Tag Archives: paganism

A brief glimpse into my spiritual practices (part 1)

I don’t know if I’ve covered this yet in this blog as a post, but I thought I would share some information about my current spiritual path and why I practice the way I do.

Over the years as I became obsessed with shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed and then Supernatural – Witchcraft and Wicca seemed to call out to me. I studied both practices and also worked with Animism (Shamanism) and attended local drumming circles.

I went through a sort of spiritual awakening in the past two months and I’ve never felt more “alive” in the spiritual sense. I feel at peace and learning more and more every day.

The Karmic Law

My main belief being: karma will find its way back to you. What you send out to the universe, will come back to you. And so, I try and live a good life. But I often attract people that will test this faith.

It’s similar to the whole “do unto others” that you see in Christianity. There is some truth to it, at least that I’ve experienced personally. Some people are meant to teach you karmic lessons. While others will help you grow.

Shamanism and Animism

There’s a lot of controversary in some circles about sticking to your own heritage instead of adopting Indigenous beliefs. But I digress. Shamanism is one of the oldest forms of religions and is practiced worldwide. No one owns it. So, if you want to practice Shamanism, go for it. I’m a firm believer in individualism and you are free to do what feels right for you.

The main principle of Shamanism is that there is one Creator – one source for the divine. Mother Earth. It is working with natural elements, the moon and the sun. It’s about using natural healing methods. And dream work or astral travel. Something I’ve done a lot of. Animals are a big part of Shamanism and I’ll touch on that in a later post.

Animism refers to the attribution of a soul to living things and inanimate objects. Or the belief in supernatural power that animates the material universe. It is believed that objects can posses souls.

An example of this is in Thailand where they believe that dolls can inherit a soul and become real. Animals are also considered spiritual beings and can act as spirit guides or harbingers of news or communication.

Green Witchery

This is a new term for me and it’s something I can strongly identify with me. In very simplistic terms, being a Green Witch means being connected with nature and using natural elements.

Many Green Witches work with dried herbs or have home gardens where they grow their own plants and herbs. They may work in the kitchen and apply this to their daily meals or beverages like tea.

It’s also about connecting what is available in your vicinity. Many Green Witches choose to live in isolated or rural areas where they have access to natural bodies of water or are surrounded by beautiful scenery. They make their owns potions, oils, candles and are very crafty with organic materials.

For me, I love this simple way of life. I wish I lived in a rural area where I had better access to flowers and gardens. And where it isn’t winter six months of the year!

To learn more, subscribe to The Green Witch on YouTube. She’s wonderful.

Norse and Celtic Paganism

The practice of Paganism isn’t a new concept to me, however, celebrating Norse and Celtic Paganism is. After learning the controversy about adopting Indigenous beliefs when you aren’t Indigenous, I did a lot of soul searching and started learning about my own heritage.

My background is a bit of a mixed bag. I have a strong Danish background, with some Irish, English and like 2% German. Because the Danish genes are so pertinent, I’ve always felt strong ties to the Nordic ways and more recently – the history of the Vikings. Yes, I like the thought of pillaging a little too much.

Paganism predates modern Christianity and was commonly practiced in European countries. The main differences being that in Paganism, more than one deity is worshipped. There is a long list of Gods, Goddesses and Deities that you can choose from and work with.

For Nordic Paganism, Odin is the main God, while there are others like Thor, Frigg, Heimdall, Tyr. And coming up next week is Imbolc, where the Goddess Brigid is celebrated. I’ll write more on that later.

In Paganism, there are 7 festivals that are honored along with other celebrations to mark certain events during the year. Christmas for example, was adapted from Yule which is celebrated on winter solstice – December 21st. Samhain, also Halloween, is celebrated on October 31 and so on.

Next week is Imbolc, and I will be sharing a post on what Imbolc is and how it is celebrated around the globe. I will also create separate posts to describe in more details what each of these religions or practices detail. But – these are often life long lessons and take years to master.

I’m also working on a list of reference books too that I will share via Good Reads when I get a chance.

Celtic Roots

In addition to Nordic Paganism, I have always felt a strong connection to my Irish or Celtic roots. Something about Celtic music just transports me to a different timeline. Artists like Loreena McKennit, produce music so magical that you’ll feel as though you’re in a dream when listening.

In Summary

My beliefs and spiritual practices are constantly evolving. I love to learn and platforms like YouTube are a good place to start. Just take what you learn with a grain of salt, and do your own research.

You may need to try a few things before settling on what you really connect with. Connection is probably the most important aspect of spirituality. Follow your heart and what brings you most joy. It does help overall with healing.

Read, read, read. And read some more.

That’s the best piece of advice I can give for when you are doing shadow work or trying to find what works for you. You’ll make mistakes and that’s okay. And you may change your beliefs as new experiences and revelations come into your life. And that’s okay.

And lastly.

Thanks for reading.

Blessed Be.

Related Posts

Check out my “spiritual” page for a list of Sabbats, celebrations and other important dates. Look out for future articles that will be posted here.

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Merry Winter Solstice! Midwinter celebrations and the Star of Bethlehem

Today is a special day for many reasons. It’s December 21 also known as a very old traditional celebration called Winter Solstice. Many people around the world associate Solstice celebrations with Wiccans or Pagans. But the origins of Solstice dates even further back in history. Many believe that Winter Solstice began with the Roman Empire but truth be told, it’s much older than that!

So, instead of whining about migraines which I still have three weeks later, I’m going to share with you what I know about this special day.

What is Winter Solstice?

In short form, winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and has the longest night. It’s 3:30 pm as I write this and the sun has already started to set. It’s been a cloudy day which makes it appear even darker. The word solstice means twice each year. The longest day of the year is celebrated in June – Summer Solstice.

But what makes today special is that it’s a warm day. And not only that -but this is also the very first year you can also see the Star of Bethlehem since 1226.

Winter Solstice Origins

The earliest recorded observations of Winter Solstice started around 10,200 B.C. This is also known as the stone age. The stone age is defined as an era where early humans used stone as their main tools in daily life.

The infamous tourist site, Stonehenge, is thought to be a place of worship and ritual for the stone age people. It is believed that Stonehenge and similar structures around the world, were used as a calendar of sorts to mark the beginning end of seasons. This calendar would be have been a useful tool for the farmer’s planting and harvesting crops.

Other notable landmarks include the Newgrange in Ireland and Maeshow in Scotland that are also aligned with the sun.

The Roman Empire

In ancient Rome, celebrations were held around December 21 to honour their “chief god” – Sol Invictus, also known as the “Unconquered Sun.” According to historians, on December 25 AD 274, Emperor Aurelian made this an official religion. However it seems that the origin of this religion is widely debated among scholars today.

Saturnalia, was a holiday to honour the god of agriculture also known as Saturn. These celebrations were held the week before winter solstice.

Ancient Romans celebrated the holiday by closing down businesses, schools and courts. Decorations were hung in homes which included handmade wreaths, mistletoe and berries. They also indulged in gambling, drinking, music, and exchanging gifts. The remarkable thing about this ancient holiday is that even the slaves were allowed to participate in celebrations and were sometimes even served by their masters.

Saturnalia by Antoine Callet.jpg
Saturnalia (1783) by Antoine Callet, showing his interpretation of what the Saturnalia might have looked like

Yuletide – Paganism

In religions such as Druidism and Paganism, Yuletide is celebrated on this day around the world. It is a mid-winter festival of joy (Jol) and tide.

For ancient Celts, Winter Solstice was one of the most significant times of the year. There are ancient monuments that can be found across Europe that have captured the impact of the sun’s rays during Winter and Summer Solstice.

Ancient Druids gathered berries and mistletoe from oak trees to place in their homes as decorations. This was seen as a Celtic religious ceremony and the oak tree was considered sacred.

Midwinter celebrations were called Alband Arthan which means “light of the bear.” For some Druids, it refers to the constellation of the Great Bear in our northern skies.

For many Pagans and Druids, the earth is worshipped much like other deities. People of ancient times would light candles and gather closely together around large campfires. They danced, sang and played instruments like drums and pan flutes.

If you want to experience a Yuletide celebration this year – light some candles, listen to some Celtic or German music and decorate your home with mistletoe and holly. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, tonight would be a perfect night to drink an Irish ale while sitting in front of a warm fire. It’s already pitch black here and it’s now only 5:00 pm as I update this post.

holly king - Google Search | Pagan yule, Yule, Winter solstice
Ancient Forest King – Icon of Old Yuletide – author unkown – from Google search

Christmas Origins

The name for Christmas was adopted from Mass of Christ. While the actual date of Jesus’ birth is unknown, scholars believed it to be on December 21 or close to it in 1000 AD. I’m not an expert on ancient history or dates, so I’ll leave it at that.

Christmas is my favorite time of year for so many reasons. It’s the celebrations, getting together with loved ones, and more importantly – the wonderful gift of music that brings us all together.

Adorazione dei Magi Gentile da Fabriano | Fabriano, Medieval art, Epiphany
Adorasione de Magie

Mid-Winter Music

This Christmas, I wanted to do something different for music. I chose some of my favorite Celtic Christmas carols and recorded them using the sounds of instruments that would have been used in ancient times. To honour this very special day, here is my cover of In the Midbleak Winter.

This album really brings out my desire to learn more about my mother’s heritage. Though she was born in England, my grandfather’s family was Irish.

How are you celebrating this most magical day? Let me know in the comments! Theology and ancient history is another passion and hobby of mine. I love researching and writing about special holidays and traditions around the world.