boreal: (Default)
I didn't really engage in any meaningful way with the questions last week, so I didn't respond to them.  Here are this week's, though...

1) What kind of altar tools do you like?
I have a lot of things on my altar that mean a lot to me, and that bring me peace and joy.  So I suppose that in a sense those are tools.  But I don't use ritual tools the way many Pagans seemingly do (no athame, for instance, no wands).  Sometimes I'll symbolically share a drink, but if I do, then I just put what I'm drinking on the altar for a bit while we converse.  There's really no one particular special cup for the purpose.

2) Would you go (or have you gone) on a religious pilgrimage?
Sometimes I spend a lot of time outside, for days and days, without sleeping under a roof, if that counts.

3) How do you decorate for seasonal holidays?
I have a carved wooden wheel of the year that I rotate depending on which sabbat is coming up next, but that's about it.  The world decorates itself naturally for the season, which is enough for me.  I appreciate people who take the time to decorate with appropriately harvested plants, or handmade crafts from natural materials, but killing things just to bring them into my house for my visual appetite seems wrong, and seeing others buy things made of plastic or other materials with a heavy-environmental impact really turns my stomach.

4) Do you connect Paganism to the/a feminist movement?
I personally do not.  But I understand why many people do.

5) How much do you share your religion with your spouse/romantic partner(s), if any?
He is agnostic, bordering more and more on atheist.  We don't share my religion much.  Which is fine, since it's personal.  That said, he has a very difficult time with winter, particularly given that we live in northern climes with far less light come Yule, so he and I do have a shared tradition of celebrating the winter solstice, because it holds hope and meaning for him as well.
boreal: (Twilight)
I never seem to get to these on Friday. Who cares about alliteration, anyway?

At any rate, the questions:

1) What places do you think are holy?
Everywhere is sacred (a word I prefer over holy for some reason), though some places leave me more awe-struck than others, and yet other places just give me a feeling of being special.  Admittedly, it's often easier for me to sense the divine in natural places which are more or less untouched by man.

2) How do you deal with children who want to learn your religion?
It hasn't really come up.  I've had children curious about whether or not I personally am religious, and given that keep my faith closely guarded, I've not been very open to discuss it with them. 

3) If you could appoint a public spokesperson for your religion, who would it be?
Given how eclectic I am, it would be difficult to find a person who could speak for my religion.

4) What one to three books helped shape your religion?
I can't say any one book has shaped my religion.  There are books I'm fond of, books with which I relate, but my faith comes from my own beliefs after having weighed all sorts of information drawn not only from books, but conversations and my own thoughts and experiences.  There's no specific source of written dogma upon which my beliefs have been formed.

5) How would you explain your religion to someone who's never heard of it?
I believe what I feel to be right, after much reflection based upon my time in this world, my observations, and my dealings with others.  I'm perhaps best described as a panentheistic monist, an animist, whose faith is actually quite grounded in science (much as that might sound contradictory).  I celebrate holidays tied to the solstices and equinoxes and the midpoints between them, eight evenly-spaced days on which I set aside more time than usual to reflect on the state of things.  I find beauty and comfort and guidance through ritual and mediation.  That's a short summary, though there's lots of nuance to explain if you have the time and interest in hearing it, such as why my faith requires respect for natural processes and tolerance of those who are different from myself.
boreal: (Moon)
I had a truly wonderful Mabon. I spent the day before, the day of, and the day after in a tiny one room cabin with no power, water, or electricity. It was just me, the boreal forest, a star-scattered sky, a nearly full harvest moon, Jupiter and Uranus shining brightly, the sound of the nearby stream, a light wind rustling the needles of the white spruce. Bright sunny days, surprisingly warm evenings, crisp mornings with a light frost. One of the evenings the moon was so bright that I easily navigated the trails without aid of a headlamp. Yes, a truly wonderful Mabon.

As I've been without Internet for a bit, I've not address the recent Pagan Friday Fives that were posted over at [community profile] the_thinking_pagan , so I'll do ten questions at once ).
boreal: (Twilight)
From a recent post at [community profile] the_thinking_pagan:

1) Do you believe in the concept of "sin?"
I believe that people can behave in a manner that is unnecessarily or thoughtlessly harmful (to themselves, others, or the planet), but the term 'sin' connotes a transgression that may in fact harm no one at all, a tactic used in some faiths to control followers and, in many instances, create unnecessary psychological harm.

2) What non-pagan person influenced your religious identity?
Myself.

3) How do you keep religion an active part of your daily life?
I try my best to live with intention, to be present in each moment, and to consider whether or not the decisions I make honor my Higher Self. I try to be grateful for the multitude of blessings I have in my life, and to ask for guidance and strength when I'm faced with difficulty.

4) Who knows you're pagan, and who doesn't?
My husband, many of my friends, at least one (perhaps both) of my parents. Very few people with whom I work. No one outside my home in the town in which I live.

5) When did you first identify as Pagan?
I always find this to be a very difficult question. I've been Pagan a great many years, since late elementary or early high school, but I only really learned of Paganism in graduate school (and then only when I met a Wiccan, and I don't identify as Wiccan), and didn't start to apply the term Pagan to myself until about five years ago. I'm still struggling for the exact labels for my beliefs... what is it about us that we feel we must label everything? But it is pleasant to be part of something larger and to have a way of winnowing out others of similar (if not generally like) mind.

Others' responses can be found here.

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Boreal

October 2010

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