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!

Weird Dream

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I had a dream in which Hermione Granger travelled in time to give herself a message, which was “Crocus are for worries.” I have no idea what that was for, and I generally do not care for Harry Potter. The irony is, when I looked up crocus’ magickal properties, it included intuitive dreams. Weird.

Crocus: This flower is one of the first you’ll see in the spring, and it’s often associated with newly blooming love. The crocus is also known to enhance visions and bring about intuitive dreams.

(Taken from http://pada-viya.tumblr.com/post/1344348194/magical-properties-of-flowers)

Update 10:23 PM:

I was continuing my search on crocus and ended up on a page about peonies (here: http://www.crocus.co.uk/features/_/articleid.1252/). Having become distracted about peonies, I started to look up information about them, which lead me to this page: http://www.crocus.co.uk/features/_/articleid.1252/

If you read along, you’ll see that one of the varieties of peony is called Hermione. I still have no idea what any of this means, if anything. My inner radio may simply be glitchy. lol

Pagan Blog Project 2014 Week 21 K – Kitchen Witchery

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I’m not a kitchen witch, but I do things my own way out of my home with herbs and such which can be found in most kitchens. In those ways, my witchcraft is akin to kitchen witchery. It is a fairly common variety of witchcraft, and the idea of it appeals to me on some level.

From what I understand, kitchen witchery is pretty straight forward in that it takes place in the kitchen. The kitchen is, obviously, the main focal point of ritual and spellwork for the kitchen witch. If they work with deities, they usually honor ones whose specialty is hearth and home. Hestia and Frigga are two such goddesses, and there are many more. Altars are typically kept in the kitchen as well.

As one might guess, spellwork is done with kitchen tools and common kitchen ingredients. To a kitchen witch, everything they cook and prepare is imbued with magick. Such magick often focuses on the happiness, health and overall well being of those they care for and entertain.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about kitchen witchery, you may want to visit the following sites/blogs:

Confessions of a Kitchen Witch

Kitchen Witch School of Natural Witchery

The Sacred Hearth

It’s Lonely Sometimes

I don’t want to totally give myself over to a group of people, but I’m tired of being so alone all the time. I’ve reached out to the online pagan community, but I’m still not quite getting what I need from it. My husband is the only pagan I have real contact with, and he’s not even a witch. I want a place to call home, even if I’m at a distance from it for now. This has actually made me cry. I don’t know if I’ll ever find my wolf pack, but I’m trying. I need sister witches!

I know this:

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I am a witch, not a Druid. No matter how many times I try to make that path knit neatly into my own, I find I cannot do it. Furthermore, although this is outside my comfort zone, I am seeking training – and hopefully initiation – in traditional Wicca. Specifically, I am interested in Blue Star Wicca. Unfortunately, there are no covens in the state of Texas. As far as I know, all we have here in the way of traditional Wicca is a couple of Gardnerian covens, and those are still out of town for me. So for now, I reach out and wait.

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