Tag Archives: Paganism

Imbolc: A time to grow!

Imbolc

The first of February sees the celebration of Imbolc, a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. It is seen as a positive time with thoughts turning towards the return of the sun to the land after its long sleep during the winter. We see the days becoming longer and the long nights, slowly at first, starting to shorten.
We look out for the first signs of spring, the snow drops in the woods, the shoots of the daffodils fighting their way through the soil to break into the pale morning spring light
Traditionally it is a time when new initiates were welcomed into a coven, again in a symbolic reference to the new life they are starting.
It is also the traditional time for us to celebrate new beginnings, to see the first indications of growth and development from the seeds and hard work of the previous year.
But sometimes we are confronted with the fact that not all of the seeds we planted, either actual real seeds, or more likely metaphorical seeds, have germinated. We look to the last year, all the hard work we have put in to change our situations, our lives for the better. Or Look at the foundations we have put in place and yet there seems no sign of growth, no sign that the desired outcome is beginning to take shape.
So why is it that all the work, the decisions we took and the sacrifices we made in the last year, seem to have come to nothing? Why are we as unhappy with our life as we were this time last year despite making commitments?

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Thoughts on Midwinter solstice

Mid winter is a difficult time for many, for many different reasons. For me if I put aside the never-ending reminders that it has become a time for families to be together, something impossible for me in the circumstances, I think the difficulty is in what the midwinter solstice represents, how it allows us to interpret the shortest day and longest night and of course the change in direction towards more light and warmer days.

The two solstices have a feeling about them, a sort of stillness where the universe, having come to the end of range, holds it breath, hesitates before moving back in the opposing direction. Now yes, I know at the solstice is a local phenomenon, earth bound and experienced differently in the two hemispheres but we are not considering cosmology here but how this local turning of the wheel expresses its self to our limited senses and intuition. And remember everything is connected, everything impacts and guides the path of everything else, so a local phenomenon, a local point of inflection can, and does have universal impacts.
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An it harm none, a moral dilemma

I recently have had to begin facing a rather difficult question. One that at its core asked me to interprets one of the prime directives of Wicca.

“an it harm none, do as thou will”

The question boils down to this, if doing something that is needed for my own recovery & survival adversely impacts on the life of others the where do I stand with respect to the tenant expressed in the harm none rule?

Add into this that there is a moral and potentially legal component, in that the action I am contemplating is to formally report historic sexual abuse, and the who question becomes even more murky.

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Tarot and Mental Health

One of the things that can contribute to difficulties in dealing with mental health issues is the ability to express and explore thoughts and feelings. Often people with mental health issues such as depression or dealing with traumatic experiences such as childhood sexual abuse find it difficult to ‘drill down’ into these dark recesses of their mind or to ask themselves the sort of questions that are needed.

Sometimes talking therapies can help, other times a trained psychologist is needed. But on occasion it is simply the need of a framework where these deeply buried thoughts and feelings can be opened up and examined that prevents some progress being made.

While Tarot can never replace the professional help that other therapies can deliver, I feel that there is a place for it in the bigger picture for some people in helping them to begin to address some of the mental health issues they face.

Why do I say that? Well from personal experience of beginning the journey into looking at my depression and self-harm, beginning to understand the underlying causes, the Childhood Sexual Abuse, and  behavioural issues and self-destructive beliefs, that that abuse formed the foundation of I have found using Tarot for self-exploration a big help.

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The Pentagram Tarot Spread

So I have been using the tarot a lot recently to help me understand where I am and the direction I must take and the path I must walk.

I many years ago though about the spread I should use and came up with something I felt comfortable with. I have been using this spread a lot and thought maybe I should share it with everybody who isn’t reading this blog.

So the spread.

Tarot01Imagine a pentacle, five points and the centre.

As usual shuffle the cards and pick one that represents you,

I take one sight unseen from the pack, and place it face up in the centre of the pentagram.

Then from the top of the pack, face down place five cards where the points of the pentagram would be.

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The bond between souls.

 

I believe that two souls can be bound, in exceptional circumstances, in a time of shared loss and trauma. If the souls chose the right path and if they stand together.

All good beliefs need a story, a story that tells, in its way, what the belief means. Our story begins, as so many do, with a dream, a vision and perhaps a memory.

In my vision I see a warrior standing in the predawn, atop a hill.

Behind him a small village, round houses and pens for horses and pigs. A few families live there, had lived there for 10s or hundreds of years in harmony with the forest surrounding them.

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Hecate’s Dream

The roads meet, a path behind and a choice
She stands, her gaze on all paths, those shadows of the past and the echoes of things that may yet be
Unseen by the traveller, unnoticed by the proud yet guiding the footsteps of those with no voice

A wall, unbroken, raised by those who have yet to feel regret and shame,
To separate them from those that walk the path of the fallen.
She holds not hope but a key, a door not present may yet be opened for those that know her name.

Dark times for those whose actions cast them out, Shunned by friends and lover alike.
She raises the promethean gift aloft, shadow and light brought to life.
Dark and Light, foreshadowing Fides return, or a life alone?

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Now Winters come and the Earth does sleep

6 seeds sit upon her plate
6 seeds enough to seal her fate.
To bind the Sun the curse to keep.
Now winters come and the Earth does sleep.

Now Winters come and the Earth does sleep.
Dark nights long and snow drifts deep.
Keep hope alive, the spring to seek.
Now Winters come and the Earth does sleep.

The Holy King supreme does rule,
O’er land and sky and sea and all,
His hand extends through darkness deep,
Now Winters come and the Earth does sleep.
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Sparkling lights, Souls of the Ancestors

Sometimes I stand on the Sand dunes looking out to sea or up to the heavens to stare at the stars and the glory of the moon as she turns all around me to magic.

On cold, clear night, especially when there is a full moon you can see sparkles dancing around you. They whorl around and at the slightest breath of breeze dance away only to return as if they were curious about you and want to connect with you.

They seem to have a light, and a life, all of their own like tiny fire fly’s glinting and dancing before and around you.

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What is magic?

Recently I was talking about Paganism to somebody and was asked about Magic, was it like the bang flash Harry Potter type of magic?
This led me to start thinking about how I see Magik, how it manifests and how I work with it.

So no magic isn’t the wave a wand and turn somebody into a frog neither is it the brash kick in the door type of magic we see in films. Magic is much more subtle than that, so subtle in fact that you won’t even see it working!

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