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.