Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Moment Of Clarity!

Religion is for those people who do not wish to go to hell. Spirituality is for those of us who have already been there.

Thanks to Robin E. Kingsley

Friday, 12 November 2010

"Pagans On the march"... to find the truth under Ignorance!

Hey all

I must say I'm a bit perplexed this morning, after a friend rang my up to tell me that the daily mail were at it again with their anti - pagan articles. (Link to the offending article to follow)

Now after the last outrage with the Melanie Phillips article it seems that the daily mail have made a few changes to the way they run things, like actually doing research for their articles,  although after reading through it i can see at least 3 different articles that have previously been written which seems to have been cut and pasted into it to make it seem more well researched...


so if you've read it before continuing along mine, i will go through it point by point...

  • At the same time, it emerged that the Metropolitan Police has produced a diversity handbook offering advice on handling witches and pagans. Officers are advised not to panic if they encounter a blindfolded person in the nude with their hands tied together. The book reassures them: ‘This is in accordance with ritual and has the full consent of the participant.’
This is a good a valid point,  if the police are being told about this then more the power to them,  they are making themselves aware of a particular belief system as to not cause offence... something that they will have done with muslims, sikh's and most other religions that are common in our multicutural society today.  There is nothing in this comment that is particularly unusual to pagans (Besides the details of the ritual as most faiths differ) 
  • Jailed druids are now allowed to take twigs, or ‘magic wands’, into their prison cells, and are being given official days off prison work to worship the sun.

Now are you telling me that jailed Christian's are not alowed Christmas day off work? Or Muslims being fed after the sun has gone down during Ramadan? Cause it amounts to the same thing? I'm sure Sikh prisoners are still allowed to wear their Turban 24/7 of which one it its symbolism in respect and love to their god as well as a few practical reasons.  Lets put this into perspective shall we? A spiritual or religious prisoner is allowed to show their praise/respect/love/devotion to their chosen deity/belief.  That is basically what this reporter is stating... yes... very outrageous! How dare they?!?! (yes that was sarcasm)

  • Mike Judge, spokesman for the Christian Institute, says: ‘The BBC down-plays Christianity and up-plays paganism which is unreflective of British society. It creates an atmosphere where it’s OK to marginalise Christians.’ He adds: ‘When it comes to granting pagans rights, this is surely a case of political correctness gone mad. 

 How is this unreflective to British society? As a Christian society we celebrate Christmas and Easter along with other Christian communities around the world also celebrating saints days and halloween (all saints day/ day of the dead) (Christmas being placed near the Pagan celebration of Yule which is the rebirth of the sun in the darkest part of the year. Sound familiar? & Easter being another Pagan festival celebrating new life coming to the winter-dead lands around us, Which the Christians plonked the crucifiction on,  and correct me if I'm wrong but last time I checked, there wasn't a great big Rabbit/Hare giving out chocolate eggs somewhere in the middle east 2000 years ago... more Pagan symbolism which has been intergrated into Christian soceity to apease the Romans when their armies were half newly Christian converts, and die hard Pagans!

How is looking to our national heritage and trying to get back to our historical roots not reflecting British society? Gods only know!

  • ‘What have pagans ever done? ­Historically, they produce unstable, violent societies — is that what we want?’
The only evidence there is of human sacrifice in British/Druid history is one sentence written by Julius Caesar in one of his journals. So going by this comment the romans weren't at all brutal and violent after their convert to Christianity at all... (sorry sarcasm again)
  • Some might be concerned that small children were in attendance at the Samhain ceremony — the footage showed a young girl clutching a teddy — but Ronald Hutton, professor of history at the University of Bristol and the acknowledged UK expert on paganism, witchery and druids, says that witchcraft is benign, adding: ‘Unless you believe in evil spirits, which I don’t.’

 firstly with this point... last time i checked children went to church or sunday school which amounts to the same thing, Paganism is a family religion which is very interactive,  why shouldn't pagan parents include their children in such celebrations?  Samhain is about remembering the dead and about the transition into the darker half of the year.  Once again am I correct in asuming that you are telling me that we are not alowed to remember our dead?  So no flowers on the grave? No photos around the house of loved ones long gone?  I see of no reason why this celebration (or any other) should "not be for children"  But one thing is nice to see and that is that this reporter has either read an article where UK Expert Prof Ronald Hutton has been quoted or has written it down from a television programe, Kudos to her! She's at least tried to show support for the opposition. (more than can be said of Mel P)
  • There are thought to be about 500 pagan police officers. A Pagan Police Association has even been set up to represent those who ‘worship nature and believe in many gods’. To the consternation of many, they have been given the right to take days off to perform rituals, such as leaving food out for the dead, dressing up as ghosts and casting spells, or celebrating the sun god with what news reports have described as ‘unabashed sexuality and promiscuity’.
I've read this comment in about four different articles since Richard LittleJohn wrote it in 2009 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1200220/Wheres-PC-Pagan-Hes-Summer-Solstice-Sarge-.html)
 And then again in Mel P's Snot rag earlier this year (http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=769)
It is a misconception that Pagan police get "Extra" days off to celebrate the 8 festivals in the year,  that actually don't get ahy extra time,  they might just spend it differently,  instead of taking Christmas day off they'd take off a day less that a week before.  The Pagan police are not getting anything extra for now being called Pagan apart from the ability to say that they are Pagan and theres certainly no extra cash coming out of Mr UnME Taxpayers pocket to pay for it! So why is this so outrageous? its no more outragous that not eating before nightfall for Ramadan or having a couple of days off to celebrate Christs demise on a cross. 
and as for unabashed sexuality and promiscuity... well I'm certainly not getting any! so where are these people going that I'm not?!? addresses on a postcard ;)
  • Ian Haworth from the Cult Information Centre is more outspoken, however. He says: ‘Paganism does fit under the umbrella of the occult, and that brings concerns. ‘Many cults use the occult to brainwash people.  ‘There are several pagan groups we are concerned by in Britain, they are operating as cults. Paganism is not necessarily harmless.’

Regarding Paganism and Cults there is a scale that is essential in determining a religion as a cult and this is the Bonewitz Cult Danger Scale. (http://www.unc.edu/~reddeer/tenets/00_bonewits.scale.html)
This is a scale which measures the "Cult-ism" of a group and I believe is used by the FBI and other big official bodies (just hearsay, but quite strongly believable hearsay)

 Now here is a little experiment,  compare your group that you are a part of to this scale,  and then compare any big religion to it,  i have christianity in mind but you choose which ever one you want.  please comment with your results... it'll be interesting to see!

  • Those living near ancient sites no longer believe paganism is harmless, however. They complain of pagans ransacking sites for souvenirs, scrawling graffiti on ancient stones, and leaving clothing, beer cans and wiccan effigies littered behind them. One critic, from Wiltshire, says of pagan activity at nearby Avebury, Silbury Hill and Stonehenge: ‘These people are entitled to their beliefs and pursuits, they are entitled to dress like Sixties hippy ­throwbacks, and make a lot of noise with drums. 'All I ask is that when they go they take with them their rubbish, tat, paraphernalia and imposed beliefs and leave our ancient sites tidy and tranquil once more.

For this particular Paragraph I have no excuses or explinations for.  I have heard that during the summer Solstice that alot of non-Pagan people go there for a rave,  and whether that contributes to it, I have no doubt,  but there are litter bugs and people wanting to make their mark in any religion,  I've been to churches where the same has been done, where its seeing "Bob woz ere 98" or whatever, but the whole concept of religion is the idea of permanance the idea that there is something bigger than ourselves that will be here to remember us even when we are gone, whether that be a father like figure sitting up in the clouds or whether is the whisper of the wind in the trees.  There are also people that say that they are of a particular religion or belife that actually do it as a status thing that have no interest or knowledge of the reasons behind things.  

Well i've gone throught the article and I've picked off all the skin, and I'm hopefully  leaving anyone reading this article alittle bit better informed that before. 

Quick note before I depart:  always take anything you read in papers (I can name one in particular) or on the internet with a pinch of salt and if you're interested in it, always follow it up with research.  There is nothing worse than listening to an ignorant person spouting off on a topic they know nothing about!

Ciao for now!


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Witchfest gone but not forgotten - for another year...

Hey guys

I probably saw you at WITCHFEST INTERNATIONAL and if not WHY NOT!?! lol this year there seemed a real buzz about. A real (almost festive) atmosphere.  It was nice and busy too.  There were alot of stalls there that I don't remember being there before, eg: High Spirit Therapies and Egyptian Chamber along with some old faces eg The Witches Cottage & Stagman Creations.

From what I've heard the talks went off without a hitch but the most wonderful thing about WF INT this year was..... THE SPIRIT OF ALBION!

 If you've not heard of it before except as a Damh the Bard song then stay a little longer and i will enlighten you!

The Spirit Of Albion play (originally performed as a three night special at the Archway theatre in Horley)
The Archway Theatre Young Adults Workshop present their most ambitious production to date: THE SPIRIT OF ALBION.

This is a devised piece based around belief, identity and British Folklore featuring 10 songs by the internationally renowned Pagan Folk artist, Damh the Bard.

Esther, Annie and George are 3 young people whose lives have reached a crisis point. On the night of 31st October, all three find themselves drawn to a clearing in the woods. Secrets are revealed and nothing will ever be the same again as an ancient power emerges from the shadows…

Originally a cast of 15 talented young people, for witchfest it was swapped around so that the parts were age appropriate. After seeing the original it was a shame that I was unable to see the witchfest performance but there have been rave review for this not to be missed play.

To see this play you MUST buy tickets to the Artemis gathering next summer (2011) at the moment there have been no other events announced but there maybe in the future so watch this space! 

However Gary Andrews - the director and co creator of this wonderful play is currently working on the movie,  filming i believe starts next year and I predict will be massive amongst the pagan comunity!

So back to witchfest... Some of the new faces that came witchfest in my opinion seemed to reinvigorate the market making it a more interesting and tactile experience. previous years when i have been it always seemed to be similar stuff on each stall but this year the organisers have reached new people and brought new stuff in!  I was brilliant to see so many individual and awesome market stalls in one place.  High spirit therapies was one of note... the owners, Jo & Aaron worked their socks off creating all their wonderful handmade 100% natural products including body lotions, bath bomb and lip balms.  (the lip balms which i can personally recomend!!!) And there on the day Jo (A trained and quilified massage therapist) was worked to the bone by tired, stressed and shopped-out punters.  But when offering such wonderful massages at a mere £5 for around 7 minutes it was definatly worth the money! Whilst around the corner you had Egyptian Chambers being rushed off their feet with people trying their exotic range of multi-purpose oils.  Believe me, as we were situated right next to them, all I could smell was these rich and vibrate aromas wafting past and person upon person walked past with tester patches on their skin... it was wonderful... i even bought some myself! Lotus Flower for your information! btw before I forget the contact details of both companies just mentioned



 Hope you enjoy!

 As for Us here at Dreamstone it was a good day,  lots of people came to our stall and i think we're slowly getting our name out around Croydon and hopefully all over as we do do web orders.  I do know that as soon as the spirit of albion comes out on dvd we'll be one of the people selling copies!

Well thats all from me for now,  But before I go, I'm trying out this new thing called twitterdeck which a friend suggested and i must admit its great but confusing lol so bear with me :) 


Gemz at dreamstone


 To find out more about Damh & the Spirit of albion production team, visit their websites.
The Archway Theatre is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Quotes from the audience:

  • "The opening night of Spirit of Albion was amazing. What an honour to have been there. They should take it on the road..." (Damh the Bard)

  • "The Spirit of Albion was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING... Incredibly well done, and brilliant to see young people perform it (and they wrote it). They handled Damh's songs with care, and the whole performance seemed to me to show they got 'it'. Oh, and if you do go (which you must) don't forget your tissues. Well done everyone involved, brilliant."

  • "What a fantastic group of youngsters we have at the Archway. First Olivia and now The Spirit of Albion. Well done all of you tonight - first performance was super."

  • " The spirit of Albion was epic awesomeness!!! Everyone was amazing and the atmosphere was great!"

  • " 'Spirit of Albion' was absolutely smashing! I walked into the Archway theatre with excited anticipation and left with a buzzing happiness. The enthusiasm the young actors put into their performances was inspiring and the creativity of the production was a perfect icing to the enjoyable cake that is Damh's music and songs. Each actor and crewman played their roles with expert precision and really brought that forest grove to life. From the leafy set dressing and ambient lighting, to the beautiful costumes and musical instruments, everything blended together to weave a wonderful story that enthralled the audience and certainly made this pagan's heart swell. Gary said that this production marks the end of this line up of actors/crew before they head to other projects or University studies. I wish you each the very best in your endeavours… such talent will certainly spell success! Thank you Gary, thank you Damh and most of all, a huge thank you to the cast and crew!"

  • "Just wanted to say well done to all of you for the show the other night. (I) really enjoyed it and the enthusiasm shone through and belief, which is so lacking in other drama pieces."

  • "Really enjoyed Albion...actually made this old cynic slightly less jaundiced re pagans - but do not expect to see me dancing with wild abandon in a woodland glade quite yet....."