What’s in a name?

The other day, Sorita D’Este posed a question on her Facebook page that I always give serious thought whenever any variation of it comes up:

What do you name yourself in relation to your magical or spiritual path, and what is the qualifying factor allowing you to do that?

Since I am so long-winded and tend to really go in deep with questions like this, I decided to respond in full with a blog post rather than making peoples’ eyes cross on Facebook.

Continue reading “What’s in a name?”

Joining the Covenant of Hekate

A few years ago, I somehow stumbled across the Covenant of Hekate and devoured their public website.  I joined their public Facebook group, too, in an effort to learn more about how they viewed things.

What I learned about them was that, as opposed to my usual inclination, I wanted to take an active part and become a full fledged member.  This makes a total of 2 Pagan organizations that I have wanted to join.  More after the jump

Sigil of the Covenant of Hekate Continue reading “Joining the Covenant of Hekate”

My birth horoscope

NewImageA friend of ours pulled up my natal chart a couple of weeks ago, and I took it and ran with it.  Now, I’m not big into astrology, so I admit that I only took the first big site that had 95% of the info that I was looking for and looked up what the ephemeral data reported.  Click through the jump to see what I came up with!  I have bolded the items that seemed to be particularly applicable to me.  The information behind the jump is purely copy pasta, and I have not done any further interpretation other than what came from cafeastrology.com

 

Attachment 4 2

Continue reading “My birth horoscope”

My Generation’s Day of Infamy

Some people will think me a bad person and sympathizing with the terrorists, but I think that we need to let the 9/11 trauma go. We need to let the wounds heal, and we need to grow past it.

Yes, it was a tragedy. Yes, it was an outrage. Yes, it was a black eye on the “Greatest Country In The World ™.” But the thing is, if we keep picking the emotional scab off every year, we’ll never heal. And the hate and fear will never go away.

There are plenty of other everyday tragedies that have a greater loss of life than happened in New York, but they are by ones and twos, and are not big political statements. Why are we outraged by one building collapse and some 3000 people dying but not a word is spoken about the almost 42000 deaths in in 2001? Are those lives less worthy of mourning? Are they less worthy of remembering?

I’m done with social media today. I’ll be back once the wailing is over, tomorrow.

“Chosen by the Gods” A response

This evening, Galina posted another discourse that gave me some think thinks. Check her post (Chosen by the Gods) out for the background to this one. The post that I’m referring to here was elicited by an argument (her words) that she has with a colleague about why some people hear the Gods’ call more than others. One side says “nature” (predisposition) while the other says “nurture” (e.g. Training, hard work, and effort). Galina admits that the truth is probably somewhere between the two ends of that spectrum.

In my words, it sounds like the argument was going possibly well (though without likely accord) until the colleague got all “trigger” happy. My take on the topic follows below. Continue reading ““Chosen by the Gods” A response”

The end of a personal era

Today, I received my final installment of the OBOD Bardic course.  I didn’t realize that it was my last one when I opened the mailbox and smiled, but once I opened the envelope, it was clear.  I am left with something to ponder.

I started this course of home study some 10 years ago, in a different personal age, and as I was living a different “life.”  I understand that, during my long stints of absence, the course has gone through a re-write, so I have part of the old course and part of the new.  Without knowing the differences, I don’t find a disconnect between the two version-parts that I have.

As the OBOD courses are experiential in nature, I won’t discuss much about the teachings, but I don’t feel that I gained much from this segment of the studies, because it is so very much a study in fundamentals.  I came to the Bardic course with a strong basis in Paganism and other general spiritual studies.

That’s not to say that I feel that my time and money was wasted, because I don’t.  I learned a few things, and re-enforced my previous studies, and I looked at some of the material with new eyes.  I think that the course was well put together, but it wasn’t as in-depth as I would have liked (I like challenging material).  I am sharing the course with a friend of mine, and I believe that he will get some good out of it, as I think (i could be wrong) that his experiences are not as fundamental as mine are/were when I started.

I’ll be proceeding to the Ovate grade of the Order, I think.  This packet included some basic information about the Ovate studies, and they look like something that I would both enjoy and learn a good deal from.

The final step on the Bardic path is to write a review of the course material and my experiences with it.  That should make for an interesting retrospective, I think.

Trying to shake my own box.

I just read one of the longest blog posts of my life, over at Gangleri’s Grove: Devotion or “Psychotic Superstition”

I respect Galina, but don’t always agree (or even understand) her mindset.  To me, she’s something of a hardline Heathen, a steadfast polytheist who has strong (VERY strong!) opinions about the current state of the greater Pagan Community©.  She’s also an academic with no weak chops in religion.  I, on the other hand, claim both Buddhist and Druidic faith, and am currently only tentatively “theistic” in practice.  I blame that on my academic training and long-term mental health status.

The post that spawned this one is, frankly, upsetting, on a number of different levels.  I mean, how can one be both a pagan and an atheist?  IMO, not well.  And it’s an impossibility to be an atheists polytheist… The terms are diametrically opposed.  Atheists dispute the very existence of the divine, while polytheists acknowledge the existence of many gods.  This matches with Galina’s position against someone who was on her Facebook.  He was apparently dead-set on casting Heathenry as foolish, backward, and delusional.  Anybody who knows anything about Galina knows that she’s anything but a fool.

Long parts of the discussion between she and Jeff go back and forth, and Galina sums up thus:

Now i’m not posting this to bash Jeff. I”m posting it because everything he said are things that i’ve seen cropping up in the Pagan community and in Heathenry too (different parts at different times). It represents a mindset, a way of looking at the world that not only excludes the Gods but renders devotion to Them as psychosis. Is it any wonder that there is so much antagonism toward devotional work in Heathenry, or actual active belief in the Gods in Paganism? These things aren’t just words.

And…

THIS is a perfect example of the monotheistic filter at work. It’s a perfect example of what our contemporary culture teaches, what academia reinforces, and how we are all infected with a distrust of devotion. it’s there and it’s exchanges like this that make me see how deeply those anti-piety currents run. Perhaps this exchange with Jeff wasn’t one of my shining moments as a theologian. It is disheartening, however, to find these ideas ever present as we trudge forward in this work.

This is a large part of my situation right now.  I am a product of the Modern Mind and a patient in the mental health (such as it is) system in the USA.  I know that I used to touch the numinous, before I had a breakdown.  I know that I had a connection to The Divine©.  These days, though, I am tentative.  I am unsure.  I doubt myself, and my hold on sanity.  I am afraid that I might fall into actual, real, clinical psychosis.  On the flip-side of that coin, though, I desire numinous experience (yeah, don’t laugh about the Buddhist with attachment and desire. 😛 ).  I expect that there is more to this world and reality than science and rationality can explain or even experience.

Am I a polytheist?  Likely not, particularly with my Buddhist background (heavy monism, definition 1a).  I also claim pantheism as a self-description.  Be this as it may, I also currently chose to single out Hecate/Hekate for some small devotional work.  Currently, I am 99.99% certain that I’m not psychotic, due to my psychiatric medication regimen.  I am mostly glad that I don’t hear voices and feel that the Gods are talking to me.  Were it otherwise, I would severely doubt my sanity.

So where does that leave me? I’m still trying to figure that out.  Until I have certainty, I will depend on faith.

Shaking other peoples’ boxes

Kristen is so awesome.  She finds the most interesting things for me to read then sends them to me.  Case in point:  Today she sent me a link to “These aren’t the gods you’re looking for” by John Halsted, who writes The Allergic Pagan over on Patheos.  This is a slightly older post, having been made in Feb 2014, but it cuts to the heart of an issue that I’ve been having.

In my close tribe, I am mostly an exception to the rule.  The rest of the Pagans that I am with on a daily basis are devotional polytheists of one stripe or another, where I am decidedly not.  I am, in common practice, a Buddhist Druid who is starting to work with Hekate/Hecate.  However, unlike the other three, I do not have direct interaction with Hekate.  I don’t encounter Her as a distinct and autonomous personality, and she doesn’t speak to or “pester” me (to use a term that Halstead used), for which I’m grateful.  I am not “godbothered.”

I don’t know about how our extended tribe perceives the divine, but I know we’ve got a pair of “Pagnostics” (Pagan agnostics), a Native American, a Fey, and some other various and sundry Pagan practices.  Like I said, the ones that I share daily life with are all devotional polytheists, and I have wondered if I’m doing things right, since my experience is so different from theirs.

This, in turn, leads me to no small amount of self-doubt and wondering if I’m following a legitimate path, since I have such a vastly different experience.  To borrow a phrase from Halstead again, I’ve been “shaking other peoples’ boxes” trying to figure out if their practice is better or more legitimate than mine. I fact, this comic panel pretty much sums it up:

Three forms of Pagan theology comic by Alexander Folmer
Original by Alexander Folmer

Anyway, this self-doubt makes things challenging, but Nimue Brown had something useful to say in her 2013 “Spirituality Without Structure.” In short (and I’m WAY simplifying my interpretation here), looking to other people to help define and explain personal spirituality is, in a sense, seeking safety and security without being (my words, not hers) brave enough to strike out and make your own path.  Again, my words here, looking to others for validation is somewhat intellectually lazy, but not necessarily in a negative way.  Some people just aren’t built in a way that allows them to go it alone, and that’s OK.

But here I am, shaking other peoples’ boxes, when I really should just be focusing on my own box, which is decidedly not like theirs.  And that’s perfectly acceptable.  I just have to accept it and work with what I have.

A Prayer to Hecate

Recently, I bought a really nice little set of (lava stone!) prayer beads from Hearthfire Handworks over on Etsy. They were marketed as for Hades, but I wanted them for Hecate, instead. Also, just days before I saw them (thanks to Kristen’s want for the Poseidon prayer beads), I had the strangest thought race through my mind while watching something on one of the Nature channels: “I WANT A PIECE OF LAVA!” No idea where that came from, and it was not normal for me. Apparently, something bigger was at work here. Continue reading “A Prayer to Hecate”

Pluto Rising

“And I’ve never stopped looking for those amazing places where mythology and science converge.

They are not so rare as you might believe.”

One thing that I’ve realized lately is that, at least for me, too much science kills the mystery of life. I’ve decided that I need to bring that back for myself, even if I know what causes that noise and light in the sky , rather than Thor’s battles.

A wise man , in another context, gave me a task many years ago: Bring back the dragons.