Adapting and Altering Ancient Holidays

Hephaistos.temple.05

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...

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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 ...

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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?

Spells: Time Until Results?

Spells and Philtres

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What is a good rule of thumb to time the results of a spell or working? For me, it seems to be all over the map. I had a candle healing literally start to work over night, a runescript talisman take a week or two, and then other spells take a month or more.

Is there a point where you just assume the ritual failed? Is there a way of predicting how long the “wait” for results will take? I know not to be impatient, but I’d just like to get a general idea of what to watch for.

Questions about Demons

A woodcut from 1598 shows an exorcism performe...

A woodcut from 1598 shows an exorcism performed on a woman by a priest and his assistant, with a demon emerging from her mouth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watched the movie The Conjuring. It was, of course, about demon possession. It is supposedly based on a true story although I have not verified this yet.

So as with all demon possessions that are televised, they call for it to be approved by the Vatican and whatnot. So like all exorcisms the priest reads from the Bible, saying in the name of God, throwing holy water and waving a cross. Demon possessed person talks in demon voice and says and does awful and weird things but then they scream as the priest keeps talking then disappear.

So if demons are a “Christian thing” is that why the priest and Bible words exorcise it? Would praying to a pagan Deity work too? If not, why? Why would only an Abrahamic religion work to exorcise the demon? (I said that in my Ace Ventura voice) also I heard that demons are (can’t remember the word now. I’m sorry I’m sick and fuzzy headed) but it means they never walked the earth in any form as a human. They’re not of this “earth” I guess?

I ask because I’m terrified of demon possession since it apparently happens to believers and non believers alike. I’m not a Christian so would I be “unsavable” because of this? I mean would a demon say “eh the Morrighan will kick my ass if I touch that one” or “Set would rip my head off” etc you get the point. I have a need to know this so I know whether or not my paranoia is founded. If all of this is untrue then where do the counts of possession come from? They do. Strange inhuman things and speak dead languages. So how would this happen if it’s not real?

Elementals

English: Water Elementals.

Water Elementals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was wondering if y’all could give me some information on Elementals. Any information. I’ve always been fascinated by them. I’d like some good books but also some websites that are trustworthy (books are expensive). I would like information like how to contact them, have you had experiences with them, is it a “real” experience as in you physically saw or heard them as opposed to deity contact where you get… Feelings — I don’t know how to explain what I mean. Do they like offerings, do they help you, what do you offer them if they help you, what kind of help do they give? How can I make them happy, feel welcome, part of the family, etc. And is all that even safe?