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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/02/19 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    What do I get out of it...? Principally, freedom. Freedom to think, to experience, to go my own way and to stick up two fingers and the doctrinal "we know better than you and you must agree with us" types. Been a part of that. Never underestimate the value of freedom. Also, a sense of mystery. I don't mean in some sort of "ooh - I'm so occult and strange..." way. Rather, it gives the latitude for me to explore my own mind, psyche, whatever you want to call it, whether logically, emotionally or meditatively, and to seek to synthesise these.
  2. 1 point
  3. 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.
  4. 1 point
    I think what I get most is a sense of oneness with what's around me. That's almost always a good thing in the sense that whatever is happening to me is happening to everything else and obviously I react differently to the way a rock or tree would react but it's clearly my responsibility to manage my reactions to things. It's a lot like the old saying that sailors can't control the weather but they can trim their sails. The downside is that very occasionally I can get dragged down by situations I don't understand at all. I worked in a troubled building for a while - I never worked out what the problem was but even another colleague with no pagan leanings could sense something. He thought the building must be on the site of a cemetery but that wouldn't have troubled me. On balance, being at one with my surroundings is very much more beneficial than not and it's something I work at.
  5. 1 point
    Seems like a clarification of what you get out of your paganism, Rosa, which is the title of the thread.
  6. 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.
  7. 1 point
    Hey, I know it is an old topic, but one I would gladly read further, if we’d have more comments here. So I share what paganism gives me. I grew up very close to nature in a small town surrounded by hills and woods and we spent enormous amounts of time outdoors, in the summer we even cooked outside on open fire every single weekend. I also had a strange and strong emotional connection with ’magical stories’ and folklore as a child, which I couldn’t manage to grow out at all, but rather created a base to the way I see the world. People tend to grow up and leave their birth place, I moved to different big cities and big city life exhausts me big time both emotionally and physically. My paganism takes the weight of life off from my shoulder, cleanse me from the stress of the artificial and processed life the city can offer and provides a site to bond with my truest inner self while making a connection with nature - like a soul-to-soul with the spark of life within the earth. When I take care of my herbs or cooking for a feast or preparing for celebration it feels like pouring balm on my soul. I feel content, happy and excited. Paganism provides traditions, inheritable ones which I can share with my family and can celebrate together, strengthening our relationship and deepening our love for each other. Also gives some quiet meditation, opportunities to self-reflect, make peace with myself and achieve internal equilibrium, which I believe is incredibly important for safe magical practice. Paganism is not a kind of religion for me, I do not worship any deities. I tried many times many different gods but all rituals felt very empty and honestly, a bit like ’let’s play’. I am truly amazed by people can believe in a god, sometimes I could envy them for their love. For me, the fact that the soil with the help of the other elements and effects of celestial bodies and physical laws can and does produce life is the source of all magic. As a healthcare professional my approach is also very scientific, but the science behind it gives the ground to truly trust it. I learn to know it. And no one said paganism must be belief. It can be based on knowledge, see the term WISE-wo/man {and lots of sentiment}. I listen to my body and soul and I modify my rituals every time to accommodate to the urge and inspiration I feel while performing it. Therefore my paganism is the way of my life, not just ’on weekends’, but it is my very existence, intervening with all and every decisions I make from my carrier choice to what to eat or when to sleep. Paganism is freedom. Well, sort of. As my paganism deeply roots in the respect to all organics, and REAL nutrients are like number 1 priority for me when it comes to nourishing my family we have no microwave oven in the house haha.
  8. 1 point
    Wicca and Witchcraft conjure up all sorts of different images in the minds of today's magickal community. There are many who think Wicca is a belief system full of rules and limitations, dictating the beliefs, deities, and magickal practices of its practitioners. However, today's Wicca is a vibrant tradition that can be celebrated in a variety of ways and practiced every day. Jason Mankey, author of Transformative Witchcraft, offers five easy ways we can connect with our spirituality and enhance our craft daily. View the full article
  9. 1 point
    Yay Pealbrook. Starter's Orders is the perfect place for a question like this. It is the only thread that we allow outsiders [Guests] to see. As well as being of general interest it is a showcase for the Valley. I quite often point outsiders here. What do I get from my Paganism? An explanation for the existence of the universe that suits my way of thinking and which is founded on thoughts, ideas and principles that accord with my philosophies. A bloody good fit. My Paganism carries no commandments, no sin, no guilt, no faith and no self [or other] judgement. Right action, by my own tenets, is my contribution to my beliefs not the result of them. As I've said elsewhere, learning, trying to understand how the universe works is the most important function that I can perform. In doing this it is important that DNA is nurtured so that the learning continues, hence my three legs of rectitude. Oh - those are on a different thread. Sorry to repeat them for those who only read them two days ago. Act legally Act socially and Act with kindness. Thanks for the post.
  10. 1 point
    Of course! The dark side thread refers to the very general concepts of good and evil, light and dark held by "people" [unspecified]. We are agreed in that thread that these concepts are subjective and vary with cultures and contexts. I doubt whether many individuals consciously act in ways that they believe to be evil. They will always rationalise and see justice in their actions. Why should they review their thinking? Societies look across borders and sometimes perceive evil in those who are not of their kind; as might those looking back. In general individuals in those societies are neither free nor motivated to look beyond their learned thinking for all the real and perceived reasons that we have discussed.. To do so might even be dangerous. This thread refers to my thinking which has been jolted out of its complacency by accident and by association with other societies and changed in ways permitted by my own. This post was my own thinking and advice to an individual. Yes, circumstance and liberalism coupled with inclination may allow a few of us the luxury of introspection. Even in a liberal society most of us are far too busy for that.
  11. 1 point
    I just wanted to quote this again for any newbies/oldies who hadn't seen it. 12 years since the original query was posted, and yet I still see it debated within some of the Facebook groups I'm a part of.
  12. 1 point
    *reviving* It's not silly, fluffy, or dumb. I think it is very rare to find anyone who hasn't at least once doubted themselves, overthought a situation, or considered taking a side-step elsewhere to see where it leads. Life involves a lot of curiosity and experimentation. I think the one piece of advice I would share would be to follow and learn about what is intriguing you at the time. You don't have to be frozen by your past, nor do you have to think about a "final" destination. Be genuine, but also be honest in your experiences - do things because you want/feel a need to, not because someone "expects" it of you or tells you that it must be done that. exact. way. or. else. As for the gods being perfect... Regardless of whether you see them as literal or metaphorical, I think they make mistakes like the rest of us. Some are just less honest about it.
  13. 1 point
    Trust yourself MC. I am not at all sure that turning to the internrt will bypass the BS 🙂 Here in the Valley we are reasonably measured but we aren't "right". The following is not a set of instructions, it is a description as to how I, a complete stranger to you, goes about it. Don't work hard at it. The most important thing is living: ordinary, mundane, routine living. While you do that let your mind think. Don't try and channel it, just think to yourself. Think about what you really believe. Don't argue with yourself, just let the thoughts flow through your mind as you peel spuds and vac the rug. Play with ideas without commitment. Take time. After a while you will come to understand what you really believe and what you want to do about it. It may be very different from what your education told you. No one else has ever been where you are going. Their backgrounds, ways of thinking and potential are different from yours. I would advise not to decide upon a label or join a group too soon. We suspect that the majority of Pagans are solitary and without a specific label - they are simply what they are [but we can't know that]. Of course reading here in the Valley and elsewhere, listening to others, asking them questions can all go into the mincer of your thinking but I would suggest that you swallow nothing whole. Some of the thoughts that you read might resonate, a hell of a lot will end up on the midden. Once that is eventually settling in your mind THEN MAYBE it's time to see if others might be thinking as you do - It will never be the same but it might be sufficiently similar for you to enjoy and contribute to a group. [I mean a specific group 🙂 Here in the valley you can think whatever you want - it is a great sounding board] Or not. I didn't for thirty years. I originally wrote "once that is settled" but it probably never really will be completely settled.
  14. 1 point
    As a relative newcomer to both Paganism and this community I think it is helpful to think about questions of identity and accessibility here. Many people will come to this site as a part of their spiritual journey (I am aware how contentious the word spiritual is but I think for many path seekers it is relevant). Newcomers are often looking for a name for their path that will help them make sense of it and also, possibly, feed into their sense of self and it is important, I think, to remember that this process of enculturation begins from a young age. Most of us are taught to perceive that a named path and a spiritual elder (Priest, Imam, and so on) are necessary for spiritual progression. In that sense, aren't many of the 'what is my path?' posts a kind of call for that Pagan spiritual guide or elder? It is perfectly fine to respond to that call with a push to self-direction and agency but that comes with a responsibility and a host of challenges that many seekers were simply not built or prepared for. I can't speak for others but I find the wonderfully nebulous diversity of Paganism both a gift and a challenge. There is also a lot of information in The Valley to navigate and digest along with a discourse that, once again, many newcomers may not be used to, and thus struggle to access. Thus, folk don't post or lurk or leave.
  15. 1 point
    I like to think all animals are sacred. . . Except perhaps the badger who seems to be trying to build his den under my garden wall! I've left him a note saying battle may be imminent if he doesn't stop it.
  16. 1 point
    When I wrote "What you believe is what you do"; I meant it in the context of the advice that we tend to give here in the valley. = If you are wondering what to do then do what you believe. Emphasis on YOU. My experience of a single formal religion and of a narrow view of Paganism have taught me many useful things from which to construct my own practical Paganism. [i say "narrow view" on the basis that Paganism is so idiosyncratic that a wide view in depth is probably impossible] From religion I learned the power of blind faith, the function of space, sound, light, movement and regalia, the function of theatre and the necessity for a reasonable level of oration. I learned not to fear being highly visible as I functioned before large groups. I learned the power of ritual and the importance of doing it well. I also learned that apparently authoritative statements are backed by varying degrees of authority, knowledge or reference right down to nil even when delivered by high ranking, well paid and respected members of the clergy. My scientific learning taught me that sermons can be completely made up. I lapsed. I learned that my personal authority stands with that of any other text, tradition or person living, dead or returned from same. I managed. When I found Paganism I was sufficiently reluctant to join that I "tagged along" with the Earthworks tribe for three years before "joining". I learned that Paganism had much to learn from the experience, psychology and professionalism of formal religion and that formal religion had much to learn about the psychology and individual & shared perception found in Paganism.[uPG and SPG]. I learned exactly the same lessons from both about sermons, talks, literature, stories, legends, sources and lack of them. I learned that neither had it "right" as far as I was concerned. I learned that both are "right" for innumerable others. From both I learned the power of my own thoughts. I chose my own way. I have literally become a heretic but could I have done so without both those experiences? I very often wonder where I would be and what I might believe without those two experiences? I often examine the validity of my belief against this history. What would I be doing now if I had come to the valley and asked "What is my path?".
  17. 1 point
    I think answering "What is my path" doesnt necessarily mean giving it a name or a label. I agree names can be limiting. I think expressing and describing one's path is healthy and due to the nature of things (things change) might be a useful thing to do periodically. As I mentioned it can involve looking at aspirations and insight into how and where they might be met (or not!) Agreed expressing one's path isn't the same thing as joining a group but the same issues affect a group's functioning I think. Sharing common goals and aspirations and the means to achieve them etc. The group that I am in encourages confidence in the expression of one's core faith or inner truth which is a personal thing. We have pantheists, polytheists, Buddhists and agnostics and atheists in our group. We have had monotheists too. I am reminded of the thread a while back on orthodoxy and orthopraxy. What one does as being distinct from what one believes... which is a different view from the OP namely "What you believe did what you do" ED
  18. 1 point
    Is it possible that quite a few new comers join with an expectation of being taught how to be Pagan, or expect a definitive answer to their question "what kind of pagan am I" I came here with an idea of what and where I was but with absolutly no idea of paganism except for what Christianity taught me. From Birth I was brought up in the Salvation Army. The doctrine was ingrained in me right through from Sunday School to standing on street corners on a sunday morning taking part in an 'open air' meeting preaching the 'good news' There was never any problem with guidence, this is what the bible says about this or this is what the bible says about that. Guidence in Paganism? Myths and Legends. Then you come across a site like UK Pagan and reading others experiences and gleaning hints of reading material is just fantastic. The downside is, just when you think you are starting to get a grip on the subject, someone comes along and makes your reading list even longer :D As a side line, one thing that amuses me is the way every one always talks of things like Norse Mythology yet no one talks of Christian Mythology...apparently it must be fact. I seem to have lost my track a bit, but what I mean to say is, Not all of us have a great deal to say on matters probably because of a lack of knowledge or understanding, so we remain as lurkers, taking in threads and learning from what we read while trying all the time to re-write all that has been fed into our minds over the years by Christianity. My thanks to all the regulars here.....I think you have the balance just right
  19. 1 point
    It's not ALL mine! You beat me to that one. I was going to ask just how many branflakes you'd been eating... If we give the passers-through the confidence to go their own way rejoicing, all to the good. Have we not then fulfilled a rather important purpose? If they find the need or maturity to return in due course, good. But they owe us nothing, so if they do not, what's the problem? I do think we should be a little careful about how we talk about shallowness elsewhere, however. Yes, it exists, and bullshit should be called out where it is advanced. But there are other sites that do manage - or, at least, have in the past - managed to integrate madcap humour with sensible discussion. The Valley does not have the monopoly, just its' own style. And, in the end, we are all in the process of growing - perhaps, even, of growing up. We, each of us, need to be careful not to belittle those who are "behind" us, so to speak - just as we need to realize we are likely to meet, at some point, someone who is "ahead" of us. Encouragement where it is appropriate - confrontation where it is necessary, I suppose.
  20. 1 point
    There is so much stuff on the internet - much is just plain rubbish and even more is Moonsmith's bullshit ... it is hard to know what to bother with ... what to think upon ... Here in The Valley, whilst we do have fun, it is also a place for quite serious discussion and contributors trust their readers and air their views accordingly with only the very occasional spat :) That is not what happens on most pagan sites! It may well be that newcomers, with little or no knowledge, find the lighter stuff on the internet in general, more enticing than serious discussion - that is getting a bit near to a sweeping generalisation which I abhor but ... those that stay and join in the discussions, are the core of The Valley membership and I for one, value each one greatly! Maybe we all have to start with the lightweight stuff - or come from some other religious background with which we are disenchanted - in order to start to chime with pagan ideas and beliefs. When I first discovered a sort of label for things that had lurked in my mind and thinking since I was a child, I was astounded - and so many newcomers here say similar things! If The Valley and those of us in it, provide even just a starting place for folk seeking paganism to bring to their life's journey (path), then that is good enough. If those fold stay a while and contribute as they learn ... all the better!
  21. 1 point
    Right, I'll try to get my head round this, but there is a danger I'm misinterpreting you. I'm not saying that authenticity is dependent on consistency - merely upon honest self appraisal. A person who is spiritually "authentic" may be shown to be inconsistent and, therefore, mistaken. His or her reaction to that revelation will indicate whether he or she is "authentic". In my view the absence of doctrinal consistency between umpteen denominations suggests that there is, indeed, no "authentic" Christianity - or at least, none that is identifiable. That's not the same thing as saying there are no authentic Christians. Spirituality is - or should be - always personal, even within a framework that seeks some sort of orthodoxy. That's right. Just blame the poor old Hellene... Nope! That's Honest or even [i find] Integrous! Unless authentic spirituality is a special case of authenticity then: Oxford English Dictionary: 1. Of undisputed origin and not a copy, genuine. ..... made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original. And 2. Based upon facts; accurate or reliable. I suggest that we don't pursue #2 regarding spirituality otherwise we will be attempting "spiritual truth" and that might get hairy. So applying this to the OP an Authentic Teaching or an Authentic Teaching Group might be expected to have have some original source, document, history, icon or recorded philosophy whose provenance is demonstrable. That each learner will create their own interpretation of such is inevitable. "The greatest illusion of the teacher is the belief that what is taught is what is learned" Boots and Reynolds. I'll post the reference when I can remember where it is. This has a significance where learning is passed from a teacher who was a learner and where the source is elusive. Up to a point, but I think "authentic" can only be used as a term of art with a fairly specific meaning in this context. The problem is that my spirituality is personal to me, as yours is to you. Whatever the sources and inspiration, we each establish our own "authenticity" not by following a tradition but by synthesizing the ideas and making them our own. In fact, I would say that, in spiritual terms, authenticity is the very opposite of following the tradition and the herd mentality; that results in a copy of the beliefs of others, which makes the individual the very opposite of "authentic". The problem is that spirituality is, by its' nature, subjective. It is difficult, therefore, to found it upon "facts". "Made in a traditional way" works for Melton Mowbray pork pies; I'm not sure that it works for a belief system which, in terms of its' relationship to the past, can only ever be an interpretation of what has gone before, and if too restricted in the interpretation, makes the individual a a rather unimaginative copy of what has been observed in the past with no personal depth or understanding. The dictionary definition would make the "authentic" teacher the one who steadfastly refuses to think beyond the surface. If that is what it means, then I'd rather avoid the authentic. So, I would return to the idea that those who are "authentic" in their spirituality are those who are constantly re-examining their beliefs, ideas, experiences etc and are prepared to act upon their ever changing conclusions. I think...
  22. 1 point
    Hi :o_bolt: There are a few things here. Mental illness is that. It is an illness. It is not something you wish upon yourself or you asked for. It is a condition which you have and for which you need treatment in the same way that someone with diabetes needs treatment or someone with a broken leg. It's no different from that. So criticising you for being ill is just nonsensical. Would anyone criticise anyone with cancer? Another point is that having any illness does not make you any more, or any less, Pagan. You are Pagan because of your beliefs, because of the way your heart feels when you encounter certain things, because of the feeling in your gut when you are in certain situations. Harm none is something which gets debated often, here and elsewhere. There are different interpretations of it. Not everyone believes in it. Not everyone believes that they have to stick to it. It's not part of everyone's path. But it sounds as though it's part of yours. So, looking at that, I think the key statement is the one you made where you said that withholding this punishment (cutting) would cause a bigger problem in the future. Leaving aside the illness and necessity for treatment aspect, you've made the point that unless you cut yourself, you sincerely anticipate that there would be greater punishments to come. Which, to me, would indicate that you are seeking to minimise the harm. Which would, for me, tie in to some degree with the "harm none". Okay, it could be argued to streching the point, but you're not cutting others, and you're hoping that by cutting yourself you're avoiding far greater repercussions. Everyone's different hon, you don't need anyone to validate whether you're a Pagan or not.
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