Miscellaneous Paths and Interests

Below are details of some of the paths and interests from within Paganism that are not covered on the other pages. Some of these are not exclusive to Paganism, but can be followed by people of other religions.


All Seeing Eye

All seeing eye

Manaia (Maori)

Manaia (Maori)

Hunab Ku (Mayan)

Hunab Ku (Mayan)

The Ankh

The Ankh

Chaos Magic

Chaos Magic

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang

Faerie Tradition

Faerie Tradition

Hecates Wheel (Greek)

Hecates Wheel (Greek)

Reiki

Reiki

Kabbala

The Kabbala

Pendulum (dowsing)

Pendulum (dowsing)

Rosemary (herbs)

Herbs

Cernunnos

Cernunnos

Crystals

Crystals

Snake

Snake


The All Seeing Eye
All Seeing Eye

The 'All Seeing Eye' has also been known as The Eye Of Providence, and is thought to have been derived from the earlier Eye of Horus from Egyptian mythology, which has been equated with both Ra and Osiris.

The image we have shown is of the Christianised version, which first started to appear in the 17th century CE as an eye in the clouds. The triangle is a more recent addition, but it is not clear just when it was added.

It is used in Freemasonry and by the Rosicrucians to signify that god watches over all of us.

In Islam, it can be used as a representation of the Dajjal, who only has one good eye, and who is an anti-messiah.

And in popular culture, it has been used as part of the US 1 dollar bill, and in the logo for MI5, as well as in the logo for Steve Jackson Games.

Back to top


Manaia (Maori)
Manaia (Maori)

This is an ancient mythical being that is used in many Maori designs, and is a bird-like figure. It is usually shown in profile, to indicate that it is half in the real world and half in the spirit world, as is appropriate for a messenger that travels between the two worlds.

As an amulet, it is a guardian against evil and provides protection over land, air and water. It's design can vary tremendously, as each tribe had their own variant, and is usually carved from bone or jade.

Back to top


Hunab Ku (Mayan)
Hunab Ku (Mayan)

Hunab Ku was the supreme god of the Mayans, and was represented by the sun. He represents balanced forces and perfection, and he rebuilt the world 3 times after a sky serpent brought forth 3 deluges.

There are no images of the god, as he was considered to be without form, but the symbol shows the balance that he represents by being similar to the Yin-Yang symbol in having the dark and light halves matching each other.

It is thought that Hunab Ku may have been the result of the Christian conquering of the Mayans by the Spanish, as some reports suggest that prior to this they had no concept of a supreme god, but instead had a true multiplicity of gods.

In modern culture, Hunab Ku has been used as a character in the Marvel Comics universe, with powers similar to those of Odin and Zeus.

Back to top


The Ankh
The Ankh

The Ankh comes to us from ancient Egypt, where it was used as a symbol of life (though there have been some alternate theories about it, such as it representing a sandal strap, or as a symbol of sunrise). However, there have been numerous depictions of the symbol being passed to mortals from the gods (such as Hathor and Osiris), making the 'life' meaning more likely.

It has also been suggested that it represents both male and female sexuality (the top loop representing female, and the remainder male), and as the union of male and female results in new life this would reinforce the idea of the symbol representing the continuation of life.

It has also been known as the Key of the Nile, and as such is associated with Imkotep who was physician to the Pharoah's.

As the symbol looks vaguely key-like, it has also been considered that the Ankh could unlock the gates of death, and this has been taken up by more modern groups such as the Rosicrucians.

After the end of the Egyptian Pharaoh's, the Coptic Church adapted the Ankh by making the top loop circular, making the Crux Ansata, to represent life after death.

As a solar symbol, most metal Ankhs were crafted from gold - silver (a lunar metal) has almost never been found in this shape until more recent times, when the symbolism of the metal used was no longer known, or thought important. Other metals (such as highly polished copper) have been used, as have wood and gemstones (such as Lapis Lazuli).

In modern culture, the Ankh is often used in tattoos. Possibly the most bizarre usage is the Anorankh. This is a design that merges the ankh with an anorak, and is used by many fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books. An internet discussion had someone mistakingly use the word anorak instead of ankh, and Terry Pratchett liked the idea so much he commisioned a design of the Holy Anorankh, which is now worn by many fans.

Back to top


Chaos Magic
Chaos Magic

In brief, Chaos Magic is a method for changing both subjective and objective reality, using belief as the tool. It uses sigil magic extensively, but takes ideas from both other traditional magical traditions and from less traditional sources such as science fiction.

To quote writer Peter Carroll (one of the founders of Chaos Magic) "If you want a one-line definition with which most Chaosists would not disagree, then I offer the following: Chaosists usually accept the meta-belief that belief itself is only a tool for achieving effects; it is not an end in itself."

Why is it called Chaos Magic? It is magic because it's practitioners seek to affect themselves and the world around them by magical means. Chaos refers to the way this is done. It does not refer to the modern meaning of the word Chaos as in disorder, but to it's earlier (Greek) meaning of a vast gulf or chasm, as in the infinite darkness from which the universe grew. Therefore Chaos is a way to name and describe in a non-anthropomorphic way the state of the universe and whatever created it - something so non-human as to defy comprehension.

Chaos magic is neither black nor white. Chaosians consider magic to be nothing more than a tool. Like any tool, it depends upon who is using it, and for what reason.

It is also magic with a sense of humour. Laughter plays a large part in Chaos ritual, even to the extent of calling Tinky Winky, Dipsey, Laa-Laa and Po (the Teletubbies) for the quarters (done at a PF conference a few years ago) and invoking Bugs Bunny as a trickster god.

Back to top


Yin Yang
Yin and Yang

This symbol is known as Taijitu, where the dark area represents the forces of dark (yin) and the light area represents the forces of light (yang). These two forces are at the same time opposing and complementary, and indicate the dual nature of the universe (the universe itself is represented by the outer circle). Each of the two forces also contains within it a seed of it's opposite (the smaller dots), to remind us that neither dark nor light can exist without the other.

Yin (dark) is representative of all that would be dark, passive, weak, cold, submission, female and the moon.

Yang (light) represents all that is light, active, strong, hot, dominance, male and the sun.

There are 4 'laws' of Yin-Yang -

  • They are Opposing - they represent the 2 opposites that make a whole.
  • They are Mutually Rooted - they are complementary, that is both are needed to make a whole. For example a year is not complete unless it has both yin (autumn and winter) and yang (spring and summer).
  • They Mutually Transform - each will be followed by the other. For example, during the year yang (spring and summer) will always follow yin (autumn and winter), and vice-versa.
  • They Mutually Wax and Wane - each will wax and wane in opposition with the other. For example, during the year yang waxes during the spring and early summer (as the days get lighter) while yin wanes.

Back to top


The Faerie tradition
Faerie Tradition

This is the Elven Star (also known as the Faerie Star) which is regularly used in the same way as a pentacle is used in Wicca. The 7 points correspond to the 7 directions (north, south, east, west, above, below and within), the 7 elements (earth, air, fire, water, life, light and magic) and the 7 magical places (sun, moon, sea, sky, wind, wood and spirit).

The Faerie tradition (also spelt Fairy, Faery or Feri) is a Neopagan tradition that was founded by husband and wife team Victor and Cora Anderson, initially as a variant of Wicca, but now a complete path in it's own right. Each practitioner can bring their own elements to Feri (the currently preferred spelling by members of the tradition), and so it currently includes elements from Gardnerian Wicca, Tibetan Buddhism, Native American Shamanism, Greek Mythology and Welsh Mythology (this latter sometimes causes people to believe it must be a Celtic tradition, but it is not).

Like the more traditional Wicca, lineage is important to Feri. All groups should be able to trace it back to either Victor or Cora Anderson. The tradition also uses secret names and cords, as in some Wiccan traditions. However, it does not follow the Wiccan Rede, though it does hold that each person is responsible for their own actions.

Feri work on a concept of the 3 selves, and their rituals are keyed towards learning about those selves, with a strong emphasis on ecstatic and sensual energy. It is also about self improvement, not just at times of ritual but for everyday life as well. It is also concentrates on the actual 'doing' of things, rather than on knowledge for it's own sake.

While the deities that Feri follow are worshiped by other traditions, Feri groups them in a unique way. They also have a unique set of guardians, who do not always represent the same quarter or element at all times.

Back to top


Hecate's Wheel (Greek tradition)
Hecates Wheel (Greek)

This is the emblem of the Goddess Hecate (also spelt Hakate and Hekat) and is properly named the Strophalos of Hecate. The 3 loops within it signify her triple aspect of maiden, mother and crone. The symbol is generally used by those who practice Dianic or Hellenic traditions.

Although Hecate is usually depicted as having 3 faces, this was something that first appeared around the 5th century BCE. She is also commonly thought of as a Greek Goddess, but she appears in Hesiod's Theogony as a pre Greek Goddess possibly from Caria.

In common with her triple faced appearance, there are 3 titles that are usually associated with her.

  • Goddess of the Crossroads - This comes from her original role as a goddess of wild untamed areas, so sacrifices were made to her at the bounderies of these areas, which were frequently at 3-way crossroads.
  • Queen of the Witches - This derives from a number of archaeological finds of curse tablets using her name, and from a number of myths and tales especially relating to her as a Moon Goddess. It is thought that some of the refernces to Diana in the tale of Aradia are actually referring to Hecate, just using a name that the Italians found more familiar.
  • Queen of the Dead - This comes from the belief that Hecate can control the junction between the real and spirit worlds, and can prevent or cause harm to cross the boundary between the 2 worlds. As such, graves became a place where she was often worshipped.

These associations can often cross from one aspect to another. For example as Queen of the Dead she is worshipped at graves. Witches were often buried at crossroads, so this then links directly to her title as Goddess of the Crossroads.

In popular culture, Hecate has been referred to in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and in Charmed. She also appears in the Hellboy comics as Queen of the Witches.

Back to top


Reiki
Reiki

Reiki can be roughly translated into universal (rei) life energy (ki). It was founded by Dr Mikao Usui in Japan. Reiki is generally a hands on type of healing, but it is also possible to Reiki a person's aura, to send Reiki from a distance, and even into the past or future. Some other uses include treating pets or plants, blessing a home, strengthening affirmations and much more. Reiki treats both physical and emotional/mental issues and can also be used simply as a relaxation tool.

Reiki does not draw energy from the practitioner, in fact during any Reiki healing, the practitioner will also receive healing. This is because Reiki healing uses Universal or Source energy, it is like tapping into the cosmos and channelling that energy through your body.

There are 3 levels of attunement in Reiki healing.

  • Level 1, where you are able to treat yourself and loved ones.
  • Level 2, where you are able to work as a Reiki Practitioner.
  • Master level, which is when you are able to attune others to Reiki.

Reiki is traditionally an oral tradition, which is passed down from Master to student. The teachings and tools of Reiki are regarded as sacred, which is why it can sometimes seem secretive.

Receiving a Reiki treatment is very simple. You will be asked to lie on a couch, or if that is not possible, to be seated. The Practitioner will then place their hands in a series of un-intrusive positions on your body, however if you aren't comfortable with this you can ask that the Reiki be "beamed" to you instead, from a short distance. When receiving a healing, people typically feel very relaxed. You may feel the energy as warmth or tingling, everyone has a slightly different experience of Reiki. You may see colours or images in your mind's eye.

There is no one religion tied to Reiki, only a set of precepts to follow:

  • Just for today, do not worry.
  • Just for today, do not anger.
  • Honour you parents, teachers and elders.
  • Earn your living honestly.
  • Show gratitude to every living thing.

Today Reiki is quite well known and accepted in society and usually practitioners are easy to find.

Back to top


Kabbala
Kabbala

The Kabbala originated as part of the Jewish traditions, and was based on the Tanakh, but has since been expanded and is now a school of thought in it's own right. Despite it's origins, people of any faith can follow Kabbala, as it is less a religion than a way of improving one's own spirit.

There are many different schools of thought within Kabbala, so it can be difficult to give a precise definition of the belief, but all agree that it is up to the inidividual to acheive enough self improvement to achieve the gifts from God that we are born to seek. In practice, this means letting go of the negative emotions such as jealousy and anger, and replacing them with positive emotions such as compassion and patience.

The symbol is the Kabbalistic tree of the 10 Sefirot, which are the emanatiosn from which God created the universe. These are Keter (will), Chochmah (wisdom), Binah (understanding), Chesed (loving kindness), Din (judgement), Tiferet (harmony), Netzach (victory), Hod (glory), Yesod (foundation), and Malchut (sovereignty).

Back to top


Pendulums and Divination
Pendulum (dowsing)

This picture shows a crystal being used as a pendulum. Pendulums can be used as a divination tool to answer "yes/no" type questions.

Any heavy item can be used as a pendulum, traditionally a wedding ring is used but a bolt on a piece of thread is equally as effective.

The first process of learning to use a pendulum is to find out what represents your personal "yes" and "no responses. There is no right or wrong response, just what is right for you. After that you can use the pendulum to answer any question that can have a yes or no answer. Using creative questioning you can answer any question in this way.

With practice pendulums can also be used to divine the "state" of chakras, or energy centres on the body. They can also be used to find the direction of energy flow in the earth.

Back to top


Herbs
Rosemary (herbs)

Many individuals on the pagan paths use herbs in their magical/celebratory workings, as well as using them as a complimentary therapy. It is important to note that it is inadvisable to take herbs internally without first seeking professional advice.

It is believed that herbs contain properties that promote a variety of outcomes including; healing, protection, strength etc.

Herbs are generally grown by the individual or are only taken from the countryside if not considered endangered, are free from pollution i.e not from the roadside as the plant will have absorbs the pollutants from car exhausts, or close to where a farmer has used pesticides. In many traditions it is polite to thank the plant for their gift. It is important only to take what is required for your purpose. Be careful to ensure you have correctly identified the herb before use, some herbs are poisonous.

It is usually best to use the herbs fresh, but if you wish to collect and store some herbs for use throughout the year it is possible to dry them by either: placing them in a paper bag and hanging the bag up for the herbs to dry, or alternatively placing them on greaseproof paper on a tray in an oven on a very low temperature until they have dried. Both take a long time so patience is required.

There are a multiple ways to prepare and use herbs -

  • Tea -

    1 table spoon per person in a warm pot

    Boiling water

    Allow to infuse for between 2-5 minutes.

  • Tincture -

    Cup of herbs

    Spring water

    Brandy/Vodka

    Place the herbs in the spring water in a glass bowl and place in sunlight for an hour. Pick out the herbs and place the remaining water in a dark glass bottle and top up with the alcohol. Take the tincture 2-3 times a day.

  • Talisman/Amulets/Charms -

    Select the herbs for their magical properties and place with other objects within a small bag/sachet and wear or keep it close to you, when the herbs have served their purpose return them to the earth.

  • Incense -

    Burn ground dried herbs on a charcoal disc to create a scented smoke herb and releasing its essence. Used within celebratory/ritual workings

Back to top


Cernunnos
Cernunnos

Details still to be finalised

Back to top


Crystals
Crystals

Many people who follow the pagan path work with crystals. There are two main philosophies when it comes to crystals.

  • Some see crystals as merely tools to be used. These people believe that crystals can be programmed, using meditation, to work in a specific way. In this way crystals can be used to bring luck, confidence, healing or any other positive situations.
  • The other school of thought is that crystals are Earth Elders; wiser than ourselves. These spirits can help us heal or deal with difficult situations.
The best way to choose a crystal is to concentrate on the situation you wish to work on and see which crystal catches your eye. Another method is to choose it by it's colour using the concept of colour therapy.

Due to their size crystals are easy to work with as they can be carried in your pocket or worn as jewellery.

When crystals are placed on or around the chakras, or energy centres, they can help bring healing to the physical, mental and emotional bodies.

Back to top


Snake
Snake

Details still to be finalised

Back to top


Except where otherwise noted, all content and photographs on the site © by Northampton Pagans, or it's contributors.
Opinions expressed in these pages may not necessarily be those of Northampton Pagans, the group's Elders, or it's membership in general, but are the opinions of the individual contributors.