' and become a xian.
That morning, they picked me up and we drove to the lake, I listening tb the two of them discuss the water temperature, recent trout stockings and other such technical datum. In short, the drive was dull.
We arrived at the lake, set a cooler of beer on the shore with the rest of our stuff and went into the lake to a spot my student knew, anchored the boat and dropped the lines into the water and waited. And waited. And waited. And ... well, you get the picture. After a couple of hours interrupted by an occasional fish, I got thirsty and decided to go get a beer. So I ask the others if they wanted one, the reply was,
"No, thank you."
so I then stood up, got out of the boat and walked across the surface of the water to shore. I relieved myself, got a beer and walked back across the surface of the water to the boat and sat down.
The xian was looking at me with his jaw hanging to his chest so I thought that I had done something wrong. No, my zipper was up, I still had my pole, Perhaps he really did want a beer and misunderstood him. I offered mine but he kind of stammered and managed to say, in a high, squeaky voice,
I spent the next few minutes drinking and wondering if there were any undines in the lake until my student decided to get a beer herself. So she asked around if anyone else wanted one. I was fine so she stood up, got out of the boat, walked across the surface of the water, got a beer and walked back to the boat.
The xian gave her that same open-mouthed stare and shocked expression that he had given me. And then it hit me ... he was a teetotaler! I know that a lot of fundies are anti-alcohol even though their dead god made a habit of making his own wine, but this is just one of the many inconstancies that I was never able to understand about xianity.
I asked him about this and he said that he didn't have anything against alcohol in moderation then he went off onto sermon about miracles and the followers of christ being as gods and doing miracles in his name and how Witches' magick was just the devil doing a poor imitation of the true wonders of god and so on until my student finally said,
"Will you PLEASE shut up, you're scaring the fish."
He sat down and mumbled under his breath for awhile and I could catch fragments of the speech,
"...damned witches .... walking ... water into wine ... I am a minister of god ...should be able to better them... Aaron and serpents..Egypt ... I'll show them."
"I do believe that I am a bit thirsty and if no one minds, I will go and get me a beer."
And with that, he stood up, stepped out of the boat and sank to the bottom of the lake.
My student and I looked over the side of the boat and could see him just sitting in the mud thrashing around like a fool. I then turned to her and said,
"Do you think that we should have told him where the rocks are?"
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My student is an avid sports freak. So much does this influence her life that often, during the football season, I have a difficult time thinking up homework that she is willing to do. For example, one Autumn, I had to explain the death of the year in terms of two rival football teams clashing together while one, the looser, fading into obscurity and the other, the victor, being reborn at the Superbowl. This problem is made more difficult by my almost total disinterest in any sport save Martial Arts and cliff scaling.
Thus it was no surprise when she burst into my home one night with the story that one of her catholic golf partners had asked her for a spell to be a better golfer.
Now I, like Burroughs, consider golf to be a mental disorder so why someone, a catholic no less, would ask a Witch to use what they consider to be unholy methods, just to chase a little white ball around the yard is a complete mystery to me. But a job is a job and I told her to arrange a meeting for the New Moon.
The man was a middle aged person who wore a large cross under his polo shirt (with a set of crossed clubs instead of the alligator) and was understandably nervous about the meeting. After all, my student was quite open about her religious involvement and often wore so much silver Craft jewelry that I refuse to go near her during a lightening storm. Thus he knew that his golf partner was a Witch but this was the first time that he met a Real High Priest of a Real Coven in a Real Covenstead with Real Statues of Real Naked Goddess' and Ithyphallic Horned God's and so on and so forth.
Since 90% of magick is physics and 10% is Psychology, I try to impress the you- know-what out of my clients. Thus I was there in my Covenstead dressed in subtle jewelry with a lot of 'strange' stuff about, all designed to impress the gullible. After all, if they expect you to look like a gypsy and are paying you to look like a gypsy, then they will be more apt to believe in the spell if you look like a gypsy.
I should interject here that when I lecture on Wicca, the Religion, I always wear a suit and a small Pentagram tie tack or Horned God lepal pin. Tasteful, but conservative so the Cowans leave the lecture with the idea that Witches are simply normal people with a different religious belief system. But this is magick and though as a Gardnerian I am not allowed to accept pay for teaching or performing the Religion, magick is a small supplement to my income. And with three kids, I need the cash. But I digress.
So I spent a half-hour listening to this fool tell me about the glories of a sport that uses up too much water in the desert and why he wanted to be a great golfer. All along the 'discussion', my student would burst in with phrases like,
"Yes, I completely understand,"
"That is normal to do that,"
"I hate it when my shot hooks into the pond and I have to dig it out."
Now this last comment is not quite true as my student, a new and therefore fanatical Witch, would take any opportunity to show off her religion and probably had on many an occasion stripped in public to dive in after her balls just to show off a new craft painting on her behind.
Finally I agreed to do the spell but ... I expected to be paid for the work. My price?
For the next year my student would bore me with reports of how he had won this tournament or that one and how he had made a difficult hole under par (whatever that means) and so on until I was about to scream. But finally the year was over and he returned to show his clippings and trophies. So after a few minutes of his bragging, I asked about his love life. He replied,
I thought that there must have been something wrong there so I asked how many times he had gone to bed with a woman in the past year and he replied
"Two or three I think."
Now when my student has a difficult time with the celibacy rule before a ritual and I had to get my tubes tied to stop having kids, this idea of two or three times a year being 'not bad' didn't seem right. So I asked him how this could be.
He replied that two or three times a year wasn't a bad sex life for a catholic priest from a small parish.
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It was a number of years ago when the Air Force had sent me to Germany for reasons of their own. As I like to travel, I packed my bags and looked up the local Witches in order to share knowledge. The Litha Sabbat was interesting for a desert rat like me. Half the Coven was German and couldn't speak English, the other half was American and couldn't speak German so the Ritual was Bilingual, translated by the High Priestess who was both...i.e. her father was German and her mother was American Indian.
I endured the usual comments about my Travel Book Of Shadows being typed instead of handwritten (I leave my real BOS at home so it won't get lost) And we did the obligatory Kendo match before the rite.
(Not too many people know that Gardnerian Witches invented Kendo. In fact, one of the secret teachings, of Gardnerian Wicca, aside from the Chocolate Ritual, is that a man cannot become a High Priest unless he can so control his body and aura that the Shinai can't touch him in a match. When the Japanese took Kendo from us, they really didn't understand what Ki was so they had to invent Kendo armor for protection.
Gardnerians NEVER use any protection. Perhaps that is why many Gardnerians do the Symbolic Great Rite.)
It was a bit ... unusual to do a Sabbat at 2200 hours (that's 10 pm for you civies) and still have the Sun in the sky, but it was the Summer Solstice so I suppose that it was appropriate. Though the Rite started out robed for the eclectics present and then Skyclad for the Initiates and finally when the Sun set, robed again for the cold blooded Eclectics.
Later, my host, an Eclectic Witch who was not only an attractive blonde but the Big V as well (and in the Air Force also), dragged me away from this cute redheaded army chopper pilot and insisted that we leave for home. Well, as much as I love red- heads and helicopters and we were getting friendly, I was staying with the blonde so we left. But she promised to take me to Trier, the oldest city in Germany, in the heart of the Mosel wine region and sweetened the deal with Roman Ruins, good architecture and the promise of German chocolate.
Well, what can I say, my life is below my belt, like most men, and I'm afraid that sex must take a back seat to chocolate. So we went back to her place where she showed me her guest room and reminded me that she slept, not with men or women, but a .45. I got the hint.
The next day we drove to Trier and we spent the day visiting the Roman baths, arena, roads, and so on. I love architecture and Archeology and would have been in those fields except I flunked out of them for the same reason I flunked my main love Astronomy, math. I, being dyslexic, cannot learn advanced math. So I content myself with studying the structure of old buildings in my travels.
Later we went to the Roman bridge over the Mosel River that connected Germany with France. Neither of us had a passport, I never used them and she left hers at home. But, I couldn't resist the urge to go to France. After all, I was only a few hundred feet away. So I thought that I would walk over the bridge, be turned away and I could say that I, at lease, had set one foot in France. But the border guard waved me on without a second look and I was free in France.
I wandered along until I was hungry, completely forgetting my companion who was still across the river, and stepped into a restaurant.
Now, I've always felt that you need to know only three things in any language, 'Please', 'Thank you', and 'Where's the bathroom'. Anything else is extra. Because of my student, a Cherokee Indian with a flair for languages that I can only dream about, I've been able to add to my French, "oui"," no", and "ma petite choux, voulez- vous se coucher avec moi?" so, of course I was unable to read the menu.
But I chose the least expensive item on the menu and asked the waiter what it was.
His English was equal to my French and it sounded like "Peach Pousay",at the equalivant of some $20 American. Well, I couldn't visit France without eating French food and if I avoided lunch the next week I could afford it so I placed my order.
The waiter left and returned with a plate and one (1) peach. Even with inflation I know that peaches only cost 89 cents a pound so I was a bit upset with this, but when in France ... besides the waiter outweighed me by a good hundred pounds. So I reached for the peach only to have my hand slapped by the waiter who said,
"No, no, monsieur."
and he snapped his fingers.
This was answered by a waitress who began to do what may have been called in France, an erotic strip tease but I thought that was simply dirty. Fun, but dirty. When naked and sweaty, she plopped herself on the table with her legs spread and her privates inches from my plate, open for me to see all the way to her tonsils.
I thought that perhaps the $20 was for the floor show and again reached for the peach, but the waiter slapped my hand again, picked up the fruit, and mashed it all over the privates of the waitress so the woman was covered in peach and the peach was covered with woman.
By now I was beginning to see how French food got it's reputation and again reached for the peach with a bit more enthusiasm but the waiter again slapped my hand and said,
" No, no monsieur. Ze peach, she is no longer fit to eat ... one eats ze pousay!"
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I was in France after discovering that the border guards between France and Germany were even more lax with security than I was. Thus, without passport or language, I was in the land of the Can Can and dirty bathrooms.
I was slowly making my way back to the old Roman Bridge that connected the two countries over the Mosel River because I had left my host on the German side and it was time to return to base. Since she had brought me to Trier to see the carvings on the buildings I was anxious to see what else she could show me.
So far, I had seen Goddess carvings on many homes as well as Horned God carvings on homes and buildings. In fact, my favorite was a series of Horned Foliate masks on a building that turned out to be the xian temperance headquarters for the area. My perverse nature gave me the impulse to ask the xians why they were anti-alcohol in the middle of the Mosel wine country where wine was the livelihood of the region. Then I would ask why they, as xians, would have their building decorated with the images of the Horned God of the Witches. But my host in the country assured me that were they to realize that, they would destroy these priceless carvings that were made during the middle ages in a fit of xian purity. Thus, I chose to keep my big mouth shut.
Unfortunately, the female sailor had struck her head on the mast and had drowned before I arrived. I swam back to shore with her and tried CPR, invoked the Goddess for life and tried every spell and healing technique I could remember to no avail. She was cold-dead. And I was cold-barely frozen myself when I gave up to locate a cop.
I found a phone and took some time trying to find an operator who could understand enough English to put me through to the local police who then put me on hold until they could find someone of their own who could understand me. I always find it interesting that foreigners are never able to understand English, no matter how loud you scream it at them. Eventually, I was able to give my story and I was told to return to the body and wait for the police.
I returned to her only to find her stark naked with a naked man on top humping her for dear life. I was terribly angered with this disrespect and kicked him off screaming,
"What the **** are you doing to her, can't you see that she's dead?"
He jumped up and yelled,
"Dead? Mon Deau! I thought that she was an American."
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Go on to Part 6-9
To contact me or to request topics to be covered, send to RikJohnson@juno.com
by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
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