Sunday, December 25, 2011

Blessings

I hope all of my readers have a blessed Festivus, Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, Kwanzaa, or anything else you might celebrate.



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yule

Yule is one of my favorite holidays. It was originally a Germanic holiday celebrated for twelve days, starting on the winter solstice.

Many decorations are the same as the Christian ones, because the traditions were adopted by them in an effort to sneak-save the Germanic pagans. As a result it is one of the two holidays that pagans who have not announced what they believe to decorate their homes in their own traditions.

In Germanic mythology Odin disguised himself with a long blue cloak and traveled to earth on his eight-legged horse. Once he arrived he would watch for people gathered around campfires to see how content the people were, and who was hungry. He left gifts of food for the hungry, then disappeared. Over time, the children began to anticipate his arrival and filled their boots with straw, carrots or sugar. Odin rewarded the kind children by replacing the food with gifts and treats inside the boots.

Many Wiccans celebrate the birth of the Great Horned Hunter God, who they view as the newborn sun. Other rituals are the death of the Holly King and the birth of the Oak King.

In Greek mythology, Demeter is looking forward to Persephone returning and winter begins to loose its hold.

Personally, I decorate my small tree and give gifts to my immediate family, including my pets. I would also extend this to aunts, uncles, and cousins, but I'm too poor to buy over 50 presents every December. I also have dinner with family on Christmas (since they are Catholics), followed by watching a movie or playing a group game like Trivial Pursuit or Rock Band.

Monday, December 19, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 10

Your sun sign

Aquarius Correspondences

  • 20 January - 18 February
  • Planet: Saturn, Uranus
  • Deities and Heroes: Ganymede, Heracles,
  • Metal: Uranium (Radiocactive Danger), Aluminium, Lead
  • Cross: Fixed
  • Element: Air
  • Stones: Zircon, Glass, Onyx, Topaz, Sapphire, Amber, Malachite.
  • Power Stone: Garnet.
  • Numbers: 3
  • Day: Saturday
  • Season: Winter
  • Flowers and Herbs: Snowdrop, Olive, Foxglove
  • Tree: Pine, Aspen
  • Color: Violet, Light Yellow, Electric Blue.
  • Bird: Cuckoo, Albatross, Phoenix, Peacock, Eagle
  • Animal: Dog, Otter

Sunday, December 18, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 9


 

A favorite mythological animal

The griffin is a creature with the head, wings, and beak of an eagle, the body of a lion, and (occasionally) the tail or a serpent or scorpion. Its origin is unknown, but believed to be either Mongolian, Babylonian, Assyrian or Persian. The myth of these creatures spread through the then-known world, and can be found in cultures such as Egyptian and Asian.

In Greek mythology, they belonged to Zeus. Later, Romans and medieval Europeans used them for decorations. Especially along-side gargoyles on buildings.

It is likely that traders in Mongolia discovered dinosaur fossils and misinterpreted them as the Griffin, but I like to hold out hope that evidence of this Cryptozoological creature actually existed in antiquity.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Holidays (Updated)

I've been seeing a lot of unhappiness in the virtual world lately. Bloggers and Facebookers are fighting. Christians saying "Put Christ back in Christmas" and "It's Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays". Others are fighting back, and it's turning into a flame war.

Instead of snapping back with things like "Santa is a rip-off of Odin" or "It was a Pagan Solstice Tree long before it was a Christmas tree", take a deep breath. Try not to take up arms in the supposed "War on Christmas".

The phrase "Happy Holidays" isn't meant to take anything away from anyone, even Christians. It's meant to embrace every holiday in December. Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus, Sol Invictus, and Saturnalia, just to name the ones I know of. There's probably more I don't. Taking offense to "Happy Holidays" shows off your bigotry. It says you are incapable of coexisting with someone different from yourself.

I actually believe in "all or nothing" when it comes to federal, state, county/parish, or city buildings. When displaying Christmas Trees or Nativities for the public, they should be inclusive of all religions represented by the people. Being tolerant does not mean hiding evidence of differences. It means showing off the differences, while putting them on equal footing with the others. Or, only put up secular decorations.

I get tired of hearing about Christians whining that they're being deprived of their holiday, of their religion. In reality, they are not. They are only being forced into equality with other religions that have holidays overlapping their own. As anyone who has researched can tell you, nearly all Christmas symbols were stolen from older pagan religions in an attempt to trick said pagans into converting. Including, but not limited to, decorating evergreen trees, giving gifts, waiting for a magical being/deity to punish or reward, and a miraculous birth.

I seriously think we all need to take a collective step back and mind our own business, instead of forcing everyone around ourselves to agree with us, or go away. Because trying to force people to conform to your beliefs is like trying to mix oil and water. It's impossible to do so. We're all different, and we're designed that way. It's time to get over ourselves, and just enjoy whatever holiday is important to us, secular or religious.


I changed my mind, and decided to have a video instead of a picture here. Enjoy!


44 Days of Witchery: Day 6

A Favorite God

Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto, as well as the twin brother of Artemis. His realm was music, prophecy, colonization, religious healing, archery (except war and hunting), poetry, dance, intellectual inquiry, and shepherds. He was also a God of light, sometimes called "Pheobus" (which means radiant or beaming), and had replaced the previous solar deity of Helios. He was also a God of plague and was worshipped under the name of Smintheus (rat) and Parnopius (grasshopper). Ironically, he was also the destroyer of these plague-carriers. According to the Iliad, he shot arrows of plague into the Greek camp. Being the God of religious healing, he gave people guilty of murder and other immoral deeds a ritual purification.

Hera, the wife of Zues, was outraged with jealousy when she found out Leto was pregnant by Zeus. Hera decreed that Leto was forbidden to give birth anywhere on earth. Not the continent, nor an island. The only shelter Leto could find was at Delos, in the center of the Aegean, which was a floating island. It was difficult to get to, because of strong under-currents.

Hera, angry about the loophole, imprisoned Ilithia, the Goddess of childbirth. Fortunatly, other deities intervened and forced Hera to release Ilithia, resulting in Leto giving birth to Apollo and Artemis on Delos. As a gesture of thanks, Delos was secured to the sea floor by four columns to give it stability and became sacred to Apollo.

Apollo's first acheivemnt was to rid Pytho (later called Delphi) of a serpent (sometimes a dragon) called Python. The monsterp rotected the sanctuary of Pytho from its lair near the Castalian Spring. It stood guard while the "Sibyl" (later called Oracle) prophecied as she inhaled vapors from an open chasm. Apollo killed Python with his bow and arrows and took charge of the oracle.

This act was a blessing for the countryside, because Pythos had destroyed crops, sacked villiages and polluted water. However, Pythos was a son of Gaea, and Apollos punishment for killing him was to serve as a cowherd for eight to nine years for King Admetus.

When his pennance was finished, Apollo returned to Pytho in the disguise of a dolphin, bringing with him priests from Crete. He also took on a new name, becoming "Pythian Apollo". He dedicated a bronze tripod (a symbol sacred to this God) to the sanctuary and bestowed divine powers on the priestesses, who became known as the Pythia.

Delphi was named after Delphinios (meaning dolphin or porpoise), which is Apollo's cult title. The Pythia inhaled hallucinating vapors from a fissure on the temple floor, while sitting on a tripod and chewing laurel leaves. After she mumbled her answer, a male priest would translate it for the supplicant. In time, Delphi became the most important oracle center of Apollo.

Monday, December 12, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 5

Sorry about the long wait. Work has been crazy busy lately. I'd promise it won't happen again, but chances are I'll have little time again in the near future.

Anyway, here's day 5!

A Favorite Goddess

Gaia (in Roman she is Terra) is the name of the soul of the planet. Without her, Earth would be as dead as most of the other celestial objects in our solar system.

In ancient Greece, she was the primordial Earth Goddess. She was the great mother of all, the first mother. She is the one who created the Titans, who in turn created the first humans, as well as all the plants and animals.

In modern paganism, she is a popular deity. Pagans from belief paths other than my own believe that she is literally the Earth. Others believe that she is a creation Goddess, a Mother Goddess from which the other deities are descended from.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 3


Witchy tools: athame.


An athame is a ceremonial dagger with a double-edged blade and (usually) a black handle. It is normally used by Wiccans, though other witchcraft traditions outside that religion may use one.


It represents one of the four elemental tools in Wicca (in this case, fire). This tools' primary use is energy work. It is not used for cutting (there is another knife for that use). This tool also aids in the creating of a magic circle. Another one of its uses is to invoke the guardians of the four directions. The athame, being a phallic symbol, is also used to represent the masculine in fertility ceremonies.

44 Days of Witchery: Day 2

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I'll try not to let it happen again!

A Myth or Story from Folklore

Oisín was a mortal in Ireland who was visited by a fairy woman named Níamh Chinn Óir (Niamh of the Golden Hair), who was the daughter of Manannán Mac Lir (Celtic God of the Sea). She announces that she loves him and he is taken to Tir Na nÓg to live with her.

This marriage produced two children, Oscar and Plor na mBan. After what seems like three years to Oisín, he tells Níamh Chinn Óir that he misses his friends and family in the mortal realm. In reality, it has been 300 years. Níamh Chinn Óir provies him with her horse, Embarr, and gives him a warning. If his feet touch mortal soil, the time he missed will catch up. He would age 300 years, and become old and withered.

Oisín returns to his home to find it abandoned and in disrepair. Later, while trying to help some men who were building a raod, the girth on the saddle broke and he fell to the ground. The horse returned to Tir Na nÓg without the ancient man, and he died of old age some time afterward.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day One





"What’s your witchy background?"


As discussed in a previous post, I was raised in a Catholic family. I realized that it was not for me by the time I was in High School. But I had to keep that to myself. My family would not approve.

I remember being at a bookstore, and my cousin found a book on Witchcraft. After telling her mother (my father's sister) that she wanted to buy it, she was admonished for it. My cousin was told that simply reading the book was a path to destruction.

However, books like the Odyssey were not dangerous like the book on witchcraft. Not only was my reading of mythology encouraged, I was given antique books on the subject. It was (and still is) difficult to read the antique books, because they aren't meant to be read. They're meant to be listened to.

I always felt like I had special abilities. When I was around six or seven, I slept in an upstairs room. I woke up in the middle of the night and heard a tornado in the distance. But I didn't feel threatened (though I should have been terrified). Instead, I went back to sleep. Somehow, I knew it was going to pass our farm without incident.

After I left home, and moved to California, I stopped being a practicing Catholic. As far as the majority of my family is concerned, I just don't attend Mass. It wasn't long after that I began studying Witchcraft, and alternative religions, voraciously.

Now I am firmly on the path I was meant for. It has no name, and it does not follow anyone elses path. Some of my beliefs come from existing religions, or extinct ones. Some come from fictional books, but the idea presented in the story made sense to me. My beliefs grow and change as I continue to learn, and as such can't be labeled. At least not for long.

44 Days of Witchery

I was reading blogs that I subscribe to via RSS, and I saw a post that sounded like a fun idea. It's called 44 Days of Witchery. Starting today, I will also be filling out this poll. Honestly, it sounds like fun, and gives me something to talk about every day.

Here is the complete list of days.

  1. What’s your witchy background?
  2. A myth or story from folklore.
  3. Witchy tools: athame.
  4. Picture of nature (water element).
  5. A favorite Goddess.
  6. A favorite God.
  7. Air element.
  8. A photo of a magical place outdoors.
  9. A favorite mythological animal.
  10. Your sun sign.
  11. Witchy tools: oils.
  12. Picture of nature (air element).
  13. What are some of the witchy books that influenced you?
  14. A favorite pagan holiday that you celebrate.
  15. Thoughts on the afterlife?
  16. Favorite witchy website(s).
  17. Picture of nature (fire element).
  18. Have you had any paranormal experiences?
  19. Fire element.
  20. A picture of a tarot or oracle card, and its meaning.
  21. A favorite scent.
  22. Current moon phase.
  23. A favorite candle.
  24. Your moon sign.
  25. How do your close ones feel about your witchy path? Do they know? Why or why not?
  26. A witchy podcast.
  27. Picture of nature (earth element).
  28. A picture of a witchy I-Want-It-Now!
  29. Water element.
  30. Witchy tools: wand.
  31. A favorite pagan/witchy movie.
  32. A pagan/witchy artwork.
  33. Faerie of your choice.
  34. Rune of your choice.
  35. Something that I think people who don’t know much about paganism/witchcraft should know.
  36. Flower of your choice, and its magical properties.
  37. A famous pagan/witch!
  38. Witchy tools: cauldron.
  39. Something that inspires you.
  40. Your altar, if you have one!
  41. A spell you’ve done.
  42. A favorite nature spirit.
  43. A magical recipe.
  44. Witch’s choice!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain

Samhain is one of my favorite holidays. I love the macabre, so this holiday is perfect for me.

Samhain is a festival of the dead. It is believed that in this day the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest, and the deceased can return to visit. It begins on October 31 at sunset, and ends on November 1 at sunset.

Adult Traditions include setting aside a plate of food for the dead, setting up Ancestor Shrines, carving Jack O'Lanterns, Zombie Walks, and cosplaying.

This year I will be carving two Jack O'Lanterns. There is a third and fourth pumpkin that were purchased, but it can't be used as a Jack O'Lantern since they don't have flat bottoms.

A new tradition I recently discovered sounds like fun. It's called All Hallow's Read. The idea is to get a scary book and leave it for someone to find and read. You can buy it new, used, in ebook format, as an audio book, and sometimes even at the library. I don't know if every library does this, but my local library will take donated books that others don't want and put them in a box. People are free to take the books out of the box and keep them at no charge.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins

It's autumn now, and that means that it's getting cool enough to turn on the oven! In my part of the world, we're looking for a reason to turn it on (as opposed to summer, when it's too hot to turn on the oven).

I recently found a new recipe, which I tried and it was an instant hit.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 bananas, mashed (1 cup)

  • 3/4 cup honey

  • 1 1/2 cup flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup oatmeal (rolled oats)

  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.

  2. Cream together butter and brown sugar.

  3. Add eggs, bananas, and vanilla.

  4. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and oatmeal together in a separate bowl. Add to batter.

  5. Stir in dried fruit.

  6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full of mixture.

  7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes for large muffins, 10-12 minutes for mini-muffins. Remove when the top springs back to the touch.


Click here for the place I found this recipe

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ancestor Shrines

A common theme among pagans is to honor your ancestors. This is especially true at Samhain, when the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is the thinnest.

Your ancestors by bloodline are responsible for you existing. Other ancestors, whether by bloodline or not, helped you become the person you are.

There are several different types of ancestors. The ones who are related to you biologically (those we owe our D.N.A. to) and archetypical (the founders of your family line/clan).

Some also include the ancestors of the land they currently live. Others include spiritual ancestors).

You may also honor anyone you choose, including pets or friends. They fall under the non-bloodline family grouping, and also helped you in your spiritual growth.

A good way to honor them is to build an Ancestor Shrine/Altar. You can set aside an entire table for them, use the top of your dresser, or any other place you feel is appropriate. Just make sure it's in a place where it won't be disturbed. A bonus to this type of shrine is it can be in plain sight, even someone who's in the "broom closet" can display this without concern of being "outed". Everyone has pictures of family in their homes, a shrine will not be out of place. This shrine can also be left up all year long if you choose.

The first thing to do, when setting up this shrine, is to clean it. Dust the furniture or shelf and clear the area of items unrealted to the shrine. If you like, you can consecrate it to make it a sacred space. Finally, add a cloth to help welcome the ancestors. What this cloth is, including color, depends on your path. Different ones have different traditions.

Once this is finished, select pictures of your ancestors. Choose ones with meaning to you. Even Death Photos (pictures people used to take as part of the funeral) are acceptable.

If you don't have a photo or painting (many people had neither taken until recently in history), you can use an item that belonged to him or her.

You may also use an object that represents a group of ancestors. A kilt can be used for those of Scotish descent, for example. If you come from a line of craftsmen, use an object that symbolizes that craft (a hammer to represent carpentry, for example).

You can also add a geneology list. If an ancestor was cremated and you are in possession of the ashes, they may be part of the shrine as well.

The final pieces are candles and symbols of your religion or spirituality. If you practice leaving food for ancestors on Samhain, the plate may be left in the shrine.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds (A.K.A Pepitas)

When you're done carving your Jack O'Lantern, there's no need to throw out the seeds. They can be eaten, just like sunflower seeds.



All you need is the seeds and a seasoning of your choice. Or no seasoning, if you prefer them plain. Rinse the pumpkin seeds with your fingers, making sure to remove any pulp from them. Drain the seeds and discard the pulp. Once that's done, you spread them out on a cookie sheet to dry overnight.

If you like extra salt, soak the seeds overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt to 2 cups water. Allow to dry an additional day, then proceed with the directions below.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed dry skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds. Shake and stir the seeds constantly to prevent them from burning. When the seeds begin to turn golden, start to pop open, and release their aroma they are done.



Sprinkle the hot seeds with the seasoning of your choice and toss to coat. Cool the seeds before eating or storing them.

When stored in an airtight container, they can be kept for up to 3 months at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a year.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meatless Mondays

I have never considered going vegan or vegetarian. I need protein in my diet. However, becoming a part-time vegetarian is something I can do.

Being a vegetarian, even part time, is healthy. Not only for yourself, but for the environment. Industrial meat is responsible for a large amount of greenhouse emissions. The processing of the meat is not the only part of this. There's the farm equipment that harvests the food that feeds the cows. The cows themselves create greenhouse emissions while alive.

There is also an economical factor in Meatless Monday. Meat is expensive, whether you buy it in a store or raise it yourself. Fruits and vegetables, not so much (depending on the season and the produce itself). You could save money by skipping meat for a day.

Feel free to join me, and others, in Meatless Monday.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tantalus

Tantalus was first known for being a mortal guest on Olympus. It is said that he stole ambrosia and nectar, with the idea to bring it back to his people. He also revealed secrest of the Gods to his people. What he's most famous for, however, is a sacrifice he performed.

Tantalus sacrificed his own son, Pelops. He cut up the boy, boiled him, and served him up in a banquet for the Gods. Most of the Gods weren't fooled however, and did not touch the offering. Only Demeter ate the "food", not paying attention to what was going on around her because of the loss of Persephone.

Zeus ordered Clotho, one of the three Fates, to bring the boy back to life. Clotho collected all the parts of the body and boiled them in a sacred cauldron. The missing shoulder was built out of ivory by Hephaestus, and given to Clotho by Demeter. Rhea gave Pelops the breath of life while Pan danced in joy. Pelops emerged with beauty that rivaled the Gods. Poseidon instantly fell in love with the boy, and took him to Olympus in a chariot drawn by golden horses. Pelops became Poseidon's cup-bearer and attendant whenever the sea God visited the palace on Olympus. Later Pelops returned to the world of mortals, and had misadventures of his own.

Tantalus had also committed a third crime, perjury. A golden dog given to Rhea so she had help watching over the infant Zeus (it was said that Hephaestus made the dog, but that doesn't make sense being that Hephaestus is supposed to be the son of Hera). Once it was no longer needed to guard Zeus, the dog was placed in Zeus' temple at Dicte. It was here that the dog was stolen. Eventually Tantalus came into possession of it. When Hermes asked Tantalus about the dog, Tantalus swore an oath by Zeus that he knew nothing about it. Hermes exposed the lie, and discovered the thief.

The Greeks were horrified by what Tantalus had done. Cannibalism, human sacrifice and infanticide were atrocities and as taboo as they are in our society today. Hades' punishment for Tantalus' crimes was to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reached for food, the branches moved out of his reach. When he tried to drink, the water receded before he could get a drop. There was also a threatening boulder placed over his head, in punishment for the act of perjury. He was one of the few that received eternal punishment, with no chance to go to the Asphodel Meadows.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jack O'Lanterns



The term "Jack O'Lantern" originally meant one of two things. A night watchman (who held a lantern to see by) or "will o' the wisp", which are mysterious flickering lights sometimes seen at night over wetlands.

Another meaning comes in the form of a myth. An Irish man named "Stingy Jack" invited the Devil to a drink. Stingy Jack didn't want to pay, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so they could pay. Once the Devil had complied, Jack decided to keep the money and put it next to a silver cross, preventing the Devil from changing back. Jack eventually freed the Devil, with the condition that the Devil would not bother him for a year and that the Devil could not claim his soul if Jack died before then.

The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil. This time the Devil climbed a tree to pick a fruit. While the Devil was climbing, Jack carved a sign of the Cross into the bark. The Devil was forced to make another deal. This time, he promised not to bother Jack for ten more years.

Jack died soon after that. According to legend, God would not allow him into Heaven. The Devil, upset by the tricks, kept his word and would not allow Jack into Hell. He sent Jack off into the night with only a burning coal for light. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip, and began roaming the Earth with it ever since. The Irish began referring to him as "Jack of the Lantern", and later shortened it to "Jack O'Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland, people began making their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other malicious spirits. The English used beets instead of turnips and potatoes. Immigrants from these countries brought the Jack O'Lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States and quickly discovered pumpkins made perfect Jack O'Lanterns.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox is the second time of the year when day and night are equal in length, the other being the Spring Equinox. The leaves are beginning to turn, except for the evergreen plants, and the birds are beginning to migrate south (or, at least the ones that are less tolerant of colder weather).

It is in our nature to begin to slow down at this time of year. Especially those of us who are of northern European descent. It gets very cold in the northern parts of the world, and conservation of energy is important. We need the energy to help keep us warm in sub-zero temperatures.

Once the harvest is done, there is still work to do. This is the time to can food, or freeze it, so extra is available during the cold winter. Even though humans (for the most part) no longer rely on storing everything we need over the winter, it is still a good idea to have a lot stored. If there's a natural disaster (such as a blizzard) that prevents you from going to the store to get food, you already have plenty on hand.

This time of year is associated with Persephone returning to her husband, while her mother begins to neglect the duties she is commanded to perform.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Xenia

Xenia was a social contract the Greeks, and most of the world around them, obeyed.

There are three parts to Xenia.

  1. The host respects the guest. A host must be hospitable to their guest and provide food, drink and a bath, if needed. It's impolite to ask questions until the guest's needs have been met.

  2. The guest respects the host. The guest must be courteous and must not be a burden.

  3. The parting gift (called xenion) is given to the guest to show the host's honor at receiving the guest

Xenia was especially important before the Gods stopped interacting with us. If a deity had played the part of the guest (called theoxenia) and the host performed poorly, the deity would respond with anger.

Xenia also included the protection of bards. In exchange for news and entertainment, they received a place to sleep, food, drink, and xenion. These bards were believed to be protected by Zeus, and any violator would be at the mercy of Zeus, or whoever he sent in his place.

An example of a violator of Xenia is Paris of Troy. While visiting Menelaus, king of Mycenaean Sparta, Paris kidnapped Menelaus' wife Helen. In response, Menelaus declared war on Troy.

An example of someone obeying Xenia occurs in the Bible. Lot, who was living in Sodom, allowed two angels to enter his home. He offered to wash their feet, and to give them food. When a mob came to his door, he offered his own daughters instead of his guests (I know this is unthinkable now, but it was the way Xenia worked then. Guests were more important than family).

I believe that this should be followed today. People should offer food and drink to guests (and most still do). Guests should treat the property of the host with respect, and should treat everyone in the hosts' family with respect. Anything farther should fall within the customs and laws of the society the host and guest are part of.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ahoy, Matey!

It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! For yer viewin' pleasure, I be showing Guybrush Threepwood, mighty pirate talking to Murray the Demonic Skull!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Green Cleaning: LCD Screens and Computers

Have your prepared All Purpose Surface Cleaner and a soft cloth ready. You can use cotton or a microfiber cloth, but never paper towels. The reason is that paper is made from wood pulp, and even though it feels soft to you, it's rough on your sensitive LCD screen.

First, turn off your computer and its components (such as the monitor and speakers). Spray your cleaner onto your soft cloth, then gently wipe the LCD screen like you would glass. Once you're done with that, use a can of compressed air and clean out between the keys. Then you take another clean cloth and wipe down the exterior of your device.

If you're cleaning a desktop computer, another good maintenance idea is to disconnect the tower and take it outside. Then, carefully open up the tower and use your can of compressed air to get all the dust out. Do not touch anything inside with water or your fingers, unless you know what you're doing. Contact with substances like oil (from your hand) or water can damage some parts. Also, you could accidentally shock the components which would force you to have it repaired by a technician. I recommend doing this on a regular basis, as dirt can cause your computer to work slower. But if you feel uncomfortable doing this part of the maintenance, hire a friend that's also a computer geek to do this part for you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pagans are Supposed to be Vegans?

Many pagans seem to believe that if you're not a vegan, or at least vegetarian, then you're not a "real pagan". They say that consuming meat is harmful to the enviroment. They say the animals suffer. I beg to differ.

I was raised on a farm where we grew various plants and animals. I distinctly remember having a flock of turkeys meant for Thanksgiving slaughter, and it goes with a very funny story I might share in some other post. We had cows, rabbits and ducks as well. A neighbor raised pigs for the meat, another had chickens. I know that if the farmer or rancher raises the animals, slaughters them himself, or herself, it's humane. The animal is not fed massive amounts of steroids and fatty foods for more meat. The animals, with the exception of the rabbits and birds, were allowed to roam free. The reason the rabbits and birds were penned was to try and keep carnivores from eating them. There is nothing inhumane about eating meat from a source like that. I can understand, however, boycotting meat from a factory slaughterhouse. That meat tastes terrible for one thing.

I believe that it doesn't matter if you believe we were intelligently designed or if we are a product of evolution. Or, maybe, you believe both. What is truth, no matter which side of the debate you're on, is that we're omnivores. Meaning we're designed to eat both plants and animals. The proof is in our teeth. The proof is also in the vegans (and those that eat mostly meat). Those that eat one thing while excluding the other need suppliments to receive the nutrients they're lacking in their vegetable-only or mostly-meat diets.

I know that some people say "eat plants, they don't feel it". But I think they're wrong. Plants are alive in every definition of the word. They must have some sort of mechanism that tells them of an injury (what we call "pain"). The way they display this, however, is unnoticed by us because we cannot understand the plant like we can an animal. It's beyond our realm of experience to even consider this.

Since I believe that, if we stop eating something because it feels we shouldn't eat it, we would starve. I proudly eat meat. If I wanted to get up that early, I would hunt for food for the winter. I also believe in using the entire animal, that nothing goes to waste. For this reason, I will wear leather and fur. But only taken from something I have eaten. In Montana winter, it can get down to -50 F. Fur and leather are very necessary in that sort of enviroment.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Instructions for Life in the New Millennium from the Dalai Lama:

  1.  Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

  2.  When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

  3.  Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, respect for others and responsibility for all your actions.

  4.  Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

  5.  Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

  6.  Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

  7.  When you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

  8.  Spend some time alone every day.

  9.  Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

  10.  Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

  11.  Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.

  12.  A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

  13.  In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.

  14.  Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.

  15.  Be gentle with the earth.

  16.  Once a year, go some place you've never been before.

  17.  Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

  18.  Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

  19.  Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Deity of the Month: Demeter

Demeter (Ceres in Roman) was one of the original six Olympian Deities. Her parents were Cronus and Rhea, the rulers of the Titan deities. Cronus believed that if he had any children, they would rise up against him. So he consumed every child his wife gave birth to.

She was the Goddess of the harvest. As such, she presided over grains, the fertility of the soil, and the seasons. She also presided over the sanctity of marriage, the sacred law, and the cycle of life and death.

Demeter is known to be responsible for autumn and winter because her beloved daughter is separated from her. I told this story in a previous post. She is also the main persona we now refer to as "Mother Nature", even though several other deities are combined with her to become this new deity.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Apocalypse...when??? (updated)

Everyone's talking about it. Hate-filled preachers, geeks, and of course the fundamentalists on the streets. The world is supposed to end three different times this decade. We survived one already. The next is in September, and the final one this year coincides with Yule after next.

The world has ended before. The dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago because a super volcano eruption coincided with a meteor hitting on the opposite side of the world. Our own species almost went extinct roughly 73,000 years ago. Honestly. A super-volcano erupted, and we are descended from the 3,000 to 10,000 survivors. The last time the world ended, we know how to survive. Our ancestors knew how to hunt, fish, and gather produce. They knew how to make clothes and tools needed to survive. And still, they almost didn't survive. Our species was on the brink of extinction.

Humans can't say the same now. Most humans' idea of hunting and gathering involves going to the local grocery store or super market. Some can't even do that. They eat out every single meal, except cereal and TV dinners. Few people would have the first clue how to survive if the power went out for more than a day or two.

What if the world were to end? Maybe the zombies take over the world. Perhaps Yellowstone (a super-volcano in Wyoming that is overdue) erupts. Maybe someone, somewhere, hits the button that starts a nuclear war. Could be one of the other ways our planet might be destroyed. Or, just maybe, a pandemic hits. No matter what happens, those that can't cook will die first...unless they are good friends with someone that cares enough to share rather than hoard.

Everyone in the world needs to regain the survival skills we lost when we became urbanites. How to build a fire without matches. How to hunt. How to tell what food growing wild are poisonous, what is edible, and what is medicinal. How to tell if water is safe to drink. How to store the food and water over a long period of time. How to avoid carnivores (as well as large herbivores), and protect their wealth (in this case, food, medicine, clothes and water). These skills come in handy, even if the world doesn't end. If they get stuck in the middle of nowhere, those that have survival skills will not die of hunger or thirst.

One law of nature that no creature has been able to break is specialization. The more specialized a species is, the less likely it will survive should the environment it lives in suddenly change. In the case of humans, we're highly specialized in the urban life. Should the electricity fail, or the roads close, most humans would have a hard time surviving for long. Stores would be out of food and water in days, if not hours.

Now, I'm not saying you should become a luddite. Far from. Technology, for the most part, is fine. Even the things that are basically useless (TV for one) are fine in moderation. I just think the world should take a step back and collectively re-think our priorities before it's too late.



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Green Cleaning: All Purpose Cleaner

For homemade all-purpose cleaner you need is water, distilled white vinegar, and an empty spray bottle. Don't re-use a bottle that once held other cleaning products. Always start with a brand-new bottle. Clearly label the bottle, as well.

Vinegar is an inexpensive product that doesn't create harsh fumes and doesn't contain harsh chemicals. It will not streak on glass, and does clean as easily as other cleansers. It also deodorizes surfaces, as well as disinfects them.

Mix one part vinegar and one part water in the spray bottle. Then spray on the surface and wipe dry.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Prophecy

Prophecy is the preternatural ability to know what will happen. It is one of the most popular, and famous, preternatural abilities.

People throughout history have attempted to predict what will happen before it does, with varying degrees of success. It is in our nature to want to know what will happen, and try to prepare for it. Meteorology, Geology, and Astronomy were all born from this. We want to prepare for rain or snow. We want to know when the next earthquake or tornado will happen. We want to know if an asteroid is coming to wipe us off the face of the Earth.

My definition of prophecy is a little different than most people's. I believe that a prophet can see a possible future. It doesn't matter if the prophet uses mundane knowledge to figure it out, or can actually see the future. Either way, the prophet sees what might happen. Then, whether by accident or direct intervention from the prophet, it happens. Or not. Sometimes a different choice is made that affects the outcome of the prophecy and makes it untrue. While this does discredit the prophet, it doesn't mean they didn't accurately predict what might have happened if a different choice had been made.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lammas


Lammas (which translates to loaf-mass) is the first harvest festival of the year, and is when the wheat is traditionally harvested.

It is also called Lughnasadh (a pre-Christian term), a traditional Gaelic harvest festival celebrated annually on August 1. In Irish mythology, the festival was started by Lugh (an ancient Hero of Ireland). It was in memory of his foster-mother, Tailtiu, who died from exhaustion after clearing land for agriculture.

In modern times, this holiday is celebrated in a number of different ways and with different names. This is a traditional time for handfastings, along with Beltane.

Living in Montana, I still have an association with harvest. Especially wheat, which is grown in the area. I don't have a tradition at this time, but I am considering making bread in honor of the harvest.



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Deity of the Month: Anubis

Anubis is an Egyptian God. Anubis is actually the name given to the God by the Greeks, but it is the most popular so for the remainder of the post I will refer to him as Anubis.

Anubis' animal form is the jackal and is associated with mummification and the afterlife. He was originally the God of the Dead, but was replaced by Osiris in the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

One of his roles was to decide the fate of the soul. He had a set of scales that determined what reward or punishment the deceased would receive upon arriving in the afterlife. He would place the heart and weight it against a feather. How heavy the heart was determined the fate of the soul.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Creation according to Greek Mythology

In the beginning, Chaos was surrounded by an unending stream of water that was ruled by the God Oceanus. The Goddess Eurynome desired to make order out of Chaos. By mating with Ophion (Sometimes North Wind, depending on the version you're reading), she gave birth to Eros, who was also known as Protagonus.

Eurynome separated the sky from the sea by dancing on the waves of Oceanus. By doing so, she created great lands to wander. It was then populated by creatures such as Nympths, Furies and Charites, among other beasts and monsters.

By separating Chaos she created Gaea, Uranus and Tartarus. Gaea and Uranus married, followed by giving birth to the Titans. They warned Cronus of a prophecy that his own children would rise up against the Titans. He responded by swallowing his children before they could grow.

Cronus' wife, Rhea, was giving birth to a sixth child when Gaea had an idea to save her grandchild. She took a stone, wrapped it in swaddling clothes, and offered it to Cronus. Thinking the stone was the child, Cronus swallowed it.

Gaea was able to hide the baby, named Zues, in what is now called Crete. With time, Zues grew up, and searched for his parents. He immediately fought with Cronus, who had no idea Zues was his own offspring.

Metis, Zues' first wife, found a way to administer an emetic to Cronus. Zues' older siblings, Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon joined Zeus agasinst ther father. They defeated the Titans after a long war, followed by dividing up the universe to bring further order out of Chaos.

Zeus made himself Supreme God over all the other Gods and Goddesses, as well as the mortal beings that wandered over the Earth. He also created a palace for his favored Gods on Mount Olympus in Thessaly. The rest were left to fend for themselves in lands below Mount Olympus.

Zues decided he should be God of the Sky and all associated phenomena. Hestia became the Goddess of the Hearth. Poseidon was given rule over the Sea. Demeter became a Fertility Goddess, and many things associated with fertility. Hera was Goddess of Marriage and Childbirth. And finally Hades was made God of the Underworld.

Zeus, however, did not like the humans. He did not find them beautiful, and being mortal was another strike against them. They also complained about the lack of good food and the cold nights, which annoyed Zeus. He chose to ignore them, while he and the other Gods feasted and enjoyed hearths in every room of their palaces.

Prometheus, who was one of the Titans that did not fight against Zeus, took pity on the humans. He stole some of the sparks from a fire on Olympus and gave it to the humans.

Zeus was furious at the insult to his power, and had Hephaestus fashion a creature to torment Prometheus. It was a woman they named Pandora. She was given a precious and beautiful box, which she was told not to open. But her curiosity won, and she opened the box. All the evils of the world were released, but she managed to close the box before Hope could also escape.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Lakota Prayer

Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,
Whose breath gives life to all the world.
Hear me; I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty,
and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice

Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.

Help me to remain calm and strong
in the face of all that comes towards me.

Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Help me seek pure thoughts and act with the intention of helping others.

Help me find compassion without empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy

- Myself (My fears and my doubts).

Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.

So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.

~ (translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887); published in Native American Prayers by the Episcopal Church. ~

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Ages of Man according to Hesiod's Works and Days




WORKS AND DAYS , TRANS. BY H. G. EVELYN-WHITE

HYMN TO ZEUS
[106] Or if you will, I will sum you up another tale well and skilfully -- and do you lay it up in your heart, -- how the gods and mortal men sprang from one source.

[109] First of all the deathless gods who dwell on Olympus made a golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Cronos when he was reigning in heaven. And they lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all evils. When they died, it was as though they were overcome with sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint. They dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands with many good things, rich in flocks and loved by the blessed gods.

[121] But after earth had covered this generation -- they are called pure spirits dwelling on the earth, and are kindly, delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on judgements and cruel deeds, givers of wealth; for this royal right also they received; -- then they who dwell on Olympus made a second generation which was of silver and less noble by far. It was like the golden race neither in body nor in spirit. A child was brought up at his good mother's side an hundred years, an utter simpleton, playing childishly in his own home. But when they were full grown and were come to the full measure of their prime, they lived only a little time in sorrow because of their foolishness, for they could not keep from sinning and from wronging one another, nor would they serve the immortals, nor sacrifice on the holy altars of the blessed ones as it is right for men to do wherever they dwell. Then Zeus the son of Cronos was angry and put them away, because they would not give honour to the blessed gods who live on Olympus.

[140] But when earth had covered this generation also -- they are called blessed spirits of the underworld by men, and, though they are of second order, yet honour attends them also -- Zeus the Father made a third generation of mortal men, a brazen race, sprung from ash-trees [meliai]; and it was in no way equal to the silver age, but was terrible and strong. They loved the lamentable works of Ares and deeds of violence; they ate no bread, but were hard of heart like adamant, fearful men. Great was their strength and unconquerable the arms which grew from their shoulders on their strong limbs. Their armour was of bronze, and their houses of bronze, and of bronze were their implements: there was no black iron. These were destroyed by their own hands and passed to the dank house of chill Hades, and left no name: terrible though they were, black Death seized them, and they left the bright light of the sun.

[156] But when earth had covered this generation also, Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a god-like race of hero-men who are called demi-gods, the race before our own, throughout the boundless earth. Grim war and dread battle destroyed a part of them, some in the land of Cadmus at seven- gated Thebe when they fought for the flocks of Oedipus, and some, when it had brought them in ships over the great sea gulf to Troy for rich-haired Helen's sake: there death's end enshrouded a part of them. But to the others father Zeus the son of Cronos gave a living and an abode apart from men, and made them dwell at the ends of earth. And they live untouched by sorrow in the islands of the blessed along the shore of deep swirling Ocean, happy heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit flourishing thrice a year, far from the deathless gods, and Cronos rules over them; for the father of men and gods released him from his bonds. And these last equally have honour and glory.

[169c] And again far-seeing Zeus made yet another generation, the fifth, of men who are upon the bounteous earth.

[170] Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born afterwards. For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding, even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth. The father will not agree with his children, nor the children with their father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonour their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them, chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing the fear of the gods. They will not repay their aged parents the cost their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man will sack another's city. There will be no favour for the man who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil, with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all. And then Aidos and Nemesis [shame of wrongdoing and indignation against the wrongdoer], with their sweet forms wrapped in white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake mankind to join the company of the deathless gods: and bitter sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help against evil.

****borrowed from The Internet Sacred Texts Archive****



The following is in my own words, and my interpretation of this hymn.


The first age is called the "Golden Age" and is the only one that falls under the rule of Cronus. In this age people lived among the gods, and freely mingled with them. There were no conflicts or wars among the mortals during this age. Humans did not have to work to feed themselves, because the earth provided for them in abundance. They lived to be very old, but never physically grew that old, and eventually died peacefully. Their spirits live on as guardians of mortal humans. These spirits are benevolent and beneficent, helping to prevent illness.

The second age is the "Silver Age", which is the age that existed while Zeus and Cronus fought for power. Men in this age lived for 100 years and did not leave their mother's homes until near the end of their lives. Their actual adulthood was very short, and they spent that time fighting with each other. They refused to worship the Gods, and Zeus was forced to destroy them in punishment. After they died, they became the "blessed spirits" of the underworld.

The third age is known as the "Bronze Age". Men of this age were hard. They lived for war, and every material item they owned was made of bronze, even their homes. This was the first Age that had women as well as men, and were able to procreate unlike the previous two Ages. The men of this age destroyed themselves with their own violent ways and did not become beneficial spirits upon death, and instead dwelt in Hades. This age was ended by the Flood of Deucalion.

The "Heroic Age" is the fourth age, and the only one that doesn't correspond with a metal since the people are the surviving, less violent, Bronze Age members. It is also the only age that improves on the age it follows. In this age men lived with noble Demigods and Heroes. The Trojan War was fought in this age, and the Heroes that are told about in the stories, such as Heracles and Jason, lived during this age. This race of humans went to Elysium upon death.

The fifth age is the "Iron Age". During this time humans work hard for food and material goods, and their lives are full of misery. Children do not honor their parents, siblings fight and Xenia (the social contract between guest and host) is forgotten. During this age might makes right, and evil men use lies to be seen as good. At the height of this age, humans no longer feel shame or indignation at wrongdoing. Babies will be born with grey hair, the gods will completely abandon humanity, and "there will be no help against evil."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Deity of the Month: Thor

Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, destruction, fertility, healing, and the protection of mankind. He is one of the most mentioned deities from pre-Christian Germany. In the Viking era, when Christianity was spreading, the Mjöllnir was worn in defiance and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the God reveal his popularity. In modern days, Thor continues to be acknowledged in rural folklore throughout the Germanic region. He is also referenced in the day Thursday (Thor's Day).

In Norse mythology, numerous talkes and information about him are found. He is described as having red hair with fierce eyes. He has fourteen different names and is the husband of the Goddess Sif. His mistress is the jotunn jötunn Járnsaxa. With Sif he fathered Þrúðr, and possibly the valkyrie. With Járnsaxa he fathered Magni. With an unknown mother he fathered Móði, and is the step-father of hte God Ullr. His parents are Odin and Fjörgyn. He also has numerous brothers.

He has two servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, and rides in a chariot led by two goats named Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (that he eats and resurrects). He is known to have three homes (Bilskirnir, Þrúðheimr, and Þrúðvangr). His weapon is the mountain-crushing hammer, Mjöllnir, wears the belt Megingjörð and the iron gloves Járngreipr, and owns the staff Gríðarvölr.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

FYI

I moved the banners, buttons, etc that are only associated with this blog to their own folder on Photobucket. If you're linking to me with the button, please replace the old code with the new one.



A Montana Pagan's Musings

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What are different types of beliefs?

Monotheism is the belief that there is only one deity.

Polydeism is the belief that multiple deities created the universe, but do not interact with the physical world.

Deism is the belief that only one deity exists, and it does not interact with the physical world.

Pandeism is the belief that a deity created the universe, but the two are indistinguishable.

Hard Polytheism is the belief that many deities exist.

Soft Polytheism is the belief that all Gods are representations of the same God, and all Goddesses are representations of the same Goddess.

Henotheism is the belief that there are multiple deities, but only one of them is worshiped.

Kathenotheism is the belief that there is more than one deity, and they rotate being the Supreme deity.

Monolatrism is the belief that there are multiple deities, but only one is worthy of worship.

Pantheism is the belief that the universe is deity

Panentheism is the belief that the universe is deity, but that a deity (or multiple deities) is greater than the physical universe

Autotheism is the belief that everyone has the potential for divinity within themselves, and has a duty to become divine.

Agnosticism is the belief in the possibility of deities, but that knowledge beyond that is unknowable.

Apatheism is the belief that the existence of deities are neither meaningful or relevant to his or her life.

Atheism is the belief that there are no deities.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, and the first day of summer. On this day the sun appears to stand still, before moving the opposite direction as the days grow shorter again.


Humans have placed a spiritual significance since they first noticed the sun standing still. Celts celebrated by starting bonfires to help the sun keep energy.  Chinese held the festival of Li, who was the Chinese Goddess of light. Some Wiccans believe that the Goddess is at the height of her power and fertility on this day. Other Wiccans believe this marks the marriage of the Goddess and God.


Personally, on this day, I sit on the porch or balcony on the building I live in, and just enjoy the warmth of the sun.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pagan Values Month 2011

I didn't realize that June is "Pagan Values Month". Apparently bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and the like all write what being pagan means to them.

The dictionary definition of pagan is any religion non-Abrahamic in nature. In other words, Jews, Muslims, Christians and Satanists aren't pagan. However, within the non-Abrahamic communities, things get a little muddled. Not everyone calls themselves pagan. Some identify as witch. Some as reconstructionist. Others say they're heathens, not pagans.

I, personally, say that the Satanists are welcome to call themselves pagan because the other three religions see them as more evil than we are, even though most are not. I'm sure there are a few that commit crimes in the name of Satan, but there are many more that commit crimes in the name of Jesus.

Everyone wants to be accepted into a community. The one they should be part of doesn't want them. Why don't pagans be the better people and accept them as our own?

Now, onto my values as a polydeist pagan.

1) Deities do exist, but they no longer interact with us. That doesn't mean we should not worship them, or do good things in their names. They are still beings with feelings, after all. They can still hear and see us, even though they can no longer be seen or heard by us.

2) We all have the divine spark. We all have the potential to become deities ourselves. But, because we are only mortals, we fall well short of the divine mark. Only a handful have achieved this status in the last three thousand years: Buddha and Jesus are two. It should be noted that neither asked to be worshiped, and in fact discouraged the practice while they were alive.

3) Non-corporeal beings exist, and we all have the potential to interact with them. All it takes is a little faith, trust, and an open mind to see them.

4) All paths lead to the divine. It doesn't matter what you believe, only that you do believe.

5) Diversity is a natural occurrence, and should not be stifled. No two people are exactly alike, or believe exactly the same thing. There is no "one true" anything. To teach another to hate something, or someone, different from themselves is wrong. For a religious leader to do so is even more wrong. Religious leaders should teach tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness.

6) All living things have a right to exist, and to have a home. We do not have the right to continue to plow over forests for our own selfish gain.

7) The planet we live on is alive, and should be treated with reverence. Keep in mind that Gaea is our only home. If we destroy the air and water to the point She can no longer sustain us, or if She decides to get rid of us before that point of no return, where would we go? Our spaceships can only hold six people. If every spaceship we have went into space to escape destruction they're stuck. It would take generations to get to the nearest solar system, and there's no guarantee of a habitable planet or moon upon arrival. Not to mention there would not be enough genetic diversity to survive, even if the ships routinely swapped crew members around. Pass this thought on to those that don't care about saving the Earth.

These are some of my beliefs that I will pass down, should I start a family. If you want to add your values to the list, feel free to comment!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The symbol in my new banner

This object is called a Triskele. It has its origins in neolithic Europe, and is mainly accredited to the neolithic people of Ireland (pre-Celt). Its use spread to Macedonia (in modern-day Greece) and Sicily (part of modern-day Italy), and even Korea. Unfortunately, the original meaning of the symbol has been lost.

It's possible that the three sides represented three seasons: wet, dry, cold (or a variant on the theme). It may also have represented the three trimesters of human pregnancy. Given these two possibilities, it might have been an early form of a calendar, in my opinion.

In modern times the triskele symbolizes a group of three. The user may select whatever trio is special to them. Christians might select God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. Wiccans might select the three stages of the Goddess (Maiden, Mother, Crone), which some refer to as the Triple Goddess. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

E3 2011

I'm not just a polydeist/pagan. I'm also a casual gamer. With that in mind, E3 is this week. For those not in the know, it's a convention where the companies that make games, and the devices you use to play said games, announce new features, upcoming games, and anything else related to gaming.

This morning, Microsoft announced their plans for the year. What games are going to debut, what programs are coming to X Box Live, and even air the occasional demo.

Here's an embedded copy of Microsoft's Press Conference provided by G4. I do have to warn you, though. This video will last about 1 1/2 hours.



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wizard's Rules

I have been reading a series of books collectively called "Sword of Truth" by Terry Goodkind. In the first eleven books of the series, Wizard's Rules are revealed. Although these books are entirely fictional, I believe the Wizard's Rules have a place in real life, and have incorporated them into my own belief system.

01) Given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe its true, or because they're afraid it might be true. Peoples' heads are full of knowledge, facts and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.

02) Kindness and good intentions can be an insidious path to destruction. Sometimes doing what seems right is wrong, and can cause harm. The only counter to it is knowledge, wisdom, forethought, and understanding the First Rule. Even then, that is not always enough.

03) Letting your emotions control your reason may cause trouble for yourself and those around you.

04) There is magic in sincere forgiveness; in the forgiveness you give, but more so in the forgiveness you receive.

05) Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.

06) The only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason.

07) Life is the future, not the past.

08) Deserve Victory.

09) A contradiction can not exist in reality. Not in part, nor in whole.

10) Willfully turning aside from the truth is treason to one's self.

11) One must always seek the truth in life for themselves, rather than simply believing that which they are told without their own rational understanding and justification for that belief. Failure to do so can lead to a life of clinging to empty promises and following trails of false hope. The knowledge gained through seeking the truth, if used for the purposes of good, is the key to enjoying life to its fullest. Those who use the truth for hate however, only betray themselves.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Some people...

I have been following a war over a blog award. It's a contest of blogs written by mothers and faith. It seemed like such a good idea. Then it got ugly when a Christian woman got offended by Pagan blogs being in the contest.

This "Christian" (I'm using the quotes because this woman is not behaving as Jesus would) decided to break the TOS of the contest and attack each Pagan individually. Even went so far as to talk about the children of these women.

When all was said and done, the "Christian" had pulled her blog from the competition, citing that she didn't want to compete with Pagans, or other Christians. I wonder who she thought she would compete against, if those two groups were disqualified? Would she have attacked the Muslim blogs or the Jewish ones? Would she have continued to bully everyone until only she was left?

Now you're wondering about the Pagan posters, I bet. What happened to them? As of this post, one of the Pagan blogs is in the #1 spot, and at least six others are catching up! How's that for irony?

Go here to vote for any blog (except the one that was pulled, of course), and go here to see the offensive blog post by the "Christian". Here's the link to her page, if you're interested in checking it out. When I have more time, I'm going to look at the other blogs (Pagan or other), and see if they will get my vote as well.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Deity of the Month: Athena


Pallas Athena (Minerva in Roman) was the Goddess of wisdom, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, female arts, crafts, justice, heroic endeavor, philosophy, and skill. She was also a common companion of Heroes and was the patron of Athens, the city named after her. Another thing she was known for was being one of the three virgin Goddesses.


The most popular story of her birth is that Zeus (Jupiter in Roman) had an affair with Metis. Afterwards, he discovered that any children he had with Metis would be greater than himself. As a result, he swallowed Metis to prevent a pregnancy. What he didn't know was that she was already pregnant with Athena. Metis gave birth to Athena and nurtured her inside Zeus until he complained about headaches. Hephaestus (Vulcan in Roman) split open his head with his smithing tools. Athena burst from his forehead fully grown and armed with weapons.


Other tales of her birth are that she was created parthenogenically as a daughter of Metis. Another story is that she came from another pantheon and was "adopted" by the Greeks as an Olympian.


Athena never took a lover or a consort, and became the enforcer of rules of sexual modesty and ritual mystery. As a result of this, she never gave birth. Not even parthenogenically. However, some stories say she adopted at least one child.


Hephaestus once attempted to rape Athena, but she escaped. His semen fell upon the earth and impregnated Gaea, creating Erichthonius. Gaea gave the baby to Athena to raise the baby as her foster mother. Once he was grown, became the founder of Athens, and its first king. Many beneficial changes to Athenian culture could be traced back to him.

Athena competed with Poseidon (Neptune in Roman) to be the patron deity of Athens, which hadn't been named yet. They agreed each would give the people of the city a gift, and whichever gift the people preferred would name the patron deity. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and created a spring, giving them a way to trade, not to mention easy access to fresh water. Athena offered them the first domesticated olive tree. The current king of the city, Cercrops, accepted the olive tree on behalf of the people. He also named the city after their patron deity.



She created Medusa, then guided Perseus in his quest to behead the monster. She helped Heracles skin the Nemean Lion, defeat the Stymphalian Birds, and navigate the underworld. She helped Odysseus on his voyage home after the Trojan war and win his kingdom back upon arriving home. She also created the first spider, Arachne.



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Holey Candle

What you need:



First, tie the wick to the skewer and lower the wick into the paper cup. Then pour ice into the cup. Finally, pour the melted wax over the ice. The heat from the wax will melt the ice. At the same time, the ice will harden the wax. Once the candle is finished hardening, trim the wick and peel your paper mold off the candle.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Prayer Chain

I woke up to the news that there were wildfires in Alberta, which is to the northwest of where I live. Windspeeds as high as 62 mph (100 kph) drove the fires towards towns and cities. Hundreds of Albertans were forced to evacuate their homes with what they could carry, and hope that their home was spared.

At the time of this post, there are at least 84 different wildfires in Alberta.

Please light a candle, send positive thoughts, or pray to whatever deity you believe in that the fires will be put out soon.

EDIT: And please go here to donate to the Canadian Red Cross if you want to help the citizens of Alberta.




Thursday, May 12, 2011

How To Melt Wax

You'll need the following ingredients and items
  • Stoves
  • Towels
  • Baking Soda
  • Wax
  • Baking Soda
  • Apron
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Double Boiler
  • Pot Holders
  • Wooden Spoons
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Hammers or Ice Picks
  • Towels
  • Pot holders
First of all make sure the pot that the wax will go in is clean and completely dry. Break up the wax block with a hammer and/or ice pick so that you have smaller chunks to work with.
Make a double boiler (if you don't already have one) by filling half of a large saucepan with water and placing a smaller saucepan or a coffee can inside. Do not put water in the container that you will melt the wax in. 
Put several chunks of wax into the top of the double boiler and set the heat on high. Stir the wax frequently as it heats and use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax. The melting point of paraffin (the most common wax used in home-made candles) is roughly 125 degrees F. 
Prepare to pour the wax when it reaches its pouring temperature. This depends on the mold material. Metal molds require the wax to be between 180 and 200 degrees F. For paper cartons, glass, rubber, etc., the pouring temperature is 130 to 150 degrees F.

Safety Warnings:
  • Determine the amount of wax you need by filling the mold with water, then pouring the water into the pot that will be used to melt the wax. Mark the water line in the pot with a crayon, pour out the water, and dry the pot.
  • Turn the heat down if the wax temperature approaches 210 degrees F. 
  • Be sure that small children and pets are kept out of the candlemaking area.
  • Wax is flammable at high temperatures and should never be left unattended. Paraffin wax will catch fire at 375 degrees F. Flash points for other types of wax vary.
  • Use a fire extinguisher or baking soda rather than water if you have a wax fire.
  • Don't pour wax down your sink - it will cool there and plug up the pipe.

Label Cloud

101 2011 2012 44 days of witchery ability activism agnosticism air alberta altar ancestor anubis apatheism apocalypse apollo aquarius arachne arts athame atheism athena autotheism autumn banner beliefs bigotry bottle burning times calendar canada candle celtic child children's christian christmas cleaning coexist common man correspondences crafts creation cryptozoology cycle dalai lama deism deity deity of the month demeter deucalion E3 egypt electronic entertainment expo electronics elements end of the world endymion equality equinox extinction feast festival festivus fires flood food fur g4 gaea gaming germany glass god goddess great flood great spirit greek green griffin halloween hanukkah health henotheism herbalism history holiday holidays hospitality instructions international internet irish italian jack o'lantern kathenotheism kwanzaa lakota lavender leather life luna magic magical place makoshika meatless monday microsoft minerva mjöllnir monolatrism monotheism mothers mythology native american nature norse oil oisin ostara pagan pagan values month paganism pandeism panentheism pantheism pelops pepitas persephone philosophy pipa pirate politics poll polydeism polytheism prayer prayer chain preternatural prophecy pumpkin pyrrha rant Recipes religion religious roman rules sabbat sacred element samhain saturnalia seasons seeds selene shrine sioux sol invictus solstice sopa spider spiritual element spiritualism spring stories sun sign sword of truth symbol tantalus thor three tir na nog tools triad trials trio triskele values vegan vegetarian veneration viking vinegar warlock water wax wheel wheel of the year wicca winter witch witchcraft wizard xenia year yule

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