“I’ve always been interested in Wicca since I found out about it a few years ago, I have a few books about the religion/culture and love reading about it. There have been a few times where I considered becoming a Wiccan, but I’m not very religious and I don’t really feel comfortable performing any magic, ceremonies, or anything like that. I guess what I’m trying to ask is how I should go about becoming a Wiccan?”
You shouldn’t. Performing magick and rituals is part of dedicating yourself to Wicca, and if you don’t like that aspect of it, then you’re dismissing a big chunk of the religion. So unless you come out of your shell and perform rituals for your dedication, Sabbats, and any other occasion, perhaps Wicca as a religion isn’t your path… For now, perhaps.
If you want a more personal, not-so-magick-filled path, Paganism could be in your journey. Paganism, as a personal path, not a religion, isn’t so magick-filled (for the most part). Instead, it’s more based with natural magick like communing with nature, using the foods and elements as magick, using herbs and crystals, meditation (psychic energy/power), and prayer. You make your Pagan path your own – there’s no set rules or instructions like there are for Wicca. Wicca’s religion is based off Pagan practices, magick was just added to Wicca. With Paganism you can take aspects of different spiritualities and religions and use them in your path and beliefs.
If that doesn’t fondle your interest still, then perhaps you need to go on a soul-search and explore and learn about new beliefs and religions. It’s not with every religion that you have to be religious. There are some Asian paths where you just have to live a moral, ethical life to go to your happy place when you die.
But even with the set rules, guidelines and instructions with some religions, you can still, more or less, make it your own. Even with Wicca, despite the magick part and you not comfortable with it. Many Wiccans, even though sometimes they forget what it entails and why the religion was created in the first place, mix other religions like Christianity into their practices. It’s not very common, but it’s definitely not uncommon. Is that an okay thing to do to mix two completely different religions on polar opposites together? I say no, but many will disagree and find the little things that make them “similar.” All religions are different for a reason.
Good luck with your spiritual path and journey.
“I have been extremely interested in Wicca for eight years now; I love the spirituality, the love for nature, the use of runes and stones… I don’t believe in ALL of it, but I don’t think that should keep me from wanting to call myself a Wiccan, should it? I’m also wondering about the deities used in Wicca; I don’t feel that strongly drawn towards Celtic deities my friends have told me about. Is it possible to use other figures (like Norse Gods) as deities (I’m strongly drawn to them) in Wicca?”
The thing about Wicca is that a lot of people don’t really have a full understanding of it, even those who’ve been practicing it for years. If you Google “what is wicca” you’re going to come upon websites made by everyday people explaining what Wicca is to THEM, so you’re going to get multiple different answers. Wicca itself is a very new religion. With its own set of guidelines and rules and how-to’s for specific things. Wicca’s official deities are the God (Sun/Sky) and Goddess (Moon/Earth) (Also known as Duotheistic Wicca). But you then also have Monotheistic Wiccans who believe that the God and Goddess are dual aspect of one “creator.” And then you have Polytheistic Wiccans who believe in multiple Gods and Goddesses and pantheons.
Whatever you want to call these different things or beliefs, the basis of Wicca is that there is dual belief in a masculine and feminine deity.
Many Wiccans may also work with different Gods and different pantheons at the same time. If your friend is telling you Wicca only follows Celtic deities, then they need to go educate themselves.
Wicca has a basic “this is what Wicca is and these are the basic rules” thing going on, the rest is up to you and what you want to take in or out – for the most part. Other than the masculine/feminine deity, Wiccans follow the Wiccan Rede “If it harms none, do what ye will.” And the practice of Magick in attempt to alter the natural world and alter mental and material conditions.
You have to remember that Wicca is a religion, so it has it’s basic layout set pretty much. Paganism, on the other hand, is more of a personal, self-path making. Many will say Paganism and Wicca is the same thing or have the same beliefs, practices, etc. From an angle, it may seem like it. I have my own definition of what Paganism is, just like everyone else – but it’s not a Wiccan religion.
So to simplify everything and answer your question simply… Yes. You can use the Norse Gods in your practice.
“I’ve been looking around for some cleansing rituals and I’m finding all the confusing ones. Could you point me in the right direction? I need to cleanse all this negative energy that’s been sapping me.”
Cleansing can be as simple as lighting a bundle of sage and banishing all negativity or an entire elaborate ritual. I’d go with the simple sage stick – it’s simple, easy, and very effective. With the sage, simply light it and go around your house or area and say a simple chant like “I cleanse and consecrate this area to banish all negativity, evil and harm.”
I don’t usually give out spells, because to each their own, and because of how personal a spell needs to be, but…
For a more ritualistic setting, in a bowl of blessed water, add salt, sage, and mandrake (or linden). Dip your fingers in the water and “splash” the water in areas where you feel there is a negative presence and say:
I cast you out from this place,
this is your poison, this is your fate.
I cast you out from this place,
into the ground, into no place.
I cast you out from high and low,
this is my will and I command you to go!
You can also use the ingredients for a powder, but without the water and replace it with ground frankincense or sandalwood, and sprinkle it outside doors and windows.
For more of a self-purification or cleanse, start a meditation. Clear your mind and concentrate on ridding of all the negative energies from yourself. Light a white candle and say:
Mother Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and Spirit,
I ask thee to cleanse my body of all negative energies
Light a black candle and say:
Mother Earth, FIre, Air, Water, and Spirit
I ask thee to free and heal my body from all negative energies.
So mote it be!
Feel yourself being cleansed of all negativity. See it leave your body. Invision white, positive light and energy filling your body.
And instead of any spell or ritual, a simpler way is to meditate – conjure up and hold your energy into this sphere or ball and let it go when you’re ready into this “blast” taking all negativity away with it.
“I will be moving to a city soon where I will no longer have the security to perform rituals outside, what are the best options for solitary practice in a city environment?”
I used to live in the country and had all the freedom of a backyard, the woods, parks, etc. to do rituals and meditate. There’s nothing more fulfilling and truly being connected with Nature and the open sky than being outside. Now I live in a townhouse in the city where my backyard is my neighbor! No more touching the Earth during rituals and meditation. It’s a hard and tricky adjustment, and a little sad to see.
However, though you’ll lose that very close connection, it’ll still be there regardless of where you are and where you’re doing ritual. Everything is connected to the Earth, because almost everything around us is OF the Earth! So even if you’re living in a second or ninth floor apartment building – the floors, walls, metals – it all comes from our great Earth. So you’re still connecting to it on a sub-level, instead of directly.
I don’t know how elaborate or loudly you’re doing your rituals outside, but as long as your not screaming or having some sort of spiritual seizure, then I think you’ll be pretty safe in the city. I actually feel more “safe” now than when I did outside. Because when I was outside, I would always worrying if someone was going to see or hear me. But if you’re in the sanctuary of your bedroom or living room, then you have nothing to fear.
Just remember it’s not all about where you do ritual, how you do it, the words you say, or the tools you use. The Gods listen to you regardless of how mundane or elaborate your rituals are. The best rituals are the simple ones, and that can even mean doing it in bed or in the bathtub! It’s the energy and faith that you put out that makes the ritual a ritual!
“For the Last couple of days i’ve had the huge black bird following me around every time i’m outside, and when i’m in the house its takes the form of a cat, i guess not the scare me? i dont know what to think about it, i dont feel its evil. and i’ve tired to find information on it but cant find anything, and i’d like a second opinion.”
Well, black birds are often omens. Depending on the culture involved, this can be good or bad. From my own culture, the Norse, ravens are the messengers and watchers of Odin. They bring him the news of the nine worlds. Cats too, can be both a positive and a negative.
First off I would say trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel evil, it probably isn’t. That doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous, but presuming it hasn’t attacked you, I think you’re okay. My first suggestion is to leave out offerings for it. Sometimes doing this can turn a neutral spirit into a friend, and a hostile one into a neutral. Do this for a while, like you would with a stray animal, if you wish it to remain. After that, try sitting quietly and see if it will “speak” to you.
When we have spirits following us it’s generally for simple reasons. They want to feed, they want to communicate, they are curious, or they’ve been sent. Determining which of these is key, as is acting accordingly. I would get some things for a banishing ritual just in case, but don’t use them just yet. Try communicating first. Rune stones, Tarot decks, and pendulums are good ways for easy communication with spirits. Just ask it what it wants and see how your medium responds. Only if the spirit gets hostile should you then try to banish it away.
Ask a Pagan is looking for a guest writer to answer a question or two! If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll choose the best blogger that’s best suited for the question(s)!
“Hello, I have been interested in branches of pagan for sometime after learning reiki and learning about the energy of the universe. I also have a pagan friend and I am extremely interested in everything she tells me about her belief. However, my family are strict catholics and would believe me to be a ‘heathen’, what should I do?
Why and how would they know? Why would you tell them? Is it necessary for them to know or for you to tell them? There’s no reason or obligation for you to have to tell them, even if you’re just reading about it. Paganism is a very personal and private path, and most practitioners practice in secret. To flaunt or speak of your beliefs without being asked about it is, not exactly “against the rules,” but it’s not exactly something you, or anyone, should be doing.
I’m not saying you have to hide underground to do ritual or meditate, but simply keeping things on the “down low.” It’s easier to hide your craft with Catholicism probably more than any other religion, because of its very gaudy… well, everything! Everything in a catholic church is screaming and flaunting catholic! The statues, candles, incense, art, paintings, etc. So use those to your advantage – you can use a statue of a saint or even the Virgin Mary to represent the Goddess and God (it’s not about what they mean and represent to others, but it’s how and who YOU want it to mean and represent), candles to pray, and frankincense for cleansing and protection. And right there are your basic essentials!
And since you have a Pagan friend, you can always ask if you can join them for meditation, ritual, or just have a book-reading session together!
“Hello! I was wondering if you could maybe help me. I like to describe myself as a person who believes in the universal energy that flows through all living things. I have never really found a set religion or path to take, but I was recently told that maybe a certain form of Paganism might suit me. Do you have any suggestions?”
Paganism has many different faces, traditions, beliefs, etc. Paganism is the “big picture” to the other little paths like Wicca and its many traditions. Paganism itself is not a “religion.” In history, people called others Pagans, or Heathens, because they were not (or believed not to be) Christian. Because there are not many records of what ancient religions were like before Christianity and Judaism, besides cave paintings, statues, temples, ancient texts like the Sanskrit Vedic texts and different forms of hieroglyphs (most ancient teachings and story-telling was verbal) – whatever records were found mentioned ancient people worshiping the moon, sun, stars, animals, and nature. And once Judaism and Christianity came around and it did not believe in these worshipings, Heathen/Pagan were the titles given to these people.
Aside from that short history lesson, what you should do is basically do some soul-searching. All the knowledge you need and searching for are in books. I would suggest visiting your local library and checking out some books on Paganism/Wicca or even something on world religions or western religions. Many of those books will have something to mention besides just about the book’s title and will refer you to other research and topics – and that will definitely help you expand your horizons and knowledge and hopefully lead you in the right direction to find what path is calling your name.
Aside from books, some soul-searching could be in order. Through meditation and finding your “happy place,” you can (with time and practice) find your spirit guide or some sort of energy or force that can potentially lead you to a path. A guided (click here) or deep meditation could help you – for a deep meditation technique, I’ve written this one (starts at paragraph 7).
Good luck with your search!