The Study of Healing Prayer

The Study of Healing Prayer
Ethical and Practical Questions
by Elizabeth Barrette 

While most matters of healing lie outside my area of expertise, I have a perennial interest in prayer and liturgy. Healing prayers appear in most if not all religions. Some are specific, others general; some come from human inspiration, while others are attributed to the Divine. My most recent exploration of healing prayer began with the November-December 2001 issue of The Religious Language Newsletter.1

This issue mentioned a double-blind study about the effects of healing prayer in reproductive medicine, in which 50% of the women prayed for conceived, compared with 26% of the control group. Neither the women nor any of the medical staff involved in their care even knew that a study was being conducted. That reference launched a discussion which has continued for months as various readers submitted references to additional studies, personal arguments, and other relevant tidbits. About the same time, I got my hands on a couple of review copies that covered similar ground.2 With the "Healing Paths" issue of PanGaia coming up, I decided to explore the matter in more detail.

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Exploring the Sabbats

Exploring the Sabbats
by  Elizabeth Barrette

One thing that nature religions share is an interest in seasonal cycles. The details vary widely according to time period and geographic region, but the general idea of honoring certain holidays holds true. So whether your tradition is Gaian, Pagan, Goddess Worship, or some other Earth-centered belief system, you’re in the right place. The sabbats are the eight high holy days. Four of them – Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Fall Equinox, and Winter Solstice – mark path of the Earth around the Sun, so we call these the "Quarter Days." Their exact times change from year to year, so check an ephemeris. The other four – Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain – form a sort of cross between the rest, so we call them the "Cross-Quarter Days." Together, these eight holidays make up the Wheel of the Year. Now let’s take a look at each of the sabbats in turn.

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A Darker Shade of Pagan

A Darker Shade of Pagan
by Jason Pitzl-Waters &
Jacqueline Enstrom-Waters
 


©2012 Holly Golightly

We confess: we don’t like pagan music. At least, we don’t like what most folks think of as “pagan music.”

Don’t get us wrong. We’ve heard a rendition or two of Goddess chants that had that certain “something” and we’ve used space-agey soundscapes with intermingled nature sounds once or twice in ritual. Heck, we even own a pseudo-Native American drumming CD with the sound of rain in the background. Yet 99% of the time when someone has played a pagan or Wiccan tape for us saying “but you’ve just got to hear this one, it’s great!” what we heard just didn’t “do it” for us at all. After spending over a decade in the pagan movement, being subjected to “pagan” tunes, we had given up in defeat, believing we’d never find an album that evoked the delicate and dark enchantment of a cold Samhain night or an artist who could evoke a spell of pure witchy-ness that made you want to put on your best ritual gear, light all your candles and call up your pagan pals for a spontaneous night of spell work. It seemed if you weren’t a fan of folk music, you were out of luck.

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FAQ About Paganism

FAQ About Paganism
Frequently Asked Questions
by Elizabeth Barrette

Q: What is a Pagan? What is Paganism?

A: A Pagan is a person who feels a strong connection to nature, who holds the Earth and its creatures sacred, and who seeks a personal connection with the Divine. Pagan religions come from all around the globe, from ancient history and contemporary times as well. Paganism encompasses the reverence of nature, the worship of the Divine in many guises but especially as an embodiment of natural forces, the observance of seasonal cycles, and a perennial quest for personal growth. Most Pagan religions are polytheistic, celebratory faiths. Like any religion, Paganism is much too complex to describe fully in just a few words.

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Location! Location! Location!


©2012 Holly Golightly

 

cityWitch
Location! Location! Location!
by Christopher Penczak 

Location really is everything. Each location is a pocket of potential energy, and that energy will influence all that you do. The ancient traditions of magick knew this, and their sacred sites of power become arenas of mystery to the modern world. The powers of the Giza Pyramids, Stonehenge and the Serpent Mound are sought out by modern practitioners looking into the mysteries. But in seeking out power in only the places of old, we do not find the magical energy all around us.

In my experience, every location is a vortex of energy, including the urban environment. Cities are built because they are found on such powerful swirling pools of energy. This energy is one of the reasons that attracts settlers, even if most only feel the pull intuitively. As each city develops, it gains its own flair, personality and psychic climate. It develops a relationship with the people inhabiting it. Not only does each city gain a “vibe” all its own, each section of the city, each district and neighborhood develops its own energy.

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