In the Midst of the Mad Rush of Days…

In the midst of the Mad Rush of Days

Dancing with distress, and projects, and plans.

Looking around worriedly,

Trying to keep track of the many many little things,

Eyes, and heart, downcast.

~

Until,

I catch in the briefest of glimpses,

The Waxing Crescent Moon…

~

The Waxing Crescent Moon,

The Silver Cup of Dionysus,

Pouring inspirations

~

The Waxing Crescent Moon

The Curving Horns of Pan

Tearing distractions asunder

~

The Waxing Crescent Moon

The Crown of the Goddess

Shining as She reminds me “Breathe.”

~

In the Midst of the Mad Rush of Days,

I am reminded to cast my eyes upward.

I am reminded to breathe,

To stop running to and fro,

To stand still,

To breathe, until I can stride forth with purpose.

~

The Waxing Crescent Moon

Reminding me to Breathe,

Reminding me of my Craft,

Reminding me of my Name.

“What Now?” ~ Pagan Community Builders

So Darkly Fey, from Live from the Red Leather Couch and I had some fabulous back and forth conversations recently via e-mail about Paganism and Pagan community.  We decided to share with the Pagan Community Builder’s Yahoo.  This stirred up a little bit of discussion, and some really cool questions…  This encouraged me to engage in some of the following ranting about Pagan community…

I don’t know if movement’s neccesarilly mature into institutions, but I would definitely agree with the idea that they can mature into communities.  As I have said here and elsewhere that is where I think Paganism is right now…

Paganism is a spiritual, religious, and cultural movement made up of different interwoven and overlapping religious and regional communities.

It is my hope that Paganism as a movement will move and grow and develop into a family of interwoven and overlapping religious communities.  I just don’t think we are quite there yet.  (in my ever so humble and correct opinion!) ~ 😉

Moving on, if I may quote you…

“What would a mature Pagan community look like? More importantly, what would it do?”

I think that we as individual faiths and communities are in a process of hammering that question out… I also think it is related to another of your questions…

“But Pagans– do we have a goal? Is it individual enlightenment, collective enlightenment, improving the world with the idea that with an immanent divine, one serves the gods by serving others?”

I would say that the goal of a Pagan depends on the particular religion or philosophy of the individual Pagan.  ( I know, obviously, but I am moving towards a point here so please bear with me…)

I would observe that for the different Pagan faiths and paths there seems to be an overall theme of development into being a better person (personal growth and perhaps enlightenment, although it is not neccesarilly phrased as such) by practicing certain rites, and developing our relationships with the Divine (or the All That Is) and with the Spirits of the World Around Us (Elements and Land Spirits), and living certain  (intertwining and overlapping) virtues and values, and by building our relationships with others in our groups and faiths and societies through those virtues and values and practices…

I think that his theme of growth and development leads us quite naturally into engagement with other branches of Paganism, and from there into engagement with the rest of Society.  I also think that fear of discrimination, and a lack of outside pressure in the form of legal or social restrictions on religious practice, has helped to hamper that process of engagement.  Of course the fact that Paganism, with its Pantheism and Polytheism (among other Theisms present under the Pagan umbrella) whose essential concept of “our way AND your way” is having to re-emerge culturally from an immersion in Monotheism’s predominantly “Our way or the highway” mindset has also hampered our development as a community…

I think that both of your above questions are being hammered out by different Faith and Regional communities within the Pagan movement.

My instinct is (or, admittedly, perhaps it is merely my deep hope) that we as a movement are reaching a threshold point of in-group and inter-group communication and networking and growth and expansion that we are ready to go towards the next stage in our development from a movement into being a community.

Of course, I have been accused of being somewhat of an optimist and idealist…

“In my thoughts, I’d figured finding other Pagans would be the hard part. After all that navel-gazing and contemplation, the theological musings and soul-searching, we’ve figured out what we believe. We’ve found each other!….

…what now?”

I, SO, hear you! I share some of your frustration and experiences at local Pagan groups and rituals.  Socializing, in and of itself, is not enough.  Rituals on the Moons and/or on the Seasonal Holy Days are not enough!

That is part of why I created this discussion group.  To start and encourage discussions of “what now?”

“What now?” is why I have written Invoking the Power of the Pagan Dollar 2.0

Because I believe we need to start supporting our own community members (by supporting them as business people, and not just the occult tsotchke shoppes either!)  and institutions (religious, community, and charitable).

“What now?” is why I support the Pagan Pride Project and Pagan Pride events of all sorts… despite my occasional misgivings about some of the modes of dress and behavior!

We need, as religious and regional communities within the Pagan movement, to start engaging and reaching out to our wider local, regional, and national communities; not to proselytize, but to show clearly and honestly who and what we really are and are about!

We need to start looking at celebrating open and public rituals and observances at CIVIC holidays, not only to show our lager communities who and what Pagans are and are about; but to also deepen and expand ourselves as Pagans and our relationships with the spirits of our ancestors and of our Nations, and of the World around us; and to further build and strengthen our communities!

That, at the very least, is “what now?”!

Beyond that, well let’s keep talking!

Peace,

Pax

PS- if you are interested in taking part in this discussion, or ones like it, you can post here, or even better yet sign up for the Pagan Community Builder’s Yahoogroup !!!

Why I will always be a Witch…

<Ranting>

Why I will always be a Witch…

Not a Pagan, although I AM that too, but I will always be a Witch because, so many years ago now… 15…16 years… do I only count my Dedication ritual or do I count some of the Witchy stuff I was doing before that?  Well, lets call it 16 years, with definitely Pagan leanings for 19 to 20.

Anyway… I gave myself to the Goddess and God of Witchcraft (as best as I understood and understand them) that night.  I offered myself to them in their service and worship.  Body and Soul… I have Circled and Prayed and Magicked and had a few run-ins with Divinity…. both my own and others… I was a young and stupider Witch once…

Even when I started feeling a pull towards the Gods of Greece… especially Hecate and Dionysus… I worried that I was straying from Witchcraft even as I crafted a ritual of introduction and welcome for Hecate…. and later too opened a place in my heart and life for Dionysus…

yet if you dig into their histories you will see why Hecate and Dionysus’s myths and legends seemed somehow strangely familiar to a 21st Century Neo-Pagan Witch…

I am a Witch, whether I am Calling the Quarters or simply making an offering of Incense and moving on with my day… I am a Witch.  This is not something I put on or take off… it is not for the convenience of the moment… if I face trouble or pain or fear or poverty… THEY are there… as are dear friends and family…

Perhaps I am lucky, I have never had a time were I truly felt without the Divine… whether in a more general sense of knowing and resonating with the Divine in All of Creation, or those few blessed ( an occasionally terrifying) moments where I have experienced a specific Presence.  Or those times I have reached out to the Elemental energies and felt them there…

When books written by my fellow Pagans paled I started looking elsewhere… Books by Buddhists on facing fear and difficult times… self-help books on being more effective… books on History and Psychology… my College Classes… especially the Wines Class and the Environmental Sciences class…

All of these have been Teachers to me.  If I am not finding inspiration or beauty or strength or power or compassion or honor or humility or mirth or reverence in Witchcraft and Paganis; it is not because it is not there!   It is because I am not looking for it in the right way… or with a clear mind and heart…

The thing is, I am REALLY NOT trying to offend anyone when I say these things… I have written a lot of essays on this site and done my best to make the pages of this site a useful resource for my fellow Pagan traveler’s and for the budding Witches of the world.

I know what it’s like, I’ve been a solitary Pagan for nearly 2 decades a Witch for most of that time… I have been there and am still there… and while I would dearly love the opportunity to share experience and fellowship and laughter and faith and magick with others…. I don’t have to have that in order to be complete as a Witch or Pagan.

While I would grievously miss them, and Them, if I never had another dramatic Theistic encounter I would still remain a Witch and Pagan.

For me it is a faith and a life and a philosophy and a part of who I am and what I do and how I view the world around me…

I really have a mental block in understanding folks who (it seems to me at least) casually let drop that they are leaving Paganism or Witchcraft because of some lack in these paths or communities.  Of course, I have in the past been moved to try being some of the things I perceived lacking in the community…

ok, ok,

</ranting>

GWWM Seeks…

Gay White Witchy Male seeks others for ritual and gnosis and, very occasionally, spells. Must be reasonably balanced and have already spent a few years at your Witchcraft. No reincarnations of ancient Atlantean sorcerer Kings need apply!

Something for the Culinary Pagan

So for Imbolc I am sharing a variety of Culinary, Crafty, and Poetic posts.  This first non-poetry one is to share an outline for Potato Soup, and share a wonderful Pagan culinary list…

Wine and Cakes: Kitchen Witcheries and Heathen Hospitality

Is a delightful culinary and cooking list for Pagans and Heathens of all sorts.   Sometimes dormant and sometimes boiling over with posts and ideas!

Here’s something I recently posted there…


So the Big Guy and I have a ton of Potato’s around the house… His
brothers are Truck driver’s and occasionally they turn us on to a
great deal on veggies and other items they encounter in their hauls…

So we have, seemingly, a metric butt-load of potato’s in the fridge
and pantry. Last week I had a few days off and was feeling fairly
ambitious and the weather here in Central Florida was especailly
cold… overnight temps that week were in the 30’s and daytime temps
were in the 50’s to low 60’s; I know that’s not bad at all compared to
what a lot of folks are dealing with but her in Central Florida it’s a
cold day! So Soup seemed appropriate!

I’d never made potato soup before so I went to the shelf and dug
through The Joy of Cooking and some of my other culinary books for
ideas and inspiration relating to Potato Soup…

I thoroughly washed 5 or 6 potatoes, cut them into small bite-sized
pieces, and boiled them.

While the potatoes were boiling I fried up some Ground Turkey and some
Onions, adding some minced garlic and a few herbs and spices.

I then ran the boiled potato pieces through the blender. While I was
doing that I also reserved a couple of cups of the starchy potato water…

I wasn’t sure how thick the potatoes would be once I’d gotten them
through the blender. I’m glad I had saved the water as the blended potato was still a little thick and besides it’s like Chef Adams used to say.. you can
almost always thicken a soup back down by simmering out some of the water!

From this point, it was a matter of looking for other ingredients and
side fixings.. in this case we had some Cheddar Bratwurst and Broccoli
and Vegetable Mix (cauliflower, carrots, and more broccoli) in the
freezer… some quick thawing and slicing of the Brats… and Ta Da!
It’s Soup!!

I’d love to have had either some chicken broth or some vegetable broth
to use as a base… and maybe instead of the frozen veggies a big pan
of Roasted veggies to add at the last minute? (especially if I were
doing this as a vegetarian recipe…)

~~~~~~~~~~

So if you are intrigued, or hungry, go to the Wine and Cakes and sign up and start sharing some of your own Hearthy goodness for Imbolc!

Peace,

Pax

Imbolc Poetry Blogging 2009…

So for my first Imbolc Poetry Blogging contribution I thought I would start with something by someone else… inspired by a performance of it I listened to recently here is The Hymn to Pan!

(text retrieved here at the Pagan Library...)

Hymn To Pan

Aleister Crowley, 1929


Thrill with the lissome lust of the light,
O man! My man!
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady!
Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns and pards
And nymphs and satyrs for thy guards,
On a milk-white ass, come over the sea
To me, to me,
Come with Apollo in bridal dress
(Shepherdess and pythoness)
Come with Artemis, silken shod,
And wash thy white thigh, beautifal God,
In the moon of the woods, on the marble mount,
The dimpled dawn of the amber fount!
Dip the purple of passionate prayer
In the crimson shrine, the scarlet snare,
The soul that startles in eyes of blue
To watch thy wantonness weeping through
The tangled grove, the gnarled bole
Of the living tree that is spirit and soul
And body and brain – come over the sea,
(Io Pan! Io Pan!)
Devil or God, to me, to me,
My man! My man!
Come with trumpets sounding shrill
Over the hill!
Come with drums low muttering
From the spring!
Come with flute and come with pipe!
Am I not ripe?
I, who wait and writhe and wrestle
With air that hath no boughs to nestle
My body, weary of empty clasp,
Strong as a lion and sharp as an asp –
Come, O come!
I am numb
With the lonely lust of devildom.
Thrust the sword through the galling fetter,
All-devourer, all begetter;
Give me the sign of the Open Eye,
And the token erect of thorny thigh,
And the word of madness and mystery,
O Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan Pan! Pan,
I am a man:
Do as thou wilt, as a great god can,
O Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! I am awake
In the grip of the snake.
The eagle slashes with beak and claw;
The Gods withdraw;
The great beasts come, Io Pan! I am borne
To death on the horn
Of the Unicorn.
I am Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan!
I am thy mate, I am thy man,
Goat of thy flock, I am gold, I am god,
Flesh to thy bone, flower to thy rod.
With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks
Through solstice stubborn to equinox.
I rave; and I rape and I rip and I rend
Everlasting, world without end,
Mannikin, maiden, maenad, man,
In the might of Pan.
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan! Io Pan!

Imbolc draws near…so Blog about Craft and Hearth and Poetry!

Well,

The first of the new years Sabbats is coming.  Some of you may be familiar with the Imbolc Poetry Blogging phenomenon that has taken the Pagan Internet over the last few years…

For me, Imbolc and it’s patron Goddess Bride relate to Smithcraft, Healing, and Poetry or more appropriately to my modern life … Craft (Arts and Handicrafts), Hearth, And Poetry…

While I realize that not all Pagans celebrate Imbolc… it seems to me that we modern Pagans do celebrate, to differing degree’s and in differing times, Craft and Hearth and Poetry.  So I am not only going to be blogging about these three fires of Bride, I am going to encourage my Pagan friends of all paths to blog about them…

Peace,

Pax