Saturday, February 28, 2009

Working on Behalf of the Gods?

Earlier today, I read an email from a friend who mentioned in passing the idea that, if we need the Gods, it might also be true that the Gods need *us*. This comment was in response to my whining about feeling somewhat deserted by, or at least disconnected from Brighid lately because some things in my life have tanked (or it seems that way at the moment, anyway).

I've been thinking all evening about what She might need from me. It doesn't seem like She particularly needs offerings (of food anyway -- although I think offerings in the form of donations or volunteer work for related causes might be a good thing).

What do you think? Do the gods need us, and if so, for what? I know Shad, f'ex, has a theory that we are the eyes and hands of the gods. What does that mean in practice? Are there specific activities or things that you feel you are encouraged or even required to do for your god/dess(es)? What happens if you don't do them? How do you know what you're supposed to do?

For Cill members and others who have a relationship with Brighid: Do you feel Brighid needs you/us to do specific things? If so, what? Are they *required* or just encouraged?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wiccan Warriors?

I've heard this term tossed around a bit, but I'm at a loss as to what it entails exactly. I've searched the forums but couldn't come up with anything real specific. Is there anyone out there that knows about this?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wiccans, Do you Prefer Coven or Solitary?

Just curious... do you prefer solitary work or coven work if you're Wiccan? Just curious what other people's experiences with covens were. I've heard positive and negative, but I've always been a little nervous about seeking out a coven. Plus I like the freedom of solitary work. But I also feel a bit isolated, cause I know no one who is pagan. If you are solitary, how do you keep from being isolated? How have you found other pagans to associate with in your area?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Half Moon aspect of the Goddess?

As I've been reading different books on Wicca they all talk of the importance of the Goddess in Her Full Moon aspect and New Moon aspect, as well as the importance of the waxing and waning portions of the lunar cycle. I was musing on these things one night when it occurred to me that I haven't read if the Half Moon holds any special meaning. To me, it would seem that it may stand for balance, symmetry, justice, or anything number of things. I've looked around a bit but I haven't been able to find anything substantial on this topic either on the web or in any books.

Does anyone know of any literature that may address this issue?

Speaking/Singing in Tongues

I have some totally random questions about speaking in tongues in a pagan context. (As opposed to the Pentecostal Christian context) Specifically I’m talking about Glossolalia: speaking in a ‘holy language’ composed of what appear to be non-sense syllables that nonetheless sound much like some sort of fluent language and the sometimes incorporated Xenoglossy: spontaneously speaking in a real language which is completely unknown to the person speaking it.

I got curious about the topic after seeing a documentary that discussed it recently and looked it up on Wikipedia (not the most impressive of sources, I know). At the bottom of the entry, they noted that this sometimes shows up in pagan and shamanistic faiths (also possible in voodoo).

Have you ever had experiences with either? Is speaking in tongues a part of your path? If so, how do you use it and why? Does it have a historical basis in your tradition or is it a modern/UPG add-on?

On a related note, if you do speak in tongues, do you consider what you say a product of purely Glossolalia or do you suspect it might be Xenoglossy, that is to say, do you believe the language you are speaking is or was at one time a real language (such as an unlearned or undiscovered language you cannot identify)?

If you don’t speak in tongues, what do you think of the practice? Have you ever encountered it outside the Christian faith? Do you believe it can serve a purpose or do you see it as nonsense?

And although I’m not specifically talking about constructed languages or ‘Conlangs’ in this post, I could see how the topics might be related and wanted to throw that out there too. Do you think there is any relationship between speaking in tongues and inventing fantasy languages? Why do humans feel the need to do either?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Do You Believe in Reincarnation?

So do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not? I'm wiccan, but reincarnation is one of those things where I know the basic principle, but I don't really have the whys for the belief or lack of belief in it... Does anyone have suggestions for some good books/websites that might give me a more detailed philosophy on it? I don't want to believe anything I'm not very informed on, and I figured this might be a good place to get some ideas/opinions.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finding the Right Rituals for Me?

I've been doing some research on the Wheel of The Year and now that I have my dates figured out, my problem now is Where can I find all the Rituals I need? I'm not a Wicca, I consider myself an Earth-Based Pagan. I have viewed your Rituals link and found a good Ritual for Samhain, but do I have to make an alter of some sort for this? I'm a little confused, but I'm not impossible.

If someone out there could give me something brief or even step-by-step instructions (if your not busy), because I'm just starting with the Rituals and I'd hate to do them incorrectly.

I'm solitary.
I love being solitary.
It is not that I feel I need to 'play' coven or something, but I do feel, that I need to take another step. If I want to grow, that is.

Last year I've done a kind of meditation workshop for close friends and co-workers and they really liked it. But I really need to achieve some more self-assurance when dealing with real life people.

And besides that, it just would be nice to do ritual sometimes with others.

This is not a thing that will take place within the next few weeks, not even months.
I know that I have to write some material as a starting point for a group, from which things can be adjusted.

How would be the best way to go about this? Any ideas? Problem is, I don't want to start with strangers, but then sometimes friends can be too close to.

How did you go about this, if you ever started a group? I'd be interested in hearing your experiences.

Your Name, Your Avatar, and Your Sig?

I see so many interesting names, avatars, and sigs. I'm just wondering about the stories behind them. I would just like to know why you chose what you did to help define you. Everyone has a story!

Out YouTube Me!

So here are the rules: post your weirdest, silliest, freakiest musical act (from YouTube or any other publicly-available site, as long as it's streaming and doesn't require download). Here's my first entry. As you can see, I'm setting the bar high...and so very low...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do You Believe in an "Ultimate God?"

"Ultimate God" is my son's term, but it works because I don't have another workable term.

Do you believe that there is a Greater Power/Being than the god/desses of your pantheon? Personally, I do believe in an "Ultimate God," and the other god/desses are kumu, or teachers, but they are manifestations of the Ultimate God, just as we are, but to a greater degree. I believe everything is a kinolau (other body) of God--rocks, trees, people, god/desses.

Because of this, I don't pray to Pele to grant me anything, but I ask Her for guidance and to help me connect with God (Ultimate) both within myself and without.

Pele's a harsh, but loving, mistress and reminds me of a Catholic nun teacher--when She whacks you across the knuckles, by gum, you know it! Ignore Her at your peril!

So, do you believe in an "Ultimate God?"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Magic Within/Magic Without

Do you feel your magic is something that comes mostly from within yourself, or mostly from external sources? For example; crystals, herbs, candles etc.

If you feel as though it is from both, like I do, where do you predominatly draw your magical energy from? Internally, or externally?

UPG and Myths/Sources?

Since this came up in some threads we were discussing recently I thought it would deserve an own thread. (If any newbies are reading this: UPG is short for 'unverified personal gnosis'.)

Are there differences between your personal experiences with deities and the way they are described in myths and sources? (Could you give a few examples?)

How do you explain the differences? How do you deal with them?

What's more important to you?

Did researching myths and history influence your personal experiences with a deity? (Like you started to 'visualize' them differently or clearer...)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ancient Gods in a Modern World?

Do you think ancient deities have changed over the centuries or is their perspective of things still rooted in ancient times?

How do they relate to issues of the modern world?

Do they have archaic/ancient characteristics or perspectives you find sometimes hard to deal with (or do they find it sometimes hard to deal with your modern perspectives)?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Non-Racist, Non-Sexist Tarot Cards?

I am fairly new to the tarot, but I have been absolutely in love with the tarot deck for about four months now. I've read everything I can get my hands on about the history of the deck, interpretive possibilities of cards, symbolism, intuitive readings, etc. I have started with a deck with art based on the traditional Rider-Waite deck, and I am now looking to find some decks that I connect with more strongly.

I have researched lots of different decks, but I haven't felt comfortable with any of them, and I'm finally figuring out why--in almost every deck I've seen, everybody is white, with anglo features, and generally fits the traditional definition of beauty in western culture--thinnish, anglo features, fair skin and hair, etc. In addition, I'd love to see some diversity of sexualities in the deck. For example, why can't The Lovers card have a possible male and male or female and female option, depending on who you are doing a reading for?

I have read the book and seen some of the Motherpeace cards, which go a ways to deal with these very issues, but I don't really connect with the art and I feel that they are often missing the really potent symbolism that makes the Rider-Waite deck interesting. So I guess I'm looking for something that keeps the potent symbolism.

Anyway, I'm just wondering if anyone has experienced working with cards that are more inclusive and less supportive of the racist/sexist/ageist, etc. status quo (for example, why is the high priestess always young and pretty? Why not make her an older woman? Why not a middle-aged woman? These kinds of things drive me a little nuts).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why Do People Have To Tell Stories?

I'm not an anthropologist, and I haven’t read widely on the subject…but there seems to be a fundamental human need to have stories. This is in every culture worldwide, ranging from myths (deeply meaningful religious stories about Life, the Universe, and Everything) to soap operas (somewhat less meaningful stories about life, sex, and everything) to comic strips (ditto).


If you think about it, we could exist perfectly well without stories; we could still eat, sleep, have sex, even if we never heard or told another story. Sure, stories serve various social functions—one function of myth, for example, is to give social cohesion to a group, I believe—but then a wolf pack reinforces its social cohesion by howling at night, no stories required. So why do humans do it with story? Why do we do so many things—entertainment, education, and on and on—through story?

We even tend to edit our experiences selectively—on an individual level, our memories, and collectively, our history—so that they make a tidy story.

Why not accept the chaotic mess as it is, rather than try to impose some narrative order?

If we were ever to meet intelligent aliens, do you think they’d also tell stories? For the same reasons we do?

Numbers in Your Path

I was meditating last night, and was shown a tri-fork that I could relate to large areas of my (ahem.. various..) paths. The number three seems to run through a lot of things for me; both in the three pillars on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the 3x3 days Odin was sacrificed, the three rune aettir (lineages). I have been taught they corresponded to 1 - the basic forces, 2 - internal work, and the 3. - community activity. (Which seems similar to the three wiccan+derivatives degrees?) There's also the upper/middle/lower worlds of when I do journeying.

Are there numbers that are significant for you?

Does your work in some way revolve around numbers? Numerology?

Do you find particular numbers cropping up in your life? (42 and 23 are perfectly valid answers. Fnord.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Hero Archetypes in Paganism?

Just researching pagan paths at the moment, as they seem to encompass many things I have always believed but have never really explored spiritually. I'm exploring how far these things match up with ideas I am comfortable with before plunging properly. In advance, thank you for any help.

One thing which for years I have privately at least, held in place of a proper belief system is a series of "heroes" drawn from myths and fiction. These operated for me as a moral code, an ideal to strive towards and source of strength. It's not like I worshipped them, certainly not. But I have always used the concept of the characters themselves as a personal guide for my behavior and sense of self-improvement.

It sounds nuttier written down than in my head.

It's not something I've come across yet in books/site, but it does seem to correspond to the importance of symbolism and tradition in pagan paths, drawing on the symbolic concept of a particular deity or animal because of a personal response.

So is there any place for hero archetypes in paganism, either personally or in things you have seen other people believe?

Your Career/Life Goals as your Spirituality

Although the thread title has an obvious implication, I'm not actually intending to ask how your spirituality effects your careers or your goals. In this instance, I'm interested in asking whether anyone feels as though their career itself functions as something spiritual or *equivalent* for them.

A long time ago I saw a poster - I want to think Jenett, but I could be wrong - remark about finding a path, that you should look at those already on the path, and think about whether you want to become more like them.

I've recently embarked on a doctorate level degree programme. It's something I'd thought about in the past, but I'd always shot myself down: 'There's too much competition in academia,' 'you're not at a high enough level for this work' etc. It took a long time for me to decide that I could do this, or at least give it my best shot.

Now, I don't believe in deities, or magic, or spirits. I don't feel like academia is 'fated' for me, or that it's in my 'nature' to do this. It just feels like a very good fit for me, and I feel like I'm waking up. I'm having experiences that change me, so that I feel like I'm becoming part of the academic field I'm interested in. Now, where a religious or spiritual experience might be something like hearing the Voice of God, or some moment of clarity, my experiences are more on the lines of discussing theory with my peers, and enjoying being around people who share my values and aims. And of course, the feeling of becoming someone different, whom I want to be.

It strikes me that this is the kind of thing that many people talk about in terms of their religion and/or spirituality. Where I don't have either of those, I still find myself appreciating some of those experiences, even if the target is different.

So, is my attitude towards my life and occupational goals just because I'm an atheist and have no religious comparison? Does anyone here who regards themselves as religious or spiritual have a similar feeling towards their own occupation/ life goals?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

First Experiences with a Deity?

I've recently had a couple of first experiences with a deity (I think it was Artemis) and are trying to cope with them for a while now. I'm not thinking about any formal relationship like a dedication yet, just want to explore and work out my experiences. I'm very confused. I wonder how more experienced members went about their first experiences.

Have you had an encounter with a deity or have you approched him/her yourself?

How would you react to an encounter with a deity?

What steps did you take to explore the deity and your possibilities? How do you find out why you had this encounter, what to expect of the deity and what he/she expects of you?

How did you develop a relationship?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Need Advice: Restarting a Group?

I need advice. I don't know what I am doing. I am a member of a Unitarian Universalist Congregation and we have a earth centered group Gaia Spirit Circle (GSA).

The group stated in 2005, I don't want this group to go by the wayside. Both of the leaders of the group have left the Congregation. I have called a meeting of GSA, for Wed Feb 4, 2009 (GSA used to meet the 1st Wed of the month). Yesterday I had gotten 6 people who say they will come.

Does anyone have any advice as to how to get the group restarted. What questions do I need to be asking those who come?

I know this is not a lot of helpful information, as your questions I will answer as best I can.

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