Archive for the Pagan Blog Project Category

PBP: Inner Strength

Posted in Pagan Blog Project with tags , on May 12, 2012 by The Starry Path

I´m terribly late for this one… Anyway!

What is inner strength? To me, it´s vital to my faith and should be a part of coven training. To be a good companion, we can´t expect to crack under pressure, act aggressively or get delusional. If I ever do form a coven of my own, I will emphasise it. Inner strength is needed for the discipline of Wiccan practice, for the continuity of a sometimes tough road, and for following our moral compass. Inner strength is integrity and stamina.

How do you find inner strength? I think it´s a process and a commitment to growth throughout all of your life, all the stages and aspects of your life. It surely doesn´t happen over night. Someone once said something like: “How can you expect to harvest wisdom without allowing time for sowing?”

I said it should be part of coven training, but can you train inner strength? Yes, I think so. Well, at least cultivate it. Inner strength is gained through self knowledge. Reflection, meditation, inner work and openhearted discussion are some of the keys. Learn about how you react in different situations, how you feel, what you think. Take a step back, evaluate. Think about different ways of handling it. Strength isn´t about controlling others, it´s about controlling yourself and choosing the wisest path to your goal. Strength is gentle, like resilient water. True strength doesn´t harm, it heals.

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PBP: Hestia Poem

Posted in Pagan Blog Project, Poetry with tags , on April 14, 2012 by The Starry Path

I´ve fallen a bit behind on the Pagan Blog Project. I haven´t felt inspired and I haven´t come up with any subject I´ve wanted to write about. But now I decided to research the goddess Hestia a bit, and write a poem, short and sweet! Perhaps it can also be seen as an evocation. Enjoy (hopefully)!

 

Hestia, first and last

Encircled, whole, complete

Centered in the heart

and fire of the hearth

Daughter of Rhea and Kronos

First reciever, honored one

Guardian of innermost things

Veiled flowerbearer

Bestow in my core

your sacred essence

 

PBP: Ehwaz Rune

Posted in Pagan Blog Project with tags , , , , , on March 11, 2012 by The Starry Path

Ehwaz is a special rune to me, it´s the rune that I have dreamt of most often. In the dream that I remember best, this rune glowed in the palm of my hand (in the other palm glowed Mannaz) and warded off giants.

Ehwaz is called “The Horse Rune”, representing communication and movement in both the outer and inner world. It´s a good rune for shamanic travelling between the worlds. In that sense, it´s also closely linked with Odin and his horse Sleipnir, who carried fallen warriors to Valhall. Because of that, it is also associated with death. Other qualities are partnership, trust and loyalty.

Ehwaz implies controlled change and progress, speed and momentum, as well as male-female polarity and deep friendship. The horse is also connected with sexuality, sensuality and fertility, and therefore with Frey.

Sources:

http://www.multiart.nu/grimner/svenska/index.html

http://www.runemaker.com/futhark/ehwaz.shtml

http://www.hafapea.com/magickpages/runes/ehwaz.html

PBP: Emptiness – The End of a Cycle

Posted in Pagan Blog Project, Ramblings with tags , , , , on March 4, 2012 by The Starry Path

Lately I´ve felt very ambivalent about my faith. Not whether I should desert it of not, but about my direction. Indeed, I´ve always had a lousy sense of direction! 😉

What I´m feeling is this, and I think most of you can recognize it; I´ve reached somewhat of a plateau, the end of a spiritual cycle. I´ve had approximately two years where I´ve been living far away from my coven. I´ve had to implement my coven training into my personal rites, as a detached solitary. It has been a lot of work, but fun and creative at the same time. I´ve missed working with my coven but felt that the tradition is being somewhat upheld through my practice. I´ve also discovered new ways I like to do things. Therefor, I don´t think that the time apart has been wasted, I have continued on the same path. I have done decisively more ritual these past two years than before, and many of them have been outside, which I thoroughly enjoy.

But now I sense the stirring of something new… I´ve felt a bit frustrated and empty, mixed with a sense of wonder. I feel like I know more, and yet less! How can that be? I think that more and more I have wandered away from Wicca 101 and onto the Mystic´s path, which I think is a natural progress for one dedicated to Wicca which actually is a mystery religion at its core. I´ve let go of the simple images in black and white, and as you can see in my earlier post about deity, that is an area of great indecisiveness!

Wicca 101 is safe, harmless and cute. But if I wanted that, I would rent a movie about penguins! I want the real deal and I want the challenge, growth and yes, mystery. True mystery. I want the transcendent human experience that is the ultimate goal of any spirituality. I don´t want to be fed nonsense, I want to discover for myself, but right now every step is a blindfolded stumble into darkness. One cycle is complete and now I stagger into the next, stripped and innocent.

PBP: Deity

Posted in Pagan Blog Project with tags , , , on February 24, 2012 by The Starry Path

Deity… I guess I just have to write about deity concepts for myself, because I´m struggling with it! It´s so hard and I don´t even know where to begin. How about from the beginning?

When I first encountered Wicca I was about 15 years old. It was through a book that my mother´s friend gave me. It was 21st Century Wicca (with the title horribly translated to something like “Wicca: A Young Wicca´s Handbook”. That´s right, Wicca, not Wiccan)  by Jennifer Hunter, for long the only book on Wicca translated to my language, nowadays there´s… two. She had ordered it through a book club I think, but said it wasn´t for her, maybe I would be interested? She knew I was into magic, astrology, divination etc. Well, that I was, but I wasn´t religiously inclined at all! I was spiritually searching, but not really for a religion.

I read the book, and liked the chapter on magic, but I really, really struggled with the concept of deity. God? Goddess? Whatfor, and who were they?! I actually think I gave it an honest try to wrap my head around it, but miserably failed. I didn´t want to believe, I saw myself as an atheist. Then I met my first teacher and had my first experience of deity during meditation. I felt like a loving, warm woman figure hugged me, rocked me in her safe arms. I´d never felt anything like it and it filled me with wonder. Could it be something like a God and Goddess, could it be anything out there? In that case I wanted to know! That is how it begun…

At first I theorized quite a bit, when you don´t have much experience I imagine that´s common. I´m not the type of person who just starts believing in something, without any experiences on my own to support it.  But you have to start somewhere. I saw the gods as archetypes, as part of our psyche, but also as something bigger than I could begin to grasp. I have modified a saying I once heard on TV to suit my view on deity:

Deity is always more than our desciption of it. If we don´t understand that, we don´t have the right to describe it.”

Over the years, my beliefs have evolved according to my experiences that I´ve gained through study, meditation, ritual, contemplation and discussion. I don´t think I will ever feel that I´ve capture the core of the divine, I think this´ll be a life long process and journey. I´m in a bit of a hurry, so I will expend my thoughts in a part II.

PBP: Dedication

Posted in Pagan Blog Project with tags , , , on February 18, 2012 by The Starry Path

For the letter D this week I´ve chosen to write about Dedication.

For me, dedication to my path has always been essential, because I believe that what you put in is what you get back. When you show dedication to your Gods you get their attention back in return. What goes around, comes around!

As I see it, dedication is two things. Firstly, dedication is when you make a statement, that this is the path you want to follow in life. This should not be taken lightly! It´s about letting go of something and inviting something new. That is one reason for the tradition of studying “a year and a day”,  before you dedicate yourself in Wicca. It is also a reason why most serious coven don´t allow anyone under the age of 18. There´s so much going on around that age, and not many people have the stability to focus on religion, definitely not a new one. A young person´s priorities are usually elsewhere. But in the quest to discover one´s identity, some turn to religion, alternative religion. I did, and I´ve certainly never looked back. But most people I met at that point were much older than me.

The second kind of dedication is probably the most important, and then I mean the continuous dedication to your path. Some people may surely become a bit lazy after doing a self dedication and feel that they´ve done their part. Now it´s done, right? No, my friend, it is only beginning! Dedication is not a one time thing, it´s continuous through daily practice and deepening your knowledge, wisdom and know-how, eventually to possibly serve the pagan community as a whole by teaching or sharing in some other way.

Dedication, in both regards, usually looks different depending on if you´re a solitary practitioner or  working with a coven. If you´re a solitary, you will probably at some point do a self dedication ceremony to dedicate yourself to your path. You have to design the ritual yourself, or follow one in a book. As for the continuous practice, I find it relatable to exercise: it´s easier to keep it up with the support of others. Many make new year´s resolutions, only to return to old habits after a month. It takes a huge inner drive to follow a new routine. Many beginners can keep it up a few months, but when the first surge of enthusiasm fades, they drop the ball.

If in a coven, one gets the support and guidance of others who have already wandered before you. It´s a quite different guidance than books. I started out as a solitary practitioner but later found a coven. It´s a great experience to have others make a dedication ceremony for you, letting you experience it rather than creating it yourself. It´s a touching experience. The self dedication I made a few years before was a dedication to keep on deepening my path within Wicca, while the other was more of a dedication to the coven experience. Different, but a natural succession for me! Since then I´ve also taken my first initiation, which also feels like a step in the continuous dedication on my path and to my gods.

So to summarize, I feel that dedication is very important. When I feel that something fits me right, I wanna do it wholeheartedly. Because honestly, I think that both I and the path deserve due honor that I can give by dedicating myself.

PBP: Circle Casting

Posted in Pagan Blog Project with tags , , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by The Starry Path

So, what new piece of information do I have to contribute to this subject? Probably zero! Still I´d like to muse a bit about my observations regarding the circle in general.

To begin with, the circle is a mystical figure; with no beginning nor ending, both empty and full, flat or spheric. In a circle all men are equal, none above the other, like the knights around the round table. Also, the circle formation is ideal so that voices can be heard when outside. It holds in.

When we cast the circle (indoors or outdoors) we erect a temporary place of worship, a sacred temple. We state that it is a place between the worlds, outside of space and time, and it surely is. Many of us can testify that time seems to run a lot slower. An hour of ritual feels like less than half of that time. A few years ago I met with a group of witches who would often celebrate esbats out in the woods. For some strange reason, we ended up only meeting during the winter months, so it was often snowy or at least quite cold. It was then I realized that the circle also effects temperature. I would freeze before the ritual, but when the circle was cast I would think it was rather pleasant. Same thing when the circle was opened, then I would feel the cold creeping in again.

I have wondered why this is. I have observed that I tense my body and breathe deeper in ritual, maybe it has something to do with it, I don´t know. I also experience something I can´t describe better than a pressure change, due to that plopping sound you get in your ears.

I think it was Scott Cunningham who suggested that you´d experiment with the circle, test it out. I did that once, many years ago. I draw a circle around me in my bedroom and felt its boundaries. What appeared to me then was that the circle wasn´t static, it moved around me! It was like I was the power center and the circle radiated from me and was one with me. I wouldn´t dare to say it is always like that, since I only tested it once, but it was an interesting experience. I think that in common ritual, with more will, the circle stays where you want it to.

I have a very small ritual space where I live now, it´s long and narrow. To cast a perfect circle wouldn´t really be practical because that would give me a tiny space to move. So I draw all that space as my circle. But as Dianne Sylvan wrote on the matter in her book The Circle Within, you can imagine that the energy goes beyond the walls and forms a circle.

I have mentioned will, and that leads me to the tools. I think most witches draw the circle with their athame/ritual blade, though the wand can be used for the same purpose. Here, minds are divided as to what element these two tools belong to. To me, athame is definately a tool of fire, connected to will, passion and resolution.

There are lots of aspects and nearby topics to extend on when talking about circle casting, and I could go on forever I feel but I will end here.

May the circle be open but unbroken, may the peace of the God and the Goddess be ever in your heart. Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.