faith

Witch & Popcorn

October, 2018

American Mystic

I was gifted a copy of American Mystic, and I am so glad. Here is the trailer.

Released in 2010, it is an intimate portrait of three non- mainstream devotees. One is Pagan, one is a Lakota Sundancer, and one is an Xtian Spiritualist.

The stories of each person’s faith/path are explored from their gatherings to their personal mundane home life, and their individual personal practices.

Chuck, the Sundancer, welcomes the crew into the parts of the ceremony, teaching, and explaining different things that go into it. He shows years worth of scars gotten during Sundances, and he and friends open their hearts, and sacred spaces to anybody who wants to learn and understand.

Of course, Morpheus Ravenna, the Pagan is the one who most resonated with me. She welcomed the crew into her home and into her rituals. She sang, shared writings, and showed her amazing property where she has a permanent Pagan sanctuary set up. She can be found on Facebook at this link.

Kublai is a young New York Christian Spiritualist who is very involved in his community, and the film finds him working to develop his gifts to work towards helping others. Xtian Spiritualism, a non mainstream denomination, believes in the power of faith healing, angles, and psychic gifts. In the film, many mediums and clergy persons in Kublai’s community welcome the crew to film their meetings and classes.

It’s hard to keep a dry eye watching the devotion of these three beautiful souls, and their openness to share is exactly what we need today. The more people know about those who are perceived as different, the closer we can move towards full acceptance despite differences.

All around, this is a very moving and beautiful film.

 

American Mystic

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About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.

Finding the Pagan Way

October, 2015

Many people are under the impression that faeries are largely a Victorian invention, but as most people with even a passing interest in them will tell you,- earth spirits have been encountered since the dawn of mankind. They are mentioned by various names in most, if not all, cultures. The faeries are a large part of my life, and are constant,- though usually invisible, companions. Yet I would not describe myself as a member of the “Faery Faith”

I dislike the term “Faery faith”,- for me it is not a matter of faith but of personal experience. For myself, and many others the existence of faeries is not a matter for dispute. We know they exist and we are not in the slightest bit concerned that some people might think that we are delusional. I have seen and experienced them in several forms. They are not necessarily the tiny winged creatures depicted in the “Cottingly Fairy” photographs,- although I have seen them in this form too! They are powerful earth spirits and often associated with the dead and with the ancestors. They are often helpful,- but also capricious. I have learned this to my cost,- and only ask for their help in the direst of needs. The results can be very unpredictable! These days I feel the needs to include such Proviso’s as: “…and without setting anyone’s trousers on fire” etc… etc…

A Trip to Richmond Park

I am sure my chaperone was sitting on a bench, when I last looked around.

She is such a troubled, worried soul and tires so easily from all her ague.

Her little book of poetry was nestled in her lap, and she was sleeping safe and sound.

Her childhood spent in India has left her rather poorly, and her mind’s a little vague.

A cousin of my mothers from the Dorset family line, I think they said.

Whose father went to India to manage a plantation or some such.

It’s whispered that the poor man got a fever and became a little bit unsettled in the head.

They had to bring him home and send his younger brother out to oversee, instead.

Neither, in the distance, can I see the coach and four that brought us here.

It’s sleek black panels and the burly servants, who assured a sense of safety and ease.

It seemed a lovely morning for a drive out to the park, to have a picnic and to see the deer.

But now I’m feeling very much alone, and everything around me seems so queer.

Tiny child-like figures seem to flit around. I see them from the corners of my eyes.

I sit and I pretend to read my book, for surely, when I next look up,- the park will be just as it was before.

But now I hear them singing,- all their tiny voices ringing out like pretty silver bells.

“Come play with us, sweet maiden. Come and dance with us around our faerie dell”.

Are they faeries?,- surely not! Perhaps the sunshine on my head has shone a little hot?

But peeking shyly round my book, I see, a pretty bunch of tiny creatures peering back at me!

Rainbow wings like oriental butterflies and cheeky faces with such marble skin and charming eyes.

They seemed to offer such delightful company, my feet began to dance!,- to my surprise.

Round and round we twirl until my head gets in a spin, and every time I try to stop my feet begin again.

I can no longer feel the ground, I’m spinning in the air. The fun has stopped and now I start to feel a little fear.

Opening my purse,- I throw my rosary upon the ground. The songs and laughter fade away like morning dew.

In the distance I can hear dreadful, moaning sound. I open up my eyes to find myself alone and lying on a faery mound.

Patrick W Kavanagh 26/03 2015

PaganWay

by Bill Oliver { boysoblue.com }

 

I have seen them in their deeper, and darker aspects and I fully understand the reluctance of previous generations to disturb faery forts and burial mounds. To me, they will always the Tuatha De Danaan,- The clan of the Goddess Danu. They were a powerful ancient Irish race with great magical skills. They were defeated in battle by the Milesians, and the great bard, Amergin White Knee, allotted to them, all of the island that was underneath the earth. As the centuries passed and their fame diminished they almost shrank into oblivion. They stayed close to their underground realms and only came up on certain occasions and on feast days. Even fifty years ago, there were many in the west of Ireland who have seen the Gentry as they are called.. but few have the openness of mind that would allow them to see the little people these days.

Do You Remember

Do you remember when, so long ago, we felt the flowers grow?

We watched them all awaken underneath the sunlit snow.

Snowdrops and daffodils, and violas of purple hue,

Spring would quickly follow with a host of things to do.

I remember flying underneath the red-streaked, summer skies,

Every flutter of our silken wings was spurred by endless joy.

Listening to the singing of the blackbird, at the dawning of the night.

The rising moon brought tears of longing, mixed with inexpressible delight.

There were feasts a plenty, with bread and cheese upon the hawthorn fair.

Hazelnuts and haws, with nettle soup, while marigolds and roses blessed the summer air.

Blackberries so sweet, that hung from every roadside hedge.

Elderberry wine to slake our thirst, went quickly to our heads.

We gentle folk were welcome in those days, with bread and milk at every cottage door.

And we would bless the farm to make the crops grow strong, where we found kindness for the poor.

Then we would ramble home, through portals scattered far and wide across the land.

Back to the Land of Sidhe, in cheerful song, with all the Faerie band.

Patrick W Kavanagh.

12/03/2014

paganway1

by Bill Oliver { boysoblue.com }

Musings of a Massachusetts Witch

July, 2013

Unverifiable Personal Gnosis 

Wicca has a foundation built on the idea of Unverifiable Personal Gnosis – meaning that our personal knowledge and experiences may not be able to be outwardly proven to others though we hold it as truth. In order to build and nurture our relationships with God Herself, to gain personal enlightenment or to seek the deeper understanding of the Mysteries, one is expected to experience moments of epiphany or gnosis. I would expect that when an individual lives a life dedicated to Wicca she or he would experience several moments of gnosis while communing with Deity either through meditation, contemplation or ritual. These are personal experiences that would not yield external proof but would bring that individual to a higher vibrational frequency and balance even if other Wiccans do not resonate with the insight refusing to accept the gnosis as their truth. The fact that others do not accept the gnosis does not tarnish what the individual who experienced it gains because at the core of Wicca as well as many other religions and spiritual practices is establishing and nurturing an intimate relationship with Deity or our Creator.

 

While Unverifiable Personal Gnosis is a significant part of Wicca it is also important in many other religions and spiritual practices. When I was a practicing Christian specifically Roman Catholic I had many moments of epiphany that other Christians did not and would never resonate with, one of which was when Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, spoke to me during an intense moment of prayer revealing to me her true nature. It was gnosis such as this that ultimately led me away from Christianity and onto my current Wiccan path. I believe that Wicca is as verifiable as Christianity is though I am acutely aware that many others will disagree with me claiming that there are historical accounts within The Bible and other sacred texts that Jesus Christ did exist and is the prophesized Messiah. While it may be true that Wicca has no sacred book to consult when we have questions, nor a holy text to check for verification of a spiritual belief, what we do have is shared experiences and personal gnosis. And if you are a person who does follow a religion with such reference material as Holy Scripture, how do you come to the belief that the sacred book or holy text that you readily consult is indeed the Word of God? Isn’t it through personal gnosis?

 

For myself I find that I am able to verify my Wiccan beliefs, truths and reality to my satisfaction by communing with the natural world around me. There I am able to witness the beauty of the sacred feminine in all her magnificent flora and greenery. I am able to feel the power of the sacred masculine in the weather and natural forces of the Universe that surround me. I can observe the cycle of life that dictates the path of all living beings that inhabit the Earth with me. Because I believe that Wicca is based in the understanding of the life cycle as I experience it, it is based in the reality I manifest for myself and the reality I create with others of like mind. It is the truth that I live each day here on the physical plane of Earth that we, you and I, have co-created. I come to these conclusions through unverifiable personal gnosis just as you have come to your beliefs through your own communion with Deity.

InterWeavings

April, 2012

Faith

April brings such joy! The bursting forth of new life and growth are evident everywhere we look. The faith that spring will indeed arrive is what keeps us going in the darkest of winter.

Faith – the belief in things not seen.

That faith is the cornerstone of so many belief systems. The belief that the light will return and life will move forward as it should.

Many times in life we have difficulty having faith. Faith that things will get better. Faith that we can overcome what is before us. Faith that anything good can come from the darkness. I believe it is part of the human journey to question what is before us. Many religions try and address the issue.   Mother Earth shares with us each and every year the miracle of faith. Bursting forth is color and sweet scent is a lesson in patience and trust.

We all know the saying “the faith of a mustard seed”. I have a mustard seed in a neclace. It is the tiniest of things and yet it grows into a beautiful strong tree that shades and give shelter to so many. How can that be? What if the seed were to question itself as to whether it could really grow into a tree? Would doubt keep the seed from germinating and fulfilling its desitny? I think we do that very thing ourselves.  How much do we miss by questioning our potential?  My favorite chant says We all come from the Goddess. If I believe that, then I must have unimagined potential within me.  Why do I allow self doubt to stop me on my path?

I know I have changed directions completely in my life because I doubted my own capabilities. What if I’m not good enough or talented enough? Other people cheered me on with complete confidence of my abilities. And yet, if I can’t see into the future enough to see the end result, I am afraid to take the risk; the risk of letting someone else down or wasting money or time. Or failing.

Sometimes we have such a strong feeling pulling us forward that we just don’t doubt. Meeting my husband and saying “yes” and choosing to start a family are examples in my life. Those are heady times! Our faith is strong.

Sometimes we feel we can do something but let worry interfere. Second guessing and self doubt run nonstop through our every thought. And yet, that little seed just follows its instinct and gradually unfolds into perfection. Perhaps excited at each phase of it’s growth. Amazing! And I believe each of us is just as amazing.

Every seed and bulb planted at this time of year is a lesson in faith. This is a perfect time to plant something new within our own garden of the heart.  Cultivate something wonderful for yourself to remember  that we, too, just need a little nurturing to blossom forth.

Proving Grounds

October, 2011

Faith and Witchcraft

Faith can be held in a lot of things: that the Sun will rise in the east, that Tuesday follows Monday, that your car will run well enough to take you to work tomorrow. A witch may well believe in any or all of these things, but faith does not enter into her or his relationship with the Divine.

Why? Because through meditation, guided visualization, group or solo astral travel, a witch has direct personal experience of Divinity1.

Experience may have shown this witch that the Element Fire has more to do with a person’s sense of humor than the Element Air, that a seedhead of grass is a perfect expression of the endless and loving abundance of the Goddess (a lesson which may have been taught in the Eleusinian mysteries), that an extremely troubled relationship to the witch’s own father does not preclude having a loving relationship to the God.

Believing” in the Empedoclean elements – earth, water, fire, air – has a quite different effect on the psyche than experiencing them for yourself. To have fields of ripe wheat appear in your mind’s eye, waving and rippling in the wind, will forever link “Air” and “movement” for you.

Journeying to experience the deities linked to your favorite pastime can teach you volumes about yourself. Many dedicated hobbyists start with Hephaestus, whose careful attention to detail is a function of His love for what he does.

Feeding the Runes your own blood, listening hard as They begin to talk to you by saying Their names, etches them into your soul in a way that memorizing multiple meanings for each Rune cannot.

What you know, you cannot believe in. As Terry Pratchett puts it, “It would be like believing in the postman.”2

Therefore, if I had any advice for a witch who has newly discovered that that’s what s/he is, it would be to get down in the trenches and take the journeys, walk the paths, meditate. Witness the turning of the Wheel of the Year, the passage of Life through the generations, sunrise, sunset, the first sight of the New Moon through a smoky summer haze, the glorious orb of the Full Moon through winter-bared trees, any birth, the rising of bread, the fermentation of wine.

Be surprised by nothing, and awed by all of it.

Every single one of these is a miracle, a signal of the Divine Presence in our lives.

Our ability to witness these miracles for what they are is what sets us apart from the believers, who are often called the “faithful” – those full of faith. In many faith-based religions, the ability to interact directly with the Divine is parceled into the hands of the priests, and kept from the faithful, who must rely on their faith that the Divine exists, and that their priests are cultivating right relationship with that Divine.

The witch has no such distance between Self and Divine. We are out there, talking to and serving our Gods, on a daily basis. It is this that marks out the true witch.

We don’t have to believe. We know.

Witches don’t need faith. We have experience.

So don’t bother to believe. Don’t bother to have faith. Instead, experience your connection to the Divine, and see where that takes you.

The trip will be wonderful, even if the destination surprises you.

1 I do not mean the fudge, even though fourteen out of every ten people like chocolate.

2 Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” series provides a wonderful picture of witchcraft in “Wyrd Sisters” and “Witches Abroad.” I don’t know if he is one of us, but if not, he’s done some very critical thinking about what it took to be a practicing witch in the pre-industrial world, and written about it very well. I also recommend his “Tiffany Aching” series (“The Wee Free Men,” “A Hatful of Sky,” “Wintersmith,” and “I Shall Wear Midnight”) for young adults … no matter how “adult” you might be.

Faith

July, 2006

Once, long before the age of man and dinosaur, the earth was an enchanted playground filled with magickal beings made up of elves, gnomes, and fairies.


Although they were all different with a variety of talents and looks, they lived together happily. They were proud of their individual gifts and those of their fellow beings. The land was filled with happiness, love, and faith.


The Goddess watched over her children and her heart overflowed with joy and love.


Time began to pass and other feelings began to form between the magical beings. Feelings of envy, greed, and anger surfaced. Fights broke out. Magick was used for harm instead of good.


The Goddess watched this with great sadness. She tried to comfort and guide her children but they could no longer hear her through their hostilities.


Finally, a sort of truce was declared. The land was divided up into three equal portions and fences were raised to mark the boundaries. The gnomes, fairies, and elves would no longer live together as one.


At first this seemed the answer to all their problems. However, they soon began to notice some flaws with this new arrangement.


For instance, the fairies had water but no fertile soil and no farm animals, which meant they could not grow and gather crops. What would they do for food?


The gnomes, on the other hand, had fertile soil but no water source. How would they survive with no water or food?


The elves had farm animals and one well, but no fertile soil. How would they survive with a short supply of water and no means to grow food?


Though each group suffered, they refused to break the boundaries and try and help each other. The Goddess knew if something did not happen soon her children would not survive, but what was she to do? They would not let themselves hear her anymore. Then it came to her.


One day while the magickal beings were all doing what little they could to survive, the earth began to shake and the sky began to darken. The magickal beings were terrified and ran for shelter.


When the rumbling stopped and the light began to shine again, they slowly emerged from their hiding spots to see what had happened.


As the groups all moved toward the source of the rumbling they found themselves at the exact spot where all three communities came together. There in the middle of that spot stood a magnificent tree filled with various fruits that were ripe for the picking.


Each group rushed the tree but was struck back by some sort of invisible barrier. As they lay shaken on the ground, they each thought surely with their magical abilities they could break the barrier.


They talked amongst themselves then each group headed off to get baskets to collect the fruit.


The first group back was the elves. They tried every spell they knew but nothing worked. Exhausted they finally gave up and rested on the ground.


Next came the fairies. They tried everything they knew, but pretty soon they were also defeated.

     

Last came the gnomes and their fate was no different than the others.


As they lay there panting from exhaustion and near starving, they began looking around at the different groups. Finally, with unspoken agreement they all got up joined hands and joined their magical powers.


They did not, however, try to break the barrier this time. They prayed to the Goddess to please hear them. They asked her for forgiveness.


Suddenly the tree lit up in front of them and they looked on in awe. The Goddess spoke to them from the tree as she is in everything and everyone.


She said, “My children, I never stopped being there for you or loving you, you only stopped hearing me. You are all so precious to me and should also be precious to each other. Life is a gift to be celebrated. Please celebrate now with me and with each other”.


Then the fruit began to float from the tree into their baskets. After everyone was fed and drank, they decided to tear down the fences around their properties and their hearts.


They knew that all they needed was each other and faith in the Goddess.


***


author bio:


Debra Clapp