Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Should We Call Ourselves Wiccan?

Lately I've been torn. I've been Wiccan for 8 years now, but recently I have been questioning the validity of that statement.

It would appear that the people who "founded" this religion were crude, power hungry drug addicts who thought they were big enough people to lay down laws and rites for Wicca.

Now following what this religion has become over the years, I am still inclined to call myself Wiccan. Though I'm thinking this may be appropriate as I do not follow those guidelines set down by those men circa 1950. Do most people consider Gerald Gardner and Crowley to be the founders?

I know we have evolved since then, so I suppose I'm asking if it is appropriate to call ourselves "Wiccan" if we aren't practicing the tantric sex and other such things? As I am not inclined to follow their teachings, am I allowed to be called a follower of Wicca?

Personally, I believe in a good deal of the "Wiccan" way of thinking. I know all the history and practices, sects and of the like. Yet, on this I am perplexed. Is there something else to call ourselves? (Besides witches of course.) Or are the Crowley/Gardner scripts moot points?

Ethnicity and Religion

What part does your personal ethnic make-up play in your choice of deities and religious path? Or does it play any part at all?

How Solid Is Your Faith?

Recently, I've been questioning some of my personal beliefs. The God and Goddess of Wicca don't seem to fit into my perception of The Divine here lately, but I'm not sure what is "wrong" (for lack of a better term) with Them, or what it really is that I do believe in.

How many here are feeling/have felt this? What did you, personally, find to help you through this difficult and confusing phase? Any advise for someone who is going through it? Have you found a place where your faith is completely solid? Is there such thing as wholly unshakable faith?

(By "faith", I mean faith in your religion, religious beliefs, concepts of religion or Divinity, and/or lack thereof.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Class Preparation Time?

In a discussion elsewhere on the forum, someone commented that for each class she prepares, she spends about 100 hours in preparation. This doesn't match up with my experience at all, so I thought I'd ask about it.

For this, assume a 2-3 hour class with lecture/discussion material. (If you want to assume something else, or do something else, talk about it comments rather than voting, so that we can keep track of what the base assumptions are.)

1) If you teach Craft/Pagan/related classes, how long, on average, do you spend prepping them? Does your answer change if you're including exercises rather than lecture/discussion? (i.e. does it take more or less time to prepare exercise or activities?)

2) If you've only taken classes, or have thought about it, how long do you think your teachers have generally spent on prepping them? How long do you think is a reasonable return on time for prepping a class of that length?

3) What do you put into class prep or think goes into it? How much time do those things resasonbly take in your worldview? How do you approach it efficiently?

Serving the Gods: Whether They Want You To or Not!

This question one was brought to my mind last week when a client [suffering from paranoid schizophrenia] told me 'you're my friend, whether you like it or not' (or something to that effect). Kinda creepy, and my gut thought was 'you can't just declare someone to be a friend. If they don't like you, you can't call them a friend, however much you want to'

So later on I thought about how this might apply to Gods. I've noticed some people here talk about having started worshiping one pantehon, before being dragged away by another...

So, what are people's thoughts on the idea of worshipping a pantheon that just doesn't want you to? From simple 'not caring either way' to flat out 'please go away!' - this could include the people you think were not even worshipping their own Gods properly ('shut up Hekate! You're a crone Goddess, it says so here!').

Do you think it's possible to worship a pantheon that would actively prefer you to move on? Do Gods sometimes not want a worshipper? What happens if you try to stick with them anyway? And lastly, would a God who *was* trying to get your attention give up eventually?

Teaching Magic?

While doing some pondering over the use of magic in a Wiccan or Wiccanesque context the following question arose: How is magic taught to the neophyte/seeker in these groups? This main question led to the formalization of some others, more specific this time.

First, how do you dispel the popular definition of magic from the seeker's mind? What are the methods one is taugt to grasp the basics of this art/science.

Are there some books/websites you can recommend to me for a general overview of the magician's path and tool and the different kinds of magic? Websites would be prefered as they are easier to quote for my academic essay and cheaper on the expense for both my creative and academic projects, but books are okay as well

And a special question for the recons/reconish people: How do you practise magic, given the small resources we seem to have from ancient cultures, if you practice it at all?

Favorite Folk Tale?

In honor of The Brothers Grimm finally being released, a thread on folk tales! Do you have a favorite? Are there any that are personally meaningful to you? Are there any that drive you up the wall? Do non-mythic folk narratives play any part in the practice of your religion?

(Not really talking about myth here -- that's, like, the "highest" category of folk narrative: stories understood as sacred by the culture/religion that tells them; as myths are the narrative bases of religions we all take them fairly seriously. This thread is more about the "less profound" stories. Legends, which are folk "history," understood as taking place in real time and space -- Charlemagne, King Arthur, saints, most fairy lore-- are fair game. As are folk tales, which are understood by the people who tell them as fictions for entertainment; there's "realistic" folk tales (i.e., clever peasant outwits farmer) and magic, or "fairy," tales (Cinderella, Snow White, etc.) -- all are cool.)

Candle Magick Questions

I've read the simple candle magik page on the web site but would like people who use candles in magiks to clarify a few things for me. I'm an Asatruer, so I don't do a lot of magik, but I practice simple folk traditions and magics to complement my path, and I don't see a big issue in this. But after being on pagan forums and such I've decided to perform some simple traditional western ritual magik and this is what leads me to ask some clarification regarding candles in ritual:

1) How important is it to use only 'virgin' candles? I've used a candle that had been lit only briefly ounce before by myself and it worked fine for meditation and flame gazing.

2) Does the candle have to be left burning and be 'used up' or can you 'reuse' a candle used soley for ritual? Seems like a waste of candles to just let them burn out completely if a ritual dosen't nessicerily require you to do so?

3) Do candles need to be scented ones?

4) How important is dressing a candle really?

5) The cauldron article i found a little vague on the issue of size and shape. The budget of a student restricts me mostly to smaller candles? There are some nice little float shaped-ones i know i can easily source (for cheap) but will odd float or round ones be off-putting-they don't really look 'like a candle' as such.

6) In a ritual requireing multiple candles (I'm not there yet but I might as well ask) should they all be the same size/shape?)

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