Forgiveness

For the purposes of discussion I’d like to ask how you understand forgiveness.

It’s upheld as a virtue by Christianity, but I imagine different people have different understandings of that word.  One Christian friend of mine believes forgiveness is not complete without full reconciliation, and if one party makes that impossible, only a limited forgiveness can be granted — a letting go of personal animosity, but no more.  I hear a similar sentiment among conservative Christians in my family, a sort of forgive but not forget attitude.

Another friend of mine tells me that I don’t have to forgive.  I’ve had some pretty horrible things done to me by a few people.  I’ve carried a lot of anger, and then it just sort of dissipates over the years, and eventually I have come instead to feel compassion for these people and even interact with them positively, though I do limit how close I get to them and guard boundaries I had to fight very hard to establish some years ago, though I’ve had the pleasure of being able to relax them to some extent.  Some of these people are mellowing with age.

Recently I found that I had forgiven my grandparents for some serious things I won’t bother you with the detail on.  My grandfather had reached out to me, as he is very ill, and I embraced him back into my life after some years of cold distance on his part.  He wants to spend time with me before he departs.  As for his wife, I don’t exactly embrace her, but I’m able to interact with her in a limited way, and I don’t feel any more anger.

I don’t try to forgive them.  It’s just that after a number of years and having set boundaries to prevent further provocations I find myself no longer angry, and since I’m not angry, I start feeling compassion instead which is how I generally feel about people anyway.  I’m not sure my friend is right that I didn’t have to forgive in that sense because I don’t seem to have had a choice in the matter.  If my other friend is right that forgiveness involves full reconciliation, then there is one for whom I’ve let go of the anger, but there is still no full reconciliation — I feel that is impossible because of the other party, and I do not seek to make myself vulnerable again to that sort of treatment.

Mostly I have up to this point thought of forgiveness as just letting go of shit.  I don’t tend to emphasize it as a virtue since I don’t experience it as something that can be done voluntarily.  It’s a sort of natural unfolding for me.  It is important to me spiritually simply because of the benefits I receive from it, and my spirituality largely revolves around obtaining what I can best ascertain is good for me as a whole person.  But this isn’t really something I obtained through effort unless my other spiritual disciplines indirectly contributed to the state, in which case I did not do it intentionally.

What is your understanding of forgiveness or its role?  Does your faith address the matter?  I know various neo-pagans may have totally different sentiments about the word or different understandings of what it means.  What are your thoughts?

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Pagan Studies

I know there is an interdisciplinary academic field called Pagan Studies that is basically a social study of Neopaganism. I do not know too much about it. I was wondering if anyone here had any thoughts about it?

The Wikipedia article on it mentions that some pagan folks have had problems with some of these academics. I am wondering also if anyone had any positive views about the field? Has the academic study of paganism enriched your own spiritual practices in any way? Or has it been a problem? Or no real relevance at all?

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What & How do you celebrate?

On The Cauldron, we have many walks of life, and given the time of year, there are many different holidays celebrated. That got me thinking: what and how do you celebrate for your practice during this time of year? What celebrations do you have outside of your practice (if any)?

For this thread, I’d love for people to share what their practice is (e.g., Hinduism, Eclectic Pagan, Hellenic Polytheistic, Kemetic, Christianity, etc) and what major holiday(s) they celebrate around this time for their practice and how they celebrate them. Obviously, there’s also the non-practice celebrations too – for example, I identify more as a Hellenic Polytheist, but I still celebrate Christmas with my family.

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Conservative Women vs. the Dark Arts

I’m just gonna leave this little gem here:

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/you-neednt-believe-in-magic-to-worry-about-witchcraft/

I have to say my favourite line, possibly from any article ever, is the following:

‘There’s Harry Potter of course, and also the sinister Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, complete with devil worship, cannibalism, human sacrifice and, inevitably, feminism.’

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Paganism in Fairy Tales

Hello everyone,

I thought I would bring up a subject that’s of great interest to me. When you say that you attribute religious/mythological significance to fairy tales, most people will look at you kind of funny. On the other hand, we have had a thread recently about working with Baba Yaga, so it seems there is some acceptance that at least certain fairy tale figures are unambiguously pagan or mythological.

I actually have a theory that Slavic fairy tales like those of Baba Yaga are especially archaic. During the 19th century, many romantic scholars analyzed fairy tales in depth and tried to find deeper mythological meanings in them. Modern scholarship tends to be much more skeptical. Yet most western scholarship has focused on Germanic fairy tales like those of the Grimm’s collection. In the past, it was assumed that these were preserved fossils of “Aryan” culture.

In reality, I’ve found that the paganism in Grimm’s fairy tales seems much more degraded than that in Slavic stories. Both have a story about a bird stealing golden apples and being pursued by a hero. Yet the Grimm’s version of this story, “The Golden Bird” is a silly animal fable about a foolish hero who only succeeds because of the aid of an extremely exasperated fox. Meanwhile, if we look at the Serbian “Nine Peahens and the Golden Apples” we see a much more mythological story in which the hero discovers that the Peahens are shapeshifting princesses (Daughter of the Sea, in some stories) and later has to rescue one from Koschei the Deathless or a Dragon. The Slavic variants of this story actually have many parallels to the Nart Sagas of the North Caucasus, which affirms their pre-Christian nature.

 Of course that’s not to say that German fairy tales don’t have their little gems of pagan belief, like Frau Holle for example, but they just seem harder to find. That’s not surprising, because we know that a lot of folklore was probably destroyed by industrialization and the uprooting of old-fashioned agrarian life. By the 19th century, when many of these stories were recorded, you had many places in Eastern Europe where peasant life was not very different from the middle ages. Germany was much more modernized, and that probably had an impact on the German folk memory. Also, the proto-Germanic language probably dispersed across Europe around 500 B.C., during the iron age, whereas the Slavic migrations didn’t happen until the middle ages. So the Slavs stayed isolated and formed a cohesive group for about a thousand years after the Germanic tribes had scattered and diverged from one another, which could have helped preserve ancient narratives in the Slavic folk memory.

I’ve compiled a list of Eastern European fairy tales that I consider to be relics of Slavic paganism below.

I was wondering if anyone else has delved into fairy tales or folklore in order to recover past knowledge. If so, what has been the result?

Slavic Fairy Tale List:

Russian-
Vassilissa the Beautiful
The Frog Tsarevna
Maria Morevna
Ivan the Cow’s Son
Nikita the Tanner
Finst Falcon
The Crystal Mountain
Koschei the Deathless
Elena the Wise
Go I Know Not Whither and Fetch I Know Not What
Vassilissa Golden Tresses
The Sea King and Vassilissa the Wise
King Bear
Water of Youth, Water of Death, Water of Life
Prince Danila Govorila
Ivan the Peasant’s Son and the Little Man Himself
God and the Devil
The Lime Tree
King Kojata
Baba Yaga

Balkan/South Slavic:
The Nine Peahens and the Golden Apples
Kiss Miklos and the Green Daughter of the Green King
Mirko the King’s Son
The Reed Maiden
Praslea the Bold and the Golden Apples
The Three Brothers and the Golden Apples
Bash Chelik

West Slavic:
The Jezinkas
The Wood Lady
Three Doves
Vitazko
Plavachek the Coal Burner’s Son
Good Ferryman and the Water Nymphs
Princess of the Brazen Mountain
Princess Miranda and Prince Hero
The Eagles
The Mouse Hole and the Underground Kingdom
The Frog King
The Three Golden Hairs of Grandfather Allknow

https://chestofbooks.com/fairy-tale/Russian/index.html
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/sfs/index.htm
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/52596/52596-h/52596-h.htm
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/36668/36668-h/36668-h.htm

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Defunt Religions

Okay, the problem I have with Christianity is that it is no longer easy for people to learn ethics they can apply to their modern lives from these stories.  The problem I have with Paganism is that it is trying to be out of date as well.  Neither are addressing the ethical issues confronting people who want to make the best choices with all the new science and information and resources available to them today.

I have spoken in tounges.  I have done energy healings.  My pendulum works about as well as can be expected considering my guides.  I have gotten good readings with tarot cards and the Lenormand cards.  I am perfectly happy to muddle through life without referencing any religious texts.

My children learned their ethics from Japnese anime and Harry Potter.  And perhaps from me. I don’t think with the resources available to me I could have done a better job.

So really all the religions make feel as if I have been given a book on MS-DOS copyright 1981 and am told to take that as my only source and build a hot new phone app that works on Apple and Samsung.

Does anyone ever feel this way?  Is it just me?

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Coming to Up All Night 2018: Divination!

Eastling had the great idea of making divination for the coming new year a part of Up All Night‘s  festivities, so now we’ve got that to look forward to, as well as the Great Global Group Meditation and the general partying that always comes with UAN!

At some point on the evening of December 21, Eastling will open a thread in this Divinatory Arts section titled “Up All Night 2018: Oracles for the New Year”, which will be separate from the main UAN thread. Cauldronites will be invited to post to it explaining how they do divinations, what Powers (if any) they call on for it, and what kind of divinations they’re offering tonight. Others can then reply to any post within the thread asking the poster for a divination either there in the thread or somewhere more private (PMs here or on Discord). Then…save it somewhere and see how it applies to the coming year.

Expect the unexpected!

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Gods merging, etc

From what I understand Egyptian deities sometimes merge.

How about other deities? What are your experiences with this in prayer or life?

I spend a lot of time praying, and I’ve had some interesting experiences with this even though in the Christian tradition which is a part of my path (albeit informed by liberal and other theologies) this is not something I know of.

Nevertheless I have experienced Christ appearing as my tiger god even though in my prayers and usual experiences they are distinct.

I also have experienced a similar syncretism between my nymph friend and the Blessed Virgin.

Finally, my Wise Old Woman has appeared in multiple forms.  The most unusual was when I was reciting the rosary, and she appeared in my meditations as Alice and Wonderland, and she expounded each Christian mystery associated with the Rosary with scenes from the Alice and Wonderland books.

The Coronation was related for example to Alice crossing the chess board and becoming queen.  I still don’t know why my spirit friend would take this form, but she was relating spiritual ideas through the lens of fiction relatable to me.  (I also had a devotion to the Alice character in the past.)

Pardon me if I share too much!  I don’t think there are many places other than this forum that I can discuss these aspects of spirituality.

How about you? Do you find your deities or other spirits merging?  Or appearing in the guise of another deity? or even taking on fictional or pop culture forms?

How does this happen for you?  I mean, how do you apprehend these experiences? Is it your intuition?  Does it happen for you in meditation?

What are your thoughts on this topic?

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Traditional witchcraft + meditation book?

Hello, all. The kind of thing I’m looking for might not quite exist, but I figure I’d ask. I am most interested in the “Traditional witchcraft” path, such as described in books by Lee Morgan, Emma Wilby, etc. I am also a long time meditator, primarily in the shambala tradition, very interested in compassion practices in particular. I am wondering if anyone has come across a book that incorporates traditional witchcraft as well as more meditative practices. I’m looking for some kind of guide to help me not feel like I’m pulling in two directions as I try to consistently work on both parts of my spirital practice. although I love my shambala practices and plan to come back to them at some point, right now I’m craving some more witchcraft-central practices that are also contemplative.

Thanks for any thoughts you might have!
LT

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