Daily Archives: December 29, 2011

Elemental Meditation

Elemental Meditation

Author: Mike

I wrote the meditation scripts featured below and have used them many times with wonderful results. Feel free to use them if you wish, for whatever situation seems best to you, whether it’s a working or just pure meditation. They are not long, but work best when read slowly with enough time between lines for the subconscious to do its job.

Fire Meditation

(Light a candle or a bonfire, whichever works best for you)

Breathe in.
Breathe deeply of the hot energy of life.
See the life in the flames, and the dance.
Nothing else exists but the fire in front of you.
Breathe in.
Close your eyes, and know that the fire is not just outside of you, but burning within your soul as well.
Feel the flickering dance of heat and feverish delight burning there.
Feed it.
You are not on fire; you are fire.
You are not burning up; you burn, and your fuel is the limitless energy of the universe.
Know that you cannot contain it, because this fire burns through all creation, bringing passion and light to all life.
Breathe in.
Let your fiery soul dance in a consuming whirlwind of divine flame.
Feel the boundless energy and joy that burning brings.
Laugh and burn, and share the fire with everything and everyone else.
It is a part of you, and you are a part of it.
Spin through the timeless ether in the ecstasy of eternal combustion…

Breathe in.
Let your soul fire die down a little, no longer the wild inferno, but a comfortable blaze, warming and soothing.
Breathe in.
Let it burn a little lower, still dancing; for fire always dances, but now it is a candle again, and sways and flickers with the drafts of time.
Breathe in, and open your eyes again to see the flame in front of you, and smile because the fire still burns in your soul…

Earth Meditation

(Find a stone that feels right and fits well in your palm)

Close your eyes.
Take a slow, deep breath, and let it out.
Relax.
Let your muscles all go limp so that you are only supported by your bones.
Enjoy this feeling.
Feel the weight of the stone in your hand, its shape, its size, and its texture.
Now forget all of these.
Understand the stone.
It is ancient, and it is the framework of the Earth.
Earth does not hear. Earth does not see. Earth does not feel.
Earth is not bothered by the petty scurrying of creatures that run around on its surface.
Let it communicate to you of serenity, and solidity, and strength, and the wisdom of age, and perseverance.
Know that you are of the Earth.
You have within you the strength of granite, and the serenity of an oak, and the ancient power of life.
You hold the primeval vastness of creation within you.
The cycle of birth and death and rebirth is cradled in your psyche, the violent force of a volcano, and the soft innocence of a fresh flower blooming.
Earth effortlessly serves it’s perfect purpose in the dance of the universe.
Understand your place in the universe, and realize the magnitude of potential you have within you to create.
Rest in the knowledge that you can perfectly fill your place in the Cosmos…

Now take a slow, deep breath, and let it out.
Feel the Earth beneath your feet, supporting you in everything you do.
Feel all of creation around you.
Feel the Earth holding you to her breast.
Open your eyes like the petals of a flower in the morning dew…

Air Meditation

(Sit somewhere outside so you can feel the wind on your face)

Close your eyes.
Pull the sweet Air deep into your lungs.
Breathe in the life of the Wind.
Feel the Air caress your skin.
Take another breath and begin to rise.
Feel the weightlessness of your spirit as it ascends and entwines itself in the Wind.
Leave your body relaxed on the ground, and send your mind and your spirit upwards.
The Air dances and flows around your spirit, bringing refreshment and enlightenment.
Cast off the weight of the physical world, and join your spirit as it dances with the Air.
Send out your thoughts through the sky, unencumbered by your body, totally free to go where you want them to.
Let your mind taste the colors as it floats through the Air.
Spread wings of light and soar over everything else, leaving the burden of consciousness heavy on the ground.
Ride the wafting updrafts, circling higher and higher, closer and closer to divine enlightenment.
Let your imagination leap through the clouds and embrace the eternal blue, and feel the freedom of the Air.
Float here in the ever-expanding sky…

Now take a deep breath, pulling in the power of the Wind, feeling it swirling around you.
Breathe it back out and send forth your will into the universe.
Take hold of that power, drawing it in and making it a part of you, there to use whenever you need it.
Slowly float back down, feeling solidity and substance in your body beneath you.
Feel the weight of the physical world again as you begin to regain consciousness, but bring with you the drifting freedom and enlightenment of the Wind.
Take a deep breath, and feel your body around you, the physical manifestation of your spirit and your soul.
Take a deep breath and open your eyes again, and remember your flight…

Water Meditation

(Gaze into a bowl of water, or immerse yourself in a bath, a pool, or a pond)

Gaze into the Water.
Look through the water, not to the bottom, but into the element itself.
Feel its cool refreshing flow around you.
Let it soak in to your body, mingling with the Water that is already there.
Take a deep breath, and plunge your soul in to the water.
Let the surface close above you, so that you are completely engulfed in pure liquid blue.
Feel the gentle healing eddies swirl around and through you, easing the tension in your mind and body and spirit.
Feel the currents pulling you back and forth, like the pulse of the planet, rocking you gently to and fro.
Continue to breathe in this bliss as your pain and stress are dissolved and washed away from you.
Feel the cleansing of your entire being.
Now catch a current that flows by you, swirl in to it and become the Water, coursing out to join the ocean of the universe.
Join with other flowing souls, until you are all a rushing river, racing towards the sea.
Leap over rocks and sand, splashing and eroding and playing in fluid joy.
Dive off the edge of time, cascading down into the infinite ocean of cosmic life.
Feel the ebb and surge of creation as your waves crash and spray and foam…

Now wash back up in to your body.
Soak in through your skin, all the way in to your soul.
Feel the purity and refreshment like a cool drink on a hot day.
Saturate your self with the healing essence of Water.
Feel it coursing through your body, from your feet, up your legs, into your chest and your arms, and up in to your head.
Open your eyes, and feel the healing calm still running throughout your body

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The Glamorous Occult

The Glamorous Occult

Author: Aegar Geihl

The Occult is a fascinating and stimulating area of study- for those who can handle it, and it opens up doors to new and enlightening experiences. This all is very interesting and is certain to attract a large amount of attention from teens, but do they know what they are getting into? With this article I hope to instill a bit of primer knowledge to many curious teens before they embark on a path they aren’t ready for.

I remember when I was first interested in the Occult. I Googled my brains out as I tried to find suitable information. For someone without an initial knowledge in the Occult that was very difficult. I ended up embarking on my first face-to-face encounter with Magick, only to find myself disappointed in the results of the event. It wasn’t until I matured both spiritually and physically that I realized what the cause of that night was. I was misinformed and completely unaware of the reality of these powers. This is my encouragement to provide an outline for those interested:

1. Take time to think about why you are interested in Wicca, Asatru, or whatever is tickling your fascination. Are you into it for the black cat, medieval garb, and fancy title? If so, then please rethink your decision as it might save your dignity (or your sanity) . If you are interested in the Occult for the lessons you may learn, whether good or bad then you may be on the right path.

2. It’s definitely not all fun and games, and anyone who tells you otherwise are most likely in it for the fancy title. You must remember that by contacting deities, spirits, etc. you are in the presence of something divine. They are not “cool” characters from a fantasy story. They are very real, and very in tune to you and your environment.

3. You will have to work very hard, especially if you are uneducated in the Occult. You will have to read everything you can on the path you are interested in, but if you have a true interest in it this will be your favorite thing to do.

4. It does not happen overnight. All of this will take time, and you will need to allow yourself time to breath. You have plenty of life left and all the time you need to learn what you want. If you make hasty decisions you will find yourself getting no results, or something much worse.

5. Always keep yourself protected. This is simple and should be one of the first things you learn about. Every time you open yourself up to the divine you are very vulnerable. Your aura will absorb negativity, as will your ritual space. You can keep your space clean of negativity by burning Rue (an herb) , and putting salt on the four corners of the room and your bed. These are two simple and effective ways to keep yourself safe.

Concerning Teachers:

1. Really get to know the individual in question. Are they knowledgeable in what they study? Do they show a deep care for their students? Do you feel comfortable around them?

2. Ask questions! If a teacher is legitimate they will have not dispute you asking simple questions such as “Who was your teacher?”. That one is a very good question to ask, and will show you their true colors almost immediately.

3. Don’t jump into this relationship, and yes it is a relationship. You and your teacher will be around each other a lot and should be very close.

It is important to remember that with all spirituality comes fraud. There are many people out there who deem themselves “High Priest Lizard Breath”, and claim they are the masters of all elements. Obviously this is exaggerated but don’t think it doesn’t happen. This is why I think it is so important to not be afraid to ask questions. It is you that will be getting to know this person and it is also up to you to question their authenticity. You wouldn’t give you social security number out to a total stranger would you?

The Internet is a great tool to meet people, learn about things, and even connect with groups, but you must remember that just like you these people are behind a computer screen. You do not know these people and to trust anyone without formal meeting/bonding can wind up very badly. This is why I find that commonsense is the number one rule. If you are always paying careful attention to your surroundings and others you will be less likely to run into some major problems along your path.

Rules for Approaching Gods:

In many traditions a pantheon of Gods is revered and is the center of the tradition’s practice. It is mandatory that you always approach them with respect. Remember being told to always say “Please” and “Thank you”? This does not apply solely in the physical plane and you should approach the gods in the same manner you would treat a very special guest to your home.

Be sure to remember that you are sincere and serious about everything you ask/say when in their presence. They are the divine, and are obviously not here to tell you how pretty your hair looks or how good you are at basketball. As long as you keep the commonsense rule with you at all times you will have little to no trouble with the Gods (or other entities) .

If you happen to live in a family that is not fond of your new found interests/ beliefs then you may find it necessary to keep your beliefs secret. This is perfectly okay, but be sure to remember that your beliefs may differ but you should respect them and their beliefs as you would your own. This will undoubtedly gain their trust in your responsibility and will help you avoid future problems.

I hope this article was helpful and I wish you the best of luck on your endeavors.

 

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Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

Author: Draconis Wierinsan Kinthasil

I always knew I was different. I spent almost twelve years blindly accepting what I was taught was the only truth, that there was only one God and He was unchanging. That the Church was always right and if you disagreed, then you were a, “Godless Pagan!” A soulless heathen, lacking in morals and, perhaps even humanity. I accepted it, even praised myself for my avoidance of “sin”, or at least anything remotely connected with pleasure, happiness and joy, which was how I thought of sin.

But, in my heart of hearts, I had begun to question everything I had been raised to believe. I was lost in a sea of my own inner trials. I had thought for many years that my view of the world was right, that I was an essentially good person. Seeing the crimes, the hatred and pain that came from taking faith, any faith to extremes, soured me on it all. I questioned, asked for answers and still came up spiritually empty.

It had been a difficult time for me; I had left the Hanover-Horton school district after the sixth grade and I was still having trouble with the aides they had me working with. One in particular, Mrs. Paxton made me seem like an idiot, when she tried to say that I needed to have periodic meetings with her three or four times a year. One of the things that got me was she was actually nice when I saw her later. All I ever heard from her and her cronies was “He’s unorganized! He can’t spell! He doesn’t understand the simple concepts!” On and on they went about stuff that didn’t matter, things that only added to my feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Though I was not forced, it was in essence assumed that I would believe a certain way. My parents, though they never espoused any particular religious faith, both came from fairly mainstream backgrounds. My search for my own truth, for what I truly was as a person, led me, at first, to reread the Bible and other books, seeking answers. This however, proved more confusing. I saw for the first time the contradictions, the deep chasm between what the Church-folk and Bible-thumpers preached, and how they acted.

The hypocrisy of spending six days a week drinking, lying and stealing, then crawling to church on Sunday and everything was supposedly “forgiven.” I remember I saw it firsthand when I was stupid enough to ask a pastor “Why can’t women be priests?” He sputtered, turning away. He never did give me an answer. Later I learned that the clergy didn’t appreciate those sorts of questions. So I expanded my search, including religions that were a complete departure from what I had known.

The impetus to this process of self-transformation came in the unlikely form of Mr. James Wright, a leader of Boy Scout Troop 134, of which I was a member. He and his wife had given me a pamphlet that gave a brief overview of several different faiths. It, combined with my inner turmoil, proved to be the kick I needed to launch me on a journey of self-discovery.

Just before Samhain, an old Celtic name for Halloween, of 2003, I rediscovered papers I had printed from the Internet two years before. They contained things I’d pulled from the multitude of sites that covered the many faiths of the world. Reading through them again, my thoughts were skeptical. At first I had the attitude that all faiths other then the Christian one were false. This prejudice soon fell away as I began to discover that I was less of a Christian then I’d thought.

I spent days wrangling with the issue. What was so wrong with believing differently? That haunted me for a long time, making my break with the Christian faith more difficult. But, like a drowning man I grasped at the one thing I knew was still true. That “If I can’t blame myself for the foolish deeds I’ve committed, how can I blame others for the choices they made?”

One night shortly thereafter, I prayed for guidance as I took the first step what will soon be an eight-year journey of, awakening, study, meditation and prayer. I discovered the Craft (Witchcraft, the Craft of the Wise) through the Internet and other forms of media.

It was as if a light switch had suddenly flicked on in my brain. I felt something…a sort of gentle nudge from somewhere inside, a little voice saying that I needed to know more. I made a choice then and there, for a year and a day, one complete cycle of what Witches call the Wheel of the Year I would walk the Path, learning if it was what I sought.

So I wandered along the winding road of transformation and discovery. I studied, I prayed, and I learned. Many obstacles, the disapproval of my family, my own fear of what I might find out about myself and my fear of taking that step into the unknown, stood in my way. Greatest among them and hardest for me to take were my parents thinking “Oh it’s just a phase he’s going through” and this required me to keep my inner travels hidden from the outside world. At times I felt like I was walking in darkness, seeking something I couldn’t name. What I found was the essence of my true self, the truth of my faith.

As that first year and a day flew by, I read and pondered the words of those learned men and women who spoke of the Craft. Raymond Buckland, whose books showed me the spiritual side of the Craft, It was his description of what a Witch really was that gave me my first glimpse of the spiritual realm that intersects our own. Scott Cunningham and Raven Grimassi both pioneers in the study of the historic roots of the Witch and the modern form that practice took. Gerald Gardner, the first to bring Witchcraft out of the shadows and offer it to the world. Ted Andrews, whose writings on the roots of animism and shamanic magic gave me new insight into our relationships with our environment, were my first teachers. Through their writings and my own emerging sense of self-empowerment I began to become a Witch in truth, not just in name. Being a Witch as I soon learned meant having self-control. It was difficult for me, to break the cycle of fear and self-hatred but in doing so I began to shed the worst aspects of my character I worked and studied, learning and absorbing information, learning more about myself, and who I was.

Prayer, once central to my life as a Christian, took on a new meaning. My soul recoiled from the thought of bowing my head in fear. That was what I had been taught, that God was wrathful and powerful, casting all but his followers into Hell. I rejected fear of the Gods, instead, I prayed in homage and in reverence. I honored them for their power, not because someone told me to. Now, for the first time in years, I had a reason to pray, a desire to know the Gods. I called out to the powers of the universe, asking them to show themselves. I paid homage to the Lady and Lord, as I first knew the Goddess and God, celebrating the eight sacred festivals of the Wheel of the Year, wondering in the back of my mind if I was just being foolish. That was my greatest fear at that point, what if I was truly damned? Was I risking my very soul? About six months into that first year, I received the answer.

I had prayed that evening as had become my custom, asking for guidance, expecting nothing. I remember I had readied myself for my daily meditation when it happened. I had a vision. I was awake, and yet I was dreaming. I felt a tingle on the base of my neck and a jerking, swooping sensation in my stomach and before my eyes was a vast field.

I was standing before a great temple, carvings of leaping stags and running wolves adorning its doors, the scent of freshly turned earth filling my lungs. A swirling mist enveloped me, cool and damp, fresh like the air after a spring rain. As if brushed away by an unseen hand a tendril of mist swept away on the wind revealed massive standing stones, weather-hewn monoliths carved with symbols and signs from some long ago time.

As a long mournful howl split the air, a shiver raced down my spine and my blood ran cold. From the mist that surrounded me came a tall, masculine figure, his face half hidden by shadow. A flash of silver, like spun moonlight solidified into a kilt of linen He wore belted at His waist. His skin was dusky gold and I felt power coming from Him, a wild, untamed, feral power.

The hair on the back of my neck prickled, this wasn’t a dream; something inside told me “This is real.” My eyes locked on the spear in His hand, a shaft of ebony and gold with faint silver symbols I couldn’t make out engraved along its length. Finding the strength somewhere deep inside, I lifted my gaze to His face. But, fear held me immobile and coiled around my heart, as he came into the light of the luminous silver moon, I saw for the first time the true nature of his outer form.

Atop His shoulders was the black furred head of a great wolf, his eyes a fiery amber-red. Ornaments of bone hung from His wrists and neck, and His eyes burned with the wild essence of a true predator. Yet, there was no malice in his gaze, no cruelty, only wisdom and caring. In the Wolf-Lord’s eyes, like fiery pools of molten metal, I saw compassion and love. Such emotions were weakness, or so I’d always thought, but no one would call Him weak, for no weakness could be seen in the corded muscles of his powerful body.

I felt His hand rest on my shoulder, warm, like the summer sun. Then, He spoke, His voice like rolling mountain thunder. “I have heard you, my child. The wildness in your soul, the freedom you crave, the passion that burns within you, these are my gifts to you.” I felt His hand clench on my shoulder as He pronounced with solemn authority, “To mark you as one of those who keep our ways, take for yourself a new name. For it I call you Kinthasil, Shapechanger, One who Serves the Old Gods.”

Before I returned to my body, as if shouted from far off, I heard His name, Lupercus the Wolf-Lord, the Hunter in Shadow. I knew then I wasn’t dreaming; this had felt too real, to be just a dream. The Gods had heard my call and came at my summons. So with no other taskmaster, and more determined than ever, I redoubled my studies. But, nearly a year after that first questioning, just before Samhain 2004, I again had a vision.

This time, I stood in a twilight glade and a woman approached Her movements lithe and graceful. She wore a gown of russet and brown buckskin that matched for her reddish brown hair and doe-soft eyes. The sliver of the waning crescent moon lent hints of dusk and shadow to the creamy color of Her skin. Belted around her slim waist was a cord of spun silver, knotted at both ends. But my eyes were drawn to the necklace of antler and silver, shaped in the image of a star in a circle set between a pair of crescent moons, the points on each facing outwards, the circle between them connecting them both.

The Lady, whom I would thereafter call Sabdh, the Doe-Maiden, smiled, Her eyes filled with warmth. She beckoned somewhere beyond me and, as if by some spell; a russet-gold stag, His antlers wide and branching, points too many to count, stepped forth from the shadows.

I stood in awe as the Antlered Lord raced across the glade, His hooves raising gusts of wind and yet, no blade of grass bent under His weight. Even more amazing, was the Lady, racing along at His side, matching Him step for step. They circled around, and just before His antlers impaled me, He slowed to a stop, the cool smooth tips of His antlers resting over my heart.

He reared and in a flurry of movement changed form. He became a man, His bare chest shining with sweat, His amber eyes alight with the fire of life and massive antlers sprouting from His brow. In those eyes, I saw a great power, the same force I’d seen in the face of the Wolf-Lord.

My eyes were drawn to the long, yew bow that hung across His back and beside it, a quiver of maple-shafted arrows with fletching made from the white feathers of the Peregrine Falcon. From His belt, hung a knife; its bronze hilt shimmering in the sliver of moonlight overhead and on his left hand a ring of silver and moonstone glittered like a star.

Even now, I can still hear his voice echoing in my mind. He placed His palm around the staff that rested against a nearby tree. As he spoke the antlers and golden sphere atop it glowed with a radiance that was like white-hot fire, but cool to the touch. “I am Wierin Cernnunos, ” He said, and as He spoke I saw a montage of images of leaping stags and men with bows, arrows drawn and ready, praying to Him in homage.

Then, like the Wolf-Lord He gave me a new name. “Wierinsan” He called me, “Son of the
Stag-Lord Ye shall be.” It was in essence, a coming home, a rebirth. A few months later I took for myself the name Draconis or “Of the Dragon” in Latin. It is a symbol of my ability to dwell in the spiritual realm and yet remain grounded in the physical, the “real” world, the here and now. Thus by the Gods I am called Draconis Wierinsan Kinthasil. It is the new name I chose to represent the person I had become. Through the trials of spirit, through the pain I endured came the power of the flame that shaped and tempered the iron of my soul.

As the years have passed, for my newfound faith, for the peace I had found in my soul, I have faced criticism, hostility and, at times, outright ridicule. But, knowing what I knew, that the Gods have seen fit to choose me, mark me for some special purpose I have yet to understand, has kept me strong. It has allowed me to stand firm against the scorn, knowing at last what I was and what I believed.

Those like me, the Witches, Pagans, Heathens and others who worship the Old Gods, when I finally met them, welcomed me as a kindred spirit, a fellow wanderer in the Realms of the Gods. Through my Internet connections I have become what I had once sought, a guide to others on the path. But, though I have done and learned many things, I am still and will always be a student.

Walking the path of the Witch is not about controlling others, or bending another to your will. It is about shaping yourself from your experiences, learning from the foolish, stupid things you have done, of controlling yourself. It is walking the earth in friendship, not in dominance. That by helping others, you are helping yourself.

Though I didn’t plan it when I first began my studies, I am determined to learn and train to serve as a priest. By doing so I hope to help others to discover the peace of spirit and sense of fulfillment I have attained.

My experiences, real, spiritual, mental and physical have shaped the man I have become. They have shaped the core of my ethical code, the one fact I have come to see as divine truth: That harming none does not mean playing the other guy’s doormat. It is about standing up, for yourself, your Gods and your faith.

It means tempering your destructive emotions with passion and love. Giving of yourself completely in faith or in love. It is being honorable and just, but not blind to the evils of the world. Doing good, not for yourself, not for what you can get out of it, but doing good for others.



Footnotes:
Names have been changed

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Those Dabblers!

Those Dabblers!

Author: Llewthena

I have found that so many books, articles, blogs and other forms of communication offer advice on how to spot a “dabbler” or a “fluffy bunny”: Essentially, avoid those who do not seem serious about the Craft. This bothers me on so many levels, as I’m sure it bothers others. In the spirit of such bothering, I give you the levels on which this type of attitude bothers me.

Level 1: Don’t insult my intelligence. I did not begin practicing Witchcraft in order to become ignorant.

Level 2: Don’t assume we have the same definition of “dabbler”. A ‘’waste to one person, may be a treasure to someone else.

Level 3: Do not presume to tell me who I should or should not spend my time with. It is my business who I allow into my life. This kind of overlaps with the first and second levels but this is why I have entitled them “levels” and not “points”. They build on each other. My levels have teamwork. Moving on…

Level 4: Finding the Goddess within does not a Goddess make. This goes for the Gods as well. I am still determining my destiny. I highly doubt you know it better than I do.

Level 5: “Live you must and let to live, freely take and freely give”. An amateur has the right to live without professional intervention, unless they seek it, which I guess would then make them a novice. As far as I can ascertain, the great and knowledgeable anti-dabbler authors think novices are peachy keen. After all, whom are they writing their books and such for? Be wary the labels that get bandied around.

Were we not all “dabblers” at some point? Some of us may still be. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I doubt that every currently “serious” or “true” Witch began as such esteemed individuals. We dabble to learn new things. We try out different experiences. For many on the Pagan path, we followed our intuition and found a spirituality that has become home. But it wasn’t an immediate and perfect fit.

Anything worth learning or doing takes time. Finding a spiritual path can be harrowing, exhausting, frustrating, fulfilling, joyous, and so much more. It is not, however, easy. At least, not if one is trying to make lasting changes. And not every new experience will initiate change.

Every advanced, expert, grand poomba Witch began as, well, beginners. Life is an ongoing lesson. I think a truly “serious” Witch, Wiccan, Pagan, Heathen or whoever ought not shy away from “dabblers”. Yes, some people try out the Craft and find it is not for them for various reasons. Those people will eventually move on of their own accord as they do not find here what it is they’re seeking. Yet, some of those whom you might prematurely be advised to run away from could be those you are meant to learn from.

Have you ever learned a lesson from a child or someone younger than you? A less experienced person is not, by default, less serious, less committed or less worthy of time. Teaching increases learning so it is reasonable to think that a less expert individual will retain their own lessons more if they teach others.

How boring and useless it would be to start something if you already knew everything about it! Our spiritual journey is no different. If we are perfect at the onset, we have nothing to learn and no incentive to change. If we have nothing to learn, there really isn’t any point in continuing on. Let me embrace my inner fortune cookie and say, the journey is the prize.

I am a Priestess and I am not perfect. (Don’t tell anyone.) I am continuing to grow and change. I ever strive to hone my skill and develop my Craft. I hope never to become so “advanced” that I cannot learn from a mere “beginner”. When my journey is complete, it will be the end of this lifetime and I am in no rush to get there.

I will join the rank of advice authors! I advise we not become judgmental of the person who has a ‘Blessed Be’ bumper sticker on their car and just gave the finger to that Hummer that cut them off. Maybe they’re having a bad day. Maybe someone else is using the car. Maybe they are from a culture where saluting fellow drivers with an upraised middle finder is considered to be a friendly greeting. Or maybe the driver of the Hummer deserved such a gesture. Who can say for sure? Don’t judge a Witch until you have spent a day on her (or his) broom.

This is not to say that you should run up to everyone wearing pretty Pagan jewelry and invite him/her home to join your coven. When dealing with any stranger, use your common sense and trust your intuition. You will not always be right, but as you learn to trust that inner guidance, your success rate will definitely improve.

This is not advice regarding abusive relationships. That is an entirely different subject and is not being addressed here. No one deserves to be abused. Ever. Enough said. Other, less harmful but not good relationships are often put in our way to teach us something.

A common goal, it seems, among Witches (and all Pagans, really) is to find balance in their lives and unity with the Divine. We seek to be connected to the Universe. We commune with Nature, realizing that Nature is not always pleasant. I hope never to become that annoyingly perky person spouting such eloquent sayings as “Turn that frown upside down!” I am that person who will say “Look at the whole picture and see what you might learn from it”.

We are but threads in a great tapestry. If we all start picking at the looser threads, the whole article unravels. A loose thread can be woven back into the piece but no mortal on this plane is skilled enough to weave such a Divine craft. Maybe Clotho will plait that loose thread with yours and enhance the beauty of that Universal cloth. Maybe Lachesis will move that thread someplace else. Maybe Atropos will cut the thread. Such decisions are not ours to make.

We should ever strive to avoid those who would do us harm. But not every “fluffy bunny” with a pent and a bumper sticker should be treated like the plague. If that newly Paganized furry rabbit remains fluffy, learning nothing and progressing no further, it is not another’s responsibility to force them along or become/remain attached to them. Still, that dabbler may be in need of a teacher or role model before they become the “serious” Witch so many authors claim to be.

Instead of “How to Avoid the Dabbler”, maybe we should be learning “How to Spot Potential”.

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What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

Author: Life is a Dance Regardless

Recently, someone spoke with me about some problems surrounding the word “Pagan”. This person told to be careful about who I speak to when claiming that I am one, even other people claiming to be Pagan. It is hard for me to agree with her. I can’t wrap my head around it actually. Truly, I understand exactly where she is coming from, but I disagree with her entirely.

What she is saying is that people may tell me that I am going about being Pagan in the wrong way. Other pagans may be angry with me for the way that I practice my faith. People may advise me on what I should do differently, whom I should speak to, and which people to avoid. What books should I read? Where should I go? What should I do? How should I practice my faith? How, in fact, should I practice my life?

Admittedly, I am new to it, and perhaps I need guidance but I have realized something important. There are people in every faith who think that their way is the Truth. There are people in Life in general who think their way is the Truth. This is something we all have to deal with throughout our entire lives because people have different opinions.

For the most part, I have not respected religion in the past because of its inability to recognize that everyone needs something different in his or her life. Some people do not need faith, and most religions fail to allow room for that view. I explained to my friend that being a “good Pagan” was like declaring oneself a “good Christian”. The term is likely to mean something different from one person to the next.

For one Christian, being good may be hating people in other religions, and another, it may be loving and accepting no matter what. The Bible can be interpreted differently, though some people think otherwise. As such, different people can interpret Paganism differently.

It is not, in fact, a problem with religion, which is why I respect religion so much at this point. It is, has always been, and will always be a problem with individuals. No way is the right way. No way is the wrong way. Religion is not math or science, where one false move can completely screw up your equation, or burn your eyebrows off. Religion is something to be taken seriously, but it is not rocket science. It is for the pure and sole purpose of finding yourself. What do you, as an individual think is right or wrong?

I am 18, graduated high school last spring and am now looking for a job. For me personally, I believe going into college using someone else’s money is wrong. It is my preference to earn enough money to enter a trade school of my choice without needing debt solutions. My aunt suggests I get a loan from my grandpa, but even then, I have debt. There are certain things I do not want to deal with at this point in my life. I would rather have the means to rely on myself. I believe that I should enjoy the little things. There are more important things than brushing my hair in the morning. Sometimes, it may be drinking coffee, watching the sunrise, or simply dressing and running to wish my neighbors good luck on the first of a new month. I water my plants every day. I enjoy what I have. I take time to enjoy my connection with Mother Earth.

I realize to some people that this may be the wrong way to go about my faith. However, I also told my friend that calling myself Pagan, to me, would be like calling myself Christian. There are many different facets to each religion. If I were a Christian, I could go more in depth and say I belonged to the Baptists, or that I was Episcopalian. I am not, as it happens. I claim to be Pagan because I am not yet sure of my choice of where to go on my spiritual path. I am also unsure of what I want to do in life.

I believe there are simple principles imbedded in the Pagan practice that I have tried to honor for my entire life. We must love, honor, and respect others regardless of what their belief is. It is best to live naturally. We must not harm others, regardless of our feelings toward them. If others discriminate, we should not sink to their level. We are better than that. We share a love of all things in nature and we worship that which enables to live and prosper.

I honor my Mother. I honor my Father. Both biological and spiritual. I love my neighbors. I love myself. I honor my Elders, but I also believe you have to earn my respect and attention to get it. I try to live in the best way I can. I try to love even those who do me wrong, because they show me exactly what I do not want to be.

I wrote a poem for one of my friend’s birthday. I put in what I thought she could use in her future, things I myself wish to live by.

Never regret the mistakes you have made
But never forget, or you’ll trip on your blade
Always know, you are never alone
Even when you’re lost, you always have home
Good people with good hearts are far between few
Always aim sharp, always aim true
Whether or not you can witness the fight
Fight for what you believe with all your might
Know that a moment comes only one time
Soak in the moment before the clock strikes and bells chime
Try to live each moment in grace
Those you hate, you should try to embrace
For they show you who you ought not to be
And that is a gift, to the highest degree
Do not get mad if a beggar can’t help you
They may be more in need, so bid him adieu
If possible, speak in whispers, and listen when you can
An inadvertent learning is most precious and most grand
And finally, never stumble on a grain of sand
But hold the world in the palm of your hand
You are a Goddess, and if you try, you’ll always win
The courage of a Goddess always comes from within

Forgive me if I am wrong, but for me, I am not.

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Earth Science Photo of the Day for Dec. 29th

Eugenia Falls and Niagara Escarpment

December 29, 2011

EugeniafallsP8280811 (3)

Photographer: David Wigglesworth
Summary Author: David Wigglesworth; Stu Witmer

The Niagara Escarpment is part of the Michigan Basin, a 440 million year old geological feature that stretches in a huge arc from upstate New York, across Ontario and Michigan to eastern Wisconsin. Eugenia Falls, pictured above, on the Beaver River, about 72 mi (116 km) northwest of Toronto is one of the many waterfalls of the Niagara Escarpment. The area near the falls was the site of a brief gold rush in the 1850s that quickly became a Fool’s Gold Rush when the “gold” was discovered to be iron pyrite. Shortly thereafter, the falls became the power source for several mills. Later a hydroelectric plant was built to power local industry and to provide electricity to the nearby towns. Today the station generates a continuous 6.3 megawatts from the highest head in eastern North America. Most of the water of the Beaver River is diverted for power generation, approximately 0.6 mi (1 km) upstream from the falls. This leaves little more than a trickle of water in the river in late summer, when this photo was taken on August 28, 2011.

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Astronomy Picture of the Day for December 29th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2011 December 29
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Conjunction at Sunset
Image Credit & Copyright: Stefano De Rosa 

Explanation: While Comet Lovejoy entertained early morning risers in in the southern hemisphere, a lovely conjunction of a young crescent Moon and Venus graced western skies at sunset. Captured on December 26th the conjunction, with beautiful sunset colors above and below, is seen here over Viverone Lake near Turin, Italy. But if you’ve been outdoors at all lately enjoying sunsets on planet Earth, then you’ve probably noticed Venus low in the west as the season’s brilliant evening star. Sometimes mistaken for a terrestrial light near the horizon, Venus is the third brightest celestial beacon, after the Sun and Moon. That distinction is particularly easy to appreciate in this peaceful scene.

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Daily Feng Shui Tip for December 29th

As this year comes to a close it makes sense that today would be called ‘Tick Tock Day.’ It’s also the perfect time to talk about what Feng Shui has to say about clocks and watches. According to Feng Shui, you should never give anyone older than you a watch, especially an elderly person, as this philosophy states that the intention behind that gift is a limitation of days, or wishing the recipient a limited amount of time left in their life. Clocks also represent the idea of limitation and should be carefully placed the inside of the house. Feng Shui says that you should never display a clock so that it is the first thing that you see as you enter the house. As well, you should never display a clock in the ‘Family/Friends’ area, again underscoring how this ideal symbolizes a limited lifetime for loved ones. It’s okay to have a clock in the kitchen, the living room or the home office, but things get a bit trickier where the bedroom is concerned. That room is intended to be a space of total and absolute rest and relaxation, and it should be ruled by a different kind of clock — your body clock! Children, however, can have clocks in their rooms since it’s believed to help teach them how to tell time. Of course, whenever we’re talking about positioning clocks in bedrooms, we’re always mindful to add that Feng Shui advises to only use a battery operated clock as electric clocks can emit potentially harmful EMF fields. With all that said, some Feng Shui consultants will advise placing a clock in any area of the house that has good Chi so that the movement of the clock’s hands can further stimulate more active Chi to circulate throughout the house. But with the Chinese reminding us that clocks symbolize ‘time running out,’ you may want to be very specific about where in your living space you put yours. Once again, if you simply place one in your kitchen, then go ahead and give yourself a hand!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

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