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Wicca, Shamanism and Druidry. Where to start?


Whisper

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12 minutes ago, katrinka said:

Silver was the victim of an organized smear campaign. I'm not sure who started it or why, I just stared seeing bad press everywhere starting in the late 90's.

Ah that's no good. That sort of thing annoys me no end. I've no objection to silly - what one person considers silly is another person's meaningful, or even if it's silly, everyone needs a bit of silly in their life. Systematic attacks are just not on. Particularly problematic issues, especially if work is aimed at younger people, do need to be pointed out, but a full-on takedown is excessive. Hmm. I perhaps should remove the link rather than giving it traction, eh?

 

I'm quite a fan of Robert Graves, The White Goddess, and as an academic myself I'm well aware of just how flawed his work is, but that doesn't mean that it was any less important or useful to me. I just have to be aware of its shortcomings.

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Not sure is anyone's mentioned this, but what about Michael Harner's Way of the Shaman? It's a classic, and, for better or worse, pretty much single handedly kicked off the neo-shamanism movement.

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On 2/2/2019 at 11:29 PM, AJ-ish/Sharyn said:

My conclusion over many years is paganism with names has as many rules and caveats and overbearing leaders as any mainstream religion..

I always end up back in a nature setting knowing that is the only thing that counts.

 

A good and useful thought - thank you for this. I was just talking with someone today about 'Eat, Pray, Love' and this annoying thing of the wealthy westerner 'finding themselves' through the novelty of Eastern religions, and they shared with me a video a young chap did in Singapore, looking at a Buddist temple and talking about the commonalities between that and the organize religion we discard. Very thought-provoking.

 

Structures that ought to be about formally recognizing contribution and wisdom inevitably seem to end up being a mechanism with which to exercise power, or to at least display status.

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18 hours ago, archimedea said:

A good and useful thought - thank you for this. I was just talking with someone today about 'Eat, Pray, Love' and this annoying thing of the wealthy westerner 'finding themselves' through the novelty of Eastern religions, and they shared with me a video a young chap did in Singapore, looking at a Buddist temple and talking about the commonalities between that and the organize religion we discard. Very thought-provoking.

 

Structures that ought to be about formally recognizing contribution and wisdom inevitably seem to end up being a mechanism with which to exercise power, or to at least display status.

Kind of a "You can take the boy out of the Southern Baptists, but you can't take the Southern Baptist out of the boy" situation, lol.

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On 9/2/2019 at 7:46 AM, archimedea said:

A good and useful thought - thank you for this. I was just talking with someone today about 'Eat, Pray, Love' and this annoying thing of the wealthy westerner 'finding themselves' through the novelty of Eastern religions, and they shared with me a video a young chap did in Singapore, looking at a Buddist temple and talking about the commonalities between that and the organize religion we discard. Very thought-provoking.

 

Structures that ought to be about formally recognizing contribution and wisdom inevitably seem to end up being a mechanism with which to exercise power, or to at least display status.

This is very interesting and it makes me think of something that I read a long time ago that really spoke to me. It’s an quote by Chesca potter (creator of the Greenwood tarot):

 

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In the past I used to always put emphasis on ME in everything I did. Like, almost every ritual was about me; making me more balanced etc. And when I interacted with my animal guides it was always one sided in that the focus was on them helping me. I talked about having a nature based faith but took very little consideration of Mother Nature and her inhabitants in my practice. I very rarely did anything for them. And I wanted to explore deities/entities/spirits that I could work with - meaning, that could help and teach me. And yes, I helped other people so that’s certainly good but I did almost nothing for the nature that I said I cared so much about! 

 

Now i see things differently. I want to hold space for nature and for spirits and I very rarely perform rituals just for myself. And if I do, then I make sure it’s for a reason that’s beneficial in a greater sense and I also make sure to give proper thanks. I also try to connect with nature spirits, animals etc to see what THEY need and what they want. I want to connect with my local sites to feel their needs. 

 

My ancestors already knew all this. They had way more respect for nature than me. I was taught about herbs, animals etc as a child but so much of it slipped to the back of my mind. My grandfather even told me how to perform the “utiseta” ritual to connect with nature spirits and consult them. He also told me on how to thank them. All this I ‘forgot’. But now I understand that he wasn’t sharing fairy tale stories, he was actually instructing me. Just like my father did after granddad died. And the more I align myself with nature the more these memories come back and I start to remember what they taught me. It’s very healing and humbling. My ego was standing in the way of this connection previously. So now I get what Chesca meant too. It’s important to think about the balance and state of ones land. And in this time of great environmental crisis we must not forget to think about other things then ourselves in our practices. I’m not saying to never care about yourself, I’m just saying that I personally don’t want my ‘nature based’ practice to revolve 90% about me. 

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On 2/2/2019 at 12:29 PM, AJ-ish/Sharyn said:

Whisper, where do you find yourself on your journey after a year? Have you found some clarity or more confusion?

 

My conclusion over many years is paganism with names has as many rules and caveats and overbearing leaders as any mainstream religion..

 

I always end up back in a nature setting knowing that is the only thing that counts.

 

 

We're all just people. Lol. So one often ends up back at "the same old song" 😉. I agree. 

 

On 8/31/2019 at 1:50 AM, katrinka said:

...Some of the best books I've seen on the subject are Doreen Valiente's, but sadly, they're hard to find these days.

 

Really? - that's not the case here in London. That's a shame. Doreen is dubbed "The mother of modern Wicca" - I remember going to a conference dedicated to her and watching everyone bid for pieces of her jewellery.  A different generation, so none of it was to my taste even as a keepsake - or I might have bid for one 🙂.

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@Raggydoll there's another quote somewhere from Chesca Potter, along the lines of rather than intellectual goddess worship people need to go out into the land and she says she takes people out and makes them walk for hours.

 

I think she has a point overall. Even most pagans/Wiccans see themselves as apart from nature rather than a part of it - to a greater or lesser extent, obviously. I don't remember this being discussed much online back in the 90s when I was Wiccan (more generic pagan these days), the closest perhaps was discussion around the tendency for many Wiccans to buy so much stuff. Wands, athames, crystals, and so on and not making an effort to make ethical choices around those purchases. At one point I pretty much stopped buying crystals for that reason, though now buy beads to make jewellery and haven't given the ethical side much thought, though I do try and upcycle second hand stuff when I can.

 

@katrinka again way back in the days of me posting on alt.religion.wicca.moderated in the 90s there were plenty of negative views of Silver Ravenwolf,  D J Conway and so on. They were usually considered to be a bit fluffy. Not read much by either, but always liked the rune cards by Ravenwolf and Nigel Jackson.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Raggydoll said:

This is very interesting and it makes me think of something that I read a long time ago that really spoke to me. It’s an quote by Chesca potter (creator of the Greenwood tarot):

 

B9F56A8F-E6A6-4593-BA02-F2622B5844F8.thumb.jpeg.c97ae558b9220c97c97d46b41b22061d.jpeg

 

In the past I used to always put emphasis on ME in everything I did... 

 

Now i see things differently. I want to hold space for nature and for spirits and I very rarely perform rituals just for myself. And if I do, then I make sure it’s for a reason that’s beneficial in a greater sense and I also make sure to give proper thanks. I also try to connect with nature spirits, animals etc to see what THEY need and what they want. I want to connect with my local sites to feel their needs. 

 

My ancestors already knew all this. They had way more respect for nature than me. I was taught about herbs, animals etc as a child but so much of it slipped to the back of my mind. My grandfather even told me how to perform the “utiseta” ritual to connect with nature spirits and consult them. He also told me on how to thank them. All this I ‘forgot’. But now I understand that he wasn’t sharing fairy tale stories, he was actually instructing me. Just like my father did after granddad died.

 

Lucky you Raggydoll, to have had a respectful tradition to be taught from 🙂

 

I grew up with Roman Catholic teaching - though my mother never believed in institutional religion of any sort and my father was a

sort of lax practicing Catholic (they sent me to one of the best schools then - which was Roman Catholic). I always had a love and affinity for the wild/nature (one does if one is surrounded by it's immensity as a child - I am fortunate to have grown up where I did in this sense) and found that I couldn't reconcile my respect, enjoyment and wonder of it with religious ideas that we were the pinnacle of creation allowed to lord over everything else (i.e. trash it imo), so when I left school I started looking around for an alternative practice and eventually settled on Wicca (though as has been pointed out, I discovered people practicing anything anywhere - boil down to being human anyway).  I've often been to pagan open rituals where I have been less than impressed with other practitioners respect for the land (I end up being the one who goes around tidying up all the crap afterwards) - and found it interesting that there was a repeated pattern of asking for things at every single ritual opportunity. It seemed to me that people were/are repeatedly (as the article here says) "draining out the power" - wearing it out.  

When people ask me about spellwork - I still say, I don't do it often and only at a point when all other avenues have been tried and I'm stumped. (...Perhaps it's my ingrained Roman Catholic past which says that God helps those who first help themselves...).

Most of the time my rituals are about meditation and celebration of the natural - finding the quiet space to tune in with whatever is there, and as it is said in a particular meditation format - feel the support that mother earth freely gives me and be cherishing and grateful for it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, ilweran said:

@Raggydoll there's another quote somewhere from Chesca Potter, along the lines of rather than intellectual goddess worship people need to go out into the land and she says she takes people out and makes them walk for hours.

 

I think she has a point overall. Even most pagans/Wiccans see themselves as apart from nature rather than a part of it - to a greater or lesser extent, obviously.

Yes.  Walk the land. Stick your fingers in the soil, observe the beauty of the interdependence within the ecosystem...

 

And I wonder if this is an experiential thing as one grows up. I often notice that people don't have the same 'connected' thing that I do - but long ago I concluded that it was because they didn't grow up in an 11 acre forest surrounded by tropical wild-life and being alone with a lot of time just to sit and watch it all, plus being in contact with, or having several types of pets and/or livestock... 

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@Tanga could be. I grew up in a semi rural mining village (and mining villages are more like small towns than the name suggests) in South Wales, sheep used to wander down from the hills and mill around. We used to walk over the tip, the area around the mine, or up into the hills, swimming in the streams, or clambering down the them for miles, or just walking for miles.

 

I felt a connection to the land around me because I was out in it so much.

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5 minutes ago, Tanga said:

Yes.  Walk the land. Stick your fingers in the soil, observe the beauty of the interdependence within the ecosystem...

 

And I wonder if this is an experiential thing as one grows up. I often notice that people don't have the same 'connected' thing that I do - but long ago I concluded that it was because they didn't grow up in an 11 acre forest surrounded by tropical wild-life and being alone with a lot of time just to sit and watch it all, plus being in contact with, or having several types of pets and/or livestock... 

Very possible. I grew up in the forest, in the middle of nowhere, and I had to help out from a young age, to pick berries and harvest vegetables etc. I complained SO much, especially as a teenager 😂 I remember when dad wanted us to go out late at night to learn about owls, bats or the moon. Or when he wanted us to go up early to go birdwatching. Or to walk in nature and learn about plants etc. I used to long for the day when I could leave and move to the city. I just didn’t get it. But now I do and luckily I can still go back to my childhood home and enjoy the nature. Sadly neither my father nor grandfather is alive to repeat any of their wisdom though. 

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3 hours ago, Tanga said:

We're all just people. Lol. So one often ends up back at "the same old song" 😉. I agree. 

 

Really? - that's not the case here in London. That's a shame. Doreen is dubbed "The mother of modern Wicca" - I remember going to a conference dedicated to her and watching everyone bid for pieces of her jewellery.  A different generation, so none of it was to my taste even as a keepsake - or I might have bid for one 🙂.

LOL. I felt the same way about a lot of my mother's old things. There's something very stiff and...beige about the 50's. (20's, 30's and 40's are gorgeous, though!)

 

And yes, stateside it takes some searching online online to find her work. It's doable, but I've never seen it in a physical store. Everything seems a little too trendy: once someone isn't writing anymore, they're generally not on the shelves. Our local place that folded a few years ago had a little "classics" section, people from Jane Austen to Jack Kerouac crammed into one little corner, the rest of the store was new stuff that was getting hyped. And there was no "classics" section for witchcraft, occult, etc. I don't even recall seeing Crowley's writing there. Everything was new, new, new.

For those who aren't familiar with Doreen, here's a longish interview in two parts. She had a fantastic vibe.


http://www.earthspirit.com/fireheart-interviews-doreen-valiente-part-one

 

http://www.earthspirit.com/fireheart-interviews-doreen-valiente-part-two

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9 hours ago, Raggydoll said:

In the past I used to always put emphasis on ME in everything I did. Like, almost every ritual was about me; making me more balanced etc. And when I interacted with my animal guides it was always one sided in that the focus was on them helping me. I talked about having a nature based faith but took very little consideration of Mother Nature and her inhabitants in my practice. I very rarely did anything for them. And I wanted to explore deities/entities/spirits that I could work with - meaning, that could help and teach me. And yes, I helped other people so that’s certainly good but I did almost nothing for the nature that I said I cared so much about! 

 

Now i see things differently. I want to hold space for nature and for spirits and I very rarely perform rituals just for myself. And if I do, then I make sure it’s for a reason that’s beneficial in a greater sense and I also make sure to give proper thanks. I also try to connect with nature spirits, animals etc to see what THEY need and what they want. I want to connect with my local sites to feel their needs. 

 

My ancestors already knew all this. They had way more respect for nature than me. I was taught about herbs, animals etc as a child but so much of it slipped to the back of my mind. My grandfather even told me how to perform the “utiseta” ritual to connect with nature spirits and consult them. He also told me on how to thank them. All this I ‘forgot’. But now I understand that he wasn’t sharing fairy tale stories, he was actually instructing me. Just like my father did after granddad died. And the more I align myself with nature the more these memories come back and I start to remember what they taught me. It’s very healing and humbling. My ego was standing in the way of this connection previously. So now I get what Chesca meant too. It’s important to think about the balance and state of ones land. And in this time of great environmental crisis we must not forget to think about other things then ourselves in our practices. I’m not saying to never care about yourself, I’m just saying that I personally don’t want my ‘nature based’ practice to revolve 90% about me. 

This. And what Chesca said.
There's a kind of solipsistic pop paganism afoot that's a reflection of the solipsism of the larger culture.

 

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6 hours ago, katrinka said:

There's a kind of solipsistic pop paganism afoot that's a reflection of the solipsism of the larger culture.
 

Yes. Yes. I'm so happy to find such like minds.

 

We've all drifted apart so, and here I delete a short rant about all the ways we are divided, and the constant inwardness of this individualistic society. And yet here we are, finding each other, feet in disparate earth and hearts in this virtual collective.

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3 hours ago, archimedea said:

Yes. Yes. I'm so happy to find such like minds.

 

We've all drifted apart so, and here I delete a short rant about all the ways we are divided, and the constant inwardness of this individualistic society. And yet here we are, finding each other, feet in disparate earth and hearts in this virtual collective.

We can always start a separate thread to continue sharing thoughts and experiences. Just come up with a name and put it under spirituality 😊

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16 hours ago, ilweran said:

I don't remember this being discussed much online back in the 90s when I was Wiccan (more generic pagan these days), the closest perhaps was discussion around the tendency for many Wiccans to buy so much stuff. Wands, athames, crystals, and so on and not making an effort to make ethical choices around those purchases.

Those discussions were still going on when I joined pagan forums in the early 2000s. It was one of the things which made me question whether I was just consuming spirituality rather than living it.

 

It’s fair to say that, like @Raggydoll, I spent the early years with rituals focussed on myself. Partly because I was in a difficult place and needed help - there wasn’t any available from more earthly sources. I desperately wanted someone/something to be look after me. 

It was a bit like a spiritual puberty - a little selfish, a little rebellious but actually still wanting some safety and security. 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Flaxen said:

Those discussions were still going on when I joined pagan forums in the early 2000s. It was one of the things which made me question whether I was just consuming spirituality rather than living it.

 

It’s fair to say that, like @Raggydoll, I spent the early years with rituals focussed on myself. Partly because I was in a difficult place and needed help - there wasn’t any available from more earthly sources. I desperately wanted someone/something to be look after me. 

It was a bit like a spiritual puberty - a little selfish, a little rebellious but actually still wanting some safety and security. 

 

 

What a good way to explain it! And I don’t really regret my spiritual puberty - after all, it took me where I am today - I am just glad to have moved past it. 

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30 minutes ago, Raggydoll said:

What a good way to explain it! And I don’t really regret my spiritual puberty - after all, it took me where I am today - I am just glad to have moved past it. 

I'm probably back in that stage myself, and you know, that's ok. I think maybe we have cycles where sometimes we are needing to restock our resources. 

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On 2/15/2018 at 11:32 AM, Whisper said:

I'm really interested in exploring Wicca, Shamanism and Druidry.

 

Would anyone be able to help me figure out where to start? Books, etc.?

 

Thank you.

Whisper, to get your thread back on track - I'm currently reading 'The Goddess is In The Details' by Deborah Blake. It's meant to be aimed at more experienced practitioners, but I'm finding it a very good and lively read.

 

I've also got 'Weave the Liminal'  by Lara Tempest Zakroff on my preview list, that was recommended to me.

 

I spotted 'The Green Witch' by Arin Murphy-Hiscock at the bookshop, and it looked rather nice- a very small book, and I wasn't sure if it was maybe a little bit general for my personal taste - while I'm new to the idea of following a witch's path specifically, I've been moving in and out of paganism, herbal lore and the like for quite a few years. But I'm thinking of getting it anyway as it's quite a nice hardback.

 

I'm also going to take a look at Blackthorn's Botanical Magic, though I can't vouch for it at this point.

When I was at university, a lifetime ago, one of my friends had the most wonderful herbal compendium - it was huge and had everything, all the recommendations and contraindications. I wish I could recall the name.

 

I have an account with Kobo books - it's great, as I can usually get a pretty solid chapter of any book to preview.

 

Edit: I just realized this is quite an old thread originally, and Whisper hasn't been around for a couple of months.  However a really enjoyable and helpful thread I think, lots of resources and insightful thoughts. I'm currently visiting Philip Carr-Gom's site and there's a really wonderful video about coping with the current depressing news.

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marinaoracles

I have been a (Wicca-inspired) Neo-Paganism practitioner for about 15 years... I don't consider myself Wiccan though, because I was never initiated in a coven. Also, I live in the Southern Hemisphere, so I find I have to make some adaptations in regards to how I perceive the seasons and nature around me, which do not always follow the Northern Hemisphere Pagan/Wiccan traditions.

 

But if I may add my tuppence worth, I'd like to recommend Ly de Angeles book "Witchcraft: Theory and Practice".  Ly (actually, Lore de Angeles, as she changed her name recently) is an Australian author, so maybe this is why I like it so much - I feel it contemplates the Southern Hemisphere Pagans, something that used to be very uncommon (not sure how it is nowadays tbh). But it's also a very no-nonsense book, that teaches you to think critically about what spirituality and witchcraft mean, and not merely a follow other people's ideas. It remains to this day one my favourite books on Witchcraft!

 

I know she has new books on Witchcraft, but they are unavailable in my country so I have not read them yet.

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On 9/3/2019 at 9:06 AM, ilweran said:

Even most pagans/Wiccans see themselves as apart from nature rather than a part of it - to a greater or lesser extent, obviously. I don't remember this being discussed much online back in the 90s when I was Wiccan (more generic pagan these days), the closest perhaps was discussion around the tendency for many Wiccans to buy so much stuff. Wands, athames, crystals, and so on and not making an effort to make ethical choices around those purchases.


On reflection, that's one of my big beefs with the pagan community. Not the people ITT, but A LOT of them.

If someone tells you that sage bundles or certain crystals aren't ethical, you don't have to just take their word for it. We have google, it's very easy to fact check this stuff. And once you do that and see that YES, these things actually ARE unethical, the correct reaction is to stop buying them.

A lot of pagans not only don't stop, they get very defensive, dig their heels in, and act like they're being persecuted. Oddly, these are often the same people who would never do a spell to catch a serial killer because it would violate "do no harm." But they're fine with harming Natives and the earth. 

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marinaoracles
1 hour ago, katrinka said:


On reflection, that's one of my big beefs with the pagan community. Not the people ITT, but A LOT of them.

If someone tells you that sage bundles or certain crystals aren't ethical, you don't have to just take their word for it. We have google, it's very easy to fact check this stuff. And once you do that and see that YES, these things actually ARE unethical, the correct reaction is to stop buying them.

A lot of pagans not only don't stop, they get very defensive, dig their heels in, and act like they're being persecuted. Oddly, these are often the same people who would never do a spell to catch a serial killer because it would violate "do no harm." But they're fine with harming Natives and the earth. 

 

UGH AMEN TO THAT. Capitalism has totally sunk its teeth into the Pagan/Witchy trend and it's scary. I tried Instagram to connect with others before finding this forum, and it's gagworthy witchy parade, filled with self-promotion, fake living, reciprocal cajoling and overconsumption. They buy and sell themselves all while saying that they are "daughters of the witches they didn't burn" who "are one with nature". You dig a little deeper, they are most privileged people who conviniently ignore that their "sacred feminine empowerment" feeds an industry that is damaging Earth and Her creatures. 

 

I know, I almost got caught in it. When I won a scholarship for a crystal healing course, I got right into that crystal fever. I had a lot more than I needed and they whole "culture" of the people I was surrounded by kept making me think I needed more. Same with decks, same with essential oils (another industry that is depleting some near-extinct trees). I'm not saying we should live ascetic lives, but do we need everything they tells us we need? And do we really want a Paganism entirely based on how aesthetically pleasing your Reels videos are due to accumulating lots of stuff?

 

White sage doesn't even exist in my country so why should I look for it? Isn't Paganism about connecting to nature? How about connecting to the one that surrounds you and not exploiting the one from another country because a trendy influencer always burns White Sage or Palo Santo in her videos and she looks like such a badass sacred woman while doing it?

 

A lot of "witches" need less empowerment and more critical thinking, IMHO.

 

 

...I'll step down from the soapbox, now.

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3 hours ago, marinaoracles said:

because a trendy influencer always burns White Sage or Palo Santo in her videos and she looks like such a badass sacred woman while doing it?

Social media has a lot to answer for, and not least the fake 'normal' it presents, the promotion of consumerism, where the message is "with these props your life can be like mine."

 

I generally avoid looking at any of that, but bits seep into my awareness when other people talk about influencers.

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oh definitely agree, you can buy any item now made for an altar and it might say made in china on the bottom and it's probably the cheapest plastic or made somewhere in unethical conditions. Does that really aid personal spirituality, the all new shiny insta-wiccan altar™ 🙂 ? I remember Sulis's advice to me on AT as a Wicca newbie was to find in nature my own things, don't buy anything for a personal spiritual purpose. We are such a capitalist culture that we think buying everything fulfils our needs and so it's nice to go and look or just find something that could be meaningful.

 

Someone wrote a heartfelt post about crystals/  gemstones in the forum a year or so ago about the ethicalness of some of them and to beware some of them which are mined in the most horrible slave labour of ways. We can get any magical item or crystal / gemstone from anywhere in the world online. But it does need sometimes to consider the issues about it and I am glad these days we do!

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