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Posts Tagged ‘wicca’

I. Loved. This. Book.

Is that too enthusiastic? Especially for a book published by Llewellyn? 😉  Besides A Witch Alone by Marian Green, this book is the most balanced, practical and grounded introductory book I’ve found. There isn’t any side-eye history (that I found). There isn’t any Christian-hating. There is certainly no dogmatism.

What In the Sacred Circle offers is, essentially, a series of essays. The book is organized by the Wheel of the Year, starting with Yule and then alternating throughout with different chapters on deity, circle casting, magic, sacred place, building a shrine, etc. Each chapter on a Sabbat starts with a personal story of how she celebrated and then moves into some history behind the holiday and ways to celebrate it. The chapter on casting a circle is the most thorough chapter and the one where she offers the most explicit direction. Her magic chapter only offers a few different kinds of magic, with theory booking either end of the suggestions. This is in contrast to many 101 books where pre-made ritual and spells seem to make up the bulk of the material.

I really liked this quote on what magic is really about:

“In fact, on a deeper level, magic is more about resolving emotional and psychological issues than about changing outer circumstances…though if we change ourselves, our outer lives will inevitably change as well. Interacting with life and working through situations brings spiritual growth. If we apply the wise use of magic to our life’s path, we are working in harmony with the needs of our deep selves, the part of us that desires our highest good.”

Though this book is listed under Wicca, besides the dual-Godhead, I didn’t pick up on many Wicca-specific teachings. She doesn’t go over the Wiccan Rede. I’m not sure she ever says always or you must like a book I’m reading now does (The Craft by Dorothy Morrison). The book mainly displays her love of nature, the seasons and her gentle advice for a beginner. It guides the reader into a self-guided learning process.

I would recommend this book to a beginner as a primer to A Witch Alone. I would recommend it also for anyone who just wants to know more about witchcraft, or anyone who has family that is curious about their path.

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I’m not sure where to start.

Obligatory: Start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…

Okay, with that out of the way…

This past week has been confusing, inspiring, lonely, emotional, raw and joyful. I started it with buying my first Tarot deck and today I cast and sat in my first circle. Ruminations on that to come.

I have been doing a lot of journaling, painting and reading. I read Phyllis Curott’s Book of Shadows and am working through Marian Green’s A Witch Alone, as well as Hafiz’s The Gift. I also picked up Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliot Friedman and so far find it informative and easy to understand.  I listened to numerous podcasts as I painted or as I wandered on my morning walks. I’ve worked with the Tarot deck. Friday I watched two documentaries that caused a kind of psychic schism, one that I’m still mulling over. Yesterday, I went to my home church group and left feeling torn, confused and sad. Today, as I said, I cast my first circle and now I feel…content. Whole. Peaceful.

So it’s been a quite a week.

What have I learned?

I have learned that I have serious reservations about Wicca as a religion, but not really any about witchcraft as a practice. I guess I’ve always had a solitary bent, and some of Wiccan structures/rites, especially traditional ones, are not for me. However, working with energy, revering nature, having a strict code of ethics, gathering knowledge of self, the earth and others, working with my inner self to ultimately help others—those are things that intrigue me. More than intrigue me, they call to me. Having a practice or a craft calls to me. It’s one reason I love yoga so much—it has so much to teach about how spirituality and personal evolution is about practice. It’s not about leaving your problems at a diety’s doorstep. It’s about taking daily action that ultimate adds up to something wonderful.

So Friday, as all of this was a blob in my mind, I watched two documentaries produced by Vanguard: Rape on the Reservation and Missionaries of Hate. The first showed stories of rape, sexual assault and battery against women on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. The second showed the influence of American Evangelicals on the anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda.

The first one disturbed me, deeply, but as the second one started I knew it would be another matter. I have been struggling with the Christian label for a while, and with my association with a certain church. I knew that both were coming to an end, but as I’ve said many times—all of my friends and all of my community are within those two confines. I’ve been delaying really thinking about it and really taking action to free myself, decidedly, from those two things. The Missionaries of Hate documentary changed that when who should pop on the screen but Lou Engle. Lou Engle is an  American evangelical, prominent in the anti-abortion sector, who also runs a revival named ‘The Call’. He’s real into now-is-the-end-times and ‘family values’.

He is also someone who is highly venerated in my church. People adore this guy. And here he was, on the documentary at a rally in Uganda promoting ‘family values’. Of course, he has posted a backpedaling note on his website saying that he had no idea at the time that the anti-homosexuality bill included the death penalty for homosexuals—though he was there months after this became an international scandal, standing with key supporters of the bill and preaching about “trying to restrain an agenda that is trying to hurt families” (scroll to ~41 minutes).

And I just couldn’t take it.

And I know…I know….that’s not what all Christians believe. I know that a large majority of the Christianity community vehemently oppose people like him. And I know that the label is ‘meaningless’.

But is it?

Aren’t names powerful? Isn’t that why we chose to name our children based on the meaning of the name? And when the name begins to be weighed down with so much baggage when do you shed it? I know that some are proud to bear the title Christian, and they are people whom I love, deeply.

For me, though, that title is now a lie. My tacit association with HC is a lie. Do I love people there? Yes. Will this go over like a lead-fucking-balloon? Yes. When am I going to do it? I don’t know, yet. I need to write out specific reasons, with specific arguments. I tend to get flustered in situations like this, especially with lots of questions. I need to prepare, emotionally and spiritually, for the ramifications that this might bring. It sounds so dramatic, I know, but it really is a big, big, enormous change in my life.

So that realization, primarily, has left me feeling sunburned all over. I gave in to hermit like tendencies last week and this week seems to be headed into the same direction. I just want to write, and to journal, and to paint, and to consider. Truthfully, I’d like a SIGN. You know. One of those.

The closest to any SIGN I’ve had though are the quiet times in meditation, the peace I find on my morning walks, the insight I’ve gained since working with the Tarot. The complete calm I felt after I closed the circle today.

I don’t know what any of it is accomplishing, exactly. I’m sure in 15 years or so I’ll be able to tell you.

All I have though, is now, and now I feel…good. Still gun-shy. Still lonely. But comforted in some way, knowing that…there are things I do have. Like my husband. My cat. My books. My garden. The trees. The wind. The solitary blue heron that greets me every morning, observing the creek, way beyond his natural range. The rain that has intermittently spattered down on the hot concrete outside. It might not seem like much, but it’s enough to keep me going.

Edited: corrected the author of Who Wrote the Bible. It’s Richard Friedman, not Charles Friedman.

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The first post of a new blog is always a little weird, isn’t it? Especially if it’s not one with a certain focus: wine, food, books, the like.  This is my first ‘non-focus’ blog in years.

So. Hello. Welcome.

My name is Meagan. I’m 23. And I have questions, doubts, uncertainities, hypocrocies and general opinions that I want to have a forum to express. They don’t fit into my other blogs (wine and food, natch), and well…right now, besides my husband, no one really knows that I struggle with this stuff.

You see, I’m a Christian. I attend a Charasmatic, Evangelical Church in Austin. I love that church. It’s a beautiful place, full of beautiful, warm people that have been nothing but kind and sacrificial to me. I love them.  At another time in my life that church and those people helped me regain a footing in the world when I was in danger of stumbling off of a very high precipice. I am forever grateful.

I grew up Southern Baptist. I resented, and still do in many ways, that church and its philosophies. As a child I always had an…unorthodox…side. In my teen years I played around with Wicca and paganism, but found it too flakey. Always intrigued I’d read up on it and then dismiss it when I didn’t feel like the belief system held up to scrutiny. I just couldn’t make myself believe “it”–whatever “it” is. However, I couldn’t—and can’t—deny that I’ve always felt inordinately connected with nature and intuition. Over the past few years I’ve tried to hide it. I’ve grown fearful of what is essentially myself. I’ve been afraid to explore these longings and feelings for fear of scrutiny. For as lovely as the Christian Church is—and don’t kid yourself, there are many aspects of it that are lovely—there are aspects that let judgment, criticism and fear run rampant. Especially with Evangelical Christianity, even more so in Charasmatic churches, but when you put the two together? It can be quiet discouraging to someone with questions and doubts.

So I fought myself for awhile. Then I fought the Church. After, I became apathetic and silent. Now I’m ready to confront myself and find a voice.  I will manfully pry the grip of fear off of my life.

One post at a time.

So I welcome you to this journal. I will post on a variety of thoughts—religious, political and just general musings. I encourage discussion, recommendations and healthy discourse.

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