Monday, November 19, 2012

Mental Illness and Religion

How do those of you with mental illness balance it against your beliefs and religious/spiritual practice?

For example, I also have OCD and my attempt to convert to Catholicism triggered it massively. The combination of the focus on sin, my disagreements with church teachings on things like lgbt issues, my inability to be monotheistic and all the religious ritual made things very ugly for a long time for me, and I'm still trying to undo the damage.

I'm being very, very careful to analyze my OCD and the role it is playing in my spiritual life now, so that I can nip any future issues in the bud, and I don't have the conflict of beliefs anymore, but I'm still incredibly anxious that I will set things off again somehow.

How do you get past these sorts of problems?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Cultural Weave: How to Use It, How to Address Its Weaknesses

Inspired by the ongoing "Celtic Shamanism" thread, I figured I'd take this over into this space for some practical deconstruction.

As I said over there, every culture has its things that it's good at and the places it tends to fall down, and thus everyone has to work through that matrix, learning how to use its strengths and balance its weaknesses accordingly.

So I thought I'd start up a discussion about the contexts of cultures-of-origin, and how to build effective mystical practices that take those contexts into account. I know many people are not coming from cultures-of-origin in which mystical practices are accepted/common/etc., which is one of the common hurdles.

So where are people coming from? How have people utilised that? And where do people tend to run aground? Let's talk about this.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Problem with Qabalah in the Tarot

I've been working with tarot cards on and off, for about a year now. I feel as though I have hit a wall. As much as I believe the tarot could be an extremely effective tool for several reasons, I am simply not responding to them mentally. I recently read The 78 degrees of Wisdom, among other books, and I am starting to think that the tarots qabalistic symbolism is...repelling me...I have a bit of a long and arduous history with abrahamic religions and am at the point where they are "salt to my spiritual slug", so to speak. What I am wondering is this; does anyone else struggle with the qabalistic/jewish symbols that prevail throughout the tarot? I hate to give up, but I am pretty sure you can't force divination to work and gain any true wisdom from it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What do Pagan Religions - or You - Think about Vengeance?

I know that doing the bad for other person is something that most pagan religions despise, or merely says it is dangerous for the pratictioner because all of the karma stuff. But what if someone did something for you, and it's questionless that it was bad and intended, wouldn't Karma 'allows' you to retribute? Like a kind of actual balancing between bad and good, because I believe that if someone did the bad for other person it's perfectly fine for the other person to do something bad back at the first one.

Do you think that if one did the bad and is not actually regretful about what he did, he deserves to be punished? I'm an 'eye for eye, tooth for tooth' kind of person, but I'm afraid of the magickal consequences it could happen to me, so I prefer to keep myself informed, or at least hear other people oppinion about this subject: vengeance. When it comes to justice, is it considerable doing the bad back?

[url=]What do pagan religions - or you - think about Vengeance?[/url]

Deity personalities - check on UPG?

Anyone have UPG about gods who are serious-minded versus gods who are more humorous and self-deprecating?

I've only in the past few weeks started making offerings to my gods, praying to Them, etc. I've been really pleased (and actually astonished, really) with the number of Them I've felt a response from.

One thing I'm worried about, however, is how seriously and formally They want to be addressed. I think I have UPG from two at least that They wouldn't mind being gently . . . joked with, I guess? That they wouldn't mind being drawn in cute or cartoonish ways, referred to with sort of kitsch titles, etc.

I am also terrified that I'm getting the wrong impression and will offend Them something awful.


Both Brighid and the Morrigan come across as awfully serious to me; I can't imagine joking with either of Them.

Bast and Nebt-het are . . . not really serious, but a bit more reserved? Both have been friendly but quiet so far.

But Khonsu and Ishtar both seem a lot more comedic, and it's these two I'm worrying about.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pagan Blog Directory

So while checking my blog stats tonight I noticed that my blog had a referral from the "Spiritually Eclectic and Pagan Blog Directory". I hadn't heard of this website before, nor did I know they had pagan blog directory. I was also quite surprised and flattered to find my blog on it. In fact, there are quite a few Cauldronite's blogs on it!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Emotions and The Human Condition

As humans, we're "blessed" with all kinds of emotions. Are they just an anomaly of being human, things that we simply have to overcome or learn to deal with?

Or should we be more Dionysian and explore what it means to be human? Or does being human also mean suppressing parts of ourselves, beyond even what culture demands?

Are all human emotions a gift? I know they don't all make us feel "good," but should they all be explored? Anarchy might ensue, but is cultural stability the goal of human-kind? (It might be, for survival's sake, of course.)

Just wondering why we have all these emotions and if there's a "higher purpose" for them. Is it simply a pain vs. pleasure evolutionary drive for survival purposes?

Or are we selling ourselves short in experiencing the human condition?

Spiritual and/or Deity Evolution?

Do you believe that your soul will always be fundamentally the same? Even if reincarnated? Or do you believe in a transmigration of souls, as Pythagoras did or the Mormons or the Buddhists, say?

Were your deities, perhaps, ever beings other than they are now? Do you think that you have the opportunity to be as your deities are?

Wondering if y'all think evolution happens in the spiritual context, not just in our earthly realm.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

What are your Experiences with Magic/Witchcraft?

I'm totally new to the concept of witchcraft/magic, but I've been itching to begin practicing in solitude. However, I'm kind of wondering what risks I take when starting out for the first time...of course I've done some intensive research, but ultimately, you never know what you're doing until you've mastered it. So my question is, what happens when you mess up, and what are some protective measures you take to prevent disaster? I know it all depends on how/what type of magic you practice, but I'm eager to hear about experiences from different ways of practice.

Recommendations for Herb Books?

I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. Wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

If You Witnessed a Miracle, Would It Be Enough to Change Your Faith?

I'm re-reading Stranger in a Strange Land and it got me to thinking.

If you witnessed a miracle--someone walking on water, changing water into wine, raising someone from the dead, hovering or flying, making things/people disappear, etc. (and you were convinced it wasn't a Criss Angel thing)--would that be enough for you to change your faith and follow that person's path toward enlightenment, heaven, etc.?

If you were promised the same abilities/powers/understanding, would you renounce your current faith and beliefs? Even if you weren't promised that you'd get the same abilities/powers/understanding, would you still follow your beliefs or follow the miracle-worker?

Or would you look more at this person as a mutant X-Man type?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Is Peace Possible?

And is it a good thing?

Between individuals, neighbors, religions, countries, politicians, forums....?

Evolution happens because of conflict and peace, I'm wondering, would lead to stagnation...?

I want peace with my neighbors, but I come to this forum because of the conflicts. I want to be challenged (not in a personal, spiteful way), but because y'all make me hone my beliefs.

In My Next Life, I Want to Be....

[What/Who and Why?]

...a bear. I want to eat as much as I want, get as fat as I can, then sleep in all winter during the cold times. And if I'm pregnant, I don't even have to wake up to give birth. When I do wake up, I'm all skinny again and my priority is eating again to get fat and sleep in!

Second choice (first choice, really--bear was just for grins and giggles): a raven. Let me fly and enjoy flying. I've watched a lot of birds fly and ravens seem to be one of the few who actually revel in their ability. Ravens can fly and they seem to have a sense of humor. Who needs more than that?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Fear and Trembling

I've been troubled over this issue for the past few weeks and wondering if anybody has any input? The comfort I once felt as a child in the religion of my mother and the explanations given by my father were obliterated once I got a bit older and found the Internet and started consuming non-censored news.

Do you find yourself comforted, in your devotion to the specific Gods or worldview and is this a natural by-product of believing and faith or do you have to continuously work at it? Despite all the bad news we encounter and the struggles of life?

I guess, to put it simply, I'd just like you to explain what it's like to be a theist. And if you were a hard Atheist before, how did you come by to believe in Gods?

Seeing the World Differently

This article on synaesthesia interests me for many reasons, a few concern some divinatory, shamanistic, and magical practices.

I wonder if people are drawn to those three things because they might utilize some synaestetic abilities. And that doing so might be pleasurable on some level even given the difficulties that might be involved.

I also wonder how many who do these things know if they have synaesthesia of some sort or if they don't at all. And how many might have gained it knowingly or unnknowingly by maybe traveling to the uncon frequently. I remember someone on the mystery sig talked about people whose heads are open and was reminded of it reading the article.

The article interests me on a personal level because I have something of this and know I used to have something more too, and I blocked it consciously until I didn't have it anymore. That one is very memorable because it was a public humiliation in fourth grade. Equations were on a chalkboard and we had to go up and solve them in front of everyone four at a time. I'd always just write the answer and not show my work. This was required and I did not understand it, I just knew the answer because I saw it. I was accused of cheating, then of being a smart ass, and then of being insubordinate. So I learned the way they wanted me to put the numbers down. I sucked at that and continued to suck at it through college. Honestly, I didn't even like seeing the answers before being humiliated. I never really thought much of math prior to the fourth grade. Seemed like busy work. I preferred worms, fishing, imaginary friends and considerable amounts of dirt. It was easy even preferable to block.

What do you think about this kind of thing? Do you think misattribution of cause could lead some to think they were/are being given divine information? What if Melody of channeled gem book fame shroomed her way to synaesthesia concerning energies and rocks? What if right brained uncon functions are capable of being affected by synaethesia? Could being a spirit worker, a healer or a diviner one day be a job classification with a general public legitimacy beyond "for entertainment purposes only" in the fine print? (Assuming there would be a way to prove abilities.) How cool would that be? Or how awful?

I know it is a silly game of what ifs, but if you have the time and want to ponder it or share any thoughts, I'd read 'em and appreciate 'em.

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