Pagan Soup: Sacred Paths Center, Camelot, Occult Experts and Egocentric Ritual

Pagan Soup: Sacred Paths Center, Camelot, Occult Experts and Egocentric Ritual July 8, 2011

Sacred Paths Center in Financial Straits

Nels Linde at PNC-Minnesota reports the popular community center in Paganistan is in danger of closing it’s doors. SPC put this statement on their website:

Sacred Paths Center, the Spiritual/Pagan Center, open to all, first of its kind in the United States, is broke.

“What, AGAIN?”


“Now why?”

Simple: lack of YOUR support. This message will reach thousands and thousands, but how many of you will care enough to do anything?

Camelot Mini-Rant

Morgan is the daughter of Igraine and Gorlois and changing that adds nothing to the story. Joseph Fiennes, of Shakespeare In Love hotness, is decidedly unattractive. Arthur is unsympathetic and stands with his mouth open too much. Just from the first episode there is more gratuitous sex than plot. No wonder this wreck was canceled….

Another “Occult Expert” Weighs In

Here we go again…

As a child, my mother once pelted a rooster with a couple dozen eggs because it kept spurring her. If she could have killed that mean ornery creature she would have, but the spanking from wasting the eggs was bad enough. Of course, if she had killed the mean thing, likely by snapping it’s head off the way her grandmother did, she’d likely have hid the body and claimed it ran off. I tell this story because sometimes stories are far less lurid than we think, and sometimes animals lead rough lives.

Now I know, and you probably know, that in Santeria and Voodoo animal sacrifice is quite similar to Kosher and Halal butchering. It’s a humane and respectful practice. Had this been the body of a lamb would the Sheriff’s office be looking askance at the local Jewish population? Of course not.

So as someone who actually practices occult arts and knows people from African-Diasporic religions, what do I think? It sounds like organized crime intimidation to me and nothing at all to do with occultism. It sounds like someone is being warned not to talk or their family will be hurt. But then, I’m no crime expert. All I kind tell you is this isn’t any kind of occultism I’ve ever heard of…

Ritual Isn’t About Me (Or You Either…)

I was a solitary for 9 years. Ritual was a very simple private affair. Upon becoming involved in group ritual I was struck right away as a participant on the need for planning, preparation, timeliness and respect for participants. Without considering the body of the ritual, I began to really notice and emphasize the basics of ritual: being clear in expectations, setting the scene, starting on time, being consistent, etc… I never thought of myself as being egotistical regarding ritual.

Until now. I’m preparing to lead my 3rd group ritual ever and I’m learning the hard way that the body of the ritual isn’t about me. It’s not about my whims or even my needs. While I was used to simply doing what felt right, I find that’s not appropriate for group ritual. When you are celebrating the Wheel of the Year, all things have their place, and all seasons must be celebrated in their time.

While rehearsing the order of my training ritual last month my priestess asked me how I would honor the God. “Oh Horned One…” *cough cough* “But Star, it’s summer….” I can’t honor how I wish him to be, but how he currently appears. Looking out my window I can see him, the lush verdancy of Southern Appalachia smiling in the sun.

I love the fall and winter. My heart thrills from Samhain to Yule. If it was up to me all year would be just like that. But it’s not. My job is not to celebrate life as I like it, but as it is. I may be mournful at Samhain, but I must be joyous at Beltane. Lammas is for lamentable sacrifice and Imbolc for fierce hope. Ostara and Mabon are for celebrating the abundance of the earth. Solstice to celebrate the zeniths of our lives while remembering we live between those polar opposites. I was told Lady Circe, founder of a tradition in Toledo and great-great spiritual grandmother of my coven, once said “We do not worship either the God nor the Goddess but the love-space that lies between.” I think that is as good an explanation of polarity as any.

So of all the unexpected lessons that have come from training in traditional Craft, getting over myself is a really unexpected one. The Craft is about values first and foremost, about intent, spiritual transformation and community. Yet that doesn’t mean the lore is nothing and can bend to your whim. There is not only a reason behind everything we do, but also a season. The earth does not exist for us. We are subject to her seasons. Just so , we are subject to the Gods and they have their own order. They do not deviate their character and duties to conform to us.

When leading ritual, particularly in Wicca, our first duty is to honor the season and Gods as they actually are, and our second is to convey that to the participants in a meaningful way. I never thought of ritual that way before. Yet my priestess, priest and covenmates are slowly making me look at ritual that way. For which I’m grateful. I’m a bad student, a slow learner and apparently I have an inner child who always wants it to be the Hallows Tide.

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