Archive for the ‘ISP’ Category

On Study Programs


In an effort to organize my studies, I put together two binders for the Artisan Guild and Initiate study programs respectively.  I’m currently trudging away on Magic 1.  I reviewed the exit standards again and realize that I could probably start working on some of them.  At the same time I’m very insecure in regards to my knowledge on the matter.  I’ve only finished one out of the three books I’ve purchased.  I’m nearly finished with a second.  I need to enforce some discipline and scheduling on myself in order to do the meditations in the third book.  I think that if I sped through it without attempting to do the meditations, I would only cheat myself of possible insight and experience.  After all, I did do the first meditation and got a lot out of it.

On a related note, has anyone read Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits?  What did you think of it?

I would like to do more work on my muse essay for the Art SP.  I need to go through my growing Celtic studies library and bookmark every mention of Brighid.  I have a very good idea on what I want to discuss in my essay, but I need more scholarly material.  Speaking of the Art SP, I think my next major book purchase will be an art history text.  I really need to start that…

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I sometimes feel less than adequate in the Pagan community.  There are so many people who claim the ability to astrally travel, see visions/auras, and sense energy.  I honestly believe that I experienced accidental astral projection once.  I’ve been able to see visions in my own mind and firmly believe that I saw a spirit of some sort when I was very, very young.  I can go into trance but it often takes a lot of time.  I can sense my own energies but have a harder time sensing them in other people.  I have, but not always.    When I say that, I mean the more subtle energies.  Like most humans, I’m easily able to sense anger, confusion, distrust, etc…  I know not everyone associates those feelings with energy but I do.  I’ve never seen an aura.  I sometimes think I’m not very good at projecting energy.  I’m a complete novice in divination.

I worry that I will disappoint the elders in my community.  I worry that I will disappoint the Kindreds.  I worry that I’ll down-right suck in the ISP.

The rational side of me says that I’m young and inexperienced; that some of these things will come with time and practice*.  Practice is the biggie for me.  I waste so much time *not* practicing!  My time management definitely needs improvement.  My priorities are sometimes off.  Either that or I’m too easily distracted.  Or, very innocently and rightly, I just want to spend time with my husband.  All the same, I need to make more “me time” for my spirituality.  I need to spend less time online, less time playing games, and less time wasting time.

A question to my Pagan friends – do you ever feel this way?  How do you deal with it?

*I know there are some of you shaking your heads right now.  “She’s talking about being rational about irrational things!”  😛

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In Which I Reflect on a Book

I finished Practical Magic in the Northern Tradition by Nigel Pennick this evening.  I was really excited about this book at first.  I really was.  As stated in an enthusiastic post when I received it in the mail, I really liked the book he coauthored with Prudence Jones.  I had high expectations; expectations that, past that visually offensive cover, I would learn so much.

Nope.  Not really…  What I thought was a contextual introduction turned into the entire book.  Had I not already read so much about Pagan holidays, symbols, tools, etc, etc, etc, this book would have been wonderful.  Now, I did learn some new things, but they were kind of trivial and/or not culturally specific.  Everything else was subject matter presented in the above linked A History of Pagan Europe.

 Pennick put most of his focus on Asatru despite the book’s supposed focus on all of Northern Europe.  It was Odin this, Thor that…  This will be very helpful when comparing Druidism to Asatru, but I didn’t learn anything knew about Celtic tradition.  Pennick’s often eclectic approach left me baffled and/or frustrated.  He referred to Brighid, the Goddess, as a virgin even though she has a son in the Invasion myths.  He even Wiccanized her with the maiden, mother, and crone/hag deal.  That just isn’t the case in Irish lore.

In the end, the book was kind of boring and, in general, a waste of time for me to read.

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I shot my first large gun.  The recoil surprised me, causing me to shriek and throw the gun after firing.  Luckily it’s only a single shot so the gun was empty!  My complete lack of grace was redeemed by the fact that I actually hit the target – a stationary clay pigeon. 

After that we took a walk along the Mohawk River.  It was wonderful to be outside.  Everything is turning green.  We saw some little fish as well as several invasive zebra mussels on the rocks.  I greeted the river Goddess – I didn’t really have anything to offer other than my respect. 

I brought one of my ISP books with me.  The men-folk are playing the new Splinter Cell video game so I might as well take advantage of my time and study!  

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I’m officially on vacation!  What am I going to do with myself?  Well besides sleeping in and possibly visiting family, I’m planning to do some ISP and Art Guild SP work.  I have numerous books and articles to read, an essay I’d like to start, and drawings to work on.  I also have my various sewing projects to keep me busy.

I’m really excited about tomorrow.  Tomorrow, dear readers, I’m going to get a massage at Massage Works in Watertown!  As my husband guesses, it’s sure to be an excellent start to my vacation!  The massage therapist, Patti, also does reiki.  Down the road I would love to get a combination massage/reiki treatment.  Yes, I know, I received my reiki I attunement and can perform self-treatments…  but really, isn’t it nice to have someone else do it too?  My poor back is so achey; I’m terribly excited about tomorrow.  I’ll be sure to post a review!

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The third book I ordered for Magic 1 arrived yesterday!  It’s called Practical Magic in the Northern Tradition by Nigel Pennick whom you may remember is the co-author of A History of Pagan Europe along with Prudence Jones.  Having thoroughly enjoyed A History, I couldn’t wait to start it.  Yay for reading three books simultaneously!  I feel like I’m back in college.  I haven’t progressed very far in Practical Magic, and a lot of it has been review, but I’m enjoying it all the same.  I’ve even learned a few new things.

Pennick is what many would call a “soft polytheist.”*  He makes a lot of generalizations about the similarities between cultures, which sometimes annoys me, but he also points out their unique differences as well.  In the introduction he says “…what is important is the essence, not the form, and that while the corresponding deity of another culture may have a considerably different form, its essence is the same”(12).  I must be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with soft polytheism.  Some days it makes a bit of sense, while others it seems too simplistic given the remarkable diversity of the universe.**  All the same, I have a lot of respect for Pennick as a writer and researcher and look forward to learning more from him!

*”All gods are one God, and all goddesses are one Goddess, and there is one Initiator.” – Dion Fortune.

** When it comes down to it, I’m more of an agnostic hard polytheist pantheist.  My experiences, as well as the lore I am most drawn to, lead me to believe in many, individual beings.  I have to be a bit agnostic because who really, really knows how the universe works?  The pantheist bit comes from my belief that, even if there are multiple deities, there exists a ubiquitous, unifying energy.  Based on my own experiences, observations, and studies, this energy is very powerful as far as creation and destruction go, but has no consciousness as we experience it.  It’s just energy/chi/magic/the Force, and it moves through us and the Kindreds.  My belief is that some beings have more access to and/or understanding of this force, hence the power of deities compared to us.

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New Book!

One of the other books I ordered for Magic 1 came!  It’s called The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain by Lewis Spence.  I’m excited to have another book on Celtic magic to read because the first book, Irish Celtic Magical Tradition, while very good, also has meditative practices in it that the author encourages the reader to do several times before moving on.  I’ve been doing the first one but have only had a significant amount of success once.  The other times I’ve either fallen asleep or made it to the outside of a city but couldn’t get in.  The one time I made it into the city, I spoke with one of the teachers of the Tuatha de Danann and this really helped solidify my current understanding of the Gods.

I’ve yet to start The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain but it’s supposed to more broad, whereas the other book focuses on the first and second battles of Moytura.  

On the creative front I did a bit of sewing today.  I started to take in a button down shirt that my husband received as a gift.  It’s a couple sizes too large for him and I’ve been meaning to experiment with it.  I also took a couple of his old button downs that are now too small and started a skirt inspired by a Thread Banger tutorial.  I just have to hem it and I’ll have a fun skirt to wear in the warm weather we’ve been experiencing!

I haven’t been drawing much recently.  It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I keep forgetting!  I’m suddenly pulled back into my sewing so other creative pursuits are on the back burner.  I’ve been thinking about what I could do for my still life and I think I may draw my traveling altar with all the items spread around it.  That could be neat.

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