Monday, 17 December 2012

My Goddess Wants...

These two statements recently came up together on a facebook discussion:

" I believe my Goddess wants me to be happy & kind to others. 
Life is full of problems, isn't the magic about overcoming them together?"
 I'm afraid this left me somewhat gobsmacked.  Really?  What kind of person seriously believes this?  
Let's break it down into the two separate statements - Firstly "My Goddess wants me to be happy and kind to others."
Gods and Goddesses have absolutely zero track record of this kind of behaviour.  The normal 'wants' (as far as we can claim to know Their minds) is more about wanting you to be the best person you can be so that you may better serve Them.  Your happiness is usually quite low on the list.
The way growth is achieved is more through trials and tribulations.  Tests, obstacles, difficulties and personal challenges.  It is only through adversity that we truly find out what we're capable of.  How does being happy and kind fit into this?
These statements, it must be explained, came after this lady had told us off for not being nice to someone who was making grand claims and then refusing to back them up with anything.  Side note: If you claim lineage or to be in a tradition, expect to get asked for validation.  Normally anyone who refuses to validate their lineage is talking shit.  Most frauds are harmless, attention-seeking drama queens but there is always the odd one or two who are a bit more dangerous than that.  This is why they are questioned rather than the eyeroll and polite ignore that they would otherwise get.
Being kind and being nice are not the same thing. 
I raised it for further discussion in the same group.  The closest anyone came to suggesting a God or Goddess that may fit the bill was Quan Yin - that She wanted folks to attain enlightenment to minimise suffering.  This isn't the same as being "happy and kind".  Achieving enlightenment isn't normally an easy or passive road.  The wisdom that points toward enlightenment comes from overcoming difficulty and learning the hard lessons that life presents.  Real life that is, not the pretty pictures with lovely poems about wonderful positivity that abound on pagan groups and pages.
 I call bullshit that this lady has had any kind of genuine communication with "her Goddess" at all.  It smacks to me of a fantasy-based delusion about what she wants to hear.
Now to the second statement - "isn't the magic about overcoming them together?"
Magic is the art and science of creating change in accordance with will.  That's it.  Anything above or beyond that is purely personal and subjective.  Magic is a tool used to achieve the ends you want.  There is magic in a sunrise, in a newborn baby, in raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. But that's more a turn of phrase than "the magic" that is normally used in a specifically Pagan and Wiccan forum.
I have too much to do with my own life and magical practice to a) give a flying fuck for the opinions of random strangers on the internet and b) waste any of my time working to fix the problems of said random strangers.
This may sound rather selfish and I guess on some levels it is.  But it's come from some of the wisdom I learned when I was more available to random strangers.  The random strangers who would ring me up and take up hours and hours of my time with their "magical problems".  This was my time with my children or partner.  This was not something they paid me for or even (with one exception) appreciated at all.  I tried and tried to get through to one chap and he wouldn't listen to a damn thing I told him.  He'd twist what I said around to make it fit what he wanted to hear - even when I'd said the complete opposite.  He didn't want me to help him, he wanted me to validate his interpretation of events.  Another received the same advice from another public and available witch as he did from me, that didn't stop him, he went to several psychics and finally listened when he'd paid someone for their time and still got the same advice!
I've also had this behaviour from people who called themselves my friends.  So yeah, to paraphrase a saying from Christianity - The Gods help those who help themselves.  
Grow up and sort your own shit out. 
Edited to Add:
A further discussion has led to some other comments that I think are worth adding to this post.
I'm not saying that being "happy and kind" and "having trials and tribulations" are mutually exclusive.  Often the Gods have a different idea of what you need to be happy than you do - after overcoming the testings, you often find a different truer happiness than you previously expected.

I took the original meaning from the lady who said it to be as though the Gods were like your ser
vants, existing to smooth obstacles from your path and make you comfortable in every way.
A further comment was made that a God/dess that didn't want your happiness wasn't one worth worshipping.  I don't worship the Gods, I serve them.  There is a difference!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Pentagrams and Pentacles

This is a pentacle.
There is always a lot of discussion about which is which.

The most recent piece of idiocy I found was this one.  On the surface, it appears to be well (if selectively) researched, but there are inconsistencies within it and if you read to the end, it's a warning against the occult for Christians.

A pentagram is a five pointed star.  That's it.  The word doesn't mean or even imply upright or inverted.

pen·ta·gram [pen-tuh-gram] 
noun - a five-pointed, star-shaped figure made by extending the sides of a regular pentagon until they meet, used as an occult symbol by the Pythagoreans and later philosophers, by magicians, etc.

Word Origin and History 
pentagram -"five-pointed star," 1833, from Gk. pentagrammon, properly neut. of adj. pentagrammos "having five lines," from pente "five" + gramma "what is written."  
Modern Language Association (MLA)
"pentagram." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 03 Dec. 2012.
Historically, the pentagram has been used to portray so many different things, including it's use (inverted) as a Sumerian pictogram. In our modern neopagan times, it's symbolic of the five elements - Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit.

A pentacle is usually described as a pentagram enclosed in a circle. However, Solomonic Grimoires show a range of pentacles with all sorts of different shapes (and symbols and inscriptions) inside the outer circle - depending on which planetary influence and Goetic Spirits are being summoned. In other texts, the word "pentacle" is only used to describe the plate on your altar.

Grand Pentacle of Solomon.

I find that using pentacle to describe the pentagram in a circle is easier than saying "pentagram in a circle", because with the circle, it's no longer just a pentagram.

I read one long and mostly useful explanation of the differences between pentacles and pentagrams. It was on one of those terribly flaky, filled with unicorns and fantasy, facebook witchy pages. I say mostly useful, because it was fairly sensible until it described the inverted pentagram as being purely for evil or satanic (not the same thing) purposes. I made the comment that in Traditional Wicca, the inverted pentagram is the symbol for second degree, depicting a journey within. It was immediately deleted and I was banned from further comment! You can lead a horse to water as the saying goes - maybe we should invent a new one - you can lead a fluffy to knowledge, but you can't make them think.

I'm starting to believe that the neo-wiccan movement that is mostly expressed in these bright and sparkly pages, where a comment that disagrees, however politely, is called bullying and trolling (whole different rant there) feel a need to be either "holier than thou" or "more persecuted than thou" - it seems to swing between the two.

I really should stop looking at these pages, they make me grumpier than usual and they make me want to smash small cute fluffy animals into small smears of grease.  However, they provide inspiration for much of what I write, they show me where neo-pagan "teachings" are terribly lacking. I can hope that when they do get a sweetness and light overdose and start looking for something with a little more substance, that such people may find this blog and learn to question some of the idiocies they've been spoonfed.