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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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Walk the Winter Solstice

Here’s a cool yule idea for you: get outside! Winter Solstice hikes are all the rage, and there are many to choose from; sponsored by area state parks, conservatories, and small businesses. Have your troop meet you at your destination site for the scheduled walk. Revel in the crisp winter air, and observe the magical changes Mother Nature has woven around you. I cannot stress this enough – layers, layers, layers. You can never have too many, and you can always wrap something around your waist, shoulders, or neck if you need to make a temperature adjustment. Don’t worry about hat hair. This really isn’t a time of year for the overly fashion-conscious. By partaking in this healthy ritual, you are embracing the colder season, not fighting it. Chances are good that you will also work up a deserved thirst and appetite.

If your band of merry travelers wish to continue celebrating with an after-party, invite them over to your place for hot cocoa, cider, and mulled wine. Keep it easy and informal. Have a cookie exchange, where people can bring over some of their excess baked treats to share. (There are always an excess of goodies in folks’ homes this time of year!) Be sure to supply plenty of candles on hand, so that everyone has one to light. 

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PaganNewsBeagle Earthy Thursday Dec 18

In today's Earthy Thursday post, the Pagan News Beagle celebrates unearthly Icelandic beauty; carbon sequestration to the rescue?; lesser-known stone circles; the wild foxes of Chukotka; the beauty of mad mushrooms.

The Nordic landscapes of Iceland take our breath away. (Note to self: add Iceland to the Beagle's bucket list!)

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Vesta: An Old World Faith for New World Families

Hello all – my name is Debra Macleod and I am new to this community. Professionally, I am a marriage and family mediator and relationship author-expert. Personally, I am a proponent of the New Vesta tradition. I believe that the rituals and principles of this home-based spirituality can help many people keep their marriages and families together, and for that reason it is my hope to re-ingite the flame of Vesta in modern homes, albeit with a few flickers of change to keep up with the times.

I have for many years focused on skills-based advice to help people keep their homes intact. There is no doubt that couples who have the ability to communicate effectively, move past conflict in a positive way, work as a team and consistently practice good interpersonal behaviors are more likely to resolve problems and stay together than those who don’t have such abilities.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_triplegoddess.jpg

“Only in the deepest silence of night
the stars smile and whisper among themselves.”
–Rabindranath Tagore

(quoted in Dear Heart, Come Home page 52)

As I prepare our family's winter solstice ritual for this Sunday evening, I feel moved to share our family's tradition and ritual process. I'd love to hear from readers in the comments with their own family traditions! We have celebrated the winter solstice together as our primary family ritual for the last eleven years. There are several elements that remain constant from year to year and other elements that vary based on new ideas or projects that we decide to incorporate for that year.

The following is a brief explanation of three of our core traditions, which is then followed by a full ritual outline for this year's ceremony! Make sure to read through to the end of my ritual outline for links to even more posts with further ideas and information.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Create this spice-scented reminder of the sun's return to sweeten the Winter Solstice and grow good things in the year to come! You'll need: 
  • 1 navel (thick-skinned) orange Grown in warm climates, the orange, with its round shape and bright color, is symbolic of the sun. Magically, you can use oranges to bring things into your life. 
  • 1 jar (or more) of whole cloves The strongly-scented clove will provide energy for this work. It also represents fire, an element honored at both Yule and Imbolc. 
  • Ground cinnamon A fire and sun spice, cinnamon is used in magic for healing, protection and focusing energy. Put the cinnamon in a shallow bowl. The mingled scents of cinnamon, clove and orange promote an energized warmth that will help you develop a sunny outlook and a positive outcome.
  • 4 lengths of gold ribbon (long enough to wrap around your orange and tie at the bottom, leaving some length to dangle) The color gold is symbolic of the sun, fire, and the God. Magically, gold is good for thinking, problem solving and health. 
  • A straight pin or slender nail (it should be slimmer than the clove). 
 
Before you begin, decide what pattern you would like to make with the cloves on your orange. Dot your pattern onto the orange using a pen or marker—each dot will mark where you will place a clove. You can make vertical rows, or you can have a central design like a pentacle. 
 
 
When the pattern is complete, carefully drive the pin or nail into each dot--this will make it easier to push the cloves through. 
 
 
Push the cloves into the orange according to your pattern, and say, 
 
Cinnamon, clove and orange round 
And by golden ribbon bound, 
As the sun returns to me 
Let (insert your intention) grow So mote it be! 

What would you like to see grow in the coming year? Better study habits? New friendships? Fill in the blank with your intention. 

 
When all the cloves are in, place your orange in the bowl of cinnamon and roll it around, continuing to say the spell. The ground cinnamon will soak up and dry any juice that has come out of the orange, and will also help to preserve it for a while. 
 
 
Once the orange is coated with the cinnamon, remove it from the bowl and tap off the excess powder. Then, one at a time, wrap three of your ribbons around the orange, tying three times (for the Goddess) at the bottom, leaving a couple of inches of ribbon to dangle. 
 
 
Slide last piece of ribbon underneath the ribbons at the top and make a loop. Hang it indoors or out to share some sunshine!
 
by Natalie Zaman
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PaganNewsBeagle Watery Wednesday Community News Dec 17

The Pagan News Beagle is back after a brief vacation, and today we have a wonderful set of articles on news of our many Pagan communities! Common Yuletide myths debunked; Peter Dybing's 2014 list of influential Pagans; rediscovering the artist of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot; avoiding fake psychics; Satanists teach Pagans about PR?

Jason Mankey brings (as always!) his trademark wit to the question of common Pagan Yuletide myths. Sorry, folks, Santa did NOT get high from eating shamanic mushrooms. (And druids didn't invent Christmas trees, either.)

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_Heather-Taylor-Water-Blessing-small.jpgWinter has swallowed us, taken us deep...

In the chill of ice, trees stand stark as bones, the land is cold iron, frost slows all movement so Gaia is still as death. Only the brilliant stars in the black sky remember the rhythms of earth as they wheel through the night. All is connected. As stars bloom and die, as flowers fall to seed, as bone becomes nurturing ground, the wheeling universe lives in its Beauty and pattern. We are stardust, born of the Great Goddess, and in her is all hope. Even in the most severe terror of darkness and cold that Kali brings, the Spark flares again to ignite the perfect miracle of life. When all seems lost, the mystery of the universe begins to lift us into light and renewal once more. Women will tend the sacred fires until the voice of Demeter is heard in the Halls of Dis, and Persephone returns, a Queen filled with the knowledge of great mysteries. The pomegranate seed will become again a tree of life.

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