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Pagan parallels of Jesus Christ By Jaime Licauco
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://www.pressreader.com/philippines/philippine-daily-inquirer/20181211/282084867888439 

 

By: Jaime Licauco

 

Most Christians do not bother to trace the origins of their religion, much less their beliefs and rituals. If they do, they might be in for the shock of their lives. This column is not for people who are satisfied with what Church officials tell them. As the saying goes, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” Rather, this is for those who are intellectually curious and discontented. The central event in the celebration of Christmas is, of course, the birth and life of Jesus Christ, considered a great prophet by Muslims, but as God by his followers.

 

Christians, especially Catholics, perhaps, have been led to believe that the story of Jesus, his birth, death and resurrection is unique, and that there is no other like him. I believed so myself, since I grew up in a Catholic family and studied in a Catholic school from elementary to college. I read only books with the imprimatur or approval of the church, until my hunger for knowledge emboldened me to venture outside my intellectual comfort zone, and discover how shortsighted my religious education had been. One of the things I discovered is that the story of Jesus Christ is not at all unique, that it could have been copied from some much older accounts of dying and resurrection of gods in ancient pagan religions. In fact, there are more than a dozen pagan gods whose stories seem to parallel Jesus’ life and death, although they preceded Christ by hundreds, or even thousands, of years.

 

Myths

 

At the heart of these teachings were myths concerning a dying and resurrecting god-man or demigod, who was known by many different names. In Egypt he was Osiris; in Greece, Dionysus; in Asia Minor, Attis; in Syria, Adonis; in Italy, Bacchus; in Persia, Mithras.

Let us take a closer look at the parallelisms.

 

1) Tammuz (2,000 B.C.) was a Mesopotamian god of fertility. His father was the Sumerian God Enki and his consort the goddess Inanna (Ishtar). March and April mark the death of Tammuz. Tammuz died at the hands of Inanna, but she eventually brought him back to life. He died to save people from starvation and death. Like Jesus, Tammuz was called a shepherd. He died during the summer solstice but lived again in winter. He spent half a year in the underworld and the other half among the living. 

2) Osiris (2,500 B.C.) was the most important god of ancient Egypt. His father was God and his mother a mortal virgin. He was born in a cave on Dec. 25, before three shepherds. He died at Easter time for the sins of the world. He descended into the underworld, and on the third day rose from the dead. His followers await his return as judge during the Last Days. According to noted Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge in “Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection”: “The central figure of the ancient Egyptian religion was Osiris, and the chief fundamentals of his cult is the belief in his divinity, death, resurrection and absolute control of the bodies and souls of men.”

3) Attis (1,200 B.C.) was born on Dec. 25. His mother was the virgin Nana. He was slain by a boar, but other stories say he was crucified on a tree from which his blood ran down “to redeem the earth.” His grave was found empty. He resurrected on March 25. 

4) Mithra (or Mithras, 1,200 B.C.) was born of a virgin on Dec. 25, had 12 disciples and performed miracles. He died and then resurrected after three days. His day of worship is Sunday. The cult held many secret rituals. The cult of Mithra was widespread in ancient times.

 

God and man

 

5) Jesus Christ (325 A.D., the date of the First Council of Nicea, where the Christian church declared him to be both God and man). Jesus’ father was God and his mother a mortal virgin. He was born on Dec. 25 in a cowshed before three shepherds. He performed miracles and was crucified, and then descended into the underworld. On the third day he rose from the dead. His death and resurrection are celebrated by bread and wine. His followers await his promised return.

When the early Church fathers learned of the much earlier stories of the pagan dying and resurrecting gods, which were similar to that of Jesus Christ, they blamed the devil for the “deception.” Tertullian, a prominent Christian historian and apologist, declared that “the devil had plagiarized Christianity by anticipation in order to lead people astray.” The devil simply copied his life in advance and created the myth of Osiris, Mithras, etc. What could be more absurd than that? Present-day Christian apologists argue that the similarities between the story of Jesus Christ and the pagan gods are superficial. They maintain the uniqueness of the story of the Christ, so the controversy continues to this day.

 

The controversy has revived the old question of whether Jesus really lived on earth, or was merely a myth, because there is hardly any mention of his existence outside the four canonical gospels. Another view is that Jesus was really just a creation of the Flavian Emperors Titus Vespasian and Domitian to counter Jewish militarism. How could such a man of miracles be ignored by ancient contemporary historians?

 

In contrast, Buddha, who lived some 500 years before Jesus, had a complete personal biography attested to by historians. Was Jesus just a myth created by early Christian gospel writers, or was he a real historical individual who lived among us 2,000 years ago? I believe what the spirit entity called Seth, whom Jane Roberts channeled in the ’70s, said: “Jesus was really a myth who became a reality in your world.” Egyptian god Osiris was born in a cave on Dec. 25, before three shepherds

Dark Witch: Working in the Shadows
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://moodymoons.com/2015/11/10/dark-witch-working-in-the-shadows/ 

 

 

The theme this week is light and darkness.

First, let’s discuss what “dark” or “black” means in the craft, and what it doesn’t.

We’ll start by talking about what it isn’t, or what misconceptions are often associated with it, and why it sometimes makes even the most seasoned practitioner uncomfortable.

What it isn’t, is evil.

Or at least, not the way most people think of evil.

Evil is a Western monotheistic concept. In Judaeo-Christian philosophy, there is good, and there is evil. One is “right” and one is “wrong.” One is wicked, one is pure. There is no gray. Things or concepts are either one, or they are the other.

Let me stress that there’s nothing wrong with seeing the world this way—–but it isn’t the only way.

Broadly speaking, in the craft, and most especially in the realm of Wiccan philosophy, there isn’t so much “evil” and “good” as there are opposites. In the world of opposites, one opposing force does not exist without the other.

Without darkness, there cannot be light.

From a purely scientific perspective, “coldness” does not exist at all—–it only describes the absence of heat.

There is no need to qualify these things with morality. They are simply forces of nature.

Fire is a force of nature. It can be utterly wicked, blindly destroying anything in its path. But it also sustains life, providing warmth in the bitter cold of an otherwise absolute-zero universe.

From this perspective, “light” and “dark” don’t have moral qualities any more than “wet” and “dry.”

This does not mean we go around willy-nilly behaving any way our emotions pull us just because we feel like it.

It simply means we are guided by the effect we have on reality rather than instructed directly by the laws of religious doctrine.

For the practitioner of witchcraft, there aren’t so much “punishments” and “rewards” as there are natural consequences. Everything you do, mundane or magical, sets these natural consequences into motion. They will come to fruition one way or the other. No amount of prayer or forgiveness will help you escape them anymore than prayer and forgiveness halts ripples on the water after you skip a rock across a still lake.

Newton’s famous Third Law eloquently states: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

This concept is both scientific, and spiritual.

(This might be a good time to point out that far from being in contrast with religion, all scientific concepts are also spiritual. And by “science,” I don’t mean kooky fluff bunny soft science, I mean real-deal hard science you’d find in any college biology, physics or chemistry textbook. If those things don’t make you believe in a higher order, I’m not sure what will.)

If you hex someone, you essentially hex yourself along with them. This is sometimes called “the boomerang effect.” It’s why most people decide to approach this form of ritual with extraordinary caution. A sensible person rarely finds the consequences worth the satisfaction of revenge.

We tend to think of our “magical” lives as somehow separate from our “mundane” lives, but really, all aspects of life are spiritual, and these principles apply equally.

It always amazes me how some people self-righteously declare dark magic evil, all the while going around making their own “witchcraft” in a secular way.

You don’t have to hex someone to experience serious spiritual consequences for wishing them ill.

If you go about saying nasty things about your husband’s ex-wife, you send out a negative energy that will come back to you. Usually, this kind of behavior says more about you to others than the person you are slandering, and so you are essentially slandering yourself. Justifying this behavior by saying she’s done X, Y or Z to you will not spare you from the spiritual consequences any more than justifying a revenge spell with similar logic will spare you from the consequences of hexing someone.

Of course, hexing is not the only form of shadow magic. It’s just the most taboo. The following types of spells also fall under the category of “negative” magic. Note that by “negative,” we are not referring to the concept of “bad” or “evil.” Negative merely describes the driving away of someone or something rather than the drawing to.

*Exorcism
*Weight loss spells
*Banishing dark energy
*Banishing a person
*Protection spells
*Stop gossip spells
*Cleansing rituals

Divination also falls under this category. It is sometimes literally referred to as “peering into the darkness.”

Note that we don’t think of these things as “bad” or “evil.” But that doesn’t mean they don’t have consequences, for better or worse.

 

Now, let’s talk about “white magic,” and why it isn’t any more “good” than dark magic is evil.

While those outside the practice often associate “white magic” with “good, purity and light,” we as practitioners are often guilty of this oversimplification as well.

Just as is the case with “dark” or “black” magic, it is a fallacy to color the concept of white magic with the pen of morality.

Before we get into that, though, let’s look at the kind of spells we think of as falling under the category of “white” or “positive” magic. Again, by “positive” magic, we don’t mean “good,” we mean to draw towards us as opposed to drive away. This concept has no more moral implications than the attraction/repulsion behavior of ordinary magnets.

*healing spells
*baby blessings
*marital rites
*love spells
*beauty and attraction spells

Many new practitioners of modern witchcraft think of these types of spells as safe, good, even angelic. But those with experience (or unique wisdom—-not me, for sure!) recognize that it isn’t about “goodness” and these types of spells are equally fraught with unknown consequence.

Love spells are frequently noted for their unforeseen, unintended consequences. These spells are rarely cast in malice. On the contrary, they are usually undertaken in a desperate attempt to redirect unrequited love. In fact, learning to cast a love spell is often the very thing that draws people to witchcraft, and they are typically disappointed to be swiftly dissuaded by the wise old hand of the craft. (Or swindled by a charlatan. Either way, beware!)

Of course we want to be loved by those we are attracted to. There’s nothing wrong with this. It is not “evil” or “bad.” Even trying to force the issue with a love spell is not inherently “bad.” After all, people use all kinds of mundane tactics to attract a love interest. Makeup, false sweetness, feigning mutual interest in order to seem compatible—-none of these things are any more “dark” in nature than casting a love spell, but we can clearly see they carry with them a similar risk of fallout when the ruse becomes clear.

We may desperately want someone to be attracted to us, but we may not be so attracted to them if they turn into a clingy mess. Or worse, a psycho stalker. In the heat of the chase, most people don’t have the presence of mind to understand that the chase is really what’s driving their infatuation. Once it’s over, so is everything else.

(And although rarely funny to the direct participants, these consequences are often quite amusing to the outside onlooker. Never was the hilarity of these notorious repercussions better exemplified than by the great William Shakespeare himself in his brilliant comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.)

This tale of “be careful what you wish for” is almost folklore in witchcraft. But sometimes it doesn’t manifest that way. Maybe you cast a love spell and, by attempting to control another person’s free will, you consequently end up in a relationship with someone who is controlling you.

And it’s not the only example in what we call “white magic.”

Beauty spells often cultivate vanity.

Marriage rites and baby blessings are the staple of any pagan officiant, but any married person or parent knows that marriage and babies have serious consequences.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bless babies, or perform marriage ceremonies, or ever want to make ourselves feel beautiful in a magical way.

Sometimes, it’s all worth it. Sometimes it works out for the best. Just like life. It’s all full of risks.

I can already hear the naysayers crying, “Well, that’s just it! That’s why all magic is bad, and evil, and we should avoid it all together! Stay away from it and spare yourself!”

To that I would point out once more that magical behavior has no more serious consequences than mundane behavior. Everything you do is essentially some form of magic. If you live your life in service to others, it has the “magical” effect of drawing happiness to you, and goodwill from others. If you abuse those around you, take without giving back, and live a life that generally revolves around making others miserable, it has the “magical” effect of making you miserable.

Of course, most people, being imperfect, do a little of both.

In life, we must live our day-to-day experience with a series of actions. Appreciating that you will “be paid” for your actions, whether magical or mundane, does not stop you from falling in love, or baking a cake. To be perfectly still is to be dead. The fact that anything you do, from getting out of bed in the morning to firing an insubordinate employee, has consequences, ought not paralyze a healthy person into fearing any action at all—and it ought not to paralyze the practitioner of witchcraft, either.

Knowing that there are karmic consequences for your behavior either way guides the spiritually-minded person in mundane activities, and it guides practitioner of magic as well.

 

The Tea Drinking Witches of Flint by Star Bustamonte
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://wildhunt.org/2018/11/the-tea-drinking-witches-of-flint.html

By Star Bustamonte
 
 
FLINT, Mich. — In October, the Witches Tea Flint hosted not one but two successful events to raise money for Domestic Violence Awareness in October. Witches Tea Flint is organized by Davonna, Amaunet, and Viki, all from the Greater Flint Area. Originally planned as a single event, the first tea event sold out in just eleven days: so they added a second event that sold out as well. Partnering with their local YWCA of the Greater Flint Area,  the two Witch Tea Flint events and managed to raise over $800.  The events were so well-received; they have decided to do more events.
 
They have three new events scheduled between the end of November and the middle of December:

 

  • Tea and Tarot Bingo – November 30 at Good Beans Café, 6pm – 8PM,  $15 tickets available through Paypal.Me/WitchesTeaFlint to bring awareness for ASPCA’s Adopt a Senior Dog Month.

 

  • Spirits of Yule Fair – December 15, 11AM – 3PM, at VFW Post 822 in Flint (5065 S Saginaw Rd), a witchy shopping extravaganza with vendors throughout the Flint area. Admission is free with a donation to the Humane Society of Genesee County.

 

  • Spirits of Yule Tea – December 15, 6PM – 9PM also at VFW Post 822.  Tickets are available through Paypal.Me/WitchesTeaFlint and this event benefits LGBTQ+ charities in the community: Wellness Services, the Vanessa Goldman scholarship, and the Ellen Bommarito Book Fund.
  •  

 

When asked what prompted the creation of the first set of events, Davonna said, “There was a Facebook conversation about wanting to have a Witchy Tea Party in Flint.  It turned the way things usually do with ‘well, someone should… instead of someone doing… I did not want to let an opportunity pass, so I used my event and media experience to launch.” In looking for sponsors Davonna told us, “I came to Viki and told her some of my idea and how a tea party needs tea.  She is the best tea-maker and herbalist that I know. I asked her what she would charge me to use her tea, but then Spirit starts yelling at me to be open and ask her to partner. I asked, she said yes and she added our friend, Amaunet. We all felt and witnessed the huge need for outreach and support, not only for those who identify as witches, but for the local residents as well.  We saw how much good we could do for the community and have fun while doing it. We work really well together.”

 

Viki is the co-founder of Mid-Michigan Pagan Alliance, which aims to network with the pagan community, owner and proprietor of Wildcrafters Den, as well as the High Priestess of the Coven of the Phoenix Fire with members all over the state. Amaunet has been a witch since 1984, focuses primarily on ancient Egyptian deities, but recently began devotion to Hecate under the mentorship of Viki.  Davonna explains she is ¼ Cherokee, in lifelong Shamanic training, and the owner of Davonna’s Bayou Grace, and has worked in media for the last 25 years and currently works in the recovery community of Flint. They are also working together to build an affordable Pagan-based education through Phoenix Fire Academy and have launched Kindred at the Crossroads, which is dedicated to bringing unity in the Flint Pagan Community.

 

The events have enjoyed widespread support from a variety folks both inside and outside of the Pagan community as evidenced by sponsors like the YWCA. Lavonna added, “Local authors and businesses have shown tremendous support like the Good Beans Café who jumped at the idea to hold space for our event.  The support has been overwhelming, the organizers reported.  As more organizations in the area learn about us, we only see that support growing.  We have been able to reach many witches in the community who had no mutual friends with any of us and give them a community.”

While the organizers of Witches Tea Flint make a point of emphasizing that they are not formally affiliated with any interfaith or faith-based organization for these events, collectively they said, “It is not just our love for being witches that guides us, but a sense of activism for our faith and for the community. We are connecting our witchy brothers and sisters to services that are available to everyone in the community. We are making connections and being there for our community at large, witches and witch-friendly.  We are doing these things on our own, as witches, to show what you can do as a witches and as good humans.”

There Are Now More Practicing Witches In The U.S. Than Ever Before Christina Marfice
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://www.scarymommy.com/witches-rising-numbers/

By Christina Marfice

 

 

Witches are rising in numbers in the U.S., because maybe if we all just learn spells we can fix this mess Considering, you know, the general state of things, this news should come as no surprise. According to a number of surveys conducted in the last few decades, the number of witches in the U.S. has been steadily rising, and is now at an all-time high. It makes sense, because things are so awful, why wouldn’t we all just start trying to learn spells and stuff? 

 

Researchers say more and more Americans, particularly millennials, are turning away from traditionally dominant religions like Christianity. A study conducted in 1990 showed there were probably around 8,000 practicing witches nationwide at that time. Recent studies looking at practicing Wiccans and Pagans indicate there could be as many as 1.5 million in the U.S. now. That officially eclipses Presbyterians, who number about 1.4 million. To be clear, we are talking about the actual Wiccan and Pagan religions, which have nothing to do with riding broomsticks or, generally, cauldrons, spells, black cats and warty noses, like the witches of the pop culture vernacular. Think tarot cards, crystals and a strong connection with nature. 

 

“It makes sense that witchcraft and the occult would rise as society becomes increasingly postmodern,” religion writer Julie Roys told The Christian Post last month. “The rejection of Christianity has left a void that people, as inherently spiritual beings, will seek to fill. Plus, Wicca has effectively repackaged witchcraft for millennial consumption. No longer is witchcraft and paganism satanic and demonic, it’s a ‘pre-Christian tradition’ that promotes ‘free thought’ and ‘understanding of earth and nature.”  

This doesn’t, by any means, indicate that witches are outnumbering Christians in the U.S. — the Pew Research Center still finds that 70 percent of the country’s religious population is Christian. But witchy aesthetics are definitely on trend. Plus, the world is kind of terrible right now and it’s not like mainstream religion (or anything) is fixing it. Who can blame people for trying out something new?

And the rise in witch numbers is already doing good things for our collective morale as we navigate these trying times. Remember when the witches banded together to cast hexes on Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation? That’s something we can all get behind.

 

 

Pagan Presence at the Parliament of the World’s Religions by Sean McShee
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://wildhunt.org/2018/11/pagan-presence-at-the-parliament-of-the-worlds-religions.html

By Sean McShee

 

TORONTO — From Nov. 1 through Nov. 7, the Parliament of the World’s Religions took place in Toronto, Ontario. Organizers estimated that 10,000 people from 80 countries would attend the event in Canada. The Parliament may be the largest interfaith event in the world.

Before the Parliament began, the Wild Hunt spoke with four Pagans about interfaith work and the Parliament. Three went to the Parliament. One had to cancel at the last minute.

Rev. Jennifer Bennett represented Covenant of the Goddess at the Parliament. Felicity Grove, also of Covenant of the Goddess, had planned on going to the Toronto conference but was unable to do so.

 

Jennifer Bennett [Courtesy]

Rev. Jerrie Hildebrand has attended three Parliaments prior to the Toronto conference. President of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, Hildebrand is also a minister at Circle Sanctuary. Ethan Stark represented Heathens Against Hate (HAH). While HAH is an “independent branch of the Troth,” people can join HAH without becoming a Troth member.

 

 

Ethan Stark [Courtesy]

Interfaith work

Bennett sits on her local interfaith council. Local Christian churches often ask her to speak at their services. Bennett also writes for her local paper’s “Faith Matters” section.

Grove identified five key points of Pagan interfaith work. First, Pagans should have “a seat at the interfaith table.” Second, Pagans can provide a Pagan perspective, such as non-duality, to solving common problems. Third, Pagans can provide a “a different spiritual experience.” Fourth, Pagans doing interfaith work challenges negative stereotypes about Pagans. Five, interfaith work provides Pagans with a chance to model core Pagan values.

According to Hildebrand, interfaith work happens when people of many traditions cooperate. Working together for social justice moves people beyond labels.

Pagans at the Parliament

Hildebrand reported that she has not found any anti-Pagan hostility at any of the three Parliaments she attended. Bennett also found no anti-Pagan bias at a previous Parliament. She found only “openness, genuine curiosity and a positive community spirit.”

Fifteen spiritual traditions had multiple sessions at the Parliament. The Pagan tradition had 16 sessions. In one of these 16 sessions, Alice Walker narrated a film, “”Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil.

Main themes of the Parliament

Hildebrand said that the Parliament had four main themes. One theme involved moral and spiritual perspectives on climate change. A second theme focused on the generational transfer of spiritual knowledge and experience. The third theme examined moral and spiritual perspectives about the rights of indigenous peoples. The fourth theme concerned ways to change a violent and hate-filled world into a peaceful one.

According to Hildebrand, the following Pagans made presentations at the Parliament: Andras Corban Arthen, Selena Fox, Patrick McCollum, Don Lewis, Phyllis Curott, Angie Buchanan, Dennis Carpenter, and Jake Bradley among others.

Heathens Against Hate

According to Stark, Heathens Against Hate (HAH) advocates for inclusive Heathen practices, using education and community initiatives to challenge hate and bigotry among Heathens.

HAH staffed the Alliance for Inclusive Heathenry booth. This booth provided information on other inclusive Heathen groups. HAH took part in a panel discussion titled “Striving to save a Religious Identity from Extremists.”

White supremacy and misogyny occur in other traditions besides Heathenry. Stark has found those elements in some Slavic Pagan beliefs and sometimes in Hellenic Reconstructionism. Stark said, “The conscious and unconscious bigotry and misogyny is on an individual level.” He cautioned that history and location may make certain traditions vulnerable to white supremacy and misogyny. The subtle nature of biased beliefs and practices pose a great challenge.

All spiritual traditions have tendencies towards bias. “Heathenry, like other reconstructionist faiths, relies on correct practice based on sourced written and archaeological records.” Those records reflect a lost and fragmented tradition. This sometimes means relying on personal interpretation. This subjective interpretation can allow “ignorant or willful bigotry” to corrupt the tradition.

Stark sees no problem if someone feels their ancestry and heritage connects them to the gods. When they claim that that connection has greater validity than other claims, it reflects bias. Stark stressed, “This idea of genetic lineage being not only paramount, but necessary for Heathen worship makes it bigoted.”

Attendance at the Parliament provided HAH an opportunity to represent the Heathen faith. HAH used this opportunity to challenge negative stereotypes about Pagans in general and Heathens in particular.

Many people conflate Heathen images with white supremacist iconography. Stark said that heathen tattoos or jewelry have elicited reactions ranging from “glares to outright accusations.”

Like other Pagan faiths, Heathenry is relatively unknown. Stark cautioned, “Our [Heathen] symbols are used by hate groups when they rally, protest, and commit violence. Non-pagan/non-Heathen audiences are likely to see this first and foremost, prior to any knowledge of Heathenry.” He stressed that Heathens must first explain what Heathenry is, before explaining what it is not.

According to Stark, this effort is occurring in other parts of the world. The Troth’s International Relations and Exchange Program hosted FrithForge in Germany last year. This international conference of Heathen representatives hosted workshops, lectures, and community worship services. HAH has compiled a list of inclusive Heathen groups throughout the world. Many inclusive Heathen groups “participated in FrithForge and have openly denounced extremism.”

“Heathens Against Hate strives to provide a beacon for those wishing to know the northern gods, honor the ancestors, and revel in a strong spiritual community without prejudice.” Stark explained, “We do so through education, reformation of former extremists, and community initiatives.” Heathens Against Hate welcomes all who welcome all.

For those who were unable to attend the Parliament, some sessions are now available online such as a panel conversation on “Reclaiming the Indigenous Ethnic Religions of Europe” with Andras Corban Arthen, Inija Trinkūnienė and Vlassis G. Rassias, board members of the European Congress of Ethnic Religions.

 

Interview with the Vampyres by Don Webb
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://xeper.org/pub/pub_dw_vampyres.html

by Don Webb

 

It is my good fortune to have met two of the most elegant creatures who walk the face of the earth: the Grand Masters of the Order of the Vampyre of the Temple of Set.

You can bet I had a hard time finding out about the mysterious Temple of Set—I had to phone San Francisco, talk with directory assistance, and get their phone number. Recently when the moon was full and the mist floated languidly I met with them in a secret place for this interview. I won’t try and describe the flashing eyes of Ms. Lilith Aquino or the hypnotic gaze of Mr. Robertt Neilly—some things words can not do...

1. What is the relationship of your organization to the Temple of Set?

RN: The Order of the Vampyre is like a Standing Committee of the Temple of Set. In this respect, and as a special interest group, its primary focus is the exploration of ‘things Vampyric’. In the Order of the Vampyre, Setians develop in all ways, but do so under the auspices of a Vampyric specialty. The many results of the work they do, stemming as it does from and of the Order, may be shared with the entire membership of the Temple, or perhaps reach a more selective audience.

LA: You could compare the various Orders within the Temple to the graduate studies department of a university. Once our initiates get a basic grounding in the general fields of knowledge and ability, they then can ‘specialize’ in a specific area or areas that they are particularly interested in and drawn to. But always the various Orders remain a part of and within the Temple of Set and its mandate and policies.

2. Why do you use the archaic spelling, ‘Vampyre?’

RN: The term ‘Vampyre’ has many special connotations for us. For example, the spelling has the flavour of ‘Olde English’. But on a deeper level, it represents a more ancient and primal form or focus. It speaks to us of the nobility of this much maligned creature. A Vampyre is an ancient Being. It—or those embracing and engendering its qualities—are bringing to life (again) the timelessness and agelessness of an archetypal creature which I feel lived prior to man’s emergence, lives even now, and will survive man’s (spiritual) decay. A Vampire is the popularized, hollywood version of the ‘undead’ (read ‘unthinking’ or ‘unaware’) and static creature which seems to exist only to gratify its physical needs; perhaps physical immortality. The ‘Vampyre’, conversely, is a Living, Awakened creature which seeks to immortalize its core Self or soul. If, for the sake of argument, one adopts as a given that both kinds of creatures exist, then clear differences may be seen. The ‘Vampire’ exists at an instinctual level only, and would seem to live a rather tragic existence. The ‘Vampyre’ however, via initiatory work, has ‘quickened’ her soul and in doing so acquired a host of other qualities along the way.

3. Why is the Vampire becoming such an important culture hero—we see him in films, books, comics, etc. at an ever growing rate?

RN: Beyond the erotic, the vampire, or those possessing Vampyric qualities, is a hero because it is s/he who makes and administers her/his own Laws. Vampyres are without masters. Their ethical standards, while embracing time-honoured traditions, practices, and the laws of the land, extend beyond the normal veils of society. Life, death, and all states of existence in between, are being constantly redefined by the Vampyre. It’s obvious that many people could find this element attractive. The vampire is a perfect response to any authority figure who is uninspired, unintelligent, and generally unmoving. It may be argued that many traditional figures in authority—whether family, law, or as part of a company’s hierarchical structure—are not this way. To those who are capable of sustaining their Balance, the Vampyre tips his cowl! To the others, it poses a dilemma and threat. And the threat emanates in their minds, not in the Vampyre’s. The vampire is in control. Most of us admire this fact if for no other reason than that for us, some degree of effort is required, from time to time, to maintain control! Yet the vampyre simply, and elegantly, dances around issues of self-control. If he loses his temper, it is a conscious act. If the vampire decides to, she can experience the depths of emotions; or choose to ignore them unilaterally. If for no other reason, the Vampyre is a cult(ure) hero because it brazenly makes a statement like this: “Existence for me has become meaningful. It is my Will that I shall survive the physical inactivity of what we know as death. I am Alive now, and will continue to be Alive while exploring the arenas which are now, or will be, within my grasp.” Finally, in the vampire there exists power... or at least the illusion of power. Many will not recognize, nor care, whether the power is illusory.

LA: I think a very strong reason, especially in these times, is the power that the Vampyre has over his/her own life and destiny. Many people feel helpless and frustrated by the state of the world, and their lives in particular, and not in control of most things. The Vampyre is always in control, uses the powers that he/she possesses to benefit themselves, and in some cases, those that he/she cares for. There is also a strong element of someone that is very ‘different’ from the mainstream not only triumphing over it, but in a rather spectacular and satisfying way. Obviously, one of the most compelling attractions is the very erotic and sensual, sexual aspect of this Being. The anticipation and titillation of the danger, as well as the actual seduction and interaction between Vampyre and admirer. I don’t like to use the word victim, since it denotes a lower, less advanced level of creature who preys on others, rather than the mutual and beneficial exchange of energy, knowledge, and delicious erotic delights that occurs between the higher Being we of the Order of the Vampyre espouse, and his or her admirer/lover/mate etc. Read Elaine Bergstrom’s novel Shattered Glass to get an idea of the type of Vampyre we refer to. In my opinion she has a real grasp and understanding of the concept of the Vampyric Essence, although she probably has no idea that she does! Her family of Vampyres, headed by the Vampyre Stefan Austra, is very close to the Order of the Vampyre’s perception of this Essence. As for the next great on-screen Vampyre, the dark intensity of Sam Neil, who did such a magnificent portrayal of Damien Thorn in the moving Final Conflict, is at once erotic and elegantly noble, with a touch of danger. A compelling combination! He would make a magnificent Vampyre.

4. What powers and practices of the traditional Vampire do you seek to emulate?

RN: In answering this question, it is important that the reader realize that emulating the traditional vampire is not one of our goals, nor a significant portion of our mandate. It’s true that we are interested in tools, and window dressings. But such practices are subject to alteration, to being redefined, or even being discarded. This being stated, there are certain techniques that have proven useful. For example there is the infamous ‘Command To Look’. Can one expect to really communicate with another sentient being without being able to (attract and) hold their gaze? Much that is subtle, yet powerful, is communicated through the eyes. When you embrace the gaze of another, you indicate your commitment, for however brief a period of time, towards direct contact. Voice is an important factor for the would-be Vampyre. Through tone, inflection, pacing, and a variety of other techniques, we in the Order are interested in the intensity, directness, and effectiveness of our communications. We are not interested in sounding like Dracula; unless of course that would serve some useful purpose at the time! One Vampyric quality which seems to evolve as the Initiate does, and which rightfully belongs in realms of both kinds of vampires, is something we call Vampyric Presence. Earlier on, we spoke of Essence. The two have a connectivity. Vampyric Presence is unmistakable, yet difficult to identify. It is a paradox. Yes, you feel the Presence... but you’re largely unable to come to terms with your feelings. What is it about person ‘X’, or their control of ‘Factor X’, that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? Why is it that when you are around friend ‘X’, you immediately get aroused? What is about these people that cause you to experience fear, trepidation, loathing, or some other equally emotive feeling? Actors and actresses may possess a form of this ‘presence’. Yet, Vampyric Presence, when it exists at all, differs from all other kinds of presence. It exudes ancientness. It excites unnaturally. It demands personal investigation.

5. If I wanted to experience the essence of the Vampyre what should I do?

LA: Go see Grand Master Neilly... and some of the other initiates of the Order of the Vampyre! They are surrounded by this Essence since they are this Essence. It is a natural part of them so that they are not artificially ‘projecting’ it, but simply being it. Read some of the books mentioned by myself and Grand Master Neilly in relation to the Vampyric qualities we have discussed. Try to reach within yourself and evoke what you understand this Essence to be. It takes some trial and error, but you will gradually come to understand at least a part of it, which is enough to enable you to experience a bit of it yourself. Please pay particular attention to Grand Master Neilly’s remarks concerning the archetypal force that is the Vampyre before you undertake any personal evocation of it in yourself.

RN: Go see Grand Master Aquino! The ‘essence’ of the Vampyre surrounds us. The ways in which it can be experienced are basically two-fold: Invoke the essence or presence within. Or seek to evoke the same from others who you feel to be Vampyric. There are some ‘dangers’. For example, many who seem Vampyric are nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Such talents are useful, but those who are genuinely Vampyric merely uses those as facades and tools. Legitimate Vampyres possess substance, and they do not disappear when the veils are stripped away. Be wary of psychic vampires. Such are these, that they zap you of your energy and vitality. Psychic vampires are people who have decided to be a plague. They may plague you personally, or even become parasites to otherwise healthy people in society at large. If you seek to promulgate your own vampiric (or Vampyric) essence in order to experience it, do so with the following prerequisite. You do not know what a Vampyre is, hence, do not know the ways in which it will manifest itself. The Vampyre is an archetypal force. It exists in the racial and collective mind of man. It can be a primal force: as such, it may be overwhelming. Do you really want to experience the Vampyre? Then seek out a love of the richness of life. [At this point, Lilith Aquino quoted from Carla Banaff’s New World:] “Once you’re there, you’ll know that you’re inside... you can’t turn back once you’ve opened your eyes.”

6. The Temple of Set grows from a single idea called ‘Becoming’, which they call Xepering (pronounced ‘khef-fer-ing’) after the Self-created Egyptian god. How is the Vampyre an example of what the Temple of Set calls ‘Becoming?’

RN: When the Temple of Set promotes ‘Becoming’, it is speaking about real self-evolution. Growing another arm or leg, growing another year older, or gaining knowledge or remembering something you’ve read are not equivalents or examples of Becoming. Yet some of those events can lead to it. When we say ‘Xeper’ to another Initiate, we are saying, ‘Become’. Becoming, or ‘Xeper’, is a process which promotes personal evolution. In that, one increases her capabilities, experiences herself at a deeper level of existence, and indeed creates change within her ‘psycho-centric’ self. Becoming is a dynamic process, a condition, an environment. The Vampyre is an example of ‘Becoming’. He has made some crucial decisions in his life. He probably decided some long time ago that he was unique. Does that mean better, worse, elite, poorer? Not necessarily any of those. The Vampyre is unique because she has set herself apart from others. She has recognized that she is different, and has stated that she intends to explore and foster the difference. Once the ‘sleeper has Awakened’, he pursues life with new sensory tools. He seeks to change his outlook, his vantage point, his perspective. All of these actions produce real change and legitimate Becoming.

The interview was at an end. They rose from my table and walked into the mist. The mist swallowed them, the secret of the night claiming its own. And suddenly it seemed very cold.

UU Pagans respond to American political shift by Terence P Ward
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://wildhunt.org/2017/01/uu-pagans-respond-to-american-political-shift.html 

 

 

TWH — Following the highly-divisive election cycle in the United States, leaders in the Unitarian Universalist religion have been speaking out about what should come next. For one leader of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPs), the call to “provide sanctuary and resist” can be couched in terms of the time of the winter king, who brings hope in times of cold, dark, and despair.cuups

Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, laid out what he believed to be necessary in a letter to UU ministers last month.

I believe we are entering dangerous times. I expect that the new administration will unleash human rights abuses aimed at migrants and Muslims shortly after it takes office. In the longer term, other marginalized groups . . . will be in danger. We are already seeing an increase in violent acts by people who see the election as validation of their hate.

Among the dangers we face is the temptation to “normalize” the situation. I pray that the incoming administration will prove to be more humane than its rhetoric and many of its most ardent supporters. I see no evidence that this is the case. None. It is irresponsible folly to act as though we are in a normal transition between administrations.

We must prepare to provide sanctuary and resist.

Sanctuary, in Morales’ view, is broadly defined to include not only safe harbors for spiritual reflection, but active protection for members of those groups likely to be targeted, including Muslims and illegal aliens. He frames resistance as a shift from playing “offense” by advocating for such issues as marriage equality and immigration reform to “defense” to oppose new human-rights abuses that he fully expects will occur under President Trump.

Amy Beltaine, presently the president of CUUPs, is in agreement with Morales. In a lengthy winter solstice video that she transcribed to the blog Nature’s Path,Beltaine placed these concerns into a Pagan context:

The short daylight and the fear and pain among my loved ones are adding layers of weight on my mind. So many of my friends have realistic fears about being able to survive, much less prosper, during the next four years. One must have food, shelter, and health before one can contribute your unique self to the world. I need them to survive.

I’m keenly aware of the responsibilities that come with my layers of relative privilege. I have responsibilities to the marginalized and historically oppressed. Not just responsibilities to interrupt bullying, to resist injustice and agitate for compassion, but responsibility to build bridges and to make connections with those who I have trouble feeling connected to.

For Beltaine, building bridges is every bit as important as building sanctuaries. “Some might argue that many who voted in frustration have little to complain about,” she wrote. “But human beings usually don’t make decisions based on dispassionate fact. We decide based on our story, our emotions, our experience. Whether this perception of helplessness and lost power were objectively true phenomena does not matter.”

 

[Photo Credit: thombattu / Wikimedia]

[Photo Credit: thombattu / Wikimedia]

For Pagans and anyone else who acknowledges the astronomical shifting, this is the dark time in fact, even for those who don’t feel it is metaphorically. “As king of evergreens, the winter king’s gift is hope during times of despair, and incubation of new birth during times of destruction.” Beltaine argues that the common threads which bind Americans at this time — frustration with the difficulty of achieving the “American Dream,” as well as skepticism in elected leaders’ abilities to change the status quo — are a starting point for incubating that new, hopeful birth.

 

That means recognizing that the fears and worries of all people are valid for them, and treating each other with respect and decency. “As we wait for the sun to return we need to be intolerant of actions that harm the community or anyone in it, active in finding new ways, and calling in those who are not aware of the work that needs to be done.”

Among UU Pagans, that work comes forward in the form of resolutions passed by board members, and specific actions to back those statements up. When reached for an additional comment, Beltaine said on behalf of the CUUPs board:

CUUPs has a long history of lifting up the importance of our respectful relationship with the sacred earth and the importance of acting on behalf of the worth and dignity of all our siblings. Our current statements regarding Black Lives Matter, environmental justice (and solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux), and consent culture speak to the need to actively work against bullying, hate, disenfranchisement, oppression, and disconnection from our sacred selves and earth. Like Rev. Morales, we call upon our members and friends to take action to protect the vulnerable and to create a better world.

Beltaine’s full video message can be viewed below.

 

This Halloween, Reveal Yourself BY CHRISTOPHER DRYSDALE
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theothersideofthehedge/2018/10/this-halloween-reveal-yourself/

BY 

 

There is a chasm of possibility between our everyday lives and our deepest, truest selves. Halloween is the holiday for recognizing that reality, and maybe doing a little something about it.

Children play dress-up to get a handle on the slippery subject of identity. Knowing what we are, and what we are not, is a powerful aspect of defining ourselves.

As adults, however, we can become far too married to our identities. Halloween is the day to break free.

 

Every Day but Halloween

Truth be told, Halloween is not the only day we play dress up. We wear costumes every day. There is our work-costume, family-costume, home-costume, Internet-costume and so on. For every circumstance, we have a different “costume” we wear.

Nor are our daily costumes inherently fake. They are tools — broad methods of communicating meaning and negotiating value. How we dress, how we hold ourselves, how we talk, and so forth can never be wholly and truly authentic.

We can only be authentic to the rules of each and every situation. This is because our notions of who we are do not exist in a vacuum. In fact, our identities (at best) provide the social tools that help us fulfill most of our needs. They provide the rules for connection with others and proper boundaries that keep us safe. But identities, if too carefully constructed, can become straitjackets. If we are to maintain some semblance of sanity, identity cannot be static; we constantly negotiate it in the shifting contexts of our lives.

As malleable as our identities are, at the end of the day we are far more than the sum of our roles. That is why there are entire industries, from entertainment to psychology, that help us rectify the distance between the everyday realities of life and who we could be.

This constant monitoring and shifting of identity is real work. It is the labor on which our civilization rests. Without it, we would tear ourselves apart.

But no matter how necessary, it is exhausting. And so, one day a year, we give ourselves permission to cast the rules to the wind and become what we are.

This is not dress-up to explore, but a claiming of our own power. This is Halloween!

 

This Is Halloween

Some holidays have to do with putting our wrongdoings behind us and promising to be better people. Others are about giving thanks for what we have. These are worthwhile things to do.

 

Halloween isn’t about any of that. Halloween is the day we admit that we are far more than we pretend to be.

Hidden inside of us might be a sexy beast, a princess born worthy of respect, a powerful wizard shaping reality, or even a horrific monster. We all have parts of ourselves that we do not share into the world. This is the price of civilization.

And so, as the Fall turns colder and the leaves change, we are allowed for a moment to open up a bit. The rules are not cast aside, but for a brief time, we exist within a different set of constraints.

 

The Rules of Halloween

In many ways, Halloween is like a game. We agree to certain rules, for a certain time.

Halloween is not anarchy, but rather a parade of revealing. As such, it has unspoken rules.

  • Halloween has boundaries, both in time and space.
  • We will not judge each other for what we reveal.
  • By keeping the holiday safe, we keep it for future generations.

It would probably be a terrible idea to simply allow everyone, for one night, to truly let out the hidden parts of ourselves. As Halloween revelers, we do not let our suppressed selves truly run amok. Our shadows are let out, but only to play nice.

 

While I am as big a fan as the next Pagan of the run-up to Halloween, the holiday itself is bound to a sacred time and place. Halloween is the time when we get to share a little bit of who we are. Yet, there is danger in over-sharing.

The holiday does not work if we judge each other for what we reveal. If we understand that everyone walks around in costumes every day, then a blow-off day becomes reasonable. But it does not work if cannot accept what other people reveal.

 

At the same time, there will always be boundaries. We have to reinforce the idea that this is a game. Dressing up as a pirate is great. Bringing a live sword is uncool in most contexts. Probably the most important Halloween rule is safety first.

 

This Is Samhain

Samhain, the Pagan holiday that coincides with Halloween, is about the thinning of the veil between the everyday world and the the spiritual one that begins just beyond our sight.

Halloween and Samhain are tied together by their theme of revealing. This is the time when we peer beyond and see what is normally hidden from us. But while Halloween exists in the social sphere and is about revealing the self, Samhain goes much deeper.

At the ending and beginning of the Wheel of the Year, Pagans gather to accept and revel in the truth that we are more than our everyday selves. We are everything that exists not only between birth and death, but also everything that lies beyond. 

The holiday, Halloween, is about revealing hidden truths about who we are. The holy day, Samhain, is about revealing the mysteries of the Self.

If Halloween is about dressing up and revealing ourselves to others, Samhain is about shedding out everyday costumes entirely and revealing the truth of who we are.

 

The Holiday of Transformation

Halloween and Samhain are two sides of the same coin. They both encompass a process of revealing, a creation of a new context, and a recognition of the limitations of the masks we wear in our lives.

In Halloween, we reveal to those around us a little bit of who we are. In the ritual of Samhain, we ask that more of ourselves be revealed to us.

Both of these holidays require that we set aside the rules of the everyday. Halloween is a moment where we set aside the everyday self. The Pagan holiday goes further. In that magical space, we set aside our limitations and become something more.

Halloween is the day to wear a mask that reveals more than it hides. Samhain is the night we drop our masks and become what we are.

CUUPS
Category: WebSite News

As you should know Vampyrian TempleUVUP (United Vampyre Unitarian Pagans) is now a CUUPS: https://www.facebook.com/CUUPS.org/ or http://www.cuups.org/ unofficial supporter maybe one day we will be official 

Happy Beltane All
Category: WebSite News

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