Tag Archives: Power

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: September 16th: HARVEST MOON & ECLISPE!!!!!

I am publishing this one a day early so everyone has time to prepare!

It is Harvest Moon day AND we will be having a Harvest Moon Eclipse, around 12:45 PM, I think Eastern? Here is the Old Farmer’s Almanac link and a TIME, WHERE and WHEN to help you figure out your area.

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For Witches or those of the Craft,  those who practice Divination or anyone needing a boost with their fertility magics, make sure to hold onto to your seats and get ready for a super-powered punch because not only is today the Harvest Moon, but it’s also packing the punch of an Eclipse!

The Harvest Moon is Ancient & Pagan Calendars generally fall on the first full moon on or after this date (15th). With it being on this day , the 16th) and an eclipse to boot, well I’d say we are all in for a special treat.

For those wanting to be pregnant or use a fertility rite in other areas of your life, this is or was said to be the day that such magics could happen. It is said that more women conceive under the Harvest Moon than any other.

This will also be the FINAL eclipse of the Moon for the remainder of the year.

Quoting: It will be visible across Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Those across North America and South America will have to wait until 2017 to see another eclipse. Source  : End Quote

The Harvest Moon originated in Europe, but also, it came from the American Indians because the Moon itself told them when it was time to Harvest their Corn. The light given from this Moon allowed and allows Farmers to work longer hours in order to bring in their harvest.  The Harvest Moon stretches across the globe into many Cultures. Even China.

This is a penumbral eclipse. That’s when the Moon, itself, travels through the outer edges of the earth within’ the planet’s shadow.  The Moon or part of it will darkened but not completely disappear. Some say this is when the Moon has the power of ALL Moons.  This is when the energies of the Moon, the Earth and the Sun all combine.

This is a great time to Draw down the Power of the Moon, or give honor to Lunar Goddesses and Gods. It is a fabulous time for healing or well, any sort of productive ritual—even the final completion of one- a time to harvest the benefits of all your hard work.

If you wish to increase your physic powers or use divination or strengthen your intuition, well, jump on the moon wagon. Tonight if your night!

This is a time for Dark Magic (Not evil, but Dark, as in how all life began, in the womb.) It is a great time for Sidhe magic and even connecting with the Otherworlds.

This is a time of the Crone. Think Hecate, if you need a mental aspect of that or Sekhmet of Egypt.

Egyptian Priests believed the Moon was the Mother of the Universe. What I think is particularly interesting right now is, we have just had Lammas, a time when the God (Sun) enters the Earth (the Mother’s Womb) where he dies in order to bring life to the Grain—where in spring, he will be reborn like the Grain.

With this Eclipse, the Moon (the Mother) will become one with the Earth (her womb) and the Sun (the Father & Son).

Moonstruck or moon-touched was said to be the doings of the Great Mother, who was picking out her chosen ones. Those who were moonstruck were described as “Silly” which happened to be a word that originally meant, “Blessed.”

Regardless of your intentions or needs, prepare for a powerful burst of energy that will affect all.

Get Ready!

Equality in relationships

For Druids, relationship is central to spirituality.

The best kinds of relationships are rooted in equality. Where there is a power imbalance, it should be rooted in issues of responsibility, not in control. For example, a parent has responsibility for their child as that child learns and grows. But that does not give the parent the right to control their child. One person in a relationship might have more money than the other – and money can be easily used to exert control. As soon as you step into situations of control, you cease to have a relationship of equals.

Some people assume that certain things give them power – money, gender, social status, level of education, and age are probably the most frequent ones. Perceiving certain things as valuable, and then believing that makes you more important, carries with it the implicit assumption that people who have less of this are less important. They are lesser than you and therefore should be ruled by you.

As soon as a person believes that certain things make them more important than others, they have thrown away all scope for true relationship. There can be no scope for respect and equality with such a person. There can be no balance or equal sharing, and there is an inherent disrespect for the person who, for whatever reasons is deemed ‘lesser’. And from experience if such a person sets the benchmark for ‘important’ somewhere and you achieve it, you can be sure either they will move it, or have some other reason to disregard you. It is not about the status signifier, it is actually about the belief that they are more important, which they will justify by whatever means necessary, be it ever so illogical.

If a person seeks to establish themselves as the powerful one in a relationship, it is because they want to be in control and they do not want the other person to be their equal partner in all things. The source of power and authority can so easily then be used to put the other person down. They are not as important because they do not have a proper job, a degree, as much life experience, a car, as much money etc. Putting people down takes power from them. Focusing on these kind of details to justify control shows a total lack of respect for the person you are with.

We’re all different. Each one of us has an array of strengths and weaknesses. In terms of relationship, how much money a person has is far less significant than how much compassion they have, how much magic in their soul. Society encourages outward displays of physical wealth, status symbols and trophies. If we internalise those values and bring them into our relationships, we ruin our chances of good and meaningful connections. Where there is inequality and disrespect, love will not flourish.

There needs also to be an equality of giving. That doesn’t mean that we must give exactly the same things to each other. Balance can be found in other ways. You cook the meal, I wash the dishes. You pay the gas bill, I pay the electric. A sharing of work, responsibility and ownership is essential in good relationship, and that’s not about hours spent in paid employment or money earned. Financial contributions are not the only ones that have an impact. If one person gives and the other does not, that creates a power imbalance. Energy in the relationship only flows one way, until that person has nothing more they can give and either stops, or walks away.

If you want to have power over something and make it do your bidding, get a car, or some other mindless piece of technology that will not be hurt or offended by this. If you want an actual relationship with a human being, there is absolutely no room for any notions of power, control and inequality. If you can’t respect the person you are with, it probably means you shouldn’t be with them, for both your sakes.

Responsibility and Relationship

One of the things that I’ve found repeatedly comes up in literature about domestic abuse is that the abuser makes the victim responsible for their feelings. This is complicated, because to be in a relationship with someone is to hold responsibility, to a degree, for each other’s wellbeing. But what degree? How much responsibility should one person take for another and where is the line that crosses over into abuse? I realised I had absolutely no idea, so I sat down to try and figure it out rationally.

We are all responsible for our own behaviour. To act honourably is to take responsibility for what you do, and the consequences of what you do, both intended and unintended. That means if what you do impacts on someone in a negative way, then you hold some responsibility for it. Where emotions are concerned, not intending to hurt is frequently seen as a reason for the injured one to be at fault – you shouldn’t take it that way. (as previously explored) If we were talking about a physical situation, accidentally hurting someone because they have an old injury and we didn’t know, a bruise, a disability – I think most people would feel responsible then even though the physical pain caused was not intentional either. Emotional pain is the same. And equally, if something hurts us, we should be able to acknowledge it, because not being able to express pain is incredibly harmful.

I think the critical thing with the above scenarios, is that we’re talking about things people have control over. We’re asking people to take responsibility for things they can change – their behaviour, their assumptions, their ways of speaking. They can learn that we are hurt by this and adapt. If they care for us, they will not want to hurt us. A person who refuses to acknowledge that they have hurt you is not expressing care for you. Consider how you would expect them to behave if they had accidentally knocked you to the ground or trodden on your toes. This is the same.

However, consider “I am unhappy and you are responsible for this.” If it’s not about things that have, or have not been done, if it’s not offered with an explanation of how that responsibility can be taken, what that does is to cause pain. From my experience, this kind of approach is often subtle, which makes it harder. A person will present things they are unhappy about in a manner that suggests you are the one who must fix this, when in reality there is nothing you can do.

To express unhappiness about things that cannot be fixed is in and of itself fine. The death of a loved one being an obvious example. No one can make that better. But at the same time no one should be made to feel that they have a responsibility to make it better. My child worries about animal extinctions. He didn’t ask me to save the animals, but he shared his sadness, and I sponsored a tiger for him because it was something I could do to help. That’s a reasonable ask on his part, a healthy response on mine.

Stress, anxiety and depression are complicated, often irrational and illogical conditions. If a person is expressing experience of these, then if you are part of their life, it can be very easy to feel, or to be made to feel somehow responsible. I think the question is, can you do anything? If there is something you can actually do that genuinely makes a positive difference, there is scope for taking responsibility and it’s not necessarily abusive to be asked to be being responsible. If you are being made responsible, treated as responsible where you have no actual power to change things, then this is about abuse. It is about creating feelings of guilt and powerlessness in you and/or enabling the other person not to take responsibility for things they do have the power to tackle.

A request for help or an expression of need should focus on what the problem is and where the person you are asking to take responsibility for it can act. Power and responsibility have to go together. Power without responsibility is dishonourable. Responsibility without power is nightmarish and maddening. If one person has the power and the other bears the responsibility, then you’re moving out of relationship and into abuse.

For Your Own Good

If anyone hurts you, in body or in mind and then tells you they’ve done it for your own good, or that it is necessary in some way, run. Right then. Don’t stop, don’t think about it, don’t look back. There may be occasions to make exception for members of the medical profession, dentists, people who are pulling lumps of shrapnel from your legs etc, but even then if it feels wrong, take that discomfort seriously and make sure they know.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post on You Shouldn’t Feel That Way, how ‘I didn’t mean it’ is often given as a reason for putting that negation on someone. ‘I did not intend you to experience this as harm’ is another one, and goes with ‘it is for your own good.’ Attendant concepts include ‘I know best’ or ‘I know more than you.’

Whether or not the intended process is actually doing you any good, to tell someone it is without recognising that they feel otherwise, is patronising. It’s another way of taking away, reducing the person on the receiving end. It might be your body, your heart, your mind, your home, your child that is suffering… but someone else knows better and says you should take it. They might even go so far as to suggest that you should be grateful for all this helpful stuff they are doing to you.

It’s disempowering. For anyone who is less than totally confident (and if you’re bruised already, you’ll likely be there) it’s hard to be sure. It makes it possible to end up accepting and tolerating hurtful things that are not in fact remotely for your own good. While this kind of patronising and reducing can be undertaken by people who are of the misguided belief that they are indeed right and do know better, it’s also an easy tool in the hands of those who intend to hurt and abuse. So whatever the professed intention, this kind of behaviour should always be resisted and challenged, because if it stops being something seen as ok, that’s one less tool for folk who want to abuse. It’s a very easy way of both harming and controlling a child. It is relatively normal for adults to tell children that they know best, and it’s for their own good.

If you are in a position of authority and responsibility – parent/child relationships being a good example, think carefully about how you express that authority. Yes, you probably do have more experience, more insight, you can see a bigger picture. If the other person needs to endure something they aren’t going to like (taking medicine, the pain of having a splinter pulled out, the discomfort of facing a fear etc) then put it in context for them. Tell them what you know and can see that makes you think it would be better and give them chance to give informed consent. Withholding what it is that ‘you know best’ about keeps power in your hands and prevents them from learning. Even with very young children and very confused people, there’s much to be said for offering some kind of explanation. It shows them that you take them seriously, you aren’t poo-pooing their hurt, you aren’t reducing them, you are actually trying to help. Don’t ask them to put blind faith in your ‘I know best,’ show them respect and explain what you know. However good you think your intentions are, if they learn to bow to ‘It’s for your own good’ you might be setting them up to be victims of someone who really does mean them harm. Knowledge is power. Don’t withhold it.

In whatever form it takes, true help gives to the person on the receiving end. It doesn’t lessen them, weaken them, make them dependent or dent their confidence. True help gets people back on their own feet and as independent as they can be. Anything that keeps a person limited, and takes power and autonomy from them is not actual help, it’s a nasty, manipulative form of control. And frankly, I don’t care whether it was ‘meant that way’ or not, the result is still the same and the result is what matters. Good intentions do not reliably make for good outcomes, especially when we imagine that we ‘know best’ and don’t listen to what the other person thinks and feels.

‘It’s for your own good’ is all about authority and power. It’s about asserting that I’m bigger, better, cleverer than you and making you accept my authority. If I do it, and I get away with it, maybe next time I think I know best I’ll take something else away. I’ll feel justified in hurting you, morally superior as I do it, telling you what you need to hear, even if it makes you cry, forcing you to do things you hate because you have to learn. If we go down this track together, I become a monster and you become a victim.

If someone says ‘it’s for your own good’ when it doesn’t feel that way to you, run, and don’t look back.

Gender Politics for Pagans

I do not think that 2000 odd years of monotheism has done a great deal for human relationships. No doubt there were plenty of issues with the pre-Christians as well, but society in the west owes a lot to the Judeo-Christian traditions, and what they have taught us about love, relationships, gender and sex hasn’t been any kind of helpful. When sex is sin, a culture of guilt, shame, and silence follows. You can’t talk about it, or educate people, or deal with problems. Monotheism frowns upon same sex relationship, discourages contraception (some branches more vehemently than others, some are grasping that unlimited growth is not clever) and you can forget anything group based or casual. You aren’t supposed to do adultery or divorce either.

The trouble is that for a great many people marrying one person of the opposite gender and only getting to have sex with them for the purposes of bearing children, for as long as you both shall live, isn’t the answer.

Anyone who has so much as peeked at paganism will know that it is a sex-positive spirituality, embracing all the honourable permutations of human sexuality. An it harm none, do what you will. Anything consenting between adults is fair enough. We honour sex as sacred, and we favour responsible attitudes to human fertility.

But we still have to contend with the cultural legacy of 2000 years of monotheistic patriarchy and gender politics. I think one of the things that draws so many women towards paganism is that we have Goddesses. There are Gods too, there is balance, there is no absolute male authority. There is no suggestion that the female body is sinful, secondary, corrupt or otherwise unacceptable.

I’ve encountered men, and heard stories of others, for whom the notion of masculine gender identity, is rooted very much in the idea of being the one in charge, physically powerful, financially and politically dominant. Men who detest the rise of women in the workplace, and resent feminine power of any kind. They see women earning as a threat to masculine identity. Their power is based solely on the idea that they should have it and that society has appeared to approve of this for some time. I think that’s why they get so angry about feminists, because they are in fact very threatened. When your power is derived from a flimsy social construct, it’s very fragile indeed. Once people stop going along with it, your power has gone.

Power should be derived from what you can do. Status, influence and importance should not be about what you happen to have in your trousers, but should be earned through skill, determination, creativity, genius, dedication or some other pagan virtue. When your power is based on that which you do, not the accident of your birth, the scope for having it taken from you is much reduced. Yes, you may have to compete with others, if your nature is competitive, but there should be no rights without responsibility, and what we do should be the only measure that counts.

As pagans, we stand as equals in circle. There’s no formal hierarchy, no pews to sit in while authority talks down from the front. There’s no requirement for anyone to mediate between us and our deities. People come to paganism in part because they are tired of patriarchal, authoritarian religions that have no place for them.

The kind of dominant male we’ve aspired to in western culture does not, I think, do much for most men either. The alpha male, tall, strong, muscular, lantern jawed, rugged – not everyone is born to look that way. The alpha male is cold and distant too, he can’t show tenderness or vulnerability, he can’t drop his defences, and he certainly can’t let a woman get the better of him. He has to be top male and he has to fight for dominance there, too. Of course, only one man can be top of any social group, which means the majority can never attain the ideal. I’m not quite sure where he comes from. He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus.

Oddly enough, your modern pagan man probably does look more like Jesus (jokes about beards and sandals aside) than the ideal of the alpha male our Christian-derived culture has come up with. Strength tempered by compassion. Courage that manifests as a willingness to sacrifice, not a desire to take. Respect for women.

Paganism teaches us to see the divine in each other. There is a touch of Goddess power in every woman. There is spark of Godhood in every man. We are equal, but different – each human being unique. Gender is one part of that, but we honour our complexity and diversity. Now we just need to persuade everyone that empowering one person does not mean taking power away from someone else.

Prosperous Faith

Doubt keeps silent, but faith speaks.

One spiritual principle much repeated is to “speak those things that be not as though they are.” In the Christian bible it’s found at Romans 4:17 and expanded up on in Mark 11:22-24; in Wicca and Witchcraft it’s the first lesson you learn in order to cast spells/transform reality. This belief – that our power and energy is so great we can literally speak something and it comes to pass – is the foundation of faith, in whatever spirituality or religion you circumscribe to. It’s the strength behind spellcasting, the confidence in affirmations and prayer.  When we use our personal power to embrace and express positive change, that power reflects back to us in the world. On the flip side, when we speak negatively, we are using our personal power to create the exact circumstances and troubles we complain about – effectively adding fuel to the fire.

Lately, with the world constantly using the word “recession”, it’s difficult to retain a positive and faithful attitude. People, and the media, are constantly telling us we are in debt, in lack, in poverty. Remember who you are in Universe, and that the world does not dictate your finances or your opportunities – Spirit does. No matter what the attitude of the world, of friends and family, guide yourself to recall the many times in your life Goddess/God has blessed you unexpectedly, supplied exactly what you needed to heal what you thought was a dead-end situation. Spirit makes a way where there is no way, and today – right now – declare to yourself and the world “I am the beloved child of Spirit/Goddess/God, and despite what the world tells me, I am prosperous and blessed in every way!”

Pagan Power

Is global warming real? Or is it a fallacy? I’m no scientist so I can’t go into detail either for or against. However the weather sure has been strange lately. Recently the world has seen changing weather patterns that have caused major problems for the human race. Here in Australia we have had record-breaking heat waves over a continuous unprecedented timeframe. We have had drought, water shortages and huge unheard of dust storms.

Last week we had massively hot temperatures and then a phenomenal electrical storm. Personally, I love electrical storms. The pagan in me is in awe of the awesome power such a storm wields. The magic of it, the intensity, it really gives you pause. The storm also caused a blackout and we had no power for about 14 hours. Its not really a long time, not in the scheme of things. But it did get me thinking.

In todays age we take electricity for granted and the huge number of things in our world that run off electricity. I loved the quietness of the blackout. A candlelit bath, reading a good book by candle light all through the night. I felt like I got back to nature that night.

What I didn’t like was the little conveniences such as making myself a hot cuppa, the fridge working, checking my emails. The world runs on electricity. Just imagine what would happen if major electrical grids went out for an extended period of time. You couldn’t fill up your car with petrol, banking systems would be down, ATMs, Internet, communication lines. It would be catastrophic.

We did once live without electricity, it would have been a simpler time, but I can’t say it would have been better for us socially or economically. But would it have been better for the earth? To make electricity fossil fuels are still the main contender in what is a huge debate over where our electricity for the future will come from. We all know what fossil fuel does to the land and our Mother Earth. We also have a pretty good idea what the alternatives such as nuclear power does to the world.

So we are in a conundrum, we need electricity, but how do we fuel it without ruining the world? It is the question the world is pondering as we head toward an unknown future. Here in Australia there is much debate over carbon emissions schemes and what we can do individually to lesson our carbon foot print. Some say that we are such a relatively small country that any scheme we endorse will be insignificant and cost us too much money. But if everyone makes a small contribution then surely it must add up. And what will the cost be to us if we dont start taking this seriously.

There are some that question the existence of global warming, and yes it is good to have a debate. But what is the cost if they are wrong? Surely it is better to consider differing possibilities to our energy crisis. Yes environmentally friendly gestures such as solar power, wind power ect are a step in the right direction. I dont know the answers, but I do know that I now dont take electricity for granted.

I also know that as pagans, spiritual people and people who care about the environment, this is a topic close to our hearts. Nature surely has a spirit and you can reconnect with it by turning off the electrical appliances that tend to bombard our daily lives. Turn off the computer, tv, games, even the lights. Light a candle and go out into the fresh air and breathe it in. Reconnect with nature and say thank you, for ultimately it is nature that gives us the electricity. But nature also gives us power simply by accepting it into our hearts and re-energize ourselves. And nature and the weather is changing, so lets give back to nature and harness that pagan power 🙂

Cheers

Connie