Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Godless Chant

On several occasions I have written on the topic of music in Paganism. This has always been something near and dear to my heart because of my background in Native Traditions, where singing is a very powerful core. While it exists in Paganism, it seems to lack emphasis in comparison.

Last Tuesday during my morning Facebook and coffee ritual I came across this post by Z. Budapest regarding her Goddess Chant. I attempted to withhold my vitriol that day, accept to say its wrong on so many levels, particularly:

"You put men into the song, like God,a hex will be activated."

While I agree to disagree with Z. on a great many things, I cannot agree to disagree with this. I will skip the long, drawn-out and boring yet intelligent argument I have prepared and just get to the good part. I decided to put Z's hex to the test. My Father was scheduled for back surgery Wednesday morning in up north in Santa Rosa. So I left town Tuesday afternoon and I sang the Chant the whole way to Santa Rosa. For those who don't know, I live in Central California (Visalia) and its about a five hour drive, through the bay area and into the Northern Wine Country. 

I figured I would put her Hex to the test. Moreover, I would be driving through the Bay Area during rush hour traffic, giving her Hex the optimal probability advantage of time, place, route and population density. So I started singing my version of the song (We All Come From The Lord and Lady...), slow, choppy and awkward at first. It felt odd and I realized I was feeling very self-conscious. This was a very unusual for me because I have over fifteen years experience singing traditional ceremonial songs in public/group rituals. 

 But a few miles down the road I started to get a bit of a groove going, not long after that old cadence started to come out and I rolled down all the widows because I was starting to get loud. One of the secrets to ceremonial songs is that Singing is an emotional release. I had forgotten that, but by the time I had reached Oakland the energy had erupted from a very deep place and I began to cry. For those who don't know, I had locked horns with family members and we hadn't spoken since Yule. This was the Very First Time this had happen between us, it was very difficult experience for me and all four months worth of anger, hurt, pain and frustration came pouring out. Wave after wave, gush after gush of tears, I sang my way through it, and traffic.

As I drove west across the bridge into San Rafael the Sun was seated upon the ridge, draped by the cloud-cover it painted generously from a luminous pallet. My skin tingled, the hairs on my arm stood up as the energy became ecstatic and I was overwhelmed by the joyful spirit of communion. Tears of happiness streaming down my face, I sang on. There was a significant shift and I arrived in Santa Rosa late that evening a different person, a healed, person. I slept well.

Bright and early the next morning I beat my Dad to the Hospital and was there waiting for him when he arrived, escorted by family. Not a word was spoken but the family feud ended then and there. Over the last few days we have taken time to heal and bond, my Dad wasn't the only one who was injured, his trip to the hospital healed us all, he comes home tomorrow.

I can't let it go, the feeling, the powerful love, the Chant.

I looked for "Wiccan Chant Music" on my iPhone and found Shawna Carol's Goddess Chant CD, and downloaded it on iTunes. Maybe its the moment, the shift or the emotion but it was perfect timing. I love this CD, its literally like Wiccan Gospel Music. You can roll your eyes all you want, but I'm a believer. I always was, but I was in a bad way. We all experience a momentary lapse of reason, some of us recover and reconcile, and some of us don't or won't. I don't know what happened to Z. but I wish her Love and Healing, I pray that the Goddess holds her heart closely and that someday soon she is able to feel what I am feeling.

Thank you Lord & Lady for Z. Budapest and her Chant.

Bles-seeed Beeeeeee!

Monday, April 16, 2012

H is for Sexual Abuse

Yes, that's right "H" is for Sexual Abuse, in fact, every letter in the alphabet should be.

Just like most other Wiccans, I face a lot of false assumptions about our religious beliefs and practices. Most of those assumptions are related to Satanism or Charmed-ism. Given the choice I would prefer those false assumptions over the ones of an inappropriate sexual nature. And thankfully, they are few and far between.
It's no secret that the origins of Wicca are steeped in nudity, sexuality and fertility, nor is it or has it ever been a concern of mine personally. Wicca has grown, changed and evolved significantly in a very short time. Our Tradition openly declares itself as an American Tradition with an Independent Lineage. While we honor our Magical predecessors and acknowledge the validity of their work, we do things a bit differently. But regardless of tradition, lineage or lack thereof, there are certain behaviors that are unacceptable under any circumstances.

While there are many other mainstream monotheistic religions which have a long record of sexual abuse, cover up and scandal, I firmly believe that we should strive to stay on point, and not defer or deter our issues with the "but look at them" digression.

The simple fact is that there appears to be a slow but steady increase in Wicca related sexual abuse / misconduct allegations. Someone told me there are hundreds if not thousands of these allegations all the time, which are not Wiccan related, and I agree, but I'm not talking about those, I'd like to acknowledge the ones that are Wicca related, because as a Wiccan, they bother me.

One of my favorite Pagan Authors is Brendan Myers. While there are many Pagan Scholars (scholars of Paganism), I favor the Scholars who are Pagans, like Brendan. (and by the way A Pagan Testament is a must read!) It was about two years ago this Beltane that Brendan drafted The Pagan Community Statement on Sexual Abuse. I think that we as a [Pagan] community need to acknowledge and address these type of issues and take proactive preventative measures to spread awareness. One way to do this is to simply post the Statement on your or you group website.

Our organization has had an active public web presence for over seven years now, and in that time we have been contacted by some interesting people and have received some interesting emails. Most of these emails pertained in some way shape or form to the topic and interest of whether or not we do rituals Skyclad. Since we have posted the Community statement, we have not received a single communication on the subject. While I do not mean to associate Skyclad rituals with sexual abuse or misconduct, it appears (sadly) that a not so surprisingly large amount a people do associate Skyclad rituals with Sex.

The Pagan Community Statement sends a simple and clear message. One that needs to be repeated over and over again, ad infinitum

Thank you Lord & Lady for my Ritual Robes. Blessed Be.

Friday, April 6, 2012

G is for God Map, Part Two

So as promised I'm back to extrapolate on the God Map and our own traditions Z axis. But I'd like to start with a caveat of disclaimer: First, I rarely speak in absolutes, so take everything I say with a big dose of salt. Second: In part One, Anonymous commented on my placement of Christianity on the map, beginning with: "many of us Christians..."

That's great, then obviously you don't go there although you're Christian. Noted. But for the purposes of my post I will continue to make some generalized assertions that you may or may not feel subject too. Not only that, but I will appropriate old words from a dead language and assign new meanings to them. I know, I know, blasphemy you say. Well that's not all, I've also created a whole new set of glyphs for each location on the Z axis! But I'm saving that for another book, so I substituted them for cute little color coded chakra spheres, which by no coincidence align nicely with their location. I invite you to go back to the color thing later.

But for now, lets start at the bottom, which is closest to home (pun intended). In case you didn't get the joke Di Panates is traditionally known to the Romans as the guardian spirits of the cupboards, but we also use the term here in our system to acknowledge the most immediate and manifested aspect of spirit to us personally. Second are Lares Domestici, these are still immediate and imminent manifestations, but are shared with family, friends, a home or a particular place or group. Egregores would be acknowledged here.

Genius Loci is the spirit of the land, or a certain geographical area. We do not quantify these areas by any standards of measurement, as to say they are only so large or small. In my experience it seems to vary greatly from place to place, or spirit to spirit. I am in the process of mapping out the G. Loci in my area as I understand them, and am assigning them their own glyphs for future use.

Amina Mundi is the whole earth itself, sort of a spiritual "inter-connected-network," like the internet but there's no paid service plan and you don't need a computer. There is WiFi (ambient) and land line (telluric current), that was another pun by the way. Next is Natura Minor, there's no link because I made this one myself and haven't Wiki-ed it yet.

N. Minor acknowledges spirit at a solar system level, for example planetary aspects, attributes, influences and pantheons (Jupiter = Zeus). Natura Major (also mine) would be the next obvious step up or out, and represents our galaxy. I like the way that things become more transcended and abstract on the map as we twist the zoom knob on the telescope.

The last one is Natura Naturata, which essentially is everything known and unknown. John Micheal Greer wrote something to the effect of N. Naturata is the "Book of Nature" which we lovely call the Gospel of Nature. But Natura Naturans (not on map) is the "Author" of that book or Gospel of Nature. Something we Masons call the The Great Architect of the Universe. There is more, I'm working on a three dimensional image of all this that strangely enough looks like a Cone of Power..... gasp.

Insert conspiracy theory here while I laugh ominous and maniacally in the background...

I'm currently reading (re-reading) Casting Sacred Spaces by Ivo Dominguez Jr. for a book review, for a magazine. For starters, I really like this book, but I love what he had to say on the subject of Immanence & Transcendence, which I will not tell you, go buy the book! But I will say that I love his approach to the topic, he does not view them as conflicting, or regard them as dichotomy, but instead as polarity. And "Well-utilized, polarity is a powerful source of energy."

Thank you Lord, Lady and Ivo Dominguez Jr. for giving me so much cool stuff to think about.

Blessed Be.