paganism

Developing Your Spiritual Practice in Autumn

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Your eye lids flutter softly, an you roll over. Your alarm is going off- a soft, natural melody- the least obnoxious you could find on your phone. Hitting the off button, you flop back, close your eyes, and begin to wake up.

The first rays of  honey-colored light dapple your curtains and you pull them aside. In the Northern Hemisphire,  it is now autumn. Richly colored leaves spiral in a chilly wind, which plasters them to your window, damp from last night’s rain.

You crack the window, and a gust of frigid air works it’s way through your room, leaving in it’s wake the smell of wood smoke and burning leaves, and a sense of gentle cleansing.

Autumn is here! Personally, it is my second favorite season. It feels to me almost as if the bright leaves are nature’s last blaze and surge of energy before going dormant for another year. Now s the time to reap what you have sown- that could mean harvesting the last of your garden and preparing for next years, or even looking back on your year and make plans for the next.

For many pagans, it is a time of celebration, and a time for feasting as well! Apples, root veggies such as potatoes and turnips, squash, and onions are all key players in the feasting. Hearty meat pies and vegetable stews are all wonderful ways to bring warmth into your home, as is burning heady, wood incenses and those based on resins, such as sandalwood, dragon’s blood, and frankincense.

Now is a nice time to pay homage to the your deities, spirits, guides, or whomever else has helped you this year. Depending on personal preference of said spirits and or deities, offerings of brightly colored leaves, spiced cakes, and the last fruit of the garden (be it an actual fruit or the last of an herb) are wonderful ways to connect to the cycle of death and rebirth.

Practicing your divination skills might be one on your list right now, as the thinning of this world and the next may heighten your ability to receive wisdom. Divination involving fire might be looked into, especially if you burn leaves from your yard. 

Now’s the time to get creative with cooking as well! Here are some wonderful, foraged-based recipes from Backyard Foraging by Ellen Zachos:

“Mushroom Ravioli
Packaged won ton wrappers simplify this recipe, but if homemade pasta is something you love to make, feel free to do so. I think the thin won ton wrappers provide the perfect ratio of noodle to filling.

1.Slice 2 cups of assorted mushrooms and sauté them in a half stick of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with 3 cloves of garlic, also sliced. Cook until softened, then add salt and pepper to taste and 1⁄4 cup mushroom broth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture cooks down and the liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and let cool.

2.In a blender, combine 11⁄2 cups ricotta cheese with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan, then add the cooled mushroom mixture and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more broth, then fold in an additional 1⁄2 cup of chopped mushrooms. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

3. Place 1 teaspoon of mushroom filling in the center of a won ton wrapper, then brush the edges of the wrapper with water and fold the wrapper in half diagonally, pressing the edges together to form a triangle. Make as many raviolis as you have filling for (any extra can be frozen for later use) and allow the stuffed pasta to air-dry for an hour.

4. Boil briefly, until pasta is cooked through; this may only take 2 or 3 minutes. This is a delicate ravioli and will break apart if overstuffed or overcooked. After draining the pasta, serve and top with a butter-and-sage sauce, or whatever else your little heart desires. Crazy good.”

“Rose Hip Soup (a.k.a. nyponsoppa)
There is no denying the elegance of a cold, smooth fruit soup. In Sweden, nyponsoppa is traditionally served for dessert; similar soups are popular throughout Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. This recipe highlights the sweet/tart flavor of rose hips and calls for no additional spices or flavors. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the pure taste of rose hips, which is difficult to describe: mostly fruity with a touch of the vegetal.

1.Combine 2 cups of rose hip purée, 2 cups of water, and 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 cup sugar over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. (I recommend starting with less sugar and adjusting it according to your taste as you cook.)

2. Separately, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water to create a paste. Whisk the paste into the rose hip base and stir over medium heat until the soup begins to thicken. The soup may be allowed to simmer slightly, but be sure to keep stirring to avoid scorching it.

3. When the soup has reached the desired thickness, remove it from the heat and refrigerate to cool. To serve, swirl in whipped cream or pour it over vanilla ice cream. A few crunchy cookies, like gingersnaps or almond biscotti, are the perfect garnish for this richly colored and flavored soup.”

What are some things you do to welcome the energy of Autumn into your home?

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My Sacred Plant

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My Sacred Plant

The plant who resonates close to my heart- Morning Glory. Each year, her delicate stems twine their way upwards, towards the sky, gently using her brothers and sisters for support. In the morning, her beautiful blue flowers great the morning, shining with dew, her leaves soft and downy as fur.
Toxic and beautiful, she fills my heart with joy- I am so happy to have her in my world.

I No Longer Believe in the Gods

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For four years of my life, I practiced magic, celebrated the changes of the seasons, and worshipped the Goddess, Mother of All Life.

 

And now I am at a point where I am doubting Her existence.

I’ve seen a lot in my life, experienced a lot in my life. I know how it feels to go hungry, and so even today I understand the importance, the scarcity, the sacredness of food. I know how it feels to eat every meal as if it were your last. I know how it feels to be grateful for a heaping bowl or oatmeal in the morning and a bowl of rice for lunch. 

I know how it feels to look at the news in the morning and to feel like your living in the Matrix. To feel that you no longer wish to live in such a world filled brimming with evil, where the good are slaughtered in their sleep , the Earth itself bleeding red.

I know how it feel to try to end your life, because there was no other way.

I know how it feels to tiptoe around your own house, silent as mice nesting in the walls, for fear of committing some unknown breach in protocol because your father would abuse you.

An yet, despite all these experiences, I continued to have faith in the Goddess. Until one day, I asked myself, “Why?”

Many people say they understand hunger. It’s often not true. True hunger is being hungry and knowing that there is no way for you to get food. It’s knowing that the fridge is empty and you used all the rest to get gas to go to work.  

If there is a benevolent Goddess, where was she when my father screamed at me for leaving a soda can on the counter? When he hit my mother over and over again? Protectress of Women, where was She then?

Where was she when i ran out of rice and had to eat oatmeal three times a day? 

Where was she when I overdosed on my depression medication and was in the hospital?

Where was she when I cut my skin over and over, leaving thick scars and gashes that decorate my arms and legs like tiger stripes?

Was she there when I offered her cakes and herbs? When I dedicated by garden to serving nature, planting beneficial herbs and flowers for the bees and birds?

Was she there whenever I freed and insect from my home, understanding the value of it’s tiny life?

Where the fuck was she? Because I’m not sure a benevolent, kind Goddess would sit back and let me hurt so much, while so many other people lived fat and happy?

So I turned by back on her.

I erased the rituals from my mind. 

No more will  pray in the morning and light pungent incense for her: myrrh, frankincense, dragon’s blood. No more will I make sweet cakes and leave them as offering on the alter.

No more will I trim fresh flowers, as beautiful as jewels, on the alter in honor of her.

No more.

And, Goddess, if you exist.

Then where the fuck were you?

I Am Not Wiccan: Please Stop Forcing Your Three-Fold Law on Me

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Time and time again, I have read a book, an article, a website, that ushers me to heed the Three Fold Law. As a non-Wiccan pagan, I am honestly sick of yet ANOTHER religion forcing it’s beliefs on me.

“Force, you say? No member of the Pagan community would ever force their opinions or beliefs on you! And yet it happens every time I read a book, regardless of if the subject at hand is Wiccan or not. The Hoodoo Voodoo Spellbook for example, which by all means should be a book on Hoodoo and have relativly little to do with Wicca, ensures me that I should remember the Three Fold Law- everything that is sent into the universe comes back to you Three-Fold.

I.Am.Not.Wiccan. I do not believe in the Three-Fold law. I have gone through a lot of various experiences in my life, and I simply cannot believe that such a thing exists. You may say that those suffering now may be so because of a past life and they are now reincarnating in order to learn lessons . That is what you believe, and does not necessarily translate into fact. For a wonderful example, lets look at the Christianity and Hell- how many Christians believe in hell, and assure various peoples of all races and and religions that they are destined for that burning hole beneath the Earth? As a Pagan, you would say “That’s your belief, stop forcing it on others”

“That’s your belief, stop forcing it on others”

Yes, I practice hexes and curses within my own wisdom. It is not for someone else to try to dictate to me my own spiritual path and how to live it. Your beliefs do not trump mine, and neither do your opinions override my own wisdom. Please practice what you preach, and stop forcing your beliefs on me. Have a nice day.