Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Obligation to the Lares

In the recent days, I have done the required obligation to the Lares in front of the Lararium. I say it is an obligation rather than the usual devotion to the Gods that I was doing daily before. I have read in some articles written about the Cultus Deorum Romanorum, they call the prayers to the Lares, the Manes and the Penates an obligation which should be done whether we like it or not. 

My usual devotion to the Gods before requires honoring the Moon, the Elements, the Gods- Janus and Hekate, the dead, the surog and the abyans. Right now, the requirement of the obligation is to pray in front of the Lararium in the morning and at night before sleep. The Lucerna is lit and incense is burned at the Turibulum. The prayer invokes the Goddess Vesta as the hearth is Her sacred place. In the morning, Janus Matutinus is also invoked to ask guidance and good fortune for the family. After thanking the Gods, the Lar Familiaris are being prayed together with the Divine Penates. Offerings are then given to the Lares in the form of bread and some wine. 



One thing that this obligations taught me is to give utmost respect to the Lararium and the altar. Before, when I approach my altar, I would bow to show reverence to the Gods who are represented at the altar. Right now, whenever I enter my bedroom where the Lararium is located, I would do an adoratio- a salutation that should be done whenever you face or approach sacred places. I would also do the obligation in white garment (I'm using a clean white shirt, specifically for that purpose). I would like to have a tunica or a toga made soon so the rite would really follow what the rituals require. You need to also approach the altar during the rite in capite velato, which literally means a "covered head". I am using a white piece of cloth to do this for now. 

Prior to the rite, the person doing the obligation is required to purify himself with water- to purify his mind, body and heart to be worthy to face the Lares. Prayers are done with your right hand on your chest (your heart), or in the usual mano supina. During the rite, offerings of wine and incense are given to ask the Gods to make your day great in the morning and your rest good at night. 

I am following the rites of the Cultus Deorum Romanorum, though I insert two prayers to honor my God and Goddess- Janus and Hekate. I am planning now to create a shrine to the Lady Hekate Trivia, since the Lararium is Vesta and Janus' altar. I hope I will manage to gather all the stuff that I plan to put on the altar, starting with the plaster statue of the Goddess. 

That's all for now. Illecet!



-the pic for Capite Velato form the internet- 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Lantern in the Dark

Samhain is one of the biggest Sabbat that our group, Arcana is celebrating annually. It is the time where the group is gathering and don costumes and masks and celebrate the Pagan new year. This year, we celebrated Samhain in a location within the city and for the record, this is the first Samhain in six years that we celebrated indoors.

The rite was fairly simple and it only lasted for a couple of hours. We invited the ancestors and the recent dead, prayed for those who moved on before us and crossed the threshold to the Other Realm.

We also prepared traditional food for the Sabbat...

Some people say that when candles are lit during the night of Samhain, the light would pierce the Veil and appear in the Spirit Realm. The spirits will then be drawn to it and since the wall between the worlds is thin, they can easily cross and visit the land of the living. The lights would act as a beacon and draw them.

Anyways, here are some snaps from Arcana's 2016 Samhain Rite.




















Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Importance of Worship

Worship, as defined in Wikipedia is "an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. An act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group, or by a designated leader."

In the Philippines, being a predominantly Christian country, expresses worship in colorful, festive and sometimes painful way. There are a lot of festivals that honors specific saints in different parts of the country and these usually include eating, dancing and merry making. Most of the festivals that we are celebrating however, hides the real history and background of the celebration. Most of the festivals we have here in the country, be it a celebration of harvest or of tribes, stemmed from a more animistic celebration that were masked by a mantle of Catholicism. These festivals are accepted religious feasts and people often forget that these are centered in nature worship and as such, are Pagan.

There are a lot of Pagans in the country that I have known, met and talked to who are religious. Most however, are practical Pagans. Now what is a practical Pagan?

For me, a practical Pagan is a person who follows Paganism, uses spells and incantations for practical, day to day use. These are people who view Paganism as a practice and would use magick to bring about changes the way they see fit. They may call on the assistance of any Divine being they see useful for a specific spell, or ritual. Most of these Pagans are Duotheistic and would view all the Gods/Goddess as the same being regardless of the Pantheon or Mythos they came from. In this kind of belief system, they would call to Aphrodite for a love spells, Ceres for bounty, Hekate for Power, etc. Most of them would worship the Goddess or the God in all Their forms and that gives an impression sometimes that they are being less religious.

The other Pagan profile that I noticed in the country are those Pagans who devote themselves to a specific God or Goddess. Some even devote themselves to a couple or more specific Gods or Goddess. Most of these types of Pagans are either Polytheistic and believe that different Gods and Goddesses are individual entities that needs worship and veneration. They would work and grow with these Divine Beings and they would devote a lot of time and effort just to be close with Them.

What is the importance of worship? Worship is an integral part of a Pagan's life. Devoting your life and time to the Divine being who calls you creates very strong connection. An intimate connection with a specific Divine being would most of the time makes working with Them easier. I always view the Divine as a member of the family (a Sister, Mother, Grandmother, brother, Father or Grandfather). Unlike working with the deity that you haven't connected with, the Goddess and God that is familiar with you would easily respond to you once you ask for help. Calling a being that you haven't worked with yet, or you're unfamiliar with is like knocking on the door of a house, asking to come in. If you have not been working with the specific God or Goddess whose door who are knocking on, what do you think will be the response?

Worship is very important in the practice of the Craft. It strengthens the connection of the witch to the Divine and it makes the rites and the rituals easier. As a Priest or Priestess of a specific Divine being, the protection of the Gods extend to you. You will become an extension of that God's power.

How is your connection with the Divine? How are you as a witch and a priest/priestess?



Religion by Charles Sprague Pearce (1896)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Veil is Parting, Samhain is coming.

In the Pagan world, this time of the year marks the coming of the new year. Samhain, the old Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season. In modern times, Pagans and Wiccans celebrate Samhain as a religious holiday. It marks as the Pagan New Year and is considered as one of the most sacred festival in the Wheel of the Year.

What is the significance of a Celtic celebration in the life of a Filipino Pagan?
As all of the celebrations on the Wheel, even though that this celebration did not originate from our country, Samhain has a similar celebration in almost all cultures in the world. In Mexico, they celebrate it as Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) which also starts on October 31 and ends on November 2. In the Philippines, we observe this celebration as All Saints and All Soul's Day, which primarily centers with the veneration of the dead. As a liminal celebration, it is believed that during this time, the veil that divides the world of the living and the realm of the spirits are at its thinnest. Therefore it is believed that the spirits can easily pass through this curtain and visit the living.


As a "Paganong Pilipino", I celebrate Samhain and it is for me, the most important of the four Greater Sabbats. Though the practice that we have here in the Philippines is very different from the last harvest of the year celebration of our Western brethren, we still follow the most important thing celebrated during this feast- the honoring of our dead loved ones.

In the days prior to Samhain, people who are sensitive to the other worlds may feel a little bit different. Some might already be visited by their dead loved ones and may appear to them in dreams. The realm of the Fairy or what we call Engkantos are also nearest to the realm of the living. Similar in England, where some person who mistakenly stepped on a Fairy Ring get transported to the realm of the Shining ones, we have some similar accounts here in the country where people might see a very shiny mansion in a lonely road only to discover that it was a big tree in the morning. Some might even be successful to be invited in this lavish dinner that these folks were giving only to discover that the black rice seem to be moving or wriggling. In the English lore, when someone who successfully crossed fails to return before midnight (or in some the first rays of sun shine), they will be trapped in the realm of the faeries. In the Filipino folklore, when someone eats food in the engkantado's banquet, they wont be able to return, leaving their family see their dead body who is actually a banana trunk. In order for the body to return, the family should lift the "corpse" and let it pass through a window.

As most of the "Filipinized" celebrations that we get from Western Pagan and Wiccan practices, we included some of our cultural observances in the rites of Samhain. In our previous celebrations, we made sure that Filipino "All Souls Day" activities were also done- like the offering of kakan
in, tabako, anisado or vino. We also do the tracing of the bloodline where we honor all our relative who passed on.

In the coming days, the veil will become thinner and will culminate to its parting on the 31st of October. I want to greet all our Pagan brothers and sisters a Blessed Samhain.




- pictures from the internet-





Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ang Paganong Filipino (The Filipino Pagan)

What is the definition of a Filipino Pagan or a Paganong Pilipino?

This has been a source of discourse among the many yet divided Philippine Pagan and Wiccan groups. In my more than 20 years of observing, founding and assisting some of the groups here in the Philippines, this has been a topic that was still not resolved even until today.

True there are a lot of groups here in the country that would claim that they're Pagans even when they do not fit in the accepted definition of a Pagan. Now, what is a Pagan?

As defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary, a Pagan is a heathen, especially a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome). While Dictionary.com defines a Pagan as a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; a neopagan. I

In both definitions, we can agree (possibly) that a Pagan is a person who is number one, a follower of a Polytheistic (Believes in many Gods) and is a member of a religious, spiritual or cultural community that worships nature or the earth. In all the known magicko-spiritual religions or practices here in the Philippines what can be considered Pagan?

First, lets visit LNK or Lihim na Karunungan. This practice includes the use of oraciones, anting-anting, Sacred Names and libretas with Latin Invocations. Observing the practitioners of LNK, some of them would call it Kabbalah or Filipino Kabbalah, the practice is rooted on the Jewish/Catholic beliefs. The Name of God is often used in its rites along with angels, saints, the Virgin Mary and the Diyos Ama. Does LNK fit the umbrella of Paganism?

If we based it on the definitions given, LNK/Filipino Kabbalah cannot be considered Pagan. Some of the LNK Practitioners are even unhappy if someone calls them a Pagan. To them, their magick is a form of Theurgy and therefore High Magick.

The next practice we will visit is Babaylanismo (I categorize this under Philippine Shamanic Practices, which also include other culturally centered "religion" in the country) . This is one of the pre-Hispanic practices that the Philippines has, although, some of the known Babaylans now use a mixture of animistic practices and LNK. The original practice of Babaylanismo is really animistic and they practice the reverence of the ancestors and Gods. Some of the tribes in the highlands still maintain this type of practice and would still honor the anitos and the Diwata. The Philippines also has a lot of Gods and Goddesses in our mythology and each Tribe has their own set of Gods. As Babaylanismo believes in the existence of multiple deities and harvest and the earth is also a big part of its practices, I could clearly say that it is Pagan.

The Western Religions in the Philippines. The Filipinos, being one of the most adaptable people in the world, also adopted a few Western religions and practices. The first and the most common is Wicca. Wicca is of course both a Polytheistic and a nature/earth based religion so it qualifies as Pagan. There are still a few religions from the west that are being practiced here. But for me, as long as they meet the criteria of being polytheistic and worships the earth and nature, then they are Pagan.

Now what is a "Paganong Pinoy"? We have cleared the definition of a Pagan and now lets define a Filipino Pagan. We can say that a Filipino Pagan is a Pinoy practicing Paganism in the Philippines. They might be someone who practicing an adopted Western Pagan Tradition or Philippine Shamanism. They might also be Filipinos who practices their very own Family Tradition.

We can continue to improve and define the Filipino Pagan as we go along the Path.


-pictures

from the internet-