Your Charm for Friday, May 29th is Aries the Ram

Your Charm for Today

Aries the Ram

Today’s Meaning:
This aspect of your life will be strongly influenced by a person who is adventurous, energetic, pioneering, courageous, enthusiastic, confident, dynamic and quick-witted. This person is probably someone you already know and respect.

General Description:
First sign of the Zodiac, March 21st to April 20th. Mars the ruling planet, and Iron the correct metal. Those born under the influence of Aries were supposed to be brave, ambitious, optimistic, confident, and fond of adventure. The Aries gems are the Diamond, Jasper, and blood stone. The Diamond was always regarded with much veneration in olden times, and was worn to make its wearer bold and daring. Napoleon Bonaparte had the celebrated Regent or Pitt Diamond (136 carats, valued at about 500,000 lbs) set in the hilt of his sword. At one time it was believed that the wearing of very large diamonds brought ill-luck and misfortune on the wearer.

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The Myths of Modern Paganism

The Myths of Modern Paganism

Author: Widsith 

“What’s history? Nothing but a legend on which all agree” – Napoleon Bonaparte.

As the title may suggest, this essay will deal mainly with history, or if I should be more precise, it’ll deal with some prevailing myths and urban legends among the global Neopagan community. I would like, however, to state beforehand that I am no historian of any sort; all I can claim to be is an ardent critic of the way people tend to perceive history. However, if there are any factual errors, I would be more than glad to be notified of them.

History, as opposed to what some may think, is not written in order to teach us of what happened in the past. Frankly, it’s relatively rare to find a history book that has no ulterior motives regarding anything. The reason for that, as I believe you all know, is that history was recorded mostly by those who managed to survive it. Thus it is not uncommon to find alterations and perversions of facts. You could find that in the Bible as well as in the writings of any notable historian, such as Tacitus or Josephus; it cannot be avoided.

However, I am not here to talk of such alterations, as I will not be discussing the suppression of Pagans by their Monotheistic counterparts, or vice versa. Much had been written and said about this topic without me adding to it. I will however write about some of the modern, Neo-Pagan myths, ranging from the supposed historicity of Wicca to the fictitious Mists of Avalon.

I often hear pagans uttering some statements regarding how old their religion is, and about their traditions being passed down orally for hundreds of years from father to son, or through covens, apprenticeship, etc. Needless to say, many of these claims are fabrications. Most, if not all, of the Western Pagan religions — from which the Wiccans, Asatruars, the Neo-Druids, and many others claim descent — were extinct by the late Middle Ages, if not much earlier. Although there were many aspects from the old religions blended into folklore (which in some cases survived up to modern times) , reconstructing these ancient religions precisely is impossible. I could recount here the history of Christianity and Islam and their bloody wars of destruction against the old religions, however, that would be unnecessary. There’s very little doubt that by the 1900’s, when the Neopagan movement began to surface, other than some old folktales and traditions, nothing remained of the old religions.

However, I see no problem in reconstructing these old religions per se. We’ll just never know for sure if the folk traditions the modern forms are based upon are actually remnants of an old pagan past, or on the contrary, simply modern costuming. My main problem concerns the falsehoods some people spread about Neopagan history. It’s no longer a problem about “who wrote it down”; the problem is that many of these things simply never happened.

Let’s take the Witch craze, for example. I have heard people say that it was basically a campaign by the Church, all for the extermination of an old European Pagan Religion. Of course, this is not true. The Witch craze was not directed against any supposed “witchcraft religion” because there simply wasn’t any witchcraft religion at that time. The entire concept of this supposedly historical religion originated in the 19th century among some anthropologists; however, it was soon discarded until Gerald Gardner picked it up and created the Wiccan Creation Myth.

Then there is the popular concept of an old widespread ‘Goddess religion’. It is true that Pagan cultures had some respect for the feminine aspects however there was no widespread Goddess-worshipping religion. Moreover, the entire concept of a triple Goddess, which encompasses everything (or as I prefer referring to it – the MMC – maiden, mother, crone) , never existed before the advent of Neopaganism (Yes, there were triple Gods and Goddesses, but they were not of the MMC type by all means) . There were some historical cults favoring female deities, however, none of them (from whatever we know of them) seem like their modern counterparts.

And lastly, there is the book, The Mists Of Avalon. When I first read it, I loved it. I truly think that it’s an important book, mainly because of its message. However, seeing the use made of the tale by so many, I felt dismayed at first, and enraged afterwards. The Mists of Avalon, as you all should know, is not history, and they never will be. Morgan Le Fey is likely nothing but a literary figure (although she might have some Pagan origin as the Welsh Modron) , and Avalon was never an island, nor had there been an order of druidesses in Glastonbury Tor. The entire legend connecting Glastonbury Tor with the mythical Avallach originated in the 11th century, when the English were warring with the Welsh, and most of what we know as the Arthurian Saga is the literary creation of Geoffry from Monmouth. Although he did incorporate many old folktales of Arthur in his tales, he had, as many others did on those days, invented parts of his story while claiming them to be older.

There is no problem in people following a religion that is other than yours, as long as they don’t harm other people in the process. The problem is that people choose to distort, and sometimes, even reinvent history in order to justify their religion. Even the oldest of religions were once new, so there’s no need for emerging new ones to fill in their blanks with a fictitious history. However, we still do it. (The answer to the question “why do we rely on mythologies to justify whatever we do?” will not be answered in this essay.)

I will conclude with a simple call for all of you out there: do not distort history. Simply, do not do it. What you’re doing is not presenting the ‘other side’ of history; you are attempting to rewrite it. I beg you, please do some research.

And may the universe bless you all.

The Myths of Modern Paganism

The Myths of Modern Paganism

Author:   Widsith 

“What’s history? Nothing but a legend on which all agree” – Napoleon Bonaparte.

As the title may suggest, this essay will deal mainly with history, or if I should be more precise, it’ll deal with some prevailing myths and urban legends among the global Neopagan community. I would like, however, to state beforehand that I am no historian of any sort; all I can claim to be is an ardent critic of the way people tend to perceive history. However, if there are any factual errors, I would be more than glad to be notified of them.

History, as opposed to what some may think, is not written in order to teach us of what happened in the past. Frankly, it’s relatively rare to find a history book that has no ulterior motives regarding anything. The reason for that, as I believe you all know, is that history was recorded mostly by those who managed to survive it. Thus it is not uncommon to find alterations and perversions of facts. You could find that in the Bible as well as in the writings of any notable historian, such as Tacitus or Josephus; it cannot be avoided.

However, I am not here to talk of such alterations, as I will not be discussing the suppression of Pagans by their Monotheistic counterparts, or vice versa. Much had been written and said about this topic without me adding to it. I will however write about some of the modern, Neo-Pagan myths, ranging from the supposed historicity of Wicca to the fictitious Mists of Avalon.

I often hear pagans uttering some statements regarding how old their religion is, and about their traditions being passed down orally for hundreds of years from father to son, or through covens, apprenticeship, etc. Needless to say, many of these claims are fabrications. Most, if not all, of the Western Pagan religions — from which the Wiccans, Asatruars, the Neo-Druids, and many others claim descent — were extinct by the late Middle Ages, if not much earlier. Although there were many aspects from the old religions blended into folklore (which in some cases survived up to modern times) , reconstructing these ancient religions precisely is impossible. I could recount here the history of Christianity and Islam and their bloody wars of destruction against the old religions, however, that would be unnecessary. There’s very little doubt that by the 1900’s, when the Neopagan movement began to surface, other than some old folktales and traditions, nothing remained of the old religions.

However, I see no problem in reconstructing these old religions per se. We’ll just never know for sure if the folk traditions the modern forms are based upon are actually remnants of an old pagan past, or on the contrary, simply modern costuming. My main problem concerns the falsehoods some people spread about Neopagan history. It’s no longer a problem about “who wrote it down”; the problem is that many of these things simply never happened.

Let’s take the Witch craze, for example. I have heard people say that it was basically a campaign by the Church, all for the extermination of an old European Pagan Religion. Of course, this is not true. The Witch craze was not directed against any supposed “witchcraft religion” because there simply wasn’t any witchcraft religion at that time. The entire concept of this supposedly historical religion originated in the 19th century among some anthropologists; however, it was soon discarded until Gerald Gardner picked it up and created the Wiccan Creation Myth.

Then there is the popular concept of an old widespread ‘Goddess religion’. It is true that Pagan cultures had some respect for the feminine aspects however there was no widespread Goddess-worshipping religion. Moreover, the entire concept of a triple Goddess, which encompasses everything (or as I prefer referring to it – the MMC – maiden, mother, crone) , never existed before the advent of Neopaganism (Yes, there were triple Gods and Goddesses, but they were not of the MMC type by all means) . There were some historical cults favoring female deities, however, none of them (from whatever we know of them) seem like their modern counterparts.

And lastly, there is the book, The Mists Of Avalon. When I first read it, I loved it. I truly think that it’s an important book, mainly because of its message. However, seeing the use made of the tale by so many, I felt dismayed at first, and enraged afterwards. The Mists of Avalon, as you all should know, is not history, and they never will be. Morgan Le Fey is likely nothing but a literary figure (although she might have some Pagan origin as the Welsh Modron) , and Avalon was never an island, nor had there been an order of druidesses in Glastonbury Tor. The entire legend connecting Glastonbury Tor with the mythical Avallach originated in the 11th century, when the English were warring with the Welsh, and most of what we know as the Arthurian Saga is the literary creation of Geoffry from Monmouth. Although he did incorporate many old folktales of Arthur in his tales, he had, as many others did on those days, invented parts of his story while claiming them to be older.

There is no problem in people following a religion that is other than yours, as long as they don’t harm other people in the process. The problem is that people choose to distort, and sometimes, even reinvent history in order to justify their religion. Even the oldest of religions were once new, so there’s no need for emerging new ones to fill in their blanks with a fictitious history. However, we still do it. (The answer to the question “why do we rely on mythologies to justify whatever we do?” will not be answered in this essay.)

I will conclude with a simple call for all of you out there: do not distort history. Simply, do not do it. What you’re doing is not presenting the ‘other side’ of history; you are attempting to rewrite it. I beg you, please do some research.

And may the universe bless you all.

A Look At Today’s Totem/Power Animal, The Cat

A Look At Today’s Totem/Power Animal, The Cat

Perhaps no animal inspires such devotion and dedication-or such animosity and abhorrence-as the cat.

To the ancient Egyptians, the cat was accorded a place of reverence in both the home and the temple. A cemetery containing the mummies of thousands of black cats was unearthed in Egypt.

The popular folk belief that the cat possesses nine lives goes back to Egyptian worship of Bast, the Cat-Mother goddess, who had nine incarnations, including that of the benevolent aspect of Hathor, the Lioness. The Egyptian word for cat was Mau, which is at once an imitation of the cat’s call and the nearly universal human cry for Mama, mother. Cats came to be worshipped with such intensity in those ancient cities along the Nile that the wanton killing of a cat was punishable by death.

Bubastis, a city in Lower Egypt, dedicated itself to the worship of the cat. Each May some 700,000 pilgrims journeyed to the city to participate in a cat festival.

Because the old Egyptians has a great fear of the dark, they observed with awe that the cat, a nocturnal creature, walked the shadowed streets with the greatest of confidence. The ancient Egyptian sages made so much of the cat’s midnight forays they declared that the cat alone was responsible for preventing the world from falling into eternal darkness.

On the other hand, in the old European tradition, the cat was accused of plotting to bring the world into the dark clutches of Satan. The cat, especially a black one, was regarded as the favorite familiar of the practitioners of dark and evil witchcraft. The Grand Inquisitors condemned nearly as many cats to the stake as witches. It is because of this baseless, old ecclesiastical judgement that the sighting of a black cat is said to be and omen of fast-approaching misfortune.

Whether people in the Middle Ages truly believed that the unawavering stare of a cat could cause demonic torments and even their deaths, an unreasoning fearful response to cats is known today as ailurphobia. The very sight of a cat would set Adolf Hitler trembling. Napoleon Bonaparte conquered nearly all of Europe, but if he should sight a cat in his palace, he shouted for help. Henry III of England would faint at the very appearance of a cat.

In ancient India, the cat was held sacred. A number of Sanskrit texts make many favorable references to the influence of the cat on humankind.

In Scandinavian countries, brides used to try their best to be married on Friday, the day of the goddess Freya. If a young woman married on a sunny Friday, it was certain that Freya, the cat-goddess of the Nodic people, would bless the union.

The domestic cat was, of course, unknown to the Native Americans until the advent of the European settler. Because of the creature’s fondness for roaming at night, the Pueblos associated the cat with witchcraft, though this may also have been a result of the Spanish influence on their community.

It the cat is your totem animal, you have a spirit helper who is resourceful, strong, and fearless. You will experience a sense of confidence and a new feeling of courage will suffuse your being. You will find that you are no longer intimidated by any opposition that may be arrayed against you.

With the cat as your totem animal, you will be encouraged to express an agility in body and mind. You will be challanged to explore new vistas. Quite likely you were already a night person before you acquired the cat as your spirit helper, but if not, you will gain a new appreciation for the creative energy that can arrive after midnight.

Your spirit journeys will enable you to maintain a careful balance so that your emphasis on an independent lifestyle and quest for mystical truths do not cause you to develop a taste for the bizarre and occult, which can tempt you to detour from the true spiritual goal of you lifepath.

Dreams

Someone could be seeking your downfall or humiliation in the workplace. Ask the Great Mystery for increased awareness.

Totems

The Transformative Power Of Your Personal Animal Totem

Brad Steiger

ISBN 0-06-251425-3