Sunday, April 29, 2007

Structure vs Fluidity?

How much structure do we have in our beliefs? How much structure do we need in our beliefs? A Pantheon? A Ceremony? Ritual? Worship?

What makes me an effective massage therapist is that I am very intuitive - my hands are constantly asking questions, and the client (equine or human) is answering in one way or another. That is how I practice my Spirituality - always asking, and waiting for the answers. It's organic, like tree roots that follow the water, and grow along the path of least resistance.

This does lead to problems; I am at once trying to keep up with some Internet forums, write a novel, build a massage clientele, and working a 48+ hour per week job. Sometimes the tree needs pruning, or at least trimming.

So instead of a grid, or formal structure of any significant scale, I have fluidity. Anyone's beliefs are valid to them, and I respect that. In the case of Osama bin Laden and other fundies, I don't agree (in that they are detrimental to society as a whole), but I still respect these views as being truth from a certain point of view.

What structure I do have is on a very small scale, sort of like the grains of sand in an oyster; these grains being along the lines of all life is sacred, even tasty life such as deer and apples, or everyone has something to teach me, even if it is negative in nature, or if I'm not enjoying myself, I need to examine my intent.

Certainly lack of structure has hampered me in some ways. I accept this as an imperfection, but I hardly expect myself to be perfect. Being effective is much more important. Perhaps more structure in some aspects of my life would help me be more effective, but that is something that will have to grow, organically, once I give it permission.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Non-Human Communication

I find that with some of my crystals I can have rather in depth conversations, there responses being mostly emotional, intuitive feelings. With plants I can communicate, but it is a lot more difficult. And when I comes to animals I just can't get information to go either way.

Does anyone else find this to be true? If so do you have any ideas as to why? I have some ideas of my own, but I'll wait to see if anyone else experiences the same thing before I tell it.

If you don't find this to be true is it because you don't try to communicate or is it because you find "plant talk" and "animal talk" as easy or more so than "crystal talk"?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dealing with Doubt?

How do you deal with doubt? What happens when you suddenly think "What if I'm just making this up?" and what do you do to get on track?

I'd post an answer if I had one.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Review: The 13 Original Clan Mothers

This unique book is unlike anything else that I have read. This collection of Native American wisdom is delivered in a oral-tradition style which I found quite appropriate. Although directed at a feminine audience, the advice proffered by each of these Clan Mother's is also the very best I've ever read for anyone, male or female, in how best to approach Life and view Self. Nor does it have even a drop of "self-help" feel in the writing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion

I picked it up today at the library after seeing one of my friends reading it in my work-study job the other day. I have to say, I am intrigued, amused and thoroughly enjoying the little I have read so far, despite my disinclination to follow his advice (and goal) and "be atheist when I put it down." As I told one friend today who was looking at it, I've already had one spiritual crisis in which I left the religion of my childhood. Ain't about to have another.

Has anyone else read this? Thoughts? Responses? Criticisms? Rants?

Dislocation and Getting to Know Your Local Environment

I have trying to become more in tune with my environment as it relates to my practice--noting when the leaves come out, when they fall, when the first snow comes, the first blistering hot day of summer and so on. I would like to incorporate these things into my practice, and set up a more "localized" calendar that will help me feel more in tune with the earth.

The thing is, I'm a little displaced. I am a student living in Philadelphia, PA who originally hails from (and returns to in the summer and winter breaks) San Antonio, Texas. As might be inferred, the climate is quite different in Texas than Philly--for one thing, we have no fall, and summer lasts from April to November. In Philly, there is such a thing as fall and such a thing as snow, and there is such a concept as "fall weather fashion."

My question is: Are there others in my position, and how do you reconcile your displacement with the local seasons and changing climate? Do you try to adapt to the environment you're temporarily in? Or do you follow the seasons of where you feel "at home," even if that home is miles away?

To me, the latter seems a little like what Neo-Paganism does anyway--celebrating basically the climate and seasonal change of Ireland--which is quite a long way away, but convenient (and widespread) enough for use.

Since I am here in Philly nine months of the year, most of my "seasonal acknowledgements" would occur during my stay here. But Texas... is where I truly feel at home, and truly feel connected, because my family and my "hearth" is there. When I am in Philly, I never really shake off the student feeling--that I'm just here temporarily, I'm not here to stay. How do I stay connected to a "home-y" pattern when I'm away from home for the majority of the year, and how do I still honor traditional seasonal changes like fall and winter (and important festivals like Imbolc) when I am at home where summer is the general rule of the year?

Any thoughts?

Your Book of Shadows/Grimoire/Journal/Blog?

What, if anything, do you keep to record your path, experiences, spells or whatever it is that you feel the need to record?

I have a private wiki myself. Kinda geeky, I know, but it's working for me so far.

Making Things Up?

How can you tell when you are just making things up? Like I went on a, I guess you'd call it a vision quest, but I wasn't in a trance or anything. In fact, I felt like only a tiny piece of me was in that world, and the rest was firmly in this world. And the weird thing is I could hear myself narrating it, which makes me feel like I just made it up. It doesn't feel fake, but it doesn't really feel real, either. Does that make sense?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pentagram vs. Pentacle?

have been a solitary Wiccan for almost 5 years now and one specific topic continues to puzzle me. The usage for the terms pentagram and pentacle.

-Some people say that Pentagram is used for Satanism and a Pentacle is used in Wicca.

-Some say the Pentagram is inverted and a Pentacle is upright.

-Some say the Pentagram is simply the term for the 5-pointed star and a Pentacle is the the 5-pointed star in a circle and that's all that make them different.

-Some say that the term Pentagram is used to describe a 2-D design such as on paper and Pentacle is used for a 3-D design of the same thing such as a necklace.

-Some say the circle doesn't have anything to do with the terms...some say it has everything to do with it.

I am just so confused when it comes down to this. I encountered one Wiccan who had tattoos of a 5-pointed star in a circle. She called it a pentagram because it was drawn.

Another that I ran into was offended that I called her tattoo a pentagram because it was obviously a pentacle because of the circle encompassing the star.

HELP!! I am tired of offending people.

I myself have Wiccan tattoos and have always referred to them as pentagrams regardless of the circle or not...because I always followed the 2-D/3-D version of terminology. I need a hand with this one!

Monday, April 23, 2007

How Do You Interact With Your Deities?

Awhile ago I was intrigued by something an Asatruar had posted about encounters with deity; it seemed that in his tradition, this was something that was considered rare and happened only to worthy people at very important times. He was confused by the flippancy with which many Pagans here spoke of their encounters with deity; something that, as they described it, happened fairly often at very mundane, everyday moments.

So, I'm curious: How do you interact with your deities? Are face-to-face encounters something reserved for special occasions, or at the deity's whim? Do you have a little chat over tea every day? Do you do anything special to contact or communicate with Them, such as meditation or trance or augury, or is it as easy as turning your attention to Their presence? What form does this communication take for you?

Bonus question: Do you ever wonder if your ego may be coloring the nature of the encounter? Is that even a bad thing?

Talking to the Gods?

I've come to understand that many people here talk to the gods in some way.
How would this be achieved? meditation? focusing on that deity, and noticing any impressions? listening to "that little voice" in your head that isn't you? I may be confusing other with these questions because I'm confusing myself.

But my basic question is how would one go about talking to the gods?

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Veiling isn't a new concept. Jewish women did so (I believe those who were privileged), Christian women I think did given what Paul says in Corinthians. Muslim women veil for modesty and possibly cultural reasons.

Hestia is veiled. I think Greek women veiled, but I don't know if it was just for the upper classes or not.

Oya, in my dreams, comes to me veiled.

What do you think the purpose of the veil is? Do you veil or not? Why? Do you veil for a specific purpose, just for prayer? Is there a significance for it as in the "veil between the worlds" to signify liminal space, in ritual or on a person?

Is it for women only or men too?


Friday, April 20, 2007

Creating Your Own Tradition/Coven?

I know according to "wise advice" one should have years of experience, high priest/ess or not, before considering to take other seekers under their wings...

I have been learning for over 2 years now and will admit I have a lot more to learn. However, I feel I've been blessed to learn to teach. Not now, but in the near future.

Is there any advice about such ideas? Is it "illegal" (against magickal principles) to do so?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Spells Parts are Necessary?

What parts of a spell do you need to have to convince the part of you that actually 'does' the magic that it's real, and what can you strip away in an emergency or under time or space constraints?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Great Voice Technique?

Recently, I heard about a technique called the Great Voice that allows you to silently vibrate words. Could anyone explain the technique and how to do it? Thanks!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Does anyone observe any pilgrimages associated with their chosen path? What do people think about the idea of pilgrimage to a special place, and the meaning of this act?

There are several powerful and meaningful sacred places for me which I visit and where I conduct important rites.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Favorite Scrying Medium?

What do you do your scrying in? My favorite is a large natural flourite crystal, although I also sometimes use a black mirror I made. Note that I'm talking about scrying/crystalgazing only, not tarot or pendulums or other such divination methods.

So my mother threw holy water on my altar...

...Need I say more? lol.

She had the best of intentions, really. She had been having nightmares and had been hearing spooky noises, so like any good Catholic she began sprinkling holy water all over the house.

So she bursts into my bedroom while I'm still half-asleep, as she is often wont to do. I submit myself to her sprinklings, but before I can say "GOOD GOD NO!" she flung a few drops at my altar.

The problem (well, the not-so-obvious problem) is that a deity particularly associated with the Faery folk has been courting me, so to speak. (Historically, holy water has always been used to ward off the Fair Folk.) Not only that, but He happens to star in a folktale about St. Collen, in which He is insulted by the saint and is driven away by the saint's holy water. (Found here)

So, my question is...what would you do in this situation? I feel like I should perform some sort of ritual gesture to apologize for any perceived insult...thoughts on that?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What is Clergy?

What is clergy to you? Does your religion have a separation of clergy and laity? What's the difference?

Is clergy a life calling, or a hat you wear at appointed times?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dedicating to a God(dess)

Last night, while posting in the "Building a Religion from the Ground Up" thread, I referred to an incident that occurred two nights ago. Then I realized that I would really value some input on it, rather than just using it as an example in that thread. So, here goes.

I've been working on a relationship with Brighid for quite a while now, pretty much to the exclusion of all other deities -- to the extent that when I actively try to approach others, it feels wrong. (I've discussed that here recently.) Part of my relationship with Brighid involves a simple nightly "ritual" of lighting candles, one of which is specifically an offering. I have things I say when I light each candle.

When I get to the offering candle, I say, "I offer you flame." The other night, when I said that, I distinctly and very unexpectly heard a voice in my head say, "I offer you myself." It felt like a prompting -- like someone reminding my firmly that *that's* what I was REALLY supposed to be saying.

I've never had any kind of experience like that. Period.

I also have not (consciously, at least) been thinking about any kind of dedication or initiation or anything like that. In fact, I made a decision some time ago that I didn't want to do that at least for a long time because of how...permanenet it would be. And then I stopped thinking about it.

So, either I've just had my first experience of hearing a Goddess' voice, or the stress of not working is taking its toll. I'm open to either explanation. Sometimes they each seem equally plausible.

I'd really appreciate some input.

And, on the question of dedication...

For those of you who have chosen to dedicate to a God, if you're comfortable talking about it, I'd love to hear about your experiences. It seems like it would be -- or at least COULD be -- a life altering event, like getting married.

How did you know?

How did you make the decision?

Did you feel you had a choice?

Did you use any ritual?

Did you mark your dedication in some way?

Was there any difference in your life afterwards?

Witch School for Sale?

Apparently, it is -- and on eBay. The first post in this discussion has links to press releases, commentaries, etc.

Pocket Shrines

I am extremely interested in the concept of the pocket, or matchbox shrine. Has anyone here ever made one?

My dictionary defines “shrine” as a place of devotion to a saint or deity, one that may contain relics. The idea of a pocket shrine is very appealing to me because I would love to have a portable shrine to take with me when I am traveling. I know some people have altar supplies that they take when they go on vacation. As I understand it, the main difference between an altar and a shrine is that shrines are not used for making offerings and altars are.

I found a few sites with examples of pocket shrines:

They are secular and seem to be more artistic expression than anything else, but the idea would work quite nicely for spiritual purposes. I also think that a pocket shrine would make a meaningful and interesting gift.

Any ideas for matchbox-sized symbols or charms relating to Paganism or Eastern religions? I think I have an empty matchbox around here somewhere...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What is Truth?

What is the Truth in your worldview? If you had only one thing to build the rest of the world back onto, what would it be? Your mind? External items/events? God(s)?

Building a Religion From the Ground Up

For those of you who are building your own path ::nudges Heartshadow:: where do you start? Do you start with core beliefs, or a framework to work within (from the inside out or the outside in if that makes sense?) or are your core beliefs your framework as well?

Are you looking to gain followers or are you really only concerned with practicing on your own path? If you are looking to gain followers what provisions have you made for teaching them, are you thinking of setting up classes/planning group rituals (or already running these things?) Do you have any plans for a church/temple to be built or are you content to practice within your own home(s).

In building Walking with the Gods (yes, I know it needs a better name. I haven't come up with one yet, and I needed something to call it for communication purposes) I guess I sort of started in the middle. I just started writing my beliefs as inspiration came to me, in no particular order. I'm not looking to gain followers, only hoping that my writings influence those who read them in some positive way (although, if someone wants to walk this path with me, I will not complain). Therefore a "teaching framework" isn't in place or even necessary, and all of my rituals are done by myself.

I would like to build a temple to my Gods, in the future. It's not a requirement, or part of making my own religion it's just something I would like to do. Right now my bedroom is my temple, and I'd like to be able to have at least one room set aside for that, though I don't think the gods mind sharing.

Why We're Touchy About Defining Paganism

"A Pagan religion is a religion that is not Jewish, Christian, or Islamic and self-identifies as Pagan."

This is the standard definition of Paganism put forth by The Cauldron, as stated in our Pagan Primer. It's amazing how much controversy has sprung up on the forum, both over this one little sentence and around the act of trying to come up with a definition at all, over the years. Newcomers to the forum often stumble into it unawares, either by bringing up issues with our standard definition or by stating the definitions they use, which often don't coincide with the one listed above. They may not even touch the definition issue itself directly, but instead make an incorrect assumption about what Pagans are or do based on their current knowledge of Paganism, and find themselves the recipient of a hostile response they do not understand the reason for. Even people who have been here for some time may not grasp the driving forces behind these reactions. It is my hope, in this article, to give some insight into the history of this issue on the Cauldron. I hope that this will make the general reaction to it more comprehensible.

There is, to begin with, a general history of people in various venues attempting to describe Paganism as "earth-based" or "earth-centered". Generally, this means that the Earth is held sacred by Pagans or is central to Pagan religion in some way, and/or that the religion's festival dates are determined by the cycle of the seasons. This is an ongoing problem for many posters at The Cauldron because this is not an accurate way to describe their religions. While the Earth and the seasons may play a significant role in many of the Wicca-based religions that dominate Paganism in the public eye today, there are also many faiths in which they hold no significance at all. In some religions, there are harvest festivals and the like which may seem tied to the seasons and thus might appear to qualify them as "earth-based", but often they are only a few festivals among many. There are earthy deities, but generally they have other spheres of influence as well and again are in the minority. A few earth-centric qualities does not an earth-centric religion make.

I speak of the "earth-based" problem here because it's a handy example. It is certainly not the only point of controversy, just one of the most prominent ones. However, any time a more specific definition than our standard one is brought up, the result tends to be the same. There is always at least one person on the forum, and usually more, whose religion doesn't fall under the definition given. They see yet another person in a long line of people trying to tell them (as they see it) that they don't count, that they don't know what their religion "really" is, or that they have no right to use a term they feel describes them. Tired of being told these things, the "excluded" poster responds in frustration and probably with some anger or sarcasm. The proposed definition never does quite work out, and everyone involved is left with raw nerves from the incident.

An interesting thing to note is that although we currently focus on who is being excluded by a definition, that was not necessarily how things started out. Earlier in the history of this issue, more specific definitions such as those including the term "earth-based" (or similar) were not always seen as exclusionary. Rather, the assumption--apparently on both sides of the argument--was sometimes that everyone involved had the same right to the term, and everyone was included under the proposed definition. Thus, terms such as "earth-based" were not seen as exclusionary in these cases, but rather as attempts to define people's religion for them. When a definition was brought forth that said Pagans were earth-based, it was seen as an attempt to tell people using the label "Pagan" that they really were earth-based whether they thought they were or not. If you have ever been told by a fundie that as a Pagan you "really" worship the devil even though you yourself know you don't, you can probably sympathize with the frustration people felt over this. In some ways it was even more upsetting than simply being excluded, because it wasn't just telling a person they didn't belong; it was telling them they didn't know the reality of their own religion. When discussing definitions of Paganism on The Cauldron, this is something that is very important to keep in mind. For those of us who remember these older discussions, this is part of the history of the issue and something that will color our responses to any new messages on the subject.

As hard as it might be to believe, that's the short version. To really understand the history of this issue at The Cauldron, though, you probably need to go back to March 2002, when we had a run-in with an American political group called the Pagan Unity Campaign (PUC). If you have a few hours to sit around and read archives, there are two threads on our old Delphi board you might want to check out:

Pagan Unity Campaign
New Definition of Paganism

Guardian Angels/Spirits

One topic that has been generating a lot of thought for me lately is guardian angels, so for starters .... Not just in the angelic winged beings traditionally associated with the name, but as a (possibly) wider ranging entity...

Whether you believe they exist, or not, what form they take, whether we all have them (if we know it/acknowledge it or not), how or what their function? role? might be....

Yes I have my own theory in progress, and yes there's a reason I've been thinking about it but that requires me to word a story in such a way as to not reveal parts that aren't mine to share... and right now, guess what, my demonspawn is awake again.... so for now I'll just throw a hat in the ring and see what, if anything, lands in it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Spectacularly Bad Info on Pagan Religions?

Sifting out accurate information on Pagan practices and beliefs can be hard -- especially given the reams of dreck that fill bookstore shelves. What is your favorite (favorite, of course, being a relative term) bit of bad information on Pagan religion? Not simply somewhat misinformed or misguided, or a vague over generalization, but spectacularly, laughably wrong? Give it some bonus points if actually attempting to use the bad information will result in deep embarrassment, grievous bodily harm, or the enraging of various deities.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Runes in Spellwork or Ritual?

I had started a thread in this section about talismans, and got a question about the way I use Runes in my spellwork and rituals. When I answered it another member asked me to start a thread about using Runes, so this is it! Wink

I have been a Wiccan for over 11 years, and have studied many books along the way. But you get to a point in some areas, especially when you are dealing with the Goddess or different Spirits, where you let them guide and teach you. This has been my experience with Runes. First I followed what I had read in books and used them in divination and as charms for their power. But one day, and I can't remember how it happened, they became real Spirits to me, and from that point on I have let them teach me how to work with them in my life. It seems I have heard of this before in books I read long ago, but I can't remember which book or reference. I think it was an ancient practice, so that's why I have always assumed others work with Runes as spirits too.

When I summon a Rune Spirit I draw the Rune in the air with my finger and call it forth to help me with its particular energy for that particular situation. This could be as elaborate as a ritual, or as simple as tracing the Rune with my finger on an object I want charged with its power.

And it can be very simple. There have been times when I am riding in the car, and the person I am riding with doesn't seem to be paying a lot of attention to his/her driving, so I will quietly draw the symbol for the Rune Algiz on my knee and silently call for its protective energy. I also do this with the book orders I send out every day for my publishing business. I draw the appropriate Rune symbol on the package with my finger to bless that order so it will arrive safely and heal or prosper the customer who purchased it from me.

Or it could be a major life-saving thing like the time I hit 4 potholes in the pouring rain, and they really messed up my car so it would barely run. I called loudly to the Rune Spirits to get me safely where I needed to go, and they did. Or when I need healing and will draw energy from the sunlight in a windowsill or light bulb through the symbol for Ur (that I have drawn in the air with my finger), and that Rune Spirit mixes that light energy with its own and channels it into my body as a spiritual kind of fire and heals me. When you work with them this way the Rune Spirits become very real and present in your life, and you realize they have distinct personalities. They walk with me every day as Spirits now, and talk to me, and are with me 24/7 whether I have called forth their power for a certain purpose or not. I can say they are quiet Spirits of few words, not chatty as some are, and very powerful, like having a good friend with you all the time. Strongly comforting is a good way to put it.

I also keep symbols of the Runes I work with most often on the tiny altar in my car. When I get in I say Hello to both Bast and those Rune Spirits and ask for a safe ride. I can't tell you how many car accidents I have narrowly escaped, and I know the Rune Spirits and Bast had a hand in that protection.

Has anyone else worked with Runes for so long that they have gone past the charm/divination stage to the Spirit stage?

I would love to hear how other members are working with Runes in any way in your spellcasting, magick, and rituals?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

What is Your Favorite Spellbook?

I love spellbooks! And I have quite a few, but my favorite is a very heavy tome called "The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells." It includes spells for anything you could think of, as well as spells from almost every Pagan faith. Just an amazing resource.

What is your favorite spellbook? I am always eager to learn of others to add to my collection.

Sacred Tattoos

This has been mentioned a few times in the Sacred Piercings thread and I thought it would be a good idea to give it a thread of its own. Plus I am interested to know about the significance people give to their ink.

I do not have any tattoos, however, I do plan on getting one, not till I am at least 18 and not until a time comes when it feels right, but at some point. If I get ink it will definitely be specifically significant to me, and almost certainly in a spiritual way.

So do you have any tattoos? What significance do they hold for you?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Oaths, Secrecy, and the "Old Laws" in Today's World

I have decided to actively pursue a Wiccan path but had a few questions about the way things work in a modern coven situation for when that time comes for me.

I understand that there are covens that require swearing of an oath, etc... I know this from reading the Internet and books, etc... My question is, when does the oath effectively "take place"?

I have read some versions of the Book of Shadows (particularly Lady Sheba's) and discussed some of it with others, including things that were probably originally meant to be kept secret. For instance, I mentioned the swearing on your mother as part of one of the initiation rituals to my own mother. It is just the way I have always been. Naturally, she wasn't very pleased but I had felt the need to be completely open and honest with her. Again, this is not information that was confided in me rather something that is more or less in the public domain in this day and age, either available via books or the Internet.

I do realize that swearing an oath I would have to change the way I handle my own privacy.

My main question/concern is, would I still be accepted into a traditional coven after discussing these "secret things," or did I somehow manage to break the oath before I've even taken it by reading and discussing texts there were never "meant" to be public (but now readily are)? I worry that I've broken the so-called "Old Laws" before I truly even become a dedicant to the religion.

My initial reaction was that since I have not taken any oath to this point and the information that I've shared is publicly available that I am not in any danger of being "unable" to join a coven, but I just wanted to get some others' opinions on this. When does this oath of secrecy "start"? The moment one begins to explore Wicca or rather when their time of initiation comes?

Plant Spirit, Clones and Force Flowered Cuttings?

I am becoming more and more annoyed with "florist plants" as time goes by. Long story short, plants that are not really "grown" much at all.

Most of the flowering seasonal plants you find at a grocery store, and even some at home and garden stores are created for the express purpose of dying.

They are cuttings taken from a mother plant, hormonally rooted, and then force flowered under lighting, and given high doses of fertilizer to create lovely seasonal table centerpieces that really last only about as long as cut flowers. The benefit to the manufacturers being of course that it *seems* like a plant, thus they can charge live plant prices.

Unfortunately this means you end up with a few pathetic sticks holding up mounds of blossoms. Those mounds of blossoms are the death of the plant. They drain what little nutrients the plant has, and since the root systems are young and underdeveloped it cannot support the flowers.

I cringe walking by the grocery store displays of miniature roses, hydrangeas, poinsettias and various lilies. I buy them with the goal of saving them from dying. Most of them, were they to be put directly into the ground upon arriving home would die anyways. They often cannot tolerate natural conditions because they are not natural plants. Disbudding is a step to saving a large flowered plant, but it is not a guarantee. They still need high lighting (4-5 hours a day full sun) fertilizer and high quality soil to ease them into a more natural state of existence. To replenish what those large beautiful blooms took from the plant.

No sooner do these pathetic little things start to get a life force of their own, they are taken out from under the lighting that was sustaining them. They are being artificially brought to term, and "delivered."

My plants, have a "vibe" and energy that is tangible and grows as the plant grows. Were I to take off a part of the plant - even for example cutting roses for a table, I am bringing a part of the plants energy away from itself. The energy of the original plant fades in a few days. Even a rooted clone only holds the energy of the parent plant for a short time. Once it roots, it establishes an energy and personality of it's own. While a clone may hold the attributes of the mother plant, it's energy is it's own. Not connected.

This seems to happen at about the point that it begins to draw nourishment and grow independently. In my opinion of course, this is energy is a 'soul' or 'spirit' of some description.

The florist plants, have an energy of their own and are developing it in spite of the unnatural circumstances under which they are generated. It seems rather like large scale homicide and just vastly unfair to all parties involved to give life just for it to die. Disposable souls.

Also vastly disappointing to meet someone, just to have them up and die on you a few days later. Embarrassed

I don't know whether I would encourage people not to buy them, because then I am a hypocrite to my own credo since I buy (rescue!) a few a year; but if you are buying them with the intention of "gifting" someone with a live plant; please don't. If you must, try to find a garden store buy a plant with a better chance of survival and put some gift wrap around the pot.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Religion and Philosophy

Quote from Mandi: "My position is that in order to inject these philosophies into a structured religion, designed for adherents instead of just a personal spirituality, is in many ways to assume that you speak for god."

I'm still not seeing the connection. The statements you quote involve describing the general beliefs of a set of people who want to form a religious community. That doesn't necessarily mean they're dictating that everyone must hold those beliefs; it just means they're trying to describe who they are. Other people who also fit the description may wish to join them. *shrug* They're not trying to force anyone to believe the way they do, they're just saying they need to work out how to describe what they do believe. I don't understand how that's presuming to speak for any god. At worst, it's presuming to speak for the community, but since this is a community discussion about the subject... Even that seems not to be what's happening.

Something else I'm not quite getting is that it seems like you think these are things structured religion just shouldn't be discussing. And yet--off the top of my head and without going through anything to check--it seems to me that many (most? all?) structured religions have some kind of concept of good/evil and the meaning of life. (Wildly differing concepts, perhaps, but they have something to say about it.) Is it your position, then, that all structured religion is bad? Or am I misinterpreting what you're saying?

Altar Pictures

There is another thread in Pagan Religions 101 where people are describing the altars they have at home. I enjoyed reading these descriptions, but pictures would be even better. If you have pictures of your altar(s) and would not mind sharing them here, please do. I'll start with a a picture of the simple bookcase altar I have to Asherah. You can see a picture here.

It is for offerings (coins and other small "treasures" which go into the vase). It is also a focus for prayers and meditation. It does not contain any of the common pagan symbols or intentionally include the four elements. I have another altar that is more general. This one is specifically for Asherah.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Experimentation and Magic

While experimentation isn't exclusive to chaos magic, I do find that Chaos magic tends to encourage experimentation in its practitioners. However, this question *is* open to all magical practitioners.

What has been the most interesting magical experiment you carried out (ie, where you tested a new idea, or tested a variant of a working model, etc)? It doesn't have to be your greatest success (although success is usually nice), just the most interesting experience/ lesson that you would like to share. What did you do? What happened? Would you do it again? Do you regret having tried it?

"Sacred" Piercings?

We've had threads on spiritually-significant tattoos before, but I don't recall one on spiritually-significant piercings. Does anyone else have piercings that are magically and/or religiously meaningful?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

In Remembrance of Chavi

[This is for everybody. I wrote this in remembrance of Chavi. -- Celtee]

Chavi Ravenna,
Storyteller Cat.
Lover of life,
Collector of hats.

Gone too soon
But never forgot.
You'll live in our hearts
Whether you know it or not.

Chavi Ravenna
Bright shining star.
We'll love you forever,
Wherever you are.

Chavi Ravenna,
Storyteller Cat.
We'll miss you forever,
Wherever you're at.

[quoted from this post]

What Do You Do with 'Found Treasures'?

I go wandering fairly often. I find a lot of random stuff. Lots of animal bones lately. Soy la huesera. To just chuck them back out onto the trail after I've found them seems rather disrespectful, since they've taken the trouble of being there and all, but I'm running out of space for them, and not all the pieces are complete, or display material. Fragments of squirrel jawbones aren't quite the stuff of costume jewelry -for most events anyways. Cool

I must say, it makes for some odd moments when digging around in pockets for change, and coming back with a few squirrel teeth mixed in. Oh oops. How did that get in there. Silly me.

So what do I do with all this stuff? Right now I have a possum skull, some miscellaneous deer bones, a squirrel jaw, and then another five or so pieces that are on the mantle, a deer bone prayer stick, a snakes head made from the vertebrate that connects the spine to the back of the skull, (deer) a few beads carved from leg bones, and some cartilage disks from between the vertebrates, which might make some nice runes if ever I took up reading them, although the likelihood of that is rather slim.

To 'dispose' of them is a bad deal, and I don't really want to I guess. I just need to think of something to do with them because I'm starting to get overrun. Thing being, I'll probably end up with more before I'm done.


What is your opinion of Theosophy? Does it play an important role? Is it accurate? Is it a useful construct? Is it valid, or fabricated?

Secrecy and Your Religion?

What role does secrecy play in your religion? Why? What happens if people find out information they're not "ready" for? What determines readiness?

If you can answer without breaking oath, what is the shape of things that is hidden and why? (names of gods, initiation rituals, specifics of what happens in rituals? Other things?)

If this information is risky for people to find out in the wrong order, what is the result of screwing up?

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