Saturday, June 30, 2012

Altars: Private or Visible?

I'm interested in learning the pros and cons of having a personal, private altar stored away for only the most important purposes; or having a visible, fairly inconspicuous altar set up for daily dedications and other purposes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What don't you feel comfortable going to your gods about?

One of the hardest transitions for me, when going from a vaguely Jewish worldview (my mother is Jewish and my father is Catholic, so while I knew I was Jewish, it was never really stressed a lot) is not feeling totally comfortable 'talking' to the gods about everything.

When I was younger, I would talk to the Abrahamic God about almost everything; friends, parents, romantic problems. But now, I feel as if that is too frivolous and not specific to the gods I honor now.

So, what subjects do you think are too frivolous and not relevant to your relationship with the gods? Did you have the same trouble adjusting?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Finding Magical Properties

There are many well known magical properties of plants, rocks, animals etc.. They have their foundations in various traditions and customs frequently. And there are magical properties that some people come to acknowledge and use from personal experience.

I am interested in how others go about finding these properties from personal experience and/or how they have been recognized. Also of interest is how these properties have been used.

Have you ever come across something you believe has an energy that can be used for magic in some way? If you care or are able to share what it is and how you came to this knowledge, it might be beneficial to others and for certain would be interesting to me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities

I have been somewhere between an atheist and agnostic for the past few years now. I'm very skeptical on sunjects like gods, the paranormal, etc. To be honest, I do not really believe in any Pagan deities. I don't believe in any gods/goddesses really. I don't know if this would make me a Pantheist or what, but I have been drawn to the Pagan religion for the past year but am still learing. Is it possible to be a Pagan without the belief in any deities? Deos anyone share these beliefs? Also, if I didn't believe in any deities, would that simply make it a philosophy?

Occult vs Paganism

I've been reading around the board a bit, and though I feel a little silly asking this question, I'd like to have a clear understand of the two in my head. The difference, if any at all, in Paganism and the Occult. Both are very broad, both seem to be very secretive for the most part. What separates them?

Circle Casting and Other Practices

I'm curious as to how most of you set up your sacred space before, during, or after rituals. I use the simple circle casting method, of course, but I wonder what other practices, if any, there are for the type of purpose a circle calls for?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How Myths and Stories Affect Worship Today

The published stories of today about the gods (such as those ever-famous Greek Mythology books, or the stories about the legend of Thor's Hammer or information on the different pantheons or or or... anything similar) do they affect how you view or worship your god/desses? If, say, one worshiped Thor and read the stories about him, would you then take that information and add to your rituals or otherwise incorporate it into your life? Or would you simply go with "Cool story bro" and set it aside to read with your kids for kicks and giggles?

If the literature DOES affect your worship, how so? How have you (or haven't you) incorporated myths into your life/rituals/views on a particular god or goddess/etc?

Issues with Credibility?

In my town, being a Pagan isn't the issue. Being an actual Pagan, or simply calling oneself a Pagan seems to be the issue, and it's one I think most of us in here come across more often than we think.

For example: there happens to be a local gay bar in my town that has allowed a woman to read the client's Tarot for a price, which she gets to keep. I've questioned her credibility since she told my Scorpio friend that he's a fire sign (when I believe we all know they're a water sign, correct?) yet she seems to be a well respected figure to the misinformed, unknowing crowd.

More so than that, I've become shocked at some of the "pagans" I've met who don't even know the simplest of principles from casting a circle or even the importance of the Elements and the Watchtowers. Most of them have no historical background to their blind faith and simply follow it for the spell craft. I doubt any have taken any sort of year and a day for studying.

Now the same Tarot lady from the gay bar is intending on opening a mini occult store inside the bar. This...really disturbs me. I can just see my exploited religion being turned into a side fad for the community, and let's face it, how are a bunch of drunken gay boys going to take something like Paganism seriously, especially from one so misinformed? It actually makes me quite angry that people like me who do take the time to read and learn don't get a say in this...but I also feel as though this isn't my place to say anything.

I understand that Paganism is beautifully crafted to be subjective, and two Pagans are very rarely the same. I do believe, however, that it's a good idea to know the history and the facts of Paganism with the many spiritual beliefs that coincide with it. It gives a since of background to know why we believe what we believe and why it is we use what we use.

In situations like this, what have you done as a Pagan?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

When a Deity Dies...

Numerous times in myths throughout the world, deities are recorded as dying or being killed. My thoughts immediately shift to the tale of Baldr, and how he was killed by the mistletoe lance. Indeed, if we are to believe a lot of Norse Mythology, it would seem necessary and unavoidable that many major deities will die.

Of course, the death of deities, usually through deicide, is not just a Norse phenomenon. Depending on one's view of deities, it may not be possible for them to die. However, a good many pagans view deities as separate and powerful entities.

Do you believe deities can die? How do you react when they are recorded as dead? How do you deal with knowing that your patron/matron could die?

Why Did You Take The Path You Took?

What drew you into your current religious paths?

What is it about your current religion that appeals to you?

Why, out of all the religions avaliable, did you pick the one you picked?

Just to clarify, I'm not trying to judge anyone's reasons. One's spiritual/philosophical/religious/etc. beliefs are an intensely personal matter. I'm simply curious as to why the individuals on this forum took the paths they did.

Resources on Folk Magic, Earth Magic, etc.?

I'm looking for good, solid resources on folk magic and its origins, particularly things like charms and other actions/objects/words that might now be considered "superstition", rather than actual spells or rituals. I understand that is a fine and subjective line -- something I might call a "charm" could easily be considered a spell by someone else.

I'm thinking of the simple and fundamental things that get passed down, like pouring out a bit of the first milk to keep certain entities happy, using a rose quartz point to draw love, cleansing a room/building with sage, protecting your home by burying charged objects at the for corners of your property to create a shield, even things like knocking/touching wood to prevent jinxes.

I guess simplicity would be one defining factor in the type of thing I'm interested in. If that makes sense...

And I'm particularly looking for resources that discuss the reasons behind the action and/or the origins of it.

So, any favorite books/sites on folk magic, earth magic, maybe hedge witchcraft, etc.?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A shrine for Hermes and Persephone?

I'm new here, but I have been exploring various aspects of paganism for some time. I feel now however the time has come to make my decisions based on the feelings I have had. I am uncertain however as to how to properly design a shrine and altar devoted to both my Deities(Hermes, and recently Persephone).

Hermes I have felt connected with for the longest time, and I have been worshiping him for a while now. I recently have had an experience with Persephone, however, and have decided to redesign my altar in order to honor her as well. And I would appreciate any help in this matter.

Hermes seems okay with the idea so far, (nothing negative) but nothing really positive either. And Persephone, well, it's just that she has been trying to get my attention a lot lately, and I get the feeling I should listen.

Building a Magic Garden

For those who grow gardens or use plants in spell work, what plants do you have? What plants do you consider necessary for a well-rounded magic garden? Why?

Who are the God and Goddess to you?

For those of you that recognize one God and one Goddess above others (whether or not you see them as all gods and goddesses or just as your patrons or something else), who are they to you? Are they from a specific pantheon or just your own interpretations of your two central deities? What are your immediate word/image associations with them? When I first came into neopaganism, I felt a bit alienated by the idea of the Horned God and Triple Goddess, but recently I began to see it in a different, more familiar light. How about you?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Your favorite Gemstone/crystals?

So I was surprised yesterday to receive a late(and by late I mean over two years) graduation card, with a tidy sum of cash in it. My brother graduated and some family friends who hadn't made it to mine surprised me with the card.

With that being said, I decided it was time for me to do something for me! And what better than beefing up my crystal collection!

To be honest, I only have one to, and I'm not positive what it is. I was drawn to it in a store about a year ago. Currently though, I use it whenever I need to draw out some negative energy and replenish myself with positive.

Which are your favorites and why?

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Time Between Venerations - Godless Limbo

So it turns out that Rhiannon was around just to teach me some important lessons, so She and I have parted ways. My question is, now what do I do? Should I just wait for whoever will be working with me next, or should I pursue them? It's not entirely how I feel, but I feel like a traveler whose guide felt they'd helped out long enough and ditched the traveler, leaving them with just a vague sense of direction. I'm not saying I can't take it from here, I'm just looking for a metaphoric signpost to point me in the right direction.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Divination: "Single Draw" Readings

I know a lot of people do daily or otherwise-regular "single draw" readings, and I'm interested in learning more about how people use them.

If you use or have used this method:

* How do/did you do it?

* What divination tool do you prefer for this use (i.e., tarot, ogam, I Ching, runes,.oracle decks, etc.) and why?

* How do you apply a single draw to your day or life or whatever?

* Any other thoughts about this method?

Delphic Maxims

I currently work solely with a Greek pantheon and, whilst I am by no means a reconstuctionist, I feel it is important and respectful to understand them from their own cultural basis.

One of the things I am currently working through are the Delphic maxims and trying to see how they fit in to my current beliefs/path and I am really interested in hearing views from others. With that in mind I have a few questions I hope people will take the time to answer.

How important are the maxims within your own path?
Do you try to follow them or do you follow some and not others?
If the latter, how do you determine which ones to follow?
Do you personally believe they are still relevant to todays society? If so, why? If not, why not?
Are there any in particular you feel deserve a more detailed discussion?

At the moment I am not really in a position to answer these questions myself but it would be great to have a discussion with others who have given this more thought than I currently have.

Unusual Music for Meditation?

So I've gotten into a semi-weekly practice of meditation, but I've found something sort of...odd.

I've tried the suggestions of playing softer music of the sounds of nature, but they've done little for me. However when I listen to ambient trance or even video game OSTs I sometimes go into accidental meditation or get more vivid visions.

Has this happened to anyone else or am I the only one?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Mystical England/British Isles Lore?

Remember those old Arthur C. Clarke TV shows that talked about ley lines and standing stones and ancient witchery in the British Isles?

I really, really want to immerse myself in things like that. Old folklore and divination and supernatural stuff that doesn't necessarily have to be ghostly, but more the magical side of England and the rest of Britain.

Does anyone have any suggestions for things I could pick up for my bookshelf?

Story Cubes for Divination?

I found these online:

The idea is, to cast the dice and invent a story on the go, it is a game.
Buuut, I see them as being an interesting idea for divination.

Somebody uses something like this?
I think I will order them sometime and try it.

Silk for Tarot Decks?

I've read many places that Tarot and other oracle cards should be stored wrapped in silk.

I've always wondered: Why? What's special about silk?

Do you do this? If so, what effects have you noticed?

Methods to Find Lost Items

I've retraced my steps and looked in every nook and cranny, and I still cannot find my citrine stone. I'm absolutely positive that it's still in my house because it was in my pocket while I was inside when I lost it. So, do any of you have any spells, rituals, etc. that can be used in locating lost things? Also, I'm wondering if some fae might be messing around with me with that, and if that's the case, what can I do to convince them to give back/show me where my citrine is?

Monday, June 04, 2012

Review: Shades of Faith: Minority Voices in Paganism

Twenty-six essays covering a variety of topics, each of which is a minority within the Pagan community, which is itself a minority with the larger religious community comprising our society; this is a book which has needed to be written for a long time. Written from the point of view of individuals of color in a dominantly white sub-culture, these are voices which often have a hard time being heard.

Review: Advancing the Witches' Craft

Regular readers of my slightly irregular reviews know that I have a couple of pet peeves, neither one of which I can do anything about, and neither of which is going away any time soon. The first is the deplorable state of editing (or non-editing) which occurs before books find their way into print (or onto the ebook reader). The second is the over-abundance of "Wicca 101" on the market. Sometimes it seems that the majority of books being published fall into this category.

This book is most definitely NOT a "101" book. The author makes it abundantly clear that he is not going to spend time laying basic foundations for the exercises he details. If you don't already know how to meditate, or move energy, or visualize things, you will want to give this particular volume a pass. It is about time, however, that a book like this comes onto the market.

Review: Wicca Magickal Beginnings

How old is the practice of witchcraft? What part did Gerald Gardner play - founder, compiler. Or huckster? What are the sources of the rites and ritual which form the backbone of the modern witch movement? Who hasn't debated these questions with friends? What are your conclusions?

Sorita d'Este and David Rankine have been asking these questions for years and have put together AN (not THE) answer in this book. Right from the start, it is obvious that they are looking at the commonalities rather than the differences.

Review: The Guises of the Morrigan

For those interested in learning more than the usual snippets of information available about the Morrigan (and her various forms) this book is a Goddess-sent boon. Granted, it has been around for a few years, yet it contains a wealth of information I had never encountered before. Having been published in the U.K. It would not surprise me to find that it is mostly unknown in the U.S. Given the number of individuals and groups involved in Celtic worship and study this is a loss which needs to be corrected.

Review: Circle of Fire

Although some readers may see this as a "101" (basic) book, which it is in some ways, it actually rises to the level of an intermediate book in that it goes into more depth of explanation. It is easy enough to find books which can lay the basic foundation for Wiccan practice. Finding explanations which move beyond the "this is the way it has always been done" or "this is the way I was taught" is more problematic. Sorita and David give their reasoning for doing things their way AT LEAST TO START, while encouraging further explorations as you gain experience and can make effective judgments about what you encounter and feel.

How Do You View the Deities You Honor?

I just thought I'd start a thread where people can share how they perceive their honored deities, including both spiritual and physical representation. Is there an image, energy, object, etc. that you readily associate with your honored deity?

Friday, June 01, 2012

What tarot (or other oracle) decks do you have?

There are so many hundreds of gorgeous decks out there. I'm curious about which ones you use - just one, or a collection?

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