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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Ian Phanes' LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
3:22 pm
I am thinking about worlds, in the sense of the various layers of reality that make up the cosmos.

For years, I've used a four world model derived from Kabala, which derived from Neo-Patonism, but using the following symbolism:

  • Stellar

  • Solar

  • Lunar

  • Mundane

But I'm thinking of more layers...the list I came up with this morning was:

  • Womb (infinite space, primal darkness)

  • Stars

  • Sun

  • Moon

  • Earth

  • Underworld

  • Titanic (primal powers)

I'd like more parallel language to communicate this, and I'm not sure if that list even makes sense to anyone outside of my brain.

Friday, May 3rd, 2013
2:52 pm
Pagans in C-U
Smile Politely has completed their "Pagans in C-U" articles with a profile piece on me:

Part 2 was about Beads N Botanicals:

Part 1 was a general intro to local paganism:
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
1:07 pm
The nature of paganism
Eric Scott nailed it:

  • "At Pantheacon, I discovered that I had indeed lived a different sort of life than most people in the Pagan community; but then again, so had everyone else."

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
6:51 pm
My ritual life
ContraryWise Craft3721
Little Circle on the Plain1412
Episcopal church617
Ancient Order of Druids in America4-

I met all my goals for 2012--more ContraryWise and starting the Practicing Modern Pagan Witchcraft course.  My sabbatical from HOCC turned into the decision to let it go.

In 2013, my biggest goal is to get through a couple key transitions at work.  My spiritual priorities are to complete the Practicing Modern Pagan Witchcraft course and to get off to a good start with AODA.  I'm also hoping to go to PSG this year with friends.  ("I get by with a little help from my friends.")  Once the work transitions are done, I can consider getting active in the SCA again and making it to church more often.

The numbers above are for rituals only, not just meetings.
Thursday, December 27th, 2012
10:34 pm
Ian’s Rules for Ritual Group Membership
  1. No ritual group can meet all of the spiritual needs of the members.
  2. All relationships—including ritual groups—involve communication and compromise.
  3. If one is consistently expending more effort toward a ritual group than one is receiving benefit, it is time to consider walking away.

Lots of things, including changing from HOCC to AODA and working semi-regularly with a "pick-up band" of local Witches, are causing me to reflect what makes a ritual group work or not.

Any suggestions for additions to the list?
Monday, December 17th, 2012
1:49 pm
Eight Elemental Glyphs
A few years back, I posted about doing Eight Element Quarter Calls in my ContraryWise work: http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/85875.html

I've used glyphs from Ceremonialism for the traditional four elements for years, but didn't have glyphs for the new "elements".  With a little help from my friends, we came up with those last Friday:

Air:  Yellow circle
Fire:  Orange equilateral triangle
Water:  Blue heraldic crescent *(points up)
Earth:  Green square
Essence:  Purple circled cross
Darkness:  Black spiral
Light:  White awen (three lines descending)
Magic:  Red pentagram

edited to add:
The circle, triangle, crescent, and square are all colored in completely, while the other four are lines of color.  And I corrected the color for the Fire triangle to orange.  I typed red because that is what I used for HOCC for years, but my current color for Fire in ContaryWise work is orange, because I've moved red to Magic.
Monday, September 17th, 2012
9:50 am
A positive one-point pagan orthodoxy
I would like to propose a positive pagan orthdoxy:

"Diversity is good."

That's it.  One tenet only.  I would like this to be the primary standard by which intra-pagan ecumenicism is judged.  Let this be our ethos.
Friday, July 6th, 2012
10:48 am
Hestia's Helpful Hints
  • To remove soot from votive candle glasses, pour in a little bleach and fill with water.  Soak for 24 hours.  The soot can then be wiped out with a damp paper towel.
  • To remove candle wax from carpeting, set an iron on low.  Cover the area of the carpet with paper towel, and iron through the paper towel to melt the wax into the paper towel.  This can also be used on altar cloths, robes, etc.  Warning:  The dyes from colored wax will remain in the fibers--only the wax will be removed.
Any additions from the peanut gallery?
Friday, April 27th, 2012
7:23 pm
the history of LCoP
  • written in response to a message from someone in Blue Star trying to sort out the history
  • Edited a bit to incorporate info from Hermes in the comments.

Our coven is Little Circle on the Plain (LCoP).  We have recently begun to refer to our practice as Blue Triskele Wicca, which honors our relation to Blue Star Wicca, but also reflects our most obvious difference, that we honor three deities: the Lady, the Lord, and the Revealer.

The original Coven of the Blue Star was in Philadelphia, led by Franque and Tzip.  The first initiates with Tzip as Franque's priestess were my initiators, whose outer Craft names are Branwen and Caspian.

Franque and Tzip moved up to New York to open their shop, Tziporah and the Wizard.  They authorized Branwen and Caspian to lead the Philly folks, but they were still part of Coven of the Blue Star, coming up to New York to circle with Franque and Tzip and any folks they added up there.  At Spring Equinox 1979, the Philly folks chose to become a separate coven from the New York folks, under the leadership of Branwen and Caspian.

Branwen and Caspian led the Philly folks for about a year, then had to move for Branwen's work.  When they left Bridget and Hermes led the Philly folks, naming their circle Maidenhill.  The Maidenhill line continues to exist and has grown and changed over time, as we have.

After a couple of moves, Branwen and Caspian ended up in Central Illinois.  In early 1997, I got to know Branwen and then Caspian.  They initiated me in Feb. 1998, though I had been working in another (very non-Wiccan) style of Craft for about a decade at that point.  I introduced them to a select few other folks, and the coven started in August 1998.  Branwen died in April 2005, and a couple of years later Caspian moved to be closer to his grandkids.

I would argue that our lineage is not from the Blue Star Tradition, as there was no tradition when the Philly group separated--just the one coven that hadn't yet developed many of the characteristics of the Blue Star Tradition.  Instead, I identify our lineage as from Eddie Buczynski's American Welsh trad, which derives from NECTW.  I see LCoP, Maidenhill, and Blue Star Tradition as parallel lines--with Franque and Tzip as the initiators of all three lines--but with some real differences.
Thursday, April 5th, 2012
2:07 pm
Friday, March 23rd, 2012
3:53 pm
Blue Triskele Wicca?
I've been thinking of the style practiced by LCoP as "Blue Triskele Wicca" for a while now. 

While our lineage derives from NECTW via Eddie Buczynski's Welsh Tradition, our closest lineage kin are Blue Star Wicca.  This is because our founders, Branwen and Caspian, were the first initiates by Franque and Tzip into the Coven of the Blue Star in Philadelphia, before Franque and Tzip moved to New York and started the tradition called Blue Star Wicca.  When I met a couple who had been initiated by Blue Star initiates, we discovered that the altar arrangement hadn't changed substantially--after a quarter of century of separation.  We are still influenced by the practices that Branwen and Caspian learned from Franque and Tzip.  So, we are more like Blue Star than we are like anything else anyone will have heard of.

But we aren't Blue Star.  The core of our Book of Shadows was written by our founders after they separated from Franque and Tzip.  We don't have a degree system. We aren't interested in being a Tradition with a capital T.  If someone moves away and founds a new coven, they should change their Book of Shadows without feeling that they have to consult their upline--just as we do.  We believe that Wicca works best when it can change organically, gradually.

Perhaps most radically, our Wicca includes three deities, not two: our Lady, our Lord, and our Revealer.  The Revealer happened to us because I am third-gender.  I didn't fit right as a priestess or as a priest.  So Branwen told me that I needed to go find a third-gender deity and bring it back to the coven.  (Unlike some of the folk in the discussions about trans-inclusion in paganism, she didn't respond "you don't fit our system, so go elsewhere and celebrate your own mysteries."  Instead, she said, "you don't fit in our system, so we need to expand our system to include you fully."  Blessed be her memory.)  So, most of a decade ago, I discovered Phanes, the bi-gender deity in the Orphic Cosmogony.  I brought back to the coven a Revealer who comes from Hellenistic mysticism, is radiant, and golden-winged.  When, a couple of years ago, our coven did a sharing about our experienced of the Revealer, I discovered that most of my covenmates worship a Revealer who reflects Northwestern European traditions, is hooded, and shrouded in mists.  That's when I knew that this had become meaningful for the coven as a whole, not just "Ian's thing".  Since that discussion, most of the initiates have stood as herald of the Revealer at least once, as a conscious way of deepening their connection.  And they also challenged me to stand as priestess of the Lady and as priest of the Lord, to help me deepen my connections with them.

We aren't Blue Star, but we're close.  And our core is a triad of deities.  So, Blue Triskele Wicca.  I mentioned it to my covenmates for the first time last week, and people seemed to like it.  I have no idea if my covenmates will use it, but I think I may.

Blue Triskele Wicca...how does that sound to you folks?
  • Edited to correct spelling.
Friday, March 2nd, 2012
3:02 pm
A linguistic quibble: "to libate" can only correctly be used for liquids, as the Latin word means "to pour as an offering".
Thursday, March 1st, 2012
12:14 pm
"thingums" is an ancient Witchcraft term for ritual tools, candles, oils, herbs, offerings, jewelry, statues, altar cloths, robes, and any other material objects.

It's probably Ye Olde Celtic or Old High Gallifreyan in origin.

Monday, February 13th, 2012
3:08 pm
pentagram and pentacle origins
Someone asked about the origins of the pentacle symbol in nonwiccanwitch.  This is what I wrote:

You will find more information if you look for "pentagram" than "pentacle". If I remember correctly, John Michael Greer has a decent entry on the pentagram in his The New Encyclopedia of the Occult.

The pentagram (not necessarily encircled) entered the Western esoteric tradition through the Ancient Greek Pythagoreans, who associated it with health. Since then, it has primarily been associated with magic--primarily power and protection. During the Christian centuries, it was generally perceived as a Christian symbol (as you just discovered) because that was their context. It was *never* associated with pagan religion until the latter part of the 20th century, and then only because British Traditional Wicca--and then other forms of Modern Pagan Witchcraft--took it from Ceremonial Magic.

Pentacle, on the other hand, derived from a French phrase for "hung from the neck" and was used for *any* pendant containing a sigil or similar design in ritual magic evocations. The Golden Dawn extended the use to refer to one of their elemental tools: a disc displaying a hexagram against a background divided in quarters, each quarter in the color of one of the four elements in the sphere of Malkuth. (They used the alternate term "lamen" to describe ritual pendants.)

The use of "pentacle" for a pendant or altar object prominently displaying a pentagram (almost always encircled) appears to have arisen within Modern Pagan Witchcraft in the latter part of the 20th century. As far as I can tell, it was a conflation of 1) the ritual use of pentagrams inscribed in the air at the quarters in British Traditional Wicca; 2) the mention of "pentacles" for objects inscribed with sigils in the Gardnerian First Degree Initiation Ritual; and 3) the use of "pentacles" as a title in the Rider-Waite Tarot for the suit of discs or coins, showing discs displaying an encircled pentagram. I am unclear if this conflation began in BTW and migrate outward, or began in Wiccan-derived Craft and was later used in BTW.

It is my strongly held opinion that, as the pentagram was historically associated with magic rather than pagan religion, the pentacle symbol should only be used as a religious symbol within Modern Pagan Witchcraft.  Other pagans are strongly encouraged to use a symbol relevant to *your* paganism.  (E.g.: a triskell or triquetra for Celtic pagans or a Thor's hammer for heathens.)
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
1:07 pm
calculating sabbat dates
In nonwiccanpagans, ravensong asked questions about the sabbats:

I have a few questions which are probably the most stupidest and obvious questions of ever, but bear with me please!

Every time a sabbat rolls around I get confused on the date. It's because I know the Celts viewed the day as beginning at sundown (so, for example, Friday will begin at sundown tonight), and I'm wondering if that's how the calendars list them? Let me put it this way. Say the Calendar says Jun 21st is the Summer Solstice. Does that mean it begins on Jun 21st and then goes through the 22nd? Or is it just Jun 21st by itself?

The other question is, is Imbolc celebrated on Feb 1 or 2? I've seen them both listed so many times, but I'm wondering specifically when the Celts celebrated as I'm wanting to keep my path as Celtic as possible, though I'm not a Celtic Reconstructionist :P

I replied:

These are not stupid questions, and they are most certainly not obvious, as there is no certain answer to them.

The ancient Celts did not use the Gregorian calendar. In fact, the ancient Celts did not all use the same calendar. One calendar we do have in the archaeological record is the Coligny calendar:

It is a lunisolar calendar. Partially inspired by that information, I created my own lunisolar calendar for modern paganism:

OK, more specifically:

Solstice: The Celts didn't celebrate the solstice, in anything I've seen. So you need to decide what calendaring rules you wish to use. You said that you define your day as sunset to sunset. So you look up the exact time of the solstice or equinox for that year. This year, Sol entered Capricorn at 0530 GMT on Thur. 22 Dec. That's 2330 CT on Wed. 21 Dec. for me. Using those rules and my location, the Winter Solstice started at sunset on Wed. 21 Dec and ends at sunset on Thur. 22 Dec.

Imbolc: Again, the ancient Celts didn't use the Gregorian calendar, so what we are working with are two Christian feasts that were later associated with the mentions of the ancient feast of Imbolc. Part of the confusion is that there are two critical and related feasts at the beginning of February in Irish Catholicism: The Feast of St. Brigid on 1 Feb; and Candlemas, or the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, on 2 Feb. These feasts are interrelated in the Irish consciousness in that 1 Feb honors St. Brigid, Mary of the Gael, while 2 Feb. honors St. Mary, Mother of God. (In some legends, Brigid is even declared to have been Mary's midwife at the birth of Jesus.) Given that the other three cross-quarter days are all observed on the first day of the month--beginning on the eve before--I would suggest starting Imbolc at sunset on 31 Jan. and ending at sunset on 1 Feb.
Friday, November 18th, 2011
3:46 pm
wandering many paths
I keep seeing posts from various people who are trying to find the right path (singular) for them, the (single) label that encompass their souls.  And I always want to ask, "Why?"  Why do you want to limit yourself that way?

Can you name any significant figure in modern paganism who walked only one path?

I suspect that polyreligiosity is the default for devout pagans.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
10:08 am
ethics, via quotes
I've often found that certain popular culture quotes express my ethics succinctly.

Glinda the Good:  Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?
Tira (Mae West):  When I'm good, I'm very good. But, when I'm bad...I'm better.

The Doctor:  Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
7:07 pm
stepping onto the path
My usual advice on finding a religious or magical path is:
  • Start by reading broadly.
  • If possible, meet real life practitioners, and participate in open rituals if they are available to you.
  • After a bit, pick something to *do*.  Some discipline. It can be a whole tradition or just a simple practice or anywhere in between.  The point is committing to doing something.  Don't worry about whether or not it's the right path for you for life.  Just choose it for now.
  • Stick with it for a year.  That will probably be very hard at points.  Feel free to adjust the discipline during that year, but don't stop it.

By the end of year of *any* discipline, you will know a great deal more about yourself, and about what you're really looking for.  And it's amazing how often--if the discipline wasn't the right path for you--opportunities will crop up to show you where you should be heading.
Monday, October 31st, 2011
4:04 pm
my list of the Mighty Dead
That which is remembered, lives…

  • Iolo Morganwg (1747-1826)

  • Dion Fortune  (1890-1946)

  • Gerald Gardner  (1884-1964)

  • Robert Cochrane  (1931-1966)

  • Robert Graves (1895-1985)

  • Gwen Thompson (1928-1986)

  • Juliet Ashley (1908-1988)

  • Eddie Buczynski (1947-1989)

  • Melita Denning  (1917-1997)

  • Doreen Valiente  (1922-1999)

  • Stewart Farrar  (1916-2000)

  • Victor Anderson  (1917-2001)

  • Ellen Cannon Reed  (1943-2003)

  • Evan John Jones  (1936-2003)

  • Sjanna Johnston info (1949-2005)

  • Cora Anderson  (1915-2008)

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
10:54 am
the point of divination
The core question of divination is not:
  • What will happen to me?

The core question is:
  • What should I do in this situation?
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