The dreaded ‘P’ word – Addressing Prejudice

Hello, Rowan here. Just a quick post on prejudice, which I have mentioned a couple of times on the blog.

Prejudice is a pretty delicate subject for all of us, me included. We know it’s out there, but sometimes we don’t want to be associated with those who discuss it as that discussion sometimes turns into prejudice its self (usually towards Christians – which has made me feel very uncomfortable at times). Prejudice also exists within our community – with some pantheons undermining each other and some practitioners defining themselves as “real witches among fluffy bunny pagans”. Some of it is truly cringe worthy!

People who know me well will know I try very hard not to be prejudiced. I may come across however as very prejudiced, because I am very open about my prejudices. For example, I am a devout sexist. I really don’t think men are as capable as women, although I’m trying to address this and try not to allow it to effect my day to day things and especially not my faith! Yesterday I bought and started reading a book that I hope to use to challenge myself, to root out one of my deepest prejudices:

My prejudice against the English.

I have loads of English friends and even Silversun is originally from England. XD I don’t have a problem with the people, it’s just that “England, sweet England” attitude that really ticks me off! I’d find it much easier to tolerate “Saxony, sweet Saxony” (which in my biased view is far more accurate!). I also hate how my country seems to have no international identity separate from that of England. I once read an online fanfiction that stated the main character “came from Wales, a little village in England”. D: So, admittedly some of my hate is misplaced; it’s not England’s fault that some people never got a full education. Though, I do believe that that particular instance, of the fanfiction, that the author was poking fun at the ignorance of some people. You never know, though; some are really that daft.

Well, I’m not only reading the book (“The Book of English Magic”) to learn what it can teach me. It does seem pretty good so far, though! I’m trying to purge my mind of that little voice that tells me English people can’t be patriotic anywhere near me – when I should understand that they have as much of a right to love and celebrate their country as I do! Instead of reading to add to my arsenal of information against other people’s prejudices I am reading to deconstruct my own. 🙂

So, as you can see I have prejudices and I really do hope that no one feels put off or offended by my openness about them. I hope, rather, that this encourages you to shake off the denial surrounding your own prejudices. As Ronnie and I were discussing earlier today, everyone is prejudiced whether they show it obviously or not. You don’t have to be open with others about your prejudices as long as you are addressing them. The biggest thing that can stand in your way, though, is your own denial. If you don’t admit to yourself that you are prejudiced, then you cannot take action!

Anyway, I’m going to try and finish and review this book by the end of the week. I have an exam on Tuesday though, so this is going to take its time. I’m also hoping to finish it so I can lend it to Ronnie as this really does live up to its reviews so far as really quite a good book!

Blessings all

Rowan

x~x

The Value of Initiation

It’s interesting to see what seems to be a dialogue among bloggers on this topic. There are varying and valid views out there. As a hedgewitch myself I also don’t see the importance of ranks or hierarchy, as long as nothing stops me from practising my craft I’m happy. 🙂 However, I see that the ceremonies are very important to a lot of people and can enrich the spiritual experience.

(Here are a couple of posts discussing different views on the topic by Spider Goddess and from Witchy Ramblings)

I’m looking forward to the Initiation ceremony we’ve planned (see post entitled Initiation). Why? Well I’m one of those who sees great value in it. It’s like going to the cinema – you know you’ll love it when you go but you can always watch the film on DVD. Ok, that’s a very mundane way of describing it. In case I’m not making myself clear, what I mean is that an initiation is a valuable experience whereby you can accomplish much spiritually and truly connect with others although it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy spirituality (or Avatar, or Smirfs, or Despicable Me, or Tron) and be spiritual without it.

Some things I heard others say/imply that I thought were interesting:

You cannot ascend without initiation. I have a couple of things to say. Anyone can reach ascension (with or without ceremony). However, what I think might be what the people who seem to think this means is that you cannot reach ascension without spiritual progression. In our craft, because of its diversity (rich, beautiful diversity), we have a problem – paradigms. A paradigm is a way of describing, interpreting, thinking about the world around you. This is something wonderful because we can say to other because of this “do what feels right to you” because we appreciate the different angle that everyone takes everything and we’re also recognising that the world is as you choose to see it. Back to the point, maybe a lot of us are seeing initiation differently. (That’s Great!)

That initiations and degrees mean there’ll be a hierarchy. Ok, we have people we like to appoint sometimes. For instance a High Priestess. But I personally believe that if you view the role of High Priestess solely as leader and decision maker then you are being misled. To me, it means you are denying the actual spiritual dimension of the role. The High Priestess has a responsibility to be a spiritual doorway for others – conductress of rituals rather than dictator! Although I still believe you can manage without… Just like an initiation, but with one you can experience something very unique. Another point I want to make about the ‘hierarchies’ aspect is that actually there’s no smoke without fire. That’s because some people do choose to use their initiations and degrees like badges on their sashes. It’s these people who’ve gleaned nothing spiritual from their experiences, in my opinion.

Ok, something I’ve not seen expressed in the discussion but have experienced (really through being one of the perpetrators!) is the attitude that you can’t work together without being in a coven. I’m guilty as charged. I was desperate to be in covens and to be initiated. Honestly, a study group is what they should have been called. Covens should be with people you really really want to experience the craft with (not just because you all love the craft but you really want to work together and celebrate together and learn as much as you possibly ever could from each other). A coven should be a nurturing environment full of encouragement and learning. 🙂

And another thing I haven’t seen others discuss yet – initiations aren’t all about belonging to covens! Just thought I’d make that one clear and it doesn’t really need an explanation. 🙂

My very very personal views on initiations and all rites of passage rituals are that they are unique in that they’re aim isn’t fertility, to bring love into your life, get a good harvest, acknowledge female or male aspects etc. … but to celebrate and encourage spiritual progression. I also believe that it builds up energies that you don’t send out of yourself but you use to take you through to the next spiritual level. They’re acknowledgements of experience, development and learning new lessons.

This means you’re probably doing things like this in your own way without the ritual or ceremony as a solitary. The value of that is no more or less than that of initiation ceremonies.

Spiritual development is very personal and cannot be universally measured! XD

Thanks for letting me stick my spoon in the discussion cauldron and stir!

Blessed Be

Rowan

x~x

I love this post. ^.^ The second picture is just how my cats view me. ^.^ (And I bet the same goes for any Cat owner really XD)
Rowan
x~x

The Lone Wolf

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New Cards!!!

Silversun has a new deck and it is an I-ching deck. She is ecstatic with it and as soon as she picked it up it felt warm in her hands. ^.^ I-ching is a Chinese oracle. The first versions of I-ching date back to the first millennium, before the Era of Christianity. It follows Taoist principles. Coins used to be used for the method, and before that Yarrow stems. The symbols are made of unbroken and broken lines, which make trigrams. There are eight trigrams; Heaven, Earth, Thunder, Mountain, Sun-Fire, Wind-Wood, Lake-Mist and Water.

There are sixty-four cards in the deck. Each one is beautifully designed by Luis Royo. The same artist illustrated Silversun’s tarot deck, which is quite a cool coincidence.

Since the deck is not tarot there are no conventional spreads, so for now Silversun has just been reading with one card. They are full of philosophical messages and spiritual guidance. 🙂

Silversun )O(

Rowan x~x