Monday, December 14, 2009

If Your Religion... Part 1

This has been brewing for a fair bit now, so I'm just going to set it down.

If your religion makes you're doing it wrong.

Case in point, a friend of mine wanted some medical attention, and had to go to a free clinic. They didn't do much but what she had already done, but then gave her some "information". One would think they'd give her info about her medical question...but no, what she got instead was Christian propaganda pamphlets.

I have a somewhat secret fascination with them, and have a few really good ones I've collected. I read them as two is the long term pagan that laughs behind her hand, "ROFL...that's awesome! They're really stupid!" The other is the person who could be affected by these words, and more often than not comes away as unsatisfied with their proposed answers as I was the twenty or so years ago when I discovered I wasn't Catholic.

Of these two that my friend gave to me, one was pretty innocuous. "Is Witchcraft the Way?" tells the tale of a nice woman who was a witch for many years (point in their favor...she was a nice, kind woman who was just looking for spiritual meaning. Not some psycho, blood sacrificing, nut job or emo, dark spirit raising, goth wannabe that's usually in these anecdotal accounts), then she started having problems with bad spirits and dark energy (you know...the stuff the rest of us deal with all the time, right? *rolls eyes*), and eventually a very nice Christian man told her "the truth" and she's ok now, cuz she's Christian.

Meh...whatever. Oh, but I did like the part where she's told that the spirits of the elements were actually devils in disguise. How tricksy of them... was the second one...that was the treasure trove find. This nasty piece of work was called, "First Six Days in Hell", and is supposedly a literal account, extrapolated from Biblical references on what it's going to be like for you when you go to Hell.

And it assumed you you'd better get ready with this handy guide. It was horrifying, my morbid fascination with these things was really stretched with this one...the burning torture that was described, along with the deep, soul crushing inevitability of it, it was truly a piece of work.

Of course, if you just "accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior" you can escape going to Hell and never experience what was described.

My question becomes, "Who wants followers that are there out of abject terror?" This isn't just fear that they're trying to evoke. This is deeper, primal..."if these are just the first six days, imagine what an eternity would be like"...some of these images are the stuff that night terrors are made from.

No thank you...I'm good.

How is this acceptable? How is this ok to do? In what sense of morality is it acceptable to terrify people into following a god that is supposedly all good? Jesus gave us one commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you." Where is the love in that pamphlet? Really?

I find this sort of thing irresponsible, and hope that most people just throw it in the trash, not reading it without the philosophical and spiritual protections that I and most of my friends have.

It's not enough to be good because you're afraid of punishment. One should be good, because it is the right thing to do. Pamphlets like this don't help create good Christians, they create fearful people without an inner core of ethics. Sometimes they're more damaging than those who do wrong because they want least you can predict their behavior.

I know it's not my usual blog fare, but I hope you've made it this far and at least got something to think about. I'm not condemning Christianity as a whole. There is beauty and grace in the religion and if being Christian helps you to be happy and good, then I celebrate that. No, it's the desperate fear mongers that I am pointing my finger at hoping that one day they are forced to wake up and understand that using fear doesn't attract good followers, just other fearful people.

I choose another way. And so should you, whatever it may be.

Till next time, be well,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stonewise: Picasso Stone

So I know this is way late. I apologize, and blame my lack of motivation and apparent inability to get out of a warm, snuggly bed. In any case, I'm here today, and will endeavor to have next week's post up on the proper day.

Anyroad, today we're looking at Picasso Stone, sometimes called Picasso Jasper, Picasso Marble or Picture Jasper. It's an unusual stone, without a lot of folklore attached to it, but I love the deep greys it can come in, so let's see what we can, shall we?

Ardriana says:

An obvious grounding stone, which aids general healing. Brings out hidden talents and gifts. Invites total recall of dreams to answer life's mysteries. Inspires self-control and respect. Picasso Stone assists one to understand one's destiny by meditating on the patterns in the stone. It also transforms intuition into intellectual action. Reduces anxiety and stress.

How I use it my a relative new comer to the magickal world, it's sometimes difficult to find uses for this interesting stone. However, while searching for stones to make up my Air bracelet:

(ha! It's a good week when I fit in some shameless self promotion. ^.~)

...*ahem* oh yeah, while researching stones that resonate with the element of Air (*not* easy mind you), I discovered, with Ardriana's help, that Picasso Stone has been linked to labyrinth studies, the dark lines in the stone acting as a meditation tool similar to the pattern created in labyrinths.

How cool is that? And Picasso Stone comes in some of my favorite grey colors (you might have noticed this in my blog layout heh...). It's a quiet stone, which I'm still discovering, but I think it's proven itself to be particularly powerful when wanting to promote self awareness (that doesn't devolve into self centeredness), and mental acuity.

I don't own a lot of Picasso Stone, just a few pieces, since it's taken me a fair bit to understand the attraction, but that won't stop me in the future!

And now you know a bit more why I do what I do.

Till next time, be well,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stonewise: Garnet

Since today's Shop Item of the Day is the Kindred Bracelet (oh how the mighty have fallen into shameless self promotion...ok, so maybe I wasn't mighty...)...anyway, I figured that I'd focus on garnets for today's Stonewise.

So first a quick look at what Ardriana Cahill says:

Garnet is actually a group of minerals. Almandine has the most colors. Pyrope is usually red. Spessartine, orange red or browns, combined they are Malaya. Phodolite is purplish red or pink. The rare Uvarovite is dark green. These are just a few. Garnet got its name from granatum, the pomegranate.

Folklore: Albertus Magnus related this stone to blood magick. In the matriarchal age, it was sacred to the Goddess Isis, and was believed to be solidified drops of her blood. Garnet was associated with the Goddess Persephone and thus, the afterlife.

Magick: Witches give garnets to friends and family as the Karma Stone. Given to kindred, it insures safe passage to the Summerland and makes sure that loved ones will meet in the next life. Carry garnets to protect travelers against accidents and after dark. Garnet is the stone of passionate love and desire. Enhances bodily strength, endurance, and heightens sexual awareness.

Ancient Warning: a stolen garnet brings catastrophe on the thief until it is returned.

How I use it in my jewelry...Well, first and foremost I use it as the "kindred" stone. Most of my family has a network of garnet giving, ensuring that we'll all meet up next time too (we're Irish...any excuse for a party!).

I grew up thinking that garnets were "poor mans rubies and emeralds", but I love how deep a blood red it is, and generally prefer it to rubies. The green is usually deeper than emeralds too. Garnets are precious stones, so finding them in bead form is a little difficult. I use them sparingly, not because I don't like them, but because they are expensive.

When I was younger, and just started going to The New Pioneer to buy stones, I would play in the little stone box looking for chips of garnet and peridot. These pieces are tiny, and sometimes I would struggle to tell the garnets from the amethysts, because of how purple they are (I'm pretty good at telling them apart now, hehe). I still have those chips, and count myself lucky to have them even though the large tumbled faceted pieces (like in the pic above) have gotten more common.

I don't have many pieces of garnet, but those that I do have are special to me for one reason or another. I carry one in my pocket that I received from a beloved sister stone witch, my best friends have them from me...when we claim someone, we don't tend to let them go.

How you know a little more about why I do what I do.

Till next time, be well,