Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Staying in a Spiritual State of Mind

In this day and age, there is always SO MUCH going on. We are given an onslaught of media, information, communication, and drama to deal with on a daily basis. I know it differs from lifestyle to lifestyle, but I feel I can safely assume we all have the same basic things to deal with: work, bills, children (possibly), significant other, friendships, etc etc. Sure, people have been doing this for thousands of years, but they weren't exactly always sitting in a cubicle or standing on their feet in front of a register. With so much that our conscious mind has to filter through and deal with, how do you stay in a spiritual state of mind?

I'm rather young, so I'm just getting into the 'real' world. And sometimes I can keep in mind that the Goddess is nearby, and everything I do is sacred. But not that often. I'm too busy worrying about baking 30 loaves of bread, slicing two pounds of roast beef, and making sure I have enough time to close up properly. I find it difficult at times to remember life is a celebration, and the Deities are always watching over me.

So how do you stay spiritual? Are you like me, struggling to keep up with the world, and only finding time to worship your gods on your days off? (I know, I'm terrible). Or have you mastered mind over matter, and can keep the flame of Divine love alive all the time?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Relationships between gods - going beyond the myth

As hard polytheist, I believe gods evolve and interact with each other over the ages, outside and beyond what our mythologies suggest.

Example - there's little mythology tying Hekate, the goddess I serve, with Dionysos and Hermes, but among Her followers is shared personal gnosis that She is close to both of Them... which is not entirely surprising as they run in the same circles and share a few areas of interest. Often, if you work with Her, Dionysos and Hermes tune in as well- I have a theory about that, on how working with Hekate can come with stagnation phases that necessitate the type of disruption Hermes and Dionysos can easily provide.

At the same ways, I read about at least one Aepheastus follower that remarked about how she was not well-liked by Aphrodite, because marital relationship between Her and her god were hardly smooth- in her upg, Aphrodite finds her husband to be quite boring, while Aephestus much prefers Athene's company over his wife.

In other instances, there are followers of a certain deity that are asked to not seek contact with another certain deity their patron doesn't get along.

So this got me thinking about what we learned in our practices about how our deities interact with each other, about which gods go along (or don't ) with which other gods.

What's your experience or opinion on this subject?

Monday, September 19, 2011

(Pagan) Religion as a Hobby...

So I've come across this comment a few times in different contexts. The basic argument is that a lot of Pagans see their religions as more of a hobby, an important hobby but still sort of a hobby, hence some of the reluctance to invest time and money in 'mainstreaming' or supporting whatever local culture/community is available. I know that some of the reluctance to say, pay for a course or donate to a grove/coven is based around the idea of debasing the practice etc by exchanging money but I have to wonder if the 'hobby' argument doesn't have some merit. I also wonder if part of this lack of fiscal support may be due not only to the economy but to passionate participants already facing cash flow challenges due to volunteering etc already.

Basically, do you think this is an issue? How would/do you approach eliciting participation/support/etc? Do you think it is important that Pagans support and strengthen our various communities? Aside from fiscal support how could other support be offered?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eros, the trickster?

Eros, son of Aphrodite and Ares, more famous in modern age as a bow-armed cherubim than as that more adult, if still youthful, first image of him, is probably last deity I would have expected to see ever mentioned as a trickster.

Yet it seems like this is exactly how his followers see Him... or at least a consistent part of them does.

So my question is: how do you see Eros? have you ever encountered Him? And if you did, how was your experience with Him?

Not Alone?

Do you ever feel when your staring into nature you feel like your not alone. Like when you look at the moon, you feel its special, or when the sunsets? when the waves go on the beach do you feel like someone is telling you something? or when you hear animals it sounds like a choir? or even the most simplest thing, looking at the clouds and it still looks like somone is talking to you? Basically do you ever feel like your not alone, and that its a great mystery that will never be solved. if so share your experience.

Here's mine. Every time I look out the window I feel those things I described and I say to myself "this seems planned. man and woman to populate the earth. The four elements for us to survive. Planets in orbit. Day and night, life and death. The connection of everything, such as for us to live something has to die. The seasons. the balance in our universe"

Resoruces for Building a Practice?

I'm currently engaged in a long-term project to create my own structured practice. I'm not ready to go into any detail yet, but I can say -- to nobody's surprise -- that my path is focused exclusively on Brighid.

The actual beliefs seem to be the "easy part" -- for me, at least. But I'm struggling a bit with how to construct a holistic, coherent, and consistent practice, as well as each of the components, such as simple daily devotionals and more complex festival celebrations (that might or might include rituals).

Can anyone recommend resources that might be useful for someone building a practice? Or for the individual components of a path, such as rituals?

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Core Family Unit and Faith

I was just curious... For those of you who are pagan parents, how do you incorporate faith into your daily life so that you teach your kids about it? Do you pray? Do you invite them to ritual? Do you have them do special projects during the holidays?

And in that... for those of you with kids who are school-aged, how is that processed when they hit the socialization age? How does it impact you when your kids say those darnedest things about multiple gods and magic?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Heathen Prayer: When? Where? Why? How?

Obviously praying varies from religion to religion, and I assume praying in Heathenry may be different than say...praying in Judaism, or Kemetic Orthodoxy. Thus, here are some questions I have...


When are the appropriate times to pray? Are there times that I should not pray?

Where are the appropriate places to pray? Can I pray anywhere?

Why should I pray? Are there times I should pray? Times I shouldn't?

How should I pray? Are there any particular prayer positions, or special things I should do?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

How Do You Celebrate Mabon?

Well, well, here it is that the Fall Equinox is nearly upon us. (In my nook of the hemisphere, that is.) I didn't really start celebrating these traditional (may I use this word here? I can't think of anything else to describe it...) wiccan/pagan/insert word here holidays until like, Ostara this year, and therefore I don't have much of a clue what I want to do for Mabon.

So, I've decided to do some research. How do you celebrate this holiday, if you celebrate it at all? What themes come to mind? Do you celebrate it as much as you would Samhain or Imbolc, or do you keep it simple?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

What do you do with spell materials after you're done casting the spell?

I know some spells depend on making or using materials to hold onto, but I feel like that implies keeping the materials is part of what makes the spell continue to work. What do you think of that? I don't want a spell to lose its power if my husband accidentally chucks part of the materials I used in the trash. I'd also end up with a surplus of old spell materials, which we don't have the room for.

And yet tossing everything once the spell is done feels strange too. Does it even matter? Have the objects helped to release whatever energy necessary during the spell, and now they are done?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Using songs in magic

Does anyone else here use songs in their magic? I don't just mean overtly 'pagan' songs, but pop songs, classical music, and so on.

Music is important to me in a lot of contexts, and I've found that certain songs are useful while doing magical work. Usually it's just there in the background, but sometimes I incorporate the song into the work itself by putting the song on repeat and singing along with some of the lyrics while I work as a way to 'say' the spell.

For example, I've used 'Get Out Of My House' by Kate Bush while doing work to keep certain things (not necessarily people) out of my actual or metaphorical home. I've also used 'Night Terror' by Laura Marling while doing a protection spell for a loved one. I find that very few songs lend themselves to being used this way (it's a combination of lyrics and music that happens rarely), but I can usually spot good songs as soon as I hear them these days.

Thoughts? Experiences?

Being Spiritual In A Non-Spiritual Family?

In my household everyone either has no care about the spirituality/divine (my stepfather, sister and brother) or they are religious but they keep their thoughts to themselves (my mother). So as a result my house is very very secular. It has been like this for many years I am afraid to break the atmosphere.

But that puts me in a fix. How am I to express my spiritual side of me without "disrupting the flow"?

Should I just never show my spiritual side and do it when I am alone away from family?

Or should I just do whatever I want? Do my prayers, give offerings, do rituals even if family is there.

Or do some sort of middle path?

Your thoughts?

Ritual aftercare

Discussion else-thread made me start my commentary about how I think many Pagan groups do a lousy job with ritual aftercare, and how we could - by taking some relatively simple steps - do a whole lot better. Then I decided it deserved its own thread.

So, to get started, some questions to get conversation going...

1) What does ritual aftercare mean to you?

2) When is it necessary? (Personal ritual? Group ritual? High-intensity group ritual? Other times?)

3) What bits of ritual aftercare do you look for in a competent ritual leader? Which bits don't matter as much to you?

4) Are there aspects of aftercare that you particularly feel strongly about? Things you think are overdone?

5) And for those of you who've got experience as teachers or ritual leaders: what do you consider your own obligations to appropriate aftercare to be? Do you still feel some obligation if you're a guest at a ritual (say something large and public?) but not in charge?

Please share whatever springs to mind for you: I'll come and chime in with my own thoughts eventually, but I'd love to hear other people's thoughts first, because I'm curious about which of my experiences are more broadly shared.

Questions also totally welcome.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Church of All Worlds

What is the Church of All Worlds and what are their beliefs? Are they Wicca based or are they a more general Neopagan group?

Past lives? Do I really have them?

My mind paces around the thought of actually having past lives. I believe some people have them... Maybe everyone has them. I don't know... I just have no indication that -I- have had them. It's a very interesting topic... I mean, knowing what you were in a past life could greatly impact your spiritual journey in this life.

I feel like I'm rambling, and that I'm a bit depressed at the moment. So many people have experiences with this and I never even had a hint.

When a Teacher is Not an Option

I am in the position where a teacher would be very useful. I can see very clearly who I want to be as a person, and where I want to end up religiously. I am pretty realistic about who I am right now, what my strengths and weaknesses are. I was working on that very stuff with my therapist, but I am pretty sure I have reached a point with her where the secular conversations just won't cut it anymore, and while she knows I am a polytheist, I don't think she really grokks it. A teacher- a group or an individual- would be helpful is pointing out the places to work on, and how to work on them, and as Kiya said in chat, being support during the Times of Great Flailing.

However. Right at the moment, I am not in much of a position to find a teacher. I don't want to get involved with my 'local' community, because the pagan 'scene', as it were, in this state unnerves me. I don't feel safe or comfortable around the people I have interacted with, and from what I can glean, most of the community is much of the same. The internet is also not likely to be of much help, because many teachers don't like to take on students they can't work with face to face, and honestly, that's something I really would want, that face to face connection. And I am not going to be in the financial position to leave this state for a depressingly long while, I suspect.

So: what do you do, when a teacher is the best option but an unavailable option? How do you keep yourself growing and moving and challenged, and not just walking blindfolded in circles over the same ground?

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