Archive for the ‘paganism’ Tag

Being offended   5 comments

Today, I was going through a little deck of cards with useful quotes or comments on them from the book “10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace” by Wayne Dyer.  I must admit, I like the book.  Not all of it is easy for me to really live up to, and yes, sometimes I fail at the principles he lists.  However, I don’t doubt one bit that achieving those goals would certainly create quite a lot of peace.  The card I pulled out at randon today is based on his “Seventh Secret” which is “There Are No Justified Resentments.”  Oh really? I recall asking this the first time I read the book.  Because a lot of people have pissed me off and it really  is their fault. Not mine.   LOL  Truly though, his message is to stop looking for occasions to be offended.  I don’t think I do that as much as I used to.  You know…..when I had more passion and energy and less common sense.  He adds, “If you have enough faith in your beliefs, you’ll find that it’s impossible to be offended by the opinions and conduct of others.”  While I think this may be overshooting a little bit (it’s always POSSIBLE to be offended..) I do think he’s got something here. 

I think about how this applies to being a witch or pagan or anything that resembles any spiritual “out” group.  Anyone that is not in the mainstream.  How many people who would identify themselves as pagans are constantly whining and moaning about how oppressed they are by mainstream religion and expressing vitriolic anger toward (especially) “the Christians” (as if they are all one hive-mind) for thousands of years of horrible, torturous, gut wrenching subjugation?  Most of these that are whining have never been oppressed for their religion.  Not really. 

And that’s the problem with today’s neopagans.  (I just sounded like the old guy on his porch saying “that’s the problem with today’s kids” I know.  Sorry.  Just go with it.)  There are certain people in this country who can worry about their safety and their livelihood every day because of their religion.  With very few exceptions, they are not wiccans, witches, neopagans, shamans, conjurers, sorcerers or whatever they want to be called.

The reasons I hear from pagan people for why they are offended by this or that just really astound me.  My personal favorite (and very timely for the season) is “How dare they wish me a Merry Christmas?”  Now we’re going to be angry with a person for saying what they thought was something nice?  Fantastic.  What about person who is offended because someone simply disagrees with them?  If a person says they don’t agree with witchcraft, is that offensive?  If so, why is okay for a pagan to say that they don’t believe in Jesus?  Religious tolerance goes both ways.   Is that how delicate we are as non-mainsteam religious people, that we are going to freak right out if the entire world does not make sure to agree with our pagan/earth religious/whatever beliefs, understand us and speak and act with the perfect level of sensitivity for our unique needs as the special snowflakes that we are? 

Sometimes I wonder how many neopagans who say they have been harassed by police were actually being asked questions by police like “did you make a reservation to assemble at this park?” (you know….like everyone else has to do) and then some pagan crusader got on a speech about how the police were impeding their religious rights and this is oppression, etc, etc, until what they really got arrested for was general jack-assery.  In my group’s case, we evidently made our Samhain ritual fire in an area that is not approved for a fire, in a receptacle that is not up to fire code and we didn’t have a hose there for safety.  So the local fire department (called by residents of a nearby apartment) paid us a visit.  We didn’t know!  The fire fighters were actually extremely nice.  They couldn’t have given a crap about what we were doing out there, they just needed the fire put out.  They even apologized for interrupting what I am pretty sure looked somewhat confusing to them, and told us how to do it next time if we wanted to be up to code so they wouldn’t have to bother us again.  I mean, these guys just really wanted to get on with their night and go back and have some coffee or something. 

If we had gotten on a rant and rave about refusing to put the fire out, I suppose we would have had a nice police cruiser out to visit us for Samhain.  Furthermore, if we had decided to start marching around and preaching about how we’re being oppressed (when really, we were breaking a city ordinance that all people of all stripes are required to follow), one or more of us could have sat a night in jail for functionally poor judgment and looney behavior.  It is possible on a long shot that someone with binoculars and a terrible fear of all things pagan scouted us out for a while and called the fire department just to ruin our wild and witchy sinful activity.  But more likely, someone was either actually concerned about a fire they saw in the woods not that far from their domicile (understandable) or they are just the sort of hall monitor personality that has memorized all city ordinances and believes that they should always be followed.  In any case, I don’t believe it was personal, and it was not a religious issue.  What we got out of the evening was actually very bonding and resulted in memories that we can laugh about together forever.

That makes me think that Wayne Dyer’s “stop looking for occasions to be offended” is pretty good advice, even for special snowflakes like us.

Posted November 23, 2011 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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Sorcerer Seuss   2 comments

I was just thinking recently about when this whole Witch thing began for me.   I so much wanted to do it “right” and read a boat load of 101 books, most of which agreed on stuff that I didn’t need to know that much, and disagreed on the things I really wanted help on.  Ahh, books.

Anyway, to this day, I don’t read a lot of spell books for my magic.  Or, to clarify, I like to scan through them sometimes for inspiration and to see if I can find anything at all with some history behind it, something old, something passed on for longer than the last 20 years, something really arcane and wicked cool.  Usually, I am looking for anything at all that was NOT written by the most famous of the pagan authors because I’ve read them.  Anyway, I like to read or at least scan a few books and then jump from there but I find I can almost never use people’s words that they want recited.  First of all, I don’t like to read from a paper when doing serious magical work.  Second of all, if there is a lot of memorization involved, I will be wrecking my trance by utilizing my rational mind to try to remember what the frick came next in the incantation.  Some of these things are 8 stanzas long.  What are we going for here, the next Witchy Laureate award?  I can’t handle that.  Not to mention, I tend to work silent and repeat certain phrases over and over in my head, or I let myself just feel with no words at all.  I hardly ever say them out loud.  I sometimes find myself whispering something urgently.

Anyway, back to being a newbie witch.  (Oh and back then I was resistant to the title “witch”.  So much has changed!) Anyway, I read in the book (doesn’t matter which one, they’re all the same) that using rhyming spells helps you to remember them. Okie dokie then.  My first spell type was candle magic and to this day, I happen to use candles often in one way or another.  The book says to use this rhyme:

“Candle of power, candle of might

create my desires here on this night.

Power stream from this candle’s fire

Bring to me my heart’s desire: (name desire here)”

I can do this, I figure.  I can remember something so short.  So then I tried doing it  the first several times because the book said I should and I was new and I certainly didn’t have any better ideas anyway.  Then I found out that a four line rhyme if you are doing it automatically and not concentrating, can still get screwed up.  I would get it out of order or repeat things by accident.  Plus, I started to feel a little silly.  I felt like at any moment, it was going to turn out like:

“Candle of power, candle of might

create my desires here on this night

I do not like green eggs and ham

I do not like them, Sam I Am.”

I just don’t do rhyming spells.  I hate to even verbalize while I work, so when I am with my women’s group it almost kills me to invoke deities with these big formal recitations that I know they all think should be said for it to be a REAL ritual  (they have read the books……) so I do the best I can.

I just try hard not to slip into

“We call to our Goddess, from whom we are sent

for whom all the flowers give forth their scent

I meant what I said and I said what I meant;

an Elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent.”

Posted May 26, 2011 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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Just a little bit lost   6 comments

Stevie's Easter Eggs

Today is Easter and I noticed that after having some fun with my toddler and his Easter basket, I feel a little bit of loss.  I was raised as a Christian.  I even converted to Catholicism as an adult.  I don’t dis-believe in Christ.  On the contrary, I believe in him plenty, just not what most of his followers are teaching.  Therefore,  I don’t really belong fully in the world of Christians.  I don’t feel like I totally belong anywhere.  I know a lot of wiccans and assorted other neo-pagans are downright hostile to Christianity but I’m not.  So today, in truth, I would kind of like to be at Mass.  It doesn’t conflict with my beliefs.  I probably conflict with THEIR beliefs, but it’s not a conflict for me.  Yet, I didn’t plan ahead for it and my teenager doesn’t want to go.  My 2 year old has no darn idea what a church even is.

That makes me wonder, what kind of foundation should I be giving him?  It’s not like I’m instructing him on paganism either, not really.  I answer his questions, but he rarely has them. He’s 2.  He sees Mama do her witch stuff sometimes but is more interested in the activity than ascribing it any meaning.  I don’t talk to him about “The Goddess” because in all honesty, I don’t think I absolutely am devoted to that version of the divine any more than any other version.  I think they’re all different ways of looking at the same creator, or creative force, or whatever the heck it is.   I think they all exist and I think none of them exist, all at the same time.   And if that sounds confusing, it’s because I am confused somewhat myself.   How can I be expected to teach a child anything under those circumstances?  I am not willing to teach him just one version of spirituality anyway because I don’t think any of them have it completely right, and that’s because the divine is too dang huge for human brains to fully grasp, or so I think.

I know that I’m a witch, but being a witch is more of a vocation than a religion, because it can go along with so many religions.  I often say I’m multi-cultural and I really am.  I am at home in a church, or a pagan circle or a Buddhist temple or a native drum circle  or anyplace people will let me show up.  I am an International Relations and Religion student, so there’s no part of religious culture I don’t adore.    However, my love of the ritual circle does not drown out my longing for a beautiful old church, and my love of the Mass does not drown out my restless need to stand in the circle and call out to the spirits of the land and draw the moon into my body and send that power out of me into my magic.  So I guess I’m just going to have to get through it.  Today is an important day for one whole part of my spiritual self and I’m not doing anything to feed that part of myself on this very important day. I’m feeling it.  It just feels like a little hollow spot in me.  It is a little bit like a self-imposed exile.

Stream running high at the nature center

On a good note, I did use the very high tide of emotion and energy of these three Holy days to do a powerful house cleansing and put up protective wards that I really needed to get to and hadn’t done yet.  (I went to town, and was flying so high afterwards.  What an amazing current was out there to tap into yesterday!)  I took the family walking in the nature center.  It was the baby’s first time going out to the nature center and she rode around in the Snugli on her daddy’s chest and loved it.  It was muddy after the rain but the streams were high and fast and I could feel them pulling the dark winter out of me as I walked over the bridges and slogged through the fresh mud.    I cleaned up my yard and outdoor shrine and made offerings at it, to wake it up for the season.  I lit candles at the angel altars I have built for my children.  I put protective charms in their little beds.  I did good things.  I’m just missing one piece today and the piece appears to be Jesus.  I don’t think any of my pagan friends can understand that.  My Christian friends would just see it as evidence that I’m on the wrong track with all this “witch stuff”.  I don’t think I am.

I am just looking for a way for those two paths to meet at a crossroads…..and then I will stand in it.

Posted April 24, 2011 by Jessica in Uncategorized

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