Thursday, October 9, 2014
Custom Pagan Versus Pagan Customs
One of the many attractive features for pagans is the ability to customize one's practices and work in solitary focus. Yes, Pagans have customs, but the great part about the practice is the ability to customize.
When learning spellbinding, it can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers as they worry that, like other religions with ritual, things must be performed in a very rigid manner. In actuality, Pagans are free to modify their altar for each season or do candle spells versus rituals or practice devotions in nature without use of tools. Intention is what is at work in the practice of magic - visualization, belief, concentration, and action. It can only go wrong when one's intention is to manipulate others.
The key message for Christians from the presence of Jesus upon the Earth was that he told of the ability for common man to have a relationship with God and not need to pay an intermediary to represent him, so that even the poor shall have a Lord, and not just the wealthy. Pagans have known this. In fact, to them their relationship with their maker(s) is a personal expression to show faith, belief, honor, devotion, and thankfulness. And, it's honestly no one else's business. You do not see Pagans trying to recruit; there is no agenda. In fact, many wish everyone would have their own spiritual practice - they came to theirs by their own experiences, take on life and values, Mother Earth and mortality. There are no churches to tithe to, no congregation to join (unless one wishes to join a coven to practice magic and honor the seasons together). In fact, the majority of Pagans are solitary practitioners and this is a bit like a Catholic who never attends church unless it's Christmas, but does pray and use the rosary during the year.
There are times of practice for Pagans that include moon cycles and seasonal cycles, the Sabbats that represent all things in nature at various times of the year. These customs, however, are varied by each individual practitioner.
For me, Mabon being the autumnal equinox is a time to have a cup of hot tea, preferably something harvest flavored, like pumpkin. I raise the tea cup in toast to the sun in silent cheer as it is moving southerly in its positioning to bring the dark seasons. I make a roasted corn chowder and cornbread to make use of harvest foods. If there is a good crop of green beans, I would make cans of dilly beans for the cold season. I also like to burn a green candle until it is done to represent the dying of the green. To other Pagans, green candles might represent wealth. Am I doing this wrong? Are there absolutes in customs? No; only intention.
Some prefer to only worship outside, others want to incorporate dance, perhaps singing, poetry, meditation, prayer, food, spellbinding, and working the earth into their devotions.
Sure, there are Pagan Customs, but within that, there are Custom Pagans who take the elements of altar and spellbinding, worship and acknowledgement of thanks to the very cycles of nature that make them able to be both symbiotic and predictable in man's ability to survive, thrive, and do good, knowing that what they send out comes back many times over.
Samhain (sah-WIN) is a Sabbat for Pagans that begins on October 31st and into November 1st. It is a traditional time to honor the dead. Some prefer bonfires and others leave out foods for the loved ones, some slaughter cattle for the winter, and in old traditions, the people went door to door reciting words to get food. Interestingly, yet another pagan practice incorporated into today's "Halloween."
Everyone has their own practices. I am a traditionalist about Halloween, but I also set up photos of my loved ones who passed on and leave on candy for each member - one Halloween treat I recall them pilfering from the Halloween haul.
Pagan practices are widely varied; like Christians are from Presbyterian to Catholic, Methodist to Baptist. Within each of those categories of Pagans, there is the individual practitioner and his/her own devotions, techniques, tools, focus, and divine.
Sure, Pagans have customs, but they also are customize their Pagan.
at 11:00:00 AM