"Written by Dolores Stewart Riccio, used with permission
I originally shared this on Tumblr in March 2012. Sharing it again in honor of Earth Day yesterday. I usually devote Earth Day to Gaia. Not Gaia as in general Mother Earth type mythos, but Gaia from Greek mythos where she IS the earth, and not only is she the earth, but she is the mother of the Titans and most other original beings on earth, making her the grandmother of the Theoi. This would also make her something like the great-grandmother of the first humans. When I call upon the Great Mother, it's here I'm calling on because to me she is the mother of all. So this prayer was share at http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/pagankidsbedtimeprayers/qt/PsalmToGaia.htm and now I'm sharing it with you.
"Written by Dolores Stewart Riccio, used with permission
Honestly people, I'm not here to debate the historical basis of any of my beliefs.
I don't particularly feel the need to always have a historical basis for my beliefs. Sometimes real life experience just trumps that.
And I honestly don't give a damn if any of you honestly believe me or my beliefs. Because they're mine for a reason.
And I don't do scholarly research concerning each individual belief I have. But I do for many of them. But right now, Monday thru Friday, I DO NOT have any access to my research. And even on the weekend, I only have access to most of it, not all, as 90% of my belongings are packed away.
ugh. sorry to everyone that's just being awesome. But I have several people blowing up my ask box. Some just trying to make me feel dumb, ignorant or bad for my personal beliefs.
In meditation tonight I had a long discussion with my spirit guide, Cal, on why my path is stressing me out when it hadn't for years. Not since I'd decided that as a hard polytheist I didn't have to choose a pantheon. The Greeks were my main deities, my "close family" if you will, and the others were the distant cousins that showed up every once in awhile when they had need of me. Sekhmet, and because of her Bastet, Ma'at, and Nefertum, were the distant cousins that lived nearby so i got to develop a good bond with them. They would be those random cousins you develop a bond so close with that they're considered your best friends and siblings. Yes, I look at my gods as family. That's not really a weird concept in most religions, right?
So I think the root of the problem is honestly that the reconstructionists, (i.e. Hellenismos) make me feel guilty somehow. Like I'm not good enough. Not all of them are judgmental, but I really think it was that one person on the forum the other day, the one that said anything not straight from the ancients was "made up crap". I think, even though I think their full statement was ridiculous, and even though it pissed me off, it really actually got to me.
I take my practice from what the gods ask of me. I have since I first learned how to listen to them. So why am I even doubting myself? akfadkhf;dsihfdih
The only reason I was on that forum was because the Hellenist Problems Meme (which I LOVE) was making me feel like I should incorporate some more reconstructionist stuff into my practice.
I'm not looking to be an all out reconstructionist. It doesn't fit my beliefs. I've yet to find a tradition or religion beyond "Eclectic Paganism" that actually fits my beliefs. Does much of my practice agree with Hellenismos? Yeah. Do I follow essentially the same ethics? yup. Except here's the kicker: I refuse to see the ancient practices "correct practice" more important than what the gods tell me they want me to do; I refuse to believe that magick is hubris, some is but not all.
My ethics are composed of the Negative Confessions (sometimes called the Ideals of Ma'at) and the Delphic Maxims. My entire life is for the gods. I don't get to give daily offerings, and I do call my petitions to the gods spells, as I call any lengthy and detailed form of prayer. To me saying the rosary is a spell.
And I love saying prayers that are just to the Goddess and God. I firmly believe that there is a power even higher than the gods. It's the power that created them and gives them their powers. This entity is essentially the power behind everything on earth and I somewhat believe that this power is what Christians, and Muslims, and Jews call God. But to me it's two people: Father God "Yaweh" (for lack of a better name) and Mother Goddess "Sophia". To me, this is the Wiccan God and Goddess in their true form before they get humanized into Moon Goddess and Horned God. I do occasionally pray to the Great Mother and Great Father and that's who I pray to when I do. They are "deities" so high up that the only worship that they would ask for would be of the gods themselves. If the gods did indeed worship something, it would be them. It's their universal presence that allows me to hear a gospel to Christ and remember it in the name of Sekhmet or Demeter, their presence that allows a prayer to God and a prayer to Ma'at feel the same. But for the record, I do not think that "Yaweh" is the Yaweh of the Jews, or God of the Christians, or Allah of the Muslims. He's different. Higher. Their God would be just another of the many children. Their god's Yaweh Jr. That be said, I also think the hateful God of the Old Testament and the loving God of the New are completely different. (Okay, so I believe Yaweh Jr is the Jewish God, and then Osiris, or possibly Amen-Ra, and is the new testament God because of the Mary is an incarnation of Aset and Jesus is Heru thing).
I honestly can't believe a phrase by some random stranger is messing me up so badly!
I'm still going through and doing the research I said I would do, and because Demeter asked for that document on my personal practice I'm going to do in and have it be an devotion/offering/sacrifice to her.
Also, I had a random thought earlier: Hellenismos practitioners offer sacrifices to the gods by burning them (usually food), and I'm fairly certain Egyptians did something similar. In my current living situation, and in any living situation I might have in the near future, I don't really have a huge stone altar or anything to burn offerings for them, and I would like to start doing so. So I was thinking, what if I get a big cauldron, not huge, but of decent size, and burned it in that? The cauldron was revered in Celtic culture as a magickal symbol of their gods, and Dagda himself had a special cauldron that was never empty, Several other Celtic deities has magickal cauldrons as well. To me, doing that would effectively be combining Greco-Egyptian with Irish paganism. To me, that's a major win. =)
Before I go into detail of what she's asking me, I just want to say my relationship with Demeter is complicated. I wouldn't call her a patron goddess exactly, and if I did I'd probably get a stern talking to. I did have a past life in Greece in which my mother claimed to be the daughter of Demeter. When my mother passed in that life I was still young and never really thought to question her. I do have a great deal of memory from that life and have questioned Demeter on the subject. I do firmly believe that demigods did and do exist. Demeter has never answered me on the subject, and the closest I ever got to an answer was "If you are my granddaughter, well, I'm already your grandmother. If you are not, it wouldn't change a thing". And so I call her grandmother, and because of this, view the Greek gods as family, which further mucks up how I choose my faith. It also doesn't help that I have had past lives in Egypt, and Celtic Ireland and England. So choosing a pantheon, is for me, completely impossible. As a hard polytheist, I honestly do believe all pantheons exist and are like little ruling families for a certain area. When a person honors and worships more than one, it's kinda like a marriage alliance between those pantheons. In this incarnation itself, my ancestors are Celtic and Cherokee. So often I honestly feel that by trying to choose a pantheon, I am in fact trying to choose a side of my family to honor, and the others to be ignored. Believing that they are all single individual entities, it's hard for me to be like "Oh, I like you people the best, and I'm just going to ignore you other people and pretend you either don't exist or that you're really the same people as the people I like". But I honestly do like reconstructionist types of worship, though I do very much still identify as a Witch and love magick. Further complicating things is whatever is going on between me and Christianity.
Because Demeter is awesome and very close to me, she sees how stressed I am. I barely know how to explain my path to others, let alone how to define it. "Oh it's a mix of all these things" is a crap answer. So her task for me is to pinpoint exactly what my path is. Reconcile all the different parts together. As I like a reconstructionist view, She wants me to basically be like "Well, I like this from modern paganism, so how would this have been done by the ancients and which culture would have done this? If it's entirely new, what's something similar they would have done?". In the end after all the research and questioning, she wants me to essentially write out a guide to my path and make it available to y'all to read. Will my end result be 100% reconstructionist of some kind? I doubt it. The way I'm honestly looking at this is "If a Greek from Alexandria married and Irish Celt, what would their children believe and practice?" Is that scenario far fetched? Yeah. It is. But not too much. The idea came from the knowledge that Rome conquered England while both were still pagan, and the people intermarried. Their children would have learned religious practices from both parents. So I just stretched the idea a little bit more. . . . what if that Alexandrian Greek was living in Alexandria after it became Roman, but didn't want to give up their beliefs, so they moved to this new land Rome had conquered (kinda like Protestants going to America), but found it disatisfactory as well? Hey look at that island! I'll go there!
Yeah, I realize this almost certainly never happened, but it makes a good launch pad for what ifs. And considering I'm essentially trying to blend those three together. . . . If I can reconcile those 3, I have a feeling the christopagan aspect will just fall into place.
So to figure this out, I'm going to start by researching Hellenic reconstructionist paths. Again. I do have much of my original research. And I just bought Hellenismos Today, and I've been looking around Hellenismos.us, and from there I'll be looking at Greco-Egyptian Polytheism. I don't want to necessarily honor the entire Egyptian pantheon, only those that have specifically called to me. And the Greeks are my main deities. I already know that much. I very much believe that a Greek who practiced Greco-Egyptian Polytheism wouldn't have actually worshiped the whole Egyptian pantheon, but only a few, with their main worship being reserved for the Greeks. From there I'll go poke around Celtic reconstructionism and reread some of my pagan/Wiccan books. While I'm in the middle of doing all this, or perhaps a little after, I get to detail my devotions and offerings and celebrations and things for a month so I can figure out what my daily/weekly "routine" is.
It's going to be a lot of work, but I know in the end I will still be Hellenic. I will still be a Christopagan. Sekhmet and Ma'at will still be patron goddesses. And I'll no longer feel like I'm being pulled in 4 different directions.
I may keep a journal of some sort here on the blog so you guys can go down this road with me. We'll see. I'd like to have this figured out by Samhain. :)
For me Lughnasadh is very much a domestic holiday.
Wait. She’s Hellenic, like, she honors the Greek gods, and she’s going to celebrate an Irish holiday? psh. I knew she was messed up.
Alright, let me explain, alright?
Yeah, I’m sure there’s a few reconstructionists laughing at me right now.
What many people don’t seem to know, is that the Greeks, as they moved out of their country, as they colonized other areas, they celebrated the holidays that best fit the land. They believed in honoring the spirits of the land, so they celebrated the seasons of the places they were in, not necessarily what season it was back in Greece. Occasionally, they even introduced foreign gods to the folks back home, and their gods to the people in their new home.
Here in Michigan, I’m surrounded by my Irish family, and our seasons link up well to the Irish Celtic seasons. Anyone from Michigan will agree that as soon as August hits, so do the county fairs and festivals. Harvest season is here. And we can easily expect a snowfall by the beginning of November. So using the Irish seasons, which states harvest and autumn begin on Lughnasadh and end on Samhain, link well to the land I’m in. Also, it’s easy to incorporate the Greeks into this festival. It’s easy to see Apollo in place of Lugh, in fact the Romans considered them essentially the same being! By baking bread and harvesting herbs and vegetables, I honor the land I’m in. The baking of bread also honors Demeter, so I make sure to leave some as an offering after my rites. And I incorporate pomegranates to honor Persephone and her descent to the Underworld.
Okay, okay, I hear the person in the back freaking out. Didn’t she say she also is a Christopagan? And what about all the Egyptian deities she talks about? Isn’t Sekhmet her patroness or something like that?
Alright, calm down. First of all, the Christianity adopted Lughnasadh or Lammas in other Celtic countries and Christianized it. Lammas comes from “Loaf-mass”. Mass. Do you see the connection here? Regardless, Christians worldwide celebrate their harvests and see them as gift of God. But for the most part, Christianity doesn’t really play into my celebration of Lughnasadh at all. The evolving Christian aspect of my path is usually separates completely from the pagan, except where it parallels completely, like Christmas.
Is Sekhmet my patron goddess? Yeah, she is. And so are Ma’at and Bastet now to a lesser extent. As for the rest of the pantheon, well, that completely plays into the Christopagan aspect. In the version of the Kemetic myths I believe, Aset, Wasir, and all the rest incarnated on earth. They were more or less mortal in their incarnated bodies, and as Wasir points out, were quite killable. This will sound odd, but I kinda believe that Mary and Jesus were like second incarnations of Aset and her son Heru. So they also don’t really play much into Lughnasadh. Though I do honor Mary/Aset on the 15th, as it’s the Assumption of Mary. But tomorrow does offer a slight taste of Samhain spirit as it’s the Egyptian Festival of the Dead. But I won’t be doing anything major to acknowledge that. Just a simple prayer for my ancestors and loved ones that have passed on. The major Kemetic holidays I acknowledge aren’t for a few weeks yet.
Anywho, back to Lughnasadh!!
Like I said, for me it’s a very domestic holiday. I’m celebrating it a few days late due to interferences from my job, but for me the date is almost unimportant. For me, Lughnasadh actually lasts until my local county fair ends on the 25th.
For me it signifies that it’s time to start preparing for winter. Even if it still seems far off, it’ll be knocking on my door in about two and a half months, and there’s some things it’s best to take care of while you know there’s no risk of getting snowed in.. It’s time to pick and dry the herbs before the first frost hits sometime in September. It’s time to take inventory on all the canned goods, see what needs to be mended see what clothes I need to buy before the cold weather hits, make the candles and soap, etc. It also reminds me that I need to take advantage of the last days of warm weather! I need to get my butt out in the pool before it’s drained the monday after memorial day. I need to go on picnics at the park. Go to the beach.
It’s also a reminder that lazy summer days are coming to an end, and so is my summer job. The kids go back to school on September 3rd, and won’t need a nanny until their next school vacation around Christmas. It reminds me that I only have a few weeks after that and I’m back in school myself. So I have a lot of things to get in order before that. I have to get my winter clothes out of storage, and put my summer clothes away. Find that other snow boot I haven’t seen since April. Those kinds of things. Because once I get back in school, I’ll be juggling homework and classes, a part time job, and mandatory volunteer hours at some random school. I’ll be busier than ever!
So tomorrow I’ll wake up and bake some bread and biscuits, and if my family is lucky, I’ll make some cinnamon rolls. I’ll do a ton of dishes, while I burn a candle for Hestia. I started burning a candle to her while I do housework about a month ago. It just feels right. Then I clean up by taking a purifying bath, and go do my ritual outside so I can burn as much incense as I like. Then I’ll do a little harvesting of my herbs. Check on the tomatoes, which is one of the only things that made it through the combined heat spell and drought we experienced. Then I get to come in and go through the cupboards. Then I’ll be making something nice and seasonal for my family for dinner. Then I get to decide between taking inventory of mending, my “witch’s cabinet”, and all that good stuff, and relaxing. Either way, I’m sure I’ll be doing laundry.
It’s honestly funny to think I do so much work on and around Lughnasadh when for all other holidays I have a strict no chores rule.
This is the start of my very favorite season and I couldn't be happier!
Most of my followers know that I’ve been veiling daily when I go outside of my home. To contrast it, I purposefully went out without covering. These are my observations: *I received fewer migraine headaches while covering, but when I went without my head coverings, I got them daily and I wonder if this may have something to do with being an empath. *I was treated more respectfully by those older than me. I’m in college, but I look younger than my age; some people have even mistaken me for being as young as 15. While covering I looked my age if not a few years older. *I received far more compliments while covering and people seemed kinder in general. I only had one negative experience while covering, but it was actually directed towards a friend I was with not myself. *I felt much calmer and more grounded while veiling and I was better able to focus on what was important. Such as what my teachers were saying versus chit-chat around me and I had a much easier time focusing on my class work. *I felt less likely to flirt and attract unwanted attention when covering. When I don’t cover I flirt with more or less everyone and I do it subconsciously. This often leads to unwanted attention.
I plan to continue veiling most of the time I’m in large groups of people, i.e. school, church, the store, movies, craft fair/farmer market type places, etc. The exception will be when I actually want to just be lost in the moment, make new friends, attract potential mates, or to pick up on the energy around me, i.e. parties, concerts, most ritual and spell work, hanging out with friends in their homes or mine, carnivals, etc. The type of head covering I wear will depend on the situation. For all day wear I’ll probably stick to the tichel style, although wearing wide cloth head bands worked well for smaller group situations. I think bandanas would work well too as well as more “middle eastern” styles similar to hijabs. That could also be a good choice for cold weather. I intend to experiment with snoods for this purpose as well. For shopping and running errands I think hats and bandanas would probably be most appropriate. My largest dilemma is the “covering all my hair vs covering just the top of my head” debate. My goddesses have yet to show a preference and I’ve made no decision. I have really long hair so it’s a pretty big deal for me and I’ve seen others struggle with this decision as well. So that’s a large reason I’ve decided to experiment with multiple forms of covering.
I love the mantilla/chaple/blush veil style. To me it’s very beautiful and it reminds me very much of priestesses in the ancient world. But I also think this ethereal between-the-worlds quality makes them slightly out of place in everyday life. But I think it could be a nice special occasion look and for certain rituals. I definitely think that if I ever become a high priestess of a group I would wear this style during ritual. I think it gives an air of authority and power, a certain regality to the wearer.
I just want to say that I’ve been fascinated by veiling and head covering for years. I’ve just always found it a very beautiful thing. In a way I feel like the sudden wave of openness about veiling in the pagan community is like an answer to my prayers. It really seems like this “trend” had blossomed in the past few months. Last year or so when I had started looking at head covering it was difficult to find good sources on head coverings in modern paganism. And now it’s one of the biggest topics (I almost want to say controversy) in the pagan community!
So I just realized a new problem (completely unrelated to my families comments of "you look retarded) with daily head covering. I do not have a scarf that matches my "Easter" dress. Really it's just a nice pink and flowery dress that works well for any spring special occasion. But when most of your scarfs are black or covered in skulls, they're probably not the greatest choice when going to church with your extremely conservative grandmother. In light of it, I will probably be wearing the same pink bandana I did today and simply folding it differently. But sometime this week I am definitely going out to buy a white lace, a black lace, and a brown lace scarves and I think that should cover just about any special occasion outfit ever.
So anyone that follows this blog has clearly seen the drama in the pagan community the past few days. On the bright side I’ve yet to have a coven of teenage girls telling me they’re going to curse me. Instead I’ve been told I’m whining about imaginary oppression. Because apparently only Christians oppress Pagans. Well… . historically speaking… Pagans oppressed Christians first. Dun dun duuuun! On the other hand I’m a history major, so maybe I can’t expect everyone to know that? I tend to think most people have some education. I was also told that I have no right to say anything because by “following Christ” I am lumping myself in with the Christians. So I should just roll over and take it when someone is a jerk over my beliefs??? Um, I think NO!
I’d also like to say that I wouldn’t say I “follow Christ”. I have his mother as my matron, and a pretty good relationship with his (debated) wife. I think most of the Bible is corrupted and no longer applicable (My opinion only, I am actually reading it currently). I go to church often, but often disagree with what’s being said. My true “church” is a facebook group called the Christian Pagan Fellowship. I very rarely ever even work with or pray to Christ. Out of the Christian “pantheon” I work almost solely with his Mother, the arch angels, and few fallen angels, as I feel they better compliment my workings with the Greek Pantheon.
Assuming that I as a Christopagan “follow Christ” is really no different than an ignorant Christian assuming that I follow Satan. Except the Christian generally isn’t going to tell me to go “fuck yourself” in the same sentence.
So there’s my rant for the day. Everyone that’s been supportive or at least polite, thank you. I don’t expect all pagans to get along. But I do expect them to have basic manners. And most of you do. So thanks. Stick with me a little longer and all the drama SHOULD be cleared up by the weekend.
(Original posting here: http://practical-magick.tumblr.com/post/20548742898/drama-drama-drama If anyone wants to read the comments. Not going to post them here because I just don't feel like bringing the old negativity over here).
"I’m very open about being Christopagan. Especially on my tumblr that is devoted specifically to my personal path. I posted something about Holy Week today, and this is nowhere near the first time I’ve mentioned going to church, being Christopagan, or celebrating Catholic holy days. I’ve mentioned multiple times that I pray the rosary, and have Mother Mary as one of my matrons (Sekhmet being the other). And this time for whatever reason, I had an angry message in my inbox from someone unfollowing me for “posting something christian”! I do not understand hate towards any faith. It really dissapoints me when fellow pagans feel this way, and it always takes a lot for me not to get angry at them. Clearly they haven’t read anything I’ve written on there so I’m not exactly losing a real follower anyway. But my goodness, I constantly hear pagans saying they want Christians to stop being so hateful towards Pagans and to respect us, but how can we ever acheive that when we have people reacting this way? The threefold law, the golden rule, in the end it all adds up to the same thing! If you want to be treated as a real valid religion and have respect, give it! There are MANY witches and pagans that incorporate abrahamic faiths into their path, we are a valid part of the pagan community and I wish people understood that!"
Hey all here’s my confession to Pagan Confessions!
(Update 4/22/15: this got a LOT of both positive comments, and also plenty of hateful comments that proved my point exactly. I'm not going to archive all my responses to them, but you can view all of them in the notes on my original reblog here: http://practical-magick.tumblr.com/post/20510869709/pagan-confessions-im-very-open-about-being The Pagan Confessions blog no longer exists).
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.