Myths on the Seasons

Hi all,

I’ve begun a project to make a small totem for my altar to represent each season as it passes (Autumn, Winter etc.) and I was thinking over the different myths in Paganism for the origin/progress of the seasons. I’m only truly familiar with Wiccan seasonal myths – those of the God and Goddess, the dying God on Mabon. I’ve also recently been trying to distance myself slightly from Wiccan theology due to personal changes in my beliefs (which is not, of course, a statement on value – I have just changed as an individual).

However, I’m not familiar with any myths/narratives from Druidry to explore instead, and couldn’t find much by myself. I was wondering if anyone here might be able to point me towards some ideas or resources to read which may help develop some new thoughts on the seasons, that could then inform my totem project. I’m mainly interested in insular Celtic mythology such as Irish, Scottish and Welsh.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Blessings,
Nym

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Guardian item (TRIGGER) – witchcraft a factor in growing # of child abuse cases

Trigger warning: topic of child abuse.

The item says child protection cases ‘based’ on faith or belief are up by a third in the last year in England.

I was upset to read this, as I usually consider The Guardian to be one of the more credible newspapers.

However,  I’m not someone with much expertise in interpreting data, so I need to remind myself that newspapers are in the business of selling a product  and tend to summarise info in an over simplistic way to try to make those sales.

I put this in non-religious news as it’s not news from any religious institution, it’s news allegedly about an impact a religion is having on other aspects of people’s lives here in England (if that makes sense…)

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A Reflection on Faith, Tradition, Death, and the Common Folk

I might have placed this in the subforum dealing with non-pagan religions, but since my spirituality to some degree intersects with ideas in neo-paganism and other sources, I did want to leave a space open for others reflecting on their own non-Christian spiritualities and relationship to matters of faith, or whatever.  Much of this is particular to my circumstances, but I wanted to leave room for that should anyone wish to contribute their own understanding of faith, practice, and tradition, from a pagan background or not.

I am still in a period of evaluation as concerns my relationship to the traditions handed down to me from various sources.  Even if I go it “alone,” I’ll never really be alone.  I do not exist in a vacuum, and even an eclectic spirituality is informed by our own backgrounds.

Since my original formation was in Oneness Pentecostalism, but as strongly informed by my grandmother’s Holiness trinitarian background — she was not quite “orthodox” in the Oneness sense — I have struggled with faith ever since I realized not everything handed down to me was making sense to me personally or in the abstract.

There have been periods in my life in which I was close to or identifying as an atheist and periods in which I have been close to epistemological and moral nihilism.  All of this is a part of my journey: this is merely an observation, not a negative judgment.  And I have incorporated insights from that part of my journey into my present spirituality.

For a long time now I’ve been Catholic, though I’ve wavered between Anglo-Catholicism and Roman Catholicism with pros and cons on both sides.  I’ve pondered some things and made some observations.  These paths have problems, as does any religious system, I believe.

But I’ve got to decide how I’m going to deal with these problems based on what my commitment is and what I most cherish, honor, and value.  I cannot allow badly informed and often immoral practitioners of these faiths to make my decisions for me, nor will I allow anyone to make a decision for me based on my sexuality.  I have given these matters quite a lot of thought and reading, and I am utterly comfortable with being gay as informed by my learning and experiences both ordinary and numinous.

I have also had to evaluate my understanding of holy tradition as a whole.  I could go on and on about it, but I will attempt to remain to the point.  I am in a very tough situation because for years now, whether I have used the term or not, and though I have sometimes wavered in what I should commit to, I am a traditionalist, and the Anglican parish I have long been a member of is largely traditionalist and high church, nor am I the only gay person in that community or the only one who pushes the boundaries theologically.

Now in terms of faith, I will probably always tend to be skeptical because of my formative experiences, but there are some things I have learned from Catholic teaching, traditionalist Catholics and Anglo-Catholics, and neo-pagans, and that is the importance of practice and behavior in spirituality.  I have had to de-program myself from understandings of faith that seem to have been prevalent in my Pentecostal background.

As a child, I struggled with faith from the beginning.  I remember my mentor looking at me as I was dwelling on my doubts internally, and he said, “James, God is real.”  Somehow he sensed my doubts.  I had the notion that I had to work up a certain feeling of certainty.

Now, someone can go through the darkest night of the soul.  Through no merit of my own, from the time of my extremely difficult childhood, I have been at times graced with ecstasies.  When I cried out to the great Whoever the Hell You Are Out There, as a suffering gay man, I was graced with torrents of love from what I would call the heavenly host.  But doubts lingered, and despair was always around the corner nevertheless.  Is it all just a hallucination?  There were times when I thought, “If there is a God, if I have a soul…”

And some of this is very commendable!  Some of this is mere brute honesty about the limitations and fallibility of human knowledge, and that’s not a bad thing at all!  But what I am saying is that there can be a complete lack of any subjective sense of certainty or belief in a person who is still faithful.  Faith, as I have learned in Catholicism, is not about how I feel, nor in my understanding of epistemology is it even about having 100% certainty.

Faith without works is dead.  And that is why I turn to works, actions, habits, and externals.  I may be in the darkest night of my soul without any subjective sense of belief at all.  And I’m not merely talking about atheism here.  Don’t get me wrong: I have no problems as such with atheistic paths or atheists, and I am often sympathetic to their arguments for their positions!

These can be joyous paths, too, and honest, sincere ones.  I am speaking primarily here about the loss of joy and hope, though this may coincide with the sense that what one does love and honor and cherish is all an illusion, whether that be God or morals or whatever.

But as for my own spirituality, faith is principally about commitment, and my efforts in obtaining salvation, that is, a healthful and harmonious state of being, are of prime importance.  This is not about 100% certainty.  It isn’t about feelings.  It isn’t about my subjective state.  It is about what I do. What have I committed to?

I have committed to tradition, but tradition is a tricky thing in general, including in Christianity.  I come from a poor, rural background, Pentecostal on my dad’s side, mostly non-denominational Protestant on my mother’s.  And I’ve noticed right off the bat that the sense of tradition on my mother’s side is quite a lot different from the Protestantism I have at times observed among the upper classes.

There is tradition as various authorities Protestant or Catholic (or whatever) present it, and then there is the folk sense of tradition.  Sometimes these different senses of tradition are in conflict.  Sometimes they are complementary.  They are very often in tension.  People in my mother’s family come to me for spiritual guidance.

Though they are spiritually speaking descendants of a sort of evangelical, non-liturgical Protestantism, I find that they have their own sense of what the faith is.  They have their novena candles.  They value works.  They are praying for our dead, which lately, that number seems to be increasing.  One of them in particular had an apparition that reminds me very much of a purgatorial realm, though the term “purgatory” does not feature in their vocabulary.  That was merely my slant on the matter.

They don’t have much commitment at all, and quite a lot of distrust toward, institutionalized Christianity in any form, and I am sympathetic.  Too many of them have been hurt or shunned, made to feel less than, when they showed up for church, but they had drug problems, or they couldn’t afford the nicest clothes.  At a graveside memorial, the man chosen to speak insinuated that my very pious, but wounded, grandmother may have not had any faith in God.  The family had some words to say about that, and we didn’t wait until the memorial was over, either.

The folk have their own way of understanding things, and this is true of those coming from a Catholic background as well.  I honor my roots as passed down to me by a financially poor family, and I honor all the traditions that have been passed down to me from whatever religious background or source, so long as I am able to integrate them into a coherent whole, because I value tradition and coherence.  And I respect the pain and suffering they have been through, including the pain they have handed down, and increasingly I research and incorporate ancestral veneration.

I pray for my dead, and I pray to my dead.

There are still some doctrines I have tensions with, such as certain understandings of death I come across, but I am leaving no rock unturned in my search for what is authentic and rings true.  When reading about matters of religion, I often come across an implicit bias that…

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Close Encounters

So, this is a topic I’ve touched on before, to an extent, but never made a dedicated post about.

I have had close encounters with the supernatural before. Mostly through dreams, but sometimes when waking. Some of my dreams have been vivid, I believe I have even spoken with the divine while dreaming—but not all of them have necessarily been with the powers I work with. I have even been visited in dreams by beings I can only describe as malicious. Not sure what to call them, not sure if it matters—could call them demons.

Honestly though, it’s the encounters that I’ve had when waking that I find most uncanny and thought-provoking. Usually they’re just feelings;a presence that lingers around. Sometimes familiar, sometimes not. That’s not always the case though. Sometimes I see things, for a moment; a flash of eyes in the darkness, a flutter of movement in the trees—blink and it’s gone, but you know it was there. A ghost, a spirit, something Fey—whatever it was it’s usually ephemeral.

Then… there are the times when it’s very much not. There are times when I have seen things, clearly and certainly, that were not natural. Me and my parents came face-to-face with what I can only call a gnome, while driving on a Kentucky back-road one night when I was a kid. Two feet tall, pointy hat, the works; walking across the road as clear as day. He even stopped and scowled at our car for about 30 seconds before continuing on his way.

I know… a lot of people who have had expereinces like that. Some of which were even more strange. My paternal grandmother, who was a devout protestant her entire life, swore that she saw Moloch. In the flesh. Physically.

So… I guess my intent with this post is to share some of my thoughts and experiences, and to ask others what theirs might have been.

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Need a little favor

I realize my problems are small compared with some of those here, but I need a favor from the magickal community.

I need some good thoughts (and maybe a little push) towards finding a new job.

For the past eight years, I’ve been working as a courier for a long-term care pharmacy. The pay has never been very good, but I could work 50-55 hours a week, so it was ok.

About six months ago, the night time stat driver got fired, so I moved into that slot. It was a big cut in hours but it gave me more time to take care of my girlfriend (which could be a full-time job in itself) at a time when her health was failing.

She died four months ago, so now I’m sitting here alone, twelve hours a night seven nights a week, waiting for a phone call that will give me a little break from my boredom.
Plus, I’m waiting to see if they make good on the threat to cut my hours in half again at the end of the month when the independent contractor takes over the routes
And no, I have no desire to work for them

I talked to a buddy of mine who is a department manager at a Walmart in Iowa and he really likes it there, so that’s where I’m thinking about going. The pay probably wouldn’t be any better than what I’m getting now, but at least I could get out of this chair and go do something…

And I could be around people!!
After 30-some years of working alone and four month with essentially no human contact at all, that sounds like a bonus in itself

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Gadgetry for the home

Does anyone have any gadgets (&/or tech?) that have proved helpful with managing chronic health conditions &/or disabilities?

I know of a few instances where these have been mentioned in other threads here and there but thought we could have a thread with them all in one place.

Feel free to even post a review of the item if the mood takes you.

I’ll list my items in a reply, in due course.

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Cosplay

A thread for fellow cosplayers to discuss this hobby, share tips & tricks and maybe the odd photo should you wish.

Does anyone else cosplay?

How did you get into it, and do you have a favourite genre or franchise you like to cosplay in particular?

We’re just back from our third comicon in cosplay – this time we were Star Wars characters and previously we’ve been 2000AD Judges and Star Trek characters.

I think my next project might be Alice from the Resident Evil films (films 2 & onward, I can’t wear what she wears in the first film).  My husband is working on a mash up of Boba Fett and Johnny Alpha.

It was my husband who got me into it, really – we’re long time LARPers but a couple of years ago he started getting into making cosplay projects and talked me into joining him at the comicons.

It’s an expensive hobby, though, because not only do the projects cost money so do the comicons, plus travel and then there’s all the money one tends to spend at these events!  So we can only go to a small handful a year (plus then there’s my spoons level, as well).

Anyone else?

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