Friday, July 17, 2009


Although I majored in Religion is College, I still feel that I lack general information about many religions, most particularly Islam. I think in a way the whole "anti-terrorism" attitude of the United States has really discouraged people from teaching it, and even more, from wanting to learn about what is really a very beautiful religion. An old friend of mine (albeit one I havent spoken to in many years) has recently put me into contact with an organization who provides non-Muslims with their own copy of the Quran, and I wanted to pass it along for any of you who may be interested -

I know I will never be Muslim, but it still can't hurt to learn more about it, and be able to better understand our fellow humans on this Earth. In the future I may post about some of the facts or information I learn.

So far I have learned that the abbreviation (pbuh) following any name means "Peace be upon him." I never knew!

Peace be upon you, and have a blessed day.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dreams, Harry Potter, and the Quran

I went to go see Harry Potter at midnight last night, and I must say, it was excellent. Much better than the previous movies. I like this director much better than the others. His humor is much more reminiscent of the series, and his series moments are darker and more somber. I won't ruin anything for you, but suffice it to say I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

But when I arrived home from the midnight premiere at around 3 or so and went to sleep, I had a dream. A nightmare, actually, one that I remember having a LONG time ago (I estimate at least 4 or 5 years), but which had slipped my mind until its recurrance today. I don't quite understand it, and I was hoping to have some light shed on it. So here it is :

During the first part of the dream, I was a doctor, and I had a young patient named Peter, who I would say is about 8 years old. His disease is serious, like leukemia or something of the sort, but he is in the early stages and still looks somewhat healthy (has all his hair) but looks frail nonetheless. He seems to be doing well, and is expected to live. But he is really scared, and he doesnt really have family who visits him, so I spend a lot of time with him, keeping him company, and we become close.

Then the dream shifts, and we are driving in a car. Me, Peter, my "parents" (who are my parents in the dream, but people I have never met in real life), my brother (same), and his extremely conservative fiance. We drive past this creeeeeeeeepy house. And then, as we are driving forward, without turning, we drive past it again, and a third time. Its a big old mansion. Somehow (the details are fuzzy) we wind up inside. And all the doors lock, the lights blow out, we get separated, and we get trapped inside. The initial groups are the parents together, the brother and fiance together, and then Peter and I together. I dont know quite what happened to the others at this point, but Peter and I were barricaded in a bathroom or something, and I was trying to keep him from crying, while he was asking me if he was going to die. I have never seen that look of fear in someone's eyes before, but I've felt it, so I kind of understand. There was a "man" in the house, with the traditional horror movie chainsaw, and he began to systematically separate the pairs. The father got poisoned when he drank some wine (why you would drink wine in a crazy house is beyond me, but he did it anyway). I am unsure of what happened to the mother.

At this point, the floor in the room Peter and I were in gave way, and I fell through several stories to what I believe was the basement. I told Peter to stay where he was and keep quiet and I would come find him, and to stay strong, I'll be there soon. I found the fiance in the basement as well, and she and I moved up the stairs. Somehow we ended up in a room above the bathroom where I could call to Peter, and he was safe at that point, but we had no news of the brother or the mother (although I think I may have seen the chainsaw guy get the mother).

Then I woke up. With this burning feeling of shame for not being able to find Peter. I can see his face so clearly burned into my mind its scary. And he was so scared. I feel ashamed for not being able to save him, which I know is strange because it was just a dream, but I cant get rid of this feeling.

I'm at a loss. Any ideas or interpretations?

On a side note, has anyone ever been to this website?
I would love a copy of the Quran, but I hate giving out my address online unless I know a site is safe and secure, so I was wondering if anyone had any experience with it, either positive or negative.

Have a day full of blessings.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Creativity and the Creative Aspect of Fire

Summer is here - the part of the year when we deal most closely with the element of Fire. Being a Leo, this element is very near and dear to my heart. As with most Leos, this is an important aspect of my life - I even have the astrological symbol tattooed (wow that word looks strange spelled out, doesn't it? Tattooed...) on my right shoulder. Leos are (generally) considered to be proud, somewhat vain, strong, charismatic, passionate, etc. Essentially, characteristics that one would use to describe the element of Fire.

But in today's world, its pretty hard to feel "Fiery" all the time.

So how do you reconnect with fire? Earth, you can sit outside, walk through the woods, or pick up a rock. For water, you can go swim, or even just shower. And even air, you can walk outside, taking in the cool breeze. These three elements are all around us all the time. But Fire? That's a different story. You can't just jump into a volcano or walk into a burning building (well I suppose you could, but I don't recommend it) to connect with Fire. So what do you do?

Create, would be my answer. Odd, I know. We generally think of Fire as an element of destruction. But it hasn't always been that way.

In Celtic Paganism, we learn about 3 elements and the three worlds which correspond to them - Land, Sea, and Sky, Middle World, Lower World, and Upper World respectively. But we ALSO learn about Fire, the energy which connects the three like a pillar, allowing the energy to flow between the worlds. We learn of Bridget, Triple Goddess of Fire. And yet, with her fire, she heals, she inspires, she's a blacksmith. All with the power of Fire.

In Norse Paganism, we learn of the story of creation. There existed a void, with the World of Ice far to the North, and the World of Fire far to the South. One day, the heat from the Fire met the cold of the Ice, and from that union of Energies, creation began. Fire (here) is one of the two principal elements of creation.

Christianity has certainly gone and made Fire scary. "Burning in the pits of Hell, lake of Fire, Fire and brimstone." Even the Middle ages, burning Witches (well, both Witches and "Witches), gays, Jews, blacks, etc sure made Fire an "element to be avoided." But even for those Christians among you, I would like to refer to you to one of the earliest stories of the Bible, Moses and the Burning Bush. Here, God reveals the fullness of his glory through a bush that is on fire, and yet is never consumed. And this fire is so bright, that as I recall, Moses had to avert his eyes to keep from being blinded by its splendor. And the Archangel Michael (called upon by Christians, Muslims, and Pagans alike) is the Angel of Fire, who offers us protection from that which would harm us. So Fire? Not always so scary.

About two years ago during a meditation, I asked Spirit to help me reconnect with Fire, and the answer I received was, "You can never connect to fire until you understand both its ability to destroy, as well as its ability to create." I was asked what "creative" thing I had done involving the element of Fire, and I was unable to answer, which was very disheartening.

Then again recently, though this time during a rune reading, the same idea arose again. That I couldn't move forward with my life in the direction I am meant to go until I can find that creative principle of Fire, and begin to understand it.

Since then I think I've done fairly well in at least moving in the right direction. This blog, to me, is a part of that journey. I carve wands, which represent the force of will, and in many traditions, Fire. I'm trying much harder to find that creative aspect.

But do you know what I think really embodies Fire is a wonderful way? Fireworks. In some cases, they are/were/are a tool of war. But also, in many cases, they create beautiful pictures and shows, where they light up the sky with their beauty.

So especially with the Sun's entry into Leo coming up soon (on July 21st to be precise, which also happens to be the day of a Solar Eclipse, AND the day of the New Moon - powerful day for Solar energy, eh?), spend some time connecting to Fire, since it seems to be an element forgotten in our day to day lives. It is the energy which drives us, empowers us, protects us, and keeps us strong. And even where Fire destroys, it is only to make room for new growth. Think of the Phoenix, rising from the ashes.

Thank you Fire.

Have a blessed day.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Lies in a Name

Names are very very powerful things. We see this theme in mythology, fantasy (and fiction in general), and even in our lives. I have spent the last few years thinking about names, and I have a lot of ideas about them.

It really began when I was in high school. I had my given name from birth, Jeremy. And I hated it. I never felt like a Jeremy. I wasn't sure what I felt like, but I knew that wasn't it. I had met a few other Jeremy's, and (no offense to any Jeremy's who read this), I have found them all tp be douchebags. They were rude, arrogant, and we just had personalities that did not click. I have always found that people with the same name (if it is the correct name for them) have similar qualities or characteristics. This is why sometimes you meet people and when they tell you their name, you think, "really? You look more like a __(insert different name here)__." I think subconsciously we pick up on these patterns, and instinctively know when a person's given name does not coincide with their "True" name. I use "True" in quotes, because I am not sure what other term to use.

So continuing the story, in High School I began thinking about the process of changing my name. But the problem was, I didn't know what my name should be. I experimented with lots of angles, but nothing seemed right to me. Then I arrived in college, and found a close group of friends. They agreed that my name didn't seem to fit, so they gave me the nickname "Jake." And I liked that. It felt stronger, it resonated differently with me. It didn't feel so wrong when people called me "Jake."

During all this, I was beginning my Pagan journey. And around this time, I started coming across the idea of the "Magickal Name" more and more often. So I decided it was time to figure out my Magickal name. I spent years with different names, changing it, until one day, it struck me, and all the pieces fit together - Tobias.

I don't know how many of you ever read the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate. But in this series, there were six characters who could transform into animals. And Tobias was my favorite ever since I was 7 years old. I just identified with him. He came from a broken home where he felt unloved, had very few friends, was very shy and introspective. And even from a young age, my heart had an outpouring of sympathy for him. His main animal form was the Red-Tailed Hawk. And not long before that, I had spent a great deal of time connecting to one of my totem animals, the Red-Tailed Hawk. It just fit, and it felt warm and comfortable, and right. And so Tobias had become my magickal name. (Incedentally, Jake was also a character in this series, and Tobias's first real friend).

Then my college friends and I drifted apart, and I began using the name "Jake" less and less. I still don't know if Tobias is going to be my legal name or not, or if there is still a name out there for me to find. But for now, Tobias is comfortable. I think it may even be possible that our "True" names change over time as we change as people.

I truly believe that everything potentially has a name. If it is something that you care about or love, you put your energy into it, and awaken a kind of spirit within it. I have known people to name their cars, computers, swords, paintings. I personally try to give as many things as possible a name, and I spend days, weeks, or sometimes even months coming up with the right name. I love getting a new pet, and spending time with it, figuring out the right name for it. Sometimes it has to do with the meaning of the name, and sometimes its just the name that sounds right.

In the bible, God never gave its "True" name, referring to itself instead as "I am that I am," or simply, "I am"
I have seen many people of faith who refuse to even write the word God, writing instead G*D, so that if the paper was ever damaged, the name would not be.
Many Pagans choose Magickal names that are associated with a particular Deity, to try and emulate the attributes of that Deity.
The Inheritence book series (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr) have a HUGE theme of names, and True names. Knowing anyones True Name (which is an perfect reflection of their inner character) gave you power over that person. And the True Name could change, if you changed who YOU were, your innate character. This theme also exists in the Diadem novels.
If we dont want to be found, we create false names, or aliases, like a spy or secret agent would. Nowadays, knowing someone's name lets you look up a huge amount of information about them because of the internet.

So in conclusion, spend some time thinking about your name, and the names of the people you know. Do you notice patterns as well? Do you find that everyone's name resonates with who they are? Its a topic that deserves a great deal of thought.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts. Brightest of Blessings, and have a wonderful day.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Hello and Welcome

Hello, welcome to my blog, and brightest of blessings to you.

The blog experience is very new to me, but its something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Too often I find myself having thoughts, and nobody to share them with, so they just get lost to the universe. And I think thats a sad reality. If we don't take the time to record our thoughts and feelings, then they are forgotten. Therefore, the purpose of this blog is really for me to sort out my ideas, about all sorts of things - religion, politics, life, love, and everything in between.

So I guess a good beginning would be some information about me (a bit more specific than the "About Me" section). I consider myself to be a shamanic pagan. I don't subscribe specifically to any one religion's view of the world, but instead meditate, read, and research, and come up with my own views on things. I love our natural world, and the magick it holds. I love the animal companions with whom we share our world, and I know now that I could not be happy without a fuzzy friend. My boyfriend and I own (and I use the word own for a lack of a better term, as you cannot own another living creature) two male ferrets, named Wyatt and Ronin, and two female rats, named Garnet and Jaina. We love them all very, very much. I live in Central Pennsylvania, which we "lovingly" refer to as Pennsyltucky, or Alabama. I am very much in the minority here, being both gay and pagan, in the part of the state that somehow thinks it was part of the confederacy. I read, I write, I play video games, I do yoga. I'm a semi-typical 20 year old (soon to be 21).

I think I'll leave it there for now. Brightest of blessings, and enjoy your day.