Welcome to the Circle of Laughing Thunder! The Circle is a Neopagan non-dogmatic spiritual group using meditation and shamanistic ritual to help us understand and relate to ourselves and the Universe around us.
What the heck does that mean?
Neopagan refers to the group of modern spiritual and religious practices that seek to revive the best and most useful ancient mythological and shamanistic ideas and practices. The term "Neopagan" is used to distinguish these modern practices from the paganism of ancient cultures or of cultures outside the modern mainstream civilization (such as Australian aboriginal tribes). In the context of modern practice, "Pagan" usually means Neopagan, and we will so use it here. (Mostly because I'm tired of typing "Neopagan".) Pagans draw from such sources as Celtic, Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology, medieval magical practices, American Indian shamanism, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, and any other useful source they can find. Some of the larger Neopagan groups are Wicca, Druidism, and Discordianism.
Ask one hundred people who identify themselves as Neopagans or Pagans what it's all about and you'll get one hundred different answers. (Possibly more). But a few basic concepts are common:
An excellent brief overview of Neopaganism is Eric S. Raymond's "Frequently Asked Questions about Neopaganism", which can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/faqs/paganism.txt.
While Paganism in general is opposed to authoritarian dogma, and focuses more on experience than on belief, some Pagan groups are partially defined by questions of metaphysical belief. Outside of the core Pagan values described above, the Circle of Laughing Thunder doesn't require any belief or disbelief in any metaphysical dogma.
By "spiritual", we do not refer to any non-physical soul or other entity. Your spirit is your emotional and psychological center. Spirituality is about how you relate to yourself and the rest of the Universe; our purpose in the Circle is to enhance those relationships.
Some the spiritual tools we use are:
Many, many other rituals are used for specific purposes. Anyone in the Circle can lead a ritual or mediation; we all take turns acting as leader, priest or priestess, or shaman.