Thursday, October 27, 2011

Divine Communication: How Common is It?

This morning, I was reading various pagan blogs when I came upon this post by Elizabeth at Twilight and Fire. In this particular entry, she maintains that divine communication is not as common as others would have us believe and that the gods pick and choose to whom they will communicate with.

Honestly, I've never thought about the types of communication (or lack thereof) that may or may not go on with other pagans. But, in reading the post, I felt a strong disagreement with her sentiments. I appreciate her opinion, but I don't think it's particularly true.

...I don't know. I could be wrong, of course, but I've never found that there are only a select few who communicate with the gods. Perhaps there are a select few who speak with particular deities at a given time, but I've come across too many pagans who have communicated, in some form or another, with their deities.

What's your take on all of this?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?

This one's had my brain tied in a knot for a while.

It kind of goes without saying that each person's set of magickal tools and ritual items is unique. I've heard of folks using anything from free stuff they've found on the street to something they had specially made by a skilled craftsperson. And as for materials, wood to plastic, natural to synthetic, luxurious to inexpensive... it's all across the board.

Disposable things like candles, or permanent fixtures like statues, and even storage places for all of your things very in material, but I want to know how much do you think the type of material used governs your tools efficacy? For instance, would a glass cup be any less potent than a silver chalice in a ritual? Is a steel athame better than one made from bone? Does or can consecration trump any properties innate in material your tool is made from, or can material seriously hinder use?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gods are all individuals?

For me I am a polytheist, I believe that all Gods and Goddesses and completely different beings. I know there are totally different views on this, I would just like too know what you believe.

Dieties of the Hunt

My friend is starting out on a pagan path, and he is interested in gods of the hunt. I'm familiar with the most common dieties out there, but do you guys have any suggestions?

I just want to help him research this a little bit. And I've found that you all a great resource. =) Thank you so much.

A note: he feels strongly connected to Native American spirituality, especially Lakota Sioux.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Building religious acts from the ground up

So, I semi-jokingly refer to myself as a henotheist without a god. More or less, I accept most-to-all gods to be real enough... but none of the ones I've come across are MY god/dess, more or less. There are ones that I'm drawn to, but none that quite fit right. (I'm worried that I'm looking for a god that is me writ large. I hope to all the rest of them that no such god exists. )

Despite this, I have a frequent underlying nagging need to hie forth and get me some ritual in my life. The problem is, there aren't a lot of secular (or able-to-be-secular) rituals that I can think of; most of the ones I can think of involve the demarcation of time (birthdays, to a lesser extent anniversaries) or significant life milestones (weddings, funerals, graduations). And performing a ritual to a specific god I don't worship feels OK to me.

Possibly you could add seasons to that, but as I said to a friend, really we only have two; winter and road work. And while I could make offerings to the spirits of the orange pylons, I don't even know what that would look like.

I'm not much of a nature-type, either (heresy, I know), so a more earth-based tradition wouldn't work for me. The closest thing I've been sort of looking at is kitchen witchery, but that seems also awfully short on the ritual part I'm looking for. (And also doesn't fit with any of the gods I've tried hanging this stuff on, until I stopped trying for above-mentioned wrongbad-ick.)

So... I have no idea where to go from there. Keep looking for gods? OK, I can do that, but until then there's this big ritual-shaped space in my brain intruding and waiting to be filled. Find secular rituals? I am so open to this idea if anyone has suggestions that move beyond events that happen once or twice a year at most. Any suggestions for how to style ritual without an underlying religious belief system to set it up?

And I understand if it's hard to make sense of. It's take me several months to even be able to verbalize this much.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Reconciling with two different pantheons

How do you reconcile when you have two pantheons, who control similar things?

For example, let's say someone here is Hellenic and Ásatrúar: who is the "king of the gods"? Are they king of their pantheon of gods, or is one supreme, or something else?

How do you know to offer thanks to Thor, as opposed to Zeus, for example, if you honour both?

Friday, October 07, 2011

Samhain, Halloween, All Souls Day, Día de los Muertos

At the end of October/first days in November comes a collection of holidays themed around the Dead/Spirits/etc: Samhain in Celtic Paganism, All Souls Day in the largest form of Christianity, Día de los Muertos in Mexico, and Halloween in the US. Which (if any) do you celebrate? Why (and how) do you celebrate it?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

How did your deity(ies) first make themselves known to you?

So, how did your deity(ies) first come into contact with you? How did he/she/they make their presence known to you?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Using Stories to Process Spiritual/Emotional Issues

A group of us are interested in investigating the ways that we can use stories to process (and progress through) spiritual and emotional issues. To that end, we will be using Starhawk's Twelve Wild Swans as a jumping off point for discussion. Please let us know if you are interested in joining us. Discussion will start in about a week so that everyone has a chance to get their books.

The Glamoury of Love Spells

As happens with me quite frequently, I find that some old lesson has been triggered from the depths of my mind by something I read on the web. Tonight that trigger just happens to be centered on love spells.

Buy nearly any pagan book today and there is almost without a doubt a section that talks of love spells. Not only talks of them but some pretending to actually teach the novice how to cast one and bring the love of their lives to them. If not bring it to them then how to save an existing relationship or reignite a love grown cold.

Yet of all the lessons that float around in the corridors of my mind none seem to trigger faster than that of the supposed love spell. No spell more mis-stated than that of attracting or bringing love to oneself.

In the movie Aladdin there is a scene where Genie tells Aladdin there are three provisions to his magic. The facet I wish to address is that "He cannot make someone love you!"

In my youth this little Old Italian Lady taught me that Love Spells are nothing but glamouries. Well glamouries and the foundations to be used for the most critically weaved curses and hexes. The easiest spell or intent to weave and the most dangerous to the caster in practice and application. Danger derived mostly from stupidity on the casters part and an assumption of what a love spell is or can do.

It was through her instruction that I came to understand that a love spell does nothing in regards to bringing love to the caster. In essence all it really does it cause a glamour to appear over the eyes of the person who the love spell is directed at. To cause them to see the caster in the reflection of their deepest sense of love and connection. But the critical facet always being it is not the caster that is seen in the eyes of the enchanted person but the reflection of their own sense of love and emotion. In essence those under the spell do not even see the real person beneath the glamour.

Yet there in also lies the curse / hex facet of the love spell. It will end, usually do to the enchanted person's view of love and emotion changing over time though the glamour remains stagnate and unchanging. The other facet is that even though beneath a glamour, the person will still sense and see fragments or cracks in the glamour that filter into the sub-conscious. Perhaps not right off, but with time the glamour will come crashing down upon the caster and before the one enchanted. Sort of the notion that an illusion cannot stand before the cold reality of the truth.

Many times with diasterious results happening to both the spell caster and the recipient of the spell. At times without and out violence resulting as the target of the glamour begins to fight and resist the spell. Frequently coming to associate and direct their anger towards the person who was the subject beneath the glamour. Anger frequently fueled because of the sense of deceit and manipulation they were submitted to. Even from the sense of being treated as less than human at best and exploited for some sense of amusement at worse.

Yet still the many books speak of casting the love spell to bring true love to them. Many sites still hold their BOS's with their included love spells for the novice to utilize and bring "Love" to them. Yet never speaking of the danger that such a foolish usage of magic can unleash.

Yet perhaps I once again am out of step with the world in my beliefs and the way I was trained to look at things.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Pain as Offering/Ritual Work through Pain

We've discussed, in the past, offerings to deity that involved blood, or sacrifice (human and/or animal) but, as far as I can tell, we've not really delved into the offering of pain to the gods or the use of pain in ritual work.

Most often, pain, whether emotional or physical, is a signal that something is wrong that needs to be fixed. We are conditioned to accept that pain = bad/no pain = good and, for many, this model works well. But for some, pain is a tool carefully applied to bring the user knowledge and growth.

Pain in ritual is accepted, so long as it is done by "outsiders". There's a kind of "your-ritual-is-not-my-ritual-but-it-is-okay" mentality when talking about Kavandi ceremonies, or ball dances, or ritual body modification done in places we don't live. But, when a seemingly "normal" person mentions using pain in ritual context, conversations cease. People are scorned and vilified (see prior threads about Cauldron Farms and/or Raven Kaldera for case in point). The idea that anyone could want to use pain in ritual, or as an offering, is too alien, too "out there"...and yet it happens on a daily basis around the world, and often closer to us than we think.

In order to remove the stigma, the topic must be discussed in an open way so that it can be shown, in the light, for what it is. With that in mind, I am asking the following questions:

(1) If you work with deity, has pain ever been requested as an offering? If so, did you offer it? If not, would you consider it?

(2) Do you use pain in ritual? If so, have you seen a benefit from it?

(3) Is the use of ritual pain something in which you have any interest? Why or why not?

Overcoming Obstacles/Growth of Self

Many of us have mentioned at one point or another that our religious path(s), our work if you will, involves the overcoming of obstacles in order to grow. Some of those obstacles come from outside, but many of them are self-created and to leave them in place would mean stagnation.

Self-created roadblocks are the hardest to overcome, IMO; many of mine are in place for reasons of "safety". To look at each one and determine what needs to be removed is frightening...and to know that I *must* act in order to grow (tear down to rebuild) is overwhelming at times. And the methods by which the obstacles are removed are not easy. I've been shaken to my core a number of times, seen my place in the grand scheme of things and how small I really am, and I've not embraced the journey wholeheartedly yet.

So, for others that may have experienced this need to tear down to rebuild...were you frightened? How did you overcome the fear so you could get down to business? What have you incorporated in your life to make it easier to handle (if that's even possible)?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Bringing up Pagan kids

How many of you here have brought, are bringing up, or will bring up your kids up as Pagans?

What have been the issues in day to day life? Were they ostracised or accepting?
What literature did you read to them? When did you take up reading things to them, and when did they start actively performing in worship with you? Did you take your children to any place of worship, even if it's not your own, for the children to make more friends outside of school?

If they are older now, did they stick with Paganism, or change to another/no religion?

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