Your Personal Book List?

So some discussion in chat and a recent thread led me to ponder the following question: If I were to recommend, say, twenty books to someone so that they could become enlightened about my religious/spiritual practice or background, what would they be?

And that struck me as an interesting thread, so I’m starting the thread. If you had to recommend twenty books to give someone guidance about your religious life, what would they be?

(Note, I’m not asking “What are your twenty pagan religion recommendation” books, though I expect that a chunk of most people’s lists will have pagan books relevant to their paths. I’m asking for the books that are relevant to what you as an individual do/believe/know about the world.)

Link Between Maturity and Spirituality?

I seem to have noticed in the past year or so that the teenagers that consciously chose a religious (or nonreligious) path for themselves (without doing it to piss off family) seem to be more emotionally mature than their counterparts who have not done so. It doesn’t even have to be that they’re concrete in the specifics, only that they’ve made the decision to begin searching.

My questions are these:

1. For those of you that spend time with teens (or are teens yourselves), do you notice this at all?

2. Do you think that teens who pick their general spiritual paths now do so because they are mature, or do you think that their spirituality makes them mature? To rephrase, did the maturity come first, or did the religion?

I look forward to seeing your answers!

I have an extra question for anyone who’s willing: Do you think that kids raised some kind of Pagan are more self-aware (and just aware in general) than kids raised JIC?

Peculiarities when you use Tarot/Oracle Cards

I have really, really gotten into Tarot the past couple of days. I’m using my Hanson-Roberts deck, which my parents gave me (best stocking stuffer EVER!). Even within just this past couple of days, I’ve noticed my reading seems to be forming a “style.” And I am gaining more personal interpretations of some things. So I’d like to hear about similar experiences from others.

Since all my divination is a conscious effort to ask the counsel or opinion of either Sarasvati (using oracle cards, tarot, or a pendulum) or Loki (runes), I think I’m having to work out some kinks in using them. Like, I’ll draw a card and immediately get a strong nudge that “No, put it back. That’s the wrong one.” This morning, Sarasvati INSISTED that the last card in the spread was The High Priestess. So I often end up shuffling cards back in and redrawing, as odd as that seems.

Certain cards have also formed definite meanings in my head. The High Priestess trump is a very positive card for me. It is an auspicious omen, and also a symbol of my ideals and values. When Sarasvati demanded that it be placed as the last card in the spread – the outcome – I knew that was an excellent sign. The Star trump is a symbol of Sarasvati’s influence in my life. It keeps showing up in spreads indicating a source of support and guidance. Finally, my significator is the Page of Cups; it works better than using the traditional correspondence, which would be either the Queen of Wands or the Queen of Pentacles.

So…this is just what is forming in my practice. I’d love to hear from others.

If you could give your past self advice…

As I’ve been dipping my toes in witchcraft more, I’ve also been thinking about the start I got in it when I was 14 that led me to quit for a long time.

If I could give my younger self any advice now, it would be to stay way, way, WAY far away from summoning and to not rely entirely on my friend as a learning resource (as he was also learning).

If you could go back to speak to yourself when you began practicing, what advice would you give?

Finding Religion?

Throughout my life, I have participated in more than one religion, and many variations of the ones I have tried. I see this as a natural part of attempting to find my own truth and way.

I know there are folks that say “There is only one right way” as pertaining to various things, and others that say that whatever works for the individual is fine … and then there are all the degrees in between. I have been, throughout my life, one of the “just winging it” sorts, who was very solitary and very internal. I find I am at a spot in my life where I want to change that, at least a bit. Perhaps a bit more community, and a bit more regimen and ritual in my life. It feels right when I think about it.

As I start exploring my own thoughts and feelings as I read and talk to people, I find that I am unable (thus far) to find an exact match of my own belief-set or preferences. So I start something, and then I pull back, going “Noooo, this doesn’t feel right.”

Does it ever “feel right” in entirety?

Ethics of Pagan Supplies

How important is it to you to make sure the supplies you need for your spirituality/religion/path are ethically sourced?

What are your parameters for “ethically sourced” and has thinking about this in your ritual/pagan practices changed the way you source mundane stuff in your life?

For me I try to make sure what i obtain for my path is some mixture of: do I really need it, second hand, a renewable resource, not environmentally damaging, made and sold by individuals or small business, and as local as possible.

obviously I can’t do all of this all the time but this is the ideal for me (And I am not judging people who can’t buy within these parameters due to economic or social circumstances.)

Also I am finding that the more I think about this in relation to my spiritual life it is bleeding through to the rest of my life (which is an experience I’ve had a lot since I started my path.)

Using Runes as Symbols Outside of Norse Spirituality?

What do you think of using runes as symbols, but outside the context of any Norse spirituality? Many people who are not spiritually connected to Norse culture use runes for various purposes, like divination, magic, etc. F’ex, let’s say hypothetically that there are a couple of runes that resonate very strongly with me symbolically (partly because of their own meanings and partly because of what they evoke for me personally and/or how that specific symbol — f’ex, the rune that looks like an arrow — could be interpreted other than as a rune), but I have little interest in Norse spirituality or in runes as a system. Is there any reason I shouldn’t use symbols that work for me, just because they’re outside my own spiritual/cultural frame of reference? What are the potential pitfalls?

What is the origin of the nine sacred woods?

A symbol representing the Awen from Celtic myt...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know they’re linked with Druidry and have some Wiccan connections, but what’s the origin of this idea? Is there evidence for this being a Celtic belief, or is it purely a modern invention? If it is ancient, is the number nine significant, or simply the number of sacred trees we know of? Or is the reverse true: we know the number but not the trees?

Using cosmetics for spell work?

Assorted cosmetics and tools
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve considered and dabbled with using cosmetics on my body for spells. But is it a good way to get the point across, plus I found some of the makeup and where I put it uncomfortable so any suggestion on special products? I’ve considered temporarily dying my hair, I’ve tried cheap glitter, any other ideas?