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Archive for March, 2010

Munin’s local paintings

This is a fantastic idea.
I should get out more and do more paintings. If nothing else, it would get me out and about and doing more art.

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Do you know what your carbon footprint is? If you don’t, you should find out. This essay came about as a result of conversations with coven members and attendances at past pagan events. As Pagans and Witches we know-or should know, about environmental issues, waste and recycling, the acres of debris choking our oceans, etc.

It is horrible of course. From what I have seen it seems that many people see an issue maybe aired on Oprah or in a magazine and get up in arms. For a while that may affect some change, but it’s never consistent enough. I’m not saying that every little bit doesn’t help, however if lasting change is going to happen it has to be molded on a responsible lifestyle choice all of the time, even when these choices are not convenient.

I always try to see how my actions and waste effect my environment. Through the years I have come up with many things I do to take responsibility for my family and our carbon footprint. I recycle, I can foodstuffs, and make as much as the types of things I can such as the basics, as well as chili, soup, pizza sauce, root beer, even Irish cream, etc. It all takes time. As a single parent ‘doing it all’ I have very little of it. I don’t necessarily want to be ‘doing’ all of the time, but as I said it’s a lifestyle and a choice that is responsible for less waste, because in some ways recycling is still waste, just not nearly as bad as the alternative. I also compost, shred my paper in a shredder to compost so it’s not being burned and wasted.

As a pagan, I go through a lot of candles and incense. I keep all my candles that I use for Sabbat stuff in my own home wrapped up and labeled so that they can be used the following year if they don’t burn all the way down, if I need a new altar cloth in the past, I wait till the material is on sale or do without. I make sure to buy quality and have enough now that I shouldn’t need to buy those for a very long time. I take all my incense powder in the bottom of bags and boxes and keep it in an old baby food jar. I use this to make my own incense or add to spell workings. I grow as many of my own herbs as I can-of course aided by my compost.

I have found that it is important to think about every item I purchase in terms of what it took to make it and what waste it will be in the end. I also made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t bring something into my house if it didn’t have a use. I want beauty and function. If I bring something in, something goes out. Quality over quantity.

There has been a movement to try and stop waste by having people ask themselves how much do you need, what do you need versus want. Yet it seems to me when I look around that people will rationalize a want into a need, so it only partially cuts down on waste. I’ve heard people say that everything they have is needed. Is that really true? I read an article wherein a man suggested that people, ‘RETHINK ESSENTIALS’. It makes much more sense to buy only what you need. Anyone can rationalize a want. But ‘rethink essentials, ‘ I think, says it all.

A few years ago I joined thousands of other people and spent 18-months buying nothing new except food. I did draw the line at undergarments, but everything else was used. You know, it wasn’t really that hard and it does a good job of pointing out your own impulse buying or the rationale ‘I just have to have that’. I remember going out with some friends and one forgot the camera at home. What did they do? Went and bought a disposable. How about taking responsibility for the fact that you forgot it and must do without?

We see this all the time in the need for the latest gadgets and junk. If one really requires that stuff in his/her life maybe priorities need to be rethought. What is each person willing to do without somewhere else in order to offset that gadget or technology?

As Pagans I think it is time that we rethink our essentials by being mindful of every single item that is brought into our homes and the waste that leaves it. If the Earth is our Mother, then what are we doing? I go to events or pagan gatherings and find myself scratching my head as I look around and see the waste around me.

It is said that one should plan for seven generations ahead of you. When people try to rationalize to me their choices I have to ask why? Would one not feel shame at the lack of responsibility in terms of one’s own relationship with the Earth and Deity and future generations?

We Pagans and followers of the old ways should be more responsible. Would we treat our Mothers the way we treat the earth? Would we bring the mess of junk into our mother’s home or discard the junk there or waste her resources with such disrespect? If you were to look around your home and/or property, does what you see bring honor to your spirit, honor to the spirit in which you practice, honor to your relationship with Deity? What do you think? How do you help or hinder? What do you do to consume mindfully and take responsibility?

What are your rationales?

Essay from: WitchVox: Pagan Carbon Footprints

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If means permit, arrange a weekend camping or cabining trip to a place in nature. Get away from the city’s concrete and steel. Along with other supplies, take your camera, notebook and pen. Once settled in, find a picnic bench or break out your camp chair.

Now embark upon your great discovery. Beginning with your sense of hearing, listen to the sounds of spring. Is there a gurgling brook or a sunlit creek skipping over small stones? Are there birds in the trees, industriously setting up housekeeping for the year? Listen for as long as you like, then record what impressions came to you.

Next consider the smell of spring. What is the scent of the earth, watered by spring rains? How does the waterfall smell, rushing by? Press your face to a leaf or bend to sniff a wildflower. Tilt your face up towards the sun and drink in the fragrance of the day. Jot down your thoughts or write a poem about this experience.

You may have to take the taste of spring camping with you. Put together a salad of spring greens and herbs. Set a dish of plump strawberries or blackberries for dessert. I dare you to play at face painting by tracing some of the juice across your nose or cheeks!

Pour yourself a glass of spring water with a sprig of mint. Dice up an apple and scatter it nearby, that the creatures of the earth might dine too. If you are led to say a pagan grace, it might be something like this:

“Blessed is the earth on which I stand. One Mother, giver of all life, renewed and renewing for time without end. Blessed is the goodness you provide to nurture my body and soul. May I walk gently, ever mindful of your grace. So mote it be.”

Savor your little feast and thank [the spirits] for feeding you once again. Take time to be grateful. After your meal, see what gift you can give back to the earth. Pick up some aluminum cans or trash. Pour the last of your water at the base of a tree, or bury a few silver coins for the unseen spirits of the land.

Next look around you, visually noticing the colors of spring … Notice the changes in light and in shadow this time of year … Choose a single flower or a leaf, and press it in your journal. Stand by a stream and note the patterns on wet stones. Have your camera ready to catch the budding trees’ reflection in the water.

Finally, reach out with both your body and your spirit. Skip a few of those smooth flat stones! Roll up your pant legs and go wading and splashing like the earth child you are! Take your hiking stick in hand and see what’s around the bend. Rake aside a bit of old brush and reveal the seedlings popping through the ground, tiny mushrooms and insects busy at work. Tuck leaves into your hair. Revel in the joy of spring!

When you have returned to your camp, write down anything of special significance to you. Then thank [the spirits] with words like these:

Here in the heart of nature, my spirit is renewed
And all my senses quickened.
Let me never lose the sight of beauty,
The scent of the breeze,
The taste of all the earth provides.
Let me hear the living earth hum around me
And feel your love in the weaving of nature’s web.
Blessed Be.”

Excerpt from: Witchvox article: Ostara…It’s Not Just For Kiddies Anymore!

I’ve edited it to reflect my personal cosmology, but the intent is the same: connect with the spirits of the land and enjoy the changing seasons.

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Therioshamanism – Criticism of Core Shamanism
Therioshamanism – Shamanism and Racism
Encyclopedia of Shamanism: Criticism of Core Shamanism

So the concerns about CS seem to relate to the appropriation of shamanic practices and their integration into an alien culture. Inherent in this is the lure of ‘exotic’ indigenous cultures, the concept of the ‘noble savage’ and the exploitation of already-abused people.

Celtic Shamanism seems to fall into a similar field of concern; Celtic has been trendy for about 15 years, apparently – although a trip to Tintagel could have told me the state of that particular branch of cultural appropriation.

I am inclined to believe that, with careful management, it may be possible to learn CS practices and apply them within a Druidic framework.
Restell-Orr’s Living Druidry is a reasonable place to start, but common sense, additional, CR-orientated study and spiritual assistance might be enough to see me clear of the majority of pitfalls.

That said, of course, there are a lot of bloggers out there that have obviously thought about this in more depth than I have, and liken the CS approach to soft polytheism. That was the reason I couldn’t get behind Wicca (that and the gynocentricity/duality dichotomy), and to do less than all I can to aviod the issue seems hypocritical.
A lot more study – and fewer New Age, Neo-Shamanism books – are obviously needed.

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The Society of Celtic Shamans (SCS) article

There are a number of organisations offering apprenticeships and memberships for a fee. In many cases this is a nominal sum, in others it is substantial. Is it necessary? How much can a seeker gain from a workshop, a postal course or a membership to a group that may not have members in the area they live?

Isn’t the POINT of druidry to connect with the spirits of the land and seek guidance? What can a course teach us that the spirits themselves cannot?
(I suppose I might ask what the point of all my books are. Do they contain nothing the spirits themselves cannot teach?)

If I were to seek such an apprenticeship, with whom would I trust my development?
OBOD seem like the longest established, but I don’t know if their course would be right for me.
The Druid Network don’t have theirs up yet, but the group philosophy fits closer with my own.
The Northern Drum and the Centre for Shamanic Studies seem like reasonable choices, but I know people express concern about the integrity of ‘Core Shamanism’. How reasonable are their concerns?

I do not think I will enroll with SCS. ‘Faerie’ Shamanism is (hopefully) a reference to the Tuatha Dé Danann, but I am not sure how I feel about not being welcome to join their group if I had had no Celtic ancestors.

I may revisit this topic after (if) I attend the drumming workshop this weekend, depending on what I get out of it.

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In order to be spiritually centered, you must know who you are. You must have ‘found yourself’ as they say, and you must be comfortable in your own skin. This requires a process of evaluation and conscious acknowledgment of how you think and what you believe. The first step in this process is to ask yourself what you believe. Take a notebook and write down everything that you believe. No, seriously! Make the list as complete as possible; write down your entire Spiritual, cultural, political, and personal beliefs, both positive and negative.

After this list is complete, consider each item and determine whether you hold this belief because you truly believe it or, merely because someone else told you to believe it. Now, consider each item and decide whether or not you want to continue to hold that belief. Those beliefs you no longer desire to keep should be crossed out on your list. It is vital that a truly Spiritual person be free of clouded judgment and the weight of other people’s beliefs.

To hold any belief only because someone else claimed it as fact is a giving up of personal control to that person. A belief should only be held if, upon personal examination and experimentation, you find that it truly speaks to you and enriches your life.

Any shame or fear-based beliefs must be thoroughly examined. Truly determine whether or not any guilt, shame, fear or doubt is based on genuine wrongs that you may have committed or rather, based on unfair labels and projections placed upon you by others. This no doubt, will be an emotional journey but I assure you it is definitely worthwhile. Depending on the nature and severity of any emotional issues, therapy may be required to properly resolve them. In that case, I would highly recommend it but use your best judgment. Just remember that we are all human and prone to mistakes. One of the great challenges in life is to learn from and grow beyond, our mistakes. Let go of shame and fear.

The next step is, create a new revised list (I’m big on lists) of your personal beliefs and scan this list for any conflicting beliefs that you still hold. As I previously mentioned, hypocrisy is just another form of cognitive dissonance and will continue to keep you away from your centered self. Remember, there is a difference in being able to see both points of view in an argument and never being able to give a singular personal opinion on anything because you don’t feel able to take a definitive stance on any issue. The latter results from continuing to hold conflicting beliefs that keep you bound in shame and guilt and blur the lines so that you can’t find personal truth.

When you are centered, you are able to speak your truth with a clear and proud voice because you know deep within your heart that it is your truth and you will be unwilling to abandon it.

Once all your beliefs align, there is only one more step in becoming centered…actually living according to those beliefs. Remember that it is just as important to ‘do’ as it is to understand and feel. There are three aspects to our personalities: thinking, willing, and feeling. We need to utilize all three as equally as possible in order to live fully. Thinking and (hopefully) feeling have been involved in the process so far, but never forget the power of the human will. It is connected to the fire element and is that special spark that is only gained through actual experience; contemplation, evaluation, intellectual understanding and emotional connection are only parts of the process.

To be complete, we too must practice what we preach.

Extract from: Being Spiritually Centered (And Tips On How To Get There) @ witchvox

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Podcasts

Online drumming (German language site)
Celtic myth podshow
OBOD Druidcast

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