Pagan Insights Project: May Round-Up


We are at the end of the first month of the Pagan Insights Project, and are so excited to welcome everyone who has joined in. We’ve enjoyed reading your posts, and would like to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing yourselves – not only with us, but with the world. By posting your thoughts and experiences… your insights, it gives others a glimpse into the myriad of wonderful things that make Paganism what it is.  It is our continued hope that through this project, we will be able to show off the variety of different paths that the term Paganism encompasses, as well as dispel some of the misconceptions and stereotypes that surround many aspects of Paganism.

If you are just joining us, please check out the main Pagan Insights Project page (linked above), and be sure to add your blog to the list of those who are participating. We also encourage everyone to leave a comment below, letting us know how you are doing with the project. If there is a particular PIP post from May that you feel is particularly worth sharing, please feel free to link it in comments as well.

Can’t wait to see what June has in store for us!!  🙂

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When Hiding One’s Beliefs May Be The Better Choice…


Via our Ask A Pagan page…

Hello there, I’m a young Pagan, being only 16, but I live in a very small very strict Christian town and few here are open minded. Being in high school, and knowing how fast things go around, I try very hard to hide my beliefs which sometimes makes me very sad. My beliefs are me, so I’m hiding myself. Only my closest of friends know my religion, but I still have to hide in a whole. Should I just embrace my religion and not care about my social life as a 16 year old? There are moments here I actually fear for my life because of my religion. I don’t know what to do. Should I continue to hide it until I’m 18 and move out? Please and thank you!

I’ll come straight to the point… if you think that your life would be in danger if you were honest with others about your beliefs, then for now it is better that you keep them to yourself. While clearly it’s not fair to you, to have to keep silent about something that is such a HUGE part of who you are, it’s also not worth putting yourself in danger, at least not while there are still other potential alternatives.

We spoke a bit out Things to Think About, back around International Pagan Coming Out Day, and many of those will serve you now as you are considering what choices you should make. The key here of course is your age, and the fact that you are still living under your parents roof. The truth is that as long as they are the ones providing our food and shelter, then we have to abide by their rules. In most cases, it just isn’t worth the aggravation that it will cause to rock the boat, especially on something that you know they have an absolute fear or hatred of – even if that fear and hatred is unfounded or unreasonable.

The same goes for school. That you have a small core group of friends who know the truth and are ok with it, is truly probably the best you can hope for at this point. Realize too, that since these friends are likely the only ones whose opinions really matter to you, not letting others in on the “secret” isn’t such a bad thing. Even though there are laws against bullying, there is still the potential for the next few years to be a truly miserable experience for you, and it’s just not worth it. Especially when you consider that how you do in the last couple years of school can have a profound effect on your future college plans, and even your life as a whole, it’s better to hold off on anything that would further impact that.

It’s important to remember, that not being out about your beliefs does not mean that you can’t still be practicing and/or studying, and there are plenty of ways to do things (prayer, rituals, meditations, etc…) that aren’t immediately obvious to the rest of the world. While certain traditions do require specific tools or specific ways of doing things, if one is not an initiate of those particular traditions (and odds are at 16, you aren’t), then it really opens up a whole range of creative practices that can be used.  We do not advocate lying to one’s parents, or going against their rules and guidelines for what goes on in their own house. So if they have, in any way, expressly forbidden you to practice under their roof, then you should definitely respect that. It makes things a bit more difficult, but still not impossible. The challenge is to find ways that fit within your daily life, that can be used to honor your path as well.

Keep in mind as well, even the act of taking a walk around the block can be meditation, and rituals can be done in complete silence, while sitting on a park bench, or laying in bed at night. There are also many non-traditional items that can be used to represent elements, or the Gods, etc… if you want to have an altar as well. So while it can take a bit of extra effort, there are still definitely ways of keeping “silent”, but still being true to oneself and one’s beliefs.

Even once you are of age, making the decision to tell others of your beliefs, will still require a lot of careful thought and planning. You will want to make sure that you either have a place of your own and can support yourself, or – if you are still living at home, that you have a safe place to go in case your parents kick you out over it (something that is not entirely unheard of). When you are ready to let them know, be sure that you are prepared to discuss your beliefs with them (calmly), and that you are able to answer any questions that they might have. If they don’t take it well, or the community as a whole doesn’t take it well, you may seriously have to consider moving somewhere else, or at the very least be willing to endure their feelings of ill will. Likely it will get better over time, once they get used to it, but it can really make things uncomfortable for you for quite a while.

Overall though, the most important thing is that you STAY SAFE. While we would all love to be open about our beliefs and practices,  if doing so will put us in danger, then it only makes sense to not to say anything. It often comes down to timing, and if right now isn’t the best time, then it’s just a matter of just waiting until that right time comes. Remember as well, our religious beliefs and practices are very personal parts of us, so just because the rest of the world doesn’t know about them – it doesn’t change who we are inside… and that’s what really matters (not what anyone else thinks or knows).

Resources For Hellenic Paganism…


Via our tumblr page

Anonymous asked: Do you have links for someone interested in Hellenic paganism?

Sure!

This is not a bad little introduction (and I’m pretty sure she’ll be expanding it over time)

Temenos Theon might be the most helpful (and it has a heap of links and resources)

Theoi.com for all the lore on gods, heroes, spirits etc

Of course all the relevant texts on Sacred Texts

and there are organisations like Hellenion.

This book comes highly recommended, and the page has some links and a calendar

and of course Burkert’s Greek Religion is a must-read.

Hope these helped!

Sacred Moments #4


Ran across this the other day and thought it was worth sharing!

By the Light of Morning…

By the light of morning
In the chill air
We greet you, o Helios, Lord of the Sun

And at this hour
And with all our hopes laid bare
We seek you, o Helios, Lord of the Sun

For when the Sun rises
And the light of day kisses our skins
We will know you, o Helios, Lord of the Sun

So watch us today
As we play, as we toil
Watch and guard over us, o Helios, Lord of the Sun

by Hector Lugo

The Use of Psychoactive Plants in Early Religions


Hi, I’ve been searching all over the internet for scholarly information on how psychoactive plants were used in early religions, and how they may have shaped the religions as a whole. So far, I haven’t had much luck in my search. Can you help me?

Great question! To be sure, it’s a bit out of  my area of expertise, however I did a bit of digging and came up with some resources that should be helpful. Note though, that many academic publications often require subscriptions or membership, in order to view entire articles. However in any case, several of these also have a wealth of cited resources, so, if for some reason the article itself doesn’t hold all the answers, it should still be a great starting point to getting the information that you are looking for.

  • Bookwise – if you can get a copy of Plants and Society 3rd edition by Estelle Levetin and Karen McMahon, chapter 20 specifically covers psychoactive plants and drugs, along with their history of use. You can find a general outline of the chapter here.

Sacred Moments #3


This week we are offering a selection from the Pyramid Texts, which are a collection of religious texts  from Ancient Egypt, that date back to the Old Kingdom period. The following is a hymn to the Goddess Nut…

Utterance 432

782. O Great One, who came into being in the sky, you have achieved power,
you have achieved strength, and have filled every place with your beauty;
the entire land is yours. Take possession of it, for you have enclosed the earth
and all things within your embrace, and you have set this King as an
Imperishable Star who is in you.

source: “The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts” translation by R.O. Faulkner

Pagan Insights Project


The Informed Pagan is excited to announce the “Pagan Insights Project“!!!

Don’t know about anyone else, but sometimes we have the absolute worst time trying to come up with interesting things to write about. So after pondering the issue for a bit, we came up with a few prompts that we thought would make excellent starting points. Then, after mulling it over a bit longer, we thought it would be a great idea to share them with everyone, in an effort to inspire others who may also be struggling for a topic to write about, or just like the idea of adding a bit of structure to their blogs.

It’s a mixed media project – one that is designed to give a bit of insight into one’s own path, as well as general information on Paganism, and the Pagan “lifestyle” (whatever that means XD). There are 5 different prompts to work through, which include writing, images, music and more, and the really great thing about this project, is that you can work at your own pace.  You can do all 5 every week, every other week, once a month, or you can work at a more leisurely rate and simply choose one prompt each week so that you have always have something to post. Or you can really go all out, and post them all in one blog post, as often as you like.  For some it can be a daily or weekly journal for keeping track of progress on one’s path, and for others it might simply be a touchstone to return to once every holiday, or every full moon to see where you are in that moment. Which ever you choose, how you use the Pagan Insights project is entirely up to you!

For more information, and to join in the fun, check out the Pagan Insights Project page. If you’d like to participate, be sure to add your blog to the list, and grab a badge if you’d like. We are looking forward to seeing how this project grows, and really do hope you will share your insights with us along the way!

Sacred Moments #2


Today’s devotional is a sonnet by an Odinswoman we know. Many thanks to her for allowing us to post it here.

 

Gallows Load

Burnished gallows set with red
Caress the fevered, empty mind
Of man who hangs bloodied and blind
To reach for wisdom, not for bread.

I think to hang there in his stead
And wonder if I dare to bind
My destiny to be his kind
And follow where he never lead.

To ride my orlog like a steed,
If I could dare to take the plunge
Into the noiseless emptiness
That calls me with its baseless need,
Of wisdom’s touch and daring’s lunge
To aid with endless lovingness.

       ~ by Deoridhe Grimsdottir