Wiccan Friend

Just your friendly neighborhood Witch. Thoughts on Wicca, Witchcraft, Tarot, and Paganism today.

Tag Archives: Wicca

A Witch’s Initiation

When I started on this pagan path over 10 years ago I certainly had a different outlook on Paganism and Wicca.  In the small town I grew up in everyone was Christian.  If there was a pagan presence in that small town it was well hidden.  So much so that I gather it probably didn’t want to be found.  This compounded with the mentality that seemingly strikes all small town folk that your town is an island.  It is the idea that since everything you need is all located with 15 square miles that traveling any distance outside of that is rare and is a hassle.  I didn’t know when I first started studying Wicca that there was an established community maybe only 30 minutes away that had worked hard for Pagan rights and awareness.  The internet was still young, hand written notes were common, and stopping by a strangers house to use the phone was perfectly ok.  Cell phones, email, and broadband internet were definitely around but life moves slower in small towns.  People had free time in the evenings to sit and listen to the Earth move.  Finding a book about the craft was special.  I still could never find one in my town, but had to go to the neighboring town that had a mall to find such things.  It was still only a 15 minute car ride.  I remember how I felt the first time I read about Initiation in a book.  It talked about coven initiation primarily but that really wasn’t an option for me.  I had been studying paganism for just over a year and hadn’t met any other pagans.  Just like my town, I had become an Island.  My only contact with other pagans were angelfire websites that would load on the family’s dial up connection.  A coven was far to foreign for initiation but still once I decided that I was pagan I knew I wanted to initiate.  I also knew that at that moment I wasn’t quite ready.  The want was there but  I felt like I hadn’t earn it yet.  I needed to live as a pagan and learn more before I gave myself over fully to this path.  I started a Book of Shadows, studied correspondence, read about the religion, and slowly came to a point were I had affirmed this faith I had enough to present it to my newly found Gods and Goddesses.

I looked up into the night.  My senses on fire and my energy through the roof.  I didn’t know what to call them so I referred to Deity as my Lord and Lady.  I proclaimed, “Lord and Lady, my name is Keegan.  I come to you in humble service. So Mote it Be.”  I’m sure there was more but that was all improved and ramblings of a star struck teenager.  I remember the warm breeze that night.  I remember crying, and finally feeling free.  I felt accepted, not by myself or friends and family, but rather acknowledged by the Gods that I was heard and that they were going to hold be to that vow… a vow of service.  If anything I felt humbled, and when I took that first step away from my make shift circle and came back into this world and this life I knew things would never be the same.  I was no longer an island.

Now I start another beginning and I find myself again at Initiation.  Tomorrow I will be initiated into Rose Hollow Coven and will haveDwennimmen, symbol of strength and humility. earned my First Degree.  It is as it should be, an acknowledgement of service to my Lord and Lady.  There is benefit though to being a part of a coven.  I have a wiser HP and HPS to help me walk through it this time and I can offer the coven my service.  With their help I hope to become a better pagan and well rounded High Priest.  I also hope that I am able to teach them a few things.  Knowing the kind of people they are I know they appreciate all of their coveners and are constantly growing as people and pagans themselves.   I feel ready at this point to be apart of that relationship.  I know I have much room for growth, but also know that will come with further diligent study and time.

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Thoughts on Man Panels

About 90 days ago I had the good fortune to be a part of a special panel of men.  I am getting a little ahead of myself so let me back up a tad.  My wife and our High Priestess get together once a month and host a delightful podcast called Shhh! There are Pagans in Texas.  A few months ago they did a short segment over the role of men in Paganism and Wicca.  Unfortunately at the time all of the men in their lives were busy so it was a segment on men by women.  In all fairness they did have our input via email and were acting on our behalf, but it wasn’t good enough.  Their fans and listeners insisted that they have a discussion panel of men to go over the subject again in length.  Enter Keegan, 3 High Priests, and a little inspiration.

 
We’re men, MANLY men, we’re men in tights. Yeah!
We roam around the forest looking for fights. We’re men, we’re men in tights.
We rob from the rich and give to the poor, that’s right!
We may look like pansies, but don’t get us wrong or else we’ll put out your lights.
We’re men, we’re men in tights (TIGHT tights), Always on guard defending the people’s rights.
When you’re in a fix just call for the men in tights! We’re butch.
 
 

So as I said I had to do this panel with 3 High Priest.  I am not easily intimidated but this was kind of heavy.  I remember being quite nervous the night before and staying up late to prepare.  I wasn’t sure of the format or what kind of questions were going to be asked so I decided to write some of my own.  If anything I knew I could fall back on them if needed.  In the long run I’m glad I did write out some thoughts because I ended up kind of MC’ing the panel and asking some of the questions I wrote down.   So we had Charles, High Priest of Wren’s Nest coven and an active Pagan in the DFW community for at least 20 years.  There was Beowulf, High Priest of Rose Hollow coven and my current HP.  Next is Nikki Tree High Priest of Circle of the Moon American Tradition of the Goddess, also representing the gay male pagans out there.  Finally there is me… not High Priest, Pagan for only one decade but as the others put it maybe I can offer a seeker’s perspective.

So go check it out, then come back and tell me what you think.  Maybe share it with some friends, whatevs.

Mr. Keegan goes to the Cathedral, and thoughts on Christening

I don’t often get the opportunity to visit Christian churches, but still oddly enough find myself in one around once or twice a year.  I know that during the yuletide my wife and I join her parents for Christmas eve services at their Lutheran church both because we knowit is important to them and because they ask us to play music during the service.  I grew up in the Lutheran church and can appreciate the service, but sometimes times it is hard to keep an open mind.  If nothing else it stands as a reminder to my wife and I of what we left behind re-affirming our own Pagan faith.  We leave the service with mixed feelings about the message from the Homily given but proud that as Wiccans we are open-minded enough to subject ourselves to it.  It does indeed feel like service putting ourselves aside to be there for other people.  Recently however I got a real treat as my niece was Christened in the Catholic faith.  It has been ages since I have been in a Catholic church and the ones I remember were no where near this magnificent.  The Rite was held in one of the oldest Cathedrals in Texas located in downtown Austin,  St. Mary.

Copyright (c) Dave Wilson, 2009

You walk up the short concrete steps and are greeted with massive wooden doors surrounded in gothic architecture that otherwise seems quite out of place in the heart of downtown Austin.  The building itself is so moving as a work of art and is steeped in history, symbols, community, amazing art, and lots of care.  You can tell as you enter that this is sacred space.  You can tell because of the way you are overcome as you pass over the threshold.  The church itself greets you both with a hello and warning.  I wont say that I felt magick inside, because I know the Church wouldn’t want it to be refer to that, but I certainly felts the hearts and prayers of over a century of religious work.  There is also a spacial trick that happens with all of these types of buildings.  From the outside they look huge, but when you step inside the space seems to double.  It may all be a

matter of perspective but it is a great effect that adds to the experience for sure.  The symbolism and religiosity inside is quite overwhelming.  Surrounding the great length of pews in the center of the Cathedral are styled walls, stain glass, and statues.  40 foot columns rise from the ground to touch the ceiling which is decorated in Gothic trusses  and amazing patterns of light and color.  It is simply beautiful, but honestly as I acclimated to the surroundings I began to miss something…

I was surrounded by the supernatural.   This was all a great feet of inspired Human ingenuity and religious incitement, but it lacks what really stirs my soul.  The cool Earth, an awakening breeze, a warm fire, and refreshing water.  Granted all of those things were present in the Church.  The stone beneath our feet, the atmosphere of the space, the flickering of the lit candles, and the font filled with fresh water for baptism.  Even still, it wasn’t same.  The man-made becomes the focal point and the most precious gifts, our natural elements, become  the accents.  I am opened minded enough to know how amazing this place is and how much it must mean to the people who worship here, but aware enough to be reminded of my own path and what stirs my spirit.  There was comfort in those thoughts.  It was an exercise to find worship surrounded by dogma.

As for the Rite itself, it was amazing.  There is so much imagery and mysticism in the Catholic Church.  My wife pointed out to me at the beginning they asked the child’s name and what they wanted to achieve here today.  This was so much like every time we as Wiccans enter the circle and are asked for our name and purpose.  We looked at one another and smiled, or in her case smirked.  She is very smirky.  I’m fortunate to be able to share little moments like that with someone.  This was a lot of things during the ceremony that I couldn’t agree with, after all I am Pagan for a reason, but I just put that under differences in religion and do what I can.  That is be there for my family, shower this babe with love and hopeful energy, and say my own silent prayer to the God and Goddess of thanks.

Blessed Be.

Thoughts on the God and Goddess and artwork to honor them

I feel their presence everyday.  Sometimes it is a nudge and other times a gentle reminder on the breeze.  There are even times that they take me over with anxiety or fill me with peace.  The Lord and Lady that I know, and that knows me, are more then All-knowing deity held out in front of me at prayer’s length.  I know I could never be atheist because of the personal experiences I’ve had while sharing my life with the Lord and Lady.

Click to visit Artist's Website

Often times She is that wind that kisses my face.  She brings a wisdom to my heart to remind me of my promise to Her and affirm Herself to me.  When I was younger she would remind me of my lost true love by subtle hints of vanilla on the air.  I should have listened more closely because now I understand She was speaking through scent, and if I would have had the wherewithal I could have heard a much deeper message.  Other times She is the raw emotion that overcomes me, or the spirit of nurture for my loved ones.  She comes to me in the form of Awen to help creative pursuits, and lives inside my guilt when I hurt those closest to me.  I look out into this world and see Her represented in the feminine, the creative spark, and the nurturing Earth.

My Lord is a rock.  He motivates me with His example.  He is able to show me how things could be and what it takes to earn and achieve.  He provides a pillar of strength to both push me forward and to hold me up.  He is both giving and firm like a velvet brick.  He holds his values like a shield.  They keep him true and right and protect Him from lies and falsehoods.  When my Lord speaks life itself listen to his wisdom and takes care to heed his words as they are the foundations of truth.  He is the warm sun on my face and shoulders.  He is the voice inside me that yearns to be a better Man, Husband, and a wiser person.

Together the God and Goddess represent all things manifest in this mundane world and provide guidance and care to experience this life and the next.  For me the greatest lesson they have taught is that as long as I am alive, I can change the situation I am in.  This is the very basis of my belief in Wicca and Witchcraft.

So in my Wiccan tradition one of the requirements we are given to allow us to initiate and receive our first degree is to complete an art project.  It is to represent our relationship with the God and Goddess.  As simple as that sounds it becomes a huge undertaking.  You have to plan the media, and the subject, and search very deeply for an answer.  An answer to the question, what is my relationship with the God and Goddess.

Interestingly enough my answer would have been different a few years ago.  I think that is becauseall relationships change and grow in different ways.  Even in the last year, there have been so many things that influence how I view and interact with my Deities.  Even the way I define this relationship has changed based on new ways I have found of expressing it.

For me I knew fairly early that I wanted my art project to be a mask that represented both the male and female aspects of nature.  To me it gives not only a easy visual reference for the Lord and Lady, but also a very deep comment about our relationship given that it is a mask.  Even in my youngest thoughts as a child I can remember seeing the masculine and feminine in my world.  It was always right in front of my thoughts.  It is one of the reasons I couldn’t reconcile my beliefs as a Christian. The world was polar and all people, objects, even ideas had aspects of male or female.  So i set out in my mask to visually represent this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you look at it the Left Side being Feminine and the Right side representing the Masculine.

Left:

  • There are more pieces making up this side of the mask, they represent the ever unfolding layers of the feminine.  Complex emotions, and deep passion.
  • There is moss present on this side to represent the Earth.  The most nurturing and growing substance the we see and come in contact with nearly everyday.
  • The vines that cascade down the side of the mask really reminded me of flowing hair and gave the mask a more feminine quality.
Right:
  • Here you can see the bark is bigger in both size and weight.  I wanted something heavier and robust for the masculine side.
  • The main feature of this side being the feathers to represent animals.  The beast and foul being of the God I thought I would fit nicely within the God theme.
  • Lastly are the leaves and wood itself which reminds me largely of the Green Man and God of the forest.
Why a mask?

It at the moment accurately represents how I feel about my relationship with the Lord and Lady andsort of my purpose on this earth.  I feel I am here to experience life through the eyes of the God and Goddess while at the same time I’m and charged with the God and Goddess experiencing this life through me, my actions, and my eyes.  I am to live the best I can, experience this marvel of existence, and bring it back to the Lord and Lady upon my return from this life.  A mask was the best way I could illustrate the dual nature of this concept of putting on the God and Goddess so they can experience what I see through their eyes.
How it was done:
I thought I’d add here how I actually made the mask for anyone who is interested in making their own.  It was really simple, and uses both natural materials and craft store materials.
What is used:
  • Bark found from downed limbs or washes ashore on a lake after a storm.
  • Paintable mask foundation bought at craft store.
  • Foam sheet bought at craft store.
  • Plastic vines bought at craft store.
  • Reindeer Moss bought at craft store.
  • Plastic leaves bought at craft store.
  • Bird feathers bought at craft store.
  • Glue Gun
  • Crazy Glue
I first took the paintable white mask and added on to it with the foam sheets.  I had a basic idea of how big I wanted the mask to be so I cut out a bigger mask pattern and crazy glued it on top of the original craft mask.  I used crazy glue because I really wanted this part to be a strong foundation for the rest of the mask.  For starting out it gives you a larger canvas to plan out what your mask will look like.  Later on whatever you don’t fill with the mask design can be easily cut away using a sharp knife or box cutter.
I then started breaking up my wood.  I needed several smaller pieces for the cheeks and forehead, and also a rounded piece of bark for the bridge of the nose.  I then took all of those small pieces and started to piece them together like Tetris.  I literally had all of the wood pieces trying one and then another until I found a pattern that suited me.  I then started gluing down the largest pieces of wood to “frame” the face of the mask.
After some of the larger pieces were down I inserted the moss into and under those large pieces and glue them down to the mask surface or if they were under a piece of bark gluing the bark on top of the moss.  This gives the illusion the moss is growing from under and around the bark and gives a simple transition into the smaller pieces of bark.  That way your bark edges dont have to match up perfectly and you have a bit of wiggle room to get the form of a human face down.
After all the bark and moss were placed I wove in the vines for the hair.  The vines are made from a metal wire painted dull green so fixing them to the top of the mask was easy by weaving it through the top of the bark carefully.
I then shaped the feathers and glued them to the part of the mask I had left uncovered.
All that was left was to fill in some of the empty space on the right side with leaves.  I secured those down with some hot glue and was done.
The final result is a really special result that I will keep around for many years, as a reminder of how I related to the God and Goddess during this time of my life.
What has been your favorite Pagan art project?  We Pagans tend to be quite the artsy folk and I would love to see what else is out there.  Link in the comments below!
Blessed Be.

Hello again, how are ya?

Obvious as it may seem I did in fact take a hiatus from this small corner of the internet.  Every year about this time, March – July, my brain and creativity always seem to just shut down.  This year I decided to take some time and dwell in it.  I usually try and fight it and stay active and “pound” out whatever projects I have going on in life, but this year I tried something else.  I just went with it. You know, I feel a lot better than I usually do this time of year and mentally feel pretty refreshed.

Whats been going on?

I have been really fortunate the past few months.  The business that I run was not doing very well, but it gave me ample free time and the opportunity to get both in and out of a funk.  In many ways that contributed to the funk, but at some point I had to remind myself that I have never run out of money.  I had to remind myself that the Fates have always provided me with ways to take care of myself financially.  I just had to take charge of it all and notice the signs.  I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to my wife who worked her tail off everyday to get us through the rough patches.

I did have the opportunity to semi-host a panel of Men on the podcast “Shhh! There are Pagans in Texas.” The topic for the panel was men in paganism.  It was terribly interesting panel because of all of the different parts of the community we had represented.  On the panel were three High Priests and myself.  All fairly active in the community and readily voicing their opinions about the current and past state of the Role of Men in paganism today.  Since I was the only non-High Priest and the youngest of the group I took it upon myself to write out the questions, or topics, for the panel to speak about.  It was a great experience all around and I’ll let you readers know when it posts over at Shh! There are Pagans in Texas.

A symbol representing the Awen from Celtic myt...

Image via Wikipedia

I also got off my ass, finished my “Major” for the year, did my required Art project, and asked for Initiation into my Coven.  To explain a bit more, last year my High Priestess had the coven choose a Major of sorts.  Some topic or area of Paganism, Wicca, or Witchcraft to put focus into over the course of the year.  I chose Knot Magick.  I chose it because it was the first magick I had ever done with result, and what really open my eyes to the possibility of magick.  I explored it a lot over the last year and learn some valuable lessons.  My next post to this blog will be over Knot Magick so I can share with you wonderful readers what it is and how to go about safely doing it.  Interestingly enough this year I decided to focus on Music Magick.  Which I really have to thank this blog for the direction.  It was a comment on an older post where someone asked me if I had any musical correspondences.  It opened a door and I am going to spend the next year exploring exactly what is on the other side of that door.

Not my mask, but very cool

As far as initiation is concerned, one of our requirements is the create a piece of art that represents our connection with deity.  It took me forever to find the right materials for my project but after I got what I wanted it inspiration struck me hard.  I ended up making a mask out of bark, moss, fake leaves and vines, and feather.  The creation of it was truly inspired and I am very happy with the result.  I will however save the story and go into great detail in a future post with pictures and what not.  After the experience I can really appreciate our High Priestess giving us the requirement.  It is certainly something I will do if I ever have a coven of my own.

 

Last but not least I started a Jazz Combo Band.  I always said I would never start my own band, but I really needed the creative output and so I put out an ad on Craigslist and started putting a band together.  I don’t have any music samples yet but might soon. So stay tuned!

Blessed Be.

Thoughts on busyness, business, and making room

Merry meet fellow pagans, and anyone who happens across the site who may not be pagan.  Fall is in full swing here in Texas and although only a couple of days ago it was a balmy 78 degrees, it has turned cold again and hopefully it will stick.  My only hope for the warm few days we had is maybe it will cut down the wasp and insect population.  Originally I had planned something very timely for this post but something unexpected happened and instead I’ll share a story about love between friends lost.  It has been a awhile since my last post and I really wanted to share something so I am just winging the content today.

Busyness:  Tis the season.  I find this time of year is so active.  October kicks off this time of busyness that doesn’t really stop until the first of the year.  I think we celebrated 3 Samhains, had an October and November coven class, Thanksgiving, family stuff, and it will keep going with endless shopping and preparing for the upcoming Yule and Christmas.  This makes things like study and self reflection hard to do, but I urge everyone that if your schedule is anything like mine to take even a short amount of time to get lost in meditation.

Business:  I make it a point not to talk about my business in blog posts.  I do this mostly because I don’t want the blog or site to be seen as an advertisement with a thin pagan veil.  So please don’t take the following as an advert.  I really just want to flush some bad feelings out of my system and put out some welcoming energy.  Business can be tough.  When it is good, it is good.  It makes you feel on top of the world.  When it is bad, it is bad.  It makes you feel like the world as been turned upside down and its full weight bears down on your shoulders.  Summer was fairly good to us and we made some good strides with future plans and ironing out a lot of details on moving forward.  Unfortunately, as with all things, there is an ebb and flow and we have to except the good with the bad.  The bad has gotten to me lately.  Last year this time was tough as well and I was kind of expecting another slow period.  We set up some special programs to try and drum up business with some great incentives both for

Click for Funny!

new clients and for our sales force, but it is turning out to be just as dry as last year.  That being said, I am putting out there before time is out this year that I will not lay down.  I won’t give in to the weight of my problems.  I will welcome it with open arms in hopes that I will have new opportunities and hard times will pass.  *Update*  I often write these posts in stages with several days going by in between writing down my thoughts or working on other post.  I have always put my finger in multiple pies like that.  Since starting this post business has really turned around.  We have 3 more client with another 3 on the way.  That is quite frankly amazing for this time of year.  I wish I could take credit for rolling up my sleeves and getting the job done but I have been sick with fever and in bed for the last 4 days so the credit and thanks really goes out to my business partner who really should believe in miracles.  Maybe it is just the power of positive thinking.

Making Room:  Originally for this post I wanted to put out some magick work to coincide with a very unique part of this time of year.  I have also felt the Samhain going into to Yule is the time of year where we should concentrate on making room in our lives for the things we truly need.  This may mean that we cull from those things which we have too much of, or even eliminating those things from our lives that we find are in excess.  I thought it would be a good exercise for me as well as a way to share with the readership a more intimate form of my magick.  My thoughts on this changed when something quite unexpected happed while I was having an outing with my wife.  We were out doing some Christmas shopping and were going to catch an early afternoon movie at a dollar theater when we decided to kill some time before the movie at a coffee shop.  We walked into the small coffee place and standing behind the counter was an old friend that we haven’t seen in over a year and a half.  We used to be part of a group of fairly close friends a few years ago.  It was a super group of 6 guys who all worked for a used gaming store and our wives/significant others.  We also all played online games together like World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online.  Honestly there was a time when we were all super close, and would talk about our futures together and helping each other navigate the perils of life.  I also appreciated that we were an inter faith group with an atheist, baptists, a catholic, and a wiccan all interested in each others unique point of view.  At least I thought that was the case.  One year my wife and I threw a Halloween party for the group and I let one of the other girls talk me into giving a Tarot reading for her.  I think that may have been the moment where they realized that we weren’t just kinda pagan but really pagan.  From that moment forward the group drifted away from us.  They became distant friends pretty quickly.  Wouldn’t make time for us and made plans with other members of the group.  We were  hurt and felt pretty poorly about the whole situation.  Life moved forward, and I think I had finally come to terms with losing them all as friends until we ran into one of them at the coffee shop.  We had a great conversation and he brought some things to light that made both me and my wife feel a little better about what had happened.  Needless to say now I have to think about what I need to hold to and what I should push aside to make room.  Maybe the universe was telling me not to give up yet, but to give it another shot.

Well, if you made it though that wall of text then you have earned some congratulations.  This has been quite a lengthy entry.  Thanks for your attention and I charge all of you readers to think about what it is that you don’t have need for this Winter.  Maybe there is a little room you can make for yourselves.  Blessed Be.

How about some pig with your Wicca?

So I wanted to post a short something just to let you guys know I’m still alive and mostly well. Lately I have been somewhat under the weather but that is passing now and I am on the way to 100%. I also wanted to let you know that the “post proper” that I am working on is really fascinating. I have been delving into music and the occult and let me tell you it is grand. The bulk of my research has been done by quite prolific author whose works seemed to have gone out of publishing. His name I’ll save for the later post, but his works were very intellectual. Reading through his books has been more like studying science articles or thesis papers, so it’s been slow going but frighteningly informational. For all of you musical witches out there it should be a treat and hopefully well thought out enough to add to your own trappings on magic. I hope that this might develop into a seminar that I can take to my coven and possibly a pagan outing event around Beltaine.

Milton Bradley Company

Image via Wikipedia

However in the mean time I’d like to share if I might a bit of an oddity I found. Lately I have been spending quite a few nights sleepless and awake. To pass the time a watch a lot of YouTube via my iPhone or even play a few games like “Angry Birds” or “Yahtzee”. Interestingly enough I found a game that I used to play as a kid in the app store called Pass the Pigs. It was originally made by Milton Bradley as a kind of dice rolling game. It came in a small plastic molded portfolio and inside you got some paper, pencils, and two rubber pigs. These pigs were molded in such a way that when you rolled them like dice they would land in different positions. Depending on what position they landed in determined how many points you got to add to your score. Well I found an electronic version of this priceless game, which I must admit my wife and I still play from time to time. She is fiercely competitive at it and quite lucky too. This electronic version contains a story mode that takes you through the life story of a pig. Along the way you are asked to roll for certain bonuses or asked to make certain decision that determine the fate of the Pig’s life. I found out that there were multiple endings so naturally I played it over and over to see some of the different endings. While doing this I ran across this strange arch in the story line that actually alluded to Wicca. I managed to capture some screen shots, so check it out below. (Written via WordPress for Iphone.)



What I find really interesting is that they actually put out that as a parent if I let my child make her own religious decisions then she ends up being very happy.  On the other hand if I tell her no and send her off to a religious training camp that she ends up becoming a fundraiser.  It makes me think that the developers of the game are not only Pagan, but perhaps former Christians as well.  There is a lot to say about those four little pictures, but I digress as this would be too easy of a segue into Christian bashing so I’ll just rise above.  Needless to say, when I saw this while playing I lol’d.  Happy to share.  Blessed Be.

Future Thoughts and the Call to Teach

So I have found myself drifting into thoughts about the future lately.  Specifically about paganism and ways that I can give and make things better.  I have been asking myself lately what the future holds for my pagan path, about being a third degree witch in my tradition and what lies both before I get there and after.  I try hard not to dwell on the after because I feel it more wise for me to focus on how to get there.  There is a prospect that really excites me and that is that opportunity to teach my fellow pagans.  Our High Priestess and Priest believe that the coven should really teach itself.  They encourage us to share the things they we have learned with our coven mates, and it is a refreshing idea.  That way collectively we can grow and share the work of learning new things.  It is interesting that I have been on this path for over 10 years now, but I still feel like I am in a learning stage.  I wonder if that ever really goes away.  Do sages and wise men ever really feel like sages and wise men?

Luther rose

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When I was a younger lad I had someone say something so overwhelmingly encouraging that it has stuck with me.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t really remember the little stuff.  Most of my memories are more about what I felt at the time and less about what people say and the details.  It was at the end of Junior High School.  The Lutheran Church I went to as a kid would split the youth into to groups, Junior High and High School, and at the end of the term our Sunday School teacher just took the last day to go around and tell everyone what she thought.  Her name was Donna.  I wasn’t sure what she did for a living but I know that along with teaching Sunday School she also played the organ and organized the music for the church.  I was sitting at the end of the table so just by fate I ended up last.  She looked at me and I’ll never forget how.  She was proud, and hopeful.  Donna told me that she admired me for the unique gift I had to be able to take the thoughts in my head and put them into words so someone could understand them.  It floored me, and had an interesting effect that I don’t think was intended.  I started thinking how I could use that gift and eventually arrived at teaching.

Since that moment I have wanted in some form to help others and teach.  Soon after the comment I started helping my church out by helping the Sunday School teachers with their work.  Later I remember assisting a teacher with the young adults catechism class.  I gave piano and guitar lessons to other kids in High School.  I taught climbing and repelling for the Boy Scouts.  Even after I graduated from High School, I took on the role of Youth Minister at my church.  During the next year I reveled most in teaching Sunday school classes to the High School class.  I would spend every Saturday coming up with a lesson plan to go over the next morning.  I also entered college declaring myself a Music Education major in hopes of someday teaching band in a class room.  It was that moment that Donna poured into me the thought that I was good at something unique that has inspired me to use it to help others.  It is a powerful thought that she guided me so absolute with just one sentence.  It is quite possibly one of the reasons why I started this site, so others could learn from my experience.

This is one of the things I really appreciate about the Pagan Community and Wicca.  In many ways Wicca is a Teacher/ Student based religion.  Someone or something has to teach you those mysteries.  Be it a book or a person, there is knowledge and wisdom that you have to get from somewhere.  Becoming clergy in this religion means in many ways to pass your knowledge on to others that seek it.

That brings me to the root of my need to teach others.  Some might be familiar with a psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow. He was a psychologist in the mid 1900’s who came up with a hierarchy of needs.  Early on it occurred to Maslow everyone has five levels of needs.  At the bottom, Level 1, were listed the very basic needs or physiological needs like breathing, food, water, and procreation.  From here the idea is that once we meet those physical needs that other needs arise of a different nature.  Level 2 is the need for Safety, like having a good paying job and keeping your friends and family out of harm.  Level 3 is about the need for Love and belonging; friends, family, intimacy, and being accepted by others.  Level 4 is about esteem.  Not only of the self but from others as well.  Not only do people accept you but they respect you too.  That brings us to Level 5.  Originally this was the need for Self-actualization or in simple terms being the best one can be and realizing your potential.  Later in the 70’s two  levels were added before this level of 5) cognitive needs, and 6) Aesthetic needs.  These are the need to know and understand and the appreciation of beauty and form respectively.  That makes Level 7 Self Actualization.  It is a terribly interesting theory of behavior that I could probably go on for hours about but there is a point.  In the 90’s yet one more level (click to see a chart) was added to the very top, level 8, Transcendence.  See, once we realize our full potential it is at this point that we have the need to help others self-actualize.  Ultimately we need to step outside ourselves to help others find self-fulfillment.  It is a eye opening idea.

I just think that along the way to my own self-actualization I can help other towards theirs.  Hence my drive to teach and maybe the root of all teachers.  Blessed Be.

Dedication to the Craft of the Wise

Greetings to all.  While I am pounding out the final post in the Knowledge, Wisdom, and Intelligence series I thought I would give a short update of what is going on and talk briefly about dedicating to the path.

You will notice new additions to the Book of Shadows.  I added a Magickal Arts section and have updated the Circle of the Year for Litha.  Overtime I will continue adding to both of those areas to keep them up to date and fresh.

I must say that I am really excited.  Last Saturday my wife and I dedicated into the Rose Hollow Coven.  After going through some classes and learning about the people in the coven we decided that it would be a great place for us to learn and call home.  That being said I feel now that I am going to have to be careful of what I share with this blog.  I want to protect my coven mates their privacy, as well as the secrets of our tradition.  I will however still be sharing ideas that I find helpful and think you might get something out of.  That being said, the dedication was beautiful and meaningful.  It brought me back to my first dedication.  You see I took this most recent dedication as a dedication to be in and a part of Rose Hollow.  I wanted to reaffirm with the God and Goddess that this is my chosen path and that I want to walk that path specifically with these people.

My first dedication was a self-dedication.  I had been studying Wicca and Witchcraft for several months.  Secretly of course because I was living in my parents house at the time.  I was 18 but going to college and working nearby and staying home on the farm made all of that easier and more affordable.  I think it must of been “Uncle Bucky’s” Big blue book that pushed me over the edge.  I realized that if I was going to live a Pagan life that I needed to make it official.  I needed to shed off my old skin, put it behind me, and let the Gods know that I was serious and wanting to affirm myself as Pagan.  I don’t remember exactly when it was, maybe late summer or fall.  I remember I took my athame and headed outside.  I cast a quick circle and remember becoming overwhelmed with feelings.  It had felt so right and everything over the last several months of studying and reading had built up to this moment.  Quietly but with purpose and intensity I addressed my Gods.  “Watch over me Lord and Lady.  I start a new path under your care with joy and humility.  Its me Keagen.”  It was the first time that I had really felt my Craft name and it felt important to introduce myself to the God and Goddess even though I knew that they recognized me.  I cried.  In doing so I was shaking off those ideas and old beliefs that were binding me and holding me back.  I felt lifted and clean.  I hadn’t perform any magickal work before this because I felt that if I were going to follow a religious magickal path that I needed to pay homage to the Lord and Lady before doing so.  And so it was.

I feel this introduction into The Craft is just as valid as any.  I connected with the God and Goddess that night and know one can tell me otherwise.  However when it comes to Wicca I do feel that you should be taught this from a Priest or Priestess of the religion.  That would require induction into a coven or other similar group.  Wicca is a specific religion, with its own mysteries and ways.  It would be foolish to think that you could reveal those to yourself without knowing their source, but that is only my opinion.  What do you think about self-dedication?  What was your first like, or what would you like it to be like?  Do you believe that it is possible to be Wiccan without being brought into the path by another Wiccan?  Answer in the comments below.

Knowledge, Wisdom, and Intelligence Part 2

So for a short recap on this series.  I started this to take a closer look at the special qualities of these subjects.  I wanted to celebrate their differences and apply what I learn to a magickal life.  You can check out the first post on Knowledge here.  Now, we move on to Wisdom.

Wisdom

This is really one of my favorite subjects.  I feel it is most often mistaken for our other subjects knowledge and intelligence, but when you look closely at it you get a true sense of how important a trait it is.

Defined Wisdom is knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action.

I like this definition because of how eloquently it is summed up.  Wisdom is knowledge of what is true or right.  So we can gather that if we do not seek the truth behind what we know then we are not seeking wisdom.  This is interesting to me because it is implying that wisdom is bigger than just what the individual believes is true.  Who decides what is true?  In my mind there are individual truths that I may believe in but for something to be universally true it must be seen as true by the collective.  Two things dictate truth to me.  Our Gods and society decides what is true and right and what is not.

There are certain things we know that are wrong and right, true and untrue.  Many of these truths we come equipped with at birth.  Maybe it is because it is the ways things have been done for so long that they are a very part of humanity now enshrined in our DNA or through reincarnation and truths we have learned over many life times.  Even if that is true I think it is possible that the Lord and Lady have had their hand in it over the years slyly nudging humanity towards acting true and right.  As far as the truths which we do not retain through birth they are taught through the communities of which we all find ourselves a part of.  Those townships, organizations, groups, clubs, neo-tribes, associations, colonies and societies teach us the collective truths.

Now the definition further unfolds and adds coupled with just judgement as to action.  So not only do we have true knowledge but to be wise we must understand how to rightly use that knowledge in action.  To me it is a charge.  A charge that to be wise I must take that which I know and act justly and rightly.  It is a good affirmation that we should strive to use our knowledge towards a goal which is most beneficial.

So how do we learn wisdom?  I think Confucius said it well.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

We can reflect on others actions and gather what we can from our contact with deity.  We can imitate the Wise, which although it seems like a juvenile form of wisdom, it would make people look wise.  Finally there is experience.  I agree with the wise sage that it can be bitter but at the same time there is so much to be gained by gathering wisdom through experience.

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another. – Juvenal

So now that we have working understanding of Wisdom, how can we use it in our magickal lives?

The wise are able to discern their true interests from those of the ego mind. They are usually regarded as kind, content in themselves. They tend not to aspire to greater material wealth or fame. They have learnt what is important. – Peter Russell

We must strive to take the knowledge that we have and use it to better ourselves and those around us.  We must also work to be wiser and use knowledge within our code of ethics.  During spellwork take a moment to stop and think about how your spell will effect all the things that are connected to it.  Really explore how it fits into your own code of ethics.  Always challenge yourself to apply wisdom when trying to affect change.

I think it is important that we view wisdom as non polar.  Is wisdom only about making a decision based on your knowledge for the good of all, or is it more about recognizing the difference and knowing what is good and bad about your knowledge set.  If someone only concerns themselves with what is good and does not explore what is  bad about what they know, then do they truly understand their knowledge in whole?  When exploring knowledge take note of both the good and the bad.  Only then do I think we can make the best choices as to how to act on our knowledge base.

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast. NAS, Proverbs 3:13-18

What the Tarot says about Wisdom:  A Single card pull from the Tarot

The Queen of Swords – She reminds me that the path to wisdom is often hard.  My experiences will require me to be tough in my will.  She also reminds me that in order to experience life and gain its wisdom I must act.  I cannot remain comfortable in my current state too long, but must push forward to understand more.  All things precious come at a price just as the most beautiful of roses can have equally as sharp thorns.