Just a few thoughts

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: The Way of the Hedge Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

This was my first book by Arin Murphy-Hiscock, to the best of my knowledge. While I didn't hate the book, I didn't love it, either. I think the title is misleading, but that might be a misconception on my part. From what I know of hedge witchery, though, this book doesn't really fit under that category. I don't even think the term was used more than a couple of times in the whole book, if at all.

Instead, Arin describes what she calls "hearth craft," which is (in my opinion) something like a cross between cottage witchery and something I'm not familiar with ("hearth craft" I suppose), with a hint of kitchen and green witchery thrown in.

This book places emphasis on the home being a sacred place innately, and how everything we do is spiritual. She talks about setting up a shrine/altar in the heart of the home to serve as the spiritual hearth, and drawing upon that energy for spell work and rituals. The rituals are very informal and simple (which I like, as that's how most of my rituals go), and she encourages looking to things you already have or can easily obtain for spells and rituals, as well as things for the altar.

What really made me not like this book is the way she kept repeating the same things over, and over, and over, and over again throughout the book. It was never anything huge, it was just the same general idea (about what "hearth craft" is and the like) being rephrased and repeated many times, usually at least once per chapter.

There are some ideas for rituals (things like home blessings and the like), crafts, recipes, etc., which I liked for the most part. All in all I wouldn't recommend buying this book, but if you can read it for free, I think it's alright. I have Amazon Prime, so I borrowed it on my Kindle for free. I almost bought it for myself before finding it in the Kindle library, because I got it for my friend last year for Yule and she seemed to really like it. Now, even though I could have gotten it really cheap, I'm glad I didn't spend the money on it because it isn't a book I would refer back to in the future, except possibly for recipes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reincarnation

I have finally managed, I believe, the put my beliefs about reincarnation into words. I've tried before, and it was close, but I could never quite get out exactly what I believed. There were still lingering questions and the like attached to those attempts to describe my beliefs. With that said, this is the gist of what I believe about reincarnation, souls, etc.

Everything is made of energy, from to plants to rocks to animals to people. Energy never goes away, but it can be transformed. I believe that everything in the known and unknown universe is made of energy, with some things carrying more than others (ex. a rat would have more of this energy than an ant.)

Everything, living and inanimate, are like tiny pieces of the Universal energy. Their separate components also have bits of this energy (think of the composition of minerals present in stones: each component has it's own energy, then those components together create the overall energy of the stone.) 

 The soul is also energy, but more specifically it is the energy that animates things and gives them personalities. This part of the energy is shaped by the person or thing it inhabits, and traces of that person/thing remain after the soul leaves the body. More on this later when I talk about past-lives.

When something dies, it goes back to the earth and the energy that gave it life is reunited with the Universal energy. The soil takes in the physical and the energy from decomposition can yield new life, richer soil, etc. Think about the Lion King and the "circle of life." The body decays, which lets new things grow and then be consumed by something that will in turn die, decay, be consumed, etc.

See, this energy does not disappear, it is transformed. It begins as something living, dies and decays, something grows where it decayed, something else consumes the plant and is nourished by it, and the cycle continues.

To explain how the world has more people now than ever before, while still believing in reincarnation, think about how species become extinct, and so forth. Their energy doesn't disappear. So the energy of dinosaurs, as an example, would still exist, it just transformed, became embodied by something else.

As for past lives, as I said before, the imprint of a person lingers in the bit of Universal energy they were made up of. When the energies of the deceased transfer into someone else, because it's all the same energy in different forms, it's possible, in my opinion, for someone to remember pieces of the past.