Hey Stonewolf! I'm Anishinaabe, a tribe from the great lakes, and I just wanted to point out the difference between totem and spirit animals as a lot of people make the mistake of using the terms interchangeably.
A totem animal is your clan animal, the animal that represents your family lineage and community responsibility within a specific tribe. The word actually comes from Dodem (dough-DAYM), meaning clan animal in the Anishinaabe language. For instance, my clan animal (the bear) is a keeper of medicines and the protector of the tribe. Anyone who also is of the bear clan is considered a member of my family and I cannot be romantic with them. Clan animals served the purpose of balancing responsibilities and eliminating incest.
Someone who is not a member of the tribe does NOT have a clan or totem animal. If you are not Native, you do not have a clan. Totem animals are passed down through your mother or father depending on your tribe's system.
A spirit animal is actually something a person of any background can have. More or less it is an animal you feel a special personal connection with. The animal can serve as a harbinger, messenger, mentor, guard, inspiration, etc. Some people dream their spirit animal, others notice the animal acting out of character within their presence. I know many non-native people who have spirit animals.
Also, if you were working with Native Americans during this workshop, they should have never used the word "Shaman", in reference to their beliefs. A shaman is a witch doctor in tribes of eastern religions in Asia and most Medicine People actually consider it offensive to use this term in reference to them.
I don't mean to pull the rug out on you, these are just some common mistakes I see in reference to my spirituality :).
Ok... just so we make this very clear.. there are forms of Witchcraft that are religious and NOT Wiccan. Wicca and Witchcraft are not interchangable and having a religious practices does not make a Witch a Wica. i.e. Dedicatory Religious Witchcraft (DRW) The holidays, herbs, and crystals are definitely not exclusive to Wicca.
Sang, what Vickie said verbatim :)
Vickie, thanks. The royalty cheque's in the mail :)
I was going to let this one through to the keeper because:
a) my 'point of order' might be off topic
b) I thought someone more knowledgable/experienced might have picked up on it
c) I'm still recovering from the concussion I gave myself face-desking following the uber thread you were involved in 'over there'
To your credit, you've not been remotely as obnoxious in this thread as you were that one :)
Anyway, my point is I think trying to project out of (or even within for that matter) someone else's circle is just plain rude irrespective of your motivation for doing so.
As for what initiated Wiccans call the God and Goddess, as Strata said that's oathbound. I'm only an Outer Court Alexandrian so I don't know either. My teachers just refer to them as the Horned God and the Moon Goddess.
The closest I've been to learning their names was when I overheard two Priests clarifying who would be called to witness a handfasting (one was the 'groom'). I was so self-absorbed/nervous about my own part calling the Water quarter that I missed it. Some might say I was supposed to :)
I'm not hung up on finding/being called by specific Deities. I know what the Divine/All/One is for me. It's ..subsidiaries will come eventually. For now, 'saying hello' to the Sun and the Moon works for me.
By the way, a Wiccan circle is a Sacred Space as far as I'm concerned, no matter what reason you cast it for.
(I'll shut up now :) )
ps Bugger! How do you do the quote/arrow bits?
All but the last 'you' ,"your' ...was directed at Stonewolf.
Clear as mud right? :)
I'm not Wiccan, however I have been to rites where a Wiccan HP/HPS were mediating the divine. Since this was at a semi-open event, I can share some of my experience to answer your question.
Does any initiated Wiccan care to give an account of their experience of meeting the god and goddess?
What's really interesting is that although I remember when it happened, and I remember my feelings about it all, like most good ritual experiences, I don't remember the whys and wherefores.
What they looked like, what they were wearing
For Him, when the invoking was done, what I was most struck by was the eyes. His were a swirling green and blue sheen like an oils slick. Hers were black with tiny tiny silver pupils that had the intensity of an extreme flashlight laser beam. Knowing the people who were mediating in person, I can say that those were not their eye colors before. What also was a bit interesting for me is that She stood behind Him...the people who brought them in have a huge height difference (she's much shorter than he is). Yet when She was standing behind Him, Her eyes were visible above His head, and given the position, Her face had to have become twice the size of a normal human head. At that point, Her body was not visible at all. She was a Lady of vapor. If you've ever seen the kind of vapor residue that you get from stage lights...imagine that being slightly more solid and yet not in any specific form, but almost like He was "wearing" Her like a cloak. He was vaguely recognizable as humanoid but almost like a topiary with horns from the waist up and "encloaked" by Her from the waist down. Giving this description, I think that you can understand why most people don't share their experiences of deity...it sounds really hokey when put into words. For what They were wearing, He was wearing Her. She was wearing all of eternity. Clothes? Nope, but not naked either. I'd just say clothed in glory, for various values of glory.
how they acted, what the energy felt like
For the "how they acted", I can't give details of what was done that night, largely because I don't remember the specifics in a way that I could share them meaningfully. As far as what the energy felt like... the best word that comes to mind is awe-full (as opposed to awful *grin*). I don't think there was anyone there who was not trembling out of the potency of the experience, and there's a strong sense of panic in the deepest levels of your soul. There's this feeling that if you weren't totally frozen in place, you'd run as fast as you can. This was not the "cuddle the boo boos away" divine that a lot of new age writers try to put the Lord and Lady into. This was that which is responsible for all existence coming to bestow the blessing of another season of life on those present. That isn't to say love isn't present...it can't be *not* present when They are there. It's just not the warm fuzzies that you might think. The warm fuzzies often settle in after rites like that.
Keep in mind...that's just my experience of that rite (and my husband's experience that night is very similar to what I described...we write down our experiences independently and then swap them later on to read and see if we both saw/experienced the same thing). I have no idea what other folks there saw or felt. What I have observed is that many times when there is a very potent ritual, you refer to it by things like "that Beltane when so-and-so and such-and-such mediated" and that's enough that people who were there know exactly what was meant. This was one of those rites.