I’m Right, You’re Wrong: The Fight to be Different

I’m Right, You’re Wrong: The Fight to be Different

Author:   Sarrestia 

I was thinking about writing all the examples and instances up front, and then lay out the bottom-line, but then I decided, what the heck:

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is not a damn thing you can do to be anything like the person next to you. No matter what you do, no matter how you live, no matter what you think, you will always, from before birth to after death, be different. This is not an opinion, this is not an ‘in-a-perfect-world’ statement, and this is fact, genetically to psychologically to metaphysically.

Every single person is built on two things: their genetics and their environment, not one or the other, but simultaneously.

Your genes are the product of half of two people’s genetics: your mother and father. Though you have their genes, you do not have all of them; you have a combination of genetics that they can never have. You are different! Even if you suddenly start looking ‘like’ your parents, or acting ‘like’ your parents, you are still not your parents. It is a genetic, biological impossibility.

Your experiences are the product of your environment, your genetics, and most especially, the thoughts and emotions you keep within your mind of those experiences. From the moment of birth, you begin to the act of experiencing the world around you, and within you. You are different!

Even identical twins, with the same exact genetic combinations, due to their experiences, will never, can never, be the same; they will be different. Though many studies of identical twins have shown that separated twins will display similar likes and dislikes, similar activities in their lives, but they are vastly different because of the families and environment they were raised. In addition, identical twins that were not separated, but were raised together have shown, repeatedly, that despite the same environment, they develop different personalities.

So, the very core of every single human being — in the genetics and experiences and behavior — will never be the same as another; we will always be different.

If this is so, then why do people demand that they be different? Why do children develop the intense, rebellious nature to become different from their parents, when they are and always have been? Why do people fight and kill to be different?

As to the title: I’m Right, You’re Wrong, it is this very thing of proving to another that they are different, in their personalities, their ideologies, etc that causes so many issues when it isn’t even about who is right or wrong. The point of any of this is that we are both right and we are both wrong. We are right in ourselves, to ourselves, but we are wrong to everyone else.

I would love to say that this problem is only the vice of the major religions, but alas, no. From the major religions to atheists, everyone thinks they are right and everyone else is wrong.

I will take this moment, before I continue, that this species of ours is blessed with the few individuals who have pulled themselves away from this trap to understand that it doesn’t matter what you believe in, they are happy with what they believe in and who they are; your beliefs, though nice to know, are irrelevant to their happiness. Sounds harsh, yes, but honestly it is the only way one can be happy, is to not allow everyone else’s opinions about one’s beliefs or their beliefs to be of any concern.

Unfortunately, this right vs. wrong attitude is deeply impeded in the pagan community. From the ceremonialists and traditionalists looking down at eclectics and solitaires to pagan women vs. pagan men to Wiccans vs. Witchcraft vs. New Agers vs. Fluff Bunnies… I can go on, of course. For a spirituality that is so ambiguous that the beliefs and actions of an individual is based on what feels right to him/her, and a spirituality that is far more accommodating to a person’s choice of lifestyle in any manner, it seems ridiculous that we would carry this issue with us. Of course, it may just be the result of the majority of pagans carrying this right and wrong issue from their previous religions, but I’m going to be optimistic (or pessimistic) and say it is just human nature.

By stating that I’m Right and You’re Wrong is human nature, it may be a lost cause and we, except for individuals, may never overcome this issue. However, at this point, I will be optimistic and say that the people who are formulating one of the greatest spiritual movements this world has seen in such a long time have the ability, if not the necessity, to overcome this pitfall and rise to a higher form of thinking with regards to anyone who is in the least bit different from you. Because guess what, they are, and will never see the same thing you see or feel or think or smell, and NEVER have the same spiritual experience as you.

Let the main religions continue their never-ending fight to be right and destroy, even if not physically they are still trying mentally and emotionally, those they feel are wrong. Let atheists struggle in their fight to convince people to shrug off millions of years of myth-based philosophies. Understand that you are different and will always be different and embrace that; embrace your weirdness, your difference, while at the same time acknowledging what we all share.

Which brings me to another point: despite all of our differences, we are still all members of the human species (unless there is someone that is reading this that does not currently carry human DNA within them…beg my pardon, no offense) . Every single person feels the same emotions. Whether they are expressed differently or triggered differently, a happy person in Iraq will look and act the same as a happy person in Nebraska (I know, I’ve seen happy Iraqis but I’ll have to debate the extent of a happy Nebraskan) .

We are different and we are the same, we are all right and we are all wrong. We are all individuals within one species on one planet, with DNA that is at its most basic the same with every single living creature on this planet.

Pagans, we are a fractious bunch from the very start because we choose to follow what is right within our hearts and souls, not because of what someone else says is right. So why do I constantly see people writing and commenting on their opinions of another person’s spiritual choice? Does their decision to join a coven, take the best from all the rest, or follow the creeds of people with less than credible sources change your beliefs, affect your beliefs, make you doubt your own? If so, then your heart and soul are telling you that the path you are currently on isn’t the one for you.

The Answers You Seek

The Answers You Seek

Author:   Lady Wolfwind 

My daughter tells me that the answers that I seek are in the Bible. Oh, if she only knew. She doesn’t know me very well. I laugh to myself. I don’t seek any answers. I am at total peace within myself. I know that the answers will be revealed to me when I am ready. The more you chase after them, the least likely you are to find them at all.

True, at one point in my life I ran here and there. I was never satisfied. I was always reading and questioning everything. Surely, the great knowledge that I seek must be in a book somewhere. I was impatient and surrounded by chaotic thoughts. Caught up in the mundane world where money mattered above all else.

I don’t know when it changed. A few years ago. I’m not sure why. Some inner voice was whispering, nagging me. I wouldn’t ever listen. If I listened I knew I would have to take a different road, one no one else understood. I would stand out, I would not fit in. Long ago these were important things to me.

One day something changed. A new thought appeared. I had read and studied most of the world’s major religions. None of them appealed to me. What did appeal to me? Something I had heard long ago. A distant memory of quiet words spoken. “Follow your heart, for it will never deceive you. You are one of the few who has been chosen to walk with me.”

It seems like forever that I ignored that voice. That beautiful musical voice that one day would show me a path so magical that it seems an injustice that more people cannot hear. I now understand all that She had to tell me. To be quiet and listen. That all is not silent. The Universe speaks volumes to your soul. That I was born to be different; to march to a different beat and it is okay. That I have a purpose here on Earth to do Her work. To stop asking the questions and chasing answers.

The answers that I seek are on the wind. They are in the raindrops and the stars shining at night. Departed ancestors who deserve to be honored whisper them to me. They are heard in my children’s laughter and felt in my cat’s soft breath. They are all around me. I had to be still to hear. They’ve always been there.

When I first set foot on my path I was overwhelmed and could not learn enough. I read everything I could find, I researched terms and tried to find groups to join. I wanted to buy everything I thought I needed. I still wasn’t paying attention. Soon I learned to meditate, to open and heal my chakras, yoga. I learned and I practiced how to be still. Then I began to hear.

I am now a solitary and a very happy one at that. I don’t need all those fancy tools. Our ancestors and fellow wise women did not buy their tools. They didn’t gather together in secrecy. Most were loners who loved nature and knew how to use it to make the lives of everyone better. There is no chaos within me. I do not seek answers. The Bible, which my daughter speaks of, holds no interest to me. I feel that she is the one who has been blinded by false leaders and it saddens me.

Witches of old were wise women and men who knew the value of the silence. Great secrets are not written in books. They are not shared with just anybody. The witches of yesteryear listened and learned and healed. It was a mistake to forsake them, to bury them in history, to make them creatures to be feared. The true witches know the secrets and know how to keep them and who to share them with. The true witches are full of love for the world and all of the creatures in it. Witches do not need manmade laws to control their actions. We have a strong moral code within us that makes it impossible to hurt what we view as divine.

My daughter made a last ditch effort to convert me. It was a mistake. It made me think deeper. It made me realize how peaceful I was compared to others. She does not see the happiness in me. I sat and thought and really understood who I had become since I took the Goddess’s hand and began to walk with her. I am happy, I am wise and I am powerful. I am beautiful and I see beauty in everything around me.

I’m not so sure that her Bible will teach her any of this. Her words were filled with anger and disdain. Words that a child should never say to their mother. I had to step back and think about all that she had said. Were her words true? If so, I had made some terrible errors in my life. I talked to others who know me best, who have been with me for years. No, they didn’t understand what she was talking about or where this anger came from. It had been an attack that was unprovoked.

I listened and chose to write back. Why does it matter so much which path that I follow? Is this what she learns in her church? I chose not to send the letter. It is my belief to never do anything preceded by strong emotions. This is my child; I will not use words to hurt her. My answer is silence.

I say a blessing for her and her family. I shield my two younger children and myself. If anything, her mistake was to ingrain in the two younger ones the realization that Christianity may not be all that it is said to be. They asked me how her god could create such anger and pain. Didn’t her Bible teach her to love and honor her ancestors? Deep questions that I need to take the time to answer.

I suppose things will be a little different this full moon. We will need to send positive energy out to my daughter and her family. We will need to talk about forgiveness. We will need to discuss anger and pain and how it can be a bad thing as well as a good thing if dealt with properly. We will need to address how to deal with it properly and learn not to become consumed by it. I’ll need to teach them what happens when these emotions take control of your mind, how it will destroy you and those around you. How you cannot hear the Goddess speak to you if your mind is full of hate and not tolerance for others and their beliefs.

This morning I smile to myself. No, the answers I seek are not in the Bible. From what I can tell the answers my daughter seeks are not in the Bible either. All of this has confirmed that I am treading the right path, gently guiding the others who follow me. The Goddess has shown me how difficult life can become, even between a mother and daughter. I’m sure in time this will all heal. I know that I will forgive her, just not yet. I am human and first I must deal with the hurt.

It will be interesting to see what lesson comes from this situation and who was meant to learn it. I suppose there will be something for each of us. The question is, who will listen?

Pagan Lite: Being A Non-Magical Witch in A Magical World

Pagan Lite: Being A Non-Magical Witch in A Magical World

Author:   Charmed Boy 

This article is one I had hoped to put off writing for a while. It is a continuation of sorts to the first article I wrote entitled When Walking The Path…Wear Shoes.I am what I call a “non-magical” Witch. I don’t cast spells or perform elaborate rituals. That may be fine for most of my Pagan brothers and sisters but it’s not really my thing.

I first realized magic and spells weren’t my thing when I attended the last Samhain celebration hosted by my friend Fran. As many who have read my first article know, Fran was the High Priestess of a group here in Arkansas called Net-per-netjer which means “beautiful house of the Gods.” Fran was an amazing woman. She meant business when she donned the crown of Isis and acted as High Priestess and conducted rituals. She also cared about the people who attended the celebrations.

I remember one occasion; it was after ritual. Fran had made a delicious feast of ham and colcannon. My father and I had both attended but my father preferred to observe from outside of the circle. He’s not Pagan but he is very supportive of my choice of faith. Fran made sure everyone ate. I was sitting in the front room watching a movie when I heard Fran’s voice from the kitchen.

“Chuck! Where is your father?”

I shrugged. “I think he’s in the car.”

My father is the type of person who doesn’t like to get into other people’s way when they are doing things like ritual. Fran frowned.

“Tell your father to come in and eat something.”

I went out and got him. Fran made sure he ate before we left. That’s just the kind of person Fran was. Always concerned with the welfare of others. After that, Fran and I didn’t see each other. Not because there was an animosity between us but because we both had things going on in our lives. We e-mailed and spoke on the phone quite a lot.

One day last year I sent an e-mail to Fran just to say hi and see how she was. I got a reply from her husband informing me that Fran had passed away. I miss Fran very much. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her and the good times we shared. Attending those rituals made me realize that, that sort of thing wasn’t what I wanted.

I took some time for meditation and reflection to decide if being a Witch and Pagan was really for me. I walked in the woods near my house and listened to the birds and the wind as it blew through the trees. During these walks I posed questions to myself. Do I really need to practice magic and perform rituals to consider myself a Witch and Pagan? Do I really need all the trappings that go along with it, such as candles and incense and athames? Where am I meant to be? I asked the Goddess and Fran for guidance. I asked them to speak to me and give me a sign if this is the path I am meant to be on.

One day I went out for one of my walks when WHAM!! The answer hit me like a ton of bricks: You don’t need to practice magic or perform rituals to honor the Goddess and or God.

I have spoken to other Pagans and Wiccans who have told me that if you don’t practice magic and do rituals you ‘can’t really call yourself a Witch and Pagan’. I believe differently. The definition of “Witch” as I understand it means “wise one” and “knowledge seeker” and that Pagan means “country dweller” I believe we are all Witches and Pagans, regardless if we cast spells and perform rituals… or choose not to.

I have come to realize things about my faith and myself. I am both a Witch and Pagan and am very proud of that fact. I wear my Pentacle with pride. Whenever a Pagan holiday or Full Moon comes around, I pray, make an offering of thanks to the Goddess… and that is pretty much it. No muss, no fuss. For many other Pagans and Wiccans, the lighting of candles and incense, the chanting and casting of a circle adds to the enjoyment of ritual, and that is awesome. I believe everyone should be able to do his or her own thing, whatever that may be. Goddess knows, I don’t have the right to judge someone by what they do or don’t do.

Occasionally I’ll read an article on Witchvox.com about performing ritual and working magic. Want to know what is magical to me? Standing outside on a cool night when the moon is full in the night sky and glows like a big orange night light. Talking to my best friend on the phone and hearing the sound of her laugh. Seeing the sparkle in my godson’s eyes when he is excited about something. Stepping outside in the wintertime and smelling the sharp, fresh, cold scent of the air and seeing the freshly falling snow on the ground. Seeing the leaves in the Fall change color from green to red and orange and yellow. Smelling the scent of burning leaves and wood. Eating handfuls of candy corn. Sipping hot apple cider on a cold October day while going on a hayride with my dad. Feeling the power and ancientness of All Hallow’s Eve. These are my rituals. This is my magic. This is the way I honor the Goddess.

Do I believe those who do cast spells and perform rituals are wrong? Of course not. Fran did, and seeing the joy and power it brought into her life was an amazing thing to witness. When I am asked what my choice of religion is and I tell them “I am a Witch”, the child within me claps his hands and squeals with glee. I laugh whenever someone asks me if I fly around on a broom. I smile and say “No but I wish I could. It would make getting from one place to another a lot more exciting!”

In all seriousness, I am very proud to call myself a Witch. Walking the path I have been walking for the past 12 years has made me the person I am today. I am a little wiser and a lot more compassionate and forgiving. I am humbled and honored daily by the compassion and endless love the Goddess has shown me. We are all her children, regardless of how we choose to honor her. I cherish the Pagan and Wiccan friends I have made, especially Fran. She will live on in my heart and in my memory forever.

In closing, to all my Witchy brothers and sister out there I say this to you: Be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t let others tell you your way of worshipping the Goddess and God is wrong. Wear your Pentacle with pride! These are indeed magical times!

Blessed Be!

Can You Think Like A Witch?

Can You Think Like A Witch?

Author:   T.L.   

There has always been a strong connection between Witches and Fairies known to all students who study Fairy lore. Several Pagan traditions have come to choose the term Fairy (or Faerie or Faery or Feri) as a result of Fairy mythology and scholarly research regarding Fairies in the past. In the late 1990’s, the year before her death, my 90-year-old paternal aunt, Nina Sutter, told me that our ancestors who lived in Mecosta County, Michigan, were Fairies. She also told me that “those people all stuck together” and that they were “like the Indians.” Because of what she told me and other family memorabilia I have, I believe it is possible that Wicca is a survival religion associated with Fairies. At the time my aunt spoke to me, I do not think she knew what a Fairy might be—just that this was something she was told and something that she sensed was important. I knew nothing about Wicca at that time, and I did not know what a Fairy was either. Several years went by before I figured it out what she was talking about.

My paternal great-grandmother, Alta Isadore Gould (born in 1851) published a book of story-length Civil War poems in 1894. The Veteran’s Bride And Other Poems was very popular for its day, going through five editions (and six printings) in four years. Gould integrates Wiccan symbolism in various ways within her published stories that are best understood within the context of their underlying themes, that include the myths of the Wheel of the Year, the myth of the Dying God, the Missing Cauldron of Cerridwen, and Hestia of the Hearth. When I realized that my great-grandmother’s book was about Wicca, I finally was able to figure out what it meant to have ancestors who were Fairies.

Gould’s metaphors are enhanced by hidden Wiccan symbols within each of her nine engravings. My aunt showed me one of those symbols—an “athame” hidden as a spire at the top of an arch in one of the engravings—except that she called it a “knife.” I do not think she knew the purpose of the “knife, ” just as she did not know the significance of “Fairy.” The knife was just something she had been shown and something she sensed was important. My aunt showed me the knife, just like her mother showed her the knife, just like her mother showed her the knife. This transfer of knowledge from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my aunt, to me, shows that the knife was consciously positioned as a spire in Gould’s engravings and its presence is not just a matter of interpretation.

It is the culmination of Gould’s writing, her engravings, and other memorabilia I have regarding her life that makes me believe all of what my aunt said was true. My aunt was an honest woman, a Methodist, who would have had no motive for aligning the family with Paganism. The fact that she embraced these sparse memories in her old age, and wanted to share what little she knew with me before she died, shows she harbored warm feelings regarding this facet of our family’s history, and speaks positively of Wicca.

Obviously, I do not know what it means to have ancestors who say they were Fairies. More importantly, I do not know what being Fairies meant to them. It is possible that Alta Gould’s own ancestors, just like founders of Pagan traditions today, chose the term Fairy to describe themselves and created their own Witch-religion as a sort of secret society that encompassed all aspects of their lives. Theoretically, if there were multiple pockets of people similar to Gould’s group scattered throughout America, Canada, and Europe, perhaps something like this is the Witch-religion that Gerald Gardner ultimately was exposed to.

One good thing about social media is that participants do not have to yield to some higher authority in order to have their stories told. Currently, experts in Wicca claim there is no hard evidence that Wicca existed before Gerald Gardner–but it is hard to visualize what the hard evidence they seek might be. Although I do not have a stone tablet of Wiccan runes spelling out its history, or an ancient, crumbling Wiccan charter retrieved from a locked vault, the limited evidence that I do have is very real. It involves interpretation of texts, symbols, photos, and memorabilia, and is the closest and best thing to hard evidence of a Witch-religion prior to Gardner that, I believe, exists to date. One might critically say that my interpretation of these texts, symbols, objects, and memorabilia are just one of many. But the truth is, not all interpretations are equal. Some interpretations are better than others—and my interpretations are good, solid, and apparent. Interpreting texts, objects, and family histories has long been a tried, true, and accepted way of learning about the past and of doing research.

Even the work Ronald Hutton engages in involves interpretation. There is not (and never will be) a long buried stone tablet affirming that Wiccan imagery comes from the Romantic poets. Even though he will never find “hard” evidence to support his thesis, his research nevertheless is interesting. I know that I am not Ronald Hutton—far from it. But, on the other hand, Ronald Hutton’s aunt did not tell him that his ancestors were Fairies, and his great-grandmother did not write a book with an interwoven Wiccan subtext.

The biggest problem with my research is that first someone has to actually read it. I have written a book (Remembering A Faery Tradition: A Case Of Wicca In Nineteenth-Century America) . I am not a professional academic, but I did the best that I could to write about my discoveries and place them within an interesting context. I am sure my book has many faults, but my main message is very tangible. Also, I have made a web site that discusses much of my research and includes a chapter from my book. It is not a professional web site, but it serves a function. I have items and photos and letters that someone else, beside myself, would have to look at. Finally, and most importantly, someone else besides myself would have to read my great-grandmother’s book, front to back, perhaps several times, with a critical eye. If you understand how poetry is written and how metaphor is used, and if you are Wiccan, and if you are able to think like a Witch (surviving within a Christian culture) , you should be able to understand her poetry.

Social media allows me to put all of this “out there” whether anyone ever looks at it or not in current time. Perhaps someday new information will come out that will cause some other researcher to want to look at my research, and then my research might either provide a lead or confirm another finding. Perhaps there are other people, like myself, whose ancestors described themselves as Fairies, who will recognize some of the things that I talk about in my research, and then go public with their information also. Even though it seems that there is not even a small audience interested in the history of Wicca in America—for myself it has been exhilarating, thought-provoking, and a whole lot of fun.

Daily Feng Shui Tip for Dec. 28th is ‘National Card Playing Day’

It’s ‘ National Card Playing Day’ and for some that might mean bellying up to the poker table, but in my house it means activating the ‘Ten Of Diamonds Success Cure.’ Remove a ten of diamonds from a new deck of playing cards and place it on a dish. Place a piece of silver next to it. This silver platter is about to bring success your way. With a small sharp instrument, scratch your name and birth date into a red candle. Place the candle atop the card and burn it while visualizing receiving all the fortune, luck and success your life can hold. When the candle has burned out, place the card, the silver and any of the wax remnants in a red pouch and carry it with you in order to keep the promise and prosperity going.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com