|Your Charm for Today|
The Gnostic Talisman
This aspect will be tested morally. This test is may be well hidden and the solution a mystery to you. You will have to make your way through it blindly. Have faith in yourslef and you will do fine.General Description:
The Egyptian Gnostic talisman is engraved with their hawk-headed and frog-headed deities, the winged uraeus, and the ankh, the symbol of life. The inscription is a supplication to Bait, Hathor, Akori, and ends with Hail, Father of the World! Hail, God in Three Forms! This amulet was worn as a protection against both physical and moral evil. The religion of the Gnostics was a strange intermingling of pagan and Christian ideas. It was a system of complicated symolism made purposely obscure and mysterious.
Your Animal Spirit for Today
Ant is dutiful, patient, industrious and focused. If you ever put an obstacle in the middle of an ant trail, you’ll notice that ant will go over it, around it, or even under it—but ant will NOT let the obstacle drive him backwards. Above all, ant is a team player, and knows that if each member of the team does his assigned task, the team will succeed. Do you have goals that are best met by team effort? If so, get the other players off the bench and let them into your game.
The Chakras represent the seven primary energy hubs in the body. Life force energy is constantly flowing in and out of these centers. Just as the cosmos is constantly changing, so too are the levels of energy absorbed and radiated by our Chakra centers. The graph below is a representation of the quantities of Chakra energies available today.
Sahasrara – The Crown Chakra represents energies associated with cosmic consciousness, spirituality, knowledge, wisdom and inner peace.
Ajna – The Third Eye Chakra represents energies focused on both physical and spiritual vision. Psychic powers resonate from the Ajna Chakra, as well as your image of the Cosmos as a whole (the big picture) and the many nuances that make your journey unique.
Vishuddha – Throat Chakra is the energy center associated with communication and creativity. Your energy to express yourself verbally and creatively are derived from the Vishuddha Chakra.
Anahata – The Heart Chakra’s energy is concentrated on issues concerning your emotions. This energy fuels your power to love, feel compassion and maintain balance between disparate aspects of your being.
Manipura – The Power Chakra provides the energy that fuels our strength of will, individuality and sense of self-worth.
Svadhisthana – The Spleen or Sacral Chakra supplies the energy we use emotionally and sexually. This is the energy used to connect to others.
Muladhara – The Root or Base Chakra furnishes the energy used to create and maintain our foundation. This is the energy that keeps us on firm ground and provides us with the basic skills to uphold a place in the world.
|Your Deck of Ancient Symbols Card for Today
The Sword is a a call to action. It indicates challenges are before you and to attain your goals you will have to address them. The Sword does not suggest rash or underhanded behavior on your part. Indeed, while actions indicated by The Sword are decisive, they are based on the power of your wisdom and ethics. The strength of The Sword lies in the moral purity of your actions.
As a daily card, The Sword suggest a time in which you will face external challenges to attaining your goals. These trials are likely to come from a person or persons who stand to gain from your loss or delays in you moving forward. You can expect underhanded play and surprises. Fortunately your position is far stronger than those who scheme to usurp you. Address challenges as they arise and all will be well.
Superman: The Witch of Krypton?
Author: Phoenix Forestsong
Just tonight I watched the incredible two part film Kill Bill. Is it gruesome? Yes. Is it incredibly violent? Yes. Is it choc full of philosophical and introspective moments? Well…sorta…yeah. Regardless of its classification, it is an incredibly awesome visual experience with a plot that is a unique, demented, and twisted journey into the minds of Uma Thurmon and Quentin Tarentino. In fact, it may say more about Uma, as far as I understand it personally; the character of “The Bride” was her creation! Kudos Kiddo!
Nan Daiyo? Kill Bill and Wicca?
How does the incredibly graphically and gloriously violent Kill Bill tie in with Wicca and Superman? David Carradine’s character delivers a very insightful and philosophical speech that got me thinking that, perhaps, this so very much applies to me too!
The speech, of which I will include below with the required sourcing, was an instant “Aha Moment”. This little dialogue, of which I’ll edit slightly into a more understandable monologue — including the masking where they should be if you haven’t seen the film yet — will blow your mind. Read it carefully and then I guarantee that you too will go “hmm… Oh? Aha!”
“Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne. Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”… that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He’s weak… he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race…You would’ve worn the costume of Arlene Plimpton. But you were born and every morning when you woke up, you’d still be .” (Kill Bill Vol. 2, 2004)
Have you had your Aha moment yet? If not, think upon it a while longer, oh beloved brethren of Krypton, ‘cuz you are Superman. That’s right, the man with the incredibly stupid costume, the bright red and blue spandex, “Is it a bird, a plane… ” Yeah…that’s you.
What kind of grass have you been smoking and how can I get some, you ask? In all seriousness, simply consider your life right now. What happened when you woke up this morning? What did you do? What went through your mind? Who did you become?
You wake up, you perform you morning routine and you become…who? Think about it. What costume do you wear to become who you have to be for the day? Think about your role and identity, and then ask yourself, “Why in the hell do I do this? I’m Freakin’ Superman, for Goddess sake!”
I am not a Comic Book guy nor am I a Starfleet Captain or a Jedi Master. Heck, I’m not even a Lord of The Rings or Fantasy Mythos junkie. I am simply a thinker, a connoisseur of stories based in truth, fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and anything with an incredibly interesting, unique, moving, and “good” plot. I tend to draw inspirational and unintentional (sometimes intentional) connections to “Things” from watching movies, reading books, and from Life in general. I then make really bad analogies out of them to present my point.
What’s “Things”, Precious?
“Things” is such a nebulous term to use; however, in this case “Things” is used in a literal sense. “Things” are objects, people, places, thoughts, feelings, and any other named or unnamed, new or old, known or unquantifiable “Thing.” It is not a special ability or trait that I possess, every single sentient adult, child, beast, and vermin on the planet possesses and uses this ability daily.
As living beings we draw information from our environment, analyze and process this new mental treasure, and apply the newfound knowledge into our lives. Thus we eventually discover ourselves to be “Experienced” and “Wise” and very, very Wiccan.
Draw from the above story and ask yourself the question “In what way am I Clark Kent? What is the costume that I wear for my spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers, and employer?”
Why do you wear that ridiculous disguise when you could soar like a bird, be faster than a speeding bullet, or leap over the tallest building? Superman doesn’t have to wear his tights as he saunters on down the street of Metropolis to be Superman…he can do that Skyclad and so can you.
I suppose the point of this particularly dreadfully written essay is simple: Be You. You are going to make mistakes because you are not, nor will you ever be, perfect. Perfection is a pipedream, a Platonic Form. There is absolutely nothing that exists in reality, not a living or nonliving thing in the physical world, that is perfect. In fact, every once in a while, more often than you’d like, you are going to *** up in incredibly creative and overly complicated ways that will even bewilder you. That is life and we are the living, so lets go Live!
The “Just Us” League
Please, if you take nothing else away from this considerably bloated collection of personal philosophies and insights, at least promise yourself one thing. Tomorrow morning when your eyes flicker open and greet the hopeful and optimistic clean slate of a brand new day, just be yourself. Take the day, do everything that you normally do, but do it as You. Be your own Superman and shed the persona of Clark Kent just as a snake sheds its worn, aged, and uncomfortably fitting skin.
Reflect upon all you need to for today but please promise yourself that you’ll begin your Tomorrow as the (Wo) Man of Steel! I, for one, will be greeting the day as Phoenix Forestsong, shedding (nay, shredding!) my disguise of insecurity and weakness. I am proud to be who and what I am with the knowledge that, “I am Superman!”
Superman is who I am. Clark Kent is what I do.
Bless and Blessed Be,
Kill Bill Volume 2
Author: Rev. Mason Stone
Selena Fox, Margot Adler, Raymond Buckland, Laurie Cabot, Starhawk. The list of Elders that we have in the Pagan community is vast (those listed above were simply the first to come to mind) . The title of this essay might seem contradictory, but it’s precisely what I can’t seem to find; young people in the Craft who have the tenacity and balance to stand up for, encourage progression, and lead.
When looking to ‘Elder Qualifications, ‘ I think the best requirements are found in the Charge of the Goddess. They are: beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence. That pretty much sums it up to me. The problem is, how many of us youngsters do see that you can honestly say contain even half of those qualities?
Before anyone starts to think that I’m picking on young people, first let me say that I am one of those young people. I know that I don’t contain within myself all of these virtues. The point that I’m trying to make is that we should try to be more balanced and focused in striving toward these merits. I know that not everyone is called to elderhood but if we honestly take a closer look at this list and employ ourselves to the task, would it hurt us or empower us?
In these next few paragraphs I’m getting information from Thuri Calafia’s book Dedicant: A Witch’s Circle of Fire (published by Llewellyn) and throwing my own two cents in (what’s one more opinion) . Each of the eight qualities is given in pairs for a reason: balance. I agree with Thuri on this (being a Libra, to say that balance is important to me is an understatement) . The first pair is Beauty and Strength. To sum up Thuri’s thoughts on this dynamic duo: beauty without strength leads to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and low self-esteem.
Strength without beauty causes callousness and bitterness. But when the two are in balance, beauty and strength, they strike a harmonious chord and promote a sense of self-worth, confidence, and the positives of both. I agree with this. Isn’t it neat how two completely different ends of the spectrum complement each other rather than take away? Guess there is something to that old opposites attract thing.
The next twosome we’re given is Power and Compassion. We have all seen what too much ‘power’ can do to a person: inflated ego, selfishness, and in some extreme circumstances, cruelty. Compassion with the absence of a sense of power comes to be meekness and usually ends up with one being the proverbial doormat to the world. Once again though, when the two come together they flower into a person who is not only ethical, but someone who is able to help others without being too timid to say “no” when they are overtaxed. This makes sense to me; do you see why the whole balance thing is important?
Our next set is Honor and Humility. Thuri says that living honorably is being honest, living in a positive manner, and being reliable. But honor is not so nice when humility is not in the equation; it causes arrogance and pride. Humility that isn’t tempered with honor leads to someone who is ignorant to his or her self-worth; they will never be able to reach their full potential because they fear it. Honor fused with humility promotes a sense of pride and also wonder, an utterly charming combination.
Our final couple of virtues is mirth and reverence. Mirth, as delightful as it is, does have its negative attributes. When one has no sense of reverence they aren’t truly respectful of the goings on, making light of everything. While our celebrations are joyful expressions of the divine, however we may perceive it, they are not one big joke for us to sit around and laugh at. Alternately, when reverence decides to stand alone we may find that we have taken all of the joy out of our rites, leaving us only with stiffness and strictness. When mirth and reverence are melded into one, we are able to have a good time and still be respectful.
To try to bring all of these thoughts to a single point, we should all, young and old alike, try to bring these qualities within ourselves and integrate them into who we are, truly striving to balance them all. The oracle at the Temple of Delphi had two requirements before one could enter: “Know Thyself” and “Nothing In Excess”. These are two tenets that I believe we should all invoke. Kind of makes sense, huh?
What prompted me to write this is that I see far too many people, mainly newcomers who are of the younger generation who get into Wicca or Witchcraft or whatever you, dear reader, prefer to call your practice simply for either shock value or the magick and spells; and then there are those who do have a sincere heart but simply don’t realize that a core precept of our ways is not to change the world around you, that’s the Goddess’s territory, but to change and make you better. If we all make every effort to integrate these qualities into the us present and accounted for and shift into an ‘elder’ mindset, regardless of our age, we can find the fortitude and positivity that our community needs to continue to foster in order to remain progressive.
It worries me that not enough of us “new-generationers” (for lack of a better term) are going to be able to take up the reins when it comes our time. One of the faults (or blessings depending on how you look at it) of the human condition is that we inhabit a body that ages, withers, and dies. In forty years, who will nurture the next Circle Sanctuary? Who will write the next Drawing Down the Moon? Who will be there to show guidance to the next set of young ones? By taking action now, we will be ready when that time arrives.
The Story of an African American Wiccan Priestess
During my 14 years of study of Witchcraft and Wicca, Shamanism and Paganism, I have found that Pagans of Color are hard to come by, or just simply in hiding. For years of my life, I have searched far and wide to create a group based on African American Neo Paganism and Wicca, but to no avail, it’s as if I am the only one who exists. While I know this isn’t true, I often find myself wondering if the traditional stereotypes of our African American Family culture, and the binds that keep families of color separated from other belief systems are true.
Is it true that we must bind our beliefs solely within the Christian Hierarchy of religious followings? Do we tell our families that we hold a close belief in something other than the all-knowing all-mighty God? How do we tell our families that we are not evil, and that we believe in the purity of nature?
Coming from a strict family of Deacons, Pastors and Reverends in the Christian Faith (not to mention the Catholics, and Jehovah’s witnesses) didn’t make my coming out so easy. When I was a young Pagan on my path to understanding the ways of the Goddess, I slowly came out to my family with little subtle hints that their way of religion was not particularly right for me and my spiritual tastes.
I would often deliberately sleep in on Sundays, ditch bible school, and refuse to sing in the choir- (er.. I mean I suddenly lost my voice, of course) . I would spend many hours in silent meditation, out in public spaces (like the living room, or the front porch) , which often lead to a lot of interesting questions. While this was probably not the best way to come out in a family so demanding of living a Christian life, it was a subtle way of letting know that I had a different path to walk. Finally, I was kicked out of my mother’s house for two different reasons. 1. For being a Lesbian Vegan, and 2. For being a Witch.
The very first book I had ever read was True Magick by Amber K. My mother actually found that book while “cleaning my room” and asked me if Christmas was out of the question. I started to explain to her the Pagan holidays, and what it means to be a witch- then she proceeded to tell my great-aunt, the devout Christian from Kansas and head of the family about me and my choice of religion… This caused an absolute riot in the family, and I was thrown out immediately on the spot, with no place to go. After a while of communicating with my mother, and letting her read all the books I deliberately left laying around, she decided to let me back in the house if I promised to stop being a Lesbian, at least eat some chicken and not tell anyone about my choosing to be a witch… At least she let me have my spiritual choice… one down and one and a half to go.
After my mother and I settled are differences about the whole idea of me being a Pagan child, she allowed me to have friends of the same faith and decided that it was time for me to go and be myself. She realized after all the fights and the arguments, that I wasn’t going to change my mind and that if she wanted me not to be who I was authentically, then I would obviously need to find my own place and move away from the house.
At the age of 16, I moved away to continue to lead a group or coven, and study with only those that were serious about Wicca and Witchcraft. I refused to let anyone in our group unless they read at least 5 books pertaining to Witchcraft or Wicca, and knew the basics of what our Spirituality was about. I look back know and realize that I have always been serious about my religion, and have made sure that others around me radiated the same kind of energy that I did. I never let movies influence me and I never bothered to listen to what others said about me. I was once again the only African American of my group.
My group consisted of several different races and ethnicities- Puerto Rican, Vietnamese, Caucasian, Mexican, and well me the black girl and “High Priestess”. I really hated the title of High Priestess, because having read all the books that I took the time to read, I knew that there was no such thing as miraculously becoming a high priestess. I just kept learning and making sure that all of the people in our coven were doing what it took to learn all of the initiatory rights, bound by the law of the Wiccan rede and following the wheel of the year. Sometimes I look back and think that I knew more then than I do now, and other times I wish that I could find more people of color to start a new coven all over again- this time with the right credentials to lead.
To conclude my story, I stuck with Paganism because it was the only source of spirit that allowed me to connect with the feminine energies of the Goddess. It was my only source of love and abundance and understanding and it has brought me nothing but wonderful bliss and has made my life truly centered and enlightened. I have learned how to connect with all sorts of people, to fit in and to allow what comes to me to come.
Although, I am still looking for Pagans of color who have a sense of their own individuality and pride as Pagans, I am happy doing what I do best. I am now running a humanitarian business here in Portland Oregon that focuses on the Pagan community, I own a two Shops, teach workshops and classes in the Pagan community and I do Shamanic Soul coaching and Journey work. This is what I do for a living, serve the Goddess in any way shape or form that I can. I dedicated my life and live in Service of the Goddess, and forever I will always be in service to those that need healing.
May the God and Goddess Bless you,
Love and Blessed Light,
B y Lilith Silverkrow
I’m Right, You’re Wrong: The Fight to be Different
I was thinking about writing all the examples and instances up front, and then lay out the bottom-line, but then I decided, what the heck:
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is not a damn thing you can do to be anything like the person next to you. No matter what you do, no matter how you live, no matter what you think, you will always, from before birth to after death, be different. This is not an opinion, this is not an ‘in-a-perfect-world’ statement, and this is fact, genetically to psychologically to metaphysically.
Every single person is built on two things: their genetics and their environment, not one or the other, but simultaneously.
Your genes are the product of half of two people’s genetics: your mother and father. Though you have their genes, you do not have all of them; you have a combination of genetics that they can never have. You are different! Even if you suddenly start looking ‘like’ your parents, or acting ‘like’ your parents, you are still not your parents. It is a genetic, biological impossibility.
Your experiences are the product of your environment, your genetics, and most especially, the thoughts and emotions you keep within your mind of those experiences. From the moment of birth, you begin to the act of experiencing the world around you, and within you. You are different!
Even identical twins, with the same exact genetic combinations, due to their experiences, will never, can never, be the same; they will be different. Though many studies of identical twins have shown that separated twins will display similar likes and dislikes, similar activities in their lives, but they are vastly different because of the families and environment they were raised. In addition, identical twins that were not separated, but were raised together have shown, repeatedly, that despite the same environment, they develop different personalities.
So, the very core of every single human being — in the genetics and experiences and behavior — will never be the same as another; we will always be different.
If this is so, then why do people demand that they be different? Why do children develop the intense, rebellious nature to become different from their parents, when they are and always have been? Why do people fight and kill to be different?
As to the title: I’m Right, You’re Wrong, it is this very thing of proving to another that they are different, in their personalities, their ideologies, etc that causes so many issues when it isn’t even about who is right or wrong. The point of any of this is that we are both right and we are both wrong. We are right in ourselves, to ourselves, but we are wrong to everyone else.
I would love to say that this problem is only the vice of the major religions, but alas, no. From the major religions to atheists, everyone thinks they are right and everyone else is wrong.
I will take this moment, before I continue, that this species of ours is blessed with the few individuals who have pulled themselves away from this trap to understand that it doesn’t matter what you believe in, they are happy with what they believe in and who they are; your beliefs, though nice to know, are irrelevant to their happiness. Sounds harsh, yes, but honestly it is the only way one can be happy, is to not allow everyone else’s opinions about one’s beliefs or their beliefs to be of any concern.
Unfortunately, this right vs. wrong attitude is deeply impeded in the pagan community. From the ceremonialists and traditionalists looking down at eclectics and solitaires to pagan women vs. pagan men to Wiccans vs. Witchcraft vs. New Agers vs. Fluff Bunnies… I can go on, of course. For a spirituality that is so ambiguous that the beliefs and actions of an individual is based on what feels right to him/her, and a spirituality that is far more accommodating to a person’s choice of lifestyle in any manner, it seems ridiculous that we would carry this issue with us. Of course, it may just be the result of the majority of pagans carrying this right and wrong issue from their previous religions, but I’m going to be optimistic (or pessimistic) and say it is just human nature.
By stating that I’m Right and You’re Wrong is human nature, it may be a lost cause and we, except for individuals, may never overcome this issue. However, at this point, I will be optimistic and say that the people who are formulating one of the greatest spiritual movements this world has seen in such a long time have the ability, if not the necessity, to overcome this pitfall and rise to a higher form of thinking with regards to anyone who is in the least bit different from you. Because guess what, they are, and will never see the same thing you see or feel or think or smell, and NEVER have the same spiritual experience as you.
Let the main religions continue their never-ending fight to be right and destroy, even if not physically they are still trying mentally and emotionally, those they feel are wrong. Let atheists struggle in their fight to convince people to shrug off millions of years of myth-based philosophies. Understand that you are different and will always be different and embrace that; embrace your weirdness, your difference, while at the same time acknowledging what we all share.
Which brings me to another point: despite all of our differences, we are still all members of the human species (unless there is someone that is reading this that does not currently carry human DNA within them…beg my pardon, no offense) . Every single person feels the same emotions. Whether they are expressed differently or triggered differently, a happy person in Iraq will look and act the same as a happy person in Nebraska (I know, I’ve seen happy Iraqis but I’ll have to debate the extent of a happy Nebraskan) .
We are different and we are the same, we are all right and we are all wrong. We are all individuals within one species on one planet, with DNA that is at its most basic the same with every single living creature on this planet.
Pagans, we are a fractious bunch from the very start because we choose to follow what is right within our hearts and souls, not because of what someone else says is right. So why do I constantly see people writing and commenting on their opinions of another person’s spiritual choice? Does their decision to join a coven, take the best from all the rest, or follow the creeds of people with less than credible sources change your beliefs, affect your beliefs, make you doubt your own? If so, then your heart and soul are telling you that the path you are currently on isn’t the one for you.