“Who is the Wiccan Goddess?” Just saying those words brings on a lot of feelings. A goddess is a female version of a deity, and the Horned God being the male version

“Who is the Wiccan Goddess?” Just saying those words brings on a lot of feelings. A goddess is a female version of a deity, and the Horned God being the male version of a deity. But let us step back for a moment and define just what a deity is, or if it is, and how one should go about dealing with one if its existence pans out to be real.

What is real is what is held in the mind of the individual, but that is questionable. After all, what is real to me may be imaginary to someone else. To an atheist, even talking about the potential existence of deities is absurd. I cannot please other people. I have to please myself and do what I feel is right, and what feels right to me is being able to make decisions on my own and experience the consequences of those decisions. I want a level playing field, not to live in a world where my actions are restricted or my thoughts expressed lead to a retribution of sorts or to authoritative action being brought against my person simply because I had a thought and spoke it aloud.

We humans do not speak haphazardly under normal circumstances and given that we follow some sort of mental etiquette; therefore, an organized mental system is implied, one that allows individuals to live as freely as possible, to be afforded as many freedoms as possible within reason, to have freedom of movement of the body in most every sense of the word. Our collective interpretations of “evil, ” always return back to one experience: the fact that some other person or persons acted on the person of another without their permission, leading to a loss of control over their physical body and entailing a gross loss of respect. Without this act or event becoming part of physical reality, we do not call an event “evil.” It may be characterized in a multitude of ways but with the term “evil” seldom so.

So what does this lead me to conclude? It leads me to logically conclude that if we could eliminate the possibility of another person or persons being able to affect another person in such a way that their permission was not granted or that respect for them was lost, or they were not required to subjugate control of their physical body to others, then I could negate all undesirable experiences and erase them from this world.

But to do that would require tampering with the entire energetic system we all live in, which is not feasible or practical or even probable, but could be conceivable were it done genetically. Nonetheless, none of these options being open to me, I am then puzzled as to why this is so, why the human condition lends itself to such tragedy and why we would choose to be so vulnerable?

Does this not give the atheist or agnostic the prime motive for doubting that deities ever existed in the first place? And if on graduation into the afterlife, as we Pagans call it, Summerland, why would a personality want to advance to the status of deity, only to see its subjects demoralize one another, physically slaughter each other, downplay the integrity and rights of others, ad infinitum?

These are valid questions and strike at the heart of most logical and simple thinkers throughout all eras of history. I feel free enough to write these words in the year 2010, without fear of being burned alive, or rebuked by my elders or societal influences, because I live in the United States of America, which is a republic based on a democratic form of governance.

Given that I live in America, I also am free to practice my religion, Wicca. This Pagan religion is based on two deities: The Wiccan Goddess and the Horned God, and can conceivably contain many other gods and goddesses depending on which pantheon is ascribed to, what peculiar beliefs any one individual may feel inclined to entertain.

Wicca has given me a nature-based love of life and myself that I did not find in other faiths, whether those be Eastern based or Judeo-Christian. My love for the Earth and for Nature itself and the Sacredness of all Life, lead me into a deep study of myself and my dream life and the interior universe that illuminates my thoughts, occupies my days and fills my nights with song and revelry, or quiet nights alone reading sitting in silence, listening to the purr of electronic gadgets in my home, or the refrigerator, or watching my cat nestled on the futon deeply enmeshed in her own dream universe.

And how is the dream of my cat any more real than my own dream? How is my cat’s dream any more real than the Wiccan Goddess? Subjective realities exist and always will exist, the domain of the mind is a fertile domain that has no ground or dirt or trees. The trees that grow in the mind are of a different variety, but you can rest assured they are as real, if not more real, than the trees in your own yard.

When we leave physical reality and rejoin the whole personality that exists in the dimension inside of yourself, then we will see the reality of our efforts in life. Quite often, I have majestic and wonderful thoughts during the workday, sprites of thought that bubble up and colorfully wisp across my mind and I feel satisfied, though only until the feeling subsides and again I’m back in the ego dungeon world, of my own accord. It’s only a dungeon inasmuch as it cuts out other data and can be restricting and even destructive if allowed to dry up and separate itself too much from the other parts of your whole personality. Nothing is more dangerous than allowing yourself to be ruled by the ego portion of your personality alone, with no input or influx from other portions of your sacred whole person who exists as surely as the birds singing outside, as surely as the ocean surf, as surely as trees.

Bounty and aliveness filled my being when I did my initiation ritual and filled the psychic air of my ritual room, the space of which also doubled as a workspace and a home gym. Raising energy in your ritual room is a good idea, and exercising in it all the better. But what good is it to raise energy or accumulate it, if you don’t know the outcome of the events of your life, or you don’t know if the Wiccan Goddess is real or not, and if you don’t know what tomorrow will yield? To this end, much speculation has happened, much writing and intellectual effort been penned out, and much exasperation and depression and anxiety been wrought, all in the name of certainty and of the unknown.

The one certainty is life is the unknown, and on it you can rely as a counterpoint to your questions, a foundation to base your knowledge on, a place to go to unleash yourself. Creativity and love and wonder come from the unknown like springs of water, their roots hidden, but feeding all the tributaries and valleys and ripples that go out and expand and make up a personality.

So we are still left with the question: who is the Wiccan Goddess? Where did she come from? The latter question is basically meaningless, as she came from the same place I did, and every reader of this text did, the unknown place inside ourselves that can be known in dark times, or even in solitude or quiet moments of reflection. She is alive in every cell of your body, and reminds you of the showers of nostalgia you have every day entertained in your mind and heart, ever seeking and yearning to evolve into more than it was.

The Wiccan Goddess is not a deity who is hanging out somewhere, in a state of readiness or beyond evolving. She is what you make her, and she lives in your heart and in the oscillations of your molecules and in the corridors of your mind. Meet her there, and you can evolve together and make a new pioneering world without the constraints of constant egoism, corporate tyranny or dependence on others who may or may not have your best interests in mind.

Focus on the positive, stay centered and aim for your highest dreams, because dreams really do become your world.

Who is the Wiccan Goddess?

Who is the Wiccan Goddess?

Author: WiccanHart
“Who is the Wiccan Goddess?” Just saying those words brings on a lot of feelings. A goddess is a female version of a deity, and the Horned God being the male version of a deity. But let us step back for a moment and define just what a deity is, or if it is, and how one should go about dealing with one if its existence pans out to be real.

What is real is what is held in the mind of the individual, but that is questionable. After all, what is real to me may be imaginary to someone else. To an atheist, even talking about the potential existence of deities is absurd. I cannot please other people. I have to please myself and do what I feel is right, and what feels right to me is being able to make decisions on my own and experience the consequences of those decisions. I want a level playing field, not to live in a world where my actions are restricted or my thoughts expressed lead to a retribution of sorts or to authoritative action being brought against my person simply because I had a thought and spoke it aloud.

We humans do not speak haphazardly under normal circumstances and given that we follow some sort of mental etiquette; therefore, an organized mental system is implied, one that allows individuals to live as freely as possible, to be afforded as many freedoms as possible within reason, to have freedom of movement of the body in most every sense of the word. Our collective interpretations of “evil, ” always return back to one experience: the fact that some other person or persons acted on the person of another without their permission, leading to a loss of control over their physical body and entailing a gross loss of respect. Without this act or event becoming part of physical reality, we do not call an event “evil.” It may be characterized in a multitude of ways but with the term “evil” seldom so.

So what does this lead me to conclude? It leads me to logically conclude that if we could eliminate the possibility of another person or persons being able to affect another person in such a way that their permission was not granted or that respect for them was lost, or they were not required to subjugate control of their physical body to others, then I could negate all undesirable experiences and erase them from this world.

But to do that would require tampering with the entire energetic system we all live in, which is not feasible or practical or even probable, but could be conceivable were it done genetically. Nonetheless, none of these options being open to me, I am then puzzled as to why this is so, why the human condition lends itself to such tragedy and why we would choose to be so vulnerable?

Does this not give the atheist or agnostic the prime motive for doubting that deities ever existed in the first place? And if on graduation into the afterlife, as we Pagans call it, Summerland, why would a personality want to advance to the status of deity, only to see its subjects demoralize one another, physically slaughter each other, downplay the integrity and rights of others, ad infinitum?

These are valid questions and strike at the heart of most logical and simple thinkers throughout all eras of history. I feel free enough to write these words in the year 2010, without fear of being burned alive, or rebuked by my elders or societal influences, because I live in the United States of America, which is a republic based on a democratic form of governance.

Given that I live in America, I also am free to practice my religion, Wicca. This Pagan religion is based on two deities: The Wiccan Goddess and the Horned God, and can conceivably contain many other gods and goddesses depending on which pantheon is ascribed to, what peculiar beliefs any one individual may feel inclined to entertain.

Wicca has given me a nature-based love of life and myself that I did not find in other faiths, whether those be Eastern based or Judeo-Christian. My love for the Earth and for Nature itself and the Sacredness of all Life, lead me into a deep study of myself and my dream life and the interior universe that illuminates my thoughts, occupies my days and fills my nights with song and revelry, or quiet nights alone reading sitting in silence, listening to the purr of electronic gadgets in my home, or the refrigerator, or watching my cat nestled on the futon deeply enmeshed in her own dream universe.

And how is the dream of my cat any more real than my own dream? How is my cat’s dream any more real than the Wiccan Goddess? Subjective realities exist and always will exist, the domain of the mind is a fertile domain that has no ground or dirt or trees. The trees that grow in the mind are of a different variety, but you can rest assured they are as real, if not more real, than the trees in your own yard.

When we leave physical reality and rejoin the whole personality that exists in the dimension inside of yourself, then we will see the reality of our efforts in life. Quite often, I have majestic and wonderful thoughts during the workday, sprites of thought that bubble up and colorfully wisp across my mind and I feel satisfied, though only until the feeling subsides and again I’m back in the ego dungeon world, of my own accord. It’s only a dungeon inasmuch as it cuts out other data and can be restricting and even destructive if allowed to dry up and separate itself too much from the other parts of your whole personality. Nothing is more dangerous than allowing yourself to be ruled by the ego portion of your personality alone, with no input or influx from other portions of your sacred whole person who exists as surely as the birds singing outside, as surely as the ocean surf, as surely as trees.

Bounty and aliveness filled my being when I did my initiation ritual and filled the psychic air of my ritual room, the space of which also doubled as a workspace and a home gym. Raising energy in your ritual room is a good idea, and exercising in it all the better. But what good is it to raise energy or accumulate it, if you don’t know the outcome of the events of your life, or you don’t know if the Wiccan Goddess is real or not, and if you don’t know what tomorrow will yield? To this end, much speculation has happened, much writing and intellectual effort been penned out, and much exasperation and depression and anxiety been wrought, all in the name of certainty and of the unknown.

The one certainty is life is the unknown, and on it you can rely as a counterpoint to your questions, a foundation to base your knowledge on, a place to go to unleash yourself. Creativity and love and wonder come from the unknown like springs of water, their roots hidden, but feeding all the tributaries and valleys and ripples that go out and expand and make up a personality.

So we are still left with the question: who is the Wiccan Goddess? Where did she come from? The latter question is basically meaningless, as she came from the same place I did, and every reader of this text did, the unknown place inside ourselves that can be known in dark times, or even in solitude or quiet moments of reflection. She is alive in every cell of your body, and reminds you of the showers of nostalgia you have every day entertained in your mind and heart, ever seeking and yearning to evolve into more than it was.

The Wiccan Goddess is not a deity who is hanging out somewhere, in a state of readiness or beyond evolving. She is what you make her, and she lives in your heart and in the oscillations of your molecules and in the corridors of your mind. Meet her there, and you can evolve together and make a new pioneering world without the constraints of constant egoism, corporate tyranny or dependence on others who may or may not have your best interests in mind.

Focus on the positive, stay centered and aim for your highest dreams, because dreams really do become your world.

Blessed Full Moon

Blessed Full Moon

Author: Lady Wolfwind

Almost every full moon we celebrate. My children and I. My husband sometimes stands on the periphery as if he’s afraid to join in. It makes me sad to watch him. He’s always seemed a bit reluctant to allow himself to show what he truly believes. Afraid of what others may think of him, even in his private moments. So, he watches. He did participate in our Blue Moon Ritual. Almost as if he felt the significance of the moment, like we were on the cusp of something and it was too important to let pass. I feel that one day he may openly participate and feel comfortable in doing so.

This is really not a story about my husband and his beliefs. It is a story I would like to share with everyone about one witch’s experiences and how they happened. I must admit that we do not celebrate every full moon. I particularly do not like the oppressive summer heat of Florida and, I might add, the mosquitoes. Sometimes I am just too tired or overwhelmed by my mundane life to pay respect to the Goddess who is responsible for bringing it all to me.

Over time in my life, I have changed a great deal, as I’m sure we all have. A few years ago I had a very deep emotional wound that left me changed forever. This wound is what put me on this path with both feet, never to look back. I have found within me a deep peace. I watch people all around me and they try to fill the silent moments with whatever they can. I find that the silence speaks to me. It’s when I recharge my own batteries and feel the vibrations of the world around me.

I deal with people in my job 50 hours per week. Not only do I deal with our customers but my employees as well. It’s strange the way they talk to me. I sense their vibrations as soon as they enter the room. For one example, I was taking a lady’s order the other morning. She seemed to have a sense of sadness about her. I asked her if she was okay and she replied that “Yes, I am good. How are you?” I proceeded to tell her that all was well when she blurted out to me that her son had committed suicide a few years back. I instantly was thrown into a tailspin. I had felt the sadness but didn’t expect this woman to open up to me about something so personal. I told her that I was sorry for her loss and her pain. She told me that it was okay and that she had learned to move on. I felt that the sadness had never gone away.

So, the silence is very important to me. I am an empath. That is another story altogether. It’s not what I really want to write about. When I am not at work I shield myself from the world’s crazy vibrations. I surround myself with nature and animals. I feel their energy as well but it is a kinder, more natural vibration and it soothes me. There is not a day that goes by that I am not being followed by cats, dogs or chickens.

I very rarely invite people to my home. They leave their imprint behind. It interferes with the flow of energy that I feel here. It feels as if it is an intrusion. I know that I can banish this energy but I don’t want to be bothered with the disruption. It is like a momentum, I want it to keep its pace.

So, the night of the last full moon. This night had significant meaning. My husband was working so it was just the children and I. Goddess forbid if my son thinks I’ve forgotten the full moon. He reminds me all night. His excitement is palpable.

We were in the yard. We had set down our blanket. We had all of our necessary tools. Maybe not necessary tools by some people’s standards but enough for us. After all, the Goddess does not look down on us for not spending loads of money on fancy ritual tools. The witch of yesteryear made do with what she had on hand and we shall do the same.

We had our candle for fire, we had our salt for the earth, we had our incense for the air and we had our blessed water. My son cast the circle. We set the incense in the middle, my son carries fire, my daughter sprinkles water and I sprinkle the salt. We set the items at the appropriate directions and my daughter politely asks the Quarters to join us and I ask reverently for the Goddess to join us as well.

Once the circle is cast we sit in a circle and hold hands. We take turns thanking the Goddess for everything she has blessed us with the previous month. We speak of all that we are thankful for. The good and the bad. Then we silently sit and say our own silent thanks. After this we speak of all of the ills we would like to see changed and people we would like to see helped. We ask that She show us a path in which we may help her to do her work in the following month. We say thank you. My daughter asks the Quarters to return to where they came and my son returns the energy back to the earth.

It is a deeply healing time. It makes us aware of all we have to be thankful for while others suffer, sometimes by their own choosing without even knowing it. It helps my children learn to be ambassadors for peace in their world and that different is not always wrong.

I understand that all of this is a great story in and of itself but it is still not what I wish to speak of. At every Esbat the animals join us. The cats always join us in circle. They lie in the middle and look at us all with great love and respect. Sometimes we are joined by others as well. We have a fox that lives nearby and if you look out at the edge of the field, he stands there watching. We also have a family of raccoons and at times they will stand at the edge of the grass and curiously look on. On occasion, the owl provides his two cents as well.

I must add, that the first few times I witnessed this amazing audience, I was unnerved. After all, it was just my children and I. These were wild creatures and I have always been taught that they can be dangerous. The first few times we finished early and moved inside.

Lately I have been more at peace with these visitors. I have found peace with them and they are welcome. Maybe they just want to hear the words and in their own way they want to say thanks as well. They have never created any danger. They just sit and watch. I feel them there. They have something to say. I feel privileged to be trusted enough to have them witness the beauty of it all.

So there, you have the story. This is how it is here. This is our life. Not the life I have chosen but the one that I was called to. It is filled with pain and confusion at times but at others it is filled with beauty and wonder. I have found that the more I am aware of these things the more is revealed to me. Sometimes I feel afraid of what may be next. I know the Goddess will only give me what I can withstand and I place my full trust in Her. I am in awe of all She has to teach and I am envious of how gently she teaches it. I only wish that I had her gentle way with which to bring wisdom to others.

This is what I strive for. I feel that this is what she wishes from me. To just gently teach. To share small glimpses of what the world could be like if one would only stop and listen.

Blessed Be My Fellow Witches.

The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

Author: Horizons Coven

The Maiden

There was once a time in your life that everything was filled with wonder and hope. Everything was brand new, colorful and the world immense and full of beauty. We were young and innocent. Life was the priceless pearl we discovered by opening the shell. There were Fairy Tales with happy endings where everyone lived happily ever after, and we believed in this possibility. Dandelions were just as lovely as roses and we gathered them as offerings of love to our mothers. We were imaginative; our creative spark took us anywhere we wished to be. Strangers were exciting and mysterious, but were not to be feared. Instead they were heroes with make believe talents and abilities. Clouds became a never-ending parade of circus animals. Unicorns danced in our dreams. We were open to possibilities. We could be anything we wanted to be. We knew without a doubt that some day we would meet our prince charming. We would live happily ever after.

Over time, we were taught to be strong and capable. We were taught that dreams were okay, but we needed to keep our feet on the ground. Our heads were filled with ideals that weren’t our own. We learned to be afraid. The world wasn’t what we imagined, but a place where danger lurked at each corner.

Childlike and innocent is the Maiden. Her hopes and dreams are as certain as truth. Loving and gentle, her world is very fragile as her trust rules over fears. She dreams of a loving relationship that will outshine any tale. Yet she blushes easily when admired. She has not experienced the ways of the world. She is the eternal optimist. Her spirit cannot be crushed and hope reigns eternal. The world is enchanting and magickal. She resides within each of us as the innocent one. She dances with us in a field of wildflowers and tumbles to ground next to us in ecstasy. She whispers her secret desires to the winds and they tickle our ears as the find their place in our heart. We are the oysters and she is the pearl contained within. She is the beauty emanating from within our being for the world to see. She is pure, untouched by the harsh reality of the mundane world.

I can see her as if standing before me, her long hair flowing about her as she dances with the Fae in a circle beneath the crescent moon. Her graceful, lithe body moves gently in the rhythm of lunar energies. Her spirit glows, the radiant light emanating from her heart. Her long flowing gown cannot hide the young woman’s frame beneath. Her laughter is like chimes in my ears. Her smile lights the universe.

Growing in strength and brightness each night, the Maiden, known as Diana and Artemis in the Mediterranean area, is usually depicted carrying a bow and quiver. She is the first aspect of the triple Goddess. Sometimes called the virgin or huntress, she represents the spring of the year, the dawn, fresh beginnings of all life, the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment and seduction. She shows the way through the inner labyrinth to the divine center where the greatest of spiritual mysteries lie. She is matter and energy held in suspension until the right time arrives. She is a shape shifting Goddess who drives a chariot pulled by silver stags. She helps women who are threatened or harassed by men.

She rules over animals, singing, enchantment, psychic power, fertility, purification, magic, sports, mental healing, dance, forests, and healing. She carries the seeds of all potential: anything is possible and all possibilities are within her. She does not limit herself by the needs or beliefs of others. She is in love with the mystery of life. The Maiden represents expansion, the female principle, and promise of new beginnings, youth, and excitement. The Maiden is associated with the colors white, light pink and light yellow. She symbolizes youth and anticipation of life. Associated with purity and nature, She is usually seen in the company of animals. In the aspect of the Maiden we see the world with child-like wonder, and also huntress and warrior, as Athena and Artemis are known to be.

The Mother
There is nothing like being pregnant. When I was pregnant with my daughter I was happier than I had ever been in my life. Knowing that a life was growing inside me was amazing. I felt more alive than ever before. I could not wait to hold this little miracle of love.

Okay, there are times where you are so sick you want to die. When the baby decides to try to use your rib cage to score a touchdown it doesn’t feel great. You have weird cravings for food.
You are swollen and can’t see your toes and feel like a blimp that swallowed a blimp.

When a child is born, we always want to count fingers and toes and to know once and for all, girl or boy. We have such great expectations for this tiny bundle of joy. Perhaps he will be president. Perhaps she will be a ballerina. We cannot wait to dress them, to show them off and to take pictures of everything from their first diaper change to the first smile.

Fear sets in once you get home. You call the doctor often. Is this the best formula? Are these the best diapers? She/He spit up, is she sick? Do I need to bring the baby to the hospital! The baby gets colicky and cries all the time. You can’t sleep because you worry excessively. You can’t sleep because the baby is crying. Is she hungry or sick? You have to go check and make sure she is breathing! Our maternal, protective instinct has kicked into high gear.

Now, imagine for a moment, we may have a few children; some families have 13 or more, think how many the Goddess has! We are all children of the Goddess, no matter our age. Our child learns to speak and says Mama so many times we want to pull our heads off! Imagine all of the voices and prayers going out at any given time to our Mother, the Goddess.

Our Goddess Mother has our best interest at heart. She wants for us to be happy and healthy. She never turns away because she is tired and wants some peace and quit. She loves us unconditionally. She understands our hopes and desires and dreams. She lives within our hearts. You can lean on her when you need strength and patience with your little one. You can place your child and yourself within the love and light of the Great Mother and trust that she will always be there for you.

The second Goddess aspect is the Mother, the archetype involved in active creation. She represents the summer, blazing noon, reproduction and fertility, the ripeness of life, the Full Moon, and the high point in all cycles. Her traditional color is red, the color of blood and of life itself. She is the great teacher of the Mysteries. The Romans named her Ceres and the Greeks named her Demeter. A virgin of the oldest sense, independent and unmarried, this Goddess gives birth to a son. Called the Grain Mother, the Eternal Mother, and the Sorrowing Mother, she is the mother of Persephone, who wed the lord of the Underworld. Her power extends over protection of women, crops, initiation, renewal, fertility, civilization, law, motherhood, marriage, and higher magic.

The mother devotes herself to “other”: people and things outside of herself. Though the archetype of the mother often makes one think of a woman giving birth to or devoting herself to her children and family, here we are speaking of all of the possibilities of creation. She is a selfless soul whose devotion and love are unconditional. It is here that responsibility and commitment is established.

Some of the symbols of the goddess in the Mother aspect include the serpent, the poppy, and the symbol of Underworld Goddesses, the torch. The Mother also represents fulfillment, stability, and power. The color associated with the Mother is red, the color of blood and the life force, and green, a fertile color. In ancient societies, the pregnant Mother was a metaphor for the fertile fields that sustained the people of the land. The menstrual blood of the Mother has been associated with magick and ritual since Paleolithic times and was thought to have power for healing and fertility.

The Mother is a pillar of grace under pressure. She is capable, strong, and loving. She smiles as the young child plays, joy flooding her heart as her offspring giggles in delight at some new discovery. She keeps the fear and panic hidden when we are sick, be it in body or in spirit. She continually prays for us. She wipes the tears from our eyes, chases us down to give us medicine, and helps to build a pretend fort with blankets. She watches you while you are sleeping and love fills her heart. She is like a tree in that she is able to bend, but is has a strong foundation supporting her.

Climb into the Mothers arms and be nurtured. Within her embrace we are ever safe and loved. Share your dreams with her. She will do all things possible to help you to achieve them and more.

The Crone

We have all seen the little old woman, her hair thin and sparse, her skin aged with wrinkles, her smile crooked as her false teeth lay in a glass to the side. Many associate this image with the Crone. Her hands tremble as she brings food to her mouth. She looks like a baby with food dripping down her chin. Time isn’t always kind to us in that our bodies betray us. But if you were to take some time with this woman, you would find a font of wisdom, a history of love, of sorrow, of experience.

Her spirit still shines. Her face is soft and compassion flows from her heart. Though she appears weak, her essence is strong and sure. She understands your dreams and desires. She has shared them and she has experienced them. She knows what is important in life. She no longer rushes about headstrong seeking. She delights in the memories of all she has seen and known. Some think she has endured. The truth is, she has lived. That is what is important, the living and loving.

Pain causes a momentary tremor in her voice. She will tell you truths. Will you be willing to listen, to hear her words? Can you sit and hold her hand and experience the journey she is willing to share with you? Can you look at her with respect? Can you look beyond the fears of your body aging?

I see my grandmother, gentle and soft spoken, holding me close in her lap. Beside her lays some yarn and knitting needles. She always has time for me and my questions. She receives great joy in watching the young ones at play and reminiscing about her life as the children begin their lives. There is depth to her heart and eyes that show the years of learning the importance of compassion. There is understanding well beyond that of the dreamer’s hopes.

She moves a little slower now and can no longer bare children. In this day and time, people tend to cast the elderly aside. This is heartbreaking. There is so much love and wisdom they have to share. It may be a time of rest, but it isn’t a time to be tossed away. They should not have to live through memories, as they are still able to give so much to this world!

Most cultures cherished their grandmothers and counted them as wise ones once upon a time. They had seen things and done things to survive in new worlds. Once upon a time they were maidens. Once upon a time they were mothers. They know the mysteries of womanhood.

As I entered into the stage of the Crone, I realized that all I have seen and done helped me to become whom I am today. I am a little slower, but I have more patience, more love, and more compassion. I know there are times to sit quietly and say nothing. I know there are times I should offer my wisdom. What others think of me isn’t important, as I know self-love. I know how precious life and time are. I have found that worry does not save me from sorrow or pain. I have found that life isn’t about satisfying the ego. Life is about acknowledging the blessings we have received from joy and from pain, from fear and from faith. I realize that I cannot change the past but that what I have learned from it provides comfort. She is a fount of wisdom, untapped by a modern world. Not because she isn’t willing to share her wisdom, but because we are so self-involved. I cry for the Crone because so many have forgotten her value.

The Crone, also called the Dark Mother, the Old Wise One, or the hag, represents winter, the night, the universal abyss where life rests before rebirth, the gateway to death, reincarnation, the waning moon and the New Moon, and the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. She is the third aspect of the Triple Goddess. Her traditional color is black and sometimes the deepest of purples or dark blue. She is the initiator into the Mysteries. This aspect symbolizes death and dissolution. Everything in the universe has a life cycle, at the end of which they malfunction, decay, and transform into a different set of materials, elements that are recycled and reformed into something new. The souls of humans are recycled by the Crone and her cauldron, into a new incarnation.

The embodiment of the Crone, Hecate, Queen of the world of spirits, Patron of Priestesses, and the Goddess of Witchcraft, has keys and cauldrons as her symbols. She has power over enchantments, averting evil, dark magic, riches, wisdom, transformation, purification, limits, incantations, and renewal. She is not detached from the world; just not involved in the ways she was before. She can be completely honest because she has nothing to lose. She holds the wisdom, teaches and shares stories with those who will listen.

The crone was once revered as an old woman embodying wisdom and for her knowledge of the truth of cyclic existence. Crones cared for the dying and were spiritual midwives at the end of life, the link in the cycle of death and rebirth. They were known as healers, teachers, way-showers, and bearers of sacred power. They knew the mysteries, were mediators between the world of spirit and the world of form. In pre-patriarchal societies, women’s wisdom held healing power. The crone wisdom was the most potent of all. For nearly thirty thousand years, old women were strong, powerful sources of wisdom. Crones were respected and honored in their communities.

Our appearance may show a lot about our lives. Weathered hands showing our hard work. Our skin weathered like tanned hides show we spent a lot of time outdoors. These outward appearances don’t begin to show the person beneath the surface. They don’t show the entire journey. Look beyond the obvious and you will discover the treasures of life, the joy, the sorrow, all blessings, to the Crone. Don’t sorrow for her because her time draws nigh upon this plane. Rejoice with her. Embrace what will come, accept what has been, and dare to experience all.

From my manuscript – From My Pagan Heart by Lady Kiya

The Cult of Mary

The Cult of Mary

Author: Fire Lyte

There is a hidden mystery that exists in the Christian faith that bubbles just under the surface of common knowledge, yet remains in essence an ageless conundrum. This mystery actually started off with the same question that this paper will attempt to answer: “Why me?” Or, more specifically, why Mary? The Catholic Church has hailed her as “the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven; as Our Lady of Lourdes, Walsingham, Guadalupe, Czestochowa; as Flower of Carmel, House of Gold, Ark of the Covenant, ” (Ashe 14) . Men hold Mary close to them as a personal mother, revere her as one of mankind deified, and yet hold her above, still.

The question is why.

There is no data concerning the mother of Christ except in Christian writings, and there is really nothing of Christian merit to compare her to. In order to even fervently research her, one must first accept that Christ existed, which any skeptic could dispel with a call for burden of proof beyond the Bible. Despite this, it is the position of this research to answer the question of “Why Mary?” The answer is that she is the Christian expression of a tradition in place since time immemorial of deifying a Mother Goddess.

In a collection of essays entitled The Blessed Virgin Mary, the author John de Satgé, an evangelical canon, states this about the origin of the veneration of Mary:

The evangelical has a strong suspicion that the deepest roots of the Marian cults are not to be found in the Christian tradition at all. The religious history of mankind shows a recurring tendency to worship a mother-goddess. Three factors in particular suggest that the cult of Mary may be an intrusion into Christianity from the dark realms of natural religion. First, it seems that historically the earliest traces of Marian devotion seem to come from Christian circles to some extent at least tainted with syncretizing Gnosticism.

The second is the ease with which the devotion becomes associated with local holy places so that the faithful make their prayers to our Lady of a particular shrine. May it not be the case, the evangelical wonders, that what we have here is in reality an older religion, a paganism which has been too lightly baptized into Christ and whose ancient features persist under a thin Christian veil? The third factor is an apparent correlation between Marian devotion and an elevation of chastity to a point of esteem where marriage and sexual intercourse are depreciated if not reprehended. (Mascall 77)

Here is a summation of the problem in reasoning Mary’s divinity with Christianity, as Christianity is supposedly patriarchal in nature and supposes that there is only one, true god. This same author goes on to say that the worship of Mary did not begin as the veneration of Christ’s holy mother, but as a deity unto herself. However, Christianity dodges the issue of Mary as a Goddess by referring to a sacred book that one must accept as an article of faith. In point of fact, the veneration, or more adequately, the cult of Mary cannot be fully examined through the lens of Christianity alone. Rather, it must be looked at in a historical context.

There are many variations of this adage, but it is said that to know where you are going you must know where you came from. The same is true in the case of the Goddess Mary and her cult. In order to know why the cult of Mary exists in Christendom, one must know about the veneration of female deity and its importance in ancient cultures. Before the rise of gods or any recorded patriarchal forms of worship, there is evidence to suggest the reverence and worship of goddess worship. More specifically, there is evidence to support worship of The Goddess – or, as Goethe puts it, the Ewig-Weibliche, or Eternal-Womanly (Ashe 24) . It is believed that the stone carvings, dating back to over 10, 000 BC, of women with “gross breasts and bellies” were “exaggerated tokens of motherhood” that were used as cult-objects of early Siberian and European hunting tribes (Ashe 24) .

This early reverence does not stop with the Eternal-Womanly, but continues into every pantheon across the world. Upon moving from the prehistoric era to the oldest recorded myths and legends, The Goddess is “One at her apogee – not always through conscious intercommunication of cults, but psychologically One, under many names and aspects, ” (James 41) . She becomes known by many names, and is credited, depending on your mythos of choice, as a world-matriarch, a wife or mistress, a maiden, an animal, or some combination of the above. She has been called Nintu in Sumeria, Inanna in Babylon as well as Ishtar, Astarte in Canaan, Neith or Isis in Egypt, Cybele in Asia Minor, Artemis or Diana by the Romans, and Aphrodite by the Greeks. (James 77)

By the second millennium BC, however, the waning of The Goddess’ hold had begun. During the reign of The Goddess, however, it has been supposed that a matriarchy was in place with kings married to priestesses as sacred functionaries. (Campbell 315) On the other side, it is more than likely a bit too extreme to suppose that the whole of Europe was under the rule of women. There is much evidence to state the contrary, or at least that women were not in powerful enough positions to rival the reign of a king. Although, more than likely, women were possibly powerful through a knowledge of magic, and, thus, the Eternal-Womanly powerful along with them. (Campbell 316) .

There is also the hint of the idea of matrilinear family lines, that is the tracing of parentage back through the mother’s line rather than the father’s. (Ashe 26) This comes from the now-practical idea that while the mother of a child can be known for certain, his or her father is another matter. Paternal parentage could be hard to prove, or hushed up altogether. Furthermore, the very nature of procreation was a mystery to early peoples. Many cultures, when dealing with the issue of pregnancy, doubted the father’s identity, and some doubted his very existence. (Ashe 27) This deals directly with the nature of this perpetual Goddess ideal. If sex-relations could occur without resulting in a pregnancy, could not pregnancy result without sex-relations?

Early people attempted to answer this question by saying that Earth, the great Cosmic Mother, was a life-giver, and needed no man to do so. In fact, sometimes there was no cause at all other than the Great Mother’s will. Now, we finally get to the point in history where the idea of virgin birth becomes profound and permeates culture. The Egyptian Goddess Neith gives birth to the Sun-God Ra without any aide and by her own power. Cybele splits off a male consort named Attis for herself by her own creation power. In these earliest tales of The Goddess, she is both a virgin and a mother, not unlike a certain Biblical virgin-mother. (Boslooper 162) These days, as was stated earlier, were doomed to end. The days of the reign of The Goddess, in whatever capacity She was in power, began to die out at the beginning of the second millennium BC. (Neumann 163)

The reign of power passed rather swiftly – considering the expanse of time – over to male deities. This happened “partly through the ever-strengthening institution of kingship, partly through changes in kingship, partly through changes in relations between the sexes, [and] partly through war and conquest.” (Ashe 29) The lunar calendar – a female allusion – was replaced by a solar calendar – male-centric. Gods like Zeus became central and chief of many pantheons of Europe, western Asia, and Northeastern Africa. Even worse, however, was what this new male-dominated society did to the veneration of the Goddess. She was torn apart and turned into various, easier to digest deities that seemed much more human and inferior to the now-chief deities. The Goddess in Greece became Athena, Artemis, Hera, Aphrodite, and the rest.

Femininity as a whole was attacked through the myth of Pandora, who was bestowed many gifts by the gods, but was too weak-willed to hold to her pact to never open her ubiquitous box. Thus, the divine feminine was turned into an insipid girl who would never measure up to the standards set before her, and, oh yeah, she was the source of all evil on the planet. (Guthrie 37)
One of the most powerful of female symbols, the serpent, was turned into something that male gods should triumph over.

During New Year’s festivals “Babylonian priests chanted a Creation Epic telling how the god Marduk had created the world by destroying a she-monster of chaos, Tiamat, and re-arranging her fragments. The Goddess’s serpents, formerly wise and benign, were now portrayed as malicious.” (Ashe 30-31) The greatest of these injustices to The Goddess, the Eternal-Womanly, was the Fall. As it went with the change of status among the ancient Israelites, so did it go with the idea of Eve, whose name means Life, and who was the mother of all living. (Gen. 3:20)

At first, she was the naked mother of paradise, walking in the Garden of Eden at the place where a stream turned into four mighty rivers – sources of the earth’s fertility – beside the Tree of Life. (Gen. 2:9) The story quickly turns, however, into the telling of a second-rate creation that causes far too much trouble for the dominant man, and, like Pandora, brings about the evils of the world. How does she do this? Well, the mother eats a fruit tempted her by a serpent; all of these are ancient Goddess symbols that were turned into a warning to paternalistic religious society to condemn the old religion.

Not all feminine entries into Christianity are considered evil. Wisdom, which may very well be a tribute to Athena, is a feminine entity in the Bible, though, admittedly, a widely overlooked entity. When Job asks Yahweh where “Wisdom” is to be found, it is to the feminine counterpart to Yahweh that sits enthroned in Zion to which he is referring. (Ashe 43-44) Wisdom is seen as the mediator between Yahweh and mankind. She was the inspiration for the Torah, supposedly befriended Biblical characters, and guides her devotees to the next world. (Knox 60) In fact, Canon Wilfred Knox says further:

The personified Wisdom is a female figure definitely on the divine side of the gulf, which separates God from man….

There can be little doubt as to the original of this highly coloured portrait. The lady who dwells in the city of Jerusalem and in its Temple, who is also to be compared to all the forest trees of Hermon and the luxuriant verdure of the Jordan valley, is the great Syrian goddess Asarte, at once the goddess of great cities and the mother manifested in the fertility of nature (Knox 70) .

So now the stage is set for the emergence of the cult of Mary. The Goddess, in all of her many aspects, was subdued by a patriarchal society and vilified by its main religion. However, the positive ideal of Her as Wisdom seeped its way into the Bible despite the book’s otherwise masculine leanings. Instead of Wisdom being the mediator and chief female sitting enthroned in Zion, it will soon be Mary, the mother of the savior, who would take that spot.

The deification of Mary was not an overnight creation. When her story was written into the Gospels of the New Testament, she was not immediately charged with the titles aforementioned – Queen of Heaven, etc. To understand how this came about, and how her prominence became so in the first place, one must look to the early church. That is, one must understand the nature of those that wrote the Gospels. According to the Jews, Jesus was not the Messiah, and to consider him such was a blasphemy. (Ashe 50) However, he was a teacher, and he changed the lives of his disciples in the grandest way by seemingly coming back from the dead after his crucifixion.

Christianity was about the teachings of one person, and various subsets or denominations attempted – and still attempt today – to figure out the meaning of Christ’s words. At the heart of the religion was still a man, and the religion is as much about his life as it is about his teachings. His life, however, most definitely includes his mother:

In his [Jesus’] role as dying-and-rising Saviour he could not be readily conceived as standing alone. Such gods had never normally done so. They were rooted in the world of the Goddess, and in some form she accompanied them. You could not have Osiris without Isis, or Attis without Cybele. The death-conquering Christ of the Pauline missions cast a shadow behind him, whether or not Paul was ever aware of it. He evoked a role for another to fill – a woman. The world’s nostalgic desire would prepare a place for her. Doubtless, like Christ, she would transcend myth as well as fulfilling it. And the original relationship of the Young God to the Goddess made Christ’s mother the best candidate (Ashe 53) .

Mary is the cause of Jesus’ first miracle. At her prompting, Jesus turned water into wine at Cana. (John 2:1-12) Other than this, her appearance at his crucifixion, and a handful of other appearances in the Gospels and finally in Acts, she has no place in the rest of the Bible. The author we know as Matthew is chief author that first introduces the symbol of Mary to the Bible. It was said, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) This name is said to mean God with us, which symbolically identifies him as the incarnation of Yahweh. However, the word ‘virgin’ may or may not be translated correctly as one who has never been sexually intimate with a man, as it is rather ambiguous in the original Hebrew. (Ashe 66) Whether or not the child was biologically Joseph’s, or any other man’s, is irrelevant, as it is believe that he was the wondrous child conceived without intercourse through a miracle. Sound like a familiar theme? It should.

In fact, several times throughout the Gospels, and a few times in Paul’s Epistles, Joseph is culturally completely taken out of the equation. It was customary to call a man the son of his father even after his father’s death and for several years afterwards. However, Jesus was always called the “son of Mary.” (Mascall 32) Even during the writing of the Gospels, the authors had already begun to slightly venerate Mary more than other characters of the New Testament by turning Joseph into more of a later consort, mentioned far fewer times in the Gospels than Mary.

The problem in studying the idea of the virgin birth quickly turns into a problem of irrefutability, as the only texts on the matter are the Christian texts. There are some whispers of contradiction in the way certain verses are worded throughout the New Testament, however many such discrepancies occurred due to the need to copy these texts by hand over and over again through the years. Mistakes could have happened. Since these discrepancies are negligible and do not provide any concrete evidence of the contrary, they must be thrown out. (Boslooper 230-234) Thus, the problem of irrefutability.

Now we have a Biblical veneration of Mary, as she was assuredly held above Joseph and many others. We have a miraculous virgin birth, echoed from a long-ago history of deifying the sacred feminine, the Eternal-Womanly. The pregnancy itself is a nearly direct mimic of local Greek or Roman culture – a la Zeus and his many supposed impregnations of various female deities. However, the religion and practice of Christianity was still a purely patriarchal one. Yahweh was a solely jealous male god that did not want his followers to put anybody else on a throne. In the late 370s, however, much of that changed with the public singing of hymns popularized by Syrian Gnostics and Ephraem. (Ashe 195-196) These poems, granted, might be a bit beyond the realm of theology, however:

His many hymns and poems include several addressed to the Virgin. Their flowery praise strikes a new note in Christianity. Its language should not be pressed too far…. Still it is arresting to find Ephraem calling Mary Christ’s ‘bride’ or ‘spouse (thus being the first Christian to clear the hurdle of the Goddess-and-Son relationship, though with a wrench to doctrine) , and writing what seem to be prayers to her, implying her power as a living intercessor with God (Palmer 20) .

These same hymns echo a second Eve theme, but begin to title Mary with the names we are so familiar with. He calls Mary “O Virgin Mother of God” – the Blessed Virgin – as well as the “Gate of Heaven, and Ark, in thee I have a secure salvation. Save me, O Lady, out of thy pure mercy.” (Palmer 24) Through these poems, and the later Gnostic Christian beliefs, Mary becomes the Garden of Eden itself, the Earth. Mary is the mediator between mankind and God, one who is addressed as the Mother of God whose “prayers obtainest for thy faithful ones a covenant, peace, and a scepter wherewith to rule all.” (Palmer 24) Granted, these verses are hidden in messages praising the Father God, but they are there, and they quickly permeated society creating a subculture of Mary worship.

Upon the time of Ephraem’s death a few years later, the practice of praying to The Virgin directly for absolution or intercessory prayer had become commonplace. The ideas perpetuated by the Gnostics entered mainstream consciousness, albeit in a less than matriarchal method. However, many sects, including Rome in some instances, began to retroactively credit Mary with being a far greater presence in the Bible than was originally believed. She had become a patroness of celibacy and virgins that had yet to consummate a marriage. (Boslooper 85) Furthering the idea of her expanded presence, St. Augustine, revering Mary in a nearly Goddess-like deification of maidenhood, stated that “[quoting Isaiah 19:1] ‘Behold, the Lord comes seated on a light cloud, ’” and claims that the light cloud is a symbol of Mary, free from any burden of vice. St. Augustine continues to proselytize, “Receive, receive, O consecrated virgins, the spiritual rain that falls from this cloud, which will temper the burning desires of the body.” (Palmer 27)

Mary became a Goddess of Virginity, though very few actually referred to her as the patron Goddess of Virginity. Rather, it is seen more often this sort of allusion, the idea that she is The Virgin, Queen of Heaven, who calms temptations, desires, and worldly ills. She could be compared to several goddesses of peace, but that might be an oversimplification of her reverence.

The rise of Mary’s importance in Christianity happened swiftly over several centuries, and continues until today. Mary is now the patron saint of many locations, known by many names, just as the idea of The Goddess was disseminated into many names and purposes. She is an intercessor of prayer, a healer of humanity, the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven, and a source of miracles herself. (Ashe 244) In the latter part of the first millennium BC, and well into the second millennium, Mary was and still is attributed with healing many sick and dying individuals. This usually occurs through some medium claiming to be blessed by Mary, or by making a pilgrimage to a site that is purportedly blessed with the presence of The Virgin. (Ashe 245)

The power of Mary as a healer and Holy Virgin Mother holds great sway over many in the Catholic faith still. Gnostic revivalists are mixed about whether or not Mary is the revival of The Goddess, or merely a highly praised saint and important Bible character. The cult of Mary, however, has strikingly similar corollaries to past ideals of The Goddess, and so does her worship. Venerated as Eden itself, she becomes the Goddess of the Earth, the Eternal-Womanly’s oldest and most recognizably universal form.

As The Virgin, her cult harkens back to the days of Artemis, Diana, and the ancient virgin goddesses that created the world without any help from a man, to the time of Cybele who created her own consort without the aide of anything but her own will and sheer power. As a healer and source of miracles, she is likened to the ancient goddesses of magic and spellcraft that abound in Egyptian, Sumerian, Syrian, Greek, Roman, Celtic, and Norse pantheons. As a guider of souls and intercessor of prayer, she is like the psychopomps of ancient times.

But, whether or not Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Intercessor, Guider of Maidens, Healer of the World, Eden, the cloud the Lord sits upon, should add “aspect of The Goddess or Eternal-Womanly” to her litany of titles is, perhaps, a mystery for the ages. However, it cannot be denied that the reverence bestowed upon Mary is deserving of the title “Goddess.”



Footnotes:
Ashe, Geoffrey. The Virgin: Mary’s Cult and the Re-Emergence of the Goddess. Great Britain: The History Press, 1976. Print.
‘Common Bible’, Revised Standard Version. translation by Ronald Knox, 1973.
Boslooper, Thomas, The Virgin Birth, Preachers Library, 1962. Print.
Campbell, Joseph. The Masks of God. vol. 1. Secker and Warburg, 1960-5. Print.
Guthrie, W.K.C.. The Greeks and their Gods. Methuen, 1950. Print.
James, E. O.. The Cult of the Mother-Goddess. Thames and Hudson, 1965. Print.
James, E. O.. Prehistoric Religion, Thames and Hudson, 1957. Print.
Knox , W. L., St. Paul and the Church of the Gentiles, Cambridge University Press, 1939.
Mascall, E.L. and Box, H.S (eds) , The Blessed Virgin Mary, Darton, 1963. Print.
Neumann, Erich. The Great Mother. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1955. Print.
Palmer, Paul S. J., Mary in the Documents of the Church, Burns Oates and Washborne, 1953.

Pagans Need to Stop Caring About What Other People Think

Pagans Need to Stop Caring About What Other People Think

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burning ‘The Burning Times’

Burning ‘The Burning Times’

Author: Zan Fraser

It seems that there is a recent body of misinformation regarding the Burning Times making its way through the Wiccan/Pagan community, which amounts to a revisionist “take” on the Witches’ Holocaust. Being something of a debunking, this new school of thought asserts that the Burning Times is “over-hyped” and hysterically blown out of proportion. While as a rule, I am a huge fan of revisionist history, I find this development (which adds up to a sort of “Burning Times denial-ism”) a bit depressing.

Proponents of this new school of thought seem to me mistaken in a number of important ways. (1) They tend to describe the Burning Times as a sort of invention of Margaret Murray’s, the Egyptologist whose “pro-Pagan” interpretation of European history was so influential to the early Craft revival. (2) They challenge the conventional belief in huge numbers of Burning Times victims as overwrought, with the numbers inflated. (3) They question the interpretation of the Great Witch-Hunts as a “War on Women.”

Far from being a concept of Murray’s, among the broadest reaching of her theories, the first realizations of the Burning Times emanate centuries before her writing, expressed in horror by the period’s contemporaries. As early as the 1560s, Weyer was publishing denunciations of the excesses of German Witch-Hunting; Spee (confessor during the Wurzburg trials of the 1620s) , theology professor Meyfarth (in the 1630s) , and Junius (a torture-victim who generated one of the few Witch-Hunting documents told from the perspective of the tortured Witch) powerfully describe the hysterical panic of the populace and the agonized suffering of the accused. They leave no doubt as to the alarm and trauma that must have pervaded the German regions in the latter 1500s and early 1600s.

Burning Times revisionists make the vital point that the German cases (for their exceptional violence and cruelty) give us a skewed picture of the Hunt Periods. In the 1620s alone, some 600 persons were said to have been killed as devil-worshipping Witches at Bamberg, with some 900 more in Wurzburg. There are many reasons for this, notably that the German Prince-Bishops ruled as absolute authorities on both the secular and religious levels, and the particular Prince-Bishops during this period and in these regions appear to have been especially sadistic sorts. These numbers may be inflated to a certain degree (they probably don’t have a modern bureaucratic accounting system to keep track of such things) , but they clearly intend to describe large numbers of victims, with much resulting social terror and disruption. Revisionists are correct to point out that these levels of destruction are not matched elsewhere and tend to provide a somewhat distorted view of the Witch-Hunts.

(On more than one occasion, I have heard Wiccans describe the “Burning Times” in England as if the English Witch-cases were on a par with those of Germany, or to relate how English Witches “fled the Burning Times in England, ” to come to the New World of America in order to keep the “Old Ways” in safety. This ignores the reality that the English were relatively lenient in their regards to Witchcraft. Importantly they never accepted the idea of Witches as demonic- sparing themselves the hysterical “Satan panic” reactions experienced on the Continent- and they observed legal proprieties in their judgment of Witch-cases, as opposed to the German regions, which held Witchcraft to be such a subversive and lethal instrument that it justified abandoning basic legal protections for the accused. In an important difference, the English did not employ torture in Witchcraft cases.

This is not to say that on the social level the English never responded hysterically to fears or accusations of Witchcraft or that there were not English miscarriages of justice- but it is to say that the English made an effort to hold themselves in check regarding Witchcraft, which makes the Burning Times period in England of a different character than that in other parts of Europe.)

Conceding the point that the extreme degree of persecution in Germany leaves a lop-sided impression, it should be remembered that even in England, Reginald Scot was so alarmed over what he saw as the rise of “anti-Witch” prejudice that he published Discoverie of Witchcraft in 1584, decrying the stereotyping of elderly ladies as Witches (the English overwhelmingly imagined Witches to be elderly single women) ; according to Scot, this exposed defenseless old women to acts of violence. In A Briefe Historie of Wytches, , I collect from the period-drama several examples in which assault is thought justifiable if its victim is imagined to be a Witch.

In Sweden, Queen Christina was so dismayed over Witch-Hunting in her realm that in 1649 she ordered a series of reforms; this is the one instance in 300 years in which a European monarch so used the royal power, which Robbins finds “notable as the first legislation curbing witch hunts.” (Rossell Hope Robbins, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, “Sweden, Witchcraft In”) In all of these cases, the individuals involved- Weyer, Spee, Meyfarth, Junius, Scot, and Christina- are identifying “Witch-Hunting” as a feature of life around them, expressing the first glimmerings of understanding that they were living through a “Burning Times.”

In the early 1800s, the famous novelist Walter Scott was studying the Scots Witch-cases, publishing his summaries in Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft. The eminent Wilhelm Gottlieb Soldan conducted another early scholarly review of the medieval Witch-Business, presented in 1843; this was followed by the majestic history collected by Joseph Hansen, published in German in 1900. We see here that identification and study of the Burning Times commenced well before Margaret Murray, who first published in the early 1920s.

One of her initial critics, Harvard professor George Lyman Kittredge, issued his fine volume Witchcraft in Old and New England in the latter 1920s. Although he hardly agrees with Murray, it is clear that the Burning Times is “set” in his mind as a historical phenomenon (p. 243) : “Such were the orgies of the Witches’ Sabbath as systematized in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries by the scholastic ingenuity of devout theologians and described in confessions innumerable wrung by torture from ignorant and superstitious defendants in response to leading questions framed by inquisitors who had the whole system in mind before the trial began.”

I believe that- far from being among Margaret Murray’s “theories”- the medieval Burning Times is indeed a well-documented and reasonably well-understood phenomenon.

Another assertion made by the promoters of this new reading of the Burning Times is that not really very many persons were killed. They will quite properly dismiss the hysterically overwrought 9 million citation, then quote “recorded data” as giving an extremely paltry number, with “many countries” reporting only 3-10 victims, or certainly less than 50.

I find Anne Llewellyn Barstow to be persuasive on the issue of numbers: Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts Pandora Books, 1994 (p. 19-23) . Acknowledging the woefully imperfect state of records (many lost or defective) , Barstow nonetheless finds herself compelled to keep careful count as she works her way through the dim documentation of the past. Although this pains-taking approach adds hours of extra work, and great though the temptation is to start rounding off numbers, she retains “each awkward figure, ” remembering Holocaust historian Joan Ringelheim’s observation: to drop numbers now was to kill that individual twice. Accordingly Barstow provides in her Appendix B “the most complete record available at this time.”

Barstow comments upon Levack’s work (p. 22) , crediting him with producing the “most careful totals made so far.” She finds his figures “reasonable, ” but “almost certainly too low.” Given the faulty state of records, with additional cases emerging “steadily, ” and given that posse-style murders and lynching-deaths will not be recorded, Barstow finds it judicious to expand Levack’s numbers to 200, 000 accused, with 100, 000 dead. She finds it interesting that- just after the “recently ended holocaust”- Voltaire estimated that about 100, 000 had been put to death.

Contrary to the assertion of Burning Times revisionists that “many countries” had less than 50 Witch-Victims apiece, Barstow’s Appendix B describes only Montbeliard (55+) , Vaud (90) , Labourd (80) , Champagne (50+) , Essex (74) , New England (35) , Estonia (65) , Russia (10+) , Logrono (6) , Catalonia (45) , and Navarre (50) with less than 100 murdered Witches. She finds some 50, 000+ to have been killed in the German states; some 5000 in France; some 1000 in England; 1, 337+ in Scotland; 1500-1800 in Scandinavia; and approximately 15, 000+ in Poland.

The third claim of this would-be up-ending of conventional Hunt-Period consideration is that in “many countries” the “vast majority” of victims were male. Scandinavia, Finland, and Iceland are listed as places where “nearly all of the accused” were men. From this, the interpretation of the medieval Witch-Hunts as a “Holocaust of women” is questioned.

Barstow notes that the trials in Finland, Estonia, and Iceland (“which did not have a true witch hunt”) offer the “rare phenomenon” of predominantly male Witches. (p. 86) Finns had traditionally presumed sorcery to lie with men and some 60% of Estonia’s accused were males, often with reputations as healers or magic-workers. (Barstow, by the way, notes that Witchcraft in Scandinavia and the Baltic regions- the areas isolated from Christianity the longest- is “deeply rooted in European folk customs”; Robbins observes that “heathen beliefs in natural and magical powers” lingered in Finland longer than anywhere else in Europe, as Christianity was not introduced until 1157. (Encyclopedia, “Finland, Witchcraft in”)

Interesting though that is, male Witches appear to be the exception rather than the rule. Barstow remarks that the figures show women to have been “overwhelmingly victimized, ” constituting roughly 80% of the accused and 85% of the executed. (p. 23) In places such as Essex, females make up 92% of the accused, as they do during a Hunt in Belgium. During a Scare in Basel, the percentage of women accused shoots to 95%. Barstow quotes the observation of historian Christina Larner, “the chronicler of Scottish witchcraft, ” who felt that there must have been periods in East Lothian or Fife when no woman could have “felt free from the fear of accusation.” She notes the two German villages finally left with but one female inhabitant apiece, and the Rhenish village where one person (generally female) out of every two families was killed. (p. 24)

Barstow feels that her statistics “document an intentional mass murder of women.” To not see that is to “deny the most persistent fact about the persecutions.” (p.26)

Burning Times revisionists conclude that the Burning Times is a farce, a “theory” of Margaret Murray’s run amuck, fed by pumped-up numbers and a hysterical view of a “Holocaust of Women.”

With all respect, I feel that:

(1) The Burning Times is established as a medieval phenomenon well beyond Murray.

(2) Anne Llewellyn Barstow provides extremely well-researched figures, pointing to some 200, 000 accused, with some 100, 000 executed, around 85% of whom were women.

(3) Far from men being the primary victims during the Burning Times (Iceland, Finland, and Estonia notwithstanding) , I believe that so many women were targeted that the Burning Times might well be understood as a Religious War on Women- predicated upon the interesting assumption that Witches are most likely to be Female.

It is for this reason that one of the rallying cries of the Modern Wiccan Witchcraft Revival is: Never Again the Burning Times.

“You Lied!” Some Thoughts on Honesty and Pagan Practice

“You Lied!” Some Thoughts on Honesty and Pagan Practice

Author: Bronwen Forbes

When I first began to formally study Paganism, it was drilled into my head over and over: “A witch is only as good as his or her word.” In other words, there is a direct relationship between the quality and effectiveness of your magick and how good you are at telling the truth and keeping promises.

Which makes sense, when you think bout it, because say, for example, you are doing a working to find a new job and you promise Hestia that if you get a job you will volunteer so many hours a week a the local soup kitchen in Her name. Then suppose you promise your friend that you will meet her for lunch and something better comes up and you break your promise to your friend. Why, then, if you don’t keep your word to your friend should Hestia have any reason to believe you’ll keep your promise to her? Odds are you won’t get that new job if Hestia has anything to do with it.

This is partly a matter of will. If magick is, as some say, “change in accordance with will, ” this implies t hat a person’s will is pretty important. And a major component of will is the strength to do what you say you will do – no matter how hard that may become. If your word is good, chances are your will and your magick will be pretty strong.

I was also taught that it’s okay to lie if it’s a matter of life and death. I would say: evaluate the situation very carefully before choosing to lie “for the greater good.” Let me give an example. About eight years ago I was a very busy volunteer with a local no-kill animal rescue organization. I was also – and still am – totally, utterly and completely smitten with beagles.

So when I saw a miserable shy little beagle on our town’s high-kill Humane Society’s web page, I leapt into action. I tried to adopt Joe the Shy Beagle, stating openly that I was a volunteer with the no-kill rescue group. The folks at the Humane Society wouldn’t let me have him, stating that they were afraid I’d just turn around and adopt him out to someone else. We went back and forth on this issue for a few days while Joe cowered in the back of his cage. Meanwhile, the clock ticked down to the day that Joe was scheduled to be euthanized. And since no one wants to adopt a dog that’s literally paralyzed with fear (except me, apparently) , I was running out of time if I wanted to save Joe’s life.

So I lied.

I told the staff at the Humane Society that my husband had completely fallen in love with Joe and we now wanted to keep him. And a day later I brought Joe home. Within a month I’d sent him to live with my mother after he freaked out because the neighborhood kids had gone a little overboard with Fourth of July fireworks. He’s been with my mother ever since.

Did I do the right thing? On the surface, yes I did. I deliberately lied – and made my husband lie – in order to save an animal’s life; an animal, I should add, that my mother loves very much. For years I used this example to teach my students to think about their actions and the ethics of those actions. I was actually proud of the fact that I’d saved Joe’s life and cited the whole incident as an example of “harm none; all life is sacred.”

Except there’s more to the story. My family currently lives with my mother, which means we live with Joe. Beagles are, in general, cheerful, outgoing, friendly, cuddly, happy little dogs. Eight years after I pulled him out of the back of his cage at the Humane Society, Joe is still none of these things. He cowers, snarls at the other dogs, and (most disturbingly) if startled by motion four or five feet away, snaps at my five-year-old daughter (who was raised with dogs and knows how to behave around them) . It’s only a matter of time before he bites her. Joe is also slowly dying of stress-related health issues.

Had I not lied to the Humane Society staff all those years ago, Joe would have lived a few more days and been humanely euthanized by a painless overdose of barbiturates. But I did, and now I get to watch a desperately unhappy dog take years to die by inches – and possibly do serious damage to my child before he goes.

Did I ultimately do Joe any favor? In my opinion, no. Have I done him harm? Absolutely. And that, gentle readers, is bad magick.

There are also less painful, more practical spiritual reasons to keep your word and live as truthful a life as possible. For example, if you aspire to join a British Traditional or a British Traditional-based coven, you’re going to be expected to swear at least a few oaths. And these groups take these oaths pretty seriously. In other words, if you’ve developed a reputation in the community for being flaky about commitments or gossiping (breaking your word) spreading wild stories or inventing training/lineage credentials (lying) or you’re just generally an all-around unreliable person, you’re not going to be invited to join an oath-taking group. Of course, even if you’re not interested in joining a traditionally-minded group, it would still be nice not to have a bad reputation in the community, wouldn’t it?

On the other hand, and completely tongue-in-cheek here, the “white lie” rules that apply outside the Pagan community apply here, too. In other words, if anyone of any gender asks you, “Does this robe make me look fat?” your best option is, of course, to say no!

But in all seriousness, being as truthful as possible can only make you a better practitioner, a better covener, a better community member, and an all-around better person. We need more of those. I think Joe the Beagle would agree.

Psychic Tip of the Day for April 19

Psychic Tip
of the Day

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ASKING FOR IT
The Sun, ruler of our human ego, is now in the zodiac sign of Taurus. This is the sign of money and stubborn values. Look for a relationship to suddenly emphasize the material world. Is it time to ask about a ring?

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for April 19

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

57: Gentle Penetration

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Hexagram 57

General Meaning: The general situation here points to subtle penetration. Reeds bend softly in the wind, symbolizing flexibility and endurance, symbolizing quiet, relaxed effectiveness in action. A gentle influence is at work, but just as the wind is ceaseless in its efforts, so too small forces can persist to produce lasting results.

Gentle penetration bodes well for new relationships of all kinds. Just as a summer breeze slowly penetrates the woods to cool the forest, the brilliant ideas of gifted leaders or the sincere feelings of warm-hearted lovers slowly penetrate the minds and hearts of others. In personal relationships, a gentle beginning is often linked to a long-lasting union.

When employing a force that is weak but persistent, careful aim is necessary, for only when a small force continually moves in the same direction can it have much effect. In human affairs, this kind of influence comes more through strength of character than by direct confrontation or seduction. It’s important to have, and stick to, clearly defined goals. Maintaining a strong vision and following a steady course of least resistance often brings good fortune.

Your Daily Number for April 19th: 5

Your Daily Number: 5

Work-related travel is possible today, and good long term connections are likely to be made. You may dream up some very worthy money saving ideas, but hold off on sharing them with others until later. Today is an excellent day to focus on business.

Fast Facts

About the Number 5

Theme: Resourceful, Adventure, Speculation, Travel
Astro Association: Taurus
Tarot Association: Hierophant

Today’s Tarot Card for April 19th

Today’s Tarot Card for Everyone:

Strength

This Tarot Deck: Angel Tarot

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Strength card represents Nature which, however wild in its primal form, is tamed by our subtler, finer (feminine, interior) self. The will and passion of our instinctive nature does not need to be broken, but refined and brought to consciousness — so that all levels of Creation, inner and outer, may come into harmony.

The feminine soul-force contains a persuasive power that can nurture and induce cooperation from others, stilling disruptive energies by harmonizing differences in the spirit of collective good will.

Your Daily Horoscopes for April 19th

General Daily Horoscope

 

It’s tough getting our thoughts across as messenger Mercury slows to a crawl, ending its retrograde period on April 23 and heightening the lingering stress we feel from yesterday’s frustrating Mars-Saturn opposition. But bottled emotions can reach a flash point now as Mercury hooks up with contentious Mars. However, losing our cool may not fix anything because the intense Scorpio Moon wants us to handle the real issues and not just the symptoms.

 

Aries Horoscope
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)

Although you may have to face a deep-rooted fear, you’re willing to discuss a difficult issue today. Unfortunately, your good intentions don’t necessarily mean that you’ll get to the heart of the matter. Your goal is admirable, but you can appear so thoroughly engaged in the conversation that no one notices you’re just putting up a smokescreen to prevent others from getting past your defensive shell. Share your truth with someone you trust to avoid feeling isolated.

 
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)

Your co-workers and friends can be too intense for your taste today, but you can’t just ignore them. Your sense of loyalty enables you to interact with others on equal footing, but your dissatisfaction grows until you suddenly say what’s on your mind. Don’t be too hard on yourself for your emotional outburst; it’s healthier to get your feelings out into the open sooner than later.

 

 

Gemini Horoscope
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)

You can surprise others with your unflappable determination today, and could do such a good job that they cannot help but take notice of you. Meanwhile, you might be secretly trying to avoid the spotlight now, tempting you to give out mixed messages. Although your key planet Mercury is receiving an energetic boost from Mars, it’s really not about what you say; it’s more about what you’re not saying. Think twice prior to hiding something you might be better off sharing.

 

Cancer Horoscope
Cancer Horoscope (June 21 – Jul 22)

Your need for a deep emotional attachment is magnified today by the Moon’s visit to passionate Scorpio. However, you might try to cover up your vulnerability by confronting someone about something that’s completely unrelated. Fortunately, sharing a romantic inclination can open up new avenues of communication. But don’t push too hard; for now, find satisfaction with whatever happens.

 

 

Leo Horoscope
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)

You could be more self-protective now than anyone realizes, but your social veneer makes it look like you’re fully engaged in your relationships. People close to you may be impressed with your optimistic demeanor, however, you may be reliving unexpressed hurt that continues to be recycled in your life. For now, there’s no reason to change your behavior; it’s okay to dance between two positions. Thankfully, you will be able to meld these disparate realities with time.

 

Virgo Horoscope
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)

You prefer that no one messes with your schedule today because you know exactly what should be done and just want to get on with it. You aren’t happy wasting any time having to explain yourself to others. Nevertheless, it isn’t smart to alienate your friends and family. Seek ways to maintain your focus without cutting yourself off from the love and support that’s available to you now.

 

 

Libra Horoscope
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)

Sometimes you are so gracious that you can appear more easygoing than you actually feel. However, today you’re feeling uncharacteristically selfish. It isn’t that you are antisocial; it’s just that you don’t want to put up a phony front for the sake of making others feel better. Don’t try to justify your actions; just be true to yourself while remaining kind to everyone else.

 

 

Scorpio Horoscope
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)

It can be rather challenging to deal with your own powerful emotions now that the Moon is back in formidable Scorpio. Thankfully, you can transform your difficult feelings into a vision of hope. Sharing your dreams for the future can be quite inspiring to others, which in turn ultimately improves your mood by making you feel more positive about yourself.

 

 

Sagittarius Horoscope
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Today’s Sun-Mercury conjunction falls in your 5th House of Self-Expression, inspiring you to use your motivational gifts. Although your words often help others to be more confident, your over-the-top exuberance now could also be a bit intimidating. There’s no need to drive your point home with extra intensity; just share your perspective and then give your friends and associates enough space so they can assimilate the possibilities at their own pace.

 

 

Capricorn Horoscope
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)

Acknowledging your extreme reactions to your friends can actually improve your relationships with them, while hiding your feelings could create unnecessary tension. Fortunately, a solid friendship will almost always withstand the truth. Don’t withhold what’s on your mind today; ultimately, your good intentions will prevail over the temptation to rationalize away your integrity.

 

Aquarius Horoscope
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Passing the time with your co-workers or friends today can be an uplifting and motivational experience. Although there could be a few tricky turns to the conversation, the process of sharing may be exactly what you need to overcome your current negativity, especially if you have recently slipped into a bit of a slump. But this isn’t about being logical; you don’t need to justify anything now. Just open your mind and bask in the camaraderie of your peers.

 

Pisces Horoscope
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

Your empathy can be one of your greatest strengths; however, it may also be a source of your current anxiety. Being sensitive to other people’s needs is a blessing unless you can’t set healthy boundaries and turn it off when appropriate. Even if your intentions are good, feeling pain that’s not yours isn’t always helpful. Try to remain positive and then move on; emotional detachment can be liberating to all.