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Youth Speaks

This time around we asked a few teens to talk about their meaning of a spiritual experience: What is your idea of a spiritual experience? Can you tell us about one you've had?

"My idea of a spiritual experience is kinda like a meeting with Divinity where you can forget all the boring/stressful/ irritating mundane stuff.
And no, I don't think I've had a spiritual experience yet... except maybe when I first met my spirit animals, and sometimes when I pray to Brigid and I think she's answering." --Jade F~S, 12

"A spiritual experience can be anything from a feeling you get while listening to music, to a dream, to an almost supernatural occurance. I haven't had many major spiritual experiences, but there's one that sticks out in my mind. It was after doing a full moon ritual and I had just finished a spell that required me to pour out the water I'd used onto the ground outside. I went to pour it out and look at the moon. The thing is, I couldn't find the moon. It just wasn't there, and it never occured to me that it could have been cloudy, it felt as though the moon had disappeared. Anyway, I gave up looking for it and went inside to have a glass of milk, which is what I do after moon rituals. But instead of milk, I reached for the water we keep in the fridge. That water was the best tasting I've ever had, it was almost creamy, and while I was drinking it I had the distinct impression that I was drinking the moon. I didn't know what to make of it, but I spoke with someone later and she said I had probably Drawn Down the Moon, like you hear of in some books. I still remember that experience in the utmost detail, and all my feelings at the time. It's one of those things where you feel like you're in a dream. That, I think, was definitely a spiritual experience." --Anna, 18

"My definition of a spiritual experience is a time when a person feels closest to their view of God, it might be when a Witch casts a circle and feels the power for the first time, or when a Christian takes communion. Any time that a person feels that their God has touched them in a way. An experience I had recently is this: for the last two years I have searched long and hard to find a Patron Goddess, I went through alot of major goddesses from Aphrodite to Isis and all in between. I would change my mind and feel that that was not right, at those times the name "Nimue" came to mind. Last week I finally decided to give her a try. Boy! Was I glad I did that. The day after I chose her it rained for three days straight (Nimue is a goddess of Water) Then while I was cleaning my desk I happened upon my Tarot cards. I picked them up and looked at the bottom card which to my surprise was a card "Seeker of Water" (shapeshifter tarot) I looked in the book and saw what Goddess they had linked to that card, guess who it was.

Nimue. Then I had this wonderful feeling come over me like a warm hug and a female voice whispered in my ear, "Thank you". That was a spiritual moment." --Dante, 17

Witchcraft/Paganism Today Part III

Festivals Then and Now

by Morgana Firewings

Seasonal celebrations were an important part of cultures of the past. Those celebrations are the origins of many of today's holidays and festivals. Here we will look at what differences (if any) there are in how Neo-Pagans today celebrate compared to past Pagans.

In the past, people began celebrating festivals at regular intervals during the year. This was because they took notice of what was going on in Nature around them. For example, the Celts celebrated Lughnasadh, a corn festival named for Lugh the Corn King, when it was time to harvest the corn each year. Celebrating the changing seasons was a common thing in past times because of the closeness people shared with Nature.

We now live in a world of crowded cities, the internet, and busy lives. Today, Pagans have tried to re-create the festivals observed by Ancient Pagans. Again, for example: Lughnasadh is still celebrated as a corn festival in honor of the Corn King. People bake cornbread and other foods with corn as a main ingredient. The biggest difference is that most Pagans now do not actually harvest the crops as our ancestors did. So where Pagans in the past formed rituals out of normal occurances in their lives, today's Pagans are simply trying to re-create what they had according to traditions and myths.

Another difference between then and now is that the festivals are more diversified. Instead of one ethnic group celebrating, many different ethnic groups celebrate these same festivals. Sabbats, as they are now called, are even observed by solitary practitioners. This allows for a wider variety of interpretations and celebrations of the sabbats. So Pagans today may have more than 1 or 2 ways to observe the holidays.

Still another difference is that the Pagan way of celebrating seasonal festivals isn't as commonplace in the world as it was in the past. Now we have muddled remnants of festivals (such as Christmas, Easter, and Halloween,etc.) replacing what were once Pagan holidays. Observances of original past customs are now being re-created by modern Pagans in the same Nature-based faith of the past.

Pagans now, are remembering the Old Ways with the tools and circumstances of today. We can only guess at what the future holds in store for the festivals of the year.