Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Religion with homework"

I've heard the phrase kicked about, especially with regard to reconstructionists of any sort, that their path is "religion with homework" (meaning that they do a lot of research). As someone who is blending her own path of witchcraft and druidry (of which I am currently studying the ADF Dedicant Program), I can say that applies to me, too in many ways.

At what point can "religion with homework" become "homework with religion"? At what point should we sit down our books and "just do it"? Can research become a crutch? Can it eventually interfere with practice?

And most importantly, what should the balance be between UPG and research? I know that's a subjective, personal question, but I hope amongst us we could come to some recommended guidelines.

I know we've talked about these ideas before in other threads, but I don't know that we've approached them from this angle lately.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Is Lore and Myth Really Important?

Although I have read quite a few mythologies of gods from different cultures, I have an aversion to ancient mythology. I often feel uncomfortable relying on myth and ancient texts as part of my practice, mostly due to the fact that I often associate it with my birth religion, Roman Catholicism and also Abrahamic religions in general. I'm not sure I want to have any sort of mythology involved in my practice at all.

Would you say reading mythology is a big part of being Pagan? If I'm not willing to read myths or have lore as part of my practice, do you think getting involved in Paganism is a waste of time?

Herbal Reference Book?

I'm looking for a good reference book on herbs. The one I see recommended all the time is Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, but that's also the one I see being decried all the time.

One of the biggest issues with Cunningham's book seems to be that he doesn't warn readers about the dangers of some herbs, especially in relation to pregnancy, medications, and stuff like that. But for someone who already knows that stuff, would it be a good book just as a reference for magic? Or is there something else you would recommend?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ritual Attire?

I'm attending public rituals with a group and they asked us to wear attire that's just for the rituals we do with them, something that isn't street clothing. While there are many websites that sell clothing like this my problem is that a. I don't have loads of cash sitting around for this and b. I'm plus sized and pregnant so getting clothing off of a website would be difficult.

So what I'm asking really is where did you get your cloths, what do you consider ritual wear, and what suggestions/advice do you have to give?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wisteria Correspondences

I was wondering if anyone knew of any correspondences for wisteria. Living in the Southern U.S., wisteria is endemic. I'm used to the purple wisteria, but recently moved and here, they have white wisteria. I was thinking the white could be used for lunar magic/worship. They have an evocative scent and most flowers are used for love magic so I thought that might be a good correspondence. I've looked in Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs and the only reference is in the very back (if you own it, page 288) under properties of oils and it says wisteria is for protection. I've also checked the only other herbal I own, A Witch's Guide to Herbal Enchantments, Folklore, and Divinations by Gerina Dunwich and there's no mention of wisteria at all. Any help filling in this gap of knowledge is greatly appreciated.

Sensing/Recognizing Energy

A lot of what I'm learning about seems to first start with energy and then centering/ground/shielding/etc. It makes sense to me. I am going to throw out a definition here and hope I'm using it right, but I get animism and that everything has an energy or gives off an essence. But my hold up is...I can't feel it. I'm of the belief that we all have the ability to sense energy but it isn't nurtured growing up so you don't realize that energy is around you, like when you hear a buzzing noise and eventually your body just tunes it out and you don't hear it but it's still there.

I have been reading and re-reading on Jenett's website the portion about energy and how different people sense it with different senses. And I have tried the activity of rubbing my palms together and feel the resistance. But all I feel is warm palms from friction.

So here is where you lovely people come in!

Did you learn to sense energy or did you always have the ability? How do you sense it (sight, sound, touch, etc)? What types of exercises would you recommend? Can I have walls up and not realize it?

I think that meditation would play a role in this as well, just focusing on your breath and your self will allow some of those hidden skills to emerge and become less hidden. Has this been the case for you?

I feel like energy is an important factor and I'd like to practice it while I continue to learn.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Esbats/Full Moon Rituals

So, in the past, really simple full moon rituals have been my mainstay to keep me connected and paying attention to the world around me. I've always felt that the full moon is one day of every month that I can take a moment to really notice time passing, etc, even when the rest of the month I'm crazy busy.

But unfortunately I haven't actually made this happen since at least November. So I'm wondering what you guys do to celebrate the full moon, if you do. Do you make a special food, make a toast, hold a formal ritual? I need some inspiration to get back into the swing of things!

Hard Polytheism, Soft Polytheism, and Everything In Between

My question is: are you a hard polytheist, a soft polytheist, something in-between, or none of the above? And why?

This has become an issue for me personally, and I would very much welcome insights from other practicing pagans of all stripes.

My own experience is that rationally I am a soft polytheist: the Gods and Goddesses are Thought-Forms, Archetypes, and Projections of the Unconciousness.

Non-rationally, I have always "talked" to spirits and gods/goddesses since I was a kid, some in particular developing into a sort of teacher/student relationship, for example (me and Athena).

Over time, the more that I have formally interacted with Deities as an adult, the more that these so-called "Thought-Forms" have taken on a force, personality, and energy of their own. Thus I have seen some evidence of the existence of Gods and Goddesses as independent entities, and rationally, I have moved somewhat towards a more centrist position on the hard/soft polytheist spectrum.

Rationally, I am more soft polytheist, intuitively now more towards hard polytheist.

Has anyone else gone through a process or change on these issues? The experiences and insights of other experienced (or not so experienced) pagans of all types would definitely be welcomed.

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