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u/Erra-Epiri · 5 pointsr/pagan

> 1.) How are the gods viewed? Extra-dimensional beings, intelligences of natural forces or something else? Are they part of our world or another one?

These small questions demand exhaustive responses, haha. It's difficult for me to condense it here, but I will try, and will more than likely end up elaborating in comments later on.

The Netjeru are viewed as Gods -- Gods with multifarious and complex natures. They're not archetypes. They're not mere "metaphors" for anything, and are by no means facile explanations for natural phenomena conconcted by "pre-rational" humans, as many Moderns who privilege promissory materialist philosophy and interpretations are so fond of and known to say.

Personification-deities -- like Ma'at, the embodiment of the concept of ma'at; Sia, the embodiment of Divine intellect, perception, prophecy, etc.; and Shai(t), the God Who manifests more often as male than as female, and embodies fate, destiny, prophecy, etc. -- are still literal Divine beings as all the rest, but are not ones which are personable and personally accessible to human beings, on human terms. Some are much more "humanly accessible" than others. There are many classes of deities, with many roles and functions each performs, both on an individual basis and as units.

Fair warning: One does not get very far with two-dimensional interpretations and approaches to Egyptian religion(s). Ancient Egyptian theo-logic is incredibly polyvalent, and is not comprised of nor dictated by a series of competitive and contradictory bivalent values.

Arguably, the majority of the Netjeru are both immanent (within the world) and transcendent (above/outside the material world but still affecting it). That said, there are Gods that specifically dwell in the Duat (the Unseen), and do not manifest in the Seen (the material world which we inhabit). These obscure legions of specialized Divinities and "demons" are primarily but not exclusively encountered in funerary religious material, including but not limited to the Books of the Earth.

We must account for differences between localities and time periods, too . . . there is simply no simple, short, sweet answer (or set(s) of answers) to such questions, I'm afraid. Nor should there be, for a religion (or rather, series of religions) so old and multiplex as those of Ancient Egypt.

>2.) What should I read first? Should I study the myths or read a 101 book?

>3.) What specific books do you recommend?

There is no one book, nor only a couple of "handy manuals," that will inform you even remotely satisfactorily on Ancient Egyptian religion(s) and/or ritual mechanics. Anything that focuses solely on "myth," as per the nature of the discipline of "Mythology" (which is the study of myth as literature, frequently to the exclusion of cultural and religious context, and without regard for the fact that not all myth corresponds to ritual, or vice versa), will inevitably be inadequate and piecemeal.

The easiest place for me to start is to advise you whose works to avoid. Rosemary Clark, E. A. Wallis Budge, Judith Page, Normandi Ellis, Jeremy Naydler, and Jocelyn Almond are among those on the "Do Not Read" list. They're all rife with interpretative and methodological faux pas and plain-old factual historical inaccuracies.

The not-so-easy place for me to go from there is whose I recommend. There are too many scholars and texts to recommend, and my advice and recommendations are most definitely colored by my formal education in Philo/Theo and Ancient Near Eastern Studies. There are some articles I would recommend before out-and-out textbooks, but I realize that not many people have ready access to them as I do.

Anyway, even the best "Western" scholars, such a Jan Assmann and John Baines and Dimitri Meeks and Stephen Quirke, have their own interpretative problems embedded in their best pieces of writing. That said, Stephen Quirke probably has the best (not to mention the most recent) introductory, survey text on Ancient Egyptian religion(s) to date. I absolutely do not recommend Garry Shaw's, which was published last year, for all his privileging of Modernity over "pre-rational" Ancient non-Greeks and refusal to view Egyptian religious material as anything other than "poor explanations of the physical world for people without recourse to particle physics" (paraphrasing, though "for people without recourse to particle physics" are among his exact words). Nor does Shaw say anything different or better than other scholars like Meeks and Assmann and Baines have already said years earlier, elsewhere.

Erik Hornung's Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt : The One and the Many is one of the most important books on the nature of Egyptian religion(s). While I have some issues with it, I highly advise people curious about Egyptian religion(s) read that text in particular. Definitely plan to read that one, and read it slowly and carefully. Many Modern Kemetics who have read it didn't particularly understand the material for whatever reasons, which I highly suspect had to do with, in no small part, speed-reading and no time taken for critical reflection.

Maulana Karenga composed the most extensive -- not to mention, fair -- study on the Egyptian concept of ma'at to date. He does a good job of pointing out some problems in other scholars' attempts at unpacking the issue over the last several decades, and he does a good job outlining what, precisely, ma'at entails morally-ethically through extensive analyses of diverse bodies of textual evidence from different periods of Pharaonic history. Ma'at, in case you and/or those reading don't already know, is the underpinning of the entire religion(s) and Kemetic worldview, and it's impossible to be a Kemetic without understanding what ma'at is, and making it the foremost part of one's daily life and the foremost goal of one's life.

Robert K. Ritner and Geraldine Pinch wrote texts addressing heka -- Ritner's are considered to be among the best, while Pinch's are considered adequate (she makes glaring citation mistakes in areas, for instance, i.e. in the sections she writes concerning the Seven Hathors. No spell in primary source material, from any period, exists where They perform as Pinch states They perform, on top of her not providing citation for what text she (mis)interpreted those sections from). J. F. Borghouts' Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts, although brief, is frequently cited and worth looking at. A PDF of it should be floating around the interwebs somewhere, if you're interested in that, since it's pretty expensive to acquire physical copies of and is, to my knowledge, since out of print.

James P. Allen's, Thomas G. Allen's, and Raymond O. Faulkner's translations of the most famous funerary texts are among the best. Adriaan De Buck's translations of the Coffin Texts are considered authoritative, but are considerably difficult -- especially for those outside Academia -- to gain access to. I should note that the funerary texts are only so important. They honestly do not play a major role in Modern Kemetic practice and belief, though Modern Kemetics do by no means totally ignore them. Important to know, not much practical use, in other words.

As for Modern Kemetic works . . . nnnnot many exist which I could recommend in good conscience. The late Richard Reidy's Eternal Egypt is much acclaimed by many Modern Kemetics, though it does contain some errors. That's not to say that it's utterly useless, only that some of the rituals contained therein (such as those pertaining to Sekhmet) are predicated on erroneous information and mistaken interpretations. Tamara Siuda's Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook is, admittedly, only particularly handy if you're looking into becoming part of the Kemetic Orthodox Temple. It contains pointers on how to erect and dedicate shrines (in the Kemetic Orthodox way, that is); how to perform the Kemetic Orthodox rite of senut; "how to pray" and prayers in English; and snippets of introductory information about some of the most important Egyptian deities. Nothing super-heavy.

I hope this helps; and apologies for the length of my response.

u/Fey_fox · 9 pointsr/pagan

Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games.

So on fun fact to note is from here on out you are in charge of developing your relationships with the Gods / Your higher power / Whatever. There’s no dogma. Even if you decide to go with a group or tradition or go it alone there’s no hie holy book or judgmental spirit that will damn you or tarnish you. There’s only the path you choose, and every direction holds lessons to learn if you’re open to it. Specific traditions do have rules you must adhere to to be a member, but you’ll also find there’s a lot of creativity. You don’t need to buy any expensive ritual gear or altar stuff, keep weird herbs or bedazzle yourself in pentacles and Birkenstocks (that’s still a thing right?)

So what to do now?

First thing, you read books. You’ll find plenty of reading lists (like in the side bar). When deciding on a book, check the index and look at the sources and probably the amazon reviews too. There seems to be a switch that flips in half of 5 year pagans where they decide to write a book about Wicca/magic and some actually succeed. Some have poor scholarship and others are just bad. Like I said there aren’t ‘rules’, but folks like to fudge historical facts. Paganism in general often involves learning mythology & the stories of the Gods, and lots of folks like to romanticize the history of Wicca, so you want books that have good scholarship. A book I still recommend to beginners to read first is Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America. It was last updated in 06 but still is useful in learning about the modern pagan movement and many of its flavors. It’ll start you off.

Learn the basics of the different types of meditation. Most rituals have a time where visualization is used, and group rituals often use [](guided meditation) as a technique. You decide how much or how little you do it in your own practice, but it’s a thing pretty much every tradition has in one from or another. It’s good to be aware of anyway.

Go for walks in nature, at least once a week if you can. Paganism and Wicca are nature based so, go outside.

I personally suggest you dig outside of pagan books for reading material also. I know, a lot of reading right? Wicca some say is called the craft of the wise, and since we drive our own spiritual busses we have to be proactive in knowing stuff. To point you in a direction there I’d suggest you start with Joseph Campbell, especially his ‘hero of a thousand faces and power of myth series. If you dig you can find full lectures of his on YouTube

Last pagan groups. Well there are all kinds and they’re everywhere. is still a place to poke around outside of Facebook. Lots of pagans are kinda off the grid a little so sometimes they can be hard to find. If there’s a local pagan or new age shop, pay them a visit. The clerk may seem standoffish, don’t take that personally. Lots of wackadoodles visit those places and become a huge annoyance or time suck for them. Usually just mentally ill folk that are pretty much harmless. All religions attract crazy people, but Wicca/pagans attract crazy fringe people that support each other in their delusions. It’s not anything to worry about,, just many shop folk have learned to be a midge guarded. Most are cool, and if you ask how to find resources and groups in your area they will point you in the right direction. Just don’t expect them to be gurus.

Note on that. Remember you are ultimately your own teacher, and never to accept the word of anyone blindly, even if it sounds good. No writer, teacher, coven leader, or grand poobah has ‘the way’. Anyone who says they do, ignore them. I personally have never ran into any cults in the last 20 years of being in the pagan community, but there are shysters that will take advantage of the naive. The Isaac Bonewits cult o meter (also a pagan author) is a handy tool for groups. In all things though follow your gut. Someone or a situation feels creepy, trust that. If someone asks you to do something, like give you money or pushes you to be naked in rituals when you aren’t comfortable with that, know you don’t have to and you have the right to say no. I have not ever ran into that personally but it has to people I know. Pagan culture likes to challenge people to be themselves and will tap at comfort zones because in challenging ourselves we grow, but pagans are also HUGE on consent. Trust your instincts. You have them for a reason.

I don’t mean to squick you with warnings, most folks are cool. The neopagan movement is a vast group with a mishmash of different subcultures, and Wicca is a mishmash of different traditions within paganism. Nobody is in charge, so sometimes you find assholes, as you would in any group. Only with paganism you get dicks who claim they’re a powerful shaman taught by some sorcerer Native American chief who is also the reincarnated soul of Alister Crowley n they have a coven that uses ritual circle jerks to increase their psychic powers to to battle on the ethereal plane where they fight demons and shit. Also for them to be your high priest/ess you need to give them 10 bucks. I’m mostly joking, but yeah ther are some weirdos out there.

Anyway. Lots to chew on. Enjoy the rabbit hole! Most folks are pretty awesome really. You’ll never find a group more accepting. Good luck.

u/BranCerddorion · 3 pointsr/pagan

> Is this really offensive? If it is, please explain it to me. It's not enough to tell me it is, I've got to know why.

For some it will be, for others not so much.

If you asked me if you could approach paganism, but dropping the "supernatural" stuff from it, I'd say "Hell yeah!" because I do just that. I don't really have much use for divination or crystals or anything like that, so I just don't use them in my practice. I can see why some would use it and I understand how some use them practically, but I just don't feel the need for it.

For me, Paganism is really about the Natural world. The Earth is my Mother (My goddess, if you might like to say so), and the Sun is my Father (My god, if you will). I know a lot of other pagans do this do, but not all. Some pagans use pantheons for deity, but deity is not a necessity in paganism.

I still like ritual, though I don't do much pagan ritual in my personal practice, because the symbols used in it represent natural forces and things going on in the world. A "supernatural non-believer" could find use and spiritual meaning in ritual (as well as gods and crystals and magic), because to me (and surely others out there) they're just symbols, but symbols have a lot of personal power. They can help you change your mindset, help you understand things better.

Some will find calling things "supernatural" offensive, because some pagans do believe "supernatural" things exist, and don't view them as "supernatural." This is perfectly okay, to me, it's just not my way of approaching things.

TL;DR It will vary from person to person, and can be a sensitive topic for some. Not for all, though.

As for books without too much of a supernatural inclination about Paganism, I'd try out Ronald Hutton. His Triumph of the Moon is more about the history and roots of paganism, but he's very detailed and descriptive, as well as academic.

Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon is of the same vein as Triumph of the Moon. Both are pretty heavy and tome-like, but are filled with invaluable information.

If you're looking into Wicca theology, I found Bryan Lankford's Wicca Demystified to be a great in depth explanation, especially for an "outsider." A lot of the "beginners" books on Wicca you'll find are heavy on ritual and magic, and seeing how you don't have much fondness for it, I think Lankford's book might be better suited for you.

And I haven't read it, but Dana Eiler's Practical Pagan might be of interest to you. It seems to have the less "magicy-supernatural" and more of a mundane, practical approach to paganism. Not sure about it, though. You might find some good info in the amazon's review section of the book.

I feel like there's another book or two that I've read that taps into what you're looking for, but I just can't think of it. There are some cool anthologies full of essays of paganism in the real world, which I find are invaluable for their information, and not so heavy on the "supernatural side," like Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future and Celebrating the Pagan Soul.


>I'm use to kinda being primed to attack fundamentalism in Christianity and I've got little good to say about Islam at all.

I wouldn't be so dismissive of Christianity and Islam in general. Interfaith can be a very important. You don't have to agree with what they believe, but personally I know a few Muslims who are very kind and generous, and if they give credit to their religion for their kindness and generosity, I wouldn't say there's nothing good to say about Islam. But that's neither here nor there.

u/hail_pan · 6 pointsr/pagan

>I know I want to be a polytheist... [but] I am afraid to make them personal, because it's difficult to put gods inside of my secular and more scientific worldview... It makes my spirituality distant and impersonal

That was almost exactly my position a few months back. If you're new to the sub and didn't see my thread then you should look at the responses I got. Even though none if them really hit the hammer on the nail, at least given what I know now.

Just to clarify my background and compare our situations, I'll summarize. I was a huge atheist and read r/atheism about everyday, alongside watching debates on youtube. It's easy to trash religion to yourself like that (and paint it with a broad brush, instead of saying "monotheism), until you realize how much religion adds to life. Since atheism was too dry, I then adopted naturalistic pantheism and eventually the Neopagan variety of it which introduces historic deities in the way you seem to have alluded to. But like you say, that practice is very different than polytheist practice, and I felt pretty jealous that those people got to do things like leave offerings but I couldn't. On the naturalistic view you can leave "offerings" of water to a tree, which is really just watering the tree and saying a prayer over it, but it makes no sense on that view to leave offerings of wine to a Jungian archetype/distant inanimate object of the universe like the sun. There's no personal relationship there like the religious always claim to be thriving in, and it just seems ti be doing it wrong in my opinion now.

Since I was in the group of not having any religious experiences to begin believing (though now I have a few under my belt), I was lost and desperate. Now some naturalistic Pagans will tell you they remedy the situation by "suspending disbelief" at will, in that they'll become a polytheist for the duration of the ritual and then return to materialism afterward. That seems very hard to do succesfully. So the answer is to "suspend disbelief", permanently and accept the belief at all times, incorporating it into your worldview. The main reason for this is the same reason why you want to become a polytheist, in that it has practical benefits for your religious life. This epistemic technology is called "pragmatism", and is actually an academically respected philosophy with a rich and influential history. William James promised it was the end-all solution to the religion debate.

But having such a drastic change in belief based on pragmatism alone can perhaps be just as hard as that momentarily suspending of disbelief. There are ways to make it easier. One is to strip away as much of the negative baggage you may have with polytheism to get to the bare bones of what view you need. That is that the gods are just disembodied consciousnesses that interact with humans. Understanding more of what that means makes it easier to accept, such as reading up on the arguments against physicalism. This may be enough to push you over.

Another important point is that as [you are] an atheist who still goes through the motions of being a "polytheist". If it turns out the gods do exist but that you treat them like they're "manifestations of the universe" as opposed to actual people, then they won't respond to you, whereas if you treat them like people then they have a greater chance of responding. If it turns out they don't exist then you practiced a fulfilling religion anyways. It's essentially polytheist Pascal's Wager.

The last move is to bring in a rational argument for polytheism. The community favorite there is John Michael Greer's A World Full of Gods, and this is what pushed me over, though the above wager and pragmatism would've done it anyways.

> FYI magick is part of my spiritual practice, but as stated above, it's complicated.

Psychological, isn't it. That's not meant to be condescending, as that's what I practice under too. :P

u/SpotISAGoodCat · 6 pointsr/pagan

I am a recovering Christian (grew up Southern baptist, eventually went non-denominational) who is looking for a path of some kind.

My wife has always related to and followed paganism and very easily went back to it after our schism from the church. My mother very strongly associated with Celtic beliefs (our family way back was from the Isles) but she passed away before I was able to talk to her about them in depth. I'm struggling to define what I feel, believe, and desire.

I mention my previous Christianity because that is all I've ever known. I practiced for 39 years of my life by devoting myself to one figure head, reading from one specific book, and channeling one specific spirit. The switch to paganism and its leniency on such practices is both freeing but also a huge adjustment for me to make. I'm not saying I want to devote, read, or channel paganism the same way I did Christianity but I just don't know where to begin. I would love to meditate and see visions of something to lead me where I should be or have dreams that introduce me to something or someone to guide me.

My apologies if this comes off as more of a word vomit than anything else. I would love and appreciate some insight or advice on how to begin this journey. The Seeking website linked above is already open in my browser and I plan to read that. I've also been reading Paganism: An Introduction to Earth- Centered Religions as well. But nothing beats Reddit and hearing from people who have been there themselves.

u/Steakturturd · 1 pointr/pagan

This is a really difficult question to answer, but it's still a totally fair question.

As others have said, paganism is an umbrella term for several specific traditions, and there are many different lenses through which to view and practice paganism. Some pagans are drawn to their religion out of concern for the environment, others want to connect with specific Gods, while others are seeking to honor their ancestors, and still others want to develop a variety of magical skills. Without knowing your specific interests it's hard to make any really specific recommendations. However, regardless of your interests I can pretty confidently recommend Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler and Seeking the Mystery. Both books give broad overviews of the history and world view of paganism writ large.

Thing is though, Paganism is about more than just reading books. I'd also recommend that you start trying out some simple rituals and meditations (Google is your friend here). You can make yourself a very simple alter with stuff you've probably got lying around the house. Finally, if you find that this is something that you want to continue to pursue, I'd strongly recommend trying to find some like-minded people in your area. Search, or if there is a metaphysical shop in your area just go there and start asking around. There are pagan communities absolutely everywhere, and it's worth getting to know the pagans around you.

u/Sihathor · 5 pointsr/pagan

Lucy, are you in the sky? (Sorry, I know you made this username because of the song, I had to, though.)

Also, How did you find this subreddit? Did you just type "/r/pagan" after "", or did you search reddit for "pagan", or something else? I'm curious as to how people find this subreddit. :)

Seriously, though...

>My problem, however, is that my initial religious education of "one god" is pretty well ingrained. How would you suggest I get past this so that I can continue to grow spiritually?

While I come from what is often considered a reconstructionist tradition, I think the following things would be helpful even if you are not a reconstructionist:

  1. Read about how ancient polytheistic societies practiced and thought. When you read, try to get into the shoes of those people. If you've ever read a good novel and gotten into the heads of the characters, that's that sort of thing I'm kinda pointing to.

  2. Some sort of practice, especially devotional practice (i.e. worshiping a god,goddess,or gods), even if it's part of a broader set of practices that include magic, meditation, or whatnot. I find that practice, and keeping in mind what I've learned from doing #1 helps solidify what I've learned. They may also lead to religious experiences that will help you grow out of a monotheistic frame of mind.

    It's not enough to believe things, you have to do them, too. Or else it's easy to say you think one thing, but actually do another.

    For #1, I'd recommend three books off the top of my head to you:

  1. "World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism" by John Michael Greer

  2. "The Deities Are Many: A Polytheistic Theology" by Jordan D. Paper and,

  3. "God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism" by Jonathan Kirsch.

    Since you're interested in Bast (sometimes called Bastet), I'd also suggest learning about ancient Egyptian culture and religion. Even if you never ever practice Kemeticism, I think it'd be a good place to start both unlearning monotheistic habits of thought and learning more polytheistic habits. And you'd get to learn more about Bast,to boot. But even if you don't do that, I suggest doing at least the first two things.

    If you can only borrow or find or buy one, I suggest one of the first two, but the third one is also good. The first two are written by polytheists, with Paper writing from his personal perspective, informed by Chinese religion and Native American religion, while Greer writes more generally. However, Kirsch's book is helpful, because it contrasts polytheism and monotheism side by side. Sometimes one can learn some what something is by learning what it is not.

    Sorry for the wall of text, I hope you find it helpful. It'll likely take a long time to unlearn what you've learned, but it's possible if you study and practice.
u/Nocodeyv · 3 pointsr/pagan

>Could you recommend good resources on the Sumerian side?

Unfortunately, much of the best available material for Sumerian religion is academic in nature. It can at times be quite dry reading. If you're alright with that though, and depending on what topics within Sumerian religion you're interested in, my favorite authors are:

  • Dina Katz: 1
  • Jeremy Black: 1, 2
  • Samuel Noah Kramer: 1, 2, 3
  • Thorkild Jacobsen: 1, 2
  • Tzvi Abusch: 1

    Anything from these authors is excellent material, and some of my favorites are linked to above.

    There's also a massive amount of material on if you search for Mesopotamia, Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, etc. Some of the best current material is there under Alan Lenzi, Dina Katz, Gonzalo Rubio, Peeter Espak, and others.

    It's also worth pointing out that anything by Joshua Free, Michael Ford, and Zacharia Sitchin should be avoided at all costs. Those authors are absolute rubbish.

    If you have more specific questions as well, you're always welcome to stop by /r/Sumer, the board myself and some others have set up for those of us interested in all forms of Mesopotamian Reconstruction.

    >Nocturnal Wicca

    Is Nocturnal Wicca different from traditional Wicca and other forms of modern witchcraft?
u/Farwater · 16 pointsr/pagan

Thanks for this post. We do kind of need a Morrigan thread to end all Morrigan threads.

I think there are problems with the Morrigan's treatment on both ends of the spectrum. On one hand, we have the casual mall goths who find a dark and brutal goddess that seems specially crafted to hit every bullet on their edge cred, stick-it-to-the-man checklist. These people run the risk of approaching a powerful force for the wrong reason and in the wrong way. And they understandably catch flak from the buttoned-up adults in the room.

Then you have people who are so earnest about authenticity and their respect for the Morrigan's power, that they essentially try to scare off her would-be devotees (or, in some cases, just relentlessly mock them). The friends-don't-let-friends-worship-the-Morrigan crowd.

First of all, if the Morrigan actually wants you and you turn away from her, that is literally the textbook way to incur her wrath. Advising someone to ignore what they think might be her calling because you want them to play it safe strikes me as tragically ironic.

My other problem with these folk is that their "respect for her power" is so fearful is that they are effectively demonizing her. People need to stop treating her like a spooky demon. The conclusion of Mary Jones' Encyclopedia entry about the Morrigan really distills how we should think of our relationship to her, in my opinion:

> To refuse Morrigan is to reject the land and the gods.

For the simplest advice: I would just say that as long as you are on her side, she is on yours. Perhaps she will make a major demand of you, and you must be prepared to fulfill it if she does. But honestly I don't see that as likely. For the most part, I would say to just praise her and sacrifice to her and she will favor you.

Theologically, though, I think our entire concept of the Morrigan is fraught with complications. For starters, what can our relationship with her really be if we have no tribe and no true link to the land? Also, why do we keep talking about "her" as a singular, global goddess? Is the Morrigan you know really the Morrigan from Old Irish Mythology? Would every region have its own "Morrigan(s)"?

These are weighty, even existential questions that I think we need to discuss. I wouldn't say that you should refrain from making offerings and praise to her before they're answered (perhaps they will never be answered), but these are the real things that I think should give us pause when approaching her rather than the demonizing scaremongering.

> How do you tell? What do you think the signs of being called by the Morrigan look like?

I've never felt "called" by her, so I can't speak to that. She has been told to reveal her identity by taking the form of a crow, so trite as that may be, that is a legitimate sign to consider. Keep in mind, though, that the crow is associated with multiple Celtic deities. She does not have a monopoly on it. And of course, most of the time a crow is just a damned crow. They have their own lives too, you know.

> What do you think the signs of wishful thinking look like?

If you start feeling her call as soon as you learn about her. If you just saw a crow (or other blackbird) with no other clear indications. If you want to be her devotee, maybe you're committing confirmation bias. If the signs and signals are not at all like the lore or other people's experiences. If the signs and signals are a little bit too like the lore or others' experiences (seems a little pat, or on-the-nose). After all, the Morrigan is not really known for being singular or being quite the same way twice.

I think that's about all I have to say on the topic. I'm not a Morrigan expert, but that's my impression of the various issues that come up when newbs make Morrigan threads here. I would like to get Morpheus Ravenna's The Book of the Great Queen, as I've heard good things about it including that it pulls together some otherwise hard-to-find source material.

u/honeybeedreams · 2 pointsr/pagan

i was thinking too; you might want to read “the triumph of the moon.” which is a history of modern paganism. it’s a very good way to understand the origins of wicca, versus ancient earth based religions.

my father and grandfather were freemasons and after i was initiated into a wiccan tradition that originated in the UK, i grasped how much Gardner had been influenced by masonry in his creation of original wiccan liturgy. of course, Gardner said he was divinely inspired, but all prophets say that and then share what they already know. (maybe Akhenaten was different? idk) my first trad was a mishmash of Alexandrian wicca, irish and british lore and “fairy folk tradition” that didnt make more experience in that “grove” any less significant or authentic. i learned a hell of a lot and my HPS and HP were very skilled with group energy work and drawing in the goddess energy. unfortunately, there was also a strong aspect of “this is an ancient lineage that you need to be 100% obedient to” that ultimately drove me away. of course it wasnt! i could find in books the parts that the ritual liturgy was pieced together from! and the whole “the goddess speaks through me so you have to do whatever i say” is just plain bullshit and why i reject organized religion anyway.

anyway, then i discovered reclaiming and the faeri tradition. even though starhawk calls her trad wiccan, and there are aspects of TBW in her original liturgy in “the spiral dance,” the HEART of reclaiming is NOT TBW or “wiccan.” i strongly recommend, if you havent read “spiral dance” “truth or dare” “dreaming the dark” “the earth path” etc, please do. and thorn coyle’s book, “evolutionary witchcraft” too.

you can also find info on reclaiming’s, starhawk and thorn coyle’s websites. even though there is a very strong component of social activism in both these trads, dont let that deter you... activist or not, the non-dogmatic, non-wiccan approach to neo-paganism and witchcraft is invaluable.

u/DavidJohnMcCann · 3 pointsr/pagan

Most pagan religions — reconstructionism, Shinto, Shenjiao, Hinduism — have much the same approach: you share food and drink and make symbolic offerings like fire and incense. Actions can also be offerings, like song, music, and dance. A bunch of flowers is always nice. Then there are gifts like statues, paintings, or just nice objects. Ancient Greeks offered everything from pottery animals to sea-shells. Of course votives like that do tend to build up: temples used to bury them eventually! Gifts to charity can be vowed as offerings to appropriate gods — I give annually to a hospice in honour of Hades and Persephone and to a veterans' charity for Ares.

A good book is

Hellenic polytheism: household worship

and you can find more advice on specific gods at

u/UsurpedLettuce · 5 pointsr/pagan

Apostasized Catholics, go.

I guess my question is: What is it that you want out of this process and experience? Do you want to have direct experience with <divinity>? It sounds like that is primarily foremost in your mind at this point, when a religion is largely a whole assortment of other factors not necessarily dealing simply with communing with the numinous.

You can have a fulfilling religious life without necessarily having a snap-crackle-pop "divine experience".

I've found that a lot of people like to talk up their experiences, from genuine misunderstandings to purposeful fish stories. I also have found that there's a persistent culture of one sharing their experiences online which skews the appearance of this phenomenon as more common than it really is. As an example, this is my twentieth year as a Pagan, which is hardly starting out. I have yet to have a distinctly identifiable divine interaction or heirophany, and I am not religiously or spiritually broken by any stretch of the imagination. But I can understand that feeling, and the feeling of isolation and being alone/unworthy/what have you.

So you're not alone in this.

I think identifying what you want from this experience would be a good idea. Jumping too far in without understanding any of the fundamentals is like diving into the deep end while not being able to tread water or swim without your inflatable duck arm floaties.

John Beckett wrote a blog post three years ago detailing the four "centers" of Paganism as he sees it. I generally find it useful to see where you fall along the Venn diagram that is Paganism. It is by no means authoritative, but generally gives you a good idea where to start looking if you're absolutely uncertain.

I would also make a point of picking up John Michael Greer's book A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism. It's not that difficult to read and can help immensely, and it is cheap (especially used).

I hope you can figure this out to your satisfaction.

u/hrafnblod · 2 pointsr/pagan

The upside to Kemeticism is that there's a decent number of solid online blogs and other resources that can help you out, getting started. There's nothing wrong with looking for local groups as /u/Farwater suggested, but that can be difficult with such a small religious community. That being said, Kemeticism has a disproportionately strong online community, and little compunction about sharing things through online formats, so you're not out of luck. Blogs like The Twisted Rope have good material, and Edward P. Butler's Henadology page has very good pages on many of the Netjeru, among other subjects.

As for organizations, probably the most well known in Kemeticism is Kemetic Orthodoxy. I'm not a member, and I don't agree with their approach or perspective on everything, but their leadership seems to be knowledgeable and the community, from the outside, appears solid. They also provide a lot of resources for newcomers, even if their henotheistic leanings are perhaps unconventional compared to other Kemetic groups I've seen.

The book that helped me the most starting out, personally, was Eternal Egypt by Richard Reidy. The rituals therein are perhaps a bit much for the average newcomer (or for non-priests, more generally), but they provide a solid framework to work from, and something to adapt to your own ritual needs or requirements.

Aside from all of that, we have several Kemetic regulars in the r/pagan Discord server, you can find a link to that over on the sidebar.

Now, of course, much of that is general info and not dealing directly with your two obstacles that you presented.

The foremost principle of Kemetic life is the maintenance of ma'at, which you seem to have a basic handle on. Other 'rules' are somewhat looser save for issues like ritual purity, which does involve some particulars and taboos. Most of the resources I offered can help with that, the biggest thing to avoid is any blood or bodily waste in ritual space, which (blood aside, given how it functions in some other religions) is more or less a given for most people.

As for your family, that's something that anyone other than you (or others who know them personally) will have trouble helping with. You'll know better than any of us if it's worth trying to bring them into the loop, or if it's only going to cause problems.

Hopefully this helps, and of course don't hesitate to ask further questions if need be, or pop into the Discord for more real-time discussion, as it suits you.

u/Kalomoira · 4 pointsr/pagan

Sounds like what you're looking for is traditional polytheism or Reconstructionism, Dodekatheism/Hellenismos in particular given what you've already studied and heritage. As such, you're not likely to find much of that in most pagan groups as the majority tend to be Neopagan, often heavily borrowing from Wicca.

Though based in Greece, I think YSEE has an active chapter in NYC. Another group to look into online is Elaion which has members in North America and parts of Europe. I don't think there are local gatherings per se but likely members who are in NY and perhaps people could arrange to meet up. The group does have what they call PAT rituals (Practicing Apart Together) so that members worldwide engage in the same festival at the same time.

Another group to look into (but is based in Greece) is Labrys. They also offer a wealth of information and they've published a very accessible primer in modern Hellenic practice which has been translated into English, Hellenic Polytheism: Household Worship.

Edited to add: also, a subreddit of interest r/HellenicPolytheism

u/Selgowiros · 6 pointsr/pagan

Again, I don't necessarily think it's one of them. Corvids are fairly common symbols of different divine beings. Cathubodua, Eponá, Cath Badb (which is Cathubodua's interpretatio Hibernia), Bran, Odin, Woden, Lugus etc.

Shapeshifting too honestly.

HOWEVER, sure I can be wrong so I'll give you a few things to help you out.

The Great Queen by Morpheus Ravena has really good research done on the Morrigna (or Morrigan if you believe they are one entity).

There is this site by many priests of "The Morrigan", Coru Cathubodua, which includes Morpheus.

A few things to maybe help.

u/BDA_shortie · 7 pointsr/pagan

I am assuming you mean pagan origins for christianity. This what I remember from Catholic school.

When the Roman Catholic Church came to Britain and Ireland, Gaul had already brought Druidism over to the islands. So they had many holidays. In order to convert people they added a ton of "saints" to the canon. These included St. Bridgid and other females because they were such popular goddesses that the church could not stop the heathens from worshiping them.

Likewise, as /u/cheesehead144 pointed out, many holidays in the new christian faith were placed to overlap with druidic holidays. They also built the churches in the sacred groves and other nature sites holy to the older faith(s). These acts were done to promote the new religion of the land by crushing the old one.

It is also partly to blame for the way women were treated in those countries. A Patriarchal religion cannot have strong female leaders.

Wikipedia has some good articles about the early history of the catholic church in regards to Gaul, Britain & Ireland.Wikipedia: Catholicism

Also the druid page talks about it.

There are several books talking about the transitional period [Druids] ( for instance.

Also some good primer books include Paganism: An Introduction to Earth Based Religions and it's sister book Pagan Spirituality. They are both a workbook type book designed to help you grow your chosen path.

As far as did pagan faiths around the globe affect other religions, I am less able to answer. When I think pagan I tend to not include faiths that remain steady from before christ's time. Such religions as Tao, Buddhism and Norse.

I do believe that all the faiths from early recorded history play a major part in our development intellectually, artistically and spiritually as a world. Each new religion must build upon the one they conquered, or else face resistance.

As for the connection astrologically, Wikipedia describes the Age of Aquarius pretty clearly.

> The Age of Aquarius is an astrological term denoting either the current or forthcoming astrological age, depending on the method of calculation. Astrologers maintain that an astrological age is a product of the earth's slow precessional rotation and lasts for 2,160 years, on average

> In 1929 the International Astronomical Union defined the edges of the 88 official constellations. The edge established between Pisces and Aquarius technically locates the beginning of the Aquarian Age around 2600 AD.

There seems to be no real link with Christianity and the astrological ages at all, let alone the [Age of Aquarius]
( Astrology was used by Islamic, Greek, Egyptian, Indian & Japanese cultures, but seems to be more of a scientific pursuit (astronomy) in christian cultures through the world.

TL;DR: Religions build upon the one they conquered, or else face resistance and astrology does not appear to have christian connections.

u/Beyond9Waves · 5 pointsr/pagan

To try and answer the "where to go from here" part, it should be a two step operation: continuing with the offerings and getting into a good rhythm with that, and reading. To provide some guidance on the latter, I'll give you the following triad. Three things an aspiring Brigid devotee should start with: Tairis' CR site to study the context in which Brigid should be worshipped, The Rites of Brigid: Goddess & Saint to understand the cult of Brigid historically, and A World Full of Gods to help you understand polytheism as a recent ex-atheist.

u/ReluctantSaivite · 1 pointr/pagan

I am currently (and slowly) reading Miranda Green's The Gods of the Celts. I picked up my copy at the library but you can find it on Amazon. It is pretty good so far.

u/DormiensVigila108 · 2 pointsr/pagan

For what it is worth, it may not be a large standing temple. Tributes, sacrifices, and worship of Hekate were done largely outside of a temple context. She is the goddess of the crossroads; which is where many of her ceremonies would have been done, typically under cover of night. You would have also found her likeness on doorways and on crossroads stones. She is a gatekeeper, a cthonic goddess, a guide through darkness - her veneration would not have been done in large temple complexes. If interested in the history of Her worship, read "Hekate Liminal Rites: A historical study of the rituals, spells and magic of the Torch-bearing Triple Goddess of the Crossroads". It gives a good read on historical worship and the Dark Goddess's manifestation.

u/voiciunmarin · 5 pointsr/pagan

I really recommend this book for you. It deals very accessibly with the various philosophical ramifications of mono vs polytheism and I personally found it to be rich in thought and analysis. warning: its perspective is run through with interpretations that support the author's ADF background.

As for a personal response, u/hrafnblod said my piece better than I could have done. I'm a polytheist (there is no "hard" or "soft" for me personally, there is only that which is and that which is not) because my experiences have led me to that belief, and the plurality of gods has manifested itself to me in ways that hold me back both from atheism and from classical monotheism.

u/ever_l · 2 pointsr/pagan

If a book appeals to you, I picked up this one recently. What's neat about it is that it has exercises in it such as going for a nature walk to connect with the current season, meditation to meet a deity, and so on. It serves as a good source of general pagan information while also giving you the tools to figure out what YOU believe.

u/liwiathan · 5 pointsr/pagan

I see this book recommended pretty often, and it's the book I initially picked up. It was a very enjoyable read in very understandable vernacular. I know you're asking for something quick, and a book might not be it, but I mostly read this on my lunch breaks. It was nice to have little bits at a time to mull over through my day.

u/Mer-es-Inpu · 3 pointsr/pagan

Ronald Hutton's Stations of the Sun does a fantastic (if sometimes dry) job of exploring the development of the modern pagan wheel of the year and the holidays therein.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/pagan

I don't know if it's "brief," since it's an entire book, but I've recommended this one before (and I probably will again sometime) -

Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions

It's kind of a simple overview of paganism explained to someone who is not pagan, or someone who is looking into becoming pagan. It touches briefly on various things but doesn't delve too deeply into anything. It's very introductory.

It was used as a textbook in a course taught by the authors, so it's written in kind of clinical, academic language (but is still plenty easy to read).

u/yeuxsee · 2 pointsr/pagan

Hi, I'm late. I really feel like you two are connecting with Inanna - she is a very ancient queen deity who has moon, snake, and wings imagery as well as being a very dark/light goddess. She rules over Heaven and Earth, is connected to the Morning/Evening Star, and is a fertility/sex goddess as well as a war goddess. She's not a mother goddess, though, not soft n squishy at all. I think you should maybe try to read this book and see what that does for y'all. Book link]

u/Vanye111 · 2 pointsr/pagan

I found Hekate Liminal Rites to be a really good read. It seemed well researched.

u/dw_pirate · 1 pointr/pagan

This book isn't a bad place to start. It's a tad on the fluffy side, but it's an okay primer.

u/jackthornglas · 1 pointr/pagan

One of the oldest writings in the world is a prayer to Inanna, written by a priestess named Enheduanna. Read more here.

Here is a big book of Inanna's stories and hymns.

Among other interesting things, Inanna might be the first dying-and-resurrecting Underworld traveler, setting the stage for everyone from Persephone to Christ. Read about her Descent into the Underworld.

u/sgtgary · 0 pointsr/pagan

This swayed my opinion for me while I was studying my First Circle materials. For me, it's one of the most important books I have ever read.
World Full of Gods by John Michael Greer

u/mushroomfather · 2 pointsr/pagan

I'm reading Paganism: An Introduction to Earth- Centered Religions. I like it so far, but I'm only at chapter two.

u/western-skyline · 2 pointsr/pagan

As to Paganism or Neopaganism, try this book: Paganism: An Introduction to Earth- Centered Religions

u/Masery · 3 pointsr/pagan

I learned quite a bit from the Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom by Caitlin and John Matthews.

u/metalheade · 19 pointsr/pagan

Make sure you develop a good bullshit detector, because unfortunately contemporary paganism is full of it. This is something that you'll develop as you study. If you're looking for a specific path, I would suggest visiting the various pagan subreddits for more specific info.

As far as a book that I would start with, try A World Full of Gods.

u/Seed_Eater · 8 pointsr/pagan

I'm sure the OP has a more defined answer but if I had to guess given the Celtic design on their wings it's probably in reference to The Morrigan, a trio of/triple-goddess in Celtic paganism. She is sometimes likened akin to Odin in that they are both war gods and deal with conflict and the battlefield slain, and there is some overlap in worship in Celtic-Germanic syncretism. Unlike Odin, who is typically symbolized with his 2 ravens, the Morrigan is symbolized with 3 crows. I'm not well read on her but her devotees have quite a bit to say if you want to know more.