Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Back to the Basics, or Do Pagans Really Need So Much Stuff?
Article ID: 13816
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,428
Times Read: 4,213
RSS Views: 13,908
Author: Bronwen Forbes [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 11th. 2010
Times Viewed: 4,213
I was driving to work the other morning and the classic Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson song, “Luckenbach, Texas” came on the radio. As Waylon growled the line, “Maybe it’s time we got back to the basics of love” and then declared that his basics were “guitars that tune good and firm feelin’ women, ” I began to wonder, what are the basics of Pagan practice? What do we really need in order to connect with our God (s) in a mutually satisfactory manner?
I’ll get to what I think we need in a minute. In the meantime, I have a whole list of what we don’t need – but we think we need – in order to be happy, active Pagans.
1. Jewelry – I used to be so very guilty of this one. At one point (about thirteen years ago) I wore at least one ring on every finger – including thumbs – and four separate pendants twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week, including while sleeping and in the shower. It’s a wonder I didn’t drown in the bathtub from the extra weight! And whenever I was in ritual, it was even worse: I’d add at least three (sometimes four!) more necklaces, two wrist bracelets, and two ankle bracelets. Did all this bling make me a better priestess? Of course not. There’s an old joke in the Pagan community, and like most jokes it has a seed of truth in it: Have you heard of the High Priestess Hundred Yard Dash? Any priestess who even makes it to the finish line wins!
Even Magrat Garlick, the young witch in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, eventually figures out that jewelry does not improve her spiritual practice.
2. Ritual objects – There was another line in Waylon’s song about “keepin’ up with the Jones’.” Pagan tchotchkes and other items wax and wane in and out of fashion. A few years ago, everyone in my local community who thought they were someone (and had seventy bucks they didn’t need) bought wands that were made from tree branches that had grown in a spiral pattern because of wild grape or other vine that had twined around them. They were pretty, and I admit I seriously wanted one, but I wonder how many of those wands are still in use today.
My money pit was, and is, tarot decks. Back in the mid to late 1980s, when the publication of a new themed deck was a much bigger, more rare event than it is today, I bought the Mythic Tarot – not because I was (nor am I now) even remotely drawn to working with the Greek pantheon, but because everyone I respected and admired and who, for the most part did have Greek patron deities, bought the Mythic Tarot. I never used it, and eventually gave it away along with ropes of myrrh bead necklaces, a Daughters of the Moon tarot deck (basically unused) , a baby dragon oil lamp, a couple of old video cabinets (i.e. altars) , and a veritable forest of candlesticks – all purchased because they were “in” or “trendy” at the time – and, for the most part, never used.
3. Speaking of altars – They’re nice, they’re convenient, but they’re not always necessary. My husband, for instance, feels mostly spiritually connected when he’s working in his vegetable garden and then cooking the results of that garden for his family. His altars, then, are the dirt in the garden and the stove and countertops in the kitchen, as I suspect they are for many kitchen witches. I’m not saying altars aren’t good and useful for ritual; if nothing else they keep burning candles and sharp implements off the floor, but how fancy does your altar – the actual piece of furniture – need to be? And if you have more than one, ask yourself: how many of the deities honored by those altars could be better served by you acting as their hands and doing there work in the world?
4. Books – I realize that as a Pagan author I’m shooting myself in the foot here, but honestly folks, do we all really need a wall full of the latest tomes on spell work, Wicca 101 or bad Celtic history in order to build a better relationship with our God (s) ? Yes, my spouse and I have a few, select, cherished spiritual reference books, including some that aren’t particularly Pagan-specific like cookbooks, organic gardening how-tos, books on massage, and one huge volume on how to identify every wild bird in North America. Yes these books enhance my Pagan practice, but they are not Pagan per se. If you’re convinced that the more books you read, the better Pagan you are, let me be the one to tell you that this is not true. Quite the opposite, in fact.
5. Ritual garb – My husband once helped a friend move to a new home. You know those tall wardrobe boxes you can buy from U-Haul? He moved eight; count them, eight of those boxes filled with the friend’s ritual garb. The last time my family moved, we filled three of those boxes with all of our hanging clothes – including our thick winter coats. To be honest, I’ve worn shorts, sneakers, and in one memorable instance a faded Mickey Mouse sweatshirt to some of the most meaningful rituals of my life. I didn’t deliberately plan to “under dress, ” it just happened. Unless your group traditionally practices skyclad, you’ll probably want, need and acquire a few robes of different colors and fabric thicknesses for various holidays and seasons, but eight closet-sized boxes? Just say no!
Now I’m not saying we need to get rid of everything – jewelry, books, altars, candlesticks, statues, robes etc. and rely solely on energy, visualization and our own deeds to express our spirituality. Pagan practice is undoubtedly enriched beyond measure by these supplemental symbols. But it is easy for too much “stuff” to overwhelm and clutter up the fundamental simplicity of our call to serve our Gods as best we can. Serving the Gods, doing their work here on Earth, and giving each other a helping hand as best we can – that’s back to the basics of Pagan practice.
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
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