August, 2012

Merry Meet

August, 2012

 

Welcome to the August Issue of PaganPages.  We hope you are all staying nice and cool from this summer heat!

 

 

We are currently looking for columnists to fill the following: 

rituals

spells

goddesses

If you are interested in filling any of these positions, or have an idea for a column of your own, email us at [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Astrology Report for August 2012

August, 2012

Full Moon at 10 degrees Aquarius

Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 11:27 pm EDT

A Full Moon in Aquarius brings emotional independence. Where co-dependency used to thrive, it no longer does. It is a time for folks to take a stand and be firm in their beliefs and faiths. It will be difficult to budge opinions, when folks are emotionally set in their ways. People will think on their own and make appropriate transitions for the Path they walk.

American Native Lore

Native Americans named their Moons when they were Full. The season or time of year would help assign the name of the Full Moon. In August, the Natives of North America, specifically New England states, would call this Full Moon the Green Corn Moon, since the corn was ready to harvest. Or it was called the Grain Moon when the grain was ready for harvesting. Natives surrounding the Great Lakes would name this Full Moon the Sturgeon Moon, when sturgeon were mostly abundant. Occasionally, the Full Moon of August would be called the Full Red Moon, because of the amazing hue it would have while it rose above the horizon in the evening.

Lughnasadh at 15 degrees Leo

Monday, August 6, 2012, 10:18 pm EDT

Lughnasadh is the Sabbat that celebrates Lugh, the God of the Sun. The date is typically the 1st day of August or when the Sun enters 15 degrees Leo, which is ruled by the Sun. It is the first harvest festival. Foods sacred are typically grains of all sorts, vegetables off the bush or fruits off the vine. Breads and barley meads are custom as well. This Sabbat is also known as Lammas or the Mass of the Loaf (Loafmas). Sheaths of grain are usually hung on walls to represent prosperity. John Barleycorn is sacrificed and buried in the fields to promote a healthy growth for the following growing season.

The Tailtu Games are warrior games that honored Lugh’s mother. They are reminiscent of the Olympic Games, but from another time and culture.

Mercury goes Direct at 1 degree Leo

Wednesday, August 8, 2012, 5:55 am EDT

Ah, finally… Communications can back to being normal. (Normal? Normal is a setting on my dryer!) Those computer malfunctions or testy quirks will soon subside. Mercury will take a stand among the other Planets as the Healing begins. Family squabbles will make amends and friends will return to their favored positions. As Mercury transits thru Leo, express yourself, be versatile and consider all points with courage and creativity. You can relax again!

New Moon at 8 degrees Leo

Friday, August 17, 2012, 11:54 am EDT

A New Moon means new beginnings. After being dark and lonely during the wee hours of the morning, the Moon begins it trek around the early evening time-tables. The light will gain strength as the evenings grow longer. It’s time to take control of our emotions and our abilities to grow spiritually. Take time to meditate in the early hours of the evening as the light of the Sun sets upon the horizon and the Moon radiates a glow of sweet caress.

Sun enters Virgo

Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 12:55 pm EDT

Logical thinking and sound judgments come easily for yourself when the Sun enters its ride thru Virgo. Unfortunately, the whim of putting off until tomorrow what you could do today is overwhelming. It will be easy to analyze situations and come up with multiple solutions. It’ll be a better time to make the right choice that best fits your interests. Stress and nervous tensions could be tentative. Remember to take time out for yourself to reduce stress and tension.

“Blue Moon” at 8 degrees Pisces

Friday, August 31, 2012, 9:58 am EDT

Generally speaking, a Blue Moon occurs when there are two Full Moons within the same calendar month. The first Full Moon in August happened on the 1st (see above) and the 2nd Full Moon will occur on the 31st this month. These Full Moons happen within August from a US perspective. A Full Moon brings final fruitions and manifestations of positive energies that have been building since the New Moon. When the Moon is Full in Pisces, we find our emotions more sedate, calm and happy-go-lucky.

Blue Moon Lore

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, a typical season will host 3 Full Moons – an early season Full Moon, a mid-season Full Moon and a late-season Full Moon. If there are four Full Moons in the same season, the third one is called a Blue Moon so the last Full Moon can still be called the late-season Full Moon. August will boast a 2nd Full Moon, but it will only be the third Full Moon within the season of Summer. The next Full Moon will occur in September during the Fall season. So, although it would seem like it should be a Blue Moon, it won’t be.

There are no Sun Conjunctions other than the New Moon. There are no other Planets going Retrograde this month. There are no notable Concordances.

There are couple of side-line Notable Holidays, like National Ice Cream Sandwich Day on August 2nd, National Watermelon Day on the 3rd, National Chocolate Chip Day on the 4th, National Waffle Day on the 5th, Kiss and Make Up Day on the 25th and National Dog Day on the 26th, to name a few.

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Song of the Ancients

August, 2012

The Watchers, the Original Fallen

Sometimes called angels, sometimes called demons (daemons), the Grigori or Watchers of the Old Testament are ambiguous and misunderstood. Depending on which side of the theological fence you stand, they are the blessings of the Ages, the Ancient Ones, who passed down their knowledge to Witches and wise men and women from ages past.  For Christians and Jews however, they are an abomination, destroyers of the way of the World as their god originally created it.

The Grigori (Those Who Never Sleep) were created to be ‘watchful’ over the burgeoning species of humans.  They were physically much larger than humans; their demeanor kind, gentle and silent. They were not created to interfere in human affairs but merely to observe and quietly assist when needed.  Some remained in Heaven, watching and guarding the new Earth from afar.  Others decided to descend (the apocryphal Book of Enoch states around 200 took the plunge) and have a better look around.  It is from these ‘fallen’ or descended Watchers that many believe our power as Witches, Workers of the Way and Pagans evolved.

For a time, all went well. The human species was flourishing, increasing in population, power and intelligence.   According to the book of Enoch, the Watchers found the female humans ‘fair’ and so, they desired and lusted after them and lay with them, ‘taking wives of all They chose’.  The resulting children of these ‘unholy’ unions were the Nephilim, those giants of the Ancient myths, who pillage, plunder and endanger the World.

As recounted in the Dead Sea Scrolls: ‘…..In the days of Jared’, two hundred Watchers ‘descended’ on ‘Ardis’, the summit of Mount Hermon – a mythical location equated with the triple peak of Jebel esh Sheikh (9,200 feet), placed in the most northerly region of ancient Palestine.

On this mountain the Watchers swear an oath and bind themselves by ‘mutual imprecations’, apparently knowing full well the consequences their actions will have, both for themselves and for humanity as a whole. It is a pact commemorated in the name given to the place of their ‘fall’, for in Hebrew the word Hermon, or harem, translates as ‘curse”.

‘In time, each of the 200 took an earthly spouse. These unions produced children of extraordinary size, who quickly devoured the world’s food. To satisfy their enormous appetites, the angel-children roamed the earth, slaughtering every species of bird, beast, reptile and fish. Finally, the ravenous creatures turned on one another, stripping flesh from the bones of their fellows and slaking their thirst in rivers of blood.

As this wave of destruction washed over the earth, the anguished cries of humankind reached four powerful Archangels – Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael – who upon orders from God enacted a swift retribution.

First, Uriel descended to earth to warn Noah of a coming deluge, advising him to prepare an ark to carry his family and a menagerie of creatures to safety. Raphael then fell upon the leader of the Watchers (called Shemyaza), bound him hand and foot, and thrust him into eternal darkness. Next, Gabriel charged with slaying the dissenters’ offspring, encouraged the monstrous angel-children to fight one another. Finally, Michael trussed up the remaining Watchers, forced them to witness the deaths of their progeny, and condemned them to eternal torment. Only then did the heavens open up and wash away the last traces of the destruction that the fallen angels had wrought.’ {1}

During this licentious time, the Watchers shared ‘restricted’ information with their wives and other humans, much to the dismay of the celestial Lords.

This restricted knowledge included root working, herbalism, astrology, divination, alchemy, metalsmithing and enchantments of all kinds.  Yahweh had forbade the Watchers to communicate this wisdom, as the result would be that ‘men would then be as Gods’.  Yahweh was displeased and saw the desolation and desecration of the Earth and humankind by both the Nephilim and the Watchers. He decided to purge the Earth by a flood which would end the sacrilege, then, begin anew. Enter Noah.

This ‘forbidden’ knowledge is the occult wisdom and symbolism that we today as Witches, as Workers of the Old Ways, as Shamans and Pagans embrace and cherish.  Truly, the occult sciences are meant to make us as ‘gods’.  In my tradition, we are to become as powerful, as knowledgeable, as lustful and strong and rebellious as our Ancient Observers.  We are to honour the Ancient Path, the Path which was not permissible, and in this honouring and reverence, become the “Chosen” of the Gods; wise, influential and strong in the Craft. The Gods of the old religion become the Demons of the new.

Honour the Old Ways. Pay heed to the knowledge given to you by the Timeless Ones.  Respect it, show reverence and continue to learn. Become as you were meant to be: Become a God.

 

{1} http://www.fabrisia.com/thewinds.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watcher_ (angel)

http://www.steliart.com/angelology_fallen_watchers_grigori.html

Image: ”The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Man that they were Fair” by Daniel Chester (1923). Corcoran Gallery.

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August

August, 2012

Originally called Sextillis by the Romans, was later named Augustus in honor of Augustus Caesar.
August is the eighth month of the current Gregorian calendar and the third month of Summer’s rule.
Traditional birthstone amulets of August are the peridot and the sardonyx.
The gladiolus and the poppy are the month’s traditional flowers.
August is shared by the astrological signs of Leo the Lion and Virgo the Virgin.
During the month of August, the Great Solar Wheel of the Year is turned to Lammas, one of the four Grand Sabbats celebrated each year by Wiccans and modern Witches throughout the world.

Gathered harvest are celebrated during August.

Corn Moon

Astrological Signs: Leo, Virgo

Nature Spirits: Dryads

Herbs:Chamomile, St. Johns Wort, bay, angelica, fennel, rue, orange

Colors:Yellow, gold

Flowers: Gladiolus, poppy, sunflower, marigold

Scents: Frankincense

Stones: Peridot, sardonyx, cat’s eye, carnelian, jasper, fire agate

Trees: Hazel, alder, cedar

Animals: Lion, phoenix, sphinx, dragon

Birds: Crane, falcon, eagle

Deities: Ceres , The Corn Mother, Demeter , Diana , Ganesha ,Hathor ,Hecate, Lugh ,Nemesis ,Thoth and all Goddesses who preside over agriculture.

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Ask Your Mama

August, 2012

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

 

                                *Ask Your Mama                         

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

 

by

©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

 

 

A Question of Mothering

 

Dear Mama Donna,

 

I’m enjoying reading your book, The Queen of My Self. I have a question, though.  My own mother and both of my grandmothers were never the nurturing type of women. In truth, they weren’t the kind of people I’d care to be around if I wasn’t related to them. Both grandmothers have passed, and I try to have very little contact with my mother, as she is a negative and disruptive influence. I made a conscious decision to not have children of my own.

 

How do I find the “mother” in me and celebrate the part of me that I never developed in myself, and that wasn’t encouraged by the elder women in my life? I hope that doesn’t sound like a silly question, but I believe I won’t find my full power and purpose without this reconciliation with myself.

 

Thank you so much for your work!

– Julie, CA

 

Dear Queen Julie,

 

Of course you question isn’t silly. It is a most common one, and I thank you for sending it. I know that it will resonate with many of our sister Queens, and hopefully some of them will share their own insights and experiences with you.

 

The best way to find your mothering Self is to become your own mother! Now in your middle years, it is time to turn your attention to your own needs and desires. It is crucial that you nurture your body, as well as your most precious dreams, and lavish upon your Self an endless flow of emotional and spiritual sustenance and physical care.

 

How do you do that, you ask, without a role model? Make it up! Be your own role model! If you did not have a loving, giving, nurturing maternal influence, you now have the chance to change that karma and learn how to be your own caring mother.

 

And the exciting thing is that you can be the sort of parent that you always wished for — for me it was the cheerful, optimistic, fun-loving Mary Poppins that my little girl-Self needed so badly, rather than the negative, critical, demeaning mom that I had.

 

Whatever your childhood was like, that was then and this is now. Now, you can give your Self the unconditional love and support that you did not have as you were growing up. You can and must assume the responsibility to feed, nourish, encourage, and comfort your Self, pamper and challenge your Self, and whisper into your own ear each night as you slip off to sleep, “Good night, honey. I love you.”

 

Think about caring for your Self as an act of love, rather than a duty. Attitude is all. Your Self-care is, after all, strictly a gift you are giving to yourself. And you deserve it!

 

With blessings of mother love,

 

xxQMD

 

 

 

* Unofficial Commissioner of Public Spirit of NYC. – The New Yorker

* For 35 years Ms. Henes has been putting city folk in touch with

Mother Earth. – New York Times

* Part performance artist, part witch, part social director for planet earth. 

    – The Village Voice

* Globally significant theater-in-the-round. – Brooklyn Bridge Magazine

* The woman is balanced. – Paper Magazine

* Solstice Sister. – TimeOut New York

* The Original crystal-packing mama. – NY Press

 

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman,

ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and

workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events

have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary

ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since

1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine

and writes for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and

Spirituality Forum. She has created and officiated public ceremonies

for two mayors and a governor and serves as the ritual consultant

on Hollywood films. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called,

maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and

consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she works with

individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations

to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

 

www.DonnaHenes.net

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The Chakras

August, 2012

The Chakras is a Sanskrit word the means wheel or disc. This was deciphered and used to help people find themselves.  The Chakras was modeled after the Kabbalah from the Crown to the Muladhara, or the root. In the kabbalah it is equivalent as the Kether to the Malkuth, which means the crown of the tree of life to the physical plane. The physical plane is also known as shekniah, or the female aspect of god of which we live in kabbalistic terms.

The chakras is very interesting in the fact it points out the way to enlightenment is retained in us if we allow ourselves to find truth. Each Chakras has a body part to which it has an association. You can google the chakras and find exactly where they are located. The focus on the Chakras is for meditative purposes and helps you focus on who you are. The Aura comes from the chakras and there are seven chakras in the body. Once you understand the Chakras it will guide you into the Kabbalah and you will see a great resemblance.

 

 

 

 

 

1. Maladhara, the root and is a red chakra is located at the base of spine used for grounding

When this Chakra is open we feel a sense of belonging. This Chakras lets us understand our basic needs of food, water, shelter and ect. This Chakra also helps us feel in touch with our bodies.

Stones- ruby, bloodstone, and hematite

Element-Earth

Body parts- Adrenal Glands, associated with fight or flight instincts

 

 

 

2. Svadhisthana, or sacral and glows orange and spins around in our abdomen below the naval.

When this chakra is opened is associated with health, pleasure, feelings, and sexuality. When this chakra is opened up and balanced we feel abundant we know we are deserving of these pleasures in life. It Helps our emotions flow through our lives taking them as they come knowing they will pass. Emotions are fluid, as is life. When we find ways to express our emotions we are able to keep our emotional and physical bodies well.

Stones- Carnelian, Tigers eye, Onyx

Element- Water

Body Parts- Testicles/Ovaries, in charge of sexual development

 

 

 

3. Manipura, or Solar Plexus and is a bright yellow ball that heats up our personal power and is located at the solar plexus.

The manipura helps us center . This is where we develop the sense of autonomy and a sense of self. When this Chakra is open we well worth of what life has to offer us. We realize the power we use to process to create the life of our dreams is already alive inside of us. When we find out how to harness this energy we find the strength to conquer dreams and goals.

Stones- Topaz, Citrine, and Amber

Element- Fire

Body Parts- Pancreas, Controls Digestion

 

 

 

4. Anahata, the Heart

When we open up this Chakra it creates Balance in our lives. Once we open this Chakra we feel compassion to ourselves. Once we know how to be kind to ourselves from an understanding, considerate, and peaceful place it connects us to others, surroundings, and the universe. When we tap into this Chakra love radiates around us and into the world.

Stones- Rose Quartz, Diamond

Element- Air

Body Parts- Thymus, Helps us build immune system

 

 

 

5. Vissudha,  the throat and a blue energy of truth which spins in our throat helping us to be authentic in the way we live our lives.

 

The throat is where we communicate, where we are able to share our view. Part of speaking truth involves carefully choosing our  words. This does not mean we bottle up words, but try to look at all perspectives  and be respectful with the presentation of them.

Stones- Turquoise Blue agate, aquamarine

Element- Sound

Body parts-  thyroid, controls metabolism

 

 

 

6. Ajna, third eye and a violet light which makes it?s mark on our forehead between the brows and slightly above.

This is the third eye and when we need focus Ajna  helps us seek guidance .  This Chakra helps us realize what we need is inside of us. This third eyes helps us answer questions in life.

Stones- Sapphire, Tanzanite, lapis lazuli

 

 

 

7.Sahasrara, the Crown and this is a bright white light which shines above our heads as it radiates upwards, its rays reach the worlds above us.

As we ground ourselves this chakra helps us accept change in the world. Once we accept the change of the world we can build a strong sense of self, knowing we deserve to fulfill our dreams. Having learned to love thyself we can learn to love others. Then we are able to speak with truth with integrity involved. We are able to be open and honest and listen to the inner voice. Going on this journey we feel alone, but we are all connected. The white light blends into the light that flows from other beings. We are one.

Stones- Amethyst,  Alexandrite

Element- Spirit

Body Parts- Pineal Gland, Regulates natural body rhythms

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Myths and Legends: Journeys Through Time

August, 2012

Phoenix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know I’ve mentioned it before..and I will most likely mention it a thousand more times but, in some myths and/or legends you can truly see that the idea spans several cultures. Werewolves and vampires are but two examples of this. Mermaids is another example and yet a further example is the ever mystic firebird. The one that can never truly die as it is reborn from it’s ashes. That would be none other than the Phoenix. The phoenix mythology spans at least 9 possibly 10 different cultures. Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Arabic, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Native America, Russian and possibly the Phoenician/Canaanite cultures all have their respective names and origins for the phoenix. One thing that all 9-10 mythologies do have in common is that when the phoenix is at the end of it’s life cycle, it builds a nest, settles into the nest and bursts into flame, being reborn from the ashes. The Ancient Egyptians linked the phoenix to the Bennu bird….in the more well known myths, the Bennu bird was born from the flames that burned in a holy tree in one of the sacred precincts of the temple of Ra..the Ancient Egyptian Sun God. It’s life cycle was said to have been 500 years..the other myths vary between 500 years and 1000 years. The Arabic phoenix was adopted by the Greeks and later on the Romans..it’s this interpretation that is most commonly depicted as it was described as being “as large as an eagle with scarlet and gold plumage with a melodious cry.” In Chinese mythology, the phoenix was seen as a symbol of high virtue and grace, power and prosperity and the union of yin and yang. In a sense for the Chinese mythology, the Phoenix was their version of the Ouroboros…the snake eating it’s tail which is representative of things beginning again as soon as they end. In fact the Phoenix has actually been compared to the Ouroboros as they are seen to represent the same thing. A never ending cycle, life reborn from death and so on. To the Native Americans, the Phoenix was known as the firebird. The bird that was made of flames and reborn from the ashes. In other cultures, the Phoenix is represented as gigantic peacock with the colorings of fire….reds, yellows, orange, white and in some cases…blue and purple. It’s also been depicted as a being of pure fire…gentle in nature and unwilling to kill anything. The phoenix even goes so far as to get into modern day story-telling. Fawkes was the well known phoenix companion of the greatest wizard of all time..one Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledor who was the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Fawkes had the ability to heal people with his tears and to soothe people with his song. At one point in the books he was in the last stages of his life (Dumbledor called it Burning Day) and didn’t look very well. When alive Fawkes look like a cross between a peacock and an eagle..his body had hues of red and orange whereas his tail was a golden color. His body glowed faintly in the dark and his tail was hot to the touch..not to mention he could lift an immense amount of weight with his tail. After Dumbledor died, Fawkes sang a lamant over the school then returned to the wild. So as you can see…the Phoenix has spanned many cultures and continues to do so to this day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_%28mythology%29

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/phoenix_%28mythology%29

http://www.mythicalrealm.com/creatures/phoenix.html/

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Fawkes

 

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Pagan Theology

August, 2012

The Christians and the Pagans

 

Something that tends to distinguish me from my fellow Pagans is that I do not believe that “Christo-Pagans” are possible.  That goes against the general openness of Paganism.  And it flies in the face of our Pagan historical and cultural norms, which tell us to accept just about as many Gods and Goddesses as we can cram into a theology and still have room.  Thus a theological bias against Christians in general and Christo-Pagans in particular tends to irritate the Christo-Pagans and embarrass the regular Pagans (it has no effect on the observant Christians, they think we’re all crazy).   So now you are either irritated or embarrassed, and for that I apologize.

 

Unfortunately now I have to tell you I’m halfway wrong.  In considering this rather complicated problem I believe there is a place for those who follow Jesus to find a place within Paganism.   I don’t believe that makes any sense, but it is not a theological fallacy either.

 

Let me explain.

 

The biggest misunderstanding of my criticism of Christo-Pagans is the tendency to believe that I am saying that followers of Jesus cannot or should not be Pagans.  That is not what I claim.  Instead I claim that they cannot be Christians, nor can they identify with Jesus as the Christ who has fulfilled the Jewish prophecies [1].  The idea of being both “Pagan” and “Christian,” or “Jewish” or “Muslim” for that matter, just does not make any sense.

 

Of course compatibility is all in how you define things.  My definition of “Christian” is the one commonly used by those (Christians) who have large organizations devoted to the subject.  Sure, you can define Christianity as something completely different, the art of kicking a ball around a field perhaps, but then we have a disagreement about semantics and not religion.  The thing that is typically referred to with the denotation “Christianity” cannot be Pagan, not because Pagan’s won’t have it, but because Christians won’t have us.

 

The argument separating Paganism and standard Christianity can be made very quickly.  We do not have an apocalyptic eschatology, we view time as cyclical not linear, we do not believe in salvation, sin, or that the Gods and Goddesses are all perfect.

 

Most importantly:  Paganism by definition does not claim exclusivity for its Gods and Goddesses [2].  Abrahamic religions do.

 

I could also argue that we should be careful about blurring the lines between Christianity and Paganism.  But that is a political, not theological, argument.

 

The problem with Christians as Pagans is that there is a fundamental, theological, clash between the two faiths.  In fact the clash applies to any Abrahamic religion.  These religions all share a unique and radically important concept:  exclusivity.  The Hebrews first hit on the concept early in their history.  However their exclusivity was a tribal one, unless you were born as part of the chosen people, born into the tribe of God, you were not in the faith.  While this was somewhat unusual at the time it was mostly harmless as the Jews were a relatively small tribe that lacked power.  And their exclusivity meant that they would have a hard time growing anyway.

 

But in the 1st – 3rd centuries a new idea, Christianity, emerged out of Judaism.  It said that, while anyone could join, it was the god that was exclusive.  All other religions were invalidated by Christianity.  This is the Pauline interpretation of Christ’s teachings, one that eventually “won” the long (400 year) struggle between the other various Christ following sects of the time.

 

So my objection has to do with a desire not to intermingle Pauline Christianity with Paganism rather than a desire to exclude Christo-Pagans.

 

Once you break free of the Pauline concept of Christianity you can begin to see how Jesus and his teachings could be included as an element in Paganism.  An exclusive view towards Christo-Pagans is both narrow and divisive. A real Pagan (whatever that is) would ask “how do we include followers of Christ as Pagans?”  Instead of seeking to exclude, perhaps we should seek to include.  In other words, perhaps a Pagan theology could help define some elements of the Christian faith that are compatible with Paganism.  And I’m not talking about Santa and Christmas trees and candles at Imbolc, I mean real inclusion.

 

At the most basic level we have to confront the issue of magic and witchcraft.  Both modern high magic and witchcraft have been clearly influenced by Christianity.  In fact I believe one would have been very hard pressed to find anything but a Christian witch or magician in Europe between the years 500 and 1800.  Magical practices have clearly been claimed as part of the Pagan community, whether they are derived from Christian or other sources.

 

We must include the Christian Witch, and Magician, because their practices are so fundamental to ours.  That sort of inclusion goes almost without saying.

 

Moving beyond magic we come to Judaism, of which Christianity is a part and a derivative faith.  The Jewish religion grew out of the religion of the Hebrew tribe, which is believed to have been Pagan long before it went with just one god.  Remember, the admonition not to have any other Gods before me is a plural one, accepting the idea that there are Gods other than Jehovah, just that Jehovah is the most important one.  Eventually this got ground down to the idea of a unitary God, but in the early days of Judaism there was the possibility of multiple deities.  In fact the idea of Sophia, the female Goddess of the Hebrews provides a great pivot point for many Christo-Pagans to begin to explore the polytheistic aspects of both Christianity and Judaism.

 

Next comes the question of exactly who was Jesus of Nazareth?

 

Bart Ehrman in his book the Lost Christianities:  The Battle for Scripture, says that Jesus could have been many different things:  rabbi, Jewish holy man with extraordinary powers, social radial and promoter of counter-cultural lifestyles, a Jewish magician capable of manipulating the forces of nature, a feminist, or a prophet warning of a coming kingdom (apocalypse) where evil would be overthrown?   Jesus as magician, feminist, or counter-cultural rebel fits right in with modern concepts of Paganism.

 

There is also the idea of the Kingdom of Heaven in the Canonical Gospels.  For Pagans the idea of a transcendental place beyond this world is incompatible with the immanence of magic and deity.  Pauline Christianity developed the claim of a transcendental Kingdom of Heaven that we occupied after death or the apocalypse.  However much depends on which Jesus you listen to.  The radical Jesus preached the Kingdom of God was within you, and many of those at the time he preached expected the kingdom to arrive within a few years.  It was later that the idea got changed to a transcendent kingdom removed from this earth.

 

While modern Christians place an emphasis on Jesus as apocalyptic prophet and savior, we could easily change that emphasis to magician, feminist, trickster, and social radical to bring him more in line with Pagan concepts of deity.   We could see the kingdom of heaven as a place here on earth, that we create within us and around us, instead of a long-held promise that depends on redemption.

 

Instead of thinking about Pagans who follow Jesus as a thin wedge of Christianity into Paganism, we could turn this around and think of them as expanding the idea of what Jesus was and how he fits in with a radically different theology than Pauline Christianity.  When you say “Christo-Pagan” there are a lot of facile impressions and ideas that come up, such as the vision of blending Pat Robertson with Starhawk.  While that theology just won’t work, what may work is the idea of Jesus as the trickster prophet who had a vision that was both magical as well as radically inclusive.  While Jesus was clearly a Jew, there is also nothing incompatible about a polytheistic Judaism being included in the broad range of Pagan religious paths.

 

That said, I still don’t think that I’ll be calling on any Christian or Jewish deities anytime soon.  Christians have spilled too much of our blood, cut too many groves, and turned too many temples into churches.  Christians seek to convert everyone to their way, which results in their being aggressive about disrupting and destroying other religions in the name of salvation.  While our Christo-Pagans do not fall into this category, it makes it hard to fully embrace the concept.

 

The idea of a new, Pagan, interpretation of Jesus and Judaism is both interesting and something that is compatible with Paganism.  But for me Paganism is a true religion.  The Gods and Goddess are real and have been shoved aside by modern culture and Christianity before that.  We need to restore them, their worship, and their presence in our lives.  Any Christian influences corrupt that work with ideas and theologies that remove it from the magical, physical, world where our Gods and Goddesses exist.  In the future I’ll be careful to listen to the Christo-Pagans and the case they make for inclusivity, but I still may not embrace it.

 

[1]  Paganism is quite accepting of many of the parameters of early Judaism.  Monotheism has a very long history in Pagan religions, so the idea of one, overriding, God is in no way foreign (e.g. Mithras, Ra of Akhenaten).  The Gnostic idea of secret knowledge is pretty much the foundation of modern magic, and Gnostic concepts run through much of modern high magic (and Paganism, I avoid a discussion of Gnosticism because that is a book in itself).  Jesus as a dying and reborn God can also be seen as simply another version of a common Pagan concept of cycles of deity.

[2]  Though you might be able to argue that by claiming inclusivity that we subjugate all Gods and Goddesses to Paganism.  Sort of like my Catholic friends who say my Gods and Goddesses are just an imperfect manifestation of theirs, we too can claim that Jehovah, Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are all simply other Gods within our broad and inclusive Pantheon.  This then becomes essentially a linguistic/semantic problem.  It comes down to how we define what we are talking about, and how we use our ability to name things to structure and make sense out of the world.  If everything is everything else and the names we use do not distinguish one thing from another, then it becomes very difficult to have a sensible discussion.  Thus, Pagans are what we are, and Abrahamic religions are monotheistic exclusivists.  There is a difference because there is a difference.  (And I know Houston Smith’s arguments about all religions are merely branches of one root, at some level that is probably true, but here I’m working well up the trunk and not at the root).

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The Witch’s Cupboard

August, 2012

Herbal Insecticides

Natural Herbal Insecticides

This page is designed to help with bug control safely. Man-made
insecticides is burning up the very Earth we hold so dear to our
survival. The more that is made, the more the bugs become immune. Then
man makes stronger pesticides.

We eat these pesticides in and on our food, we drink water from the run
offs that are seeping into the ground. And at this time there is more
health problems then there ever has been. It tends to make you wonder!

House and Garden Natural Insecticide

2 tablespoons liquid soap
1 quart water
Spray bottle

Mix soap and water; add to spray bottle; spray plants evenly, aiming directly at pests whenever possible.

All-Purpose Insecticide

1 bulb of garlic
1 small onion
1 tablespoon cayenne (red) pepper
2 tablespoons liquid soap
1 quart water
Spray bottle

Finely chop onion and garlic; mix with tap water; add cayenne pepper;
let sit for one hour, then add soap. Mix well. When foam subsides,
strain into spray bottle. Keep refrigerated. Good for 1-2 weeks.

Fleas

Orange peels
Grapefruit peels
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon rosemary, (optional)
1 pint water

Combine ingredients in blender; blend until liquified. Heat mixture on
low heat for 15 minutes. Strain liquid into spray bottle. Spray on pet,
and massage thoroughly into your pet’s coat, avoiding their eyes.

Note: Feed your pet brewers yeast and garlic, as a diet supplement.
Vacuum furniture and carpet frequently (store vacuum outside of home–in
shed or garage–during problem periods); clean your pet’s favorite
sleeping spots regularly and sprinkle with fennel, rue or rosemary. .

THE SAFE INSTANT KILL INSECTICIDE

The most effective insecticide that instantly kills flying and crawling
insects on contact but does no harm to mammals or birds is the dried
and crushed flowers of the Pyrethrum Plant. This brown powder will kill
or stun the insects the moment it touches them but does no harm to pets
when sprinkled on their coats. This member of the daisy family is a
beautiful ornamental and will compliment any garden or flower bed. While
very effective, the dried powder only lasts for a few days. You can
prolong its use throughout the year by freezing fresh flower heads in
zip-lock bags and drying and crushing them as needed

Cedar Oil

Try a cedar oil spray. I get it at PetSmart & use it on the dogs,
cats & kids – it may seem a bit pricey but one bottle lasts for
awhile. There may be another source for it among herbal shops, natural
food stores, etc. One tip for anyone using it for fleas – it’s a
REPELLANT and works best if used before you see any fleas. If you’ve
already got fleas, the same company makes a shampoo.

Marigolds in the Yard

There are several things to do when trying to protect yourself and kids
from those nasty bugs in the yard during the summer. One thing to do is
plant marigolds around the yard, the flowers give off a smell that bugs
do not like, so plant some in that garden also to help ward off bugs
without using insecticides.
Try putting a bounce dryer sheet on your belt or in your sock, the sheet will mask your smell and ward off the bugs.

Marine’s Choice

I don’t know how “organic” you want to go, or if it’s just DEET you’re
trying to avoid. But here in Jacksonville, NC, home of Camp Lejeune
Marine Corps Base, our “tough guy” Marines who spend a great deal of
time “camping out” say that the very best mosquito repellant you can use
is Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil mixed about half and half with alcohol.
I’ve tried it, and I have to admit it works just as well if not better
than the commercial sprays. Actually, I just saw an ad on TV this week
for Avon’s own Skin-So-Soft insect repellant. I’m assuming it’s made
about the same way — but it may turn out to be less expensive in the
long run to mix your own. An added plus — it smells great too.

Homemade Recipe

20 drops Eucalyptus oil

20 drops Cedarwood oil

10 drops Tea Tree oil

10 drops Geranium oil

2 oz. carrier oil ( such as Jojoba )

Mix together in a 4 oz. container. Apply to skin as needed avoiding the
eye area. Keep out of reach of children. Test on a small area of skin
for sensitivities . Experiment with different percentages of essential
oil.

Vanilla

One of the best natural insect repellants that I’ve discovered is made
from the clear real vanilla (not the grocery store vanilla extract which
is mostly alcohol). This is the pure vanilla that is sold in Mexico.
It’s cheap there if you know of someone that lives there or in the US
close to the border. If not, health food stores usually carry it or can
order it for you. I use it half vanilla and half water and find that it
works great for mosquitoes and ticks, don’t know about other insects.
It’s nice that you don’t smell like a chemical plant but a cookie! I
cannot use chemical insecticides, so I love the way this works and I
hope you and your kids will also.

from HGTV

I am testing a preparation suggested by HGTV’s Paul James. “Finely chop
a dozen garlic cloves into 4 ounces of mineral oil. Soak for a day or
2, strain it and add 4 drops of dishwasher liquid. Dilute with half cup
of water and pour into sprayer.” I used a coffee filter to strain it
(sort of messy) and it smells out loud. So far I have used it on two
plants and it appears non-damaging. Incidentally, I planted garlic
cloves next to each rose bush and that appears to have repelled insects.
That is a widely known practice, I gather. Incidentally, I use old soap
and garden spray bottles with no harmful residue.

Catnip Concoction

Make your own by filling a quart jar with some herbs from the mint
family – catnip, spearmint, pennyroyal and then cover with apple cider
vinegar. Shake twice a day for 2 weeks. Strain and either rub on or
spray on.

Bug-Proof Your Yard

There are many insect repellents that contain ‘pyrethum’ which is
actually a natural extract of the marigold plant. It is very safe for
use around children and pets but it is quite expensive.
You may also want to regularly spray your plants and grass with a soap
and water solution. This will have 3 effects: 1) it will dehydrate most
bugs and kill them without chemicals, 2) it will help to keep your grass
and plants clean of pollution and make them healthier and 3) it will
soften your soil which mean you won’t have to water as much.
Use a hose-end sprayer filled with 1 cup of any cheap dishwashing soap
for your grass or 1 tablespoon of soap in a hand-held sprayer for your
plants.

THE GREAT MOSQUITO REPELLENT

Mosquitoes are very sensitive to certain scents, Chamomile and
Citriodora especially. Both are easy to grow and both are used in dry
flower arrangements. Citriodora is also used in potpourri. To make The
Great Mosquito Repellent, take one oz. of green leaves from both plants
and boil in a gallon of water. Strain and place in the refrigerator.
Before going outside, splash the mixture liberally over your face and
exposed parts of your body. You will enjoy the fresh, citrus smell but
the mosquitoes will stay far away.

Paint Sticks.
To repels bugs from your plants, Pick up paint sticks from your paint
store. You can get them for free. Spray paint them florescent yellow.
Then spray them with a spray adhesive. Put near all your plants. The
bugs will be attracted to the color, they will fly or crawl on the
sticks and get stuck!

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Interweavings

August, 2012

Gratitude

Now we reap what we sow. Harvest begins as the fullness of summers heat envelops us.  Our walk this year through 12 virtues has brought us to gratitude. If we have brought the virtues into our heart, we have sown well and we begin to harvest the fruit of our labors.

Take a moment and think about what you have sown since January.  What connections have you made or strengthened? What depth of understanding have you brought to your personal worship? What inner peace have you gained?

The year flies past and we are so busy with life and all of its ups and downs. Yet our sacred time alone or with others slows down the pace if even for an hour. This is a rich crop that we sow. As the month of August opens, lets take time to be grateful. Lets celebrate how far we have come and the delight of the seasons to follow.

The apple crops begin to fill the farmer’s markets. In Georgia, peaches and apples are king and queen! Even though we grow more blueberries we are known as the Peach State.  And we are grateful for all the different ways to enjoy peaches and apples and blueberries.

Our family loves apple time and the impending pies, cobblers, and sauce.  We live in a state that grows apples and heading to the mountains to bring back the harvest is always fun! The Great Mother is laughing in flowers and fruit and I am grateful to be a part of the fun.

Make a feast of whatever is coming into fullness where you live! Core apples and use as candle holders.  Make a cobbler and some homemade ice cream. Try and find as many ways to prepare apples or peaches and make a meal around them. Tell those you hold dear how grateful you are for them.

Abundance comes in all forms. Gratitude is shown in many ways. With a grateful heart we open to the Gods and Goddesses and receive a bountiful harvest!

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