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Author Topic: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?  (Read 3262 times)

Eastling

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I've been working on building a faith and practice over the past half-year or so, and it's involved a lot of delving through various books, academic papers, blogs, archives, and all sorts of sources of information. Some of it has been very useful--other stuff, not so much.

It's led me to wonder: what sources have other people consulted while building their practice, and which ones have been the most useful? What has made them useful? Do you mostly use academic papers, primary sources, devotional anthologies, or what?

What works of research, philosophy, and even fiction have you drawn much of your practice from? What made them work for you?
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Eastling

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Re: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2016, 05:56:38 pm »
Quote from: Eastling;195879
What works of research, philosophy, and even fiction have you drawn much of your practice from? What made them work for you?

 
For me, I can pin down two books that have been exceptionally helpful in forming my perceptions of my Powers: Raphael Patai's The Hebrew Goddess and Carl Kerenyi's Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life. Some of that was just that the topics they covered were very useful to me, but in the latter case in particular I found it enormously useful that Kerenyi tended to exhaustively footnote his writing. I liked getting to see the process of research that led him to his conclusions, so that I could reach my own conclusions with the information even if I disagreed.

I tend to not have the attention span to go through bulky collections of primary text, so I tend to prefer academic sources that focus on selecting the most useful bits of primary sources themselves--especially if they contain the kind of information I can use to help form my own rituals and articles of practice.
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Re: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2016, 08:31:37 am »
Quote from: Eastling;195879
I've been working on building a faith and practice over the past half-year or so, and it's involved a lot of delving through various books, academic papers, blogs, archives, and all sorts of sources of information. Some of it has been very useful--other stuff, not so much.

It's led me to wonder: what sources have other people consulted while building their practice, and which ones have been the most useful? What has made them useful? Do you mostly use academic papers, primary sources, devotional anthologies, or what?

What works of research, philosophy, and even fiction have you drawn much of your practice from? What made them work for you?


It's an interesting question for me, because while the Orthodox Church has a MASSIVE collection of primary texts and exegesis, it is written almost exclusively in Greek and the majority remains untranslated. I have acquired a reasonable command of Koine Greek by now, but I still feel more secure with translations when it comes to 'stuff to understand' as opposed to liturgy.

As a beginner, I worked with Fr. Thomas Hopko's The Orthodox Faith series (now available online in its entirety by the OCA) and Met. Kallistos Ware's staple classics The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way. Later I got started on Philip Schaff's monumental Early Church Fathers set (CCEL). It's been a couple of years and I've only just finished the first section!

Beyond those, I'm in love with Ancient Faith Radio's podcasts (hey, I have long commutes at frequently brutal hours, when I can't handle written text!); Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick is a particular favourite.
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Dynes Hysbys

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Re: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 10:55:23 am »
Quote from: Eastling;195879

It's led me to wonder: what sources have other people consulted while building their practice, and which ones have been the most useful? What has made them useful? Do you mostly use academic papers, primary sources, devotional anthologies, or what?

What works of research, philosophy, and even fiction have you drawn much of your practice from? What made them work for you?

 
My practice is based on the works of Ralph Merrifield, Elias Owen, Wirt Sikes, Marie Trevelyan and now the works of Owen Davies and Emma Wilby plus scores of of other folklore collectors with a touch of the old grimoire magic  too.

Jenett

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Re: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2016, 11:07:03 am »
Quote from: Eastling;195879

It's led me to wonder: what sources have other people consulted while building their practice, and which ones have been the most useful? What has made them useful? Do you mostly use academic papers, primary sources, devotional anthologies, or what?

 
For me, it's a question of "What am I trying to do here?"

Most of my practice is not strongly historically rooted (this is what happens when your primary deity you honour is not very clear about name or location, and the likely location doesn't have much historical documentation *anyway*) but I dip into historical practices and suitable academic research when relevant for other deity and related work while not assuming that they're the be all and end all.

(Since deities may well change over time, people certainly do, and because academic research is designed for specific purposes, not all of which line up with religious goals anyway.)

The bulk of what built my practice is the old-fashioned 'learned from people who had learned from people who had learned from people', with changes and developments over time, but with the joined tension of 'this is a thing that preserves the shared initiatory and ritual experiences' with 'hey, this thing had unexpected outcomes enough times we should maybe adjust that' supplemented by a bunch of reading and discussion.

That's sometimes books, but it's just as often informal discussions of experiences - on TC, on blogs, on social-media-site-of-the-moment. It's discussions with people in person, when I've done that. It's going to occasional in-person events. It's hanging out in chat with people with different kinds of practices, and asking questions. It's ritual technology geeking of "how do you do this thing?"

It's deconstructing what works, and going to stuff and trying that doesn't work for me, but gives me ideas on why, and poking at whether that's a thing I want to have work, don't care about, or whether it's something about that ritual or practice or whatever at my current moment in life that just didn't work.

(I don't try stuff just for amusement or things that feel wrong to me: but I will take a try on things I'm not sure about, other parts of my life allowing, because I learn a lot that way)

I listen to how people talk about things they're doing - what they circle back to, again and again, what that says about what their goals might be, and how that compares to what my goals might be. I spend more time with the people whose stuff resonates with me, when I have a choice.

For this, learning what doesn't work for people (or the failure modes of certain things) has been often as informative as learning what *does* work for people. I look at things people do, and how those play out over months or years, and go "Yeah, I can't justify trying that thing: it seems to end badly more often than not."

And finally, I take a pretty broad view: a bunch of practices may not be explicitly Pagan in origin, but the idea of "let us put together music that honours this deity / religious figure / season / celebration / etc." is a pretty ancient one, even if the modern playlist is a very recent thing.

Ideas in fiction can let us play with concepts that are hard in the current modern paradigm - books in which magic is seen as a common thing (or at least a possible thing) talk about the ethics of magic in a way that's very hard in mainstream culture. (Though some of them do it a lot better than others.)
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Freesia

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Re: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2016, 02:47:08 pm »
Quote from: Eastling;195879
\

It's led me to wonder: what sources have other people consulted while building their practice, and which ones have been the most useful? What has made them useful? Do you mostly use academic papers, primary sources, devotional anthologies, or what?

What works of research, philosophy, and even fiction have you drawn much of your practice from? What made them work for you?

 
I spent so much time researching religions, various cultural histories, and philosophies that I feel as if I know nothing. Now that I'm trying to synthesize a working practice I'm finding it difficult to put my studies into a functional orthopraxy.

I made the decision to start with a basic Wicca 101 book. I choose Thea Sabin's "Wicca for Beginners" based on numerous recommendations. I also finally got in touch with some local pagans and actually met them for coffee.

MeadowRae

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Re: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2016, 08:51:32 am »
Quote from: Freesia;196780
I spent so much time researching religions, various cultural histories, and philosophies that I feel as if I know nothing. Now that I'm trying to synthesize a working practice I'm finding it difficult to put my studies into a functional orthopraxy.

I made the decision to start with a basic Wicca 101 book. I choose Thea Sabin's "Wicca for Beginners" based on numerous recommendations. I also finally got in touch with some local pagans and actually met them for coffee.


 That's so cool that you're connecting with others in your area. I'm hoping to do the same one day. I've heard Thea Sabin's book is very good, but I've not read it.

I would say for practice I was largely influenced by "The Circle Within" by Dianne Sylvan. I also took cues from Scott Cunningham's "Living Wicca." Those were my starting point for rituals and prayers, and my personal practice grew from that. I also listen to Kelly Ann Maddox on YouTube and sound cloud on the regular, and she influences the tarot aspect of my practice. I studied Medieval Lit in college; I feel like that had an impact, as well.

For theology I am most influenced by Psychology. C.G. Jung's Psychological Types really influenced my concept of Archetypes and Deity. Morgan Daimler's books on Brighid and The Morrigan also influenced my thoughts and practices around those deities. Im currently reading Women who Run with the Wolves and I wish I had read it sooner.
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Re: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2016, 09:22:33 am »
Quote from: Eastling;195879
I've been working on building a faith and practice over the past half-year or so, and it's involved a lot of delving through various books, academic papers, blogs, archives, and all sorts of sources of information. Some of it has been very useful--other stuff, not so much.

It's led me to wonder: what sources have other people consulted while building their practice, and which ones have been the most useful? What has made them useful? Do you mostly use academic papers, primary sources, devotional anthologies, or what?

What works of research, philosophy, and even fiction have you drawn much of your practice from? What made them work for you?

 
I am not really good with highly scholarly texts.  I can work with them, but I really have to be in high research mode (and absolutely mentally sharp, which sadly doesn't happen every day).

What tends to inspire me the most is hearing actual stories of what people do.  It doesn't matter whether they walk a similar path to me, I often can see the common thread underlying different practices, and seeing how those common threads manifest in different ways helps me to not only deepen my own practices, but also leads me to be exposed to methods that I might otherwise not have encountered.

I like engaging people in conversation, face-to-face is great, in a forum or social media is okay too.  I find I get more out of something if I can ask questions.
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Snake-Bitten

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Re: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2016, 01:01:00 pm »
Quote from: Eastling;195879
I've been working on building a faith and practice over the past half-year or so, and it's involved a lot of delving through various books, academic papers, blogs, archives, and all sorts of sources of information. Some of it has been very useful--other stuff, not so much.

It's led me to wonder: what sources have other people consulted while building their practice, and which ones have been the most useful? What has made them useful? Do you mostly use academic papers, primary sources, devotional anthologies, or what?

What works of research, philosophy, and even fiction have you drawn much of your practice from? What made them work for you?

 

Intuition has been the most important tool for me. Intuition, and trust in my Higher Self.
Most of the books I use are for reference, because I cannot remember every gemstone property, dream symbol, animal medicine, etc. "The Way of the Shaman" is the book that really began my whole journey, but it wasn't until a few months after reading it that coincidental events led me to the people who would help me take my first steps.

Eevee

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Re: What sources of information are most useful to your practice, and why?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2016, 04:39:51 am »
Quote from: Snake-Bitten;197842
Intuition has been the most important tool for me. Intuition, and trust in my Higher Self.
Most of the books I use are for reference, because I cannot remember every gemstone property, dream symbol, animal medicine, etc. "The Way of the Shaman" is the book that really began my whole journey, but it wasn't until a few months after reading it that coincidental events led me to the people who would help me take my first steps.

Lol @ "trust your higher self".
I just bought 3 books, and will buy another next week. YAY FOR INTUITION! BOO FOR MY BANK ACCOUNT!  

I bought "New Paths to Animal Totems" & "Engaging the Spirit Word" - both by Lupa
and "Some we Love, Some we Hate, Some we Eat" by Hal Herzog

While I don't know for sure if those books will be helpful until I read them, I've been snooping around on Lupa's blog, so I find that I have a pretty good idea on what to expect.

As for Herzog's book. I got that more to aid some personal uneasiness. But any personal aid is also spiritual aid.
Another book I want is "Voluntary Simplicity" by Duane Elgin. Only because I want a book on simplistic lifestyles, and that one has good reviews on Amazon, so....
« Last Edit: November 02, 2016, 04:41:30 am by Eevee »
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