Thank You for the donations, Please remember the Raffle is still going!

Thank you all that have donated today. Please remember that the Raffle will be going till the 29th of this month. And of course, goofy (me) has her butt in a crack with WordPress over the payment for our domain.

I got to looking for my purse and come to find out I left it out in the truck. It has been in the truck since Saturday. Someone broke into the truck on the driver’s side (that side you can’t see from looking out). And anyway, my entire wallet was stolen. So I am really up a creek without a paddle. I called the bank and they have froze my account. But my PayPal account is still open. Thank the Goddess.

So if you would like to still participate in the Raffle we would deeply appreciate it and definitely now need it before WordPress finds out that the card is going to bounce like a hot potato. Thank goodness it take three days for a notice to come from your bank. I have just had way to much on my mind recently. I hope my life eventually returns to normal. But what is normal?

Thank you for all your help and love. Just remember if you want to get a ticket it is not to late.

Thank you all and I love you so much,

Lady A

 

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‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for Nov. 26th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Remember all those times when you made three trips to the other room to get something, and before you got there you had already forgotten what it was? Didn’t the thought of age dimming your memory enter your mind at those times?

There’s really no need to waste time thinking that way. It is not the case of a scattered memory, but a skittery mind, jumping from one subject to another with only circumstances to remind you.

And haven’t you awakened sharply in the middle of the night because suddenly you remembered something you should have done, or something you must do? Age gain? No, it was the only time your subconscious mind ever found you quiet enough to remind you of something you wanted to remember.

Life would be so much more orderly if we took several minutes night and morning to sit completely away from outside sights and sounds to recall the important things. As long as we are able to see and hear the activity about it we have difficulty thinking soundly. The conscious mind is capable of carrying just so much, and then the debris must be cleared away before the “filed away” things in the subconscious can be remembered.

“Be still and know…..”

____________________________

Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 26

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 26

“In our traditional ways, the woman is the foundation of the family.”

–Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders

We must pay attention to the role of the woman in the family. She is the heartbeat of the family. She should be respected and treated in a sacred manner. We should listen to her guidance. We should help make her role easier by helping with chores or just telling her how much we appreciate her.

Great Spirit, I ask you to bless all the moms.

November 26 – Daily Feast

November 26 – Daily Feast

The Tsa la gi (Cherokee) sense change. He doesn’t take it from the world not does he hear it from a voice comes from a man. But when he stands by the flowing stream with arms outstretched, the voices speak. The wind has lifted high above, barely touching the limbs of autumn trees, but it has in it a voice that calls us to be ready for change. It is not an imagined thing, not a lower-spirit voice, but a true message from the Great Spirit to stop looking at hardship and fear, to prepare. A spirit of firmness comes in this call, but it is sweetness as well – a sweetness that heals all the wounds of centuries. It asks all the people to stand together in the true sense, and then they will never fail.

~ Remember! I have warned you to beware…. ~

PACHGANTSCHILHILAS – DELAWARE, 1700s

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

The Daily Motivator for Nov. 26th – Inner state of being

Inner state of being

Anxiety is not created by your situation, or by what you must do about your  situation. Anxiety is the result of your attitude and your perspective on the  situation.

To be free of anxiety, you don’t necessarily have to change the situation or  avoid doing anything about it. What you can do is change your attitude, your  perspective and your expectations.

In fact, your attitude ultimately is not dependent on your circumstances.  Your attitude is whatever you choose it to be.

As surely as you have learned to react to certain things with anxiety, you  can teach yourself to respond instead with peaceful confidence. That response is  just as realistic, and much more positive, healthy and enriching.

Keep in mind that it is because of your choice that you become annoyed,  frustrated, angry, fearful and filled with anxiety. Keep in mind that you always  have another, more positive choice.

Make it your intention to choose peace, positive purpose, confidence and  generous, effective action. Your inner state of being is always your choice, so  always make it the very best, most empowering one.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

The Daily OM for Nov. 26th – Beyond Counting Blessings

Beyond Counting Blessings
Being Truly Thankful

by Madisyn Taylor

Our gratitude deepens when we begin to be thankful for being alive during this time and living the life we are living.

Often when we practice being thankful, we go through the process of counting our blessings, acknowledging the wonderful people, things and places that make up our reality. While it is fine to be grateful for the good fortune we have accumulated, true thankfulness stems from a powerful comprehension of the gift of simply being alive, and when we feel it, we feel it regardless of our circumstances. In this deep state of gratitude, we recognize the purity of the experience of being, in and of itself, and our thankfulness is part and parcel of our awareness that we are one with this great mystery that is life.

It is difficult for most of us to access this level of consciousness as we are very caught up in the ups and downs of our individual experiences in the world. The thing to remember about the world, though, is that it ebbs and flows, expands and contracts, gives and takes, and is by its very nature somewhat unreliable. If we only feel gratitude when it serves our desires, this is not true thankfulness. No one is exempt from the twists and turns of fate, which may, at any time, take the possessions, situations, and people we love away from us. Ironically, it is sometimes this kind of loss that awakens us to a thankfulness that goes deeper than just being grateful when things go our way. Illness and near-miss accidents can also serve as wake-up calls to the deeper realization that we are truly lucky to be alive.

We do not have to wait to be shaken to experience this state of being truly thankful for our lives. Tuning in to our breath and making an effort to be fully present for a set period of time each day can do wonders for our ability to connect with true gratitude. We can also awaken ourselves with the intention to be more aware of the unconditional generosity of the life force that flows through us regardless of our circumstances.

The Daily OM

Freedom of Religion?

Freedom of Religion?

Author:   Raven Song 

As citizens of the United States of America we enjoy many luxuries and rights. One of these rights that we hold dear is the right to freedom of religion, a right that many people all over the world do not have. So you may be surprised to find out that I am writing about people right here in the US, people who are harassed, and discriminated against because of what they believe. I am talking about people of pagan faiths.

The Problem
So what is paganism? A good definition is “paganism represents a wide variety of traditions that emphasize reverence for nature and a revival of ancient polytheistic and animistic religious practices” (McColman) . Some of the common traditions that pagan people follow are Wicca, Heathen, Pagan, Druid, and Kitchen or Hedge Witches. You may be wondering why I’ve used both pagan and Pagan, let me explain; Pagan usually refers to people who practice the ancient Celtic traditions, while pagan is a broad blanket term that refers to the above definition of paganism.

Now it is true that pagans are not the only ones who are discriminated against, many other minority religions are also harassed. What sets paganism apart is how widely it is misunderstood. This misunderstanding leads people to have all sorts of outlandish ideas about what pagans do; leading many people to believe that paganism is unclean and evil. The other common misconception that arises from lack of understanding is that pagan traditions are not real religions but made up ones that allow the believer to live in a fantasyland. As I will point out in the rest of the paper, these problems could be resolved through education and an attempt at understanding.

The Effects of Discrimination
The discrimination that pagan people face comes in a variety of forms that affect their day-to-day lives. They face discrimination at work, in the military, from their neighbors, from their family, and horrifyingly enough at school. There are countless cases were a student is harassed because of pagan beliefs either by a teacher of by fellow students without intervention from teachers.

A fairly recent example of this that got a lot of news coverage happened when 11 year-old Christopher Turner was harassed by his teacher back in October 2011. It all started when the boy missed school to spend Samhain, a holiday that worships ancestors and the fall harvest, with his family. The next day he was pulled out of class by his teacher who “proceeded to drill him about Paganism, ending the conversation with ‘Paganism is not a religion’ ” (“Children Have Rights Too!!!”) . When Christopher’s mother found out what happened she called the board of education and was transferred to the superintendent who apologized and “promised that a meeting would be set up between the teachers of all three of her children with the principal of the school present, but she was never given the opportunity to also be involved in these discussions” (“Children Have Rights Too!!!”) . Thinking the situation was over Christopher’s mother sent him back to school, where everything seemed to be going fine until November.

“ On November 29th Mrs. Ross informed her class that they would be doing an essay on ‘How Christmas started’. In the good ol’ fashion of history, she informed the class that they couldn’t have anything on their report pertaining to Paganism. Intrigued, a female student in Christopher’s classroom asked what paganism is. In response to the question, Mrs. Ross looked directly at Christopher, not the student asking the question, and replied ‘anything that is non-biblical is paganism.’” (“Children Have Rights Too”)

Eventually the situation was resolved when the Lady Liberty League, a group dedicated to helping those facing religious intolerance, stepped in. If Christopher’s teacher had known anything about the Pagan religion she would have realized that, that is where many Christmas traditions, and the traditions of other Christian holidays, got their start. Also she would have realized that while the Pagan religion is very different from mainstream religions, it is in fact an actual religion.

While doing research for this paper I decided to ask the members of the Forest of the White Stag, an online pagan community that I belong to, if they had any personal experience with discrimination. Many of them did and a man named Noah, who preferred to keep his last name anonymous, agreed to a full interview. Noah, who believes that everything contains a soul/spirit, that the soul is reincarnated, that everything is connected to each other, and that though we are predators we should only kill animals in order to survive, said he first encountered discrimination when he was young.

“My first dealings with discrimination was after my father remarried to a very devout Christian, and once learning that I was interested in paganism as well as other religions outside of the Abrahamic faith-groups, she forced me to attend Sunday school. I think I was about 13 at the time. She would berate me for not believing in her God or Jesus whenever we had our scheduled visits. This lasted for about 3 years.” (Noah) .

Later on Noah joined the military and was transferred to Korea where he faced discrimination from his platoon sergeant who “threaten[ed] to kick [him] out after he inspected [his] room and found [his] altar in a wall locker” (Noah) . After the sergeant found out that religious beliefs were not a cause for discharge he proceeded to make Noah’s life as miserable as possible. Noah said this was resolved when he was transferred elsewhere. When asked if he believed these issues could have been avoided and how he replied:

“Compared to things nowadays, I think the misinformation is being cleared up by a better understanding of who pagans really are, which makes issues like the one in Korea rarer. That is probably our best weapon against ignorance and prejudice.” (Noah)

Noah’s is also “excited for the upcoming years, as we are growing dramatically in terms of numbers and acceptance, hopefully this will bring about a change in society that hasn’t been seen in well over several hundred years” (Noah) . Hopefully Noah is right and as the pagan movement grows so too will the understanding and tolerance.

Noah wasn’t the only one from Forest of the White Stag to help; two other members also agreed to tell me their experiences in a sort of partial interview. The first one is Kristen Timofeev, whose story is a nice example of how an attempt to understand paganism can help in situations of harassment. Kristen has been practicing paganism since she was young and her mother had never reacted well to it. One day her mother agreed to sit down and talk about it with Kristen.

“We sat down and she asked me questions and then finally said that she wasn’t upset as she was before. She still wished I was Christian but now she understood it more and wanted me to be happy.” (Timofeev)

The other person whom we shall call Balthesaur, like Noah, experienced harassment in the military. Balthesaur who is Wiccan said that while in the military he kept ‘No Religious Preference’ on his dog tags because he was one of the only pagans in his unit and wanted to avoid harassment. One day during an in-ranks inspection his platoon sergeant, who was a known Catholic, gave him some trouble over his tags.

“He proceeded to me and looked at my tags. He asked what my religion was, to which I replied, ‘My tags say no preference.’ ‘I know, I know. But what religion are you?’ ‘Wiccan, ’ I replied. He stepped closer to me, and just barely audible for me to hear, asked, ‘Do you sacrifice goats to your Pagans Gods?’ I can take allot of stupidity, but this a**hole struck a nerve with me. The audacity of my ‘superior’ to ask such a ridiculous question prompted me to respond without thinking. ‘I’m looking for a human sacrifice. You want to be it?’” (Anonymous)

While this was probably not the best way to deal with the situation it did get his sergeant to leave him alone. Balthesaur “found out later that [the sergeant] began asking a Pagan from another unit civilized and inquisitive questions without a drop of distain” (Anonymous) showing that at least some good came from this incident.

These are just the stories of a few. There are countless others out there where people of pagan faiths have been discriminated against for their beliefs. Almost all of these can be chalked up to a lack of education and understanding. If people would just do a little research then maybe we wouldn’t have these misunderstandings.

The Misconceptions
A common misconception is that pagans are devil worshipers. This is completely false but it is understandable as to how people could be confused by this. First of all pagans, unless they practice a form of Christian-paganism, don’t even believe in the devil. However their deities have been demonized over the years by the largely popular Christian religion. An example of this is the entity known as Baphomet, a well-known Christian ‘demon’. While many pagans see this entity as dark or as a fictional being, some Witches worship him as a powerful spirit. You may think the idea of Baphomet is ancient and is perhaps mentioned in the Bible but he actually got his start during the trials of the Knights Templar.

The Templars were accused of abandoning their Christian faith and worshiping an idol called Baphomet. “Material that has survived from French troubadours active in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries suggests that the name Bafomet was originally a corruption of the name Muhammad which at the time was rendered Mahomet” (Belanger) . If this was the case with the Templar trials, then the order was actually being accused of being Muslim, the enemy faith at the time.

Another way the pagan deities have been demonized is by what the Christian devil supposedly looks like. Everyone knows that the Christian devil has goat horns, a goatee, cloven hooves, and a pitchfork, and probably many people believe that this description comes from the Bible but in fact the Bible does not offer a physical description of the devil. The Christian devil actually sounds a lot like the horned nature deity Pan with a little bit of the water deity Poseidon thrown in. Pan who is a satyr has the upper body and head of a man, usually depicted with a goatee, and the lower body and horns of a goat, while that pitchfork the devil is often depicted as carrying looks a lot like Poseidon’s trident. So if someone were to see an image of Pan or a trident on a pagan’s altar they might wrongly assume that they worship the devil.

Another thing that links pagans to the devil is the Wiccan symbol of the pentacle or pentagram. This symbol is actually quite ancient and predates Christianity because it is “rooted in ancient Greek and Roman paganism, with ties to goddesses such as Hygeia and Venus, the pentagram has been associated with occultism, [and] ceremonial magic” (McColman) . Today it is still occasionally associated with Goddesses but it more often associated with the five elements of spirit, earth, air, water, and fire. While this symbol is common among the pagan community it is not even used by everyone so while it is first of all not even a symbol of the devil, it is also wrong to damn all pagans because of it.

When many people think of pagans they think of sacrifices and sex rites, which many people view as morally wrong. Both sacrifices and sex rites were common in ancient times but have largely fallen out of practice in the modern world. Nowadays sacrifices are usually inanimate objects or food that is often burned or buried as offerings to deities and while animal sacrifices are rare when they do take place the animal is treated gently and killed quickly, the same can’t be said about most of the meat products we consume. Sex rites are even more rare than sacrifices and are now often done symbolically since it’s the symbolism behind the act that is more important that the act itself. Also yet again all pagans do not practice these so it is wrong to make the generalization that all pagans are evil because of two acts that many don’t do and many more do in a symbolic fashion.

The final main thing that ties paganism to devil worship is magic. When people think of magic they “recall scenes from movies, television shows, or fairy tales…in the popular imagination, magic is about getting things that you want through forbidden, dark, or dangerous forces” (Roderick) . In actuality magic, often spelt magick so as not to confuse it with the stage variety is a lot like what many religions consider prayer. Through magic pagans are asking there deities to aid them in some situation, not unlike how Christians pray to their God when they need help. The main difference between magic and prayer is there is a lot more ritual behind magic including but not limited to, dancing, singing/chanting, burning candles/incense, invoking deities, playing instruments, and meditating.

The other common misconception is that the pagan traditions aren’t real religions. This idea is often believed because pagan belief systems are so vastly different that pagans don’t agree on any one set of deities, holidays, codes of ethics, etc. They also don’t have any holy books, which is unusual among most religions. Just because pagans don’t have a holy book or an agreed upon code of ethics does not make them immoral because:

“magic and spirituality play an important role not only in the practice of many forms of Paganism, but also in the shaping of Pagan ethics. Magic is grounded in a recognition that self-interest and care for one’s own family and tribe are acceptable principles of action; in this sense, Pagan spirituality functions quite well within a democratic capitalist economy, where self-interest is a foundational social principle. However, some magical communities impose restraints on the morality of self-interest, whether in terms of the Rede’s “harm none, ” in terms of classical or mythological concepts of virtue, or in terms of balancing the competing interests of personal self-interest with the mandate for environmental responsibility and sustainable living.” (McColman)

The Rede in which McColman is referring to is the Wiccan Rede in which three of its main points state ‘obey the Wiccan Rede ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust’, ‘an it harm none do what ye will’, and ‘follow the three fold rule ye should, three times bad and three times good’, the three fold rule here referring to karma in which whatever you do comes back to you three times as great. You can tell from this that anyone following the Rede would have to try and lead a good life by loving and trusting others, not doing harm to anyone, and making sure they do good deeds so good will come back to them. The Wiccan Rede is not only followed by Wiccans by but other pagans as well. Another reason people believe paganism is a made up religion is because of the practice of magic, which was discussed earlier in this section.

If people would just do a bit of research they would find they above information repeated in a variety of places. As the pagan movement gains ground people are being forced to reconsider what they thought they know about paganism. These misconceptions are common but they don’t have to be.

What Can Be Done
I wrote this paper with the intent of showing others that through education religious discrimination of pagans, and other religions too, can become a thing of the past here in the US. Part of the problem, and possibly why discrimination in school is common, is the blocking of access to ‘occult’ site in school and public libraries. An example of this occurred in a Missouri public library:

“On January 3rd, 2012, The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri announced the filing of a lawsuit charging the Salem Public Library with u unconstitutionally blocking access to websites dealing with minority religions, and ‘improperly classifying them as ‘occult’ or criminal’.’ It’s alleged that Salem Public Library official refused to change their filtering policies when challenged and that library directory Glenda Wofford intimate that ‘she had an obligation’ to alert the authorities to report those who were attempting to access blocked site. This new case not only raises the issue of web filtering in our public institutions, but why and ‘occult’ category is even an option for secular and government-funded filtering clients where such control is unneeded or even illegal.” (Pitzl-Waters)

With access blocked to information in public and school libraries it is no wonder people are ignorant to the beliefs of pagans.

In order to truly be the land of the free we must allow the public access to educational materials so that they may learn about paganism and attempt to understand it. This goes for pagans too, who are often unwilling to discuss what they believe because of years of fear and harassment they have endured. If we all communicate and share knowledge with each other then freedom of religion no longer has to be a question in the United States of America.

____________________________

Footnotes:
Works Cited:

Anonymous. Personal Interview. 26 Jan. 2012.

Belanger, Michelle. Dictionary of Demons. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2010. Print

“Children Have Rights Too!!!”. atlanta.indymedia.org. Atlanta Independent Media Center. Web. 19 Jan. 2012.

McColman, Carl. “Paganism”. pantheos.com/library. Pantheos. Web. 20 Jan. 2012.

Noah. Personal Interview. 25 Jan. 2012

Pitzl-Waters, Jason. “Filtering and Free Exercise: ACLU vs. Salem Public Library”. pantheos.com/blogs. The Wild Hunt. Web. 24 Jan. 2012.

Roderick, Timothy. Wicca: A Year and a Day. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2005. Print.

Timofeev, Kristen. Personal Interview. 26 Jan. 2012.

THE CHARGE OF THE GODDESS

THE CHARGE OF THE GODDESS

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who of old was called
Astarte, Artemis, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Ceridwen, Diana,
Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names:

“Whenever you have need of anything, once in the month, and better it
be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and
adore the spirit of Me who is Queen of all the Wise. You shall be free
and as a sign that you be free, you shall be naked in your rites.
Sing, feast, dance make music and love, all in My presence, for Mine
is the ecstacy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth. For My Law
is love unto all beings. Mine is the secret that opens upon the door
of youth, and mine is the cup of wine of life that is the Cauldron of
Cerridwen, that is the holy grail of immortality. I give the knowledge
of the spirit eternal and beyond death I give peace and freedom and
reunion with those that have gone before. Nor do I demand aught of
sacrifice, for behold, I an the Mother of all things, and My love is
poured out upon the Earth.””

Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of whose feet are the
hosts of Heaven, She whose body encircles the Universe:

” I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among
the stars and the mysteries of the waters, I call upon our soul to
arise and come unto me. For I am the soul of nature that gives life to
the Universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold –  all acts
of love and pleasure are My Rituals. Let there be beauty and strength,
power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence with in
you. And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning
will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you
seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that
which is attained at the end of all desire.”

Alone, awesome, complete in Herself, the Goddess, She whose name
cannot be spoken, floated in the outer darkness, before the beginning
of all things. As She looked into the curved mirror of black space,
She saw by Her own light Her radiant reflection, and fell in love with
It. She drew It forth by the power that was in Her and made love to
Herself, and called Her “Miria, the Wonderful.”
Their ecstasy burst forth in the single song of all that is, was,
or ever shall be, and with the song came motion, waves that poured
outward and became all the spheres and circles of the worlds. The
Goddess became filled with love, swollen with love, and She gave birth
to a rain of bright spirits, that filled the worlds and became all
beings.
But in that great movement, Miria was swept away, and as She
moved out from the Goddess, She became more masculine. First She
became the Blue God, the gentle, laughing God of love. The She became
the Green one, vine-covered, rooted in the earth, the spirit of all
growing things. At last She became the Horned God, the Hunter whose
face is the ruddy sun, and yet dark as Death. But always desire draws
Him back toward the Goddess, so that He circles Her eternally, seeking
to return in love.
All began in love; all seeks to return in love. Love is the law,
the teacher of wisdom, and the great revealer of the mysteries.

In love, the Horned God, changing form and changing face, ever
seeks the Goddess. In this world, the searching and the seeking appear
in the Wheel of the Year.
She is the Great Mother, Who gives birth to Him as the Divine
Child Sun at the Winter Solstice. In spring, He is the Sower and the
Seed who grows with the growing light, green as the new shoots. She is
the Initiatrix, Who teaches Him the Mysteries. He is the Young Bull;
She is the Nymph, seductress. In summer, when light is longest, They
meet in union, and the strength of Their passion sustains the world.
But the Gods’ face darkens as the sun grows weaker, until at last,
when the grain is cut for harvest, He also sacrifices Himself to Self,
that all may be nourished. She is the Reaper, the grave of earth to
which all must return. Thoughout the long nights and darkening days,
He sleeps in Her Womb. In dreams, He is the Lord of Death, who rules
the Land of Youth beyond the Gates of Night and Day. His dark tomb
becomes the Womb of Rebirth, for at Midwinter She again gives birth to
Him. The cycle ends and begins again, and the Wheel of the Year turns
on and on.

 

Wicca 101

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