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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Recent blog posts
MainStreet Media Lies ARE Domination & Exploitation...As Democracy Swirls Down the Drain

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gaia Moon
    Gaia Moon says #
    Know that the solution is a Matriarchal Spirituality and a Matriarchal Society~ we are already seeing the start of this as a Globa
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Tate, Nice manifesto. I may not completely share your sociopolitical or theological worldviews, but I very much agree about t
  • Karen Tate
    Karen Tate says #
    Jamie, Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Regarding maybe the alternatives to our corporatist world would be worse, I think w
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Tate, That which is not sustainable must someday end. It's not doom porn to point out the obvious. It cracks me up that Obam
When the Wights Are Angry, Everyone Suffers: Mythologizing Climate Change

Imagine that we were to discover an ancient Keltic tribe living in three isolated valleys up in the Alps.

Imagine that, through all the intervening centuries of the Great Interruption, they had, nonetheless, somehow managed to hold on to their Old Religion.

Amazingly enough—specifics aside—this not an imaginary scenario.

As the Indo-European-speaking peoples first entered the Indian subcontinent, groups broke off the main migration and settled along the way.

That's how the Kalasha, the last surviving pagans of the Hindu Kush, came to live in three isolated mountain valleys in what is now NW Pakistan.

Their religion, practiced continuously since antiquity, strongly resembles the religion of the Rig Veda, modern Hinduism's oldest scripture; some of the gods are even the same.

Alone among the Indo-European peoples, the religion of the Kalasha has never been subsumed by one of the Big Name religions. This small tribe of 4000-some people is as close as we will ever come to touching the old paganisms of the European ancestors.

As such, they have much to teach us.

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The Mountain Mother: Reading the Language of the Goddess in Ancient Crete

Before he told the story of how his people received the sacred pipe, Black Elk said:

So I know that it is a good thing I am going to do; and because no good thing can be done by any man alone, I will first make an offering and send a voice to the Spirit of the World, that it may help me to be true. See, I fill this sacred pipe with the bark of the red willow; but before we smoke it, you must see how it is made and what it means. These four ribbons hanging here on the stem are the four quarters of the universe. The black one is for the west where the thunder beings live to send us rain; the white one for the north, whence comes the great white cleansing wind; the red one for the east, whence springs the light and where the morning star lives to give men wisdom; the yellow for the south, whence come the summer and the power to grow.

But these four spirits are only one Spirit after all, and this eagle feather here is for that One, which is like a father, and also it is for the thoughts of men that should rise high as eagles do. Is not the sky a father and the earth a mother, and are not all living things with feet or wings or roots their children? And this hide upon the mouthpiece here, which should be bison hide, is for the earth, from whence we came and at whose breast we suck as babies all our lives, along with all the animals and birds and trees and grasses. And because it means all this, and more than any man can understand, the pipe is holy. [italics added]

In this passage Black Elk illustrates the multivalency of symbols: the sacred pipe does not have a single meaning, but many meanings, in fact, more meanings than anyone can understand.

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The Whispering Hearth

The hearth has long been a place of power. We have already explored its position as a place of healing and protection. In many European cultures, it is also traditionally a place for communion with spirits, where offerings are left and knowledge from them can be gained. In Germany, the space between the back of the stove and the wall was called Hölle, “hell” (Lecouteux 70). It’s important to note that the words Hölle and hell originate not in Christianity but from a Proto-Germanic word meaning “a hidden place,” i.e. the underworld (Online Etymology Dictionary). People have long sought out the insight of the dead and other spirits regarding the future, and the hearth or stove was one common site for divination.

 

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The (witch's) Apprentice

I was a magician’s apprentice once.  True story!  I worked in a small metaphysical shop where I was employed as a personal assistant/store clerk/apprentice.  It was a fun and useful job in some ways, and terrible in many others.  I don’t want to get into too many personal details, but I can say that a few years later and after some valuable and hard lessons, I’m thankful for the overall experienced but so relieved that those years, that place, and those people, are far behind me.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Beyer-MLK_jail.jpgProfessor Ali Beyer has been featured in two recent exhibitions in Madison, Wisconsin. The Social Justice Center-Jackie Macaulay Gallery presented "America: Who Are We?" in January-February 2017. The show included Beyer's aquatint etching entitled,"Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Birmingham Jail (1963)."

A second show, "The First 100 Days," opened April 29th at Gallery 1308 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Beyer's 2017 mixed media collage is entitled, "The Bird's the Word."

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The Love Revolution: Mending Our Souls, Transforming Our World

Carl Jung was teaching us about the love revolution when he said that the opposite of love is not hatred, but will to power.

Will to power pretty well sums up the ethos that underlies our mainstream society where those at the top of the pile claim the right to dominate those below them. Self-interest and greed go hand in hand with will to power, and this toxic combination is what drives our political, economic and social systems.

Love is also a driving force in our humanity that is rooted in our connection to the Goddess, life, and our instincts of creation and nurturance. Intrinsic to love are concern and care for others, and our shared planet home.

The Goddess has been teaching me about this love revolution for years. Our humanity is at a pivotal turning point where the world as we know it, arising from this ethos of will to power, has set us on a collision course with ecological disaster and societal meltdown.  When I ask the Goddess how we can change this destructive trajectory, She always tells me one thing over and over: love is what can mend our human soul, and transform our shared society. 

Now I’m hearing about the love revolution from my eighty-four year old father. My dad is a politics junkie who spends endless hours watching the news, and social and political commentary. With the unending drama and disturbance on the world stage, we’ve had plenty to talk about in recent months.  Despite what feels like an unrelenting onslaught of bad, depressing news, my father noticed that something unexpected is happening in the outer world that comes to him through his television. People are talking about love as a counterforce to the political mayhem and social unrest of these turning times.

The love revolution isn’t a new idea. It was gifted to us by the sixties counterculture, where love, compassion and awareness were seen as the basis of a revolution in our human consciousness and society. Then it seemed as if the love revolution fizzled out, and we continued on the same collective, destructive trajectory of self-interest, greed and will to power.  But here we are, fifty years later, returning to this tenacious idea of love as a counterforce that can mend what ails our lives and shared society.

What is this transformative love that Carl Jung, the Goddess, my dad and the sixties counterculture are talking about?  This question has been central to my own spiritual journey, and quest for personal and collective transformation, and this is what I’ve discovered.

Love is a base human need.

We are wired to give and receive love both within our intimate circles of family, lovers, partners, children and friends, and the broader circles of our fellow humans and creature companions who share our Earth home. We can love ourselves, other people, things, ideas and activities. We typically think of this personal kind of love as emotional, but it’s also about service that honors and nurtures the well-being and happiness of others.  

Love is a state of being.

I’ve opened to this state of love through meditation. What I experienced wasn’t an idea or an emotion, but more a place or part of my being where I was love. My whole being was infused with an absolute peace and acceptance of everything and everyone. There was no separation between me and this love; it was in me and outside of me at the same time, everywhere and in all things.

Love is the primal power of the living world.

We live in a material Universe, of matter, of Mother, of love as life’s unquenchable desire to create and nurture new life. From our flesh and bone bodies to our shining souls, we are woven of this primal love, as is everything around us. Love is our essence, and the energetic matrix that connects every living thing. We are part of this love, and we are this love. There is no separation, and never was.

Love is a choice and sacred responsibility.

Humanity has been blessed and cursed with a dual nature. We hold within us the powers of creation and destruction, and their mirror forces of love and will to power. For millennia, we have collectively chosen will to power over love, and self-interest and greed over concern and care for others. To heal our souls and transform our world, we must consciously choose love over will to power, and then begin to live in accordance with this choice. 

Love is unconditional and inclusive.

No one and no part of ourselves are unworthy of this love.  Beauty and wounding, light and shadow, creation and destruction, those who love, and those who cling to will to power — all of these complex, opposing aspects of our inner landscape and collective humanity have brought us to this turning moment, and all are in need of acceptance, healing and transformation. Love is deep and wide enough to hold everyone and everything, and in this meeting and mixing of the full range of our humanity, we can become whole, holy, and something new, kinder, wiser and more powerful.  

Love is a revolutionary force that can mend our souls and transform our world.

Beneath the thin veneer of a world constructed on will to power, beyond our personal burdens and scars of broken hearts and wounded life stories, this vast, infinite love calls us home to its welcoming embrace.  We need only reach back to reclaim the love that we are, and the love that is ours to share. This love will heal and transform us, and then we, in turn, will heal and transform our world.

We, every single one of us, are the catalysts of the love revolution. The outer world can only change when we ourselves change, and choose love over will to power as the guiding force in our lives. This isn’t an easy journey. It calls us to claim and heal our wounded love, and to extend compassion and care to the great circle of our humanity, with all its mess, complexity and diversity. It requires that we become something new, a deeper, wider vessel for the love that is Goddess, life, and our true essence and best nature.

With each healed heart and mended soul, person by person, step by step, change by change, love is the counterforce to will to power that can guide our way forward into a kinder, caring and sustainable future.

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  • Karen Clark
    Karen Clark says #
    I definitely appreciate your comment! Blessings, Karen
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    How kind you are to say so. It is good to know when a comment is appreciated. Blessed be bith Love, Tasha
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Wonderful piece of exposition and explanation of a Great Truth. Love is the answer regardless of the question, as they say. And as
  • Karen Clark
    Karen Clark says #
    Thanks for the wonderful comment Tasha. Yes to putting more love out there!

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