A Blessed Sunday Morning, my dear Brothers & Sisters!

Good Morning all my precious family! I hope this Sunday morning fines you all doing well. I have had something that has been eating at me all week. I have had several mainstream religion individuals, including pastors and priests, write me in regards to our Religion. None of the letters were bad. In fact, they were very surprising. The pastors and priests expressed interested and curiosity about our Religion. They said it had always fascinated them but they did not want to come out and reveal this to their congregations. I can’t say that I blame them, it would be like me telling you I was a Baptist (you better no that is not true !). They all said they never expected for me to write them back. Truthfully, I have saved their letters in our email account. One day, when the Goddess gifts me with Her words, I will write back.

The mainstream individuals write for another reason. They want to join our Religion but they are scared. Scared that there is no Goddess, no Summerlands, no Reincarnation, NOTHING! They are scared if they turn to our Religion and forsake their own they will go to hell. The very first letter, I ever got like this stumped me. I had never been around anyone who came right out and said they were scared to convert to our Religion. I was dumbfounded to say the least. After careful thought and asking the Goddess to help me, my answer to them were…..

“My dear friend,

I don’t know if I can easy your fears or not, but I will try. I wonder why, if you are scared of our Religion, would you ever consider turning to the Goddess. I came to the realization something is missing in your life. The mainstream religions are not filling that emptiness you feel. The longer you go the bigger the emptiness feels and then it turns into a feeling of being lost. Something is missing and you want to know what.

First off, let start with your fear of going to hell. In The Craft, we have no  concept of hell nor the devil. I would venture to say you have been in your religion all your life. From the time you were a little baby till now. You were never given the choice of your own religious practices, you assumed the practices of your parents. You went to Sunday school and church every time the door was open. You might not have even known there was other Religions till you got grown. But you are grown now and seeking, seeking what you don’t know. But that emptiness has to be filled.

There are thousands of Religions in the world. I cannot say which one is right or which one is wrong. As many as there are I can’t believe they are all wrong. It would be a very cruel God that only chose one Religion and left the rest to rot. I cannot guarantee you The Craft is the right Religion. I am only the messenger. I can, however, testify to what I have seen the Goddess do and the ability She has given me. The Goddess, to me is a Divine Being of Endless Love & Mercy. She is my mother. In my Religion, I have three mothers, my maternal mother who has passed on, my Deity and my Holy Divine Mother. What other Religion can say that? We have Laws and Ethics we live by. Most people don’t realize that but we do. My personal opinion on this or that being the right or wrong religion, I still can say. I am betting on Witchcraft to be the Right One. Just as any Baptist is betting on theirs being the right one. The Pentecostal are betting on theirs also. If you will stop and look at all these religions, the Gods/Goddesses they speak of, are merciful, loving, kind, understanding and most of all it is repeated over and over, we are their children. With all those Religions, I can believe only one is right. I believe in their own aspects all of them are right. My personal belief is if you find a Religion that calls to you. Then go to it. Don’t be afraid, never be afraid of the Gods, they love you no matter what. That Religion you take up will have guidelines how to live, follow them. Lead a moral, up-standing, ethic life and believe no merciful God or Goddess would ever turn you way.

I am not going to lie to you, I would love for you to come and experience the Goddess and Her Religion. I believe if you do you will find similarities between our Religion and the Christian religion. You see our Religion is the oldest Religion on Earth. The early Christians liked some of our practices so well they adopted them for their own use. And we are suppose to be the evil ones!

What you have been led to believe about Witchcraft is untrue. Put your fears aside and found out for yourself what is drawing you to our Religion. I already know what it is, it is our Goddess. I know the Path I have took has been full of many joys and much happiness. I hope you will come to know these things also.

You will never be alone, dear friend. The Goddess is around you everywhere.

Blessings, Peace & Comfort,

Lady Of The Abyss

(Sample letter)

A Glorious Sunday Morn To All My Loves, Family & Friends Too, lol!

Witchy Comments & Graphics
My morning started out very nicely. I don’t know how I got in this mood just to bite someone’s head off. We are having a local telethon for disabled children. I started watching about 4:30 this morning. Then about 7:00 it turned to Gospel music. They never start the Gospel hour at 7:00 it is generally around 10:00. So I kept listening and hoping and listening and hoping, finally I said the hell with it and turned the TV down. In the meantime, my bobcat jumps my Pomeranian and you would have thought she killed her. Razzy (bobcat) has been wanting to play all morning. I have played with her some. So she get on the bed and lays in wait for Kiki to hop on the bed. When Kiki did Razzy jumped at her. She didn’t hurt Kiki just scared the crap out of her.

Now I have all the homefront issues handled, I get on the site and I have someone trying to tell me what I put on the front page. That struck a nerve. Started by staying Witch craft is not a religion but it can be compared to knitting or crocheting. But it was turned around somehow and stated that yes, Witch craft could be a Religion now days. Then ended by saying, Witch craft is the oldest religion in some part of the world. “Baby, first off before you ever dare tell me what I wrote, you best read it. Don’t ever attempt that again. I am the author of the front page. I know what I wrote. Next, Witch craft is not two words, it is one like this “Witchcraft,” see.  The part that really pissed me off was comparing my Religion, YES, MY RELIGION! Don’t like Witchcraft classified as a RELIGION GO SOME PLACE ELSE, Got it! But comparing it to knitting or crocheting, that tells me you are no WITCH.  Instead you are an IDOIT! You want to make comments like these, you best find you another site to do it at. NOT THIS ONE! Because yes when I run into comments that make me angry, I do call them out.

I know exactly what you are. But now it is wonderful, because remember the time I was threw out of an Award’s Site. Come to find out the owner was a Baptist. She threw me out but left it were I could read each and everyone of your nasty comments about me and my Religion. Baby, pay back is a bitch! You see, I am not going to let you comment or anything. I am treating you the same way ya’ll treated me. Sit and take it! I am not near as nasty as everyone of you were to me. But I will tell you one thing if you ever come back to this site, I will publish your name and let every witch here do what she wants with you. Got it. Never, ever darken these halls again!

Now that I am through with my dear old friend there, I was thinking this morning. This was when I was starting to flip the channels, then I thought what good would it do? All I see on Sunday mornings is Baptist, Christian, Catholic and every other mainstream Religion out there on TV. I got to thinking wouldn’t it be lovely to have a Craft Hour on TV. I know, I know! I wouldn’t even know how to go about doing it. But it would be so beautiful to see somebody on there spreading the word of our Goddess. Wouldn’t it? I use to be able to turn the TV down low when I was posting on Sundays but I can’t do that anymore. I know you are thinking, “well, change the channel!” I am going too in a minute or so. But I guess the Goddess has touched my heart and soul, I don’t want to hear any other Religions. The only one I want to hear is the words of our Religion. I want others to come to know the Goddess. Have our Divine Lady fill their souls and hearts with joy and love. There are still thousands of individuals that have not heard our message yet or more important met our Divine Mother. The internet has been an excellent resource but we are going to have to come up with more creative ways for our message to get out. I know television is a pipe dream right now but one day, perhaps with the Goddess it can come true.

I hope everyone has a very relaxed and blessed Sunday.

Luv & Hugs,

Lady A

P.S.

I know there are several here to start trouble from another Religion this day. They are probably wondering how can she talk all so holier than thou right after she gave someone hell. I can do it because I am a Witch. We have all learned from our past history what individuals like you would do to us if given the chance. I can guarantee you one thing, you or anyone else like you will never get that chance again. It was a hard lesson learned but we learned it well. We will not go quietly anymore nor will we remain quiet. Our Goddess does not expect us to die for Her unlike some of your Religions suggests. Our Divine Mother stands beside us at all times. Loving us, caring for us and comforting us at all times. I have made a commitment to Her. That commitment to my Mother is that I get Her message out to many people as I can. Nothing or no one will deter me from that mission. May the Goddess bless you and help you to see the error in your ways!

A Witch’s Calling

A Witch’s Calling

Author:   Moon magik  

From the moment we are born into this learning experience called life, most of us have our spiritual paths chosen for us. If your parents are Catholic, you’re going to be Catholic. If your parents are Baptist, you’re definitely going to be Baptist. Children have no choice to their own beliefs, because their parents require them to follow family tradition. We then grow up doing the same thing to our own children. There are very few people that grow up and just decide after 20 or 30 years that they do not believe what they were raised to believe. There are also some that grow up with absolutely no spirituality in their lives at all.

My mother and father were divorced just 8 months after I was born. My father raised me, because my mother was young and irresponsible and he wanted me to grow up in a good environment. During the first seven years of my life, we lived with my grandparents. My grandparents were Lutheran, so naturally my father was Lutheran as well. There was a Lutheran church conveniently located just a few houses down from our home.

I knew from a very young age that I did not belong in a Lutheran Church. Most Witches’ have a calling to the old ways and earth traditions at some point in their lives. I hated bible study and had no interest in learning about Christ. I didn’t know anything about Witchcraft, or have a clue that I would one day find myself casting spells in a circle on my bedroom floor. I just simply didn’t care for church. It wasn’t until I was about 11 years old when I started having dreams that I was magical.

It began sporadically and then eventually became an every night dream. In my dream I was standing in the middle of the woods during the peak of fall season. I was spinning in circles and dancing around trees. Every time I had the dream, I notice I had a wooden stick in my hand. I now realize the wooden stick was my wand. I went to the library one morning to check out a book on Diana Ross, because I had a book report for school due on the following Monday.

When I sat down at the table in the library there was one small paperback book left behind by what I’m assuming was a lazy citizen. The book was about Witchcraft. I was extremely intrigued, so I decided to check it out and bring it home to read.

When my father saw the book, he was very unsure whether he wanted to allow me to read it or not. I used my charm and wit to persuade him, plus he was the biggest push over ever. The strange thing is, my father told me just a few days ago, that a few years before I checked out that book, I was scolded for drawing pentacles on my bedroom door. He said he couldn’t figure out where I got the idea to draw pentacles. He said he would have not been so freaked out by the action if the drawings were only stars without circles around them. He understands a bit more now that I am 27 and he knows about my spiritual practices.

As I grew older my dreams became more vivid and lucid. I started having dreams of things before they would occur. My first prophetic dream was about my mother. In my dream, the doctor called me on the telephone and told me that my mom was going to die, because she had a tumor in her stomach. About two weeks later my mother had to go to the doctors, because her premenstrual cycle would not end. The doctors ran some test and then found that she had a large mass, the size of a baseball growing in her uterus. They advised her that she needed surgery immediately to get the mass out. My mother called me on the telephone afterwards to talk to me. She was astonished how similar my dream was to her situation.

The second dream was even scarier. I was blind. The only thing I could do was listen to the sounds that were around me. I heard screaming and arguing and then a blast of gunshots so close like the gun was going off next to my ear. The next morning I went to work and received a phone call from my mother in the middle of the day, which was very uncommon. When I answered, she was frantically crying. She proceeded to tell me that one of my closest friends was shot in the head in the middle of the night.

She explained to me that he was still alive, but he was in a coma and the doctors said we should come in and say our goodbyes, because they did not expect him to live through the day. We all gathered at the hospital for which turned out to be a week while he struggled to survive on life support. Finally, he woke up from the coma.

He could not speak, because he had a trachea tube in his throat, so none of us knew if he could hear us or not. A bandage covered his eyes, so we did not know if he could see us. The bullet in his head traveled back down the path in which it entered and actually fell out into the bandage that was wrapped around his head. The doctors did not have to perform any surgery because of that. Unfortunately once the bandage was removed we found out that he was blind.

I have accepted the fact that I am not a psychic. I cannot read tarot cards. I cannot read runes or tea leaves or make use of any other divining tool. The only thing that I have is my dreams. Therefore, I call myself a dream witch. I love witchcraft. I love the freedom of being solitary eclectic and choosing beliefs that make me feel comfortable.

I love the art and beauty of casting a circle and uniting myself with the Lord and the Lady to mold the energies of the universe for my intentions. I love herb magick and candle magick. I love every aspect of earth traditions and wish that more people would discover the beauty and mysticism that surrounds it.

I wish more people would give their children the knowledge and independence to explore different beliefs to decide what or whom they want to worship. Children continue to be lead into their predecessor’s political, social and religious views. I am not saying that I want everyone to follow the path of the ancient traditions; I am just concerned with the limited freedom we give in a country founded on freedom.

Are You a Pagan Individual?

Are You a Pagan Individual?

Author:   Crick   

When one looks about the Neo Pagan community, one common factor that stands out is the constant jockeying of certain individuals/groups to be the learning curve for all other pagans. To my mind this is an attempt to validate ones personal insecurities. For as pagans we should be individuals who are comfortable in the way that we seek our spiritual path.

One cannot be true to and thus accepting of others if we are not true to ourselves first. This is a tenet that separates the individualism of paganism in general and witchcraft in particular, from the tenets of organized religion.

It is interesting to note though that such behavior is unique to Neo Paganism. Not all of those who contributed to the origins of Christianity believe in the concept of “Jesus” as he is portrayed by the organized religions of today.

For instance, the Mandaeans are followers of John the Baptist. They are a people called “Mughtasilah”, which translates as, “Those Who Wash themselves”. They are considered to be the “Children of the Books”, and as such, are said to be “holders of the Word of God.” And though they are hostile to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, (Mandaeans regard Christianity and rabbinical Judaism as false religions that, along with the negative influence and/or alignment of planets and stars, impede the soul’s release from bondage.

With the arrival of Islam in Iraq, in 636 CE, the Mandeans were seen as the third “people of the book”, and were thought to be the mysterious Sabians of the Koran. But the Mandeans still encountered a difficult relationship with Islam, and Muhammad is in their writings called the demon “Bizbat”.

The Mandaeans themselves subscribe to the belief that Judas Thomas was Jesus’ twin brother and that it was actually Judas Thomas who was crucified on the cross and that Jesus then lived out his life as his brother Thomas to avoid persecution for his attempted role as the alleged messiah. To support this belief, the early church father “Irenaeus” wrote around 150 CE that Jesus remained on earth as a teacher for some twenty years after his crucifixion, and that John the Apostle served as a conduit for these teachings.

The Mandaeans are an ancient form of Christian Gnosticism, which practices initiation, ecstasy and various rituals that have been said to resemble those of the Freemasons. They very frequently practice baptism in running water and a sort of “confirmation”, is given to the dying. They repudiate idolatry and circumcision, while celibacy is absolutely forbidden. They practice a moral code of charity and goodwill.”

They hold to a planetary influence on the hours, much like Solomon and others of his kind did and they have a seven-day induction of priests, which is similar to the Sabians. Their year consists of twelve months of thirty days each, followed by five auspicious days of epact. At the New Year they keep vigil for the spirits of light to return from congratulating the Supreme Being for creation.

They utter “Ask and find, speak and listen” like the Harranians, but then invoke a formal denial of the powers of the sun and moon contrary to the Sabians. Their calendar is solar while the Harranian one is luni-solar. And amongst the Mandaeans, women may own property, though divorce is not recognized, and a man may have as many wives as he desires.”

The Mandaeans take their name from “Manda” which means secret knowledge.” The Mandaean priests are called “Nasoreans”, as were the followers of Jesus. Within the Mandaean sect, a Nazarean is equated to the same status as an archbishop. During the first three centuries CE, there were certain Mandaean or Johannite sects, especially in the region of the Tigris-Euphrates basin, who honored John the Baptist, not Jesus, as their prophet.

One of these sects still exists to this day in areas of Iraq. According to their thinking, John the Baptist was “the true prophet”, while Jesus was a rebel, a heretic, who led men astray and whom betrayed secret doctrines.” According to the Mandeans, John the Baptist was Hibil-Ziwa. “Hibil-Ziwa was a Savior who entered the world of darkness and destroyed the evil spirits so that the faithful could obtain liberation before the end of the world.”

The Mandaeans tell of the founding of Jerusalem by a powerful and evil female Goddess named Ru Ha. For Jews, Muslims and Syriac-speaking Christians, Ru Ha, signifies the Holy Spirit who is mentioned in both the Quran and the Bible. She controlled the Seven Planets and worked evil on the Earth through several chosen men. They are Abraham, Moses, David and his son Solomon. Her greatest evil however, was realized through the actions of one man. At her temple in Jerusalem, a young priestess was selected to bear a “special offspring”. The name of this priestess was “Miriam”. The Christians call her Mary. She brought forth the “child of Ru Ha”, the “Imunel” (Immanuel) and he were in turn called, “Jesus”.

He was baptized by John and taught at length by him. In time he turned away from John’s teachings and led the people astray, the Mandaeans claim. The Mandaeans say that Mary is a “Daughter of Moses” and that Moses dwelt on Mt. Sinai.

One of the texts of the Mandeans tells a story about the flight of a group called “Nasoreans”, from areas that are today known as Jordan, to the Mesopotamian region, in the times of the Jewish wars following the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE. It is thought that they were driven out by Saul (Paul) himself.

The story goes that Paul arrived as the first Christian missionary in Corinth and in Ephesus, only to discover to his amazement that there were already churches established there. Upon making inquiries he discovered that they were the Church of John the Baptist. Paul believed that the Ephesians and Corinthians would, therefore, be delighted to discover that he represented Jesus Christ, the one prophesied to come after John.

However, contrary to his expectations, they had never heard of such a prophecy.” The following reference is found in the Christian bible: “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when [or after] you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’ “John’s baptism, ” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 19:1-5

And so though there is an ongoing and determined effort by the three main Abrahamic religions to be seen as the learning curve for all other beliefs in the world, just as there are certain Neo Pagan individuals/groups who follow suit in regards to Paganism. As individuals it is our responsibility to dig beneath the surface of such popular and often misguided rhetoric, for the truth is that which serves the individual and not that of the masses.

As pagans, our spiritual journey is unique to each of us and cannot nor should not be defined by any one group of folks, regardless of such rhetoric…

When You Might Not Want to Come Out of the Broom Closet

When You Might Not Want to Come Out of the Broom Closet

Author:   Bronwen Forbes   

A great deal has been written about the benefits and advantages of coming out as Pagan to your family, friends and co-workers, both here on Witchvox and in other places. Living an honest life, helping Paganism be more accepted as more people say “I know a Pagan, ” and taking pride in who and what you are – these are all excellent reasons to be open about your faith. However, as a friend of mine reminded me recently, coming out is never something you do just once. You continue to choose with every new day, every new situation and every new person you meet whether or not to say anything about your spiritual path.

Which means, of course, that there are some valid reasons to never come out to anyone, or only to a select few in specific situations. For example (obvious as it is) , if you’ve recently begun the process of legally severing your marital bonds with someone and, before the divorce is final and all child and property custody disputes have been resolved, and you realize in the middle of all this that you’re Pagan, it would probably be in your best interests not to announce your new path until after the dust has settled.

Another obvious example is on the job. I hate to sound like an alarmist, but in this economy, just because you think it’s safe to be openly Pagan at work doesn’t mean it *is* safe. I lived for years in the Baltimore-Washington DC area where no one, not even my employers, cared if I was Pagan or not.

I left DC for a Midwest town that had a university – and a very prominent journalism school. As leaders of a training coven (consisting mostly of college students including one journalism major) , my husband and I were pretty good candidates for “interview a witch for the Halloween edition of the school paper.” It happened every year. While I wasn’t exactly out at work, between my regular appearance in the university’s school newspaper and occasional mentions in the city’s paper for being on various Pagan-related discussion panels, I wasn’t exactly hiding my religion, either. Five minutes on Google would have told my employers everything they wanted to know about it. I don’t think it even occurred to them to check.

Unfortunately, I took this lack of interest in my religious affairs for granted when we moved to a tiny town in New Mexico and I got a job at the local (much smaller) university in the admissions office. We also tried to help revive the campus Pagan student group which had been prominently featured in the local paper a year earlier, when every Baptist minister in the county denounced its existence (which should have been a clue to me to keep my flapping mouth shut) . Connections were made among the students, and next thing I knew it was two weeks before Samhain and the editor of the school paper was interviewing me. It was a good, well-written article, and no one in my office said a word about the fact that I’d just outed myself to the entire campus. I didn’t think any more about it.

Until I realized that my immediate supervisor was quietly and subtly going out of her way to make my workday a living hell – and had been since the article appeared in the paper.

For example, whatever I did wrong was discussed loudly and in public, while my co-worker, a Catholic, got a bit of quiet privacy when her errors were pointed out (We started the same day and did the exact same job) . I mentioned it to my boss and was told it was all my imagination and that I was “too sensitive.”

Eventually I quit; I’m convinced that if I hadn’t, I would have been fired. Was it because of the article? I’ll never know for sure, but in retrospect my decision to come out of the broom closet was, in this instance, a pretty poor one.

Sometimes, though, the decision of whether or not to come out as Pagan is not so obvious. Family and close friends, for example, are the people you most want to accept this part of you, and as a result your prediction of their reaction to your news may be skewed; you so very much need them to be happy for you that you could project the reaction you want onto them.

I’ve asked around, and a lot of my friends suggest telling a close sibling, aunt or uncle and see how they react before having the “Big Talk” with Mom and Dad. But – and this is hard – telling your nearest and dearest may not only be a bad idea, you may not know it’s a bad idea until it’s too late.

Back in the mid 1980s when I first realized I was Pagan, I told my parents. I had plenty of solid, valid reasons for doing so: 1) I was about to be divorced by my first husband over my Paganism and I thought they deserved to know the truth. 2) I had a strong feeling, even in the early days, that my spiritual path was going to be a major part of my life (turns out I was right) and I couldn’t see cutting my parents out of that much of my world (we were a lot closer back then) . 3) My parents are highly educated people with five college degrees between the two of them, have been professional performers most their lives (i.e. used to odd, artistic, fringe folk) , and are reasonably liberal in their personal and political views. In other words, if there are (or were) two Christians (Episcopalians) more likely to accept their daughter’s new spiritual path with open-mindedness and grace, I don’t know them.

At first it looked like I made a good decision to come out to my folks. My father, a college librarian, found a copy of Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance on my recommendation and read it. He said that while he’d never be a Pagan, he was struck by how “poetic it is.”

Fast forward a decade or so. In the intervening years my religion has been referred to as “that Pagan b*llsh*t” more than once. I’ve been told, “We’re just so relieved you’ve managed to stay away from the drugs” (What drugs? Did I miss the memo on rampant drug use in the Pagan community?) , and treated to this day like a not-quite-bright teenager by – you guessed it – my intellectual, liberal parents.

Was coming out to my parents a good idea? Probably not.

Knowing what I know now, would I do it today? No.

The decision to tell or not to tell someone you’re Pagan is a deeply personal one, and not in any way something you should be pressured into. Coming out as Pagan is not “cool” or something to do for the shock it might cause the listener. Although it’s true that the more of a presence we are in society the less “other” we become, and the more our faith is accepted in the world.

But we need to be aware that sharing our religious choice with anyone or everyone is not always the best solution. We no longer need to worry about witchfinders, hangings and other historically dire consequences for openly celebrating our faith, but we do need to think very hard about our livelihoods, our children and the feelings of the one we’re outing ourselves to before we choose to share this most personal information.

Good Sunday Morning My Beloved Family & Friends!

Witchy Comments & Graphics
I hope everyone is having a very Blessed Sunday Morning. It is rather rainy and dreary here today. But we need the rain so I won’t complain.  I got up this morning took my medicine and went back to sleep. I had the TV on when I fell asleep. I woke up to something that made me say, “Thank The Goddess Alive, I am a Witch!” The TV has a church broadcasting on it. The preacher was preaching his hell and brimstone passages as usual.

You ever truly want to be thankful that you are a Witch, Wiccan, Druid or any other Pagan tradition, watch a televised preacher. I am not being nasty or mean, I am being truthful. They fascinate me. They are either preaching their fire and brimstone or wanting money. After listening for a minute or two, I always change the channel. But in those few minutes, I am ever so grateful for our Divine Mother. I am not going to say we don’t have rules and Laws that we don’t have to live by cause we do. But nothing like I learned going to church every Sunday when I was little and what I hear on the TV now. In case I shocked some of you, I grew up in a family with two religious beliefs, one Baptist (my father) the other Witchcraft (my mother).  I guess listening to the Baptist when I was growing up and now today, their story never changes. But our religion is constantly changing. We continuously are learning and growing. We are taught everything about the Universe and most of all the Goddess’ Divine Love.

There is a big difference between the two religions that I can see now. I know the other Religions say their Gods are ever loving. But unfortunately where is the truth in that. Christianity happens to be one of the most bloodiest religions there ever was. Has our Goddess ever asked us to kill anyone in Her Divine name? No. All She has asked is that we find the power within us. The power She gave to  us.  Yes, she gave us power. Power to find, harness and use for the goodness of mankind. Can any other religion say that? I don’t think so. They talk of miracles. Growing up, I never saw any. But with the Goddess, She has given us the power to make our own miracles occur. We can perform magick beyond anyone’s belief. All we have to do with our Holy Mother is just ask and it is done. Thank Goddess, SHE IS ALIVE!!!!

I have always been respectful of other religions. In turn, I expect them to be respectful of my own religion. Tell someone you are a Witch. Go ahead and see what happens. I know. They immediately think you are a Heathren. You don’t have a God or Goddess, you don’t believe in anything. They must save you immediately. If not, you are going straight to hell. If nothing else comes out of this site, I want the world to know that Witchcraft is a religion. We have an almighty Goddess that we worship. She is very much alive.  She grants us the power to do the things necessary in life. She grants us power for the betterment of mankind. Our Goddess is alive. No matter who wants to say all other Gods are dead. This is a lie.  I can feel my Divine Mother all around me. She gives me the words to put on this blog for you to read. She loves each and everyone of us without threatens of hell’s fire and damnation. She loves us because we are Her children. She cares for us in our darkest hour and our finest moments. She is the All.

Witchcraft is one of the most popular and fastest growing Religion in the states. Why? Because people are starting to understand the truth about the Craft. They are starting to come to know the Goddess.  How real She truly is. How all you have to do each day is look around you and you will see Her. She is in everything, every where and every place you look. Her Love for us overflows. People are tired of the mainstream religions. They are looking for something new. They turn to Witchcraft as if it is something new. I hate to burst their bubble but Witchcraft is the oldest religion known. It has not always been known as a religion but thanks to us, people are starting to recognize it that way. We have had I don’t how many come over to our religion in the past month. Just in a month’s time, now! The ones I have talked too are worried about our Religion not having a Divine Being. I want to put your mind to ease, once and for all. We have a Divine Goddess and a God. We are not a Godless religion. We have a Divine Mother. In fact, I consider myself very lucky. I have three Mothers. I have maternal Mother who has passed on, then I have my Deity and I have my Goddess. What  other religion can say that?

But for those of you that are new and scared that you might have made the wrong decision about switching Religions.  Rested assured you didn’t. The Craft is the most beautiful Religion you will ever know. The ones that worry about Witchcraft being a Godless religion, who do you think put that interest in your heart? Who do you think is calling you to this religion? It is our Divine Mother who has done these things. She is the Universe. She is pure Love. All you have to do is open up your heart to Her. Let Her Love fill your heart, your body and your very soul. You will never know such a Love as Hers. I know I haven’t and the others here haven’t either. I believe there is only one thing left to say……..

“Thank The Goddess Alive, I am a Witch!”

Sunday Morning all ready! Weekends Need to Last Longer, Yes?

Celtic & British Isles GraphicsI have to admit I was a bit nervous yesterday. Lady A assured me I did fine. I didn’t blow up the building or anything, lol! She did stop by this morning to see if I needed anything. While she was here she made some coffee and turned on the TV. Television is one thing I hardly ever watch. The TV automatically came on to one of the local stations. On that station was a Baptist preacher and he was preaching the end of the world, hell fire and damnation. We flipped to the next channel and I be damned if there wasn’t another preacher preaching the same thing. On the majority of the channels were preachers all hyping up this crap about the end of the world. Their members were probably afraid to go out the door, afraid the sky would fall on them. I never hear such shit in my life. These so called preachers were pouring it on about the end of the world. It was coming soon. One had the gall to mention December 21st.

I don’t know what these so called preachers are thinking. Now I am quoting this from Lady A (she had a minor in college in religious studies & history, don’t you dare tell her I told),  she said if they would read their own doctrine they would know that no man nor woman would know the time or day of the end of the world<unquote>.” But still these men are hyping it up. It’s not only the preachers it is also the media and the commercials. No one with any sense believes that December 21 is going to be the end of the world. What about the nuts out there? That is what we were taking about. The TV and newspapers make such a big deal out of this day, what if a nut decide they are going to do something that day. I am talking about a terrorist getting a bomb and blowing up something because it is suppose to be the end of the world. Why not do something so it appears that the end is here.  That is what is bothering us. The world is in such bad shape right now. Someone mad at the government could do something, someone just out of their mind could do something. It doesn’t take a reason anymore for someone to blow up something or kill a person.

What has happened to the respect for human life? Truly, what has happened to it? Mothers killing their own children, husband shooting their entire families and  so much more violence. To a normal mind, we can’t begin to fathom why these unspeakable acts occur. It sickens me. If I had only one prayer to pray, it would be that the Goddess get a tight grip on these people. Some them their horrible acts. Shake them till they saw the error in their ways. Then show them the purest form of Love mankind has ever been privileged to know.

Magickal Graphics

Baptist leader: Decision not to wed black couple must be a learning experience

Baptist leader: Decision not to wed black couple must be a learning experience

By Louis Casiano, NBC News

The leader and first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention said Monday that a Mississippi church’s decision to not marry a black couple “is unfortunate” and “an isolated incident from which pastors can learn.”

The Rev. Fred Luter told the Baptist Press, the official newspaper of the SBC, the church’s decision should be not be seen as representing the church’s position.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened, but we’ve got to learn from it, and be able to go on and do what God has called us to do,” Luter told the BP.

The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Miss., made headlines last week when its pastor, Stan Weatherford, told Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson one day prior to their wedding that he could not perform the ceremony at the church.

Weatherford said a small minority of the congregation had spoken out against the marriage being performed at the church because it involved black people. He married the couple at a nearby church instead.

“The church congregation had decided no black could be married at that church, and that if he went on to marry her, then they would vote him out the church,” Charles Wilson told a local news station.

The Wilsons attended the church regularly but were not members.

“What we can learn from it is that we need to talk to our membership about issues,” Luter said in the interview published Monday. “I think if the pastor would have talked to more members about this … when this situation occurred … it probably would not have happened the way it happened.”

The paper reported most of the church members did not share the sentiments of the few who objected to the Wilsons’ nuptials.

The SBC has come out against the church’s decision and affirmed that racism is against God’s will, according to the Baptist faith.

“The convention’s position on race relations is clear: ‘In the Spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism,'” Roger S. Oldham, a church spokesman, told the Press.

Luter, a pastor himself, said he felt sympathy for Weatherford.

“I felt for the pastor because being a pastor myself, I know how awkward situations like that can be, whereby you have a handful of folks who have influence and will cause issues that the other folks are not aware of.”

A Witch’s Calling


Author: Moon magik

From the moment we are born into this learning experience called life, most of us have our spiritual paths chosen for us. If your parents are Catholic, you’re going to be Catholic. If your parents are Baptist, you’re definitely going to be Baptist. Children have no choice to their own beliefs, because their parents require them to follow family tradition. We then grow up doing the same thing to our own children. There are very few people that grow up and just decide after 20 or 30 years that they do not believe what they were raised to believe. There are also some that grow up with absolutely no spirituality in their lives at all.

My mother and father were divorced just 8 months after I was born. My father raised me, because my mother was young and irresponsible and he wanted me to grow up in a good environment. During the first seven years of my life, we lived with my grandparents. My grandparents were Lutheran, so naturally my father was Lutheran as well. There was a Lutheran church conveniently located just a few houses down from our home.

I knew from a very young age that I did not belong in a Lutheran Church. Most Witches’ have a calling to the old ways and earth traditions at some point in their lives. I hated bible study and had no interest in learning about Christ. I didn’t know anything about Witchcraft, or have a clue that I would one day find myself casting spells in a circle on my bedroom floor. I just simply didn’t care for church. It wasn’t until I was about 11 years old when I started having dreams that I was magical.

It began sporadically and then eventually became an every night dream. In my dream I was standing in the middle of the woods during the peak of fall season. I was spinning in circles and dancing around trees. Every time I had the dream, I notice I had a wooden stick in my hand. I now realize the wooden stick was my wand. I went to the library one morning to check out a book on Diana Ross, because I had a book report for school due on the following Monday.

When I sat down at the table in the library there was one small paperback book left behind by what I’m assuming was a lazy citizen. The book was about Witchcraft. I was extremely intrigued, so I decided to check it out and bring it home to read.

When my father saw the book, he was very unsure whether he wanted to allow me to read it or not. I used my charm and wit to persuade him, plus he was the biggest push over ever. The strange thing is, my father told me just a few days ago, that a few years before I checked out that book, I was scolded for drawing pentacles on my bedroom door. He said he couldn’t figure out where I got the idea to draw pentacles. He said he would have not been so freaked out by the action if the drawings were only stars without circles around them. He understands a bit more now that I am 27 and he knows about my spiritual practices.

As I grew older my dreams became more vivid and lucid. I started having dreams of things before they would occur. My first prophetic dream was about my mother. In my dream, the doctor called me on the telephone and told me that my mom was going to die, because she had a tumor in her stomach. About two weeks later my mother had to go to the doctors, because her premenstrual cycle would not end. The doctors ran some test and then found that she had a large mass, the size of a baseball growing in her uterus. They advised her that she needed surgery immediately to get the mass out. My mother called me on the telephone afterwards to talk to me. She was astonished how similar my dream was to her situation.

The second dream was even scarier. I was blind. The only thing I could do was listen to the sounds that were around me. I heard screaming and arguing and then a blast of gunshots so close like the gun was going off next to my ear. The next morning I went to work and received a phone call from my mother in the middle of the day, which was very uncommon. When I answered, she was frantically crying. She proceeded to tell me that one of my closest friends was shot in the head in the middle of the night.

She explained to me that he was still alive, but he was in a coma and the doctors said we should come in and say our goodbyes, because they did not expect him to live through the day. We all gathered at the hospital for which turned out to be a week while he struggled to survive on life support. Finally, he woke up from the coma.

He could not speak, because he had a trachea tube in his throat, so none of us knew if he could hear us or not. A bandage covered his eyes, so we did not know if he could see us. The bullet in his head traveled back down the path in which it entered and actually fell out into the bandage that was wrapped around his head. The doctors did not have to perform any surgery because of that. Unfortunately once the bandage was removed we found out that he was blind.

I have accepted the fact that I am not a psychic. I cannot read tarot cards. I cannot read runes or tea leaves or make use of any other divining tool. The only thing that I have is my dreams. Therefore, I call myself a dream witch. I love witchcraft. I love the freedom of being solitary eclectic and choosing beliefs that make me feel comfortable.

I love the art and beauty of casting a circle and uniting myself with the Lord and the Lady to mold the energies of the universe for my intentions. I love herb magick and candle magick. I love every aspect of earth traditions and wish that more people would discover the beauty and mysticism that surrounds it.

I wish more people would give their children the knowledge and independence to explore different beliefs to decide what or whom they want to worship. Children continue to be lead into their predecessor’s political, social and religious views. I am not saying that I want everyone to follow the path of the ancient traditions; I am just concerned with the limited freedom we give in a country founded on freedom.

 

Pagan’s Point of Interest – Pagans and the Pledge of Allegiance

Pagans and the Pledge of Allegiance

By , About.com Guide

Recently, during a conversation about schools and the Pledge of Allegiance, someone casually said to me, “Oh, you don’t say it, though, right? Because you’re not a Christian?” It wasn’t said in a confrontational way at all, but I was kind of surprised by the logic behind the statement. On thinking about it, I suspect it may not be an uncommon attitude among people who don’t know anything about Paganism.

Let’s face it, the Pledge of Allegiance can be a pretty hot-button issue for some folks. After all, there’s that whole separation of church and state bit, and here we are asking our children to recite an oath to the United State which includes a reference to what is clearly the Christian deity. But — much like other controversial issues in today’s society — there’s no big rulebook that says “Pagans can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance!”

The Pledge of Allegiance is actually based upon a poem written by a Baptist minister in 1892. Originally, it read as follows: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. That was it. No mention of God, or even the United States itself. The reference to the “flag of the United States of America” was added in the early 1920s. During the Communist uproar of the 1950s, the words “under God” were added by Congress, turning the simple pledge into what some people see as public prayer.

So — do Pagans say the Pledge of Allegiance? I spoke to a few Pagans from around the country to see how they would respond to this issue, and the answers might surprise you.

Morgaine S., a Wiccan from Summerville, South Carolina, said, “I’m a Navy veteran and so is my husband, and I do love my country. I wouldn’t feel right about not saying the Pledge when asked to. I say the Pledge, but when I do I say “under my gods,” rather than the “under God” that everyone else says.”

A ceremonial magician who asked to be identified only as Lucius has just the opposite perspective. He said, “I don’t say the Pledge at all, because if you have to tell someone to pledge their allegiance, it’s meaningless. An oath of allegiance, whether it involves a god or not, should be voluntary and not something I’m compelled to do.”

Finally, Justyn Raine is a Pagan from California who says it doesn’t matter what god is referred to in the Pledge. “I say “under God,” because in my heart I know I’m referring to my god, not someone else’s. If you believe in any god at all, you can say the Pledge of Allegiance as it’s written.”

So, what does this mean to people who are wondering if they should say the Pledge? Political opinions aside, it’s a matter that’s a personal one — if you feel comfortable with saying the Pledge as it is currently written, go ahead. If you’d like to substitute your own deity’s name — or the phrase “under gods” instead — then do so. Likewise, if you don’t believe you should say the Pledge at all — for whatever reason — then don’t do it. The choice is yours — after all, in the United States we have the freedom to speak (or not speak) as our conscience guides us.

Which Witch is Witch?

Which Witch is Witch?

Author: Autumn’s Witch

I have been reading a lot lately about what it means to be a Witch. This is a topic very close to home and one that I now feel compelled to comment on.

I grew up on a small farm in rural Tennessee. When I was about seven or eight years old my grandmother explained to me that she was a Witch and by heredity so was I. To me, this didn’t seem like a great revelation but it was confusing because the only real concept I had of what a Witch was, was the either scary hags in fairy tales or the over the top witch called “Witch Hazel” from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. But as time went by, my grandmother tutored me in the ways of The Goddess and pretty soon I had a completely new concept of what being a Witch meant. It was someone who nurtured the earth and worshiped the divinely submerged power in nature and life. It was someone who looked to The Goddess with complete, unquestioning love. It was someone who healed wounds and tended broken hearts. It was someone who helped the needy and stood up to the bullies. It was someone who understood the divine gift of magic. It was someone who was filled with kindness, charity and warmth, even at times when others weren’t. Above all else, it was someone who devoted their lives to being a reflection of the Goddess. Someone who made every second of life sacred.

To this day, I live my life in accordance to the above. I will until the day I die. There is no question of why or how. My life is in devotion to my Goddess and I do it freely with all of my heart and soul. I can’t change who I am any more than a tiger can change its stripes. It defines who I am.

Being a Witch is a lifestyle not only and life choice. There are responsibilities, duties and obligations. It is not a life for everyone nor should it be.

When I first started calling myself a Witch, it was something only done it private. Back in the 1970s rural Tennessee had no tolerance for Witches, especially in Baptist country. I remember feeling so weird at school on holidays. I remember how I had to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. I remember being forced to pray and worship something I did not hold sacred. It was a very scary and frustrating time in my life. But the thing I hated most was when people openly called me a Christian. It was brutal and it made me nauseous. I remember crying on the way home, jealous that I couldn’t be who I wanted to be. I prayed to The Goddess that someday I could be open and free with who and what I was. Little did I know, that day was not too far off.

Flash forward to the 1990’s. I was amazed how the Pagan/Wiccan community sort if just came alive. All of a sudden there were thousands of people calling themselves Witches. There were dozens of books at the bookstores on the topic. It appeared as if there was a rebirth of the old ways. I was a happy as I could be. It was nice to be able to say in public that I was a Witch.

But alas, I found that things were not as they seemed. It became obvious after a few years, that all these people who all of a sudden were calling themselves Witches, were not exactly what I had expected. It was a hard time for me. I wanted to help people understand. But it seemed as if there were dozens of theories on what it meant to be a Witch. There were stringent rules and rituals and processes and so on. This was all very different than what I had been taught. There were times when I wondered to myself, how can we all be Witches? There were groups diametrically opposed to each other. Rules, regulations and red tape seemed to more important than the root passion of our spirituality.

Then people started calling me Wiccan or Wicca. I was stunned. I had never in all my life been called that. So I studied up on this whole Wicca thing. It was in no way a reflection of who I was and how I worshiped. And frankly I didn’t like being associated with it at all. For many years I would glare at anyone calling me Wiccan. As the 90’s ended I became aware of the general debate of Witch versus Wiccan.

Now I am not going to debate the merits or academic ramifications of what the words Wicca or Witch means. I have an extensive scholastic background but I don’t feel this issue is something that should be debated that way. But let me say simply this. I am a Witch. I have been my whole life. That is the only label that I will accept. I have no problems with anyone else calling themselves Wiccans or Witches. But I do take issue when people try to label me something I am not. I respect everyone’s right to call themselves what ever they like. I also respect other’s limits and opinions. At the same times I expect others to respect my limits.

The Wiccan/Pagan community does need unity, but in the rush to create an all inclusive sense of unity, some of us have been trampled below. I love Pagans and Wiccans. They are my brothers and sisters. I support our cause but no matter how it’s all wrapped or presented, I am a Witch, above all else. I do not want to be labeled anything other than what I am. It is an insult to my, my family and everything being a Witch stands for. Please respect our choice to be who we are and who we are not.

Herb of the Day for March 29th – St. Johnswort

St. Johnswort

Hypericum perforatum
MEDICINAL:St. Johnswort is useful for bronchitis, internal bleeding, healing wounds, and for dirty, septic wounds. It is used to ease depression, headaches, hysteria, neuralgia, shingles, as well as symptoms that occur during menopause. It is useful in swellings, abcesses, and bad insect stings. Studies are showing that it may be effective in combatting AIDS by increasing the immune functions of the body. DO NOT GO INTO THE SUN if using this herb, as it causes blistering sunburns, especially in fair-skinned people.

RELIGIOUS:St. Johnswort is hung around the neck to prevent fevers. Wearing the herb aids you in war and other battles, including those of the will and indecision. Burnt it will banish evil and negativity. Hung in the home or carried, it will prevent spells of others from entering, and it is used in exorcisms. If you pick the plant on the night of St. John and hang it on your bedroom wall, you will dream of your future husband. The red juice of the stems was associated with the blood of John the Baptist, hence the plant’s name.

GROWING: St. Johnswort is a perennial reaching 32 inches tall. It is grown throughout much of North America. It prefers rich to moderately rich soils, and full sun. It is not long-lived, so replant every few years. Harvest the leaves and flower tops as they bloom and store in air-tight containers.

Resource:

THE HERBAL ENCYCLOPEDIA

A Witch’s Calling

A Witch’s Calling

Author: Moon magik

From the moment we are born into this learning experience called life, most of us have our spiritual paths chosen for us. If your parents are Catholic, you’re going to be Catholic. If your parents are Baptist, you’re definitely going to be Baptist. Children have no choice to their own beliefs, because their parents require them to follow family tradition. We then grow up doing the same thing to our own children. There are very few people that grow up and just decide after 20 or 30 years that they do not believe what they were raised to believe. There are also some that grow up with absolutely no spirituality in their lives at all.

My mother and father were divorced just 8 months after I was born. My father raised me, because my mother was young and irresponsible and he wanted me to grow up in a good environment. During the first seven years of my life, we lived with my grandparents. My grandparents were Lutheran, so naturally my father was Lutheran as well. There was a Lutheran church conveniently located just a few houses down from our home.

I knew from a very young age that I did not belong in a Lutheran Church. Most Witches’ have a calling to the old ways and earth traditions at some point in their lives. I hated bible study and had no interest in learning about Christ. I didn’t know anything about Witchcraft, or have a clue that I would one day find myself casting spells in a circle on my bedroom floor. I just simply didn’t care for church. It wasn’t until I was about 11 years old when I started having dreams that I was magical.

It began sporadically and then eventually became an every night dream. In my dream I was standing in the middle of the woods during the peak of fall season. I was spinning in circles and dancing around trees. Every time I had the dream, I notice I had a wooden stick in my hand. I now realize the wooden stick was my wand. I went to the library one morning to check out a book on Diana Ross, because I had a book report for school due on the following Monday.

When I sat down at the table in the library there was one small paperback book left behind by what I’m assuming was a lazy citizen. The book was about Witchcraft. I was extremely intrigued, so I decided to check it out and bring it home to read.

When my father saw the book, he was very unsure whether he wanted to allow me to read it or not. I used my charm and wit to persuade him, plus he was the biggest push over ever. The strange thing is, my father told me just a few days ago, that a few years before I checked out that book, I was scolded for drawing pentacles on my bedroom door. He said he couldn’t figure out where I got the idea to draw pentacles. He said he would have not been so freaked out by the action if the drawings were only stars without circles around them. He understands a bit more now that I am 27 and he knows about my spiritual practices.

As I grew older my dreams became more vivid and lucid. I started having dreams of things before they would occur. My first prophetic dream was about my mother. In my dream, the doctor called me on the telephone and told me that my mom was going to die, because she had a tumor in her stomach. About two weeks later my mother had to go to the doctors, because her premenstrual cycle would not end. The doctors ran some test and then found that she had a large mass, the size of a baseball growing in her uterus. They advised her that she needed surgery immediately to get the mass out. My mother called me on the telephone afterwards to talk to me. She was astonished how similar my dream was to her situation.

The second dream was even scarier. I was blind. The only thing I could do was listen to the sounds that were around me. I heard screaming and arguing and then a blast of gunshots so close like the gun was going off next to my ear. The next morning I went to work and received a phone call from my mother in the middle of the day, which was very uncommon. When I answered, she was frantically crying. She proceeded to tell me that one of my closest friends was shot in the head in the middle of the night.

She explained to me that he was still alive, but he was in a coma and the doctors said we should come in and say our goodbyes, because they did not expect him to live through the day. We all gathered at the hospital for which turned out to be a week while he struggled to survive on life support. Finally, he woke up from the coma.

He could not speak, because he had a trachea tube in his throat, so none of us knew if he could hear us or not. A bandage covered his eyes, so we did not know if he could see us. The bullet in his head traveled back down the path in which it entered and actually fell out into the bandage that was wrapped around his head. The doctors did not have to perform any surgery because of that. Unfortunately once the bandage was removed we found out that he was blind.

I have accepted the fact that I am not a psychic. I cannot read tarot cards. I cannot read runes or tea leaves or make use of any other divining tool. The only thing that I have is my dreams. Therefore, I call myself a dream witch. I love witchcraft. I love the freedom of being solitary eclectic and choosing beliefs that make me feel comfortable.

I love the art and beauty of casting a circle and uniting myself with the Lord and the Lady to mold the energies of the universe for my intentions. I love herb magick and candle magick. I love every aspect of earth traditions and wish that more people would discover the beauty and mysticism that surrounds it.

I wish more people would give their children the knowledge and independence to explore different beliefs to decide what or whom they want to worship. Children continue to be lead into their predecessor’s political, social and religious views. I am not saying that I want everyone to follow the path of the ancient traditions; I am just concerned with the limited freedom we give in a country founded on freedom.

What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

Author: Life is a Dance Regardless

Recently, someone spoke with me about some problems surrounding the word “Pagan”. This person told to be careful about who I speak to when claiming that I am one, even other people claiming to be Pagan. It is hard for me to agree with her. I can’t wrap my head around it actually. Truly, I understand exactly where she is coming from, but I disagree with her entirely.

What she is saying is that people may tell me that I am going about being Pagan in the wrong way. Other pagans may be angry with me for the way that I practice my faith. People may advise me on what I should do differently, whom I should speak to, and which people to avoid. What books should I read? Where should I go? What should I do? How should I practice my faith? How, in fact, should I practice my life?

Admittedly, I am new to it, and perhaps I need guidance but I have realized something important. There are people in every faith who think that their way is the Truth. There are people in Life in general who think their way is the Truth. This is something we all have to deal with throughout our entire lives because people have different opinions.

For the most part, I have not respected religion in the past because of its inability to recognize that everyone needs something different in his or her life. Some people do not need faith, and most religions fail to allow room for that view. I explained to my friend that being a “good Pagan” was like declaring oneself a “good Christian”. The term is likely to mean something different from one person to the next.

For one Christian, being good may be hating people in other religions, and another, it may be loving and accepting no matter what. The Bible can be interpreted differently, though some people think otherwise. As such, different people can interpret Paganism differently.

It is not, in fact, a problem with religion, which is why I respect religion so much at this point. It is, has always been, and will always be a problem with individuals. No way is the right way. No way is the wrong way. Religion is not math or science, where one false move can completely screw up your equation, or burn your eyebrows off. Religion is something to be taken seriously, but it is not rocket science. It is for the pure and sole purpose of finding yourself. What do you, as an individual think is right or wrong?

I am 18, graduated high school last spring and am now looking for a job. For me personally, I believe going into college using someone else’s money is wrong. It is my preference to earn enough money to enter a trade school of my choice without needing debt solutions. My aunt suggests I get a loan from my grandpa, but even then, I have debt. There are certain things I do not want to deal with at this point in my life. I would rather have the means to rely on myself. I believe that I should enjoy the little things. There are more important things than brushing my hair in the morning. Sometimes, it may be drinking coffee, watching the sunrise, or simply dressing and running to wish my neighbors good luck on the first of a new month. I water my plants every day. I enjoy what I have. I take time to enjoy my connection with Mother Earth.

I realize to some people that this may be the wrong way to go about my faith. However, I also told my friend that calling myself Pagan, to me, would be like calling myself Christian. There are many different facets to each religion. If I were a Christian, I could go more in depth and say I belonged to the Baptists, or that I was Episcopalian. I am not, as it happens. I claim to be Pagan because I am not yet sure of my choice of where to go on my spiritual path. I am also unsure of what I want to do in life.

I believe there are simple principles imbedded in the Pagan practice that I have tried to honor for my entire life. We must love, honor, and respect others regardless of what their belief is. It is best to live naturally. We must not harm others, regardless of our feelings toward them. If others discriminate, we should not sink to their level. We are better than that. We share a love of all things in nature and we worship that which enables to live and prosper.

I honor my Mother. I honor my Father. Both biological and spiritual. I love my neighbors. I love myself. I honor my Elders, but I also believe you have to earn my respect and attention to get it. I try to live in the best way I can. I try to love even those who do me wrong, because they show me exactly what I do not want to be.

I wrote a poem for one of my friend’s birthday. I put in what I thought she could use in her future, things I myself wish to live by.

Never regret the mistakes you have made
But never forget, or you’ll trip on your blade
Always know, you are never alone
Even when you’re lost, you always have home
Good people with good hearts are far between few
Always aim sharp, always aim true
Whether or not you can witness the fight
Fight for what you believe with all your might
Know that a moment comes only one time
Soak in the moment before the clock strikes and bells chime
Try to live each moment in grace
Those you hate, you should try to embrace
For they show you who you ought not to be
And that is a gift, to the highest degree
Do not get mad if a beggar can’t help you
They may be more in need, so bid him adieu
If possible, speak in whispers, and listen when you can
An inadvertent learning is most precious and most grand
And finally, never stumble on a grain of sand
But hold the world in the palm of your hand
You are a Goddess, and if you try, you’ll always win
The courage of a Goddess always comes from within

Forgive me if I am wrong, but for me, I am not.

Church Envy

Church Envy

Author: Arion The Blue

I live in the Bible Belt, and it’s hard to throw a stick without hitting at least a couple of churches. Christians take their religion seriously, here, and in some rural parts of my state it isn’t unusual for the devout to attend church three or four days a week. Sometimes more than one. It seems like any two-bit preacher with a bible and a hat to pass can bootstrap himself into a successful storefront church dispensing the Gospel in neat, affordable, easy-to-swallow bite-sized pieces. Religion, at least Christianity, is an industry in the South as much as it is a spiritual exercise.

Of course I’m Pagan, and so I view these guys with a kind of amused tolerance. Watching a street corner preacher attract enough followers to justify a permanent building is a kind of rite of passage, here, and the lengths to which they’ll go to do that are impressive. Everything from culture-warfare to anti-homosexuality to tent revivals go towards that magical goal: giving the preacher a chance to quit his day-job.

I’m less amused when I see my Pagan coreligionists attempt to do the same thing. For more than twenty years I’ve been listening to a long line of self-appointed Pagan leaders decry our lack of organization and attempt to browbeat the members of this nascent religion into aping the forms and fashions of the dominant religion.

Once upon a time I might have agreed with them, back in my more militant youth. But with age and experience comes Wisdom, if you’ve the wit to realize it, and at this point in my life I feel that what these would-be Pagan bishops are actually suggesting is unhealthy for the development of our religion.

Don’t misunderstand me – the traditional Southern Christian church plays an important role in the community outside of its purely religious functions. In most rural communities churches act as a kind of tribe, a social safety network that looks after the parishioners’ many needs when no one else will. Churches here hold softball tournaments, bake sales, dances (except the Baptists) , concerts, yard sales, and all manner of other social function. People meet their future spouses at these events. When someone’s house burns down, it is the community church to which they turn for solace and support. And they have those big, impressive buildings . . .

When faced with that kind of organized alternative to your happy, whacky Pagan circle or coven, for a certain kind of Pagan a bad case of Church Envy begins to creep in. Maybe you mentioned to a Christian preacher that you, too, are clergy, and had him dismiss your faith and your spiritual vocation out of hand.

Maybe you tried to get your coven listed on the local Interfaith Council and were rejected because you aren’t a “real church” in their eyes. Maybe you just got asked one too many times “So what church do you attend” and were tired of explaining your religious philosophy to someone with no conception of anything but “Baptist or Methodist”. Or maybe you decided to devote your life to Paganism in a big way and simply believe you should get paid the same way that Christian preachers are paid for their work.

The fact of the matter is we aren’t Christians, and we don’t have churches, in the strictest sense. The idea of the church was Christianity’s answer to Paleo-Pagan temples, and the early Church certainly emphasized the church community over the adoration of a particular divinity. Those early churches were known as Meeting Houses, implying the community of believers gathering to hear the Word – and since the vast majority of the believers were illiterate, the only way they could participate in the community was to hear someone read to them.

Eventually the reader became a priest, and the function of the church became more similar to Pagan temples before they destroyed all of the Pagan temples. That position was supported by the contributions of the members, who were conveniently divinely mandated to bring 10% of their earnings to the priest for his maintenance and upkeep. That institutionalized the Christian priesthood and created a professional class of priests whose actual jobs varied from real community support to praying non-stop for the salvation of humanity. You probably know the rest of the story from there.

But there are fundamental differences between Christianity and Neo-Paganism, differences that make “churching up” a poor idea. Again, I’m not attempting to discourage Pagans of all sorts from gathering together however the spirits move them – good community is the bedrock of all successful religions, and it’s never more important than when you’re a minority religion. Indeed, our traditional feelings of oppression from the majority have long encouraged us to gather in small, intimate groups for our religious rituals and instruction – the covens and groves.

But does it necessarily follow that, in order for us to be successful, we parrot the organizational structure and paradigms of Christianity? I think not. Indeed, I believe we lose something very valuable in doing so.

The arguments for institutionalizing the Pagan clergy and leadership usually revolve around a few individuals who see these big churches around them and want to feel competitive. They claim to need manicured temples in which to hold handfastings and wiccanings and requiems. They make a big deal about the inconvenience of buying a lot of camping gear and driving across the country to meet up with fellow Pagans, preferring instead to do so in the luxury of a well-appointed temple with spacious parking and expensive landscaping. The simple coven or grove is not enough for them – not big enough, not organized enough, not impressive enough.

They want more.

They’ve got a bad case of Church Envy, and nothing less than full parity with the older, well-established, well-funded Christian churches will satisfy them.

Worse, they claim that only through Pagan churches can we find our place in the community and serve the greater community at large. Individual efforts, or the efforts of small groups, are disparaged as being pointless and selfish – only by gathering in great numbers, buying buildings, and passing the ubiquitous hat can we affect positive change in our community. They put our coreligionists in decidedly Christian terms: throngs of seekers begging for ministering, as if they were helpless sheep waiting to be spoon-fed their spiritual development by a small group of wise elders (in an air-conditioned facility with a break room and splendidly appointed clergy office, presumably) .

Why can’t we be more like churches, they whine, and why can’t we pay our leadership so that they can lead us properly, instead of mucking about with a day job?

These divinity-school wannabes devoutly want a paid gig, and who can blame them? Christian preachers only “work” one day a week – and Pagan festivals are much further apart. Considering our low population density in even the thickest urban jungles, one would be hard pressed to find 300-400 Pagans of any stripe to even join such an institution, much less subsidize the self-appointed leadership. They seem to have a long list of “services” they’re willing to provide for that fee, some of which have traditionally been performed gratis for the benefit of the Pagan community. Apparently planning a simple Beltaine ritual requires a salary and benefits, in their minds, and should be subsidized. Likewise instruction on tarot, spellcraft, and all the other aspects of our religion that have always been given freely by the Wise.

In their arguments they cite our “ineffectiveness”, without recognizing the basic truths about Paganism: we are not Christians, and our values, goals, and spiritual pursuits do not conform to the Abrahamic Faiths’ structure, physical and metaphysical. Why do we need manicured lawns and pristine buildings for our rituals, when the open sky and green grass serves the purpose so admirably? We are a Nature Religion, and retreating to indoor temples in our quest to commune with Nature is counterintuitive. Why must we pay someone to do our spellwork for us, when the focus of Wicca, Druidism, and the other Pagan traditions has always been on the spiritual development of the individual, guided at need by capable elders (without coin passing hands) ?

Why do some feel compelled to be “taken seriously” by Christian churches, when we all know that at best the recognition will be patronizing, and at worst stir up enmity among the ignorant? It is a hallmark of Wisdom to be true to our own selves, not clamor to be like the religion which most of us fled at first opportunity. Incorporating as a religious organization is simple, in most states, and many of us have done just that to satisfy certain legal or insurance requirements for rituals, take advantage of tax-exempt status, or have a useful paper organization available at need.

But does legal incorporation necessarily mandate that we get buildings, paid clergy, and institute tithing to cover these costs? I don’t believe so. Indeed, I believe that following down that path leads away from Wisdom, and unnecessarily eschews some of the very principals most of us came to Paganism to follow.

Paganism, from Wicca and Druidism onwards, has never been a pay-to-play, fee-for-service religion. It has been a religion about cultivating individual spiritual development, free from the structures and strictures of Christianity and the other Abrahamic faiths. Indeed calling us a “Faith” is itself a misnomer. Faith does not play a central role in our religion, Wisdom does. And compensating our leaders for that which they should be happily willing to give for free defies Wisdom and invites maliciousness into our ranks.

The issue isn’t a High Priestess misappropriating Church funds to buy a new car – it’s establishing an institutionalized clergy in the first place. Paganism is a religion of the clergy – we are all, in most traditions, priestesses and priests of the Old Gods. To choose a few among us to conduct rites on our behalf, or try to teach that which is best learned on our own, or to organize a major event that has traditionally been run on volunteer labor, and pay them for that purpose ignores and defames the essential role of the individual in our religion.

And that volunteerism is critical. While it won’t pay the light bill, buy land or a building, the moon and sun seem pretty reasonably priced, and the public parks and private gardens most of us have traditionally used are a real bargain. Considering it our Paganly duty to contribute towards these things for the benefit of others smacks too much of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker’s pathetic pleas for alms back in the 1980s. Insisting that solitaries and those who don’t care to contribute to the upkeep of a professional clergy are somehow undermining the Pagan religion and stifling its growth and development is disingenuous and hurtful. Most of the Pagans I know are solitaries, and they choose to be so often because they are hesitant about joining an “organized” religion.

If you want some land, get a job, go to work, earn some money and buy some – and if you’re public spirited enough, deed it outright to the non-profit religious organization of your choice. If you want a building, then start a PayPal fund and hold a bake sale. Win the lotto and buy a nemeton. Write and sell a book and donate the proceeds towards it. Have a yard sale. Solicit volunteer donations, perhaps, for a specific purpose. Plenty of us have done that time and again when there is need in the community.

If there really are throngs of eager seekers just begging to get out of our beautiful natural parks and into a majestic, air-conditioned and well-lighted temple, then they’ll be more than happy to fill your coffers full – but I’m not certain that the result would be, in fact, a Pagan one. Time, treasure and talent might be fitting offerings to the Goddess, but personal sacrifice is also demanded from time to time. If you aren’t willing to suffer, you aren’t willing to learn. If you want it so badly, you should find a way to pay for it yourself.

Some tout the great benefit to having a public temple and offering “free” classes and workshops, once they’ve been freed of the responsibility of working for a living. While I respect their dedication to the Craft, I have to wonder about the value of such “free services”. Once you make ministering to the Pagan community a job, then you begin to strip away the value of the pursuit of Wisdom as your vocation.

Everyone gets paid for their job, and once they’ve accepted that coin they’ve also accepted a whole host of other things that go along with having a job – including indifference, clock-watching, medical benefits, labor relations, and the lot.

But a true vocation for the priesthood should be pursued honorably and with a willingness to sacrifice. The efficacy of the ritual of someone who is paid to do it is, in my experience, considerably less than that done by someone who has, themselves, sacrificed their time and treasure (with no hope or expectation of reward or recompense) to perform it.

Pooling resources might make sense in specific instances, but the fact is we don’t have the same needs as other religions, the same values or the same philosophy – so paying for the privilege of “enjoying” the services of those religions seems like a hollow and cynical endeavor. It certainly doesn’t seem like a wise way to advance the Pagan cause. Since most of us provide these “services” to each other without money changing hands anyway, I can’t see this as progress towards anything but making us “Christianity Lite”.

When Pagans in my community are in need, word goes out and stuff gets done by those who take individual responsibility to do it. And that is what lies at the crux of this matter: Responsibility. Once we start paying for our clergy and these so-called clerical services, we cheapen the spirit of individual responsibility and sacrifice that called many of us to the groves and covens in the first place. Once we put a price-tag on such things as devotion, respect, instruction and service, we start down the dark and lonely road of abandoning our individual responsibility – and there are plenty of other churches out there that already offer that “service”.

“Lack of funding” isn’t an obstacle to getting things done; it’s merely a challenge of the moment. If the Gods so will something like a temple to be, then you can bet that the resources will magickally appear.

For those who walk in Wisdom, thus has it always been, and thus shall it always be.