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PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
If I could zap one word from the pagan vocabulary, it would be “archetype.”
Don't ask me what it means. When I press people for a definition, they're mostly hard-put to provide one. So far as I can tell, archetypes seem to be something like Platonic Ideas.
If so, what does it mean to say that the gods are archetypes?
Me, I'm an Old Style Pagan. I worship (to name only some) the Sun, the Moon, the Storm, Earth, Sea, the Winds. Whatever it is that They may be (when asked “What is a god?” the poet Simonides replied, “I find that the more I think about the question, the more opaque it becomes”), it doesn't seem to me to be in any way meaningful to say that they're archetypes.
Whatever that may be.
Craft historian Michael Howard has contended that the reductionist tendency to regard the gods as archetypes—essentially, as parts of ourselves—has actually stood in the way of entering into any sort of real relationship with Them.
Let the wind blow magic your way...
The power of the wind is mighty and can be used for all sorts of spell work because not only is the wind refreshing, cleansing, purifying and full of the energy to aid with clearing out all kinds of unwanted baggage it can also be used differently depending on what direction the wind is coming from....
January, if we are lucky and our daily lives allow, can be a time of contemplation, of looking back over the past year, of quietly getting our lives in order, whilst also looking ahead to the summer to come. While the earth seems to sleep, with long nights and cold days, the first new shoots make it above ground and buds on the trees remind us that spring isn't far...but the time of quiet is still here for a while at least. I always find a struggle against natures rhythms is never very productive, and it's better to do what must be done in the modern world and retire to the fireside or get out under wide winter skies as much as possible. January to me is a liminal time, a threshold point and should be honoured as such- neither here nor there, neither the renewal and festivity of winter solstice nor the bright candlelight of Imbolc...it's that in between time when magic can really happen, when things can really change if we catch the moment and steer ourselves a little differently, or weave a new thread into our webs of wyrd.
I think the Celts of the past new this well, and liminal magic seems to be a forgotten skill of theirs. Janus figures, two faced gods named after the Roman god of beginnings and doorways crop up all over the Celtic world and are undoubtedly pre-Roman deities but are often unknown among those following the Celtic path today. Famous examples include the double-faced horned Iron Age statue ( 4th - 2nd century BCE) from Holzgerlingen in Germany, the two headed sculpture from Roquepertuse ( 600-124 BCE) and the two double faced god statues, which are probably Iron age, from Boa island in Ireland....
An old friend of mine recently asked that question. It's a deceptively tricky question, the longer one thinks about it, especially in the Copy Room of Revelations. It gets sticky of course, because everything does. The spiritual part gets dicey, because you could totally be a Witch and still identify as a Major Religion and go to a Major Religion Service regularly and still practice some version of Witchcraft. Hoodoo (Southern North-American folk magic) is literally built on this. There are no Hoodoo gods. You talk to the gods you came with, who are probably some kind of Christian. You might talk to saints and spirits. But Hoodoo does not have [Goddess Name], the goddess of [Action X]. It is an add on to your American-Christian Starter Pack, though people who don't identify as American-Christian use it too as we are all more shameless versions of The Borrowers in matters of the Craft.
Conversely, you can identify as a Witch and choose to worship only the (Wiccan) God & Goddess pair, the (Dianic WIccan) Goddess and/or a mish mosh pantheon of polytheistic goddesses from various places in the world, some of whom mostly went to sleep for a while (Greek pantheon, Roman patheon, Celtic pantheon, etc) and some of whom never went to sleep (the Hindu pantheon, some fae in Nordic/Celtic countries, the Buddhist pantheon)....
There's an article circulating on the net claiming that "before patriarchal times" Friday the 13th was a sacred day for women to honor the goddess and to celebrate their menstrual cycles. However, the time period generally considered "before patriarchy" was the stone age in Europe when goddess figurines like the Venus of Willendorf were made, that is, 7,000 BCE to 9,000 BCE, and / or pre-Minoan Crete, before approprixately 3,000 BCE, which was also the stone age. Friday the 13th didn't exist before the application of Germanic derived week names to a Roman-derived calendar system, which did not happen before approximately AD 200.
The "fri" in Friday is from the names of heathen goddesses Freya or Frigga, and the artwork illustrating your article is Freya. These are two of the major goddesses of heathenry, commonly called Norse mythology. The Old Norse calendar had every month starting on Sunday, and every month had 30 days (with some extra days added in the middle of summer) so days of the week didn't change number every month like our calendar does....
My daughter and I love watching BBC / PBS shows. Victoria is the most recent one we are watching. As I watched how people lived in the 1800s, I considered what it would be like to only have my life lighted by candles and sunlight. It would certainly make the dark part of the year different.
By 4:00 or so at night, flickering candlelight would be my only illumination. This reduces my scope of environment drastically. Right now, if it’s dark I flip a switch and illumination of my surroundings occurs. But what if I only had dripping smelly candles to light my way? What would it feel like to be surrounded by darkness? Would fear well? Would loneliness envelop?...