What Might be Ultimate Goal?

Various different religious traditions have be...
Romuvan priestess (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What especially interests me is what the ultimate goal of Paganism might be over the next ten thousand years. I assume that the goal is to somehow create a better life for everyone, but what might be some of the things included in a such a better life by ten thousand years from now?

It is possible that the ultimate goal might be somewhat different for different Pagan traditions, and my feeling is that that would be OK.

But then again, it might turn out that the ultimate goal might be the same for all Pagan traditions.

Ornithomancy and Auspicy: Bird Divination

Bird - Seagull enjoying the sunset
Bird – Seagull enjoying the sunset (Photo credit: blmiers2)

Does anyone have experience in ornithomancy/auspicy? I feel very connected to birds and want to pursue it as an alternate form of divination. Along those lines, can you practice ornithomancy on a pet bird? I also find a lot of feathers whenever I’m out in nature and wonder if there’s such a practice as feather divination. If so, how does it differ from ornithomancy? What can you do with feathers?

Already I have a specific question regarding an interesting sight I’ve not before seen. Last week, I was in the car with my family, coincidentally returning from an Edgar Allan Poe event, when suddenly I saw a mega-murder of crows dot the sky like black pepper. And they kept on coming. And coming. For about an hour there were an inexhaustible number of crows piling up in the sky. I did a little research and discovered this kind of spectacle isn’t too uncommon, especially during winter months. Crows and other birds will form impressively-sized roosts to keep warm during cold snaps, but I also wonder if there is some additional meaning for me beyond the mundane, especially since I have an attraction to corvids and crow augury is foremost on my list of ornithomancy exploration. Though, I do understand that quest for meaning in the mundane reeks of: “I’m a speshul hyooman the crows gathered just for meeee not for any other reason!!” Unfortunately, I’m still straddling the line between OMG THAT BIRD JUST POOPED WHAT DOES IT MEAN? to OH THAT CROW JUST TALKED TO ME IT MUST BE SOMEONE’S PET -SHRUG- Not the best of analogies, but you get the picture.

I do address a secondary and a little more of an unusual occurrence, albeit more upsetting. A few months ago in the summer, I was standing by the front desk at work when I heard a huge SMASH against the glass front door. When I went to the door, I saw a small but beautiful yellow bird (I think it was a warbler) crumpled on the ground, writhing in pain spasms. I felt helpless to do anything, since the manager wouldn’t allow me to leave the front desk, so I pretty much stood there and watched it die. It was one of the more upsetting animal encounters I’ve had, and just an upsetting sight overall. I managed to move it from the door off to a little nook on the side of the building so its body wouldn’t get kicked around or trampled, and unfortunately, that was all I could do for the little bird. Now, I’ve heard of birds smashing into windows, mistaking them for the sky (not to mention it sounded like another bird was chasing it around), but to witness that happen, only then to watch it die–I still believe it was a powerful portent of some sort, but the meaning has eluded me. Then again, I no longer have that job, so maybe that was the portent. A little drastic of a message, but received nonetheless?

Anyway, I’m rambling. My point is: With ornithomancy, where do you draw the line between a message and the mundane? Unusual behavior? A connection? Feeling drawn to a certain bird and/or its actions?

Also, I’m curious to know about other peoples’ experiences with bird signs and omens. I’ve got a little ditty about a seagull that swindled my deep-fried twinkie, but I wouldn’t exactly call that an omen (maybe an omen of bad food choices). XD

Lastly, does anyone know of any good resources on the subject?

Pagan Religions, Polytheism, and the Problem with Labels

English: Detail of Reconstruction of the Acrop...
Detail of Reconstruction of the Acropolis and Areus Pagus in Athens(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot lately, and even more so since I’ve seen it crop up in a couple of places. I am a Pagan, and I also identify as a Druid and a Heathen, and I attend a local Wiccan group quite often since they do the most organized and best planned Pagan things in the area. I know there are many Pagans who practice more than one path, or identify with more than one religion. And yet, it seems there is a vocal minority who object to this.

Of course, they never say it in so many words. Usually it shows up as people saying “well, you can practice this and (whatever other religion), but you shouldn’t call yourself this religion”. I’ve met a few Heathens who have said I shouldn’t be calling myself a Heathen if I’m also initiated in a Wiccan tradition, or working with a Druid group. Sometimes it comes up in other ways, like a post on a Druid group I’m a part of where the poster felt it wasn’t right to welcome someone to the Druid group who was also an initiated Wiccan.

I understand the need to distance a group from practices that it is often confused with. I understand the desire to represent practices accurately to those who aren’t well-versed in them. However, most of these are Pagan religions that claim to be polytheistic and orthopraxic. As long as I’m worshiping the right deities in the right way when practicing that religion, it shouldn’t matter at all what other deities I honor in the right way when practicing another – as long as there’s no oaths of exclusivity that are involved, of course.

Comments? Thoughts? Ideas on how to do some positive education or change in a community that not only requests you do things the “right way” but has an unspoken idea that this is the “only way”?

It’s coming–The Cauldron’s Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice 2013

English: Highworth cemetery at the winter sols...
Highworth cemetery at the winter solstice The shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those who may not be aware, we have an annual tradition here at The Cauldron of celebrating the December solstice–the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere–by staying up all night (or *trying* to stay up all night…or just visiting for part of the night!)

We gather here electronically to shoot the breeze, in chat and in a dedicated thread just for that purpose, and pass the hours passing around all kinds of craziness (stories, recipes–the infamous chocolate mug cake!–photos, links we’ve found, and generally how the solstice adventure is progressing in our locale). We usually pick a non-theme around which to loosely organize the event. Last year, with the Mayan deadline looming, was a no-brainer: apocalypse now!

But we need a non-theme for this year! Keep in mind this isn’t anything set in stone; the night of the solstice, people share whatever they want (it’s called a non-theme for a reason). But still, it’s nice to have a jumping off point. So…

…who’s got a great idea for the non-theme for 2013’s edition of Up All Night: A Technopagan Winter Solstice?

The Fae: Friend or Foe – Caution or Casual?

Widmanstätten pattern showing the two forms of...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently there’s been some discussion regarding the attitude some have toward these beings (overly friendly and casual compared to some persons’ experiences and extant lore).

So. I’m curious. What experiences have folks had with them?

Personally my attitude is to run away very far and very fast and hope for the best. I’m a big fan of giving a token offering but backing it with iron (BTW, anyone ever figure out the ‘cold’ iron / iron thing?).

Curiosity vs. Call

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Since becoming a pagan years ago, I’ve noticed that there seems to be an inclination amongst pagans to look at certain things from a mystical point-of-view rather than a mundane one. For example, we often get questions on TC about whether the sighting of certain animals (flocks of crows, colonies of bats, herds of deer, etc.) is a sign of something that applies to the viewer, or whether thinking about something on a routine basis can be considered a call.

I know I’ve annoyed more than one poster with my “from a mundane standpoint” responses to such questions, and I also know that I have a very difficult time wrapping my head around the idea that animal sightings, especially in the habitat where said animals live, are signs of something, or that a topic running through my mind is anything more than curiosity about the topic.

If I see a bunch of rabbits hopping around my yard (which I do on a routine basis), my first thought tends to be “Oh, rabbits!” rather than to wonder if the rabbits represent something I should be doing or thinking. If a topic crosses my mind (like the recent post I made on Dark Elves in the A&H SIG), I take it as a sign of personal curiosity and I try to learn more about it.

So, what inclines some people toward seeing the mystical or spiritual in everything, and others to not? Should we lean one way or the other, or is there a middle ground? What do you tend to do?

The Future of Our Pagan Faiths

English: A ritual circle. Used on a Wikipedia ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A thought has been coming to my mind lately of what the future of our various faiths might be like. Obviously we can not know for sure being that it is well the future, but it could be interesting to speculate what might arise.

As I am an Irish reconstructionist, I have thought about this and more questions then answers have came to me.

I have often wondered if new myths might develop over time ones that did not exist back in the pre-Christian times but are newer, modern tales of our gods and goddesses. I have wondered if there might be temples for pagan faiths, actual temples, again; or in the case of my own faith what would an Irish polytheist temple look and be like as we do not know what they were like.

I do imagine though that Christianity will not be the dominate religion, at least of the west. Now while it might be an interesting thought of a modern pagan Europe and America, I doubt that is the future. What I do imagine is the future is a more pluralistic society of various different faiths; Wicca, Asatru, Irish polytheism, Druidry, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian and so on.

So what do you think the future holds for your faith?

Dedicating Yourself to a Deity

English: Hanuman Deity
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, I’ve been feeling an urge to dedicate myself to Brighid. Some of you will know that I’ve been worshiping Brighid for a couple of years now but now it seems to be time for a greater commitment.

The thing is, I’ve never dedicated myself to a deity before. I’m not entirely sure what it entails (I appreciate that this may be different for different people). I’m not sure if this urge is coming from Brighid and its what She wants or if its coming from me. And I have no idea how to go about it.

So basically, I’m hoping that some of you will be comfortable sharing about your own experiences. If you are dedicated to a particular deity then how did you decide that was the right thing to do? What does your dedication entail? How did you formalise it?

I’d also be happy to hear any advice if you have it.