Dogma

The Pagan Experience week 4 of February is letters C or D. I have chosen D for this week.

I believe one of the things that I like about Paganism, for different reasons in the beginning than now, is the lack of dogma within Paganism.

Dogma (n)- a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself. From das Wiki.

Yes, there is the Rede. And the Rule of Three. There are teachings that come from Cunningham and Gardner.

But unless you belong to a coven, there really isn’t any dogma.

This is a problem, I believe, with folks who take their religious literature at its word. These folks see it not as a metaphor or a parable written for specific peoples of a specific time, that can be shifted over time to apply lessons to people in later times. Rather, they see it as a way to discredit fact, discovery, and progress; a narrow way to look at the world.

If one was to explain the “wrongness” of being gay with the lines that, paraphrased, are a man shall never lie with a man as he lies with a woman…well, these same folks would have to check all of their closets (can’t mix fabric types) and need to reel it in when they go to seafood restaurants (can’t eat shellfish). This is the type of dangerous dogma…this is the type of dogma that is preached by religious leaders and eaten up by followers. This is the type of dangerous dogma that leads to ignorance and hate. We can’t look away from this one line (even though we ignore many others from the same passage) or that means what we believe isn’t worth believing.

Dogma is not necessarily religious. KKK shared the dogma that all non-WASPs were evil and need to be exterminated. ISIS shares the dogma that all non-extremist Muslims need to be exterminated. Hitler preached the dogma that all non-Aryans needed to be eliminated.

Dogma is a dangerous thing.

When I left the Christian faith, I did so partly because I could not handle the brainaches I was getting from trying to consolidate all of the conflicting pieces of dogma and real life. Many family members believed in everything the church stood for, yet their actions went in direct opposition of what they said they believed. Thugs in the media murdering while wearing a cross- rappers selling millions of records with content based around rape and murder, thanking God and Jesus when they won an award for their violent art. I will never forget a car ride with my dad, around Christmas time, when he was going over all of the stuff he disagreed with about the church…Mary could never have been a virgin because you have to have sex to have a kid was his biggest gripe. He would never say it with his [second] wife in the car…he only went to church to appease her. Even though she had sex before marriage and used birth control…very big dogmatic no-nos! Brainache!

As a Pagan, I don’t ascribe to anyone’s dogma. I don’t have to. I approach my spiritual path in a very scientific way, a very open-minded way. If I find something works, I adopt it. If I learn later that it doesn’t work, I change it or I leave it behind. Did you know recent work in the area of theoretical physics has shown the Big Bang Theory likely never happened? The Big Bang Theory has been a thing for so long…it has been an accepted theory in the scientific community (and progressive religious leaders liked it because they could add their supreme creator to it) but now it’s just gone. Some of the math didn’t add up. And with a what’s-old-is-new-again theory, the math now adds up. The Universe didn’t ever begin. And it won’t ever end. It always has been. And it always will be.

But I digress…

Wow…this post did not end up where I was planning for it to. But I think I’ve found a good ending place.

When I first started on my journey, I was in my 20’s and out of college. I was not “going Pagan” as a rebellious phase. I was healing from a trauma. I have remained on my path for eight years. Eight years is not a phase, but rather a lifestyle choice. When I first started on my journey, I was quick to lash out against anything and everything Abrahamic because it was domineering and cruel…because it made my head hurt and its people were/are hateful hypocrites. The further I walked on my path, the more and more I realized I was never against the Christian spirituality, but rather I was against the dogma of the religion. I was not against the ideals, but rather against the way they were interpreted. What’s right for one isn’t right for another. Live and let live, love and let love.

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Daily Blessings

Monday Musings week 2 for The Pagan Experience. The prompt for this week is favorite Magickal/Spiritual practices.

Since I have started attending COTE, I have experienced a number of Circles with a community and I have seen a few different paths and practices. Some of them I have picked up and adopted into my own practice. Being with community is likely my second favorite practice.

My first…well, that is Witchlette’s wonder when it comes to Magick!

Witchlette has discovered my ritual space. With her bedtime routine of blowing out a candle every night, she finds it fascinating that Mom has seven candles in her room. She would pick up my lighter and hold the end into the candle then blow at the unlit wick. After a few rounds of this, she would take me by the hand and lead me to the box. We would sit and I’d do a quarter call. We’d watch the flames on each of the candles dance for a few moments and she would ask to blow them out. I started having her say “Blessed Be” before blowing out the candles. This practice evolved a few weeks ago. Now, she picks up my lighter, comes right to get me saying “Bless. Bless. Bless” and we go back to the box. I do a quarter call. She says “Blessed Be” sometimes without prompting, and blows out the candles.

Pagan Experience Post 1

Monday Musings Week 1 Prompt:

What are your intentions for this new year? How will you find the resolve to bring them into your manifest life? What changes do you expect? What will you leave behind?

My intention for the new year is to continue my personal growth on all levels. I am going to continue to grow as a mother, a wife, a friend, a witch. I want to continue to grow professionally as well, though my professional life is tertiary to my personal lives- familial and spiritual.

I will manifest my growth as a wife and a mother by continuing to spend quality time with Witchlette and Hubby. A Facebook friend reposted a meme from Tumbler about how you know you’ve done a good job with people in your life. Every night when you go to bed, go through all of the people you interacted with and try and think of a moment when you truly connected with them- left a positive impression- that will in turn become a positive imprint on their memory. They may not remember what you did, but they will remember how you felt. I am going to continue to strive to have at least one of these moments a day with Hubby and Witchlette.

I will manifest my growth as a Witch by continuing this blog and by continuing, and deepening, my involvement in my Pagan group. Hubby and I will also be leading family rituals at each Sabbat, including Witchlette in them. I will continue my studies of Northern Paganism and continue my daily meditations.

I will manifest my growth professionally by continuing to show leadership building-wide as it relates to educational technology and helping the teachers to access tools to broaden their own practice. I will also practice what I preach and put these activities to work in my own lessons. This will eventually lead me to the next step in my career.

From these manifestations, I expect to continue to find strong relationships with Hubby and Witchlette, deepening relationships with my fellow Pagans at COTE, and a deeper relationship with the divine. I also expect to expand relationships professionally eventually leading to the next step in my career.

I will let go of expectations.

In the end, I am not making any real resolutions. Hubby and I have our memory jar. On December 31, 2015, we will review the items in the jar and celebrate how good of a year 2015 was.

A new project

Tonight, I joined the Pagan Experience. This is set up as a weekly blog roll with posts coming on Mondays. It is inspired by the Pagan Blog Project, which I was part of and thoroughly enjoyed in 2012. I tried to do PBP again last year and it fell by the wayside as grad school took a majority of my time. I tried again this year, but felt less than inspired by the ABC format of PBP. The format of PE is similar in that all bloggers are given the same prompt but different in that it is not based on the alphabet. I am intrigued and looking forward to exploring my path and myself with these prompts. The best part? Reading other blogs and connecting and networking with others!

Once more, with feeling

I first started this blog when I found out about the Pagan Blog Project in 2012. It was a lot of fun and I not only learned a lot about Magick and the Craft and my Path, but also a LOT about myself.

Last year I started out on the project, but life interceded…namely I grew incredibly depressed about my diagnosis of infertility and I quit the project early in the year.

Blogging in general went on hiatus when my Witchlette was first born as I didn’t want to miss a precious moment.

Now that I am back to work, and back to blogging, I am going to give it another shot.

The rules of PBP state that each letter has two entries, the first and third Friday of each month. I’m going to play it safe and set a goal for the first Friday of each month. Should the gods of time see it fit, I will write two posts a month for the project. But at least one.

pbp14

Circle Casting

Many traditions have their own way of Circle Casting. Both local groups in Raleigh who

m I have seen Cast Circles begin in the East working back desoil to North. One group is eclectic and doesn’t use any specific deity or specific ritual in their Casting. Different members of the group take turns leading rituals and depending on who is leading dictates the tradition used in the Casting. The other group is queer-eclectic with a strong focus on Mother Earth. Gaia referenced in each of their Castings. The sometimes begin North, other times begin East.

When I cast my Circles, I begin with the North and work my way desoil to West. I have a green or brown candle in a green holder for North, yellow or light blue candle in a clear holder for East, red or orange candle in a red candle holder for South, and a dark blue or aqua candle in a blue candle holder for West. In the center, I have a purple or white candle in a purple holder. I light the candles one by one and say a blessing as a go ’round.

“I call upon the Spirits of the North to join my Circle and bring with them the nurturing of the Earth, the flesh of the land to which we all return. Welcome Spirits of Earth!”

“I call upon the Spirits of the East to join my Circle and bring with them the knowledge that comes from language and communication carried over the wind. Welcome Spirits of Air!”

“I call upon the Spirits of the South to join my Circle and bring with them the passion of the flame, both the creator and the destroyer. Welcome Spirits of Fire!”

“I call upon the Spirits of the West to join my Circle and bring with them the wisdom that comes from human emotion. Welcome Spirits of Water!”

“I call upon the Spirit in all things, to unit these four Elements and make my Circle complete! Welcome Spirit!”

When my workings are finished; I close my Circle Widdershins.

“Thank you, Spirit, Blessed Be.”

“Thank you, Water, Blessed Be.”

“Thank you, Fire, Blessed Be.”

“Thank you, Air, Blessed Be.”

“Thank you, Earth, Blessed Be.”

“The Elements are released, but are always within me just as my Circle is open but never ever broken. Blessed Be!”

Balder

So, this morning I was under the impression that PBP was on “C”. I was a week ahead of myself. Oops. So the post I put up this morning about Circle Casting has been taken down (for now) and will be republished next week.

Now, on to “B”. It is a cold, grey, sleeting day in Raleigh. I need some light. Who better to help me feel the light than Balder, Norse god of light.

The following is from godchecker.com:

A champion of goodness, innocence and forgiveness, he was loved by everybody. But news has just reached us that he was killed by LOKI. The good news is that, due to extensive mourning by all earthly things, he may be brought back to life.

No. It’s failed — one old hag called Thokk has refused to weep, saying he never done nuffin for her. How did he die? Every thing in existence had promised never to harm him, thus making him completely indestructable. In fact he was so impervious to injury that at banquets guests used to amuse themselves by hurling things at him. So how did LOKI kill him? (It’s more convoluted than Agatha Christie but bear with us.)

Ah, when all the world was promising not to hurt him, there was an abstainer. Mistletoe. Yes, mistletoe. When LOKI found this out, he made a dart of sharpened mistletoe and gave it to a blind god called HOD. In the middle of a banquet, HOD with sharp ears and sharp mistletoe hit the target. Zap!

But that’s not the end of it. The old hag Thokk turns out to have been arch-villain LOKI in one of his many disguises. When confronted he tried to escape by turning into a salmon. But he was not slippery enough to escape the net and now faces perpetual punishment.

But there’s more! HOD turns out to be BALDUR’s unsuspecting twin brother. But was he full of hidden hatred? Will BALDUR return? Can HERMOTH save him from the Underworld? Can you wait for the next instalment? Stay tuned for Part Two of the Baldur Murder Mystery!