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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Importance of Remembrance

In Canada we call November 11th “Remembrance Day” and it’s a pretty big deal for us culturally.  It’s not just a bank holiday, like Veteran’s Day in the US.  Though it is that, we also take time as a culture, in our schools prior to it and at our daily grind otherwise, to observe a moment of silence for the dead of our many World Wars, to which we now must add the Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan.  As children in school, we make construction paper poppies and listen to the stories of soldiers.  As adults, often we stand in the rain as our veterans stand solemnly in their uniforms and their medals, and we try to give their experience meaning and find hope in a time of darkness.

I think as Pagans, it is especially important that we engage in this practice of remembrance.  Whatever your view on war (some traditions strongly respecting the warrior path, such as the Asatru; some being adamantly opposed to war, such as Reclaiming Witches,) our empathy for the experience of it is a valuable service we can contribute to our culture and the world.  The many reasons connect to the uniquely Pagan experience of our spirituality.  Now granted, these are all generalizations; and as such, not everyone will fit these moulds.  But we seem to have these commonalities that make remembrance, especially of powerful and terrible events such as war, much more immediate and intense.

Respect for Our Roots

Many of us are called to Pagan paths because we feel a strong ancestral connection.  Even the modern religion of Wicca draws its roots from the ancient Pagan practices of Europe.  All but the most dedicated Reconstructionists agree we can’t exactly practice the same religion that our ancestors did; cultural and historical context, technology and needs are completely different.  But something about those “Ancient Ways” draws us anyway.

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  • Carlee Barnes
    Carlee Barnes says #
    As a retired US military member, I take offense at the first paragraph. We have more than a bank holiday. There are parades, fla

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The thought of ancestor worship makes me flinch.  It is not that I do not respect my ancestors or think that they are not deserving of honor, because they do.  It is the phrase “worship” that gives me pause.  The only ones deserving of worship are the gods. 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Ancestor Worship & Dealing with the Dead

Ancestor worship has become a popular topic in the Pagan community, but it is worth noting that it is not universal, or necessarily normative. It can also lead to some problems. . .

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  • Neil Pitchford
    Neil Pitchford says #
    There is one aspect of ancestor interaction that you haven't raised here (possibly because you are not familiar with it) and that
  • Shodo Hathos
    Shodo Hathos says #
    When you have no ancestor practice or training in ancestor work to then give advice on ancestor practice seems presumptuous at bes
  • Phaedra Bonewits
    Phaedra Bonewits says #
    I think the custom of naming our spiritual and intellectual influences as "ancestors" is an artifact of not having ancestor revere

It comes up time and again, and I'm not sure I understand it – Ghost Hunting. I have a love/hate relationship with the practices seeking out the spirits of the afterlife. While I think it can be quite helpful, healing and even practical to have some skills in this area, I see people get caught up to a level that distracts them from their own spiritual evolution.

What I”m specifically talking about are Witches, Magicians, Shamanic Practitioners, Pagans, you name it, going ghost hunting for fun. People without a magickal background, who are looking for “proof” that consciousness can exist after death, I understand their fascination, but I don't understand those in the magickal community who do it.

I do understand those who are what I would call Death Walkers, who help those entities that are in pain to cross over. That makes sense to me. It's part of our service as magickal practitioners. I do understand those of us called to clear a haunting, and having to deal with anything from a mischievous to malevolent spirit. I've gotten that call quite a few times since putting up my metaphoric shingle as a public witch taking clients. Disappointing to most whom I tell, the vast majority could be summed up by “bad Feng Shui” or simply toxic energy accumulated, seemingly taking on a life of its own. Or disturbed nature spirits. Very few have been deceased entities or close to what I would describe as truly demonic forces. Just misplaced force, which I guess is my definition of evil in the world.

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  • Johnny Allison
    Johnny Allison says #
    I have to wholeheartedly agree. I have heard people taunt and jeer at these entities in the hopes that it will draw them out. I
  • Christopher Penczak
    Christopher Penczak says #
    Thanks! I think most things people encounter are cast offs and shells when they think they have a trapped soul, and lot of it is j
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Good piece. I agree that if you really are dealing with the dead, they are not for entertainment. But there may be "cast-offs" and

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