Archive for September, 2014

Stream of Life

Week 38 (S): Stream of Life

Stream of Life is a Bengali poem by Rabindranath Tagore that is one of my favorites. I discovered that a composer named Garry Schyman put it to music, which made it even more beautiful. The singer is Palbasha Siddique.

And the English translation of the original poem, courtesy of Wikipedia, is below.

The same stream of life
that runs through my veins
night and day runs through
the world and dances in
rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that
shoots in joy through the
dust of the earth in
numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous
waves of leaves and
flowers.

It is the same life that is
rocked in the ocean-cradle
of birth and of death, in ebb
and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made
glorious by the touch of this
world of life. And my pride
is from the life-throb of
ages dancing in my blood
this moment.

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The Samhain Boxes

Week 37 (S): the Samhain boxes

Every year my bestie-witch and I have exchanged Samhain boxes. Our primary gifting happens around Samhain rather than Xmas. I don’t know that we ever discussed this tradition, so I couldn’t tell you how it started, but I’ve built up some very fond memories of it over the last few years.

This means that every September (and sometimes even earlier if I’m feeling organized!), I start collecting little tidbits and cute things that make me think of her. Many of these are witchy things (herbs, candles, incense, etc), though some things are not. I stash these away until mid-October, when I start packing the box. Then I send it off and eagerly await my own little package in the mail. There’s always something excellent in my Samhain box.

I just thought I’d share this sweet little impromptu tradition in the hopes that perhaps some of you may also adopt it as one of your own.

calmsamhain

This tradition reminds me of a very cool Pagan gift swap that a friend of mine organized several years ago. We each got a buddy and were given a spending limit, then told to collect however many witchy things we could stuff into a box and mail it to this witch we’d never met before. I got some of my favorite pieces this way, and would love to do something like it again. *hint hint Pagan Blog Project buddies!*


On Ritual

Week 36 (R): on ritual, and why I’m a lazy witch

I don’t “do” ritual. This simplistic statement sets me apart from quite a few of the other Pagans I’ve met. To them, it’s important to have a separate space whenever possible dedicated to Magick. That space is filled with esoteric gestures made only in circle, a “solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order” (thanks for that perfect definition Google!). This conception of ritual bores me to tears.

how I feel about ritual

On the other hand, that kind of ritual makes me think of Monty Python, which is pretty awesome

This is not my kind of witchcraft. There’s little space for solemnity, and the idea of having a set routine makes my lip curl. That sounds deathly boring. I just couldn’t do it. Routine is comforting in other aspects of my life, but in witchy things I want variety. I want flexibility and change and discovery in my faith.

Practice is a word that better suits me; practice is application of belief. My rituals are typically spontaneous, and the best ones have often been crafted in the space of a few minutes, when I’m out in the woods for a walk on a beautiful day. Then I bring only a stick of incense, perhaps a candle, and myself to ritual. There’s beauty in simplicity.


The Rule of Three

Week 35 (R): the rule of three

Ever mind the Rule of Three:
What you send out comes back to thee.

I believe that what you sends out comes back to you. At least, I want to believe. But then some shitty people go on being shitty, and I don’t see them suffering the way they inflict suffering on others. So is this a rule that only applies to Pagans? Is that how that works? What good is a tenet that on the surface appears to be universal but in fact only applies to members of that faith?

The Rule of Three is in good company, what with Islam teaching its followers to respect others, Jews are taught to imitate their G-d’s love for people, and Christianity’s tenet of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. And I’d wager that most Atheists would agree that we ought to be nice to one another. So why does this seemingly universal law not immediately noticeable?

kitty wants to know why everyone can't just get what's coming to them

kitty wants to know why comeuppance isn’t universal

Sometimes called the Threefold Law or the Law of Return, the Rule of Three was one of the first things I learned when I started reading about Paganism. Most (all?) Wiccans subscribe to the Rule of Three, so that was what I believed in. But over the years, my skeptical side has pointed out “Hey, that guy’s an asshole, why isn’t what he’s sending out coming back to him?!” Then I felt almost cheated, in a way. Even if I haven’t always seen it in action, I think the Rule of Three still has value.

For one, it reminds us that what we send out can return to us. In general, I think it reminds us to create more than we destroy. To construct goodness and positivity, rather than forge negativity and ugliness. Maybe this sounds like something a fluffy bunny would say. Perhaps this is an overly optimistic view of the world, but I truly do believe–or at least want to believe–that as people (not just as Pagans) we ought to always be trying to enhance the world rather than diminish it.

threerocks

Should Paganism have rules of conduct? Yes, absolutely. Some sort of guidelines for my moral compass is a necessary part of my (and I think I can say most people’s) life. But should the Rule of Three be one of them? I like it at its core–be good to each other–but I also have seen situations where you cannot continue to be good to someone without cost to yourself. And I believe in self-care above a great deal of other things.

Further Reading

Coughlin, John J. 2002. The Three-Fold Law.

Rule of Three.

Wren. 2000. The Law of Three.