Your Animal Spirit for Today
Crow is always on the alert for trouble—and their loud caws! warn each other of impending danger, Very little escapes Crow’s keen vision—which is why many cultures associate Crow with the keeper of knowledge. Crow has flapped his way into your life today to bring a message of watchfulness—have you built your nest high enough to really understand what’s going on around you?
|Today’s Chakra Energy Levels
|The Chakras represent the seven primary energy hubs in the body. Life force energy is constantly flowing in and out of these centers. Just as the cosmos is constantly changing, so too are the levels of energy absorbed and radiated by our Chakra centers. The graph below is a representation of the quantities of Chakra energies available today.
|Your Deck of Ancient Symbols Card for Today
The Magus is the physical embodiment of decisive action based upon knowledge and aimed squarely at specific goals. Thoroughly Yang by nature and firmly set in the material world, he none-the-less has a powerful spiritual connection as well. His knowledge, wisdom and skill are all encompassing. He is complete. His power as a creator is unmatched on our earthly plane. He is self-aware and unafraid to act. His enormous strength gives him the freedom to act as he chooses. However, responsibility comes with that freedom. Because he is not bound to the restraints of others he must choose how to act. The question that always lies before him is should he act morally, or forsake ethics for personal gain.
As a daily card, The Magus suggest you currently possess a tremendous power and freedom to move your life in any direction you choose. In short, you can make things happen. Your true challenge at the moment is to move forward without trampling the dreams of others. Fortunately your moral fiber is strong as well, and will guide you down the right path.
Demons in the Modern World
Author: Morgan St. Knight
Do you believe in demons? I don’t mean allegorical ones (“She’s fighting some demons, ” they say, as the woman checks into rehab for substance abuse) . I mean independent entities that can harm us.
Let’s forgo discussing whether Forcas, Buer, Malphas and their friends would ever take up residence in a rundown house in Vidalia, Georgia, the shed out back, or the Chevy on cinderblocks in the front yard. Yes, I’ve seen things like that on television. No, I’m not convinced they were real. Full disclosure here: I have no evidence that the scenes depicted in any of those shows weren’t real either. Just an empath’s gut instinct.
No need to invite me down the road of “Wiccans don’t have a Devil.” I fully acknowledge that I don’t believe in a grand evil entity that’s pulling out all the stops to get my soul. However, by my estimate millions of Pagans past and present believe (d) demons could harm humans. There is ample evidence the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Sumerians did. We have numerous examples of amulets and incantations these cultures devised to avert the influence of malignant entities. These demons took many forms, and not one of them was really interested in corrupting a person’s soul. Maybe the ancients understood that humans could do that all on their own, without the need of outside inspiration from a malevolent being. Demons are not commonly seen as tempters before Christianity’s interpretation of them.
There were demons of pestilence, demons responsible for killing babies, demons that could strike people blind, demons that could inflict abject terror, demons that destroyed crops, demons that created (or personified) natural disasters such as storms and earthquakes, demons whose sole interest was in killing humans in the most horrible ways imaginable, demons who drove people to insanity, and demons of general misfortune.
Then there were really big, bad demons that focused on the ambitious stuff, like destroying the boat of Ra as it journeyed through the underworld at night (Apep/Apophis) , or in destroying love and beauty in the world (Ereshkigal and company trying to destroy Inanna) .
Times change, and so did our perception of how the world works. Now we say that virus, bacteria, genetic issues, or certain choices in lifestyle cause diseases. We know loss of sight comes from accidents, untreated diabetes, macular degeneration, or cataracts. Infants die in the night from getting caught in or falling out of ill-constructed cribs, being placed on their stomachs on overly-soft bedding, or abuse such as shaken-baby syndrome. Crops fail because of blights or pests, which are treated with harsh chemicals that may cause further health issues for the environment and us. People lose their ability to cope with day-to-day life through dementia or mental illness.
Is there still a place in the modern world for demons? While we’ve come up with many explanations for certain events and personal circumstances, there are some that don’t quite fit into those molds. We may try to force them to conform in our minds because we don’t want to accept alternative explanations that make us uncomfortable, but that is no solution.
Part of our rational, modern-day brain just doesn’t like the idea of blaming certain incidents on beings we can’t (usually) see or sense in other ways. It seems too much of a cop-out. “The devil made me do it” or “I can’t get a job because someone cursed me” are scorned as excuses these days because they amount to lack of accountability. Believing in demons is seen in many circles, including some Pagan ones, as denying rational explanations for events. As I stated in a previous essay on this forum, I absolutely believe you should do a thorough reality check before assuming there’s a supernatural explanation for your troubles. If that reality check comes up with only one answer, you have to go for it.
Sometimes that answer is not the one you want to hear.
I think we have to look at why there’s resistance to accept that demons might be real. It’s not just that the term “demon” leaves a bad taste on the Pagan palate because of its associations with certain fundamentalist religious teachings which often conflate our religions with Satanism, and which turned benign “daimons” into evil “demons.” There’s more to it.
When the Age of Enlightenment took firm hold in Europe and North America in the mid-18th century it ushered in a new perspective of the world, one in which supernatural beings didn’t fit very well (apart from a general belief in God) . But demons didn’t go away for good. People wanted them, even needed them to still exist in some form. If believing in the traditional goat-legged monsters wouldn’t do, then they had to be accommodated in other ways.
It became fashionable in the first part of the 20th century to claim that demons were real but did not have an independent existence. They were not just bogeys conceived by religious leaders to frighten and control the foolish; they were aspects of our own personalities. Even in his introductory remarks to the Goetia , Aleister Crowley (1) says the spirits listed in the book are parts of our brain. He claims the names of God used to control them are really vibrational formulas to stimulate those parts of the brain, and the sigils used to summon them do the same thing through visual stimulation.
In other words, it’s all in the magician’s head. Conjuring demons is nothing more than stimulating one’s own potential in the specific areas they govern, such as developing wealth, finding a sexual partner, and overcoming enemies.
That paradigm has appeal because people have great faith that psychology can answer all the thorny questions about human behavior. It’s true that a person might approach a situation with more confidence if they believe they have some supernatural upper hand through the help of a Deity or a demon. More confidence increases the likelihood they will achieve their aim. But I believe that giving all the credit to the power of positive thinking, and denying the possibility that anything else is at work, is throwing Beelzebub out with the bathwater.
In modern Wicca and other magically-inclined traditions the closest you usually come to hearing about anything “demonic” is the phrase “negative energy”. This is problematic on a couple of levels. First, using the term “negative” as a synonym for “dangerous, harmful, or undesirable” is oversimplifying and confusing things. “Negative” does not always mean bad.
Example: the electrons flowing through the power lines that provide electricity to your house are “negative” in terms of polarity; but this “negative” energy produces some very desirable results. Your washing machine, television, computer, and kitchen appliances all operate on negative energy. Polarity, in a spiritual as well as electrical sense, is very real; you can’t operate the universe without it. Negative energy is just as important as positive energy.
Another problem with attributing unwanted events to random “negative energy” without considering that an actual intelligence is at work is that it limits perspective on a situation. It’s like saying a person hit by a sniper’s bullet just was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes, this is true on a broad level, but it takes the sniper’s deliberate actions out of the equation altogether; it implies mere circumstance put the person in the path of a bullet that was just whizzing randomly through the air. In either case the person is dead, but in one case we have a much clearer picture of why the person is dead.
We run into a morally gray area when discussing demons because traditionally they are perceived as deliberately evil or malicious. In other words, they have a choice and they harm us because they want to. Certainly that’s how many ancient cultures viewed things. This makes us uncomfortable nowadays because it seems silly. Would a non-corporeal being really hang around curdling milk and blighting crops, or making little Sally get the measles, just for fun? It seems puerile at best.
Experience taught me that paranormal entities, like humans, mostly fall into the vast, hazy field between absolutely good and absolutely evil. There are beings whose mere presence causes harmful effects, but to automatically decide that it’s a deliberately malicious activity is narrow-sighted. If a bear mauls someone we agree harm was done, but do we say it was done with malice, or because it was the nature of the bear to act that way if it felt threatened?
Some entities survive by draining energy from people in much the same way that mosquitoes, leeches and certain bats survive by drawing blood. The mosquito doesn’t rub its front legs together in lurid anticipation, cackling gleefully as it zooms down to bite someone for its nightly meal. It doesn’t regard the feelings of its temporary host at all; it’s not in a mosquito’s nature to do so.
So it is with parasitic entities. They don’t necessarily delight in weakening someone by draining them of energy, but the ultimate effect is the same regardless of the entity’s personal view. The human host grows weaker, perhaps undergoing behavioral changes such as moodiness or depression due to decreased vitality, and becoming more susceptible to illness and fatigue. In some cases the person’s internal energy may become so drained that they succumb to serious medical conditions; in rare cases they may die. These symptoms mirror some of the banes traditionally associated with demons. What is different in this interpretation is the motive (the entity’s survival as opposed to actual malice) .
Here’s another example. I’ve found some entities can cause people to become uncomfortable by their mere presence. This level of discomfort can extend from a vague sense of malaise to absolute terror depending the type of entity involved and the sensitivity of the human involved. Even the Greek God Pan was said to create this reaction in people who strayed into the remote areas where He liked to sport. This effect was known as panikon deima which means a dread belonging to, or owing its origin to, Pan. It is from this phrase that we derive the word “panic”.
No one suggests that Pan did this out of absolute malice, although there are some tellings of the tale that imply a mischievous intent. Equally, there is no sure way of determining whether a paranormal entity that affects humans this way is doing so out of spite, or whether it’s just part of the entity’s intrinsic nature. Perhaps these entities are simply operating on an energy level that doesn’t mesh well with typical human energies.
We know from science that when waves collide they can weaken or skew each other if their peaks and troughs are out of synch; it is not unreasonable to believe that two different sorts of being might have the same effect on one another if their energies conflict. It may even be an instinctive defense mechanism, operating to dissuade beings with incompatible energy from getting close to the paranormal entity.
When energy waves are in synch (peaks match peaks and troughs match troughs) . The waves intensify. This is the basis of the belief that interaction with certain entities, such as Deities, angels and spirit guides, can bring us to a higher level of awareness, peace and health. They are in harmony with us and strengthen our own spirits. This is much more accepted in the Pagan communities than the opposite side of the coin, in which other sorts of entities can weaken us.
There are steps you can take when encountering entities that have a harmful effect on your and others, and I’ll discuss them in a bit. First, a note about that one word people inevitably link to the topic of demons: possession.
Another full disclosure here: I have absolutely no personal evidence or experience one way or the other on whether demonic possessions are real. I can’t confirm them and I can’t discount them; I haven’t met anyone who claimed, or was claimed by others, to be possessed. However, I have seen people become possessed by Orisha and Loa during ceremonies of Santeria and other Afro-Carribean traditions. I have also reviewed detailed studies of the shamans known as mudang (variation, manshin ) in Korea, who channel entities more often than going on astral journeys. I must conclude, based on the objective reports of trained anthropologists, that in at least some cases the shaman is taken over by an outside entity. In both of these examples the possession benefits others by providing spiritual counsel, healing and blessings.
So I am forced to admit it might be possible for entities we would consider harmful to invade people in some circumstances. Clearly, a mechanism for subliming the human consciousness that allows another entity to take control is feasible based on the above examples. The difference mostly lies in the willingness of the person involved to allow possession, and the results of the possession.
It is admittedly difficult to argue the possibility of possession nowadays, when the behavior traditionally associated with demonically possessed people is reassigned to mental illness. It’s a tough distinction to make, and I certainly don’t want to downplay the seriousness of mental illness or dissuade anyone from seeking proper medical care for such conditions. I do, however, think we should consider the possibility that mental illness may not explain all of these cases.
There is another experience which can produce similar results: demonic obsession. In this instance a spirit is believed to affect people’s behavior by tormenting their minds rather than taking over their bodies. Again, it can be hard to differentiate this from conditions involving hallucinations and dissociative states, but I believe it is rash to conclude that all such cases must be mental illness.
I have personally experienced a situation in which an outside entity caused severe alterations in the behavior of several people, though it was short of possession/obsession. This case involved a business with multiple owners, several employees, and clients coming in and out of the business on a daily basis. I met the owners just after they took over the business.
I heard several stories from people who worked there describing bizarre happenings, including one instance in which two of the owners were there late at night. Both saw and heard the sound of a large vehicle slamming on its brakes and crashing into one of the entrances. They felt the building shudder from the impact. They saw the beams of the headlights coming under the doors. They raced to the doors and threw them open, but found nothing there. The street was deserted with no sign of any vehicle pulling away. There was no damage to the building such as you might expect from such an accident, nor any skid marks on the pavement leading to the door, which you would with the sound of squealing brakes before the impact.
The people who told me the story were credible witnesses, and certainly had no vested interest in portraying their business as haunted or demon-infested; it would have dissuaded, rather than encouraged clients from coming there.
But those stories were nothing compared to the changes I saw in the people who worked there. They began engaging in harmful, even self-destructive behaviors that were not in keeping with their normal personalities. Two of the owners developed distinct but equally severe medical conditions, both of which involved progressive physical and mental deterioration and loss of energy. This may, admittedly, have been coincidental, but two such cases in one business seemed highly unusual.
Finally the business closed because none of the owners were able to function. Having been in the building on numerous occasions over several years, I knew this was not just bad luck, especially since the business had great potential to succeed.
I could sense a presence in the building, and it was not a nice one. I was in there after business hours more than once. Every time, the sense of something overwhelmingly hateful was undeniable. I had a fair amount of experience with empathic readings of buildings as well as people at that point, and every time I was there the urge to reinforce my psychic shields was intense. Even when I did a miasma of nasty energy seemed to seep through them.
I took some steps to alleviate the oppressive atmosphere at the request of some of the owners but never went so far as a full-out banishing ceremony. That was a mistake, because whatever was in there wasn’t held at bay for long by the half-measures I took. Looking back on the experience I’m not sure anything I could have done would have worked. I’ve gained a lot more experience in the decade-and-a-half since then, and one thing I’ve learned is this: it’s not like the movies. Sometimes the bad guys win.
So what do you do if you encounter an entity you perceive to be harmful? Even if you accept that some of them may not be deliberately malicious, you shouldn’t accept interactions such as uninvited energy feeding out of a misplaced sense of “live and let live.”
The best advice I can give is to read up, and then read up more, on various methods of psychic self-defense. There are several good books that can help you. Read many of them, find the common themes, and practice them. Most of these techniques involve visualization, intent, and firm belief. Ward your home at least, and extend it to your workplace if needed.
Research traditional rituals for banishing harmful entities in case you are ever confronted with something that won’t take a polite “no” or “please leave us in peace.” Even if you follow a very specific trad I strongly recommend researching the banishing and protection rituals of many cultures, such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Chinese, Native Americans, Greeks and Romans. You may pick up useful information that you can incorporate into a rite from your own trad. Used with proper intent, focus, and above all respect, the techniques from other spiritual traditions can be quite effective.
Always have a protective amulet or talisman on hand. This is not a sign of fear or weakness. It can be a favorite piece of jewelry that you wear regularly (although I recommend against using wedding, engagement, or commitment rings for this) . Simply cleanse and consecrate it according to your trad, charging it with the purpose of keeping you safe. In lieu of jewelry you can use a protective amulet cast in metal or drawn on parchment. There are several such talismans in the Key of Solomon and other grimoires if you’re inclined, or you can design your own, incorporating symbols with meaning to you. The more confidence you have in the symbolism the more effective the talisman will be. Remember to periodically recharge the talisman, perhaps by lighting a candle with that intent and laying the talisman next to it until it burns out, or exposing it to the light of the Moon or the Sun with the same intent.
If you’ve encountered a harmful entity or energy and used the talisman for warding, you may want to cleanse and rededicate it. This can be done simply. You can bury it in the Earth overnight, stating your wish that any harmful energy be drawn into the ground and neutralized. Washing it in (unpolluted!) running water such as a stream or the ocean while stating the same intent also works. Then recharge it as you originally did.
Devise a short mantra for extreme cases when you need to invoke outside protection. This can be something like: “Mighty Mother, enfold me in your wings!” or a more traditional one, such as the Kwan Yin mantra, “Namu Kwan Shih Yin Pu’sa”, which invokes Kwan Yin’s protection from all harm. Visualize the Power you are invoking as clearly as you can. Keep the process simple. A 30-verse Gaelic binding won’t be easy to remember if you’re under intense stress.
If you feel overwhelmed don’t be afraid to admit it, at least to yourself. Separate yourself from the situation; regroup if possible, retreat if necessary. Above all assess the situation as objectively as possible. Sometimes the bad guys are real; sometimes, they’re just bad dreams. Learn to act appropriately for each circumstance to provide maximum benefit for yourself and others.
(1) Mathers, S.L. MacGregor and Crowley, Aleister; “The Goetia: the Lesser Key of Solomon the King” (revised edition) : Weiser Books, 1997, pg. 17
Who Am I? Just Setting the Record Straight!
Just the other day I had a reality check delivered to me, served up on a platter. My oldest Son lives in the area and he has had a couple of girlfriends and also he has numerous friends. So when I go to town to shop I can rest assured that I would recognize at least one or two of them. Since they were always at work, I never paid any attention to the fact that they mostly smiled a hurried Hi and hustled off to resume their jobs…with the exception of one of his ex-girlfriends who acts as though I were going to kick her butt and actually scurries away every time she sees me. It truly would be a miraculous feat because of my arthritis if I had the ability to do this-but I can’t.
So a couple of days ago, we had the pleasure of having my Son and his Significant Other and my Grandson as guests for several days. When we all went into town for shopping and to show off the baby, I noticed that I received the same reaction from his friends even when they were off duty (and we saw quite a few) . Hmmm… I smell a frog in the pond!
I didn’t say anything until we were in the truck going home and then casually commented that the townsfolk seemed awfully disturbed by my presence with the three of them. And that they were also especially startled to see me carrying and kissing my Grandchild! The resulting slight swerve of the truck and the ensuing throat-clearing and nervous giggles with the furtive glances cast quickly to each other confirmed my suspicion: my son has a BIG Froggy mouth! One with opinions that lean towards the uber-conservative right where truth gets trampled in hysteria! Worse yet, his Significant Other bought into it and was just as nervous as the population of our small town about being around me. And why you ask? Because he told them.
Oh Gosh! Dare I say it? — major crescendo and drum roll please — I’m a Witch! (Resulting Gasps, Screams and Startled looks!)
PULLEASE!!!! Get a life! So for the purpose of setting some mis-conceptions right here goes……….
AAAAAHHHHH!!!! Scream and Hide the young-uns! Yup, that’s right, folks! I’m THE Original devil worshipping, 666 branded, spell casting, frog-turning, cackling, evilest woman, of the “West’s Wand and Broom Society” in the flesh! Cover your crotches and cross your eyes! (Your words and ideas not mine!)
All 191lbs of big, beautiful, me! And yes I even have both the broom and wand to prove it Thank-you very much! But let us set some facts straight here! I am truly flattered by all the faith that you have in my terrible powers…but common sense is lacking in some areas.
Devil worshipping? Nope! I don’t even believe in your devils or your Gods…just Mother Earth and Goddess and God. No Satan or devils here; last time I saw them…they were in your books, I believe. You guys seem all too ready to point fingers and talk about them all the time. EEESSHH!! Oh and by the way…that one God of yours named Satan…He’s all your idea and one of your Gods-not mine… so please keep him over there! Don’t go creating something bad and then try blaming me for it Worse yet you keep trying try to toss him over the wall that you built for purity at me…strange things you guys think up when you are in the mood to accuse other’s of your sick ideas! BRRR! Go Figure!
I believe in the sanctity of life…all life great and small. I believe you are only as evil as you want to be and you have the free-will choice to be what you want. But then you are also responsible for those choices, too -good or bad – and the messes you create. I believe that the energy that I expend in life, whether it be for good or bad, will come back to me threefold. Just like the ripples in the water. I believe in living in the natural cycles of the year, living by the moon and seasons; growing crops, harvesting and storing them and planning for the next years…don’t you also? If you are farmers and ranchers you do!
I also believe in giving back to my Mother Earth by cleansing, healing and restoring balance to our land…which we all are starting to do. You can’t raise very good crops on polluted land with polluted water and expect to remain healthy. I don’t believe in the raping and plundering of our Mother Earth’s resources. For is it not She is who feeds us, clothes us, and provides everything that is necessary for our lives? Why would I endanger myself, my family, all species or Mother Earth just for some stupid coins of metal or pieces of paper with printed numbers on it? Where is the return on that? What is it that you promote if the things you desire are lifeless?
I believe in helping all my fellow mankind and creatures great and small, in nurturing and healing them if I can. If I have food, I’ll share, – clothes, I’ll share, – shelter, I’ll share. Wouldn’t you? I’m even willing to help teach you how to do it too. And I won’t preach at you. That is unless you want me too. -Seriously.
Power of frog turning? Let me ask you a common sense question. Now if I had the power to turn someone into a frog, don’t you think that there would be at least 2 ex-husbands and several hundred thousand more people that would now be croaking in my personal Pond Of Life? Damn! I must have missed that lesson in my spellbook! Shuckers! And if truth be told…what do I have against the frogs? But yet again, why would I condemn myself to three lifetimes as a frog for each of the people that crossed my path? Because what I send out comes back threefold. That would mean an eternity of frogdom for me…Nah! Better to just learn how to take responsibility for my temper, seek a common ground of compromise and understanding and to wish them all well. UHMM!! But thanks for the belief that you profess to have in my powers…if only I had them and it were true…I think! PSST! Don’t be so quick to bestow power on others. You set yourself up for big disappointments in life! Really messes up the other persons’ lives too.
Do I do sacrifices? Umm… nope. Unless you count the times I sacrificed for my kids when I was raising them. We do raise meat birds that are organic and butcher them humanely, just like all the other farmers around here that do the same. I just wanted to ensure that we are responsible for our own healthy food and that we do our part to ensure our chickens and turkeys are humanely treated and fed natural food, not meat by-products and antibiotics. We allow them to free-range and feed them goodies such as bread and veggie scraps besides their feed. They are also butchered as humanely as possible… nope not sacrificed to your God Satan…
We respect the lives of our birds and the gifts that they give to us in the food they provide; your Satan doesn’t. Plus we compost everything we can and do our best to recycle. Nope no human or animal sacrifices-sorry and all of our manure goes to the compost pile to be used to fertilize the soil and heal Mother Earth– it’s not flung at those who do not agree with us. But I do recall that in your books and stories, you boast of them in your past practices of worship…you once sacrificed animals and almost one human. Abraham’s son is one that comes to mind. And also the one you proclaim as one of your Gods. But too, I am not including the millions that are slaughtered in your Gods’ names either. And all because of not thinking or believing or worshipping as you do.
As for my belief in Goddess and God. I honest and truly believe that you can’t have one without the other. How would you know about light, if there were not the presence of dark? Air without the absence of air? One could not exist without the other. Same as creation….Goddess carries forth and births life, but it takes Goddess and God to create life. There is always balance. When the balance is tipped, as it has been the last 6000 years or so; then injustices are perpetuated against all of creation. And when one is elevated and the other subjugated, the imbalance creates the ugly sides of society such as we are seeing today and it is complete with the total dis-respect and pollution of Mother Earth and all living things. By our own hands. And no amount of self-righteousness will ever excuse the crimes that we have been inflicting upon each other or our Mother Earth. I don’t care what you believe in!
How about dancing naked outside… Cackling…Yup I do that when I laugh! Guilty as charged.
Tattoo of 666? Nope! And I even checked in places that have not seen sunlight in ages! Shudder! EEWW! Warning: don’t do this unless you’re ready for a real harsh reality check! Scariest thing I have ever done! Couldn’t even find a dingleberry and I was looking too!
Different holidays? Yes, but then we do have some that are on the same days too. (Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Valentines Day to name a few.)
Broom riding… ARE YOU SERIOUS? I have yet to get my 191lb butt to defy gravity contained in a pair of blue jeans and my breasts in a miracle bra, let alone to be able to fly on a Broom! And let me tell you; if I could have…don’t you think someone would have shot my sorry butt down in blue flames by now? And I guarantee that EVERYONE would have heard about it by now if that would have happened- don’t ya think? Post 9/11 and all? Hell why stop there? Don’t you think the governments would have found a way to pervert or tax it? And that includes the visions of levitation and spinning my head 360 degrees!
Now as for “casting” spells…Yup! I do! I believe in the powers of the universe…especially positive thinking. I believe that if I surround myself with positive things and thoughts and energy, I can become a better person, and help other people and all life. Everything is made up of energy and to achieve balance we must walk in balance in our lives. By “casting” a spell, it is my way of focusing my energy to achieve that purpose-that balance. Positive thought creates positive action simple as that. You guys have several self-help Gurus that tell you the same thing all the time…no diff.
Do I believe in magic and the supernatural? Well let’s ask this question again, a different way. Do you believe in miracles and Angels? I do on both and that includes the miracles and creatures such as you call angels I call them fair ones! But there is nothing super about it…it’s just natural to me, just like breathing. I think you call it faith.
Am I evil? Well, that depends on who you talk to. I try to never hurt anyone or anything. And I try to always help everyone and everything and I do so freely in love and peace. I don’t believe in war, or killing or maiming or torture. I don’t believe in raping or plundering Mother Earth. I respect you and your right to exist and believe in what you want; as long as it does not involve the taking of others lives or their subjugation because of gender or race or religion or sexuality. I accept that we are all wonderfully diverse and unique. I believe our job is to make Mother Earth and all its inhabitants better because we have been here rather than in spite of it…maybe both. I believe in healing the sick, feeding the poor and clothing them, giving them shelter and such-but I have yet to learn to walk on water.
I have good days, bad days, happy days, and sad days. And I get angry and say some pretty dumb things at times. I do colossally stupid things and sometimes manage to make tiny improvements in my life. I love my family just like everyone else, I take pride in their achievements, love to give lots of hugs and kisses and encouragement, and take lots of pictures. And I too take responsibility for my own life and all that I do. I’m learning that I don’t need to worry about revenge because I know eventually Momma Karma will help the offender pick up the tab plus interest. Ask me how I know! So if that is evil…then so be it.
I believe that all of us are born, and live, and die several times over. And that we choose the lives and the lessons we seek to learn. There is no hell other than the ones we create here in our own perverse minds or inflict upon each other. No one is better or worse. Or more entitled or less. And believe it or not-I do believe that we have the ability to create Heaven here on Mother Earth…but it is going to require a lot of work and some serious re-adjustments of our priorities and pride.
I do grieve at the narrow-minded views that I encounter in my private and public dealings. When all types of good -whether it be a person or an act – has to first be stamped and certified by the local religious authorities as pure and righteous, or it is subsequently labeled as evil, then something is definitely wrong. And I, at that point start to question whether the future of our race as human beings and a species is going to continue. Because at what point do we end all the hatred and killing of all things that are different from us just because they are different? Swimming at the shallow end of the gene pool with that mindset is difficult enough without having to deal with those that have a penchant for peeing in the pool on top of it! I do have a hard time trying to understand these viewpoints. I do, I confess that. Especially when the viewpoints are attached to and promoted by some of my own family members.
It does become a real challenge sometimes. But I’m not going to back down on this or give up. Nor change who I am or what I believe in. I am who I am! Just as you are who you are. And there is room enough for all of us! Besides I have faith enough that one day for all of us, we will learn how to get along and actually accept and work with each other-that or we will eventually perish. But absolutely no one on this Earth has the right to say that I cannot live because I do not worship like they do. Never! If you have a question, by all means ask. Don’t just assume. And do us all a favor and use your common sense on some of them. I do not raise the dead except when I’m raising hell with the rest of you when I’ve had too much to drink…by making too much noise! I can’t make anyone do anything against his or her will. Or turn someone into anything else or cast an evil eye on them to bring about harm or death Nor do I cause all bad things to happen on Mother Earth just because I live…Give me a break! You guys have been watching too much Charmed or something and need to start focusing on your own reflection. The splinter and the plank tale…remember? And how about that one about not judging?
So come on out from your closets and stop crossing yourself and covering your crotches and such! Geesh! Now you know why I’m a Solitary! So if you’ll excuse me now I have a Big Mouth Fogy’s lily pad to up-end and give my oldest child a good dunking! Redeep! Redeep! Redeep! Come on in the waters’ fine! 😉
Peace and Blessings everyone!
Pagan, what does it mean? Is Paganism a religion? What is a Neo-Pagan? While the Pagan community cannot agree 100%, there are widely accepted answers to each of these questions. I will present the widely accepted views and then my own. Please note that even the widely accepted views are not accepted by all.
Pagan is, and is not, a term easily defined. The origin of the word is Latin and was first used to describe the people who lived away from the cities and refused to embrace the new Christian religion. The original meaning was country-dweller or peasant and was not complimentary.
Over the years another definition of Pagan evolved and again, is not complimentary. This evolved definition is used mostly by followers of Abrahamic religions and is meant as a derogatory description of anyone who does not follow an Abrahamic system of belief. This definition is meant to convey someone who is immoral, has no religion or follows an ‘evil’ religious path.
Pagans are not people without religion, evil or depraved. While not all Pagan pathways share moral standards, beliefs and practices, most Pagan religions do adhere to strict codes of conduct and do have moral guidelines. Asatru has Nine Noble Virtues, Wicca has the Three Fold Law and Wiccan Rede and Druids have a Code of Honor.
In the Pagan world, the word Pagan is most often used as an umbrella term to categorize the many diverse minority religions that follow or attempt to reconstruct ancient pre-Christian religious paths or folkways, and their followers. Included under this umbrella are the religions of Wicca, Witchcraft, Asatru, Druidry, Celtic Reconstructionist, Norse Paganism, Odinism, Scottish Reconstructionist, etc. Some would also add Native American Spirituality, Shamanism, Vodun (Voodoo) and Santeria to the list.
It is important to note that while Wicca is most certainly a new religion invented in the 1950’s by Gerald Gardner, there are, woven within its framework, ancient beliefs, mythologies and fragmentary practices from many folkways, that survived until this day.
Neo-Pagan simply means New Pagan, referring to the revival of these ancient paths in the modern form, as well as the people that follow them. I am not sure we need this new term, as I do not believe any ‘old Pagans’ are still alive today. Some believe this term separates modern Pagans practicing positive systems of belief, from the old derogatory ‘Pagan’ term; but Pagan is still there and adding the ‘neo’ fools no one.
While everyone can agree that Pagan is an umbrella term covering many diverse paths, not everyone agrees that Paganism can be a path unto itself. What then of those people who do not follow a defined path such as Wicca or Asatru but still follow fragmentary ancient beliefs and practices interwoven with new? I say they too are Pagans and their religion is Paganism.
As our world evolves so too do the words that define our religious and spiritual paths. As new thought forms and beliefs emerge we need to update our thinking and shed our old ways of thought. Why not change the meaning of the word Pagan? Why not claim, as another definition, that Pagan can also mean an eclectic follower of a number of paths with no name?
People are ever changing and evolving and so too does our language. What was called a horseless carriage around 100 years ago is now called a car. Does this mean that the horseless carriage and car are two different things? Is using the new word ‘car’ less valid than using horseless carriage? Does it make the car less of a car? I think not.
In the same way, Pagan should be embraced as the definition of a religious path as well as an umbrella term. Why should those of us who follow the Pagan path allow others to define our beliefs and practices for us? Why should we be restricted to neatly defined little boxes of belief? What if I believe in and follow the Nine Noble Virtues as well as the Wiccan Rede and Three Fold law? What if Kali-Ma speaks to me as strongly as does Pan? Am I not then a “true” Pagan because I do not follow a defined path?
There is no one religious or spiritual path in which all of the practices resonate with me. There are many paths where only one or two practices or tenets ‘feel’ right for ME. I will not follow a belief system simply because it has an accepted definition and label if that system holds no meaning for me. Religion is personal. Religion should make you feel whole and content, not empty and frustrated, as I would feel following a system whose practices made no connection to who I am as a spiritual being.
With that in mind I take from many places, mostly from paths that do fall under the Pagan umbrella, but also from Eastern systems and Native American teachings. I believe in many Goddesses and Gods. I believe in Magick but do not practice rituals. My Magicks are simple and Earthy. I believe in reincarnation and the Summerlands. I fit into no formally defined Pagan belief system, so does that mean I have no ‘religion’?
I don’t think so. What that means is: I have created my own religious path using what is most meaningful to me and what helps me to grow as a spiritual being. It matters not that my path happens to have elements from dozens of other belief systems, there is no cosmic rule saying I must have a label that fits a box. So in terms of spirituality, my particular path of Paganism is a religion!
I am Pagan. That is my religious path. I choose to define it as the name of my religious path. It is a firmly held belief and infuses every aspect of my life, every day. I honor deity, have a set of beliefs similar in form to other religious paths and adhere to them. Under those terms, the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes my religious path as a religion. So I say yes, Paganism is a religion!
Note: In order to be a recognized religion in the U.S you do NOT need a Supreme Court decision. As long as your religious path falls within the definition of a religion that the courts have set- your path is a legally recognized religion!
Stop The Abuse! Spirits Have Feelings.
The title of the article is pretty strange at first sight, but it will become clear as you advance in the contents. As you already guessed, we will be talking about spirits, entities, and “magical beings”.
Many magic users, “spell casters” so to speak, learn or are taught from the beginning how to attract the aid of spirits when they perform a magical working. Asking the spirit world for help is not an unusual thing; even the followers of major religions include angels, saints, etc in their prayers. From the most ancient of times, the rites of great civilizations (Egyptians, Sumerians, Aztec etc.) included some forms of seeking aid from spirits and other worldly beings. So we can clearly see where the practice originates.
Sadly nowadays many people who work with magic, regardless of their spiritual ideologies, use this practice very incorrectly, be they Wiccans, eclectics, ritualistic Magicians, traditional witches, etc. Some of we magic users draw a faulty conclusion, which leads to further misconception, when we interpret different magical texts, grimoires and conclude that spirits often have the role to serve us. So in our rituals we include spirits to go and carry out our will, to do certain “jobs” for us, and/or to bring results to our workings.
Many people don’t really understand what they are truly doing and what they are dealing with.
First of all, we must know that no matter what type of spirit we are working with… that spirit is “alive” (in a philosophical way, of course) ; it is an intelligent entity, which is self-conscious. Even the most primitive, lesser spirits have some form of consciousness, so you are not dealing with a robot that knows only to follow your command. So what does this involve? This involves a measure of respect: as you would respect every living being, so you should respect every ethereal “living” being.
Every spirit has its own purpose and role in the world, and yes, it has its specific job, what it was created for or what it chose to do. So it has much better things to do than to carry out blindly someone’s will. If you ask it for help with kindness and respect, that is a totally different approach. You give it a choice; you appeal to an Universal law of reciprocal help, and in this way the spirit may choose to help you or ignore you. In all cases, simply asking for help is not offensive to anyone.
The problem is that many people don’t like to be ignored, so they force their wills on the spirit by various magical and psychic techniques, which is immoral and totally wrong. How would you feel if another person did that to you? How did the slaves feel in humanity’s troubled history? You wouldn’t even do that to your cat or dog… so why would you treat a spirit differently?
It doesn’t matter if it’s just a simple elemental spirit, or a very advanced entity of some sphere…as long as it is in existence, it’s totally wrong to force it to do something. And yes, just as the title says, some may have feelings similar to ours. You must realize that every self-conscious being in existence has some form, some level of emotion or instinct or feeling.
Sadly in the ranks of magicians there is a certain practice that is very widespread. Some use certain Solomonic evocation techniques to summon spirits (mostly angelic, demonic, planetary, Olympic) and force information or an action out of them. What they do is they appeal to the representation of the source of all powers and by charging themselves with its power, and of course “highlighting” the superiority of their divine essence, they force spirits to obey them. It’s true that in most cases they only force demons or demonic spirits… but in my opinion, their practices demonstrate a very low moral standard. They consider themselves directly connected to the Supreme God, source of all powers and to angels who represent an aspect of this Omnipotent source.
What I don’t understand is how could angelic beings, and the Lord of Mercy agree to this barbaric practice? These magicians don’t consider their actions as an abuse; they think it is perfectly justified and righteous. I see it as ignorance and arrogance.
Anyway, I am not telling you that it is bad to ask spirits for help. I would never do that because they are part of the magical practice itself. Many magic users are constantly taught, inspired and helped by the representative of the spheres close to them (Gods, Goddesses, lords, ladies etc) . But abusing their help, forcing them to do something, is just as bad as slavery in our modern society.
When you work with a spirit, no matter what kind it is, always treat it with respect. As you would with any other intelligent being, never force a spirit or entity to do something. In the worst case, compromise or negotiate. Remember that respect only draws respect and good will, may that be human, or other in nature.
To finish the article, let me tell you a personal experience. Once I was in an urgent need of money… and I mean real urgent. So I thought to myself, let’s use the quickest method to try and help the situation. I looked up a spirit in a grimoire. I kind of annoyed it with the request to help me solve my situation fast; refusal was not an answer I would take. The next day, I got a call from my ex-employer asking me to stop by because they forgot to give me a part of my salary for the last month when I still worked there. I was really happy that the solution came so fast and I rushed there.
I got all the money in change.
So basically I had LOTS of money, a sac of coins, but the real monetary value was actually rather small. I learned a good lesson that day… the spirit played this joke on me and really humiliated me for my thoughtless action… and you know what? I really deserved it.