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General question...help?

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:22 pm
by MaryE101
Hi! I'm new. Like a lot of you it seems, I've become dissilusioned with Christianity (pardon my spelling, I know it's atrocous :roll:) and my search for a religion/path/thingy that makes sense has led me here. I'm from the Bible Belt of South Carolina, so needles to say, there aren't many pagans, or if there are they keep quite. I was wondering if anyone could suggest some reading that might give me a better idea for the different types of pagan religions, beliefs, etc. Thanks for the help!
Mary E

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:11 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
Any book you can lay your hand on.

My favourites are any by Ted Andrews for "beginner" and "seasoned" alike, particularly Animal-Speak.

Check out the Book Club section of the forums for more! :D

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:05 pm
by Kystar
Any college library should have a good religion section, no matter WHERE in the US you are...or any library near a college campus. ESPECIALLY those colleges that have any kind of theology classes.

I'd say skim the articles and the books section here...the articles have some general "Getting started" Stuff.

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:07 am
by Scathach
Go to Amazon.com and start browsing. Books/Religion and Spirituality/Occult/Magic works well for me. I gives a good overview of what's being done out there.

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:36 am
by Kystar
I always say that the startup should be a library or other reference that you don't have to PAY for. Buy books are good, but only if the book is something you know you'll be using for the long run.

There are probably thousands of books out there on various pagan topics...and if you don't have a starting point when you start buying, you'll end up with no money and enough books that don't help you to make your own metaphysical bookstore.

You need a starting point...what speaks to you? Does the imagery of the Greek Gods move you? Or the stories of the Norse pantheon? Are you of Celtic descent, and therefore more touched by the Myths and legends there? Do you feel the presence of the Divine in nature? Where? Fields with flowers? The Forest? The water? Or do you feel it most strongly staring into a fire? Do you need structure in everything you do, or can you free-form? Do you feel that eventually you'll want to work in a group? Or that you can be happy following your path with one or two who care being there once in a while? Or that you would work completely alone and be happy? (Not meaning you'll never have others...just meaning you'll never involve others in your Workings and your Magik)

You need to find a starting point...and to do that...you need to do some slight research. And the first research you should do is within you...what brings out a sense of Awe in you...what makes you think "This is touched by the divine." And if you have to picture God/Goddess, in your head, what do they look like?

These are just some questions that will narrow the field to what you might want to research...since there are many paths in paganism.

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:40 pm
by Kitsune
A very good book on Paganism in America currently is Drawing down the Moon, by Margot Adler (Title is right, but I'm not 100% on the authors name). It's a great book, especially for a beginner, since it details many of the different pagan paths, without trying to convert for any of them, and does have pages and pages of websites and current groups in America. I'm certain that you'd be able to find something out with that book.

Otherwise, definately check out your libraries religion or New Age section, and of course, ask us questions... We're only too happy to help explain! :-D

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:30 am
by Scathach
Kystar wrote:I always say that the startup should be a library or other reference that you don't have to PAY for. Buy books are good, but only if the book is something you know you'll be using for the long run.
Good point, but that can be a problem if you are in a small town. I lived in a town who's library only carried one book on feminism, "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan. I tried to get them to carry Ms. magazine to offset Cosmo and all the other beauty mags that they carried. I was told it was found to be too "controversial". That was it. Books on magick? Or even worse, paganism? Need I say more? The problem with libraries is that their committees in some towns are run by funadamentalist christians. I've always felt that Amazon is a good place to go, because you have enough reader feedback frequently to make an informed decision. Out of all the books I've read, I've only found a handful that I would say make my personal A list. Still, I've gotten something out of every one I've read, if nothing more than to find out what to avoid........

Not only that, but diversity in one's reading is good, it opens one to the validity of other viewpoints.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:01 am
by Kystar
That's why you go to a library that caters to a college with some sort of theology classes. They have a wider selection of various books on paganism. "for research"

A varied reading is always good...but spending a couple hundred dollars to acquire books (roughly what i would have paid for the books I had snatched from our libs, only three of which I later hunted down and purchased) that may or may not help you is not a good way to start out.

I know that some libraries that are part of a network will bring books in from affiliated libraries if they don't have what you need.

And if that doesn't work...there are some ebook sites that let you look through the books without purchasing them right away.

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:41 am
by MaryE101
Scathach, I completely simpathize! The liberary in my town barely has SciFi or fantasy, much less books on paganism or magic...not to mention the librarians have known me for life and know my family back to my great-great-who-knows and would undoubtedly tell my Dad I was being corrupted by the Devil...I'd kinda rather that not happen until after I go to college next fall. I don't think I'll have the same problem at any of the colleges I'm applying to, they're all WAY out there and I'll probebly be one of the most conservative there! What a nice switch!

So I'll check out Barnes and Nobles and get some books.....much safer! My biggest problem is I have no idea what's real. I found out a couple of days ago while reading The Trouble with Magic by Madelyn Filt (a really good mystery book by the way, although I have no clue how much of the magick-pagan part is true) that there is a difference between magic and magick! So I'm pretty much clueless...which is a really weird feeling!!! :roll:

Mary E

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:45 am
by underlilith
Magic refers to stage magic (illusions)

Majick refers to witchcraft (although this could be spelled innumerable amount of ways)

Barnes and Noble is a good place to start, one just opened up around me and I was VERY surprised to see a whole section with pagan/witchcraft books. Try starting out with books with "beginner" or such things in the title (ex: "Beginner's Witchcraft"). That should give you the basics, and you can go from there.

Websites help too, but try to separate the phonies... My general rule is if it has popular "wizards" as it's mascot, or has the claim to get you whatever you want (ex: love, power, money, job), that their not genuine.

Hope that helps! :-D

Good Luck!!!! :-D :-D

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:07 pm
by Kitsune
An interesting site that I found a while ago is Magicka School...

http://www.magickaschool.com/

They offer a free online course on Wicca to help you find your path there, and tarot. They also have a reasonable forum, although I must admit, I much prefer the people the this one, and don't check theirs anymore. :oops:

For me, one of my favourite books is called Gypsy Magic by Patrinella Cooper... This book is just a beginner's book in how this paticular gypsy does her thing... but each time I peruse through it, I find what I need. It's always able to reconnect me to my path, which should be odd, since I don't follow a romany path, but isn't, if you know what I mean? #-o

Anyways, check out our book list... It's got quite a list, and our opinions on all of them. :-D

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:01 pm
by MaryE101
Thanks! Although I think I'll differ a class in Wicca untill I get my head wrapped around things a little better....sounds a little intimidating. Small doses for the "sheltered southern belle"! :oops:

One quick question, and please don't take it the wrong way cause I'm not trying to be offensive but I am completely ignorant on the subject....anyway, um, how much of majick (the real stuff) works? There's so many stories and I was wondering, in general, what's true?

Sorry, probably sound like a complete dolt! :roll:

Mary E

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:34 pm
by Kystar
Well, there are different types of workings...simple things like divination and guidance rituals, and more complex things like true spells and holiday observance rites.

I've had great success with Divination and Guidance...as well as some different Protection talismans and warding. I've never truly done what one would consider a formula spell for a direct result. I've done knot magick, where I requested aide from the divine to resolve a problem because I was running out of time and options, I have established and maintain a ward-line around our property to protect from negative workings and spirits. That's about the most I've done.

When I worked the Knot Magick, I was having trouble finding a new rental that me and my boyfriend could afford. A few days after working the request into a tangible form, which included telling the divine what I needed and what I did to meet that need myself, I found the house we're living in now.

As I've always been sensitive to the spirit worlds and various entities that float around our world, I discovered a long time ago that I needed to set wards. Finally found a set that work out nicely. I have five "ward stones" that I've made to anchor them. The one was the original anchor, the other four represent an element: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. I invoke the guardians of all when I recharge the wards, but this enables me to ground them out in a regular pattern.

My divinations are usually Runes along the question of "What is my path?" "Am I on the correct path for me?" "Should I 'do blah action - like go back to school' Now?" I tend to keep a journal for my divination readings that gives me an idea of how I'm progressing with things...where I'm experiencing the same types of problems. I don't use standard Runes, but I always seem to get the direction I need from them.
Tarot cards aren't bad with me...and Meditation with the intent to discuss things with my Spirit Guide is always enlightening.

I guess it comes down to Intent, Focus and Belief. If you are clear on your Intent while doing some working, you Focus on the result you need/desire, and you Believe you have affected change, it usually comes together.

The Key to remember is that everything you do affects those around you...so you have to be really REALLY clear when you're working...because some rituals and spells can have some unforeseen affects that can really mess you up. I always believe that you should exhaust mundane options first before looking for a magickal option.

And a quick Vocabulary lesson, since you admit to be really new.

Working: Any ritual, rite, spell or action done with the intent to affect change through Magickal means - divine intervention, your own energy, that sort of stuff.

Ward: I consider them an metaphysical energy fence to protect whatever it's set around. You can ward a room, ward a house, ward a tree...whatever you feel needs protected from negative magick or entities.

Um...and I think I'm done babbling for now. If I've confused you with anything, let me know and I'll clarify.

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:32 am
by Scathach
Kystar wrote:That's why you go to a library that caters to a college with some sort of theology classes. They have a wider selection of various books on paganism. "for research"
Yes, that is the advantage of being in college, of course most colleges are in town's big enough to have an unbiased library. The state college where I live doesn't allow non-students to check out books, however the city library does have quite a few books on the subject. Of course I doubt that any of this would help someone in a rural area.
MaryE101 wrote:One quick question, and please don't take it the wrong way cause I'm not trying to be offensive but I am completely ignorant on the subject....anyway, um, how much of majick (the real stuff) works? There's so many stories and I was wondering, in general, what's true?
Magick largely works on what can be described as cause and effect relationships. Now just what is a cause and effect relationship can be pretty complicated. There's practical magick, which seeks to influence spacetime events in order to increase the probabilty of an event occuring. There is magick that seeks to work on what I would term the informational level of the universe, what some term the Astral, the realm of spirits, Gods, demigods, and other such things. Kystar gave some good examples above along that line.

Magick works within the set parameters of this universe, however. If someone tells you that they can throw a fireball, run the other way. Still, there are numerous reports of magickal training causing telekinesis, the ability to move objects with mental energy. Same with other psy abilities.

What magick is notoriously NOT good at is outright transformation of matter itself, as well as transformation of energy forms. Anything that seriously violates Newtonian Law is VERY hard to do, and highly improbable. In effect, if you cast a spell to fly, and jump off a high building, expect to go splat........

In terms of influencing spacetime events within Newtonian parameters, I've found magick to work quite well. In terms of Astral magick, my gut feeling is that it works quite well, but there is a highly subjective element to it. Just go to any occult message board and start a discussion on what the nature of spirits and the Gods are. Watch the sparks and fur fly........

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:45 am
by underlilith
I agree with Scathach.

And don't feel stupid, we were all there at one point in our lives :-D

unless you have grown up with this stuff... which most don't...