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Showing most liked content since 11/17/17 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Oooh... We have a more interesting colour scheme at the top of the page...
  2. 2 points
    I don't think that interest in true witchcraft /Wicca is "on the rise" - certainly the instant-ness of stuff on social media may mean that there is an increase in pop-witchcraft termed as wicca but not the real initiatory thing! I see a watering down of what is witchcraft/wicca, in the public domain and it is all to easy to pick up information from the internet and call yourself a witch. It is my personal view that you are either a witch or you are not and reading books and stuff on the internet and deciding to pick this or that and have go at it, does not make you into a practicing, effective doer of magic - and that is what a witch is. If you can't do magic, you are not a witch nor a magician.!
  3. 2 points
    Still finding my way around the new site features but I'm back in the UK again and huddling around a roaring fire, longing for the Sicilian sunshine...
  4. 1 point
    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.
  5. 1 point
    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.
  6. 1 point
    True but don't underestimate how even a little reading can help a newbie tackle their first face-to-face encounter with other pagans. Sometimes just having enough of a clue to steer around the obvious Daily Mail questions (animal sacrifice, sex magic, horse mutilation, white power etc.) can help a person actually engage rather than clam up in embarrassment. My go to book to recommend to all aspiring Druids is The Druid Handbook by John Michael Greer. It is a remarkably practical guide to fairly mainstream Druidry with a Welsh rather than Irish flavour. The important thing is that it leaves enough gaps to act as a framework for your own journey, rather than being a prescriptive journey in itself.
  7. 1 point
    That 'Witchcraft on the rise/ recent rise in people becoming witches' line is one that journalists have been using as a hook to talk to Pagans for rather a lot of years. Last time a journalist tried that with me, I asked them how many years it would be before it stopped being 'recent'? I then suggested they might like to go away and come back when they'd thought of something a bit more specific they wanted to talk about... perhaps after they'd spent at least 5 minutes actually reading around the subject. It comes across to me as lazy journalism, and journalists need us much more than we need them. So I feel we should be holding out for higher standards before agreeing to interviews.
  8. 1 point
    That magnificent nature poem was written by my Bardic Buddy Arthur Hinds and to me sums up in just a few verses the reverence we Druids hold for these beings. If ever I feel upset, or disconnected from my Path, if ever I need to remember what it is all about, all for, it is to the woods my feet take me. Just as a Christian will make a pilgrimage to an ancient church, there to sit in the pews and to soak up the atmosphere of that sacred space, to be in a place where they can speak, and then hear the voice of their God reply, so I go to the woodlands, and walk among the trees. My feet touch the earth, and the smell, that forest smell, makes me feel so alive. The aroma of the woodland is something that changes from season to season. I think, even though I love Spring and Summer the most of all seasons, it is the aroma of the woodland in Autumn, wet earth and leaf-fall, that fills my heart within the forest. Yet as I consider those words the sight of the snowdrop, of young primroses, dog roses and may flower, elder and rowan; the taste of the woodland air as the first warmth of Spring warms the earth, suggests that is not entirely true – there is always some glorious sight or smell within the trees. And as the woodland is the Church of Trees, so there are places that are Cathedrals. One such place here in Sussex is Kingley Vale. It’s near West Stoke, just outside Chichester, and is the largest yew forest in Europe. 30,000 yew trees cover a huge part of the South Downs, and as you enter the forest of yew the light changes to monochrome, the birds stop singing, and the earth is bare beneath your feet. It is magical, head-swimmingly strange, and deeply sacred. But before you get to the yew forest you must first walk through a large deciduous woodland, and within that typical English woodland there are older yew trees, ancient beings who have known this land for millennia. These trees knew a world without the combustion engine. A world much more peaceful, yet they also have seen wars, and plague. People on horseback have ridden past wearing tricorn hats, and poets have doubtlessly walked among their bows, listening for the Muse. But there is more. Here within the deciduous woodland of Kingley Vale there is a Grove of Yews. And this, to me, has always been a Cathedral. I have visited many times, and each time I cannot enter without a huge wave of emotion overwhelming me. Sometimes I have been there and there have been families picnicking in the Grove, their children climbing on the ancient branches and, although my immediate response is negative, I soon realise that I am placing my own construct upon the place, and that in their own way these children are learning to love nature, just as I did at their age. I sit, and enjoy their delight, as they climb, and laugh together. At other times there is no-one there. Upon entering the Grove the silence is so empty that it surely must have been filled just moments before with the voices and music of the Fey. My hands touch the bark of these ancient beings. And soon that silence is filled once more with the voices of the Old Ones. One of my most favourite experiences is taking people to see the Grove for the first time. No amount of description can explain the atmosphere, the power, that place holds. Trees, with their roots in Annwn, their trunks in Abred, and their branches in Gwynvyd, span all Three Realms. If I were to follow my Druid path right back, to what drew me to the Druid tradition, it would be the Sacred Grove. When I heard that the ancient Druids met in Groves of trees, something awoke in my soul. I completely understood why they would have done that. I had felt that reverence myself, although I had no name to hang upon it until I heard the word Druid. I go to a Church of Trees. View the full article
  9. 1 point
    I received an excellent question via my Facebook page over the weekend. It was this: It’s a little complicated, but thinking on Paganism and Druidry as more than a spiritual belief, but as a lifestyle, in today’s modern life, is it possible to live in such a lifestyle? Instead of replying directly I thought this might well be something that other Pagans struggle with, so a more open blog article called. Let’s go back to the beginning. Well, my beginning to be exact. When I felt the call of the Old Gods I was already a fairly experienced Occultist. My teenage years had led me to the books of Crowley and the Golden Dawn (I’ll say it again, not the far right political party, but the old Magical Society. You might not think that’s necessary, but when I wrote that I was into the Golden Dawn once, I received an email from someone in utter despair that I was a fan of the far right. So people do make that mistake.) Yet I heard a call from the land, and that call led me to Druidry. When I left school my second job was at a knapsack sprayer manufacturer, on the assembly line. I worked at the same firm for 11 years. Going from the assembly line, then into the repair centre, then I was promoted to the Research and Development department, then I was plucked from there, given a company car and an expense account and sent off into the UK as their Home Sales Manager. From there I was sent overseas as the company’s international training officer, and then export sales. I went to Africa a number of times. It was a good job considering I’d left school with barely any qualifications. In 1991 we were told that the company was moving to Northumberland. I was offered a good deal, to sell the house and move, and had to give it good consideration, but in the end I chose not to. Towards the end of my time with the company I went on a business trip to an agricultural show in Spain with the then Export Sales Manager. We spoke about what we were going to do next. He had made contact with a Polish injection moulding company, and he thought we might be able to form a company and work with them. So when our old company moved, we hopped on a plane and had a meeting with them. When we arrived we were led to the board room. Me and my buddy opened our briefcases and began to talk about our plans, but the Director raised his hands. “In a while we talk business. Now. We drink.” Out came ice-cold bottles of Vodka, and we did indeed drink. A lot. When there were a number of empty Vodka bottles on the boardroom table, and me and my business partner were, well, you know. The Director then stood up and said, “Now… we talk business.” It was a very different way of working. He told me he wanted the truth, and that Vodka was a good way of getting quickly to the truth. It worked. They heard our plans and the next day agreed to work with us. We had our own business. So in early 1992 I was my own boss, had my own business, company car, it was good. But. Around the same time I had found my Pagan Heart. I joined the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. Discovered the Pagan Federation. Got involved in an Earth-centred spiritual path, and really felt it. This leads me back to the initial question. It’s a little complicated, but thinking on Paganism and Druidry as more than a spiritual belief, but as a lifestyle, in today’s modern life, is it possible to live in such a lifestyle? I became embroiled in the agricultural industry when I was 16 years old. It was all I’d known, and I had made a bit of a name for myself within it. I was a paid-up member of the British Society of Sugarcane Technologists. I was at the meeting where they spoke about the need for a sugar-based, low calorie sweetener. That sweetener later became Splenda. My clients were the big bad boys – Monsanto, Zeneca, the big chemical companies. I remember being at the Zeneca plant when they were just beginning to talk about developing plants that were genetically resistant to disease – the very beginning of GM crops. And as my Paganism grew, it became harder and harder to square my work life, with my spiritual beliefs. They were out of sync with each other. In the end something had to shift. I took my Spaniel to work with me every day I was in the office. Our office was in the countryside on a farm, a lovely place to work. One lunchtime we walked out into the Sussex countryside, and went to visit an old oak tree. I went there every day, spoke the Druids Prayer, and intoned some Awens, but this day something was different. I spoke to the tree. I said that there must be some way to live a holistic life. A life that was in tune with my Paganism. I said to that wise old tree that, if there was a way, I was ready. Bring it on. The very next day I received a phone call that would change my life. Afterwards, I went into the office and sat at my computer. My business partner was at his. How could I even bring this up? We had created this company together in good faith, for the long run. But I simply couldn’t do it any more. My life was going in another direction. I sat there for a long time wondering what to say. Then I just said’ “How would you like to own all of this?” He stopped work. Looked at me and said, “Ok. Let’s talk.” So we did, and in a couple of months all of the loose ends were tied and I was out. I took a huge drop in wages, but that decision also led to having the space to write songs, record songs, and the rest is history. It was a massive step, and a big change. Not everyone needs to do that. Some hold on until the time is right, but in reality that right time often doesn’t come along. It’s like having children. Sometimes you just have to go for it, and see what happens. What does a ‘Pagan Lifestyle’ Look Like? To answer the question. Is it possible to live a Pagan lifestyle? I guess one has to consider what living a Pagan lifestyle would look and feel like. That is a very personal thing. To some it would involve making sure to do the recycling, maybe getting an allotment where you can grow your own food. Buying ethically, and making difficult but important consumer choices. Some might chose to become vegetarians, or vegans. Like me some may feel that they need to change jobs. But the thing to stress is that these are personal choices. Not every Pagan thinks the same way, and when we chose to make those lifestyle changes, it’s important to accept that not everyone will do the same. If you don’t, you are setting yourself up for almost constant disappointment. Being a Pagan with a Busy Life This is a real thing right now. How did the technology we created, to give us more time, make us even more busy? How do we find time in our lives for our Paganism when we barely have enough energy to collapse on the sofa and sit bleary-eyed in front of the TV without falling asleep after a hard day’s work? These are questions my Grove are working through right now. One of the things that can help is to drop the resistance to those things us Pagans unhelpfully call mundane. I heard a great quote the other day. It came from Dion Fortune and she said something like “we have to honour and tend our Hearth fire, before we can tend the Temple fire”. Not only that, but our Hearth fire can feed and ignite our Temple fire. It’s a challenge, but it might help if we stopped pigeonholing aspects of life into boxes of mundane stuff and spiritual stuff. One feeds the other, constantly, and the result is wholeness. Life. There are some people who are so busy they really cannot find time for a spiritual practice. But for most of us we can always find time for Facebook. How about not going on Facebook, but instead doing 10 minutes of meditation? Instead of diving into the newspaper first thing in the morning, how about starting your day in a different way. Go outside, smell the air, connect. Little changes can really help. There doesn’t have to be a massive shift that changes everything. Small things can build up. Make them habits and they can have a knock on effect on our mood and relationships, both to others, and ourselves. If we also make tending the Hearth fire a spiritual act, well, that shift in perspective can be utterly life-changing. Having written all of that I have to come back to one thing – what does living a Pagan lifestyle look like to you? And what small changes can you make to edge towards that? Be gentle with yourself. It helps nobody if we are overtly harsh. These things can take time. Make those small changes and this time next year that imagined lifestyle may be the one you are living, or at the very least you will have made changes that make you feel more connected. I hope that helps. Let me know your thoughts. View the full article