Seasons of Love & Other Family Matters

Day two of getting adjusted by the Chiropractor….and so far so good.  My x-rays and results came back and it seems that while your spine at your neck is supposed to have a bit of a curve mine was nearly straight….which was putting pressure on several nerves in my neck while restricting blood flow.  So once again (fingers crossed) bye bye eye pain, headaches, and general health issues.

There is a supernal intelligence behind sexual arousal, the true purpose of which is to create for us ecstatic experiences of our own divinity.”
― John Maxwell Taylor, Eros Ascending: The Life-Transforming Power of Sacred Sexuality

Used as rocket fuel, sex energy can lift our consciousness to the stars to experience a state of being where love exists in and for itself and has no opposite. On a soul level, this is our natural state.”
― John Maxwell Taylor, Eros Ascending: The Life-Transforming Power of Sacred Sexuality

For those of you thinking this is all about sex….well it isn’t. The point is that many of us think of love and equate it with sex and intimacy…but as we started talking about last time…love is far more than that.

Let’s look at one of the most quoted lines from the best known charge of the Goddess is “All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.”

There are many ways to show love that aren’t sexual at all and many of which we should engage in more.  Let’s take look….and for those of you who were hoping this was all about sacred sexuality….I promise….we’ll get there….I’m not sure when…but I am working on the post already.

Love In Actions

Love is more than just relationships. It is more than sex. As we discussed last time, love is a major part of this path. Or at least I have learned it to be so through my own experiences and through Teaching Witchcraft.

It’s a multifaceted beast. It’s more than affection for others. It is shown through our thoughts, actions, words. It can also be disproven by these as our actions and deeds speak volumes above our words. It’s a part of our dreams and desires. Following your Wyrd and fulfilling your dreams is an act of love towards yourself.

We’ve all heard that there are many different types of love. You can love the satisfaction your work brings you. You love your child in a different way from your significant other. A teacher loves the impact they have on their students. And those children learn from our example and the examples of those who are authority figures in their lives.

Children who grow up in loving compassionate homes or who are encouraged by loving compassionate people become that. And those who are raised in bigotry and hate can just as easily become that. Hence why I mentioned those who are encouraged by loving and compassionate people outside of their home.

Random acts of Love.

Most of us have heard the phrase “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” And it is a wonderful sentiment. What if we all took a moment to help their neighbors move in or to stop traffic to let ducklings or children cross the street. How wonderful are those stories when we hear about them? Shouldn’t they make us surge with pride in mankind?

Random acts of kindness are their own kind of love. A form that is lost on many people. It isn’t all their fault. It isn’t that they don’t love, it’s what society has become. We distrust others. Even I find myself guilty of it. We often wonder if people who do nice things have other or even malicious intent. This is something that we all need to relearn.

I’m not saying give up your lifes savings to help out a girl in need, but giving a waitress a good tip when you can tell she’s having a bad day is a start. Or when you see an old lady struggling with the door, open it for her. You can make someone else’s day even if it seems insignificant.

Raising A Wiccan Family

No I’m not giving you a guide book here. Just covering the basics and celebrating the fact that we live in the 20th century, a time when it’s perfectly fine to openly raise our children in our faith. It’s a nearly unprecedented freedom that we enjoy here and not one to be taken lightly as there are still places in the world where being a witch is a crime. (http://www.talk2action.org/story/2010/9/21/223455/252)

So how do we even start? What do we need to watch out for? These are questions I’m just starting to ask and answer as a new pagan parent. I thought I’d have more time to ponder the intricacies….until I realized I wouldn’t know what I was facing until I was there.

The first thing that I read in nearly every pagan parenting resource is that we have to teach our children about the biases we face. We also have to teach them tact and decorum. If you know you’re going to be going to skyclad rituals, they have to understand why they don’t need to blurt that out at school or to other people who may not understand what we’re all about. You can even tie into a lesson about To Know, To Dare, To Will, and To Be Silent.

Another part of this may be include being more accepting of different aspects of life. One of these aspects may include imaginary friends. Who knows, there are those who believe that imaginary friends could be fairies or elves only showing themselves to the innocent as some of the lore indicates. No matter your feelings on this, it’s just a thought. Or from a physical standpoint if we teach that there is no bad questions, our children might learn to be more inquisitive.

From my own childhood I remember my parents teaching me that there was nothing dirty about sex. They may not have gotten nitty gritty with the details, but I was raised to understand that it was intended to be a beautiful thing between two people who cared for each other. I never thought that sex was dirty or inherently bad like many schools seem to indicate today. It only had shame and fear associated with it after my education in our wonderful public school system.
Once again only thoughts and ideas. What works for one family isn’t going to work for another. That’s just how it is. We all have different ideas and that isn’t a bad thing.

Finally, we have to be flexible. If we inflict our faith upon our children as rigid dogma, we push them away. It’s important to let our children explore other religions once they reach an age where they can understand the importance of religion and philosophy. We can’t prevent them from doing it either or we harm them. I feel like this should be a duh moment, but you’d be surprised.

The best advice I can give is to just raise our children in love and peace. To teach them the ethics and to make sure that they have a firm grasp of the intricacies of our path. If it is for them, then we’ll be there to teach them more. If our path isn’t theirs, then we can be there to support them in their decision.

I’ll end with this thought from Miles Betty:

Here’s a piece of advice for every parent: “When you hold your child and touch their little hands and feel their tiny spirit, look into their eyes. Remind yourself that you are holding a tiny little god, who has within him the promise of all the world, and all the infinite tomorrows.

Blessed Be

Lovin the Witch

Live Laugh Love Learn.

Love is a single soul inhabiting two bodies – Aristotle.

Where there is love…..there is life – Ghandi

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

Love is a better teacher than duty. -Albert Einstein.

Before we get any further though I do want to apologize for the first post being so late in the week. I’m still having some health issues. I haven’t had a migarine or had to go to the ER, but one of the meds they put me on caused my blood pressure to drop to 88/59 and I wasn’t feeling quite so hot for a few days. So thanks to those of you who bear with me. The good news is that my cousin in law the chiropractor may be the answer….so fingers crossed to no more health issues.

Why Love? 

Love is a major part of our lives and in the pagan universe it is at the forefront of our very being. It is the union of the God and Goddess. It is the ultimate bond within the realms of humanity. Love is all and all somehow ties into what we love.

The dictionary defines love as a noun- the warm and deep personal feeling of attachment or affection for another person or the object of one’s affection. As a verb it is defined as the act of expressing affection and desire for another person.

But what does it really mean for witches and pagans alike? We know it’s more than an emotion. It is a principal force within life. It is a part of our language due to our connection to the Goddess.

While we all know what love basically means, it is often the most misunderstood and abused of the emotions. White it is vital, it scares and sometimes confuses us. And some people cannot figure out how to love someone else because they struggle to love themselves. I feel like this is a major problem in this world and, if you’ve been reading, you’ll notice I touch on it whenever I can. A part of our path is finding that love for ourselves, accepting ourselves, so that we can embrace this honestly and openly.

As love is one of the most vital emotions, it has powerful consequences. When given openly and honestly, it can be the most intimate bond we experience. Abused and misused, it can hurt those whomever it touches. It’s like the concept of using a love spell on someone unwilling. You aren’t just hurting the person it’s cast on, you are hurting the person who wants the spell (even if it is you). You’re forcing something that may not be in your best interest.

An Example

Love is not a ploy. It’s not a tool. It should never be used as a weapon. Deceptions and deceit in the name of love only hurts everyone involved. Let me tell you a story.

When I was first exploring this path I was around 13. Probably the worst age to try to come into a new path with a clear head and logic. There just isn’t the maturity. Now for those of you out there who are that age, I’m not saying that to discourage you. I’m just saying that your path has more obstacles. You have to overcome high school, peer pressure, your past religion, family members’ concerns, and yourself. We are all our worst enemy, even more so when we are still learning who we are. Just be wary and try to take a bit more time to think things through. It might save you from a few mistakes big and small.

In fact, this a story about my own mistakes. I had a best friend who dated a boy, who then dated me. Well we were also friends with her sister and she wanted to date him next. We all told her it was a bad idea and he wasn’t interested. In our infinite wisdom (or lack of reasoning) we helped her create a spell to nudge him in her direction. Not exactly breaking the rules, but had I known what I learned from Teaching Witchcraft and my mentor, I would have said no on the spot.

But we did this and it nudged him in her direction and the next three to four years were some of the most miserable in her life. By the end of it we couldn’t be friends and even her sister was done. He ended up being abusive, she ended up using him. They both hurt each other. They just weren’t meant for each other. It was bad and in a way we all payed for it because we all had to deal with her.

As for the girl who wanted the boy, she ruined herself. She never really came back from abusing love. Even now she is in a loveless marriage with kids she doesn’t want and it’s just bad. She didn’t learn her lesson and did similar things to get her way. She didn’t learn from the mistake. This taint harms her, her husband, her children, outside family members. Heck, sometimes it still spills into my life due to my connection to her sister. This is the ripple of consequences I’ve been talking about. It doesn’t directly affect everyone I just listed, but it does bleed into their lives. Her decisions had an effect on a widening group of people.

Why does it matter?

Well, these are lessons I didn’t understand. Lessons that no book shared with me. And when I first read this section, I was 25 and basically said whatever. But now, reading and looking back into my own past with a bit more clarity, I see it. I see the harm my bad relationship decisions have made and how the bad decisions of others have affected me. I’ve seen how good intentions go way wrong with a simple lie to someone we love.

So what does love mean to a witch?

It still means companionship and care and compassion. But it gives many a different view on love than what may be socially accepted. Some of us may have a nuclear family while some of us may realize that that will never be in our best interest. My mentor was a proud lesbian even though she was nearly seventy. She had never conformed because it meant denying her love. I know others in the pagan lifestyle who love more than one person or who participate in consensual BDSM and consider it a part of the duality of their relationship.

A famous pair of BDSM presenters Dan and Dawn take this view and express it in their podcast Erotic Awakenings. It’s free on ITunes for anyone interested. The point is that they take the path that works for them, that expresses their love. And not always is that love a seuxal relationship. It can be, but doesn’t have to be. They have found love that works for them while attempting to do as little harm as possible.

Now does that mean that we have to go out and be bi or do the BDSM thing? Hell no. Some people are always going to think those things are taboo. But we also don’t judge. What works for us doesn’t work for everyone. And our feelings on those topics should be respected and honored. If a person doesn’t reciprocate our feelings we should let them be. Nor should we seek revenge for not getting our way.
Bringing it all together

Love is what most religions are designed to center around, but it gets abused more often than not. I’m sure that all of you who have been in committed or even short term relationships can think of someone you slighted or abused love with. Even if it was something small and seemingly insignificant. We all make mistakes and, hopefully, learn from those mistakes.

We all have to work to love ourselves before we love anyone else. And for a lot of people that’s hard. I get it. I hate being alone. Even I need to work on it. And in some ways I am. It may be baby steps, but they are my baby steps. Sometimes they feel like huge mountains even though they should be easy things.

We have to learn to use love with the correct intent. We have to learn to stop harming other people with the consequences of our decisions. A big part of this is self responsibility for our actions. Sometimes we need to stop and think, which is hard when strong emotions are involved, but then again, that goes back to that self responsibility.

Finally, we have to remember that all the decisions we make when it comes to love, relate to people, people we could possibly harm or better. And people are important. I feel like all too often a couple fails to communicate and they fall apart. Instead of coming together and sorting it out, instead of parting ways on good terms, they become downright cruel to one another. This isn’t the pagan way and it should be the way in which any of us deals with another human being.

Blessed Be.

Jung, the Inner Child, and Personality

So right after I finished the last post I started thinking more and more about the inner child and between the book and some research I found myself writing. I had started to write what would become this post as a segway in Wednesday’s post, but realized it didn’t really fit in there. So instead of starting on Sacred Sexuality in the Craft, today I want to pursue this segway and share what I learned.

I’m a psychology person. I used to hate it, but now it’s becoming my bread and butter.  I have a Bachelor’s and I’m tinkering with looking into my Master’s and all because of a Personality of Psychology class. Before that I just found the subject dull and was much more of a sociology person.

Anyway…

Accepting our inner child makes me think of the theories of Carl Jung and the collective unconscious.  Here’s why, just stay with me. I have to explain before we can get there.

Now to understand where I’m going we have to talk about his theory of the unconscious.  Like Freud, Jung saw the psyche as a number of separate but interacting systems. There was the ego, which is our conscious mind and the unconscious. Unlike Freud he thought the conscious consisted of two layers. The first was the personal unconscious which contains things temporarily forgotten ideas thoughts, memories, etc.  The more elements attached to a concept, the more complex and influential the concept was on the development or actions of the individual.

Then there was the collective unconscious, which is like a storehouse of latent energy and genetically inserted memories of our past. They include our primal instincts and ideas that are inherently common to all men no matter their emotions or position in life.  Some may call this the akashic records, others the Wyrd. Either way, by scientific or mystical name, they are all essentially the same thing.

The Archetypes

Now, Jung also thought that these universal symbols called archetypes were a part of this collective unconsciousness. It was his theory that this is why there are some symbols that are simply universal no matter the culture. For example, nearly every culture has stories of the wise sage, or the nurturing mother.  While he identified more than we can count he tended to focus on four of them.

The first was the persona….or the mask we put on for the world.  He called it the conformity archetype and he compared it to being an actor. In terms of our last discussion, I think of this as the person we become as an adult due to societal expectations. We are still individuals, but we have conformed based on the expectations we grew up with or sometimes rejected in the adults we grew up with.

The second is the anima/animus.  This is the duality of our biological sex.  Or essentially, the masculinity that exists within me despite the fact that I’m female.  Same thing on the opposite end of the spectrum. We were sort of talking about this when we talked about the duality of masculinity and femininity in Monday’s post.

The third is the shadow.  This is the animal side of our personality and is often compared to Freud’s ID.   He considered it the source of both our creative and destructive energies.  Evolutionary theorists sometimes claim that this archetype may reflect predispositions that once had survival value.

Finally, there is the self, which provides a sense of unity between all the archetypes.  For Jung the ultimate aim of every person was to achieve a state of selfhood (similar to self-actualization). Essentially, we want to find balance within ourselves between the masculine, feminine, and all the other archetypes and universal symbols that are a part of us individually and a species.

He believed that these developed from men and women living together. He also believed that modern Western society has forced us, in its new norms and social values, to reject some of these archetypes such as the feminine in a male and vice versa. He also believed that this rejection of certain archetypes led to the devaluation of some feminine qualities and to the elevation of the persona above the true self.

What does it all mean?

I always felt drawn to Jung’s ideas and I never realized why. Probably because I haven’t thought of them since I studied with Lady G or since I’ve started doing this.  A lot of his theories are congruent with elements of our faith. Most pagans believe that we have to accept the whole of ourselves before we can be happy. That means accepting the things that other adults would consider childlike in our lives. It means accepting the inner child or younger self. It means accepting the attributes of yourself that are often considered contrary to the core attributes we give to each gender.

If you want to read more about all this….just check out www.simplypsychology.org/carl-jung.html.

It’s all about Balance

We’ve talked about accepting ourselves and finding balance before.  If you aren’t sold yet, let me give you one final example before I leave you to contemplate my theory that spurred from the last post.

Jung came up with another theory….yes I know….you’re tired of hearing about Jung…but he did. He came up with the concepts of introversion and extroversion. He also came up with the concepts that would become the Myers Briggs Personality Test, but that’s a whole other story.

Everyone has introverted and extroverted tendencies. True extroverts and introverts are rare and normally have a lot of issues. True extroverts (also called unstable extroverts) are overly touchy, excitable, aggressive, impulsive and (sometimes) optimistic. Meanwhile true introverts are overly moody, anxious, reserved, unsociable, and quiet (Entwistle and Wilson 2007). Most of us fall on a scale somewhere in between and recently they termed someone who teeters at the middle as a new category the Ambivert.  (well not really new…it’s just now being recognized by the psychological community at large).

Eysenk said that these people who fell right in the middle of the spectrum were more stable than people who fell further to either side of the spectrum. http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2014/12/ambivert-extrovert-introvert/

So where do you fall? Are you balanced? Are you more of an extrovert? Or are you more of an introvert?

Some food for thought.

Have a blessed weekend.

Blessed Be.

Other Sources

Engwistle and Wison (2007). Personality, study methods and academic performance. Higher Education Quarterly. Vol 24 Issue 2, pages 147-156.

You and Your Younger Self

We all remember childhood. The things we saw that no one else saw. Whether it was imaginary or mystical it was still magickal to us.  Our inner child is part of us that wants to have the whimsical fun we had as a child.  This is the part of us that embraces play, laughter and simple delights. Persephone is one incarnation of this concept.  So is Puck or even Loki.  The inner child is innocent, pure, honest, and just wants to play.

So today I want to talk to you about what Miles Betty calls the three aspects of the younger self: the wisdom of youth, the value of play, and the Haunted child.

Wisdom of Youth

One of the things that amazes me about my daughter is how much she teaches me. I’m serious.  Children often see things that we have blinded ourselves to.  Just a few days ago I found myself amazed at how much wonder she finds in the world and that I take for granted. Then there are those children who can sometimes summarize a situation far more succinctly even if the words are simple.  I’m sure as my daughter grows up she’s going to teach me as much as I teach her.

But that’s not the only wisdom of youth.  Have you ever noticed how children react to things that none of us seem to see? Well most of us at least.  We may call them imaginary friends, but children have a much greater awareness than most of us give them credit for, especially when raised in an open minded household.  They see ghosts, monsters, and fairies. Adults are taught as children that such things cannot exist.  There are witches who regain or grow up with these insights and believe.  They see with their inner eye.

Value of Play

In our modern world adulthood has become synonymous with work, bills and mediocrity. Others say that you have to behave as an adult to raise a child, but I can tell you that isn’t entirely true. I remember my mother getting down on my level (as much as she could) and playing with me as a child would.  Or we would draw together.  She could think like a child, but had the common sense to protect me when needed. Best of all she always did it in such a way that I didn’t even realize she was doing it.

Granted she couldn’t do that all of the time, but looking back, those moments where we were seemingly equal were some of the best moments we ever had together.  You can be responsible and still be able to think as a child.  The two do not have to be entirely separate. It’s just a matter of being open to it. I think this is why some people in alternative lifestyles like the idea of age play (which is generally not sexual in most circles by the way). It gives them a way to let that inner child out. I know a group of “littles” in our community who just get together as adults to color and play with stuffed animals. Many would find this weird, but so long as it doesn’t interfere with their daily life, I say live and let live or not my place to judge.

We recently talked about accepting ourselves and accepting the duality that comes with that.  Accepting your inner child is similar.  There is a time and a place to let out your inner child. Just like anything, it’s all about balance.  The important thing here is to recognize the difference between childlike and childish.  One involves recognizing the magick and wonder in everything, the other involves throwing a tantrum because you didn’t get your way.

So is it childlike or childish to play?

We all play. The only difference between a child’s play and an adult’s play is that most of us feel a need to play to win. Seriously. Think about it. Did you care if you won when you played tag or hide and seek? Winning didn’t really matter as long as you had fun. Now think about now. Do you get frustrated when you don’t win? Or do you plan any games where winning isn’t the objective? For most of us the answer is going to be no.  With children the enjoyment of the act is more than enough. They just have fun playing. As Betty said- who is being more childish? The adult who must win or the child who just wants to play?

  1. The haunted child is a hard lesson. It’s something we carry with us our entire lives. Many of us had a childhood that involved cruelty of other children or maybe even other adults. I know that my own trauma still weighs heavy in my heart some days and, if you’re honest with yourself, there are things from your past that you still haven’t faced. It’s by no means easy. Even I struggle with it, but it makes you wonder how much freer we could feel if we did face them.

Still there is a lesson here. We have to be honest with ourselves to be able to face ourselves, the Gods, and even our own past.  Many of the roadblocks we face in these areas are ones we put there ourselves. We have too much pride to admit when we are wrong or simply don’t want to face those things out of fear.  It’s not a bad thing, but if we want to grow we have to work towards blowing up those road blocks.

The book recommends a self-guided mediation to help with this. The gist is that once you’re in a meditative state you imagine that you walk down the street to your childhood home.  You see yourself as a child there and look into your own eyes. You see the pain there.  You see the tears.  You see the scars and bruises of the past on your own young body.  You pick that child up in your arms. You hold them tight and hug them deeply. You tell them that it’s okay. You tell them that you’re here to take care of them to help heal them.  And that no one will ever hurt them again.

We did it in my class and I have to admit it helped.

So inherent divinity is more than respect for others. It is recognizing the divinity that we have as creations of the divine.  It is about loving ourselves and helping yourself to better yourself through love and healing.  It really is harder to love ourselves and accept who we are. It’s harder to overcome our own obstacles than it is to help someone else. One of the hallmarks of this faith is being able to find yourself and being able to balance yourself so that you can be the best version of you.  And part of that is facing all those demons. Part of it is accepting those dualities within each of us. Part of it is finding a way to love those things you hate about yourself. You can still love you for being you and work on changing. It’s hard, but it’s possible. You’ll fall off the wagon, but it is well worth the bruises.

Blessed Be.

Inherent Divinity and its Ethical Implications

The majority of this week is going to be about the divinity within and without of ourselves and how at least some pagans feel that works.  A part of that is sacred life and inherent divinity.

So far we’ve learned that every culture in human history have had some variation on the God and, in most cases, the Goddess.  We also know that in polytheistic religions that each deity has influence over specific areas.  While I’m not sure if we’ve talked about it yet, there are connections between certain Gods and Goddesses of different pantheons such as the connections between Odin, Thoth, and Mercury.  And no matter which name we call them by they have some lesson hidden within those depths that they can share with us.

However, most pagans also believe that the divine is inherently in every single thing in this world, including ourselves.  We all have a bit of the aspects of divinity such as Freya, Hecate, or any other male or female divinity.  We all touch on any of their aspects on any given day or even on a rare day once in our lives.  From the televangelist to the witch, divinity is a part of us and we are a part of it.  Their wisdom is available if we only ask and listen. That is inherit divinity.

On a deeper level we are two sides of the same coin. All of us have masculine and feminine traits, whether we show them or not.  I’m very girly in the way I dress, but I have a tendency to take charge and be the leader when there isn’t anyone else to stand up (which seems like a lot recently).  This is how I can understand transgendered people.  It’s not my life, my choice, but maybe it’s their happiness and I have no right to judge.  Feminine and male aspects are equally important in our lives.  We cannot exclude love and a nurturing nature (feminine attributes of many Goddesses) from our lives any more than we can exclude wisdom and protection (often considered male attributes).

It’s also important to realize that different cultures have different norms as to what side of the coin these attributes lie.  Historically there have been matriarchal societies where those norms were different. A part of embracing ourselves is embracing both of these sides of us as well. I recognize that I have masculine traits that go along with what makes me a woman and men have the same thing as well. We all have both sides of the duality just as the God and Goddess are two sides of the same coin.

Honoring the God/Goddess in One Another

So, if we believe in inherent divinity, we have to honor ourselves and others.  We are all living and vibrant magickal beings. How else can we explain a body? I’m sure we’ll eventually find science to explain how things work, but we’ll never be able to explain exactly why it all works and that is the magick of life no matter what our station within it is.

This is something that makes the craft unique. We do not believe that God is entirely separate from man. I know there are Christians who believe it as well, but they are far and few in-between. And no, I’m not saying that either belief is wrong, only that it exists.  This is why we believe in reincarnation. We are always growing to become better people throughout all of our lives.

Ethically Inherently Divine

I’m going to touch on three subjects that could have been placed in the Ethics section, but I remembered my discussion in class. My teacher had to explain why we were discussing these at this time and not in the previous lessons. And the simple answer is that they just didn’t fit.  The discussion of inherent divinity brings up a whole new set of ethical issues for anyone practicing the craft.

Not to mention that you have to have a discussion about inherently divine so that you can see the controversy of these topics from a pagan perspective.

  1. The Death Penalty- There are people for and against it. And sometimes even I feel torn myself. I take issue with the idea of taking a life to show that killing people is wrong, but I also understand that there are some people out there who never show any remorse. Something in their brain just isn’t wired to care. And all I can hope for those individuals is that in the next life they grow.

But is it right? Do we have the right to take their life away or are we causing harm? Where do we draw the line? I’m not sure what the right answer is, but it concerns me because what about those who we later find out are innocent? I accept that people have to pay for their actions, but I have trouble justifying capital punishment while I believe in inherent divinity.

The best answer I have goes back to intent. Was the intent malicious? A mother protecting her family is defensive, not malicious. On the other hand, the man who goes out and murders and sexually assaults women does that with malicious intent. I can’t say he deserves death, but I can definitely say that the mother protecting her family does not.

  1. Do we have the right to take our own lives? Or is it right to aid another in doing the same? Most pagans disapprove because it can be seen as a betrayal of our trust in the divine. Everything in our lives can be overcome with divine faith. The only place where people find shades of gray here tends to be in regards to irreversible medical conditions that destroy quality of life, but some might say that shouldn’t even be considered a shade of gray.  It’s a matter of perception and we just have to go with what feels appropriate according to our own faith.

What you think may be different and that’s fine. But these are ethical considerations that we must consider. Most medically assisted suicides involve terminal illness that is going to slowly spiral down into physical agony with no relief.  Rather than just fading away, there are a number of witches out there who support facing death on their own terms. There are many who find this an honorable or courageous decision.

What do I think? I have to think about how much pain I’ve watched my mother endure. I have to think of how she’s never given up.  I know that she has considered it or thought that we would be better off without her, but we always tell her that none of us want that. If she ever asked, I think it would pain me, but I don’t think that I would have the right to stop her. But beyond that, I honestly couldn’t say what I would do if I found myself in her situation or that of another person with a terminal disease and I hope to never find out. I guess my answer is that I understand and would support another’s decision, but I don’t know if I could do it myself.

  1. The last one probably contains the most contention out of the three. Abortion. However, from the people I’ve encountered there tends to be not as much debate on this one because of our beliefs. I’m not saying this holds true for every pagan, just the ones in my own community. Part of this goes back to the concept of reincarnation.  For many witches, there is no exact “point” at which life starts. It’s a feeling within the mother.

Let me explain it this way. When I found out I was having my little Freya, I was mortified. I hadn’t had any symptoms. Granted my body is weird and doesn’t work right half the time anyway, but I didn’t.  I found out I was pregnant five months into my pregnancy.  I spent most of April in May just saying oh. I’m having a baby. I mean I felt wonder in it, but it’s like there was something missing. We had a lot of turmoil, but looking back I know that wasn’t it.

It wasn’t until June that I started sparking up and saying “Oh feel that” or “Oh Mommy is going to love you so much.” It wasn’t that I didn’t care. It was just that I hadn’t felt that spark of life. For me Freya got her soul the moment I started to feel that spark of life within me. And there are mothers out there that feel that way.

Now getting back to the topic at hand….how do many (or at least some) pagans feel about abortion? Well it’s still pretty heated and conflicted.  And there isn’t a pure one size fits all answer. In my case, I feel it’s not my right to take away another’s right to have an abortion. However, I personally could never have an abortion. Life is too precious. I can understand how someone raped would not want that constant reminder (nor do we want her to mistreat the child because of it). I also understand that there are a lot of families looking to adopt.

What you believe may differ and once again, that’s okay. We all have a right to our opinion. All we can do is live the best life we can and be the best people we can. We live these lives to learn and grown and we can only do that by the experiences we have and the choices we make.

Blessed Be.

LIfe Update: Clusters and Eyes Oh My

For those of you following this blog…you know I”ve had a pretty rough month and this week hasn’t helped. I spent Saturday through Monday dealing with pain in my neck, shoulders, and eye.  Tuesday I’d finally had enough and went to the ermergency room here in town….which is not known for being useful. I mean to put it into persecptive…when my mother broke her ankle and had a blood blister the size of a golf ball…they wanted to cut her foot off….

Anyway…the Er doctor may have figured out what the GP, eye, ENT, and Allergist couldnt’….though the allergist gets a pass because he may have identified an immunological problem I may have. She thinks my eye pain may be caused by cluster headaches….so she gave me a shot and some pills and the next day ….today…I had to run back to the GP to get more meds because the pills just weren’t cuting it by themselves and had nearly led to a second ER visit.

so hopefully now I’m back on track. For anyone following please keep me and the fam in your throughts and prayers….or send positive energy my way. I”ve had this problem for nearly three years….it’s only become disriuptive to my life since last Nov. So hopefully we will soon have an answer to what I thought was a sinus problem when I go to the Neurologist on the thrid.

On that train of thought I ask forgiveness for any missed punctuation. I’m still having a few issues reading and seeing what I’ve typed. I’ve tried to catch it all, but I’m not making any promises.

So right after this I”m poisting what I intended to post earlier this week and I’ll have another post edited and ready for you all tomorrow as well…baring any more trips to the ER (fingers crossed).

Pet Peeve

So I’m giving up putting things out on a specific day. I’m still going to aim for Monday Wednesday and Friday, but it just never seems to work out.  So I’m just going to post it as I can now. Three posts per weeks still though.

This is going to stray from my normal posts.

I was looking for something to write about when I came accorss Critial Issues commentary or CICministry.org.  Now, I’m not one to bash any religion. Honestly, I think most religions and their philosophies are innocent enough. The problem I have is when people bring intolerance and hatred into their faith and use it to persecute others.  While I would normally not write about this topic in this blog, I was particularly offended by the close mindedness in these articles.

Do Not Judge

Now back to faith.  There is no room in faith for intolerance as far as I’m concerned. I know that we are not perfect beings and incapable of perfection, but every religion has some turn of phrase equivalent to the golden rule: Treath others as you wish to be treated.

Pagans: The Rule of Three and the Wiccan Rede (which we talked about recently).

Christians: Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-3

I’ve just posted a few here, but just about every religion has something about not judging others and I think that is where many people get into trouble with religion.  People forget that we aren’t supposed to judge others or that there is a fine line between sharing your path and persecuting others.  It isn’t the religion itself that is wrong here, it is people who take it too far.

So What Brought This Up?

I know that there are a lot of miscommunications about faith, but this particular site just attacks everything that is the slightest bit different from their own faith. In some articles they even attack others within their faith because theirs is “the only right way”.

Well, I want to know that without a direct line to the God, Goddess, or Supreme Divine how one can assume that they have the one and only path? There is a reason I do my very best not to judge others. I fight very hard, but there comes a point where we also have to stand and say no more. Where does the line between pushing faith and persecuting others begin and end?

And the more upset I got about it, the more guilty I realized that I was being of the exact same thing (at least in that moment).  I was getting defensive over someone verbally attacking what I believed, even though it was words written on a page a few years ago.

And there was a time in which I fell into this trap more often than not. I used to read an article and go down to the comments. Now I don’t read comments anymore. You know why? Because I found myself getting way too engrossed in the debate over controversial topics there and, it took me a while, but I realized that most of the time, it wasn’t worth arguing with most of the internet trolls I found out there who simply went with that point of view because they were unwilling to see any other or even contemplate that there was something beyond their point of view.

A World of Black and White

As humans we tend to see things as black or white, right and wrong, or good and bad.  However, the world we live in is far more complicated than this. This is why I have problems with fluffy bunny Wiccans (and why I rarely identify as Wiccan aside from legally).  It is also why I had trouble identifying with the church.

When it comes to religion most people shut the door on shades of gray. Some feel that they have to reject everything else out of a fear of what lies after this life. Others have been persecuted for so long that they feel they automatically need to lift their shields and go to arms. Both are reactionary and counterproductive to any positive outcome.

So what is the world of Gray?

The world of Gray is the world I live in. I’m not always good at accepting it, but if I pause, take a breath, and think rationally for a moment, I realize that what is best for me isn’t always what is best for someone else. The world of Gray is the world where it isn’t fair that something is organized by last name, but it works out for someone else (a silly example, but true none the less).  The world of Gray is the world where even in Christianity there are four major and several more minor theories (I know I remember studying them in intro to Christianity in college).  The world of Gray is the world in which I can still hold the teachings of Christ near and dear to my heart, while perceiving myself as pagan.

We were given free will and there are few things that are universally right or wrong. Let me give you an example. We generally say that murder is wrong. We all generally agree that it is wrong to murder someone for a possession or for hurting you emotionally. Think crimes of passion.  However, we generally applaud someone who takes out a criminal like a terrorist. Or when a father protects his family from a mugger he is a hero even if he accidentally kills someone.

Once again it comes down to intent. And that a major component in the world of grey.

My Perception

It just pains me to see someone assume that they have the only right message, path, way, or ideas, when we live in a world where black and white are rarely the norm.  It pains me to see someone blindly follow a book instead of their own heart. From my personal perspective all of the jeudeo Christian faiths are beautiful, but many times taken far beyond their meanings.

I just cannot imagine a divine ALL that is male, female or both, to be so cruel as to deny happiness or their favor upon someone who lives a good and honest life just because they believe that there are multiple paths to the divine.  It hurts me to hear of leaders manipulating faith through fear so as to create more persecution.  And then those same leaders turn around and complain about the persecution of Christians.  This is why the Rule of Three and the Rede are so important. We should all live to create as few negative ripples in this world as we can.  We should all support the faith of others so long as they are based in creating a more peaceful world. Cults and religions that preach harm are another thing, but nearly all religions preach the Golden rule and love above nearly all else.

Two Wolves

You know this whole thing makes me think of the movie we saw at the drive in the other day. Tommorrow Land.

A girl says something to her father “There are two wolves. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. Which one Wins?”

He responds “The one you feed.”

If we only feed the negative in our lives we see mostly black. And if we only feed the positive we see mostly white in the world.  But honestly neither can exist without the other. It’s all well and good to feed the positive all the time, but we cannot forget that sometimes something bad happening to us is a blessing. We have to remember that the negative exists for a reason. We don’t have to like it, but it’s true.  We can’t just feed one or the other all the time.

I always think that I would love to live in a perfect world, but if I really sit down and think about it, a perfect world would be no challenge. There would be no joy.   Part of this path is embracing both sides of the coin and becoming the best self that we can be. Embracing the existence of the dark doesn’t mean that we go out and do horrible things, it means accepting the world and the negative imperfections in the others around us.

Conclusion

I started out this post as an angry pagan woman thinking about a cruel writer who could be viewed as betraying morals of his or her own faith. However, after getting all of it out and sharing my opinion and theory of the Gray world, I just feel sorry for whoever wrote those articles.  It’s sad to live in a world where everything but your own small pond is the darkness beyond.

I prefer to live in a world where light and dark are of equal importance. I like that my world recognizes both the light and the dark in everything. I like that this faith promotes love and the least amount of harm. And I want to promote that world, not just through my own faith, but through the faith of others.

So however you find this, as a pagan, Christian, or as a member of the church of the flying spaghetti monster

Blessed Be.

Ethics Beyond the Rede

I wanted to make this a separate post for several reasons, first while it is in the chapter about the Rede, it goes beyond the Rede. I remember this chapter being difficult for me. It’s always hard to realize when we’ve made mistakes, but a part of this faith (and most faiths) is self-responsibility, or the ability to take responsibility for our own actions.  When I read this chapter it made me face some of my mistakes and really think about my intentions.

And we’ve talked about intentions several times.  Your intentions are what makes your spells (or any other actions) right or wrong. So what does right or wrong mean in the ethical life of a Witch?

Honesty

The first part of this is being honest with ourselves.  Shakespeare said it best. “This above all things: To thine own self be true.” You have to be honest with yourself to be able to work magick for yourself or others. And how can you be honest with the Lord and Lady if you can’t be honest with yourself. We aren’t supposed to be here looking for ego or power.  Our craft is a gift, a talent, and it about knowledge and helping others.

Also, we have to remember here that we are responsible for all of our actions which can take self-honesty as well.  While we don’t have a judgement day, karma is a b****, pardon my French.  What we do wrong comes back to haunt us. We lie and a few days down the road we are lied to or the car breaks down.  There is a reason we follow the rule of three. It may not come back in the same way we dealt it out, but what we do wrong does come back to haunt us.

I know for me, I feel sick when I’m doing something questionable. That doesn’t mean that sometimes I ignore that little angel on my shoulder, but I always (at least so far) live to regret it.

Hypotheticals

All of these are from Teaching Witchcraft by Miles Betty

  1. A friend looks horrible in a new outfit. Are you brutally honest or do you say it’s a nice color, shape, etc. when they ask? Brutal honesty may cause harm, but so might keeping your mouth shut. Honesty is always preferred, but so is tact.
  2. A coworker is stealing and asks you to cover for him. You could get him fired or you could hurt the company. Which does more harm? Or do you advise your boss to be on the lookout for theft without naming names?
  3. A friend asks you for a love spell. Giving her the spell harms anothers free will.  And freedom is a major concern for most witches, especially any who have studied the burning times.  While the first two could be a question of which causes less harm, the answer to this one should be a resounding no.

Now this and many more situations may seem silly. I mean what’s the harm? But that’s the thing. As I said before, we don’t see the ripple we create in the world. Look at the concept of paying it forward. Yes it’s a movie, but we’ve seen people put it into play in the real world. The person who created it probably didn’t think it would go as far as it did. Didn’t think it would become a movie. Didn’t think that so many people would tell someone else exactly what they told them….to pay it forward. They made a lasting ripple in the world.  It’s something you hope happens when you do something nice, but not something that we expect to continue so far beyond ourselves.

Harder Morality

Now you might say that I’m over reacting to some of these examples. What is really the harm in being brutally honest to a friend? What is the harm in helping a friend steal from a horrible or big money company? Well it does because our actions are our bond. Worse, we don’t know what lasting effect our actions could have on others.

There are some situations in which we really have to think about whether or not we are doing more good than harm, even if the one misdeed seems innocent. It’s a slippery slope.  All of the examples in the book were fairly straight forward except for one….and it’s the one that I always remember when I think of the chapter on the Rede and Ethics in Witchcraft. It’s also the one that makes me question my intention, purpose, and actions in nearly everything I do.

So just imagine the following:

You drive past a horrible car accident. You see a person being loaded onto an ambulance. They look seriously injured….maybe even near death.

What is your first thought? It might be to send out healing energies to him or to utter a small spell of healing for him.

But consider the following:

He might be a fundamentalist Christian or a member of another faith. He could consider your actions, whether he understand them or not as evil and a blight on his soul.  Is it justified for us to potentially infringe on his beliefs?

Or what if he is so injured that he welcomes death. His family could have just perished in that wreck and now he’s all alone in the world. Or what if your well wishes lead to him being miserable for the rest of his life?

Can even our well wishes cause him harm? Do we want to take that risk? Is it our place to decide that without all of the information….information that we may never know?

And remember this: in this situation we also do not have that person’s permission to ask. And you should always have the permission of someone else to work magick or specific prayer for them. Because our thoughts on what is best for them may not be what is best for them. Only the God and Goddess know what is best for them no matter our perception of the situation.

So what do you do when you want to send energy their way, but don’t know the best course of action? Give it to the God and Goddess. Ask them to do what is best with the energy or prayers that you wish to give for the victims of that crash. Don’t assume because we all know what happens when we assume. We make an a** out of ourselves.

So let’s leave the donkey in the stall and not presume that we have all the answers and always know the best course of action for everyone around us. Yes, you may slip up sometimes, but life that too is a part of the learning process and learning from those mistakes when you make them is what’s important….not just dwelling on them.

I know it’s not easy, but it’s all you can do. Dwelling doesn’t solve the problem. Only preventing from happening again saves you from the same frustrations and misery.

A few final notes

I just have a few more debatable morals here before we quit.  Is a vegetarian or a meat eater wrong? Is either better than the other? Many people disagree on this, but it’s one of those gray areas.  Some say that plants are aware of their pain just as much as animals. Other say it’s cruel to eat meat and kill animals. Some say circle of life and all that. There are some ethical situations that sit in a mire of gray between wrong and right.

Just a few things to think about….and hopefully before you act.

Okay, so I will see you all again Friday. I’m sorry to say it, but I haven’t found my Advanced Witchcraft book yet, so I’m going to have to put off that project. As it stands right now, I’m also not going to have my personal path post finished. It’s one of those things you don’t want to rush.  So I’m not really sure what we’re talking about yet.

Blessed Be.

In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

Just about anyone who follows this path has at least heard of the Rede. If you haven’t, then you’re about to be introduced to it.

So what is the Wiccan Rede?

Simply put, the Wiccan Rede is a code of conduct for current and aspiring witches.

Where did it come from?

Well that is a topic of debate. Some say it’s Crowley, Valiente, or Thompson among others.  But the truth is that it doesn’t really matter who coined it first or if it’s older than dirt. All that matters for our purposes here is the ethical implications. This is a shorter ideal of what witches and some pagans stand for.

Two Versions?

Yes there are two versions. The first only contains the first four lines of the second (which is only eight lines long to begin with).  Some groups use one and some use the other. If you’ve been introduced to the Rede, you’re more likely to have the first four lines together as the Rede and the last three lines together as the Rule of Three. Personally, I like the combined version, but that’s just me.

What do we mean by Rede?

The word Rede comes from an old English word: Roedan.  It just so happens that this word is the origin for the words Road and Route. If we roughly translate it into modern English however, it translates to path or direction.  I have to thank Miles Betty once again for teaching me about some of the most random things on top of the relevant pagan topics covered in his book.

Reading the Rede

So here is the text of the Rede:

Bide the Wiccan Law ye must,

In perfect love, in perfect trust.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:

An harm ye none, do what ye will.

Ever mind the rule of Three:

What ye send out comes back to thee.

Follow this with mind and heart,

And merry ye meet and merry ye part.

(and there are a lot of modern people who do substitute the ye for you I just wanted to stick to the pure original)

What does it all mean?

Bide the Wiccan Law ye must:  This is a creed or vow that is generally accepted among our kind.  If you truly follow this path there are things that you do….and don’t do.  There are things you have to understand. While this poem doesn’t encompass all of them it is a reminder of some of the biggest concepts in this faith.

In perfect love, in perfect trust: Here we are being asked to do our best to do two things that are fundamental to our faith as stated before.  There are groups that use these words in their rituals and even in their initiations. And it’s asking something that isn’t easy for anyone. First is it asking us to act in perfect love. This is hard for many of us to understand as most kinds of love are conditional or a compromise.  Perfect love is asking us to try to love ourselves and others without compromise or condition.

Perfect trust, the second concept is even harder to grasp.  Trust is a hard won prize.  You have to be worthy of your word before others will even consider being worthy to theirs in regards to you. The Rede is asking us to make our word our bond in all circumstances. Something that nearly everyone must work on.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: This is poetic license. The Rede is not fulfilled in eight words, but established with the following eight words.

An ye harm none, do as ye will: This is the hardest part of the Rede for most people, even myself. In paganism, Wicca, and most Earthbound paths, ALL things deserve RESPECT.  So to harm none means that we do our very best to not harm anyone or thing in any way. Miles Betty takes this very seriously saying that it means “not to harm, hurt, grieve, beset, annoy, badger, harass, disturb, exasperate….(insert at least ten more words in here related to messing with someone) any living thing.”

This is why we must be very careful in spell work and why many pagans try everything else before resorting to it. There is no way to truly do no harm. A spell to get you a job can cause someone else with just as many problems and bills to not get a job…and whether you see that loss or not, we have done harm. That is why I don’t focus on spellwork in the blog, because honestly, there’s a lot to learn before you ever consider working a spell and this is a part of that.

We have to do everything within our power to avoid causing harm. We can’t prevent everything, but we can do our best to make our ripple in the pond as small as possible.  More specifically however, the Rede is asking us not to do any intentional harm.  Essentially the Rede says that you can do what you want so long as you do your best not to intentionally harm someone.

And as a final note on this one….that doesn’t mean that you can pretend or just justify away what you’ve done. In your heart, you know when you have harmed someone else. And when you harm someone else, you have to do your best to either apologize or correct the mistake. More importantly, you need to LEARN from that mistake.

Lest in self-defense it be: So sometimes we have to do something bad to stop something even worse from happening. If you are being attacked by a mugger or worse, a blast of pepper spray will cause harm. However, you have done something harmful to protect yourself or another.

Ever mind the Rule of Three:  Most people don’t quite get the rule of three. They think more in terms of an eye for an eye, which Miles Betty likes to think of as the Rule of One. The Rule of Three is more like throwing a stone in a pond (like I was talking about earlier) and the rippling effect that it has.

The severity of your actions good or bad has a widening affect to those around you. If you eat your mom’s food it affects her, which can cause her to have an effect on others. The bigger your action, good or bad, the greater the ripple spreads.   And it goes along with our next line.

What you send out, comes back to thee: In a nutshell this is karma. When you do something good it comes back to you in the form of good reputation or maybe in good luck. The same goes if you do something wrong.

Follow this with mind and heart: This is basically saying that you should hold this dear to your heart and live within these guidelines.  It means to follow the intent of the Rede. We all know that no one is perfect, but just like the Bible, faith asks us to try to become better than what we are and to live up to our best potential. Our actions do affect the world around us.

And Merry ye meet and merry ye part: When we live according to the Rede others will welcome our presence in the community.  It’s like the Golden Rule. You get what you give.  Not to mention that magick is easier to work when you are sure and confident in yourself. It also works easier and better when you conscious is calm and clear.

As a final note, some versions do omit the self-defense line entirely, but I have trouble with that.  Do you think it changes the meaning of the Rede? That is entirely up to you.  I hope this has cleared up what the Rede is, where it came from, and what it means.

Hope you’re having a good week so far.

Blessed Be.

A Week Behind Me…(Deep Breath)

So…I know I haven’t posted at all this past week….I promise it’s coming tomorrow. I have it ready and I could post it right now…but I need to sleep.  I honestly didnt have the energy to retype it into here and post this.

So here’s what happened.

We worked our butts off (Well mostly me and then the boyfriend and mom’s best friend) to get everything that could explode, melt, be flammable, rot, or go bad, out of the house in three days…plus get my disabled parents, ourselves and my nearly year old packed for an overnight stay….not as easy as one would think when you have to take two walkers an oxygen machine and still manage to run errands the day you go and come back.

We did the heat treatment…had more bs from the company and got it over with.

Tuesday I was ready to come back and post that late post I promised and what happened?

I got sick, then the boyfriend, and then the baby.

By the time I was finally better it was Sunday and I had gone a week without posting.

I thought I might even be further delayed due to thinking I had killed a car. Which turned out to just be a feature we had accidentally turned on and hadn’t known existed. Which made me miss part of the minions and terminator movies at the drive in. I know first world problems….but still stressful and frustrating none the less.

So this week we are nearly back on track and I’m a bit more ahead in my writing which never hurts and hopefully (fingers crossed) life will stop throwing me rotted lemons.

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