Another Notable Dream

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I just had a dream that I still don’t quite understand. I can’t remember all that much, but it was like I was being told a story. It was about how someone went from being called the Lemon King to being called the Raven King (could’ve been crow, but I do believe it was raven). It had a sort of Japanese watercolor type quality to it, and a raven was shown cawing atop a jagged rock, with red rays bursting from behind him. There was a very solar aspect to him. Then, in a way that reminded me of communion, he began to feed his raven subjects who were surrounding him. Despite that element, I awoke feeling this was clearly a pagan dream.

So I went to Google. This is what I found:

http://hurtfew.wikispaces.com/John+Uskglass

I have no idea if this is pertinent information, but I’m still researching. From what I gather, this is a fictional character. It has crossed my mind to look further into Bran the Blessed’s mythology.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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The Rules:

Thank the blogger who nominated you providing links back to their website.
Display the logo on your blog.
Answer the ten questions set for you.
Make up ten questions for your nominees.
Nominate ten people.

Here we go… Thanks very much to The Druid Bird for my nomination.

1. Who had the most (positive) influence on you as you were growing up? Without a doubt, my maternal grandmother has been my most positive influence. She and my grandfather partially raised me, for which I am immensely grateful.

2. Would you rather know when or how you’re going to die? I’m not sure I can answer this, as I clearly don’t want to know either one. I suppose if I had to choose, though, I’d say I’d rather know how. If I knew when, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my life as the clock ticked down.

3. If you could be remembered for just one thing, what would it be? I’m not sure this gets across to many people, but I really would like to be remembered as a loving person. Despite my personality flaws, I really do love many beings quite strongly. I honestly consider myself to be a very good friend.

4. Do you have any regrets? I have far too many to list here, but I suppose if I had to share just one (which is all you’re getting out of me) is that I got married too young before giving myself more of a productive, single adult life.

5. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made? The best decision I ever made was to drop the forced religion of my youth and become a pagan witch. It hasn’t been a smooth or easy road, but I’m finally allowing myself to actually be myself.

6. What one piece of advice would you give your twelve year-old self? I would tell myself to actually prepare for college and give myself a chance to get into music as a career. I sing quite well, but I gave up before really trying to get into a music degree program of any sort.

7. What was your favourite subject at school? as you may have gathered from my answer above, it was CHOIR (*ahem* Vocal Music). Aside from that, I also really liked English and History.

8. What was the book/film/TV show that had the most influence on you? This is incredibly difficult to answer. I have lots of favorites, but I can’t pinpoint exactly how any of them have influenced me. I’m sure they have, but it’s just too complicated to answer at this time. I love The Phantom of the Opera, The Secret Garden, The a Great Gatsby, Victorian literature, gothic horror, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Amy Tan… Classic movies of all sorts… Sitcoms, dramas, PBS Mystery! (especially Poirot), documentaries… There’s just so much to love, and I love much of it.

9. Describe your perfect night in. My perfect night in is just hanging out with my husband and watching any of the above and eating great food.

10. What’s your biggest fear? My biggest fear is dying alone and unloved.

Ten Questions for my nominees:

1. What is your favorite season and why?

2. Who are you today that you weren’t 10 years ago?

3. What’s your vice?

4. What do you like most about yourself?

5. What do you want most out of life that you haven’t yet gotten?

6. What are you most grateful for?

7. Do you have any phobias?

8. What one thing can you not start your day without?

9. What’s the last thing you do before bed?

10. What makes your spirit soar?

I nominate:

http://witcheryandwhiskers.wordpress.com

http://asawest.wordpress.com

http://mistressofthehearth.wordpress.com

http://digitalquill.net

http://writingsofapaganwitch.wordpress.com

https://solitarypath.wordpress.com

https://veiledflames.wordpress.com

https://brennaxadaira.wordpress.com

Yes, I know I’ve only nominated 8 bloggers. That is why…

I ALSO NOMINATE ANY OF MY FOLLOWERS WHO ARE INTERESTED.

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 39 T – Tarot

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Tarot is my divination of choice. I’ve always been fascinated by the cards, for as long as I can remember. It’s the only form of divination I’ve given any real attention to, and after all these years, I’m still learning how to read them. I tried runes a long while back,but they never really made any sense to me. I may or may not give them another try in the future. In the meantime, I still have a lot to learn about tarot, and I’m okay with that. I feel I have a knack for reading the cards and I enjoy doing it, so I don’t mind continuing to focus solely on them. In fact, learning to read tarot will probably be a life long learning experience for me. I suspect that’s how it is for all tarot readers, just as it is with witchcraft.

I have found that tarot, when read properly, can be extremely accurate. In order for this to be the case, I have to be as clear minded and emotionally neutral as possible. The slightest emotional influence can taint the reading and create either a biased or a cloudy answer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this mistake when reading for myself, resulting in further confusion and/or emotional turmoil. I have a much easier time reading for others because I can be detached enough to see things more clearly. Learning to read accurately for myself has been my biggest challenge.

It is human nature to dislike being out of one’s comfort zone, and because of this, there are certain cards I do not particularly care for. The Tower, symbol of total upheaval, is not my favorite. That’s clearly something I’m going to have to outgrow. The thing is, all of the cards have two sides. Even the Tower has positive elements. Learning to embrace that idea will greatly improve my readings.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I am very particular about which decks I use. I don’t really know what to expect until I try out a particular deck, which is quite annoying, since it involves spending money on a deck I might not click with. It’s also disappointing to really feel a deck in the store, only to get it home and discover it’s not a good match. On occasion, though, I find just the right deck. Let me tell you, it’s much like Cinderella and her glass slipper. It’s a rare, delicate and beautiful thing. At the moment, I only have one physical deck (I do have a few apps I’ve used). It’s a custom order, and it’s wonderful to work with. I just plain love it.

So, that’s my take on tarot, in a nutshell. Simply put, I think there is just too much to put succinctly into a single blog post. Perhaps I can expand on this subject later, if the mood strikes me.

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 37 S – Sabbats

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So, here we are, having one of those typical pagan 101 topics… sort of. Yes, it’s the ever so generic “Wheel of the Year” post, except I won’t be breaking it down into individual sabbats. No, here I shall be lumping them all together for the sake of discussion simplicity.

As I’m sure most of you know, there are 8 sabbats which are commonly celebrated by many (not all) pagans throughout the year. Wiccans and some others tend to refer to these as the Wheel of the Year, because each holiday marks the changing of the seasons and, therefore, the turning of the wheel. It includes the equinoxes, solstices and Celtic cross quarter days. It’s pretty neat and tidy, except where it isn’t.

The thing is, in all my years of practicing witchcraft, I have yet to actually participate in a full cycle of these sabbats. This made me feel kinda bad back when I was self-identifying as Wiccan, but it’s far less important to me now that I am not. So, why haven’t I celebrated a full year’s worth of sabbats in all this time. I’ll tell you in just three words: Solitary sabbats suck.

Until this year, I have been practicing entirely alone, with the exception of my husband (who does not always participate). The sabbats are a collection of pagan holidays, and if you’re like me, celebrating alone seems rather pointless. It’s like a person with nowhere to go on Thanksgiving heating up a turkey TV dinner and eating alone. Who wants to do that?

Well, this year I have a coven and we’re going to have our first formal gathering on Samhain, which I am REALLY looking forward to! It’s my favorite of all the holidays, whether it’s called by it’s pagan name or Halloween. I just plain love it. Finally, I will get the chance to do something truly witchy on the witchiest night of the year and I am tickled pink about it.

So, what do the sabbats mean to you? Do you follow the entire Wiccan wheel, or do you have a different set of traditions? Do you practice alone or with others? Do you have any favorites? I look forward to continuing this discussion in the comments below.

Blessed be!

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 35 R – Religion Vs. Spirituality

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I don’t believe I’m splitting hairs when I say there is a distinct difference between religion and spirituality. While this may be obvious concerning the world’s major religions, this is also true when it comes to paganism, and I’m living proof.

Religion is often defined by the presence of dogma, such as in the Catholic Church, but this is not always the case. All branches of Judaism, for instance, have a noticeable lack of dogma. What they do have, which is present in most (if not all) religions, is a set of rules and ideals which their followers are expected to uphold.

Aside from the laws of nature and society, I’m not exactly big on rules. Sure, they have their place and can be invaluable to everyday life. When someone else sees fit to impose their rules and regulations on my mind/heart/soul, however, is where I draw the line. Even the most agreeable religion has a certain status quo, and this is why I am not a religious pagan. Simply put, I insist on living by my own code instead of anyone else’s. Not being part of a specific group (in this case a religion) gives me the absolute freedom to change my mind and behavior as I see fit without having to worry about my place in said group. I just don’t need that sort of thing in my life. I answer to myself and to whatever deities or powers I honor. That’s it.

Certainly, what I do resembles religion, but it is not. I am unmistakably pagan, but that’s not so much an actual religion as it is a blanket term for what I practice. I am a witch, yet I am not Wiccan in any sense. My craft is rooted in and shaped by what I learned from outer court Wiccan material, but is not defined by it. I put myself, my own understanding and instincts, into my craft. I do not follow, nor do I believe in the Rule of Three. I do not follow the Wiccan Rede. I do not believe there is a line between so-called light and dark magick. What I do believe is that we each have a threshold for what we are comfortable with casting. We are responsible for what we put out, and what we put out will come back in some way or another. With this awareness, we should make sure we are willing to deal with any consequences which might result from our magickal actions.

I’m not anti-religion. It works for certain people, and so long as they keep it to themselves, it’s fine by me. It’s simply not my cup of tea and I’ve never been able to make it work. My spirit is top priority to me and I do not neglect it in any sense. My spirit is who I am and I must nourish and nurture it for myself. It is my job and my business – not anybody else’s.

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 29 O – Once in a While

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My posts for PBP have been routinely late for the past few letters. That bugs me. I’ve been busy with other elements (far more important elements) of my spirituality, and frankly, I just have a hard time feeling up to writing my bi-weekly posts right now.

But you know what? That’s okay. My spirituality is in a good place right now, and I don’t feel that I’m cheating myself by dragging my blogging feet a little in the wake of more meaningful pursuits. That’s not to imply that PBP is meaningless, because it isn’t. It’s just not my top spiritual priority. I made a promise to myself that I would see this through to the end, and I still plan on it, but I have to understand that there are and will continue to be gaps.

Once in a while, you have to give yourself permission to be imperfect, to be late, to have writers block and to simply not want it enough.

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 27 N – New Moon

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Just about all witches work with the energies of the moon. While there may be exceptions to this rule, I’ve yet to come across any witch who claims otherwise. That having been said, I can attest only to my own perceptions in such matters. Nevertheless, here we go.

The Moon, in general, tends to feel how it looks. It also tends to feel the way we perceive it, but then again, that’s true for magick overall. When the moon is full, it is strongest in positive energy (ie: attracting and manifesting). This indicates that the opposite is true for the New Moon. This, of course, is not to say it is a bad time for magick. Negative does not equal bad, just as darkness does not equal evil. Rather, the New Moon is a bit like a void. It’s a clean slate, best suited to magick involving letting go and banishing. It’s our chance for a do-over. We can release that which no longer works, and in turn, welcome new opportunities into our lives. It’s also a great time for banishing bad habits or illnesses. Some people specifically choose to rest and reflect during this moon phase, instead of actively doing spellwork. Whichever way you look at and/or utilize it, the New Moon is a very healing and transformative time. Use it well.

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 25 M – The Morrigan

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I’m not gonna lie. Even though The Morrigan is my Mother Goddess, this post is intimidating to write. This is because I feel the need to make it my best so far. What can I say about her that has not already been said? Well, no one can write from MY perspective, so I’m gonna try. Oh, and just a heads up: this is going to be heavy on UPG, so if you’re looking for academic, historical information, you will want to look elsewhere.

The Morrigan I thought I knew is not The Morrigan I know now. When I started seeking in 2010, I ran across her name and I immediately thought of Morgan Le Fay. Now, I know this idea does not sit well with all her followers, but I have given much time to working this out for myself and have my own reasons for seeing a legitimate connection between them, which I will not go into here. I will say, though, that I do not see them as the same, because I see Morgan Le Fay as a fictional literary character, not as a goddess. Nevertheless, I did see a connection there and pursued it. Who I discovered in The Morrigan, based solely on what I found online, was a terrifying goddess of blood and anger. For this reason, I decided to STAY AWAY. I was just a weak little newbie and she was the epitome of fury. She was just plain SCARY.

I went on my merry way to court the more familiar Greek goddesses. I was given some rather poor advice very early on, and dedicated myself to Artemis, even though I’d not really spent any time with her. At the time, I was quite wrapped up in the idea of all goddesses being one, so I didn’t think it really mattered. I was wrong. I felt drawn to Aphrodite, so I changed to following her for a brief time, before Freyja found me. That was interesting, because I spent much heartache trying to make Aphrodite and Freyja fit into one goddess, which did not work. Then, the celtic pantheons started to finally catch my interest, and for a VERY short time, I thought I could have it all if only I could figure out a way to legitimize Freyja and The Morrigan being two sides of one goddess. As you might imagine, THAT did not work out AT ALL. Did I mention that deities tend to not appreciate such antics?

Finally, the day came that Freyja cut me loose. I was devastated and felt abandoned, but then The Morrigan came calling. Freyja had let go of my hand because I was ready to start following my TRUE Spiritual Mother, The Morrigan. I started to read up on her in books and found that The Morrigan was far more complex than I had ever imagined. Still, I was deeply intimidated by her. It was a bumpy start and I did not feel the least bit worthy of her. I had lots of doubts and she didn’t hold my hand the same way or nearly as much as Freyja had. I had major crisis of faith (due in part to personal losses) and left the path at least twice. To my incredible surprise, The Morrigan stayed with me, waiting and calling during my absences. Not only did she call me back onto my path, but she also took me back each time! This was NOT the unforgiving, bloodthirsty battle hag I’d been told about. She CARED about and really LOVED her followers! It wasn’t just a rumor or wishful thinking. It was – and is – true. Of course, I did have to apologize to her and work to regain her favor, but she’s a goddess of integrity and high standards. She expects and deserves such respect.

So, who is she really, then? Well, I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you what I’ve come to understand, bearing in mind that I am still learning even now. In a word, The Morrigan is complex. She is a mysterious, shapeshifting sorceress. She is change. She is the seasons and the stages of existence. She is life, death and rebirth. She is sovereignty. She is magick and intuition. She is the carrion crow flying over the battlefield and feasting on the slain. She is the mare galloping with freedom and mastery across the open plains. She is the fertile green field and the life-giving river. She is the oracle of prophecy and the creator of magick. She is the wild, untamed heartbeat of the land. She is judge and executioner, the chooser of victors, the Great Queen who appoints rulers. She is the nurturing mother, the teacher of lessons and the whisperer of secrets. She initiates and she crowns.

She is strong, but I’m no longer frightened of her. She knows what’s best and if I choose not to listen, she lets me suffer the consequences until my ears open up. If I’m just not getting something, she is patient to a point, but will shake things up as needed. She acknowledges my intentions, but is more interested in results. The Morrigan expects me to do things which are spiritually effective, not just the same old offerings and prayers. If something comes too easily to me, she is unsatisfied. It is far better that I not bore or disappoint her, because if I’m complacent, life becomes intensely interesting. This is how she makes sure I am keeping up with her and living to her high standards. No matter what, The Morrigan always gets her way.

The Morrigan is unyielding, but she is not unkind. There is a gentleness and affectionate side to her that I am also blessed to know. She isn’t warm and cuddly, but she does love deeply and with the same intensity she shows in battle. Her love and loyalty continue to touch me as time goes on. I owe her my very best and she inspires me to give her just that. For all of her high expectations, however, The Morrigan equally gives. She is a generous goddess to those who are loyal to her. For those whom The Morrigan calls, life is never the same.

She is my Mother, my Goddess, my Queen, and I love her.

The Gift of Love

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I was watching a video today on The Morrigan in her lover aspect. Since this is a part of her I needed some help with, I was really looking forward to it. I was watching and enjoying the video, when all of a sudden, something was said that really touched me quite deeply. I began to cry, and as I did, I offered my tears to my goddess. I was reminded just how loving, warm and gentle she can be. Today, The Morrigan gave me the gift of her love, and I am grateful for it. I love her so much! <3<3<3

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 23 L – Learning

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(I apologize for another late post!)

For just about all of us on this planet, learning is something we continuously do throughout our lifetimes. I know this is true for myself, and my magickal learning is no exception. I have always felt like a student, and I suspect I always will. The time has come recently, however, for me to also take on the mantle of teacher. That, in itself (as I’m sure you’ve heard before), is a learning experience all on its own.

You see, I finally solved my lonely witch problem. I decided to form my own coven with my two closest friends. They were not previously witches, but both sort of leaned that way and were sympathetic to my spirituality. I didn’t know if they’d actually go for it, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. To my surprise they both agreed, and now I have the task of teaching two new witches!

I have no idea how this is going to turn out. It’s rather intimidating taking on a teaching role with one’s closest and oldest friends. It feels weird, because teachers are typically viewed with a degree of authority, and I don’t feel that’s an appropriate approach with them. We are on equal footing, but I have been a witch for a few years now and I know more about it than they do. How do I teach them without potentially bruising any egos or hurting any feelings? I’m trying to be as helpful and flexible as possible, guiding them but essentially letting them teach themselves. I hope this approach works.

As I gather information for them and make preparations, it strengthens my own knowledge. It’s like I’m also giving myself a refresher course, and that makes me feel more competent. I am becoming a more confident witch. I am also in the process of forming our own unique tradition, so that is forcing me to think more and stretch my creative muscles. This is certainly a time for everyone to create and learn. It is a fruitful, blossoming time, and I am really looking forward to our first sabbat together!

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