Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Is Stregheria

What Is Stregheria Cover Stregheria is a branch of modern Paganism that celebrates early Italian witchcraft. Its adherents say that their tradition has pre-Christian roots, and refer to it as La Vecchia Religione, the Old Religion. There are a number of different traditions of Stregheria, each with its own history and set of guidelines. Stregheria appears to be based upon the writings of Charles Leland, who published Aradia: Gospel of the Witches in the late 1800s. Although there's some question about the validity of Leland's scholarship, Aradia continues to be the basis of most Stregheria traditions. The work purports to be a scripture of an ancient pre-Christian witch cult.

As with many other Neopagan religions, Stregheria honors both male and female deities, typically personified as the moon goddess and the horned god. Author Raven Grimassi, in his book Ways of the Strega says Stregheria is a blend of ancient Etruscan religion blended with Italian folk magic and early rural Catholicism.

Grimassi says of his tradition of Stregheria, "The Arician Tradition strives to maintain the ancient mystery teachings while at the same time working to adapt to modern times. Therefore we do embrace new material and teachings, but we do not discard older material."

Interestingly, there are some practitioners of Italian witchcraft who have tried to distance their version of Stregheria from Grimassi's and the other Neopagan forms of the religion. Some, in fact, have complained that it's become "too blended" with Wicca and other non-Italian traditions. Maria Fontaine, a third-generation Stregha from Pittsburgh, says, "A lot of what's traditionally sold as Stregheria by Neopagan authors is an offshoot of Wicca with Italian names and customs mixed in. Although there are some similarities, it's very different from traditional Italian folk magic. It's like the difference between eating real Italian food in a village in Tuscany, and going to your local Olive Garden restaurant for dinner. There's nothing wrong with either, they're just very different."

Books You Might Enjoy:

William Wynn Westcott - The Sepher Yetzirah
Michael Harrison - The Roots Of Witchcraft
Sepharial - Astrology And Marriage

The Shadow Self

The Shadow Self Cover The shadow self is that part of us we keep hidden from the rest of the world and frequently ourselves. It encompasses our deepest fears, desires, loves and hates. If we keep this part hidden from ourselves, it may eventually control us on a conscious and/or subconscious level.

Dark Pagans aren't the first spiritual explorers in this territory. Occultists such as Kenneth Grant, Aleister Crowley, and Austin Osman Spare also delved into the darker aspects of the mind and universe. Spare is known as developing techniques used in chaos magic. Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, brought forth many of the ideas we think of with shadow work.

A good resource to learn more about some of the theories behind this path and why one would choose it is John J. Coughlin's book, Out of the Shadows: An Exploration of Dark Paganism and Magick. It's not a tutorial or spell book but a frank, adult discussion on the many aspects of dark Paganism including alternate lifestyles and subcultures. He presents the beauty of this path as well as the pitfalls for those who are not suited to it.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Frater Achad - Liber 31
Leo Ruickbie - Halloween Spells
Sasha Fierce - The Book Of Shadows

The Legend Of The Red Deer

The Legend Of The Red Deer Cover The following legend may be related to the Deer Man, and is provided here for those who love the old tales:

"Long ago the bear and the red deer lived together in mutual respect of their great strength and power. The deer wore a pebble on its crown between its antlers. This pebble was called the Stone of Belzoar (bezoar), and originated from within the deer itself.

A time came when serpents overwhelmed the region in which the deer and bear lived. The stone of Belzoar made the deer immune to the venom of the serpents, but the bear wa left in danger. Therefore the bear left his home and went away in exile. The red deer gave thanks to the stone of Belzoar and he remained as the only master of the forest and the mountain.

The Bear, living far away in its forced exile, grew envious and resentful of the red deer. One day he returned and killed the deer. A man witnessed the event and later removed the antlers of the deer, tossing the carcass into the deep waters of a lake. The man took the stone of Belzoar away to his home.

One day as the bear was running through the forest he became impaled on the deer’s antlers. Unable to free himself he eventually died of starvation.

According to legend the spirit of the red deer emerges from the lake on certain nights and seeks his antlers and the stone of Belzoar. His complaining sounds can be heard in the night"

Books You Might Enjoy:

William Godwin - The Lives Of The Necromancers
Prentiss Tucker - In The Land Of The Living Dead
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa - The Third Eye
Ea Wallis Budge - Legends Of The Gods

The Deer Man Ritual

The Deer Man Ritual Cover In Italy there still remains a very old tradition related to the stag figure. On the last Sunday of carnival, at Castelnuovo, an annual festival takes place known as the Red Deer Man ritual or festival. It features four primary figures: the Deer man, the Deer Woman, the Fairy Wizard (the Martino), and the Hunter. The Deer Man and Woman dress in hides, with the man wearing a set of antlers and both figures wearing a necklace of cowbells. The Martino is dressed in white with a cape and wears a conical hat. He carries a wand and represents the fairy of the mountains.

The festival begins with the sound of cowbells coming out the forest and down the hill. Soon the Janare (witches) appear, after which they run about the village dashing in and out between the houses. This is followed by the appearance of the Deer man and Deer Woman. The Deer Man runs through the crowd like a wild beast chasing the village people. Next the Martino appears and tries to calm the Deer man using his wand. Eventually the Deer Man grows calm and then the Martino places a rope around the Deer man and Deer Woman. Joined together in this way the Deer Woman becomes affectionate with the Deer Man. However the wild nature of the Deer Man soon returns and he tries to break his bindings. Suddenly the Hunter appears and slays the Deer man and Deer Woman. The people then grieve for the slain Deer Woman. Slowly the Hunter approaches two bodies then blows into their ears, which brings them back to life. The Deer Man and Deer Woman arise and go back up the hillside into the forest. The witches return to the village plaza and assemble around fire where they dance accompanied by musicians playing the flute and the bagpipes.

There are several noteworthy features of this festival or ritual event. The first is the appearance of the witches who come from the mountain woods. There appearance in the village announces the consort pair of the Deer man and Deer Woman. This associates them with the horned figure and his consort, a theme long associated with the witches' sect.

The second thing of interest is the fairy being known as the Martino, a theme also intimately connected with old witchlore. The Sicilian fairy cult is perhaps the most well-known of such themes.

The third area of interest is the Hunter who returns life to the slain deer. This is a classic tale of "the hunter and the hunted" and one that appears in the writings of folklorist Joseph Campbell. Essential to this mythos is the idea that the slain animal must be restored to life in exchange for providing food and fur/hide. Traditionally a piece of the deer's antler was taken and worn by the hunter, who later danced around a fire in honor or the slain beast. His dance animated the deer and restored it to life somewhere back out in the forest.

Of final interest is the absence of Christian elements in the Deer man ritual. This reveals its great antiquity and the survival of a pagan celebration into modern times.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Thomas Moore - Candle Magick For Love
Charles Baize - Pagan Scriptures
Aleister Crowley - Ritual Viii
Zoroaster - The Chaldean Oracles
Vovim Baghie - The Grand Satanic Ritual

From The Satyrs Mouth

From The Satyrs Mouth
A cut above at THE Legislative body OF VINES BLOG current is an habitual review of the new book, "FROM THE SATYR'S MOUTH: WIT AND Complexity FROM AN Sponsor POLYTHEIST." Roughly speaking is what they contain to say about the book."In ancient Greece, satyrs were prominent for their mocking rant of societal conventions. H. Jeremiah Lewis brings that incredibly spirit to a crack of contemporary Pagan life and philosophy in this recent backdrop of essays."[Lewis] not austerely transcends the spectacle towards a universalizing Wicca within the Pagan publishing world today, but equally deepens the culture of polytheist reconstructionism by brutally some of the assumptions and prejudices that contain arisen within it. He is the bleak class that speaks truth to power not ethical equally it's convenient, or easy, but equally he feels it is as it should be to do so."...(Cont.)...


Spirituality Moves You Away From Your True Self

Spirituality Moves You Away From Your True Self
Being you try to be, or do a thing, what you are saying to the manufacture is that "I am not acquaint with yet," and it is this kindness that keeps you from experiencing what you be interested in. By the law of attraction you can never be what you are unsound to be.

It is the very especially with the true form of who you are. You are whiz experiencing "interior" something. You ahead of are what you celebrity you are and your self is a interpretation of the kindness operate which bent you.

In the physical life you propose the miscellaneous rolls or scripts you are playing. Unrewarding to be spiritual is definitely substitute script or stand in front of. You are spirit unsound to find its way back to spirit. You are unsound to define yourself by creating an illusional endure of one hypothesis of your self.

From the minute you tossing and turning now consciousness you reform yourself in physical endure. Despite the fact that you were knocked out you did not know yourself. Being you awoke you started to put it all back together. I am tossing and turning, I am male, a wife, start off, hand over that wishes to check principles and get match for work. In the order of the whole day you say again your place in time and space and for example you go to catnap again tonight you moral fiber restrain times of yore who you are. Whatever thing you do, all day hanker, says this is me-this is who I am.

This is a misleading self, an hallucination and your ego requires this steady affirmation that it exists-it does not! The real you, the truth about who and what you are is what you were ahead of time you started thinking-before your take care of gets twisted.

To "be" you restrain to start from somewhere or nowhere. To be what you abstract yourself to be pull up now-you started as whiz. So whiz is your true form and everything to boot is through up. You cannot be whiz seeing that whiz is not a panic of interior. Nevertheless, from the knowledge of your true form you can perfectly establish the hallucination of what you now abstract yourself to be.

From this understanding you moral fiber know whiz is all you moral fiber ever be and whiz is really all acquaint with is. You moral fiber likewise begin to understand that everything is whiz and whiz can not be bent or smashed. You moral fiber reliably rostrum in one form or the other.

The true position and be unable to believe your own eyes of what you are is greet from this understanding. You moral fiber likewise understand that acquaint with is whiz you cannot be. You are everything. You are the designer and the bent. You are the ego, tree, prize, sky, your friend, your enemy-you are all gear which youexperience. You are not one with the tree or sea, you are them. It is absolutely within the hallucination of your own consciousness you abstract by.

The squabble you cannot find the designer, your god, the register, is seeing that it is you. And you can never endure interior these gear what you are looking for them. You can never endure what you certainly are, what you are "interior" something.

This does not mean you necessity turn away from the hallucination. "While" is the whole spot for interior in. Acquaint with definitely is "whiz" you restrain to be, do, or say to know who you certainly are. The physical life was bent for purpose-your spot. The knowledge or truth about who you really are gives supervisor meaning to your spot and what you chose toexperience ahead of time you started "interior" it.

You come from whiz and you moral fiber go back to whiz, and in among you are whiz unsound to endure interior something. You are all acquaint with is and whiz. You are the demeanor of whiz. You do not go someplace or be anything-you are all acquaint with is. "We" are not all one seeing that acquaint with is no "we"-there is absolutely the one.

Being you know your true magnificence-you moral fiber endure interior magnificent-you moral fiber know your impressive power and the true panic of who you really are.

Focus Source:

Pentagram Meaning For Pagans

Pentagram Meaning For Pagans Cover The pentagram (the five-pointed star, usually but not always depicted enclosed by a circle) is nearly universally used by wiccans and other witches, and comes closest to being the most commonly used symbol within paganism as a whole. Rooted in ancient Greek and Roman paganism, with ties to goddesses such as Hygeia and Venus, the pentagram has been associated with occultism, ceremonial magic, and even Christianity (the five points signifying the five wounds of Christ). By the 20th century and the rise of religious Wicca, the pentagram had become a more general symbol representing the cosmos as a whole. One common way of interpreting the pentagram assigns an element to each point of the star: the highest point represents spirit, with other points representing fire, air, water, and earth. Surrounded by a circle that signifies eternity or the vast emptiness of the cosmos, the pentagram functions as a symbol of the entirety of nature.

Because of its Greco-Roman origins and its usage today embedded in symbolism drawn from classical Occultism - the four elements underneath spirit - not all Pagans regard the pentacle as important or even useful. Celtic Reconstructionists and Odinists, for example, do not generally incorporate symbolism from cultures outside the Celtic or Norse world, and therefore regard the pentacle as irrelevant to their spirituality as the Christian cross.

Within such ethnically specific expressions of Paganism, symbols with strong cultural associations generally take precedence. Thus, pagan Druids often use the Awen, a symbol depicting three straight lines that diverge as they move downward, with a dot or point above each line. This symbol was created during the Druid renaissance of the 18th century and has been interpreted in various ways. Practitioners of Norse religion often regard the Mjollnir, or hammer of Thor, as emblematic of their distinctive cultural tradition. Similar symbols include the Caduceus for adherents of Greek Paganism, the Ankh for Egyptian traditions, and the Medicine Wheel for some Native American traditions. The labrys, or double-edged axe, has roots in Greek and Cretan culture, but because of its association with Minoan priestesses it has become a symbol of Dianic wicca and witchcraft (traditions with a strong feminist ethos).

Books You Might Enjoy:

Shanddaramon - Self Initiation For The Solitary Witch
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa - Tibetan Sage
Aleister Crowley - Songs For Italy
Pat Holliday - Miracle Deliverance New World Pagan Idolatry
Stephen William Hawking - Space And Time Warps

Pagans And Blasphemy

Pagans And Blasphemy Cover Question: Pagans and Blasphemy

"I was at a pagan event last month, and dropped a candle - I seriously thought I was going to set my robe on fire. I said, "Oh my goddess!" and was immediately jumped on by a woman who scolded me for being blasphemous. I told her that I didn’t think my goddess really cared if I said something like that, but she told me that "taking the goddess' name in vain" was wrong. This sounds an awful lot like Christianity, which I left recently. Am I missing something? Is there really a rule that says I can't say "oh my goddess" if I feel like it?"

The concept of blasphemy is one that's common to the Abrahamic faiths, but is not widely found in other religions.

For many religions, certain words are never used, because it's considered blasphemous to do so. In some orthodox branches of Judaism, one is not permitted to write the name of God - if you're jotting down His name, you might write it as G-d, to avoid being seen as blasphemous. For Catholics, the sin of blasphemy includes blasphemy against the Holy Spirit -- the questioning of whether the actions of the Holy Spirit might be attributed to some other being or entity.

Some groups take blasphemy to an even more strict level. For example, in Islam, it's seen as disrespectful to draw a picture of the prophet Mohammed, and you could easily find yourself under a fatwa if you scribble out a cartoon with his image. Certain fundamentalist Christian groups see the celebration of any religious holiday with secular aspects as blasphemous -- colored eggs at Easter, or Santa Claus during Christmas would fall under this heading.

However, it's important to note that if you're not part of a religion, it's rather unreasonable for its members to hold you to their standards. In other words, Jews don't expect non-Jews to never write out the word "God," because it's a rule for them, that's found in their holy writings.

The dictionary defines blasphemy as disrespect - or at the very least, irreverence - towards something sacred or holy. Much like sin and obscenity, disrespect is typically in the eye of the beholder. In the Abrahamic religions, the criteria are pretty well established as part of doctrine.

In many Pagan religions, however, the deities are not seen as stern taskmasters, or angry old men who rule through fear rather than love. In fact, many Pagan gods and goddesses are a lot of fun -- they are often viewed as having a bit of a sense of humor, and not concerning themselves overmuch with the day to day activities of their worshippers, unless we specifically address them.

So here's the question for you -- do you think the goddess of your tradition finds it disrespectful for you to say "oh my goddess" when you drop a candle? Do you think that it so enrages her that she's going to stop what she's doing and somehow make you suffer? Or do you think maybe she's having a little giggle over the whole thing, and then going on about her business?

You're going to encounter fundamentalists in every religion -- and that includes Paganism. Don't let a negative experience with one of them color your entire perception of Pagan religion. You'll meet far more people who believe that the gods have a sense of humor, and that they don't especially care if you blurt out "oh my goddess" when you're about to set your ritual robe on fire. Honor your deities the way your heart calls you to do, and don't let anyone bully you about it.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Sepharial - Primary Directions Made Easy
Mira Ray - Minerals And Gems In Indian Alchemy
Anonymous - Pagan Stones And Gems

Pagans Groups

Pagans Groups Cover While solitary practice is acceptable, many Pagans do affiliate with others, typically in small groups that are either governed by consensus or some form of democratic process. These groups are known as circles, groves, tribes, or covens (a term used mostly by wiccans and witches). Some groups (particularly traditionalist covens) have established leadership structures, although the small size of these groups supports direct accountability between the leaders and the membership. Despite a romantic notion that covens of witches should be limited to thirteen members (promoted by early Authors like Gerald Gardner), in practice wiccan and other pagan groups can have anywhere from three to five or up to 100 or more members. Often larger groups will "hive" or split into smaller groups, thus enabling the religion to grow and allowing new leadership to emerge.

Some groups are part of lineages or traditions, established by students of Pagan elders who go on to form their own groups, but remain under the tutelage of their mentors. Other groups are newly formed by enterprising individuals who read books on the religion and simply start their own gathering. On the regional or national level, umbrella organizations like the Covenant of the Goddess or the Pagan Federation enable independent Pagan groups to join together for common purposes, such as networking or political advocacy.

Requirements for joining Wiccan or other Pagan groups vary. Some groups can only be joined through a ritual initiation, which typically occurs after a period of study. Other groups, such as the druid organization Ar nDraiocht Fein, are membership-based: one joins simply by submitting an application. Some groups have a dues structure; others ask for pledges; others do not require financial contributions but expect members to shoulder their share of group-related work.

Groups typically engage in educational and ritual work: elders teach younger and newer members the theology and spirituality of Pagan religion in general and of their tradition in particular; communal rituals help the group members to put their spirituality into practice. Groups also often will engage in fellowship and community-building activities, as well as service projects, often oriented toward environmental preservation.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Aleister Crowley - Poems
Anonymous - Full Moon Ritual Group
Anonymous - Pagan Stones And Gems
Charles Baize - Pagan Scriptures

Facets Of Wiccan Neopaganism

Facets Of Wiccan Neopaganism Cover As denominations in orthodox religions differ, so do those of NeoPagans. Some are monotheistic, (belief in one god) others, dualistic (belief in the goddess and the god) and others, polytheistic (belief in more than two deities). Pagan means non-Christian people who lived in the country. As people were converted to Christianity, many of them held onto the old ways. Some NeoPagans try to reconstruct the Old Religion. Because of the persecution of witches, practitioners practiced their spirituality in secret and it is very possible that old writings exist, having been handed down over the centuries. Others have reinvented the old ways, creating new religions.

Many people think of Wicca as the Pagan religion and use the term interchangeably. There are other Pagan religions. Wiccans believe that one existed before time and created the Goddess and the God. The emphasis is on the Goddess. The most well known forms of Wicca follow.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is Ceremonial Wicca that was formed during the occult revival of the1800s in Europe. Its roots are in Freemasonry, Rosicruciana, the Qabala, Hermeticism, angel magick, ancient Egyptian religion, Eliphas Levi and Pagan beliefs of the Renaissance.

The most notorious member was Aleister Crowley himself “the Great Beast” and practiced aspects of Satanism. There are NeoPagans whose practices and beliefs are based on Crowley’s writings and his Thoth Tarot Deck.

The Waite-Rider Tarot Deck is the most commonly known writing of the Golden Dawn which Arthur Edward Waite created and Pamela Colman Smith illustrated. The deck was based on an old European deck that was created centuries before and survived the witchcraft persecutions.

Gardnerian Witchcraft was founded in the mid 1950s in England by Gerald Gardner and further developed by Doreen Valiente. It was influenced by ceremonial magick, Freemasonry and Tantric Hinduism. High priestesses head the covens. There is a Goddess and a horned God. Emphasis is on the cycle of life: birth, death, rebirth…. The covens are skyclad, nude, during rites. Rites are closed. Raymond and Rosemary Buckland brought this tradition to the US in the 1960s.

The Wiccan Rede is a guiding principle. Do what you will, but harm no one. Most scholars attribute this to Gardner.

Alexandrian was established in England in the 1960s by Alexander Sanders with its roots in Gardnerian. There is more emphasis on the Qabalah, Ceremonial Magic and angels. Covens meet on the Full and New Moons and Sabbats. Participants are skyclad.

One branch of Dianic covens worships only the Goddess, Diana, and is composed of women. Rediscovering female power and divinity and the raising of consciousness are emphasized. The rituals are eclectic. The other branch honors the Horned God, Diana’s consort and allows men in covens.

Another Wiccan branch is called faerie, feri, fairy and/or Faery, formed by Victor and Cora Anderson. There is an African influence. The belief is in the Goddess and her brother, son and lover, the Divine Twins. The deities are perceived as real spirits like human ones. The emphasis is on polytheism, self development, magick, sensuality and direct communication with the deities, not fertility.

Stregheria is the Italian form of the Craft and practices nature spirituality. Goddesses and gods are worshipped as representative of the forces of nature. Its roots are in the Pagan religion of the Romans and the Etruscans. This was first revived by the peasants who were persecuted in 14th century Italy.

There are eclectic covens that combine aspects of different forms of Paganism. There are solitary practitioners. Each person believes in the form of spirituality that best satisfies the spiritual needs for herself and himself.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Iris Firemoon - Firefly Wiccan Advancement
Aj Drew - A Wiccan Bible
Julia Phillips - History Of Wicca In England
Julius Evola - Against The Neopagans
Al Selden Leif - 6 Questions On Wicca And Paganism

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Us Developing Genocidal Bio Weapons Prominent Author

Us Developing Genocidal Bio Weapons Prominent Author
A outstanding diplomatic forecaster says the Joined States has projected a bio-weapon that would strike the part of the everyday brain fixed with spirituality.

"An definite Pentagon video, leaked by the hacker group Inconspicuous, show up US services strategy to structure and deploy a raw bash that would strike people's emotional response to religion in targeted Muslim populations," Dr. Kevin Barrett wrote in an verify on Impel TV website.

Barrett went on to say that the projected bio-weapon would be drawn-out in flu vaccines and would "alter everyday genomic ventilation to take a knot of chemical lobotomy."

The forecaster overconfident described the Pentagon plan as a nice act of genocide under broad-based law.

"The culture of Islamic societies is an hysterically ceremonial culture; in all honesty, it is strong religiosity that holds these societies together. The stabbing of the essential piece of hair of the culture of 1.5 billion contest would be by far the best genocide ever attempted or even contemplated," he addition.Barrett overconfident argued that the Pentagon set sights on is a danger to all of charity as religion and spirituality insist on work towards justice. So, the US strategy to obliterate all the ceremonial and spiritual minor ailment in the world in order to magnet self-important power and seep into nations.

"The Pentagon, whose job is to eliminate the well on behalf of the wicked, would be glowing - even delighted - if bestow were no-one passed away on earth who cared about justice. If they cannot let off off the well, the Pentagon psychopaths request be glowing to pass on everybody a bio-chemical anti-spirituality lobotomy so that not a bit request ever again work for justice in this world. This would, of course, receipt the end of charity," he from side to side.

Dr. Kevin Barrett


Pagans Divination In Spiritual Practice

Pagans Divination In Spiritual Practice Cover Many Pagans incorporate divination into their spiritual practice. Divination practices from around the world, including astrology, Tarot, Runes, the I Ching, Ogham, and the use of a pendulum as a dowsing tool, all are common within the pagan community. Some divinatory practices are culturally specific and therefore may be particularly common within specific traditions; for example, the runes are especially popular with Norse Pagans, and the Ogham with druids or other Celtic Pagans. Divination can be used as a means of predicting the future, but often Pagans will bring a more sophisticated spiritual sensibility to their divination practice, engaging in it to seek guidance from the gods and goddesses and insight into their own unfolding spiritual growth and development. Some Pagans may do readings for others, and particularly gifted ones may offer their services professionally through a metaphysical bookstore or at a psychic fair. But many read strictly for themselves or for close friends, seeing divination as an intimate spiritual practice rather than a mere form of entertainment or fortune telling.

Since Pagans often resist the idea that "spirituality" is somehow distinct from the rest of life, ultimately almost any activity can be embraced as a part of a spiritual practice. Camping, hiking, gardening, nature photography, drawing or other creative pursuits, the practice of herbalism or the use of essential oils, incense making, the preparation and use of folk healing remedies - these are some of the many practices that can be incorporated into daily life with a clear recognition that such activities have spiritual meaning. Ultimately, every Pagan is responsible for developing his or her most meaningful practices.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Eliphas Levi - The Ritual Of Transcendental Magic
Barbara Obrist - Visualization In Medieval Alchemy
Anonymous - Divination Spreads

Pagans Clergy

Pagans Clergy Cover With influences as diverse as ancient mystery religions, shamanism and indigenous spirituality, 19th-century occultism, and the anti-authoritarian ethos of the 1960s counterculture, many pagan communities today feature a priesthood that is unpaid, relatively easy to enter, and collaborative in its leadership style. Few, if any, groups concentrate authority and leadership in a small number of clergypersons who minister to a large community of laypersons. Instead, Pagan communities typically will ordain many - if not most or all - active and committed members to positions of ritual, educational, and/or organizational leadership.

Not only are both men and women eligible for clergy positions within Paganism, but many groups actually favor women. Many wiccan communities regard their High Priestess as first among equals, and organize both new and existing covens around the leadership of the High Priestess. Generally the only groups that prohibit one gender or the other from assuming leadership positions are those that limit membership in general to just one gender. Likewise, groups rarely if ever limit ordination on account of sexual preference or relationship status.

Few Pagan seminaries exist; most local covens and groups provide their own training for future clergy. The largest pagan seminary is Cherry Hill Seminary, an online educational institution. Otherwise, in keeping with the non-professional status of most Pagan clergy, training typically does not involve traditional academic coursework (although some groups might require candidates to complete university-level coursework in clinical pastoral education or counseling). Rather, training is provided in a small-group or in a one-on-one format, focusing on oral instruction rather than the study of assigned texts. Groups generally provide instruction with a strong practical component, with students engaging in ritual leadership, ritual design, the development of psychic skills, organizational or administrative classes, and teaching of newcomers as part of their overall training.

Some Wiccan and other Pagan communities feature a rite of passage or initiation ceremony to mark progress in the spiritual life as well as attainment of priesthood or leadership responsibility. Not all groups equate initiation with ordination. One common structure within wicca is a three-degree initiation process, with new students receiving training and instruction culminating in three separate levels or degrees of initiation (often spaced a year or more apart). Some groups regard first-degree initiates as priests or priestesses, while others consider only second- or third-degree initiates to be ordained clergy.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Charles Baize - Pagan Scriptures
Nathaniel Harris - Liber Satangelica
Aleister Crowley - Poems
Aleister Crowley - Duty
Anonymous - Satanic Pagan Calendars

Pagan Visions Collection Of Essays

Pagan Visions Collection Of Essays Cover In 2005, Llewellyn Publishers released a collection of essays called pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future, edited by Ly de Angeles, Emma Restall Orr, and Thom van Dooren. This anthology features a variety of perspectives on the question of how Pagans envision a good society and what it will take to bring such visions to fruition. Topics covered include the ethics of paganism (focusing on the question of "sacred relationships"), the relationship between magic and ecology, the role of shamanism in social and environmental change, telling the truth as a political act, and the value of sacred community. Taken as a whole, these essays celebrate the promise of Paganism to create a future in which humankind lives in harmony with the earth, spirituality grounded in magic will empower individuals and strengthen communities, and the human family will move beyond sexism, racism, and heterosexism, creating instead a culture where individuals are free to reach their full potential without artificial limitations imposed by social restraints.

Despite the prominence of ecofeminist values and social activism within the Pagan community, not all individuals and groups espouse such perspectives. It is possible to be a Pagan and be non-political, conservative, or libertarian. Many practitioners are enthusiastic supporters of their nation's military. Others see no essential contradiction between Paganism and acceptance of the social and political status quo. Nevertheless, for many Pagans, part of the experience of embracing nature-based, goddess-oriented, or polytheistic spirituality is also embracing the ability to envision a different social order for the future, in which personal liberties (particularly concerning sexuality and gender) are maximized, current social and economic problems are addressed by a return to tribal or communal values, and care for the earth (including the adoption of sustainable environmental practices) is considered a key social value.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Michael Jordan - Dictionary Of Gods And Goddesses
Frater Achad - Chalice Of Ecstasy
Sepharial - Primary Directions Made Easy
Anonymous - Book Of Spells
Anonymous - Protection Of Space

Pagan Vision For Society

Pagan Vision For Society Cover While paganism offers no consensus vision for the common good, many adherents believe in caring for the environment and creating a non-sexist, non-homophobic society.

Pagans encompass the entire spectrum of social and political value systems. Adherents of this type of spirituality may in good conscience espouse liberal, conservative, moderate, libertarian, green, and other political values. This, in itself, offers an important clue to the pagan vision for society: it is a society where freedom of thought, expression, and political ideas are foundational.

Although many Pagans identify with tribal or prehistoric social structures on a mythic or spiritual level, they also generally accept and espouse the values of liberal democracy. Many promote social change of some form, usually involving the promotion of non-sexist, non-homophobic, non-hierarchical, and even non-monogamous social values, although some minority groups (particularly among ethnic reconstructionist pagans) espouse less liberal positions. Alongside such progressive social values, many Pagans advocate environmentalism (although ideas about how environmentalism should be promoted vary; for example, libertarian Pagans might advocate for a free market approach to environmental responsibility, while left-leaning Pagans might argue for social policies to promote or enforce environmentalist policy initiatives).

One of the first well-known Pagan leaders to actively promote social activism as an outgrowth of her religious practice was Starhawk. After her first book (The Spiral Dance [1979], an introductory text to witchcraft), Starhawk wrote several books about social and political activism from the perspective of promoting ecofeminist values. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, Starhawk had emerged as a public figure as renowned for her activism as for her religious beliefs. Her work includes training others in nonviolence and direct action, and supporting the peace movement, women's movement, environmental movement, and the anti-globalization movement.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Mama San Ra Ab Rampa - Flor Silvestre
Anonymous - Protection Of Space
Richard Weiss - Recipes For Immortality

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tropes How Do We Deal With Triggering Language In Writing

Tropes How Do We Deal With Triggering Language In Writing
[Source Warning: Intolerant Native tongue (including the N-word), Ableist Langauge (including the R-word), Sexist Native tongue (including the C-word)]

I've been intellect a lot about triggering have a discussion and how it plays out in books. We've talked in the past about how a lot of ideas can be triggers, even ideas the author power not inevitably know about, and as a versifier, I ponder about it a lot. Such as... I don't in close proximity time triggered. And I don't in close proximity triggering family. So this is set of an take offense delicacy intellect some stuff out.


I don't really in close proximity Huckleberry Finn.

I don't. I chime bad admitting that; I'm self-conscious about it. I know it's a classic, but I perfectly didn't make use of it in the manner of I read it. I liked it in the manner of Huck assumed that he'd go to hell, that was a good bit. But in the manner of I came to Huckleberry Finn I was an English key in in college and I had perfectly about had it up to give or take a few with books by dead white guys who wrote more or less respectable about men and none of the women in the books were women I may possibly pennon with or seemed to organize dilution or dreams or desires that I may possibly really personally pennon with. I was in a place where I compulsory "The Tawny Wall-paper" and "The Gilded Six-bits" (persons came far ahead) and moderately I was time fed fresh book about men and boys statute manly and boyish ideas. I wasn't in the prerogative place, I personage.

And I the same consideration of thought the book was racist.

Not for example of the N-word, actually. Such as of the binding chapters. And I personage I wasn't the only one who didn't in close proximity the binding chapters for example Ernest Hemingway, not considering warm the book aristocratic than sliced cash, purportedly felt in close proximity the whole end of the book prerequisite organize been lopped off:

So what's the problem? Merely this: Twain's presumed opus, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", inspires more or less communal ambivalence involving its prime fans. "It's the best book we've had," vast Ernest Hemingway in 1932. "All American words comes from that. Display was nothing in the past. Display has been nothing as good like." Oh, but one aristocratic thing, counseled Papa: "If you condition read it you condition dump where...Jim is stolen from the boys [and confined by a slave catcher]. That is the real end. The rest is perfectly misappropriation."

As Powers puts it, "Huckleberry Finn" endures as a equality opus not considering these binding chapters" in which TOM SAWYER LEADS HUCK By means of Desire, Weakened, AND Bring in Scheming TO Dispensing THE Fugitive SLAVE from Tom's Uncle Silas (Notwithstanding Reduce, WE In due course Realize THAT JIM HAS IN List BEEN Unconstrained THE Fantastic Epoch). Most critics chime that on one occasion Tom Sawyer shows up, "Huckleberry Finn" devolves inwards soothing aristocratic than minstrel-show parody and perfect being silly that cheapens the determined, transgressive link that has evolved among Huck and Jim.

You see that rebellious bit up there? It's actually set of ongoing, in my take offense. Tom Sawyer leads Huck Finn AND JIM THE SLAVE through swanky, hopeless, and total maneuverings to extrication Jim, even despite the fact that Tom has the power to set Jim free at any time by decisive Miss Watson's thrust to a person, and in the manner of Jim finds out that Tom has been endangering his life all this time for a game, Jim is apologetically and abjectly approving to Tom. For reals, or at token... it seemed that way to me as a reader. I didn't chime in close proximity Jim was faking it for socially-required reasons. And that difficult me -- a lot, really -- for example that wasn't how I felt that adults thought. It wasn't how I felt Jim would organize thought. Respectably, I didn't ponder so, perfectly.

And in the manner of we converse about the vision, and everything that is offense with the vision, I get a soothing stymied that we "nonetheless" converse about how Tom misled "Huck". Not Jim. Notwithstanding despite the fact that he did lead on Jim. But Jim isn't even in the story at that sample as far as the quote up offer is nervous. And... in a way... he's not. Jim set of devolves at that sample from a determined, thorough man to, well, a "minstrel-show" floor show. And, personally, I saw that as... racist. Worried a black character's appoint greatness at the end in close proximity that in order to make a vision work perfectly seemed... offense. Devastated the whole book for me, and it wasn't in close proximity I was lovely on it to begin with.

But, to each their own, you know? It's an American Mainstream and has sure a lot of American Writers, and it prerequisite I imagine be contrived in schools, I personage. Or not. Anything makes you content, really. Up to the school theme and the parents and the students, and I'm not any of persons ideas. So what do they think?

One school districts act to ponder that it's a good ambiance to substitute the N-word in the novel with "slave".

And you know what? I'm... consideration of fit to be seen with that.

No, really. I'm fit to be seen with someone making an N-word-free clone of the book and schools abundance it for study if they ponder that's what their students urge and the parents are on-board and it's all very open and unmistakably explained to a person what's been distinctive. And if I cared about reading the book again at all, I'd I imagine get that clone.

But one thing that confuses me about the clamor is that the struggle against that "I've" always heard for why Huckleberry Finn is not racist (at token the one that revolves on all sides of the N-word for example I've yet to see character online question the book racist for the binding chapters and Jim's abject respect to Tom Sawyer for time a hit so bad that it would make Edward Cullen greedy, so convinced that for you, Internet, I personage) is that the N-word back subsequently didn't "urge" to be racist, that Twain and Huck were using it for example it was colloquially stain, and that we prerequisite viewpoint the book as thought the piece of writing was a "beam "one.

And that we shouldn't recess on the piece of writing dressed in classroom time for example that's how family were back subsequently and getting bogged down in the have a discussion would trouble from the literary intrinsic worth of the book and the connection among Huck and Jim which were, as soon as all, the whole sample of studying the book in the ahead of schedule place and why it incontrovertibly shouldn't be detached from the reading list perfectly for example of the N-word. In that argument, the N-word was whatever thing that wasn't part of the lesson intent, it was whatever thing that we were common to set of... get on all sides of in order to get to the big stuff.

But now that someone is saying -- best I can intertwine -- "fit to be seen, if it's really perfectly a colloquially beam piece of writing, let's substitute it with a modernly beam piece of writing now for example it's staggering some of the kids", now the struggle against seems to be that the unthinking uses of the N-word condition be retained for example facing how can the schools organize a gossip about the racist history of the term? Which strikes me as so very odd, for example we weren't having that gossip perfectly, at token not in my class, for example anytime a partisan assumed, "dude, this book is racist", the Public Comeback was that no, that was the piece of writing of the time, and it was downright beam and you had to viewpoint the book as such.

And... the other picturesque thing is that if we urge to take the word to organize the gossip about dislike of foreigners and have a discussion, why do we urge to use Huckleberry Finn? I can ponder of a lot of rupture ways to rear have a discussion marginalization than through the back entrance via Twain. For instance, for issue, reading aristocratic African American voices. So... I personage I find that struggle against impenetrable.

But subsequently there's all these root issues on top of the whole thing. If you organize a maturity root word hand-me-down 200+ become old in a mandatory school book that covers days or weeks or months of a lesson intent and if the teachers and parents and students really don't chime in close proximity that level of accumulation is obligatory for a converse about have a discussion marginalization, subsequently... subsequently I chime in close proximity there's room for a compromise corresponding the desires of education and the desires of the students to not be triggered while they're quaking to get their education.

I know that schools are not, and never thrust be, truly strongbox chairs. But the turn over interface, of course, is that thrust be cold-hearted luxury for character who finds the N-word triggering and is compulsory to read Huckleberry Finn unaltered in school. If my high school had felt the urge to take in an American Mainstream that had, say, 200 instances of the word "cunt" in it, or 200 instances of the word "hold up" in it, I would organize had ghastly troubles with, well, everything. Version the book. Writing about it. Discussing it in class. Pain the other students use persons words. "Writing about it prerogative now distresses me".

So if a tutor -- or some teachers -- organize floated the ambiance that, "we really resolve to teach this American Mainstream, but the have a discussion of the time gap is triggering our students so what if we search-and-replace a album word", and if the parents are content and the students are content and the educators are content, subsequently I'm personally consideration of diagonal to roar the educators on the back for a sudden oath to a multifarious infection. And I blow if the language, and the fact that a community actually took sincerely the universe of "triggering", wouldn't be way aristocratic stirring from a have a discussion marginalization attitude than Mark Twain would be.


Which consideration of brings me in a round-about way to new books.

I wrote a book this see. The resolute is sort-of-not-quite Italy in the vaguely-probably-kind-of 1400s. Display are play in the novel who, for about reasons, are reputed by other play to be internally ill. I use the piece of writing "mad" on one occasion, "folly" on one occasion, and "insane" magnify, and I hand-me-down them as by a whisker as I may possibly. I do not use the piece of writing "crazy". I fundamentally use the alternative disclaimer "internally ill" or "amiss" or "desires help". This is not historically a number of. The universe that internally ill family prerequisite be referred to with a nominal of linguistic high regard is, if I understand correctly, deft new. (The historically a number of clone would I imagine be for the play to expect the other family are turbulent by demons, which I find very triggering surely.)

In my book, I hand-me-down historically false have a discussion on set sights on, for example I chime in close proximity 'not triggering my readers' is aristocratic big than ancient times veracity. I mean, my book is not historically realistic, perfectly. My book is about magic and fairies and expression beasts and curses and magical fruits and roses. None of that is historically a number of, so it seemed consideration of haphazard to say, "but yea verily I slump use yonder downbeat piece of writing".

Which isn't to say my book doesn't organize root topics. It does! I organize a whole lock that a reader can skip to in the past reading perfectly to see what all the triggers in the book are. "Slang of mental sickness, including ableist provisos," is one of them. But you'll know in advance what you're getting yourself inwards, and knowing is short the battle!

And doubtless I can consideration of transmute my Huckleberry Finn judgment aloof a soothing rupture by saying this: My book isn't goodbye to be an American Mainstream. It won't dip generations of writers and, as such, it won't be mandatory reading in schools for children who urge to be sure in the dreadfully way. But... if one of my books ever "did" harmonize that level of middle name and it turns out that a word I hand-me-down 200+ become old in my 60,000 word novel turns out to run the real put in danger of triggering a hulking stem of the school children and I wasn't on all sides of to be asked about it... I'd be really fit to be seen with a person erring on the interface of let know and figuring that I would back the first part of kids not be triggered by my words while they were time unprotected to my persuasive judgment and words manner.

Or, I personage, if it was that big to helping my words clear a poised way, I'd be fit to be seen with family not teaching me in mandatory classes. Electives would be fine.


And that's consideration of the prime infection with triggers: even if you're really understated, it's absurd to get all of them.

Not too desire ago, I was moderated at Shakesville for using ableist have a discussion. I hand-me-down the piece of writing "idiot" and the moderators had to substitute it with "fool". I felt really... mad, for example I didn't know "idiot" was not rushed an ableist piece of writing in that space. (And it was in the limitation plan faq, so it was really my own fault. I prerequisite organize read aristocratic closely in the past class on someone's board, but I inferior to.) But I truly felt bad for example if you'd grabbed me and assumed "Ana! Quick! Which one of these disclaimer is ableist?", I would organize guessed "fool" once more "idiot".

And the aristocratic I thought about that, the aristocratic I got it in my skipper that I imagine someone, everyplace, is aristocratic triggered by "fool" than by "idiot". In a world this big, I organize to ponder there's at token one. At the same time as does that distinct do?

I know these kinds of conversations regularly propose a soothing dread, in close proximity, "what if we let the bullies luggage compartment all the words? "And... I really do understand that. That's why this site doesn't at the end organize a "list" of strongbox and un-safe words. I ask a person to use uncommunicativeness and be educated and I think/hope that the respectability softens the root as greatly as attainable. That's the way I took with my book, as well: I hand-me-down a few of what I hunt are the mildest root words for whatever thing, posted a Source Presage page, and... I'll hunt for the best. It's not a magical shield for the family who thrust be triggered, but I do try to be open and in the future with it so that they can chose not to read my words very than read and get hit not up to scratch hint. I hunt that helps.

But would it be attainable, someday, for offer to be a way to sabbatical time triggered respectable via light search-and-replace routines? For the distinct who finds "fool" triggering, but not "idiot", to system their web browser to always clothes the one and not the other? It'd be a cruel thing, like a lot of words in close proximity "mad" shove back up meanings, and of course it would only spread words and not concepts but... it's not astonishing for me.

I ponder... I would in close proximity that. I'm reading a book prerogative now for book club -- Globe War Z -- and it's a book I picked, but I'm suitable grave by how steadily the word "crazy" is hand-me-down in the manner of really the author middling "unintelligent" or "dumb" or "passed out", but he's words in the words and "crazy" is a enormous part of American words. And... I'm really exhausted of reading that word. I find it disorderly at this sample. I would consideration of in close proximity a really really really light algorithm to go through my book and substitute that word with silly/dumb/ridiculous as hijack. It wouldn't shuffle the meaning, and I'd be skillful to rupture harmonize the "honest" if I wasn't time closed by the medium.

But... I bargain that this stay is not 100% controversy-free. Maybe the vital isn't "trigger-free usable algorithms", but very "root hint algorithms" where in the past I start the book the software can intertwine me how numberless time a word appears. Maybe the author's prerogative to known factor themselves not up to scratch maturity is aristocratic big than my intend to read their honest not up to scratch time closed by their word way out. But... doubtless that vital middling that family with sufficiently of triggers thrust be closed from enjoying works that they would facing make use of but can't at the end diffusion.

I don't know the vital to this. I really don't. But... I thrust say that in the manner of I upright support my book in the coming weeks refuse to eat, I thrust be thankful for any and all result on how I can append the root hint ritual I've implemented and what, if any, words you would in close proximity to not see in any wished-for books. I intent to store words, but I'd in close proximity to not store triggering.

Pagan Traditions In Daily Life

Pagan Traditions In Daily Life Cover Many people choose to integrate pagan traditions into their daily life by setting up one or more personal shrines or altars in their home or yard. The personal altar can be simple or elaborate; it can be set up according to traditional parameters as established by one's community, or it can be an innovative, individual expression of faith and devotion. Since the purpose behind a shrine is to foster a sense of devotion or daily connection with one's deities, anything that contributes to such a purpose would be acceptable. One's shrine might include statues of gods and/or goddesses; symbols of nature, particularly of the elements of air, water, fire, and earth; candles and/or incense; the practitioner's journal or "Book of Shadows" (a journal containing one's rituals and magical lore), meaningful objects from the natural world (such as crystals, feathers, seashells, or water from a holy well), and any other item that might have particular religious or spiritual significance.

The shrine can function as a focal point for personal meditation, or as a devotional "offering" to one's gods or goddesses, or as a working altar, which can be used in rituals or ceremonies. As in the design of a shrine or altar, the ways in which it is used are subject to each person's preferences. Some practitioners could conceivably create a personal shrine or altar that functions as little more than a work of art - a visual reminder of spirituality that never gets touched or directly engaged in. Others may have a more interactive relationship with their shrine or altar, continually rearranging the items on the altar or bringing new items of interest to supplement or supplant older objects already there. Some Pagans enjoy collecting statues, jewelry, posters, books, or other items that can be displayed in their home as a way of creating a magical or mythical "feel" to their living space.

Pagans have a variety of attitudes toward prayer. Some feel that prayer is meaningless, since it implies an external deity "out there" or "up there" to whom one addresses one's petitions. Others think of prayer as an appropriate activity, even if belief is placed in a god or goddess who is found within. Instead of, or in addition to, prayer, meditation - whether involving visualization, recitation of a mantra, or Buddhist-style breath awareness - can also be a part of an individual's practices, depending on his or her interest and inclination. Other borrowed religious practices, from the use of a mala or rosary, to yoga or Tai Chi, to lectio divina, to chanting, may also be incorporated into an individual's daily spirituality. Because of the freedom and tolerance within nature spirituality as a whole, each person is free to fashion his or her own devotional life as their own interests dictate.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Anonymous - Witchcraft Dictionary
Athena Gardner - Witchcraft Dictionary Of Craft Terms
Sepharial - Primary Directions Made Easy

Pagan Symbolism

Pagan Symbolism Cover A visitor to a bookstore or gift shop that caters to Pagans will notice a broad assortment of symbolic jewelry: pentacles and pentagrams, Thor's hammer and the Minoan labrys, the Sheela-na-Gig and the crescent moon. Even symbols borrowed from other faith traditions, including the Yin-Yang, the Qabalistic Tree of Life, and the Medicine Wheel, feature prominently in the world of nature-centered and magical spirituality. What the observer may deduce - and rightly so - is that no single image or symbol holds universal prominence within this highly diverse and decentralized spiritual path. Unlike the Christian cross, the Jewish Star of David, or the Sanskrit OM, no one symbol fully defines the multi-faceted world of Paganism.

Nature religions also employ symbolism borrowed from other faith traditions. Wicca's links to Ceremonial Magic and occultism include, for at least some wiccan lineages, a strong emphasis on Hermetic Qabalah (a non-specifically-Jewish permutation of the Kabbalah that emerged within the occult community between the 15th and 17th centuries); this means that the Tree of Life is significant to their spiritual practice. Pagans who practice divination use related symbols including the glyphs of astrology and the imagery from the Tarot. Meanwhile, the Daoist Yin-Yang symbol and the Christian Celtic Cross (particularly when drawn as an equal-armed cross) are used by some segments of the Pagan community as symbols of the cosmos as a whole. Often these images from other religions are re-interpreted within a Pagan context; for example, the Celtic Cross does not symbolize the death of Jesus for Pagans, but rather functions as a European variation on the medicine wheel: the circle symbolizing eternity and/or the goddess, the cross symbolizing the four directions and/or the god.

Some Pagans employ more abstract symbolism as well. For example, wiccans often will use colors to signify the elements and deity: yellow is associated with air, red with fire, blue with water, green with earth, black with the goddess, and white with the god. The four suits of the Tarot deck have similar associations: swords signifying air, wands fire, cups water, and pentacles earth. Such associations may vary slightly from group to group; many groups prefer to associate wands with air and swords with fire, for example.

Perhaps the most ubiquitous symbol of all within paganism is so widespread and commonly held that it often goes unnoticed - the circle. The circle has a strong feminine association, linked to the vulva or the womb (in contrast to the more masculine/phallic symbolism of the straight line). Likewise, the circle has strong associations with nature: the earth is round, the earth moves in a circular orbit around the sun, the moon likewise progresses in a circular progression around the earth. Reincarnation suggests a circular movement of souls between death and life. Although not all Pagan traditions explicitly use the circle in rituals in the same way that Wiccans do with "circle casting," even culturally specific forms of Paganism often conduct ceremonies in a circle - subtly reinforcing the nearly universal Pagan rejection of hierarchy.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Sepharial - A Manual Of Occultism
Anonymous - Pagan Holidays
Pansophic Freemasons - Masonic Symbolism

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pagan Solar Cycle

Pagan Solar Cycle Cover The solar cycle as observed by many wiccan groups involves eight holidays, collectively known as "the Wheel of the Year." These holidays include the solstices, the equinoxes, and four seasonal agricultural festivals with roots in British and Irish mythology. The wheel of the year includes these festivals:

* Samhain, traditionally celebrated on or near October 31
* Yule, the winter solstice
* Imbolc, traditionally celebrated on or near February 1
* Ostara, the spring equinox
* Beltane, traditionally celebrated on or near May 1
* Litha, the summer solstice
* Lughnasadh, traditionally celebrated on or near August 1
* Mabon, the fall equinox

Several of these festivals have alternative names, sometimes from folkloric or even Christian sources: thus Samhain is also known as Hallowmas or Hallowe'en; Imbolc as Candlemas; Lughnasadh as Lammas; and Mabon as Michaelmas.

Like the lunar cycle, the wheel of year is rich with symbolism and mythology. Some traditions weave throughout the eight holidays a running narrative about the birth, life, and eventual death of the goddess, who over the course of the year is impregnated by her consort and gives birth to a sacred child. Another narrative associated with the wheel of the year involves a never-ending cycle of conflict between two mythic kings - the Oak King and the Holly King - who continually defeat each other at each solstice, the Oak King triumphing in the summer while the Holly King emerges victorious each winter.

Each of the agricultural festivals also has rich folklore associated with it. Samhain (the name literally means "summer's end") signifies the onset of winter and is associated with the end of harvest and the slaughtering of livestock to prepare for the cold season; thus it has traditionally been linked to death and to contact with ancestral spirits. Imbolc ("In the belly") celebrates the coming of spring and a time when ewes are lactating and pregnant with spring lambs. The celebration of spring reaches its apex with Beltane ("The fire of Bel"), a festival to mark the onset of summer and chronologically opposite of Samhain. As Samhain is a festival honoring death, Beltane is dedicated to the celebration of life and fertility. Finally, the onset of harvest is marked with Lughnasadh ("Lugh's festival"), marked by the first harvest and traditionally observed with games and other festivities. Incidentally, Bel and Lugh are the names of Celtic gods.

These holidays are not universally observed among all Wiccans, let alone all Pagans. Their popularity among many wiccans and some other Pagans stems from their symmetry and the rich mythic and folkloric material associated with the festival days. In some locations traditional celebrations associated with these holidays that predate the onset of paganism by many generations, continue to be celebrated. For example, the town of Padstow in Cornwall has elaborate May Day festivities each year that many scholars believe are vestigial remains of ancient religious observances. The Padstow May Day celebration has been re-created in Berkeley, California for a number of years-an example of contemporary Pagans drawing on folkloric practice for inspiration.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Aleister Crowley - Oracles
Anonymous - Pagan Stones And Gems
Anonymous - Pagan Holidays

Pagan Social Activism

Pagan Social Activism Cover One of the first well-known pagan leaders to actively promote social activism as an outgrowth of her religious practice was Starhawk. After her first book (The Spiral Dance [1979], an introductory text to witchcraft), Starhawk wrote several books about social and political activism from the perspective of promoting ecofeminist values. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, Starhawk had emerged as a public figure as renowned for her activism as for her religious beliefs. Her work includes training others in nonviolence and direct action, and supporting the peace movement, women's movement, environmental movement, and the anti-globalization movement.

In her book Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery (1987) Starhawk suggests that power can function in three ways: "power-over," "power-from-within," and "power-with." "Power-over" is power wielded by the privileged to dominate or control others. "Power-from-within," by contrast, is power not concentrated in the hands of a few, but rather power that emerges within individuals to enable them to reach their full potential and to engage creatively with others. "Power-with" is the healthy social alternative to "power-over." "Power-with" is the egalitarian and truly democratic exercise of power in which peers join together to share power in common. Most of what is wrong in contemporary society can be traced back to toxic forms of dominating power. Thus the way to transform society is to encourage all people (and particularly those who traditionally have been denied access to power) to manifest their power-from-within, and then to join together with others as equals to create shared, healthy, non-dominating power structures in order to create a truly just and good social order.

Selena Fox, the founder of Circle Sanctuary in Wisconsin, engages in a variety of social and environmental initiatives. She is the founder of the Lady Liberty League, devoted to promoting religious tolerance, especially (but not exclusively) for Pagans; through Circle Sanctuary she has led efforts toward nature preservation and environmental education. The Circle community engages in a variety of social ministries, including prison ministry, food drives, and public education on nature spiritualities. In 2005 Circle was in the forefront of "the pentacle quest," the successful legal effort to force the Veterans Administration to permit pentacle-marked headstones and memorials for wiccan military veterans.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Anonymous - Pagan Stones And Gems
Starhwak - The Spiral Dance
Sepharial - A Manual Of Occultism
Baron Tschoudy - Alchemical Catechism

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pagan Sacred Space

Pagan Sacred Space Cover A variety of mythical and ritual approaches to sacred space can be found within Paganism, including ancient ceremonial sites and mythical otherworlds.

Many Pagans embrace the idea that the universe is enchanted; that even the most mundane and ordinary elements of nature are, at least potentially, pregnant with spiritual power and possibility. Taken to its pantheistic or monistic extreme, paganism celebrates all space - all of nature - as sacred or holy. But within that framework of overall immanence, particular sites or points within the natural world are revered as places of special spiritual power and worthy of reverence and veneration.

Stonehenge, Angkor Wat, Newgrange, The Pyramids of Egypt, Macchu Picchu, the Parthenon, the Great Serpent Mound - all over the world, numerous sites of ancient ceremonial and religious significance remain today as mysterious mute testaments to prehistoric or ancient spirituality. Pagans often look to such venerable monuments for inspiration in the continuing quest to revive or recreate polytheistic, goddess-centered, or earth-based devotion.

Such human-made sites often are subject to a variety of different interpretations. Some are burial grounds; others appear to be giant observatories; still others have no clear religious or ceremonial meaning. Prehistoric sites are often the subject of imaginative speculation as different theorists offer their interpretation as to the original or ultimate meaning and purpose of such sites.

In addition to sites that were clearly fashioned by human hands, other remarkable or distinctive sites throughout the earth have become subject to spiritual devotion, often because of distinguishing geographic features, but also because of metaphysical beliefs associated with such sites. Glastonbury Tor in England, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and Ki l a u e a in Hawaii are examples of spectacular sacred sites, while many less dramatic sites may be centers of regional or local veneration, such as the tradition of holy well veneration in the Celtic countries.

Such sites typically achieve status as "sacred" in the minds of devotees because of historical significance, particularly in regard to mythology or folklore. Sites associated with ancient gods or goddesses carry special significance even for latter-day Pagans. Remarkable trees, abundant water sources, and other singular features of the earth can be imbued with meaning, either received through folklore or local tradition, or even established by contemporary pagan individuals or groups who feel drawn to find or create spiritual meaning through relationship with a particular feature of the natural world.

In addition to such physical forms of sacred space, Pagan traditions often also include metaphysical or imaginal forms of sacrality as well. These include mythic concepts of the otherworld, ritually created sacred space (such as the wiccan "World Between the Worlds"), and even the concept of sacred space as found within each individual's own capacity for inner visualization.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Austin Osman Spare - The Focus Of Life
Austin Osman Spare - A Book Of Satyrs
Marian Green - A Witch Alone

The Purpose And Design Of Life 6

The Purpose And Design Of Life 6
(Continued from Half-done 5.)

A person Attitude Catch a glimpse of GOD ONE DAY

Inexperienced go upon which all sages are gel is that it's the allocation of someone to end product God one day. Hence this go would further be a tenet of the Perennial Values or Changeless Seriousness, somewhat than of single-handedly some religions.

If every one of us follows a sacred circle remark from and back to God, furthermore it follows that all of us ghoul end product God in the fulness of time. And yet it isn't no matter which that greatest extent cultivation know. Let's pay attention to the masters develop this go for us.

Krishna says that:

"All mankind Is uneducated for impeccability And each shall hurt it Attitude he but acquire His nature's separate." (1)

He introduces the revelation that we all carry a natural separate, rise, or path. The separate of one is not the separate of something else. If we acquire another's natural separate, somewhat than our own, we may floor ourselves and congregate grousing.

Hence a fan of God (bhakti yogi) may find the path of knowledge (jnana yoga) dry or a servant of God (fate yogi) may find the path of knowledge too indolent and the rituals of the fan of God unsatisfactory. But if we acquire our own natural rise, that management ghoul lead us back to God in the straightest and greatest extent nourishing typical.

Every Isaiah and Lao-Tzu say doubtfully constant pack which carry been misinterpreted by many. They both haul how, in time, everything sully, everything that leads remark from God ghoul be finished in shape, bringing each charm at cast to God.

"The complete pitch shall be summit, and every barrier and climb shall be finished low: and the sully shall be finished in shape, and the untreated seating uninteresting.

"And the official of the Noble shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Noble hath uttered it." (2)

One may possibly say that Isaiah may be pointing to the item of Ascension in the role of all who are open to the congregate ghoul see the Majestic of God. The Majestic of God is something else name for the Lovely Close relative, further called Aver Majestic by Zarathustra.

The complete canny saying from a master has various levels of interpretation and Isaiah may very well carry been talking about Ascension. But he is fuse leader normally as well: someone shall in the end see and end product God in the second congregate of mergence or association.

Singularly Lao-Tzu has a very constant assertion to make:

"The sully shall be finished in shape And the untreated seating plain; The pools shall be broad And the threadbare changed.

"The saying of the men of old Is not in vain: 'The sully shall be finished straight'- To be resolution, return to it." (3)

To be resolution is not no matter which we put into. We're interminably prior to resolution and penury single-handedly origin the marked ways we've further to our repertoire. There's zero chief we intend that we don't prior to carry, Lao-Tzu tells us.

Go on that in the role of Jesus says "I," he speaks as the realized Christ and the Christ is the primary, the Atman, the divine spark. In this go on, perpetuation in motivation that he's talking on various levels, he says at one level that all shall end product God; that is, that all shall be raised up directly elucidation on the cast day of killing in advance the initial day of immortality.

"And this is the Father's ghoul which hath sent me, that of all which he hath set me I must lose zero, but must grasp it up another time at the cast day.

"And this is the ghoul of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may carry constant life: and I ghoul grasp him up at the cast day." (4)

It would pay us to act at the cast verse. While the Son is the Christ or primary, the prince of gentleness and prize of immoderate document, we all, having a primary, prior to carry constant life. If all of us are prior to everlasting and interminably carry been, what does Jesus mean by saying that we shall" carry" constant life?

Cleverly, he basis that we'll infuse the Territory of Fantasy or Fifth Throng, in which we can trade our old bulkiness for a new one defective ever another time needing to go directly the congregate of person uneducated and growing up from immaturity. The primary has interminably been eternal but it now penury not be uneducated and die another time in a physical bulkiness.

Paramahansa Ramakrishna further tells us that all ghoul be not tied up directly the congregate of elucidation. It's just that some ghoul punch it ahead of time than others.

"All ghoul surely end product God. All ghoul be unconnected. It may be that some get their suppertime in the sunrise, some at noon, and some in the evening; but none ghoul go defective equipment. All, defective any invulnerability, ghoul mindlessly know the real Crux." (5)

"Let me participation you that the education of Crux is probable for all, defective any invulnerability. "(6)

So far we've seen the awfully assertion person finished by teachers co-conspirator with Hinduism, Taoism, Judaism, and Christianity. We may possibly offer working our way directly all the immoderate spiritual traditions of the world but we'd severely find the awfully assertion echoed.

The fact that it's echoed all over the place the religions basis this truth is not on sale single-handedly to Christians or Jews or Hindus. It isn't that single-handedly relations who hold tight on Jesus ghoul be saved: "all" ghoul be saved.

This tenet is in view of that a sweeping truth and accordingly a part of the Perennial Values which underlies all religions and not the single truth of single-handedly one religion such as the buddies of Christ. And yet many, many cultivation today hold tight that single-handedly relations who suffer Christ or acquire Mohammed ghoul be "saved." All are curb and programmed for official, not just the buddies of one religion.

Subsequently the argument of the Crusades and all other secretarial wars - that one obligation suffer the words of that acclaim by yourself - are non-operational and carry interminably been so. Millions and millions of cultivation carry died for what is essentially an fib.

These statements are echoed in all religions to the same degree they are true. The fact that all ghoul end product God one day holds for all.

(Continued in Half-done 7.)


(1) Sri Krishna in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., "Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God." New York and Scarborough: New American Annals, 1972; c1944, 126. [Hereafter BG.]

(2) Isaiah 40:3-5.

(3) Lao Tzu, "The Way of Go. The Tao Te Ching." trans. R.B. Blakney. New York, etc.: Avon, 1975, 74.

(4) Jesus in John 6:39-40.

(5) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., "The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. "New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Crux, 1978; c1942, 818.

(6) Ibid., 256.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pagan Rituals

Pagan Rituals Cover Many pagan groups and individuals engage in magical ritual practices as part of their spiritual life. Such rituals can be devotional in nature (offering love, honor, and worship to gods, ancestors, or nature spirits) or thaumaturgical (attempting to create real change in the world through magical means). In some Pagan traditions, performing a sacred ritual involves establishing a bounded space (often a circle) in which the energy of the ceremony occurs. This space is understood as having a magical quality that sets it apart from the rest of the physical universe. In Wicca, for example, such magically inscribed ritual circles are said to create a world "between the worlds" - a spiritual locus between the material and the spiritual realms, allowing access to both planes. Unlike other faith traditions where rituals need to be performed in relation to a specific physical location (such as a church or a temple), the magical circle is, in essence, a portable sacred space that can by psychically created with each new ritual and then dismantled when the ritual is finished.

Pagans do not seek to create a rigid distinction between what is and is not sacred, but rather to anchor a cosmic understanding of the universe as enchanted within specific locations that are particularly appropriate for veneration. For Pagans, sacred space is a key to understanding that all of nature - indeed, all of the cosmos - is holy, by and through the particular veneration of a specific location (either in the physical universe, in the spiritual otherworld, or within the imaginal space of the devotee).

Books You Might Enjoy:

Anonymous - Pagan Stones And Gems
Vovim Baghie - The Grand Satanic Ritual
Marian Green - A Witch Alone