Whereas Part 1 in this two-part assessment of my recent Paganicon 2019 experiences detailed the workshops I attended, the objective of Part 2 is to survey the rituals I actively participated in during the three days of the festival gathering: Friday, March 22 through Sunday, March 24, 2019. Continue reading
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide Sea!
And Christ would take no pity on
My soul in agony.
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere, In Seven Parts” (1798), Part IV, lines 224-227
In my last post, I wrote about the beauty and the power of prayer and how it forms the core of my contemporary Polytheist devotional practice. But I certainly have had my challenges over the years in sustaining my practice, like any other religious person committed to devotional piety. Whether the span lasted for weeks or even months on end, the spiritual crisis known as the “dark nights of the soul,” a term first coined by the sixteenth-century Spanish Counter-Reformation mystic known as St. John of the Cross, was a dreadful phenomenon I’ve endured many times. Continue reading
As long-time readers of this blog will know by now, I did not enter into Polytheistic Paganism with a seething hatred for the Christian denomination (Eastern Orthodoxy) in which I’d been raised.
It’s not often that I begin my day composing a Facebook post asking for pensive responses to a theological question of mine, but that’s how my morning started. Twelve hours and 100+ comments later, I’m reflecting on my musings, my Facebook friends’ insights (to the ones that overlap as readers of this blog, thank you for your input!), and it’s time to craft a blog post around it all. This was my inquiry for discussion:
Serious theological question for my fellow devotional Polytheists: Do you believe that the Gods you serve are limited in Their ‘outreach’ based on geography? Case in point: during my years in Hawaii, my contact with worlds-wandering Hekate and the Kemetic Deities I serve never abated (the Latter Group loved Hawaii, from my experience), but, try as I might, neither Odin or the Vanir were accessible to me out there. However, whenever I visited Chicago, my ‘line’ to Them was instantly reestablished. Upon returning to Hawaii, the spiritual phone line ‘went dead’ again until I moved back home permanently.
What have your experiences been with Gods and spatial/temporal boundaries?
How do you answer the call for relationship-building when a Deity from a cultural Pantheon you have scant experience with “taps” you? This is my chronicle of my developing relationship with the Celtic equine Otherworld Goddess, Rhiannon.
This is an exciting time! In the four years since I have inherited the mantle of Executive Editorship of Isis-Seshat, a quarterly, international journal of The Fellowship of Isis, this has been the favorite theme I’ve devised: Polytheists and Pagans as “People of Prayer.” Why did I choose this theme? Continue reading
Seeking Submissions for the 2018 Spring Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal on the Theme of “People of Prayer”–Deadline: Friday, March 30
If meditation is the act of listening to the Divine, prayer is the art of speaking. It’s an under-discussed topic in Polytheistic and theistic Pagan communities, which is unfortunate, as it really is the most basic component of establishing and sustaining a devotional relationship to one’s Patron Deity or multiple Holy Powers. Many people who “come home” to a Pagan spiritual path may have an aversion to prayer because they associate the practice with the undesirable (Abrahamic) religion of their upbringing, but there are ways to overcome the negative perceptions and conditioning related to former religious experiences so that one can have a thriving, judgment- and distraction-free prayer practice that sustains the spirit. Those are the issues I’d like to explore in the Spring 2018 issue of Isis-Seshat journal, a quarterly journal of the worldwide Fellowship of Isis that is open to contributions from all theistic Pagans, Polytheists, animists, shamans, spirit-workers, and related practitioners besides FOI members (clergy and laity). Continue reading
How Death Crashes Our Assumptive Worlds: A Dispatch from the Frontlines of Grief and Spiritual Crisis
Very sad and shocking news was relayed to me as I was about to get ready to shower and start my morning: my dear friend Kathryn, on whose behalf a multi-state healing prayer circle kicked off last weekend in preparation for her grueling cardiac surgery yesterday, died late last night. Apparently, the full moon eclipse energies ushered her out of this world and into the crystalline Otherworld of Caer Arianrhod, where Kathryn can journey to her ancestors and to her Brythonic Polytheist family of the Children of Don. Continue reading
This past Saturday at World Tree Healing, I led a workshop on “Loving and Serving ‘Dark’ Deities.” It was a well-attended workshop and for the first hour, I engaged the participants in a series of discussions based on the following prompts:
- How has staving off criticism from mainstream religions made Paganism afraid of its own shadows?
- How do you help outsiders to your tradition distinguish between “darkness” and “evil”?
- Has anyone ever had an experience of invoking Dark Deities in a group ritual context and then been castigated for invoking Them?
- How is the function of the Trickster valuable to a society? Who is devoted to Trickster Gods?
- In his Manifesto for his powerful Apocalyptic Witchcraft, Peter Grey has declared: “We call an end to the pretense of respectability.” What are your thoughts on this? What do Pagans lose by attempting to claw their way to the interfaith table, begging for scraps of acceptance from Abrahamic religions?
It was a great discussion that appeared to make two people with Abrahamic allegiances very uncomfortable, so they left after I had announced that we’d be taking a short break before our ritual to Nephthys would begin. Good riddance, I thought. I certainly didn’t want the miasma, or spiritual pollution, of their presences to spill over into my devotional ritual to my Patron Deity. The major risk of hosting a public Pagan ritual is that you never know what kind of people may show up, especially folks with overtly hostile ideologies (read: patriarchal monotheists) who attend solely to destabilize the gathering, which is why I absolutely favor doing private ceremonies in the company of fellow devotees I can vouch for.
The ninth and final day of the Novena to La Santa Muerte should occur on a Wednesday. The third of the three-day white glass candles burned in Her honor should be close to burning itself out. Take time for quiet contemplation of the entire Novena experience: How did your devotional relationship with La Santísima deepen? In what ways have you changed–perhaps your attitude towards your own mortality? Or your understanding of the nature of prayer in general, or its contextualization in Mexican folk magic and religion in particular? Have any portents presented themselves at any time during the Novena, assuring you that La Flaquíta has in fact been listening to you? Did you feel Her bony fingers steering your ship of destiny in the past nine days in any way? Synchronicities often abound, in my experience. And it has always been my experience that my prayers manifested pretty quickly, especially if I was seeking payback against an enemy. And somewhere in the darkness, La Santa Muerte Negra grins Her skeletal grin broadly…