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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Honoring the Dead

Silly costumes, trick or treating, horror stories have never been my thing.  Even as a kid, I never really liked Halloween the way it’s celebrated.  My father died in late October in 1984.  The grief from his loss lingers and always makes me a bit sad during this time of year.  Instead of celebrating with the silliness of trying to frighten yourselves, I find ways to honor the dead. 

The veil between worlds thins and allows a connection to bridge across the worlds.  For me this bridge is always there.  No I don’t see dead people.  I’m not claiming to be psychic.  I do attempt to honor those who have passed.

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Samhain in the South: Honoring our Beloved Dead

As the Wheel of the Year turns and I begin to feel the veil thinning once again, I’m reminded of one way the beloved dead are honored throughout the South. Drive through the countryside, and you’ll likely see church signs announcing “Homecoming and Decoration.” It’s an invitation to those with relatives buried in the church cemetery to spruce up the graves, put flowers on them, and enjoy a potluck meal, sometimes referred to as “dinner on the ground.” Though meals are usually served in a fellowship hall now, that term originated from spreading out picnic blankets and dining on the cemetery grounds.

I’m sure you can see some parallels with our Samhain traditions and Dia de los Muertos. A major difference is that southern churches tend to hold decorations in May rather than October. I find that interesting, since May is also a time when the other side is more accessible. Beltane and Samhain are opposite each other on the Wheel of the Year, and both carry that liminal, otherworldly energy in different ways.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Butterflies on Radar

The Autumn started early here, with a sudden snap of cold, rainy, foggy weather hovering right on top of us for a few weeks.  It was an abrupt shift away from the warm, sunny weather we usually get. After the weather warmed back up, flocks of painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) began their fall migrations. These small brown spotted butterflies migrate through the West just as the Summer fades into the Fall. Because of elevated temperatures, the breeding season was extended, resulting in huge swarms of butterflies, thousands and thousands more than usual, flitting through the remnants of the gardens, tiny clouds of them hosting in the crowns of trees.

                Clouds of painted ladies so dense, they could be seen on weather radar.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Baba Yaga Brand Flour

Times being what they are, it's the (I think, rather endearing) habit of contemporary polytheist cultures to name commercial products after deities.

If you don't believe me, check out your nearest Indian grocer; you'll find various Laxmi Brand foodstuffs on practically every shelf (Lakshmi being the goddess of wealth and opulence).

That's how I came by 10 pounds of Baba Yagá brand flour.

A friend of mine is priest-in-residence at a Slavic temple over in “St” Paul. Among the resident deities there is Baba Yagá, the scary old hag-witch of Russian folklore. (She's the one that lives in the hut with chicken legs and flies in a mortar and pestle.)

There Baba Yagá receives offerings daily, in a fine old pagan tradition known as propitiation. It's never a bad idea to keep the dangerous ones happy.

(I might add that the Great Recession didn't hit the Twin Cities with anywhere near the impact that it did elsewhere, and that our unemployment rate here is low compared to the rest of the country. Whether or not this has anything to do with Baba Yagá, I'm not qualified to say. It's certainly an interesting coincidence.)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Perhaps an echo of the triple goddess? Just wonderin'...
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I hear that she has two sisters. They're both Baba Yaga, too. !
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Always loved Baba Yaga ever since I read about her in my Jack and Jill magazine as a child. Of course they didn't emphasize the ne
Ancestors at the Hearth: Hallowe’en Edition

I love the word Hallowe’en. It conjures all the warmth and mystery that I associate with the middle of the harvest season, and having celebrated it secularly throughout my life doesn’t diminish my now more spiritual experience of the holiday; instead, it accentuates it. Maybe it’s just me, but I find so much satisfaction in deepening my experience of the familiar, seeing beneath the surface of what is already around me. Making Hallowe’en sacred to me as a pagan is a rewarding experience.

While Hallowe’en, or All Hallows Eve, is a later, Christian term denoting a holiday that stems from the more ancient Samhain, it can still be relevant to pagans. After all, to “hallow” means to sanctify or venerate – to recognize something as sacred or worthy of veneration — which is what many of us do during this time. We pay homage to the dead: family members, beloved dead, cultural and/or spiritual ancestors, and sometimes even the dead with whom we have little to no emotional connection but who have walked the same earth.

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The Oracles of Delphi - A Living Priesthood

 

I am an Oracle of Delphi.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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[Continuing our series of interviews centered around Myths, Moons, and Mayhem, we sit down today with Morgan Elektra.]

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