The three skulls seem to be staring at me through their empty sockets. In times past I would have felt profoundly unsettled, but now these ancestral skulls seem vaguely familiar. It makes me wonder who these people were and what caused their deaths. I turn my eyes towards the woman lying in the middle of the hall.
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Confession: pagan post-apocalyptic fiction is one of my guilty pleasures. You know: civilization as we know it falls apart and it's up to the witches to rebuild. There's a surprising amount of it (for a sub-genre of a sub-genre of a sub-genre), and it offers us as a community a way to reflect on what a pagan future might look like.
I'm currently reading the latest installment in what is surely the most successful of the entire franchise: S. M. Stirling's Dies the Fire series. (Premise: on All Snakes' Day—March 17—1999 all the machines stop. Everything falls apart. The witches—among others—rebuild.) Ignore the title-by-Disney (The Golden Princess, wince. Not to mention the cover art: not just cheese, but stinky cheese. It's hard to be reading a book I'm ashamed to be seen with in public); as popular fiction goes, this is actually well-written, nicely-observed, and thoughtful stuff (on which, more in the future).
Our story so far: It's 2044. Our three principles have been having the same dream for the past three nights. One remarks, as if citing a quotation known to them all, “Once is coincidence, twice can be happenstance....” and her friend finishes, “The third time is either enemy action, or someone sending you a message” (245).
I've been doing a series this week on the Wooden Tarot, a self-published deck by A.L. Swartz. You can see the full series here.
What a fabulous card we have for our last day of the Wooden Tarot week. Don't despair. I am sure I will turn to this deck again. It has hooked me despite the few small quibbles I have.
I am sitting in a classroom with a small group around a large wooden table. We are all in Field Ed, a program of internships that is required during our second year of seminary. It's my turn to begin our class with a prayer. I invite the class to ground and center with me. I begin to pray. While I mostly stick with "God" or "Creator," at some point, I say, "Oh Lord, touch our hearts and help us be present in our work." I finish the prayer and the class begins.
At the break, a good friend of mine stops me. "Lord?" she asks, smiling.
"Yeah, well you all seem to resonate so strongly with the word Lord," I said, "and I've recently realized that if I just add "Ganesh" in my mind every time it's said, I almost always cool with whatever comes next. So, I figured I would just translate for y'all."
Today is Faithful Friday here at the Pagan News Beagle, the day we share interesting stories about religious communities around the world. Our stories today include the launch of the new Polytheist community website; a call for papers on Pagan and Goddess studies; animal sacrifice outlawed (in part of India); Chinese Buddhist brand building; American Muslims meet (and integrate better than Muslims in Europe.)
The new website Polytheist.com launched recently and hopes to offer a variety of columnists (the site eschews the term "blog") from across this diverse movement....
One of the challenges with exploring a non-anthropomorphic approach to magical work involves uncovering the anthropomorphic assumptions that show up in your thinking and practice. These assumptions can be quite subtle and yet can create a cognitive dissonance with the work you are seeking to do. At the same time, another challenge we face is the inevitable fact that at some point we need to translate and interpret experiences into something we can relate to. Anthropomorphism is one such route, though it is not the only route. I think that if we are to genuinely apply a non-anthropomorphic perspective and practice to our spiritual work we necessarily need to identify the anthropomorphic assumptions which may come up. Below are some such assumptions, as well as how you can identify them.
Applying humancentric categories or labels to experiences. One of the assumptions that comes up involves seeking to categorize or label a non-anthropomorphic experience. We use labels and categories to organize our thoughts and define the world around us, but the problem with such an assumption is that in our haste to define and categorize we can miss out on being open to experience. Admittedly, it can be argued that we use labels and categories to provide some type of explanation for what we've experienced, but perhaps in seeking to explain it using categories and labels what we lose is something essential about the experience that can't be explained in that way. A better approach would be to take your time with the experience and seek it out multiple times. As you have it, allow yourself to express it without attaching labels or categories. Whether its stream of consciousness writing or painting or music or some other form of expression open yourself to expressing it differently....
(other than Frey, Freya, Njord and Nerthus)
Byggvir and Beyla. Byggvir possibly means “barley”, and Beyla means “bee”. Whether these two names translate exactly or not, They are a couple who travel with Frey, and are in charge of taking care of his household and are servants of his. Gnosis says that Byggvir is Bull tribe Vanir, and Beyla of the Bee tribe....