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  4. Witchcraft and the spirit world are uniquely tied together, and building a deeper practice often means building bridges between ourselves and the spirit world. This isn't always easy, however. Here, author Devin Hunter presents 6 ways we can build bridges to the spirit world. View the full article
  5. Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 146 The Dreaming – Damh the Bard – https://www.paganmusic.co.uk Interview with Awnangee (really not sure if the spelling is even close!) Angel – Deborah Cher – https://deborahcher.bandcamp.com Artorius Rex – Malkin Tower – https://www.malkintower.co.uk Arthurian story with Professor Roland Rotherham – https://www.rolandrotherham.co.uk Belthain – Belthain – http://www.belthain.com DruidCast theme – Hills they are Hollow – Damh the Bard – https://www.paganmusic.co.uk For further information on the Druid tradition – https://www.druidry.org View the full article
  6. What do you do when you pull a court card in the outcome or action position in a tarot spread? Do you pull another card out to help get more clarification? Do you pretend it didn't happen, put the court card back in the deck, and pick another card? Or do you learn how to use the tarot court to problem-solve, get unstuck, and move forward? View the full article
  7. I find myself thinking about echo chambers often. The last couple of weeks have been bringing home to me how very unhealthy they are for us as individuals, but also as a society. One of my friends was recently recounting a meetup for therapists he attended that had a large number of people from the same geographic area in the same profession who were all echoing the same concern that something was missing from the field. My friend was astounded at how often these people echoed each other but also failed to grasp that the answer to their concern was shockingly simple: it's time to start talking about intersections of race, class, and gender. A few days before this conversation, I was listening to someone else make unhealthy choices with the support of her echo chamber. Because their viewpoints were all too similar, they were missing just how messed up things sounded to everyone else. We've all seen how media outlets have begun to tailor their reporting to their perceived audience, and how that bias is straining relationships between groups. A lack of diversity in thought is polarizing, misleading, and disruptive. I'm trying to challenge myself to look for the echo chambers in my life. Without any challenge to my thought processes, I'm afraid of becoming both intellectually lazy, but also callous to the concerns and needs of others. I'm afraid of withering from spiritual malnutrition caused by a too homogenous environment that lacks the strength that comes from adaptation. View the full article
  8. The snow-capped mountains reach towards the blue sky, and as they do so the white begins to fall away. Rivers of melted snow rush downward and soon join as one with the river below. Soon the river is flowing so fast it’s uncontrollable. It has a life of its own, its own purpose. It grows as more snow-melt joins. The water is one being, one life, as it rushes through the valley, out, to reach the oceans. When the Awen is flowing, that’s what it feels like. Overwhelming, uncontrollable, exhilarating, and that’s the flow I’ve been swimming with for the past three years working on the First and Second Branch of Y Mabinogi. It has felt like these albums have had a life of their own, almost as if they were desperate to be created. I remember when I finished the First Branch and was instantly being mobbed by crows each day as I walked Oscar by the river as if Bran and Branwen were saying, “Come on! It’s our turn now! Get on with it!” But the Second Branch was quite some ride. By the end, after living with the tale for a year I had such mixed emotions. I loved the end result and was so happy to release it so you could all hear it. But I was also emotionally exhausted – the story had taken its toll on me, and so I decided I needed a break. I could feel that need before I finished, and I remember saying to my Bardic Buddy Arthur Hinds that I was done for a while and that I was going to have some time away from the Y Mabinogi albums to record some songs. His response was, “But what if the Lady wants you to carry on?” My reply was, “Well if that’s so, the Lady will get her wish.” The Awen is a complicated Mistress. Right now it feels like the river I had been enjoying so much for the past three years has slowed. The peaks have melted and now the waters have settled into an almost imperceptibly gentle meander. Life has been incredibly busy (with great stuff, but still very full) and at times like this, I sometimes wonder how I ever have any time to actually sit down and write songs. The temptation is to jump in and swim. To try and force the Awen to flow faster by trying too hard. But I know from many lessons in the past that this isn’t the way. It’s possible, but songs that spring from that kind of effort are always the ones that either don’t make the album, or that wait to be changed by a more free-flowing Awen dive. So I have been wondering if the Lady does indeed want me to remain focussed on the tales. To finish the task. But then I question that and ask if I’m just being lazy when it comes to writing new non-Mabinogi songs. Or is my life right now just so busy, with the Awen directed in other areas, that I should just surrender, leave things for a while, and go where the Awen is taking me. I’ve never been very good at ‘going with the flow’, but sometimes that is the best thing to do – to surrender and see where life is going, rather than trying to force it to go somewhere it doesn’t seem to want to go. I’ve never been torn between two projects before. I’ve always known what would come next, where I would point my wand. Now I think the best thing to do is to let the Cauldron bubble and brew. To allow the ingredients to do their work. To surrender, wait, and stir. And trust. View the full article
  9. Mystics, magicians, Wiccans, and Neo-pagans of all stripes identify their practice with the figure of the pentagram. But, it is unlikely that any group has incorporated the pentagram into its ritual work more than the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Here, Golden Dawn Magic authors Chic & Sandra Tabatha Cicero explain its importance to Golden Dawn magic. View the full article
  10. As we prepare for vacation, I find myself swept up in the kids' enthusiasm. This is a rare thing for them. It's been years since we had an extended trip and more importantly, its' our first family vacation that is not for someone else's celebration. The kids are pretty excited about an adventure, and my husband and I are looking forward to being away from home and work. We'll be camping in an RV for a week to celebrate our 20th Wedding anniversary. I've started packing things in boxes, but a couple of boxes have become projects themselves. Aislinn and I decoupaged a forest and flowers ad a deer on one of them before we packed things into it. Totally unnecessary, but fun. It has added a bit of magic to the whole process of packing. We're plotting a box of stars next. To top off these shenanigans, I've also color coordinated things unnecessarily (really the plastic plates and vinyl tablecloth and mesh food tents don't have to match, it's just ridiculously cute and joyful). From time to time, it's a lot of fun to embrace childlike joy and anticipation for no reason other than you can. Decorate something to within an inch of its life, make cupcakes and enjoy them, be silly, sing and dance because you can. Exuberance can break up a whole lot of negative and stale energy in your life. I know I'm enjoying all my unnecessary and silly plans even before we leave home. View the full article
  11. Stonehugger

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Loose ends

    I look at people with plans and wonder how they do that. Life seems to happen to me but I'm ok at getting the best from whatever comes along. Maybe I'll be more strategic in future!
  12. Learning about crystals and how they actually work can be the greatest discovery; no matter whether you are a newbie or seasoned energy healer, the crystal fascination can turn fanatical! Everyone can enjoy crystal body layouts and feel incredible. Jolie DeMarco, author of High-Vibe Crystal Healing, illustrates the power—and fun!—of using crystal layouts. View the full article
  13. Stonehugger

    [Llewellyn] 5 Ways to Connect with Your Craft

    The main thing that made me think Wicca wasn't for me was a sense that it seemed to have a concept of orthodoxy. It probably doesn't help that the word is used so loosely in popular culture to mean any pagan-inspired set of activities. That would explain a need to keep the word reserved for a specific set of beliefs perhaps.
  14. As I glance along the feeds of my social media accounts I see friends celebrating Beltane. I can imagine the hedgerows at home beginning to be heavy with Hawthorn flowers, the birdsong will be a symphony of voices, the skylarks will be singing their song seemingly never taking one small breath. The time between Beltane and the Summer Solstice is my favourite time of year. The gates of the South East and South of the Circle open and light and life comes literally flying through, colouring the land with flowers and the sky with blue. Bliss. I say imagine because right now I find myself in Autumn. Here in Australia instead of life and fertility I feel the veil thin as the Spirits of the Ancestors are honoured at Samhain. Sometimes I wonder when I’m at home if the festivals really are simply reversed. But seasons are seasons and, although the smell of Autumn differs from region to region across this massive land, here in South Australia it really does feel like Samhain has arrived. Just a few days ago ANZAC day was marked here – just as at home Remembrance Sunday lay in Autumn, close to Samhain, so the day to remember the fallen of war also lay close the time when the veil thins. So the South East of Beltane becomes the North West Gate of Samhain as we cross the equator. What a truly magical world we live upon. When I return next week I will travel from Autumn to Spring in the space of a 22 hour flight. I’ll go from seeing falling leaves to bright green fresh leaves, draped in flowers. I may have missed the ‘date’ of the 1st May, but Beltane will be in full swing for a couple more weeks at least. For convenience I mark it by date, but in truth when I look upon Albion and see all of the hedgerows literally dripping in Hawthorn, that’s when it’s Beltane for me, and I know I won’t have missed that magical sight, and will be able to welcome the May Queen myself. So although I have celebrated Samhain twice in six months, I know the flowers of Beltane will thankfully be there when I return home. Whether you are celebrating Samhain or Beltane, blessed be. View the full article
  15. I am one of those women who apologize for everything. It also drives me crazy. I know, on one level, that most things aren't my fault, and yet, I still say that I'm sorry. My reflex, however, something that was socialized into me years ago, is to accept responsibility for anything anyone hints might be my fault. Younger brother sets the rug on fire, I felt guilty. My kid says something rude to another kid, I feel responsible and apologize only to find out that the kid was defending himself. My husband is cranky over something, I say, "I'm sorry'. And, while doing all of these things, I'm also disgusted with myself. I am not alone in this toxic behavior. So many women do it that books have been written about the phenomenon and the therapy for it. It's societal, and it's really, really bad for us. For every apology we make that we aren't actually responsible for, someone is getting off the hook for their bad behavior. It causes imbalances in shame, fear, and accountability at every level of society. You can't hold the victim or the bystander accountable for crime and expect anything to get better. We all know this, but when it comes to a more personal level, our perspective gets skewed and we get blinded by our emotions and relationships. For me personally, it causes physical problems. My stomach churns every time I feel responsible for something, and the ensuing internal conversations make me tired, unhappy, and anxious. I can keep myself awake for days replaying my actions when I believe I could have done better. Literally, I make myself sick. Then I feel worse because I know I did it to myself. I have been trying to change this behavior. The first step, always, is to recognize something you do is unhealthy. Then you have to try new behaviors on for size, and like buying the perfect pair of shoes, you might be trying things on for a good long while. Much like shoes, one type isn't appropriate for all occasions. Your pumps can't replace your running shoes. Sandals can't do the work of snow boots, at least not without substantial risk to you. I have no cure-all advice here. I'm still learning. I've tried to turn "sorry" into "thank you" when it works. I've tried not saying anything, and I've dabbled in not accepting responsibility. I've made some progress, but not enough for my liking. I'm trying not to pass on this personality trait, and it's had mixed results. Right now, I'm trying to be conscious of my behavior and the reasons for that behavior. Maybe once I deal with why I feel like I should accept blame I'll be able to stop doing it. I hope. I really, really hope. View the full article
  16. Creative ideas may strike us often, and at any time, but often we fail to let them grow or to follow them through. Leeza Robertson, co-creator of the Mermaid Tarot, provides wisdom from the mermaids on how to let our creative ideas take flight...or fin. View the full article
  17. I moved out of my parent's house at 18, so did my husband. We had to learn how to be adults together. We didn't realize just how much stuff our family hadn't prepared us for. We experimented, researched, made mistakes, and finally learned how to be fully functional adults. Now we're trying to prepare our oldest child for adulthood. Adulthood is complex: laundry and cooking, grocery shopping and banking, driving and working, dressing and speaking, financial literacy and insurance-speak, everyday mathematics and how to navigate the legal system. There are so many things that he will need to learn in the next few years, and at times, it feels like a hopeless task. To us as parents and our kids as the ones who need to learn all of this. It makes me think that our society really, really stinks at preparing us for adulthood and worse, we're kind of ambiguous about what it means to be an adult and when that transition should happen and how it happens. You can vote or be summoned to die for your country at 18, but you can't buy booze. You can insure your own car at 18, but you can't rent a car. We refer to people over 21 as kids, depending on the situation and their behavior. Some children are legally responsible for their crimes before 18, but others aren't. College is not the real world, no matter what your high school teacher might say. It's frankly, a big, confusing mess. Maybe coming of age ceremonies aren't such a bad idea. They signal, universally, what role a person occupies and what their new expectations are. They end childhood unambiguously. And they are meticulously planned for in advance. The convey the weight of adulthood to all the participants. I find as my children get older, ideas that I had dismissed out of hand as antiquated, like coming of age ceremonies, might be truly brilliant ideas that have been forgotten. I wonder what a modern coming of age trial might look like. Is it planning and executing a meal? Filing your taxes? Proving you can do the laundry from start to finish? I don't know, but I do know I'm frantically trying to make sure my children develop life skills alongside their formal education and social development, and I'm also 100% positive, I'm missing more than a few lessons that they might need in the future. View the full article
  18. Did you always know what you wanted to do with your life? I did. I had plans. They haven't panned out. Some things have been far better than I imagined, like twenty years of marriage with my husband. Other things have been way funnier, like parenthood. Many things, though, never materialized. Plans changed, and I'm no longer sure of what I want from the future. The projects I thought would be materializing now haven't progressed. My career in Anthropology didn't take off due to circumstances beyond my control. I have no idea what I'll do when my last child heads off to elementary school the same year my oldest heads to college. I'm looking into those years and wondering what I should do with myself. There are many things I'm interested in, but I have mastery over only a few of those. I want to feel proud of myself and like I contribute something to the world, but I can't figure out what that might look like, and as I've gotten older, I've come to understand that I will have to, in all likelihood, going to have to do it myself. But what do I do? There are no easy answers here. It's 100% soul searching, and while other people can chime in, I have to figure myself out, like we all do. I can see how to help friends pull their projects together and move them into reality, but I struggle to do the same for me. How annoying, and yet, it seems pretty typical, too. View the full article
  19. Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 145 The Last Wolf – Cernunnos Rising – http://cernunnosrising.com The Talky Bit – The Silent Gods – Professor Miranda Aldhouse-Green – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_Aldhouse-Green Same Old Story – James J Turner – https://www.jamesjturner.com DruidCast theme – Hills they are Hollow – Damh the Bard – https://www.paganmusic.co.uk For more information about the Order and the Druid tradition – https://www.druidry.org View the full article
  20. Aiden has reached the age of transformation and it's been a trial for all of us. He doesn't know what he wants. We don't know what he needs, and it has involved a lot of yelling and tears. We've been here before with t older son, and we know it this phase ends, but right now, it feels endless and overwhelming to the entire family. And on top of it, we're teaching the oldest to drive and the youngest to use the toilet. Clearly, we should have thought all of this through better. Aiden recently got interested in transforming things. He watched a few episodes of "Find It, Fix It, Flog It" and it has captured his imagination. I think he sees himself in the pieces of junk that get remade. He's "rescued" a couple of pieces of furniture from the street lately, and we're working through remodeling them. One is an old pine coffee table that has been chewed on by a dog and colored on by a kid. The other is a Pier 1 cd cabinet. There has been sawing and sanding and painting and math (my kids were not impressed I remembered enough trigonometry to calculate the center of the table, which was disappointing). Eventually, there will be drilling, decoupaging and stenciling. The coffee table will be the new table top for our garden table (Aiden sawed off the legs on Saturday). The cabinet will be the new home to all the oils and waxes and herbs I use for witchcraft and making candles, soaps, and creams. I'm frequently exasperated by these projects, but Aiden is finding a hobby that fills him and his time with joy. He's learned to embrace transformations in objects, and hopefully, it will help him finish transforming himself into whomever he chooses to be. It's not a bad idea, and if it works, it will be great, and if not, we'll have learned lots of things along the way. View the full article
  21. DavidMcCann

    What do you get from your paganism?

    For me the religion springs from my ethics and not vice versa. Respecting the gods is like respecting the environment and other humans. I suppose the practice of making charitable donations as offerings is a spin-off. Tomorrow is the festival of Artemis, so the London Wildlife Trust benefits. Would I have thought of giving if I weren't a polytheist? I'd like to think so, but perhaps not. And there are practical benefits to me from hand-on gods like Asklepios.
  22. Ellinas

    What do you get from your paganism?

    What do I get out of it...? Principally, freedom. Freedom to think, to experience, to go my own way and to stick up two fingers and the doctrinal "we know better than you and you must agree with us" types. Been a part of that. Never underestimate the value of freedom. Also, a sense of mystery. I don't mean in some sort of "ooh - I'm so occult and strange..." way. Rather, it gives the latitude for me to explore my own mind, psyche, whatever you want to call it, whether logically, emotionally or meditatively, and to seek to synthesise these.
  23. Pearlbrook

    What do you get from your paganism?

    Of course! 🙂
  24. Moonsmith

    What do you get from your paganism?

    Yes but let's see a few other responses first.
  25. Pearlbrook

    What do you get from your paganism?

    Thanks, Moonsmith! If you don't mind me asking: thinking back to when you first considered yourself a Pagan, how did you come to really formulate these ideas into a cohesive reality? Was there a process? And you say that the most important function for you is to understand the nature of the universe - can I ask what makes this the principle role for you? I definitely connect with that idea on an emotional level, and would love to hear your thoughts on it.
  26. Earthdragon

    A Need To Join.

    Hi Moonsmith, As our views on good and evil etc are subjective and speaking for our own selves (I've been writing about my own view of these matters only rather than speaking on behalf of society in general) do you include yourself in the statement that you made that people are not free to review their thinking about general concepts like good and evil?. If so doesn't this contradict what you're saying about learning the power of your own thoughts, choosing your own way? Also if you have become heretical and that is acceptable to our society why do you not see reviewing your ideas of good and evil to be acceptable to society? As regards opportunity and motivation to do this sort of work - yes I think it is serious spiritual work but then there are many people who have put thousands of hours into their spiritual practice. We spend time doing what we need and want to do. That is a given. Each of us can ask ourselves whether we can spare some time each day to do some introspection. Why would they? That is for each us to answer not me on anyone else's behalf. If people are happy with their situation then that's ok.
  27. Moonsmith

    What do you get from your paganism?

    Yay Pealbrook. Starter's Orders is the perfect place for a question like this. It is the only thread that we allow outsiders [Guests] to see. As well as being of general interest it is a showcase for the Valley. I quite often point outsiders here. What do I get from my Paganism? An explanation for the existence of the universe that suits my way of thinking and which is founded on thoughts, ideas and principles that accord with my philosophies. A bloody good fit. My Paganism carries no commandments, no sin, no guilt, no faith and no self [or other] judgement. Right action, by my own tenets, is my contribution to my beliefs not the result of them. As I've said elsewhere, learning, trying to understand how the universe works is the most important function that I can perform. In doing this it is important that DNA is nurtured so that the learning continues, hence my three legs of rectitude. Oh - those are on a different thread. Sorry to repeat them for those who only read them two days ago. Act legally Act socially and Act with kindness. Thanks for the post.
  28. Moonsmith

    A Need To Join.

    Of course! The dark side thread refers to the very general concepts of good and evil, light and dark held by "people" [unspecified]. We are agreed in that thread that these concepts are subjective and vary with cultures and contexts. I doubt whether many individuals consciously act in ways that they believe to be evil. They will always rationalise and see justice in their actions. Why should they review their thinking? Societies look across borders and sometimes perceive evil in those who are not of their kind; as might those looking back. In general individuals in those societies are neither free nor motivated to look beyond their learned thinking for all the real and perceived reasons that we have discussed.. To do so might even be dangerous. This thread refers to my thinking which has been jolted out of its complacency by accident and by association with other societies and changed in ways permitted by my own. This post was my own thinking and advice to an individual. Yes, circumstance and liberalism coupled with inclination may allow a few of us the luxury of introspection. Even in a liberal society most of us are far too busy for that.
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