Tag Archives: seekers

Outro

Thank you for reading through our Seekers’ Orientation materials and learning a little about us and our take on Pagan spirituality. lf you have any questions please contact us through the contact form on this website or through our many other points of contact online such as:

Our Forum – http://templeofthestones.org/forum/
Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/Temple-Of-the-Standing-Stones/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/templeofthestones
Twitter – https://twitter.com/OurPantheons
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/Cianaodh/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu6oOJArj58yr2zyoN3TmKw

If you believe you have read and understood this package and would like to elevate to the level of dedicant then please let us know. You may expedite the process by filling out one of our questionnaires and sending it to us or bringing it with you when you visit. We hope to see you again soon at one of our open classes or Sabbats. Health and Blessings to you and yours!

Basic 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. 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.

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Temple Intro

Greetings, salutations and howdy! Welcome to the Seekers’ Orientation at Temple Of the Standing Stones. In order to help you get familiar with us and our approach to Paganism we have included sections about ‘The History Of Our Temple‘, ‘Basics Beliefs‘, ‘The Basics Of Our Practices’,’Definitions’, and more. We’re a friendly lot who are scattered fairly widely throughout the Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth area (but mostly Arlington) and beyond but get together about three weekends per month at one another’s homes, rented space at UU churches or other facilities and sometimes just go on outings together. We have lessons, craft nights, rituals, music, games, movies and other activities which we welcome you to join us in. If you have any questions that we do not cover in our Seekers’ Orientation please feel free to contact us and ask away. We are always looking for ways to improve our website to better serve the needs of newcomers to our temple so if you have a question that we haven’t answered it gives us an opportunity to make our orientation better. Before you get started please see our OUR VISION for a glimpse of this temple’s concept of Paganism our way.

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The Basics Of Our Practices

We adopt many of the ritual elements and practices common among modern day Wiccans and Pagans because we believe these are a solid and familiar foundation for many who are seeking a place to call home within the Pagan community. We want the average Pagan who may have recently moved to the area from somewhere else to feel right at home at one of our rituals or a solitaire who is just trying out group working to not be confronted with a huge learning curve when being introduced to our ritual style. So, while we do things with our own flavor, you should have an easy time catching on and fitting in with us. Even if you’re new to Paganism altogether, what you learn with us will be easily transferable elsewhere if you end up moving to a new area or decide to explore other groups. Still, there are certain things which are uniquely ours or that we have borrowed from other traditions and incorporated into our practices and we will try to cover these a bit here.

As you will find covered in the Clothing, Tools and Magickal Names article our temple uses cord colors to indicate a particular degree or level within the clergy. Cords are collected and not replaced so as one gains another cord it is usually added to the ones already attained by the priest or priestess. To learn which colors mean what please refer to the Cords subsection of Clothing, Tools and Magickal Names. Like many Wiccan covens, our temple utilizes the practice of having someone designated to use a besom (magickal broom) to sweep the ritual space clean before circle is cast. While one person is sweeping the circle you will usually see another go to a point somewhere to the south of the ritual space, say some words and pour something out onto the ground or in a bowl. This is an “Outdweller Offering” An outdweller is a spirit or entity who, while not necessarily malevolent, might not be friendly to our work. To appease these spirits we make an offering of some sort, often ale but other things can be used too, and ask them to accept this gift and leave us be while we have our ritual. It’s a gesture of making peace with the spirits of the land or others who may be nearby.

We typically have someone to anoint participants with oil by drawing a pentagram (for protection) or other symbol on their forehead and asking them how they enter the circle. If you do not know the correct answer then ask someone before ritual begins. It’s fairly common knowledge among Pagans. Upon giving the correct passwords the participant is welcomed to join the circle. After everyone is in, the High Priest or High Priestess will usually have a few things to say about the reason for the ritual that is about to take place then ask everyone to join hands as the circle is cast with the following chant: “Hand to hand the circle’s cast, joining present, future and past — a sacred place, a world apart, where powers merge and magick starts.” Afterward a few more things will take place at the altar then everyone will turn to the east and prepare to call the quarters.

The quarters represent the four elements of Air to the East, Fire to the South, Water to the West and Earth to the North. These elements are considered to be the fundamental essence from which all things are made and the elementals themselves are called upon to attend and help guard the circle against any malevolence from outside. They form the boundary between the magickal, sacred space created within the circle and the mundane world of the outside. After each quarter is called all of the participants turn to the next direction and the next until all are called, ending with Earth in the North. At this time the High Priest and High Priestess will call upon the divine masculine and divine feminine to join, this can be the Lord and Lady or a particular God and Goddess may be called by name depending on the occasion. But in all things we seek balance so we try to have both masculine and feminine energy present in our rituals in equal degrees. After the elements and the gods (used here to mean gods and goddesses) have been called what happens next varies from ritual to ritual but the High Priest or High Priestess will usually have some things to say and will explain what workings are coming up. At some point it is often asked if there are personal magicks which anyone wishes for during the circle. This is when members will often tell us of friends, loved ones or themselves in need of healing energy, help finding new employment or help with another situation. We have certain chants, spells and other things we can do to raise the proper energy for the request made and usually those will be done on the spot or if more research is needed then a commitment is made to study on a way that more magickal work can be done to help the individual. Also, at some point a request is made to make offerings to the gods. This can be an opportunity to share a poem one has written, or a spoken piece one would like to share, perhaps a work of art or craft or anything that it is felt by each individual woud be an appropriate offering to make in thanking the gods for the gifts which have been bestowed upon them.

Later, after all words have been said, workings done and offerings made then an offering of cakes and ale (which can be any food and drink actually) are blessed and passed around the circle with the words, “May you never hunger.” and “May you never thirst.” then the circle is closed in generally a reverse manner to the way it was cast. Although there are many ways to do what was just described, this is basically the gist of a typical Wiccan or Pagan based circle anywhere you may go (save for the Outdweller Offering part which comes from ADF Druidry). This is how we do it and for the most part it is what you can expect to see if you come to one of our rituals. A few things might be different here and there but for the most part it’s fairly basic and, as we said, most anyone with a Pagan background should feel fairly comfortable and at home with it which is how we like for things to be.

Dedicate or Initiate?

At our temple there is a difference between these two concepts and we would like to go into some explanation as to how these differ.

Dedicant – At our temple we believe in the concept of a Pagan laity. In other words, we recognize that there are people out there who desire the social and spiritual aspects of participating with a group but they are not necessarily interested in becoming clergy and entering a training program. That’s perfectly acceptable. It’s not like, if you go to a Christian church for example, that everyone who is in attendance necessarily aspires to be a pastor someday. Why should all Pagans be expected to become clergy and pushed to attain a high enough degree to go form another group of their own? Maybe they are happy right where they are. We are offering a path by which people like this can have a dedication ceremony to make this temple their spiritual home and dedicate themselves to the gods in whatever way they conceive of them. We are working to put together an e-book for our Dedicants with a collection of Pagan prayers, chants, blessings, devotionals, spells and other things to help them live a Pagan spiritual life in their day to day practice.

Initiate – An initiate is someone who has been called to and decided upon becoming clergy within our temple. We don’t do instant initiations, so if we’ve only met you once we’re probably going to be a bit hesitant if you express interest in initiating right away. We like to get to know you and have you get to know us a bit before taking this step. Our initiated clergy is a very tight knit group and see one another as literal spiritual brothers and sisters. Our initiation rite is intended to depict a birthing into this new life. Our initiations and our Esbats are only open to clergy and spouses for attendance and are fully skyclad. All who attend must be able to do so in perfect love and perfect trust. The only exceptions to the clergy and spouses rule is invited candidates who are coming to be initiated into the temple clergy. In order to be invited you first must express your interest in initiating and you should have attended at least 5 temple events. Then the temple elders will discuss and determine your state of readiness. A vote is cast and if it is favorable you will know because there will be bells.

Temple Dues

We’re not in this thing to make a bunch of money but putting on rituals, holding events and buying items for the temple does cost money. For this reason, we do ask our members to “Chip In!” a suggested monthly donation of $10 to help with incidental costs like candles, incense, charms for initiate cords, etc. If you’re able to do more then we will promise to put the money to good use providing better things for our temple. If you are under economic hardship, don’t fret, we feel it is more important that you’re here on the path with us and sharing your energy while we all seek spiritual enlightenment and wisdom.

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Holidays

Pagan Holidays
Pagan Holidays

THE SABBATS

Like most modern pagan traditions our temple follows a calendar similar to the Wiccan Wheel Of The Year such as the one pictured here. What are these Pagan Holidays and what are they all about? Well, let’s talk about that.

Samhain – Let’s begin with Samhain! Why? Well, to the ancient Celts Samhain marked the final festival of the year and the end of summer. But also afterwards the new year on the Celtic calendar began. So, essentially, it’s the Celtic New Year’s Eve. Our modern holiday of Halloween has it’s origins in this holiday and it is considered a time at which the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead is at it’s thinnest. So it is considered a good time by many to remember departed loved ones, practice the arts of divination (tarot, runes, scrying, etc.) or to hold seances in order to reach the other side and perhaps gain some wisdom or just to touch base. Many of the practices held to this day to celebrate Halloween have their origins in ancient pagan traditions or to a time when Christianity was still a new arrival in once predominantly pagan parts of the world.

Yule – Somewhere between December 20th and 23rd we have Yule and yes, to this very day some Christmas carols speak of yuletide and decking halls with boughs of holly. These, as well as bringing in an evergreen tree to decorate, hanging a wreath, kissing under the mistletoe, etc. are all pagan traditions and bring a lot of fun and atmosphere to the holiday season. In many ways our Christian friends and family would feel very much at home with our way of celebrating this day. We decorate our homes, exchange gifts, sing songs, burn a yule log and feast pretty much as everyone else does at this time of year. What’s not to love about that?

Imbolc – At or near February 1st or 2nd comes Imbolc or as many folks here in the United States nowadays know it, groundhog day. Some consider this to be the day the ewes begin giving milk. It has always been a time to look for signs of the coming spring and an end to winter’s hold on the land though. In Celtic lands this day has always been sacred to the goddess Brighid (or Brigid, Brigit, Brighit and a few other spellings I’ve seen used) who was so loved by the people of her lands that the church made her a saint so that people could still pay homage to her. Throughout Ireland and other nearby places there are still many wells dedicated to Brigit.  She is the “exalted one” and goddess of all things perceived to be of relatively high dimensions such as high-rising flames, highlands, hill-forts and upland areas; and of activities and states conceived as psychologically elevated, such as wisdom, excellence, perfection, high intelligence, poetic eloquence, craftsmanship, healing ability, druidic knowledge and skill in warfare. 

Ostara – Around March 19th to 22nd is Ostara (or Ēostre ) celebrating the spring equinox and from it are traditions commonly associated with the modern Christian celebration of Easter these days. We do things like stuff colored eggs with candy and have the kids (of all ages) hunt for them. In addition to being a celebration of the arrival of spring this day is sacred to the goddess Ostara from whom comes the name of this sabbat because she brings renewal and rebirth from the death of winter. There are also many tales tying the hare (which later became the Easter Bunny) with the goddess Ostara.

Beltaine – Then we’re half way around the wheel from where we started at Beltane (Beltaine) on May 1st. Beltane has long been celebrated with, dancing around maypoles, feasts and rituals. The name comes from the fire of Bel (Belinos) which is a name for the god of the sun. As summer begins, the weather becomes warmer, the flowers bloom, and an exuberant mood prevails. In old Celtic traditions (and among modern pagans) it is a time of unabashed sexuality. Oftentimes marriages of a year and a day are undertaken at Beltane because of it’s association with new beginnings and fertility. Yes, this is the pagan sex festival you’ve probably heard all about. Some of the rumors might even be true. But who knows? 😉

Litha – June 21st brings us Litha, Midsummer, Summer Solstice, call it what you will but here in Texas it’s the beginning of sweltering heat which will last well into September usually. Nearly every agricultural society has marked the high point of summer in some way manner. The word itself is from the Latin word solstitium, which literally means “sun stands still.” Litha is a time to find a balance between fire and water. According to Ceisiwr Serith, in his book The Pagan Family, European traditions celebrated this time of year by setting large wheels on fire and then rolling them down a hill into a body of water.

Lughnasadh – Lughnasadh (or Lughnasa also known as Lammas) – Lughnasadh (Loo – Nah – Sah) means the funeral games of Lugh, another name for the sun god. Many think the funeral is his own, but actually the funeral games he hosts are in honor of his foster-mother Tailte. Because of this, the traditional Tailtean craft fairs and Tailtean marriages (which last for a year and a day – Yes, there’s that year and a day thing again) are also celebrated at this time. This is considered to be a time to begin reaping what we have sown, and bringing in the first harvests of grain, wheat, oats, and more. Lammas refers to loaves of bread so the feast following this ritual is usually accented by bread in it’s many forms and styles.

Mabon – Last but certainly not least comes Mabon ( also Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed) at the autumnal equinox. It is the second harvest festival of the year, Lughnasadh being the first and Samhain the third and final. Apples and other fruits are often associated with this observance. It’s basically a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the gods during the coming winter months. It is said that the name Mabon was  first used by the poet Aidan Kelly sometime around 1970 in reference to Mabon ap Modron a character from Welsh mythology.

THE ESBATS

At Temple Of the Standing Stones we consider an esbat to be a clergy meeting and ritual held each month at the time of the full moon. This is usually a time for magickal workings to be done, ritual tools and other items to be cleansed and charged and temple business to be discussed. Our full moon esbats are skyclad rituals and are only open to initiated priests and priestesses of the tradition and their spouses. No observers are allowed, no non-skyclad people may be present in sight of the ritual space and no minors may attend. These rituals are intended only for the clergy and all must attend in perfect love and perfect trust and in equal standing. We usually hold an esbat on the nearest Saturday night to a full moon but sometimes we will schedule them for Friday nights if there is a schedule conflict with another event. In the event of a Blue Moon (second full moon within a calendar month) however, we do something special. Instead of a skyclad ritual we have a silly and fun ritual of some sort and invite anyone to attend. These Blue Moon rituals might involve wearing costumes or other amusing twists not normally seen. Think Tigger’s Full Moon Ritual with characters from a popular children’s book series or a Chocolate Ritual for examples.

THE NEW MOONS

New Moons rituals are held on the nearest Saturday evening or occasional Friday evening to the new moon of each month. The New Moon is a good time to make a new beginning, to ask for a new love, job or circumstances in your life as well as healing or renewing your commitment to an old resolution. These events are not skyclad and ritual robes are appropriate to wear if you have them. Otherwise casual attire is fine. Temple Of the Standing Stones New Moon rituals are open to members of the temple whether Dedicant or Initiate and their guests. Seekers may come but please RSVP ahead of time so we are properly prepared for the number of attendees.

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Clothing, Tools, And Magickal Names

We don’t dwell a whole lot on what some may consider proper ritual clothing and tools but admittedly, we do enjoy our bling. 😉 The primary purpose of ritual tools and robes, etc. is that these preparations put us in the right frame of mind for communing with the divine. When a particular item of clothing or tool is dedicated to the purpose of ritual and magickal workings, it helps us to mentally prepare ourselves for the task at hand. It is a good idea to spend as much time with your ritual tools as you can and cleanse and charge them regularly. The more of our own energies we put into something, the more it will become totally ours.

Altar Pentacle

A disk or plate inscribed with a pentacle often used on the altar to represent the element of Earth.  Sometimes used as a base for the chalice or other magickal object.

Athame

An athame is a magical knife used in ceremonies and rituals for directing energies such as when casting circle or drawing an invoking or banishing pentagram. Traditionally this tool has a black handle and the blade is intentionally dull but some practitioners opt for less traditional styles.

Besom

It’s basically a broom but it’s designated for magickal purposes. Used for  cleansing sacred space or to sweep negative energy away from any area where it is unwanted. Often used for home cleansing rituals as well.

Bling

In our tradition, initiated members (clergy) receive a charm on their purple, initiates cord with one given for each Sabbat and each Esbat attended by the member. During their training, one factor considered by the elders when deciding if someone is ready to advance to the next level in their training is based on attendance. The more Sabbats and Esbats one attends, the more charms (bling) one receives, therefore proving their attendance. If you see someone with a lot of bling on their purple cord then that person has been to many events with us and is probably quite knowledgeable in our ritual elements.

Cauldron

A representation of bounty and blessings as in the good god Dagda’s cauldron from which none went away hungry and is often used to hold just about anything you want it to such as herbs or offerings. Surely you’re familiar with what a cauldron looks like. It’s basically an old styled cooking pot.

Censer or Incense Burner

A container for a hot coal used for the altar incense or a holder for stick or cone incense and may even represent the element of Air.

Chalice

A ceremonial cup. Often used on the altar to hold the element of Water and to represent the feminine energy of the Goddess.  Also used to hold the wine or juice for the ale part of the consecration of cakes and ale.

Cords

A purple cord is the initiate’s cord and it is thinner than the others but has a loop at the end which is intended for collecting charms which are given out to clergy members who attend Sabbats and Esbats. These charms are often referred to as “bling” among the members and the cord itself is often called a “bling cord”. This is not only a fun way to show off how many events you have participated in as a priestess or priest but also it is how the elders within the temple determine whether a person has had a sufficient level of participation to be considered for elevation to the next degree in their clergy training. This is by no means the only factor considered in that decision but it is one of them.

A white cord indicates a first degree and these people are generally knowledgeable in ritual elements used within the temple such as calling the quarters, sweeping the circle before ritual (a magickal cleansing of negative energy), guardian duties (one of the roles within the temple), anointing or smudging participants into circle or helping with altar setup. These clergy members have a good foundational know ledge of general Pagan practices and concepts and can usually help an initiate or dedicant find answers to basic questions.

A black cord indicates a second degree priest or priestess and these are people who are learning the more in depth elements of ritual and magick. These folks may sometimes be called upon to write and officiate a ritual themselves as part of their training because upon attaining their next degree they could, at their discretion, choose to hive off and start a group of their own so they are expected to know how to do all of these things and teach them to others by the time they reach that level. They should have a good working knowledge of concepts regarding energy working, divination, Pagan philosophy and culture, ancient languages, writing and symbology and other areas of interest which they have chosen to study. For some this may be herbology, or spellworking or ancient mythology and lore or any number of things. We allow our clergy to pursue those topics which interest them and do our best to provide them with the tools they need to attain proficiency. But we don’t prescribe a set area of knowledge and expect one size to fit all.

A red cord indicates a third degree member and this is the highest level attainable. If this person has chosen to hive off and form a group of their own they may additionally have a metallic cord indicating their status as a High Priest or High Priestess. With or without the metallic cord though this person is expected to be able to fill any role needed within the temple as well as write and officiate their own rituals. People of this degree should be quite knowledgeable in Pagan history, ritual, culture, mythology, magick and other areas regarding Pagan studies. Although this person has attained the highest degree we offer learning never ceases and we do offer some advanced studies and activities intended for our third degree clergy such as paranormal investigation, remote viewing, energy working practices and deeper study of ancient cultures, etc.

Magickal Names

Many of our temple members, but not all, have chosen a magickal name (sometimes called craft name) to be called by.  The history of this practice is said by some to date back to a time when keepers of the old ways were only known to each other by their magickal names, making it impossible for anyone to turn a casual acquaintance in to the authorities during the inquisitions where rewards sometimes were great. These names also give a persona during ritual when a person steps into the body of that magickal person and leaves their mundane self outside the circle. This, for some, serves a similar purpose as a robe and the use of dedicated magickal tools.

Pentagram or Pentacle

A pentagram is drawn as five lines crossed to form a star with five points. A pentacle is a pentagram enclosed within a circle.  It has been a symbol of peace, truth, and protection for many thousands of years. We look at it as representing the four Elements ruled by Spirit at the top.

Robes

For a lot of folks, putting on your ritual robe is a way of separating yourself from the mundane world and day to day life and putting yourself into the ritual mindset. Most people prefer to wear nothing at all under their ritual robe, but do what is comfortable for you.

Skyclad

Skyclad, or completely unclothed, is to be clothed in your original ritual robes, the skin of your body that you were bestowed with when you were born into this incarnation. Skyclad ritual is a standard practice in many traditions and is our preferred mode of ritual for Initiation rites and Esbats at Temple Of the Standing Stones. There is nothing wrong with it if all agree and are comfortable and the founding members of our temple unanimously agreed that the energy raised at skyclad Esbats has been exquisite. Still, we hold Sabbats and New Moons throughout the year as well which are robed so if skyclad is not something you are comfortable with there are plenty of opportunities to participate in ritual with us and stay clothed.

Staff

Sometimes used for opening or closing gates between the worlds or to ground energy. Also good to lean on when you’re tired or have a long way to walk! Many people adorn their staves with trinkets, charms and other decorations or carve runes, symbols, talismans or other decor into them. Sometimes pyrography (wood burning) is employed to decorate them. Some anoint their staves with oils and often, as it is with wands, the wood and other materials used in their construction has magickal significance.

Wand

Also used in the same manner as an athame, but may have more specific purposes depending on the wood or other materials used in it’s construction.   Sometimes a wand is used rather than an athame in many public rituals where a ritual dagger might be mistaken as a weapon by people not familiar with their use.

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About Us – Seekers’ Orientation

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 TEMPLEThis 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.

– – Deity Our approach to deity and how our members conceptualize the divine.

– – ReincarnationMost of our members believe in one form of reincarnation or another. Here’s a look at some beliefs on reincarnation.

– – Ethics While our Temple is not specifically Wiccan, we have chosen to adopt the Wiccan Rede as a guideline for our code of ethics.

THE BASICS OF OUR PRACTICES – Our ritual style, roles and concepts we make a part of our temple’s orthopraxy.

– – Holidays These are the holidays we observe, and these are the levels at which you must be to come to them, and why.

– – 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.

– – Divination Another practice utilized by many members of our temple both in and out of ritual is divination.

– – Temple Calendar Our upcoming event schedule.

OUTRO Thanks for reading this, if you have any questions please contact us.

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 templehp@templeofthestones.org or print it out and bring it with you to the next gathering you attend.

SUPPLEMENTAL ARTICLES:

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.

SKYCLAD WORKINGS – A more in depth look at our view of skyclad ritual and it’s place in our workings.

OFF-GRID LIVING LINKSA 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.

Definitions

Eclectic

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.

Heathen

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.

Kindred

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.

Magick

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.

Mother Culture

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

Occult

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.

Orthopraxy

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.

Pagan

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.

Pantheism

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.

Rede

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.

Ritual

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.

Skyclad

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.

Spell

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.

Syncretic

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.

Wicca

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.

Witch

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.

Wyrd

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.

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