Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How do your deities let you know that they are there?

Deities can come to people in many different ways. What are the ways that they come into your life and let you know that they are right there with you?

With Vellamo, I feel closest to her when I am floating in the ocean among the sea foam. She seems motherly; letting the waves envelope me.

With Mielikki, I know she is there with every sigh and flutter of the forest leaves. Any small animal that crosses my path lets me know that she's watching out for all of us in the woods.

With Tapio I can sense him near me VERY strongly when I smell the scent of burning wood and also dragon's blood incense. But it's always more intense with wood... It relates back to the first time I ever felt him.

And with Ukko I feel he is closest to me during a thunderstorm...when the thunder shakes my house, when the lightning illuminates the sky, and when the rain pours down with fury.

Other than that, I get visions and feelings throughout the day that let me know they are watching. Like in the shower I had the strangest vision of Tapio just gazing right through me and I literally stopped moving for a few minutes just to watch him.

How about you guys?

Dealing with Family and Differing Religious Viewpoints?

I'll start with a brief background of myself - I grew up in Texas in a quite strict Christian household (specifically Church of Christ). My parents are missionaries by trade (they do most of their work in India, my dad makes 2 trips a year and has since the 70s) and have been utterly and completely devoted to their religion their entire lives. They very much forced this on me and from a very young age I questioned that. I went through the motions of going to church because they insisted upon it and that was quite difficult.

We mostly have avoided the topic of my feelings and beliefs but they are generally aware that I do not believe as they do. I do not like to discuss religion with them as they get very upset; not so much angry but hurt and "disappointed" that I choose not to follow the same path as them. I love them dearly and we get along incredibly well otherwise.

So, to my question. I have recently started down some kind of path (still figuring that out). I currently live in Canada and my parents still live in Texas. They are coming up for a visit soon. I have various things in my home and office that could potentially bring up questions about religion. I have some pictures of Ganesh and a small altar in my office, along with a Wheel of the Year print out. The last time they came to visit, I took them down and put them in my desk so as not to start a debate.

I do not enjoy discussing these types of things with them, if for no other reason than I don't want to upset them. At the same time, it was quite painful for me to have to "hide" those things from them. When they visit this time, I would like to leave my things around and try to deal with questions they might have. I will probably chicken out and put them away.

How do I deal with their questions, disappointment and refusal to hear my side of things?
Invariably, they will ask me to go to church with them while they are here and I will refuse. In the past they have been very hurt by this and said things like, "We want you to do what you know is right."

Do they really not realize that I am doing what I know is right for me?

I sometimes feel as if I am too old to put up with their intolerance, as I am very much an adult, but they still think of me as a child in this regard.

Anyone dealt with this kind of thing in the past?

I would appreciate any insight at all.

Ways to Do Spells?

How would you guys do spells? I know some people do air spells such as taking a feather and using your hands and picture your intention going in the feather then relasing it into the wind. Does anyone have any easy ways they do spells?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are You a God-Slave? Will You Be?

In the book that I've been reading, I've stumbled upon the phrase "god-slave" which both intrigued me and worried me and disgusted me and terrified me. From what I have gathered, the terminology is similar to that of having a patron deity, however, instead of merely having this divine parent, so to speak, loving you and offering you encouragement from afar, you have literally dedicated your every waking second to the patron that has chosen you.

Let me reiterate:

You have completely dedicated your entire life to this god/dess that has chosen you.

At least... I think. I think that's the reasoning behind that terminology.

The reason I stumbled upon all of this confusing morass was because of Galina Krasskova, free range tribalist heathen and the article written on patheos that I've linked here. Specifically, she says:

Spiritual commitment is a very complex thing. I think that many of us come to Paganism and Heathenry not realizing that the Gods are quite real, and that once we enter into the process of devotion, They can sometimes ask for a very daunting level of commitment. I've noticed that for some folks, the Gods are a nice idea but it's a totally different matter when one encounters what scholar of religion Rudolf Otto called the "numinous tremendens et fascinans." We're conditioned in many ways to assume that spirituality should make us feel good, should not inconvenience us, should be about what we want to do, not what might be necessary. Too many times we think that we can control the process.

By consciously using the word "slave" (as Odin directed me to) it brings home the point that sometimes we don't get to do that. It's a troublesome term, but it implies a level of binding commitment more accurately than anything else I have come up with. Part of the problem that people have with the term stems from the terrible abuses inflicted by one group of people on another throughout history, but part of it comes from disrespect for service. I have seen the term "godservant" evoke almost as heated a response.

As to value and honor -- it is an honor to serve the Gods in whatever capacity They determine to be right and proper. There is immense value in knowing and accepting one's place, which in turn allows a person to truly shine. That is not something I think that we should be setting limits on. I think it's for the Gods to define the terms of the relationship and the terms of one's service. I am many things in my relationship to Odin and one of those things is His godatheow, perhaps the core note of my service. It is a very beautiful thing and terrifying and I wouldn't change it for the world, save to learn how to do it better.
I was just wondering... how do you guys feel about all of this?

Personally, I can see my relationship with Sekhmet heading in this direction. So far, she's been the distant parent coaxing me to live my life appropriately. So far, she's been there to pick me up when I'm down and to yell at me when I'm wrong and to give me encouragement when I need it most. That's where she is now: she's teaching me and letting me come to conclusions on my own and I think, at some point, she would enjoy having me become a god-slave.

Honestly, I don't think I'm at all ready for that level of commitment. All joking about commitment phobias aside, it's a really big step. It's ten times more serious, to me, than marrying the significant other that you love. It's thirty times more important than anything else that I could do on this plane of existence. To me, it's important, but I just... I can't even imagine giving of myself so completely to my Hubby. How can I get that way with Sekhmet?

If that is the direction that I am heading, and something inside of me is saying yes very clearly, then I think I have a long way to go before I get there. I'm excited at having something so clearly to look forward to but I'm also... leery. It's... so much. Just. So much.

Do your patron gods test you?

Reading this article today:

I've grown curious of this passage in particular

Some Gods may decide to "test" you. This isn't to prove your worthiness, far from it. That is a concept conceived in the idea that people are inherently unworthy and must prove themselves otherwise.

These tests are more to make sure that you are capable of handling the energies that particular God may bring into your life by combining His energies with yours.
In my own life, I found myself being tested a lot when Lilith decided she was going to be part of my life. To the point that I finally told her to back off and leave me alone for a while as it was getting way too much for me.

It made me curious because it's not an aspect of patron-devotees relationships I've experienced so far and it's also one i have not seen discussed anywhere else, even if it makes sense as a rational argument as i've noticed that working with a certain deity for a certain time does change your energies.

So my question is:

Do you think it's possible to be tested in some fashion? It has happened to you? If it has, how does it work? If it has not, how do you think it might work?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Money Drawing Spells -- Opinions Please

I have known a lot of people lately who have resorted to money or prosperity spells because of our sick economy and their lack of income. I have never done one myself (despite being in a similar situation as regards finances) because, quite frankly, I can't believe they would work. Here's why...

If a witch or sorcerer/sorceress, etc. had the power to invoke riches, then why wouldn't all of them be rich? I mean, with that kind of power, why do they sell spells on ebay or waste time doing the 9 to 5 routine? Why not, just ask for the winning numbers of the next big lottery or keep using money drawing spells to rake in the bucks? In other words, if they work, why aren't all witches wealthy? (And for that matter, why would they give away the secret by telling others how to do them?)

With other spells -- like love or protection spells, the outcome is sort of arbitrary even after it happens, so you don't really know if it worked or not. But with money, its kind of hard to not know you have it or don't have it. It is not so arbitrary.

What do you think? Do they work? Have you ever had an experience with one of these type spells?

Do Deities Care About People?

I find it very interesting that we all have different ideas about Deities here and how they operate. My question is, do you think that they care about people and what we do?

To answer my own question, I think that they do - maybe some deities more than others though. I believe that I was thwapped by Brighid early this year so I figure if She didn't care about people then why would She bother? Of course it could all be my imagination lol.

So, what do you all think? Do deities care?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Deity/Spirit Possession: Where Do You Stand?

I recently bought Drawing Down the Spirits... by Raven Kaldera and Kenaz Filan. Prior to this, I had never really thought about deity/spirit possessions before. I have been possessed by a deity before, but in regards to various pagan religions (from the African diaspora religions to the Neo-Pagan movement), I had never realized that the feelings on this are both strong and diverse.


How do you feel about possession? Where does it fall in your religion? Do you think it exists? If so, why? Do you think that those who have claimed to be possessed are crackpots? If so, why?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Astrology & Jungian Archetypes

This is only a half-formed idea that's bopping around in my head at the moment, so please forgive me if this post is a bit unfocused!

I've been studying astrology for a few months now, using it not as a divinatory tool but as a method of psychological exploration. I'm really intrigued by the idea of how the Jungian conception of archetypes fits into this model.

I'm only familiar with four archetypes directly attributable to Jung himself: the Shadow, the Anima/Animus, the Self and the Persona. But the idea of the archetype has been expanded by various psychologists to include others. The most obvious way this fits into astrology is that each planet represents an archetype within the psyche (Mars -> the Warrior, Venus -> the Lover, etc.). After a visit with my brother recently, he passed along a book by Carol Pearson, who developed a system of twelve archetypes. For each archetype in Pearson's system, there is a "shadow side" and a "shallow side" that seem to roughly correspond to Jung's idea of the Shadow and the Persona.

The number 12 also plays a pretty significant role in astrology, with the twelve signs and the twelve houses, as well as the twelve "planets" (the eight actual planets, plus sun and moon, chiron and the true node). I'm intrigued by the idea of how Pearson's set of twelve archetypes might fit into the astrological approach. In addition to the number twelve, she also divides the archetypes into four groups of three that she arranges along two axes (an axis of Belonging-Independence and an axis of Stability-Mastery) that seem like they might align with the East-West and North-South hemispheres of the natal chart.

So I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on how Pearson's archetypes might match up with the signs, houses and/or planets? I just wanted to bounce some ideas off of folks to see if my intuitions are confirmed (I'll share my own thoughts once they've settled down a bit more!).

The twelve archetypes Pearson lists are:
- The Innocent
- The Everyperson (Every Guy/Every Gal)
- The Warrior*
- The Caregiver
- The Explorer
- The Lover
- The Revolutionary
- The Creator
- The Magician
- The Ruler
- The Sage
- The Jester

*The Warrior is sometimes called the Hero, but Pearson instead views all twelve archetypes as stages of the Hero's journey.

Love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, August 19, 2011

How do you picture the gods?

A few weeks ago I posted a pic that reminded me of Freyja. Finding a visual representation for how I view her and experience her personality was a fun and interesting way to understand the goddess. It enabled me to think outside the box and formulate a new understanding of her and her essence, as I focused solely on that individual and her qualities.

I thought asking others to do the same would be a fun, creative, and productive thread. I'm personally very interested in seeing representations of how people see Set- for example, which is a god I know little about but hear of often.

(It probably goes without saying, but the pictures are just interpretations of the gods's like a movie adaptation where one finds an actor that best embodies the character in a book. And it's all in good fun. )

Partners and Paganism

Those of you with partners who do not share your beliefs, how does your partner feel about your beliefs/faith/practices? The reason I ask is that I am new on my path and while my husband supports my exploration in to my spirituality and beliefs, he just doesnt get it. He doesnt understand religion or faith at all and has no time for it. It makes me feel like I need to keep things to myself and not practice anything in his company (which is just a personal thing, its not because of anything he has said or done, I just feel uncomfortable) I have the freedom to explore my path and he supports me it just feels like it could develop in to something of a wedge between us.

The Craziest Thing Someone's Said About Your Tradition?

What's the craziest thing someone's said about your path? For Paganism in general...I'd say anything that can be found in a Chick tract. (My personal favourite is "Dark Dungeons"). For Vanatru, I've heard: "People say they're Vanatru just to get dates." (I've also heard the same thing said about Wiccans, in particular). IMHO, if you've joined a religion, any religion, to get dates, ur doin' it wrong.

How Do You Keep Your Records?

Just a question, how do you keep your records? How do you refer to it (Grimoire, BoS, etc.)? Do you use binders, folders, notebooks, custom-made books, etc.? Do you write it by hand or use computers? How long have you been working on this? Do you have more than one? Does it have any organization? How much would you say you have invested in it? What is contained within it? Do you (or would you) let another copy it/use it? I use an old fashioned three-ring binder with college-ruled, loose-leaf paper and sometimes printed materials. I call it a Grimoire (as that's what I was taught to call it). I do have organization, but I'm trying to separate things and begin using more than one three-ring binder, one for wortcunning, one for spells/rituals, one for meditations/dreams/visions, one for divinations, and one for Deity/Spirit workings/info. I've not been working at it long but I've had it in mind for a while. Also, I do try to write it by hand and then sometimes I will print something out to make it look nicer. I would not let someone copy or use it. I would give them the information they need and then go from there, but I would never let it pass into another's hands.

Favorite Tarot Deck

I know this was done on the old board, but it's interesting to see what everybody says. What's your favorite Tarot deck? Mine at the moment is The Robin Wood deck.

Ghost Experience? Just Out of Curiosity...

Okay, I'm just going to ask this question that has been dying to come out. Has anyone here got a ghost experience they would like to share? I've had an experience or two myself, and have gone through the I'm nuts/ maybe I'm not nuts/ I'm accepting my insanity now ordeal. I also love hearing these stories! So please, share!

Myths and lore about boars?

I've just had a vivid dream featuring a wild boar which could be eaten and grew back. (I know it sounds pretty weird.) So I'm looking for myths and lore about boars. I've found some Greek stuff at so far. Does anyone know more stories about boars? I think there must be some in Nordic and Celtic myths as well...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Organizing Your Paraphernalia?

We all have items that we use (regularly or otherwise) that need organization. Herbs, crystals, gemstones, etc. I was just wondering how you organize all of these items?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Familiars anyone?

Hearken back to the days when anyone who wasn't 'normal' was a witch. And said witches all had 'familiars' to do their bidding. If only that were so! I would love if my darling husky would clean up her own doggy stains. How do you feel about familiars? Do you think there is something to them, even if only an animal you feel connected to? Or do you think it's a bunch of silliness?Why? I'll start out. I don't think familiars exist in the sense of critters who are bound to a person and are forced to do their bidding. After all, animals have free will too. Although my pets listen to me, they choose to, and most of the time they choose to have selective hearing. I believe familiars exist in the sense of psychic connections. My pets are too stubborn and silly to be connected to me. They just like food and coddling. And socks. However, I've always felt a connection with crows, ever since they started nesting near my house. Since then, they've followed me everywhere, even to Texas. I'm not saying the same three are tracking me, that's silly, crows have their own agenda. It just seems they always nest nearby, and their cawing soothes me. I know it sounds crazy, and I try not to entertain the thought that I am oh so special and crows love me. I just feel they are here to teach me something. I don't know. Enough of my rambling, please, share your thoughts!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Honouring Irish Gods?

Long story short, many years ago I was very interested in Irish gods and culture, and felt a strong collection with Danu, Dagda and Morrigan. Around this time, I started pursuing a Hellenic Recon path since I felt my connection to the Greeks gods was stronger, however, now that I'm loosening up again when it comes to how I view the universe, the gods and religious practice, I'm interested in honouring these gods again. The problem is I don't really know how. I've read a few books on Irish paganism, but they don't really specify how one actually worships the gods. My first instinct is to honour them like I would a Greek deity, with incense and libations, although I don't think incense would have been used that far north, traditionally. Not that I think it matters that much, but I would like to be as culturally appropriate as possible. Any advice?


I was curious to see if anyone else ever felt intimidated to do a ritual for their gods/spirits/whatever, or otherwise call attention to yourself from such beings? How did you get over or around this? Maybe it's just my upbringing, or the things I've read, but I've always felt intimidated, even during in my Wicca stage. I was always afraid of messing something up, that I'd end up pissing someone off with why a dork like me was bothering them. >.< I always felt that contacting them, especially gods, was Serious Business and not something to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking only makes me nervous and more likely to screw up a speech. Any advice on this matter would be much appreciated!

Friday, August 05, 2011

What is your definition of doing magic (or energy work), and how do you do it?

How do you define making magic, and how do you accomplish it?

If you do energy work, do you feel anything or is it more of a belief that it works therefore it does kind of thing? and.. I hope this isn't going to make the thread too broad but, what methods do you like to use - visualization, dancing, drumming - and why does it work for you?

I'm curious, because I have ceased to use any tools, and even my attempts at using candle magic have left me feeling that something isn't clicking and so it does not work.
It seems my best tool is meditation/visualization of whatever I'm doing, which still doesn't necessarily click with me. So, in the end I am not sure if the fault lies in not choosing a method of working with energy that suits me, or if I simply don't know how to work with energy at all.

While TC has a huge selection of spells on hand, I know it doesn't work that way - going through the motions without anything behind them isn't going to work, just like reading a book in an unknown language isn't going to make you understand the book.

(Maybe I just haven't found it) I haven't really found much on how to center/ground or work with magical energy properly. How you know when you have centered/grounded, and how do you know if/when you can shape/direct your energy/will to what you want to do?

I thought maybe getting a variety of answers of others' experiences might help me identify what I'm doing right/wrong.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Southern Magic?

I was raised in the Southeastern United States, and if you have ever visited or anything, you know how unique it is down here! I've been looking for some time trying to research any Southern pagan rituals or spirituality. So far, nothing! I know much of the South is located in the Bible Belt, but maybe there's something out there? I'm not looking for Voodoo or anything, although I know that's the other biggest practice in the South. Well, if anyone has any information, please let me know! thank you so much!

Reformed Hellenismos

Over the past few years of studying modern Hellenismos, I have come to a personal understanding about Hellenic Polytheism, and the movement that surrounds it.

There are two main interpretations of Hellenismos that I have continually observed:

Traditionalist Hellenismos
Reformed Hellenismos

Traditional Hellenismos takes the most literal, orthodox, and exoteric approach to spirituality within Hellenismos, and as a result is generally unconcerned with practices considered esoteric, mystical, and most especially magical. The tendency of this approach is, as I've heard it put, to focus on "authenticity over inclusion", and is very conservative in the traditional sense (from my experience).

Though I'd like to stress that magical practice is not the only point of contention between the two, it forms much of the basis of the argument in debates I've seen and been apart of. That being said, there are also issues surrounding the implementation of festivals, the structure of ritual, and socio-political issues, just to name a few.

I think it's time that a real attempt is made to approach Hellenismos from a more balanced and pragmatic perspective, and although I know of several wonderful people who do indeed implement pragmatic philosophy with regards to Hellenic Religion, very little in the way of exposure to such an idea is really given.

Personally, I think that defining this approach as Reformed Hellenismos, or something similar, will be an important step in the right direction, as will defining Traditional Hellenismos for point of comparison. I believe that Traditionalist Hellenismos is a valid approach, albeit too rigid for my tastes, but there needs to be something solid as an alternative to such an approach for those who desire it.

To me, Reformed Hellenismos is an approach that allows for a diversity of opinions about religious practices, and is less concerned about the "right belief", and more concerned with establishing orthopraxy. Personal interpretations of said orthopraxy are just that... personal - as is what other practices a person does or does not do in addition to their religious ones.

Whatever you think about this idea, I would like to hear your opinions...

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