Archive for the ‘Pagan Blog Project 2014’ Category

Pagan Blog Project 2014

Pagan Blog Project 2014

Unless you have been studiously avoiding Pagan blogs over the last week or so, you will have seen many posts about the arrest of Kenny Klein. The horror of discovering that a well known Pagan figure is a predator in our midst was hard enough, but to watch the story unfold into a history and pattern of abuse that was not stopped has been shocking. My heart goes out to everyone affected.

This horror has sparked debate within the community – a debate about how we build safe communities, how we protect the vulnerable, how we spot predatory and abusive behaviour, how we deal with abuse and accusations of abuse, how we deal with abusers in our midst. Pagan leaders and teachers have gathered together, talked online, drafted statements and drawn up suggested protection policies for festivals and events. All of this is important work and although I have many thoughts I could share, I wanted to focus back on the basics. (more…)

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Good Grief: A Lesson in Love

RRivers logoGrief comes in many forms, wearing many guises and answers to many names. Time and time again I have found Grief to be my dancing partner, and every tune has been unique. We expect Grief to come calling when we face the hardest transitions in our lives, the times when we must learn to live without the physical presence of our beloveds, the times when we must learn to live with broken hearts, the times when the cycle of life and death must be understood by a soul encased in emotional turmoil. We understand the sad symphony of our lives then and we expect Grief to envelop us in a cold embrace. There are times when Grief touches us unexpectedly, and a little embarrassed we push away her light touch until the insistence and presence of She Who Will Not Be Denied eventually overwhelms us and we admit to our deepest selves that Grief belongs here. The transitions that belong to the realm of Joy are also home to Grief. As we welcome the birth of new life, we still twinge with sadness at the passage of time, at the choices neglected, the paths untrodden, at the loss of who we were. Grief understands and places a hand upon our shoulders in the wee hours of darkness when the light and joy and celebration fades. She knows that life is complex, that the expectation of emotion does not always coincide with the reality of each situation, and that there is room to hold many of her siblings in the same heart at the same time. Grief takes her place as ice within the heart, a splinter in the mind, a burning in the belly. As long as we acknowledge her presence, She responds to our needs. She will not be denied or ignored. Grief will fill our veins with ice until our hearts freeze, and then She Who Will Not Be Denied will crack us open to shatter upon the pretense of normality. For all this, Grief is not cruel.

Grief holds us while we shake and shiver and face our wounds; She holds us so tight she squeezes out frozen tears and we grow numb within her embrace. She honours us for who we are in our most naked and vulnerable form. She acknowledges the depths of our emotions even when society does not. She does not judge us for the dance, nor does She write the tune. She does however whisper to us. It is a message we may never hear over the sounds of our own tears, but it speaks to our very soul.

“I am Love’s twin. To embrace me is to embrace Love.”

For all the pain we feel whilst rocked in Griefs embrace, is simply the reflection of love. We could not grieve so much, if we did not love so much. To acknowledge the depth of our grief is to acknowledge the breadth of our love. She Who Will Not Be Denied understands this, and takes her role as Love’s Loss in our first dance of acceptance. Accept the gentle grief of life transitions, accept the love of a past self; accept the overwhelming grief of loss, accept that overwhelming love is the reflection of grief.

Grief is the twin of Love.

 

 

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project 2014.

PBP2014

money in spirituality My, my, money is a contentious issue at the best of times, let alone when you mix it with spirituality. I have blogged before on the concept of monetary exchange within spiritual paths, and many others I know have discussed the various issues that surround fundraising, paid for services and fair exchange within the Pagan community. I would certainly recommend reading Shauna Aura Knights blog as she has several recent articles reviewing this very subject… and the comments are just as enlightening as the articles.

Let me make my position very clear from the outset, I have no personal issues with monetary exchange for teachers, leaders, clergy, institutions, workshops, training, classes, courses, divination, healing or almost any aspect of Paganism where one person provides time, energy, skill, education, service and value to another. I believe that all people regardless of their profession are entitled to fair exchange for the services they provide. What constitutes fair exchange and whether the service actually has value is a slightly different subject. (more…)

ForgiveI have a lot to be angry about. There are a lot of people that impacted my life in harmful ways, whose actions caused scars inside and out that I will live with for the rest of my life. I have experienced abandonment, grief, bullying, abuse, humiliation and rape. How could that be forgiven?

For the longest time, I could not forgive nor forget. Too many times the pain threatened to swallow me whole and as a child I tried to end my life to end the pain. I couldn’t even do that right. I failed. I carried that pain inside like a burning coal and learned to use it as fuel to drive me onwards, drive me forward, drive me far away from the places that hurt, the people that hurt me and the person I was. The distance I strove for never truly occurred because I always kept that burning ember held within my own damaged heart, and no matter how far I ran I could not outrun myself. (more…)

Witches are people tooHollywood has a lot to answer for. In movies Witches are portrayed in many lights, from morally corrupt, violent or mentally unstable individuals, to trendy teenagers and glamorous, powerful people. A few nuggets of wisdom and near truth may appear, but as a general rule the perception of Witchcraft in film is a far cry from the experiences of Witchcraft in day to day life. You know why? Because it is fantasy. It is fiction. It has little to do with everyday people living their spiritual truth.

However these kind of portrayals are pervasive. The concept of quick fix magic and incredible power can, and does, attract people into Witchcraft… which is where expectation meets experience. I can no longer count the occasions that I have challenged the expectations of a magical quick fix with the reality of hard work and understanding. Witchcraft is a practice. It involves practice. It involves research, reflection, honesty and hard work. The work is not power over others, the work is power within ourselves. It is not in changing the will and actions of others, it is in changing our own perceptions, patterns, actions and abilities. It is not in changing the world at the wave of a wand, it is in changing ourselves one day at a time. It is not throwing a stone and standing back to watch the ripples; it is in understanding that we are the stone, we are the water and we are the ripples.

Having expectations is perfectly normal, but those expectations will not always be met. This in itself is a rich learning experience. By reflecting upon the expectations we hold and how we respond to the challenges or disappointment of unmet expectations, we can better understand ourselves – and to know ourselves is to explore our own mystery. This is the reality behind the fantasy. There is wonder and wisdom, transformation and magic in each person’s life… it simply is not accompanied by a dramatic soundtrack and eye candy special effects.

Be honest in your expectations and remain open to the wonder of experience. Practice and reflect, do and be. You may just find that your experiences then surpass all your expectations.

Pagan Blog Project 2014

Pagan Blog Project 2014

“You shouldn’t try that until you know what you are doing.”

But how can one know, unless one does? Witchcraft is a very experiential path, full of mysteries and wonder that cannot be taught, only alluded to. It is for each practitioner to convert the knowledge shared by others into personal experience, for without experience the magic of the world is simply academic understanding. Direct experience turns the words on a page into a rich tapestry of understanding, and turns the knowledge of others into personal wisdom. With the wonder of modern technology, more and more practitioners are turning to online forums for guidance and support, which presents its own challenges. Despite the ease of meeting like minded souls virtually, and despite the accessibility of information, there is little support for in depth spiritual studies. So often I see the words above typed in chat rooms in response to valid questions – but no further information is shared. The teenage rebel in me rises her head every time and shouts ‘But how do I know when I know what I am doing unless I do it and see?!’ and the woman in me nods in understanding. Too often this kind of vague response only fires up the desire to experiment, rather than encouraging one to step back and reflect upon our skills and past experience.  The tone of this overused phrase comes across as a petty ‘I know something you don’t know’ at best, and at worst it appears superior, patronizing and condescending. Most of the time neither of these attitudes are actually present, but the lack of physical communication in a virtual world encumbers and disguises the true intent of such a statement. Most of the time, the practitioners who use this phrase and similar warning phrases genuinely care that others feel safe and secure in their spiritual experiences. (more…)

Pagan Blog Project 2014

Pagan Blog Project 2014

Deliverance: a 14th Century word to describe the state of being saved, rescued or liberated from something dangerous or unpleasant. In modern terms, this is often used to describe the act of Divine Intervention after a prayer of appeal, to be rescued or liberated by a deity.

I overheard a conversation between my atheist husband and my neighbor, a Christian  Preacher, about a Pentecostal Preacher who refused an antidote after being bitten by a snake and about his religious belief of deliverance. This reminded me of a story I heard many years ago:

A man is walking along the cliffs when he slips and falls. He catches himself and balances precariously upon a ledge. In distress he prays for deliverance, and so strong is his belief that his God will save him from his plight that he remains calm in the face of potential death. Soon the man hears a dog barking somewhere above him, followed by the face of a woman peering over the edge of the cliff. “My Gods!” she cries “Don’t move! I am going to get help!”

“No, no, don’t worry” the man replies “I have prayed for deliverance and I have faith that my God will save me.” But his words were lost to the wind as the dog walker had already run for help. (more…)

Cleansing StormWitchcraft teaches the duality and polarity of spectrums, the interconnectedness of all things, of light and dark, masculine and feminine, positive and negative, conscious and subconscious. Just as we accept that our universe is made of dichotomies that cannot exist without the context of their opposing meaning, we must accept that we are also many different and often opposing aspects that create a whole. Many practitioners envision a spiritual split that creates ‘Light’ and ‘Dark’ aspects of ourselves. Some practitioners attempt to work with and develop their light sides, and shun the dark aspects of themselves as negative or bad.  However, to know thyself is to know those parts we keep hidden in the shadows, locked in darkness, obscured from understanding. When I ask why someone is afraid of the dark, I wonder if it is the darkness itself that causes fear or whether it is the fear of what we may find within the darkness. (more…)

Pagan Blog Project 2014

Pagan Blog Project 2014

When it comes to magic, I hear people use the terms casting and crafting interchangeably but I personally see them as two very different energetic techniques. This is the first time I have attempted to verbalize the differences to others, so I would be very interested if you could share your thoughts with me in the comments section.

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, many practitioners will use the terms in different contexts – the word Spellcraft to describe the act of preparing, creating and designing a spell, and the word Spellcast to describe the completion, culmination or release of a spell. To me, crafting not only describes the act of actually preparing your spell or magical working, it is also the energetic act of creation or transformation. Casting is a little more like fishing, casting the energy out into the universe and reeling back in the desired result. Spellcrafting takes various elements, ingredients or techniques to create a result; Spellcasting takes various elements, ingredients or techniques to attract a result. (more…)