I don't believe in coincidences.
I do believe in synchronicity.
Though I'm not one to see meaning in everything, and I'm skeptical about fate, the little events of life don't seem trivial to me the way most others view them....
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
In today's Faithful Friday, we include a new study of American religious values; inspiring ritual photos; Afro-Brazilian religions face discrimination in Brazil; Mormons and LGBT rights; "living gods" in Tibetan Buddhism.
This in-depth report on American religion has some surprises, for example: in what 13 states are the "spiritual but not religious" the largest religious group?...
Last week, my wife and I were blessed by a visitation of the Goddess in physical form.
Ravyn had been ill for a long time. In addition to intractable body pain which may or may not be caused by auto immune illnesses or spinal compressions, she had undergone questionable dental work which left her mouth throbbing from an incompletely-removed root fragment. This had persisted for over a year, until she changed her insurance and was referred to a compassionate and competent female dentist in a different practice....
In previous blogs, we've explored some of the basic aspects of Celtic cosmology - the existence of a sacred Otherworld (or worlds), probably conceived of as being connected with the Upper World and Lower World (as in many shamanic or traditional cultures). The inhabitants of those worlds - the Gods and Goddesses - known in Ireland as the Aes Síde or Tuatha Dé Danann - embodied a wide range of powers and attributes, depending upon location, era, and many other temporal and cultural factors.
What do we know, if anything, about how the ancient Celts constructed or performed ritual? This is quite a hot topic, of course - many will say 'We don't know anything at all, and to try and make any sort of theory or assumption is folly or wishful thinking." This attitude can be found both in academic circles and amongst practitioners, oddly enough, and in some cases this negative (and unfounded) stance can be used to either assert power over others, or serve as an obstacle to tackling complicated issues (academic or otherwise)....
I've recently finished co-teaching a six week class titled "Elements of Magic". It is one of the core pieces of magic taught in the Reclaiming Tradition. I use the term "core" rather than "beginning" or "basic" for specific reasons. You see, I hold that there's nothing particularly basic about this exploration and I find myself returning to it year after year as a teacher and, more importantly, as a student. It's the foundation of my personal practice, the actual ground on which I base my interactions within the temporal world.
So over the next few articles, I'm going to dive into, dig around under, imagine and re-imagine my relationships with these core forces that affect us all....
Continuing my story of my personal journey on my heathen path, when I was 30 I was finally mentally and physically healthy. When the goddess Freya had claimed me for her Priestess when I was 20, she had appeared in her solar aspect. In my mind's eye, she always appeared as the white-hot light of the sun. That Light is all-love and all-life. Until I became healthy enough to reach it again, I had only experienced that Light once, during my initiation in 1989. Ten years later, I was ready to bring it inside myself.
Through writing fiction, I came up with the idea of picturing the Light and bringing that Light into my heart. After a character in my story did it, I did it, too. I pictured my hand, reached into the Light, and pushed it into my heart.
The last quote from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:
“I mentally reached out a hand into that shining consciousness of life-fire. I reached. I pulled. The light was within me.
A grin spread over my face and I laughed out loud. It worked! The Light of my initiation all those years ago had been there all along. I only needed a whole mind to reach it."
That Light has been with me ever since. It is ecstatic. It's always there, pouring from my heart. Anytime I wish, I can temporarily fill my body with that light and experience the sun body, a state of religious ecstasy. Then I let the light go again, and Freya's Light radiates out to the world through me.
That’s the end of the story in my memoir; it ends with becoming healthy and whole and a vehicle for the light of my Goddess. But as with all stories that don’t end with death, life went on after the happily-ever-after. I've lived 16 more years since then, and I'll continue to share the story of my journey here in Gnosis Diary.
Freya is the Light in my heart.
In the days of Queen Salome Alexandra, the city of Ashkelon was plagued by a coven of 80 witches who lived in a cave outside the city. Rabbi Shimon ben Shetah decided to rid the city of these wicked women and their sorceries. He summoned 80 strong men and instructed each of them to acquire a jar and to place within it a change of clothing; he himself did the same.
On a night of pouring rain, he went with his men and stood outside the cave. “Sisters,” he called out to the witches, “I am a sorcerer, like yourselves; let me come in out of this rain.” Quickly he removed his wet clothing and donned the dry set from his jar.
“Enter and be welcome, fellow sorcerer,” cried the eighty.
R. Shimon entered the cave, and the witches marveled at his dry clothing. “How did you accomplish such a feat?” they asked.
“My power is so great that I can walk through rain and yet remain dry,” said he. “By the power of my magic, I can work another wonder for you: I can summon 80 men, each in clothing as dry as my own, to come and dance with you.”