The Trouble with Wicca a /rant

So the title got you here but for full disclosure let me say right off the bat there is no trouble with Wicca.  In fact, the trouble seems to be with folks who are not Wiccan but make a point of denigrating Wiccans at every turn.  The following is a bit of a rant on the reality of people denigrating Wiccans or wiccanate (Generic Neopagans who tend to follow a Wiccan model of ritual and belief) folks.

/rant on

If you have followed this blog for even a day, you know I am not Wiccan or even wiccanate.  I am and have been a dyed-in-the-wool Celtic Reconstructionist for 20+ years.  Like most people my age, I got my start in Wicca, Seax Wicca to be exact, but within a few short years I became a polytheist and left Wicca behind.  Like my leaving the Catholic Church the break was undramatic, so I didn’t develop any anti-Wiccan sentiment until I became entrenched in the CR community.

Even being in the online company of folks who did not like Wicca did not really make me think ill of that religion.  I just never voiced my concern of the sentiment and allowed myself to be dragged into the discussions about how Wicca did everything wrong from a CR perspective.  Some foolishly even went the route that somehow CR was better because our faith was based on what we knew of the pre-Christian people, meanwhile Wicca was made up by a ‘dirty-old-man’.   Seemed just as odd then as it does now – that a group faiths that are totally fabricated using archeology, history, mythology, ect. could think it was any better than one created using folklore and ceremonial magical systems.

Since then, I have moved way beyond the idea that a reconstrucitonist faith is better or that there is something wrong with Wicca.  In fact, Wiccans and those of a wiccanate faith are the hero’s of Neopaganism and should be treated as such.  They have broken ground in every aspect of Neopagan civil rights and lead the rest of the community in all organizational actions to support and enforce religious freedom for all Neopagans (and yes, reconstructionists are also Neopagans.)  Three groups that stand out are Sacred Well Congregation (Neopagan circles on military bases), Circle Sanctuary (lawsuit to get the Pentacle on VA headstones) and Covenant of the Goddess ….all of them Wiccan and all of them in the for front of fighting for religious rights or bringing Neopaganism out of the closet.  Of course there are others but these three come to mind as the oldest or most successful.

So why then do I still see non-wiccanate people making disparaging comments about Wiccans?  I am not just talking a random reconstructionist on Facebook but community leaders who should be doing outreach with other Neopagans, Neopagan churches and even interfaith organizations.  When suggested they get in touch with a certain well know “Big Named Pagan” the response is, “Oh, I just don’t want to deal with those Wiccans.”  Seriously??

Yes…seriously.  Seriously get over yourself…and get over whatever it is that has caused you to think you are somehow better than Wiccans.  Whether you are a reconstructionist voicing an opinion on social media or the leader of a Neopagan church – without Wiccans paving the way for the rest of us, we would not be able to be so vocal.

Anti ANY other religious group has no place in Fénidecht or Gentlidecht.  In fact, it is these wiccante groups and pan-Neopagan festivals where one would most likely function as a féinnid during ritual.

Guarding the boundaries between the worlds for ALL is what being a Féinnid is about.  So let go of your biases, accept that you will not agree with every faith, and get over yourself just enough to work with others who may be a little ‘lighter’ than yourself.

/rant off

*story slightly modified to maintain anonymity of the individuals being referenced.

A “Hidden” Purpose of Imbolc

Back in 2011 and over on Patheos, an associate of mine wrote on article on an alternative purpose for Imbolc.  I have referenced it in a few of my blog posts but I have not yet really promoted the article as something related to the outsider warrior.  So today I attempted to re-blog the post for you but for some reason the code at Patheos is failing and so….all I can do is provide a link and say: “PLEASE, go read this article.”

The reason I am posting this now, as opposed to January or February is that I am presenting this material at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2014…just a couple weeks away.

So again, go read this article AND come see me at PSG if you happen to be there.

Sorry I could not re-blog it but, a click is easy right?

Lá Bealtaine

Bealtaine was done with my grove co-founders as part of our ‘practice’ runs for ritual.  So this will be the first publication of a multi-participant ritual.  It ran fairly smoothly, we identified some changes to be implemented for the next ritual to make things run even smoother.  The only incident was the juniper smudge stick going up in flames due to the breeze igniting the embers.

What follows is the ritual.

Lá Bealtaine

(La Beltina)
The participants gather the following offerings
Local River Goddesses
Corn meal
Manannan Mac Lir
Mighty Dead
Spirits of Place
honey/sage smoke
Tuatha de Danaan
Beings of occasion
The folk

Prior to the ritual the participants should light the flame, fill the well with fresh water, and place whatever tools are needed on the altar.  
A bell is tolled three times calling the folk to the nemed.
Opening Prayer
Bless those minding cattle,
And those minding sheep,
And those fishing the sea
May the rains sweep gentle across the fields,
May the sun warm the land,
May every good seed planted bear fruit,
And late summer find us among fields of plenty.
Centering Meditation
D1: Clear your mind and focus on your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly visualizing the spiral of the cosmos around you.

All: We are at the center of An Thríbhís Mhór.                                      ah-heeveesh-vohr

As you exhale lower yourself and place a palm of your hand on the ground.

All: We stand firmly upon the Sacred Land.

As you inhale, rise to your feet, moving the hands behind at hip height, palms up, cupping. Exhale and move the hands in an arc until they meet in front.

All: The Eternal Sea always surrounds us.

As you inhale, move your hands to the sides, spread the fingers wide, palms forward. Exhale and raise the arms, bringing the hands together above the head, thumb & forefinger meeting to create a triangle.

All: The Endless Sky spreads itself above us.
Inhale; lower the hands to the heart again.

All: We are at the center of An Thríbhís Mhór.

Exhale; lower the hands to the sides
Honoring the Local Land Goddesses
D2: We honor the Five Rivers, the goddesses of the land; Potomac Patapsco, Susquehanna Gunpowder, and Patuxent.  Givers of life that flow from the mountains and form estuaries of the Chesapeake.  
We honor you and make this offering to you in gratitude for your waters that nourish this land.                       

D2: makes an offering and says: Mighty goddesses of the land accept this offering.
Statement of Purpose
D1:  Summer has finally arrived and as we begin the light half of the year the foci are fertility and growth.  In Ireland our ancestors would build great bonfires and herd the animals between the fires to bless them on their way to the summer pastures.  The druids would bless the fields that had been planted since Imbolc all in efforts to produce a good crop.  We honor Aine, the sun, and the rivers for without whom there can be no growth.
As a fledgling grove we extend those blessings of fertility and growth to our own efforts of community building.  We planted the seeds of our new community at the Solstice and now we have to promote the growth while keeping out the weeds; divisiveness, insincerity, stagnation. We honor Nuada, great chieftain of the gods who ruled with wisdom, whose blessings on our grove will aid in growth.
As individuals we ask for blessings upon our attempts at personal growth.  To help us nurture positive relationships that facilitate our growth as understanding, caring, and forgiving people. We honor Ruad Rofessa, the keeper of knowledge whose blessings will aid each of us to be wise in our choices.
Establishing the Sacred Grove
Sacred Hearth Fire
Druid 1:
I make sacred the fire,
The first fire born of lightning
from which all fires are lit.
The hearth fire which warms our homes
and binds our people.
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge
Let the tree be the bile,
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

D1: puts oil on the fire, then says:
I light the sacred fire of inspiration.  Sacred fire, burn within me.
Well of Segais
Druid 2 says:
I make sacred the well,
From which the five rivers flow,
Salmon swimming, hazels hanging high.
Bubbling brightly Segais, source of wisdom,
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge
Let the tree be the bile,
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D2: taps the well then says:
In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters, flow within me.
World Tree
Druid 3 says:
I make sacred the branch/tree,
Towering high, hanging heavy with hazel,
Spanning and connecting the Three Realms,
The mighty bile of the grove,
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge
Let the tree be the bile,
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D3: dresses the bile, then says:
From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree, grow within me.
D1: raises arms
D1: With the Flame of the Hearth, the Well of Knowledge, and the Sacred Bile the grove is erected and hallowed.
Parting the Mists
D1: prepares an offering for the gatekeeper and says:
D1: says: We honor Oirbsen (orib-sheen), Manannan, Patron of our tribe, Lord of the Mist, Ruler of Tir na mBan (teer na man), Guardian of the gate of the Otherworld.  Oh Lord of the Otherworld, bearer of the silvered apple branch, hear us this day and aid in the passage of the ancestors through the misty veil.
 D1: makes an offering and says: Manannan mac Lir, accept our offerings and gratitude as you part the mists. (mah-nuh-nahn’ mak leer)
D1: Let the mists be parted!!
All: Let the mists be parted.
Inviting the Gods and Ungods
An Sinsear  (en shen-shoor)
D2: Mighty dead, you who have come before,
Ancestors of our blood,  Heros of our people
We offer you this gift with love and loyalty and invite you to witness this rite.
D2: makes an offering and says: Ancestors, accept this offering.
Aos Sí  (ees-shee)
D1: Great nature spirits, you who frolic in the wild world,
Spirits of this place,
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
Spirits of family and the people that came to this land from faraway lands.
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
D1: makes an offerings and says: Aos Sí , accept this offering.
Tuatha de Danaan (tooah-de-danyan)
D3: Great gods, you who are mightiest in all things,
Deities of my faith,
We offer you this gift with reverence and honor and invite you to witness this rite.
D3: makes an offering and says: Gods and goddesses accept this offering.
Key Offering
D1: Áine, hail to you, sun of the seasons.
As you traverse the skies;
Your steps are strong on the wing of the heavens,
You glorious mother of the stars.

You lie down in the destructive ocean
Without impairment and without fear;
You rise up on the peaceful wave-crest
Like a queenly maiden in bloom.

Áine, of the summer sun we honor you.

All: Áine, of the summer sun we honor you.

D2: Nuada, hail to you, wise leader of the gods.
You guided your people from the North;
Defeating the chaos and taming the land,
Resigning per the laws of the gods.

You of the Silver Hand,
Restored to glory
Again resigned in wisdom,
Showing true Kingship.

Nuada, chieftain we welcome you.
All: Nuada, chieftain we welcome you.
D3: Ruad Rofessa, hail to you, keeper of knowledge.
You are the wisest of the gods
The Good God you are skilled at all things,
You of the red eye glowing.
Possessor of Undry and Uaithne
You provide nourishment of both body and mind
Most wise and knowledgeable
An Dagda.

Ruad Rofessa, god of great knowledge we honor you.

All: Ruad Rofessa, god of great knowledge we honor you.
The Omen
Seer: Ritually washes their hands then forms the left hand into a tube and blows through the tube then says:
Gods over me, gods under me,
Gods before me, gods behind me,
I am on your path oh gods.
            You, my gods, are in my steps.
I am going within
To the doorstep of the sí
in the name of Finn
Stronger in sight then all.
The augury made by Finn to his men,
That Bride blew her palm,
Did you see the augury gods of art?–
            Said the gods of art,  they saw.
Message of truth without a message of falsehood
That I myself shall see
The semblance, joyous and mild
Of all that is hidden to me
Good spirits and gods of my people,
Give me the sight to see all I need,
With vision that shall never fail, before me,
            That shall never quench nor dim.
Seer: then takes the omen, interprets it, and records it.
Receiving the blessings of the Gods and Ungods
D1: raises the blessing plate/cup high and says:
Tuatha de Danaan (tooah-de-danyan), Aos Sí , (ees she) and An Sinsear  (en shen-shoor), we have praised you and made a sacrifice. A gift calls for a gift, and we pray to you and ask that you give us your blessings.  Make sacred these apples and infuse them with your vitality, strength and inspiration.
Lo, the blessings of the Gods and Ungods are upon us.
D1: Slices and eats the blessed apple and passes it around.
Thanking the Gods and Ungods and Closing the Mists
D1: We have called upon the Gods and Ungods and they have answered.  With love and loyalty we carry the blessings into our daily lives.  As we prepare to depart let me give thanks to those who have aided us.
D1: Áine, you are the light of our days.  We give you praise and thank you for your blessings.
D2: Nuada, noble chieftain.  We thank you for your blessings. 
D3: Ruad Rofessa, mighty red one your blessings shall guide us in our actions. Thank you.
D3: Tuatha de Danaan, gods of our tribe, we thank you for your presence and blessings.  
 D1: Aos Sí, these are your lands and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting our offerings of peace and respect.                                                             
D2: Mighty Dead, thank you for attending and accepting our gifts.  Pass back through the mists and return to the Otherworld.  .
D1: Manannan, thank you for your attendance and parting the mists.  We ask that you allow the mists to fall as our ancestors pass back into your realm.    
D1: Let the mists return and the veil be whole.
D1: Mighty Rivers, these are your lands and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting my offerings of peace and respect.
Taking down the Sacred Grove
D1: We came and honored the Gods, the Spirits and the Ancestors and now the Sacred Grove must be taken down. We honor the Hearth Fire and restore it to flame.  We honor the Well of Segais and restore it to water. We honor the bile and restore it to branch.  All is as it was and the Sacred Grove is dismantled. The ritual is ended.

All: Biodh Se!            (bee-shay)