Britons consider whether or not to leave the European Union. Controversy continues to embroil Brazil's government in the wake of corruption scandals. And the debate surrounding America's gun culture is explained. It's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly segment on political and societal news from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
An it harm none do what you will at first glance seems to be an invitation for any kind of behavior. However, this founding concept for most nature based religions is not as simplistic as it first appears. Paganism has two leading ethical principles, the Wiccan Rede and the law of return. According to Marion Green in A Witch Alone “An it harm none, do what ye will. None in this case implies everyone and everything! An in old English means In order that and will is your soul’s own true will, not the whim of the moment.” (pg 41) In other words - In order that no harm comes to anything or anyone do what your soul’s own true desires. The law of return basically means that whatever energy you put out it will come back to you, three, ten or a hundred fold depending on what path you follow. As with other religions, this is interpreted in a variety of ways. The law of return, which is a western version of karma expounds personal responsibility. According to Rabinovitch and MacDonald in An Ye Harm None there are two central concepts on morality “1) that there are causes for and reasons why something happens and 2) that every action you take will have effects.” (page 5) In its simplest form the rede is the guide for making life choices. The law of return is the penalty or prize for any action taken.
In any discussion concerning Pagan morality and justice it is difficult to pin down the one overriding belief the entire community has. Paganism, Witchcraft, and the other nature-based belief systems are very individualistic, which is part of their appeal. This means that those practicing these systems have to determine their own ethical and moral beliefs based on the minimal guidance found in whatever path they choose to follow....
Let us lift up our hands.
On this Midsummer's Day
I call to Earth, mighty mother of us all,
and I ask that through the summer to come
our gardens may bear abundantly,
For the first time in 4 years, my rose bush is blooming.
After years of not blooming, I was pretty shocked, one morning in late May, to go into the back yard and notice that the rose bush was covered in hundreds of tight green buds. A few weeks later, the roses—small red ones—began to open, just a few at first, then more every day, until the whole thing is livid with scarlet petals and crawling with bees. Every few days, I cut off some of open blooms, and put them in water, but there are always more every morning. Every morning the cool air in the garden smells of roses, the apple trees and cottonwoods are damp with dew, birds are trilling and flitting between the branches. It's sweet and luscious, this moment as the day is beginning, in those sweet weeks as Spring ebbs into Summer. The world is beautiful, the weather is beautiful, the world is throbbing with life. Every cell is full of pleasure and joy, the world vibrates with it....
It’s Midsummer, also known as the Summer Solstice or Litha! Alternatively viewed as either the midpoint or the start of summer, Midsummer is the time when one hemisphere of the Earth (the Northern Hemisphere in this case) is at its maximum tilt towards the Sun, resulting in the longest day and an increase in temperature. Of course, for our southern kindred, it’s Midwinter.
Here at PaganSquare we’ve gathered a large number of posts both from our own website and others to celebrate this day. We hope you enjoy today’s festivities and have a wonderful summer (or winter if that’s where you are)!
I visited the Sacred Valley and the Temple of the Sun in Peru for my 40th Birthday, and these lands are a sight to behold. At the time of the Summer Solstice each year, the rising sun reflects off a certain point of a mountain in the Ollantaytambo archaeological site, and bounces off the altar atop the temple, where the Incans strategically placed it some 500 years ago. The fact that these laid by hand granite stones still stood now– with no cement holding them together– untouched– was truly spiritual. My mother, who had accompanied me, was moved to tears, taking it all in. Each year, not unlike their British counterparts at Stonehenge, local Peruvians reenact the Incan Summer Solstice ritual. I am sure it is a spectacle to appreciate, based on what I have seen and the commemorative photos marking the event.
Litha, or the Summer Solstice, is many a Pagan and Wiccan's favorite festival of the year. If you'd like to make yours truly special, here are some suggestions for a simple ritual, in tribute to Inti Raymi, not unlike our Incan ancestors held.
Buy some brightly-colored flowers and throw them festively around the ground of your firepit. Encourage participants to wear silver and gold jewelry, and have everyone bring a small carved wooden sun symbol or figure to place in a backyard bonfire. Since I'm sure you wouldn't want to sacrifice any white llamas, burn some white sage instead. Smudge everyone first, and then offer it to your fire as a sacrifice to the Sun God. Make a procession of building your fire where each guest contributes by adding to it. Build it first, and wait to light it at sunset, adding some straw and dancing around it to raise energy clockwise. Give a nod to each of the four wind directions as you do.
Give thanks to Suyos, representing the snake for the world below, the puma for life on earth and the condor, who presides over the upper world of the gods. These three animals were very honored and seen repeatedly in architecture and artwork throughout Cusco and the surrounding areas.
Celebrate and feast with some Pisco Sours (the national cocktail), ceviche, Peruvian roasted potatoes (see recipe below) and Inca Kola – if you can get your hands on it! When the fire dies down a bit, those who feel able-bodied should take a running jump over the pit for good luck. Revel in the sunset.
ROASTED PERUVIAN POTATOES
Start to finish: 1 hour
Servings: 4 to 6
2 pounds Peruvian purple potatoes, scrubbed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cilantro
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Halve the potatoes and place them in a bowl. Cover them with water if you cut them ahead of time.
In another bowl, mix olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Drain potatoes well and add them to the oil mixture. Toss with olive oil mixture. Spread the potatoes on a sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve
(Recipe from Aaron Sanchez, foodnetwork.com)
Sunset Over Lake Superior in Michigan: Traditional Lands of the Anishinaabeg
In 2003, several Anishinaabeg women from different clans came together to address water pollution in their traditional lands. What they decided to do that year, and something similar every year since, is to walk the perimeter of the Great Lakes. Along with other Anishinaabeg people and supporters of all races and identities, they annually raise awareness about the sanctity of water to all life on Mother Earth and draw attention to the pollution in and around the bodies of water....