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Blog Update

There will be extents where I may not post for a while, sometimes it's a posting slump, sometimes it's life. Eventually new content WILL be posted, I've not neglected my blog.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Feel free to visit MYSTICAL PAGAN for interesting content.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Working on Transition

I've started to re-do my space, as I transition into...I don't know what. I had a strong desire to dismantle my altar a few months ago and my corner had been sitting empty since. I went out a few days ago and bought a wire shelf set.

Here is my progress so far. On the right, I have cardboard lining the two bottom shelves, as my books wouldn't sit right on the wire grid panel, as well I have small items that will fall through the grid panels, and I don't want that to happen lol (the upper most shelf isn't lined with cardboard, but I have a notebook doing the job, temporarily). Clearly I need more cardboard lol. I also need to make the shelves more secure so I'm going to get some zip ties to tie the panels together, as the panels can't seem to reach some of the round connectors, and is a little flimsy (hence why there's nothing on top of the shelf).

But once I get these things I can start working on the top shelf. I plan on assembling my new altar setup there, which will be separated into different sections: a space for ancestors/passed loved ones, a space for my Goddess, a space to indicate the coming/just passing Sabbat, a place to put workings in progress, etc. There's not a whole lot of room on the top of my shelf, but I think this is all doable. The spaces I want to put these things on don't require a whole lot of room, and the shelf is much wider and deeper than the previous space I was using (which was the wooden box I mentioned above).

I'll update as I continue.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Continuing Studies

I was finally able to obtain a copy of Christopher Penczak's book "The Inner Temple of Witchcraft". Actually I'd had it for a while but just now started reading it and the first four chapters I couldn't put it down. There were a few points in it that I disagreed with, but pushed my own biases aside and decided to give it a proper chance. Good book so far.

I'm now on lesson 1 (chapter 5) in the book in which we do energy play. It's actually been some time since I'd done energy play. I'd use energy balls and what not for my workings, but haven't really just "played" with it to see what I could do. An interesting idea Chris pens in his book is making webs with energy. Yesterday during our 5 hr trip home from my in-laws, I attempted to make energy webs. I covered our vehicle with this web, and must say I was pretty impressed with the idea.

Though, I hate books with lessons in them. I can be a rather impatient person when it comes to reading, so I want to get on with reading, rather than take the time to repeatedly do something over the period of a week, like "energy play". That, and Chris recommends working with a partner for some of his exercises...a little difficult when I'm by myself, but I'll make do with what I can.

I sort of feel like I'm beginning all over again, but then that's what happens when you read a 101 lesson book. I'm eager to start working on other things, but I think it's probably best that I start with the basics and build up to the more advanced things.

I mean, I already know the basics, however, starting over again helps me to re-learn and perhaps better use my craft in a more effective manner. I just wish I could read the book all at once, instead of reading one chapter a week lol.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Countering "Nature Bound Pagan"

Ok. I can't take it anymore. I really need to make a corrected graphic to counter "Nature Bound Pagan"'s...thing...about Paganism.

She's made this graphic before adding the "update" that details she "does not claim to be 100% correct" about the claims she makes, yet seems to want to pass off her information as if it IS 100% correct (basing it on the fact that she MADE the graphic in the first place). When confronted with FACTS that counter what she's posted in her "Paganism 101" graphic, instead of accepting the correction graciously, like your typical fluff, she chooses to delete the comment ('s...I commented maybe 3 times trying to get her to understand).

There's a HUGE difference between trying to pass something off as fact, and passing something as opinion. Sure you can believe what you want, but when you start making graphics to describe an umbrella system, and you use inaccurate descriptions, then there's a problem. Mostly because people coming to your graphic are generally naive in the area and will believe this graphic to be 100% factual. I don't care if you have your own beliefs...you need to put a disclaimer on your graphic stating that this is your OPINION on what Paganism is, not exclude the disclaimer and ignorantly expect people to take it with a grain of salt. Not all novices think logically before accepting information, so the onus is on you, NBP to ensure you make clear that what you post is an OPINION, not fact.

(**of course, the onus is also on the reader to fact-check before accepting, but like I said, not all novices look to logic first).

Here is my "corrected" graphic on "Paganism 101" to counter Nature Bound Pagan's:
Graphic appears larger above than if clicked.

Now, naturally I'm sure there are probably a few errors of my own in this "graphic" that some will disagree with, but I think for the most part it is accurate. Not all Pagans believe the same things, while some may borrow aspects from different systems and incorporate them into their own path. The point of this being, that not all Pagans celebrate nor practice the same way as Wiccans (as the original graphic implies). Surely Odinists and Asatru's can practice, believe and celebrate differently than each other, and from Wicca entirely.

The original can be found here for comparison.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book of Shadows Rant

I just watched a video on YouTube where a guy is ranting about the Book of Shadows, and I couldn't agree more with what he's said. I found myself nodding in agreement almost all the way through.

I couldn't agree more with what this guy says. For me, at least, the Book of Shadows is a lesson in futility. You have no idea how many books I have with the same information in so many different designs that are all partially completed. I have a large scrapbook that has maybe 5 pages done, I have a handmade book that I wanted to eventually bind, made of brown, construction paper-type material (bought cheap at the dollar store) that has a bit of information in, I have an aqua-colored dayplanner that has, actually quite a bit of information, but it's basic: no designs, no artwork...just words (unless the information requires a visual representation (i.e. a Wheel of the Year diagram)). I also have maybe a dozen small spiral bound books with varying information in them...it's a overwhelming process, mostly because I'm searching out perfection. I made a mistake years ago, buying this BEAUTIFUL hardbound book with gold gilded edges and wrote in half of it, then fell out of love with it because I didn't want the information in it anymore, and I'd written it in pen (GAAAHHH!!) *pulls out hair* (don't worry, I didn't spend a whole lot on it, I bought it for cheap at a liquidation store).

I sort of learned my lesson in that, where if I buy a nice, hardbound book, I write my information in pencil first. I have a large purple journal I bought at Staples (Canadian version of the Office Depot) that I was going to use as a tarot journal, and wrote a bunch of stuff in it in pencil, then eventually erased most of it.

I'm on to a new idea of what I want to do, but it might mean basically the end of Books of Shadows period. Because I have so many small spiral bound notebooks, I'm thinking of dedicating each one to one particular subject (i.e. Tarot, Sabbats, Herbs, etc).

I'd always been an advocate for having information in one place so I'm not sitting in a pile of books looking for what I want, but it seems that, unless I want a book that is 12 inches thick and 40lbs, that's not a realistic expectation. I have to make several books with information in them and root through them to find what I want...and I think I'm ok with that. For one thing, it'll fill the bookshelves I eventually want to get, and it gives me the opportunity to hand write my information (because I like handwriting my information). I prefer to hand write my information because it gives me more of a connection to what I'm doing. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against typing information and printing it (I do that all the time too), but I get more a feeling of accomplishment when I hand write my information. And because my books are spiral bound, it makes it easier for me to write in them, then eventually I want to remove the wire binding, and thread bind the books, making my own cover for each, making a unique book for my shelf.

But I really wish I could have the big, beautiful book of shadows of my dreams that I could make myself, but I'm not as artistic as I wish I was. Even printing out images and pasting them to pages doesn't turn out the way I want. I don't know, maybe eventually I'll get the book I want, but for now, I'm learning my lesson in futility.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Animal Sacrifice: Yea or Nay

There's a great bit of drama happening on Facebook about animal sacrifice. ('scuse me, I love me a bit of drama...I just don't start it).

Someone comes into a group and starts ranting and raving about how they're "Totally against animal sacrifice". That it's "selfish" to "kill an animal...to get a job, good luck, love", etc.

I popped in and said that research is necessary before voicing an opinion on something to truly understand the concept behind animal sacrifice (as it is to understand anything). Hhhooo...did it get heated quickly. Someone else pops in and gets all fired up, and asks "Why do people feel the need to insist upon 'fact checking'?".

Well, because usually when people come in with an ignorant comment like "it's selfish to kill an animal to get..." this, that or another thing, they don't usually understand what they're against.

USUALLY...they see what's on the surface and run with it. I don't take anything based on what I see on the surface. Paganism has taught me this. Everything is like an iceberg. You may see the tip on the surface, but beneath that you don't realize there is a monstrous chunk of ice. I tell people they need to research because there's a HUGE chance they never did and are going off third hand biased information that tells them that sacrifices are a waste of an animal by way of disrespectful and terrifying deaths.

I grew up with hunting as being something normal. There are a LOT of people out there who believe hunting to be an inhumane, immoral act that should be outright banned (and everyone should be eating flowers and singing "Get Together" (below) holding hands and swaying, wearing flower crowns under a bright rainbow).

I understand hunting and what hunters do. Because I do, I don't make the snap judgement about it. I also don't make snap judgements about people who make animal sacrifices. I don't assume people who do this simply slit the throat of an animal and throw it on the ground to decay and rot. My assumption is (and I hope it's a correct one (if not, then I'm really not one to judge)) that the animal gets used afterwards for a practical purpose. If not, I hope it's disposed of in a more respectful manner than many a horror movie would show.

MY stance? It's ok to be against something. It is. You are PERFECTLY welcome to be "totally against animal sacrifice". It's ok to be against hunting, it's ok to be against meat eating...hell it's ok to be against gun ownership!! What's NOT ok is to dictate to others that, because you dislike or disagree with something, then everyone MUST abide by your dislike. You are free to have an opinion, but don't push that opinion on others as though it were a fact.

...I mean...people are so dead against killing of animals (even in a legit way), but no one advocates for plants. Plants are living beings too...why are there no protests for plant rights or people throwing paint on someone eating a salad??

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cultural Appropriation and People Who are OK with it.

I was invited into a facebook group by Mandi See (<< YouTube channel) In this group, someone asked a question about cultural appropriation and incorporating aspects from cultures not your own into your practices. I responded with my usual "research the culture", "be respectful", "understand what the concept is and why it's used in the way it is", etc.

For the most part, people agree with me, but what gets my goat are people who DISagree with me. Someone decided to come in with "well, it's my path, so I can do what I want and no one has the right to tell me I'm doing it wrong".

Well, in a sense, she's right...no one can tell you what you're doing wrong in your path, BUT...one CAN tell you you're misusing a cultural aspect, especially if that person is using a concept from your own culture, and you find it offensive.

Take the Totem, for example. In the past I've discussed how not everyone has a totem; that it's not what these silly quizzed online state it is...that it's symbolic of the founders of certain tribes, and if you're not a part of a tribe, then you have no totem. But there are people out there who seem to be adamant that they can do what they want, without understanding the concepts behind what they are doing. That it's ok to believe the Totem is a favorite animal and that they are now somehow represented by that animal, and thus will use the word "Totem" to describe this representation.

This is no different than someone claiming to be Pagan, walking around in a traditional Native headdress and saying that it's somehow a part of their Pagan system, and therefore are allowed to wear it wherever they want, and no one has the right to tell them what they can and cannot do with their path. This kind of mentality is damaging to the Pagan system, not helpful. You're disrespecting other cultures because you find it "gitchy" and want to add it to your system without realizing the cultural significance and importance of that concept. You cheapen it when you incorporate it and use it the way YOU want, instead of how it was intended to be.

If you don't want be offensive to the systems from which you borrow concepts, it's **VERY** important for you to research the concepts you want to incorporate into your beliefs and understand what they TRULY are before adding them and making full use of them. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Former Witch Speaks About Halloween"

This popped up on my "recommended" feed on YouTube. I don't know why I do this to myself...I can never calmly rebuke anything these people have to say. It riles me up and gets me on the defensive.

But...I'm going to do my best to point out the errors in this video in a fairly calm manner, and this supposed "former Witch"'s assessment in just Halloween alone.

(**I want to make a disclaimer, I'll say "Christians" a lot in this post, but note - I do NOT believe all Christians believe this way...I'm noting the many "Christians" who do. I am already fully aware there are open minded Christians out there with a live and let live attitude).

The first bone of contentment I have to pick is her assessment in what Samhain actually is. She claims it's a "high holy day". Sure, about as much as New Years is to the average, secular person. Samhain is a big deal to some because it marks the end of the Pagan year. It's a time of transition, and a time to end projects, and start new ones (just like New Years).

It also marks celebration of death. She puts it off, though, as if it's something negative (at least that's the impression I get). Pagans embrace death. And what's wrong with that? We don't gleefully look at death as something we should bring upon some unsuspecting victim purely for our own enjoyment, or to appease our Gods. Our Gods don't ask for sacrifice of life. And for some people to make Paganism out to be something that does, fails to remember their OWN religion's origins in which Abraham was more than willing to sacrifice the life of his own SON in order to appease his God. So, hypocrite much.

Pagans who take it upon themselves to contact the dead at this time, do so to seek guidance and advice from the ancestors. It's not a means of opening a party line to all those who have died and have a phone party; the dead are not summoned merely because they can be. If the dead are contacted, it's for a very good reason. I'm an advocate for leaving the dead alone unless there's a very good reason. Asking when you're going to die, or if you will win the lottery is hardly a good reason, and are actions I condemn.

She makes note that Pagans will perform rituals and spells during Samhain. Rituals and spells take place at all points of the year for Pagans, not just Samhain, and is hardly a requirement for the Sabbat; and for her to assume that performing rituals is distasteful, well, again she fails to recognize her own "new" religion participates in rituals, far more regularly than Pagans do (I do recall that there's a commandment that states "Keep holy the Sabbath day - so Christians attend weekly rituals to appease their God, compared to, at MOST, the monthly rituals Pagans may do. Again, hypocrite much).

But again, the tired rhetoric spewing out of many a Christian's mouth is Samhain is "Demonic without Witches or Pagans knowing". Christians seem to have this heir of superiority about them, and believe we Pagans are merely ignorant in our beliefs and practices; stupid, naive kids who are playing with matches, and they are the stern, caring parents trying to warn us, we will be burned.

I want to note to these Christians - We Know What We Are Doing! You Do Not!!

The idea of something being "demonic" is put out there to make us seem "scary". Christians for centuries have put out the idea that Pagans are something to fear, for the simple fact that they (Pagans) don't believe what they (Christians) do. In order to keep people faithful to the popular religion, the less popular "Paganism" is demonized and made out to be something scary. People tend to slink away from things that are scary, and when you portray Paganism as being "scary" and involving "demons", (yet Pagans are "ignorant" of it) you keep the people faithful to the popular religion. Scare someone enough, they'll believe anything you tell them, so long as they believe you will keep them safe.

I can say Christians are just as ignorant about their spirituality; that rather than worshiping the peaceful, benign God they believe they are worshiping, they are in fact, really worshiping a demon (because, let's face it, who in their right mind would worship a God who describes themselves as being "jealous and vengeful"? (please note sarcasm in this statement))

"When I was a Witch, I didn't really know what I was doing; it was just what you do" - 2:40
--First of all, a Witch doesn't do what they do because it's just what they do. That's an enormously naive comment. This idea here...is the BIG problem with a lot of Pagans who haven't practiced very long...in fact, because of this statement I have to question the seriousness of what she did (or believed she was doing). If she just did what she did because she believed or was told "it was just what you do", then she's completely missed the point of Paganism, and it now makes sense why she so quickly dismissed Paganism and jumped into Christianity (though, it's funny considering Christians also "do what they do because its what they do" all the time).

Pagans understand the reason behind celebrating Samhain. They don't just do rituals because "it's what you do". That's like putting cinnamon into an apple pie because "it's what you do". (Bakers (both amateur and professional) generally know that cinnamon brings out the flavor of the apples). That's called "going through the motions" and is the calling-card of what we serious Pagans call "Playgans"...people who do because they believe it's "what you do". They don't understand the concepts behind the actions (and this is something I stress ALL THE TIME...

Study and learn the how's and why's of rituals, spells, etc before you do them, otherwise they have no meaning.

"To celebrate Halloween as a Christian is to..really..uh...enter into ways of the world that we were not meant to do." - 4:13
--First off...no one can say with 100% certainty what God truly wants us to do. They can only interpret feelings they have, works of scripture they have (that have been written by people), and what they are taught. So for all anyone can say, what they feel is merely the ingrained ideas put in their minds by the scripture they read and the teachings they are taught, all by people. Christians tend to forget that there are HUNDREDS of different versions of the bible, all teaching different things. Each denomination of Christianity (so that includes Baptists, Protestants, Anglicans, Catholics, Pentacosts, Christian Reformed, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc) all have their own "version" of the bible (each teaching that their bible is the correct version, by the way), so they can't even agree on which version of the bible is most accurate, let alone know for absolute certainty what God wants. So for someone to say they shouldn't celebrate Halloween because it's not what God wants, isn't being honest, because they don't actually know.

As well, it doesn't state ANYWHERE in the bible the acceptable and unacceptable holidays Christians are to celebrate. If they want to get totally technical, they shouldn't celebrate Christmas either, because Christmas isn't sanctioned in the bible, nor was Christ born in December.

"God has told us 'I am holy, and so I want you to be holy'". - 4:25
--Actually, he didn't. It may be written in the bible that God said this, but, the REALITY is...people wrote the bible. People wrote down  "God" saying "I am holy and so I want you to be holy", but God didn't actually say this. This is the interpretation I was talking about above. People interpret words and assume that God had said this, when the real, truth is...a guy with a pen wrote it. People in religious authority teach God said it, not the author.

I don't dismiss people's right to believe what they want, and see the bible as providing them with the spiritual fulfillment that they need...but when you start using those scriptures to interfere with another person's right to believe and do what they want (in a religious context), then there's a problem.

I enjoy reading Pagan tenants of faith, and scriptures, etc. Do I take them at literal, face value, believing that there was an actual "Goddess Danu who descended into the earth, toiled...learned the pains of work and labor..." etc? No. I accept this as myth; stories that enhance the spiritual value of my Paganism. I'm not going to take passages from Charles Baize and Nolan Reichle "Pagan Scriptures" and use them to tell Christians they're following a demonic path and need to accept Pagan ways. For one thing, that goes against my own ethics, and would make me as bad as the Christians who do that to us.

She starts going off on what God wants us to do, etc and I've already heard this ad nauseum in my daily rounds in various forms and Q&As, so I'm not going to go any further. I don't see debating that as being in any way productive to what I wanted this post to be.

The point of this is, I highly doubt she actually took her Paganism seriously. I think she held onto her Christian ideas or fell into the "Fire and Brimstone" trap many Christians put out for the vulnerable. I think when people start telling people why they shouldn't celebrate certain holidays because "God doesn't want us to", they start losing credibility with anyone, and facts need to be pointed out; truths need to be told.

Halloween isn't a demonic holiday. It never was. It was a celebration no more sinister than Easter, and I think it's REALLY hypocritical for people to criticize Halloween in one breath, and praise Easter in another.

(On a side note, I think I did rather well, I didn't go off on a tangent lol)