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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
Are we ecstasy deprived?

There are many aspects of the ancient world that I’m happy to do without: the danger of infection in an era before antibiotics; the difficulty of communicating over long distances at anything other than a snail’s pace; the lack of sanitation and running water in many places (though the cities of ancient Crete did have well-planned sewer systems). So yes, it’s good that we have left some things behind. But in our progress, we have also left behind something beneficial, something the human spirit needs: ecstasy.

I’ve recently been reading Belinda Gore’s book Ecstatic Body Postures and working with some of the postures she describes. This is an extension of the trancework I’ve done for years, and it relates to my activities with the Minoan salute and other gestures the Minoans used in ritual to induce trance states. (And yes, I recommend the book.) One thing that struck me as I was reading Ms. Gore’s book was her comment that the modern world is in a state of what she calls ‘ecstasy deprivation.’ If that’s true, it would explain an awful lot.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Casting Love Spells: A Cautionary Tale

This post also appears at www.tarotbyhilary.com.

 

Once upon a time, a young foolish teenager cast a spell.

She cast a spell at one of the many power sites in the world, where all the elements meet in one place. Air, water, fire, and earth ... where the land meets the ocean. She found a pure white stone, and asked the Gods to bring to her a true love. She was tired of waiting, so she sought out a way to bring him to her. She held the stone in her left hand, and cast the love spell in the way that she was taught to cast it: without envisioning a specific person and without being unduly specific, because magic follows the path of least resistance, and magic often does not work in ways that humans understand or can anticipate. She held the stone firmly, and when she felt ready, she threw the stone out into the ocean, into the crest of a huge wave, and determined that the waves of the oceans constantly coming into shore would eventually bring love into her life.

It took three years and many relationships and coincidences for him to arrive.

How did she know that he was the one she asked the sea to bring to her?

His name means "from the sea."


 

I wrote this little “fairy tale” story back in 2007, when I still was with the person in question whose name meant “from the sea.” Yes, that young foolish teenager that cast the love spell was me, and yes, the story above (though flowery in language) really happened. Why am I writing about it now? That spell taught me very valuable lessons in how spell-casting really works.

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Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, August 11

One of the greatest obstacles to social change is often the impression that there's either nothing that we can do or that social issues have no relevance to us. But is that really true? This week we take a look at issues of social justice as they relate to people in general and the Pagan community specifically. Join us as we take a look at the relationship between oppression and magic, read a piece about how social justice fuels one Pagan's spiritual practice, and investigate the religious roots of American terrorism. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Consent Culture at Coph Nia | High Praise!

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This year I was invited to present my work, Priest of the Goddess at the 2015 Coph Nia festival. To quote their website Coph Nia is, “a 5 day outdoor alternative spirituality festival for gay, bi, queer and questioning men. Held at an interfaith sanctuary in Artemas, PA, Coph Nia is open to long-time practitioners and new seekers of a wide range of spiritual paths including Wicca, Paganism, Heathenry, Druidism, Shamanism, Thelema, Ceremonial Magick and more. Sponsored by the Ordo Aeternus Vovin, an initiatory Thelemic order for gay and bisexual men, Coph Nia features vendors, concerts, rituals, workshops, nightly bonfires, dancing, drumming, chanting, signing and many social events including our annual Masked Ball & Sensual Feast.”

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Casting the Circle - Holding the Magic

Several years ago my daughter and I attended an interfaith event at a Christian church. As we sat down in the pews, my daughter leaned over to me and said "How come we aren't sitting in a circle? How will everyone see each other if some people are behind other people?"

I can't think of a better way to highlight the differences between most* Pagan rituals and those of other, more mainstream faiths. For the most part, we do gather in circles. No one person is in front of another person and, in theory, a newcomer to the circle wouldn't be able to tell who was in charge just by the position that a particular person or persons occupied. There's something crucial and fundamentally different in that small action that separates Pagan gatherings from other religious or magical rites.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Lizann. You can take the witch out of the kitchen but you can't take the kitchen out of the witch!
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Love this!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Your body's center, sheltered within your belly, is the one-point through which you address your body as a whole. It's a principle of physics: A motive force applied to your body's center moves your entire form.

As I write in The Woman's Belly Book:

What happens to the center happens to the whole.... When your belly center leads you into action, your whole body moves easily, gracefully, almost effortlessly. The whole of you moves as one.

Your body's center is also your center of being, the one-point where the matter and energy of who you are converge. It's the one-point from which your physical and emotional expressions emerge.

The best actors enact this truth. They entirely embody a character, bringing the physicality and emotionality of a particular — however fictional — person  to life. They deepen into their body's center and bring forth an individual. They don't give us an impression; they give us a genuine experience of another human being.

Tom Hanks is not my favorite actor, although I think he did a splendid job as Chuck Noland, the stranded FedEx exec in "Cast Away."

Whatever my opinion, he does know acting.

In fact, he revealed acting to be a body-centered practice when he said this (at 1 minute, 2 seconds) after receiving the Kennedy Center honors in 2014:

"I hope the look on my face was reflecting the honor and pleasure I had inside my belly."

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I often marvel at the difference between humans and trees. In particular, I wonder how it would be to spend your whole life in one place – and I don’t just mean one locality, I mean one exact place, like a tree does.

What would it be like to learn the angles of the sun, never moving but only by them moving past you? To offer a refuge to birds, animals and insects that isn’t fleeting, temporary, but will last as long as your life lasts? To deepen into the earth gradually, over years, learning the precise geography of the land beneath you – it soils and clays and rocks, the exact bands and patterns of them – to seek water not as some temporary, immediate need but as a life long commitment, learning exactly, precisely where it is to be found and anchoring there. 

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