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