Posts Tagged ‘Wicca’

“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…)

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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Child of PromiseMerry Yule, one and all! I wish you a festive season filled with love and laughter, good friends, good food and good times. Whatever it is that you celebrate during the winter months, the themes of family, friendship, and sharing are common within the various celebrations. Light is another common theme during winter festivals from Diwali in October to Imbolc in February, and Winter Solstice is no different. Light within darkness invokes strong primal instincts for modern man, from the physical aspect of warmth and safety to the emotional and mental health that sunlight brings. At Winter Solstice we face the longest night of the year followed by the rebirth of the Sun and the increasing sunlight. Some refer to the Winter Solstice as Midwinter, based upon the Celtic calendar which consisted of just two seasons – Summer and Winter. Winter ran from the Autumn to the Spring, from the last harvest to the first planting, and Summer from planting to harvest. Some consider this shift of seasons to occur on the equinoxes, others believe that Samhain and Beltaine divide the year. However, despite the older term of Midwinter, for many countries the winter is only just beginning and people have a long way to go before the signs of spring surface from frozen white ground. The gradual but perceptible increase in light every day uplifts the heart and mind, and brings a sense of hope and promise. This feeling is encompassed within many stories, myths and legends of the Yule period. (more…)

Another video for your viewing pleasure, ‘Witchcraft Yesterday and Today‘ by Raymond Buckland. In this grainy video reminiscent of storytime, Raymond talks about interpretation of deity, sympathetic magic, ritual behaviour, development of the priesthood, the coming of Christianity, and the changing of beliefs and practice over time. This version of Witchcraft history is accepted by many, although presented differently by some. Raymond continues with an explanation of common Wiccan practice – ritual format and structure, tools of the craft, beliefs, and various differences between Wiccan paths. I leave it to you to view and listen, and accept or reject within your own understanding.

Now, are you sitting comfortably? If so, Raymond will begin….

New content up on Moon Books blog:

Scry the Becoming
The reflection of the DivineScrying
I look into your eyes
And see all that does not exist
I look into the Divine
Into the knowing eyes
And see that I do not exist, do not resist, do not become
I am you
You are me
I am one within all
All within one
I am the spiral of order
In the divine chaos
I am the chaos
Unravelled
Undone
The reflection infinite
Contained and formed
By the boundary of understanding
The reflection of the Divine
I look into your eyes
And see all that has or will exist
I exist, I resist, I am becoming
I am you
You are me
I am made whole once more
As one within the All
Slowly I become
The reflection in blackened glass
Looking out at the Divine
Looking in at me

By Romany Rivers (c) 2013

Here is a rarMaxine_Sanderse find, recently brought to my attention by The Temple of Witchcraft and Dangerous Minds. ‘The Power of the Witch’ is a fascinating look at witchcraft from 40 years ago, although the wonderfully grainy footage, fabulous style and plummy English accents make it feel a world away from modern culture. I found it really interesting to hear that some of the same concerns and arguments for and against witchcraft remain almost unchanged through time. A young Doreen Valiente, better known as the ‘Mother of Modern Witchcraft’, (more…)

Doreen ValienteEnlightenment and spirituality doesn’t require a price tag – that is a personal journey and cannot be given to you, although it may be guided and supported. Knowledge should freely available, but the providers of knowledge should not be expected to devote time, skills and experience for free. So here lies the constant, and often heated, debate about paying for training in Witchcraft, Wicca or Pagan Spirituality. On one side, the argument that all aspects of spiritual education should be freely given; on the other side, that every practitioner is entitled to a fair compensation of their time, experience and skills.

This argument rears its ugly head time and time again in the Pagan community. What amazes me is the unhealthy fascination that we place on very specific forms of training – namely eclectic Wicca training courses. No one seems overly concerned with Pagans who charge for classes, courses, workshops or services such as Tarot or Astrology. No one verbally assaults Pagan Celebrants who charge for handfastings, baby blessings or funerals.  No one insults the professional Pagan who writes for a living, owns a store or holistic centre, or operates a retreat centre. In my understanding, the debate really heats up when offering a year and a day training in Wicca that combines a variety of skills and teachings that people would otherwise be happy to pay for should it be provided in bite sized pieces. The debate about Wica vs Wicca, Gardnerian/Alexandrian vs other initiatory systems such as Odyssean or more eclectic Wicca aside, the idea that any Priest/Priestess/Coven or Mystery School would charge a fee in exchange for education seems abhorrent to many practitioners.

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