Archive for the ‘pagan’ Category

What Samhain means to me—Sheila Santiago

June 10, 2012

 

Samhain aka Halloween has been my favorite holiday, and my favorite day of the year my entire life.

When I was younger it was to me the most fun and mysterious day of the year, I knew there was more to it than putting on a cool costume and trick or treating with my family and friends…I didn’t know what then but I knew I wanted to find out!

While I was in school it was the best time of the year because we got to dress up in school and have parties celebrating the day and then when we got home we got to party with our family and friends and go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood…all day and all night long the day was filled with laughter and joy and mischievous moments and I looked forward to it more than any other occasion all year long.

As I got older my love for this holiday grew in my heart even more and I even had this dream of one day getting married on my favorite day and making the celebration a permanent fixture in my life as not only my favorite holiday but also my anniversary!

I always knew that if I ever got married it would have to be to someone who shared my love for Halloween and who also understood that I now celebrated the day as Samhain after finally finding out the true meaning of the day and embracing my life as a Witch as a young adult. It took me a long time to find my path in life but when I discovered that being a Witch was more than just dressing up as one for Halloween I knew I was finally home. All those years I knew there was a reason I was so drawn to the Sabbats and to nature and the moon…and why I felt it was so important to celebrate Halloween, I know now it was because it is the mark of the Celtic New year for us Witches and also a time to remember those that have passed!

I was honoring that which I did not know for so many years, that when I finally found out it all made sense and I knew that I had always been a Witch and that I always will be.

I was still in search of love and hoping that I could find someone who shared my views or at least respected them and so I put my Witchy skills to use and made a Love summoning spell to bring me a love that shared my views and passion and before I knew it there he was AND he was a Witch! A match made in the cauldron and a love until the Summerland’s. And guess what else? His favorite holiday is also Samhain!

We were married on October 31st 2009 outside in a park and held a costume party reception and we hold big Halloween parties bash every year to commemorate not only our love for each other but our love of the most important day in our Witchy lives, Samhain!

 

Spring Cleaning – Gini Judd

May 4, 2010

Spring cleaning is a long tradition throughout the world.  Back when people didn’t have things like central heating and vacuum cleaners, a long winter’s accumulation of dust and soot had to await the warmth of spring to allow for the doors and windows to be thrown open, the rugs and blankets to be carried out and beaten clean, and fresh air and sunshine to assist in the sweeping out and wiping down of floors and furniture.
Nowadays, our daily cleaning tends to continue through the winter months and there isn’t quite as much of a seasonal need for the assistance of warm weather to get dust and grime out of our houses, but a long winter of being closed up can leave the energy in our homes tangled and a bit grimy.  Spring cleaning can freshen up the spirit of your home, as well and just plain cleaning up.
First, take a look around your home.  Are there piles of clutter that should be dealt with?  Clutter is an energy sink and will tangle up the energy in your house and prevent it from flowing well.  There is a difference between a place being cozy with things you love and clutter.  Clutter is that pile of junk mail you need to toss out, old bills that need to be shredded or filed, books that belong on a shelf instead of scattered in a corner, jackets and sweaters hung over chairs, etc.  It’s the stuff that needs a home but has instead come to rest where it was dropped.  It might feel overwhelming, but put on some music and attack it one pile at a time.  As you successfully work your way through those piles, you will actually *feel* your energy level rise.  
Once you get through the clutter, throw open the doors and windows.  Vacuum, mop and dust, and then use a floor wash to clean and freshen your space.  A floor wash is made by boiling herbs and essential oils in a couple quarts of water, then straining out the herbs and adding the concentrate to a bucket of water. Place a portion of that into a spray bottle for surfaces.  The herbs and oils you use depend on your needs. Suggestions include mint, lavender, basil, rue, rosemary and heather.  Mop the floor lightly with the floor wash, and use the spray bottle to clean the surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom, and a very light spray on other surfaces.  Do this with concentration and intention to clean both the physical dust and any negative energies from your home.
Next, turn to the sacred spaces in your house.  Take everything off your altar, physically clean the surfaces and your tools – dust accumulates, so take the time to get rid of the physical grime.  After this, cleanse your tools.  You can do this is a number of ways.  One is to make a salt water bath using a small amount of sea salt in clean water.  Tools that can be dipped in the salt solution can be dipped; tools that cannot can either be wiped down with the solution or lightly sprinkled with it.  When you have finished, pour the salt water down the drain, envisioning all the negative and tangled energy draining away.  After you clean your tools, reset your altar, taking a moment to charge with energy each article you place on your altar.
Finally, complete the cleaning of energy in your house.  With all your windows and doors open, sweep each room with your besom – you do not have to touch the ground during this sweeping, because you are sweeping negative and tangled energy from the house.  Sweep from the private rooms into the hallway, then sweep the public spaces, ending the sweeping by sweeping all that energy out the door.  Make another salt water solution and bless every doorway and window with the intention that only good energy will enter your home. This will make your house an inviting haven for yourself and your family and friends.

Belief – One View of Paganism By: Gini Judd

March 29, 2010

We went out and walked in that wind last night. It is in nights like that, and in gazing up at the moon, and in the surge of storms, that I feel that sense of magic. Holding out my arms, eyes closed, that rush of wind feels like it runs through me and I am part of it.

That, to me, is the wellspring of much of my belief. I believe that magic is our attuning with the world. My beliefs are as much related to quantum mechanics as they are to faith, because we keep learning, through science, things like observation changing the result of experimentation.

I believe that the forces of the universe that are beyond both macrocosmic and microcosmic can be accessed, and the way the human mind does so is by a sense of deity. Essentially, I think humans create godhood and, like the changes through observation, belief becomes a focus for the universal forces. I think of the forces in general as goddess/creator because it’s an effective way for me to relate to them. I think the sheer power of belief can swirl some of that force into something more manifest, but it’s like standing in Lake Erie and swirling your arm around to create a tiny whirlpool: you’ve affected the water right in front of you and made it do what you want, but the rest of the lake is too large for that effect to impact. And as soon as you stop concentrating that energy on the water before you it slips quickly back into common form of lake.

Some people go through life completely ignoring the force of the universe. Some people think of it as Capital G God and react to it passively in the form of praying to that force. It can impact the energy just like observation can impact an experiment, but the attitude is generally that the force is external.

Witches reach into the water and swirl those whirlpools up. Shaping deity from the force of the universe is creating a vortex in that water. Doing magic is reaching into that power.

Sometimes I can’t focus the energy to manipulate it. But when I can, there is a moment when I can hear the pulse of the universe.

Sometimes, like last night, I don’t have to manipulate it. I can just let it wash over me. That is blessing.

Questions answered, all in good time! By: Patty Taylor

March 29, 2010

When I was a young girl I used to read the Bible without question. As I grew, I started to wonder about certain things contained within the stories of the Bible. For example in the book of Genesis, God created man in his image he then created woman from Adam’s rib. I often wondered who was woman’s prototype, if God is Adams, who is woman’s? That question lingered in my mind for a long time; however I kept it to myself for many years. Finally I asked my Dad, since he always seemed to have so much wisdom. I approached him and asked, “Dad if God made man in his image, then whose image did God make woman’s image in.” At first this flabbergasted him. He then looked at me and said, “God is all knowing and has many faces. God has many sides to him, perhaps he has a female side and that side was woman’s prototype, or perhaps God has a wife.” I asked my Dad if I could tell Mom, he said absolutely not. I knew why, mom was a diehard catholic. Don’t push your luck on that end. Mom was wonderful; she had lived a difficult life and seen another side of the coin filled with some mystery. Her mother and grandmother were very intuitive however Mom chose to stay away from that sort of thing and kept us girls away as well.

My interest sparked in junior high when I met a girl named Kathy, her Aunt read palms. At first I refused to let her read me, because I was a good Catholic girl and we didn’t do that. Well eventually I reluctantly gave in and she hit the nail on the head. This caused me to believe that things like divination were plausible. Then I met Gloria in high school, she taught me how to read playing cards. I soon discovered that reading cards was second nature. Not only was reading the cards a lot of fun, they were also accurate. However, I feared the tarot for some reason. This fear ended when I met my dear sister-friend Pepper. Then I contemplated for many years, remaining in a state of knowing, feeling, watching and waiting. Then some years ago, I just evolved, and here I am to share some information with my fellow sisters. According to Wikipedia, this is how “the goddess was pushed to the wayside”. ”Proto Germanic “gudan” and it’s etymology is uncertain.  It generally derives from Proto Indo-European (gudan) meaning neuter.  (passive, perfect, ghutom. Sanskrit huta = having been sacrificed, gheuhz = to call or invoke.  There was a small shift in word definition in the proto Germanic to proto indo European languages in this time period resulting in a small shift. Meaning one who is sacrificed to. Neuter = both sexes, male/female, duality, male or female. The attitude of deity being neuter changed when Judea/Christianity movement came onto the scene. God/Goddess became God only the feminine aspect was pushed to the wayside, only appearing later in the form of the Blessed Mother.” However the church never recognized her as a Goddess in spite of her being the mother of God’s only son. 

I will leave you with this piece of advice, if you have a question, search out the answer. If you find none, pray on it. The answer will come to you, for the Divine is with you, if you truly believe. The trinity is composed of many aspects to me. I believe in the Father, Mother and Blessed Child. I also whole heartedly believe in the Maiden, Mother and Crone, for this aspect is in my very essence of life, breath and will and carried me through my phases of every realm.

Blessed Be.

My Journey to WitchCraft – Lisa Revelt (MomWolf)

March 29, 2010

When I was a child, I believed in the wee folks, as well as ghosts. There was a tree down the street that (I swear!) had a magical door to the Otherworld, and I tried hard to look through it and see the wee folks. I had a poster in my room of a shoe in the woods with the little gnomes and forest folk residing within. I wanted to go visit them!

In 1978, I was transferred from Cleveland’s Public Schools to a Baptist school (from where I graduated after 8 years–it was K-12). Years of Baptist school and church taught me what I have since dubbed the “Fear Factor” religion (convert or burn in hell). Of course, ghosts and the wee folks just didn’t fit in with their teachings (they were demons from hell). From age 10 until about 19 or 20, I went to church faithfully. While attending in my late teens, I began to feel closer to God outdoors in my backyard than in a man-made building. Hence, my slow retreat from church until I stopped going altogether.

In the early 1990’s, I married and had my daughter, even though I had stopped going to church, we still had our infant daughter dedicated to God (Baptists don’t baptize babies). After searching for what was “missing” and reading several books on numerology, crystals, and astrology, there was still a void. In 1993, I read “Celtic Magic” by D.J. Conway. After reading that tiny book, I felt like I came home!. The ancient gods’ and goddesses’ felt like long-lost friends, the rituals seemed familiar, yet I had never practiced them, nor did I know anyone else who practiced them. I wanted to read more! At the same time, I felt compelled to collect angels. How can this be, when I’m reading about witches?

My next books, “To Ride a Silver Broomstick” by Silver RavenWolf, Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” and “Witta” by Edain McCoy took me further along my path.

In the summer of 1995, I dedicated myself to the Path, honoring both Brighid and Cernunnos. For years, I lived at home with my Christian parents (even after my husband left), so I had to keep my beliefs secret. I still bought my books and learned, yet I longed for more.

Fast-forward to 2007, when I moved out and into Lakewood. I finally got to have my dream altar! I didn’t drive, so I couldn’t go to my former metaphysical haunt. I looked in the phone book and found Goddess Blessed. Ok, cool. It’s close and on a bus line. I made a few trips, bought books and candles and other odds and ends, had a Reiki session, and met Kathy and Linda, whom I consider my sisters, and whom have helped me along my path and to get to know the Goddess and angels (whom I learned work with everyone, regardless of religious affiliations) even better.

Joining the Goddess Temple in March 2009 was an even bigger step for me. I was able to attend rituals (i attended public rituals in the past, but the crowd was too large and the energy wasn’t there) . I have met wonderful people through the Temple, attended drum circles, Reiki shares, have had several Reiki sessions (better than therapy) and just hung out at the store.

We are all students, as we are all teachers. Sometimes I still feel like I’m just beginning, even though it has been almost 17 years since I picked up my first book. I can’t wait to learn more and now I want to teach what I know to others.

Blessed Be!

SPECIAL YULE PRAYER INTENT FOR ALL OF HUMANITY By: Patty Taylor

January 13, 2010

Today I honor the god of the forest,
the King of nature, who rules the season.
I give my thanks to the beautiful Queen goddess, whose blessings bring new life to the earth.
This gift I offer you tonight,
sending my prayers to you upon the air.

 My prayer for all who happen upon these words.  I pray your days are safe, happy, peaceful, loving and kind.  Let your Year be filled with good health, prosperity and good will.  If low times come, let good times return swiftly.  Let God/Goddess into your hearts and be blessed throughout the year.  Pray, love deeply, live, prosper long and well, be happy and honorable all the days of your life.  Have a blessed season

Dealing with Religious Intolerance By Shelia Santiago

January 4, 2009
We still live in a world where Witch burnings are a reality as recent as 6 months ago there were multiple Witches burned in a village in Africa. It is a scary thing knowing that someone would kill you just because your spiritual beliefs were different than theirs. It is a sad reality and one that has always been the source of war and conflict.

For many years I kept my beliefs and practices under wraps because of this. I always felt it was a personal choice and no one else had to know.

Once I joined a coven and began sharing my beliefs with others of like mind I began to come out of my shell little by little and now 6 years later I am completely open about my beliefs but I am also careful.

I have a few non-confrontational bumper stickers on my car and I have 3 pagan tattoos so while I am not shouting it to the world the signs are there for those who notice and wish to discuss or question.

I Have been the victim of religious intolerance because of my “signs” At my job I knew from my first week in training that I could never speak about my beliefs without being judged harshly or even possibly fired.

The people in the office were all very Christian and not only did a couple of people have Bibles out of their desks they would quote scripture across to each other here and there just out of the blue. I have never worked in an environment where there was so much “church” behavior. I kept quiet and to myself and never commented on any of it or added anything to the conversation.

A few comments were made about my bumper stickers so I knew that a lot of what was happening was because they wanted to make me uncomfortable…little did they know that I could care less what they talked about or believed. Good for them to believe in something is all I say. They took it one step further and took one of my bumper stickers off of my car.

Well that was the last straw. Not only did I replace the sticker I added 2 more not so non-confrontational and I also did not hide my tattoos any longer. Obviously my tactful and respectful manner did not matter so I decided to just be myself. I took my book covers off of my pagan books and wore short sleeves and no longer hid my pentacle necklace.

If I am going to be discriminated against why not let them know that their ignorance doesn’t make me run away, it makes me stand proud. I do not have to believe in what you believe in , but  I respect others choices in their beliefs.

I find it amusing that these so called “Christians” were not being very Christian. If people practiced what they preached then perhaps there wouldn’t be as much war and conflict over religion. All that should matter is that people Believe, period.

Why do some people feel the need to cram their beliefs down others throats? Be happy with what you believe in and go on your way.

All you can do when you come up against people like this is keep to your beliefs and go along on your way. If these people will not take the time educate themselves and don’t care that they are ignorant and just wish to believe that their way is the only way then there is nothing you can do but walk away. Sometimes it is just best to wish them well and ask the Goddess to let them let tolerance into their hearts.

I have personally found that true Pagans are the happiest most easy going people…I think perhaps it is because we are not concerned about trying to force our beliefs on others, nor are we concerned that what others believe in is wrong. We instead are happy with our choices and we are happy that you made your own choice. We just believe in Peace and Love and Living life happily. Shouldn’t everyone live life that way? 

Blessed Be!