What are your Prohibitions?

English: prohibited
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my long and twisted religious path, there are a number of things that I am prohibited to do…usually on request from one of the deities I follow:

  • I am not to actively participate in ritual that does not fall in line with my own path. This means that almost all public rituals are right out for me – I have to opt out of them, as they contain elements that do not apply.
  • If I speak about the work I do, it has to be in part only. I am proscribed against talking about the whole, the goal, or the outcome until it is finished.
  • I am prohibited from sharing information with certain people, or at certain times, or in certain places.
  • Perversely, I am prohibited from not speaking up or sharing information in certain instances.

There are others, of course, but the four above are the ones that come into play most often since my religious community includes TC’s forums and chat. And, in reading a series of blog posts defining piety in ways that are, for me, prohibited to do, I wondered how many others also have proscriptions against things that are seen as “typically pagan”.

So, what are your prohibitions? If you have them, how much impact do they have on your daily life? If you don’t have them, what might you do if given one (or more)?

Europe TC Meet-Up?

English: The City of London skyline as viewed ...
The City of London skyline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So after Shad had to skip my wedding, she mentioned possibly coming to Europe next year. Which led to discussions about possibly doing a broader meetup surrounding her visit. Which led to NaomiJ and myself getting overexcited (since we had a great time together in London last month), so we thought we’d do some brainstorming etc.

Now this is very early days yet, so there’s nothing specific yet, especially since a lot would depend on how many people would be interested in joining, and where they’re travelling from etc.

I’ll list some current thoughts we’ve been floating, but if you’re interested, DO feel free to make suggestions, but mostly, let us know what would work for you so we can see what would lead to the most people actually being able to make it.

Current thoughts lean to the UK, since we seem to have quite a few members there, but Germany or the Netherlands have also been floated as options. London would be easy by way of travel, but expensive; Naomi and I have been considering whether it would be nice to rent a vacation home somewhere for a couple of days and do our own cooking etc as a cheaper alternative. Alternately, if we’re doing this near my home, I might be able to offer places to sleep to some people. If we go that route, I’d want to suggest that those staying at someone’s home chip in to help with the hotel costs for those who can’t.

Whatever we do, it MUST have a handicap accessible option (whether that’s “near London and Nay joins from home” or “one big accessible rental place” or “multiple hotels rooms/homes and some are accessible”). If we’re renting anything, this means we should plan far enough ahead so we don’t run into the problem of all accessible places being booked.

Considering the regions we’re currently considering, I’d suggest doing this late spring / summer, so we’d have a good shot at decent weather. Of course, that does depend on what we want to be doing as well; if we want to be, say, in a nature area and maybe do some hiking type activities, weather’s more important than if we want to sit inside and talk over our tea and yarnwork.

Again, feel free to chime in with any thoughts; I just thought we’d get things going.

Magical Stones in the Kitchen

English: Utensil used in indian kitchen food p...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I take a metal smithing class in school, and one of our projects is to make a utensil/holder/something to do with our favorite food. Mine is pie, so I’m making a pie/cake server. I’m making it out of copper, then sending it out to be silver plated when I’m done. I’d like to mount a stone or two in the handle, but still want to keep a magical touch to it.

My question is, are there any particular stones related to cooking and/or kitchen witchery?

Adapting and Altering Ancient Holidays

Hephaistos Temple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am far from a reconstructionist, but one thing that’s important to me is to celebrate the holidays of the cultures my gods originated in. Of course, these holidays have to be adapted to some level to fit into a modern world.

Do you include ancient holidays in your practice? How significantly do you adapt them from their ancient form(s)? Have you ever changed the entities honored, provided the theme/purpose of the holiday was retained? How comfortable are you using the ancient name for your modern version?

(This was spawned because I’m doing some basic research into Khalkeia (and by basic I mean hitting up Google) which was an Athenian holiday focused on Hephaistos and Athene as the patrons of crafts- bronze smithing, spinning, and weaving in particular. I honor Athene but have no relationship with Hephaistos; I do honor several other goddesses associated with smithing, spinning, and weaving, though. So I’m debating how much change I’m comfortable with for my personal practice.)

Natures Relationship with Different Pagan Religions

Various different religious traditions have be...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Note – I am not trying to imply that all pagan religions should be nature or earth centered in this thread. I want to understand how different people see nature with respect to their practices and beliefs. The introduction below is just how I see my relationship to nature.

Many pagan religions see themselves as nature-worshiping religions including the pagan federation but not all pagans agree. Reverence for nature is probably the most important practice in my pagan religion whatever it may be called which has been influenced by English and Welsh folklore I learned growing up along with Native American teachings from the northeastern region. I recently discovered writings from my ancestors preserved in our families old bibles (which were in storage) handed down through the family from before the 1700’s. These writings had personal beliefs about nature and the importance of respect to animals and trees. Finally my introduction into paganism in the 1970’s was with people who indicated that reverence for nature and the belief in the goddess as well as the god were important to paganism.

Evidence for the importance of nature in pre-Christian paganism that I have found is very diverse. The celebrations are associated with natural events specifically the celestial motions. These are all connected with natural cycles including the human body to harvest celebrations and convey a reverence towards nature. Shamanistic activity, which is implied in the myths and folklore of the Celtic and Germanic people, is traditionally associated with contacting spirits of nature. There is a rich folklore of shape shifting and transformations including stories that people and or god can change into animal form as well as communicating with animals or animal communicating to humans. Sacred areas were in nature such as groves, springs, bodies of water and trees in particular were symbolic in Celtic and Germanic myth and belief.

I began looking for others interested in paganism that I became aware that there were very different views on the importance of nature with respect to different pagan religions. I have given some personal views on the relationship of paganism to my pagan religion but I would like to know how other pagan religions view nature with respect to their practices and or beliefs.

What Practices Do You Engage In When Energy-Drained or In a Rut?

Tu Na - Respiração
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m in a bit of a rut, and also extremely low on energy these days. (I eat well, but I feel…unnaturally tired. I do not have anemia, or any discernible nutrient deficiency). I just find…that I need to sleep a lot lately, and this came about very abruptly. I also am getting a lot of headaches.

When you feel generally under the weather – what do you do to regain energy? Any/all suggestions very much appreciated (not just spell work wise, but in terms of herbology, or meditative practices, or whatever you want to send my way as a recommendation).

How to Introduce Myself?

Various neopagan religious symbols (from left ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m currently involved in three pretty separate traditions: ADF Druidry, Heathenry, and Wicca. I am a student in all of these traditions, and use each separately in my home practice to honor different spirits.

I recently attended Pagan Pride Day in a nearby city, and I had no idea how to simply describe what I do without being incredibly vague (Pagan) or sort-of-but-really-not-accurate-at-all (eclectic). “I’m a Druid, a Heathen, and a Wiccan” is very accurate, but is not really simple enough for people to be like “oh, okay” and move on.

Should I just give up? Is it impossible to simply describe my practice to other Pagans?

Experiencing the Gods?

English: Pentecostals Praising Location: http:...
Pentecostals Praising (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This question has been on my mind for a very long time… Do Pagans experience gods like Christians do? My family is Pentecostal and speaking in tongues, baptism in the spirit and prophesy is very present. I’m just wondering if we can experience things like that. A touch from the gods/goddesses, a gift, an overwhelming presence of love and power, something… Not like the paranormal such as spirits, entities, etc. but the gods/goddesses themselves. I’m sorry if this question seems stupid, but I really need to know.

English Water Goddesses

English: Roman Baths, Bath. The 'sacred pool' ...
Roman Baths at Bath. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As people who’ve been around here for a while know, my primary personal deity work is with two deities, one of whom has been a consistent presence in my life since the fall of 2002, when she showed up in a dream, and then meditation work, and then other Drawing Down and related ritual work. (And her consort: I’m His because of Her.)

I don’t have a name for her (beyond “Blue”). I don’t have a lot of identifying information for her. And most of the time, this doesn’t bother me. I’m her’s, and it works, and it’s all good.

However, I’m currently poking at planning a trip to England a year from now, and I’m trying to figure out if I can narrow it down enough to maybe go to suitable locations (or at least make the attempt). And I know we also have some posters here since the last time I brought this up who might have more ideas.

The things I know:

Origin: I am about 95% certain she’s English (or from Angle or Saxon roots) rather than Celtic in origin. (Because she is deeply amused by Celtic deities, and yet so very Glad I’m Not Related To Them at times.) And also (as below) not necessarily well known within whatever culture she comes from.

I am also fairly certain that she’s one of the (very many) English water deities. Her consort reads as ‘settled lands’ – the image I get of him very strongly is someone riding the bounds of farmlands or settled areas and tending to them. (The strongest impression I get is of sunlight through trees on a path, and the sound of galloping hooves.)

Visuals: I’ve always seen her in meditation as having long dark hair, usually pulled back but not in a fancy way, sensible sorts of shoes or sandals, and wearing the kind of ‘pinned at both corners’ sort of robe/dress that covers everything from pre-history through the medieval period. Indigo blue, and pretty clearly wool.

In terms of spaces: there’s a whole meditation thing with an earlyish medieval manor house (either made of white stone or later fronted with it) and a sunken garden in the back with a pool, but it’s the kind of architecture that could date from about 12th century to 15th. (It is pretty clearly English, though, and it is decidedly not a castle. Not overtly Tudor, could well have multiple layered historical periods.) The landscape is rolling hills, lots of green, varied plant life, but nothing that is particularly geographically identifying.

Other than the flowers mentioned below, I don’t have animals or plants or other symbolic things that have come up.

Relationships: The very first dream I had of her was her getting married, and my running around doing a lot of necessary tasks. The strongest impression I had was of the family dynamics: that she adores the man she was marrying, but that they were both very much secondary figures in the larger scheme (that the wedding was a big deal because it was an excuse for the rest of the family to politic and influence each other, and that the two of them were a footnote.)

Items of interest: In that first dream, at one point I was holding an armful of long flowers on a stem – it looked a bit like a foxglove (and might have been) or althaea officinalis (marshmallow), and there was a very strong smell that reminds me of summers visiting my grandmother in England (very classic country garden), but that I can’t pin down to a particular flower easily.

(I have wandered around conservatory gardens smelling things, but I’m pretty sure at this point it’s something that doesn’t readily grow places I’ve been living. Very strong smell, sweet without being sickly sweet, and something that doesn’t easily translate into perfumes, like a number of flowers.)

Other references: I’ve long gotten a sense that she has been very ‘quiet’ for several centuries: not a deity who has come back into major public notice, and who has not been very dominant since about the invention of the printing press.

The clearest and most easily shared instruction I have from her is “Reach out to those who thirst” with a clear twist on ‘thirst’ that is about both water and knowledge, and really, they’re the same thing, on some level, for Her. (In terms of types of water, it’s smaller rivers, ponds, etc. rather than a massive river.)

Places I’ve already looked: I’ve regularly poked around the lists of British deities: Sulis is not quite right, Coventina is not quite right, and so on. (And besides, at that point, we get down to “We have about 3 pieces of archaeological evidence to go on.” and that may not be enough to rummage with anyway.) There’s a way in which there’s a number of parallels to some of the earlier medieval approaches to the Ladies of the Lake, but that’s also clearly not quite it either (same thing, different family? I don’t know.)

But clearly, it’s time for another round of looking, so if you have suggestions that ping for you, or sources that I should take a good look at (and why), I’d love to hear them.

It’s totally okay with me if I don’t work this out, just that if I *am* going to be in England, and can identify a place that might be Hers, I’d rather figure it out so I could plan to visit it.

Odin/Wotan/Woden/Wodan/Wodanaz…All the same deity?

English: The one-eyed Odin with his ravens Hug...
English: The one-eyed Odin with his ravens Hugin and Munin and his weapons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m keen to hear from people who have worked with Odin in the past.

I’ve heard some people consider all of the different names for the deity to be different aspects of him. I’ve heard people say that Odin is the dark form of the god, Wotan is more his war/warrior aspect, Woden and Wodan are his “peace loving wise old man” type aspects whilst Wodanaz is the more his poetic, primeval aspect.

Has that been your experience?