Archives For M. Ashley

Pagan Voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media or a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice or artist you’d like to see highlighted? Contact us with a link to the story, post, audio, or image.

When two polytheistic cultures meet, they compare (and often also share) their gods and traditions. It’s more about commerce than it is about competition—inclusion, not exclusion. . . . There’s never an argument about whose god is true or false because they’re all true. Obviously. Plurality and multiplicity echo throughout the cosmos and this is evident in polytheist thought.

“Y’all should worship the One True Thor—YOUR ZEUS IS FALSE!” said no polytheist ever.

— Ελευθέριος, Polytheism Is a Party Where Everyone Is Invited


I think because of my aphantasia, everything feels very immediate to me. I live mostly in the now. The Buddhists would love me. But it means that I don’t have the ability to even really imagine the feeling of a spirit or god outside of my everyday mundane experiences. But I have a feeling of awe for nature and everything it drives, and I think it is the highest power anyone could imagine in the universe. It is the universe. And it controls, consciously or not, everything that happens on this planet and to distant stars.

— Hestia, I don’t know what kind of Pagan I am: a guide(ish)


I have yet to come across a modern polytheist tradition that includes work with extinct species of any kind. But consider this: our ancestors had relationships with these beings, on spiritual and physical levels, long before we were ever born. Passenger pigeons were hunted for meat, but were also sacred in several Native American traditions. One such tribe was the Cherokee, who had rules about when and how the bird could be harvested, based on their understanding of its life cycle. Great auks were valued for the warmth of their down feathers, but their bones and skulls have been found in ancient burials, and their skins were used in ceremonial cloaks. The Hawaii mamo was a sacred bird in native Hawaiian culture, and its feathers were used in the capes of royalty. These are just a few examples. There are many species that human beings connected to, and learned the spiritual secrets of, before their extinction. We can learn more about our own history and ancestors by reconnecting with these ancient allies.

— Steve Miller, Why Work with the Ancestor Birds?


Like in dating, you are never going to meet that one special coven or Witch friend unless you put yourself out there. Newsflash, lovely reader: the Goddess is not going to just magically put you in the path of a wise old woman who will take you under her wing and introduce you to all of her coven mates. In this case the Goddess helps those who help themselves.

— Ariadne Woods, Witch Tips: Reaching Out to the Pagan Community


It’s easy to think that devotion is all about feeling the presence of the gods. Maybe one is particularly gifted and can hear or even see them. I won’t deny that the capacity to experience the gods directly is a tremendous grace but, those things are in the end unimportant and focusing on them too much can be a powerful distraction to actual devotion, especially when they are sought or embraced without even a hint of discernment. If our devotion is predicated on seeing, hearing, or feeling the gods, what happens when we can’t do that? What happens when we’re in a dark place, a dark night of the soul, or going through some type of emotional upset that has impacted our discernment? What happens when feeling or seeing or hearing is not forthcoming? Does our devotion go away? Moreover, demanding that we have that feedback every single time we make an offering or prayer is putting the gods on our timetable, holding them hostage, subordinating them to our whims and our needs. It is a violation of the hierarchy of being of which the gods are part.

— Galina Krasskova, Prioritizing the Gods


The astral is full of monsters, most of them made by humanity. The first monsters you encounter will be your inner demons.

Everything on the astral, with no exception, is made of thought, idea, and emotion. When you first open up your mind, your fears, traumas, social programming, low self esteem, anxieties, phobias, and insecurities will approach you, looking very much like independent beings.

You need to tame these monsters. They are parts of yourself. You can only tame them by mastering your own mind and processing your own damage. Think about what they are doing to push your buttons. Dig through your memories. Find peace with your narrative through forgiveness, or by resolving to make the world better in a way that addresses the source of the injury, or in any other way that makes sense to you.

— Thenea, Dear Neophyte Mystic


One of the difficulties the Kurdish workers faced was finding a place to pray during their shifts. . . . To solve this problem, some of them came to the fitting room, where I worked, and asked to use the handicapped room to pray. I always let them in without hesitation. If I can facilitate someone uplifting their spirit and communicating with their god, I am happy to do it. . . .

When you can be of service to others in the practice of their religion, even if it’s a religion you don’t understand, be of service. Do right. It benefits both them and you immediately and may benefit you again in the great beyond. Plus, it feels good. It plain feels good.

— M. Ashley, Walmart: a Place to Pray


In academia, mythology does not receive the same treatment as world religions because of the notion that mythology is dead religion. While classicists do treat myth seriously, they only do so as an artifact of ancient culture. Myth functions as a means to understand a past culture, not as a means for living today, or understanding a current culture, or as a knowledge system for relating to the divine and the world. . . .

Why do we mock myth? Mythology is mocked because society views myth as primitive stories attempting to explain the unknown. Mythology is mocked for being thought of as false stories, fantasies, immoral, violent, and so on. Much of this comes from Christian culture which directed how we viewed the world.

— Angelo Nasios, Why is Mythology Mocked?


Here in Britain, the sun doesn’t travel very high in the sky at all during this time, and is always casting long shadows across the wintry landscape. The daylight doesn’t really start much before 9 a.m. at the darkest point, and the darkness creeps back in around 3.30 p.m. It can be a real challenge for people living in northerly latitudes at this time of year, and the reverse in southern latitudes when they experience their winter months. The effects of seasonal affective disorder are now well known, as the brain produces less serotonin and melatonin during the winter months due to lack of sunlight, as well as affecting the body’s circadian rhythms.

– Joanna van der Hoeven, The Winter Solstice

[Pixabay].