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13th-May-2010 03:40 pm - Fictional questions.
mystery on the prowl
I know this is off topic and I apologize if it offends, but I trust this community to give me thoughtful answers. I'm writing a fan fic and I need the villain to be able to hide his actions from clairvoyants. He only has a trace of innate talent, but great deal of will and patience to learn thaumaturgy. I never really worry about hiding what I'm doing that beyond basic wards I don't know what he would do. What gods to invoke or herbs, minerals or materials to use.

What would you do if you were trying to sneak up on a clairvoyant?
12th-May-2010 09:53 pm - On Discouragement
Ravens
I had a discussion with a friend about a particular prospect who is currently considering dedicating himself to religious path that's at least very similar to the one I've chosen. Without having any real information on said prospect's level of commitment, to me this person seems to have an incomplete understanding of what this particular deity entails, or what the dedication may end up involving lifestyle-wise, given said deity. My gut reaction was to try to dissuade the prospect because the dedication may not actually be in alignment with what he actually wants out of the process, and my friend's gut reaction is to attempt to dissuade any new person just to make certain s/he is serious.

I know several other people here have mentioned the idea at least in passing, so I figured I'd ask more broadly of the people who have actually discouraged persons from participating in their particular path/group, which I realise is probably at best a subset of this entire community:

Do you attempt to discourage each new person who approaches you, or just certain individuals (e.g. potential converts but not experienced transplants)?
What form does your discouraging take ("I want you to learn more about Jeff the god of biscuits first" versus "I just don't think you're a good fit")?
Do you use it as a tool to gauge commitment?
For what reasons do you discourage persons who approach you (I figure we're all trying to avoid Nutjobs, but are you trying to keep a particular group dynamic)?
29th-Apr-2010 07:47 am - Pagan ethics statement project
rainbow fairy
In response to a couple of recent abuse cases, some Pagans are working to make a "Pagans against sexual abuse" statement, either for the media or for the internal Pagan community or both. Background info is available at The Wild Hunt blog.

Author Brendan Myers volunteered to host the discussion and created a subforum for related topics. The current draft discussion has 30 or so replies, and I'd like it to get a lot more input. I'd like it to avoid the concept that all Paganism is Wicca, or Wicca-and-Druids (which it seems to be okay about, but it hasn't been vetted by many people of other paths to check what unconscious assumptions might be included).

The original draft was over 1200 words; my condensed version is a bit more than 500; the current version is less than 250 and probably close to actually useful. It could use some tweaking, especially some tiny-bits-of-phrasing editing; it should be as close as possible to perfect if it's going to be useful. (Useful for *what*, exactly, is another issue--one that's certainly open for discussion.)

I use OpenID to comment over there. And I'll go ahead and include the most current version under the cut tag.Collapse )
23rd-Apr-2010 01:46 am(no subject)
There are times when i'm doing certain meditations; most often just sitting in front of my altar lighting candles and reflecting, when my upper body kind of starts a rocking motion, moving back and forth, without any conscious thought on my part.

Has anyone else experienced this or have any thoughts on it or what causes this?
22nd-Mar-2010 07:24 am - Daily Devotional
Illuminated S
Once upon a time I lit a candle and recited a prayer I had written inviting the divine into my day to help me focus on my duties every morning as I stood alone in my primary workspace before my co-workers and clients arrived. It was one of the simplest and most effective rituals I have ever designed, and I miss that feeling of connection to the divine terribly.

Life has changed since then and I'm taking steps to create a new daily ritual. Do any of you have any resources or techniques that you have found particularly meaningful? Any verses that have been uniquely resonant or other things that have helped you connect with the everyday divine?

(X-posted to [info]graycub , [info]nonfluffypagans , and my Facebook.)
Oh Yes - Gomez Laughing
Selena Fox announced on her Facebook page that the New Jersey Board of Education just approved Wiccan/pagan holidays for its diversity calendar for public schools statewide. Here's what led up to the decision:

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-26373-Domestic-Witchery-Examiner~y2010m3d17-New-Jersey-State-Board-of-Education-approves-PaganWiccan-holidays-for-the-20102011-school-year
19th-Feb-2010 10:19 am - Things you can and can't control
Ravens
There are two concepts I've been trying to reconcile in my religious practice: the belief in the capacity for humans to take an active role in influencing supernatural entities or the forces of nature through an act of will (i.e. magic), and the belief that a member of the faithful should accept the workings either of the natural order or a divine personality (i.e. submission). The latter is mostly an external pressure, as I've previously mentioned dissatisfaction with results of a given project, and I've been told to just let go and let things happen.

How do you balance active will with submission to the natural order in your own practice?

As an additional question, for those of you with recon practices, do you feel your balance adequately reflects the practices of the historical populations whose belief structure you follow?
15th-Jan-2010 02:35 pm - Haitian Earthquake Relief
noir et blanc
I asked the moderators ahead of time if it would be ok for me to post this, as it is essentially off-topic.

News of the terrible earthquake in Haiti has been spread all over the media. Up to 3 million people have been affected by this and the death toll is estimated by some to be inbetween 100,000 and 500,000. The capital city is in ruins and the surrounding areas have all been badly affected as well. Haitians and relief workers are working around the clock to bring order back to their country, but in an already poverty-stricken area, this is next to impossible.

As a vodouisant, I feel helpless. Powerless. I've always wanted to visit the country where my religion was born in fire, blood, and revolution, but I've never been able to. I desperately want to help those who are suffering, but the only thing I am able to do is donate what little extra money I have. If any of you are of the means to make any type of donation, please- do so. Prayers are wonderful, but they are just not enough.

You can text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10.00 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti. The donation will be charged to your cell phone and show up on your next bill. Please, please, please help if you can.

http://newsroom.redcross.org/2010/01/12/disaster-alert-earthquake-in-haiti/

You can also text YELE to 501501. This is a $5.00 donation and I believe it's Wyclef Jean's organization.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34835478/ns/world_news-haiti_earthquake/
This is a list of reportedly reputable organizations to donate to.

Spread this far and wide.

Thank you.
glow
While watching "Models of the Runway" this evening (Go ahead, judge me. I deserve it.) we meet one of the models who claims:
"My religion is Witchcraft... but white magic, not black magic."

Guh! You're. not. helping.

... at which point did "witchcraft" become a religion? That's like saying "My religion is Sacraments, but only communions, not that end of life stuff."

Then again, she is on reality tv so I suppose my expectation of basic enough competence about her supposed faith to name it correctly was unrealistic.

Or am I wrong? Have people started referring to witchcraft as a religion instead of a practice now?
28th-Dec-2009 11:33 pm - Pagan Music Survey...
johnlisalucky
Alfred is a friend of mine who is a HP and also has a PhD in Musical composition.
Can you help him out?

Greetings all,
I am currently working on a paper on the Sustainability of Music in Paganism. This project is part of my work in Pagan Music that I have been doing for the past five years. I will be presenting this paper at the Pagan Conference in Claremont at the end of January 2010, and perhaps part of a future book on Pagan Music. In order to understand more on Pagan Music it is the community that would have answers and input. For this reason I reach out and ask members of the Pagan Community for some answers. I have put together a small survey of 10 questions, mostly short answers. If you have some time would you be able to take my survey on Pagan Music. It will not take more than ten minuates of your time and the answers will help me further my research on the ever evolving and growing of the music of our community. The link to the questions is just below this paragraph.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NWNYSKZ

Thank you for your time and many blessings
Alfred Surenyan
2nd-Dec-2009 02:55 pm - Interesting Research
Archie underworld

See:

- A Lost European Culture, Pulled From Obscurity (NY Times article)

- The Lost World of Old Europe: The Danube Valley, 5000-3500 BC (exhibition)


I found the discussion of new interpretations of the 'goddess' figurines interesting.

From the catalogue of the exhibition, Chapter titled 'THE FIGURINES OF OLD EUROPE':
"The Poduri-Dealul Ghindaru figurine set has been interpreted as a cult complex, and the most accessible English language account calls it “The Council of the Goddess.” Similar terms and explanations are offered in the original Romanian reports... (p. 115)

One could, of course, join the excavators of Poduri-Dealul Ghindaru and quickly find answers in the conventional understanding of prehistoric anthropomorphic figurines as goddesses and gods of cults and religions, or of ceremonies of fertility and fecundity. This indeed is how the late and widely followed scholar Marija Gimbutas scripted her responses to very similar questions. In a series of influential books, she laid out sweeping interpretations on a level that encompassed not only countries and continents, but even the very essence of being human...

Over the past decade or so, intense research carried out by a number of scholars working independently has transformed the way in which figurines are studied and interpreted.7 Even before Gimbutas began to publish books on goddess rituals in Old Europe, some investigators questioned the reality of mother-goddess interpretations... (p. 117)

A New Understanding
It is one thing (and not an entirely brave or singularly worthwhile undertaking) to reveal the errors in traditional interpretations of Neolithic southeastern European figurines. It is quite another to produce a better understanding of those same objects. In a longer discussion presented elsewhere, I have offered one possibility. At the core of this new understanding, I redefined figurines in terms of what I recognize as their fundamental characteristics: They are miniature, they are representational, and they depict the human form. In this sense, I made no distinction among prehistoric, ancient, or modern miniature, anthropomorphic representations. I assumed (as is justified by our knowledge of human evolution) that the ability to make, use, and understand symbolic objects such as figurines is an ability that is shared by all modern humans and thus is a capability that connects you, me, Neolithic men, women, and children, and the Paleolithic painters of caves.

In my work on the figurines of southeastern Europe from the Neolithic and Copper Age (6500–3500 cal. bc), I sought to understand what it was about these objects that would have made them succeed in their past functions (regardless of whether they were used as votives, toys, portraits, or the representation of divinities). In addition, I tried to understand what made them attractive to us in the present as objects for sale at auction, as material appropriate for exhibition in a museum, or as subjects for an academic essay such as the one that you are reading. Investigating a wide range of modern and historical objects that were miniature, I was intrigued to learn that contemporary psychological studies have shown that something very odd happens to the human mind when one handles or plays with miniature objects. Most simply put, when we focus our attention on miniature objects, we enter another world, one in which our perception of time is altered and in which our abilities of concentration are affected. In a well-known set of experiments, the psychologist Alton Delong showed that when human subjects were asked to imagine themselves in a world where everything was on a much smaller scale than everyday reality, or when they engaged in activities in smaller than normal environments, they thought that time had passed more quickly than in fact it had and they performed better in tasks requiring mental agility.16 Importantly, the subjects of these studies were not conscious of their altered experience of time or concentration.

By following this line of argument—in other words, that things made miniature affect the ways in which people experience the world—I began to see Neolithic figurines, like those from Poduri-Dealul Ghindaru, in a new light. When the people of that Pre-Cucuteni community looked at their figurines, and when they placed the little bodies onto the little chairs, arranging (and rearranging) them into different scenes and settings, they were entering other worlds. It is entirely possible that these other worlds were spiritual, though I am not convinced that they were of the type that either Gimbutas or the excavators of Poduri-Dealul Ghindaru imagined. It is much more probable that the people who held these objects in their hands, who touched and saw them in their daily activities, were affected in other ways, most likely at a deeper, subconscious level. To understand these interactions and the stimulations effected by the miniature representations of bodies, we need to understand the world in which these people lived." (p. 122)
28th-Nov-2009 03:34 pm - Finding Your True Path
rainbow fairy
I read a lot of posts and comments, on Pagan forums, about not discouraging people from finding their true paths. This is generally an admonishment not to argue too much, or not to use harsh words, or not to tell seekers they're wrong about something, but instead to be gentle and welcoming to them. Elders and mentors, we are told, should not be causing them to doubt, not be dissuading seekers during their time of confusion and need.

I am baffled by this notion. My husband is baffled by it. My mentors are baffled by it. My friends are baffled by it. We are all horrifically confused at the idea that we have even the smallest capacity to turn someone away from her "true path."

Your true path doesn't require external validationCollapse )
noir et blanc
I just came across an article about Bath and Body Works being sued for religious discrimination.

Has anyone else heard about this? Is it true?
30th-Oct-2009 02:59 pm(no subject)
white spirit fox
For those that have gained their religion and/or cosmology from a location very different than where they live (in factors such as environment, yearly cycles and cultures), how do you reconcile the two (if at all)?

The reason I ask is because I'm in the process of building a spiritual framework, and noticed some conflicts between ideas I'm attracted to and my physical surroundings. I'm curious as to how others have managed to resolve, mesh or separate ideas and beliefs in their lives from what goes on around them.
27th-Oct-2009 12:29 pm - Nonfluffy fiction?
rhiannon
Can people recommend adult mainstream fiction that deals in a nuanced, nonfluffy way with magic, the supernatural, historical witches, etc?

I know fantasy and young adult fiction typically deals with magic, but I would like to focus on mainstream/nonfantasy adult fiction.

Thanking you all in advance.
27th-Sep-2009 09:49 am - Technopaganism article on Witchvox.
Geek Eye, Code Eye
I dun wrote me some words! Today Witchvox published an article I wrote about 'Twittermancy' and generally encouraging people to create and use Technopagan tools.

You can read it here.

Somewhat tragically, it's next to a 'never again the burning times' article, but I'm hoping that it manages to retain SOME credibility.

The reason I'm posting this here rather than, say, technopaganism is that the article is really aimed at people who don't consider themselves Technopagan, and I'd love to get non-fluffy feedback on the article, the Twittermancy tool, and the ideas in the article.

I'd also love to hear what computer-based tool you'd like to see or wish existed so you could use it.

Ta!
24th-Sep-2009 02:33 pm - Mercian Treasure
Summerisle, Pagan

A trove of over a thousand gold and silver items has been found in Staffordshire, dating from about 700AD, the time of the Kingdom of Mercia when paganism was giving way to Christianity. Current Archaeology has a good overview, see also stories in The Guardian, BBC, The Daily Mail, also Wikipedia.

18th-Sep-2009 02:17 pm - Pagan going mainstream?
Here is a link to an article about a Queens, New York GOP candidate.  He just happens to be a heathen.

http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1253209214.html

I am not surprised that he was an Eagle scout, are you?
Freya Box
I hereby question the convention of the "three faces of the god/dess" as used in Wicca/Paganism/Heathenry/whatever practices use these designators.


Four primary directions are recognized (NESW), and four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), guardians, towers, etc...there are more phases of the moon than three (though I'll leave the exact number up to someone else to fuss about; I use 4:  Dark/New, Waxing, Full, and Waning), four seasons, four "solar observances" (Solstices and Equinoxes), four cross-quarter observances....

And there are women, as she points out, who do not fill any role described in the standard Maiden/Mother/Crone conventions.

I've heard reference to "Maiden/Mother/Warrior/Crone" (ala Mercedes Lackey) and "Maiden/Mother/Queen/Crone" (not sure who, but I believe I read it in SageWoman magazine by BBI Media).

What "new" archtype would you suggest for a woman who has not had children (whether by choice or by fate), but who is not yet a Crone?  Surely this does not diminish her nor her contributions to society, though there are certain experiences she will not have and certain lessons she will not learn this time -- but maybe she learned them well her last time on the wheel, and this time is for other lessons.

Warrior, in either the military or the business sense?  Queen, if she remains sovereign in her household (whether a one-person bed-sitter or a mansion teeming with family and/or servants)? 

How about for a woman who has had children, but they are no longer in her household; they have grown up and started their own?  Is she "stuck" with the Mother designation until her Croning, or does she take a new role and title?

And how about men?  Youth, Father, Sage...apply the same arguments, please, and go from there.  If a man chooses to not become a father, surely this does not diminish him, though again, some lessons may be reserved for another incarnation (or already learned).

(cross-posted to my journal)



 
onyx
While searching for another tarot card image, I ran across this:



Neither the image link itself nor the ridiculous site which should theoretically contain it but doesn't [and the patently idiotic meanings she ascribes to The Star] according to the google image link where I originally found it are giving me any clues.

Anyone recognize this deck? It's way non-traditional, but I really, really like this image.

[I'm crossposting to NFM and my own journal, sorry if you get this more than once.]
4th-Sep-2009 11:43 am - Just thinkin'...
tigerankh
The old "year-and-a-day" rule to move from seeker to dedicant to first degree to second (or what ever progression your tradition, if any, uses);

still valid?

outdated?

Should it take less time now because of the "faster pace" of life,

or more time because of all the distractions and responsibilities?
4th-Sep-2009 02:33 pm - Pagan Blogosphere
daughters-pb
What are your favourite Pagan websites and blogs?
6th-Jun-2009 03:06 pm - Pagan Community Centers
glow
Lately I've been wondering about the existence of Pagan Community Centers. Meaning a physical space that contains resources for the pagan community at large. (ie halls/rooms for rental, space to host classes, resource library and general meeting space.) After sniffing around on the interwebs it looks like this idea has been tried by multiple groups, but also seems to have failed resoundingly.

The only thing close seems to be the Aquarian Tabernacle Church in WA.

Anyone have personal experiences or examples of such an attempt (successful or otherwise)?

Also thoughts on whether you all, as individuals, would take advantage of such a resource? There have been multiple discussions on here about the worth or even existence of "pagan community"/building so I'm curious.
11th-May-2009 11:27 pm(no subject)
Aurora Dead
I'm not even sure I have posting access anymore, but in the event that I do, I believe this is the only group that can help me. I am sure I am not the only person to ever experience this problem, and you all are really the only people I can trust to give me an answer that isn't just, "Love and light and burn this color candle to banish negativity." I think this person has done me real psychological harm, and I want to get your opinions.

Cut for an incredibly TL;DR story. I thought the back story might be a bit important, but I didn't know how much to include.Collapse )

Are there support resources for people who go through something like this? Self-help books? Is there a name for this?I cannot be alone. Someone else has to have had this kind of experience. I've been in the Pagan community long enough now to know that there are some very unhealthy individuals running around, preying on people in exactly the same way, for various reasons. My question is, what do I do now? I feel like if I went to a shrink, they would think I was some crazy, brainwashed cult victim. I can't talk to my friends about it, because, while they had their own bad experiences with Kay, none of them seem to understand how deeply she burrowed into my faith-life.

I would appreciate any advice anyone can give me. Again, I feel like this is the only group where serious Pagans are listening, and not just waiting to tell me what essential oil to dab on my pulse points to make the sad go away.
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