Welcome back fellow Witches and Pagans! We hope you enjoyed your weekend! This week for Airy Monday we've brought you a whole gamut of stories featuring magic and religion in pop culture. Read on to learn how one self-defined "urban hipster" got involved with witchcraft, which popular villains were most successful, and how the animated series Steven Universe has developed some of the most complex protagonists in television. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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Advice for Beginners on Wiccan, Pagan & Witchcraft Paths
My years of experience will do no good for anyone if I do not share it with you. I hope my words of wisdom and advice help you avoid many of the mistakes I made.
Spirituality is a process. Witchcraft is a journey, not a destination. There are many factors to consider when choosing a spiritual path. Spirituality is about devotion and practice. One cannot simply associate one’s self with a path, and call it their own. You must practice it. You must become a part of it. You must be willing and able to live that path.
The path of Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism is not about shock value. It is not about making your oppressive relatives angry, or proving yourself different in main stream society. Yes, by nature we tend to go against the grain, but not always so harshly. The path is about devotion. It is about finding a spiritual balance and focus that makes you a better person. It is about finding your place in the world that also helps make the world a better place....
This weekend my coven will be celebrating our first "outdoor" sabbat. I know that a lot of groups exclusively meet outside but that's never really been an option for us. While my wife and I are lucky enough to live in a house, there's another person living in our backyard. He's not a living in a tent or anything like that, but he does occupy a studio-like living space attached to the garage. I doubt he wants to listen to us chant in the backyard while he's trying to sleep.
While I do share a backyard the garden spots are all mine and with the corn already over six feet it feels pretty magical. It may not be with the coven, but every time I water my garden (with grey water from the shower) I feel like I'm at least performing a private ritual. I talk to my sunflowers, implore my pumpkins to grow, and stop to bow at Aphrodite-Chicago of the Lemon Tree. My garden is ia magical place, but it's a magical place for mostly "just me" (and sometimes my wife when she checks on things)....
When my wife and I started the Oak Court (for those of you new to the column, that's the name of our coven, and the street we live on) we weren't setting out to start a coven. Heck, our little gathering didn't even have a name in those early days and certainly wasn't called "The Oak Court." We simply invited a few friends over who weren't involved in any other small-circles or covens and grew from there.
I first came across the term covenstead in Uncle Bucky's Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft. In the Big Blue Book Buckland describes the covenstead as "the name given to the home of the coven (the place where it always, or most often, meets). Within the Covenstead,* of course, is found the Temple." I've been a part of several covens over the years, but most of those situations seemed to lack a true covenstead. Rituals were undertaken in several different locations: a few houses, maybe a park, etc. Those places were all nice, and my house numbered among them, but they didn't feel like a covenstead.
So, last week I skipped my Pagan Experience post. Partly because I was in full production mode over at FiberWytch (still am, in fact), which tends to make me feel overwhelmed; as I still work at an outside job part time, and I have invisible illnesses, multitasking can be a challenge. I also have a tendency to become nonverbal when working full steam ahead on crafting projects. But if I’m going to be honest, a bigger reason I skipped it was that my reaction on reading the prompt was more or less “meh.” Because as a godspouse and spirit worker, I’m a spirit-centered pagan, not an earth-centered one. Or so I told myself.
Well then. A day or two later (while I was in the shower, as it happens), Odin set me straight on this notion. “Not earth-centered, is it? What about the Making? What about all of the plant oils and herbs you work with? Those plant spirits have a home, you know, and it isn’t out in the ether somewhere.”