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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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Hit Piece in Sheep’s Clothing

One Saturday when I was chatting with the Native American chaplain who sponsors our Wiccan circle at San Quentin, he handed me a book.  He’d received it from the Jewish chaplain who’d been our previous sponsor.  Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality, by Catherine Edwards Sanders.  I said I was unfamiliar with the author and had not heard anything about it, although I generally keep half an eye open for newer Pagan publications.

He casually mentioned that according to this book, and according to the chaplain who gave it to him, ostensibly for the small library we keep in the Wiccan storage locker along with our ritual supplies, Wicca was for women and had little relevance here in an all-male prison.  Not that he thought that, but that the book made that case.  He gave it to me to take home.  Book sl-t that I am, I took it, thinking that with all the reading material stacked around my house awaiting my attention, it would be very low priority.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Brenda Caudill
    Brenda Caudill says #
    That book is so wrong that I felt sorry for the author.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Thanks for the warning. We used to say that the difference between Wicca and New Age was about one decimal place (in the price of
PaganNewsBeagle Faithful Friday Oct 24

In today's Faithful Friday installment of the PaganNewsBeagle, we bring you some of the more interesting stories of faith and religion we found this week. We’ve got: Hindu-Americans celebrate Diwali; Brazilians (even non-Catholics) love the Virgin Mary but Afro-Caribbean believers there feel under attack; and an amazing Japanese Shinto festival.

Hindus this week are celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights. American Hindus are using the holiday to educate others about their religion.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Yesterday, my friend Erick DuPree posted a very thoughtful piece on embracing the secular Halloween and avoiding the ancestor reverence that is so important to many pagans and witches this time of year.  In a very touching way, Erick discussed his troubled history with his father and his wish to separate himself from the misogyny and racism that permeates his family line.  That same misogyny and racism is likely to pollute the family line of every person of European descent, including myself, so that is a decision I can fully understand.

Yet, I feel like there are still reasons to do ancestor work.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve never been very good at ancestor work.  I have an ancestor altar at which I pay my respects daily, but I don’t do nearly as much work contacting my family on the other side as many other witches do.  I’m just processing my own thoughts as a person who (I think) shares a similar family history and was touched by Erick’s comments.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_milky-way-and-haystack-rock.jpgI’ve felt a lot closer to Star Mother since moving to Oregon in 2013.  I've really felt closer to the Vanir in general since moving out here, but right now I will talk about connecting with Star Mother.

When I first moved to Portland I took a lot of walks at night to calm down (as my move had been under less than ideal circumstances and I had a lot to deal with in a very short amount of time, I was pretty stressed) and it became a meditative exercise.  When I moved to a semi-rural area in January of this year, there was a lot less light pollution and I could see the stars more clearly in the sky (though enough light pollution that I couldn’t see beyond a few handfuls); this past Imbolc, I went for a ride out to a more remote location, and for the first time in my life I saw the Milky Way, and the sky dotted with what seemed like millions of stars.  It was a sight that moved me to tears, and I couldn’t speak except to say, in Eshnesk (the language of the Eshnahai, or Vanic elves) Alekteya, Naiandu Adami.  (lit. “Blessings, Star Mother.”)  There was joy, but also what I can only describe as holy terror.  It was so beautiful, the sky seemed endless, and I felt very, very small.  I could feel the presence of Something much bigger than myself, and in her embrace, I felt like a child again.  As powerless as I felt, so tiny - a tiny pale dot on a tiny blue dot in the vastness of space - I felt held, at the same time.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Seasonal Protection Magick

Life is uncertain. If you turn on the news, you will be subjected to a constant barrage of All the Horrible Things. But even beyond that, there are always things that can harm us, whether they are acts of nature, acts of man, or just bad luck. There is no way we can keep bad stuff from happening once in a while, but it never hurts to do a little protection work to give yourself and your loved ones a bit of a boost in that direction.

I try to do serious protection work for my house and property at least once a year, in the fall as I am shutting things down and closing up the house for the winter. The coming week, leading up to Samhain on the 31st, is a perfect time for these kinds of rituals and spells (although they will work any time, of course). The darkness is closing in as the days grow shorter, and with the veil becoming thinner, it is always a good idea to reinforce your defenses.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Beth Thomas
    Beth Thomas says #
    Thank you. As a beginner I have conference I can do this
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    Great! Let me know how it went.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Solitary

Alone

Alone within yourself

This is probably one of the most difficult places to be comfortably. Most people cannot understand why I want to be in my own head and my own thoughts. Yet I find this is one of the best (and sometimes worst) places for me to be. It doesn’t matter whether I’m using my imagination to write a story or thinking through a problem or exploring my inner landscape.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

The other day a member of my coven offered to lead an upcoming ritual.  I was extremely pleased by this development. Though my wife and I often function as the "High Priestess" and "High Priest" of our group we didn't start this endeavor with the idea that we would run every ritual.  It's nice to just sit back sometimes and participate instead of having to stand forward and "lead."  

I know that our group is kind of set up in a such a way that it often looks like I'm in charge. My wife and I started our coven, we selected our initial circle-mates, and I organized our week to week gatherings.  As time went on we adopted a formal ritual structure, which I wrote.  

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