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Posts Tagged ‘NeoPagan’


The Big Bang.  Quantum physics. Neutrinos.  The splitting of a proton.  Energy.  Massive Energy.  Fire.  Hurricanes.  Wind.  Waves.  A landslide.  Magick.

All of science has shown that magick doesn’t exist.  On the surface.  The science of the 1700′s, 1800′s, and 1900′s worked to understand the how’s and why’s of the world and to uncover the secret workings of what was considered “magick”.  They did an amazing job and the result is the world we live in.  Computers, cars, planes, and chemistry run our lives and give us the means to live our lives in comfort.  We discovered the atom (which actually is Latin for irreducible) and from there have manipulated them to nearly the maximum extent that they can be manipulated.

We discovered that an atom is not in fact irreducible.  There are two parts of an atom:  the nucleus and the electron cloud that surrounds it.  Imagine that an atom is the size of an orange.  The nucleus is smaller than one of the seeds.  The 1-160 electrons that make up the cloud are each the size of a speck of dust.  The rest is void space.  Okay, that’s kind of crazy but imaginable.  So an atom is 99% void space and 1% mass.

Now we get into the quantum physics part of it.  Through crazy testing that I’m not even going to begin to try to explain they’ve found that the nucleus’s parts (protons and neutrons) can be further broken apart into what are known as quarks.  Come to find out, they too make up only about 1% of the proton and neutron volume.  The rest is void space.  So within an atom, only 1% of 1% (that’d be .01% for the non math majors out there) is actual mass.  That is incredible.  So here’s an example of why that’s so incredible:  Think about an airplane.  It weighs hundreds of thousands of pounds and carries 150 people through the air, defying gravity.  Now think about it in terms of atoms.  For every square foot of metal, cut out all but a single piece of metal about 1/8th of an inch by 1/8th of an inch.  Oh yeah, and as thin as a hair.  That’s how much actual mass is there.  The rest is all just nothing.  It’s kind of mind blowing.

Now let’s look past that to what hasn’t been discovered and make an educated guess.  No one has ever broken apart a quark or atom (that I’ve ever heard of), but my guess is that there’s only about 1% of the quark that’s actually there and the rest is void space.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  Eventually you realize that there really isn’t anything out there.  Nothing takes up any space in actuality because there’s nothing really there.

Except energy.  There is motion and so there must be energy.  Even if an electron cloud is nearly all void space, it acts as an object.  It has force and it has volume.  Energy is the only thing that is real in the world.  Now my question to you is this:  how is the energy that is the world any different from the energy that is pulled through your body to create change in the world?  It isn’t.  It is all the same thing with different vibrational levels and different intention.

The next thing that needs to be thought about is the fact that our bodies are also made of atoms which means that truthfully we are made of nothing but energy.  And something else.   There has to be something else inside of us that allows us to be alive and different from one another.  This is the most logical and perfectly undeniable proof of the soul for lack of a better word.

So we are in essence, a soul that is somehow bound to energy.  This is pretty much exactly what the Eastern philosophies and religions have taught for thousands of years.  Now comes the true question of this blog:  what do we do with this information?

Well, as far as magick is concerned, this logic tells us that if we can control the energy of our body then why would we not be able to control the energy outside of this body?  Also, why would we not be able to transform the energy of a chair into the energy of an ice cube?  And furthermore, why is it that we don’t already know how to do this?

I don’t know.  Possibly it has to do with the fact that we are here for a reason and that reason doesn’t include having everything we want without any effort.  That’s about as far as I can get at 4 am.  I’d love to hear other people’s ideas on this.

The more important question to ask is this:  if we are all made up of energy, and the world is made up of energy, and our souls are simply tied to the energy that we inhabit, then what inhabits everything else?  I’d have to say that the idea of a Mother Earth or a God or the Universe or whatever other name you’d like to give it sure does sound pretty plausible when you put it into those terms.   If you take the first point and put it with this point, then one of the most obvious conclusions for me is this:  there is a reason we are here and there is some sort of design to all of this chaos that is our lives.

Okay, that’s as far as I’m going to get on this topic for now since I’m ridiculously exhausted from a long night of work and I’ve got to get ready to go back for a few more hours.  Let me know what you think.

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In the past, I’ve never really used a book of shadows.  It always seemed as though it were just another journal which could be useful as a self exploratory tool, never really caught my interest.  The further along the path laid before me I get, it keeps becoming more and more apparent that I need to keep one–not for myself, but for my children or any other “students” that come along.  I know that I have had to figure everything out myself from the very beginning, and though this has been a useful exercise in itself, it’s not something that I would wish on anyone else especially my children.  There will always be trials that I never had to go through, entities that I’ve never encountered, and paths I have not traveled, but I wish to have a reference for them so that they can have a place to begin with.

And that brings me to the purpose of this post:  to explain my thoughts on my now current BoS and the future of it.

The purpose of the BoS is not to be a journal.  It is to be a reference book that could never be sold in a store, but can be trusted completely as a reference.  Therefore, it must be clean, easily scanned through, thorough but not to the point of rambling.  All of the information must be completely understandable and not put into metaphysical/New Age confusion which is so prevalent in other references.

It must be a book not a computer file because computers die, flash drives get lost, and every other possibility that can cause things to get lost randomly on a computer.  It is currently in a journal with no lines so that drawings are easy to understand.  It currently is unorganized because organizing in a journal is a task of futility, but once the journal is filled, the information will be recopied into another that is far more organized.  It may even be typed up and printed.

The sections will include the following:  rituals, practices for increasing magickal power, entities and all information on them, special circumstances, information on associations, and a random information part.

Now, other people may have different ideas on what a book of shadows is supposed to be, but this is my view of it.

*Just as an FYI, the image is from Oberon Designs who make the most fantastic leather journal covers I’ve ever found.  Check them out because you won’t find a better journal cover.

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I would like to pose a question to you.  Why does the word “break” mean to change something from a finished product into its pieces?  Is it because that’s the way that the language has evolved from previous languages?  That’s what historians and linguists believe.  But where did the original word come from?

Now this will take a little bit of thinking outside the box, so read carefully and don’t dismiss it until you’ve finished completely.  What if the idea of a single language was actually true.  What if the idea of Babel was actually based on truth?  Of course every culture will inevitably create its own functional language, but what if there was a single True language?  What if all of the world could speak and understand this language?  I ask this because there are hints in many many cultures that certain sounds bring forth different magickal effects.  Think about the runes.  They are not simply geometric designs to carve on something for magickal purposes.  They were a language, and a language that supposedly held a large portion of the magick of the Norse.  Each rune had its own sound as well as its own associations.  Combine this with the idea of Babel, and we have a very strange idea indeed.  As an example, let’s look at Berkano the rune.  It represents the B sound, as well as the birch tree and the female spark of life as well as being very related to all things associated with the third Sephiroth in the tree of life, Binah.  Now let’s look at words that start with B: birth, birch, book, baby, break, burn, box.

All of these things are at least slightly associated with the Berkano rune.  Obviously birch is.  Birth and baby are as well.  Burn is different but still associated because Berkano is actually a fire rune in some sense due to the fact that it is the initial fire of life.  Box and break have to do with Binah’s association with form and boundaries.
Strange as it seems, Berkano is a Norse rune and the associations are based on its role in the Norse culture, and yet it still seems to hold at least some truth in today’s English language.  I’m sure that there are situations where it doesn’t hold true, but then again, I never said that modern English is the ‘one true language’.  I simply think that it is strange that it still holds some truth.   It’s also very strange how in the word break, the b sound could represent the origins of something, much like a seed is the origin of life.  The r represents the road to something.  K represents the purifying torch of fire.  It seems strange how even after a millennium the purifying torch takes something back down the path to its original parts.

Yes, it is absolutely true that it is a bit of a stretch, but it is also very true that it’s far too close to pass off completely.  I also doubt very highly that the Norse runes are the true language.  Many languages throughout the world have magickal languages, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if you could do something very similar with all of them.  My question is, couldn’t someone take these languages and do something very similar with them all?  Then, couldn’t you combine this research and start looking at how they correspond with each other.  It seems like something that should have been done years ago, but I’ve never seen any kind of research even remotely similar.

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There are very few references to scorpions in mythology or modern symbolism books.  I have no good theories on why this would be the case, but many of my searches for information on the scorpion have been in vain.  In response to this lack of information, I’m going to post my thoughts and personal symbols for the scorpion as well as the little information I’ve found.

In every case that I’ve found, the scorpion has represented the death that comes unsuspecting.  It does not attack with ferociousness like a tiger or bear, but instead dances around its enemy, drawing their attention to its pincers while it slowly draws near enough for the fatal strike from its tail.  This teaches us the value of the never letting your enemy know the true danger until it is too late.

On the other hand, there is no cruelty in the scorpion.  It is simple, emotionless, and deadly at the same time.  Cold-blooded simplicity at its finest.  The scorpion will fight, kill, and then devour any rival scorpions and even their mates.  They teach us that we are alone in the world, and that it is often best to rid the world of competitors.  Unlike people though, this is not done through hate or distrust, simply the cold knowing that all competitors can turn around and destroy you if you do not destroy them first.

Strangely, they are one of the only “bugs” that cares for its young.  As soon as the eggs hatch, the baby scorpions climb up on the mother’s back and completely cover her.  She then protects them until their first molting.  This cold-blooded killer knows that it must protect her young from the world until they are ready to fight their own battles.  She knows that in this world, there is no mercy to be had, even for the young.

The scorpion represents death in its most simple sense.  It represents the world in its harshest most destructive nature, and yet with a very protective nature.  Crowley integrated the scorpion into his Death card in the Thoth Tarot, along with the serpent and eagle, the other two pieces of Scorpio.

In the Ritual of the Portal, an initiatory ritual of the Golden Dawn, it is said that

“The Scorpion is the emblem of ruthless destruction; the Snake is the mixed and deceptive nature, serving alike for good and evil; the Eagle is the higher and Divine Nature, yet to be found herein, the Alchemical Eagle of distillation, the Renewer of life. As it is said:–’Thy youth shall be renewed like the Eagles.’”

There are many parts of the Golden Dawn that I disagree with, but on this series of transformations I agree.  It is necessary to learn the destructive nature of the scorpion before you can learn the trans-formative nature of the snake who can travel between the upper and lower world.

This post is not about this Golden Dawn ritual and so I will not go deeply into it, I was simply showing yet another example of the symbolism of the scorpion.  If there is any interest in this topic, I would have no problem writing about it in more detail.

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It’s 600 BC in a Native American village.  A child is born.  He grows into a young boy and is a bit different than the other children.  He sees things that aren’t there.  Spirits and animals are his friends more so than his own family.  He stays away from the village as much as possible and really never gets along with any of the other children.  His parents are worried, and they talk to the local medicine man.  The medicine man realizes that the boy is simply a natural medicine man.  The spirits have chosen him, and it is his destiny to become the next medicine man.  So he begins his training.

It’s 2010 in small town America.  A child is born.  He grows into a young boy and is a bit different than the other children.  He sees things that aren’t there.  His invisible friends are more his friends than his own family.  He plays in the woods as much as he can and rarely play with other children, regardless of how much his parents try to get him to.  His parents are worried.  There’s not much for them to do.  He grows into a teen and never really changes.  His parents finally take him to a psychiatrist and he is diagnosed with schizophrenia.  He is heavily medicated and lives the rest of his life in a haze.

It’s strange how similar these stories are, and how different they turn out.  The boy would have been considered a highly regarded and highly functional member of society 3000 years ago, but now he is forced to either live his life in a haze or to be completely non-functioning in society.  Yes, I could rant and rave about how wrong this is.  I could complain about the backward nature of a society that seeks to limit and expansion of the consciousness, but I will refrain and simply seek an answer as to how we can instead learn to help these children and adults.  So let’s take this scientifically so we don’t just sounds like a bunch of crazies who also need to be medicated.  I’m writing this as I would in a scientific journal, so I apologize for complicating things that are simple.

Purpose

The purpose of the post is to explore the methods for dealing with any “delusions” that would be handled by a shaman or other historical spiritual advisor in both children and adults.  It is not the purpose of this essay to provide solutions, simply possibilities.

Assumptions

Let’s make a simple assumption.  Schizophrenia is caused by some sort of expansion of consciousness to include beings of other planes of existence.  This could be the expansion into either the realm of spirits as well as the astral (dream) world.  There may be other expansions possible, but these are the primary that come to mind.  Thus, the two expansions must be treated differently.  One (astral) should be dealt with as though everything is symbolic, much like a dream, while the other (spiritual) should be dealt with literally.  In this essay I will be dealing with the spiritual side rather than the astral.

It is also necessary to assume that all hallucinatory experiences fall into these categories as well due to their regular use in historical shamanic and magickal workings in order to induce communication with the other planes of existence.  These hallucinatory experiences include drug use, dehydration, exhaustion, starvation, torture, chemical deficiencies within the body, and other easily dealt with delusions.

It is also necessary to assume that if these experiences are caused by an expansion of consciousness, that they are as real as the realm of consciousness that we all live in.  Though it may seem difficult to do, we must not consider these to be delusions in the commonly used sense.  Drugs, sweat lodges, and ritual torturing have been used for millenia to interact with these other realms for real world changes and knowledge.  If they had not been worthwhile experiences or had given false information, they would have been abandoned far before Christianity came into existence.

Effects of the Shamanic Calling

It is important to put into perspective the effects that an untreated person who’s consciousness has naturally expanded will endure.  The experiences can range from simply hearing voices to seeing faeries to talking with spirits and demons.  Sometimes they are friendly, sometimes they are terrifying.  Whispers in the dark, your deepest fears appearing before you while you’re showering.  These are the making of the most fear-inducing horror movie, and there are children world-wide being plagued by them.  Yet, these are the same effects that people have striven to achieve with years and years of effort.  They are not able to be ignored, but medication may not be the best way of coping.

Necessities of Treatment

In order to find ways of coping and controlling this expansion, it is necessary to ascertain the needs which must be fulfilled with any kind of treatment or counseling.

Acceptance

The most important part of any kind of treatment is the explanation that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the person, that there are others out there like them.  It is important to also establish that there are hundreds and thousands of people who work their entire lives to earn the gifts that they were born with.  It is absolutely necessary for the child or adult to understand that there is help out there, and they do not have to simply ignore or try to hide from this gift because that is exactly what it is, a gift from the universe.  It isolates them, scares them, and makes their life more difficult, but that is because they do not have any control of it and have no understanding of it.

Family and Loved Ones

For the person who has these difficult experiences, isolation is most likely their most difficult obstacle to overcome.  Therefore, it is imperative that those who are still in their life need to be counseled as well.  They must learn to accept the experiences as a real experience and not the delusions of a madman.  They must be counseled as much as the patient does because it is not a simple thing to remove the society-imposed idea that only their reality exists and all others are delusions.

Coping Skills

In the immediate, it is necessary to find the coping mechanisms which the patient has created for themselves.  These can range in many directions, and most of them will be effective for as long as the patient has faith in them.  They are very likely similar to OCD behaviors due to the complete fear that befalls them when they do not keep the behaviors, and at some later date they may need to be dealt with separately.

It is also necessary to create coping skills if there are not any.  This may entail lying to the patient in order to create faith in the skills because trust is absolutely necessary for most simplistic skills to work.  This must be considered on a case by case basis due to the need for trust in such a difficult counseling/treatment situation.

Building Skills

Coping mechanisms are not enough to deal with this lifelong issue.  It is necessary to teach the patient how to control their experiences with these other realms of existence.  The best way of doing this is by looking through the more occult teaching from history.  Much will be useless due to the majority being about how to open these same realms of consciousness.  Techniques such as meditation, calming exercises, and basic understanding of the spirit world are important.

It is also necessary to teach the patient to learn from their experiences in these other worlds.  Historically, guides are available to all travelers in other realms and it is only the patient who can interact with and gain help from these guides.  They will be the primary teachers of the patient, and it is simply the counselor’s job to help the patient understand the teachings.  Especially for children, the teachings are not always simple, and it is the extremely difficult job of the counselor of holding all of the knowledge needed for these journeys and feeding it to the patient as needed.  The counselor must become the shaman of old who is training his apprentice, even though the counselor may not have any experience of these other worlds.

Necessities for Success

It’s important to understand that on a basic level, many of the issues associated with this theory are difficult to implement due to societal issues.  It is very possible for a parent to implement if they are understanding and are qualified enough (not with pieces of paper or resumes, simply in how much they understand these other worlds).  They control their environment and how much other people know about their therapy sessions.  On the other hand, society has a very strong distrust of anything outside of normal psychiatric treatment, which we’ve seen through many of the struggles of Scientology.  It would be even more difficult to promote this type of treatment due to the differences in mentality of the patients as well as age issues.

The other primary issue would be that for the immediate, the patients would need be held in the same place they are being treated so that they do not have to feel alone anymore.  The other issue is that all people working their would have to treat the patients as apprentice medicine men rather than as patients.  There couldn’t be any drugs used to tranquilize patients as they do in mental wards when there are schizophrenic episodes because the episodes are necessary for their understanding of this other realm of consciousness.

It would also be important for the area to be conducive to exploring the spiritual realms.  Areas of natural beauty where the patients could be alone would be helpful.  Because many of the journeys necessary to understanding and controlling their gifts require solidarity, there would have to be ways for the children to spend large amounts of time away from the protective eyes of the adults and caretakers.  This would mean that it would have to be protected from intruders and dangerous animals.

All of these issues would require large amounts of understanding and informed employees as well as a large amount of land and funding.  At the same time, there would be little to no government assistance because of the lack of sanctions from government agencies.  This is not even considering the issues with current laws and licensing.  All of these point to a very limited possibility for this type of institution to exist.  I have no idea how something of this type could come together, but regardless, I believe that there is a need for it.

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/start sarcasm

My exaggerated view of a Barnes and Nobles metaphysical bookshelf

Hmmm… this is a pretty big Barnes and Nobles, maybe they’ve got something different than the one from my small town in South Texas. Oh yeah, there’s some Silver RavenWolf, that’s what I’ve been looking for. Sweet! I’ve been needing a sixth book on Magick 101! This one’s got a pretty picture of a flower on the cover and it’s all sparkly! Oh yeah, and there’s the section on Cunningham, definitely haven’t seen those before. I hear they’re good especially if you’ve never heard of primary sources. Oh and here’s the section on meditation. Probably much different from the meditation that’s taught in Asian philosophy and everywhere else. Oh yeah, and there’s the 270 page fairy book that has absolutely no information that can’t be found in a child picture book. Definitely my choice purchase. Oh wait, it costs $31.99? I’m sure it’s worth it. Oh yeah, here’s what I was looking for, the section on altars. So there’s Altars for Different Seasons, Basic Altars, How to Make Your Own Altar, and the ever popular Different Crap You Can Buy to Decor…I Mean Honor Stuff With Your Altar.

/end sarcasm

I wonder why the average Pagan creates an altar. I also wonder why there is such a market for books on the subject. I know that some people need ideas for their first altar, and most books are marketed to the novice in their practice, but the idea of an altar is fairly simple and doesn’t really require buying anything–even books on the subject. An altar’s three-fold purpose is to create a sacred space in a home that is normally filled with non-sacred emotions and actions, to honor spirits, and to use as a magickal tool for filling something with energy and power.

When taking the purpose into account, can you really tell me that you need to buy a bunch of overpriced stuff for an altar? And how can you make an altar out of a book? I know that my altar has a few things that a book would suggest, but I wouldn’t ever go buy the items just to build an altar (which the books seems to suggest that you do). I’ve got a chalice that I used long before I ever had an altar. Yes, I’ve got a few crystals that I had before I was Pagan and was using them for meditation practices. Yes, I’ve also got an incense burner that is actually a mortar filled with salt. I’ve got a few feathers…that I got as a gift my spiritual teacher.

So what is it that I’m trying to say? An altar is supposed to bring you closer to “God” as the Christians say. It’s supposed to open you up and allow you feel safe and calm. It’s no different from the sacred temples of the ancient Greeks or groves of the Druids. Do you really think that the priests of old went to their local Magick-Mart for a bunch of stuff made in China or Korea in sweatshops to put in their brand new temple? We don’t have to hand-make everything like they did, but please remember that the energy in these cheap foreign-made products is likely to be less that awesome. I would rather have an incomplete altar than one filled with items that will bring negative energy into my workings. Magick is a subtle art that is heavily influenced by the nuances of the practice rather than the basics, and so in this case, yes you should sweat the small stuff.

The other thing to think about is that an altar is not so much a tool like a rake or steak knife. It isn’t just something to use in order to get results. It becomes a living extension of yourself. That is one of the primary reasons that taking care of it is such an important task. It needs the love and attention that you give in order to put you into that place of spiritual openness.

How is it so necessary to own 7 books on a subject that is simple. Put pieces of yourself into the altar above all else. Put spiritual pieces that mean something to you next. Yes, it’d be nice to honor the elements and certain gods, but remember that the altar is your gateway to the infinite, and so it should be a part of you rather than some altar template that you found in a book.

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In reaction to the unusually high number of high profile sexual abuse cases involving Pagans, Jason from the Wild Hunt and Brendan Myers have pushed a movement for all Pagans to help draft and sign a universal ethics statement in regards to sexual abuse.

I’m not usually one to copy and past from another blog, but in this instance, I feel it is necessary for the good of the Pagan world that this be spread as quickly and completely as possible. So here’s the original post from the Wild Hunt:

An Ethics Statement: How to Start

I’m going to stray a bit from my normal routine, and propose an actual initiative for our community to undertake. Considering recent cases within our community concerning the sexual abuse of children, and the larger context of news-making abuse cases within non-Pagan faith intuitions, I feel that a voluntary statement of ethics put forward and enforced by Pagan leaders, groups, event organizers, media outlets, and organizations could go a long way towards fostering an atmosphere that would support victims, discourage would-be abusers, and potentially avert some cases of abuse. I understand that any undertaking that attempts to gain the support of any sizable percentage of the larger Pagan community can be fraught with drama, dissent, and backlash, but I feel this is something worth the effort, and the process will have The Wild Hunt’s support at every stage.

Every stage of this process, so long as I am a part of it, will be opt-in and voluntary. No group, individual, or legal entity will be strong-armed into participating, or demonized if they feel they can’t sign on to the finished product. Coalitions that bring lasting change aren’t built by guilt or coercion, but by bridge-building and compromise. We will gladly stand by and partner with those who opt to develop alternate faith or group-specific ethics platforms, so long as they are created in the same spirit of protecting the innocent. Further, the finished statement will exist as its own entity beholding to no single faith, group or individual, and anyone will be able to “sign” or “opt-in” to it at any time so long as they support its tenets.

Stage One: Crafting a draft statement. We will start with a relatively small group working together, with ongoing input from the larger community, to create a first draft of the ethics statement. Pagan author and professor of philosophy Brendan Myers has volunteered to host and help guide this stage of the process. If you are interested in being a part of this process, please join his message board, and take part. I urge folks from various faiths, traditions, professions, and walks of life, to participate. I thank Brendan for stepping forward to shepherd this initial step.

Stage Two: Feedback on draft. Once a rough draft of the statement is complete, it will be posted here, and at other Pagan media outlets, for feedback. All constructive input will be listened to, and responsive changes and revisions will be made accordingly.

Stage Three: Posting of draft, and creation of ethics statement web site. Once complete, the final ethics statement will be posted at its own web site, and all who wish may then sign on to the statement. All participating organizations and events will be prominently listed, web badges and printable materials will be made available, and an outreach committee will be formed to encourage wide adoption of the statement. The site will remain politically neutral, and will not advocate for or against any tradition, group, or individual in a conflict.

That is my suggestion for moving forward. If you want to discuss this, and get on board with this process, please visit Brendan Myers’ site to get things started. I hope this will be the start of a productive and proactive step to address this issue within our interlocking communities.

Though it is only in its planning stages, this seems like a key issue at the moment. We as Pagans need to step up and take responsibility for protecting the children of the world, and especially those at our own events. We need to make it one of the core Pagan values, and as such, making it simple to make such a public pledge should help to strengthen organization leaders’ efforts in making Paganism child-friendly, and more importantly, child-safe.

While any attempt at unity in the Pagan world seems futile due to the huge divisions inherent to our beliefs, this is something that all respectful and responsible Pagans can unify under and uphold.

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