Is the Green Man/Horned God a loving God?

“Hello, I’m just starting to learn about paganism. I’ve only ever been to one winter solstice event and it was lovely. One question that’s been nagging me for a while: (and I honestly mean no offense, i’m only curious) Is the greenman/horned god a loving god? When i say loving….how do i put it? It’s just that our society has turned that image into the devil for so long, not that i believe it, but….i’m a particularly shy individual who is tentative to worship “masculine” energy because i’ve had a lot of emotional trama with men from a young age. I’m still thinking about what exactly i wish to worship. I had an experience with him once, though, i think. Sorry if it’s really personal- I was “thinking” about sexual things one day alone, and worries were coming up about being treated well. But somehow i got to thinking about the image of pan and stopped fussing. i ended up thinking or feeling about everything but nothing at the same time and well, it went well. Are there people you know of who see him as fatherly and a healthy thing, not just a negative stereotype of aggressive males? It’s hard for me to not worry about things like that. But i’d like to believe people want to believe in deities of god things and love. Thank you, Allie”

Your question resonates with me. I grew up in a family full of women, a matriarchy de facto as men failed to stick around for family making; my own father was Army, so he was never around to be a father figure. I also experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted boyfriend as a teenager. That said, I have *always* had an issue with masculinity and God.

However, I can tell you this: God, be he horned or green, is awe-inspiring. The Horned God is actually the Wiccan view of masculine divinity; he is all gods in one representation, like a diamond with many different facets. He is a god of the Sun, the hunt, harvest, wildness, and fertility. As the Horned God, he is seen with antlers as many prey animals would have; meanwhile, as the Greenman he has a face and body made of or covered in leaves, showing his interconnection with nature and growth. In both cases, the God is seen as dying in the form of plants and animals as a sacrifice to feed us and keep us alive.

In a less Wiccan-focused view, God is what he is. Not all men are aggressive or hyper-sexual beings; neither are all gods the same. I worship within the Greek pantheon, and I see all gods and goddess as individuals (as opposed to the facets of a diamond). That means that I recognize Zeus’ tendency to take what he wanted from women, while understanding his constant attempts to keep mankind safe. Apollo was a woman chaser, but he was usually spurned or accepted gladly (i.e. he didn’t rape as Zeus often did); Apollo also remained strongly protective of his twin Artemis and his mother Leto, as well as watching over the sick as both giver and remover of diseases. The mythology is complex, just as humankind is; no god is always loving or always violent, not even Ares as the god of war.

Essentially, you need to research and reflect for yourself on God. Who do you connect to him? Who is he to you? When you find those answers, you’ll know where your worship will focus.

 

Larissa Lee
Guest Writer

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I’m a beginner Pagan and interested in working a few spells; are there certain requirements when casting spells like a circle or pentagram?

“I am a beginner pagan and i would like to know as I am interested in working a few spells that span a different range of categories if there are any certain requirements when casting a draconic type of spell? Also when casting any spells in particular, as i said im a beginner to casting, are there any requirements such as a circle or pentagram?”

Generally speaking, a spell is a small piece of magic done with or without casting a circle, calling deities, or using any traditional tools. A spell can be a chant said to the moon or a candle burning to eat up negativity in a room. A ritual is a more formal type of magic; often, rituals include a structure of casting circle, calling energies, doing your magic, and then releasing what was called. In a ritual, you may include a spell between simply celebrating the season or acknowledging the full moon.

By a “draconic” spell, I’m assuming you mean a spell using dragon energies. In that case, I would strongly suggest further research on your end before any attempts. A wise adage would be “don’t call up what you can’t put down”, or don’t work with things you don’t fully understand. As a beginner pagan, it would be wise to learn as much as you can about the mechanics of energywork, spellcasting, and focus before attempting any magic.

Spells take on many forms, often based on their intent. A spell to send a message might involve toss a paper into the air, as Air is associated with communication. A spell to calm turbulent moods might include saying a chant while in the shower, as Water is associated with emotions and balance. Spells are simply the actions you use to direct your energies toward a goal.

I would suggest taking a look at the Wicca 101 list here. Several of the titles include a chapter or section on spell writing and technique. I especially recommend suggestion [7] Earth Power and Earth, Air, Fire and Water by Scott Cunningham. Both books are focused on natural spells, as opposed to full-blown rituals as found in some pagan books. I would also suggest practicing spells such as self-balance and inner peace on yourself; while it may seem less than exciting, the chances of harm or misdirected energies are much smaller while you learn to raise and direct energy toward a focused goal.

 

Larissa Lee
Guest Writer

Become a writer at Ask a Pagan!

Blessings all,

Ask a Pagan is looking for two or three writers to answer questions for the next few months while I take a leave-of-absence to work on research! I wish I had the time I did in the past, but I don’t and I’ve been slacking with replies to questions, and I apologize sincerely!

So instead of shutting Ask a Pagan down, I just need some talented, experienced practitioners to fill my spot until my return! I need two or three great people with a minimum of three years of practice (when I say practice, I mean the period after your initial learning and 101-training). Because I get a lot of questions for a myriad of topics like beginning the craft, spells, dreams, divination, empathy, spirits, and any other topic that has to do with the craft, I need more than one person who “specializes” in one or more of these areas.

So if you’re interested in becoming “Intrim-Ask a Pagan,” please fill out the form below and submit it!

NOTE: There are TWO types of questions that need answers: ASAP answers (for questions that need answers for upcoming events, days, etc.) and regular questions. ASAP answers are needed within two days of the question (or at least a day or two before the event or day of the question) and regular questions need to be answered within a week of the question answered. So please keep in mind that when I send you your questions, you will need to reply to them in a timely manner. You will get no more than three questions a week (depending on the type of questions and your specialties).

Today marks the one year death of my brother. I wanted to do a ritual or light a candle for him to bless him, but I don’t know of any. Any suggestions?

“So today 1-4-13 makes the 1 year death of my 16 yr old brother I wanted to do like a ritual maybe light a candle for him something to bless him on his travels but I don’t know any. I wanted to do it tonight for him any suggestions would be great… Blessed be”

Blessings,

Every year on my grandmother’s birthday, who is one of the most dearest people to me, I conduct a little birthday ritual in her honor. Because I have a small urn of her ashes, it makes the ritual much more powerful and get a quicker response from her. The ritual is more or less a spirit summoning ritual that I’ve written many, many years ago when I was experimenting with spirits and summoning. This is something you can do if you have your brother’s ashes or something else that is extremely close to your brother (hair or blood are next to best after ashes). But you can also use jewelry that he always wore and appreciated, his favorite shirt, or even his favorite shoes!

If you don’t wish to have a summoning ritual, instead you can use those items as part of a remembrance shrine (it doesn’t have to be an actual shrine and all decked out, just a shelf or a table will do). Place the items down, maybe with some flowers, herbs, crystals, other things that he may liked and enjoyed, and then simply light a candle and say a few personal words. Let the candle burn to its end in honor of your brother’s life (so you may want to have a small candle, or a candle you can watch all day while it burns so it doesn’t burn down the house!)

Creating a sachet, poppet, or something that you can use something personal of his, or maybe even a cut piece of his shirt or something, some protection herbs, flowers, and a small stone to be placed in his room or at a place he enjoyed going to often.

 

Blessed Be
Sage

I have a lock of my deceased mother’s hair that I want to braid with a lock of my hair. Is this something I can do? Is there some kind of blessing or ritual to perform?

“Hello. My mother passed away almost a year ago. While she was still alive but unresponsive, I clipped a lock of her hair. After she passed, the day before her memorial, I had my hair trimmed and kept a lock of my hair. I wanted to braid them together and keep as maybe a Talisman or something. But before I do, I would like some advice if this is a good idea and if there is some blessing of some kind I could say or perform. I would appreciate any help you can me. Blessed Be.”

Blessings,

There’s nothing wrong with braiding the locks of hair together, as long as you don’t plan on doing anything magickal (spells) with it. This can be a beautiful and powerful talisman for healing, guidance, protection, and courage.

You can braid the hairs in a very non-formal setting, or do it during a moon ritual. As far as saying something, anything simple like asking that your mother’s spirit help guide you, and/or give you courage and protection. Or you can recite a eulogy. Anything that just comes out naturally with love and high regards to her.

You can then hang this talisman somewhere safe; around your bed somewhere, in your car, in your dresser, or even on your altar. You can also use it during divination or spirit contact (if you’re trying to contact her).

However, as much as we always want our parent(s) to be with us even after they have passed, sometimes creating these types of talisman’s using parts of their body (hair, nails, skin, blood, etc.) can create a bond, or a hold, of their spirit in our world. This might sometimes give you overwhelming feelings of her watching you or being there ALL the time. I’m not saying this will happen, but it is a possibility. Factors like the type of person your mother was, the energies you raise or have around you during the making of the talisman, how protected your area is of wandering energies and spirits during the making, etc.

If something like that does happen, you can simply burn the talisman to execute the bond of their spirit being stuck in our world. This doesn’t mean you’ve rid them forever – it just means they won’t be in a world where they’re not supposed to be in for very long.

Blessed Be
Sage

My spells, though I’m doing it correctly and putting my intent into them, aren’t working. I’m a good person with no bad karma, but none of my spells work. How can I get my spells to work?

“I’ve been reading about and learning Wicca for years now and I understand the concepts and stuff.

I know it is mostly about intent and putting thought into it.

When I do spells, I put serious thought and intent into them and I look for the smallest and most subtle signs of my spells working. But honestly they aren’t working. I know I’m doing everything correctly. I know that not all spells will work and it’s really up to the universe. But none of the spells are working. And I’m not a bad person, I have not done a thing wrong to anyone, so im sure its not bad karma. How can I make my spells work with my intent and have them actually… well.. work?

-Kira”

Blessings Kira,

If all spells worked the way we wanted them to, then everyone would be a witch! Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. You are right, it’s up to the universe to will our spells to do their intent, but the universe knows better and more than you do. Perhaps it’s not the right time for your spell, maybe it’s not necessary, maybe you’re asking for something that’s already there but you can’t see – there are many factors that go into the decision-making process of spells.

Sometimes people, who are not knowledgable of how spells actually work, will cast ridiculous spells to be invisible, change their eye color, levitate, or become famous. Money spells aren’t going to make you rich, love spells isn’t going to make Channing Tatum love you, and beauty spells aren’t going to make you skinny and beautiful. That’s just not reality, or spirituality. Unfortunately, it’s all these misconceptions that look appetizing to younger generation that “get into” Witchcraft.

Examples: a money spell won’t necessarily BRING you money at your door step, even if you say it in the spell. It will, however, bring you opportunities to SAVE money so you’ll have more. The same with love spells, it’s going to make someone fall in love with you. Instead, it’ll signal the universe to attract love to you.

Spells work in mysterious ways and almost never work the way we think they will. So while you’re looking out for your spell to work in a very specific way, it’s probably already happening, but you’re too focused on a different way it’s supposed to work. Makes sense?

Casting spells is easy. Yes, it’s about intent and letting the universe wield its outcome, but it’s also about energy. You need the energy to actually send it off to the universe. Without raising energy, honing its power and brilliance, you can’t “program” that energy with your spell’s intent to be sent off to do its job. Rhyming a bunch of words, burning candles and incense, and raising your arms up in the air – that’s just decoration. There’s no cake for those decorations unless you bake (raise) energy. Once it’s done cooking, you add those pretty decorations, and blow out the candles so your wish comes true.

 

Blessed Be,
Sage

I live in a place where we can’t have candles or incense. What can I use instead of candles and incense for spells?

“I live in a place where we can’t have candles or incense.  What can I use instead of candles and incense for spells?

-Rukie”

Blessings Rukie,

Here’s an excerpt from one of my posts about beginning the craft and living with parents:

“It’s not the tools that are making your magick happen or work. It’s you. Your energy. Your own self. Not external, mundane objects. Yes, some of these objects CAN help, but they are NOT the sole “magickal object” that will make your spells work or your ritual complete. It’s all about your own energy. The way you raise it, store it, use it and send it out.”

Living with parents, or maybe in a dorm in your case (?), trying to do magickal workings can be difficult, but not impossible. There are many substitues for candles, incense, statues, etc. All these items used in spells and rituals are for the most part representations of the elements, so you simply need to substitute them for another representation. Substitutions don’t even have to be items, they can even be colors! Fire: red, earth: green, water: blue, air: white. Replace candles/fire for lava rocks for Fire. Using sea shells, sea salt, or actual water for the element Water. Feathers or plant leafs for Air. And crystals, stones, or dirt for Earth.

Tools and objects are not a necessity when doing spells and rituals. “Tools aren’t a necessity in your practice. They are simply tools to help you “guide” your magick and energy – this is mostly for the wand/athame. Incense doesn’t really “power up” your magick. It simply helps you relax and put you in a state of clear consciousness and comfort.”

Feel free to visit the FAQs page for quick links to “the basics.”

 

Blessed Be
Sage

It’s okay to write your own spells, right? I’ve been tweaking some generic spells for now, but I feel like I should be writing my own. I’ve read different opinions. Any insight?

“Hello! So I am still new to being an eclectic pagan and i have recently started being more hands on with my studies and practice. But in reference to spells and prayers, it’s okay to write your own, right? Like I just don’t feel like its personal enough using a generic one and I am a talented writer. I have just been using generic ones for now with a bit of tweaking, but i’d really like to have my own. I’ve read differing opinions from people, so i’m rather confused. Any insight? Thanks!”

Blessings,

The best spells are your own spells, for sure! At first, it’s probably easier to use other’s spells, rituals, blessings, etc. But eventually we all want to use and write our own. I’ve written a post about writing your own spells that could be of some use.

But yes, it’s best to write and use your own. Referencing or using some of the same terminology of other’s spells also counts as “writing your own.” Sometimes when I’m writing a spell, ritual, or blessing I get lost or stuck with words, and I sometimes look at other’s work or skim through some books I have for inspiration. Often I meditate on it and the words just spill into my mind and onto paper.

I can’t recall ever reading anywhere where anyone ever said that using other people’s spells are better – and if they did, it’s probably because they’re unexperienced and have little to no imagination to write their own. So keep in mind – writing your own spells IS better and more powerful.

 

Blessed Be
Sage

Become a guest writer for Ask a Pagan! If you think you’re up for the challenge and have the experiences of a Wicked Witch, then come on down!

If you’re interested in guest writing for Ask a Pagan – and maybe even a chance for a permanent “guest writer” positions, answer some of these questions and email them back them to askapagan@gmail.com or use the form in the “Ask a Question” page:

1. What do you define yourself and how many years have you been practicing?

2. Why do you think you have what it takes to advice people on their spiritual path?

3. What are some experiences that really brought you closer to your Craft?

4. What are your “witchy specialities”? i.e. divination, spells, herbs, potions, etc.

 

Blessed be and happy applying!

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 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!

Blessed Be
Sage