Pagan Pride Day is here. There were no gatherings or festivals in my area (or, as far as I know, in the entire country). I still want to write a post about Pagan pride. I was lucky enough to be born in Sweden, a country were Christianity is not considered standard. Being proud of my pagan beliefs have never really been a challenge. Partly because there’s a lot of pagans around and partly because people generally mind their own shit. Criticizing someone else for their religious beliefs is considered rude and unacceptable (criticizing religion itself however, is common).
I grew up in an area filled with rune-stones, residues from an ancient heathen cult, sacrificial pits and more. As well as all the stories about Siv and Oden and Freja etc. I grew up in a family were I met Muslims, Satanists, Buddhists and weird spiritual people. When I was 12 years old I actually had a friend who’s mother was a Wiccan. And of course the Asatruers, everywhere. Somehow I feel I don’t have anything to be proud of because I didn’t actually fight for this. It just happened and not a single person cared.
And maybe that’s the reason there were no Pagan Pride events held in Sweden this year. Because everyone felt the same. We don’t have to raise or voices because no one is trying to silence us. We don’t have to feel proud because no one is mocking us. We don’t have to claim respect because no one is disrespecting us.
So, to celebrate Pagan Pride I’m going to keep up with the events in other countries instead. Countries were these sort of things are needed.
For the Autumn Equinox yesterday I did nothing. Or. A boy invited me to dinner so that’s what I were doing. It was horrible. This fine Sunday morning however, my sister and I decided to have a little celebration in the forest. It didn’t exactly turn out as we hoped but then again it usually doesn’t when my sister and I actually tries to plan something. We ended up having a picnic on a mountain. But the only thing we had to eat was apples and some cookies we found (we were going to bake our own cookies but that went to hell). It was nice anyway. It was beautiful, chilly and sunny. The first day of Autumn. After the picnic we went looking for adventures. We climbed another mountain and found the most awesome half-cave. We also found some rocks that we were both convinced were trolls in disguise. It was great to spend a few hours in the forest with just my sister and her puppy.
For a long time I have felt a presence by something/someone. It’s not remarkable but it’s almost always around, and it even has a name that flies through my brain sometimes. Last week was the first time I saw a glimpse of a physical appearance. It was late at night and I was strolling like I do when I can’t sleep. For a short moment I clearly saw something sit on the floor in my bedroom. After disappearing I tried to get another glimpse, but without success.
I really want to know what or who it is. It doesn’t feel threatening, but not protective either. One clue however is that it sometimes follows me outside of my house so it’s not bound to this place. I have no friend or relative that have died, so it can’t be someone I know trying to contact me from the afterlife. But then what? Should I worry? I’m not a very vocal person so I’m not sure if I should try talk to it or what I would say.
I have no experience with things like this and have no idea how to act. Should I contact it? Is there any signs or peculiarities I can look for to determine what it is?
The last couple of days I have been practising meditation regularly. Even before starting I realised it would be a challenge since analysing and philosophising is my brains default-mode. I looked for meditation music only to find out that most mediation music is crap, so I went with Amethystium (since I figured death metal probably wouldn’t help my cause). The night between Monday and Thursday was a hard one. I am an empath and I had attracted a lot of negative emotions due to a forum discussion and a terrible story my dad told me about a guy he knows. I figured it would be a great moment to practise meditation. First I tried a 15 minute session were I only focused on my breathing and tried not to “swirl away” from myself. It didn’t work at all. So I paused and then tried again and this time I allowed myself to “swirl away” (I honestly have no better way to describe it). While swirling I ended up on a station. But instead of buses or trains there were swans lined up. I wish I had looked around a bit more than I did but well, I climbed on of these swans. It was a bit awkward because I didn’t now where to place my legs or where it was ok to put my arms, the swan however didn’t seemed to care very much. It flew me to a place with thousands of glades, all separated from each other by forests. They all looked different from each other. Different seasons, different nature. The swan landed and left me in one of them. It was winter in my glade and snow where covering the ground. There were a pond in the middle of the glade and a rock formation which I climbed. I lay in the snow and listened to the bullfinches chirp until I felt relaxed and happy. Then I got into the pond (which were only frozen at the shores) and the water was cold but not in an unpleasant way. When I came to the centre of the pond I relaxed and let myself sink into it. I sank for some time until I reached my physical self again.
This really helped to remove my negative emotions though I’m not sure this is how you are actually supposed to meditate. One of the texts I read on meditation even said that you shouldn’t let yourself swirl of because it could be dangerous, but it didn’t state how or why it would be dangerous so I ignored that. I guess the lesson I’ve learned from this is; don’t follow the book, follow yourself. But then again, a lot of people has told me that I have to get away from my “I do what I want” attitude when it comes to spirituality or I will get hurt eventually. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, yes there are a lot of wise people in the world. But there are also a lot of idiots who pretends to be wise out there. For now I’m going to continue on my own path, listening to others thoughts and opinions, but not to self-appointed experts. The fools knows best as Virginia Woolf would probably tell me if she were around.
Autumn is upon us, or as I like to call it, death is upon us (I have a melodramatic personality). I wish I were one of those people who find death beautiful and fascinating, unfortunately it mostly scares me. A lot of people always tell me that “death is natural, it’s nothing to fear” etcetera. It doesn’t work. Of course death is scary. Humans are supposed to avoid it, therefore we fear it. That’s natural. Autumn always reminds me about death. Mostly the non-peaceful kind. I can’t sleep because I’m obsessed with checking my heartbeats. Are they to fast? To slow? This year I made a promise to confront death. I must admit my progress so far has been, um, non-existing. I’m searching for good meditations because I’m pretty bad at making up my own.
My feelings for autumn are diverse. I don’t like the darkness but I love the cold. I love being able to breath again. Hot summers isn’t my cup of tea. Mostly I long for winter. For the frost and the snow. Imagine if winter and spring were the only seasons. That would be my utopia. But now I’m avoiding the subject. Death. Why do people always have to make it scarier than it should be? Who invented the idea of the purgatory? Who invented the idea of paradise? Who invented the idea of reincarnation? This might sound weird but all of those scares me equally. Why do I let this take up so much of my time? If I stopped thinking about death all the time I would have so much time to think about other things.
I try to find positive things about death. If I’m dead I can’t have Multiple Sclerosis for example. If I’m dead I probably don’t have to be nice to idiots. If I’m dead I don’t have to worry about future and economy. It’s not working very well. For every positive thing, I can come up with five negative. But then again, I’ve only worked on this for two weeks. It might work, but slowly.
Ps. Can you be reincarnated on a different planet by the way? I’ve been thinking about that for so long.
Last week I wrote a post about crystal mining and I want to give you an example on how miners gets treated by the big companies they work for. I have been following the miners’ strike in Marikana through the newspapers but since everyone hasn’t I’m going to explain the situation for you.
Marikana (also called Rooikoppies) is a town in northern South Africa where the mining industry is very important. They don’t mine crystals but what they are mining isn’t really relevant in this case. Working in a mine is dangerous. On August 10 this summer the miners initiated a strike. International Labour Organisation commented the state of the mines as: “a variety of safety hazards: falling rocks, exposure to dust, intensive noise, fumes and high temperatures, among others.” while Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davis described the conditions in the mines as “appalling” and said the owners who make millions had questions to answer about how they treat their workers. The purpose of the strike was to increase the miners pay to 12500 South African rand a month, which is about $1500. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s Jeffrey Matunjwa said to Aljazeera that: “As long as bosses and senior management are getting fat cheques, that’s good for them. And these workers are subjected to poverty for life. [After] 18 years of democracy, the mineworker is still earning 3,000 [South African Rand – approximately $360] under those harsh conditions underground.”
Sadly, this world isn’t a peaceful one. Conflicts escalates and often they end with violence, as was the case in Marikana. To this day 36 mine workers, 2 police-officers and 4 unidentified persons has been killed. 78 mine workers have been injured. The conflict is a difficult matter because there’s a lot of eye-witnesses reporting different stories, but I’m not here to solve the conflict. What I’m here to say is that the mine in Marikana is not unique. Most of the mines that supplies crystals and metals are located in the third world. Where many of the miners are living in poverty. They risk their lives for goddamn $360 a month.
What I want is for these miners, these people, to have rights. To have security. To make the mine as secure as possible should be first priority. Mining is no small business. The mines are owned by huge companies who earns millions of dollars. They can afford making the working environment better, instead of sitting on their mountains of wealth that grows bigger for every year.
I don’t want to live in a world where 30 miners must die just so someone across the world can have a topaz to wear around the neck or work magick on. I hope you don’t want that either, so please, please stop using crystals unless you know for sure that they have been ethically mined! Ask the suppliers were the crystals come from and criticize companies that abuse their workers. The more criticism they get the more inclined they will be to change their ways!
If you were a ghost, how would you feel about being constantly contacted by a medium, or worse, be hunted by ghost-hunters? I can only speak for myself and say that both of these would irritate me. I wouldn’t want a medium with solemn voice to call me out. I would probably kick someone’s chair or break a light-bulb or something just to indicate “No!”. Hopefully they would get the point and stop. If I’m unlucky they might try even harder. Hunters on the other hand. They would just interpret these signals as proof and become even more inclined to hunt me. Therefore, if I came upon hunters I would ignore them entirely. Crawl into some corner and be quiet. They would conclude there were no ghosts around and leave.
When I watch mediums and hunters in interviews, or read their blogs and forum-posts it seems as if not sensing any ghosts are enough to prove there are none around. “Not in this room, this room is empty” says the medium and leaves the kitchen. But what if the ghost was hiding in the refrigerator? Maybe it didn’t wanted to be found! Why do we always assume ghosts will jump out and scream “Here I am!” as soon as anyone tries to contact them? Or why, for the matter, do we accuse the medium for not being skilled enough (something I have seen recently in the medium-world)?
If you are a medium or a hunter or just plain interested in ghosts remember that those ghosts were living people once, and they have different personalities. Some want to talk, others wont. Some is kind and gentle, others will pull your hair. Some might understand English, others might only understand Arabic…
Last week I read Paulo Coelhos book The Devil and Miss Prym. I don’t know much about biblical stories but apparently this book is inspired by the Book of Job. As the good spiritual apprentice I am I got a Bible and started reading about Job. Jobs book consists of speeches. Very vague, poetical speeches that I, to be honest, don’t understand shit of. As the disobedient spiritual apprentice I am I kinda, um, jumped some parts of the actual book and went to see Google. I found this text, and this one.
The Book of Job brings out a lot of things I dislike Yahweh for. For example, why is suffering and fear so important? In the beginning of the book when Yahweh brags about Job to The Adversary one of his points is that “no one on earth fears me as much as Job does”. Why would you brag about that? Why would you want a God that you fear? Because he is holy perfection and stands above humans? That brings me to the next problem; What is perfection? In my (Swedish) version of the Bible this character called The Adversary shows up. Everyone else in the entire world seems to assume that this is in fact Satan, I have no idea but I’m following the big mass here. Yahweh makes a “bet” with Satan. He takes one of his most humble subjects and abuses him. Why? To prove himself towards his biggest enemy, because apparently he needs to (if he didn’t why would he do this in the first place). Is this what you would call a perfect God? I sure wouldn’t. I mean. He has to prove himself. So he’s obviously not perfect in what he does.
Another thing about this book is the fact that Job hasn’t done anything wrong. That’s the entire reason he’s the victim. We all know you will suffer if you commit sin but, apparently, you will also suffer if you don’t. Because you have to prove yourself faithful. My brain cannot understand why anyone would accept this kind of thinking. Imagine if Yahweh was a president/king/emperor. His people were good but he treated them like shit anyway. He killed their kids and stole their livelihood. How would you feel about living like one of his subjects?
The biggest problem however is that a lot of internet-people tells me that all of the above is pointless. Why? Because this is a beautiful story about Jobs faithfulness. It had to be a faithful man to make a point. This is not how Yahweh would have acted under normal conditions, etcetera. I agree with the last one, he probably wouldn’t. My point, however, is; who has decided that the history of Job is a beautiful story about faithfulness? Why can’t it be a fearsome story about Yahwehs horridness? It all depends one what kind of person you are. I can’t see the beauty in this story, no matter how hard I try. Can you?
This was supposed to be a review on The Devil and Miss Prym but then I got caught up in this Job-thingy. I’m not finished with him though. If you have read the Book of Job I would love to hear your opinion on it. I’m going to read it again and philosophize on these matters for a while. Will hopefully return with something a bit more well-composed.
Grey Catsidhe has written an interesting blogpost about using silver in Druidic rites while Diandra Linnemann has written about using crystals in magickal work. Or rather, they have both posted about how unethical both of these are. I agree fully with their opinions and I feel this is a matter that needs to be brought up as often as possible. The first book I ever read on witchcraft was very centred on crystals, as are most of the witches I have contact with. Actually, I can’t name anyone except myself who doesn’t use them at all. It bothers me that some of the most popular witch/wicca-books out there present lists of important crystals and how to use them without mentioning that if you buy them you also abuse Mother Earth. They should tell you that. Everyone doesn’t think about that by themselves.
I know a lot of people who gets aha-moments when you inform them about things like this. Not everyone is hard-wired to analyse what they do or what they read. I don’t blame them because everyone is different. But! If you’re going to write books that will reach a big audience you have to analyse even if it’s not in your nature. You can’t write a book on magick aimed towards beginners if you can’t mention that those crystals are good for a lot of things, but people and nature gets hurt while mining them.
I personally do not buy any crystals. I’m not going to say that it’s ok if you do because I don’t actually think that. If you buy crystals I think you should stop. I don’t care if you pay it back to nature through offerings afterwards, the best for nature would still be to abstain the crystals. And let’s not forget about the people. The miners. The people who gets used and abused so you can have your crystals. Is it worth it?
There are tons of material to work with all around us, no matter where you are. There are cones, rocks, plants and feathers everywhere. You can find substitutes for crystals, I promise!
Are you in or out of the proverbial “Broom Closet”?
Do those around you know of your religion/faith/beliefs?
Or is your pagan-nature something you have to hide?
I think the best way to describe it is; I’m in the broom-closet but I have opened the door so anyone can peer in at me. They can see me but they can’t sneak up behind me. I’m not so sure if all my friends or family know about my faith. I’m not trying to hide it but then again, everyone has always considered me a rather suspect, upside-down-person. People usually don’t care when I paint some Goddess in arts class or write about magick in biology class. When I force my dad to ship a log of wood through the entire country because “it has powers” he doesn’t even lift an eyebrow. I don’t think my parents knows about if for that reason. They’re used to my willfulness and doesn’t pay it any mind no more.
I should probably step out of the closet entirely though. Because why should there even be a closet to start with? That’s ridiculous. My Christian sister never stepped out of no closet. Paganism isn’t even very sensational any more. We are growing stronger. And who knows, there might be a lot of hiding pagans in my vicinity, who might make themselves known when they hear there are other pagans in town.