Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn

Taken with my phone, so forgive the low quality.
"Tarot is a big pack of lies and misinterpretations."

That quote above is by Margaret Trauth, or Egypt Urnash. It was the first sentence I read as I hurriedly started to read what the artist behind this beautiful deck had to say. And, upon reading it, I burst into laughter. This was the start of a beautiful relationship.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mental Illness and Spirituality

From Hyperbole and a Half: Depression Part 2
When I was living in Philadelphia, I attended an open Full Moon Ritual at a local Wiccan Coven. I went with two other pagans I had met previously and attended two Sabbats with at the same Coven. This was just at the beginning of my path in paganism, so I felt very new, out of place, and ignorant. I was also probably the youngest person of legal age there (which is to say, I was 18 and everyone else was 28+.) This ritual was different in that my friend had a visitor from Florida joining us. An elderly witch who had been a witch for more than the sum of my lifetime.

On the car ride home, we somehow started talking about mental illness. Mine in particular. I don't recall the timeframe, but I might have brought up how I wasn't doing well in school and would probably be moving to my parents' house in Nebraska. The witch from Florida said something to the effect of, "If you give yourself over to the Goddess, she would take away all your sadness."

Perhaps it was Lugh who gave me the strength, but I was able to firmly and boldly say, "No. That is not how mental illness works, and is extremely ignorant to suggest that it is."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Early November Celebrations

My Home Jar
The end of October and beginning of November had a few key events I took part in. First was my own Gaelic Polytheistic celebration of Samhain, followed by a Dia de los Muertos festival put on by the Mexican Historica Society, and then lastly a NeoWiccan Samhain ritual at the UU Pagan Group. There was...quite a lot going on between all three of those events that I wish to share.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Holy Festivals and Secular Days

While not the definitive Gaelic New Year, I like many others regard Samhain to be the Gaelic New Year. Thus, my year begins after my Samhain celebrations. I'm finishing my ritual and overall festivities specifically for my spiritual self tonight, but I wanted to take the time to share my yearly celebrations (mainly because I pinpointed what they would be a few weeks ago.) Like my beliefs, these may change over the years. But as of this moment, here's my holiday calendar.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's Not About Being Right

My veil--Dedicated to Lugh.
Last weekend, I went to the local Unitarian Universalists' ritual for Mabon. I hadn't been to the monthly meetings since Lughnasa. Prior to going to this ritual, I wondered if my presence would be unwelcomed. Not outwardly, but because I don't practice in the way the rituals were conducted and my growing resentment towards how the Wiccan Wheel of the Year is constructed.

But I did end up going, and I have a lot of commentary about the entire experience.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

31 Days of Magic: What lead you to start practicing witchcraft?

"Magic" by Curenta
A few weeks ago, a blogger on Tumblr mentioned a lack of Secular Witchcraft "31 Days" Question Meme. For those who don't know, the "31 Days of ___" is a meme of sorts that has 31 questions to be answered over a series of 31 days. The ones easily found by Google for witchcraft, though, had religious elements in the questions. Such as, "What Gods/Goddesses do you worship?" or "How do you honor the Moon?" and stuff like that.

So, in response, I decided to make a 31 Days of Secular Witchcraft. I called it "witchcraft" because that was what the person seeking the meme worded it as. Ironically, I don't call what I do "witchcraft" so I'm going to be changing this title for myself to "31 Days of Magic."

Without further ado, I'll now be answering the first question: What lead you to start practicing witchcraft magic?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Beliefs ... As of Today

"Change" by NaBHaN
I am starting a new Tumblr blog, despite creating this blog so I wouldn't. But my idea behind what this blog should be changed. Instead of just being a place to store and type out my thoughts, I have started to consider this blog a platform for discussion.

And like my idea behind what this blog should be changed, so have my personal beliefs. For one, I am distancing myself from calling myself "pagan" and "witch"--two identifiers I have used for several years now. But my perceptions are changing, thus so too are my beliefs in what I am and should be.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Woe is Me: Celtic Culture and Eclectic Paganism

This is an article I have been itching to write, but I don't really know how to go about it. Perhaps it is because this is probably the most opinionated piece I have so far written; these are more about my thoughts about something that irks me, but isn't necessarily unmoral or a call to movement.

My problem boils down to this: a lot of people in the pagan community tend to use terms, practices, and holidays removed from their original cultures.

For example, pretend that someone in Europe is celebrating Fourth of July. They have fireworks and are eating outside--but why call it Fourth of July? Why celebrate another country's national holiday when that person is outside the country?

So... Why celebrate Lughnasa without understanding of the culture that created it?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Using Minecraft for Worship: A Shrine to Lugh

"Druid(?)" Shrine (source)
I live in a small apartment. My boyfriend and I do not have any space for a kitchen table, yet I managed to squeeze in a small corner of our studio to be a shrine space. Still, I find that it lacks a lot. I wish the space could be dedicated better to the shrine, and less to witchcraft tools and the nightstand with our phone chargers. 

I found a way, though, to have shrines. As large and a vast as I want: I am making them in a video game called Minecraft.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Local Community--Different Group, Different Results

Decorative hummus from Lughnasa Ritual I went to.
Looking over my Blogspot statics, my post: "Local Pagan Community--Summed up in Facebook?" so far has the most views out of any of my other posts. I guess everyone likes a good drama--that, and I have been linking to it every time I bring up my experiences in the local pagan community. However, I will probably start to refer to this article too; I have branched out once more and met with a different group of local pagans who work out of the local Unitarian Church.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What to do with a Gender Binary?

Before I was banned from this group, I went to a meet up where in the general discussion a person mentioned a Women's Retreat. I don't recall which one she meant, but there are Pagan Women Retreats throughout the United States. This also is not a purely Pagan or New Age ideology. Christian Churches will have women's retreats, or even secular groups will engage in this dichotomy. To be clear, there are also male-only retreats or gatherings.

As the title suggests, I'm not a fan of this.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Problematic Perceptions

Walt Whitman writes in his poem, "Song of Myself":
"Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much? have you reckon'd
     the earth much?
Have you practis'd so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? 
Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the
     origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are
     millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor
     look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the
     spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things
     from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self."
The last line sticks with me: "filter them from your self." What a marvelous, potent phrase about understanding

Remember that game of Telephone? I remember how teachers would use it as a way to exemplify how rumors spread. Basically, everyone gets in a circle of five or more people. One person will turn to their right and whisper a phrase. That person will then turn to their right and whisper exactly what they heard. And so on. This process morphs the phrase so that by the time it reaches the last person, the phrase is almost (if not completely) indistinguishable from the first phrase. A phrase like, "I like to buy shoes at the market" becomes "Eyes are hard to mark." This is due to a number of human error problems, like speaking too fast, stuttering, emphasizing some words over others. Etc.

There is a website called Bad Translator that mimics this almost by taking a phrase in English, translating it to a different language, then back to English, then to another language, and so forth for how many iterations you set it to. I typed in, "I like to buy shoes at the market" and it became "I want to buy shoes."

My point is: the further from the source, the more distorted the message.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Slow to Update

Well, almost. I have been busy with a few different projects, most of which actually involve my spiritual craft. Yet that has made updating this blog pushed further and further down the list.

Firstly, I have taken the step to join ADF. I am not sure if I explicitly mentioned on this blog before about my draw to Druidry and Celtic paganism, but both have been on my mind for a couple years now. As I am running out of my own material, I want to take a more academic guided course to learning about both. I believe ADF is offering such a course. I will most likely be posting more about that as I begin my studies as a member (who aspires to be a Dedicant.)

Secondly, I am spending a lot of my blogging time with Seaconjure. This is a personal practice of someone I met through web forums and blogs whose practice intrigues me. I adore the sea, the ocean, and water. I want to continue to explore this type of spirituality. From what I know of both Seaconjure and ADF, neither conflict. Thus, there is no reason I can't be both.

Thirdly, I am doing more things off-line. The Steam Summer Sale has pulled me back into gaming more; I am hanging out with my boyfriend more. I am also cooking more as well. I am trying to take care of my home so that it is clean.

But I do miss writing and keeping myself to an article-a-week schedule. I plan to update tomorrow with a news story from the area.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Druidry, Books, and Reflections

"Berrymore" by Kylie Stillman

This reflection spawned from trying to answer a crowd-sourcing question and spiraled into analyzing what I have so far read regarding Druidry and Celtic neopaganism. Coincidentally, Agora's columnist Nimue Brown wrote a related article yesterday called "Books for Druids." I highly recommend reading Brown's article to get an understanding of what books are relevant to aspiring and current Druids as well as a short overview on how to evaluate books about Druidry. 

However, this article is instead my own reading and what I was able to take out of it. A reflection, if you will, on books and articles.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

White Clay, Oglala Sioux Tribe, and My Synopsis

picture credited to Native News Networks
Late last night, a friend posted this video on her Facebook wall accompanied only with, "I am appalled." With that in mind I braced myself, but after watching I was more curious than appalled. The video is not high quality (which is understandable given the circumstance it was filmed.) I couldn't make out most of the words, or what was even going on, other than a confrontation between two men. I had no sense of the context for the footage beyond the title.

So I did some research into articles and learned about the incident...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Occult Store Scoring Guide

In response to my own posts about a local occult store, I am keep an on-going list of occult stores online and local. Similar to how the Human Rights Campaign has a buyer's guide with LGBTQ+ issues, I will keep an ongoing list of scores for occult stores (online, local, or both) based on criteria people look for when shopping.

The stores will be given a percent rating by taking the points earned and dividing that number by the points available. This is because certain occult stores will not be able to be evaluated on all the criteria given and should not be penalized for that (eg: an online store that is strictly items and not services.)

Example: If a store has all possibilities to earn points, the total will be: #/13. If they don't offer any services, then the total would be: #/10.

Here is the form for each store. I will post completed forms on a master lister on a separate page.
Store's Name:
URL: (if available)
Location: (if available)
Evaluated by: (name or online alias)
___ Staff:
     (+1) Friendly
     (+1) Knowledgeable
     (+1) Professional
___ Items:
     (+1) Religious variety
     (+1) Authenticity (eg: no cultural appropriative items.)
     (+1) Supports individual artisans and/or witches (eg: items are handmade opposed to factory made)
     (+1) Includes health warnings for herbs, spices, oils.
___ Services:
     (+1) Variety (eg: not just Wiccan.)
     (+1) Has community outreach and/or classes
     (+1) Promotes an educational atmosphere
___ General:
     (+1) Overall appealing atmosphere (or online readability)
     (+1) LGBTQ and gender identity positive
     (+1) Anti-racism
___% = Score (Points Accumulated/Total Possible Score)

Additional Comments:
If you want to evaluate an occult store you have shopped at, please either comment with this forum completed or email me at omahapaganphilosophy (at) gmail (dot) com. My only requirements to filling out this form is that you are not an employee or owner of the store (ie: if you own your own occult store, do not submit your own evaluation.)

If I missed anything in this evaluation form, let me know ASAP and I will amend it. If there are already forms submitted, they will also be edited to reflect changes in the form.

So, reader, do you have a store you wish to evaluate?

Critique: Next Millennium's Newsletter

taken from the newsletter email
I forgot to unsubscribe from the Next Millennium newsletter that is sent out via email once a month. On June 2nd I saw it in my email inbox and out of curiosity decided to peruse it. Who knows? Maybe they made a mention of my petition and/or boycott.

While they didn't, I found more troubling misinformation being spread. I am spending this email, as well as emailing the store back, with why certain parts of the email are very, very concerning. Even if you are not a customer at Next Millennium, these are still problems to look out for at any other occult store you may shop at.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review of "An Abundance of Blessings" (and, to a lesser extent, "A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book")

An Abundance of Blessings by John O'Donohue
A fair amount of stress has entered my life within the past few weeks. Among the problems with my immediate local pagan community, there have been very upsetting posts on the Tumblr blogosphere, and as well as my own mental health management. While Next Millennium just provided two more examples as why I should continue to boycott them, I am going to step back from addressing the community and community circles (online or otherwise) to address a collection of blessings I picked up while shopping yesterday.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Repurposing: Solutions to My Everyday Life

Popcorn bowl!
I think it's time I take a break from criticizing and address another bullet point from my introduction post: projects. Specifically, I want to share what I call "repurposing" and what that is to me.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Local Pagan Community--Summed up in Facebook?

This is probably the easiest article post I will ever have to publish. All I am doing is copying over screenshots from a group I was apart of, called "Pagans of Nebraska." I'm going to avoid adding as the entire discussion can speak for itself. Also, it's going to get lengthy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Power of Belief

There is a quote I heard years ago that I never fully understood until recently. It's by Richard Dawkins, of all people. While I don't agree with a lot he says and some of his views, I do find some truth in this quote he made:
"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out."
What could he mean by that? Well, I don't know what he meant, but let me tell you what it means to me in regards to paganism.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Beginning a new blog.

So begins another blog on paganism.

This blog needs a lot of tweaking, but I am going to start adding written content. Starting with this post.

Basically, the purpose of this blog is the following:
  • Publicize my criticisms regarding the pagan community--at large and at small,
  • Write reviews to books I read, and
  •  Share ideas and projects that I find useful and/or helpful.
I think I will try to schedule blog posts regularly, but that is all to be determined as of now.

First, I am opening a can of worms by combining the intellectual discourse tactics of philosophers with discussions of paganism.

We'll see where this goes.