Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pagan Meme

I was reading some older posts over at the Witch of the Forest Grove and run across this meme. I've done it before, on a networking site and I thought it would be interesting to redo it now that some things have changed and compare them afterwards.

B A S I C S

Do you have a magical/Pagan name? Sort of. Alorer is almost like a Craft name for me, albeit a public one.

How did you find Paganism? I was intrigued by the symbolism referenced in Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code" when I read it on 2004/2005 and wanted to learn what the ancient Greek religion was like, since we never learnt anything other than summaries of some myths at school. I was hooked soon after researching.

How long have you been practicing? About 7 years and a half. I consciously decided to start practicing on my birthday on 2005 even though I had been researching for a while before that. Therefore, I count my practice since that birthday, when I performed a ritual of naming for myself, retaking my given name under its ancient meaning.

Are you out of the broom closet? More or less. I don't yell it from the rooftops but I don't hide it. I answer honestly if asked.

Solitary or group practitioner? Solitary. Groups are a rare commodity in Greece. The only one(s) I found are too outside my interests.

What is your path? NeoHellenic Witchcraft. It involves witchcraft, spirit-art, hearthcraft (Ephestian Craft) and religious practices (a modern, non-reconstructionist form of the Hellenic religion).

D E I T Y

What’s your brand of deism? Animism, "hard" polytheism, somewhat of a "multi-henotheist" (yes, this sounds like a paradox).

Who is your patron God? I don't have one.

Who is your patron Goddess? Hekate.

What Gods do you worship? The Hellenic pantheon. As far as I can (my practice is still recovering from my dark night of the soul), I honour the pantheon in its entirety. As far as specific deities are concerned, I have worked with and/or worship Hekate, Hestia, Selene, Artemis, Athena, Asclepius, Apollon, Zeus, Aphrodite and Poseidon. I also honour the Agathos Daemon of my household, certain Nymphs and "minor" Gods of the land.

Do you fear darkly aspected Gods/Goddesses, or rather respect them? I like the term "awe". It includes respect, love, admiration and a hint of fear. This is what I feel towards all deities, not just the "darker" ones. Also, since I'm a devotee priest of Hekate, I cannot help but feel at ease with the "darker" deities, at least compared to your average Pagan.

Do you worship the Christian God? No. I recognise him as a God and deserving of worship and honour by his followers but I do not like him or his methods, nor do I have any connection or pact with him that would require me to worship him. In any case, I pretty much ignore him altogether.

Do you worship animals? Or plants? I respect them, I honour their spirits and spirit-guardians but I worship only Gods. As Sarah Lawless said in this question of the meme (since I copied it from her site), the Kings of the animals and plants are pretty close to Gods for me too. Specifically, in my case, I consider them "minor deities". Not minor in the sense of being less significant but simply not as potent or widely influential as other Gods (like the Olympians or the Titans). They belong to the type of divinity I call "Gods of the Land". Chthonic and powerful, not complete Gods, not quite daemons, certainly not simple spirits. Check this post regarding how I categorise spirits (to be added soon).

N A T U R E

Do you regularly commune with nature? Everything is Nature so, yeah, in a sense I could say I am constantly attuned to It. If you mean "wilder" Nature, as in non-artificial environment such as the countryside or, at least, something like parks, yes, at times I like changing scenes and experiencing a different atmosphere than that of the city.

Taken a camping trip just to talk to nature? No.

Describe the moment you felt closest to Mother Earth? I don't think I have experienced such a moment.

Do you have a familiar? No.

Have you ever called upon the powers of an animal in ritual? Not as far as I can recall.

Or a plant? Yes.

Do you hug trees? I've done so in the past! Haha, not the best experience. Trees often ooze resin and "tree-juice" and they have all sorts of crawlies on them. I love touching them with my palm/hand and feeling the difference in their energy and flow. It also helps with communication.

Give them gifts? Mostly water although I have, at times, offered ribbons, food, wine, copper coins and other stuff.

What are your favourite plants to work with? Lavender, rosemary, basil, laurel and black nightshade (Solanum nigrum).

What are your favourite trees to work with? Cypress, Poplar, Oak, Plane, Pine.

W H E E L  O F  T H E  Y E A R

What is your favourite holiday? May-day and All Hallows. Or Beltaine and Samhain if you prefer. They are not the same celebrations even though they share the same dates and some common themes. The differences are largely cultural.

What is your least favourite holiday? I can't think of one I don't like.

Have you ever held a ritual on a holiday? Yep.

Ever taken a day off work to celebrate a Pagan holiday? Nope.

Do you celebrate Yule on the 21st rather than the 25th? I celebrate it on the 22nd. ;)

Have you ever felt the veil thinning? Yes, at different times and not always on the "major holidays".

Ever danced the Maypole? Unfortunately no!

Know what the Maypole symbolizes? It's a phallic symbol of fertility. In other words, Pan's erect penis.

How do you usually celebrate the Pagan holidays? With private rituals and appropriate feasts with family (they don't practice and don't know many details but I choose to view any get-togethers during such days as a way to celebrate the holidays).

D I V I N A T I O N

Do you use Tarot? No. I would like to, though. I use a Greek, Asia Minor-themed deck.

Do you use runes? Rarely and not for divination.

Do you use a pendulum? Yes.

Do you use dowsing rods? No. The pendulum covers any needs that may arise better than a dowsing rod would (and since I don't need to search for water, I don't need one at all).

Do you use astrology? No.

Any other forms of divination? Omens, prophetic dreams, cloud divination (haven't used this in quite some time though), scrying (often within pathworkings).

S P E L L S

What was the first spell you did? My memory leaves a lot to be desired and I never got into the habit of recording everything I do so I think it was a weather spell.

What was the latest? I wouldn't call it a spell but I've performed a bunch of consecration workings recently.

Ever done a love spell? Yes. Both the ill-fated and the more ethical/effective kind.

A job spell? Yep.

A healing spell? Yes.

What was the most powerful spell you’ve ever performed? I'd say a complex, layered set of workings for protection. It was my first full-fledged and potent use of spirit-art.

What deities do you usually call on? Hekate.

C R Y P T O Z O O L O G Y

Do you believe in vampires? Not those found in fiction. I believe in vampiric spirits (such as succubi and incubi, the Mora of Greek folklore and others) and in humans as "energy vampires". However, I consider the latter as rather rare and even though I have come across individuals that are rather "energy taxing" and absorb a lot of energy from their surroundings, I have yet to meet an actual, intentional and realized practitioner of this kind of thing.

Werewolves? Again not those found in fiction. I guess shamans and spirit-workers, especially those of the past could have powerful, deep connections to the wolf, to the point of (permanent or semi-permanent) soul transformation but I have never met one.

Shapeshifters? Almost any witch worth their salt can be a shapeshifter. Not as in physically transforming, but as in the soul taking on the form of an animal or possessing an animal when travelling out of body. I believe in the legends of skinwalkers too – don’t fuck with them either. (I left Sarah Lawless' answer as it is since it completely covers me. If you asked me this question in the past, I would have definitely replied with "no". After much recent research and rethinking of my beliefs, I have to say I completely agree with Sarah.)

Elves? Once more, not fictional ones. They exist in Norse beliefs of otherworldly beings so I guess I do. Never had any experience with any of them.

Fairies? I define faeries as non-human spirits of the land. Genius locii and most daemons can be called faeries. In post-medieval and modern Greek folklore (modern as in, 18th century and onwards), nymphs, for example, are almost always called "faeries".

Dragons? No. I don't completely reject the possibility of dragon spirits (you can never know everything about other planes of existence) but I think they are more like archetypal figures/thoughtforms created in modern times rather than natural spirits.

Nymphs? See Fairies.

Sprites? See Fairies.

Mermaids? See Fairies.

Satyrs? See Fairies.

Ever “seen” any of the above? I think so, yes. I'm not yet certain whether I truly possess the second sight or if other factors allowed me to have more tangible experiences (seeing, hearing etc) during those instances. In any case, yes, I have seen, heard and felt otherworldly entities on a number of occasions.

Ever used any of the above in magic? I don't use spirits. I use tools. I use objects. Spirits have awareness. Perhaps not in the same way you and I are aware but they are not materials or ingredients to be used by humans. I have worked with many kinds of spirits in many ways.

Do you have one of them as a personal guardian? I don't think so. I am almost certain I have ancestral guardians/guides and I have/had pacts and alliances with certain spirits but not personal guardians or anything of that sort.

R A N D O M

Do you see a rabbit, a man or a woman in the moon? ...What?

Own a cat? Used to. All of our cats through the years either have died or been stolen. My family decided not to have any pets from now on.

When you meditate, what does your happy place look like? I don't have a "happy place". I use meditation as in relaxation techniques, emptying the mind etc but always as a focus aid or to prepare for a pathworking.

Do you work with chakras? Have worked in the past. They don't really interest me anymore and they are no longer relevant to my practice.

Do you believe in past lives? Yes, but I don’t care.

If so, describe a few briefly: They’re called “past” because they were in the past and you can’t remember them. I'll also add that I don't believe you need to remember them, they don't concern your current life.

Do you believe in soul mates? Not as in two people are destined and complete each other, blah blah true love. Maybe as in kindred souls who’ve met before and affect each other’s lives strongly are meant to meet again and again, but usually only briefly and they don’t stay with you your whole life. Most kindred souls I’ve met I only knew for a short time before our lives separated us. (Again leaving Sarah's answer as it is. Excellent and exactly what I would say.)

Do you have a spirit guide? Not in the New Age understanding (or the First Nations' one). I have spirits that offer help, usually as information or mental "pushes" but no permanent, 24/7 spirit guides.

Is it always love and light? No. It's always love, light, hurt and darkness at the same time.