Appropriation or ancestry?

Linguistic subdivisions in Canada
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a fairly new pagan and being Canadian, I’m a huge mishmash of different cultures… mostly European (Irish, Scottish, French and Scandanavian).

I recently got into doing my family history and went quite far back on my mother’s side. My grandpa was French Native and that is the side I went quite far back on. I know that there is Iriquios, Cree and Metis. I admittedly know very little about any of these cultures and really want to learn more. I often stop myself from delving into it though…

My cousin, who is dark skinned because her mother was Indian (from India), is quite involved in the native community in the area and married a native man. We are not close so I don’t feel like I can talk to her about these things.

She really embraces her native side and I have uncles and cousins that have Metis status and are somewhat involved in the Native community. However because of tragic family history, the family is not involved with each other (and because of the very dark happenings – I do not want any involvement with them).

They are all darker-skinned but I feel because I got my dad’s very white skin that I “should” stick to the European bits.

At what point are you “native enough” to study and maybe practice some beliefs? I feel awful even asking this question, like I should just forget it and stick to my Celtic/Scandanavian heritage.

Problems with smudging

White Sage Salvia apiana Lamiaceae (Labiatae)....
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I have been attempting to smudge my house after the passing of one of our cats. During her passing I was extremely uneasy, I couldn’t sleep in my room and I constantly felt ill. Now after she has passed there is a lingering uneasy feeling through out the basement (Our other boy ginger cat [ the one in my avatar, isn’t he cute!] won’t even come down stairs now, which on the stairs and in my room are his favorite places to be). I have tried smudging and here is where my problem lies.
I can’t keep either of my sticks to stay burning. I have both a white sage and a cedar stick that will catch a flame and start to smoke but they won’t stay smoking, within a few minutes they burn themselves out and I have to try and re light them again and again. I have never had this problem before, any ideas/ suggestions?

Eta: I am not trying to use both sticks at once, I have just noticed that they are both not wanting to stay lit, the cedar one more so than the sage.

Thoughts on what happens when we die

All Giza Pyramids in one shot. Русский: Все пи...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since I turned around 35 or so(I’m 39 now) a good chunk of my mind has started drifting to a problem and the problem is this. I’ve always thought about it but it went from a “splinter in my mind” to “a fist sized rock in my mind”

There are many, many ideas in regards to what happens when we die. The vast majority of those ideas have about the same likelihood of being true (so far I’ve found one that I can eliminate with any sense of confidence*). The vast majority of them also have startlingly different consequences should you believe them and we don’t seem to have a way to determine which one of them is objectively true.

For example,

1. If you believe that the ancient Egyptians had it right then you should spend your time being ethical by their perspective as well as memorizing a lot of formulas and spending a lot of money on grave goods.
2. If you believe that the Muslims are correct then you better get right with Allah and be a good Muslim.
3. If you believe that the Baptists are right you better get right with Jesus and be a good Baptist.
4. If you believe the atheists are right then you better utilize every second of this life and not do anything else because this is all you have.

Notice that for all of those the consequences of those beliefs to this life conflict with each other. If you spend your time getting ready for Egyptian judgement then you will be a bad Muslim and Christian. If you are a good Muslim then you aren’t spending time memorizing spells and getting ushabi made. Because of this you can’t really “cover all of your bases”.

I have some speculations in regards to this, ideas about how not being grounded in a land of form can allow cultural variability to run wild, but no answers. Any choice I make is an incredibly serious gamble with eternal consequences.
No pressure, right?
I don’t know if there is a question or an answer to the reader here. I can say that from my understanding that a “midlife crisis” in some cases is trying to paper over or ignore this very thing. Also, from my understanding it is temporary. Statistically as people get older this becomes less and less of a worry.

Well, at least I’m not buying a Porsche and chasing 20 year old girls.

*For those that are curious, it is the Jack T. Chick version of Christianity. Long story short, if God is omnibenevolent then he/she would make it crystal clear what is needed to get salvation and it would be beyond doubt what needed to be done in order to not suffer eternally. It doesn’t even begin to make sense, even a little bit.

Can I be a Wiccan and not exactly believe in the God and Goddess?

English: The statue of the and Mother Goddess ...
Wiccan God and Goddess statues. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always been extremely drawn to pagan traditions, stories, and theology. However, when it comes down to it, my belief is that there are no personified God/esses.

My belief is in Universal source energy that comes from everywhere and shows itself in our sacred earth, moon, and sun. I believe that everything is energy and our physical bodies are a temporary division from that source energy. I believe that we call different energies “male” and “female” because that is the easiest way for many of us to grasp this concept. (Male energy being more directed and focused, shows itself in straight lines. Female energy being creative and spontaneous, shows itself in curved edges. Neither have anything to do with actual gender or sexuality.)

I believe when we thank the Goddess we are not thanking a physical woman who lives in the clouds, but rather energetic vibrations that live as both natural forces and deity. We can connect with this energy if we seek it out because everything is energy and vibration. We are not bodies with a spirit, we are a soul living a human experience. Our energy is a part of them and they are a part of us, and we are a part of each other. At the same time we are also separate. We need them to personify themselves in beings that we can relate to and give a face to so that we can speak to them like people and be open, honest, and clear.

I’ve been accused of being too heady. Instead of going inward and downward, grounding into the earth; I look upwards and outwards and often end up confusing myself and others. I think it has something to do with abandoning 2 decades of abusive catholic upbringing that was..abusive to say the least. I can’t believe with my heart anymore if I don’t pick it apart with my brain first. It also might have something to do with between my athiest boyfriend and friends and my catholic family I feel like I have to explain and know everything about something before I say I believe in it and follow it.

I like to study metaphysics and enjoy speakers/writers like Gabrielle Bernstein. However I also like to study Wicca and enjoy the works of Ann Moura and Phyllis Curott. Is there a place in the Wiccan community for a young woman who holds “May Cause Miracles” in one hand and “Witch Crafting” in another? Is there a place for a person who has symbols of the goddess representing the power in female energy, but is more likely to end a prayer or a ceremony in a simple “thanks” rather than “blessed be”? What about someone who thinks a daily yoga practice with healthy eating and honoring her body as a vessel for spirit energy is more crucial than having elaborate alters for every sabbat?(Though I do like to go out in nature and offer thanks. Last Samhain I carved a desire for inner peace on an apple and asked my guides for help, hoping I would be able to reach them do to the thinning of the veil. I buried it in the ground beneath a tree and gave thanks.) Is this allowed or common? Or is this sort of overlap generally looked down upon?

Anything special little things you always do on full moons?

I used to dread full moons a little bit, back when I worked in the medical field. I worked in nursing homes, and myself and several others I worked with always could swear that residents/patients were more restless and active than ever on full moons. Coupled with anxiety and agitation from dementia in the residents, and this usually meant every full moon night was total chaos in the facility (I worked the overnight or “NOC” shifts).

But after a bit I got into the habit of always wearing heavy lavender (diluted essential oil) on myself, and also carrying a small spritz bottle of lavender in my scrubs pocket, for the residents’ rooms. It definitely helped me stay calm, relaxed and friendlier amidst all the havoc and negative energy, and I noticed that several of the residents seemed to respond well to it, too.

I’ve been out of that line of work for a couple years now, but I still wear heavy lavender for full moons. I was thinking about it today, because I’m almost out and need to make more lavender perfume oil. I’ll probably use up the last of what I have come this next full moon.

Does anyone else have their own little tradition(s) that they developed along the way?

Malevolent Deities?

Goddess (Small)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From a Wiccan or Druid point of view, are there any malevolent or ill meaning deities? I desire to keep everything all positive and, this may be a Christian point of view, but I don’t want to accidentally stumble upon a god or goddess who wishes harm upon me (since, ya know, most Christians believe that contact with any god or goddess apart from Abrahamic God is considered “evil”). How does this work? How does the notion of “evil” work?

Personal Relationship?

Sha'ar Hagolan Mother Goddess clay figurine
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was wondering if there was a protocol for how to keep in contact with Mother Goddess…can I have a personal relationship with her? Are there good offerings I can make? Can I go to her/pray to her for comfort? I only ask because when I find myself in a trying situation, I want to pray but I only know the Christian practice…of course I feel much more peaceful when I call out to Goddess (as I often imagined “Holy Spirit” as a woman figure when I practiced Christianity).

Sort of a branch off of that…is there any “pagan” belief system for how life began? I can see how reincarnation would work…I am believing that more and more…is it a cycle of life or were we created with love and purpose? I just want to believe that whichever supernatural power I worship loves me and wants me to live peacefully and successfully and I’m not just worshiping to get something from Father God or Mother Goddess.

Or is this all part of my own practice and I believe what I choose to believe? I hope that’s not the case because then I don’t want to imagine that Father God and Mother Goddess are pretending to care for me when it’s neutral.

Does this make sense?

Pagan, Christian and Buddhist Equivalents

Papst Johannes XXIII.-Kapelle 2007
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I can’t sleep, I begin a very, very silly little pastime. I have observed, that some socio-cultural ‘patterns’ repeat themselves in several distinct religions, which I find humourous. Please fill in your own free associations in this regard if you find it fun to do.

Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans is for Paganism
what the Roman Catholic Church is for Christianity
and Chan for Buddhism.

Hard Polytheism is for Paganism
what Conservative Presbyterianism is for Christianity
and Theravada for Buddhism.

Eclectic Wicca is for Paganism
what Lutheranism is for Christianity
and Pure Land for Buddhism.

Platonism is for Paganism
what Anglicanism is for Christianity
and Tendai for Buddhism.

RDNA is for Paganism
what Liberal Quakers is for Christianity
and Modern Western Zen for Buddhism.

Persons who believe that Atlantis and Lemuria are geological facts
and that Wicca is a surviving religion from a Paleolithic matriarchy
are for Paganism
what Creationists are for Christianity
and those who believe that loka means ‘physical planet’ for Buddhism.

Thelema is for Paganism
what Evangelicalism is for Christianity
and Nichiren for Buddhism.

Golden Dawn is for Paganism
what SSPX is for Christianity
and Shingon for Buddhism.

Feraferia is for Paganism
what Eastern Orthodoxy is for Christianity
and Tibetan Buddhism for Buddhism.

The 19th century Druid Revival is for Paganism
what Methodism is for Christianity
and The Buddhist Society (London) for Buddhism.

Those who receive UPG, and tell everone they meet about it on a regular basis,
are for Paganism
what Charismatics are for Christianity
and those who receive visions of Guanyin or Tara, and tell everyone they meet about it on a regular basis, for Buddhism.

Pantheism, Paganism, and Life: Could Use Some Advice

I was raised Christian and still have respect for those beliefs and those people who hold them. However for years now, those beliefs just have not sit well with me. I have come to the realization that I cannot and will never be able to force myself to believe something. On the surface I have lied and call myself a Christian to avoid arguments and because I fear the people in my life will lose respect for me… but it is wrong.

I fear that no one will take me seriously. Paganism is, unfortunately, viewed as being a “joke” around here. I fear that I will be forced time and time again to defend my beliefs, and that if I don’t offer an explanation of my beliefs, I will be seen as being “silly” or “childish” (even being in my mid-20’s).

I envy those who live in an environment where diversity of beliefs is accepted. Where I’m from, if you aren’t Christian you have a stigma placed on you. Even in the work place, even at school. It is neither fair nor right. But I fear this, and it drives me to lie, which in turn makes me feel like a terrible person… I’m so tired of lying to the people in my life.

My true beliefs are very similar to pantheism- that Nature and god are synonymous. I do not know if I would consider myself a pagan at this time, but pagan rituals have always struck my interest and in the future may be a good way to express and celebrate my spirituality. I am now at a new stage in my life and am eager to learn more.

I guess I’m just seeking words of encouragement, advice, similar stories, reading/website recommendations, or any information you think would be of use to me. Anything will be appreciated!