Saturday, September 03, 2005

Trees

While looking at other pagan blogs, I came across The Comeback Kid, which had an entry that caught my attention. It was regarding an article over at Witches Voice from last year calling all Pagans to participate in a ritual to influence the election.

It talked about Needfire, which wasn’t very clearly explained, either in the WV article or on TCK. I tried finding out more about it on the internet, but there wasn’t much info to be found. From what I understand, Needfire is an ancient ritual that is used in time of need to bring about the influence needed to heal the hurts of a nation. It takes form in many cultures, according to the TCK. But I feel that there is probably more to it than that.

In the WV article, the author has a specific list of wood to be used in the Needfire. The TCK pointed out the types of wood mentioned for use in the Needfire ritual as mostly non-native to the US even though the author encouraged we use those types.

It made me wonder – What are the native tree species for my area? I did a search on “native trees of Minnesota” and came across the MN DNR website which listed all the native tree species of my state as well as the largest individual trees of many of these species. The site had lots information about each type of tree and also where in the state it was most likely to be found.

I caught myself thinking that this is information that I would never find in a modern Pagan book, even though this information is relevant to the religion. For all the talk about modern neo-pagan religions, specifically Wicca, being nature based, I haven’t talked to many Pagans who know much about, well, nature. This is an IDEA which many know about but then seem to ignore the specifics. Please don’t think I am saying this of everybody, as there are many people that practice Pagan religions that do know this type of information.

I guess what I am saying is that I learned more about nature and the nature of Paganism by looking at this information on the DNR site then I have ever gotten by looking at all the books that are published about Paganism. Granted, there are just some things you just can’t get out of a book, but I think that this is the type of thing I am looking for to get information “beyond the basics.”

This information made me contemplate finding these trees and collecting downed twigs and branches in the effort of learning more about not only the trees themselves, but also what was natural in my area. With help form TCK’s article, I came up with my own conclusion that using material that is local, such as rocks or native wood, would make a ritual more effective. Using local material would personalize the ritual and make it more meaningful, helping to make it a stronger ritual.

This brings up another question – What are the next steps to take in getting beyond the “basics” of the modern neo-pagan religions? I first started reading about these religions about 13 years ago, but I have gotten frustrated with the information that is published because even the new books seem to regurgitate the same things again and again.

What helped to bring you beyond the basics of your belief system?

1 comment:

Gwyn said...

Hi - I am only just starting my journey into paganism and I have already noticed ALL the boks have the same chapters - boring - however I have just started reading Starhawks's "Earth Path" and the first chapter has taught me more about what it is to have a true connection with nature than anything I've come across in books or on the internet. It is totally work a look!