Wednesday, April 14, 2010

are you pagan enough? you are pagan enough

I have been reading around the internet on various message boards and other places of pagan focus, of late and what i keep coming across is the attitude of ‘your doing it wrong’ or you shouldn’t be doing this, or you can’t do it that way, or you can only do it this way and you know what, this bugs me a lot. It makes me roll my eyes and wonder why and how some people can be so closed minded that they are unable to put themselves in others shoes, or unable to conceive that the actually may be a different way of doing it, and that that different way while not working for them may well work for another. The other reason this makes me roll my eyes and bash my head against the wall is the fact that with in Modern Paganism there is no central authority or liturgy or governance or papal authority to tell us how it is, it doesn’t exist.. zip narda nothing, thus those that are stating that you should or shouldn’t are actually going about it all wrong or in the word of so many other pagans out there.. ‘YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG’

Of course with no central authority, liturgy, governance or papal authority there is no doing it wrong, instead there is doing what feels right. Now if you join up with a group, grove or coven of a particular tradition there will be rules and indeed a central type authority even a coven book of shadows which will need to be adhered to, of course you will have permitted to adhere to these rules and authority by the initial step of joining said group, grove, or coven. However if you are a solitary or no longer wish to belong to or take part in that group, grove or coven, the rules etc of that group, grove or coven no longer apply. Paganism in its many forms is after all a religion of assent. That is you assent to be a part of that religion or spirituality or group and for as long as you associated with that religion, spirituality or group you identify yourself that way. I.e. I am a ‘insert tradition here’ wiccan, because i am a member of this ‘insert tradition here’ wiccan group. Whereas if you stop associating with that group or grove or coven, you are no longer that you no longer identify with whatever religion or spirituality it was. Ie, i used to be a Wiccan of ‘insert tradition here’ but i left and now i am a Buddhist. In the example the person is no longer assenting to be Wiccan of whatever tradition but instead assenting to be Buddhist. Ostensibly with communities of assent a person chooses to belong or not to belong.

So back to the should and should nots, one of the other ways of defining what something actually means, cause you know the hugest flameings happen around terminologies and authority, *this is me once again rolling eyes* is majority consensus, that is that most of the people agree with this statement or this interpretation of x.. For example.. Wiccan Witch Wicca Witchcraft. As far as i can tell there is a group of people out there getting their panties in a bunch over these terms and how they are to be used and not be used, and there are a bunch of people out there who use these terms interchangeably and there are some people in-between.. a sliding scale if you will.

Language like many things in this world is quite fluid, and living, English is a living language thus prone to change, and change of meaning, for example, arse, now about 8 years ago, when hanging out with a group of friends, when the comment arse! was said, it meant that an error had accoutred.. someone had forgotten to bring their wallet, or someone had dropped their phone, it was said when misfortune occurred, however when a new friend was introduced into the group she had a new meaning for the word. How she used it was that whenever anyone said arse, it meant that they had spotted a tight perky look worthy specimen of arse and that we should all look at it. Quite a different meaning from the original one of misfortune. As you may be able to guess the transition of arse from one of denoting misfortune to one of site to behold, was a very quick one, and one that expanded out beyond the core group of friends to that of associates and acquaintances and occasionally hangers on. It is also interesting to note that this new usage, while continued for a couple of years did eventually fall into disuse, actually the word arse itself also pretty much fell into disuse.. arr younglings so fickle.

Right then back to Wiccan Witch Wicca Witchcraft. When a person is first starting out or discovering this path of magic and paganism, they are bombarded with a variety of words, which at first glance denote the same thing.. namely wicca and witchcraft, but sometimes pagan and paganism, druid, etc etc, these seem at first glance to be the same, especially wicca and witchcraft, in fact some of the literature and books is quite misleading, i mean to say that guy Gardner who wrote the first book used both and it seemed that he was using them to denote the same thing, and now there are a whole bunch of these other books using the word wicca and witchcraft, and when i surf onto the internet and go onto pagan message boards, or text achieves, often the wiccan and witchcraft stuff is on the same page. (Go use the Google oracle and find out) And given that my friends do not react with such disbelief when i say wiccan, as to when i say witch so i am going to be using the word wicca Are you getting a picture here.. you should be.. in fact i bet many of you older pagans out there have memories of similar instances, where they used the word interchangeably partly because you didn’t know any better and partly because you were still figuring it out, and partly because it was the most common word in use of the day...

See now i believe that the main reason that i always referred to myself as a witch, was because way back when i first started out, i very quickly became unimpressed with those that referred to themselves as wiccan, and many of the books that were available in New Zealand were lacking something and because i felt this magical path as being something much more serious than those oddly dressed, bawdy uninformed non thinking wiccans over there i would be a Witch thank you very much, and that would be Witch with a capital.. recently i have attached priestess to that title but that is a whole nother story

But after a while i did settle on the title of witch and have never really changed it.. eventually i came to the understanding that wiccans were part of a tradition of some sort, and witch’s where solitary , along the way i can remember understanding it wiccan as a religion and witchcraft as a practice, also that Wicca was the religion that all Witches practiced..a lower case w referred to historical witches, and a Capital W referred to Modern.. and several variation on those ideas, understandings and terms.. all very complicated, and it did take some years to understand, to feel the difference and to be comfortable in how i labelled myself.

Now there really is the curx of it all, labelling yourself because not only is Modern Paganism a religion and spirituality of assent, it is also one of self labelling. And given that there is no central authority, liturgy, governance or papal throne, you can pretty much label yourself anything you want moonbeam starflower. *cough* As an aside to this the understanding of the labels have also changed over the last 60 years or so. This was pointed out to me by a good friend Grail For at first you called yourself a witch and then went and joined a coven, and studied hard, (i guess you could add here became wiccan) now days you did not call yourself a witch or wiccan until you have joined your coven or studied for at least several years.. it is reversed, people scoff at others who have deemed themselves wiccan or witches but are only just starting out and i wonder if its cause is because of the turn away from groups and the emphasis on the individual.. but alas that is also whole nother story.

Back to this self labelling.. often the label that you start of with changes and grown as your understanding of your magical path also grows, deepens, and changes. Some may start of as referring themselves as wiccan, and then a few years down the track they opt for pagan, as they are no longer practicing as much or no longer feel the calling they once did. Others change and add titles and labels priest, priestess, high priestess,
Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Traditional Wiccan, hedgewitch, urbanwitch, traditionalisy, cabalists.. gosh they are quite endless as well as the many woven paths that are available to a magic worker or spiritual explorer.. or plan old pagan. Some even come to the conclusion that it is not the label that is important but how one lives one s life. Although a label can help in finding information, books and heading in the direction that you are called to head in.

In practical terms, and what this post is all about, when a newby arrived on your blog or message board, and uses the word wiccan, and you have decided that to you a wiccan is a tradition and that you must be initiated etc etc or however you use the word.. do not jump down their throat about it, can come across with the almightily authority on high, cause it is your way and only your way is correct, because as mentioned before “YOUR DOING IT WRONG” and you end up doing a couple of things, 1. Looking like a completely close-minded egotistical bigoted idiotic prat.. CEBIT.. and 2. You will end up not just sending the original enquirer fleeing for the hills, but a bunch of other people like me who have been around for a while, know what they know and are happy for the most part to share that, and also know that what they know might not be knowing for others. And frankly having someone else shove their interpretation of what every word down your throat is really off putting. There are better ways of dealing with this.

So ask yourself, is the original enquirer asking a honest question, but have used terminology that you do not agree with? So perhaps they have come up said the dredded i’m a solitary wiccan, and i wanted to know if i can include roman pantheon in my daily devotions? Quite often these questions are short and lacking on context but still there is no reason to flay them alive, instead it would be more useful to engage them in further discussion with the added bonus of non judgemental information about the roman pantheon, not to tromp over this persons beliefs with your big cauldron of goo.. the phrase, ‘how i see it’ or in my opinion, or variations on that would be much more likely to be read, by your original poster, and others who also come along and who knows it might even spark an interesting tread about the original topic that has now morphed into a deeper discussion or into a completely different discussion.

So remember folks There is no central authority, liturgy, governance, or papal authority within Modern Paganism, this means that everyone has the right to believe whatever it is that they believe even if we do not believe it. And starting out a conversation with “YOUR DOING IT WRONG” or shouldn’t and should, will get you nowhere and just make you look stupid.

And finally, if it speaks to you, if what you are doing, what you believe and what you practice speaks to you in the centre of your heart, and makes it sing, you are so doing it right, no matter what anyone else says.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

it was a busy day today and all with the making magic, interspersed with visits from [info]fallaras and The Aunt *grins* who dropped off some wooden rounds from when i was up at mums place last weekend..

it was a lovely day so i set up outside.

Incense making step one

so while [info]tatjna sewed i burnt Stuff to make sure that it smelled 1/ smelt nice, one in that.. ewie ewie get that stench away from me, and 2/ that it smelled like the element i was working with. please not the cups of tea.. always important for the tea fuelled witch when making magic. *grins*

Insense making step 2

i quiet like that there is a bubble in the middle of my teacup.. (not that you can see it.. *ponders why) but there is a cup of tea in this picture and the one above.. you might just have to take my word for it..teheh

so first up was Fire Elemental Incense.. which was just as well at it turned out that Tommy reacted to one of the ingredients, it could of been the juniper,, or umm..Frankincense.. but hey, i always put what is in said incenses just in case people have these types of reactions..

Fire elemental Incense

this one contains, bay, juniper, clove, cinnamon, rosemary, frankincense and red ceder (all the way from canadia via this nice lady the Forest Witch) nom nom..

Second Up Air Elemental Incense
Air Elemental Incense

this one contains Lavender, Lemon Grass, Star Anise, Dammar (and lucky find at the health food store, i might have to go and purchase the rest that they have) and Benzoin..

third to be pounded into submision err made with the duitiful respect required... Earth Elemental Incense

Earth Elemental Incense

now this one contains some hard to get ingredents, if you live in New Zealand.. and they are patchouli leaves, (and they smell divine nom nom, i am such a hippy) manuka leaves, Vervain, and the last of the Amber that i got in Brisbane.. eek not to worry i have some other amber honey amber, but alas not very much.

then next was Water Elemental Incense,

Water Elemental Incense

this one contains myrrh, thyme, rose, sandlewood, and hyssop

see Water Elemental incense was quite challenging, cause really i can see fire, earth, and air, but water.. not so much, however when you change your thought pattern, as aim it at the fact that the aim of this incense is to call in the energetic energies of water...(not sure if energetic is the right word.) then it becomes much easier.. of course then you have to run back and smell the other incense's that you have made just to make sure that they have the same signature.. so to speak... quite complicated in a way but also instinctual in others...hmmm.. but still much fun and astheically pleasing.. look how pretty the different mixes came out.. yay...

and finally Wisdom Bath Salts (i got the idea for these from Ms Sarah Lawless of the Forest Grove.. and will be making other bath salts, maybe tomorrow, i hope that she doesn't mind. *beams*)

Wisdom Bath Salts

so this contains salt, of three different types.. epsom, sea, and Himalayan as well as culinary sage, white sage (another difficult plant to get here in NZ) and rose buds. i thought that i had muslin to make little bags to go with this but alas,, the weave is to large.. opps...

so there you go.. all with the crafting and witching.. yay..

jars in a row

also that last jar, the big one contains smudge incense, something i have been making for years.. the recipe came from one of my first teachers, Morgan, way back in the day.. i have added to it, but it is essentially culinary sage, lavender, basil, and rose petals, and i do not have a picture of that in my mortar as i made it on thrusday nite, and didn't think to take one.. doh...

and soon these lovely incense and other stuff will end up on my etsy store, but i still have to figure out postage, and packaging.. oh and prices.. and to start with they will only be avaiable with in New Zealand, however if it happens that i get quite a bit of overseas interest we can always make changes.. but still sending loose herbs overseas.. could be a customs issues.. *ponders this*..

right now to figure out what to wear out this eve.. *ponders this to*

*Twirls around*..

(cross posed to my LJ)

Friday, April 9, 2010

crafting, burning, creating, sewing and cups of tea

this weekend, i plan on creating some incense recipes, some non combustible incenses, as well as sewing up some tarot cloths, altar cloths and little muslin bags for the bath salts i will also be creating. it is going to be a weekend of crafting and drinking tea.

you see i have this plan, here in Wellington there is a possibility of night markets opening up next spring which will be some six months away, and i plan on having a stall at these markets to sell witch's crafts. Urban Witchery is the name these crafts will be going by, because not only do i want to make various magical products i also have an urge to explore this concept of Urban Witchery. Urban Witchery in a similar sense of Hedgewitching & Hedgecrossing, however i am an urban Witch who lives in a large, by New Zealand standards city, the capital in fact.

so to start the ball rolling, so to speak i am going to be spending the weekend creating incense mixes, herbal bath salts, bath bombs, (i'm a huge bath fan) and bath milk powder. as well as sewing up a storm of altar cloths, tarot wraps, rune bags and the like. of course hopefully by the end of the weekend there will be pictures of what i have created. sounds like fun yeah?