( Because I'd Really Like to Hear Them )
( Because I'd Really Like to Hear Them )
I find it especially troublesome because so many people tend to chalk belief in magic, in god and/or goddess to that nebulous concept called Faith. I don't believe in Faith. I do not have Faith in gods, or magic, or deity/Deity. Rather I Know that god/desses exists, and I Know that magic exists for I have had their existences proven to my physical senses as much as to any other. I am, before all things, a critically thinking human being, a seeker, a questioner, and while I do not discount a person's Faith, I find the concept of blind faith and acceptance in anyone or anything to be abhorrent, an insult to the very breath of life from which we are formed. Once one stops questioning, stops challenging, one stops growing, and that is such a terrible, cruel loss to the Whole, a loss of Potential, and a loss of Life.
Let me return, however, to the question of real vs. imaginary, and not digress upon a discussion soley of my personal path. This question continues to press at me and demand of me a better answer than I have been able to give in either written or verbal form. I am unsure if I can ever fully satisfy the question for another, but herein are my attempts.
( I make neither promises nor apologies )
morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.
harmful; injurious: evil laws.
characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.
due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation.
marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known for his evil disposition.
A friend jokingly commented on her wall that she'd been called evil, with the addition of like if you agree comment if you don't. People being how they are were both liking and commenting, but that is neither here nor there. It was all very tongue-in-cheek, very much a tee-hee sort of situation. One commenter, however, made the assertion that said friend could not be evil, because said friend is pagan, and pagans aren't evil people. Perhaps there is a subtle sarcasm in the person's wording that I am missing, but that doesn't change my immediate reaction.
That reaction? You have answered most incorrectly. You do not get to pass Go, nor collect $200.
(No I didn't post that. I'm not going to stir stuff up on a friend's page)
That was my visceral reaction though, very much a feeling of if this is what that person believes, than they are Doing It Wrong. That's like saying that Christians aren't evil, or Jews, or Buddhists, or any other sect, as if taking up the label means one is somehow immune to the temptations and tempers that can make one evil in another's eyes. That's the kicker. The concepts of "evil" and "good" are very relative concepts determined by the morality of an area's majority than by the one's personal ethics and morality.
When one examines themselves against the moral majority, even a "bad" person in society's view might not consider themselves such. For example, the husband who works long hours at a well-paying job to give his family a good living, who is always the first person to volunteer for community activities, sings in the church choir, etc considers himself a good person. If he wants recreation time with his wife, he is owed it regardless of her desires at the moment and is not above using a little force as encouragement. She is his wife and therefore his. Does he not take care excellent care of her and the kids? Never mind that what he does amounts to marital rape, he does not see it as such, and quite possibly, neither does she, depending on how she was raised.
Is that hypothetical man evil? By dictionary definition he is. He is doing something harmful to his wife, in a manner marked by anger and irritability. But at the same time he is not evil, again by the very first definition. By the standards of his raising and morality, he is neither wicked nor immoral, and he does not lead an evil life.
So how is it that by declaring oneself pagan one is suddenly exempt from the possibility of being evil? The answer is one is not. Ask some Christians and they will say that the very choosing of that label marks one as evil, regardless of how "good" a person is otherwise. There are countless examples of pagans who revealed their religion to friends and family who were instantly shunned. Not because the pagan changed his or her behavior, but because she or he changed her label. Suddenly, this person became damned and unfit to socialize with because they chose a religion that disagrees with the majority.
Evil is a relative concept. In our own local pagan community, there are so many petty, base, and deliberately harmful individuals that would test "evil" according to the definitions and it has nothing to do with those individuals' personal paths. I know some kind people who follow a truly dark path and some cruel ones who claim to follow a light one. Do not claim that because one follows a path of nature and magic that one cannot be evil. In Nature and Magic we often find the most glaring examples of True Good and True Evil extent.
I don’t actually believe in Fate.
To be more specific, I don’t believe in the classically accepted idea of Fate, the idea that a person’s path is laid out from birth or before, and that no matter what that person does, no matter what choices he makes, the drama of his life will be played out according to script. This does not mean that I don’t believe in some level of predestination; some choices carry such weight, have such far-reaching influence that the making of that choice sets one upon a path locked as surely as a knot in a thread. The only way out of such a situation is to take drastic steps, and few people are willing to hurt themselves as much as would be required.
I do believe in the concept of the Tapestry, in an inter-connected pattern wherein the lives of every living thing tangle together with purpose. No person exists independent of another. As we move through life, we leave our mark upon every person we touch. Beyond that, as I believe our souls all come from the same pool of soulstuff, it is impossible for any one soul to exist without possessing and affecting some aspect of another. If one is able to view the threads which twist and weave about and within another person, then it is possible to determine the influences upon said person. Determining the influences makes it possible to sort through the probabilities surrounding a situation and provide insight on the most likely outcome. This is what I do when I read for another person, regardless of how I do that reading. It is much like playing a game of connect-the-dots, where multiple finished pictures are possible.
The Tapestry is an ever-shifting, ever-changing, living thing. The pattern ebbs and flows like the tide. When a soul is born upon this earth, its thread is tied into the Tapestry, and yes, the expanse of that thread is stretched and fitted into the overall pattern. Major events and crossings might well be knotted into that thread, as well, and in some cases so is that thread’s final disposition, when, and even how it is to be terminated. Still, what happens between the tying and the cutting is mutable and very much in control of the person to whom that thread belongs. We may not be able to change our end, and we may not be able to fully control how other threads affect our own, but we still have free will. We have the power to determine what part of the overall Pattern our thread embellishes. If we allow other threads and their influence to weave that pattern for us, then we have done, in my opinion, the greatest insult to the Divine possible. We have squandered a Life, and there is no greater sin in my eyes.
Not, I must add, that I am not also myself. I am more myself at this moment in my life than perhaps I have ever been. In the nearly two decades since my world shattered, I have grown much. I fell, fell hard, and more than once. I don't fear falling anymore, failing, perhaps, but not falling, and even failure is not the great death that it once was for me. I am at my core a survivor. I may not enjoy what I must do to survive, but survive I will. Admittedly, survival over the past years has led me to strange places and stranger companions, but there is little I would wish away. Even the pain of that first loss must always remain for it was the catalyst for so much.
I have never been a religious person, though I have always been a student of religion. I was brought up loosely as a Christian, mostly in a "that is the way it is done, so that is the way you must do it" way. I attended many churches, mainly for the company of friends. When one grows up in the country, and Town is small in size and mind, one clutches to what social circles might present themselves, you see. I also tended the ancient triangle of oaks in the backyard, sweeping careful paths around them, and leaving the center of the grouping open for I knew not what. So while there was always some structure of religion in my life, there was always magic of a sort as well. I always felt my prayers were stronger when spoke to earth and sky rather than my folded hands at bedtime. Still, I found the structure of religion appealing at the time, nearly as appealing as the company of my friends, and so I went, and I studied, and I considered.
Looking back, I understand more of why I was drawn to the idea of a structured religion. Growing up in a household always in flux, I needed something to ground myself with, to lose myself in. It never quite took, though. I would attend or awhile, then stop. Wash, rinse, repeat. It wasn't until I was in high school that I truly realized that I attended for the camaraderie, not for spiritual enlightenment. Certainly there was something else out there, and that something else might well include a capitol "G" god, but that god wasn't something I needed or even wanted.
What I wanted was magic.
Not "cauldron boil and cauldron bubble" magic, mind- I wanted what I had as a child, the connection to light and life and dark. The road to my present as far as that connection is convoluted, confusing, and already chronicled in part in this journal. I'm rather secure in myself, in my power and in my path now, something I couldn't say but a handful of years ago. I have no religion, and I follow no deity, and I have found my magic. I suppose I have found something of a spiritual path as well, though the term leaves a poor taste on my tongue. Much like using the term Pagan to describe myself does actually- I find it overused, trite, and more or less meaningless. I'll use the words to convey the base idea of myself to others, but don't claim them for myself.
A friend gave me a gift not long ago, a rather valuable gift of a calm space. That may sound like a strange thing to say, but it is not so strange if one understands that I have no resting state. I am always in some state of low-to-mid-level agitation, unless I have managed to take enough medication or imbibe enough alcohol to put me down. It is why I don't rest much when I sleep, among other things.
I have started taking advantage of that gift, sitting outside on my front stoop, a candle on the table beside me, bare feet planted on the bricks of my small, calm courtyard as I look between a triangle of trees at my small patch of night sky. Within the house, I leave music playing, and I can just hear it through the door upon which I am leaning. My courtyard sits on a crossroad, with all that entails, and in such a place, in such a state with such steady calm I simply can't allow my mundane troubles to burden me. At the same time, I am reminded of other obligations, and grow contemplative. I am forced to admit that there are things in life I really do miss, and that, perhaps, they are worth risking myself for.
Time will tell, I suppose.
Will make a more in depth post at some point, when I'm more coherent. Now, I must go to work and do a store reset. Catch y'all on the flip side.
Just letting y'all know, and all that stuff.
On another note...playing freeze tag with your child to keep him occupied while Mom shops for an hour? Not, quite walking freeze tag. Running up and down the aisles screaming freeze tag. Sir, you fail, and had better be damn glad I had shipment in the back to work on.
However, during the course of the evening, the question was asked why, in this day and age of computers and digital information, would one even need or want a handwritten Book of Shadows. I was entirely too busy to even attempt to answer at the moment, but the basic consensus was that it just makes it that much more special and personal. However, I’ve been thinking on this for quite awhile, myself.
Most of my rituals and information is in digital form, bookmarked or saved. I also have a ton of printouts from various sources and from our book studies. My handwriting is absolute crap. It’s gotten so bad that at times I’m even stumped by some odd looking scribble. So why would I make and use my own BoS? The answer really didn’t come to me until I was making my own, and to explain it, I’m going to take you on a slightly winding path.
I can download digital books and read them on my computer screen. With today’s monitors, doing so is much less stressful on the eyes than it once was, you can fit hundreds of books on a very small “space”, and it takes little upkeep to keep your “books” in tip-top shape. Traditional written media takes up quite a bit of space, especially if you’re an avid reader, and books, despite what some think, are consumable material. The binding breaks, pages rip, tear, become brittle. Books go out of print and you can no longer replace a beloved volume. So why, then, do I continue to cling to my written media, continue to buy book upon book and devour them?
I am thirty-three. My generation grew up learning in an entirely different way from today’s. Yes, we were the start of the video game/computer wave which heralded the shift from written to visual media and thereby changed entirely the way people learn. You use different parts of the brain based on how you learn. Some schools now offer the option of getting your books on CD instead of as a book, because so many kids comprehend better when they read something off computer screen versus the printed page. A sad thing, in my opinion, but not a bad thing. It is an adjustment of the times, and I am all for anything that might result in better educated children. Time will tell if the Leapster generation really is going to be “smarter” or if the lack of written and auditory learning procedures will be a hindrance in their adulthood. I’m not touching upon the parenting and school issues here. Just discussing the way we learn.
I comprehend much better through written and auditory teaching techniques. I retain more. I am a tactile person. I enjoy the feel of a book in my hands much more than the click click of keys under my fingers. I love the sharp swish of paper pages being turned, the crack of a spine being opened for the first time. Books were my first love, and I will be forever grateful to my mother for tacking the time to teach me how to read. I was reading before kindergarten, and by first and second grade, was already well into the teen level. Books were wonderful, magical things, fantastic doorways to other worlds.
I also loved my computer and video games. Having a father who worked in developments and programming with Sony, I had access to a lot of technology well before most people. It was amazing, interactive, fascinating stuff. But it never replaced books for me.
So, why have a handwritten Book of Shadows? Why not keep everything digitally, in a form that won’t corrode, won’t become unreadable, isn’t susceptible to the ravages of the environment? Because digital media, computers are cold they have no soul, no life, no spirit which I can connect to. And please, before the technomancers get up and arms, yes, I am aware that there is an energy and life to electronic and digital forces. It simply doesn’t resonate with me.
I will keep a backup of my BoS on a flashdrive. I will reference it, most likely more than my handwritten one. But I still want, still need to write down my own Truth in my own Words, with my own Energy and Soul. Magic, spellwork, they don’t’ have to be fancy incantations, circle casting, candle burning, incense lighting affairs. There is magic in the creak of that spine, the feel of parchment, the scratch of a pen on paper. I weave a spell with words, written words, my words and my truths. It is the Spell of Me that I write in that book, the essence of my spirit and soul that I place in the weaving of that binding, the crease and folding of paper over bookboard. It is magic, real and tangible. I can hold it in my hand an know that magic is real, I am real, and no matter what may become of me, my words are there, woven into this world’s Book of Shadows.
Because that is what a Book of Shadows is. Your truths, your way in this world, and your truths are but a small, small part of the overall truth of the world and universe. That is why I make them. That is why I write.
( Because some of you probably don't care )
So have a Happy Halloween, my lovelies, and enjoy it however you'd like. Be safe.
Firstly, starting on the 1st, I'm starting a mild detox diet, which I will stay on for four weeks. I feel I've kept up with my food intake well enough over the past couple of months that I know what my pitfalls are, where I need to be careful, and what I need to make sure I add to my diet. I'm not doing one of those risky liquid fasts or anything like that. However, I am moving to an almost completely vegetarian diet for those two weeks. Protein will come from nuts, seeds, tofu, whey protein, small amounts of fatty fish, like salmon, and very small amounts of chicken or turkey (or broths made from said). Don't worry, uglygrandmother, I'll get enough protein. Yes, this means I'll be on the detox during Thanksgiving. We aren't doing the big dinner at the house this year for a variety of reasons, so I'm not worried. I can make my own Thanksgiving dinner that works with my detox menu. I will, however, likely cook up a turkey anyway, because turkey is love, and it can be morphed into a variety of dishes post-feast. Very little added sugars, refined or otherwise, very little refined flours, and I will be watching the salt intake, but I'm not using nearly the mount of salt I used to, anyway. No fast food. Lots of veggies, both raw and cooked. Lots of fruit. Water. Grains, like Quinoa and millet, brown rice
Secondly, Finances. I went into a hole for several months and simply didn't care, because I was just that depressed. Got to get on the ball and get that dealt with, one way or another.
Thirdly, Organization and Purging. Stuff. I have too much. It needs to go.
Three things. Three big, big things. But I think if I keep on task, keep focused, break them down into manageable piles, I can handle it.
I was bad and didn't attend but one seminar. The one I did attend was neat though. It was a mandala workshop, run by Lyon (who is nifty cool awesome). The vendor were rather nifty as well. Got a handmade besom from Willow, another of s00j's CD's, and some nice lip balm and hand creams. ravynfyre spoiled me mightily though, by buying me a gorgeous leather mask, a looped snake arm bracelet, one of Zaidia's (sp?) necklaces, and uglygrandmother's book. Oh, and Tiger Butter. Tiger Butter is love.
Just barely made it through the labyrinth before it winked out, and got to see Fire and Strings perform. Skipped out on main rit, because I was hurting all weekend pretty badly and consequently had been hitting meds pretty hard. My coven members are used to me when I'm doped up; the person standing next to me may not have been. Didn't want to disrupt anyone's balance and such.
What really got to me was that here are a bunch of "tree-huggin', nature-loving pagans" together in the woods- and several could not be buggered to respect the property and land. Trash and cigarette butts were left all over. This bothers me on a rather deep level. It didn't used to be that way. I think that we are not bringing up the younger generations properly and not enforcing proper behaviors as we should. I know it's impossible to really do that last; too many people, too much to do, things are crazy. But still, it rankled. So for next year, I am in charge of implementing a recycling program for Festival, and will also be placing butt depositories at every cabin.
I may also be doing kitchen with moonstone_fae's husband. >_> A lengthy discussion while waiting (and waiting) on Sat night feast has caused us both to want to step up and run that kitchen right. Be afraid, be very afraid.
All and all, a good weekend. Good people, good energy. I was hit in the head about a few things- more on that to come later. I still have to ponder out what I need to do.
I have only attended one Festival of Souls celebration with Summerland Grove. It was highly enjoyable and there is something quite intoxicating about being part of a circle that numbers a hundred or more. It just wasn't...me. I'm not big on crowds anyway, and my own practices...they do not trend toward the same vein. So attending again just hasn't been huge on the priority list.
But at the very least I will be there on
This memorial fire dance Fire & Strings will be doing will not be about mourning, but about celebration and honor. Because she does deserve such. No one is perfect; Mallorie had many faults and bore stigmas of her own choosing up until the end of her days. It is easy to be angry, to dwell on what should, could, or would. Anger can be cleansing. But anger left to simmer and ferment robs us of our life.
I have been through this cycle before. It is difficult to move on. But in the end, we choose to be stagnant and give up, or we choose to move past and grow.
So I'll be there. I'll walk the candle labyrinth and then watch the dancing flames as they pay homage to my all-too-human friend, to her triumphs and her stumbles, her smiles and her tears. I will be there. I will laugh and cry, and I will know that she is not lost.
( Read more... )
Ok, class, time for me to step out from behind the lectern and open up the floor for debate. Anyone? Anyone? C'mon I'm in the mood for a philosophical discussion.
Identify the souce of the quote in the subject line!!!!!!!!!!!! EVERYONE on my friends list I feel should be able to do this!!!!! (even if I''m not sure I've directly quoted:)
Icy, sleety snowy....wouldn't be near so bad if people here knew how to drive in it. Of course, I asked for it, now didn't I.......?
I feel good. The store is in total chaos, things are moving at impossible speeds toward a destination I know not, but I feel good. I had a very moving, very emotional private Yule rite last night, and slept well and sound for the first time in weeks. I have come to grips w/ the fact that I can not move the mountain (no matter how much I want to), but I can build a path around it.
This was supposed to be a dream job, for me and for others. A chance to shine. A chance to create success from something I felt passionately about. But dreams fade and lights die. But I can't say that it was all for the worst. Anything that promtes individual growth, no matter how painful, is always a good thing.
I've glimpsed the edges of what the Fates have in store for me and mine. Not an easy time, but one that will ultimately lead to growth iin all areas for us both. I just need to take that step- one big scary leap of faith. But I also know that I can't take that step without tying up a few lose ends. It is possible for me to go against my nature, but not quite that much. After all, I'm a Weaver; I can't just leave dangling threads hanging around, now can I?
No more negativity; I may have to work in it, but I don't have to let it leech off me. And I don't have to accept it.
Well, as those who've seen me recently can attest, I made it through the stomach bug without dying. My tummy is still a bit picky about what I can put in it, as the marathon vomiting really damaged my insides (it's now been two weeks since the virus onset; Pray to ALL the gods that you don't get that virus!)
I am very glad that I let draconisferret convince me to attend FOS this year. I've had people invite me before, but the fact that I've been soliatry for so long, coupled w/ a pretty bad case of claustrophobia, has kept me from doing so. The meetings at Mama Dragon's have helped pull me out of my shell a bit, but I'm still a pretty closed off individual. There were several times during the weekend that I had that "outside looking in" feeling, but I know that most of that was because of my walls and I there were times when I know I was giving off the "leave me be" vibe. Honestly, the fact that I was able to make the tenuous connections w/ the few people I did amazed me. Thanks to dyinginwinter , nair_al_saif_ , lunarastar22, and of course draconisferret (and Jay) for keeping me from hiding the whole weekend. There were others (like Mama Dragon, herself), of course, but if they have LJ's, I don't know them. So here's a general thank you to those people.