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

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Recent blog posts
The Hearth and The Well: Finding Our Way in the Dead of Winter

This is the story I like to tell at Imbolc:

            Months into the winter of her grief, Demeter, distraught and exhausted, rested by a well. When the king’s daughters discovered her, disguised as an old woman, they brought her back to the palace to feed her. She soon became nurse to their infant brother.  The king’s family grew to care for the old woman, who was often mournful for her lost daughter. To cheer her up, young Iambe offers her a glass of kykeon (an alcoholic and psychoactive brew), and when Demeter refuses, Iambe lifts her skirt up in an “irreverent manner” which surprises Demeter into laughter.

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs


How could my family do this to me?

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Prelude to a Public Ritual

 When enacting ritual in public, it's always best to make the directions part of the ritual itself.

Horns blow.

Procession to altar.


At the altar, officiant raises arms and chants:

Let all cell phones be turned off now: So mote it be.

Let all cell phones be turned off now: So mote it be.

Let all cell phones be turned off now: So mote it be.

(People join in third time.)

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
When Good Fiction Goes Bad

Pop culture workers spend countless hours getting to know the stories, worlds, and characters of our favorite media.  We learn their energies so well that we can incorporate them into our magick with ease.  Our fandoms become a part of the very fabric of our magickal practice.  Sometimes, as we’re merrily working away, the creators dare to fundamentally change our favorite bits of pop culture in a way that no longer works for us.  What do you do when good fiction goes bad?

There are benefits and risks in working with living fiction: stories that are still unfolding in their medium.  The primary benefit to working with living fiction is the liveliness of its energy.  A story that is still unfolding has momentum and power that static fiction just can’t match.  If the fiction is popular, think the current Marvel movies or Star Wars, then you have not only the energies of the stories themselves but also the popular momentum generated by advertising, merchandising, fan buzz, etc.  Living media is huge part of popular culture and pop culture workers can use all of that madness to their advantage.  The biggest risk with living media is that its energies can change swiftly and profoundly: characters can reveal hidden details that make them something utterly different, beloved characters can suddenly die, mysterious siblings can appear from the ether (I’m looking at you Buffy and Sherlock), plots can suddenly diverge in ways wholly inconsistent with everything you loved about the media in the first place, the creator has just been revealed as a horrible person in a way that taints their creations...the list can go on forever.  Fear not, all of this can be addressed. 

Your favorite fiction has just taken a hard left turn off a cliff, what do you do?  Embrace version control - the concept of working with a specific version of media.  Lots of amazing media comes in different versions.  For example, Superman exists in multiple comics, movies, television, books, etc., all of which portray a different version of the character and the universe he inhabits.  If you want to do pop culture magick with Superman the first thing you need to decide is which version of him you want to work with. (See Who's Your Doctor for more)  This same concept applies when a character, story, or world you’re working with changes.  You can choose to work with select portions of your pop culture media.  Only like a character in seasons 2-4 of a show?  Only work with that version of the character.  Want to pretend that a book series ended at book five?  Go for it.  It’s your magick and you get to choose what you work with.

Version control can most easily be executed through a statement of intent.  It’s always a good practice to have a firm statement of intent before doing magick; to say what you’re going to do, why, and exactly how.  During a statement of intent you can specify the precise version of pop culture energy you’re calling upon.  For example, in casting a time management spell I might call on Hermione Granger, specifically from book three of Harry Potter.  In book three Hermione had a time turner to help her deal with her overloaded schedule and was able to accomplish all of her goals while overcoming many challenges.  This particular brand of time management skill isn’t referred to in any other book, so being specific about which version of Hermione, with which particular skill set, would be beneficial to the spell.  Similarly, if one were to call on Black Widow for personal strength and maneuverability it might be beneficial to specify that you want to work with the kickass version from The Winter Soldier rather than the damsel in distress that got locked in a castle in Age of Ultron.  By specifying a precise version of your fiction, you can work with the elements that support your magick while largely ignoring the problematic bits.

It is possible to take version control too far.  One of the biggest benefits of working with pop culture magick is the vast amount of energy that pop culture media possesses by virtue of other fans and the general public.  When you choose a particular version of a piece of media you can cut off your access to some of the energy that the rest of that media contains.  If you only want to work with a version of a tv character that appeared in one episode (think dream, bespelled, or hallucinated versions of characters), you’re not going to have access to the vast energetic stores of the normal version of that character.  Rather you’ll only have access to the energy invested by the creators and fans in that particular slice of the character - and not everyone will love it as much as you do.  While potentially limiting, strict version control allows a practitioner to work with whatever aspects of pop culture that truly resonate with them, even when it’s problematic.

A more extreme form of version control would be to choose a slice of pop culture fiction and customise it through your own creative works, e.g. fanfiction, fanart, mental storytelling, etc.  We all have certain stories we wish had gone differently or characters we’d have liked to see make different decisions.  If you want to do magick with one of these alternate (AU) version of a story or character you absolutely can.  By writing out or just imagining alternate stories for your favorite character or world you can, in essence, create a thoughtform of that alternative and work with it magickally.  The more you flesh out and work with your AU the more energy will be woven into it and thus be available for further workings.  This carries the same limitations of mass media energy as working with very specific versions of characters and stories.  However, if you write fanfiction or create fanart you have the ability to share it with other fans and potentially pick up the energy they put into your works.  Further, the ease inherent in working with (mostly) your own creation can outweigh the lack of mass fan energy in terms of magickal efficiency.  This form of pop culture magick is limited only by your own imagination and willingness to work outside the box.

The next time your favorite bit of pop culture media makes a change for the worse, fear not!  Take a deep breath, calm your mind, decide which version of that media you want to work with and, at least as far as your magickal practice is concerned, ignore the rest of it.  Allow strict version control or the creation of your own alternate storyline to fuel your workings with just the energy you need and none of the angst you don’t.  If what truly resonates with you is pre-movie Galen Erso, young Scrooge McDuck, Dark Willow, or movie Rainbow Brite then that’s exactly what you should do.  Your magick is just that: yours.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Drama of Victim, Hero, and Villain


"The abuser won. Everything is back to the way it was before."

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Addressing Things Publicly

Here's something that came up in my leadership/community building class at Pantheacon. When someone engages in poor behavior in a public setting, it must also be dealt with publicly. While there may be a private component to the process (mediation meeting, taking the person aside to offer them feedback, etc.) the behavior must still be dealt with in as public a fashion as it originally happened. 

Why? Because otherwise the other people who experienced the harm/observed the behavior have no idea what's going on. This becomes especially important as more organizations adopt safety/anti-harassment policies. If people in the group/at the event observe the safety policy being violated, then they must see how the safety policy is being upheld.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Seven Inches of Sacredness

In my religion, snow is sacred.

Try to remember that.

It's late winter. It's been a cold winter, and winter in Minnesota is always too long. The Sun climbs higher in the sky every day, the buds are starting to swell, and the redbirds are singing their spring song (“Pretty bird! Pretty bird!”), but spring is still only a hope on the rose-red dawn horizon. We're coming up on the snowiest time of year.

So it's good to be reminded that snow is a gift.

We call Him Thunder for His Voice, but you could call Him Storm. In summer, He gives His good gift of rain; in winter, snow.

Ah, beautiful snow. Look closely and you'll see that it's actually every color but white. Snow is a wonder, so varied, so full of character: light, heavy, wet, dry, granular, fluffy. “The higher the snow, the higher they grow,” they say, meaning, of course, the crops. It's a true saying, too.

Against winter cold, snow makes the best insulation. That's the paradox of snow: it's cold, but keeps us warm.

Last modified on

Additional information