Personal Pantheon/Workgroups

English: Taoist gods spotted in a temple in Ha...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So in another thread I sort of took the notion of writing out what the domain interests were of the Powers who are important to me, because it struck me as amusing. This is “personal pantheon” sort of stuff, or “those gods that are important to my Work”, or the like, rather than either “gods with whom I have some sort of personal relationship” or “the gods of my religion/tradition/path as formally constituted”.

So I’m going to do an initial post to set this up for anyone who wants to, to throw in with comments on “What sort of crowd do you run with, anyway?” and post my individual stuff in a bit.

What is the Best Book for Beginner Wiccans Today?

Symbol of Wicca.What do you think is the best book generally available (in print, not find used) today? Ten years ago, the commonly recommended books were books like Buckland’s Big Blue (Complete Book of Witchcraft), Cunningham’s Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, and even Ravenwolf’s To Ride a Silver Broomstick. If you could only recommend one book to some interested in becoming Wiccan, what book would it be and why would you suggest that book?

Appropriation and Questions of Faith

English: Tradition (1895). Olin Levi Warner. B...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been doing some reading on cultural appropriation and several questions came to my mind.

What do you do when something else from another tradition makes more sense to you though you may not match up with them as well or you may have a different slant on that concept?

What do you do to honor the influences from another tradition if you are not of them, but you feel you owe them?

How does one be syncretic without offending?

What do you do when your tradition lacks something you seek even it otherwise perfectly describes your convictions?

Pagan/Goddess/Magic Schools? Or Peer Mentorship Groups?

DrawingContemporaries-install3
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am kind of looking for some mentorship on my spiritual path; something where I could weekly or every other week check in, create reading and to do lists and give and receive feedback.

I do NOT want to become a priestess or a high priestess or a shaman or an anything at this time and I feel uncomfortable with the design of a lot of schools, they seem to be assuming the goal is to become a priestess or to not study at all. Obviously I could simply be missing schools or mentorship opportunities that I simply haven’t seen!

Does anyone know of any teaching or mentorship space that operate simply for the sake of furthering and supporting people with their spiritual path rather than assuming the goal of any student is to become a for hire witch/priestess etc?

I also am not interested in secret teachings or teachings that I’m not allowed to share for free, because I feel that I am called to help those in need when I am able and it’s a good cause and I have a hard time charging for spirit/energy work. (Trust me I have thought it trough and see a lot of different ways of looking at it, including the ways that “women’s work” of emotional and energetic labor is often devalued and refused payment and this is problematic etc)… all the same I have lived because of the charity of others and I know I needed it and there are others out there in need through no fault of their own. Whether it’s money or love or energetic support, I like to help when I can.

I have also sort of imagined maybe a peer check in group, where people weekly or monthly check in with their spiritual growth and goals and learning experiences and instead of money, the peer support itself is the exchange.

Has anyone seen things like this out there on the nets? I would be fine with paying for the mentorship, (just not with charging others for sharing any benefits I get from my own spiritual growth.) just haven’t really seen any groups advertising this service outside of a priestess type learning program.

I guess to me, if someone shares teaching and support that helps m grow and strengthens my healing powers, that becomes part of what I will have to offer charitably, and I know some places are very protective of letting their teachings go toward charitable causes (which I respect, it’s just not for me.)

I lean mother goddess/social justice/compassion/and probably a little jainist/hindu (in terms of value toward each life form) but a bit heathen in respect for my ancestors and the spirits who may have shaped and supported my ancestors and myself existing. I’d like to go through ayurvedic and Chinese medicine health recommendations and build in European history/herbs etc into the healing model since the thousands of years of techniques were build by and for people in those specific cultures and Ayurveda is designed to discuss the practice of doing what ones ancestors did for healing and connection.

I guess I know what it is I want to be working on, but I’m hoping to find some real life people for support and nudging- especially since I feel I’ve been nudged by my spirit guides (or inner wisdom whichever) that I need to be talking to more real life people about all this or I will get weird and detached from humanity. I live way to far in the spirit realm than is good for my human body/self sometimes! Plus I feel getting too far lost in the realm of UPG can get unhealthy without checking in, learning from others, and admitting frequently and regularly that it’s a very subjective realm in which determining if any other beings than yourself are involved at all is never all that certain. I always come back to agnosticism and uncertainty because I think it’s the most respectful position even if other beings ARE involved- how do I know what messages they are ACTUALLY trying to say vs what I am making up in the equation? Plus I think a great source of strength, health and wisdom is in connecting with others and love is exponentially more powerful when shared and received. (Like if you hug yourself, you don’t get as much health benefit as sharing hugs with others, or kangaroo care will do for a baby vs being left alone to use “self love” to nurture themselves).

Nature Doesn’t Love You, Abrahamic God Does

English: Poison Glen - Mother Nature - the flo...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I stumbled across this on a Catholic website, and as one whose paganism is firmly rooted in the natural world, I was struck by it on several levels:

FORUM: Mother Nature Is One Unreliable Lady

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/forum-mother-nature-is-one-unreliable-lady

“And the consistent Biblical message is that this Creator God is not like the arbitrary and capricious gods of the ancient world; rather, he is reliable, rock-like in his steadfast love, more dedicated to human beings than a mother is to her child”

…to which one immediate reaction on my part was: Is he nuts?? Has he read the Old Testament? Just off the top of my head (and I know the Christian bible poorly at best)–the story of Noah and the great flood, in which his god kills virtually all of humanity, not to mention the rest of land-based life; that’s a “consistent Biblical message” of a god “rock-like in his steadfast love”??

I read this quickly, so I want to go back and read it more carefully to critique it fully, but I’d love to hear others’ specific refutations or, for that matter, affirmations of what the author proposes.

And BTW, I *adore* the ad that the author references and dismisses as “just more tree-hugging extremism”–he might want to get right with his now environmentally minded pope on that bias. I posted something about this ad here at the Cauldron a while ago, but here it is again, for those who are interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmVLcj-XKnM

Wiccan Ebooks?

Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft (1986)
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are there any must reads for a solitary Wiccan that would be sold in ebook form? I know Raymond Buckland’s works are sold for the kindle and I’ve heard good things about him. Are there any others I should know of?

I’m really still very ignorant on so many things and I am dying to learn more and maybe not be so ignorant. I want to be able to discuss things with people and not ask stupid questions or say stupid things.

Casting a Circle?

English: This is a casting of runestaves made ...
(Photo: Wikipedia)

When casting a circle do you have to mark the four directions in the circle? I’ve avoided casting a circle for a while because I don’t have much of a way or marking the directions, so I didn’t know if it would be easy to call the four quarters without some kind of marker?? I tried casting a circle without calling the quarters some time ago and the spell I did kind of worked…just not as I had planned.

Are There Any Shared Beliefs in Paganism that Connect Us Together?

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

I have read the definition that this forum gives and I have gone through the various topics and I am left with a question of what connects us when we call ourselves pagan. I understand the need for acceptance and diversity but why even use the word pagan if it has no identifiable characteristics? Are there no aspects of the world that pagans have in common? Is there no way to identify unifying beliefs without being too exclusive?

These questions came to me after reading one of Hutton’s earlier books ‘ The Triumph of the Moon’. Hutton makes a convincing argument that Pagan faiths had disappeared in Western Europe dispelling the notion of that an underground pagan cults remained and how the witch trials were not proof of any organized pagan religion. Thus he concludes that modern paganism is in a sense a new religion with references to pre-Christian religions of Europe based of minimal set of dependable information.

In his last chapter he first gives the pagan federation solution to giving some definition to the pagan religion while trying to accommodate the many variations.

The Pagan Federation in 1989 came up with three characteristic that help form some understanding

1. Acceptance of the inherent divinity of the natural world. Which is the rejection of the creation of the world by a power outside itself.

2. The rejection of any concept of a divinely prescribed law for human behavior, and therefor of the concepts of sin and salvation. Instead it is a search for personal growth and happiness with only one major limitation – avoid harming others in the process.

3. The third is the acceptance that divinity can be both male and female. This ranges from a dual sexual Great Spirit to genuine polytheism. The point here is that women represent the same religious power as men.

He also suggested there is an unspoken definition that pagans of today hold on to those tenets, symbolism, kinship and inspiration to pre-Christian religions. This was followed by his own conclusion about modern further characteristics that he believes are associated but first I am first interested in why the three characteristics suggested by the Pagan Federation in 1989 would not be reasonable characteristics that with variation are shared by Pagans?