Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
It's rediculous. To all you pagans who keep on the down low, please enlighten me as to why you are hiding? We will never get anywhere if we cower and hide, we need to stand up and be counted (wow, I think I just quoted from a song).
So what if most christains shun us? Does that mean we should back down? No.
Yes, we are a peaceful religion, but we have a right to earn respect.
Did you know that there are more of us than there are buddhists? Yeah. There's an article on it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/22/paganism-stonehenge-environmentalism-witchcraft.
And did you know that there are tons of people fighting for paganism to be a main stream religion? (http://www.paganlibrary.com/editorials/pagan_churches.php)
So please stop hiding! Group together if you must, but be strong and stand out.
I am pagan, and I am proud. Are you?
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Ostara is yet another pagan holiday that christians converted to their own to try convince people to change religion. Paganism was just too popular for them to compete so they stole half our things so it would be familiar - although they shifted the dates a little.
But Ostara should be a time of celebration not tantrums, so lets talk about the positive side of it.
Ostara. The spring equinox. The middle of spring.
Now, to tell the truth, ostara actually falls on March 21 - the christians pushed the date of easter into april -, but I've been asking around and alot of pagans push it and celebrate it on 'easter' instead, because it is more convenient; the holidays are here, and chocolate eggs are on sale.
So lets go through some ways to celebrate this wonderful, lovely (yet terribly frustrating) holiday:
> Spring is the time of growing plants, so many pagans plant vegetable gardens. However, that's not possible for everyone - especially people living in apartment buildings - so another thing you can plant is goals. Set yourself a goal you want to achieve by the time next spring comes around - perhaps you want to save up money, or change job, or keep your garden alive -, whatever it is, now is the time to focus on it. If you're still shaky about that, then just start something new, a drawing, diary, a diet.
> Egg Painting. This is where easter eggs came from. It is a traditional activity because eggs represent fertility - new life. So boil yourself an egg and pull out the paints.
> If you have kids or young ones - or are a young one - go on an easter egg hunt.
> Some people light fires in the light of the new sun in hope of bringing luck and protection to their home, so thats another activity you can try,
> Do a ritual. It is a very common thing amoung pagans to participate in a ritual and perhaps make an offering to the goddess.
> You can also just say a prayer if you want, at your alter. Make sure you decorate with ostara correspondences though, and put some eggs on your altar.
> Stones/Gems: Jasper, amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone and red jasper.
> Incense: African violet, jasmine, rose, sage and strawberry
> Herbs/Flowers: Honeysuckle, Iris, Peony, Violet, Woodruff, Gorse, Olive, Iris, Narcissus, Daffodils, Jonquils, Primrose, Forsythia, Crocus, all spring flowers, pine tree
> Colors: Green, Yellow
> Symbols & Decorations: four leaf clover, baskets, eggs, lambs, flowers, chicks, bunnies, budding twigs, flowers, pussy willows, sprouting bulbs, colored ribbons
> Foods: jelly eggs (jelly beans), chocolates, lamb, eggs, seeds, leafy green vegetables, spiced or flower cupcakes, fruits, hot cross buns, sprouts, honey cakes, unleavened bread
So there you have it. Everything Ostara (for the northern hemisphere). I'm very sorry to those of you in the southern hemisphere, I know it's autumn right now, but I can't cover them both at the moment. Don't worry though, I will work on getting it up. I'm actualy writting this on a full moon. Please comment and tell if you did anything in celebration of the full moon!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I write novels (is it too hard to guess they're about vampires?) and I have a small problem with starting another, while still in the middle of my current one. I now have 11 books I'm writing - it's insane.
Yesterday I was working on one of my favourites (and funnily enough, my most recent) and I made the mistake of mentioning this awesome idea I had came up with for it, to my mom. This got her going in a rant (might I add, that lasted querter of an hour!) and her main point was this: I should finish my first one, before working on another.
But what she doesn't understand is that I can't! Have you ever tried editing a 137 page long book - on A4 paper in arial pnt 12, single space - with out loosing your mind and going tottally insane?
Yes, I'm at that stage - the editing. The number one (at least for me) most frustrating part.
But that's not the only wall you encounter.
Next on the list is probably writers block. You can sit in front of your writing for hours without any ideas hitting you. This can also drive you insane - or end up making you start another story.
And isn't it SO annoying, when you write a sentence in microsoft word and it tells you that you're using a symbol wrong, or that you should try rephrasing your sentence - or even worse, when it under lines your words and doesn't tell you why.
Now, this one might just be me, but when I am writing fluently, I can write for hours (seriously, I actualy sat at my computer typing for one and a half days once) but after a while, it's almost as if your mind gets numb. Do you ever face the problem when you're writing, and suddenly you can't remember how to spell a word you've written a hundred times before? And then you have to keep using online dicionaries to remember? Or even worse, when you forget what you have and haven't wrote.
And don't foget when you suddenly come to a word, and you can't remember: is it one or two 'T's? Like writers/writters - my current issue (anyone know how it's spelt?)
2) Writters block
3) Microsoft word
4) Memory loss
5) Letter repetition
But come to think of it, these are almost minor compared to one problem that you must avoid at all costs (something I have failed at 7 times).
When you fall for one of your characters.
You know what I'm talking about. When you come to the end of your book but you don't want it to end because you don't want to move on from writing about your main characters boyfriend or girlfriend.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Another area of paganism are the celebrations. This part really gets to me, because Christians converted them to their own. (See if you can spot the similarities - keep in mind, paganism came first, they stole from us, not the other way around)
We call them the sabbats. It depends on what hemisphere you're in on when during the year they fall, so I will put the dates for both. (South = southern hemisphere. North = northern hemisphere)
The sabbats are:
1> Yule - North: December 21. South: June 21 (Christmas) [Winter Solstice]
This is the Winter Solstice. It is the longest night of the year, in the middle of winter. It is when the seasons start to change and spring approaches. Pagan activities at this time included gift giving, tree decoration, wreath making, and feasting (sound familiar?).
Main Tradition(s): lighting the yule log.
2> Imbolc - North: February 2. South: August 1 (Saint Brigit's day/Groundhog Day)
The first glimpses of spring are begining to show. It is neither winter, nor spring; the season is on the brink of change. This is generally the time you go about 'spring cleaning'.
Main Tradition(s): candlemas.
3> Ostara/Eastre - North: March 21. South: September 21 (Easter) [Spring Equinox]
The Spring Equinox, the middle of spring. This is a time of planting, whether it be seeds in the garden, or goals in the mind. People go about bread making (*cough* hot cross buns *cough) and seeing family.
Main Tradition(s): egg colouring/hunting.
4> Beltane - North: May 1. South: November 1 (Christians refused this celebration)
Beltane is a celebration of fertility, growth, love and passion. Celebrate this day with joy and happiness. It is a time of handfastings (marriage). It is between spring and summer.
Main Tradition(s): May Pole
5> Litha - North: June 21. South: December 21 (no christian corrospondence) [Summer Solstice]
Litha is in midsummer. Longest day of the year. On this day you wear many flowers and bright colors.
Main Tradition(s): collecting herbs
6> Lammas/Lughnasadh - North: August 1. South: Feb 1
It's the end of summer and the begining of autumn. Some people bury a bottle by their front door for good luck, it is also common to have family picnics.
Main Tradition(s): Harvesting/baking
7> Mabon - North: Sept 21. South: March 21 (Thanks Giving) [Autumn Equinox]
Some celebrate this day with arts, crafts, and games; also, a meal made with fresh vegetables (from the garden if possible). It is the middle of autumn.
Main Tradition(s): drinking of wine
8> Samhain - North: Oct 31. South: April 30 (Hallowe'en)
Many confuse the pronounciation of this one; it's pronounced 'sow-en' rather than 'sam-hay-in'. It is believed that at this time, the veil between the spirit real and the physical is thinnest. It is common to say a prayer to be heard by loved ones past, and to put candles in the windows to guide guest spirits. An activity you might try is apple bobbing. It is the turning from Autumn to winter.
Main Tradition(s): carving Jack o' Lanterns, Divination, honouring the dead.
And I know that if you know your stuff, you're probably thinking I forgot essbats - but i didn't.
Essabats is a monthly celebration of the full moon. Some also celebrate the new moon, but it's not as common.
This path is not for everyone; you need to be comitted - well, that, or just believe in something you know nothing about. But in my opinion, it's totally worth it.
So, the common question: What is pagan?
Pagan is an umbrella term that covers a range of other religions, such as wicca, druidism, Asatru, Celtic, Shamanism, and many more. You may have read somewhere this phrase: "All wiccans are pagan, but not all pagans are wiccans."
Pagan is a nature loving, peacful religion. Pagans believe in karma, reincarnation, a God and Goddess, energy work, psychics, and much more.
There is a document called "The Wiccan Rede", and although it is refered to as wiccan, many pagans follow it too.
"Bide the wiccan law ye must,
in perfect love and perfect trust.
Eight words the wiccan rede fullful:
An ye harm none, do what ye will.
What you send forth comes back to thee,
So ever mind the law of three.
Follow this with mind and heart,
And merry ye meet, and merry ye part."
What do Pagans do?
Many pagans participate in rituals - though not all. Generally these rituals fall on the sabbats, but there are also those that are performed at any time.
It is frowned upon to cast spells (yes, spells count as rituals) on people to change their will - thats where karma and the three fold law comes in. We beleive that any spells we do don't effect other's will.
So how are you supposed to do that? Well, lets use the common request of love spells for example. If you were looking for romance, it would be frowned upon to cast a love spell on someone so they would fall in love with you; so instead, you do a spell to encourage romance. Or if someone you love is in love with someone else, instead of trying to break them up, do a spell to help you move on.
But Paganism isn't all about spells and such. Its about forming a connection with the goddess, about making a spiritual journy, about getting in touch with the spiritual you. The people I've personally met who have made this journy, are the happiest people I know; they are content with themselves and how their life is. To make this journey, pagans do all kinds of things. Concor their fears, meditate, learn to direct energy, attune themselves with the changes of the earth. It's mastering mind body and spirit.
The goal, in my opinion, is peace of mind.
This is an altar. It's where we perform pagan worship. You can often find wands, candles, athames, chalices, incense, book of shadows, effigies, bells, and gems here.
The altar can be anything from a bedside table to a table. It is treated with respect and care. It is a sacred thing, not to be messed with.
Effigies are just two small statues that sit on your altar. One of the God, one of the Goddess. They are symbolic and represent higher beings.
They can be big or small, it doens't much matter.
The B.O.S. (Book of Shadows) is a book where you record rituals you have done and their result, rituals you want to perform, any notes you want to take, store information on beliefs, ect.
You generally don't share this with anyone; it is private and personal. Unless it is a coven B.O.S., that is open for the whole coven.
A chalice is a special cup used for holding cerimonial drink. It is a feminin tool, and represents the element water.
It's normally a tall, odd wine glass style. Many are engraved with designs, where as others are just an actual wine glass.
The wand is mostly a symbolic tool, used to direct energy. It is a representative of the element air. It can be made from many different woods. It might be one you bought online, or a stick you picked up on a bush walk. The different woods represent different things - e.g. a willow wand is for dreaming, deep emotions, and intuition; where as an oak wand represents strength, stamina and wisdom.
Athame. Associated with fire and used for circles, it is a masculine tool.
An athame is traditionally a black handled cerimonial double edged dagger, however this is not neccisary. The handle could be wood, or the blade could be one sided.
The pronounciation is often confused. Many say "a-thame"(like 'fame'), however it is actually "ath-a-may." It is not used for cutting physical objects and is sometimes replaced with a sword.
Alright, this is where we normally lose people. This is called a besom - not a broom stick - and we do NOT 'fly' on them. This tool is used for cleansing (not cleaning, cleanSing) - e.g. sweep out a space before casting a circle. It's not for sweeping dust however, it's for sweeping away negative energies and the sort.
Another badly imaged tool, the cauldron. It's NOT for boiling up sacrifices or little kids, okay, so stop right there.
This is used in different ways for differnt pagans. Some use it for cooking actual meals, others use it for burning the yule log.
It is of the Goddess, and represents the womb.
The bell is often used to signify the completion of a ritual or to attract spirits.
An actual bell is not actually neccissary though, it is the sound a bell makes that calls it to use.
The Boline. Traditionaly a white handled knife, its used for cutting food. It is also used for carving sigils into candles or shaping your wand.
Many confuse it with the Athame, but they should be two seperate things.
Many think it is neccissary to have a special robe worn only during rituals - if you're not 'skyclad' (naked) -, this is so you're not wearing something that has obsorbed negative energies that come from worry and stress in our day to day lives.
Others, don't find it so important, and then there are those who perform rituals skyclad.
Either way is fine, it's about what suits you.
Incense can serve many purposes. For some, it helps them meditate, for others, it's an offering. Different fragrances have different meaning, for example, frankincense is used for cleansing.
Incense represents the element air, and is generally connected with the censer.
I would say that candles, are probably the most significant tool. They serves almost every purpose and are a huge part of spells. They can represent the Gods, or they can be a symbol of love, or they could just be lighting. They are of fire and are a masculine tool.
Paganism has been seen as evil and wicked, has been confused with devil worship and what not. But it's not.
Paganism is a good and pure religion about nature worship. The basic beliefs are: that there is a God and Goddess, what you send out come back to you times three, to harm none, and living in harmony with nature.
Anyone seen that movie Avatar? Yeah, I bet you have. That right there is a good portrayal of paganism.
Now, please explain to me how a religion can worship something they don't beleive? That's right, we don't beleive in the devil, he is a christian creation and they can keep him. Paganism doesn't use fear to scare people into behaving, no, paganism is about harmony and peace.
As for the witchcraft, that isn't fiction but not all pagans practice it. You can practice witchcraft without being pagan and you can be pagan without practicing witchcraft.
Paganism is the wrong religion? Oh, I'm sorry, but, correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't paganism the first relgion? Yes, there is proof everywhere - e.g. stonehenge - that paganism was the first ever religion. And then, way further down the line comes christianity. This is when paganism became "evil" - not to point fingers or anything *cough* their fault *cough*.
Don't beleive me? Fine, google it - and waste time searching 1200 pages - and see for yourself.
Ok, so, what's most likely going to happen is, I'm going to end up with some really boring post's here, because not even I can make reading through information fun - even when it's about witchcraft.
It's actually really cool to know all this stuff about weird things, because it means I'm the one my friends come to if they come across something freaky they don't know about (wait, I'm beginning to think that might not be such a great thing...) whether it's ghost's or aura's, they come to me. I've even been given a nick name: Dr Pagan (ok, I lied, that's not really my nick name, but never mind *thumbs up and freaky grin*), which is really cool because it fits in with with my 'magical' name: Dark Raven; why? becuase I sign with D.R., like Dr.
So why am I even making this blog? Because I should do my bit to try get the truth out about christianity- I mean, about paganism: it's not evil! Contrary to what you might want to beleive thanks to christianity - not being one of those bigot people *cough* - we are actualy very peaceful and caring.
Now, ask yourself these questions: do you want to know what paganism is and what it's about? Do you want to listen to me rant? Do you want something to fill in that free time you have? Do you want... ok, I'm out of questions, but you get the idea. Then my blog is the place to find it - well, that or you could search through thousands of google results, your choice.
That's me for now, stay tuned! (Wow that sounds super cheesy.)
(Disclaimer: I do NOT own image, all credit goes to origional artist. If you feel the need to press legal charges, please contact me first and I will take it down.)