Archive for the ‘Pagan Perspectives’ 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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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…)

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…)

Imbolc

Deep in the belly of the earth life now stirs

Awakening within and shaking free of ice and snow

The Goddess carries the child of promise within her arms

Trailing light and warmth wherever he goes

Slowly the world awakens from its slumber

Pushing shadows back from long cold night

All around

Life abounds

Reaching out towards the growing light

Imbolc Craft: St. Brigid's Cross. By Amber Dorko Stopper

Imbolc Craft: St. Brigid’s Cross. By Amber Dorko Stopper

Imbolc Festival of Light

Welcome to the festival of light

Where springtime lies within our sight

Earth softens and milk flows

Babies are born, seeds are sown

Soon the thaws will flood the streams

And winter becomes the land of dreams

The Crone returns to the land of snow

And all around us light now grows

Hold high your flame, shine your light

Chase back the shadows and shrinking night

Prepare the path for spring to come

And rejoice now in the growing sun!

All text copyright. Romany Rivers (C) 2013. Text will appear within upcoming book: The Woven Word

Priviledge of AgeWhen I write or submit articles for magazines, I very often deal with people I have never met face to face, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. On many occasions, the editors have assumed that I am older than my years based upon the content and style of my work. Of course, I tell myself that is not a terrible thing, but I have always suggested one lives their truth – so here is my truth. The first few times it happened, I freaked. I was horrified that people would consider me much older than I am, and darn it I am certainly no Crone! Sure ages catches up with all of us, I am no longer as young as I was, and since having children I certainly feel like I leaped over a few years and rapidly increased in age – but really. I. Am. Not. Old. But even if I were, why should that matter? (more…)

Creating sustainable Pagan communities that provide services, support and education will require a healthy and manageable system of financial exchange – a topic that many Pagans avoid exploring. Shauna muses on the issues of value, worth, money, classes, courses, training, continual professional development, clergy and commitment. I am very interested in the concept of sliding scale tithing and how this can work with developing Pagan communities. A very thought provoking read.

Shauna Aura Knight

7060151_xxlHow do we pay for the functions of a community organization and services to members? How do we pay for regular classes, clergy, a community center?

I wrote this after reading a conversation among some of the organizers for NIPA, the Northern Illinois Pagan Alliance. They’ve been working for years to bring their local community together and offer services, and doing a great job. And they’re having the conversation many Pagan communities are having.

How do we pay for all this, and how do we make it sustainable?

I’m so excited to see the work that NIPA is doing. There are Pagans all over the country who have no place to go for various reasons, and helping Pagans in one area to have a place to connect and find “home” is such important work.

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