Monday, April 5, 2010

Definitions

I feel I can't quite start sharing stuff and theories before I explain to you how I define key words and terms. So, in this post I'll attempt to accumulate all possible terms and words I'll be using in my future (and past) posts. I know I'll miss some of them but hopefully this will be a rare sight. If you find any concept I have not explained, please ask in a comment and I'll reply. ;)

PAGANISM - Paganism is the whole of those religions, spiritual paths and faiths that are a) inspired, b) influenced, c) based on and/or d) revivals/reconstructions of old and ancient religions and systems of belief and worship of the Old World (Europe, Mediterranean lands and Mesopotamia), which are simultaneously NOT parts of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and all their "heresies" and related faiths).

Paganism is divided into: a) Paleo-Paganism, b) Meso-Paganism and c) Neo-Paganism.

Paleo-Paganism includes the ancient religions and systems that resided within the borders of the Old World (e.g. ancient greek religion, anglo-saxon/norse faiths, sumerian religion etc).
Meso-Paganism refers to the various revivals (mostly short-termed and with little numbers in followers) of the ancient religions and faiths during the Middle-Ages, hence the "meso" prefic, meaning "middle". An example of this is Georgius Gemistus Plethon, who lived during the later Byzantine times and advocated a return to the Olympian Gods. He followed a neoplatonic, archaic-esque, eclectic one could say form of the Hellenic religion.
Neo-Paganism is the term referring to the whole of those religions and belief systems baring the characteristics mentioned in the above, first definition of Paganism and which are followed AFTER the 18th century (aka in the modern times).

MAGIC - I define Magic as the utilization of energy through the use of Will to bring about a desired effect. Through this basic definition, every consious act upon a solid thought is Magic. I also use the term Magic to refer to the occult practice which includes literally hundreds upon hundreds of ways, methods, customs and formulae. Generally, I add to it a term to specify the field (i.e. candle magic refers to the field of magical practice utilizing candles as a tool). Magic is also divided in: wishful thinking, prayer and active workings. These are by no means universal facts, just my own views and theories on Magic. Also, the latter three "forms" of Magic are mostly 'catch-all' categories that include many alternative and similar concepts.

GODS or DEITIES - I use the terms deities and Gods interchangeably because that is my understanding and use of the Greek equivalents.
Deities for me are sentient, sapient, conscious energy entities that are also distinct, individual but co-operating beings. I believe they have their own Will and that they fuel and maintain the natural laws. I believe deities are also the caretakers of the rest of Nature.
Additionally, I define the Divine as: not a supreme being or anything of that sort but merely the name of the "species", of the whole of Gods. All deities together are the Divine, just like all humans together are humanity.

CRAFT - Witchcraft, the Craft of the Wise, the Art, the Craft and by many other names. Witchcraft for me is the magical system utilizing Low Magic (sometimes with a touch of ceremonial/High Magic) usually in the form of folk Magic. It differs depending on the cultural version used. This means the Witchcraft of the British Isles is different yet under the same category (umbrella term 'Witchcraft') as Greek Witchcraft. It may or may not be religious in nature and may or may not be theistic. It is first and foremost a system of practices, methods, ways and customs utilizing Magic.

TOOLS - This will be a little long. The tools I use (or at least would LIKE to use - I am quite limited in what I can use and what I can't - the ones with * are the tools I can't but want to use) are the following: athame, boline, chalice, pentacle, candles, *incense, Book of Shadows, notebook, pendulum, deck of cards, bell and various temporal items (such as rocks, feathers, tree leaves etc).

Athame: a double-edged, dull knife used to direct energy in workings. It has an aggresive quality. It's also called 'a Witch's weapon'. This is my main tool and represents Fire in my mind.
Boline: a knife used for cutting in the physical plane (as opposed to the athame which is strictly for spiritual use). My boline is a swiss army-like knife.
Chalice: a cup with blessed water. It represents Water and I use it in ritual settings mostly. Due to the lack of resources and privacy I use a small, common cup.
Pentacle: a disc with an engraved, encircled pentagram. Represents Earth. Don't laugh but due to being unable to find or make one, I made one out of hard paper. At least it works haha.
Candles: I generally use candles regardless of colour (the already often mentioned of inability to gather supplies) and when I have enough privacy to light them (I feel REALLY uncomfortable and cannot work without privacy, something largely lacking in my home). I also blow out the candle flame because that for me signifies the end and sealing of the working.
Incense: Additionally to the lack of privacy I cannot use incense out of my mother's intolerance of it (weird how a smoker cannot stand other scents eh?). I'd much like to use incense but eh, life's hard hehe. I use a feather in its place as a symbol for Air.
Book of Shadows: A Book for Shadows for me is a journal type of book with blank pages, used for writing down info, spells and rituals, one's progress etc. I have two in a sense: a large notebook with blank pages which I call "my unofficial BoS" and is where I write everything as well as make changes and corrections and a leather-covered, hard-cover book with blank pages I got in London. This will be my "official BoS" and it will be where I will record spells, rituals, specific info, hymns etc carefully and after having reviewed them.
Notebook: I use a small notebook for quick recording of info and designing a working (sketchily so).
Pendulum: A divinatory tool. It is used for yes-or-no type of answers and is one of the simplest divinatory tools. My pendulum was made by me using a string and an old key (from our old apartment). I consecrated them and I now have an efficient pendulum.
Deck of cards: Another divinatory tool but for more complex answers. My deck is not Tarot but an eastern-ish deck called Deste. It was popularized here in Greece by a writer and practicing witch (although she calls herself things such as "tzan", "wise woman" etc) whom I consider a little full of hot air (although I don't doubt her experiences and workings). It has worked wonders so far (at least from the moment I ditched the manual and used my intuition for the meanings).
Bell: The bell is used to singify various parts of a ritual or working (like the beginning and the end etc) as well as to banish negative entities and welcome positive ones (its chime acting both as sort of an 'alarm' and a beacon).
Various items: Rocks, feathers, herbs (rarely so), leaves, dirt (as in soil), seeds and many more are used depending on the working at hand and mainly for their symbolic connotations (e.g. seeds for symbolizing fertility, beginnings etc). The items used vary greatly.

THE ONE: I view as the One the singularity of energy that existed before the Big Bang. The One for me is also called The All, The En and Existence. I believe that after the Big Bang (the Great Division) the singularity, the Monad that is the One became Many. I call the Divided One, the Plurality, Nature and Existence. Everything is part of the One and everything has a "spark" of the One. The One is not Divine for it exceeds Gods. Gods are part of the One as everything else though they are the greatest in power and most perfect of Its parts, that's why I liken them to Its "Soul" or "Mind".

SPIRIT and SOUL: A spirit for me is any energy entity. Spirits with a physical form (body) that is also living (living organisms) are called souls.

LOW MAGIC - Low Magic is Magic used for physical matters. Its fields cover concepts such as health, wealth, protection, love, spirits of this plane (i.e. nymphs) et al (and their counterparts as well). Some Low Magic practices are spells, charms, enchantments, wards, divination etc.

HIGH MAGIC - High Magic is Magic used for spiritual matters. Its fields cover concepts such as deities, spirits of different planes (i.e. demons or angels), unity with the whole etc. Some High Magic practices are invocation, evocation, channeling, meditation, rituals etc.

I believe this is enough for the basic definitions and that I have covered everything. The next post (which I'll create shortly to maintain the feeling of unity between these posts) will be the explanatory notes and details on the aspects of my practice discussed in the 'What I Do' post. Specifically, they will refer to exactly what it is I practice and perform of those things mentioned as the axis of my path.

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