Welcome to UK Pagan
For Pagans of all paths, and for Pagans of none.
UK Pagan has been an online home and discussion place since being founded in 2001. We pride ourselves on providing a safe space for active debate and conversation, and a place where followers of other religions are welcome providing they show respect and tolerance.
We strive to be a place for all Pagans, whatever path, whatever stage of their learning; a place where Pagans discuss issues with tolerance and respect for others; and a neutral forum with no "site line" or "site view".
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On 1/16/2019 at 11:41 AM, UK Pagan said:
I feel that the connection between what we see/feel as Magic, and what we see/feel as consciousness, be that our own, or the consciousness of the land, the planet, the Sun, the Universe, to me is what makes this stuff work. It is the Spiritual Quest to be in relationship with all of that. By being in relationship with it, maybe we can then understand that there is no separation, and that the consciousness behind my eyes, is the same as that behind yours, as that behind the plant or tree, of the hawk or mouse.
Me too. The physics/chemistry/biology of how it works means nothing to me, and probably would cease to be magic if it did. There was a book out a few years/decades ago (Supernature by Lyall Watson) that everyone thought was twaddle and maybe it was but he did speculate about trees being telepathic. We now know they communicate through fungus. Does that make trees more magickal or less magickal? It doesn't make us any more or less able to tune into their wisdom, so that's probably a bad example. If we understood how standing stones remember what's happened to and around them over the millennia and how they generate wisdom in people who manage somehow to tune into it, would that understanding make it any less real? I suppose it might. But things like consciousness and relationships, and wisdom for that matter, aren't about scientific explanations.
On 1/16/2019 at 11:41 AM, UK Pagan said:
It’s a talking stick moot where we pull a topic from The Jam Jar of Possibilities, a jar filled with topics people have suggested we discuss and explore, and the one pulled that night was Magic – What is it, where does it come from, and how do you work with it?
I like that idea very much.
A few days ago I was witness to a post going viral on the internet. I shared an article that Cerri wrote on her blog about Magic and Tolkien that was titled ‘Finally I understand why Tolkien’s Elves make me cry‘. I simply shared it on my Facebook page saying “Cerri has written a lovely article about Tolkien and Magic. Have a read!” I moved on to other things but within a few hours I heard Cerri downstairs obviously shocked at something. I came and she said “look at this!”. Over a thousand people had read the article in about an hour. More followed. It was shared hundreds of times and the next day was pretty much the same.
It was obvious that this article had touched a nerve, but what was it?
That very evening we had our local pub moot. It’s a talking stick moot where we pull a topic from The Jam Jar of Possibilities, a jar filled with topics people have suggested we discuss and explore, and the one pulled that night was Magic – What is it, where does it come from, and how do you work with it?
The Universe works in mysterious ways.
So the beer mat was passed around the table with each person offering their views. A fascinating evening ensued.
The moot has been running for over 20 years so we’ve obviously discussed Magic before. Back in the 90s there was a great deal of enthusiasm for Magic. Paganism was a deeply magical path, the routes in were Wicca, Witchcraft, Druidry, Asatru, all of which are initiatory paths that held within them a magical training. Over the years Paganism has become far more eclectic and diverse. With the publication of Dawkins’ The God Delusion there was, for a while, a pressure to try to shoehorn beliefs and Magic into purely logical explanations and abide by a more Atheistic world view. So at the moot we have seen all of this ebb and flow of fashion and changing opinions. It’s always interesting to note further changes. So as the mat was passed around I was expecting more of the logical explanations, and of course they were there, but there was something else, something that was expressed in Cerri’s article – a longing for mystery.
Look, I am convinced that one day a scientist will create a machine that will go ping and they will ‘discover’ Magic Waves. Kind of like the way explorers ‘discovered’ America and Australia. These islands were already there, being lived upon quite happily by countless generations of indigenous peoples, but now someone had ‘discovered’ them, well, they really existed. Of course these ‘waves’ would never be called Magic Waves, but they will be the physical forms of the mystical energy Magicians, Shamans, and Priests have been working with for millennia. Look away from the lab coats though, and look to the land, the green, the mud, the waters, and the sky, because although that machine may one day go ping in that laboratory, our senses already go ping when we develop a deeper relationship with the natural world, which is where Magic has always lived. It isn’t an unnatural energy, it’s a completely natural, yet deeply mysterious, one. It is a yearning for connection with that mystery that I witnessed in the pub moot, and I am convinced it is also the reason why Cerri’s blog was shared and commented upon so much. There is a place, deep within the soul, that understands that mystery. It not only understands it, but it knows that it is made of the same stuff and is essential – without it there is a hole, there is something fundamental to being alive that is missing.
My view on how Magic works has shifted and changed over the years. Right now I feel that the connection between what we see/feel as Magic, and what we see/feel as consciousness, be that our own, or the consciousness of the land, the planet, the Sun, the Universe, to me is what makes this stuff work. It is the Spiritual Quest to be in relationship with all of that. By being in relationship with it, maybe we can then understand that there is no separation, and that the consciousness behind my eyes, is the same as that behind yours, as that behind the plant or tree, of the hawk or mouse. That when we Journey in a pathworking those paths and visions are created within that consciousness and literally open to other worlds. That when we make that spell, or work that Magic, our consciousness becomes one with the consciousness of the Universe and, just as with the Web of Wyrd, we pluck a thread here, and it is felt way over there, and that causes change.
I love a piece from a talk given by academic Graham Harvey at AnderidaFest last year. He spoke of those moments when we are in tune with that Universal Consciousness. We walk upon the land, look up, and right before us is a glorious stag, or an eagle swoops down and lands on a post. Maybe, just like me last year, you are seemingly mobbed by two crows. In those moments we feel that magical connection and relationship. Graham suggested however that these things are happening all the time, and rather than the stag appearing to confirm our acts, it’s actually the other way around, and the stag, crow, eagle is really there to say, “Oh! You’ve finally turned up! We’ve been here all along!”
I too feel that sadness when I see the Elves leave at the end of the Lord of the Rings. I feel the same way when I get to the end of Arthurian novels and films (at least the ones that understand that the old Arthurian Mythos is also a tale of our connection to the Spirit of the Land) and I see Arthur being carried away on the ship to Avalon, sailing to the west, and the Otherworld. They do symbolise Magic leaving the world with the arrival of industry and so-called progress. And with that arrival a separation was felt, and so we search for the Grail once more, to bring healing to the wound created by that perceived separation.
I confess that I have always found January to be the hardest month of the year. Named after the God Janus there is a real sense of things not quite beginning yet, with the God’s faces seeing both back to the old year, and forward into the new. The festivities of Yule and the New Year are past, the decorations now back in their boxes for another 11 months, yet the light is not visibly growing just yet – by the end of January, yes, but right now the nights are still falling before 5pm. It’s a strange time of limbo, and one I’ve never particularly enjoyed. But… Last year I said that I would try to embrace all aspects of the year, and that is what I’ve been trying to do. Admittedly there have been some days when all I could come up with as I walked Oscar along the Adur river in ice-cold winds, greyness and damp air was, “well, it’s nice and quiet”. But on the whole I’ve been doing much better.
So what of the time between the Winter Solstice and Imbolc? January, that lies in between, like the dark lines between tracks on an old LP record. What do you show me? It is true. It is quiet, and that is a blessing. As I walk through the countryside the trees are sleeping, some of the plants a sending out fresh green but most rest beneath the earth, not fooled by the occasional temperate air above. The air, when it’s not bitter cold and windy, has a joyful crispness and freshness to it – the earth not always muddy, and sometimes hard with ice. As I look across the fields they are open and bare. But instead of the silence between the songs on a record they are more like the emptiness of a blank page of paper. The paper is there, empty and waiting, and what could be written there? A song, a poem, a letter of love, the first words of a tale. The field lies empty and waiting, just like that page, empty, yet full of potential.
Our Grove marked the Solstice this year by splitting up and taking torches to the peaks of seven of the hill forts in Sussex. There at 7pm on the night of the Solstice, in the darkness of the longest night, we all lit our torches and held them to the sky, symbolising the Sun reborn, creating a pattern of light across the land. The seven hills we stood upon form a rough pentagram with one in the centre, and an eastern outlier. I was at the central hill with a few others, and we saw 6 of the other torches lit upon those other hills. It was a magical night, and maybe we had a peep into how those who lived upon the hills 2000 years ago would communicate between each other with their beacon fires.
So with the Solstice marked January arrived. There is a tangible feeling of both peace, and tension, as the buds of Spring wait for the warmer air and longer days. Yet if the plants sleep, the spirits of the Otherworld certainly do not. I know of their love of Beltane, but it seems to me they are very much present at this time. Maybe, just as the red breast of the Robin is here all year, yet is more easily seen in the greyness of Winter, so the Fair Folk are also more visible, in their cloaks of green. Maybe when the fresh green of Spring arrives they blend more easily with the leaves of the greenwood. Yet now they stand between leaf-bare branches, their music playing upon the chill winds, and their feet dancing upon the wild earth.
And I listen.
There is beauty in Winter after all.
Well hello again, and happy new year!
I love the feeling of ‘resetting’ that happens with a new year. It really feels like I can put stuff behind me and move onto new things. I know in some ways it’s just an arbitrary date, but it somehow doesn’t feel that way. January 1st arrives and it does feel new and exciting – what will 2019 bring? What do I want to focus on this year? Where do I want to guide things? What do I want to do?
One of things I always do is recapitulate the old year, and write down goals for the new. I don’t use the word ‘resolutions’ or ‘promises’, goals is just fine. I’ve kept my old lists going back about 15 years and I confess there are some things that come back year after year. When I was playing a lot of World of Warcraft one of my goals was ‘To play less WOW’. Yes, that one was repeated for a few years, but now it’s gone.
One of the goals I wrote this year was:
- Make my blog an exploration of my spirituality. A part of my growth.
I know. Of course it always has been, but for whatever reason this was added to my goals for 2019. Maybe it’s because I see so much division, so much disquiet, even in the Pagan world, that I want my blog to be a place where this just doesn’t happen. A haven that encourages connection rather than division. I’m very much up for that, and I hope you’ll join me.
So what else is in store for 2019 so far?
Well, I’ve just added the gigs I’ve been booked to play so far on my concerts page here on the website. I’m looking forward to playing a gig at Paganicon in the USA having not been there at all in 2018 – I missed you lovely American Pagans! I’m then off to Australia in April to help run a Druid camp with Cerri and our good friend, Kristoffer Hughes, then afterwards I’ll doubtlessly be playing another gig in Adelaide, plus it looks like I’m booked to play a concert at the wonderful English Ale, just outside Adelaide at Mylor, so plenty of exciting things there too.
This year I’m taking a break from the Y Mabinogi albums to focus on an album of songs and I’ll be getting my teeth into writing those songs over the next few months. My aim is to have the album out ready for Yule, but that could change, and I’ll certainly keep you posted! I am really looking forward to the freedom that comes with writing new songs, songs that aren’t linked to a particularly story, and the Awen is already starting to flow.
As well as the music I’m increasingly being booked to speak at conferences and camps and although this is right outside of my comfort zone, I thoroughly enjoy the challenges it brings. For instance I’m not playing music at this year’s Pagan Pheonix South West conference (what was the PF Devon and Cornwall conference) but instead will be talking about Y Mabinogi, the history and lore surrounding the tales. I’ll also be speaking at Paganicon in Minneapolis, as well as playing a concert on the opening night, Witchfest Midlands, and at the Druid camp in Australia.
And then of course there is the monthly DruidCast podcast and my other work with the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, the seasonal open Wheel of the Year rituals at the Long Man of Wilmington have entered their 19th year, and it looks like there will be another Anderida camp in the Autumn, so plenty to keep me busy.
But also this year there will be space. Space to just be, to connect with the Source, to watch the sunrise, to sing to the stars, to allow that Awen to flow into songs.
Whatever you have planned for 2019, may it bring you wonder and joy, magic, and blessings!
Truth is not the same as verified fact. It is, rather, something along the lines of the individual's grasp of his or her place within the cosmic jigsaw (that's off the top of my head, so don't be over critical of the terminology).
Therefore, authenticity and truth are both personal. Truth is mutable for each individual also, but that mutability is a pre-requisite of authenticity. Consistency is no virtue if it does not reflect actual current beliefs and outlook.
Your own truth is authentic.
On 11/12/2016 at 10:35 PM, Ellinas said:
A group is authentic if it understands this and is not afraid of self examination, criticism and change.On 12/15/2018 at 10:45 PM, Ellinas said:
Unfortunately, those followers who claim "authenticity" generally seem to me to mean only that they are convinced that they hold the only truly true version of truth. Such are to be avoided, and a pox on all their authentic or inauthentic houses.
I personally (just me) try to avoid generalising as it doesn't work for me, but it does work for others. However, I agree that self examination, criticism and openness to change are important and that schools of thought that are convinced that they hold the only truly true version of truth are best avoided. Regarding "How To Tell If A Teaching/group Is Authentic", that word "authentic" needs careful handling. I see something as authentic if it works for me and if it's open to change, criticism etc. I'm less sure about what would cunt as universally authentic though.On 12/15/2018 at 10:45 PM, Ellinas said:
I rather suspect that the founding thoughts of most aged and ancient faiths are irrecoverable or culturally outmoded and impracticable
Yes (again, I'm personally wary of myself generalising too much, but...) cultures change so what worked in the past could be entirely irrelevant now. What worked in the past was presumably tuned into some far more abstract "?truth" that is still there today so we still need ways of approaching the same truth but in ways that are culturally meaningful for us today.
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