The Witches Digest for Friday, August 4
It is like looking into a mirror.
Our souls seem as one;
Split long ago,
But now reunited alas!
Our power combined Is untamable and raw.
Our balance of light and dark Is utterly perfect.
The world is ours to conquer,
And we are coming with a vengeance!
Beware to all to stand in our way!
For we are unstoppable,
For We Are Witches All!
–By The Light Of The Crystal Moon: A Book of Pagan Poetry and Short Stories
The Sun & Moon Data for Friday, August 4th
Sun Direction: ↑ 87.55° E
Sun Altitude: 25.91°
Sun Distance: 94.302 million mi
Next Equinox: Sep 22, 2017 3:01 pm (Autumnal)
Sunrise Today: 6:02 am↑ 68° East
Sunset Today: 7:58 pm↑ 292° Northwest
Length of Daylight: 13 hours, 56 minutes
Moon Direction: ↑ 293.87° WNW
Moon Altitude: -57.66°
Moon Distance: 250639 mi
Next Full Moon: Aug 7, 20171:10 pm
Next New Moon: Aug 21, 20171:30 pm
Next Moonrise: Today5:48 pm
Current Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous
Moon Phase Tonight: Waxing Gibbous
Full Moon: Aug 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm
First Quarter: Jul 30, 2017 at 10:23 am
Your Astronomy for Friday, August 4th
The Moon is in Capricorn.
The Moon is waxing and in its Waxing Gibbous phase.
The First Quarter Moon occurred on July 30th, and a Full Moon (Lunar Eclipse) will occur in Aquarius on August 7.
Mercury is in its pre-retrograde shadow (Mercury will retrograde from August 12-September 5).
Moon in Capricorn
The Moon is traveling through Capricorn today. Make a list of goals. Work overtime. Climb higher. Don’t sulk.
We become aware of the need for structure and planning ahead with a Capricorn Moon. We are instinctively aware of the limitations of time and motivated by a desire for success. Achievement and manifestation are more important to us now. We are resourceful and don’t want to waste time, energy, or resources. This can be a somewhat sober influence, but it can also be a productive time when we look reality in the eye.
The Moon in Capricorn generally favors the following activities: Long-term activities that yield slow but steady results, practical undertakings, career issues, making a business plan, practical investments.
The Sky This Week for August 3 to August 6
The Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower, Asteroid 89 Julia, and other cool things to look for in the sky this week.
By Richard Talcott
Friday, August 4
Look overhead around 11 p.m. local daylight time any day this week and your eyes will fall on the brilliant star Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp. At magnitude 0.0, Vega is the brightest member of the prominent Summer Triangle asterism. The Triangle’s second-brightest star, magnitude 0.8 Altair in Aquila the Eagle, lies some 35° southeast of Vega. The asterism’s dimmest member, magnitude 1.3 Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, stands about 25° east-northeast of Vega. Although the waxing gibbous Moon diminishes the luster of stars this week, the Summer Triangle remains conspicuous.
Saturday, August 5
Distant Neptune reaches opposition and peak visibility in just a month, but the view now is essentially the same. The ice giant planet rises around 9:30 p.m. local daylight time and climbs nearly halfway to the zenith in the southern sky by 3 a.m. The magnitude 7.8 planet lies in Aquarius, 2° east of 4th-magnitude Lambda (l) Aquarii. You’ll need binoculars to spy Neptune and a telescope to see its blue-gray disk, which spans 2.4″.
Sunday, August 6
Asteroid 89 Julia should be relatively easy to find through small telescopes south of the Great Square of Pegasus. Your signpost for finding this magnitude 9.6 space rock is a squashed box of four 5th-magnitude stars: 55, 57, 58, and 59 Pegasi. The box lies 6° south of magnitude 2.5 Markab (Alpha [a] Peg), the star that marks the Great Square’s southwestern corner. Tonight, Julia stands 1.5° south of 59 Peg. If you sketch the field and then return to the same area a night or two later, you should be able to detect the asteroid’s movement relative to the stellar background.
August 7/8, 2017 — Partial Lunar Eclipse
The partial lunar eclipse will be visible from most parts of South and East Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.
Where to See the Eclipse
Regions seeing, at least, some parts of the eclipse: Much of Europe, Much of Asia, Australia, Africa, East in South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Antarctica.
When the Eclipse Happens Worldwide — Timeline
Lunar eclipses look approximately the same all over the world and happen at the same time.
The times displayed are accurate to around 2-3 seconds.
Event UTC Time Time Visible
Penumbral Eclipse begins Aug 7 at 15:50:01 Aug 7 at 10:50:01 am No, below the horizon
Partial Eclipse begins Aug 7 at 17:22:56 Aug 7 at 12:22:56 pm No, below the horizon
Maximum Eclipse Aug 7 at 18:20:29 Aug 7 at 1:20:29 pm No, below the horizon
Partial Eclipse ends Aug 7 at 19:18:09 Aug 7 at 2:18:09 pm No, below the horizon
Penumbral Eclipse ends Aug 7 at 20:50:56 Aug 7 at 3:50:56 pm No, below the horizon
The magnitude of the eclipse is 0.246.
The penumbral magnitude of the eclipse is 1.289
The total duration of the eclipse is 5 hours, 1 minute.
The duration of the partial eclipse is 1 hour, 55 minutes.
Eclipses Come in Pairs
A lunar eclipse always occurs about 2 weeks before or after a solar eclipse. On some occasions, a lunar eclipse can be both preceded and followed by a solar eclipse!
Today is Friday, August 4th
Friday is the day of Venus. It takes it name from Frigg, the Goddess of love and transformation. She rules the spiritual side of a person that manifests in the physical. Because of this, Friday is often thought of as dangerously unpredictable. This is expressed in an old East Anglian adage:
Friday’s day will have its trick
The fairest or foulest day of the week.
Zodiac Sign: Taurus/Libra
Celtic Tree Month of Tinne (Holly) – July 8 – August 4
Runic Half-Month of Thorn (defense) – July 29 – August 12
Goddess of the Month of Kerea – July 11 – August 8
The Pagan Book of Days
On Friday, August 4th, We Honor the Goddess Psyche
IN CLASSICAL GREECE AND Rome, the goddess Psyche began her life as a mortal woman whose unworldly beauty won her divinity—as well as the love of a god more powerful than any. Psyche symbolizes the woman’s soul as love transforms her from innocence to wisdom; the Greek word for both “butterfly” and “soul” is psyche. Psyche is often depicted with the translucent wings of a butterfly, suggesting her transformation from mortal girl to goddess. After the ultimate transformation of death, many traditions hold that the spirit leaves the body in the form of a butterfly or moth.
The goddess Psyche is best known for her association with Cupid, the handsome son of Venus; Cupid’s name is derived from cupido, the Latin word for “desire.” Psyche’s transformation from mortal girl to woman goddess began when Cupid fell in love with her against his will.
Since Psyche’s birth, men and women had hailed her as a new goddess because of her beauty. These attentions also brought her the angry notice of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. When mortals neglected her temples to honor Psyche instead, Venus took revenge. She asked Cupid to visit Psyche while she slept and pierce her with one of his magic arrows. After waking, the girl would burn with a foolish lust for the first thing she might see.
Though Cupid had heard the praises of Psyche’s beauty, his hands shook upon seeing the beauty asleep. An arrow poised in his bow slipped, grazing his thigh. From that moment, Cupid loved Psyche and wanted her above all others. Unable to act on his desire because of his mother’s jealousy, Cupid visited the girl each night as she slept.
Weeks passed and Psyche remained unaware of the god of love’s attentions. Then Psyche’s parents decided it was time that she marry. Months passed and no suitor asked Psyche for her hand. In desperation, desperation, her parents consulted the oracle of Apollo. Animals were sacrificed, their bones thrown and read by the priests. All the signs led to one message: No mortal man would be Psyche’s husband. Instead, the gods decreed that she should be abandoned upon a cliff where a monster would claim her as his bride. Everyone wept at the news, for surely this meant Psyche’s death.
But something unexpected occurred once Psyche was left alone to await her husband. Soft winds cradled the girl, carrying her to a faraway island where a palace stood. In its darkest chamber, Psyche was met by an unseen man who embraced her as his wife. When she awoke in the morning, he was gone.
Apart from the world, Psyche’s husband continued to visit her each night in the darkness. She was content, for he was kind and loving. But in time, Psyche carried a child within her; her satisfaction turned to doubt as she remembered the oracle’s frightening prediction. What if she gave birth to a monster who would slay her upon his emergence from her womb? She decided she had to know who she had married—even if this knowledge destroyed her happiness.
One night Psyche’s curiosity got the better of her. She waited until her husband fell asleep, lit a lamp, and stole a look at him. No beast greeted her eyes—only the radiant Cupid. Psyche’s hands shook, spilling hot oil onto him. Injured, the love god awoke and disappeared in a rage, ignoring the girl’s profuse apologies.
While Cupid’s anger quickly cooled, Venus’s did not. The goddess made Psyche perform a series of daunting tasks to prove herself worthy of her son. With a little divine help, the girl completed them all and was reunited with her husband—and transformed into a goddess. In time, their child, a daughter named Pleasure, was born in the brilliant presence of the gods and goddesses of Olympus.
The Book of Goddesses: Expanded Anniversary Edition
Colors: Pink, Aqua, Seafoam
Crystals: Coral, Emerald, Rose Quartz
The Witches Guide to Friday
Ruler: Freya, Venus
Colors: Emerald green or pink
Power Hours: Sunrise and the 8th, 16th, and 24th hours following.
Key Words: Love, money, health
It is easy to spot the ruler of this day by its name. In the word Friday, we see the roots of the name of the Norse goddess Freya, a goddess of love and fertility, and the most beautiful and propitious of the goddesses thus the verse “Friday’s child is loving and giving.”
In Spanish this day of the week is called Viernes and is derived from the goddess Venus. Matters of love, human interaction, the fluidity of communication, sewing and the creation of artistic garments, household improvement, shopping, and party planning all fall under the aspects of Friday and its ruling planet, Venus.
Friday’s angels are Ariel/Uriel, Rachiel, and Sachiel. Rachiel also concerns himself with human sexuality and is a presiding spirit of the planet Venus.
On Fridays, the hour of sunrise and every eight hours after that are also ruled by Venus, and that makes these times of the day doubly blessed. These four hours are the strongest four hours for conducting ritual.
Check the local newspaper, astrological calendar, or almanac to determine your local sunrise.
Trees/Herbs Associated WIth Friday & It’s Energy of Love
The Apple Tree
The apple tree (Malus spp.) is a tree of ancient magickal lore and power. The apple is a sacred symbol of the goddesses Venus and Aphrodite and to many magickal cultures, including the Celts, the Norse, and the Druids. The apple is used in magick for love, healing, and inspiration; it is also linked to the Norse goddess Freya. Apple blossoms may be added to spells designed to encourage romance, or they may be scattered around your altar or circle to celebrate Friday and wisdom, love, and fertility.
Having trouble choosing between two lovers? An old apple charm tells you to take two apple seeds from an apple that you have eaten. Then name the seeds, one for each lover, and stick one seed to each facial cheek. Here is a modern version of the apple seed charm:
Apple seed, apple seed, I place you here on my cheek
Show me the love that is true and will be faithful and sweet.
Whichever seed stays on your face longer denotes your true love and a faithful partner.
Book of Witchery: Spells, Charms & Correspondences for Every Day of the Week
Candle Colors for the Day of Love
Candle colors for this romantic day once again will be shades of pink and aqua green. If you’d like to experiment with a little magickal candle aromatherapy, then look to floral- and rose-scented candles. These scents will encourage love and romance and will promote a relaxed atmosphere. Also, see if you can find any pale green, apple-scented scented candles. The scent of apples is a good one to promote love and healing. It also dispels bad vibes and negativity. The apple has ties to our featured goddesses for the day. If you are petitioning one of these ladies, this should help to gain their attention and their help.
Book of Witchery: Spells, Charms & Correspondences for Every Day of the Week
Crystals/Gemstones Associated with Friday, the Day of Love
Often referred to as “precious coral,” this “gemstone” is actually a marine coral, the skeleton of deepwater branching corals called the cnidarians. Being an ocean organism, it’s not too hard to figure out why it became associated with the goddesses Aphrodite and Venus. Precious coral comes in a range of colors, from a warm reddish pink to pale pink and deeper reddish tones. Coral has been worked into beads, jewelry, and deity statues for thousands of years. The ancient Romans believed that coral beads protected children from harm and could heal wounds. According ing to gem folklore, coral earrings were once worn to attract men; I don’t see why that bit of information couldn’t be used successfully today by any Witches who are looking to bring some romance into their lives. This is a gorgeous stone and one worth owning and working magick with. This gem’s classic magickal correspondences are the planet Venus and the element of Water.
Book of Witchery: Spells, Charms & Correspondences for Every Day of the Week
Magickal Philter for Fridays
This philter recipe and spell is more about the emotionality of love and less about the sexual act. Besides adding this to your basic romance spells and rituals, some other suggestions on how to use this love-imbued imbued philter include adding it to candles to increase a positive, loving, and romantic vibe in the home. You may add a drop or two to any sachets or charm bags to bump up their positive, loving energies. Think about it … where else could your life use a little love, happiness, and charm?
You Will Need:
1 small decorative glass bottle (look for a heart shape or go for red or pink glass if you can find it)
Base oil (almond works well), approximately 1/8 cup
3 drops rose oil
3 drops rose geranium oil
1 drop vanilla extract or a vanilla bean
Small rose quartz chip
6 inches each of thin red, pink, and aqua satin ribbon
1 small metal heart-shaped charm or talisman that you feel coordinates with love
A label and a pen (to list the ingredients and to decorate and mark the bottle)
Pour the base oil into the bottle so it is filled three quarters of the way full. Add the essential oils one at a time. Next, add the crystal and the vanilla. Close up the bottle with the lid, place your fingers over the lid, and carefully shake up the mixture. Hold up the mixture to the sunlight and allow the light of Friday’s sun to illuminate the philter within.
Wipe off the outside of the bottle. Use the label to list the ingredients and the use of this potion. Decorate the bottle by drawing the sigil of Venus or hearts. If you have other magickal symbols that you would like to use for love and romance, then add those to the label. Attach the label to the glass bottle and finish up by threading the metal charm onto the ribbon and then tying the three colored ribbons (the red ribbon bon for Freya, the pink for Frigga, and the aqua ribbon for Aphrodite) around the neck of the bottle.
As you finish tying on the bow, hold the bottle in your hands and concentrate on the visualization that the aura around your heart is glowing with a brilliant rose pink color (similar to the previous Aphrodite crystal ritual directions). Call on these three goddesses silently and ask for their assistance. See love and romance arriving in your life in the best possible way. Do not focus on any one person in particular; let the universe verse and the goddesses send who they see fit. Now push all that energy from your visualization into the philter bottle that you hold in your hands. Take a deep breath, hold it for three counts, and then blow it out slowly. Now, repeat the charm below:
Dear Aphrodite, Freya, and Frigga, now gather ’round
Bless this potion with Venus’s energies that today abound
Because the best day to work love magick is Friday
Encourage love and romance in the best possible way
May this philter enhance my loving witchery
For the good of all and by the power of three.
Set aside the bottle, and ground and center yourself. Clean up the supplies and eat a few crackers or do something physical. Make sure to store the love and romance philter in a dark, dry place out of the reach of young children.
Book of Witchery – Spells, Charms & Correspondences For Every Day of the Week
The Witches Guide for Friday, August 4th
Constitution Day (Cook Islands)
Moon phase: Second Quarter
Moon Sign: Capricorn
Magickal Intentions: Love, Romance, Marriage, Sexual Matters, Physical Beauty, Friendship and Partnerships, Strangers and Heart
Incense: Strawberry, Sandalwood, Rose, Saffron and Vanilla
Sign: Libra and Taurus
Colors: Green, Pink, Aqua
Herbs/Plants: Pink Rose, Ivy, Birch, Heather, Clematis, Sage, Violet and Water Lilly Stones: Rose Quartz, Moonstone, Pink Tourmaline, Peridot, Emerald and Jade
Oil: (Venus) Cardamom, Palmrosa, Rose, Yarrow
Friday belongs to Venus, and its energies are warm, sensuous, and fulfilling. Efforts that involve any type of pleasure, comfort, and luxury, as well as the arts, music, or aroma (incense and perfume) works well on this day. As Venus lends its sensuous influences to the energies of this day, use it for any magical work that deals with matters of the heart.
Friday Is Ruled By Venus
Friday belongs to Venus, both the planet and its namesake Roman goddess of love. This day is sacred to many other gods and goddesses of love such as Eros, Venus, Aphrodite, and the Norse goddess that gave the day its name, Freya. This day of the week is for magical topics such as love, birth, fertility, and romance. Colors for today include pink and aqua. Some suggestions for Friday enchantments would include:
Carrying a rose quartz with you today to send out some gentle and loving vibes to those crabby co-workers
Working a loving Tarot spell to charm a friend’s pregnancy with good health and safety
Working a little flower magic to enchant a single pink rose for friendship and inner beauty, and setting it on your desk. Or try empowering a red rose for passion and placing it in your bedroom.
Burning rose-scented candles to encourage the same effect. Call on Eros to “bring a passion for life” to your days.
Sharing a romantic snack with your partner. Feed each other ripe, red strawberries. Those strawberries are love-inducing food, and are sacred to many love goddesses, including today’s patroness, Freya.
Aspects of Venus
The qualities of the planet Venus are aligned with these people’s egos, so that they project the traits of Venus powerfully. Social relationships are extremely important to those with Sun conjunct Venus in the natal chart. They are generally charming people who possess an easy-going manner. It is generally quite important to these people to be personally popular, to come across in a pleasant way, and to be liked and appreciated. Sometimes, vanity is part of the package. Venus is a peace-making, harmony-loving planet, and those with Sun conjunct Venus do their best to seek peace and harmony. If you want things to go smoothly, call upon a Sun conjunct Venus person to restore balance. They are diplomatic and veritable experts at smoothing over (and sometimes glossing over) problems. They are openhanded with others, tolerant and accepting. When expressed negatively, they can be superficial and two-faced, and they can be very much tied up with appearancestheir own, and sometimes others’. They might be too agreeable, too pleasant (at the expense of honesty), and downright lazy at times. These people have a fine eye for style and enjoy pleasing surroundings. They generally dress well and enjoy a certain amount of luxury.
Your Perfect Spell for the Day of Love, Friday
Eros’s “Passion for Life” Spell
Gather a white feather (symbol for Eros and his mighty wings), a rosy pink candle, and a coordinating candle holder.
Carve a simple figure of a bow and arrow on the side of the candle. Place the feather off to the side, away from the heat of the candle flame. Picture the winged god Eros in your mind, and meditate on this image for a moment. Now, ask Eros in your own words to inspire you with passion and enthusiasm. Then repeat the following spell three times:
Eros, winged Greek god of passion and delight
Aid me in my quest for inspiration tonight
Passion is more than sexual, it conveys ambition too
Help me face my challenges and succeed in all that I do.
Allow the candle to burn out in a safe place. Close the spell by saying:
For the good of all, with harm to none
By flame and feather, this spell is done.
Book of Witchery – Spells, Charms & Correspondences For Every Day of the Week
13 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer After Your Year & A Day Learning Period
Below you will find 13 questions that you should be able to answer at the end of your initial study period. Also are included are answers, not necessarily the right answer, but answers to make you think. The answers are also provided because you have learned so much and perhaps some of the things you might have forgotten. Either way, the answers are just examples and to be used a thought provoking.
1. define and describe a pagan.
“For the pagan and primitive peoples whom Jews and Christians alike have always reviled as idolaters, the moving air, the fire on the hearth, the rhythm of the seasons, the bird on the wing, the markings and movements of the beasts, the streaming waters, the circling stars … all these, and the works of man’s own hand, are alive with an intelligible presence. They are symbolic doorways that invite the imagination through to high experience.”
“It is necessary to treat the animals well, and to regard all things as if they were living beings who hear and understand.”
MITTALUS SAMID BIRRA
In historic times a pagan would have been any number of peoples worshiping nature gods. This worship seems to have been based in prehistoric forms of religion including shamanism with a pedigree of it’s oldest forms echoing back more than 30,000 years. Because these religions were based mostly in tribal cultures emphasizing tradition rather than sophistication, the sources tend to be entirely oral. Verbatim memorization, while it’s possessors survive, tends to be a more exact method of transmitting data than holy texts which can (and have been) altered or completely changed.
With the complete suppression of the tradition, however, knowledge of paganism has faded to a faint glimmering of references and supposition. In modern times a pagan would tend to be someone feeling the lack of purity, lack of originality, lack of rootedness, lack of foundation in over-theologized religions whose original message has been overgrown and altered to suit priestly interests, whose leaders’ preachment is motivated often by self-interest and whose ‘qualifications are primarily glandular and (sick) psychological rather than illumination.
The pagans I have met are, in general, more sensitive than normal and ‘feel’ the world directly, in contrast to this miasmatic culture which submerges us in ‘safe’ anonymity, relegating us a guaranteed role as a consumer unit. The religions that fail to give us more dignity than that, that fail to foment rebellion against such an insult naturally lose those more sensitive people. They fail to grant us a path of rejoining to ourself. A pagan seeks this and it is the very lack of structure which allows the freedom of thought and feeling and practice that attracts so many people that have been ‘lost’ by other religions.
In our ‘culture’ traditions regarding the manner of living are relegated to the ‘ignorant’ past and lost. Responding to this need the neo-pagan will try to re-create a life-enhancing religion open to individual experience based on whatever gleanings of the ancient forms are left. Given enough intelligent application and sufficient political freedom, a reasonable facsimile, true in spirit and similar in some forms will evolve. Truly, much of what was lost was priceless and will never be recovered, but also a great much of what was lost had decayed beyond recovering so that the last people to suffer under these benighted superstitions that had once been vital religions, probably were better off without. We have the opportunity to rebuild, to renew with vitality, to recover what was good that is still known.
People being what they are, divergence seems to be the rule, yet we live in a ‘global village’ and cross-reference and cross-fertilization is inevitable. It is the talent of wicca to seek that which works and as we relearn what can create a life that is true to the heart we will share. Given the degree of computer interconnection in our society, it would not be surprising that techniques rediscovered in one place would be known world wide within a season, just by word of computer. It is a time for hard work for what we do now will be what those who come after will have to build on. The freedom of choice and association and abundance of sources almost guarantees that bull in the name of the gods will quickly get trashed. It is a time for honesty and genius
A pagan is a being in a state of becoming.
2. Define and describe a witch.
I would say that a witch is someone belonging to a coven and worshiping nature gods. A witch may have special knowledge and powers regarding herbal lore, magic, divination, magical flight, separation of the body and soul, love philters, amulets, exorcism, trance-medium-ship, hypnosis, communion with god/dess’, communication with spirits, drawing down the Moon, invocation of good and exorcism of evil influences, and more, perhaps. The means of producing these results may be in the traditional circle, guided by a priest and priestess, by chanting, drum-beating, dancing, ritual invocation and supplication
These powers have been supposed to be special wild or inherited talents to do evil by intention alone (1) but I feel they are, when possessed, no more or less than the natural power of life, consciously directed. This power is automatically controlled daily without our conscious direction or realization.
As our digestion or circulation function without express thought, the life power is utilized at an even more basic level to create our life and world. Expressed unconsciously for whim or feat, self-destruction or in creativity, it is not without us but a part of us, a part of every living cell. Thus, not only is it a very legal power to us, but to miss to direct it consciously would be like missing the oars in a rowboat, the doors of a house. Some people brag that they never read the directions supplied in the package. To avoid discovering the ‘directions’ supplied with life would seem to be to miss most of the glory of being alive.
(1) Witches were and are supposed to be entirely evil and opposed in every action to the expression of life. (Surely such a creature would self-destruct!) This is an expression of the ‘alien’ theory which has been used by many (ignorant) cultures to explain the presence of evil and imperfection in a world that is ‘supposed’ to be perfect. It is a terrifying theory but apparently people would rather be scared silly than say, “I made a mistake” or “What seems evil to us is just the natural working of life.” The appellation of ‘witch’ has been given to Huns, Jews, heretics, and recently to men by some feminists.
3. Are you one of the above or both?
4. If so, say what and why.
I am myself. I am what I do. I have avoided labels for myself and would not start sticking them onto myself based on the attendance of a few functions. Precisely, I have not been accepted as an initiate, an essential step in a tradition oriented to group membership. I am not a pagan in the sense that, outside of weekly circles, I do not worshipany god or goddess.
5. What do you see as positive in paganism?
I have always felt good in the circle. I have said it previously that I am happy to be here. But in thinking how to answer this question I have found some answers that have much reinforced these feelings. What is here in paganism is unique and precious.
Here there is the encouragement of individuality and also a strong, positive and unique group identity; this is very rare, especially in our society.
Here there is spiritual expression within a true construction of religion and including respect for the need for personal freedom of expression; this is very rare in any society.
Here there is tradition in a society that has eschewed tradition in favor of the new, especially new products; yet what is the meaning of products which have no context?
Here there is honor to each sex in a society that is very divisive and competitive and generally derisive of everyone especially women. Here there is a celebration of life in a society that seems to have forgotten where it came from and remains; which if it recognizes nature as valuable converts it into a prepackaged commodity. Indeed, the value of nature is a matter of constant debate, a debate that is inevitably won by those who see value only in dollar signs.
Here there is a group of intelligent people large enough to be interesting yet small enough that each is important, whether one attends, who one is and especially if one participates in helping, each is important. All these things are RARE in our society; their convergence here is unique and precious.
6. What do you see as negative in paganism.
I don’t know. I haven’t had any problems so far. The need for secrecy is inconvenient in some respects particularly at work and with some friends who, I am certain, will never be able to grasp the notion correctly. But then secrets can be kind of fun, too. I have found the essential facts of paganism not directly accessible but I am beginning to understand that it is a fairly large subject. (Added 15 June ’89) A certain lack of focus. It is understandable since there is no central authority to impose goals. Yet is should be possible to agree on basic needs and goals and though there would be no overseer,
a kind of competition based on comparison of results (apparent infests, perhaps). To achieve this, however, we need to understand what is needed and why. Still there does seem to be a good deal of work being done in different places. The quality and amount of information is expanding every year.
7. What is your concept of death?
An incomprehensible, insensible condition concluding our actions here on earth. A period of summation and consolidation; having shed to the earth the accumulation of errors and age in the body, one is reborn, washed clean in the blood of the new life. I particularly like the idea that it might be something like Scrooge’s Christmas Eve; seeing and understanding the events of one’s life, then the regrets of unexpressed love would be the motive impelling the soul to rebirth.
But then I don’t really know. It might be nothing.
8. What do the following words bring to your mind: god, goddess, priest, priestess.
God, Goddess, ineffable, incomprehensible being beyond our concept of good or evil. The notion of sex in gods is our convention to aid philosophical discussion and to assist in forming an emotional relationship. (added 15 June ’89) “Maybe something more, rooted in our nature.”, Daniel’s comment.
Priest, priestess: persons who have made a commitment to further their religion by their personal effort. Being ordained or initiated and all that. The sexual distinction is trivial, relatively speaking, of course. The essential act is that of spiritual guidance and this is more a matter of training and talent.
9. What are the privileges and obligations of a teacher?
To share knowledge, to have one’s expressions listened to, to enjoy the responses of one’s students. To be responsible in what and how things are taught. To admit freely areas of one’s doubt or little knowledge to be clear in expression and patient in explanation. To respect and respond to the students efforts as the teacher’s purpose.
10. What are the privileges and responsibilities of a student?
To share knowledge, to enjoy the attendance of a teacher to one’s education. To work actively toward the development of one’s education, to respect the teacher and cooperate and trust, within reason. The teacher’s responsibilities are greater.
11. What do you seek from Wicca?
A personal path and some help along the way. Friends that don’t say things like “You don’t believe THAT, do you?”
12. Are you more attracted to the religious or practical side of Wicca?
I can’t say. My conception of any sincerely religious person is that he tries to express his convictions into his life. To me, it seems that the most potent form of prayer is in work. Or like Gurdjieff said, “Work as if everything depends on work. Pray as if everything depends on prayer.” It seems to me the lack of practical work leaves a religion without a skeleton, the rest of the tissue has nothing to hang on. I would say that the practical side, including much of the wisdom teachings, should not be separated from the religious except as a convention to facilitate teaching.
13. Are there any areas of this framework that you particularly wish to study. What and why.
I’m not sure. Right now I’m just taking it all in in any order whatever. I would like to understand the philosophical framework better. Moon lore has happily occupied me this last year and promises to be a long-continuing interest. The laws and the social framework of wicca are also very intriguing. My idea now about ritual work is that it is possibly best as a form of self-therapy, at least in the beginning, since all of us come to this very peculiarities can be pinned down and dealt with.
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Continue on to Part 2