Tag Archive | pagan blog post

Dree yer ain weird – A Pagan Blog post

Something most Scots have heard if their family still keeps its culture. To “Dree yer ain weird is to follow, practice, suffer your own destiny.

The underlying theme of growing up is to find out what you are meant to do and do it. But how many of us actually do, do it? Sometimes it’s easier to go with the flow or what our parent’s ideas of what we should grow up to be.

Oddly enough it goes handily with the Church of Scotland/Presbyterian view of predestination and the belief in free will that I was raised with at church and that doesn’t change with my paganism. I do think we choose our own individual destiny even if it’s in not choosing and going with the flow. It’s still a choice and you still exercised free will to not make a choice.

And in a weird way, coming out as a lesbian helped me make choices other than what my parents had in mind because once I had decided to throw out the conditioning to be straight and settle down and provide grandchildren, I was free to decide what I did want to do. I could decide who I lived with or if I lived with any one at all. I was free to choose my dreams. I’m free to write anything I get an idea to write about and thanks to technology be a published author.

It freed me to take the next step and follow what my grandmother had been teaching me and expand into a pagan life. It freed me to determine my own spiritual beliefs and ethics and not to blindly do what I was told without thinking about it. From what I read on Facebook, a lot of my high school contemporaries are still living their lives the way their parents did. The ones I find interesting are the ones who by some circumstance have made their own choices and are not the people they were in high school. Sometimes, not always the best choices but they made choices outside of what would have been pre-determined by their parents. I just found out a friend in high school who I really liked a lot and admired his creativity died of AIDS 10 years ago. He made his own choices to not grow up in Glendale and get married to a nice girl but to be a creative human being and from what I know of him in high school, come out, and I wonder if he regrets those choices or loved the time he had after making those choices.

I think we choose lessons to learn before we return to earth. Each time we return we choose new lessons. We choose the people we have those lessons with. Sometimes it’s learning that certain people are toxic and are working their own set of lessons.

The choices we make after we are born put us in circumstances to learn those lessons. And if we don’t complete the lesson then we get another chance if we would like in the next life. I hope I always choose lessons of love and creativity.

So do ye choose ta dree yer ain weird or are ye dreeing someone else’s?

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R is for Reality

R is for Reality

Or in this case – Magical Reality. Reality is mutable. It depends on the person’s viewpoint and if in a group, the group’s agreed upon on reality. The dictionary definition defines reality as the state or quality of being real but we all have an idea about what is real and what is not real. A synonym is verisimilitude and that is closer to what I think the definition is. Versimilitude is the appearance or semblance of truth.

An example of unique reality is whether you know or see ghosts. I know ghosts exist and they are part of my reality because I have seen them. There was a man who used to stand by my bed as a child and just watch me sleep. The man is also part of my sister’s reality because he also stood by her bed. We knew it wasn’t my dad because my dad snored louder than a Lear jet and we could hear him down the hall. However, he never stood by my brother’s bed downstairs so he wasn’t part of my little brother’s reality. We figured out who he was as adults. The original owner’s husband who had two daughters. We think he thought he was watching his daughters. My mom wouldn’t believe us but my dad did.

The same can occur at a coven or other magical group’s workings or even at a public ritual. TOILA used to put on large public Samhain rituals and the first time one of the priestesses brought her kids to ritual things happened. One kid freaked out because when we called the spirits of the dead, he saw them come and D came and got me to talk to M and her youngest daughter just thought she was at a really cool Halloween Party since she had been warded before she ever got there in case she went home and told where she had been to the ex-husband. Two separate but very real worlds on the same plane.

The majority of our coven shared a large house when we started but one pair bought a house in a neighboring city and were moving on November 1. So part of our Hallows ritual was to clean house of all the magical workings we had done. The house was always a little strange. The TV went on and off by itself. If you were in one bedroom asleep on the bed someone non corporeal would come and bounce on the end of your bed and when you turned the light on no one would be there. Lights came on and off by themselves in the middle of the night.

So we started at the top of the house with brooms sweeping the energy and singing and it quickly became apparent that someone was running in front of us and they were getting angry. Two of us could see her and the rest could feel her anger. When we were done we sat in the circle in the living room and it felt like we were being watched from an outside window and then from the living room rafters and that there was a lot of anger involved so we started singing calming songs. Someone came in the front door which we had left open and sat in an opening in circle between K and I and I could see her. She was in an early 20th century blue cotton flowered dress and seemed to be a bit slow or developmentally disabled. It was clear she thought that we had been playing once she had calmed down and was bouncing up and down like a small child that wanted to play. She was adult sized but her demeanour was very child-like. We tried to make clear to her that it was time for her to go and that we were leaving. I’m not sure if we got through because every time I go by that house it’s for sale, again.

She was very real to me and I ended up grabbing a piece of paper and drawing her for the others so that they could see what I saw. She then became part of their reality as she hadn’t been before except energetically.

So, where am I going with this?

Do not assume that your experience in circle or in any magical working is the same as the person next to you. It isn’t. It can’t be because we all have different degrees of openness, experience and training. If you aren’t open to it, things may or may not happen and different people’s senses. My reality may contain a priestess calling down the goddess and it may also contain the goddess she drew down or there may be nothing there at all. And that is okay. We all see/know/believe what is essential to us at the time. And someone who says they saw something may also be lying. Such as some people who after a guided meditation have elaborate stories about what happened on the meditation and they are flat out story-telling and trying to make themselves important and the person next to them had a very profound experience and chooses to say nothing because it was personal or so overwhelming they need to process it.

It’s all alright. We each do what we need to do to create the reality we desire and the person with the elaborate story may have nowhere else in their life where they can stand out. In their mind, they have found some place they feel they can be important and it’s alright. It’s still creating a reality that is real to them, maybe not to you but it’s real to them for that moment even if it’s just a momentary ego boost in an otherwise dull life.

So what is your reality as you walk through the world? Did you see the raven from the tree observing you? Did you see your totem dragonfly buzz you to get your attention? Do you live in your “real” world or someone else’s? Are you someone else’s creator of reality? Are you real, Velveteen Rabbit?

P is for Pagan v Christian speculative fiction

P is for Pagan fiction v Christian speculative fiction

 

I love speculative fiction and murder mysteries and quite frankly and an awful lot of things named sci-fi and fantasy involve a murder mystery, somewhere in the story. But there are distinct differences between stories written by pagans and atheists and the stories that were written by Christians.

 

Case in point the stories written by J.R.R.Tolkien and the fiction written by MarionZimmerBradley, DianaPaxson.

 

In Lord of the Rings, you quite clearly have a heaven, Hobbiton & and the West, and a hell, MountDoom and everything past the Black Gate. You have Frodo in the roll of Adam and you have a prophet that dies and returns again, Gandalf, you have a wise ruling Christ in Aragorn and you have a unconditionally loving Jesus in Samwise Gamgee. Everything past the Black Gates could have been borrowed from Dante in it’s challenges and horrors. You even have the Fellowship in the guise of fallible and faithful apostles. And you have Gollum and the Ring in the role of Satan, the trickster, the murder, the twofaced tempter. The only reason Frodo doesn’t fail many times in the journey is the deep love and friendship of Sam and in many ways it’s Sam that is the hero of the story, in that he never gives up hope, he keeps on taking care of Frodo even when Frodo abandons him or Gollum frames him for allegedly being greedy and eating the food. It’s Sam that keeps the light and goal ahead of them to the end and it’s Sam that saves Frodo from despair and his love saves him from the fate of Gollum in the fires of Mt Doom. Tolkien was a staunch Catholic and despised people for trying to find symbolism in his book but it is there to clearly see and he wrote what he knew the faith he found after surviving WWI and watching many of his friends die. We write what we know and live whether we live it or not and the Lord of the Rings is very strong Christian allegory even if it is clothed in the trappings of ancient Celtic and Scandinavian and Germanic myth. And yet it’s an exciting book and one of my favourites.

 

You don’t see those themes in books written by pagans, they still use the format of problem, conflict, and solution but it’s usually not an outside entity that saves the day. Usually it’s the protagonists themselves that solve the problem. No Ents, Eagles or Elves swoop in at critical moments to help the wanders and literally save them.

 

In MarionZimmerBradley’s Darkover books, the problems happen but people solve the problems often by their psychic skills or their problem solving ability, Same with her Avalon books which were later written by her sister in law and former First Officer of COG, DianaPaxson. There is no Christ figure that saves the day. It’s the character’s nature and brains that are the hallmark of fiction written by pagans.

 

And I would also argue we, pagans writers use deity differently in our stories, we tend to have diety give advice or counsel or sometimes to get in the way such as Neil Gaiman’s American Gods but we don’t use them to save the day, we let them save themselves and then go on with their lives. We don’t transport them “into the West” after they have survived Hell.

 

Something to watch for next time you pick up a fantasy or sci-fi book, who saves the day and how do they do it. Is it a Christ figure or outside agency, a pagan deity or the character’s themselves?

 

 

N is for No one is guaranteed tomorrow

N is for No one is guaranteed tomorrow

Today I’m wearing one of my favourite t-shirts for casual Friday. “Dance as if no one was watching. Sing as if no one was listening. And live each day as if it were your last. Irish Proverb”

For some reason this shirt gets weird horrified looks on the bus but it is the truth. No one knows when they are going to pass the veil. And unless you know you have a terminal disease you can’t even guess when your last minute will come. So isn’t the best thing to do to live each day as if there were no do overs? That means having no regrets about when we should have been kinder. Be kind all the time. Have no regrets about telling someone you love them. Tell them often so that there is no doubt.

If there is some adventure you want to take, some book you mean to read. Some story you need to write down, do them!

You don’t know until it’s too late what you “should” have done. Live without “should”. Greet the Sun every morning and if there is no sun, greet the clouds and rain. Feel the wind instead of rolling the window up because it might muss your hair. Pet your kitty, hug your family and friends. Greet the green of the trees, Welcome the birds. Watch the ants on the sidewalk. Be present, BE HERE NOW!

It’s never too late to be the person you dream of being. Be it!

Give thanks for the time you have been given.

Don’t waste time with people who are negative and nasty.

I know we as pagans generally believe in reincarnation so we do get a “do over” in a sense but it won’t be the same as this life you are in now. Be responsible for who you are and make who you are the best you can be.

Greet the day and the people you see with a smile, it makes people wonder what you know that they don’t.

As we used to sing in Girl Scouts:

Life is for living

Love is for giving

And joy is for passing around

Make friends with each other

And love one another

And let’s let the music abound

Life is too short to waste it on gloom

Don’t let your love slip away so soon.

So join hands with each other
And love one another
And let’s celebrate ths good day.

So life is for living

Love is for giving

And joy is for passing around

L is for Lammas

Lammas/Lughnassad/Loafmas is one of my favourite sabbats. My coven always has a backyard bbq and some times we have baked bread/challah during ritual. Preparing the food and eating together and giving thanks and cleaning up has been the sum total of the ritual and for some reason it’s the most fun.

Sometimes we have started with a morning trip to the Saturday farmer’s market to choose the table decorations and food for the ritual.

When we are making the bread we all take turns kneading it and directing our thanks and good wishes into the bread we will all eat together during the meal. Lammas as the first of the three harvest sabbats was traditionally dedicated to the first grain harvest just like Samhain is for root vegetables, nuts and animals that were culled so as not to have to be cared for during winter.

We spend time in the kitchen slicing vegetables and marinading whatever is to go on the fire.

We cast a circle around the bbq to cook our various offering since some are vegetarians and some are not.

When all is ready we feast! We talk about what is happening in our lives. We give thanks for what we have been given that year. We enjoy each other’s company.

Lammas is probably the least stressful of all the sabbats when it comes to celebrating. We like to eat and we all enjoy putting the meal together and eating, even doing the dishes together is fun.

M is for Murray the Parking God

Okay, so I’m a bit behind. 

There are  different parking deities around the country but in Los Angeles the best parking god is Murray. Murray has always come through for me. I know in San Francisco they pray to Squat and Dianics tend to invoke Asphalta but Murray is my guy.

 

Murray likes to have a ritual every once in awhile and the Pallas Society used to get together for a ritual every year.

 

Murray is invoked by a tire gauge for Air in the East

A road flare (unlit, of course because we are inside) for South

A container of antifreeze for West

A chunk of asphalt that someone picked up for North

And spirit was invoked with an orange traffic cone of power

The circle was cast with jumper cables

 

Then Murray was invoked by singing his sacred song:

“Oh Great Murray

Parking paid or free

You are the god

Who watches over me”

 

Then the participants would tell grateful stories of Murray.

We asked for Murray’s continued protection.

And dismissed the elements.

 

Food shared afterwards had to be obtained by driving through a drive thru lane at a take out restaurant. No fair walking into the market. I usually drove through KFC for a bucket of original recipe but there were also big bags of tacos, drinks from the drive thru at Del Taco for a macho sized ice tea, and one smart aleck brought antiacid from the drive thru Wahlgreen’s pharmacy.

 

Murray’s wife is Zelda who is the goddess of shopping and their daughter is Tiffany goddess of teens in shopping malls.

 

K is for Keeping Vigil – A Pagan Blog Post

K is for Keeping Vigil

 

 

Last week I was honoured to be allowed to do service for our Hieromum. She went into Hospice before she died and we kept vigil until she died. I’ve attended my dad and mom’s deaths but both of them died in Nursing homes and there is a limited amount of time you can spend in a nursing home before you are just in the way even if they are supposedly under Hospice care. Laura was allowed to go home and be surrounded by people who loved her 24 hours a day and as well as having 24 hour Hospice nursing.

 

Laura was allowed to die with her altar a few feet away surrounded by her goddess statues and art. And we were allowed to ease her passing in a dignified way.

 

We read to her her favourite invocations, prayers and poems. Some of which she had written. We sang to her and we held sacred space in our Temple. She could have the door and windows open and no that her garden was near by. We could touch her and reassure her and ourselves as the process went on.

 

She was never alone. No one should die alone if they don’t want to and Laura didn’t die alone.

 

Dying is not for sissies. It’s just as much a labour as being born is and seems to be difficult at times for the person in the process. I was on-call clergy for the AIDSServiceCenter for many years but as clergy unless asked you can’t stay long. I was prepared I thought but sitting with Laura was different. This was someone I loved even more than I loved my mom. (My mom was not a particularly nice person.) Cam died in an emergency room the night before we were to fly up and be at his surgery so I couldn’t be there for him.

 

To attend the dying you have to be willing to just be and let them go. You can’t send energy as it seems to confuse them and they are in the process of dumping energy. Their energy spikes and gets sparkly as they attempt to leave their body. Their breathing changes, they itch and need to be soothed. They may or may not be in pain. They get fearful at moments and ask for help even if they are not fully conscious and you have to be willing to do what they need and not get in their way no matter how much you love them, this is not about you. This is about them.

 

You may cry and we did many times but you cannot grieve until they are gone. You are there in service. You are there to hold sacred space. You are there to hold the way open and acknowledge their life. You are there to love. Anything else can wait. If you aren’t willing to do that you shouldn’t be there.

 

We had a rotating assemblage of priestesses and one priest. Laura didn’t ordain many men. We laughed and told her we loved her. We cried and prayed and sang to her. We had people there by attunement including our priestess who was teaching in Greece and couldn’t come home until this week.

 

We will miss her but I’m so glad we could do this for her. Every one should be allowed to die surrounded by love and dignity. I couldn’t be there when she died at dawn on  Monday but three of our sister priestesses were and were allowed to wash her and clothe her for her last journey and to read what Laura requested.

 

She is gone but never completely. She was our guide and our shining star that never will go out.