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Posts Tagged ‘wicca’

Today is an interesting one – I feel like the topic of deities could have 30 days all of its own!

It’s funny, I feel like I’ve been actively working with gods and goddesses for only a short part of my pagan life. When I first began practicing Wicca four years ago I found it very easy and natural (haha!) to begin working with Great Spirit, elementals and land spirits. I was, and still am, a very eclectic witch, and although I knew that lots of people worked with gods and goddesses, I never felt the need. I felt like my work was fulfilling and complete without them, and if you read my entry on cosmology you’ll know that I believe the gods are ways of understanding Great Spirit anyway.

It wasn’t until I was auditioning for my music course that I first worked with a goddess. I wanted to be in this course very badly – this creative spirit felt completely trapped in a science degree and I knew a music course was where I needed to be. I felt like I needed some extra support, someone to hold my hand in the audition room, and almost by accident I stumbled upon Brighid. I warmed to her straight away – two of her domains are creative inspiration and healing, and as someone who wants to be a music therapist, I saw similarities with myself. She was wonderfully supportive, wise and still continues to teach me a lot. She encouraged me to not be afraid of working with deities, and she was my first experience of their power.

Brighid is still a goddess I revere and work with regularly. And yes, I did get into that music course!

That was two years ago. It took me a while to put names on the deities I was working with, but I think unconsciously it was all part of my deep beliefs that I was still discovering. I spoke a bit about this in my Cosmology entry, but my beliefs are very pantheistic. I see the universe as a manifestation of Great Spirit, or “God”. Divinity is everywhere, within everything, the world is god. With those beliefs in mind, it’s not surprising that working with traditional deities was not high on my to-do list. I was already building relationships with spirits of the land, elementals, dryads and other nature spirits. I was already working with that divinity. I was just working with different parts of it and calling it different names.

I am still very eclectic, and the specific aspects of Great Spirit that I work with are many and varied. One day I may be revering Brighid, the next day I could be asking guidance from Dolphin, the day after trading energies with tree spirits. To me, though, these are all just aspects of Great Spirit. They are ways of understanding Great Spirit. We are human, and we love to categorize things. It makes sense that we find it much easier to work with little chunks of Great Spirit, than try to puzzle the whole universe out!

I believe that a lot can be learned by working with many different deities and benevolent spirits. They can be very different in practice than in books. If we are respectful there is a lot we can learn from each other, for they are of the same divine spark as we are.

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So, I discovered I’m pretty boring writing on my own. Having some sort of prompt-skeleton-thing to start me off is probably going to result is slightly more interesting reading. And so I present to you *drumroll* my version of the 30 Days of Paganism meme. Thanks to Elspeth (Book of Shadows) and Jess (Home Among the Gumtrees) for allowing me to steal the idea….

WHY PAGANISM?
That’s a good question. I’ve lived with two Christians and an atheist my entire life. Most of my extended family identify themselves as Christian. There’s not even a hint of Pagan in any of my family. Actually, I stumbled upon Wicca quite by chance.

Even as a child, being brought up going to church every week, I was always drawn to nature, fairy tales, water, fairies and magic. I was always playing amongst the trees, couldn’t wait to go swimming, talking to “the fairies in the garden” and “the lady who lives in our house” (I still don’t know whether she was a ghost or some sort of guardian spirit, but I would talk to her a lot as a very small child). The world was magical to me, as I’m sure it is to many children. But as a child, I didn’t see it as a spiritual thing. Making friends with the trees and feeling a rush of calm in the water and talking to the lady were just life. The were just what happened.

This love of nature and “magical” experiences were kind of trampled as I grew up. I learned that having anything to do with any “spirits other than God” made me evil and bad. I made friends at school who told me that trees and lakes were stupid and they wouldn’t like me if I thought they were beautiful. As I went through primary and the first half of secondary school, I pretty much forgot all of this. A fairly common theme I think – people forgetting the simple, magical world of being a child. But I relate these early experiences quite strongly to my spirituality. It wasn’t until the age of 16 that I started questioning things.

By this stage I had been quite heavily involved in church – I helped out with childrens ministry and Sunday school because I love working with kids and making them smile. I got fired from that, though, for being a “bad influence on the children”. To this day I still have no idea what that means! But it depressed me, and I stopped going to church. Being free from people telling me how the world worked made me start thinking about what I actually believed.

So I read a lot of books on pretty much every religion and spiritual path I could think of. I think I was trying to find something that logically sounded right. But as soon as I started reading about Wicca, it was more than that. It just felt right, in a strange way I hadn’t felt before. It wasn’t a matter of logic, it was intuition. The more I read and the more I practiced, celebrating sabbats and esbats and doing simple meditations, the more peaceful I was. The magical aspect made me think of those days as a child experiencing nature, when life was peaceful.

And 5 years later I am still practicing. I am still discovering that inner peace and harmony that inspired me to begin with. It feels so wonderful to be actively involved in my spiritual path – to learn things from the world around me, the trees, the god and goddess, rather than being told to just accept “what this book says”. Divinity is so much closer to home, it’s in everything around us. As a pagan, I am an individual. There are no special rules I have to follow in order for my life to be a “good” one. “An it harm none, do as you will” makes perfect sense to me.

There is much more to say, but I’d better leave some things for the next 29 entries!

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After a stressful morning of waking up early and running around like a crazy person, I got to spend some Earth Path time wandering around the beautiful area where my boyfriend lives. It’s such a lovely place – houses all built on hills, untamed areas of trees and plants, birds chirping everywhere, big paddocks…. It’s one of my favourite places to spend time. My two favourite spots are the willow tree that sits by the pond, and the little creek that runs down right in the middle of the “forest” area.

Today, though, I spent my 20 minutes or so with this massive oak tree just up from the pond. I’d only really noticed it in winter when it was fairly unassuming, and didn’t get very close because there was a grumpy magpie living nearby (yes, love of trees, fear of birds. Go figure…). But today, there was no magpie in sight and the tree was richly covered in leaves. It’s such a beautiful tree – very old, branches going right down to the ground. Sitting near the trunk was like stepping into a completely different place. It was just me and this gorgeous, old, wise oak.

I spent a little while just noticing the tree. The poor thing must get so neglected; it’s fairly out of the way. Trees love just being noticed, having people actually bother with them. I cleaned up some of the litter people had thrown around, and I sat down and just looked around. I watched the branches waving in the wind and felt the little drops of rain falling on me from the branches. I felt the texture of the trunk and the leaves and I found all the little hidey holes that the birds use. It was a really beautiful experience. It’s such a beautiful old tree.

I then just meditated with the tree for a while, we did a bit of an exchange of energies and got to know each other a bit. I let colours and images come as they pleased, and I think some of these will be messages to meditate on later.

Anyway, that made my morning – evening was the last belly dance class for the year. Only two days til our end of year concert. I’m really looking forward to it. I remember towards the end of my time doing ballet I used to think it was really lame that people looked forward to the silly little studio concert, but I can’t help it. Performing is just fun. Full stop.

Our intermediate class is doing a fairly simple veil dance, but the music is lovely and veils always look pretty. I think the challenge with veil stuff is trying to make it look graceful and effortless, despite never quite knowing whether you’ll end up stepping on or dropping the thing! The scariest bit by far, though, is where Prue (my teacher) and I have our little solo-y bit, featuring very fast and numerous butterfly turns.

Then there’s the student troupe dance, which is a super-fun, fast, “ham and cheese” affair. Again, looking all smiley and happy when you’re actually dripping with sweat and gasping for air takes quite a bit of effort!

So right now I’m all pepped up and happy, the way I am after a good dance class and with a gig coming up! I need something to work towards during the holidays dance-wise… Methinks I need to fish around for some tricky moves that I want to try and perfect or something. Ideas?

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled enough for today! Still getting used to this blogging thing….

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Beginnings…

Hello, people who find themselves reading this. Welcome to my humble corner of the internet.

I decided to start a blog because I want to share the goings-on in my head and in my life with people who have similar goings-on. I also want to hear about said similar goings-on. I’ll ask you for opinions on things, I’ll probably spam you with recordings and videos from time to time, ask questions, etc. etc. That’s if people are actually reading it. We shall see…

There isn’t just one thing I want to write about, so I’m not going to try to limit it! There are four things, though, that you’ll hear (or… read) about most:

Druidry: I’m just beginning my year of study as a candidate with the Ancient Order of Druids in America. I’ll be writing about my experiences, things I need to achieve within the year, challenges I’m facing and so on.
Wicca: My spiritual path of 5 years now, this is a topic close to my heart. I’ll probably post about Sabbats and rituals I’m involved with, books I read, spells, debates and ethical stuff.
Belly Dance: So, I’ve only had a year’s training but I’m kind of obsessed. After 12 years of ballet and jazz, belly dance has been a breath of fresh air for me. I’ll probably be writing about classes and performances and shiny costumes and that new move I finally got right.
Music: Of which I am a complete and utter nerd. Just finished my second year of my BMus, majoring in voice, I’m also singing in a 5-piece a cappella group and a jazz/pop band. As well as teaching piano, flute, clarinet and singing and going to see gigs and listening to things… You’ll hear about some of it at least!

So feel free not to like all of the above things. That’s what tagging is for!

There is, of course, the very real chance that I’ll be terrible at blogging. I’ve never done this before and I’ve got not a clue as to whether I can write! Bear with me, though, and hopefully I’ll get better. Do let me know if you like what I’m writing, if you don’t like what I’m writing, if there’s some super-duper-fancy Blogger’s Rule that I’m not following. I like hearing from people.

So, welcome, and enjoy your stay…

Shel 🙂

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