Spirituality

Opiate of the masses.

Pagan community

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Birds, photo by Gustavo GomesI first began meeting other Pagans and magically-minded folk online 10 years ago through various Usenet groups, e-lists, message boards, IRC, websites, e-mail and other electronic correspondence. While there were quite a few then, over time I’ve watched it expand and grow significantly. Today there are literally hundreds of e-lists and online communities virtually dedicated to each and every facet of Paganism, and every tradition of Wicca imaginable. (And some I would never have imagined!)

I was excited to find others who were interested in the same things I was, and I learned a lot. I even briefly had a go with an online coven, but that didn’t work out for me, though there are several that are active and successful today.

There is a certain amount of interconnectedness online, especially within specific communities, but what about offline, meeting people in the flesh? Attending public rituals with other Pagans, or even just meeting up for coffee or a pint, can seem difficult or scary for someone newly discovering their path. Continue reading


Definition of Paganism

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Depending on your background, the word ‘pagan’ can mean a variety of things. It may mean one who is not Christian, Muslim or Jewish, or one who has o religion. It could simply mean one who isn’t Christian, or conjure fantastic hedonistic images of orgiastic rites. These definitions have had their place n the past, but definitions have a way of changing with time depending on usage and culture.

Our modern word ‘pagan’ comes from the Latin paganus, meaning ‘country-dweller’. Similarly, the word ‘heathen’, which has come to mean one who does not acknowledge the Christian, Muslim, or Jewish god, literally means ‘heath-dweller’. Both these words refer to someone from the country or rural district, as opposed to more urban folk.

The initial spread of Christianity took place in major urban areas, leaving the countryside continuing to practice folk magick and adhere to the local customs. It wasn’t long before the word became synonymous with the idea of rustic folk tradition and those who were not followers of the Christian god, thus giving rise to many of the more modern meanings we understand today.

More recently, however, the definition of Paganism has evolved yet again to become a general term for the followers of magickal, shamanistic, and polytheistic religions which hold a reverence for nature as a central characteristic of their belief system. It’s also given rise to the term neo-pagan (literally ‘new pagan’), which refers to a follower or sympathizer of one of the newly formed pagan religions now spreading throughout the world. It is with this latter modern definition that this section will be predominantly concerned.


First published on Suite101.com on 11 March 2006. (Unfortunately.)


Spring has sprung: are you cleansing?

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Lemons, photo by Trevor LeyenhorstI’ve been asked by at least a dozen people in the past two weeks about cleansing. This article is the result, to explain and introduce the concept of cleansing. I’ve done perhaps a dozen different cleanses myself, most of them involving supplements. Some have been more intensive cleanses in which I changed the foods I eat (like the one I’m doing now).

In every case, I have felt dramatically better after and during the cleanse – I have more energy, I feel happier and more grounded, and my allergy symptoms lessen and go away. Cleansing is a part of every good health regime, for a simple reason: what goes in to our bodies eventually has to come out. We are bombarded every day with stressors and toxins and many of them lodge in our bodies as acid, mucus, or fat. These toxins –from our air, water, food, and our living and work environments – can slow down the body’s metabolism and lower immunity, leaving you feeling sluggish, heavy, tired, and ultimately causing illness and disease.  Continue reading


Why Spirituality?

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“Spiritual life helps us find our meaning and purpose within existence, reminds us of our calling to elevate, or to save, or to liberate ourselves and others from the illusions of how we wish life could be, and celebrate and rejoice in the experience that is right in front of us. A religious/spiritual life shows us that although the Divine may seem distant and inexplicable, It is also available to us in every moment.”

–Susan Quinn, The Deepest Spiritual Life

“In selecting beliefs we might as well try to go for maximum entertainment value and capability enhancement, regardless of the so-called ‘facts’; for if a human really wants something, statistics count for nothing.”

–Peter Carroll, PsyberMagick


Discordian Totems

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Jackalope, image from Tyler NienhouseJackalope

These are a special sub-species of rabbit with the antlers of a deer. Elementally, they combine earth and air, and reside in the north-east corner of the compass rose. They are earthly creatures; practical, but intellectual, as their horns harness the cerebral vibrations of air. They demonstrate their almost unique synthesis of earth and air qualities in their ability to bring theoretical ideas and manifest them in reality, making use of their abstract natures in a material setting. Discordians with a jackalope as their totem tend to be successful in their idealistic pursuits. Continue reading


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