Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Movin' and Shakin'

Well why are you guys still here? Move your butts on over to! That's where I will be doing all of my ranting from now on!

-Snow Wolf

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Walking Into Another World

I don't know where to begin. I am at a total lose for words. I know I should share this experience with you, I just don't know how.

I took my wife to work this morning. After a few events I decided to stay at her workplace until she was finished with work, I didn't want to waste anymore gas. I had originally planned to go on a walk using my iPhone app to keep track of it. I like to use Runkeeper to keep track of my walks and submit them to Fitocracy. That didn't work as my Runkeeper app wouldn't start. I sat down and fiddled with it for the next twenty minutes. I finally gave up and decided to listen to one of the many Pagan podcasts I have on my phone. Specifically I was listening to Peter's Crooked Path Episode 28, not to be confused with The Crooked Path...even though they are the same thing by the same person. It's a long story, if you want to know more about it go to Peter's blog.

The episode is about invoking the Gods. In this case invoking is meant in its more original use in Witchcraft as full on possession of the practitioner. I won't get too far into this, go listen to the show. I have done something similar but never with something as powerful as a God.

As some of you may or may not know my wife works at a historic home. This gave me a perfect opportunity to walk around in a beautiful place as it also doubles as a public park. I ended up around the historic house. I walked right past it and went into the house's garden. I say the house's garden because they have several all over the property. The vegetable section of the garden had just been fallowed so the only things left were the herbs and flowers. As I was walking into the garden, mashing the freshly turned up earth with my shoes, the invocations began. At first I didn't think too much about it. Then Peter started talking, no, the God starting speaking. Something in me clicked. Something all too familiar was dancing in my head. This didn't sound fake. I know, I know, "It didn't sound fake? How can you tell it didn't sound fake?" Well, go listen! No, seriously, I will wait. Back? Good. Something about it just felt real. I know it's odd to say I felt something when I wasn't in the ritual. But there was just this sense of power and awe that came through and that was just a recording.

Walking around in the garden, on the edges of the woods, listening to these invocations was just amazing. Also with being surrounded with all of the 18th century farm equipment and the smell of the herbs in the air I felt like I was in another world all together. I haven't felt like this since I went on a very personal trip to the other world as I call it. It's a long story but I might post about how to do that later on. Then out of what seemed no where, he came. Herne. Not to me, not where I was, but into Peter. Herne is not s God I work with but one I have met more times then I have wanted to. It was him. The same person, the same God, I have met. The way he spoke, the way he acted. My first thought was "Oh no, not you again." Luckily for me it was just a recording, but that's when I knew this wasn't a fake. Being in the other world, the tween space, or whatever you call it is a very interesting thing. There you feel like you can do anything. It didn't hurt that it was about to storm so there was thunder in the air along with strong winds. I felt a connection that I had just not felt in months due to my mundane life chocking the life out of me lately. I felt absolutely re-energized and full of purpose again.

Now what? Where do I do from here? I have some serious questions to find the answers to. In the last few days I feel as if I am being pulled out of my my mundane life again. Ever since I started dialysis I have felt trapped, but now I feel like my life is getting back on track.

I know this has very little to do with the topic of the blog, but this blog is also a record of me.

I just want to take this moment to say thank you to Peter, that was just the kick in the pants I needed.

So get up and do something!
May the Gods watch over you all,
Snow Wolf

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Opened My Eyes

Poison, It's everywhere. 

I had McDonald's this morning. I had my favorite; steak, eggs, and cheese all on a bagel. Oh, and I had a large Dr. Pepper, even though I ordered a medium. Welcome to America I guess. I then went and did something I haven't done in the two years since I started dialysis; I worked. Sure, I clean up around the house, do some grocery shopping, and cook most of the meals but I don't stand on my feet all day and actually work with the public. Why did I do this? Simple, my wife got to work today and found out that there was no one to help her make any bricks for the kids workshop. So she volunteered me to help. Long story short my wife works at a historic home and this was a learning activity for a field trip. So I worked all day making clay balls to be pressed into little bricks for the kids. It's a heck of a lot harder then it sounds. Trust me, I know, I made fun of it when I first heard what I was going to be doing. After eight hours of this my hands hurt, my feet hurt, and I was starving as we didn't have time to take a lunch break. Eight hours and 108 kids later I was ready to go home. I was far too tired to do any cooking so I made us each a sandwich. The wife had some fruit juice and I had another soda.

I then spent several hours looking at some Facebook pages from local anti-GMO, homesteading, organic, and local eating movements. I had known about GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) foods for a while now but never gave it too much thought. Then I watched this lovely little video:

Did you watch it? No. Then go watch it!

I hate to say it but that should have freaked you out. If it didn't then stop reading this and go on about your fast food and TV watching life.

After much reading about the horrible things they do to our food I decided to go make some more food! I thought I would try some "Instant Low Sodium Miso Soup" for some Goddess forsaken reason. It was horrible, plain old beef stock would have been better. I made my wife some canned potato soup and another sandwich while I made myself some black bean soup with some canned corn. At least this time I didn't have another soda, only because we were all out, I had some homemade lemonade. Yes, actually homemade not that weird powdered stuff. Though the lemon juice did come from a bottle so who knows what was in it.

That brings me to today's topic (well yesterday's topic since my wife made me come to bed last night): How much real food do you actually eat during a day? Well, lets see, everything from McDonald's we will classify as not being real food as we know it was highly processed. How about the sandwiches? Well after reading the ingredients labels I would have to say no. Also, we all know the sodas are super processed so they are out too.

Side Note: Go look up "cellulose", it's an ingredient in most baked goods. I'll save some of you the trouble, cellulose is another name for wood pulp. 

The Instant Miso will not being included in this as I am pretty sure its not food at all. Oh, what about the soups? Hey yeah, they were organic soups each with less then 5 ingredients and each ingredient was a food I would eat on it's own. Finally we found some real food! Then I go dump some GMO corn into my soup. How do I know it was GMO corn? I looked up the company on some anti-GMO websites. If your wondering about the homemade lemonade let me stop you right there. The same company that made the corn made the lemon juice so it's out. Though, I did have some apple cider from a local farm and its ingredients list is so short I will post it right here. Apple Cider Ingredients: Apple Cider, Water. Just a side not it was the best apple cider I have ever had. I know its not organic or anything and who knows maybe they use toxic pesticides but hey, it still has less death in it then the mega-mart brands.

So to sum all of that up, the only real food the wife and I had were two cans of soup.

Why is this such a big deal and what does it have to do with being a Pagan Man? Simple, Pagan Men are humans and as humans our health is a big deal in our lives. Though this post might not have anything to do with your religion it will have something to do with keeping you alive and healthy longer so you can enjoy that religion.

Oh, these GMO vegetables secrete pesticide but they are totally safe to eat!

The sad fact is that you have no idea what that GMO food is going to do to you. Lets think about that for a minute. We know that companies have manufactured GMO vegetables that will secrete pesticides. Why? Simple, so the farmer doesn't have to spray the crops with pesticides. Why is that an improvement? Because it saves the farmer money. Think about it, I don't have to rent a giant sprayer if I don't own one, I don't have to pay for the diesel to make it run, or along the same lines if I am using a plane, and I don't have to pay someone to run the machinery. Also, it saves on time since I don't have to do any of the above since its built in to the crop.

What do you think happens when you eat a vegetable that secretes poison? No, there is nothing to wash off, the plant literally makes it on the cellular level so its everywhere in the plant. Want to know some of the real world side effects? Then read this article. Here, let me quote something from it:

"In 2003, approximately 100 people living next to a Bt cornfield in the Philippines developed skin, respiratory, intestinal reactions and other symptoms while the corn was shedding pollen."

Sounds fun huh? This stuff literally kills insects, and animals that eat it yet somehow it's completely safe for humans. We have messed up stomachs. I mean it seems we can eat things that kill other animals. I don't just mean GMOs, we are one of the few mammals alive with a stomach acid level high enough to drink some sodas and not die, but I digress.

Let me paraphrase the Bible for a moment: "Your body is a temple, STOP defacing it!"

I could continue to rant about GMOs and highly processed food all day if you let me but I wont (at least not here). 

I will wrap all of this up be saying I am tired. I sick and tired of being sick and tired. I am tired of having no energy. I am tired of feeling bad all the time. I know it is far too late for me to fix some of the more permanent things done to my body but you know what? It's not too late for me to try and fix the things I can. What do I plan on doing? Buying real food for one. I know it can be expensive and I know I won't be able to do it all at once but slow and steady wins the race. I also plan on exercising on the days I don't have dialysis, I might even do some light walking before dialysis in the morning too. Am I going to count calories? No. Why? The goal is to feel better and eat better, I am sure that weight lose will be a happy side effect of that.

So here's to my fellow Pagan Men! Get up, do something! Act like the proud man we should all be! I doubt the Horned God sits around all day staring at the TV. Know what your putting in your body! How can we do our sacred duty as men in our community, be it Priest, Warrior, or Father if we are too tired and sick to move?

As one of my favorite Pagan author says: "Be Glorious!" You will receive some Pagan Man point if you can tell me who that is in the comment section.

As always,
May the Gods watch over you all,
Snow Wolf

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Motto

I added a new page to the blog today. It's a nice little quote that will now become this blog's motto.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pagan Men, Unite!

by Isaac Bonewits 

“Witchcraft is wimmin’s religion?!?” If that’s true, then is there a point to being a man in a “female-dominated” religion? Actually, there are lots of them — the Stag Lord is at least a thirteen-point buck, and those tines are there for something other than hanging the High Priestess’ garters on!

When I was writing The Pagan Man, one misconception I ran into over and over was that there’s “nothing for men to do” in the Craft, and that even a High Priest is “just a glorified altar boy.” Yet the same guys who were telling me this were also talking about how they taught the members of their coven how to drum, or to carve ceremonial masks, or about specific pantheons, or about how to spot lousy research. Of course, all of these jobs could be done by women, so there’s nothing specifically masculine about doing them — but nothing particularly feminine either!

The Craft as we know it today wouldn’t exist without its “Founding Fathers” — the men who devoted their lives to reviving the real (or imagined) worship of the Old Gods and Goddesses. Here’s just a double-handful to get started with.

The Roman author Apulius wrote The Golden Ass and gave the ancient world his vision of Isis as the Goddess who was all goddesses. Charles Godfrey Leland translated and published Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches. Sir James Frazer wrote The Golden Bough, providing later generations of Wiccans and other Pagans thousands of pages of intriguing ideas. Aleister Crowley was the archetypal “dirty old man” of ceremonial magic; wrote dozens of books that influenced later Pagans, and had his own transforming vision of the Goddess. Robert Graves wrote the beautiful (but most-unscholarly) book The White Goddess, based on his visions, as well as trustworthy books on Greek mythology that have been part of Wiccan reading lists from the beginning.

Gerald Gardner put all the work of those previous men together with ideas from Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Tantra, and his own imagination to create what would come to be known as Wicca (if your teacher or the books you are reading are telling you otherwise, they’re fibbing), synthesizing what was probably the world’s first real religion of Witchcraft, working with half a dozen priestesses in the process. Alex Sanders, Stewart Farrar, Raymond Buckland, Gavin Frost, Victor Anderson, Carl Weschke, and other men wrote (or published, in Weschke’s case) highly influential books and started their own “ancient” traditions of the Craft—and not a one of them was “politically correct” or a “feminized male!” (To be completely honest, some of these guys were jerks in their private lives, but we can still take what was positive in their work and leave the rest behind.)

The Craft as we know it wouldn’t exist without the men who devoted their lives to reviving the worship of the Old Gods and Goddesses.

In more recent years, we’ve had: Scott Cunningham, who wrote Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner and Living Wicca, leading to an explosion of solitary Wiccans in the English and Spanish-speaking worlds. Aidan Kelly was one of the founders of the Eclectic Wicca movement in California and author of Crafting the Art of Magic, the first scholarly (if flawed) book about the birth of Wicca. Frederic Lamond, A. J. Drew, Raven Grimassi, Christopher Penczak, and other men have discussed, revealed, and/or invented new traditions of the Craft in which men are fully empowered witches. Other men, such as Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, founder of the first Neopagan religious organization, the Church of All Worlds; Ian Corrigan, an early member of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship; and yours truly, (best known for founding ADF and writing books such as Real Magic and Bonewits’s Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca) have all practiced varieties of Wicca in addition to their other Pagan work.

All of these famous men are far out-numbered by the thousands of Wiccan men who are quietly High Priesting covens, leading Pagan study groups, running Wiccan shops, organizing Wiccan festivals, researching Paleopagan history, teaching and practicing artistic and musical skills, editing Pagan publications, and otherwise taking leading roles in the geometric growth of the Craft around the world. To understand more about the roles played specifically in Wicca by men, it helps to have some vocabulary (I’m notorious for this stuff). As I explained in The Pagan Man:

Most Wiccan denominations/ traditions can be viewed on a value spectrum ranging from Orthodox/Conservative or so-called British Traditional on one end to Eclectic on the other. As is true for other Pagan paths, the influence of dualism in Western culture causes religious conservatism and liberalism to be usually (but not always) associated with political, social, sexual, and other forms of conservatism and liberalism by both practitioners and observers. Perhaps because of this, the closer to the conservative end of the scale, the more likely a given Wiccan tradition will be to insist that the Goddess is more important than the God and that both genders are needed for effective non-solitary ritual.

Yet whether we are talking about conservative or liberal Wicca, the vast majority of Wiccan traditions have men as members, leaders, or even founders. Conservative Wicca places a heavy emphasis on the polarity of male and female energy in balance with each other, so men are expected to individually or collectively generate half the energy in the ritual circle — which can be quite a challenge when you’re the only guy with four or five gals! In liberal Wicca, each participant is expected to carry his or her share of the magical work, regardless of gender.

Despite the centuries in which African Mesopagan faiths have been doing rituals where both gods and goddesses can possess both men and women, all but a few Wiccan trads seem to believe that only women can “draw down” the Goddess into themselves and only men the God. But if you’re not acting as the priest of a coven, this is usually irrelevant to a male experience of a Wiccan circle (if you are, I have a chapter on Pagan men as priests and wizards in the book).

On a social and small-group political level, however, it is a fact of life that many Wiccan traditions are matriarchal, with the oldest and/or highest ranking woman being able to overrule the wishes of the men (and the other women). Unless you are unlucky enough to hook up with a weak woman, you will probably never be in charge — get used to it. If you are lucky, on the other hand, you will find a strong woman who will accept you as an equal and share power willingly.

There are few (if any) Pagan paths in which males are allowed to exercise the kind of tyrannical power men routinely wield in some mainstream religions. Most of the non-Wiccan Neopagan and Reconstructionist paths (and some liberal Wiccan ones) are adamantly egalitarian these days, largely in reaction against matriarchalism.

So if you are in a conservative tradition of Wicca and think the High Priestess of the coven you are in, or the woman you hope to start a coven with, is too “bossy,” there is nothing to stop you from finding — or inventing — a more liberal/eclectic tradition where equality between the genders is practiced as well as preached.

Be careful about leaping to conclusions, however; some people are just bossy as part of their personality and not because they think their religion justifies or requires it — and if your High Priestess has a decade more experience than you, she may be acting from superior knowledge rather than ego. Or she could be a lunatic who simply enjoys cracking the whip over guys she has convinced are required to put up with rude treatment.

In that last case run, do not walk, to the nearest circle gate and vamoose! There are plenty of sane, strong women running covens who will welcome men to join them in the worship of the Old Gods and Goddesses. The bottom line here is that the Goddess and God love Their sons as much as Their daughters, and there is very little that a Pagan woman can do that a Pagan man can’t also.

— Isaac Bonewits (October 1, 1949 – August 12, 2010) was an influential American Druid who published a number of books on the subject of Neopaganism and magic. He was also a public speaker, liturgist, singer and songwriter, and founded the Druidic organization Ár nDraíocht Féin, as well as the Neopagan civil rights group, the Aquarian Anti-Defamation League. Born in Royal Oak, Michigan, Bonewits had been heavily involved in occultism since the 1960s. He died in 2010.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What do you want?

Hmmm...I wonder what this post could possibly be about??

So, what is it you want from your not so local Pagan Man? What should I rant about? What do you want to hear about? What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

See that comment section down there? Yeah, put your ideas down there because that kinda helps me know what your thinking. Why? Because I am not a mind reader. Or, if you want to get all swanky you can use this wonderful little contact form I have.

May the Gods watch over you,
Snow Wolf

Being a man in Wicca

Let me start off by saying, wow! 52 page views in just four days! That’s just awesome! I want to thank you for just dropping by folks, it means a lot to me! Now, on to the insanity!..... 

BOOM! You’re in circle and you’re the only man in the room, what goes through your head? No, seriously, stop reading, think about it for a few minutes and come back, I’ll wait.

*pours myself some Bourbon and puts on the Jeopardy music….promptly deletes the MP3 after three seconds of music and shudders*

Never, never again! Anyway, back to the topic at hand. 

(You will earn 10 Pagan Man points if you can tell me who that is on my shot glass in the comments below)

So, how did you feel? Alone? Outnumbered? Isolated? Or did you like being the only man in a room full of women? If the latter, then this post is not for you, that’s next week.

Keep in mind that this blog is about being a Pagan Man, not a Wiccan man. What’s the difference? 

Oh, Oh, I know! I know!

The hell? Who let you back in?

A modern day Pagan is, roughly, someone in an Earth based religion. While as, a Wiccan is someone in the Wicca religion. Wicca it’s self is considered an Earth based religion. Therefore, all Wiccans are Pagans but not all Pagans are Wiccans.

Man I got to get a lock for that door. Anyway, yeah, he’s right. So, what does that mean? Well it means that there are other religions than Wicca that we will cover in this blog. But for now, on to the circle!

Wicca, the religion of the Goddess. Why? Sure, Wicca recognizes Goddesses, but is it strictly a Goddess worship religion? Well, that depends on who you talk to. There are many, many, many branches of Wicca. Some actually are Goddess only, and most aren't.

I know, as a man, this can seem a little intimidating. I mean being in a Goddess religion and keeping your masculinity in tact....

Hey, wait a minute! You just said it wasn't a Goddess religion.

Yeah, you sit through a Wiccan ritual and see how many times the God is talked about as compared to the Goddess. If its actually more than the God I will bake you a friggin cookie. All I am saying is that if your going to be in Wicca you have to be able to realize that you don't have to be anything less then what you are to worship a Goddess. By that I mean you can keep being a manly man all you want and still be part of a religion that honors a Goddess. Also, that's not to say that you have to only worship a Goddess and not a God as well.

So, why would a man feel uncomfortable surrounded by women that have probably been jaded by a male oriented and dominated religion that also have immediate access to sharp pointy things at the ritual space?

Geez, I have no idea.....

Yeah there is a lot of resentment in the Wiccan community for the Christian religion. That also translates into a lot of resentment and sometimes outright hate from Wiccan women towards men in general. I have seen such women completely run ram-shot over men in ritual. Its ranged from correcting them about something trivial during the ritual, making a male bashing joke and expecting us to not take it personally, and all the way to telling the man to sit down and shut up. In the most extreme case I was once told that I couldn't do anything but stand in the circle as I was a man and could not invoke the Gods or the elements. I wonder what some jerk did to her?

Yeah, so your going to run into some man hating on various levels here and there in the Wiccan community.

To those that say that this is untrue; screw you. Yup, that's right, screw you. I know that man hating happens because I have been to enough events and circles to see it first hand.

Now that I have that out of the way, what can you do about it?

Smile. Yeah, that's about it. There is little you can do except sit down with the man hater and point out how you feel. If they continue to act like an ass, it's time for you to move on from that poisonous environment. And yes, it is poisonous if its hurting your self esteem and making you feel bad about yourself.

I have met some men that practice alone because they say their masculinity makes the women in the circle feel uncomfortable. One man said that he has noticed that Wiccan women feel more comfortable circling with effeminate men. To be honest I have noticed this as well but I can't say anything because I am Pansexual. Not to say that I am effeminate at all, but still.

Stop, now look around. How many non-effeminate or purely straight Wiccan men do you know? If your community is anything like mine that's not too many. Sure there is a small number of them but not all that many that I have seen. But hey, that's a whole other topic.

Why do you feel intimidated? Because there are more of them then you? Weird feeling isn't it? Makes you wonder how they must feel sometimes.

Maybe your not intimidated, maybe you feel left out. Do you ever feel like your on the outside of circle looking in?

"Okay go sit in the next room while we set up for ritual and then come invoke the God." - Random High Priestess

That ever happen to you? Makes you feel like a commodity doesn't it?

Man this blog post is alllll over the place.

Well maybe if you were sober...

Oh hush you, your not even real.

If you are having trouble feeling like a man in a Goddess oriented religion well, get over it.

That's right, you heard me, get the heck over it. Your a man, period. Nothing can change that. Its up to you how you behave and how you feel. Just because you worship a Goddess doesn't mean you can grunt, scratch, and spit as much as you like. Just, don't do it in public, or in front of women, that's just wrong.

The simple fact is that you are now a minority. That's right, there are more of them then there are of us and you just have to get use to that. Some women are going to be upset that there are men in the religion of the Goddess, as they see it, and they will take that out on you. 

Anyway, these are my ramblings. They aren't always coherent but I think I got the point across.

Have something to add?

I do! I do!

Not you!

*Cough, Cough* As I was saying, leave your thoughts down in the comments.

Later folks,
May the Gods watch over you all,
Snow Wolf