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Gwion Raven - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! - PaganSquare

To Be a Witch… A Life of Ritual and Devotion

It’s a common thing to hear that there’s a difference between our magical lives and our mundane lives. In reality, we have the ability to step into ritual and devotion each and every day.

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Gwion Raven

Gwion Raven

I've been a practicing witch and ritualist within the Reclaiming Tradition since 2003. I love being in service with this community of witches and world changers.   My own practice, my own way of changing the world is through devotional practice. It's my belief that we can re-enchant our lives by re-framing the so-called "mundane" as sacred and divine. By imbuing the familiar with a sense of wonder and infusing daily life with acts of magic, we choose to consciously make all of life devotion. Whether we engage in large, public rituals or sink sumptuously into the pure ecstasy of eating a delicious meal by ourselves or meditating at sunrise, our daily rituals can draw us back into harmony with the world and each other.  
Daily Practice - Doing that one thing over and over again

Right as the clock struck midnight and 2015 was upon us, people started talking about their daily practices. I suppose it's a natural enough time to review what we do or don't do every day. Mostly it becomes a bit of a wish list for how we'd like our lives to be less mundane and more spiritual and as we have the clean slate of the new calendar year to help us, why not give it a bash.

Here's the not so good news - Daily practices, for the most part, are mundane. It's about doing the same thing, the same way each and every day (or as many days as you can). Whether you are communing with gods, or tending to an altar, or sipping a cup of tea or sitting in silence it's about doing that thing when you say you are going to do it. But mostly it's about doing that thing over and over again, recommitting to a practice without the expectation of reward. Occasionally I've had that "aha!" moment but more often than not, I do my thing, my day stops for a few minutes and I then move on.

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9 pagans that have influenced me in 2014

I'm not a fan of Top Ten lists. In fact, Top Ten lists frequently make it onto my Top Ten list of things I dislike. Having said that though, I feel inexorably compelled to write about 9 folks that have greatly influenced me this year. And as a Top 9 list is not the same as a Top 10 list I think I can live with myself. I considered a Top 11 list but thought that was too reminiscent of Spinal Tap and let's face it, 9 is a good witchy number.

Now some of these folks you might recognize from their books, or Pagan festival appearances or blogs and I imagine that several of them might appear on other people's year-end retrospectives too. My hope is that there will be at least one or two folks that you don't know and, much more importantly, I hope to convey just why these people have been so deeply influential to me this year.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I've left it as published but just in case anyone else reads these comments, it's clear that Anne and I have yet to meet. I'm goin
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Don't edit it, Gwion, or you'll make this entire thread look .... well, really weird.
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Well then - I'm about to edit my piece to make it clear we haven't met! Now...I wonder who I did meet?
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Gwion -- I've only been to PCon once in my life, way back in 2008. I'm pretty sure we haven't met.
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    You know Anne, I have a recollection of being introduced to you by a mutual friend at Pantheacon several years ago. Now if that's
Winter Solstice - A ritual invocation or the coolest band name ever!

A long, long, long time before the word "Solstice" was ever uttered, eons before the ancients looked upward at that shining orb in the sky and said "goddess" or "god", billions of years before humankind realized that some times were warmer and lighter and other times were colder and darker, this planet danced.

For roughly four and a half billion years, give or take a million, the earth has rocked forward and backward. Axial Tilt is the official term for it. Axial Tilt would also make a great name for a band and should I ever decide to get the band back together again, I think Axial Tilt will be the front-runner for the name.

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Altars - A ritual in the making

I recently wrote a piece about Pagan tattoos. Hundreds of people posted pictures of their artwork and many more folks told the stories of how those designs came about and why they were so compelled to etch them indelibly into their skin.

And this got me thinking - Tattoos are altars, of a kind. They are permanent representations of a moment or a belief or a particular rite of passage. These permanent, personal altars are like touchstones to those important times. In most cases, they are carefully thought out. They are planned. The placement, the design, the colours, the images and the symbols are all considered. Then there's the actual "building of the altar" itself.

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  • Linette
    Linette says #
    A number of years ago I taught a class on altars. Many of the participants said they had no idea where to begin with an altar, or
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Linette - Yes. So much this. I love the simple, everyday altars that we all instinctively create.
  • Asa West
    Asa West says #
    This post is lovely. Thank you! When I first read it, I thought, "well, I only have one altar in my house--my working altar." But
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Asa, I think that's it exactly. I realized that I have even more altars than I thought. There are several in the front and
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Elizabeth, it makes a great deal of sense! What a treasure that altar is and such a brilliant way to highlight that altars are

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Tattooed Pagans - A ritual in ink

The time for preparation is over. I have eaten. I have stripped down and am bare from the waist up. I have been washed. I have been shaved. I have stepped into the circle I have cast and taken my seat. I've sent words to the gods that I' d like protection and ease and fortitude of mind and body. This ritual is a test. This is my journey to make alone.

Then the buzzing starts. "Are you ready?" I'm asked. I nod and I feel the first sting of the needle as it pierces my skin. Long strokes up and down my spine. The weight of another's arm on my back holding me in place. The concurrent thoughts of "What the hell am I doing?" and "Oh I've waited so long for this, I can't believe it's finally happening". 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Hi there Gwion! Thanks for reading my Altars post. I read yours too (nice piece, btw,) and then I saw you had a link to a Tattoo
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    gwionraven@comcast.net or you can post it over at the Witches and Pagans face book page if you like. There are now hundreds of tat
  • David LeBarron
    David LeBarron says #
    sure!
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello David, Now that's a great story. I'd happily send you my email address if you'd like and you can email a picture to me. I'l
  • David LeBarron
    David LeBarron says #
    I just got an addition to an old tattoo. I added some sacred geometry, smoke and pentagrams. The best part was the tattooist is al

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Private Moment in a Public Ritual

 

This past Samhain I attended three different gatherings honouring the Ancestors, The Beloved Dead, the Mighty Dead and my ability to gather freely and celebrate as I choose. The first ritual was the North Bay Reclaiming Samhain ritual. This is my local community. About a hundred or so witches gathered. We had altars and invocations and told stories about our Beloveds that have crossed the veil this year. The second gathering was a private affair in my home with a few dear and close friends. We watched a few of our favourite cheesy "witchy" movies (yes, we watched the one with the midnight margaritas!). We ate and we drank and we celebrated being alive and being in love and being part of such an active public community. The third Samhain event was Reclaiming's 35th annual Spiral Dance in San Francisco. Roughly fifteen-hundred pagans, activists, seekers and newcomers were welcomed to this most public of rituals.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    You know Annika, one of the things I truly appreciate about the Reclaiming Community is that it doesn't rest on the shoulders of o
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    I deeply appreciate the freedom we have in the Reclaiming Community. One of the ways in which we stand on the shoulders of our Mig
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    You were not the only one. Many are the Mighty Dead who have fallen. A new generation is rising up, but they can never be replaced
The Mighty Dead in Conversation with DeAnna...

The Mighty Dead - It's a pretty epic sounding title. It sounds like a summer blockbuster movie to me, but really, who are the Mighty Dead? Well, it depends a little on who you ask but the most common answer to that question goes something like "those in the Craft that have gone before us, whose shoulders we stand on, those nameless persecuted witches, the founders of traditions, Pagan Activists..." etc, etc.

I like that as a definition. It serves well. I also like the slightly less grand version of the Mighty Dead - Those that I've known personally that have deeply affected my view of the Craft. And with that, here's my tribute to the person that always comes to mind when I hear the phrase "The Mighty Dead"

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