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The Silver Chalice E-Zine, Issue #006, Jun 2008
June 01, 2008
Editor's NoteMerry Meet! Welcome to the Silver Chalice E-zine.
This issue of the Silver Chalice is dedicated to Power. . .
The issue of power is becoming ever more crucial to humanity's well-being. The search for political power, for instance, keeps us teetering on the edge of extinction.
Yet personal empowerment has the potential to reverse this trend and heal the planet.
Wicca is fundamentally a practice of personal empowerment. So gathering power as a Witch can be a gift to the Earth.
As Summer Solstice nears, and the Sun's Power is at its height, it seems a perfect time to explore Power and empowerment. And, while we're at it, catch some rays.
Enjoy this fabulous season!
Table of Contents
What's New On The SiteIf you've been watching the Wicca Spirituality Blog, you've seen that there's been a lot of activity.
The most exciting development is the long-awaited creation of a section on Energy Fields. There's lots more to come, but here's a great start on a vital subject:
What are energy fields? Subtle Energy Field tells what they're all about, and why it's so important for Witches' well-being to be aware of this phenomenon.
Types of Energy Fields continues with a description of the various kinds of energy fields and how they relate to one another.
The Being a Witch section of the site has seen a bunch of new articles.
The article on Wiccan Names has been completely redone, expanded into several articles.
Choosing a Wiccan Name explores how to go about discover your true name.
Test Your Wiccan Name looks at what criteria you can use to assess a magickal name.
Change Your Wiccan Name examines the issues around when to consider changing your street name to your Wiccan name.
Finding Your Wiccan Name offers tips on how to find your own magickal name.
The Search for my Wiccan Name is my personal story of the search for a true name, illustrating how these other articles work in practice.
And articles addressing Gay Wicca:
The Scoop on Gay Wicca looks at why Wicca seems especially suited to GLBT people, and how Gay Wicca is different, and the same, as straight Wicca.
Gay Wicca Groups lists various Wiccan groups that are specifically created for GBLT folk.
And finally, Gender and Wicca explores the place of Gender in Wiccan religion. Just how necessary is gender to Wicca?
Come check out all the new stuff! : D
Events & Announcements
Mandala Starter Kit Is Available
The Mandala Starter Kit will be released this week!
This irreplaceable tool kit contains everything you need to get started drawing mandalas, including
Everything but the paper and the pencils in one handy kit.
With these useful tools, you won't need to struggle with compasses, straight-edges, stencils, or curve rulers to try to get a balanced picture... which doesn't often work anyway.
This book gives you all the pre-made forms you could need to draw your own mandalas, and even ideas on what to draw. And you can print them out over and over again, using this kit forever.
There's nothing else like this out there: not online, not in a store.
And for you, my adored reader, you can get a special subscriber's discount. A password entitling you to receive this discount will be sent to you in a special email. (Sorry I can't give it to you here, but the sales page is not set up yet, and I want you to be able to get your kit right away, not have to wait til next issue!)
I hope you take advantage of this special toolkit. Drawing mandalas can be such a wonderful hobby, and a valuable spiritual practice at the same time.
Check it out today. You can see what else is available to help you learn to draw beautiful mandalas, and sign up to receive notification of when they're available.
Gathering Power is vital to successful Wiccan practice. After all, Wicca is a craft of personal empowerment.
What we're talking about is magickal Power, the power to be and do everything you dream of ...
But what does it mean to gather Power? How do you go about gaining Power? . . .
Power vs. Force, by David Hawkins
I hadn't realised I'd been waiting for Power vs. Force until I read it. And then I wondered why it had taken me so long to find it!
In this book, Hawkins explores the nature of true power, which is always of the spirit. (Thus, true power can be attained only through spiritual practice and personal development.)
He contrasts this clearly against force, which is what we are conditioned to think of as power, that is, power over others.
As Hawkins demonstrates, force is only on the material level, and so is constantly needing to be justified and backed up with rhetoric.
Power, on the other hand, never needs justification.
The first half of Power vs. Force is incredibly exciting. It deals largely with the science of kinesiology, and explores a "map" of consciousness.
Sabbats & Esbats & Other Wiccan Rituals
Midsummer: A Shift of Power
Ah, Summer Solstice! The longest day of the year; the beginning of full-on summer weather. This is the Wiccan celebration of Midsummer, or Litha.
There is a fundamental shift in the Power of the Wheel at this time. The Life Force has been growing since Yule, and has reached its peak by the Summer Solstice. Now this Power begins to ebb.
Midsummer is a celebration of paradox. The Sun King begins his decline, and so we mourn; yet he is still shining strong, bringing beauty and the fullness of life, and so we celebrate.
The Wheel turns, the days now shorten again toward Midwinter. This can be a challenging event for many people, particularly sensitive folks like Wiccans. Yet we're really gearing up for the full height of a summer just beginning, and this is a joyful time.
So Litha is a festival that invites us to live in the moment. Will we face this Sabbat with sorrow for the constriction to come? Or will we celebrate the beauty of the summer that embraces us now?
The celebration for Midsummer traditionally took place on June 24th, because it was the longest day of the year. This is no longer so, however, due to the quirks of manmade calendars. . . .
Ask The Priestess
Harm None & A Military Career
Hi; I would just like to say thanks. Your site is great and has helped me to answer many of my questions. I truly appreciate the time and effort that you must put into this site and the e-zines and think that you are doing an extraordinary job. Also I have a question concerning the "harm none" rule. If one was to become a police officer or soldier how would that work?
Thanks for your feedback; it's wonderful to hear that my work has been helpful to you. : D
Regarding the Wiccan Rede, that's a sticky wicket, isn't it? I discussed it with my spouse, who's much more the police/military type than I am, and here's what we came up with. (Keep in mind, please, these are simply our thoughts on it... what really matters is how YOU feel about it.)
Wiccans in the Police Force
Being a police officer is generally seen as a role of preventing harm to innocents. Sometimes "bad guys" get harmed, but that's seen as a necessary step in keeping them from harming others.
Of course, in reality, innocents are often harmed too, and sometimes the police can be just as corrupt as the people they're supposed to protect us against.
Even in the best of circumstances - an ideal police force - violence is part of the game.
I think the critical question is: What would you feel, if you had to shoot and kill someone?
Even if you thought that you were doing the right thing, killing has serious energetic repercussions.
If you knew they were going to hurt someone else, it's an easier decision, perhaps.
This preventative violence is often justified this way: "They knowingly broke the law, and were aware that it could lead them to getting hurt, so in a way it's their own responsibility."
Nonetheless, if you are the one doing the killing, it is still entirely your responsibility for taking another's life.
And what if you found out later that it was a mistake? How would you deal with those feelings?
One option to consider is that there are many branches of police work where you would not be called upon to use violence or force. These are likely to keep you out of collisions with the Wiccan Rede.
Wiccans in the Military
Soldiering, though… there's not really any way around the fact that you're working to kill people.
You may think some of them need to die, to protect the greatest good. But even so, innocents are always the ones to suffer most in violent conflicts.
The Culture of Violence and Wiccan Philosophy
Militarism is in direct conflict with Wiccan philosophy in 3 major ways, outside of the taking of life.
There is a mindset of violence and righteousness that is cultivated in militaristic groups, which conflicts with the very fundamental values of Wicca.
Add to that the brutal aftermath of violence, in which people do things they would never do in other circumstances. Rape, torture, degradation of other humans....
There's also the necessity of following orders. If you are in the military, you don't have the option of following your personal code of ethics. You obey, or you're court-martialed.
As Pagans, we are bound to follow Divine guidance, and take self-responsibility. In militaristic organizations, that freedom is the first thing you deny yourself.
The Underlying Flaws
To place this question of militarism and the Wiccan Rede in context, it's necessary to ask: Whom does the military serve?
These days, it's glaringly apparent that men and women are dying and killing in order to acquire petrochemicals so the USA can continue its extravagant, greedy, and deadly waste of resources. In other words, people are dying so Americans can have cheap gas and plastics.
Other wars have other purposes, but none since World War II has had any justification beyond politics and economics.
Even when you're not on the "front lines," the work you are doing is specifically designed to help other people kill with greater efficiency. You can't avoid harming anyone, if you're participating in any military activity. The military exists for the sole purpose of hurting others. (Disguised and prettied-up by glorious PR phrases like "protecting" and "serving.")
I personally don't know how Wiccans rationalize participation in the military. I suspect it IS mostly rationalization. But I don't know any military Wiccans (or Wiccans who could even think of joining it), so this is may be a limited viewpoint.
Same goes for anything to do with the prison system, by the way. Read some of the studies on what happens to a person when they even pretend to be prison guards... It's stunning! And terrifying.
My spouse, though, has those law-enforcement type tendencies, and still can't see a way to be in the army and Harm None.
In the bigger picture, doing violence even in the name of maintaining "peace" or "security" or whatever, is still promoting and enhancing violence in the world.
If we really want peace in the world, no army is going to create it. The only way to create it is to begin with peace within our own hearts and lives. As Gandhi and EVERY spiritually conscious person confirms.
My spouse suggests that there are other options for rescue/protection careers too: firefighting, paramedics, etc. These serve the community and help others, protect and defend, and almost never put you in the position of having to harm anyone.
In any case, these are just our ponderings. The fun thing about being a Witch is that no one gets to tell you what is true or right. ; ) All of us have to determine for ourselves what the Wiccan Rede entails, and how to live up to our own ethics in various situations.
Think about it for yourself. Imagine what you would do in various circumstances, and how you would feel about it afterward.
To help you find out for yourself what you might do, you might want to get a piece of paper and doing a Written Reflection. Imagine talking with your Deities at your death... what would you say to Them about it? How would you explain your actions? Would you feel you need to defend your choices, or would all your actions have been necessary within the context of Love? What do you imagine they would say to you?
This kind of self-exploration will help you clarify for yourself what will serve your highest values and what might lead you astray.
I wish you blessings in the journey.
Do you have a question you'd like an answer to? Email the Priestess and your question could be answered in a future issue.
You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true.
… When we turn from victim into master, what do we do with our power?
~ Richard Bach
Spiritual Rebirth BarometerThis spring has seen a falling away of illusions.
Reality is being accepted, in contrast to some dearly-held beliefs that things could or should be different.
What does this look like? You may find yourself unwilling to kid yourself about a situation in your life, thinking that it might change to go the way you want, or that it isn't quite what it appears to be. The hope that things will be the way you desire rather than the way they actually are, is fading. The urge to fight it is gone.
In some cases, this may mean new choices are to be made . . . often in terms of your life's desires.
If you've wanted something for a long time, and put it off for whatever reason, you may now find yourself unable to continue to deny yourself.
These will not be inconsequential objects, like wanting an espresso machine or whatnot. These are major life dreams. Those things you've always felt a need to do, but the time never seemed right. Or the dream itself seemed inappropriate.
But that denial has been shaken, and your heart rears up with its deepest truth.
All that remains is for you to respect yourself enough to follow it.
This is, it seems, a fundamental shift in learning to listen to and care for your Inner Child. This is a vital part of the healing transformation.
Have faith in yourself. Your dreams are valuable! They are the Divine calling out to you.
Acknowledge that there is likely to be fear. Anything new can bring up fear. But the fear itself is not a danger. Breathe, and allow yourself to notice it, and allow it to move through you.
You will be stronger and happier for following your personal truth.
If you have been following the Wicca Spirituality Blog, you may have read that there was an energy field of anxiety or despair that affected many in April.
This is attributed to a loosening of the ego. I think this was preliminary to the release of denial that has followed.
Around mid-May, you may have experienced about a week or two of fatigue. This was quite common, though some people seem to have gotten past it faster than others. And it seemed to ebb and flow somewhat.
Is this a true energy field? Or the symptom of the ongoing cold, grey weather so many of us are having? (And is there any difference?)
At any rate, the Divine Light Invocation is helpful (naturally). As is giving yourself permission to just rest when you need it.
Truly radical! Life-changing, world-changing advice.
Enjoy the down-time. You'll need that energy soon enough, as things pick up and get busy... which they may have already done.
Notice or suspect an energy field going around? Can you confirm this reading, or shed more light on it? Please let us know, and we can share your insights with others.
Lammas/Lughnasadh: The Harvest . . . . See you then!
Word on the Street
Thanks for writing!! I appreciate hearing from you!
What People Are Saying About Wicca-Spirituality.com:
Thank you so much!!! You and your "deeper" input on Wiccan and Witch spirituality confirms that I am, in fact, not the only one desperately trying to find the Divine in a heart-felt manner and not just getting a new tattoo or rallying against the establishment.
I somehow always felt that I am a Witch with Wiccan "leanings" but the "old Wicca" lacked that spirituality and Divine I seek and need. It was simply thousands of sources REGURGITATING the same "empty material." I always found myself reading Buddhist philosophy and Hindu philosophy yet not really being either of those things.
Your contribution is a TRUE GIFT to Witchcraft and Wicca, and I so look forward to reading more of thoughts and input, not only on your website but in the Silver Chalice as well.
Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH!
-- M.S. in Indiana, USA
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© erin dragonsong 2007, All rights reserved worldwide. Please do not reprint any of this content without obtaining written permission from me: karma and the law agree on this one.
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