Saturday, May 31, 2008

Origins of Ritual Wear

Do you, or your ritual group, use special clothing or accessories (like jewelry, cords, head covering, whatever) during ritual? If you do not practice with others, why did you select the particular items you use? If you work within a group, do you know why you use those particular items instead of something else?

For those that follow recon or recon-ish paths- do you wear or use anything related to the ancient culture you emulate? Why, or why not? How do you feel about those who have the opposite practice as you? (As in, if you wear jeans and they wear togas, or the other way around.)

For those of you who don't have ritual clothing or accessories, was that a conscious choice or has it just ended up that way? If you chose not to demarcate anything as ritually significant, why did you do so?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spiritual and/or Magical Journals

Back when I was in my Wiccan phase I had my own Book of Shadows, but even now I still keep a spiritual journal and I consider it to be a very important part of my spiritual development. It contains not only prayers and rituals, but also interesting facts and quotes that I have found whilst researching the many Pagan paths. I feel as though writing these things down helps me to realize and validate my own personal beliefs.

Something else I keep in my journal- my aromatherapy and herb recipes. I need a good place to jot down things that have been tried and tested.

So, who else keeps a spiritual journal? And if you do, how important/useful do you find it to be?

Finding Peace?

One of the things that years ago attracted me to paganism ( I think thats a real word lol ) is that everyone that I had met that claimed to be Pagan had a real sense of peace about them. Not the butterflies and bunnies kind of peace but a calm that was almost soothing to be around. Very attractive to someone that has spent most their life pissed off at everything LOL.

So my question to you all is - has your faith/practice/belief brought that kind of peace into your life?

Explaining Your Religious/Spiritual/Occult Symbols and Images

An idea I got from Aisling's 'Describing Your Religion'-thread. I'm interested to hear how people came to their religious/spiritual/occult symbols and images and what they do represent for them. I've seen a lot of interesting things in avatars for example like sacred geometry (Moon Ivy?), Gods or animals/plants and other nature features.

* Which symbols and images do represent your religion/spirituality for you or have a magical purpose?

* Do you wear them, display them or work with them? Does your avatar or signature include features with religious/spiritual/occult meaning for you?

* Are there any forms of sacred geometry in your symbols/images or do they symbolize or show Gods, animals, plants, nature features or any other beings or objects which are significant to you in a religious/spiritual/magical way?

* Which personal meanings do you attribute to symbols/images with a variety of traditional meanings (for example a pentagram, the moon etc.)? Do your personal meanings vary from the traditional ones or is one meaning out of a larger variety more important to you than others?

* Have you ever experienced misunderstandings of your personal religious/spiritual/occult symbols and images? Which?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Newbie Mistakes

This one is information for the newbies, as we all made mistakes when we were new, and I thought that newbies would benefit from hearing the ones we had made so they wouldn't make the same.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I thought you had to have a path and a deity. Now I've met people I've respected who don't have either.

The really big one, which confused me for six months was thinking that all books are gospel. I have a Christian background, and Scottish Protestants believe that the bible is written through men by God. So I read the books I could get my hands on about paganism, and they were mainly wiccan books and thought that they were texts. Took me six months to find out that I didn't have to follow everything in the neo-wiccan books I'd read. If you'd asked me about a text then I'd've cited Scott Cunningham...

Do you get 'assignments' from deity?

So do ya? No seriously. What type of work do you do for your deity/ies?

Do you have an agreement or contract?

How have these assignments affected your life personally? Good bad indifferent?

Have you ever refused and assignment? Were there consequences?

Ideas for Quick Rituals or Offerings?

I want to know if there are any real quick rituals I can do daily or even offerings? I have been trying to do small little offerings daily or just prayer type things to honor the gods and such but I find that I either forget due to the hectic schedule of that day or I wake up too close to the time I have to leave for work.

The thing is that my altar is in my bedroom, I have a very tiny apartment and have no where to place this altar other than my room. My "husband" isn't pagan by any means and our daughter is young and keeps playing with my Bast statue.

I don't want to disrespect the gods by having the altar a mess, because my daughter always is touching it. It's pretty high up, but she gets things to stand on to play with the statues. I would love to think that she is attracted to Bast, but she just loves cats. Also she loves playing with her grandma's Jesus statues, so I can't really say she's leaning more towards the pagan.

So moving on, I really would love to do small rituals and offerings that are basically part of the day for me so I don't forget.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Invasion Cycle as a Creation Myth?

I was reading a book on Celtic Myths (sure it's an old one) and listening to some Celtic Folk Music (and Celtic Folk Metal) and began rethinking about the Invasion Cycle as a creation story.

First you have the Partholan and then the Nemed come after them, the Partholan fight off the local Formorians, which could be representative of Chaos, The Partholan then die, and then you have the Nemed, who also die. This could be the first stage of creation, Order beating back Chaos, the Partholan and the Nemed could represent the cycle of Life and Death, and the bringing of order to a chaotic world.

Then you have the Fir Bolg, they are almost proto gods. Almost like the Greek Titans, but not quite. They still can't conquer the Formorians, but they come close.

Then the coming of the Tuatha De Dannan, they are the actual gods and beings of power that make up everything. In an animist twist, the non-important common people are the spirits of the land. They are briefly conquered by the formorians, but then Lugh comes, brining Arts and Sciences together to beat them, thus Order beating Chaos.

Finally, the Milead come, they are the humans, they finally bring everything into full being, they are the final invasion and reap the benefits of the Ireland that has been formed by the other four invasions.

So, what do you think? Completely off the mark or maybe on to something? It's all strictly UPG mind you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Taking Anti-Christian Beliefs Too Far?

I have recently heard accounts of people who are taking anti-christian beliefs a little too far. My question here is do you believe that some of these people are actually anti christion or do you think that alot of them are just wanting to drar attention to themselves? THe behavior itselgf annoys them because if they get asked and say the reason they do it is because they're polytheist then it gives us all a bad name simply because some people will sterotype us.

Were Your Parents Satisfied with Their Religion?

Do you feel your parents were satisfied with their religion?

Restrictions on Partner's Displays of Faith?

There is something I've thought about off and on, and it came to mind again while I was reading the 'Exposing Children to Other Religions?' thread.

Egalas said: "I have been asked by my wife not to "flaunt" my beliefs/religion to my children as she wants them to be brought up Christian."

Is there anyone here who has made a similar request of a partner? I've read it several times as a sentiment expressed by a Christian partner, but are there any, say, Asatruar who have asked their Wiccan partner not to flaunt their beliefs in front of the children because they want them brought up Asatruar, or Greek Recons who don't want their children exposed to their Kemetic partner's ways?

Any Pagans who have asked their Christian partners not to say grace aloud because they are afraid their children will want to know why they don't tell the other gods when they're eating too? Or is this something that it is more reasonable for a more mainstream partner to ask of a less mainstream one? (Mainstream because I can't think of a better term.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Exposing Children to Other Religions?

My boyfriend occasionally gets called up by one of his former priests (he used to be Catholic, actually considered bein a priest himself) to come into the youth groups and teach about his religion. He is, what I like to call, a Druid recon of the highest caliber. They're reasoning behind this is two-fold. The first being that they want to teach the children about other religions to help foster tolerance. Many times people are less intolerant if they understand something. The other reason is that they believe that a lot of people leave their original faith because they want to know what's out there. Maybe by educating them about what is out there, they'll be more likely to stay with the religion they were raised with.

Would you be willing to teach others about your religion like this? Do you think it's a good idea to expose children to all forms of religion?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Religion Without a Moral System

I have found however, that it is difficult for me to understand (grok?) the attraction to faiths that do not have a wide-reaching moral structure incorporated in them. In Judaism, the connection between morality and religion is almost inseparable. Every behavior that could be considered positive or negative can (and is) examined in a religious context. Yet frequently here, I see people saying that their religion has no bearing on their views regarding charity, mercy, sexuality, etc. What attracts folks to religions that do not address these moral questions? Is it simply a desire for contact with the Divine? What's going on?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Eating Healthy on a Budget?

I was talking to a friend in here about wanting to eat healthy but had an extremely tight budget. She suggested adding beans and rice to my diet. Well, I really have no clue what one does with beans and the best way I like to eat rice (besides with Chinese) is with butter, salt and pepper (which I'm sure is not healthy). So she suggested I come here and ask for help.

What are good, healthy budget-wise ways to use these staples? Also, do you have any other ideas for healthy eating on a budget?

Religion & Metaphysics - does one need the other for you?

Stoicism often involved a particular understanding of the Gods and their nature for classical Stoics. This understanding relied pretty heavily on the Stoic understanding of Physics, Ethics, Logic and Cosmology. It got me to wondering, do other people's pagan religions and path rely on a particular understanding of philosophy (natural or metaphysical)? If so, what must one first believe about the underlying nature of reality before your path makes sense?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Does Anyone Work with Plant Spirits?

I haven't yet researched much about what possibilities there are to work with plant spirits. I just bless them when I use them for tea like wishing them enough sun or shadow or many visiting bees and thanking them for their leaves etc.

How do you approach them? Do you offer something to a plant spirit? If you harvest (I don't have a garden, so I buy a lot) do you ask the plant if it's willing to give you a leaf? How do you understand if it's saying yes or now? Or do you just assume it's okay if the plant feels healthy and well fed?

Btw, are there books or sites about this topic? I had the impression that not many people work with plant spirits or is it just such a 101 topic that no one needs to talk about it?

Developing Touch Healing Skills?

So, I think I have a healing touch, specifically touch healing. I am wondering what my options are as to practice: what kind of things I can do (Reiki, etc?), where and what can I learn? I would like to expand to herb, potions, and various aspects (I happen to think that healing covers many aspects besides the physical), basically the whole gamut. I know for an herbal source Cunningham is "tops", but for touch healing (energy healing? the same thing or just similar) the only thing I have is _The Healing Touch_ by Ted Andrews, which I haven't really read yet. Any advice is appreciated.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Donating Pagan Books to Public Libraries?

I live in a rural area and visited a couple of small local libraries the other week. I noticed that only one had any books on non-monotheistic religions (and it was a couple of books on Buddhism and Hindu religion). It's been my observation that new seekers are often directed to their local libraries to check for books before investing in what can add up to some pretty hefty purchases at the bookstore

With this in mind, I got to wondering about how common it is for folks to donate informational pagan books to their public libraries. Is it something you've done or considered doing? What books did/would you donate? Or does it strike you as a flawed idea?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The 5 Elements and Wiccan Ritual?

It is pretty standard in most Wiccan ritual that at some point during the Erecting of the Temple the 4 Elements of Earth, Air, Fire & Water are called, honored, summoned or what have you. Does anyone incorporate the practice of also calling upon the 5th Element of Spirit/Ether?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Finding Reliable Sources?

TC has a really good article about the difference between scholarship and fluff books. I was wondering if you all would like to share your way of discerning the credible from the fluff in other media (like websites, etc). What's your "personal checklist"?

Shamanism and Witchcraft - What's the Difference Exactly?

I know both terms cover a variety of practices (including neoshamanism and Neopagan witchcraft), but how would you separate them? Like shamanism being concerned with spirits, but witchcraft with something else? Don't they overlap a lot?

Is there a difference at the core? Are shamanism and witchcraft different magical techniques, different worldviews, different ways of life or maybe religion? Like shamanism being 'earth centered' and witchcraft not necessarily?

Is there such a thing as shamanic witchcraft or witchy shamanism? Or do people who practice both (if such people exist) practice them separately?

Or is it just two different names for basically the same thing, but with different associations? I have the impression that Christians and atheistic secular humanists do tolerate Shamanism more than witchcraft. Shamanism is just primitive nature religion (sometimes even in a romantic way) for some of them while witchcraft is superstitious or evil. Has 'witch' just become a derogative term for someone who practices magic in a nature religious context? If shamanism is used as a term for a variety of nature religious practices worldwide doesn't it automatically apply to a lot of witches too?

I don't want to insult anyone. I know people use it as different terms, but how do you define the difference? If you practice shamanism and/or witchcraft, how do you call it and why?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Special Discussion: Nature and Pagan Religions

At TC, we've had many discussions over the years about "nature-based" religions. A major point of contention within the Pagan community involves attempts to define ALL Pagan religions as "nature-based," which simply does not work. However, emotions tend to run so high that discussions rarely advance beyond "ARE SO!" "AM NOT!" In all that, nobody ever really gets around to talking about what we *mean* when we say "nature-based": while everyone seems to agree that Wicca is nature-based and Christianity isn't, there's not much discussion of what we mean by "nature-based," of the various ways that "nature-based" can work within those religions that identify as such, of how nature is conceptualized in religions across the entire spectrum, and so forth.

Since this is a Special Topics discussion, there are stricter rules for participation in this thread, especially regarding thread drift: while thread drift is perfectly fine within TC at large, in this folder discussions are to stay on topic. If you want to pursue a side issue that arises here, feel free to start a thread in the main forum. For more information on the special rules for this folder, please see here:

In addition to the above rules, we have created some rules specific to this discussion. Since this is a highly emotive topic, we wanted to avoid the discussion getting bogged down in the usual places; here at TC, we have a real opportunity to have a genuinely meaty discussion about concepts of nature in Pagan religions, because we have such a wide variety of beliefs represented here -- including a large number of folks who do *not* identify as nature-based. So, to keep the usual problems from happening, here are the additional rules for this topic.

1) Paganism is not A religion, it is MANY religions, most of which have very little in common with each other. Pagans as a whole do not all believe any one thing. Understanding this is necessary to participate in this discussion.

2) Telling others what their religion really believes about nature when you are not a member of that religion is *expressly* forbidden. Don't make assertions about religions other than your own unless you have a demonstrable in-depth knowledge of that religion. This discussion will be difficult without some room for comparison between religions, but it needs to be done very, very carefully. When comparing other religion's practices/beliefs to your own, you *must* indicate that a) you are not a member of X religion, and b) where your information is coming from (prior involvement, dominant in your area, read some books (scholarly or otherwise), encountered a crazy at a festival, etc.). Sweeping statements are discouraged. And remember: you may be wrong. And since we have practitioners of a wide variety of religions here, you will almost certainly be called on it. Take correction gracefully, and refocus on your own religion.

3) Keep the focus on YOUR religion, not on others' misrepresentations of it. This is a discussion about the concept of "nature-based," how the idea of nature functions within your personal path, and the like; the purpose of this discussion is to move beyond kneejerk responses, and really explore what "nature-based" *means.* As annoyed as you may have been when that NeoWiccan told you that your (non-NeoWiccan) religion WAS SO nature-based, or when that Recon snarked that you don't really worship the gods, this is not the place for those stories. Put them aside, and think about what nature means TO YOU within the context of YOUR religious beliefs and practices.

3b) At the same time, also remember that, if you identify as a member of a particular religion, you are not the spokesperson for that religion as a whole. There's a lot of potential for variation within many religions, so frame your responses accordingly. For example, "Greek Paganism, in general, is not really nature-based" is a fair and reasonable statement. "No Greek Pagans are nature-based" is not -- GPs whose personal practices focus upon Demeter, Pan, or Artemis in their nature-y aspects are likely to object.

Without further ado, then, here are some questions to think about; you don't have to answer them all or in any order, certainly -- they're just some thoughts to get the ball rolling.

* How important is the idea of "nature" within your religion?

* How is nature conceptualized within your religion?

* How does nature -- concepts, imagery, attitudes toward -- function within your religion?

* Where do things like agricultural festivals fit into your religion overall?

* If you practice magic, how is nature figured -- is it *the* source of power, *a* source of power, totally irrelevant, what?

Etc. etc. etc.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ignorance of our Beliefs?

When searching for images of The Morrigan,i came across a website which depicted her and The Dagda as comic book characters. Obviously i felt rather annoyed at the depiction and considered sending this message,except my email wasn't working:

"I would like to know how you came up with the idea of including the irish Gods in your comics;since i have seen an image of The Dagda and Morrigan in an image and would like to say that this is highly offensive to Celtic pagans and wonder why you are treating the Gods in such a derogatory fashion. Ignorance of the importance of the Gods to some people can course be forgiven."

Do you think it is necessary to inform people of the importance the Gods play in our lives do you feel it is just harmless fun. I do think drawing people's attention could help shift the ignorance to our practices and make people see we are serious in our faith,yet is this the right way to do it?

Working Skyclad?

Do or Has, anyone here worked skyclad during ritual or a working? Does being skyclad as opposed to robed or what have you change your energies? If so how for the + or -?

I personally was an eclectic practitioner for a number of years and always worked robed. I eventually hooked up with a Gardnerian Coven and joined with that family and started working Skyclad. In my experience I prefer working Skyclad as it is a completely different and intense energy that manifests when I do so. I have spoken with many eclectics(mostly solitaire) whom also work skyclad and prefer it. Wondering the opinion of others?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What's Your Baggage?

I find the question - and the answers - very interesting.

But even more interesting was my response to it: I was raised Christian through high school, was born-again in college, and when it came time for me to find my own path, carried very little baggage, least of all images of hooded figures, etc & so on.

In fact, I find that I'm far enough out of that box now that I can't believe any intelligent person would stay in it. My perspective has changed so much that anyone who claims to know the Mind of God through the reading of His Own Words, and then interpreting them in modern political lexicon, as though they could possibly understand what it was like to be a first-generation Christian in Jerusalem under Roman rule...I can't stand to be around them. I turn off the CB, leave the room, whatever.

What is your baggage, or did you not bring any?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Polytheism and Archetypal Deities

I know many of you are hard polytheists and was wondering ** what you think about the various archetypal deities worshipped by Wiccans and others. I'm talking about deities such as the Green Man & Woman, the Oak and Holly Kings, the Earth Mother, the Horned God, so forth and so on ad nauseum.

Do you believe they exist? If so, in what context? Do they have specific names or only these titles?

** Of course, I'm not discluding (?) all the various degrees of polytheism represented here, I'm interested in all viewpoints and want to see what everyone thinks about this.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

An Orthodoxy of Fear?

I think this has been touched on briefly in the Cill SIG, but I think it's an appropriate discussion for this SIG as well.

Erynn Rowan Laurie's essay on the cr_r LJ community is an interesting and pointed look at the negative atmosphere surrounding Celtic Recon and its attitude to UPG:

Any thoughts, especially with regards to how we do things here in the Reformed Celtic Polytheism SIG?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Borrowing vs Stealing

It seems that many folks make a distinction between using concepts from another faith, and misappropriating concepts from another path? Do you believe that there is a line between borrowing and stealing from other religions---or is this a false dichotomy? If you DO think there is a line, what are some examples of how it might be crossed?

Is Sacred Always Spiritual?

Can you have sacred(ness) without the presence of deity? Need you believe in a spiritual world beyond the physical at all to have sacred associations, items, or moments?

Why or why not?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Under Appreciated Authors of Religious/Spiritual Materials?

Since many of you are folks that read a wide variety of spiritual materials, I wondered who you think are some of the most under appreciated authors of religious/spiritual materials? This could be for the contributions these folks made directly, or because of their influence on others.

Friday, May 02, 2008

How was your Beltaine?

As a newbie I'm eager to hear how everyone was celebrating. So what did you plan and how did it work out? Or what are planning if you want to celebrate at the weekend?

Here in Germany there's a holiday on the first of May, because it's workers' day (with the traditional union and left wing demonstrations) and a Christian holiday. Folk tradition is to have a dance on May Eve, drink a lot and in some regions the young men put up a tree at the front of their admired girls houses the next morning.

I've been doing neither of those options. I've been reading articles about Beltane, doing a big (and very necessary) dorm cleaning. Then I've been outside in the forest a bit (it was raining every 5 minutes, but great!). I've done a very small 'ritual' if you can even call it such. Just banished some personal negative energies in a very simple newbie-like way (walking around burning sage and saying a few words), put up wards and lighted a candle. But it was fun! I know that's not necessarily Beltaine work, but I needed it and read somewhere there was the peasant custom to go around the compound and repair fences.

So how was yours?

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