Wiccan Rede: An It Harm None


I am dating a man who is Wiccan…we are having a very serious disagreement about a spider!  I respect his Wiccan views and beliefs…but I cannot understand his logic regarding this topic.  I am terrified of spiders…it is irrational and logically I know its silly.  However, I cannot control that fear and it truly causes me serious distress.  He has a very large spider living above his front door.  Initially he wanted to bring it inside, but has agreed not to now.  I asked him to relocate the spider because he does not believe in killing them.  His response was no…it would cause the spider harm…and he believes in the first do no harm principle.  Its his belief relocating the spider will directly cause it harm.  Isn’t leaving the spider there causing me harm?  It causes me to have heart palpitations, extreme anxiety, and I cry!  Again, I know my fear is unsubstantiated, but it is real!  I feel he is completely disregarding my feelings and well being by not relocating it…but all he says is do no harm is in his blood and who he is!  Any advice?

I’ll start with straight and to the point. If your boyfriend cares more about potential harm to a spider, than he does about the woman he supposedly loves, then you need to RUN (not walk) to the nearest exit. Dump him.

Regardless of the actual meaning of the Rede itself (which I’ll get to in a moment), there are plenty of ways to humanely move a spider. There is absolutely zero reason for him to put that spider’s well-being above your own – A) because it can be moved without harming it and B) because even if it would cause harm… your life (and physical/mental health) should be a priority to him. If it’s not, then there is something seriously wrong. If he is not willing to put you first in these sorts of situations, he’s not worth your time or energy.

As to “do no harm” – at no point (ever), does the Wiccan Rede prohibit one from causing harm, and in fact, it is literally impossible to go through life without causing harm to someone or something. The Rede, which in full states ‘An it harm none, do what ye will, simply tells us that if it doesn’t cause harm, we can do whatever we want. But nowhere in that statement does it say if it causes harm, don’t do it. The point of it all, is for one to carefully consider their actions before taking them, and to be willing to accept the potential consequences of such actions – for good or bad. In the end however, if one feels that a harmful action is justified, and is willing to accept the consequences, then there is nothing preventing them from taking the action. For more information on the history and meaning of the Wiccan Rede, I suggest reading The Wiccan Rede: A Historical Journey.

It’s unfortunate that there are books and websites which offer misinformation regarding the Rede, which in turn cause people to end up believing that it is a literal prohibition against causing harm. But again as I mentioned to start, if your boyfriend is unwilling (or unable) to see that the harm he is causing to you is more detrimental than the harm moving the spider would cause, then he’s really not someone that you need in your life. It may sound harsh, but this is just a spider (and very easily remedied in a way that could make you both happy, which he is refusing to even consider)… what happens when it’s something more important?

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Rituals: Thank-you Gifts for Hosts


what does one give to the host of the mabon celebration as a thank you? is there a proper way to say thank you for when one comes to another’s home for rituals?

A lot will depend on how well you know your host/hostess, and of course how much of a budget you have to work with. Additionally, it is important to consider how much effort was involved in hosting the gathering – just a simple hour or two get-together with a plate of cookies, or a full-blown day (or longer) celebration which required extensive planning and/or other costs (monetary or otherwise) provided by those hosting. Though both types of gatherings can be just as meaningful, you don’t want to over or under do it when deciding on an appropriate gift.

With a host that you do not know very well, or if it was an open gathering (more informal) sort of a situation, usually a small gift basket, with some baked goodies or a variety of teas would be appreciated. Even if it ends up being something that they personally can’t use, if they host such things on a regular basis, they will have it for others when necessary. If you know whether or not the person drinks alcohol, maybe even a nice bottle of wine might be appropriate. Decorative items can often be a good choice as well, especially something that symbolizes the theme of the gathering. Another choice would be a potted plant, maybe an herb or other flowering variety that can be used for culinary or witchcrafting purposes.

If you are well acquainted with the host, or know someone who is (and you can ask them for ideas), then you can look for more personalized items. Maybe you know they’ve been looking at a certain statue or ritual tool, or maybe they’ve been in need of extra crafting supplies for spells or other rituals. Particularly if the ritual was fairly involved and required a lot of resources (and you’ve the budget for it), it might be nice to get a gift card to a place that offers a bit of pampering, or just a night out without having to cook, so that the hosts can relax after expending so much time and energy.

In the end, really almost anything will do, if you put thought and careful consideration into it. You don’t want to be too extravagant, but at the same time a gift from the heart will show that you care and that you appreciate the effort they put into giving you a magical night to celebrate the turning of the Wheel.

 

Consequences of Suicide within Pagan Religions


TRIGGER WARNING: discussion of suicide

NOTE: If you are depressed and contemplating suicide, please, please get help. If you have a trusted friend or family member, counselor, teacher, etc… that you can talk to, do so. Otherwise (in the US) you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at  1-800-273-8255 or chat online with someone who can help via IMAlive or CrisisChat. For international assistance you can check the International Suicide Prevention wiki for resources. No matter how bad things may seem right now, they will eventually get better. Taking your own life is not the best solution, and there are people out there who can help.

~*~

Hello, I’ve had this question for a few months now and I’m still trying to find the right way to ask about it. I’ve been looking up people to ask, but it never seems to work. When I found you, I got excited. If you commit Suicide, will you not be welcomed in by the Great Mother and Great Father? I’ve been told that if you commit suicide out of Deep Depression, you wont be loved or forgiven by the divine. I’m sorry if the question makes you feel uncomfortable, but I had to ask.

Thank you.

 

Within Abrahamic religions (and potentially others as well) the main issue that many will cite in terms of “forgiveness” is that you have to, not only ask for it directly, but also be truly repentant – neither of which one can do if they have already passed beyond the mortal/physical world. However others feel that in the end, it is one’s actions during their life (outside of that final moment), which will better determine whether or not there is love and forgiveness when they are received by God.

As many have come to Paganism from an Abrahamic religion, they will often carry over some of these beliefs, even if they are not necessarily relevant to their current path. The more relevant issue within Paganism though, is which Pagan religion? As, not all believe the same things, or may even have a particular stance on suicide. In general, in terms of NeoPaganism, you will probably find a very wide variety of personal opinions on the subject – ranging from it’s your life, do what you want, to extremely strict interpretations of the “rede” which equate an it harm none to mean don’t harm anything ever (including yourself).

Keep in mind too though that Wicca, and those paths that are inspired by Wicca are often about taking responsibility for one’s actions in the “here and now”, rather than preaching the concepts of “Hell” or divine retribution. So what we do on Earth, during our life (including ending such life), has little bearing on the afterlife. For those who believe in reincarnation – it may set the course for additional lessons that one may need to “learn” in a future life (if one believes in such things).

Within other Pagan traditions, again it varies. For example, Norse lore offers multiple examples of suicides occurring, and typically those who committed such would go to Helheim in the afterlife. As this is where most of the dead would go (outside of those killed in battle – who went with Odinn and Freyja), it was clearly not any sort of punishment or lack of love/forgiveness that got one sent there. Within Kemeticism, when one dies, their heart is weighed against Ma’at’s feather, and those who are found unworthy would stay in Duat, while the others would move onto the afterlife in Aaru. There are no specific prohibitions against suicide within the lore though, and again it’s more about having lived a virtuous life in general. Within Greek and Roman traditions, suicide was generally only condemned if done for petty reasons. Keep in mind too that for thousands of years some cultures upheld the practice of Sati, in which it was perfectly acceptable (or even encouraged/forced) for wives to kill themselves via immolation when their husbands died.

In the end (literally and figuratively), it’s really going to depend on your own beliefs on the subject. There is no clear rule or opinion, and even within the same traditions if you ask 20 people, you’ll probably get 20 different answers. My personal thoughts on the subject are this – any God or Goddess that one is devoted to, or has spent time serving or honoring, is not going to forget that devotion. So unless one spends their final days/hours completely repudiating said God/Goddess, when the time comes they will be welcoming. It’s entirely possible that they may express disappointment, if they don’t agree with the choice, but I do not think that they would withhold love because of it. The Gods know what is in our hearts, and particularly in the case of someone who has struggled with severe depression, or other mental illness for many years, it doesn’t follow they would punish someone for losing that battle.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Suicide has been a hot topic the last few weeks in the wake of Robin Williams’ death. This question was actually submitted a day or so before that tragic event and I had been in the process of writing it up when I saw the news. The original intention, when we’d gotten the question, was to post the reply immediately, however with the flood of suicide and depression/bipolar related commentary that was suddenly going around, we felt that it would be better to wait (at least a little bit). It was an emotional time for many people, and this would give everyone a chance to process their grief and/or any feelings on the topic of suicide, without bombarding one more thing on top of it all. However, we also don’t want to let too much time pass, as it is a timely topic and for some people an important one. It’s also a sensitive subject for many though, so if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

If anyone knows of more specific myths or lore which directly speak to the topic, relating to a particular culture or religion, please feel free to comment as well so that we can add it.

And again if you need help, never hesitate to ask for it. Particularly when one is depressed, it can often seem like there is no one who cares, but this is often just a symptom of the illness. There are people that care, and who can help. You are not alone.

 

TIP: Social Justice and Witchcraft


There is a lot going on in the world these days that can quickly raise the public’s collective ire, affecting not only our hearts, but our minds as well. One only has to turn on the news, or check our tweets, tumblr pages, Facebook or other social media to see these stories and with such insta-access to information, it can sometimes be extremely easy to rush to judgement, and/or rush to action before all facts are known. Even at times when it might seem like we have all the right information, the situation can change just a short time later, and we find that erroneous news was posted, or of course there are always situations where trolls or other malicious individuals (or groups) choose to purposefully post misinformation for a variety of reasons.

In these cases, there is often a quick call for “justice”, or a call to “take action” to right the wrongs being done, or to curse those who are perpetuating such wrongs, etc… In other cases, general calls may be put out for people to “do something”… anything to help make the situation better. There is nothing inherently wrong with this – wrongs should be righted, people who are in need should be helped, and curses can be effective in situations where other options have failed. The key in all of these, however, is to stop first and think carefully before taking any action.

Emotions, particularly such as the sadness and anger that are often present in times of harsh injustice, make for powerfully energetic fuel for spellwork, and it is reasonable to want to use those emotions when they are raw, and their peak for better effectiveness. The issue with that though, is that when our emotions are running high, we are less likely to be thinking clearly, which can:

  • cause us to make decisions which may or may not be the best choices (or most helpful overall) to make
  • cause us to act erratically and/or less focused, which can affect our spellwork in a number of ways as well
  • cause us to do something that we may regret later when we’ve had time to cool down

Additionally, if we rush to action, without allowing sufficient time for all the correct facts on a situation to come to light, we run the risk of taking the wrong action, making the situation worse (even if we were trying to help), or particularly in the case of cursing – risk targeting the wrong person/group of people (in the case where an initial person names may or may not actually be the one(s) responsible). For example: with the on-going issues regarding the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, MO, posts were circulating within a day or two purportedly stating the name of the officer involved. These later were determined to be erroneous, when the police finally released the officer’s actual name. So in those cases if someone took immediate action based on the initial posts, more harm than good could have come from that action.

Another issue is focus. When a large group of people take a variety of different actions, often spellwork may end up working at cross-purposes. Not only that, there may be cases where those working a spell aren’t being specific enough. Using the water situation in Detroit as an example: rather than doing a ritual focused on ensuring that the water of those in Detroit, whose water had been shut off, was restored to them (which is what should have been done – or something similar), potentially there were people just generally working with the intention that the people of Detroit have enough water, or just have water (or something equally vague). And I’m not saying this is what actually happened, but I found it really odd that with the situation that was going on – people not having water – suddenly Detroit was flooded with record breaking rainfall. Just something that really made me think about magic and focus, and the consequences of not properly phrasing one’s spells. The old adage seems appropriate… be careful what you wish for.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t take action. Absolutely we should, and with every tool available to us – witchcraft being one of those tools. The point is that we have to think carefully before we do. Don’t join in with the “mob” mentality, grabbing our torches and pitchforks before critically examining the situation ourselves, and researching all available facts and evidence. Just because you see a post circulating on your dashboard, does not make it true – don’t let your emotions get the best of you, when it comes to making sound judgements and crafting your spells.

Paganism Without Gods


Hello, I have a question about paganism without gods. Is it possible? What does worshiping the triple goddess or the horned god achieve, if instead you’d prefer to appreciate the world around you. Are they simply figureheads, ritual shorthand, for the traits they represent? Would love some recommended reading and some helpful words. Thank you 🙂

While there are some NeoPagans who simply see Gods and Goddesses as archetypes, rather than actual beings, personally I think that the better choice would be to find a path that does not involve them at all. Not that there aren’t plenty who do make it work, but it seems strange to go through the motions of working with the Gods – even just for the symbolism, if one doesn’t actually believe in them. Especially when there are other options available that can be just as rewarding, and probably even more suited to one’s beliefs.

In terms of those other paths, particularly for someone who is more interested in appreciating the world in general, Pantheism would be a good place to start. Might want to check the following… Elements of Pantheism: A Spirituality of Nature and the Universe

Outside of that, the next step would be to ask yourself exactly what aspects of “Paganism” call to you? There are literally hundreds of different paths one can take, and other than Wicca and Wicca-inspired NeoPaganism, most do not involve a Triple Goddess or a Horned God. Along with that, I would venture to say as well, that if one does not believe in deity (in any sense of the word), then anything “Wicca” (Trad or otherwise) would probably not be the right fit

If it’s just the witchcraft and the “nature-based” parts, then again it may not be Wicca that you are seeking, as traditionally Wicca is fertility-based (focused on the continued cycles of birth-life-death-rebirth), rather than “nature” as a whole.

To the issue of deities though, Wicca (even in an Eclectic NeoPagan sense of the word) is about polarity between a God and Goddess, or (in a non-traditional sense) aspects of such. All rituals are centered around them – the Sabbats relate particularly to the God’s journey through the Wheel of the Year, and the Esbats are the Goddess’ journey. If one is not looking to incorporate that, then another path would be a better choice.

If one is looking more towards a witchcraft based spiritual tradition, then I’d focus on that, rather than trying fit what interests you into a NeoPagan mold. Paganism has a vast wealth of traditions to choose from (including the ability to create one’s own path), there’s bound to be something that is a much better fit. It’s just a matter of finding the right resources (which admittedly can be very difficult sometimes).

A few other resources that might be helpful…

  •  T. Thorn Coyle’s Crafting A Daily Practice or possibly even her Evolutionary Witchcraft though that might be somewhat deity centered as well, but there are probably some good things that can be taken away for a practice separate of them as well.
  • Another that might be worth looking at, and though they do talk about about deity in the following, it’s also set up in a way that the word encompasses, not only God(s), but other entities, the Universe, etc… so it’s very open-ended in terms of creating a cohesive practice, that is somewhat Wicca-inspired (still based on the Wheel of the Year and similar concepts), but also more for those who are eclectic in nature – Katrina and Eric Rasbold’s CUSP: A New Way to Walk An Old Path

 

Wiccan Exorcism


I am pretty new to Wicca, and I believe there is a negative entity or demon in my house. I’ve looked up exorcisms and found one I’d like to use but I have a few questions I’m hoping you can answer for me. Here is a link to website I got it from.

I have used rituals on this website before and found they worked well, but I’d like to get someone more experienced opinion before I do anything.

  1. Is it safe? And if not exactly how dangerous could it be?
  2. My mother, whom I live with is not Wiccan and does not believe in the craft, or in ghosts or demons. Although she has heard and seen many of the things I have she always comes with something else it could be. Could her disbelief be a problem?
  3. The incantation is in Latin and although I do speak Latin I am not fluent, if I mispronounced something would it mess up the whole exorcism?

If you are an initiated Wiccan, I would suggest speaking to you HP/HPS about potential ways to deal with a malevolent entity. They would be best equipped to instruct someone who is new, and will also know what sort of things to suggest based on their assessment of your current skill level. Outside of Traditional Wicca however, for those that are on a Wicca inspired NeoPagan path, or solitary Witch – I’d be kind of wary of anything that calls itself a Wiccan “exorcism”.

Most Witchcraft traditions work with banishing rituals when they need to rid themselves (or others) of unwanted energies/entities. The term “exorcism” has heavily Christian overtones, and not that it can’t necessarily work – even for a non-Christian, odds are that the wording of the actual “spell”  is going to be geared more towards a Christian mindset than a Pagan one.

So using Google Translate (which obviously isn’t perfect, but will give us a general idea of the text in English)…

Kingdoms of the Earth, Sing unto God, sing ye praises with Cernunnos,
Kingdoms of the Earth, Goddess, sing praises sung of Arad.
God of heaven, earth,
I humbly beg your Majesty
In order that the power from all of the infernal spirits,
The trap, and deception, malice;
Of all deceit, deliver us, O Ruler.
Exorcise you, every unclean spirit
Let every satanic power, every incursion,
That infernal adversary, every legion,
And the gathering together of all sects.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O sovereign Lord,
As Lisle serve your safe to do
We beseech thee to hear us!
Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy of the circle,
We beseech thee to hear us!
The God in his sanctuary,
Cernunnos Himself will have thrust the power of His Own people,
Arad his strength to his people.
Blessed be God, the Father,
Blessed Goddess Mother of the glory!

In this case, the wording is not even remotely appropriate, and it’s pretty clear that someone simply took the original Latin wording of a Christian ritual and added in a few references to a Pagan God, and Goddess. Which if they’d left both of them completely generic, it might not have been so bad, but to name Cernunnos specifically, particularly with the attributes of YHWH still in place, is somewhat laughable at best, and utterly cringe-worthy and insulting (to both YHWH and Cernnunos) at worst. In terms of the Goddess, I’m guessing that Arad is supposed to be an abbreviation of Aradia, but still, unless you are on really good terms with that particular Goddess, I’d want to make sure to use her full name, otherwise it could be seen as a sign of disrespect. Worse, you could end up invoking a completely different Goddess.  I’d advise anyone that was even considering to use it, to leave out any specific God/Goddess names unless you were absolutely sure that the attributes/praises listed were actually apt descriptions of said God/Goddess.

Other issues…

  • With the wording itself – the Devil is a Christian concept. Not that others can’t/don’t necessarily acknowledge his existence, but it’s usually not quite the same as how a Christian would view it. Particularly within a NeoPagan framework, there is the acknowledgement that not everything is love and light or healing and growing, and that in order to maintain that elusive “balance” everyone is so keen on, there is a certain amount of dark and chaos, and destruction that is necessary as well.
  • This whole paragraph here: This method is a good one for two reasons. First, it uses a force so pure that when the demon leaves the body of the victim, it will already be so immersed in this energy that it will be annihilated. Secondly, you do not need to adapt the incantation according to the identity or strength of the evil spirit, since the power of the gods still exceed the power of the demon.”  What force is it using? In a Christian context this would make more sense, given how YHWH is generally described, but in terms of other Pagan Gods not so much. There is an assumption there as well, that all Gods are more powerful than all “demons” (and that word in particular is problematic at best, since things that we often might call “demons” really aren’t, nor are they all inherently evil), which may or may not be true (it’s said to be true in the case of YHWH though, which is what the words are in reference to).
  • Speaking in Latin (or any foreign language one is not fluent in) – first and foremost, if you are going to do any sort of spellwork in another language, it is ALWAYS (can’t stress it enough) advisable to get the text translated first by someone that is reputable/knowledgeable in both languages (not only the text language, but one’s native language as well) so that there is absolutely no chance of any miscommunication, or mis-speaking. Having to go back later and be all… “but that’s not what I meant!!” doesn’t generally go over very well. It’s definitely not a good idea to just take text from a book, or the internet and assume that it means what the author/site publisher says it does.
  • Even once you are sure that the text says exactly what you want it to say, the other issue is actually speaking the words. Again, if you are not fluent, it’s better to just say no, rather than risk mispronouncing something, which could change the meaning of your ritual exponentially, and screw the whole thing up (or make it a lot worse). I generally do not suggest using foreign phrasing unless you are absolutely 100% sure that you are saying it correctly. It’s just too risky.

In terms of “safety”, it’s really hard to say. Really will depend on if it’s an actual entity, or just some lingering icky energy? If it’s just energy, then a decent cleansing ritual should suffice (or several of them if it’s really stubborn) and shouldn’t be any more dangerous than any other normal activity that you might do.

If it’s an actual entity of some kind – is it actually malevolent, or just there and you don’t want it to be? Often entities will work more on a you don’t bother us, we won’t bother you kind of a scale, so if you find yourself poking at it, or engaging it in any way, it may just be a matter of ignoring it and it will go on it’s way once you stop. A lot of times as well, there is a tendency for people to assume that all entities are evil or malicious, when in fact, most are apathetic at best towards humans, and even if they are hanging around a house, they aren’t really any sort of threat. In those cases, sometimes simply asking (firmly, but politely) “please leave” can do wonders. For those that are truly malicious, any sort of banishing spell/ritual could be pretty intense, but not like actual “The Exorcist” (the movie) intense. If you are not comfortable with such things though, then you might want to contact someone who is, just to have the extra support.

As to your mother’s belief/disbelief… as the ritual/spell isn’t directed at her, it shouldn’t be an issue. However, if she is going around actively countering your work, either by shooting it down verbally (saying things like… that will never work), or in some other way making you doubt yourself, or your ability to banish the entity – that could affect the outcome. It would be more beneficial to have her working with you, or at the very least not working against you. Other issues that come into play here as well, are if she doesn’t want you doing witchcraft in the house. If that is the case, you should look to other methods of banishing that aren’t overtly witchcraft, as one should always try to respect the rules their parents have set while still living at home.

So… other options. I’m a big fan of actual “cleansing” when doing banishing/cleansing type rituals. If there is a particular place in the house where this entity or energy seems to be concentrated, start there, giving the area a deep cleaning. Open windows, and doors, sweep, dust, vacuum, etc…Make it all sparkle, and sweep the negative energy right out the door/window.

Once you’ve done the manual labor, then you can look to the more spiritual side of it. Burning a protective/purifying/cleansing flavor of incense is a good way to encourage an unwanted entity to leave, or to help whisk away negative energy. Bells and chimes have been used for such as well.

Outside of that, if you want to do a full-on ritual, now would be the time, though I would really suggest writing one yourself, rather than using the Latin one above (there are just way too many things wrong with it). Personally, I would suggest visualizing the cleansing via the Elements (air to push out the entity/energy, fire to burn away any residual negativity, water to purify, and earth to build strong, protected foundation).

You can open by calling on whichever God(s) you personally work with, but I would avoid calling on random deities that you don’t have any particular association with. Working with unfamiliar deities is sometimes a bit hit or miss – they might help, but they might not, so it’s usually better to just raise your own energy, unless you have something really good to offer in return for their assistance. Then simply state your intention to banish the entity/energy, and do the visualizations (mentioned above) to emphasize that intention. When you’re done you can close out your ritual, be sure to give your offerings and/or show your appreciation for any deities that you called on (if you choose to do so).

As mentioned earlier, sometimes it may take more than one cleansing. So if you do it once, and there is still a bit of lingering ick, give it a bit of time and do it again.

Are Crystals Required for Wand Making?


When making a pagan wand is it necessary to use a crystal? I’ve looked everywhere and could not find a answer.

Unless one is a member of a specific tradition which has exacting requirements for how one’s wand should be made, a wand – like most other magical tools, is a personal thing. Yes, they are practical in nature, but in truth you can usually design it however you want to, and include whatever materials you want to (as long as it can still perform it’s intended function) .

Some choose to make a number of different wands, each corresponding to a particular purpose, and others choose to make a single wand that they use for all magical purposes – it’s your choice. In either case though, you would want to use materials that best represent your intended use (whether specific or general), and while using commonly accepted symbols/materials is often a popular choice, as long as you have a reason for including something else (either UPG, lore-based or just because it looks pretty damn spectacular), it’s entirely up to you.

Crystals tend to be used often, because of their inherent properties, not only in terms of correspondences (there is probably a crystal for almost any purpose we could possibly imagine), but also their ability to channel and/or hold magical energy. So if you like crystals… use them, if you don’t, that’s fine too, there are plenty of other items that can serve in their stead. Use whichever ones speak to you.

I know people who have intricately crafted wands, with crystals and carved sigils, and I know people who have store bought toy “fairy-godmother” type wands and people who have ones that are somewhere in between – all use them with pride. In the end is the only real question is… does the wand work for you? As long as the answer is yes, then that’s all that really matters.

Spirit Guides


I’m sorry to trouble you but I wasn’t sure who to ask. I decided to talk to my spiritual guide for the first time to help have a question answered that had been troubling me a for a while. I was able to enter a place of forest, a beautiful place where I met my spiritual guide who helped answer my question. I was so completely calm and at peace with him that I failed to question that he wasn’t human until I came out of my trance like state. It was easy to enter the place and talk to him, but hard to leave. My “spiritual guide” was a man, a strong bold looking man, he had deer antlers on his head. they were of great size. he sat cross legged when we talked, and was very calm but still with a sense of boldness. When I asked for his name he hesitated, and I found the name to be false. after the event I went to look for him because our encounter seems strange. What I found is that, I believe he is the Horned God. the Oak King and the Holly King. Is this strange or am I mistaken? I am very confused if he was the horned god why he would appear as my spiritual guide. Can you help me? I just need an explanation, can gods be spiritual guides? Why did HE appear instead of an actual spirit?

A “spirit guide” can be any type of entity, and especially if you left the request for contact sort of open ended, then it’s possible that any entity could choose to manifest as your “guide”, even potentially a deity.  So that, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily strange if it was a God that came to you – the point is whether or not the information imparted was useful, and/or needed.

Alternatively (again if the request was too open ended, or without a clear focus), there are some entities that might try to take advantage of that sort of situation. So while it may be something benevolent giving whatever advice they think you can handle for now, it could also be something else entirely that is lying to you for it’s own ends. It’s important to be careful about such things.

As far as visual form – the “Horned God” you describe seems to fit with sort of a general accepted image of Cernunnos, or similar type images like what is seen in the Gundestrup cauldron. However, Cernunnos is particularly related to Celtic polytheism (though the name itself was derived from a Gaulish monument dating back to Roman times) , rather than a “horned God” in general, so not entirely sure how/if that relates to your practice or not. Similar figures – antlered and wearing animal skins have also been noted elsewhere, such as the cave paintings at Trois Frères.

The Oak King/Holly King mythos – is something that was documented by Robert Graves in his book “The White Goddess”, and previously by James Frazier in “The Golden Bough” (chapter 28 in particular). It was later picked up by Stewart and Janet Farrar, and incorporated into their practices, as written about in “A Witches’ Bible”. Again, not something that is necessarily related to Cernunnos, or even “horned Gods” in general – even if some “horned Gods” might follow that type of cycle.  

If those are things that fit within your practices, then it could be why your “guide” chose that particular form. But again as to if it was actually deity and/or the Horned God specifically that visited you, it’s hard to say. Could be, definitely not out of the realm of possibilities, but could also be another entity using a guise that fit with something you would more readily recognize and be willing to accept advice from.

Generally when one is in a situation like that, it’s good to ask questions to help test the “validity” (relatively speaking of course) of what is being experienced – but then again, sometimes it’s the advice given that really matters (regardless of the source). It’s easy enough for entities to choose whatever face they want to put on, so sometimes even if you can’t tell if they really are who they say they are, as long as you can get a good sense of the intent behind their visit, and if the advice being given is relevant and helpful (even if it’s not necessarily what you were hoping to hear), then it may be ok to accept the experience at face value, despite not being quite what you were expecting.

 Some other options…

  •  go back into a meditative/trance state and see if you can contact them again, and try to get a better sense of who they are. Ask more questions – they may or may not choose to answer, but it’s still a good way of trying to clarify the experience.
  •  use divination to help to confirm the experience.
  •  independent confirmation from other trusted Pagans who often work with spirit guides, or who might normally have a strong working relationship with said deity.
  •  independent confirmation via a cold reading from others who are trustworthy and experienced in various divination methods.

Keep in mind as well, if you decide to contact this entity again, don’t be afraid to question it. Any new relationship has a getting to know you period and questions and discussion are a part of that.