It’s me again…….

I have a ton of comments in the back and I have been trying to answer some of them. That is why I am running so late on my daily postings. One post so of struck me that the rest of you might be thinking the same thing. It involved me not being open. That it would be nice that I opened up more with my readers and let you know what I think and how I feel. Witches are very private people. We aren’t suppose to reveal any of our practices, rituals or beliefs to the mundane world. In fact there is a law that states this very fact. I have been open for several years about being a witch. Especially since I got on the internet in 1999. I have been criticized and took a lot of heat about what I do. I have lost good friends. At the time I thought they were good friends come to find out all they wanted to do is stab me in the back and cut my throat at the same time. What there motivates were I don’t know? Also you couldn’t reveal your real name or your dead parent’s name either. I had a dedication page to my mother and my sister. They threw a fit because other witches might use this against me, do something to my relatives even after their dead. I had to keep my shield up 24 hours a day. I had to triple protect my house. And I had to do this because of my so-called friends. To my face they supported everything I was doing, but secretly that was another story.

I am just starting to feel comfortable here. Please have patience you will get to know me I promise. I made a clean break with those so-called friends. I even disappeared for about three months. I had to get my head on straight again and focus on what I had to do for the Goddess.  After the three months was up, I had a little voice tell me that I ought to check out the blogs. So I did and I was lost as a black cat, lol! I got to reading and figuring this out and that out (I believe I had a little help, lol). It started to make sense. I got my confidence up and decided many I can do this or at least give it a shot. I did and here we are today.

As far as me breaking the Law about not discussing our beliefs, rituals, spells and so on. I don’t believe I am doing anything wrong. I am doing the Goddess’ work. She watches over me every day and She knows what I put on this blog. So if it wasn’t suppose to be here I figure it wouldn’t.

Most forget in the Old Days that was the only way people had to communicate was by word of mouth. During the Burning Times, if our Religion had when underground then it would have been lost. Witchcraft has always been a word of mouth Religion. Just thought of it, I am going to post the Ordains again.

Well I guess I better hush for now……….but before I go you want to try something a little new, how about “Spell Saturday?” What do you think? I like the idea. Spells are my second nature, hee, hee,hee!)

She grabs her broom and her trust familiar and their off

Neo-Paganism: What is it?

Neo-Paganism: What is it?

Author: Crick

Neo-Paganism. What is it?

There is an old adage that no one is an island unto himself or herself. Which I believe is a prelude to the adage that misery loves company.

As a witch I walk this world as one who truly feels alone. Am I an island? Absolutely not, just a tired old soul who sees the world as it truly is.

I see the same level of hypocrisy within the pagan community as I see in the organized religions perhaps because so many who call themselves pagan today were members of those organized religions yesterday. Or perhaps it’s just because people in general tend to be apathetic when it comes to any real effort to grow spiritually.

I see the same insecurities in folks regardless of their chosen beliefs. By insecurities I refer to the way that folks claim to be individuals and yet they live and die each day by what others are doing and/or say. Such folks spend more of their time making judgments about others then they do asking how they can better themselves spiritually.

And so in general, we as a species continue to mouth the words and yet do just the opposite.
There are those who claim to be pagan and yet spend most of their time increasing the artificial lifestyle they have created for themselves. They do this knowing full well that such an artificial lifestyle comes at the expense of Mother Gaia. Raping and pillaging Mother Gaia is something that the human species is very adept at. If only so much time and effort were directed at improving the condition of our world. But then to do that we as a species would have to stop being so self centered and selfish and actually live up to the values that we claim to engage.
And so exactly what defines Neo-Paganism in today’s world?

Is it simply a way of being different in ones mind and yet the same in ones actions? Much like the teenager of every single generation who seeks to establish an individual identity even though in all reality they are following the same trail already unfolded before them.

Is Neo-Paganism, which in all reality is a revival of that which existed openly before the advent of organized religion, a true attempt to break away from the established mode of society as it presents itself today?

Do those who call themselves pagan in today’s world have the desire and discipline to break away from the established mindset?

After all, such folks come from a society where no one is to blame, unless it is the other guy who is at fault. They come from a world where the ego seems to reign supreme over human humility. Even though such displays of egotism is simply an acknowledgement of ones personal insecurities.

In some parts of the pagan community, paganism is used to control the hearts and minds of others in much the same way that organized religions attempt to do so. There are certain pagan groups who seek to set themselves as above others who reside under the same pagan umbrella. Is such personal control over others and elitism the definition of Neo-Paganism?

Do folks in today’s mystical society have any established concept of what it is that they believe in as pagans?

Judging from all of the maneuvering to be seen as the “master” by so many who really have no clue, and judging from all of the infighting amongst various pagan individuals and groups, one has to wonder if there is any coherent concept that one could apply to the description; Neo-Pagan.

Such a general concept should apply not only in description but in action as well. Granted there are “individuals” who walk the walk, but these folks are often set upon by those who claim to follow the same tenets as they apply to the general parameters of paganism. And so the hypocrisy continues unabated, for these folks are within the minority of a minority belief system.

And so one has to wonder if Neo-Paganism is truly an effort to establish a nature based belief system which is empowered by a people who actually put forth effort to acquire a higher sense of self. Or is it just a continuation of the same lack of principles and personal discipline that defines modern society, albeit under a different title.

I personally believe that the jury is still out on this last musing. In my personal opinion, if one is to follow the path of paganism in whatever form, then one needs to develop a sense of unbiased honesty. For in my mind, true paganism begins with one’s own spirit. There are no masters in this weary world of ours. We are all simply students of life, each seeking the lessons that befit them. Perhaps once we realize this we can begin the real work of identifying our own faults and worry less about the faults of others. Only then will we be able to separate ourselves from the status quo of today’s world and perhaps then we can add a real meaning to the definition of Neo-Paganism.

Are you one of those who believe that Neo-Paganism is all about Light and Love? Are you being realistic to yourself? For in all reality our pagan ancestors were quite adept at mayhem and war. One has to realize that there has to be dark in order for there to be light. This is polarity in its truest form. And even the various pantheons around the world contain those who were of an unsavory nature. It is how we balance these two aspects that define our lives regardless of which path we choose to follow. But one without the other is simply an empty facade.

In closing, how many hours this past week did you sit in front of a TV or a computer? How many hours this past week did you walk amongst the trees and listen to the birds sing or gaze up at the moon at night with unadulterated love? It is by these simple actions that we as “individuals” contribute to the definition of Neo-Paganism.

Are you content with your contribution?

Blessings

Crick

The State of Paganism: A Perspective From an Old Witch

The State of Paganism: A Perspective From an Old Witch

Author: Crick

As Paganism slowly but surely emerges out of the grip of suppression brought on by what is now commonly referred to as organized religions. We may want to be aware of several pitfalls and realities as we once again step into the light of day.

First of all, the top three organized religions are themselves fairly new in the grand scheme of history. Prior to their appearance on the world stage, basically everyone in the world followed some type of pagan belief, which was for the most part an individual spiritual belief and not an organized religion per se. Such beliefs were influenced by ones personal environment and the immediate world around them. There was an interpersonal awareness that helped to shape one’s values and thus their corresponding beliefs. In today’s artificial world we no longer have such a mainstay or influence to guide us.

The current “accepted” beliefs being touted by the main three organized religions and the suppression of former popular beliefs did not occur as a natural effect of events in human history.

It was and continues to be a planned and concerted action, which began in one instance with the advent of the apologists and has continued on through the ages by acts of repression, fear and some very clever propaganda. These deliberate actions have been supplemented by the tactics of politicians who are overtly biased in favor of the institutions of organized religion.

After all, power begets power.

As such we should be aware that the basic tenet of these man made religious organizations is to hold onto such power at all costs. We as a community would like to think that we are accepting of all religious beliefs and spiritual paths, as we should be.

But we should not be so naïve as to think that just because we are so accepting that organized religions will welcome us back with open arms from the isolation of an exile that they themselves imposed upon those of pagan beliefs.

In all reality they (organized religions) would very much like to see paganism fade away as just another passing fad. An example of this is the gathering in Rome in the summer of 2007 of the Roman Catholic Church of which the primary topic was “how to draw folks away from Devil worship (allegedly paganism) and back into the grasp of the one true church”.

Granted there are some individuals within organized religion who are realistic and enlightened enough to accept the fact that not everyone is going to believe as they do. And thus are willing to work with members of alternate beliefs such as paganism.

However the harsh reality is that these folks generally belong to one of the very aggressive religious organizations whose leaders do not endorse such openness. And as such we are being accepted only in isolated situations and only at the very grass roots of these religious institutions.

Acceptance of the fact that the oldest religious/spiritual beliefs in the world were not obliterated and are making a re-emergence is going to take some considerable time, effort and patience.

We will re-emerge into the light of day one enlightened heart and soul at a time. To believe otherwise is in my personal opinion, both foolish and self-defeating.

Another pitfall we should be wary of is manipulation by the organized religions. They have by virtue of their position in the world today, proven to be very adept at such tactics.

And quite obviously (to some of us anyway) they are employing these tried and proven techniques to the very community that they would like to once again vanquish back into the throes of exile.

What is this manipulation you may ask?

Over the recent years, a crumb will fall off of the table of organized religion and a pagan will be ‘allowed” to sit at the same table as these folks. Each time it has been a Wiccan who is chosen to take such a seat and in each case the chosen Wiccan will proclaim themselves as representative of the whole pagan community. And then folks in the pagan community will swoon like young schoolgirls and say, “oh what a great thing this is for the community”.

In my personal opinion, such proclamations fall right into the hands of those of the organized religions who are sponsoring such meetings.

I have serious reservations about such an approach and reaction for several down to earth reasons.

First of all, realistically we as a community are dealing with folks who are well schooled in such manipulation. It is quite apparent that if you can’t outright obliterate what you object to then you find a way to control it.

For example Brighid the Goddess did not become a Christian saint by happenstance. It was an act of sage manipulation by an organized religion. Hence we have the old adage of, “keeping your friends close but your enemies even closer”.

And so with all due respect to those of the Wicca, I personally have to wonder why organized religion seems to only choose members of Wicca, which is by all accounts barely a generation old and thus but a babe in the world of paganism as the ones who are proffered a seat with these folks.

Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying here, I think that it is great that a pagan of any path gets the crumb that is offered, to a certain extent.

But then this brings me to my next concern.

One of the primary tenets of paganism is diversity. And if we are to avoid the pitfalls of hypocrisy then perhaps those Wicca who are chosen to be seated with organized religions should state responsibly, that in fact they represent but a small portion of the pagan community.

Again, with all due respect to those of the path of Wicca, not only would this be a realistic statement but it would also leave the door open to those of other pagan beliefs. And as such would be a confirmation of the pagan community’s stated belief in the tenet of diversity.

Paganism is after all an acronym or umbrella for many “diverse” beliefs. And no one path can honestly state that they alone represent the many different beliefs that align themselves under the banner of paganism.

In all reality, and yet once again with all due respect, as an Irish witch who also engages the path of shamanism, Wicca does not remotely represent my personal path. Nor does it accurately reflect the beliefs of those who are Asatru, Voudon, Santerian, Odinist, Yoruba, Shamanic, witch and so forth.

If we as a community are going to endorse diversity as one of our founding tenets then we need to surpass the temptations of ego and thus avoid the snare that is being put into place by those religious organizations that have shown such skill in manipulation.

Those who are tapped should show some responsibility and use their opportunities to ensure that organized religion is aware that we are in fact a diverse community and do not fit into one spiritual/religious shoe fits all.

By the same token, we as a community need to overcome our petty ego driven differences and be willing to proffer folks from various pagan beliefs as representatives of our community. Granted this will take a measure of maturity that has for the most part been lacking in our community.

But I personally believe that if we are true to ourselves and our community that we can indeed find the inner strength to exhibit such maturity as a community to express ourselves in such a manner.

The final concern that I would like to express in this treatise is this.
Why do we buy into the perception that organized religion has of us?

Realistically, it is “their” perception and should not be the view that we as pagans hold of ourselves.

Why do we as a community get all flustered and swoon whenever organized religion allows us a seat?

They are in all reality the newcomers to the world stage of religious/spiritual beliefs.

Paganism is in fact the oldest such beliefs in existence, period!
When one of us is invited to their table it should be with the approach that they (organized religions) should be honored to have a member of such an ancient belief seated at their table.

We need to stop playing into their blatant manipulation and express ourselves with aplomb and dignity and not as eager children grateful for a brief moment of attention.

I personally believe that this is why they (organized religions) only invite the Wicca (who are the babes of pagan society) into their midst. In this manner they can point and say “but they have only been around since 1952” and so the manipulation continues and unadulterated attempts at control continues.

In closing I would like to make it clear that I am not casting about disparaging thoughts against those of the Wicca or any other members of organized religions and/or other pagan paths.

My words are simply a reflection of the realities that we as pagans did not create but which we have to live with. How cognizant we are and how we approach such issues as a community in regards to organized religions will determine whether we remain in the daylight or whether we once again resume our existence in the darkness of religious/spiritual exile.

If you don’t want to think of these issues in regards to yourself then maybe you should consider the religious/spiritual freedoms (true freedoms) of your children and your children’s children.

For in all reality, such manipulation and control did not occur over one generation nor is it likely to ebb within just one generation. Freedom of religious/spiritual beliefs is an ongoing struggle against those who would have it otherwise.

I think the last 2000 years or so has made that quite clear…

Making Room for all Genders in Paganism

Making Room for all Genders in Paganism

Author: Maggi Setti

In this age of women’s liberation, we still find a deep wound surrounding gender differences in our culture. How is gender expressed differently in the pagan community? Is there still a use for gender specific ritual spaces? Many of these questions are ongoing with many answers, but it is high time that we see these issues with new eyes as we approach a second generation of Pagan feminists, both male, female, and spectrum of gender identification in between.

At a public class I taught a couple weeks ago on developing energetic and psychic skills, I was surprised that that there was an equal number of male and female attendants. For Wicca, this is a rarity, as you will find the vast majority of Wiccans are women. The easy explanation for this is that women are more hurt by the patriarchal approach of mainstream religions and need the feminine divine more acutely than men.

In a personal conversation, a male Wiccan offered the idea that there are more women than men interested and involved in spirituality and religion in general. He used the example that most church functions, other than the priesthood itself, are run by women and often women are dragging their husbands to church rather than the men being self-motivated in attending. I think that if this premise is true, that women as a group are more spiritually focused than men in mainstream religions as well as Pagan denominations. We can infer that this phenomenon comes from at least two influences as follows.

1. Men are discouraged from being in touch with their soft emotions. It’s hard to be in touch with the greater picture and how one fits in to that greater whole, and at the same time, this suppresses much of one’s internal reality as well.
2. Much of adherence to the Christian religion, as it is currently expressed, depends on guilt and fear. There is more room for men to assert themselves, their ideas, opinions and what they want on other people in their lives. While this may be lopsided, it also allows for a greater development on one’s power and ego especially for men as a group more so than women. Women are more likely to struggle with fear and guilt, and feeling powerless, are therefore more susceptible to the disempowerment and subversion of the religions tenants.

Both of my points above would support that it is not the nature of women or men that make women more spiritually focused, but another example of how our culture is unhealthy and imbalanced. Unfortunately how the pagan community during the past 40 years has approached this is by creating overblown false egos for women and small-scale fiefdoms that breed infighting, confusion, and mistrust. I saw this in Sunday school as a kid, in the choir in high school, and still see it.

Women’s empowerment and healing the gap between the genders is not about the segregation of the sexes anymore though. It’s about building healthy egos, empowerment, self-esteem and ending the war of the sexes. Women’s only spaces were intended to be safe havens in which women felt supported rather than competing with other women. These spaces were meant as healing spaces to use ritual as a forum to connect with the feminine divine within each woman there, as well as the feminine divine of the group, the culture, and the Great Goddess Herself. Therefore these spaces are not about reliving the pain and hurt of what has been wrong with the system, but to encourage alchemical change within individuals so that they can build new paradigms of how they approach and express gender, but power, sexuality, self-expression, and self-worth.

All of this is about self-love and acceptance. Not acceptance that makes excuses for maladaptive behavior that is permissive our faults, but rather an acceptance to be gentle with ourselves so that we can motivate change, growth, and healing. “I love my body as uniquely my own. I am not flawed. I am as I should be.” Affirmations such as these help to let go of the cultural myth of the perfect feminine, youthful woman that does not exist.

Please note that I am referencing cultural expectations. Our culture oversimplifies definitions of qualities into white and black categories. If you can’t label someone, force him or her to go into a category until you are comfortable that you have him or her pegged. Much of the path of the witch embraces the grays of twilight and dawn and the myriad of shades of gray within continuum of many things. Where we fall on the continuum for many things including how we express gender, sexuality, our relationships, our connection to the Gods, will be different for all of us.

As Pagans we embrace our differences and still are able to work together, to manifest a new humanity. We need to be very cognizant of embracing each individual’s true expression of himself or herself: whether it be the gender labels they use for themselves in this case, or other expressions of self.

We can’t just look at women though. Women are not the only ones that have suffered from the imbalance of this “war of the sexes.” At Fall Frolic in Milford PA, I’ll be teaching a women’s empowerment class and leading a women’s only ritual. I’ve suggested to the organizers of Fall Frolic that we also run a men’s ritual at the same time. In fact, these rituals can do real magick upon the higher planes to interact in a spiritually fertilizing and polarizing way in order to heal the gender schism of the group mind of humanity. In my opinion, this magickal healing is the next step for building bridges for healthy intragender relationships.

How do we interest men in a way that retains their sense of strength, self-worth, respect, and power? How do we incorporate men into a religion that includes sparkly purple fairy glitter and witch Barbie? (Not my personal taste, but still an active stereotype) . How do we rebuild the archetype of the warrior for both men and women, working, fighting for a cause, and protecting their tribe?

I hope that there are Pagan men interested and willing to forge the way for answering these questions. We need all genders working together and creating new ways of relating to one another so that we can create a balanced future for our religion, our children, and our culture.

Pagans Need to Stop Caring About What Other People Think

Pagans Need to Stop Caring About What Other People Think

Author: Clever Brian
It is sound advice in every aspect of a healthy adult’s life: you’ll never be happy, satisfied, or even comfortable if you spend your whole life trying to please others. The only mind you can know, let alone change is your own. Life is short and the only way you can really make the best of it is under your own rules for your own reasons.

I think that a lot of people explore religious alternatives for that very reason. If you are of a character that needs to believe in the Divine in some form or another, but you don’t like to be told what to do or how to think, it’s only natural that you start looking for a set of beliefs that conform to your values and experiences. Paganism offers people a very loose framework where they are free to choose the images and practices that suit them, and have those choices respected in their religious community.

But for all the independence that is innate in choosing a Pagan spiritual path, there is something about the Pagan religious community that engenders a fear of what the religious mainstream thinks about it. Rituals have been bowdlerized, books made obscure, mysteries lost, and compromises made in order to appear “legitimate” in the eyes of the larger religious community.

The unease with the word “witch”, the endless vacillating over skyclad (nude) rituals, the disappearance of the fivefold kiss, the mass publication of “great rites” that are vapid symbolic plays without any context, horror at suggestions of using pain or self-flagellation in rites, the glossing over of the use of drugs in magic… they are all symptoms of the same impulse: The need to make Paganism and Wicca seem friendly and harmless to the mainstream culture.

It isn’t doing us any favours, nor should it. The message it really seems to send is that Pagans are happy to compromise on their beliefs, or that they aren’t truthful with outsiders about them.

Certainly there have been plenty of “Satanic Panic” conspiracy theorists that are happy to point out the inconsistencies from text-to-text and group-to-group to suggest that there are some secret inner teachings, and the public face Pagans present is a pack of lies that are there to suck in the unwary. Consider Steve Russo’s What’s the Deal with Wicca? as a prime example.

Another consequence comes from the bowdlerization of Paganism in the name of maintaining a friendly public face: the watering down of the Pagan religious experience. Many Pagans of my generation learned their practices from the books available at major bookstores. The watered-down rituals, noncommittal attitudes, and dancing around several major issues leads to a watered-down religious experience. For every practising Pagan I know who enjoys a rich religious and spiritual life, I know two who gave it up, because it seemed hollow and meaningless. In my conversations with the latter group I often discover that they were turned off by what they saw as a lack of relevance and meaning to it, or the endless political positioning that happens within the Paganism they learned from the bookshelves of Coles.

Let’s face the bare-bones facts: Wicca started as a sex-cult among a group of wild young actresses and society ladies in Britain. It was a modern mish-mash of Hinduism, Platonic philosophy, Celtic/Nordic folk traditions, magical spells borrowed from medieval manuscripts, and a very modern form of worship of old gods. Gardner then interpolated touches of the Sexual Rebellion ethic and “Babalon” workings from Crowley’s Thelema.

It was a wild, exclusive party that was thick with occultism and dripping with earthy sexuality. There are compelling arguments to suggest that either it grew because of a fluke burst of interest, or as a part of a scheme to provide a massive recruiting ground for the O.T.O., while pushing their sexual liberation agenda ahead.

It included naked worship, sex rituals, self-flagellation, and heavy use of alcohol, suggestions of partner-swapping, and openness to experimentation with drugs. There was no ethic against black magic, just the warning that what you do becomes who you are hidden in cryptic and theatrical language. Their were also tiers of initiation into mysteries borrowed heavily from Rosicrucian/Masonic/Golden Dawn – type sources, that were intentionally not offered to beginners, because some things simply have to be learned with experience, not told.

These are evident; they are our roots, and there is absolutely no use in sweeping them under the carpet.

These things probably don’t appeal to every Pagan, and they are perfectly welcome to take what they want and leave the rest. But should we care that Christians will have none of it? Should we worry if the mainstream media paints us as kooks, or a pack of lusty black-clad teenagers?

Truthfully, I can’t see why we would. Especially not given the damage we are doing to ourselves in the process.

The nature of the human thought is such hat we can never be persuaded of something unless we want to be. You have to choose to have an open mind going into a debate before you can possibly change it. If a person is absolutely set in their beliefs, and those beliefs include either A) that you are evil/insane/damned or B) that you are misguided and need correction, you will never get them to think well of you no matter what you do.

We can scream about not believing about Satan until we are blue in the face, but an Evangelical who is convinced that we are devil-worshippers simply will not be dissuaded from that belief without some immensely grand gesture. And unless that person is a loved one, why would you want to bother?

If a person is dead-set on accusing us of eating babies, do we really even want to give them the time of day or the attention they are so desperate for? And do we want to deal with the idiots who would believe such an absurd claim, either?

Moreover, this crusade for legitimacy has often put pagans at odds with others’ right to religious freedom. Pagan voices have strongly supported attacks on religious monuments in government buildings, openly attacked other people’s belief systems, and the right to practice them. I have personally witnessed Pagans put excessive amounts of energy into berating or limiting the freedom of groups like The First Church of Satan, who in many ways Pagans have more in common with than they ever will with mainstream religion.

It is a fact that we live in societies that remain overwhelmingly Christian. Christian iconography, language, and morals pervade our everyday speech our attitudes, our behaviour and our expectations. The voices of Christians will remain dominant for some time. Religious Chauvinism, the assumption that everyone else is Christian, or that people who aren’t Christian are ignorant and deluded is an inevitable byproduct of our society. Our own apologetics and attempts to make ourselves acceptable to Christians in many ways only prolong this chauvinism in our society.

I propose that we have to learn to simply ignore it, as many varieties feminists have learned to ignore male chauvinists; by assuming they are not worth your time so long as they aren’t interfering with you or others around you. Why bother with people who have such deep-entrenched ideas, what is there to gain out of it?

Of course, this does not mean we should not call “Bullsh*t!” when a person does interfere with a Pagan’s right to practice his or her religion. It is one thing to lightly bandy about the idea that America, Canada, and Britain are “Christian” countries. It is even true, interpreted in a few different ways. It is another to use that as the basis for passing laws that ban certain practices or give special economic advantages to Christian groups. It is one thing to ignore the ignorance; it is another to ignore ignorant action.

In these cases, though, it is better to stop worrying about what the legislator, basher, or bigot has in mind. Reading minds is hard, and inexact work, and changing minds nearly impossible. There is no gain to be made in educating these people. The only place that such actions can be countered is where you are in the same playing fields. Cite your constitutional rights, take people to court, use words to denounce the action (not argue with its author) , and in the case of brutality, answer it with appropriate measures of self-defence.

So long as we insist on holding to our principles as a society, the Constitutions and Human Rights movement will continue to put us in the right. And when those no longer can avail us, look around, because there will be a revolution in the streets you’ll be able to join.

In the end, the continued push to care about what others think will only make use self-censor waffle, and waver further. It will push away people who come looking for a meaningful religious experience, and it will cost us our identity as a religion and as a people… and it will do so without giving us any gains in the cultural arena.

It is far better to maintain a frank openness and honesty to anyone who is willing to take the time and research, or to find a Pagan and simply ask a few direct questions, than to try to persuade the whole world. And for the people who don’t like what they see when they explore Paganism, there are plenty of other faiths, they will find one they like eventually, that is not our affair.

This press for acceptance is also, on another level, incongruous to the position of total freedom that Paganism offers. We cannot really follow the injunction to ‘Do what thou wilt, ” if we are always looking for signs of disapproval in others. That would be bending our ‘doing’ to someone else’s ‘willing.’

Who Is A Real Witch Anyway?

Who Is A Real Witch Anyway?

Author: Amergin Aradia
It seems that the debate about who is and who is not a “real Witch” is coming to a head. Is this sect real as opposed to that sect? Are those in covens real Witches as opposed to solitaries’. And on and on it goes. It’s beginning to sound like the fight between factions of the Christian religion or between organized religions as a whole. That’s probably the way they began too.

This silly useless debate is pulling our community apart as well. The truth is, are any of us real Witches. And how do you define a real Witch? By whose standards and rules?

As an illustration of my point I’ll tell you my story. I have always known that I was a Witch, even before I really knew what that was. When I was very young (grade school) I had certain abilities and interests that other kids didn’t. I practiced raising energy, practiced ESP (as it was called then) , I astral projected, and I cast spells. I was drawn to the night, the moon and stars, and I identified with all things “magical.”

I wasn’t trained by anyone because there was no one to train me. I had to figure it out for myself and that was in the 1950’s so you know there were very few references to rely on even if I knew where to look. As I grew up I did what everyone else did then, got a job and tried to live what was considered a “normal” life, as unsatisfying as that was.

I maintained my interests and practices over the years as best I could, if only peripherally. There may have been one or two occult bookstores in the area but you really had to search them out and I only managed to get to one every so often and then only to browse because I didn’t know what I was looking for. You didn’t just walk up to someone and tell him or her you were a Witch and wanted to join a coven. And people didn’t come out of the woodwork to invite you to join one, even if you knew where to look.

So I dabbled, training myself the best way I could using instinct as my guide. At the time I would have loved to have found someone to train me and I would have loved to have found a coven to join so that I wouldn’t feel so alone. But they didn’t exactly advertise. And there was no Internet in those days to bring us all together.

So unless you were lucky, you were on your own. Like it or not.

Now that we have all these books, magazines, and web sites to fill in the gaps I find that my instincts did very well by me. Everything that I taught myself way back then is now being touted as the way to do it by the “experts.” I have since collected an entire library of books hoping to find information that would help me advance my practice but with the exception of a few interesting bits that I’ve added here and there, I have been disappointed.

I have also attended classes, open groves, and ceremonies, and while the people that I met were very nice it just didn’t feel right for me. I’ve also become very disillusioned with the influx of the newest brick and mortar shops. They seem to have become havens of self-help, yoga, meditation, and coffee and music.

And while I practice yoga and meditation myself I don’t want to go to my local Craft shop to pick up a yoga mat, balance ball, or a book by Dr. Phil. I want to pick up the tools for my ceremonies and spell crafting and, unfortunately, the kind of shop I want seems to be few and far between (except on line.) It feels as though the craft as I remember it is being homogenized and made so “acceptable” in the eyes of the general public that it is becoming useless to serious practitioners. But I digress here.

So to sum up this article, does it mean that I am not a real Witch because I had no one to “lead the way” or no coven to adopt me and teach me “their right way”? Quite frankly I think that makes me an even better real Witch because I had to figure it out for myself. And because of that my understanding and beliefs don’t quite fit into any prescribed dogma. So that is why I stay a solitary practitioner and that is why I have stepped back from the community as a whole.

But then I don’t look at being a Witch as a religion, with all of its implied rules and regulations and dogma. I look at being a Witch in the same way that the old village Witches looked at it. I revere the earth and heavens and do my best to respect and tread lightly on her.

I try to live a spiritual life without bowing to or begging the acceptance of any one archetypal being. I look at the Goddess and Gods as a representation on this plane of the source of all energy and power. I cast spells for my own benefit, and mine alone, as I don’t believe I have the right to manipulate anyone else’s life. And I believe that Karma will out eventually.

I believe that being a Witch is as simple as that. It’s in your heart, it’s in your soul, and it’s who YOU know you really are. Not because someone gives you permission to be one simply because you read and adhere to someone else’s views as written down and published. Or because you attend meetings once a week, or once a month, or even once a quarter.

But because YOU know you are. And whether you are solitary or a member of a group, no matter what that group represents, you are really on your own. You must practice, practice, practice, and hold that knowing in your own heart…alone.

That’s what makes you a “real Witch.”

The Pagan Man

The Pagan Man

Author: Panisch Lockelear

When you see images of the green man, Hermes, and the horned gods of many pagan religious paths, it is easy to deduce that the male role is important within out pagan society. When I was younger, I went from elder to elder seeking to understand my role as a male in the ways of the various pagan paths. Although my findings were varied, a single idea prevailed. One of a strong man, full of wisdom. A protector of the innocent and a hunter and provider.

This was somewhat different from the images I was exposed to as a younger pagan male. The men that made up most of the pagan community seemed to be a little more and a little less, when measured to this general sense or idea of a pagan man.

On first impressions of the male pagan, I saw a man full of strong drink, drumming from dusk until dawn, a savage sexual appetite, and servant to the woman of their choosing. On the other hand I could also see a man that cared about his own and all children. I found a wealth of teachings about the land we call mother, and the ways and order of the circle of life we all share.

I must say that many ways and experiences from the pagan men who influenced me greatly, were in my mind conflicting. How could a strong man be a hunter, provider and protector of his clan or those who he was sided and also be sub servant, nurturing and bow to what seemed like a lesser position within our religion?

The men, who I learned from, were all of these things and more. Why then would they seem to take a lesser position within our pagan community?

In talking to a man who had the greatest impact on me as a pagan young man, I learned a lot from my mentor and elder Pond hopper I think he had the greatest impact on me, because he seemed to always have time to answer my often strange questions. He took the time to explain this to me and what I noticed was these were teachings he himself actually lived by.

I remember getting into the subject of pagan male role models and I asked him who his were. His answer surprised me. He said ‘ the Grey Squirrel’.

His words hit home for me. ‘You see, the Grey Squirrel helps his mate to make a house in the trees for the family, he helps her in gathering nuts and food for the long winter’. ‘ When a wayward bird comes along to attack him and his young, he becomes a fierce fighter, yet to see the male Grey Squirrel with his young, he is tender and playful.’

I thought on this and quickly replied to Pond hopper asking him, ‘ well what about sharks or fish, who eat their young or leave their young to fend for themselves, never becoming a part of their life?’

I realize his reply to me now was to make me think for myself. He said to me, ‘ Have you ever heard on the television or read in a paper where a man hurt one of his kids or left his family alone?’

Then he asked me…’ Why do you think that is?’

Of course I had no idea at that age as to why. Later on he explained by simply asking, it is funny how we mirror nature and nature seems to mirror us? The fact is we are not being mirrored at all, because we are apart of this circle of life.

We must play our role in this circle. The only difference between the animals and us is the fact that we can choose. We can choose to either be like the Grey Squirrel or like the shark. I pondered this for many years and found a lot of honor in his teachings.

I slowly began to understand that a good pagan man could be fierce and strong when need be. He can be a hunter and he can be a teacher as well.

A mature pagan man also understands that he is apart of a larger circle as well and must learn to adapt, live and work within both the clan family and the natural circles he finds himself in. I learned that there is a natural order and there is a wisdom needed to be able to navigate this order. This is something the pagan male will strive to become comfortable with by making mistakes and testing his bounds.

Falling down, becomes our teacher and the prize is wisdom. I have fallen down a lot in my life and on my pagan path. For that, I thank the gods and pond hopper for the effort and the gift of time they took to raise me to be a pagan man.

I still strive to understand the mother Earth and her circle that I must be a part of. I learned that I would fall down and in doing so I will learn. I know now that the role of the pagan male is something different to all of us depending on the teachers we have had. The way we have gained our wisdom to navigate the circles we are in are important. They are as important and those elders who take the time to teach us.

I am reminded that in my life as a pagan male, I am a role model for those younger men who watch me. They look to me for the knowledge needed to find their place within the circle as hunters, providers, protectors, servants, and men of real wisdom. I know that I owe a debt to the circle of life.

I know now that Pond Hopper was a man that understood the need to lead by example. I also know that while I may fall down, this is not the end of me. To be strong enough to do that means that I am not relegated to a lesser role within the pagan religion. My role is very well defined and the gods and my mentors are my guides.

The Dream of Pagan Unity and Why It’s So Hard to Achieve

The Dream of Pagan Unity and Why It’s So Hard to Achieve

Author: Morgan

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ecumenism among Pagan groups; maybe its the recent flurry of Pagan Pride Day planning, maybe its the common refrain that so many people love to sing about wanting the community to all get along. Either way it’s been on my mind a lot, because it seems like, if everyone who wants unity among the various groups meant what they said, then we would already have it; yet as a community we are divided in many different ways.

Some people are limited by their own views of those outside of their particular group or tradition, some are stuck in old feuds or in personality conflicts, and some are simply stuck in the idea that their way is the only “real” way. So how do we overcome this? It seems easy enough, if we could only get everyone to acknowledge their own hang-ups and issues with unity we could all pull together – but realistically can it be done? Should it be done? Are there compromises that simply should not be made, not even for so often dreamed of a goal as this one?

When I started writing this I began by thinking of my own biggest block, a particular local leader that I have a small laundry list of issues with. And I asked myself, can I let these go? Some of them, I can answer yes for even though it would take effort. I am capable of letting the past go if I really put some energy into it, especially when he never did me, personally, any direct harm. It wouldn’t be easy but it could be done; however if I am honest with myself there are other issues as well that I don’t know if I could move past, ongoing things relating to integrity, truth in teaching – or I should say deception in teaching – and intentional perpetuation of ignorance that touch on areas where I have a much harder time looking the other way. And the bottom line of all this soul searching is that even when I try to put my personal feelings for this person aside, I am still left in a place where I do not want to be associated with him in any way.

How do we build community unity from that? And there is no other way; unity is not the same as tolerance. To be united as a community we must all stand together, and that is more than problematic when – in my own case – I have to always fight the urge to speak out against this person. How do we let go of the desire to let personal conflict and dislike interfere? How do we embrace community members that we simply do not like on a personal level?

How do we define our community? Who is in and who is out? Even within Paganism, in the subgroups of traditions and religions, this is a massive issue. How do we define “us”? We cannot hope to unite as a larger group of Pagans until we figure out who we are as smaller individual groups and that seems an impossible task when every sub-group is fractured by inner disputes. Group self-definition is like the Holy Grail, everyone is searching for it but no one can really find it. Do we include or exclude people convicted of crimes? All crimes, or only some?

Do we push out the snake oil salesman and false prophets that are selling lies while proclaiming it the only “real” Witchcraft/Heathenry/Druidism/etc., or would that very attempt put us on the same level of the more-pagan-than-thou types who cause so much dissention already? We must set boundaries for the safety of the community if nothing else, but how do we decide what those boundaries are and how do we enforce them?

One thing that needs to happen to start is that as a group Pagans need to stop nitpicking each other; if another tradition has a different way of doing things that you disagree with on purely theological or personal grounds let it go. If it’s not your group, why do you really care how they are doing things? If a group is engaging in dangerous, illegal, or manipulative practices that’s a whole different issue, but differences in approach shouldn’t matter. We waste way too much energy fighting over how other people do things, instead of looking for the common ground.

So at the beginning of this I asked if Pagan unity can be achieved, and I think the answer is yes, and no. We can form a stronger, larger community if we find a way to put aside the differences that can be put aside, like letting go of the ideas that any one particular way is “the” way, or “the” tradition. As soon as people start saying that they are the “true” Witches (Heathens/Druids/etc., ) they have set up a rigid dichotomy of us against them, and if you aren’t with them then you aren’t “real” and therefore aren’t legitimate; that attitude has to go right from the start.

I may not agree with someone, I may even hate everything about what he or she does and how he or she does it, but that doesn’t make them less “real”. Of course acknowledging that they are really Pagan, or whatever they are identifying as, does not mean that anything they are saying is true or accurate. (There is also a deeper argument about people claiming to be part of initiatory traditions when they aren’t – that isn’t what I’m talking about here, I simply mean the broad labels that are largely matters of self-identification) .

The flip side of that coin, and this is where the “no” part of the answer comes in, is that some things can never be compromised and we as a community need to stop acting as if anyone calling themselves pagan is automatically a good person. People are people no matter what their faith and some pagans are good people and others are pretty crappy people, just like everyone else. It’s okay for us to say, “no I won’t be associated with that person” if the reason is legitimate and we have really looked at whether we can compromise on this.

That means that true, complete unity will never be possible because there will always be people identifying as Pagans who contribute nothing but dissention to the community. There are online “trolls” and there are real life ones, there mentally unstable people, there are pedophiles and violent people, and there always will be, and these are issues that the community will always have to contend with. Being pagan does not mean that all the bad in the world and in people just disappears, but we can acknowledge this fact and deal with it. So unity is a utopian idea, but building a strong ecumenical community isn’t. That dream could be possible.

Building a larger community depends on putting aside the little things like personality conflicts, pride, and mistrust of other traditions, and embracing the things we have in common. It means working together to build a larger sense of community, not to homogenize all the traditions into one, but to respect the differences and the similarities; it’s our diversity that makes us such an interesting group. Pagan community can be built and made strong, but not without real effort and soul searching from all of us – and that’s why it remains a dream and not a reality.

How to Meet a Real Witch

How to Meet a Real Witch

Mar 3, 2011 Charlz dela Cruz

If you are really interested in practicing Witchcraft and would like to meet a real Witch, here are the helpful and tested tips you can do:

If you are interested in the practice of Witchcraft, it could be beneficial for you to have a friend who has long been engaged in the Craft. She can guide you along the magical path and she might eventually even be your best friend. But where can you find a real Witch whom you can trust?

Online Help

Thanks to the advancement of technology, finding a Witch who might even be your neighbor can now easily be done at the comfort of your own home. There are various online sites you can try; and Witchvox is one of the best websites which the author can recommend.

Witchvox.com is an online site with numerous listings of Pagans, Witches, Sorcerers, and all other people engaged in the arts magical. People who are listed therein come from different countries around the world. You can view their profiles; which means that you can know more about them; you can even send them an email via the same site.

Attend Gatherings

A Witch gathering is exactly what the name implies: A special event where Witches gather together. Many Witches do not anymore live in hiding; schedules of events in relation to the Occult Arts are, from time to time, being posted and shared with other people, especially online. Again, Witchvox is an excellent site for this. Usually, a gathering is open to all Witches regardless of what path they follow. Most of the time, even people who are merely interested in the practice of Witchcraft may also attend the said gathering. Hence, it is an excellent opportunity to meet people who share the same Magickal interest and passion as you. Moreover, once you attend a gathering(even just once), you will easily meet so many practitioners already; you can take the opportunity to befriend them and perhaps contact them and schedule for a more personal meeting.

Contact a Coven

There is a good chance that there might be a coven(a group of Witches) in the city where you live. If you can manage to get the contact number of any of its members, you can easily call or text them about your concern. Do not worry, many Witches are very friendly(perhaps even much friendlier than you are).

Ask a Friend

Of all your friends, perhaps even just one of them knows somebody who is honestly deeply engaged in the practice of Witchcraft. If not personally, he might still be able to give you a lead towards someone who is.

Invite a Friend

If there is really no way possible to meet a good and credible Witch and you are very eager to have a Witch-friend with you. You may invite a friend who also shares the same passion as you to your home. Eventually, the two of you may find yourselves already deep into the Craft. You need not to look far; perhaps your best friend is that Witch-soon-to-be you are looking for.

Cast a Spell

Cast a spell that will bring you the Witch that you want to meet. Ask the multiverse for help and guidance. Have faith. It is not so hard; and it works.

Wear a Pentacle

A necklace with a pentacle pendant is usually worn by Witches not only for magical purposes but also for the advantage of being identified as a Witch. If your intuition says so, you may try to approach people who wear the said symbol. You can even wear one for yourself and perhaps that Witch you are looking for will be the one to introduce herself to you.

Be Open

Let the universe take its natural course and just be open to it. Join even just an online group related to Witches. Who knows, that friendly Witch might be the one looking and waiting for you. Be open.

Afterword

There are many ways to meet a Witch just as there are countless of means to meet another person. In your dealings, be careful and know if it is safe to meet a particular person. Moreover, somehow unfortunately, the world is filled with people who claim to be Witches but do not really know what they are talking about. Again, be careful.

Meeting another person who is also deeply engaged in the same calling as you could be beneficial and it can be very fun. However, it is not a requirement to become a Witch; and meeting more, and more practitioners of the Craft will never make you more-of-a-Witch. If you are a Witch, then you are.

Have fun.

Blessed be.

Copyright Charlz dela Cruz. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.