Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pagan Blog Prompt: Labels


In this day and age, we have names for everything. Wicca is no exception to this. What magickal labels do you give yourself? For example, I am an eclectic, Wiccan, Witch. What do your call yourself? A Wiccan? A Witch? Pagan? What makes one a Wiccan and not a Witch? Or in order to truly understand how magick and force of will works...are you automatically a Witch as well, even though you may not cast circles? Where do we draw the lines with the labels? Why have you chosen the labels you claim?

I started on my journey calling myself eclectic but I rarely use that term anymore. Not because I have an aversion to it but I've been trying to focus my practice. I like bullet points so I will use them here. Seems like I've done this before on a previous post but oh well. Labels are fluid; if one day I decide they don't fit me then I will change them. So, the following are terms and my definitions that I use to describe my spiritual practice:

  • deist - I believe in a divine entity(?) that I call God/dess. Instead of using someone else's proof found in holy books, I use science and nature.
  • agnostic - Literally means "not knowing." I do not know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God/dess exists.
  • Pagan - in its broadest sense, Pagan refers to all religions outside of the big 3 - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. My childhood religion was Christian. I no longer believe in the bible or that Jesus, if a historical person, had divine origins.
  • Wicca - a specific path of Paganism. Catholic is to Christian as Wiccan is to Pagan. Just as all Christians aren't Catholics, all Pagans are not Wiccans. I am not Wiccan. From what I understand, you must be initiated into a Wiccan coven but even this is disputed internally. 
  • Buddhist - Some say Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion. I was introduced to SGI, a Nichiren Buddhist sect, by a former co-worker. There are many branches in Nichiren Buddhism; sadly all are professing to be the correct path. I never formally joined SGI but I have their liturgy book as well as the one from Nichiren Shoshu. I've modified the prayers to fit my needs. Although I don't do gongyo like I should, I consider myself an independent Nichiren Buddhist.
  • eclectic - Dictionary definition is "deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources." So, yes, my Pagan path is eclectic. I think spirituality should be tailored for the person. If I find something that doesn't work, I can replace it.
  • solitary - I practice alone. I do not belong to a coven. I've thought of starting a training coven one day. It would be free from degree systems and all would be welcome.
  • witch - I consider myself a witch. I believe that magic is energy, is real, and can be proven with science and quantum mechanics.
  • Unitarian Universalist - the resulting merge between 2 liberal Christian religions. Nowadays UU is made up of many beliefs with Christianity being a minority. I feel like UU is more like a fellowship than a religion.

So there you have it. I'm a solitary agnostic deist Buddhist Pagan witch who attends a Unitarian Universalist church.

Oh one more thing - I don't know if this has a word but if it does let me know - I believe that all God/desses are One. The separate God/desses from each culture are just facets or parts of the whole. In contrast, others may believe that each separate deity is indeed separate, that there are thousands of deities.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chalica - Day 7

Principle for day 7

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

This includes plants, animals, space, everything. No, I'm not a vegan but I support ethical hunting and killing of the animals that we eat. I would rather food animals be free-range. Fruits and vegetables should be organic. People who purposefully abuse animals should be punished harshly.

As you light a yellow candle, contemplate how you can better respect the interdependent web. Could you make a better effort to recycle? I know I can.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Chalica - Day 6

Principle of day 6

The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all

When I joined my sorority, I was asked if I had a cause that I was passionate about. I believe that literacy is important as well as clean drinking water for everyone. This past election, MD voters passed the Marriage Equality Act. Hopefully the other states will follow suit and the LGBT community can celebrate their version of Loving Day.

Universal health care is a big one. There are problems with the Affordable Care Act but I believe it's a step in the right direction.

As you light an orange candle, think about your favorite causes. Do you donate or volunteer on a regular basis? If you are a part of a church or religion, does your congregation have a social justice committee?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Chalica - Day 5

Principle of day 5

The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and society at large

UU congregations have a large degree of autonomy*. This is a refreshing contrast to how the congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses are run. The UUA seems to be the legal entity of UU whereas the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the legal AND religious entity of JWs. I suppose there is a basic framework that UU congregations work from such as adoption of the 7 principles. My congregation holds a few meetings a year to discuss upcoming programs and things that need to get done. We vote on things like how much we should spend to replace the carpet and what should be our next social justice project. JW congregations all over the world just do as they are told by 8 men. No voting, no discussing, just do as they tell you. The rank-and-file have no say in how the millions of dollars in donation get spent. None whatsoever.

Unlike JWs, UUs are encouraged to express their political opinions. Although UUism is generally liberal, I'm sure there may be some conservative thinkers. I finally registered to vote in the 2012 election. My personal activism is informing voters that there are more than 2 choices. The 4 largest 3rd parties are Libertarian, Green, Constitution, and Justice. No, it is not better to vote for the lesser of two evils. No, voting for a 3rd party candidate is not throwing your vote away. Not voting at all is throwing your vote away. Two huge problems that 3rd parties face are ballot access and debate access. Did you know that unlike the main parties, 3rd parties may have to requalify to be on the ballot every so often? That the Reps and the Dems formed the Commission on Presidential Debates and that the debate criteria automatically disqualify all 3rd parties?

As you light a blue candle, think about the voting process in your area. Are you registered to vote? If not, and if your conscience (not your religion) allows you to, register! When is the next election? Research the candidates ahead of time. You have more than 2 parties to choose from. Look up the ballot access rules in your area. If you are registered Independent or is upset with your current majority party, think of registering 3rd party. In many cases, ballot access is dependent on number of registered voters. Finally, look up your federal, state, and local (county or city level) elected officials. I confess, I don't even know all of mine.

*This of course is my perception. I have never served on the board of directors at my church nor at UUA. I welcome all comments concerning the organization of UU. I have to approve each comment since I'm getting lots of spam. Don't worry, I don't censor.

Mountain Climber's Moon

Hathor's Day, Ka Her Ka 5
Metonic Lunation 223
Mayan Tzolk'in - 3 Oc (White Electric Dog) - Kin 250
Dreamspell - Red Spectral Earth (11 Caban) - Kin 37

Waxing Crescent in sidereal Capricorn

On the Mountain Climber's Moon, we attempt the impossible...or at the very least the dauntingly difficult. It's especially useful to try something that you have avoided because you were told that you, or the sort of person that people assume you are, would just never be able to handle that. Whatever you do, do it without help. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chalica - Day 4

Principle of day 4

A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

I was going to skip today due to the untimely demise of one of my doggies. Brownie was about a year old; she must have ate something she wasn't supposed to. We plan on burying her in our backyard. I keep telling myself that the body is the physical part of Brownie. Her spirit is ....where? This is how I'm tying in real life events with the 4th principle.

No one knows if there is an afterlife, well, at least no one can be sure. Do animals even have souls? Is there a doggie or kitty or pet heaven? I believe in the Divine but I don't think She killed off Brownie for a higher purpose. People say of ones who have passed on, "they are in a better place." But we don't really know. What does that say of our current existence?

I like to call myself a seeker. Although I've found my main path, I enjoy challenging my beliefs. The search for truth and meaning may even one day take me away from UUism. But because of the 4th principle, I certainly hope they would wish me well and welcome me back. UU doesn't provide answers per se, but questions. It's up to you to provide the answers. UU is not for everyone and we recognize that.

As you light a green candle, recall how your search for truth brought you to UU. Think of those who have left. Wish them well as they continue their journey. UU can be a final destination or a pit stop.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chalica - Day 3

Principle of day 3

Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations

I know I've told my story of how I found UUism. I wanted something with fellowship, not dogma and rules. My UU congregation is small, mostly older folks, and mostly white. It's comfortable there. A neighboring congregation is larger but I haven't visited for services (too early for me). At some point I volunteered that I was Buddhist and Pagan. No one looked at me like I was a devil worshipper. To my knowledge, there are a few other Pagans in my congregation. The majority of members have a background in Christianity.

I'm currently intrigued by Muslim religion and why they pray 5 times a day. I found out that this happens in Zoroastrianism as well. This may be a ritual I will try to integrate into my practice sans the handwashing and prostrations.

As you light a purple candle, think about accepting, not just tolerating, others. This does not mean that you have to agree with someone but "agree to disagree". Research a religion that always seems to get bad press. Try to find a member of this faith in UU to learn directly from an adherent.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chalica - Day 2

Principle of day 2

Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations

The equality part is included in the one of the founding documents of the USA:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [humans] 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.
In practice, though, there is much work to be done. Have you heard the anecdote about the pastor who dressed up as a homeless man at his new church? The story goes on to say that no one spoke to him or offered any assistance. Not compassionate at all. Or what about the pictures of overweight people with the mocking comments? The videos circulating of young people fighting? Is that compassion? Yes, I have been guilty of lack of compassion; it's something that I need to work on.

As you light a red candle, reflect on ways to be more compassionate. Start with your attitudes before pointing the finger at others.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Raging Moon

Isis' Day, Ka Her Ka 1
Metonic Lunation 223
Mayan Tzolk'in - 12 Cimi (White Crystal Worldbridger) - Kin 246
Dreamspell - Red Resonant Skywalker (7 Ben) - Kin 33

New Moon in sidereal Scorpio

The Raging Moon is one of the best times for shadow work, that task of going down into one's psychological cellar and learning to love the most unacceptable part of oneself for what it is, with no attempts to change it. - Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera.

Chalica - Day 1

Happy..err..Blessed..umm..Merry Chalica! I explain what Chalica is here so let's jump into the first principle:

The inherent worth and dignity of every person

Yup, that includes your favorite aunt, the deadbeat parents, mass murderers, activists, people with differing political beliefs, LGBTQ community, high school dropouts, and holders of Ph.Ds.

As you light a white* candle, reflect upon finding good in a person who typically is looked down in society. Do you have family members that you feel have wronged you in some way? Why not extend an olive branch? Remember that we are all made of star stuff.

*There are no official candle colors for Chalica. I've assigned colors to each day of the week; these are the same ones I use in my magical workings.
Sunday/Sun - yellow
Monday/Moon - white
Tuesday/Mars - red
Wednesday/Mercury - purple
Thursday/Jupiter - green
Friday/Venus - blue
Saturday/Saturn - orange