Friday, January 11, 2013

Free Friday (1/11/13)

The Returning sun.


While I'm the first to admit that I prefer the cooler months to the warmer ones I have to say that I am so happy to have the sunlight gradually returning to my little world.  I am a sunshine baby, just not a heat one :)  Spring and Autumn are my favorite times of year, those in-between times.  I'm a bit like my cat at this time of year though, I find myself drawn to areas in my house where I can bask in the sunlight without the frigid coldness that is outside. This year I feel more drawn to the sun's energies than I have previously at this time and I think that is telling about the balance I wish to achieve in my life.  So for today I give a salute to the sun, welcome back!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday (1-10-13)

I am thankful for...

  1. The relationship with my husband that allows us to openly share and connect and be truthful about how we feel.
  2. The ability to see my own faults and work on improving them
  3. Being employed and financially stable
  4. The love of friends
  5. The growth in my will power with regards to getting healthy again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Witches Bottles and Spell Bottles

A brief discussion on Witches bottles and Spell bottles

Quite often the term witches bottle and spell bottles are used interchangeably which in essence is not correct as they are indeed two separate things.

Witches Bottles:

Historically these bottles became popular in the 1600s as a means of defense and protection against witchcraft.  There have been examples unearthed in many places including in Greewich and even in Pennsylvania.  These bottles are based on the idea of sympathetic magic and were designed to protect and to cause harm to those sending the magic.  Traditionally made in pottery vessels (there is some evidence for glass bottles having been used also) they contained sharp items (nails, pins etc), bodily items (urine, hair, fingernails etc) and other items such as bones, sulphur, ribbons etc.  The idea was that the bodily items would draw the magic aimed at the person to the bottle through association and that the nails etc would harm the practitioner casting the magic.  These bottles would usually be buried top down on the property under a fireplace ( for its perceived ease of access by witches and evil spirits), under the floor, in the yard, or they could be plastered into walls etc.

Today's witches bottles follow similar lines to the traditional design, however their purpose is somewhat different.  These bottles are designed for protection and for many practitioners the intent is to draw and trap negative energies not to mirror them back or cause harm to the source.  Recipes usually involve nails or pins, wine, rosemary, salt and other items depending on your path and intention.


Spell Bottles:

Unlike Witches Bottles spell bottles are used for any number of purposes.  There is a history of these bottles being used throughout various practices, especially Hoodoo, and as prayer bottles in abrahamic faiths.  In essence they are a physical representation of your spell work and are often kept visible so that ones repeated focus on them will continue to add emphasis to the spell being cast.  These bottles are usually glass and their ingredients obviously differ dependent on what the spell itself is. They are often sealed with wax and decorated or even painted appropriately for the intent.  This decorative nature adds to the element of drawing attention to the spell being worked, if your eyes and mind are constantly drawn to the bottle by its presentation than your thoughts are constantly being added to the intent held within the bottle.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Nature of the Divine

The Nature of the Divine

How many of you have been asked to explain what you mean when you talk about the Divine/Deity/Gods etc?  Have you struggled to have it make sense to the person asking?  Have you struggled to come to a solid conclusion in your own mind?  How do you put that into words?  Do you think it even matters?

I think this is one area in which those that follow a pagan path(1) counter resistance not only among ourselves but from those outside our belief system.  Firstly, the practical - there is such a diversity among those who practice Pagan faiths as to what the nature of their divine is.  Sadly, despite the claims to be inclusive I've also found that many do not like it if your idea and their idea do not mesh well together.  It is virtually impossible to come up with a definition of the divine to a pagan that would happily satisfy all participants and so do we try?  Should we try?  I had this discussion recently in a class of mine over the nature of faith and the inability to define it because it was faith which by its nature cannot be 'proven'.  Secondly, a common grounds for evidence.  Generally speaking most of the more modern pagan faiths do not have a sacred text and for many outside the system this lack of text amounts to a lack of evidence for our belief in the divine.  A majority of paths claim to get their evidence from nature, yet the conclusions drawn can still be quite varied.

Does it all even matter?  I know some claim that theology is not important to the pagan system.  That an intellectual understanding and discussion is secondary to our practices, that to act is more important and I have to wonder at this.  While I believe that participation and practice are vital to connecting and growing I cannot discount the need to have some understanding of where it is all coming from.  Perhaps it is the teacher/historian in me that wants to understand but I find it difficult to fully participate in anything when I can't explain to someone why I do it.  If I don't have a clear idea in my head of what the divine is to me, what is sacred, how prayer works, etc how can I practice and participate fully.  How can I call upon or connect to the divine if I don't understand what it is I'm connecting to.  For me personally I think we should take time out of our practices to solidify our understanding.

1. I should clarify here that when discussing pagan paths I am mostly referring to the modern pagan systems.

Musing Monday (1/7/13)

Okay, its a day late on this one, yesterday was my 7 year anniversary so I opted to spend the day with hubby instead :)

Today's Musing comes cutesy of something found on pinterest again (yes, I'm addicted) and is just a little something to get the mind thinking.

I found this wonderful tree of contemplative practices that lists a great variety of common contemplative practices that people can take place in and decided to snag it as a reminder of the different practices that are open to us in creating a connection and awareness of ourselves and the all.

The original tree can be found at The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society where they have details on each of the activities listed.  They also have a downloadable blank pdf so that you can design your own tree which I think could be quite a worthy activity to do.