Worship Alone, Worship Together

Which one is more profound for you?  For me, I am usually more prone to an intense religious experience while I am alone.  In a group, I tend to worry about logistics of the ritual, people and group dynamics, almost to the point of forgetting why we’re there.

Beltane.  Probably the most well known celebration of the pagan community, the most joyous, the most public.  We all know the imagery, regardless of tradition of experience: may poles and beltane bonfires, dancing and mead and making merry.

Now the question that I have regarding group vs individual ritual is one which may perhaps be unique to my tradition and path, alone.  Am I able to celebrate with others whom I do not know well or intimately?  What will their energy, mixing with mine, create in coming days?  Will it provide a positive influence?

Of course, this comes up upon being invited to a Beltane ceremony.  I tend not to practice with others as a general rule, because one of our golden rules happens to be, “If you wouldn’t have sex with them, you shouldn’t be in circle with them.”

That, of course, limits my choices.  Yet, what about non-circle celebrations?  Do we, in effect, create an informal circle?  Is it the group dynamics which influence you so heavily, or is it the reflectiveness within the circle that causes  the influence?

I’ll contemplate this more when I am not in class.

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Peaceful, Easy Feeling

I made sort of a discovery about myself, which may or may not hold true to other peoples moods and motivations.  However, I have discovered that I become a mix between restless and melancholy – driven to cause change in this world – when I am presented with something which I do not quite understand.

Although I may have mentioned this before, there are two things which confuse me in our current society, and especially within the college sphere.  Dancing which is overt attempts at sexualized motions, and abusing drugs/alcohol to the point of entering an altered state of being.  So basically, social life in college.

It’s not that I don’t understand how people dance, or the immediate reason: other people are doing it.  I know some people ‘just love it,’ and others find it to be a good workout or sort of a turn on.  But I really, honestly, don’t understand.  People look at me and tell me to dance with them, or offer to show me how to dance.  But I just…I can’t see how synchronous body movements in time to music, often imitating sexual movements, is considered self entertainment.

I know that I’m taking a lot of the ‘romance’ out of dancing by describing it in this manner, and maybe I am just a stick in the mud.  I’m 19, I have a wonderfully curvy body, and I recognize that in all essences, I am expected to not only display my body in that fashion, but want to display my body in that fashion.  It’s the desire that I get confused about.  Why would I want others moving their bodies closer to mine in time to a piece of music?  Why would I want guys touching me or being in close contact with me in such a public setting?

The drugs/alcohol thing is on my part, just my tendency towards responsibility and control of my own body.  I don’t want to be under the influence of anything that takes away from me, control.  As it is, I try to eliminate other controlling influences from my life – overpowering friends, negatively inclined conversations, bad habits…

I just guess that I’ve been so, so solid, in my state of existence for so long that I’m not really sure how to even begin to desire to lose that control I’ve established.  I don’t understand how people gain the desire to use drugs/alcohol or dance as an escape from reality.  I understand why they do it.

In other words, I understand the effect.  I understand why they want to dance.  Why they want to engage in self-depracating behaviors.  They feel trapped within themselves.  They want to be someone different.

But why do they feel that way?

Just a thought.

Secrets to Being Reputable

Hey guys, I have a challenge for you.

If you think about all of the pagan resources on the web – forums, chat, blogs, CMS’s everywhere…you get to see a variety of individuals interacting with each other. As an outsider, looking in, how would you feel? With those MM, BB, lol, rofl, wysiwyg acronyms floating everywhere(Okay…the last one is barely used but fun ^_^) …wouldn’t you be intimidated?

Think back to some of the forums you’ve read. Possibly some of the comments I’ve had posted on this blog. The acronyms, abbreviations, although they make posting faster, they make readability downright horrible.

And so, to my challenge. At least on pagan resources.

  • Spell Correctly
  • Use Grammar(Don’t Abuse It)
  • Try to keep the abbreviations to one or two per paragraph. (An occasional LOL~!1@!!! is fine.)

I don’t mean to be a bitch, or be unfriendly. I have been a loyal internet nerd and techie since the mid 1990s – I can type in lolcatz as well as the rest of you. I was an IRC junkie, a dedicated member to cybertown and Yahoo! Chat Rooms, Forums all over the place, and everything else.

But, we are in an epic battle against fluffy bunnies here. And grammar, spelling, and common sense are, at least on the internet, our only tools on hand. Our (magical) ancestors have been fighting for recognition since the fifties, and we have this entire new realm that we have to make a good name for ourselves on. Even the tiniest things – making ourselves friendly and approachable – will help the cause.

Join the fight.

And the Order (lol).

Blessed Be!

The Pagan Voice

Christian music is everywhere. Where is the pagan counterpart? I don’t really want to have to search as hard as I do for either “classic” pagan songs, or newer things. I want songs and dances dedicated to celebrating the ‘wild’ side of life.

I have written a few songs – I was almost a music major in college, but I’m still left to wonder: Where is that pagan voice?

There are always the classics – The Elements Song, We All Come From the Goddess, May the Circle Be Open

There are more, of course, but I don’t have my playlists in front of me at this moment. The point is, I can think of, and sing to myself, maybe six or seven pagan songs that I have not written, that were composed by pagan writers, and speak of something regarding our religious traditions.

And I *know* we don’t have pagan Gospel songs.

We should. Are you a songwriter? A poetry author? Do something for our ways! Make a contribution! Over the next few months, hopefully I will be able to produce some of the songs that I have written and post them here. But, if you have a song or a chant or a poem(That could be a song!)…please, let it be known! I will do my best to advertise it on this site, and we’ll see what we can do to get the pagan music into common knowledge.

Someone’s gotta do it.

Being and Becoming a Woman

Let’s face it.  Women sort of have an extra  issue at hand.   Once  a month, for anywhere   from three to eight or nine days, we are modifying our schedules to accommodate our bodies, which have decided to bleed.  Sometimes heavily.

Yet,  I  like to think of myself as becoming more of a woman during my period.  It is not that I am not a woman during the times when I am not bleeding…rather, it is when I am bleeding when I feel closer to the Goddess, when I feel her inside of me, around me, filling with her  presence.

And so, each month, I am and I become a woman,

Is there anything like that for a man, other than the moon and sun rituals of passing time?

The 3 Big Rules of Etiquette

Let’s face it. A lot of pagans and wiccans and everyone in between can easily take offense to something that you didn’t mean as offensive! Maybe you didn’t ask before you touched something of theirs, or you said something the wrong way, and suddenly you’ve got a group of angry crackheads bearing down on you.

Not that pagans are angry crackheads…I just got carried away with the imagery. Anyhow, the point is, if you’re new to the path and you’re looking for a group or an event to be openly pagan in, there are some basic, usually standard rules that you have to adhere to. Please correct me if there’s anything to add or to disagree with, but generally, the entire etiquette can be summed up to respect.
a big thing that is true in paganism across cultural boundaries is to ask before you touch. We often energize our items to be sensitive to what we want them to do, and your interference without our permission will upset us. Ask, or wait until we offer a tool or amulet for your inspection.

In the same manner, ask before you touch us. We often can become upset by invasions into our personal privacy. It may disrupt our focus, it may disrupt our aura.

Do not ever, ever, ever, introduce someone by their real name at a pagan event. Use the name that they are using for themselves, or simply allow them to introduce themselves. If someone is not super open about themselves, introducing them as their real name will upset them. A lot.

Extinction, Conservation, and Individual Accountability

I keep being presented with the concept of societal and earthly death.  Finding myself in a class that is intending to work out the problem of invasive species in Florida, it seems the entirety of my reading this week has been focused on the beginning of the end of the world.

Apocalyptic thoughts are not uncommon across societies, in changing times and in changing places.  We often – and it can be documented, open any history book – think that we are the pinnacle, the end to civilization and life, itself.  We believe that we are so very important, that we – the race – can extinguish all semblances of life on earth.  Look at 1800s Jehovah’s Witnesses, convinced that the world was ending.  Even the Mayans predicted the end of the world for December 21, 2012.

We are not that important. At least, to extinguish all life.  We may wipe out a good portion of it.  But when we’re gone, the microscopic organisms, certain macroscopic organisms – plants, fungi, some animals – they’ll be happy we’re gone, and they won’t give a shit.

That is not to say conservation is unimportant.  Indeed, conservation may be, in the end, what keeps a little bit of our sanity on hand.  But, I somehow don’t think I’ll be alive for the worst, if things are going to continue to happen as they are.  Nor will you.

What can we do?  What should we do, as Pagans?  In my tradition, we consider ourselves those individuals which will be the last to ‘go home’ – those who will lead the way for every other being before finding the way, ourselves.  Yet, we are also watchers – not to interfere too deeply with the social karma or the karma of others unless directly asked.  We are the priests – the mothers and the fathers – those who watch their children fall, then clean up their scrapes and cuts and send them on their way.

I think I’ve found my answer.  Individual accountability.

It’s simple.

Stop giving your yearly donations to the salvation army.  Go feed the homeless.

Stop going to protests for abused women.  Volunteer at their shelters.

Plant a tree.

Make a difference.  A real, live difference, not a monetary or “internet petition” difference.  Don’t donate money to “clean the streets” campaigns – do it yourself!

Maybe, that way, at least, when we ‘go home’…you can stand before the gods, and be proud of the life you have lived, the steps you have taken, even where you’ve stumbled.

Blessed Be!