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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 Paths Blogs
Thanksgiving, an American Celebration

"Thanksgiving is celebrated as a family harvest celebration, and its origins are swept under the rug. Public schools of my era put up decorations of cutesy Pilgrims and Indians and indoctrinated children in the propaganda that Thanksgiving was a continuous celebration from the First Thanksgiving and had been celebrated the same way ever since, and that the First Thanksgiving was when the settlers had a great harvest and invited the happy, friendly natives to the feast."

That's a quote from my latest book, American Celebration. I decided to write this book for several reasons. One was because I decided to go in a more modernist direction in my personal path. I reached the point where I felt that heathenry had gotten enough reconstruction to have a firm foundation and it was time to build the rest of the house. Becoming a viable religion in modern times means we have to think about how we fit into modern culture. I wanted to spend more of my holidays with my family and friends who are part of my real life, and American secular holiday culture provides a framework for celebrating with friends and family of different faiths. 

Another reason I wrote this book is because I've heard all my life that the United States doesn't have a real culture like other countries do. It's not true. There are American folkways. I discovered things I never knew about my own country's customs while researching this book, which is new this year.

Another reason I wrote the book is because while I was running for office, one day a woman from another country who happened to be at a political event with her fellow asked me why Americans are always worshipping our flag. That got me to thinking, and I also wrote this book for foreigners who want to understand peculiar customs in the United States. 

I'll return to the story of my personal journey on my path in my next blog post.

Here's another quote from the entry on Thanksgiving in American Celebration:

"Thanksgiving as we know it today was created by Abraham Lincoln for the purpose of uniting the bitterly divided American people in the shadow of the Civil War. He created the mythology of Pilgrims and Indians feasting together as a model of how the North and the South ought to come together after the massive bloodshed which had just happened. In reaching back for a foundation myth that reflected a happier and shinier view of the real history of the colonization of America, he hoped to perpetuate a happier and shinier America in his present and the future."

Links to American Celebration:

Amazon (print edition): http://www.amazon.com/American-Celebration-Erin-Lale/dp/1304916138/ref=la_B004GLACQQ_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416415380&sr=1-2

Smashwords (ebook): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/400543

Barnes & Noble (ebook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/american-celebration-erin-lale/1118328548?ean=2940045599979 

American Celebration would make a great Yule gift.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-April_in_Vaucluse_Cecile_Bouillon_2014.pngOne of the things I love about Paganism is the ability to find beauty in strange places. What is beauty? What do we perceive as beautiful? Nature? Art? Music? Those would seem easy. But the sort of art I like may or may not be the same type of art that you like. I’m not a fan of abstract art. This piece on the left leaves me cold. (By Cesbou*) While I could stare for hours at 19th century landscape paintings. Here’s one from Thomas Cole. b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Cole_Thomas_Mountain_Sunrise_Catskill_1826.jpg

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs


b2ap3_thumbnail_perugino_047-sm.pngLegend has it that, following the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene fled to southern France, spending the last years of her life in the sanctuary of Sainte Baume. Her relics are said to rest in a church in nearby Saint Maximin.

Whoever Mary Magdalene was in fact, whatever her actual history, the idea of her heartens and strengthens me. For me, and perhaps for you too, she carries the energy of fierce compassion, fearless integrity. A woman interweaving spirit and matter, activating her body-centered power to promote creation. A gutsy woman par excellence.

This sense of woman integrating heaven and earth, sheltering pro-creative power within her body's center, may be as old as human consciousness.

Much of what we know about human origins comes to us from southern France, the prehistoric cave paintings and engravings discovered there. Our ancestors' art, such as the Venus of Laussel, shows our original impulse to revere women and the center of women's bodies.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Venus-de-Laussel-detail-bras.jpgThis limestone engraving, discovered in 1911 in the Dordogne, has been a central inspiration for The Woman's Belly Book. Seventeen and one-half feet high, the ochre-stained engraving dates back 25,000 years.

The Venus of Laussel brings forth a full-figured woman. She rests her left hand on her belly, perhaps pointing to her navel. Her head turns over her right shoulder; she's looking at the horn she's holding up in her right hand. Thirteen lines scratch the horn's surface.

Who knows what the sculptors had in mind and heart when they carved out this figure? Who knows what they meant their work to signify?

As I see her, this figure is using her arms and hands to link her belly with the calculation, the calendar, which is the horn she is holding.

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The Vanir are, among other things, the powers of Nature and all it encompasses. To then claim to worship them, and deny the agency, importance, and power of their domain and subjects is gross blasphemy. Those who honor the powers of nature should be first to embrace their non-human kin on an equal level, as all part of the great design. This may take many forms, as all of us have different strengths and spheres of influence, but the trifecta of reduce, reuse, recycle should be at the core of any practical and truly-honoring Vanic practice.

(Nicanthiel Hrafnhild in my bookVisions of Vanaheim)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Trip-to-Canada-2014-194.JPG

One of the things that I have added to my practice over the last several years is to give offerings to the spirits, the Ancestors, and the Gods who inhabit my world and who I work with .Before I left for Kaleidoscope gathering in Canada this year, I ‘put my working altar to bed’. I tidied and dusted it,  put the skulls away and requested that the spirits rest but be watchfull while I was away and in turn promised to bring them back gifts if they would do so.  I did not want my house sitter to feel uncomfortable while she was staying but I also wanted my house to be proteted.  Apparently I was so successful at this that my cat, who it could be said, is also a spirit, also spend the entire month in the hall cupboard and only came out when my lovely house sitter was asleep or out of the house.. but I digress

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mistress Polly, Another great post! Glad you had another nice visit to North America. I try to offer things related to the sphe

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Renewal and Rebirth

At this moment in my life my relationship to the cycles of renewal and rebirth is fluctuating. I ask for guidance. I’ve been asking for guidance for what seems like months now. It’s been one of those un-thought prayers gliding under the surface of my overactive consciousness. How do I understand the nature of transformation when understanding itself is mutating? When so many overarching moments of wonder field my view, I am not asking the simple questions. It’s this theme that causes me to ask a simple question, for once. For once, I stop being frustrated at the reason for the concept and consider the concept itself. Now the doorway opens. I am in my own company again.

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This and my previous essay explain how we can better understand the dangers and benefits of power by combining both secular and esoteric traditions. Part one explored power’s nature, and why power is both necessary and often destructively addictive. It also laid the foundation for an esoteric understanding of power by developing a model of thought forms.  I made the case for their reality once views shared widely within the Pagan community are taken seriously.  This present essay explores Power as a thought form deeply destructive to human well-being – and what we can do about it. 

power and Power

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