Our temple members come from a variety of backgrounds and belief systems however, we have a broad enough structure that we hope most all Pagans will be able to find a place here. We approach the concept of the divine with open mindedness and flexibility. We believe that it’s okay to ask questions about the divine and explore all images of this vast concept for we all have our own personal relationship with deity, the gods or that creative life force of the universe. However you perceive the divine, it may fit within the animistic concept that all that exists is made up of the same creative energy. We believe that, as individuals, we may all have our own personal perceptions of and relationships with the divine. Those perceptions and relationships may even change as we learn and grow on our spiritual journey. Whereas one person may perceive a duotheistic version of the divine in which all gods are facets of one God and all goddesses facets of one Goddess but another may perceive that all gods and goddesses are individual beings in their own right. Still another person might perceive that all of these divine beings are simply different faces of the one true God. Who is right? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle ground. Perhaps that one creative energy of which all things, living and non-living, throughout the universe can take all of these forms based on each individual’s needs. Perhaps the concept of the divine is too big to fit in one sentence, one book or even a thousand books. If there are 7 billion people living on a planet and they all have a concept of the divine that is working for them, then so long as they are not harming anyone, perhaps all of their truths are correct but each is only a glimpse of the entire truth. Look up a poem called The Blind Men And The Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) sometime if you aren’t familiar with it. It lays out very well this concept, that we all have a piece of the truth and rather than argue about it we should work together to try to understand it.
Welcome to the Temple Of the Standing Stones Seekers’ Orientation. In the following articles we hope to share with you the basics of our form of Paganism as we practice it within our temple and what we believe about the nature of creation and our place in it. It is our goal to answer as many of your questions as possible. So, let’s dive right in shall we?
MEET OUR HIGH PRIEST – He’s a little bit weird and sometimes smells funny but we tolerate that because he’s also fun and has some interesting ideas. 😉
INTRO – Hi! Welcome to Temple of the Standing Stones! This is an orientation of our Temple! We hold classes, field trips, rituals, craft days and gatherings. We include kids when appropriate, and have alternative activities when it is not.
HISTORY OF OUR TEMPLE – This is our back story and how we relate to the community at large.
THE BASICS OF OUR BELIEFS – Our temple members come from a variety of backgrounds and belief systems however, we have a broad enough structure that we hope most all Pagans will be able to find a place here.
– – Magic – This is how we utilize magic during our rituals, and how we believe that magic works.
– – Clothing, Tools, and Magickal Names – Some basics on things you are likely to see and hear at one of our rituals.
– – Temple Calendar – Our upcoming event schedule.
QUESTIONNAIRE – If you feel that you might like to join our temple either as a Dedicant or as an Initiate please download the questionnaire and you may either email your answers to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or print it out and bring it with you to the next gathering you attend.
DEFINITIONS – Some words we use and what we mean by them when we say them.
SEEKERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS – Because you have rights and aren’t being asked to give them up to be a part of our temple…
TEACHERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS – Because we all have rights and deserve to be treated with respect…
EXPECTATIONS OF A HIGH PRIEST OR HIGH PRIESTESS – An ideal our clergy aspires to…
HOW OUR BELIEFS MIGHT RELATE TO SCIENCE – A piece from the perspective of Cianaodh Óg, High Priest of the temple.
OFF-GRID LIVING LINKS – A lot of our members are interested in topics like sustainable living, permaculture, prepper knowledge, survivalism, etc. Our ancestors were resourceful people who knew how to live on what nature provided so we aspire to do so as much as possible too. In the interests of that endeavor we maintain this list of links.
OTHER SUGGESTED ARTICLES
The following articles are not by us or from our temple but are a worthwhile read that we feel like sharing:
ABCDEF – Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame. Are you in a cult or thinking of joining one? Here’s how to find out.
To derive concepts, ideas, styles, or tastes from a widely diverse range of sources. We believe knowledge and wisdom knows no cultural or geographical boundaries. We seek enlightenment from any sources available regardless of our primary cultural leanings. We believe our ancestors would have done the same given the resources to do so.
A heathen was originally a word that meant heath dweller or hills dweller. People who refer to themselves as Heathens rather than Pagan typically make the distinction that they follow a hereditary or folk-religion based spiritual path. Whereas the same may be said of many Pagan paths as well Pagans tend to be more earth and nature centered in their spirituality and Heathens more culturally specific in their path. Although both terms are often used interchangeably there are subtle differences in the ways some folks who choose between the two descriptors approach their spirituality.
The Kindred is an inclusive term which refers to the gods and goddesses, the ancestors and the nature spirits. In our view, all beings are children of the creative force of the universe and all are descended through countless lines of mothers and fathers. Beyond the mortal kindreds, are the numerous tribes of supernatural beings as well. In our practice we may deal with, and make offerings to, many kinds of spirits.
An effort to make a change in ones life by using your own personal energy and the energy of the creative force from which all things and all living beings are derived. We add the “K” to differentiate this concept and practice from stage illusion magic and slight of hand tricks. The practice of magick involves finding your connection to the Earth, the divine and all that is natural, alive and moving in the universe. It is channeling the energy which binds all that exists together.
In the work of Daniel Quinn—first mentioned in his 1992 philosophical novel, Ishmael—Mother Culture is used as a collective term for any given culture’s most influencing features (its philosophies, attitudes, values, viewpoints, etc.) that, however, are usually not consciously recognized as being culturally-specific by the members of that culture. In other words, Mother Culture is the set of “unquestioned influences” or “hidden premises” that the members of a culture merely take for granted as being universally true (rather than, in fact, being culturally-specific), and that largely determine (1) how the members of that culture experience and view the world, and, therefore, (2) how they actually behave in the world. Because every person is culturally biased to a greater or lesser extent, Quinn reasons that every culture must have a certain crucial element that instills in its members this firm position of bias: this is Mother Culture. Quinn often uses the term Mother Culture as a feminine personification.
According to Quinn, every Mother Culture feeds its followers a particular, culturally-skewed mythology that greatly influences how these people perceive themselves and their environment. Mother Culture works to uphold (and to pacify any dissent against) the culture and its specific worldview. Quinn claims that “every culture has a Mother Culture” but warns that in a self-destructive culture like our own globalized civilization, Mother Culture’s promotion of the status quo amounts to captivity, in which we are unable to fathom any alternative lifestyles other than the one Mother Culture tells us to live out (because we cannot think beyond the hidden premises our culture lives by—the cultural “truths” that Mother Culture insists are unquestionable). Unfortunately, because we, as a culture, are destroying the Earth, while many of us would wish to stop this destruction, Quinn asserts that we cannot seem to find the “bars” of our proverbial cage because Mother Culture has given us certain assumptions that we assume without question, never recognizing them as false from the start. Quinn has frequently claimed that two of the most fundamental (but false) premises communicated to us by our Mother Culture, in particular, include the following: “There is only one right way to live: ours” and “We must cling to civilization at all costs, even if it kills us.” Quinn further describes such premises in his discussion on memes in Beyond Civilization.
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_culture
The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus which means clandestine, hidden or secret and refers to knowledge of the hidden. It’s often taken to mean knowledge that “is meant only for certain people” or that “must be kept hidden”, but for most practicing occultists it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality. The words esoteric and arcane are very similar in meaning with occult and are often used interchangeably. Most of the knowledge which is considered “hidden” is actually hidden in plain sight but one has to be willing to look for it because it is not taught by mainstream sources.
Orthodoxy, a word most people are already familiar with, literally means “correct opinion” in Greek whereas heterodoxy, or being heretical, means to have a different opinion. Paganism, to us, is about orthopraxy. In other words, it’s more important how you do things than what you believe. In ancient times, “believerhood” at a temple had more to do with things like entering the temple and walking three times around the idol, making your image and reciting an inscription on the wall, as was done in Roman temples for example. No one really asked much what one might believe about the divine, about its nature, or whether you treated it as objectively real or not. Your relationship with the gods was a personal matter between you and them. What you practiced and what you did said more about your path than what you personally believed. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy a good philosophical discussion about beliefs of the divine. But we don’t hold those beliefs to be of greater importance than how we choose to live and practice our faith.
According to Google’s online definition a Pagan is a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions. We can live with that. Ours is certainly outside of the current mainstream in religious beliefs but it was not always so. The term Pagan originally came from the Latin word paganus which meant a villager or rustic person from pagus, the country district. To Roman soldiers paganus also meant a civilian and later became used to mean one who is not enrolled in the army of Christ.
The belief that the spiritual makeup of everything, ourselves, the divine and other spiritual forces exists within every atom of everything within the universe, a collective soul so to speak. From this collective energy, the gods and goddesses as well as all other beings both natural and supernatural is formed by the conscious will of the beings within that energy’s field of influence.
A Middle English word that means to give counsel, advise, interpret, or explain. It can also, in an older sense of the word, mean to tell a story. It is said to have derived from the Old English word “raedan” or the Old High German “ratan” which both also mean to advise. There is additionally a possibly related Sanskrit word “radhnoti” which means “to archive or prepare”. In any event, we take it to mean to give counsel or advice as in the Wiccan Rede which advises us to “harm none” among other things.
At it’s most elementary level a ritual is simply a series of acts that is always performed in the same way. I get up in the morning, say my daily devotional prayer, pull a rune for guidance and go make coffee. That’s my morning ritual so to speak. I do it almost every day in almost always the same order. In religious rites we also have certain things which are always done a particular way and in a set order. We cast circle, we call the elements, we welcome the gods and goddesses, we have cakes and ale, we close circle. Of course there are more steps and things that go on in between but that’s the gist of it. It’s a prescribed way and order of doing things for a particular occasion.
Working skyclad (nude) has a long and distinguished, albeit controversial at times, history within paganism. We believe that when we are skyclad the energies of magickal workings are less muddled and it is easier to focus and channel them. Also, it is felt by many, as is stated in The Charge Of The Goddess it is a sign of our freedom to be naked in our rites. At Temple Of the Standing Stones our Initiation Rites (ritual to join the clergy) and our Esbats (Full Moon rituals) are skyclad but our Sabbats and Temple Days are clothed events. In this way, both those who prefer skyclad ritual and those who do not have opportunities to participate.
More on Skyclad Workings here.
Disregard the Hollywood version of what spells and magick look like. Unfortunately, real magick doesn’t come with a special effects team. Essentially, a great many spells you will find are simply a focused form of prayer. Candles of a particular color, crystals which vibrate at particular frequencies, aromas from various incense varieties, all of those things are basically tools to help focus and direct energy.
A syncretic faith is one made up by the combination of different forms of belief or practice. Some examples include Voodoo, Santeria and some would say Wicca as well. We consider our tradition to be syncretic in nature.
A modern religion influenced predominantly by the pre-Christian agrarian cultures of western Europe that believes in and practices magick and honors both male and female deities who exist in nature. Wicca emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles based on solar and lunar cycles.
Generally, A practitioner of natural or folk magick, particularly the sort relating to candles, herbs, stones, colors, knots, etc. I say this because generally, those who practice the more ceremonial forms of magick or “High Magick” as it is often called tend to prefer the term Magi to refer to themselves. Witch is used by some Wiccans to describe themselves and in Wicca either a male or female is called a witch. Male witches do not use the term warlock and it is actually a derogatory term. That being said though it is important to note that not all witches are Wiccan and not all Wiccans necessarily consider themselves witches. Witchcraft tends to have more to do with the workings of magick and spellcraft while Wicca is a religion with many facets beyond the witchcraft aspect of it.
A concept from Anglo-Saxon culture similar to fate or destiny but also related to what we would call karmic return. The ancient Anglo-Saxon concept of fate, or wyrd, was more stringent than that of other cultures such as the Greeks because in their way of believing there was no resisting it. Our modern word weird comes from this word but it’s meaning, basically synonymous with strange, is not the same. Wyrd means something happens because it was destined to happen.