“THINK on THESE THINGS”
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler
There is much to be said of small things. Even in this age of emphasis on bigness we must realize that bigness is only a mass of small things. An idea is a small thing. With it we can change our world. We can take a tiny seed and give it careful attention and reap a hundred fold. We can take a little idea and give it our attention and build it into a fortune.
A smile is a small thing. Smile once at someone in passing and three will return the smile. Smiling is so contagious that it moves from person to person until a hundred smiling faces are the result of one.
A thought is a small thing. One thought inspires another and another until a mental image is formed. From that mental image blueprints are drawn. And from those blueprints worlds are built.
Hope is a small thing. One tiny glimmer of hope can lift us out of the deepest pit of darkness. One whisper of encouragement will help us to know that as long as there’s hope there is an excellent chance.
A wish is a small thing. Like a little prayer, it climbs the steps to an idea that makes a smile and gives us hope to make our wishes come true. For in small things are all great things formed, in little beginnings the possibilities of great events.
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 – September 13
“The most important thing you can do during the course of the day is to pray.”
–Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE
There are many things we do during the day that are important. There are many places we have to go and there are many things to accomplish. The old ones say, the most important thing we can do is remember to take the time to pray. We should pray every morning and every evening. In this way we can be sure that the Great Spirit is running our lives. With the Great Spirit we are everything but without Him we are nothing. All Warriors know their greatest weapon is prayer. To spend time talking to the Creator is a great honor.
Great Spirit, thank You for listening to my prayers.
September 13 – Daily Feast
It is good to keep the promises we make to ourselves to enjoy a peaceful hour. How long has it been? How long has it been since we walked on a grassy hillside and watched the shadows hover and move? Walking is good for the legs – but it does wonders for the soul. The autumn season is one of the best times to walk and think. There is a rhythm in the earth that rises into our feet when we walk. In it is the healing and it centers the soul so that the cares of the world cannot get in to destroy peace. And peace has so many side effects. It restores youth and gives perspective to a world-weary mind.
~ The Great Spirit made these mountains and rivers for us, and all this land. ~
BLACKFOOT – CROW, 1850’s
‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Opportunity to create love
Today is an opportunity to create love. Today is an opportunity to care, and to put your caring into action.
You do not need permission, or any special skills or resources, to make a loving difference. All you have to be, is to be yourself, and to be willing.
Life is good for you to the extent you choose to give of yourself to it. Enjoy the opportunity that today gives you to give your best, to give your love.
Life is good, and you can add to the goodness in your own special ways. Right now, enjoy the experience of being a positive influence.
You will never regret the love you create. Even when the love you give is not recognized or appreciated by others, your life will be richer for having given it.
This day brings moments you can fill with whatever you choose. Fill them with love, and you’ll fill them as full as they can possibly be.
— Ralph Marston
The Daily Motivator
Healing Emotional Pain
The Hidden Pain That Binds Us
Healing our emotional pain will bring strong feelings of peace and happiness.
Welcome to the month of September, a transition month for many of us as summer moves closer to autumn and children head back to school. September has always been a month of great transition. It’s almost as though it gives us permission to face our workload and get back into a routine.
This month I want to focus on the topic of emotional healing. Most of my work with DailyOM is about this topic as it is so very needed within humanity. It also scares many people away because nobody really finds enjoyment in diving through their own layers of emotional pain. I think by now most of you know that I never ask anything from you that I don’t go through personally myself. This core tenet is the basis of my work, which is to share my experience and thoughts so that others know they are not alone on their path.
Healing your emotional pain can bring the greatest rewards in your life, bringing you a sense of lightness and freedom. Some pain can be dropped quickly and some can take years to fully release. There really is no right or wrong, and there certainly is no timetable involved. Some of you know that just last year I was able to fully release the pain my father caused me growing up. It took me 20 years after his death to get to that place of peace, and it feels really good to know that it is authentic healing that came from hard work and a bit of grace.
If you are interested in healing your emotional pain, here are some online courses we offer that can assist you greatly.
Overcoming Self-Sabotage by Debbie Ford. This amazing eight-week online course is consistently one of our best-selling courses for a good reason—it works! Receive powerful lessons every four days, including an audio guided meditation with each lesson. more info
Letting Go with Forgiveness by Ana Holub. This eight-week online course is based on information from A Course in Miracles, Radical Forgiveness, scientific research, and life lessons from Ana from her years of counseling. more info
How to Create Happiness by Deepak Chopra & Sonja Lyubomirsky. This 14-week online course is divided into two parts. Part one is composed of seven lessons by Deepak Chopra, and part two is composed of lessons by Sonja Lyubomirsky. Deepak teaches seven keys to joy and enlightenment, and Sonja teaches how to be happy! more info
Overcoming Fear by Debbie Ford. This eight-week online course includes a new lesson every four days, and an audio guided meditation with each lesson to help you directly access your inner wisdom. Learn to overcome fear, tune into the voice of fear, and choose faith and courage rather than fear. more info
I hope you have been enjoying these more personal monthly newsletters with our course offerings. It is so heartwarming to hear your feedback and learn of the ways that DailyOM has transformed your life. Thank you for reading and thank you for having the courage to be you.
The Journey of a Wild Witch
It has been eight years since I first discovered Witchcraft in a spiritual context. Prior to this Magick was very much alive in my life as I was lucky enough to have been born into a family that understands the spiritual dimension of life. My family also had the insight and experience to see and live this dimension in their everyday. In truth there is no difference between what is conceived to be ‘spiritual’ and that which is apparent and ‘mundane’. It is all one. This is my truth and my wild way.
I am an initiated Witch and Priest of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft. This means a great deal to me, as I am also a ‘co-founder’ of the original Mother Coven, based in Brisbane and initiated at Samhain (April 30th) 2006. Our ‘tradition’ and way of living the Craft is deeply interwoven with what many people call ‘shamanism’; derived from the Siberian Tungus word for their medicine people – saman. Mircea Eliade, the late Romanian historian, described shamanism as a “technique of ecstasy” and my coven has come to define Witchcraft as an “ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition”.
Our (and all Witches’) rituals and methods of practice allow us to transcend the illusion of separation and therefore to dissolve the ego and actualize the freedom that lives in the heart of all things. I often call and relate to this ‘All’ as the Great Mystery. The beauty of being a Wild Witch is that nothing is absolute and I have come to realize that all of Life is a holy continuum, which constantly seeks to express itself through diversity. Through expression comes manifestation, which allows us to experience Beauty through Perfection (the world in which we live) and then once more we come to the Wholeness of Unity and the cycle repeats itself.
We are born into a plural world of many and pass into the One only to yearn to divide ourselves once more to grow, deepen and enrich our understandings and experiences of that subtle/overt thing – the Great Mystery.
My coven’s tradition has developed and evolved around this wild-trance-dance-of-wonder. The only consistency between our covens is that we honor and acknowledge our heartland the WildWood, keep holy our covenant with the Sacred Four (the Weaver, the Green Man, the Crescent-Crowned Goddess and the Stag-Horned God) and that we remain open and receptive to personal/group gnosis and to Awen (the divine flow of inspiration) . Other than this there are some structural similarities regarding dedication and priesthood and inner and outer courts.
Essentially however we are wild Witches who fly in the face of authority and seek the wilderness underlying the apparent ‘civilization’ of things. Nothing can be tamed, for the wild is free and the free is divine! As we say in the WildWood – “we have actualized our radness!”
What do Wild Witches do? First and foremost – we live! We breathe, we sleep, we eat, we drink, we sing, we dance, we make love, we scream and we spend time sharing presence and being with our loved ones. ‘Being’ is an important principle to consider. To be is quite simple but so many people find themselves distracted by the “this and that” that they leave ‘being’ behind and pursue illusion instead.
This isn’t the same concept found in various Christian philosophies which espouses a “Satan’s fault!” message when sheep stray from the flock so to speak. Witches understand self-responsibility and are aware of action, reaction and consequence (the Threefold Law) . Why not exist in euphoric awareness of self as Self – the animate Cosmos? You are not only a cell within a larger body of universal wholeness; you are whole and thus a perfect embodiment, expression and reflection of the Great Mystery whose cause, undercurrent and outcome is Life.
When we free ourselves from the illusion of past, present and future and surrender to the Flow of the Continuum (the spirals, the wayward ins and outs, the labyrinthine, serpentine undulations of fate becoming) we make real for ourselves the state of being known commonly as “here and now”. This seems to constitute location and time, however it simply addresses the emphasis of indwelling consciousness regardless of where you are and what frame of time constrains it.
There are moments in my life, which I refer to as ‘Nostalgic Rites’. They are pure, simple, soothing, knowing moments that are like the punctuation points in a flow of sentences. They are the markers and the thresholds that appear along our paths when it is time to pause, reflect and feel. I have them often enough in my life to understand their imminent message of timelessness, peace and overwhelming Love! For what I have learnt above all else thus far is that dwelling within the chaos in the cosmos is the peace which neither subsumes or overrides it, but embraces it and lets it be. Chaos is what happens naturally when the undifferentiated potential becomes “this and that” and peace is the understanding that this is the way of Life. All of this is wild; we dwell in a far-reaching, limitless wilderness.
In a recent priestess training session with two beautiful women from my coven I asked both of them to divulge their feelings and reflections of the journey toward their priestesshood, as they are nearing to the ‘end’ of the beginning – Initiation. One of the women honestly came out and said to us that she feared for us (the other priestess-in-training and I) because we are on the top of the mountain, but because we are risk-takers it is inevitable that we will fall.
I had to stop and wonder in that moment why anyone would not want to fall. In fact I also wondered whether it had occurred to her that surrounding the mountain were vast forests, plains, rivers, deserts, tundra, bushland, seas, oceans and lakes; not to mention all of the beings who inhabit these places.
For me the mountain is not the point. It is part of the whole Great Mystery, but the journey does not lead to a single place; in fact the journey doesn’t really lead anywhere. There is no aim to my wandering, to my blissful dance through the wilderness – I simply embrace every experience because it is worthy of it and I laugh, smile, cry, choke, rage, relax, love, ***, change, grow, and a million other things that I couldn’t possibly articulate or fathom for the purposes of this article.
The other woman, who knows me very well, and is one of my closest friends, then turned to me smiling and said, “You are so glib!” She then went on to explain that it was the “natural, offhand ease and articulate fluency and flow” of how I expressed my truth that made me glib in her opinion.
It wasn’t a criticism on her part, merely an observation. I think it is actually quite accurate. I have such ease and flow in my expression because I don’t have to think too hard about who I am or how I feel because I am and I feel in the “here and the now”. I live and I am, and in my experience Life itself is glib.
To my fellow journeyers of the wild way who know in their hearts that they are heading nowhere, anywhere and everywhere – may you dance the Wander with all you are. My deepest well of love to you all!
The sages say that samsara is to wander, to pass through,
I say samsara is to know the way and dance it.
To dance is to live, and to live is never “to pass through”;
Dance doll – dance and light up the stage…
Then they came with their wrought-iron weapons
And they pierced my soul, and looked for the mark.
I sang to them to soothe their battered spirits.
They sunk their swords in harder, my heart is in shreds.
The blood ran dry and the old seas heaved
And there in the darkest hour all was forgotten,
And tattered clothes were left in tatters,
And the ashes were left in mounds at the pyres.
Is it a fact that when we are lost we wander?
Is it true that when we are in love we dance?
Or do we dance when we are lost?
And do we wander when in love?
Samsara, O holy wheel of Life,
Keep turning, I want to stay.
I don’t want nirvana in clouds far away
For I feel it already…here.
The Wanderer – the Fool?
I don’t mind, I don’t mind being;
For all the pain and suffering and the attachment to desire
There is a keenness that is not worth losing.
I want to live,
I want to wander if that’s what it takes,
But through all this I will dance
And I will dance because I love.
– Gede Parma, 2007
The Importance of Pre-Ritual Preparations
Author: Colleen Criswell
Most, if not all of us, who perform rituals and spell work, lead busy and eventful lives. During the day we go to work or school, we run errands, do housework, take care of our families, take care of our pets, deal with our responsibilities that we have in life. We all have stresses, worries, anxieties, regrets, angers, disappointments, frustrations, sorrows that we face. We have our excitements, joys, pleasures, passions, involvements, hopes, dreams, and wishes. All of these different emotions and energies that surround us in our day-to-day lives.
At the same time, we are all on our own personal spiritual paths. We have taken upon ourselves to open our minds and gain more knowledge of our chosen religion and belief and faith system. In our practices with rituals and spell casting, we have a knowledge and understanding of the energies we are raising and sending out, however life does go on and with it are the natural ups and downs that we face with our responsibilities as functioning human beings living in the world today.
How is it that we can deal with a balance of these energies? How do we manage working with positive energies and focusing on our ritual energies when we have had a stressful or bad or even a wonderful and exciting day?
How is it we can separate and have a nice balance of our personal energy with our magickal energy we are working with?
Remember, none of these things have to be done at all. But by even just doing one thing suggested here, you may find that your spell and ritual work is more potent because of the little extra boost that these suggestions can add to your experience.
At the school we hold rituals online for every Sabbat and every Esbat. We also hold other rituals that your fellow students create for class projects. These rituals are usually done in the evening, and where time zone issues can be a factor, there are things that can be done to help ease your self from “Muggle” life to “Magickal” life.
As always, you know when each ritual the school is holding will be, normally, a month in advance. This means you have plenty of time to get the materials you need for the ritual. By immediately gathering things that you need for a ritual ahead of time, you are taking away a lot of the stress and anxiety of being unprepared for the ritual. It also gives you time to charge any new tools you may need or find suitable substitutions for items that are on the list that you do not have.
Waiting to the last minute will have you scrambling around to find what you need. You may find you do not have an important element for the ritual or a suitable substitution. You may be working with tools that have an energy that may not be compatible with the work you are doing. This may hinder the desired result.
So, you have all the items you need. So what, you come home from work, get dinner, put the kids to bed, walk the dog, set up and do the ritual, right? Sure you could do that. But what about the stress that you had from the workday? The fact you burnt the chicken? You son just dumped baby powder all over the rug? You have a test or a presentation to give tomorrow? You are out of toothpaste?
All of these things effect you, effect your emotions, your energy, and in essence your ability to concentrate on your ritual and the magick you are working on. No, it won’t make these things go away, but if you do some pre-ritual preparation it can help you adjust from those stresses and allow them to be put aside for the time being.
This way we can focus on what it is that we are doing.
There are a number of different ways you can make this transition, the thing is you have to take the time to do it, make the known effort and possibly make adjustments to your schedule. I do understand that due to time limitations and schedules and things that need to be done in every day life may cause obstacles for you.
You might feel that you are unable to do these things. The rituals run at 8pm EST, but you live in California, so that makes the ritual start at 5pm PST. You get home at 4:45. You have to fix something to eat for the family or check the kids’ homework first or a million other things.
List out what it is that you normally do when you get home. Is it possible to make any adjustments to these things? A typical ritual runs one hour. So, if you get home at 4:30, your ritual begins at 5:00, it is easy to estimate that it will conclude at 6:00 or around there.
Can you adjust your schedule so that you check the homework a little bit later? Is it possible that someone else will be willing to make dinner for the family that night or is it possible to create the meal the day before so it just needs a few minutes to heat up? Is it possible to get off work a little early that day? We are talking about something that we do once or twice a month.
Is it a lot to ask for one hour from your families to pursue this?
Many people share computer space with other members of the family, so you may not be able to use your computer desk as a permanent personal and sacred space. If this is the case, since you know when the ritual is going to be, gather your tools the night before the ritual to make sure you have every thing you need.
If you can have them set up the night the before and you know they will be undisturbed, by all means get your space ready and set up. This makes it one less thing you need to worry about. If you cannot have it set up the night before, then bring your tools into the room where you will be having it.
It is good to keep them in a container so that people know that this is for something specific and not to move or mess with it. Keep it in the area where you will be having the ritual. Now, as you know when we have the online rituals I ask that you join the room no later than fifteen minutes before the actual ritual begins. Just because you are logged into the chat room does not mean you have to be sitting at your computer.
So when you get home, set up your space, log into the chat room. I usually open the chat room an hour before the ritual is to take place. You now have your tools set up.
Ready to start the ritual? No, not yet.
One aspect of pre ritual preparation that we hear of a lot, but many do not incorporate is the pre-ritual bath. Now many people might say, especially if they are the ones getting home at 4:30 and only have 30 minutes or less before the ritual, I am not going to spend the time to draw a bath!
Then there are people who do not have bathtubs or simply do not like to take baths. One thing that you can do is a ritual shower. Another argument is “But I took a bath or shower this morning, do I really need to take another one?”
Now why is it that ritual baths and rituals showers are important before a ritual? What purpose do these activities accomplish? What all is involved in a ritual bath or shower?
When we hear these words, the images that usually pop into mind are, for a bath a long relaxing lounge in bubbles with maybe some candles maybe some music playing. A shower is usually considered something quick, cleansing your body fast and efficient. A ritual bath and ritual shower are not about physically cleaning yourself.
The purpose of a ritual bath or shower is to remove negative energy from you and to put you in the proper mindset before a ritual. Now this can also be done simply by using sage incense to smudge yourself, however where this is a fast and simple quick fix, it may not be enough.
The element of water is in tune with our emotions. It can be an amplifier for your emotions and it can be soothing to them as well. After a long day where maybe you had a rough day at the office, maybe you got a nasty call from a bill collector, you daughter’s teacher called you and she is failing math, your sister’s water just broke and is off to have her first child, you have a hot date tomorrow night. All of these things are running in your mind. With all of this built up energy, how might it affect your magickal work?
Taking a bath or a shower is relaxing. Allowing the water to carry some of that excess energy away from your system. When you add other elements to it, you can purify and cleanse your energies to prepare you to do what magickal work that you have planned.
For a bath, I would recommend adding salt to the water. You can use something as simple as table salt or use sea salt. However, for this type of thing I would not suggest bath salts that are commercially made or bath beads or bubbles. To purify, just water and salt is all you need. If you feel that your energy needs a positive or protective boost I would add a 1/4 to a 1/2 a cup of apple cider vinegar. This helps cleanse and balance the aura. You would put these elements into the bath as you are running the water to help disperse the energies.
Next, think of the type of ritual you will be doing. What sort of energies are you going to be working with? Check your correspondence charts for proper oils, stones, incense, even music that might help aid in the energies you are planning on raising.
For instance, if we are doing a ritual to help increase your psychic abilities, I know that lavender and amethyst both help aid in this. I also know that the color purple promotes strengthening your psychic abilities. So, for my bath I would light some purple candles, light some lavender incense, put some amethyst stones into the bath water, and then once my bath is completely ready I would drop in a few drops of lavender essential oil. I would then soak for no less than ten minutes. Allowing myself to relax. Breathing in the scents, absorbing the energies, meditating on opening my Third Eye Chakra.
This can also be done for a shower. If you can close the drain, do so. Gathering the water in the bottom as you shower. Again place the salt, vinegar, oil, stones that you are going to use to aide you in the energy that you need to bring in. Also, get a washcloth, and create a bundle. In the bundle put the salt and some of the essential oil that you are planning on using, and then using the base of the bundle you have created scrub yourself. Focusing on the energies you are removing and on the energies you are bringing in.
Now we have finished with our bath or shower and have dried off. Next what is it we should be wearing? Depending on your personal tradition, you might choose to practice skyclad. However, there are times when skyclad may not be appropriate.
Having ritual wear is not mandatory, however it is a way you can prepare yourself for what it is you are going to do. Our clothes that we wear from day to day also attract energies. Also, remember, colors have specific energies as well.
When you are doing magickal work it is good to make sure that all the energies you are working with are in sync. Taking the time to wear something special for your ritual work also puts you in a more relaxed and proper state of mind. Removing the “Muggle” clothing, as it were, into your ritual robes is a ritual all unto itself.
I have created not only my ritual robes, but I also have specific jewelry that I wear only for ritual work. I also have created slippers for my ritual work. Many of us may like to go around barefoot, but there are times when we may need the protection. Deciding on ritual wear doesn’t have to be extravagant. If you can afford a bulky medieval costume and feel comfortable with it, then by all means wear it, or if you find a simple cotton nightdress that you like, then by all means use that.
One thing I will mention about ritual wear, proper care and storage is important. Our ritual wear is part of our magickal tools. Just as your athame or wand or incense, it is to be respected and cared for. Also, just as you would with any ritual tool, you should charge it with energy and consecrate it. We will discuss more on ritual wear in another discussion.
When putting on your ritual wear, don’t just throw it on, take your time and focus on each item you are putting on, and what it represents to you. Feel your own transformation from the busy executive or housewife into a practitioner of magick.
Now you are ready to sit down and perform your ritual.
Now, before I end, please note, that these are not the only ways of preparing yourself before a ritual. When you understand the different correspondences, the different vibrations that certain colors, scents, stones, foods and music give off, you can incorporate it all in your entire day.
Wear colors that promote the energy that you are going to be raising during the day, even if it is just one item in the color. Wear a scent that will draw the energies to you. Wear or carry gems or stones.
If you do daily devotions, focus on the deities that will help you create that energy. Also, your whole day can reflect the energy you are going to be raising that evening. If you can find ways that are appropriate, do it, try it.
One of my favorite things, as I am a Kitchen Witch is to eat foods that might be known to assist with the energy I am planning on working with. I usually plan a menu for a special dinner around it, but also I do start in the morning with breakfast and through out the day I try to think of what the energy is I am going to work with and what things I can eat that will add to it.
This is why I make you create so many charts here at the school. When you understand your correspondence charts; know the colors, numbers, symbols, herbs, foods, drinks, teas, deities, times of the day, when you have this information, why not use it to your advantage?
Now let me give you an example of a day of preparation for me that I would do. Keep in mind I am a stay at home mom, so I do know that what I do may not work with your own personal schedule, I am just giving you an idea to help you come up with your own plan.
Lets go back to the example I gave before, on a ritual for increasing your psychic abilities. Things I might do to prepare during the day would be:
I know that purple is a color that I associate with psychic awareness. So, I would wear my purple shirt or add a purple scarf to my clothes, or even wear purple underwear.
I know that the Third Eye Chakra is used when working with your psychic abilities. So during the day I would do meditations and exercises that I know help open and balance the Third Eye Chakra.
I know that the number 7 is associated with psychic energy, so maybe during the day I would do things in 7’s or possibly I would have a snack of 7 slices of apple.
Speaking of foods, I know that dandelion leaves, grapes, olives, lavender, beans, cheese, eggs, tea, anise, cloves, marigold, onion, peppermint, yarrow, cinnamon, poppy, saffron, thyme, celery, rosemary, chamomile, corn, lettuce, among other things can help promote psychic abilities. So I can choose recipes and plan my meals using some of these items.
I know amethyst is a gem associated with divination and psychic abilities. So I would wear jewelry that has this stone in it.
I know that the runic symbol Laguz; the planetary symbols of the Moon, Neptune and Pluto; symbols of the Dark moon, spirals in the Deosil direction, representations of the Moon, the ocean, the pentacle, the rainbow, the scales, spirals, the Waning Crescent Moon, and the wind also help with this purpose.
I can put these images on the candles I will be using for my ritual, when I put on my scent, maybe draw the pattern, visualize the symbols during meditation, carve them into the food, trace the pattern as you stir something, or how about a snack? Take a piece of bread, and using a squeezable bottle of grape jelly draw the pattern onto the bread?
I know that lavender is associated with this, so I would possibly burn lavender incense during the day, or put a little lavender EO on my wrist. Maybe pick some fresh lavender and bring it into the home.
Prepare my ritual space in advance.
Create a special meal for my family that uses the ingredients, numbers, and symbols that I know will help enhance my psychic abilities.
Take time during the day for reflection and meditate on Selene and Pan or other deities who are associated with divination and psychic abilities.
Research psychic abilities and new forms of divination.
Take a pre ritual bath with salt, lavender oil, amethyst crystals, lavender incense and purple candles.
Turn on some soothing New Age music
Dress myself in my ritual wear
Perform my ritual
When you put your mind set into what it is you are planning on raising, energy wise, you will find that not only does it add to your entire experience, it transforms the entire day into a magickal day. Our magick doesn’t have to be only on Sabbats or Esbats. Our magick doesn’t have to only be practiced at the main altar you have set up. Magick can be done all day, every day. These tips and ideas don’t have to be only done pre-ritual. You can incorporate these things into just about any part of your life. It is simply deciding to take the effort to do so.
So, to recap:
Have your items in advance. Make sure your tools are ready for your work before the ritual is to take place.
Try to give yourself time to prepare yourself for your ritual.
Take a pre-ritual bath or shower to help balance your energies and use tools to help increase the energies you are going to be working with.
Put on your ritual wear.
During your day, incorporate the elements or theme of the ritual into what you wear, what you eat, and what you do.
Even if you just take the time to do one little extra thing, you will very likely notice the difference in your magickal work. If you start doing this in your everyday life, you may find it a bit more magickal.
The Importance of Daily Magical Practice
Author: Taylor Ellwood
One attitude that I find to be odd in some magical practitioners is the attitude that you don’t need to do a daily practice of magic. It seems that instead you just cast your spell and sigil whenever you really need it and the rest of the time magic is put to the wayside until needed again. This approach has always puzzled me, mainly because it treats magic as a tool, much like a shovel. I’ll grant that you don’t need to use a shovel everyday of your life (unless you work at a job where it’s an essential tool). Also a shovel is used for a specific set of jobs and won’t fit every circumstance in your life.
Perhaps that’s the case with magic as well. Perhaps for some people it really is just a tool and only applies to when they need it. The rest of the time magic goes into the shed, until it’s needed again. But I think such an approach ignores some realities of magic that sometimes are glossed over in favor of obtaining results first and asking questions later. Some of these realities are practical, while others fit into the spiritual aspect of magic, but all of these realities are important and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
The first reality involves the practical application of magic, not just to a situation, but also to life. Magic is a process, not a result. Even the results that are obtained in magic end up feeding into the process of magic. You get a result for situation and that situation is resolved, but what about the impact of that magic on your life, on the relationships you have with other people, events, your environment, or your job?
These factors and many others are impacted every time magic is done, even if that impact isn’t overt. And the result of that impact is that inevitably magic draws you back into the process because some other situation needs to be addressed or explained or mediated or dealt with and magic can provide an answer.
The second reality is a spiritual reality. For many people magic is a form of spirituality, a way of meaningfully connecting with each other and also with forces large and small, seen and unseen. Such an interaction isn’t one that can just be discarded when you don’t need it.
I was recently reminded of this when I did a ritual to help me locate work in Portland. The spirits informed me they’d be happy to help me out, but that they also felt really neglected, because I hadn’t done any of the usual rituals I’d usually do with them. I prayed each day, but there hadn’t been a major ritual done just for them, with nothing being received on my end, other than the satisfaction of having connected with these beings that I identify as meaningful in my life.
I could easily provide excuses, including my current living arrangements, but the truth is that I had to acknowledge that spiritually I felt a bit devoid lately with my magical practice. Actually doing the ritual to get their help to find a job helped a lot in connecting with them, but it was easy to perceive why they felt used, because that ritual was about a purpose and goal, but it wasn’t a celebration of the bond between us. The spiritual component of my magical workings had been ignored and magic, at least for a short while, had been more of a tool and result and less of a process and spirituality for me. I’d taken the connections I had for granted, even with daily prayer. Fortunately for me this could be rectified with rituals and a willingness to recognize the importance of those spirits in my life.
We all stumble from time to time on the path of our individual spiritualities. In stumbling we are forced to look at where we are going and actually cultivate an awareness of what’s important right now, as opposed to what’s far ahead. That cultivation can take many forms, but one of the most notable ways to manage it is to actually hold yourself to a daily practice of magic.
Now I know some people will say, “But I don’t have the discipline to do that” or “You don’t really need to do a daily practice to make magic work.” Sadly, I must disagree with these statements, for these are the kind of statements that most often engender an approach to magic that is primarily results based and only sees magic as a tool to be put aside when it isn’t needed.
I also believe that just as muscles atrophy without use or exercise, so can a person’s ability and talent to work magic fade if s/he doesn’t maintain a consistent practice. Without regular practice you can’t build your relationship with magic or test the limits of what you can do. And while there’s always the possibility that daily practice leads to a plateau, where nothing new seems to happen, varying your routine, or more importantly just sticking it out and doing the work will inevitably attract change in your life (sometimes much more than you want).
On the other hand, if you do incorporate a daily practice into your life it will allow you to flex those magical muscles. In turn this will increase your ability to handle magic and even allow you to build reserves of energy that you can draw on when you really need them. My daily practice mentally and spiritually refreshes me. I always feel more energized after meditation and other exercises I do.
Make no mistake though, daily practice is work. It involves making time each day to do that work, not just when it’s convenient for you. There are days where I don’t want to wake up at five thirty in the morning to do my daily exercises, but I know when I don’t do those exercises I always feel less centered and focused. The result is found in the work, in my choice to renew my spiritual commitment to magic, myself, and the spirits I work with everyday. The result is the process, and so I’m not obsessed with getting to the end of the journey. There is no end, but the journey itself is a multitude of beginnings and endings, which my daily practice connects me to.
To really appreciate the impact of magic in your life, make the time to incorporate it into your life. Walk with magic everyday in your heat and mind and be open to all of its manifestations. But don’t treat it like a tool to be cast aside when the need is no longer apparent. While you might get the results you want now, you may find at a later time that just when you need something to happen it won’t, because you don’t understand what you’re working with. And that brings me to my final point.
A daily practice allows you to experience magic, and through that experience come to understand the dynamics that inform how magic works. When you understand the dynamics, then you know that what you’re working with isn’t a tool. The dynamic involves living magic and your daily practice is just a tiny fraction what it means to live magic. But living magic will bring you experiences that you might otherwise miss out on.
So open yourself to cultivating a daily practice and from there let that show you how to manifest magic into your life
The Impact of Paganism on the American Culture, Past, Present, and Future
Author: Under A Pagan Moon
Paganism has played, and will continue to play, a positive, and growing role in the American culture.
There are many misconceptions about Paganism, and it’s role in the American culture. In this essay I will present a fair amount of factual information supporting the afore-mentioned statement. Among the facts of this essay you will find that the men who put America and the American government together were more Pagan in thinking than they were Christian. You will see that major American monuments are modeled largely after temples built to Pagan gods, and you will learn that Paganism is more common than one might anticipate.
America, land of the free, and home of the brave. The greatest country in the world. A place where people can be whatever they choose to be, a place where a person can be successful no matter what their background or current status in life is. A country based at its very roots in the Judeo-Christian religion.
Or is it?
Most Americans believe that the people who founded America were strong Christians, and that America would not be the country it is today without a Christian based history.
This belief is based on many things, including the words imprinted on money, and the word God in patriotic songs and pledges. Why does this word God have to refer to the Christian god?
There is proof almost on every corner of America that leads one to believe that this country was actually founded more on a Pagan belief system rather than a Christian one.
Before we discuss the effects of Paganism on America, let’s learn about the Pagan belief system, and the history of Paganism.
Paganism is a peaceful, nature based religion, with many of the same ethics and morals as Christianity. Paganism is the oldest belief system in the world. From the times of cave men, to the inception of Christianity, to the persecutions, all the way up to present day.
All religions and all groups of people have been mainly a “Pagan people” at some time in their history. This includes Greeks, Romans, Native Americans, and basically all ethnic groups and nationalities.
According to the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, the first and oldest book of the Bible, (the basis of Christianity), Genesis, was written around 1445 B.C. (Slick, 1996) Paganism, is so old, no one can actually put any kind of date on it.
There is proof of Pagans everywhere. One can see depictions of various gods etched into cave walls, as well as, statues and monuments in great, old cities like Rome and Egypt.
If paganism were older than Christianity, logically, one would see evidence of this in Christianity. Pagans and Christians share many of the same methods for communicating with their respective Deities.
For example, it is widely known that Pagans would gather in groups to worship. They would dance, sing, light candles, burn incense, perform ancient rituals, and speak to the gods through chanting or playing instruments.
Many Christians can be found to do many of these same acts when worshipping their god. The main difference in these practices is the fact that most Pagans prefer to worship outside, as Paganism is a nature based religion, whereas Christians generally have a church to enter for worship.
Now that we understand the practices of Pagans and Christians, which are almost identical, let’s look at the beliefs and morals of the two religions.
There are very large differences in the beliefs of Pagans and Christians. The main differences are rooted in the belief of what happens after we die and the consequences of our actions in this life.
Most Pagans believe in the theories of reincarnation and karma. The reincarnation theory basically states that after our bodies die, our souls continue on to born again into a physical body again and again.
The karma theory is the belief that whatever actions of thoughts we have, be they negative or positive, have a direct effect on our current physical world. Put simply, if we project a positive energy, or strive to create a positive environment, then positive things will happen in our lives and in our souls. The same thinking would also apply to negative thoughts or actions.
Most Pagans also celebrate the changing of the seasons and hold nature to be instrumental in worship and communicating with the gods. Christians, in turn, believe in a concept of one lifetime wherein a person must believe in the “Son of God” and live by a strict moral code.
If a person does those things, they will be allowed into Heaven, the home of God, to live in everlasting happiness with Him. If a person, any person, not just a Christian, does not adhere strictly to the Christian belief system, that person will be denied eternal bliss and will spend all eternity in Hell with Satan, the creator of all things evil and sworn enemy of God.
Most Christians are also taught that all other religions are false and that Paganism is a form of Satanism, which is the worship of the enemy of God, Satan.
In researching Paganism, one will find that the morals and ethics of Pagans are actually much like that of Christians, and nothing like Satanists.
Pagans and Christians believe that humans in general should be treated with respect and love, to harm no one, and to treat others the same way you would want to be treated. Both religions hold certain days as holy and perform ceremonies and rituals on those days to celebrate their god/gods. Both believe in moderation and respect of nature.
Now that we understand the beliefs and history of Christianity and Paganism, let’s discuss how Paganism is deeply rooted in the American culture.
Let’s start at the beginning of America. The first inhabitants of America were the Native Americans. These people were absolutely a pagan people. The worshipped many gods, and the changing of the seasons and nature.
The next inhabitants of America were European colonists. They came to America to be free of religious persecution. In most cases this persecution was coming from Christians.
“…These early European-Americans eventually succumbed to the government of Great Britain. The religious-right propagandists like to put emphasis on this period of American history because, indeed, these first European-Americans did live under Christian rule and it makes it seem as if these first colonists established the government of the United States. They did not.” (Jim, 2005)
Although these early colonists would eventually bow to Christianity, Paganism would not stay hidden for long.
The government system that the colonists, now calling themselves Americans, set-up is what set America apart from the Monarchy system which most of the colonists came from, and which they desperately wanted to avoid. The Monarchy system is one of kings and queens where religion, now mostly Christian, also plays a large part in government due to the fact that most believers in Monarchy believe the king or queen to be direct descendants of the divinity.
“The most influential American colonists rebelled against Great Britain and their taxes, institutional churches, and desired to form an independent government free from religion and Monarchies.
On July 4, 1776, The Declaration of Independence (written by a deist) announced their independence to the world.” Thomas Jefferson, a scientist, clearly believed that nature was God. He once wrote, “”Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight.”
Even in the Declaration of Independence he wrote, “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
Thomas Paine also helped lead the way in separating church from state and questioning the Christian and Monarchist beliefs.
The Constitution itself barely mentions religion, quite on purpose. (Jim, 2005) With all this being true, how can it be truthfully said that America is a Christian based country?
Even the monuments in Washington D.C. replicate buildings or monuments to pagan gods. The Washington Monument being an Egyptian obelisk, as well as many of the buildings is designed after the Greek Parthenon and the Roman Pantheon, buildings specifically built for the worship of Pagan gods.
There are statues of Pagan gods littered across courthouses and monuments all over the United States. Even the graves of many of the founding fathers of America are decorated with Pagan symbols and bare no crucifixes, crosses, or any mention of Christianity. (Jim, 2005)
Even some of the holidays that Americans celebrate today are derived from Pagan holidays or seasonal celebrations. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Years, were all Pagan, seasonal, traditions long before the advent of Christianity; the holidays were just known by different names.
There are over one billion reported Christians living in the world today. Most Americans are professed Christians. One of the main duties of a good Christian is to spread the word. This is not so in Paganism.
Christians have persecuted the Pagans for decades. They have “gone into hiding” let’s say. So Christianity continues to spread throughout the world and throughout America. It continues to be the most prevalent religion in the world.
Paganism is, as we have learned, a very old religion. It also happens to be a quite private one now, due to the harsh treatment of Pagans during the advent of Christianity. There are many Pagans across the world, though, many more than will ever be known due to the fact that most the people that are yet undiscovered must be Pagan in their beliefs.
Pagans are also becoming more open with their beliefs in America. When Gerald Gardener came to America and publicly published his beliefs and started teaching Paganism again, the floodgates were opened.
The future looks very good for Pagans in America. In America, people are free to belief whatever they want. We can worship whom we choose and worship how we choose as long as we are not infringing on any one else’s rights. It is not this way in all countries. Even Pagans in Africa were forced to accept the colonial view of Christianity. (Levernier, 2002)
Because of this freedom Americans enjoy, Pagans in America continue to become a rising force in the American culture. There are even laws in place to protect the rights of pagans specifically. Even the U.S. Military chaplain’s manual gives instruction to the military chaplain as to how they would assist a soldier in worship. (A Handbook for Chaplains, pgs 231-236)
In the future, one can expect to see more and more Pagans expressing their opinions, and even moving into American government. There are hundreds, even thousands of Pagan churches across America, and even some Pagan schools. There are Pagan organizations for kids and adults, much like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.
In conclusion, you can see now, how America was founded more on Pagan beliefs than Christian ones. From the Native Americans, to the founding fathers, to the documents and monuments that are part of America’s creation and history, to the children being taught by Pagan parents today, America has always been a Pagan country, and always will be. This can be seen in history, and in the tombs of our forefathers, also in the up rising of Paganism in America today.
As more and more Pagans are revealing themselves and teaching others the Old Ways, there will be an a growing opportunity for Pagans to reclaim the American government and promote a real change in American thinking.
Working Reference List:
The United States: A Country founded on Paganism By Pagan Jim, March 2005
United States Army, US Army Chaplain’s Manual, Excerpt from the U.S. Army’s Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: A Handbook for Chaplains (pgs 231-236)
Wheatley’s ON BEING BROUGHT FROM AFRICA TO AMERICA,
By: Levernier, James A. Explicator, Fall81, Vol. 40 Issue 1, p25, 2p
The First Step to Anywhere!
Author: Nicky Woodsprite LeBlanc
Recently I achieved the heady experience of seeing my very first book manifest in printed form. Having been a writer for almost my entire life, though not yet a published one, I did not feel the great rush that some fellow authors told me I’d feel the first time I held my actual book in my hands and thumbed through its pages. I felt very matter-of-fact about it, actually…and why wouldn’t I? I’d been working on it day and night for six months! However, a few things that happened not long after I received my books and began selling them clued me in to the significance of what I’d just done.
One was that I heard a few people who had far bigger credentials than mine, speaking about how they hoped to one day have a book published but, for one reason or another, had not done so yet. This really struck me, because it was something I hadn’t thought about before. Sometimes, when we do something, we lose sight of how big it really is. This amounts to us under-valuing our achievement, in a way.
We need to stop thinking of our accomplishments in terms of “it’s about darn time I did this! ” and instead take a big step forward into the place of “I Did This and It Is a Really Big Thing!” Is this being proud of ourselves? Sure it is, and that’s all right, because in order to be self-confident in our ability to do things, we have to be a bit proud. Apart from that, though, it helps us to realize that there’s nothing wrong with the people who have not yet done what we just did. They haven’t done it yet, not because they’re somehow lower on the evolutionary scale than we are, but because IT IS A REALLY BIG THING. Just because we did it, we don’t need to go around acting like it’s an everyday occurrence. That discredits both us and others who’ve done it, as well as those who hope to do it but haven’t yet.
Another eye-opener happened for me the first time I went, with my book, to one of the rather big Pagan gatherings, Sacred Space 2014 in Laurel, Maryland. Of course I went there planning to take some awesome classes, participate in some amazing rituals, and meet some great new people. I also hoped to sell a few books! I was excited, thinking about MY book, in all its grandness, being on The Authors’ Table along with many others.
When I arrived, and strode boldly to The Authors’ Table with my small stack of books, though, I suddenly plummeted from a proud High to a small and humble Low. There were so many books already there, by so many authors! Some were by people I’d never heard of before, a few of whom might’ve been fledgling authors like me. But many were by very famous Pagans whom nearly all Pagans have heard of, some of whom were going to be teaching classes at the Conference! Since first helping to design the cover of my book, I’d been especially proud of how beautiful it was…but all of the books on The Authors’ Table were just as beautiful! And I found myself thinking, “Why would anyone choose my book from amongst all these?” From my own smaller world, in which I felt fairly significant, I’d stepped into a much bigger world and was feeling very insignificant indeed.
Happily, book sales happened and spirits lifted. And I learned that, no matter how big one’s accomplishment is, there will always come a time and place where one meets others whose accomplishments are bigger. There is no “best in show” for the majority of human accomplishments! The fact is, we are all traveling on a path, with some people a bit ahead of us, and others a bit behind us, and a few who walk along right beside us for a ways. Besides that, nearly all of us travel on several different paths at the same time! For example, I am traveling the Author path and also the Magickal path. I know people who travel just one or the other of these, and a lot who travel both! Some of them, I might be ahead of on one of the paths and behind on the other. Some, I might be ahead of or behind of on both! It really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I am ON paths and I am moving forward on each one, and so are you and you. Shared experience like this should never intimidate us; it can inspire us and give us insight and help us grow.
Sometimes we hesitate to take the first step…to writing a book or to any other goal…because we don’t feel that we are ready yet. The truth is, sometimes we’re really not ready, but oftentimes we need to get started on the work in order to finish the task of BECOMING ready! Our skills might need honing, and taking those first steps hones them! There certainly is importance in the preparatory work that we do, but acts of preparation can only get us to a certain point. The more advanced skill-enhancement comes in the actual doing. In short, there’s a limit to how ready you can become before you begin! It’s the process itself, and going through it, that gets you fully ready.
Do not ever wait to perform your dance, song, etc., or present your book, workshop, art, etc., until you or it is perfect, because if you are that picky, you’ll never think it’s perfect enough. Even when you do, for a moment, decide it is perfect, you’ll eventually encounter an example of it, manifested by someone else, that will seem better than yours. That is perfectly okay, too, because once you’ve taken that first step, and reached that goal for the first time, you’ll undoubtedly not stop there. You’ll reach it again and again, with each time being better than the first, even though none are that unattainable “perfect”!
It’s been said that beauty lies in imperfection, and that is true. As we gather our courage, shift our gears into “drive, ” and take our first steps toward the things we want to do in this life, there is so much beauty in our planning, dreaming, hoping, revising, conferring with others, improving, erasing, restarting, and finally celebrating and sharing! And while it could be said that as we manifest creative works again and again, we are striving toward perfection, I think it’s better to not say that. We’re not striving toward perfection at all; we are striving toward doing and completing, for only with completion can we have things to share with others, that can help and inspire them. And along with our doing and completing is our BECOMING. With each first step, and through each process, and with each completion, we become more and more the shining individuals we came into this life to be!
The Three Centers of Paganism
Author: John Halstead
I have found a useful tool for thinking about the Pagan community. Most attempts to describe contemporary Paganism use lists of beliefs or practices. Some of these lists attempt to be comprehensive, while others do not. One problem with these lists is that they inevitably focus on those elements that the person making the list wants to emphasize. Consequently, large portions of the Pagan community are excluded.
Another common way of understanding the Pagan community is as a metaphorical umbrella. The problem with this metaphor is that the image of an umbrella suggests a single center. And what the “center” represents is a matter of perspective, usually the perspective of the person drawing the umbrella.
Instead of a single circle with a single center, I would describe the Pagan community as three overlapping circles. Each circle has a different center, a different focus that transcends the individual. The three circles of the contemporary Pagan community are: earth, Self, and deity.
Earth-centered Paganism includes those Paganisms concerned primarily with religious ecology, “deep green religion”, animism, and what is sometimes euphemistically called “dirt worship”. For earth-centered Pagans, their relationship to the earth is what defines their Paganism, and connecting to the “more-than-human” natural world is what characterizes their spiritual practice. A sense of wonder or awe often characterizes the religious experience of earth-centered Pagans. Of course, there are those whose spirituality may be described in these terms, but who do not identify with the Pagan community, including some earth-centered Christians.
“Self-centric” is used here, not in pejorative sense of ego-centrism, and for that reason I have capitalized the word “Self”. “Self” here means that larger sense of “self” which transcends the ego and even the individual. It is sometimes called the “Big Self” or “Deep Self”. Self-centric Paganism includes many forms of Neo-Wicca, Jungian Neo-Paganism, feminist witchcraft, and more ceremonial or esoteric forms of Paganism. The goal of Self-centric Pagan practice is personal development, spiritually and/or psychologically, through connecting with the Deep Self. This may be described in terms of psychological wholeness or ecstatic union with a divine “Oneness”. Again, there are those whose spirituality may be described in these terms, but who do not identify with the Pagan community, including many New Age practitioners and ceremonial magicians.
“Deity-centered” is a term which I adopted from Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone’s book, Progressive Witchcraft. Deity-centered Paganism includes many forms of polytheistic worship, some reconstructionist or revivalist forms of Paganism, including those that are closer to Heathenry, and those that borrow techniques from African-diasporic religions. Deity-centered Pagans identify primarily in terms of their dedication to one or more deities. The goal of deity-centered Pagan practice is to develop a relationship with those deities. A sense of passionate devotion is what most characterizes the religious experience of deity-centered Pagans. As with the other two categories mentioned above, there are many people whose spirituality might be called “deity-centered”, but who do not identify as Pagan. They would include some contemporary polytheists who have rejected the Pagan label, many traditional or indigenous (small-p) “pagan” religions, bhakti Hindus, and many Judeo-Christian-Islamic monotheists as well, including but not limited to evangelical Christians and Catholic devotee’s of Mary.
Because contemporary Paganism is so diverse, the more inclusive ways of describing Paganism tend to group individual Pagans together with others with whom they share little commonality. This is one reason why there is so much conflict over the definition of “Pagan”. Individuals respond to this by either opting-out and rejecting the Pagan label, or by attempting to define the term in a way that excludes those they are uncomfortable with.
One advantage of the “three centers” approach is that it recognizes both the similarities and the differences among contemporary Pagans. On the one hand, individual Pagans can identify with one or two of the centers, without having to identify with all three centers. On the other hand, the three centers approach also recognizes the overlap between these groups. For example, some feminist Goddess worshippers might overlap with both earth-centered and Self-centric Paganisms. Likewise, some forms of animism might overlap with both earth-centered and deity-centered Paganisms.
“Three Centers” Correspondences
The three centers described above correspond to three chapters in Graham Harvey’s book, What Pagans Believe, which describes Pagan practices in these terms: “Celebrating Nature”, “Working Magic”, and “Honoring Deities”.
In addition, the three centers correspond roughly to three different Classical “paganisms” described by 19th century classicists and philologists: (1) the local cults of the country folk (which corresponds to earth-centric Paganism) (2) the mystery cults (which correspond to Self-centric Paganism) , and (3) the poets and the city state cults (which corresponds to deity-centric Paganism) . Often contemporary Pagans will focus on one of these groups of ancient Pagans when invoking antiquity in support of their claim to the term “Pagan”.
Finally, the three centers correspond to three different reactions to Christianity. Earth-centered Pagans reject the “other-worldly” focus of Christian eschatology and the dualistic separation of matter and spirit, as well as its anthropocentrism. Self-centric Pagans, challenge the Christian condemnation of the body, sex, and the feminine, and seek to reclaim these. And deity-centered Pagans, reject monotheism and all it implies.
Community: A Fourth Center?
In contrast to Paganism, Heathenry tends to be community-centered. In recent years there has been greater interaction between the Pagan and Heathen communities, which grew up alongside each other, but held different values. As the two communities begin to blend somewhat, a fourth center of Paganism may be discerned. Community-centered Pagans define their Pagan identity by belonging to the group, which calls itself “Pagan”. Pagan authenticity is defined in terms of conformity to communal norms and participation in group rituals. For community-centered Pagans, the community is that which transcends the individual. The relationship between community-centered Pagans and the community is ideally characterized by mutual fidelity. Like earth-centered Pagans, what community-centered Pagans get out of the relationship is a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2015 September 13
Explanation: It was a typical Texas sunset except that most of the Sun was missing. The location of the missing piece of the Sun was not a mystery — it was behind the Moon. Featured here is one of the more interesting images taken of a partial solar eclipse that occurred in 2012, capturing a temporarily crescent Sun setting in a reddened sky behind brush and a windmill. The image was taken about 20 miles west of Sundown, Texas, USA, just after the ring of fire effect was broken by the Moon moving away from the center of the Sun. Today a new partial solar eclipse of the Sun will be visible from Earth. Unfortunately for people who live in Texas, today’s eclipse can only be seen from southern Africa and Antarctica.
Virgo is the last sign of the summer when the warm days of vacation frolicking give way to harvest time. It is this work of gathering, cleaning and sorting that gives the meaning of this sign. Virgo’s predecessor Leo is about the fullness of the summer Sun and the development of personal pride, creativity and ego-awareness. Virgo, the mutable earth sign, is about the practical application of this great life force.
After Leo opens the heart, Virgo is there to refine and direct its impulses to the specific arts, crafts and tasks that are most appropriate. A desire to create and express has little value without Virgo’s direction of that impulse through specific channels of application. This sign is about bringing inspiration down to earth and giving it a concrete form.
The Virgin archetype
The notion of virginity was, originally, not about a sexless life, but an independent one for women. A virgin was a woman without a husband, not necessarily a person who did not have sexual relations. Virgo is very concerned with health and a well-functioning body. In fact, the efficiency of all systems is part of Virgo’s domain. As such, sexuality is seen as normal and healthy as long as it includes discretion, appropriateness of partner and physical safety. These are Virgo issues, reflecting the careful, often self-controlled attributes of this sign.
Everyone’s a critic
Virgo is popularly regarded as the sign of the perfectionist. The positive side of this is a highly developed sense of quality (and service). However, this can also express itself to amplify flaws and engender criticism. People with strong Virgo influence in their charts need to be careful about not accentuating what’s imperfect in themselves or others. There is a thin line between the critical comments that lead to improvements and those that tear down people and things.
Virgo’s analytical mind does well to remember that perfection is not a fixed state of being that one is or isn’t. Perfecting, the ongoing process of improvement, is a more useful concept for seeing how to continually improve ourselves and this world.
The arts are full of Virgos who apply technique to their creative impulses. Musical Virgos include Leonard Bernstein, Elvis Costello, Shania Twain and LeAnn Rimes (both born August 28), Michael Jackson, Harry Connick Jr. and Fiona Apple. Virgo actors are Sean Connery, Cameron Diaz, Richard Gere, Lily Tomlin, Salma Hayek, Keanu Reeves, (likely) non-virgin Charlie Sheen, Rosie Perez, Adam Sandler, Hugh Grant, Lauren Bacall, Anne Bancroft and Jada Pinkett.
Actor Tommy Lee Jones and director Oliver Stone were both born September 15, 1946. Director Brian De Palma is a Virgo, too, as are horror meister Stephen King, Regis Philbin, magician David Copperfield, writer Ken Kesey and legal expert Alan Dershowitz.
Randy Johnson, Reggie Miller, Cal Ripken and Kobe Bryant are high quality sports Virgos. Lastly, perfectly expressing Virgo’s desire to serve humanity is (likely) virgin Mother Teresa.