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Monica Soto

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  1. The Village Square

    1. Marketplace

      Somewhere to post queries and information about Pagan supply shops, both on and offline, and advertise your things for swap or sale. We allow limited notifications of your E-Bay adverts but don't overuse this. All deals are of course private between the individuals concerned.

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  2. The Circle (all pagans together)

    1. Starters Orders (basics)

      Ground work, foundations and basics. A good place to start for those new to paganism.
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  • Our picks

    • As the title suggests, this post and the accompanying poll are about the place of alternative medicine in modern culture. Should we be using it as a replacement for conventional medicine, as something to run alongside and compliment the conventional or not at all? Does modern life mean we have modern diseases beyond the reach of older alternative medicine?
       
      This series of questions has been somewhat sparked by the thread about why pagans 'should' embrace everything alternative and just general musings of mine brought to the forefront of my mind by the differing attitudes I see between a work colleague who uses homeopathy for everything and my partner who is by and large disdainful of alternative medicine.
       
      As for my personal view, I think that alternative medicine does have a place alongside conventional medicine as it can often help with the side effects of some conventional medicines or be used as a safer alternative for people who suffer from recurrent ailments where repeated doses of the conventional cure may do more harm than good. I am very much in favour of the use of alternative medicine to ward off and cure minor ailments such as colds, sore throats, toothache, headaches etc and the use of conventional medicine for more major or complex ailments. I suppose some of my view on this comes from personal experiences of the nasty effects of some conventional medicines such as SSRIs where alternative medicine has helped me to be able to function again and such.
       
      So what do other people think?
      • 21 replies
    • I've been reading a bit about how to reduce the waste in my household. Some things are quite straight forward but others would take a significant stepchange e.g. shopping at smaller, independent shops and bringing own containers. I would need to plan more and be more organised, which is a big ask given how busy my life is these days. I think it's going to be a case of making small shifts in the right direction and building it up until new habits are formed.

      In some respects I'm already on the right path, e.g. I used cloth nappies and wipes for my girls but I know there's so much more that I could be doing.

      Are you conscious about what ends up in your wheelie bin and have you made any changes lately? Have you swapped products or buying habits because of excess packaging or their disposable nature?
        • Like
      • 42 replies
    • I've just read an interesting article about a research project which has used artificial means to keep pig brains functioning (with capacity for normal brain activity) for up to 36 hours. 

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43928318

      The ambition is to apply this to human brains to enable scientists to study the living brain more effectively. 

      Personally I can see the potential for benefits to humanity - future generations could have a better quality of life without succumbing to degenerative neurological conditions - but it opens up a huge ethics debate around the nature of the research itself and the potential for misuse in practical application down the line. At present we have no way of knowing if there is any form of consciousness in the test subjects and if so whether it causes distress or suffering to the individual. Is it just a functioning organ or is it the vessel for a conscious being? Surely the only way of knowing would be if scientists were to conduct a successful human brain transplant, and this research has arguably unlatched the gate to that path. 

      I found the research exciting and fascinating, and a little bit frightening. I imagine many people of a religious persuasion will have very strong opinions.

      What's your thoughts?
      • 9 replies
    • Right then how best to phrase the question......

      I've noticed on here there's quite a number of different belief sets(as you'd expect!)and although some seem to have set rituals and celebrations many are (as mine) an amalgamation of different"paths" and I'm curious as to whether people consider there beliefs" religious"..... for my own part I don't consider my beliefs religious,they are opinions formed from what I'd term spiritual experiences but are not in and of themselves religious

      Secondly how do you all define " religion" (don't go to Google I can do that myself I'm looking for your personal definition,how YOU define what's religious and what's simply belief).....does religion require texts,if it has them should they (the word of God/god's/deities ect)be followed to the letter and if you believe not then why when the instructions come from what you believe to be a higher,sacred source?.....if you don't follow the teachings or doctrine of your chosen path( if it has such) how do you justify discarding the parts you deem wrong?
        • Like
      • 42 replies
    • A bit of a clumsy question but I'm at the end of a long day with my two young children so my ability to articulate is a bit limited.

      I've just caught up with an old thread about Christian pagans and something said by Moonsmith got me thinking about belief in deities and how/why people interpret them in the way that they do. I consider myself to be an atheist and a pagan but Moonsmith's description of him/herself (sorry, I don't want to presume gender) as believing in a non-anthropomorthic deity struck a chord with me and now has me questioning my understanding of my own beliefs. I'm beginning to think I must have a very narrow view of what constitutes deity.

      I respect the belief in anthropomorphic deities but I've always struggled with the idea, particularly the notion of interventionist gods. And for that reason I've defaulted to self identifying as atheist. But now I'm wondering if that's lazy of me; if the connection I feel for the natural world is a connection to something that could be described as deity - energy, life force, creator, connecting all things - without it being anthropomorphised. 

      I'd really love to hear the thoughts of others on this subject. What's your perception of deity? Have you always felt that way? Have you challenged your own beliefs? Why does your belief (or lack thereof) make sense to you? 

      Thank you x 
      • 19 replies
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  • Posts

    • UK Pagan
      It’s a question I’ve been asked many times but it’s not something I’ve written about here on the blog so here goes! I’ll admit it. I’m a melody and riff man. I like pretty much straight forward music with a hook in the chorus and a great melody or riff. I stray into prog rock a little with a life-long love of Yes, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, but newer prog bands like Dreamtheater and Opeth? No. They leave me cold. I really want to like them because the musicianship is amazing, but the songs just send me to sleep, and watching them live is a grind. So it won’t come as any real surprise that the first thing that comes to me in a new song is the melody. I’ll sit with the guitar (or bouzouki, or mandolin) and just play chords, singing nonsense over the top. After a while I’ll sing a melody or a chord sequence that pricks up my ears. I’ll go back and then build on that. Ask questions. Is that a verse? A bridge? The chorus? Decide where in the song it might be best placed, then play it through to see where the melody naturally goes next. Eventually, I’ll have a verse tune, a chorus tune, maybe a middle eight or bridge to go with it. Out comes the iPhone and I’ll record it. The melody might stay on my phone for years before I go back to it, ask the question “what does this melody say to me?” and it might become a song on a new album. So the melody first, then the lyrics. Almost all my songs have been written that way apart from two – Only Human and Pagan Ways. Only Human was a rant. I was going to write about what led to that song being written but as I typed it just brought me down. I don’t want you to feel that way reading this article, so I’ve deleted it. But the words of that song came first, then the tune, and writing it was pretty cathartic. Sometimes, particularly with the songs from the Y Mabinogi albums, the tune and lyrics come together. I already know what the song needs to say because of where it comes within the tale. I also know the feeling I want from the song for the same reasons. So with those songs, it feels like the initial ‘noodling’ is getting ready for a hunt, and then I head off and literally hunt the melody. Some of the lyrics will often arise as that hunt takes place. Writing the Y Mabinogi songs has been, and continues to be, a magical process which has often felt as if another hand is guiding me towards the prey. With songwriting, you are constantly switching between the left and right sides of the brain. If possible, to keep the flow, it’s important to spend more time in the right side, the creative side. But then come the rhymes. Making rhymes is often a left hand, logical, process. It can influence the entire line of the song and can change it which is obviously a part of the creative process, but that rhyme can sometimes drag you out of the flow if it takes too long. So there is no shame in using a good rhyming dictionary. I always have Clement Wood’s Complete Rhyming Dictionary to hand, just in case. Some songs take a few hours. Some literally land on the page in what seems like minutes. Others take weeks, months, or years to complete. They’re the ones that need to stay in the cauldron and bubble away until the spell is ready. The Awen is an elusive mistress. I can’t force a song. If I sit down with the whole intent to write a song I often just spend time looking at a blank screen and flashing cursor. I probably could just write, but songwriting is a part of who I am, it reflects how I see the world, life, my spiritual path, so above absolutely everything else it needs to be honest. That’s how it’s always been for me, and it’s how it’ll always be. I hope you enjoyed that, and if it’s inspired you to write a song, get strumming! View the full article
    • Earthdragon
      Hi Moonsmith, I wonder if you could flesh this out a bit? How does your action contribute to your beliefs and where does the tenets of your "right action ", as you put it, come from if the actions are a not a result of any of your beliefs?  
    • UK Pagan
      A blessed release from the week’s rain but the chalk still wet underfoot. Slippery too, as we walked along the old track to the South Downs. A blue sky battling with scattered clouds, and rooks sharing their wisdom on the wing, calling to those walkers below that it was time. The Old One was here early. No white cloak across the land just yet, yet Her breath was beginning its late Autumn exhale, and it wouldn’t be long before that gentle breeze became a storm, stripping yellow and red leaves from dozing trees to leave them bare and reaching into darker skies. The hill not far now. Flat. Round. People already there. Voices. And the Long Man standing in the Door to the Otherworld. The door open wide and the veil thin. Voices of those gathered on the hill joined by voices of those whose eyes looked through the veil, and the mists. A circle of people then. A circle conjured as the green turns to grey, grass becoming iron, and the hill, the hollow hill shape-shifts becoming the Great Cauldron with feet upon its rim. Before living eyes the mists of Annwn bubble and shift. And beyond, eyes of those who had gone before see those they love, those who love them. The Spirits called, the prayer spoken, the Awen sang – from The Deep it came. Safety. Community. Names spoken into the air, names of those gone before, names said out loud. Never forgotten. Tears. Helping hands. So many names. From the four directions, food, offerings, love, shared. The Bards speak their words. Truth. Honour. Remembering. An Oath of Peace then, from lungs, into breath, into words, spreads out from the hollow hill, from the rim of the Cauldron, across the land, and the Awen is sung. The Spirits thanked, the circle uncast, returns to the land, and the Cauldron withdraws its mist and withdraws its iron rim, turning grey to green as grass lay underfoot once more. But look now… Can you still see it there, just below the surface, spinning slowly, the veil still thin? The rooks know. They see it, and they call out to Her, to bring the first storms, to exhale, as the Earth sleeps, and Winter’s cloak moves ever closer. So may it be. View the full article
    • Stonehugger
      I think what I get most is a sense of oneness with what's around me. That's almost always a good thing in the sense that whatever is happening to me is happening to everything else and obviously I react differently to the way a rock or tree would react but it's clearly my responsibility to manage my reactions to things. It's a lot like the old saying that sailors can't control the weather but they can trim their sails. The downside is that very occasionally I can get dragged down by situations I don't understand at all. I worked in a troubled building for a while - I never worked out what the problem was but even another colleague with no pagan leanings could sense something. He thought the building must be on the site of a cemetery but that wouldn't have troubled me. On balance, being at one with my surroundings is very much more beneficial than not and it's something I work at.
    • Rosa
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