Thursday, February 28, 2013

Working with The Morrigan

A thread I started last month piqued my interest for the Morrigan. I've been researching her since. I find her really interesting and can't help but wonder if She's calling to me a little bit. That's how I usually end up worshiping deities.

Anyway, I was thinking of perhaps approaching Her to suggest that we try working together for a month and see how it pans out. Only one problem.. She scares me a little bit! I feel kinda silly for it as I honour Sekhmet, who's somewhat known for her temper!

I don't know, there's just something about Her that makes Her feel unapproachable to me. However my interest is so strong and I don't want to give up! (I'm stubborn)

So what I would really like to know is, what is She like to work with?

Goddess Mono/Henotheism?

In a hypothetical situation where the big 3 monotheisms surrounding male deities collapsed/melted away/became so unpopular they became minorities could (G)goddess* centred religions which are monotheist or henotheist in nature arise to take their place?

Assuming so, what could these belief systems look like if writ large on a nation/region? Would we see temples dedicated to goddess worship replace churches, mosques and synagogues if their congregations became low enough?

Could such religions become monotheist in nature; denying other deities as false? Could they be henotheist; worshipping one deity but acknowledging the existence of others as more than false?

(I attach (G) to 'goddess' in this instance to give the option of either the archetypal Goddess or any other female deity.)

Witchcraft and Fear

I have a question for people who are well-versed in some form of the craft. I'm having difficulty even trying to phrase what I'm getting at correctly, so please bear with me.

Let me start out by telling you a dream. It was a completely normal dream; I don't think there was anything supernatural about it --- but it illustrates the point I'm getting at well. I had sleep paralysis, which I have fairly often. In this particular dream, the sleep paralysis was blamed on Lilith, who was supposedly levitating me off of my bed. My first thought was, "I should become a witch! Then if something like this happens again, I'll actually understand what is going on and how to deal with it." Then my immediate next thought was, "No, that's a terrible idea; if I were a witch then I'd have to acknowledge terrifying situations like this instead of ignoring them."

When I woke up, I realized that that's pretty much an accurate picture of my feelings about the craft. First, I get interested in it, and go, "Ooh, that looks shiny, I should investigate more." Then I decide that I find the whole idea very frightening and that I want nothing to do with it. Then I think that perhaps it's something I should learn specifically because I find it frightening --- i.e. overcoming fears by demystifying them.

I can never make up my mind as to whether I have any interest in witchcraft or not, and I guess I'd really appreciate it if someone who does have experience in it could tell me what parts of my thought process seem reasonable/realistic and what parts don't.

Public Displays of Spirituality

So I often find myself winding up on the unpopular side of arguments about appropriate displays of spirituality in public (I have rather wide personal boundaries), so I was hoping to maybe get a bit of clarification on everyone's opinions. I've made, to the best of my knowledge, a list of the most common forms of public displays of religion. I've put them in order from least offensive to most offensive, IMO, and I was hoping you could let me know what you think. Where do you draw the line for yourself? Where do you draw the line for others socially? Where do you draw the line for others legally? Would you reorder anything on the list? Would you add or alter anything? I'm honestly curious.

Clothing: Wearing pentacles, crucifixes, turbans, etc.

Small to elaborate personal prayer: Crossing oneself, reciting a prayer to oneself, other small, ritual actions, etc.

Small group prayer/celebration: Any kind of small prayer/religious group meeting in a public place, minding their own business, but loud enough that they can be heard.

Friend-to-Friend (possibly acquaintance) Discussion: A friend or close acquaintance broaches the topic of religion, possibly inviting you to a service or ritual. (Clearly the tact of this one depends on how well acquainted you are.)

Casual Religious Greeting/Blessing: Blessed Be, God bless you, Dia Duit, Merry Christmas, etc.

Larger personal prayer: Bowing to Mecca, shouting "Hallelujah" for personal celebration, (I don't know how common this is, but I did see what I believe was a Buddhist chanting in a moderately loud voice on the street once), etc.

Polite Strangers Who Back off When Turned Down: Handing out pamphlets for churches or school, pagan groups, maybe a quick "Would you like to hear about Jesus," etc.

Large group prayer/celebration: Ranging from groups of Krishnas to religious parades (Mardi Gras, Xmas Parade, etc.) to gatherings in public areas.

Street Preachers (Being annoying, but not hateful): Name says it all.

Door to Door Evangelists (Being polite and leaving when requested): Name says it all.

Strangers, Street Preachers, and Door to Door Evangelists (Being aggressive and rude, but not necessarily hate speech): Name says it all.

Public Hate Speech/Forceful Behavior: Name says it all.

People Using Secular Positions of Authority to Preach or Discriminate: Teachers, bosses, politicians, etc.

Personally, I draw my own personal line at "Casual Religious Greeting/Blessing." That's just how I express myself sometimes. For others, I draw the social line at "Door to Door Evangelists (Being polite and leaving when requested)". So long as I don't have to open the door when they knock, or they're willing to leave when I say "no thank you," I don't mind. I might think they're silly, but it doesn't bother me. I draw the legal line at "Public Hate Speech/Forceful Behavior". I think that's fairly self explanatory.

I know this is a pretty sensitive subject for a lot of people, but I am interested.

The Ancient Egyptian Daybook: Finally, a calendar for Kemetics!

So check it out guys, Tamara Siuda has created a calendar that will include a blank perpetual calendar so that you can calibrate it to your liking. She has it up as a Kickstarter project,which means she had to get a certain amount of donations in order to make this dream a reality. So far she's already reached her goal (and you can still pledge certain amounts to be one of the first to get the calendars), but there are stretch goals that include a mobile app that I'm really excited about. If this sounds interesting to you guys, I encourage you to pledge any amount (and certain amounts come with the book itself once it's published).

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sad News: Marilyn (Absent/Absentminded)) Passed Over This Afternoon

I have the sad duty to report that TC has lost a staff member and many of us have lost a real friend: Marilyn (aka Absent/Absentminded) had a heart attack today and passed away this afternoon (February 16, 2013). Her health hasn't been good but was very sudden and came as a surprise to all of her family and friends.

The Hosts would like to extend condolences to her husband, to Jubes, and to all of her "real life" family. This is hard on her online family here at TC, but even I can't imagine what her in-person family is going through. I lost my father to a sudden heart attack and know the suddenness of it all make it harder -- even when the person has had major health issues for years.

Marilyn, we will miss you. May you ascend.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Offerings for Bride?

I'm building a shrine to Bride for a number of reasons:

1) I live in a town which bears her name so she's a kind of 'tribal goddess' for people living here (if they're Pagan).

2) I'm hoping to become a bard and with Bride being a goddess of poetry she is a logical choice for an aspiring wordsmith.

I've been thinking for some time on what sort of offerings to make to her. Milk's the obvious one, given what she represents, but I was thinking of other stuff as well. I'm guessing her crosses made from reeds or something stiff-but-flexible, and poems I've written would possibly go down well too.

Is there anything I haven't thought of? Food offerings or otherwise?

Any info would be most welcome!

Music and Your Religion

I'm curious to see how you guys integrate music into your practices/faith, if you do at all. If you do, do you use it to help with certain meditation techniques? Do you feel spiritually connected to certain kinds of music? (I know that's a rather odd question, but I couldn't figure out how else to word it.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Talking to the Gods

Can I randomly talk to the Gods or does it have to be a part of a ritual? I mean, when I was a Christian, I used to just sit and "talk" to God like he was there, next to me. Or more like he was a psychologist. I could stop whatever I was doing and start talking to Him, about my problems (or anything, really), at any time.
Can I do this to the Pagan Gods/Goddesses as well, or I should light a candle first and then make this talking thing part of a ritual/worship?

Pagan and Belief in God?

I was having a discussion with someone and the question arose, can you be a pagan and still believe in God? For me, I believe in God but I also believe that there are many other gods. I was just curious as to other thoughts.

Custom Mythology

Has anyone here written their own myths? Did you incorporate gods from one or more pantheons? Why did you write your own myths? For those who have some experience writing their own myths, was there anything in particular that tripped you up that you might warn newbies about?

Monday, February 04, 2013

Struggling With Aspects of Greek Culture/Religion

Long story short, a while ago I had decided to abandon Hellenic religion, as I was more interested in certain Egyptian gods, and felt like my own worldview was more in line with certain kinds of pagan witchcraft in that I think of life as sacred and cyclical, and also that I believe in gender equality and free sexuality. That's simplifying a lot, but let's just go with it. I am drawn to Egyptian gods and culture because it was one of the few cultures, ancient and modern, in which women had pretty much equal legal and social standing. Sexuality was not a problem, and virginity was a non-issue. In contrast, ancient Greek culture was generally very restrictive of women and female sexuality, though men were free to do what they wanted sexually as long as it didn't infringe on someone else's property.

People may be wondering what this has to do with religion, but I think these attitudes are reflected in religious views, as virginity is sacred to goddesses like Hera and Artemis as a prerequisite of marriage (for women). Greeks also valued virginity as being equivalent to purity in other goddesses, such as Hestia and Athena. Not only that, but many of the male gods assert their dominance by raping (or attempting to rape) mortal women and goddesses, for example, Zeus' countless forced sexual encounters, Poseidon's rape of Medusa, Apollon attempted rape of Daphne, and Hades' abduction of Persephone. I just don't personally find this militantly patriarchal attitude relevant to my spirituality.

Well, that's all well and good, and while I still feel in tune with the Egyptian deities I was following, and the witchy path of liberation and celebration of nature as a manifestation of divinity, I do feel drawn to Greek deities I used to follow, and miss some aspects of my Hellenic practice. The problem is, I don't know how to reconcile that with the rest of my political and spiritual views. I am extremely drawn to Lady Hera, but at the same time, she represents the patriarchal ideal of the chaste wife who is often the recipient of her husband's dominance rather than an independently powerful goddess. Also, when I follow Hera, I feel like I turn into a much haughtier and socially conservative person than I am regularly, so I'm not sure how to handle that. Adopting a more traditional ancient Greek cultural perspective puts me in conflict with my more modern socially progressive views. I don't know if this makes sense to anybody, but that's what I'm struggling with at the moment.

The offensive deity statues thread brought to mind all the terrible deity artwork I've seen over the years, so I thought I'd ask what your favorite egregious examples were.

Just recently on the Pagans of Color blog, someone linked to this amazing example of a whitewashed Erzulie Dantor, and whitewashed depictions of deities of color end up getting called out there pretty regularly.

In the realm of sexist art, Freya seems to get the worst of it amongst the Norse gods; I often see her drawn to look like a Frank Frazetta painting, because of course she's going to ride into battle topless, or perhaps in a chainmail bikini...

The Elements

How do you see elements. Are they energies that you draw from and raise for your practice? Or do you see them as not just energies to be raised but also entities in their own right that you can use in their own practice sort of they are their own beings. For me they are seperate entities to be greatly respected because they will test you after you draw on them for energy to be sure that you are worthy. I also think that there is a fifth element the aether, for me the spirit world is definitely its own entity.

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