General

Ground Yourself!

Hello, lovelies!  I’ve taken a bit of a break from writing these past few weeks.  Why?  Well, everything happens all at once in my life, it seems and sometimes, all these different things dominate my time.  Sometimes, things spiral and go completely sideways (if you want the alternative definition, feel free to click here – language warning!). 

However, I’m back today with a post about Grounding Yourself – because that’s what I do when things go sideways.

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What is Grounding?

You may have a general idea of what it means just by simple context and definition.  As a Pagan, the term can also be commonly interchanged with “Earthing.”  It is the practice of reconnecting with the Earth by means of physical touch.  See, all things have energy, and that energy is transferable through touch.  So, when you walk barefoot across the grass, or across a beach, or you stretch out under your favorite Willow Tree or spend time in your Garden tending plants, appreciating bumble bees and dragon flies… this is grounding.  It’s reconnecting to the world of which you are part of.

Grounding is nothing new.  Pagans worshiped for centuries in nature because of the genuine effects of natural settings.  But today, we spend much of our time indoors, under artificial lights, surrounded by fake plants, with recirculated air and all sorts of electronics.  Some of us even attend churches that are the exact same combination – artificial everything.  That alone can wreck your body and mind.  Add to that a healthy dose of worrying about scheduling, time management, finances, and all these other daily things we stress about and you’ve set yourself up for a pretty unhealthy and often unhappy existence.  If you don’t already, you’ll end up eating antacids and drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake.

Humans are part of the world around them, so we need to remember that.  That’s where Grounding comes in!

How Grounding Helps

Grounding helps you because more often than not, the intentional act of interacting with a natural setting slows you down.  It is a conscious decision to take a moment to center yourself and reconnect with the world around you.

You have to consciously decide to walk across the grass, barefoot.  Your body processes the sensation of grass underfoot and the coolness or warmth of the soil.  You process the sunshine on your skin, the heat or coolness of the air.  You see the leaves on the trees or feel them crunch under foot in the fall.  You can smell the soil after the rain, and the freshness of flower blooms in the spring.  You hear the chirp of birds and the chirping of grasshoppers and crickets.  If you’re lucky, you see the glow of fireflies at dusk.

Feeling it yet?

The act of reconnecting with the Earth helps you feel more stable – the ground underfoot is sturdy, but has just enough give to cushion your step.  If you stretch out on the grass, you feel full body support.  You connect to the ground beneath you because your senses are momentarily pulled into overdrive.  Sure, you may still have all those worries and thoughts rambling around in your mind, but by intentionally pausing and focusing on just the sensations around you?  You can quiet the storm, calm the chaos.  It gives you a chance to breathe.

But what happens if you don’t have access to a natural location?  You don’t have time to head out and over to a park – where there are likely to be loads of people and you just don’t need more people in  your world right now!  What do you do?

Grounding is definitely best in a natural setting so, if at all possible, at least step outside your home or your work and get a breath of fresh air, a dose of sunlight, a sensation of wind on your skin.  Take a quick walk outside.  Even if it’s in the parking lot at work, the act of being outside will alone help!  However, if you can’t do that because, let’s say it’s 1 am and you’re dealing with all sorts of crazy drama?

I ground with rocks.

You read that correctly.  I keep rocks in my pockets.  Not big ones.  Not even a bunch.  Sometimes just a singular tumbled piece of petrified wood or a piece of amethyst for my dad.  Sometimes, I carry a piece of rose quartz to remind me to do everything with love and kindness.  Yes, you can pick up any rock that you find and use it.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.

Why rocks?  Because the act of holding a piece of cool stone in my hand helps me focus on a few things.  One: it’s usually cool to the touch.  Second: how long did it take the earth to make this little natural pebble?  Three:  if I need to, I can always throw it at someone (joking, calm down!).  So yes, rocks.  They’re an element of nature that’s easily portable and pretty to collect and generally accessible to anyone.

How to Ground

I ground in different ways.

First, I’m not a huge fan of sunlight.  Not going to lie.  I went through that Goth thing in High School and 20 years later, I’m still pretty much of the same mentality:  black clothes rule, the sun is evil, and long live eyeliner!  So, grounding for me normally happens at night.  My favorite method?  A comfy camp chair and a bonfire or a firepit.  Yes, that’s not the same as what I put up above but you know why?  Because I don’t want to sit in the grass in the dark.  Why?

I LIVE WHERE THERE BE MONSTERS.

So, I’m also terrified of those things.  I live in an area where Hobo Spiders (right) and Brown Recluses (left) are very, very common.  I don’t do spiders.  So, I’ll stick to my sitting outside in my comfy camp chair, watching a fire burn, and listening to crickets and frogs and watching fireflies.  That’s my preferred method of relaxing and centering.

During daylight hours, I do occasionally venture forth.  I enjoy doing yard work and playing about with my dogs.  It gives me a chance to be part of the natural element in which I live and it takes my mind off all the other things I “need to do.”  That’s the key, focusing your thoughts on the energy you pull in from the natural surrounding; it will clear your mind and help you focus more astutely on those things “you need to do.”

Grounding at work?  I work in a call center.  I’m around computers and electronics and people and recirculated air and all sorts of negativity all day long.  I keep rocks at work.  I haven’t braved the potted plant yet because it’s frowned upon at work.  I keep one of those wax warmer packs (just the wax, not the warmer), and keep it opened at my desk.  Scents that are earthy – pine or flowers or rainstorms – are pretty common.  I have a “Witches’ Blend” that’s a lot of spice and clove and it’s wonderful for bringing me back to a centered, energized place.

Meditation and Formal Grounding has a time and place, too.  I used to be very diligent to ground before rituals.  I wanted to make sure I was in the right frame of mind to do magick or speak with the Gods and Goddesses.  I would sit outside, monitor my breathing, focus on the feel of the earth under me… and inevitably, I would focus on how uncomfortable my position was, or how the mosquitoes were biting, or that loud car that went by.  But, I did sometimes come away feeling more energized.  For me, this wasn’t as effective as more impromptu grounding sessions, but it definitely has it’s place!  A formal practice, if you have a space where you’re comfortable and it’s quiet and you can really focus on the activity, can give you a sense of routine.  It can help you create a mental routine whereby even if you’re not able to go to your specific place, your mind can go back and the memories alone can help to center and calm you.  It’s good for trance work, too (more on that later).

Whatever works for you, works.  Use it.  It’s a process to be learned!  The benefits of grounding will definitely help you clear your head when anxiety kicks in or life throws you for a loop.

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Focus: Paganism, Sabbats, Esbats, & Other Rituals

Pagan Holidays, Part 2

As mentioned in last week’s Pagan Holidays post, there are 8 major Sabbats.  This is an introduction to those holidays.  Each one will have a much more significant post later on.

Pronunciations are based on the simplest expression of how to pronounce the term.  The dates are based on the Northern Hemisphere.  Please refer to the original Pagan Holiday’s post for the Southern Hemisphere dates.

I start at the end – Samhain represents the Witch’s New Year, and even though I consider myself Pagan, my witchy roots have always felt that the season of Samhain is a rebirth and restart.  Thus, the choice to begin at the end lingers even after 20 years of practice.

 


Samhain1

Samhain (pronounced “ˈsouən” or sow-en).
Sundown on October 31 to sundown on November 1
Also known as – Halloween.  All Hallow’s Eve.

This holiday is a cross-quarter, meaning it falls between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice.  Modern Samhain is based on the historical Gaelic / Celtic festival that welcomed Winter and the “darker” half of the year.  It celebrated the final harvest of the year.  In Irish lore, this is the time of year when the veil between the realms of living and the supernatural was thinnest. Spirits and other beings were honored with bonfires and offerings; these rituals ensured that humans and livestock made it through the upcoming difficult months of winter.  Because that veil thinned, it also made this Sabbat a spectacular time to commune with ancestors and lost loved ones.  It was a time to honor the dead.

Modern practitioners often celebrate Samhain with similar festivities and some merge the celebrations of things like The Day of the Dead with traditional Samhain celebrations.  Bonfires are often a beacon – a source of light in a quickly darkening season.  Dancing between two bonfires is a purification ritual, preparing you for the upcoming year.  These bonfires are considered offerings to the Gods and Goddesses or the Spirits from other realms.  Some may also chose to follow a Celtic tradition of setting a place setting for lost loved ones, and setting lit candles in window sills to guide the spirit of their loved one home.  Some leave a west-facing door or window opened to allow that spirit to join them.  Some decorate their altars with pictures of lost loved ones and ancestors, or create a small shrine.  Either is appropriate.

The main take away from this holiday is that it is a time to respect the year behind you, your ancestors and lost loved ones, and purify, prepare, and seek blessings for the upcoming year.

 


Yule1

Yule (pronounced “jul” or you’ll)
Begins at sundown on the Winter Solstice, usually falls between December 19-22; traditionally, the holiday lasts 12 days.

Yule is the Sabbat of the Winter Solstice.  This holiday can be traced back to Germanic tribes and the worship of Odin.  It is a festival of the Great Hunt and is often associated with the Horned God.  It is a celebration to honor and welcome the Hunter God’s return as the Winter Solstices hails the return of the Sun.  In some lore, this is marked as the rebirth of the Sun God (which is why, one may argue, early Christians adapted stories of Christ’s birth to this particular time of year – more on that later!).    The Goddess gives birth to the Sun God, marking the changing of the seasons.  It celebrates the turning of the Wheel, where the shortest day and longest night of the year is observed.  Each day following the solstice, the sun stays out just a little longer, until MidSummer, when the Goddess returns and the Darkness begins to take over once again.

Historically, customs for this holiday may include (but are not limited to): decorating a Yule tree (evergreen) with all manner of shiny things (lights, gold decorations, horned beasts, etc.) to represent the return of the Sun King or the Horned God, decorating the home and hearth with evergreens and winter berries, burning the Yule Fire/Log to announce his return (a piece of last year’s yule tree, or if you’re just starting, an evergreen log as a gift from a friend), holding feasts (including meats, sweets, and fruits), and giving gifts.  Some modern Pagans commence Yule on the Solstice and it lasts for the 12 days following; others only celebrate on the Solstice.

 


Imbolc

Imbolc (pronounced Imbolg)
February 1 and/or 2
Also known as: Brigid/Brigit/Brighid’s Day, Candelmas, Imbolg

This holiday is a cross-quarter, meaning it falls between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  This is the time of year that one may see the very first buds of leaves, some early blooming flowers, and may note the days growing longer and slightly warmer.  Historically, Celts celebrated the first hints of Spring with fire festivals – like this one.  Candelmas or Imbolc marked the successful passage of winter and the start of a new agricultural season.

Modern Pagans celebrate this holiday for many of the same reasons.  Some Pagans focus on the renewal of the Earth after a long winter – the Sun heats the soil, nature takes it’s course, and spring begins.  Some Pagans also honor God lore associated with this season – we honor the Sun God as he grows into his youthful self and that youthful God then helps life return to the Earth.  This season also marks the recovery of the Goddess; her energy is renewed after giving birth (Yule) to the Sun God.  She is reborn a maiden. She returns alongside him, sharing in the creation process as new life blooms across the Earth.  They begin their courtship anew.

This holiday is often associated with Brigid, a Celtic Dawn Goddess, associated with Fire, Fertility, Poetry, Healing, Smithcraft, and Midwifery.  Brigid is considered a triple goddess, meaning she can be represented her in all forms (maid, mother, and crone).  This holiday incorporates fertility celebrations and purification rituals.  The fertility aspect honors the rebirth of plants and the beginning mating seasons of wildlife.  Maiden lore includes the making of corn dollies in Brigid’s honor, decorating it with white flowers, and leaving a bed for Brigid.  Brigid adores fire and light, so along with these fertility rites, many Pagans celebrate this holiday as a fresh start – a purification.  It is a time to douse all the fires from last year and begin again.  In modern day, this may be as simple as turning off all lights in the home and lighting a brand new candle to celebrate the arrival of a new season.  Candles are lit to welcome Brigid.  A new broom can be placed by the front door to represent the sweeping out of the old and welcoming the new.  This is a great time for Spring cleaning!

 


Ostara

Ostara (pronounced oh-STAR-ah)
Celebrated on the Vernal or Spring Equinox, usually falls between March 19-22
Celebration of ĒostreĒastre (pronounced æːɑstrə or eːɑstrə)

The name of this holiday is based on the Germanic spring celebration of the Goddess Ostara / Eostre / Eastre.  She is the namesake for the month of April, or Ēosturmōnaþ, and according to the 8th century monk Saint Bede, she was worshiped by Anglo-Saxon Pagans.  As a Spring Goddess, it is believed that Northern European Spring celebrations focused on Ostara.  Despite the limited information about this Goddess, Ostara is associated with with the dawn or morning light, fertility, and new growth.  Budding trees, flowering plants, rabbits, birds nests, and eggs are also symbolic of the Spring Goddess.  

Other scholars link this holiday to the Norse Goddess Freyja, also symbolic of love, sex, fertility, beauty, war, and death.  Regardless, the symbolism associated with the Spring celebration of Ostara remains the same: the welcoming of the re-emergence of warmer weather, plentiful seasons, and light.  The Goddess is often represented as a maiden or even as a pregnant mother during this season (again, both represent fertility).  Some lore also represents the Horned God alongside the Goddess during Imbolc and Ostara, as a playful, mischievous youth; he represents the seed that helps life begin again.

Celebrations for Modern Pagans may include decorating altars with feathers, bird statues, colorful eggs, flowers, rabbit imagery (or even just baby animals), sun imagery, or artwork depicting young lovers.  Celebrate the returning of life to the Earth after a long winter.  This may include an offering to the Goddess of fire (light a candle), incense, and fresh flowers.  Another beautiful way to honor the Goddess and the young God is to start an indoor plant – or plan your spring garden.

 


Beltane

Beltane (pronounced beltān or “bell-tane”)
Sundown on April 30th to sundown on May 1st.
Other names for this season: May Day

This holiday is a cross-quarter, meaning it falls between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.  Beltane marks the beginning of Summer.  Traditionally, Beltane is a Fire Festival and marks the beginning of Summer.  Crops are planted by now and livestock are put to pasture for the season.  Warmer days are upon you and the sunshine is bright.

Pagans lit ritual bonfires, decorated themselves, their livestock, and homes with yellow flowers (representing the sun), and welcomed the return of warmer weather. The ritual bonfires were thought to protect livestock, people, and crops – and appease these spirits.  Livestock and people would walk or dance around a bonfire, pass between two bonfires, or even leap over the embers.  The fire’s ashes were used to mark livestock, people, and then scattered to the soil of new fields.  Typically, all household fires were doused and re-lit from the fires of a sacred Beltane Bonfire.  The re-lighting of the household fires symbolized new growth.

Like with Samhain, it is thought that during this holiday, the Spirits are active once more. To appease them, many Pagans provide offerings of fresh, color flowers, plates of honey or food left outside, as well as bonfires and candle light.  Holy Wells, or Sacred Springs, would be visited; bathing in holy water or using Beltane Dew was thought to replenish beauty and youth.  Some Pagans also use this time for divination and scrying the future of the upcoming season.

Beltane is also known as the celebration of the union of the God and Goddess.  Here, during this fiery season, they celebrate a deep love for another – a joyous event that celebrates sexuality and deep spiritual connection.  It is here that the Maiden becomes vessel and mother.  Inside her grows the new Sun God; she becomes the impregnated Goddess.  The God is now in his full power, with a beautiful Goddess at his side, and together, they watch the Earth bloom.

 


Midsummer

Litha (pronounced leeTah or leeTHA)
Summer Solstice, usually falls between June 19-22
Also known as Midsummer

Welcome to Mid-Summer!  This holiday marks the longest day of the year, opposite of course, to that of Yule, the shortest day.  The gardens and fields are in full bloom; newborn animals now fumble through those fields, playful and enjoying the Summer heat.  The Horned God, now at his peak manhood, represents the provider – the Sun that provides light and warmth for plentiful growth.  The Goddess, now heavily pregnant, represents the Earth.  She is the fertile soil and the God is the seed.

Celebrations for this Sabbat include bonfires and/or candle light like Beltane, but here those fires represent the full power of the God.  Some Pagans burn Oak – the wood of the God, to represent the waning of his power.  The fire flames themselves represent the strength of the Sun.  Wells are often visited again, but this time representing the Goddess’s womb of rebirth.  Some Pagans choose to make offerings to the Goddess – leaving fruits and vegetables outside in the garden to replenish the soils; others leave plates outside to appease the Fae or Fairyfolk.  Offerings of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and incense can be left alongside beautiful fresh flowers.  Candles lit nearby can lead the Fae to these offerings.

(Random Aside: It is believed that the Stone Circles like Stonehenge were used during Solstice and Equinox rituals.)

 


Lammas

Lughnasadh/Lunasa (pronounced LOO-nah-soo or LOO-nah-sah)
August 1 – 2
Also known as Lammas (pronounced LAH-mus)

This is the first of what I call Harvest Festival Sabbats.  This particular Sabbat focuses on the God Lugh, the God of skill, crafts and arts, truth and law.  He is seen as a Savior God, and many Gaelic or Celtic Pagans worshiped him as the God of the Harvest.  His mother, Tailtiu, is said to have died of exhaustion after clearing the fields for the season.  She may have been an early agricultural goddess that represented the dying vegetation of the harvest season; she may also be known as the Grain Mother.  It is said Lugh held feasts, with music and dancing, storytelling, matchmaking, gambling and other funeral games each season in her honor.

Modern Pagans celebrate this as the Grain Harvest – or the first harvest of the season.  It is about appreciating abundance.  Lammas is more associated with the lore surrounding the Grain Goddess.  She is the mother of all life, and as she carries her unborn, she carries her future.  She represents the fulfillment of the life cycle.  The harvest feeds the community now, but that left in the fields may blossom next season, providing for the future.  Some Pagans associate Demeter and Persephone to this holiday because while Demeter (the mother) is celebrated as the Harvest Mother, her daughter is the seed – Persephone was stolen away to the darkness of Hades, and only returns in the spring.

 


Mabon

Mabon (pronouced MAY-bon or MA-bon)
Fall Equinox, falls usually around September 19th – 22nd

The Fall Equinox represents the balance of light and dark, masculine and feminine.  It is from this point that Darkness truly begins to take over until Spring.  This is Mabon, the Fruit Harvest, the Second Harvest, of the season. During this season, fruits and vegetables are pulled from the Earth and prepared for winter storage.  This is the season of reaping what you’ve sown.

At Mabon, we celebrate the passing of power from the God to the Goddess, and bid farewell to the Sun God.  Associated with this Sabbat are the traditional colors of fall – flaming reds, hearty oranges, golden yellows, and deep browns.  Apples, pumpkins, squash, and the like are associated with this season as well.  Fires lit now are more likened to funeral pyres, respectful of the Sun God and his power.  There is still joyous partying – drinking and feasting in his honor, and welcoming the Goddess.

Some associate this holiday with the Welsh God Mabon, but there is little evidence that he was worshiped in early Pagan history.  However, his lore is now incorporated into this holiday – some Modern Pagans utilize his story: Mabon, the child born of Light and Earth.  The term was coined in 1970 by a Modern Pagan, Aiden Kelly.  While you may agree or disagree with Modern Pagan Reconstruction, essentially all Modern Pagan celebrations are a mixture of traditional lore and more modern versions of worship.

After all, being Pagan means choosing your own path.

 


All artwork is copyright to the original photographers / creators.  

Focus: Paganism, Focus: Wicca & Witchcraft

Pagan Holidays

Celebrations are one of the main ways people express their faith.  Some Pagans follow the Wheel of the Year – eight holidays, including the equinoxes; some only celebrate the Equinoxes; some celebrate based on a completely personal methodology.  Whichever way you chose to express your faith is your choice.

Some people prefer to celebrate holidays linked to specific Gods & Goddesses.  These may include holidays historically referred to in mythologies of Greeks, Romans, Celts, Vikings, Native Americans, Asian and Aboriginal African cultures.  There are Gods & Goddesses from pretty much any culture on the planet – and some Pagans celebrate the divine by calling on the Gods and Goddesses of multiple cultures.

Some Modern Pagans follow what’s known as The Wheel of the Year.  The Wheel displays the seasons and holidays, sometimes referred to as Sabbats, associated to the hemisphere in which you live.  (So yes, there’s a Northern Wheel of the Year and a Southern Wheel of the Year!)  This Wheel of the Year has eight Sabbats – and is heavily influenced in Gaelic or Celtic traditions.  The one below is set to the Northern Hemisphere dates.  The Southern Hemisphere, you basically rotate the dates by six months – Yule is still Mid-Winter, but that happens in June in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Wheel of the Year (Northern Edition)

wheel-of-the-year

The Wheel of the Year (Southern Edition)

SouthernWotY

As you can see, there are four main vertices – the Winter Solstice (Yule), the Spring Equinox (Ostara), the Summer Solstice (Litha), and the Fall Equinox (Mabon).  There are four cross-quarter holidays too:  Samhain (All Hallows Eve), Imbolc (Candlemas), Beltane (May Day, May Eve), and Lughnassad (Lammas).  As you can see in the graphic above, the dates associated with the Solstice and Equinoxes sometimes varies.  The Cross Quarter days are more defined.  October 31st for Samhain.  February 2 for Imbolc.  Beltane is celebrated from nightfall on April 30th to nightfall on May 1st.  The festival of Lugh, or Lammas, can run from July 31st to August 2nd, but it’s typically celebrated on August 2nd.

Each of these eight days represent a celebration of the turn of the wheel – a marking of the seasons passing.  They mark time in the year and once represented holidays associated with planting and harvesting crops, the cycle of the Sun, and represent different aspects of the life cycle.

I will be providing more in-depth information about each Sabbat in future posts! (Stay tuned for posts later this week.)

Focus: Paganism

What is Paganism?

So, what exactly is Paganism?

Modern Paganism, Paganism, or even Neo-Paganism (whatever term you want to use), is a general umbrella term that can encompass practitioners of many different traditions.  However, Modern Paganism is unto itself, its own entity.  That means yes, you can be Pagan and not adhere to any of the other spiritual or religious traditions that fall into the Pagan umbrella category.

For me, the core belief of Paganism lies in the understanding that the Natural World is the physical representation of the sacred.  This means that all elements of the Universe around us are interconnected in their sacredness.  All life – plant and animal – is sacred.  Natural elements of air, fire, earth, stone, and metal* are all sacred.  The heavenly bodies above are sacred.  You are sacred.

Sacred literally means that something is connected to God (or the Gods); dedicated to a higher purpose; or deserving of veneration.

Some Pagans believe that a higher power – a God, Goddess, God & Goddess pair, or some other mystical entity – created and controlled the Universe.

Ancient Pagans often attributed different Gods & Goddesses to unexplained natural phenomenon that, today can be explained through modern science.  Does that make the phenomenon any less sacred?  Not really.  It just changes our understanding of the phenomenon.  Does it weaken the validity of Ancient Pagan deity associations?  No, because that God or Goddess is still representative of that particular phenomenon.

Some Modern Pagans believe in the Science behind it all – We’re all made of star stuff, as Carl Sagan once said.  This belief relies on the natural science behind creation; that unto itself, is the Sacred.

So, do you have to just stick to the science-y side of it to be a Pagan?  Nope.

See, the thing is that you can believe in all the science you want.  You can study it, understand down to the most basic principle of scientific theory how something works, and still believe that a higher power, something of this world but elevated, created that living thing, that energy, that matter, as well as the scientific process you study to understand it.

Are you with me so far?  Pagans believe that everything in nature is Sacred.  They may chose to believe in a higher power (and call it whatever they chose), or they may be more science-oriented.  Both are legit.

How do you practice Modern Paganism?

Modern Paganism doesn’t have any written rules.  However, if you look back at the approach of Ancient Pagans, you might deduce that you’ll need some high quality marble, a large flat piece of land on which to build a temple to your chosen deity, a really grand sculptor, some precious metals and gemstones, and amazing knowledge of astronomy.  You would celebrate the natural cycle of the seasons and pay homage to your Gods and Goddesses (possibly including virgin sacrifices).  That level of Pagan worship would so kick ass, by the way, but isn’t all that feasible or legal.

Realistically, most Modern Pagans don’t have the means to create such a grand representation of their spiritual connection to the Divine.  Some Pagans don’t even have their own green space (City Pagans).  So, what’s a Pagan to do?  Start with the basics.  Please note, this list isn’t exclusive; I’m only listing a few suggestions to get you started!  (Also, if you don’t agree with my humor, that’s ok… pretend it’s not there and carry on!)

Any natural element can be honored.

That tree outside your apartment or office space?  Touch it to feel the grounding energy it exudes.  Thank it for the shade it provides and maybe share your water.  The dandelion forcing its way through the concrete by the bookshop?  Respect its persistence and yes, water it.  The bumblebee that scared the shit out of you?  Please don’t kill it.  Respect it’s life and it’s purpose – without them, plants aren’t pollinated and as a result, humans will starve.  Remove yourself from it’s presence if it freaks you out, but maybe leave out some sugar water (no dyes, please!) later for him.  Open the window and release the trapped fly in your car, apartment, or office.  Carefully relocate non-poisonous spiders to the outdoors (or charge it rent, either way).  I could go on for days like this, but you get the drift, right?  All life is Sacred, even the life of the creature that can kill you. (More on that later.)

Embrace the Seasons.

Celebrate the seasons.  Study up on them, on the plants and animals that thrive in each season.  Take note of how you respond to each of the seasons.  Do you find Springtime a beautiful time of rebirth and growth, or just a constant reminder to take Claritan?  Is Summer your favorite time of year, with all the sunshine, warm weather and lengthy growth seasons… or does sunlight give you migraines and the heat cause you to melt into a puddle of nondescript goop?  Is Fall all about the beautifully colored leaves, the physical representation of a completed life cycle, or is it all Pumpkin Spice and Halloween?  Does Winter remind you that even during dormant periods, the Earth is beautiful or are you mostly depressed and always cold?  Take note of how you respond to these seasons; try to embrace what each season represents and celebrate that.  Don’t forget your sunscreen and your snow boots, though.

Create your own natural space. 

Bringing some plants indoors may seem obvious, but a lot of people don’t think about it.  Invest in some quality terracotta planters and potting soil.  Plant yourself an herb garden (good luck, all of mine always die).  You apparently have to do different things for different herbs, so abuse Google and pester the cute person working at your local greenhouse for more information on how to make things live.  I suck at it, so I legit can’t offer any sage advice.  (Ha, see that pun?!)  But seriously, I do have a few plants that luckily only require water and sunlight so I do keep some greenery in the house.  Apparently, you can’t kill Peace Lilies.

Get a pet. 

WAIT.  There are ground rules for this one.

  • PETS ARE NOT THINGS YOU OWN.  Pets are living creatures and should be respected and cared for as such.
  • Pets are not for everyone, just like children, hot sauce, and pole dancing aren’t for everyone.
  • Pets require a lot of work, like kids and cars and balancing checkbooks.
  • Pets are a life long commitment; you are their provider for the duration of their life.
  • Pets should get regular medical attention, and lots of love and affection.
  • Pets should have a safe, clean space to call home.
  • Pets should be respected members of your family and you should always think of them as such:
    • Don’t physically or verbally abuse your pet.
    • Don’t leave your pet in your car while you go do whatever stupid thing you’re doing.
    • Don’t abandon your pet because your new zip code doesn’t allow pets.
    • Don’t abandon your pet because you get lazy and tired of being a pet parent.
    • Don’t abandon your pet because it gets old, sick, or severely injured.
    • Don’t abandon your pet because your Significant Other is an ass that doesn’t like your pet (or has allergies – Bitch, take some Claritan.).
    • If you do any of the above, I reserve the right to call you a jackass; just saying.
  • Rehoming should only be done in extreme circumstances; Pets bond to humans and rehoming destroys trust and can weaken an animals ability to bond with humans in general.

Now, if you’re still with me and you understand all of the above, then yes, get a pet.  I recommend fish for starter pet parents, and if you want a dog or a cat, please think about adopting one from a local shelter.  Small mammals (rats, mice, hamsters, hedgehogs, ferrets), reptiles, big creepy spiders, and the other weird or odd critter works too, but do your homework first.  Read up on your chosen pet and familiarize yourself with basic things like local laws on whether you can even have a specific pet in your area, vaccination, insurance, leash and fence requirements.  Make sure you have the financial ability to provide quality vet care – vaccines, spay or neutering, flea, tick, and heart worm medications are not cheap!

Volunteer at a shelter or Vet’s office.

If you don’t want a full-time pet, or don’t think that’s the best route for you, you can still volunteer your time to care for animals.  Many shelters and Vet’s offices use volunteers to care for animals – some volunteers bathe animals or play with them to help socialization.  What better way to spend a few hours a week than cuddling some awesome puppies or getting  your hands clawed off by ferocious kittens?

Still not your cup of tea?  No problem.  Stick to the plants, or virtual representations of plants and animals please.  That’s cool too.

Set up an indoor Sacred Space.

Do you have a small desktop space, or the top of a low book case you can convert?  What about a corner in your bedroom or living room?  A spot on your mantel?  If so, create some space for you.  You can include live plants or fake ones if they work for you better.  Include statues of your favorite animals or animals that call to you.  Found a cool rock outside?  Stick it up there, too.  Add a candle.  Sit still and enjoy it.  Ground yourself.  Meditate.  Listen to some beautiful naturescape soundtracks or music.

Cultivate Your Outdoor Space. 

Use It.  Tend it.  Plant things that speak to you – trees, shrubs, flowers, food.  Don’t get chickens or a goat.  Well, unless you want to, but OMG, please just make sure you’re ready for that barnyard fiasco.  Live stream it if you can.  Jokes aside, if you do have a natural space to use, turn it into your own personal space.  Set up an altar if you want (more on that shortly), and leave offerings to the birds and bees (seed & sugar water).  Add some solar lights and shiny things.  Put yourself a bench out there, or just sit on the ground and feel the energy of the space.  Enjoy it however you want, but respect it and take care of it.

Advocate a reduce, reuse, and recycle lifestyle. 

Reuse or re-purpose things (safely; please don’t use the antifreeze jug for watering pets and plants…).  Start recycling, if you can in your area, or at least try to reduce the one-time use items you use (plastic straws are a good example!).  Donate or sell things you don’t use so someone else can get some use out of them!  Donate to a trusted environmental charity.  Donate your time to a local litter crew (Adopt A Mile, for instance).

Read and learn about the natural world around you.

This is probably one of the least accessed option at Modern Pagans’ fingertips.  We literally have billions of words available to us via the Internet.  We have thousands of books available in public libraries.  Utilize these options!  Find websites on trees local to your area and learn about them.  Learn about a specific weird bug you saw today in the parking garage at work.  Study about exotic locations and animals.  Learn about the weather, different types of soils, crystals and basic rocks.  Learn about threats to the natural water cycle or about erosion.  Learn about the stars, planets, black holes, acid rain – whatever your interest, study it.  Connect with it.  Find the Sacred in that interest.

Re-Create the Natural World Around You.

Do you like to draw?  Paint?  Sculpt? Write?  Reach out with your natural talents and create a representation of the Sacred in Nature.  Make your own art or your own sculpture; write your own poem to a tree frog.  It’s ok, and even if you think it sucks, remember that you’re creating something from your own creative self, your own soul.  It is in the truest sense, Sacred.

Respect that which is Sacred in You.

Why is this the last thing on my list?  Because if you’ve read this far, you’re paying attention to the theme and this broad concept might be easier to understand.  If you truly want to live a Modern Pagan lifestyle and practice that belief system on a regular basis, one of the most important things you can do is to take care of you.  Your body is a physical manifestation of something so Sacred that not even science can fully explain it.  It is the home for your soul, your essence.  You.  Have you ever heard someone say, “Your body is a temple”?  It touches on this concept.  Temples are places that house spiritual energy; they are often well kept, cared for, and honored.  Do the same for your body.  Exercise if you can, chose healthy food options, and for Goddess’ sake, drink some plain water.

Aside from the physical care, be aware of your mental health.  In today’s society, mental health is a flash point term that can trigger so many different conversations and reactions.  Personal opinions aside on the matter, your mental health matters as much if not more than your physical health.  Mental Health issues go undiagnosed because people don’t have adequate access to healthcare, mental health education, and don’t know how to talk about their mental health needs (if they can even verbalize them).  Check your emotions – are you ok?  Do you feel safe?  Loved?  Happy?  Do you have physical pains or ailments that just don’t seem to match any actual illness or injury?  Do you feel alone or disconnected?  The questions could continue for days and you may answer no to all of them, and still not be 100% ok.  Take time to take care of your mental health – however you center, regroup, recuperate.  Meditate.  Go for nature walks.  Go to the beach.  Play some video games.  Whatever it takes, make sure you’re good.

If you need help, or if someone you love needs help, please reach out to someone.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.  Mental Healthcare is important!

Summary

Modern Pagans recognize and respect the Sacred in all things.  They see the interconnected nature of all creation through that recognition of the Sacred.  Modern Pagans may worship differently named Deities, or none at all; some prefer a science based approach.  Both ways are legitimate.  You can practice this fundamental belief in a variety of ways – from creating a natural space in your home, office, or own backyard, to welcoming a pet into your life.  You can volunteer time at local shelters or donate to environmental organizations.  Express your respect for the Sacred by living a reduce, reuse, and recycle lifestyle.  Express that respect and understanding in the form of artwork or poetry, song or music.

Recognize and respect the Sacred in you.

 

General

Where to Start?

Bookz

You’re new to the path.  You crave insight and understanding.  You know the Earth, nay, the Universe, speaks to you.  You feel a connection to all living creatures, to all natural elements around you.  You fancy gemstones and river rocks alike.  You love to garden.  You speak to pets like they’re human.

Where do you go from here?  How do you become Pagan?

You read. You learn.

Yes, it’s that simple.

You can give yourself any title you want – Pagan, NeoPagan, Heathen, Druid… the title isn’t important.  One becomes Pagan through study, belief, and practice.  As with any new interest, (and I say interest because finding one’s personal spiritual path starts with a curiosity, an interest,  in something different from whatever path you’ve been conditioned to believe was the only path), you start by studying.  To find the path that most speaks to you, you have to study multiple paths.

For me, I started with books.  Library books.  Purchased books.  Websites.  Blogs.  I read so much that I often forgot where I read what particular piece of information.  I spent months reading and re-reading, and not getting anywhere because I couldn’t properly organize what I learned.

Because of that, I advocate a true study approach.  Get yourself a notebook – it doesn’t matter what kind, but I recommend a three ring binder and loose-leaf paper and some dividers or a spiral notebook with different sections.  The reason for the dividers is so you can better organize the information you glean from reading all the books in the world.  (That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes if can feel that way!)

So you’ve got your trusty binder, your pen, lots of blank paper to fill… what do you fill it with?  Information.

The first book I read on Paganism was Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions, by Joyce & River Higginbotham.  I also picked up Pagan Spirituality: A Guide to Personal Transformation by the same authors at the same time.  These two books offer a pretty good overview of the Earth centered path.

Read as much as you can get your hands on.  Good and bad.  Branch out – don’t just stick to “Paganism” topics.  Read books on other religious ideologies.  Read mythology books.  Read history books.  Study different cultures.  There’s a book for pretty much any interest.   Mind you, I’d already delved deep into Wicca, so I kept a Book of Shadows for notes.  Studying Paganism was “one more section” in that notebook.  It began as an interest.

Where do I find these books?

Free Options

If you have a subscription to Amazon Prime, you can download a lot of free books on different Pagan-Wiccan-New Age topics.  The internet is a good source of information, but as always, check your sources.  Don’t take one particular page (including mine) as the ONE true source of info.

Hit up your local library.  Most libraries have at least some sort of New Age section – books may be under a “religions”  section or even a “philosophy” section.  You can search the internet for specific titles and ask your librarian if they can do an inter-library loan for a title they don’t typically carry.

Finally, if all else fails, go to a bookstore and find a book that sparks your interest (again, typically in a New Age or Metaphysical or Philosophy section).  Park it somewhere and read it; take notes if you have your handy dandy notebook.  People do this all the time; there’s no shame in sitting in a bookstore, reading a book, and not buying it.  I advocate supporting authors as much as you can, but if you’re not in a place where you can buy the book at the moment, you can still enjoy it.

Buying Books

The internet is a vast collection of websites.  You can buy books online from major retailers (Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Amazon, etc.) or specific publishers like Llewellyn Worldwide.  Some authors sell their books on their own private pages, so once you do a general search and stumble upon an author you enjoy, see if they have their own site that they sell from.  Don’t discount start up authors, either!  They often offer an awesome perspective to study.

Thrift & Second Hand Stores are excellent options!  Have you ever been in a Thrift Store or a Second-Hand store that didn’t have books?  They’re usually crammed onto a shelf in some half-ass attempt to “organize” them.  They’re usually divided into “popular, current titles people will buy” and “everything else that no one will want.”  Yes, I loathe the way most thrift stores handle books; there… I said it.  However, personal grievances aside, I love digging through books in shops like these because I never know what I might find.  They’re usually super cheap, too.  What may be a $25 book brand new might cost $2 at a thrift store.  Most of the books are often in pretty good condition, but a word of warning: you may want to quarantine thrift store books for a bit.  Toss them in a plastic freezer bag and place them into your freezer for a week.  Book mites are bitches and will destroy your books quicker than you think.

Other options for thrifty purchases: yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, buy-sell groups online, and even social media group pages (I’m looking at you, Facebook!).

Yard sales, estate sales and flea markets often have really cut-rate prices on books.  I’ve found books on mythology, magic, philosophy, and even one book on Hoodoo at yard and estate sales.  Flea Markets often have that one cool dude who has a handful of metaphysical books, a bunch of candles, incense he tucks into a basic brown paper bag, and sage bundles along side the cabinet of expensive pewter statues, crystals, and jewelry.  Sometimes, you can find really good books at decent prices from said dude.  (No insult intended.  I’ve met some really cool dudes selling really cool stuff like this at flea markets!)

Buy-Sell Online Groups & Social Media Group sales pages can be a great way to find stuff at a good price.  I’ve bought stuff like this, and still do.  I normally don’t have a huge paranoia about people, but I want to make something very clear.  Some people are not cool and they use these sites to rob and possibly hurt you.

Please, please trust your gut instinct if you opt to meet a stranger for a sell or pick up.  Get a specific price confirmed before you go, only carry that much cash with you, meet in a PUBLIC, WELL-LIT area where there are other people around, preferably during daytime hours.  Don’t go alone.  If the person starts changing stuff up – “Oh, hey, can we meet at -x- parking lot after 7 pm?  I forgot I had x-y-z going on today.” – be wary.  Trust that instinct.  Don’t go if you don’t feel comfortable.  That might just be the Universe telling you to steer clear of trouble.

I want to learn, but I don’t like to read.

I am a bibliophile and a writer, so my go-to was comfortable to me.  So, what if you hate to read and don’t like to write or take notes?

Learn about the Earth in other ways. 

Do you love documentaries?  Watch them.  Learn about animals, plants, rocks, soil, natural weather phenomenon.  Watch documentaries about different places, people, religions, history.  Netflix and Amazon have so many titles to offer.  BBC documentaries are hands down my favorite.

Prefer a musical approach?  Branch out and listen to music from all over the globe.  Listen to old music, new music, folk music, music from places you’ve never heard of.  Abuse Google, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify… whichever music app is your favorite.

There’s also that weird idea of talking to people or finding groups.  So, even if you don’t go to the library for a book, often there will be a bulletin board full of “group meetings” posted somewhere at the library (or even City Hall?  Court House?  Favorite hole-in-the-wall coffee shop?  Local bar?).  Local group availability definitely depends on your physical location.  If you live in a small town, where there is legit no way Ms. Betty who runs the Gardening Club is Pagan, you can still legit join the gardening club if you want to learn about plants, soils, rocks, etc.  It’s information you can use to identify different plants to study the metaphysical properties of later.  Plus, you might make new friends!

If you don’t want to be all that social, Google is your friend.  Find groups online that share your interests.  Paganism?  Check.  Gardening?  Check.  Rock collectors?  Check.  Philosophy?  Check. There’s a group for all of that in the vast world of the interwebz.  (Please note:  I do not condone the solitude of the interwebs, but I do partake in it myself.  LOL)

Wait, wait, wait!  All that’s technology based!  But, I want a true Pagan experience here!  What about walking in the woods and collecting rocks and herbs and burning candles and sage and doing rituals under a full moon!?

You guessed my answer yet?  Go for it.  If you learn with a hands-on approach, take yourself out on a hike (be careful, please!).  Go outside into your own garden or backyard.  Study the lightning bugs.  Studying the ants and the way they move.  Collect that odd but awesome rock by the driveway.  Plant some buttercups.  Water the dandelion sprouting in your walkway.  Incense from the Dollar Store and Incense from the Ritzy Metaphysical Shop three cities over burn the same.  Bay Leaves bought in the spice section at the grocery store burn the same as bay leaves bought online.  Do. You.

There’s really no wrong way to learn or connect with your inner Earth Girl (or Guy!).

The point is, I’ve never been one to love unbreakable rules.  It’s why Paganism called me.  It’s why Paganism feels like home for me.  My spiritual path can go whichever way I chose to take it.  Studying the world around me, the people and cultures of this world, all the science-y stuff about this planet, other planets, the universe… it helps build my understanding of the Universe in which I exist.

 


Copyright © 2018 Gwen Willows Modern Pagan Spirituality
The contents of this blog may not be copied, re-posted, or modified, in full or in part without due credit to the original author and a valid link to the original content here at Modern Pagan Spirituality.

Focus: Paganism

What is Modern Pagan Spirituality?

If you type “Modern Paganism” into any web search engine, you’ll likely get thousands of articles, pictures, and videos describing various aspects of Paganism, Neo-Paganism, and Contemporary Paganism.  You’ll see pages on Wicca, Druidism, Heathenism, and a bunch of other -isms.  Most of these pages offer a wealth of information, some good and some not so good.  The truth is this:  there are so many different ways to celebrate a Pagan Spirituality that you don’t have to limit yourself to ONE singular “title” (or any title, for that matter).  This is my “version” of Modern Pagan Spirituality.  The material you find in this blog is my take on a few key elements: morality and ethics, energy & cosmic influences, magick* & the unknown, and our eternal selves – aka our souls.

Let me first start by explaining a few things:

A)  I am not an expert on anything I present to you and I DO NOT CLAIM TO BE.  I am still a student of the Cosmos and only wish to share my insight with those who may be looking for more information on various topics.

B)  I am a Witch first, and as such, a lot of the information here will revolve around Witchcraft and how I incorporate Pagan Spirituality into my practice of Witchcraft (and vice versa.)

C)  I’m not an English major, so if you find a typo or some weird grammatical issue with a post – be a doll and ignore it, or better yet, message me and tell me (politely).  I’ll appreciate it.  😉

So, now that all of that is out of the way… let’s get started!

Modern Pagan Spirituality.   The breakdown of that “title” is really simple.

  1. Modern, meaning current or contemporary.
  2. Pagan – someone who follows the ancient beliefs and practices of early humans – beliefs which later gave birth to all religions of the world.
  3. Spirituality is a study or care of one’s spirit – or one’s eternal or cosmic soul.

Wait, wait, wait!  Eternal soul?  Cosmic soul?  What ever does that mean?!  – When I use these terms, I’m talking about just what it sounds like: that part of you that’s completely apart from your physical body.  It’s the part of you that has all those emotions, memories, personality quirks.  It’s the part of you that, in my opinion, is eternal in a sense – it’s the part that people remember, reflect on after your physical body dies.  This is what makes “you” … you.

Got it?  Now, let’s look at “Pagan.”  Yes, the literal definition of the word Pagan means “someone that is not a follower of a main world religion.”  That definition is of course referring to the five main world religions: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism.

I just have a key point to make here:  Paganism was around long before any of those other religions.  Paganism is the mother and father of all current religions.  A far more appropriate definition of Pagan would be, “someone who followed the ancient beliefs and practices specific to their culture, during the time of early human civilization – beliefs which later gave birth to all current religions of the world.”  In essence, a Pagan is someone who is part of every religion in the world.

Paganism was (and is) generally polytheistic – meaning that Pagans recognized and worshiped more than one God or Goddess.  If you look at what we now call any ancient culture’s “mythology,” you’ll find a quick history of early Pagan beliefs.

Greek Mythology, which a lot of people are more familiar with (because didn’t we all have to struggle through Edith Hamilton’s Mythology?), breaks down the belief system of Ancient Greek culture.  There are Gods and Goddesses of Thunder and Lightning, the Sea, Fate, War, Wisdom, Home & Hearth, Lovers, Fire, Partying & Debauchery… I mean, seriously, they had a god or goddess for everything.  Roman beliefs pretty much incorporated Ancient Greek culture.  Go north a little ways and you find Vikings – we call their ancient beliefs Norse Mythology.  The Celt had their own rich culture and religious system; we call it Celtic  or Irish Mythology (much of which is commonly used in Wicca).  All of these complex religions were around long before Christianity.

African tribes all over the continent had regional mythologies and beliefs that preceded Islam; a lot of these native religions traversed the Atlantic during the Slave Trade and gave birth to the Hoodoo and Voodoo cultures in the Caribbean and Southern United States.

Ancient peoples of India and South Asia had their own system of beliefs – they believed, like other cultures, in Gods and Goddesses of natural elements, love, war, and more.  These eventually morphed into Hinduism and paved the way for Buddhism.

Aboriginal Australians, hundreds of Native American tribes, and the numerous Polynesian cultures in the South Pacific all had their own beliefs long before any type of Christian settler landed on their shores.  These beliefs involved a healthy respect for the Earth, it’s natural rhythms, life and death.

Christianity today is not what it was during it’s earliest formative years.  Nor is any other major world religion.  These five main religions all incorporated aspects of the ancient culture and belief system of the area in which they were born (or spread to).

These ancient beliefs, while some may call them Mythology or dead religions, are the essential root of Modern Paganism.

Modern Paganism is a re-emergence, a rebirth of what we as humans once truly understood about the world around us.  We once understood the rhythms of the season, the song of the Earth we inhabit.  We respected plant, animal, stone, water, weather, the sun, the moon, the stars.  We understood that we are just one small piece of a giant working machine we call Earth.

Yes, Modern Pagans may worship the Gods and Goddesses of these ancient religions.  Modern Pagans explore the mythology of these ancient cultures for insight into the nature of a particular God or Goddess.  They study the lore and literature pertaining to the Gods and Goddesses that call out to them, that seek them, that speak to them.  Not all Pagans worship deities of the same cultures – some pagans worship Odin (the Norse God of wisdom, poetry, war, death, divination, and magic) and Dionysus (the Greek God of the wine harvest, unrestrained consumption, and resurrection).  Some worship Brigid (a Celtic Goddess of Inspiration and Healing), yet also hail the Great Spirit Mother (a generalized Native American concept for Mother Earth).  Eclectic in their worship, some Modern Pagans opt for the simple title of “Pagan” over any specific religious affiliation.

Other Modern Pagans worship specific ancient Gods and Goddesses.  Some of these faiths are: Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, Discordianism, Heathenry, Hellenism, Neo-Druidism, Roman Polytheistic Reconstructionism, Slavic Native Faith, and Wicca. Many Modern Pagans may only focus on a singular God and Goddess pair.  It truly is a path that reflects your personal beliefs.

So what about Nature Worship, which is considered a key part of Paganism?

Many people associate Paganism with Nature Worship because many of the Pagan Gods and Goddesses are associated with specific natural elements.  Nature worship, by definition, is the worship of a what could be considered a spirit or some other cosmic entity responsible for a natural occurrence – like Thor, the God of Thunder.  While that’s the basic aspect of Nature Worship, there’s also a much more subtle element to Nature Worship that doesn’t require Gods and Goddesses.

Some Modern Pagans respect the ancient connotations of the Gods and Goddesses, but also respect the science behind the actual phenomenons that ancient peoples attributed to these Nature Spirits.  Some Modern Pagans may worship Thor, but understand the scientific concept that thunder is the sound produced by lightning.  Thor isn’t banging a hammer on something to produce the sound.  This type of Modern Pagan reflects more on the symbolism of the ancient Gods and Goddesses rather than the literal translation of the cultural history and mythology surrounding a particular God or Goddess.

Some Modern Pagans focus the concept of Nature Worship into a more practical approach – a healthy respect for all living creatures (plant and animal) and natural elements like earth (soil, sand, rocks, etc.), fire, air, and water.  They believe that there’s an inherent connection between a human and the Earth.  We are part of nature and because of that, we are connected.

So basically, Modern Paganism is the religious version of the pot luck dinner?

Legit question I’ve actually been asked!  In a way, yes.

Yes, because Modern Pagans do typically get to find the path that best fits their personal interpretation of spirituality, human interaction with the natural world, and ultimately, what happens to the eternal soul.  They can pick from multiple different historical cultures and religions, put together their own truth, and live that truth.

In another way, no.

No, because the concept of a “pot luck” dinner means that you’re stuck with whatever’s available.  That’s not the case with Modern Paganism.  While Modern Pagans can, and do definitely pull from ancient cultures, religions, lore, and literature, they can also pull from modern philosophies, mainstream religions and theologies, and *gasp* even their own experiences to create a truly unique self-truth.  That self-truth is theirs, and theirs alone.  That doesn’t have anything to do with luck; it’s about cultivation.

Summary

Modern Paganism Spirituality is a generalized title for anyone who practices a religion that draws on ancient cultural mythologies, and focuses that practice so that it helps evolve or further their eternal being.  It is a movement, a religion, of choice.  It is a religion of connectivity and self exploration.  It is a belief in the truth you, as a unique person, know.

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Quick Answer of the Day

Question:  Why did I chose to call this Modern Pagan Spirituality if I’m foremost a Witch?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to call it Modern Wiccan Spirituality?

Answer:  A witch is specifically someone who practices witchcraft; this is separate from Wicca.  In truth, you don’t have to practice witchcraft to be Wiccan.  I chose Modern Pagan Spirituality because while I practice Witchcraft and do incorporate a lot of Wiccan philosophy into my spiritual practice, I also incorporate a lot of Pagan aspects.


 

Copyright © 2018 Gwen Willows Modern Pagan Spirituality
The contents of this blog may not be copied, re-posted, or modified, in full or in part without due credit to the original author and a valid link to the original content here at Modern Pagan Spirituality.

General

The Journey Begins

Welcome to my world. 🙂  Twenty years ago, I bought a copy of Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.  My youthful curiosity quickly turned into a life long path that’s taken different directions and turns along the years.  After much consideration, I decided to share some of the information I’ve learned and collected over the years.

The quick version of my story: I was raised Baptist. I felt like I didn’t belong and soon quit attending church.  I began a study of different world religions, and soon I discovered Wicca. I never looked back.

Studying Wicca opened doors to other information.  As a child, I collected rocks and leaves and bugs and all other manners of nature. I played outside for hours a day and never noticed how hot it was or if mosquitoes were biting.  My dad would take us on long walks through the woods and around a big, man-made lake close to where he grew up.   Unknown to me, my dad had long ago stirred my love for nature. Wicca expanded that and explained it in ways I never really thought about prior.

As I studied Wicca, I found other paths – paths that spoke to me in other ways.  I began my study and practice of Witchcraft.  I found information about Paganism and began to realize that while Wicca was mostly my truth, I had other truths that Paganism answered.  I became, and still am, a Pagan Witch.

Through this blog, I want to share that view with you.  You’re welcome to glean what you can from my ramblings; I profess no expertise, only what I’ve learned.  All I ask is that you leave this space as you’ve discovered it:

No rude or derogatory commentary.
Don’t copy my posts without a valid link to the original blog post.
Don’t edit or modify my posts if you’re linking back.

Come back soon for a definition of “Modern Pagan Spirituality.”


 

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Copyright © 2018 Gwen Willows Modern Pagan Spirituality
The contents of this blog may not be copied, re-posted, or modified, in full or in part without due credit to the original author and a valid link to the original content here at Modern Pagan Spirituality.