Daily Archives: December 8, 2011

2012- A Witches View of Life and the ‘End’

2012- A Witches View of Life and the ‘End’

Author: Fayte Ravencraft

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard of the phenomenon that is 2012. The calendar of the ancient Mayan civilization ends on December 21, 2012, and many believe that it spells out disaster for our planet. Others think that it will be a time of transformation and spiritual rebirth. Here is the opinion of one humble Witch:

I won’t lie and say that the whole ‘2012 hysteria isn’t a little scary. I mean we have several extremely rare celestial occurrences, which also coincide with this exact date, which seem to add to the possibility of strange or catastrophic events occurring. The Earth and the Sun will be perfectly aligned with the ‘Great Rift, in the center of our galaxy, and this alignment is said to occur only every 21, 000 years or so. The Sun will also reach its solar maximum, the peak in its level of sunspot activity. Scientists have noticed recently that the Sun has been alarmingly weak for this point in the cycle — the lowest in over one-hundred years according to one article—, which may mean, in my own opinion, that when the Sun activity does pick up, it may cause a little trouble here on Earth.

The Sun’s own magnetic poles are supposed to switch in 2012 as well, which may cause further issues here on earth. These are simply the facts. Not even the most brilliant among us can truly say what they mean because it has never happened before in recorded history, and all theories are just that: theories. I encourage you to do your own research before coming to any assumption, and do not panic about the ‘approaching disaster, ” because there is not necessarily anything to be worried about. You do, I’m sure, remember the same mass hysteria about the supposed apocalypse in 2000, which never occurred.

I say all this simply so that you, the reader, may come to your own conclusions as to what the future may hold, and so that you know just what everyone is causing all the commotion about. I have listed as many Internet sources as possible so that you may further research them if you wish.

It is my personal feeling that December 21, 2012 will be a time of extraordinary power, a time when the veil between the worlds will be at its absolute thinnest. The Great Rift in the center of our galaxy has always been symbolic of the creative power of the Goddess, the ‘Great Womb, so to speak. The fact that the Sun, the symbol of the Lord, The Great Rift, a symbol of the Lady, and our Earth will be aligned will have a significant meaning magickally. There will never be a better time in our lives to perform magick of all types especially that of the divinatory type.

I do feel like it is a significant milestone in the history of human kind, and that, for those of us who are enlightened and willing, it is the perfect time to reach the maximum of our potential. Being a time of great power, it is also a time when we can make a powerful commitment to change things, both within and without, and to decided just where it is we want to go with our lives. Any energies set to work during this rare alignment are going to have extraordinary results, so why not use this as a time to heal the Earth, and with it, all of mankind. The Maya knew that this would be a time of immense power, and both feared and respected it.

We have a great thing here on our planet, and we too often take even the air we breathe for granted. The gifts we have received from the Universe have been greater than we could ever ask for, and it is time now to realize that. I am not convinced that 2012 marks the end of our world, but I certainly hope it marks a great change within the heart of mankind. We must learn to be grateful for all that we have; our lives and this astoundingly beautiful planet, or we might as well have never been here. I hate to say it, but if by some chance the world truly does end in 2012, I am just glad that I’ve had the blessing of spending this life on this beautiful planet. If it doesn’t end, I hope we all do our very best to be more appreciative; we have a good thing going on here, and we get too caught up in the daily grind of things to realize it sometimes.

While I do not feel that the world is truly about to end, I do think that we need to start living as though the end of the world were today, because it very well could be. We have never been guaranteed any amount of time here, and should view every second, the good and bad, as a gift. If we could truly follow ‘In perfect love and perfect trust, ” and have that love and trust towards ourselves and our fellow man, we would truly be making the absolute best of our time here.

As the great Henry David Thoreau said:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Let us learn all that we can in this life so that when the end comes, we will have the satisfaction of knowing that we have done something that few ever have: Truly lived. If we can say in all honesty that we have lived a full life, then we cannot possibly grieve at its ending. We were lucky even to have one day here, let alone an entire life of loving, laughing and learning! The Great Cycle will continue eternally and we are all but small parts of the infinite cycle. When we embrace the entire cycle, life, death, and rebirth, then there is absolutely nothing to fear.

Nothing is ever truly destroyed, simply changed; and change, my friends, is a very good thing. Embracing change is embracing life.

Blessed Be,
Fayte Ravencraft



Footnotes:
Interview with NASA Solar Scientist

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/sthttp://www.witchvox.com/vu/fms/farticle.htmlory.php?storyId=128268488

http://www.interestingfacts.org/fact/2012-interesting-facts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4JuoBD56HQ

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Druidic Wicca: A Deeper Exploration

Druidic Wicca: A Deeper Exploration

Author: Rev. OakLore

Human beings are drawn naturally toward the mystical. Perhaps it is the Divine seed within us that whispers to our spirits and beckons scholars and skeptics alike to contemplate the timeless message of the Druid tradition.

What would the world look like if seen through a Druid’s eyes? Nature would be elevated, once again, into a position of noble equality. It would be revered and protected as a sentient living and Divine presence. It would no longer be seen as something to simply dominate and exploit for wealth, entertainment or power. The mystery of nature would reemerge and we would suddenly be filled with wonder.

Within the wonder and mystery of nature is the flame of hope for mankind. Druids kindle and tend that flame with great care, full in the knowledge that what good is performed today, shall forever be felt in the years and generations to come. Humankind must not remain alienated from the very home of our spirit, but return to it, love it and celebrate that union, found in the gentle rhythms of the world of Druids.

Why The Druid Path?

Druids receive Divine inspiration or “Awen, ” which manifests itself in a variety of ways. Inwardly, the changes are subtle ones. Our conscious minds are opened to the greater possibilities of the world and awaken, thirsting for knowledge. Our subconscious minds are opened and the mystery within pours forth and awakens in us senses, long asleep, and we are suddenly aware of the unseen world. These gifts enable us to grow and continue our journey toward enlightenment, gathering in the knowledge and wisdom of those who journey with us now, and all those who have traveled this way before us. We together — past, present and future — shall converge in the center of all that is and find the source of Awen, which is Truth.

Druid spirituality is simplistic: Nature is Divine. There is nothing to divide you from your Gods, for They are manifest in everything! They speak in the soft whisper of wind stirring the trees. They sing with the water rushing in the streambed. They sprint through the forest, wing breathlessly skyward or remain as still as stone. Our hearts cannot escape Their gentle touch and neither shall They remain untouched by the love we give Them in return.

But Druid spirituality is also complex. We honor simplicity yet highly value the pursuit of knowledge and truth. The exploration and quest for truth becomes one of such intensity as to almost define a person’s soul. We explore the concept of reality and existence and its impact on the trinity of body, mind and spirit. We find ourselves provoked to deeper thought and further exploration and interpretation of life experiences. So too do we engage in conscious devotion to spiritual pursuits and the soulful exploration of our higher self. We seek the love, comfort and affirmation of communion with the Divine.

The term “spiritual progression” can probably best be defined as a labyrinth, in which we slowly, through the course of many lifetimes, achieve a greater understanding and awareness of our spiritual self, as well as the universe and the nature of all existences. This journey takes place on the plane of “Anwynn” or “place of rebirth.” It is here that our energy consummates its eternal longing for the Divine creator. This is the place of soul rest where healing and compassionate understanding is a sweet cup from which we drink. As we traverse the wheel time and again through the natural process of birth and death and rebirth, we attain spiritual progression. The purpose of spiritual progression is to bring the soul to a level that Buddhists might characterize as “total enlightenment.” This level of achievement is marked by a shift in awareness to embrace, with total understanding, the mysteries of the universe. Without further need to experience the mortal plane, the spirit moves away from the process of rebirth and goes to its ultimate reward, union with the Divine.

A Druid better understands these mysteries by mapping the soul’s journey through time. The Druid calendar is divided into an eight-fold year. Each holiday represents an event in time, the changing of seasons and celebration of the fertility and abundance of this our Earth Mother. There are four solar festivals, which celebrate the equinoxes and solstices dividing the year into four equal parts. There are four fire festivals that commemorate historical events as well as the passage of time.
Upon this wheel of the year we can plot the course of a human lifetime: birth, coming of age, young adulthood, middle age, elder years and finally death. This is a gentle and comforting wisdom that instills in us the natural cycle of our existence, which is in harmony with the cycle of all creation. We discover our own mortality and also the promise of immortality secure in the knowledge that the circle of life is indeed a circle.

We often find ourselves filled to brimming with the knowledge we gain as we traverse the wheel. We seek out means by which we can express and/or illustrate these events making them available to others. We reach into our own center to find wisdom and embrace the sacredness of life. Through artistic expression, esoteric knowledge, divination, natural philosophy and other means, we share what we have learned, as we walk the paths of the Bard, the Ovate and the Druid.

Contemporary Druids hold as truth that the mortal soul is not limited unto itself, but enjoys a greater communion with the energy of all living things and indeed the Divine source. When we come fully into this awareness there is within us a startling metamorphosis. We begin to see clearly our connection with all life and know that all life is sacred. That sacredness not only forms the foundation of all life, but is the root of Druid philosophy.

Chris Travers in his 1996 essay, Who were the Druids writes, “The picture that emerges of a druid is one of a thoughtful philosopher and magician, schooled in the lore of the traditions, and in charge of the education of the chieftains as well as those who sought esoteric knowledge. A druid is a knower of truth.”

So we see that from both historical and contemporary perspectives, Druid philosophy, though shrouded in mythological beginnings, has a poignant relevance in today’s world. Druidry is the wellspring from which human beings will begin to once again recognize and accept our role in the circle of life, rather than trying to dominate or change it. We will begin to honor and love all creation, for it is the embodiment of the Divine. We shall honor our ancestors and harken to their voices and their spirit. We will not be afraid of the wildness of our own spirit that beckons us to explore and renew our connection with the blessed land and with the Gods. We will walk with dignity these modern times, and live the Elder Ways not only for the betterment of self, but for the benefit of all.

The Harmony of Wicca and Druidry

“While the cunning folk (Witches) worked alone or in small groups, and were the local wise people and healers in rural communities, the Druids were an organized elite, exempt from warfare and paying taxes, and they acted as judges, teachers, philosophers and advisors to chieftains, kings and queens. They appear very different to the image that we hold of Witches, until we examine them in more detail.”

— Excerpt from Druidcraft: the Magic of Wicca and Druidry by Philip Carr-Gomm

From the writings of the earliest historians of the period, we have come to know that Druidry as an ancient practice was divided into three areas of specialization: Bard, Ovate and Druid. The Druids were priests, teachers, philosophers, and in many cases, as experts in the law, would preside as judges and mediators. The Bards were poets, musicians, storytellers, keepers of lore and myth; they were enchanters, as easily able to bewitch as to entertain. But of these specializations, it was the Ovates—the seers and diviners, healers and herbalists—that are most akin to what we would describe as “witches.”

With the coming of Christianity to Western Europe around the sixth century C.E., the Druids had been assimilated as part of the professional elite in the new social order. Their assimilation was both professional and religious; they were compelled to embrace the new faith and apply their expertise toward building a society ruled by the church. On the other hand, the Bardic profession continued to flourish, although its religious emphasis (being pre-Christian) became somewhat diminished. Bardic schools continued to exist in Ireland, Scotland and Wales even into the seventeenth century. The Ovates, however, seemed to disappear from all record.

What this suggests however is not that the Ovatic stream died off—much to the contrary in fact—rather that it went underground. The teachings though less formal than before, became passed from generation to generation in a largely oral tradition. Evidence suggests that over the generations that came after them, the Ovates eventually became known, in close-knit circles, as “cunning folk, ” or “Wicca, ” meaning “wise ones.” It is from this meaning that the modern term “Wicca” finds its place in contemporary Paganism.

In the same chapter of the book Druidcraft as is quoted above, author Philip Carr Gomm goes on to say, “When the two worlds of Witchcraft and Druidry are brought together, we find at the place of their meeting the figure of the ‘Ovate-Witch’ who presides over a knowledge of the mysteries of Life and Death, whose cauldron offers the wisdom that is known in Druidry as ‘Bright Knowledge.'”

It is easy to see then where the harmony between Wicca and Druidry lies; for indeed Wicca owes its origins to Druidry, and Druidry, in no small way owes its survival to the Wicca, who in generations before them were the Ovates of the ancient world. It was these “wise ones” who passed on their teachings through the generations, keeping their folk magick alive long enough to be re-discovered, revived and re-invented by scholars and visionaries like Gerald Gardner and Ross Nichols.

A modern embrace of Druidry and Wicca together as a way of life may involve a study of folk magick and metaphysics, respecting certain ceremonial rites and liturgies of worship, while also exploring the disciplines of philosophy, sciences and the arts, and culminate in an endless pursuit of knowledge, both spiritual and scientific. At the core of Celtic spirituality is the belief that all things are connected. It is a concept expressed in the earliest examples of Celtic art and literature, and remains a part of our spiritual heritage. And it is profoundly at the heart of what we mean by “the harmony of Wicca and Druidry;” that each tradition compliments the other, and can powerfully enrich the life of any Pagan.

In the Fellowship of Anamastia, we seek that enrichment through scholarship and well-founded liturgical expression that brings into our worship a marriage of the best aspects of both traditions. It is that which both illuminates the past and shapes our understanding of how to build a better future for the Earth and all the creatures that live upon Her. For more information visit us on the web at http://anamastia.webs.com.



Footnotes:
Nichols, Ross. The Book of Druidry. London: Thorsons, 1990.

Carr-Gomm, Philip, et. al. The Druid Renaissance: The Voice of Druidry Today. London: Thorsons, 1996.

Orr, Emma Restall. Principles of Druidry. London: Thorsons, 1999.

Rutherford, Ward. Celtic Lore: The History of the Druids and Their Timeless Traditions. London: Thorsons, 1993.

Carr-Gomm, Philip. Druidcraft: The Magic of Wicca and Druidry. London: Thorsons, 2002.

Buckland, Raymond. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1986.

Travers, Chris. Who Were the Druids?. accessnewage.com. 1996.

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Why Do You Want To Be A Druid?

Why Do You Want To Be A Druid?

Author: Sencha the Druid

When I stepped into the Sacred Circle thirty years ago and dedicated myself to a lifetime of the study of Druidry, one of the first questions I was asked was, “Why do you want to be a Druid?”
Every year since that day, I have asked myself the same question. It has been interesting to watch how those answers have changed over the years.

Back then, I didn’t feel quite at home with my Christian upbringing. I was more comfortable with nature than I was with church. I grew up on a farm in rural South Carolina, and nature surrounded me. Most of my playmates were animals, not humans. I saw then that everything was connected, and that everything depends on everything else for survival. So my answer then was that I wanted to learn more about nature, and how to reconnect myself with it.

I still feel that way, but I would add more to it if I were asked the same question today. I would add what I have learned after fifty years of journeying on this planet.

What I have learned is that a lot of us have disconnected from nature. We go to work in shiny metal boxes, and sit in shiny metal cubicles without windows, and punch buttons on other shiny metal boxes. We eat our chemically-processed lunches from more shiny metal boxes, and eventually, if we live long enough, we go off to spend our last days in a box called a ‘Retirement Home.’ Then at the end of our lives, we get stuck in a shiny metal box and put in the ground to wait for eternity.

We take vacations and spend one or two weeks visiting places in shiny metal tubes. Some of us go to amusement parks where we spend our days riding in shiny metal boxes for recreation. Some of us might actually go out into the woods on camping or hiking trips during vacations, but our lives are still dictated by a tiny shiny metal box called a ‘clock.’ We have to be home on schedule, after all.

To me, Druidry is an escape from shiny metal things.

It’s easy to see that we have so far removed ourselves from nature that we forget that it is the source of all life. We forget that we didn’t create the web of life…we’re just strands in it. What we do to nature, we do to ourselves. When we take ourselves out of nature, we remove ourselves from the source that gave us birth.

That isolation from nature has become ingrained in our culture. Material goods have become the things that matter in life. We have gotten to the place now that we define ourselves more by what we own than by who we are. Our mainstream religious institutions seem to support those who are hell-bent on destroying the planet, as do our governments and our corporate culture. In other words, even our mainstream religious institutions serve to disconnect us from Mother Earth, our source, our spirit and our home.

So how do we solve this problem?

Many would say that the way to solve it would be to enact legislation that protects the environment. I believe that there may be a place for such legislation, but I have rarely seen change come willingly from a top-down mandate. I believe instead that the most effective way to foster change is for it to take place in a grassroots sense, from the bottom up.

Lao Tsu suggested that if you really want to change a society, you start with the family unit, and not with the Emperor. This is especially true in a democracy, where the will of the people rules…or should, anyway, in theory. If enough of the people become interested in taking care of the planet, then governments, corporations and religious institutions will have no choice but to accommodate us…especially if they hope to be re-elected under a majority-rules democracy.

I live in suburban South Carolina, a very conservative place. In my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I work a lot with teens and their families.

I have discovered that even here in the Bible Belt, the coming generation realizes that many of our institutions have lost their way. These youth are hungering for something more meaningful. The traditional “me first” conservative values of the present American way of life are not their values. Many of them have an intense interest in Pagan belief systems and Earth-centered spiritualities. They are also intensely interested in environmental activism and in equal justice for all. I think this is a good sign for the future…in spite of the fact that many of them ask me not to tell their fundamentalist Christian parents about their beliefs.

There’s an old story about the Goose who laid the Golden Egg. In this fairy tale, the goose gives a farmer one golden egg per day. But one day the farmer, in his greed, decides that he wants all the golden eggs at once. So the farmer kills the goose and cuts it open in order to get to all the eggs. But when he cuts open the goose, he finds nothing. So not only does he not have a huge pile of golden eggs, he has also killed the source of what golden eggs he could have gotten if he had been more patient and less greedy.

In our constant hunger for more and more material possessions, are we, in fact, killing the goose? How much longer can our planet provide for us if we continue to fail to live in a sustainable way?

That is why I want to be a Druid. That is why I continue to choose Druidry as my path and as my way of being in the world. Druidry teaches us that we are not separate from nature; that what we do to nature, we do to ourselves as well. As our traditional mainstream religious paths become increasingly anti-nature, followers of these religions will continue to fall away. I believe that deep down, at an almost instinctual level, we realize what we’re doing to our planet.

Many of the followers of mainstream religions will be seeking a spiritual path that allows them to honor both nature and the natural world. I believe that Druidry is one of those spiritual paths. I believe that Earth-friendly spiritual paths are the way of the future, if we are to have a future at all.

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The Sacred Household: Rites and Mysteries

The Sacred Household: Rites and Mysteries

Author: Ian Elliott

To Joseph Brazauskas, a true pagan

The Threshold

The sacred household in ancient and more recent indigenous cultures bears certain analogies to the human body. The front door is similar to the eyes, the hearth to the heart or solar plexus, and the central supporting pillar to the spine. Shrines or altars at these locations were guarded by spirits who were linked with internal spirits in each family resident, and the proper worship of the household guardians involved being on familiar terms with their inner analogues and tending their inner shrines.

This study of the sacred household uses the names of Roman household spirits, but it is based more broadly on a number of other cultures. We no longer live in Roman houses, so some latitude must be taken in locating household shrines; and we are not all of Roman descent, so some attention must be paid to the forms of piety practiced by our ancestors from other lands.

It is not enough to study household rites and set up modern versions of ancient shrines. Our early conditioning separates us from some pre-verbal modes of awareness, by teaching us to ignore certain readily available perceptions; these must be recovered if we are to properly install our internal shrines and so link them with those of the household. I have called practices that open up these perceptions ‘mysteries, ’ because having been forgotten they have become secret things.

The Roman god of the threshold was Janus, who has two faces, one looking outside and the other inside the home, as well as forward and backward in time. To enter a house, as H.J. Rose pointed out in Religion in Greece and Rome, is to begin something, and so household piety always began by honoring Janus at the threshold. His annual festival was on January 9th, and offerings at his shrine were made on the Calends (the day after the dark moon of the lunar calendar) , as well at the beginning of any endeavor, such as a journey; also on one’s birthday.

The Romans, even after they came under Greek influence, were by preference an aniconic people; that is, they preferred worship without images. Perhaps this was because they focused on the link between the inner and outer shrines and found external images a distraction. I keep my own threshold shrine simple, hanging a god-face about a foot and a half above a small offering shelf, the shelf set next to the front door a little above eye-level. On the shelf is a candle, a stick incense holder, toy-sized dishes for water and salted grain.

Upon crossing the threshold one always steps over it, never on it, and one should touch the doorpost as an acknowledgement of the threshold guardian and to receive his numen. We can tentatively define numen as liberating and empowering energy that is unknown or at least unfamiliar.

My prayer when offering to Janus is the same as the one I used when setting up his shrine:

Honor and thanks to you, O Janus,
for guarding the threshold of my home.
May only harmonious beings enter here,
and may the discordant depart!
Please accept these offerings of salted grain, water, light and scent,
Open this week [month, journey, etc.] for me on blessings,
and teach me to look out and in at once as you do,
so I may guard the threshold of my inner home;
for I, too, am a threshold guardian.

The god-face for Janus looks straight in, as I prefer to imagine his head imbedded in the wall, with his outer face guarding the outside of my doorway.

The Inner Threshold

This ability to look out and in at the same time holds the clue to Janus’ mysteries, to the pre-verbal mode of perception that will give us the ability to look in the same manner, outward and inward simultaneously. To do this we must ‘stand in the doorway, ’ and Douglas Harding provided the best description of this in his important little book On Having No Head. Harding was hiking in the Himalayas and one morning he suddenly saw the world differently:

“…I stopped thinking…Past and future dropped away. There existed only the Now, that present moment and all that was given in it. To look was enough. And what I found was khaki trouserlegs terminating downwards in a pair of brown shoes, khaki sleeves terminating sideways in a pair of pink hands, and a khaki shirtfront terminating upwards in – absolutely nothing whatever! Certainly not in a head.”

This nothing, however, was filled with everything: mountains, sky, valleys below, extending to the horizon. Harding felt light and liberated. He had ceased to ignore the sensations of his own headlessness, ending a habit acquired in infancy when told that ‘the baby in the mirror’ was merely his own reflection. In addition to his headlessness, he was now attending to the limits of his perceptual field. Consequently, he wasn’t tracking on this or that object, as we spend so much of our time doing, using our eyes as searchlights for our impulses and desires. Instead, he was looking at his whole visual field at once, and the lightness he felt resulted from dropping the burden of his eyes from incessant tracking, and of his mind from incessant thinking.

Indigenous peoples are aware of the difference between these two ways of looking at the world. When the psychologist C. G. Jung visited an Indian pueblo in the American Southwest years ago, he had a conversation with the local chief, Ochwiay Biano (his name means Mountain Lake) .

“The white man’s eyes are always restless, ” the chief told Jung. “He is always looking for something. We think he is mad.”
Jung asked him why they thought that.
“He says that he thinks with his head.”
“Why of course, ” answered Jung. “What do you think with?”
“We think here, ” he answered, indicating his chest.

There are two potential errors in assessing what Ochwiay Biano said. One is to take his words sentimentally, as if he were merely speaking of ‘heartfelt thinking.’ The other error would be to dismiss his words as expressions of a primitive, pre-scientific physiology. The Pueblo chief would not have been troubled to learn that Western science has determined through experiments that we think with our brains. This would have seemed to him irrelevant to what he was talking about, namely the sensation of where the thinker seems to be located in the body. We feel we are located in our heads because of certain muscular tensions around the eyes from tracking, and in our foreheads from ‘knitting our brows, ’ and performing other social cues indicative of taking thought. But these external muscular contractions, though spatially closer to the brain, are nevertheless external to it and involve muscles on the outside of the head. The feeling we get from them of being ‘in our heads, ’ therefore, is no more scientific than the feeling the Pueblo chief evidently got of being in his chest.

When we look at our headlessness, our chests come into view as the closest part of the body that is completely visible; and when mental talk quiets down as a result of tracking being replaced by restful awareness of the whole available visual field, words are employed only as and when necessary for external communication. The rest of the time one simply looks, listens and understands, and this quieter form of awareness allows feelings to come to the fore since they are no longer drowned out by incessant mental chatter. For these reasons, Ochwiay Biano felt that he thought in his chest, or solar plexus.

The Hearth

The ancients associated this part of the body, including the heart, with the hearth, and regarded it as the seat of memory. The hearth was the center of the home as well as the place of contact with ancestors. It was the place where the family gathered and traded experiences of the day, recalling in the process the words and deeds of the past. Without memory there is no family, even if the people living together are all related, as we know now that the hearth has been replaced by the television or computer as the central focus of the house, especially if meals are taken individually in the living room.

In the old days, the hearth gave heat and light to the home and was also where food was cooked. Nowadays some are fortunate enough to own a house with a fireplace, but they usually have a stove as well, so that the functions of the ancient hearth have become divided, and it is difficult to decide where to place the hearth shrine.

I have no fireplace where I live now, so my hearth shrine is near my stove. My stove is electric, but I keep a large candle in the shrine and light that, together with stick incense, when I want to awaken the hearth guardian. Additionally, I keep there somewhat larger versions of the offering dishes described above for the threshold shrine.

The hearth guardian is both a goddess and the hearth fire itself. In ancient Latium she was called Vesta. She accepts offerings for herself and also passes on some of them to the ancestors, godlings and blessed immortals. Because I cannot maintain a perpetual flame, I have a picture of her in my shrine, and close to her picture is a statuette of my family lar. The lar familiaris is an ithyphallic youth pouring wine from a wineskin into a chalice. He symbolizes the vigor and luck of my family line, and as such forms a link back to the ancestors, and onward to posterity. If I want to honor and pray to another deity, I can conveniently place his or her statue in the shrine for the occasion. This saves on shrines.

At the shrine or close by are photos of my parents and maternal grandmother. These are the ancestors who were my caregivers when I was small, and with whom I still share a bond of love. The Romans and other ancient peoples represented their ancestors by small clay figurines on the altar, as seen in some recent films.

When my offerings are laid out, I light the candle saying “Honor to fire, honor to Vesta, honor to the hearth.” Then I light the incense. Then I pray: “Holy Lady, please accept these offerings of salted grain and pure water, light and scent for thine own dear self, and pass on some to the lares and penates, the di manes, daimones and blessed gods, thanking them for their good regard for me and my family, and asking for a continuance of their favor.” To this basic prayer I add anything special for other deities.

While the fire is lit in the shrine, I call on my ancestors and talk to them. I let them know how things are going in the family with me, my sons and grandson, our concerns, blessings, problems and plans, just as I would if they were still in the flesh. If any of them has appeared recently in a dream, I thank him or her for the visit.

At the close of the rite, I bid farewell to ancestors and deities and extinguish the candle, letting the incense burn down. I say the opening prayer in reverse order, ending with “Honor to the hearth, honor to Vesta, honor to fire.” In Roman houses the hearth shrine was decorated with fresh flowers and offerings made at least three times in the lunar month: on the Calends, that is, the day after the dark moon; on the Nones, the ninth day before the full moon; and on the Ides or full moon itself. In Caesar’s solar calendar the Ides was regularized as the fifteenth of each month, which would place the Nones on the seventh.

The Inner Hearth

When we practice ‘standing in the doorway, ’ we naturally do not do so all the time, and this provides us with a contrast between the two modes of experience, so that we begin noticing things that were formerly invisible to us because they were constant. Some of these things are external to our minds, such as shadows and clouds, and some are internal. One of the internal things is the synopsis or background summary we take to experience, the mental account we refer to offhand when answering the common question “How is it going?” The synopsis is more readily observed in dreams, because it is different for each dream-story or sequence, whereas in waking life it is ongoing and only changes gradually except in moments of crisis.

When we enter a dream-story we generally enter in the middle of it, provided with a ready-made background that tells us where we are and what we are supposed to be doing. We are provided with dream-memories, sometimes selected from previous dreams (as in recurring dreams) , and unless we become aware we are dreaming, we do not question it or the actions of other dream-figures.

Similarly, in waking life we are generally absorbed by the problems and affairs of the moment, as supplied by an ongoing mental summary or synopsis. From this we derive our sense of who we are in the present and what we need to do. The synopsis is based on a selection of memories, and these change gradually unless we are in the throes of a crisis, in which case we need to revise our orientation, sometimes on the basis of earlier memories, in order to cope with the situation. At times our synopsis can become so obsessive that we throw it over in a breakdown and temporarily become disoriented.

Standing in the doorway provides a milder sort of disorientation, as the contrast between it and our usual awareness brings the operation of the synopsis to the forefront of attention. Then, as in the onset of lucid dreaming (when we suddenly realize we are dreaming) , we become free to question who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing in the present moment. The process of interpreting present experience in terms of our usual selection of memories is suspended, and earlier memories are able to surface, bringing with them earlier feelings of ourselves and of life, derived from past synopses. This is a familiar experience when we go on a trip, especially if we visit old neighborhoods we haven’t seen in many years, and perhaps explains why we like to take such trips after surmounting a difficult crisis.

Vesta’s power to call up the ancestors from old memories works in a similar way, and when our focus of awareness has moved to the chest or solar plexus, continual standing in the doorway can help her to perform the same feat for us at our inner hearth, especially if we augment our headless attention with another pre-verbal mode of awareness involving sound.

The first stage is to listen to all the sounds around us, without dividing them into ‘background’ and ‘foreground’. This comes about naturally once our visual attention rests on the limits of the visual field instead of tracking on this or that object. It is easy for the attention to waver, however, so the focus on sounds must be augmented by mentally copying sounds just heard.

Small children learn to speak by mentally copying sounds, and there is reason to believe that animals do something similar. Mentally copying sounds and associating them with specific situations would seem to have been a major part of humanity’s pre-verbal thought processes.

Once we learn to speak, and to speak to ourselves, mental mimicry of sounds is relegated to a minor role and generally limited to copying sounds for which we have words. When we begin ‘thinking with the chest, ’ like Ochwiay Biano, our minds become quieter and we become aware of feelings and images for which we have no words, not because they are ineffable, but simply because no words have yet been assigned to those experiences. Consider smells, for instance. We have many words for colors and quite a few for sounds, but our olfactory vocabulary is very limited. If a dog could be taught to speak, he would find himself at a loss to describe the many odors in his daily experience. If he invented words for the many different odors, we would find it hard to understand him, lacking referents because we are purblind in our noses.

In the same way, this particular sound I have just heard has no precise word describing it. We can say, ‘that is the sound of a car engine, ’ as we say ‘that is a tree, ’ and ignore sensory detail in either case. Our everyday minds can deal with such thumbnail descriptions without having to disturb the selection of memories forming a background to our moment-to-moment synopsis. But if we mentally repeat the precise sound of that car that just went by, our memory background is rendered more porous, as it would become in a crisis, so that feelings and images from past memories are able to emerge.

I tried mentally echoing sounds just heard as an experiment in 1972, while walking along a busy street in Encanto, California. I was also keeping my sunglass frames in view, an earlier version of ‘standing in the doorway’. I did this for an hour or more, and recorded the results in a journal:

“The result of this double exercise was three full days, not counting sleep, in silent awareness of total sensation…At one point the feeling of lightness became like a breeze flowing through my body from back to front. Everything seemed to take on a bluish tinge…By the third day, the breeze had risen to a light wind and was blowing through my memories. My personal history, the sense of who I am, was being shuffled like a deck of cards…By the end of the third day the wind set me down somewhere else in myself; that is, my store of familiar memories was completely revised and my feeling of myself permanently changed from that point on.”

After this experience, my dead grandmother began visiting me regularly in my dreams. I noticed that in many of these dreams I appeared to be younger, and to feel as I did when she was still alive, but my understanding was linked to the present. It was common to realize at the time that I was dreaming, if not at first then as the dream progressed, for I would remember that she had died. These earlier feelings of myself, and of my grandmother when she was alive, enhanced a feeling of harmony with her and allowed us to converse in close intimacy. However, as I had no unresolved issues with her, there was nothing specific to work through. I usually asked her how she was, and she said fine, but she felt tired a lot, and this probably came from memories of her as she was towards the end of her life.

My practices of the threshold and hearth continued over the next several years, and long after my father died I did have some serious issues to work through with him. This took about three years to get through, during which time I was periodically out of work (I was doing contract programming and moving around a lot) . In both dream and waking I agreed with my father to resolve certain problems for good with him in exchange for obtaining help in finding employment. On each of three occasions, I received job offers within twenty-four hours of these conversations. Skeptics may make of this what they will; but taking the view that I was in contact with the spirits of my ancestors, it makes sense that they would find it easier to relate to me after I had recovered earlier feelings of myself and of them, which I had when, they were still alive.

The Pillar

Before chimneys came into general use in the Renaissance, the old-style hearth was usually located centrally under the smoke-hole in the roof, and the central supporting pillar or pillars were set close to it. The main pillar in pagan times corresponded to the World Pillar, round which the heavens appear to revolve and which links the Underworld, Middle-Earth, and the heavenly realms of the cosmos together. It also corresponds to the human spine, and the subtle passage therein known to yogis as the sushumna. An upright person has a straight spine and thus a direct link to the vigor of the ancestors. He or she can stand before the ancestors unashamed, with a record of honorable conduct.

In the old Roman religion, every man was born with a guiding spirit called his genius, and every woman a similar spirit called her juno. These were inner spirits, with a meaning originally connected in some way with sexual vigor, but later they became mixed with the Greek notion of a personal daimon who guided one through life. The connection of the genius with sleep and dream is suggested by the lectus genialis, located in the atrium just opposite the entrance-door. Rose conjectures that in the days of one-room houses it probably served as the marriage bed, hence its sexual significance; but in later times it persisted as a sacred furnishing that was reserved for the genius of the paterfamilias and never used by the house’s human occupants. Presumably the lady of the house had a similar place in the women’s quarters dedicated to her juno.

While we must do without a pillar in modern houses, we can set aside a special area in the home for meditation, and include a shrine to a personal guiding deity, giving external form to our indwelling genius or juno in the shape of an image if we prefer. A staff can be set up in a nearby corner to represent the pillar, perhaps with alternate red and white bands spiraling clockwise around it from the top to the bottom, like a Maypole. The main thing, of course, is to sit there with an erect spine, the seat being raised by one or two cushions.

If you offer to your patron or patroness (or directly to the genius or juno) as at the other shrines, ask for guidance or wisdom in both dreams and waking life. It is also good to do this before going to sleep. If you remember your dreams on awakening, take a few moments to ponder them and try to determine what the deity was saying to you. Even seemingly trivial dreams often contain a message if we take the time to examine them.

The Inner Pillar

As the World Pillar is the link between the realms of our cosmos and thus with the ancestors, so the inner pillar is our own personal link with them through memory. As we have seen, memory contains more than the record of events: Vesta at our inner hearth can recall past versions of ourselves, our feelings and impressions, our viewpoints, joys and fears, all the way back to birth, as well as that strange kind of nostalgia, with phantom images, associated with the distant past which we call far memory. Like the rings on a tree-trunk, these vital memories represent different stages of our growth-journey from the realm of the ancestors, and each is vitally available to the present moment.

It will come as no surprise, then, to learn that each man’s genius and each woman’s juno resides in the inner pillar of memory and has the job of guiding, not just our present selves, but each of these versions of ourselves, guiding all of them together. Thus, as Vesta calls back our previous selves and integrates them with our current self, the genius or juno shows us the path linking them, the plan our life has been following, and the living form of our self through time, of which our current self is the growing tip. For whereas the ancestors are concerned to help that growing tip, our current selves, with advice and vigor, our indwelling genius and juno are concerned with the growth of the whole plant, clear down to the roots. The journey down the inner pillar of memory, taken by the silent, inward-looking self, is not like a train-journey, which leaves behind each station as it travels to the next one. It is rather a projection of awareness from the present back through the past, uniting with the whole trunk of memory as it goes. As such, it is a preparation for the fuller integration that will take place in the Underworld after the death of the body.

In the Underworld the integrated soul will undergo further integration with its selves from previous lives. Thus, the answer to the question, “What age shall I be on the Other Side?” is “All ages to which you have attained.” This is expressed beautifully in the Lakota (Sioux) myth of Falling Star. It seems long ago there were two sisters who wished to marry stars when they grew up. Then, when they were about to go to bed, two men appeared outside the flap of their tepee:

“They were men, but they were not like other men, for they made the light they lived in, and there was no shadow where they stood. This light was soft and kind, and when the two men smiled, it spread about the sisters so that they were not afraid at all. Then they saw that one man was young and one was very old. The younger one was taller than any man the girls had ever seen; but the older one was even taller. I think he stood above the other like a tree, and the light which he made was that much brighter. He was old, old; but he was young too. I think he was older than the other because he had been young so much longer.”

Journeys down the inner pillar can take place in lucid dreams or in waking moments when inner silence begins to deepen on its own, spontaneously. The latter experience feels like being in an old elevator that has suddenly slipped its cable a little. There is a feeling of being lowered into deeper silence. Present sensations continue, but new senses open up, or perhaps feelings, for which we have no descriptions. These seem to be showing through the current landscape, if we are outside, that is. Time undergoes subtle changes as well, with the mind taking in more rapid details occurring, as it were, between successive instants of time. This continues until one has had enough and decides to re-surface into the everyday present.

Standing in the doorway and mentally echoing sounds just heard help to set up lucid dreaming. Additionally, after closing your eyes at night, instead of becoming immersed in thoughts, watch your phosphenes, the lights and shapes created by the pressure of the eyelids on the optic nerve. As we fall asleep, dream images will naturally become superimposed on our phosphenes; but if we fall asleep while watching instead of thinking, we shall watch the images in our dreams afterwards and be less caught up in the words of the dream-synopsis. When dream images become superimposed on phosphenes, it is like a door opening, and when it is fully open we are asleep and immersed in a dream. If we have watched our phosphenes change into dream-images, it is only a step further to realizing we are in a dream, when the journey down the inner pillar can commence.



Footnotes:
Bibliography

BERNSTEIN, Frances, Classical Living, San Francisco, Harper Collins, 2000.
ELIADE, Mircea, Shamanism; Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, New Jersey,
Princeton University Press, 1964.
HARDING, Douglas, On Having No Head, London and New York, Arkana , 1986.
JUNG, C. G., Memories, Dreams, Reflections, New York, Vintage Books, 1963.
NEIHARDT, John G., When the Tree Flowered, New York, Pocket Books, 1974.
OVID, Fasti, transl. by A. J. Boyle and R. D. Woodard, New York, Penguin Books,
2000.
ROSE, H. J., Religion in Greece and Rome, New York, Harper and Rowe, 1959.

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On Creating Magick

On Creating Magick

Author: Lady Wolfwind

I have been blessed with another bright and beautiful day. I’m not sure what I will do with it. It is like a gift to me. I think for a while I will just lay in my chair outside under the tree. It’s my favorite place to be when I choose to seek peace. For a while today, I think I will try a visualization meditation. I find that I can travel anywhere and see anything I choose to. When I come back to a waking state I feel refreshed, more alive. The mind is a wonderful tool if we learn how to use it.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I feel the breeze blowing and lifting the ends of my hair. I feel the touch of the sun on my skin. I concentrate on my breathing. In, out, in, out. I let all the stress leave my body. I feel it slowly melt out of my fingers and toes. In my mind, I open my eyes. I have been transported. Today, I float on a raft in the middle of a lake far, far away. It is not where I live now, but my native state of New York.

I continue to breathe. I am alone. All around me are the trees of autumn. It is a warm fall day. The maples and the poplars are decked out in all their glory, the orange, the gold and the browns that make this time of year special to me. It’s funny; when I left, it was August. At this place and time, it is October, my favorite time of the year. I take a deep breath and I can smell the water all around me. I can smell the crisp scent of the leaves and the subtle scent of my mother, the Earth. I open all of my senses. I can feel the breeze on my skin and also the warmness of the sun. There is promise of winter in the air. A sense of someone whispering and telling me to enjoy this day, this gift. Soon the snow will be flying and the earth will rest for the winter.

As I listen I hear the quiet swirl of a fish that has come to the surface to snatch a bug. I hear the singing of the frogs on the nearby shore. It’s as if they are singing a song just for me. I hear the leaves rustling and I realize that this is the music of the Earth. I just lie on my back and look at the puffy white clouds in the sky. I remember when I was a child and I could lie for hours and pick out shapes and animals. Today, I spend some time doing the same. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to just stare into the sky without a worry in the world.

After some time, I grow bored with the clouds and I flip onto my stomach, lay my chin on my arms, and stare at the reflection of myself in the water. I smile. I am so at peace. I know that this feeling will follow me for weeks to come. I also know that I can travel this way whenever I need to. I focus deeper and see small minnows swimming just beneath the surface. I also see small bits of moss suspended in the water floating by. I let my one arm free and feel the refreshing coolness of the water. Part of me would like to take off my clothes and dive right in. At this moment I am too lazy to move. I close my eyes and drift in and out of sleep. I know that here I am safe. In travels there is nothing that can hurt me.

I lay here for a few hours, dreaming of my life at home and of the people I know. The rustle on the bank interrupts my thoughts. It is a family of rabbits stopping by to take a drink. The mother rabbit eyes me nervously, but we communicate on a different level, without words. I sense that she understands that I mean her no harm and they continue to take a drink of the cool water. There are birds flying overhead, gliding on the current. I am sometimes envious of their ability to do this. At times I visualize that I am a bird in flight. I can hear the wind rushing past my ears and I feel the quietness that surrounds me. I look at the earth below and feel the freedom. Today, I just watch in amazement as this great creature glides over my head.

I am in no hurry. I know that I have left my body behind in a semi conscious state. I have nothing to fear there either. I continue to drift. After a time, I hear the cry of the loons. I’ve always thought it was such a haunting sound. I wonder what it would be like to lay on this raft at night. I’ll have to try it sometime. I wonder what sounds I will hear. Instead of looking at the clouds I can look for the constellations and contemplate how it must have been to live so long ago and have to chart courses using only the stars.

There are many places to go. I will wait for another day. After some time, I reluctantly let myself return to my body. I slowly open my eyes. I’ve been gone for quite awhile. The sun has changed position and it is cooler. I feel so at peace, I have a hard time describing this feeling of quietness within me. I sit in my chair for a while longer and allow my spirit to settle into my body completely. I laugh at the thought of someone asking me what I did today. “Well, ” I’ll tell them, “I traveled to another time and place and drifted on a raft, celebrating life.” Won’t they look at me funny?

Sometimes when I’m having trouble sleeping I will slip off somewhere and lie under the stars and look up at the moon. Before you know it, it’s morning and time to start my day. When life gets to be too much for me to handle, I escape somewhere else where life is more peaceful. Sometimes I may spend the day with my mother or father, lost long ago. We don’t usually talk, but we sit, quietly enjoying each other’s company for a few hours. If this is not a gift from the Goddess, then I don’t know what is. I have been blessed with this ability and I’m happy that I’ve shared it with you all here.

It didn’t just happen overnight. I’ve spent years developing my meditation techniques. I’ve spent years developing my imagination and my insights. It’s like anything else, it’s something you have to work at, but oh, so worth every moment spent. I get so lost in these places I visit, and the people who spend time with me there that I’ve often wondered what is real and what is imagined. At times, it feels as if I could reach out and hug my parents. Maybe one day I’ll try. I may scare myself though.

Once I had a dream. It has always haunted me. I dreamed that I was in a wolf’s body. It was a cold night. I was standing on the edge of a stream with my front feet in the water. There was a fallen tree beside me and I could smell the decaying of the wood. I could feel the coldness of the water on my feet. I turned my head and looked at my mate behind me. I looked right into her eyes. I woke up with a start. I expected to feel that my hands were wet. I have never had a dream so vivid before or since. I’m not sure of its significance. This is the way it feels when I visually meditate, except I am in control. I make up the sequence of events. This dream was spontaneous and very odd.

So, today, I share with you a little piece of me. I think that, maybe, we all have this ability, to let go of all the stress and slip away, if only for a few short moments. I’d like to think that we could all find a peaceful place in the middle of chaos, where we can breathe, where we can think, where we can focus on what matters, just living.

We all speak of the Goddess. What gifts has she given to you? Are you afraid to develop them, to use them? You may be surprised. I’d like to challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and test the waters of some of your abilities. She gave them to you for a reason. There is no reason to be afraid. We all have unique abilities. It’s part of your magic; it’s how you create magic.

Some ask how do you create spells or how do you create magic. I believe that it is all around you. The problem I see is that we don’t truly believe deep down inside. Ever since we were children we were told that such things were myths and did not exist. As a child, you know they did. We were bashed and brainwashed to conform and to not talk about such things. Look, deep inside of yourself. Find that magic and that belief again. You know it’s there, sleeping, waiting, wanting to come to the surface again. You would be surprised what magic you can create if you discover the gifts that were given to you.

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The Karma Hypothesis

The Karma Hypothesis

Author: Pagan Media that Bites.Com

“Karma is going to get you!” Really, oh really. I am an experienced mage and sage and I find that people tend to use the threat of Karma all too conveniently without a simple understanding of what Karma really is or the grass roots of the idea of Karma! I personally don’t believe that Karma ‘is going to get you’. In fact, I know Karma can’t get anyone. In the simplest refined thought, I find people who use this threat of Karma are a step down from folks who say, “That is a sin. You are going to hell”.

Let me explain the true ideology of Karma. If you read up on Buddhism they strike down the vulgar connotation that Western society has brought Karma to which, is unnecessary excessive baggage of fear mechanisms, i.e.: Something bad happens to another and they think, “ See that is Karma; it bit so and so in the butt. Karma got him/her!”

Buddhists actually liken that to ‘karmic fatalism’. It is as a crass derivative of western thought used in order to justify human suffering or undignified human injustice! Basically a person who uses this tactic is indeed saying that someone deserves to suffer, that people deserve injustices imposed upon them (such being targeted, lied about or being ganged up by others) .

Buddhists will tell you that this way of thinking of Karma is a misconception, is false and is NOT the true ideology of Karma. Early Buddhists and the grass roots of Karma was non fatalistic. Early Buddhists saw Karma as being of free will and free spirit but with feedback loops. Sort of like a parent guiding a child, you take two steps back and three steps forward to correct a behavior. Instead of Karma serving as a fatal act of causation, it was merely a stepping stone to help a person analyze a set of behaviors within him/herself and divert those behaviors in any direction that the Karmic person chooses by taking steps to promote the growth of one’s eternal spirit.

Karma was never meant to force a person to bow down with resigned powerlessness. It was never deemed nor meant to be an opportunity for someone to exercise infinite power over others by saying, ”Karma is going to get you!” It indeed was meant to invoke power into each person for growth, spiritual balance, and achievement and encourage the prospect of becoming an enlightened human being. So there you have it once more: Western society takes a concept and annihilates the true meaning of something good and makes into something dark and putrid in its menacing threat.

In ending this point, if one is going to adopt a language of the unknown then please have the decency to read up on the concept before adopting the language of the ideology and bestowing threats of harm to people simply because you don’t agree with others.

In short, Karma could be thought of as a flowing river of wonderful thoughts that are turned into human spiritual energies that are directed to the good not only of the Karmic person but also towards the entire universe. If Karma gets you, it will be one of the most beautiful and beneficial experiences that a person can have. It is not to be thought of as a justification for all that goes bad in a person’s life.

Now getting back to fatalistic extremes of the Karma threat: In spirit thoughts, we all have lessons to learn in life and within the core of our growing spirits we never stop learning or growing. In fact, we can pass on and we are still being taught, learning and growing. Thus we have both positive and negative experiences in life to insure that we grow in spirit.

Hypothetically speaking, whenever one wishes ill on a person by uttering the damning words ”Karma is going to get a person” then it is reasonable that the same person should anticipate that he/she too will suffer under the same justification that Karma would get him/her for wishing ill, bad things, and hate on others. The western thought of Karma is defunct and not in line with the true purpose and intent of Karma. Simply, Karma was always meant to help a person grow in spirit!

As pagans, we all journey — and transcend to that journey — as we go along our chosen paths. We all aspire to the variant paths that appeal to us as individuals. At the end of any cherished pagan appeal and path, our spirituality combines into one just as it does with anything called religion, spirit, or pagan.

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Is The Wiccan Rede Enough?

Is The Wiccan Rede Enough?

Author: Mr Araújo

I think that (almost) everyone found out about the Craft while in a quest for power, but we all discovered that Wicca isn’t about power or revenge at all. I myself was quite surprised when I read that this Path had only one law: “An It Harm None, Do What Ye Will”. “Easy!” I naively thought, but as I studied more about philosophy the more I understood that it wouldn’t be like so.

You have to ponder every future deed, consider any possible outcome and, basically, avoid getting in karma’s “To Do List” in terms of negativity. But is the Rede enough? Certainly it must have been for those whom accepted it after Doreen Valiente publicized it, but nowadays, there are so many possibilities and choices that I guess it can become harder for neophytes – and even those who have been acquainted to Wicca for several years – to know what do in every situation, it some times is for me.

There are so many new ways of interacting (namely, instant messaging) , new devices and distractions that it’s easy to get lost in them and forget the almost overwhelming power of our capability of choice. This is why I am going to show you what I see as the most important things to consider.

First, comes Justice. We all have to learn (if we already haven’t) to see everything that surrounds us in an unbiased way. This means that we must think as if we were another person when judging something, obviously because our personalities get in the way. I think that for those with a particularly “colorful” religious past (have followed more than one religion or, at some point, none) this is easy; I, for instance, can see the world through three different viewpoints: a Pagan one, an atheist one a Satanic one (I studied and practiced Satanism for some time) .

This allows me to be quite fairer when it comes to deciding how to treat others. If you can’t judge wisely, someone is bound to get hurt, even yourself.

Truth is the following point to bear in mind. I think that everybody has lied at least once in his or her life. Deceiving is a natural thing and we humans are quite good at it. I am not going to condemn lying – not at all! I’m all for lying, when there is a good reason for it. I only lie when I need to and, sometimes, when it’s the easiest way out of trouble. But I know that truth is important and I avoid lying to those closest to me, the Gods included, because every relationship is based on trust and honesty. If you can’t be honest to those you like the most, then you might as well not be with them, because you will always have something to hide.

A lie that cannot be “seen” doesn’t hurt, but once it is revealed the one who will receive most of the damage will be the liar. So, only lie when you really must, otherwise you’ll become Peter from “Peter and the Wolf”.

Next comes Honour, which is trickiest part. We all have been hurt by others, by various reasons, either sexuality, religion, personality, skin colour etc, and we all felt like it was time for some payback, but, most likely, we didn’t do anything and waited for karma to do its thing.
Personally, I believe that honour is essential and we have to defend it (I can almost hear the cries of rioters) . There are non-aggressive ways of defending yourself.

For example: imagine an old foe of yours becomes a work colleague. You obviously fear what he/she might attempt to do, so you decide to “rally the troops” (the colleagues you trust the most) and tell them about the person so they know why you dislike the person, but let them do as they wish.

If you practise Magic, then you are most likely to try to prevent any harm from being done to you by using it and a simple spell to “dissolve” the other person’s negative thoughts. That way, neither of you is harmed. See? There is such as thing as a peaceful defence.
Also bear in mind that the honour of those closest to you and of the institutions you are allied to should also be protected, ideally.

Hospitality is the final thing to remember. When I say “hospitality”, I refer mainly to the way you treat other people, mostly, new acquaintances. I think that Pagans are more welcoming and accepting of others than other people, mainly because we all know that there is no universal pathway that fits everyone. Each and every one of us has a different way of perceiving the world around us and that is a wonderful thing. We are a diversified community and must of us know how it feels to be an outcast, so we tend not to let others become outcasts themselves.

I try to accept everyone, and wait until they reveal more about themselves to make an evaluation: is the person worth to be kept around or is he/she a nefarious influence? This is, no doubt, hard at times, because our minds are built to almost instantly recognise what is similar and what is different from us, which leads to social segregation. Therefore, be welcoming and don’t be like those that may have once did you wrong.

Concluding, following the Wiccan Rede is, by no means, easy. You may find yourself searching for some guidelines, like I have, to make the job simpler, but there will always be that dilemma: you have to think twice (or many more times) before you act and often, the amount of time just isn’t enough. All we can hope is that we don’t offend anything or anyone, Ancestors and Gods included.

No matter what your choice is, remember that the Rede exists to help, not to condemn or prohibit – but it will surely restrain you from making grave mistakes.

I also would like to add that this essay was influenced by the Nine Noble Virtues of the Heathen Paths. The above interpretations and conclusions, however, are my own.

Merry meet and merry part, until we happily meet again!
Blessed be!

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Thought of the Day for December 8th

Witchy Comments & Graphics

“May Peace be your gift at Yule
and your blessing all year through.”

~ Author Unknown

 

 Thought For The Day 

~Magickal Graphics~

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