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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Muppet Wicker Man

Well, it's that time of year again.

Bealtaine is coming, and throughout Greater Pagandom theaters far and wide are gearing up for their May Eve midnight showings of The Wicker Man.

(Not the one with Nicholas Cage, specify the marquees.)

But you've never seen The Wicker Man until you've seen:

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My 2 Weddings, Part 2: The Dark Honeymoon
The first 5 days after I received Loki's ring were turbulent and sometimes dark. He was not the delighted and playful skinriding presence I had grown so used to. I was vaguely aware of him as a dark ball of anger somewhere distant from me. 
 
Some of my online relationships exploded, and I had to cut ties. But, some long time acquaintances suddenly grew closer and turned into friends. 
 
At first, I wondered if Loki's absence might be a test of faith. Then I realized that I was better off without the people he kicked out of my life. Old acquaintances suddenly, inexplicably contacted me to renew and deepen old relationships. I realized that Loki had been away arranging my life for my benefit. 
 
I would never have guessed in advance who Loki would kick out of my life, and who would grow closer. I suppose that's the reason he arranged this part of my life for me, because I didn't guess right all the time about who I should be friends with. All the people I fought against online in those few days claimed to be Lokeans. Only when I was trying to get them out of my online friends lists did I discover some of them were not who they seemed to be.
 
The biggest surprise was grower closer to a longtime acquaintance who avoided Loki. Despite that, we started sharing our personal gnosis with each other, and beta reading each other's writing. We evolved into friends as well as colleagues. One of the lessons to learn here is that when people on different paths respect that my path is my path, your path is your path, and we don't have to walk the same path to be friends, we can walk together on our different roads in friendship.
 
Image: fire in darkness, by Anupam Sunil, Creative Commons license, via Wikimedia Commons
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Virtues of the Goddess is a series on the eight virtues mentioned in the Charge of the Goddess and their relationship to the sabbats of the Wheel of the Year.  This is Part 4: Mirth.

Mirth seems to explode around us as we approach the season of Beltane.  Nature seems to be slipping on her best dress and looking for a good time.  The flowers burst open with their colorful and aromatic call to be pollinated, and here in southern California, the eye-popping purple blooms of the normally unremarkable jacaranda tree light up our sunny days.  The birds sing beautiful songs and flutter about in elaborate dances to win a chance for love.  Thrilled with the longer, warmer days, humanity also begins to migrate from indoors to outdoors as we wear more revealing clothing or head to the gym in our quest for that perfect summer beach body.  After all that darkness, we’re all looking for a little fun right now.

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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, April 28

Wildlife returns to Yellowstone National Park. The difference between the weather and the climate is explained. And physicist Stephen Hawking makes a bold proposal for space exploration. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment on science and Earth-related news! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Magick, Divination and the Search for Love

 

Of course, Beltane got me thinking about romance.

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WOOLLY MAMMOTH: Warmth and Hospitality

Best known of the Ice Age Mammals, Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) received her name from her outer layer of long hair. Underneath that layer, She had another dense inner layer of fur. To cope with the icy temperatures, Woolly Mammoth had a compact body, a high domed head and small ears.

Woolly Mammoth had a shorter but more flexible trunk than other Mammoths. At the end of her trunk was a finger-like appendage as well as another protuberance. She used these to gather grasses and other plants for eating.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Oh Hell

Oh, go to Heaven!”

(Witch Hazel [Mama Cass Elliot], Pufnstuf)

It is an altogether remarkable fact that the language of Christianity should so faithfully have preserved the name of the ancient Indo-European Underworld, and (just possibly) of its goddess.

Hell.

Both Old English hell and its Norse cognate hel derive from Common Germanic *haljô. This in turn comes from a verbal root meaning “cover, conceal.” (The same root gives us hall, hull, hold, helmet, and Valhalla.) Apparently Hell has been the “concealed [place]” for a long, long time: when Ulifilas translated the Bible into Gothic, he used the word halja to translate Greek Hades and Hebrew She'ol.

Like its Greek counterpart Hades, the Old Norse name does double duty, naming both the Underworld and its mistress, the goddess of death. Whether this was also the case among speakers of Old English, we do not know. It's certainly possible: the Old English noun is feminine in gender. It must be admitted, though, that the Hel of Norse literature has a pronouncedly “literary” feel to her; she strikes one as more a personification than as an actual personality.

So we can say for sure that the Hwicce, the Old English Tribe of Witches, knew of Hell as the Underworld. Whether they also knew of Hell as Lady of the Underworld we simply do not know.

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