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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_summer-school.jpgThis is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” ~ Walt Whitman

Astrologers call the chart of the Summer Solstice the “Cancer ingress chart”, and it is one of four cardinal ingress charts we look at every year. These charts mark powerful times in the turning of the cosmic wheel — when Sun enters zero degrees of one of the four signs in the cardinal modality  — and are considered predictive for anytime from 3 months to one year ahead, depending on technicalities I won’t bore you with. Personally, I see all these predictive charts as successive waves of influence, and so, for instance, the waves of the latest New Moon chart, of the last Lunar Eclipse, of the recent Solar Eclipse and Aries ingress chart, are all breaking on or close to shore right now, creating patterns in the shifting, tide-washed sands of our personal lives and our society.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Cabalistic Cross, Corrected

Now, I'm neither a Cabalist nor a Ceremonial Magician, but I do speak Hebrew, and I can tell you this much: the Cabalistic Cross, as it has come down from the Golden Dawn, was clearly put together by someone with only the most superficial knowledge of the language. In fact, it's just plain wrong.

Ateh Malkuth ve-Geburah ve-Gedulah, le-Olahm. Amen.

This is supposed to mean (it's the tag-line of the "Our Father" prayer): "For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever. Amen."

But it doesn't.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
We Are Charleston

Often it is painful for me to attend a ceremony in a Christian church. I don't feel safe most of the time and rarely feel included. Certainly there are some notable exceptions to this, but it is too often true. Today at noon, at the AME church in downtown Asheville, there was a service to honor the people who were killed at "Mother" Emanuel AME in Charleston.

I told myself this morning that my attendance--my considered presence--at the noon service was something I needed and representing them was something my community needed. So I sat with an extraordinary group of colleagues in the choir pews at St James AME, Episcopalians, UUs, Baptists. And I looked out over the anguished faces of friends who had brought their grief and fear to this service, to sit with others in the pain and wonder of what had happened.

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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, June 19

The world's a wonderful and diverse place full of many different kinds of people. And with the variety of nations and races comes the entwined variety of religion. For this week in Faithful Friday we take a look at the religions around the world, what the future has in store for them, and how they've changed throughout the years. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_goldgubber.jpgIn Vanaheim, the Summer Solstice is the peak of "tourist season", and it is also an extremely popular day for people to get married in Vanaheim, both citizens of the realm and tourists from elsewhere.  From a Vanic perspective, the longest day of the year is an ideal time to make a lasting ceremonial bond of love - a fire ever-burning, "carrying the fire" and keeping it lit even as the year wanes; a love that stays gold and full of life.

The following is a wedding rite for a couple in a Vanic context, performed by a priest of any gender, for a couple of any gender combination.  (If you have a poly union such as a triad where more than two people are getting married, feel free to modify this ritual for three or more people.) This rite calls upon the blessings of Frey and Gerda on the union.  Adam of Bremen reports that Frey was called at weddings, and the main myth we have of Frey in the Eddas is of His lovesickness for Gerda, culminating in marriage.  As Frey is Vanir and Gerda is Jotun, they are very sympathetic to couples and other unions between consenting adults where it falls outside societal norms and is opposed or challenged by mainstream society in some way.  The marriage of Frey and Gerda is also an auspicious one to call upon for blessings because their marriage survived the challenges of culture clash, societal disapproval, war, and many other problems - their love has endured through the ages.

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The Subjectivity of Spiritual Experiences

Lately, in my meditation group, we've been doing some work with space/time magic meditations and with spirits associated with space and time. In our most recent session I had the group do a meditation with Purson, a goetic demon who has some specific skills related to time. What I also told the group was that it's important to recognize that their experience of Purson is subjective and that he is only as real as that person wants him to be. That may seem like an odd statement to make, but the group was comprised of people that ranged from atheists to people who believe in the objective existence of spirits, and so I felt it was important to acknowledge that a wide range of experiences could happen that would nonetheless be significant to each participant and wouldn't necessarily invalidate any of the experiences. All the participants accepted that explanation and then we had our various encounters with Purson.

Spiritual experiences, by their nature, are subjective. For example I believe that spirits are objective beings in their own right. Note the word believe. Believe is a word rooted in subjectivity. That's what I believe, but I can't really prove it. I can tell you about my experiences and I can cite other people who've had experiences in their own right which tells that what they encountered is real, but its ultimately subjective. For that matter so is the argument that the spirit is just a psychological aspect the person is drawing upon. Again we can find a variety of people who will argue that position and draw on their experiences, but it's still subjective.

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Summer Solstice-Yoga-Kirtan Party

Summer Solstice is traditionally one of the most festive of the Pagan/Wiccan Sabbats of the year. What better way to celebrate than with some Sun Salutations and joyous chants? Depending on whether you have your most energy at sunrise or sunset, plan your party according to your own natural rhythm. Invite your fitness-buff friends. Have everyone bring a yoga mat, lounge-worthy apparel and a healthy snack to share. Lead them through a series of easy postures, including Prayer Pose and Raised Arm Pose. There are some good ideas and tips courtesy of

If you are able to do these outside in your backyard, all the better. If nothing else, open all the windows and let the sunshine in. Be sure to keep you and your guests hydrated with some Sun Tea. If having a morning party, prepare the tea the day before. If holding at sunset, you can start your tea the day of! And the recipe is:

(Adapted from Chef Garlic,
Serves 16
4 family-size tea bags (I know some people prefer one brand over the other, so you can decide which you prefer)
1 1⁄4 cups sugar or sugar substitute to taste
water, to fill container
lemon wedge, for garnish
1 gallon container or jug, with a screw on lid.
     About 9 a.m., fill your pitcher with the water, and tea bags.
(The reason for the screw on top, is so that ants don't get to the tea.) Let the tea sit in the sun for most of the day, a prime full sun location is best. In the summer, the heat from outside can be enough to dissolve the sugar later.
     When done heating, combine the sugar, tea, and more water to make one gallon.
     Serve with thick 1 1/2" wedges of lemon. It usually takes 4-6 hours of being in the sun in order to steep. You can eyeball the tea and bring it in, after the tea looks dark enough.
     Since the tea is best served cold, put it in the fridge right away. It does not last as long as boiled tea for some reason, and I usually leave the tea bags in the jug until the tea is gone. Then, I take the tea bags and sprinkle them in my flower garden, or over my roses.

A rousingly energetic series of Kirtan chants can be shared on the wah! Loops N Grooves recording. A sampling of this inspiring music can be found at

Typically Kirtan is a call/response effort, but with this recording you could sing along, dance, or do whatever moves you. When everyone has reached a sufficient state of bliss, sit down and feast! Blessed be and namaste.

For a list of common Kirtan chant lyrics that you could print out copies of:
For more info about Kirtan:
Photo by ponsuwan at

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