In the beginning was Scream Who begat Blood Who begat Eye Who begat Fear Who begat Wing Who begat Bone Who begat Granite Who begat Violet Who begat Guitar Who begat Sweat Who begat Adam Who begat Mary Who begat God Who begat Nothing Who begat Never Never Never Never
It’s nice that people find their paths. It’s wonderful that there are a myriad of pagan paths out there to be trod - different strokes for different folks, and all that. I’m glad there is diversity. I like seeing all the different pagan religions.
But I get -really- tired of people using Wicca as something to point to as ‘pagan lite’. It’s nice that you feel you went ‘deeper’, or ‘harder’, and that your magic is real, gritty, raw. But guess what?
So is mine. My gods are not cosmic Barbie dolls. My path is not escapist fantasy. I am not love and light. I am not glitter and pixie farts. And I never will be. My work is blood and bone, fluids and feathers and fangs, dirty and just as fucking real.
I am a Wiccan. And I don’t appreciate the implication that those of us who do find a home within Wicca, who are called to that path, are not as serious, not as deep, and not as willing to get our hands dirty and do the work.
And for those who really believe that, and will continue to hold Wicca and Wiccans up as flaky or fake, as the first stop on the way to ‘real’ pagan paths, as shallow and unappealing? A hearty ‘Fuck You’.
I have so many new shiny things coming in the mail soon. The only thing about shopping online: the waiting’s the hardest part. I am not known for my patience. Keep an eye out for new labradorite in the future - the last few pieces I made sold in less than a week. If you like it, buy it ASAP - otherwise you’ll miss it.
Worth mentioning: I also take commissions for custom pieces, and I’m happy to work within a fixed budget if that’s a concern.
Last night of the dark moon tonight. I dedicate this night to one of my patron goddess, and spend some time with her shrine, communing and sometimes meditating. So imma do that later.
I don’t usually ‘celebrate’ this holiday. We usually still have snow well into April. This year we’ve had sprouting bulbs since February. This year, we went from a killer snowstorm to 20° C. within the space of a week and a half. So. We have spring (although it feels more like summer the last couple days.)
I’m not entirely happy about this. It is nice to have the season match the sabbat…but not like this. If we get a snowstorm after this point, buds and blossoms will drop off, and we’ll lose flowers and fruits for the coming year. It is a worry. But the weather does what it will, and what is is.
There’s no altar or shrine pictures for you, no rituals or rites for this day. Nada. Instead, I tidied my yard, cleared away dead growth, planted my seeds and put out my yard ornaments. I bought some small hanging bird feeders for near my windows, to amuse my cats. I pruned the rose bush. I hope I have saved the pine sapling a clueless and clumsy cable installer stepped on (even after being told not to stand *in* the flowerbed). Today’s sabbat was better served getting dirt under my fingernails.
I got a reply from my bead supplier; they’re reshipping my order for me. That’s all I wanted to happen; I have been shopping there for several years and really hoped it wouldn’t be an issue. But they’re great. <3
Hopefully it arrives this time!
If you bead or are interested in jewelry, you should check out Beadaholique.
Because what was delivered to my door was an empty, unsealed envelope. It looks like the sealant failed on the envelope, flap is wide open and no attempt was made to reseal it with tape or anything else. But it also looks like something stapled to the envelope was removed. I have no way of knowing if it was seized at the border, lost due to packaging fail, or stolen, and on which side of the border it occurred.
I am fairly pissed. I really needed that order, and it took me 6 months to get the funds together to purchase it. It wasn’t much, but still.
ARGH. And now I am away for the weekend. I seriously hope I have better news from the company I bought them from when I get home. *grumblecakes*
dewognatos said: Do you mind sharing what each of them are for? I don’t recognize all the symbols or images.
The first photo is, left to right, a candle for my wildwood shrine, a crann beatha for Bíle, one for Danu, and one for Lugh.
Second photo are for a Heathen friend; Freyja, Odhinn, a bindrune candle he asked for, and a representation of Yggdrasil.
Third photo is Hathor and Sekhmet; there’s a second Hathor for someone else.
Fourth photo are Wiccan-influenced; the god and goddess symbol candles match a pair of paintings that hang over my working altar, and the candle that quotes the Charge of the Horned God is for someone else.
Last photo are just some shiny things; the dragon artwork belongs to a friend of mine, and the elfstar is a symbol used for different things by different people. I intend to burn these for a certain group of friends with whom I am very close emotionally and spiritually, but distant from geographically.
The air is warm, and the breeze full-flowing. My windows are all open, and I have met the Air with joy, and pleasure. Sweet incense is drifting through my home, and my cats point their faces with squint-eyed smiles into the sun.
It’s not spring yet, but the Sun is showing its’ strength, growing brighter…
I don’t typically hold out much for spring here. But for the season of Air, I have love.
Sometimes you’ll see people talking about ‘their’ element. It is something that you see very often with beginners to both Pagan spiritualities and witchcraft - there’s a degree of encouragement to discover what element they might ‘be’.
It’s not a new idea, but rather one that’s been around for some time. In the relatively recent past, the film ‘The Craft’ popularized the idea that every person has one element that they represent or control. And while it’s an attractive idea, that you can place yourself neatly into one box or another, it’s not very accurate.
A person is not a single element. Every element is present in the human body, and only functions properly with a balance of these elements. A person should learn to work with all elements, because being unbalanced elementally can be problematic.
Many people try to approach elements astrologically, with the idea that their sign will tell them what element to focus on. But this isn’t as simple or straightforward as people assume.
Birth charts are complicated things. A person is not merely their sun sign - a multitude of planetary influences are found in a person’s astrological chart. Focusing only on the sun sign is an inaccurate way to approach the way our charts express our personalities, and can lead to shallow understanding of same.
If your sun sign is in Capricorn (Earth), but the rest of your chart falls with mostly Fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) and Air Signs (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra), it wouldn’t really be accurate to say your element is Earth.
For the self-starter, there are any number of sites online that will take the details of your date of birth, and spit out a graphic of your birth chart. Still other sites will explain to you how to read it - and there are certainly many books about astrology available. Alternatively, if this sounds too daunting, you can find yourself an astrologer (online or offline) and have a chart done and read this way. It will cost you some money, but it may be worth it if you’re not interested in learning astrology yourself.
Some people feel attracted by certain elements, or repelled by them, regardless of any astrological information. It’s not unusual, and may have something behind it. If you feel attuned to a certain element, it may be one of two things:
You have an excess of this element.
You have a lack of this element.
Both conditions have similarities. A person will surround themselves with items, images, colours, textures, scents and flavours that are associated with the element in question, in either case. Determining whether it’s lack, or excess, is usually down to other factors.
The first expresses the excess of one element over the others - you feel it constantly because it is overwhelming the others. That element is preferred over the others to the point where the others are ignored or overlooked. It can become an issue because the imbalance allows the negative effects of the excess element to manifest in one’s behaviors.
Too Much Air:
gas bloating - inability to focus - ‘spacing out’
Too Much Fire:
overheating - hyperactivity - sleeplessness
Too Much Water:
water retention - overreaction - hypersensitive emotional states - inappropriate romantic feelings
Too Much Earth:
sluggish - tired - slow thoughts - one-track mind - lack of feelings
The second is characterized more as an attempt to rectify the situation - you address the lack of an element by surrounding one’s self with it, thus increasing the elemental energy by drawing it into yourself by sympathetic action. It is very much like weather - areas of high pressure are moving constantly to fill in the areas of low pressure. There is ebb and flow.
Not Enough Air:
short or shallow breaths - not understanding known factual knowledge - drawing a blank
Not Enough Fire:
feeling chill or cold - heaviness - being unaware, inattentive - no enthusiasm - slow thoughts
Not Enough Water:
dehydration - unable to express or feel appropriate emotions - lack of compassion or empathy
Not Enough Earth:
floaty limbs - lack of grounding, ‘spacing out’ - unable to cope with distress - withdrawal from outside world
Understanding whether you are in a state of excess or deficit can help you restore the balance of the elements in yourself. Air’s balance is Earth, and Fire’s balance is Water. Developing your own visualization techniques can help you move energies in and out as needed - just remember not to leave any excess removed lying around carelessly where it could affect others.
You are, of course, the final arbiter of your own choices regarding your personal relationships with the Elements - but limiting ones’ self to a single element is usually more of a hindrance, than a help.
i am attempting to beat a burgeoning migraine into submission with…loud music. i don’t think this would work for most people, but so long as i’m not having a sound-sensitive headache I crank the volume and cram my head full of grindy metal noise. it’s probably counter-intuitive to reach for the metal and industrial noise i favour as music when your head’s throbbing, but i tend to ignore my head pain as long as I’m enjoying the music.
Not all Pagans are the same. This should go without saying, but there is a extant and prevalent belief that Paganism is somehow a single organism, a unified faith that believes the same and practices the same. And it’s not true.
'Pagan' is an umbrella term. It means 'non-Abrahamic'. That's it. It doesn't serve as anything other than a very broad category. If it's not Judaic, Christian, or Islamic, it's Pagan (roughly speaking).
Under the term Pagan you’re going to find many different religions. There’s not so much common ground between Pagan religions that you can consider all Pagan religions to be branches or parts of an overarching faith. There’s more than a few where their ideas about what is holy and what is not completely oppose one another.
You have a top-level label: Paganism. It’s the umbrella.
Then underneath that, you have a first level of sub-divisions. It’s generally agreed that there are three types of paganism.
Paleo-paganism is paganism untouched by another culture, still practiced in its’ original form by its’ original culture.
Meso-paganism is paganism that’s come into contact with another culture or cultures. The meso-pagan culture may be an independent culture, or it may have been absorbed into another culture. Meso-paganism has been influenced by said culture, but still maintains an independent religious practice.
Neo-paganism, which the majority of modern pagan practice fall under, is paganism that is inspired by or draws from ancient sources and cultures but adjusted for the lives of modern people.
Most people’s practices will fall under Neo-paganism.
Each of the three types of paganism breaks down further into types of associated religions. You have the various syncretic Yoruban religions of the Caribbean and South America, reconstructionism of various kinds (Hellenic, Roman, Norse, Gallic, etc.), Heathenry, various kinds of European religious witchcraft, Goddess traditions like Reclaiming…and there are still many different Native peoples who have meso-pagan paths around the world. I couldn’t possibly list them all.
Underneath those associated religions you can break each down to individual traditions of those religions. And sometimes you can get several traditions under those traditions.
I’ve made a graphic, to provide you a more visual example of what I’m talking about. It’s very (very) rough but gives you a better idea of the way things tend to break down.
Looking for things Pagan:
Many people set out to research ‘Paganism’ and hit a wall. Sometimes it’s that they don’t know that pagan history is really the history of many different nations, peoples, and pantheons, and so end in finding little. Sometimes all searching for ‘pagan’ will bring you is to the New Age shelf in the bookstore, which doesn’t really represent the wide variety of Pagan religions, or offer any depth in the materials presented. And though we’d like to think otherwise, some writers are more motivated by selling books, than being diligent and accurate with the information they present seekers.
Because of that, someone just starting out might be forgiven for thinking that Paganism is one big thing. The easiest source materials to find, in chain bookstores, and online, make it look that way because they only represent one specific type of paganism: eclectic neo-pagan witchcraft. It’s not a newbie’s imagination: the sources they’re often handed to get going with imply that all pagans are witches, all witches are Pagan, everything’s soft poly, witchcraft and paganism is about affirming the self (the New-Age ‘me’ syndrome) and that all paganism is Wicca-based. The research in many of these books is wibbly, because the authors have revised history or fact to suit their own purposes, or have done their research out of the same genre of neo-pagan books.
So what do you do? Start at the source - history. Neo-pagans are just that - new. We draw our inspirations, beliefs, and practices from older sources - the paleo-pagans of ancient days - and adapt them to our modern lives. It can’t and doesn’t make what we do ancient - but it only makes sense for us to use what materials we can from their own era.
Essentially you’ll be looking at the history and mythology of different peoples around the world - each civilization had its’ own pantheon of deities and set of religious practices. Typically people look to the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Norse pantheons to start, to name only a few of the most popular and well-recorded. Other pantheons and mythologies may not be so well-known or easy to uncover, particularly if they kept an oral tradition.
Be patient. Keep an eye out for primary source materials from the peoples who worshiped the Gods you seek. Myth and legend can give you a really good idea of how ancient peoples perceived, and interacted with, their deities. What’s been recorded by those peoples is sometimes called ‘lore’ - and lore is an important guide for pagans of any stripe.
Sometimes with primary or secondary sources, you’ll have to work with materials written by outsiders or conquerors, whose works carry a bias concerning the pagan history they’ve put to paper. This is ok - you just need to remember the bias is present. For example, if you’re reading Caesar’s words about the Druids, remember that the Romans hated the druids and hunted them to extinction - what Caesar reports will always be coloured with that hatred. There’s a level of reasonable doubt involved with all such things.
In modern papers and books, look for a good bibliography, one that sources books outside the neo-pagan genre. Avoid sources that seem skimpy on actual fact, or have revised history - history isn’t always straight-forward, but the truth shouldn’t be inconvenient. Also watch out for books that jump to huge conclusions based on the idea that ‘similar=same’. It doesn’t, and it’s a huge logical fault to connect everything together in this manner. And if the author is encouraging their reader to do unethical or illegal things, put the book back on the shelf and walk away.
It’s easy to get confused when you’re still learning. It’s a warm fuzzy thought, that we’re all together and you’re not alone when you’re starting out. For some people being alone is very uncomfortable, and they really want the reassurance that there are others out there like them.
But you wouldn’t stand at the bus stop, with a crowd of people, and assume that they’re all just like you, would you? Just remember: Paganism is the a big, wide umbrella. All the word ‘pagan’ does is separate us from the Abrahamic faiths - it’s nearly meaningless otherwise. Many people stand under that umbrella, but it does not assure us that the person standing next to us believes or practices as we do, shares the same Gods, or respects the same values. Don’t assume or take for granted that your path is everyone else’s.
I sat down with a cup of tea this morning, and sorted through some of my posts. Well, I say sorted - I got Virgo-obsessive about the whole thing, really. So there’s some new links down the left hand side of my Tumblr.
‘The Author' is some personal information, and a list of personal posts I've made here. I don't think I'm that interesting, but if you're curious about me, there's stuff there.
‘Links and Post Directory' is a list of links to other sites I maintain on the Web, and a list of informational posts about witchcraft and paganism I've made here.
And as always, there’s the Ask page. You can -always- ask me questions. I’ve been exploring, learning, and practicing various forms of paganism and witchcraft for 20 years. I do know things, or at least usually know where other people know better than I might.
We have more snow now than we have all winter. Oh March, ye olde lion ye. Or, as the Simpsons put it, “Lousy Smarch weather!” One hopes that winter has not decided to come now and remain until well after Beltane, as it has for several years now. I am practical (if not a little cynical) and not as hopeful as I should be, perhaps. But I hope a little, for the little green shoots of my tiger lilies in the garden now buried under 2 feet of the white stuff, and the birds who have come back from winter roosts already.
People, patron and matron are not interchangeble terms.
Patron comes from the Latin ‘patronus’, and means ‘one who gives benefit to his clients’. The root of the word is ‘pater’, or ‘father’.
Being a patron means that you are a person of status, or means, who can support another person in this way. Having a patron implies that there is a relationship based in service, where the patron is of higher standing socially or financially than their client. Some forms of patronage involve the patron financially supporting the sponsored individual. Others are more in the direction where one does favours for another, who then lends them support of some kind - political, social, etc.
In becoming a person’s client, you were joining that individuals ‘family’ of political influence in Roman times. Hense the derivation from ‘pater’.
Matron comes from the Latin ‘matrona’, which means ‘married woman’. It carries a much more direct line of derivation from its’ origin, ‘mater’, or ‘mother’.
Being a matron means that you are a wife, or a widow, who has borne children. A matron is generally implied to be an older woman, one who is well-mannered, stately, and generally representative of her house. The term is also applied to women who are in charge of the domestic aspects of certain public institutions: nurses, school heads, that sort of thing.
Do you see the difference? Calling a goddess your matron is not flattering. In many cases it’s totally inaccurate. And it isn’t, I’d imagine, an accurate summation of your relationship with them, or theirs with you.