Summerisle, Pagan

On Being A Nietzschean Pagan

Hello NFP. I thought this book was really interesting, so I wrote a review.

Alain de Benoist, Comment peut-on être païen? (1981)
English translation On Being A Pagan (2004)

The book was written in 1981, but only published in English in 2004, and a number of Anglophone reviewers on Amazon and in blogs have complained about the proportion devoted to discussing the Judeo-Christian tradition (about 80%) rather than paganism. This is surely a reflection of the state of affairs at the time: the neo-pagan revival was pretty obscure, so perhaps those with pagan-ish inclinations, those more likely to be interested in the book, would be more likely to be then struggling with a surrounding Christian culture.

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"Craft" vs. "Tradition"

I've recently been discussing a question with some of the local Elders, and have received some very interesting and divergent opinions. I am curious to learn what the membership of this group might have to say on the matter. What is the distinction (if any) between a 'craft' and a 'tradition,' and what is the relationship between the two?

Particles of fluff...

Since the last thread in this community, I have realised more than ever that many people seem to have different ideas and opinions regarding what actually constitutes being fluffy. I'll cite a few examples (feel free to bring up your own examples) and ask "WDYT":

Is it neccesarily fluffy to be open about being pagan, or are only some public behaviours considered fluffy (like saying "blessed be" or "merry meet" in inappropriate social contexts)? Or is it fluffy to stay "in the broom closet" (that term makes me cringe) because we should all be putting ourselves out there and fighting the good fight to make paganism more publicly accepted?

Is it always fluffy to have "new age" interests? Or is it acceptable to have a few interests in things like astrology and crystals, while certain other interests (indigo kids, channelling messages from dolphins) cross the line into fluffy territory?

And finally, are all eclectic pagans neccesarily fluffy? Or is it only fluffy to pick and choose deities like you are eating at a buffet without putting any thought into it? Is there a way of being eclectic and non-fluffy? On the other hand, is only acceptable to follow just the one tradition down to the letter, or can this be fluffy in itself (as you might as well be a Christian being told when to stand, sit and kneel)?

Thanks in advance for all responses. :)
spiderweb (avatarfish)

my other soul is a kobold

A while back I started posting on the controversial subjects board (mostly politics and religion) of a hobby site. Something to do when LJ was down, but I've become strangely fond of the place. It's majority atheist, with a healthy dollop of Christians and a couple of Jewish members. There are other Pagans, but they rarely post unless someone posts a "so, is anyone Pagan?" post. The only other active Pagan, besides myself, is a 17-year-old boy going through one mother of a fluffy phase.

My dealings with him started when he posted a thread about how his (quite conservative) Christian family members didn't accept his Paganism, and got mad at him when he insulted their religion and forced him to go to church. I responded the way I think most people here would, with a bit of a whack upside the head and a "their house, keep your head down until you're out of there, and consider it a good time to visit the library and learn as much as you can-- and for fuck's sake stop insulting their religion if you ever expect them to respect yours". To my surprise, he seemed to listen to my criticism, and over the last few months has come to view me as, basically, that helpful old lady who knows shit and who will give him advice. Most of my advice has been finding various resources to point him at and say "go read that". He takes to being told to do homework about as well as I'd expect from a fluffy teenager, but some of what I say clearly does manage to lodge in his brain.

I don't ever laugh at him or tell him he's full of shit, even when he is, because he looks up to me, trusts me at least somewhat, and I want to encourage him to learn to think critically and analyze his UPG without saying "no! what you're doing is wrong!" and scaring him off. But damn, does he come up with some doozies. He mixes pantheons like a frat boy mixes drinks, his patron god is a Japanese thunder demon who (coincidentally! I'm sure!) was in a video game, and now he's decided that he's Otherkin. To wit, that he's a reincarnated kobold in a human body. (Which are also coincidentally in video games! Detecting a pattern here?)

I'm officially out of my depth. I'm not much for the woo to begin with, I don't have the first idea how to answer this confession other than "you no take candle!" or "you just want to be special, hopefully you'll grow out of it", and that'd be a violation of his trust. He seems to take pointed questions reasonably well if he thinks they're well-meaning, but I just don't know what the hell to ask him, or what to point him at to stop the slide into "I like this, so therefore it's my soul". He's got a repressive home environment, has been bullied, is fantasy-prone, and I think it's important that he has someone who will neither rubber-stamp every stray fantasy he has nor make a joke of him. What would you do with this if you were in my position?
corvus cornix

I think need a neopagan litmus test, please

I hope I'm not annoying anyone with such a basic question, but it's nagging me for a long time now. (I even googled this, but no success.)

I quit monotheistic religion because the idea of one right god, one right path and all the others are false feels like it wouldn't even fit into my head - square peg, round hole. I've been studying and reading for years now, mostly pretty basic stuff like Drawing Down the Moon and Witch Crafting (Phyllis Curot) but also Where Magic And Science Meet. Lots of reading on the internet on Asatru, Wicca and so on.

And I'm not sure where I belong.

I know that stories have a huge impact on me, always had. (Does that even indicate a spiritual affiliation?) I feel drawn to some deities but they can be from very different reactions. Some statues of deities just give me a strong impulse to kneel in front of them (complicated when happening in a museum, BTW).

I'm skeptic even about deities or principles I believe in or want to believe in, which makes things difficult. I tend to feel awkward when trying to use a spell or chant or invocation from a book because I immediately ask myself questions like "so why this one? how do I know the author didn't just make it up to fill half a page? Is any chant/invocation using line from a tv show, even a good one, automatically Silver Rabidwolf territory?"

Please help me out here; I'm really disorientated about whether there's something wrong with my mindset or I'm just manipulating myself or what.
Barn Owls

Smudge Sticks

I decided to grow some white sage this season and I ended up with a HUGE plant. I would very much like to make it into sticks to give to friends and use for myself. Has anyone harvested/wrapped fresh ones before and if you have any tips to share (best time to harvest, types of cord to use, etc.). Any websites would also be a big help.

Crossposted to naturalliving
weemie me

Lucid dreaming and loved ones (potentially triggering)

Someone I care about committed suicide and was found last week. In the two weeks she went missing before we knew for sure what had happened, I had a lucid dream with her in it. In my dream, she appeared before me and I recognized that I was dreaming. I reached out to touch her, thinking that if I did so, it would make me wake up. I didn't. Instead, I felt her face when I touched it. I can still remember vivid detail of how her skin felt, the texture, the roughness. I remember calling out for her not to go. I think I may have even cried this out loud and not just in my dream. Then something came between us (like a thin wall of white, almost like a sheet or sheetrock), and once it passed, she was moving backwards very rapidly until she just disappeared. The dream continued for one more "scene" not involving her before I was able to wake myself up.

I've had dreams before where I knew I was dreaming (usually nightmares that I manipulate to bring them to an end), but I never feel pressure in my dreams when I touch something. Another unusual factor was that she was always a rather vibrant bottle blonde until very recently, when she dyed her hair brown. In my dream, she had the brown hair I was just starting to become accustomed to seeing rather than the blonde I've seen for the past 7 years.

The part of me that needs comforting thinks this may have been her reaching out to me, but the non-fluffy part of me is telling me that my subconscious was very consumed with worry for her at the time. I have no knowledge of exactly when she died so I'm not making any supposition like she came to me at the moment she died or anything ridiculous (pretty sure her family would take precedent).

Lucid dreaming is not my norm, but I have experienced dreams like this one before when I was younger where my great aunt, who was like a grandmother to me and died when I was 10, would come to me to lend comfort. However, they've never included an active sense of touch.

Has anyone had experiences like this? Thoughts?