PaganSquare


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

For the past half-decade, our family has been homesteading on an off-the-grid farm in Treaty 6 territory.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with Canadian history, Treaty 6 refers to a particular regional relationship whereby land was shared (not ceded ... a very important distinction) by the Indigenous Peoples with the Crown and its settlers.  The treaty was made in the late 19th century, and still holds today, though it has been bent and broken numerous times by the colonial government.  Today, our farm's direct neighbours are the First Nations of Moosomin (Cree) and Saulteaux (Ojibwe), as well as many Metis folk in the near vicinity.  For me, that means that when Samhain comes round on the Great Wheel, my mind turns to a very complicated ancestral inheritance.

As a Christian, and in particular as an Anglican priest, my genetic and spiritual ancestors  were responsible for some pretty reprehensible mayhem in this part of the world.  The residential schools were probably the worst of it, but racist colonialism has been an Anglican curse for several hundred years, and there's still plenty of it to go around.  In recent years, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has delivered a mandate of 94 “Calls to Action” ... concrete steps which can be taken by the Canadian government and other institutions (and individuals) to repent of the toxic legacy which has oppressed so many Indigenous people and torn our nation asunder.  Several of these calls to action are directed specifically toward the churches which ran the residential schools.  This one in particular has been haunting my conscience lately:

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

 

As we continue building the Goddess Samona's Shrine... We got the concrete poured right after Fall Equinox.  

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Church Decides to Return Sacred Boulder to Lakota

In traditional Lakota lore, it is well-known that powerful spirit beings—what some contemporary pagans would call wights—reside in certain large stones.

One such sacred stone—called in Lakota Eyá Shau, “Red Rock”—is located in the town of Newport, about 10 miles south of the city of “St.” Paul, on the grounds of the Newport United Methodist Church.

And thereby hangs a tale.

Red Rock is a granite glacial erratic boulder measuring about 2 x 3 feet, weighing roughly a ton. In this sedimentary landscape of sandstone and limestone, its unusual composition marks it out as mysterious and powerful.

For centuries, traveling Lakota would stop at Red Rock, then located near the banks of the Mississippi, to make offerings and pray; the rock was named for the custom of ruddling the rock with red ocher.

In time-honored Christian tradition, Methodist missionary to the Lakota Benjamin Kavanaugh set up shop beside the Red Rock in 1839. (Religions come and go, but holy places tend to stay the same.) The town that grew up around this mission—later renamed Newport—was in fact originally called Red Rock. In later years, the church that Kavanaugh had founded changed location several times. Interestingly, with each subsequent relocation, they took Red Rock along with them.

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Minotaur: A book review of a Sir Arthur Evans biography

Sir Arthur Evans is the name most closely associated with the rediscovery of ancient Minoan civilization. Though local Cretan archaeologist Minos Kalokairinos discovered the site of Knossos and did some preliminary digging there, it's Evans who undertook a large-scale, systematic excavation of the largest of the Minoan cities with its enormous temple complex and who introduced the ancient Minoans into the modern world. Joseph Alexander MacGillivray is another archaeologist whose focus is on Minoan civilization, and he has written a fascinating biography of Evans, titled Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth.

First, let me point out that this book is a biography of Evans, not a retelling of the Minotaur myth. I've seen a few reviews from people who weren't able to suss out that fact (seriously, did you read the back cover or the online description?) and were disappointed when they read the book. It helps to pay attention before buying a book so you know what you're getting. What you're getting, in this case, is an amazingly detailed biography of a fascinating, complex, contradictory man who made quite a place for himself in history.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Fairy Folks Are in Old Oaks

It's well-known in Iceland that elves make their homes in certain boulders.

Some years ago, a certain farmer near Reykjavik resolved to blow up a particular boulder in order to make room for a new henhouse. With this in mind, he went out and bought some dynamite.

From that day, his hens began to lay fewer and fewer eggs.

Every day there were fewer eggs, until finally there were none.

The farmer called in the vet. The vet examined the chickens. The chickens were in fine health; nothing was wrong with their feed. There was no organic reason why the hens should not be laying.

The farmer decided not to blow up the boulder after all. He gave the dynamite away.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Northern Mandate

Call it the Northern Mandate.

For some, Spring Cleaning is an annual rite.

But here in the Uttermost North, we have Fall Cleaning too.

During Summer, our attentions and efforts are outward-directed. We're out doing things. (Quickly, there's not much time.) Doors and windows are open. In-house work gets neglected.

But now it's Winter. Our attentions and efforts turn inward. Windows and doors are closed, and we're facing the prospect of being shut in with all this for the next six months.

It's only natural to do what you can to undo Summer's lapses: to make where you are as bearable as you possibly can.

Well, the White Ravens have flown. Yet again we give in to the age-old urge.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Gods speed the work.
  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    Just such has gripped me. Moving furniture, dispatching dust bunnies, and moving broken things on to their next lives.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Foundation Offerings

The offering bears the prayer.

The ancestors thought long and hard about their foundation offerings.

In their choices, we see their intent, their wit and (like enough) their humor.

When the New Stone and Copper Age ancestors of Old Europe built a new house, they buried beneath its floor a little model of a house, lovingly rendered in ceramic detail.

No one needs to tell you what that means.

To the ancestors, it was obvious that when you built something important like a house or a temple, you first laid an offering in the ground to bear the embodied prayers of the builders.

We too have thought long and hard about what offerings to lay beneath the Bull Stone, when we raise it to mark the Marriage Point of Earth with Sky, of Land with People.

There will be three.

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