Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Festivus! Yule day 2

Ra's Day
Dreamspell - White Spectral Wind (11 Ik) - Kin 102
I dissolve in order to communicate
Releasing breath
I seal the input of spirit
With the spectral tone of liberation
I am guided by my own power of spirit doubled.

Mayan - 2 Ix (White Lunar Wizard) - Kin 54
Sun in sidereal Sagittarius

Yule Comments & Graphics
~Magickal Graphics~

Yule Comments & Graphics
~Magickal Graphics~

Part of being non-traditional is that you get to have your holidays when you want. The exact time of the winter solstice is 12:30 am EST 12/22. I will perform my Yule ritual this evening. Our secular holiday of Festivus will be held 12/25-26. Next year, I will try to have a theme for each of the 13 days of Yuletide. Why 13? It's the time period between my pagan new year (winter solstice) and the Gregorian new year (Jan 1).

This year was the first year that we decorated with lights outside. We wanted blue and white lights but the blue lights were more greenish. I was happy with the snowflake pathway lights.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Calendar reform

With Yule right around the corner, I can't help but think that the current secular calendar is wrong. I've attempted to reconcile the calendar with astronomical markers. It's not perfect by any means but it feels better. Weeks and months are uneven since the earth's orbit is not a perfect circle; the sun is not even in the middle of earth's orbit. Weeks are roughly 7 days and months are roughly 30. A new week, month, and year begin at the winter solstice. Each subsequent quarter begins at the equinox or solstice and serves as anchors for the secular calendar.

Tell me what you think:

Friday, December 2, 2011

On Being an Agnostic Deist

For the purpose of this post, I will define agnostic as the belief that the existance of a greater power cannot be proved or disproved. I personally do not doubt that there is a God/dess but I realize that others do and  I respect that point of view. So I am not skeptical. I really don't appreciate how defined agnostic. One of the synonyms listed was pagan. Really?

Now the deist part - Wikipedia does a great job with the deist and theist articles. I never knew it was a difference. In a nutshell, theists believe that God created the universe and very much has a part in its day-to-day functions, including intervening in human lives. Deists believe that God created the universe and then went on vacation, so to speak. Humans are to do as they please, for better or for worse. If and when shit hits the fan, God says, don't look for my help. Again, both definitions are really broad and I like to think of deism and theism as being on opposite ends of a spectrum. One may fall anywhere in-between.


Me? I've discovered that I'm closer to the deism end. Another thing I've learned is that deism promotes using God-given logic and reason; theism is usually based on a holy book of some kind. As you know, I used to be Christian. The holy book is the Bible, both old and new testaments. I was brought up to believe that EVERYTHING in the Bible was true and that it was THE word of God. If you weren't Christian or more specifically a JW, then you weren't following "the truth" no matter how good of a person you were. The big 3 - Christianity, Judism, and Islam - are revealed religions, that is, someone was spoken to by God and wrote down what He said. Basically, the Bible, Torah, and Quran are hearsay. Theistic religions require one to suspend reason and logic. If this was court, hearsay would be disallowed. However, many people based their entire lives on these books of hearsay. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some great lessons in the Bible and perhaps some true stories (like the Flood, not sure that Noah built an ark though). But theists suspend reason and logic by believing that as great as God is, only one faith is the "right" one. Is it reasonable to think that God does not have enough love for the entire human race?


Deism reminds me of Buddhism in a way. The Buddha said to listen to his speeches and if someone didn't sound right to you, discard it. He also encouraged people to not take his word, to try out things for themselves. He realized that not everything would work for everybody. Deism is compatible with Paganism. There is no centralized organization. In fact, having a deist church would really defeat the purpose. The closest thing in my experience so far is the Universal Unitarians. Although UU started out as liberal Christian, Christianity is a minority among their members.


I've been liberated from following someone else's divine inspiration. I am now following my own as each of us should.

This site blew my mind - World Union of Deists


If you're spirtual but not religious, you just might be a deist.


PS. It's not about labelling myself but more of finding out what's out there and where I fit in.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm an agnostic Buddhist Pagan deist :-). More on this later.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Legend of Frigiving

Since we don't celebrate Thanksgiving at my house.... :)

Legend of Frigiving


Once upon a time, two people got married. They both came from families that weren't real big on holidays. When they decided to buy a house, the wife said, "Hey, let's start our own traditions with our own family". The husband agreed. November rolled around and they were excited to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner. But alas! They both worked jobs that required them to work that day. Furthermore, the husband worked days and the wife worked nights. The husband lamented, "what are we to do? our first Thanksgiving dinner is ruined before it began!" The wife thought for a second and said, "Husband, don't fret. Aren't we both off from work tomorrow? We can have our dinner then". The husband said, "Awesome! Is it still Thanksgiving?" "No", the wife said, "we'll call it Frigiving since it's the next day." "But," the husband realized, "all the turkeys will be gone". "no biggie," the wife replied, "we'll have fried chicken."


So the couple and their children started the annual ritual of Frigiving. Anything but traditional Thanksgiving food is served. The dinner is held when it is convenient in the 4th or 5th week of November.


Does your family have special holiday or do you put your own twist on existing holidays?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pagan Prompt - Your Beginning

I'm neglecting my blog. I feel so bad. The Pagan Prompt theme from 11/10/11 is "Your Beginning". I'm sure I've answered this before but here it is again.

How did you come to be where you are today?

Did you always know you were Pagan/Wiccan/etc?

How did you get started on this journey?

I was raised as a Christian, Jehovah's Witness to be exact. Yes, JW is a Christian religion. I never celebrated holidays of any kind and preaching the Word door-to-door was mandatory as was attending 3 meetings a week at the Kingdom Hall. Sometime in spring 1992, I was officially baptized as a JW. Why? Because it was the "right" thing to do. My mom was very strict so it was either her (JW) way or the highway. I really tried to be a good JW but the restrictions got to be too much. I was still living at home and couldn't have a boyfriend although I was over 18. Where there's a will, there's a way; I got pregnant with my 2nd child out of wedlock in 1995 and was - to use the JW term - disfellowshipped.

I moved into my own place in Aug 1995. Plans to wed my son's father deteriorated; he too was a df'ed JW. From that point to about 2 yrs ago, I was trying to go back to my childhood religion. After all, I no longer had any friends or family since the religion forbids contact with df'ed members. Yeah, so that didn't work.
About 2 yrs ago (I need to find the exact date for my personal records) a coworker invited me to a Buddhist meeting. Remember that since I was raised JW, I really had no knowledge of any other religion. I was apprehensive at first but what did I have to lose? My own mother rarely speaks to me. so I went and afterwards did some research on my own. It made sense to me. I must also point out that (most) Buddhist do not recruit. My coworker told me that something I said made her think that I would be interested in the meeting. We can't remember what that was but I do know I was feeling like the spiritual part of my life was missing.

Anyhoo, I started chanted and I realized that I was feeling better emotionally. I called my brother and formally forgave a 10 yr old debt. I called my sister and told her I was studying Buddhism. Her response? OMG, you might as well study Wicca!!! So thank you sis, I told your advice. I actually studied a few major religions because I no longer believed that JW was the end-all, be-all.

Wicca/Witchcraft for Dummies was the first book I read about Paganism. O-M-Goddess! Talk about epiphany! I was like, this is me. Ok, maybe not Wicca proper but Paganism definitely made sense to me. I felt comfortable. I felt like I had come home. I started researching different forms of paganism. I realized that although I like some of what Wicca is about, I'm not Wiccan. I like that the Feminine is equal to or even greater than the Masculine. In Christianity, "the head of the wife is the husband".

I was always fascinated by the moon, planets, and the seasonal changes. I never understood why the beginning of summer meant that the days would be growing shorter. When I was younger I wanted to be an astronomer. I think that I may have always been pagan but never knew that it was a name for it.

I consider myself a solitary Buddhist Pagan. The Buddhism speaks to my rational side while Paganism speaks to my creative side. If I were one or the other, something would be missing. I've tossed around the idea of starting my own teaching coven but not sure where to start.

I rededicated myself to the Goddess on 6/1/11 as Her priestess, a new moon. I say rededicated because all Gods and Goddesses are one. My Christian dedication and baptism is not nullified; it served what it needed to for that phase of my life. I remember my mom talking about how serving Jehovah gave her so much joy. I never felt that joy and I felt guilty. I really really tried. Honoring the Goddess has brought me that joy. The Goddess is within and without. One who honors the Goddess, honors herself.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blessed (astronomical) Samhain

Dreamspell - White Rhythmic Mirror (6 Etznab) - Kin 58
Mayan - 10 Oc (White Planetary Dog) - Kin 10
Sun in Libra

I went to visit my father's grave today for the first time since he died. There is no headstone. The graveyard was peaceful. I have so many questions that I want to ask him now.

Samhain Comments & Graphics
~Magickal Graphics~

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

on writing Goddess charges

Inspired by the Charge of Goddess, I've decided to write my own charge for each phase of the moon: Maiden, Mother, Crone, and Dark. I follow the Egyptian patheon but there doesn't seem to be a specific Triple Goddess. I'm writing qualities of each persona and will find a Goddess to fit. Some qualites overlay. Here's what I have so far:


























Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pagan Prompt - Energy

Do you believe in channeling energy (either your own or from other sources) into objects for a goal or purpose?

Do you conduct rituals to charge objects (with moonlight, water, salts, etc)?

Is the world just a bunch of energy, that we are moving and bending to our will (magic)?

Yes, yes, and yes.

Grounding is channelling energy to or from the Earth. Think of the non-magical definition of grounding; there are some similarities. If you need energy, take some. If you have extra energy, give it back.

I think a lot of magic is psychological. Tools aren't really necessary. You were born with everything you need to perform magic. The tools are a concrete representation to assist our subconscious with what it needs to do. Plus they're really cool to make! I charge my tools with moonlight. It seems fitting. I use filtered water and sea salt to make my holy water.

The universe is full of energy. When we perform rituals, we borrow some of it for our needs and focus it for specific purposes. Again, things like candles, incantations, chanting, arranging things in a certain way, wearing specific clothes, and choosing specific colors all assist our subconscious.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What is Truth

It really grinds my gears when I see religious sites stating how true Christians, Pagans, Buddists, Jews, etc. should practice. I recently visited a website talking about the pagan roots of the most commonly celebrated holidays. Unless you've been living under a rock, you are aware of this. However, this site also goes on to say that "true Christians" do not celebrate any of these holidays because it is not pleasing to Jehovah God. I'm assuming that the website's author is Jehovah's Witness. As a former JW, I can attest to the fact that JWs do not celebrate ANY holidays whatsoever except the commemmoration of Jesus' death. Milestones such as graduations, wedding anniversaries, and baby showers are acceptable (unless of course you have a baby out of wedlock :/)

Since when was pagan such a bad word? I remember when I used to defend JW beliefs to my friends while secretly I was dying inside. What good is living when you have absolutely nothing to celebrate, nothing to look forward to other than school, Kingdom Hall meetings, and field service? But I digress.

So this author like so many others in their respective religions knows what "truth" is. Truth is like beauty; it's in the eye of the beholder. You can take 2 people in the exact same denomination and have 2 different versions of the truth.

Christians should know by now that yes, historically most if not all of Christian holidays were Pagan first. I have no problem with Christians or anyone else for that matter celebrating whatever holidays they want to. However, I urge all to be educated. Do not insist that Christmas is *the* birthday of Jesus. It's not. Halloween aka Samhain has been perverted from its original purpose. Easter has nothing to do with Jesus either.

What your spirituality, be true to yourself. After all, some wo/man made up the rules to whatever path you're following.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Magical Week

This year like previous years I took my vacation from work. I went to Vegas with hubs. I really meant to do some rituals. Mabon passes without me doing anything special because out of 7 days, 4 of them are magical, thus my magical week. My birthday, wedding anniversary, an esbat, and a sabbat are all in the same week. Whew!! If I didn't go out of town, I would have done something (more) special. The fact that I spent time with hubs counts. We barely have time to ourselves with kids and work and school and home maintenance. I'll be better prepared next year. I couldn't find any quarter moon rituals so I will have to construct one. Hubs will gladly participate in an anniversary ritual *wiggles eyebrows*.

Do you have a magical week where your important dates fall close to each other?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rewrite of Buddhist prayers

I decided to rewrite the Buddhist prayers using an independent Nichiren Buddhist perspective. I used the liturgy from SGI, Nichiren Shu, and Nichiren Shoshu. I also used the prayers on and The prayers for deceased relatives have been omitted.

1st prayer
I offer appreciation for Daibontenno, Taishakutenno, Dainittenno, Daigattenno, Daimyojotenno and all the other Shoten Zenjin, sworn guardians of the Lotus Sutra that serve to protect us, and pray that these protective forces will be further strengthened and enhanced by my Practice.

2nd prayer
I offer profound appreciation to the gohonzon of the 3 great secret laws (one's enlightened life or Buddha nature, the location of one's Buddha nature [within oneself], and the daimoku).

3rd prayer
I offer sincere gratitude to Shakyamuni, the original Buddha; Nichiren Daishonin for his interpretation of Buddhism; and the 6 senior disciples Nissho, Nichiro, Nikko, Nitcho, Niko, and Nichiji for propagating Nichiren's teachings.

4th prayer
I pray that everyone finds a way to transform society for the better whether it be via Buddhism or not. I pray for not just religious tolerance but religious acceptance.

5th prayer
I pray to bring forth Buddhahood from within my life, change my karma, and fufill my wishes in the present and future. I will continually deepen my faith, practice, and study so that I may obtain enligtenment in this existence. [additional prayers here]

I pray for peace throughout the world and the happiness of all living beings.

Monday, August 8, 2011

FAQ on Kemetic / Tamaran path

I thought it was interesting and I didn't want to lose the link. If you know of some other great links, do share.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Changing beliefs

Question from Pagan Blog Prompts:

"Do your beliefs change over the years as you change and develop?"

I'm gonna say YES. In just the 2 yrs that I have been Buddhist Pagan, I have changed my viewpoints on several issues. I did a post on this before so I'm not going to rehash it. I've been thinking about reincarnation lately though. Both Buddhist and Pagans believe in reincarnation but I haven't resolved this for myself yet. I have too many unanswered questions so if you can help me out, I would love to hear your viewpoint.

-Why don't we remember our past lives so that we don't make the same mistakes? I know karma is bigger than just cause and effect in one's personal life (lives) but it doesn't make sense to me not to be able to learn from past experiences.

-Is rebirth species specific? Are insects always reborn as insects, humans as humans? How is the increasing human population explained?

-Maybe our human existence ends and we are reborn somewhere else, another planet, another dimension.

-Could the story of Jesus be proof of reincarnation? The story goes that he was a spirit before his human existence. As a child he really was not aware of his heavenly life but at some point it all came back to him.

-People who claim that they remember past lives, can they also recall early childhood memories like being in the womb or being born?

What are your thoughts on reincarnation? Do you believe in rebirth or life-after-death?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Altar

Pagan prompt = What does your altar look like?

My altar is a round wooden table with a blue tablecloth. I want to get a pagan-ish type altar cover. I really like the one with the goddesses of the elements on it. But I'm not sure if I want to hang this or use it for the altar.

If I hang this one then I want one with pentagrams or the Triple Goddess or some sort of Egyptian theme. I haven't found the right cover yet.

I have colored candle holders for the directions. I use electronic tealights since they are safer. My altar area is pretty small. There is one brown taper candle in the center for the Goddess and a white candle with hearts for me. I would like to get a sun and moon candle holder but again haven't found the right one.

There's an incense holder, my bottle of saltwater, and my censer. Eventually I want statues of Auset, Het-Her, and Bastet.

My altar is a year round one; I don't change it for the sabbats. Maybe I will one day but for now, I want it to be perfect for everyday use.

Monday, July 18, 2011

bad magic

This week's pagan prompt question is Is there such a thing as bad magic?

Hmm, this is a tough one. Bad can mean 2 things - magic that has unintended, unwanted results or magic that is cast to purposely cause harm. With the latter, you are treading on dangerous ground. If someone has wronged you, there is no need to cast a spell to wrong them back. Whatever you put into the universe, you get back. (I don't believe in the 3fold law, but you get my point). Instead cast a protection spell for yourself and if you're in a forgiving mood, ask the God/dess to lessen the effect of the caster's bad spell as it returns back to him/her.

With the former, that's a case of poor form. Say you want more energy but after the ritual you feel drained instead. This means you didn't do something properly like cast a circle (if your tradition calls for it) or maybe you weren't concentrating fully.

I'm so glad the question wasn't about white vs black magic. It gets old that black is always associated with negativity. Well, except for Black Friday :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Meaning of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

A friend asked me the meaning of nam myoho renge kyo. The literal meaning is something like "Devotion to the Lotus Sutra." However, there is a much deeper meaning. This information comes from Basics of Buddhism (pg 79-83) by Pat Allright printed by SGI.

Myoho = mystic law
Myo is the mystic nature of life and ho is its manifestations

Renge = lotus flower
The lotus flower is special because produces seeds and flowers at the same time. This demonstrates that cause and effect happens at the same time. The lotus blooms and thrives in the mud. Likewise, our Buddha nature can and will thrive even in the midst of less than favorable conditions.

Kyo = teaching
It can also mean sound or the warp of a length of fabric. Buddhist teachings are passed on through past, present, and future. You can definitely notice a difference between chanting silently and chanting out loud.

Nam = devotion, action

Taking the spiritual meaning nam myoho renge kyo means aligning to the mystic law of cause and effect by sound and vibration. When we chant we concentrate with our minds and bodies. We realize that simply by chanting we are changing our life condition. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself. Chant nam myoho renge kyo everyday for 30 days for just 5 minutes. Let me know what you think.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..."

Unalienable - not transferable to another or capable of being rejected.

*Note: Atheists should substitute whatever they wish for Creator.*

Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Clearly the framers of the DoI only had white men in mind as slavery was still legal, women couldn't vote, and the First Peoples were bamboozled and bullied out of the land that they occupied first. Although the purpose of the DoI was for the colonies to secede from Britain, the new country still had its own issues.

Until everyone, and I mean everyone, can exercise her/his unalienable rights, there will be no true Independence Day.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Buddhist Prompt - 3 Jewels, 3 Treasures, Triple Gem

Today Buddhist prompt is about the 3 treasures: Buddha, dharma, and sangha. What do they mean to you and your practice? The different sects of Nichiren Buddhism don't agree on what comprises the 3 treasures. For a comparison, see this handy chart from the NBAA website:

This is the Buddha nature inherent in all of us.

These are the teachings of the original or historical Buddha Shakamunyi. These can also be the teachings, essays, and articles of modern-day priests and laypersons. Of course, for a Nichiren Buddhist, the writings of Nichiren Daishonin and the Lotus Sutra is of paramount importance.

The online and offline community of all Buddhist practitioners and their supporters, not just of your particular sect. I like this broad meaning because it unifies. You can be a part of more than one sangha. Speaking of online communities, the online twanga (Twitter + sangha) is thriving. I'm part of the #OMCru or Online Meditation Crew. Although most of the crew are Buddhist, all faiths and meditation practices are welcome.

As an indie NB, I haven't formally taken refuge in the 3 treasures. I'm not even sure if NB usually do.

So what are your thoughts? Comment below or if you have a blog, comment there and place your link here so I read your post.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mechanics of Circle Casting

Merry Meet! I hope you had a wonderful Solstice whether winter or summer. I performed ritual outside for the first time. I admit, I was a bit nervous as I was worried that the neighbors were going to say something. Fortunately, if they were even watching, they didn't interrupt. As with anything that's planned, nothing went according to plan. But my family willingly participated including my 15 yr old son. I made the ritual "audience participation" so I wouldn't be the only doing stuff and everyone is just watching me. After I cast the circle with my wand (leftover wooden staff from my sorority), I had hubs circle with the salt water and my son circle with the incense censer, which by the way, kept going out.

Since my son is left-handed, he naturally circled counterclockwise or widdershins while hubs and I circled clockwise, sunwise, or deiseal (I purposely did not use the Wiccan spelling). Did I hear a collective gasp? No, the magic did not seep from my sacred space and my ritual was not less special. Let me tell you why. Being a parent of a lefthander has given me new perspective on the world. Did you know that it is actually dangerous for a lefty to use some equipment (think: chainsaw). We live in a right-hand biased world. Magically speaking, it's the same way (the lefthand path vs the righthand path). I was reading a visualization where the reader was encouraged to make a ball of energy in her dominant hand. Dominant hand, not right hand. If he decides to follow paganism, I'm sure the Spirit won't mind if he does things "backwards".

As far as whether circle casting is necessary, I think it gets the mind in the proper focus for the ritual. My sabbat rituals are by no means solemn but they are respectful. The circle casting signals the beginning so that there is no last minute checking email or running to the bathroom. When I went to the Kingdom Hall, the meeting started with a song and prayer. It would seem kind of weird if the meeting was called to attention and then the first sermon started. Likewise the ritual ends with the circle being open.

Do you think it matters whether a circle is cast clock- or anticlockwise? Is circle casting even necessary? When is it mandatory or optional? Does this vary with a specific Pagan path?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Midsummer Ritual

Happy Summer Solstice and for my Southern Hemisphere peeps, Happy Winter Solstice! I finished my ritual last night. For some reason I couldn't concentrate. Next year, I may revise it. I think what I will do is to have a basic ritual form then adopt it to the specific event. Maybe I'll make that a QotD. Ok so without further ado, here is my ritual. I have used wording from the Internet with changes to suit my needs. Feel free to do the same. Note that my directional correspondences are based on my geographical location and like the Egyptians, I start my calls from the North.

Theme / Purpose / Introduction
The longest day of the year indicates the beginning of summer for the mundane world but is the middle of summer for pagans. School is out and we can look forward to family outings and vacations.

Circle Casting
Before the circle is cast, let all who are present be here of their own free will. (Omit this line if performing solitary ritual.)
With this wand I cast this circle to mark this place as sacred, a world between worlds. (If you are right-handed, cast the circle clockwise. If you are left-handed, counter-clockwise. More on this in another post.)
Goddess I request that you bestow favor upon these elements of earth and water. Cleanse this place to free it from all that is unwholesome. (Walk circle 2nd time while sprinkling or spraying salt water.)
Goddess I request that you bestow favor upon these elements of fire and air. Purify this place to make it ready for the attending powers and spirits. (Walk circle 3rd time while waving incence stick or censer.)

(For each of the directions, light the appropriate candle. If you are doing a group ritual, all in attendance repeat "Hail and welcome!" after you.)

Opening the directions
Midsummer greetings to Geb, god of earth. I call upon you and the spirits of the north. I ask for your blessing of strength and stability to aid and  empower this rite. Hail and welcome!

Midsummer greetings to Tefnut, goddess of water. I call upon you and the spirits of the east. I ask for your blessing of wisdom and imagination to aid and empower this rite. Hail and welcome!

Midsummer greetings to Sekmet, goddess of fire. I call upon you and the spirits of the south. I ask for your blessing of warmth and passion to aid and empower this rite. Hail and welcome!

Midsummer greetings to Shu, god of air. I call upon you and the spirits of the west. I ask for your intuition and creativity to aid and empower this rite. Hail and welcome!

Isis, Mother of the Universe, grace us with your divine presence. Descend from above, arise from below, expand from within and fill this space with your love. Hail and welcome!

Body of Ritual
The summer solstice occurs when the earth's axial tilt is closest to the sun. Though the solstice technically lasts only a moment in time, the term is also refers to the entire day in which it occurs. This is the longest day and shortest night of the year.
Right now Mother Earth is already travelling away from the Sun. Let us take this time to bask in her energy.

(Meditation or dancing / drumming preferably held outside. Family can share plans for upcoming months.)

A Litha Prayer for the Earth - author unknown
Great God, Father of the Earth,
Shine down on this, your strongest day.
Blessed Goddess who gave us Birth,
Bless us who honor your ancient way.
As Summer's light falls to the ground,
lending crops and trees it's power,
the Summer winds blow warm and round,
touching the corn silk and the flowers.
We give you thanks, our Mother Earth,
We praise you, fire of the Sun.
We dance this Solstice day with Mirth,
from dawns' first light 'till the day is done."

As our ritual comes to a close, we ask the Goddess to bless our food and drink. May we never hunger; may we never thirst. (This is the abbreviated Cakes and Ale part. Since we are having a cookout and are eating after the ritual, I decided to change it slightly.)

Closing the directions
(Normally you would use a candle snuffer to extinguish the candles. One must never blow them out as it is considered disrespectful. Today my ritual will be outside and I have tiki torches for the occassion. We will leave them burning until the cookout is over.)

Great Mother Isis, Lady of life. I thank you for your many gifts bestowed upon us. May your love and light remain with us always. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell.

We bid the west adieu.Thank you for sharing your intuition and creativity with us. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell!

We bid the south adieu. Thank you for sharing your warmth and passion with us. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell!

We bid the east adieu. thank you for sharing your wisdom and imagination with us. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell!

We bid the north adieu. Thank you for sharing your strength and stability with us. Stay if you will; go if you must. Hail and farewell!

The circle is open but never broken
may all beings be free
may all beings be peaceful
may all beings be happy
may all beings be safe
may all beings awaken to the light of their true nature
may all beings be free

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pagan Prompt - Which Pantheon

Do you have a specific pantheon (group of gods/goddesses) that you are particularly drawn to? Which deities do you work with the most?

Why do you think you are drawn to these over others?

If you don't work with a singular group, which group(s) are you drawn to, and how do you decide which to work with for any given situation?

I am drawn to the Egyptian pantheon. Why? Because they seem magical to me and they are very regal. The Egyptians were way ahead of their time. I'm amazed at how the pyramids were built nearly perfect. I believe that humans started in Egypt before migrating all over the world. Where better to go back to the ancient God/desses than the beginning? I don't have a patron Goddess but at this time I'm drawn to Isis, Hathor, and Bast.

I plan on learning about the Greek, Roman, and Norse Gods as well. But my favorite will be Egyptian.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Buddhist Prompt - Which Buddhist Path?

Blessed full moon uposatha! A total lunar eclipse occurred today. It wasn't visible from the US but I watched it online. The eclipse lasted about 100 mins which is pretty long for an eclipse.


I did a search for Buddhist prompt and didn't not find any. So, maybe I'll start it off. I'll try to be weekly. Feel free to answer the prompt on your blog and then leave a comment so that I can read it. Or simply comment *points down* here. My answer will follow the prompt.


Buddhism is like other religions in that it is a broad term like Pagan, Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc. What is your specific path of Buddhism? Or are you non-denominational? What does your Buddhist path entail?


I practice Nichiren Buddhism, a form of Mahayana Buddhism. Nichiren Buddhists chant "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" and follow the Lotus Sutra and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin. I'm not going to give a history of NB here. There are many sects of NB. Formally, I do not belong to any of them but I associate with members of SGI and NST. I also enjoy reading the earlier sutras and learning about the other Buddhist paths. I highly recommend viewing The Buddha documentary shown on PBS. It may still be available via Netflix or on the PBS website. This documentary is an awesome nonsectarian history of Buddhism.


Every day, morning and evening, I recite passages in Japanese from the Lotus Sutra and say prayers; this is called gongyo. I've heard that some prefer to recite in English and I see no problem with that. Practioners say gongyo to the gohozon, a parchment with Nam Myoho Renge Kyo written down the middle along with other imagery from the Lotus Sutra. This is the focus point of the NB altar.


There are weekly and monthly meetings. Some sects have special memorial and seasonal meetings as well. I'm almost finished reading the Lotus Sutra and I need to get my hands on Nichiren's writings. I can't think of anything else. I'm constantly learning new things so I'm sure I left out some stuff.


Namaste and blessed be )O(

Friday, June 10, 2011

Topic from Pagan Prompt - charging for services

2 posts in a day! I'm on a roll!

Thanks to Pagan Mom Blog, I have a way to post more on my blog. I wonder if I can find a Buddhist Prompt? Here is the prompt (thank you English classes for preparing me for this):

"How do you feel about being paid for certain services of a pagan nature? Like Tarot/Palm/Astrology readings? Often these services are seen as personal, due to the nature of the readings. Some people find it unethical to charge for these services."

I think that a person can charge a reasonable price for these services especially if this is her profession. One does have to put the food on the table. However, the querant should beware of any unscrupulous readers. Reading is an art and a skill. A novice reader should not charge as much as an experienced one. Since I'm still learning, I don't charge at all and I let my querants know up front that I am a novice. If you don't feel comfortable charging for such services, then don't. It is not a hard fast rule that you have to. A massage is personal and you have to pay for that. If it's because of the spiritual nature of the activity, well, don't you pay an officiant to preside at your wedding?

One thing that I would like to mention is that whether you charge or not, the session should be confidential because it is of a personal nature. So no blabbing about the reading you did for Ms. Jones and what cards came up. It's really none of anyone's business.
Oh, one more thing, something about the stereotypical fortune telling shops that I dislike. You know the ones - dark, foreboding, everything occult in prominent places. Now that I know more about paganism, if I had a shop, I would want it to be a comfortable casual business atmosphere.

In perspective - an open letter

Today, a friend told me she lost her baby. **Sending her healing vibes**


This is a reminder of how precious life is. It is not productive to waste time holding grudges and being and staying angry.


To unnamed persons


It is unfortunate that things did not turn out as planned. I believe I crossed paths with each of you for a reason. I hold no ill-will for any of you for what good would that do except poison me? Whatever I give the universe, I will receive back. As someone tweeted earlier - "how people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours". So I am sending you nothing but positivity and I sincerely wish you well on your endeavors. I have taken responsibility for my part in the failure to become and remain friends. It is your choice to believe me or not. I hope that your interaction with me was not all bad and if not, think about those times because that's how I'm choosing to remember you. If and when you are ready, my door, phone, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is open.


Blessed be )O(


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Moon Uposatha - my (re)dedication to the Goddess

Today is the day that I've decided to dedicate myself to my new spiritual path. A little over a year ago, I went to my first Buddhist meeting. A very short time after that, I started exploring Wicca and other religions. I have come Home. I realized this some time ago but I have been reluctant to commit. On the one hand, one's spirituality is personal and private. On the other hand, it's nice to exchange ideas with like-minded individuals. I attended International Pagan Coming Out Day with a Facebook group. I sent my mother a card with some information in it about Buddhism and Paganism. My kids know that I know no longer identify with Christianity. My husband has always been supportive throughout my journey.

So today is the day that I accept this fact. Why today? Well, it's the new moon, the first of the month, and Wednesday. I was born on a Wednesday so it almost seems fitting that today is *the* day. I have no idea of the specifics of my ritual. I said a small prayer at the exact time of the partial eclipse with the rest of my ritual to be performed later. I do what I feel in my heart to do. Maybe it will be just lighting some candles and sitting quietly.

I've been struggling with the fact that previously I dedicated myself to Jehovah and was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness in 1992. I was serious at the time, as serious as a teenager could be. Is my Christian dedication and baptizm negated? I thought about this and as I believe that the Goddess and God are one, my dedication is still valid. The baptism is irrelevent. So I guess my ritual is more of a re-dedication, a step that I'm taking with no pressure from my mother or from an organization. My free will. I'm happy to do it.

Oh, I don't have craft name / magical name yet. I thought of one but I'll let the Goddess guide me.

Blessed Be

Saturday, May 21, 2011


The End of the World as We Know It


I don't think the world will end per se but yeah, if we keep messing up the Earth, it will be uninhabitable. Until humans stop thinking "us vs them" and think "we", there is no chance for survival. Doomsday won't be caused by God(s) but by our own doing.


Scientifically speaking, the sun may die out as stars don't last forever. The world could end if we no longer have a heat source.


Meanwhile, we all should be making the most of our home. I really want to start a garden.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Blessing

Hail to the Mother of the Universe
known and unknown,
the Creatrix of all things.
Hail to Isis, Bast, Hathor
I honor you.
Be with us who have lost our mothers and those trying to become mothers again or for the first time.
Guide our mothers who have lost their way to find their children before their spirit returns to you.
Give us the stability of Earth Mother,
Warmth of Sun Mother, and tranquility of Moon Mother.

May your blessings be upon all mothers today and always.
So mote it be.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dianic Tradition and transfolk

A Facebook post on About Pagan/Wicca prompted this entry. Amy, a transwoman, was not allowed into a Dianic coven. Dianic Tradition is for women only and apparently this does not include people such as Amy who happened to be born in the wrong body. For a brief description of Dianic Trad:


On one hand, a tradition has rules and if you don't like the rules, well, find another trad that's more to your liking. On the other hand, no one has a right to invalidate anyone else. I'm not going to argue the point that Amy is or is not a "real" woman because she wasn't born with woman parts. The same argument can be said of women who undergo masectomy or hysterectomy. They no longer have woman parts.


The point is that some feel Wicca is suppose to be all inclusive, that it shouldn't be discriminatory. As big as Paganism is, there *is* a place for everyone. If Dianic Tradition won't accept Amy, I am sure another tradition will or she can start her own coven. Generally speaking, I feel that Paganism is not discriminatory. However, if one wants to join a coven or tradition, there are rules. There is one tradition where you have to be of a certain genetic background as they feel that, for example, a person of African descent should reach out to African god/desses.


So to Amy, I hope you find a place in Paganism where you are comfortable. Goddess Bless )O(


PS. Why I didn't join a Dianic coven - too anti-male for me. You can be pro-female without being anti-male.

Friday, February 25, 2011

In other news...

This post is titled "In other news" because it's not directly related to Buddhism or Paganism but more of the evolution of my beliefs. The MD Senate has passed the bill approving gay marriage. It must now go to the House. Gov. O'Malley says that he will sign the bill. Meanwhile the Atty Gen released an opinion that MD should recognize gay marriages that are performed elsewhere. This opinion is effective immediately.


Before it was passed in the Senate, the bill was amended to allow officiants to refuse to perform the ceremony based on religious beliefs. For example, a Catholic or Morman priest would be able to decline to marry a gay couple. However, being an ordained Universal Life Church minister (shameless plug!), I will perform the ceremony provided that both parties are of legal age to enter into the marriage contract.




Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Bible in public school

I thought about this post in a response to the article About Pagan/Wicca posted.


It seems that every now and then, a senator or congressperson wants to mix religion and politics. It is the responsibility of parents to see to the spiritual growth of their children. Public school is just that - public. I'm sure 100% of the public is not Christian. Private school is private. Many are affiliated with a specific religion. I would have no right to complain about the Christian-centric curriculum of "Jesus My Lord and Savior" private school.


In public school, there should be an elective course on World Religions. Elective. Meaning that it's not mandatory. It should be offered in all secondary schools. Why? Because children should be exposed to stuff outside of their own fishbowl.  I was indoctrinated for the past 3 decades and it's taking me until now to be deprogrammed. World Religions would include introductions to the appropriate spiritual texts.


In public colleges, a World Religions / Cultures class should be a mandatory Gen Ed class. Why the difference? One, once you're in college, you're an adult. Two, you should want to know more about your world. Three, you have a thirst for knowlege. Isn't that one of the reason why you're enrolled? 


So to the politicians: stop passing bills to further your religious agendas. You want your children to learn about the Bible, teach them yourself or send them to church.

Friday, February 11, 2011

1st Quarter Uposatha Dharma - Precepts

Some Buddhist traditions follow precepts during the festival days or Uposatha. As mentioned before, these days coincide more or less with the main phases of the moon and are sometimes referred to as the Buddhist sabbath. Laypersons take the opportunity to reinforce their beliefs.  The precepts as mentioned in Buddhism for Dummies are

  • do not kill
  • do not steal
  • do not engage in sexual misconduct
  • do not lie
  • do not use intoxicants
  • do not eat after midday
  • do not engage in singing, dancing, music, or any other kind of entertainment
  • do not use garlands, perfumes, or adornments
  • do not sit on a luxurious seat or sleep on a luxurious bed
  • do not accept or hold money

Laypersons should try to live by the first five on a daily basis; the remaining five are carried out on Uposatha days. Note that some of the precepts can be interpreted broadly. Others may need adjustment for today's society and for the specific lifestyle and tradition of the practitioner. Nowhere is it mentioned that there is a punishment for failing to follow them as it is with the 10 Commandments.  This site gives a modern take on the first five:

As far as I know, Nichiren Buddhism does not mention the precepts. However, following them would not detract from your practice.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Final Arrangements and the Afterlife

As no one has been there and back with conclusive evidence, I'm not sure what to think about the afterlife. I do think that the spirit separates from the physical body at death. What happens to the spirit, I don't know. However, the physical body is ultimately just a shell. It has been scientifically proven that all elements in the body can be found in the universe or more close to home, in the earth's soil.  We are all star stuff or children of the earth.

I want my final arrangements to make it easier for my physical body to return to the universe. I request that no artificial means of preservation be applied to my remains. No autopsy.

  • Eject me into space straight into the sun. However, due to the extreme cost, this probably wouldn't happen.
  • Cremate me on a funeral pyre. They did this in the old days but it's is probably illegal in most states. This is the only way to make sure that my remains aren't mixed with someone else's.
  • Cremate me via convention methods. Unfortunately, crematoriums spew chemicals into the air and there's always a little bit of cremains left from the previous individuals.
  • Green burial. Burial with no chemicals, body is wrapped in cotton and decomposes naturally.

Are your final arrangements influenced by your belief or non-belief in the afterlife?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Then and Now

I was hesitant to post this because in some ways I believe that one's spirituality is a personal matter. However, I created this blog to get my thoughts out and perhaps to reach out to others. I don't expect anyone to agree with me although that would be nice J. As you may know by now, I was raised in a Christian religion. Now that I'm thinking for myself, I know longer hold to those ideals.  I decided to compare where I am now and where I was.

Old: There is one true God "out there", usually referred to as male.
New:  All Goddesses are one Goddess. All Gods are one God. The Goddess and God are one.  The Divine is within and without.

Old: The soul is not a separate part of the body.
New: The soul or spirit is what makes you, you and me, me and separates from the physical entity at death.

Old: There is only one true religion / spiritual path.
New: There are many ways to achieve the same goal. Your path may not be the same as mine. I don't mind if we share or compare notes, but don't force your beliefs on me.

Old: There is no afterlife. When you die, you die. No heaven (except for a select few), no fiery hell.
New: The spirit survives on. Doing what, I'm not sure. Some people believe in reincarnation which is the soul being reborn into another body. I still have lots of questions about that.

Old: Jesus Christ is the savior of mankind. We must go through him to talk to God.
New: Since we all have the Divine in us, we don't need an intermediary. We can contact God/dess directly.

Old: Homosexuality is a sin and is unnatural.
New: A sin according to whom? One's sexual preference is personal and is none of my business.  As far as being unnatural or contrary to nature – 2 males or 2 females cannot reproduce on their own. Sorry, but right now, the creation of a human being requires one egg to be fertilized by one sperm. Genetics aside, who are we to say who should get married or raise children? Is it any more unnatural to have more than one husband or wife? I also think that in some cases preferring the same gender is not a choice, so for those people being heterosexual is unnatural.

I'll pose a question to my readers – all one of them – if you don't follow your childhood religion, how have your beliefs changed?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is my religion a cult? Part 2

14. Are non-believers regarded with aloofness and suspicion?
Jehovah's Witness - not in my experience
Soka Gakkai International - no, I felt very comfortable
Nichiren Shoshu - no
Paganism - no

15. Are members told who to vote for in public elections?
JW - members are told to not vote at all, to remain neutral
SGI - not that I'm aware of
NS - not that I'm aware of
P - not that I'm aware of

16. Does the organization interfere in a member's choice of personal lifestyle?
JW - yes
SGI - no
NS - unsure
P - no

17. Does the organization interfere in a member's choice of martial partner?
JW - yes. Only other JWs and gay partners are definitely not allowed.
SGI - don't think so
NS - unsure but I believe they encourage members to marry other NS. Unsure about gay partners.
P - no

18. Are scandals within the organization hidden?
JW - unknown
SGI - unknown
NS - unknown
P - no central organization

19. Does the organization attack competing organizations, denominations, or religions?
JW - yes
SGI - not as viciously as others
NS - yes
P - some sects do, as a whole, I would say no.

20. Is culture misused, watered down, or bastardized in order to help acheive numerous rapid shallow conversions?
JW- unknown
SGI - unknown
NS - unknown
P - no, Paganism is not concerned with converting anyone

21. Are members discouraged from asking a lot of questions?
JW - yes
SGI - no
NS - no
P - no

22. Is individuality suppressed and conformity promoted?
JW - yes
SGI - no
NS - yes
P - no

23. Are some of the beliefs, doctrines, or practices bizarre?
JW - no
SGI - no
NS - no
P - they can be depending on the specific sect

24. Is dissent suppressed and hidden?
JW - yes, dissenters are cast out
SGI - unknown
NS - unknown
P - no

25. Are members told that if they discontinue their participation, their personal destiny will deteriorate?
JW - yes
SGI - unsure
NS - yes
P - no, but this could depend on the sect

Is my religion a cult? Part 1

This checklist can be found at Since I've led a very shelter life, I will be comparing 4 religions based on the questions according to my understanding. I'm not sure of the scientific validity of the results but it's definitely food for thought. If any of the information is incorrect, please comment. I am not claiming to be an expert on any of the following religions. For Paganism, I'm answering the questions based this path as a whole. Scoring starts at zero; for every yes answer add 4 points.

Score of 0:  Perfect.  No cultish characteristics.  Not a cult.  
Score of 1 - 25:  Mild cult.
Score of 26 - 50: Moderate cult.
Score of 51 - 75: Serious cult.
Score of 76 - 100: Extreme cult.

1. Do the members depend upon a charismatic leader or his memory and upon whom they heap adoration?
Jehovah's Witness - no
Soka Gakkai Internation - yes, Daisaku Ikeda
Nichiren Shoshu - no
Paganism - no

2. Is there pressure to donate all or most of your disposable income?
JW - no, but you are encouraged to donate to help support the Kingdom Hall itself and special projects as they come up
SGI - not in any of the meetings I attended
NS - not in any of the meetings I attended
P - No. Each coven may ask members to donate to support paying the rent on meeting areas, materials for rituals, etc.

3. Do members devote all or most of their spare time to organizational activities?
JW - members are encouraged to devote time to field service (preaching to non-believers). My mother volunteered to be a Pioneer and is required to devote 90 hours in field service a month.
SGI - I'm guessing that if you hold a leadership position, you will need to devote more time to the organization then one who is not a leader.
NS - unsure
P - not that I have seen

4. Are the members inconvenienced, for example, expected to drive long distances to attend large central meetings?
JW - Yes, last time I checked there were 2 circuit conventions and 1 district convention each year. The circuit convention is usually semi-local but the district one can require a hotel stay over a weekend.
SGI - need more information
NS - need more information
P - too many different paths to have a definitive answer

5. Do the publications co-opt the names and accomplishments of famous people even though the people being co-opted are not members?
JW - not that I'm aware
SGI - not that I'm aware
NS - not that I'm aware
P - not that I'm aware

6. Do the publications ignore the feedback or criticisms submitted by rank and file members?
JW - yes
SGI - unsure
NS - unsure
P - no central publications

7. Are members with long time chronic problems eventually looked down upon and made to feel unwelcome?
JW - I didn't notice this when I was a member
SGI - not that I'm aware
NS - not that I'm aware
P - not that I'm aware

8. Are there high-pressure targets for increasing memberships?
JW - yes, you are encouraged to increase your field service time, start Bible studies, and aid non-believers to get baptized as JW
SGI - not sure
NS - yes
P - no. Pagans in general keep to themselves. In fact because of the secrecy I think it is more difficult to become a member of a coven

9. Are decisions in the organization made top-down and hieracchically?
JW - yes
SGI - yes
NS - yes
P - if you're in a coven, yes

10. Are the organization's leaders appointed rather than elected?
JW - yes, appointed by holy spirit
SGI - unsure
NS - the high priest in Japan is picked by his predecessor, not sure about the local priests
P - it depends on the coven

11. Are the organization's charter, mission, rules, and bylaws made by the top leaders without consulting the rank and file members?
JW - yes
SGI - unsure
NS - unsure
P - no centralized organization

12. Is there an absence of financial transparency?
JW - as far as I know, the local congregations read the statement of accounts once a month.
SGI - unknown
NS - unknown
P - unknown

13. Are members pressured to give inflated testimonials at meetings?
JW - I wouldn't say pressured but members may be called upon to give experiences
SGI - same as above
NS - same as above
P - no

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wheel of the Year

Today is 3rd Quarter Uposatha which gets me thinking of the Moon which gets me thinking of the Wheel of the Year. How so? Well, the phases of the moon can coincide with the Wheel of the Year. What's the WotY, you may ask. Our year is based on the (fairly) circular movement of the earth around the sun. Imagine that instead of our calendar being laid out from top to bottom, it's laid out as a never-ending circle. The Pagan year divides this circle into eighths. The dividing days called sabbats fall on the equinoxes, the solstices, and the days in between (cross-quarter days).

In most traditions, the greater sabbats are the cross-quarter days and the lesser sabbats are the equinoxes and solstices. To me this doesn't make sense. The equinoxes / solstices are marked by the specific position of the earth and are calculated astronomically. The cross-quarter days cannot be calculated without them. Therefore, I like to think of the equinoxes / solstices as greater sabbats and the cross-quarter days as lesser sabbats. Really, I'm not sure why any of the sabbats would have a greater or lesser significance. The sabbats are: Yule / Winter Solstice, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltane, Summer Solstice, Lammas, Autumn Equinox, and Samhain. The Witch's New Year is commonly celebrated at Samhain (Halloween).

Now you know what the WotY is. The moon has 8 main phases: new moon, waxing crescent, 1st quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, 3rd quarter, and waning crescent. If I could superimpose the moon phases over the WotY, Yule would correspond to New Moon. Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and new moon is when the moon is hidden in the sky. In Egyptian Paganism, winter solstice is the new year. The equinoxes correspond to the 1st and 3rd quarters. The moon is in perfect balance with the light and dark halves; likewise day and night are equal lengths.

Celebrations of the moon are called esbats. In contrast, the sabbats celebrate the sun.