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Haylee Linton

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Haylee Linton
Moonlight Forest
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    • 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
      • 35 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. 


      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

    • Stonehugger
      Me too. The physics/chemistry/biology of how it works means nothing to me, and probably would cease to be magic if it did. There was a book out a few years/decades ago (Supernature by Lyall Watson) that everyone thought was twaddle and maybe it was but he did speculate about trees being telepathic. We now know they communicate through fungus. Does that make trees more magickal or less magickal? It doesn't make us any more or less able to tune into their wisdom, so that's probably a bad example. If we understood how standing stones remember what's happened to and around them over the millennia and how they generate wisdom in people who manage somehow to tune into it, would that understanding make it any less real? I suppose it might. But things like consciousness and relationships, and wisdom for that matter, aren't about scientific explanations.
    • Stonehugger
    • UK Pagan
      A few days ago I was witness to a post going viral on the internet. I shared an article that Cerri wrote on her blog about Magic and Tolkien that was titled ‘Finally I understand why Tolkien’s Elves make me cry‘. I simply shared it on my Facebook page saying “Cerri has written a lovely article about Tolkien and Magic. Have a read!” I moved on to other things but within a few hours I heard Cerri downstairs obviously shocked at something. I came and she said “look at this!”. Over a thousand people had read the article in about an hour. More followed. It was shared hundreds of times and the next day was pretty much the same. It was obvious that this article had touched a nerve, but what was it? That very evening we had our local pub moot. It’s a talking stick moot where we pull a topic from The Jam Jar of Possibilities, a jar filled with topics people have suggested we discuss and explore, and the one pulled that night was Magic – What is it, where does it come from, and how do you work with it? The Universe works in mysterious ways. So the beer mat was passed around the table with each person offering their views. A fascinating evening ensued. The moot has been running for over 20 years so we’ve obviously discussed Magic before. Back in the 90s there was a great deal of enthusiasm for Magic. Paganism was a deeply magical path, the routes in were Wicca, Witchcraft, Druidry, Asatru, all of which are initiatory paths that held within them a magical training. Over the years Paganism has become far more eclectic and diverse. With the publication of Dawkins’ The God Delusion there was, for a while, a pressure to try to shoehorn beliefs and Magic into purely logical explanations and abide by a more Atheistic world view. So at the moot we have seen all of this ebb and flow of fashion and changing opinions. It’s always interesting to note further changes. So as the mat was passed around I was expecting more of the logical explanations, and of course they were there, but there was something else, something that was expressed in Cerri’s article – a longing for mystery. Look, I am convinced that one day a scientist will create a machine that will go ping and they will ‘discover’ Magic Waves. Kind of like the way explorers ‘discovered’ America and Australia. These islands were already there, being lived upon quite happily by countless generations of indigenous peoples, but now someone had ‘discovered’ them, well, they really existed. Of course these ‘waves’ would never be called Magic Waves, but they will be the physical forms of the mystical energy Magicians, Shamans, and Priests have been working with for millennia. Look away from the lab coats though, and look to the land, the green, the mud, the waters, and the sky, because although that machine may one day go ping in that laboratory, our senses already go ping when we develop a deeper relationship with the natural world, which is where Magic has always lived. It isn’t an unnatural energy, it’s a completely natural, yet deeply mysterious, one. It is a yearning for connection with that mystery that I witnessed in the pub moot, and I am convinced it is also the reason why Cerri’s blog was shared and commented upon so much. There is a place, deep within the soul, that understands that mystery. It not only understands it, but it knows that it is made of the same stuff and is essential – without it there is a hole, there is something fundamental to being alive that is missing. My view on how Magic works has shifted and changed over the years. Right now I feel that the connection between what we see/feel as Magic, and what we see/feel as consciousness, be that our own, or the consciousness of the land, the planet, the Sun, the Universe, to me is what makes this stuff work. It is the Spiritual Quest to be in relationship with all of that. By being in relationship with it, maybe we can then understand that there is no separation, and that the consciousness behind my eyes, is the same as that behind yours, as that behind the plant or tree, of the hawk or mouse. That when we Journey in a pathworking those paths and visions are created within that consciousness and literally open to other worlds. That when we make that spell, or work that Magic, our consciousness becomes one with the consciousness of the Universe and, just as with the Web of Wyrd, we pluck a thread here, and it is felt way over there, and that causes change. I love a piece from a talk given by academic Graham Harvey at AnderidaFest last year. He spoke of those moments when we are in tune with that Universal Consciousness. We walk upon the land, look up, and right before us is a glorious stag, or an eagle swoops down and lands on a post. Maybe, just like me last year, you are seemingly mobbed by two crows. In those moments we feel that magical connection and relationship. Graham suggested however that these things are happening all the time, and rather than the stag appearing to confirm our acts, it’s actually the other way around, and the stag, crow, eagle is really there to say, “Oh! You’ve finally turned up! We’ve been here all along!” I too feel that sadness when I see the Elves leave at the end of the Lord of the Rings. I feel the same way when I get to the end of Arthurian novels and films (at least the ones that understand that the old Arthurian Mythos is also a tale of our connection to the Spirit of the Land) and I see Arthur being carried away on the ship to Avalon, sailing to the west, and the Otherworld. They do symbolise Magic leaving the world with the arrival of industry and so-called progress. And with that arrival a separation was felt, and so we search for the Grail once more, to bring healing to the wound created by that perceived  separation. View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      I confess that I have always found January to be the hardest month of the year. Named after the God Janus there is a real sense of things not quite beginning yet, with the God’s faces seeing both back to the old year, and forward into the new. The festivities of Yule and the New Year are past, the decorations now back in their boxes for another 11 months, yet the light is not visibly growing just yet – by the end of January, yes, but right now the nights are still falling before 5pm. It’s a strange time of limbo, and one I’ve never particularly enjoyed. But… Last year I said that I would try to embrace all aspects of the year, and that is what I’ve been trying to do. Admittedly there have been some days when all I could come up with as I walked Oscar along the Adur river in ice-cold winds, greyness and damp air was, “well, it’s nice and quiet”. But on the whole I’ve been doing much better. So what of the time between the Winter Solstice and Imbolc? January, that lies in between, like the dark lines between tracks on an old LP record. What do you show me? It is true. It is quiet, and that is a blessing. As I walk through the countryside the trees are sleeping, some of the plants a sending out fresh green but most rest beneath the earth, not fooled by the occasional temperate air above. The air, when it’s not bitter cold and windy, has a joyful crispness and freshness to it – the earth not always muddy, and sometimes hard with ice. As I look across the fields they are open and bare. But instead of the silence between the songs on a record they are more like the emptiness of a blank page of paper. The paper is there, empty and waiting, and what could be written there? A song, a poem, a letter of love, the first words of a tale. The field lies empty and waiting, just like that page, empty, yet full of potential. Our Grove marked the Solstice this year by splitting up and taking torches to the peaks of seven of the hill forts in Sussex. There at 7pm on the night of the Solstice, in the darkness of the longest night, we all lit our torches and held them to the sky, symbolising the Sun reborn, creating a pattern of light across the land. The seven hills we stood upon form a rough pentagram  with one in the centre, and an eastern outlier. I was at the central hill with a few others, and we saw 6 of the other torches lit upon those other hills. It was a magical night, and maybe we had a peep into how those who lived upon the hills 2000 years ago would communicate between each other with their beacon fires. So with the Solstice marked January arrived. There is a tangible feeling of both peace, and tension, as the buds of Spring wait for the warmer air and longer days. Yet if the plants sleep, the spirits of the Otherworld certainly do not. I know of their love of Beltane, but it seems to me they are very much present at this time. Maybe, just as the red breast of the Robin is here all year, yet is more easily seen in the greyness of Winter, so the Fair Folk are also more visible, in their cloaks of green. Maybe when the fresh green of Spring arrives they blend more easily with the leaves of the greenwood. Yet now they stand between leaf-bare branches, their music playing upon the chill winds, and their feet dancing upon the wild earth. And I listen. There is beauty in Winter after all. View the full article
    • UK Pagan
      Well hello again, and happy new year! I love the feeling of ‘resetting’ that happens with a new year. It really feels like I can put stuff behind me and move onto new things. I know in some ways it’s just an arbitrary date, but it somehow doesn’t feel that way. January 1st arrives and it does feel new and exciting – what will 2019 bring? What do I want to focus on this year? Where do I want to guide things? What do I want to do? One of things I always do is recapitulate the old year, and write down goals for the new. I don’t use the word ‘resolutions’ or ‘promises’, goals is just fine. I’ve kept my old lists going back about 15 years and I confess there are some things that come back year after year. When I was playing a lot of World of Warcraft one of my goals was ‘To play less WOW’. Yes, that one was repeated for a few years, but now it’s gone. One of the goals I wrote this year was: Make my blog an exploration of my spirituality. A part of my growth. I know. Of course it always has been, but for whatever reason this was added to my goals for 2019. Maybe it’s because I see so much division, so much disquiet, even in the Pagan world, that I want my blog to be a place where this just doesn’t happen. A haven that encourages connection rather than division. I’m very much up for that, and I hope you’ll join me. So what else is in store for 2019 so far? Well, I’ve just added the gigs I’ve been booked to play so far on my concerts page here on the website. I’m looking forward to playing a gig at Paganicon in the USA having not been there at all in 2018 – I missed you lovely American Pagans! I’m then off to Australia in April to help run a Druid camp with Cerri and our good friend, Kristoffer Hughes, then afterwards I’ll doubtlessly be playing another gig in Adelaide, plus it looks like I’m booked to play a concert at the wonderful English Ale, just outside Adelaide at Mylor, so plenty of exciting things there too. This year I’m taking a break from the Y Mabinogi albums to focus on an album of songs and I’ll be getting my teeth into writing those songs over the next few months. My aim is to have the album out ready for Yule, but that could change, and I’ll certainly keep you posted! I am really looking forward to the freedom that comes with writing new songs, songs that aren’t linked to a particularly story, and the Awen is already starting to flow. As well as the music I’m increasingly being booked to speak at conferences and camps and although this is right outside of my comfort zone, I thoroughly enjoy the challenges it brings. For instance I’m not playing music at this year’s Pagan Pheonix South West conference (what was the PF Devon and Cornwall conference) but instead will be talking about Y Mabinogi, the history and lore surrounding the tales. I’ll also be speaking at Paganicon in Minneapolis, as well as playing a concert on the opening night, Witchfest Midlands, and at the Druid camp in Australia. And then of course there is the monthly DruidCast podcast and my other work with the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, the seasonal open Wheel of the Year rituals at the Long Man of Wilmington have entered their 19th year, and it looks like there will be another Anderida camp in the Autumn, so plenty to keep me busy. But also this year there will be space. Space to just be, to connect with the Source, to watch the sunrise, to sing to the stars, to allow that Awen to flow into songs. Whatever you have planned for 2019, may it bring you wonder and joy, magic, and blessings! View the full article