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This blog is all about all the things that make me up. I am a Mother, I am a Pagan Witch, I am a Wife, I am a homemaker, I am a student, I am Spiritual, I am a Teacher, I am Liberal Hippie, I am a Voter, and I am extremely opinionated! Plan to see it all! If you don't like what you see, feel free to leave! However, chances are, if you stick around, you'll find more to love than hate!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ask A Pagan: Random Questions

I got a message from someone who identifies his faith as "agnostic non-religious spiritual eclectic." He had some very good questions, some of which I had never actually been asked before - which is good! So I figured it was time for another installment of "Ask A Pagan."

Why are candles used so much in rituals?
Honestly, I don't know the history specifically on candles themselves. But like the other elements of ritual (wand, chalice, athame, etc.) they are used mostly to as representations. Not everyone uses candles, or other items, as in fact they themselves have no power. BUT, for those who do use them they are a way to help focus and guide energy or a physical representation of the spiritual. For example many have a gold and silver candle on their alter at all times - I actually have one gold, one silver and one white in my devotional bowl - these candles are used to represent the presence of the God & Goddess (and the white for me).

Humans live on the physical plane and most easily move and function within it. Even the mental and spiritual planes (which we are also a part of) are more foreign to us and harder to master. So bringing something physical to represent the spiritual and mental aspects in to the ritual simply makes it easier for many to concentrate and grasp.

Why does Wicca have several different versions of it that focuses on different ancient religions & gods?
It's not unlike why Christianity has so many denominations. The basic core beliefs of Wicca are generally going to be the same through all the different "styles." Wicca is NOT directly tied to any one "Ancient Religion" it's ideals and beliefs came mostly from the idealized "remembrance" of the past. So, each "style" of Wicca has come out of the beliefs and traditions of the founders, many times these beliefs have come out of that person's attraction to one Ancient belief system over another. So just as Christianity has been altered and changed in order to form THOUSANDS of different denominations, Wicca too has been shaped and changed by believers to fit their needs and beliefs.

How can the three fold law make any sense? Karma makes sense but if you got everything back 3 times over that means everything in the world would be in constant rise of good and bad...
Okay, well, it's first worth pointing out that not all Pagans subscribe to the Three Fold Law, that tends to be a Wiccan "rule" more than Pagan. Second, I should point out the fact that there is some discussion, even among Wiccans as to how it actually works. Some believe it actually returns 3 times, some feel it returns once but with the strength of 3, and some feel it's simply a different way to describe the return, more a warning than a rule.

Here is MY take on it. I am a Law of Attraction believer. Basically the Law of Attraction states that whatever energy we put out will return to us exactly as it left. So if you're thinking negative, you'll get negative, if you're doing positive, you'll get positive. Now, if you look at our actions, be they magickal or mundane, you'll find they each have 3 stages - Planning (or thought), Action, and Outcome. For example, you decide to go to the store, you drive there, you are there or you decide to pick out the black shirt, you put it on/wear it, and others see it. While some things, like putting on a black shirt, may seem to be energy less, nothing is. In fact we are putting out energy at every moment of the day. So magickal or mundane the LOA fits.

So, I see the Threefold Law, Karma & the LOA all as different expressions of the same thing. We put out energy when we decide to do something - and it returns. We then put out energy when we act on that choice - and IT returns. We then cause energy to be put out - by us or others affected - by the outcome of our action, and that energy is either returning to us, or coming to us from others...

That black shirt for example - If we look in the closet with the "there's nothing to wear, I hate my clothes" attitude, we aren't going to be happy no matter how good that shirt looks on us, low confidence and a more depressed feeling will result. But if we look in the closet with the "wow, I have so many choices" attitude we'll look in the mirror and like what we see - our confidence is higher and we will be happier... Now, we go to lunch in that top, and our overall attitude is going to be visible thus affecting those around us and how they react to us. If we are in a better mood, head up, confident, the wait staff is more likely to treat us better and make a point to make sure our food is perfect. But if we walk in there feeling crappy, guess how we are going to be seen by others?  That simple action of picking a shirt had a huge affect on our day.  Of course this is simply an example and GREATLY over simplified because everything we do that day will affect us, not just our shirt. But the point is that everything will affect us three fold - It's a constant return of energy.

What's up with the god and goddess of Wicca when it already has all the other Gods?
This is actually really simple. Wiccans are "labeled" polytheistic, but most are in reality Duel or Monotheistic. Wicca as a whole teaches that all the different Gods are simply different aspects of THE GOD and same with the Goddess. They believe there is but one God, who presents himself as these other Gods as a way to better serve the needs of those who call upon him. Just like a woman is a woman but she has many aspects - wife, mother, employer, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, fighter, advocate, whatever... - so does the Goddess and each of these aspects is identified by a different Goddess name. Some are even monotheistic as they believe there is but ONE higher being who is shown through all the different Gods and Goddesses...

Wicca does NOT have it's own God & Goddess in the way that Christianity has a specific God. Wiccans simply have an understanding of a God & Goddess or Male & Female aspects and honor them both. But there isn't really a Wiccan God or Wiccan Goddess. Instead they honor ALL Gods or ALL Goddesses by including them under the title of God or Goddess, or believing that they are each different aspects of the same being. So it's more of a "generalized" title than it is creating a new God or Goddess.

Can there be NEW Gods in Paganism or are you bound by previous beliefs?
Okay, first of all as a Pagan you aren't BOUND by anything! Some religious paths within Paganism do have specific beliefs which you would need to follow to be considered a part of that path, and sometimes that includes Gods or Deity titles or aspects. But there is no reason to limit ourselves to the beliefs of others. I read a book called The Urban Primitive: Paganism in the Concrete Jungle which talked about finding the divine in our new Urban world. Once upon a time people found the divine in the world around them as they were tending to the land, raising animals and plants, harvesting through the summer and fall and hunting... But today most of us don't have that in our lives, and it can be difficult to see the divine in our lives. This book talked about finding new or different Gods in EVERY type of environment - including those furthest from the land and nature.

So there is no reason to assume that the Gods haven't changed since ancient times. If we believe in many Gods why can't we believe there are new or young gods in the mix as well as those who were honored in ancient times? What is important is not what name or aspect you choose to assign the divine, what is important is your connection to it.

I hope I was able to answer some questions that you may have had. If not, or if you have more questions please let me know! Contact Me and let me know what you think, what your questions are or just what you think should be a featured question... Or leave a comment here and let others get in on the conversation!

   **This was originally written and published on My One Witch's Wonderland Blog, which has since closed!

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