Exploring spirituality somewhere between the Emerald Isle and the Black Land....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Temple of the Sacred Gift

Today's post may be unusually short, but that that doesn't lessen the importance of today's topic. I was surprised and very, very pleased to learn today that a Wiccan church called The Temple of the Sacred Gift opened in Memphis, TN. It takes a lot of dedication and courage to open a Pagan place of worship anywhere, much less in the Bible Belt. It has been many years since I've considered myself Wiccan, but I'm still so proud of these people and their temple. This is a great step forward for all Pagans everywhere. You can read more about this wonderful story here.

Blessed be!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Covered In Light

Once upon a time, there was a group called Covered In Light, who described themselves as "...a Sisterhood of Pagan/Polytheist self-identified women who have chosen, or are called, to cover their hair as part of their religious observance." They started a Facebook event called Covered In Light International Day, the purpose of which was to encourage women to wear a covering of their choice to stand in solidarity with women who choose to veil. Though their group was disbanded and the original FB event canceled, their website is still up (which you really should check out, because they have awesome posts like this one), as is their Facebook page. There's also a new event page for others to join and show their support.

Pagans have been writing about the personal choice to veil for a while now, such as Qefathethert on her blog Fire of the Serpent. But the topic of head covering goes beyond Paganism. Obviously there's Islam, from which a lot of fear and ignorance about veiling comes. And Tess Dawson, a leader of Natib Qadish, has an enlightening blog post about how she views the topic of covering one's head in her religion.

I bring this up because religious tolerance is something that is very important to me. Being Pagan, I feel that it is important to be respectful of others' religious views and practices. With as often Pagans are misunderstood and marginalized as we are, I'm surprised that we as a whole aren't more sensitive to the rights people of other religions have. You see, I have this silly idea that whenever you stand up for the beliefs of another, you are by extension standing up for your own religious freedom.

So the purpose of my blog post today is to encourage you to join me in Covered In Light Day Renewed on September 21st, even if you are a woman who has never veiled before. Please join me in this act of solidarity, and take one small action to make a stand against religious bigotry.

I don't think it's a bad look for me....

Personally, I don't veil. I've never felt a spiritual pull to do so, and from a more secular position, I'm simply not accustomed to wearing anything on my head. I always think I look stupid in hats, so I never wear them, except in winter. Being that veiling would be a new experience, I decided to try a test run so I wouldn't feel completely out of my element on the 21st. I experimented with a couple of scarves in a couple of styles until I came up with something I liked. I can't say it suits me, as I'm not used to seeing myself wear anything like this, but it doesn't not suit me, either. And either way, it's a pretty scarf!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy Wep Ronpet!

Today was my first celebration of Wep Ronpet, or the Kemetic new year, and the epagomenal days, the five days beforehand in which Nut's children were born. At this time last year, I was still very new to Kemetic stuff (I can't believe it's been over a year already!), and I didn't quite feel familiar enough with everything to celebrate it then. But this year is a different story, and I had quite a celebration!

For those who don't know it, the short version of the story of the epagomenal days is that Nut was cursed to be unable to give birth to her children on any day of the year. So Djehuty (Thoth) played a game of senet against Konshu (god of the moon) and won some moonlight from him. With it he created five extra days outside of the year in which Nut could bear her children. I celebrated these days by giving offerings to Wesir (Osiris), Heru-wer (Horus), Set, Aset (Isis), and Nebt-het (Nephtys) on their respective birthdays. It was enlightening, especially considering the fact that it was the first time that I've given offerings to a couple of the gods mentioned.

But today is Wep Ronpet, the big day! I did a senut ritual and gave offerings to Ra to welcome the sun of the new year, Sekhmet to destroy isfet (chaos) in the coming year, Wepwawet to help open the year (seriously, who else would you ask?), Nut because in Kemetic Orthodoxy this year was divined to be hers, Bast-Mut to ask for her blessings and protection (and because she's my Mother!), and Ma'at to ensure that, well, ma'at prevails in the new year. I also burned a paper snake to destroy Apep, and I smashed clay pots to rid my life of negative influences. Burning and smashing things is a lot of fun, and very cathartic!

Yes, I know that this isn't a new calendar year, but it is a new spiritual year. Today represents zep tepi, the first time, when everything began. And today I really feel it. I feel shiny and new, like this truly is a fresh start in my spirituality.

Di Wep Ronpet nofret! Dua Netjer!

My Wep Ronpet shrine, complete with offerings of water, dried cranberries, and six portions of bread.