Archive for May, 2012

12 Month Challenge-via M.Shaffer: Blast from the Past

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on May 27, 2012 by theredlass

12 Month Challenge-via M.Shaffer: Blast from the Past

 

Geez you make it sound like we need to legitimize ourselves or something.

 

I used to be a part of a Druid grove that practiced Geek paganism (weird right), and after that I took a long hiatus and started becoming more and more interested in ancient Celtic society and their religion. But in truth, I really don’t cling to any of them. I suppose you could simply call that eclectic or whatever but for me it has a lot to do with what works and what doesn’t. To me the gods are merely aspects through which we perceive the natural forces of the universe as they relate to us. We make them in a form which we understand because in the end we are unaware of the true power of nature itself. I tend to break them up into the forces of Life, Death and Chaos, and any deity you will find can usually fall somewhere within these three (sometimes within all of them). From there if I must pick a deity or something, to me it’s more important to pick one which relates to the cause as oppose to one from any particular pantheon. I will say though that I do have a preference for female deities. I am trying to work more with the male aspects here and there, but they just don’t resonate with me the same way the females do.

 

That being said, I’m a history fan. I truly enjoy learning about historical religions and cultural differences and how things have changed. I consider myself open to trying out now POV’s and to me part of choosing this crooked, wayward path of ours is allowing yourself to experience the new and strange. I have been to rituals that deeply impressed me and others in which I had to keep myself from laughing. But all in all it’s part of the experience, and if someone gets something out of it, well than who am I to meddle.

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12 Month Challenge-via M.Shaffer: Ancestors

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2012 by theredlass

Yes yes I know this is supposed to be a 12 month challenge but realistically I won’t make it. 🙂 So it’s just as nice to do one per week.

As far as ancestors go, there is one particular family story that every child, grandchild and great grandchild in my family knows. I can’t promise as to it’s validity or how factual it really is, but it never failed to entertain and it has always been a story passed around at every family meeting.

My great great great great great great grandad (that’s my great grandads great grandad) was a horse thief. Apparently a rather well known one because the Texas Rangers had a bounty out on him. Well one time they started to get so close that he had to leave Texas and ship out to Oklahoma Territory in order to escape. The family name at that time was Franklin Geigis (Geagess) so when the Rangers started asking around about him, he dropped the Geigis off his name and headed up into Cherokee territory. He brought the horses with him and used them to get in good with the tribes which eventually lead to a marriage with a Cherokee woman (who’s name we were never told).

Today that side of my mom’s side of the family still own a nice piece of land up in Counsel Hill, Oklahoma and the families name is Franklin. We do have a branch of Geigis out there somewhere and every once in a while we will hear from one of them.

My great grandmothers name is Hazel and is known both by the family and by the neighbors affectionately as “Witch Hazel”. I’m not going to claim it has any baring on my interest in witchcraft. I never saw any evidence that she was any sort of witch traditional or otherwise. But I do know she never made a meal she bought from the store, she always knew how to fix a beesting or cut, and she is currently 98 years old and just now getting to the point where she needs a little help to get by. She has also lent a great deal of credence to the rumor that the woman in my family almost always outlive the men by 20-30 years. Makes it feel good to be a lesbian. 😀

I have seriously considered joining ancestry.com or something to discover more. I know somebody in my family did research a little while back and found some decent info on our nacestory but for the most part it’s kinda hit and miss.

As far as my father’s side of the family goes, I know we are very very Irish. Not my grandparents but my great great grandparents on that side came over directly from Ireland. I have to confess I don’t know that much about that side of the family. My biological father left when I was 2 so all I know of him is what my mom remembers. I had briefly considered contacting him now that I am an adult. Just for the sake of knowing him as a person, but that ship has sailed. He died 4 years ago.

 

Expanding Concepts-Honor

Posted in Books, Ritual, Theory with tags , , on May 15, 2012 by theredlass

A few months back when i first started this blog, I wrote a brief, generalized article on virtues which I think the pagan community and modern society in general need to pay more attention to. I have for some time now considered expanding each of the virtues to create a more in depth concept for both my own and others consideration. Obviously this will take a long time, a lot of research, and effort, all of which I am willing to put it. That being said, I don’t want this book to be based strictly on my own opinions. I want to hear what others, especially other pagans, wiccans, witches and druids, have to say on the subject. I want you to be detailed and really give me the in’s and out’s of why you feel the way you do on the virtue under discussion.You will of course be given credit for your input and, while I can not promise any monetary compensation, I am more than happy to include blogs and books by participants in my related reading section as long as they apply to the subject at hand.

To give a bit of context, a chapter outline would go as follows:
Definition-the literal definition as well as layman terms and concepts relating to the virtue.
Cultural Significance-how different cultures view the virtue and how it has been upheld or ensured.
Examples in Mythology-what myths, as well as mythological characters, exhibit this virtue and in what manner.
Examples in Modern Literaturewhat modern characters could be described as exhibiting this virtue and how.
Examples in Media-are there any characters in movies and tv that held define this virtue for a modern audience.
Symbolism-are there any signs, symbols or attributes which relate to this virtue.
Rituals-rituals of either ancient or modern invention which help a person become imbued with the virtue.

I am looking for any and all input as well as lengthy discussion to help flesh out ideas. Remember that this work is still in it’s infancy and because of time constraints it may take a while to finish. When the parts are completed I intend to offer them on my website. If you give input that I use either by quoting you or by which helped me develop my writing, you will get a free PDF copy.

The first virtue I would like to put up for discussion is one of the most important: Honor. What does honor mean to you? How does one define it? Is it different for a man than for a woman? How does one gain honor? How does one loose it? What examples can you think of? Feel free to include anything you can think of.

Procrastination & Hesitation

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 9, 2012 by theredlass

Procrastination and Hesitation. Is there something you have been wanting to do “craft” wise and why haven’t you done it yet?

*sigh*

Necromancy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dabbled here and there. Usually on Samhain where I leave an offering of fruit, alcohol, incense and flowers out and I open my house up as a rest stop for the traveling spirits of the dead. Last Samhain I took things a step further and walked to the cross roads (you know down the street), and left an extravagant offering as well as opened myself to communing with the spirits. I got a little tingle and a sensation of being watched.

But I’ve always wanted to delve a little deeper. Now, what has stopped me? Honestly, I’m not a necromancer. It’s a finite art and requires a stronger degree of study and knowledge than I have. I consider myself an amateur healer. The faces of my gods are Sirona, Brigid, Apollo, Aceso and their like. However it has occurred to me recently that if I want to progress as a healer, I need to respect the darker side. Healing is not just the process of maintaining the quality of life and improving it, but respecting the power and inevitability of death. To understand that, you have to allow it to be a part of your learning process.

You have to accept death in your life. Not just that but you have to seek out an intimate relationship with it and let it become your teacher.

Easier said than done. Not to mention it’s a heady proposition. I guess I just don’t feel trained enough to do something like that. Plus there is the prospect of fucking up entirely and inviting something in that I don’t want and can’t get rid of.

It comes down to this. If anyone tells you they have never been afraid of the dark, they…are… LYING. No 5 year old sat there in the dark of their room during a thunderstorm and laughed while they talked to shadows. As an adult you can reason with yourself when you wake up from a nightmare that the darkness contains nothing and that noise in the kitchen was likely one of your 3 cats getting into a fight.

As a witch, you know there is something in the dark. You know it watches you, not necessarily with malice, but watches you none the less. You are not always aware of its presence, but it can make you aware. When you get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water and you feel that firm, relentless heaviness in the air and a twitch in your shoulder. When you distinctly hear someone say something and you are the only one in the house.

Don’t lie to me and say you don’t get a little freaked.

I want to develop further. I want to progress both on a practical and magical level. But when it comes to something like this, you would be stupid not to have a certain sense of trepidation before you just go right on and do it.

12 Month Challenge-via M.Shaffer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 6, 2012 by theredlass

The concept here is that once a month for twelve months, participants will blog an answer to one of the following essay questions. I got a peek of it on M.Shaffer’s blog and thought it sounded like a good idea. These are topics I have often had swimming around my head from time to time and it’s nice to find an outlet to present and discuss them.

Questions:

1. Procrastination and Hesitation. Is there something you have been wanting to do “craft” wise and why haven’t you done it yet?

2. Ancestors. Many Pagan paths choose to honor the ancestors in one way or another. The question is how well do you know your own ancestors? Pick some one from your Family tree and write a short biography about them.

3. Blast From the Past. Most Neo-pagan paths draw inspiration from one or more ancient cultures. What ancient culture(s) inspire you and why?

4. Divination. Do you believe in and / or practice divination? Why or why not?

5. War of the Sexes. It is not uncommon to find gender exclusive groups within the pagan community. Do you think this practice  is healthy or harmful to the pagan community?

6. Astral Travel. Do you believe in and/or practice astral travel, why or why not?

7. Summer Blockbuster. If you were to create a pagan movie what would it be about?

8. ET and Alters. Where does the idea of aliens fit in to your spiritual believes?

9. Schools In. If some one was to approach you about teaching them about paganism how would you handle it? What would your lesson plans look like?

10. Alternative History. Pick an ancient culture and write a short story about what the world would be like if that culture never lost its momentum or got conquered.

11. Pyramid Power, Healing Crystals and Telepathy Oh My! Pick a fringe topic and discuss it.

12. Day Dream. Pretend you have created your perfect coven describe what it would be like and how it would be ran.

Happy Pagan Coming Out Day…or not

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2012 by theredlass

That’s right folks! We’re going to follow in the steps of homosexuals everywhere and have a day where you feel pressured to reveal something deeply personal about your life to friends and family thus creating an implied tone of shame if you don’t!

Sarcastic enough for you?

Okay, in all truth I can understand why some pagans are skeptical about the concept of an “Out of the Broom Closet” day. We are, in many ways, a group which prides itself on the concept that religion should not be an overbearing force in ones life. It should be a spirituality, not an obligation, and is in general like this brilliant sign:

Image

So it seems a bit hypocritical that we pick a day to wave our pentacles around and make a spectacle of ourselves. I run into the same hypocrisy with myself when I go to gay pride festivals. We want to be seen as normal, average people in society but I’m not quite sure how speedos, rainbow flags, half naked women (yeah not complaining about that part too much) and roller-blades facilitates that end.

Yeah it’s shocker that a lot of pagans are posting today about how it isn’t necessary to share your faith with people like it’s open for discussion. But at the same time, how do we make people aware of who we are, what we are, and what we do without tipping our hands? How do we move into mainstream society (those of us who are interested) and become accepted without making a big fuss?

The problem comes from the fact that we live in a society of extremism. Our culture is overly fond of labeling so as to confirm a preset concept of who and what a person. We aren’t interested in deeper knowledge, developing an understanding or really getting to know one another. It’s so much easier to read the Cliff’s Notes version which will help you pass the test than to develop your own opinion.

Now that my rant is out of the way, lets’ get down to it. I do not come out of the broom closet unless specifically asked or unless the topic comes up in conversation. I don’t wear a pentacle (used to but found out that doesn’t swim too well in interviews) but I do wear a triquetra. I have an overall preference for the symbol because of the multiple means which can be derived from it plus people can see it as Catholic, Irish pride (which I do have :D) or the rare one will know what it means and offer me the usual Blessed Be.  When I do end up in a conversation about faith, I try to keep it to a minimum with the understanding of respect for both my faith and that of the others I discuss it with. 

That being said, I do like conversations about faith. I like getting past the whole proselytizing and preaching and get down to how people really feel. Understanding the differences between us and respecting them without altering who you are is a fundamental process.