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Monica Soto

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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/22/19 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    As a matter of principle, I am suspicious of anything that uses the term "the true..." or "a real..." - be it pagan, alien, Christian, or whatever. I find the the terminology unacceptable. Regardless of what I think paganism is or should comprise, my view is not to be imposed on any other. Nor is Sheridan's. "The true..." and "a real..." is the terminology of imposition, the beginnings of doctrine, Yes, I find nature calming. I recognise beauty in it. I find it stirs sense and feeling. So do an awful lot of people, regardless of whether they are pagan. Yes, I do a lot of my thinking in an armchair and find a lot of ideas in written matter. So do an awful lot of people, regardless of whether they are pagan. Each to his own. There is no process (unless you wish to become a particular "type" of pagan within some organisation or other) and I reject any suggestion that I or anyone else has a "right" way or a claim to being particularly genuine.
  2. 3 points
    That worries me a bit. How far are we away from a bad situation in which an older man tells a younger woman she needs to get naked in the group to show her ongoing commitment to it? That's different from all deciding to work skyclad together as a means of achieving something, and it's different from an initiation setting where there needs to be some significant sign of crossing over into the group. I'm not sure of my logic here, but there has to be a line somewhere between appropriate challenge and never-appropriate abuse.
  3. 2 points
    A question that deserves a considered reply. I am a person for whom definitions need clarity. I am also a person who is not overly bothered if a definition is unidentifiable. It just means that there is no satisfactory definition. But that is not the issue. I have no problem with a clear, even a forceful, statement of a position - which may not come as any great surprise, I suppose. But that is not the issue either Nor do I think that this is a matter of "relationship with language". Whilst it is true that words can be interpreted in various ways, and that some are more precise than others in their habitual use of language, there are instances where the implications of terms used have a certain inevitability. As you are aware, I have a background in fundie Christianity. It's a strange world. All sorts of denominations, divisions and sub-divisions, quite a few of which (if not practically all) consider themselves to be trueTM, or even realTM, Christians. Only those who believe the same things (with some leeway round the edges. depending on to whom you speak) are regarded as "believers". That leads to inevitable conclusions: The more absolute the term, the less flexible the available interpretations ("true" and, in this context, "real" are pretty absolute concepts) The use of such terminology is exclusionary - it defines not the outlook, be it of paganism or Christianity, but the persons who are deemed acceptable; It is very difficult to conceive of a use of these terms that does not result in such exclusivity; It is very difficult to conceive of a method of maintaining the use of these terms that does not collapse into the "no true Scotsman" logical fallacy. For these reasons, I do not consider that this is just relationship to language. At the very best, Sheridan's terminology on this is extremely ill considered. At worst, it renders him a person whose views are based in prejudice rather than any serious thought process. Every experience is a conceptual model That is the nature of subjective perception. I know what you are trying to say, however. The answer is that there is a balance to be struck between pure theory and direct experience. However, the point of balance will differ according to the mental faculties and past experiences of the individual. I cannot exclude a person for having a different balance to mine - to do so is to condemn myself in the eyes of those who have that different balance, for their approach is as valid as mine. Just as the paganism of others might suffer if they adhere to your appreciation and baseline. That sounds to me like it might benefit from another thread.
  4. 2 points
    When written down, "and that my friends is how you become a real pagan" grates with me. It doesn't read well, partly for the implication that you have to pass a test and partly for the patronising tone. When spoken on the video, though, it doesn't grate with me at all. It sounds as if that's just the way he talks.
  5. 2 points
    I subscribe to sentiments such as Thomas espouses (and how could anyone (pagan or otherwise) not?) but I should also do more armchair and bookshelf duty. I don't think one makes sense without the other. I couldn't have "become a pagan" just by reading books. I found a path in nature and then gave myself the eventual task of understanding and explaining what I'd found, at least to myself, which needed a little reading just to discover what words to use.
  6. 2 points
    If you are seeking the initiatory Craft, it is likely to be difficult for all sorts of reasons: As has been said above - there are charlatans out there, ready to exploit people with promises of power and all sorts of other things - as there are in any walk of life IMO, the genuine coven is a family and you may not fit nor may you find the people in it ones with whom you wish to work - it works both ways There is not a coven in every city, town and village and you may have to travel far to find your right place Each coven is autonomous even though they adhere to one branch of the Craft or another - they may be different from one another whilst still using a common framework - in all sorts of ways - whether or not they usually or sometimes work skyclad; whether they have an outer training circle for seekers prior to initiation; whether they meet just for ritual or share social time with each other ... and so on and so forth! If any person or group makes you feel uncomfortable in any way whatsoever, you should leave them be and look for a compatible place - pagan conference, pagan magazines, the Pagan Federation, local moots ... are all places where you can meet up with potential teachers and leaders. Referring to some of the comments above: if you want to know the background of the Gardnerian Craft, there is no finer place to get accurate details than Philip Heselton's books about Gardner and the early Craft - there are several books including the latest which is "In search of the New Forest Coven". From that history, you will find that Gardner got his teaching and knowledge from many sources, including Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn, OTO and many other sources - before Alex Sanders ever came along! For most of us, we are interested and even fascinated by the history but in the end, it is just that - history and fascinating - if your magic doesn't work personally at least some of the time, then you are not a witch and no initiation will make you one. If magic does not work at least some of the time when your coven attempts it, then the coven is not a good working entity!
  7. 2 points
    Good point. Setting people up as hero's and role models will have an inevitable danger in the possibility that our views of them can be toppled. Better to have visionary leaders who create a movement for change which is identified separately from their own persona. A grassroots type movement empowers individuals rather than sets them up as beholden to the reputation of a leader. I'll go for Shiva Ayyadurai as a visionary leader. https://shiva4senate.com/ It's actuslly a bit of a shock to me that I have latched onto a political campaign as I gave up on the world of politics quite some time ago - but he does stand for the type of change I think the world needs. A systems biologist with four degrees from MIT, a migrant from Southern India who has researched traditional Indian systems of medicine from a Western systems approach. In his words "providing real solutions to real problems".
  8. 2 points
    I'll take your respective words for it. I'll stick with cotton clad.
  9. 2 points
    Yes, it does feel special. I've been naked without being skyclad, but never skyclad without being naked. Speaking from extremely limited experience, skyclad is a state of mind for me. It's about feeling enveloped, not exposed. When it hasn't worked (in a group collapsing with laughter or on my own wondering what on earth I'm doing) I'm just outside with my kit off. When it has worked, then skyclad feels like a really good word.
  10. 2 points
    ... yes, that really is all that matters. Don't worry, I've said many many times that I do not believe that any two people believe the same thing. By the same token: I do not believe that any two people see or hear the same thing, nor do they have exactly the same interpretation. My point was more about the relative reluctance of religion to change with learning when new knowledge appears. When my thinking diverged with that of Christianity I ...... Well let me be fair, I was drifting anyway but it speeded the process. I will never take up religion again. I enjoy thinking far to much and hate the idea of pressing my new learning into a pre-existing mould. My Paganism is not a religion. I've had one of those so I know!
  11. 2 points
    I did not know that. Maths is not my forte. The diagram - which I am probably doing a grave disservice to - helps me to visualise and understand the spiritual realms. I doubt very much that my understanding is the same as was intended when it was first devised. It makes a sort of sense to me, and for my purposes, that is good enough.
  12. 2 points
    Hi - I've used a pendulum in crystal therapy and always had excellent results but for personal use I find I that i can influence the pendulum if you want a certain result so best to try and not form an attachment to the outcome 😊
  13. 2 points
    Happy Beltane! We can’t go outside so we are staying in and taking photos of our newly arrived Green Man playing cards with some fresh flowers (they’re a little bit behind bloom here as it’s still quite chilly) It seems quite fitting for the day we can spend a little time with the Green Man even if it’s not as we’d planned.
  14. 2 points
    Perversity? I don't know what you mean. I am trying understand what you're saying that's all. Anyhow you are sounding a bit pee'd off so I'll leave it there.
  15. 1 point
    I've seen this both on Twitter and IG - thinking of getting it for Christmas/Yule... hopefully with Lipscomb, it can't be too bad?
  16. 1 point
    Very much agree with the unique role Greta has taken on leading awareness on the climate emergency. I've never really had much time for mainstream politics but have always admired Caroline Lucas for years. She conducts herself impeccably in the face of much antagonism or ridicule from other MP's. Perhaps obvious choices given my love and compassion for animals are David Attenborough and Chris Packham for their tireless work and unswerving passion.
  17. 1 point
    This is published by DK so probably anonymous, but Suzannah Lipscomb has written the foreword, which should lessen the chance of it being complete twaddle.
  18. 1 point
    In larger circles I do work robed. In that case, i have used a handmade cotton robe, tied with cord, and cloak (which was gifted to me by my HPs and was velvet - it was her own, veteran of many a ritual - but if I need one in future, I'd rather natural materials. Or waterproofed.) Skyclad is only alone or with a closely knit group. There is an element of trust, literally opening up and revealing all involved, spiritual and emotional as well as literal. It would upset the group dynamic if you didn't have what Wicca calls perfect love and perfect trust. Which is part of the reason that the initiation ritual is so powerful, on so many levels. It just wouldn't have the same impact in everyday clothing, and I feel even robes somehow lessen that glimpse of understanding how we relate to Deity. But to each their own, of course. My viewpoint is merely that. It's and interesting topic, like everything else we do, there is no right or wrong way. I will just say though, that if you haven't worked skyclad on a beach, in the pouring rain, in a thunderstorm, you are missing one of life's greatest experiences
  19. 1 point
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This. Exactly.
  20. 1 point
    Both/neither. For example, as far as I understand it, Wicca is a Pagan religion. However, there might be Wiccans out there who identify as atheists. I'm a witch, but not Wiccan. I don't have to have any belief in anything at all (even magic!). I describe myself as an atheist but I commune with deities... So much about Paganism just doesn't fit neatly into boxes. It was years before I figured that out.
  21. 1 point
    His second strategy is "When in town, I wave to and greet as many people as I can. Most of us feel isolated and more afraid, so waving to, smiling, and greeting people—even as they drive by—uplifts me and seems to be a welcome relief for those who receive my salutations" my OH does this and it seems to work about half the time. The other half people seem a bit nonplussed , maybe they think she is trying to raise the alarm or something 😂 - sign of the times we are living in I suppose...
  22. 1 point
    Yes I have some sacred animals whom I seek guidance from and some of these give me new inspiration. One of te most powerful impressions was when i was a child. We went to this pond in the forest. It was a warm summers day and above the heat the sun shone pearlescent light upon the water. Dragonflies were dancing hanging on the invisible strings of that moment so Id choose them. they have literally opened my eyes by showing their humble beauty.
  23. 1 point
    Regarding being simultaneously detached and involved, I normally feel that there is no such thing as objectivity so, if I were being consistent, I would argue that you, the pendulum and the thing you're dowsing (the dowsee?) are all inseparable parts of the same system. Fortunately, consistency isn't a strong point with me. I'll therefore speculate that the purpose of dowsing is to learn something about the dowsee, not just to learn more about yourself or the overall system. I think that's how I'd resolve the detachment/involvement paradox - I'd think about what I was setting out to achieve and I'd be ok with an assumption that the dowser and the dowsee were potentially independent of each other.
  24. 1 point
    Being solo, I'll probably head out to my local park, normally deserted at sunrise, or maybe push on to the beach. I may take some wine or mead and cake with me instead of my usual fortifying tea in vacuum cup and biccies. Over recent years, my observance of the sabbats, apart from Beltane and Samhain has been very informal, but this year it feels more important than ever to make the effort.
  25. 1 point
    What I find useful is a meaningful mantra (repeated silently in the mind). When I'm out in the hills or fells it is a gateway to 'the other place' and during the day it helps me stay grounded , especially when at work. Another ritual I find useful is every morning on the way to work I stop at the beach and pick up a pebble and keep it in my pocket. During the day I hold it to remind me of 'the other place' - the next day I replace the pebble back on the beach and pick up another one. For me ritual is a practical way of keeping focus on what is important, it's all to easy to get lost in the world and overwhelmed by negative energy.
  26. 1 point
    I have experienced other religions and philosophies, I’ve tried to find whatever I was looking for at the time only to find too much emotional blackmail as in “if you do this...this will happen” and “if you don’t do that something else will happen”. This is not for me. I like to be able to love, think and act with caring throughout my life, being pagan enables me to do this and living this way enables me to call myself a pagan.
  27. 1 point
    YES! This ^^^^^^^^^^ big time. I go bare foot everywhere at home. I have told the story before of a visitor who came to the door and said that '"there were human footprints in the snow on the drive". I was able to reassure her that this was only because humans lived here.
  28. 1 point
    Mine would have to be the field mouse - wonderful little creatures they are!
  29. 1 point
    It's difficult. I think that most people have an inbuilt "bullshitometer" that kicks in, and which becomes more sensitively calibrated with age and experience. Sometimes though, I think that it depends on how much someone wants to believe. Human beings can be very good at self-deception when the circumstances are right.
  30. 1 point
    I was going to ask Is there a difference? Then I read your post MH now I'm unsure if I'm asking a stupid question (yet again :) ). I would be absolutely devastated if I lost my gorgeous Staffy boy or my lovely little lady cat, I love them almost as much as I love my kids but I don't think of them as familiars. Oooh do I have familiars and not even know it? Hmm
  31. 1 point
    I read this and couldn't resist posting it. for one thing, it's by Lady Abigail. That there "Lady" tells us she's a special pagan, with special wisldom. And then, it's not about losing your pet. No sirreee. It's about losing a familiar. A very different animal. Or is it? Can you spot the difference? :P
  32. 1 point
    This is Aberdeen, skyclad is not an option! Fine if you want to and you're somewhere warm but I'll stick to concerning myself with the communication, rather than the props.
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