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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Blood Well

I followed the flight of the heron through the willows, the wide blue sky above. Skirting my way around the little town, I made my way between the hills, between the greening orchards and down the leafy Well House Lane, the glorious lush green belly of Glastonbury Tor above me bright in the sunshine. I have walked this road a million times, in rain and summer heat, in winter shadows and sleet, in the utter darkness of a Samhain waning moon...it knows me well, and every time my feet tread this path I feel blessed to live in such a sacred landscape. I greet the tree spirits I have worked with over the years, the hidden springs, one a deep secret, another a mere boggy patch in the meadow upon such a day as this...

Turning the corner I enter the gardens of Chalice Well, and the hush of the day becomes somehow more refined as I make my way past the manicured flower beds and beneath the rose archway, passed 'the chakra border', a rainbow of blossoms unfurling. The sense of wholeness I have gathered to me all the way builds now, my body finds comfort in the serenity of the garden, as I make my way along the worn stone pathway to take my seat beside the well. Aching feet find ease upon the cool damp stone. There is the sound of distant drums beating upon the Tor, but all is still here, all is quiet. I am blessed with solitude, but I am not alone. As my stillness gathers, I feel the presence of this place all around me. The spirit of the well, the ancient goddess envelops me. Without words or ceremony, Her presence both warm and bright rises from the waters, and I sit in quiet communion, my spirit drinking in all She may offer. Her daughter, Her pupil, Her priestess.

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    "all that we have suffered, all that we have lost, and all that we know." Susan Griffin, Woman and Nature

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
What Odin doesn't stand for

Odin is a god of many, many things: wisdom, inspiration, exploration, shamanism, prophecy, kingship, rune magic, language and expression, expanding and altering consciousness, creativity, death, blood magic, self-sacrifice, and yes, even warfare, savagery and bloodshed at times.  But do you know one thing He does not stand for?  Racial hate crimes.  Seriously people, I defy you to find anything–anything at all–in the northern lore that supports this kind of atrocity.  As my friend Heather Freysdottir posted today, hate is not a Heathen value–not in any way, shape or form, and I for one am thoroughly sick and tired of having my God’s name used as an excuse for racist violence.

You know why I don’t primarily identify as Heathen?  Know why I am not able to call myself an “Odinist witch” or “Odinic witch” (the way some of my friends will refer to themselves as “Lokean witches”)?  This.  This is why.  Because, thanks to assholes like this (and others like him in the past 100 years or so of history), my God’s name is now identified with racially motivated violence.  And from these maniacs, the poisonous notion that Odinism=white supremacy and racial hatred seeps into the community, until you can’t hold an “Asatru meet-up” without having one or two white-supremacist-leaning individuals show up. (Yes, this truly was my experience when I was still trying to organize meet-ups back east.)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hate Is Not a Heathen Value

On April 13, 2014, a white supremacist perpetuated a hate crime on a Jewish Community Center. Some mass media outlets have attempted to identify the shooter as a Heathen, but I'd like to take a moment to reiterate that his values (or rather, his lack thereof) are not shared by Heathenry or Northern Tradition Paganism at large. The Troth has already issued a statement on using the Northern Tradition as a justification for hate crimes and bigotry.  And there are Heathens who feel that words are not enough, and have organized a fundraiser to help the families affected by the shooting.

Y'all know that I don't primarily identify as a Heathen, and there are some reasons for that. One is that I don't consider my practice reconstructionist in nature, and that's a large one, but truth be told, the problematic issue of hate groups claiming Heathen identity is also part of why I back away from most Heathen groups. The Troth is the ONLY  Heathen org that I've ever joined because it has explicit, defined mission statements that are committed to racial diversity, "Membership in the Troth is open to all who seek to know and honor the Gods, ancestors, and values of the pre-Christian Germanic traditions, regardless of gender, race, nationality, or sexual orientation."

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Witchlings, Tarot and Snakes? Oh my!

Sometimes I run into a situation with a client where the answer simply isn't making itself known. When that happens, I turn to the clarification card technique.

This isn't something I developed. I learned it a long time ago from a beautiful witch in Toledo. Lady Lhianna taught me that sometimes

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

You know, there are times when I feel like I have nothing to contribute to Paganism.  I've gotten a lot out of it, but then I think to myself: What happened?  No, I don't want this to be all normal and easy to digest, I want it to be mysterious and exciting, and for some reason, it isn't anymore.


Why do I feel as though what I have to say isn't special? I'm scratching my head on this one, because it's an important part of my motivation to keep my blogs-that what I'm saying is important and useful.  Maybe I'm having my mid-Pagan crisis or something.  But where went the power and majesty of worshipping the Moon and the forbidden Gods? Because let's face it; what we do is forbidden by mainstream culture. 

I'm particularly at a loss with trying to connect classical music to Pagan culture-even though it's my specialty, somehow I feel like I can't write for the Pagan audience. I just don't know enough about their musical skill or what they'll accept. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

It's Springtime here in Texas -- though my friends in Chicago assure me it's still winter there -- and along with the bluebonnets and the longer days, that means it's almost finals time. Somehow this time of year is at least as busy for me in my professor role as it ever was for me as a student. I'm also staring down a summer of uncertain employment, as my faculty appointments are part-time. So it's been a time of excitement at new possibilities but also worries about what ifs, and in my typical fashion I've been internalizing and stressing and feeling as though I have to find a way to figure out an answer to the pressing questions of finances and career.

Thank Goddess that Tara decided to dance into my week!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Tara.jpg

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  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I do love our bluebonnets! Lovely inspiration, Susan.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
EASTER AND THE GODDESS

This is my body, given for you,

This is my blood, given for you.

While these words are the center of a Christian liturgy celebrating the sacrifice of Jesus as the Christ, they are more appropriately spoken of our own mothers. Your mother and my mother and all mothers, human and other than human, mammalian, avian, and reptilian, give their bodies and blood so their offspring might have life. True, mothers do not always make conscious choices to get pregnant, but almost all mothers affirm life in their willingness to nurture the young who emerge from their bodies and from their nests. Had mothers—human and other than human–not been giving their bodies and their blood from time immemorial, you and I would not be here.

The Easter liturgy fails to acknowledge that the original offering of body and blood is the mother’s offering. Christianity “stole” the imagery associated with birth and attributed it to a male savior.

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  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Carol. You eloquently explain what continues to bother me about Christianity-- it's denial of the mother and the divinit

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I recently went away to a weekend intensive hosted by Expanding Inward.  It was a wonderful weekend, full of revelations and tears...and not once during sessions was I hugged by another participant.

I was not hugged because I didn't ask for a hug.

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    This is so important. When I am told stories of sexual abust (I have heard more than anyone needs to) I always say: "This should n
  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    I hear you on the fixing and the denying of reality, Carol. It is interesting to me that if someone hugs me while I am telling a p
  • Susan Harper
    Susan Harper says #
    Thank you for this. I am in the midst of doing some writing on what I call Radical Witnessing, or the act of holding space and mak

Don't be deceived by personal presentation. Some will bite on the front end and you'll never see the kindness coming. Some will bite on the back end - where you expect sympathy you will suddenly get steel.

That is the way of it. Do not confuse softness with powerlessness, harshness with lack of solace.

Do not coddle your own weakness. Listen deeply, and open. There are teachers are all around you.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Helper: Help Thyself

Step One is "We admitted that we were harming ourselves and others and that our lives had become overwhelming."

When I am overwhelmed, my primal brain is in control, and all it cares about is survival.  I've been under the control of my primal brain for most of the year so far, even when things were going good.  I was aware that something was wrong, but I kept putting off examining myself to find my problem while I helped other people find and work out theirs.

That's what I'm doing with my life.  I help people identify their problems, figure out solutions, and empower themselves to take those steps.  I am a healer, a teacher, and an intuitive consultant (sometimes known as a psychic,) but all those roles are simply aspects of Helper.

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  • Michele L Warch
    Michele L Warch says #
    Thank you for your review. Its funny the way the world works -- not really, just synchronicity. I was having a conversation, last

Not satisfied with the response to a complaint that I had made at the beginning of April regarding two sexist comments that Ken Bruce had made at the beginning of his BBC Radio 2 show on 2 April, I have written back to the BBC and am sharing this story with you. What we say DOES matter, and we need to speak out against what we think is wrong. As a Druid, I take speech quite seriously (when I'm not being The Fool, but there is method in my madness there as well - indeed, a good friend of mine this weekend said that I am one of the most intelligent people she knows, and also the silliest - but I digress...)

What happened was that I wrote in to BBC Radio 2 because Ken Bruce had called Lynne Bowles a "whale" (in jest) and in the next breath said something about her putting on a French maid's uniform. Many people would say that taking this out of context is making it appear worse than it actually is. What I am saying is that the context of sexism doesn't matter - it's still sexism. Ways to undermine women's power in our society is becoming more and insidious where it cannot be achieved through brute force. Here is the correspondence that I have received back from my complaint, and my further response.

I am putting this here on my blog as well as my Facebook page. My original post in which I tagged the BBC has mysteriously disappeared from my Facebook timeline. It is my intention to make this public, and whether it is simply a Facebook error or a more targeted silencing, I shall never know - what I do know is that they cannot touch this blog.

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Pagan savings challenge, week fifteen:  secrets

There's been a lot written about the culture secrecy lately.  In the Pagan community, many people are questioning whether a culture of secrecy perpetuates bad behavior, and in the broader United States, the President is seeking to dismantle the culture of secrecy surrounding salaries.

In both of those cases, secrecy can lead to advantage being taken, but secrecy has its place.  When it comes to money specifically, even if we develop a culture in which we all feel comfortable talking about money, we don't necessarily want people to know where we stash our cash.  That's why I was delighted to discover a post on creating a money jar for the Pagan savings challenge, the image for this very post was nicked from Mistress of the Hearth to show what one might look like.

As someone who is saving this money in cash, and particularly since I make a habit of taking pictures of my savings for most of these posts, I appreciate this form of secrecy.  My money is protected by the gods of my household generally, the gods of wealth and thievery specifically, and the best locks and methods of hiding that I can muster.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Axis Mundi: The God-Pole Rite

After decades of juiceless talkie-talkie Men's Rituals at pagan festivals here in the Midwestern US, Sparky T. Rabbit (of Lunacy fame), Frebur Moore and I decided that we'd had enough. So we put together the kind of Men's Ritual we ourselves had always wanted to attend. The Rite of the God-Pole premiered at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2009 at Camp Zoe, Missouri.

One hot, steamy night in late June, some 60 men ceremonially bore an eight-foot phallic wooden menhir through the camp and together raised it on a sandy little spit jutting out into the creek that flowed through the valley. We anointed and garlanded the God-Pole, sang songs of praise, danced, and poured libations. I knew the Rite had been a success when immediately afterward many of the men tore off their clothing and dashed naked into the cooling waters of the creek. I'll tell you, they should all end that way.

Our theological point was that, like the Women's Mysteries, the Men's Mysteries are at heart biological: the Red Mysteries and the White, the Blood mysteries and those of Semen. Like women's bodies, men's bodies have their own cycle that every man knows in every cell of his body: the cycle of quiescence, erection, love-play, and ejaculation. The Mysteries, by their nature, express Primal Truths.

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  • Christopher Blackwell
    Christopher Blackwell says #
    We men are way behind to women when it comes to men mysteries and what to we want being a man to be for ourselves. Just like the w
  • Wizard Garber
    Wizard Garber says #
    This is good as far as it goes, but unfortunately you seem to have fallen into the same trap as most men -- that is to say that me
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I think, Wizard, that we're seeing here some of the semantic limitations inherent in symbolism and ritual. Over the decades, my ex

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Before I talk about tarot as a Jungian Neo-Pagan practice, I want to take a time out and share some of my favorite tarot decks with you.

Mary-El Tarot by Marie White

My absolutely favorite deck is the Mary-El Tarot.  I waited literally years for Marie White to finish this deck.  It is non-traditional and based on White's own fantastic oil paintings.  I could stare at the art of any one of these cards for a long time.  I think the Death and World cards below are especially lovely.  If I had more space, I would have included several of the Minor Arcana cards as well.  

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  • Danielle Aubenque
    Danielle Aubenque says #
    I too have the original Vertigo deck and it's my personal deck. I have the Geiger and Black tarot too. I use Crow's Magic for read

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_heartbleed.pngThe recent news has been so full of the current astrological symbolism, it’s hard for a poor astrologer to keep up. In tech news (Uranus rules computers and hi-tech) we have the NASDAQ sell-off, and the Heartbleed bug — which may not be entirely unrelated. In the “yet more insane, horrifying violence” sort of news, we have the shooting at Fort Hood, and the stabbings at a PA school, both involving heroic actions by women. Also, this.  I suggested the likelihood of "notable actions of a woman or group of women" happening this month in my post on the Aries New Moon.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Broom Magick for Spring Cleaning

When I sat down to write my latest book, The Witch’s Broom, I suddenly realized that there were a lot of ways to use a magickal broom that I hadn’t been utilizing. Mind you, I’d been doing magickal spring (and fall) cleaning for years, but my main tools had been the basics: salt and water and a sage smudge stick. Which worked just great, don’t get me wrong, but there is something quite fitting about using the magick of a broom to clean and clear the energy of your house, especially after a long winter.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    You have my sympathy, Bobbie! I am allergic to lots of plants, including some great magical herbs like Yarrow. You can use lemon
  • Bobbie Hughes
    Bobbie Hughes says #
    What if you are alergic to sage I cannot eat it or touch it or even smell it what else could I us.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Hide and Seek

“It’s a joy to be hidden, but a disaster not to be found.” —D.W. Winnicott

As children, we are vulnerable and know it. We hide from bullies, from punishment, from mockery and scorn. No matter how loving our parents, our lives are not in our control, and so we hide to stay safe. But we also hide in order to have our hiddenness acknowledged and respected. I remember running up to my room after some perceived slight, hoping that my mother would notice and worry over my disappearance, but not necessarily that she would find me and force me to talk about my feelings.

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

When the whole Kenny Klein issue hit the news, I was appalled but not surprised. I had met the guy in New Orleans and been less than impressed, in fact i"d found him energetically filthy and obviously lacking in any moral sense. I thought thought "well, here at least is an issue that all Polytheists, Pagans, and Wiccans can staunchly stand behind: child abuse and molestation, sexual assault. coverups --  and anything that furthers those things is wrong." How naive I was and how incorrect. 

Since the affair de Kenny hit the Pagan blogosphere I have been sickened by the number of Pagans and Wiccans who have come out publicly excusing these behaviors and moreover attempting to silence his victims. Just check out the wildhunt.com coverage for a sickening sample. 

That's why today when I saw this piece by a respected Pagan elder here at Witches and Pagans http://witchesandpagans.com/Pagan-Culture-Blogs/ok-everybody-breathe.html it was just too much. 

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  • Bourdon Bee
    Bourdon Bee says #
    I'd like to see some discussion of grey areas as well, and perhaps some discussion of what the lines are in "sex positive". Becau
  • Hec
    Hec says #
    Galina, I've posted a reaction to your comments over at my blog: http://hecatedemeter.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/clarification/
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    I apologize if you feel that I mischaracterized your initial post and thank you for taking the time to clarify; I'm glad to see th

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Hospitality in ancient Hellenic was a complicated ritual within both the host and the guest has certain roles to fill and tasks to perform. Especially when someone unknown to the host came to the door, the ritual held great value. The host had and has many tasks in his process, but the guest had/has an important part to play as well: the guest is expected to be courteous and not be a burden to the host. The house was a sanctuary in ancient Hellas with a lot of social rules attached to it. Guests could not enter certain parts of the house, and male guests were kept away from women at all times. Long term guests had a slightly different status, as they became part of the oikos, but they were still subject to restrictions when it came to social an religious behaviour. This practice was known as 'xenia' (ξενία), and we'll be talking about a very special version of it today: xenia related to Gods and heroes.

Xenia is described a lot in mythology. Especially the more general form of it where Theoi disguising themselves as beggars or undesirables and come to the door of an unsuspecting mortal features in many myths. The host is judged on the hospitality offered; good things befall those who treat guests with respect, very bad things befall those who do not. One of my favorite Hellenic myths shows this in great detail; it's the story of how Baucis and Philemon received some unexpected visitors. You can read the myth here.

Theoxenia is a little different, it's a specific ritual meant to bring the Gods closer to us and invite Them into our home. Heroxenia is the same practice, but for the heroes of Hellenic mythology. In short, theoxenia and heroxenia were a kind of Hellenic sacrifice in which worshippers presented foodstuffs to Gods or heroes (not usually at the same time, or at least not at the same table), who then attended the meal as guests, or xenoi.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Temperance, That's great! I really like these rituals. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

My father told me once, “Just about the first thing I do every morning is to look out to see which way the wind's blowing.”

Makes sense. You can't see the Winds, but they get around; they're the speediest of gods. And they're messengers: they bear information, to those minded to pay attention. When you know which direction the wind's blowing from, you can look into the future and see what kind of weather the day is likely to bring. Winds certainly bear sound. And scents, well: we mammals have been living by our noses for an awfully long time now.

To the ancestors, the Winds were gods. Chances are, you can (maybe with a little effort) rattle off Boreas, Eurus, Notus, Zephyrus. In India, Persia, Russia, the Baltics, and Italy, as well as in Greece, they sacrificed to the winged Winds.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My pleasure, Shirl. Your comment strikes me as itself a pretty good nutshell definition of paganism!
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    That was lovely mix of history, personal experience and a thoughtful, succint look at the presence of the Gods embodied within phy

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