Sunday, January 15, 2012

A is for Acceptance

Today was a big day for me, that is why I chose to wait for my blog from Friday to today.  Today was the day I took the leap from being a "Friend" of a place I have been frequenting to a "Member".  I had discovered a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship near me about 4 years ago.  This was about a year or so into my Pagan and Goddess readings and I was still struggling to find a place that I could belong and agree with many of their principles.  I found this group from some random searchings I was doing online about Pagans.  I had found the website for the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, otherwise known as CUUPS.  That lead me to the fellowship I found in my area. 

I have a hard time calling it a "church", so we'll stick with fellowship.  How nice it was to walk in and feel accepted for who you are, not what you chose to believe or hold as your spiritual practice.  How refreshing it was to read the 7 principles and think, where have you been, UUs, my whole life?  A place where they want you to find and search for your own path, wherever that may lead, as long as you respect others?  It was certainly kismet that I found this place at this time in my spiritual path.
Unitarian Universalist Principles
  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
From the time I was in and started meeting people in the CUUPS group I was accepted and treated with dignity and respect.  Unfortunately the group was apparently in the process of failing, but I kept going and maintained friendship with many of the Pagans I had met in that group as well as others of a earth centered spirituality I was finding.  To talk to people intelligently about differences of belief, ideas, and wisdoms and not be in a huge debacle because I didn't believe Jesus was my savior, wow!  I felt at home, accepted.

Acceptance there led me to another group I found via a friend and the website  I have found that Pagans can be one of the most accepting groups, they accept your flaws, your ticks (my OCD at times....), your talents, your knowledge, and take you for you.  Many of the Pagans I have met have not asked much of me but an ear, maybe some help organizing something, but never to compromise myself.  I find it comforting that in our diverse set of backgrounds that make up the umbrella of groups labeled Pagan, I have never felt unaccepted.

And that acceptance led to my leap today, my leap to commit to a group larger than myself, my local UU Fellowship, that I will share with them my talents, wisdoms, and self to better our community, including my Pagan community, as a whole.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Books I Have Read in 2012 (Master List) - Pagan Reading Challenge

The master list of books I have read this year:

Sign up here! The 2012 Pagan Reading Challenge.


2012 Pagan Reading Challenge - I'm in!

So, since I am in the mood to explore and expand my Pagan self this year, what better way than in addition to blogging to read the nice stack of books that have been accumulating in my little spiritual library.  I think I am going to work towards the Intermediate Read level (16 - 20 books), especially with my busy schedule over the course of a year.  Here are the rules:

This challenge will begin January 1, 2012 and end December 31, 2012.

Books that can be counted will include nonfiction books that are about spirituality, magick, the occult, nature, myths, or the paranormal. They can be reference, how to, informative, encyclopedias, or memoir. Fictional books that can be counted are anything that has to do with the paranormal, magick, witchcraft, or have a distinctly pagan flavor to the story such as The Divine Sisters of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells.

You may include books of any format including traditional  books, ebooks, or audiobooks.

You may reread books.

Reference books are not usually read cover to cover so I will bend the rules here. You do not have to read the book from cover to cover, but you do have to look at EVERY page in the book.

The Domestic Pagan: 2012 Pagan Reading Challenge
I will post a list of all the books I finish and pledge to at least to a short post/review for every one.  Maybe you will join me as well!

Friday, January 6, 2012

A is for Avalon

For me personally, a draw to the Pagan path was partially due to a quest for feminine divinity.  Having been raised Roman Catholic, you have a great number of patriarchal sources for strength, guidance, and worship, but unless you were in one of the few parishes that really celebrated the Virgin Mary, there was a certain lack of this.  Paganism offers many a duality in nature, respecting the male and female aspects of the spiritual or divine.  Along my search I have also found  myself drawn to the Norse and British/Irish/Celtic pantheons in my studies.  In search for the Celtic I found a group called the Sisterhood of Avalon that I found had some very interesting information regarding what I have come to know as the Avalonian Tradition. 
"The Avalonian Tradition draws its inspiration from British, rather than English, culture. Wales was able to maintain and preserve the culture, language and traditions of Celtic Britain far longer than the rest of England, so we look to Welsh language, literature and folklore to understand the beliefs of the Britons. The Welsh mythic cycle contains the first references to King Arthur, and through him, to Ynys Afallon – the Island of Avalon. Therefore, to discover the Goddess as She has revealed Herself to the Britons, and as She was probably worshiped on Avalon, we must turn to the mythology of Wales. We therefore seek the Goddesses of Avalon in The Mabinogion and its associated legends as this collection of stories represents the surviving corpus of the mythology of the Celtic Britons and as such, is worthy of deep study.
Due to oral tradition, then, the Divinities of the British Celts do not benefit from having their myths written down by those who worshiped Them, as do the Gods of other cultures. We are not inheritors of an intact tradition, and must look between the lines to seek out the symbols that have made the transition from oral to written form, even if those that transcribed them attempted to have them make sense in their own cultural context. It is for this reason that we must immerse ourselves in the study of Celtic culture so that we may piece the bigger picture back together and reclaim what we can of what was.”Source:  Sisterhood of Avalon, “The Avalon Tradition”,

The five Goddesses that are centered in this Avalonian Tradition are Blodeuwedd (the Lady of Intuition), Rhiannon (Lady of Manifestation), Ceridwen (Lady of Transformation), Arianrhod (The Great Teacher), and Branwen (Guardian of Avalon).  A lot of this has been handed down orally over the many many years so it is hard to find information on this without doing some research, which many have been doing, including this group, the Sisterhood of Avalon.  I am hoping to read some of the source material in the coming years and hope to have a more indepth post of my own words when I get to that point.

I am very new at this and am not claiming to be an expert by any means, but I thought I would share this information in my first blog post for the Pagan Blog Project 2012.  My goal is to deepen my connection with the feminine divine and then maybe branch back into a more balanced study.  But considering patriarchal sprits played a large part of my growing up I think a little time with the Goddess is warranted. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A new leap forward for me... "public" Pagan postings *gasp!*

I am a closeted Pagan, mainly due to family that I wish to not upset and a community (think small, rural, conservative, you get the idea) that I do not think would be too keen on my choice.  Hence the use of my chosen name, Galena. 

I mainly live vicariously online and via the small circle of friends that I chose to share my spiritual beliefs with.  I also follow several people on Facebook and came across this project that just spoke to me today.  The Pagan Blog Project (2012) came up and it got me thinking... maybe a way I can start feeling more open about myself and my beliefs is to start to share some of my thoughts, ideas, lessons learned, etc., in an online environment.  So here I am.

The premise is that every Friday we will post a blog about a specific idea that we are interested in, following an alphabet theme.  So this is my introduction and hopefully it will be the first posting of many.