All posts by adriannebrennan

Romantic dark fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction author.

Travel and the modern pagan

One of my patron deities is Hermes so the idea of not doing something when I travel, no matter how small, is unthinkable. At bare minimum a prayer to him before boarding a plane for smooth, uneventful travel is a must. Sometimes I’ll find money right before a big trip and will honor him with an offering later. The morning of my last trip, I found a $20 bill on the ground. Given I was seriously broke and traveling on the company’s funds, it was a blessing and then some!

Some people I know have travel altars, others find small ways to make their days meaningful. If you already have an established morning meditation or prayer routine that requires minimal preparation and ritual, keeping it going while on the go is easy. For people performing something more intense for a duration of time such as the Abramelin, I would imagine this would be far more challenging!

When you travel, do you have any special rituals, offerings, or habits you have as a modern pagan? You certainly don’t have to be a devotee of Hermes to appreciate what it means not just to be a pagan on the go, but maintaining whatever practices you have while away from home.

I board a plane in a few hours, and while I don’t do much ritual these days, Hermes will undoubtedly be remembered before/during/after my vacation. 🙂

How about you? I’d love to hear from you. Chime in on how you honor the gods while away from home, especially if it’s for a vacation you rarely get to take.

 

Love & Magic,
Adrianne
www.adriannebrennan.com

The price of knowledge

Over the course of the past decade and change, I have been involved with a number of different initiatory organizations and traditions. Among them are the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the OTO, and smaller orders here and there. At present I am only involved with two groups, one of which is a synthesis of Arabic mysticism and the Western Mystery Tradition and another which is a local coven which combines Strega with a particular Wiccan tradition. The paths change, the people change, but some debates and concerns remain the same: do you charge for initiation and learning? If so, how much is too much? Or too little? Is there a price that can be satisfactorily placed upon spiritual knowledge? This debate exists in both the ceremonial magick and witchcraft communities, and I suspect will always exist as a bone of contention amongst its members.

I have seen groups charge outrageous sums of money only to learn it was funneled through to their leader so they could have a form of income. In such cases, obviously the intentions and methodology of collecting the money is corrupt, and has led many on a “no charge” policy out of retaliation. I have been in groups which refused to charge a dime on grounds that it was unethical by their standards. And yet a middle ground where the group only charged for the cost of the materials, no more, no less. Some offered a reasonable sum of dues per year to cover web expenses, materials, and the like.

In the world of the Internet, it’s actually quite easy these days to locate an initiatory body and either travel or receive long-distance initiation. The benefit of this has been to unite those who ordinarily would be excluded from the mysteries and obtaining knowledge due to geographic location, but the downside of this has been not truly knowing who you are initiating, and thus would be the equivalent of offering a stranger a place in your family without knowing who they really are and what they truly want.

Then there are the finances involved, and what groups expect in return for initiation. There are some who argue that if someone is willing to pay a huge amount of money then they must be sincere in pursuing the mysteries. And yet there are others who say that this is classist and excludes the poor, the unemployed, and the financially struggling from pursuing their spiritual goals. After all, if people are going out of their way to provide you with a spiritual experience, shouldn’t they not be expected to provide the full costs of that initiation to you out of their pockets? Very few people these days are rich and have the capacity to go to Kinkos and copy study materials for many, many students–and some will refuse to initiate more than a few at a time due to these grounds and more.

For those of you who are initiated, what price did you pay for it, if any? Do you feel that it was fair? For those who initiate, do you charge a cost and if so, why? I personally feel that while it’s reasonable to expect the initiated to compensate for the cost of materials should they exist and help donate their own resources towards their initiatory body at large, that one should not charge for initiation. People may argue that an exchange of energy needs to be made, and I would claim based on experience that if an experience is had by the candidate and they are indeed initiating, they pay back that price in their lives through the alchemy they undergo.

What do you think? Should people be charged to receive initiation into a chosen tradition, or not? Why?

 

Love & Magic,
Adrianne
www.adriannebrennan.com

Art to support art, by women for women.

One of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life was to let go of a long-standing friendship. She had repeatedly gone back to her abuser, insisted she’d never meet a better man, and in the end wound up walking down the aisle with him. I had sheltered her in my apartment for a week after he chased her around their place, threatening to kill himself with a jug of booze and a bottle of pills because she had tried to break up with him. He was, in a word, dangerous. And I could do nothing. I had never felt so helpless, so frustrated, and so terribly afraid for someone as I watched her personality morph over time and become as toxic as he was.

I couldn’t save my friend. She was like the sister I never had, and walking away hurt like hell. But I knew if I continued to stay and enable her choices, eventually my own health would suffer. Given how her abuser had treated me in the past, I had reason to believe that being involved with either one of them would endanger me. I sometimes wonder if she’ll ever walk away, realize her self-worth, and get back on her feet.

I’m not a professional when it comes to dealing with abuse; I only know what I’ve been through and what I’ve watched others go through. I’m the survivor of an abusive relationship myself, all verbal/emotional. Too often people think abuse is strictly physical, but no one can show bruises when they are being verbally threatened, bullied, and taunted by their significant other. Too many women out there, some with children and some not, suffer at the ends of their tormentors. Women’s shelters exist to help these women get back on their feet, stay alive, and learn how to survive away from the significant other who had threatened them.

When I was invited to contribute to the Dreams and Desires vol 4 anthology, I was thrilled. I was even more ecstatic when I heard its proceeds go towards a worthy cause: donations towards A Windows Between Worlds, which provides art supplies and art training as therapy for battered women’s shelters. It was the chance to do something positive. It may not save my friend, but others like her wind up at these shelters every day–four million per year, in fact.

I hope that you will consider purchasing either my short story in the volume, or the entire work in support. It will be out in print in a few weeks for those of you who prefer that format, but for now both releases are out today in ebook:

Love & Magic,
Adrianne
http://www.adriannebrennan.com

Blogathon tomorrow to benefit Boston Area Rape Crisis Center! Please sponsor me…

I’m doing a Blogathon this Sat (7/31) to raise money for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (http://www.barcc.org)! My blog is at http://adriannebrennan.blogspot.com/ and I will be blogging every half hour for 24 hours.

My posts will include my thoughts and advice on writing, never-before posted excerpts of my works, and answers to any questions you pose to me beforehand.

To sponsor me, go here: http://tinyurl.com/AdrianneBlogsforBARCC then email me your receipt at adrianne@adriannebrennan.com so I can keep a running total.

Love & Magic,
Adrianne Brennan