PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

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My Vegetarianism Is Not a Judgment of You. But....

A Helpful Guide to Social Relations Between Dietary Minorities and Practicing Omnivores

 

First off: Hey, Non-Vegetarian, my vegetarianism is not a judgment of you, OK? There's absolutely no need for you to feel criticized, defensive, or apologetic.

No, I don't feel superior. No, I'm not out to convert you. You make your choices, I make mine. Really, there are far more important things to disagree about.

 

That said, let me make a few helpful suggestions to my fellow vegetarians, vegans, dieters, and other non-practicing omnivores for dealing with the Dietary Majority:

When someone offers you something that you don't eat, say: No, thanks.

No, thanks.” That's all.

Not: “I can't eat that.” Actually, you can; you just (for whatever reason) choose not to.

Not: “I don't eat that.” That's the kind of statement that can't help but come off as judgmental, however you intend it.

Not: “Ooooh!” (recoils in repulsion). When someone else offers you what they themselves are eating, it's an act of generosity and hospitality, regardless of how revolting you may or may not choose to find it. Act accordingly, instead of with a rebuff.

I won't tell you about my dietary parameters if you don't tell me about yours.

For gods' sakes, spare us the details, OK? 1) they're a bore, and 2) they're the best way to sound like a self-righteous A-hole. Just shut up and eat already, OK?

Be proactive.

When someone else offers to cook for you, make sure that they know your parameters beforehand, so that you're not springing it on them at the last minute. The laws of hospitality are binding on the guest as well as the host.

So when Mom invites you to a Thanksgiving table that you know won't fit your dietary parameters, tell her: “Great! I've got this great [vegetarian entrée] that I'll bring along; I know you'll just love it.”

Or offer to help with preparation. Then you can actively ensure that there's food that you're willing to eat.

Take some ownership of the situation.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ghost in the Cellar

As kids in early 60s Steeltown, we had a whole repertory of backyard games. My favorite was Ghost in the Cellar.

Children's games often have a soupçon of ritual to them—most are circular, the game's intent being to regenerate itself by starting over again—Ghost in the Cellar being the most ritualized of them all. It had all the elements of good ritual: a story, archetypal characters, catharsis, a felicitous combination of the scripted and the spontaneous, and, best of all, a ritualized dialogue that had to be repeated with absolute precision every time.

Dramatis Personae: The Mother. The Children. The Ghost.

Story: In the course of play, the Children get dirty. (Here there was lots of room for fun improvisation. As we got older, the "dirt" became less physical and more behavioral.) The Mother calls the Children in for supper, but is dismayed to see how dirty they've gotten.

Mother: Go down to the cellar and wash your hands!

The Children go down into the (imaginary) cellar—it never occurred to us to play the game using a real one—but there they encounter the Ghost.

Ghost: [Shrieks]

The Children run back to the Mother, screaming.

Children: There's a ghost! A ghost in the cellar!

The Mother assures them that there is no ghost—here she would improvise creatively about laundry hanging up to dry—and sends them back down to the cellar. Three times—the ritual number—this happens. The third time, the Mother agrees to accompany the Children to the cellar. There, sure enough, they encounter the Ghost.

You've got to hand it to the Mother. Does she run away screaming? No. Instead, she confronts the Ghost (which, I'm told, is exactly what one should do in such situations).

Mother: What do you want?

Ghost: A match.

Mother: What for?

Ghost: To light my pipe.

Mother: What for?

Ghost: To kill you!

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Use Your Words: Intention Magic

I learned the art of intention-setting some years ago and quickly incorporated it into my morning rituals. Upon waking, sometimes, even before I open my eyes, I set my intention for the day. It can be about work, financial challenges a problem I am dealing with, relationships, health, hopes and dreams and anything, as long as it is also for the good of all. It has become a morning prayer for me, quick and quiet. I simply state my intention such as “I Intend my presentation today at work  will go really well and I will feel joy as it is happening and set the stage for success for this product launch, for the good of all.  I am grateful for this wonderful day. And so it is.”  During the peak of my money woes,  I would get very specific and set intentions for the exact amount of money I needed to make the mortgage payment, credit card bill, etc. Granular detail is good when manifesting so it is fine to say how much you  want when intending with money. . Avoid using words with any negative charge to them such as “can’t, but, won’t” and amplify your intention with a statement of gratitude immediately after. Always state your intention as if it is happening now and not in the future. Be specific and intend without limit; it does now always have to personal to you and intending for the greater good of all contributes to a positive global shift. By setting intentions every day, you will soon become a master manifestor. I intend that for you!

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs


                                     Dressing the Crone

“To sew is to pray. Men don't understand this. They see the whole but they don't see the stitches. They don't see the speech of the creator in the work of the needle. We mend. We women turn things inside out and set things right. We salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest into blankets. Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow. Only a woman's eyes can tell. Other times, the tension in the stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we know what emotion went into the making. Only women can hear the prayer.”                                                            ― Louise Erdrich, Four Souls. 


I couldn't sleep last night. As I got into bed and closed my eyes I suddenly saw the moonlight illuminating a milk offering on the Gruagach stone on the Isle of Colonsay. I had visited this little island off the west coast of Scotland this summer and had sat with the stone a couple of times. There is a long and entangled history of the Gruagach which takes us back to ancient pre-Celtic figures (but that is a story for another time).  

In my vision I sat with the stone and could clearly see the rope-like geological features on the surface of the stone, I could reach out and touch them. Then I saw the same moonlight reflected in a little pool of water on the stones on the top of Carman Hill (above Loch Lomond).  I watched the moon's light reflect off sandy beaches on far islands and in the faces of those who stood in their gardens and peered upwards towards her. Even as I fell asleep I traveled with her, looking down onto the scenes she illuminated. 

The night felt like a prayer between the moon and the earth, honored and felt by all who turn their heads upwards to bathe in her awe.  This feeling of prayer stayed with me as I awoke. As the morning's light changed through various layers of grey the rain turned to snow and the temperature plummeted. Today is going to be a cold day with tonight's temperatures plummeting still down to -12oc. I work from home so there is no need to go anywhere - just feed dogs and chickens and make some soup. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_stitching-tweed-stones.jpg

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Last modified on
Chasing the Minoan Sun Goddess: two book reviews

Modern Pagans are used to pantheons that have a Sun god and a Moon goddess. But it hasn't always been that way. Some of the oldest and earliest religions in the world have a Sun goddess. When we went looking for the Minoan deity who was associated with the Sun, we found not a god but a goddess. We call her Therasia.

How did we find her? Two books were very helpful, as was the author of one of them. Until I read The Ancient and Martial Dances by Arlechina Verdigris, I had no idea that dance ethnography could be such a powerful tool for teasing out bits of mythos. Ms. Verdigris's study of Mediterranean folk dance shows clearly that it still holds layers that go back at least to late Minoan times, and probably much earlier, giving glimpses of not only a Sun goddess but also a grain goddess and the Mountain Mother who rules over the crafts that use her substance to create beautiful objects: pottery and metal-smithing.

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tribe of Witches: A Tale of the Bear Clan

While discussing the origin-stories of the Deer and Seal clans of the Hwicce (Tribe of Witches) a few posts back, I was struck by the similarities between the two stories. In both—though circumstances differ somewhat—a human man takes a non-human woman to wife.

This made me wonder if it sometimes works the other way, too.

In fact, it does. Shame upon me, I don't know the origin-stories of all the clans of the tribe of Witches, whether elder (historical) or younger (reconstituted)—alas, I can't even name all the clans themselves, so much has been lost to time—but I can tell you that with the Bear Clan, it's the other way around: a human woman who marries a non-human man.

It seems that a certain woman of the Hwicce once took a bear to husband. Authorities differ on the degree of agency here. Some say that Bear abducted her; others, that she went with him willingly.

Whichever it was, the young woman's brothers were displeased by this out-match. They tracked down the bear, killed him, and brought their sister back to the family hearth-side.

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Sharing Some Wisdom

          A visiting teacher who had come to a weekly yoga class I attended shared his personal mantra: "I know nothing, I want to learn." At the time this seemed a negative way to approach life. I now understand this to mean what the Buddhists intend by "beginner's mind." If I think or believe I know all about something, my mind will be closed to learning more. I have learned much from the many spiritual paths I have studied, and I appreciate what I have gained. I've stored up the most helpful teachings and incorporated them into my life, using them to live by.

Stephen and I were celebrating my birthday with my daughter and her fiancé. "Can you share some wisdom," she asked, "things you have learned over the years?" I thought about it, and nothing came to mind just then. Later that evening I realized she had given me a fine theme for my latest love note. I told her and she agreed. I began to think what I wanted to share with my readers. As I went to bed that night my mind continued to whirl with thoughts.

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