August 2012

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Aug. 4th, 2012

Delphic Maxim#7: Perceive What You Have Heard

While this is a maximum I struggle with, I certainly think it’s crucial to Paganism full stop. One defining aspect of paganism is that we all strive to be more conscious in our daily lives. There’s a couple of key things one has to do if one plans to be an active participant in his or her own life and the world around his or herself.


First one has to pay attention to what’s going on or listen. There’s a ton to observe, hear, know, explore, and discover. Open one’s eyes, ears, mind, and heart and all sorts of new information, thoughts, and experience will traipse in.


Second one has to interpret what one sees and hears. For example, a co-worker may sigh a lot but is that because she’s sad, bored, frustrated, has a medical problem, or something else? These little cues are things one can pick up on, inquire about, or in some cases simply make a judgment on in one’s own mind. Step two is also known as perceiving.


Third, once one has observed and interpreted one’s surroundings, one needs to respond in a thoughtful and reasoned manner. The thing is that if one doesn’t first listen and second stop and interpret what one is observing, there is absolutely no way to make a thoughtful, reasoned, and conscious decision regarding the world around oneself. There is no magic, intention, or depth to life without these first two steps.

My Lammas Writing

Something I have struggled with since I entered the pagan path is holidays. What do you celebrate and how do you celebrate it? There's always kind of a wheel of the year-ish cycle, but how and why seem to change all the time.


It's Lammas which for me is more of a planning reflecting time than a holiday. As the first sign of the harvest, it signals to me to look back on my past year and see what I've been building, harvesting and otherwise growing. What are my first crops and what can I plan to harvest through out the rest of the fall? What will I be working on longer than the year and what comes into my silent meditation and reflection following Halloween? Here's the yearly review of what I have and what may come with me.


At Halloween I was deeply attached to a man whom I claimed I wasn't dating and who claimed not to be dating me. In reality I was on the brink of love with him and he was on the brink of the same by January. The whole thing failed to launch then and again in April/May when we picked up again briefly.


Late April early May, I started dating another man, and am still seeing him. Emotionally, I don't know how deep things run. I care for him and hold a lot of affection for him. I think I could love him, but my feelings right now are in flux over him. We haven't really had enough bonding time for it to be a bone deep hum. It's something I see growing in the field and am looking to nurture further. I'm already planning some of the bonding possibilities to see if we will be lasting or if I just like traveling with him. I do think there's more but my own uncertainty, the newness of the exploration, and lack of really deep connecting moments is going to hold me back and hold him back for that matter. I know what I need to do to cut these hang ups and I plan to have a better idea by Halloween, if all goes well, I'll have plenty of time to reflect and continue to work on this relationship through winter holidays as well.


Work wise, I was working a terrible job I hated and was looking to quit in October. I was hired on to a better company in a better position with better money and benefits and a competent nice boss. My evaluation is happening now, fingers crossed that all my building and growing goes well.


Friend wise, my landscape is sparse, has always been so. I recommitted myself to communicating with my best friend and I write to her now something of substance about twice a month.


Writing wise, I'm actually partaking in typing and jotting notes, so that's more than I was doing in October. It feels like everything is improving and I'm slowly fighting back bad grammar habits. It's like blazing a path all over again. I want to focus on different writing styles and formats. Something I'm struggling with in particular is being able to remember which person I'm writing in. I don't want to swap from “I” to “one” to “you”, I just want to pick one and run with it. I also want to refocus on tenses and stop slipping between the past and present. I won't be up for writing a novel in November, but I'd like to think my blogging, tarot readings, letters, and journals will improve. I would like to be able to write or attempt to write poetry by December too, but I'm still no sure that's in the cards.


Religiously I followed my usual cycle. I was strong in faith during Halloween. Huge parties and reveling for me, I know most pagans were busy being somber and serious during Halloween and scolding all the wayward pagans who see Halloween as a last year end celebration. The last feast, before keeping our heads down in an quiet and unpredictable winter, any I decided then that those pagans could win the most somber award. Don't tell me how to practice or that my practice takes away from yours and I'll be sure to do the same thanks.


The winter quieted me some, I did more hibernation than reflection this year than in past years, but with the work schedule I had, the demands of the man, and my desire of oblivion who could really fault that I had no time for writing down most of these reflections, meditating or beginning the process of character building that should come from some of those thoughts? I made strong in roads in February where I picked up yoga and gained free time which really jump started my prayer and further examine my revelations. It granted me time to make pilgrimages and worship out and about Alabama. It gave me time to consider my morals and blog some on them. I'm in the process of blogging on the Delphic Maxims, and I put in my own contribution to the pagan values month in an original tarot inspired post. I'm going to continue with the Maxims even though it does seem like others have dropped the blogging party for the time being. I've also begun to write responses and thoughts on other's religious posts and I think that is going to become part of my religious practice/ internet controbution.


This year I've been able to truly commune with my Gods as I saw best through rituals, meditations, and prayer. I feel more connected to Gods than ever before and I better understand some aspects of my place and practice. I have a more structured and comprehensive practice than I've had in previous years and I'm finding Gods have been particularly helpful in giving me more to contemplate and more inspiration on how to practice.


Other new areas are blossoming in my life which I'm trying to think of how best to grow. Having local Gods now, for example, makes me consider the limits of my God's influence. Ze is a local God centered in the Huntsville location whose reach I know extends into Madison, at least where I currently reside and where I'm looking to move to. I'm uncertain about whether Ze has any power where I work. I know Ze has an awareness of what goes on, but as I believe Ze is centralized around Big Spring, a natural limestone spring at Big Spring Park, I'm uncertain of how far that reaches out. I think Decatur/Trinity is a tricky transitional place where Ze has some influence but not the same as closer in to Huntsville. It's occurred to me that there are border places where Gods share responsibilities. Where I work is so close to the Tennasse River I wonder if that God has primary responsibility over what's on the banks with land gods taking a secondary position. The feel in the Decatur Trinty area is certainly different, though not hostile. This and some experiences I've had with other land Gods is something I plan to keep exploring and further understanding.


I feel far more connected to the land now that I have ever before, and it has turned my practice more environmental. Instead of simply using the wheel of the year and the harvest cycle as a metaphor, my surrounding land is actually mostly farm land and I'm learning a lot about the plight of farmers this year as we're suffering a serious drought.


I find myself praying for rain. I feel pulled to collect rainwater for various ritual use. So far I have been given three specific new rituals straight from my Gods to use rainwater for.


I have been pulled to meditation and contemplation near rivers, streams, marshes, swamps, ponds, retaining ponds, and man made ponds. Water and green growth weight deeply on my mind right now, even though I am personally barely effected by the drought.


Fast on the heels of this growing awareness for the physical use of the land, the common climate, and whether things are going well for farmers is the question of how does this affect my Gods. My city God has some farm land and some conservation land in Zer domain, but Ze's stronghold is a down town suburban area. There are some water restrictions for the county and certainly there is wild life suffering as much as people, but all of this seems as if it could be inconsequential or at least far more damaging to humans than to a God or Gods. I get the impression that while the drought is a consideration and not good and has Their attention, its not the primary focus on Their plate.


I'm also coming to learn about River Gods and tree spirits and why one is a God and the other a spirit. It's interesting but doesn't belong in words just yet.

Jul. 17th, 2010

Ereaders, Publishing, and Paganism

So I've decided I need to write more and in specific I want to write more that relates back to pagan-ish stuff. I don't know, I feel kind of compelled almost, I have all this thoughts and buzzing and I think I'd be better off sticking it down and looking at it.

Anyhow I'm making the commitment to write once a day everyday until Shamamian. I'm going to try to make that writing be pagan related and NOT Christian focused (or even Christian noticed or comparable unless I'm tracing roots or influnces). It seems I've slipped into the habit of relating or comparing everything back to Christianity, which is easy enough to fall into when in real life you spend most of your time bringing your faith into terms the majority understands, but this is a going back to source and in source and through source that's for me and I want to keep it free of the constant compare contrast as well as free of the long streak of bitterness I'm still working through with it seems both Christians and the faith itself. And on to the actual writing now!

For the past week or so I've been looking into different cheap ereaders. I finally cashed in my tip change jar and I'm probably two weeks out from being able to purchase the least expensive name brand ereader, the nook. I'm sure there are less expensive readers out there, but honestly some of the research on these different readers and their capability are a little over my head and I want to stick with something popular and main streamy with lots of reviews and thoughts all put in less complex terms.

One problem I have with the nook and the kindle is that there seems to be a limited amount of pagan books in the ereader format. If I wanted to keep a copy of Spiral Dance or Drawing Down the Moon on hand for example, it wouldn't seem to be possible through these stores/devices. Perhaps it isn't possible at all, but I kind of thought that besides beach reading and recreation it would be nice if I could carry pagan resources and tools on hand with me. It's nice when one is referencing an author or a work in an explanation to be able to just go to that example and have a person read it, instead of paraphrasing or trying to remember or whatever else.

It seems that kindle does have Scott Cunningham's work, $ilver Ravenwolf's work (not that this is good simply that it is available and while I might not like her or agree with her she is technically pagan), Ted Andrews and some others available.

Nook has Ted Andrews. I'm not sure who else because their site doesn't make it easy to search for "new age" "occult" or "spiritual" ebooks. They have a ridiculous amount of Christian works compared to other faiths (about three times as many books as all other faith sections combined if you do not including General religion section which is usually mostly Christian work anyhow).

On a side note, nook (I don't know 100% for kindle) does support pdfs so several pagan resources I have on my comp which is now too fiesty to run, I can move over to the nook to read, look at and otherwise enjoy.

The fiction selections are better on both devices (about equal really), though they obviously don't have everything, I've gone through four or five pagan book websites and looked up interesting books to see if they're available. For what interested me there is about 45% availability on either kindle or nook. I haven't checked the library sites yet, but the nook might win out on available cheap fiction just because it's compatible with sails ebook format.

Beyond that both of these products magazine subscription areas are very limited. It would be lovely to have several articles of magazines with me all the time and to be able to pick and skim and recall. Cooking magazines and feminist ones come mostly to mind, but I'd love to capture some craft magazines on there too. Even if I only bought and article and there was no color it's nice to have a quick reference. Heck some mags might even find me buying their product twice, once in print and ones electronically if there was a few pieces that were of value.

What does interest me about the nook over the kindle is there epub section which is coming soon (how soon is up for speculation right now since it was supposed to launch this summer and hasn't). At the epublishing section one can self publish any of his or her own writings and Barnes and Noble will sell it as an e-book for their nook and ereader apps. It's occurred to me that this might be an amazing platform for pagan writers. Depending on when it opens and what the terms are, it might be a very open source for writers who struggle to get published or to find an audience. The long memes and discussions about lack of pagan reading material or reliable pagan info could become a thing of the past or more true than ever with an automatic (because the epub does describe itself as a place a writer logs in and auto publishes) publisher. People who have the research/knowledge/or story telling bug could just do the work and pop out published.

Obviously in conjuncture with that there would need to be a marketing campaign which could probably be orchestrated through pagan forums, journal groups, or even a few youtube plugs. It's interesting though with the way the net has caused blogging to pop up with everyone having an opinion and voice and equal chance to speak what maybe online publishing whether this site or another could do for minority groups. It could network and help mainstream and open all of us up did different voices and thoughts that were more localized because of lack of medium. I don't know, it's exciting to think of the possibilities that an online publishing area which feeds into one of the major ereader devices could do.

I'm trying not to let this idea effect my ereader purchase too much. After all I don't see an epub up and running. I don't know how it will run, and even if it is a free as the propganda implies, it still is likely to be mostly cluttered with shit instead of quality. It will probably require a lot of interenet and real world networking to get anything one would publish read and there may be fees involved, which makes at least breaking even more important and lessens the chance of using it as a tool for free content to gain a following.

Jun. 16th, 2010

My faith wanderings in supposedly problem solution format