Friday, October 28, 2011

The Witch's Circle ~ My Commitment to the Path

This post is in response to The Witch's Circle discussion on the blog The Deepest Well.  Fly on over and check out the orginial posting and read what others have said too.

I was raised Lutheran, which is one of the many branches of the Christian faith.  I believe I was baptised, I was a bit too young to remember that.  Growing up, I attended a Christian school until the 7th grade.  I dutifully went to church every Sunday with the family although from what I remember of those days I spent most of the time eating cereal that my grandmother brought in little bags or drawing on the attendance cards.  I also went to Sunday School whilst my parents attended Bible Study.  At this point I was commited to following the Lutheran faith, or as much as a child can be  As I got older I started to pay attention to what was going on and the messages that were being delivered.  Now Lutheran isn't as apocalyptic as some of the other Christian branches, but there is still the whole, "follow God or go to Hell" mantra.  What finally led me to "leave the Church" was moving away with my mother, going to a small public country school, and not attending church every Sunday.  I was able to take a breath and focus on being a teenager and becoming an adult.

I came to the worlds of paganism while trolling the section of book at my local Border's that is usually way in the back, the Metaphysical Section.  Cue the ethereal music.  I had looked at the book in these sections before but always under the radar when my family wasn't looking or I was alone.  But that day was different.  I made a point of going there, of taking my time and finding a book to buy.  I found the "Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard" by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, or it found me, I am not clear on that part.  I bought it that day and began reading as soon as I got home.  The more I read the more I realized that this is what I was missing all those long  Sundays while sitting in the huge church on hard wood pews.  I immediately made the 'commitment' to follow Oberon's teachings and set out to gather what I needed.

With my path clear, or so I thought, I set up an altar.  I read more and learned more.  The more I read, the more the Ah-Ha moments came around.  Things resonated with me.  But there was, and still is this little bit of what was that sits at the back of the room and pokes me with a stick.  I ignored it and continued on with my reading.  I eventually joined the online school attached to the book and began studies there.  While it was fun it ended up not being the right thing and the first fork appeared on the path.

A rather lengthy and thought provoking discussion with a soon to be dear friend prompted me to rethink my commitment to my path and where I was going.  Yes, part of it was whether I was truly following the correct path.  I had my doubts, I will admit that.  The thing in the back with the stick again.  I didn't know what the the 'thing' was at first then I realized it was a part of my past.  My past as a Christian was still there and it wasn't going to be silent. Of course I chose to ignore it and move on with what I wanted to do.  I began to read more books on paganism and found that the path I choose is of my own creation.  I get to choose where I go and how.  Yep another ah-ha moment.  I was 'solitary' for quite a while but felt that I was missing something.  I soon realized what that was...a coven.  I came to the coven I am with now through a friend.  Of course they took me in with open arms.  I finally felt...well, right.  I progressed through the teaching of my Year and A Day and dedicated myself to the path, the craft, the coven, and the goddess.  But guess what, I again felt the poking of the stick in my back.

Renouncing my past religion never really crossed my mind until now.  Am I ready to do that?  Will I loose something of myself by doing so?  How will I feel once I do it?  Will I feel lighter, more at peace, more focused?  How do I do it?  Will it help remove the constant nagging of the thing with the stick?  These questions need to be answered I believe.

I have had some blocks on my path before.  I believed them to be one specific thing but maybe they have been my past religious commitment rising up.

So I am going to think about this, I am going to meditate, and I am going pose questions to my coven, my friends in the craft and my deities.

I am committed to my Pagan Path and The Crossroads that I may come upon, but I need to make it the only  commitment where my faith is concerned.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Thinning Veil - This is Samhain

The thinning veil. Now is the time when whispers of those who have passed before us can be heard on the cool winds. The leaves are turning with bright yellow, oranges and reds filling the trees. The harvest is ending as the last crops are picked from the fields.
Pumpkins begin to decorate the homes, their carved faces glowing from candle and light. The Jack-O-Lantern stands guard.
This is SAMHAIN!!! This is HALLOWEEN!!!

Now is the time to honor those who have passed before us. We seek to speak to them once again, to ask questions, and to seek knowledge. We do so with reverence and awe since we know this will only happen this night, the thinning of the veil.

Take up staff and cast a circle vast. Welcome the spirits of element and guide, the Lord and Lady, beckon to our side. Enjoy the night and seek you knowledge, let loose that has kept you and cleanse your way. To the fire give all that is spent and cleanse your way. In crystal, mirror and water gaze, seeking knowledge through the ethereal haze. Dine with them who have eaten not. Bid you farewell to those who were called. Elements, guides, Lord and Lady to their halls. Close your circle and yet be sure that what you have gained is hallowed and pure.

Blessed Be!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Ghost Stories

Over at Blissful Moon, Lady Rose has shared her first ghostly encounter. She also asked the question of her readers if they believe in ghosts and if they have seen or communicated with one or more. Rather than filling a comment box with my stories I decided to make it a blog post, which is appropriate given the time of year.

My first ghost encounter was in the early 1990’s. I was living in an old Victorian house in Northwest Denver. It had been converted to apartments with two units in the basement, two units on the first level, and two on the upper level. The attic was closed off when I lived there. I lived in one of the basement units with my partner. The second unit in the basement was rented by a single guy named Justin. The units were separated by a thick Cinderblock wall. This was important for the first encounter with the spirit of the house. One night we were awaken by a knocking. The sound seemed to be coming from the brick wall but the knocking was more like on wood. It persisted for some time before we both asked it to stop and it did. The second encounter was solely my partner’s.

We shared the bathroom in the basement with Justin, so we had to leave our unit to use it. One night Shayne opened the door and saw an apparition of an older man standing at the base of the stairs leading up to the main floor. He said the man was transparent and that instead of walking up the stairs he walked into them. We began to inquire about who it could have been and found that the father of the building owner had fallen down the stairs and died when he hit his head on the sewer access pipe at the bottom. We never had any other encounters after that.

 I belong to a paranormal investigation group now so my encounters with the paranormal are a pretty common event.

While investigating a house in southern Colorado I experienced what it was like to have an entity physically touch me. While upstairs in the house I felt a chill go up my arm. A second investigator took a picture at the same time and it shows a ‘mist’ on my arm exactly where I reported the chill.  

During an investigation of a historical office building in Northern Colorado I experienced a woman whispering in my ear while in the basement. I only heard the whisper not the words. None of the other investigators with me heard it and none of the equipment registered it. Other things happened during that investigation but they were more environmental, less personal.

Colorado is famous for some very active haunted places; most notable is the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

I have visited this place a couple of times and each time I had experiences. The first time was during a wedding reception. After about 20 minutes in the hotel I began to feel ill. I thought it might have been something I had eaten earlier in the day so I didn’t say anything, but as the night progressed the feeling got worse and unusual. I truly thought I was getting the flu. We excused ourselves from the reception and left the hotel. As soon as we left the grounds of the hotel all the feelings of ill had vanished. We didn’t return that night.

Me second visit to the hotel was solely to investigate the hotel, unofficially of course. During this visit we walked around the lobby and attached rooms, the lower levels and the ballrooms. The upper floors where a lot of activity is reported are off limits to all but paid guests. We did experience some things while walking around but not on the order of apparitions.

Personally I do believe in the existence of ghosts. I have seen too much not to believe.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Charge of the Goddess - Do you really know it?

The Charge of the Goddess has been around for some time.  The one that we are most familiar with was penned by Doreen Valiente the High Priestess of Gerald Gardner in the 1950's.  It is believed that the final work by Gardner and Valiente was derived from various sources.  Among these is the book by Charles Godfrey Leyland, Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches.

Normally during ritual the Charge of the Goddess is read by the High Priest and the High Priestess.  But during the last ritual I attended, our High Priestess was absent so I read the charge.  Now I have read the Charge before but never in a ritual atmosphere.  I will say it was different.

Reading it gave me pause and made me think.  Do I really know it?  How many read it and don't think about it?  They are just going through the motions.

I am going to post the Charge of the Goddess.  Full version by Doreen, not the version by Starhawk.  Read it and then really read it.  Think about it.  It is the pure Charge with all the old English so it might be hard to read at first but if you truly read it will flow easily.

Charge of the Goddess
 by Doreen Valiente
 Now listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride, and by many other names.  At her altars, the youth of Lacedaemon in Sparta made due sacrifice.
Whenever ye have need of anything, once in a month and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place, and adore the spirit of me, I who am Queen of all Witches.
There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will I teach all things that are as yet unknown.
And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be truly free, you shall be naked in your rites; and yea shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.  For mine is the ecstasy of spirit, and mine also is joy on earth; for my law is love unto all beings.
Keep pure your highest ideals; strive ever toward them, let nothing stop you or turn you aside. For mine is the secret door which opens upon the Land of Youth, and mine is the cup of wine of life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Vessel of Immortality.
I am the gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man. Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before.
Nor do I demand sacrifice; for behold, I am the mother of all living, and my love is poured out upon the earth.
Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of Whose feet are the hosts of heaven, Whose body encircles the universe.
I who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters and the desire of the heart of man. I call upon thy soul to arise and come unto me.  For I am the soul of Nature, who gives life to the Universe.
From me all things proceed and unto me all things must return; and before my face, beloved of gods and of men, let thine innermost divine self be enfolded, in the rapture of the infinite. Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.

Therefore, let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And thou who thinketh to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou knoweth the mystery; for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire. 

Read it out loud as well as to yourself.  Feel the power as the words are spoken allowed.  Read it during your daily devotion as a way to honor the divine. Copy it into your book of shadows.  Keep it and know it.

Get Off Your Broom: Week 1 Check In

Yea I am behind.  I have been this way for about a week.  Go figure.  I failed awesomely last week on my eating habits and exercise plans.

Chips, Soda, and other things that I shouldn't be eating dominated last week.  Things at home prevented me from getting my walk in.

I don't have a scale right now so I still don't have a number to post.  Really need to fix this.  So what is my direction this week?  Honestly I don't know.

I know the mini challenges revolve around emotional eating.  I don't do that.  I eat when I am bored.  If there is a bag of Lays chips in the house they are gone in 60.  I hate when I do it too.  I work from home right now so I sit a lot and it is really easy for me to just have something sitting right next to my chair while I work.  That stops today.  Any chips in the house will only be used for lunches and I will only grab a few out to accompany the sandwich.  I am also going to see if I can find the Special K food plan  recipes again.  I found them before but they have disappeared again.  I might have to sign up with the site again to get them.

So after a bumpy start lets see what happens this week.

photo found here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Get Off Your Broom Challenge - Catching Up!!!

So this is supposed to be Day 3 of the fitness challenge and of course I am behind.  I have a plan in mind but I need to write it out so that I can at least be held accountable.  So I am going to go back in time.  Hold we go...

September 30th.  I read the list of mini-challenges and freaked a little.  I have never taken a picture of myself for a fitness thing before.  I thought about the whole smart phone bathroom photo.  That seems like the best option right now.  I will get the done and add it.  So what is my plan on how I am going to loose the weight I want and gain the look I want.  Walking is definitely going to be on the agenda.  Just around the block at first to build up and then further and even heading the paths near where I live and walk among the trees.  I don't know how much of the gym type working out I can get to because I don't have equipment nor a membership somewhere.

Eating is going to be the hard part.  Not the actual process but the substance.  I do enjoy my sodas.  I have left it once before and I can do it again.  I will just be a little bitchy for a couple days whilst the caffeine leaves my system.  I have a good meal plan already to go.  I swiped it from the Special K diet program.  They have a wonderful system and when I was on it over the summer for about a month I actually lost almost 12 pounds!  Why did I stop?  If I knew that I wouldn't be here, now would I.  No I have no idea why I stopped it.  So it is eating at least every 3 hours even if it is a small granola bar or a hand full of crackers.  Lots of water.  The whole 8 glasses thing.  Sometimes plain water sends my body reeling so I add the Crystal Light powders to give me a nice flavor.  I will not be giving up the meat though, that is one thing I refuse to do.  I will not be eating as much of the cow but I will be having some.  I will post some recipes as soon as I find the ones I got from the S-K plan.

So what are my measurements?  AAAAHHHH!  The HORROR!  Okay breathe.

Chest : 42in
Waist : 43in
Hips : 44in

Yea that is just wrong.  I don't have a working scale right now.  I need to head to Wal-Mart and get a new simple one.  My last weight was 220+ lbs.  My ideal weight should be about 180-190 lbs for my height.
Now the picture.

So there it is.

Fast forward to October 3rd.  I have started on the water.  I am going to go for a nice walk tonight.  Those might get interesting since the weather is supposed to be cooling off.  Going to see what I can rustle up for dinner that follows my plan.

Of course I am also going to seek guidance from my spiritual side as well.  I will meditate on all aspects of this challenge and seek help when I am feeling overwhelmed and the desire to quit.  I also ask for any encouragement from others as I will also give it where I can.

Oh...and is it me or am I the only guy doing this.  hmmmm.

And So It Begins.