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Pagan Summer Camp (intro/week one)

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
Welcome to the 2010 Pagan Summer Camp!

These summer camp threads started when members of the MDC pagan circle realized that they were missing out on the summer camp fun! The summer seems to be filled with camps where individuals explore religious/spiritual topics through crafting and contests and community... so why not a pagan summer camp?

If you're curious about past camps, please check out 2007 and 2008, and 2009. In general, Pagan Summer Camp threads are hosted on a different topic each year and focus on a different portion of that topic each week... you do have to supply your own canoe, s'mores, and sleeping bag but hopefully you'll enjoy the camp community even without the group campfire sing.

Soooo... what is the topic for Pagan Summer Camp 2010? drumroll please....


We all want to save the world, have a beautiful organized home, raise a healthy & happy family, enjoy a holistic lifestyle, eat only wholesome local organic happy food, balance work and school and home with ease, have a supportive social life, a passionate love life, be at the perfect weight, live a deeply spiritual and ethical life, and do it all on a budget while saving for emergencies.

But...well... it's possible that most of us don't have this life.

We look around at the pollution attacking the earth and the sea and the sky, we stand on a scale or wait for another job interview or dread the mailbox or step on the tenth lego in as many minutes, and we throw our hands up in despair. (Or in my case, I throw my hands up in despair and then look for ice cream) The hurdles just seem too high, it's too hard, it wont happen.

In the past month though, the universe has been pounding on my door and shouting "baby steps! just do it!" through the window. Every little thing counts. Every step, every thought, every hope, every dream! Start small... start smaller than small! It adds up. A woven cloth is just one thread...after another thread...after another thread. Any single thread is small enough to vanish into the rug without a trace (until found and swallowed by the baby of course) but when you keep laying them, one next to the other, almost before you know it the fabric is flowing off the loom...

The trick is to start small, feel successful, and keep going! Make it a habit. Don't worry about oil in the gulf... just go outside, right now, and say THANK YOU (out loud! your neighbors and co-workers probably think you're a bit odd anyway ) to the sky above you and the earth beneath you. And then look around... is there a piece of litter you could pick up RIGHT NOW? Could you fetch a cup of water to pour on a dried out plant RIGHT NOW? Is there a person driving you to distraction that you could smile at RIGHT NOW? Could you jot a quick haiku or smily face on your hand with a pen RIGHT NOW to bring a breath of beauty and inspiration or at least silliness to your day? And about the gulf... did you know your local, state, and federal representatives all have websites with "contact me" forms? It takes less than 5 minutes to fill that out and send it off, voicing your concern and your trust that they will speak for you on this issue. You just have to do it. Now. You're on the computer already!

Just do it. Do it now.

The goal of Pagan Summer Camp 2010 is to offer tips, tricks, ideas, crafts, songs, poems, promises, support (and possibly chocolate and posh coffee drinks) to help us all build daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal habits of ACTIVE INVOLVED ENGAGED PRACTICAL hope and health rooted in our Pagan spirituality. Pagans dream with the earth, the sea, the sky. Pagans walk with spirits great and small. But we need to turn those dreams into realities one moment at a time, and turn that walk into a physical act. We need to DO IT NOW! And, of course, we need to have fun doing it! So welcome to Camp!
post #2 of 89
Thread Starter 

Grab your backpacks, tie your shoes, make sure to pack a snack... this week we explore Personal Practice. How (and why and when and with what) to build a daily devotional from a pagan perspective. I have a ton of ideas, book suggestions, crafts, and tips to share and I can't wait to hear yours too...

Let's DO IT NOW! (or rather, I'll be back after "doing mommy things now" so talk amongst yourselves! )
post #3 of 89

And now I have a little goddess-girl wanting to paint NOW! So my first Do-It-Now project is to set up the paint area.

I'll be back though...
post #4 of 89
subbing. thanks for doing this everyone.

i recently started envisioning the positive i want to develop in my life. every day i envision the way i want my life to go, i also envision positive for others who are in need of it. this isnt neccisarily material possesions, i may want that new juicer, but do i NEED it. this is to bring a greater good into my life and my sons life. i concentrate on the psoitive, releasing the negitive.
post #5 of 89
subbing! Yay for camp! I feel all shiny and new and ready to get my hands dirty!

Personal Practice - bless this idea and theme as I struggle in trying to weave elements of faith through out my house to remind me, along with what do I need for rituals and what can make do in a pinch (like my little clay bathtub miniature I use for a cauldron )

This is so well timed as I still have a small list of devotional items for my deities to gather but I feel like I'm at the middle of a storm of having a lot of to-do items and not a clear way to start..
post #6 of 89
post #7 of 89

So excited for this years camp!
post #8 of 89
Good afternoon campers

I'm excited to be here. I think I'd like to work on a daily maintenance and checking in/spending a few moments with my alter space each morning. For example, I have a fountain on mine that needs water added regularly. The next full moon I'll set out water to be charged and keep it in a pretty vessel. In the morning I'll add some with my daily intention? just thinking out loud here. To keep to the Do It Now part of things, I think I'll start it today with reg. water until I can have moon water (I have to add the water anyway). Just thinking small steps here.

Thanks so much for starting camp, Clay!
post #9 of 89
I'm here, I'm here *waving hand while holding it WAY UP with my other hand*

Originally Posted by ian'smommaya View Post
i recently started envisioning the positive i want to develop in my life. every day i envision the way i want my life to go, i also envision positive for others who are in need of it.
i concentrate on the psoitive, releasing the negitive.
This. Yes.

Right now I'm on a train in Massachussetts, but I'm leaning my head on the window and soaking up blessings from the Sun. This is what I can do RIGHT NOW. Along with thinking very happy thoughts and sending positive energy to M

I like to capture tiny zen moments while I can. Even if it's on the toilet I learned to do this while ds was small. Being a single mama (or a SAHM home with kids, even if you have a partner) means a LOT of "be here now" and I learned that early on with a small one who had severe colic. It's hard enough being a new mom, let alone a single mom of a very, very colicky baby. I learned "be here now" in a big way, and yay for me, kept the lesson
post #10 of 89
subbing, be back soon!
post #11 of 89
Thread Starter 
Heyla Happy Campers!

So, daily practice. What does it mean to you?

For me, the ideal daily practice would be broken down into smaller moments that would provide a sort of "spiritual stepping stone" path through the day. A way to quickly and easily center myself, a way to re-focus and return to my self.

But that's a fairly big order, and hard to "Do Now".

So what options are there? I thought we could discuss "Morning Rituals" today... things that can be done each and every morning, things that take just a moment or two, things that can be done while sitting on the toilet/standing in the shower/washing the dishes/driving to work.

In my life, mornings are a bit "busy". But I keep a book of daily devotion ideas next to the computer. I grab a cup of coffee, get the kiddos settled with their breakfast, start nursing Tor and then crack open the book while logging in to check my email. Sometimes it's a book of quotes, or poems. Sometimes an actual "pagan devotional" style book. It doesn't really matter what the book is as long as I open it with intent. I bet everyone has a book of quotations, or poems, or illustrations, or short "one page" meditations sitting on the shelf somewhere... how about, right now, you stand up and get that book. Open it at random and see what the message is. Right now!

So I just did it too...

The book I grabbed was Crouching Father, Hidden Toddler by CW Nevius. It's one of DH's "quick thought" books. And the random page?

"The Great Leap - or Slide"
Going down the slide is a concept, not an event. It embraces the complex push-pull of parenting. We are delighted when the future Olypmic gold medalist tries something new and adventurous, but there's a side of us that sees nothing but pointy corners, slippery floors, and potholes in footpaths. You have to let that go."

The half page goes on to explore this push-pull... obviously the article wasn't written with the intent of providing a "pagan start to the day" but it certainly works. As I plan my trip to the grocery store (with the three munchkins in tow), as I face the terrifying prospect of driving to get us to that store (I have a phobia related to driving that makes daily life tough), as I remember to "Do It Now"... I can also focus on the push-pull of the possibly dangerous/scary road to growth vs the possibly stiffling/boring road to stagnation.

I think maybe that's the message behind "Do It Now"... growing and evolving can be scary, and you may fall off the slide. It's easier to stay on the ground and just think about going down the slide, or avoid the playground altogether bescause then you don't have to worry about it. But then, what's the point?

So... what did the book you find say? What was the title, what was the message ( keeping in mind copyright law that limits us to ~100 words from the original source ), how does it fit into "Do It Now"?

And what do you think... is this sort of "quick message in the morning" something you could do every day? Could this be a part of the daily practice? What if you write down the key phrase or a few words from the page and stick them in your wallet, or on your hand, or in your pocket so that when you see them during the day you're reminded of the quote? Would that help center you back into that moment of meditation? Would it help?

What do you think?
post #12 of 89
Thread Starter 
And in case you want some "official camp supplies"

Pagan devotionals/meditation guides (from a Celtic spirituality perspective). Both are by Caitlin Matthews...

The Celtic Spirit; Daily Meditations for the Turning Year
1999 Harper Collins

This one is a daily meditation guide with a pretty "down and dirty" format. Each day has a quote or line of poetry, followed by a short paragraph that discusses some element from that quote, followed by a "to do" or "to consider" idea for the day. The amazon page has a "look inside the book" option that will show you a few sample pages. For me this book has been the perfect fit for the few minutes I have to myself in the bathroom each morning and gives me an ongoing theme or thought to come back to during the day.

Today (July 6th) is "The Familiar Road", the quote is "Many a one inquires about the road he knows well" (a scottish proverb), and the eventual question for the day is "Where are you swimming upstream in your life?"

Celtic Devotional; Daily Prayers and Blessings
1996 Godsfield Press, Harmony Books (Random House)

I really enjoyed this book and followed the daily practice outlined in it for about three years. I hope to return to it someday but for now it just takes up too much time! The book is divided into the four seasons (and an extra section of general activities) and each season is presented with activities to mark the beginning and end of the season, specific meditational and devotional activites that focus on the lunar and solar phases of that season (different for each day and night), and a set of morning and evening rituals/devotions/meditations that are repeated over the course of each week during that season.

The morning devotion is divided into an "invitation" to awaken the spirit, a silent meditation on a theme, the solar meditation presented in a sort of internal question/answer manner, a "prayer", and a blessing for the day. The format for the evening devotion is to light a candle, hen a meditation of self-cleansing and reflection on the day, the lunar devotion or meditation again in a sort of question/answer format, a "prayer", a blessing on the soul to encourage peace after the day's efforts, and a thought to focus on as you fall asleep.

Amazon offers a look in the book feature for this one too... if anyone does start using it I'd love to hear about it! I really found it a great tool for focusing and staying centered. However, it requires a time committment that goes beyond what I can "do now" so it's not going to be coming off the shelf for a while!

Essene Book of Meditations and Blessings
Danaan Parry
Sunstone Publications 1991

A small book, divided by season and then by day of the week. Each season has a week's worth of morning and evening meditations that repeat throughout the season. In that sense it's similar to the previous daily devotional book. However, the individual devotions are very short and can be done on the run so it's a better "do it now" option for me... this is actually the book I use most mornings.

Today's seasonal focus is "The Tree bends with ripened fruit", the angel of the morning is "Joy", and the morning poem focuses on "joy as a natural state of being". The evening angel is "Power" and the night blessing is focused on "as the tree shares it's gift of fruit, so I share the gifts of my self".
post #13 of 89
I don't have a book like that so I grabbed my Healing with the Fairies Oracle Cards and drew one card:

Letting Go

The phrase in the little booklet that is catching my attention is this one: By drawing this card, you are being asked to stop the human struggle.

And the affirmation: I am willing to surrender this situation to my Creator right now. When I let go, everything turns out perfectly.

So, stop over-thingking, trust and DO. Stop worrying if it's enough this or that... Start doing and results will follow...

Me think this fit perfectly with the camp theme.
post #14 of 89
I don't have much of a daily practice right now, but I should. Valerie, that phrase means a lot to me, and it is definitely something I need to work on. what a great affirmation for today!

I did light a candle for my household goddess, Abundantia, and said a little prayer.
post #15 of 89
I've been toying around with a "daily devotional" for weeks now... Do It Now! Ok, so tomorrow I will start doing some thing in the morning. My goal is to be able to step outside for a few minutes to "embrace the day." The beginning is getting up those few minutes earlier.
post #16 of 89
Subbing - yikes, I'm late!

I thought I'd subbed already, but I guess it didn't take. Will catch up and think on't and post soon.
post #17 of 89
Joining in! I so, so need this right now!

I love the devotional book idea. I have some things in my household binder like you described, but it gets buried and I forget about it. I used to have a nice journal filled with inspirational pictures, poems and quotes.

I opened a poem from the carmina gadelica-peace. I'm trying to find it online to share...
post #18 of 89
Daily Devotionals!

When I first read this I was like ... hmm what book will I pull from my shelf when I get home. And then it struck me I did one this morning - just by looking at my TM. 2 things caught my eye:

On my TM I have a picture of 2 hands - open palms up, with a phrase on it:
"Today I will work on being better to myself and remember to smile more"

A little bit from it is a mantra for loving compassion:
Om Mani Padme Hum
Here's a link to the audio I just found (trying to find the mantra)

I would totally listen to that mantra in the shower - how peaceful to wake up to in the morning and start the day.
post #19 of 89
I have Everyday Positive Thinking by Louise Hay. Opened to a couple of different pages and the theme seems to be "love being you."

Also pulled some Goddess Oracle Cards for DBF and myself. For me it was about independence and fertility *sigh* Probably because I really want a child.
post #20 of 89
Thread Starter 
Morning Cards!

Morning cards are a great devotional practice, and a fast "Do It Now" option! I have a deck of "rune cards" that live on my altar. Many mornings I'll pull a card for the day followed by a card for each member of the family. If something imprtant is happening that day I might pull a card just for that. This isn't a fancy reading, no elaborate layout required. Just a quick "flip the card over" thing.

I then leave the cards on my altar so I can see them as I go up/down the stairs during the day. In grad school I used to carry the day's card with me in my wallet.

This sort of "Do It Now" divination is a perfect example of a daily practice building block. Perhaps layer the divination onto the devotional text? Turn over a card or draw a rune from a deck/pouch on your dresser as you get dressed, then read a passage as you sit on the toilet or brush your teeth or fill your coffee/tea mug?

I really love my rune deck... what's your favorite go to divination tool and how can you make using it an easy part of your day? Could you add a pendulum that doubles as a necklace/bracelet? Could you place your deck in the sock drawer? How about a rune set in your lunch bag? A magic 8 ball on your desk?
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