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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Acceptance...




Today was a day I never thought would actually arrive.
Those of you that have been following my blog for a while may remember me talking about my mother and her original discontent with the Pagan religion and my desire to be Wiccan. After New Years, I was blown away by her calmness and non-confrontational reaction.
Today I went over to visit her before picking my one witchlet up from school.
I was greeted with, "Ohh, good, you're here - I have something for you."
She proceded to give me a gorgeous mini pottery creamer of sorts. I must say, I have a fetish for pottery these days. But it was her next comment that blew me away... "I thought it would loook lovely on your alter."
WOW.
The pictures really do not do it justice... but it is a lovely piece.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wiccan View of Death

What Is the Wiccan Perspective
on Death?

Death . . . punishment, oblivion, or release? Or perhaps something else altogether?

To a culture which fears failure, resists natural balance of cycles, and lacks spiritual connection with the Divine, dying is a terror to be avoided at all costs.

But what does death mean to witches? What is a Wiccan perspective on life and the afterlife?




Beautiful Mortality

Unlike most religions, Wicca does not fear mortality.

While a loved one's passage is always painful, witches don't shrink from the natural processes of life. The Wheel turns, and sometimes things must be let go.

We also know the Wheel will turn again, and things that have been lost will be returned to us. The form may change, but nothing is ever really lost.







The Veil of Tears

Wicca also has a different relationship than many modern religions to people who are dead.

Death is not a wall, to witches, but a veil. We may not be easily able to see and touch our beloved dead, but they are not entirely gone.

We may grieve the distance between us, but we still perceive an enduring connection with our beloved dead.




The Spiritual Perspective on Death

From a spiritual perspective, death is not an ending. It is simply a transition. . .

Mortal beings pass through a door to another realm of existence.

And the door has a window. We can sometimes see the other side through it. And the other side, with greater perception, can always see us.




Relationships with the Dead

So it is natural that friendships can endure past death.

Many people, even non-Wiccans, have experienced communication with their beloved dead.

How many stories have you heard about a loved one appearing to family members, at the moment of death? So many of us have had dreams and whispered words and half-glimpses of loved ones who have died.

Some of those may be simple imagination, but not all can be so dismissed.




One Witch's Story

In my own family's experience, there has been lots of interaction between the living and those on the other side. (Sometimes I think my genetic line isn't interested in staying dead. )

My mother, for example, has hung around long after her death, playing little games to let us know she is here, and intervening to help protect her children and grandchildren.

On a personal level, my relationship with my mother has improved greatly since she died!

That sounds like a joke, but it's true. The first time she appeared to me after her death, I didn't know who she was. I didn't recognise her because she looked as she did when she was a young woman, and I'd never seen her like that (since I came along late in her life).

She let go of a lot of prejudices, when she let go of her body. And we were finally able to find common ground, mutual respect, and love.

The relationship I now have with my mother is such a gift to me, healing much childhood anguish. This would never have happened if I didn't know that communication after life is possible, even commonplace.

I am grateful that my training as a witch taught me to accept that this could be real, rather than wishful thinking.

And my experience as a witch allows me to distinguish the difference between my dreams of my mother, and actual communication with her.







So What Is A Witch's Relationship With Death?

One of acceptance. Even of honouring.

Even though Wicca celebrates life on Earth, most witches are aware that mortal existence is limited and limiting.

Death is a freedom from the burdens and blindness that come with a physical body.

And it is an inevitable part of life. Without death, birth would be a disaster. Without death, new life must remain unmanifest.

In the turning of the Wheel, it is the periods of rest that empower growth.

This doesn't mean that a witch neglects to do what she can to preserve and improve life, within reason.

But it is pointless - even harmful - from a Wiccan perspective to keep someone alive at any cost, or without an enjoyable quality of life, or against a person's wishes.

So the things that our culture fears most about dying has no meaning in Wicca.







Do Witches Go To Heaven?

Well, "Heaven" was a Christian word for a mostly-Christian concept. Its refers to a literal, physical place up in the sky where Yahweh lives with Jesus and angels and all good Christians.

So . . . no. Thank goodness!

The Christians probably wouldn't want us, and we certainly don't want their idea of heaven. (Most of us are not impressed with Yahweh.)




An Expansive Heaven



But the word Heaven is shifting in meaning, as human consciousness shifts from religious dogma to spirituality.

Sometimes now Heaven refers to being in the presence of the Divine, without the illusions of separateness that flesh creates.

As a state of expanded consciousness and Oneness with the Divine, then certainly all witches go to Heaven. If not after this incarnation, after some future one.







Life After A Witch's Death

Words confuse an issue for which we have no vocabulary.

As a culture, we lack even the understanding and concepts to talk about life in a meaningful way, let alone death.




Is There Life After Death?

This is a question that can be answered only once we figure out what we mean by life.

Is life consciousness? Is it the physical processes of body and brain? Is it the "me" we think of as ourselves?

Like everything else in Wicca, it's impossible to state The Wiccan Viewpoint. Every witch has her own.

But commonly, witches believe that there is more to existence than the physical plane we now inhabit. And that when we die, we are opened up to expanded levels of existence.




Do Witches Reincarnate?

One possibility for life after death is reincarnation.

Many witches accept at least the possibility of reincarnation - that is, that the spark which is "me" comes back to life in another body, possibly throughout eternity.

What this really means, though, is unknowable. How can I be "me" if I'm somebody else? What is the "me" that comes back? These are questions that can't fully be answered.







The Mystery of Life After Life

The mystery of death is certainly not going to be solved by any one article, or even any one religion.

Wicca Spirituality has a certain philosophy, which inspires Wiccans to have certain perspectives on death. But we don't claim to have all the answers, and not every witch would agree with any one viewpoint.

It's probably safe to say that all witches believe that consciousness continues after death, and that no one really knows how or in what form.

As witches, we're comfortable with this kind of ambiguity.

We can't know all the answers of life. And we don't need to.

We only need to find what is true for ourselves. And then live it.

When you're really living, you don't worry so much about death anyway.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wiccan Creation Story

In the beginning there was the Goddess. And from her mind and her breath came forth matter and its ruler the God. And She looked upon Him and loved him as herself. For they were truly one flesh, opposite sides of the same coin. Her Love became his Passion. Her smile became his laughter. Her softness, His sharpness. They were the Yin Yang; opposites crossed. Yet as they were different so were they the same for part of Her resides in Him and part of Him in Her.

Together they made love and dreamt of many things. And from their thoughts sprang forth Existence and all within it. Marveling upon the wonder and beauty of the Earth below them the Gods came down into it and played among its waters and its caverns. Raced among the clouds that soared above the peaks and heights of the mountains. The Lady then decided to make her home the Earth and the depths within it and also the waters that lied upon the bosom of the Earth. For as life came from her so the does life come from the Earth and the waters that abound upon it. She chose the moon as her symbol since it affected the waters so deeply. The God chose the Sky and its boundless freedom for his abode. He also taught to man fire and on occasion still can be seen dancing in those golden fiery flames. And he chose the Sun as his symbol since it warms the waters and bring his Love, the Goddess, closer to him.

The Earth spun forward on its orbit and the Goddess became heavy with child from the God soon after what would later be called Bealtaine. The child, their son, was born and came quickly to adulthood. And as all sons do he rose up against his Father and strove for power. And the battles raged between Father and Son. Oak King and Holly King. The Mother, Goddess of us All, became weary and aged with the battles and as such so did the Earth. 'Til fearing for Her life the Oak King, Father, laid down his Sword of Power and descended into the Underworld at Lughnassadh.

But the Goddess now missing her lover left the Holly King and went in search for Him. At Samhain she descended into the Underworld leaving the Earth and all its inhabitants behind. Without Her life and care the Earth quickly descended into Winter. Yet the Goddess returned from the Underworld again heavy with child and the promise that the Oak King would come again at Yule and reclaim his rightful place.

True to his word as the sun rose and the light returned to the World on what is the shortest day, the Oak King sprang forth and struck at his once and future Son. Realizing his folly and knowing that defeat was near the Holly King bowed and walked away from the fight, knowing and saying that he would return in the spring and that this story would repeat itself again and that by this would the Seasons be counted and that the year and time itself would be measured by this story.

So look at the holidays that we celebrate and know that this story has repeated itself through the ages and will continue to do so. Until all grinds to a halt and return to the Mother from which we all sprang. So that all may begin again. For there is no beginning to time nor is there an end.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kitty in the Cupboard and a Winner!!


There's nothing like getting up in the morning to get some incense out of your cabinet and being greeted with a sleepy "MEOW". It seems that my kitty has found a new hiding place with my incense and herbs.


A few days ago I posted about our bedtime ritual and offered a vial of our Sweet Dreams blend to one of my readers. *drum roll please *I am pleased to announce the winner is:
Linda of Olde Baggs n' Stuft Shirts!!

(Linda, please email me at your convenience at sugarnspicemama AT gmail DOT com)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Imbolc Festivities

I hope everyone had a wonderful Imbolc!

Our festivities started out wonderfully, but my husband has an uncanny knack for ruining things for me and by the end of the night, I was in tears. We are having some complications in our marriage right now, but that is not what this post is about... it's is about sharing our Imbolc events with you dear readers.

Our dinner went quite well. Our potato soup was delicious!
And our Blessed Bride Cakes turned out perfectly - even without the walnut meats!! As you can see, my sister had fun in the kitchen. The witchlets picked out the heart shaped pans, so we made mini-heart cakes.

My sister and witchlet daughters made their own Imbolc dance. My son was in charge of the music... I think he made a good choice. My nephew wasn't too sure about the whole ordeal.


Also, don't forget about my Sweet Dreams Giveaway!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blessed Imbolc Eve!

Blessings readers!! And a blessed Imbolc Eve to you :)
I am quite excited -- tonight is the eve of our first celebrated Imbolc. In Celtic times, days were considered to begin a dusk; so much like New Years, celebrations and festivities began at sunset of the preceeding day.

My sister and I have quite a bit planned for tonight and tomorrow. Tonight we are starting with a large dinner -- which I should start cooking shortly. We have some crafts planned for the children as well. We have written our own blessing and ritual for later tonight. We have a simplified one for the children to participate in also. We have a few friends joining us tonight. They are not of Wiccan faith, but are interested in learning so I am hoping it will be a good experience for us all. Following are a few recipes will be be doing tonight.


Potato Soup

I never measure anything exactly for this recipe -- I just put everything in the pot *lol*
  • Potatoes - peeled, washed, cubed
  • Carrots - sliced
  • Celery - sliced
  • Onion - diced
  • Chicken broth
  • water
Put all ingredients into pot & bring to boil; cook until potatoes are tender.
  • Bacon - cooked, chopped
Add Bacon to pot. Add some of potato mixture into blender with a can of evaporated milk. Blend & return to pot. Repeat if necessary. You may also need to add more milk if you want your soup creamier.

Blessed Bride's Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup walnut meats, chopped (NOTE: my children and I are allergic to nuts, so I will not be using walnuts. After an extensive internet search I was instructed to use Grape Nuts cereal - which apparently contains neither nuts or grapes!!)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
Mix all the ingredients together until they are wet. Do not over mix. Pour into a greased and floured 9"x9"x2" square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until knife inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.


Also, don't forget about my Sweet Dreams Giveaway!!!