Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Basics pt 1

For anyone starting out in Wicca, witchcraft, paganism, etc:

Witches creed:
With harm to none, free will to all

I've seen a range of variations but no matter how you say it, there's a basic rule. Don't harm anyone with your spells, remember that all are to have free will in what they do. Personally I like to add: and by the rule of three, so mote it be.

The "rule of three" essentially means that what ever I send out, I'm prepared to receive three times the effects. So if I'm wishing a world of hurt on someone, I best be prepared to receive 3 times a world of hurt. Simple really.

The "so mote it be" is said to be borrowed from the Freemasons. I say it to reaffirm my request and to end the circle/spellwork. It's a way of saying, "because I wish it so, it will be". However you want to phrase it is up to you.

Now that we have those established the basics and you've gotten the traditional warnings out of the way I have one more:

Be careful what you wish for! You just might get it.

I know that sounds silly but it's true. Dabbling in magic isn't helpful. Most people see some results then end up hurting themselves or others. Also, be fully aware of how your request could turn out.
Asking for a great man is all fine and dandy but if that great man belongs to someone else, your world wont be all that rosy.

I could go into detail at great length but the likelyhood that anyone would read it all and be fully aware of the gravity of the situation is miniscule. So instead I'll say this:

Remember that the deities (Gods and Goddesses) don't see time and language the same way you do. Be very specific and precise in your wording and intent! Now that that's been said, lets move on.

If you're looking for teachers or advise there's plenty of websites and local pagan shops. I suggest checking out witchvox. It's one of the largest and most used sites I've seen to date. 

For reading or other webpublished articles check out Patheos's pagan portal. Fabulous authors and great information.

There's a great number of books for beginners from Silver Ravenwolf's how to ride a silver broomstick to wiccan for dummies.

Pagans and students

I have been a pagan since I was about 16. By then I'd been raised in the Christian church and fully trained in the teachings of Christ. I was also raised by a single mother that had liberal views on certain things. A devout christian woman, she taught me visualisation, little poems, and herbal remedies. It wasn't until I was reading a book on witchcraft that I realised that this woman so devoted to Jesus was infact teaching me bits of the craft!

The more that I studied the more these little bits of knowledge became helpful and clarified the teachings. Being a pagan for more than 15 years, I wonder how others came to the path. I recently encountered a youth online that proudly declared they are a witch but knew nothing of the craft. Not even basic circle casting. They plainly proclaimed they didn't know anything about what to do. They'd checked out a few beginner books but didn't understand any of it.

I was shocked and appalled. I wondered at this person's motives in declaring themselves part of something when they didn't know fully what that meant. Then I looked at myself. What does being a witch/pagan mean to me?

When I tell others that I'm a Witch or that I'm Pagan, I'm not doing so to be rebellious or to make Christians (the traditional Pagan foe) uncomfortable. It's just part of who I am. I see my faith as devoutly as the preacher at the local church. When I talk to my gods, it's the same as that preacher praying to his. When I cast my circle and do my spellwork it's another form of prayer.

I also realized that I don't just do circles and spells. I do daily devotional studies, meditation and prayer. I converse with my gods and speak to them as closely as I do my friends.

I suppose that's what got me fired up. I contacted them saying that I'd be happy to educate in little bits when possible. The person quickly lost interest and that's fine. We all have our paths to follow.

But it got me thinking, Here's today pagan questions:

How hard is it to find resources when you are starting out?
How do others come to the craft?
Did you have teachers or did you learn on your own?
Is there a set path that you follow?
  • if so who created it? What is it's history?  
  • and if not, how did you create the path you follow?
My answers are below:

How hard is it to find resources when you are starting out?
I was blessed in that I had a teacher that offered me lots of books and resources. She was a wealth of information. I also had others that came into my life in order to help me on my path. 

Did you have teachers or did you learn on your own?
As mentioned, I had teachers up to a point. Then I sought my own path, chosing which parts I believed and which I didn't.

Is there a set path that you follow?
  • if so who created it? What is it's history?  
  • and if not, how did you create the path you follow?
There are traditions, and schools of thought but for me, I follow pantheons. My ancestors are Irish/Norse so I have relied on them but I have found that the greek gods are familiar and comforting. I have dedicated myself to Aphrodite for most goddess worship. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Roommates and religion: Practising with someone else in the room

As with most pagans, my home is my sacred space. It's a small one bedroom apartment and until recently I was the only occupant. This meant that my alter could live in the living-room and no one really noticed it or upset it.

This has all changed now that I have a roommate. He moved into my little apartment and is living on the couch until we find a good 2 bedroom apartment. I adore my roommate and he's been rather accommodating to our situation but it has meant some adjustments more than just making up a cleaning schedule.

Prior to his moving in, I transferred all my alter/books/supplies into my bedroom and created an alter there. I'm not a big fan of the alter in the bedroom for purely mental roadblock issues (I'm neurotic about certain spiritual issues). I'm getting over this but it has made me ponder, how do others do it?

Being a solitary practitioner has been simple enough being that I was single and lived alone. If I wanted to do a ritual or spellcrafting, I did it. Only real difference now being that I plan and schedule around when the roommate will be home.

If you live in the broomcloset, how do you celebrate or perform ritual? Is your home your sacred space?

One of the biggest things I did was provide the roommate with the "this is my religion and while I know you joke about everything, this is serious to me. Please respect that" speech. Oddly enough, he was completely respectful and supportive.

The other alternative is to go out into the community and find others to do ritual/celebrate sabbats with.
If you're unsure of where to go, there's plenty of online resources. I prefer witchvox although there are some great groups on Meetup.com

So what methods to you use to cope with a non pagan roommate?