Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ExJW Therapy - Dedication and Baptism

This may be a new segment to my blog. As you know by now, I was raised as Jehovah's Witness (called a born-in). Only recently have I begun to deal with the fallout and mental breakthroughs of no longer being JW. Every now and then, I ponder on various parts of the doctrine. See, now that I'm out of the cult, I get to question the beliefs. You can't do that while you are still inside. From time to time, I will post thoughts on my new and unclouded understanding. Today's topic is dedication and baptism.

JWs are in the business of converting. If you are a non-JW or worldly, the goal is to study the Bible with you until you want to convert by dedication and baptism. If you are a born-in or the child of a convert, the goal is to push you to dedication and baptism. Dedication and baptism is like peanut butter and jelly - one is no good without the other. I was taught that baptism is the outward sign of your dedication. Dedication is private and between you and Jehovah.

I remember my dedication. I wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing. Really, should a 17 yr old commit to something for the rest of her life without having access to all available options? Doesn't seem fair, does it? Yet, I dedicated myself anyway. Teen mom with a kid under 1, still in high school, still living with my mother, can't drink, can't sign legal contracts like a lease, but I was able to "sign" my spiritual life away. I don't remember the exact date or even what I said. But that's not important because according to JWs the most important day in your life is the day of your baptism; your wedding date is a distant 2nd.

My baptism took place at a circuit assembly in March 1992. Although this is day is supposedly important, I have no idea of the exact date. Perhaps it is on file at the WTBS? Anyway, I had this nagging feeling that I shouldn't be doing this. I did not feel any different after the "big dip". No, scratch that. First thought was what have I done???

The Process
Although I was a born-in I still had to study 2 books and answer some questions. The questions proved that I had a firm grasp of the JW doctrine. Before being scheduled for baptism, all of the questions must be answered before a couple of elders. They ask you if you dedicated your life to Jehovah. Of course, you must be active in field service (door-to-door converting) and present and participating at meetings (3x a week).

The day of the baptism, all baptismal candidates (that's what they call us) are to sit in a specific section. After the talk that's specifically directed to us, we are to stand and publically answer 2 questions. These questions has changed over the years. The ones I had to answer are

  1. On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will? 
  2. Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization?

Questions that come to mind:
Why is baptism even necessary if the dedication between you and Jehovah is private?

Why does the dedication identify one as a JW? Assume that Jehovah is another name for God.

If D&B is something that will affect the rest of your life, why are minors allowed to make this decision?

Why is there such a great penalty (shunning) if one no longer wants to be identified as a JW?

For more info on JW baptism, see this link.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Warrior's Moon

Sekmet's Day

Full moon in sidereal Aries

On the Warrior's Moon, we fight for what we believe in. This is a lone battle, and it is especially effective if we are fighting with no approval from others...[This] is also a time of...learning patience. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

How appropriate for today! Right now the East Coast is battling with Hurricane Sandy. Everything is just about closed. My electricity is still working for right now so I want to get this post in. I had 2 dreams last night where I was fighting. In the first one it was with my sister; in the second one it was with my mother. As you know, I haven't had any meaningful conversations with them in a long time. Still a struggle being pretty much an only child and orphan while family is still alive.

I believe in my spirituality. Health issues are keeping me from doing as much as I want to do. Absolutely positive that Christianity is not for me. I look forward to celebrating public and family holidays. Since most of the world is Christian, Paganism is a religion that lot of folks are "scared" of. They point to all the scriptures that denounce witches, demons, magic, and spiritistic practices. I don't proselytize but I'll gladly answer any questions related to my path or Paganism in general.

Now that I'm registered to vote, I believe in voting for the candidate that best aligns with your views. I believe in being educated as much as possible about the election process. Yes, there's almost no change of 3rd party candidate winning the presidential election due to the electoral college. True sports fans still cheer for their team even when odds are against them.

What are things that you believe in that go against societal norms?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - U is for Unicorn

Unicorns are magical and are associated with the earth element. Originally unicorns are believed to be all white with cloven hooves and a goat's beard and can be tamed only by a virgin. Unicorns do not appear in Greek mythology but in accounts of ancient natural history. Perhaps the ancient historians saw a deformed animal or unicorns are now extinct?

The magic of unicorns lies in the horn. Ground up unicorn horn is said to be an aphrodisiac and can cure sickness. As you know, unicorns are very rare and should not be hunted simply to harvest the horn. The tears and blood contain magical properties as well.

Unicorns should not be confused with narwhals, a type of marine animal with a protruding tusk. Due to intermingling, many hybrids exist:

  • zebra + unicorn
  • pegasus + unicorn
  • non-white unicorn
  • centaur + unicorn

Diet of unicorns is that of horses. Unicorns prefer forests to open spaces and urban areas. However, if you are able to open a portal, say in between 2 trees, you may be able to coax one out. Being a virgin is unnecessary but you must have pure intentions. Unicorns are telepathic; they may appear in visions during meditation.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Maiden's Moon

Sekmet's Day
LuniSol - Moonth 11, Day 19
Metonic - Year 13, Lunation 209, Day 1
Dreamspell - Yellow Planetary Sun (10 Ahau) - Kin 140
Mayan Tzolk'in - 2 Ben (Red Lunar Skywalker) - Kin 93
Mayan Ha'ab - 16 Yax

New Moon in sidereal Virgo
Kemetic Month - Menhet

On the Maiden's Moon, we go alone to a beautiful place and work on being at ease without the presence of our fellow humans...It's a good time for solitary work but an even better time for quietly observing beauty and "sitting with time." - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

My vision board was completed today. It feels good to accomplish things on my to-do list. My habit of procrastinating has been getting the best of me but I'm really trying to do better. Still behind on the Pagan Blog Project but determined to catch up before the end of the year. Getting back into my daily chanting. Gave myself a lunar month challenge; this month has 29 days.

As a solitary witch, all of my work is done alone anyway. It would be nice to work with others though.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - U is for Uposatha

Uposatha is a Buddhist sabbath of sorts for meditation. It is held weekly on the 4 main phases of the moon. Not all sects observe Uposatha; therefore, it is not a mandatory observance. For lay people, the 8 precepts are followed: 

  1. No killing.
  2. No stealing.
  3. No sexual misconduct (or no sex at all).
  4. No lying (or deceptive / manipulative speech).
  5. No drinking (alcohol; can be expanded to include non-prescription drugs and smoking).
  6. Only eat after sunrise but before noon.
  7. Abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume (deodorant?), and using cosmetics and jewelry.
  8. No sleeping or sitting on comfortable furnishings; no long naps.
I've been lax about actually following some of these precepts. I'm sure Buddha didn't want health issues to be exacerbated by fasting or by sleeping / sitting on a hard surface. #3 & #5 conflicts with my Pagan practice. However having vegetarian meals once a week won't kill me. Instead of doing the things mentioned in #7, time should be spent in meditation and study of Buddhist teachings.

Several Full Moon Uposatha days hold special significance. For example, Vesak is May's full moon which celebrates Buddha's birth, awakening, and death. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TSC - Kill a Pit Bull Day???

Why would anyone want to hurt my cousin Titan and all like him?
Cousin Titan with my Auntie Bren @ www.pibblesnme.com

Mom tells me that there are people who want to hurt pit bills and black cats on Halloween. Gladly, there are people who want to keep them safe. Some shelters are not adopting out because of this threat. That means no loving families for a whole month!

Not are breeds are good for all people. Mom said she picked me because I'm so small and cuddly. (Actually I picked her!) Auntie Bren is an advocate for doggies like Titan. He is a rescue like me and I'm glad he has a loving mom.

I'm pretty smart. But I still can't figure out why people want to hurt us. We are loyal and protective. Cats are magical and they have 9 lives. We provide companionship and health benefits to our human families. May we all be safe. Woof.

Pawfully yours,

Monday, October 8, 2012

Magician's Moon

Isis' Day
LuniSol - Moonth 11, Day 11
Metonic - Year 13, Lunation 208, Day 23
Dreamspell - Yellow Lunar Human (2 Eb) - Kin 132
Mayan Tzolk'in - 7 Chicchan (Red Resonant Serpent) - Kin 85
Mayan Ha'ab - 8 Yax

3rd quarter in sidereal Gemini

On the Magician's Moon we think about censorship and about our attitudes toward people we think are too untrustworthy to have certain knowledge...It's a good time to do magic, but be careful of your goals - are they themselves worthy? - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

I have plans on starting a magical working today and completing it on the new moon. Being as though my unemployment benefits are almost exhausted, it is a worthy goal to work magic for a job. A FB friend worked magic to prevent an annoying neighbor from bothering her. Remember the Law of Return when casting any kind of spell.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - T is for Triple Gem

The Triple Gem, also known as the Three Treasures or Three Jewels, are primary objects of devotion in Buddhism. Depending on the tradition the Gem is defined differently. I will define them for my practice.

  • Buddha - the historical Buddha known as Siddhārtha Gautama or Sakyamuni. Buddha wasn't a Buddhist any more than Christ was a Christian. According to the stories, Buddha was a prince who left his royal palace in search of something better. His search ended when he obtained enlightenment at the age of 35 under the bodhi tree. It was at this time that he realized the 4 Noble Truths. Anyone can obtain enlightenment in this lifetime. Buddha means Enlightened One. We all have the Buddha inside of us. The 1st Gem refers to the historical Buddha as well as our Buddha nature.
  • Dharma - teachings. Buddha's teachings are found in the various sutras. Different traditions place emphasis on different sutras. I think that good can be found in all of them. I would include in dharma commentary written on the sutras. However, like Buddha said, take what you find useful and throw the rest away.
  • Sangha - community of Buddhist practitioners, Some sects only include members of their own sects as the sangha. Practitioners who use technology like Online Meditation Crew (#OMCru) have a twangha (Twitter + sangha) where everyone is welcome. I like the all-inclusive definition better.

My practice does not require me to take refuge in the Triple Gem. I suppose this is sort of like a Buddhist dedication. At any rate, the Triple Gem is a good foundation for any Buddhist practice.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Builder's Moon

Geb's Day
LuniSol - Moonth 11, Day 7
Metonic - Year 13, Lunation 208, Day 19
Dreamspell - Yellow Spectral Star (11 Lamat) - Kin 128
Mayan Tzolk'in - 3 Imix (Red Electric Dragon) - Kin 81
Mayan Ha'ab - 4 Yax

Waning Gibbous in sidereal Taurus

On the Builder's Moon, we pick up tools and make practical changes in our worlds....If there's nothing to do around your house, call your friends. If that turns up dry, try local organizations...If you're really motivated, spend a couple of days working for Habitat for Humanity* or a similar organization. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

I'm definitely not the handywoman type. Instead, practical changes can refer to one's digital world. Slowly bur surely I'm clearing out my Facebook and my Twitter. Also deleting my profile from various sites. If you're not into building, what about organizing? With colder weather coming upon us, perhaps you can clear out your closet for a good cause.

*Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry.

1st post from Blogger app

Thanks to my gf Brenda, I now can blog from anywhere including the bathroom!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On procrastination

I'm a huge procrastinator. If it weren't for the ability to backdate my posts, you would be able to see just how bad it is. I've been out of work for 9 months now and have a few things accomplished but not as much as I would like. Perhaps a list is in order?

Procrastination can be linked to perfectionism. Guilty as charged! I frequently wait until the time is right to perform a task for myself. Sadly the right time never occurs and the task gets put off again. Procrastination is affecting my witchcraft and my personal willpower. The moon phase happens on a specific day. If I don't cast a spell for that time, I have to wait a month. I will come through for others before I come through for myself.

There are 2 things that I wanted to do today. Before I went to bed, I spoke these things to myself. I'll get on it, right after I watch Warehouse 13 on Netflix.