Posts Tagged wicca
Evolution of Skepticism Daily – a new show highlighting Pagan and Atheist news from around the globe. If you have a news article or would like to have something you’ve done highlighted email me at email@example.com
The Gleaner – Atheism – It Is Coming!
Hindustan Times – Two killed in Bihar for practicing witchcraft
Brisbane Times – Chapter and verse: atheism becomes a dog’s breakfast
PolicyMic – Atheist Billboards Expose Christians as Hypocrites
Derik EoS: hello everybody welcome to evolution of skepticism. Derik here and I am joined with the wonderful Nyx from Pagan Place and Pagan Mart. so what we’re going to do here today is have a quick interview and we’re going to find out a little more about this somewhat elusive wonderful lady. So Nyx uh tell us a little about yourself.
Nyx DarkSky: First hello everybody I’m Nyx DarkSky, uh, honestly there really isn’t much to tell. I amm just Me, I’m a witch, no titles needed I do my own thing and, uhm, pretty much let everybody do their own thing. So I am the creator of Pagan Place community that is a social network style place for friends to hang out and be themselves and, uhm, be accepted for who they are and pretty much have fun and kick back and not have to worry about being, uhm, I don’t know how to put this, “harassed”, or, for something they so or who they are. Everybody is welcome to be themselves.
D: Right, yeah, if anybody has listened to any previous, any previous episodes they know I advocate checking out Pagan Place no matter what culture you’re from it’s a wonderful place. Speaking of the Pagan community, and, uh, because that really seems what you are trying to bring together “a safe and comfortable place for the Pagan community” how did you first get involved in the Pagan community whether it be on the internet or off the internet?
N: Oh gosh, uh, honestly I really did not become involved I more or less evolved with it, as it grew I was, I grew with it, uhm, me and the internet go back to DOS mode. Before there was microsoft and pretty little pictures you click on. So as the internet grew and Pagans come out and was more visible and the internet grew, I just kind of grew with it, I was already there, uhm, so it just kind of generated from there into what it is today.
D: Wonderful so it sounds like it more happened on you almost than you happening on it.
N: Yes, uhm, as for me being Pagan or a witch, uhm, I kind of was born this way. It’s like breathing to me, it’s just who I am, it’s not something I think about. It’s again like breathing it’s who I am.
D: Alright, wonderful, so in that how would you balance your, and we’ll call it a “witch life” since you call yourself a witch, and your mundane life? And do you find it difficult whether due to your geographical location or just maybe your closer relatives and such?
N: Uhm, to start with, I don’t really care what the general public has to say, I’m me, and I accept that person for who they are, whether they are Christian or any other walk of life. And I am not going to hide who I am, I am me, and I do not condemn them, and show them respect so I kind of expect the same from them. I don’t hide, and I am not flamboiant per-se, but at the same time if you ask me I am not going to hide or lie about it. I’m going to say “Yeah I’m a witch what about it? You’re a Christian what about it?” So as far as family, I don’t have any. I’ve got Mr. Einstein and I have four legged fuzzy babies, and well I’m sorry I apologize to my son, I was thinking when you mentioned family I was thinking mom, dad. I have a 28 year old son, I’m sorry I did not forget you no mom did not forget you! My son is in Texas and I’m in Atlanta, bless his heart I love him to death. But in the house family they’re four legged and fuzzies. So, I have five farrets and a 125 lbs lazy black lab, and a black crazy luni-cat, she’s my dumpster kitty, crazy as a bed bug. Where I worked the momma had the babies in the dumpster, and I rescued her and five of her brothers and sisters from the dumpster, so that was a fun day.
D: I can imagine, wow, we may have to get into that at another time. So this being Evolution of Skepticism, obviously it would be a dishonor to our name if I didn’t ask you if you hold your own beliefs in Skepticism and if so Why or if not Why not? So basically, do you feel it is right to question your own beliefs either on a daily basis, every once in a while, or as the whim hits you, and if so why or why not?
N: No, I do not, I don’t doubt myself, I am who I am. There has never been a second thought about it. I was raised by my grandmother who was hardcore baptist, been beat in the head with a bible more times than you can think, Southern Baptist, let me rephrase that.
D: I lived in Texas for a little while, I know exactly what you’re talking about.
N: Yeah let’s just say that louisiana southern baptist are just tough. But you know I love my grandmother very much and rest in peace, but she was that hardcore baptist that drug me to church everytime the doors were open. But I didn’t fit, I just did not fit, I was that question kid, I was that “Why?” and it just did not make sense to me. It was a book that’s all it was to me, it was just a book, that I could not figure out why everybody thought it was this big thing. It’s a book, I got 100 books on my shelf, there was no difference, and when I got old enough I pretty much put my foot down, when I was able to and said “grandma I’ve had enough and I don’t want to go to church anymore.” oh gosh it was on that day. So I was “gonna burn in hell” and “what was the church ladies gonna think?” and you know all this kind of stuff. But you know my mom and my dad they were not, my dad was very open minded and my mom was raised catholic but she never really, you know. In my mom and dads house we never really had religion, they kind of left it up to my grandma.
D: Sounds like she had enough religion for everybody.
N: Yeah she did trust me. So, anyway my mom she, our house litterally was not a eat sleep and breath religion. You know my mom and my dad, my dad was very open minded and a Navy man, plus being raised in New Orleans. Forgive me for saying this, I know a lot of people are going to roll over, but I seen my first pair of boobies when I was four, driving down bourbon street. So granted it was, my mom and my dad were just open, we were just raised around accepting things around us and people around us for who they were. Which was a blessing, I cannot stress how much I love my father and what he taught me about being open minded and accepting people for who they are and accepting life for what it is. And I raised my son to be the same way, I don’t see color I don’t see religion, I see the person for who they are, I see their actions and I don’t group people and titles. I don’t care if you’re pink with purple poke-a-dots it doesn’t matter to me your actions towards me is what I see, either anger or respect or friendship or what have you. So I thank my father for that.
D: I was lucky enough to be raised in a very similar fashion from of all people my own grandmother, she raised me most of my life, and I had a very similar up bringing there were no differences of color no differences of creed or anything like that, everyone was a person, everyone was due the respect I expected to receive from that same person, from there it was all based on actions so I definitely understand where you are coming from, from there. So with all that do you believe that your beliefs have evolved as you have been on this adventure of being a witch?
N: My path grows with me, as I grow. The day that you stop learning is the day you’re dead and you no longer exist, you don’t breath anymore. Everyday that you learn something is a good day. So yeah, what I do today and how I walk my path today, come to me three years from now, it might be something totally different. A good example is my book of shadows, everybody puts stuff in their book of shadows, everybody also knows that your book grows as you grow, and again this is just an example of me looking at my personal book, and I have gone back and updated and added and there’s some things that I look at and it’s like “What was I thinking? ok you know, this is two year old stuff here”. So yes anybody of any faith of any religion will grow everyday from first breath to their last and if you’re not growing and not evolving you’re pretty much dead. Because even if you disagree with somebody and you do not agree with the path they follow or their thought process, if you stop long enough to listen, just hear them out. I promise you, you will come away learning something you might not agree with them but if you listen you will always always learn something that will work in your life. So I call myself a witch because I’m like a pot of soup, I’m a little bit of everything, I don’t walk just one path and I’m not going to. I’m not going to box myself in, I’m not a follower and never have been. I think that’s part of the reason why I didn’t fit into the baptist church and it makes sense because I’m just not a follower, I don’t know how to follow. So I pick something that comes to mind, I’ve been this way since I was a kid and I have a serious case of ADHD, so my attention span, when it is locked onto something I will literally rip it apart, learning every tidbit and every fact there is to it, and there’s other things that I have the attention span of a gnat, but when it comes to religion whether it’s voodoo, voodoo, hoodoo, catholic baptist, pagan, chadwick, oh gosh, all of these other fabulous traditions that are out there, druid, shaman… I will get on what I call “my adventures” and I will learn everything about that path and do I know it all? oh gosh no my brain is not big enough for all of that. But I pretty much find what fits me and I will keep that part and add it to my life and what doesn’t fit me, it goes back in that book and/or that information pile so I’m kind of like this melting pot and I kind of like being that way because I am not boxed into one way of thinking I don’t follow one line or one path or one person, if I wanted to follow I would go back to church.
D: Right, I guess the best way was described to me when someone was describing my own beliefs, is I have a lot of S-Curve signs on my path.
N: Yes oh boy do I walk a crooked path, but again being raised in New Orleans was a melting pot of religions I mean for real, you had baptist on one corner, you had catholic on the other and you had hoodoo and voodoo and shamanism and witchdoctors and everybody all on the same street, so it’s kind of where I think part of my “not accepting one thing” came from, because there was so much to see, so much to learn and so much to look at, so much diversity that was the word I was hunting. So, I’ve caught criticism from other people that say “hey you need to pick this path or you need to pick that.” No and why? what works for you might not work for me and everybody else, again it kind of goes back to the “dont judge people because I don’t want them to judge me.” I do my own thing, I don’t tell people what to do, and oh gosh please don’t follow me. I’m lucky I know what I’m doing.
D: I’m one of those people “don’t follow me cause I might take a sharp turn if you aren’t paying attention.”
N: Yeah, I’m one of those “oh shiny” and as Mr.E says and off I go.
D: Alright, well uhm, so let’s get into a little bit of what you are currently known for, and one of the big things right now is Pagan Place, how did you come up with the name Pagan Place?
N: Pagan Place believe it or not, a lot of people, let me set something clear here a lot of people believe that it was a spin off of another social site, but I give you my 100% witches word of honor that it did not come from this other social site. I got it from a soap opera from the 1950′s soap opera. Paten place, remember Peyton place?
D: I don’t remember it but I have heard reference to it.
N: It was a soap opera and Mr.E is always telling, cause he is 100% technical, he can run circles around anything technical, but bless his heart he does not have any clue about social gatherings and social networkings and how they work. The people side of it, and he goes “uh that’s nothing but a soap opera!” and it clicked Peyton Place, Pagan Place, you know what Mr.E said “Soap opera” and that was how the name came about.
D: Wow, that’s quite the little trip there from just saying “This needs to happen” to “What are we going to name it?” to “oh it’s just nothing but a soap opera” and “well of course it is!” that’s an amazing…
N: I love, he calls me a social butterfly because, gosh I got so many friends and my friends are treasured gifts in my life, they give me a reason to wake up in the morning and everyone of them is so special to me that they, I enjoy what I do and I always have and I have been social networking since, late 80′s, again black screen white letters DOS mode. It’s just, it’s who I am it’s part of who I am and I love it and I always wanted my own place so I, when I resigned from my work, due to, I didn’t like the way they ran things. After six years, I said “Ok I can go home and create my own world and I’ve got Pagan Mart, which pretty much equals the 40 hour a week job.” and so I said “Ok, weigh the odds here, less stress, I can go home play with my friends and have a good time.” so I resigned and came home and created Pagan Place and it is what it is today. The main reason, I’m sorry I’m going around this bush here, ADHD kicking in. The main reason I created Pagan Place was for the people, and you will notice there is no donation box or will there ever be a donation box on Pagan Place. Pagan Place is not for money, Pagan Place is built for the people and is run by the people. And all I do, me, I kind of guide the ship, yeah you know, my name and I might have been the contractor that built the joint, but to be honest about it I don’t own it, the people own it. Because without them, and without those treasured gifts in my life that I love to talk to everyday, I would have nothing but an empty house. So it’s for them and the only thing that I step up to the plate, I guess you could say, is drama, I’m sorry leave the drama at the door, go play on facebook or twitter, where ever. Forgive me for putting it this way, I’m not asking everybody to blow sunshine and roses out their butt, but at the same time if you want to be drama queen, king, whatever, go back to facebook.
D: Well there’s a reason it’s called social NETWORKING and not soap opera networking.
N: Yeah, I’ve tried to explain the difference to Mr.E.
D: Tell him it’s the Kiwana’s club on the internet, he might understand that a little bit.
N: Again bless his heart I love that man to death but he is a, and I use this as a positive term, he is your 100% total nerd slash geek, technological so much info that his brain should explode type of guy.
D: See we definitely take that as a compliment because I am the same way and my typical co-host Justin is that specific way, he is hard core linux he doesn’t touch Windows or Mac or anything like that so we definitely take Nerd/Geek all that as compliment.
N: Well that, that’s him and again he, his thing is computers and he, hey we thank him for Pagan Place, he’s the techno-geek that keeps us up and running and going and fixes all of our little issues and glitches.
D: And he does it so seamlessly on average from what I’ve noticed, because I’ll notice one thing and before I can even type it up it’s taken care of.
N: And that’s what, he’s the behind the scenes guy, he’s not out in the public eye like I am. If you see him say one or two words, hey I’m doing cartwheels down the hall and I’m happy.
D: Those are little drops of gold from what I’ve noticed.
N: Yeah, because, it’s just the social part of it is not his cup of tea. I’m not saying he does not like it, I’m saying that, to him he would rather be building 15 computers back to back and working on coding behind the scenes rather than “hey how’s your dog? and did you get your laundry done?”
D: Alright, as far as that goes, you say “Pagan Place is for the people” and with that we really notice, if you watch and just kind of see everything you really notice it, you work so hard throughout the day to make this a warm and welcoming place, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you not say hello, I think I’ve popped in at like 4 in the morning my time and “look Nyx has said hello to someone.” and it’s like “do you ever sleep?!” especially with the fact that it’s about, you know Pagan Place is just a little over 8 months old now, how do you not get burned out?
N: It’s like being a witch, it’s just who I am, I mean honestly as far as Pagan Place I eat, sleep and breath it, and I don’t know if it’s the ADHD or the OCD, or hey start from A and add Z behind my name cause trust me I’ve got it all. I enjoy what I do, and the day that I don’t enjoy it anymore is the day that I will, you know, I don’t see that day coming but I would give it to somebody else. “Here, ya know, take it.”
D: Now, with the, like you said you have the ADHD and OCD, do you find that the dynamic nature of social networking allows you to be more focused on that kind of that thing because it’s never the same thing twice?
N: Social networking is kind of like Christmas, it’s kind of like opening a box and you never know what you’re going to see. I mean everytime you turn it on it’s something different, it evolves. I have in the past ten years, I mean just look at what we started with, we started with Dalnet, Undernet, then Microsoft came in and then there was AOL and then there was Myspace.
D: And IRC and ICQ
N: Yeah and it’s grown over the years and I enjoy doing what I do, again, people, a lot of people will call me a gatherer, a friend gatherer, I don’t know, I can’t remember the exact word they use, but I’m not, I’m really not, I don’t meet a stranger. We have a saying where I come from, that pretty much, “people from the south, we don’t believe in meeting strangers and nobody ever ever goes hungry. And that’s because we feed everybody and we talk to everybody.” My daddy didn’t lie, I’ll talk to a fence post if it will stand still long enough. Social networking is like talking, it’s kind of like having morning tea with your friends, you just sit down with your coffee and “hey girl how are you doing?” and if someone is having a bad day you try to cheer them up, granted you’re not in their living room and you’re not looking at them eyeball to eyeball but you can still say something positive to brighten their day and make them feel better.
D: Sure one word, one positive word can change a persons day, even if it’s from an absolute stranger. I’ve seen that actually in practice in my own life, I’ve stood out on a corner and litterally everyone that walked by, I would say something nice to them, like “hello how are you doing?” “I hope you have a wonderful day.” You can watch people that are just completely slumped down and obviously not having a good day, just straighten their shoulders a little more because someone has noticed them and made it a point to say “I hope you have a nice day.” and that alone can change, so you’re absolutely right…
N: It takes two seconds to say a kind word to somebody, and granted by the end of the day my wrists are killing me and I have done replaced the batteries in my mouse at least twice a week, because I have, I want everybody, I might be repetative in what I am saying, but at the same time I am meaning what I am saying. When I say “have a nice day” I mean it. And I want everybody that walks through Pagan Places door to feel at home to feel welcomed, to feel like they just got home from work and kicked off their shoes and just sit down in their recliner like “uh I’ve got a place to be me! and don’t have to look over my shoulder or watch my back or what ever.” because this is the atmosphere that I am trying so so very hard to create and honestly it’s spread. Granted we have 10 counselors and we have a welcoming commity and yeah that’s part of what we do, but it’s spread, I’ve noticed other people that are not counselors, other people that are just members, friends, they are picking up on that as well. “Hey how ya doin?” a little one or two words, and to make everybody feel better, and we have so so many different paths at Pagan Place, which is surprising, beautiful, wonderful and blows my mind at the same time, how everybody gets a long. We have everybody from Christians to HooDoo/VooDoo from one spectrum to the other, but everybody gets along and everybody sees people, they don’t see a path, granted we have our forums and we have our conversations and we have our debates and our discussions but we don’t have the flame wars and the hate, we have the comfort zone of having tea or being at Starbucks and discussing a conversation with somebody sitting at the table with you. That’s the kind of atmosphere that we have at Pagan Place and I cannot take credit for it, I really cannot I did not do this. The people did it, the only thing, the only rule that we have at Pagan Place is that, forgive me for putting it this way, “everybody plays nice in the sandbox or there’s the door.” That’s just it, everybody does their thing and everybody gets along, and I cannot take credit for it I promise you, I didn’t do it, I wished I could, I wish I could bottle it, I’d probably be a millionaire, but I did not do this, I respectfully asked is all I did.
D: In a conversation that you and I had, I think you nailed it with the, when you said “it’s partially because you chose not to grow fast.” you could have went out and been like “hey everyone come over here and check this out!” but often what I see when something like that happens there’s this huge influx of people and then all of a sudden there’s either nothing or it’s just a cess pool essentially, it’s a product, that kind of stuff is a product of growing to fast, you’ve allowed this to go casually and slowly and become what it is, it’s evolving infront of my own eyes and I’ve probably only been a member for 2 to 3 months at this point. It’s an amazing place to watch just the culture shift as it, as each person comes in they introduce something new and it is it’s always, you see something new coming from that next person that’s going to post something on that main wall. I got to tell you that’s one of the pieces I love most is that main wall where everyone can talk to anyone, you don’t have to be a friend to be a friend.
N: I, another reason for, backing up here a little bit, another reason for Pagan Place was because I was listening to my friends on facebook and twitter and everybody was complaining because at the time Facebook had just forced out their changes, their layout changes, going through Zuckerbergs, all his 99 rules and stuff. People hate change, they flat out hate change, so I again, resigned from job and thinking about it, and I started out with a software that I had bought and it turned out to bad, oh gosh it was past bad. And I got tired of fighting it, and litterally deleted the software, dumped the site and 8 months ago started all over again, and I told the hubby, Mr.E, Mr. Einstein, “I want a software that is a combination of Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, I want a combination of it all in one package. Now brains of the family, go find it.” is exactly what I said, and he found the software that we have now. And it really is, it’s simple because everybody knows how to use facebook, which is where the wall comes from, a lot of people use ming, our forums are setup like mings forums, so, twitter, you can send out and like and share and everything, it’s all combined into one package, everybody seems to enjoy it. Granted with any software you got glitches, and to everybody out there that has sent me “can we do this?” and “when can we do that?” I hear you and I am listening and I promise you that I am doing my best, and the site will grow, ok, please forgive me, something like this is not, litterally built over night. It is, you open the doors and it kinda, the software and the site grow as the people grow, if that makes any sense. So we’re getting there, we’re getting there, we’re only 8 months old and we have 800+ treasured gifts and members, so the slow growth from a social site point of view is a good thing, because it allows you to grow the technical side of things, kind of catch the problems as they arrive and fix them, before you have a massive flood and everybody yelling at you “hey this is broken.” “that don’t work” and “fix this” and “I don’t like it here.” and “Blah blah blah”. So you don’t want a flood because you lose control of a site that way.
D: Speaking of flood real quick, how has the site been holding up with the current influx of new members? Because, like, I’ve noticed something close to 10 sometimes 20 new members in a day, how has the actual software been holding up? Just to get onto the technical side of it.
N: So far, I mean, software, site software, we’re doing fantastic, I, oh gosh I hate saying this because it sounds so, I don’t know “look at me’ish”. But I own Pagan Place lock, stock and barrel, down to the server house that the server sits in, and so everything, not only do I own the software but we also have, you have the battle of hackers in China, trying to get into the servers, so even if, honestly, Pagan Place would withstand, pretty much the world coming to an end. So if the site ever goes down, then that means that something blew up.
D: Well that’s good to know, we’ll know exactly when to send a rescue team it sounds like.
N: We have more bells and whistles and notifications on this software to where if we uhm, if anything goes down, if anything even hiccups, we have 25 bells and whistles being emailed and going off to 15 different people.
D: Sounds like you have the Bat phone sitting next to your bed or something.
N: Yeah, I did this for a reason and call it coming up in the old school because of the fact that I, it’s kind of the saying “go big or go home” and I knew that Pagan Place would grow and I pretty much told my tech support, aka my husband, I said “I want big, I want facebook / google combined big” now right this minute I’m a little drop of water in a big old ocean, but if that ocean comes to the front door I want to be able to handle it. And so, we went big dog, so that’s why we have all of these security, which is our number 1 priority, members are not spammed, no there are no malware, there is no spyware, there is nothing on, on Pagan Place, if anybody, all links that are posted on Pagan Place are double checked, one by me, and two by the back up software. If there is any kind of link that is posted that is posted that is spamming or that leads to something that could harm one of our members if it’s clicked, it’s deleted ASAP like seconds after it’s posted. So security is a big big thing for us, so our members, because how many times have we gone to Facebook and clicked on something and it didn’t go, we got malware or spyware or games or something popping up like crazy. So we didn’t want that, so I told him “go big, I mean go HUGE.” so we got every bell and whistle you can think of.
D: Well from a technical stand point I definitely want to thank you personally because I’m one of those that for, oh I don’t know, close to 13 years had the ability to say “I had never gotten malware or a virus or anything like that” until I let a friend on my computer once, and then all of a sudden I ended up getting it so bad that I had to completely reformat my system. So having a place, like you said, that’s not in a situation, like Facebook where just random links can be posted, or the one that gets me is in Twitter you get all these direct messages that say “hey click here someone’s talking negative about you here.” So I definitely the first one, if not, probably the second one to thank you for being that strict about your security.
N: I just, I, honestly it is the hubby that has drilled it into my head for years, if we have to do the title thing he is a computer securities specialist, i.e. internet security.
D: Perfect man for the job.
N: he has drilled it in my head from day one, “don’t do this certain thing.” “don’t click that”, what have you. So it’s kind of part of living now, I can spot things, granted I am no technical person, but from his teachings it’s like “ok this is junk, that’s junk, don’t click this.” And I can kind of do the tech 101 with my friends, it’s like “ok this is junk do not click this link”, but I didn’t want Pagan Place to be that way, I didn’t want people to have to worry or look over their shoulders. Pagan Place is my family, these people are my family and I, somebody asked me the other day, I protect my son, my husband and my Pagan Place family, I will chew you up for breakfast and spit your bones out for lunch if you mess with any of those. And that is security and safety at their home, Pagan Place, is number 1, I don’t want them to have to worry about it. Because we have a lot of people that are not technical savvy, like you, like me, like Mr. Einstein, and they are our gramma’s and our aunts and our cousins that are, they don’t have somebody telling them “this is junk don’t click this” and “it will add what ever to your computer.” So I make sure that everything is very simple and easy to use as well as very safe and easy to use. So, I’m sorry I don’t mean to keep going on and on about this but yes, we are very very protective and very secure when it comes to Pagan Place, and that was set into place before the doors were even openned and that goes all the way from the server to the software.
D: Now, now we’ve harped, we’ve talked a lot about the technical aspect of security and such, let’s get into another piece that you’re very passionate about also, which is more of the social security and no we’re not talking about that money that’s not going to be there for the next generation or anything like that, we’re talking about the people feeling safe to be able to be themselves, because you do allow all faiths and all paths on Pagan Place, how do you keep it from being, uhm “bickering central”? I mean how do you keep it from being that drama hub of Facebook and Twitter or uh, rest in peace Myspace even though it’s still on the web?
N: The only reason Myspace is still on the web is because it’s linked up to Twitter.
D: I think the actual reason is because it’s an easy place for kids under 18 to go see boobs.
N: Well, my, hello, let me retract what I said, not so much retract, but let me state the comment I made about Myspace is my personal two cents, ok. I don’t want to get any hate mail.
D: Send all hate mail to DerikEoS@Gmail.com. I respond to every one of them.
N: Oh goodness, but as for Pagan Place, I again, I cannot take credit for this, I really can’t, I, it’s the people that set the tone of the community, of the family, of the house, the home, I, all I did was respectfully ask that drama be left at the door. Now we are going to have those one or two, ok, and like I said we have 10 counsel members that help maintain Pagan Place as far as, oh my gosh they’re my right hand, and my heart, you asked me about sleeping, they’re the ones that allow me to sleep, when I do sleep. But we, we don’t demand, ok, if you ever see me, in public especially, demand anything, that is because I have gone through the pretty please, and please don’ts and finally to the point of “you dude it’s like this or there’s the door.” ok. So we again, hey I nudge, I guide I kind of steer the ship a little, but as far as the drama itself, I respectfully ask and so far, it’s, everybody has been respectful of my request, so I’ve had to ban one person since day one, and that was pretty much over spamming, which we do not allow on the main wall, and I went through, like three months of “please” and “here’s the steps of where to put your stuff, please, please, please stop spamming our members” and it didn’t work, so I pretty much said “ok enough is enough, I’ve tried please I’ve tried respect I’ve tried everything”, so it’s like “you dude, it’s like heads up or there’s the door.” he still didn’t listen to I nuked him from the site, flat out. And when I nuked him I meant nuked, so, and I hate doing it. I hate, hate, hate doing it, I hate being mean, I don’t like being mean and I try not to. Some people call me alpha, I have this “alpha” tendency. [cell phone goes off]
D: [laughter] that’s amazing.
N: Sorry about that, my phone, I forgot to put it on vibrate, that is, that’s Mr.E was texting me, that’s his transformers text, cell phone thing. Sorry about that. It’s on vibrate now.
D: Ok, well let’s move on a little bit, we’ve focused a lot on Pagan Place but you also have Pagan Mart and that’s been around a lot longer than Pagan Place, how is Pagan Mart doing in the current economic situation or over all, whether it be because you’ve maybe been able to link the two if you have, just how is it doing in general?
N: Pagan Mart does it’s own thing, ok, you litterally got apples and oranges between Pagan Place and Pagan Mart, Pagan Mart has been around for almost 11 years, it started out, I was selling on eBay, and eBay wanted you to buy a store front type of thing, you know pay them so much a month kind of stuff. And Mr.E came out and he goes “Ok, why pay them when you can make your own?” So, instead of forking out $26 a month to eBay he pretty much built me a store and said “there you go have fun.” And eBay pretty much shut out the little guys, to go with the big business, they pretty much flushed my business down the drain and Pagan Mart, I just kind of converted everything over to Pagan Mart, and it holds it’s own. I mean when, I call it, Pagan Mart is kind of like my art studio, because whenever I get creative and artsy and create a book of shadows page for my personal book, I’ll put it on Pagan Mart, so that’s pretty much how it came about, and granted I was fortunate enough to have fabulous friends and people that supported me throughout the 10, 11 years and my eBay friends and my supporters followed me to Pagan Mart, and so it kind of does it’s own thing, it just kind of, it’s there and I as far as the economy. About a year ago now, I think it was, I used to print, I used to laser print everything on beautiful parchment paper, and shipped, I had oils and oh gosh I had all kinds of hard goods and what have you. But it got to expensive and then when the economy dropped and everything, I felt really guilty charging people $4.95 to send priority mail for a sheet of paper. So I gutted down the site, got all new software, rebuilt it back up from the ground up and went total PDF for everything, so I dropped the price litterally in half on all the items that are in the store, and there’s no shipping and handling and now when people buy stuff it’s instant. And everyone seems to like it…
D: Well, you know, for myself I like that idea because one it shows that you’re evolving with the technological culture, but also like you said, you get it instantly it allows it to be adaptable to multiple places, it doesn’t take up any space except on your hard drive, it’s an amazing option versus a physical piece, and then if you want it, like you said, you’ve been able to cut the price in half, that makes it more economic, if someone wants to buy more they get more out of it. So I’m going to say you did a service in doing that, and you’ve been able to keep your hand on the pulse of what your customers are probably looking at.
N: I honestly, 10 years ago ok, I’m not going to lie, Mr. E came out and told me “Why don’t you do it this way?” and 10 years ago epublishing and ebooks didn’t exist, so to me, what he was telling me did not make sense. So here I go and I go buy this humoungus laser printer, and I was so pround because of being able to three color laser print, back then, trust me, it was a big to-do, I thought it was Christmas at my house, it was crystal clear prints and everybody loved it. I even get requests today to drop ship, or to print, but I’m sorry I can’t do it anymore because the printer is DOA and everybody, it just costs to much and I felt so guilty charging people, and the price of shipping has gone up again, and I only ship through priority mail this way the person that buys has a tracking number, their package does not get lost and it gives me a guarantee that they have received it, so there’s no this “I’ve bought this and never received it, and it got lost in the mail.” so with priority mail the price it kept going up and up and up, and if I went to a cheaper way of shipping, then the persons items could have been damaged in the mail or tore up or what have you and I didn’t want that, I didn’t want that. I always think about people first, because I shop just like everybody else does and the first thing I look at is, how much is shipping and handling? And it’s like ok if I’m going to pay $13.95 for an epub then I might as well just drive to Barnes and Nobles and buy the hard cover book for $13.95, And save. So that was just, I pretty much run everything from a peoples point of view because I’m nobody special, I am nothing special, I am just like everybody else and I shop like everybody else and I think like everybody else. And it’s, when it comes to marketing and buying stuff, and it’s like “ok I’m sorry I’m not going to screw my friends.” and if they want, if I’m privilaged enough for them to come to Pagan Mart to want to buy one of my items, I’m sorry, I’m not going to screw them. I would rather them be happy in what they got and be able to afford what they want, than charge an arm and a leg. My daddy always taught me, he goes, “would you rather have a once a year thousand dollars, or would you rather have a happy friend that everytime they came to see you gave you a dollar?” and so that’s how he ran his business, that’s how he taught me how to do it, and friends come first not money.
D: That’s a great lesson too, and I wish more people would understand that because the way I like to tell my daughter is a situation of “would you like a large one time payment, or would you like to keep that residual?” because it may not be everytime they’re going to give you, like your dad said, $1000 but who’s to say they’re not going to visit you 100 times and give you $15?
N: Well, your friends, people, I have, I keep repeating this and I mean this from the bottom of my soul, my friends are treasured gifts in my life and I love each and every one of them because they have supported me, they have backed me, they have oh my gosh, everybody has always been there for me. So, I just always think of them, and Mr.E, I am not a money person and Mr.E, he will vouch for this one big time, he swears one day he is going to come home and the house is going to be gone because I gave it to somebody. I mean, if somebody, is on hard times and they will comment “I like this”, it’s like here take it have fun enjoy, you’re my friend, hey catch me on the rebound. That’s how I look at things, so, I don’t see money I never have, I’m just not a money person, hey the electric bill is paid, we got food in the fridge, we’re good, are we rich? No. Do I want to be? Are you kidding? No.
D: More money causes more stress and more problems.
N: Hello! But, I mean, I, my friends support me and I hope they feel and see that they support me just as much and give back what they give me. I just, I’m just a people person and I will fight to the death for the little guy. That’s just me, that is my DNA, I don’t care if I know you or I don’t know you, if I see the little guy being abused in anyway shape fashion or form, I am the first one that is dead center in the middle of it saying “who do you think you are? and pick on somebody bigger like me! Let’s go!” I think that’s where the Alpha title comes from.
D: Most likely… Most likely…
N: I just, I’m nobody special, I’m just me and I just don’t like people being taken advantage of, if that makes any sense..
D: Absolutely, absolutely, alright well as we’re wrapping up, “interview” conversation, I’m going to call it a conversation at this point, we’ve had laughs we’ve had tears I know I’ve cried a couple times from laughter, epsecially the transformer. Do you have any other information you would like to share with us that we haven’t been able to cover at this point?
N: This being my first interview, honestly I’m not sure, other than to say that, I love everybody that has taken the time to listen to me and my ramblings, thank you very much, I love you guys to death, thank you for your support, thank you for your kindness, please know that I am there for you if you ever need anything and Pagan Place, it’s doors are open to everybody and everybody is welcome to be there and to be themselves, and just kick back prop up their feet and enjoy life. One thing I did want to mention about Pagan Place if I can, is that there’s a place there for everything, people that own an etsy store, I have a place for them to put their banner for free, advertising on Pagan Place is very welcomed, it’s encouraged, how ever the only thing that I ask is please put it in the proper places ok? If you don’t know where to put it, message me, I will tell you, because we have places for Etsy stores and bloggers and Brick and Mortar stores and everybody is welcome to advertise, in the correct places, I just respectfully ask that. And we ask that you don’t spam our members because there’s no reason to, everybody’s seen, everybody’s products are seen. We have a fabulous market place where people are welcome to post their wares, the only thing that is charged for on Pagan Place, which I just added a couple months ago. And this was pretty much more Mr.E than me, and we have banner advertising, but it is litterally gutted down prices, ok, for the everyday person, we have banner ads at the top right and bottom of the page. And prices start at $10 a month, there is no contract, nobody is locked into nothing, and you pay as you go. At the end of the money he sends out reports to everybody, letting them know full stats from their banners and how many times it was clicked and where the traffic comes from and all this kind of stuff. So, again I just wanted to let everybody know that there is, there is litterally a place for everybody to do anything and everything they want on Pagan Place. The only thing that I ask is that they be respectful of other people and accept people for who they are, and leave drama at the door.
D: Absolutely, and you know my personal opinion and anyone that listens to my casts on any regular basis, they know I’m quite opinionated, but in my opinion if you can’t follow those simple rules, you need to be put in a box, a very small box, a 3ft by 3ft by 3ft box, and then we’ll just drop you off in the middle of the ocean and see if you form an island.
N: Everybody has an opinion, everybody has their own thought processes and you will never meet two pagans, two witches, two druids, two whoevers that are the same. And everybody is different, what’s good for you might not be good for somebody else, so ok that’s great that’s fine, that’s what you believe, yay for you I’m happy and you got a good thing going, but it don’t work for me, so ok, you have your thoughts and your opinions, and I got mine, and we’re cool ok? I don’t force mine on you and you don’t force yours on me, and we are all happy and meet in the middle, and that’s kind of the way that I ask it be, or respectfully ask, because it’s like, alright I’m going to use this and I don’t know if I should or not, but back in the 60′s when you had a line drawn in the sand of black and white, and everybody remembers this and it was so sad and it was so, so, bad back then, and it’s kind of what we’ve evolved today where everybody’s accepted for who they are, no matter what color they are, no matter what race they are, no matter what religion they are, everybody is accepted for the person that they are and that is what Pagan Place is built on.
D: And that’s wonderful.
N: And I think I’ve answered all of your questions…
D: I think so, but I think I only have one more and that is, do you have a blessing or just a thought provoking statement that you would like to leave us with?
N: Oh Goodness…
D: I mean the whole thing has been thought provoking for me.
N: I could come up with some big long wordy philisophical stuff but I’m going to say what I say to everybody, everyday, big hugs, lots of love, and you’re treasured gifts in my life and thank you for supporting me.
D: Wow, thank you for giving us a place to do so. Nyx, we appreciate everything you do on a daily basis. And like I…
N: You’ve gone and made me cry.
D: Well good, I cried when I laughed, so I’m glad because that means it came from your heart.
N: You made me all wishy washy, shame on you.
D: I’m good at that I was raised in a house full of women.
N: Alpha’s don’t cry…
D: Alpha’s do cry, alpha’s do cry, so anyways, that was Evolution of Skepticism, we want to thank you for listening to us, Nyx I want to thank you for being on I want to welcome you back anytime you’d like to join us again for the conversation and thank you for giving me the opportunity to be the first one to actually interview you and get your voice out there and the way you feel about the situation both on Pagan Place as well as Facebook and things like that, and hopefully we can get some attention to it that maybe most wouldn’t, or from people that wouldn’t normally pay attention because I got to admit that I have a lot of Atheists out there that are listening, and I want to make it known that even you guys are welcome, as long as you are open minded, I’ve seen this you are welcome, so thank you and have a wonderful day.
We spoke about Missionaries in the first and third world as well as how Non-Christian beliefs could use these or a less invasive version of these tactics to spread the concept of Critical Thinking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking) we also answered the question “What do you do when they come knocking?”
As a spin off from my Quick Cast Series, I have begun to answer questions instead of ask them. I hope to keep this going on a weekly basis.
I have a question that is maybe a little different. I recently asked a Filipino friend if they had a Pagan/ Witchcraft tradition in his country, and he said yes they did. But I suspect this is not commonly known. Would you care to research and find out more?
I have been hearing murmurs of “Christian witches” these past couple of years. Appearantly, there are those who hold the Christian beliefs and yet, practice magic and call upon spirits of the Earth to fullfill their needs. What say you about the inherant conflict surrounding their “jealous God”?
Filipino Witchcraft (Kulam):
Christian Pagan/Wiccan (Trinitarian Tradition):
Chicago Tribune -
Atheist faces new setback in suit over Illinois cross – http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-atheist-faces-new-setback-in-suit-over-illinois-cross-20120608,0,6841119.story
Loganville-Grayson Patch -
Born Again Pagan – http://loganville.patch.com/articles/born-again-pagan
Gulf News -
Black magic gear fails to get past Dubai customs – http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/black-magic-gear-fails-to-get-past-dubai-customs-1.1034159
Monash Weekly -
Atheist has faith in power of dialogue – http://www.monashweekly.com.au/news/local/news/general/atheist-has-faith-in-power-of-dialogue/2585001.aspx
Note to smug atheists: Yes we win the debates but we have little real power. – http://www.examiner.com/article/note-to-smug-atheists-yes-we-win-the-debates-but-we-have-little-real-power
Huffington Post -
Questions on Science and Religion – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victor-stenger/questions-on-science-and-_b_1585151.html
The Blaze -
ATHEIST FAMILY LOSES LAWSUIT TO HAVE ‘UNDER GOD’ REMOVED FROM THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – http://www.theblaze.com/stories/atheist-family-loses-lawsuit-to-have-under-god-removed-from-the-pledge-of-allegiance/
Bulgaria puts “vampire” skeleton on display – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/11/uk-bulgaria-odd-vampires-idUSLNE85A02E20120611
Irish Times -
Straight from the atheist’s mouth – but Dawkins got it theologically wrong – http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0612/1224317752830.html
India Realtime -
Religion Journal: What do India’s Atheists Think? – http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/06/12/religion-journal-what-do-indias-atheists-think/?mod=google_news_blog
From ‘sacred underwear’ to Victoria’s Secret: The devout Mormon woman who chose love over faith when her husband became an atheist – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2158283/From-sacred-underwear-Victorias-Secret-The-devout-Mormon-woman-chose-love-faith-husband-atheist.html#ixzz1xjy3cIXK
Painting Over the Cross; Protecting Pagan Symbols – http://aclj.org/school-prayer/painting-over-cross-protecting-pagan-symbols
Stl Today -
DC atheist group to add Missouri and Illinois lobbying arms – http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/political-fix/dc-atheist-group-to-add-missouri-and-illinois-lobbying-arms/article_83b20de8-b4d2-11e1-8ab8-0019bb30f31a.html#ixzz1xjzAxyLy
Daily Tribune -
Watchdog atheist group to appeal Warren ruling – http://www.dailytribune.com/article/20120612/NEWS01/120619878/watchdog-atheist-group-to-appeal-warren-ruling
UFO: New York, California orb formations foreshadow archons – http://www.examiner.com/article/ufo-new-york-california-orb-formations-foreshadow-archons
San Diego Reader -
Atheist Lobbying Group to Install California Chapter – http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/news-ticker/2012/jun/13/atheist-lobbying-group-to-install-california-chapt/
Unbelieving preachers get help to ‘come out’ as open atheists – http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/13/unbelieving-preachers-get-help-to-come-out-as-open-atheists/
Jakarta Globe -
Activists Call for Acquittal of Embattled Atheist Alexander – http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/activists-call-for-acquittal-of-embattled-atheist-alexander/523839
LA Times -
Nativity scenes banned at Santa Monica park after atheist dispute – http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/06/nativity-scenes-banned-santa-monica-park-atheist-dispute.html
Baptist Press -
Group criticizes B&H ‘Military Bibles’ – http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38037
It’s been far to long since I ended up putting this book down. I got caught up in the fight between theism and anti-theism and was pulled from the original mission of this blog in general, which was taking a skeptical approach towards religious texts related to different world views. This was meant to highlight the great and not so great aspects of religion and how it is said to apply to our day to day lives.
So I decided it was time to revisit this book and actually give it the benefit of a thorough read and review. I am happy to be back on this path after a long period of self discovery as well as some promotion of this blog. We are becoming more popular by the day it seems, with a weekly podcast, quick casts on a 2 day a week basis, and even some debates raging all around the blogosphere. We have stretched our arms into some of the most recent scientific discovers as well as going as far as to compare polytheism to monotheism.
Oddly enough though, this did do one thing that I had not intended on doing. It revealed my primary choice of belief to the world well before I had intended it to be revealed. In my opinion this was somewhat a negative because it can be considered that I may shine a bias light on the texts related to my belief system. I am here to tell you that what this really means is that I will most likely scrutinize my own belief systems more so than others, due to the fact that I do not want anyone to understand my beliefs in a relative or nonsensical way.
I hope those that have been reading this understand that my intention is to bring all faiths to an understanding rather than show why one faith is better than another, my hope is that anyone who uses religion as a guiding light within their lives have chosen one that is truly right for them and has not just followed the masses because they are afraid of criticism from the community that they reside in.
With that, lets get into some of the highlights and interesting points of Chapter 2 of this Scott Cunningham’s book.
“Every deity that has received worship upon this planet exists with the archetypal God and Goddess. The complex pantheons of deities that arose in many parts of the world are simply aspects of the two. Every goddess is resident within the concept of the Goddess; every god in the God.”
So what I am understanding Scott is saying is that Wicca allows for a conceptualization of any god or goddess as a representation of “The God and Goddess” of the Wiccan religion. He seems to be stating that ultimately there are only two types supreme beings and those two have been split up and represented as pantheons by many cultures throughout history.
Let’s see what else he has to say…
“The Old Ones didn’t die when the ancient pagan religions fell to Christianity in Europe. Most of the rites vanished, but they weren’t the only effective ones. Wicca is alive and well and the deities respond to our calls and invocations.”
So what I am reading here is that Scott claims Wicca believes any God or Goddess can be attributed to Wicca. It seems he is saying that despite the large surge of Christianity in Europe, those legends and lore stayed with us through word of mouth and story telling passed down through lineage.
“They have been given so many names they have been called the Nameless Ones. In appearance they look exactly as we wish them to, for they’re all the deities that ever were. The Goddess and God are all-powerful because they are the creators of all manifest and unmanifest existence. We can contact and communicate with them because a part of us is in them and they are within us.”
Now this is a piece I have a bit of an uncertainty of, mainly in the commenting of “…creators of all manifest and unmanifest existence.” As I have recently had revealed to me is the concept that existence must be a precursor to everything. Meaning they in fact cannot be the “…creators of all manifest and unmanifest existence.” due to the fact that this means their existence self-refutes that claim, you cannot exist yet be the creator of all existence. My belief is that these superior beings that we worship as a God and Goddess are a bi-product of the existence of the universe, they are the representation of self and nature throughout this world and the universe beyond. This does not mean they created but instead are the rulers of this natural existence.
“Religion based entirely on feminine energy, however, is as unbalanced and unnatural as one totally masculine in focus. The ideal is a perfect balance of the two. The Goddess and God are equal, complementary.”
This seems to relate not only to “Holy Book” fearing religions but also certain forms of Wicca that have chosen to deify the Goddess while casting out the God from their rituals and worship. If you look at nature, there is almost always a masculine and feminine energy present within all of creation, this in itself is said to be representative of the Goddess and God. This does not mean “man and woman” but rather plainly masculine and feminine.
“The Goddess is the universal mother. She is the source of fertility, endless wisdom, and loving caresses. As the Wicca know her, she is often of three aspects: the maiden, the mother, and the crone, symbolized in the waxing, full, and waning moon. She is at once the unploughed field, the full harvest, and the dormant, frost-covered earth. She gives birth to abundance. But as life is her gift, she lends it with the promise of death. This is not darkness and oblivion, but rest from the toils of physical existence. It is human existence between incarnations.”
This is a very detailed description of the Goddess of Wicca, what I find interesting is the description of her as the Maiden, Mother and Crone, this seems very similar to the Christian Father, Son and Holy Ghost. So the question comes to my mind, who exactly had this belief first? There is historical representation of Germanic and Celtic druid sects of all women who worshiped their Goddess (as Mother Nature) which seems eerily similar to the Wiccan definition of the Goddess.
“The Goddess has been depicted as a huntress running with her hounds; a celestial deity striding across the sky with stardust falling from her heels; the eternal Mother heavy with child; the weaver of our lives and deaths; a crone walking by waning moonlight seeking out the weak and forlorn, and as many other beings. But no matter how we envision her, she is omnipresent, changeless, eternal.”
Much of this seems to relate to the concept that the Goddess and God come to us as we choose to envision them, but also these passages show the inherent relation between the Goddess and the Moon. Many, if not most, Wiccans seem to attribute the Goddess to the Moon, I’ll be honest this is one that while I enjoy the concept of, I have left for others to reflect on. That’s not to say I don’t perform my personal rituals towards the Goddess in relation with the Moon, there is just to much shared energy between the Moon and the Earth, but personally I see the Goddess as representation of the fertile bed of the Earth, always renewing and changing while casting her shadow upon the Moon to show us which phase she is in.
“The God has been revered for eons. He is neither the stern, all-powerful deity of Christianity and Judaism, nor is he simply the consort of the Goddess. God or Goddess, they are equal, one.
We see the God in the sun, brilliantly shining overhead during the day, rising and setting in the endless cycle that governs our lives. Without the sun we could not exist; therefore it has been revered as the source of all life, the warmth that bursts the dormant seeds into life and hastens the greening of the earth after the cold snows of winter.”
This is a brilliant definition of the God, though it seems a little lackluster to me all in all. There was a lot put to the Goddess, but so far it seems more like Scott is trying to cover up the concept that the God is just a sperm donor for all of life as we know it. Let’s see what else he has to say about the God before I go to much further in my review.
“As the horned God he is sometimes seen wearing horns on his head, symbolizing his connection with these beasts.”
This has long been considered where the “Horned Devil” has originated. This is the concept formed of the Greek Satyr’s such as Pan and Dionysus, the God is considered to often enjoy revelry as a Satyr.
“With the Goddess, he also celebrates and rules sex. The Wicca don’t avoid sex or speak of it in hushed words. It’s a part of nature and is accepted as such. Since it brings pleasure, shifts our awareness away from the everyday world, and perpetuates our species, it is thought to be sacred. The God lustily imbues us with the urge that ensures our species’ biological future.”
What I am taking from this is that while several faiths, such as Christianity, consider sexual relation for purposes other than procreation is a “sin”, Wicca does not feel the same, instead the teachings of Wicca accept the idea of sexuality and consider it a natural part of existence, not to mention that it advocates lust as long as it is not to a degree of harming one of the participants. The God is the representation of lust, much like men in current society seem to be the ones burdened with the yoke of lusty affairs. Again, this is not a negative to Wicca, instead it should be celebrated, as long as no-one involved is harmed.
Of old, the God was the Sky Father, and the Goddess, the Earth Mother. The God of the sky, of rain and lightning, descended upon and united with the Goddess, spreading seed upon the land, celebrating her fertility.
One of the most well known Mythological figures for this statement would be Uranus and Gaia from Greek Mythology. These were the “first gods”, though they were in fact said to be created by Chaos. Uranus and Gaia were the creators of all things, they created the Titans, Cyclops, Humans, and all life in the Greek Mythology. Though referencing that they came from “Chaos” seems to be a similar story to The Big Bang Theory where everything came from nothing. This seems to me that the early religions may have a better understanding of how the Universe was created than we give them credit for.
Today the deities of Wicca are still firmly associated with fertility, but every aspect of human existence can be linked with the Goddess and God. They can be called upon to help us sort through the vicissitudes of our existences and bring joy into our often spiritually bereft lives.
This doesn’t mean that when problems occur we should leave them in the hands of the Goddess. This is a stalling maneuver, an avoidance of dealing with the bumps on the road of life. As Wiccans, however, we can call on the Goddess and God to clear our minds and to help us help ourselves. Magic is an excellent means of accomplishing this. After attuning with the Goddess and God, Wiccans ask their assistance during the magical rite that usually follows.
My take on what Scott is relaying here is that while we associate our God and Goddess’ to the same forms of guidance as the ancient God’s and Goddess’ we do not rely on them to take care of our problems, instead we ask them for guidance on certain matters. Also he talks about how we don’t leave our problems in the hands of the Goddess to solve, this is far different than the Christian philosophy of God being the one to shoulder all of the spiritual and metaphysical burden. Wiccans instead solve their own issues and ask for assistance only when we cannot use critical thinking and logical thought processes to take care of the situation.
The power is in the hands of every practitioner, not specialized priests or priestesses who perform these feats for the masses. This is what makes Wicca a truly satisfying way of life. We have direct links with the deities. No intermediaries are needed; no priests or confessors or shamans. We are the shamans.
This line spoke volumes to me, it reminds us that we are the ones who must answer for our actions and also we must take charge in our lives rather than appealing to another human for forgiveness or interpretation of a situation that they only have 2nd hand knowledge of. We do not rely on a clergy member to invoke the beings of higher power but instead we are able to do this at our own accord. No lines, no waiting for availability, just a direct line to guidance. The down side is, it leaves it to us to interpret our own experiences and guidance, meaning that if we are new to the Wiccan way we may be wrong. But, this is where another aspect of Wicca comes in, it is an experiential religion, meaning that we are able to share our experience and ask others that may have had a similar experience for their input, but in the end it is for us to interpret for our own personal situation.
If you wish to explore the concepts of the Goddess and God, read books on mythology from any country in the world. Read the myths but look for their underlying themes. The more you read, the more information you’ll have at your fingertips; eventually it will merge into a nonstructured but extremely complex knowledge bank concerning the deities. In other words, you’ll begin to know them.
As I mentioned previously, we can look towards the ancient mythologies as reference materials for the way cultures understood deities. The main difference between those texts and the standard Wiccan philosophy is that they had many Gods and Goddesses, but Wicca has solidified the concept that each of these Gods and/or Goddesses were aspects of the God and Goddess represented in Wicca. It is mentioned quite a bit by Wiccan’s that when we invoke the God or Goddess they will appear in a way in which we can best relate and understand dependent either upon our concept of the God or Goddess or in a way which best relates to the situation. For instance if I chose to invoke the Goddess for Wisdom, she may appear to me in the form of Athena from Greek Mythology due to the fact that Athena’s prime representation was that of Wisdom, yet if I am having marital issues she may appear to me in the form of Hera for counseling. Also what he references here is the fact that the more you know the more power you have pertaining to invocation and understanding of how the deities have represented themselves throughout history when dealing with humanity.
This is one of the secrets of Wicca – deity dwells within.
As a nature based religion Wicca believes that the deities are not only within the world around us but also a part of us. We are a piece of the universe and the universe is a piece of us, meaning that anything that resides within the universe is also a part of us. Including the God and Goddess.
The Goddess and God are real, viable entities, possessing the force that created the universe. Attuning with them changes us forever. It also sparks new hope for our planet and for our continued existence upon it.
Here is a piece that I actually disagree with Scott over. Perhaps the universe we exist in may be a creation of the God and Goddess, but I don’t believe Scott was meaning to state that the God and Goddess are residents of a multiverse when he wrote this, obviously I cannot guarantee this was his concept of the residency of the God and Goddess. While I do subscribe to the concept of a multiverse and even an omniverse, I believe that the God and Goddess of this universe was created along side the universe rather than being the creators of the universe. I also believe that the only reason we call them a God and Goddess is due to the fact we have no better description for such beings, if they even require such a description.
If this rite is too formalized for you, change it or write your own. This is the basic thrust of this book: do it your way, not my way simply because I’ve set it down on paper. I can never fit my feet into someone else’s footprints on the sand. There’s no one true right and only way in Wicca; that thinking belongs to monotheistic religions that have largely become political and business institutions.
Scott truly highlights one of the main tenants of Wicca which is freedom and liberty. We are free to tailor our beliefs to our methods of acceptance. Though I must admit eventually Wicca will no longer be Wicca if it becomes “to tailored”, it will eventually either evolve into another preexisting religion or a religious alternative that is exclusive to yourself. Wicca is quickly becoming a term similar to Pagan, its real meaning is becoming to transparent and broad that the term Wicca is becoming an umbrella instead of a true description.
Discovering the deities of Wicca is a never-ending experience. They constantly reveal themselves. As the shamans say, “Be attentive.” All nature is singing to us of her secrets. The Goddess constantly draws aside her veil; the God lights us up with inspiration and illumination. We simply don’t notice.
This is another reference to the fact that Wicca is an experiential religion that you must actually be an active participant to understand and receive guidance. Not everyone, even in Wicca, requires the guidance of the God or Goddess, but by being aware of the signs around them they can understand the path that they are walking without invocation the deities.
There are some who say that we (and anyone else who won’t follow their rituals or embrace their theology) are worshiping Satan. Not that we know it, of course; Satan is too tricky for that, according to these experts.
Such people can’t believe that any religion but their own can be meaningful, fulfilling, and true to its adherent. So if we worship the God and Goddess, they say, we’re denying all good and are worshiping Satan, the embodiment of all negativity and evil.
Wiccans aren’t so close-minded. Perhaps it’s the greatest of all human vanities to assume that one’s religion is the only way to deity. Such beliefs have caused incalculable bloodshed and the rise of the hideous concept of holy wars.
The basis of this misconception seems to be the concept of a pristine, pure, positive being – God. If this deity is the sum of all good, worshippers believe that there must be an equally negative one as well. Thus, Satan.
The Wicca don’t accept such ideas. We acknowledge the dark aspects of the Goddess and the God as well as the bright. All nature is composed of opposites, and this polarity is also resident within ourselves. Thus darkest human traits as well as the brightest are locked within our unconsciousness. It is only our ability to rise above destructive urges, to channel such energies into positive thoughts and actions, that separates us from mass-murderers and sociopaths.
This is a reference to such religions as Christianity where they believe they have the one and only way to clarity and/or perfection, and if you don’t subscribe to their concepts you have no option, but to unwittingly worship their entity of evil. Instead Wiccans accept that we all have both good and “evil” in us, and the God and Goddess are not immune to this duality of nature. For instance, the wolf is a vicious hunter, often taking down the weak for food, but this same creature is one of the most social creatures in the world, it builds a small community that is sustained by the packs local food sources, they are also vicious protectors of their pack mates, they will come at a moments notice to aid another pack member if they are in trouble.
Any and all religions are real, the genuine article, to their practitioners. There can never be one religion, prophet, or savior that will satisfy all six billion humans. Each of us must find our ideal way to attune with deity. For some, it’s Wicca.
Wiccan’s and most Polytheist/Pagans do not believe that any single religion is incorrect. We believe that each person must find their own path and in that search and understanding we find what is right for us. Due to the fact that we are all different parts of the same universe we all have a role to play and within that role we have a belief that is proper for our view of the world and the life that we must live.
Wiccans emphasize the bright aspects of the deities because this gives us purpose to grow and evolve to the highest realm of existence. When death, destruction, hurt, pain and anger appear in our lives (as they must), we can turn to the Goddess and God and know that this is a part of them too. We needn’t blame a devil on these natural aspects of life and call upon a pure-white god to fend them off.
This piece is very similar to the “we don’t follow their god so they believe we worship their devil” portion from above. Wiccan’s and most nature based religions understand that death, destruction and sorrow are all parts of the life cycle of nature. These experiences help us grow and understand ourselves, as well as remind us that we are not immune to hardship but instead should welcome these as a potential for clarity and understanding of our lives. This also gives us a great point to attune with the God and Goddess because they too experience loss and sorrow, but instead of relying on us to bring their morality up they can help us better understand how to grow and develop through this loss.
And that was Chapter 2, I hope you all enjoyed this and are looking forward to Chapter 3. I should get it out in a much better timed fashion than the space between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. As you notice, my ending of Chapter 2′s review ends on a much different note than my Chapter 1. Chapter 1 I feel shows this books age and lack of understanding that has developed over the last 10+ years. Everyone must remember this book was originally published in 1988 and Scott Cunningham passed onto his next life in 1993, so there cannot be any rewrites of his work or updating his views as his understanding evolves through the years.
http://www.facebook.com/andijam420 – Andie’s facebook
http://www.facebook.com/RamblingWIccan – Ramblings of a Wandering Wiccan
http://pagan-place.com/profile/ANdieM – Andie’s Pagan Place Profile
http://amzn.to/L8SpWn – Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic
http://amzn.to/JJVsTM – Simple Wicca (Simple Wisdom (Conari))
http://amzn.to/LxyGQL – Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small
http://amzn.to/JUdPu5 – The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells: The Ultimate Reference Book for the Magical Arts