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 Religion and Religious Aspects

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Baby Blud Suicide
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Baby Blud Suicide

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PostSubject: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeFri 16 Jan 2009 - 11:26

This thread has been opened as many forumers enjoy conversing/talking about their different religions and beliefs. In this thread you can post your religion/belief and explain them to other users. If you have websites urls to websites that give us information on your religion please do so via a link.
This is also the thread where a user may ask questions about a religion which people can answer if they are interested.



Warning - this topic has been opened for information/conversation and fun purposes only! If you are not interested in others' religions or will not be considerate of other users religions/beliefs do not post in here. Any harrassment/bullying/offensive or racist language will be deleted immediately and the culprit immediately banned WITHOUT PRIOR-WARNINGS OF YOUR BANNING! Any posts stating that a certain religion is wrong or fake will result in the same punishment. If you see a user not obeying these few guidelines, please refrain from acting upon it yourself as it may cause distress in the forum and cause fights to break out. Instead PM an Admin or Mod with either quotes of what has been said or the link to the page in question. Any questions please ask via PM thank you.

Please refrain from preaching your religion to others! You may quote statement from religious booklets/pamphlets/websites or bibles with an explanation to their terms if you so wish. Thank you
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeFri 16 Jan 2009 - 16:33

ok then ill start us off... i want to know about pagan please study
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeSat 17 Jan 2009 - 13:20

How did I know I was going to be first to answer this haha!

I guess I’ll start with the basics –

Paganism/Wicca/Witchcraft/The Craft – What is it and what is the Truth?

Paganism has many sub-cultures which include the religion Wicca/Wiccan and is known to be a type of Witchcraft, more commonly known as The Craft.
What people believe is that Pagans are terrible people who curse/hex others to get their own way Not True!
Pagans are everyday, normal people. The kind of people you pass on the street without giving them a second glance or a second thought. They lead normal lives, have normal families and normal jobs. They are men and women from all ethnic backgrounds, all age groups.
I won’t tell you what people conjure up in their mind when I say the term ‘witch’ as I bet you’re thinking of the old haggard woman with the crooked nose and warts all over her face right? Not True! Those are just witches in fairy tales and do not exist…

Pagans are in league with the Devil and Satanism

Not true I’m afraid. Sorry to disappoint you. Pagans do not believe in, let alone worship, a devil as a deity. We do not believe in an evil being whose purpose is to balance out the good of God. We believe in Personal Responsibility – we are each responsible for whatever we do, whether good or bad and can blame no outside source (or devil) for what we do or say.

Pagans practise Black Magic

Magic is neither good, nor bad, white nor black. It is a neutral force in the same way as electricity is. If magic is used in a positive and beneficial way it is often called ‘white’; when used negatively it is often referred to as ‘black’. However, most Pagans try to adhere to the Wiccan Rede

Pagans sacrifice animals and/or humans

Again I’m so sorry to disappoint you. Pagans have a great respect for nature and for the rights of others which include the animal kingdom. They do not believe people have rights over animals or each other and do not make blood sacrifices. What we do sacrifice is time and energy as well as make offerings of wine, oils, gemstones or items we have created ourselves. Many Pagans will decide to sacrifice something of their own they treasure deeply, which could include a poem written by a lover or even a lock of their own hair.

Paganism/Witchcraft is all about sex and nudity

Nope sorry. Paganism and Witchcraft is one of the ancient and traditional religions of fertility. It is common to confuse fertility with sex so I’ll explain the difference.
Fertility is not just about making babies (and what goes on to get to that stage) it is about inspiration and new ideas. A fertile relationship is one where both partners assist one another to develop their individual potential to the full, where growth is encouraged, not restricted. This may or may not include having a family. A fertile business is one with new products, markets and customers.

Whereas sex and nudity is a about passionate or non-passionate love making and lust.

There is no Proof Paganism has any Historical basis prior to the 50’s

It is true that there is little recorded history prior to the 1950’s. Given the background of the persecution of Pagans, not to mention the fact that writing was a skill only available to the privileged, this is hardly surprising. However a few documents have survived in private hands and there are of course the Church’s own documents (yes we have our own church).
There is also new evidence of paintings of Pagan rites/rituals and dances in caves around the world dating back to pre-Christian time periods and before Christ was born.

Now onto what it is and what it means ^-^

The Goddess and The God

Pagans believe that the divine is both male and female, equally and in balance and that we should strive for that balance both in ourselves and in our lives. We believe there is a Goddess as well as a God and that both are equally powerful, although some festivals/working/rituals/rites may be more appropriately directed to one or the other.
Both the Goddess and the God may be referred to by different names used at different times of the year (this also depends on which area the Pagan comes from). This does not mean that each Pagan believes that there are many Gods and Goddesses. Think of it like this- imagine a ball that has many faces. If each face of the ball is different there is still one ball, just like there is only One God and One Goddess

Respect for Nature

We as Pagans, believe we should respect nature and not take more than we need from the world around us. We should care for our world and the things which grow and live upon its surface which includes the animal kingdom, human race and vegetation of all kinds. We should also respect the natural order of things.
This takes many forms –

Being Economical with resources which could include not using a car when it isn’t necessary and taking public transport or sharing transport with friends/neighbours instead.

Being Aware of how Much Damage is done to the Environment for example – many crystals are mined from the earth by strip mining and the use of explosives, devastating many acres of land and the habitats of wildlife and people in order to supply a market for ‘healing’ stones, whereas the stones you collect of the beach or street can be imbued/filled with healing properties from your soul/aura by yourself.

Not Buying Unnecessary things Made from Non-Replenishable Resources

Taking our Litter away with us and Disposing of it Thoughtfully which includes not leaving candle wax, dead flowers etc at stone circles and other sacred sites, or burying items that are not from the earth itself.

Not Throwing things Away which could be Passed On to friends or Given to Charity Shops

Using Recycling Facilities

and many more.

What We Believe – the Little Things

We as Pagans believe in Freedom of Spiritual Choice which means we believe everyone is entitled to believe and worship their own spiritual beliefs and religions without prejudice.

We as Pagans believe in Personal Responsibility which means what you do or say is your responsibility. We believe this is true for everyone – although we do not force them or expect them to believe the same. You can blame no outside force – whether the devil or your parents – for making you behave the way you do and say the things you say.
Whilst we are all, to a certain extent, conditioned by what has happened to us in the past, once we reach the age where we can think for ourselves, we have the choice and the ability to change our behaviour in our future.

We as Pagans believe in Personal Development which means as a Pagan you are responsible for your own personal development for fulfilling your potential. This means continuing your development throughout your life. It may mean taking up some form of adult education, whether to make up for opportunities lost or to set out in a new and different direction etc.
Think of it this way, although each thing on the earth is equal and in balance with each other and neither or either of us or anything else is above or below us, think of having ranks in your personal development. At each stage where you achieve your life goals in which you have set yourself you earn a higher rank or a gold star etc and should feel proud and exhilarated that you did not quit what you wanted to have in your life.

The Wiccan Rede!!

We as Pagan believe and obey this one rule of the religion.
One of the ways in which personal responsibility and development is emphasized is through the Wiccan Rede. This is the rule that Pagans strive to follow and by which they measure their actions. This is a positive morality, rather than a series of don’ts or shalt nots. The Rede comes in many forms, some poetic, some lengthy, but however it is expressed it always contains the same key phrase at it’s heart : And It Harm None, Do What Thou Will
This phrasing (often modernized to ‘and it harm none, do what you will’) simply means that you should do what is right in your life, but that in doing so you should try not to hurt others. Now obviously there are times when doing what is personally right will almost certainly hurt someone else but here you are required to make your own moral judgement – to consider, accept and live with the consequences.


Sorry honey will have to post the rest later. Paganism is an interesting subject and there are many key points i'd love to share with you, but if i do all in one post it'll slow the forum down Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeSun 18 Jan 2009 - 10:18

WOW!!
its really cool, im completley intreeged!
i didn't know wicca was another term for pagan... study
it really is very interesting.
when you say you cannot bury any thing that did not come from the earth its self, does that mean when you die you HAVE to be cremated rather than burried?...
so much to learn! study
sounds like a really good religion to follow zoe! Very Happy
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Baby Blud Suicide
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Baby Blud Suicide

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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeSun 18 Jan 2009 - 16:53

Nice to know you think my religion is intriguing honey.

Wicca isn't another term for Pagan as you think honey, Wicca is a sub-culture from Pagan which i'll explain more of as soon as i finish explaining all the things you need to know about paganism ^-^ And no we as Pagans believe you have not only a spiritual choice but also a life choice, which gives you the right to decide on how you pass onto the next life. Many Pagans, in fact almost all of them, choose to be cremated, but some are buried. It all depends on where you come from and how deeply connected you are to the religion as some, especially some Neo-Pagans decide to believe in certain aspects of the religion but not others. Anyway... This post will be all about the Divine, The Elements and the Eight Sabbats

Individuals and The Divine

[color=white]We as Pagans believe that every individual has the right and the ability to communicate with the divine (God and Goddess) for themselves. We do not need anyone else to communicate our deity’s for us. We do not need a special ‘priest’ or ‘priestess’ to tell us who, what, why, how and when to worship, as we are capable of making these decisions for ourselves.

The Elements

The ancients believed that all nature was made up from was from the elements of [color=brown]Earth
Air Fire and Water.
Pagans believe that these elements, together with the fifth element Spirit, make up ourselves and the world around us. We believe that these elements are real energies which we can access by understanding the way that they work within us and around us. The elements represent different aspects of our being:

Earth is our physical selves, our flesh, blood and bones.
Air is our thoughts.
Fire is our passions and enthusiasms.
Water our emotions.
Spirit is the force or energy which is ourselves.

The five energies are represented in the image of the Pentacle/Pentagram (a five pointed star in a circle) which is worn by many Pagans and which often appears on the Alter at Rituals.
The idea that the reversed, upside-down pentacle/pentagram is linked to Satanism has its roots in Hollywood and popular fiction. It’s not true. In the UK and elsewhere, the reversed pentacle/pentagram indicated the Horned God, the male aspect of fertility, or in some traditions the second degree Pagan.
The elements are also linked to the points of the compass and the seasons of the year. They have colours, sounds, scents, flowers, animals, birds and trees ascribed to them, as well as many other links which are often referred to as correspondences. There are correspondences for almost everything including the signs of the Zodiac, the days of the week and the hours of the day. They are often used in magical workings/rites/rituals, both in the Craft and in other magical traditions, to help achieve results.
The Traditional Craft does not rely so much upon them as some other paths.
To understand how correspondences work it can help to think of this in terms of rowing up a river. If the wind, current and the tide are all in your favour, you will make faster and easier progress than if one or more is against you. Even if all those things are against you, you can still reach your destination; it will just require more effort and strength. Similarly, if you use candles, cloths, oils and incense related to the element with which you are working, then you may find it easier to gain the desired result. The use of correspondences, however, will not make up for lack of focus, practice and ability.

The Sabbats and Wheel Of The Year

Pagans celebrate eight seasonal festivals or Sabbats as they are more commonly called.

Samhain – 31 October

It is more commonly pronounced Sow-in, it is the beginning and therefore the end of the Pagan year. The time when the Goddess returns as the Crone or Wise One.
This is the most important festival in a Pagans year. It marks the beginning and the end of the Wheel Of The Year in the same way that New Year does in the conventional calendar.
Samhain starts as soon as it begins to darken on the evening of 31st October and celebrations are often timed to commence or peak higher, at midnight. However, rituals and celebration are often held on 1st November, the first day of ‘New Year’.
Samhain has a reputation for being linked with Death. The Spirits of the Dead and all kinds of ‘spookiness’. This reputation is, in some respects, deserved. This festival marks the point in the year when the winter months are definitely on their way. In the past it was when people took stock of their supplies for the winter: how much grain they had gathered, how many animals they had. Where supplies where short, they would assess which of the animals were unlikely to survive through the cold months and slaughter them, preserving the meat for later use and saving precious feed for the animals which would make best use of it.
In some cultures, such as those living in the Arctic Circle, the elderly of the tribe would refuse to eat at this time, effectively sacrificing themselves for the good of their people.
Everywhere there would have been great feasts at Samhain, as this could have been the last opportunity for fresh food until life returned in the spring.
Samhain is also one of the intercalary days of the old Celtic calendar, a day outside the ‘normal’ year, when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is considered to be at its thinnest. For pagans, this means that this is a time when it is possible for the spirits of the dead to return to their loved ones and we will set aside a special place for them at the Samhain feats for any spirits who do care to join us. We do not, however, summon spirits to be with as, as we feel that it is not right to disturb the peace of those who have gone before, unless they are willing.
It is traditional at this time to light a candle in the window to guide the welcome spirits home and to deter any unwanted spirits. This is the origin of the Halloween pumpkin lanterns.
Pagans also believe that this is when the Wild Hunt begins, when the Horned God rides with his hounds and gathers up the souls of those who linger and those who are unwary.
The Wild Hunt continues throughout the winter months. Some Covens (group of Pagans) will enact the Hunt by setting a challenging course through the woods for the members, or runner as they are sometimes called. Finishing the course whilst keeping to the rules will bring special gifts. Those who fail the Hunt must make an offering to the Lord of the Hunt of a nature appropriate to the setting in which they competed.
At this time of the year the Goddess takes on her role as Crone or Wise One, so we look to her for wisdom and guidance. This takes on the form of many kinds of divination such as tarot cards, Dark Mirror, or other forms of scrying.
There are three main themes for this Sabbat. The Goddess takes on the role of Wise One, so we practice divination and scrying to seek wisdom. The God leads out the Wild Hunt, so we face challenge and make personal sacrifice if we fail. It is the end of the old year, the beginning of the new and a time when the veil between the worlds is thin, so we light a candle and set a place at the feast to welcome those we have loved who have gone before us.

Yule – 21 December

Also known as The Winter Solstice it is the shortest day and longest night. Because it is an astronomical event, the actual date will vary from year to year, but, many Pagans celebrate it on the 21st December anyway.
The Sabbat of Yule is the festival of the rebirth of the sun. Having been in decline since the Summer Solstice, the sun now begins to increase in strength, so that even in the depths of winter we are reminded that life will begin again in spring.
Pagans will bring evergreen decorations into the home as a reminder of the return of the growing season and this is the origin of the Christmas tree decorations. Holly with berries is a favourite, the red of the berries symbolizing the resting mother and the life returning to the land, and the dark green Holly symbolizing the Holly King, who rules until this time. Mistletoe is another decoration with strong Pagan connections. The plant has long been considered magical because it grows between the earth and the sky, and is not rooted in the ground.
Many people, not just Pagans, will go out just before dawn on the Winter Solstice so that they can watch the sun rise and welcome the returning Sun King.
At Yule, the Oak King/Lord of Summer, is reborn. In legend the Oak and Holly Kings are brothers who share the rule of the year, with the Oak King reigning from midwinter to midsummer, the period of increasing light and the Holly King reigning from midsummer to midwinter the period of increasing darkness. In this way they represent light and dark individually, and balance when viewed over the whole year. Light and dark are not used as euphemisms for good or bad here, for we need both halves of the year to prosper.
At the Solstices, light and dark are said to battle to determine which will have control over the coming months and many Covens will re-enact the fight between the Oak and Holly kings, making sure, of course, that the ‘right’ king wins.
The Wild Hunt which started at Samhain is not at its height and it is said that anyone who is unwary enough to be out at midnight on the Winter Solstice will be swept up by the Hunter and carried away.
To mark this Sabbat many people will prepare a Yule Log. The traditional Yule Log is not the chocolate-covered swiss roll variety, but a real log onto which will be placed a number of candles. To make this safe it is necessary to have a log which sits firmly and doesn’t roll, scattering hot wax and fire in all directions! Each person in the group, Coven or family will light one candle representing the return of the days of increasing light, and will express a wish for the forthcoming season. Traditionally the Yule Log would then be retained until the following year, when it would be placed in the hearth and allowed to burn. However, these days very few people have an open fire in which to burn their log, so it’s often simply retained for use the following year. Having said that, some groups will use a chocolate log in the same way, with one small candle for each member of the celebration. After the candles have been lit and the wishes stated, the log will be eaten.

It wouldn't let me post the rest! This and the next post will be 10 pages of Microsoft work young lady i hope you're happy!
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeSun 18 Jan 2009 - 16:57

Imbolg 2 February

Also known as Imbolc, Oimelc, Festival of Bride (pronounced ‘Breed’), Festival of Bridgit, Candlemass (the most popular)

At Imbolg the spark of light born at Yule becomes a flame to warm the people and the land. Now we see the first signs of spring. The tress are in bud and some flowers (snowdrops for example) begin to blossom. The word ‘Imbolg’ means ‘in the belly’ whilst ‘Oimelc’ means ‘ewe’s milk’. Both refer to the fact that many ewes are pregnant at this time and in a mild year the first lambs will be born about now. Imbolg is the quickening of the year, the time when the earth is made pregnant with the promise of summer fruitfulness and the harvest to come.
At Imbolg the Goddess casts aside the robes of Wise One and returns as Maiden, dressed in white. In some groups a Maiden will be chosen and will wear a crown of lights and a white robe or cloak for the ritual. It is worth noting that up until relatively recently, the term ‘maiden’ was used to denote a female who had not yet given birth to a child, so that even an obviously pregnant married woman could be a maiden and take this role in ritual.
The God, who was reborn at Yule, is now seen as a young man, full of vigour, and his pursuit of the Maiden starts at this Sabbat.
Imbolg is the time when the last of Yule’s festive evergreens are removed. In some places it is still traditional to hold on to the (undecorated) Christmas fir (tree) until Imbolg, when it is taken and burned on the Imbolg fires. These days few of us can afford to keep the tree in place, especially as our modern forced and treated trees find it hard to keep their needles until January, let alone a whole month later. However there is a practical alternative. As part of my Imbolg celebrations I take all the Yule and Christmas cards I have been given and recycle them as well as burn all my garden foliage and mess in the hope if I tidy it up a bit I’ll get nice flowers this year.
In ancient Rome this was the festival of Pan and the priests of Pan, called the Luperci, would run through the streets dressed in goatskin cloth and whipping the people, especially women, to make them fertile for the coming year.
In many parts of the British Isles you will find wells dedicated to Bride or to the Christian St Bridget. Originally these would have been associated with the Goddess. If you are lucky enough to live near one of these, or able to visit one, look nearby for a tree with scraps of fabric tied to its branches. This will be a ‘wishing tree’. Many people, whether Wiccans, Pagans or otherwise, visit these places to make an offering to the Goddess in the hope of having a wish granted. Such offerings are usually a strip of cloth, but I’ve seen necklaces of plaited grasses, small poises or flowers and even a child’s shoe tied to a wishing tree. If you do visit such a site and wish to leave an offering, try to make it something which will soon return to the earth, a small circlet of grass plaited whilst thinking about your wish, or a hair from your own head offered as a form of sacrifice.

Oestara 21 March

Also known as Oestre, Eostar, The Spring Equinox (most popular)

It is no coincidence that the name of this Sabbat sounds familiar to the word ‘Easter’. Eostar, or Oestara, is an Anglo-Saxon Dawn Goddess whose symbols are the egg and the hare. She, in turn, is the European version of the Goddess of Ishtar or Astarte, whose worship dates back thousands of years pre-Christian.
Oestre also lives in our medical language in the word ‘oestrous’ (the sexual impulse in female animals) and ‘oestrogen’ (a female hormone).
Today, Oestara is celebrated as a spring festival. Although the Goddess put on the robes of Maiden at Imbolg, here she is seen as truly embodying the spirit of spring. By this time we can see all around us the awakening land, the leaves on the trees, the flowers and the first shoots of corn.
Oestara is also the Spring Equinox, a time of balance when day and night are equal. As with the other Equinox and the Solstices, the dates of this festival may move slightly from year to year, but many will choose to celebrate it on 21st March.
In keeping with the balance of the Equinox, Oestara is a time when we seek balance within ourselves. It is a time for throwing out the old and taking on the new. We rid ourselves of those things which are no longer necessary – old habits, thoughts and feelings – and take on new ideas and thoughts. This does not mean you use this festival as a time for berating yourself about your ‘bad’ points, but rather that you should seek to find balance through which you can accept yourself for what you are.
There is some debate as to whether Oestara or Imbolg was the traditional time of spring cleaning, but certainly the casting out the old would seem to be in sympathy with the spirit of this festival and the increased daylight at this time encourages a good clean out around the house.

Beltane 1 May

Also known as Beltan, Bealtaine, Walpurgisnacht, May Day.

Beltane is the second most important Sabbat of the Pagan’s calendar after Samhain. Again, it is an intercalary day when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is thin. But whereas Samhain is a time for greeting and celebrating those who have gone before, Beltane is a time when more mischievous spirits may take advantage. For this reason the results of divinations performed at Beltane should always be approached cautiously, for the Gods also enjoy a sense of humour! Similarly, be very careful of working magic at this time, for the phrase ‘Be careful what you wish for’ is even more appropriate around Beltane. Many a Pagan has found a wish being granted very literally and has received what they asked for opposed to what they wanted.
This is the festival of the fire God Bel. Bel has been worshipped under many names in all parts of the world for thousands of years: Bel, Beli, Balar, Balor, Belenus, Baal and Belial.
Traditionally, Beltane would be the night on which the old hearth fires were extinguished and the new were kindled from the Bel fire. These fires were placed on top of hills and produced a chain of beacons which ran across the land. Cattle would be driven between the fires and people would leap over them to ensure fertility for the coming season.
Now the Goddess takes on her robes of Mother, the God descends to reign beside his Queen and the marriage of the Goddess and God is celebrated. It is said that throughout the spring the God has pursued his mate until at Beltane she allows him to catch her. You can see the remnants of this tale in the choosing of a May Queen to rule over May Day. Traditionally, she would then select her consort for the day, although this part of the festivities is often neglected now.
Because of the marriage of the Goddess and the God, this Sabbat is also a major fertility festival. In times past, the Maypole would be central to the Beltane celebrations – a tall pole surmounted by a circlet of flowers which would descend as the ribbons were wound tight by the dancers.
This symbol of sexual union would be hard to mistake. Those who had not yet found a partner would seek one at the Beltane right, wearing green to announce their intentions. They would then spend the night in the woods consummating their new-found love. This is in part the reason why it is considered unlucky to bring the flower of the May tree into the house at this time – after all, if you spent the night in the woods gathering flowers, you had obviously been unlucky in your search for a mate.
Beltane is a common time for Pagan’s to Handfast. A Handfasting is the Wiccan form of wedding. Unlike it’s Christian counterpart, both parties approach the ceremony as equals (neither is ‘given away’) they write their own vows and make their promises directly to each other, not through an intermediary, although a Priestess and/or Priest may assist them in the ceremony. Many of the phrases and traditions used to weddings of all denominations have their roots in this older form of union. ‘Tying the knot’ and ‘getting hitched’ are references to the part of Handfasting where the couple’s hands are literally tied together with a gold and silver cord whilst they make their promises. ‘Jumping the broom’ (a phrase well less known now) refers to the point at which the couple join hands and leap over the broomstick (which itself is a symbol of the union of male and female) to signify their leap from one life (that of being single) to another (that of being married).
Handfasting need not be for life; there are in fact three periods of time for which your vows may stand: a year and a day, a life-time and for all time. Obviously both parties must be in agreement as to the term of their joining.
Central to the celebration of Beltane is the Great Rite. Most often celebrated symbolically, this is the ritual form of the union between the Goddess and the God. The Goddess is represented by the Chalice or Cup full of wine and the God is represented by the Athame (Pagan’s knife). In full ritual within a Coven, or partnership, the Goddess is invoked by the High Priestess and the God is invoked into the High Priest.
The High Priest will hold the chalice high in front of the group telling them to behold the symbol of the Goddess. He will then kneel in front of the High Priestess, who will hold up the Athame and likewise tell them to behold the symbol of the God. Then she will lover the blade of the Athame into wine, whilst both will speak of the joining of Goddess and God from which all life flows. The Great Rite actual is generally reserved for the ritual between partners or for certain kinds of initiation, where it may in fact be performed in token rather than in full.
At first it appears from this that you cannot celebrate the Great Rite alone, but this is not so. The words of the invocations make it clear that the Chalice and Athame themselves represent the Goddess and the God, so that their union can be celebrated by any Pagan, whether in company or when working solitary.

Litha 21 June

Also known as The Summer Solstice.
The Summer Solstice is the longest day and shortest night of the year. From this point onwards the hours of daylight decline. As with the other Solstices and Equinoxes, celebrations may take place on the actual day of the Solstice or just after it.
At this time the reigns of Oak and Holly Kings are reversed and Lord Holly once more comes into his own. The Holly King presides over the waning part of the year and thus is considered the darker of the two. Remember though, that in witchcraft light and dark are not terms used to denote good or evil, but are very literal references to the length of day.
Now groups will re-enact the battle of Oak and Holly King, ensuring that this time the Holly King wins. As this is midsummer, we often incorporate this event into a more open celebration, with very little of the Craft being mentioned. We invite friends and family to an outdoor picnic or barbeque, get out ‘kings’ to dress the part and get the audience to take sides, cheering their chosen warrior. We then allow the youngest member present to award the winner with a crown. With a little planning this can become an event that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their path or faith.
The Goddess at this part of the year is still wearing her robes of Mother and she is full of promise of harvest. It is important to recognize that whilst the God is celebrated through the cycles of life, death and rebirth, the Goddess is the one who presides over these changes. While he changes his persona, she simply changes her aspect.
The Summer Solstice, whilst a cause for celebration, is also a time for a little reflection, for whilst the sun is at the peak of his power for the year he is also starting to decline. Of course, while this is true for this hemisphere, for the other the opposite is true, and our midsummer is midwinter for others. In this we are reminded that the cycle of life continues and is never-ending and that whilst good things grow old and fade away, they give way to new things which have their own place in the world. The cycle of the seasons is like the tides – as one peaks, it prepares to ebb and give way for another to take its place.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeSun 18 Jan 2009 - 16:58

Lammas 1 August

Also known as Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-nass-uh) and Loaf-Mass.


Lammas is the festival of the dying and rising God. Its other name of Lughnasadh commemorates the death and subsequent resurrection of the Celtic Sun God Lugh
Lammas is celebrated at the first of the harvest and it is a festival strongly linked to stories of sacrifice as well as death. Whilst it is almost certain that some ancient traditions did involve blood sacrifice, there are many cases where misunderstanding and misinterpretation of what actually took place gave rise to this idea. It is often said that for people in earlier centuries ‘life was cheap’. However, it is a mistake to assume that this meant that the death of a family or neighbour had any less meaning for the ordinary person then it does now.
It used to be common, and still takes place in some isolated areas, for the last sheaf of the first field cut to be sacrificed to the land as a repayment for the bounty of the harvest and to ensure the fertility of the land in coming years. This sacrifice or repayment had to be made quickly, before the spirit of the land awoke and discovered what was happening. The custom was for the whole village to gather in the field selected to be the first crop reaped. They would harvest this as fast as possible and in the ensuing mayhem many small animals and even birds would be caught and killed by the harvesters. Thus, when the true sacrifice of harvested crop was made, the blood in the field would give rise to stories of animals or even people of being slaughtered.
Another potentially misleading custom was that of selecting a King for the day. This person would be honoured and for the full day could have anything he wanted, his commands were law. In some tales he is dressed in finery and even wears a crown, in others he may be dressed as the Hobby Horse or Teaser, or even as a rather grotesque caricature of a giant woman (probably a disguise for the Mother Goddess). During the celebrations he wields a ‘sceptre’ or stick, with which he strikes people to bring about fertility. Finally at either sunset or dawn the following day (both versions appear, as indeed do many variations) he leads the townsfolk to the fields, where everyone gathers around cheering him before commencing the first harvest.
In variation of the above custom, the first sheaf of corn would be made into a Corn King, a life-size (or almost life-size) image of a man. During the celebrations after the first field had been cleared, this would be slain by all participants. Many Covens actually make their own Corn King for Lammas which is then slaughtered as part of ritual.
In recognition of the Corn King’s sacrifice small cakes would be made in the shape of men. This is the origin of our own Gingerbread men. In ritual a gingerbread man makes a very good substitute for a Cork King, as the remains of your sacrifice do not need to be carefully swept up but can be eaten and enjoyed.
Bread for the feast would also be shaped as a man, or more often, as a sheaf of wheat, and from this comes the term Loaf-Mass, another name for this festival.

Madron 21 September

Also known as Modron, Harvest Festival, Autumn Equinox.

This is the Autumn Equinox, once again a time of balance when the day and night are equal. As with the other Equinox and the Solstices, the date of this festival may move slightly from year to year, but many Pagans will choose to celebrate it on the 21st September. In keeping with the balance of the Equinox, Madron is again the time when we seek balance within ourselves. It is a time for throwing out the old and taking in the new. Although similar in this way to Oestara, the emphasis is lightly different, for Madron is the feast of the Healer, the Bringer of Justice and Release of Prisoners.
At the Autumn Equinox the crops have been harvested in preparation for the winds and storms of early winter. In earlier times, this was when the people had heir first indication of how successful the harvest had been and of how much they would have to live on through the long cold months of winter. In times when battles were generally short and prisoners rarely taken, at Madron prisoners would be released back to their families. This seasonal exchange and return of prisoners makes sense when you remember that only persons of rank or potential exchange value would have been captured. To return them at this time would ensure that they were not extra mouths to feed and would possibly buy the return of your own friends or family before the hard weather set in. Before the advent of our modern roads, travel would have become increasingly difficult after the end of the summer, with rain turning the ground to mud and darker nights cutting short the available traveling hours. In late autumn and winter you might be stranded a long way from the nearest village, or even house, without adequate food or fire for weeks. For the same reasons, at this time of year disputes were less likely to be resolved by combat, bringing a time for healing physical wounds and the resolutions of arguments.
Today’s Pagans still mark this Sabbat with the release of ‘prisoners’, in this case not people held hostage but old regrets and arguments we have held on to over the preceding season. This is a time for forgiveness, of others but primarily of self. Your prisoners are the things that you berate yourself wit, such as mistakes you have made and the things you have said, or not said, which cause you regret and which are holding you back. This does not mean you simply forget the things you regret, as you may well feel the need to make amends in some way, and this is an important part of the healing process. For example if you borrowed money and feel guilty for not having re-paid it, even though the person you borrowed it from may not have asked for it back, you will need to repay the money as well as put the guilt aside. In this way Madron becomes a very real occasion of healing, for it is only putting our mistakes behind us that we can move on with the lessons we have yet to learn.

The Wheel Of The Year as a Whole

The eight Sabbats form the Wheel Of the Year, a never-ending cycle of beginnings and endings, each leading to the other. There is no way to do justice to all eight Sabbats within one single post which is why I’ve written all this blooming lot haha. A book could be written on each one, containing the legends of the Goddess and the God, the traditions and the ways of celebration. One way of celebrating each Sabbat is to spend some time reading up on these legends and traditions, and it is no less valid a way of marking the Wheel of the Year than ritual.
Another way is to make a point of going out into the land and observing the changes of the seasons, perhaps taking an item from the countryside to remind you of each Sabbat, such as an ear of corn for Lammas or a holly leaf for Yule etc.
The Craft is a living belief system of nature which you can, and should, use to bring positive change into your own life.

There three posts of the elements and all eight sabbats, i hope your happy having to copy and paste post after post to get everything to fit and not slow the forum down *cries* i look like a twit who can't find the edit button
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeMon 19 Jan 2009 - 13:10

woah!!
my brain in now very heavy, after such a wonderful brain feast!
exelent zoe, thankyou ever so much for posting! Smile
DO NOT GO BLAMING ME WHEN YOUR EYE SIGHT DIES!
hehe Smile cherry
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Baby Blud Suicide
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeMon 19 Jan 2009 - 13:35

I'm short sighted, so i can see fine when things are near me Wink but you'll have to wait for your next lesson i'm afraid honey. I'm feeling too tired tonight plus i have a lot to do tomorrow ^-^
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Number of posts : 75
Age : 24
Location : south yorkshire.... (moooo!!)
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and Religious Aspects   Religion and Religious Aspects I_icon_minitimeThu 22 Jan 2009 - 12:28

Haha!! awwww....
im sure i can wait, you get some rest! haha! cherry
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