There are so many unused railway tracks. I wonder how much of that could be repurposed (or still safe to use) if people began using it for personal transportation again.After nearly 5,000 miles of railway tracks were abandoned in Mexico and Ecuador 20 years ago, communities were left isolated without easy access to the world outside. Two artists want to re-open…
Is your Faith Misplaced?
One thing I seldom see in Pagan writing are posts about world news and current events from a Pagan perspective. (Unless the events actually relate directly to religion/ Paganism).
I also don’t see people talking about taking comfort in Paganism or Wicca or Witchcraft the way some other religions do. Is our religion a fair weather friend? Something we take out when we intend to, or want to, but other times it’s just not there.
These are the things I’ve been thinking about lately.
When you have a personal tragedy, do you turn to your Pagan beliefs for comfort?
I’ve seen people talk on and on about what they believe, defend it, teach it and promote it. But, is it still so personal to you that you could turn to your beliefs when you really do need something to believe in – not for a cause but for your own heart? You might perform a ritual because it’s the thing to do. But, is your heart really in it? Is this giving you real comfort? Or are you just doing what’s expected of you as a Pagan/ Wiccan/ Witch?
When did you last think of something in the news from a Pagan perspective? I don’t mean news about anything religious. When did you hear the news from the perspective of being Pagan and think to write about how this made you feel, as a Pagan?
Not all news is relevant to being a Pagan, yet, if you are a Pagan shouldn’t you see the news from the perspective of your beliefs rather than adding them in later?
Do you wear Pagan jewelry, collect Pagan tools and magical items? Does each one have real meaning to you or are they just part of your collection? Do you wear black because that’s what Witches do or because you actually like wearing black?
When you ‘Go Green’, do you stop and think about how you are helping the Earth or do you just recycle because that’s the right/ popular thing to do?
If you work with spells are you really taking into account “Harm’s none”? Or do you just like creating a spell because it makes you Pagan and special. Are you a Witch because spellcraft makes you feel special and important?
When someone talks about Pagans in a negative way do you need to spring up and rush to counter them? Why? It’s not for us to convert anyone and you are more likely to change their mind from your actions, not your words.
Do your Pagan beliefs reach right down to your soul? Are you satisfied with what you believe will happen when you die? Not about being gone and death itself, few would be satisfied to leave life. But, do you get comfort from the beliefs you have about what happens to your soul after your body dies?
Is being Pagan a fair weather friend for you or is it in everything you do and feel and believe? There’s no rule that says it has to be. Being Pagan is about making your own choices and decisions, finding your own values and ideals. Have you taken that to heart or are you following the popular path without really accepting it on that deep, personal level?
After reading this are you going to leave me a comment to prove how Pagan, Wiccan or Witch you are? Are you already listing your Pagan credentials, ready to type them all out? Stop and think about why you need to prove how Pagan you are.
Could you be Pagan and not tell anyone, ever? Could you be Pagan and not need to prove it to anyone?
Being Pagan, Wiccan or a Witch is a choice of religion, spirituality, beliefs and faith. Do you have faith in your choice?
Have you looked at enough of the other options? There are endless choices inside of Paganism itself. Find the one that really speaks to you, the one that reaches your heart and soul, the one you want to live and grow with. Don’t settle too easily for what looks shiny and new or popular.
Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, January, 16, 2003.
Staying safe, in your own safe little world. Is that where you are? Many of us choose our adventures, how far we will go depends on where we have our safety nets.
For instance, have you told anyone you’re Pagan? Have you told your family, friends, co-workers, boss? I’m not suggesting you rush out and do it. I’m certainly not daring you to tell them either. It’s a personal thing. Being Pagan is a personal thing in itself. A personal choice and something just for you.
It should not, however, be some dark secret. Something deep, dangerous and naughty. That’s not what Paganism should be. It’s not something you should have to hide from your family. Being Pagan is about caring for life, the Earth and old traditions. How can they really object to that? Still, you can find the safety zone. You can let them know you’re into nature, environmental issues and historical traditions. You can be Pagan without saying the word Pagan to them.
People don’t always get that. They think they have to hide being Pagan because others won’t like it or will be shocked by it. They turn it into a deep, dark secret. By doing that they make it become something dark, secret. No wonder so many people still think of Pagans as devil worshippers.
You have the power to find where your safe world is, set the boundaries and set the record straight if you choose to. Let people know you’re Pagan, if you can or if you choose to. But, don’t make it some dark mystery. Don’t let them find an altar, a book or a pentacle in your room without explanation. If you make being Pagan something to be ashamed of or fear you hurt all of us.
Instead be proud of who you are and be as honest about it as you can. For me, the only person I couldn’t talk to about being Pagan was my Grandmother. It scared her. She couldn’t think of it as anything but dangerous for me. She didn’t understand that it’s not something dark, but something light. She didn’t know what I made of being Pagan, for me. She only knew the stereotypes she had heard all her life.
Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, November, 7, 2003.
What have you written or published lately? Not that every Witch or Pagan needs to be a writer or share their writing with others. But, we do tend to be journal keepers of some sort. Most like writing in their Book of Shadows; thoughts, ideas and experiences. Some choose to go farther and share those same ideas and experiences with others. Of course, each of us chooses where and how large our audience is. Also, how personally connected they are to yourself.
Anyway, I’ve found a lot of Pagans in the arts: writing, crafting and so on. We’re a pretty artsy bunch.
If you do want to dip your toes in the water and share your Pagan writings you can find plenty of online groups. Some are geared to specific areas of Paganism and some are geared to those who are Pagan and writers. It’s not trading one craft for another, it’s growing yourself and your craft.
Of course, you are taking a chance. You can count on finding someone to disagree with whatever you write about. Sometimes they disagree in the form of an attack against you personally. You can choose to ignore this immature stuff, though it’s not easy to stop yourself from feeling defensive. This is all very personal stuff after all. But, if you’re lucky enough to stumble into a group of like-minded people you will have so many new ideas, new angles and slants on old ideas and access to so many experiences. It’s like finding a vast treasure vault without having the expense of hiring a boat, getting seasick and risking pirate attacks, well something like that. You get the idea.
Anyway, this newsletter is one of the things I have written to share with other Pagans. Before this I write a few articles for a print zine and assorted other odd bits here and there. Some newsgroup postings too but that was quite a long time ago before the newsgroups got so snit picky.
I wouldn’t count myself as some grand high authority on everything Pagan. But, I do think I have some ideas and a sense of what I believe to be right and good that I can share. You, the reader, can decide how you feel about what I write. I’m always glad to hear from you, even if you don’t think everything I write is glorious and completely right. We all see things differently and what feels right to me could seem completely crack-brained to you. I don’t mind. I’ll listen to you and make up my own mind. Just as I expect you do with the blatherings I type in here.
If you do post/ publish your Pagan writings online let me know. I’ll be glad to give you a link in the newsletter. Although I believe in reading things I don’t agree with, in order to get more perspective, I won’t link to or promote something I believe is completely harmful.
Seasons Greetings (cause it’s always some season).
Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, March, 1, 2004.
The magic circle, sounds so mystical… But it’s like many things in Witchcraft, it’s adaptable to your own style, your whims and personal needs of the moment.
Witch/ Wiccan rituals take place in a circle. Not always, it’s not written in stone with blood or anything really dramatic. But, it does make things tidy in it’s own way. You draw in power and you keep it to yourself, out of the way of others. Then, when you’re done you release it. It goes back to nature and the powerful parts of yourself.
We draw the circle and then we close it. Some people cast the circle and banish it at the end of the ritual. I tend to think of it as drawing and closing the circle. When you draw your circle take a moment to bless each of the elements at each of the 4 directions. Yes, you might need a map to know where north, south, west and east are in relation to your location. If you choose, bless the goddess and god too. Then bless the Earth and life, those are most important to me. When you close your circle just do the steps in reverse order. Gather your pebbles, erase your chalk, whatever you used as you go around in the 4 directions again. Sounds too simple? Why shouldn’t it be simple. You’re welcome to make a bigger production out of it. I like it simple.
You can use chalk, hemp rope, embroidery thread, pebbles, sand, dust bunnies, anything really. Consider a circle of jack o lanterns for Samhain, wouldn’t that be fun! It depends on how fancy you want to be or how close to natural elements. My personal choice are pebbles. I love them. I collected them from a beach here in Ontario. Took my time to find stones I especially liked for their shape, colour or some markings on them.
The circle represents wholeness, the cycles of life and the seasons, the wheel of life to make it simple. In theory it is without beginning or ending and perfect in it’s completeness.
To draw the circle is to make a place set apart and sacred. Where ever you are- living room, backyard, beach, clearing in the woods – the circle becomes a place where we focus on magick in ourselves and the Earth around us. The circle is a pure place where we can think, make notes in our Book of Shadows, create and practice rituals, anything. It doesn’t have to be dramatic and you don’t have to feel you must do something special. It’s your circle, your dime.
This summer when I have a road trip out to the beach I want to cast a circle on the beach. Using a piece of driftwood to draw my circle and some stones to point to the directions. I don’t even know what ritual I might do. I just want to sit in a circle of my own creation and enjoy the world, life and being alive.
“In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.” -Charles Lindbergh
I take thee, herb, to cure my ills
or perhaps while dancing pon the hill.
I’ll dip you in the cauldron fine
Then asperge a circle in the pines.
I’ll make you into teas and brews
when picked from ‘neath the morning dews,
or hide you in a pillow seam
to guard me close, come night and dreams.
– Marian Loresinger
Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, April, 2, 2004.
If you read my general blabberings around BackWash you will have heard of Eric, my boyfriend. He is still pretty new but we are getting along great.
Anyway, I haven’t really talked with him about Pagan ideas and what it means for me to be an Earth Witch. That is some sort of limbo in everything. I don’t mind leaving it there, for awhile. But, I have wondered what he really thinks.
We went for a walk on the frozen beach and while he was testing the thickness of the frozen lake (testing his luck I thought at the time) I was drawing a pentacle in the sand. I used a piece of driftwood and 6 smooth stones from along the beach. I placed the stones around my drawn pentacle. It was something special for the day, for my Grandmothers and for St. Patrick’s Day.
Eric noticed it when he came back, not drowned luckily. He said something about it, nothing much. I think just noting that I had drawn it or used stones, something easy going. But I wondered what he was thinking. Anyway, I left it at that. I didn’t push it or go into lengthy explanations. It was something personal to me and though I didn’t feel I needed to hide it I still wonder what he thinks about this element of me.
How do you begin to share this with someone you care about? Is it something you leave lying on a coffee table for him to find? Is it something you bring up right away and make into a big issue? Or do you let it simmer on a back jet, there and yet not getting in the way? I’m not exactly sure how I want to handle it. So, I will do what I usually do when I’m not sure, I will ask him. Not quite yet though. There is time and space, too much of both right now. We will see.