The Short Version of this blog can be found at http://virtualchaplain.tumblr.com/
Here is just a quick list of Correspondences:
Other related or close holidays: Easter, St. Patrick’s day, Passover
Aspects and symbols: fertility, birth, new life, balance,light ,becoming warmer, rebirth, renewal, new ideas, good fortune
Gods: Eostre/Ostara, Ariadne, Athena, Minerva, Persephone, Attis, Cernunnos
Animals and Mystical beings: chicks, bunnies, magical hare, hawk, sparrow, snake and Merpeople
Myths: “ magical hare and magical eggs” and resurrection of various God/desses.
Foods: chocolate, eggs, green foods, seeds, salads and “Spring foods”
Activities: spring cleaning, egg hunt, egg art, gardening, new projects.
Flowers, Trees, Plants: ash, birch, maple, daffodil, lily, rose, violet, honeysuckle,lavender, tulips, lilac
Stones and gems: moonstone, clear quartz,rose, garnet, agate
Other symbols: flowers, vines, seeds
Tarot: Chariot, 7, Magician, eight of wands
Resources and Further reading:
Towards a Wiccan Circle:A Practical Introduction to the Principles of Wicca by Sorita d’Este
Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences: A Comprehensive & Cross-Referenced Resource for Pagans & Wiccans by Sandra Kynes
Tarot for all seasons: celebrating the days & nights of Power by Christine Jette
The question of sin was a heated conversation in my religious studies classes. We were Buddhists, yogis and a Wiccan who did not believe in a God outside of creation ( or did not believe in God at all), who did not believe in punishment or damnation.
Sometimes, the aversion to the concept of sin would make it difficult to relate to Christian text. Eventually, it became clear that we had to think differently about sin in order to really engage the texts. We began to think about what sin meant from our own religious perspectives.
In my case, I had already lessened my anger around the term. It happened when I was introduced to the idea that sin was “whatever takes you away from God”*. Boom. It was a miracle. That one phrase was like poetry to me because it took out all the damnation and punishment. It also made rejecting sin sound like a daily practice. You do what brings you closer to God to avoid sin. It was also so much more relatable. While someone Christian might take that to mean do not have sex before marriage because it takes you away from God. I could relate it to when I am not doing practices that bring me closer to the Goddess.
When we substitute God for divinity or sacredness, then sin holds a whole other notion of personal responsibility and wisdom. In the Buddhist tradition, we can likely “sin” to what leads you away from enlightenment, service to others or a healthy mind. An example of this would be virtuous or non-virtuous karma. These are not a good/bad reward system. They are not a punishment system. Instead, non-virtuous Karma is what is created by and leads to unhealthy emotion patterns (Kleshas). Kleshas stand in our way of having a healthy mind (somewhat like that sin that keep us from God).
In Wicca, God is Divine Immanence. God is and is in nature. God is in us and all creation. So what would be sinful in Wicca. To me, Wiccan “sin” would be whatever causes imbalance in nature and whatever makes us experience disconnection from The Goddess, The Divine, Nature and Humanity. If I did a spell that causes an imbalance or was against nature or if I was cruel to an innocent human, I would see that as “sinful.”
With all that said, Christianity, Buddhism and Wicca are not completely comparable if at all. Also, sin is unique to certain religions like Christianity. The theology of sin does not really work in religions like Wicca. However, it is so helpful to ponder religious concepts that challenge us, to translate into our religious words. In this case, the concept of sin can be a doorway into to thinking about what is important in our Wiccan practices. And what makes us have regret, fear or imbalances. What do we “punish’ ourselves for. And what can we do to be closer to The Goddess and Nature.
* I do not remember where I first heard this but it seems to be a take on " Sin separates us from God" (Isaiah 59:2).
Wicca thea/theology confirms reincarnation and afterlife though its fascination with seasonal changes, life and death cycle, and communication with Spirit realms. With that said, Wiccans do not agree on the particulars of reincarnation or after life.
For me, Wiccan practice and theology is not so much about what happens next. It is about how we treat ourselves, each other, and the Natural World in the here and now. It is about how we connect with our Ancestors, Higher Self, Spirits and the Divine in every present moment.
Unlike some religions that focus on what can we do in order to ensure a better time after this earthly life, Wiccans are usually pretty in love with our earthly existence. We tend to not be considered with ensuring a perfect next reincarnation, in ending reincarnations or getting into “heaven”.
Even when Wiccans do Spirit communication, we are talking to them in the here and now. They are not in so far off place. We are simply pushing away the veil between two realities. To the Wiccan, Spirits are all around us and a part of our current lives. We are simply not always open to seeing and experiencing them.
Now, some Wiccans may choose to do past life regression or delve deeper into what reincarnation is. I, on the other hand, only experience the idea of reincarnation through watching the turning of the seasons, or in conversations with my Spirit Guide. My Spirit Guide has at least once been incarnate as my husband. I have had some visions of our past life.
Really, all this tells me is that reincarnation happens. Nothing about the ends and outs.
On that matter, I would have to guess. My idea would be that there is either a waiting period between incarnations or that one’s spirit could be simultaneously existed in multiple realities and times. This seems a big possible since one can communicate with one’s higher self. It would serve to reason, that we can communicate with our Ancestors’ higher selves even if they have reincarnated.
I am borderline on whether I believe humans can reincarnated as everything. Can we be rocks? or insects? I am not sure. I figure once you experience one form of life, you would reincarnate into something else. I see reincarnation as an opportunity for growth. So, I doubt one goes from a human to an ant.
I do not believe that reincarnation is bad or good. That ones does something bad and therefore has a lower birth. I think we choose our reincarnations based on what we need for spiritual growth.
I think that there is no end to reincarnation. Again, Wiccan theology poses reincarnation as a natural recurrence like the changing of seasons. It is not the same as religions that see reincarnation as negative. Regardless of how spiritually realized you are, I think change is the natural state of things. I think we are always reincarnating even in one earthly life. Reincarnation is the merely a process of impermanence.
With that said, I do not think about it often. There are far too many mysteries in this current life, for me to be too considered about what happens next. I am more of a journey not the destination type.
First, I would say, that Wicca practice already uses meditation. Ritual ( like yoga) is really meditation in movement. If one is really connecting to the ritual, to the invocations and to magic casting, this is meditation. When a person is fully in tune with the Goddess then this meditation. Or when we casting a circle and have that single object and single intention focus, this is also a form a meditation.
Think about when you are lost in any creative project. Where the project moves you into present moment. Where you are ” in flow” to the point where you move/ create automatically We feel like someone else is guiding us because it is so effortlessly pouring out. In those moments of creativity, you are not worry about bills, or thinking about the future ( unless this is divination). You are completely in the project. This is mindfulness. This is meditation. And we have these moments all the time in Wiccan rituals.
These moments do not always happen. Sometimes, we do a ritual and we can only go with the motions. We are speaking, moving and acting but not connecting. We are not growing from the experience. Or we do a spell and our thoughts are all over the place. It seems impossible to send our intention into the universe.
This is why having a daily or weekly meditation practice can help Wiccans. By developing you meditation skills, you will likely find that you are able to focus and ground yourself better before, during and after a ritual.
So here are a few ways to introduce meditation to your Wiccan practice.
First off, any of these techniques can be used before or after a ritual for grounding or by itself for a daily practice.
1: Doing mindfulness meditation. In this type of meditation ( from Tibetan Buddhism), you place a gentle focus on your outward breath and relax during the inward breath. or focus on both the in and out breath. See which technique is a better fit for you. When you have a thought, label it thinking without judgement and return to the breath.
2: Do visualizations:
A great visualization for Wiccans is working with trying to project one’s own energy. An example of projecting your own energy is to imagining a beam of light coming from the middle of your hand. Imagining that you can move that light around. You can also imagine a beam of light coming out of each of your chakras or important body centers. These sort of energy meditations are great for strengthening ones’ energy body and projection abilities to aid in spell work.
3: Chanting/ Affirmation meditation.
You can do a traditional chant such as ” Om”. If you do a traditional chant from traditions such as African spirituality, Buddhism or Yoga, you are benefitting from energies that have been tried and tested. They are energies that are connected to the vibration of earth and spirit and create healthy vibrations in your own body.
However, you should know enough about/ have access to the tradition, culture or chant ( though some chants have no literal meaning) before doing so. You don’t want to invoke things that are not meant for you. ” Om” however is a good safe start.
You can also create your own affirmations to repeat. In this case, you can do affirmations that are connected with a recurring goal, a spell or ritual you will do or something that creates a feeling that you want such as relaxation.
Chants should not be more than a sentence, probably no more than five words. But can be as little as one.
Always remember the effects of meditation take a while. At least try a certain practice for a month before reflecting on the benefits and cons. Hopefully you will notice meditation or contemplation has a good effect on your rituals, spells and mental well-being.
When people assume that Wicca has to be heteronormative it is often because of the pairing of The Goddess/ The God. While, I will not argue that these terms can be problematic and I’m totally in favor of people making adjustments that fit them better. And perhaps, Wicca would be better off without those terms. Still, there are many reasons why Wicca does Not have to be practiced in a heteronomative way.
Here are just some things to think about as far as heterosexism , Wicca and the God/Goddess combo:
1: The Goddess and God are not just lovers. The Goddess and God are portrayed as Mother and Son. There are also myths of two Gods. Such as the Gods who highlight the dark and light halves of the year. The God and Goddess are not just some literal heterosexual couple.
2: Symbolism: Both the God, Goddess and their relationship often symbolize aspects of nature, seasons, human existence, spiritual journey, etc. Wiccans who have overly focus on there being some power in an hetero-union are sadly missing all the symbolism.Over focus on literalism is often an avenue to oppressive religious ideals
3: The Goddess represents everything including all gender, sexual and nonbinary expressions. The Goddess can be seen as ultimately all genders or genderless or both.
4: The God and Goddess represent all Gods and Goddesses including Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Gods.
5: There are Wiccans and Wiccan groups who do not use the ” God/Goddess language”. Some use just God or Goddess for example.
6: Sex and fertility rituals usually are symbolic or have a symbolic layer. But they can be alter, changed or left out . In Gay Witchcraft, Chris Penczak offers suggestions on exploring one’s sexuality and gender expression in ritual by taking on different parts in ritual such as a male being the Goddess.
7: There are LGTBQ Wiccan groups who created non-heteronomative covens, rituals and theology.
This is not to say Wiccan community does not have tons of problems as far as heterosexism and cissexism. More that, there are plenty of ways to look at the philosophy/theology and practice in a non-heteronormative/Cissexist way. Plenty of religions fight with oppressive ideas, Wicca is not any different or uniquely doomed.
As usual, I prefer to not do an elaborate or prewritten rituals. Instead we ( partner and I ) wrote a simple outline before and memorize a few short lines. For this ritual we did not do a traditional circle casting but we included cleansing, charging and grounding. We invoked and honored Spirit/Goddess and all the Elements in subtle ways.
Altar: Candles, White fabric rose petals, chamomile flowers, rosemary oil (for anointing candles) and holy water.
- Sparkled areas and selves with holy water.
- We lit all altar candles and then took two candles to every room, then said, ” We enter this space with the light of fresh beginning”
- Partner played violin as I visualized our space, minds and hearts being blessed and charged.
- We built a fire, then as we threw sage on it we stated our intentions of cleansing, purification and celebration of Imbolc.
- We read poems , wrote a haiku and then put haiku to music (ukulele). We used the poems, haiku and music as our offering to Spirit especially virgin/maiden Goddess aspect and the young Sun King.
- As a grounding period we ate quiche and drank chamomile tea
- Closed ritual.
As I have had this blog for awhile, I realize that there are few topics where I have change my views or grown in understanding. Therefore, from to time to time, I will be updating and correcting or adding to some of my older posts.
This is a update of my original post defining Pagan/Paganism.
First off, we should start by acknowledging that there is no agree upon definition of Pagan or Paganism. Though many might think this lack of clarity is unique to Pagans, disagreement on religious terms are quite common within traditions and the academic world. For instance, the definition of a Christian or ritual is still unclear in religious studies.
Being that there is tons of debates and infighting around the words Pagan and Paganism, some people refuse to define them at all. Settling instead by describing Paganism simply as a ” Umbrella or blanket term for various religions.” While, this description can be useful in certain incidences, it is not much help as a formal definition for students, professors, writers and lecturers whose audiences may need more insight. My personal suggestion for defining Paganism especially in formal writing is to do your own research, form your own opinion, offer a definition that fits your topic, audience and your understanding but be ready to defend your findings. Also, be flexible as your definition may be different given the topic, your experience or setting. For instance, a general and most inclusive definition may work for a big tent Paganism event while a nature based one may be more suitable for a ecology paper or a feminist one for a Women’s group.
Below are some definitions of Paganism ( all of which are acceptable in some circles and rejected in others)
Paganism is or a Pagan is a follower of…
* A nature, earth, universe based religion
* A polytheistic religion
* A Non monotheistic religion
* A Non- Christian religion
* A Non- Abrahamic religion
* A folk or ethnic religion
* A historical ethnic religion
* A magic based religion
* Cyber Pagan tradition
* An umbrella term for religions who deem themselves Pagans
Original meanings of Pagan/paganism
* Poor, Rural folk
* Country dweller
* ” Of the land”
Use as Slur
( none of these things are inherently bad but the term was meant as a bad thing for these groups or as a means of lumping groups together incorrectly)
* as a label for Non-Christian
* as a label for those not saved or doomed
* as a term meaning Satan Worshiper
* as a label for Black/Brown/Indigenous religions
* as a label for Jewish people.
One this blog, Paganism will usually refer to nature based, folk and magical traditions. I do talk about Hinduism and Buddhism however I prefer the term Asian, Eastern or Karmic religions for those traditions ( though I feel those who follow these traditions can call themselves whatever they please). I do not use Paganism as a blank term for all non- Abrahamic religions as some still view Pagan as a slur. Also, many religions have their own and more appropriate designations.
I also think Pagan is a reclaimed word and not everyone should have access to it. It is usually a word for religions and people who are outsiders or marginalized and is used to reclaim their roots or power.