Articles/Essays From Pagans
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
My Concept Of Grey
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Catholicism, Hinduism, and my Inner Ferengi
Article ID: 14169
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,058
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Author: Deborah Castellano
Posted: January 9th. 2011
Times Viewed: 3,287
111) Never sleep with the boss' wife unless you pay him first.
112) Never sleep with the boss' sister.
113) Always sleep with the boss. - The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
My boyfriend Jow thinks that I'm secretly a Ferengi. (Dark secret: I'm closet geek.) The Star Trek thing, I have my mother to blame for. She’s got Franklin Mint figurines and remembers the words for Klingon cuisine. Jow likes to sometimes try to coax out how deep I am into the dork forest by making seemingly innocuous statements about various parts of the various series which always forces my hand. My frothing retorts show what a complete geek I am.
Now, okay, granted it took a while for women’s rights to really kick in there, but it happened. The Ferengi never got involved in slavery or other imperialistic crap, which does suit my ‘Damn the Man’ sensibilities, but they were always there to make a profit regardless of whatever crap everyone else was fighting about, which I also appreciate. The Ferengi are the corner coffeehouse to the Alliance's Starbucks (and that's all you're getting!) .
I'm an industrious little squirrel. I always have been. I like busting my butt towards a goal, I like getting things done, and I like making money. I think I like making it because I don’t tend to have a lot of it and paying bills still makes me feel like part of The Grown Up Club.
Now, bear with me, it will all come together, I promise. But first: Flashback! I was Catholic, dutifully praying constantly for whatever it was I wanted in the moment: a pony, the love of Scott Reiner, to pass my algebra test, to miraculously be an only child, whatever. I prayed my rosary like a champ. I went to confession on the regular. I went to church. I did what I was supposed to do like a good worker bee. I liked the ritual, the structure of how prayer worked in Catholicism, but I disliked that the output was so capricious, at least in my experience. Constant prayer + the desperate desire for the love of S.R. = canoli after church? That can't be right!
So blahblahblah why can't I be a female deacon/personal general liberal agenda/general unsuccessfulness of personal prayer/need to irritate my mother, and here I am, Pagan.
Except. . . I really need structure, personally. I wasn't too successful in coming up with my own structure, and man, the idea of doing a full ADF Druidic ritual or Wiccan circle just to get some prayer done is enough to make me want to give up all my shoes, even my Manolos. If it works for you, rock out but I have the attention span of a lightning bug.
Which eventually brought me to the Hindu pantheon in a Pagan context. The way I was taught it was as follows:
1. There are mantras you need to be given by teachers, but the basic "seed" mantra is for everyone. I know not everyone agrees with this, but my general feeling is the seed mantra is like calling your deity on the phone. There's only so much you can screw up unless you're actively trying to. Learn the pronunciation of the seed mala, learn the general protocol associated with the deity, and hey don't "call" a deity who is either easily offended or likely to be offended by you particularly if you don't entirely know what you're doing. I don't "call" Lakshmi because she would take one look at my house and look at me and say, "Ugh. Seriously?"
2. How to do puja. I dig puja. It's an (often) mini ritual that can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like and it involves a bell, which I like. When trying to integrate a new pantheon into my current practice, I learn what’s common for laypeople to do and start there. Puja and japa/mala are for everyone, so I feel okay doing both after investigating with local Pagans who practice Hindu and the local shopkeepers who sell puja supplies, books and the Internet. If I want to get deeper in the tradition, I’ll do more research. I’m happy here in layperson land however.
3. The stories, of Shiva's family especially. They just really resonate with me. I can really relate to them. Joseph and Mary according to Catholicism just had baby Jesus . . .immaculately… and that was it. There's nothing wrong with that, and celibacy is sacred too, but it's not my path. Shiva and Parvati's story of a blended family, fighting and making up and making love is a lot closer to what I can relate to.
4. How to japa. This is where things really started to click for me. Mala was explained to me as like a banking account -- which appealed to my inner Ferengi-- and the rosary and japa are very similar which made the transition easy for me. Every time you complete a mala, you get to put a few pennies into your bank account. If you do enough mantras, every boy, every boy in the whole world can be yours! Okay, that would take a lot of time, effort, energy, and austerities.
But! Parvati totally got her man that way. Shiva didn't want to pay her no mind and she was all, that's cool. I WILL JUST MAKE YOU LOVE ME WITH THE STRENGTH OF MY DEVOTIONS TO YOU. And I appreciate that level of drive and motivation, even if I’ve never personally wanted anything badly enough to eat nothing but leaves for.
After reading Eat, Love, Pray, I realized my life was missing a nightly devotion. I had hesitated about any kind of nightly practice because I generally don't remember to even water houseplants, but it felt like it was time. Except . . .I was in the hole to Durga for quite a few mantras I never said to her. I said I would if she brought my friend home safe from Iraq but best intentions and all and see: doesn’t remember to water houseplants or sea monkeys and dropout dilettante mentality.
So like a proper Ferengi, I decided to do the math to figure out how many I owed Her and when I would be finished being indebted to Her. While indebted, I would endeavor not to ask Her for anything, past being grateful that she held up her side of the bargain even if I was lazy/sketchy at best at following up in a timely fashion with my side.
So after Christmas, but before New Years, I started my practice with a rotation between Durga, Shiva, and eventually Parvati when I finally found her seed ohm, heavy on the Durga side. Right before Beltane, I finished my debt to her and it felt really good, like a weight had been lifted off of me. Even though I've said a total of around 270 malas, I haven't yet asked for very much, at least not for myself.
Shiva is known especially for granting requests as long as the work has been done, which is handy. Even without asking for much, it feels more cause and effect than saying rosaries did for me. And should I ever decide that I really want that pony (which Jow would probably prefer to live with instead of SR, who moved away when I was thirteen. Who knows what he became… Meth lab head? Stock broker? Kept man? Doctor?) , I feel like I could get one, which appeals to my squirrelly Ferengi brain.
So far, I've gotten help with a toothache, a blister, a very nice Beltane, got my friend knocked up (by her request! She and her husband were trying for their second) , and so far, my friend’s husband been doing okay with chemo. It calms my brain down so much so I sleep better every night. I can now do a full mala in less than five minutes flat which makes it easy for me to make a nightly devotion.
Copyright: Copyrighted by Deborah Castellano
Location: , New Jersey
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Bio: Deborah Castellano has written for NewWitch and Demand Studios on the internet. Her work has appeared in NewWitch, SageWoman and Venus magazines as well as anthologies by Cleis Press and Freyer's Bower.
She blogs regularly about charms, hexes, housewifery, hearth witchery and deportment on her blog, Charmed I'm Sure.
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