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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Were Wiccans Originally "Wakers of the Dead"?

Well, didn't see that one coming.

According to philologist Calvert Watkins, the word Wicca is actually related to wake.

And Wiccans were originally necromancers, “wakers of the dead.”

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
How do you do Minoan?

I’ve been asked all sorts of questions about Modern Minoan Paganism, but the most common one is probably also the most fundamental: How do you do it? In other words, how do you actually practice this spiritual path?

To start with, I’d like to point out that this is a very individualistic path. It’s not a monolithic tradition with a set of rules and regulations everyone has to follow. It’s more like an umbrella structure under which each person can tweak the details in the way that they find most satisfying. So you start with the basics: the gods and goddesses of ancient Crete and their stories. Then you approach them in the way that makes the most sense for you.

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I am a hard polytheist. I believe "the gods" are really real, that They are discarnate beings with whom we can interact. They may be fractured pieces of one extraordinary energy form and so may we. That knowledge is unimportant to me so we needn't argue about it.

If you believe something other than that, that's cool with me. Ah, let me add the tiny caveat---that's cool with me... as long as you are not all up in my face telling me how to be a polytheist.

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Magick of Value

Do you truly value your work? 

This weekend I gave a lecture at 2nd Star Festival in Florence, OR.  Originally the idea was to give my "Visual Alchemy" lecture, which looks at the history and intersection of art and magick - but at the festival itself, there wasn't much description for attendees to read besides  the time and "Tempest, artist/dancer", so I decided to go off the rails a bit, and hope no one complained that I wasn't dancing as I lectured.  

2nd Star is a neat fledgling festival that is a cross-section of steampunk, fairies, pirates, mermaids, and other sorts of myth/creative folk - a little of everything fantasy. Just before I took the stage, the previous lecturer Josh Kinsey was answering a question about the title/use of the word maker.  I think that seeded the field a bit for the direction I went.

I started off with my basic introduction of defining art and magick, showing some slides of various kinds of art from early civilizations. Then I talked about art that is temporary - such as sand paintings, and art that is long-lived (temples, henges, etc), yet they are linked by intent and both equally important. And then I talked (ranted) about the value of art in today's society.  

Unfortunately, the vast majority of today's society does not recognize the importance and inherent value of art.  Art is more than something that matches your couch and looks nice, or is tucked away in a museum.  It's essential for human expression and well-being.  It defines and advances civilizations, building cultures.  It bridges the gap between different people and finds a common soul. It connects us and teaches us. 

When you, as a maker/creator/artisan/artist/master of the ephemeral exist in a society that doesn't understand the value of art, you're most likely going to have a hard time valuing your work.  When the artist doesn't value their work, then the society doesn't see value in the work or the worker for that matter. It's a vicious ouroboros.  
So in my rant--err--lecture, I challenged the folks present to reconsider art as something that is integral to their lives, and especially to the creators present - to re-evaluate how they see their work.  If you value your own work, then others in turn will start to see the value in it.  It should be priced with respect to the quality of the work, the materials, the amount of time, and true market value - versus what you think others (especially yourself, your friends, etc) may pay for it.  Nor does it matter if it's what you do for a living or as a hobby on the side, the effort and the result is the same. 

Just the simple act of believing and acting on the sense of value of your work causes a shift - in yourself, as well as those who interact with your work.  If you define magick as the art of changing consciousness in accordance with will - then valuing your work is also a form of magick.  You see value in your work, your work will be empowered, and others will respond to that shift in value, and see it for themselves.

Success in the arts is never overnight.  It doesn't come through one perfect connection, but rather years of hard work and dedication.  However, that sparkle of success rarely comes without belief in one's work, and a dedication to value.  Go forth and do some magick. 





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Can a Pagan Woman, in Good Conscience, Go to Uluru?

Uluru: the Great Red Rock, Australia's most iconic holy place.

Held sacred by local First Nations peoples, it is considered by them to be a men's shrine, and hence forbidden to women.

So, can a pagan woman, in good conscience, go there?

Well, different peoples, different ways. I can't rightly expect you to act in accordance with my people's ways, nor you me.

Still, it's always best practice to be respectful of other people's stuff, especially their religious stuff. In the old Witch language, there are two words for "peace." Frith is peace within a community. Grith is peace between communities, and maintaining grith is a cultural value of great (although not overriding) importance.

And when it comes to religious rules, peoples vary. So what to do when your people do things one way, and mine another?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Frith and grith come from Old Norse, not some "old witch language."
  • Anne Forrester
    Anne Forrester says #
    The response of Bekah Evie Bel did not strike me as extreme at all, but very respectful. This is obviously a topic that needs car
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for the link, Anne; it's a thoughtful piece, well worth the read. The conversation about the proper relation between "immig
  • Bekah Evie Bel
    Bekah Evie Bel says #
    If that was my conclusion then I have to agree, it would indeed be extreme and absurd. It wasn't my intent to give that conclusio
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for the clarification, Bekah; as I spent more time thinking about your post, it became clear to me that I had far overgener
A Big Leap: From Jerusalem to Little Fort: Population 100

A Big Leap: From Portal Jerusalem to Little Fort, British Columbia, Canada, Population 100.

 Our marvelous mind-blowing two year sojourn in Israel and the Middle East was over. September was commencing and we were back in Canada. My husband had completed his military releases in Ottawa and we had patiently traversed across Canada, now to locate a new home in the British Columbia wilderness.

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
No Ascension for Me

Science fiction influenced me to expect that the next step in the evolution of humankind is to ascend to become a being of pure energy. That philosophy is called transhumanism, and it saturates popular science fiction.

I was born a science fiction fan; my dad was a Star Trek fan, and if I had been born male my parents had intended to name me DeForrest, after DeForrest Kelly. The classic Star Trek had several species of energy beings, and humans were on the path to becoming like them. Many of the science fictions I encountered later in life had that idea in them, too. In some of them, a very advanced human could evolve during his lifetime. In Babylon 5, a character who was a telepath turned into an energy being (and blew up, dangerously for everyone around him, but well...) Characters in Buffy and Stargate ascended and became energy beings, and chose to come back to Earth. I even wrote ascension into my own fiction. In my Punch series, a character ascends upon death. A character ascends in Some Say Fire, too, but that's symbolic; it represents the unification of the conscious mind with the subconscious and the inner child.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Elizabeth Blakely Toews
    Elizabeth Blakely Toews says #
    I respect your opinion Erin, and that of Loki. All humans I have discovered though, were not created equal. Also I have come to kn

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