Sunday, April 29, 2012

Devotional crafts?

So, it seems that I've been asked to make a quilt in honor of one of my gods. And it wasn't the one I expected, either. I figured, with her associations with the hearth, with nurturing, with creativity, etc., that it would be Brighid who'd want a quilt, but no. The one I'm doing is a scrappy design, a dozen different black prints for a background, with silver and white star blocks and a big black/white/yellow sun block in the center, for Aengus. The design is a reference to the myth of how he tricked his father the Dagda out of his home at Bru na Boyne, by asking to stay there for (the Dagda thought) a day and a night. (Since Old Irish has no indefinite article, what Aengus actually asked was to occupy it "day and night," i.e., forever. The story is found in Lady Gregory's Gods and Fighting Men and has always resonated with me, since my relationship with my father is beyond complicated too.) Doing it at the size that would be easiest to display in my current living situation--as in, big enough to go on my bed--is going to be a huge project, but oh well.

I mentioned the quilt in chat the other day, and a couple of people mentioned devotional projects they'd done, but I'm interested to hear more, because this is turning out to be a very enlightening experience.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Florida Water: its broad magical application?

I recently asked someone fairly BNP on Tumblr what Florida Water was. Or more, what it's used for in magic practice. My Google searches had brought me no information about magic uses about what, I assume, is basically cologne. Unless there's a different, special, magical Florida Water, which I can't find at all in Google.

Anyway, the result was a) no useful information and b) a passive-aggressive post about how I'm a n00b who can't use Google, and so before I set Tumblr on fire I figured I'd ask here.

It's not super relevant to my practice (at least I don't think it is; but as I don't know what Florida Water is used for I can't really say), but at this point I'm just really confused and curious.

So do any magic practitioners here use Florida Water? What for? Is it cologne? Why is it so popular?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What do the Gods do whenThey aren't Talking with People?

So, I had a really weird thought today. I was wondering: people believe their Gods/Goddesses are individual people with their own personalities. (Not saying that everyone does but for the sake of the question...) I had the thought that if they are people with their own personalities, then they have lives too. So, I was wondering what other people thought about this, and I was also wondering, assuming they all have their own lives, what do you think the Gods do when they aren't talking with people? Like, do they have hobbies? What kinds of conversations do they have with their friends?

Chant the 'wrong' way and be hexed - Z's threat for 'misusing' her chant

Z. is claiming that to include a god in her chant, is a misuse and everybody, who will use the chant 'wrong' by altering it, will be hexed.

Somehow I think the part about intellectual property is not really her point in this.

Ritual: What do you do when you don't have privacy/space/time?

What do you do when you don't have privacy/space/time, but you really want to do ritual/worship or offerings? I could use some suggestions.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Building an outdoor shrine...

Has anyone made one before? I'm currently attempting to tame my overgrown yard - a several years work in progress- as I have family visiting from overseas in August. As I was working this morning it occurred to me that I have at least two excellent places for a permanent outdoor shrine. So, I'm curious as to whether anyone has created one before, how it worked out, and any advice (or even better!) photos anyone might be willing to share.

Monday, April 16, 2012

God/Goddess to Invoke while working with Divination/Tarot

I'm starting to work with my tarot deck a little bit more and am wondering if any of you invoke a certain deity while doing readings or other divination. For some reason, I'm feeling very strongly towards Toth.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is Sexuality In Witchcraft Is Harmful?

My question is " Is sexuailty in witchcraft harmful? Especially during the preparation of the dedication ritual and the following week?" I mean can sexual activities harm the energy that we gathered during the preparation of the dedication and the following week?

Elemental Magick?

I am new to much of this but since I have been searching for who knows what I have come across elemental magick quite a few times and I was wondering if there was someone on here that was more experienced with it that would be willing to teach me or sore me some site that could help me along with my endeavors.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Engaging in Holidays Belonging to Other Religions

By which I mean in a religious manner, not a secular one.

Basically: You belong to religion X. A holiday belongs to religion Z. You want to celebrate/participate in the holiday despite this.

Do you do it? Do you have any criteria or restrictions to what you participate in and what you don't? Do you involve yourself with the originating community when you do so? Do you pull the pieces of the holiday/traditions that resonate and leave the rest, or do you go for full immersion? (Aside from bits that are restricted to members only- I'm thinking taking the Eucharist here, but it could be anything.)

I am asking, in my typically less than eloquent manner, because it's something that's been on my mind especially lately, what with Pesach and Easter and the inclusion of Jesus and a variety of Christian saints into my Revered Dead. So I'm curious about how others handle it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Symbolism in Altars & Shrines

While I do enjoy the "show off your altar/shrine space here" thread, I confess I am more interested in the symbolism behind the items and arrangement than anything else.

So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?

To Priest or not to Priest?

I've noticed over the years that there's a disconnect between expectations and actuality when it comes to daily life within a Pagan religion. Many of the varied faiths have little to no direct instruction for laity, and so newcomers take on activities and rituals that might not be meant for non-priests. And, when one adds in the "Once a week go to church" mentality that so many of us holdover from our days as Christians we end up befuddled and confused.

Kemeticism is a great example of the priestly practices phenomenon. Most of the documentation surrounding religious practices stems from the priesthood, but modern Kemetics incorporate the rituals, offerings, etc. into everyday life...and some do this without thinking about whether priesthood is what they ultimately want and, if not, what else they could be doing to apply the religion to their own daily life.

When I look at my former life as an Episcopalian, I'm struck by the fact that my job as a member of the laity involved belief and application only. We did not decorate with liturgical colors, we did not give offerings to God, we did not take Communion in our homes; we prayed, and read the Bible, and tried to apply the teachings of Jesus to the way we lived our lives. Ritual was saved for the priests - it was their job. The laity was involved in orthodoxy while the priesthood took on the responsibilities of orthopraxy.

I see so many new pagans get so bogged down in making certain they have the right offerings for the gods, and the right objects on the altar/shrine, and the right words...people assume that they have to act as their own priest or priestess, and that's just not the case. They simply cannot see the concept of applying belief to life without all the trappings, because no one is discussing it.

Really, if one isn't going to be a priest, do the trappings matter? If one isn't going to be a priest, how does taking on priestly duties help? Should a line be drawn and, if so, where? What's actually important here?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Stigmas Attached to Your Gods?

We've all heard various aspects of what we "shouldn't" do when it comes to some of the less-frequented gods or goddesses. In regards to Sekhmet, blood offerings are no-no because she'll... I don't know, get mad or something. (Someone recently told me that she ordered "all followers" not to give blood as an offering to her. Color me confused because I didn't get that memo, apparently.) The same can be said of other deities--obviously, I choose my patron to jump start this thread since I've been connecting with these glimpses a lot lately.

So, anyway. You have a patron that, maybe, isn't "well liked" in pagan paths for whatever reason. How do you handle the stigmas that are attached to your gods, even if they're misconceived?

Personally, I try very hard not to say anything. I understand that each path is entirely different from one another. However, there are times when I just feel like I need to "head-desk" myself through the evening because I just can't understand where other people get this stuff. I've finally come to the conclusion that, you know, blogging about it is a good idea. However, I've also decided that in so doing, I should probably wait until my irritation/anger wears off. There's not point in posting a "I AM BETTER THAN YOU" rant upon my blog.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

American Pantheon of Gods?

So, I was reading someone's blog and he mentioned something about famous people in America and that got me thinking, so I'm going to toss this out there and let people ponder it, comment on it, yada yada.

If you think about it, and if you do mythological research and reading, how sure are we that those names that have made it into Greek and Roman mythology etc, weren't actually live people at some point in time?

Think about it this way. If you think of it literally, the Gods are heroes in their legends and their myths. What if a person named Vesta really existed at some point and inspired females through the deeds she was responsible for to take a vow of chastity and keep her flame? How do we know that a person named Odin didn't really exist and that his deeds in life were enough to inspire myths about him exalting him to the status of a God. Basically, what if the Gods are really our ancestors?

This brings up an interesting thought, will there ever be an American pantheon of Gods?

Really, the only thing Americans can't say that they have, is a pantheon unique to them, or do they??

What is Abraham Lincoln famous for? He's famous for being President during a large war, the Civil War, and freeing the slaves. I think when we look, we can find several deities who were famous for being prevalent during a war, who's to say they didn't live during that war and the stories have evolved over time for them to be Gods? Could Abraham Lincoln be destined for the same fate? Could he be part of an American pantheon of Gods at some point?

We already basically worship the founding fathers in America. Their names are invoked when people are speaking of the things in America that they fostered. Could they all eventually evolve into an American pantheon of Gods?


I know this is incoherent. I have certain days when I write better than others, my brain is full of mush today and I can't really articulate what I'm getting at.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Supremacy of the Goddess or Equality of the God

I was thinking about the ancient cults of fertility goddesses and resurrected gods that much of modern pagan Witchcraft is inspired by, such as those of Inanna and Dumuzi, Cybele and Attis, Isis and Osiris/Serapis, and Aphrodite and Adonis. It seems to me that the female deity is usually dominant, with the male consort playing a secondary role (except in the case of Osiris, who was a very important god in his own right in Egypt, although Isis was superior to Serapis in their Roman cult). Dumuzi, Attis, and Adonis aren't even fully divine, or divine at all. The focus of worship in these cults is the goddess, and her male companion isn't terribly important in his own right. He is subject to her, and provides an example of her power over life and death. What I've read about Shaktism in India sounds very similar, in that the Goddess is the supreme divinity and the source of all divine power, and her male consort (Shiva) is auxiliary.

It makes me wonder if the tendency for modern pagan Witchcraft (mostly Wiccan) traditions to emphasize total balance between God and Goddess is more about political correctness and current gender politics rather than theology. Don't get me wrong, as a male myself, I don't think men should be subservient to women (or any gender/race/whatever to another), but this is about deities, not human politics. The God is not really equal to the Goddess, as his existence is completely dependent on her, and she has power over his life, death, and rebirth. They are not so much co-creators so much as she is creator and he is creation. Feri tradition doesn't really try to make the male deity an equal, as the Goddess is the infinite source of all, and the male is considered unnecessary for creation, though there isn't rigid emphasis about "maleness" and femaleness". The Goddess brought forth the Divine Twins because she desired them, not because she needed them.

I'm just wondering what people's thoughts are, as the cults from which many Witchcraft traditions have inherited their theologies do kind of make it seem like the goddess is superior to her male consort. Once again, I'm not trying to be a feminist, or suggest a Dianic model where male gods are not acknowledged at all. I'm just pointing out that in ancient cults of goddesses and their dying consorts, the male deity isn't really an equal. Adonis was a mortal boy who Aphrodite fell in love with, whose death was mourned as a part of Aphrodite's cult, and whose return from the underworld filled Aphrodite with such love that fruitfulness and beauty returned to the world once more. The cycles of the resurrected gods represent seasonal change, but such cycles themselves are controlled by the female deity, who is the generative, procreative power in the universe to which the dying and resurrected god is subject. This isn't to say that there weren't supreme male gods, since there certainly were. Greece had Zeus, king and father of both gods and mortals, and his wife Hera (at least in recorded historical periods) was submissive to him. However, his cult has less in common with modern pagan Witchcraft, which is very much focused on nature and the life force of the universe rather than kingship and paternal authority.

I just think that making the God of Witchcraft out to be of equal importance to the Goddess, when he is far more dependent on her than she is on him, is more the product of human issues of social equality rather than theology, although I could be wrong. I'd like to see other people's thoughts on the subject.

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