Hallowed Pagan Halls (2October2013)

In an imaginary world I envision a grand structure that stands the test of time. A multi acre plot of land that hosts some of the grandest art, books, spaces, classes, and people who wish to learn about the Pagan way. A grand hall where everyone is free of the missionaries and fundamentalists, able to exercise their faith as they please without regret or fear. A monument to the earth and its blessings, a Pagan concept for Pagan people, what a place it would be.

A place where greenery flourishes for those seek a natural atmosphere, atop the expansive roof they may go to practice their rituals and celebrations, have outdoor parties and gigantic gatherings. No one would have to worry about taking up too much space, with the enormity of the area many rituals can be held at once. For those seeking a more private experience they can go to any outside area on the grounds and meditate as they wish. Surrounded by trees, bushes, and edible plants, they can have a great time in blissful solitude as long as they want.

For those who want a more urban flair the inside of the building will be perfect for them. With a delightfully ominous glow, the inner sanctum is laid with stone so if they wish to draw chalk circles for magickal use they may. If it happens to be stormy out green practitioners may also go there to meditate supplied with cushions so they aren’t hurt by the stones. They will also be allowed to bring music so long as it doesn’t interfere with other practitioners and worshippers. Beyond use as a meditative area, the inner sanctum serves as a study area for those who want to read and study via side areas with desks and chairs. The main area where meditations occur also allows for group worship and a place for workshops, speeches, what have you.

Shops would also have a presence, selling candles, crystals, ritual tools, everything one would need at affordable prices and with knowledgeable staff to assist them if needed. There would also be a multimedia room complete with books, computers, and a projector room so the community will be free to access the internet and look at movies free of any type of religious pressure. Pagan faithful would gather, but they wouldn’t be allowed to pressure anyone.

Daily food drives would take place to help the community as well. Visits to homeless shelters to give food and volunteer services where people in need will also be given. Charity will be a must to being there so that everyone will help their fellow man and be a blessing to the less fortunate. For people who have homes but are in dire straights, a community food bank will be available to save them from possibly going hungry or doing illegal practices just to put food on the table. As the money pours in, there will eventually be organic shops that are pesticide and cruelty free, which helps save money in the long term by offsetting health and emergency room costs. There would perhaps even be classes held by licensed holistic healthcare doctors to teach all who come ways to safely administer natural medicinal foods without needing to constantly pop pills.

This is just an idea of mine, but something I’ve always wanted to do sometime in the future, I hope one day that I or someone else is able to build it so we may have a large-scale temple to call our own. The idea is incomplete, but a project I mentally work on every now and again.

Five Lessons Of The Pentagram (3October2013)

The pentagram has many different meanings depending on what religion you belong to as well as where you live. For some it represents evil, others protection, divination, magic(k), or a load of other things. But what does it mean to me? Well, being that I came to know the star through Wicca, my outlook of it tends to be spiritually centered. But being that I feel as if I’m on a different level than was when I was a convert, I think my thoughts on it has improved.

At first it represented the five elements, earth, air, fire, and water, the five building blocks and Spirits that gave rise to the world (world meaning universe in my jargon). To me they have another representation, the five key values of a Pagan; strength, love, knowledge, will, and balance. Each of these values correspond to the elements of earth, water, air, fire, and spirit respectively. As I wear my pentagram necklace with pride, I know that no matter what I’m faced with, that I will exercise these important concepts so that I will remain strong and be the better man, no matter the ignorance.

People could learn a lot from what the pentagram teaches if they simply opened their mind to learn its lessons. Its a lot like nature, if people were to stop demonizing and exploiting its resources as well as its earthly attributes and just opened to its functions we would be a lot better off. The pentagram itself doesn’t belong to any one faith, but is a symbol that could mean anything a person or group decides to make it mean. The applied associations don’t stay with it, but is a morphing thing that sheds and reworks things applied to it.

Let’s consider something as simple as its placement, a topic that brings much debate as to its fixed meaning. For one camp in represents general evil in the sense that when one point face up means the spiritual over the senses while the other is the senses over the mind. For some this is true so its true to them where others see it as representing Satanism or darkness, banishment, a degree of Wiccan clergy, the list could go on frankly. But now you see that how with each individual and group the associations vary wildly on the “good-evil” scale.

With me I see things, not surprisingly, in a different context. While I concede that the pentagram whether inverted or everted could mean the previous list of things could also represent the balance of the elements. When its a single point up it could mean the elements arising from spirit, the force that expanded from a singular sphere to create all that is and will ever be. If they’re two points up then to me it shows spirit arising from the four base associations. Both are actually true, But it proves how something as simple as a group of lines and your outlook could have a dramatic effect on how a symbol is percieved.

Day Before The Oath (7October2013)

In a little under twenty-four hours I will present myself to Deity and will fully dedicate to the Pagan faith. Its odd how close it is, seemed like it was a long tine coming, a plan in the works since earlier this year. Now look at me, twenty years old and finally about to wear the pentagram in full public view. I’m so proud of myself…oh so proud.

Of course there was already a time when I wore the pentagram in public, back when I was a senior in high-school. The difference between then and now is that I will be wearing it just about everywhere I go, including having it in public display at home. Were I living on my own then this would be okay, but with a high opinionated mother I have to live with, this complicates things. Whether or not it causes issues isn’t my problem, I’m more than old enough to make my in religious decisions and no matter what I will express my spirituality. The question is why now?

Well, I feel like now is a perfect time to solidify my faith because of all the tike I spent within it, getting to know the people, beliefs and settling myself within the tradition period. I feel like as I’ve grown as a person and a man that this Pagan path is right for me, comforting me through my tears and strengthening me when I’m weak. Though I haven’t shopped or experimented with other faiths the past five years of my life, I feel in my heart that this is the right thing for me to do.

This decision will change some things, especially on how I’m percieved publically. Being in a primarily Christian county already means that there’s a high likelihood that I will get nagative reactions from people who may recognize the symbol’s modern day usage. Gasps, the shuffling away of children, perhaps even a talking to by braver individuals are just a few things that I expect. Do I care? For the most part, no, though I can’t deny that there’s a part of me that will always care about that sort of thing. I won’t let that deter me or my freedom of self-expression though. You can’t cater to everyone’s thought without eventually having them live their life through you. Even with my mother being how she is, in the end I have to let myself be happy; and if arguments arise then so be it.

Beyond the personal level, wearing the pentagram will allow religious outreach to those who may be unaware or interested in what it means. I may even be lucky enough to encounter another Pagan, which would be fantastic. By assuming the position as relgious public relations for my personal faith, it allows people who ordinarily wouldn’t encounter us to be left with a good impression of Paganism. Besides the fact that plenty wouldn’t be able to see me beyond their religious convictions, at least I can plant the seed of interest in their minds. And over time they may even look back to my appearance, attitude and dialogue to reference how others like ne may act, especially if this is their first such encounter.

I hope tomorrow and beyond are full of blessings for me to reap, so close, yet it seems so far away…

Pagan Beliefs On Homosexuals (28September2013)

A lot of faiths out there have different views on everything, for some you can’t seem to do anything without getting some type if reprimand, with others the rules are a bit more relaxed, however slight. But what beliefs does Paganism hold about homosexuality?

That depends on what you define as paganism. There are two ‘types’ of paganism, at least that’s what it seems like when the faith group is being talked about. The first form is the actual definition if paganism, which is essentially any non-Christian faith; this covers a wide swath if religions. When you use the typical application of Paganism as any nature-based faith that believes in the practices of communing, protecting, and celebrating the changes of the earth, then we’re talking about my crew.

So what does nature-based Paganism say about homosexuals? Good question, we say, “WELCOME!!” The thing one must realize about eco-Paganism is that we’re very accepting to the LGBTQ community, even if you don’t see all of us having rainbow flags on hand. Its not like other faiths where being LGBTQ is a strange foreign thing, instead, you’re more likely to get weird looks if you don’t believe in gay rights. It impossible to be a practitioner of nature while denying the most basic form of it, which is sexuality. It’s perfectly natural to feel however you may feel about sexual orientation because unlike what others may say, transvestism, bi-sexuality, and homosexuality exists extensively throughout nature.

Freedom, love, independence, and ALL natural rights are things that we as a faith value highly. And even though we aren’t as perfect as we wish we were, having our own squabbles, all out brawls and what have you on occasion; we do our best to ensure that all who take the Pagan banner are free to do as they wish.

Highs and Lows in Faith (23September2013)

There are times within a Pagan’s faith that they begin to somehow feel distant from their God, practices waning and dedication flailing.

Its almost like a creeping rot disease where as much as you practice, celebrate, and study, you feel as if somehow its not enough. As if you are doing something wrong, how does one deal with something like this, and why does it happen?

A while ago, roughly a year or so, I went through this same exact thing, loving the Divine with all my heart yet feeling like the progress I was making wasn’t enough. It got to the point where I thought about leaving Wicca (at that time I hadn’t left it for general Paganism) and just floating around life to no end.

Thankfully that didn’t happen and I eventually got out of the rut, able to fully implement my faith practices without discomfort.

So what happened? Well, though I’m by no means an expert, when it comes to my situation I can formulate a general theory. See, before the rut I was so into the Divine, so willing and ready to dive into whatever faith practices I came across that I left little time to live.

When people get into something they really like and something that they are really getting returns in it becomes hard to stop. In my case I allowed faith to get in the way of socializing, working on myself in a secular sense and essentially drowning in Wicca this, meditation that.

Over an extended period of time I believe that I naturally became repelled by it, mentally tired of always doing religious stuff, I needed separation. At that time I didn’t understand let alone care to, I had what made me happy and I’d be damned if I decided to slow down.

For me at least, this was the very problem, lack of moderation. When doing anything you must take it in bites and pieces, do too much and you risk choking, keep piling it on and serious drawbacks become apparent. The same us especially true with faith, learn to restrict some things and live a multi-faceted life, expanding in secular, religious, scholastic and social arenas.

Sometimes even that is not enough and you may need a break from it all to work on new endeavours, but dont think that you have to be in pagan mode 100% of the time. Realize that you’re not a robot, and as such you need some downtime to take a vacation.