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Posts Tagged ‘religion’

prayer pine

Last week my small town farming community experienced a tragic event. A trailer fire broke out during a girls’ slumber party killing 4 girls and a woman. We, as a community, gathered together to help pay for funeral costs and support the families who lost children.

On Monday my heart ached for the students returning to school after spring break who had lost friends and so I did a ritual in honor of those who had crossed and those who were in mourning. I’m sure many people across our area sent prayers in their own way, too.

I anointed a pink candle (for female energy) with lavender oil (calming) and cut some fresh pine branches (renewal) to decorate the base of the candle holder. Songs were sung. Prayers were spoken. Healing energy was sent.

I hope that our community continues to heal and remember. We all are hugging our children a little more often and a little more longer.

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(sign my friends and I put up along a highway for Pagan Pride Day)

Rewind my life about eight years ago…

I had been assistant coaching high school color guard with a respected older role model in my life for years and I was afraid to tell her that I was Pagan. I was afraid to tell anyone at that point. I grew up with so much discrimination because of my faith in my own family that I was convinced everyone else would despise me too if they knew my true religious identity. And then one day one of my pentacle wearing friends visited me at practice and the other coach made a comment after my friend had left. It was then that I made a decision: I am not going to hide who I am anymore. I told her I was Pagan. You know what happened? Not what I initially expected: because she was actually pleasantly surprised! She said that she had met a Pagan couple on her honeymoon and that they were the nicest people she had ever met! A few years later she came to my handfasting and enjoyed herself.

If it hadn’t been for that one experience with that nice Pagan couple, this important woman in my life could have responded much, much differently. I am so grateful  for all of the friendly Pagans and Wiccans before me that have been proudly out of the broom closet. Wicca and Paganism is still very, very new for our society to grasp. Often new= scary.

The other day I was in my graduate school classes and we were talking about multiculturalism, tolerance and diversity appreciation. When the teacher asked us to name different subcultures someone mentioned Earth Based Spirituality. The teacher went on to use that as an example of how we are going to have to be understanding of different beliefs, “like Wicca”,  to be effective counselors. Looking around the room made my heart sink. A look of disgust swept across one woman’s face and I wanted to cry and yell at the same time. The subject was quickly changed but I knew that once the subject came around again I would reveal my religious identity for the sake of educating everyone in the classroom about my faith, like I had so often done during my undergrad. This is not a small task to be open. I risk  losing the respect of some of my professional peers and professors.

There are so many stereotypes that can hurt us. The most common is that Pagans and Wiccans  are either evil or are just a big joke. Both perceptions are hurtful and highly disrespectful.

Watch this shocking video to see the media openly mock Pagans and Wiccans:

http://www.causes.com/actions/1733105-demand-fox-news-apologize-to-pagans-and-wiccans?recruiter_id=46939271&utm_campaign=own_timeline&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb

I wanted to slap these ignorant reporters after watching this, but I thought back to that mysterious “nice Pagan couple” from before that had so willingly helped pave the way for me to be accepted. These reporters had never known any Pagans or Wiccans, but I am willing to bet you that they actually had- but the people were still in the closet about their identity. I know a lot of openly Pagan people, but it would shock you to know how many more people I know who are Pagan and do not tell others. I am not judging them, it is their own business why they want to stay in the closet. My only point is that there are way more Pagans out there than people realize!

If you are out of the “broom closet” I want to give you a big hug! It is only through exposure and advocacy that  people can begin to tolerate and accept us. The public needs to see that we are a diverse population with varying personalities, education levels, ages and ethnicities. It can be a scary thing to be out, and we won’t be able to win everyone over, but simply wearing a goddess or pentacle necklace in public can lead to wonderful conversations with people who are generally curious. Let’s not let the few intolerant “bad apples” of the crowd deter us from being open if we really want to.

~Blessings,

Cicada

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The journey of the Heart takes us deep within our souls

and leads us to find that we are reflections of each other.

  One year ago from today a friend and I began the blog, Witching Wildwood and it fulfilled my outlet for all things spiritually witchy and kept track of our ritual adventures. Then something interesting happened along the way. The only words I can use to describe it is my heart expanded. I began to feel open to all paths of spirit. I began to see love as infinite.

I still adore the pagan path that I have been on since I was 11. I still honor the Goddess when the moonlight shines pale blue on a field of snow and when a deep cave reveals a secret crevice to me to rest and soak in her silence. I still sing of mystery and magic and feel the pull to greet the summer’s sun with bare feet dancing in dew-drip valleys. I still am a witch, and so Witching Wildwood will continue as always…

And now my spiritual path has led me to focus on something that is so expansive but simple that I felt the need to create an additional blog dedicated to it:

LOVE!

Feel free to join me in my new additional blog: Love is My Spirit

I want to explore love as Infinite Spirit. I want to celebrate people who have radiated this force so strongly that their actions helped shift the world, even if their action was so simple that it influenced just one person to open their own heart. I want to create and experiment with Love by awakening it in my own home, city and world community.

When we truly love, we are in harmony not only with our beloved but with all living things. Love is blind, insofar as it makes no distinctions but extends to everyone and everything.

-Living Yoga, edited by Gearg Feuerstein and Stephen Bodian

I have began dreaming about all different religions. I feel like peeling off a COEXIST bumpersticker and adhering it to my soul. How can I live more alive and serve love? How can I channel this energy that is an extension of the connection between us all? These are the questions I am asking.

In this blog I also post up my public art pieces that inspire positivity. I’m planning on having an adventurous year doing these anonymously in my community and am wanting to feature other people who do the same! Welcome!

Many Blessings for your 2013 and Happy One Year Birthday to Witching Wildwood!

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Hathor, goddess of music, is the oldest Egyptian deity depicted in art… Sacred to Hathor and a symbol of her power, the systum was like a miniature temple where the goddess resided… In Egyptian mythology, Hathor is the heavenly cow who nurses the newly dead from her udder. Her pillar-like legs hold up the sky. Her belly is filled with stars. At dusk, the sun, as the hawk Horus, flies into her mouth. She is called Lady of the Stars, Lady of the Sycamore, Mistress of the Desert. She is a goddess of healing and of all things sensual: the touch of a lotus petal, the taste of a pomegranite, the sound of a harp, the scent of musk, the intoxication of red barley beer, the silky fluids of sex.   ~Susan Elizabeth Hale in Sacred Space, Sacred Sound (wonderful book!)

Reading this description of Hathor, I felt like she was already in my life, weaving music sensually into my dreams and magic. And so, she must be honored. This is just my preliminary research on her so I can work a ritual for her properly later. You, the reader, gets to explore her mysteries with me!

Her form has cow ears in ancient art. Some also see the connection of the shape of her head and ears to that as the fallopian tubes and uterus. She is great mother and her temples served as centers of healing, birthing chambers, libraries and sacred bath rituals where incantations were spoke in trance-inducing ways.

She was a sexual goddess and was ritually united with her lover, Horus, every New Year along the Nile. Her golden statues were anointed, fed and dressed, similar to Hindu practices. Myrrh was burned and praises were given in thanks for the fertility of the land. Her cow horns held the Sun God within it’s hold.

Hathor is the “Misteress of the West” because she welcomed the souls of the dead into the afterlife. Both priests and priestess served her, royalty and land folk, too. She was seen as Lover, Wife and Mother and was similar to Aphrodite in many ways. Music, joy, sex, milk… all was connected to Hathor.

If anyone else has information for me, I would love to know it! Egyptian magic is not yet familiar to me.

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Language is what defines our reality. In a postmodernistic view, where reality is subject to everyone’s own perceptions, language helps form our realities and can be different for different groups and individuals.

Words convey symbols. But what one word may convey to one person, can mean something so different to another. (Just think of all the connotations connected to the word “magic”).

It seems that with all religions, everyone has a word for God, but the words themselves do not match.

In fact, I personally think the word “God” is still too limiting to what it is I feel the Infinite Spirit represents. The word God feels so human to me. I once read in a Hindu scripture (can’t think of exact one) that people need a personal view and an impersonal view of God, so all the deities help a person connect to God, as there is a humanistic image of He or She, the impersonal view is called Atman (God within) and Brahman (God outside of ourselves). The goal is realizing that they are identical.  I like this perspective, as do many.

However, the word God, or even Goddess, is still limiting in it’s symbolic form. At least for me. Even if I try to connect to the impersonal God, I still end up imagining this old dude in the sky. Some people have an androgynous form of God they like to connect with, but it is still so human. Here’s the thing… out of all the hundreds names for God, what is it that God really means? What is it that God is?

=

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~LOVE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If everyone could just accept this about everyone else’s gods, this would be the start of peace.

If everyone could just place LOVE on their altars, we would have the ultimate ideal for our lives.

LOVE is limitless. It has infinite forms. This is why there are so many deities and ideas of what they are. The world needs so many forms of Love. From the love of creativity to the love of the future generations to allow for death. Love is why we are here. Even if your parents conceived you from what most would deem as loveless sex, you were still conceived because they desired connection.

LOVE IS CONNECTION.

I am not saying I’m giving up on paganism or the God’s. Since love is infinite and we are part of this Infinite energy then there are many forms. Just like there are many, many people born to serve Love in many ways (teachers, musicians, librarians, leaders, garbage truck drivers, mothers, morticians, acrobats, etc…) there are many deities needed to serve Love in many ways  (Allah, Kali, Diana, Jehovah) and yes, many saints and prophets and wise ones (Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Mother Theresa, You?). And let’s not forget about the animals and plants of this world!

Thus, I am a servant of Love. I am love and you are love.

So Blessed Be

Picture by

http://www.cianellistudios.com/spiritual_paintings.html

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Do not despair, but Dance!

Do not weep, but Dance!

Do not tremble with fear, but Dance!

Do not forget- Dance!

It is the first promise and the first lesson in one.

From the beginning of time and unto the end, which are, after all, the same-

to be a Witch is to dance.

And remember your Shadow dances with you.

                         ~ Veronica Cummer, Sorgitzak Old Forest Craft

There are four aspects of being. ~Physical (Earth) ~Emotional (Water) ~Intellectual (Air) and ~Spiritual (Fire)

The first three are well-known in know-how. When drained physically, one must rest, eat well and exercise. When weak emotionally, one needs to figure out what it is that is draining them, take a break from it and often face one’s own Shadow aspect. Also, to nourish one’s heart, often a connection is needed… either through counseling, a friend, or just simply to connect back to one’s self. When tired mentally, a rest from over- stimulating intellectual endeavors is needed and maybe a little distraction.

But how does one go about rejuvenating the Spirit within? Often this is confusing to even self-diagnose because the symptoms of a spiritual drain can seem like physical, emotional and intellectual issues. And often, the prescription needed tends to fall into the categories of the others.

Everyone has a spiritual aspect that needs nourishment. I know an atheist who gets her spiritual needs met by living ethically and seeing a field full of beautiful, twinkling fireflies at night. Some Christians may feed their spiritual side by going to church or praying. For everyone, it is different. However, it is important to know what it is that you need.

For this busy witch, I need the spontaneous moments of making love in the woods. I need to sleep under that stars every once in a while. I need to dance. I need to trance. I need to remember my dreams.

Witches can easily become drained spiritually. For one thing, we are often delving into situations that require a lot of our energy. We walk between the worlds often and to be awakened in both means to inhale and exhale spiritual energy… give and receive. Sometimes we are hermits, making magick in our own little dark caves. Sometimes we are participating community sages, even if some of us are still in the broom closet, I don’t know one witch who doesn’t send healing energy to a friend in need or feel a twinge of remorse for the raccoon that lies silent on the edge of the roads….

We must live in balance like the sky holds steady the day and night. We must know how to nourish the soul.

~Cicada

image from: 1stwebdesigner.com

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PSG

Heading out soon for my fourth Pagan Spirit Gathering! Every summer solstice Circle Sanctuary organizes this week-long gathering open to Pagans of many paths. Hundreds of people have been attending since 1980. I’m in store for sweat lodges (all done responsibly), workshops, bonfire dancing, daily community rituals, pagan concerts, camping, morning yoga sessions, mead tasting, drumming and a humungous, ginormous candlelit labyrinth! My kids love the children activities and playing with others. As a family we attend live concerts every night. I can’t wait to drift of to sleep to the sound of drumming in the far background. I’m hoping to meet new people, too!

Every year there is a magickal gift exchange. This is a great activity for any group of people, no matter your size. Everyone brings a magickal item they do not want anymore and wraps it simply so that it does not show what the item is. Then, after placing the item within a circle, everyone goes around a few times to set the intention of getting what you need and then choose one and sees what they get! This is the second year that I’ve crafted my own gifts to give, one for me and one for my husband. I just got done making the black, maroon, blue and purple cord-wrapped wand. There is a bumpy reed within it and golden coral sticking out the top. The jingle-rattle is made with some of the pine wood I had to recently trim off of our tree to make room for a fence. I’m also going to be placing a small bag of healing land spirit food to be scattered or burned (mullein, tobacco and orange native wildflower).

The Yard

This Sunday, after working for three days, my husband and I finished putting up our fence!!! This deserves all those exclamation points because no more chasing around my toddler to keep him out of the street, no more stopped cars to google over me while I do yoga or cast circle and no more worrying about stray dogs biting my five year old. The six-foot tall fence is going to allow us to do anything we want. Sunbathe naked? Go ahead! Make love under the stars? OF COURSE! Summon spirits by a bonfire? Yes! (Okay, well this may not be new, but at least I can do it with style now). I already have a faerie shrine under a tree and an outdoor temple, but as soon as I get back from camp I’m going to be adding a walkable labyrinth and more herbs (already have lady’s mantle, thyme, lavender, lemon grass, catnip, garlic  and lemon balm growing).

                   

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