Sunday, August 31, 2008

What Areas of Life Does Your Path Address?

What are the broad areas of life that your path addresses? (I realise that a common answer is likely to be 'everything', but for the sake of discussion, particulars would be good). For example, Stoicism pays special attention to physics, logic, ethics, civic participation, psychology and virtue.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Living Life to the Full?

For some people I'm sure that their religious and/or spiritual beliefs have helped them to appreciate their life and try to make the most of it. I am happy that I am one of those people.

However, recently I've been coming into contact with a viewpoint where religion seems to have the opposite effect on a person: they can't wait for the next life to start, and thus disregard the life that they are living now.

What is your opinion on these two viewpoints?

How have your own religious beliefs affected your outlook on life? Do you feel as if you should make the most of this life you are living now? And if so, is that because you think this life is the only life you'll be living? Or because you feel as though one should make the best of every life they live?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Looking for Slavic Recon Information

I did a search on Slavic Paganism on the board and came up with some great information but I still have a few question(s). I hope that anyone with any information answers my question(s) and not just those into Recon/Slavic Paganism.

When it comes to Slavic Paganism/Recon, a lot of the information out there is based off of folklore. I'm mainly looking for Polish paganism but because that is not widely available, I have also been looking at Russian (we are after all, all bound together by the 3 brothers - Lech, Czech, & Rus for those familiar with the legend).

So, if you are studying this path of paganism, but can not find too much information, do you take comfort in the legends/folklore that is readily available? I guess what I'm getting at is, is that because folklore and legends are supposed to have been based on true events, can one take them as the basis for ones path?

I'm in the process of wanting to make my own personal grimoire containing a collection of Slavic Paganism/Recon beliefs. But without any sort of written word or text to go off of, are legends/folklore an accepted source of information to go off of?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Feng Shui?

The modern practices of Feng Shui involve re-arranging items around your home to break up any stagnant energy that may be present. I have read that by moving objects that have not been moved in the last year, this energy can be broken up. Also, certain things such as wind chimes and crystals hanging in sun spots can have this same effect. Does anybody utilise such aspects of Feng Shui in their own home? Would you say that you notice a difference?

Also, as far as I'm aware, traditionally the practice of Feng Shui had less to do with re-arranging furniture and more to do with living in harmony with the world around you.

Does anybody know of any good books, or even websites, on the history and traditional practice of Feng Shui?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Music in Rituals and Magic

My practice focuses around music (or at least does at the moment), so I was wondering: How important is the origin of the music one uses in rituals? Does a piece of music carry the composer's intent with it even if the musician associates it with something completely different? For example, could a piece originally written in honor of someone (like a monarch or family member) be used as a love song, as long as it sounds like a love song to you? And of course, there's the question of whether it's appropriate to use Christian music (or music from any other religion) in a Pagan ritual.

I guess if you say music is just a tool for the witch or whoever is doing the ritual to go into trance, meditate, or to carry the spell, then it doesn't matter what it was originally intended to be. But, on the other hand, if you consider magic to be part of the music itself, then it would matter. If that is the case, what would you do with music whose origins aren't known?

So, is magic a property of music, or is music whatever you make of it?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Casting a Circle?

I've read a few instructions on how to cast a circle (and there are many out there!), however they all tend to be really long... My question is this: Does casting a circle have to take a long time? I mean, it's one of the most basic things out there. Why should it be really long? I understand that it's the process of "building a temple," however, is it not possible to accomplish the same with a short little rhyme?

How Do You Celebrate the Full Moon?

I find myself, over the past few months, celebrating the full moon with a group of like minded individuals. We have been doing simple pagan based activities and rituals. It's been a very nice experience for me thus far. Now I find myself in charge of our next get together. What we have done so far has been very nice, but there is still a lot of experimentation going on, and we aren't yet ready to do the same thing every time.

So I'm wondering, what do you do to celebrate the full moon?

What types of ceremonies and magic do you think the full moon is best for?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chaos Magic Group Work

I have never come across a "Chaos Coven". I loosely define myself as a Chaos Magician, and I enjoy group work from time to time. What's a Chaote to do? While I can certainly perform Chaos inspired rituals and magic on my own, there are certain activities that just require a group. For example, it's pretty difficult to perform a multi-part chant in the round by yourself. So, what do I do? Personally I've chosen to join and work with more conventionally Pagan groups because that's what exists in my area. This doesn't conflict with my beliefs, and for the most part it doesn't seem to bother the people I work with. (The exception being idealogical disagreements.)

So, to my fellow Chaotes, are you willing to work with non-chaos groups, or do you choose to go it alone?

For non-chaotes, does the idea of a Chaos Magician in your circle bother you? Or do you find it acceptable?

English Celtic Pantheon?

I saw another post about the Pantheon of Ireland which was very interesting indeed. And I thought how about The English Celtic gods? I only know a couple and have made journeys to see irish and welsh but I would love to find out about the English Celtic gods if anyone knows.

You Mean That's Not Normal?

Some members with paranormal abilities have stated that they had assumed everyone had the same abilities until they realized that it wasn't the norm. Usually these are people who have had their abilities for as long as they can remember and basically grew up using them along with the standard five senses.

I would like to hear what experiences others may have had upon realizing that their paranormal abilities were not commonplace.

If you have a story to share I would love to hear it, if not perhaps you could answer some of the following questions:

What are your abilities and what made you first realize that you were different from the norm?

Was there one defining moment or was it a gradual realization? or maybe you always knew?

What was your reaction to the realization? Did you feel a need to hide your abilities, to keep your "differentness" to yourself or did you have a supportive environment where you were free to develop and explore your talents?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Future Meditation Garden

I would like everyone's help. I'm working on plans for a future meditation garden. I have no idea when I will start work on it. The space I'm going to be working with will be about 50 feet by 70 feet. The help I would like, what would y'all suggest I put in my garden; trees, plants, flowers etc.

Any help would be welcome.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mundane Uses of Magical Practices?

I have been trying to think of a way to word this for a while. I think I finally found it. (See post title for what I am talking about.)

There are things that we use in magic, or in our religions, that can be used in our everyday activities, outside of spells, and worship. At least I think so. So my questions are:

1. What, if any, magical/religious practices do you use in everyday situations?

2. How do you use them?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Personal Tenets

I've been reading Isaac Bonewits' Essential Druidry and it got me thinking about what my tenets were.

1. Don't believe or do things unless you know why - and "because we've always done it" or "because X does it" is not a reason.

2. Beliefs are not set in stone - experiences or talking with other people may change them.

3. Other people's beliefs may be different from mine. This does not necessarily mean they're wrong.

4. Don't convert people.

5. Scholarship is the backbone of my practice. However, if the scholarship is not used, it is useless.

6. Paganism is not just something to be done at the weekends, it's part of my life.

7. If you don't know the answer, either go away and think about it and then come back to the person who asked the question and answer them or tell them you don't know.

What are your tenets?

Alternatives to the Usual Elemental Representations

In many, if not most, of the books or info that I have read it gives the usual ideas for symbols for the elements (air, incense; fire,candle; etc.) I have used these representations for years now but have started to think of other things that could be used,

I came up with a few myself like instead of incense there could be a feather and for water it could be a shell but I wondered if anyone here has any unusual items they use and wouldn't mind sharing?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Religion in Tough Times

What do you do to keep track of your faith when everything in your life seems wrong? What about your faith helps you through trials?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gods and Time

How do you think the Gods perceive time? Do they perceive it the way we do or do they perceive it differently? Do they exist within time as we know it or do they exist outside of it?

And while I'm at it, I'll throw this one in:

Is time linear or cyclical?

Pantheistic Practice?

I'm having a hard time accepting practices that honor the Gods. I've been looking a little into pantheism, but the two main sites I've found seem heavy on theory and short on practice. I'm wondering what kinds of rituals and daily practices you do, and how you do them. If you'd like to give any specific examples, that would be very helpful.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pagans and the Poverty Level

I come across more pagans who are at the lower end of the pay-scale than I do those who are in high income brackets. Pagans I meet always seem to be just getting by or barely getting by. Granted, the rise in paganism is mostly among younger people yet to make their mark on the world, but even so, the ones I know don't seem to place climbing a corporate ladder or acquiring vast sums in a bank account very high on their list of priorities.

It seems to me Pagans in general (there are always exceptions) place at lot of emphasis on their spirituality and actually living that spirituality, basically, putting into practice what they believe. The professionals I have met, usually have more service oriented careers; teachers, counselors, social workers, etc. Pagan students seem to have similars ideals and gravitate to the arts, human services, or environmentalism.

I would like to ask:

How is personal prosperity measured in relation to your path? Is it important to you to make a positive contribution to the world through a career choice or way of life? How do you balance your spirituality with the materialistic world?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Spirituality and Frustration

Frustration is a common theme in my life. And with spirituality, the theme has yet to falter. I'm really just overwhelmed, with alot of mixed emotions. For as long as I remember, I was a pretty firm atheist. Having any slight interest in any religion would've been a joke to me. But as of earlier this year, for some reason unknown to me, I began thinking differently, with a more open mind. And I've more or less, broken the barrier into spirituality. I now believe that there is a higher power, I just don't know what it is, or where to find it. And if I do find it, will I recognize it?

A couple of my friends introduced me to Wicca. And I've been so intrigued by it since, that it almost hurts to think about. But, the logical, ex-atheist side of me keeps wanting to reject the beliefs. I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my head around all of this God and Goddess business. Sometime's I'll say to myself, "Wow, this has got to be the religion for me.", but I feel like I might be interested for the wrong reasons.

I also have a deep, and compassionate attraction towards nature. And earth-based religions definitely will be my answer, and in my heart I can confirm that. One of my problems also is, though, that I'm not educated enough about Wicca, or Druidism [which I've also had a recent interst in] perhaps to make a more daring leap into either one of them.

I feel very alone, very confused. I want to find the higher powers, but they're playing an awful game of hide-and-seek. Does anyone have any advice for me, any support, or have felt like they've hit a brick wall before? Anything to just ease some of this tension would help me alot. Thanks.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Star Magic?

Has anyone used stars for magical purposes such as spells, healing, divination, or anything else?

I would like to try an ancient Egyptian spell using stars for healing. It bascially works in this way: During a new moon a bowl or large cup of purified water is set outside all night to "catch" starlight. Then is supposed to be used in a ritual the next day.

I was just curious to know if anyone else uses stars in rituals.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lay Pagans vs. Clergy?

In traditional Wicca, all practitioners are priests and priestesses. Since there is a general assumption that all Pagans are Wiccan, there is also a general assumption that all Pagans are clergy. This, of course, is not true.

So, my question for everyone is: what makes someone clergy vs. a "lay" pagan?

Is it one's relationship to the community? Is it one's level of involvement or leadership? What if you practice on a deserted island and there is no community? Does anything distinguish you as clergy vs. lay Pagan in that case?

Is it the type of rites you do, or the frequency with which you do them?

Is it an initiation? Can you perform that initiation on yourself? I believe most Neowiccans would say "yes", but what about other traditions?

Is it relationship to a particular deity? If one performs rites every day to honor Kali, are they her priest or priestess? What if they feel Kali "chose" them?

Do you have to be part of a specific tradition or lineage to be clergy? Personally, I think the answer is "no", but you've got to admit that it's hard to know when you're a priestess if there's no guidelines for how you're supposed to do it.

I'm sure the answers to these questions will differ depending on everyone's tradition and personal experience.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tarot Correspondences?

I use different correspondences than most people do for the elements in relation to the tarot suits.

So my question is, do you use "book" definitions for the correspondences (elemental or otherwise), and why or why not?

For myself, I gave up on the books for the elements at least. I'll have to go back and see what other correspondences I have (it's been awhile, several moves and stuff still is not unpacked).

For Cups, I have water. That is the only common denominator between my correspondences and the common ones. My reasoning is pretty obvious, a cup holds water (or other liquids).

For Swords, I have fire. When I think of a sword, I think of the process it takes to make one (forging), which require fire. I also think of the fiery souls of those who wield a sword to anything resembling a decent display.

For Wands, I have earth. Wand from branch, from tree, which grows in... you guessed it, earth. I also associate it with growing things.

For Pentacles, I have air. I had to think long and hard about this, and because of this association, I revamped this several times. I ended up coming back to this. Pentacles, whether seen as a coin, or as a design are something more mental than anything. As a coin, it can show commerce which is a mental design in and of itself. As a symbol, it is based in the ideals of a religion, community, or any group of people in general. Both of these lead back to the mind, which I have always connected with air. (I know other connect the mind to fire, which I always connect to the soul).

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