What does Wicca mean?

Christians are christians because they believe in Christ.  Atheists are atheists because they are a-theists – without god(s).  But why are Wiccans called Wiccans?  What does Wicca mean?

The origin of the word is no longer debated.  Many believe that Wicca derives from an old British word of the same spelling (different pronunciation), and its meaning was “sorcerer.”  Wicce was the female term.  “Witch” is another word that derives from these two older words.

The term “wicca” was popularized first in Britain in the 1960s, then again in the 70’s as the word and religion moved to the United States.  It is both a broad term for neo-pagan lifestyles, as well as occasionally used to specify specific traditions: Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, a.k.a, “British traditional Wiccan” traditions.

So that’s why Wiccans are called Wiccans, and even, technically, what the word means.  But a man once told me that Wicca also means “wise teacher.”  He told me that to be Wiccan means to be a role model in your community.  To follow the laws of the land, respect your fellow human, and give advice and help where needed.

Now, that man went on to break my heart, but the fact remains that occasionally, he spouted words of wisdom.  I think this tidbit is one.

Wiccans have a reputation (until you get to know some good ones) of being tree-hugging, dirt-kissing hippie satan worshippers.  When Wiccans spout drivel about being attacked by mystical beings and being persecuted by Christians… it sort of looks bad.  And gets old.

Instead of being the person that your coworkers flock to when they “think they’ve seen a ghost,” why not be the person they ask for advice?  Why not be the person that they can rely on when they’re ill?  Be a role model.  Be the person that is a leader without needing “god given authority” to do so.

The word, Wicca, is a reminder.  The wiccae (old english, not us, now) were feared because they possessed skills, objects, or social status that was intimidating to others.  In a way, they had the respect of their villages.  Until the inquisition came through and burned every woman that had a pimple and was disliked by her neighbors.

What do you think Wicca means? Do you disagree?

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Not Hungry? Oh, And Cats. And Changing Negativity.

I’ve been struggling to eat the last few days… I guess since Saturday, when I had the pizza.  I’m like… scared of wheat now, although I know I’ll have to try it again.

I had a migraine today; I’m not sure what it was from.  I wrote down everything I ate the hour before, though, and I’ll monitor if ingredients keep showing up before migraines.  I ended up going home because I had to take some Imitrex and it makes me feel funny.

So yesterday, I had some salad.  I’m sure I had something else but I am completely blanking.  I remember the salad, though.  It was delicious.

Yeah, I don’t even know.  I have some sort of post-migraine brain fog going on right now.  Anyway, let’s talk about something else. I’m sure you’re bored of my diet updates.  Maybe I’m just getting the flu or something.  I hope not!

Let’s talk about…. kitties.  There’s one sitting on my right arm right now, purring into my chest.  He’s making typing a tad difficult.

I actually had a rather entertaining experience one morning over the last few days.  I have two kitties.  One is a smaller, older, and meaner orange tabby.  The other is a gigantic, sweet natured tortie girl.  You’d think that the bigger kitty was the terrorist, but of course, she’s not.  It’s the little one.  He’s also my baby.  He’s also thle one on my chest.

Anyway, so the little cat was chasing the big cat, and I was yelling at him to stop, and he, of course, was blatantly ignoring me.  As cats tend to do.  Know what I did?  Laser pointer.

Yup.  Even the most fearsome tabby falls victim to a dancing red light.

My point is that distraction can be a great technique to misdirect negative energy to a new, more constructive place.  Whether it’s your own negativity, the negativity of your child or spouse, or the negativity of the universe, misdirection may help you solve the problem.

If its your own negativity, try distracting yourself with something physical.  Take action.  If its your child or your spouse, try doing something together, or, if together is the problem… have a little alone time.  And if its the universe, take some deep breaths and offer up some prayers.  Remember, the universe might throw a lot at you… but it wouldn’t do it if you couldn’t handle it.  You’ll move through this.  You’ll move on.  You’ll find happiness soon again.

The Importance of Thought In Conflict

So, I’m not a stranger to the social networking applications. For the most part, I use facebook, and the other day, I started a very long, semi-heated discussion with a conservative person from elementary school, about the United States and it’s new President. I wouldn’t have – I don’t like those arguments – but it really pisses me off when people make sweeping statements. “All pagans are crazies.” I don’t remember what his particular statement was, and I’m too lazy to look back, but it was something that irked me, and so I responded.

No, I don’t think our government’s intervention in GM is going to destroy us. What bugged me was that I knew he wasn’t seeing the simple idea of minimizing damage. He was standing on his high horse, and refusing to recognize the fact that what our federal government was trying to do was minimize damage.

The only reason the issue is close to me is because of what Kodak did to my city in the 1990s. Maybe early 2000s. Kodak, based in Rochester, NY, closed the majority of its factories, cutting tons of jobs, screwing people out of their retirements. Three close friends had fathers who lost jobs. None of them have really recovered. Hell, the city hasn’t recovered.

Imagine if GM went out? That’s not just one city. That’s…hundreds of cities in the United States. Full of skilled workers who are so specialized that they’re actually fucked if they try to find another job that pays as well.

And our conversation evolved from GM all the way to global warming, with routes through healthcare and education.

But the point is that both sides of the argument have the danger of falling into the Always-Never categories. And that sort of brash assumption is first of all, a weakness in your argument, and second, prevents open communication. If you’re going to sit there and tell me that we’re NEVER going to remove the domination of oil companies, so why bother trying – then what is the point of me continuing the discussion? You’ve made up your mind.

And when I call you out on it, I’m sure you feel embarrassed. For me, as a 21 year old (he’s the same age) – I find it ridiculous that he’s already lost the hope for change.

How can he look at me and say, “Things are never going to change?” What kind of generation is that?

And so, I request readers, please, be careful what you say. Don’t try to push your point so hard that you begin to look like a fool. Acknowledge your ignorance. Allow exceptions. The world is not black and white. It is this beautiful shade of gray.

Healthy Living: Keeping Balance

There is a visualization that I use, that I never really realized that I used until just this moment.  I was thinking, “well, what do I know about healthy living, anyway?” and then began thinking about a conversation with a friend that I had a few nights ago.  He was feeling depressed because his ex girlfriend had called to expressly tell him that he was a loser – right after his business partner decided to leave the business, among other things taking  a turn for the worse.  And so he told me that he felt like he failed at life, on and on – and I said nothing.  And a few minutes later, I found the words I was looking for.

You see, he may have the worst luck in the world sometimes.  His choices of ex-girlfriends are less than stellar, and the pure absurdity of some of the situations he gets into is almost unbelievable.  Yet, there is a reason that I deeply care for the man: Whatever he does, he does for others.  He takes this to the extreme.  He will spend an entire Christmas(he’s pagan, but still) devoted to others.  His entire savings will go to buying children of his neighborhood cool presents that their parents can’t afford.

Even what he does now, personal training, is aimed at helping others.  Since I’ve known him, he’s counseled pregnant teens, people suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression.  He’s worked as an in-home nurse, security – he’s planted trees and organized volunteer movements to decrease violence in his home town.  If there’s something that needs to be done, he does it.

At cost to himself, his livelihood, his health, and anything else.  Enter my analogy.

When you think of yourself, think of yourself at the very center of a very large, very connect web.  Each strand represents an interaction you’ve had recently where some of your energy and vibrations has left you to connect with that other person.  Not literally, left, but more – that piece of you has gotten scattered and disorganized.

If we were to look at this man’s web, I think that he would actually be pushed to a corner so everyone else could take his place in the center!

So, when you’re feeling unbalanced, a good exercise to use is to slowly imagine each strand of the web being pulled back to you, until it’s just you, with yourself healthy, clean, and whole.  And reminding yourself of this web everytime you promise someone that you’ll do something, or go somewhere, or think of something, or lead something – may just keep your priorities in check.

It’s great to do all you can to help your community – your family, your workplace, your friends – but doing it at the expense of yourself helps no one.

Have a great day!

What You Get Is Not What You Expected

Again with a shorter post today, as I don’t really have any divine inspiration.  But, I’d like to talk a minute about spontaneity in life.  Many people accept understanding of this matter with various explanations: “Everything happens for a reason”; “There are no coincidences”; etc.

For us, we explain it with the interaction between thought, will, and action in relation to the Universe.  In addition, the more that we are aware of the relationship between those three and the universe, the higher chance there is of any of those three affecting the Universe – essentially, pulling its strings to make way for our thought/will/action.

But the Universe has its own plans for us, too.  And sometimes, it is not the wisest to carve a path through our lives, but instead follow where the opportunities open.  That is how people start with a botany degree and end up working for the government in finances.

Which is how, today, after stopping by my college to meet with my boss and say hi to a few professors, I ended up with a housesitting job for the middle two weeks of August.  And a free lunch.

Beat that for random.

Blessed Be!

Dying Alone

I know its a weird way to start my actually-here posts, but I returned from my trip to find my leopard gecko had passed away.  Caleb had been doing bad for quite some time, and I think it may have been my fault.  I always gave him food and water, but I think that while I was away at college, though my family gave him the same materials, they did not give him any attention.  I know they never took him out and held him or interacted with him.

As a result, I think my gecko, in part, died because of lack of interaction.  It may have also been his time – he was a rather old gecko.  But leopard geckos are the worst when they get old, because they just stop eating (or all of the ones I have had, have).  They’re desert animals, so it takes forever for them to die.

I cried today.  Not necessarily because of the death of my gecko, because everything has a time to go, but more because the poor creature had to die alone.  I think to an extent that all creatures are as scared of death as we are, although it may resurface and rework itself in many different ways.

Along the bike trip, throughout the day, we would pass by on the roads various roadkill.  From birds (I think there was a hawk at one point) to deer to groundhogs and squirrels, the roadkill we passed counted as objects to avoid riding over.  As a result, our trail markers often marked the area around them – drawing a flourescent pink circle around them (that was the color of the trail paint) – and one particular volunteer would place mardi gras beads on top of them.

It was meant as something to make the riders smile, but it also held a solemn note – we were saying goodbye to the deaths that no one was close enough to, to realize, to mourn, to recognize.

The entire earth is a community.  I don’t mean to make us all cry every day for the many, many animals, plants and other organisms alike that pass on, but an occasional moment of solemn awareness, a recognition of the gravity and importance of death, is a good way to start.

My high priest once knew a woman who would go out and draw or photograph roadkill.  Then she would name it, frame it, or in some other way categorize it.  I think that’s taking it a little too far.  But if no one notices the dead, how are we supposed to truly appreciate the living?

What If We’re Wrong?

Don’t take this post as a doubt of where I’m headed in life. I’m merely responding to one of those search terms that brought someone to my website. And the search term? “Pagan fear of hell”.

I’d suggest covering your own ass, and becoming Christian and Pagan at the same time in some fashion, as some choose to do.  Personally, I find that exceptionally ill advised, as the two spiritualities do operate on fundamental differences.

Or maybe you’ll be pagan until the moment you die, and then you’ll ask forgiveness from Jesus as you breathe your last breath.  Also ill advised, as the lack of loyalty you’ve shown to either side will win you no favors.

Maybe you’ll heed the 13 Principles in that life is about balance, and there is no absolute evil in this world.

Or maybe you’ll think to yourself, “I’ve lived a good life.  God(s) will understand and respect and reward me.”

I tend towards the last two, but leave you with this question.  If you were raised in a society not dominated by Christian culture everywhere you go, be it Main Street or a history book, would that ‘fear of hell’ really be an issue?  Or would it be treated like you do the other religions who claim that their way is the only way?