Living Your Religion Every Day
Author: James Bulls
This story is neither about high ceremony nor exotic sorcery; it is not about the alchemical secret to eternal life but the simple secret to everyday life. To preface this simple secret, consider the words of Johann von Goethe who said, “Out of moderation a pure happiness springs.” There are some who would disagree with that statement, but consider its merits on a day-to-day basis. For contrast, consider James Dean’s statement, “Dream as if you’ll live forever; live as if you’ll die today.” You may certainly choose to live each day under the dictates of extremity, but such a lifestyle relies on black-and-white dichotomies quite incompatible with a harmonious lifestyle and a society that requires those members who wish to live successfully the ability to distinguish subtleties, nuance, and shades of grey.
To return to Goethe’s statement that moderation brings happiness, one must look at each day not as a singular opportunity to figuratively explode like James Dean but to burn a low, steady flame. Extremists who make dramatic resolutions toward religious expression attract much attention, but after the noise is finished what remains is a spiritual model incompatible with modern life. As it concerns living your religion everyday, the loud dramatists advocate set rules and habits for life: meditate for an hour every day; read cards every day; exercise every day; never eat this; never drink that; always perform the quarter, cross-quarter, full-Moon, and dark-Moon rituals; and so on. And so the misguided accept one absolute after another into their spiritual devotions until all their time and energy is devoted to planning for the next event.
The trouble with living your religion in terms of absolutes is that each of us is fallible and will fail to satisfy an artificial schedule and arbitrary definition of “spiritual perfection.” Absolutes invite failure, failure invites discouragement, discouragement invites dissatisfaction, and dissatisfaction invites mediocrity. This “mediocrity” of which I speak is the ball-and-chain, which prohibits daily expression of one’s religion – it is the intangible obstacle that stands between the spiritually dead and the sublime angels!
Living moderately provides room for failure and permits one to find as much satisfaction in the loving preparation of afternoon tea as another might find in an elaborate Spring Equinox celebration. Moderation permits one to say “I forgive myself for my weaknesses, ” and “This is enough for today.” Living your religion on a daily basis is determined in neither quantity nor quality, but in the process and your ability to find satisfaction in it.
Much of the spiritual insight commonly taught in the New Thought, New Age, Wiccan, and Occult communities is imported from the East, but there is much of value in the West that gets overlooked. With respect to living one’s religion every day and the importance of moderation I set out at the beginning, consider the Religious Society of Friends, also called the Quakers. The Friends believe in moderation, modesty, and (not unlike the Zen Buddhists) a direct experience of God outside of material limitations. The Friends live their faith every day not necessarily through dictated prayer times and worship services, but through quiet appreciation for the Divine and making common-sense choices to live modestly which not only prevent egoic obstacles to spiritual growth but also provide more time for to focus on their friends and family members, community, and simple acts of devotion.
Living moderately (and dare I say modestly) is not a sexy adventure for bold heroes but the source of pure happiness. Living one’s religion every day isn’t a matter of selecting specific rituals, adopting absolute views in the name of simplicity, or making loud declarations for the sake of consistency – it is in fact a broad, consistent expression of your core values. For example, consider Pantheism, a path whose travellers see the very world in which they live as the body of the Divine and who value the environment, wildlife, and the needs of their kin and neighbours. Pantheists may have specific rituals they practice for spiritual edification such as cartomancy, theurgy, and folk medicine (Qi gong, Reiki, etc.) , but it is putting the carriage before the horse to say that the rituals are the religion – a religion is the sum of the core values and ultimate goals!
To live their religion every day, Pantheists may choose activities or make simple changes which support their beliefs such as: turning off a light when they leave the room; taking the time and effort to recycle paper, glass, and plastic; collect litter in their neighbourhood or at the local park; volunteer once or twice a month at the animal shelter; donate their time to Habitat for Humanity; making a meal for a friend or inviting a friend to a meal; walking or riding a bike when a vehicle isn’t needed; using cloth shopping bags; turning off the TV or computer to spend more time with your spouse and children; or even just smiling and saying hello to strangers on the street. None of these actions are as sexy and exciting as high ceremony or deep meditation, but they are all easily adopted into one’s everyday life and each of them supports the religious expression of the Pantheist.
Moderation is the simple secret to daily expression of one’s religion; you will not find happiness in strict adherence to daily religious ritual but in the small, simple activities and choices, which are the mundane foundation of your religious philosophy. If you worship the Earth, make choices, which protect the environment. If you revere the sacred feminine, make choices that would lead others to respect femininity. If you believe that your spiritual purpose is to serve your fellows, be friendly and willing to help. But if you want to live your religion every day, don’t obligate yourself to an arbitrary schedule of worship or you’ll only become a slave to your faith. Remember you values and you’ll immediately change from an event-based religion to a day-to-day expression of faith.
Every secret organization or religion has a secret or two. Of course, you won’t never hear about them because they are secrets. Makes senses. Most of these organizations and religions have secrets to keep the public out and in the dark, to exclude them. On the other hand, our religion is not like that we have had to keep it secret just to keep it alive. If it was for our ancestors keeping our entire religion secret, we wouldn’t have a religion.
The secret I am getting ready to share with you is not that big of deal. It was used in the Burning Times to determine if the person you were meeting was a witch. You can see during this period of time why it was very important to know who you were meeting.
Here is the ritual. Enjoy!
This is a magic witches hand shake spell. This spell is cast to find out if someone you know may or may not be a witch. After casting this magic spell, you will then shake the hand of the person you are inquiring about, and your answer will be revealed in the handshake. It can also be used to slightly put a thought or idea inside the mind of a person without coming right out and suggesting it. We offer many more free magic spells here for you to use and to try.
Extend your right index finger and lightly touch the wrist of the person exactly where the pulse is felt. By touching the pulse it throws the acquaintance completely off his balance for just an instant , but in that instant plant an initial
thought, ( example : I am the one you want for the job) this
really works and is cool, try it.
*You can also determine if the other person is a witch by the way they grasp your hand. If their right index finger is extended and touching your pulse area, more than likely they are a with.*
Karma is a Hindu concept that has been adopted by many Westerners, especially those in the New Age and Pagan communities. While many people talk about karma, not everyone fully understands it. Its effects over several lifetimes are also often misunderstood.
What Is Karma?
Karma is the Hindu law of cause and effect. For every action you take, there is a reaction, although it’s not equal and opposite. When you take beneficial action, you receive a beneficial effect. When you take baneful action, that will come back to you, too.
Your karma is a part of your soul, and it determines, in part, how your life will play out. If you live a just life, you will receive more just benefits. If something negative befalls you, look to your history and see what might have caused it.
Leftover Karma from Past Lives
The karmic backlash or reward for your actions is not always immediate. Sometimes it takes years to feel the full karmic effects of any action. The span of time between an action and its karmic effect can actually stretch over more than one lifetime. The actions you took in your past lives affect your current life to some degree. They might decide your role in this life, or how your life is lived. You can rest assured that really evil people will receive appropriate punishments in their future lives. Hopefully, you weren’t a terrible person in your past life, but if you can’t see any reason why so many things in your life seem to be going wrong, you might be dealing with retribution for mistakes you made in a previous life.
The Hindu concept of time is not strictly linear, so there can also be a karmic influence for an action you’ve not yet taken. Living the best life you can in order to balance out the negative weight on your karma is the best solution for dealing with karmic effects you had no role in creating in this life. A Hindu’s goal in life is to carry out his dharma (duty). If you attempt to serve your life purpose, it will benefit your karma and counterbalance the mistakes of the past or futureSource: Author: Selene Silverwind
Let’s Talk Witch – How to Explain Your Beliefs
When describing your beliefs to someone, it’s not always necessary to explain everything. It’s best to start with your personal beliefs, and then to segue into a longer explanation. It also helps to make connections between Neo-Pagan practices and the practices of other religions. Finally, you should be prepared to allay fears people have about magic and those wild Pagan orgies.
Share the Basics
When first explaining your beliefs, stick to a skeleton of your basic belief system. For a coworker, it’s enough to say something like, “I follow a nature religion.” You can answer further questions if you want to, but try to steer clear of talk about working skyclad. With friends, you can explain your beliefs a little more deeply. It’s okay to mention the deities you follow, your holiday celebrations, or anything else that seems appropriate. Your friend may or may not ask questions. If she does, then explain further. For example, if you’re asked if you believe in God, you can answer that you believe in a god and goddess. If you are asked if you worship Satan, you can explain that Satan is a Christian construct and that you don’t worship anything that could be construed as evil.
Answer the Questions
Family members and people you have a romantic connection to will ask the most questions. Work slowly, starting from the basics. Allow the person time to digest your answers and then think of new questions. You might want to invite them to attend a ritual with you, or send them a copy of a ritual so they can see what it’s like.
You will most likely be asked if you still celebrate the holidays of your original faith. Many Pagans choose to celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday and share the day with family and friends, just as they did before, but without the trip to church. Most Jewish Pagans find that their traditions work very well with Neo-Paganism and are able to honor both the Jewish and Pagan holidays. You can also explain that you honor the cycles of the sun and earth, or adhere to a holiday calendar that predates Christianity. You can point out that many of these celebrations continue in the regions where they originated.
Some Christians don’t know that Christ’s actual birth date is unknown. Christmas was first moved to December 25 in the fourth century, and was later set by Pope Gregory. The new date coincided with Pagan celebrations of Saturnalia, the winter solstice, and the birth of the sun god Mithras.
If you are asked specifically what you do, then give a very basic rundown of an average ritual. You will most likely be asked if you use magic. If you do use magic, you can explain that you don’t practice black magic or sacrifice animals during your rituals (unless you’re Santerían). Magic can be likened to prayer because both are tools for asking the gods for help.
The tools, especially ritual knives, usually arouse the most curiosity. Explain as much of it as you feel comfortable with. For example, you could explain that your athame is a symbol of the element of fire because steel is forged from fire. You don’t need to get into its relation to male energy and the symbolic Great Rite unless you already explained Beltane.
Make Connections Between Religions
When explaining your faith, it also helps to make connections to more familiar religions and holidays. For example, you can liken the goddess to Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, whom many Pagans honor as a goddess. When asked about Yule, explain that you celebrate the return of the light in the form of the sun god, spelled Sun. You can point out that the Christmas tree, holiday wreaths, and decorations are all pre-Christian practices.
If you use other practices, such as shamanic journeying or meditation, compare your practices to those of Native Americans or Buddhists. Other practices, like wearing a Celtic Cross pendant or hanging a Witch Ball in your window for protection, can be related to the folk traditions of Europe and the British Isles.
When people hear the words heathen, Pagan, and Witch, all sorts of scary images are conjured up. Your family members may worry that you’ve joined a cult or gone off the deep end. You should clarify that you are not a sorcerer or the Wicked Witch of the West. You should explain that Pagans have no single leader, you’re not required to give all your money to anyone, and there is no strict dogma, so it would be difficult for you to be a member of a Pagan cult.
If a friend or family member insists on trying to “save” you, gently but firmly explain that you believe differently, but you appreciate the concern. You might want to give him a copy of a beginner’s book on your chosen path or direct him to an explanatory Web site.
Once you’ve explained your personal beliefs, your friends and family members may be less worried but might still have a few concerns. You may be asked if you have orgies in the forest. Even if you do, that might not be the right thing to tell your mom. You might be asked if you hex people. Again answer with a simple “no,” unless you want to get into a long conversation about magical ethics.
The most common fear is that you’ll become a different person. Reassure them that you are the same person you always were, and you just have a different religion. Chances are you had Pagan leanings before you made the conversion, and once they recognize that, they will be better able to accept your religious choices.
Source:“The Everything Paganism Book How to Explain Your Beliefs by Selene Silverwind
Good Morning my dear brothers & sisters of The Craft! How is each and everyone of you doing? I hope super. Since I am getting an early start today, I have two things I want to discuss with you. One is happy and the other pisses me to the bone.
First the happy one, I got the poll results about wanting a raffle for a shopping spree in the store. Guess What? It was a yes. You want a chance at a $50.00 shopping spree in our little store, fabulous. I will make up the golden ticket tonight and tomorrow the raffle will start. The golden ticket is symbolic that you won. Don’t worry if you lose it, we will have your name and keep up with the amount you have left to spend. I should add there will be no tax added to this $50.00 so it all goes toward merchandise. All there is left to say is “Good Luck!”
Now for the thing that pisses me to the bottom…….If you will remember yesterday, the Deity of the Day was Ishtar. Her description was exactly this:
Deity of the Day – Ishtar
Dual-aspected Assyro-Babylonian Goddess. She is a warrior Goddess but also the Goddess of Love. She is the patroness and protector of prostitutes (sacred prostitution formed part of her worship) and when she descended to the earthly plane, she was almost always in the company of “courtesans, harlots and strumpets”. If a working girl or exotic dancer is in trouble, she can call on Ishtar for protection and Ishtar will provide it in her warrior Goddess form. As Goddess of Love and voluptuousness, Ishtar can help you if you wish to attract a lover or increase your sexual attractiveness. Beware though, she does have an irritable, violently passionate side to Her Nature.
This was reblogged on another site with this comment made about this Deity….
“Sounds like a Goddess that could REALLY benefit a “Seductress” Eh? HA! Geesh”
I guess this clown thought it was funny but I don’t. All of our Goddesses, Gods, and Deities are very sacred to us. To make fun or even a slight remark like this is blasphemy as far as I am concerned. There is one thing I can say about our Gods, Goddesses and Deities, they overlook no one. Whether you are a common prostitute or a drug dealer, they see your potential for good. And they are there to pull you out of your slump and give you new hope and guidance for a better life.
I know my Goddesses, Gods and Deities are real. I feel them constantly, they are everywhere. I have a very high respect and regards for them. I would never, ever say anything even in jest against them. And I pity the person that would. It only shows their ignorance and the lack of respect for other religions.
I have never bashed another Religion on this site and I never will. I keep hoping for a better day when we can all respect each other, their lifestyles and their Religions. But it seems that day is still a long way off.
I know it is only one Deity so why make a big deal about it. Simple, it starts with one then leads to two, then three and so on. After a while it is our entire Religion, do you want that? I know I don’t. We have worked to hard to allow this to happen. Whether it is one Deity or our entire Religion in question, we must stand up against those who are so ignorant as to make fun or ridicule us in anyway.
We must always stand up for ourselves and our Religion, if we don’t no one will. Remember that. Remember how far we have came and remember we will let no one put us down again, EVER!
*As far as this site goes that made the remark about Ishtar, I will be contacting WordPress today in regards to Religious Bashing. All of the sites that have been accused of religious bashing has been closed down and no longer exist on WordPress.*
Religious Tolerance in Wicca
For the most part and in my experience, Wiccans seem to be religiously tolerant. Wicca is one of those things that will call to you if it is your path. I have been to open circles though and after the ritual, one often will hear one or two witches ‘Christian bashing’. In some ways, I can understand the sentiment because there are fanatics of other religions who likewise judge us. On the other hand, this only causes more intolerance and misunderstanding of our religion.
If we want to be recognized as a positive religion, I believe we must show what Wicca is about through our actions and words.* Not something I normally throw out there but, as an example, I know a doctor who is a Christian clergyman. By being respectful, and over time explaining our belief, he thinks it is positive for some people. When we disrespect other religions, it only makes others frown upon our beliefs.
There are so many things you can do to show the positive sides of Wicca. Do something for the community or to help others…something as simple as sending a happy holiday card around times the times we have holidays. Basic positive actions and friendliness can go a long way, even helping people via some simple magicks if you know they won’t be offended. I have programmed appropriate gemstones before to help people I know who are afraid of witchcraft and after respectfully explaining their history and meaning, the people were in fact happy to receive those gifts.
If someone becomes open to it and understands, then invite him/her to observe a ritual, solitary or not. They don’t need to be in the circle but if they have an understanding, curiosity, and respect, there should be no concerns about letting people see what Wicca is about. I do not think in any way we should push our religion, but if we want others to be more accepting, we should explain and show them what we are about.
Once I went to an eclectic open training circle; I noticed that when the ‘religion bashing’ started the high priestess got quiet and then simply walked away. I don’t think most people noticed it, but in my opinion, she took the higher road, so to speak.
Many Abrahamic religions associate Wicca with evil and dark magicks because they do not understand us. If they were to see us out in nature casting our circles, calling upon the elements and Gods or Goddesses it would scare them. Many people fear what they do not understand. This goes both ways, because I’m sure many Wiccans have encountered Christians they do not understand.
I know many that say they just blow off or ignore the people that come to their door to talk religion. Whenever a Mormon, Christian, etc. has come to my door, I invite them in and am polite. They tell me about what their religion has done for them and tell me about their beliefs. I always explain I follow a pagan path and talk shortly about religion with them. I imagine in some cases you may find a fanatic, but being respectful I have not once been insulted by a person I invited into my home to talk about his/her religion.
There are so many misunderstandings and symbols that scare people and I think we need to be aware of that. Someone who has not been exposed to Wicca and notices a pentagram on you may think you’re worshipping Satan. This can be somewhat blamed on movies and that is how it is introduced to most people in today’s society… as an evil symbol. Most people don’t know the inverted pentagram was adopted as satanic symbol. Now, I may be wrong but if I remember correctly, I believe the inverted pentagram is sometimes used in Wicca as well depending on tradition or coven at a certain degree, the reason being for the individual to understand and accept the darker aspect of self but not let it take control. That may even cause more confusion for someone only vaguely familiar with Wicca. (Please feel free correct me if I’m wrong about why the inverted pentagram is sometimes used, as I’m not well educated on when or how it is used in Wicca) .
Disrespect will get us nowhere, when someone says, “God bless you”, “you will be in my prayers” or maybe even offers you a paper to attend their church, there is no reason to be rude. Also, tactfulness is something I believe we should always keep in mind as witches or pagans. When dealing with people who don’t understand us and want to tell us about their religion, we should think of a way to politely tell them that we are not interested.
You will run into your religious nuts but just keep a low tone and be a better person. Making off color comments or insulting them only makes their negative attitude towards other religions stronger. For that matter, when it comes to the fanatics, I sometimes find it useful to use their own book against them (politely, of course!) One of my favorite quotes, if being judged is: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”. (Matthew 7:2; New International Version 1984, ©1984)
I know some Wiccans or pagans say they never touched a Bible, but sometimes reminding a person of his/her own religious text can be your best weapon. Using that as tool, tactfully, can put them at a loss for words.
Respect is earned, and if we want to receive it we must do so through positive actions. While I do think many of us try to respect other religions, we need to keep in mind religious tolerance means respecting all religions.
* I would like to say I did start this as a topic on another site just a few moments ago but it was ¼ the length of this article. I wanted to expand on it though but just felt it appropriate to say this was partially posted elsewhere. For reference I posted the short version on
The State of Paganism: A Perspective From an Old Witch
As Paganism slowly but surely emerges out of the grip of suppression brought on by what is now commonly referred to as organized religions. We may want to be aware of several pitfalls and realities as we once again step into the light of day.
First of all, the top three organized religions are themselves fairly new in the grand scheme of history. Prior to their appearance on the world stage, basically everyone in the world followed some type of pagan belief, which was for the most part an individual spiritual belief and not an organized religion per se. Such beliefs were influenced by ones personal environment and the immediate world around them. There was an interpersonal awareness that helped to shape one’s values and thus their corresponding beliefs. In today’s artificial world we no longer have such a mainstay or influence to guide us.
The current “accepted” beliefs being touted by the main three organized religions and the suppression of former popular beliefs did not occur as a natural effect of events in human history.
It was and continues to be a planned and concerted action, which began in one instance with the advent of the apologists and has continued on through the ages by acts of repression, fear and some very clever propaganda. These deliberate actions have been supplemented by the tactics of politicians who are overtly biased in favor of the institutions of organized religion.
After all, power begets power.
As such we should be aware that the basic tenet of these man made religious organizations is to hold onto such power at all costs. We as a community would like to think that we are accepting of all religious beliefs and spiritual paths, as we should be.
But we should not be so naïve as to think that just because we are so accepting that organized religions will welcome us back with open arms from the isolation of an exile that they themselves imposed upon those of pagan beliefs.
In all reality they (organized religions) would very much like to see paganism fade away as just another passing fad. An example of this is the gathering in Rome in the summer of 2007 of the Roman Catholic Church of which the primary topic was “how to draw folks away from Devil worship (allegedly paganism) and back into the grasp of the one true church”.
Granted there are some individuals within organized religion who are realistic and enlightened enough to accept the fact that not everyone is going to believe as they do. And thus are willing to work with members of alternate beliefs such as paganism.
However the harsh reality is that these folks generally belong to one of the very aggressive religious organizations whose leaders do not endorse such openness. And as such we are being accepted only in isolated situations and only at the very grass roots of these religious institutions.
Acceptance of the fact that the oldest religious/spiritual beliefs in the world were not obliterated and are making a re-emergence is going to take some considerable time, effort and patience.
We will re-emerge into the light of day one enlightened heart and soul at a time. To believe otherwise is in my personal opinion, both foolish and self-defeating.
Another pitfall we should be wary of is manipulation by the organized religions. They have by virtue of their position in the world today, proven to be very adept at such tactics.
And quite obviously (to some of us anyway) they are employing these tried and proven techniques to the very community that they would like to once again vanquish back into the throes of exile.
What is this manipulation you may ask?
Over the recent years, a crumb will fall off of the table of organized religion and a pagan will be ‘allowed” to sit at the same table as these folks. Each time it has been a Wiccan who is chosen to take such a seat and in each case the chosen Wiccan will proclaim themselves as representative of the whole pagan community. And then folks in the pagan community will swoon like young schoolgirls and say, “oh what a great thing this is for the community”.
In my personal opinion, such proclamations fall right into the hands of those of the organized religions who are sponsoring such meetings.
I have serious reservations about such an approach and reaction for several down to earth reasons.
First of all, realistically we as a community are dealing with folks who are well schooled in such manipulation. It is quite apparent that if you can’t outright obliterate what you object to then you find a way to control it.
For example Brighid the Goddess did not become a Christian saint by happenstance. It was an act of sage manipulation by an organized religion. Hence we have the old adage of, “keeping your friends close but your enemies even closer”.
And so with all due respect to those of the Wicca, I personally have to wonder why organized religion seems to only choose members of Wicca, which is by all accounts barely a generation old and thus but a babe in the world of paganism as the ones who are proffered a seat with these folks.
Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying here, I think that it is great that a pagan of any path gets the crumb that is offered, to a certain extent.
But then this brings me to my next concern.
One of the primary tenets of paganism is diversity. And if we are to avoid the pitfalls of hypocrisy then perhaps those Wicca who are chosen to be seated with organized religions should state responsibly, that in fact they represent but a small portion of the pagan community.
Again, with all due respect to those of the path of Wicca, not only would this be a realistic statement but it would also leave the door open to those of other pagan beliefs. And as such would be a confirmation of the pagan community’s stated belief in the tenet of diversity.
Paganism is after all an acronym or umbrella for many “diverse” beliefs. And no one path can honestly state that they alone represent the many different beliefs that align themselves under the banner of paganism.
In all reality, and yet once again with all due respect, as an Irish witch who also engages the path of shamanism, Wicca does not remotely represent my personal path. Nor does it accurately reflect the beliefs of those who are Asatru, Voudon, Santerian, Odinist, Yoruba, Shamanic, witch and so forth.
If we as a community are going to endorse diversity as one of our founding tenets then we need to surpass the temptations of ego and thus avoid the snare that is being put into place by those religious organizations that have shown such skill in manipulation.
Those who are tapped should show some responsibility and use their opportunities to ensure that organized religion is aware that we are in fact a diverse community and do not fit into one spiritual/religious shoe fits all.
By the same token, we as a community need to overcome our petty ego driven differences and be willing to proffer folks from various pagan beliefs as representatives of our community. Granted this will take a measure of maturity that has for the most part been lacking in our community.
But I personally believe that if we are true to ourselves and our community that we can indeed find the inner strength to exhibit such maturity as a community to express ourselves in such a manner.
The final concern that I would like to express in this treatise is this.
Why do we buy into the perception that organized religion has of us?
Realistically, it is “their” perception and should not be the view that we as pagans hold of ourselves.
Why do we as a community get all flustered and swoon whenever organized religion allows us a seat?
They are in all reality the newcomers to the world stage of religious/spiritual beliefs.
Paganism is in fact the oldest such beliefs in existence, period!
When one of us is invited to their table it should be with the approach that they (organized religions) should be honored to have a member of such an ancient belief seated at their table.
We need to stop playing into their blatant manipulation and express ourselves with aplomb and dignity and not as eager children grateful for a brief moment of attention.
I personally believe that this is why they (organized religions) only invite the Wicca (who are the babes of pagan society) into their midst. In this manner they can point and say “but they have only been around since 1952” and so the manipulation continues and unadulterated attempts at control continues.
In closing I would like to make it clear that I am not casting about disparaging thoughts against those of the Wicca or any other members of organized religions and/or other pagan paths.
My words are simply a reflection of the realities that we as pagans did not create but which we have to live with. How cognizant we are and how we approach such issues as a community in regards to organized religions will determine whether we remain in the daylight or whether we once again resume our existence in the darkness of religious/spiritual exile.
If you don’t want to think of these issues in regards to yourself then maybe you should consider the religious/spiritual freedoms (true freedoms) of your children and your children’s children.
For in all reality, such manipulation and control did not occur over one generation nor is it likely to ebb within just one generation. Freedom of religious/spiritual beliefs is an ongoing struggle against those who would have it otherwise.
I think the last 2000 years or so has made that quite clear…
I was going to talk a little about Thanksgiving and should Pagans celebrate it or not. Until I opened our email and found a message in there from I guess a follower or someone who wants to be. Apparently they want to be, excuse me there. But they wanted me produce proof that our Religion is real, not something that I made up. That comment sent me into wicked witch mode and it shouldn’t have. See proof I am still sick. But the very idea, someone wants proof our Religion is REAL???
We have no bible or written words, well a few not many because of the persecution we have endured. It was never safe for any of our ancestors to write anything down. If they were caught, they were killed. If not for our ancestors passing our Religion down orally, we probably wouldn’t even have a Religion today. I cannot speak for everyone here but I know my Religion is real because of the Goddess. She is my Mother and I can feel her presence in my body and soul everyday. I see Her beauty around me everywhere I look. I do not need written words for I know the Goddess. My Religion is about as real as it gets. It is the oldest Religion on this planet.
I would imagine you want proof because other Religions have Bibles and the such. I have no Bible, my Bible is written in the wind and also on my heart.. Yours will fade and the papers will crinkle and grow old. Mine never will it will always blow in the wind. I will hear the Goddess speak to me as She has spoken to thousands. And there are thousands still left to be reached. I don’t know what Religion you are and I really don’t care because you have insulted me and my Religion. Asking for written proof. The proof is inside you, all you have to do is believe and the Goddess will come to you. Just because She is not in a bible somewhere does not make Her any less real than any other Gods that are worshipped on Sundays. Let me ask you a question, the bibles published by man, how do you know they are real? If you will notice each chapter in the King James Version of the Bible is authored by an ordinary man. It is an ordinary man giving his account of what happened. Or who said what and who did what. How do you know that his account is correct. How do we know any Religion is correct? All religions are based on faith. I guess you could call it a luck of the draw when it comes to religious beliefs. We all hope we have chosen the right one. In my case, it is not a guessing game.
You see at one time I was a very dark witch. I know who grabbed a hold of me and my soul and pulled me back from the darkness, it was the Goddess. She spoke to me as clear as day. She showed me what Path I should have chosen. Her Path. Since that day, I know in my heart and mind She is very real. She changed my life, She changed my heart and soul with Her Love. I know why our ancestors died to protect Her beautiful Religion. So others like myself might see the actual light and follow the true Path.
I cannot give you proof that my Religion is real and I feel like I shouldn’t have too. I wonder if you have that much doubt that you need actual proof, then why have you followed that longing in your soul to this Religion? Listen to the voice inside you. That is the Goddess calling you and talking to you. All you have to do is have faith. That is what all religions call for, Faith! You are the one that has the proof and it is inside you. All I can offer you is the teachings of the Old Ways. I am just the messenger. That’s it. I serve my Goddess as She deems fit. Listen to your inner voice. Listen very carefully, then follow the voice. Something has drawn you here. Now it is up to you to take the next step. Take that leap of faith that all religions require. The Goddess will provide you with the proof. And when She does, you will never, ever question my Religion again. She will open your eyes and your heart in ways no mere mortal can. Just listen.
Let’s Talk Witch – Witches & Prayer
If you have any religious practice, regardless of what it is, you should make a daily routine of praying. Every religious practice has its regular prayers, and these should be made a part of your daily routine as well. If you have no religious practice you should return to the religious practice of your childhood, and enter into it with new perception that it is actually valuable and worthwhile. If you grew up in a home with no religious practice you should look around and find one that is comfortable for you. Enter into the practice and use the prayers from that practice. If the practice uses prayers in foreign language, you should learn the language at least well enough to understand the prayers.
Popular opinion to the contrary, it really doesn’t matter which prayers you use or what form they take. What matter is whether or not you pray regularly. Prayer (and the attempt at praying) acts to stabilize and keep you protected from various forms of external influence.
True prayer is the most magickal act there is, and if you are in communion with the Divine, you live your life in a state of continual prayer. Prayer is a real force in the universe, and the process of learning how to pray is one of the most important lessons you can learn.
Being a Witch, you probably have mixed feelings about praying. But no matter how you feel and whether or not you call it praying, it is communicating with our Gods and Goddesses on a daily bases.
Good Morning all my precious family! I hope this Sunday morning fines you all doing well. I have had something that has been eating at me all week. I have had several mainstream religion individuals, including pastors and priests, write me in regards to our Religion. None of the letters were bad. In fact, they were very surprising. The pastors and priests expressed interested and curiosity about our Religion. They said it had always fascinated them but they did not want to come out and reveal this to their congregations. I can’t say that I blame them, it would be like me telling you I was a Baptist (you better no that is not true !). They all said they never expected for me to write them back. Truthfully, I have saved their letters in our email account. One day, when the Goddess gifts me with Her words, I will write back.
The mainstream individuals write for another reason. They want to join our Religion but they are scared. Scared that there is no Goddess, no Summerlands, no Reincarnation, NOTHING! They are scared if they turn to our Religion and forsake their own they will go to hell. The very first letter, I ever got like this stumped me. I had never been around anyone who came right out and said they were scared to convert to our Religion. I was dumbfounded to say the least. After careful thought and asking the Goddess to help me, my answer to them were…..
“My dear friend,
I don’t know if I can easy your fears or not, but I will try. I wonder why, if you are scared of our Religion, would you ever consider turning to the Goddess. I came to the realization something is missing in your life. The mainstream religions are not filling that emptiness you feel. The longer you go the bigger the emptiness feels and then it turns into a feeling of being lost. Something is missing and you want to know what.
First off, let start with your fear of going to hell. In The Craft, we have no concept of hell nor the devil. I would venture to say you have been in your religion all your life. From the time you were a little baby till now. You were never given the choice of your own religious practices, you assumed the practices of your parents. You went to Sunday school and church every time the door was open. You might not have even known there was other Religions till you got grown. But you are grown now and seeking, seeking what you don’t know. But that emptiness has to be filled.
There are thousands of Religions in the world. I cannot say which one is right or which one is wrong. As many as there are I can’t believe they are all wrong. It would be a very cruel God that only chose one Religion and left the rest to rot. I cannot guarantee you The Craft is the right Religion. I am only the messenger. I can, however, testify to what I have seen the Goddess do and the ability She has given me. The Goddess, to me is a Divine Being of Endless Love & Mercy. She is my mother. In my Religion, I have three mothers, my maternal mother who has passed on, my Deity and my Holy Divine Mother. What other Religion can say that? We have Laws and Ethics we live by. Most people don’t realize that but we do. My personal opinion on this or that being the right or wrong religion, I still can say. I am betting on Witchcraft to be the Right One. Just as any Baptist is betting on theirs being the right one. The Pentecostal are betting on theirs also. If you will stop and look at all these religions, the Gods/Goddesses they speak of, are merciful, loving, kind, understanding and most of all it is repeated over and over, we are their children. With all those Religions, I can believe only one is right. I believe in their own aspects all of them are right. My personal belief is if you find a Religion that calls to you. Then go to it. Don’t be afraid, never be afraid of the Gods, they love you no matter what. That Religion you take up will have guidelines how to live, follow them. Lead a moral, up-standing, ethic life and believe no merciful God or Goddess would ever turn you way.
I am not going to lie to you, I would love for you to come and experience the Goddess and Her Religion. I believe if you do you will find similarities between our Religion and the Christian religion. You see our Religion is the oldest Religion on Earth. The early Christians liked some of our practices so well they adopted them for their own use. And we are suppose to be the evil ones!
What you have been led to believe about Witchcraft is untrue. Put your fears aside and found out for yourself what is drawing you to our Religion. I already know what it is, it is our Goddess. I know the Path I have took has been full of many joys and much happiness. I hope you will come to know these things also.
You will never be alone, dear friend. The Goddess is around you everywhere.
Blessings, Peace & Comfort,
Lady Of The Abyss
The Nature of Good and Evil?
Good and Evil are concepts that are used by certain established religions to enforce their way of thinking. Remember that, according to some of those religions, we are Evil simply by virtue of not being part of their faith. How, then, can any Pagan hold on to these concepts while seeking to explore his or her own faith?
Let me just say that what I seek to discuss here is Good and Evil, not good and evil. The difference is quite great, as a perfectly ordinary human being can commit an evil act or a good act without necessarily recognizing any fault. Evil and good are a matter of perspective. But Evil and Good, with the capital letters, are grandiose abstracts.
One of the first things that I learned when I became a pagan was that Good and Evil do not exist as the great abstract powers that I was always taught about in church, nature (in paganism) being a matter of balance rather than opposition. Recently, however, I have heard individuals of the Pagan persuasion talking about Evil entities in exactly the same way Christians would describe devils and demons. It has made me wonder, not whether Good and Evil truly exist, but whether any of us can really escape the heavy-handed religious teachings of our childhood.
There is a reason why I say that Good and Evil do not exist. It’s quite simple, really: Have you ever seen an Evil animal? An Evil stone or tree? No, because in nature there is only motivation and action. Balance is maintained because it is the way things work. Humans have been led to believe that because we are cognizant, we are better than animals. This is the source of the idea of Good and Evil; our ability to think about our actions beyond the instinctive level is taken to mean we have greater control over ourselves, which is true to a certain extent.
Being capable of thinking about our actions should mean that we are able to accept the consequences of our actions and not blame an abstract concept of Evil or Good. It is easier to excuse an ill thought or downright malicious action by saying ‘The Devil made me do it’ than to admit that you are at fault. It is easier to say ‘He’s just plain Evil’ than to realize that society is failing a lot of people and allowing psychologically disturbed individuals to go unnoticed (In these cases, perhaps the nature of Evil is apathy and complacency, of which we may all be guilty.)
When I hear intelligent Pagans talking about Evil or Good entities, I have to ask myself if there is not some misunderstanding. All the spirits and energy entities with which we work have their own motivations (which they are very unlikely to disclose). There are malign beings who will use the unwary to suit their own goals, but that makes them no more Evil then any human being seeking to use another to meet their ambitions. People do morally abhorrent, stupid, ignorant and pointless things every day, but they are not necessarily labeled as Evil: just human. Why should spirits be any different simply because they are incorporeal?
I don’t claim that spirits are the same as living humans, but they exist when we are not calling upon them, and so must have their own reasons for doing things. Perhaps if we understood their drives and aims a little better, we would be more selective as to how, when and who we called upon to aid us in our workings or we might find that we could allow ourselves more freedom in our communications with Otherworld inhabitants.
So, what of the nature of Good and Evil? As Pagans we should not use these terms, but rather acknowledge that intent, motive and action are all part of free will and that by choosing to act in a particular fashion, we also choose to accept the consequences for what we do, be that physical or metaphysical.
By proclaiming ourselves to be Pagans, we have rejected the established religions that preach of Good and Evil, telling their followers of what glory or damnation await in the next life and that the absolution of all acts in this life that can be achieved through their chosen devotions. There are reasons for these established faiths to maintain their belief in Good and Evil, but I cannot think of one that is positive. These concepts are used as a ruler with which to rap the knuckles of unruly followers, rather then expecting the faithful to learn through discussion and explanation. Good and Evil are the religious equivalent of ‘It just is’ giving no further reasoning and offering the believer no leeway in which to make up his or her own mind.
I know as I write this there will be a number of you who are thinking about Hitler/Stalin/Mussolini, etc. Even theyweren’t Evil and by thinking that they were, we give more power and importance to such individuals than they deserve. Most of history’s monsters are misrepresented by the documentation, or they were so mentally disturbed that it is a wonder that they could function on a day-to-day basis at all. Yes, their actions were evil, but in most cases they had delusions that it was for the greater good of their people or nation. Only later were they consumed by their own addiction to power.
Paganism is meant to be as much about thinking for ourselves in all aspects of life as it is about worshipping the Gods of our ancestors. When a Pagan uses Good and Evil, he or she brings into his/her thinking something that belongs to book religions that seek followers who do as they are told, rather than thinking believers willing to argue and change what they think. When you are researching and studying, remember that when a writer uses the words Good or Evil, you need to look beyond and find more information from different sources and perspectives because that source is not providing you with enough information.
Before You Call Yourself A Witch
“When can I call myself a Witch? What are the basics everyone is telling me to learn first?” In this essay I will try to provide you with some answers to these questions. Please note that this is by no means the “end-all, be-all” of such views; it’s simply my own answer to a seeker’s aforementioned questions. Take it with a grain of salt people; this is the Internet after all!
So, you found a path that seems to fit you and satiate your spiritual hunger. You have probably read a couple of books, skimmed through a couple of sites, talked with a couple of people and feel a genuine, honest and strong pull towards religious Witchcraft. Thus you proceed to call yourself a Witch. Right?
Before you pause in disbelief and stare the screen calling me all sorts have… names (mehehehe) for my apparent “bigotry” stop and think. What does calling yourself a Witch entails? Is it just a name for this spirituality that anyone delving into can take up? Or does it mean something more, something deeper?
Well, I’d say the second. Why you ask? Because any name or title of any empirical, practical and knowledge-filled system has specific connotations and denotes an understanding and a form of capability in the name’s/title’s fields. For our own example, what does one profess, even unknowingly, when taking up the name of a Witch? Well, you’ll find that views differ on this (just as they do on any other subject) , so I’ll present my own view here.
I believe that by calling one’s self a Witch, that person professes a level of mastery, understanding and experience in a variety of fields. Specifically, it denotes a range of various experiences, a degree of mastery over various arts of Witchcraft, a developed and well-grounded spirituality and an effective relationship with deity. I doubt any newbie that starts studying or is at the first few months of their studies have attained or reached any of those things.
I’ll provide a list of requirements that one should meet before they can take the name Witch for their path.
1. Sabbats: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of what the Wheel of the Year and its Sabbats deal with as well as have observed it wholly (without having missed any of the sacred days) at least once (meaning, throughout at least a year) .
2. Seats: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of what an Esbat deals with as well as have observed any number of Esbats between 4-7 or more within a year.
3. Arts and Crafts: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of a number of arts of Witchcraft of their choice and preference as well as have attained a level of mastery in those.
4. Deities: One should have acquired an understanding and comprehension of the deities of their choice and preference or calling as well as have built a working relationship with them.
5. Organization and Structure: One should have formed and follow a standard, stabilized and concrete path, with regular observances, rites and practices.
Of course, those apply on a specific form of religious Witchcraft, one that is influenced heavily by outer court Wiccan material (known as Neo-Wicca or Dedicatory Religious Witchcraft) or has Celtic influences. If you find yourself drawn to another form of religious Witchcraft, simply replace the sacred days, the requirements etc with the appropriate ones. In addition, this is geared mostly towards solitaries and not people under training with a traditional coven. If you happen to fall under the latter, please consult with your uplines/High Priest/ess regarding the requirements that specific Tradition has set.
Why do I say all this? What does it matter whether you meet certain requirements or not? I say all this and it matters because to call yourself something you have not yet attained, have not yet fully understood and have not yet fully realized will cause issues.
First of all, it will deceive and trouble those that seek you out for help be it practical or spiritual. Second of all, it will confuse you since you’ll find yourself unable to neither meet the expectations of the community nor help those in need. You’ll say, “But I don’t intend doing so!” I know you probably don’t wish to deceive others or find yourself in a tough position.
I’ll give you an example: let’s say you have a medical issue and want to find what it is and how to treat it. What will you do? You’ll probably seek out a doctor. Now, think for a moment how you will feel if the person you found calls him/herself a doctor but in all actuality is still only a sophomore of medical school. Won’t it cause you problems? It’s something similar with calling one’s self a Witch.
After reading all this you’ll most probably feel confused, lost and wondering, “What the heck do I call myself then?” Call yourself a Seeker. Call yourself a Student. Or find another term that fits your case better. However, I ask that you do not mislead others and burden yourself by calling your path something it isn’t yet or something it might never be.
NOTE: Due to the fact people might overlook this part of the essay: this refers only to Wiccan-influenced paths. If your path is different, more power to you. I am not Wiccan-influenced either. I simply understand that the majority of people are indeed on such a path, at least while in their Pagan “infancy”. These are completely my own views of the “basics” of such a path. I am in no way an authority on a subject. My word is not law; it’s not written on stone.
Acceptance: Not Just Tolerance
Author: Aliana Soulfire
I have been a witch (in-progress, really) for six years. My parents were “Christians” or like to think they were, at any rate. But at just barely sixteen I found something new, something that called to my soul. And that was paganism, and magick.
At the beginning of December 2006, I was married in a handfasting-type ceremony I wrote myself. My mother was displeased when she first heard this, but I stood my ground. It was a ceremony I could feel connected to, one in which I could actually feel like I was making a binding between two souls, not just repeating lines. But I digress.
This is about acceptance. Please do not misunderstand me. By acceptance I do not mean that you have to worship everything. I mean, maybe we, as in the world, should accept the fact that maybe the gods for each different religion actually exist. Doesn’t mean we all have to pay respects to each one. Just means they are out there.
Most people, on every side, think I’m a lunatic for saying such things. But really, acknowledging that Allah exists doesn’t make you a Muslim. Acknowledging the Christians’ god is the same.
Saying that Isis, Diana, Ra, The God or Goddess, or any one of them is real doesn’t mean you’re going to have to start burning incense and saying spells to the midnight moon.
What if they all exist, and we just quietly and peacefully choose to worship who we will?
There are flaws to any religion, regardless of who thinks what. There are zealots, too. The Muslim terrorists. The Christians who forced their religion on so many cultures from the past. And the modern Witches/Pagans/Wiccans bad-mouthing Christians constantly.
So what if their God exists? Should it bother you?
If you know in your heart that Diana watches over you, or that your spells work, great! If not, maybe you should study up on lots of different paths and find one that speaks to you.
The anger and hatred we have spread over the world because of religious differences is causing pain everywhere.
I personally think tolerance is just a nicer way to be condescending to another person or people. Seriously, look at what ‘tolerate’ means: to put up with. Now that doesn’t even sound nice. If someone tells another person his/her god doesn’t exist or that he/she is going to hell, it’s more than likely that person is the one who is insecure in his/her own beliefs. But I’m sure most people who read this will disagree.
Look at this country; we can’t even have a war protest that is peaceful. It hurts that we can’t seem to see a different way of life. Look to our future. What do we want our children to believe? That violence is the only way to succeed?
Let go of all the grudges you hold. We have to teach our children that peace is attainable, and the more we teach that, the more the idea will take hold in their hearts. I want this world to be a better place for my kids, when I finally have them. And I still have the hope that it can be.
But it requires effort. Lots of effort, a ton of open-mindedness, and a heart big enough to never give up. Peace is real, and it doesn’t take having a war to gain it. There will be bad people in the world, no matter what we do. Don’t hate everyone else just because of them. Don’t judge based on the worst people or actions of that society.
Seriously, though, there is nothing wrong about having faith in a specific god or group of gods. It shouldn’t matter. We should all respect the difference, of course, but please, don’t fight over faiths or paths.
Just picture this: Our children are all grown, and they didn’t have to suffer through what a lot of us did. On the television there is news of a tenth annual Paths Festival, where people from every religion can go to study, meet others, learn, and enjoy being together. The energy in the air is vibrant, full of life, tranquility, and happiness. You walk out the door wearing your cross or pentacle, or Star of David; you wear it with pride, instead of leaving it at home in fear.
While, of course, there would still be fighting over something, at least that would be one less thing we’d try to battle over. Life will never be springtime forever. As humans, we are obsessed about differences in everyone else. Celebrate those differences. Celebrate life. If we do that, it may help.
Look at our past and present for proof that we need to change. The Middle East has been torn by war with its own people for centuries. Christians killed in the name of god. Jews have had a horrible history of being oppressed by many different peoples. And today in our society, the Middle East is still in conflict.
In America, this country of the “free”, you are looked on with suspicion if you have a Quran, or worship Allah. You are “weird” or a “devil-worshipper” if you wear a pentacle. You are strange or bad for being different than the ruling powers.
What is the good of this free country if we deny those who seek that freedom? We are supposed to welcome people with open arms, not look down on them, or wrongly accuse them.
We have sauntered right off the path our forefathers tried to lay down for us. Thomas Jefferson, a man who owned a Quran, freed his slaves and above all, believed in freedom for the masses. He is what Americans today should be. Open-minded, accepting.
Our American Muslims should not have to live in fear of being thought a terrorist. Our Pagans should not fear Christians denouncing them. Our Christians should not focus on converting the whole country. That was not the original purpose.
Someday everyone will understand what I mean. A better way to peace. A better life for our children. They should be able to bring Qurans, Bibles, or their Book of Shadows to school with them. They should not fear rejection for being themselves, for following their hearts.
No one should ever have to fear that. Least of all, our future.
Good Morning, my luvs! I hope everyone is having a very enjoyable Saturday. At least today, I didn’t get drug out of bed like last weekend, lol! Take my word for it, you never want to wake up to a panicked Mystie :s, NEVER!
It has been a long week for me but a fun week. I enjoy doing our daily publications. I am going to start doing The WOTC seven days a week now. On Saturdays and Sundays, I will have peace and quiet to do what I want to. Which I do anyway, but…..Just the solitude and time to be alone and think. When I am alone it gives me more time to communicate with the Goddess. Even driving in the truck alone, I have a talk with Her. Spiritual connection with our Divine Mother is very important. Every moment I get, I now talk to Her.
I know I said I was going to start doing the WOTC seven days a week. But if it is alright with you, I need to take today off. Well, not really off, I will be working on the site. I decided yesterday afternoon to go ahead with the Sponsorship Wall. It is going to take a little bit of time to do, especially gathering up everyone’s name. I will have to go back through our account and start from the beginning. I want everyone who has ever contributed to us to be on that Wall. I believe with all my heart that you deserve the recognition. There has never been a time I haven’t called upon you for help in an emergency and you have always answered. That to me is special. Giving of yourselves were we can survive and continue our mission. I know you believe in the work we are doing and also believe it must continue. We have to get the truth about our Religion out. We have to destroy the ignorance about Witches and Witchcraft. We have to knock down barriers, stomp out all the old myths and stereotypes associated with us. And most of all, bring Witchcraft into the mainstream Religions. We have to continue our work for there is no one else to do it. We have to make sure our children know of their heritage, history and Religion. I know you stand with us in this calling. We have to stand together and we have to unite. There are some that say it is impossible for the Pagan community to unite. I say they are wrong. To be heard loud and clear, we have to come together and unite in this one cause.
This is not my cause, it is the Goddess’ cause. It is the Goddess’ Religion. We are Her children, who better to spread the word.
For those of you who have supported us from the very beginning, I say thank you. I have said it a million times without you there would be no WOTC. You are the heart of this group. Your strength gives me courage. Your support shows me your love. I know you stand beside us in our efforts. I know we are not alone in this struggle. We have come along way but we still have along way to go. For everything you have done for us, I believe you deserve the recognition.
I am going to work on the Wall today. Hopefully I will have it finished this afternoon. You are very special individuals to us. I want to show you our appreciation and gratitude for all you have done for us. This is our way of saying thank you and we love you.
YOU ARE THE WOTC!
I love you all from the bottom of my heart,