Perhaps a Strange Question About Pantheons

A depiction of Norse gods assembled as in the ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bear with me for a bit… I feel a little background is required.

When I first started looking at Wicca and started my own eclectic solitary practice, I felt very drawn to the norse goddess Freyja. I decided to bring in Odin as my God and Freyja as my Goddess, and I definitely felt a strong pull from her in a way that I’ve never felt to a spiritual being. For personal reasons I had to put my practice on hold for about two years, but am now able to get back into the swing of things.

I still feel a pull from Freyja, like she’s actively encouraging me to be her follower. But I know that Wicca is not a path for me and I’ve looked into some of the heathen practices and those don’t really fit me either. I’ve considered simply building my own way of working with her, but I’m fairly certain that any heathen would be appalled (and certainly would take offense at calling myself a heathen). Also, while my ancestors were German, I do not have a strong connection to their past or traditions.

To complicate matters, I do trance work and have met several spirits that also claim to be gods, but have names I can’t find any reference to. I’ve stopped my trance work as they’ve added a great deal of confusion to my spiritual search. Could they be new? Is that even possible? My theory right now is that they are old gods that are simply choosing new names so as to not weigh me down with concerns about how they were previously thought of and worshiped.

So I guess these are my questions for you:

1) Is it possible to encounter an entirely “new” pantheon and build a practice of worship and devotion around these gods?

2) If you do worship a “new” pantheon, would you still be considered a pagan (presuming the practice included a reverence for the earth and some form of a yearly cyclical pattern like the Wheel of the Year)?

3) If you DO end up worshiping a “new” pantheon, will anyone in the pagan community actually take me seriously as a true spiritual person worshiping real gods?

4) Can you be a pagan and worship two or three gods from a “known” pantheon but in a way that goes against everything people have understood them as?

Liminal Times

boundary photoA lot of people have traditions where one time or another is perceived as being particularly otherworldly, whether time of year or time of day. (I came across something recently – wish I could remember more details – where apparenty some people thought I’m pretty sure it was Thursdays were particularly liminal. I just… Thursdays? I never could get the hang of Thursdays.)

And of course there’s the different sorts of liminality one can get. The Mysteries of Wesir (Osiris) having a very different sort of edginess than the Days Upon the Year in the Egyptian calendar. (Oh, among the liminal times in the Egyptian calendar: Noon. Because the sun stands still for a little, visually, and they found that kind of creepy. A translation of the famous Dream Stela has a line that reads in part ‘Sleep seized him, a sleep at the time when the sun was at the zenith, and he found the Majesty of this noble god speaking with his own mouth, like the words of a father for his son…’)

My personal favorite is found in the European folkloric survivals around the Ember Days and related stuff – you get things like the Wild Hunt’s appearances, the active nights for the benandanti, and so on on these dates, all indicating some sense of numinous vulnerability from/to the other side.

I could probably natter on tediously about some of this stuff but instead: what’re some other ones people work with? Your favorites?

Wikipedia Illustration: “The Divine Couple in Wicca”

The divine couple in Wicca,...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m curious as to what thoughts people might have about an illustration I found in Wikipedia. As far as I can see, it’s only been used there and one other web site. I can’t find any info about who created it. The user who uploaded it is called “Camocon”, and they declared it Public Domain. The description is . . .

The divine couple in Wicca, with the Lady as Diana, the moon goddess, and the Lord as Pan, the horned god of the wild Earth. The lower figure is Mercury or Hermes, the god or divine force of magic – as shown by his wings and caduceus.

See article here:

Personally, I like this image. I find it sort of ‘deep’, so to speak, (like a Tarot card, for example), in the sense that there’s obvious symbolic content beyond what you might expect in simply portraying two divinities as a couple. Hermes seems to be depicted as a child – like a ‘cherub’? – but clearly identified by the Caduceus.

How do you learn?

English: Level/Time of competence when learnin...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is especially directed to those who aren’t part of covens or groups that help with education. How do you learn? Just books? Experimentation? Something else?

I grew up in church. Everyone around me already knew what to do so I absorbed it by watching. I’ve always been a great book-learner but I’m finding it to be more difficult with paganism. There’s such a huge spectrum of beliefs and practices and I don’t even know where I fall on it, much less what reading material would be the most engaging and appropriate. I’d experiment but I’m running into the same problem there–either there’s a prescribed ritual involving lots of stuff I don’t have or know, or you need other people, or something like that.

I guess I really just need someone to talk to. I’m learning to meditate but that was actually unexpectedly challenging at first. Grounding and calling up energy really have me stumped. I feel like if I can’t figure out the first steps, how in the world am I going to progress? Nemetona keeps coming up in my studies and I feel a connection but I also feel as if I’m letting her down by not utilizing my sacred space to its fullest.

I’m finding that I have an interest in Celtic tradition. Herbs are nice, flourite is my friend, incense is simply beautiful, and I think something–spirits, the fae, I really don’t know–hangs around teasing me. Can anyone point me in a direction or give me ideas or at least tell me that it’s ok, that I’m just overthinking this? Finding a spiritual social circle would probably help a lot but we’re kinda Bible-belty around here and I’m afraid of putting myself out there and being found out by family.

On the dangers of ritual magic

Wiccan five elements 1

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On another thread I talked about my concerns about the magic used in rituals, saying that it was the only thing that really stopped me from joining the Wiccan path because I felt uneasy about it because of my fear of working with energy and the probability of attracting things.

The fears come from another Spanish forum (which isn’t really active anymore) where I read that obviously you have to be careful (it was nothing dramatic, nor exagerated). Some of the things mentioned were that maybe in the first rituals because of the new amount of concentrated energy focused in a spot it could attract (because of curiosity) some kind of not that good beings.
Also other things mentioned were that you could feel your heart racing (not in a good way, and probably because that person was working with more than he could at that time), a lot of heat that could make you dizzy, or even pass out.

I know most of the things I just said probably aren’t the usual, and happen rarely but I’m a really nervous person and I never liked to feel strange sensations through my body because they make me feel anxious.

Opened this thread because Jenett, very kindly, offered to expand a bit more on the topic. Feel free to change the title, didn’t really know how to name it.

Thank you, really appreciate your help.

Entropy vs. Infinity, and Decline vs. Ascent

“Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.” (Everything changes; nothing perishes.) — Ovid

“Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact. But maybe everything that dies someday comes back.” — Bruce Springsteen

A lot of religions and philosophies are based in the idea of cycles–that things endlessly wax and wane, die and return and die again. Science and the natural world often seems to support this.

On the other hand, many cosmologies and philosophies also suggest that people and things in general have degraded since Creation and continue to do so. Again, you can find support for this in science.

So we have two opposing concepts here: the idea that existence is a tight, eternal loop (perhaps one that looks something like ∞), and the idea that existence is an ever-widening entropic gyre that will someday dissolve.

There’s one more possibility: existence is an ever-rising spiral cycling its way around to some higher apotheosis. That things improve instead of worsen, ascend instead of decline. This seems relatively rare in religion and philosophy, but it crops up now and again. You can argue that the same is true for science too.

Which is reflected in your belief systems? How is the issue dealt with there? What other metaphysical paradoxes does it touch upon?

Types of Candles

Recently I became a convert to beeswax candles because apparently they are better for the environment, the smell nice, and I like the idea of burning something natural during my religious worship rather than something synthetic made from petroleum. The major drawback is that they are quite pricey, so I have to ration how often I burn them. The store I go to even carries them in different colours, made with vegetable dyes.

I also found tapers made from soy that I like. They don’t drip, and they burn pretty cleanly. They also don’t really have much of a fragrance, even though they are apparently scented. There are probably additives, since soy is usually a softer wax, so I don’t know how “natural” they are, but probably still better than most candles.

However, I still use regular paraffin candles a lot of the time, because they’re cheap, they look nice, and they come in a variety of colours. They are usually the most convenient, even though the natural ones are nice for special occasions.

How Do Gods Get Created?

Color on paper

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Assuming that deities exist, how did they get created? Did they always exist or was there a point in time where they didn’t exist? Are they created by humans or the other way around? What’s the difference between a God and a spirit? Finally, do you think that every single god/dess is an individual?

Here’s my take on it:

1.) Deities are thoughtforms/consciousnesses created by humanity by worship. However, it also seems possible that the gods were originally just land spirits that became more powerful the more humans worshipped them.

2.) The deities were created by humanity, so they didn’t exist before humans existed.

3.) Humans created them.

4.) I believe that there’s a sort of energy/consciousness that exists and that animistic spirits arise when this energy is combined with natural features like trees, plants and other things like that. I’m still figuring this one out. While deities arise due to human belief, these spirits arise naturally. However, they’re made of the same stuff.

5.) All deities are mostly individuals. However, since I view the deities as energy, I think that a lot of deities have energy of other deities in them. For example, Odin, Woden and Wodan are all different beings, but they all started out as the same energy that different cultures interpreted in different ways, which created different beings.

But those are just my beliefs. What do you think about deities?

New Book from SatAset

Book CoverSatAset, one of our long-time members, has just released a new book:

I just wanted everyone to know that my book, Lady of Praise, Lady of Power: Ancient Hymns of the Goddess Aset is now available for sale!

Here is information about the book:

Fiercely Bright One, Beautiful Lady, Queen of Heaven, Giver of Wealth, Great of Magic, Mother of God. These are some of the titles given to Aset, the ancient Egyptian Goddess commonly known as Isis. She is a goddess of kingship, sovereignty of Heaven and Earth, magic, knowledge, healing, divination and owns Ra’s Hidden Name.

Presented here is a collection of over 100 hymns, prayers and inscriptions from various Ancient Egyptian temples and papyri praising and petitioning the goddess Aset. Many of these works have never been translated into English.

In Lady of Praise, Lady of Power, you will find:
*Over 100 hymns from the Temple of Philae
*Hymns and inscriptions from the Temples of Behbeit el Hagar, Deir el-Shelwit, al-Qa’la, the Giza Pyramid, Esna, and Edfu
*Offering liturgies from Philae
*Demotic Hymns from various sources
*List of over 600 Titles of Aset and a Festival Calendar

Here are the links on Lulu:

Paperback: Lady of Praise, Lady of Power

PDF: Lady of Praise, Lady of Power