Harry Potter, Adam, and the Speghetti Monster

Harry Potter, Adam, and the Speghetti Monster
"Sorry guys...you haven't seen a small metal ball with wings flapping around by chance, have you?""

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ode to Simplicity

There's something to be said for keeping it simple and quiet.

I find that the longer I practice, the more I am attracted to simple and subtle rituals or spells.

At the very beginning, when my practice was much more heavily influenced by Wicca than it is now, I made an effort to carry out rituals with full ceremonial flare: ritual bath, garb, any and every tool, circles, cone of power, cake and ale ceremony, etc. I was very excited by all of those features, enjoyed them and it no doubt helped me achieve a productive mental state.

However, it was just as certainly not without drawbacks. The first was time. Going through that entire process took around three hours, which I simply did not always have. Secondly, I was at some point uncomfortable thinking that I would be so dependent on a complex set of materials and tools because one never knows when they might not be available. This partially contributes to the third on the list of drawbacks--it seemed contradictory to me in many ways.

I mean, what better way to save the environment and shun the excessive materialism in my culture than to constantly buy all kind of expensive accoutrements?  What better way to get in touch with myself than to put on different clothes (or get a different name)? (By the way, this is only for me--I'm not criticizing anyone who finds that it works for them).

Don't get me wrong; I do have my supplies (i.e. herbs, candles) and I realize that this is often part of the practice.  It's even part of the practice that I enjoy a lot.  But there is also something to be said about making do with what you have.  I would even go so far as to say that this is one of the defining characteristics of witchcraft in comparison with other magical systems.

Many other systems, particularly of the ceremonial variety, depend on the correct performance of complex and elaborate rituals, often invoking all manner of higher spiritual beings.  Witchcraft, however, has always had as a primary (and sometimes exclusive) component the idea of dealing with everyday problems in simple ways---giving people common, local herbs for common every day illnesses, for example.  There is also the idea that is commonly known in NeoPagan communities  as "hiding secrets in plain sight".  As a natural introvert, I really like that idea.  You can do magic with the clothes you wear, what you have in your pockets, how you decorate your home...and no one has to be the wiser.   I'm even trying to streamline my altar. 

I could elaborate further, but the point was to keep it simple.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Atheist Hymnal, pt. 2: 13 Moon songs

Greetings on this beautiful day of the full moon.

What better time to continue with my Atheist Hymnal, alluded to in my previous post as well as my moon liturgy as mentioned in another post. So here you go, thirteen of my favorite moon songs, obviously in honor of the thirteen full moons in a year.  I hope you enjoy.


Moonlight Sonata - Beethoven
Officially known as Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2, this has to be one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed.  Haunting, captivating, mysterious, steadily in motion, and evocative.  There is nothing like looking up at a full moon while hearing the entirety of this piece. I only wish I had the piano skills to play it.





It's Only a Paper Moon - Ella Fitzgerald
 "Say it's only a paper moon/sailing over a cardboard sea/but it wouldn't be make-believe if you believed in me."  An uplifting, but grounded song (no doubt helped by Ella's hearty voice) which to me can be interpreted in a very relevant way.  We've all read statements about how magic is only real if you believe in it, but this song takes it to another level, in my opinion.  This song refers to the the moon and the sea--existing objects--as if they were fake without belief.  To me, that speaks to the need for balance. While we cannot and should not ignore our external, objective reality, if we ignore our internal, subjective, personal reality then even the realest and most objective of things seem "fake" because we're not fully connected to ourselves.

Full Moonlight Dance - Alice di Micele
A song from the album Circle of Women which is chocked full of spiritual songs from varying traditions and cultures.  It certainly makes me want to skip through the meadows in the dark of night.








 

Can't Fight the Moonlight - Leanne Rhymes
 You want a song which mentions and alludes to  the moon's association with magic, romantic love, and its thrall on human and natural cycles alike with country/rock-pop back beat to boot? Well, here you go.







Moon River - Audrie Hepburn
A classic from Breakfast with Tiffany.













Moonlight Serenade - Frank Sinatra
"I stand at your gate and the song that I sing is of moonlight".  A threshold and the moonlight; two elements of importance in most magical systems.












Luz de Luna - Chavela Vargas
 This bittersweet but moving song once again by a woman, one of the greatest figures of ranchera music, to a woman whose presence she equates with "moonlight" and whose absence she equates to being weighed down by chains.  







Hijo de la Luna - Bella Pérez & Voice Male
A mythological story explaining moon phases that evokes love, race, class, misunderstanding.  It tells the story of Gypsy woman who prays to the moon to bring her a husband. The moon says it will, as long as the Gypsy woman gives the moon her firstborn as payment.  The Gypsy woman asks what use the moon could have with a human child and the moon asked if she could really love a child if she would trade it for a husband.  She gets married, but has an albino child (i.e. white like the moon).  Since they are both darker-skinned, the husband denies paternity and kills his wife for dishonoring him.  He abandons the baby on a mountain where the moon than takes care of him.  The moon wanes if the child cries in order to rock him.  This song was originally sung by the Spanish band Mecano, but I like this version by Bella Pérez, because it is a capella and this video tells the story more clearly than the original.

Luna - Juanes

Love divination under the moon, Colombian-rock style from one of my all-time favorite albums.









Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy

 Relaxing, evocative of the soothing effect of the moon without being boring.  Subtle stimulation. Like magic, like the moon.   







Moon Song by Norah Jones
"Want to find out where the moon goes
When it leaves the western sky
And night dissolves again to morning
Azure turns to gold
Azure turns to gold".









Blue Moon- Elvis Presley

 "Blue Moon/You saw me standing alone/without a dream in my heart/without a love of my own".  Unlike some love songs about the moon which can be depressing, this song shows that remembering the moon from time to time can have its fringe benefits.







 

Fly Me to the Moon - Frank Sinatra

  And to finish off, Frankie, once again.





Sunday, July 1, 2012

Updates


Witchy Raven - ATHEIST WITCH EVEN MY FAVORITE GODDESS WOULD BE AN ATHEIST, IF SHE WEREN't A GODDESS Firstly, there was a problem with the Followers interface which has now been fixed.  So if you like what you see here, please feel free to join.

Secondly, I've found a couple of nice essays and blog entries online that specifically refer to the issue of Atheist witchcraft.  One is from Heather, who posted a nice essay on her blog wisegrrl.com called "How to be an Atheist Witch". Another one is called "Talking to the Gods as an Atheist Pagan" by Amber Magpie at Witchvox. Another blogpost would be an essay from chelseacheshirecat titled "A bit about my religious beliefs".

I've also found a series of funny memes from WitchRaven about secular witchcraft.  So I decided to make one for chuckles myself.  What do you think?
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be blogging about these topics: my anti-media manipulation spell, the continuation of my atheist hymnal, the image of the witch, gender, book and media reviews and others. 

Well, that's all for now, but I'll be back soon!