Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Contemporary Society and the Gods

With modern society that has things that did not exist back pre-Christian times, how do we view the gods? Do you see them being willing to use modern technology and items that did not exist back then?

I was inspired to ask this question from my biblical studies class that I am taking for my medieval studies minor, as well Christianity was just a little bit important back then. anyways, we were talking about the prophets in the old testament and the question my teacher asked was "if they were around today, what sort of things would they speak on" This made me think on how does that apply to my own pagan path, ie how do I see the gods.

for example, computers, the internet, cameras, planes, guns, TV, phones and so forth; none of this existed back in ancient times. So how do you see the gods and modern society? do you see them using it at all?

I read a post, i think here but I can't be sure, that was about a Hindu deity that had in addition to ancient symbols also the telephone in one of its hands. reading that and thinking on this question is what lead me to my own UPG about one of the Celtic deities, Lugh. Since in the tales Lugh is stated to be skilled to be in many skills. So it came to me, that Lugh could be skilled in arts and skills that are modern inventions, such as engineering, building computers, web design, just as much as he is still skilled in the things that would have existed in the Celtic times.

So I wonder what you think about these questions, and if others have had thoughts like I did when it comes to different gods and goddesses?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Disposing of Offerings?

I have made a couple of offerings..they were pieces of bacon. I was cooking and something told me to put a piece on my altar tile and light some incense, so I did. After a few hours I removed the bacon, but instead of leaving it outside I gave it to my dog. Was this disrespectful? I felt like something told me I should, my Goddess is affiliated with dogs. My dog most likely would have gotten it if I put it out side anyway because it would have been put under the tree in my backyard.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Symbols, Sigils, and Signs Collection?

I'm looking for a guide, or a book, something, that would contain a collection of sigils or symbols and their meanings that can be carved into candles, drawn on things, etc (example: a dollar sign symbolizes money). Looking for hoodoo/voodoo/pagan and other traditions. So far, the only symbols I can find have been interspersed throughout books, never really collected, and I cant find a good collection.

Some general examples I'm looking for are:

Symbols to banish things
Symbols to bind things
Symbols for happiness, etc.

Anybody know if a collection like this exists and possibly where I can find or buy something like this? Online resources would be even better.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Questions on choosing the right spell

I am VERY new to spell casting...and in my life, if it CAN go WILL. I am very hesitant to try anything that has more than three lines of instructions, including the materials list.

That said, how do you go about choosing the right spell? Especially if there are quite a number of them that will achieve the same purpose?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Interpreting Guardians of the Threshold

I'm curious how others would interpret the metaphorical meaning behind the following:

In this myth, there's an entrance to an underworld palace; inside the palace lies all the contents of the mind, the unconscious, the realm of thoughts, dreams, and nightmares. The entrance is flanked gigantic snakes, one on each side, that serve as guardians of the threshold. One snake is venomous; the other is not.

A spiritual leader approaches and is felled by the venomous snake before he can enter. Later, a scholar approaches and with her learning recognizes which snake is venomous, thus taking extra pains to avoid its strikes...but she falls prey to the nonvenomous snake. An innocent ultimately defeats both snakes by feeding them rodents; they lie sated and immobile as they digest their food, and she passes unmolested to enter the palace.

What do you think the snakes represent?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Culture of the USA & Religion

For this week's Pagan Blog Project entry I decided to do "C is also for Culture"; I wanted to define American culture and how it impacts religion, especially pagan religions. The topic, though, is much too large for a single post, so I decided to bring it here. It's always been difficult for me to step back far enough to see the forest for the trees, and without being able to define the culture I was raised in, I think it's harder to enhance the good aspects and combat the negative aspects.

This is a portion of my blog entry:

So, what makes American culture?

We’re consumers. Materialistic behavior is rampant in the USA, with a strong vein of disposability and convenience. It’s always about the next something to acquire. And despite what my grandparents’ generation has to say about it, I think we’ve always been this way- look at “Manifest Destiny”. Americans have always been about getting more. And we are absolutely willing to sacrifice quality if it means we get it faster- just look at what passes for food these days. We are an impatient people.

How does this affect religion- pagan religions in particular? Well, there’s cultural appropriation, for one thing. (Hey, we got their land- why can’t we have their religion too? ) There is a market flooded with Wicca 101 books that emphasize getting your altar tools and religious jewelry over actually understanding the religion, it’s real history, or the significance of the tools aside from elemental associations. And if the first spell from a 101 book doesn’t work right away, or we still feel awkward after making offerings in our backyard for a whole week, we decide it must not be right and move onto something new. The pagan umbrella gets crammed with people who have dabbled here and there but don’t have the knowledge or experience to do much or be of much use to anyone; and worse still, this is treated as normal.
So, I guess my question is- what aspects of American culture stand out to you? What affect do they have on religious behavior/mentality in Americans?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Combining the magic of different cultures

A little while back i made a pouch for one of my friends who was experiencing Paranormal problems. For those that do not know a pouch is a Native American device which is used by some Northeastern(and maybe others i do not know) tribes to protect ones self against malevolent spirits. What i did i found unique.

I got some of my buddies together to show me what to do. Rick is Oddawa, Joe is Sag-Chip, and Elaine is also Oddawa. We went through the traditional method of curing the leather and then making the pouch. But after that i marked the pouch with runes of protection and used alot of Lavendar as a ward, as well as using Queen Anne's Lace and Bear root, which my Native buddies told me to put in. I gave the pouch to my friend a couple days later. It helped tremendously. I was amazed.

Has anyone else tried blending different cultures magiks? If so, any stories you want to share or advice?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Ethics and Precautions in Cursing

So, there were a lot of threads, on the old forum and elsewhere, on whether a curse is considered 'ethical' and when it's considered a viable option.

But there's very little out of there about the precautions the caster needs to take in curse-casting or any other peculiarities attached to this kind of magical working.

Example: some hoodoo practitioners advise to the caster to purify himself/herself after the ritual, and some witches advise to be particularly careful about cutting psychic ties to the cursed after the spellworking. Others will say that in hexing someone is better to shield to blend magically in the background before casting.

Does your experience/knowledge validate any of the points above? Do you think that a curse should be approached as any other kind of spell? There's any book/online source you know that handles this subject in a serious way?

Personally, the closest I got to performing this kind of working is casting a binding spell... I had surreal nightmares loosely relating to the person it was casted upon for weeks later, but it would be hard to say whether they were caused by the trauma that made the binding necessary or they were a collateral effect of the binding.

Part of the reason I am trying to get informed is the fact that the above-mentioned 'person' might become a threat to my well-being again sometime in the nearish future, and chances are that I won't be able to take legal action against him unless things get further than they did last time I had deal with him (which, I have no intention of allowing if i can help it).

I have a pretty definite idea of the kind of working I want to do, and it doesn't really even count as a curse to me (although in hoodoo this is considered a kind of crossing) as the main purpose here is drive him far, far away from me, but I would like to cover all my bases this time around. I also am not sure of how my personal feelings toward the person involved might factor in the outcome... there's still a lot of anger here.

But even setting aside my situation, I am interested in the theoretical implications of this.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Seasons, the Sun, and the Moon

Recently I've been having trouble justifying some of my beliefs to myself. I was beginning to have a vague interest in Lugh and Celtic Paganism was starting to get back into my witchcraft, now that I'm used to college. Then I started wondering why we (we being nature oriented Pagans) celebrate the change in seasons and feel them as such a spiritual thing. After all, seasons are just caused by our planet's tilt as we spin around the sun. Nothing particularly magical or spiritual in that. Is it the response of life to change that is really being celebrated, and not the seasons themselves? Not just superficially, but deep-down, why are the seasons important or not important to you?

I've also been wondering about Sun-gods and spirits. For those of you that worship/ work with them, do you feel that the entity is physically present in the sun's rays? Or that they live within the flaming ball of gas itself? Or is their association with the sun symbolic?

On a similar note, why is the moon so important? It's a cold ball of dust, rock, ice, and other similar things. Why is the moon so special to us as humans, other than being pretty? It just shines by reflecting sunlight! Do you feel that the moon has a spirit? Of course, I suppose the question all comes down to whether you're an animist or not. I'm hoping to hear some different perspectives.

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