Friday, November 10, 2006

Alternative Healing

For some more information on Reiki and Therapeutic Touch, check out these sites:

Reiki Canada
The Nurse Healers - Professional Associates International

Also, I had a personal epihpany during that class. You can read it on my Live Journal.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Taking out the Spiritual Garbage

At last night's Samhain ritual, the organizer (Alex) was talking about how the Goddess was the centre of all things and he started to state that the God wasn't that important when I piped up and stated that the God was just as important and active as the God was (this was announced to the entire crowd of 75+ people).

Later on, a woman who was in the circle came to me and asked why I had said that. I replied that this was an old argument of mine, that I didn't like it when the position and presence of the God is reduced to taking out the spiritual garbage.

This morning, she sent me an email that had this quote:

"So, you said it tongue in cheek, but why state that the God takes out the garbage in a Goddess based religion? If a male feels unimportant in a goddess religion, why not go to a God based religion and feel the identification with a powerful deity?"

I replied to her that Paganism is NOT a Goddess-based religion and technically, it's not even a religion (it's a belief system). Wicca is a religion, and although it empowers the Goddess-side of divinity, it also is not Goddess-based. There are forms of Wicca that are Goddess-centric (like Dianic Wicca), but they are not the defining statutes of Wicca.

It really irks me when the masculine expression of spirituality is frowned upon or dismissed by people. I'm a man. I'm a spiritual man and the way I express my spiritual side will have a masculine feel to it as well as a feminine side. I do NOT feel the need to apologize for it and nor will I stand by and have it be belittled.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Alternative Healing

Amanda gave the class today on Alternative Healing because she knows way more about it than I do. Next week, I have one or two guest speakers coming in to talk about Reiki and Therapeutic Touch. Thanks be to Roo and Meri!

As we discussed the different types of healing methods, I was reminded of the following passage I saw somewhere on the Web:

The History of Medicine:
2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root.
1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2002 A.D. - That antibiotic doesn't work any more - here, eat this root.

Good news! One of my students came back, so we're back up to 3 students! Welcome back Astra!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Probability Magic

I was at the Montreal Casino yesterday with two friends with $60 in my pocket to play with. I played some blackjack and slots and walked away with a $0.50 profit ($60.50). The best part of going to the Casino is the people watching around the blackjack tables.

As we walked by the slot machines, I commented to my friend that I had another friend who could sense which machine was about to go off (using a skill he called kenning). She rolled her eyes and replied that the machines had no memory (like the old expression "dice have no memory"). "How could you possibly be "reading" it? There's nothing to read in it!"

It was a proper statment and a good question. It's amazing what you can come up with when someone puts a question directly to you, which is why this friend is my girlfriend and why I like volunteering at the MPRC.

"He's not reading the "mind" of the machine," I replied. "He's reading the probability of the machine hitting the jackpot. He's trying to sense which one is likely go to off by sensing which reality is about to fall into place."

It got me thinking about magic and what we're tapping into when we do spells and such (or however you want to call it). If I do a spell asking for a nice weekend for my camping trip (which is next weekend), I don't think that I'm actually controlling the awesome power of the global weather. I'm thinking that I'm trying to influence the natural probability of getting a sunny and warm weekend.

Magic tends to try to find the simplest, most natural path to bring about change, so the results tend to seem more like coincidence rather than miracle. Miracles, by their very nature, tend to go against the natural order of life and the realities of this plane of existence.

** Will complete this train of thought later **

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Knee Deep in Deadlines

I'll be missing this week's class unfortunately. I'm knee-deep in a deadline at work that's keeping me here long after the sun goes down. *yawn*

Amanda will be teaching the class on her own, so pay close attention! Also, Amanda and I have been working on the course plan, so the topics might be in a slightly different order than what's in your student handbook. It's still in development, but we should be hammering it out (to meet with Scarlet's approval) in the next couple of weeks.

Have a good class and I'm sorry I can't make it!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Interview with the Farrars

In the last class, we covered more terminology and discussed the differences between Wiccans, Witches, and Warlocks. The students are bright and insightful, asking many interesting questions. It's fun.

We also led a guided meditation that raised some healing energy and sent it out to the grieving people in the city. It was a powerful session, but I forgot to guide the people into grounding the excess energy properly. Consequently, some of the students felt a bit wonky after it. I must make a point of grounding after each meditation to make sure it doesn't happen again.

We also talked about some of the important people in Neo-Pagan history, including Gardner, Saunders, Crowley (who I called the Steven Tyler of the occult world), and Valiente. We also talked about about the Farrars, so I thought people would be interested in listening to an interview with the Farrars.

It's episode 14 of Deo's Shadow, a pagan podcast run out of Waterloo Ontario. You can listen to it here.

In invite you to take a listen to Deo's other podcasts. I find them interesting and insightful, but I don't always agree with the opinions he puts out. Still, it's a good show. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Season, New Class

I just want to take a moment to welcome my new set of students. We had our first class yesterday evening and it went great. We've got seven students in this term: a full house! Five of the seven showed up for the class, but one of them has gotten back to me (he wasn't feeling well).

I was a bit loopy from having crossed the country in a jet plane, but Amanda helped bring the class into focus. We'll be meeting next Monday to hammer out the rest of the course.

As it stands now, it looks like we'll be starting each class with learning a new chant or song and ending the class with a grounding and centering. These things always take practice and it'll be good for the students to do this in a class setting.

I look forward to a new season!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Today's CMS Ceremony will be at Melange

Due to inclement weather, the CMS Ceremony will be held at Melange Magique rather than Angrignon Park.

See you there at 5pm!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

End of Semester Blues

We ended our Level One class with a bang, so thanks to Kary-Ann for her presentation on native traditions and mythology. It really helped to end the course on a high note!

For those of you interested in attending the Native Pow-Wow event in July, here's the link to the website: Kahnawake Pow Wow. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be keeping it up to date, so I'll get the exact dates from Kary-Ann and posting them here. In the meantime, I did find photos from last years Pow Wow.

We ended the class with a great discussion on how the students have progressed and how they intend to move forward with what they've learned.

So my thanks to all my students who made it through the 20 weeks of Level 1. It was a pleasure to see you every Wednesday night and I hope our paths keep crossing!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Yoinked from Ceridwen's Cauldron

"Magick is concentrated thought fueled by a need, assisted by a tool, empowered by Divinity, trusted by the self, and cast into the void of the Universe. If the thought is not focused, the need not relevant, the tool inappropriate, the belief not strong, or Divinity not infused, magick will not work; or if it does, it will work badly. It is also wise to remember that magick follows the least path of resistance and is purely natural in effect. Often it looks more like a coincidence than a shower of thunderbolts."

Silver Ravenwolf, Hexcraft, p. 38

Ceridwen's Cauldron Trackback

Deityapalooza Continues

Here we are, knee-deep in the Deity presentations (ie week 3). So far, we covered Prehistoric, Mesopotamian, Celtic, Egyptian, and Roman-Greek. Wowsers.

I think the next time I go through this course, I might try to start the Deity presentations after the first third of the course and spread them over the next two-thirds. Lumping them at the end of the course makes for alot of lecturing from us and listening for them. We're trying to break it up by allowing the students to research some deities on their own and present them in class, but it's still alot to take in.

Still waiting for my CD on mindfulness from the CBC...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mindfulness and Meditation

I mentionned in class that I was listening to the Ideas program on CBC radio when they were interviewing Jon Kabat-Zinn. This guy had some really interesting things to say on meditation and spiritual growth (although he'd mock the use of the word spiritual).

So I went to the CBC's website and placed an order for that interview to be delivered to me on CD (I also bought the Steve the First radio play, but that was for my own amusement). Once I've had a chance to listen to it, I'll see about putting it out to the CMS students to have a listen to it.

You can listen to Jon Kabat-Zinn as he gives a talk on the benefits of medicine, meditation, and mindfulness at the ResearchChannel website.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Next Week and Related Resources

Caroline! We missed you this week!

I just wanted to post a couple of links I used for my presentation on Prehistoric Deities, although the conversation went way off-topic with my students this week (good discussion, but only a bit on-topic).

You can find many of the Prehistoric Deities on
Millenial Gaia statue:
Gaia Theory:

Next week, we'll be expecting your presentations on alternative healing methods and our guest speaker (Meri Fowler) will be doing her workshop on Therapeutic Touch.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Workshopalooza Part II

My students can breathe a sigh of relief: their Sabbat exams went very well. In fact, it took me longer to go over them because I couldn't believe how good they actually were! I, of course, take all the credit (and share it with my co-teacher Amanda).

On Wednesday, we will be visited by Meri and her workshop on Therapeutic Touch. There's a couple of sections we missed, so we need to go over those too in class. All of this will be leading up to the intensive 6 week part of the class dedicated to Deities of the World (which I'm tempted to call Deityapalooza). 24 deities in 6 weeks. Yikes!

Amanda and I are in discussion about the Writing workshop. It might be in two weeks or we might put it off for a few weeks (to get a break from the Deityapalooza). We'll let you know.

Amanda has also contacted her Herbalism specialist and it looks like we might get an herb walk this spring! This will probably be an optional class rather than a substitution. Would you be interested in this Herb Walk as an optional class?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Workshopalooza Part 1

Heartfelt thank-yous to my good friend Robyn for coming in (virtually last-minute) to give a fantabulous workshop on Reiki (check out Le Urban Retreat where she works). Unfortunately for me, I'm too heavily shielded to feel the benefits of Reiki, but my students did definitely feel the reiki energy pulse through them when Robyn did her demonstrations.

Then we did a grounding/centering just before the students did their Sabbat exams. I wasn't sure how I was going to do this guided meditiation, but as we sat down, I was inspired.

I had them visualize a pool of liquid light beneath their chairs. As they drew in a deep breath, the light would be drawn upwards through them, flowing through them and being held at their heads. When they released their breath, the liquid light would fall back down to the pool, dragging all the tension, stress, and other negative fluff out of them.

I'm very picky about guided meditations. The most popular one tends to be imagining that you are a tree and you need to visualize your feet becoming roots and your arms becoming branches.

Blech. I've never been a tree and it's unnatural for me to imagine any of that. In fact, my claustrophobia usually kicks in when my feet become roots, holding me fast to the ground. The terror that results usually pulls me right out of the meditative state that the leader is trying to build.

I try to stick to common experiences that people have. Walking in water, leaving a noisy place to walk to a quiet place, rubbing your hands along a cold stone, etc. Maybe I'm too literal, but I find I can ground and center with these images much easier than imagining that a beaver has started to nibble at my ankles.

Having an industrious beaver turn up in a meditation should tell you how irrevocably Canadian I am, eh?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Scheduling Conflicts

There's been a bit of a scheduling conflict with our presenters over the next few weeks (completely my fault). I'm trying to get my friend Robyn to come in tomorrow night to give a talk about Reiki, but I haven't heard back yet.

Don't forget that we'll be doing that exam on the Sabbats, so go over your notes in your workbooks (dates, symbols, crafts, foods, stories, etc.). If we don't get a speaker in this week, we've got another film to watch and I have a discussion in mind that leads well into the Deity classes we're about to get into (in 3 weeks).

Of course, being in class is an excellent time to catch up on homework... *hint*hint*

Friday, April 07, 2006

Reaching out across the water

If you look the Comments, this blog has been found by someone in Wales! I have no idea how she found me, but we're exchanging links for a Pagan Blogging Circle. Welcome Starfisher!

One of Starfisher's journals is quite topical for the upcoming part of the class on Deities from across the planet (24 deity structures in 6 weeks!). I invite you to check it out!

The Holy Cow

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sabbats... Get Cracking!

We watched a documentary called Pagans that covered the Pagan Sabbats of the year in more detail. The documentary's not bad, but it's still heavily Goddess-oriented. And the food the students brought in was fantastic! Scarlet brought apple cider (for Samhain) Valou brought a spicy carrot soup (for Mabon), Caroline had an orange-peach pie (for Litha), and Taiga had a fruit-stuffed cake (I forget which Sabbat she had). I brought a bran-raisin bread for Lammas.

Next week, Mrs. Young will be giving her talk on writing and we'll be doing the dreaded Sabbats exam. Get cracking!

And thanks for all the positive feedback on the course evaluations! We'll try to work more meditations, chanting, and ground/centering work into each class from now on.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Food and Films!

Don't forget that next class, we are bringing in our Sabbat foods for feasting. I'll be making my bread tonight!

I'll be bringing in my laptop so that we can watch the second film. Also, don't forget your exam redo's!

In two weeks, Ms. Ceri Young will be giving her lecture on Writing, so don't forget to bring your extra $5 for the guest lecturer.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

With Sabbats comes... Food!

We covered the Sabbats and the Esbats tonight. I drew parallels between many of the holidays we already celebrate (like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween) with the traditional Pagan holidays (like Yule, Ostara, and Samhain). One of the best part of Paganism is that I don' t have to give up my favorite Christian holiday traditions; everything just blends together seamlessly.

Thank the Gods for Amanda though... I take the lead on the class direction and she happily and skillfully fills in all the holes. I love teaching this class with her.

Next week, my students will be bring in Sabbat foods and we'll be munching while we watch another Pagan film. Hopefully, the film will generate some discussion. If not, I might bring up a topic that I'm hoping to turn into a discussion session for the upcoming Awakening Isis festival.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Video and Exams

I'm not sure about the market for quality films about Paganism, but there's not much out there. We watched a the Discovering Witchcraft DVD put together by the Farrars about 7 years ago, and while it was informative, focussed, topical, and certainly better than Goddess Remembered (put out in the late 80's), it's production and direction was a bit blah (a bit homemovie-ish).

I wonder what it would take to put together an instructional video on the modern state of Paganism today? Hmmmmm... Another project for the backburner.

I was trying to work with a local documentary company to put together a 10-15 minute segment on modern paganism, but trying to pull everyone's schedule together to hold a ritual that would be filmed proved to be our downfall. However, the documentary people are supposed to be contacting me in the coming months to try again in the spring. Besides, a Bealtane ritual in the spring would come off better on film anyways.

The students worked on their exams (don't worry about it folks!) and then we went for a pint to celebrate completing the first part of the course.

Next week, it'll be Esbats, Sabbats, and Cooking!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Happy Ostara

A bit late, but Happy Ostara to everyone. Don't forget that there is a public Ostara ritual on Saturday March 25th. You can reading more about it here: MPRC Events Page.

An exerpt from an article on WitchVox about Ostara.

Easter gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Oestre or Eastre (the origin of the word "east" comes from various Germanic, Austro-Hungarian words for dawn that share the root for the word "aurora" which means " to shine"). Modern pagans have generally accepted the spelling "Ostara" which honors this goddess as our word for the Vernal Equinox. The 1974 edition of Webster's New World Dictionary defines Easter thus: "orig., name of pagan vernal festival almost coincident in date with paschal festival of the church; Eastre, dawn goddess; 1. An annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, held on the first Sunday after the date of the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21." The Vernal Equinox usually falls somewhere between March 19th and 22nd (note that the dictionary only mentions March 21st, as opposed to the date of the actual Equinox), and depending upon when the first full moon on or after the Equinox occurs, Easter falls sometime between late-March and mid-April.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Altars and Shrines

In last week's class, we went over the difference between Altars and Shrines and the student's homework included designing their own altar and shrine.

If you're curious, here's what my altar looks like:


Friday, March 17, 2006

Been Quiet for Too Long

I just updated the blog with the blogs of my new students. Classes started again almost two months ago and I'm pleased to report that they're going great! This is due to a few factors:

1. Great students.
2. Amanda is co-teaching the class with me.
3. This is my second go at the course.

We started with four students and after the first third of the class, only one student has dropped out (with very good reasons). We'll miss you Louise!

I want to thank my students for getting through the first volley of classes and being so passionate about the lessons (especially for reading the reading pack on time for the in-class discussion!). I look forward to our classes every week!

I'll try to keep this blog updated and I will now be reading your blogs. Whee!