Greetings everyone, or, as they say in various Pagan communities, Merry Meet.

I thought I’d share my ideas behind this blog with you all, now that I’ve finally put it together and have it up and running, and I figured it’d be fun to do it in a question-and-answer format.

So.  Who are you, exactly?
Hi, I’m Ailuros, and I’m your host here at Of Lights and Shadows.  27-years-old as of this post, I started my Pagan path in 2003, right before I turned 15, and spent the majority of my early training teaching myself through books.  Since then, I studied a little bit with the local branch of Black Forest, I gained a wonderful mentor of all things magickal, and am currently a student of the Temple of Witchcraft.  I am a small business owner, a tribal fusion bellydancer, engaged to a wonderful man who is my lover from many past lives, a future step-mother (or step-witch, as she likes to call me), and mother to two mischievous kitties.

Why a blog, and what will you be posting?
I’ve been wanting to put together a witchy blog for a while now, inspired by friends that blog about similar topics (especially Tim Titus’s blog and Mat at The Astrarium) and blogs that I follow at Witches and Pagans.  This is a fun, personal side-project for me in which I will share ideas, information, yummy recipes I find/create and anecdotes from my personal path as it evolves.  I’m planning to post once or twice a week as well as on/around each New Moon, Full Moon and Sabbat.

Why “Of Lights and Shadows?”
Honestly, it just clicked the other day.  I had been trying to figure out what my blog name would be for about a month, and in the midst of a conversation while also reading this article, I had it.  I feel that it works perfectly with my own personal path.  I am drawn to chthonic (Underworld) and liminal (In-Between) deities in my workings, and I have been dancing with my shadow for the past year now, doing inner work to improve myself on a personal level so I can be more helpful to those around me.  There are gifts to be found in both the light and the dark, in the bright sunlight and the shadows the light casts; you cannot have one without the other.  So really, it is a dance of balance, and I hope to share this with you all.

What’s the deal with signing posts “Brightest and Darkest Blessings”?
You can’t know light without darkness, and you can’t have darkness without light.  Each one is essential, and we have both light and shadow within us.  Most people look to their inner light for guidance and blessings, but we must also look to our inner shadow, for the lessons, blessings and gifts we find there are essential and profound.

Are you really a Witch?  Isn’t all this stuff just make-believe?
Yes, I really am a Witch – Spiritual Pagan Witch, if you really need to put a label on me (personal term), and no, this isn’t make-believe.  Witches, Wiccans, Pagans, Druids, Ceremonial Magicians, etc., know how to tap into the energy of the Universe and work with that energy to create a desired change in their lives – that’s the definition of magick (spelled with a “k” to differentiate from sleight-of-hand stage magic).  Christians do this, too, via prayer.  It’s the same basic idea, but the terminology and execution are different.

Do you follow a specific tradition or path?
I’m what you would call eclectic, meaning I pull from various sources and mix what I’ve learned in my personal cauldron to make a tradition that is all my own.  This is the way that I’ve been since I started learning/teaching myself in 2003, and you will find that there are many eclectic Witches, Wiccans and Pagans out there, as well as those that follow a stricter tradition (ex. family-trad, Dianic, Alexandrian, etc.).  That being said, I am currently studying with the Temple of Witchcraft (second level student as of this post), and it most definitely feels like home to me.

I’m interested in learning.  Will you teach me?
The answer to that is no, I’m sorry, but I don’t teach.  I can point you in the direction of some great books to start with and some informational websites, but I cannot at this point make the commitment to teach others when I still feel that I have so much to learn on my own path; I’ve tried it before, and it wasn’t something that I was able to pull off by myself.  Instead, I suggest you start off looking for a Pagan presence in your community, and do some research on what groups, covens or groves might be local or close to you.  Attend a local pagan event or two to get a taste of what is available before going gung-ho into a group.  Always, always, always do your research, and don’t feel bad if the group you found first doesn’t click with you internally.  Paganism is about doing what feels right to our souls.

If you have any other questions for me, feel free to comment on this post, down at the bottom of the page.  Also, if there are topics you’d like to see me cover, comment with those as well.

Brightest and Darkest Blessings.