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Pagan Blog Project: Guidance

I haven’t had too many formal mentors in paganism. I’ve attended a workshop here and there, I’ve been involved with more structured classes with a few members of the community, but I’m one of those people that’s more comfortable with books and friends,  informal questioning, and lots and lots of applying my education.

So in combination with the gratitude from last week, and my theme of guidance this week, I want to list and thank those who have given me the guidance I’ve needed as a growing pagan.

  • My Parents: They may or may not be aware of my personal religion, but their strong faith and willingness to live it is an inspiration and building block for my own. They are my foundation for my ethical framework, my love of book learning, and my practicality.
  • The Catholic Church: Taught me the beauty in music, the joy in service, and a sense of sacred time and place. Mine is a complicated relationship with the Church, but I can’t deny that growing up Catholic did do me some good.
  • The Internet: I ❤ you internet. You brought me to my initial introduction to paganism, some of the people who have most challenged me, the best and worst information. I honestly wouldn’t be who I am today without you. I’m better for you.
  • My internet cabal from GaiaOnline. I hate and love you so much. If you want to know where I really grew into my learning loving self? It was during college and the Morality and Religion forums. Nowdays, I run with a newer Cabal, where I’m the nice one and it is still fun.
  • Various Hellenic peoples whom I inadvertently stalk: I’m sorry, I don’t mean too, we just seem to gravitate to the same places.

 

Books that have made a difference to me:

 

And these are only a smattering, and doesn’t even begin to include divine guidance, which is probably a topic for another day. Take a moment and look for the guiding influences, divine or not, in your practice. And thank and honor them.

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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Pagan Blog Project: Gratitude

Gratitude

I have a love hate relationship with people who post gratitude statements on their facebook. I hate that they offer more of a story than what the post outright says but I love that people are focusing on re-framing their outlook.

One of the key concepts in Hellenic theology, really any Hellenic sort of paganism, is the concept of Kharis. It means Grace, but it’s tied quite well to reciprocity. I want to go more into the concept when we hit the K’s, but for now think of it as the exchange of favor and kindness between the Gods and mortals.

Being thankful, being grateful is a key was to keep this favor chain going. It is one of those things that we can offer freely, that takes so little effort and that has a tremendous impact upon the Gods. Why would they ever do anything for you if you can’t even say thank you. (and would it kill you to pour a little wine and honey in your offering bowl?)

My husband is going through a rough  patch right now. He’s not happy with our living situation and is constantly  grumbling and grumpy about it. We are only in this house for two more months and yet, every day is a countdown, every day feels like it gets worse and worse.

He’s asked me a few times why I am not upset about it. I have to keep telling him it’s because I’m living now in this moment, where I am grateful that I do get to live in a lovely house, despite the problems. Our rent is cheap, our space is large and the problem will be solved in a few months. I can’t control our landlord or the new roommate, so I am going to accept the problems and be thankful for the benefits it has brought.

Another good friend of mine was recently pink slipped from her teaching job at a Christian school, saying she was an under-performing teacher — when her evaluations say otherwise. Each day now, she is choosing to be thankful for the gifts that it has brought her, and whatever good comes her way.

Gratitude is a way of living in the moment, and choosing our outlook.It can be hard, and it isn’t going to work for everyone but it is a way of looking at the world, and I think, a beautifully pagan one.

So take a moment, and focus on something you can be grateful for, and make it an offering to your gods. Be heartfelt and honest. If it’s hard, cultivate it as best you can.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Pagan Blog Prompt: Failure

It really shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise that failure is what I wanted to talk about today. Failure sometimes feels like the one thing I’m really good at.

How do I fail? Let me count the ways:

  1. I can’t keep a ritual calendar going. Every time I’ve worked one up, I drop the ball and it just stops. With the exception of Anthesteria, I’ve not been able to celebrate the same festival two years in a row ever since starting in Hellenic paganism.
  2. I can’t keep a daily practice going. I’ve started them, many times in fact. They’ve lasted for months at a time even. But eventually I forget one day and it them just putters out.
  3. I don’t cut it as a recon and I’m not really all that eclectic, nor a witch. I’m somewhere in the middle, which is sort of aggravating all around and really makes me feel wishy-washy. This one might be not be a true failure, but it feels like one.
  4. Can’t keep with a local community….but I lurk on the edges of many.
  5. And really, A Dionysian who doesn’t like wine? FAIL right there.

There’s more of course, rituals that don’t work out, contacts that fizzle, writing that falls flat and DIES. Arguments and poetry, invocations and prayers. Sometimes things just don’t work all that well and I have to pick myself back up and reflect. That’s what failure does, it lets us reflect on factors in our unsuccessful endeavors.

Have a figured out why I can’t keep a practice of a calendar going? No, although I certainly know what the contributions are: disability, time, ineffectiveness, disinterest. And I keep trying to find what will work. Maybe my next experiment will be more fruitful.

Don’t be afraid to try a new and tentative thing in your practice. Play with new ideas and concepts. See where they work and where they don’t. Allow yourself to fail, and accept it gracefully when you do.

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Pagan Blog Project: Emergence and Fornication

 

So, if you didn’t notice I posted this week, it’s because I didn’t. It’s not that I forgot about my blog, its more that I am really good at procrastination. It’s my top skill, in fact, I’ve been procrastinating on buying a new pair of shoes for coming close to a year now. This tells you 1) just how hard it is for me to decide on a pair of plain black flats and 2)I’m really not a shoe person.

Anyways, this week for the Pagan Blog Project, I’ll be dividing it up again and covering two subjects. The first is emergence.

Since Anthesteria is behind us now, I figure it’s a good time to talk about this quality in Hellenic paganisms.

For me, the real reason behind Anthesteria is to celebrate emergence. You open the new wine, you celebrate new flowers, and it’s all for the God Who Comes….and even the dead emerge and walk around. The world is cracked open just a little bit and all the goodies come rushing out.

It’s from this sense of emergence that we place ourselves. We aren’t looking back upon the sacrifices we have made, but in the continual act. We drink of the recent vintage — it is this wine that we offer, it is these flowers, so recently come up that we look for and desire. It is this God who we seek. It’s not that Dionysos doesn’t inspire introspection, I mean really, just look at some of the other Dionysians, we can be a wordy bunch. but we can’t get too caught up with what has come before, because Dionysos is here to be with us again.

And really, if emergence is complexity rising out of simplicity, then that’s paganism in a nutshell. Paganism is really very simple, definition wise (applying that definition, is something entirely different) but look at our amazing complexity: Recons, Eclectics, Traditionalists, magic and non-magic practitioners. And so on. It’s thrilling what we can come up with when we let the soup sit and mix for a while. Not all good and not all bad, and some shouldn’t be mixed in the first place.

It’s not just the novelty of these actions that I find joy, but rather in the experience of that moment. Paganism as a whole tends to reward experience and self-discovery over other types of knowledge, to various degrees of success. When we look towards the moment of opening, we can discover in ourselves this quality.

And speaking of the God Who Comes, there’s my next topic.

It’s also a warning that Sanna and Morgandria and I really should not be allowed to encourage each other so much. 

Me: Since I’ve done cock, maybe I should do fucking.
Morg: Fornication! It has extra syllables.
Me: Oh good point. I should try to feel intellectual about all this.

There’s a lot of ways that sex comes up in paganism. There is of course the boring answer of fertility.  You guys understand that fertility is a common theme throughout paganism, right? Right, moving on. I really don’t have a whole lot to add on the subject that hasn’t been written to death.

But using various forms of fornication is a more common than you’d think form of raising energy or even as an act of worship than you’d think. It’s fairly common within my own private practice. This is generally why I’m fairly hush-hush about my own rituals, because while I like sex and sexual activity, and comfortable talking about it, not so much to the indiscriminate web. But I don’t think we should hide that it is part of paganism, there’s no shame, it’s not inherently dirty or gross, and it’s part of life in general. Celebrate it.

So you know, get out there and screw someone or just yourself.  For the gods!

 

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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I’ve been mixing the streams!

I have a half day off to study for my personal insurance exam, and I’ve finished the practice exam. I’m in pretty good shape overall, but combined with the spiritual work I’ve been doing lately, it’s leading to some odd stray thoughts.

Like a good homeowners policy is like the Agathos Daimon, and my premiums are a proper sacrifice.

Which of course has now lead to me singing, “Like your Agathos Daimon, State Farm is there!”

 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Anthesteria…day 3 questions.

I posed this over at Sannion’s since he has a much larger audience.

The final day of Anthesteria, Khutroi,  is given over to the dead. Close your shrines so they aren’t contaminated by the miasma, and that pagan concept of thinned veils, and all of that.

And that…just didn’t seem to happen here. I’m sure it did elsewhere, but here in Central Illinois, I got nothing. I can’t say I’m the most attuned to the dead, but I usually get the tingle that something strange is going on. Nothing.

So, fellow pagans, what do you do in this sort of situation, where it just doesn’t seem appropriate to do your planned rituals and festivities?

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Anthesteria: Day….how about 2.5?

Today just does not feel like Khutroi at all. It’s been too triumphant. I will cover my shrines in the morning and try again. These things happen when you try to muck around with a lunar calendar, right?

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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