Spirituality – Living It vs. Reading It


The following article on living was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on July 7th, 2013.

Festival Drum - Living It!
Djembe By Campfire – Living It!

Each morning I start my day off in basically the same way. I wake up (hopefully) and look over at my altar which sits right next to my bed on a small shelf attached to the wall where most people would keep their night stand. If the spirit candle has burned out I light a new one. I light a tea light candle in the southern quadrant for the element of fire. I light an incense in the east for air. I check on my malachite and other stones in the north and my sea shell in the west. Sometimes I change out and have a chalice of water in the west or some other representations but these days that the basics of my altar. I light a healing candle if anyone I know of is in need of healing or other energies. Then I pick up my athame and cast an invoking pentagram followed by these words or something similar.

Great Goddess, Mighty God

You who are of me and around me

Guide me through this day

Show me the way through darkness and confusion

Grant to me peace, love, balance, courage, health and joy for this day.

So mote it be.

I place my athame back into it’s sheath (it’s a replica of a Royal Scottish Dirk which my wife gave to me as a gift) and lay it back onto the altar. I reach into my bag of runes and take out one for my guidance for the day. Write down what rune it was in my journal and a little about it’s meaning then go on to start my work day.

It’s a simple ritual and very Wiccan in style but I do it every day and it helps me to connect with the divine, ask for their guidance and feel I am off to a good start. If I were to miss it I would probably go through the day feeling lost because it has become an important part of my life and of my daily routine.


In the past I have done daily invocations in the style of ADF Druidry but since the Goddess smacked me upside the head nearly a year ago now and made it quite clear that I needed to get my butt back on my path this is the ritual which has been working for me. Later I may change it but I will likely always start my day with something like this.

We all have our own ways of reconnecting with the divine, the center, nature or however we describe what makes us feel….. for lack of a better word, right? That we belong? That we are a part of something?

I know that whenever I am out in nature I also feel the connectedness of the divine. Some of us need ritual, some of us don’t. We all have our preferred methods of divination. Some of us are heavily into magickal workings, some of us are more interested in learning our history and rituals. But we all, together are living our spirituality in our own ways. How do you live yours?

“Go out, go out I beg of you

And taste the beauty of the wild.

Behold the miracle of the earth

With all the wonder of a child”

– Edna Jaques


Ugliness And Nastiness – No Thanks!

The following article on ugliness and nastiness was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on May 28th, 2014.

Be strong, but not rude; Be kind but not weak; Be bold, but not a bully; Be humble but not timid; Be proud, but not arrogant. No ugliness!
Be strong, but not rude; Be kind but not weak; Be bold, but not a bully; Be humble but not timid; Be proud, but not arrogant. No ugliness!

As I have mentioned in past blog posts,  in my 15 plus years hanging around in the Paganesque community I haven’t received nearly as much negativity from the people you might expect. No, not the hardcore fundamentalist Christians who dominate the region I grew up and live in. The truth be told, the most hateful, negative, ugly words I have ever heard directed towards my beliefs or those of other minority religion faiths have come from right within the Pagan, Heathen or Earth Based Spiritual communities.

It’s a bizarre phenomenon to me. Here we are surrounded, literally out numbered 1000 to 1 or more by people who wholeheartedly believe we are bound for a lake of fire and eternal damnation for daring to believe differently than they do, but some of us would rather cut one another’s throats, figuratively (hopefully), than understand one another and embrace our differences in the midst of mainstream dogma.

I remember a time, back in 2002, I was a freshly minted 1st degree Alexandrian Wiccan priest. I was proud of what I had learned in my past year and a day of study. I was proud of my new pentacle and robe. I was delighted to be a part of a Pagan community which I naively believed at that time to be all open minded, friendly, earth loving, ancestor honoring people supporting one another in their paths. I heard about this Druid gathering going on near Austin called Modron’s Gate. To this day I do not know who the organizers were or which Druid order was represented but I think it was ADF (the one I eventually joined many years later) and I think I remember Skip Ellison (former Archdruid of ADF although he was not yet Archdruid at that time I don’t think) speaking there.
I had really enjoyed myself there that first day and that night went to sit down by the fire with the others and listen to the drumming and story telling.
At one point the drumming stopped for awhile as people were resting their hands and refreshing themselves and someone, I don’t remember who, began to speak. He went on for quite some time about why he believed Druidry was superior to Wicca which isn’t bad in and of itself. Everyone is entitled to their opinion after all. But as he continued the stereotypical cliches about Wiccans came out. The stuff about how all Wiccans believe magick is powered by fairy farts and unicorns who shit rainbows. All Wiccans believe everything in the world is love and light and there is never any darkness. All Wiccans believe in a bunch of New Age (which rhymes with sewage) mumbo jumbo and don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground. You know, the kinds of things people say when they are stroking their own ego at the expense of others in an attempt to make themselves look superior.

Well, needless to say, I left that place thinking, if this is what Druids are about I don’t want anything to do with them. It was many years later that I bothered to look into it and find out there was much more to it than that person’s impression left me with. The founder of ADF was, himself married to a Wiccan and didn’t feel at all that way about Wiccans. But, how much more might I have been willing to learn about Druidry in 2002 had I not been driven away by that ugliness?

Also, back in the day I used to frequently make trips down to a popular Pagan festival ground to volunteer my time at work weekends. The land crew as it was called had their own camp ground and because I had helped out with the clearing of the land for camping places, I was invited to camp with them at the first festival held on the newly acquired land. My friends and I had a great time that night at land crew camp. There was drumming, dancing, story telling and camaraderie. No one was negative and I don’t recall a cross word being cast toward anyone. Then, the next evening, my wife at the time (ex now) went down to the medical tent area because she was experiencing some pain as she often did and needed some attention. While there another individual was in the area commenting about how there had been some “strange energy” coming from the land crew camp the night before and it just wasn’t good. I’ve come to learn that sometimes “strange energy” is used by some people as code for “I don’t like those people.” But I had no idea what the guy was talking about. I had been there the whole time and they all seemed like a wonderful group of people to me. Still, it stayed with me and showed me that this was not the cohesive, spiritually focused community I naively led myself to believe at first. But why can’t people talk to one another instead of about one another? It’s much as Tommy Elf said in his article, You Never Know Who Is Watching. You really never do and while most community leaders and organizers want to see their community grow, such negativity and divisiveness has the opposite effect on new comers. They see it and it usually makes them want to run the other way.

I, only recently started exploring the Reddit online community or the Front Page Of The Internet as they like to call themselves and I found out they have subreddits for groups like pagan, druidism, wicca, heathen, etc. I’ve known about Reddit for a long time and have been on the site a time or two but never really took the time to fully explore it and get involved. I used to spend a great deal of time on Digg reading news articles back when I was kind of a news junkie and the people on the Digg boards would frequently mention what was going on over on the Reddit boards because, at the time, I think the sites were very similar in style as far as what niche markets they were catering to. Apparently on Reddit, anonymity is a big thing. They don’t even let you put much personal info on your profile over there which has it’s good points and bad points. On the plus side under a cloak of anonymity people feel more comfortable expressing themselves and saying whatever they want. On the negative side under a cloak of anonymity people feel more comfortable expressing themselves and saying whatever ugliness they want. What I mean by that is, some people hide behind anonymity to say some of the most negative and ugly things they can think of which they probably would never say in a face to face conversation. Sometimes it’s just out of pure meanness, ugliness and spitefulness. Other times it’s just general trolling. I come from a long history of not feeding trolls that stretches back to the days before DejaNews got bought out by a search engine newcomer called Google. So, I don’t give the trolls the satisfaction of a response most of the time. But, if these people are not trolls but instead regular participants in their tradition’s particular subreddit board, I wonder if they realize their antics do their groups more harm than good or if they even care. Look at all the good Westboro Baptist Church’s ugliness has done for views on Christianity after all. (/sarcasm)

Health and Blessings!

Cianaodh

Pagans Are People Too, See?

In the grande scheme of things Pagans aren’t that much different from everyone else. We may have different ways of viewing the world and different ways of interacting with it but we’re prone to the same lapses in judgement, self doubts, personality traits and character strengths and weaknesses anyone else might be. There’s good and bad in everybody to some degree.

The following article was originally published on Our Pantheons Way on July 28th, 2013

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home. Pagans.
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.

During this past week I have been visiting several blogs and finding new ones to follow. I’ve commented on some great posts that I have read by others and in those comments the topic came up again of the fact that Pagans are people too. As people we all have our own individual styles, personalities and ways of doing things. It’s not like there is just one big universal Pagan religion and we all adhere strictly to it’s path and teaching. Paganism is sort of the Linux of the religion world (for those into the techy side of things you might get the analogy). We all bring our own inherited wisdom and customs to the equations, piece it together and roll our own so to speak. Sure, there are various traditions within Paganism which have a more designed view of things and people will come together and work within a system that works for them. It’s a little more complicated than the myriad of denominations to be found within Christianity though. Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, etc. all have different views, ritual styles, teachings about their “One True God” but they all call him by the same name and they all have variations of one sort or another of the same book. In Paganism the drift is much farther from, say, Wiccans and Asatruar or even from one Wiccan coven and another. There isn’t a universally accepted “One True” deity or set of writings that all must adhere to. Also, I should note, if you meet an Asatruar please don’t call him or her a Pagan, call him or her a Heathen. There is a difference and they will tell you all about it. I use the term Pagan to universally cover all paths that are outside of monotheism because it’s simpler when speaking or writing to do that than to have to say Pagans, Heathens, Animists, Magi, Reconstructionists, Hellenists, Druids, Lord High Mucky Mucks, etc. ad nauseum, blah, blah, blah. Sorry, but at some point ya just gotta grab one word and go with it or you’ll be all out of breath.

But that illustrates my point. Pagans are People. People in all walks of life have different ways of looking at things so labels just don’t stick all that well anyway. You really have to get to know a person before you can understand how their spirituality inter-relates with them as a person. That’s also why it’s a beautiful thing that there are some of us out there sharing our points of view. It’s good that there are many Pagans who are bloggers, podcasters, coven, group and tradition leaders out there doing their thing their way. Some people will come to my blog and say, well that guy uses profanity and tells bad jokes too much and isn’t “spiritual enough” (Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.) for me but they might go on over to another blog and find exactly what they are looking for and that’s fine. It’s good that we have that diversity because people have their differences but want to find other people who are more like them to relate with either as a friend, teacher  / student, or to get together with for spiritual ritual. It’s nice to have a fluid network within a community to allow people to shop around for what works for them rather than see a few that don’t fit, decide the whole thing is a bunch of hooey then drop out all together. I have several friends on my various online social profiles who love the stuff I post and share and others I know have dropped me from their feed or even unfollowed me. I don’t take it personally. I post what I like and those who are like me will enjoy it. That way I am happier because I am not trying to be someone that I am not and those who enjoy my posts are happier because they see someone else who thinks like they do. That’s true whether the people are pagans or something else.

In the shop where I work during the week I am an electrician / Industrial Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator. The people I work with are all facilities mechanics of one sort or another, Plumbers, Millrights, Electronic Technicians, etc. There are many personalities within our work group but one thing is certain, mechanic humor is different from admin humor. The folks working in the cubicles and offices don’t find the same things funny that those of us working on the shop floor find funny. It’s just the nature of the world. People are people. Some people like Coca-Cola and others like Root Beer. Me, I like Guinness. 😉

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled on long enough for this morning. I need to go mow the grass since we got all of that lovely rain last week and we have a double birthday party to go to later today. I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful week. Be good to each other out there and Hail The Gods! Whatever gods you believe in…

Damh the Bard – Pagan Ways live:

Quotational Quotes That Are Quotastic!

“Paganisms are not proselytizing religions.  We don’t have to proselytize.  Our job is to provide for ourselves a vibrant, flexible, and ongoing sustained pagan culture that is so beautiful, so rich with, and so sexy and so desirable that people will want to come to us because they see us and they say, ‘I want what they have.’”

– Steven Posch

– See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/2014/04/08/five-ritualists-id-like-to-invite-to-dinner-part-2-steven-posch/#sthash.rmIcXYpd.dpuf

Human Vanities - From the quotational Scott Cunningham
Human Vanities – From the quotational Scott Cunningham

“Perhaps it’s the greatest of all human vanities to assume that one’s religion is the only way to deity. Such beliefs have caused incalculable bloodshed and the rise of the hideous concept of holy wars.” – Cunningham – Wiccan Author

Those who read your book.
Those who read your book.

I promise I had not seen this picture before I wrote an article awhile back in which I referred to each person’s life story as “their book”. If I had, I most assuredly would have used it as the feature graphic for the article. But the day after writing it, this turned up in my news feed on the book of face. Who says the gods don’t speak to us each and every day?

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If one dream should fall apart and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick up one of those pieces and begin again.

From Smart Witch on the book of face.

The Gods, A Question From The Mailbox

The gods can be perceived as different things to different people.

Like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions... The gods too.
Like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions…

I received this question from a wonderful person who has been attending some of our temple events in recent months and I answered it as best I could then got to thinking, others might also benefit from this conversation. So, with no names involved to protect privacy, here is an excerpt from the discussion…

Another thing I’ve been trying to figure out is how exactly to see the gods. I have a hard time seeing them as literal beings. I can see how they could be archetypes that represent a certain energy force that can manipulate or be manipulated, but I’ve felt more in the last few months when meditating and praying then I ever did from anything else I have ever tried before.

Hang on, I need to explain something so this will make more sense.
So before I started researching paganism I was an atheist. This spring I took a couple of philosophy classes and I started thinking about how I have been trying to improve as a person. I realized since some shitty things had happened with *my ex* my personal growth had been shifting toward intellectual, academic growth while virtually ignoring any emotional or spiritual growth. I had become incredibly analytical and skeptical about everything. So I decided to shift my focus and try to work on the other side of things. I started googling stuff, ended up finding some stuff about paganism, and here we are.
The point of all that is I suppose is to point out that I tend to have a hard time letting go of that skepticism sometimes. Even when I see signs, I have to stop myself from trying to logic them away.

For 22 years of my own life I considered myself to be an agnostic so I can relate with where you are coming from in some ways making the journey from an atheist’s perspective. Understand, there are some folks who consider themselves Humanistic and even Atheist Pagans so it’s not unheard of to come to this conclusion in your relationship with the divine. I, began my journey after having a vision which convinced me that YES there is something besides just me, my fellow humans and other living beings, etc. A Goddess actually spoke to me as far as I’m concerned and no, it wasn’t like you and I might speak to one another in person. It was something like a lucid dream but so much more. I can’t really describe it in terms that I feel do it justice other than to say I felt a presence and that presence did not feel like it came from myself or within my own mind. So, I have spent years since meditating on it, connecting in whatever ways I find and trying to wrap my own head around what the nature of that presence might be. I too, explored the concepts of Jungian archetypes and because they fit into my (at the time) more scientific and academic view on things that model worked for me for a long time but after awhile it just didn’t “feel” right anymore. By this time I was beginning my formal study as an Alexandrian Wiccan and my mentor was teaching me of the duo-theistic nature of the divine, the Lord and Lady, God and Goddess. This made much more sense to me at the time. I liked the idea of balance and that just as there are masculine and feminine energies at work in nature, so it would be in the world of the divine. The diamond concept of the divine seemed sensible too, that all gods and all goddesses are facets of the same divine source. I subscribed to this model for several years. Then eventually I began studying ADF Druidry. Druids teach that all gods and all goddesses are their own individual entities upon themselves. I struggled with this concept for quite some time before finally accepting it and ultimately, I do feel that these divine beings do have their own autonomy from one another, their own personalities and spheres of influence. But it seems to me that they are also, still, quite interconnected with one another in some way that I haven’t quite conceived yet and am not sure if I ever will.

These are the legs of my personal journey so far but it’s by no means complete. But the answer to your question is, I can not tell you how exactly to see the gods. The gods are a concept that we all have theories on and, much like the blind men and the elephant, I think we all may well have a piece of the truth but none of us can really see the entire, big picture. Your journey will be your journey just as mine is mine. How you see and interact with your gods will be a very personal matter between you and them. This is why most pagan religions focus on orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy. In other words, what we do is more important than what we believe. We all may have a ritual together or have some other spiritual experience together but we will each take something different away from the experience. While I might see a shimmering ball of light descend from the heavens, you might see a warrior goddess riding on a horse. We see what we need to see and we take that vision to lead us on our journey.

But, that being said, I too, find meditation to be the most effective way to prepare my mind and spirit for connection with the divine. It is the vehicle I prefer to use and I recommend it highly to others. I know, some use other methods and those are reported to be highly effective to. But I am happy with where meditation has taken me and I feel it deepens my connection with the gods, whatever they may be.

Prayer In School – Yours Or Mine?

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So, this meme is making the rounds these days. It’s troubling in many ways and I am going to attempt to address them all in this post. First, I am assuming they are talking about the taxpayer funded, public school system here which is staffed by employees who work for the government. Therein lies the problem for me. I am, always have been and always will be an advocate for the separation of the powers of church and state. I believe history has shown again and again that it is disastrous to combine the powers of religion and government and therefore that religion should stick to the religion business and government should stick to the governing business. Now, if a Christian child wants to say a prayer or even join a group of friends in prayer before or after classes, sporting events, or even have after school bible study I see no problem whatsoever in that. They should be allowed to do so as long as they are not disrupting the course of study (reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history, art, etc.) which is scheduled to be undertaken. That goes for children of any other religion who attend the public schools as far as I am concerned. But when the school itself puts up biblical verses or an official of the school leads prayer of a particular type to the exclusion of all other religions then the state has established a preference for one religious school of thought to the exclusion of all others and that is wrong in my opinion.

The public schools are funded, at least where I live, by property taxes raised by home and land owners throughout their region. Those taxes are raised whether you have children in the school system or not and I am okay with that because a well educated populace is beneficial to us all. But it is raised from you whether your family is Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Wiccan, Atheist, or any other religious tradition or non-religious one. To take money from me for the public schools and then have me send my children to said schools and be instructed that their religion isn’t “good enough” to be represented on the walls of the classroom, or their prayers aren’t supported by the state is a form of indoctrination. That is really what it comes down to. It is an attempt by the majority religion to take advantage of the position of power and authority in the institution set up to mold young minds and leverage that to force their religious beliefs on others. In your homes, not problem, in your churches, no problem, out in the streets, go for it, but in the schools? Hands off of my kids or make me exempt from paying taxes to support your school. It’s as simple as that. What you are advocating is a misuse of power and funds and it’s wrong.

Now, let’s address some of these other claims. The Pledge Of Allegiance. I love America. I love what America was founded to represent and stand for. I love the opportunities of freedom and to pursue life, liberty and happiness for all. That is the ideal I believe all Americans should strive for. But the thing about the pledge of allegiance that seems to get glossed over in most history classes is that the original did not contain that phrase “UNDER GOD” which I have seen emblazoned in big letters like that on bumper stickers, stenciled onto the back windows of pickup trucks and on signs in store fronts. Why do you suppose that is? Because from 1956 on the Pledge of Allegiance has been converted to a prayer to a monotheistic God with a capital G. All other gods, goddesses, etc. need not apply. This was done during the height of the McCarthy era in response to the rise of hysteria over “godless communisim”. But the original, as it was penned in August of 1892 by a social minister named Francis Bellamy looked like this:

Pledge Of Allegiance
Pledge Of Allegiance

Dominionists don’t like that version. They want all the kids saying the other version so they can make all of the other kids who do not subscribe to the view that there is only one supreme being feel left out and awkward during the saying of the pledge. Basic peer pressure.

Reading from the bible? Do we really need to go into this again? State employees? Why not the Torah? Why not the Vedas? Once again, only one religion represented and given superiority status by the state. Read the bible in Christian private schools, home and in church all you want. Heck, as I said earlier, let the Christian kids have bible study after school in the public schools even if it isn’t disrupting anything. But led by the school staff? What do you suppose the reason for wanting that is again? Yes, misuse of power and funds again. Indoctrination again. Not right, again.

The Ten Commandments?  As a historical reference maybe. Alongside similar documents such as Hammurabi’s Code, Brehon Laws, the Wiccan Rede maybe. But once again, cherry picking from one religious text in a school that is not supposed to prefer one religion over all others. Not acceptable in my opinion.

Now, let’s move up to the original claim about not remembering any school shootings when they were a kid. For me, the earliest school shooting I could remember was Kent State in 1970. But I went in search of other school shootings and found many of them dating as far back as 1764. Unfortunately that earliest one was one which Lenape American Indian’s perpetrated against colonists. I have long supported Native American’s causes and feel that what they have historically endured has been atrocious. So sharing that bit of history is troubling to me but in order to truly understand history we have to look at all of it, not just the parts we like. We can’t gloss over the ugly parts and act like they didn’t happen if we’re going to be honest with ourselves and our descendants and if we are going to work to build a better world going forward. So, we have to recognize that there were terrible things done by both the Natives and the Settlers. There were also good things done by both sides. Anyway, for a more complete list of school shootings throughout U.S. history, take a look at this:

http://www.k12academics.com/school-shootings/history-school-shootings-united-states#.Vc12-XUViko

America Is A Christian Nation? There are those who claim it’s okay to do these things because America is a Christian Nation and they are only trying to preserve that heritage. While, certainly it is true that the majority of (but not all) Americans have always subscribed to one denomination or another of Christian thought, this nation was not founded as a theocracy and should not become one. Back when the United States was founded there were still many first nation tribes living on the land and practicing their native religions. There were Jewish settlers, Deists and some even who did not subscribe to a religious belief at all. The Declaration of Independence does not refer to Jesus one time but does make three references to “GOD” and in it he is called Nature’s God which can be interpreted many different ways by many different religions. The United States Constitution does not make one single reference to any deity whatsoever. Indeed, Thomas Paine said “As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith. ” ~~ Common Sense, 1776. Thomas Jefferson professed “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” ~~ Notes on the State of Virginia , 1781 – 1785 and “The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion.” 1797, The Treaty of Tripoli, initiated by President Washington, signed by President John Adams, and approved by the Senate of the United States among other quotes by the founders of this nation. Majority Christian yes, but founded as a Christian Theocracy? I beg to differ.

Besides, ask yourself this. If your god needs government enforcement to back him up, what does that say about your faith in him?

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Are You One Of Those Wiccans?

My Bumper Stickers - Blessed Be Y'all! Hmmm, could these have something to do with why folks ask if I'm one of those Wiccans?
My Bumper Stickers – Blessed Be Y’all! Hmmm, could these have something to do with why folks ask if I’m one of those Wiccans?

I get asked this a lot and more often than not, my answer is that my personal spirituality certainly has Wiccan DNA but I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself Wiccan and leave it at that. The reason being is that Wicca has some specific beliefs and traditions that I don’t adhere to but many that I do. My first formal training in Pagan religions was in Alexandrian Wicca although I only attained first degree in that tradition. A lot of my self study as a solitaire came from reading books by Wiccan authors but it doesn’t stop there. I also studied (and continue to study) Druidry formerly with ADF and currently with OBOD. I incorporate a lot of their practices and beliefs into my personal spirituality as well. I have some influences which come from those parts of my heritage that are Native American in origin. Whereas Wiccans typically see the divine in a duo-theistic way (One God and One Goddess of which all others are aspects), my own concept of the divine is more polytheistic (individual gods and goddesses) as well as animistic (the divine energy is in all of creation). The tradition I am a part of, Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition is derived from a Wiccan lineage so it is technically accurate to call ourselves Wiccan although, again, I don’t typically describe myself that way personally because I think it only tells part of the story and to just say that I am Wiccan and leave it at that does a disservice to traditional Wicca as well as to my other spiritual influences. So, I generally go with Eclectic Pagan or Animistic Pagan to describe myself. In Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition we have a very open framework for expectations at the tradition level to be a member group. So, while Mystic Willow Coven uses the name coven to describe themselves and come at things from a more traditionally Wiccan viewpoint, my own group Temple Of the Standing Stones, is more Eclectic in nature and therefore doesn’t utilize the term coven. But, if you come to one of our open rituals (of which we have many), you will see a lot of Wiccan elements involved. We do call upon the Lord and Lady (the masculine and feminine divine energies) but we also ask participants to call upon their own patron deities. We do cast circle and call upon the elements but we also make an outdweller offering to appease those spirits whose energies are not aligned with ours.

Ours is a ritual style that we are still developing and making our own but it’s easy to see that it is indeed influenced by ritual formats used by Wiccans  in many ways. And why not? It is a solid and familiar ritual style for most modern Pagans. It has been heavily popularized in books and other works so it’s something almost anyone from anywhere can come and feel pretty at home with. That’s the sort of environment we hope to create and establish for people. One in which they can feel comfortable enough to make their first forays into group ritual if they haven’t before or find others if they are new to the area but also one in which they can feel free to explore and learn new things. We practice balance and harmony of the genders and energies. No one is greater or lesser than another based on their race, sex, or other attributes which they are born into. I like to embrace the power of diversity and believe wholeheartedly that the whole can be greater than the sum of it’s parts. I also believe in the old quote usually attributed to Einstein although no record of him saying it exists “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” We all have our strengths and weaknesses but when we all work together we share in one another’s strengths and help one another overcome the weaknesses.

So am I one of those Wiccans? Maybe, a little bit. But I’m other stuff too. Aren’t we all? 😉

Psst! Hey, like my stuff? Please share with your friends via email, social media and such. I’m trying to build an audience here. Sharing is caring. Thank muchly!

How To Find A Coven Or Group

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Find your coven.

One question frequently asked by new seekers is how to go about finding a coven or group near them to meet with and possibly learn from. Well, there are a lot of worthwhile resources available actually and I’m going to talk about some of them here.

Witches Voice has been around on the internet since the 1990s and is still one of the best resources available for learning about Pagan groups, shops, events and other news around your area and beyond. Look through their listings for your state or country and see if your city or one nearby has a group you can contact.

The Pagan Informational Resources Topic on Temple Of the Standing Stones’ Forum is a great place to look for a coven or other group if you live in the Dallas, Fort Worth metromess or surrounding North Texas area. If you’re local, see what’s listed there.

CUUPS – The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) is an organization dedicated to networking Pagan-identified Unitarian Universalists (UUs), educating people about Paganism, promoting interfaith dialogue, developing Pagan liturgies and theologies, and supporting Pagan-identified UU religious professionals. See if a UU church near you has an active CUUPS group.

Pagan/Wiccan About.com Group Listing By Patti Wigington is another great listing site for Pagans and Wiccans who might have gatherings in your area. It’s well worth the time to go have a look.

If you’re near Arlington, Texas there’s always our group of course. Temple Of the Standing Stones We have frequent open gatherings and are always happy to see new faces and help people find a path that fits them, even if that path is not with us.

I hope these help. Blessed Be!

Cianaodh

Flags, Flax, Fodder and Frigg! – Our Pantheons Way, an Arlington, TX Pagan Blog.

Psst! Hey, like this coven stuff? Please share with your friends via email, social media and such. I’m trying to build an audience here. Sharing is caring. Thank muchly!

Try These Easy Wiccan Quarter Calls

Mother Earth Speaking - Wiccan

Oh the boss
Of the black house
Is a tall skinny guy in a long black cape
And he smiles
On the black house
With a skeletal grim of his white skull face – Omnia

By popular demand, another article some have asked for…

In Wicca, invoking the elements is part of casting your circle and is a means to summon the power of the elements of air, fire water and earth to witness your rite and guard the circle.
They are usually called starting in the East, the place of Air and new beginnings with arms outstretched and hands open. After calling in air you then turn deosil (clockwise) to the South and call the element of Fire, then West for Water and finally North to call Earth.

The traditional Wiccan way of calling the quarters, which you will see in many books on Gardenarian, Alexandrian and other British Traditional Wicca goes like this:

Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Lords of Air; we do summon call and stir you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle
Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Lords of Fire; we do summon call and stir you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle
Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Lords of Water; we do summon call and stir you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle
Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the North, ye Lords of Earth; we do summon call and stir you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle

Then at the end of the ritual, to bid farewell to the elements you might say this:

Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the North, ye Lords of Earth; we thank you for attending our rite; and ere you depart to your fair and lovely realms, we bid thee Hail and Farewell.

Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Lords of Water; we thank you for attending our rite; and ere you depart to your fair and lovely realms, we bid thee Hail and Farewell.

Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Lords of Fire; we thank you for attending our rite; and ere you depart to your fair and lovely realms, we bid thee Hail and Farewell.

Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Lords of Air; we thank you for attending our rite; and ere you depart to your fair and lovely realms, we bid thee Hail and Farewell.

  • However, many find the traditional Wiccan quarter calls a bit too summony and not enough invitee so many have come up with some really lovely quarter calls which you can use as alternates if you like. I’ll share some I kind of like below:

Call:

Powers of Air, we call to you and invite you to join us in this rite, to share your qualities with us; In Love and Truth, we bid you Hail and Welcome!
Powers of Fire, we call to you and invite you to join us in this rite, to share your qualities with us; In Love and Truth, we bid you Hail and Welcome!
Powers of Water, we call to you and invite you to join us in this rite, to share your qualities with us; In Love and Truth, we bid you Hail and Welcome!
Powers of Earth, we call to you and invite you to join us in this rite, to share your qualities with us; In Love and Truth, we bid you Hail and Welcome!

Depart:

Powers of Earth, we thank you for joining us and sharing your qualities with us in this rite, and with love and joy and thanks we bid you Hail and Farewell.
Powers of Water, we thank you for joining us and sharing your qualities with us in this rite, and with love and joy and thanks we bid you Hail and Farewell.
Powers of Fire, we thank you for joining us and sharing your qualities with us in this rite, and with love and joy and thanks we bid you Hail and Farewell.
Powers of Air, we thank you for joining us and sharing your qualities with us in this rite, and with love and joy and thanks we bid you Hail and Farewell.

Source: http://wiccalessons.wordpress.com/tag/calling-the-quarters/

As part of my first degree work with a Wiccan Coven I once studied with I was required to write my own quarter calls both in non-rhyming and in rhyming style. Here are the ones I came up with:

Non-Rhyming Wiccan Quarter Calls.

“Hail to the Guardians of the East, Powers of Air!
We ask thee for your light breeze and life giving breath.
Come witness our rite and lend us your energies. Blessed Be!

Hail to the Guardians of the South, Powers of Fire!
We ask thee for your heat, passion and love.
Come witness our rite and lend us your energies. So Mote It Be!

Hail to the Guardians of the West, Powers of Water!
We ask thee for your tranquil depth and fluid emotions.
Come witness our rite and lend us your energies. Blessed Be!

Hail to the Guardians of the North, Powers of Earth!
We ask thee for your strength and stony stability.
Come witness our rite and lend us your energies. So Mote It Be!

Depart:

Guardians of the north, element of earth,
We thank you for your presence at our blessed rite,
Stay if you will, go if you must, harming none in thy path,
We bid you hail and farewell!

Guardians of the west, element of water,
We thank you for your presence at our blessed rite,
Stay if you will, go if you must, harming none in thy path,
We bid you hail and farewell!

Guardians of the south, element of fire,
We thank you for your presence at our blessed rite,
Stay if you will, go if you must, harming none in thy path,
We bid you hail and farewell!

Guardians of the east, element of air,
We thank you for your presence at our blessed rite,
Stay if you will, go if you must, harming none in thy path,
We bid you hail and farewell!

Rhyming Wiccan Quarter Calls

Hail to the Element of the East and Air
Come witness out rite and join our prayer.
To guard this circle we call on thee.
Welcome Air and blessed be.

Hail to the Element of the South and Fire
Of love and passion and desire.
To Guard this circle we call on thee.
Welcome Fire and blessed be.

Hail to the Element of Water in the West
From whose deep realms the waves doth crest
To Guard this circle we call on thee.
Welcome Water and blessed be.

Hail to the Spirit of the North and Earth
From whence mountains and stones and trees give birth
To Guard this circle we call on thee.
Welcome Earth and blessed be.

Depart:

Guardians of the north, element of earth,
We thank you for your presence at our rite and our hearth,
Stay with us or go as it pleases thee.
Harming none, farewell and blessed be!

Element of water, guardians of the west
We thank you for your presence with zeal and zest,
Stay with us or go as it pleases thee.
Harming none, farewell and blessed be!

Guardians of the south, element of fire,
We thank you with fondness and desire,
Stay with us or go as it pleases thee.
Harming none, farewell and blessed be!

Guardians of the east, element of air,
We thank you for your presence at this blessed lair,
Stay with us or go as it pleases thee.
Harming none, farewell and blessed be!


As I find or create more easy Wiccan quarter calls I will probably continue adding them to the bottom of this post so you might want to bookmark it to refer back to later in case you crave more quarter calling goodness. 😉 If anyone else has some they would like to share, please comment below.

The gods are my pals, I shall not sweat it! – Our Pantheons Way, Arlington, Texas Pagan Blog.

Psst! Hey, like this Wiccan stuff? Please share with your friends via email, social media and such. I’m trying to build an audience here. Sharing is caring. Thank muchly!

Setting Up The Wiccan Altar

Wiccan Altar Tools
Wiccan Altar Tools

Recently I shared an image I had found of a breakdown of the typical tools found on a Wiccan altar and their placement and use. I thought our first degrees in Sacred Fire Temple might find it interesting but, as one my my sisters pointed out, the resolution was horrible on it and it was impossible to print it out to use it as a guide. So, I vowed to find her a better one. For the past few days I have been searching but to no avail. So, I am doing the next best thing. This blog post should serve as a printable version of that same information and might be useful to other seekers who are looking to learn a bit of the esoteric path and Wicca. My apologies for the quality of the graphic here, I tried to sharpen it up and add clearer numbers. I hope you find this useful!

1. A candle for the God. Used to honor the God. Usually white, yellow or gold(The Sun). Occasionally green (for the Green Man) or red as well.

2. An image of the God. This may be a picture or a statue. You can use a symbol such as horns or antlers to represent the God as well.

3. Cakes. These may be small cakes, bread, cookies, muffins or something else baked. At special rituals and sabbats something appropriate for the time at hand is usually chosen.

4. The chalice. A ritual cup or goblet used to represent the feminine aspect or the womb of the Goddess in the Great Rite. It is filled with wine, juice, mead, spring water or the libation of your choosing.

5. An image of the Goddess. This may be a picture or a statue. You can also use a symbol such as a cauldron, spiral shell or flower to represent the Goddess if you choose.

6. A candle for the Goddess. Used to honor the Goddess. Usually black or silver as the moon.

7. An incense burner or censer. Used for atmosphere and to bless and consecrate. Sometimes herbs or a sage smudge stick is also used.

8. The athame. The ritual blade used to represent the male aspect in the Great Rite. It is also used to direct energies and cut doorways in the circle.

9 The wand. Used to direct energies and create the temple of the circle.

10. The pentacle. The focal point of the altar. Used to ground the energies of the ritual.

11. Bowl of water. Used in conjunction with the salt for cleansing.

12. Bowl of salt. Used in conjunction with the water in cleansing.

13. The bell. Used to call the beginning and end of ritual and to mark chants.

Notes for Ritual Preparation:

Here are some great ideas to help you keep your focus even if something is forgotten or goes wrong. A shoebox or chest that has been decorated or adorned with fabric and is kept beside or under the altar makes a great place to keep extra candles, incense, matches or a lighter and other ritual supplies. I keep a chest under my personal altar at home and a shelf near the altar with such items close at hand. A bottle of water can come in handy in the event of an overturned chalice that needs to be refilled in order for the ritual to continue. Also a small towel or cloth for quick cleanup in case of such an occasion.

 

In addition I found a couple of other nice altar images:

 

Samhain Altar
Samhain Altar
Altar Map
Altar Map

Blessed Be,

Cianaodh (Troy)