Finding Serendipity

Finding Serendipity

Author:   Mirage 

When I was first drawn to Paganism and Wicca, I had some high expectations. I thought that I could summon dragons and fairies and they would appear whenever I wanted. I expected sparks to fly out of the end of my wand and every love spell I cast would bring the man of my dreams right to my door. As we all know, those events never came to be. One thing I didn’t expect, or even consider for that matter, was the relationship I would develop with the Divine. The ironic thing is, the one expectation I didn’t have became the most profound part of my spiritual journey.

I was brought up hardcore Catholic. I only knew of ONE God and His fury if you did something that He disapproved. Not a very fulfilling spiritual experience if you ask me… I was dragged to mass on a weekly basis and I also had to suffer through religion classes as well. I was forced to receive Holy Communion and become a Confirmed Catholic. This was a very angering experience for me- it never felt quite right and it left me feeling empty. I am by no means bashing the Catholic religion; I am just sharing my experience with it.

I was spiritually lost and confused and I had nobody to turn to with my questions and doubts. For a while, I did not believe in anything at all and considered myself Agnostic. I questioned the existence of the Divine and wondered why I should waste my time praying and worshipping something that never responded.

On top of that, I was going through a rough time at school and at home- I didn’t fit in and everybody knew it. The worst part of the whole thing was that people always had to express their feelings of disapproval toward me and that just made things even more difficult and awkward.

When I hit rock bottom and pretty much didn’t care if I lived another day, the Egyptian Goddess Isis called to me. I can’t recall the exact moment that it happened, but I was strangely drawn to Her. I researched Her online and at libraries and also bought everything I could that related to Her (jewelry, statues, books, etc.)

At first I thought the fascination was just something to distract me from all of my emotional issues, but now that I look back on the situation, I think She saved me from myself and my situation. She gave me a new focus and a reason to live.

Unfortunately, I had to hide my beliefs because I was still living with my parents and they considered anything other than what they believed to be “devil worship”. I still continued learning and worshiping, trying to avoid their “blasphemy radar”- I know they knew what I was doing, but they had no proof since I would do most of it after they went to sleep.

I hate to say it, but even after Isis had called to me, I was still skeptical about the existence of the Divine, so I decided to conduct a little “test”. I made several requests to Isis and if they came to be, I told myself that I would never doubt the existence of the Divine again.

Sure enough, my requests were met- not always in ways that I expected, but Isis definitely got Her point across. In the midst of all this, I ended up leaving my parents house-for two reasons to be exact. First of all, I couldn’t stand them continually bashing my spiritual beliefs and trying to impose their beliefs on me again. They never made an effort to learn about my beliefs or ask me why I didn’t want to be a part of their faith any more, and I found that disrespectful. They just assumed I was trying to be rebellious and if they kept threatening me with the fires of hell I would come back to their church and their beliefs. Second, they disapproved the greatest gift that Isis had given to me- my husband (at the time we had just been engaged) .

Once I was out of my parent’s house, I was able to worship and learn freely. No more hiding books and statues… Isis was my fortress. With Her I felt like nothing could harm me- She would let me stumble to learn my lessons, but She would never let me fail completely. I continued my studies pertaining to Wicca and Egyptian Paganism, but I felt something was missing…

Isis was wonderful and She was everything I could possibly want in a Deity, but Wicca emphasized both a Mother and Father God and there were also several Egyptian Gods I read about in my studies as well. As you can well imagine, every time I thought about the idea of a male Deity, I would cringe because of my experiences (or lack thereof) with the Christian God who so happens to be male. I suppose my past had caused me to develop a negative view of the Male Divine. The thought would cross my mind every now and then, but I would brush it aside because it would bring back those uncomfortable feelings I had as a Catholic.

Several years passed and I met a man who was a coven leader. I was a solitary practitioner and still am, but I am always interested in the viewpoints of others. His coven was Ecclectic, so they dealt with various Pantheons and Deities. I refused to budge from the Egyptian Pantheon when it came to worship and working magick, but I was willing to listen and learn about other Pantheons and Deities. I was having some personal issues at the time, and I needed a way to effectively let go of issues in my life that were holding me back.

The coven leader and I held a small private ritual in which we asked the Egyptian God Set for help to clear away my issues. I was both skeptical and uncomfortable for a few reasons. First of all, in Egyptian mythology, Set murdered the husband of Isis so he could be ruler of Egypt. Basically people have viewed him as being evil. I was afraid that by dealing with Set, this would irritate Isis and I would lose everything I had with Her. Second, my issue with the Male Divine came to mind as well.

I decided to let things take their course and go from there.

Months passed, and things gradually got better for me. I moved to a better apartment, got a promotion at work, and improved my relationship with my husband. I also strengthened my relationship with Isis and began a relationship with Set. I began to look past the gender of a Deity and focused on their aspects and how to develop a relationship with them.

I have several personality characteristics in common with both Isis and Set and I think this is why I am so close to both of them. I know it is an odd combination of Deities to work with (for those of you who follow the Egyptian Pantheon, I’m sure you can see why) , but they have both shown me that faith doesn’t have to be a blind and empty ordeal- the Divine is out there and if you know how to connect with it in a way that is personally moving to you, you will feel it and experience it!

I guess you can say that Set allowed me to let go of my negative preconceptions of the Male Divine and also helped me balance my spiritual life with guidance and protection from both a God and Goddess.

What I’m trying to say here is not to take religion or spirituality at face value. You can get caught up in all the glitz and glamour of magic and such, but our path has so much more to offer us! Expect the unexpected and view it as a gift from the Divine. I hope my story has inspired you to take a look at your spiritual life and count your blessings as well 🙂

Brightest Blessings,

Mirage

BEING CALLED TO A PARTICULAR DEITY

 

I recall someone talking about a feeling of being called to a given deity, and

how to know this was for real, and how to go about making it Signed and

Official(tm) and all that . . . I thought I’d give out with few (yeah, right)

words as to my own experiences this way.

I’m pretty much a believer in the notion that a person is best served by

following their natural inclinations on some ways.  I found my own Craft name

this way — I just sort of waited until I found the “right” name.  I waited

until I got a handle on what I was like at that time (it may change in the

future) and at that point, saw the name as the proper noun that described what I

was, the word for my inner nature.

It’s not a name in any but the most basic sense — a description of what I *am*.

It’s no more a “chosen” name that an apple “chooses” to be called an apple.

It’s simply the name we have for the thing.

Finding a deity figure is similar, and the one that fits you is often different

from time to time.  Don’t look for one that you like and say, “I want to

dedicate myself to that one.”  Look inside yourself and see what’s there — and

don’t lie or hide anything.  Honesty is needed here.  Know yourself, and then

see if you can find a deity matchup for what you see.  This is what I mean by

seeing what your own natural inclinations are and then going with them.

Oftentimes, the deity will just sort of fall into place with no effort, like a

dewdrop rolling off a leaf.  It just finds the proper time and bango — it

happens.  Very zen, actually.  This is similar — if you relax and just know

yourself, the deity will fall into place with no effort. Well, enough effort to

read books and research so that you’ll be able to know him or her when you see

them.  But research isn’t effort — it’s fun!

My own deities are a bit odd — the moirae from the Mycenean/Greek pantheon are

good, as is the Minoan god Kouros.  (Never let it be said that your deity has to

be the same gender!)

Anyway, the only advice I can give you is to know yourself and then when you see

your deity you’ll recognize him or her as the right one. Choosing one that isn’t

a good fit is a bad idea

HOW TO DESIGN RITUALS AND SPELLS

The Lesser Banishing Pentagram Can Be Used To Cleanse A Working Area When
Preparing, Or To Close A Spell Or Ritual Down. Be sure that all energies are
removed from the area. The LBR can also be written in before the opening and at
the closing. The LBR should definitely be incorporated in the following
instances:

There has been an argument or an extremely emotional outburst in the same room
you are working in within the last 24 hours.

There are guests attending that you have never met before.

One of your guests occasionally follows the left hand path (they could be
dragging something along with them).

The group contains possible inflammatory personalities.

Whenever you sense negative energies or the presence of hostility.

All Rituals Should Invoke A Deity. If other forces are invoked as well, always
invoke the deity first (this does not apply to calling the quarters). Elemental
energies should normally be invoked last (they are most likely the lowest form you will ever use). If calling elemental forces, always call on the Kings of the
Elementals before the elementals themselves.

Don’t Overkill In A Ritual/Spell. Figure out the ritual/spells purpose and build
slowly, incorporating all necessary items. Recheck your work. Add only a few
asides if necessary. Do not include overly long passages, poems, etc. No one
likes to stand around for forty-five minutes listening to a droning recitation.

Make Sure the Ritual Officers Are Not The Only Ones Doing The Work. At the very
least, every one should be joining in responses (such as so mote it be’ or ‘hail
and farewell’). Group participation can also be called upon at the calling of a
quarter. The group minds works together better if everyone is included at some
point.

Never Put Anything In A Ritual/Spell That You Do Not Understand. For example, if
you have never worked with elementals and don’t know how to address them or what
they are to do, don’t throw them in because it makes the ritual/spell look
elaborate. If invocations or other passages are in foreign tongue, don’t use
them because they sound cool. First, you must know exactly what you are saying.
Second, you must know how to say it. Often passages are important for their
tonal quality as well as their meaning.

Outline A Ritual/Spell Before You Write It, whether it is short or complex. You
do not want to miss any steps.

Make Sure You Know What Sort Of Energies and Step Elements Your Ritual/Spell
Needs For The Purpose You Have In Mind. You wouldn’t be dealing with ghosts at
Beltane. Keep the elements, steps, and goal in mind when writing rituals/spells.
You should have several source books from which to work. The best rituals/spells
are those you write yourself, or those the group mind has written for your
Tradition. However, in the past, groups and covens have dissolved out of sheer
boredom. Don’t let this happen to your group. Keep it interesting and keep it
Fun!

Major Rituals And Most Minor Works Should Have A High Point Or Climax Of Some
Sort. Ritual is dramatic vehicle and the intent of the participants is
strengthened by the excitement. The climax of the ritual should coincide with
something goal related to the group, the deity, or the season. If your ritual is
casting a spell, the climax of the ritual is the body of the spell, the rest of
the ritual should revolve around it. At Yule, the climax is the Goddess giving
birth to the new Son/Sun. Everything in ritual should revolve around a
particular theme.

Make Sure That The Words And Gestures Of The Ritual Suit Each Other. For
example, you wouldn’t cast a spell for Universal Love with a sword, or display
fruits or harvest props at a Yule ritual. Choose the correct incense, candle
colors, etc. These are as important as the invocation, which should be
especially designed for the ritual/spell.

Be Able To Recite Your Altar Devotion, Circle Casting, And Quarter Calls In Your
Sleep. Even if you mess up the rest of the ritual/spell or stumble somewhere
else, YOU SHOULD NEVER MAKE A MISTAKE ON THESE.

Try Not To Throw Rituals/Spells Together If You Can Help It. Good planning leads
to a great ritual. However, be prepared for missing people, upsets of various
kinds, missing notes, forgotten lines, etc. Humans are not perfect and errors
will occur. Do not act like it is the end of the world if a glitch nuzzles its
way into the ritual. A good high priest or high priestess can overcome all
difficulties without emotion.

Choose Your Quarter People And Other Players Wisely. Don’t always let the
experienced people do it. Make sure everyone in the group has several chances to
fill these positions. It is the only way they can learn. When you are teaching
someone else, or an entire group, learn when to step back and allow them to
perform, even if it is your favorite thing to do. When Overseeing A
Ritual/Spell, Learn When To Let Your Student Sink Or Swim. Sometimes the only
way you can tell if they are learning is to let them make mistakes. Likewise,
learn when to step in without being a know it all. When Overseeing A
Ritual/Spell, Learn When To Let Your Student Sink Or Swim. When Overseeing A
Ritual/Spell, Learn When To Let Your Student Sink Or Swim.

If You Are Working With A Mixed Group (Yes, Boys and Girls) Try To Keep The
Ritual/Spell In Balance As Much As Possible. However it is okay to design a
ritual/spell where only the three faces of the Goddess, or the three faces of
the God, are the focal point. This will keep your rituals/spells interesting and
refreshing. Just don’t do it all the time.

Do Not Throw Your Degree Around In Rituals. In home rituals (seat of the coven)
do not delineate with unusual garb between degrees and do not relegate them to
special quarters.

When Attending Someone Elses Rituals/Spells Do Not Tell The Host How Bad Their
Ritual/Spell Was. Neither should you give it a rave review, then pick apart the
finer points. This is very bad breeding. They went to a great deal of trouble to
have you as a guest. Don’t consider yourself the most important person there,
because you are not. If you think they did a good job, say so. If you think you
could have done better, thats your business, but do not share this opinion on
your host. If you do, you’ve just put yourself beneath anything they could have
done wrong. If you are attending one of your own students rituals, likewise say
nothing that evening. Later, when the rush is over, you can go over the ritual,
step by step, and work out any bugs.

From 1996 Lwellyn Magical Almanac, by MaraKay Rogers and Silver Ravenwolf, page
200-203

Explorer Phase of Witchcraft: The Do’s and Don’ts…

Explorer Phase Do’s and Don’ts…

DO… Continue to read, study and record notes in your journal or Book. Why did you choose this athame over that wand? Why do you prefer sandalwood to jasmine? Should you hide your altar when Granny comes to visit?

DO… Begin to think about which Way appeals to you…Celtic? Egyptian? Druid? Can’t decide? Maybe you are the Eclectic type?

DO… Understand that you will be challenged as you begin to speak and interact with other Pagans. It’s our hobby. And it makes you think about what you say you believe in. It will tell you a lot about your commitment to the Path that you have chosen for yourself.

DO… Keep a sense of humor. It puts things into perspective. You will be laughing at yourself for a lifetime as you look back on your early days. We all do. We were just learning when we began and we weren’t always very good in our first attempts. (I’m laughing right now just thinking about the first time I cast a circle by myself!) But we did learn and you will, too. And since we all are continuing to learn each day, you will never run out of things to laugh about!

DO… “Talk little and listen much”. Lurk around the chat rooms. Peek in on a cybercircle. Check out your local area for open circles or workshops. Keep your eyes and ears open…opportunities for learning are everywhere.

DO… Continue to ask SPECIFIC questions. It is easier now that you have some real information under your belt, isn’t it? Instead of a broad-based “I dunno anything about this!”, you can ask “Well, what about THIS?” At last those answers are beginning to make some sense!

DO… begin thinking about Deities and ritual structure. Who of the Old Ones speaks to you? What sort of relationship would you have with the Deity of your choice-or the One who has chosen YOU?! What are the symbols associated with these Deities? Learn Their stories.

 


DON’T… Get ahead of yourself. All worthwhile lessons take time to become integrated into your spirit. The mind is usually the last to know! That is because your subconscious is learning through dreams and visions and symbols while your conscious mind is still struggling with the words. Continue to spend time alone to allow all your new feelings and thoughts to become clear. Take a walk and enjoy your life!DON’T… Put all your spiritual eggs into one basket. Even though you may have a favorite author, continue to read other viewpoints. Even though you may respect a Witch or Pagan, continue to listen to other voices. Read about the latest “conspiracy theory”. It may be ridiculous, but it does train the mind to be on the look out for alternatives. (However do know that if you are abducted by aliens, they didn’t hear about you from us!)

DON’T… Tell all that you know and don’t pretend to know about something that you don’t. Complete honesty may be difficult with other people, but it is essential to be honest with yourself. Lies waste energy.

DON’T… get frustrated because you STILL haven’t found out how to contact a coven. That will come later…if it is still what you want to do.

witchvox.com

Seeing is Believing… Or Is It?

Seeing is Believing… Or Is It?

Author: Mirage

We have all heard the age-old phrase “Seeing is believing” or ” I will only believe it when I see it.” For some situations in life, I have to agree — when dealing with the material world around us. I find it especially true when dealing with people. You can only be burned so many times and then you just end up losing your faith in human nature. I’m sure that I am not the only one here who has felt that way at one time or another- and for good reasons as well.

It saddens me, however, when people use this phase when referring to the existence of the Divine (God, Goddess, any divine entity) . I have heard so many Atheists, Agnostics, and even people who claim to have faith, make comments about the divine that basically translate as, ” I will believe it when I see it.” I have also heard people crack jokes about how silly it is for an adult to have an “imaginary friend” that they continually talk to but never get a response in return.

I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs/opinions but I really think that we should all take a look at the other side of the fence before making any rash decisions. So, despite all of the multi-faceted views on religion and/or spirituality, I have a proposal to make. I think that if people gave the divine a chance, no matter how skeptical or bent on logic they claim to be, they would discover that seeing isn’t believing, but believing is seeing. However, this “sight” is more of an emotional awareness that allows us to “see” and experience the divine. First I think we should explore the problem before we discuss a solution…

People have asked me why I believe what I believe. Why do I believe in the Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses? Simply because I have ‘seen them’ by emotionally experiencing them or by feeling them? No, they did not manifest out of thin air and demand my undivided attention. Nor did they shout my name from the sky and underworld to prove to me that they really do exist.

I do not doubt that this could really occur, in one sense or another, but I have not experienced it for myself, therefore it is not the reason I have faith. So many people seem to have this expectation when it comes to deities. What seems more ridiculous to you- only believing in something if it makes itself physically apparent or having faith in something you haven’t physically seen but have emotionally experienced?

I think that knowing and experiencing the divine requires more of an effort on our part. If I was a divine entity, I wouldn’t just pop out at random times to offer people bits of wisdom and enlightenment. I would make them work for it! I’m pretty sure that all of the Gods and Goddesses, no matter what pantheon or time period they are from, would expect the same.

What concerns me is when people are new to Paganism, or any religion/spirituality for that matter, and expect to hit it off right away with every God or Goddess they choose to call upon. Some people are lucky, and a certain deity may favor them, so they get instant “results”. The deity tends to the individual and encourages him/her to form a relationship by allowing him/her to “see” the divine presence. Other times, the deity will choose to ignore the individual altogether or make the person work for results (most likely a fulfilling relationship with said deity) – the latter probably being more common.

This is why I think people have little or no faith. They just don’t want to put forth an effort to get to know a deity that they want to relate to. I have found that quite a few Pagans/ Wiccans at one point or another (myself included) tend to EXPECT Gods and Goddesses to grant desires with little effort on their part.

Yes, we can “promise” a deities that we will pay them homage in a certain manner or offer them incense, oils, foods, etc. so our wish will be granted, but to me that seems superficial and empty (again, I have done it myself, so I am by no means pointing my finger at others.) I think that we can almost relate divine relationships to relationships that we have with other people- especially significant others.

Sure, we can shower them with gifts and grant them “favors”, but there is so much more to a relationship besides that. We should learn about their personality (likes, dislikes, quirks, etc.) and how to work with them instead of against them. We should do this when relating to the divine as well and maybe we would get better results, thus strengthening our faith as we go.

I think that we have issues describing our spiritual experiences as well, so sometimes we put it on the back burner and brush it off as a coincidence or fate. My theory is that we are so used to describing material items, we are programmed to think that if we cannot describe the way something looks, sounds, smells, feels, etc. then it is illusive or does not exist at all.

For example, if I was asked to describe a rose, I would say that it is red, smells sweet, has sharp thorns, and so on. Needless to say, not too many people would describe the flower much differently.

However, if I was asked to describe the Goddess Isis, that might be a bit more difficult.

Since I have never physically seen Her, I couldn’t accurately describe Her physical attributes (hair color, skin color, clothing, eye color, etc.) unless I was basing it off of an artist’s depiction of Her. On the other hand, if I described my spiritual “sight” of Her, I would say that She is a being of light that brings me a very warm and peaceful feeling, almost as if She was my own mother.

Skeptical people might raise a brow to this description, but again, it all boils down to having faith, putting forth effort, and opening our minds to things we may not think to be possible.

So, if there is that one special deity in your life that you are not to sure about because he/she seems a tad bit illusive or you don’t know how to approach them, I say go for it! It won’t be as easy as looking at a person across the room from you and acknowledging him/her, but it will be well worth it in the end.

I suggest researching the deities that you are drawn to before you form a relationship with them. What are their attributes? What do they like/dislike? Do they have any aspects that you would like to relate to as well?

The research is the easy part. Now open your heart and your mind to them and allow their presence in your rituals or daily life…I’m sure that when the time is right, you will gain sight of them through your emotions and intuition.

Solitaires Are Pagan Too!

Solitaires Are Pagan Too!

Author: Crick

Guess what, folks? Solitaires are pagans too!

Over the years I have personally visited many a different gathering, have been a participant in many divergent conversations and have been a member of numerous chat groups. And there seems to a divisive undercurrent in certain parts of the pagan community that solitaires are less pagan than anyone else. Good grief, do we really need this kind of elitist nonsense?

Neo paganism as it is today has to vie for acceptance in the general community at large because of misguided stereotypes. Because of the modern mind-set where everything has to fall under instant gratification or risk losing ones attention, there is a serious lack of will and discipline when it comes to learning the ages old principles of the Craft.

Add to that the proliferation of Christian concepts into paganism due to the influx of former members of that particular religion; and at the end of the day, neo paganism has more then its share of internal problems. Do we really want to ostracize folks simply because they want to pursue their spiritual path as individuals without a membership in a coven or similar gathering?

Does this attitude really make a particular gathering and/or person more pagan, then others? I personally have spent half of my pagan related journey involved with a family clan and covens and half as a solitaire. Does this make me only half as good a witch as I could be?

There seems to be one group in particular that has a problem with solitaires, which is something that I don’t understand at all. Please understand that this is not about singling out and pummeling any particular group, just a pragmatic view at issues which affect us all as pagans.
As such, the Wicca seems to be the one group that solitaires consistently cite as having divisive issues with. How the Wicca set up and run their gathering is no ones business but their own, but there are a few questions in general that begs an answer.

The Wicca has a well-known tenet that “all Wicca are witches but not all witches are Wicca”. It has been explained to me by various Wicca that one is not a true witch unless they have been initiated as a Wicca. For without such initiation one cannot be validated through lineage. This particular mindset would certainly leave out solitaires for such folks are usually self-initiated.
And any witch who came before 1954 and/or since who is not a Wicca would also be excluded under such narrow tenets.

Yet, unless I am missing the mark, paganism in general and witchcraft in particular did not begin in 1954 CE. And so such views leave the taint of elitism in the air.

So lets look at this viewpoint from that of a solitaire.

First of all, one could question what in the world does lineage have to do with the Craft?
Regardless of who from the mid 1950’s till now is in ones learning tree, it is the individual who is responsible for ones own spiritual growth and the way that one engages in acts of energy and other aspects of the Craft. If I may use an analogy, one can pay an instructor to teach them to be a black belt in karate; however the belt is only as good as the person that is wearing it at the time.

I realize that folks like to have a family tree or “lineage” as is the case here, to present to their peers, for bragging rights. But for all intents and purposes, it has little if any practical value in the Craft. When it comes to working with energy, even covens are made up of individuals who come together to weave their energy into a tapestry made up of their individual wills. So why solitaires should be disparaged for doing what is natural to them is a mystery unto itself.

Perhaps such thoughts present themselves within Wicca because in part, Wicca is fashioned off of the ideals of the Masonic Order. And those folks place a heavy emphasis on lineage. And yet another point to this concept that is confusing is that Cunningham was a self declared solitaire even though he was associated with the Wicca movement. Does the Wicca think less of an author who played a huge part in bringing them to the public eye even though he saw himself as a solitaire?

When Cunningham wrote and published his book Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, was there any attempt by the Wicca to block such a hugely popular book? And were the proceeds from this book turned away because they were predicated upon unacceptable concepts as endorsed by the Wicca?

One cannot have it both ways. A group cannot accept the vehicle that brings them their greatest source of recognition and then denounce the folks who follow the precepts that such a vehicle was created from. That is commonly referred to as hypocrisy.

And this brings me to my next thought.

If such a well-known advocate of Wicca is given the nod to write a book for solitaires based upon Wicca tenets, even if it was a tacit nod. And then there is a ground surge of interest in Wicca because of said author, couldn’t one assume that there will be folks who will want to identify with Wicca without becoming a formal member of a Wicca coven?

Should such an interest and desire be used as a platform to snub folks in order for those doing the snubbing to feel more important about themselves? Is that what paganism is about?

Another tenet held forth by the Wicca is acceptance of others beliefs and the idea of diversity. Where do solitaires fit into these grand ideals or are such ideals, simply superficial window dressing for something else all together?

If it was okay to lure such folks into the fold when a profit was being made, should they be shunted aside now that they no longer serve such a purpose?

Paganism in general is considered a minority belief system because of the very successful propaganda put forth by the three main organized religions. Do we as a perceived religious/spiritual minority really want to turn away solitaires who are just as devoted to their spiritual journeys as are any other kind of pagan?

At the end of the day, there is no pagan group or gathering that is loftier then any other. For every gathering is the sum of its members. And even if that gathering happens to number only one member, they still count.

It would be a real act of maturity and growth if the pagan community as a whole would spend less energy on the “my pop is bigger then your pop mentality” and concentrate instead on the issues that “really” matter in a magickal and nature based belief system.

I’m sure that Mother Earth would appreciate a bit more attention.

Neo paganism in general seems to be wrapped up in convincing others of our ilk, of a perceived self-importance and level of ability, which in all reality so few have actually taken the time to cultivate. The rest of the time is taken up in trying to convince society in general which consists of the conquerors that we are a valid belief system, though paganism has been just that, for eons.

What causes such insecurities one may ask? And what causes one pagan associated group to feel that it is necessary to diminish those such as the solitaires, in order to elevate themselves to a dubious standing?

In my personal life I have served for a number of years as a HP of a very active witchcraft coven and yet as a student of shamanism, I practice as a solitaire. Does that make my glass half full or half empty? Or does it really matter?

At the end of the day, all of us, whether we practice as a solitaire or not, still have to answer to our chosen Deity in regards to our spiritual growth as individuals. And so in essence we are all solitaires at heart. Let’s put to rest the hypocrisy and antipathy over solitaires for they are our brothers and sisters walking a common ground.

Besides, elitism is nothing more then a façade that is devoid of any real substance.

And so in closing, yes, solitaires can be witches too!

Stumbling Blocks to Following Your Own Path

Stumbling Blocks to Following Your Own Path

Author: Alfred Willowhawk, MMsc, RMT, CTM, Shaman

Introduction:

In my last article I spoke on how to choose and began the discussion on following one’s chosen path. As we defined this earlier a spiritual path is one where an individual is taking a route whether physically or metaphysically that pertains to the non-physical being of a person. The most important part of such a path is that the individual grows, learns, and expands and comes to reconciliation with their understanding of the metaphysical realms and their understanding of Deity (s) .

Stumbling Blocks to Spiritual Growth

As one researches, and gets in tune with their path they may find some stumbling blocks to their growth. Dictionary.com defines a stumbling block as: “an obstacle or hindrance to progress, belief, or understanding”. In other words, something that stops the movement on a particular path. These blocks are usually temporary unless an individual chooses to make them permanent.

These stumbling blocks may be in the form of lack of understanding, fear, abandonment, (by friends and family) , rejection, (personal, or societal) , pressure to be normal, or even unfortunately, pressure from people in the Business of Paganism, to keep people to themselves. Take this example:

Research

An individual feels a connection with Kali. A cursory search of the literature shows Kali as a terrible aspect of a goddess. In fact some say that she is actually a demon that eats people alive. Interestingly enough, in the definitive work, The Magic of Kali, translated by Michael Magee, it states that this interpretation of Kali comes from the suppression of a group called the Thuggies, who were such a problem for the British during the empire days. In fact, Kali or Mahaprakrti, is “ the destroyer of anxiety, giving boons, seated on a corpse, and gives all desires.”

Similarly, the Morrigan, of Irish repute, is sometimes considered a “Battle field Goddess” when instead she is actually a Goddess of prosperity and peace after war, and according to some other traditions, while she may indeed release the two ravens that are depicted with her to her followers, she morns and guides the dead of BOTH sides to the Summerlands.

As you can see, this could become a stumbling block to an individual who has neither the time nor the inclination to do proper research.

Fear, Abandonment, and rejection

Fear, abandonment, rejection and pressure to be normal are related to our culture and society. In the first article in this series (Choosing and Following Your Own Path) I stated that we are social creatures that desire acceptance. As the nature of a personal spiritual path is not necessarily the same as those around us, these pressures can be intense. It is only by being truly grounded and committed to our own path that one can stand up to these pressures. In my time as a Spiritual Coach one thing is constant. In the beginning parents, friends, relatives, and spouses can be frightened by, (what they perceive) , as a rejection of their values and ideals. Sometimes these loved ones exhibit psychological projection.

As cited in The Language of Psychology, (a psychology dictionary) : Psychological projection (or projection bias) can be defined as unconsciously assuming that others have the same or similar thoughts, beliefs, values, or positions on any given subject as oneself.

According to the theories of Sigmund Freud, it is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one “projects” one’s own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings—basically parts of oneself—onto someone else (usually another person, but psychological projection onto animals and inanimate objects also occurs) .

In this particular example, a loved one projects their own fears, abandonment issues, and rejection onto the individual who has chosen another belief or spiritual path than what they perceive is acceptable. In most of my clients, over time, these same loved ones come to realize that the person in question becomes more peaceful, happy, and balanced as they settle into their own spiritual path.

The Business of Spiritual Growth

As for those who are “in the business”, this is unfortunately what happens to spirituality, when it is replaced with business. In my personal opinion, jealousy, prosperity, (monetary) , and mean spiritedness has no place in ANY business. As a facilitator of spiritual paths, I have no investment, or agenda, that I am following, and neither does ANY spiritual coach, facilitator, reader, shaman, or other worker in the field, who is truly following a Spiritual Path.

According to the Ethics Research Center, in 2005, 75% of those polled said they saw NO unethical behaviors in their workplaces. It is incumbent upon us as individuals to understand that ethical behavior is generally demonstrated in the workplace. Unethical behavior, when demonstrated is more easily spoken. Individuals who have been mis-treated by business people are more likely to share their stories than those who are treated well. Any competent businessperson will tell you that their employees are trained to be pleasant to customers. This is true in the business of Spiritual Growth as well.

First, investigate a potential spiritual guide with individuals who have actually worked with the individual, who can honestly evaluate if this person is worth perusing as a potential coach. Remember that not everyone is happy with the messages they receive from a spiritual worker. Your best choice is to speak to as many people as possible who have worked with that individual. One source of this type of information is testimonials from these actual clients.
Secondly, be cautious of individuals who are susceptible to gossip, or rumors, as these individuals tend to exacerbate and exaggerate issues that may or may not be present. After all, most individuals who facilitate spiritual paths that are not in the mainstream religions/spirituality don’t fit the traditional mold of a leader.

Thirdly, listen to your own guides and intuition. These are your BEST guides for YOUR path.

Each individual that truly facilitates or teaches within this discipline knows that bringing together individuals of diverse backgrounds, and paths to bring about the individual’s highest spiritual enlightenment doesn’t waste time bashing other workers. Many of my associates, follow Wiccan, Christian, Hindu, and First Peoples, (Native American) , paths and we all work together, as there is room for all. After all, since a person’s path is INDIVIDUAL, a particular facilitator cannot help everyone.

Financial Remuneration

Everyone has financial needs in this society. In tribal societies, the shaman, or spiritual worker is cared for by the community he or she serves. However, the individual in question is not doing this work as a JOB. Most of us, have been called to do this work, and are happy and honored to be able to facilitate other people’s paths. This isn’t to say, that a spiritual coach, teacher, or facilitator, should never accept support from their clients. It is all about intent. If the remuneration is paramount, then the work is secondary. I for one, and all those I work with, while we accept the funds that are offered, we don’t turn our backs on individuals who are guided to us, who do not have the financial wherewithal to “support” our work.

As one progresses in their particular path, they find various combinations of these and other stumbling blocks. Remember, it is YOUR choice what you follow.

When Your Pet is More Than A Pet – Familiars and Avatars

When Your Pet is More Than A Pet – Familiars and Avatars

Author: Bronwen Forbes

As a prologue to this, you need to know that Herne has been my patron God since I was nine years old. You don’t need to know, but you’ll probably figure out by reading this (if you haven’t already) that sometimes I’m a little slow to notice the obvious.

A few months after adopting my red and white beagle mix Herman, I was trying to sleep in one Saturday morning when I began to idly wonder, “There are so many Goddesses with dogs as part of their symbolism. I wonder what Gods are associated with dogs, too?” And then it hit me like a two-by-four to the forehead. Herne, Lord of the Wild Hunt, is very much associated with dogs, especially red and white hunting dogs, than you very much. (I warned you I’m a little slow sometimes) .

Needless to say, sleep was no longer an option. I sat up and looked at Herman (who had spent the night, as he usually did, asnooze at my side) who was already staring at me with a definite, “took you long enough to figure it out” expression.

And just like that, I not only had a familiar, I had an avatar.

I’m defining “avatar” here not as a recent hit movie or a small picture that represents you on various blogs or discussion boards, but as the earthly representative of a deity. And for the love of me, I hadn’t a clue what to do with mine.

Four months later, we adopted a German Shepherd mix named Katie – and lo and behold, she was also what my husband likes to call a “God-touched” dog. But unlike Herman who was also my familiar (notice the past tense; I still miss him) , Katie let us know pretty quickly that she had no interest whatsoever in being my husband’s familiar, but would happily attend her Goddess Nehelennia’s tasks of safe travel, healing and commerce. Period.

Since acquiring Herman and Katie in 2001, I’ve alao gotten the clue what to do, not just for my special dogs, but for anyone else who may wake up one morning and see deity shining through the eyes of their pet.

First and foremost, and I know this sounds obvious, you have to keep treating your pet like a, well, pet. Your animal companion is your spiritual and or magickal support (familiar) or a little bit of deity (avatar) but he still needs proper food and water, adequate shelter, regular veterinary checkups, exercise, training, vaccinations, etc. After all, it’s not like the Gods can or will take care of your pet for you.

But once the regular, responsible pet ownership duties are taken care of with your familiar or avatar, there are still some things you need to think about to keep your relationship with your animal companion – and your deity – as smooth and fulfilling as possible.

1. Remember that, despite her spiritual role in your life, your pet is still going to act like an animal. Herman used to drive me crazy with this. He was a daily reminder of my relationship with my patron deity, helped me work through some serious ritual issues, was a whiz at helping new students ground and center simply by sitting in their laps during ritual – and he was also a master escape artist. He could climb or dig under any chain link fence, and did so on a pretty regular basis.

Katie, a born healer, is also a big dog and an unrepentant counter-surfer. I can’t begin to count how many times I packed my lunch, left the kitchen to get dressed for work, and came back to find my lunch bag and food containers in Katie’s crate and my ex-lunch in her stomach. She may be God-touched, but she’s still a dog!

2. Give your familiar and/or avatar full autonomy regarding ritual attendance. This includes personal workings, small group rituals, festivals, and rites of passage. Shortly after my Saturday morning revelation about Herman, my husband and I took him with us to visit my parents for the weekend. While we were there, I helped my parents bury the ashes of our old family cat in the side yard garden – an understandably emotional activity. Herman was in the back yard, separated from me by a picket fence. He could see me through the fence, but couldn’t get to me. As my father dug a hole for the ashes, Herman went nuts, for want of a better word. Instead of pursuing squirrels (his usual pastime in my parents’ backyard) , he was throwing himself against the fence and barking frantically, trying to get to me. I should have stepped over the fence, opened the gate, and allowed Herman to join the small ritual. After all, he only wanted to do his job.

There have also been instance and rituals where Herman or Katie did *not* want to attend a particular ritual, and we quickly learned to “listen” to their opinions – rather like knowing that it doesn’t feel right to take a certain tarot deck with you when you go do readings at a community event. We learned this lesson the hard way when we took Katie to a ritual she clearly didn’t want to go to and she had a seizure.

3. Give your pet enough down time. Just as you can’t be in ritual 24/7, it’s unrealistic to expect your pet to be “on, ” i.e. actively acting as a divine representative or helping you with your spiritual work all the time. Don’t bug him to help you if he clearly doesn’t feel like it – the fact that he’s asleep or ignoring you are clear signs that he “doesn’t feel like it.”

If you find yourself needing extra protein, water or sleep after a working or ritual, offer some to your familiar or avatar as well.

If you have a pet that also enhances your spiritual practice or connection with your deity, you have been given a gift beyond price. Very few animals, at least in my experience, can do this, and if you get one or even two in a lifetime, you have truly been blessed. It’s also not something you can actively look for; it’s like love (actually it *is* love) – the more you try to find that special animal, the less likely you are to succeed.

Be patient. If and when you’re ready, the right animal will come.

On Fluffy Bunnies…

On Fluffy Bunnies…

Author: Sarenth
As our religion becomes more prominent in the mainstream media, I find myself feeling more and more getting a feeling of competition within the Pagan community. Given that my exposure to the community of Paganism in general is relatively little, consisting of the Pagan community in my backyard, what is in books and on the Internet from sites like Witchvox.com and Rendingtheveil.com, I don’t entirely know if this is rippling through the Pagan community at large or not.

However, as I see it, there are well written but somewhat short-tempered, self-righteous or outright assertive posts and essays being written about ‘what makes a Pagan a Pagan’ and what a Pagan ‘should and should not be’. Some of these are to be found on Witchvox and Rending the Veil, some are to be found on personal websites and yet more in the pages of books from authors of all stripes.

It would seem that some in the community, whether they are in a prominent position such as that of author, editor or any other seemingly ‘big’ role in our community, are wishing to define exactly down-to-the-letter what makes our religion, our religion.

Mind you, I am in the Georgian Tradition of Wicca as an Initiate, but I still work with Gods and Goddesses that I did as a Solitary, so I understand that tradition and values of a ‘lineage-based’ coven structure can be as important to a person as a ‘free-form experiential based’ spirituality. I know that traditions and codes of practice can make or break a person’s spirituality, both from my time as a Catholic and as a Georgian. I also know from my experience as a Solitaire, that sometimes the complete defining of rules and regulations as to ‘how the world works’ and ‘what Paganism is’ is not only spiritual caging, its spiritually debilitating.

Yet, this view of spoon-fed spirituality and/or religion seems to be what some in the community want, a Codes of Behavior and a ‘This is What We Do as Pagan’ manual. I’ve been there, done that with the Papal, Canonical and Scriptural law of Catholic Christianity. Maybe this is my own bias, but after many of us in the community come from a spirituality and religion of strictly defined relationships with God, Goddess, Spirits of all types, our fellow humans and Nature Itself, why would you build up another faith that embraces the same kind of rules that inspired you to move away from, or not accept?

As an example, recently codes of dress have been examined as to what a Witch should and should not wear. Sometimes the opinions therein were based upon what would and would not offend others, which, to a point I can concede is important that you be mindful of others. However, why would we go to a religion that celebrates life, traditions and paths in its myriad of forms, and then shut up those who celebrate their particular form, tradition or path, self-made or no?

The many ‘anti-fluffy bunny’ websites out there that made extensive use of examples of ‘what not to do’ or ‘what makes a fluffy bunny’ are another example of what I see as community self-hate. Rather than ask what these people believe, and try to see their point of view so even if their information is historically or practically (i.e. rooted in this physical, mundane reality) our community, it seems, has taken to name-calling and elitism.

Yes, I know that some viewpoints cannot be argued with, changed or sometimes understood because they are believed in so fervently. I also know that some individuals should not be tolerated, such as those that seek to harm children or those who exist in our religion for the sole purpose of fattening their wallet. Despite this, many ‘fluffy bunnies’ are picked on, ostracized and in general, swept under the rug or pointedly hushed down by those who do not agree with their views. While I am not asking those who do not agree with what is called ‘White Lighter’ or ‘Fluffy bunny’ views to spontaneously accept or begin dialogue with them, I would ask you this: think upon what impact you have on them.

Let’s do a few what-ifs down this line of thinking, with three differing scenarios with three possible results afterward.

Scenario 1: The person is new to the Craft and Paganism and has a near-to-no understanding of either. They are looking for information on these subjects and things related to them. They read a book or a series of them and look at it/them as canon as to ‘how the Pagan world works’ (whether by cosmology or magick) and so, embrace the book and its author as their religious and magickal foundations.

If you approach this person in a manner that is demeaning or hurtful (i.e. judgment calls, jabs at their inexperience or lack of understanding) then you could do a number of things to them. First and foremost, you could drive them from ever fully embracing Paganism and learning the subjects you would prefer they learn. Second, if you don’t outright drive them off, you could make it so they will have a precedent of what a person ‘who knows what they are talking about’ acts like; would you care for someone to treat you like that and represent your religion as you just did?

Third, if they do not leave Paganism and do/do not adopt your ‘views’ as you gave them to them in your demeaning/hurtful stances, they may yet go further into what might be the very practice you feel is incorrect. Worse, they may get into other forms of the same practice that are much more dangerous or forms that might reflect poorly on the Pagan community.

Scenario 2: The person is one who has been in the Craft a year or so with a little experience of Paganism under their belt and is starting to foment relationships with Goddesses, Gods, Spirits and the like. They tell you that (as an extreme example that I have seen cited elsewhere) the Celtic Triple Goddess, The Morrigan, has tapped them for a special partnership and it involves something like making war on anger with hugs and practicing Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

While this might make you laugh, think of how your dismissal of their spirituality and personal relationship with Deity affects them. Not only this, but who are we, as people to dictate to others how God/dess relates and shows itself to other people? While we do have precedents of how most of our Deities act, react and go through the cycles of the year (i.e. the general nature, demeanor, etc. of The Morrigan) , who are we to tell them that that particular Deity ‘just doesn’t do that’ or ‘never acts like that’. I would feel for so many peoples’ criticisms of absolutist faith and/or spirituality (this I feel can occur in any faith) in the Pagan community that such thoughts, while they may be true for our realm of experience, may not be true for theirs and so, should not be dismissed out of hand.

Approaching a person with such an attitude can have little effect on them, especially if their faith in their God/dess, path, etc. is strong. However, for those who have just began or are strengthening their relationship with their Deity, I find that this is a particularly vulnerable time for new Pagans or Pagans developing in their faith; one which needs care and gentleness to be heeded when people of the same faith speak with them or work to ‘correct’ (i.e. historical precedent of The Morrigan in this case vs. the person’s personal experience) their perceptions of the Deity in question. An approach that is too strong in terms of confrontation, or too harsh in terms of the ‘correction’ can produce long-lasting harmful effects.

First, among these effects could be a sense of not knowing what Deity is like for them. If they have approached Deity, I would believe most have had a certain list of things that is associated with the ‘presence of’ or interactions with of Deity. When people are then are told such things are wrong and given a differing list, one that feels alien or perhaps even exclusionary to their feelings on Deity Itself, they can be turned off to working with Deity entirely and either focusing solely on magick or other Pagan pursuits, or simply dropping Paganism altogether.

Second, I have seen people whom go through a bout of the possibility listed above, only to come out of it always questioning if they have really perceived the ‘presence’ of Deity, or second-guess conversations and interactions with Deity. This is not to say, ‘get rid of your critical thinking when Deity tells you to do something’ or something similar, it merely means that the entire belief in the Deity, or It’s ‘presence’, faith in It’s existence as the Pagan has experienced it, etc., suffers. Faith that is blossoming can suffer a little or a great deal, and I find this is dependant on the person, their convictions and perhaps how much support they have from their community. Though I have seen a Solitaire friend of mine endure the two examples I listed above, I do not find in my speaking with Pagans (like those I find/listen to in bookstores or in chatrooms or message boards) that this is usually the case. People need a support network, and it serves no good to take the Goddesses and Gods they work with in the way they work with them, out from under their feet via their budding faith.

Third, if they do weather the first two outcomes, it could be entirely possible that they emulate the behavior of snap decisions, judgment calls and judging others’ relationship with Deity by their own experiences or by history’s standards. To reverse the situation: would you want a person who has worked with The Morrigan for twenty years tell you that you are working with/worshipping/etc. Her all wrong, and that the She now and always has wanted Her priestesses/priests to make war on anger with Perfect Love and Perfect Trust?

Let’s say in this hypothetical that the history books and records of The Morrigan’s followers are in line with what this person claims, and that you feel completely different, that Morrigan is (as She is described to us in actual Celtic lore) is a War Goddess, but not just of War, but also Death and Fertility?

Scenario 3: The person is part of a group/coven/order/etc. that espouses what could be considered to be ‘fluffy bunny’ beliefs, doctrines, relationships with Deity, etc. They are devoted to these beliefs, and so on, and fervently believe them, but they make claims that are, for instance, historically inaccurate about The Morrigan and Her followers, priests and priestesses when the Celts as a culture still thrived. They follow these teachings with a deep attachment, despite whatever historical or practical errors there may be in them.

As I have asked before, who are we to dictate how people relate to Deity, or practice said Deity’s teachings in a modern context? Are we to begin the practice of ‘proper way to honor’ such-and-such a God/dess? Are we to eliminate Unverified Personal Gnosis (a sudden spiritual awakening that can be brought about by ritual, possession by God/dess or other methods, with results, such as messages from Deity, internal enlightenments, ah-ha moments, etc.) from our religion?

What if you were told something by your God/dess that It wished to change a practice, ritual or your relationship to It, immediately, contra to history’s record? Would you tell you God/dess no, that’s not how we’ve done things, so you aren’t this or that God/dess? If someone made the move to ‘correct’ you on your beliefs, your coven’s teachings, etc., how would you feel?

From the perspective of the person whose group vision you’d be trying to ‘correct’…

First: they could react to your news in either evaluating their religious, spiritual, magickal, etc. conclusions or otherwise absorb the information you present, or put up resistance of some magnitude. At its worst, this would probably escalate to a screaming contest, whether or not you participate. Putting in the way the Chris Rock as the character Rufus does from Dogma, (directed by Kevin Smith) : “I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can’t generate. Life becomes stagnant.“ It may not, however, be your responsibility to be a catalyst for this growth; it may need to come from within the group.

Second, whether or not they absorb your ideas is moot if they shut themselves off to the ideas of others, replacing their ideas and beliefs with just as much zeal as they previously had, maybe more. So, rather than enlighten, inform or otherwise aid your fellow would-be Pagan, you may just trigger them to shard off from the community at large even further. Teaching them an open mind, much more than the ‘correctness’ of their faith, I feel, is the way to go. You cannot absorb new information if your mind is closed only to what you are told or believe. How are we to expect our children or fellow Pagans to be open to others if we expect them to adhere to hard-and-fast rules about how they ‘are to be like’ or what is ‘officially Pagan.’

Third, they could take everything you try to instill in them the way that you desire, and either assimilate or otherwise consider the application of the knowledge, teachings, what-have-you that you wish to bestow upon them. They could also take everything you’ve said wrong way, become incredibly embarrassed and/or angry, or worse yet, hostile and retaliate.

This is how Witch Wars start, by absolutist thinking.

Absolutism, by its nature, allows no other viewpoints other than the one in control, and so long as two sides disagree and cannot peaceable communicate, there is conflict. This is part of my issue with the Pagan community in general; we bill ourselves so often in public life as being the compassionate, tolerant ones that don’t mind other peoples’ faiths, or beliefs and then we turn on our own people who ‘might make us look bad’. For what?

Why do we even persecute the ‘fluffy bunnies’ real or no? Is it for us to hold up a sign saying ‘We aren’t those flakes! Look at us, we’re Pagans and have as much right to be part of the mainstream! We don’t have weird, counter-culture beliefs or relationships with God/dess, Spirits or any of that crazy stuff!’?

Is it so somehow we feel we get a smidgen of superiority for pointing out that ‘this is only a subgroup’ to people who question us about the attitudes and beliefs we actually normally hold, which are then attributed to ‘fluffy bunnies because we don’t want to explain them, they are controversial or are contra to the mainstream religions?

Look at the Great Rite or Heiros Gamos, for instance; how many of us have explained to others, that though this started off, for instance in Wicca, as a fertility rite between a High Priestess and High Priest of a coven only symbolically? It was performed for real at one point, we’ve only recently stopped doing it, and it’s not some fringe thing.

Pagan rituals are abundantly about fertility, sex and the two colluding between the High Priestess and High Priest and the land for a bountiful harvest. Yet I have seen this practice of the physical copulation referred to by authors and people of the Pagan community as something ‘the fringe’ which, generally, will include fluffy bunnies does, and it The Great Rite is now largely symbolic

In short, it is time to stop using the ‘fluffy bunnies’, ‘goths’ ‘Renaissance Festival freaks’ and all the other straw man labels as scapegoats for the parts of our religion that we don’t want to talk about, that do not jive with the mainstream faiths, or to one-up each other. It is time to stop competing and it is more than time to start coming together and working as a whole for a better future.

If we do not open up our ears and our minds to other people, how can we expect others, i.e. Congress, to do the same for us when we want a bill passed? If we are waging war on people of our faith, regardless of how we express it, then you are doing no one any good, save those who wish for our faith to disappear.

I am not saying capitulate to those whose view you do not believe, but I firmly believe that clinging to dogma, or beliefs for the sake of doing so is not wisdom nor is it courage. It is stubbornness and self-destruction that drive us to doing this, and it is time we stopped arguing with each other, and started conversing.

As much as you may not like it, I feel it is high time we listened to these voices of our community, who may, if we listen, teach us more than our books and personal knowledge can.

Tears of a Witch

Tears of a Witch

Author: Crick

As I wander through the beloved woods, ever so grounded and connected to Spirit, I begin to think of the fear of witchcraft. Such a fear was started by a religious belief system seeking power and control over others. And through the last two centuries this baseless fear has resonated like a war drum through generations of folks. Folks who dared to walk a path that began with the dawn of humankind have lost their homes, their belongings and in many a case, their very lives.

And so I pause beside a woodland stream, as I wonder why.

Are we not all seekers of the light? Do we not all seek the answers to the Great Mysteries within our own beliefs? Are not all beliefs systems, whether religious and/or spiritual simply a possibility to achieving one’s afterlife goals?

For no religion and/or spiritual path has a definitive answer to what our chosen Deity has in mind as far as the Grand scheme of things. As I watch the rivulets of water wash over this streambed strewn with multi-colored pebbles, I think of how generations of folks have come and gone, much like how each rivulet passes down stream. And yet such misguided beliefs have remained in place like the pebbles cascaded across the bed of this secluded stream. Unmoved though a new generation of water sweeps over them.

And then I begin to think that if we do not have the answers, why one would want to be locked into a strict dogma that filters out any new and fresh ideas about spiritual ascension. Seeking answers to such a grand mystery is an on going process. Choosing to be stagnant in one’s spiritual progression leads me to think that perhaps such a belief system it’s not about spiritual growth to begin with.

And so why the hate mongering and the overwhelming fear?

If one is secure within their beliefs, shouldn’t there be a tendency to at least listen to others even if one chooses not to accept what one hears from others. This is known as communication. But when there is no such open communication, it leads me to wonder from where the insecurities that have spanned so many decades are originating.

For as a witch, I offer no harm to anyone unless it is in self-defense. I seek not to convince others of my beliefs; for such beliefs are a mark of my individuality and are constantly undergoing changes as new revelations becomes available.

Does such institutional fear come from the knowledge that a witch connects with Mother Earth as a way of life? I would ask why those who carry such fear in their hearts do not themselves utilize such a rich resource of knowledge. For such knowledge is there for all.

Witches are chastised and have even been put to death for connecting with the spirit realm, and I wonder why. Do we not all have a spirit within us and will we not all revert to spirit when our time in this realm comes to a close? What is there to fear?

Witches are disavowed for drawing upon the energy that is all about us and manifesting this energy into a tangible result. Do not all religions and/or spiritual beliefs follow similar patterns though they may use different words and actions to initiate such workings? Is not such a divine gift available openly and freely to all who seek such inherent abilities? Does Deity select but one belief system and cater to just those thoughts? Or does Deity transcend such narrow parameters and in fact respond to all who seek regardless of which path they follow?

So why manifest such lies and unfounded hatred?

As this stream in the middle of the woods flows over the bed of pebbles, does it really care if some pebbles are red, or brown, or black? Or does it just want to be free to follow its destiny without a barrier created by humans. Are humans any less worthy of such a freedom within their beliefs?

As I think these thoughts, tears run down my cheeks. As a witch I seek to stay connected with the old ways. Ways that have served humankind for so long. Ways that open doors to those places that are now shrouded in the mists of ignorance. Ways that allow me to utilize introspection in an effort to see my own faults and thus gives me the strength to address them in a positive manner. Are such practices so terrible that they deserve the scorn of so many who do not attempt to try and understand?

As a witch, I too walk about in a state of fear. A fear based upon the realities of our society. There is the fear that I may lose my means of employment, if my spiritual path comes to light. This is an established fear that has come to pass at one point in my life. There is the fear that bodily harm could come to me and my loved ones by those who blindly wallow in ignorance, simply because I choose to believe as an individual. This is yet another bitter experience that has raised its ugly head at one point in my life. And once again, I have to ask why.

Why can we not all accept the fact that we are seekers on the path of life? And as it is with such travelers, no one person has all of the answers.

As I stand here on this cold autumn morning and watch this small stream flow by, I know within my heart that in time this stream will wear down the pebbles that it flows over. And that in time new pebbles will take their place.

As a witch and as a human, I can only hope that such a transition will take place in the river of life and that the fear and the ignorance will in time be worn down as well. I desire that which I wish for others, the right to follow my path without obstructions being placed before me by other humans.

I seek to not judge others nor do I seek to be judged.