Hey Ashlyn! Thanks for the questions. Sometimes when I write (and I’m sure it’s the same for everybody) It all sounds so pretty in my head but reads like jibberish. So, here ya go! Also, please remember these are for me, and me alone. You could ask these exact same questions to 7 other pagans and get 10 different answers to each question 😉 Just like you’re hard pressed to get 2 people who interpret the Bible exactly the same ways.
**Also, my apologies for the length of this. I love being asked questions about my religion, it gets me excited about it! J I love my spirituality, thus I love talking about it.
You said that you believe in one Deity (with many facets), however, you also mentioned a goddess. Maybe I am simply confused; is this goddess some form of the Deity? – Yes. The way I perceive Deity is mostly in a female form, that at times can take on different personalities (for lack of better explanations.) At times this could be as Aphrodite, or Cerce. Perhaps Inana, Diana or Isis. It can depend on if I’m celebrating a Holy Day, or performing a spell or needing advice. I suppose I could say that I see the Triple Goddess, in her many forms, as more of a “main” Goddess, and the other ones as, not lesser but…not main. Like, if I’m doing a working that I’m not gonna focus on a pantheon, then I’ll simply focus on a not-culturally-identified Triple Goddess; Maiden Mother Crone. Whereas if I’m doing a handfasting, I’d probably call upon Aphrodite, or a similar counterpart in another culture, depending on the couple I’m handfasting.
However if I’m feeling particularly masculine, or especially if it’s a Holy Day, I also honor a male Deity, or god. Depending, this could take the form of Dionysus, Cernunos (The horned god), Anubis, Thor, etc. I try to be equal, but my tendencies run to honoring the female for more. If I’m doing a working without cultural emphasis, then it’s just God, or Horned God.
Do you accurately predict things with your taret cards? — Tarot cards are more of a tool of advice, rather than a predictor. It’s sort of an answer to a question, that’s not yes or no. For example, I could do a reading for you and have it tell me that the path you’re going down leads to heart break. Perhaps you need to re-examine your actions regarding men. Or, they could tell me that someone new in your life is a very shady person, perhaps hiding their true self.
Please keep in mind these are random examples I’ve pulled out my ass 😉 Each and every reading is unique. As for my accuracy…sometimes I’m wrong. However, more often than not I’m accurate. Just a few weeks ago, about a week after a reading I had someone come up to me, say “You were right.” And then just walked away.
So no. I don’t “predict” things like; “you’re going to get pregnant next year.” It’s more of an advice thing.
What kind of spells do you use, and what are they like? – Spells can be anything from simply wishing on a falling star, to an hour long incredibly involved rite. It really depends on the purpose. For example, perhaps a very close friend of mine is very ill. Let’s say … pneumonia. I would, *only with permission from them, do a healing spell. This would involve them being there, if they are able. Otherwise something to represent them; a picture, lock of hair or poppet (read: a small dolly made to represent them.) I would use items that are blue such as blue candles, a blue altar cloth, etc. I see blue and other things associated with water and the water element as healing, so everything I’d use would revolve around that theme.
Since this is quite serious I’d draw a full circle, visualizing it in my mind. (It’s different for everybody how they do it. For me, I picture a glowing circle that would encompass me, my altar and any space I’d need if I have to move.) I’d put my energy into it (chi/mana) so that no negative spirits could come in. This allows my energy involved in the spell to be released “clean” with no negativity in it. I’d “invite” in those spirits that I need/want there, Deities, dragons or what have you. Some of those spirits specifically represent the elements; earth air fire and water.
After this I’d do whatever I need to for the spell, perhaps sing a song to raise energy, say a chant for health, etc. If the ill person is there I’d focus my energy directly to him/her, otherwise I’d send it to Universe to be sent to him/her. After it all, I’d also probably pour a libation or something (read: offering) to Deity to thank them for their assistance in helping heal my friend.
If it’s not for something that life/death wise, It’d be shorter. Perhaps a quicker circle without inviting all the spirits and just a chant with a candle lighting. As a quick example; studying for a test. I’d light a white candle perhaps, for intuition, and say a chant tailored to intelligence, remembering and getting a good grade. Then, I would study and prepare as appropriate for the test.
Spells are like prayers, just with extra frills and hubbub. I don’t image that you’d say a prayer and ask for a good grade, then go party, neglecting your studies. 😉
I’ve also used food in my magic, especially being a kitchen witch. I once made a money casserole that actually was really yummy! LOL (And of course did not involve me eating currency lol)
I like to write my own spells, that way they are mine, use my own connections and feelings, things that are meaningful to me. This way they have more power, and are more effective. Plus, that way they are tailored to my own needs and feelings.
You said that you don’t believe in the Devil, does that mean you don’t believe in demons? Or are dragons and such demonic as well as angelic? – yes, and no. I do not believe that any being is inherently good or evil. So, the spirit beings I refer to have both sides to them, as we do. They can be mischievous as well. The “worst” beings, inherently, I believe in are Tricksters, such as Loki. While some workings they do could be perceived as “bad” I firmly believe Tricksters are necessary in life, as they affect change that’s needed in the world. (If you Google Trickster God you’ll get a lot more info on that.)
Also, there were a few words I was confused about. Beltane? Beltane is a Holy Day for pagans and wiccans. It falls on May 1st, May Day J It’s where the term BaleFire comes from. It’s a celebration surrounding fertility, mainly fertility of the Earth, as it falls when a lot of crops are planted. (If you look in the right places, in other parts of the world their Holy Days fall in exactly the opposite times of the year, so it’s appropriate for their agricultural seasons.) It is also a celebration of our fertility, and many couples will jump over the bale fire (typically a decent sized camp style fire) to ensure fertility in their relationship.
It sounded like you meant to put other words with this one, so I’ll define a couple others that you may not know.
Summerland – The Summerland is our/my version of heaven, but it does not have its opposite in hell. I believe that even if you’re a horrible person (Eg – Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc) you’ll still go to Summerland. You’ll simply get your karmic… “due” in this life, or a next. Deity will ensure that you get what’s coming so you learn your lessons.
Agnostic – Believing that there is a Deity, but not subscribing to a preset religion. It’s quite wide-set with no specific beliefs. Typically without worship, or putting any animas to Deity.
Rule of Three – This is a popular Wiccan philosophy, coming from the Wiccan Rede. (google it if you’re interested 😉 It’s not a belief of mine, though it is beautiful.) “Ever mind the rule of three, what thou sends out comes back to thee.” It’s pretty self explanatory. However, I don’t believe it. I just believe that karma gives you your “due” as is deserved for whatever you did. Good or bad.
Proselytization (not many know what this word means) – It’s basically uber missionary style religious bleiefs. That it’s your duty to tell other people they’re going to a horrible place unless they believe what you believe. The active belief that you must recruit others to your religion.
Handfasting – An ancient rite of religious marriage. This is a ritual wherein 2 or more (if they’re polyamorous) are religiously married. Their hands are actually tied together with a special cord that helps symbolize their union. They also jump a broom. The broom symbolizes a cleaning away of their old life and “jumping” into their new life together. It’s really an incredibly beautiful ceremony.
I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more about what you believe, why you believe it, and the nature of your “worship,” if I might use that word.
Hmm…. The nature of my “worship.” Worship perhaps isn’t the correct word to use. It’s more of an honor thing. I don’t…abase myself to my Deity(ies.) It’s sort of like…a partnership. I don’t put my gods on a pedestal or anything. I don’t see them as perfect. (I understand how it can be confusing, but I don’t see omnipresence as perfection.) I do my best to honor them. I do my best to live in a manner that does not hurt anyone or anything. This is including myself and Mother Earth.
Why do I believe what I believe? In a nutshell, ‘cuz it makes more sense. When I was young, my mother made me get Confirmed in the Lutheran church we went to. I did it, to please her, but I got absolutely nothing from it. I was left with an empty feeling, and more questions than anything else. It was actually shortly after Confirmation ended that I first found out about Wicca and started my journey in Paganism.
Also – I do not identify as Wiccan just as an fyi. It’s often confused as being interchangeable, the words wiccan and pagan. Wicca is a “denomination” of Paganism. Paganism being an umbrella term, like Christian. My denomination would probably be eclectic kitchen witchery, if I had to identify as one. Other denominations would be: Dianic, Shamanic, Egyptian, Gardnerian, Eclectic and Alexandrian. There’s just as many pagan traditions (we use tradition rather than denomination) as there are denominations of Christianity.
I believe that everything is interconnected. We are all connected in the circle of life, just as the streams are connected to the trees which are connected to the birds, and so forth. The thing of is that I also believe that we are connected to those streams and birds. Everything we do affects everything else, so I firmly believe that we all need to be very aware of what we do. Everything from what we feed our livestock to recycling to cutting up those damn plastic 6-pack soda rings! (The poor fish that get stuck in those! Everybody that reads this, please cut them when you throw them out, so if a fish gets caught in one they can free themselves!!)
I believe that everything on this planet has its own energy. The water of the ocean, my cats, the stones in the creek, you. We all have our on energy that we can either put forth for good works or bad works. I use everything in “practicing” (I really don’t like that word LOL) my spirituality from a piece of wood, to crystals to music. When we “use” these items in our religious workings, we use those energies to help us affect the change that we are desiring. For example, the violet colored crystal amethyst. It’s energies are good to help recovering alcoholics. (I don’t know the science behind it, I just know what I believe. I am entirely open to the idea that it may all just be psychosomatic but if it helps someone? Well, there’s certainly no harm in it!) So, if you know a recovering alcoholic, you could get them an amethyst (provided it’s true amethyst and not something all carved up or whatnot) pendent, or just a nice chunk of it to carry in their pocket. Even if all they do is rub it when they want a drink, to help them stay dry, it’s doing its job. Just as a random example.
I think what really drew me towards Paganism and convinced me that it’s the right religion for me is that I am able to do what feels comfortable to me. I don’t have to go to a special building on prescribed days and listen to someone else tell me what my religious workings need to be. My gods speak to me, rather than to someone else for them to interpret for me. If I need to speak to Deity, I am able to do to be it via a dream, meditation, a tarot reading, or whatever medium works for the situation.
I’m not told in paganism that I cannot do things simply because I’m female or that I must submit to my male partner simply because he’s male. (Yea, seriously happened once. When I got married, I was cornered by someone and told that I must learn to shut up and do as my husband saw fit, because he was a man. And also, that the only reason he’d listen to my idea was to humor me. >.< I’d have hit this person, had I not been holding a baby.)
Wow! I really made that long. Sorry if I rambled, and I hope I answered your questions! Please, feel free to ask more if you (or anyone else) desires!
)O( blessed be! (a typical parting for pagans)