one girl’s perspective on life, neopaganism, veganism, politics, books, films, and… stuff.

Posts tagged ‘religion’

Imbolg 2009 Altar

Huh, just realised that I never uploaded the photographs of last year’s Imbolg altar (and I’ve been pretty slack and late about uploading this year’s ones. But here they are!

imbolg 2009 altar with flash

L-R: candles, including my Imbolg pillar candle with the rune Beorc (representing purity and rebirth) carved into it. In front of the taper candles are the lotus candle-holder, a piece of kunzite, a lotus candle, a small spessartite cluster, and my trusty pinecone. In front of those are a bottle of clear topaz pieces, a chunk of iceland spar calcite, a selenite sphere with two piece of tumbled selenite, a creedite cluster, and a bottle of tiny garnets. Right at the front is my amethyst rosary (which, appropriately, has a Brighid medallion on it), a selenite wand, a small jar of salt, and a wooden incense-holder/pentacle.

And, of course, a candle-lit shot:

imbolg 2009 altar candlelit

A note on symbolism: my Imbolg altars are characteristically a lot less cluttered than those for the other Sabbats, revolving around candles and stones representing purity and rebirth. In a lot of ways I consider Imbolg the real ‘new year’, in that it’s the time to enact changes in one’s life, hence ‘spring-cleaning’ and all that.

Any thoughts/comments/questions?

Winter Solstice/Alban Arthan 2009 Altar

yule 2009 altar main yule 2009 altar candlelit

Back, L-R: Goddess candle, awesome candle made by the awesome Brendan from Sydney’s Ostarian Grove, God candle.

Middle, L-R: Kuan Yin statue surrounded by sodalite, amethyst, moonstone & blue lace agate, with a rose-quartz carved rabbit (a gift from a lovely girl with whom I went to school) in front. A very winter-y candle holder with a white lotus candle, and my amethyst rosary draped around it. My faithful old pine-cone (still have yet to find a decent depiction of the Lord, which I’m willing to have on my altar) surrounded by amber, with a hematite Sun-God charm in front.

Front, L-R: raw rose quartz, polished amethyst thumbstone and a rhodonite love-heart (gift from my Grandmother). Pentacle incense burner, on a Sun-God altar plaque (actually a coaster, but awesome :P). Natural citrine (it’s not as yellow as in the photograph, my camera does strange things with colour) generator, polished garnet, and a small jar of garnets.

Gratuitous “artsy” shot:


As always, questions and comments are welcome!

Samhain 2009 Altar

Better late than never, I’ve remembered to upload some photographs of my altar! No candle-lit photo’s, because the camera died, but there’s a blurry/pretty picture of it with the flash off.

samhain altar with flash

In the picture, from the back: usual Goddess/God candles, my mini-cauldron (filled with jet, obsidian and black tourmaline) with an amber bracelet around the top, a black scrying mirror, and a pine-cone. Also on the altar: a pentacle incense burner, a winter-tree candle-holder (with a white lotus candle), several pieces of amber, a solid obsidian scrying mirror (on the right), and the ‘Memento Mori’ card from the fantastic Graven Images Oracle deck.

As always, comments/questions are welcome. Now, the aforementioned blurry, but pretty, shot:

samhain altar blurry but pretty

(That’s my Himalayan salt-crystal lamp off to the right.)

Change Your Perception, Not Your Reality

Quick note: sorry for the lack of recent updates, I’m currently drowning in a sea of books, paper and essays (i.e. uni is rather hectic at the moment). I’ll try harder, I promise!

Preface: one could easily argue that your perception IS your reality. I mean to distinguish between the two as one within the realm of your control, and one not. As in, you can view having enough money to survive as being wealthy, or you can wish for a million dollars hard cash instead of the $10 you have. The first is your perception of the financial situation, the latter is the reality (the $10, not the million :P).

At the moment there are a lot of books, films, talk shows (ugh), etc. going around that deal with the premise of creative visualization as a means by which the ordinary individual can literally “picture” their life to be happy, and it will be. (And can I just say… uh, well done secular society for finally managing to catch on to creative visualization, it’s only the basis of most witchcraft and magickal practices. At least we don’t [generally] capitalize on it.)

Yes, well that’s not quite how it works. Once again, someone has seen a really great idea (i.e. creative visualization as a tool for attaining the “dream life” that you desire) and not bothered to really think things through or do any research, and thus have produced half-arsed ideas (i.e. the money-accruing “The Secret”) that simultaneously manage to give people entirely the wrong impression, as well as potentially ruining any greater social exploration of a rich topic.

Things like “The Secret” basically promise that if you want something enough, and if you picture it enough, then it will just manifest within your life. Take happiness for example – visualize your life being happy smooth-sailing, and it will be.

Well, again, that’s not strictly true. The nasty reality of existence is that bad things do happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. Just because you want your life to go smoothly doesn’t mean it will. See, in truth, the basis of creative visualization, like any genuine attempt at “self-improvement”, is that you aren’t really attempting to change your surroundings. It’s that you’re trying to change yourself.

After all, what would be the point in suddenly having a great life, if you’re still to arrogant, too materialistic, etc., to be able to appreciate it? No, the real aim of the task is to transform yourself, and more specifically, to transform your perspective; it’s not changing the nature of reality, it’s simply changing your perception of it. Unless you’re extremely fortunate, your life is never going to be completely easy. It’s just that it’ll be easier for you to deal with, if you attempt to change your perspective so that you don’t allow yourself to get so worked up.

That’s largely my own practice these days – it’s not the same as being blindly optimistic, it’s more a kind of laid-back existentialism: nothing in life is fair or unfair, it simply is. It exists, it is being, it is your reality, you’re here and now. So don’t whinge about it; either change it or accept it.

The funny thing is, people buy these books, and they don’t realise that the entire basis of the concept is changing yourself, not your environment/life/surroundings. People like that, well they generally want the easy option; they want their life to be smooth and easy, but they don’t want to have to abandon the attention-seeking “emo-ness”, or be the one who has to take the so-called “moral highground” and walk away from an argument or a melodrama. Most of those people enjoy being victims, yet they want their lives to be easy.

And therein lies the crux of the point of this blog: you want your life to be easier for you, you have to be the one to change it. And by “it”, I don’t mean you change jobs, houses, people, etc. I mean you have to change yourself, as necessary. Yep. That’s right. You may even have to grow as a person, leave the drama, the immaturity, the self-indulgence behind. Because all good things require sacrifice, and you can’t continue to cling onto old habits of immaturity whilst expecting your life to become something great.

Event: Autumn Retreat ’09 (Katoomba)


So, the amazing people at Pagan Initiative are running another event, this time in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney. Despite my inherently frugal nature, I can no longer resist the siren call of what looks like a fantastic event, and I must admit it’s brilliant value for money anyway. Plus, the experience (and the company!) is priceless.

Take a look, and book now! You can even punch me (not in the face, not in the face!) if it’s not fantastic; that’s how confident I am in it. Go forth! Indulge! Joooooiiiiiiin uuuuuuuusssss.

Thoughts on “Otherkin”

Note: I’m going away for the long weekend, so here’s something nice and contentious to tide you over until I return. Feel free to comment, I’ll reply when I get back.

I have to admit, this is a topic I’ve never really had cause to consider. To me, shapeshifting is a shamanic practice associated with alternate states of consciousness, and more to do with aspecting than actual physical transformation. And most of the “otherkin” that I’ve ever encountered have been attention-seeking at best, histrionic and delusional at worst.

However, I’ve been giving it some thought lately, and I’ve come to a conclusion; I find the whole thing kind of irrelevant.

To me, to be able to decide that you’re different to everyone else because you’re spiritually/in part a non-human animal, you have to establish a dichotomy between the soul/spirit of non-human and human animals. That is, you believe that humans have “human” souls, and all other animals (wolf, horse, whatever) have “non-human” or “animal” souls. I find this idea preposterous, and based largely on social conditioning, which insists on separating the two.

I’m willing to acknowledge this is largely based on my “all animals – human and non-human – are created equal” vegan view. But from a spiritual perspective, it seems rather absurd to constrain the soul to one set species. So, what, if you are a “human” soul, you can never be incarnated as anything else? That seems pretty limiting. It also seems to me that it contributes to the idea that humans are the only ones with “real” souls, that is, sentient and evolving ones. Which is, as anyone who shares a close bond with any animal knows, rather absurd.

Personally, I think that a soul is a soul is a soul. I don’t think your core essence, your very spiritual being, has a defined species. I think it’s so far beyond that limited comprehension that the very idea is laughable. Placing human constraints on such an intangible, ephemeral concept is like trying to put the time/space continuum in a shoebox.

Which brings me to wonder why people try and make this definition. Honestly, I’m still fairly convinced that people who wander around saying they’re a wolf-soul in a human body are either very inarticulate (do you mean to say that you have many inherent characteristics that are associated with the wolf’s mystical stereotype?), or just looking for attention and a way to be special little flowers. Also, the whole “I’m a vampire/dragon/unicorn” thing is rather… interesting. Is it an attempt at being extra-“special”? If they took a realistic “they were real creatures that are now extinct” line, I’d perhaps be more willing to entertain the idea, but when their conception is based entirely on Eragon/Twilight, I’m just going to laugh. A lot of people also try and use it as some kind of exclusive little club, to prove their “superiority”, which is both annoying and pathetic.

As to the idea of “otherkin” as being people descended from the Fae, I’m more willing to entertain this idea; I think it’s potentially possible. It’d be interesting if they ever actually proved any of the powers they claim to hold (interestingly, I know a lot more people with freaky abilities who don’t claim to be anything more than human), or had any evidence whatsoever of this lineage. Old family stories (not “My dead grandmother told me this, but no-one else ever heard the rumour, only ME.”), interesting family genealogies, hell, anything more than “My ancestors were totally Celts, therefore I’m part Fae” would be nice. I’m yet to see it happen.

No doubt this view is contentious, but if you have any evidence to the contrary, please let me know, I’d love to hear it.

Autumn Equinox Altar

Wishing everyone here in the Southern Hemisphere a blessed and merry Mabon/Alban Elfed. So, after a brief interlude of not having an altar, due to space constraints, I’ve set up a smaller one. Starting with the celebration one of my favourite Sabbats, Alban Elfed, or the Autumnal Equinox.


At the back, on the left, is a cast iron cauldron (filled with 7 pieces each of citrine, amethyst and smokey quartz). I’ve gone with the theme of citrine/amethyst/smokey quartz to honour the concept of ‘dynamic balance’ that occurs at the two Equinoxes. To me, these three stones each represent the concept of balance without stagnation, and when combined they also balance one another, energetically. I also have a generator of each of these stones in the middle of the altar.

The small, tumbled, crystals in the middle are, from left to right: ametrine, lithium quartz, a Shiva Lingam, kunzite/spodumene, and another piece of ametrine. All of these relate to the above notes.

Questions and/or comments are welcomed. 🙂

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