Pagan Voices: Rachel Patterson, Lazulimaya, Emma Kathryn and more

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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.

I think we visualise [the gods] based on what is familiar to us, maybe our subconscious filters through our memories and puts together a ‘photo fit’ gathered together from paintings and images we have seen in the past. I think it all has to fit together for us to connect; if Athena appeared in gold leggings, a bulletproof vest and a policeman’s helmet it would just be silly and there is no way we would make that link to her. . . . At the end of the day the most crucial point is that we connect with deity and allow them to advise, guide and support us and for us to honour and thank them in return, isn’t it? — Rachel Patterson, What if My God Doesn’t Look Like Your God?

Firstly, the altar is the centrepiece of your practice, as many witches would agree. Although I feel that I would be able to have a full altar on my dresser, the fact still remains I want to share my space, and respect the space of those around me. That is why a small wooden table and a portable altar can really go a long way! When you aren’t practicing, the portable altar is tucked away, and it looks like a beautiful box sitting on a small table. I bought a deep wooden box at the dollar store for four dollars, took out my acrylics, and painted the box to my needs. I stuck some adhesive black velveteen on the inside, and it is filled with small items that make the altar. . . . There are also subtle ways to perform magic in a small living space, and they seem more mundane than one might expect. Tasks such as cooking a meal or cleaning the apartment can be very magical if you use your own handmade broom to bless the area, your blessed cooking spoon and cookware, using special herbs in your recipes, or even having a small clay statue of your favourite god or goddess accompanied by a tea light candle as you bake or cook. Creative expression is highly individualistic, and it does not need to look like a Renaissance painting to be appreciated. You can have air-dry clay statues adorning your shelves, paintings that bring you peace, or an art journal you can tuck away and look at the images when you’re feeling under the weather.

— Lazulimaya, Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces

To some, witchcraft is a religion, to others, a spiritual practise, to others, a way of life, or all three, but it is also a tool. Witchcraft has always been the tool of the poor, the repressed, the maligned, those to whom without its protection, and often times solace, would have been powerless against those whom would seek to hold them down, to make them comply, to oppress them and rule them, without mercy and kindness.

Do not let your witchcraft be tamed, for us witches are wild things. Isn’t that why we are witches? If the comfort and ease of acceptance, of ‘‘normality’’ was what we wanted, then why would we bother with the effort that witchcraft takes? Because make no mistake, it does take effort and at times, sheer will. It’s not all love and lightness. Sometimes, quite often in fact, the real world is a harsh and unrelenting world. It isn’t always, nor often enough, all love and light, and so, when needed, our witchcraft must respond in like.

— Emma Kathryn, Witchcraft, An Act of Resistance

All too often, summers slip away from us, like a will-o’-the-wisp, gone with the morning dew. Especially for those of us in the Midwest, we wait for the better part of the year. When it is finally upon us, we all too often jam-pack our calendar full of social events and family obligations. In this way, we inadvertently deter ourselves from slowing down and actually breathing in time with the summer. Do you multi-task, even while lounging in your hammock? Wrong approach! Truth be told, I myself am all too guilty. . . . sit under a shaded umbrella, go walk in a nearby park. Again, you don’t need to share every moment with everyone you know. You can learn to truly take stock of your surroundings more, if you go solo. Kick off your shoes and let the grass tickle your toes. Watch the birdies, squirrelies, chipmunks, bunnies, and butterflies. Marvel at the greenery and flowers that surround you, everything perfectly at their peak. Eat slowly, savor every bite, and be thankful for these simple pleasures. Oftentimes, they are the things that make life worth living.

— Colleen DuVall, Hunting the Green Man

My alternatives were to memorize what the journey was supposed to be, then put on a CD of drumming (yes, I paid money for a CD of nothing but drumming in different increments of time) and attempt it, or have a friend read the meditation for me. Highly embarrassing. Or I could get out my trusty Walkman cassette tape player and some blank cassettes, record myself reading the meditation, and then listen to it later. . . . Here in the future, however, we have iPhones and apps. I’m hitting my meditation groove with Insight Timer, which is so much easier. Yes, there is a timer that will play a number of calm sounds when time is up and at intervals along the way, but there are also thousands of guided meditations in many languages available, and — crucially for me — there are milestones shown by stars for the number of days you’ve meditated with the app and the number of days in a row (because daily practice isn’t important for everyone).

— Maewyn, Returning to tarot and meditation

Need a hull or anchor, a current or shore to set out from, wind in your sails, fire in your belly, water in your canteens or buoying you up, tide and moon and sun? Hail, gods of the mundane! We honor and salute you, without whom this world cannot shape the spiral, playing its part in manifesting anything at all in the world of form. Right and left hands of spirit, we offer these gifts and salutations.

It’s fitting that Lugh whose festival is upon us bears the epithet Samildanach: “equally skilled in many arts.” The god stands out not for any particular excellence but for all of them.

And that includes — fully, rightfully, honorably, deservedly — the forms that spirit takes in its guise as the “mundane:” the gifts of welcome, an open hearth, food and laughter and good company.

— from Honoring the Mundane on A Druid Way

Part of my purpose in life, part of my soul’s profession, is in agriculture. In all the Kabbalistic and Thelemic self-work I’ve been doing this last year, that much has been made clear. My comfort zone is gently resting my head on the side of a goat while I milk her. The paternal instinct I give back to this world is in feeding them all, and being fed by them in return.

I dream about cows and goats and camels and bees. On my prayer mat I’m joined by goddesses of scythe and hoof and hearth and horn.”

— Pat Mosley, Another Year

Can a deity choose to stop being a deity? Are they allowed to quit? Are they capable of incarnating? This is sort of like the “Can God create a boulder so heavy that he cannot lift it” quandary for Polytheists.

If a deity cannot stop being a deity, are they not prisoners of their own apotheosis? If they can quit, then where do they go? Will you really claim that a deity can ride in an ill-fitting, borrowed human form, but not inhabit one that they grew up in?

Obviously, it is possible. Gods take human guise, they tool about in borrowed human bodies, and if they really wanted, they could incarnate. We have myths about deities like Harmonia leaving the world of deities, living human lives, and giving birth to mortal children.

Gods in human form are found in many cultures. The Pharaoh of Egypt, or any other God-King, is an example of this. The Kumari Devi of Nepal is another example. Gods can be physical, living beings.

— Thenea, Is That Person A God?

The person with poor self esteem struggles to believe that they deserve basic, essential things. Getting the job done thus seems more important than being well. Being useful is more important than being well even if being useful in the short term may compromise your longer term viability. For me, for a long time, the idea of self-care was itself a panic trigger and if people suggested it, I’d get even more distressed. I think I’m not alone in this.

When poor self esteem underpins poor mental health, the odds are a person has internalised a lot of crap from other people. We do not come alone to the idea of being worthless, useless, and that we deserve to suffer. We may believe we’re lazy, making a fuss, a nuisance – because we’ve had prolonged exposure to people telling us these things. We believe that we aren’t really ill, that the problem is that we aren’t trying hard enough. If only we made more effort to be more positive, we’d be better people. Getting a person to believe the bullshit of positivity logic can be one of the cruellest ways of keeping a mentally distressed person trapped in cycles of ill health.

— Nimue Brown, Anxiety, Depression and Self-Esteem