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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.

      Old posts are archived, and current posts are visible to guests.

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    2. Around the Web

      News from other sites around the Web.
      (visible to guests)

      1310
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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.
      Posts in this area are viewable by guests.

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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
      After taking a good long look at the why we follow this path, what we do to express our path, and the importance of the Mystic and the Magician, maybe it’s a good time to think about authenticity and validity. There was a time not so long ago, certainly in the late 80s and early 90s, when the story told by Margaret Murray in her book The Witch-Cult in Western Europe was almost desperately held on to. That the practices of modern Witchcraft were the end of an unbroken lineage of Witches that had survived since far-off ancient times. Even as a newcomer I could see that this couldn’t be true – our magic was created from folklore, mythology, ceremonial magic, herblore, astrology, the Kaballah, old Medieval Grimoires, and more recent New Age thinking. It seemed that people were clawing for authenticity by dreaming up great grandmothers who were Witches, but who might have only dabbled in reading tea leaves every now and then (my Nan did that, but she was certainly no Witch). I totally understand the romance of it all. Druid Orders weren’t exempt from these fancies either, but I guess none that I came across tried to say their Druidry could be traced back to the time of the ancient Druids. Most were quite happy going back to 1717 with William Stukeley and John Toland, but even those lineages included people like William Blake as Chosen Chief. The date of 1792 is probably the date for the rebirth of the Druid tradition. When Iolo Morganwg held the first Gorsedd, placing his nine stones atop Primrose Hill in London, and declaring the Gorsedd of Bards of the Island of Britain. I regularly heard arguements about lineage and authenticity, with this being expressed in ‘Celtic Reconstructionism’ – a valiant attempt to re-create Druidry purely from ancient sources, and disregarding all of the writings of Iolo and his consorts, but that path was never for me. Then something happened. A book was released by Professor Ronald Hutton called Triumph of the Moon, and it kind of changed everything. I remember getting it on the day of release and avidly consuming the words held therein. It looked at the development of Wicca through the lense of verifiable history. To say the reception of the book was varied is putting it mildly. There were those who loved it, and there were those who despised it. Long-held onto sacred views were definitely challenged, and for some that was too much. I was in the loved it camp. As I read the book it felt like years of baggage was falling from my shoulders. Although this book was primarily about Wicca, Wicca was the dominant Pagan path at the time, and it very much influenced the rest of mainstream Paganism. The Wheel of the Year, that dance and Journey of the Grain God, and the Earth Goddess spoke of in Frazer’s The Golden Bough, had been taken to the heart of Wicca and had then influenced the wider Pagan Way, and I had experienced it as a modern Druid through the close links between Gerald Gardner and the founder of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, Ross Nichols. I felt a wave of acceptance and calm that what I had been living was, in fact, something very modern – something created, it seemed, very much from the minds of those two individuals. Now I’m not saying that everything we do as modern Pagans is new. Far from it. But the Way all of it is expressed together, that is new. Well, when I say new it sprang into life in the 1950s. I want to tell you, this is a Good Thing. Before Gardner and Nichols there was, of course, the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society. Modern Paganism didn’t grow from a vacuum. It grew because that seed had been planted, had been watered and cared for, and it then began to grow. It grew from the Victorian love of the Occult, Spiritualism and Magic, the 60s Hippy movement and the Civil Rights movement in the USA, CND, Greenham Common, the road protests of the 90s, the New Age and New Age Travellers, and now the Environmental Crisis we find ourselves in is encouraging more people to explore ways to have a closer spiritual relationship with Nature. What was held onto as ancient authenticity has been replaced with modern validity? Things don’t have to be ancient to be of value and work. At some point, all religions were new and freshly born. To me it’s an incredible privilege to be here, right at the very beginning of something beautiful. I’m more than happy to own that, and join hands with my fellow Pagans of all paths and walk forward together to see where it all goes, and gently guide it as much as we can. How exciting is that?! And here’s a thing. That tiny seed is still a very delicate seedling. It hasn’t yet grown into its full potential. It’s still small, and that delicate living thing is held in the palm of all of our hands. I see that some want it to grow faster. They want worldwide recognition of Paganism as a Religious Path – now. Some want us to be perfect in all of our environmental choices – now. Gardeners use fertilizer to help their plants grow, and some of these wishes are indeed fertilizing the soil for growth, but this seedling will not be a fully grown tree in my lifetime. It’ll be something I nurture and love my whole life, but I will, in the end, pass it on to others, who will take over its care. Who knows when it will grow to fruition? If there are indeed another 3000 years, one thing is for sure – one day we will be the Ancient Pagans. One day we will be the Ancestors. Those hereditary Pagans so many wished existed in the 80s and 90s actually exist right now as some of our children, who have been raised at Pagan camps and conferences, and with Pagan parents, choose to walk in our footsteps, and take that seedling to their hearts. It’s a beautiful thing. A valid, empowering, modern, Pagan Path. Needed right now more than ever before. So how do we nurture it, and encourage its growth? That’ll be for next time. So mote it be. View the full article
    • Janie Gray
      There are many benefits if you keep on practicing meditation. The benefits of meditation are numerous and there are more being discovered every day. Science has shown that meditation helps to reverse aging, decrease stress hormones, lower depression, improve memory and strengthen the immune system. One of the best meditation app which I have experienced using is the SOS Method app(https://sosmethod.co/). It's unique in that it doesn't require you to quiet your mind, it only takes minutes, and it's been endorsed by doctors, scientists, and regular people all over the world. It's a special formula that fuses music, tones, words and white space, and there are programs for all kinds of needs/issues/goals.
    • UK Pagan
      A word that frequents occult, historical, and scholarly texts of all varieties is "Hermeticism." What exactly is Hermeticism, and how can we apply its practices to our daily lives? In this excerpt from Llewellyn's 2020 Magical Almanac, Raven Digitalis explores the history and principles of Hermeticism. View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      What do you think of when you hear the words, "Hedge Druid?" Someone who works with the green and growing things, of working with nature, with the seasons and the tides? Yes, Hedge Druidry is that—but it is also so much more. Here, Book of Hedge Druidry author Joanna van der Hoeven discusses the power of the liminal and putting the "Hedge" back in Hedge Druidry. View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      The term myth can sometimes be seen as a derogatory word. If something is labelled a ‘myth’, in this broken, reductionist world we find ourselves, it is seen as untrue, maybe as a quaint story, sometimes as a way of taking the power away from beliefs that someone holds dear. “Oh, that’s only a myth.” “You don’t believe any of that was true do you?” Etc…etc… Only a myth. Indigenous peoples all over the world have looked at the natural world and seen within it stories of energies, Gods, powers that are so much more powerful than us little apelike creatures that walk on the back of such an incredibly diverse and living being. How did that mountain come into being? What of the great lake that gives us clear water to drink? Or the animal that howls at the moon and to whom we should show respect and avoid? What great power moves the tides? Where did our people come from, and who gave us fire? Can we sing the songs of the hills and valleys? Can we sing the songs of the eagle, the dove, the fox and the bear? When we breathe out our last breath, where does it go? Where do we go? Why do other birds despise the owl? What mysteries lay beneath the surface of that dark lake in the mountains? I could go on. It seems that progress has tried to show us that we don’t need these stories. That a reductionist world is the only true way forward. Maybe that is right for some people, but it’s never been right for me. These old tales bridge a gap between logical understanding of how things work, and a poetic and beautiful way to develop relationship. Progress has done wonders, don’t get me wrong – as I look back I would far rather be alive now than at any other time in history – but it is obvious that there is also a vast separation between people and the land. That separation is causing our own modern Wasteland. But I am getting ahead of myself… Myth is said to be the second level of story. The events within the myth may have been inspired by actual historical events, but often that is not the reason for the existence of the tale. Or at least the tale contains so much more than simply a way to remember history. I love the books by Stephen King. I’m a great fan of Lee Child and his Jack Reacher novels. They’re great entertainment, and entertainment is important, but they aren’t myths. They are stories. Now of course myths are stories and they can indeed be approached as nothing more than entertainment, but that is the first level of story. Look a little deeper and the occult mysteries held within the mists of the story begin to reveal themselves. Let me give you an example. In the Second Branch of Y Mabinogi, Bran, the High King, gives a magical cauldron as an honour price for an insult given by his half-brother to Matholwch, the King of Ireland. The property of which is that if a slain warrior is placed inside, they will be reborn the next day, fully armed for battle, yet without the gift of speech. Without the gift of speech. When my second son was born it was an arranged caesarian. The doctor made the incision behind the green screen and literally pulled his head back and said, “Oh! Hello!” My son was there, open-eyed and ready, looking out at him. The midwife took him away to be weighed and then brought him back. Smiling, she said, “He’s an old soul.” And as he looked at me and his mother he began to cry, as babies do. He’s an old soul. Reborn without the gift of speech. As he lay there crying, what if he was desperately trying to say, “Mum! Dad! You won’t believe where I’ve just been!!! It was amazing! High mountains with waterfalls, great lake valleys, a warm Summerland of bliss!! And Dad! The mmmmmeeeeeaaaadddd! The Mead was incredible!!” But what could he say? “WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! WWWWWWWAAAAAHHHHHH!” Without the gift of speech. And as we age, so maybe our memories of that place between fades, until we are left once again wondering what lay beyond the veil. So the reborn warriors of Matholwch stood, ready for battle, fearless, for they had just seen the Otherworld, and knew what lay beyond death. But could they tell of where they had been? No. They made just inordible sounds or stood in silence. The second level of story. Are we so full of superiority that we can discard our own myths and folklore? I don’t think that’s wise. Time and again I see a longing in peoples’ eyes for a more magical and mythical relationship with the world. On the TV we hear Aboriginal peoples telling their story of the Rainbow Serpent and The Dreaming, we hear the Native American tales of Coyote, or the Maori prose tales of creation, and many of us yearn for our own stories, yet we have them. For instance, all across this little island there are myths of lakes, mountains, rivers and seashore, but many people would never know. For instance, it astounds me every time I visit Bala in North Wales, the site of Llyn Tegid, the origin of one of the most influential myths told on the island – the home of Ceridwen and the creation of Taliesin. I have not seen one sign, not one tiny little sign that lets visitors know. I know that many Pagans make pilgrimage to the lake, and we know of that connection, but so many do not. Tell a visitor the story when they visit that lake and see their eyes change. Suddenly it is more than a big body of water. It has myth attached to it, and for some that changes the relationship to the lake. Here is another example of the power of myth. The town of Worthing has a rather remarkable tree. It’s called the Midsummer Tree and is said that skeletons rise and dance around it on Midsummer Eve. In 2006 it was scheduled to be cut down and removed, but so strong was the story among local people that it was saved. It was cut back but stands to this day. It is said that gateways to the Otherworld can be found between two trees, or two standing stones, under that blackthorn tree in the woods, but it is also said that the gateway is open to poets. To help heal this modern Wasteland we could do worse than stepping out on our own mythic Grail Quest. The Knights of myth travelled the land in search of the Grail to help heal the land. There is no doubt that if we in the west had a mythic relationship with our own landscapes then we would not be so quick to further its destruction with quarrying, building, fracking. If that valley held stories that had been passed down to great grandparents, to grandparents, to parents, to children, and we held those stories close to our hearts, we would not so readily fill it with so-called ‘affordable’ new homes. Myths and folklore tales help heal that Wasteland. So if you are on this Grail Quest with me, explore the tales of your local area, find the stories behind the landscape, and begin to heal the Wasteland through a re-enchantment of the land. How do you relate to myth, to local folklore? View the full article
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