Posts Tagged With: Paganism

365 Days of Celebrating Legends, Folklore & Spirituality for October 26th – Ludi Victoriae Sullanae

Wiccan Magic

October 26th

Ludi Victoriae Sullanae

The Ludi Victoriae Sullanae were the games held on October 26 to honor the Goddess Victoria. This festival was established in 81 B.C. to celebrate Sulla’s victory over a large army of Sammites at the Porta Collina in Rome.

Victoria was the Goddess of victory, and her temple was on the Palatine Hill in Rome. She was the equivalent of the Greek Goddess Nike and was pictured with wings. Victoria was an important Goddess to the Romans, and she appears regularly on coinage from the late third century B.C. Victoria came to be regarded as the guardian of the empire, and her altar became a symbol of Paganism.


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A Little Humor for Your Day – You Know Someone Is New to Magick and Paganism

You Know Someone Is New To Magick and Paganism When They Think That…


An ATHAME is the gas you use for your grill.

A CENSOR is a drink you mix with alcohol.

ASTRAL PROJECTION is a home-made movie viewer.

A SYMPATHITIC LINK is when you feel sorry because your chain broke.

WICCA is that part of the candle that burns.

APHRODITE is a prehistoric bird.

ARCHETYPES is a kind of building structure.

BLESSED BE is the god of insects.

A BOOK OF SHADOWS contains silhouettes of friends or family members.

A BRAZIER is support wear for women.

CASTING is done with a fishing line, or on a set in Hollywood.

CHARGING is done with a credit card or battery.

The only way to get into a CIRCLE is to have the right of way.

Crystal CLEANSING is done with window cleaner.

CYCLES have to do with your washing machine and when to add fabric softener.

DEMETER is where you put your quarter when you park downtown.

A DOLMAN is a new brand of banana.

HANDFASTING is eating without utensils.

LEY LINES happen at the airport in Hawaii.

PAN is something you fry food in.

A QUARTER is 25 cents and still buys a cup of coffee. (Note: This person is not only new to magick, but they also haven’t been out in a while!)

SKYCLAD is a shade of blue clothing.

A TRAD is a type of geometrical figure.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE is the game show with Vanna White.

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How Do Pagans React To Interfaith Relations?

How Do Pagans React To Interfaith Relations?

Author: Silver Faery 

How do interfaith relationships affect our lives? Is the struggle worth it in the end? How can we learn and grow from the people involved in this situation? Those are but a few of the questions that run through my mind.

My main view of an interfaith relationship is with my husband. He is a Satanist, and currently a member of the CoS; he is also in the United States Military, serving to protect our freedoms. He was Pagan when I met him, but over time decided to finally follow what felt right to him, and within the last two years took the path to get him into that area. He views himself as a “God, ” but still won’t deny that there isn’t something out there helping out and guiding. He just won’t worship them anymore. After being in Afghanistan once already, he learned that the Gods don’t really watch and – in his mind – care about humanity. Does this make him “evil” or “damned?” Well it depends on who you ask.

To me as long as he is loyal to his friends and family, truthful, and hard-working; as long as he will help those who he thinks deserves it, and is willing to fight for what he feels is right, I will support him. Though it does get comical at times:

Last year, we had taken our daughter to the park in town. On the way out I happened to notice him talking to a young teenage girl. I walked up beside him…in time to hear her ask him if he was Pagan. He stopped mid-sentence and said, “No, why do you ask?” She pointed to his Baphomet and said it was a Pentacle. He held it up for her to get a closer look. She then realized her mistake and stepped back like he would attack her! He then noticed me standing beside him, looked over and said, “But my wife is Pagan.” I wear a ring with a Pentacle on it, nothing too noticeable, but still there if you know what you are looking at. She didn’t see one around my neck. I showed her my ring. She smiled, and then looked shocked (for lack of a better word). We both get that a lot. She was Pagan; she had pulled her Pentacle out from under her shirt and was hoping to talk to him about Paganism. Obviously she had a lot to learn if she couldn’t understand why a Pagan would be married to someone like that! Then again, it seems to me a lot of people have to learn about Satanism before jumping to the wrong conclusions.

We have talked about how we are going to raise our children. My husband wants them to choose; I want to give them a “base” to compare other religions to. Both of us agree that in the end it will be the kids’ choice on what they want to be. Be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, or Satanist…we have the sources for all.

My group of friends is interesting as well. We are mostly Pagans, but we get Christians and have some good Christian friends that hang out with us as well as Atheists and Satanists. We are also one of the few (and I mean few) Gothic Groups in town. Which at times DOES not help our image any. We amazingly get along well: we all love similar types of music, most of us love to learn, and love to debate. We could care less about how a person was raised, what they believe in, as long as they don’t try to force it on anyone else around us. The Christians in our group are pretty opened-minded. They have no problems with us doing our rituals, just as we have no problems if they go to church. If anything, it makes for some interesting discussions. I have had them ask me questions, questions that most Christians can’t or won’t answer about Paganism. One actually asked me an interesting one. He asked if we could go to confession and get help from a Priest with us being Pagan. I told him no, we are not Catholic, so therefore we could not get help from that Christian denomination. He looked shocked that they would not help. This area is mainly conservative Catholic (which can be rather interesting at times).

I had a friend tell me that he was approached by “friends” when he first started to hang out with us…warning him that the Witches were out to take his soul and send him to Hell! He looked at them and said, “No, not really.” The guy didn’t get it. Finally our friend said, “Well I hang out with them because they are more Christian then you are and most of the people you know!” Something that we all took as an honor (especially from the friend it came from).

I had one friend tell me that his parents told him to stay away from us (after seeing one of us walking on the street). His reply was, “I am in my late 20’s and those are the friends that helped me out when I had to stop drinking! I will not stop being friends because they are Witches and on top of that Goth.” He was an alcoholic and was court-ordered to stop drinking; all of his other friends tried to slip alcohol into his drinks. We were the only ones that supported him, even though we all drink. Amazing how influence gets passed along and support gets remembered at the most interesting times.

We have to worry about people thinking we will curse them or even hex them. That’s a laugh, but there are times we use that to our advantage; it keeps them away from us. Probably not the best idea, but we get desperate at times. Do we ever do anything like that? Nope, but we aren’t going to tell them that. Because they wouldn’t believe us even if we did.

Dealing with Christians in general is interesting. If both sides are willing to listen and learn, you can learn wonderful things from each other. The problem arises when one or both sides don’t want to listen. I think the best time I have ever had in this town was when The Passion came out. For once I had people that were willing to listen and learn what Paganism was. Conversations were about different religions and what makes each one unique and how it improves your life! I just wish that it was like that always, not just because a movie came out…especially a movie that described one faith so strongly. And yes I did go and see it – on opening night actually! That was why I could understand where the people I was talking to were coming from. Just as I once in a while re-read the Bible and other Holy Books, again to keep that basic understanding. As well as why I am on Christian Forums, just as I am on Pagan. I think all religions are valid to the believers and that even though it is not for me, I should at least learn about it, just so I know where the other person is coming from. Being a true Christian is a way of life, just as being a Pagan is a way of life. It is much more than a religion or belief or path: it is what helps us decide on everything we say, do, and live. It should change as we learn and grow. Paganism is more fluid then Christianity ever will be, but if a person follows Christianity, you have to take into account that you might never get them to understand. And hopefully through your and all Pagans actions…you might one day get them to at least admit you are not a bad or evil person because of your beliefs.

Enough with Christianity! I know of some Pagans that are just as set in their ways. You know the Pagans that you run into in a chat room on-line. Those are the ones that call all other Pagans “fluffy-bunny” because they don’t agree with their views of what Wicca or Paganism is. The ones that, if you even think of correcting them, you are iggied on the spot. Those irk me to no end! Why? Because it’s Pagans like them that prove to Christians we are all idiots, just as unwilling to learn about them. It goes both ways people – you go into a room bashing Christianity or Paganism (depending on the main religion of the room) and you are going to get a fight and not find one person willing to listen to you. BUT if a person comes into a Pagan room that is Christian and asks a serious question and is willing to learn, DON’T chase them off; they might actually either help their local Pagans or become Pagan themselves. We don’t recruit, but if someone is interested, it would be in our favor to help them.

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Paganism 101: Basics of Pagan Spirituality

Paganism 101: Basics of Pagan Spirituality

Author: Cu Mhorrigan


Paganism has received a lot of attention in recent years with the increased use of the internet, television shows like Charmed, Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, Angel and movies like The Craft, Harry Potter, as well as cartoons like Sabrina the Teen-Aged Witch.

Nowadays, it has become fashionable to announce oneself to be a Pagan, or Neo-Pagan, Wiccan or Witch – especially for teenagers, wishing to attract attention, adults trying to follow the latest fad in spirituality, or just as an excuse to justify weird or aberrant behavior.

However, calling yourself a Pagan is one thing; actually following the spiritual path is something else. It is my hope with this ‘class’ that I might explain in practical terms what it actually means to be a Pagan in our modern age and to assist those who wish to implement the following of this spiritual path.

Definition of the word “Pagan”:

The Word Pagan is derived from the Latin word ‘paganus’, which is loosely translated to mean “of the country”. It should be noted however that the usage of ‘paganus’ within the Roman Empire (Where they spoke Latin. Duh!) was always meant to be a slur meaning “hillbilly, redneck, hick, trailer trash, or white trash”. Much in the same way we would talk about guests on the Jerry Springer Show.

Later, when the Christian faith took over the Roman Empire under Charlemagne, it was used to describe those outside of the Christian faith and those in need of conversion. Not an improvement, because paganus was still pretty much of an insult.

Turning a negative into a positive:

It wasn’t until recently that the term ‘Pagan’ gained a more positive use with the resurgence of Pagan beliefs within the European and American Cultures. Those who sought spirituality closer to that of their “ancestors” adopted it. Eventually, it came to mean ‘those who follow the Old religions’ or ‘those who follow a spiritual path outside of the big three Abrahamic religions’. (What are the big Three Abrahamic religions?)

What DO Pagans Believe?:

An it harm none Do as thou wilt.

Speaking in general terms, Paganism is an earth-centered spirituality, which believes in the sacredness of all things, equality of all persons regardless of gender, sexual, and spiritual and social practices. The practices within Paganism are extremely diverse and open-ended allowing individuals to incorporate whatever rituals and belief systems they feel comfortable with.

Since there is so much diversity within our spiritual path, we stress personal liberty, and responsibility for one’s own actions. That as long as a person does not cause physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual harm to others or himself, he/she is free to pursue one’s physical, mental and spiritual development as he/she sees fit.

Which brings me to my next point: Pagans, in general, do not proselytize! That means you aren’t going to get a call from us at three o’clock in the morning asking us if you are going to ritual or not. There is no High Priestess going around smacking people over the head if they haven’t worked on their Book of Shadows or if they bought the wrong candle for a personal ritual. Aint gonna happen.

Why? We are assuming that if you are here, you want to be here. We’ll give you information, let you know your options, and the rest is up to you. We aren’t going to stand on a street corner and scream at folks for not worshipping Athena nor at women/men who chose not to go around sky clad (That’s ‘nekkid’ for those of us who are really new to this).

The Law of Return (or sowing and reaping):

There are no true “sins” within our spiritual practices. There are only things that cause harm (or, as I like to call them, “Stupid Ideas”) and things that are helpful (Or as I like to call them, “Good Ideas”).

When you do good things, good things tend to happen to you (Eventually). When you do bad things, bad things tend to happen to you (Eventually). Of course, since we do not live in a static environment, and people tend to interact with one another, sometimes things get a little ‘fa-kakhed’. However, the Universe always balances Itself out in the end.

This concept is called, karma and it’s a relatively complicated matter, which I have here boiled down to its lowest common denominator. Of course, there are differing views of Karma, one of which is the Three-Fold Law What you do comes back three-fold, or three times, back at you. (If you are not sure as to whether an act will have some kind of repercussion, ask yourself, how much would I really like this done to me?)

(The self-defense caveat: Like all “Laws”, there are loopholes. If someone else is out to cause you harm in some way it would be a really STUPID (Bad Karma) idea not to protect yourself, or your family, or your friends. However, make sure you have as many facts as possible (like the guy is holding a knife and threatens to cut you up) before beating the oneness of all things back into these individuals.

Pantheons, Divinities, Spirits, Energies:

Okay this is where it gets a little tricky, but stay with me. The most common (and extremely annoying) question we as Pagans get is, “Don’t you folks worship Satan?” (Everyone roll his or her eyes here.)

The answer to that is a resounding, “NO!” For the most part, you need to keep in mind that Paganism is a separate religion from Christianity. Hence Satan (Whom I call, the Christian God of Evil and Nastiness) is not a part of our pantheon. Sorry…

For the most part (depending on the tradition you follow) the Pagan concept of Divinity falls under one of the following expressions:

Duo-Theism: (Duo=Two or Dual, Theos=Divinities):

The Worship of a Co-Equal God and Goddess, each having unlimited power, compassion, wisdom, energy or what-have-you, but maintaining different roles and functions.

The God is aggressive, powerful, sexual adventurous, skillful. He handles the Male side of fertility.

The Goddess is nurturing, passionate, creative, sensual and artistic. She oversees the power of creating life through birth and the Female side of fertility.

This belief is widely held by the Wiccans and Wicca-like factions of Paganism.

Poly Theism: (Poly=Many, Theos=Divinities) The belief in multiple Gods and Goddesses.

Many folks see these Gods as extensions of the God and Goddess (i.e. Monism) with each one taking on different aspects at the time of their encounter with the worshipper. Others (like myself) believe that They are actually separate entities with Their own personalities, quirks and motives.

Not every god or goddess is a real people person nor does every god and goddess have a laid back attitude. If you are going to get involved with a particular deity, you had better make sure you do a LOT of research as to what they like, don’t like, and if a particular god or goddess is right for you. Otherwise your life will get extremely interesting in a bad way.

The third school of though in polytheism is the idea of the gods and goddesses being archetypes within a person’s own psyche. This is sort of like a piece of our own subconscious wrapped up in a costume and a mask in order to teach our conscious minds lessons they need.

Of course, there is more than those three Schools of thought, but I’m just giving the basics here.


Simply put, this is the idea that the Divine is in everything; hence all things are a part of the energy we call god. Since all things are a part of god, all things are sacred and are expressions of the divine in some way, shape or form. When I worship a tree, I am worshipping the Divine; when I give food to a hungry stray, I am feeding the Divine; when I am hurting someone, I am hurting the Divine.

Then there is the Fourth Category:


For the beginner, this is the best spiritual idea I can suggest. The idea is essentially, “I have no friggin’ clue if there is a Divinity or not, therefore unless I am shown otherwise, I will not say that the Gods are this way or that. I will respect the Power behind the name, but I will not pledge myself to him/her/it unless I have an absolutely good reason to.”

This is actually one of the safest belief systems to take as a new student of the Pagan path because you are open enough to receive enlightenment, but at the same time, you do not run the risk of making a total, complete ass out of yourself. The Gods will instruct you as They see fit.

Now of course, Pagans will usually incorporate not only one, but perhaps two or three of the ideas listed above. This usually comes from personal experience and cannot be learned any other way.
Keep in mind that it’s okay to shift from one idea to another or even to incorporate two or more of these ideas…it’s all good. Just find out what works best for you.

So How the Hades do I Become a Pagan? (Or stupid questions that are commonly asked)

Well, for the most part, it’s a matter of doing a lot of reading and a lot of self-exploration. It took me at least two years of studying online and reading books and attending classes to even consider myself a Pagan. A lot of the traditions under the banner of Paganism will have different views on training and initiation (think of it as baptism), and how one becomes a member of that tradition.

The best way is to start out attending Pagan gatherings, visiting bookstores and such, and talk to other Pagans. Eventually, you will either find a religious path that works for you or you will throw your arms up in dismay and run screaming back to your religion of birth. And there is nothing wrong with that. NOT AT ALL! We realize that the Pagan spiritual path is not for everyone, and we will not be offended. Just make sure you don’t tell people we sacrificed your cat and you’ll be cool with us.

Do I Need to Buy Special Clothes and Dress in Black?

The answer is: Only if you really want to. Yes, there are special robes some folks wear, but unless your coven says otherwise, you can pretty much wear what you want.

Just some basic suggestions: Wear something comfortable and wear something you won’t mind getting dirty. Most of our rituals take place outdoors and, while you may look really good in an Armani suit and Gucci shoes, there is a good chance your clothes will get messed up and your shoes scuffed.

Loose, light clothes in summer and spring is always a good idea, and warmer clothes in the fall are really smart. Most winter rituals will be held indoors, depending on the weather. If it makes you comfortable to wear black Witch clothes and pointed hats and cloaks… Knock yourself out…You’ll be getting lots of stares and odd looks (mostly from us), but all-in-all, if it makes you comfortable, then that is all that matters.

Do I Need to Buy Special Jewelry?

Again, only if you want to and if you enjoy it. Jewelry is a personal matter to the people who wear it. And it’s usually best to find a piece that says, “HEY! I LIKE YOU. WEAR ME AROUND YOUR NECK!” Otherwise, No special jewelry is required to be a Pagan.

Do I Need to Kill Something (like a kitten) and Drink its Blood?

No, you don’t have to kill an animal to be a Pagan. For the most part, we are animal friendly and don’t believe in killing a critter in order to work our rituals. Yes, there are some Pagan groups that practice animal sacrifice and it is left alone…but fear not, the only thing usually killed has already been slaughtered and put on the feasting table in a sacred bucket marked, KFC.

Do I Need to Become a Vegetarian?

Nope, being a vegetarian is a matter of personal preference and what you feel in your heart. While many of us are vegetarians, a lot of us aren’t. It may be a good idea to eat a little healthier, but no one is going to come down on you for eating meat or using meat-based products. However, you might want to do your own research and come up with your own choices.

So, What DO I Need to Do?

Excellent question. One, as I suggested before, do a lot of research, a lot of reading and, when in doubt, do more research. A lot of Pagans keep what is called a “Book of shadows”, which is just a fancy name for a Journal. Write down everything you learn in that book and when you get a chance, read it. If you see a cool article on the net, feel free to print it (for your personal use only, please).

To create a book of shadows, I would suggest buying a loose-leaf binder and fill it half-way with paper. It’s also a good idea to invest in a three hole punch. That way, you can put articles that you printed from the net and use them for later reference. Do not worry about using blood and special things to “make it official”. It is your study guide — your book — and so, make sure you personalize it to suit your needs.

When you feel you are ready, and you have found a religious tradition you feel comfy with, take that Book of Shadows and attend any class you can afford. A lot of places have very reasonable rates for their classes. The Learning Annex is one source, but so is your local Pagan bookstore. Just make sure you talk to the person running the store to make sure he knows what he/she is talking about. If you are not entirely comfortable in studying there, consider looking for another teacher. Remember, this is about YOUR spiritual growth and enrichment and you need to be in an environment conducive to YOUR learning.

Holidays, and Rituals:

There are eight major Holy Days during the Pagan year that a lot of us agree upon. There are also rituals that are held on the New Moon and the Full moon depending on how often your coven (A group of Pagans you worship with) meets.

The Eight Major Holidays are listed in the order they fall on:
Imbolc (February)
Spring Equinox (March 21)
Beltaine (May 1)
Summer Solstice (Litha) (June 21)
Lughnassadh or Lamas (August)
Autumn Equinox (Mabon) (September 21)
Samhain or Halloween (October 31 to Nov 1)
Winter Solstice (Yule) (December 21)

Each Holy Day represents a certain mythological event in our religion, which will be discussed by the High Priest (ess) in advance.

It’s usually a good idea to find out what you would need to bring so that you can best participate in the ritual.

Now most likely you are going to have a hard time pronouncing the names of the days when you first start out, so don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions; it’s the only way you are going to learn.

Tools For Rituals:

Energy: This is the most important, and since I am assuming people know Jack about Paganism, I’m going to make this explanation brief: When we perform rituals and cast spells, we are attempting to gather energy. This energy comes from the universe and ourselves. Depending on what we are trying to do, we use certain rituals, and tools. Think of it this way: It’s like gathering up a whole bunch of snow together. We eventually gather enough to make a snowball and then we pack it in and send it off to impact your friend. It’s basically the same thing. When we perform these rites, they help our minds to focus on gathering this energy and tell it what we want done. Energy is the most important part of any ritual, and without it, we are just looking stupid.

Cauldron: This is basically a black, three-legged pot to be used for burning incense and for other things. They range from tiny to huge and can be used to burn incense, burn paper, and make potions. Now cauldrons tend to be rather expensive, so if you are a bit “Price Sensitive” like me, find yourself one of those old fashioned iron pots that Mom uses to make rice. Make sure you clean it before and after use. If you have one of these in your own home and have had it for a long time, you are pretty much used to it and it is used to you. So, you really don’t have to “charge” it with energy.

Athemae: Essentially, this is a knife or a really small sword. This is used to direct energy raised up during rituals. THESE ARE NOT USED TO CUT PEOPLE (of any species). It can be used for cutting vegetables. Most traditions prefer a double sided blade, small enough to conceal. (You would be amazed how many cops will stop you for carrying a broad sword.) If you’re unable to get an athamae, it’s totally cool to make yourself a wand or use your index finger to direct energy.

Wands/Rods: Okay, these are wooden or crystal sticks also used to direct energy as well as to draw it to yourself. Wands tend to be no longer than your arm, while rods can be longer. Best way to get a rod is to go out on little walks in the park and look for a stick. Once you find a stick you like and that screams out for you to take it, take it home, and sand it and decorate it until you are totally comfortable with it. Viola! You have a wand or rod. If you have as much mechanical aptitude as a slug, ask around your local occult bookstores. Keep in mind they are going to be slightly expensive and you will have to charge it once you get it home.

Candles: Candles are used in rituals to help get your mind into the practice of Magic (No, I am not spelling magic with a K or a J…I’m keeping this as simple as possible. If you want to use the funky spellings in your own notebooks, knock yourself out. You’re not being graded here). Candles are lit in order to help get the mind into a state where it’s easier to put the patterns in for the energy to flow. I would strongly suggest getting candles of all colors and sizes and as many as you can afford. (Usually one of each color.) You can pick them up anywhere.

Incense: Like candles, incense helps the mind get energy together to cast spells. It’s a good idea to make your own incense or to purchase them from a botanica, or occult bookstore. Incense sticks may be colored, but it’s usually a good idea to purchase them based on their smells. Pungent or spicy incense is normally used to send stuff away. (Mainly because they are offensive.) Sweet incense is used to bring stuff to you. Earthy smells help to facilitate healing and to strengthen you.

Divination tools: Things like Tarot Cards, Runes and what not. These are mainly used to help you to make decisions or to gain some kind of insight as to what is going on around you. Keep in mind, these items themselves are not magical in and of themselves, but are based on your own intuition interpreting what you are seeing.

Books, books and more books: Like I said earlier, it is suggested you read religiously. It’s best to keep a library of things you have read or are about to read. Don’t just pick books only by one author, but of different ones. Some people may know a lot about what they are talking about; others are complete and utter horse feces. However, the only way you are going to find out is if you look for yourself and keep your Book of Shadows nearby while you read. If something sounds like nonsense, or if you aren’t sure about whether or not what is true within a book, do some research. It sounds like a lot of work, but this is your spirituality we are talking about here.

It is a good idea to question everything and find out if there is an agreement between the authors you have read. Another thing to keep in mind is that some folks are completely full of fluff and bluster while others deliberately water stuff down to keep from divulging too much about their path. And some are completely straightforward about the things they are writing about.

One of the best ways to learn about an author is find out when they are going to be doing a book signing near you. Get to meet them (Most book signings are free and most will give a short lecture about their book just to whet your appetite for it.) Some of the most intense learning experiences I gained were in attending some of these lectures; it’s also a great way to actually see the person who is writing.

Use your intuition…and don’t be shy about picking their brains. That is what they are there for. In fact, I would suggest doing the same thing at the store where you get your tools and books. It helps you learn a lot faster; especially when you ask Stupid questions. Yes you will get looks. Yes, you will even get the occasional shake of the head, But if you don’t ask, you wont know. It’s worth it.

Suggested Things to do:

Check out different groups that meet in your area. You can do this by attending open (public) circles or classes. Use them as a way to meet other Pagans and eventually find a group that you feel comfortable studying with. If you are Solitary Pagan, it helps to “meet and greet” other Pagans.

Look around for Pagan shops, botanicas and other places where you can get supplies. Most botanicas are devoted to Santeria or Voudu, but you can get some really good equipment at cheap prices.

Check out the local library, as well as the bookstore for things you can read about your particular pantheon.

Ask a lot of questions. Even stupid ones. It’s one of the chief tenets of Paganism to question everything you come across. If you get an answer that sounds like horsesh*t, then verify, verify, verify.

Things Not To Do:

Don’t panic; this seems like a lot of information, but it really isn’t. This is just the primer for your own research.

Don’t sweat if you cannot find a teacher right away, Nine times out of ten, they usually show up when you are ready to learn more about a particular aspect of your tradition.

Don’t start off calling yourself a High Something of a particular tradition. Most systems within Paganism have their own methods of teaching and credentials for clergy and what not. No faking!

Don’t be afraid of getting criticized; it’s going to happen. Learn to grow a thick skin, and if someone points something out to you, listen and check out your own motives and conscience. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, then don’t.

Don’t take everything at face value…Learn how to question what you hear and not be a total jerk about it.

Don’t try and convert people, It rarely works just put out information let people know where you stand and end it there.

Recommended Websites: “The Witches’ Voice” — It’s a great place to start since they have information about everything. — A great place to learn about the Gods of your chosen pantheon. It doesn’t have all the information, but enough for you to get your feet wet and do some research. — They have a plethora of Pagan groups and places where you can talk to people of different walks of life. It’s also a great way to meet Pagans in your area.

Google and other search engines — Another great website with links to thousands of Pagan websites.

Recommended Books:

The Truth about Witchcraft Today: Scott Cunningham
Urban Primitive: Tannin Silverstein and Raven Kaldera
The Book of Shamanic Healing: Kristin Madden
The Celestine Prophecy: James Redfield (Yes, it’s a novel but it helps to get an idea about energy-work and how energy can be gathered and stolen.)
The Wiccan Warrior: Kerr Cucuhain
Witchcraft Theory and Practice: Ly de Angeles
When I see the Wild God: Ly de Angeles
Drawing Down the Moon: Margot Adler (of NPR)
The Spiral Dance: Starhawk
Buckland’s Complete Witches Handbook: Raymond Buckland

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5 Tips for Solitary Pagans

5 Tips for Solitary Pagans

In many modern Pagan belief systems, there are far more people who practice as solitaries than there are people who have joined covens or established traditions. Why is this? It’s partly because most people who want to learn about Paganism develop the interest long before they meet a coven or trad that they’re interested in joining. It’s also because even if you decide you want to be part of a coven or group, it’s not always easy to find one.

Wiccan covens and Pagan groups don’t exactly have a listing in the Yellow Pages, so you may have five covens right up the street from you, and you’d never know it.

Certainly, practicing as a solitary can have its rewards. After all, you can make your own guidelines and follow your own set of ethics. Worship can be done at your convenience, rather than according to a schedule dictated by others. As a solitary, you’re really under no obligation to anyone but yourself and your gods. Many people spend their entire lives practicing as solitaries, and never feel a need to join a coven or group.

Occasionally, you may find some drawbacks to practicing as a solitary Pagan or Wiccan. You might sometimes feel alone, like you have no one to network with or share ideas with. You may at some point feel like you’ve stagnated — it’s hard to figure out what the next step is if you don’t have someone to compare notes. Sometimes, it’s nice to just get feedback from like-minded people — someone who can help you when you’re wondering about what to do.

If you’ve decided to practice as a solitary — either temporarily, or in the long-term — here are some tips on how to have a successful experience:

  1. Try to establish a daily routine. It’s easy to let your studies go by the wayside if you’re all by yourself, so establishing a daily routine will help you keep on task. Whether your routine includes meditation, reading, ritual work, or whatever, try to do something each day that helps you work towards achieving your spiritual studies.
  2. Write things down. Many people choose to keep a Book of Shadows, or BOS, to chronicle their magical studies. This is important for a variety of reasons. First, it allows you to document what you’ve tried and done, as well as what works and doesn’t work for you. Secondly, by writing down your rituals, prayers, or spellwork, you’re laying the foundation for your tradition. You can go back and repeat things that you find to be useful later one. Finally, it’s important to keep track of what you do magically and spiritually because as people, we evolve. The person you are now is not the same person you were ten years ago, and it’s healthy for us to be able to look back and see where we were, and how far we’ve come.
  3. Get out and meet people. Just because you’ve chosen to practice as a solitary doesn’t mean you should never come into contact with other Pagans or Wiccans. Most metropolitan areas — and a lot of smaller communities — have informal Pagan groups that get together regularly. This offers solitaries a chance to network and chat with each other, without having to form specific organized groups. Take advantage of resources like Witchvox and Meetup to see what’s in your area. If there’s nothing around you, consider starting a study group of your own for like-minded folks.
  4. Ask questions. Let’s face it, we all need to start somewhere. If your read or hear something and you want to know more about it, ask. If something isn’t clear, or contradicts something you’ve already read, ask. Don’t accept everything at face value, and remember that just because one person had a particular experience doesn’t mean that you’ll have an identical experience. Also, keep in mind that just because you read something in a book doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valid — learn to ask whether a resource is worth using or not. Don’t be afraid to be a skeptic sometimes.
  5. Don’t ever stop learning. Ask other people in the Pagan community — either online, or in real life — for recommendations about books and other resources. If you read a book that you enjoy, check the back for a bibliography and see what other books that author suggests. Remember that learning can take place by reading, but it can also develop from personal experience, and from speaking with other people involved in Paganism.





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Covens vs. Solitary Practice

Covens vs. Solitary Practice

It’s an argument that comes up frequently in the Pagan community, particularly among those who identify as Wiccans. There’s one school of thought that says “only a witch can make a witch,” which means you must be initiated and part of a coven — typically a lineaged one — before you can claim to be Wiccan, Pagan, or any other variety thereof. There’s another camp that says anyone can be a witch or Pagan, and what matters more than initiation and coven connections is what’s in your heart and soul.

Will people ever agree on these things?

It’s pretty unlikely.

However, as you begin your studies of Wicca and other forms of Paganism, you may at some point be offered the opportunity to join a group. You may also find that you really prefer working alone. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of covens vs. solitary practice, so that when the time comes for you to make a decision, you can do so with some knowledge under your belt.

Working as a Solitary


Many people begin their Pagan studies by working as a solitary. This happens for a number of reasons, but the most common one is that quite simply, most people develop an interest in Paganism long before they meet a coven they’re interested in joining. There are benefits to working alone, to be sure, but it also has its drawbacks.


  • You can make your own rules, and follow your own set of ethics
  • You can worship at your convenience, rather than following a schedule involving several people
  • You’re free to work with anyone you like, even if they’re a member of another traditions
  • You’re not under any obligation to anyone but yourself and your deities


  • You may find yourself eventually limited in the type and quantity of knowledge you obtain
  • It’s often hard for solitaries to network with other Pagans and Wiccans
  • Sometimes, it’s just nice to hang out with other people that believe as you do
  • If you’re looking to grow and learn spiritually, you may feel at some point you’d like a mentor or teacher, which you don’t have as a solitary

Working In a Group


Many Pagans and Wiccans find that they enjoy group practice. There is a certain energy that can be experienced in a group that you just don’t experience as a solitary practitioner, and there are plenty of benefits to being in a coven. On the other hand, when you work with a coven or group, there’s a whole new set of dynamics involved, which can create its own set of problems.


  • Working in a group gives you the benefit of learning from people who may have more experience and knowledge than you
  • When you’re part of a group, you have more opportunities to network and meet others in the greater Pagan community
  • Coven work typically is more structured and formal, and rituals are usually more elaborate, which some people find beneficial to their studies
  • A coven usually has a pre-determined course of study, so rather than just randomly reading books, you’ll find yourself following specific lesson plans as you move towards various degrees of initiation


  • Coven work typically has to be scheduled ahead of time, making sure everyone is available
  • If someone is on a power trip, a coven has the potential to be a miserable experience for everyone else involved
  • When you’re part of a coven, there are numerous relationships going on, so there can be issues if one person decides to cause problems
  • If you join an existing coven, chances are good that they’re already set in their ways, and may not be willing to make accommodations to meet your needs

Whether or not you decide to practice as a solitary or as part of a coven is a personal decision. Covens can be hard to find in some areas, but it is possible to do – just be aware that you may have to make some effort and put some work into the process. If you choose instead to be a solitary practitioner, there is nothing wrong with that either. Regardless, choose the path that is the right one for you.




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The Three Centers of Paganism

The Three Centers of Paganism

Author: John Halstead

I have found a useful tool for thinking about the Pagan community. Most attempts to describe contemporary Paganism use lists of beliefs or practices. Some of these lists attempt to be comprehensive, while others do not. One problem with these lists is that they inevitably focus on those elements that the person making the list wants to emphasize. Consequently, large portions of the Pagan community are excluded.

Another common way of understanding the Pagan community is as a metaphorical umbrella. The problem with this metaphor is that the image of an umbrella suggests a single center. And what the “center” represents is a matter of perspective, usually the perspective of the person drawing the umbrella.

Instead of a single circle with a single center, I would describe the Pagan community as three overlapping circles. Each circle has a different center, a different focus that transcends the individual. The three circles of the contemporary Pagan community are: earth, Self, and deity.

Earth-centered Paganism

Earth-centered Paganism includes those Paganisms concerned primarily with religious ecology, “deep green religion”, animism, and what is sometimes euphemistically called “dirt worship”. For earth-centered Pagans, their relationship to the earth is what defines their Paganism, and connecting to the “more-than-human” natural world is what characterizes their spiritual practice. A sense of wonder or awe often characterizes the religious experience of earth-centered Pagans. Of course, there are those whose spirituality may be described in these terms, but who do not identify with the Pagan community, including some earth-centered Christians.

Self-centric Paganism

“Self-centric” is used here, not in pejorative sense of ego-centrism, and for that reason I have capitalized the word “Self”. “Self” here means that larger sense of “self” which transcends the ego and even the individual. It is sometimes called the “Big Self” or “Deep Self”. Self-centric Paganism includes many forms of Neo-Wicca, Jungian Neo-Paganism, feminist witchcraft, and more ceremonial or esoteric forms of Paganism. The goal of Self-centric Pagan practice is personal development, spiritually and/or psychologically, through connecting with the Deep Self. This may be described in terms of psychological wholeness or ecstatic union with a divine “Oneness”. Again, there are those whose spirituality may be described in these terms, but who do not identify with the Pagan community, including many New Age practitioners and ceremonial magicians.

Deity-centered Paganism

“Deity-centered” is a term which I adopted from Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone’s book, Progressive Witchcraft. Deity-centered Paganism includes many forms of polytheistic worship, some reconstructionist or revivalist forms of Paganism, including those that are closer to Heathenry, and those that borrow techniques from African-diasporic religions. Deity-centered Pagans identify primarily in terms of their dedication to one or more deities. The goal of deity-centered Pagan practice is to develop a relationship with those deities. A sense of passionate devotion is what most characterizes the religious experience of deity-centered Pagans. As with the other two categories mentioned above, there are many people whose spirituality might be called “deity-centered”, but who do not identify as Pagan. They would include some contemporary polytheists who have rejected the Pagan label, many traditional or indigenous (small-p) “pagan” religions, bhakti Hindus, and many Judeo-Christian-Islamic monotheists as well, including but not limited to evangelical Christians and Catholic devotee’s of Mary.

Drawing Boundaries

Because contemporary Paganism is so diverse, the more inclusive ways of describing Paganism tend to group individual Pagans together with others with whom they share little commonality. This is one reason why there is so much conflict over the definition of “Pagan”. Individuals respond to this by either opting-out and rejecting the Pagan label, or by attempting to define the term in a way that excludes those they are uncomfortable with.

One advantage of the “three centers” approach is that it recognizes both the similarities and the differences among contemporary Pagans. On the one hand, individual Pagans can identify with one or two of the centers, without having to identify with all three centers. On the other hand, the three centers approach also recognizes the overlap between these groups. For example, some feminist Goddess worshippers might overlap with both earth-centered and Self-centric Paganisms. Likewise, some forms of animism might overlap with both earth-centered and deity-centered Paganisms.

“Three Centers” Correspondences

The three centers described above correspond to three chapters in Graham Harvey’s book, What Pagans Believe, which describes Pagan practices in these terms: “Celebrating Nature”, “Working Magic”, and “Honoring Deities”.

In addition, the three centers correspond roughly to three different Classical “paganisms” described by 19th century classicists and philologists: (1) the local cults of the country folk (which corresponds to earth-centric Paganism) (2) the mystery cults (which correspond to Self-centric Paganism) , and (3) the poets and the city state cults (which corresponds to deity-centric Paganism) . Often contemporary Pagans will focus on one of these groups of ancient Pagans when invoking antiquity in support of their claim to the term “Pagan”.

Finally, the three centers correspond to three different reactions to Christianity. Earth-centered Pagans reject the “other-worldly” focus of Christian eschatology and the dualistic separation of matter and spirit, as well as its anthropocentrism. Self-centric Pagans, challenge the Christian condemnation of the body, sex, and the feminine, and seek to reclaim these. And deity-centered Pagans, reject monotheism and all it implies.

Community: A Fourth Center?

In contrast to Paganism, Heathenry tends to be community-centered. In recent years there has been greater interaction between the Pagan and Heathen communities, which grew up alongside each other, but held different values. As the two communities begin to blend somewhat, a fourth center of Paganism may be discerned. Community-centered Pagans define their Pagan identity by belonging to the group, which calls itself “Pagan”. Pagan authenticity is defined in terms of conformity to communal norms and participation in group rituals. For community-centered Pagans, the community is that which transcends the individual. The relationship between community-centered Pagans and the community is ideally characterized by mutual fidelity. Like earth-centered Pagans, what community-centered Pagans get out of the relationship is a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves.

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A Little Humor for Your Day – “You Know Someone Is New to Magick and Paganism…”

You Know Someone Is New to Magick and Paganism…


You Know Someone Is New To Magick and Paganism When They Think That…

An ATHAME is the gas you use for your grill.

A CENSOR is a drink you mix with alcohol.

ASTRAL PROJECTION is a home-made movie viewer.

A SYMPATHITIC LINK is when you feel sorry because your chain broke.

WICCA is that part of the candle that burns.

APHRODITE is a prehistoric bird.

ARCHETYPES is a kind of building structure.

BLESSED BE is the god of insects.

A BOOK OF SHADOWS contains silhouettes of friends or family members.

A BRAZIER is support wear for women.

CASTING is done with a fishing line, or on a set in Hollywood.

CHARGING is done with a credit card or battery.

The only way to get into a CIRCLE is to have the right of way.

Crystal CLEANSING is done with window cleaner.

CYCLES have to do with your washing machine and when to add fabric softener.

DEMETER is where you put your quarter when you park downtown.

A DOLMAN is a new brand of banana.

HANDFASTING is eating without utensils.

LEY LINES happen at the airport in Hawaii.

PAN is something you fry food in.

A QUARTER is 25 cents and still buys a cup of coffee. (Note: This person is not only new to magick, but they also haven’t been out in a while!)

SKYCLAD is a shade of blue clothing.

A TRAD is a type of geometrical figure.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE is the game show with Vanna White.

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