Saturday, April 30, 2011

Discussion Questions from book Paganism, pg 24

This blog entry will be answering questions from the book I'm working through right now.

Paganism: An Introduction to Earth Centered Religions
by Joyce & River Higginbotham
ISBN 978-0-7387-0222-3

Questions to Discuss on Pagan Holidays page 24, Chapter 1

1.  Which season of the year is your favorite?  What do you remember from your childhood about this season that has special meaning for you?  How do you celebrate this season now?

My favorite seasons have always been Spring and Summer.  In my childhood summertime meant time to play outside, go swimming, climb trees, swing on grape vines, go hiking, go fishing, chase lightning bugs, chase dragonflies, dig worms, and a lot of other fun stuff.  As I grew older I became more aware of the beauty and new life of Spring.  I remember when I was about eleven saying that a rosebud tree was the most beautiful tree on Earth and I wanted to get married under it's branches.  In recent years I've been inside during the Spring because of my allergies.  This year my allergies are only a minor problem, in fact, they aren't any worse than they usually are.  I've been able to sit outside some and enjoy the outdoors.  This Beltane, May 1st, will be my first Pagan holiday.  I am excited about that.  I have also been planting this spring, which I haven't done in a long time.

2.  Have you ever been to a Pagan holiday ritual?  If so, what did you think?  Describe what occurred in the ritual and what you liked about it.

No, I haven't been to one yet.

3.  What do you think about Paganism including celebrations of fertility into its sacred year?  Do you think that the Pagan celebration of fertility offers something positive to the culture?  If so, what, and if not, why not?

I think celebrating fertility is a great thing.  Fertility is on my mind a lot lately anyway, and celebrating the fertile Earth connects all life on a basic level.  Life wouldn't go on without fertility.  Beltane is a fertility festival.

4.  What do you think about Paganism including the processing of death into its sacred year?  Do you think that the Pagan celebration of aging and dying offers something positive to the culture?  If so, what, and if not, why not?

All life will at some time die.  Celebrating aging and dying gives someone a different way to look at growing older and I think it is a much more positive way.  Until I met my DH I was never afraid of death, but I know that most people are.  When you look at death as an action preceding burning for eternity, then death is pretty scary.  I think that not having that "OMG I'm going to hell!" hanging over your head all the time opens you up to be able to celebrate things that were not possible to celebrate before.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sedna, Arctic sea goddess of the Inuit people

For this blog, I am going to research Sedna, the Arctic sea goddess of the Inuit people.  She is half-woman, half-fish, and has the ability to change into either a complete woman or a fish.  She is associated with wild birds, heaven and hell, and beauty.  She can be associated with the sirens of ancient Greece.

Sedna refused many suitors until one day she married a man who was cloaked (or somehow disguised).  He promised her a nice home, but the "nice home" turned out to be a dirty nest.  She sees the man without his cloak on and realizes that he is a bird.  She had been fooled.  Her father comes to rescue her, but on the way home birds attacked them in their boat while a storm churned up wild waves in the sea.  Her father decides to sacrifice her to the sea to appease it, and throws her in.  Sedna grabs onto the boat, trying to climb back in.  Her father chops off her fingers at each joint and then chops off her hands.  He throws her fingers and hands into the sea and they become fish, seals, whales, walruses, and other sea creatures.   Sedna had to let go and sink to the bottom of the sea, where she still resides.  She grew fins where her hands were and her legs grew into a fish tail.  She rules the bottom of the sea, or in some myths Adlivum, the Inuit Land of the Dead.  She is the goddess of life and death because it is she who holds the power making the hunter or fisherman successful.  If she is displeased she will not let the Inuit people have the food they need to survive.  To keep Sedna happy or to make her happy again, a shaman must go to her.  The shaman's journey is difficult.  He must pass countless dead souls, an abyss where an icy wheel turns slowly and perpetually, then past a cauldron full of boiling seals, and finally past the horrible dog that guards the knife-thin passageway into her home.  Once there he must comb the seaweed out of her hair, since she can't do it herself with no hands.  According to some myths, he also has to braid her hair to make her happy.  Only then with Sedna be satisfied and the Inuit people can have successful hunting and fishing expeditions

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dedication Ceremony

Last night, while it was still a waxing moon, my DH was with me while I self-dedicated myself to the Goddess.  I asked the Maiden Goddess to help me on my path.  I did a list of things I can do and things I would like to gain (i.e. peace).  I burned the papers with them on it and it burned completely.  DH drew the circle.  I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to feel the energy of being inside the circle, but I certainly did.

The ceremony we did was very simple.  DH told me normally a self-dedication is done by yourself, but I wanted DH there with me because since we've been together we've been with each other for every "big moment" in our lives and I didn't want to change that.  We've been there for each other through really good stuff, really bad stuff, and everything in between.  So it just made sense to me for him to participate with me, instead of doing it by myself.

Afterwards I felt calm and happy.  I had been nervous and excited beforehand.  I was looking forward to it, I was just a bit nervous.  Now I am very excited!  I feel as if I am an "official Pagan" now.  lol  DH told me I could have called myself Pagan whenever I wanted, but after my first ceremony is when I wanted to.

I'm so happy about this!