Tag Archives: Witches Weekly

Witches Weekly — Curses

I decided I really needed to post a blog entry tonight. I’ve been way too quiet. I also decided to check out The Witches Weekly, and discovered some interesting question. I’m not answering all of them, but I figured I’d put out a few thoughts on some of them.

Is it possible to curse someone?

Absolutely. In fact, I feel quite strongly about this. The belief that magic can be used for harmful purposes is something I consider essential to witchcraft. As the saying goes, “if you cannot harm, you cannot heal.” A belief that magic will only be beneficial is antithetical to the the dual pillars of self-empowerment and personal responsibility that support most of magical philosophy and witchcraft in particular.

How often do you think it happens?

I’m sure I can’t even begin to quantify this in any meaningful way. I think it happens more often than the “white light brigade” would have the world believe. But at the same time, I think that working effective magic is hard work, more hard work than most people (including myself some days) have the discipline to follow through with. Truth be told, people expect it to be easy: a matter of saying a pithy phrase, using the right color candle, and/or the right herbs. As such, I also think it’s less common (at least in our society, we won’t talk about other societies where magical practices might get more disciplined attentn) than the average “scary evil witch” would like everyone to think, too.

What would make you believe that someone was working magic against you, and how would you handle the situation?

In order for me to suspect such a thing, I’d have to experience a concerted string of misfortunes that either have no “rational” explanation or are just too amazing to be considered coincidental. Even then, I’d have to do some thinking, some divination, and possibly even ask for the insight and advice of a trusted other party. Personally, I just have a hard time imagining there are people out there that’d hate me enough to go through the effort required to do that sort of thing.

As for how I’d handle the situation if I found out someone was working magic against me, it really depends on the situation and the numerous factors involved.

Witches Weekly — Clergy

I’ve not been keeping up with Witches Weekly. However, I decided to take a peek at this week’s questions. Having looked at them, I decided they were well worth answering.

1. What do you think the role of pagan clergy is in our society/communities?

To e honest, I’m not big on “clergy.” I personally have no use for them. Furthermore, a part of me would rather encourage the Pagan community as a whole to avoid them altogether.

However, this is because of the form of witchcraft that I practice. I am looking to join a priesthood, and become a direct priest and servant of the gods. As such, I don’t expect to need or want the help of clergyperson. Sure, I might need some advice or assistance from time to time, but I can get that from a sister or brother witch.

Some people aren’t interested in the kind of service I’m looking to take on, though. And I’m starting to understand that some Pagans still need and want trained clergy to offer pastoral, counseling, and similar services to them. I can respect that. However, as that’s not something I’m entirely interested in having or offering, I’ll leave that to those who are interested.

2. If there was a pagan temple in your community like the Temple of Sekhmet, would you use it for a place to hold handfasting, naming, and coming of age rituals?

I don’t really know, to be honest. My initial reaction is to say no, however. For example, not being a devotee of Sekhmet, I would find it inappropriate to use a temple dedicated to her for my services. (Just as I’d personally find it inappropriate to get married in my old church.)

If it was a “general” temple not dedicated to any specific deity, I suppose I might consider it. But even then, it would depend on a large number of factors and circumstances. I think of the specific rituals mentioned and I’m not sure I’d have any of those events be a public rite anyway. If I were to have a handfasting, it would be a magical ceremony that woudl be held with my covenmates as a private affair. As such, we would probably have a private temple or workspace we would use instead. Even if we chose to use a public temple for some reason, we would probably work the rites ourselves and not involve those who run the temple.

Specifically on the subject of the handfasting, I should note that I do not intend to have a public handfasting. If my lover and I decide to have a public ceremony at all, it will be extremely simple and mostly civil. To be honest, the majority of my family wouldn’t show up just because I’d be marrying another man. I don’t need to add the complication of throwing a lot of “Pagan mumbo jumbo” at them. (Besides, they’re not welcome to my spiritual and magical rites, anyway.)

3. Would you feel comfortable getting counseling from a member of the pagan community?

This is not an easy yes or no question, in my book. To be perfectly blunt, if I am lookig for a counselor, that counselor’s religious practices are not my primary concern. I’m not sure they’re even in my list of concerns at all. Sure, I might want a counselor who is “Pagan friendly” — or at least doesn’t see my belief in Pagan gods and magic as something that needs to be “cured.” If I can find a counselor I can work with, though, I don’t care if she or he is Pagan, Buddhist, atheist, or even a fundamentalist Christian. The primary concern is “can I work with this person to work through the healing process I’m here for?” Nothing else.

Pagan Questions

These are some old questions from the Witches’ Weekly project. They’re still floating around the Internet, so I thought I’d answer them even though they’re “out of date.” Besides, a good friend asked me to.

What do you find most annoying about the Pagan Community?

I personally think that much of the Pagan community is too self-absorbed. Everything is about “me, me, and me.” I think that another diarist whose work I ran across recently used a most appropriate word: self-aggrandizement.

This shows up in many ways. The first way is how too many Pagans come to Paganism only with a thought for “what’s in it for me?” They look for the magic to make their lives better. They look for something that will make them feel better. Or they look for something that “empowers” them. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with any of these things. But they do not a religion make. At some point, one must realize that we’re dealing with the Divine here. Wether we see gods as individual entities, “faces” of one Great Divine, or archetypes from the collective unconscious, we are dealing with something which is not just “another part of ourselves.” We are communing with and drawing on “resource” that exists outside of ourselves. And yet, we treat this “resource” as if it’s just for us. Personally, I find one of the great irony of Paganism is that we preach that we must use our natural resources like oil, coal, and woodland more respectfully and reverantly, yet never consider our implied lack of respect and reverance for our spiritual resources.

The other way that this “me mentality” expresses itself is our lack of self-criticism. Pagans as a whole are adverse to stopping and questioning themselves. Questioning another Pagan’s basic perceptions and assumptions is dangerous. It gets you accused of being a “fundie” and all other kinds of things. And yet, I find it funny. Pagans usually accuse “fundies” of being “sheep” for not questioning authority. But if we as Pagans declare ourselves the authority, then does not consistency of our views require us to question the authority within?

Are there any specific symbols that are sacred to you or that you hold close to you?

Not really, no. I love the runes as whole, but I’m not sure that any of them appeal to me specifically. Perhaps Fe, though. After all, I love it’s gentle reminder that I have all the “wealth” and resources I need and simply need to properly cultivate them.

What’s one thing that you think the Pagan Community needs?

I think the Pagan Community mostly needs to get over itself. We as a whole need to remember that the world does not revolve around us, that the world is not out to get us, and that the world really couldn’t care less about us in the great scheme of things. It seems to me that we need to realize that the universe is a grand and complex thing and that if we are to really “live in harmony with it” like we often claim to be trying to do, then we need to come to terms that we’re an infinitely small speck — and likely a relatively insignificant one, at that — in it and take our humble place in it.

Witches Weekly again

I decided to answer the Witches Weekly questions again this week.

Do you wear any religious symbol jewelry/clothing? If so do you wear it openly in public?

On occasion, I wear a small silver pentagram (about the size of a dime) with a tiny piece of tumbled hematite in the center. But only on days where I feel like I need a self-reminder. Sometimes, I’ll wear it under my shirt and other times I’ll wear it in plain sight. It depends on what I’m doing that day and how much of a hassle I’m willing to put up with. For example, I have no problem wearing it openly at the mall, but if I’m going to stop someplace where I know an ultra-conservative relative will be, I prefer to avoid the feud.

How do you feel about the issue of wearing religious symbols in schools and how some young teens are forced to remove their religious fashions?

I have to wonder why teens are wearing religious symbols to school. Are they doing it to be cool? Are they doing it to rebel? How would they react if someone else made such a bold proclamation about their own faith?

Having said that, however, I think that students should have the right to express themselves in any way that does not directly interfere with the learning process. And I have a hard time imagining a serious way in which wearing a piece of jewelry could cause such an interference. Well, I can think of ways, but they involve issues much bigger than one’s choice of jewelry.

Have you ever experienced a confrontation about wearing your jewlery in public? How did you handle the situation if so?

Nope. The closest I came to this was when I found out that one of the managers at my old job was complaining behind my back to coworkers about the pentagram pendant (a tacky pewter one about the same diameter as a coffee cup, I’m ashamed to admit) I was wearing at that time. He never said anything directly to me, which I personally found cowardly and dishonest. But that’s the closest I’ve come to a confrontation, too.

Questions from Witches Weekly

One of the people whose blog I read regularly participates in the Witch’s Weekly exercise. I haven’t decided to commit to answering the questions every week myself, but I particularly likeed this week’s set of questions. So I thought I’d take a run at them.

Do you feel that you are active in your spirituality?
I’m not as active as I’d like to be. I’ve recently been trying to get more pro-active about my spiritual development. This month, I’ve been starting to do fifteen minute breathing meditations. I hope to eventually get this to be a daily part of my practice, but I readily admit that I’m far from it right now. (I’m lucky if I get to it two or three times a week.)

This is one of those cases where I know I need more self-discipline. Unfortunately, I think it’s too easy in Paganism to not take active, experiential steps like this. We spend so much time reading books about Paganism, that we tend to put the books aside and do our meditations, our devotions, and other things. Or maybe it’s just me and I’m projecting my own failings on others. Who can say? But it’s certainly something I’m working on correcting in my life.

What do you consider to be the most tedious task in your path?
This depends on my state of mind. In days when I let myself fool myself into thinking I’m “too busy,” it’s easy to claim that the meditation work is tedious. It’s one of those things that it’s easy to say “I don’t have the time, and I’m not really getting anything out of it, anyway.”

But when I actually stop and think about it — and when I’ve actually been doing the meditations, I know that’s a bunch of bull. Currently, my goal is fifteen minutes. And I know I can make fifteen minutes to meditate. I just have to be brutally honest about how much time (several times longer than fifteen minutes, I assure you) I waste watching television and surfing the web. I could easily take fifteen minutes away from these activities to do my meditation.

And when I’m doing it, I realize just how much I really do get out of it. I feel much calmer. I feel more energetic. And I feel like I could conquer the world and do anything. When I stop and think about it, I have to admit that the only reason I find it “tedious” is that I’m being wrong-headed — and bull-headed — about it.

What is your most enjoyable part of your spirituality?

I think what I really like about it is the nature of the “call” involved. As time goes on, I feel a gentle, loving “call” to my spirituality. My recent desire to gain more self-discipline is the result of such a gentle “call.” It’s this sense that I know I need to do these things, yet it completely lacks condemnation for not doing these things in the past. It’s the fact that I can always look at where I am, pat myself on the back, and yet feel that pull to climb ever onward and upward. It’s both challenging and encouraging.