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.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spirituallity Not Religion - Repost

Thursday, August 27, 2009
This an article that I wrote awhile back when I found this article. I had another article planned (don't remember what it was) but I figured that I could post at least one more time.  

This article points out the fact that children and tweens can benefit from spirituallity i.e. it makes them more happy, regardless of religious practices. To me this was common sense but I guess a scientific study was in order. This hearkens back to my blog post, earlier last year, that talked about how faith was more important than religion.

You can read the article, so I won't summarize it here. But I will say that if you have had doubts about introducing your children to Wicca or Paganism that this article may change your mind. Because even though the article stresses that religion is not important only spirituallity. For many of us Wicca and Paganism is one of the most spiritual religions that we know.

I am interested in your thoughts. So please comment below and share with all of us.

Blessed Be!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pan - WIld God or was He?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sometimes put under the same label as the Horned Lord, Pan is more well known then other Deities that fit into that aspect. And in fact has more that is known about him.
Pan has a goat's feet and two horns, and wears a lynx-pelt. He is the god of woods and pastures, and also the mountain peaks and rocky crests are his domain. He wanders along the hills, slaying wild beasts. But in the evenings he plays sweet and low on his pipes of reed, with singing nymphs or charites holding him company.
In this description I see a story about how men can, and in my opinion, should be. For too long men have been taught to be just cold stoic automatons. But a Pagan Male should be more than that, he can be the Warrior, the Hunter, the Bard, the Lover and the Peacemaker. And can do all of that without being a series of contradictions. I like to think that we all are more flexible than that.

Pan also is known more for his sexual prowess than for anything else. Yet he was also the shepherd and I have a theory that he also served at some point as a Father figure or at the very least as a God for leaders to emulate.
For, in most cases, a Father can be described as a shepherd tending to his flock or family. Facing all danger, unafraid. So that he may return to safety any family member that is lost or taken.

Meditate on this aspect also and let me know what you all think. Am I too far off base with thinking that Pan could be a Father figure? Either way just think on this Deity and what lessons he has to offer.

Blessed Be!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why are there no more Myths? - Repost

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
As a Pagan Father I have noticed that for little Pagan children there are no myths that are being taught to them. And in my opinion it is not from a lack of trying, there are just simply not any myths that are suitable for kids.
But why are myths important? To answer that question I think that we first must explore the definition of what myths are. Myths are the method and vessel by which, we as a people, try to explain our history and our beliefs. Now I know that for many of us there is very little history, either to our religion or to our own personal beliefs. But many of us have pantheons that we follow in our Craft and the stories from that pantheons will do well as myths to teach our children.
But is this all that myths are good for? Here is a list that hopefully answers that question in full:
  1. Myths grant continuity and stability to a culture. They foster a shared set of perspectives, values, history -- and literature, in the stories themselves. Through these communal tales, we are connected to one another, to our ancestors, to the natural world surrounding us, and to society; and, in the myths which have universal (i.e., archetypal) themes, we are connected to other cultures.
  2. Myths present guidelines for living. When myths tell about the activities and attitudes of deities, the moral tone implies society's expectations for our own behaviors and standards. In myths, we see archetypal situations and some of the options which can be selected in those situations; we also perceive the rewards and other consequences which resulted from those selections.
  3. Myths justify a culture's activities. Through their authoritativeness and the respected characters within them, myths establish a culture's customs, rituals, religious tenets, laws, social structures, power hierarchies, territorial claims, arts and crafts, holidays and other recurring events, and technical tips for hunting, warfare, and other endeavors.
  4. Myths give meaning to life. We transcend our common life into a world in which deities interact with humans, and we can believe that our daily actions are part of the deities' grand schemes. In our difficulties, the pain is more bearable because we believe that the trials have meaning; we are suffering for a bigger cause rather than being battered randomly. And when we read that a particular deity experienced something which we are now enduring -- perhaps a struggle against "evil forces" -- we can feel that our own struggle might have a similar cosmic or archetypal significance, though on a smaller scale.
  5. Myths explain the unexplainable. They reveal our fate after death, and the reasons for crises or miracles, and other puzzles -- and yet they retain and even encourage an aura of mystery. Myths also satisfy our need to understand the natural world; for example, they might state that a drought is caused by an angry deity. This purpose of mythology was especially important before the advent of modern science, which offered the Big Bang theory to replace creation myths, and it gave us the theory of evolution to supplant myths regarding the genesis of humanity. And yet, science creates its own mythology, even as its occasional secular barrenness threatens to strip us of the healthful awe which other types of mythology engender.
  6. Myths offer role models. In particular, children pattern themselves after heroes; comic books and Saturday-morning cartoons depict many archetypal characters, such as Superman and Wonder Woman. Adults, too, can find role models, in the stories of deities' strength, persistence, and courage. courtesy of http://www.mythsdreamssymbols.com/
Blessed Be!

Just remember that we are less then a week away from the 21 Days to the Stronger and More Spiritual Family. You don't want to miss any of this, so go ahead and sign up by Sunday. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

God of the Week - Taliesin

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Taliesin, bard of the Celtic pantheon. One of the most interesting thing about this God, is that he in all likelihood was a real, flesh and blood person. One who performed at the courts of at least three different Celtic Kings.

Here is the story of his birth, according to Wikipedia:

Taliesin began life as Gwion Bach, a servant to the enchantress Ceridwen. Ceridwen had a beautiful daughter and an ugly son named Morfran (also called Avagddu), whose appearance no magic could cure. Ceridwen sought to give him the gift of wisdom as compensation and cooked a potion granting wisdom inspiration (Awen), which had to be constantly stirred and cooked for a year and a day. A blind man named Morda tended the fire beneath the cauldron, while Gwion Bach stirred. The first three drops of liquid from this cauldron would give wisdom; the rest was a fatal poison. Three hot drops spilled onto Gwion's thumb as he stirred, and he instinctively put his thumb in his mouth, instantly gaining wisdom and knowledge. The first thought that occurred to him was that Ceridwen would kill him, so he ran away.

All too soon he heard her fury and the sound of her pursuit. He turned himself into a hare on the land and she became a greyhound. He turned himself into a fish and jumped into a river: she then turned into an otter. He turned into a bird in the air, and in response she became a hawk.

Exhausted, he turned into a single grain of corn and she became a hen and ate him. She became pregnant. She resolved to kill the child, knowing it was Gwion, but when he was born he was so beautiful that she couldn't, so she threw him in the ocean in a leather bag.

The baby was found by Elffin, the son of Gwyddno Garanhir, 'Lord of Ceredigion', while fishing for salmon. Surprised at the whiteness of the boy's brow, he exclaimed "dyma Dal Iesin", meaning "this is a radiant brow." Taliesin, thus named, began to recite beautiful poetry, saying:

Fair Elffin, cease your lament!
....Though I am weak and small,
On the wave crest of the the surging sea,
I shall be better for you
Than three hundred shares of salmon.

Elffin of noble generosity,
Do not sorrow at your catch.
Though I am weak on the floor of my basket,
There are wonders on my tongue....''

Amazed, Elffin asked how a baby could talk. Again Taliesin replied with poetry:

"Floating like a boat in its waters,
I was thrown into a dark bag,
and on an endless sea, I was set adrift.
Just as I was suffocating, I had a happy omen,
and the master of the Heavens brought me to liberty."

Also be sure to check out and subscribe to my Twenty one days to a Stronger and More Spiritual Family. It is coming up in the next week in a half as and additional email newsletter to my normal posts. I hope to see you all signed up. In case you missed it, the sign up is at the top of the page. Hope to see you all there.

Blessed Be!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Role of a Pagan Father - Repost

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I have met so many young men struggling with how to be a good father. They have the potential to be both great people and great fathers. But for whatever reason they are struggling to find their way. Whether they come from broken homes with deadbeat dads, or just dads that didn't know how to be great fathers or for any other reasons it is not their fault. All that they needed was a guide.

Yet who am I to offer advice on this topic? I am a father of two beautiful young girls; one nine and the other five. I am also divorced once and am now married to a wonderful, supportive, and beautiful woman. So since I have been a father for nine years and have worked through the trials and tribulations of raising children; Worked hard to establish traditions rooted in love and not in duty, hopefully I am somewhat qualified to comment and offer my advice on one of the ways to be not just a dad but a great dad who happens to be pagan.

So what exactly is it that separates a Dad from a Great Father? Almost any man can be a dad, all that is involved in that is enough sex to make a woman pregnant and then the child being carried to term and being born and voila the male becomes a dad. But a father, much less a great father, is involved in that child or children's personal life in a overwhelmingly positive manner. Yet so many men today are either afraid or don't know how to be whole and complete men. A man must be strong but merciful, stern but fair, no longer is it acceptable for men to be hard-asses nor should it be acceptable for men to be complete pansies and pushovers. But a strong willed man is often times feared, crucified and turned into a pariah by the women around him. And so it is often times for fathers that want the best for and out of their kids. I set my standards high for my children, hoping that they can reach that level but being comfortable with them in the meantime only reaching a half or even a quarter of this goal, as long as they continue to strive for excellence. And I am often told that I am to hard and that kids need to be kids. Yet I feel that I give them room to play and express themselves but I insist that they must learn manners and how they are expected to act while in a public place.

A lot of these comments are the result of the perception of Fathers and Men in todays culture. This perception is exceedingly negative. We are ridiculed as stupid and bumbling. The brunt of women's jokes. Yet at the same time a male is a predator. He is a nasty, vicious, hateful bigot/racist/rapist/fill in the blank. I guess the only ones who are not killing people are the ones to stupid to operate a gun or knife.
I have seen in my own life a man who is strong willed and confident in himself be lambasted by the women around him, even complete strangers. I have seen him called sexist, macho (since when was that a bad term?), egotistical, among many other things. Why is it that a strong willed man is perceived as a threat? There are bad men among us but I believe that the large portion of the problems facing us from deranged males is caused by their upbringing. If you tell a child that he is not needed by the opposite sex and in the next breath tell him that he should stop acting like a girl, what is he supposed to think and feel? If he steps out of line then you medicate him, instead of training and helping him to work through his feelings, therefore emotionally castrating him. Unable to express more than a very limited range of emotions. On the worst case he is violent and angry, on the best case he is a sobbing emotional wreck, quick to cry at every bad turn in his life. This emotional wreck is the one that stays home with Mom until he is forty, he is the one that one day because he can't afford his meds and can't control himself without them, snaps and kills a school full of people. And yes they make that choice but if you treat a child like a helpless baby and coddle him (or her) their entire life and are always there to solve their problems for them, then by definition they are codependent and unable to solve their own problems.

It is our roles as Fathers and Men to recognize this baggage in ourselves, and through faith in the Goddess and God (or whatever it is that you believe in), and through support groups if necessary, to overcome this programming, to be independent and able to make our own decisions. I used to be one of these men, quick to anger and quick to cry unable to face my problems, unable, in many cases, to even express how I felt. This cost me my first marriage but now that I have learned how to express myself with words and not through anger it has enabled me to have a serious long term relationship that is strong and continues to grow. And when we overcome our childhood training then we must teach this independence and freedom to our sons and to any and all of our friends that our ready to listen.

Now don't think that I am going to leave out the daughters of the world. We as fathers and men have a responsibility there also. They learn from us how they are supposed to be treated in their future (or current) relationships. We must teach them independence and not that they don't need men (as is often the message to little girls) but that they don't need anything or anyone in their lives that is unhealthy for them. They can have men in their lives and have deep relationships without fear as long as they seek those relationships with men that have grown up and have become true men.

So to sum up what I have said about fatherhood; A father helps to establish traditions that bring the family together and helps to hold them together. He teaches them right from wrong, teaches morality, strength and love. He is there to love and teach love. He hopefully is able to bring light into their lives and to show them that they can bring light to others through kindness. And he is also supposed to give them a basic roadmap and a how-to (if you will) of their spirituality. Not to define their faith, but to give them tools so that when they get older they can find their own faith.

So what other types of males are there? Well in my opinion the males of the world can be divided into three categories. You have boys, young males who play and have their toys and don't know how to act responsible, they are too young. Then you have guys, they are legally adults but still act like boys, they should know how to act responsible but for whatever reason they do not. They often fall into the negative stereotypes that is applied to all grown men. They are often the sexist bigots that we so often hear about. But finally you have men, a small minority of males who are true adults, able to express themselves coherently, calm and confident they are often perceived as egotistical and too macho. But they are in most cases simply trying to live their lives, trying to raise their families with the same sense of ethics and morals that they carry with them. They are stern but kind, hard but loving, strong-willed but understanding, has deep convictions but is open to compromise as long as he does not have to sell himself out.

So my challenge to you the reader is to look at yourself. What category do you fall into? What category do you wish you fell into? Ask this question of yourself whether you are a father or are going to be a father or even if you are neither; for facing yourself is the first step to being a complete human being. Hopefully since you found your way here and actually read this article to the end, you are seeking to be a real man. Complete and true. So I wish you all luck and blessings and a safe journey.

Blessed Be!

Just a quick reminder to make sure you sign up to the 21 days to a stronger and more spiritual family newsletter. This is something extra, besides my normal posts. So I hope to see you all over there. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

God of the Week - Shango

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This old god from Africa was honored as the God of Drum, Dance and Thunder. He is also one of the most popular Orishas, called Sky-Father. All of the major initiation ceremonies performed in the Americas, by the African descended religions, are based on his traditional ceremony. Which attests to his importance since it managed to survive the Middle Passage.

Since his energy from the Thunder is so dynamic and powerful he became the symbol of resistance by the Africans against the encroaching Europeans.

His dominance was over male sexuality and human vitality. In addition to being the owner of the Bata (double headed drums), he has dominion over the Arts of Music, Dance and Entertainment.

I found the following story from Wikipedia;

Shango had three wives, Oba, his first and legitimate wife, Oshun, his second wife, and Oya his concubine and the only one of his wives that he made his queen. At that time and in that place they would live in a compound. In that compound, Shango had his own house and each wife had her own house surrounding his. He would then visit his wives in their houses to eat and to sleep with them. Oba noticed that when Shango went to the house of Oshun he would eat all of the food that she prepared for him but when he came to her home he would just pick. Oba, wanting a closer relationship with her husband, decided to ask Oshun how she kept Shango so happy. Oshun, being asked this, was filled with resentment. As children of the first wife, Oba's children would inherit Shango's kingdom. Her children would not have nearly the same status, being born from his concubine. She decided to play a trick on Oba, out of jealousy. She told Oba that many years ago she had cut a small piece of her ear off and dried it. From this she made a powder she would sprinkle on Shango's food. As he ate it, she told Oba, Shango would desire the food and Oshun all the more. Oba, excited by this information, ran home to prepare Shango's amala, his favorite meal. Once it was done she decided that if a little piece of Oshun's ear produced such an effect her whole ear would drive Shango mad with desire for her and he would forget Oshun forever. She sliced off her ear and stirred it into Shango's food. When Shango came to eat he sat down and began eating without looking at his dish. When he finally glanced down he saw an ear floating in the stew. Shango, thinking Oba was trying to poison him, drove her from his house. Oba ran from the compound, crying, and fell to earth to become a river, where she is still worshipped today. As an Orisha she is the patron of matrimony and is said to destroy marriages that abuse either partner.

Blessed Be!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pagan Prayers for Children - Revisited

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
After receiving a few comments on my last article on this topic I decided that I should revisit it.

I am a firm believe in the power of prayer. Not only to affect change but to further and strengthen our connection to the Divine. But with children, especially younger ones, it is tough for them to just adlib the words and the experience. So in their case I have found it to be easier to give them a 'script' so to speak.

So here are some prayers for children and links to sites with others.

Simple Prayer for saying Grace

Lord and Lady, watch over us,
and bless us as we eat.
Bless this food, this bounty of earth,
we thank you, so mote it be.

Bedtime Prayer
found on Beliefnet submitted by RevRaven

Now I lay me down to rest
Goddess guard my little nest
Like the wee bird in the tree
Lovely Goddess, care for me.

Above, below, and round about
Keep all evil spirits out
Bless those I love, and bless me too.
Dearest Goddess, I love you.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Raising a Child in the Old Ways - Repost

Sunday, August 9, 2009
I have decided to over the next few weeks repost a few of the older articles on this site. For the benefit of those who have just recently found me. I hope that you enjoy. 

We as Pagan parents, who are striving to teach our children Pagan tenets, beliefs and stories face an uphill battle against our Christian society. The influence of this society is prevalent; evident in our media (news, tv shows), our stores (Christmas vs Yule - the prevalence of Easter etc.) and even our schools. Not that our schools specifically support a specific religion, but the students within those walls that espouse Christianity and seek to browbeat their religion into our children.

Personally to battle this I have chosen to home-school my youngest daughter. Yet this is not the only reason that I have chosen to do this. It is my personal belief that our current school system has failed our children miserably. Take for example the following; Nearly 1 in 3 high school students in the Class of 2006 will not graduate this year, as reported by the Editorial Projects in Education (EDE) Research Center. All of this has me convinced that the best way to give my child a better education without all the brainwashing is for me to do it myself.

Between evolution, global warming and how evil the Great America is; there is little left in the current American school system that I agree with. I refuse to put my children in a second rate education system that teaches the children things that I believe are based on shaky scientifical evidence at best.

Now homeschooling is not the easiest or best choice for everyone. Most parents are not prepared to make the huge sacrifice that is necessary to home-school a child. I know that eventually some things such as a new TV or a better car will take second or even third place to the education of my daughter. But I am prepared to make such decisions and sacrifices.

But this is not just a struggle against the overly Christian culture it is also a struggle against the lack of spirituality in our culture. I know this sounds like a very large dichotomy but look around you at the culture in the western world at large. Our children are not taught consequences, they are not taught how to lose with good sport. They are raised in a society with a very large entitlement mentality.

Are these really the things that you want your children to be taught? This is the school system that has succeeded in raising generations of children without spines. Generations of children that often cannot find their home state on a map.

Whether you decide to home-school or not, there still arises the question of how to instill Pagan tenets and beliefs in our children. What exactly are these things, when are they old enough to understand them? Some of these tenets I have referenced in earlier posts, but a semi-complete list would be as follows:
  •    Self-responsibility
  •    A loving and kind-hearted nature
  •    Love and recognition of the Goddess and God
  •    Respect for nature
  •    Balance and compassion
  •    The Circle of Life 
  •    The Holidays and the Wheel of the Year
These are just a few of the many tenets of paganism but the finished list is up to you. Yet the two biggest questions of them all are; How do you teach these things to your children and when are they old enough to understand them? I will cover these things in subsequent posts over the next week so stay tuned.

Blessed Be!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ancestors and Descendants

Thursday, August 6, 2009
One of the blogs that I read regularly is the Wild Hunt, recently it had a series of guest posts. One of which, written on the Ancestors, inspired me to write my own post on this topic.

For many years before I fully embraced the idea of raising the next generation in my faith, I had included the ancestors in my circle. They were given a fifth "quarter" along with the four elements. The statement I used in calling them was:
We call upon our ancestors; those who have come before us, and those who have yet to come, to join us in sacred space. So mote it be.
So to me this article, and its emphasis on Ancestors and Descendants, was a welcome one. Ancestors are something that is not oftentimes focused on in Wicca or other Pagan religions, Asatru being the one exception I know of.

I am interested to see how many of you do anything with your ancestors more often then once a year at Samhain. Please comment below and see if we can get a discussion going.

Blessed Be!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

God of the Week - Dagon

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Dagon was an ancient Semitic God. He ruled over grain and agriculture and as such he was credited with being the inventor of the plow. He was a God worshipped before Baal took over the pantheon, so there is not much known about him.

But there are some theories that he may have been half fish, much like the constellation of Capricornus. I have the theory that fish may have been used in farming,  much like it was in the Americas, to help fertilize the soil.

What little else we have about this God, lists him as Lord of the Gods. The Byzantine Etymologicon Magnum, references him as Cronus of the Phoenicians. So it is very likely that he may have been an all Father much like Anu of the Sumerians.