Lighten Up – A Letter From A Third Grade Teacher Sent Home To Pagan Parents

A Letter From A Third Grade Teacher Sent Home To Pagan Parents

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Thomas,

I write this letter in concern of your daughter, Aradia Moon. Please don’t take this the wrong way, however, although she is a straight A student and a very bright child, she has some strange habits that I feel we should address.

Every morning before class, she insists on walking around the room with her pencil in the air. She says she is “drawing down the moon.” I told her art class is in an hour and to please refrain until then to do any drawing.

And speaking of art class, whenever she draws a night sky, she insists on drawing little circles around all the stars and people dancing on the ground. And that brings up dancing, I had to stop her twice for taking off her clothes during a game of Ring Around the Rosey! By the way, what does “skyclad” mean?

Aradia has no problem with making friends. I always find her sitting outside during recess with her friends sitting around her in a circle. She likes to share her juice and cookies. It is nice how she wants no one to ever thirst or hunger. However, when I walked over to see what they were doing, she jumped up and told me to stop, pulled out a little plastic knife and started waiving it in front of me. I thought this a bit dangerous, so I took her to the Principal’s Office. She explained to the Principal that she was “opening the circle” to let me in. She also said that her Mommy and Daddy always told her not to play or run with an “athame” in her hand, that she could put someone’s eye out. I don’t know what an “athame” is, but I’m glad she keeps it at home.

As for stories, your daughter tends to make up some whoppers. Just yesterday while I was talking sternly to Tommy Johson and shaking my finger at him, he started screaming and ran from the room. When I finally caught him, he told me Aradia told him and the rest of the class that the last time I shook my finger at someone, they caught the chicken pox. I explained to him that the Sally Jones incident was just a coincidence, and that things like that don’t really happen.

One of the strangest things that happened was when I asked the children to bring in Halloween decorations for the classroom. Aradia brought in salt, incense, and her  family album. I see she has quite a sense of humour.

One of Aradia’s worst habits is that she is very argumentative. We were discussing what the Golden Rule was (Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto You), she firmly disagreed with me and stated that it was “Do As you Will, but Harm None” and she will not stop saying “So Mote It Be” after she reads aloud in class. I try to correct her on these matters and she got very angry. She pointed her finger at me and mumbled something under her breath.

In closing, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, I would like to set up a parent/teacher conference with you sometime next week to discuss these matters. I would like to see you sooner, but I have developed an irritating rash that I am quite worried about.

With deep concerns, Mrs. Livingston

P.S. Blessed Be. I understand this is a greeting or closing from your country that your daughter informs me is polite and correct.

Curses! And the Magical Mechanics Thereof…

Curses! And the Magical Mechanics Thereof…

Author: Treasach

I’m not above quoting fantasy books myself if they say it well. “The most professional curse ever snarled or croaked or thundered can have no effect on a pure heart.” — The Last Unicorn. This is essentially true.

Curses work the same way other magic works. A Contact spell, for example, sends out feelers across the chaotic systems. A lot like a computer match up. If the potential person/s you are interested in meeting is also interested, as some of your energy is going along with it, you both work together to pull the chaos strings so that you will both meet up in an appropriate location and time for you to pursue an acquaintance. Rather like “your people” and “their people” calling a meeting. It is a two way street.

Curses are much the same. It is a two way street between the curser and cursed. The curser has decided that someone really need a kick in the ass for something, and sends out feelers. Their energies comes in contact, and if the ‘cursee’s’ own guilt, that is, their own inner Goddess of Vengeance, decides that they must be punished, both humans use that energy to create the curse effect. Rather like a karmic string tied around one’s finger to remind one of this guilt, which might not have remembered otherwise, or not gotten to it as quickly. Which is why someone must go to the trouble of cursing another in the first place, and why a curse has no effect on a pure heart. No self-need for punishment, no curse.

I believe we should most definitely treat others by the Golden Rule. There is indeed a version of that in every major tradition. But that’s almost entirely for our own benefit. We cannot become enlightened and self fulfilled without it. With neophytes terrified to practice spellcraft on their own without the aid of their ‘teacher’, the Three Fold or Karmic Laws has become an enslaving chain left over from our reClaiming days that should be abandoned as quickly as possible.

The 3 fold, ten fold, or even 11 ‘Law’ is a MYTH, told to keep newbies in line.

I’m sorry I’m breaking the conspiracy of some of the Adepts in disabusing you of this notion. There are many reasons for it, but I break from much of the crowd and teach like a heritage. I believe we must always and only discuss the true metaphysics of witchcraft to prove ourselves a mature spirituality and not a mystery cult.

Spewing the pat fluffy Threefold or Karmic Law is such an oversimplification of the complexity of the Universe that it is an obscenity to the dignity of seekers of Enlightenment and those who assist them. How does witchcraft compare as a viable path for those of intelligence and wisdom with such an obvious disprovable flaw as it’s main tenant? It’s deeply embarrassing for a spirituality of maturity and strength.

That doesn’t mean that the Universe doesn’t slap you if you choose to be an ass. You often do get what’s coming to you. But that is most definitely NOT the same performing so-called ‘black magic’ (which sounds abominably racist) and expecting to be punished for it.

Cursing, for example, is simply a form of dispensing justice where you believe it required, same as you would protect someone from getting beat up. You should get punished for NOT redressing a serious imbalance, in my opinion, same as you would for not getting stopping someone being physically victimized.

No. It’s simply that the ‘Rule’ or ‘Law’ or whatever that many teachers tell newbies when they are first starting out is merely fantasy. There are numerous reasons for this, but it is designed to scare them, control them, and ensure that they don’t go trying spellcraft on their own.

The truth is really much harder. The Universe does pay people back, but certainly not in such a lovely symmetry like three or any other number. It is ridiculous to assume that a quantitative quality can be put on someone trying to harm another, and take into account whether it was deliberate, or only slightly, or not at all, and ‘repay’ that back in some sort of mathematical formula. Like some suffering or blessing of mine can even compare to someone else’s in sensitivity, or life disruption, or level of joy, or some other feeling or quality in the first place.

If you are nasty to people, they will be nasty to you. Most times. Sometimes you can be nice to everyone, and you will be assassinated. Sometimes bad guys really do win. Totally and completely. The Universe is not so cut and dried as the ‘Law’ makes it out to be. It is not fair. And it certainly doesn’t balance. And even if it could, it is so vast that we would never be able to see it, with our limited shells.

But that’s where we come in, as Her representatives. We can see what’s in front of us and report back, so to speak, to draw Her attention to something that we would like to see remedied right now, and we specify a manner that we can comprehend. That’s one of the functions of spellcraft, particularly blessings, curses, and healings.

All people are intelligent and sensitive to some degree and deserve to be treated like seekers of truth and self-fulfillment. We do them and ourselves a great disservice when we do not teach the metaphysics and theology of witchcraft correctly from the start. In all it’s complexity.

My curses are extremely good. They can take up to two years to manifest, and they attack whatever it was that caused the person to be cursed in the first place. Completely. And, due to my style of asking the Goddess to take care of it Herself without my suggestions or too much interference, they manifest in a far more creative and complete manner than I ever could have imagined, exactly matching the infraction with the punishment. So I never worry about justice for infractions against me, though it would be nice to have the wisdom to avoid them in the first place…

And as aggressive as I am, curses come far more naturally than Blessings. Perhaps that’s where my real challenge lies…

Paganism and Morality

Paganism and Morality

Author: Morgan Ravenwood

In a previous article I wrote entitled “The Joys and Pitfalls of Pagan Parenting, ” I repeated what my then-teenaged daughter, “Jane, ” said to me in response to my attempts to keep her on the “straight and narrow”: “But, mom, it’s not like you’re a religious Christian or something!”

I spent the rest of our conversation trying to explain why you don’t have to be a Christian to be religious and to believe in—and practice—leading a decent life. Fortunately, time and maturity has proven this to Jane, who now has three children of her own to teach it to.

In some of the online discussion boards I belong to, it has been mentioned repeatedly that many people believe that morality needs religion—and preferably the Christian religion–to exist, and vice versa. Of course, both myself and others, including some Atheists, have hastened to explain that this is in no wise true, presenting our own personal points of view and experiences as proof.

However, a member of one of the boards recently posed a question that demands an answer, both to ourselves as well as the outside world:

“So that we may learn how to properly judge those of other religious persuasions, specifically how are Wiccans and Pagans and Atheists supposed to behave in accordance with their beliefs?

How do we know when they are being true to their religious ideals, and when they are being hypocrites?”

A fair question, especially given that neither Pagans nor Atheists have the words of a prophet or set scriptures to govern their behavior. While I cannot speak for Atheists, where Paganism is concerned, it’s understandable that members of mainstream religions would find it odd, not to mention immoral, that some Pagans perform their rituals “skyclad”—i.e., in the nude–and even participate in what might be considered to be immoral sexual behavior, including homosexuality and polyamory (which simply means “more than one” lover).

The fact that there is no stigma attached to these in Paganism only reinforces this belief.

It is a sad fact that Pagan parents have had their children removed from their custody once their religion becomes public knowledge because Paganism has so often received a negative reputation as a religion with little to no morality.

In view of this, we are almost obligated to try to demonstrate as strong a behavioral standard as possible so as to build and retain integrity for our religion.

While we’ve probably all met a few “Happy Nekkid Pagans” with seemingly looser morals than most, the majority of Pagans I have known have led far more moral lives than many of their Christian counterparts.

I believe that this is due to the fact that some Christians are really only “Sunday Christians, ” named so because they crawl to church on Sunday and feign repentance, only to resume their evil ways on Monday.

But for us Pagans, it’s a little different; we consider ourselves to be “24/7 Pagans” because our own sense of honor and personal responsibility prohibits us from behaving in such a cavalier manner.

And what is the source of this personal responsibility, since it does not depend upon the threat of punishment from an angry god or a feeling of obligation to obey scriptures? I think the basic answer can be summed up quite nicely in three words: The Golden Rule. You know, the one that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The wording of this has been slightly changed but retains the same meaning in our own Wiccan Rede, which the majority of Wiccans DO adhere to: “An it harm none, do what thou will.”

To do any differently would be to harm oneself if one believes, as most Pagans do, that we are all part of each other as well as the earth. Think how wonderful the world would be if everyone practiced this for even one day!

Also, it is worth noting that some Pagan traditions, which are similar to Christian denominations, have their own set of guidelines that members are expected to follow. Though they are certainly not binding to ALL Pagans, nor do all of them adhere to them, The Thirteen Goals of a Witch, especially numbers one and four through seven, give very good guidelines for ethical behavior:

The Thirteen Goals of a Witch

1) Know Thyself

2) Know Thy Craft

3) Learn, Knowledge is Power

4) Apply Knowledge with Wisdom

5) Achieve balance in your life and everything around you

6) Keep your words in good order – negativity breeds negativity –

7) Keep your thoughts in good order

8) Celebrate life and all the stages of it

9) Attune with the cycles of the Earth and Moon

10) Breathe and eat correctly

11) Exercise the body as well as the spirit

12) Meditate everyday

13) Honor the Goddess and God

It is worth remarking that many of these mirror the behavioral guidelines as set out in the Eightfold Path of Buddhism, which does not carry the stigma of immorality that Paganism does. Yet another Eastern faith belief of importance to Pagans is Karma—that which you do, comes back to you.

Many Wiccans adhere to this belief, but with one notable difference: that which you do, comes back to you—THREEFOLD. Whether or not this is true, the reality of “cause and effect” is indisputable, which certainly prompts some serious consideration in making important decisions, particularly those that concern other people.

Another area in which most Pagans strongly attempt to behave responsibly is preservation of the environment. In these days, especially with a government and national population that are less concerned about preservation and more with maximum utilization, this is no easy task. And yet, believing as we do that the earth is our Mother, we each owe it to Her to do our share. Recycling, composting, and making responsible decisions about using products that are harmful to the environment are all things we can do as individuals.

Lastly, in the “Charge of the Goddess, ” which quite thoroughly lays out recommendations for responsible and moral behavior, Doreen Valiente wrote these words, which are dear to the hearts of the many Wiccans who aspire to live by them:

“Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you, ” and “keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it, let naught stop you or turn you aside.”

Surely, nobody of ANY persuasion, religious or otherwise, could aspire to any higher goals than these.


Footnotes:
This article has previously been published on The Wiccan-Pagan Times website.

Characteristics of an Earth Witch

Characteristics of an Earth Witch

 

One of the best things about the Earth Witch is her ability to remain silent. She understand that sometimes it is best to say nothing rather than risk saying it wrong. She is very careful about what she says. Because she is not argumentative by nature, when the Earth Witch speaks her words hold weight. She also tends to be critical of others, even though she may not say it out loud. Too often, the Earth Witch represses her feelings and as a result may need to purge more often than those who follow other elemental paths. But since she holds earth so close to her, she is adept at purging anywhere and anytime.

Cautious and wary, the Earth Witch rarely takes unnecessary chances. Level-headed to the end, she helps others find suitable solutions to their problems. Her approach to life is slow and steady. She is conservative, patient, and practical.

The Earth Witch can most often be found working a job in which she can directly improve the world around her, or a job that may seem boring but is traditionally necessary within the boundaries of society. Social work, teaching, architecture, and banking are natural choices for the Earth Witch.

On the flip side, the gentle Earth Witch is not one you want to anger. She is capable of utter destruction, which she views as a natural part of the cycle of life. Rarely will she look back with regret. She may take a while before deciding that she is angry and will give you every chance to explain yourself. But once angered, she can be stubborn and hold a grudge. Because she will give you every chance in the beginning, if she decides that she doesn’t like you–well, you earned it. Most people only get to cross that line once with an Earth Witch. However, she is eternally forgiving toward those she loves and trusts.

Because the Earth Witch is so rooted in the home, she must be careful not to shut herself away from others entirely. However, she is rarely shy and can often be found at social gatherings.

The Earth Witch may have a talent for sculpting, even if she doesn’t know it yet. When holding chunks of clay in her hands, she can create some beautiful statuary.

The Earth Witch is a teacher and strives to set a good example for her students, children and friends. She practices what she preaches and believes that actions speaks louder than words. For thousands of years, the bones of the Earth (rocks) have been utilized as teaching implements. Pictographs (painted-on symbols) and petroglyphs (carved symbols) date back to the ancient Egyptians. Almost every culture has its own version of rock teachings.
Earth rules the season of spring. During the spring, the Earth and the Earth Witch come roaring back to life. As the flowers bloom, the grass grows, and the animals wake from their slumber, the Earth Witch becomes one with all of nature. She is directly influenced by the increasing life energy of all things. Her personal power is at its highest point during this season.

One of the most prevalent aspects of the path of the Earth Witch is sharing. Mother Earth shares all of herself with the other elements. She allows herself to be the foundation for all of life. She is battered by storms and ravaged by fire, but she remains unchanged yet ever evolving. The Earth Witch holds herself close to the archetype. She struggles to remain calm and steady during all of life’s storms. She has a unique talent for being able to keep her cool. She also has the minor quirk of being slow to movement. The Earth Witch knows that she has all the time in the world–she is not the sort to jump around and do things right away. “All in good time” is her motto. However, she must be extremely careful with this aspect of her personality, as it can cause her to stagnate and stop her growth. As a rule, the Earth Witch resists change.

When it comes to divination practices, the Earth Witch can read better by scrying into water or fire than by using the divination systems that fall under the rule of earth. This is because her role as the base for the other elements. The Earth as a whole contains water and fire and serves as a foundation for air. There is much more to the Earth than dirt and plant life.

Humanity belongs to the realm of earth. Any type of folk magic that utilizes footprints, hair or nail clippings, etc., is an Earth Witch’s specialty.

The Earth Witch is puzzle of Hoodoo, Voodoo, Native American beliefs, shamanistic behaviors. Wiccan ethics (or the Golden Rule), and/or ancestral lore. Yet she is a puzzle in which all of the pieces fall in place to create a beautiful picture.