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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in daily practice

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

There are some things religious Pagans are not encouraged to talk about. Doubt is one of them. I believe that the Gods exist, that They are real entities, who rule over life and death, and who dictate the way we should behave through teachings found in mythology and ancient societies. I chose to follow the Hellenic Gods in Their teachings, not disregarding that there are other Gods, but recognizing my human shortcomings, I could never honor all of the Gods in the way They feel They are entitled to be worshipped. And so I leave the worship of the Norse Gods to the Asatruar, the worship of the Egyptian Gods to the Kemetics, etc. I have specialized, so to say, in the Hellenic Gods, but to me, all the Gods are real and worthy of respect.

 

I didn't grow up religious. My parents were raised in various denominations of Christianity, but they had both rejected it before I was even born. My parents do not disapprove of faith, but they discouraged it, regardless. I did not have an easy childhood, and by the time I was twelve, I was already searching for religion, longing to satisfy the need in myself I found to reach out to beings beyond my reach who could offer me something to hold on to. I investigated the common, major, religions and found them lacking. I can see the beauty in many of them now, but for my twelve year old self, they were passive and lacking in what I needed: structure, active Gods, and the focus on household worship.

 

I found Paganism and self-dedicated after a year and a day of reading and practicing. I was thirteen at the time, and while I did not believe in the God and Goddess I found int eh books, the concept drew me in enough to start performing the rites, to start celebreating the festivals and to find my peace there. It took me years until I truly believed in the Gods, at least four or five years of active practice. It wasn't something that happened overnight, but I did find myself looking back and thinking 'when did I start believing?'. For me, it wasn't a specific ritual, or a moment in time that cemented my faith. Once day, I realized that I believed, and that was that.

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I agree that we have not become better. I believe that as long as we judge ourselves for practices that harm others and do not aut
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I live in Greece and am Greek (citizen and in my heart) but the Greek pantheon as portrayed in the Greek myths (Hesiod, Homer, et.
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Back in 2012, I wrote a long and detailed post about rape in ancient Hellenic mythology and culture that you might like to read. Y

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Cold Night and a New Dawn

Dramatic weather here and elsewhere--yesterday I watched an enormous weather front come up from the South in the form of a dark gray shelf cloud. It was a scene out of Hollywood: surely a mothership of some sort was lurking there or it was the precursor, the warning of some King novel.  I got back into my car and drove home to my old house that was under the edge of that shelf of doom.

And by the time I'd parked the car and looked up, the front had moved backwards, retreated back the way it had so ominously come, ragged now, undramatic, ordinary.

That's how life feels right now for so many people. Ominous, oppressive, heavy. All those Happy New Year greetings felt a bit strained and the emotional bubbly didn't last. There's a sense that we're in for drama--whether weather or spirituality or political. Drama and more drama.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Daily Self-Blessing with Aphrodite

A daily self-blessing and self-consecration at the altar of Aphrodite is a devotional practice that I have been doing for many years as a way to generate a field of love within and around me, so that all I do in the day comes from love and returns to love. Here is one of my daily practice incantations:

Aphrodite of the sea
Friend of dove and sacred bee
Queen of sensuality
Lay your blessing upon me
That I may walk in love and beauty.

I actually set this to music and I sing this blessing. As I do this blessing, I envision myself walking through my day, with waves and sea foam trailing behind me, with flowers growing up wherever I have been, with bees working industriously around me, and with doves flying overhead. I envision that I am a seamless part of the natural world, and that everything is literally made from the substance of love, with love overflowing the fountain of my heart and flowing into the world.

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  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Love this reminder to incorporate more self blessings in our lives. Especially like the idea of putting it to music. Thank you for

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Beginning & Continuing

 

This is the third in a series of blogs that will focus on meditation and contemplative practices in Paganism.  If you have not read the previous parts, I encourage you to do so. 

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Today we will look into the little talked about practice of the washing of feet within the context of xenia. It's something I have been curious about ever since I first read the Odysseia. I had completely forgotten I wanted to post about it, however, until I discovered a post by Robert of Doing Magick, who wrote about his recent experience with the practice--though for different reasons.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for bringing us the results of your research. These kind of posts inform us about the context of the society in which the T
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Thank you for reading

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
On Daily Devotions

The other day, on my own blog, I published a blueprint of what a typical weekday looks like for me, in terms of my regular devotions for my god-Husband Odin. This rundown did not include any of the little rituals I do for the other gods and spirits I deal with, nor any of the more involved things I do for Odin on special occasions, weekends, or just because I want to do something extra for Him. It was only a bare bones outline, without any details as to words said or precise gestures involved, but no sooner had I posted it than I really wished I could delete it.Why is that? I wondered (once it had been established that no deleting would be allowed). I think it's because the post at once felt so personal and at the same time didn't seem to accurately depict what my devotional time with Odin really feels like, since any type of schedule, written up like this, is going to read more or less like a "laundry list" of actions. I also doubted whether it would prove helpful to anyone else.

But then one of my friends commented that it helped her to see how a devotional life can be composed of a series of small actions which, taken together, add up over time to so much more than the sum of their parts. I think that's a really good way of expressing it. A bunch of little actions which may not seem so significant on their own—such as brewing coffee or pouring a drink, sweeping around the altar, or taking out your prayer beads on a bus ride—can, over time, feed and nourish the growth of a deep and intense connection. Devotion is the art of training the mind towards focus on the gods, and just as with athletic training, this does not happen quickly or overnight. Bearing this idea in mind, I thought a more general follow-up post, on some things to keep in mind when setting up your own "training" routine or developing it further, might be in order.

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  • Trine
    Trine says #
    "In the end, you will get out of your practice what you put into it" I needed to hear this (again). Thank you for an inspiring po
  • Theresa Wymer
    Theresa Wymer says #
    Beautiful and practical post. Thank you, Beth.

I have noticed that Hellenismos has its own, very specific, cleaning problems. As you have seen, my altar stands on carpet, and the longer I practice, the more wine stains appear on it. The bowl I use to give burnt offerings is stained with soot, and I'm sure that if it stood near a wall, that would be blackened as well. On top of that, the copper bowl I use to keep my daily khernips in, stains due to the water, and the salt in it. On days of purification as well as on the Deipnon, I spent some time cleaning these items. Today, I wanted to share with you some natural ways to clean these tools. Note that there are chemical cleaning tools available for all these stains--so if you're desperate to have a stain removed, that is always a possibility--but I prefer the natural way.

 

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  • loy homes
    loy homes says #
    I am facing the same problem of wine stains. I will surely follow the above natural cleaning tips. loy

An altar is one of those basic necessities within Hellenismos, and it differs from a shrine. Where an altar is a 'work space', dedicated not so much to a specific deity, but used to do the bulk of the (daily) rituals, a shrine is a devotional area where an altar might be located. In ancient Hellas, the shrine was usually a temple, the altar an actual altar, standing outside of it. Household worship took place at a multitude of shrines.

Labeling something a shrine, does not mean you can't sacrifice at these spots in your home; every Hene Kai Nea and Noumenia, I offer libations of mixed wine and incense at my shrine to Apollon, Hermes and Hekate, every Noumenia, I offer mixed wine and incense to Zeus Kthesios at His shrine in my kitchen, and ever Agathós Daímōn, I make a libation of unmixed wine at His shrine. As explained previously, I don't have an outdoor altar; I have one indoors, and it also houses my continual flame to Hestia. It's at this shrine I do the bulk of my worship--it's my hearth. It has my offering bowl, and is very deity-neutral, just to make sure everyone I give sacrifice to might feel at home at it. It's located in my bedroom shrine--the actual space, decorated and kept clean for the Theoi.

My altar is not the altar the ancient Hellens would have used. For one, it's not outside--something I'm grateful for as it's snowing outside at the moment--and for another, it's not made of stone. I don't make a fire on top of it--a good thing, seeing as it's made of wood--but have to use a bowl to do so. In ancient Hellas, an altar was called a 'bômos' (βωμός)--properly signifying any elevation--with an 'epipuron' (ἐπίπυρον)--a movable pan or brazier--used on top of the bômos so it could serve as an altar for burnt-offerings. The household hearth was used to make sacrifices as well, and thus served as an altar of sorts. It was named after the Theia of the home and hearth: 'hestía' (ἑστία). Some state-owned altars--especially when they were simply large fires--were named 'hestía' as well.

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When you adopt Hellenismos as a religion, you suddenly have a lot of extra festivals on the calendar. Funnily enough, that's the thing people are most shocked about. In addition to the fancy festivals, however, the Hellenistic base of worship is the monthly lunar calendar (the 'Mên kata Theion', 'sacred month'). Today, I'll present the basic, Hellenistic, monthly calendar. It's constructed from various ancient sources, and is recognized by many Hellenists today. Note, that this schedule was conglomerated with Hesiod's auspicious days, so--for example--the thirteenth of the month is sacred to Artemis, and a bad day for sowing.

First Decad - Waxing Moon - Mên Histámenos
1. Noumenia - Selene, Apollo Noumenios, Zeus Herkios and Ktesios, Hestia, and the other Theoi of the Household
2. Agathós Daímōn - Agathós Daímōn
3. Tritomênís - Athena
4. Tetrás - Aphrodite, Eros, Herakles, Poseidon, and Apollo
5. The Erinyes, Eris, and Horkos
6. Artemis
7. Apollo
8. Poseidon, Asklēpiós and Theseus
9. General holy day to honour the Theoi; special day to the Muses, Helios, and Rhea
10.

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One of the most important and confusing of the many Hellenic festivals is the three-day transition from month to month. Although unlinked, the Deipnon, the Noumenia and Agathós Daímōn are held on consecutive days, around the new moon. Especially the placement of the days is hard to get right; at least, it was for me.

The Deipnon (Hene kai Nea)--or Hekate's Deipnon--is celebrated any time before the first sliver of the new moon is visible. In practice, this is the day after the new moon. The Noumenia is held the day after that, when the moon has become visible again, and Agathós Daímōn the day after that. It is important to note that the ancient Hellens started a new day at sundown the day before. Instead of starting a new day at midnight--or in the morning--like we do today, they started it at sundown of the previous day. This means that--when applied to modern practice--the Deipnon starts on the day of the suspected new moon, and the rest follows after, to the total of four days. Confused yet? How about a schematic.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It's been a while, but I'm back again, lovely readers! I'm currently hard at work on my second book (amongst other projects, as you'll see below), but I will certainly continue to post here as and when I can. Comments and topic requests always welcome.


At this time of year, it's easy to understand why our ancestors (both actual and spiritual), those wise women and cunning men, were considered remote, unusual, untouchable, even fearsome.

As Autumn moves into Winter here in the UK, we feel our natural, animal pull to dig in, hibernate, take time within the darkness to assess the previous year and anticipate the time to come - but I doubt any busy society has ever really allowed that to happen, except when they have no choice. Stoke up the fire, head to the pub or communal house, light and laughter against the outside world.

(Photo - 'Autumn in the New Forest', from Glastonbury Goddess Temple)

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Alright, there is good news, and bad news. The good news is that I figured out how to kill the weird zoom thing the camera did. The bad news is that I only discovered this on the second day of shooting this video. Also, the first day, it was this sunny-but-cloudy day, so the camera had a bit of trouble with the light. Therefor, the first minute is a bit rough but after that, it gets lots and lots better. Next time will be perfect (and also better lit).

Alright, so on to the video tutorial. In the spirit of the Deipnon and Noumenia we have just celebrated, I am going to show you what to do with, and how to prepare, a kathiskos. As I will explain in the video, the kathiskos is a small jar filled with foodstuffs which is stored from the Noumenia (first day of the lunar month) until the Deipnon (last day of the lunar month) in a shrine to Zeus Kthesios. It's purpose is to protect the pantry.
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Why do ritual as a Naturalistic Pagan?

One of the most common sources of confuzzlement about naturalism is ritual.  If you don't believe deities are literally real, then what's the point of ritual?  Isn't it just empty play-acting?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

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  • Laurel
    Laurel says #
    Thank you, that's exactly what I was looking for!
  • Laurel
    Laurel says #
    I myself would like to do rituals as a new Naturalistic Pagan, however I'm having trouble adapting typical Pagan rituals to suit m
  • B. T. Newberg
    B. T. Newberg says #
    Nice to meet you, Laurel. Yes, there are many naturalistic rituals available online. The most comprehensive compilation I'm aware

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I talked in my first post about the importance of integrating our spiritual beliefs as Pagans with our everyday mundane lives. Most of the Witches and Pagans I know strive to do just that. I also think most of us struggle to find the time and energy to do so, when we are already overwhelmed by our busy, hectic existence and our obligations to others. Certainly I wrestle with this dilemma: how do I find the space and time to practice my Craft when I barely have time to eat and sleep? (And forget having a social life or taking a vacation. Vaca-what?)

 

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  • Theresa Wymer
    Theresa Wymer says #
    That's what I do on a daily basis, and it works really well. I think it's not a bad idea, whatever your spiritual beliefs.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

My grandmother–my mother’s mother–was a great wearer of costume jewelry. She had dozens of pairs of clip-on earrings–earbobs–and many had glorious great necklaces to match.

She worked in retail for many years, starting out in a local hardware store and finishing her working life at an Eckerd’s Drug Store where she specialized in the tobacco and photography departments. She was always beautifully turned-out from the top of her bobbie-pin curled head to the tips of her high-heeled shoes.

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Crossing the Sacred Threshold: The Gods of Small Things

 

I am a Latin teacher currently (and laboriously) working my way toward a PhD in Classics. I read a lot of Latin texts (in Latin and usually with quite a bit of cussing along the way as I attempt to untangle classical Latin syntax). Fortunately, for the most part, I enjoy this and one of the tangential elements that I find particularly satisfying in my studies is occasionally coming across an interesting reference to ancient Roman [polytheistic] religion along the way.  It happens a lot and for all that I am Heathen, not a practitioner of Religio Romana, I find that every time I read about how a man or woman, raised in Roman culture, steeped in its religion honored his or her Gods, I find my own practices enriched.

When I started in Classics I was told (by a PhD candidate) that no one really understands Roman religion. I admit to being a bit taken aback. It always made perfect sense to me: honor your ancestors, honor the living spirit of your city, its genus loci, maintain the proper household and public rituals, and live in a world where everything has its spirit, everything is alive. It made perfect sense to me and I’ll tell you why: for all of their diversity, polytheistic religions – which are indigenous religions-- seem, in my opinion, to share a common thread, one quite alien to monotheistic thought; that common thread is rooted not just in a polytheistic and by extension pluralistic worldview, but in one that is, to greater or lesser degree, animist.

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  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    Anne, I"ll try to write something on that soon.
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    I've been pushing for a re-recognition of the spirits of the land and household for years, now, both in my personal practice and e
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I'd love to hear more about *how* to connect with the small gods of place; although I'm quite well acquainted with the larger deit

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

This one little word gets ignored in our lives a lot more than we’d like to admit. I for one have been trying to use it more when confronted with self-doubt, new things or even old things which I’ve tried to put off rather than dealing with because I’ve convinced myself that they’re some how easier to ignore than address…I’m human after all.

Incorporating spiritual practice into ones daily life seems to be one of those things that so many of us desire, but so few of us actually do. When I wrote an article here at Witches&Pagans about starting a morning routine which involved appreciation and an informal conversation with a deity, it got very little public response, but the number of emails and Facebook messages I got not only let me know that many of you read it, but that most of you are afraid to even try to do something like this on the off-change that you’ll some how “fail”. As is you can actually fail at feeling gratitude and appreciation for what you have in your life or that your god(s) are so ready to give up on you that they won’t even aid you during your attempt to strengthen your relationship with them.

See how silly it sounds now that it’s out there? I hope so. In classic “me” style, can I suggest that you do one small thing…get over yourself and try it. You have nothing to lose, and so much to gain. How much? That’s up to you, not me, however, it shouldn’t be about how much you can gain. I discovered long ago to let the “how” not even enter your mind. All you ever have to do is the work which would allow a “how” to manifest in the way appropriate to whatever it is you’re intending, and someone else takes care of it from a universal sense. I know, I got a little “new agey” just then, sorry.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I am sometimes teased in a gentle way for always going on about grounding and breathing.  My friend Jude would like a photo of me, looking sternly over the tops of my spectacles and pointing to the ground. I write it so often as my status update on Facebook that people must grow tired of my constant carping about it.

Yet, even as I type these words and smile at these memories, I feel my big feet stretching, the heels digging into the carpet below my feet.  I start the process of grounding that I was taught so long ago that it has become second nature to me.  Tiny roots begin to grow from my heels and wend their way through the carpet and the sub-flooring and past the basement and sink at last into the cool moist earth. As they move into the soil, they widen and strengthen, heading into the darkness of the Earth's rich breast.

I imagine the cares of the day flowing down from my belly and into the strong foundation of the planet I call home. The roots continue on their way as I begin to breathe deeply, each breath filling my lungs all the way to the bottom. Belly full of breath, roots down deep.  If I take a moment to check my pulse, I will feel that it is slow, strong, steady.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

(I'm going to double up for a week or so, and post these notes on Samhain prep at my home site and here.  Those of you who are kind enough to read both may feel you're seeing double for a bit. )

As I'm readying myself for this hard and sacred time, I'm reviewing my daily practice and wondering if it is optimum for keeping me focused and open.

Do you have a personal daily practice? Or perhaps I should say a personal spiritual practice--many modern Pagans find it difficult to fit a daily practice into their busy lives.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Intention for Breakfast

Have you ever felt like you're missing out on most of the magick? As if everyone else seems to have magick in their lives all the time and seems so happy about, but you aren't sure how you achieve that while remaining true to your authentic self? I've been there! I know what you mean, although I believe that what you're specifically looking for is unique to each person, I can say with certainty that there is at least a basic formula to get on the right path.

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Thank you for this post, Peter. This is something I need to start doing.
  • Lise Christofferson
    Lise Christofferson says #
    Good morning, Peter! I agree, the cozy 'lets sit and share' in the morning with your deity/spirits is a perfect way to set the ton
  • Lise Christofferson
    Lise Christofferson says #
    Good morning, Peter! I agree, the cozy 'lets sit and share' in the morning with your deity/spirits is a perfect way to set the ton

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