Funerals and Burial

Garnisons Kirke (Garrison Church), Copenhagen,...
Headstone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do your religious beliefs affect how you would ideally like to be buried? Does your religion have an already existing set of funerary practices? If so, do you plan to follow them? If you’re a recon: how would you adapt ancient funerary procedures that aren’t viable in the modern world? Do you ever worry that, even if you set out your wishes in writing, non-pagan family and friends will ignore them and carry out your funeral according to their religion? Or do you view funerals as primarily for the benefit of the bereaved anyway?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how you could adapt Kemetic burials for the modern world. You can hardly state in your will that you want to be mummified, and modern embalming isn’t really the same thing, but I don’t think it actually matters that much. I have however been thinking about requesting to be buried with an amulet, probably the Eye of Heru.

Magic In Ancient Greece

Parthenon from west
Parthenon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, I read in A Handbook To Life In Ancient Greece that the Classical Hellenic period there were no magicians. Now what I would like to know is what was the view of the Hellenists about magic, witchcraft, stuff like that? I read that it wasn’t considered okay to practice witchcraft. So what is your take on this?

Making Tarot Cards

Tarot cards.
Tarot cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people make their own runes. Makes sense, since you get much more of a connection with something you made yourself as opposed to something mass-produced you purchased. I’m quite sure the act and spent time creating something adds a lot to its spiritual value, so to say.

So I want to make my own tarot deck as well. Partly because I just cannot afford it, partly because I don’t even trust store-sold decks. What connection do I have to it? None. I would feel much more comfortable with my own cards made from scratch.

I’ve got the bases made, 78 cards, a quite comfortable size; I painted their backsides all the same colour and cut round the corners, etc. Now I am at the fun part – designing.

I have no problems with drawing, it’s something I do a lot. The thing is – all guides to understanding and reading tarot cards are very directly related to the scenes pictured on each card. Most minuscule of the details all seem to be of utmost importance. Am I supposed to just look at a classical deck and redraw all the 78 scenes exactly? I would much prefer using my own symbols and style while still reflecting the message each card is meant to carry. Would this mess the reading up a lot? How important is it really to adhere to all of the symbolic nuances?

Believing in Multiple Gods/Goddesses?

English: Egyptian gods and goddesses. These st...
Egyptian gods and goddesses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m just kind of going off of what I read on various sites over the internet…so bear with me. From my understanding, Pagans generally believe in multiple gods/goddesses (which is called polytheism, right?), but they don’t HAVE to… correct?

Are there certain paths of Paganism (is that the word?) that usually only believe in one god/goddess/other entity or being?

Are there certain paths that don’t believe in any gods/goddesses/other related?

Sorry… I know next to nothing about Pagan beliefs, so I’m just trying to sort it out little by little.

Scented Candles/Incense for Those who Cannot Smell?

Incense smoke
Incense smoke (Photo credit: Lomacar)

So, I have a sort of issue. I have something called anosmia, which means that I don’t have a sense of smell. I can’t smell anything, anything at all. I’ve never been able to and almost certainly never will be able to.

This makes using scented candles/oils/incense really confusing. Because, really, the lavender candle in front of me could smell like burnt diapers and I wouldn’t even notice the difference.

I guess my biggest question is that, is it really important to have certain scents in a ritual? Like, are those scents there to put the person into the right frame of mind to perform whatever ritual or meditation they are aiming to do? Or, are these things vital in summoning/contacting/aligning with whatever spirit or energy that you are working with?

If it’s to get the person in the right frame of mind… well then having a special fragrant candle isn’t going to make me feel any different than a normal candle by scent alone so it would be kind of pointless. If it’s appealing to some outside force, then I could understand that they wouldn’t solely be for me, but as a tool.

I would love to hear some opinions on this, it’s probably a pretty personalized issue, but I definitely thing it’s a relevant topic. It would be great not to have to go out and buy specially scented candles (and also have to ask someone what each candle smells like if they aren’t labeled ). So yes, I would really love some input on this!

Native Language in Ritual?

spine detail
(Photo credit: Burns Library, Boston College)

I’ve recently decided I want to include more Irish in my practice since I feel it has a greater connection to the Irish pantheon I work with. My grasp of Irish isn’t particularly good (‘learned’ it in school, but my first language is English) so it will be a challenge.

Does anyone else use the language native to where ever the region your deities are from and do you feel it is important to the core of your practice or just something to add to or enhance it but not necessarily vitally important to it?

Also if you do, how much do you use, just a few terms or for the entirety of the ritual/practice, etc?

Hope to spark an interesting discussion.

Native language in ritual?

Stones as charms?

English: A metaphorical visualization of the w...
English: A metaphorical visualization of the word Anger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was thinking about having a stone charm to absorb anger. You see, I get annoyed very easily and getting rid of the anger energy before it’s released in the form of yelling and would be a very good thing for me. How might I charm a stone to absorb anger?

I have polished river and stream rocks, can get unpolished river and stream rocks very easily, and the only stone I can recognize and name is white quartz.

Candle Magic

candle, candle in glass
Candle in glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve finally got a candle. It’s a nice brown apple-and-cinnamon scented one. I’ve been thinking of using it in candle magic. Sending energy, writing something in the wax and burning the candle, prayers, etcetera. I am also thinking of using it in place of incense in my Midsummer ritual because I don’t have any incense and can’t really get any.

I do have a problem though. According to everything I read, the candle must be left to burn out. However, I would like to reuse the candle, as I don’t get them very often, and it’s a 30-hour burn time and it’s highly impractical to keep it burning all that time. Is it permissible to reuse it?

Lots of Different Wiccas

Pentagram with a circle around it
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel kind of ashamed to admit it, but: I’m totally baffled by the differences between different types of Wiccans. I’ve been reading through Jennet’s list of definitions of Wicca, and I’m still a bit confused — partly about where the different types of Wiccans get their information/practices from, and also largely about eclectic Wicca.

1. So, obviously definition #1 on Jennet’s page is Trad Wicca. And #2 is also Trad Wicca but not BTW . . . right? And Wiccans in both 1 and 2 are learning from a group, including eventually oathbound materials.

But let’s say someone wants to practice definition #3. Would this then be a person who would study Outer Court materials coming from Trad Wiccans? Or where else would they get info from?

2. What counts as eclectic Wicca? Is it any form of Wicca that draws in non-Wiccan elements, or just things that make a specific point of blending in those elements — Norse Wicca, Tameran Wicca, etc?

As for religions like Norse Wicca: do they tend to be more Norse, or more Wiccan? Like, is it a basically Wiccan structure with Norse names added, or is it more like a Wiccanized form of Heathenry? (Or does it depend so much on the person that that’s impossible to answer?)

ADF or BDO: Unsure Which Would be Better Suited to Me?

200 px
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a while now, I’ve been considering what type of Druid organization I’d like to join. I’ve narrowed it down to the British Druid Order (BDO) and Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF). The OBOD didn’t appeal to me and neither did the AODA.

I’m very interested in Germanic paganism but Heathenry has never felt quite right to me for reason’s I cannot explain. I’m also interested in Kemeticism. I’d like a very earth based, animistic practice. I know that my Germanic tendencies would be welcomed among the ADF but my Kemetic practices would not. The BDO however seems very earth based but draws a lot from Celtic mythology and practices (Celtic deities have never appealed to me). Not to mention the cost of their courses varies considerably, the ADF is quite cheap whilst the BDO is very expensive. There are pros and cons to both.

I’m unsure of which direction to take. What would you recommend for somebody like me? I value any advice you could give me.