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Druidism today

Erin

(Originally published in “The Druid’s Arch”, the Official Newsletter of the Ord Draíochta Na Uisnech in the Beltane 2003 issue, Volume 1, Issue 1.)

Well, here it is, Beltane again. Once more we stand on the threshold of the transition between Winter and Summer. “The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul” as one author put it, is now at an end, and we are moving back into the light. All around us, the Earth has been waking and changing. The plants have been pushing up through the soil, renewing their life, the birds have mated and even now, the chicks are starting to grow. The wild things are leaving the protection of their parents and starting to move around on their own, renewing the LIFE that is this planet.

How are we, as Druids, responding to this? We may feel it in our bones, we may feel the quickening pulse of the Land, we may feel compelled to sing at odd times. Many of us may be forced by something deep inside ourselves to clean the house and air it out, letting the newness that is Spring and Summer come in. Soon we will be hearing the lazy buzz of the bees and the Katydids and remembering the lethargy that comes when the heat climbs into the triple digits. We may remember to take shorter showers, conserve water and to try to make sure that others have the same resources that we have.

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Beltane

Erin

by Raven Grimassi
Llewellyn Publications, 2001
ISBN 1-56718-283-6

Review by Daven

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Raven is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. His writing style is clear and fluid, never condescending to the reader, nor written on the level of the lowest common denominator.

This is the thinnest book in the Sabbat series from Llewellyn, and that had me concerned for a little while. Raven may have skimped on the information a bit, but the information that is there is well worth the price. There is information in here concerning the hobbyhorse, Mummery and flower meanings. In addition, there are myths from almost every European culture, a first for this series.

There is an entire chapter devoted to the plants of this holiday, from flowers and flower speech to the plants fairies find attractive. Herbs play a prominent role in this, as well as the trees and plants associated with the Goddess.

The de rigueur spells and recipes are here. This time all the recipes are in one place, unlike the Ostara book reviewed elsewhere. In the same section you will find some quick folk remedies for some common complaints such as infertility and heavy moon-flow, for example. I feel this is to the good since this season is all about fertility.

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Seax-Wica

Erin

The Symbol of Seax-WicaThe History of Seax-Wica is a short and interesting one. There are no long myths of the origins of the tradition, no claims to antiquity, and very few conflicting versions of how the tradition came to be.

Mostly Seax-Wica came from the vision of one man, Raymond Buckland. While he was in America teaching the tradition he learned from Gardner to us willing Americans, he found his own ideas developing along lines that differed in important ways from Gardner’s. So, he kept true to his oaths of silence and split with Gardner. He spent many years researching Pagan traditions, and he sat down and wrote, from start to finish, Seax-Wica.

Seax-Wica has a basis of Saxon belief. From what Buckland has said and what I have read, there is a mish-mash of traditions and celebrations intermixed into this tradition, mainly because the Saxon culture itself was made up of many different traditions as well. Many scholars have tried to separate out “pure” Saxon from the rest, and it can’t be done.

Because of this, you have a Norse influence in the Gods’ names. Instead of something completely different, the God is Woden and the Goddess is Freya. If you didn’t know that the Saxons were heavily influenced by the Norse, you could get more than a bit confused by this seeming deity displacement.

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The Seeker’s Bill of Rights

Other Author

(Note from Daven:  I was a member of the Texas Pagan Community when this document began circulating around that community.  I know (from rumors mostly) some of what went on to prompt this document, but not enough to make any sweeping statements as to what happened.  I have had one person step up and claim credit for being the author of this document, and I humbly thank him for writing this.)

The Seeker’s Bill of Rights

High Priest Charles Mars

Seekers of the Pagan path are in an extremely vulnerable position. In their quest for teaching and fellowship, thy risk encountering those who use our faith to prey on others. Since paganism is still struggling for public acceptance, there is little sympathy from authorities. Neither can the elders of our community effectively address this issue. The most they can do is denounce these predators, and are usually accused of starting a “Witch War” when they do.

The answer to this dilemma is to empower those most vulnerable, the seekers. To this end, a Seeker’s Bill of Rights has been drafted. This tool will help to alert Seekers of a problem if a group or teacher violates any of the ten rights described. It will also serve to remind Seekers that while they do not have “degrees”, they are still human beings with rights and dignity.

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Bunnyhunting part 2

Erin

First Published on “The Juggler”

Many that I have talked to about this topic have expressed to me that one of the reasons they hunt bunnies are because of the PR war.

Think back to the icons that are being held up on TV and in the media as “typical witches”. You find that most of them are extremeists. People like Lady Belladona LeVeau on the recent show “Wife Swap”. AP with brooms? Fire spinning? Teaching her children how to be a HPS instead of a human being? House elves? And that’s a minor example.

How about Jonathon ‘The Impaler’ Sharkey? Remember him? He’s the “vampire” who was running for the post of Governor of Minnesota, who promised to put the Ten Commandments AND the Wiccan Rede in every government building in Minnesota, as well as impailing criminals on the Capital Lawn. He claims to be a witch and his wife is also a Pagan, according to what they say.

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Draig Sidhe Witches Tether

Erin

This tool is just that, a tether for your self. It is representative of the Silver Cord you have as part of your soul/body connection. In many works about Out of Body Experiences, people report seeing a cord of some sort leading from their soul to the body. It is theorized that this is because there is a small sliver of your soul and consciousness still in your body, keeping it functioning.

If this sliver is removed from the body, most people who have studied OOBE and Astral Projection theorize that the body will die.

So this tether is representative of that connection between the soul and body. It keeps the two connected, sending messages from one to the other, and giving the soul a “ball of string” to follow back to the body.

Symbolically this tether can represent all kinds of things:

  • The Silver cord
  • The string Theseus used in the Labyrinth
  • A “grounding wire”
  • Tree Roots
  • The string of fate in many pantheons
  • A charging wire for your phone or iPod

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The Astral Plane

Erin

(Note from Daven: This is a post that I put up on one of the teaching threads I have at Ancient Sites in response to a question about the Astral Plane. It’s a representation of how I think the Astral Plane works. Note, this is my opinion, and what I am comfortable with. It’s what I think the planes are and how they are structured. As always, your mileage may vary.)

The Astral Plane

Heaven. The Summerlands. Valhalla. Mount Olympus. Hell. Hades. The Abyss. Underhill.

All of these names conjure up visions of different places. Streets paved in Gold, and Greek Columns are only a few of many possible views we could have when we talk about the Astral Plane.

All of these places exist in only one place. Mercedes Lackey’s view of Underhill (as described in Chrome Circle) is an accurate description of the Astral Plane.

Different beings have claimed areas of their won and imposed their Will on a particular area and molded it into what they wish it to be. Some have made their areas into havens and others into the realms of nightmares. Some areas are keyed only to those with a specific vibrational state, and some are open to all. Some are traps.

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Lesson 3: Pagan History, in brief

Erin

Message: Lesson 3: History part 1
Author: Teacher – Daven Iceni

Date: Apr 11, 2000 23:41

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Respect and Responsibility

Other Author

(Daven’s Comment: This is an article written by a friend of mine whom I have much respect for.  I can’t draw to save my life, and Zak of CrazyQuiltArts does wonderfully.  He’s the author of Journey to the West and Nine Lives, Many Masters.  He claims that he can’t write.  I call bullshit on that statement.  Enjoy this as an adjunct to my review of the Grimoire.)

I’ve been reading the various comments on Oberon and the Grey School with much interest. A number of significant criticisms have been raised, as well as the occasional snarkiness or ad hominen. Perhaps the most significant issue raised, I think, is one of — here it comes again — responsibility. Several folks have noted that Oberon, and others in the GS, are Old Time Great Pagan Leaders. This has occasionally been used to imply that they are somehow above criticism, that respect means giving them a pass. I feel that, in fact, the opposite is true. To cop a move from Oberon himself, as Spidey’s dad says, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

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Which Witch is Which

Erin

by Patricia Telesco
New Page Books, 2005 $13.99
ISBN 1-56414-754-1

Review by Daven

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

It has been my pleasure to meet many authors in my time online and with the Pagan Communities, and Trish is fast becoming one of those people I look forward to see ing the next book from.

I was honored to have contributed to this book in one small way, I authored the article on Seax-Wica in this work.

This book is a compendium of information. It’s not designed to be a “let me tell you all about subject _____” like many books on the market. This is a book similar to what Raven Grimassi and others have written, dealing with a segment of Paganism as contributed to by the practitioners themselves.

Ray Buckland tried to do this with “Buckland’s Complete Guide to Witchcraft” back in the 80’s, but since Wicca was just starting out, he was unable to do as much. In this book, the promise of his appendix comes to fruition.

Trish has assembled many articles on different traditions together in this book, so that the new seeker can take a look and decide what they wish to practice. She sent a call out to the general community and asked for submissions so that it would be accurate, and she got them.

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