paths

3 Pagans and a Cat Monthly Feature

December, 2018

 

3 Pagans and a Cat Podcast

Three Paths, One Journey, No Cat

In this highly informative & entertaining podcast, three family members embroiled in wildly divergent traditions gather in one room to discuss, debate, and flat-out argue about their magical, mythical, and mundane lives, all for our education and pleasure.

 

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Each Month… we will share the previous month’s episodes with you from their site to help keep you up-to-date with their impressive podcast. While there, don’t forget to listen to this month’s as well, we wouldn’t want you to miss a thing!

 

November 2018 Podcasts

Episode 24: Embracing Dissonance: Car, Gwyn, and Ode discuss the damage they’re still trying to cast off from Christianity, some basic criteria for exploring your pagan options, and how to do the research that brings it all together.

 

 

This Month’s Podcast Share from their Backlog

Episode 5: Building Your Book – Overview: Car, Gwyn, and Ode launch the Building Your Book series by talking about some historical grimoires, discussing their own magical books, and covering the general principles and contents of a Book of Shadows.

 

Where Else to Find 3 Pagans and a Cat…

Their Website: http://www.3pagansandacat.com

Their Twitter: https://twitter.com/3_Pagans

Their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/3PaaC

Their YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0GJacu9SUzuumXJNNUZwQ

Their G+: https://plus.google.com/u/2/collection/oCWVXE

 

Remember …

You can always support your favorite podcasts with a donation. Every bit helps to keep them going.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

MagickalArts

September, 2018

Choices on the Path

These next few months, I would like to share some articles I wrote several years ago about following the path of a Witch. These were part of an online course entitled: A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path and covered all of the basics. I am diving in with a subject that was posted near the end of the course, but is often one of the first questions I am asked about community and where “I belong”…

Solitary vs. Coven Life

Choosing to remain a solitary practitioner or joining a coven is a very personal matter. Both offer benefits and detriments. Even if you consider yourself to be a solitary practitioner, there will be celebrations and stages in your development that will generate a desire to share, commune and connect. Those who choose to join a coven will also have specific points in their path and or rituals that they may wish to celebrate or practice in private.

Solitary

Many Witches choose to walk a Solitary path. In former years this could be a very lonely, albeit a fulfilling one. We are fortunate to be on the Path at this particular time as there are many festivals and open events that both solitary and coven members can attend.  Meet-up Groups that have a pagan flavor are in abundance throughout the United States. There are also many opportunities to take classes, workshops and attend conferences as many covens offer open rituals, workshop series and other events that allow solitary witches to interact and learn.

For some, group work and the structure needed to have things run smoothly is too restricting and limiting. For others, jobs, lifestyles or family obligations prevent the individual from attending coven functions (there is usually a minimum requirement of events throughout the year that a coven member should be expected to attend, unless there are emergencies), and this creates stress for both the coven and the member. If ritual at 2am is all you can easily fit into your schedule, most covens will not be accommodating to that. Solitary witches often have a very creative bend. Because everything they do ritually or spell wise is generally self-generated and created, they become quite adept at improvising.

Coven (Group Work)

Depending on the coven and Tradition you are interested in joining there will generally be a specific length of time and protocol specified to facilitate the dedication process. For instance, within our coven we require at minimum a six-month “getting to know you” period where the prospective dedicant (newly dedicated member) attends open events and interacts with the other members of the coven.

The coven you select to petition for membership should offer a stable and fair structure with resources to further and enhance your personal growth. Working within the coven should feel like a spiritual family and these should be people that you trust to see you at your best and your worst. The energetic connection that you weave with this group of people will strengthen and build as you continue to work together. It is a very intimate process that requires respect between all of membership. The High Priest and Priestess of the coven should be people who live by example those teachings that they have been entrusted to pass along. There should be a comfortable exchange between leadership (HP and HPs) and membership such that any discord, or misunderstandings can be discussed and resolved in an ethical, intelligent and mature manner.

There should be encouragement of all members within the group to excel and progress in their magickal studies. And, although healthy and constructive criticism are great motivators there should never be an ill-intended push or encouragement towards unhealthy competition for recognition, roles or initiations among members.

It has been my experience, that frequently the people who are meant to become members of our group, find their way to us, either through a synchronistic moment. They happen to be in the right place at the right time, find our website and decide to come to an open event or become interested through a friend who is already a member. Don’t be afraid to be selective. Take the time that you need to make an informed decision and never allow yourself to be pressured into joining a group. If a group is that desperate for new members, there are most likely other areas in which they will exert or force their will on the existing members- the number one “no-no” in wiccan philosophy.

The bottom line is that if the group is a viable and healthy one, they will want to take their time in getting to know more about the potential members who come knocking on their door, and if the fit is right there is no need to hurry matters, neither your nor their interest in having you join them will diminish or lessen. If it does, perhaps it was not the place for you after all. The commitment to a group should be entered with the thought that this will be a place of working and growing for several years. There is no short track to magickal mastery and those who frequently leave and join groups, as well as covens who have a fast moving revolving door usually do not stand the test of time and longevity.

It doesn’t really matter whether you choose to join a coven or remain a solitary practitioner. The important thing is that you continue your practice. That you seek out the resources you are guided to when and where you are led. And, when the time is right, you gather with like-minded individuals as one in celebration of the Wiccan Path.

Next Month:

Ethics of the Craft

For More Info:

A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path

Image Credit:

The Sorceress by John Waterhouse

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About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Bad Witch Book Review – Pagan Portals: The Hedge Druid’s Craft by Joanna Van Der Hoeven

June, 2018

Bad Witch Book Review
Pagan Portals: The Hedge Druid’s Craft by Joanna Van Der Hoeven

 


The Hedge: Intersectional Magick

 

What happens when a witch, a faery worker and druid blend these paths into one? Oddly this has been a question for me and my path for a while. Apparently according to this author her answer was the hedge, the edge of all three spaces. Liminality and the places between are where magick is created, where things are born and die. Finding the place where things meet, end and over-lap is always interesting.


This solution of sorts was pleasing to me, if missing something, though I could not say what.


I found once I got into the book proper (the pre-able was long and full of adverts/teasers for other books) I liked the open and easy tone of this authors work. Her voice was calm and I found her voice firm but unfussy.


I definitely was aware of a quiet (faery) knowing in her work, though her facts and explanations were simple enough to follow I feel like I might have to re-read this book several times more.


That in and of itself might tell you that I enjoyed this book.


There wasn’t a great deal that was “new” to me, but…the tantalizing idea that there might be someone else like me or similar was both comforting and unsettling. She speaks of the ease of blending these paths, which might be true for her, but for me has been quite challenging.


Our experiences were not the same of course but her methods and work ethic certainly mesh with mine a lot. Do the work, say the words, write what happened down. She says it much more politely than I usually do, maybe because I’ve had such interesting students…I digress.


She introduces and explains each part of her path openly, interestingly and well. She doesn’t go into flowery imaginings and her research is excellent.


Faery working is not easy and she doesn’t fall into the common mistakes of over or under estimating the “good neighbours”. She is circumspect (as one must be) and yet through in speaking about them. She speaks about her experiences with them and despite years of experience how unsettling a close encounter can actually be! There is no sugar coating how difficult walking the path (or riding the hedge) can be. She speaks of how lonely it can be to see the world from the edge instead of the middle. Valuable truths and comforting in equal measure.


There is a brief but more than competent over view of the wheel of the year and then she moves into the rites of Hedge Druid’s Craft.


The journey-workings are safe (as they can be) and rather beautiful. There is a power in sincerity and I swear I thought I had written


“By the power of three times three
As I will it, so may it be.”


Which the author uses throughout. It is spooky almost how similar my personal rites are to her work. As though the blackbird in my garden has been whispering in her ear! It is probably as simply as that this is what the faery have been whispering to each of us!


Her post rite grounding is also great.


Ancestors and its work with druid work has been a sticking point for me. My immediate family being something of a trash fire and much but my Irish line being an utter mystery makes this a real sore point for me, especially since my parents passing. Yet her advice is sound.


To speak of Gods then. I am like the author, reverent but not a natural kneeler. Her words are empowering and wise.


In all honesty I like this book a lot and it makes me feel uncomfortable in roughly equal measure.


I like it because it is extraordinarily like my path. It is full of wisdom and knowing, grace and simplicity. I think this is also why it makes me uncomfortable. It is like someone read my poetry or watched me while at my most private work. It feels like I have been “seen”.


Instead I might say, Joanna I hope to see you in The Dreaming.

 

Pagan Portals – The Hedge Druid’s Craft: An Introduction to Walking Between the Worlds of Wicca, Witchcraft and Druidry

Sacred Place, Sacred Space

March, 2018

LABYRINTHS

(Photo Credit: almanac.com)

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The point of a maze is to find its’ center.

The point of a labyrinth is to find your center.

– Unknown

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Labyrinths are found in more places than I originally thought. While I have a finger labyrinth, I had not given labyrinths, in general, much thought. However, as they have come up for me in my own personal soul work, I chose to look into them a bit further.

A labyrinth is a single path that tends to curl in on itself and always leads to the center. The center of what is up to each individual person who undertakes that journey. They date back at least 4,000 years ago.

They are associated with spiritual, religious and magical undertakings. They can be a place of ritual and other personal ceremonies.

Even though the words are used interchangeably, a labyrinth is quite different from a maze. A maze is set up to confuse you and trick you into thinking you are moving toward the center when you are most likely headed toward a dead end. Labyrinths are for meditation, reflection and contemplation. For most, it is a personal journey.

There are several different types of labyrinths – 11 circuits, 15 circuits, concentric – but all have the same purpose, to aid in personal and spiritual growth.

While they are abundant in all parts of the world, these are just a few of them. Links will follow on how you can find a labyrinth near you, if you choose.

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A labyrinth is a spiritual journey……but it is a map we can really walk on,

blurring the difference between map and world.

-Rebecca Solnit, “Wanderlust, A History of Walking”

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(Photo Credit: crusaderhistory.wordpress.com)

CHARTRES LABYRINTH, CHARTRES, FRANCE

Found at the Chartres Cathedral, this rose labyrinth dates back to 1205.

It is a single path that curls, turning back and forth on itself within

a 40-foot circle.

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(Photo Credit: smithsonianmag.com)

Photo by Andrew Gurthrie

DUNURE CASTLE, SCOTLAND

This rock labyrinth dates back to the 13th century.

It is not only beside a beach, but in view of the Dunure Castle ruins.

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(Photo Credit: www.smithsonianmag.com)

THE EDGE, HOGSBACK, SOUTH AFRICA

A one-mile long labyrinth located at The Edge Retreat. The town itself is famous for attracting, yogis and yoginis, crystal healers and spiritual seekers.

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(Photo Credit: listserve.com)

LABYRINTH OF THE BLUE VIRGIN

Located off the coast of Sweden on an uninhabited island is this labyrinth.

It was already there in the 18th century. It is believed from archeological dating that rituals were held in the nearby caves back to 7,000 BCE.

It also has a history of curses, the supernatural and witches. You might find yourself having extreme bad luck if you take one of the stones from the labyrinth site.

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With a labyrinth, you make a choice to go in –

and once you have chosen, around and around you go.

But you always find your way to the center.

— Jeff Bridges

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(Photo Credit: www.aruba-travelguide.com)

ARUBA PEACE LABYRINTH

Based on the Chartres model, it is located at the Alto Vista Chapel and on the front gate is a pole with the words, “May Peace Prevail on Earth”.

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(Photo Credit: smithsonianmag.com)

DAMME PRIORY, DAMME, GERMANY

Owned by the Munsterschwarzach Abbey, which also owns another nearby labyrinth, you find yourself walking through a rock path, surrounded by trees in the middle of the woods

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I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars.

— Jorge Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths”

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(Photo Credit: thegreenrevolution.it)

REIGNAC SUR INDRE, FRANCE

This is the largest garden labyrinth in the world!

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(Photo Credit: uncharted101.com)

REDSUN LABYRINTH, VICTOR, MONTANA, USA

This labyrinth pattern was made with 25 tons of

fieldstone!

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To enter a labyrinth is to choose to walk a

spiritual path.

— Reverend Dr. Lauren, ress Grace Cathedral

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(Photo Credit: Susan Morgaine)

DUNCAN CONFERENCE CENTER, DELRAY BEACH, FL

I was fortunate enough to visit the Duncan Conference Center in FL recently.

There are two labyrinths located there.

The outdoor one, pictured above, is quiet and peaceful.

The indoor one is located within The Schofield Chapel, pictured below, is absolutely gorgeous.

(Photo Credit: southfloridafoodandwine.com)

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I have found that there are at least three labyrinths near me, which I have plans to visit once it warms up a bit here in New England. If you feel that you would like to find one near you, both of these websites (with which I have absolutely NO connection) will help you find one:

www.labyrinthlocator.com

www.labyrinthsociety.org

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

For Amazon Information Click Image

 

Following the Sun-Wheel

August, 2016

The Shape of My Practice

 

*Dedicated to my High Priestess, Wendy Morris

I am a third degree Celtic witchcraft elder. I live in Norway, a country with covens few and far between. I helped found a coven still thriving in Colorado Springs, with my high priestess, Wendy Morris. I moved to Norway eight years ago to be with my family, but I maintain contact with the coven in Colorado and my close friend Wendy. I have been solitary for some years now, and have developed a style of solitary witchcraft which I would like to share with all who are interested. My practice follows the paradigm of the Sun Wheel, which many will recognize in its calendar form, the Wheel of the Year. However, it is not necessary to practice it on the calendar dates, though that is beneficial, especially if you are in a coven. I will begin and end my description in the North, the Place of Power.

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Witches chart their sacred occasions around the year on ‘the Wheel of the Year’. The wheel resembles a compass, with the eight sabbats marked out on the eight cardinal and intermediate points. Thus, Yule corresponds to the northern point, Ostara to the eastern, Litha to the southern point, and Mabon to the western, with Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh (or Lammas) and Samhain mapped to the northeastern, southeastern, southwestern and northwestern points, respectively.

The Wheel of the Year can also be used to map the lunar month and the twenty-four hour day. The winter solstice (Yule), the dark moon and midnight correspond to the northern point at the top of the wheel. By following the Wheel, witches and other Pagans can align themselves with the energies of those times.

In addition, the four quarters, marked out on the wheel by the lines connecting the intermediate points (northeast to southwest and southeast to northwest) correspond to the four classic elements 1 of earth (northern quarter), air (eastern), fire (southern) and water (western quarter). These elements contain inner elemental powers, the four powers of the Magus: to keep silent or be still (north), to know (east), to will (south), and to dare (west). The ongoing purpose of witchcraft is to cultivate the four elemental powers in one’s life in a balanced fashion.

Once she is dedicated to learning the Craft for a lunar year and a day, the apprentice witch’s natal horoscope is charted, if birth information is available. The planets’ positions in the various signs are noted with respect to the elements of those signs, and in this way the tasks chosen for the present incarnation are indicated, in order to achieve a better balance among the four elements. As the balance between the elemental powers improves, the fifth power of the Magus gradually becomes available to the witch, the power to go, meaning to go on astral journeys up and down the inner pillar, exploring the various worlds or dimensions encountered along the way.

In my own case, I have most planets in air signs, then in water, then a few in earth and none in fire. This is presumably because I have already done fire work in past lives and now I am meant to emphasize the other elements in that order. Thus, I began by cultivating knowledge (air), then daring (water; daring to explore the unknown), then stillness, both mental and physical (earth), and, as a final touch, will (fire). I am beginning to make astral journeys, first from a state of lucid waking, 2 and subsequently from lucid dreaming, dreaming while being aware I am in a dream. Both are springboards to traveling up and down the inner pillar, cognate with the World Pillar or the trunk of the World Tree.

The Sunward Path

In witchcraft we say that words will have power if we do not tell lies. We are not constrained to tell the truth on every occasion, but have the option to remain silent instead. This is following the sunward path with our speech, and if we do this, the Sun will empower our words. In the same way, if we promise to do something, we should expend every effort to keep that promise. Not to do so is another form of lying. If circumstances prevent us from keeping our commitment, we should explain this to whomever we made our promise, and offer an alternative. Otherwise, our word will be doubted, and we shall have to pull the weight of a broken commitment behind us. That will inhibit and diminish our magical power.

The sunward path is the path of optimum use of energy. It is not an ethically prescriptive path. It does not say, unconditionally, do not lie. It says, “If you want to make the best use of your energy, either tell the truth or remain silent.” It is similar to the Rede, which means advice. “If you want to be free to do as you will, harm none.”

The Hindu teaching about this states that if we take our journey through life facing the Sun (and therefore following the Sun), the shadow of pleasure will follow us. If we turn our backs on the Sun, the shadow of pleasure will ever recede before us. The shadow takes the shape of our own outline, but omits our substance. Thus we will never succeed in catching our shadow.

This does not mean that the witch abstains from pleasure. She is not running from her shadow, and accepts pleasure as it comes to her, but looks toward the Sun, the light of truth and Self-knowledge. As the Sun lightens the world, it both symbolizes and embodies truth.

Cultivating the Elemental Powers

In order to cultivate the four elemental powers of knowledge, will, daring and silence, a certain amount of free energy is necessary. This energy is usually in short supply, because it has been appropriated by habits conditioned by society and largely squandered. The key to accessing and cultivating elemental powers, then, lies in saving what little free energy we possess.

In each quarter, the business of cultivating elemental power goes through four phases, corresponding to the three lunar phases of purification, consecration and charging, and culminating in the ‘earthing’ phase of the dark moon. This last phase lies on the transition point to the next quarter. Thus, the earthing phase of the northern quarter lies on the Imbolc northeastern point, overlapping a little with the quarters of Earth and Air.

Purification is governed by the Maiden and the waxing phase of the moon, and consists in freeing up a portion of our everyday energy, thus creating space for the influx of elemental power. Before we can receive something new, we must let go of the old. Once space has been created, the accumulated power can be put to some focused use. This is consecration, governed by the Mother and the full moon phase. As power continues to accumulate and be channeled into the consecrated purpose, it becomes magnetic, as it were, capable of creating real change in the witch’s habits and perceptions. This is charging, the harvest of power governed by the Crone and the waning moon. These phases need not occur during the actual lunar phases, for ‘she is old or young as she pleases,’ but timing to the lunar month invokes the Lady’s special assistance. Finally, the cultivated power sinks into the witch and becomes second nature, part of her emerging magical personality.

The work of cultivation takes two forms, which may be called practice and praxis. Practice involves performing or inhibiting certain actions at set times and, when possible, set places, preferably on a daily basis. Praxis, a word I am adapting, consists of small actions taken randomly throughout the day or night when we think of them. Both practice and praxis are necessary to cultivation, and should support each other.

The linchpin of praxis is to bear in mind the words “my energy.” At any given moment, you have the freedom to observe what is capturing your energy, and to decide to withdraw your energy from it if you so choose. “My energy, my choice” is the motto of praxis. This is especially important in moments of negative expression, such as voicing irritation, which can whittle away our energy, or outbursts of anger, which can consume all the magical energy freed over the course of a day.

North

In the quarter of the north, praxis involves restraining certain habits of nervous motions when they start up: twitchings, scratchings, tapping the foot, and other small nervous movements which, taken collectively, consume a large amount of our energy each day and promote mental unrest. When some energy has been saved and accumulated through praxis, the witch can try sitting still at certain times of the day, further quietening down the body through regular practice.

As the body begins to be still, the restlessness of the mind comes to the fore. The witch now realizes the point of cultivating stillness, and the full moon phase at the northern point begins, through meditation.

Since the witch is left free at this point to choose how he or she will meditate, I can only describe my own experience. As I close my eyes, I notice my phosphenes 3 briefly, then my current thought patterns emerge. 4 I note them as they recede, and presently I am able mentally to slip between them, falling a little down my inner pillar to quieter thoughts and feelings. This feels like a sudden mild jerk, as in an elevator which has slipped its cable a few inches, or as we sometimes feel while falling asleep.

My mind is still talking to itself a little, but increasingly it is more like whisperings. The usual feelings and images which accompany me in everyday life recede, and presently older nuances of feeling from earlier times in my life float by. These are accompanied with earlier feelings of my own existence, and I seem to become more flexibly myself, like a deck of cards that has been shuffled and re-dealt. I am still myself – it is still the same deck – but there is a new deal.

I may hit some hot spots at times, old obsessions or enthusiasms, and I try to work around these and continue descending into the quieter depths of memory. I am going down into what witchcraft calls my ‘Deep’. How far I go will depend upon how completely I have cultivated my four elemental powers in balance together. Thus, the power ‘to go’, the power of aether or spirit, is approached gradually through many descents. When I reach the Summerland or Tir-na n’og, and come into contact with my root-soul, I may experience aspects of myself from previous lives. One Vedantin monk who went this far presently got up, quit the monastic order, and went into the desert to study wildflowers. He had never desired to do so in living memory, but apparently he had been a botanist in a previous life.

This means to me that when I reincarnate, my root-soul begins growing a new shoot up into Middle-Earth, and as I live my life here, my shoot or inner pillar keeps growing. The way back down to my root-soul, then, lies through my past memories and feelings.

On the way back up the inner pillar to my body resting in Middle-Earth, many feelings from my ‘Deep’ accompany me. These include the way it felt to be me and alive many years ago, along with insights from those times. As I awake into my everyday attention, these feelings and insights from long ago have at first an uncanny, fermenting effect on my everyday personality, like yeast added to bread dough. At the same time, energy flows more freely through my mind, as some of my usual obsessions have been swept aside by the force of my descent and the arrival of past nuances of feeling. I feel more childlike, for I have more free energy not harnessed by mental foci. Children are playful because much of their energy is not directed by a mental agenda. Perhaps this is a foretaste of that joy reported by witches who have reached the ‘true Sabbat’.

As these nuances begin integrating with the concerns of my everyday life, the flow of free energy in me stirs within, and feelings of inspiration and intuition arise. I have reached the boundary between stillness and knowledge, governed by the Dark Moon; I have arrived at the northeastern point.

East

The northeastern point is celebrated at Imbolc, February 2nd, or, more authentically, February 1st. 5 This is the time when ewes begin to feel the stirrings of unborn lambs in their wombs. Likewise, the witch, having reascended his or her inner pillar, feels the stirrings within of feelings and images recovered from the long past, along with the creativity enjoyed then before it was covered over and forgotten in later years.

This is a joyful phase, recalling the enticements of the elf-maid of Brittany, as she lured young men to the plain of Tir-na n’og, the plain of youth:

Deuit ganin-me da gompezenn al Levenez

O! Mar goufec’h e teufec’h’vit atao!”

Come with me to the plain of Joy.

Oh! If you knew, you would come there forever!” 6

Energy must continue to flow freely in order for the ideas it contains to emerge at the eastern point. The praxis for ensuring this is to catch the mind at the point of continuing past conversations, or anticipating future ones. One simply acknowledges them, thinking ‘that is the rehash,’ or ‘that is the rehearsal,’ and the mind will tend to relax into the present sensuous moment. This prepares it for the encounter with unique energy in the form of music, artistic images, or ideas. The Maiden works with this in the phase of purification when she gradually winnows the free flow of feelings and images from the ‘Deep,’ shaping them towards the eastern point of consecration, when the Mother articulates them as ideas. This is the time to surrender to the new, taking it in as for the first time, as we did in childhood. Too much critical analysis at this point, saying “that sounds (or looks) like x,” will assimilate it to past habit, missing its unique quality. A hallmark of such new ideas is that they are taken in lightly, without strong feelings of partisanship. As children we felt free to learn a large variety of things and enjoyed playing at ideas, strong preferences being formed only later in adolescence.

South

According to my natal chart, I have no planets in Fire, and I have interpreted this as meaning I worked with that element in a past life, so that I need to catch up with the other elements. That being so, I should have an overview of the quarter, and in fact I have. The Sun-Wheel is often depicted in ancient cultures as a swastika, but note it is a sunwise-turning swastika, with the bent arms trailing back to the left, the opposite of the Nazi symbol. To me the swastika resembles a fire-drill, as seen from above. The bent arms are twirled sunwise, with the drill making friction in the flints below, in ‘the Deep,’ thus igniting the fuel at its base.

At the southeastern or Beltane point, it becomes clear how one’s everyday life needs to make room for new knowledge. Old habits must be set aside or redirected. This is the purification phase of Fire, and here the fire-drill comes into play, creating friction between old and new habits, and building that magical heat the Hindus call ‘tapas,’ the fruit of spiritual discipline and austerity, which will rush up from the ‘Deep’ when it has accumulated sufficiently.

The practice of purification can involve something I call the ‘Inventory’. A spell, music or other creative act is a projection of energy, and it requires a conduit to carry the energy involved. Most of our conduits are blocked by past projects we have neither brought to completion nor canceled. By making an inventory of the physical clutter in the home, or of an overcommitted schedule, a witch can discern which projects are worth completing and which should be dropped and forgotten. In the case of the latter, the documents and other debris left over from the unfinished project need to be discarded or put to a different use. In the course of doing this, the witch will acquire practice in putting a project out of mind, a process that is of paramount importance in spellcraft, after the spell is cast.

Every project or task that extends over time requires a groove or conduit to convey the energy from one day to the next. By canceling past projects that are no longer needed or desired, and by completing others, the witch opens up a number of conduits which can serve to convey the energy used in spells. At the same time, beginning new projects makes use of the magic of the beginning, which becomes available increasingly as we get free of ever-pending tasks. The witch moves out of the dead calm of in medias res, always being in the middle of affairs, to the creative space of beginning afresh. New projects are then monitored and dropped if they become bogged down and no longer progress towards their goal.

When home and schedule have been sufficiently freed from clutter, and the work needed to optimize conditions for the new project has been done, the witch has reached the southern point of Litha or Midsummer. The Mother at the full moon phase now consecrates it to action. In case of a spell, the witch may now resort to a book of methods. 7 As the witch practices the mechanics of the spell, or the musician masters the new music, it becomes familiar and second nature. The Crone’s phase of charging lends it a personal style, called ‘the knack’ at Lammas (or Lughnasadh), as symbolized by the sacred loaf baked on that occasion and eaten at midnight.

West

Let us review our journey thus far. In the North, the journey back up the inner pillar brings with it liberated magical energy and psychic materials from ‘the Deep’. At the northeastern point these are integrated with portions of the everyday psyche covertly, in the Dark Moon phase of Imbolc. Every time this point is reached, the magical personality grows and partially replaces the old conditioned everyday personality.

At the eastern point, new knowledge emerges, and is articulated, through ideas, music, art, or the sense of a magical goal.

At the southeastern point, habits and conditions in everyday life are identified which must be changed in order to realize the knowledge physically. This identification is intuitive at first, in keeping with the character of the Dark Moon.

In the south quarter, space is cleared for the spell or other creative work by suppressing or redirecting habits incompatible with its construction. This is followed by the construction of the spell (music, art, etc.) in physical terms. The Crone charges the work accomplished by uniting it with the will, so that at the southwestern point the spell or other work becomes the knack, the personal skill of the practitioner. As in previous Dark Moons, this is accomplished covertly, as symbolized by the oven baking the sacred loaf on Lammas Eve.

The western quarter is the quarter of daring, that is, daring to penetrate the unknown. Its element is Water, which seeks the lowest point and goes around obstacles by taking their shape. The work of Fire replaces many comfortable habits with the new construction of the spell or other creative endeavor. These habits are missed because they provided a sense of orientation; they were shields against the onslaught of the unknown.

In the west the witch goes fearlessly into the unknown, in anything from taking a new route to work to undergoing some form of initiation. The portals of the unknown lie in altered perception or attention. The witch spreads his/her visual attention from where the eyes are pointing to the side, top or bottom of the visual field, and the aural attention to background sounds. As much as can be seen of the head without looking in mirrors or some other reflecting surface is held in the attention. This naturally places the attention on the periphery of the visual field. Background sounds are reproduced mentally as a way of increasing focus on the aural environment.

These practices, or praxes, sound exhausting but are actually relaxing because they switch off our usual sensory filters. The witch becomes one with his/her perceptual environment. Every day is like a day at the beach.

Continual practice or praxis of redirection opens up the body at certain points, such as the muscles at the outer corners of the eyes, to an inflow of energy carrying feelings similar to those encountered in the north, during the journey down the inner pillar. The difference is that now these feelings come up by themselves into the everyday world. At the western point of Mabon one’s dead ancestors and friends may begin showing up in dreams. When they do, they may be invited to attend ‘dumb’ suppers through the month of October, culminating in the great Sabbat of Samhain at the end of the month. In the Craft we say that the human dead are released for visits at Mabon, and the nonhuman dead are added to their number at Samhain, in the emergence of the Wild Hunt.

It is at or around Mabon, the autumn equinox, that the ‘fast’ spell is cast, though a ‘slow’ spell can be cast at Samhain, earthed when finally released. 8 This can be timed to follow the actual wheel of the year, or sequenced with previous work following the Sun-Wheel. The Sabbats celebrate these points around the Sun-Wheel and often witches in a coven will time their private work to draw on the solar energies abundant at those times, but shorter sequences can occur outside the calendrical dates.

The spell, then, may be cast in Circle by raising the Cone of Power, working together with other witches, or some more private method, such as the spell of nine knots, may be used. The important point is that the witch should be open to the spirit world through practices of daring, as described in the examples given above. Note that these are my practices, but other witches may employ visualization, mantra, or a number of other methods.

At the northwestern point of Samhain, the ‘slow’ spell is released into ‘the Height’ and (with the Wheel of the Year), added to the Wild Hunt and earthed with it when it returns to the Underworlds. Thence it will rebound into our world of Middle-Earth and accomplish its magical purpose.

It is now forgotten, as though it had never been, as the witch enters the quarter of silence and stillness once more.

*

Bibliography

Farrar, Janet and Stewart, Spells and How They Work, Custer, WA, Phoenix

Publishing, 1990.

1 In modern terms, these four elements correspond to the solid, liquid and gaseous states of matter, and to observable energy or fire. The fifth point of aether corresponds to more subtle states such as plasma.

2 In lucid dreaming, we are aware of being in a dream while dreaming; in lucid waking, we are aware of being awake while waking. Neither state is taken for granted.

3 Impressions of lights and squiggles produced by the pressure of the eyelids on the retina.

4 In dreams these appear as synopses, defining in advance the current dream-situation.

5 Changed to February 2nd by the Church.

6 From Janet and Stewart Farrar, Spells and How They Work, pp. 95-96.

7 Such as Janet and Stewart Farrar’s Spells and How They Work. See Bibliography.

8 A fast spell is released suddenly, as with the Cone of Power. A slow spell is released gradually, as with candle spells, which are cast gradually as a candle burns down.

Tink About It

May, 2014

Beginnings

 

A few days ago I was chatting with some pagan friends about our first steps on this path. I have always been interested in paganism, spirituality and related subjects. Due to all kinds of circumstances it lasted quite a long time before I acted on that interest. In the meantime I had read a lot of books. That’s always a good thing of course and I still read a lot about it, but the real first steps are when I started to act, to do, try out things I read about in the books, etc.

In the very first beginning it was a solitary path for me. I didn’t know anyone else around me, that was interested in these same things. No-one to discuss things, reflect on, etc. I was just following exercises from the books, already changing and adapting things on instinct that made it feel better for me. I learned a lot from this. Of course I made mistakes, but that was okay too.

In every book I read about ‘casting a circle’, but I couldn’t find the reason why it had to be a circle. I always try to find out and understand why things are done a certain way. Curious by nature I decided to find out by experience. I had already cast a circle before, and that felt good and safe. So the next time I cast a square, and then another rectangle, a triangle and an ellipse! The ellipse felt okay, more like a circle. The corners of the square and rectangle didn’t feel right, a bit uneasy, while the corners of the (equilateral) triangle felt somewhat better but still not completely like the circle. After these experiments I was satisfied for a while. Of course later things have changed. I found out other reasons why we cast a circle, and I learned about certain traditions that do use a square in ritual. But although I can look back and smile about my efforts then, I also see it was good to try and experiment with things. I still do, just on another level.

 

Not long after that I got access to the internet and one of the first words I put into a search engine was ‘heks’, the Dutch word for witch. Wow….!!! That got me quite some links to explore!  The next word was ‘witchcraft’, in English so that gave me even more results. I read, and read, and read some more. But I also found communities and forums, full of people that shared my interests. Beginners like me, but also lots of people with real experience. I absorbed a lot of info, but it was overwhelming and I lost my way a bit.

I found two Dutch forums, that have been (and in a way still are) very important to me; the WhiteshadoW forum and the Silver Circle forum. I met people there that I still have contact with, virtually and in real life. We had in-depth discussions, asked questions, helped each other, etc. It helped me find some direction in the wide variety of possibilities. I found out what worked for me, and what didn’t.

From time to time the WhiteshadoW forum organised forum meetings, often around a sabbat. The first one I visited was a Samhain meeting. During the day there were workshops to attend and in between we ate together, got to know each other, chatted, etc. There were also two book presentations. At that time a new Dutch writer, Susan Smit, had written her first book called ‘Heks’. It was about herself, a journalist that explored witchcraft for work and ended up being a witch herself. She presented her book on the meeting and answered questions. I still have my signed copy. Today Susan is a well-known writer and literary critic. She still gives talks about witchcraft too.

In the evening we did a Samhain ritual. It was my first ritual with other people and there were quite a few! I was a bit nervous and found the whole thing very exciting. I wasn’t the only ‘ritual virgin’ though. It was a wonderful ritual. Everything was explained and we were all involved. Afterwards we talked about the experience and of course later on the forum too.

 

The forums, internet-sites, books etc. had stimulated me very much, but I wanted more. On a meeting in a spiritual centre in Amsterdam I met a group of people that wanted the same. After a few meetings we ended up with 4 girls. We decided to start a study group with the purpose to do rituals together. We called ourselves “Witches of The Rose” after the spiritual centre (De Roos). In turn we hosted an evening and prepared a ritual. By mail we discussed what we wanted to do, who would bring what, etc. We did several rituals outside too. We all learned a lot form this period. We tried several things, wrote our own texts, adapted rituals we read or heard about elsewhere…  As a group we attended a special weekend that was organised to celebrate the opening of a new stone circle in Lochem. Beside our group there was a wicca coven present, a druid grove, a group of catholic witches and some solitary practitioners. We did a lot of rituals that weekend, led by the several groups in turn. Again a wonderful learning experience!

We all went our separate ways, but from time to time our paths cross.

 

After those beginnings I have done so much more, solitary and in many different study groups, covens and other gatherings. Still I’ll never forget my first steps on this wonderful path.

 

How did you start? What were your baby-steps on the pagan path?

I’d love to hear your stories!

Blessings!

Links & sources:

Tink About it

June, 2013

Who am I? What am I?

 

People like to label others, probably to get things clear for themselves. It’s understandable and doesn’t have to be a problem, as long as you don’t get too rigid about it. Labels can change, because people change. The label ‘female’ is permanent (well, most of the time..), but the label ‘friend’ can turn into ‘acquaintance’ or even ‘foe’.  I know I use labels for people; it’s hard not to, but I try to keep them flexible, unprejudiced and stay open to change.

 

Pagans are just like people… 😉 Whenever I introduce myself as a witch among other pagans, there’s always someone that asks which path I walk or something of the like. My standard answer is: my own path! True of course, but not very clear to the questioner. In fact they are trying to label me. I don’t mind, but the thing is I have a hard time labelling myself too sometimes! I have been practising for quite some years now and I’ve tried and learned about different paths, traditions, etc. From all of it I incorporated things into my own cauldron so to speak. They can replace other things, just add something new, or create something completely different when added to the mix. It’s a perpetual movement, ever changing… sometimes in a subtle way, sometimes in a major sense.

 

My basis and starting point has always been witchcraft and its fundamental principles. I have been raised Roman catholic, but somehow I always missed things there, although I liked the rituals. When I was about 6 I asked my dad: ‘How do you know that god is a man? You have never seen him. Maybe it’s a woman!’ My parents always supported me in finding my own way. Discovering paganism felt like coming home, finding my true path. I feel comfortable as a witch and with the way most witches work. Of course the different ways are up to discussion too, but that’s not where I want to go now. I’m talking about the general things, not how they are individually practised. I emphasize on the similarities, not the differences. So, I’m a witch. If I can only label myself with one word, that’s it.

 

Within witchcraft I’ve explored and tried a lot. Finding out what you don’t like or want is important and rewarding too! One of the major focus points of my life is balance, in all area’s and all ways possible. My spiritual path is no different: to me both goddess and god are equally important.  It doesn’t feel right for me to just focus on one of them all the time. I have no problem working together with witches that think otherwise, I adapt easily. People have their reasons and beliefs and if it works for them, that’s fine with me! Personally though, I see goddess and god (or god and goddess) as one, they need each other, they are two halves of one whole.

 

When I was looking around, trying things, working with others, etc, I noticed that a lot of witches work with foreign deities: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Indian, etc. Although I’m very interested to learn about them I discovered I wanted to connect with my own heritage and that of the place where I’m living: The Netherlands! Looking for local deities, legends, spirits of the place I found a mix of Celtic, Roman and Germanic ones. The last ones appealed to me the most, they felt familiar and close. I got in touch with Asatru. They work with the Norse/Germanic pantheon and I learn a lot from them. This part is important to me, so I add something to my label: I’m a heathen witch.

 

But there’s more of course. I’ve studied and tried druidry, shamanism, traditional wicca, gnosticism, other pagan paths and all kinds of pagan-related stuff. I read, do workshops, discuss and try things out in different ways. I discovered and met my power animals. I found out shamanic journeying works better for some things than meditation, so I use both. Stirring in my cauldron…  I mix and match while doing my best to respect, honour and do justice to the individual parts. I try to get the hang of things, always learning, always wanting to know and/or do more. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this path it’s that you are never ready. The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know. Inquisitive as I am, I like that! I don’t want to be limited by one path, tradition or group though. Therefore I add one last part to the label: I’m an eclectic heathen witch.

 

So think about it: what would be your label?

 

B*B, Tink

The Moonlit Path: A Discussion on Pathways and Traditions

November, 2009

The Unicorn Tradition

uni

I’ve had many conversations with people over the years about differing Traditions and what their personal experiences have been.  The focus for this month’s article is the Unicorn Tradition.

A good friend of mine is a member of this tradition and it’s always sparked a great deal of interest for me because of the way it is structured and their take on certain aspects of Wiccan teachings.  We have often discussed and debated topics with her perspective having come from a very traditional and structured background and my own eclectic learning here in the Midwest.

The Unicorn Tradition stems from Atlanta, Georgia and was founded by Lady Galadriel and Lord Athanor.  The many branches of the Unicorn Tradition share a common belief and practice.  Each group has its own flavor and main deities while keeping the core framework in place.

The Unicorn Tradition is an initiatory mystery tradition.  It is teaching and working tradition.  The Unicorn Tradition celebrates the Sabbats, Full, and New Moons.  Both the God and Goddess are revered as aspects of the One Source.

The Unicorn Tradition has distinct levels and degrees within their system.  Its structure includes 5 levels and 3 degrees.  Those just starting out are Neophytes. Neophytes are those interested in Paganism and the Unicorn Tradition, but are not members of the group. They may choose to dedicate to the group, to the Pagan path in general or not at all upon completion of 13 classes. The next level is that of the Dedicant. A dedicant has chosen to continue with the group. First, Second and Third degrees come after dedication.  Finally a member of the tradition may become an Elder. Progression within the tradition is not just time and information based. The tradition also stresses community support and work. As my friend says, “It is not a cookie cutter tradition.”

So, what sets the Unicorn Tradition apart?  There are two major differences from other Wiccan traditions.  The celebration of the Sabbats is based on astrological calculations.  The calculations are based on when the Sun reaches certain degrees in the astrological circuit.  The use of astrological dates instead of the more familiar calendar dates allows for a more even spacing of the Sabbats.

The other most noticeable difference in this tradition deals with the elemental correspondences.  In the Unicorn Tradition the correspondences are:

East – Earth

South – Fire

West – Water

North – Air

The reasons that they are aligned in such a manner is to first place masculine and feminine elements across from one another.  This promotes balance and a better flow of energy in the circle.

Unicorn Tradition teachings also state that the earthly journey begins in the East and ends the journey in an incorporeal form through the North.  Also, the directional correspondences are based on the seasonal aspects of the year.

Since the elemental and directional correspondences vary from the more traditional Wiccan set, the tool correspondences also vary.  The pentacle is associated with Earth.  The athame is associated with fire.  The chalice is associated with water.  The wand is associated with air. The cauldron is associated with spirit.  The tool is an extension of the element and what it represents.

Though there are some striking differences between the basics tenants of the Unicorn Tradition and other Wiccan traditions, the reasoning for the divergence is sound.  The Unicorn Tradition goes to great lengths to make sure that all its members are on the same page.  The same sets of classes are taught to all of the new students. A common set of beliefs and philosophies binds all the groups of the tradition, but is accommodating enough that each group retains its own unique essence.  It is an inclusive system that utilizes its structure as a strength that unites its members in all the groups associated with the tradition.

Ostuni, Ro. Email Interview.  15 October 2009.

Welcome to the Unicorn Tradition (2009). Retrieved October 1, 2009 from The Unicorn Tradition Website:

http://www.unicorntrad.org/

The Moonlit Path: A Discussion on Pathways and Traditions

October, 2009

North American Eclectic Wicca

As practioners, or those interested in alternative spiritual paths, we are often left on our own to learn and discover the options available to us.  As with any journey it begins with a willingness to take the first step.  It’s my hope that this article will help some of you start your own journeys and give you an idea of the options available to you.

When I started my own path over 11 years ago I had no idea what was out there.  I didn’t realize that there were so many different Traditions and Paths. I will cover both the well known and those that are more obscure.  I have always had a great desire to help those new to their paths.  My hope is that this column will be able to provide illumination for all.

A tradition that is dear to my heart is North American Eclectic Wicca, referred here unto as, NAEW.  NAEW is a tradition that has been around since the inception of Yarrow Coven in 1989.  It is one of the longest standing traditions in the Midwest.

The NAEW draws its inspiration from European Traditions, but sees the need to modify and adapt practices for the world in which we live.  It’s a modern approach and has a distinctly North American flavor.

North American Eclectic Wicca does seek to recreate a pure form of the practices of the past.  It is not a reclaiming or recreationist tradition.   Rather, it draws inspiration from the past and brings the old gods to a new land.

Though NAEW draws its basic ritual structure from more traditional Wiccan practices, there are some inherent differences.  There is a very practical nature to the approach that NAEW takes toward its spirituality.  NAEW keeps what works and rejects what does not.  For example NAEW does not recognize the Rule of Three, holding that it defies logic and explanation.

There is no hierarchy within NAEW.  There are no inner or outer courts associated with it.  All the members are given equal standing within the coven and act as its own governing body with no more authority given to one individual over another. Though there is a designated High Priest and High Priestess, all members are expected to be able to fill this role.

As such, there is no formal degree system for NAEW.  Each member of the Tradition is afforded the luxury of learning and following any personal path that they choose.  The Tradition has provided common ground to all its members and given them a structured way to celebrate as a group.

North American Eclectic Wicca is a tradition that honors the past and the wheel of the year.  It is a tradition that adapts and changes and in doing so it morphs symbolism and practices into relevant concepts to its members.  As such it has withstood 20 years and promises many more.

What is North American Eclectic Wicca? (2009). Retrieved September 15, 2009, form Yarrow Coven Web site: http://www.yarrowcoven.org

The “Roads” of Religious Paths

July, 2006

In this modern day, our highway system an infrastructure made by man and comprised of concrete asphalt and steel, is built upon routes that are delineated from adjacent real estate by deeded and recorded easements, routes that are so inflexible as to be set in stone. We all take this system for granted; seldom questioning why the road we are traveling upon takes this particular path. For the most part our highway system does a wonderful job of getting from where we are at to wherever our destination happens to be. However this system of exact routes has not always been the rule.


A century ago, in large parts of rural America, roads were ambiguous routes, more of a concept than the concrete inflexible roadbeds as we have today. If you lived in those times and were to be traveling upon these wonderful old roads you would be quick to discover that they were paved only by the earth compacted under the feet of those that had passed that way before you. If traveling in rainy weather and you encountered a section of the road that had become impassable due to a muddy bog, rather than to risk getting mired in the muck, if possible you simply detoured around the bog, blazing a new section of the road which was sure to be taken by those following in your path.


Routes that connected two cities, might be fairly well defined in areas were natural geological obstacles prevented variances in the path, while in areas where the going was easier the road might fork with one path venturing into a village and the other path serving as a bypass much as we have bypasses today, and often these two paths would converge, becoming as one later in the journey.


In today’s world, man has found it necessary to establish al sorts of laws regarding the usage of the highway system. We have speed limits, maximum and sometimes minimum. We have passing and no passing zones, weight, length, height, and width limits, as well as countless other rules of the road. There are laws establishing taxation and tolls to pay for the upkeep of this infrastructure. Each of the before mentioned, are laws designed by and enforced by man, presumably for the safety and good of the public. Whereas a century ago few if any laws regarding road usage existed.


It does not take too much of a stretch of the imagination to see a certain analogy between roads, past or present to the history man’s interpretations of religions or spiritual paths.


Today, many religions seek to define, to set in stone, dogma and doctrine authored by man as laws, often these laws that are authored by man are concealed behind a façade that perpetuates a belief that these same laws or doctrines originated from supreme deity. Due to the very nature of our modern society we find ourselves unable to contend with esoteric shades of gray, and compelled by the desire to define or package everything into uniform descriptive packages. We feel compelled to establish exactly what our faiths represent, their direction, and various tenets. We seek to set in stone the exact routes and boundaries of our spiritual paths, just as our highway system follows uniform deeded easements. The end result of this process of defining faith or spiritual path is to either purposefully or inadvertently discourage and or even eliminate esoteric or free thought.

The previous issue of "Pagan Pages" included an article entitled "Pagan As Free-Thinkers" by Reverend Crystal. The Reverend wrote;


"So often we attempt to take what is so wonderful about paganism and squish it into a box that was really meant for the book religions of the world. Now, in all fairness, there are many reasons to try and do that. Some include the legalities of what is considered a "religion" under the law."


Sometimes it is necessary to comply with the demands of secular legalities and define who and what we are, but we must in practice seek a point of balance, somewhere between defining strict descriptive boundaries to comply with secular legalities and allowing freedom of religion for the individual. Otherwise we face the risk of becoming as those religions that discourage free thought and eliminate the possibility for the individual to pursue that, which as Reverend Crystal wrote, "the path to the divine is an individual journey for each person."


So why does one’s path to the divine, absolutely have to have rigid inflexible borders just as our modern roads have rigid deeded easements? Why can we not accept that our brother or sister follows a different path, parallel but yet slightly different?


Christians use scriptures such as John 14:6 ("Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.") as a means to justify a rigid exclusive doctrine, as they tend interpret the passage to mean that ONLY Christians can achieve salvation. They take this passage and others quite literally, ignoring the possibility that he meant that the principles and tenets of his teachings and philosophy are "the way" and instead they try to make it, man’s literal interpretation "law" that only those that worship him in a manner prescribed by humans, can achieve spiritual salvation. However there is a small grassroots movement of Christians seeking to reevaluate the meaning of this and other passages, one such group is The Church Of Interfaith Christians.


A FANTASTIC CHANGE HAS BEGUN IN CHRISTIANITY!


The slogan above is displayed on each page of interfaithchristians.org signifying to progressive Christians that they have found a fresh breath of air, and after reading several web pages, Christians that also practice other paths such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, Paganism, or other Earth based traditions, realize that they have found an inclusive home. Others who may practice only a Christian path, but who are tired of doctrine and dogma that seems to be the anti thesis to the very teachings of Christ also find a spiritual home there as well.


Beginning as an e-mail discussion group in 2002 and quickly evolving into a church, one that is listed in the Encyclopedia of World Religions as a new denomination of Christianity, the Church of Interfaith Christians (COIC) has more than two hundred members world wide, many who practice a Christian/whatever path. While its numbers are low compared to other groups, one must realize that everything that has been accomplished to date has been done totally without any tithes or other cash flow that would allow for publicity, but rather just by "word of mouth" from volunteers.


Unlike other Christian denominations, the COIC never dictates the manner in which its ordained ministers conduct their individual ministries nor does it require its lay members to adhere to a strict doctrine, but rather encourages the ministers and members to seek out the sprit and explore their individual callings, in the worship of God/Goddess. The one doctrine that the COIC has authored is a doctrine to establish no doctrines. Unlike many Christian organizations there are no "rules" of the road. Rules that regulate one on their spiritual journey just as highway laws regulate travel upon the byways of our modern transportation infrastructure.


To explain and define the difference between the COIC and other Christian denominations, the founder of the COIC, Reverend Ernest A. Steadman wrote; "The Interfaith Christian embraces all positive spiritual paths including Shamanism and earth-based traditions, often being called upon to heal gaps between the many disparate religious faiths using the original teachings of Jesus Christ, minus convoluted manmade doctrine." He went on to further explain his concept(s) with a quote of the Dalai Lama;


"The greater our awareness is regarding the value and effectiveness of other religious traditions, then the deeper will be our respect and reverence toward other religions. This is the proper way for us to promote genuine compassion and a spirit of harmony among the religions of the world."


Reverend Steadman started the e-mail discussion group as a forum for those seeking to develop their awareness of other religious traditions and celebrate that diversity so as to promote harmony and healing among the various religions. Reverend Steadman had long noted that on many of the hundreds of e-mail groups, any Christian that varied from that "road set in stone" was immediately set upon by self appointed protectors of the faith with just as much ferocity as these "Christian guardians" attacked practitioners of other faiths. He further justified his position on the founding of the COIC by quoting 1 Corinthians 12: verses 4-6; "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. Now there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone." Always giving it as his opinion that the only difference between the deities of the world’s religions was that difference authored by man, a difference designed to serve the needs of the flesh (the organization) and not the needs of the individual’s spiritual enlightenment.


The e-mail discussion forum grew into a fellowship of friends, an extended family. And as the various commentaries offered by the membership of the group took on more of the aspects of sermons, the group became a church. One that now offers ordinations to anyone absolutely free of charge. The e-mail group remains open to anyone regardless of path, but in order to comply with secular authorities and give some degree of credibility to the ordinations offered by the COIC there is now a requirement for those petitioning for ordination to profess a "Christian slash whatever" belief, or otherwise involving Christ in some form or fashion in their practice.


The church’s website is a volunteer effort and a work in progress, archiving articles submitted by members of all faiths, including various ceremonies such as handfastings. Dozens of pages have been contributed that cover a wide range of topics, from developing understanding between the world’s religions to defending religious freedoms.


But of all of the articles and writings of individual members found in the web pages on the interfaithchristians.org web site, the phrase that sums up everything, has become the slogan of the COIC, "ONE GOD – Many Names / ONE SON – Many Paths / ONE TRUTH – Many Faiths" by this statement we mean that we believe that there is an universal deity, known by many names, one that inculcates universal brotherly love and understanding. ONE SON who taught principles that are also found in all religions and regardless of their chosen path, those that follow these philosophies have an equal chance to obtain spiritual enlightenment. And finally if one opens their hearts and minds and "thinks out of the box" created by mankind to establish the boundaries of the "road" of their particular path and takes note of the similarities in the paths of all religions, one finds that ONE TRUTH which is also common truth throughout the Many Faiths of the world.


We cordially invite the readers of PaganPages.org to check out interfaithchristians.org, in the hopes that together Interfaith Christians and Pagans can work to promote acceptance and tolerance of all faiths.


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author bio:


Reverend Ed Crabtree D.D. (Hon)


Chief Executive Officer

The Church Of Interfaith Christians


Senior Pastor

Lighthouse On The CornerMinistries