Tag Archive | Paganism

Why covens are here to stay

The rains came and they were/are (there is the promise of more on the way) glorious!

My reading continues, and, as so often happens when one starts down the reading rabbit hole, one bit of reading flows into the next bit of related reading. You may well be wondering why I seem to be reading up on the basics? Well, the answer is simple and complex all at the same time; in working my own path I now find myself in a position where I am beginning to help start others along their own journey. As part of that I am, slowly, working up a curriculum for my own series of Wicca 101 Brit Trad Style, as well as working with a couple of seekers (obviously under the guidance of my own teachers). And me, being me, I feel that it’s incumbent upon me to speak from a place of reasoned thought and to have that be based upon a broad base both practical and academic knowledge. And sometimes that means going back to basics.

aleksandrijanci

So to follow on from yesterday’s thoughts on Wicca and Initiation, today we have an offering from Naya Aerodiode: Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay.

I’ve heard a bit of buzz from various Pagan people on the internet suggesting that covens are going out of style, in favor of big public pan-Pagan gatherings.  While I think that the coven is a classic, timeless facet of witchery, like the little black dress, here are some more concrete, universal reasons why covens will always be needed.  Covens are a necessary structure for many practitioners of witchcraft, and despite the trends toward exoteric pan-Pagan community gatherings, covens aren’t going anywhere.

Read remainder of Naya Aerodiode’s: Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay

To turn the discussion to a specifically British Traditional context I’ll quote (with slight editing) Pandora, High Priestess of the Covenant of Winter’s End in Kent, England:

Many people ask questions like: What do you DO in your Coven?

Well, the answers in short form are:
We learn and grow as both Witches and human beings.

Now, here are the longer versions:

What’s a Coven/What do you DO in a Coven/What’s being in a Coven like?
We celebrate and engender our connection with Deity, our Craft and ourselves through Ritual, Meditation and Magical practice.

Can I join?
Well, a British Traditional Coven is not like a movie club or a gym. You cannot pay a fee and join. You have to be ready to work for it. There’s a lot of reading

Generally, once the word WORK comes out of my mouth, I notice that a lot of peoples’ eyes glaze over, and this pretty much ends the conversation. However, sometimes a person’s eyes light up and their whole attitude perks up a bit. These are the people we want, and these are the people who make it in the Craft.

So, a few steps forward then…

Before you decide you would like to join a Coven:
You already should have done some reading, and you should be sure that you want to start down this path. You should have already begun solitary work, and you should know the dates of the Sabbats by heart.

Once you’ve decided to seek out a Coven:
You should read the About page (when available) for the Coven which you’re interested in. Within that page should be guidelines and other basic information about that particular Coven. [My note: if the group you’re interested in does not have an online presence they should still have this information for you. And, as always, caveat emptor, BE SAFE, seek vouches — any legitimate teacher should have no qualms about directing you to people/organizations who can vouch for them.]…You should also be holding solitary rituals for the Sabbats, Full and New Moons.

WAIT! Before you dash off that email/membership information form:
You should realize that being part of a Coven is work. Not that we don’t have our share of fun, we do! I just want you to know that contrary to movies and TV and so on, Covens are for the dedicated and hardworking only. You should be certain that you’re willing to learn new things, You should be ready (and eager, even) to read a lot, and to be accountable for retaining and gaining insight and knowledge from what you read. You should be prepared to know how to respect authority. Finally, you should be able to take this commitment seriously. Covening is like University. If you’re not prepared to learn, you’ll get nothing out of it. We, as leaders, are here to help you, but we will not carry you. While we of the Wicca all walk the path hand in hand, we each still walk alone. If you cannot stand alone on your own two feet with regards to the Craft, then a Coven is not the place for you.

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Announcing the DFW Pagan Book and Movie Club

Pagan? Like to read? Like to watch movies? Would you like to socialize with other Pagans who like the same things? Well, this group might just be for you.

We’ll start out as a book club reading Pagan related books (authors, plots, etc.) – mostly fiction, but as the group gets more established we can add movie nights, and maybe even games nights to the mix.

If this sounds like fun check us out at our Facebook pages for details.

Facebook: DFW Pagan Book and Movie Club

Bookclub

We don’t have a date, time or place set for to first meetup (we need some more members) but we do have a book.

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

The Synopsis from Good Reads:

The first adult epic fantasy novel from multi-million copy bestselling author of CHOCOLAT, Joanne Harris.

The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods – retold from the point of view of the world’s ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.

Loki, that’s me.

Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.

So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.

Now it’s my turn to take the stage.

With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.

From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18665037-the-gospel-of-loki

A little night music — Moonlight Sonata

“The young May moon is beaming, love.
The glow-worm’s lamp is gleaming, love.
How sweet to rove,
Through Morna’s grove,
When the drowsy world is dreaming, love!
Then awake! — the heavens look bright, my dear,
‘Tis never too late for delight, my dear,
And the best of all ways
To lengthen our days
Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear!”
–  Thomas Moore, The Young May Moon

My Ireland – Beltane

I’m feeling so inspired this Beltane season.

My personal craft points of reference and experience are solely US and UK based but I would be remiss to skip over the Beltane customs of the Emerald Isle (btw: I’m not trying to slight the Welsh, Manx, Cornish or Briton traditions, but I know nothing about them). I’m not even going to try and pretend that I’m anything but your classic American mutt. Branches of my family tree on my mother’s side trace back to ancestors who participated in founding of These United States, and I have enough First Nation heritage that I’m comfortable calling myself Métis, but my father’s side of the family is 100% Irish, from County Westmeath, as far back as anyone can remember – from what I understand the family is one of the oldest/longest established families in the County.

I can’t fault my father for jumping whole-heartedly into the American experience, but, unfortunately, it left me a little bereft of old world cultural heritage. So I decided to do a little poking around into the Beltane customs of the area and discovered some very interesting history. According to lookaroundireland.com

“Uisneach Hill is an historical site in County Westmeath located near the village of Ballymore, and is considered the omphalos (mystical navel) of Ireland, whereupon rests a great stone (Ail na Mreann, which means stone of divisions) marked with lines indicating the provincial borders of Connacht, Leinster, Ulster and Munster.

Tradition tells that Uisneach was a site favored for Beltane fires and Druidical ceremonies Archaeologically the site consists of a set of monuments spreading over two square kilometres and includes enclosures and barrows, a megalithic tomb and two ancient roads.

There was an excavation in the 1920s and this showed occupation evidence from Neolithic up to the medieval period.

The Hill of Uisneach was the ancient seat of the Kings of Meath.

Uisneach has also been famous as a meeting place in pre-history as a place of cattle rituals and other May Day assemblies, and in more recent times as the meeting place for an important twelfth century synod.”

And philipcoppens.com and Turtlebury.com provide some very interesting information on the mythic history of the place.

I think it’s time for me to do some exploration of the deities associated with where this side of my family hails from.

P.S. The following picture is considered a Sheela-na-Gig from Carne Castle, County Westmeath – now in the National Museum, Dublin. Here is further information on what the author calls “exhibitionist figures on mediæval churches”.

“NO-one forgets their first Beltane Fire Festival.”

A great article about the annual Beltane festival on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill — Sparks of pure genius.

My sweetheart and I had a blast when we went 13 years-ago (seems like a life-time). Though I have to say (and this is from a girl born and raised for the most part in the great, white north) it was friggin freezing! I was in awe of those running around with barely a stitch on! I’ll have to see if I can dig out the pictures to share.

Have fun all you revelers — I’ll be with you in spirit.