Friday, June 29, 2007

Magic Without Religion?

I've been wanting to start using magic for quite a while now, but everything I find is so deeply entrenched with a religion or religious set of standards that I just don't get into it. Mostly I'm finding Wiccan or Wiccan-esque magic and rituals...

My question is, how can I find magic that is religion-neutral (as much as possible) so that I can just do the magic? I don't want some rule or oath that I don't agree with as part of my religion hanging over my head while I essentially use a skill. My Google-fu is not enough.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Favorite Incense?

What is your favorite incense? Do you like the cones or sticks better?

I just tried the cone incense for the first time two weeks ago and I love them. My favorite is Strawberry because its fun and sweet.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Magick for "Sale"?

I'm not talking about the tarot shop that you drive by every day or the place where you buy your incense. I am talking about the seemingly endless supply of "enchanted" rings/necklaces/dolls/etc... that is all over eBay and other places on the Internet.

I remember when the whole "selling haunted things on eBay" was a new craze, but to me this seems like a whole different level.

I am talking about the countless items listed every day on eBay that are supposedly bound with spirits, demons, djinn, or magick powers. Obviously there are a lot of snake oil salesman and that is to be expected. But more and more I see sellers who have created a veritable BUSINESS of selling things that are imbued with magickal powers, and somehow, most of them have a pretty respectable feedback rating. I'm not just talking about the eerie looking doll someone finds in their garage and lists as haunted, I am talking about people who are listing all sorts of amulets/talismans/rings for certain purposes or to "control royal djinn" or something similar.

To me, this says one of two things. One, eBay (or the Internet in general) is filled with people looking for a miracle and desperate to try anything. People who will buy one of these items and think that they are experiencing something when in reality there is nothing going on. Or two, there are some practitioners of various magickal paths who are running some sort of assembly-line chop shop just putting spells and binding spirits to every little trinket they can find.

Personally, I wonder if it is a bit of both But I really wonder what kind of karmic repercussions these purveyors of magick trinkets are raking up (if any)... Karma aside, you would think that whatever spirits, deities, etc. these people are dealing with would be able to stand up and realize the blatant abuse of knowledge and act accordingly. But there's a never-ending stream of these items and happy buyers all over the place. Of a different ilk, there are people who are more than happy to sell you a magick working that they and their "coven" or magick group of friends will do just for you, once you send them a hundred dollars through PayPal.

I'm not surprised at how rampant the buying and selling has become, rather, I can't believe how many people are buying into this, not thinking they were conned, and becoming repeat customers. I will be the first to say that I am not experienced in magick at all, I am just getting acquainted to the ritual side of Wicca like the Sabbats. But every thing I've read, from fluff-bunny Wicca books to serious magick texts I've seen online make a couple things very clear... That being that magick is much more powerful when worked by YOURSELF and also that it is rarely given with "no strings attached."

How then, is all of this working (or isn't it)
Any thoughts on this?

Multiple Methods Of Divination?

This was spurred on by what makes one form of divination better. As I was replying, I thought of another thing I had heard through talking with a few friends. They were led to believe that with divination you should stick to one form, the one that resonates the best with you and also that usually only one will be your most accurate form. Does anyone else follow this?

I can't get a pendulum to work for me to save my life,lol.., but I find any type of card system I can do. Would that count as more than one form of divination since it would be say tarot and playing cards or since they are both cards would it be the same divination method basically?

Favourite Weird Spells

I am a collector of intellectual strangeness, and one sub-directory of my collection is Weird Spells. I've got things ranging from crucifying a frog to make it give you occult information to putting a fish in an intimate place to attract a lover (and then feeding it to that lover). There are weirder ones out there, and ickier ones, mostly from the middle ages I think. I have one that involves using the eyeballs of a cat (or the gel thereof) to make your scrying mirror true.

So, any other collectors out there? What are your weirdest, wildest, and ickiest spells? And have you actually tried any of them?

Monday, June 25, 2007


A simple question to ponder.... What little occurrences have or still do reinstill your faith every day?

I thought it would be nice to have a smile and share something that is meaningful to each of us.

I'd say every time I see a newborn baby smile, when I can smell the rain before it hits the pavement, when I look into someones eyes and just feel this amazing connection with them, the tingling feeling I get when I read Tarot, the feeling of service when I help someone/ an animal out, when I feel dew on my toes when I walk barefoot out at my mothers house, but especially when i look up at the sky and immediately smile...without knowing quite why. Just to name a few.

Akashic Records?

Has anyone heard of those? According to Edgar Cayce, the Akashic Records are huge database that exists on the astral plane, which apparently contains information about everyone and all of their lives and accomplishments,including people who have yet to live.

Has anyone ever accessed these? Can you explain your experience? Or for that matter, what are everyones thoughts on the topic to begin with?

I have found it fascinating and want to know more. Me and astral travel don't mesh well,lol... so any information would be helpful.

To raise the CUUPS or not?

I have seen the topic of CUUPS, Covenant of Unitarian Universalist PagsnS, come up in other threads and thought maybe it deserved its own discussion.

The Unitarian Univeralist Church I attend does not have a CUUPS chapter. The subject of starting one comes up now and again. I am always torn.

Theoretically, it sounds like a great idea, but after checking into it, I am not so sure.

When the idea first came up about two years ago we were told by our Church and a member of another CUUPS chapter that we would first need to write up bylaws for our chapter before we could even begin.

We hoped to borrow the bylaws of the other chapter to use as a starting point, however, that chapter was very Wicca centered and we didn't think their bylaws would do for what we wanted. We preferred a chapter that would be interfaith. Since no one at the time, had the time to devote to writing bylaws from scratch, nothing more came of it.

About a year later a woman in the congregation again brought up the idea, but immediately appointed herself "High Priestess." Needless to say, again, the whole thing fell apart.

It was also my understanding that CUUPS members would not have to join the UU Church but dues would still have to be paid by the Church (about $75 per year) to "UU Central" (so to speak) for any CUUPS members who were not already members of the Church, the same amount UU Churches are required to pay for members of the regular congregation. So, I envisioned our CUUPS chapter having to promote tithing, keep attendance records of actual CUUPS members and visitors, be involved with church bookkeeping procedures, be actively involved with fundraising, etc. etc. etc....

This all started becoming way too much like organized religion (albeit pagan) within organized religion! Then I wondered about having differing pagan groups within the CUUPS Chapter.

Talk about complicated!

So my questions are:

IF and this is a big IF, we were to start up a chapter, how should the whole "bylaws" issue be handled to reflect an interfaith group?

Would having a pagan religious community within an already established religious community really be a good idea? What might be the pros and cons of this?

Might there be a way to have Pagan Gatherings at the Church without actually forming a CUUPS chapter?

General Paganism Book?

I just read your review for Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions, Joyce and River Higginbotham. I was really enjoying this book, so I was disappointed to become aware of such a massive flaw!

I'm hoping that you might recommend something to replace it? There seems to be such a huge amount of books, I'm teetering on the brink of ordering The Complete Idiot's Guide to Paganism.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Do Tarot Decks become Entities?

I’ve been wondering when you ask a tarot deck a question does it really answer you, or is it just a tool you are subconsciously using to answer your own question? It strange but after a while of using cards I feel like I’m praying to a ‘Tarot God’ or something. My decks seem to have their own personality after I’ve bonded to them. Does the bonding process of putting your personal energy in to the cards actually then makes them an entity or just a personally synchronized tool?

Any thoughts on the matter?

One Type of Divination Superior?

What makes one form of divination better than another? F'ex, I've seen/heard a lot of disparaging of ouiji boards over the past few years, but tarot decks, runes and pendulums seem to be viewed as not only legitimate, but also superior forms of divination. I'm curious, why is that? Is it because there's more history to them? Or are they just popular? Maybe it's because they're more portable? (It is pretty hard to hide an ouiji board!)

Making Your Own Path

I've been studying Paganism and practicing the craft for several years now, but haven't found one specific path that I really feel comfortable with. So, I've considered making my own. I know I've seen a lot on these forums about folks creating their own paths, so I thought I'd ask some advice. How do I get started? Other than the basic questions of my outlook on deity and ritual construction, what are some guidelines to use when getting started? I just find myself trying to write it all down and it ends up being a jumbled up mess. Help!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dueling Dualities

I'm noticing some interesting similarities in religion. We have the already overused MMC trinity, but a less looked at concept seems to be the "twin" phenomena when looking at male archetypes. I'm looking at mostly American Indigenous faiths, (including South America) but the concept does seem to exist in other pantheons.


Quetzecoatl / Red Tezcatlipoca (Aztec)
Glooskap / Malsumis (Algonquian)
Sapling / Filnt (Iriquois)

Other countries

Arthur / Launcelot (Oak King/ Holly King)
Odin / Loki (Norse)
Zeus / Hades

Even more strangely, in the Christian faith, Cain and Able, although I don't think I would like the implications of this duality as a template of acceptable behavior and consequence.

Some of these pantheons - the Aztec in particular kaleidescope these figures out even farther, Quetzecoatl and Tezcatlipoca being two of four brothers. IIRC Zeus and Hades were from a batch of brothers rather than just the two of them.

Some pantheons, the American ones in particular seem to divide the siblings with concepts of acceptable behavior and destructive behavior. Some of these dualities are played out ritualistically, for example the mud head clowns of the Hopi.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I have noticed a lot of point and counterpoint siblings in mythology lately.

Is there any reason that we divide male deity based upon creation and destruction in some cases, or creation and repose in other cases? How does this fit into the ever overused MMC conundrum?

From a psychological perspective, MMC outlines a cultural set of expectations and ideals for female behavior. What does the twin/ brothers at odds seem to state? I can see the point blank obvious 'good/bad' division, but some of the stories are very careful not to label either brother to be good or bad, and to point out that they are inextricably intertwined, so to take away the commonly associated 'negative' half of the equation, just as much calamity would occur as would if the negative half was unleashed without the checking power of the creative sibling.

What less obvious aspects of the psyche are illuminated through this duality?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Are Young Children More "Connected"?

I'm mostly here today because of several things that have happened over the past couple of years with my daughter (now 4 years old) and her apparent (perhaps) connectedness to something that I've either never had or have lost with age and upbringing.

So, of course, it's no surprise that children have a much larger capasity to imagine and make up things, and I'm confident that 99% of what flows from my daughter is nothing more than her ability to imagine herself somewhere doing something and not actual spiritual connection of some kind. It's the 1% that has shocked me to the core on more than one occasion that brings me here, out of convenient and clean atheism. And my question is if you think that children in general stand closer to Spirit than adults do? And if you think they do, how do you (as a parent or teacher) go about retaining that closeness as the child ages? And maybe some other day I'll ask about how an adult who's lost nearly all of whatever connection they might have possessed gets theirs back. I'm hoping it's more of a flowing process instead of a fight.

Types of Energy

When you work with energy, do you see it as the same stuff with different flavors, or different types with the same base? Does it matter in the end which it is? Or is it a concept that's different from person to person?

To answer my own question, I've found energy to have distinct differences depending on how I've raised it and what the source is (meaning what I'm actively drawing from). I'll often pull energy from the wind, which I've found to be very easy for me, and that energy has a unique feel to it that is very different from energy I pull from, say, a candle.

So now I'm curious what other people's experiences are.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Summer Solstice Celebrations

For those to whom the summer solstice is important, I'm curious how you celebrate it.

As a Wiccan-ish nature-oriented neopagan, I definitely note "the wheel of the year", though with the emphasis shifted to the equinoxes and solstices (since I'm keenly aware of the amount of sunlight) rather than the crossquarter days (since I'm not a farmer nor, as a Manhattan resident, living in a society that's even vaguely agrarian). And being a warm weather person, the summer solstice is my high-holiest day of the year.

I do a "Longest Day" celebration every year: I get up before dawn and go outside to watch the sunrise, and then I'm not allowed to set foot indoors (except for brief bathroom breaks) until after I've seen the sunset. Mostly there's no agenda; just savoring life at its peak: the sights and sounds and scents, the breeze on my skin, sampling summer fruits and tall cool drinks, and generally indulging the senses. Usually there's a lot of walking involved (though this year I'm thinking of doing it on my bike) and exploring nooks and crannies of the city I've never seen before. It's deeply satisfying for me, a great way to slow the pace of life down and spend a day just "being", and I eagerly anticipate it every year.

Does anybody else do anything similar? Or something completely different?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Continuing Studies on a Limited Brain

This is sort of related to the "finding time" thread, but not exactly the same thing. I know we have a lot of scholarly-oriented people here. I also know that there are probably times in everyone's life when they just absolutely cannot dredge up the brainpower to get through dry scholarly texts no matter how much they want to. (Right? It's not just me?) I was wondering how y'all deal with that.

I mean, one option would be to just let the study go for now and concentrate on my existing practice and come back to it when I've got more brain again. But, you know, I know myself. I don't want to procrastinate, because then I'll wind up just procrastinating more. I want to keep learning about stuff, to keep developing and growing my practice and my understanding of my path... but my brain isn't cooperating. (It's been eaten by the baby.)

There's the option of trying to do lighter study, too, using sources that aren't as dry and heavy, but I'm not sure where to start even looking.

And I could try to find more brain power, but I'm not 100% sure that's actually possible. LOL

So... any ideas or suggestions? Am I just being too impatient, or is there something I can do about this?

Review: The Witch's Shield

Right out of the gate, Mr. Penczak presents us with a clear, well organized and complete list of all concerns when pondering the subject of psychic self-defense. Beginning with a look at why one would need what is, essentially, protection magic, Penczak moves us through the concepts of how we draw attention to ourselves, what we may be defending ourselves from and illustrates how in many ways, we are actually our own worst enemies.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Summoning Unfamiliar Entities?

Let's discuss summoning unfamiliar or unknown entities (demons, angels, spirits, fairies, etc) for the purposes of doing our bidding. I don't mean calling on deities for assistance or invoking the help of an entity known or familiar to you. I'm talking demanding the presence of something which you have no personal experience with ("I read about xxx in a book, so I think I'll try summoning it for help" type of thing).

So where do you weigh in on the subject? Good idea or bad idea? Do you or would you do it? Why or why not?

Secondly, for those who have summoned (or plan to summon) unknown entities:
What, if any, ethical rules would you apply in doing so? What limitations or boundaries do you set for yourself (I will summon x but not y, etc)? What is your attitude toward the entity being summoned? What made you decide to summon something rather than using an alternative method to accomplish what needed to be done?

Let's talk... I know there are at least a couple of people with strong opinions on the subject. Here's your chance to express them!

Starting Point for Religious Explanations?

If you have/had to explain what you believe to someone else (obviously someone you considered deserving of the time and explanation), where would you start?

As in, what questions would you expect them to ask, what points would you consider the most... important?.. to explain first? I know there'll always be unexpected questions, but yeah, I'm wondering what you'd consider the 'basic' questions to expect.

I guess, what questions would you guys suggest putting in a FAQ, for what of a better way to explain it!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Avatar Design Challenge!

Over in the Avatar Helpers thread, violentsound suggested we have an avatar designing contest, which I think is a great idea. A few more of our resident designers have expressed interest, so I'm volunteering to organize the challenge.

Before we begin, I'd like to get some opinions from our potential players, about how we should run the contests. If you think you might want to play (even at some point in the future), please comment on the following:

1. Lykaios suggested doing a weekly challenge. How do you feel about a series of challenges rather than a single contest? What's a good timeframe for each challenge in that case?

2. Should we pick winners? If so, how do we pick them? (Elect judges, have an open poll, etc.)

3. Do you have any ideas for challenge themes?

Any other comments or ideas are much appreciated as well!

Deity and Children

[Spun off from spellcraft and children thread]

What deities do you work with yourself, in comparison to those that your kids seem drawn to?

What mythology do you explore with your kids

Do you encourage any particular pantheon, form of address or relationships?

Do you discourage any?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Magazine Recommendations?

Books are great and it's pretty obvious that we all have growing libraries. But does anyone read or subscribe to any Pagan or Paganish magazines?

I find that I can often sneak the time to read an article here and there and would love to hear what others read.

What about things like National Geographic or Archaeology? Do you find things in magazines like these are more relevant to your practice than the specifically Pagan journals?

Have you found any good sources for education, inspiration, crafts, rituals, etc.?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Paganism is Rebellion?

I should probably know better than to wade into this discussion, but I am compelled to give a couple of thoughts.

This same argument came up amongst a few members of a "lodge" organization, (that I will allow to go unnamed). The main thrust of the discussion was how to deal with those people who claim to be "Pagan" as per say, but yet still fall into the position of either being Jewish, Christian, or Islamic.

I am sure you have all heard of the types that I am speaking of, and many in the community scoff and laugh at the types they refer to as fence sitters and "broom closet" wannabe pagans. However, in all actuality some of Paganism's best writers come from this "crossbreed".

Case in Point, Peter Levenda, who is a member of a Gnostic Christian church, calls himself pagan, practices pagan beliefs and is responsible for one of the pagan community's most recognizable text.

(If any reader of this post doesn't know, I ain't gonna tell ya, look it up)

In the Jewish religion, Kabbalists consider themselves completely Jewish, and yet a lot of ceremonial magick is based of the study of the Zohar and Kabbala exclusively.

And in the Sufi branch of Islam, (different than the Shia and Sunni), this small group of Muslims practice only what I would describe as a pagan tradition with rituals that look to me to be left overs from some ancient Babylonian rites.

So what we realized is that it in some circumstances it was possible to be either, (in a sense), Christian, Jewish, or Islamic, and still be Pagan.

So now that we realized we had no common thread, at least in being a religion that was totally different than the big three, we argued the point of the nature based aspect and asked if that, at least, commonly defined us.

Obviously we realized that could only be a resounding no, since most of us couldn't agree on single point of what that actually meant. There are pagans that could care less about any aspect of a nature based morality, (or morality at all for that matter), so that didn't seem to fit the bill either.

We found that the crux of our inability to find common ground, WAS our single common thread. It was our stubbornness to not conform to anyone's definition of pagan, EVEN OUR OWN.

What was finally decided after weeks of debate, was the one thing that unified all pagans was simply this . . . a complete lack of will to be a part of mainstream religious organization that exists in the cultural area that we live in, regardless of what that organization is.

Which by the way may explain the visceral hatred and AUTOMATIC distrust that many in the pagan community have towards some wiccans who are pushing make Wicca a mainstream religion . . Just a theory.

However, to get back on topic, the definition we came up with I think got to the heart of the rebellion that I believe is in the center of the pagan soul.

Pagan : An Individual who follows a counter-cultural religious belief, for spiritual purposes, that in essence rebels against mainstream religious practices, and is either based off a religion that is uncommon for the geographical and cultural area that the Pagan lives, or is reconstructed and/or loosely based on a religious belief that is common for that area.

In essence, a pagan is an individual who does not accept the organized religion, or religions of where he/she lives, and chooses to still live there, but follows a belief that is foreign to the area.

By the way, this post is not meant as an argument against TC's definition, just given as a different perspective. I already know many aren't gonna agree with it. If we all did . . .we wouldn't be pagan.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What Religious Book Has Influenced You The Most?

What religious book(s) have you read that have really influenced the way you think about religion? I love to know what other people have read. I would have to say Wicca For the Solitary Practicioner, The Spiral Dance and Why I am not a Christian.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Does Magic Get Better with Age?

I always wondered - does your ability to do magic improve or deteriorate with age?

I think I am more skilled and have more knowledge, but I think my actual innate abilities were better when I was younger. I think I was healthier and I was able to summon more energy.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Difference Between 'Black' and 'Dark' Magic?

Even though some declare that there is no color to magic besides intent, this got me wondering. Where does intent cross from gray area to just directly dark intentions?

Is there a test of intent that isn't subjective?

What are the differences between 'dark' magic and 'black' magic?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What Divination Method Works Best for You?

What divination method works best for you? If you would like, please also explain any layouts (like for tarot) or methods that you use as well.

Names: Given & Chosen

Do you feel like you resonate with your given name? If it doesn't seem to fit, how did you (or will you) go about finding one that fits better?

For those of you who use a different name in religious/magical workings and groups, how did you come about it? What does it mean for you, and what does it do for you? Do you have different names for different situations? Different names for use when addressing different gods?

And lastly, if you'd like to share any of your names, that'd be neat.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Correspondance: Subjective or Objective?

It doesn't matter what it is - color, scent, herbs, whatever - it has a correspondence. I've seen so many lists of what certain colors mean that I've noticed they rarely agree on the finer points. I've started my own list of what colors bring to my mind, and I'm finding it to be very, very different from the lists I've found online and in books.

It's made me wonder, are these correspondences subjective or objective? If I were to do a spell for courage, should I use the general agreed-upon color of red or my personal color of orange? Would that even affect the spell at all? Or does the color even matter if the intent is the same? If that were the case, then I could just as easily use a white candle for every spell, regardless of correspondence. (Which would be far easier - it's hard to find colored, unscented candles!)

I'm curious for opinions. Does using a specific color for a specific purpose matter in a spell? Or is it simply a subjective thing that can vary wildly from person to person?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

To Be Wiccan?

I call myself Wiccan, because I believe Wiccan things. However, I am an incredibly busy person (figure skating two times a week, yoga, violin, summer school for fun, part time work, and soon to start voice again). I just can't get the energy to actually practice. I'm on my own and in the broom closet, so I'm not initiated.

I know what some people would say. You're not initiated, you're not really Wiccan (from the hardcore guardnerians, Brit tradditional, etc.). Or you are whatever you say you are (basically) from the eclectics.

Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Spiritual People?

I'm not really sure how to put this into words but, I will try.

I guess an important part to know, is that I am not religious, though I do a lot of studies on various world religions.
I do not understand the concept of spirituality, if you asked me to explain it, I could not. Nor do I know if something such as spirituality exist in any form.

My question... is it possible to find another human with one has a spiritual connection? It's not a friendship, it's not a relationship of any kind, but simply an odd feeling which can't quiet be defined.
Perhaps spiritual is the wrong word, but it is something which can't be seen, or expressed or duplicated. It just IS.

Any thoughts?

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