Category Archives: Hermeticism

On being an eclectic witch and ecletic neo-pagan -a Pagan Blog Project responce

This week one of the possible prompts for the Pagan Blog Project for the letter E was eclectic paganism and eclectic witchcraft in the form of “neo-Wicca”. Over the last few days I have read several different blogs from the Pagan blog project on this topic. While there have been many valid insights there are some things I feel that I should say about myself.

Here is the first part of the prompt:
Eclectic practice is something that can be a big debate in different part s of the Pagan community. Some feel that being eclectic opens you up to a whole world of ideas and tools that with the more narrow view of a specific tradition just isn’t available. Yet others feel that being eclectic equates to a practice that is lacking in structure and commitment to anything. Are you eclectic?
-Rowan Pendragon

Yes. I am eclectic. I am both an eclectic witch and an eclectic pagan. I find that the two are very different practices. While I do use my witchcraft to help me connect to deity and as a part of my worship to deity, it is primarily a non religious practice a craft. The deities I worship with my craft are responsible for the core mysteries of the witchcraft tradition I am developing and sharing through these pages and writings. That being said I do accept that witchcraft is essentially a craft and a philosophy that while spiritual in nature can be adapted to any philosophy or religion.

I however say that I am an eclectic pagan because I am not limited to one ritual set or technique. I am not limited to any one pantheon or cultural way. I do not have to worship or follow the typical 8 sabbbats found in most witchcraft traditions (which I do honor as well). I can worship any deity I want with any holiday I choose.

I have used Hellenic rituals to honor Zeus and other Hellenic Gods. I have had an ecstatic ritual invoking Pan and have been in states of ecstasy and panic created from the worship of Pan that forced me to face my sexual fears and my deepest personal fears. I have also felt the caress of Dionysus while drunk on booze and enjoying liquor. While I have only celebrated one Hellenic festival and it was years ago, I still have that deep connection to Pan.

I have held Blots and Symbels in honor of the Aesir, Vanir, some of the frost Giants. I use the Nine Nobel virtues as the corner stone of my philosophy when it comes to my world view and ethical views. I have experimented with runes and the Seax worship of Odin and Freya (it didn’t work for me). I have started to explore a few Germanic holidays that might not be followed by people other than the Asatru and Heathen recons.

I have done a full moon esbat to Diana according to The Gospel of Aradia and Strega traditions. I still have a lot to learn about Strega and the other deities. However I feel strong in my connection to Diana through the Gospel of Aradia. The most recent connection I have felt to any deity was during that ritual this past summer.

While I am interested in Celtic and Native American traditions I have not pursued them. I know that in many cases those cultures are closed to outsiders. While my own teacher (Chris Penczak) has a connection to some of the Celtic deities, I am not comfortable making that connection as I am not of that blood. From what knowledge I have been able to research even with my adoption I have no connection to Scotland or Ireland. The only possible Celtic connection to me would be in England if there are any to be found with in Anglo-saxon English culture.

I was raised in the United Church of Christ. To this day I have never accepted the core trinitarian philosophy of the UCC that God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit were one person. I do believe in Jesus and I do believe in the Holy Spirit and God. I just think that they are all separate entities. I think that they are all connected that Jesus is a Demi-God and the son of God as well as a prophet, teacher, and wise man. I believe in God. I just don’t worship Jehova/Yaweh/Allah (the God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) as my exclusive god. I worship any God I chose when I chose.

As an eclectic pagan like I said I am not limited to exploring and experiencing the rituals and celebrations of just one cultural practice. That being said if I worship a deity from the Roman pantheon I try to worship them with those rituals. In that respect I have started to answer the second question asked by Rowan which was:

What are your thoughts on eclectic vs. traditional practice ?

When it comes to my religious witchcraft experiences I can’t really explain. I have a deep interest in Wicca and those traditional rites and rituals. However there are practical issues and other things that prevent that from happening. I wish I could be a part of a traditional group of some sort. I long for the commitment of repeated rituals with mass power behind them, a community, and a set of core rituals and practices that have already been developed. I long for that sort of setting.

When it comes to the exploration of the other paths I have tried to practice in the traditional way. It can be difficult. I find that the traditional practice makes the connection with the deities a lot easier as the rites are typically found with in the lore in some way.

I find security in tradition. It helps me cement my practice and create foundations that are strong. The foundations built on tradition are stronger. I believe strongly in the power of tradition, habit, and practice. To me these help develop sign posts on the path, and tradition gives validation to personal experience.

This is why I am an odd eclectic. I have explored many paths and taken several things. When I explore I use recon methodology. I read the lore and I read academic sources if they are available. I read and research the history. I have discussions with other recons. I pray and make introduction based offerings to the Gods. I use tradition.

I find that I am going to eventually find one recon path to stick to. However for now I feel that I need to explore all paths open to me at this point in time. I will always keep the worship of the various deities separate. I do not believe that they are all the same. I do not believe that all Gods are one God and all Goddesses one Goddess. I believe that all Gods are individual entities. That is why I keep the worship of the various deities separate. I find that honors and respects them.

I find that eclectic practice where you take different deities in worship them in context that they were never worshiped in before (Hindu deities in a Neo-Pagan witch) is not acceptable. While there have been some deities that have been worshiped in the context of other traditions (The Hellenic, Roman, and Kemetic deities were all interacting via the cross-cultural worship and interaction at the time) I find that in the end, the comparisons are usually fairly off and done with little deep research into the myths and lore as well as traditions of those people.

That is why I as an eclectic keep the worship of every different pantheon separate. I find that it helps me bond with them and the culture better this way. It also helps me gain a deeper understanding of the culture through the exploration of the rituals. Plus I gain a modern understanding through anthropological research.

Now I must begin the topic of “Eclectic neo-Wicca” and my feelings about that. I do not accept people who practice an eclectic form of religious witchcraft based loosely on the teachings of proper Wiccan rites as Wiccan. I do accept them as witches. In fact I firmly believe as an eclectic religious witch there is an established traditions for us.

Wait eclectic tradition?

Yes. Eclectic tradition. My personal library contains several books on “Eclectic witchcraft”, as well as Wicca and traditional witchcraft (not even mentioning my recon sources as well). I have found that essentially if you look at the books that label themselves as “eclectic Wicca” there are essentially core rites and rituals practiced. While the individual practitioner may be a soft polytheist who uses other deities aside from the MMC and horned God (which I was when I started and I will have a post on this later at some point) in their rituals the actual content of the rituals is the same. The words may be different, but the intent and the format are the same.

That is why I see eclectic neo-pagan witchcraft to be a cohesive tradition. The various deities found in the tradition are different but the ritual format and content are the same. I have found that even when looking at the various witch traditions out there: (Cabot, Temple, Blackforest, Standing Stone, and many others) they have the same core rituals and sabbats. While the individual interpretations were different and may use different deities the overall mythology is the same.

My religious witchcraft is eclectic. I have taken from traditional witchcraft (Through Robin Artisson and a few other authors), The “Wiccan literature” out there (Gardner, Frosts, Sanders), I have taken from Hermetic literature (The Kybalion), Shamanic literature, and Eclectic Witchcraft as well as some Thelemic literature (The LBRP). My practice melds all of these together into one whole unit that works. How this is developing I am still not fully aware. Its just developing.

However none of that makes my practice in any way Wiccan. Nor does it make me Wiccan. I have not been initiated into Wicca. I have not learned the rites of Wicca, nor have I experienced the mysteries of Wicca, nor do I know the names of the deities in Wicca. I am not Wiccan. I may never be Wiccan. I am a witch as the religious and magical practice that primarily drives me is derived from various forms of Witchcraft.

In discussions I have had with other people in regards to the nature of the magical craft called witchcraft one constant comment has been that witchcraft as a craft is eclectic in nature. It is something that is going to be developed individually by each witch.

As a magical practice I primarily define witchcraft as dealing with the folk lore and folk traditions of European countries both continental (German, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden) or Island (England, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland,). This magical practice contains lore from all of these sources and have adapted to include some Christian influenced charms over the years.

It is this adaptability that has allowed Witchcraft to survive. It’s no wonder that witches are often considered to be ‘cunning”. Witchcraft has many forms from protection from witches (witch bottles and many protection charms during the puritan era in America fit into this category). Some of the practices can be traced to fairy tales, and others more to local legends and traditions. The fact of the mater is that as a magical practice witchcraft has always adapted and will always be adaptable due to its eclectic nature.

As I mentioned before essentially witchcraft as a magical practice is going to be created by each individual witch. While there may be some spells and charms passed on through oral lore or in the form of a Grimiore ( or Book of Shadows) essentially every witch must find what works for them selves. This is why constant trial and error is important. That is why constant study and exploration is important.

My witchcraft involves angelic forces from time to time. It can involve elemental spirits, dragons, other spirits, ancestors, gods or just my own energy. The spells I create can involve intense energy manipulation or little to none. They can involve manipulating physical objects or they can involve simply focusing mental energy. My magic is varied and allows for experimentation and development.

The final question asked in the prompt this week by Rowan was:

how do you feel eclectic work benefits you if that’s the path you follow?

I have found several benefits to being an eclectic pagan. One of the key benefits is that I can widen my network of contacts and I can increase my experiences. I have found that by honestly going into the various Recon and eclectic or traditional groups saying that I am a seeker who seeks genuine wisdom and experiences. I do not know if my path lies along the lines of a specific tradition or if I am suited more to always be an eclectic. For now I wish to simply discuss and learn from you about your groups practices that they will be more willing to accept me.

Another benefit has been the ability to constantly explore and try new things. As I said before in this post I am not limited to any specific holiday calendar or ritual setting. By being an eclectic I have opened myself up to the possibilities to be found in any and every path out there. I don’t have to experience the mysteries of the universe (and I believe every path to have a unique set of mysteries available to them) through just one culture. I can experience many mysteries.

The largest drawback I have found to be that I have to constantly be studying. As an eclectic I have to constantly be reading and expanding my references for various paths. I have to look into history and culture. I have to look into modern telling of myths and folk lore as well as more of the literal translations of source texts.

I have to look at personal experience. I have to compare it to lore and experiences by other people. I have to keep a record of what I have done and what I hope to experience. There is a lot of exploration that comes with being an eclectic. There are times that the work may not seem worth it, but in the end I find it worth it.

I am an eclectic because I am a philosopher in the truest sense of the word. I am a lover and seeker of wisdom and knowledge. That may explain the various deities I have connections to (Zeus, Odin, Thoth, Friga, ect). I believe that there is wisdom to be found any where. You just have to be open to the possibilities.

Could I be wrong?

Yes. However I have found that the journey is worth it. I have found that in the end I seek to find wisdom where I can. I might not agree with every practice I read, and frankly not all of the rituals I have experiences have sat well with me. The fact that I keep going shows that I have the one key virtue that all eclectics need:

Courage.

To be an eclectic witch and an eclectic pagan is to have the courage to explore, test, and question everything that is out there. It is to test your self and your practice. It is the courage to try things that other people might not. It is the courage to experiment and fail and try again.

Is it worth it?

I think so. I find enjoyment and pleasure out of reading about, researching, experiencing, and exploring various religions and philosophy. I find enjoyment out of pondering the nature of the universe. I find enjoyment out of exploring all avenues of wisdom and learning. I am in that ways happy to be a college student.

For those reasons and more I am an eclectic. I tread the border between being a traditionalist. I hold that traditions should remain in tact. I hold that traditions are meant to be done a specific way for specific reasons. In that way I am a traditionalist. In that I am open to more than one tradition or way of thinking I am eclectic. Just because it’s tradition doesn’t mean it’s the only way, but it also doesn’t mean that traditions should be discounted.

Pagan Blog Project: D is for divinity

One of the things I realized that I would need to cover at some point in this blog is exactly what I think about divinity and deity and gods and what makes a god a god. For me the belief in gods is an essential aspect of my religious core. Over the last few years I have come to realize that my concept of what makes a being a god and divine figure is not the same as every one else. So I figure why not try to put some of this into words.

One of the things I must say right here and now is that the essence of divinity and the essence of the divine in its true nature is a mystery. The search for the meaning of the divine is something that only each person can do for themselves. I say this is a mystery because a lot of what the divine is can not be expressed in words but only experienced through personal revelation. I’ll get into the mystery aspect later on when we get to the letter M. That being said here we go!

The nature of the divine

The first thing I have to say on the subject is that everything on earth contains the essence of the divine. We are a part of the divine in that we are all a part of nature. The earth and all that we see or can see through images (I’m talking deep space photos here) are physical manifestations of the divine. That is the physical essence of the divine.

According to the bible Yaweh/Jehova created man in his image (by man I mean man/human kind). This to me comes to mean two different things. We are divine in that our physical bodies are representations of what the divine may have looked like. It also means that we are divine in that we have the ability to create and destroy the life we make (life here refers to communities, businesses, etc) as well as those of plants and animals. We have the ability too shape this world into what we would like it to be.

That power is a hefty responsibility. In the first Spiderman comics Peter is given the advice that great power comes with great responsibility. This is one of this things we have to realize. If we take the Christian bible as a literal truth than we have the power and the responsibility to keep this world going.

That is only our physical responsibility. Our spirit the breath of life I mentioned in my post about death is a divine gift. The Poetic Edda states that:

17. Then from the throng | did three come forth,
From the home of the gods, | the mighty and gracious;
Two without fate | on the land they found,
Ask and Embla, | empty of might.

18. Soul they had not, | sense they had not,
Heat nor motion, | nor goodly hue;
Soul gave Othin, | sense gave Hönir,
Heat gave Lothur | and goodly hue.
Source: Poetic Edda VOLUSPO Human Norse Creation Myth

Soul here refers to breath. These were the three Gods who also created the Nordic universe upon the death of Ymir. The sense here refers to right and wrong, and common sense. The next text in the Edda focuses on the common sense aspect. Heat, motion, and godly hue are the physical bodies. With out the mind (sense), Heat nor motion nor godly hue (body), and Soul (Soul) we humans would not be. Each of the Gods gave an essence of divinity. This is yet another example of how we are part of the divine.

Other pantheons have members that were once mortal who ascended to Godhood. The Egyptian pantheon and religion was known to deify their pharaohs upon death, associating them with Ra. In Greece Hercules was made into a god upon his death. This here shows me one other possibility about the nature of divinity.

One of my beliefs is that of ascension. I believe that over many lives I will obtain all the wisdom that I can from existing in the life form of a human. I believe that at that point in time new mysteries on a new level of existence will be open to me. That means all of my past lives converge into one being. That being has more wisdom and insight than any human could ever have. I have now reached a state of divine essence (pure spirit). I am in many ways an angelic form. Not human, but not fully a god yet. I still have much more to learn and experience before that level of enlightenment can be obtained.

I believe that gods many have existed in many times before us. I believe that the universe has been created and destroyed many times over. I believe that galaxies and life forms are constantly being created and destroyed (taking a look into the expanded cosmos will show you that much). I think that the universe is held in the mind of one all knowing being who is beyond all comprehension that we may just call pure “Spirit”. This being in the Kyballion is termed THE ALL.

I’m going to quote a few passages here:

“Under, and back of, the Universe of Time, Space and Change,
is ever to be found The Substantial Reality–the Fundamental
Truth.”–The Kybalion.

“Substance” means: “that which underlies all outward manifestations; the essence; the essential reality; the thing in itself,” etc. “Substantial” means: “actually existing; being the essential element; being real,” etc. “Reality” means: “the state of being real; true, enduring; valid; fixed; permanent; actual,” etc.

Under and behind all outward appearances or manifestations, there must always be a Substantial Reality. This is the Law. Man considering the Universe, of which he is a unit, sees nothing but change in matter, forces, and mental states. He sees that nothing really IS, but that everything is BECOMING and CHANGING. Nothing stands still-everything is being born, growing, dying-the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline–the law of rhythm is in constant operation–there is no reality, enduring quality, fixity, or substantiality in anything– nothing is permanent but Change. He sees all things evolving from other things, and resolving into other things–constant action and reaction; inflow and outflow; building up and tearing down; creation and destruction; birth, growth and death. Nothing endures but Change. And if he be a thinking man, he realizes that all of these changing things must be but outward appearances or manifestations of some Underlying Power–some Substantial Reality.

All thinkers, in all lands and in all times, have assumed the necessity for postulating the existence of this Substantial Reality. All philosophies worthy of the name have been based upon this thought. Men have given to this Substantial Reality many names-some have called it by the term of Deity (under many titles). Others have called it “The Infinite and Eternal Energy” others have tried to call it “Matter”–but all have acknowledged its existence. It is self-evident it needs no argument.

In these lessons we have followed the example of some of the world’s greatest thinkers, both ancient and modern–the Hermetic. Masters–and have called this Underlying Power–this Substantial Reality–by the Hermetic name of “THE ALL,” which term we consider the most comprehensive of the many terms applied by Man to THAT which transcends names and terms.

We accept and teach the view of the great Hermetic thinkers of all times, as well as of those illumined souls who have reached higher planes of being, both of whom assert that the inner nature of THE ALL is UNKNOWABLE. This must be so, for naught by THE ALL itself can comprehend its own nature and being.

The Hermetists believe and teach that THE ALL, “in itself,” is and must ever be UNKNOWABLE. They regard all the theories, guesses and speculations of the theologians and metaphysicians regarding the inner nature of THE ALL, as but the childish efforts of mortal minds to grasp the secret of the Infinite. Kybalion Chapter 4: THE ALL (Source)

The last two paragraphs there explain why I say that the true nature of divinity is a mystery. It’s unknowable as we understand it. The same entry in the book goes on to give three philosophical laws about the true nature and essence of the All and their conclusion about how the universe is held in the nature of an all encompassing living mind:

But while the essential nature of THE ALL is Unknowable, there are certain truths connected with its existence which the human mind finds itself compelled to accept. And an examination of these reports form a proper subject of inquiry, particularly as they agree with the reports of the Illumined on higher planes. And to this inquiry we now invite you.

“THAT which is the Fundamental Truth–the Substantial
Reality–is beyond true naming, but the Wise Men call
it THE ALL.”–The Kybalion.

“In its Essence, THE ALL is UNKNOWABLE.”–The Kybalion.

“But, the report of Reason must be hospitably received,
and treated with respect.”–The Kybalion.

The human reason, whose reports we must accept so long as we think at all, informs us as follows regarding THE ALL, and that without attempting to remove the veil of the Unknowable:

(1) THE ALL must be ALL that REALLY IS. There can be
nothing existing outside of THE ALL, else THE ALL would
not be THE ALL.

(2) THE ALL must be INFINITE, for there is nothing else
to define, confine, bound, limit; or restrict THE ALL.
It must be Infinite in Time, or ETERNAL,–it must have
always continuously existed, for there is nothing else to
have ever created it, and something can never evolve from
nothing, and if it had ever “not been,” even for a moment,
it would not “be” now,–it must continuously exist forever,
for there is nothing to destroy it, and it can never
“not-be,” even for a moment, because something can never
become nothing. It must be Infinite in Space–it must be
Everywhere, for there is no place outside of THE ALL–it
cannot be otherwise than continuous in Space, without break,
cessation, separation, or interruption, for there is nothing
to break, separate, or interrupt its continuity, and nothing
with which to “fill in the gaps.” It must be Infinite in
Power, or Absolute, for there is nothing to limit, restrict,
restrain, confine, disturb or condition it–it is subject to
no other Power, for there is no other Power.

(3) THE ALL must be IMMUTABLE, or not subject to change in
its real nature, for there is nothing to work changes upon it
nothing into which it could change, nor from which it could
have changed. It cannot be added to nor subtracted from;
increased nor diminished; nor become greater or lesser in any
respect whatsoever. It must have always been, and must always
remain, just what it is now–THE ALL–there has never been,
is not now, and never will be, anything else into which it
can change.

THE ALL being Infinite, Absolute, Eternal and Unchangeable it must follow that anything finite, changeable, fleeting, and conditioned cannot be THE ALL. And as there is Nothing outside of THE ALL, in Reality, then any and all such finite things must be as Nothing in Reality. Now do not become befogged, nor frightened–we are not trying to lead you into the Christian Science field under cover of Hermetic Philosophy. There is a Reconciliation of this apparently contradictory state of affairs. Be patient, we will reach it in time.

We see around us that which is called “Matter,” which forms the physical foundation for all forms. Is THE ALL merely Matter? Not at all! Matter cannot manifest Life or Mind, and as Life and Mind are manifested in the Universe, THE ALL cannot be Matter, for nothing rises higher than its own source–nothing is ever manifested in an effect that is not in the cause–nothing is evolved as a consequent that is not involved as an antecedent. And then Modern Science informs us that there is really no such thing as Matter–that what we call Matter is merely “interrupted energy or force,” that is, energy or force at a low rate of vibration. As a recent writer has said “Matter has melted into Mystery.” Even Material Science has abandoned the theory of Matter, and now rests on the basis of “Energy.”

Then is THE ALL mere Energy or Force? Not Energy or Force as the materialists use the terms, for their energy and force are blind, mechanical things, devoid of Life or Mind. Life and Mind can never evolve from blind Energy or Force, for the reason given a moment ago: “Nothing can rise higher than its source–nothing is evolved unless it is involved–nothing manifests in the effect, unless it is in the cause. ” And so THE ALL cannot be mere Energy or Force, for, if it were, then there would be no such things as Life and Mind in existence, and we know better than that, for we are Alive and using Mind to consider this very question, and so are those who claim that Energy or Force is Everything.

What is there then higher than Matter or Energy that we know to be existent in the Universe? LIFE AND MIND! Life and Mind in all their varying degrees of unfoldment! “Then,” you ask, “do you mean to tell us that THE ALL is LIFE and MIND?” Yes! and No! is our answer. If you mean Life and Mind as we poor petty mortals know them, we say No! THE ALL is not that! “But what kind of Life and Mind do you mean?” you ask.

The answer is “LIVING MIND,” as far above that which mortals know by those words, as Life and Mind are higher than mechanical forces, or matter–INFINITE LIVING MIND as compared to finite “Life and Mind.” We mean that which the illumined souls mean when they reverently pronounce the word: “SPIRIT!”

“THE ALL” is Infinite Living Mind–the Illumined call it SPIRIT!

Later on the the Kybalion there are references to living many lives until we eventually ascend to becoming one with THE ALL. I equate the universe in THE ALL as the universe with in an authors head in the world they create. The world of Harry Potter originally existed purely within the mind of J.K. Rowling. When publsihed it was opened to other people and the universe expanded, but still played by her rules. If you apply this theory to the grand scheme of the universe we are simply thoughts of the unknowable Divine mind.

So in the end what is Divinity?

To me the Gods are beings of immense wisdom and power whose full beings are beyond our comprehension and as such should be considered mysteries. However I think we can get insights into their natures through the passages in the texts about the various pantheons. It will never give you the full image, but it may help guide you into a better understanding of them.

I also think that they have lived lives before that are beyond our understanding. That is why I think there are so many creation and destruction myths. As I said look at the universe as a whole. The powers of life (creation) and destruction (death) are what rule the universe. Why can’t those powers be the reason why there are so many cultures with so many different deities and creation myths? Couldn’t they be from other systems billions of years ago whose energies through space radiation came to us? I don’t say its face. Nor do I think it’s the full truth. I think it may be a possibility.

What about you, the seeker, the reader? Have I given you anything to think about with this post? If you have any questions or concerns please post them in the comments section 😀

Winding Way Intro-A pagan Meme

I saw this meme on Angus’ blog and thought that answering this would help anyone who reads this blog.  Most of these questions will be expanded on in future blogs.

Please describe briefly your Path:

I would say I am a seeker.  A lot of my work does involve the other worlds.  I have had some influences from traditional witchcraft (by authors like Robin Artisson and Paddington) which shows the underworld tradition.  As I am a member of the Temple tradition that tradition plays a lot into my beliefs and practices.   I have also worshiped the Norse Gods.  I feel I should start that over again.  There is some influence of Germanic paganism in my religion.

I worship a 5 fold God and Goddess.  The Goddess may be Frau Holda.  I have yet to confirm that through folk tales and UPG.  I believe in fate or wyrd.  I also believe in all deities. I am a hard polytheist.  I believe all deities to be seperate individuals and not faces of one supreme being. I work heavily with Dragons in my practice.  I have been working under the Hermetic philosophy as outlined in the Kybalion.

My path is constantly twisting and turning, with some criss crossing.  I am a seeker as such my path will change and evolve as I gain wisdom.

Please describe briefly how you practice it:

I practice by holding rituals.  Lately I have been lax in my practice.  I am working on getting back into practice.  Meditation and trance work are essential practices.  When I don’t hold a ritual I typically try and do a bit of journeying through the use of Drums.

When did you first commit to your Path?

I started to explore paganism when I was 13.  My practices back then were quite odd.  I incorporated a lot of the anime I was watching at the time to my practice.  At the time I was moody and quite odd.  I was confused about a lot of things, add to that most of my information came from Teen Witch and my delusions of being those charecters in this day it makes for an entertaining story now.

When I was 18 I first learned exactly what Wicca was and how it was not what I thought it was.  I got in contact with a local coven (now disbanded) which I later found out was associated with Oath breakers.  For a while I looked at being a Hellenic pagan.  Then I just started to read any book I could find on the subject.

I was 21 when I found the Temple tradition through the books.  The next year my mother and I took a weekend workshop with Chris Penczak.  It was after working with him and having some of the most vivid experiences that I have ever had that I knew I wanted to learn more from him and seek the deeper mysteries.  Last year I was enrolled in Witchcraft 1.  I was unable to continue for personal reasons.

It was at that time that I began to remember what I had read from Artisson.  Those things have begun to become included in my path.  If I had to say I would say it’s only been the last 3 years that I have really committed to trying to follow a specific path.  One of the things about the Temple tradition is that I can add in some other practices as I learn and explore.

Why did you choose to follow a path of paganism?

At first I wanted to get out of Christianity.  I was angry at Yaweh or Jehova and thought I should explore other things.  I went through my confirmation, but it was then that I realized I did not agree with the central doctorine of my church.  I was not a trinitarian.  I had always believed in other gods and knew that I should leave the church formally and go my own way.

That was when I was 14.  During my teen years I was at church on a regular basis.  I assisted in the nursery and as a Sunday school teacher.  That church had been family.  So I had a dual faith for a while where I tried to combine Christianity and generic neo-paganism sometimes called “neo-wicca”  a term I hate with a passion.  Though I would call it extreme fluffy bunny.

Today I still believe in Jesus and Jehova.  I am learning about Jehova through a bible study at the local Kingdom Hall.  I feel it is important to understand what other Christians believe.  I consider myself pagan as I do not worship Jehova but I do honor him nor do I follow Yaweh or Allah.  I choose to be a pagan because I feel my core beliefs do not resonate with Christianity.

How is your practice different now than it was then?

I grew up.  I no longer hold the views I did then.  I no longer blindly follow rituals and practices outlined in books.  Today I basically question everything and work based on what I see as truth.  Due to my constant questioning of myself I am constantly changing or revising my views.

Is your practice different today than how you thought it would be back then?

Very much so.  I feel I have learned a lot but I know that there is so much more to learn and explore.  I have my own beliefs and I no longer follow cultural misapropriation.  I have gained wisdom.  I see clearly where I once saw only shadows and clouds.

Does your Path and core belief system differ now than how it was when you first started?

In some ways very much so.  I used to believe in one divine being that was expressed as a God and Goddess who were seen through the faces of all other deities.  That changed when I actually started to read core myths and saw just how different the Goddesses were from each other.  I did see some similarities but nothing to say they were all the same.

I now believe in one being known as The All which is an all enompassing living mind.  We live with in the mind of The All.  I believe in different planes of existence where we learn lessons until we can move to the next plane.  The highest plane is being in full union with The All.  The universe is infinite and there are myrids of reality.

I also believe that the other planes of existence are seen in the other worlds.  In this specific  reality the three worlds are one yet viewed seperate.  We are all part of one reality connected through an intricate web.  Yet we see ourselves as seperate.  This is the key to understanding fate.  I am still working on getting into my full and true self.

My concept of the soul has changed quite drastically.  I include many different philosophies in my view of the soul.  Many of them tie into the concept of Wyrd.  Though I feel there are a few components missing from Wyrd.

What is your heritage and how does this inform your Path?

It wasn’t until I read and seriously took the time to explore Asatru that I felt a need to get back to those roots.  I felt that I should explore those paths seriously.  I have read the Eddas several times and they resonate deep within my core.  I feel close to Odin as well as Niord and Nerthus.  From that point I felt that there should be some element of the religious beliefs of my blood ancestors (and quite likely my Franco-American ancestors as well) in my religion.  I quickly inserted ancestral veneration into my practice.

What are your main influences for your Path?

For books I would have to say:

  • The Kybalion
  • Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches
  • Poetic and Prose Eddas
  • Temple of witchcraft series
  • The Witching Way of the Hollow Hill
  • Sorgitzak: Old Forest Craft
  • Wicca for one (Buckland)
  • Assorted Grimms fairy tales and other folklore
  • Essential Asatru
  • Exploring the Northern Tradition

Which do you do more: practice or research?

Research.  I have to admit it.  I have more academic or book knowledge than I do actual experiences.  That changed and will continue to change as I work with the Temple tradition and other sources.

Do you feel that one is more important than the other?

No.  I feel that they are equally important.  I feel research is good for understanding cultural context and exploring new ideas.  Practice however is how we actually worship the beings in question.  It is how we actually physicalize our beliefs.

What values and ethics are important on your Path and in your practice?

The Nine Nobel Virtues.  They are guide lines to help me live a life where I feel I am being ethically responsible.  These virtues are:

      COURAGE

  • TRUTH
  • HONOR
  • FIDELITY
  • HOSPITALITY
  • DISCIPLINE
  • INDUSTRIOUSNESS
  • SELF-RELIANCE

I am working on discipline.

What sort of cycles do you feel your practice goes through?

Read, ponder, journal, test, reflect, use, nothing….repete

What is one of the greatest obstacles or struggles you have had to over come?

My mental illnesses and my developmental problems.

How do you see yourself practicing in ten years?

Public rituals and writing.

How do you incorporate your practice into your life?

Meditation and energy work.

Has walking your Path changed you as a person?

I think so.  I feel I am more free to be open to new thoughts and thus new ways of conducting my behavior.  It has also helped me understand my own behaviors.  My worldview has changed as well.

Do you consider yourself to be a priest/ess? How so?

No.  I have not been trained in the rites and rituals of my tradition to the point where I would call myself a priestess.

A witch? How so?

Yes.  I practice witchcraft.

A shaman? How so?

I do not call myself a Shaman.  There are elements of Shamanic practices in my practice.  These come from European views and not Native American or Siberian.

Which matters more: getting the vocabulary right or the actual practice of what we are trying to define?

The actual practice is important.  If there are specific terms to be used in rituals then knowing the correct vocabulary would be more important.

One of the most profound things anyone ever said to you was:

“You only fail if you stop trying” which was told to me by my fiance when ever I feel as if I have failed.

A defining moment on your Path was:

The journeys I took during the workshop with Chris Penczak.  I had started to access the mysteries but I was not yet ready to do so.  I needed to start at the beginning, which is where I am now.

Have you ever taken a “leap of faith”?

Yes.  I have and I hope to do more so soon.

Please tell us something stupid, reckless or embarrassing you did once in your practice:

I almost set my bathroom on fire with a spark that fell into an open bag of toilet paper.  It took a few moments but I fixed it.  This happened during one of my ritual bath/meditations.

What is the most frustrating thing about your Path?

I’d say trying to avoid following or taking one authors word with out question.

Have you ever been frightened?

In ritual?  Once.  I was outside and alone at dusk doing a ritual to gain power.

Can you perform ritual without a script?

Yes.  Though I use one when I am trying to invoke a being or try a new evocation that I have written.

Have you ever preformed spontaneous magick/spellcraft?

All the time.  It’s how I was able to get parking at school.  It also helped my fiance and myself in a financial situation.

What are you still exploring or experimenting with?

Everything?

What (or whom) are you the most committed to in your practice and on your Path?

The Gods who choose to listen to my worship and prayers.

Ritual tools are …

Expensive and fun.

Magickal tools are …

Enjoyable and great helpers and often the same as ritual tools

The one thing you can’t do without is:

My mind and a journal with pen/pencil

power is …

With in and everywhere

Politics and you Path are …

Hardly ever involved.  The whole separation of Church and State thing.

One thing you wish people would understand about your Path and/or practice is:

I am a witch.  I work magic.  I will do what is necessary to get what I desire or defend my loved ones.

Do you teach?

No.  I may advise and guide though.

What do you feel is the role of clergy in modern Paganism and Heathenism?

To teach and inform the community about our beliefs at large.

When the Veil (or Hedge!) is thin, how does that feel to you?

I feel hyper and I also feel jittery.  I hear a lot more things than I normally do at these points.

What entities do you work with most? (ancestors, gods, fae etc)

Ancestors Dragons and the spirits of the land.  I also worship deities.

What is your relationship with the Land?

I worked well with the spirit of this land.  She lives in an oak tree in my front yard.  I have given her hair and money.

The most important aspect of ritual is:

The reverence in which you perform the ritual.

The main purpose of ritual is:

To honor and be close to the deities or beings to which the ritual is directed.

What is the purpose of divination/dowsing (or whichever for of augury you use)?

To gain insight as to how things may come to pass.  It also gives me another way of looking at what has happened.  I use an oracle deck based on the medicine wheel.  Though I feel I may start to look back at something more European.

What was the most difficult book you ever read? (Either difficult to understand or hard to face what it said or both)

It’s actually a book I started but decided I needed to give it more attention than I could at that time.  It’s the 3 books of occult philosophy by Agrippa.  The language is odd.

The Witching Way of the Hollow Hill was difficult, but I found the Horn of Evan Wood to be much more difficult.

The book I read on Germanic Heathenry was only complicated when it came to the explanation of the calander.

What book do you recommend the most to others?

That will depend on what they are looking for.

What is you favourite podcast (if any) and favourite blog (other than your own)?

I dont know.  I have only seen a few blogs and heard one podcast

If you could impart only one last piece of wisdom or knowledge, or share one experience with the world at large, what would it be?

Trust your heart.

Is there an additional question you would like to see here?

Yes

Do you have any specific beliefs regarding the afterlife or what happens after death?

Yes, but I dont have a lot of room here to explain it.  Multiple part soul reincarnation and

Please finish this meme with a picture, image or photograph of some sort:

The Principle of Mentalism

The Principle of Mentalism is one of the 7 hermetic principles.  This principle has both spiritual/psychological applications as well as magical applications.  It is one of the principles that I have integrated into my practice.  So what is the principle of Mentalism?

The principle of Mentalism states:

“The All is Mind, the universe is mental”

To understand this principle you need to understand what the Kybalion means by The All.   In essence The All is what many would call the essence of life.  It is the source of all things.  We are a part of it and we shall return to it.

The All is spirit.  The All is everything.  The All is everything that makes up reality.  Nothing can exist outside the All otherwise the All would not be The All. The All is infinite.  Nothing else besides the All defines, confines, or limits the all as there is no other power.  The All is Immutable which means it is not subject to change in its nature.  There is nothing that the All could change into nor is there anything that it could change from. The All simply is.

The all is unknowable.  In many ways the All is the essence of the “Gods”.  Yet the All is not a God as it cannot be understood by others and is beyond the realms of the Gods.  There are a few quotes from the Kybalion that I would like to state:

“That which is the Fundamental Truth-the Substantial Reality—is beyond true naming, but the wise men call it The All” This quote basically explains that at the core of Truth is the All.  If you seek truth you will find The All.  Reality here is the state of being real, fixed, true, and enduring.

“The All is Infinite living Mind—The Illumed call it spirit”.  Spirit is the essence of life and of everything.  So we can say that if the All is everything that is and the start of it all, how were we all created?  Well the chapter one the Mental Universe states:

“The All creates in it’s Infinite mind countless universes, which exist for aeons of time—and yet, to The All, the creation, development, decline, and death of a million universes is as the time of the twinkling of an eye.”

According to the Kybalion the All creates the universe mentally.  The best way I can explain it as a painter or an author.  The artists in both of those situations come up with a world or image in their minds.  They then put the world or image on paper and thus the world is created.  Simply by thinking of us or imagining us we are created by The All.  I found the following quote to be the best example of how this works:

“You are dwelling in the Infinite Mind of The All, and your possibilities and opportunities are infinite both in time and space.  At the end of the Grand cycle of Aeons when The All shall draw back into it’s self all of its creations-you will go gladly for you will then be able to know the whole truth of being at one with The All”.

Essentially the central theme of Hermetic philosophy as outlined in the Kybalion is that the universe is mental.  If we can think it, it can be created.  It also means that what has been imagined by another can be found by others.  We are like the All in that we can create mentally.  Our minds are a blank canvas where entire worlds could be created and manifested.

The more I think about the principle of mentalism, the more I am starting to see how the principle applies to my life, my world view, and my spirituality.  Though my worldview and my spirituality are still evolving and developing, the Kybalion has been one of the gates to my understanding of the universe and my relationship to it.

If the universe itself is spirit, and spirit is unknowable and undefinable, and Spirit is The All and the All is Mind, the universe is there for mental.    Spirit can be considered the universal Infinite living mind.  In this way of thinking the universe is a creation of The All, existing entirely within the mind of The All.

Though we are all thoughts, we are still subject to the laws of created things.  As we are thoughts with in the All our thoughts can also become a reality as the Kybalion did state that with in The All were countless universes.  This means our thoughts can be manifested in our universe and in another universe.  In practical application this means that by changing our thought patterns we can change and manifest reality as we desire.

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