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      Ground work, foundations and basics. A good place to start for those new to paganism.
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    • Where do you think it comes from? The word inspiration (as I understand) comes from the idea of being breathed into, being a sort of conduit for great ideas or works of art rather than their ultimate creator, the spirit coming into someone. 

      It certainly feels like that sometimes, that a dance or music or an idea comes to me rather than from me. 

      Greek mythology has the idea of the muses.

      I also have also been having very odd dreams lately (apparently that's common in pregnancy interestingly) I have been lucid in my dreams, aware I was dreaming and with control over where I ran or flew. But I remember standing by a door in my dream and knowing I was dreaming and if all this was from my mind I should know or be able to put anything I wanted behind the door but when I opened it the world on the other side was a total surprise. I wonder if that comes from the same sort of place in the mind as inspiration, is there a part of our mind that is not a part of the 'me'? That I experience its ideas rather than feeling responsible for them even though they originate from my own body?

      Or does inspiration actually come from outside? From gods or spirit or muses or some sort of collective consciousness or somewhere else?
      • 4 replies
    • Yeah, it's provocative.   Perhaps the question should really be: is racism bad?

      I've been involved in a long and interesting discussion elsewhere about Native American cultural appropriation and racism within the modern pagan community. As part of that, I heard views expressed that I've come across frequently among pagans. They can be expressed as (imaginary examples):

      "I really feel drawn to the Morrigan. I guess it's because of my Irish blood" or

      "my psychic abilities come from my Romany great-grandmother"

      Now these are both forms of racism, in that the beliefs that relationships with gods or innate skills are dependent upon genetic inheritance. I'm not saying that this form of racism is bad, simply that it can be found throughout the pagan community. Roughly the same thing is endemic in the USA, wherever people explain any feelings they have for customs associated with their grandparents' or great-grandparents' culture as "in the blood". 

      Is it worth trying to dump the term "racism" within the pagan community and use "white supremacy" instead, as that's the thing we're fighting?

      • 12 replies
    • Because winter is a pretty dismal time. Shorter days, often no snow but rain and mud, and when snow does come it's usually hectic as helheim trying to get anywhere. And it's bloody expensive. So, jokes relating to winter and winter celebrations here! I'll start:
      What do sheep celebrating mid-winter?
      • 10 replies
    • It's been a while since I last posted or visited UKPagan forum so long I forgot my password. But I thought I would make a blog entry and have a browse.
      A lot has changed over the past few years and my spiritual journey has gone through doubts, different faith exploration some level of syncretism and a lot of confusion. My path seems to lead in all kinds of direction never settling in one place or on one tradition, practice or thought but what I didn’t expect was for my path to lead all they back to where I started but not with the same perspective. It would seem that I am leaving behind paganism in favour of Christianity in the form of Anglo-Catholicism and the Catholic tradition as received in Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism and eastern Orthodoxy; but mostly as understood through the Anglican Church and Church of England. At the same time I haven’t completely abandoned pagan things as such, I still have a connection to the other gods just in a different religious and spiritual viewpoint.
      Witchcraft in all its diversity seems to be the only constant more or less, just its witchcraft through folk Catholicism and folk lore, witchcraft through a strange mix of a Christian syncretic world view, popular piety and natural magic and a few aspects of the Christian model of ceremonial magic. Still mostly eclectic and personal to me rather than an established tradition.
      Because of my path through modern paganism I have a different understanding of the church, its sacraments and scripture. Not superior just different. There are lots I disagree with about modern pagan anti Christian views but I understand the emotion behind them because I had similar views myself. For me Catholicism offeres ritual mystiscim and the divine in a way that has freedom with in structure and ancient history and tradition that is concistent while still developing and trying to reveal the Catholic faith for our modern world.
      Is this a bad thing? Is it ok for a path to change?
      This is all my own views and expereince and is realy complicated and not quite making sense but it works for me I guess. Thanks to the Vally and Ukpagan for being great teachers and inspiering people. Theres more on a blog I set up called Mystic Pathways https://mysticpathways.blogspot.co.uk/ it trys to explain in a blanced way my journey.
        • Like
      • 0 replies
    • So after reading this brilliantly amusing thread ( https://thevalley.uk...__1#entry553703 )
      I thought it might be useful for people to suggest books which ARE useful and ARE accurate, and not full of rubbish :) or perhaps the top 1-3 books you might recommend to those who are new or wanting to learn more a new area.
      For me, one of the books I own that isn't so bad is Breverton's Complete Herbal - which includes Culpepper information. In this, it gives the binomial nomenclature, other names of plants that might be known colloquially, a description of the plant, a history behind the plants, and the plant's uses. It's not as "fluffy" as other books. That being said, I would say it's more of an interesting read than a purely factual tome.
      *edit* apologies if someone has already made a thread like this...
      • 23 replies
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    • Last weekend was the Winter Gathering of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. The Order holds two gatherings each year, one in June, the other December, both in the Somerset town of Glastonbury. 200 members from all across the world gather together for community, music, ritual and discussions. The theme of this year’s Winter Gathering was Walking the Land – Ritual, Magic and Pilgrimage. One of the highlights for me was listening to the two founders of the British Pilgrimage Trust talk about pilgrimage, the work of the Trust, and some of their adventures. Their presentation was a blend of history, anecdotes and folk song, and it was wonderful. I’ve made a few pilgrimages in my life thus far. Journeys made with intent, purpose, and completely on foot. For two years me and a few friends walked the same route over the weekend of the Summer Solstice. We met at a small harvest mound just outside the Sussex Country Town of Lewes called The Tump. There we sat together and contemplated our Journey. We would walk a total of about 35 miles. The route would take us across the Lewes flood plains, up Itford Hill, along the South Downs Way, then down into Alfriston (for a well-deserved pint), then to climb the hill above the Long Man of Wilmington, to pitch our tents near the Long Barrow for the first night. The second day would take us into the valleys of Lullington Heath, home of adder and sparrow hawk, through deciduous woodland, then up once more onto the Downs at Firle Beacon, there to sleep upon a dug out Bronze Age Barrow. The final morning would take us across the A27, up the slopes of Mount Caburn, there to rest a while and contemplate the end of the Journey. Picking up our backpacks once more we walk the valley thats leads us back to Lewes, and the Snowdrop pub, for a last pint. Those were good days. Each step was taken with purpose, and meant something. There were times, particularly Itford Hill, when we were gasping for breath, and gravity proved a real problem. But most of the time spent walking the Sussex landscape brought me closer to the land, the Spirits of those old trackways, their stories, their songs. The conversations were never mundane, and there was a real bond between us as we walked. On both weekends the weather was wonderful, and the only problem was a little sunburn. This was a time before mobile phones too, so as we left the roads and towns behind us, there was no way for that peace to be broken. As we left The Tump, and made our way past Lewes Priory and under the A27, then out into the Sussex countryside, so we left much behind, and I’m sure each one of us felt lighter for it. I had no idea that Pilgrimage had been banned here in the UK. Hearing that came as quite a shock. It’s hard to understand why, or indeed how, that could have happened. I’m guessing it came about during Tudor times when the Crown were trying to wrestle power away from the Pope and Catholicism. I think there is such a calling to walk, to travel to some important religious or spiritual place, that this need lies within our very souls, and at some point the call becomes overwhelming, and on go the walking boots, out comes the rucksack, and into the countryside we go. In times past that might have been to a Cathedral, a Relicary, or other Christian holy site. For us it was the local landscape, and several ancient Pagan sites. When our lives are lived at such a high speed, it can be both rewarding and challenging to leave that phone behind, make a pledge to yourself that you will stay off Facebook for a few days, and walk out into the green. Can you drive on pilgrimage? Well I guess that’s a choice we each make, but I’m not sure it works for me. There has to be at least some space from the car, to the site. Some time spent on foot walking to the destination – time for contemplation. The longer we spend on foot, the more we leave our stuff behind, the more we focus on the slowing down, the more connection there is to the Journey, and I’m not sure that can ever be experienced in the same way driving in a car. We are in the end still on that fast-paced conveyor belt, but that conveyor belt runs out at countryside Public Footpath signs, and the earth is simply too slippery for it to move as fast. What did I take with me? I always had plenty of water. There were places on the South Downs Way where I could fill up, but they weren’t guaranteed. I had a Trangia, a tiny way of heating food with a methylated spirit burner; some dried food and energy bars; a bed roll; a small walkers tent; a change of clothes; good waterproof coat; a hat; a torch; an OS map of the area; a compass, and good worn-in walking boots. Oh, and a walking staff. The staff has several uses – for balance, measuring distance, and also to help create a walking rhythm. It really does help. We planned the route. A pilgrimage is a walk with intent, a purpose, and a specific destination. So we always spent some time with the OS map, planing the route, the places we could stop, the places we could safely camp, our beginning and the final destination. Things might not always go to plan, but that time spent before was very useful. After listening to Will and Guy talk at the OBOD Winter Gathering it has inspired me to take another Pilgrimage next year, but it has also reminded me of those past walks I’d made – of the connection to the land and my gods that they brought me. Life can sometimes feel like a race, but for what? May my footsteps tread lightly, may my mind be free enough to stop, to see, and to hear. May I walk gently upon the Earth, in the footsteps of the Ancestors. View the full article
    • I tend to read "on the rise" and such as "we have noticed that", especially in more main-stream media such as this. It's a good hook into the article for them, but as so many have said, seldom actually fact.
    • I don't think that paganism and witchcraft are any more on the rise or not or "in fashion" than they have been at any point during the last thirty years or so.  What may be falling out of fashion is the "Charmed" school of witchcraft.  That, I think is a fashion or maybe craze is a better description. When it comes to "serious" (for the want of a better term) paganism or Wicca I don't see any evidence that there's any more or less than there's been for a while.  My son and his partner live in Scotland and partner is a postgrad student.  She reckons that the number of pagan students is about the same as when she was an undergraduatre a few years back - and it all sounds a pretty similar split between the people who take it seriously and the Llewellyn/wicca lite types  as when I was at university although the styles of clothing may have changed.       
    • Most people have heard about the Law of Attraction and how it can be used to attract the things you desire in your life to you. Yet, this is but one of many natural laws of the Universe. Can you imagine how successful you'd be if you were able to connect to and apply some of the other natural laws to your specific needs? Melissa Alvarez, author of Believe and Receive, takes a look at four laws that aren't as well known as the Law of Attractionandmdash;but are just as powerful. View the full article
    • Agreed Bob. I found Contemporary Paganism by Graham Harvey very very useful in the early days.  It gave me a vocabulary that I sort of understood before I went to my first moot. The first, general, chapter is the best definition of Paganism I've seen given the it's virtually undefinable. He goes on to cover a wide range of "paths". ( I DO dislike that word)  
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