Posts Tagged With: Spirituality

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Tellus Mater

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Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Tellus Mater

  

The Italian Deity Tellus Mater–mother of the earth–was honored on this day. She was a very early fertility deity (later associated with Jupiter) who watched over marriage, the procreation of children and the fruitfulness of the soil. Her festival was managed by the pontifices and the Vestal Virgins, at which a pregnant cow was sacrificed to ensure plenty throughout the year. In more modern times, this day is traditionally devoted to prayer for the continued health of our environment.

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Witches Almanac for Monday, March 17th

Today Is: Moon Day  

 
Energy: Female Ruler: The Moon – Rules emotions,  protection, healing, and women’s mysteries – Use for magick involving the  subconscious, healing, emotions, love, spirituality, healing wounds, children,  small animals, women’s mysteries, the female side of men, mothers, sisters,  female partners, wives, instincts
 
Today’s Magickal Influences: Agriculture, Domestic, Long  Life, Medicine, Travels, Visions, Theft
 
Today’s Goddesses: Luna, Selene, Diana, Re, Gaeleach, Ida,  Artemis [Whom The Greeks Associated With Bast], The Witches, Yemaya, Erzulie,  Bast
 
Incense: Myrtle
 
Perfumes: White Poppy, White Rose, Wallflower
 
Color of The Day:   Silver, Grey,  White
 
Colors for Tomorrow: Red
 
Lucky Sign:  Monday Is The Lucky Day For The Sign of  Cancer
 
Candle: White
 
Saint Gabriel represents Monday.
 
Heads Up For Monday: Wear white for peace, purity,  spirituality, higher self, The Goddess,Higher Self,Purity, Peace
 
Cooking on Monday will improve magics for creativity,  insight, maternal nature, and goddess-related efforts. ~Quote from Magickal  Martha
 
Today’s plant is Curly passion-flower, Passiflora  serrata. 
Straight from
GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast
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WOTC Extra – Top Five Houseplants to Purify Your Living Space, Spirituality and Physically

WOTC Extra – Top Five Houseplants to Purify Your Living Space, Spirituality and Physically

The top five plants all remove chemical vapors that build up in the home from paints,
cleaners, solvents and other unhealthy things – and they have magickal abilities too as listed below:
5: GERBERA DAISY Great to encourage happiness.
4: PEACE LILY Encourages harmonious energies and good communication.
3: BOSTON FERN Encourages psychic ability and intuition.
2: ENGLISH IVY For protection and luck – especially good for newly weds.
1: ARECA PALM (or Butterfly or Yellow Palm) For peace and creativity.

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Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Navigium Isidis

Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Navigium Isidis

March 5th

Navigium Isidis

(The Festival of the Ship of Isis)

The ancient estival of Navigium Isidis celebrated the Goddess Isis’s invention of the sail and her patronage of sailing that began each new sailing season.

Isis Euploia—-Isis of Good Sailing—-sailed with the crew of Ra on their journey through the Underworld searching for the severed parts of her murdered husband Osiris. As the beloved Goddess of Alexandria, whose massive lighthouse guided ships far at sea to shore, Isis was invoked to protect all incoming as well as outgoing vessels. Akin to Yemanja (February 9–10), Isis was worshiped at the shore and on the sea. She was considered the guardian of the grain ships that brought the bounty of Egypt to Rome. As her worship took root along the trade routes, seafarers would leave offerings and petition her protection before embarking on treacherous journeys.

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Finding The Craft

Finding The Craft

Author:   Siryn Dolphinsong 

While some might say they were not satisfied with the Christian life, I cannot really relate. Exposure to the mainstream religion of Christianity was not an option as my father had a severe distaste for their beliefs. I will not say I had the opportunity to become a Witch right away either though.

I guess spirituality was just not an importance in my growing years as far as my family was concerned, or they felt it was a decision only to be decided as an adult. My father was in the zone of reality and fact. My Mother on the other hand was a people pleaser and refused to discuss religion with anyone except to nod in agreement to avoid discussions.

As long as I can remember my Father instilled upon me that harm to myself or anything else living which included nature would be an act not forgiven and punishable by repayment that I would never want to see. Growing up and learning about all living things reminded me of attending science class yet the teachers would never change. I have lived with everything from monkeys to gerbils and those experiences taught me an appreciation for creation in which I have never forgotten. This experience was fact and my Father pushed for me to see the world good and bad. They used to call my Father Dr. Dolittle because he talked to the animals and plants as well.

I had always felt an empty space for spirituality and so as I got older, I spoke with my father whom I was closest to and I finally asked, “What religion do we practice or believe in?” I will never forget that day. My Father stated very seriously, if any one asks let them know we are animists.

Looking very confused, my Father began to explain. We are not Native American although they are the true people of this North America and I am ashamed of what the supposed Christians did to these people. We are of Irish and French descent carried over many years by boat, we had terrible times including the great potato famine. My Father continued to say he worshipped silently and believed every woman needed a man and every man needed a woman, just like there are the same aspects in most of nature to continue life. Religion he stated was how you lived your life and that if he did right his life would not stop by death. I left that conversation feeling almost complete. Even though I had my share of fallbacks and sometimes harmed my self by entering bad relationships and wrong decisions, I kept most of what we discussed close to my heart.

At fifteen, I fit in more with the drug crowd at school everyone else I thought were to righteous and stuck up. I had friends reading Aleister Crowley and dabbling in some sort of occult activity. I borrowed their books and felt curious but it was still too dark for me.

In 1984, when I turned eighteen I moved to Lewiston, Maine with my wild boyfriend. There was Witchcraft, white and black all around. Old shut down churches homesteaded by occult activity and it was in the papers daily. I met a white Witch who was very kind and told me I had a gift but not to follow through until I was ready to be serious. Just apartments down from us a guy sacrificed his girlfriend’s youngest child in the oven propping a chair at the door and made the other two older children watch while listening to some dark music, the neighbors call the fire dept. to report smoke. This incident was in the media and scared the wits out of me. I did not want accusations for such happenings so I stayed silent about my interest in the occult. I was also scared of introductions to weirdos who were into such acts of violence.

In 1990 when I moved in with my sister in St.Augustine, FL., everything seemed to have changed including the outlook on the occult. There were New Age shops opening everywhere. I found a metaphysical bookstore called “Dreamstreet” to which as soon as I opened the door all my stresses seem to leave my body. I felt addicted in a sense and I visited often sitting in their hammock reading about Goddess worship and alternatives to the mainstream religions. The smell of Nag-Champa in the air, the sweet acoustical music and the soothing voices of the merchants made me feel welcome and at home. I purchased my first “Green Egg” magazine there and my first bumper sticker that read, “God is coming back and she is pissed”.

I guess that is my first real connection with Witchcraft. I studied solitaire and eclectic, reading Buddhist and Hindu cultures to really be sure of what was right for me. I was very intrigued by Tarot cards; Runes and I would by smudge bundles for cleansing just to feel I was on my way to what would soon by my path.

I transferred in 1992 to Georgia where I reside now and it seemed right away rude awakenings were coming. No one ever asked if I went to church, it was always where do you attend church. I felt alienated until meeting my soul mate. I met my now husband who had previously been brought up Salvationist until he was eighteen and made the decision Christianity was not his path either.

Together we went to major bookstores and purchased books like Buckland’s big blue book and several Celtic related Witchcraft books. I often hear Witches condemn Llewelyn publications for being too commercial but without them Witchcraft would not have been as open to us as it is today. Our library has grown and we still travel every year to St. Augustine to fill my void of my bookstore and I still buy and stockpile smudge bundles for later use. This year we weren’t able to make the trip and Dreamstreet’s Web site is gone and the number is disconnected, to which makes me very sad. I hope it is just an incident where the names changed or they have just moved. My husband was an intern after college and was a computer guru so when the Internet became available we started networking and trying to find as many resources as possible. We followed The Witches’ Voice when they were in Massachusetts and kept with them during their move to Florida. Not to be biased but they have always seemed to be the most thorough in helping find others and keeping updated with Pagan news.

Today we worship together and offer a small study group to help people in this area that of our same lifestyle. We started “The Southern Circle of the Willow Moon” in 1997 with six members and although the members have changed, the beliefs and teachings are still the same. We learn from each other, we are not experts as Witchcraft is a lifelong path of learning and experiences. There are severe persecutions still existing in our area and no doubt in other strong Baptist areas as well. We will continue to travel to places where we can be free with our religious beliefs, find people who feel the same as we do and try and educate people on what Witchcraft really is.

I recommend anyone starting out on this path begin by study. I know it can be boring but some knowledge is better especially when seeking teachers. When I go to a bookstore and a teen comes up and starts telling me how long the have been into Witchcraft and what books I should or should not get makes me believe they are going through a self-esteem and identity crisis. I want no part of the person playing games with their spirituality.

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Let’s Talk Witch – Getting Started On Your Spiritual Education Path

 Let’s Talk Witch – Getting Started On Your Spiritual Education Path

Any spiritual practice requires research and study. Witchcraft is no different than any other path. Here is some basic info, words of caution, and suggestions for reading and starting your research.

How Can I Learn More? If you are one of the many people looking for information on how to become a witch, there are a few things you should ask yourself first.

1. What is your reason for wanting to be a Witch? If your reason is simply so you can cast a spell, it’s the wrong reason and you might find more information if you look for Spellcraft, than Witchcraft. If your reasons are truly from an interest in the faith or you feel drawn to the Craft as a religion, then you maybe on the right path. But you should learn more and make an informed decision.

2. Are you willing to live by the spiritual laws as a way of life? If you are, or if you’re not sure, do a lot of research on your own and find out as much as you can about the path you’ve chosen.

3. How Do I Get Started? Read, learn and read a lot more. Do your own research, and not just from magikal books or reference manuals. Through studying history, other religions and how they all inter-relate and interact. I have a favorite saying for this type of education: “Books can give you knowledge. But only your own personal experiences give you wisdom to decide your own path.”

Words of Warning.

Don’t take one persons word or teachings as the only truth or as the only way on this or any spiritual path. No one person has all the answers for you. Only you know what rings true within your own heart and soul.

When it comes time for you to chose a mentor, be very cautious. There are a lot of novice people claiming to be a High Priest or Priestess. The best advice I could give is find someone who can prove they have practiced the path for several years (my standard is 10 years or more).

Don’t just take their word for it. Find someone who is willing to answer your questions without charging you money.

Taking a class and paying for an instructors time is NOT the same thing as finding a “spiritual teacher”. (Classes are wonderful for making new friends and learning in a group.)

What you should really be looking for is a mentor or guide, not a person who thinks they have the right to tell you what to do or believe.

Lastly, always question!

Question everything you are told and everything you read.

Research other material to validate what you are being told or what you read in a book.

Make sure that a book is supported by other books and by history itself.

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Respecting and Honoring Yourself – and Your Religious Choices

Respecting and Honoring Yourself – and Your Religious Choices

Author:   nasionnaich 

How many of you have ever used religious rituals that are not your own? I have, and now that I have learned why I should not have, I deeply regret having used them. Oh, I don’t mean rituals that are a part of the culture of a place you are visiting, so you feel “obligated” to participate out of respect towards your host. I mean rituals that you have decided to incorporate into your own “brand” of religious belief and/or spirituality. You know, taking bits and pieces of something and using them in a way that “fits your style” — without proper instruction on the meaning behind the ritual (as well as where, when and how to do it) .

For more than 20 years, I have been learning about the various aspects of various religions, and trying to find my own particular Spiritual Path. I have never deliberately intended to be disrespectful towards any religion or spirituality — I have always had good intentions as my motive for learning. Well, I may have been disrespectful anyway, no matter the reason for doing it, no matter the “good intentions”.

A little history on one part of the subject may be in order — specifically, Native American Indian religious and spiritual rituals — as a way of actually illustrating what I intend to convey. I apologize in advance if any of it seems “disjointed” or “rambling”; I am not at all used to this essay-writing thing (I always had problems writing essays when I was in school, too) , so please, bear with me. (Just so you know, I am a “Native American”, I was born in “America” – but I am not a Native American Indian. Yes, there is a difference.)

Back when the Europeans first came to the Western Hemisphere, they found a number of very distinct Cultures and Peoples with rich traditions of their own, including complex religions and a deeply ingrained spirituality, which permeated the entire social structure of each region. Of course, being the “Good Christians” they were, those Europeans felt bound by their Duty towards their Church to change or eradicate what they didn’t like or understand. And they made no real efforts to truly understand what they didn’t like.

The Christian missionaries were usually the first to “study” the Native American Indian rituals, and they promptly decided that the rituals were “Satanic” in nature — most after having “studied” those rituals for less than one year. Fast-forward more than 500 years, and most Christian churches still have no true understanding of what the rituals really mean. (I place much of the blame on the Christian missionaries and anthropologists, who tend to “interpret” things strictly according to their Christian up-bringing…never mind what they actually see or are told.)

But there are many non-Christian groups (and individual Christians) who have realized that “Satan” has nothing to do with the Native American Indian rituals and spirituality, and have been working towards a full acceptance of the “Native American Church” — a loose conglomeration of religious practices and beliefs which happen to share a common set of central beliefs, but followers of which never called themselves a “church” prior to the 20th Century.

These “hippies”, as they were once known in the 1960s and 1970s, as a means of “promoting” Native American Indian spirituality decided on their own to selectively “adopt” Native American Indian religious and spiritual rituals, rarely fully understanding the meanings and the social importance of those rituals in what are very specific settings.

They learned the rituals from reading what the Christian missionaries and anthropologists wrote. I did, too, to a large extent. Later, I found how wrong many of those descriptions really are.

The Sun Dance, for example, is done only at certain times during the Summer months, and it is to help the men of the community know what it is like to give birth — they endure a great amount of pain and privation which most “White Men” can only imagine; it has little, if anything, to do with any so-called “sun worship”.

And the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies are for the Purification of those who are about to begin – or have recently completed – specific socially and spiritually important tasks — it isn’t just another fraternally-organized steam bath where you can get stoned out of your mind.

The Vision Quest is not what most people seem to think it is, either. These and other rituals have been taken up in a willy-nilly fashion by neo-Pagan and New Age groups and individuals (the “hippies” previously mentioned) because of some perceived need to “preserve” them, or because they “like” the rituals. Or much worse, out of a misguided attempt to “honor” Native American Indians.

They do not bother to truly consider how wrong it can be to do so, not thinking about how their own ancestors’ religious beliefs and rituals were corrupted by the very same piece-meal picking and choosing of whatever happened to be “popular” (or “pleasing”) at the time, nor how those rituals were wrongly “interpreted” by others. I doubt very much that the Druids of Ancient Ireland, for example, would have been pleased with a Roman follower of Jupiter “adopting” Druidic practices with no real thought to the actual meaning of those practices.

But the Native American Indians who still practice their religion are expected to accept the corruption and bastardization of their rituals, all in the name of “preserving” and “honoring” them.

As an example, I saw a photo of a “Burning Man” attendee wearing a “Native American spirit mask”, and at first didn’t think much of it — until I noticed that he was naked from the waist up (the photo was cropped just above his waist, so I have no idea what he was wearing below the waist – but I can guess) .

For one thing — and this is extremely important — the People who happen to use that style of mask do not go naked during their public rituals, not even from the waist up, so that was a huge tip-off that if the man was “honoring” the “Native American Church”, he either never received the instruction needed, or ignored what instruction he may have received and in either case was being extremely disrespectful…no matter what “good intentions” he may have had.

If there is no instruction concerning the rituals, they should not be used; there is no “But, I’m honoring such-and-such religion and/or group”. And, as any Judge will tell you concerning another subject: Ignorance is not an excuse, because there are many ways to obtain the necessary knowledge and instruction.

Native American Indian rituals are a sacred thing to the practitioners and Teachers of the Native American Indian religion, and they should be treated with the exact same respect, as you would demand of anyone towards your own religion. I have heard from many Pagans and Wiccans — as well as read here on WitchVox — that before anyone decides to use or take part in any ritual, those people should be instructed in the proper methods, times and places to do those rituals. And there are many Pagan and Wiccan rituals that are to be conducted only by Ordained Priests and Priestesses, not by just anyone who feels like using them.

Yet, again, there are many neo-Pagans and New Agers who feel it is somehow OK for anyone who wishes to just “adopt” whatever rituals they want, from wherever they want, and without having first gone through the necessary instruction on how, where and when to properly conduct those rituals….

Some religions may be OK with that, but most are not. It took me more than 20 years to fully realize this simple truth as it concerns the “Native American Church”, but if I had actually bothered to think about it when I began my “spiritual journey” (which, I admit, is still not completed) , I would have come to the same realization after first learning how truly Sacred certain rituals are to most religious groups.

So, why was it wrong to use certain rituals in my own “brand” of spirituality? Because I did not know what those rituals truly mean, which was because I had not received any real instruction as to how, when and where to use them. I was not authorized to use those rituals because I did not receive instruction from someone who was authorized to give that instruction.

I had no true respect for myself, because I had no true respect for my religious/spiritual choices.

Now that I have spent more than 20 years learning about and teaching myself the various aspects of “religion”, Native American Indian religion and spirituality included, I can only hope to help others in their own journeys towards a true Spiritual Awareness and respect for (and towards) themselves, as well as religious beliefs and practices they may someday wish to “adopt” (if not actually live by) .

We all want others to show some measure of respect towards our religious choices, and it is my opinion that the first step towards that is to truly respect other religions by making an honest attempt, doing everything within our means, to understand the rituals before we “adopt” any part of them.

Very few out-spoken Wiccans and Pagans, after all, would simply stand by and watch a “Fluffy-bunny” neo-Pagan or New Ager improperly conduct a Purification Ritual to cleanse their laptop computer — using a plastic drinking straw as a “wand”. (Hey, we all know what is meant by “Fluffy-bunny”) I don’t really understand why the improper use of Native American Indian rituals would — or should be allowed.

We gain respect for ourselves by respecting others, and we respect others by showing respect for and towards their religions by understanding the rituals involved in those religions.

So, I ask again, in all seriousness: How many of you have ever used religious rituals that are not your own?

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Learning to be a Pagan

Learning to be a Pagan

Author:   Lanterna  

I don’t call myself a Wiccan. And I don’t consider myself a Witch either, because I’ve just started walking the path of the Ancient Gods, though I have nurtured the love for magick since I was 11 or 12. It was on Samhain (I called it Halloween at the time) afternoon, and I felt like a huge, powerful, green energy filling my body and soul. I had no religion at the time, and I did not want to belong to any religious group: too many “must dos” and taboos and guilt feelings and intolerance. But an interest in spirituality grew and I got involved in a more or less spiritual movement that proved to be quite disastrous for my mental health. But I did not give up my “quest”.

I’m scared of labels. I’m scared of spiritual masters. I had a bad experience with one of them once. But, honestly, I don’t know how to become a “good” Pagan, if there are any ‘good’ or ‘wrong’ ways to be a Pagan. I just know I am honestly in love with the Earth. I like the divine breeze I can breathe in when I open my window at night, the magick of the roses and the grass in that moment, when everything is quiet, when there is none or very little human activity.

It would be presumptuous of me to say I’m a Witch. Do I serve the Gods well? Do I respect the Earth enough? Do I use my magic tools well enough? I’d like to meet guides but I’m leery of meeting people who are shallow or intolerant or manipulative. I’m tempted to learn on my own, through books (I would not believe everything that is written; I would think carefully about it first) , through Pagan forums or websites.

I think what matters most is the genuine love you feel for the Gods. Nobody can tell you what is the best way to serve Them, worship Them, or how to be an Authentic Pagan. Where there is a will, there is a way, and I’m sure Magick will show me the best path. Maybe I will make wonderful encounters here or somewhere else.

I’m sure some of you who read this article will think that I’m not an “Authentic Pagan” or that it’s just a fad or I do not truly want to get involved in Magick. It’s not true. As I said before, I am genuine. I’m just careful about spiritual movements: I don’t know everything about Paganism, and maybe there are, let’s say, dogmas, opinions, beliefs that I don’t agree with in my very core. I will have to find out.

One of the things that attracted me at first, in Paganism, is that it seems that followers are not judgmental of other faiths. “An’ Ye harm none, do what Ye wilt”. That sounds very wise to me. I try not to harm anyone, and I even try to help and / or comfort people when I can. And yet I am always doubting myself: in what way am I really a Pagan / a Witch? Do you ask yourself the same question? Do you sometimes look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Do I deserve to call myself a Witch?

What does it mean to be a Witch?

This is why I have a hard time labeling myself, getting involved in a movement, belonging to a Coven or whatever. I’m a Truth seeker, and I want to be authentic. I am afraid of people telling me, “You’re doing it the wrong way” or “that’s not what a Pagan should do”. I am afraid of narrow-mindedness or people leading me on a dangerous path, as this happened once before.

Don’t get me wrong, if I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and experimenting before calling myself a Witch and getting involved in Magick 100%. I think that’s what we should do in all religions: read, think over, experiment and then finally decide. We should also trust the signs when they are very strong: like that huge, powerful energy I felt on Halloween day 15 years ago. Or the bliss induced by a Pagan song. Where there is positive energy, bliss, ecstasy, there must be some truth. And it is likely the same thing when we sense that we have “abilities”. It is surely a sign.

I am also sure that when the Gods want something from us, they know how to get our attention. That’s why I try to be very attentive when I perform a ritual, when I pray, or simply when I feel the presence of the Divine sometime in the day.

So to sum up, I think it is not safe to call yourself a Wiccan or a Witch when you have not had a long experience of being into Paganism BUT it does not mean you’re not trying your best to be a genuine, faithful Pagan. It just means you need to take your time, to think this it over, to ask yourself if you are, or can be, a good Pagan before considering calling yourself something as solemn and serious as Witch.

But if you feel strongly attracted to Paganism, if you feel like you are “being called”, it sure means you have to dig in that way before you eventually realize you are (or are not) fit for this spiritual way of life. It’s not like getting a new haircut or getting a tattoo; it is something that will make you rethink your life and it demands involvement and honesty. You want to be sure you understand everything being a Witch implies so that you can walk the path with honor.

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