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Old 02-26-19   #21
MonSno_LeeDra
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One thing I'd ask you to think about when your looking at the Wiccan wheel of the year is to consider this. The Wiccan wheel is designed to function against 4 season's which is why it has 4 sabbats initially. The 4 lesser sabbats where later additions to the wheel.

As such the wheel truly does not function properly in the Med region as that area is built around 3 seasons, nor does it function in the tropics and equator region. Basically they have 1 maybe 2 seasons which could be seen as rainy and dry seasons. Figure for instance ancient Egypt was built around the cycle of the River Nile and it's flood period. Basically rain & flood, drought, fertility & crops. Not entirely different for most of the Med region when you consider rainy season, dry season and growing season were the three seasons.

So you have to force fit the Wiccan wheel upon the gods & Goddesses of the Hellene, Kemetic and Roman pantheon's for the most part. Their cultural holiday's and festivals tend not to be good fits. Some are near fits but those are more universal festivals such as All Hallows Eve / All Saints Day / Day of the Dead that Wicca utilized. But the way the wheel works in my opinion also tends to make it easier for many people to transition away from Christianity because it employs a lot of Christian influences & structures.

Not sure my family would be seen as nonconformist or not. A lot of it would be seen as normal for many mountain or rural Southern families. I know I was always encouraged in everything and basically nothing I showed an interest in was discouraged. Didn't matter whether it was the paranormal or occult, I was free to read about it and pursue my interest in it. But then I was a loner to so the forest and wild places were my friends. The friends I did have tended to be as lets give it a try as much as I was.

Not sure I would encourage that today though to be honest. A seance when your 12 might not be a good idea. When that steamer trunk sailed across the room and crashed into the wall and shattered we went running. Yet that didn't scare us nor get us into as much trouble as bringing in a black snake and garter snake in during the middle of the winter. We put them in a tank and went to the movies with my friends parents. I stayed the night and during the night his mother woke up screaming. The old black snake got out and slithered into their bed and wound its self up on her belly. His father got the snake out of their bed then beat our butt's for us once we told him about finding it frozen on the lake and brought it home. We were to scared to tell them there was still a green snake somewhere in the house. never did find that one.

Believe it or not though there is a ritual in that scenario though. Snake is a chthonic figure and represents. life and death and rebirth from the depths of the earth. It sheds it's old life and body to be reborn into a new life and comes forth to be reborn into the heat and life of a new world as it struggles into its new life. it even comes from the earthen womb and spills forth from the vaginal lips into the birth canal / channel to take it's first breath. that it coiled upon his mothers belly was almost to symbolic in retrospect.
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Old 02-27-19   #22
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Hi Annie... Welcome! This is a wonderful, diverse place. Lots of people to learn from.
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Old 02-28-19   #23
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Oh how wonderful, a warm welcome! I so recognize myself in your post, there is so much to learn and explore once you set your foot on the wild path of witchcraft. I started with exploring wicca many years ago, then went further over towards shamanism. And now I just call myself nature based

As I see it, it really is a way of life. You just learn to move in the world with greater ease once you find that the world is so much more diverse than the mundane eye can see. Or if not ease, perhaps depth would be a better way to put it.
I have learned that magick really is about using all your recources in orded to gain something, the most powerful results I have found comes from a real need that will benefit the greater good and which will help you on your path to become a better human being. Sometimes all you need is to simply ask, this is a resource so many of us today have forgotten.
Rituals I often do big or small within celebrating the seasons, or sometimes in a time of need, often during somekind of transition.

I myself celebrate the seasons (perhaps a bit lazily), often these go nicely along with the christian traditions. On christmas I celebrate Yule (Jul), now this coming easter I will celebrate the coming spring, then we have midsummer and after that halloween.

I recommend reading Starhawk as well, I really enjoyed her book the Earth Path.
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Old 02-28-19   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie_Wong View Post
@SunSister:
So you were raised a Christian as well. Did your parents place great value on living the faith? The way you came to the craft is special as well. Itís always a good thing to think outside the box and some will do so and return to their ways keeping their newfound knowledge in mind, others will eventually feel that drawn-in they actively stick to it with belief and heart.

I wouldn't say I come from a family of bible-thumpers or anything of the sort, as we're quite relaxed about church-going and my parents never screamed the house down when I was exploring other faiths and things like tarot. My parents and my grandmother did do a pilgrimage to Lourdes a couple of times (I'm sort-of named after that in a fashion) and Dad and I visited the Vatican a few summers ago. To me, Christianity is very much the religion I was raised with as well as the religion of my ancestors. As the path I'm currently on speaks about the need to honour those ancestors and acknowledge/hear their stories, I feel that my ties to Christianity are still alive and there are moments when I will go to church with my family because of the meaning this holds to them. It's a way of being tied to my roots, my blood, my family -- even when it is no longer a faith that I personally adhere to.


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Wicca as initial contact is not uncommon I see and may be due to the spirit of the time. After reading the Wicca for Dummies book I originally planned on undertaking the mandatory one year and one day dedication and celebrating sabbats and esbats in the course of the year. As a solitary that is. It has been a vague idea but I strongly believe it is a good thing I came to ESF beforehand.

No, I think Wicca is the first introduction for many of us! I think that coming to ESF is always a good idea, haha. But I also see merit in the one year and one day dedication, if only for yourself -- use that time to figure out what you want and need, to explore your changing beliefs and this spirituality, etc. I find that a dedication like this is akin to making a promise to yourself, but if you feel at any point like it is not for you then you should be able to walk away.


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Being cautious sometimes will slow you down, but basically it can preserve you from harm. From my point of view the worst you can do is jump into something without understanding it at least a bit. I feel with the craft this does happen frequently. People are quick to ask for spells, many without enquiring about the potential consequences. I am very careful with that.

I'm glad to hear it! So many people want to jump in and get their feet wet and forget about the fact that going too deep too soon is just going to cause trouble. It's perfectly fine to just, you know, sit on the water's edge and observe and maybe stick your toes/feet in for a bit first. Slow and easy wins the race.


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I am glad you were able to witness all those intense spiritual occurences this had to mark a significant point in your life. I can also imagine adopting elements from different branches of the craft while forming an own path and the training you mentioned (energywork and crystal healing) can only be further enrichment to your journey. Increasing knowledge is always desirable for me. Whether it were herbalism, alchemy, gardening, arts or much more. And experimenting is always part of research, right?

Right! Increasing knowledge is what I'm always hungry for -- I'm only tempted by anything when there's more to learn, more to absorb, more to know. The spiritual experiences I've had over the years really did mark some significant turning points or growth nodes or whatever we want to call them.. I wouldn't be the same person without them, and I feel like they've kicked the door wide open for me in a number of ways. Sometimes these come when you're ready and prepared for them, but there will also be times when they just turn you inside out and upside down. The tools you learn in the craft, the basics like meditation and grounding and so on, they're the ones that get you through the hard moments.


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Being able to discuss peacefully, openly and sympathetically while differing is precious and rare because normally in whatever faith this is hardly ever possible. In paganism everybody seems accepted, there are points of contact and commonality exists. If you can discuss about individual beliefs with a similar essence this is indeed wonderful

It's very precious for sure! In my experience, paganism does sometimes have its moments of intolerance and struggle as well but that's often to do with conflicting egos and such. I've found we're overall a pretty chill bunch of people, though. It's sad that these message board communities have died out a bit because there used to be so many active spaces like this where you could just talk with everyone from various pathwalks and get their opinions or hear their experiences.. I do confess to missing that.
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Old 02-28-19   #25
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@MonSno_LeeDra: I have great respect for some practices I would never ever try myself simply because I am too scared. Like using witchboards and contacting the dead or making voodoo dolls and stuff like that. A friend finds this very funny and is eager to try it out, but without me(!). I don’t know what I am dealing with and fooling around with these things is far from me.

WOW about your anecdote with the snakes. You gave me a great lesson of snakes and their meaning here. I value that a lot.

@ Brigidrose : Thanks! I have gained that very impression as well!

@Fethenwen: Glad to hear from you as knowing about my situation. It’s good to know I am not alone in this. Although you already progressed you can still comprehend. With a ton of very interesting threads here on ESF one can easily get the impression of everybody being a guru in the craft already and this may be a bit intimidating for a newcomer. Thank you for the recommendation and the insight you gave. This greatly encourages me and signals a very supportive environment.

@SunSister: I feel you can always stay connected with your origins. Cutting the ties completely is not always necessary nor useful. I would not forbid myself from entering a church. Deep down inside I know about my real beliefs though. I am still interested in all kinds of faiths informing myself about them. I am happy to see that those religions are also discussed here on ESF. I am just not able to wholeheartedly accept any of them. And there is still the issue with self-effectiveness. Often enough it is too much "almighty lord" and too little "nature is power". in monotheistic faith nature and all its parts only exist for people to use it.
Sometimes I find it difficult to exclude something to adopt another. That’s where paths turn individual I guess. It's a good thing to know your roots and honor them.

I asked my mother once again about the pendulum and my grandfather and she confessed somehow bashful that she is also using it. I know my father is fond of astrology. In my family religious identity hasn’t been such an issue. Most important were general milestones like baptism, confirmation, Christmas, eating no meat at good Friday and such, but I would not refer to us as biblical people.

I had the idea that before I’ll start my way into the craft I make some experiment thematising religions monthly, every month another faith. Like really living it with all its customs and each religion for full four weeks. I chose Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. And by that I mean really going to church weekly and listening closely or celebrating Sabbath on fridays, trying to comply with dietary laws (true kosher is not going to work.) somehow this experiment seems rewarding to me and my development. To see how I feel with performing the specific rituals and what it has given me. Maybe this will be inspirational for me.

I like your comparison with sitting at the water instead of getting wet before you tackle something and start acting in compliance to principles you should inform yourself. For me the more is the better. Because afterwards you may regret your actions. To act in the heat of the moment working with such energies seems risky to me. I would not feel well about it. Many of my friends don’t care because they don’t believe in it.

Getting you through hard moments is of great importance to me. I am relieved to hear that. I feel that it is worthwile every bit. I think experiences like the one you made are invaluable and mindblowing like raising you to another plane of existence. I imagine how your sense of the whole world changes and you learn to see things more calmly because you can now differentiate between important and not so important matters in life. That’s what I assume at some stage.

I believe you about the message boards, but also heard about how in some forums things are hotting up big time and members debate intensely because of said egos being paramound and making the user experience less enjoyable. I hoped to avoid that and that people will not be overly annoyed with me being a rookie. You never know until you try. I am very happy with my entry into ESF.
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Old 03-01-19   #26
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I would encourage you to get to know your guides, we all have them in great variety. At least for me, they have been the key of getting to know the "invisible world". How you do this is up to you, meditation, ritual, dreaming, astral projection and even having a medium do it for you are some tools for this.
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Old 03-01-19   #27
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Thank you for mentioning Fethenwen. I will have many questions in the future, but I feel in good hands with you I am grateful for being able to connect with you all.
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Old 03-01-19   #28
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I'm going to contradict Fethenwen here a bit. Not all paths have the notion of guides, totems, etc. In fact if you go back to many books written in the 80's and 90's you will not even find the notion of guides within the framework of Wicca or Witchcraft. They didn't exist and were not part of the structure of those pathways. About the only thing you'd be likely to find was possibly the idea of a familiar. Then a familiar was nothing like what you'll find today where everyone seems to use their favorite pet, but was actually a demonic entity, usually an Imp.

The usage of guides really became incorporated in many pathway's in the late 1990's and early 2000's with the incorporation of shamanic influences. They came in along with the notion of "Totems" and to be honest suddenly everyone simply had to have one or more. About the same time the idea of "Animals" also became part of the lexicon and everyone suddenly had a Spirit Animal or Power Animal. Unfortunately, much of that seemed to have occurred at about the same time that many authors started to incorporate this idea of a Pantheon of Native American influences. Completely ignoring there is no such thing as a Pantheon of Native American Divinities.

Around this same time frame you also start to see a lot of inclusions of African Disapora influences. That would be your Santeria, VooDoo, Hoodoo, Brujo, Bruja, inclusion of the LOA and other spirits. There had been some local influences but nothing like you start seeing in books and such in the late 90's and 2000's and forward.

To be honest this is when you start to hear about whitewashing and things becoming plastic. A great majority of the books are written by white authors whose claims of being "Initiated" or experts on the source material will later become questioned. A number of Native American authors will be exposed as questionable and not recognized as speaking for their nations. That or they will be writing for "Whites" and nothing more than to make a dollar. A lot of those influences will continue on into today unquestioned and blindly accepted today.

Other authors will be discredited but the damage will be done and their legacy and unfortunately their books will still be around. Not even talking about the likes of Silver Raven Wolf. Edain McCoy, Brooke Medicine Eagle, D. J. Conway. There are authors like Jason Miller who provide courses for a couple hundred dollars. Mark Alan Smith, another author who provides courses and writes books, who charges for some material that many find questionable while others swear by it.
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Old 03-01-19   #29
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@MonSno:
Do you think it is possible for a white person to perform believable "black" magic? Like the african crafts you partially mentioned. There is a Hoodoo priestess whose videos i watch sometimes and I wondered if as an individual ethnically nearer to european witchcraft one would ever be taken seriously. Because there are obviously people trying, right? Much to the dismay of the communities (of african descent for example) I assume. I like to watch said priestess perform her rites, but probably would never do so myself, especially not writing books or charging money for stuff I do.
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Old 03-01-19   #30
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@MonSno:
Do you think it is possible for a white person to perform believable "black" magic? Like the african crafts you partially mentioned. There is a Hoodoo priestess whose videos i watch sometimes and I wondered if as an individual ethnically nearer to european witchcraft one would ever be taken seriously. Because there are obviously people trying, right? Much to the dismay of the communities (of african descent for example) I assume. I like to watch said priestess perform her rites, but probably would never do so myself, especially not writing books or charging money for stuff I do.
This one gets sort of difficult to answer. In some capacity I don't think a white person can perform traditional "African" practices. Yet the reason is not specifically because they are white but because they are not part of the total package. They do not possess the culture, heritage, beliefs, myths and all that supports the practices. They think because they read a book or visit somewhere that is sufficient to experience what it means to "BE" all the things that are called upon to practice that magic.

In many ways it is similar to many Native American practices where the magic can not be separated from how the society lives and breathes. They do not exist as separate aspects but flourish within each other.

Unfortunately, a lot of people think you can take the "Core" concepts of things and that is sufficient to do workings. Which is sort of like taking the practical and removing the mystical and saying it's all the same. yet because the mystical has been removed you really don't feel it anymore for the deeper connections are gone. Those things that tied it to the blood and to the land or ancestor's is basically gone which for many people makes it weaker. It takes the heart out of your practice.

When it comes to the divine you can't say who they will choose. When it comes to spirits, again you can't say or control who they will choose to call upon. They don't tend to follow ethnic boundaries or concerns in my experiences regarding who they decide to select or punish.

Some will accept it, some will not. Some are going to claim cultural appropriation regardless of what you do. Usually those who scream the loudest often have no grounds to complain at all but like to play the victim. Many times it will be "Whites" who play the cultural appropriation card against you as a shame on you feature.

That or the "I am entitled to this knowledge card!" which is equally just as bad. Presenting this notion that you owe them and are expected to provide your knowledge to them. That often ties into the ever present image that many within the pagan community are middle aged white women with notions of entitlement. That and the other side of the spectrum being twenty something's or younger who are in a revolt against the system stage.
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