Category Archives: Opinion

Articles in the opinion category are opinions of the author of that article only and not necessarily the opinion of Temple Of the Standing Stones as a whole.

Cianaodh’s Corner #1

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My Bedside Altar

Different people come to esoteric paths for different reasons. Some are seeking instruction in the magickal arts or others with whom to practice them. Some are seeking connection with their gods, their ancestors, nature and/or earth. Some are interested in paranormal events and researching those inexplicable things which happen as one realm of existence crosses paths with another. In Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition we are interested in all of these things but if there was one thing I would have to point to as primary in our pursuit it would be the seeking of a connection with those Kindred through whom many of our ancestors experienced the world in which they lived. Through ritual, myth, songs and stories of the gods and other entities in whom our ancestors (all of our ancestors) believed as well as their observances of the cycle of life and the wheel of the year they placed themselves in balance and harmony with the natural world. It is my belief that we have to place ourselves into this state of balance and harmony before effective magickal working can take place. Further, I believe we are better able to observe and make sense of paranormal occurrences when we are in a mind state that is attuned with our environment. So, first and foremost, in Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition and in my own temple, Temple Of the Standing Stones, we focus on ritual and having both a reverence for and relationship with the Kindred in whatever way we perceive of them. I believe the concept of gods is one that is rather elusive for the mortal mind to fully comprehend. We all have our own experiences with something greater than ourselves (or not) and we all take away from those experiences what we will based on our own interpretations and world view. What I might call gods and goddesses, you might consider to be “the universe” or a “collective conscious” and that’s fine. My interpretation is not more or less valid than your own. The important thing for us is the sharing of the experiences and, together, contemplating what they might all mean.

We are seeking to develop a culture of our own through our gatherings at Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition. We like to get together frequently because we genuinely do enjoy one another’s company. We throw around the term “tribe” a lot because we do tend to see ourselves as part of an extended, spiritual family. Oh, we certainly utilize many borrowed elements from the modern Pagan revival which those who have read about or otherwise experienced modern Wicca or other Pagan practices will readily recognize. We mix in some parts of our own which our sisters and brothers of Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition have created. We speak of the old stories and old gods of our ancestors in the present tense because we see them as living entities whose stories are not just something chiseled in stone and covered in dust but living stories still being written each and every day. We say that we are ‘Forging a New Pagan Path” and in our own way we are. We want to be accessible to, not only those who may wish to walk this path with us but also to those who seek to better understand and coexist with us as they continue to walk their own paths. For that reason, the majority of our gatherings are open to anyone who may wish to attend. Please do understand though that those gatherings held at private residences may have attendance limitations due to space considerations. But we want to be the folks you can talk to, hang out with and get to know without being told you have to come with a certain lineage or be initiated by a particular person before you can have a relationship with the gods of your ancestors. It is in your blood and in your spirit. We all have Pagan ancestry and you don’t need a go between to tell you it’s okay to speak with your ancestors. We are here to walk the path with you but we aren’t going to tell you that you need us to walk it for you.

That’s my two cents. That and about 4 bucks might get you a decent cup of coffee.

I’m Cianaodh. Have a Blessed Day.

Cianaodh’s Corner is a sporadically published series of opinion pieces from Cianaodh Óg, High Priest of Temple Of the Standing Stones and a founding elder of Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition. It should be noted that because these articles are opinion pieces, the views expressed here are those of one elder of the tradition and may or may not reflect those of other elders or Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition as a whole. If you have questions, feel free to ask. I am always happy to clarify.

The Dream

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Notice: The following is an opinion piece by Cianaodh Óg and while many within the temple might share these views, as an opinion piece it should NOT be taken as reflecting the views of Temple Of the Standing Stones as a whole.

For a long time I have advocated Pagan ownership of, rather than rental of, facilities. The reasons are many but ultimately it comes down to the issues of self governance and controlling ones own destiny. When we own rather than rent we are the ultimate authority in what our facilities may and may not be used for, when and by whom they may be used and as land owners we have a greater degree of say in matters regarding proposed laws and zoning ordinances. These things are important because the more of us who have a voice in civic matters, the more of an impact we can have on policy and decisions that matter to us.

Ultimately, I wish we could get a bunch of Pagans and Pagan friendly folks to move to and buy property in a community in numbers great enough to elect city council members or even a mayor. Impossible you say? I’m not so sure it would be given, say, a generation or so. More and more people are seeking to learn more about the ways of their ancestors and becoming more in tuned with the cycles of nature, life, death and rebirth. A calling has been echoing throughout humanity for some time now and every day more people are answering that call.

I would like to see more cooperation and cohesion between elders of the various Pagan and Paganesque traditions. Quit bickering about who is right and wrong on trivial matters such as mixing pantheons, hard polytheism versus soft polytheism, high magick, green magick, and the myriad of other matters that have turned friends into enemies and caused enemies to file restraining orders. Instead, let’s focus on some big picture stuff like what kind of world we’re going to leave behind for our kids. Should they not be entitled to the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Should they not have safe food to eat, clean water to drink and the freedom to practice their religions openly without fear of persecution or repercussions in the workplace, schools and elsewhere?

If you look around you’ll see that mainstream religious movements and denominations have food pantries for the poor, affordable child care programs for struggling families, job training and placement programs and other support systems in place to help members of their community. We have a few but they are scattered and small. I think if we would reach beyond our little camps more, we have the overall numbers to make such things happen. I’m not going to sit here and tell ya I have a plan already lined out but I am saying that perhaps we should get a dialog going and discuss such matters. Do some interfaith networking and figure out ways that we can help one another.

I know I’ve said stuff like this before. I’ve said over on Our Pantheons Way, I’ve said it at our temple gatherings and I’ve said it on our forum. I used to talk about it while working with the DFW Pagan Pride Day planning committee. I still feel it’s worth talking about and more than that, it’s worth us doing something about it. Maybe your group already has a program of some sort going on for your members. That’s great! I would like to hear about it. I would like to know what you have found that does work and also what doesn’t. Are there ways to expand your program or get a similar one going somewhere else? Seriously, let’s talk! Anyone?

Mono?

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Two ways to spread the light...

Notice: Please take this post with a grain of salt as it is intended to reflect the opinion of Cianaodh Óg and only Cianaodh Óg NOT Temple Of the Standing Stones as a whole.

Mono. One. Whether applied to monoculture, monopoly, monotony, monotheism or anything else it implies that there is only one. Ever since I was a young man I never did buy into the concept of “only one”. Just one right way to live, only one way to get somewhere, there is only one way to believe….Nope, I said. That doesn’t work for me. I see many roads to get to places, lots of ways to get things done which all seem to work in their own way and one god? Yep, had trouble accepting that one too and at the age of 8 years old declared myself an agnostic because for a long time I knew of no other religious concepts beyond those which dominate the North Central Texas region. It took 22 years for something to change my mind and that something came in the form of a goddess who spoke to me and told me there was another way and that I should learn all I can and help others as well to see that there is another way to believe and other ways to live. So here I am, trying as best I can to do just that. But, I am still a mere mortal man bumbling along on my path and making probably more than my fair share of mistakes along the way.

Luckily for me though, the gods have sent a gifted support network my way. I have a very supportive, talented and loving wife who helps keep me grounded and provides me with artistic inspiration to keep me going. Some of the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever met who I am proud to count among my friends, lovers, acquaintances, brothers and sisters. Because, I don’t have to do this mono (alone). THANK THE GODS FOR THAT! I mean that from the bottom of my heart because this temple and it’s goals are a massive undertaking for anyone to try to take on but it’s worth every bit of effort. If we can change the world for the better and give our children the gift of peace and coexistence then what else could you ask for really?

But back to this topic of mono. Is there only one way to teach a child? No, there are so many different ways that people learn, so many different personality types and so many varied aptitudes that there is no way one size can fit all. How does that old saying go? Everyone is a genius but if you try to teach a fish how to climb a tree it will go through life thinking it’s stupid? It was an Einstein quote if my memory serves me right but I’m not sure enough that I got it right to put the quotation marks on it right now. I’m sure someone will correct me. I’ve got people for that and again, THANK THE GODS! Because, I don’t wanna do it alone. If you find yourself alone you start questioning whether or not you’re going the right way. Mono. Yeah, if one path isn’t working for you, maybe try another?

Bless The Bees,

Cianaodh Óg