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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....
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!
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....
“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.
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.
On April 28, 2014, I was reading reading a novel in bed. My eyes closed and my Kindle slipped from my hand onto the pillow. Instead of drifting off to sleep, I drifted into hypnogogia, that dreamy state in which I am awake and aware but can't move and can see images as if I were dreaming.
Loki appeared, and I expressed anxiety that he and the other gods would stop talking to me when I was done writing the book they were inspiring me to write....
More thoughts share on the connection between politics and religion in Paganism. Avens O'Brien speaks about being raised within Paganism. And Heathens take a look at the history of Vikings in the Americas. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about the Pagan community! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!