Urban Paganism: Safety in the City

DARKANGEL33 We hear about it on the news. We see movies based on it on Lifetime & Women Channels. We cry when the victims fill the talk show studios. We even hold the hand of a sister or fellow brother who has went through it first hand.

Yet we never believe  it could easily happen to us….

Crimes.

But it can, and it does.

So before someone’s ignorance or crime affects you, there are some precautions when moving to the big city or populated areas.

 

1. When you move into a new house or apartment, change the locks. Add chains, dead bolts, or whatever to the doors. Make sure the window locks work and if they don’t ride someone’s butt until they get fixed. In fact, see to it that these things are done before your move in date—and get it in writing.  If you are seeing someone and it goes bad, get the key back and still….change the locks. My best friend lived with a girl and when it was over, she left. A year later, she got hard up for cash, took her old key, broke in, and stole all his stuff—or tried—luckily my friend had a nosey neighbor. Still, you never know, so keep locks changed.

2. Never, ever, ever meet up with people online that you do not know  alone. Always meet in a public place. I don’t care if they own a 1000 year old famous Church of Isis—until you know them in and out…don’t be stupid.

3. Look into self defense classes (even if you are a guy) buy some mace, pepper spray…—MAKE SURE WHATEVER means of defense you buy or get, you also get proper training and so forth. I am not just talking about guns….that goes for tazers, pepper spray or even whistles or screamers. They will do you no good if you spray yourself.

4. If you have to work late….then let a security guard or walk with friends to your car, bus stop, or until you catch a cab or get on the subway. Travel in packs and groups.

5. Be smart. Don’t walk into the dark alley if you have chills jumping up and down your spine. Hell, don’t go into the dark alley even if you have a fever of 103.  If you wake up at 2 in the morning feeling the urge to do a ritual in the dark and creepy park—don’t go running off with your candles and incense. I am sure the Goddess or God won’t care if you wait until a safer time.

6. Watch your drinks. We often go to bars or clubs, drinking and having a great time and think nothing of it when we leave a drink with a guy we have been dating  or even with other girls. My friend dated a guy for 3 weeks straight and that didn’t stop him from slipping a drug into her drink when she left it with him as she fled to the dance floor with girl friends. She ended up in the emergency room. Another friend had some girls dump some yuck into her drink just for ‘kicks’. And at one bar I used to go to—the bouncer was slipping stuff into drinks. So watch your drinks, and to be smart—never leave them —take them with you.

7. If it feels weird—then don’t go with it. So what if nothing happens and that bad feeling was wrong—better safe than sorry.

8. Be careful of cult-like-scenes or things which do not add up on the ‘normal’ calculator. A friend of mine and her cousin started going to a bar back in the early 90’s hitting the Vampire scene. Her cousin hooked up with a so-called coven of Vampires who eventually took her back to the ‘master’s’ house. They gave her blood through a needle (the new age way to turn someone).  The next day she woke up having withdrawals, sensitivity to sunlight, unable to eat foods, pain, migraine, etc. She actually believed she was turning into a Vampire. More like a drug addict since the blood was mixed with herein.

9. Go ahead and work your spells and magic of protection on your home and yourself—but don’t depend on them. I could be covered from head to toe in a bullet proof invisible spell but you won’t see my sorry butt running into the line of fire. Cover your butt and take lots of steps to protect.

10. If you know of ways to be safe or things to look out for, please comment and tell us.

These things are not meant to scare but prepare you. Whether you are a man or a woman—moving to populated areas can be unsafe.

C.H. Scarlett

Urban Paganism: Dealing with the Myths of Sex, Sex, & More Sex

Venus,-Cupid,-Baccchus-and-Ceres-1612-13

During Ancient times in certain civilizations, during certain celebrations our Ancient Ancestors became famous for debauchery and free spirited orgies—according to up-to-date prying eyes.

Now a days, if you say you are going out to a Pagan gathering celebrating a fertility ritual, then all eyes and most mouths foam forming images of you stripping down to the buff and humping the leg off whatever moves. This in turn creates many myths, rumors, and false stereotypes concerning Paganism—and with that—many jerks who are more than prepared to use it to their full advantage.

That means many people will attempt to use Paganism as their excuse and means to influence others into their chosen behaviors. Meaning—you meet a guy or girl who claims to be Pagan –who then claims that its perfectly natural to take many lovers and sometimes at the same time.

Ah, no.

If you are new to the city, new to the country, new to Paganism in general, then don’t fall for that line no more than you’d fall for…

“Hey baby, are you tired?”

“Uh, no, why?”

“Because you’ve been runnin’ through my mind all night!”

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Sex is not a requirement of Paganism—just an individual– depending on what they desire. Now that’s not to say anyone taking many lovers are in the wrong—just know its a choice, not a divine requirement.

For new Urban Pagans moving through crowds, you may be drawn to the elders or peers of your chosen path. Unfortunately there are many pervs and creeps out there moving under the guise of false Paganism. They will be so slick in pulling you in…so wise and so very charming. However, beware of what they attempt to teach you as law and beware of such lines:

*All Pagans must swing it up with many, many partners.

*If you want to be a real Pagan, then gender shouldn’t matter. We will practice by having a threesome. I have a friend and she is— (Sorry, but if you don’t have the desire to be with the same sex or the opposite, then that’s a personal choice—not a Pagan must. Now if you want to go along with a threesome, then by all means do so….but that makes you a Pagan person wanting do partake in a threesome—not a Pagan ordained rule that one must do so in order to be a Pagan at all.)

*Pagans share….everything and everyone. (We do with what we feel comfortable with sharing—that doesn’t mean your man if you don’t want to.)

*I will show you the face of God and or the Goddess through powerful sex magic! (whatever lol—there are many types of magic if a Pagan even DOES magic to begin with—some do not and for those who do—what KIND of magic is their choice—not a Pagan requirement.)

*Every ritual is a sex orgy.  (I doubt it—again a big myth.)

*We don’t need a condom or protection babe, I did a spell. (WHATEVER!!!!—and yes, some guys try to pull this one. Some girls too, believe it or not. Look, those who work magic know one thing is for certain—its better to cover all bases than to depend on one thing alone. So even though someone did a spell so you wouldn’t catch an STD (sexually transmitted disease) or get pregnant—use a brain and throw on extra protection. Make your sacred places bullet proof! Your body is YOUR TEMPLE—your sacred temple….now practice some personal worship and respect and don’t let anyone come in and trash the place permanently.)

 

~~

 

The fact is this…in many ancient civilizations, thousands did have sex believing that through the woman—they were joining with the Goddess or through the man, they were joining with the God. But that’s in certain civilizations and not everyone was down with it romping up with many, many partners. Those who were had at it…those who weren’t kept with their own private and personal lovers experiencing divinity and sexual enlightenment through them.

Sex magic can be powerful, yes, for some, but like all magic, its what YOU feel drawn to and comfortable doing. Some create Sex Magic with a partner—some by themselves. *winks*

As Pagans, generally the only thing we have in common is the fact that we don’t care what everyone else is doing as long as it doesn’t harm us or others—but on whether or not we sex it up with those others—personal choice.

So watch out for the wanna-be Creeps posing as a Pagan just so they can get their groove on. Pagans can be with one partner, with an opposite gender, with the same gender, with more than one partner and gender, have open relationships or one on one relations—its all up to the person/persons involved—its not a part of the general term Paganism. While we believe sex is beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of….we don’t believe who does what and with how many creates a better or more knowledgeable Pagan. Be true to yourself and don’t fall for any tricks. be comfortable in your own Pagan skin…follow your heart, not someone’s words.

C.H. Scarlett

Being Pagan in the workplace

As a working Pagan I spend at least 40 hours a week at my job. Which means a large chunk of my time isn’t spent in my garden or in a sacred space I can create at home but at a large, modern office.  Being Pagan, I enjoy having sacred space and sacred items around me, but being Pagan in the workplace can often stir up controversy.

First you’ll want to decide just how much of your personal life you want to reveal at work. If you live in the United States you are guaranteed freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination in the workplace.  But the reality is that taking legal action against an employer is a long and arduous process.  Even then the law can’t protect you against every action from every employee.  If you are passed up for promotion because you are Pagan, that can be a legal case. However, if a co-worker refuses to sit near you at lunch or eat your contribution to the potluck because she’s afraid of being cursed, it isn’t a legal issue.

You are probably the best judge of those around you and how accepting they’ll be if they find out that you are Pagan. Don’t be afraid to rely on subtlety rather than overt declarations of your religion. I’ve found that people often feel that everyone should speak out and forge the way for various causes. But sometimes it just isn’t the right time or place. In my last workplace almost everyone knew I was Pagan except one very conservative director.  He believed I was Catholic, which to him was as foreign as Paganism. He seemed to just interpret anything I brought in that was Pagan as a Catholic thing. So the very obvious Goddess necklaces I wore had to be the Virgin Mary. My current workplace is far more open and creative and so I am enjoying the freedom to be my Pagan self at work.

Creating a Pagan Workspace

How much space you’re able to devote to creating a Pagan space at work will depend on your work environment. In my last job I had an office. Currently I have a small desk, but I’m free to decorate it as I want.  But I do have to keep in mind that although my desk is considered my personal space, it is not truly private. This means things will be seen, touch, picked up and even played with. Even if I ask people not to touch, the cleaning crew comes in when we’re not there.  So, I don’t bring anything in that I feel needs to be a protected or private space.  But here are some things to consider for a desk.

A Pagan Calendar is a good way to keep in touch with the days.  Actually, you can get one from the Pagan and the Pen to set as the calendar on your computer monitor.  I have a planner from Seasons of the Witch that I also use.

Pens, letter openers, bookmarks, mouse pads, and coffee cups can often be purchased with a Pagan theme be it fairies, dragons or wizards. Often these may simply be seen as interesting toys.

Crystals, shells, feathers and other natural items are often simply viewed as decorative. Although I’ve found that the crystals do tend to attract interest. People often want to pick them up and hold them.  My large rose quartz crystal ball is often borrowed when someone is stressed out.

Statues, symbols and signs can range from simple and symbolic to overt declarations of one’s faith.  Work with items that you feel comfortable bringing into your environment whether that’s keeping things subtle to making a bold statement.

Smudges, candles, incense and oils can be tricky because of safety or health concerns.  Burning candles, incense or smudging may be prohibited in most workplaces for fire safety concerns and because people don’t want to breath the smoke.  Oils are more accepted but remember, dousing yourself with sacred oil will  be viewed the same way as the person who overdoes the aftershave or perfume.  Just a touch is enough. Or keep a vial or sachet of a favorite scent handy for when you want a little boost to your day.

If you don’t have a personal space at work, there are still ways to affirm your beliefs at work.  You may be able to wear a necklace or jewelry that is sacred or special to you. Keep in mind; this doesn’t have to be a large pentacle. Many gemstones have Pagan associations that are only recognized by other Pagans.  Or you can wear a small carving of a totem animal. If jewelry isn’t permitted or must be left off for safety reasons, you can work out a ritual for yourself that’s as simple as wearing a bit of essential oil to work or keeping an amulet in your pocket or purse.

But remember one lesson a wise older Witch passed on to me. You don’t need to declare your beliefs if you feel they will put you in danger.  If you feel uncertain about how you’ll be received, then go slowly.  Many witches remain in the workplace broom closet and only come out at safe, Pagan-oriented events.  You must make the choice that works for you.

City and Soul

We’ve had a lot of blog posts about the positive angles of being a pagan in the city. I thought today I’d post about why I find cities difficult. We’re so used to urban dwelling being normal, but for some people it’s really unhealthy. I offer my experiences.

I grew up in Gloucestershire, in a very small town. I now live in Redditch – which isn’t huge and is fairly green. Visits to cities – Birmingham and London especially – have taught me that city life is not for me.

Firstly there’s the light pollution. It’s always light. Frequently you can’t see the stars. Narrow vistas between buildings means you never see much of the sky, and the skyline is oppressively close.

Cities are loud. I have sensitive ears. I can pick out individual bird voices, find mice in the hedgerow by hearing them. The constant noise and bustle of cities exhausts me. I gather that you learn to tune it out. That’s not a skill I want to learn. For me, being a bard, it’s vitally important to hear and listen to the songs in my environment. More than a day or two in a city, and I can’t think for the noise. There’s also the information overload from posters and advertising. Again, people learn not to see. I want to be present and aware. I don’t want to have to tune out what is around me.

Roads and public transport systems are often counter intuitive and disorientating. I hate the tube, travelling underground, following a map that bears so little relation to actual geography. I lose all sense of the connections between places.

For anyone who is a touch empathic or psychic, cities are a nightmare. So many lives, thoughts and emotions all humming different tunes. So much human misery. The overworked, the unemployed, the poor, exhausted, abused, distressed… the swathes of people who have lost any sense of their own spirit, who walk zombie-like in slow moving hordes, tuning out the noise and the advertising and each other. For a sensitive soul, it’s agony. Either you have to learn not to feel, or you have to get away.

Much of it, I think, is the fault of urban planning. Cities designed for cars, not people. Spaces overwhelmed with advertising. Environment that do not encourage human  interaction. Good building, good public spaces, green places, the removal of cars and other quietening measures can radically improve urban spaces.

Populations are such that we can’t all have our own field and wood to rest in. That’s not the answer. We do need to be working to make urban spaces human again. They should be a habitat that supports and nurtures, rather than encouraging fear and isolation. I don’t have much by way of answers, other than the certainty that cities should be about the people, and not about the road systems, the convenience of business and industry, or keeping the costs at rock bottom.

Pagan Holidays for February 8, 9, 10, 2010

Daughter of Kings for the web 2

Who’s ready for the Pagan Holidays? Let me first bring attention to our Pagan Artist of the Month Neil Geddes Ward. Another example of his dazzling art to our left. This piece actually reminds me of my friend Sammie….might have to drag her over here to take a look.

February 8th–Monday

Ok, enough is enough…lets get down to it! Jumping the dimensional fence, stepping back in time, we see that in Classical Greece, they are having yet another fabulous festival in honor of Artemis—daughter of Zeus and Latona.

Now while Artemis will be taking her bow hunting the monsters of darkness and bringing sudden death to all those who are wicked, Dionysus will be taking a bow under the same culture since today will also be sacred unto him—called Anthestaria. Kind of ironic isn’t it that the Greeks will give a festival for a Goddess who is all about chastity and protection during child birth while celebrating one of their favorite Gods of Lust, love, and good times!

February 9th—Tuesday

The Greeks are celebrating AGAIN as today belongs to their God Apollo. They will have another grand  festival celebrating the increasing light coming to the New Year once the dark of winter takes her final bow for now.

Over in Norse-land, they are having an observance for Sunna, who happens to be their Goddess of the Sun. The Germans know her as Frau Sonne, as everyone will be celebrating their own version of Light returning with the coming march of spring.

Hoping over into Egypt where it seems the sun never retires except for night, today is the Day of the Unseen in the Underworld and all celebrations will be steering their glorious attention towards that!

February 10th—Wednesday

The Celts are having their famous celebrations during a Festival to honor the God Teutates—the master of battle and patron of fertility. Teutates means God of the Tribe and his reputation wasn’t always the best depending on who the believers were. While the Celts (Irish and Scots) held him high, the Romans described him as being mean and savage.

See everyone on Thursday for the next round of Pagan Days!!!!

C.H. Scarlett

Want more?

Here’s the days of the week and what they mean….

Monday (moon day) is the day of the Moon Goddess, Selene, Luna, & Mani.

~

Mondays are an awesome day to take care of matters or magical rituals and spells concerning:

Traveling, memory, one’s instinct, sharpening or increasing Psychic abilities, dreams, healing, home, ancestors and of course, family.

~

Monday belongs to the Moon and the Element of Water

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Tuesday belongs to Mars, Ares, Tiwaz, Tiw (named after), Tuisco & Tyr

As Tuesday belongs not only to the God Mars, but also to the Planet of Mars, we can toss the Element of Fire into the mix ,and have the makings of a very heated and passionate day!

So if you don’t have anyone to vent those wild emotions out on, don’t fret because you can point them into the direction of matters or magical rituals and spells concerning:

anything having to do with marriage, money or wealth, loyalty, enemies, protection, confidence for yourself or another, and of course, courage!

The moon phase for today is:

~Waxing Crescent~

What do you know, the Waxing Crescent is for magic concerning love, wealth, success, friendship, luck or health.

____

Wednesday is the day of Woden.

Woden is the God of knowledge, enlightenment, wisdom, & war.

Some believe Woden is also Odin—God of the Norse.

Matters & Magical Workings For Wednesday

Today is a good day to deal with matters or rituals and spells concerning anything business. Or perhaps some sort of communication. Maybe debt—something we all have these days, or what about  fear and or possibly loss? Matters or magic concerning money, or work, some type of travel. And then there’s education.

Planets and Elements

Mercury and the element Air