PaganSquare


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
Substituting As Gythia At a Baby Blessing

Hoarfrost sparkled on the dark ground, reflecting harsh nearby ballfield lights that did not illuminate the tree-dotted lawn of the park. It was winter 2009. Local heathens of the Las Vegas area gathered to welcome a new baby, who was wrapped in a large fur blanket against the winter cold. The kindred sponsoring the event consisted of a core group of heathens among a larger a group of non-heathens in a Renaissance Faire guild, so, some of the people gathered there wore modern dress, some were in Renfaire or re-enactor garb, and some wore a mix of both.

The kindred’s godhi, or priest, was going to perform a baby blessing and naming ceremony. The godhi was having a bad time with a chronic health issue right then, and did not feel up to calling power, so he asked me to perform the blessing.

I was there as a community member, so I did not have any of my ritual stuff with me. I looked around for things I could use, and saw that there was a bottle of mead for toasting (sumbel) and blessing (blot.) The baby’s family’s sword was firmly stuck point first in the ground. I could work with that. That would be the conduit for the ancestor honor transfer. The ancestors were under the earth, and the sword was part in the earth and part above it. In heathenry, there are many different traditions about where the dead go and what they become after death, since heathenry draws on a vast time period and many different, although related, cultures. In many of the ancient cultures, there was no clear line between the grave mound and the elf mound, and that idea survives in the modern saying that the dead have gone to stay with the elves. An early story about the interior of a grave mound showed the dead fighting each other in endless war, very much like the Viking age depiction of Valhalla. So, the direction of the ancestors is down, in the earth.

I mentally tallied what was and was not essential among the things that were not there. I could do without a blotbolli (blessing bowl.) I would pour the mead from the horn directly onto the asperger. I had to have an asperger, a tool with which to sprinkle the blessing liquid on the baby. Many dark shapes of pine trees stood out against the stars. I would cut a pine branch, except that I did not have my ritual knife with me either. Years ago, when I had been asked to make a rune stick for a friend, I had pulled on an oak branch and a stick had snapped off in my hand, cleanly as if cut. I resolved to repeat this feat tonight.

I went to a pine tree, and caressed its needles. I spoke to it, and asked it for the use of its branch for the holy ritual. The branch snapped off in my hand.

We gathered together for the ritual. In an Asatru baby blessing, the mother has already given form to the child, body from body, and now it is time for the father to give to the child. I directed the baby’s father to place one hand on the hilt of his family sword, which was firmly stuck in the earth, and one hand on the baby. I narrated, “You are the link between your ancestors and your child. The might and main and the honor of the ancestors is coming up from the earth, through the sword, through you, and into your child.”

All those gathered there toasted the child with mead in the sumbel ritual. I asked the parents what they named their child. I poured mead over the asperger and blessed the child by his name in the names of the gods, the ancestors, and all wights (spirit beings) of good will. As we did not have a blotbolli to pour out to the land wight, I poured the rest of the bottle to the land wight. I returned the pine branch to the land. The ritual was done.

Image: graphic by Karen Arnold. via publicdomainpictures.net

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Monday morning dawns bright and cheerful which doesn’t match my mood at all.  After a rough night of sleep filled with pain, I only want more darkness and sleep to smooth out the rough edges.  However, I’m a responsible adult (mostly) and have to be at work. 

Somehow I have to smooth out the rough edges to get through my day.  Coffee is not something which helps me.  I’ve never liked it nor do I ever drink it.  I have to find other things which will ease my grumpiness. 

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Oak Moon, Holly Moon

At the Summer Solstice it is said that the Oak King and Holly King do battle, and the God of the Waxing Year must give way to the King of the Waning Year. This is a Hinge, a moment of transition that drives the Wheel of the Year. At the Solstice, the Sun is at its peak, the fruitful earth is coming into its most delicious bounty. After this, we cross a tipping point, as the days grow shorter, and we move forward towards the harvest festivals.

For me it feels more intuitive that this transition comes as the solar transit of Cancer turns into Leo. The lunar month attending Cancer is the Oak Moon, hearkening to the Oak King of the growing, fertile, waxing season of the Year. The Oak King evokes the solar qualities of the divine masculine: strength, forthrightness, generosity; he holds the energy of divine kingship and warrior-ship. A sacred animal often associated with this lunation is the Horse, embodying the power and dignity of the Solar God. An animal fit best for open, sunlit plains, the horse has been associated with solar gods since the Greeks wrote of Phoebus driving a chariot of fiery stallions across the sky each day.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Hidden Magic of Nashville

When I think of Nashville, I think of country music and the Parthenon. I probably never would have associated the spot with meditation and summer magic, even after I visited the town, if it weren’t for a lucky chance. I attended a writing conference in Nashville a few years ago, held at the gothicly beautiful Scarritt Bennett retreat and conference center.  That was the last year the conference was small enough for that particular venue, and if I’d attended a year later, I never would have discovered the peace and beauty of the labyrinth that waits in Tennessee.


b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_03461.JPGI’d never walked a labyrinth before, and when I stepped out of my on-site dorm to discover the familiar pattern of the Chartres labyrinth laid in the grass in front of the building, I got incredibly excited. There’s already something magical about wandering around a facility that feels like a Southern Hogwarts in the purple gloaming of June, but then to spot that mystical shape, complete with dancing fireflies, completes the sensation of having stepped into another world.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Squirrels are Real

This last year when I travelled back to Canada to attend Kaleidoscope Gathering a Pagan festival near Ottawa, I got to spend some time hanging out with my friend Pamela and got to see more of the wild country.  It HUGE!! And awesome and I love it, bit I digress.   We spent a bit of time driving down country roads around many wonderful lakes and eating custard filled donuts at Timmies.  It was during this time that I got to see Deer eating apples in somebodies front yard, on our way to a Wolf Sanctuary, or it might have been the sight of Turkey Vultures circling above as we got out of the car, that I had the sudden realisation, that squirrels are real, along with a whole slew of other animals that are native to Canada like crows, toads, eagles, groundhogs, chipmunks, vultures and of course squirrels.  I have learnt about all of these animals via wildlife documentaries, books and wonderful teachers such as David Attenborough, and Jane Goodall as well as the various magical books where I have learnt about there more magical spiritual meanings.  

 

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_cave.jpg

I have heard hard polytheists come up with all sorts of words to distinguish their gods from Jungian archetypes.  The gods, they say, are "real", "literal", "individual", "distinct", and "separate"; they are "persons", "beings", "entities", or "agents".  The archetypes, it is implied, are none of these things. 

...
Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you!
Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, July 24

Welcome back to Faithful Friday, our weekly survey of religions from around the world. After taking a look at the diverse religions of India and China we've turned out attention this week to the country of Indonesia, the fourth largest country in the world by population and the largest Muslim majority country. In addition to Islam, Indonesia also officially recognizes four more religions: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Join us as we take a tour through all five faiths in the country.

Last modified on

Additional information