History of Modern Druidism

History of Modern Druidism

Modern Druidism, that is, modern Pagan Druidism, owes a debt of gratitude to the monotheistic fraternal Druid orders that comprise their not-so-direct predecessors. Some of these organizations still exist: many continue today as fraternal orders (much as the Elks Lodge and similar organizations), others have developed into more Pagan groups, as has occurred with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). More groups seem to appear on a regular basis, some lasting only a brief time, others leaving a lasting mark on society.

Probably the oldest purely American Druid Organization is the RDNA (Reformed Druids of North America). Originally, this group seems to have been almost anything but Pagan. However, some offshoots are quite Pagan in nature. The Major offshoots of the RDNA are Ar n’Draiocht Fein and Keltria.

Ar n’Draiocht Fein (ADF) was founded by a former member of RDNA, and at one time boasted the largest “Neo-Pagan” Druidic membership in the United States. ADF strongly advocates the “Indo-European” theories behind their spiritual traditions. Many local congregations maintain a traditional Celtic focus, while others strive to promote Norse, or even Greek, Druid systems.

Partially as a result of this broad spectrum outlook, and partially for other reasons, the Henge of Keltria was formed by members dissatisfied with ADF’s brand of Druidry. Keltria follows a narrower focus, that of purely Celtic origins.

Other Druid Groups and organizations appear to have come forth out of other organizations and other traditions, as well as many which came forth from the love and inspiration of a few devoted members.

The Druid Clan of Dana originated within the Fellowship of Isis. These Druids cling closely to not only Celtic, but also Irish roots and structure.

The Divine Circle of the Sacred Grove (DCSG)is an organization which calls itself Druidic and Pagan, but displays a decidedly eclectic basis. It also claims to have lineage to British Traditional Orders that are decidedly non-pagan fraternal groups. Some of the early history of the organization has some questionable entries, but it is unclear if the organization currently follows such practices.

The American Druidic Church was formed by dissatisfied members of the DCSG, but is little heard of outside of their California community.

The Druidic Association of North America (DANA) is a fledgling organization of Druid groves, based in the New England area. The Grove of the Golden Leaves is the founding and most substantitive of these groups. DANA places a high emphasis on scholarship and study in the traditional disciplines. The Celtic Traditionalist Order of Druids is discussed in depth in another article. While members of CTOD have been, and continue to be, involved in other organizations, CTOD does not claim to be ‘descended’ from any of these groups.

 

Source:

Empathy’s Mystical Occult Site

 

A Little Humor for Your Day – The Lottery

The Lottery

A guy gets home, runs into his house, slams the door and says, “Honey, pack your bags. I won the lottery!”  The wife says, “Wow! That’s great! I’m so happy! Should I pack for the ocean, or should I pack for the mountains?”  


He says, “I don’t care. Just get the hell out!”

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WOTC Special Mini-Series Part 1 – Wheel of the Day

THE WHEEL OF THE DAY

NE – It is just before sunrise. You begin to wake. For a moment you may wonder what day it is or even feel confused about where you are. Your mind is still in an open slate.

EAST – During sunrise or a bit after you are preparing for the day. In your mind you begin to plan. What will you get done this day and how will you do it?

SE – It is mid morning now. As you begin to carry out your plans you demonstrate ‘who you are’ in this day. You choose if you are going to display a positive or negative attitude.

SOUTH – It is noon and early afternoon. You are occupied in the activities of your day. Now is when you carry out your responsibilities to your family and your community.

SW – As your afternoon continues you realize that you cannot get everything done that you planned. You decide what you will do tomorrow. It is a time for finding balance in your day.

WEST – It is evening, The sun goes down. The active part of your day is done. You sit back and evaluate your day considering what went well and what you would do differently next time.

NW – As you retire for the night you gradually let go of thoughts about the day. Your mind becomes more receptive. You may drift between sleep and wakefulness for a while.

NORTH – It is deep in the night now. You sleep and dreams bring renewal that prepare you for the coming dawn when you will begin to travel another wheel of another day.

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Hail & Merry Meet To All Of The WOTC On This Glorious Tuesday Morn’!

Blessed Be Comments
Prayer for Pagan Unity

Dear Eternal Father,
there is so much unrest and disunity
in the world. Help us to embrace
each other and life in peace and
harmony in the Pagan way.
 
Dear Eternal Mother,
we realize there are many different
traditions and paths of faith. Help
us to see past the differences and
unite as one family in total harmony
and love.

So Mote It Be.

 

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The Daily Motivator for February 10th – One little joy

One little joy

A life of happiness and fulfillment is built piece by piece, one little joy  at a time. The moment you’re in is the perfect opportunity to add a little joy  to life.

Even when there’s something big that’s getting you down, you can find  something small to lift you up. Just one little joy can change your outlook in a  big way.

There is a lot of goodness in life, and it’s always good to be reminded of  that. You deserve a little joy right now, so go ahead and give it to  yourself.

While you’re at it, give some joy to those around you. Even a simple, sincere  smile can make a difference, so make wherever you are a more joyful place.

Decide that you’ll find some little way to be joyful, and you can feel the  positive energy flowing in you. Everything you do will be enhanced and improved  when you do it from a perspective of joy.

Add a little joy to life, right now and every chance you get. Those little  joys will quickly add up to a life that’s truly magnificent.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

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The Daily Motivator for February 8th – Start the doing

Start the doing

Don’t be too smart for your own good. Don’t be too critical of your own  work.

Prepare for what you intend to do, and plan how you will do it, but not to  the point of obsession. Sooner rather than later, finish the planning and start  the doing.

Even though you won’t get it perfect, focus all your energy on getting it  done. Even though you may have your doubts, push on through them and keep  going.

Achievement is never clean or linear. Great achievement is messy and  inconvenient, daunting and often quite unpredictable, and it is worth all  that.

You have great achievement within you, today, in this place, using what you  have and what you know. What a shame it would be to never let that unique  achievement see the light of day.

So get busy right now and begin to let it see the light of day, on this day.  You have so much to give to life, and such exquisite fulfillment to savor from  doing so.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

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February 4 – Daily Feast

February 4 – Daily Feast

To stand alone does not mean there is no one else around. It means we are u na tse li dv-u na to tiv hi…. We think for ourselves in an independent way, using our heads rather than our feet. We fit life to us instead of letting it press us into a mold that would not makes us happy. Letting the world dictate to us is being one of the herd that runs – not because it is the right thing to do, but because we think everyone else is doing it, and so must we. Is it the right direction? Refusing to be swept along with every trend is cultivating our inner awareness of right and wrong. Awareness is there within us, but we have to hear it and heed it. This is why we were given intelligence – to stand alone so that we may have something to offer when someone else needs us.

~ Too many misinterpretations have been made….too many misunderstandings…. ~

CHIEF JOSEPH

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

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Daily Motivator for February 4th – No need for frustration

No need for frustration

Frustration is a painful, debilitating feeling that can often cause you to do  things you’ll regret. So choose to quickly let it go.

Frustration, as automatic and overpowering as it may seem, is a choice. And  you can always make a different choice.

The habit of reacting in frustration is just that, a habit. Like any other  habit you’ve developed, you can get rid of it when you choose.

Yes, life regularly presents you with difficult dilemmas for which  frustration is a perfectly understandable reaction. Other than grabbing your  attention, however, your frustration never does accomplish much.

So once you’re aware of the frustrating situation, make the choice to find a  more useful, effective response. Step back from the desire for instant drama,  and work on creating some long-term positive results.

Channel the high-powered energy of frustration into intentional, focused,  positive action. Give yourself the option to act effectively and appropriately,  and you’ll find you have no need for frustration.

— Ralph Marston

Daily Motivator

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Daily Motivator for Jan. 29th – Do this day right

Do this day right

Do this day right by getting it off to a good start. Do this day right by  giving it a meaningful, positive purpose.

You have precisely one opportunity to discover and to live the unique value  of this day. Get started on it right now.

Get started strong, and keep going with enthusiasm and love for the  possibilities. Decide that you will do something truly great with this day, and  then enjoy doing it.

Remember that every moment is a choice, and all those choices add together to  determine the quality of your day. Choose wisely, choose intentionally, and  choose to add great richness and meaning to your world today.

The immense value of this day is yours right now. Make good and purposeful  use of it so that tomorrow you’ll have no regrets.

Do this day right by living it with love, joy and authenticity. Do this day  right by bringing its outstanding possibilities fully to life.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

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Witchcraft, Ethics and the Role of Animals in Society

Witchcraft, Ethics and the Role of Animals in Society

Author:   Skye of the Hallowed Grove 

Witchcraft is more than a religion; it is a magickal way of life that encourages living with compassion and tolerance toward all of Earth’s creatures and working to heal and protect the environment as well as ourselves. We acknowledge that we are part of the great web of life, and this interconnection extends to all beings.

Our daily lives are intertwined with not only other human beings, but with the animal kingdom and the Land as well. Without this relationship to animals and the Land, our civilization would not exist as we know it. As Witches, it is our moral obligation as protectors of our planet to speak out against injustices towards other living things and our environment.

The Role of Animals In Society

In the pre-history of civilization, our ancestors were nomadic hunters and gatherers. As agriculture and the domestication of animals developed, small clans were able to merge into larger communities. Domesticated animals played an essential role in these communities, providing labor in the fields, meat and milk for the table, and skins for protection against the elements. The herds were protected and cherished, because man’s survival was dependant upon them. In the warmer months, crops were plentiful but in the harsh Winter months, the fields were fallow and communities relied heavily on meat and animal products to sustain them until the next growing season. The history of Imbolc is a classic example of the reliance on ewe’s milk for survival during Winter.

When animals were slaughtered for food it was done with great respect for the life taken. Many cultures would offer prayers of gratitude to the spirit of the animal. Ritual animal sacrifice was not uncommon during this period. These sacrifices were not senseless acts of violence but reverent ceremonies where the most prized and valued animals were offered to deity in exchange for something considered as having higher value – namely, favors and blessings for the community’s prosperity and well-being. These animals were extremely well cared for, as only “perfect specimens” could be sacrificed.

The method of sacrifice required a quick and humane slaughter (which was most likely far less traumatic than methods used in commercial slaughter today) . If the animal cried out, flinched or otherwise showed fear (“unwillingness”) , the sacrifice was considered null and void.

We won’t argue that throughout the history of mankind, some ancient civilizations were notorious for animal mistreatment, much of which was purely for sport. However, rural communities for the most part, were much more concerned with the welfare of their livestock.

Centuries passed and communities grew larger as human populations increased. Beginning in the eighteenth century, agriculture made improvements in farming techniques, which allowed for improved yields, which in turn supported the urbanization of the population during the Industrial Revolution. People migrated from the countryside and moved into large cities, distancing themselves from the Land that sustained them.

In the late nineteenth century, there was a movement towards mass production in industry, causing another surge in urban settlement. This again meant more people to feed, with fewer farmers to supply the food. As a result, the agricultural industry had to begin adopting the same mass production techniques that lead to the demand for more food. At this point in history, meat and animal products were not only considered a necessity for health and survival, but also an economic commodity.

Factory Farms and Animals

To meet ever-increasing demands for animal products, factory farms began to emerge. The first animals to be factory farmed were chickens. The discovery of vitamins and their role in animal nutrition, in the first two decades of the twentieth century, led to vitamin supplements, which in 1920s America allowed chickens to be raised indoors. In 1960’s America, pigs and cows began to be raised on factory farms. This innovation then spread to Western Europe.

The concept of the family farm, where animals had pasture to graze and room to exercise their natural behaviors, gave way to large-scale commercial operations whose sole purpose was mass production of meat and animal products. The well-being of the animals was no longer a priority. Family farms simply could not compete economically with these factories.

Today, there are now nearly five million fewer farms in the U.S. than there were in the 1930’s. Of the two million remaining farms, only 565, 000 are family operations. (1.)

Yes, the government now imposes rules and guidelines for factory farms to follow, but the sheer volume and speed at which animals are processed makes these rules difficult to enforce, and the result is extreme suffering for the animals. The factory workers themselves often become desensitized to the violence and suffering they witness and inflict on a day-to-day basis.

We find it rather ironic that society today shudders at the thought of ritual animal sacrifice in ancient cultures, when the widespread exploitation and inhumane treatment of animals in modern society is met with such indifference.

Disregard for factory farm animals persists because few realize the ways in which these animals are mistreated, and even fewer actually witness the abuse. Once aware, most Witches are appalled, not only because they support animal rights, but because they also know that animals feel pain and that morally decent human beings should try to prevent pain whenever possible.

Most of us are also completely unaware that the dairy and egg industry also contribute to an enormous amount of exploitation and suffering. Everyone should have an understanding of where their food comes from and how it was handled from farm to table. Earthlings and Food Inc. are two excellent documentaries that chronicle man’s relationship to animals and the animal farming industry.

Factory Farms and the Environment

The livestock from factory farms are major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, which are thought to be responsible for global warming. They are also major contributors of ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems. The term “livestock” refers to all farmed animals, including pigs, birds raised for meat, egg-laying hens, and dairy cows.

Livestock are also key players in increased water use, accounting for over 8% of global water use, mostly for the irrigation of feed crops. Factory farms are probably the largest source of water pollution, contributing to “dead” zones in coastal areas, destruction of coral reefs, human health problems and the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The major sources of pollution are from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures. (2.)

Thankfully, with the renewed interest in organic farming and agricultural sustainability, family farms are beginning to make a comeback. I’m sure most Witches would agree that this is at least a step in the right direction for ensuring better conditions for farm animals and the Earth as well.

Every Life Counts

Regarding other sentient beings as objects or property for the sole purpose of serving mankind is ethically questionable. So is attaching a value to the life of other species based on their differences from humans. This is known as speciesism, which is a form of prejudice and discrimination against non-humans. A double standard also exists in society regarding the preferential treatment of pets and the inconsequential treatment of farm and laboratory animals. If anything, we owe farm and laboratory animals a great deal of gratitude for their service to humanity.

The mainstream religious view is that animals were put on this Earth to serve mankind. This view may also be shared by some Pagan belief systems. A common theme in defending speciesism is the argument that humans “have the right to compete with and exploit other species to preserve and protect the human species”. Witches should examine these statements before accepting them outright.

Witchcraft, as a religion, does not take an ethical stance on whether slaughter and the consumption or use of animal products is morally right or wrong. Witchcraft does however, object to the exploitation, disrespect and inhumane treatment of the Earth and Her creatures. We realize that Witches may have differing views regarding the role animals play in our lives, but animal mistreatment is unacceptable no matter what view you support. Of course, it is up to the individual Witch to ultimately decide for themselves what is morally right and what is wrong.

Witches have always believed in our interconnection with all of creation (both physical and spiritual) , and with new insights into quantum mechanics, science is now suggesting that this interaction of energy and matter occurs at the sub-atomic level and perhaps even beyond into levels of pure consciousness. In light of this new paradigm, do we really want to be consuming fear, pain and unimaginable suffering, or even supporting it on any level? If we know what is going on, and we continue to do so, aren’t we just as morally accountable as the individuals who are inflicting such suffering? Animal exploitation and cruelty doesn’t just apply to the food industry, it extends to the clothing, pet and entertainment industries as well.

Do your karma a favor and do not support these industries, and educate others about these issues as well. Reducing (or ultimately eliminating) our consumption or use of animal products, and/or purchasing organic and local food when possible, is a realistic and attainable goal for anyone who is willing to commit to it. We may not be able to stop the abuse completely, but together we can all make a difference in reducing the suffering of animals and the destruction of our planet.

Veganism, The Compassionate Choice

Fortunately, with all the technological advancements in agriculture, a better understanding of nutrition and supplementation, and a wider variety of organic and plant-based food options available, consumption of animal products is no longer a necessity for health or survival. Individuals can now make an alternative choice as to how they wish to nourish themselves.

Strict vegetarianism, or veganism, as it is more commonly known, is a lifestyle option for modern Witches who are concerned with animal rights and animal welfare; the ethics of factory farming; the environmental and social benefits of organic farming and agricultural sustainability; and holistic wellness. Veganism promotes the health and well-being of both the individual and the planet.

For Witches who embrace a vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons, this could be considered as taking the “harm none” concept of the Rede to the next level. In this context, the Rede might be literally understood as meaning: do not cause intentional harm to anyone or anything and, to the best of your ability, avoid participation in the intentional harm of anyone or anything. “Harm none” basically refers to the intent, and under these circumstances the intent would be the reduction of suffering and the preservation of life.

There’s no doubt that veganism can be a challenge initially. It involves a complete lifestyle change and this change can be overwhelming for some. But it is not an impossible or difficult lifestyle and with time it becomes second nature. It does, however, require education, commitment and practice.

Witches work very hard at taking ultimate responsibility and control over their own lives and this can be an excellent exercise in self-empowerment, as well as a magickal and very rewarding experience. This is the essence of magick – causing change in conformity with Will.

________________________________

Footnotes:
1. sustainabletable.org
2. veganoutreach.org

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The Daily Motivator for Jan. 27th – Making the effort

Making the effort

When you don’t feel like making the effort, the thing that will help you more  than anything else is to go ahead and make that effort. Even when you are too  tired or too bored, too distracted or too dismayed, the way out is to get busy  and put forth effort.

Wishing for things to be better won’t make things better. What will make  things better is taking positive, focused action.

Making excuses won’t make things right. The way forward is to make a real  difference by making a real effort.

Just because it’s difficult, uncomfortable and inconvenient, doesn’t mean  it’s impossible. You have what it takes to take effective action, and that is a  powerfully positive thing to do.

Instead of wasting your priceless time with procrastination, make good use of  the time that’s now yours. Spend that time making a meaningful difference.

What you get out of life depends on what you get out of yourself. Make the  effort, again and again, and give much more beautiful and meaningful life to all  of life.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

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Wiccan Atheists and Agnostics

Wiccan Atheists and Agnostics


BellaOnline’s Wicca Editor

Can Wiccans also be atheists or agnostics? This may seem a strange question because the worship of the Lord and Lady is so central to many Wiccans’ daily spiritual practice. But the short answer is yes. It is possible to concentrate on the cultural aspects of Wicca rather than its religious concepts.

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, the definition of atheism is, “1. archaic: Ungodliness, Wickedness 2a: a disbelief in the existence of deity, b: the doctrine that there is no deity.” And, from the same source, here is the definition of agnostic: “1: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and prob. unknowable; broadly: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god.”

Atheists do not believe in deities. Agnostics believe that there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of deities. But that does not necessarily mean that atheists and agnostics limit their curiosity only to those phenomena currently verifiable by science. Sometimes it takes the scientific method awhile to explain things that previously seemed like magic such as the laws of gravity, solar eclipses, electricity, hypnosis, and acupuncture. An atheist might not believe in the existence of gods, but she might acknowledge flows of electromagnetic energy that make up the universe. She might keep an open mind about an individual’s ability to influence energy by honing intent through ceremony, which is another way to describe witchcraft.

Atheists or agnostics might believe in witchcraft but not in gods. Maybe they feel strongly that the universe invented itself to its own pattern – which includes the ability of individuals to influence the flows of energy through witchcraft – but the universe itself is not a sentient being that requires worship. Or maybe they believe that everything in the universe is randomly generated, including witchcraft. There are also Deists (not atheists or agnostics) who believe that a deity or deities existed long enough to create the universe and its energy flows, but then ceased to exist and left us all to our own devices.

A Wiccan atheist or agnostic might recognize no higher power than his own moral code. And he might see his moral code and experience as sufficient to guide him through the practice of any skill from accounting to knitting to witchcraft. This type of Wiccan is the opposite of the Wiccan I described in a previous article who is not interested in practicing witchcraft, but seeks only to worship deity.

Another type of Wiccan atheist or agnostic disbelieves in deity AND witchcraft, but finds a strong identity in Wiccan cultural concepts. This might include reverence for nature, a heightened awareness of environmental issues, attraction to Celtic and Anglo-Saxon history, and an affinity for seeking balance and symmetry between the male and female energies present within each of us.

This type of Wiccan is similar to a secular Jew such as J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb, who was an atheist and a scientist, but culturally Jewish. A secular Wiccan might not be interested in practicing witchcraft, and might observe the festivals of the Wheel of the Year mainly as a way to enjoy and connect with the ancient harvest rituals and not as a religious observance. So, as you can see, there is much diversity in what it means to be a Wiccan, which means that our cultural and religious identity has the potential for broad horizons if we can accept our differences.

BellaOnline

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Power Animals

Power Animals

A power animal, is a broadly animistic and shamanic concept that has entered the English language from Anthropology, Ethnography and Sociology. A tutelary spirit guides, helps or protects individuals, lineages and nations. In the shamanic worldview, everything is alive, bearing an inherent virtue, power and wisdom. Power animals represent a person’s connection to all life, their qualities of character, and their power.

Power animals are endemic to shamanic practice in both Eurasia and the Americas. They are the helping or ministering spirit or familiar which empowers individuals and is essential for success in any venture undertaken.

In the shamanic worldview, everyone has power animals or tutelary spirits which empower and protect them from harm, like guardian spirits or angels in the Abrahamic Traditions. The power animal may also lend its ward or charge the wisdom or attributes of its kind. For example, a hawk power animal provides hawk attributes, such as hawk-eye.

Power animals most often come to us in dreams, meditations, initiations, and visions.  You can have more than one power animal.  Your power animal at a given time can change depending on your life-path at that time.  Power animals are often attracted by one’s emotional needs of the person – viewed as protectors who help overcome fears and empower us.

The concept of a Power Animal is universal to all cultures. Tribal cultures  will recognize a Totem for the tribe, one for the clan one belongs to,  and one for the family that one is born into. In the United States, and  in other countries, the Tribal and Clan Totem still exists, although it  is thought of in a slightly different manner.

There are also totems for our adopted cultures, such as clubs or societies which we may belong  to, such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Loyal Order  of Moose, and the Lions Club.

Even Christianity, the prevalent religion  of this country, has maintained two Totem animals, these being the Fish  and the Lamb. Specialized Totems are also seen in organized sports, their  names being reflected in the team names. Example: Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Falcons

The next type of Power Animal or Totem is that which is personal for  the individual. These Totems are protective spirits which help us in our  everyday life. Everyone has such a Totem. Even today most parents give  a special protective Power Animal to their children and tell the child  that it will be protected over night by that Power Animal. They don’t realize that is what they are doing when they give a teddy bear to their little one.

We often unconsciously recognize the Power Animal affecting someone, and use terms which give away our unconscious recognition.

In the shamanic belief every thing is alive and carries with it power and wisdom.  Power animals are an essential component of shamanic practice.  They are the helping spirit which add to the power of the shaman and are essential for success in any venture undertaken by the shaman.

Shamans believe that everyone has power animals – animal spirits which reside with each individual adding to their power and protecting them from illness, acting similarly to a guardian angel.  Each power animal that you have increases your power so that illnesses or negative energy cannot enter your body.  The spirit also lends you the wisdom of its kind.  A hawk spirit will give you hawk wisdom, and lend you some of the attributes of hawk.

Everyone is thought to have a few of these guardian power animals or it is thought that the individual could not survive childhood.  Over the course of her or his life the person may have several.  If a power animal leaves and one does not come to take its place the individual is considered, by the shaman, to be disempowered and therefore vulnerable to illness and bad luck.

Power animals do not have to be mammals and can be reptiles, insects or sea creatures.  Any living creature can serve as a power animal.  (Plants and trees can serve as plant spirit guides.) Domesticated animals are generally not considered power animals because they already in service to human beings.  It is possible to have a domesticated animal, but it is more likely to have a wild untamed animal serve in the capacity of a power animal.

The gifts that a particular animal is thought to give an individual varies depending on the culture.  Although there are certain consistencies for certain animals.  A particular power animal can come to help you with an issue that is very specific for you.  It is important not to lock each animal into a category, and be open to the gifts it may be coming to share with you.

It is important to honor your power animal.  In many western cultures we are not taught to value animals or the gifts that they add to our life and the world around us.  In shamanic work the power animal is essential, for a shaman who has no power – is not going to have very good results.

On a personal level by honoring your power animal you let it know that its assistance is appreciated.  The spirit of the animal is giving up its mobility in order to spend its time with you and assist you with your life.  Also, by honoring the power animal we make a deeper connection with it.  Honoring it can be as simple a saying a thank you inside yourself, or getting an object which represents it and putting it where you can see it as you go about your day.

Shamanic practice honors and acknowledges the life and wisdom that exists in all things.  Everything is believed to have something to teach you and animals are thought to have a wealth of wisdom and protection to offer you.

If you would like to find out who your power animal is, consulting a shamanic practitioner is an option.  But to discover this on you own, you can ask for a dream and see if anything comes up. You can ask the power animal to show itself to you and if you start seeing one or another animal frequently that would be its way of revealing itself to you.

Power Animals are usually a reflection of your deepest self and also represent qualities which you need in this world, but which are often hidden or obscured. A mistake that people often make is to be dissatisfied when they find that their Power Animal is some non-ferocious animal like  a mouse. We tend to think that a mouse is not very powerful – that it  is meek and afraid. What they forget is that spirits are not limited to  physical reality and that size is irrelevant. Your Power Animal may be  a tiny mouse, but in times of need this mouse can and will change its size  and deportment to that which is appropriate to the occasion.

Source:
Crystalinks

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The Daily Motivator for Jan. 9th – Stop waiting

Stop waiting

Don’t wait to be inspired. Get busy, and find your inspiration in making  something good and useful happen.

Don’t wait for the moment to be right. Go ahead and make the moment right by  what you do with it.

If you wish for fortune to shine upon you, give it a good reason to do so.  The reliable way to be lucky is to make your own luck with your own efforts.

The way to get what you want is not to beg for it or hope for it or demand  it. The way to get what you want is to do what you must to make it happen.

You know that, so go ahead and put your knowledge to good use. Feel the  irreplaceable satisfaction that comes from being master of your own fate.

Stop waiting for life to be the way you want. Start doing all you can to make  it great.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

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Pagan Doers – How To Get Things Done

Pagan Doers – How To Get Things Done

Author:   Sia@FullCircle   
There has been a lot of talk in our community lately about what our Pagan Leaders do for us (and in some cases, to us). But I’m not going to speak on that subject, because the folks here at Full Circle are not Leaders, we’re Doers.
Doers make things happen and their actions light the way for those that wish to follow their example. Full Circle lights the way by organizing events for the Earth Wise Community as a whole. Those who want to join us, show up and get to work. Our volunteers have a say in what we do and how we do it. Those who simply want to attend our events, do that. The latter vote with their feet and with their pocketbooks and we think that’s fair.
What we do here at Full Circle is done at a grass roots level. We work in and for the community. You have a chance to meet and talk to any of us whenever you attend or work on one of our events. You also have the power to help our organization grow and to make a difference in your community.
Full Circle was started by two women with a vision of a Pagan Event Group that was non-denominational and community based. We were committed to networking and to charity work and we wanted this organization to reflect that. We also wanted to create a group that was family friendly but offered adult only events, as well. Finally, we wanted to do Inter-faith work because we wanted to meet people of like mind who cared for Mama Gaia and respected Earth Wise Spirituality. And so we began the work of creating Full Circle. We were later joined by some marvelous men who helped us make this vision into a reality.
I occasionally hear stories that paint Full Circle as some huge organization with deep pockets and a vast network of volunteers. The stories are born, in part, because we do complex events, like M.U.S.E Camp and The Witches Ball, rather well. Would that these stories were true. The money that funds Full Circle comes from several of our Council members. We are not rich and we have families to support, so this was cause for some nail biting on our part. Happily, we have managed to end every year in the black. As for our volunteers, they are few in number, but highly organized, extremely competent, and very dedicated.
The Council members and our Web Builder put in a lot of volunteer time for Full Circle. This is added to the time we spend at our jobs and with our families. Over time, we’ve found others who share the vision and, equally important, they are people who share our work ethic. While we would never ask our volunteers to work the insane kinds of hours we put in (we’re twisted, we freely admit it) we do ask them to follow through on the things they commit to do. We have been wonderfully surprised at the results. We always knew in our hearts that responsible Pagans were out there and they’ve proved that to us. We also knew that the other kind were out there, and sure enough, they’ve taken on projects only to “flake” and let us down. Thankfully, that has happened only a few times and we’ve always been able to regroup, so it has never hurt the quality of our events.
Yet, even responsible and dedicated people can get hit by what our Chief of Operations calls “The Cosmic Twinkie Truck”. For this reason, we try to train two people for any one position, just in case. It is not unlike the apprentice programs you’ll find in the various guilds or in the martial arts. By training up those who will replace us, we insure that our people won’t burn out and that our work will go on after we’re gone. Otherwise, we ‘ll have nurtured nothing more than a Cult of Personality and that’s not what we’re about.
But how do you find people with whom you can share both authority and responsibility? We do that by working with our volunteers over a period of time. We get to know their skills and their areas of interest. When they have shown us that they are committed and capable, then we ask if they’d like to do more. If they say “yes”, they are given more responsibility. We try to give them work to do that excites them because people with a passion can move mountains. At the same time, we make sure that the folks who do the dull jobs get first pick when something fun comes around. In this way, we find the Doers: the people who have the time, commitment, skills, and resources to make things happen. For example, acting Chairs from two of last year’s events were asked to join the Council this year. Some of last years’ volunteers were asked to act as Chairs of Committees. Some members have now become very active volunteers on certain committees. Members of other Pagan groups have since signed up to work on special projects with us for next year. We believe that by doing this work in an organized fashion we are building something of value for all Pagans.
We’re blessed here and we know it. Very often, the people we’ve needed have miraculously appeared and they’ve done a stellar job. As for the few people who’ve let us down … well, what can you do? Flaky people are everywhere, not just in the Pagan community. Alas, they are often the most charming and enthusiastic people we encounter. The so-called “Flake Factor” is the reason why most non-profit groups don’t hand important responsibilities over to untried volunteers. You see, we’ve all been disappointed too many times to take anyone on at face value. Don’t let that worry you though, you will find a welcome here. We don’t pre-judge anyone but we do pay close attention. What you say is not as important as what you do and how well you play with others. If you let us down, we’ll release you with blessings, wave goodbye and wish you well. Then we’ll get on with the work we have on hand.
Some people come to us and want to give us their power. To this we say “Thanks, but no thanks”. None of us want to be Gurus. We believe that being Pagan means accepting responsibility for yourself, your actions and for the quality of your life. We believe that it means claiming your own power and not giving it over to someone else. Ideally, it also means that you use your power to better the world you live in. That’s what Pagan Doers do.
Occasionally, we’ll have someone approach us who wants to pad their “Pagan Resume” and they think that our group might be a good way to do that. These people often want to start at the top and they are disappointed to find that we don’t care very much for titles around here. You may be Lord Duck-a-Muck or a 5th Generation Atlantian or even an Elf-friend. That’s fine; this is California after all, but when you’re here among us, you’re just one of the gang.
For this and other reasons, I ask our people to read books on subjects such as:

  • Active Listening,
  • Positive Confrontation
  • Codependency & Dysfunctional Family Systems
  • Group Dynamics
  • Stress & Anger Management &
  • Effective Management Techniques

We then sit with our volunteers and work out ways of dealing with certain situations. “Praise people very publicly, ” we say, “and correct mistakes privately”. “Don’t spread gossip”. “Listen more then you talk”. “Remember” , we say, “to place principals before personalities.” And most importantly, “Fight fair when you disagree and treat each other with respect.”
Not everyone has these tools placed in their toolbox during childhood. Some of us have to add them in as adults. I know many Pagans who can claim to have 50 books on ritual techniques in their library but they don’t own a single book on conflict resolution. I believe that this is one reason why so many Pagan groups don’t last.
We’re an eclectic bunch, we Pagans, so that means we need to listen to as many different voices as possible if we want to serve our community. We have people in positions of responsibility that are Gay, Lesbian, Straight, or Bi-sexual. Some of our folks are in monogamous relationships, some live the single life, and some are in polyamorous households. Some have children and some do not. Overall, we encompass a wide range of Paths and Traditions. Our backgrounds, ages and life experience vary widely. We also do inter-faith work, as I’ve said, and I’m proud to say that we have Jewish folks, Buddhists, New Age Thinkers, Christians, and Secular Humanists working right alongside of us. Some of these people attend our events, some are involved in groups we sponsor, some serve in Operations, and some work on various committees. All are valued for their greatness of heart and for their many skills.
When we do use a title such as “Leader” we have a wyrd way of defining it. A “Leader” at Full Circle is the one you see doing the donkey work. This comes as a shock to some people. We’ve had folks approach us who want to have all the “fun” of leading, that is, they want to pick and choose all the interesting tasks for themselves and they want to have other people do the dull and boring jobs. Other types think that leading means telling other people what to do and doing nothing at all themselves. Here at Full Circle we think differently. We think that being in charge of something means that you do the most work of anyone in your group. It means you’re the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. You do whatever needs doing. If that means you clean the toilets before an event, then so be it. Don’t laugh, I’ ve done that. The closest I’ve ever gotten to holding a Staff of Office is that toilet brush. So it goes.
Often people come to us and say “You should do THIS!” (“And with what army?” I think to myself). What I reply to them, though, is this: “That’s a great idea! Now, how are you going to make that happen?” I even have a form for them to fill out. (1) . It asks for details, schedules, budgets, fund raising ideas, and a list of likely volunteers for said project. Ninety-nine people out of a hundred shake their heads and walk away. But sometimes that one special person approaches us and says “I’d like to see this happen and here’s what I can do to help”. That person usually ends up on a Committee. And then, Goddess help them, because they are now a Pagan Doer. As such, their goal will be, as our motto states, to “Honor the past, celebrate the present and create the future”.
Wishing you strength, laughter and good company,
Sia
(1) Oh, yes I do! How do you think I’ve survived this long?
Bio: Sia recently completed a two year term on the Board of Directors of the Wildlife Rescue Effort. Overall, she has worked with a total of 5 different non-profit groups on a variety of social & educational issues. She has over 15 years of experience working behind the scenes at a variety of conventions and gatherings; mostly in the Neo-Pagan, Science Fiction and Feminist communities. Her academic background is in English Literature, with an emphasis on Women’s Studies and Art History.
She practices in a Green Tradition and is active in several Ritual Circles in Silicon Valley and in Santa Cruz. For the last 6 years she has presented lectures and led workshops on such topics as wildlife preservation, conflict resolution and Neo-Paganism.
Sia is the Owner of Snapdragon Gifts (www.snapdragongifts.com). She lives with her husband and 4 cats in Santa Clara, California. In her spare time, she gardens and works as a volunteer Rehabilitator for various wildlife and cat rescue groups. She is currently writing a book on the use of humor in Ritual.
Photo credit: The amazing image above comes from the Fairy Oracle by Brian Froud mnd is used by permission. Other images by Brian can be viewed at www.worldoffroud.com


   Author’s Note: If you have enjoyed reading this piece, I would ask the you help support the Witches Voice in their efforts to celebrate and support the Pagan community by becoming a Witchvox Sponsor. They rely on our support to keep this non-profit website up and running, so please, do your part to help our community and send them a donation. With thanks, Sia

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