Just an FYI this site will be going down for maintenance in the next couple of hours. Should be up by tomorrow. I apologize for any incovenience.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What Pantheon Should We Follow?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I had a very interesting comment earlier today (Thanks Deidra), that inspired me to write this post. But first I think that I should explain a little about what I believe. Although I classify myself as a Wiccan, I am a very eclectic practitioner. It is my belief is that in the beginning, we were created and put here on the Earth as one people, with one language and one religion. And over time we were split up, winding up as we are today. So I have made it my life's mission to uncover the ties and common threads between the world's religion, both current and ancient.

This being said, the comment asked about whether it was OK to follow deities of different faiths and not convert. The example given was Kuan Yin, which is one of my personal deities. So my answer it that I believe that you should follow the deities of whatever pantheon you feel drawn to, even mixing pantheons if that is what works for you. For in the end they are all just different faces of the Goddess and God, which in turn are just parts of the Universal Creator.

Blessed Be!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Pagan Virtues -- Precision

Monday, September 29, 2008
Precision. Such an open ended word. What exactly is meant by it in this context? We can define it as the act of being precise and accurate. But I don't think that it is enough of a meaning to answer the question. Rather I would say that precision is being precise in thought, word and action. Meaning that we should strive to be unambiguous in speech and action.

To many people I have met seem to have a problem just speaking their mind. We couch ourselves in half truths and hesitate to speak our minds. Instead we should be upfront and honest with first ourselves and then with everyone else in our lifes.

I have just finished reading a book, called 'Fierce Conversations.' This book does a great job of addressing the benefits of being "real" in our conversations, with real world examples and exercises and lessons. If you have ever wished that you could find the courage to speak your mind, then this is the book for you. For if we are not precise then how can people know what we mean or want.

Blessed Be!





Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ancestors. To Worship or Leave Out?

Sunday, September 28, 2008
One of the more unique parts of my spiritual tradition is the veneration of ancestors during my rituals. In my circles I call five points instead of the normal four, the fifth being the ancestors, "those who have gone before us and shall come after us." By this I mean both my ancestors and descendants.

This idea of ancestor worship and veneration goes back to ancient times and is found scattered all over the world, from the Chinese to Africa. But there is one common thread that can be found in almost all of the traditions; the inclusion of food as an offering.

Now I can understand that this may be tough for some of us, especially in America. Many times our families are scattered far apart and, even if we live close, we do not hold the bonds of family very high. In other words many of us are not close to our family. And why is this a problem? Well if we do not know where we came from then we cannot truly understand what makes us tick. And to use the old cliche, if we don't know the past how can we know where we are going in the future?

So I encourage you to take the time to say a prayer honoring your ancestors, during your rituals. To reach out and reconnect to your family. Listen to their stories and you might even learn something. And of course your ancestors don't have to be blood related. One of the ancestors of my Family Coven is a good friend that we adopted into the family at the end of her life. Her words and brief time with us still touch us all today.

Family Coven is a trademark of FWTI


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Building Family Traditions

Thursday, September 25, 2008
If this is what you are seeking to do, then you have already what is the first step. You found this blog. OK, all joking aside. There are a few other things that you can do. And I figured the best way to tell you is to explain my own Family's tradition.

I am an avid fan of food and as such food and eating is the center of much of my tradition. We also have a grapevine wreath and a family altar that we decorate to honor the Sabbats and the changing seasons.

I try to do at least one holiday appropriate activity for each Sabbat with my youngest, Lassair. Here some examples. For Yule we sing carols, for Ostara we paint Ostara Eggs. Keep tuned in here and check out the archives, lower down on the right, for more ideas.

We hold ritual for the Full Moons together as a family and the Sabbats as well. We have started Lassair on bedtime prayers and we watch the stars and the changing of the seasons. We have built a strong system of Pagan Ethics and we teach them to the children as well.

These are just some ideas and things that we do. In fact our tradition, since Lassair is so young, is just beginning to take a solid form. Over the following years I will chronicle the growth of this tradition. So again I encourage you to subscribe and stay tuned for more info. And if you have any traditions that your Family engages in, please feel free to comment below.

Blessed Be!   


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Role of the Mother Priestess

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Yesterday I covered the role of the Father Priest, and today I want to cover the other side of the coin; what the Mother Priestess does. She is the nurturer and the light of the Family Coven. And as the moon guides us through the darkest night, the Mother Priestess can do that for the other members of her Family Coven.

She is also a protector of her children and the shoulder that they cry on when they fall (whether physically or otherwise). As she is supported by the Father Priest, so is it her role to support Him. In my Family Coven I take much responsibility on my shoulders. I work the most and manage the money and subsequently I blame myself for things not ending on the right note, for not being able to give my family everything they want. And it is my wife, as Mother Priestess who knocks sense back into me and helps me to overcome. And for this I am greatly appreciative.

But what else does the Mother Priestess does? She can be the initiator of the young girls into young adulthood. She is the reflection of the Goddess in all her aspects, not just in the Mother aspect. She shows Her sons how to treat a lady and Her daughters on how to act and how to expect to be treated.

With the Father Priest, She helps to establish the ethical code of the Family Coven. And works to instill those core values into Her children. Along with this She is the teacher of the young minds on the lessons that only a Mother can give. The ability to nurture, and to feel, to have compassion and instinct.

I know this article isn't long, but I have a very limited experience on being a Mother Priestess, if you know what I mean. So to all the Mother Priestesses out there, please comment and let us know what you all do to help in the spiritual upbringing of your children.

Blessed Be!   


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Role of the Father Priest

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I wrote an article back in the beginning of this blog on the role of a Pagan Father. So I have kind of covered this topic in the past. But I wanted to write this article anew since my views have changed slightly since then.

First I must say that the idea of the Family Coven along with the Father Priest and Mother Priestess, comes from FWTI (Family Wiccan Tradition International). A wonderful organization that was founded by Lydia Crabtree. So all respect must be given to her, for introducing me to the idea of Family Covens and all that they involve.

It is my belief that the a Father Priest has the responsibility to support his family's Mother Priestess. But support her in what? Well the short answer is; In building the traditions of the Family Coven. I am hesitant to begin speaking of gender roles, because I am not a sexist. But I believe that women and men are different and have different and unique energies to bring to any task and especially in the creation and upbringing of children and in the building of their spiritual tradition.

In my Family Coven, since I write this blog, I am the creator of lessons for the children and some of the traditions. And I bring the masculine energy of the God to my daughters. It is a responsibility that I take very seriously, since how their experience with the opposite sex will begin with me.
Me and my wife are a big fan of the old-school views on husband and wife, with a modern twist of course. We both work and both share household chores. But she takes more of a responsibility in the daily raising of the children, while I take more responsibility in providing and tending to the support of the family. While we came to this arrangement naturally, looking back I saw that in Wiccan mythology the Goddess (Mother) is nurturing while the God (Father) was the provider. But this doesn't mean that I do not nurture my children. For I am a firm believer in balance. We all have Goddess and God within each of us.

So what should the Pagan Father look like in your Family Coven? Well that answer will be different as each of us. I believe that he should take on the masculine role as teacher and leader but embrace his "inner Goddess" so to speak. He should seek to be balanced. Strong but flexible. Loving but stern. The epitome of maleness but still in touch with his inner feminine. I seek to be the best provider, teacher, healer, rock of strength, meter of discipline that any person can be. I am far from perfect but I try my best to be just that.

On a side note: this is something that I see lacking in Wicca and Paganism at general. There are good fathers but there are not, or at least very few, good Pagan fathers. Too many I have met in Paganism just kind of drift along with the flow of people around them. Men for some reason are not deeply involved in Paganism. They do not try to be leaders. Although through networking I have found a few that I know are great fathers. But this is just a pet peeve of mine, one that I won't cover this day.

I would be interested in comments, below, for any of you that see anything that I left out. Or that you think should have been left out.

Blessed Be!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Pagan Virtues -- Courage

Monday, September 22, 2008
Courage defined by Webster as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. The ability to face fear and overcome it so that we can persevere. Whether that fear is a fear of ones self or of failure.
But this musn't be confused with bravery. For fools are brave and rush into things with fear and thinking. But wise people are courageous and overcome adversity.
This is a virtue that we all should cultivate in ourselves. But how does one do that? Well that answer can not just be straight-forward and easy. Rather it is something that will vary for each of us. We must, each of us, face our fears and examine the roots of that fear.
Through this, and only this, can we learn how to defeat our fears and worries. When we do this then courage will fill the gap.
<--part 8


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Mabon!

Thursday, September 18, 2008
Happy Mabon to all of you!

Supplies:

Five Candles -- yellow, red, blue, green, brown
A bowl of water
A bowl of dirt
A feather
Musical Instruments if you so wish
Bell for each of the children participating

Ritual:

Arrange the colored candles and other items in a circle around you. In the East put the yellow candle and the feather. In the South put the red candle. In the West put the bowl of water and the blue candle. And finally in the North put the bowl of dirt and the green candle. Light these candles as you set them out. Walk with your children from candle to candle, ringing a bell as you leave from candle to another.
Start in the East and tell them that it represents Air. Wave the feather at them so that they can feel the wind.
In the South tell them that here is Fire represented. Carefully let them feel the heat from the candle.
In the West talk to them about Water. Have them wash their hands in the water.
In the North speak about the element of Earth. Let them touch the dirt.
When you return to the Center talk to them about the Goddess and the God and how they are always there. Let them know about Love and the Blessings that the Gods can give us.

Now sit with your children and tell them about Mabon, while you light the brown candle. Tell them about the journey of the Goddess into the Underworld. The story of Isis or Inanna. Take this time to tell what each of you are thankful for.

Now have some fun and celebrate. Play some music and sing some chants. Raise some energy.

When you are done spend the rest of this Sabbat enjoying a huge feast. Take a look through the different recipes that I have posted in the last few weeks or cook your own. But be sure to enjoy the bounty of the Earth at this the second harvest.
Blessed Be!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Giving Thanks

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I know that I am in danger of sounding like a broken record, but Mabon is the Pagan thanksgiving. And in my family we spend the time reminiscing over the past year and the successes and failures that we have had.
So we all gather around the table, set out with a huge bounty of food, and offer up prayers of thanks for all that we have received. This gives us an opportunity to reconnect with members of the family we haven't seen enough of and to give advice or congratulations to any who need either.
What are your family's traditions and activities at this Sabbat as it comes upon us quickly? Comment below and let us all know.
Blessed Be!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Pagan Virtues -- Sincerity

Monday, September 15, 2008
This is one virtue that I struggled to define adequately. But what I came up with was that sincerity means truth in word and act. That when you say something that that is what you mean and follow through. It goes far beyond just honesty and good follow through.
Rather it is knowing that you can do what you say and not saying what you know you can't do. I know that I keep falling back on the old cliche. But it continues to be true. Lead by example. If your kids know that you mean what you say then they will eventually seek to emulate that in their own life.
Doing what you say can be with them, either in discipline or in reward. Or it can be your interaction with the world at large.
<-- part 7 part 9 -->


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Children's Crafts -- Futhark Runes

Sunday, September 14, 2008
A good way to introduce young children to divination in an easy to understand manner, is to help them make a set of futhark runes. Then slowly over time they will learn how to read them and understand them.
Although traditionally the runes were used for magick and not divination, there are many schools of thought today that uses them as a tool for divination. To use them in such a manner you would place them a bag and draw out however many that you needed for the reading you were doing.

All that you need to make a set of runes is:
  • 24 small stones
  • acrylic paint
  • thin paintbrushes
Then the task is as simple as painting the runes on the stones. Here is a link to the individual runes and their subsequent divinatory meanings.
Blessed Be!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Making Herbal Oils for Magick

Thursday, September 11, 2008
There is nothing better in the act of magick then to use the tools or supplies that your own hands have crafted. This being said many Pagans, that I have met, seem to be clueless about somethings. So here are the basic instructions for making oils from the herbs that you have either bought or grown in your garden.
  • Select fresh, dry plants. Wipe off any dirt and discard damaged parts. You should select enough plant material to completely fill the jar you are going to be using.
  • Coarsely chop the herbs and pack them into a clean and very dry jar. Use a jar with a very tight fitting lid as some herbs will 'gas-off' which can cause oozing.
  • Pour your oil slowly over the herbs all the way to the the very top of the jar. Poke the herbs with a long, thin object to eliminate as many air pockets as possible This will reduce the opportunity for mold to grow. Fill with oil to thevery top and screw the lid on very tight.
  • Label your jar with the date and type of herbs and oil used.
  • Keep the jar on a flat surface at normal room temperature for 6-8 weeks. Leaving the herbs in longer could result in mold.
  • Pour off into a clean, very dry jar. Strain herbs through a clean piece of cloth.
  • Let sit for several days after you decant it to let any water that seeped from the herbs settle to the bottom of your jar. Pour off into a new clean, very dry jar.
  • Label your creation and store in a cool dark place.



Monday, September 8, 2008

Pagan Virtues -- Forbearance

Monday, September 8, 2008
Continuing on in my series in Pagan Virtues we come to the virtue of forbearance. So what, exactly, is forbearance? Well it is the art of self-control. Yes, I know short answer but it is the easiest to say.
Forbearance is the act of restraining oneself and not giving into our baser natures. It is what keeps us from being vicious and cruel and allows us to show compassion and love.
All good parents already teach this to their children whether they call it that or not. We teach our kids the difference between right and wrong. Some of us probably even say to them, "control yourselves."
On another level forbearance becomes the act of letting things go. To not hold grudges or to turn the other cheek. Now this doesn't mean that we should let the world walk all over us, but rather that we should not be ruled by our anger and our hate. Rather that we do not act as the world acts. One of the greatest lessons I have learned, was through becoming a Conservative. This lesson was that no one has any power over you except that which we give them. I believe that if many of us can learn this, then the world will become a better place.
If we hold a grudge against someone or we hate them in our hearts then they have been given the power to upset us. And it is us that has given them this power.
It is time for us to ourselves take this power back and to teach our children to never give it. Let us have forbearance and hold in faith that all will be the way it is supposed to be.
Blessed Be!
<--part 6 part 7-->


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mabon Crafts -- Making a Gourd Rattle

Sunday, September 7, 2008
One of my projects in the next coming months is going to be the making of a gourd rattle. I have not found a commercially made or sold rattle that has the sound that I want. So I am going to try my hand at making my own.
It doesn't look like a difficult project, so I figured I would share with all of you the instructions that I have found during my research.

Materials
  • 1 dried gourd, any shape or size, but hard and firm
  • Rattles-seeds from gourd, pebbles, beans
  • Knife or hand saw, to cut neck of gourd
  • Narrow spoon or knife
  • Dowel or stick, 6" long and the width of neck of gourd in diameter, if necessary
  • Twine or heavy string
  • White glue
  • Poster paints and shellac - for decorating if you wish
Instructions
  1. With knife, cut off the narrow end of the gourd; if neck is long enough, leave most on for handle
  2. With narrow spoon or knife, scoop out seeds and membrane inside the gourd. Save seeds for rattle.
  3. Dry gourd in the hot sun or oven at a low even temperature.
  4. When dry, fill gourd with seeds, beans or pebbles.
  5. If it's long enough for a handle, reattach gourd end with white glue.
  6. If dowel is needed for handle, place glue on one end of dowel and insert in the neck of gourd (B). Dry. Dip twine in white glue and wrap firmly around the dowel and up the gourd about 1/2" (C).
  7. If desired, paint a bright colorful design on gourd with poster paint; when dry, shellac to protect finish. Or you may leave it natural.
Hints:
A long season of drying in the warm sun and wind is the best for gourds. In colder climates the process can be speeded up by a warm oven. Be sure the gourd is completely dry before cutting otherwise it will shrink and wrinkle. In other words if you can't hear the seeds rattling then don't cut it.

Blessed Be!


Monday, September 1, 2008

Pagan Virtues -- Kindliness

Monday, September 1, 2008
Next in my series on Pagan Virtues is the virtue of Kindliness. Probably one of the easiest of the virtues to learn. So what is kindliness? Well simply speaking it is the act of being kind. And it is the end result of following the Wiccan Rede, 'An it harm none, do as ye will. For doing no harm is the end result of being kind.
But how to teach this to the children. That can be as simple as reminding them to be kind and correcting them when they stray from doing kind things. But it can be as complex as setting up imaginary scenarios and asking them what the appropriate thing in that situation would be to do.
This also has the added benefit of relieving and abating the complex known as being a brat. We have all met the children that are mean and selfish. Being taught Kindliness would be the balm that their spirit would need.
Blessed Be!