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  4. Ellinas

    Touch wood

    My son has one of those, though I've never seen it on his wrist. Some years ago I went to a Roman military reconstruction (might have been Ermine Street Guard or British Historical Society, as I've seen both). Someone there had, as part if his kit, a sundial in a form similar to a pocket watch. It was quite impressive. Anyhow, that wrist watches are still in common use is witnessed, I think, by the number that are displayed in jewellers' windows.
  5. Moonsmith

    Touch wood

    Wristwatches? I still wear mine. Not sure how smart it is. It’s polished, does that count?
  6. Moonsmith

    Touch wood

    Don’t worry SH I can digress in touch wood too. i collect touchwood whenever I come across it. It is a very fine powdery fibre that sometimes results from rotting birch branches. It even comes wrapped in a waterproof package of thin bark. It makes the most wonderful tinder for my Kelley Kettle. It will catch fire in a rainstorm. Should my very superstitious mother bash her elbow she would always bash the other one. I have no idea why even in the dubious logic of the superstitiously paranoid. Is it my generation that sometimes use an army salute to acknowledge compliance? I did see a (younger) friend use a glancing American salute as a form of sarcastic dismissal. i used to use the cheque signing gesture to request a bill. I’d be very doubtful about a gesture indicating the insertion off a card.
  7. Stonehugger

    Touch wood

    Probably moreso now with smart watches etc. I think the reference was to those strange and alien "young people" who have never worn a watch but use the gesture in any case. I remember with double-decker buses, the two storeys were refereed to as "inside" and "on top", which I always imagined came from the open top buses that come out in the summer in some places. Apparently, though, it's a survivor from the days of trams, but I wonder if it came from stagecoaches before then. Apologies for the digression ED - this has very little to do with "touch wood". I see pagan references almost everywhere but perhaps not in the way that the parts of buses get named.
  8. Ellinas

    Touch wood

    I believe wristwatches are still reasonably common. "Touch wood" was often used by my father. He would only touch his head if there was no wood to hand. I have no idea of its origin. I have used it, but rarely Is the technical equivalent of obsolete gestures the requirement to click, in order to save a document, an image of a floppy disc?
  9. Stonehugger

    Touch wood

    There was something on the radio this morning or yesterday about outdated signs, including looking at one's wrist when talking about what time it is and miming signing a cheque when asking for a bill. (I'd never heard of the latter but apparently people do it.) It reminded me of someone pointing out that kids who have never seen a steam train move their arms like the old wheel bars (whatever they're called) when being a train. I had an aunt, Hampshire born and bred, who always said that. I say it partly in her memory. I have an Irish colleague who still says it quite a bit and tells me it's distinctively Irish.
  10. Moonsmith

    Touch wood

    I have always understood that to touch wood averts malevolent forces / entities who might frustrate a stated and hoped for outcome. Even in my Anglican household it was generally understood that benevolent nature spirits dwelled within the natural material and would counter the malevolence. Tapping ones head, as I interpreted it, indicated that the head in question was also made of wood. Gestures seem to prevail beyond their origins. Most of my life, rotating an imaginary handle beside the head indicated a telephone call. I’ve no idea whether it persists yet. The rotating operator call handle was obsolete three generations before mine never mind yours. While working in forests near Oban it was quite usual to hear any statement of future activity followed by the caveat, “If I’m spared,” frequently accompanied by a furtive glance upward even by those to whom any threat was likely to come from the opposite direction.
  11. Stonehugger

    Touch wood

    Doesn't everyone tap their head when they say "touch wood"? For some strange reason, my favourite donkey-themed pub name comes to mind - the Ass and Elbow
  12. Stonehugger

    Touch wood

    I'd always assumed it was from a children's game, as the article ED linked to says near the end. They're often called "truce words", of which "barley" is very common. In and near Southampton, the dialect word used to be "cribs". Where I part company with the article is right at the end where it says: "But for anyone who may be superstitious, we're sure knocking on wood is no child's play." The implication is that child's play is somehow divorced from paganism, whereas I would suggest the opposite. Child's play would be a very good place to look for vestiges of old beliefs and practices.
  13. Earthdragon

    Touch wood

    There may well be pagan origins to the use of the phrase "touch wood" - usually spoken after referring to a preferred outcome that may be in the offing. Where do you think the saying might come from? A few ideas are found in this article . I always remember the joke whereby one touches one's temple as a substitute 😄 Do you use it and if so are there any beliefs that might be tapped into consciously or subconsciously?
  14. Earthdragon

    What books to read to become a Pagan?

    My experience with this is that the fundemental grounding and outcome of the shared experience of ritual is in the intentions that are being shared rather than the beliefs which underly the animation of the words and actions into a purposeful event. Intention can be beholden to belief in which case it may not work but this certainly doesn't have to be the case. It's interesting that most of the focus of this thread has been on that word. It is implied for sure but I think that hooking onto one aspect of all of this is a strength in that it doesn't overlook that a seemingly small part of communication can, in fact, contain alot of influence. But also has the weakness that the main thrust and potential value of the rest of what was said might be lost. Hence I might query the usefulness of such a label if it's like a fishing net that is so wide as to catch everything apart from an elephant. My wife does this (though not in nightclubs - AKAIK 😆). I have had a bit of practice now and am not quite so terrible at it 😀. My take on this: Conversely I can see the relevance of a narrower definition of paganism through examining it's characteristics rather simply discerning a lack of Abrahamic monotheistic content. As I said earlier, different definitions will exist and also as soon as one defines something then one is also defining what is not that thing. The challenge being to relate to that otherness in a mutually beneficial way (which requires reciprocity). The resulting clarity will be and seem empowering, until the limitations of the whole process might be realised in which case new definitions are no doubt there to be found...
  15. Stonehugger

    What books to read to become a Pagan?

    Reminds me of Hotel California - "some dance to remember; some dance to forget". I haven't been to a nightclub for quite a while but I remember often getting distracted into people-watching and making stories about why they were there. The event succeeds with all the very different reasons people have for joining in. Is it the same for a ritual though? Does it depend on people being somewhat aligned in their attitudes and beliefs about what's going on there? I don't mean that in a controlling sense, just in a social sense. That was on my mind too. I've listened a few times and still not heard the word "real" in Sheridan's video ("become a [real] pagan"), but it's certainly implied. I said before that it sounds better than it reads, and I still think that, but my objection to the sentiment was tempered slightly by thinking about where the line (if any) might be drawn and how it could be drawn. The only hypothetical group I could think of excluding from the definition would be people who deliberately pretend to be pagan when they're not, a bit like someone pretending to be a concert pianist but getting caught out on-stage at the Albert Hall.
  16. Ellinas

    What books to read to become a Pagan?

    Correct. I think the question of what defines paganism has been discussed before, though I've not researched past threads in saying that. I regard "pagan" as a more of less imprecise umbrella term. At its widest, it is spirituality with some basis other than abrahamic monotheism. I would not quibble if Buddhists or Hindus were to describe themselves as pagan, though I doubt they would want to do so. Having said that about abrahamic monotheists, however, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I am aware of a person who regards himself a Christian witch, and his approach to Christian doctrine seems rather creative. I've never heard him describe himself as "pagan", but, were he to do so, it would neither surprise nor bother me. So, in the end, I see it as just a term of some use as a label to avoid longer explanations, but highly inexact.
  17. Earthdragon

    What books to read to become a Pagan?

    My take on orthopraxy is that an accepted cultural norm of participation in certain festivals, rituals and the like can coincide with an acceptance that such participation can be animated by different and even polar opposite beliefs. And let's face it, if you have no belief or practice which is the same as a religious group you might still want to party with them after their event/ritual or whatever but you wouldn't be mixing with the crowd when they were engaged with their practice. The bugbear is the "must" I guess...having potential for a variety of practice according to personal input/creativity is better than "must do this or that" for sure. I understand your experience as you've described it. There is a huge history of non-pagan useages of such terms. What , if anything, would you say would exclude the use of the term pagan to describe a person, system or belief? Conversely is the anything that you would consider to be necessarily present to permit the use of the term pagan for a person, system or belief?
  18. Ellinas

    What books to read to become a Pagan?

    For some reason this judgement amuses me. I wonder for balances sakes whether I should aim to make, for example, every other comment or question I direct at someone "deserving of considered reply" rather than a bantered or flippant one 😄 I suppose it meant that I thought about it a bit longer than usual before replying. Never underestimate the power of the flippant, by the way. I agree. But it also militates against the use of exclusionary terminology. As to the first sentence - I very much hope that is the case. Generally, I think you are correct. But my concern is that, in anything termed "spiritual" there will always be those who sniff at the arse of prejudice. My problem with the "true" and the "real" terminology is where it leads. Been there, done that, not prepared to countenance it again. If that is my prejudice, so be it. Intolerance of the intolerant is something with which I can live. As to the second sentence - I've never really understood that difference. I first came across this division when investigating Hellenismos. Looking at a the attitudes I found on an Hellenismos based forum - which I've since failed to find, so I assume it has disappeared during the years between then and now - I quickly came to the conclusion that this was an intellectual conceit. In the end one's practice should have some basis in one's beliefs, so it follows that the edges must be fuzzy at best. To say (as they did say) that "in order to follow Hellenic spirituality, you must do 'X'" meets, for me, the same objections as saying "you must believe 'X'". It defines a specific system as "the one true way", at least in the context of what makes Greek spirituality, despite the fact that the practices of millennia past were not monolithic and are largely irrelevant to modern society. Had they said "in order to comply with our version of Hellenismos...", I would have had no issue. The view that was hidden behind the division of orthopraxy and orthodoxy, however, was no different to that of any extreme monotheist. "We are the real Hellenes - you can't follow that path unless you do so in accordance with our version of it". Whether characterised in terms of belief or practice strikes me as a distinction without a difference. It was a message that I answered (albeit figuratively, as I did not engage on that forum) with a one fingered salute and a loud "sod off". Indeed, and nothing here is an attack on you, or even on Sheridan. He might be a very sensible bloke - just careless in his use of what I consider dangerous terms. Maybe. He could have said: "That's my sort of paganism". Not that much of a mouthful.
  19. Moonsmith

    What books to read to become a Pagan?

    Just received this. To Walk a Pagan Path. Its a bit "fluffy" in places for my taste but there are plenty of Fluffy Pride people here😄 I've only flicked through it. It's a bit rural as you might expect. It makes reference to all sorts of Pagan spiritualities but only along the way. As I've said far too many times in the past🙄 - In a long list of the things that Pagans do not hold in common is: "A description of the life well lived." What I most like about the book is that it describes living rather than praying.
  20. Earthdragon

    What books to read to become a Pagan?

    For some reason this judgement amuses me. I wonder for balances sakes whether I should aim to make, for example, every other comment or question I direct at someone "deserving of considered reply" rather than a bantered or flippant one 😄 On a serious not though I think your replies have brought out some relevant and interesting aspects to this way of looking at things. There will always be different versions of definitions. An acceptance of variety and diversity can be informed through an appreciation of those very same qualities that are present in wild areas occupied by a balance of species of flora and fauna etc. The identification of discernable processes and developmental trends with particular elements within different belief systems will influence the balance that you describe as being different for each of us. This will be related to which relationships one pursues and also with the attached concepts that influence behaviour in those relationships. (I'm editing here and realise that is an unwieldy paragraph but don't have the time to re-write) For example someone who emphasises communing with nature and it's spirit and conceives of the inherent value of each element of these ecosystems will likely be more careful with their relationship to them and level of exploitation that occurs in that. For some the observable evolution of that could be an example of a discernable facet of the outcomes of what might be called real paganism. As an observation that could lead them to define paganism necessarily as having that sort of observed development. I am careful to use the term 'sort of' here. There could be any number of ways to create this effect and with a different balance point between pure theory and direct experience for each one. I think accepting that we might define things, including spiritual and religious practice, differently to one another does NOT mean that one is excluding the other person or undermining their worth. And this is a very important way to break our inherited sense of division that absolutist , monotheist religious dogma have inculcated in humanity both consciously and subconsciously. I think paganism in general isn't as prone to it. It's a major difference between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. I think an aspect of the similarity between science and spiritual practice that I referred to in another thread that comes from this is that both are dependant on observation. I suppose clarity of definitions based on observations is what I'm getting at. On this forum the 'rules for exchange' include an acceptance that we can attack an argument but we remember that this isn't the same as attacking the person'. This is akin to realising that we indeed have different definitions of paganism and that's actually good and proper. Perhaps Sheridan could have said "that my friends is how I think you can fulfill my definition of what it means to be a pagan". Bit of a mouthful but that is probably just what he did mean. Stonehugger made the point that hearing Sheridan use these words is different to reading a transcript of them. I think this is an example of a shift in balance between the conceptual model of something and a direct experience of the thing itself. Listening to someone speak is a fundamentally different and fuller experience to reading their words. It's one reason why I often find listening to a recorded dialogue between two people a far more involving and revealing an experience that reading an exposition on something. Which leads us to oral tradition versus book-lore. I seem to have a penchant for invoking new threads 😆
  21. Ellinas

    What books to read to become a Pagan?

    A question that deserves a considered reply. I am a person for whom definitions need clarity. I am also a person who is not overly bothered if a definition is unidentifiable. It just means that there is no satisfactory definition. But that is not the issue. I have no problem with a clear, even a forceful, statement of a position - which may not come as any great surprise, I suppose. But that is not the issue either Nor do I think that this is a matter of "relationship with language". Whilst it is true that words can be interpreted in various ways, and that some are more precise than others in their habitual use of language, there are instances where the implications of terms used have a certain inevitability. As you are aware, I have a background in fundie Christianity. It's a strange world. All sorts of denominations, divisions and sub-divisions, quite a few of which (if not practically all) consider themselves to be trueTM, or even realTM, Christians. Only those who believe the same things (with some leeway round the edges. depending on to whom you speak) are regarded as "believers". That leads to inevitable conclusions: The more absolute the term, the less flexible the available interpretations ("true" and, in this context, "real" are pretty absolute concepts) The use of such terminology is exclusionary - it defines not the outlook, be it of paganism or Christianity, but the persons who are deemed acceptable; It is very difficult to conceive of a use of these terms that does not result in such exclusivity; It is very difficult to conceive of a method of maintaining the use of these terms that does not collapse into the "no true Scotsman" logical fallacy. For these reasons, I do not consider that this is just relationship to language. At the very best, Sheridan's terminology on this is extremely ill considered. At worst, it renders him a person whose views are based in prejudice rather than any serious thought process. Every experience is a conceptual model That is the nature of subjective perception. I know what you are trying to say, however. The answer is that there is a balance to be struck between pure theory and direct experience. However, the point of balance will differ according to the mental faculties and past experiences of the individual. I cannot exclude a person for having a different balance to mine - to do so is to condemn myself in the eyes of those who have that different balance, for their approach is as valid as mine. Just as the paganism of others might suffer if they adhere to your appreciation and baseline. That sounds to me like it might benefit from another thread.
  22. I agree, but it's remarkably still the case that nakedness has the power to shock, often in a good way with events like the World Naked Bike Ride getting both approving and disapproving attention (even people claiming to be outraged) but always inspiring discussion. At the same time it opens us up to the individual and collective benefits of being skyclad, but then again a lot of people (most?) are very self conscious about their bodies, at least at first, so it could even act as a significant barrier to feeling fully involved in whatever is going on. I doubt if being naked is illegal but my employer might have concerns if I ended up in a photo in the local paper, but they might think differently if it was a charity calendar. Inside my head, there is no consensus on this subject!!
  23. Most Alexandrian covens (I am told) work robed and most Gardnerian covens work sky-clad if not on every occasion, then certainly on most and for initiations. If you are not comfortable with sky-clad working, then the Gardnerian Craft is not for you - choose to seek elsewhere!
  24. You're right, moonwolf. I never met him myself, but knew people who had a long and close relationship with him. I read his book, King of the Witches, and even remember a documentary, years back with him prancing around in gold lame budgie smugglers. A showman he most certainly was. Undoubtedly he had talent, and charisma, and hung out with rock stars back in the day. But perhaps he believed his own publicity a bit too much. Like all of us, he was a flawed human being who made mistakes. But you have to see it in the context of the period (gods, my childhood years are now an historical period!) At the time I felt that being ashamed of our bodies was pointless and a hangover from centuries of church inspired guilt. I still do, I would happily visit a naturist beach. Being naked, in a non sexual context is a wonderfully liberating, equalising experience. And ime, it definitely sets ritual apart from the everyday. It's a way of making an effort to present yourself before deity with respect and reverence. But whereas the church folks went in for sunday best, to many pagans it means stripping away the worldly distractions and deceits, and offering yourself humbly, unashamedly, trustingly, skyclad. It probably helped that the teachings chimed with my personal feelings on the matter. And with the influences of the hippy culture, feminism, the Age of Aquarius and everything else that was going on culturally and politically, a lot of people wanted to actively distance themselves from the mainstream. Dancing naked in the moonlight was in part an act of rebellion.
  25. The thing I find sad about Alex was his end, alone in a bedsit in bexhill what a crappy end to a once great showman, Crowley ended the same way alone and broken...... I have asked of various witches old and new over the year if they can explain how a child and preiest of the gods could end this way... My thoughts go along the abuse of power and karma. Off topic sorry boot it elsewhere if that serves.
  26. There you go Maeve gave the advice that EVERY noob to wicca should get
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