Goddess Knowledge – Spider Woman

Spider Woman is an important goddess among many south-western Native American tribes. Though occasionally destructive, she is nearly always portrayed as a beneficent, The Keresan Spider Woman created everything there is by thinking, dreaming, or naming; she taught the people how to plant seeds. Cherokee Grandmother spider brought people the sun and fire; she taught them pottery, weaving,m and how to make ceremonial blessings. Spider Woman is responsible for bringing fire among the Pueblo, Tewa, and Kiwa tribes. A spider woman named Bliku, found in the Indian subcontinent, also brought fire and light. For the Hopi, Spider Woman is a creator who helped people during their emergence, created the moon, has the power to give and take life, and is connected to hunting and agriculture.

SPider WOman is a reminder that good comes from everywhere. Even the lowly spider, sometimes dismissed as irrelevant, has the power to create and teach

 

More Information About Goddess Spider Woman

Images of the Goddess Spider Woman

Advertisements

Can There Be Witches That Are Also Christians?

This is a subject that has been hotly debated since Christianity first became an accepted religion and the debate I feel that will never have a definite answer.

Some people believe they can at least partially combine Christianity and Paganism usually by still thinking of Jesus as a  god or because many Christians already worship a triple god “the father, son, holy ghost or spirit” and saints to help them with certain things so jumping to a belief in a Triple Goddess and other goddesses isn’t that big of a jump. Many never call upon other gods than those they already believe in. Mostly the Christians that combine The Craft and Christianity are just bring the feminine divine back into their lives.

I have found over the years that the two were combined very early in the ancient history of religions. For example “In a way, Gnosticism is the best example of Hellenic Syncretism” ( see links below for more information). Another example of Christianity and Paganism crossing over is with two major holidays Easter and Ostara also Christmas and Yule. The early Christians trying to convert pagans purposely put the resurrection of Jesus close to Yule the Pagans celebration of the birth of Odin/the Oak King and the coming of the Maiden or spring time of year. So by putting Jesus birth in the wrong season, the Christians could use it to say something like . “See the son of our God is born now also.”

Let me interject here that it has been scientifically proven that the man known for the last 2056 years, give or take a year or two, as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth or by other names as well was born not born in the winter. There is a debate ongoing in the scientific community over which season and what exact year he was born. (Click the link below for more information) These are not the only holidays that Christians purposely used to convert pagans almost any Sabbat on the Wheel of the Year has a Christian holy day of some sort close to it or even on the same date. (Click on the link below for more information)

I have included a link for YouTube that presents the views of people who say they are Christian WItches.

Now my personal view is how can a person believe that there is a son of God that will cleanse them of all the wrongs they have done to others and/or themselves also believe in the Wicce Rede of “Do as ye will, lest it harm none.” and if you do harm someone with words and/or actions you need to take responsibility for the wrong and apologize or whatever to make what happened a thing of this past and most importantly forgive yourself. We as pagans do not ask a god or goddess to take away our wrongdoings to be free of them we free ourselves of the wrongs we have done. How can a person practice a religion that does not believe in a heaven or hell or satan when that is part of the core of Christianity? Part of the Christian dogma is the 10 commandments of which the first one is “Thou shall have no other God before me.” So does this mean a Christian Witch is breaking one of the main rules of Christianity if they use a different god and/or goddess for a spell and/or ritual? And if they do break the commandment do they ask the son, Jesus, of their one God to forgive them for doing so? Christians are also not supposed to worship idols (which if you go into some of the different denominations of the Christian churches you could see Jesus hanging dead from a cross and other statues of saints. Are they not all ready worshiping idols when they pray to them asking for their help with interceding with God to bring about something in their life? In my personal opinion and also from trying to meld Christianity and Paganism some may be able to justify what they are doing but I could not keep denying the feminine part of the dual nature of the Devine.

I have included in this post a link to a general search on how witches are talked about in all the Christian Bibles. Not one of them is a positive statement toward witchcraft. In fact, all of the passages condemn witchcraft in one way or another. So how can a Christian not follow the book that is supposed to be a guide in how they should live their lives? How can they practice Witchcraft when it is expressly forbidden by the commandments and other passages of the book their faith has been built on?

Some Information About Gnosticism

Some Views on When Jesus was Born

Pagan Holidays Used by Christian for Easier Convergence

Different views on Christians Witches

YouTube Videos on Christian Witches

Biblical View on Witches

I have tried to give you enough information to form your own opinion on whether or not a Christian can also be a Witch that practices Witchcraft. So I would like your viewpoint on whether a person can mix Christianity with Witchcraft/Paganism?

A Meteor Struck the Moon During Sunday’s Total Eclipse

It may be the first time that such an event was documented from Earth

smithsonian.com

The “super blood wolf moon” that lit up the night sky on Sunday marked the rare convergence of three lunar events: the January full moon, known as a “wolf moon,” appeared especially large because it was positioned unusually close to Earth, hence the “super,” and a total lunar eclipse caused the celestial body to glow a deep crimson—or “blood” red, if you will. While this spectacular phenomena was ongoing, yet another special event occurred: a meteor collided with the moon and sparked a powerful flash that could be seen from Earth.

According to Scientific American’s Nadia Drake, this may mark the first time that a meteor strike has been observed during a total lunar eclipse. On the night of the super blood wolf moon, a Reddit user reported seeing the flash on multiple webcasts, and social media was soon filled with images and input from other people who said they caught the meteor collision. Eventually, Jose Maria Madiedo, an astronomer at Spain’s University of Huelva, confirmed on Twitter that the “impact flash has been recorded by telescopes operating in the framework of MIDAS Survey from Europe.

MIDAS, or the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System,

Read more: Meteor Struck Moon

Update on the Sample of Life in The Craft Newsletter

SAMPLE ISSUE DUE to be In YOUR INBOX on March 1, 2019,  or March 2, 2019

Ever wonder why there is not more information about males practicing The Craft or an easier way to find more information about pagan Gods? For answers to these questions and few more articles topics on The Craft. To get the sample issue of Life in The Craft for free simply write to LifeinTheCraft@outlook.com in the body of an email include your email address and a few topics you would like us to consider putting into a future issue of the bi-monthly Life in The Craft newsletter.

Starting with the future full issues the first one id due to be released in May the subscription rate will be either $4.00 USD per issue or $20.00 USD per year (So you get 6 issues for the cost of 5). This newsletter is being jointly published in PDF form by WitchesofTheCraft.com and CovenLife.co. The PDF Form will be delivered directly to your Inbox so this way you can just save it to your computer or print all or just parts of it. The newsletter is copyrighted so you cannot republish it in whole or in part anywhere on the internet; you cannot print copies to give to friends or family without Lady of the Abyss or Lady Beltane’s express permission.

All issues will include information and a ritual for the Sabbat in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres that falls within the two months the issue covers.

We will also have new spells, chants, meditations, guest writers, Non-Fiction reviews for books on The Craft (any subscriber if welcome to submit a book review to be considered for publication) and other topics which will vary from issue to issue. We will also try make sure to keep you informed of any important things happening all across Mother Earth that affects the Pagan community as a whole or the state or country it effects (if you come across anything please send us an email with the link to what you have found). The author that sends in an article, book review, spell, ritual etc lose all rights to whatever they sent in. If accepted for publication the author loses all rights to use the article, spell ritual, etc and it becomes the sole property of Life In The Craft Newsletter.

Remember only the sample issue being released in March 2019 is free without a yearly subscription.

 

Celebrating Legends, Folklore, & Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Justitia’s Day (Themis)

Fantasy in red

January 8th

Justitia’s Day (Themis)

In classical Paganism, the spirit of Justice was feminine. It was believed that the quality of justice depended upon the femi- nine principle of Nature, which had a closer kinship with natura justum (that which is by Nature) than the masculine sex had. It was Themis, the daughter of Uranus and Gaea and advisor to Zeus, who personified law and order. She protected the innocent, punished the guilty, and was considered the Goddess of law, peace, justice and righteousness. Themis carried a set of scales and was present at all feasts, social gatherings, and oath-swearing ceremonies.

Celebrating Other Spirituality, Folklore & Legends 365 Days a Year – Christmas Eve, Christmas, Yule

verliebte Vogelwelt

December 24 and 25

Christmas Eve, Christmas, Yule

It is generally accepted that the birth of Christ on December 24th is the invention of some overzealous authors who were trying to create some sort of symmetry between Paganism and Christianity. According to the late fourth-century Scriptor Syrus, it was the custom of the Pagans to celebrate the birthday of the sun on December 25, at which time they kindled lights in token of festivity. The Christians also participated in these solemnities and revelries. Accordingly, when the administrants of the church observed that the Christians had a preference for the festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day.

The Pagan feast that was replaced by Christmas was of far older origins and may have been built upon the cult of Mithras, who, for the Persians, was the creator of the universe and manifestation of the Creative Logos, or Word. His birth on December 25 was witnessed by shepherds. After many deeds, he held a last supper with his disciples and then returned to heaven. Some believe that, had Christianity not taken hold when it did, Mithraism very well might have become the world religion.

For more that three centuries Christ Mass was a moveable feast, celebrated on the Epiphany (January 6), the day that, according to biblical account, Jesus manifested himself to the Magi. The Western date of December 25 was fixed to coincide with the Roman midwinter festival of the Kalends, which was preceded by seven days of tribute to their God of agriculture, Saturn.

Many of the Yuletide customs we observe today were common to various thanksgiving days and new year’s rites. For example, the hanging of greenery comes from an old ivy-worshiping worshiping cult dating back to the Dionysian revels in ancient Greece; mistletoe was valued-almost worshiped-by the Druids; ids; and gift exchange most likely generated with the Saturnalia. The Christmas tree was introduced by the Prince Albert of Saxony in 1844 and was an adaption of the Paradeisbaum(decorated tree of life) from the medieval drama of the Tannenbaum.

365 Days of Celebrating Legends, Folklore & Spirituality for October 26th – Ludi Victoriae Sullanae

Wiccan Magic

October 26th

Ludi Victoriae Sullanae

The Ludi Victoriae Sullanae were the games held on October 26 to honor the Goddess Victoria. This festival was established in 81 B.C. to celebrate Sulla’s victory over a large army of Sammites at the Porta Collina in Rome.

Victoria was the Goddess of victory, and her temple was on the Palatine Hill in Rome. She was the equivalent of the Greek Goddess Nike and was pictured with wings. Victoria was an important Goddess to the Romans, and she appears regularly on coinage from the late third century B.C. Victoria came to be regarded as the guardian of the empire, and her altar became a symbol of Paganism.

 

A Little Humor for Your Day – You Know Someone Is New to Magick and Paganism

You Know Someone Is New To Magick and Paganism When They Think That…

 

An ATHAME is the gas you use for your grill.

A CENSOR is a drink you mix with alcohol.

ASTRAL PROJECTION is a home-made movie viewer.

A SYMPATHITIC LINK is when you feel sorry because your chain broke.

WICCA is that part of the candle that burns.

APHRODITE is a prehistoric bird.

ARCHETYPES is a kind of building structure.

BLESSED BE is the god of insects.

A BOOK OF SHADOWS contains silhouettes of friends or family members.

A BRAZIER is support wear for women.

CASTING is done with a fishing line, or on a set in Hollywood.

CHARGING is done with a credit card or battery.

The only way to get into a CIRCLE is to have the right of way.

Crystal CLEANSING is done with window cleaner.

CYCLES have to do with your washing machine and when to add fabric softener.

DEMETER is where you put your quarter when you park downtown.

A DOLMAN is a new brand of banana.

HANDFASTING is eating without utensils.

LEY LINES happen at the airport in Hawaii.

PAN is something you fry food in.

A QUARTER is 25 cents and still buys a cup of coffee. (Note: This person is not only new to magick, but they also haven’t been out in a while!)

SKYCLAD is a shade of blue clothing.

A TRAD is a type of geometrical figure.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE is the game show with Vanna White.

How Do Pagans React To Interfaith Relations?

How Do Pagans React To Interfaith Relations?

Author: Silver Faery 

How do interfaith relationships affect our lives? Is the struggle worth it in the end? How can we learn and grow from the people involved in this situation? Those are but a few of the questions that run through my mind.

My main view of an interfaith relationship is with my husband. He is a Satanist, and currently a member of the CoS; he is also in the United States Military, serving to protect our freedoms. He was Pagan when I met him, but over time decided to finally follow what felt right to him, and within the last two years took the path to get him into that area. He views himself as a “God, ” but still won’t deny that there isn’t something out there helping out and guiding. He just won’t worship them anymore. After being in Afghanistan once already, he learned that the Gods don’t really watch and – in his mind – care about humanity. Does this make him “evil” or “damned?” Well it depends on who you ask.

To me as long as he is loyal to his friends and family, truthful, and hard-working; as long as he will help those who he thinks deserves it, and is willing to fight for what he feels is right, I will support him. Though it does get comical at times:

Last year, we had taken our daughter to the park in town. On the way out I happened to notice him talking to a young teenage girl. I walked up beside him…in time to hear her ask him if he was Pagan. He stopped mid-sentence and said, “No, why do you ask?” She pointed to his Baphomet and said it was a Pentacle. He held it up for her to get a closer look. She then realized her mistake and stepped back like he would attack her! He then noticed me standing beside him, looked over and said, “But my wife is Pagan.” I wear a ring with a Pentacle on it, nothing too noticeable, but still there if you know what you are looking at. She didn’t see one around my neck. I showed her my ring. She smiled, and then looked shocked (for lack of a better word). We both get that a lot. She was Pagan; she had pulled her Pentacle out from under her shirt and was hoping to talk to him about Paganism. Obviously she had a lot to learn if she couldn’t understand why a Pagan would be married to someone like that! Then again, it seems to me a lot of people have to learn about Satanism before jumping to the wrong conclusions.

We have talked about how we are going to raise our children. My husband wants them to choose; I want to give them a “base” to compare other religions to. Both of us agree that in the end it will be the kids’ choice on what they want to be. Be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, or Satanist…we have the sources for all.

My group of friends is interesting as well. We are mostly Pagans, but we get Christians and have some good Christian friends that hang out with us as well as Atheists and Satanists. We are also one of the few (and I mean few) Gothic Groups in town. Which at times DOES not help our image any. We amazingly get along well: we all love similar types of music, most of us love to learn, and love to debate. We could care less about how a person was raised, what they believe in, as long as they don’t try to force it on anyone else around us. The Christians in our group are pretty opened-minded. They have no problems with us doing our rituals, just as we have no problems if they go to church. If anything, it makes for some interesting discussions. I have had them ask me questions, questions that most Christians can’t or won’t answer about Paganism. One actually asked me an interesting one. He asked if we could go to confession and get help from a Priest with us being Pagan. I told him no, we are not Catholic, so therefore we could not get help from that Christian denomination. He looked shocked that they would not help. This area is mainly conservative Catholic (which can be rather interesting at times).

I had a friend tell me that he was approached by “friends” when he first started to hang out with us…warning him that the Witches were out to take his soul and send him to Hell! He looked at them and said, “No, not really.” The guy didn’t get it. Finally our friend said, “Well I hang out with them because they are more Christian then you are and most of the people you know!” Something that we all took as an honor (especially from the friend it came from).

I had one friend tell me that his parents told him to stay away from us (after seeing one of us walking on the street). His reply was, “I am in my late 20’s and those are the friends that helped me out when I had to stop drinking! I will not stop being friends because they are Witches and on top of that Goth.” He was an alcoholic and was court-ordered to stop drinking; all of his other friends tried to slip alcohol into his drinks. We were the only ones that supported him, even though we all drink. Amazing how influence gets passed along and support gets remembered at the most interesting times.

We have to worry about people thinking we will curse them or even hex them. That’s a laugh, but there are times we use that to our advantage; it keeps them away from us. Probably not the best idea, but we get desperate at times. Do we ever do anything like that? Nope, but we aren’t going to tell them that. Because they wouldn’t believe us even if we did.

Dealing with Christians in general is interesting. If both sides are willing to listen and learn, you can learn wonderful things from each other. The problem arises when one or both sides don’t want to listen. I think the best time I have ever had in this town was when The Passion came out. For once I had people that were willing to listen and learn what Paganism was. Conversations were about different religions and what makes each one unique and how it improves your life! I just wish that it was like that always, not just because a movie came out…especially a movie that described one faith so strongly. And yes I did go and see it – on opening night actually! That was why I could understand where the people I was talking to were coming from. Just as I once in a while re-read the Bible and other Holy Books, again to keep that basic understanding. As well as why I am on Christian Forums, just as I am on Pagan. I think all religions are valid to the believers and that even though it is not for me, I should at least learn about it, just so I know where the other person is coming from. Being a true Christian is a way of life, just as being a Pagan is a way of life. It is much more than a religion or belief or path: it is what helps us decide on everything we say, do, and live. It should change as we learn and grow. Paganism is more fluid then Christianity ever will be, but if a person follows Christianity, you have to take into account that you might never get them to understand. And hopefully through your and all Pagans actions…you might one day get them to at least admit you are not a bad or evil person because of your beliefs.

Enough with Christianity! I know of some Pagans that are just as set in their ways. You know the Pagans that you run into in a chat room on-line. Those are the ones that call all other Pagans “fluffy-bunny” because they don’t agree with their views of what Wicca or Paganism is. The ones that, if you even think of correcting them, you are iggied on the spot. Those irk me to no end! Why? Because it’s Pagans like them that prove to Christians we are all idiots, just as unwilling to learn about them. It goes both ways people – you go into a room bashing Christianity or Paganism (depending on the main religion of the room) and you are going to get a fight and not find one person willing to listen to you. BUT if a person comes into a Pagan room that is Christian and asks a serious question and is willing to learn, DON’T chase them off; they might actually either help their local Pagans or become Pagan themselves. We don’t recruit, but if someone is interested, it would be in our favor to help them.

Paganism 101: Basics of Pagan Spirituality

Paganism 101: Basics of Pagan Spirituality

Author: Cu Mhorrigan

Introduction:

Paganism has received a lot of attention in recent years with the increased use of the internet, television shows like Charmed, Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, Angel and movies like The Craft, Harry Potter, as well as cartoons like Sabrina the Teen-Aged Witch.

Nowadays, it has become fashionable to announce oneself to be a Pagan, or Neo-Pagan, Wiccan or Witch – especially for teenagers, wishing to attract attention, adults trying to follow the latest fad in spirituality, or just as an excuse to justify weird or aberrant behavior.

However, calling yourself a Pagan is one thing; actually following the spiritual path is something else. It is my hope with this ‘class’ that I might explain in practical terms what it actually means to be a Pagan in our modern age and to assist those who wish to implement the following of this spiritual path.

Definition of the word “Pagan”:

The Word Pagan is derived from the Latin word ‘paganus’, which is loosely translated to mean “of the country”. It should be noted however that the usage of ‘paganus’ within the Roman Empire (Where they spoke Latin. Duh!) was always meant to be a slur meaning “hillbilly, redneck, hick, trailer trash, or white trash”. Much in the same way we would talk about guests on the Jerry Springer Show.

Later, when the Christian faith took over the Roman Empire under Charlemagne, it was used to describe those outside of the Christian faith and those in need of conversion. Not an improvement, because paganus was still pretty much of an insult.

Turning a negative into a positive:

It wasn’t until recently that the term ‘Pagan’ gained a more positive use with the resurgence of Pagan beliefs within the European and American Cultures. Those who sought spirituality closer to that of their “ancestors” adopted it. Eventually, it came to mean ‘those who follow the Old religions’ or ‘those who follow a spiritual path outside of the big three Abrahamic religions’. (What are the big Three Abrahamic religions?)

What DO Pagans Believe?:

An it harm none Do as thou wilt.

Speaking in general terms, Paganism is an earth-centered spirituality, which believes in the sacredness of all things, equality of all persons regardless of gender, sexual, and spiritual and social practices. The practices within Paganism are extremely diverse and open-ended allowing individuals to incorporate whatever rituals and belief systems they feel comfortable with.

Since there is so much diversity within our spiritual path, we stress personal liberty, and responsibility for one’s own actions. That as long as a person does not cause physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual harm to others or himself, he/she is free to pursue one’s physical, mental and spiritual development as he/she sees fit.

Which brings me to my next point: Pagans, in general, do not proselytize! That means you aren’t going to get a call from us at three o’clock in the morning asking us if you are going to ritual or not. There is no High Priestess going around smacking people over the head if they haven’t worked on their Book of Shadows or if they bought the wrong candle for a personal ritual. Aint gonna happen.

Why? We are assuming that if you are here, you want to be here. We’ll give you information, let you know your options, and the rest is up to you. We aren’t going to stand on a street corner and scream at folks for not worshipping Athena nor at women/men who chose not to go around sky clad (That’s ‘nekkid’ for those of us who are really new to this).

The Law of Return (or sowing and reaping):

There are no true “sins” within our spiritual practices. There are only things that cause harm (or, as I like to call them, “Stupid Ideas”) and things that are helpful (Or as I like to call them, “Good Ideas”).

When you do good things, good things tend to happen to you (Eventually). When you do bad things, bad things tend to happen to you (Eventually). Of course, since we do not live in a static environment, and people tend to interact with one another, sometimes things get a little ‘fa-kakhed’. However, the Universe always balances Itself out in the end.

This concept is called, karma and it’s a relatively complicated matter, which I have here boiled down to its lowest common denominator. Of course, there are differing views of Karma, one of which is the Three-Fold Law What you do comes back three-fold, or three times, back at you. (If you are not sure as to whether an act will have some kind of repercussion, ask yourself, how much would I really like this done to me?)

(The self-defense caveat: Like all “Laws”, there are loopholes. If someone else is out to cause you harm in some way it would be a really STUPID (Bad Karma) idea not to protect yourself, or your family, or your friends. However, make sure you have as many facts as possible (like the guy is holding a knife and threatens to cut you up) before beating the oneness of all things back into these individuals.

Pantheons, Divinities, Spirits, Energies:

Okay this is where it gets a little tricky, but stay with me. The most common (and extremely annoying) question we as Pagans get is, “Don’t you folks worship Satan?” (Everyone roll his or her eyes here.)

The answer to that is a resounding, “NO!” For the most part, you need to keep in mind that Paganism is a separate religion from Christianity. Hence Satan (Whom I call, the Christian God of Evil and Nastiness) is not a part of our pantheon. Sorry…

For the most part (depending on the tradition you follow) the Pagan concept of Divinity falls under one of the following expressions:

Duo-Theism: (Duo=Two or Dual, Theos=Divinities):

The Worship of a Co-Equal God and Goddess, each having unlimited power, compassion, wisdom, energy or what-have-you, but maintaining different roles and functions.

The God is aggressive, powerful, sexual adventurous, skillful. He handles the Male side of fertility.

The Goddess is nurturing, passionate, creative, sensual and artistic. She oversees the power of creating life through birth and the Female side of fertility.

This belief is widely held by the Wiccans and Wicca-like factions of Paganism.

Poly Theism: (Poly=Many, Theos=Divinities) The belief in multiple Gods and Goddesses.

Many folks see these Gods as extensions of the God and Goddess (i.e. Monism) with each one taking on different aspects at the time of their encounter with the worshipper. Others (like myself) believe that They are actually separate entities with Their own personalities, quirks and motives.

Not every god or goddess is a real people person nor does every god and goddess have a laid back attitude. If you are going to get involved with a particular deity, you had better make sure you do a LOT of research as to what they like, don’t like, and if a particular god or goddess is right for you. Otherwise your life will get extremely interesting in a bad way.

The third school of though in polytheism is the idea of the gods and goddesses being archetypes within a person’s own psyche. This is sort of like a piece of our own subconscious wrapped up in a costume and a mask in order to teach our conscious minds lessons they need.

Of course, there is more than those three Schools of thought, but I’m just giving the basics here.

Pantheism:

Simply put, this is the idea that the Divine is in everything; hence all things are a part of the energy we call god. Since all things are a part of god, all things are sacred and are expressions of the divine in some way, shape or form. When I worship a tree, I am worshipping the Divine; when I give food to a hungry stray, I am feeding the Divine; when I am hurting someone, I am hurting the Divine.

Then there is the Fourth Category:

I-have-no-Friggin-Clue-ism:

For the beginner, this is the best spiritual idea I can suggest. The idea is essentially, “I have no friggin’ clue if there is a Divinity or not, therefore unless I am shown otherwise, I will not say that the Gods are this way or that. I will respect the Power behind the name, but I will not pledge myself to him/her/it unless I have an absolutely good reason to.”

This is actually one of the safest belief systems to take as a new student of the Pagan path because you are open enough to receive enlightenment, but at the same time, you do not run the risk of making a total, complete ass out of yourself. The Gods will instruct you as They see fit.

Now of course, Pagans will usually incorporate not only one, but perhaps two or three of the ideas listed above. This usually comes from personal experience and cannot be learned any other way.
Keep in mind that it’s okay to shift from one idea to another or even to incorporate two or more of these ideas…it’s all good. Just find out what works best for you.

So How the Hades do I Become a Pagan? (Or stupid questions that are commonly asked)

Well, for the most part, it’s a matter of doing a lot of reading and a lot of self-exploration. It took me at least two years of studying online and reading books and attending classes to even consider myself a Pagan. A lot of the traditions under the banner of Paganism will have different views on training and initiation (think of it as baptism), and how one becomes a member of that tradition.

The best way is to start out attending Pagan gatherings, visiting bookstores and such, and talk to other Pagans. Eventually, you will either find a religious path that works for you or you will throw your arms up in dismay and run screaming back to your religion of birth. And there is nothing wrong with that. NOT AT ALL! We realize that the Pagan spiritual path is not for everyone, and we will not be offended. Just make sure you don’t tell people we sacrificed your cat and you’ll be cool with us.

Do I Need to Buy Special Clothes and Dress in Black?

The answer is: Only if you really want to. Yes, there are special robes some folks wear, but unless your coven says otherwise, you can pretty much wear what you want.

Just some basic suggestions: Wear something comfortable and wear something you won’t mind getting dirty. Most of our rituals take place outdoors and, while you may look really good in an Armani suit and Gucci shoes, there is a good chance your clothes will get messed up and your shoes scuffed.

Loose, light clothes in summer and spring is always a good idea, and warmer clothes in the fall are really smart. Most winter rituals will be held indoors, depending on the weather. If it makes you comfortable to wear black Witch clothes and pointed hats and cloaks… Knock yourself out…You’ll be getting lots of stares and odd looks (mostly from us), but all-in-all, if it makes you comfortable, then that is all that matters.

Do I Need to Buy Special Jewelry?

Again, only if you want to and if you enjoy it. Jewelry is a personal matter to the people who wear it. And it’s usually best to find a piece that says, “HEY! I LIKE YOU. WEAR ME AROUND YOUR NECK!” Otherwise, No special jewelry is required to be a Pagan.

Do I Need to Kill Something (like a kitten) and Drink its Blood?

No, you don’t have to kill an animal to be a Pagan. For the most part, we are animal friendly and don’t believe in killing a critter in order to work our rituals. Yes, there are some Pagan groups that practice animal sacrifice and it is left alone…but fear not, the only thing usually killed has already been slaughtered and put on the feasting table in a sacred bucket marked, KFC.

Do I Need to Become a Vegetarian?

Nope, being a vegetarian is a matter of personal preference and what you feel in your heart. While many of us are vegetarians, a lot of us aren’t. It may be a good idea to eat a little healthier, but no one is going to come down on you for eating meat or using meat-based products. However, you might want to do your own research and come up with your own choices.

So, What DO I Need to Do?

Excellent question. One, as I suggested before, do a lot of research, a lot of reading and, when in doubt, do more research. A lot of Pagans keep what is called a “Book of shadows”, which is just a fancy name for a Journal. Write down everything you learn in that book and when you get a chance, read it. If you see a cool article on the net, feel free to print it (for your personal use only, please).

To create a book of shadows, I would suggest buying a loose-leaf binder and fill it half-way with paper. It’s also a good idea to invest in a three hole punch. That way, you can put articles that you printed from the net and use them for later reference. Do not worry about using blood and special things to “make it official”. It is your study guide — your book — and so, make sure you personalize it to suit your needs.

When you feel you are ready, and you have found a religious tradition you feel comfy with, take that Book of Shadows and attend any class you can afford. A lot of places have very reasonable rates for their classes. The Learning Annex is one source, but so is your local Pagan bookstore. Just make sure you talk to the person running the store to make sure he knows what he/she is talking about. If you are not entirely comfortable in studying there, consider looking for another teacher. Remember, this is about YOUR spiritual growth and enrichment and you need to be in an environment conducive to YOUR learning.

Holidays, and Rituals:

There are eight major Holy Days during the Pagan year that a lot of us agree upon. There are also rituals that are held on the New Moon and the Full moon depending on how often your coven (A group of Pagans you worship with) meets.

The Eight Major Holidays are listed in the order they fall on:
Imbolc (February)
Spring Equinox (March 21)
Beltaine (May 1)
Summer Solstice (Litha) (June 21)
Lughnassadh or Lamas (August)
Autumn Equinox (Mabon) (September 21)
Samhain or Halloween (October 31 to Nov 1)
Winter Solstice (Yule) (December 21)

Each Holy Day represents a certain mythological event in our religion, which will be discussed by the High Priest (ess) in advance.

It’s usually a good idea to find out what you would need to bring so that you can best participate in the ritual.

Now most likely you are going to have a hard time pronouncing the names of the days when you first start out, so don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions; it’s the only way you are going to learn.

Tools For Rituals:

Energy: This is the most important, and since I am assuming people know Jack about Paganism, I’m going to make this explanation brief: When we perform rituals and cast spells, we are attempting to gather energy. This energy comes from the universe and ourselves. Depending on what we are trying to do, we use certain rituals, and tools. Think of it this way: It’s like gathering up a whole bunch of snow together. We eventually gather enough to make a snowball and then we pack it in and send it off to impact your friend. It’s basically the same thing. When we perform these rites, they help our minds to focus on gathering this energy and tell it what we want done. Energy is the most important part of any ritual, and without it, we are just looking stupid.

Cauldron: This is basically a black, three-legged pot to be used for burning incense and for other things. They range from tiny to huge and can be used to burn incense, burn paper, and make potions. Now cauldrons tend to be rather expensive, so if you are a bit “Price Sensitive” like me, find yourself one of those old fashioned iron pots that Mom uses to make rice. Make sure you clean it before and after use. If you have one of these in your own home and have had it for a long time, you are pretty much used to it and it is used to you. So, you really don’t have to “charge” it with energy.

Athemae: Essentially, this is a knife or a really small sword. This is used to direct energy raised up during rituals. THESE ARE NOT USED TO CUT PEOPLE (of any species). It can be used for cutting vegetables. Most traditions prefer a double sided blade, small enough to conceal. (You would be amazed how many cops will stop you for carrying a broad sword.) If you’re unable to get an athamae, it’s totally cool to make yourself a wand or use your index finger to direct energy.

Wands/Rods: Okay, these are wooden or crystal sticks also used to direct energy as well as to draw it to yourself. Wands tend to be no longer than your arm, while rods can be longer. Best way to get a rod is to go out on little walks in the park and look for a stick. Once you find a stick you like and that screams out for you to take it, take it home, and sand it and decorate it until you are totally comfortable with it. Viola! You have a wand or rod. If you have as much mechanical aptitude as a slug, ask around your local occult bookstores. Keep in mind they are going to be slightly expensive and you will have to charge it once you get it home.

Candles: Candles are used in rituals to help get your mind into the practice of Magic (No, I am not spelling magic with a K or a J…I’m keeping this as simple as possible. If you want to use the funky spellings in your own notebooks, knock yourself out. You’re not being graded here). Candles are lit in order to help get the mind into a state where it’s easier to put the patterns in for the energy to flow. I would strongly suggest getting candles of all colors and sizes and as many as you can afford. (Usually one of each color.) You can pick them up anywhere.

Incense: Like candles, incense helps the mind get energy together to cast spells. It’s a good idea to make your own incense or to purchase them from a botanica, or occult bookstore. Incense sticks may be colored, but it’s usually a good idea to purchase them based on their smells. Pungent or spicy incense is normally used to send stuff away. (Mainly because they are offensive.) Sweet incense is used to bring stuff to you. Earthy smells help to facilitate healing and to strengthen you.

Divination tools: Things like Tarot Cards, Runes and what not. These are mainly used to help you to make decisions or to gain some kind of insight as to what is going on around you. Keep in mind, these items themselves are not magical in and of themselves, but are based on your own intuition interpreting what you are seeing.

Books, books and more books: Like I said earlier, it is suggested you read religiously. It’s best to keep a library of things you have read or are about to read. Don’t just pick books only by one author, but of different ones. Some people may know a lot about what they are talking about; others are complete and utter horse feces. However, the only way you are going to find out is if you look for yourself and keep your Book of Shadows nearby while you read. If something sounds like nonsense, or if you aren’t sure about whether or not what is true within a book, do some research. It sounds like a lot of work, but this is your spirituality we are talking about here.

It is a good idea to question everything and find out if there is an agreement between the authors you have read. Another thing to keep in mind is that some folks are completely full of fluff and bluster while others deliberately water stuff down to keep from divulging too much about their path. And some are completely straightforward about the things they are writing about.

One of the best ways to learn about an author is find out when they are going to be doing a book signing near you. Get to meet them (Most book signings are free and most will give a short lecture about their book just to whet your appetite for it.) Some of the most intense learning experiences I gained were in attending some of these lectures; it’s also a great way to actually see the person who is writing.

Use your intuition…and don’t be shy about picking their brains. That is what they are there for. In fact, I would suggest doing the same thing at the store where you get your tools and books. It helps you learn a lot faster; especially when you ask Stupid questions. Yes you will get looks. Yes, you will even get the occasional shake of the head, But if you don’t ask, you wont know. It’s worth it.

Suggested Things to do:

Check out different groups that meet in your area. You can do this by attending open (public) circles or classes. Use them as a way to meet other Pagans and eventually find a group that you feel comfortable studying with. If you are Solitary Pagan, it helps to “meet and greet” other Pagans.

Look around for Pagan shops, botanicas and other places where you can get supplies. Most botanicas are devoted to Santeria or Voudu, but you can get some really good equipment at cheap prices.

Check out the local library, as well as the bookstore for things you can read about your particular pantheon.

Ask a lot of questions. Even stupid ones. It’s one of the chief tenets of Paganism to question everything you come across. If you get an answer that sounds like horsesh*t, then verify, verify, verify.

Things Not To Do:

Don’t panic; this seems like a lot of information, but it really isn’t. This is just the primer for your own research.

Don’t sweat if you cannot find a teacher right away, Nine times out of ten, they usually show up when you are ready to learn more about a particular aspect of your tradition.

Don’t start off calling yourself a High Something of a particular tradition. Most systems within Paganism have their own methods of teaching and credentials for clergy and what not. No faking!

Don’t be afraid of getting criticized; it’s going to happen. Learn to grow a thick skin, and if someone points something out to you, listen and check out your own motives and conscience. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, then don’t.

Don’t take everything at face value…Learn how to question what you hear and not be a total jerk about it.

Don’t try and convert people, It rarely works just put out information let people know where you stand and end it there.

Recommended Websites:

http://www.witchvox.com “The Witches’ Voice” — It’s a great place to start since they have information about everything.

http://pantheon.org — A great place to learn about the Gods of your chosen pantheon. It doesn’t have all the information, but enough for you to get your feet wet and do some research.

Yahoo.com — They have a plethora of Pagan groups and places where you can talk to people of different walks of life. It’s also a great way to meet Pagans in your area.

Google and other search engines — Another great website with links to thousands of Pagan websites.

Recommended Books:

The Truth about Witchcraft Today: Scott Cunningham
Urban Primitive: Tannin Silverstein and Raven Kaldera
The Book of Shamanic Healing: Kristin Madden
The Celestine Prophecy: James Redfield (Yes, it’s a novel but it helps to get an idea about energy-work and how energy can be gathered and stolen.)
The Wiccan Warrior: Kerr Cucuhain
Witchcraft Theory and Practice: Ly de Angeles
When I see the Wild God: Ly de Angeles
Drawing Down the Moon: Margot Adler (of NPR)
The Spiral Dance: Starhawk
Buckland’s Complete Witches Handbook: Raymond Buckland