Posts Tagged ‘Paganism’

This article is a copyrighted extract from the upcoming book, The Inner Alchemy of Witchcraft by Romany Rivers.

Country Diary : Crows fly through branches of a tree“Air is the invisible Element, all around us and within us, connecting every aspect of the universe. It is the space between the cells of our being, the breath we exchange with others and the words we use to share our ideas. Air is inspiration and communication, thought and dream, education and knowledge. It is the Element of mind – ours and the Divine. […]

The secret of Air is its limitless potential, its ability to free every thought, to carry every idea, to blow away the dust from our eyes and show us every inspiration of magic. Air is naturally without borders or boundaries, moving from me to you, from you to another with ease and freedom. The danger of this freedom is that bad news and harmful ideas will be just as airborne as beneficial ones. We can impact ourselves, our friends, our families and our communities just as quickly with harmful words and thoughts. A mind clouded with hatred is just as capable of harnessing the power of Air as a mind clear of cluttered thoughts. Therefore we must, as magical practitioners, be aware of what we think and say. We must also be aware of the thoughts and words of others that we take on as our internal monologue. […]

Air will feed a fire, or put it out.

The flickering flame within the darkness and the house burning to the ground, both are fed by air. Our intentions and our words are like the oxygen that fans the flames of passion or anger. Yet air also has the power to extinguish fire, and it is this contradiction of abilities that we often overlook. Just as we breathe onto a spark to bring it to life, so we can use our breath to blow out the candle flame. We can fan a little flame until it burns brightly in the darkness, using the power of Air to uplift the spirit, encourage passion and confidence, and to illuminate the dark times. We can feed a small fire, giving it the gust it needs to grow, jump, spread and cause further damage. We can inadvertently breathe new life into a dying fire, whether we mean to or not, or we can consciously choose to extinguish a flame before it rages beyond control. How we choose to use our intention and words during times of heightened emotions will determine whether we encourage the fire to rage, or whether we use our power to cease its path of potential destruction.

Those in a position of authority within the spiritual community, teachers, elders, leaders, or priests, will come across this teaching of air time and time again. With awareness we can clearly see how the power or air impacts the power of fire, how the words of someone perceived to be in a position of authority can fan the flames of passion, cut off the air supply that feeds dangerous fires of anger, breathe life into dying embers of old teachings, or fuels the little flames that light up the night. With power comes responsibility, but the power of air and the responsibility of use is not reserved to the leaders of our communities. The Element of Air resides within and around all of us, and we each have the power to choose how we use it. Be aware of how your words and intentions encourage or extinguish the flames around you. Be aware of what you fuel with your breath of being.”

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Romany Rivers is the author of Poison Pen Letters to Myself, The Woven Word: A Book of Invocations and Inspirations, and The Inner Alchemy of Witchcraft. Community books and Anthologies include Witchcraft Today 60 Years On, Naming The Goddess, Moon Poets and Pagan Planet.

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Epstein QuoteI try not to regret the things I have done, because at some point it must have been what I wanted. Even if it simply seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight was a terrible idea, harmful and hurtful in its teachings. I do often regret the things I didn’t do, the opportunities I missed, the times I said no even when a part of me was screaming ‘Fuck, yes!’ The times I said no from fear or a sense of not being capable, or not worthy or not good enough. I look back on those missed opportunities and wonder where I would be today, or who I would be today, or how much richer and wiser in experience I would be had I followed through on those chances.

Every experience has made me the woman I am today, for good or ill. Each yes and each no has shaped me in some way. If only I had been brave enough, smart enough, creative enough, more confident, more willing, more daring. If only I had said yes instead of no, or no instead of yes. If only I valued myself more. If only I had chosen a different path. (more…)

Witches are people tooI stood in the centre of the room and felt the tension rise. Glancing over my students I could see the people causing the shift, someone finding difficulty in the interruption of the class. The mundane had invaded the magic. The tension made me angry; the attitude of the interrupted students irked me. It pushed my buttons, and I vaguely knew why. I acknowledged the tension and my emotions, and breathed. Slowly and carefully I drew everyone’s attention to this moment of interruption and the shift in energy.

“Witchcraft is not a two hour class each week, it is a way of life. It is not just the moments you spend meditating, not just the practices and exercises, not just your studies, your coursework. It is not just reserved for festivals and celebrations. You do not practice spirituality, you practice the techniques of your spiritual path. You are your spirituality. You must learn that the mundane life and the magical life are one and the same.” (more…)

The Woven Word cover(Reblogged From A Bad Witch’s Blog)

Found a wonderful review of my book The Woven Word on A Bad Witch’s Blog. I am so glad and grateful that people are discovering and connecting with the book, and I am inspired by the positive responses to the rites and ceremonies. I truly hope my book will be of use to others, and I am blessed by every review – thank you!

 

 

 

 

“Book Review: The Woven Word – A Book of Invocations and Inspirations

Over the years I’ve collected quite a few books of pagan rituals that I look at when I’m asked to put together a ceremony. Some are better than others, of course, and these days I’m picky about buying any books to add to my collection. However, a new publication I’m really pleased I’ve got is The Woven Word: A Book of Invocations and Inspirations by Romany Rivers.

Publisher Moon Books describes it as: “A creative compendium of invocations, inspirations and blessings for the novice or adept to design personal, unique and magical rituals.”

The first part of the book offers simple poems, chants and prayers for specific purposes – such as purification, invocation or blessing. They can be easily slotted into rituals or used on their own. Some are relatively traditional, others less so. Take for example this elegant but simple “shower cleansing”:

Wash away the stress and strain
Wash away the hurt and pain
Refresh and cleanse my tired soul
To reconnect, to make me whole

The second part of the book contains complete rituals. As well as ceremonies for the usual seasonal festivals, there are ways to honour rites of passage from baby blessings and handfastings to rituals at death. The latter include last rites when a person is dying and a requiem for someone who has died.

As we are approaching Samhain, and this month on my blog I have been looking at various aspects of death, here is a short quote from The Woven Word’s passing over ritual:

Dearest Beloved, you are not alone
I am here to help guide you home
If your soul is ready now to depart
Then leave without a heavy heart
With forgiveness and without fear
For those you love will hold you dear

I wish I had had those words to say when I was sitting a bedside vigil for my father and then my mother before they died.

Moon Books says about The Woven Word on its website: “This is a pagan tome of poetry and prose designed for rituals, festivals and celebrations. Working with deities, Romany has chronicled invocations and evocations for many Gods and Goddesses, and created clear and crafty quarter calls, circle castings, celebratory prose and meditations. Ritual is broken into its component parts allowing for easy reference and personal adaptation.”

What I would add is that Romany’s words are beautiful, simple and powerful. As I read the book I could not only see myself using its rites without adaptation, I also felt that I wanted to use them. And to be honest that’s rare for me. With most of the other books of rituals I own, I find myself changing the words quite a bit to suit my personal taste or simply using them for inspiration and writing my own invocations or whatever based on them. I know I will be using many of the refrains and rites in The Woven Wordin the years to come.”

Links and previous related posts
The Woven Word: A Book of Invocations and Inspirations
http://www.moon-books.net/

(more…)

Romany’s Random Reviews presents:

Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon (Please follow the picture link)

The Leader Within – Articles on Community Building, Leadership and Personal Growth By Shauna Aura Knight

“I often say that the secret to leadership – and to conflict resolution – is relentless personal work.”– Shauna Aura Knight

I recently had the opportunity of reading The Leader Within, a book by Pagan Activist and Author Shauna Aura Knight. Being familiar and appreciative of the articles and essays that Shauna shares online, I looked forward to finding the time to read through this selection of articles and explore some of the topics she has previously raised on blogs in greater depth. The book didn’t disappoint, it is absolutely crammed with a wide range of articles on conflict resolution, management strategies, boundaries and burnout, and grass roots style leadership. I love the fact that Shauna does not shy away from the really hard topics, and instead tackles sexual, physical and emotional abuse; ethics and taboos; mental illness; and even button-pushing subjects like fundraising and finances in a concise and upfront manner. (more…)

RRivers logoTeachings of Earth: All things must die; yet death is not the end.

Earth shows us the complex cycles of life and death. All aspects of nature, even those that seem most enduring, will eventually leave their current form. They will die, break down, transform. The more we observe nature, the more that we understand that every death feeds into the cycle of life – that energy itself does not die, merely transform. The horror of the rotting corpse feeds the world and nurtures new life. The leaves fall as they must for the trees to survive the winter, to feed the ground, and to make way for the new blossom of spring. The very planets of our universe are born and will die. There are many little deaths within our own life. Moments when relationships, behaviours, beliefs, knowledge, even things we held as truth must die. As it is natural for humans facing physical mortality, we often resist the death of these aspects and grieve their loss. When we face these inner deaths, especially those of deeply held beliefs, it helps to look to nature and understand that the death we resist may actually nurture new life within us, it may in fact be necessary for us to continue along our cycle of magical, emotional or spiritual development. To grieve is a part of the process and may actually be very enlightening, for grief is the twin of love, pain the twin of pleasure. Understanding why we resist the death of that which no longer serves us, why we grieve it’s loss, why we feel pain to let something go, may actually tell us why we held on to the belief, relationship or behaviour so tightly to begin with. Release what you must, watch the parts of yourself that are unhealthy die a slow death, and do so with grace and understanding. These aspects will transform in time, becoming fertile soil for the new seeds you plant.

 

Romany Rivers (c)2014

This article is a copyrighted extract from my upcoming book: The Inner Alchemy of Witchcraft by Romany Rivers

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Autumn arrives

As my son cries

And places fallen leaf upon my outstretched fingertips

Fix the tree he pleads

The leaf

It fell over

Fix the tree

If only it were so simple

To kiss it better

To hug away the hurt

To ease the seasons sorrow

I wonder if his heart will break a little

With every red gold shiver

With every bitter breeze

With every leaf crunching underfoot

The tree is broken in his mind

How does one explain

The time and tides

The ebb and flow

The come and go

To brimming tear filled brown eyes?

Is it too hard a truth to learn so young

That some things cannot be undone?

I cannot fix the tree for him

And reality upon me dawns

Just as the time has come for leaves to change

The mighty Mama also falls

No longer magic touch

Healing all with simple love

There are things in life beyond a Mamas reach

She cannot even fix the tree

(c)2013 Romany Rivers

Blessings of the Autumn Equinox to you all! May the turning of the seasons bring you peace and bountiful harvests. Look out for the story behind this poem in the upcoming community book ‘Pagan Planet’ due for publication soon!

hearth altarWhen I was young, my little sister died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. There was less understanding back then, and even at my age I heard the whispers in the village. I saw my parents friends remove themselves from our lives, people talking about our family in hushed tones, my step-mother sat almost catatonic on the sofa staring out the window, my little brother confusing my baby dolls with our deceased sister. I stood by my sisters graveside, watching this tiny coffin lowered into the earth, and I felt angry that this big, sweaty priest who knew nothing about our family and yet dared to speak of my baby sister and our family grief. Through all this, I felt my sisters spirit still in the house. I was aware of her presence in ways that other family members were not and it confused everyone. I did not display the same grief as others, because for me a part of her was still with us and that gave me comfort. I felt isolated in my understanding that death was not the end. I felt confused and sad for the loss of my sister and the pain her death brought to our family. I felt comforted and relieved to know there was something more than flesh and bone. In grief and a desire for understanding, I looked for God. I wanted answers. I found no comfort or answers in the Christianity I was brought up around, so I started to explore alternative belief systems. By the time I was a teen, I was fully immersed in the exploration of Paganism, Buddhism, Taoism, Witchcraft, and techniques of awareness and spiritual development. Later I studied psychology, I travelled the world, I read voraciously and I talked to some fascinating people. Slowly I developed my own practice and personal spirituality that honoured my understanding of death and dying.

In my twenties, after a rather shocking spiritual experience, I dedicated myself to studying Wicca and Witchcraft. I developed a deeper understanding of magic and transformation, and I truly transformed my personal life. During my practice I would call upon the Lord and Lady, I would connect with the Masculine and Feminine Divine and the spectrum in between, and I could sense the power and presence of the Divine – yet I did not connect with specific deities. In fact I rather enjoyed discussing the reality of distinct and different Gods, or all Gods as one God, or Gods as archetypes, or Gods as entities, or Gods as universal energy. I talked and listened, and in private I formed no conclusions but continued to work with the very abstract concept of Divinity from an energy spectrum perspective. I was happy enough working with my abstract philosophy. That is until a Goddess spoke to me. (more…)

triple-goddessSeveral times in the last few months I have come across individuals in several communities who are looking to create Red Tents, and I have seen an incredible backlash against the idea. In our ever expanding and diverse Pagan communities there appears to be a pendulum swing between private and exclusive, and public and inclusive. I think there is some confusion about what it means for others to host a restricted event – restricted does not mean rejected. Refusing to cater to one segment of society because it clashes with caring for another segment of society, does not mean that we are disrespected or rejected, it means that we are all respecting and accepting the differences between us. By celebrating the diversity of the human species and creating a safe space for certain groups of people to discuss specific issues and ideas unique to their form, we are not excluding others in a harmful fashion. We all need to understand how to accept, respect and celebrate the differences between us as well as the similarities. We can all learn to enjoy quality time together, and quality time apart. (more…)

WorkThe truth holds a power of its own. It is the power to challenge, to change, to start new paths and spark new ideas. Speaking the truth can be painful, powerful, liberating or damaging, but truth held within has its own way of working itself from bonds and flying free when least expected. Truth is a three edged blade, and getting to the point can pierce a heart. Truth is a salve for festering wounds, exposing pain to the light of day and easing concealed suffering. Truth has the power to burn or to cauterize, to hurt or to heal. Truth reveals that which is hidden, for better or worse. Truth transforms us.

The power of the Witch is the power of personal truth. We stand on the thresholds of the worlds and explore the landscapes through our own understanding. We converse with Gods, with Angels, with Demons, with Spirits, with the Beloved Dead, and we walk away with truth upon our tongues and hearts. We take on the truth of Mother Nature, of the restless ocean, of the Sun and Moon. We accept the truth of magic, even whilst we still learn the techniques and process of manifesting magic every day. We accept the truth of seasons and cycles, of honor and hospitality, of differences and similarities. We face the truths hidden deep within our personal shadows, stepping into the darkness and dragging them into the light. We face beautiful truths and ugly truths, and truths that parts of us wish we had never seen. We learn the truths of personal power and personal responsibility, shared truth and shared responsibility. We learn that my truth is not always your truth.

The Witch does not shy from the painful truth, for there is always transformational power within the pain. We cannot heal that which we cannot see is damaged. And truth be told, we need to speak our truth even when our voice shakes… for the truth really does set us free.

 

PBP2014

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project 2014