Incense Magick: Art & Ritual of Incense

Incense fanatic Carl Neal walks you through the joys, wonders, and science of making and using natural incense. From making your first basic cone to creation and use of elaborate incense rituals, Incense Magick is your guide to the sometimes secretive world of incense and incense making. Every article explores different facets of incense, incense making, ingredients, rituals, tools, or techniques.

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Blurring The Lines Of Community: Politics

So are you sick of politics?  Tired of the election coverage?  For a political junkie like me, this election cycle has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed and I just can’t wait to see what happens next!  I thank all of the deities that I am not only alive to witness this but that I’m old enough to truly appreciate it.  So what does this have to do with being a Solitary Pagan?  Actually, a fair amount.

This is part of my continuing series called “Blurring the Lines of Community”.  My point with these articles is that as Solitaries, we often find it difficult to worship with others or even to find others who worship in any way similar to ourselves.  So how can Solitaries be part of Community when we are often seen as “loners”, “anti-social”, or even “not real Pagans”?  Well, notwithstanding the ideas I’ve put forward in other articles for becoming part of the Greater Pagan Community, there is another aspect to “Community” that I think is at least as important, if not even more important.

The Pagan Community is only a small slice of the larger communities in which we live.  While being part of the Greater Pagan Community is important to many Solitaries, being part of your community-at-large is in many ways much more important.  That’s why I’m talking about politics.  While I understand that most of you reading this are not enjoying the presidential race the way that I am, I hope that I can convince you of the importance of participating in politics.  I’m not suggesting that you need to run out and put campaign signs in your yard or start campaigning for a candidate.   I am, however, suggesting that you participate in the political process at every level (local through national).

First, let me say that there is a much wider spectrum of political views in the Pagan universe than is often believed.  I know that the stereotypical Pagan (if there is such a thing) is usually thought of as being very liberal and firmly on the “left” side of politics.  That makes sense in the USA given the history of Paganism, but it simply isn’t representative of our community.  I have met Pagans with beliefs in all parts of the political spectrum.  Don’t fool yourself – there are plenty of right-leaning, gun-toting, anti-government Pagans.  While I am one who has long lived in the liberal spectrum of politics, I have met plenty of Pagans whose views were closer to Cruz than Clinton.  As Pagans we are a microcosm of the country in which we live.  We can’t all agree on religion, in spite of possibly labeling ourselves in the same way, so it shouldn’t be surprising that our politics are all over the map as well.

Participating in politics, even if your only participation is voting, is critical for our communities, both as Pagans and as citizens.  Although voting in a national election can leave you feeling pretty powerless, it is still important.  The more local the vote, the greater your impact, but simply by understanding the political candidates and being able to talk about them with others you can have an impact on our future.  I am always dismayed when I attend a function or an event where attendees are instructed not to discuss politics or other controversial topics because it causes disharmony.  We shouldn’t avoid these topics (ok, during a ritual is an inappropriate time, but afterwards is not) among ourselves or when part of the larger communities in which we live.  Politics, believe it or not, represent values.  If you ignore politics and refuse to participate you may well be helping to foster an environment that is in opposition to your beliefs and values.

Don’t think your opinion counts?  Your thoughts don’t matter?  Don’t kid yourself!  Even if your vote never changes who wins, your thoughts and opinions (when expressed to others) may have an impact that you can’t even contemplate.  Your words today may have an impact on someone 50 years after you are gone from this Earth.  Although for many people “politics” is a dirty word, in reality it is simply another word for “values” and “goals”.  Even if you choose to attempt to ignore politics, the political realities of life still have a huge impact on you.  Knowing what is happening in the political world during an election is the only way to see where we are headed and what issues might lay ahead.

Being conscious of politics doesn’t mean becoming a political activist or a protester.  It does mean being part of the community-at-large.  Some Solitary Pagans shy away from anything labeled “community”, but being part of the political community is definitely a way to “blur the lines”.  Your values as a Pagan might well be shared with many non-Pagans in your local communities.  Paying attention to politics and participating whenever practical will help you find your feet in the larger community.  It will also help to bring your values and beliefs into the political system.  That is the first step to making change that matters to you and yours.


Next – jury duty!

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  Carl Neal has walked a Pagan path for 30 years. He is a self-avowed incense fanatic and has published 2 books through Llewellyn Worldwide on the topic. For many years (and even occasionally these days) he was a vendor of altar tools and supplies which led him to write The Magick Toolbox for Red Wheel/Weiser  


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Tuesday, 29 March 2016

    Somewhere in my collection of Pogo books there is one in which one of the characters; either Pogo or Porkupine, says that voting in this election sort of guarantees you the right to vote in the next one. I've been a registered voter since I turned 18 and I have voted in every election and primary that offered me a choice of candidates. Although presidential elections are crowded at the poles, it's the off year elections when I'm one of the few people that show up that really disappoint me. I've seen news reports of people in other countries dodging gunfire for the chance to vote, and I've had co-workers who can't be bothered. I grew up hearing that everyone gets the government they deserve. When I see in the paper that only 27% of the registered voters voted in an election I think yeah, everyone who didn't exercise their right to vote got the government they deserve.

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