Sexuality and Paganism - Part 1: What Is Pagan Sexuality?

Most people who are new to Paganism or who have been raised outside the world of Paganism seem to think that wild orgies in the forests and drunken, drugged out sex parties are the norm for Pagans and Pagan Covens. People who come in to this world looking for that, are quickly disappointed! While Pagans do tend to be more sexually open minded than the average person it doesn't mean they lack sexual morals or that they can't or don't form long term relationships. Pagans are very tolerant of all forms of "alternative sexuality" but they are just as interested and as open to love as any other group...

One of the most common and most enduring myths surrounding Pagan women is the idea that they are all nymphomaniacs. While men are subjected to this myth as well, it tends to be less often than women, and are more often than not asked questions about how often they get to have sex with the "wild Pagan women" than they are faced with an equal stereotype.

Pagans do tend to be more open to sexual experimentation than non-Pagans, and Pagans are certainly more tolerant of "alternative sexualities" but wild Pagan orgies, just aren't a normal reality. And those joining covens or hunting our a Pagan lifestyle hoping for these types of activities are going to be sadly disappointed!

Most Pagans were raised by non-Pagans and grew up in a sexually restrictive society, so they have to deal with all the same issues as non-Pagans. They also have to deal with the same concerns about safe sex, consensual sex, and appropriate sexual activity as everyone else in modern society. While the beliefs of a Pagan as an individual may be different from the society around them, they are still held by the same basic rules of society and most definitely the same laws as anyone else.

This is not to say that Pagans don't enjoy sex. They most certianly do! But the point is that while some Pagan Holidays celebrate sexuality, Paganism as a religion is NOT about sex! Should you ever come across a group or coven which requires sexual initiation or seems to have been formed so the leader can have sex with nubile young women, RUN FAST & FAR! This is NOT a legitimate Pagan group or coven...

Pagan Sexual Mores

Most Pagans were raised with a mix of conflicting sexual messages due to centuries of sexual oppression and negative sexual attitudes as well as more recent exploitative representations in the media.  Many grew up dealing with being told on one side that "Sex is Sinful" and on the other side that "Everyone is doing it." In more recent years this contradictory attitude has grown to include the teaching to "Respect everyone's sexual freedom" and to "Disprove of sexual activities outside the norm."  It's no wonder so many people grow up with warped views of sex and sexuality as a whole...

For the average Pagan, changing their thinking from what they were taught to a more tolerant view of sexuality isn't something difficult. But for others it can be a real obstacle. Unfortunately it's one that each must face in their own way, and I can not provide a real "how too" on the subject of handling. But I do suggest for those who face this issue to find someone to talk to, explore how they feel and why and to educate themselves on these alternative sexualities. You will find in general that within the Pagan community you'll encounter much less judgment and criticism and much more respect and tolerance when it comes to sexuality as a whole.


Respecting Yourself & Others

For most Pagans the Goddess plays an important role religiously. Due to this most Pagans find it easy to be respectful towards women. It also helps that most Pagan men were either a part of the 1970's feminist movement, were raised by parents who at least respected it's goals or have grown up in the world since that movement's influence has taken hold.

Pagan Sexuality, as Pagan life, centers around respect. Respect for physical needs, physical health and the Gods who gave us that body.  Masturbation has no negative associations, because Pagans understand that each person is a sexual being with their own sexual needs. Suppressing those needs because of outdated ideas about sin is not emotionally, mentally or physically healthy.

Sex CAN be a sacred act. It's important to understand the gods wish for you to enjoy your sexual nature, they don't want you to put yourself or others in danger by doing so. Nor do they want for you to do something you are not comfortable with simply because others are doing so. It's important to understand your own comfort levels and know and respect the risks involved with any sexual activity. If you respect your own limits and comfort levels, others will as well.

Practice Tolerance

Monogamy, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Asexuality, BDSM, and polyamory all have a place within Pagan society, as do Transgendered persons of all types. And as Paganism grows as an "alternative" religion, as will the numbers of believers who live "alternative" lifestyles or who have an "alternative" sexuality.

As a rule any activity which causes no harm, whether alternative or not, it tolerated (accepted without judgment). Pagans understand that just because you might not be drawn to a certain sexual activities doesn't mean you are wrong or immoral. At the same time, it's not expected that simply because you are Pagan that you have to experiment with you own sexuality. Again, it's about knowing and respecting you!

As with every other facet of Pagan life, you'll find that every type of lifestyle and belief is and can be included within the Pagan community about sexuality. At the base of the issue is the belief that sex is not something which is or was ever meant to be coveted or hidden... Sex is not dirty, it's not sinful, it's not dangerous. Instead sexuality is something which should be enjoyed and embraced in how ever manner YOU are comfortable with. IF you are open to alternative sexual experimentation, it's okay! If you're not, that's okay too! However as a Pagan you need to be prepared to encounter people from all sexual walks of life and understand that they not only expect, but deserve the same tolerance of their lifestyle as you do of yours.

What to Read? Reading By Author: Scott Cunningham

The first "What to Read" segment was solely for "Beginner Books" and came from all different authors and sources... For the next few installments I am going to focus on just ONE author at a time. Many Pagan Authors have their own following of fans who just love their writing style and knowledge. I can't tell you which authors YOU will love, but these lists will hopefully help you to find a favorite or just build your library.

Our first Featured Author is Scott Cunningham (June 27, 1956 – March 28, 1993).

Scott Cunningham was first introduced to the Occult and Pagan world of Covens through a highschool friend. She also introduced him to Wicca, and helped him to start his training. He studied creative writing at San Diego State University, where he enrolled in 1978. After two years in the program, however, he had more published works than several of his professors, and dropped out of the university to write full time. During this period he had as a roommate magical author Donald Michael Kraig and often socialized with witchcraft author Raymond Buckland. In 1980 Cunningham began initiate training under Raven Grimassi and remained as a first-degree initiate until 1982 when he left the tradition in favor of a self-styled form of Wicca.

In 1983, Scott Cunningham was diagnosed with lymphoma, which he successfully battled. In 1990, while on a speaking tour in Massachusetts, he suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with AIDS-related cryptococcal meningitis. He suffered from several infections and died in March 1993. He was 36.

His most widely known book, and by far most popular is Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner which includes his personal book of shadows. Originally published in 1988, this Guide has helped hundreds of thousands of new Wiccans discover their paths and become comfortable within their new lives... However, it's highly recommended for anyone interested in or following a Pagan Path as just a good guide which is easily altered to fit the personal beliefs of the reader...

Below you will find a full list of writings by Scott Cunningham...

1980 - Shadow of Love (fiction)
1982 - Magical Herbalism: The Secret Craft of the Wise
1983 - Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic
1985 - Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs
1987 - The Magical Household: Spells & Rituals for the Home
1987 - Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic
1988 - The Truth About Witchcraft Today
1988 - Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
1989 - The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews
1989 - Magical Aromatherapy: The Power of Scent
1991 - Earth, Air, Fire & Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic
1991 - Magic In Food: Legends, Lore & Spellwork
1993 - Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen
1993 - Divination for Beginners: Reading the Past, Present & Future
1993 - Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
1993 - Spell Crafts: Creating Magical Objects
1993 - The Truth About Herb Magic
1994 - The Truth About Witchcraft
1995 - Hawaiian Magic & Spirituality
1995 -Hawaiian Religion & Magic
1997 - Pocket Guide to Fortune Telling
1999 - Dreaming the Divine: Techniques for Sacred Sleep
2009 - Cunningham's Book of Shadows: The Path of An American Traditionalist

Below you'll find a few "Reader Reviews" and "Reader Ratings" so that you can see what actual readers think... If you have read any of the writings of Scott Cunningham and would be willing to share your feelings, please post them below in our comments area!

"Ive read his book about herbs....I really like it, its a good reference book.  Ive also read his book about Wicca:Guide to the Solitary Practitioner.  Its what opened my eyes to what Wicca was about so Id give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars."  -  Amaranth361 (via CafeMom)
 
"Wicca in the Kitchen (encyclopedia of) by Scott Cunningham is a book I refer to often. I would give it 5 stars as a reference book. It has very little magical instruction though so if that is what you are after I would recommend looking elsewhere. That said I love this book and keep it on hand in my kitchen at all times. It lists the magical and healing  properties of almost all imaginable foods. I turn to it when I want to prepare myself a dish that will give me extra "oomph" in my magical desires. It is also a great reference for preparing festival (or other symbolic foods). If you enjoy food, cooking, and magic then there is no way you could not love this book."  -  Teralita (via CafeMom)

"I'd recommend them all because they're easy to read and not intimidating at all for newcomers.  My favorite is Incense, Oils, and Brews because it was my first spell book and focused on my favorite things."  -  Sherriet (via CafeMom)

"I have a lot (trying to get all) of his books. I love them all so far and would recommend them to everyone."  -  Pixie92 (via CafeMom)

"I have read and own "The magical household: spells & rituals for the home."
It has has things on old timey house lore, and the chapters are: the hearth, thresholds of power, furnishings, dreaming, stove and spoon, bathing and brushing, the indoor garden, fur,fins, and feathers, the mystic garden, the garage, protection, by broom and rag, household purifications, moving, the magical year, house spells, household omens and portents, & the household altar. And it just gives you really great info in every chapter. and covers every section of the house. i think one of my favorite sections are the "by broom and rag" section. its about how cleaning the home is a ritual itself :). i also like the "moving" section, very kool stuff in there.  I would give this book 5 stars lol. :)"  -  Pinkdragonsegg (via CafeMom)

That Which Motivates Man Forward

This is a reply to a person in a recent discussion on a forum. The topic was "Ego". Since I spent most of my life ..and several previous lives wrongly demonizing ego, and since so many of my "Spiritual" friends make the same mistake...I decided to post that part of the discussion here. This is a reply to a person who had defined ego as I used to, through dualist lenses .
"Yes (persons name), all this is understood, but what we are doing here is taking it to the next step of understanding. We have divided one thing for millennia now, and this division in the understanding of ego/soul has caused 99% of what ails humanity. So now we finally come to face a truth beyond the dualistic understanding and progress as a Humanity.
The ego and soul as I have stated are the very same thing, with a very simple definition. 
The ego/soul:  is that which motivates man forward.
 
And the problem with understanding this has arisen from Humanity’s lack of understanding of how we evolve. Once that is reconciled it becomes a simple thing to accept that the ego and soul are the same thing.
Think of it like this.   First that Life/evolution is a circular thing. It’s not a straight line, and it’s not a trip up the stairs. It is a circular journey that begins when the soul splits off from the “Sun” so to speak.  Imagine at this point the soul sets foot on a solid Earth, and begins walking. It is compelled to walk forward (evolve)….this compulsion is the energy of the ego/soul. “That which motivates man forward”.  So we start walking away from that Flash of Light, that separation from the Sun that bore us into being. We start walking around this circular path… For the first half of the journey we are moving further away from our Beginning. We are motivated by Desire and Fear. We seem to be getting “further from Spirit”, but in actuality we are moving towards a point of culmination in Matter that is Our Unique Separate Expression…that which defines a separate individual cell in the “body of God”…so to speak. That is the first part of our destiny…and yes, it is as far from Our beginning as it is possible for us to get….yet this is our sacred destiny, our unique song in the choir … that special Note that when harmonized with all the other notes out there…make the OM…the Breath and Sound of Spirit.  From a dualistic perspective of Light and Dark, Good and Evil some will say this is the point of ultimate egotism…yet it is our sacred contribution.  But guess what, we’ve reached the halfway point of walking around that Circle…we’ve reached the culmination of what we can be as separate and distant from our point of Creation…yet now our path returns to that. Henceforth every step we take takes us closer to our Beginning.Our fears become Illuminated now because that "Sun" is before us now, not behind us...and our desire is exchanged for aspiration. Now this is our destiny. Where we had sought a separate unique expression....now we seek a Unity. Yet what has motivated us in all this is the same thing, the same energy. Humans have judged the first half of every souls journey as Bad(named it Ego, or Satan or Ignorance) because it seems to be taking the person further from Spirit…but this is how It works, and it’s the very same path that will lead them back to Spirit.  We have come to judge the first part of the Journey as “Bad”, or Dark…as compared to the return path as “Good” and towards Light. Yet it is the same Path, and none have ever skipped the first part. In our History, and still now for some we all must move away from the Light….before we can Return. That is the totality of our Destiny as souls. 
And it just occurred to me how most of man's inhumanity to man has been from folks who figured they were the “Good Guys” and were opposing those who they considered were the “Bad Guys”.
We are here to Be….and not to Judge…
Everyone has to tread the Path from beginning to end, and none of us skipped that first part….
Ego and Soul are the same thing: That which motivates Man forward.

Meditation - What, Why and How!

People from all paths and all corners of the globe practice meditation. On a physical and mental level it's a wonderful way to calm and balance yourself, bring more positive energy and relaxation in to your life and to help rid yourself of negative energy and stress. It's only been in recent years that modern medicine has started to recognize the physical benefits of meditation.  The breathing and visualizations employed by traditional medicine help patience fight cancer, physical illnesses, relieve stress and so on.

In addition to the physical and mental benefits of Medication, the spiritual and religious benefits have been documented since the early years of documented religion. On a spiritual level Meditation enables us to tap in to a direct connection with the divine. Meditation helps the physical conscious mind connect with the higher consciousness we all have inside ourselves. Through practice and dedication, this bridging between our physical and divine selves, opens the doors to a new spiritual knowledge that has always existed, but that we may not have know how to tap into...

Meditation is basically an altered state of consciousness which is achieved through controlled breathing and visualization. Webster's New World Dictionary defines meditation as a deep continued thought and solemn reflection on sacred matters as a devotional act. While BOTH of these definitions are right, neither are really a full explanation, for Meditation is SO much more.
    
As you begin to practice meditation, you should begin noticing a few early effects. You should become a little calmer and more relaxed during your regular daily activities. You also find yourself better able to handle unexpected events or can think more clearly when dealing with a problem or trying to find a solution. The stress and tension you experience day to day should begin to lessen each time you meditate. As you continue your meditation practices you'll see these benefits multiply and grow!

On a spiritual side, you may notice an increased interest or understanding of your chosen spiritual path. Personally, I feel this is due to your new found connection to your "higher" consciousness and a lower level of day to day stress and tension which may have previously made religious or spiritual aspects of life seem of lower importance. In addition to an increased interest in your path, you may also feel a greater need to improve or add to the amount of positive thinking and energy in your life. Which is best achieved by first changing how we thing - which is another benefit of Meditation! (I will cover this more in the Law Of Attraction Post)

Okay, now that we have covered both the What and the Why... Let's cover the How...

So, how do you meditate? There are many well-known methods. Included here is just one rather basic yet, effective method of meditation.

You Will Need
One large white candle
(use the same candle each time you meditate, when it burns down simply buy a new)
Matches Or Lighter
**Optional: Light sea or nature sound recordings or music


Basic Meditation Ritual

Light the candle and sit in front of it in any position you feel comfortable.
Breathe deep; fill your lungs with air.
Release.
Repeat this seven times.
Look in to the candle flame and clear your mind.
(Do this as much as possible. At first you probably won't be able to totally clear your mind)
Take another three deep breaths.
Hum lightly.
Focus on looking into the candle flame.
(If looking directly in to the flame hurts your eyes, look a bit below it)
Keep Humming.
You should feel your body relaxing. Soon you will be in a trance state.
(Some describe this as a very relaxed state, hypnotic state or free floating)

Once you have reached this trance state you are ready to preceded with the ceremony, ritual or just to face the day!

**DO NOT be upset if it takes some practice before you are able to reach the trance state... It will not come automatically and does take practice.

Pagan 10 Commandments

1. There is more than one God and Goddess....do not honor one above another, and respect each individual's right to honor the God or Goddesses of their choice.

2. All things are created equal, and each thing is created in an image of the All.

3. Do no speak ill of the Gods, for each thing that happens happens for a purpose or reason that we may not yet be privy to.

4.  Keep your holy days sacred. Whichever of the holy days you chose to observe, follow them in your own way and preserve their memory for your children.

5. Honor our elders for they hold much knowledge. Follow the instructions of your parents and bring honor to their household. Insist that your children do the same.

6. Honor Nature and the spirit of the Earth; do not destroy any of the God or Goddesses creations without just cause.

7. Regard sexuality as sacred and do not defile it with abusive acts, or use it as an excuse to degrade others.

8. Do not set yourself up higher than anyone else, nor take tangible items from another, nor steal their thoughts and present them as your own.

9. Do not speak falsely of others; neither gossip nor lie.

10. Do not covet what others have; rather, treat your belongings with respect and care.


Published ( 2004 ) Earth Beleifs.

How would I live today if I knew there was no tomorrow?

When I think about how I'd live today if I knew there were no tomorrow, I'd spend the entire day laughing and playing with my family, which prompted me to capture some really fun moments we've had lately...

- Ean's new favorite thing to say when you change his diaper is "change diaper,powder fresh!"

- As we're trying to teach Ean to go to the potty, we've been using Elmo to encourage him since we have this really great "Elmo Potty" book. Only problem, he tells us every time we change him..."Elmo, no diaper - Elmo potty" ha!

- Ean came up to me last night with an unusual silence and said "potty water." He then showed me his dripping wet hand. Oh my!

- I love how Ean now says "Please, mommy" when he wants something. I wish I could record and keep it forever. I think I will!

- I taught Ean the MICKEY MOUSE song one day and we decided to download from itunes. Now, he says "Mickey Song - march!" since we march together around the kitchen every time it comes on.

- I love to watch Ean and his dad run around the kitchen. We fondly refer to Ean as "Forest" since he keeps saying "run, run" with nowhere to really go:)

- Ean loves throwing the ball now - only problem is he doesn't understand that he needs a bit more than 5 inches from you to do so...ouch!

- We have a cat door on the door leading to our garage (but of course no cat!). I love it when I drive in I'm surprised by a hand coming out at me and Ean laughing and yelling "Mommy!"

- One of my most favorite things is dinner time. We started the tradition of both Carlos and I holding Ean's hands as we pray. One night we forgot, and he reached for our hands to remind us. Sweet, sweet Ean.

- When I take Ean for his bath at night, he loves to run to his room and pull out a pacifier that I have put away from his time in NICU. He sucks it and says "Baby sister." I told him once we'd let her use it when she comes home to us from Africa.

We really do have so many things to be thankful for in our family. So, next time I have doubts about God's plan or what makes today special from the next, I will remember all these great moments on my list.

A Wise New Friend

As we were driving home from our town chores today I was telling Taryn how I hadn't been meditating for about a week and my body wasn't all that happy about it. Then when we got home she went down to put the goats to bed and I went out to water the gardens. When I got to the pond there was this beautiful frog sitting there. It didn't seem to mind me coming into it's space, so I decided to spend some time with it.

Then I thought, boy it'd be nice to get some pics of the little Beauty so I called to Taryn who was back at the house now to bring me the camera.  Just look at the cute little fella or fellerina.

Well the frog kinda had me locked in with it's eyes so I decided to stay awhile and just hang with it.

It became very contemplative and at one point when I asked the frog just what it was doing....I got a whole bunch of answers all at once.

Well it wasn't doing anything...it was just there...that was the point. But it's there was quite a ways beyond the periphery of it's cute little body...
AND while doing nothing but being there it was also enticing in bugs with it's breath that it was making into a little stream for them to follow back to it.  Very Interesting....

And before you knew it I was just there..... and breathing....and making a  path with my breath for the mosquitoes to follow back to me...

Then I was just there....but quite a ways beyond the periphery of this body I'm carrying around (or vise versa).... and the view kept changing and I swear I was looking through the eyes of a frog.....
And my body was happy...

A whole bunch of beautiful naked people

Look at those curves. I like the way the tan fades into white.

This is carved in Onyx
Mountain Mahogany..
More Mountain Mahogany.. love the colors
Birdseye Maple
And here are some tree earrings in Birdseye Maple
Malachite inlaid in Birdseye Maple
Spalted Myrtle Burl
Mountain Mahogany

And here's a scrimshaw I did on an old Piano Key thanks to Lara and her family..
OK, maybe I lied about the naked people, but it got you to look..

"This is for MY Glory". . .

We had a rough evening last night. Ean has been showing agression toward Carlos and I - hitting and kicking. We've tried talking, time-outs, and grabbing his hands - but nothing has worked to stop the hitting. So, we finally reached out to the specialist that monitored him the last two years due to his premature birth. She gave us a few pointers and recommended that we see a behaviorial specialist. Ah - just what I wanted - to be seeing a therapist when my son is only 2 years old! I mean, how much damage could I have caused in 2 years!

I've really struggled with this the last week. I question what I've done to cause him to be so angry and so unwilling to work with us, especially when I see how he responds so positively to others intervention. Does he dislike me that much?

I imagine every working mom goes through times of guilt and regret for the time the miss with their kids. For me, it's been especially hard since I always wanted to be home with Ean. It's only the last few months that it became very clear to our family that we needed to make changes to allow me to at least be home part time in the near future. Lord willing - it will happen someday.

For now, my heart breaks when Ean says "mommy work" when I leave in the mornings. And, when he expects the same thing on Saturday. I reassure him that mommy would be there every day if I could. So, I guess at times like this, I blame myself for his behavior.

Which leads us to last night - the specialist came to our house to observe. Naturally, Ean was in rare form. After 5 ineffective timeouts in the pack-n-play, she asked if she could try an alternative - the dreaded corner! Naturally, we said yes. We want things to change. I, however, had no idea how emotionally draining the process would be. Ean had to stand quietly in the corner with his face toward the wall and hands to his side. He cried, he looked for mommy and daddy, he asked mommy and daddy to come back, he cried "ok" to her commands to obey but nothing stopped the tears. It hurt me so deeply to feel his fear and need of me. But, in the end, after 15 minutes he made it and was allowed to leave the corner.

The goal was accomplished. He accepted his punishment - but it was so painful for all of us!

Which leads me to today, emotionally drained and feeling helpless to help my son accept his punishment. I am led to the cross. As I ran this morning, I praised our Lord for his amazing grace. He already took the punishment for me, and as much as I want to take it for Ean, I know that he has to do this one on his own.

The Lord reminded me today that ALL of this is for His glory. I pray every day with Ean that he will know our Lord as his savior and that those little hands will be gentle and abounding in love for others as he becomes a man.

We will all learn and grow through this, and we will celebrate Him for his Amazing Grace! May this all be for Your Glory, Lord.

Happy Anniversary Taryn

Two years ago under our favorite cedar tree out front Taryn and I were Married. This is a picture of us on that day... We'd been together for more than three years by that point, though we struggled not to admit this for maybe almost the first year...after all she was so much younger than me....and every narrow minded person I've ever known would probably have something negative to say about us getting together.. But the fact was we were together long before we even admitted it to ourselves, we just finally had to give in to what already was.... and that was Heaven.  I wonder how many people deprive themselves of Heaven because they are afraid of what other folks will think? But the fact is we were together from the first second we set eyes on each other, and finally two years ago tomorrow we officially expressed that reality to the Universe (as though it didn't already know.)  These 5 years with Taryn have been the best years of my life, the most Real, the most Healthy, the most filled with Love and Joy. Not meaning to sound corny here but it's been like we each had a hole in us, an emptiness that nothing filled, until we came together. And now I feel whole...complete, and finally at Peace.  And she feels the same way... How Perfect is that?  And it just keeps getting better and better..... and now there is a sweet baby coming... Better and Better.....
I lived most of my life attempting to please others, and giving up my own happiness in the process, feeling some deep past life notion that maybe this was a noble effort...this relinquishing of self.  And I suppose we all have a lifetime or two where this is a necessary lesson..... but it get's old, and if we keep to that route......we lose our own path.
But the funny, the amazing and wonderful thing is that Taryn IS my Path. Pleasing her....is pleasing my own soul. How Perfect is that? 
So Darling I want to say to you thank you for coming into my Life and bringing with you Truth, and joy... And thank you for bringing me back to Myself....back to my Path, and my Home, which is ALL you. I love you so much, I love our life, I love your sweetness and honesty and integrity...... and I really love how you love me....go figure.  Thank you Universe for bringing me to this Heaven, and thank you for letting me slowly learn to Believe it, and accept it.
Taryn, you are my Life, you most glorious wife.

A very productive week

This was an amazing week for productivity. I'm getting my technique down so I can get a lot more done. Instead of doing one piece at a time, and going from stage to stage to stage. I do them all at once. I do all of them at the same stage, then go to the next stage and do them all. That way I'm not constantly changing tools and bits and sandpapers and buffing wheels etc.  I get a lot more done.  This week I used some amazing woods, you'll see. And I have a new technique I'm using that I call cut downs, so I can make things a little less expensive, but still nice.
This is turquoise inlaid in cocobolo wood. I like it because for me it's a left side right side pattern. You either see the turquoise, or the wood pattern...It's cool...
This is amazing wood, and an amazing stone. The wood is a multi colored piece of mountain mahogany , the stone I think is called Indian Paint rock, cut by our favorite stone cutter John. It's backed with super soft leather and has horn beads. I love the way the stone matches the wood...
This is a pregnant goddess of turquoise inlaid in spalted myrtle burl.

Another amazing stone cut by John, a turquoise/matrix kind of deal, set in a darker Mountain Mahogany.
This is a tree I carved in Mountain Mahogany.
This is a reaslly cool tribal piece, also in a rare colored piece of Mountain Mahogany, inlaid with turquoise and with a ruby garnet set in a silver bezel. The beaded part is really nice, but didn't show up in this pic.
Tiger eye in cocobolo.
A nice Turquoise OM inlaid in Birdseye Maple.
This is really rare. It's a piece of Myrtle Root Burl, set with Kingman Turquoise. This wood is as hard as stone.
This is the new technique I was talking about, I've been calling it cut down for lack of a better word emerging. Basically I carve out the design, but shallow, then use a dark stain to paint it in. This is Venus's face carved in Birdseye Maple Burl.  Maybe I'll call it "carved down", so it doesn't sound like a dis...a jab, a burn, a cut, a rude thing to say...
This piece of wood blows me away. Mountain Mahogany set with Kingman Turquoise I got many years ago from the mine.
This was a maple burl set with Malachite.

This is another example of a "Carve down". See even though this wood is very hard, I can still sell this for under 20 dollars, which makes me feel good to get some stuff out there for everybody... These earrings are also Carve down's.
I also did a bunch of buttons, these are deer horn.
These are Birdseye Maple

Well that was just a few of the pieces, hope you enjoyed...