Belief-System

I️ am lucky to have a great dad. It gave me the belief from an early age that men are good, and will do what is right. That they will champion, and even protect, the women they care about…just as I️ would protect any man I️ love.

That belief system crashing down around me this year has been a pretty significant disappointment. I️ have had to deal with a situation over the last several months where a man with significant power over my career has made me very uncomfortable.

I️ was crying while watching CBS this morning - not only over the new allegations against Charlie Rose, but a panel they were featuring where women were speaking candidly about how widespread these issues are. How this pervasive behavior affects confidence and self-worth and just how oblivious men are to women dealing with this on a daily basis. It’s overwhelming to think that almost every woman I️ know has a story.

I️ had an honest conversation with my partner tonight about how disappointed I️ am with my situation. These men that I️ trust, respect, and even love - when I️ came to them for help and advice, first they laughed and then when they saw things firsthand chose not to say anything to their equal. It’s devastating. As much as it may be something I️ should handle myself, I️ would have felt so supported if a man who is this guy’s equivalent in the workplace would have intervened. Not that women need any more responsibility at the moment, but I️ felt better telling my partner that we need the good guys to step up. We need them to leave the good old boys club and do what is right instead of just being content in not doing “wrong.”

It is also my belief that women make the world go round, but it wouldn’t hurt to have some friends with us.

Here’s the thing about Gabby. I know I’m kind of reiterating what a lot of you on here are saying but here’s my take on it.

What she said was 100% terrible in every way and she should be held accountable for it. I was really disappointed in her because I felt like I defended her a lot when people complained about her hair, not smiling, etc.

Knowing now what we didn’t know then, I think it shows the complexity about how different people cope/handle sexual assault. Gabby was raised in a conservative Christian household that I’m sure espoused those kinds of views about modesty, wrong as they are. I cannot imagine the cognitive dissonance of being someone who grew up in that belief system and then being a victim of sexual assault, and the guilt, pain, confusion, etc. that she has been wrestling with. 

Second, I know people on here have claimed that she’s an adult and she should know better, and you’re right, she is an adult. But she’s a young adult. She’s only 21, and while that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be absolutely held accountable for her actions, I know for sure I was not the same person at 20/21 that I am now. I’m SURE many people say and do things as young adults that they later look back on and realize “wow, that actually is messed up, how could I think/do/say that.” 

Part of life is making mistakes and learning from them. All those coming for her with the “Gabby is canceled forever” mentality I’m sure have never said or done something “problematic” in their youth that they would later look back on and regret. I’m sure they have never matured and changed their beliefs when someone called them out for saying something that was harmful and hurtful. I’m sure they have never said or done something impulsively that they regret. 

I think Gabby made a mistake and said something wrong but I believe her apology was sincere and I believe she has learned a valuable lesson. I wish her hope and healing, and while I won’t forget what she said or excuse what she said, I will forgive her. 

You know the phrase that’s something like “everyone is fighting their own private battle, so be kind” or something? I think that applies here, both to us who are disappointed in what she said and to Gabby herself. 

Remember who the real monster is, and it’s not Gabby. It’s Larry Nassar and everyone who knew what he was doing and didn’t stop him. I think we should redirect our anger to the perpetrators of sexual assault and the culture that enables them, not the victims. 

anonymous asked:

Is paganism/witchcraft in general based on white culture? Is it bad to enjoy white culture in that way? I’m so confused about people saying you cannot do voodoo because it’s appropriation but if witchcraft is technically white then isn’t that also appropriation? I’m Hispanic and I’m just so confused. My wife is white and she practices it, I join her but wonder if it’s appropriation. I know gate keeping is bad, but if a white person shouldn’t wear a sugar skull, should we be using witchcraft?

The idea of witchcraft belonging to any kind of “race” is bullshit. People across the world in all cultures have made references to magik in their own theology and cultural histories throughout time or having a specific belief process. Shit, what Jesus did in the Bible could easily be interpreted as “magik” (walking on water, healing the sick, etc.). 

Unless the practice/item/whatever comes from a “closed” religious belief system (meaning the people who make up the religion say firmly that they do NOT want “outsiders” taking part in their practices/belief/whatever), then you’re free to engage in the activity as long as you do your research and are respectful about it.

The truth is that the internet is OBSESSED with the idea of “cultural appropriation” and absolutely refuses to acknowledge the fact that there’s a difference between appreciation and appropriation. Not to mention, it’s a privilege to know your own personal family tree and culture that makes up your genealogy because not everyone is blessed with this knowledge (adoptees and foster kids are big demographics who make up this population of not knowing their own personal history). 

So to answer your question: witchcraft and being a magik practitioner does NOT belong to any “specific race”. The idea of “magik” or “manipulation of energies” can be seen in just about every single population across the globe in some shape or form. Be mindful of “closed” religions and their belief systems and be mindful of appreciation vs appropriation. Generally speaking, a good way to find the distinction between the two is that appreciation is admiring a culture, finding beauty in it, and not using it in any way to show malicious intent. Appropriation is purposeful malicious intent, being careless with the history and symbolism behind the piece, among other “bad feelings/vibes” surrounding it. 

9

Unfortunately since I haven’t read the whole manga I can’t go into this speech too much, but it is very interesting. Especially since Kaiba says nothing about winning as a reason for battle and I do of course know that the desire to win has always been a big part of his belief system. I think this probably reflects the things he learned over the course of the manga and how his ideas slowly started to change thanks to Atem’s influence.

insanefastone  asked:

You get asked often about the light and undeath, but what about the afterlife? For example, there's a group in my campaign who have pledged themselves to a goddess of life (the keeper of a spiritual garden), and the final part of their oath is to "nourish the soil" - educating the ignorant and giving guidance to the lost in life, then returning to the earth in death as their soul travels back to the Garden to help new life grow into the mortal world.

I suppose I don’t oftenget afterlife questions because it’s not really a moral challenge to think about it very much. We all die, regardless of our belief system. What comes after death, no matter what we believe, is something we all have to discover ourselves. There’s only so much to talk about, you know? And paladins aren’t traditionally psychopomps, shepherds of the dead, but guardians for the living.

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sixofcrowsnw challenge: take two ≡ best moment of your otp

kanej + religion

You were devout Catholic your whole life. After death, you somehow find yourself teamed up with Quetzalcoatl, fighting evil Japanese yokai in Valhalla. All the while trying to keep your entire belief system from collapsing.

anonymous asked:

I'm having trouble with converting my female main. She's a dedicated solider to a world wide theocracy that worships a goddess. It's her job to turn in unbelievers and there's a underground organization that captures her. I'm thinking evidence would be enough. But the events the group claims happened occurred in a sort of spiritual realm before life on earth. Other than written documents that's it. I dont want it to come off as easy and she could just write them off as being unreliable.

If your main character’s beliefs are firmly planted in her head, then evidence will not be enough to turn her. This is shown in society today with people who firmly believe that the Earth is flat and that climate change does not exist. No matter how much evidence is shown or how many solid arguments are made, they continue to believe in what they have been believing their entire life. It is very difficult to change a human being’s core beliefs. And, since you stated that there is not a lot of hard evidence for your case, if you want to make your novel realistic, there would be no reason for your character to believe the organization unless there were other factors at play. 

There is an arc in the Stargate: SG-1 television series that deals with something similar to what your character is facing. In fact, throughout the entire series, the concept of false gods and rebellion is the main driving force of the plot. The protagonists of the series use a combination of knowledge and violence to convince the subjects that their beliefs are unhealthy and preventing the societies from thriving. Most of the subjects meet the protagonists with a mixture of disbelief and anger. These reactions are something that you would want to keep in mind for your character, especially if she is hard fast in her beliefs about the theocracy. In this case, the underground organization will need to use other options than just trying to teach your MC about the events. Kidnapping for a long period of time, showing her that the consequences about which she was taught do not matter, or even using some sort of force to coerce her into believing would need to be used. 

Now, if your character had an experience or two that lead to her questioning the theocracy (such as one too many “glitch in the matrix” type events), then she might react to the underground organization with more of an open mind. If your character’s world has censorship laws that limit the media that could be consumed by the individual, from where would her disbelief stem? One possibility is something like a raid on a secret meeting where she happened to find a book explaining the cause of the underground organization. That would expose her to the world of the underground organization and allow her to ruminate on the ideas before she was captured. There are a great number of options that you can choose to provide some sort of initial contact with the conflicting ideas. 

The main character’s previous exposure to the conflicting ideas or willingness to explore possibly forbidden actions will be what determines whether she believes the organization outright or not. Depending on what choice you make, be prepared to have your character undergo some intense conversion sessions with the underground organization. If your organization if hard fast in making your character believe them, they may resort to violence to get their point across. 

xx Sarah

Juno in the Signs & Houses

Juno was the third asteroid to be discovered. Juno is the wife of Jupiter. She has some similarities to Venus, but while Venus sparks that initial attraction, Juno makes the commitment. She sings of soul mates. As she moves through the sky, the face of relationships change, but she still stands for commitment of one kind or another.

Where you find Juno in your chart is where you may meet someone that you will remain with for a long relationship. She covers marriage, fashion and beauty. She is the patron of relationships and true love. Diplomacy is part of her sphere.

She has influence with the weather, flowers, fairness and female genitalia. She also dealt with many of Jupiter’s infidelities and thus has influence over the negative issues of spouse abuse, powerlessness, women’s rights (both positive and negative), rage, inferiority complexes and unfairness. She may also affect issues of denial, betrayal, inequality and of course bitterness.

Juno in Aries

Juno in Aries needs their own autonomy. If they don’t get that in a relationship they may end up with migraines or other physical displays of upset. They tend to be attracted to partners that are aggressive or dominant. While they want their own freedom, they also want a mate who will be an authority figure. They may see their partners as someone to compete with. They like to go adventuring together. They may need to learn how to develop balance in their relationships so both partners can pursue their own needs. 

Juno in the 1st House

If Juno sits close to your ascendant, being married or committed could be tied to your identity and self-image.

The first house rules our approach, appearance and the way we look – Juno found here can make marriage super important – your partner could be the centre of your universe!


Juno in Taurus

Juno in Taurus wants a sturdy relationship built out of material security and loyalty. They want someone reliable and trustworthy who knows the value of a dollar. They want a harmonious relationship at home that will last a lifetime. They enjoy a sensual relationship and truly want to share their goals with their partner. They are dedicated and faithful forever, and they expect the same from their partner. They may be possessive or controlling or attract these same qualities in their partner. They are willing to stand up for their ideals as long as they have a steadfast partner at their side. 

Juno in the 2nd House

Juno could lead marriage and partnership to be intertwined with money, possessions or the way you value yourself – self-esteem.

The second indicates what we value in the material realm, so the person with Juno in the second could be ‘married to their things’, with a love of accumulating more, including money. Marriage could be desirable as something to increase a sense of self-worth.

They could also view their marriage partner as something to be owned or a source of wealth.


Juno in Gemini

Juno in Gemini needs a partner who can communicate with them. They want a partner who is expressive and mentally stimulating. They like to share activities together. Sometimes they prefer to have multiple relationships instead of just one; conversely, they may prefer friendship to commitment. They like to play. Relationships may end up with one partner being more advanced in education or socially while the other is more dependent. They may also see their partner as capable of pursuing their own dreams. When they can’t communicate clearly they may get nervous and high strung. They need to clear up all misunderstandings right away and be able to have clear communication at all times to be happy. 

Juno in the 3rd House

For the person with Juno is the third house, marriage will come with a focus on communication. Perhaps a partner will help this person to express themselves more easily or the relationship will be about ‘being heard’. The union will benefit from being able to talk with one another. 


Juno in Cancer

Juno in Cancer needs emotional intimacy and a warm home environment. They nurture others by feeding them good food. They are attracted to partners who are nurturing and caring. They may appear to be dependent upon them or to be clingy or moody. They may use emotional blackmail to get what they feel they deserve. They can often manipulate others in very subtle ways. They feel strongly that justice must be served. They want a partner who is traditional and values the home and family. They like to care for their family and be cared for in return. They feel a strong need to commit to their relationship with all their might. They may need a lot of attention and may feel unfulfilled if their needs are not met. They are highly committed and loyal. 

Juno in the 4th House

The person with Juno in the fourth will be attracted to a marriage partner who is domesticated and attached to the home environment, one who loves to nurture, cook and nest. With this placement, the native could become more home-loving after marriage. Another possibility is that the person is wedded to their home life, with an importance of building a family brood.


Juno in Leo

Juno in Leo wants romance and excitement to be happy. They want a partner they can be proud of and who will admire them as well. They don’t like to feel ignored or rejected. They can become rather selfish or use inappropriate means of getting attention. They like things to be equal. They are natural showmen and want to share the spotlight. They feel strongly towards their mates. They may be arrogant or immature and rather bossy. They can also be very generous and loving. They are decisive and seldom change their minds once they are made up. 

Juno in the 5th House

Those with Juno in the fifth will want a partner with whom they can play, be romantic and get excited with. Children are likely to play an important part in the marriage, and its union can improve the creativity of the native.


Juno in Virgo

Juno in Virgo has high expectations in their partners, as they do in everything else. They will organize their relationships and expect them to remain efficient. They want perfection, and if their partner can’t reach that pinnacle they may be overly critical. They are attracted to partners who are efficient and oriented to the tasks at hand. They have their own sense of justice. They appreciate a partner who is ultra clean and who is unassuming when in public. Health is very important to them, so they want a partner who is also interested in healthy habits. They want stability, and in return will be loyal to the end. 

Juno in the 6th House

The person with Juno in the sixth might have their most important relationships in work or through the workplace – or they could be married to their work! Co-operation is important in the relationship – these people need someone they can work with day-to-day, someone that’s reliable and attentive.


Juno in Libra

Juno in Libra wants balance and equality in their relationships. They want someone who will share the chores of making decisions and who will consult with them on everything. They are attracted to good manners and an attractive appearance. They want them to share their interests in social activities and artistic things. They love romance. They tend to become competitive when the relationship becomes unbalanced. 

Juno in the 7th House

Relationships are key for those with Juno in the seventh. Placed in the house of partnership this person might seek marital, business or professional relationships to last a lifetime. They will be the cornerstone of life.


Juno in Scorpio

Juno in Scorpio needs an intense relationship with a lot of deep intimacy and sex. They may become manipulative and jealous, using sex as a way to control their partner. They want passion, loyalty and strength. They may be possessive and must learn to trust over time. They like mystery and power. They may be demanding or high maintenance. Once they are won over, they are loyal and dedicated, though they may always be a bit suspicious. 

Juno in the 8th House

For those with Juno in the eight, sex is likely to be an important part of partnership, trust and power too. Marriage could be a transformative force, deeply emotional and intimate. Situated in the house of other people’s money and finances, your partner could regard you as a possession. 


Juno in Sagittarius

Juno in Sagittarius wants intellectual stimulation in a relationship. They also want to share their belief system. They want a travel buddy and love adventures. Liberal and philosophical, they may be outspoken or competitive. They like independence and personal freedom, so a relationship with someone who wants a partner night and day would not work well with them. They want a shared camaraderie that will support each other’s freedom and yet strengthen their commitment. They prefer sports, law, philosophy and the outdoors. 

Juno in the 9th House

The person with Juno in the ninth might wed a foreigner, someone born far away or with a different background, or they might have a wedding abroad!

They will need a partner with whom they can travel or go on a spiritual journey with, or someone to philosophise with about what they’re learning or have gleaned.


Juno in Capricorn

Juno in Capricorn is committed and traditional. They may base their relationship more on social expectations than on sharing their emotions. They want someone who is practical and good at organizing. They are not overly emotional. They are conservative and responsible and expect the same from their partners. They want someone they can trust. They are very loyal once they commit to someone. They may marry later in life. They are very captivating to the right person, in an earthy way. 

Juno in the 10th House

Marriage for those with Juno in the tenth could be beneficial to career matters.

A partner could help in work, improve their social standing or the way the person is perceived and s breakup could affect career matters. Alternatively, the person could be wedded to their work!


Juno in Aquarius

Juno in Aquarius wants a relationship that gives them their freedom. They are rather unconventional and may prefer open marriages or other alternatives. They may also remain single yet enjoy the whole “friend with benefits” concept. They aren’t necessarily for equality in a relationship. They may either play the adoring mate or want their partner to be subservient to them. They appreciate eccentricity in their partner. They are progressive and friendly instead of passionate. They may be rather insecure at times. They are spontaneous and impulsive. They want someone who understands them and their needs and goals. 

Juno in the 11th House

The person with Juno in the eleventh house could marry a friend or have a strong sense of friendship develop after marriage. They could be very involved in a social cause or activity, and the relationship might be based on a shared vision. These people are likely to value freedom in marriage. 


Juno in Pisces

Juno in Pisces wants a special, spiritual bond. They want to share their ideals with their partner. They are attracted to those who are intuitive or sensitive. They enjoy sharing music, spirituality and poetry. They tend to withdraw when they are frustrated or want to escape into a fantasy world. They can use their subtle charms to manipulate others to their way of thinking. They may play the victim in some cases. They may use their imagination to create the perfect partner. They are very emotional and may have a problem dealing the world’s harsh realities. 

Juno in the 12th House

With Juno in the twelfth house, marriage could feel like a bit of a non-entity! The marriage and commitment asteroid sits in a bit of a blind spot. Or there could be a karmic quality to relationships, a feeling of destiny or significance in a marriage union. Suffering and sacrifice could be involved, helping and supporting the partner, or perhaps the native could play the part of the victim in marriage.

Apollo Through the Signs

Aries Apollo
- You are courageous in love
- Others admire your determination
- Your confidence in your abilities makes you appear more talented
- You are enthusiastic about the future
- Your strength is your optimism
- You fall for people who offer blunt honesty

Taurus Apollo
- You are reliable in love
- Other admire your patience
- You are talented in practical hobbies that offer materialistic gains
- You are devoted to your religious/spiritual beliefs
- Your strength is your responsibility
- You fall for people who offer stability

Gemini Apollo
- You are gentle in love
- Others admire your affection
- You are talented in a wide array of hobbies
- You adapt with ease, willing to change your beliefs if they do not seem to fit
- Your strength is your ability to learn
- You fall for people who offer intelligence

Cancer Apollo
- You are highly imaginative in love
- Others admire your loyalty
- You are talented in abilities that show your emotions
- You want to be a part of something that heals others
- Your strength in your persuasion
- You fall for people who understand you

Leo Apollo
- You are creative in love
- Others admire your passion
- You are talented at organizing charity events and similar things that give to the less fortunate
- You are accepting of everyone, and may end up following your own spiritual path
- Your strength is your cheerfulness
- You fall for people who are humorous

Virgo Apollo
- You are loyal in love
- Others admire your analytical nature
- You are talented at helping others and would make an excellent teacher or camp counsellor
- You believe that you create your own future
- Your strength is in your practicality
- You fall for people who draw you out and encourage you to speak up

Libra Apollo
- You are cooperative in love
- Others admire your diplomacy
- You are talented at fitting in at social gatherings far above your status
- You are relaxed about your beliefs
- Your strength is in your sociability
- You fall for people who are decisive

Scorpio Apollo
- You are resourceful in love
- Others admire your brave aura
- Whatever you are talented in, you take it to the extreme and everyone can see your passion
- You are stubborn about your beliefs
- Your strength is in your friendship
- You fall for people who prove they are trustworthy

Sagittarius Apollo
- You are generous in love
- Others admire your idealism
- You are talented at comedy
- You have a strong intuition
- Your strength is in your impatience
- You fall for people who are blunt

Capricorn Apollo
- You are responsible in love
- Others admire your discipline
- You are talented at controlling yourself
- You lead people in your religion or spiritual belief system
- Your strength is your knowledge
- You fall for people who accept your mistakes

Aquarius Apollo
- You are original in love
- Others admire your independence
- You are talented in humanitarian fields
- You think logically about the future
- Your strength is your decisiveness
- You fall for people who are aloof

Pisces Apollo
- You are compassionate in love
- Others admire your artistic abilities
- You have a strong intuition
- You believe in a general gentleness and safety for all people
- Your strength is your wiseness
- You fall for people who are musical

How to Tell People About Your Book

1. Infer a Pitch Close to their Heart

When it comes to communicating your best story, you need the potential reader to feel something deep within that is relatable. Every one of us stands by a belief system when it comes to morals and sympathy. There’s also another great thing we all carry, and that’s nostalgia. These are significant factors to attribute to your pitch when people ask, “What’s your story about?” Before you begin going onto step 3. of this list, make sure to note that relevant and relatable first before the theme. “You know that uncertainty we all felt in high school?… Well…” and then continue with the rest of the pitch.

2. Short and Sweet

I have a sibling who loves to tell the story scene by scene, and she’ll speak of it for nearly twenty minutes. Longer the pitch, the sooner the potential reader will lose focus on the story. Combine the best parts and verbalize a cinematic trailer. Use sensory terms so the reader will know what to expect.

3. Tell the Theme not the Story

Whether it is politics or a memoir, a theme is a great way to generalize the story without giving away too much information. I don’t tell the title of the story because it’s an exclusive title we writers want to keep for the grand finale when the writing and binding are complete. Speak on subjects that the reader will know about and keep it in a time frame where the reader can also have time to consider why this theme is important to him or her.

4. Speak Your Inspiration

If you want to lose all tabs on the fictionalized characters and even the more delicate details, talk about your inspiration. Where were you?, what made you want to write this story?, How long did it take you to come to write this story? Answer those questions to the reader and let them know where it all began because that is a VIP backstage access to work they’ll want to have access to in the future. Hence, making the reader prone to reading your story.

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everybody feels like an outcast because the world is so large and every fingerprint is so vastly different from one another, and yet we have these standards and beliefs, and dogmatic systems of judgment and ranking, in almost all the societies of the world…

ezra miller

PENTAGRAM/PENTACLE DEFINED FOR BEGINNER WICCANS

Symbols are constantly recycled in society and religion. Their meanings evolve over time and can differ from belief system to belief system. A pentacle/pentagram is one of those symbols that has picked up a whole lot of baggage over the years. Beginner Wiccans often come to our religion having to ‘reprogram’ their own way of thinking about the pentagram. For years, pop culture, media hysteria and other religions have drilled the idea into our heads that Pagan symbols are bad, and the pentagram is evil.

Unfortunately, in a lot of books aimed at Wicca for beginners, more misinformation about the pentagram is spread. This time, it errs on the side of trying to make the pentagram look good, attaching to it all kinds of romanticized ideas that are just not factual.

What is a pentagram? What is a pentacle? Is there a difference? Let’s have a closer look at the history of this symbol, and the meaning of the pentagram today.

WHAT IS A PENTAGRAM?

A good place to begin anytime you’re trying to understand a word and its usage is to hit the dictionary and look up the entomology of the word. The word pentagram is rooted in the Greek.

Instead of giving you my own interpretations, I’ll take the meaning directly from the dictionary:

MEANING OF A PENTAGRAM: A BRIEF HISTORY

The earliest use of the pentagram we know of is from ancient Sumeria– but it wasn’t a religious Pagan symbol. It was a word in their language that meant a corner or angle (due to the 5 sharp angles in the figure).

In the 6th century BCE, Pherecydes of Syros used it to illustrate the five recesses of the cosmology. Pentagram figures occasionally turned up in the far East as well, due to the 5 Chinese elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, water.

Pythagoras went on to use the pentagram as the symbol of man. Partly it was because the shape represented a human standing with his arms spread wide (the top point being the head, the to outer points the arms, and the bottom two points the legs). It was also considered to represent the 5 elements that the Greeks believed made up the physical body: Earth (matter), Air (breath), Fire (energy), Water (fluids) and Aether (the psyche or soul). When Pythagoras’ school was driven underground, students used the pentagram as a secret symbol to identify each other.

In ancient Judaism it was a symbol found in mysticism, related to the top portion of the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah, it stood for the 5 books of the Torah (what Christians refer to as the Pentateuch in the Old Testament of the Bible) and the symbol was featured in a seal representing the secret names of God.

Early Christians into the middle ages used the pentagram heavily as a symbol for Christ’s five wounds. The star of Bethlehem that lead the wise men to the baby Jesus was believed to be the pentagram. In Authorial legends, you’ll often see the symbol of the Pentagram inscribed on knight’s shields and other things—these were actually Christian, not Pagan, references. Christians thought of the pentagram as a protective amulet, and it was the primary symbol of Christianity back then, even more common than the cross.

So the pentagram had a long, ancient history of uses as a Pagan symbol and Judeo-Christian symbol. It had no single meaning. It represented perfection in mathematics, the human body, words, and was also used in religious ritual and magic.

BUT WHAT ABOUT WITCHES, WICCANS, AND SATANISTS?

So I’ve mentioned that just about everyone had used the pentagram back then, except I haven’t mentioned Witches, Wiccans and Satanists. What about them?

The fact is, they didn’t really exist yet. The only “witches” at the time were the kind of folklore and rumor. Oh, don’t get me wrong—there were people who did magick, but they would not have identified with the term “witch”.

WHEN THE PENTAGRAM BECAME ASSOCIATED WITH “EVIL”

The 14th and 15th century saw the rise of occult practices that were rooted in Judeo-Christian symbolism and mysticism, and they borrowed liberally from many of the symbols, including the pentagram. They also borrowed from Gnostic and Paganism symbols. It’s no small surprise Ceremonial Magicians were accused by the Christian church of heresy. And heresy, to a medieval Christian, barrels down to Paganism, Satan worship and witchcraft.

Anything liberally used by Ceremonial Magicians became associated with anything considered heretical. If you don’t want to be associated with such things, you don’t use their symbols.

By Victorian times, the witch hunt craze was ending, and people started to forget how pentagrams were once very common, prominent Christian symbols. It’s now associated with paganism, Satan and witchcraft, and seen as an evil symbol.

The love of romanticized myth and history drive a new movement: the Pagan revival, and the pentagram gets turned around again. This is where it gets confusing, because misinformation and false histories begin to fly liberally from the late 19th to mid-20th century.

This is the time the Pagan Revival begins (mostly a re-invention than a re-construction of “Old Ways”). This is when Margaret Murray published her theories on ancient Witch cults being peaceful Pagan religions—though her works have been completely debunked since. This is when Gerald Gardner founded Wicca, and people came crawling out of the woodwork claiming to be ‘hereditary Witches’, or claiming their coven was ancient, or claiming some unbroken line to the Pagan religions of antiquity. This is also when a few ‘reverse Christian’ groups popped up, with practices specifically designed to mock and rebel against Christianity (those these groups were pretty rare and the NeoPagan community did their best to distance themselves from such groups).

One thing most of these groups have in common, though, is that they adopt the pentagram.

Hollywood – new on the scene in the mid-20th century – adopts the pentagram as well. Hollywood is not interested in accuracy; it’s interested in the shock value of things. They adopt it as a symbol for evil magic and reverse-Christian style devil worship and stick it into just about every horror movie conceivable. This fuels the antics of a lot of bored, rebellious people, particularly teens, who like to spray paint it on park walls and carve it into trees for the shock value.

By the late 20th century, the pentagram is being used and abused all over the place, but it is Hollywood who manages to make an indelible imprint on the social consciousness—and this is further driven by the media with sensationalized reporting during the 1970’s “Satanic Ritual Abuse” hysteria (which has also been debunked).

It’s only the tail end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century in which the pentagram is finally gaining some understanding. Though mainstream society hasn’t completely lost the ‘kneejerk reaction’ to it, the growth of the Pagan Revival and the availability of information via the Internet have helped to quell some of the shock value and fears over it.

WICCAN SYMBOLS: PENTAGRAM VS. PENTACLE

More misconceptions abound, considering the Pagan community more commonly refers to the symbol as a ‘pentacle’ rather than a ‘pentagram’. Many books and websites have tried (and failed) to make the distinction clear. Some assertions I’ve read in passing are:

  • The pentagram is evil with one point down
  • the pentacle is good with one point up
  • The pentagram is just the star
  • the pentacle is the star with a circle around it
  • The pentagram is 2-D; the pentacle is 3-D

Actually, all of these answers would be technically incorrect. If you look at the definitions provided above, pentagram and pentacle are synonymous, and have nothing to do with which way the points face, or whether or not they have a circle around them.                           

A look at the dictionary’s answer to pentacle and you see that the only real difference is one is derived from the Greek, the other from the Latin:

DICTIONARY MEANING OF A PENTACLE:

THE PENTACLE: NOT JUST A FIGURE, BUT A TOOL

A tool arose out of ceremonial magic. This tool was a flat, round disc or paper that was inscribed with protective symbols (a pentagram could be inscribed on it, but there were other symbols they used as well). It is used as an amulet of warding and power because a large part of Ceremonial Magic is invoking and commanding various entities from Judeo-Christian beliefs.

It was called the pentacle or sometimes pantacle. On the Tarot (a Christian-origin divination system), the symbol is used for the suit of coins, and it represents the Element of Earth.

Wicca and other NeoPagan religions borrowed this tool from Ceremonial Magic. They kept the name, but re-defined its purpose since Wiccans don’t believe in Judeo-Christian entities and is not concerned with calling or commanding spirits.

The pentacle (the disc) was adopted as an altar tool, and is used to symbolize the Element of Earth on the altar. It’s also used as a tool for placing sacred items upon it when cleansing, consecrating or charging them.

The Wiccan symbol of choice for this round disc was the pentagram/pentacle. To further confuse things, this tool does not have to be inscribed with a pentagram/pentacle.

TYPICAL MEANING OF A PENTAGRAM/PENTACLE IN WICCA

As far as Wiccan symbols go, the pentagram isn’t a representation of good vs. evil. It’s a symbol of our faith, a symbol of the 5 Elements (one for each point), and the circle (the universe) contains and connects them all. No matter which way it’s facing, circle or no circle, there’s nothing ‘bad’ about it.

Another misconception about the pentagram in Wicca is which way it points. Again, you will find common misinformation that says the pentagram is “evil” if point down and “good” if point up. The point down is most commonly associated with Satanism, because the largest branch of Satanism (Church of Satan, est. 1966) adopted the inverted pentagram with a goat head inside of it as their symbol.

It’s traditionally used both point up and point down. Point up pentagrams are more common; but point down pentagrams are not considered evil at all.

The point-up pentagram represents the spirit ascending above matter. The top point represents the Element of Spirit, the other four points represent the four Spiritual Elements.

When a pentagram is point-down, it represents spirit descending into matter. This is most traditionally used in lineage covens during second degree initiations, because it’s at this point of one’s spiritual path that one turns “inward”. You face and challenge your ‘dark side’ – your base emotions, fears, ignorance, prejudices, etc., you deal with them and develop mastery over yourself.

anonymous asked:

shiro is vld's damsel in distress and keith is his knight in shining armor

Ok so I know I joke about Keith saving Shiro like a princess, but actually, this is honestly how their dynamic is portrayed?? Keith is always shown as the first one at Shiro’s side when he’s in danger, always running to his rescue. If he has to choose between the mission and Shiro, he’ll take Shiro every time. But now, let’s talk about this idea he’s a knight for a minute. Because it’s very much a purposefully drawn comparison. In the comics, when the paladins are all likened to pieces on a chessboard, Keith is delegated to this role. The narrative literally refers to him as a knight by name. 

The imagery of Keith’s bayard also serves to reinforce this. Instead of a more sci-fi weapon like a laser gun or some advanced alien tech, Keith’s weapon of choice is a classic sword. Nothing evokes the image of a knight more than a sword and shield (which the paladin suit has). Keith’s belief system also feeds into this archetype. Time and again, he’s singled out as the most dedicated to the mission. He is a paladin first and foremost. When Pidge wants to leave to find her family, Keith is the one who lashes out and lectures her about how they need to defend the universe and make sacrifices for the greater good. When Allura is captured, Keith again notes that their duty as paladins must come first. Keith leaves the castle when he believes his presence will do more harm than good. And the paladin guidebook even lists his most important value as honor–a clear reference to knightly chivalry. 

Keith’s initial role in Voltron is also a clear indicator of his character. If the head of Voltron is a leader whose men will follow without question, if they’re like a “King,” then as Voltron’s “right-hand man” Keith is a loyal knight. And just like any good knight, Keith will call out rulers for failing to serve the people and treating their subjects unjustly. The way Keith reacts so strongly to Lubos is a good example of this. Again, nobility and honor are distinctly important to him. 

Another trope with a knight and damsel you often see in fantasy is that, like a typical knight, the protagonist highly values chivalry and champions a noble cause. But ultimately, that means learning to sacrifice their own selfish desires for the sake of the greater good. So their love interest is often seen as a distraction from the hero’s quest. They can’t afford to indulge in their feelings because the mission must come first. And often times, this culminates in a decision where the knight must choose to sacrifice the person they care about most–a representation of their own desires–because their duty demands it. 

And in his trial, who is it that’s sent to tempt the hero and divert him from his quest, who is it that Keith longs for most, the person he “desperately wants to see”? Who is the one person that Keith can afford to be selfish for, the one who he’ll throw away everything–including his obligations as a paladin–just to be with?

And we know that this is an archetype VLD is very much aware of and acknowledges in their narrative. After all, heroes who fail to give up their own wants and needs, chasing after their love and abandoning their duty–they’re often cast down, vilified, characterized as foolish and selfish and bringing about disaster for their arrogance. And Zarkon is the literal embodiment of this character. He’s a glimpse at what Keith’s future could look like if he continues down the same path and chooses Shiro over the universe. Just like how Zarkon chose his love over everything else. 

So when I mention all the sheith and zaggar parallels, I really do believe it’s wholly intentional. Especially given all the foreshadow that Keith will eventually reach the same crossroads where he’ll have to decide whether or not to sacrifice Shiro for the sake of the universe. But being that Keith doesn’t believe in things being so “black and white” and also the trope that a successor will surpass their predecessor, I believe Keith will figure out an alternative answer that will allow for both Shiro and the the others he defends to stay safe. 

Now, as for Shiro’s role as a “princess,” the notion is pretty interesting. Obviously, it’s a clear subversion of gender. But there’s never any shame or weakness to it. Quite the contrary, actually. Shiro is established as the strongest and most formidable member of Team Voltron. He’s their brave leader, their fearless protector, their unshakable rock. But he is so often idolized, seen as impossibly perfect and infallible, and this inevitably takes its toll. The fact that he allows himself to be vulnerable with Keith, to let Keith help him and take care of him, is never shown as a point of pathetic inability or weakness. 

Rather, Voltron portrays it as okay to admit that you aren’t strong enough, that you’re not okay, that asking for help is perfectly alright and there’s nothing wrong with admitting you can’t shoulder the weight of the world on your own. Shiro asking Keith to come save him is important because he never asks the others for help. He puts up a facade and tries to keep everything together in front of them. And when Keith says things like Shiro really changed his life, you can infer that, before this, Shiro was probably always the one taking care of him. So Keith always being the first to defend Shiro in turn reads as You were always the one protecting me, now let me stand by your side and protect you

This concept of sheith’s dynamic resembling a knight and princess is also established immediately. Their very first scene together is Keith saving Shiro, and it really feels like knight rescuing their lost love. Right away you associate these two characters with one another, see just how intimately familiar they are with each other. Keith fights fiercely on Shiro’s behalf but softens up when he looks at him, leans it closer and tenderly reaches out to him. And I’ve talked about this a lot before, but the way Keith mourns Shiro is distinctly reminescent of someone grieving a lover. 

The way he’s inconsollible and claims to be the only one who really cares about Shiro, the way he searches relentlessly and needs to be told time and again that it’s time to move on, the way his voice breaks when Black accepts him and he pleads, “Please, no.” Keith really loves Shiro. And his devotion to him, including leading Voltron in honor of his last wish as well as vowing to never give up on him, Keith’s desperation to be with him, this notion that he’d be all alone without him--yes, he loves Shiro. But it’s a love that’s passionate and intense and possessive and desperate in a way that platonic or familial love just isn’t

I think Kuron’s rescue and recovery in season 3 is also very remenescent of this whole damsel in distress theme. For one thing, Keith is established as Shiro’s sole rescuer, and the “reunion” scene is an intimate moment between just the two of them. Kuron’s hero is here to save him, and they can both finally be at ease. The start of the next episode is very interesting because it just seems like business as usual. The paladins are all off on a mission, but Kuron is nowhere to be seen. He’s taken out of the action. Instead, this is the first time we get to see Allura use her bayard. And she makes for a fearsome opponent. It’s a distinct reversal of how you’d usually see a knight go off on their quest while the princess waits back at the castle for their safe return. Here, Kuron takes on that position. And the way we see Keith dutifully caring for him at his bedside afterwards reinforces this idea. And it’s okay for Kuron to rest and take as much times as he needs. It’s okay because Keith will still lead in the meantime and he’ll always be there to check in on Kuron and help him through his recovery. 

Of course, there’s more than one way to save someone, and I think it’s important to make that distinction with Shiro and Keith’s relationship. Because it’s not Keith carrying all of Shiro’s weight for him and taking care of everything. It’s about Keith really supporting Shiro and reaffirming that he is a good and worthy paladin–“You mean, your bayard.” It’s the way that Shiro has already given himself up for dead but Keith looks him in the eye and tells him that he’ll be alright, that he can make it. It’s the fact that Shiro struggles with his trauma and still believes that he’s a monster, that he’s undeserving of the title “paladin” and that there’s no way he can stand against the empire and survive. Keith asserts time and again that Shiro is their leader, that Shiro is strong and kind and loving, that Shiro isn’t broken, that he deserves to live. It’s that Keith gives him hope, and Shiro is able to stand by his side and push forward because of it.

Ultimately, I think the best way to describe this dynamic is by just quoting what Josh said at wondercon about his favorite scene: “Shiro is in really bad shape and he’s waiting to pretty much get rescued by Keith. I love this clip because you really see the weak side of Shiro, you really see Keith’s determination to find him. And it was just really exciting for me to watch it. Because it really looks dire, and it really looks like he’s not gonna make it in time. And then–a hero comes through and saves the day with the lion.” Keith is really Shiro’s hero. And just like he’s promised, he’ll always be there to save Shiro–as many times as it takes

Witchcraft vs. Wicca

Originally posted by xesoteric-extraterrestrialx

The difference between Wicca and Witchcraft can be summarized simply: Wicca is a religion whereas Witchcraft is a practice. That begs the questions of what is a religion and what is a practice.

A religion is a spiritual belief system, such as Christianity, Islam, or Wicca. It is a series of beliefs, based around observance to or worship of deities and/or spirits. A practice is something that is done, such as prayer, meditation, or magic. Simply put, magic is a practice and Paganism is a religion. Wicca is a subset of Paganism, and raising energy (casting magic) is the main goal of Witchcraft.

What is animism?

Hey there! Long time, no see… I thought I’d make a post today about animism. It pops up now and again in the witchy and pagan communities on tumblr - but I haven’t always understood it. Recently, I started a research project for my archaeology degree, and it involves the idea of animism. Anyway, here is a little introductory post to the concept of animism.

Animism is simply the belief that plants, animals and natural phenomena possess a soul or spirit. It is present in many religions and belief systems, both past and present, and across the world. Some people take this further, perceiving many inanimate objects to have a spirit, such as language and words, or human creations like photographs. 

In animism, all plants, animals, geographical features (such as rivers and mountains) and natural phenomena (such as fire, lightening or snow) all posses agency. That is, the ability to act or to exert their own will. Many also see all inanimate objects in this light.

As a belief, it is one of the oldest and most key belief systems. Evidence for animistic belief systems can be traced back to sites such as the Mesolithic site of Star Carr, and the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk. Many indigenous peoples today also practise animism in various forms, as well as many neo-pagans. Offsets of a belief in animism can include ideas of shamanism and totem worship.

Previously, those studying animism saw it as a belief system of people who had no understanding of scientific principles, or who were less advanced. The study was inextricably tied up with ideas of colonialism and racial disparity. As such, many academics have since dropped the term due to it’s negative connotations. However, it has been used by many indigenous groups and neo-pagans to self-identify their own beliefs.

In neo-paganism, those who call themselves animists do so in the assertion that they acknowledge and respect the wide ranging spirits within nature and the earth - with which humans share the world. For some, these are depicted as (or understood through) deities or fairies. For others, they are simply the spirits of living beings, or non-human persons. Because of this, many pagans have a deep respect for the earth (seeing it as a living entity) and do not wish to harm it. Many pagans express these beliefs by thanking these spirits, working with them in their magic; or by being vegetarian/vegan or campaigning for a more environmentally friendly future. Alternatively, it may involve the use of animal products in spells to imbue them with that animals spirit, for instance.

For many witches or magic practitioners, their belief in animism is the source of their magic practise. Rather than seeing humanity as outside of, or opposed to nature and the earth (or owning it), we are inextricably part of the earth, and share in it’s spirit.

For me, animism means that I acknowledge the unique essence of every plant, animal, and natural phenomena. It is not that I believe there is an anthropomorphised spirit living within each tree, for instance. But that a tree expresses it’s unique spirit by how it lives within the landscape, and I can respect this by the way I perceive and interact with the tree. We all share in a common spirit or essence that is the earth, but we all express this in a way that is unique. 


I know this whole post has made me sound like some crazy hippy sort, which I probably am, but please don’t think I believe these things because I am ignorant or stupid - this is the way I choose to perceive my world. Anyway, let me know what you think of this post!