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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Do You Say 'Religion' in Witch?

A friend once asked me why I don't capitalize 'pagan.'

Here's why.


Back in the old days, we didn't have a separate word for 'religion.'

We didn't know that we needed one.

In those days, religion interlaced with everyday life and behavior like intertwining patterns on a runestone.

In the language of the Anglo-Saxon Hwicce—the original Tribe of Witches—the word þéaw (today we say thew) meant “tradition, custom, usage, habit, conduct.” In the plural it meant “virtues, manners, morals, morality.”

But that was as close as we got to 'religion.'

That's why we had to import the foreign word.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Elemental Meditation: Earth

Cross-posted at Goddessing From the Heart.

This is the first installment in a series of blogs about the four elements. My spiritual walk is that of an Earth-based practitioner of Goddess Spirituality, so the element of earth was a natural beginning point. I will be describing physical features of earth and connecting them to our human and spiritual experience.

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On Not Knowing (Peter reads the Neoplatonists, part II)

I’ve been reading Greek philosophers.  I formed a neoplatonist book club recently with a couple of Pagan friends, and we’re reading Iamblichus’s On the Mysteries.  I’m plowing through it, chewing on some very dense prose as I try to take in and understand neoplatonist ideas about God and the Gods, time and eternity, body and mind and soul.

I am aware of being very attached to some ideas about the soul.  It’s not all that different from the way Christians cling to their orthodoxy.  Christians (and that includes me when I was younger) will do a lot of mental gymnastics to make their experiences of the world to fit into Christian doctrines they can’t afford to let go of.  Everything new they learn gets reworked and reinterpreted to fit with their core beliefs.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Bishop, Thanks for sharing! Nicely done picture of the statue, as well.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Cailleach, Dark Winter Goddess

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“All Hands on Pet!” By Susan Davis, PT.

From time to time, I will be doing book reviews of various books concerning animals, not just books about "finding your totem animal."

One way to foster human-animal relations is by caring for pets. As pet “owners,” people want the best for their animals. Physical Therapist Susan Davis tells people how in “All Hands on Pet!,”(a companion to her “Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Animals: A Guide for the Consumer.”) Her philosophy in writing this book is to help pets enjoy their lives as much as possible. Her aim is to offer practical insights for the pet owner on how to do that.

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Right Relationship with Spirits: Knowing when to stop working with spirits
When I think about the work I do with spirits and my relationship to them, I frame that work and relationships in the context of right relationship. And what right relationship means to me is, "Is this relationship healthy for me and the spirit and is the work we're doing contributing something meaningful to the relationship between us as well as the distinct identities we inhabit?"
Recently, I decided to do a review of the spirits that I'm working with. I've gone back to ground zero with my magical practice and work and I felt it useful to examine my relationship with the spirits I've worked with, so that I could ask myself and them some important questions:
1. Is this really working for either of us anymore? I decided to take a hard look at my relationships with the spirits I've worked with and ask whether that relationship as it is, was still working for us. And I asked them to tell me if they felt the relationship as it was still working for them. I didn't want either side of the equation to feel like a relationship had to be maintained, unless the relationship was actually working.
2. Am I continuing to work with you out of obligation or because there's a genuine joy to the relationship? I also asked myself if I felt any sense of attachment or obligation to working with a spirit. If there was a sense of obligation or attachment, I wanted to own that and let go because then the relationship wasn't coming from a place of genuine connection and joy (and yes I know its not always easy to work with spirits, but I do feel there ought to be a joyful connection with them even when the work is hard).
3. Is my work with you creating more complication than anything else? I'm not a fan of needless complexity and when the work I'm doing with a spirit becomes needlessly complex it takes away from the relationship. Needless complexity comes down to doing things where it isn't clear why you're doing it and it just gets in the way of the actual work.
4. Is there a clear purpose for us to work together? There may not be a clear purpose for why you're continuing to work with the spirit. And if you're not clear about the work or the relationship, then why continue in it?
As a result of asking these questions, I decided to stop working with a few of the spirits I'd bee working with. It wasn't clear to me that was the work was beneficial or that the relationships would continue to serve a purpose that was fulfilling to either side of the relationship.
Coming to this decision was hard, because it meant I had to recognize that I was attached to certain spirits out of a sense of obligation. Recognizing that the relationship was no longer serving either side meant also realizing that simply sticking with a relationship with a spirit without really checking whether that relationship was healthy wasn't ideal for either party. How could I genuinely show up in my spiritual work if part of me wasn't fully engaged.
Yet this decision was also liberating because I gave myself permission to stop holding onto something which no longer felt right. And clearing out my spiritual house felt good, liberating and refreshing. I found myself able to focus on the spirits and work which really called me to instead of putting energy toward maintaining connections that weren't speaking to me or the spirit.
What about you? Do you ever stop working with spirits and why.
Taylor Ellwood experiments with magic and writes about his experiments at his site magical experiments.
Photo by Josh Marshall on Unsplash
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The magic of: Bay

The magic of: Bay

(Laurus nobilis)

The bay grows as a tree - the laurel, but it does grow slowly so it does very well in pots if you have a small garden.  You can pick the bay leaves all year round.

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