Full Moon Magick

Gothic fantasy

Full Moon Magick

Definition:

The full moon is the point at which we can see an entire side of the moon. For magical purposes, most Wiccans and Pagans consider the full moon to include the day before and the day after a full moon, for a total of three days. If your tradition requires you to follow the phases of the moon for your magical workings, this is a good time to do rituals focused on personal growth and spiritual development.

Some examples would include:
Spells related to increasing your intuitive awareness
Healing magic
Rituals that connect you closely with deity, such as Drawing Down the Moon
Any magic related to developing your magical skills

For many Wiccans and Pagans, this is also a time to celebrate with an Esbat ritual.

Examples:

Willow and her coven celebrated the full moon with a ritual to hone their intuitive abilities.
 

Source

Author
Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article published on & owned by About.com

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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.

Perceptions of Pagans: What Are People Afraid Of?

Perceptions of Pagans: What Are People Afraid Of?

Author: Ares Hearthfire 

It is amazing to me that 30-plus years after the late Dr. Leo Martello won his right to hold a ritual in Central Park we still have to come back to discussing how we are perceived. The public at large is not afraid of our religion. No, most of them tend to let us be and mind their own business. I say that with certainty since that is human nature. However, there are still those that fear…or do they?

It seems that every few weeks there are more stories mentioning Witches, Wiccans or Pagans in general. While most of the articles are now positive and informative, there are still those that report that so and so of blah blah blah church held a meeting that people are going to the devil. In listening to them talk we find that they really do not fear us. They fear the loss of their own voice.

One reason why many see the Christian extremists in this country demanding that laws be made to support the Judeo-Christian belief system is that they can feel the changes coming. Just like us, they open the same papers and do the same Internet searches and find so many articles and sites discussing Pagans. We are all humans after all; it is not like we have different sources of news and information!

They, like us, can plainly see that there has been a rise in articles and hence, a rise in the amount of Pagans there must be. While many complain that these people see the devil in all things not Christian, I feel that is very much another reason that they perceive us differently. They do not care about reading what Pagans believe. What we believe does not matter. It is not our beliefs that bother these extremists. It is the fact that we exist and breathe. There really is no logic in this.

The goal of these groups and people is not to slander our paths. That actually is just a means to an end. They simply want to make sure that people keep following their ideas. They have been brought up in regions where there has been nothing more than pure homogeneity. Almost everyone in their communities was the same in terms of race and religion. In reality, they simply fear change. For some reason they are just resisting the tides of change that are happening in the communities. It is the change that they truly fear, not us.

In general, most people are very accepting of our beliefs. There have been Pagans serving with and even as heads of interfaith organizations for over ten years. The organizations that they have sat with and chaired accepted their membership. From this it can be implied that clergy of many other religions have absolutely no problem with the Pagan path. Indeed, many are intrigued and want to learn more about it themselves. This type of inclusion would have been impossible to dream of several decades ago. This shows a great deal of progress. After all, if you can gain acceptance of some shepherds you also gain the acceptance of their flocks.

During Samhain season, it seems that almost every newspaper in America interviews a Witch. Most of these reports are positive. While some still include words like “warlock” and may describe some practices as “hokey,” we cannot let that blind us as to what is truly being said. Since many of the journalists do not read books on Witches or Wicca they would not know what “warlock” means to us. Since they do not tell us every word they are using, we cannot correct them ahead of time.

Behind the semantics, they still report normal people doing things a little differently. They may seem hokey to those that do not practice our faiths, but they do see that we are not harming anything and have fun doing what we do. That is the point! The general public is not stupid. They do not care what we do, as long as they see we are open to people watching and reporting they will begin to trust us.

In some parts of the country being a Wiccan is not even a big deal. Here in New York the Covenant of the Goddess used to have a local council, however the “Gotham” council was disbanded. Simply put, the community here is accepting of us already so the need is not there. Pagan shops operate without opposition, festivals happen in major parks with no protestors showing up at all. While this may not be the case in some areas, things do take time!

Remember, a long time ago it was the cities that converted to a new faith and the country dwellers were slow to follow. Now times are changing, history is repeating. The cities are becoming more accepting of their Pagan residents and the rural folk are coming around, but slower. We can see plainly through the media and the interviews in these more rural locations that the general consensus is favoring acceptance. The majority will only grow larger over time.

All we need is to do what we are currently doing and a lot more of it. We need to take ourselves seriously. We should indicate our religion when the census is taken. We should take part in political campaigns and send letters to the elected officials. Whenever we see an article that is not positive, we should send letters to the paper…even if it is not a local one! More than everything else we should make Pagan Pride Day every day of the year. Always be proud of who you are as a person and as a Pagan. For every voice that is willing to speak there is always a larger audience of people that are willing to hear.

In conclusion, the people that fear us do not fear us for what we believe or how we practice. This information is readily available to anyone that wants to read it. The general populace is becoming more and more accepting of our beliefs. Interfaith groups are accepting Pagans as members and leaders. We as Pagans always talk about the past; we remember the burning times and the witch-hunts. We should also remember that those in the country come around slower to new ideas, but after a time they will begin to accept them.

Ares Hearthfire

Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

By , About.com

 

Question: Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

I read a book on Wicca that says “all Wiccans must do this and never do that,” and then I read another one that said Pagans can make their own rules. Some people believe in the Threefold Law, and others don’t. Others say that the Wiccan Rede is only for Wiccans but not other Pagans. What’s going on here? Are there rules in Pagan religions like Wicca, or not?

 

Answer:

The word “rules” can be a puzzling one, because while there are guidelines, they do tend to vary from one tradition to another. In general, most Pagans – including Wiccans – follow some set of rules that is unique to their own tradition – however, it’s important to note that these standards are not universal. In other words, what Group A holds true as law cannot be applied towards Group B.

The Wiccan Rede

Many groups, particularly NeoWiccan ones, follow one form or another of the Wiccan Rede, which says, “An’ it harm none, do as you will.” This means that you can’t intentionally or knowingly cause harm to another person. Because there are so many different forms of Wicca, there are dozens of different interpretations of the Rede. Some people believe it means you can’t hunt or eat meat, join the military, or even swear at the guy who took your parking spot. Others interpret it a bit more liberally, and some believe that the rule of “harm none” doesn’t apply to self-defense.

The Rule of Three

Many traditions of Paganism, including most variations of Wicca, believe in the Law of Threefold Return. This is essentially a karmic payback – anything you do comes back to you three times more intensely. If good attracts good, then guess what bad behavior brings you?

The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief

In the 1970s, a group of witches decided to assemble a cohesive set of rules for modern witches to follow. Seventy or so individuals from a variety of magical backgrounds and traditions got together and formed a group called the American Council of Witches, although depending on who you ask, they are sometimes called the Council of American Witches. At any rate, this group decided to try to assemble a list of common principles and guidelines that the entire magical community could follow. These principles are not adhered to by everyone, but are often used as a template in many sets of coven mandates.

The Ardanes

In the 1950s, when Gerald Gardner was writing what eventually become the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, one of the items he included was a list of guidelines called the Ardanes. The word “ardane” is a variant on “ordain”, or law. Gardner claimed that the Ardanes were ancient knowledge that had been passed down to him by way of the New Forest coven of witches. Today, these guidelines are followed by some traditional Gardnerian covens, but are not often found in other NeoWiccan groups.

Coven Bylaws

In many traditions, each coven is responsible for establishing its own set of bylaws or mandates. Bylaws may be created by a High Priestess or High Priest, or they may be written by a committee, depending on the rules of the tradition. Bylaws provide a sense of continuity for all members. They typically cover things like standards of behavior, principles of the tradition, guidelines for acceptable use of magic, and an agreement from members to abide by those rules. Again, these are rules which are applied to the group that creates them, but should not be held as a standard for people outside of this tradition.

Personal Responsibility

Finally, keep in mind that your own sense of magical ethics should be a guideline to you as well – particularly if you’re a solitary practitioner who doesn’t have the history of a tradition to follow back on. You can’t enforce your rules and ethics on other people, though — they have their own set of laws to follow, and those may be different from your own. Remember, there’s no Big Pagan Council that sits and writes you a Bad Karma Ticket when you do something wrong. Pagans are big on the concept of personal responsibility, so ultimately it’s up to you to police your own behavior, accept the consequences of your own actions, and live by your own ethical standards.

 

 

Do Pagans Celebrate Earth Day?

Do Pagans Celebrate Earth Day?

By , About.com

 

Question: Do Pagans Celebrate Earth Day?

I know that there are eight Pagan sabbats during the year, as well as a bunch of Esbats, but I also notice you’ve got Earth Day on the calendar. Is Earth Day even a Pagan or Wiccan holiday?

Answer:

Well, no, it’s not, but then again neither is Tartan Day or the anniversary of Bewitched, but those are on the calendar too. It’s important to note, however, that many Pagans and Wiccans view the environment as something really important. Although it’s not an “official” Pagan or Wiccan holiday, if you’ve sworn to be a steward of our planet, then Earth Day is as good a reason as any other to honor Mother Earth.

The first Earth Day celebration was held in 1970, and sponsored by the Earth Day Network. This annual celebration is a time when people worldwide honor our planet and (hopefully) take a few minutes to try to make a difference in the world.

Some things you can do to make a difference in your own space? Try one of the following:

  • Turn off the lights you’re not using
  • Pick up some garbage that isn’t yours
  • Ride a bike to work instead of driving
  • Plant a tree
  • Use cloth grocery bags instead of paper or plastic
  • Recycle your stuff
  • Plant a garden of your own, or buy from local growers
  • Build a birdhouse
  • Adopt a stream
  • Shut off appliances that don’t have to be on all the time

Regardless of how you observe this day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, take the time to thank the earth for her gifts, and take a moment to be glad we’re part of it.

Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

By

Question: Do Wiccans and Pagans Believe in God?

I’m interested in Wicca, but my mom says Wiccans and Pagans don’t believe in God. I feel weird not believing in a universal force of some sort. What’s the deal here?

Answer: The deal is that most Wiccans and Pagans see “god” as more of a job title than a proper name. They don’t worship the Christian god, but that doesn’t mean they don’t accept the existence of deity. Various Wiccan and Pagan traditions honor different gods. Some see all deities as one, and may refer to The God or The Goddess. Others may worship specific gods or goddesses – Cernunnos, Brighid, Isis, Apollo, etc. – from their own tradition. Because there are so many different forms of Pagan belief, there are nearly as many gods and goddesses to believe in.

Many Pagans, including but not limited to Wiccans, are willing to accept the presence of the Divine in all things. Because Wicca and Paganism place a good deal of emphasis on the idea that experiencing the divine is something for everyone, not just select members of the clergy, it’s possible for a Wiccan or Pagan to find something sacred within the mundane. For example, the whisper of wind through the trees or the roar of the ocean can both be considered divine. Not only that, many Pagans feel that the divine lives within each of us. It’s rare to find a Pagan or Wiccan who sees the gods as judgmental or punishing. Instead, most view the gods as beings that are meant to be walked beside, hand in hand, and honored.

Another aspect of this that’s important to keep in mind is that not everyone who is a Pagan happens to be Wiccan. There are many other paths of Paganism, many of which are polytheistic. Some Pagan paths are based on a concept that all gods are one. There are also some Pagans who follow an earth- or nature-based belief system outside of the concept of deity completely.

 

Source:

About.com

 

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Author: Hallowed Order of Witches Liberated   

The New Year aroused some thoughts in me that I wanted to share; hopefully some will be of use to new Witches or those considering some aspect of Witchcraft or a Pagan path. I would like to minimize the explanation of my own experience to that which is necessary for background of what I am about to share. I am an eclectic practitioner with a strong interest in Feri Witchcraft. I am a member of a coven and I am a college graduate now 37 years old.
Our coven has a presence on Witchvox and we tend to get a moderate number of inquiries concerning membership, general Witchcraft information from folks looking to explore a “new religion”, questions of a “how-to” nature and other interesting things. For the past ten years, our coven has had people come and go: some for better, some of whom we were happy to see leave. What I wanted to offer up for someone who is starting on their journey or considering such an endeavor are some ideas to think about, and some things to think about if looking at working with others.

One thing we have noticed repeatedly is that there are people seeking out our community and membership within our coven who are folks with problems (or who are getting over problems) that are better off not dealt with in a coven setting or are things that need to be dealt with in terms of help by professionals. While religions can be helpful in some areas, I strongly urge those who fall into this category to let religion wait until the problem has been resolved. Understand that this advice is not a one-size-fits-all. I am speaking of problems like exposure to some sort of abuse or violence, drug abuse and/or early recovery stages, domestic issues that have not been resolved, etc… In our short ten years, we have had multitudes of people petition for membership or participate in public events and some who made membership, who seem to be using religion as an outlet for dealing with bigger problems. Perhaps they are using religion to fill a hole.

If one is dealing with issues similar to the ones mentioned, it is generally a better idea to protect others from your issue and have it dealt with professionally with a counselor, medical professional, advocate or so on, rather than take it into a group who may not have the proper background to deal with the root problem. Our group suffered numerous times from people with addiction problems, victims of physical violence and some other issues who came into the group and nearly shut down effective spiritual work because their personal problems were not yet resolved. While our hearts are with these people, religion is often not the answer to a heroin problem, for example. One should deal with the addiction, and then explore the religion after the problem is solved. A victim of domestic violence may be attracted to a small group of empathetic people, but sometimes professional help is needed and the issues that come up following such a terrible experience can eventually become a poison of sorts in a group that works together very closely.

This leads me to my second suggestion: Be ultra-cautious in regards to any person or group you are considering for advice (or with whom you wish to work) who claim to have a million years of experience and a Pagan heritage that is 20 generations deep. Statements of this nature, in my experience, are usually lies. For some reason, Pagans in general — and particularly inexperienced ones — appear to feel a need to cite heaps of years of experience in the Craft in their resumes. The time that passes from the point a person considers her or himself a Witch to the present time does not directly equate to effectiveness in practice. A fisherman with 30 years of experience can lose in a fishing derby to an 8 year-old who is holding a fishing rod for the first time. Ability and level of determination are not directly proportional to “time in service.”

The overwhelming majority of modern Pagans (speaking for U.S. Pagans) are former Christians. That is the truth. If someone is telling you otherwise, it is worth asking (politely) for proof or otherwise substantiating his or her claim of multi-generational and unbroken lineage. It is often the same person who, five years later, is wishing you a happy “Mid-Winter Equinox.” You will figure out who is who as time goes on. There is also nothing wrong with someone who is willing to help you who has been practicing for a year, but feels she has a good footing on a particular subject. Think logically and use good sense.

Suggestion number three: your own thoughts are worth something. Often, especially when coming from other religious (particularly in the U.S.) backgrounds, it is easy for one to fall into a trap of seeking Truth from a book or seemingly credible online source. Print seems like it holds weight. Sometimes it does, sometimes it does not. What is important to remember is that when you get a feel for what you are doing and are able to perform to some degree on your own, it is quite possibly time to set down the books. Books and online sources are great for general information, starting points, correspondence lists and so on. Remember, though, your experience and your thoughts are important and are ultimately what will be your guide.

I have seen too many Witches fall apart in practice trying to adhere to what someone else has published to not mention this. If standing on your head in bright moonlight on the third Saturday of the month while burning purple candles and copal incense isn’t bringing you in touch with that one Goddess or God you were seeking to work with, then knock it off! Your path will be your path. And remember that when you are working with the next new person.

My last suggestion is that opposition or rejection by a local group does not disqualify you from practicing Witchcraft and there is more to the Craft than sitting in front of a computer. There are certain Pagan practices that require a long and somewhat formalized study period, or certain covens that exist that will want you to follow a degree plan or jump through certain hoops. All of that is fine. However, if it doesn’t suit you, understand that it doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want. Even those members of the most defined and restrictive groups are doing his or her individual thing within those respective groups. If you share your solitary experience with an online group, for example, and several people bock at what you’re doing, keep in mind that those are opinions. Also, it is often worth regarding what the person is saying, even if he or she is not saying tactfully. Sometimes great ideas come from what is hard to hear. And while not all of us have vast landscapes and groves within which to practice our own Crafts, there is more to being a Witch or Pagan than sitting in front of a computer and reading about it or typing about it. In terms of actual spiritual and religious practice, one can make something happen even within the confines of a tiny powder room. Keep your practice real, front and center, and worth your time and effort. It pays off.

In summary, I wanted to throw these few suggestions and ideas out there because, at least in our region, we noticed some trends and felt we had enough time and experience (and numbers of people dealt with) to make some non-professional and generalized observations. These thoughts are certainly not meant to offend and we hope the root of what is being presented is helpful. Enjoy your time in the Craft, make it substantial and, for the sake of the Pagan community in its entirety, please be a thinking and active participant. Look out for the best interest of others with whom you are working and take care to protect them from your own “funk”, if need be. Help will be there from the group, but try to address problems that require professional help prior to engaging a religion (meaning any religion) . Remember, there are tons of people who find religion in a jail cell or hospital bed. That works for some, but keep in mind what of yourself you are introducing into a group. Think, know yourself and practice love.

Perceptions of Pagans: What Are People Afraid Of?

Perceptions of Pagans: What Are People Afraid Of?

Author:   Ares Hearthfire   

It is amazing to me that 30-plus years after the late Dr. Leo Martello won his right to hold a ritual in Central Park we still have to come back to discussing how we are perceived. The public at large is not afraid of our religion. No, most of them tend to let us be and mind their own business. I say that with certainty since that is human nature. However, there are still those that fear…or do they?

It seems that every few weeks there are more stories mentioning Witches, Wiccans or Pagans in general. While most of the articles are now positive and informative, there are still those that report that so and so of blah blah blah church held a meeting that people are going to the devil. In listening to them talk we find that they really do not fear us. They fear the loss of their own voice.

One reason why many see the Christian extremists in this country demanding that laws be made to support the Judeo-Christian belief system is that they can feel the changes coming. Just like us, they open the same papers and do the same Internet searches and find so many articles and sites discussing Pagans. We are all humans after all; it is not like we have different sources of news and information!

They, like us, can plainly see that there has been a rise in articles and hence, a rise in the amount of Pagans there must be. While many complain that these people see the devil in all things not Christian, I feel that is very much another reason that they perceive us differently. They do not care about reading what Pagans believe. What we believe does not matter. It is not our beliefs that bother these extremists. It is the fact that we exist and breathe. There really is no logic in this.

The goal of these groups and people is not to slander our paths. That actually is just a means to an end. They simply want to make sure that people keep following their ideas. They have been brought up in regions where there has been nothing more than pure homogeneity. Almost everyone in their communities was the same in terms of race and religion. In reality, they simply fear change. For some reason they are just resisting the tides of change that are happening in the communities. It is the change that they truly fear, not us.

In general, most people are very accepting of our beliefs. There have been Pagans serving with and even as heads of interfaith organizations for over ten years. The organizations that they have sat with and chaired accepted their membership. From this it can be implied that clergy of many other religions have absolutely no problem with the Pagan path. Indeed, many are intrigued and want to learn more about it themselves. This type of inclusion would have been impossible to dream of several decades ago. This shows a great deal of progress. After all, if you can gain acceptance of some shepherds you also gain the acceptance of their flocks.

During Samhain season, it seems that almost every newspaper in America interviews a Witch. Most of these reports are positive. While some still include words like “warlock” and may describe some practices as “hokey,” we cannot let that blind us as to what is truly being said. Since many of the journalists do not read books on Witches or Wicca they would not know what “warlock” means to us. Since they do not tell us every word they are using, we cannot correct them ahead of time.

Behind the semantics, they still report normal people doing things a little differently. They may seem hokey to those that do not practice our faiths, but they do see that we are not harming anything and have fun doing what we do. That is the point! The general public is not stupid. They do not care what we do, as long as they see we are open to people watching and reporting they will begin to trust us.

In some parts of the country being a Wiccan is not even a big deal. Here in New York the Covenant of the Goddess used to have a local council, however the “Gotham” council was disbanded. Simply put, the community here is accepting of us already so the need is not there. Pagan shops operate without opposition, festivals happen in major parks with no protestors showing up at all. While this may not be the case in some areas, things do take time!

Remember, a long time ago it was the cities that converted to a new faith and the country dwellers were slow to follow. Now times are changing, history is repeating. The cities are becoming more accepting of their Pagan residents and the rural folk are coming around, but slower. We can see plainly through the media and the interviews in these more rural locations that the general consensus is favoring acceptance. The majority will only grow larger over time.

All we need is to do what we are currently doing and a lot more of it. We need to take ourselves seriously. We should indicate our religion when the census is taken. We should take part in political campaigns and send letters to the elected officials. Whenever we see an article that is not positive, we should send letters to the paper…even if it is not a local one! More than everything else we should make Pagan Pride Day every day of the year. Always be proud of who you are as a person and as a Pagan. For every voice that is willing to speak there is always a larger audience of people that are willing to hear.

In conclusion, the people that fear us do not fear us for what we believe or how we practice. This information is readily available to anyone that wants to read it. The general populace is becoming more and more accepting of our beliefs. Interfaith groups are accepting Pagans as members and leaders. We as Pagans always talk about the past; we remember the burning times and the witch-hunts. We should also remember that those in the country come around slower to new ideas, but after a time they will begin to accept them.

Witch for Sale!

Witch for Sale!

Author:   Hecatian Nights 

Sure go ahead and laugh, but just you wait – you may have never been in MY shoes. So what puts me here trying to market myself off to the first bidder that would have me? I, Hecatian Nights, am looking for a coven to call home. That’s right – I’m searching for my very first coven.

I live in Alaska, in my opinion the most beautiful state in our marvelous country, complete with unimaginable mountain terrain, more lakes than Minnesota, just about any kind of animal you could ask for, forests galore and last but not least Santa and the North Pole. Tell me, can any other state compete with Santa? I think not!

According to Witchvox there are about eight covens here. None of which are located in my city, which just so happens to be the largest city in all of Alaska. What sense does that make? Well maybe more than I am willing to admit. After all most Pagans I’ve read of prefer to live in nature, and we sure have it up here.

I have been studying Wicca and Paganism for a little over seven years; granted that makes me quite young when I started and sure I will admit that I only seriously began studying and practicing four years ago. But the attraction between the Craft and me was instant. I fell in love with Wicca; it was something that was so different than what I had grown up with, in my church and in the Catholic school that I had attended. I threw myself into the Craft and soaked up all the knowledge that was lent to me though the books that I read.

Throughout my years I never met another serious Witch, I never talked to anyone that was a member of a “real” coven, and as the years went by I began to feel more and more alone. A feeling of loneliness and a paradoxical sense of belonging are things that I believe go hand in hand with being a Wiccan teen. You feel connected to a Pagan consciousness so alive and vibrant, but at the same time you feel utterly alone and shunned the community.

For a few years I knew a girl who also had an interest in Wicca; we practiced together and even did a ritual on the beach once. It was magical – to me anyway. We re-created a scene between the fighting Brothers, sang a song to the one that had fallen, and afterwards we ate and watched the sun set on the Sleeping Lady Mountain across the inlet. I always thought that every year we could come back on Summer Solstice and do it again. But dreams sometimes fade and old friends can change. We never went back to the beach again.

Though my friend’s interest waned and our friendship failed, my interest in the Craft only grew stronger. I was fine with being alone; I enjoyed it, and I felt special and was content. But as time went on I realized that I wasn’t as content as I once was. I found my solitary state warring on me and I began to understand that I wasn’t meant to be alone. I began to search for others out there. I even met a few people but nothing really panned out. They were either not serious enough or not serious at all.

I felt alone, alone as the only serious Pagan teen that I knew. Adult Pagans, who I don’t blame, wouldn’t meet me, talk to me or offer advice on how I could become more involved. I knew that this was my fate until I was legally an adult but as the years came closer and the time finally arrived, I still found myself detached from the rest of the Pagan world. Coven-less.

Sure there are books, wonderful ones. They opened my mind and gave me exercises and rituals to try. I spent many hours hiding in my room with a Pagan book, reading the stories of men and women and how they found the Craft. And I loved them; I bought just about every single book that would give me a sense of what it was like to be involved in a community of Pagans. Phyllis Curott’s Book of Shadows was one of my favorites, and I can happily recommend it to any person who wonders about Wicca. These books momentarily gave me a glimpse of what a connected Pagans life was like, but as soon as I was done with the book the yearning to be part of a group was back. I knew that I couldn’t ignore it forever. And that is what leads me here.

I feel ready to join a coven, if one will have me. Or at least begin to understand what one truly is. I always thought I would end up a solitary Witch by choice, but that feeling of loneliness has only grown stronger and now I feel a definite want and need to be with those who refer to me as their kindred. It’s time for me to learn, and I feel that books and solitary practicing can only take one so far.

I now believe that it is necessary for wiser Wiccans to allot their knowledge to the next generation, not only in the form of books but to also take us under their wings. Teach to us, learn with us, lead us, speak to us and learn to know us. We are your future and the next generation of Witches and Wiccans. No I don’t mean go out and search for the first 13-year-old pentacle-toting teen you see, but don’t forget the of-age Witches out there!

So, where do I sign up? I’m ready and I’m here to learn. So poke me, prod me, see if I’m ripe; but give me a chance to see if I can call your coven home.

Labeling Pagans and Other Impossible Tasks!

Labeling Pagans and Other Impossible Tasks!

Author:   Avren  

Elitist. Snob. Know-it-all… These are not names you would normally use to describe the Pagan community. This is the reason many of us filtered in to this diverse, and multi-faceted spiritual path. I felt much battered and bruised by my own self-imposed guilt when I turned from my previous path to God. Truth be told, I prayed to Him and Them the first transitional year. I was too terrified not to! Yet here I am today. I’ve worshiped and practiced now for almost ten years.

Fair warning to the more delicate of us, there is a lot of labels thrown around in this essay. To everyone else, get your B.S. goggles on, and don’t forget your earplugs!

I’m no “Fluffy Bunny” nor am I a “Cynical Badger, ” these are a couple of descriptive names used by Isaac Bonewits in his essay ’Making Fauna Pagans’ to describe many of this community. His essay is one of the top thirteen viewed on this site, and for good reason. I think everyone should view it. It is well written and to the point.

I recently read yet another essay where the author attempted to put down one or several of us by describing a particular type of Pagan as not “real.” In fact the whole theme seemed to revolve around not being real because you don’t put your biggest pentacle out there. This seems to be a very worrisome subject for lots of us, so I figured I might as well throw in my two cents.

I am not a part of a coven, nor do I interact with many of the Pagan community. I don’t think I am in anyway “better” or more “advanced, ” I’m just simpler. I’m sure there are lots of people out there who feel the same way I do. I don’t need reinforcements to follow my path. I interact with many of you here in this virtual community. While I thoroughly enjoy it, the separation that is integral in any safe online interaction serves me just fine. I love to read the voices of like minded people, I just can’t stand the pressure to be “right” or “in” or the most “real” (Usually under debate, who’s path was first) or whatever the term may be. To be fair the people I’ve communicated with have primarily been positive.

However, I ask this question. Why do we need to know who is more authentic? What’s more, who of us has the right to tell someone they are unreal and/or a fluffy bunny? (For people new to the term, this usually means one or more of the following: Flamboyant, inexperienced, know-it-all-two-book-reader. You get the picture. It’s someone who can act at times immature, yet claim to represent us all.)

I take my faith seriously, and I try to teach our young ones to love and respect our Lady as well. Do I need a face full of black makeup, or a neck full of pentacles to be “real?” Didn’t many of us leave our various paths sick to death of “Keeping up with the Jehovah’s?” You all know what I mean. My path is right for me. I’m not fake nor am I a flake.

Do you see the recurring theme here? Lots of labels. Bottom line, Too much make up = Fluffy Bunny. Too little = Not Pagan enough.

Is it possible that others are threatened by my ease and confidence with the Lord and Lady, when theirs is possibly shaky? Is that why they cannot share their Yuletide traditions with those people they love, while simultaneously celebrating their loved ones holiday as well?

I’m not a traitor; I just don’t feel the need to dredge up a history lesson, when my mom says “Merry Christmas.” She isn’t saying it to try to make me conform; she is just saying a small blessing in her most comfortable way. If anyone wishes to label me, try these on for size: Forgiving, Non-Judgmental, And Real (a personal favorite) , or just plain Happy. I don’t live in a bubble, or take happy pills. I live day to day, and try to look on the bright side. (NOT always easy when times are tough, not to mention being a Scorpio who can see B.S. everywhere I look.)

I think the issue with the folks who need to label, is the simple fact that the Pagan community at large wouldn’t wear a label, even if it fit and was made of 100% recycled paper! Are these hypocrite Pagans too afraid to branch out on their own? Are they too afraid to use the brain the Lord and Lady gave them to think of their own traditions?

We as Pagans don’t have the “Word, ” and I for one am grateful. I never liked the thought of only one way. Is it this lack of black and white, mixed with a whole lotta grey that causes the uproar? Who among us hasn’t struggled with identity in this Craft? There isn’t anything like being under enemy fire, and trying to explain your spiritual roots. The sad thing is, however; the firing brigade that often awaits in our own camp.

I suppose you could look at this essay as a “can’t we all get along” type, and maybe it is. Why can’t we all get along? We teach our kids this, and we also tell other people we don’t judge people by their faith. (Unlike some monotheistic faiths) Why don’t we see more essays on how to cast, or some neat meditation techniques we might have? How about traditions that are neat to pass down.

I recently walked through the forest. What an experience. The pine trees smelled of secrets and childhood. The green was so vibrant it almost hurt the eyes. I shared woods lore my grandparents taught me with our two children. I explained how seeds work, and we counted the rings of the tree that gave its life for our holiday. We also gave thanks to it, and the earth for giving it to us. This is new to them, (I’m the stepmom) but they enjoyed it anyway. I felt Them around us. Who needs a church? I wrote this, by the way, as an example of what we COULD be sharing.

I worship this way. I tend my garden with a joyful and grateful heart. I pray to Them, and I give back to Them. I don’t wear a Pentacle, I don’t advertise period. I don’t need it, and neither do They. If this isn’t Pagan enough, I sincerely don’t care. I have nothing to prove, and I don’t believe my path is the only right one. I’ll celebrate mine, if you celebrate yours! (Small joke) Why can’t more of us feel the same?

So the next time you catch yourself judging the Pagan next to you, relax and remember that we are all different, but They know who we are

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Footnotes:
Issac Bonewits ‘Making Fauna Pagans’