Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A Warning?

You do hark.
Hark to me?
You still hark;
What do you see?

You do squawk.
Squawk at me?
You still squawk;
Talk to me?

Owl now hoots.
Hoots for me?
Owl still hoots;
Hoots at thee?

Raven, raven, owl;
Talk to me?
Raven, raven owl;
Message for me?




© Ancestral Celt 2009

Friday, 22 May 2009

Twittering Pagan Poetry Pages

I am not sure how many of you out there Twitter; I don't. However, the Pagan Poetry Pages are now on twitter, so if you are minded to do so, you can follow them through the micro-blogging site.

Friday, 15 May 2009

The Bealltainn Edition of the Pagan Poetry Pages

bealtine




Front Cover

The Bealtine Edition of the PPP is now up!

We have fabulous poetry and the results of our Pagan Paeans Poetry competition. Sign up as a member to read new poems, give feedback and join in debates.

Survey: Religious Experience Amongst Followers of Nature-Based Traditions

For hundreds of years, individuals who experience unusual phenomena have, in the main, found such to bring more challenges than opportunities. Indeed, for many, it was the source of great suffering; from those tortured by inquisitors, to those who were locked in the halls of hospitals such as Bedlam, people who saw heard, or felt things not perceived by the majority were considered evil, or insane. Even today, people who have religious experiences are cautious when sharing such with others. Fears that they will be thought to be psychologically abnormal –crazy or even just ‘not quite the full quid’ keep many quiet about what are often interesting and possibly meaningful experiences.

Yet, for as long as humans have existed, there have been reports of such experiences. From those practicing the Shamanic traditions of ancient cultures through to those who employ the magical techniques of emerging civilizations, to those engage in mysticism, many individuals, who appear fully integrated members of their society or culture, have had experiences that are considered to fall outside of the range of that which is normal. However, if such is indeed a recurring aspect of human experience, it must be asked whether such experiences are truly abnormal, or whether they are expressive of a ‘normal’ dimension of within human personality.

Investigations into the psychology of religion have been looking at questions like these, trying to understand the psychology of religion. Associations with particular personality traits, as well as with particular forms creativity have been found, and questions have been raised as to whether what appear to be unusual religious experiences have been properly considered in the past. However, while many of these studies have looked at the experiences of people in mainstream religions, the experiences of people who identify with smaller, or less recognized religious groupings have not been well considered. This is unfortunate, because unless religious experience can be shown to be something that transcends the boundaries of particular religions, the question of whether it is part of normal human experience cannot be answered. Indeed, as long as religiosity is only considered as part of the paradigm of the established religions, it will only ever been seen through their eyes.

As part of attempts to diversify understanding, Dr. Tiliopoulos and myself (Caroline Fielden), from The University of Sydney, Australia are conducting research into the relationship between religious experience and particular aspects of personality. In particular we are looking for feedback from those who identify with nature-based religions – this being a community whose voice has yet to be properly heard in this type of research. We are hoping that such will reveal a clearer idea of what religiosity is, and what it means for our understanding of what it is to be human. To this end, we invite you to give expression to your experience, to complete this survey, which will be running for only a limited period of time. Please also feel free to pass on this survey, as the more respondents we have, the better. We thank you for your help, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Caroline at cfie7276 @ usyd.edu.au, or Dr. Tiliopoulos at nikot @ psychusyd.edu.au.

For those who wish to complete the survey follow the link below and simply answer the questions to the best of your ability. The survey should 5-10 minutes to complete.

CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

What I Believe ... continued

Further to my post of 18 February 2009, "What I Believe", I have considered other people's ideas and am now able to add to my list:
I believe in:
  1. the pre-Christian gods of the British Isles;
  2. genius loci, i.e. spirits of place and/or landscape;
  3. animism, i.e. spirits in plants, animals and some objects scientist might deign inanimate;
    ancestor worship;
  4. an energy, or force that permeates everything, though I am unsure as to its source (it could be the gods, or perhaps they are a part of it, like us);
  5. the effectiveness of magic and/or witchcraft, i.e. the ability of humans to source and utilise that energy and/or force;
  6. the ability to craft magic is unconnected with religious beliefs;
  7. crafting magic is a gift, in the blood, not a skill anyone can harness;
  8. the connectiveness of all, not unlike the heathen Web of Wyrd;
  9. the gods are separate from us, external, not something we project;
  10. (most of) the gods/goddesses are separate individuals and not aspects of just one;
  11. the gods are superior to us in some ways, mostly their ability to wield power/magic/energy;
  12. the gods are fallible, just like us;
  13. there are planes of existence other than this one, and they touch at certain points, even interact, with ours;
  14. it is possible to know the non-human denizens of the Otherworlds, such as the Sidhe and other beings, and that we can communicate with them.
I am sure I will add to this list as time goes on and I read the offerings from other pagans.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Trip to the Outer Hebrides

I am in a bit of a bind. I had pre-booked, and paid for a trip to the Outer Hebrides with Megalithic Tours for August this year. Then one of my close family members decides to have a "secret wedding" in September and they tell me so that I can arrange to attend the celebrations in Australia.

Wonderful.

Except ... I don't have enough holiday time left with work to travel to Australia and back, and the tour company had already booked and paid for the tour the week before I needed to cancel. I desperately need just one person to book a place on the Hebridean and Highlands tour in August. Unfortunately, it appears that bookings are down this year, so I am doing my utmost to promote the company, Megalithic Tours and the tours, wherein passengers visit ancient, mystical and historical sites.
I travelled with Megalithic Tours just last year, to the Orkney and Shetland islands and it was a fabulous trip. There is only ever 11 people travelling on the bus, the accommodation was marvellous and Neil, the guide, made everything go so smoothly and he was very flexible, allowing for the interests of the passengers. I simply cannot recommend Megalithic Tours enough, and that is why I had pre-booked this year's tour on the last day of our trip. I intend to travel with Megalithic Tours for the next couple of years as its exactly what I want in a tour - interesting, fun, reasonably priced (very good value for money), and easy. Its just a shame I have to bow out of this year's trip (and I was sooo looking forward to it).

So, if you know of anyone who might be interested, particularly in the Hebridean and Highlands tour in August, please, please recommend Megalithic Tours to them. Neil is always happy to answer any questions.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Skellig


I saw this programme being advertised prior to the Easter break, but, as it was on Sky and I only have freeview, I was unable to watch it. As luck would have it, I saw it in the supermarket the other night and, as there was nothing on television, I opted to buy it. I am a huge fan of Tim Roth’s and as the story appeared to have a supernatural element, I figured it was a safe bet.

I got home and settled myself down and started to watch the extras; I know I do things a little back to front from time to time. The mention of angels made me balk a little, but I gained an impression of a much darker story, so I started the movie a little perplexed as to its actual content. I was in for a welcome surprise.

Skellig is about life, death and rebirth, and the way in which a young boy, Michael, deals with the upheavals these events in his young life. First, he and his family move to a run-down house in a new area of town; second, his baby sister arrives unexpectedly and with complications; next he meets Grace, an elderly patient in the hospital; he meets a free-spirited, local girl, Mina; and, lastly, he finds Skellig in his garden shed. Michael’s life becomes chaotic and confusing as he finds himself out of place, and with little support.

Skellig is an enigmatic character, whose presence in Michael’s life adds a supernatural element to the tale. At first, only glimpses Skellig’s face and hands are seen but, as more of him in revealed, more questions are raised as to who, or what he is. Even with these doubts, Michael continues to build a relationship with his strange new friend.

I can’t say this movie has an unexpected end, but it certainly leaves the viewer with questions about the characters. The story moves along at an adequate pace, the storyline is a little different from the norm, the visuals are wonderful, somewhat seamlessly blending the everyday with the extraordinary, and the performances of the actors, particular young Bill Milner as Michael, are understated, making the world they inhabit seem more real in the face of the supernatural elements of the story.

Although aimed at children, I can see where this production would also appeal to adults. Certainly, its transported me back back to the confusion I felt as a pre-teen as to my place in the world and what was expected of me from friends, family and, well, people in general.

Well worth watching, even if I have more questions than answers.

Rating: 4/5.