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 Culture Blogs
What Are You Doing for New Moon?

In the year 691 the emperor Justinian II convoked what has come to be known as the Quinsext Council.

Bishops from all over the Christian world gathered near Constantinople to pass 85 different canons, mostly of a disciplinary nature.

A clergyman may not own a tavern. No one may have a Jewish doctor or “consort with Jews in the baths.” It is forbidden to give communion to the dead.

Of special interest to pagans is Canon 65: It is prohibited to build New Moon bonfires.

New Moon bonfires.

In “a world lit only by fire,” the Moon is important. Nights are dark without the Moon. So when she comes back from her three-nights' sojourn in the Underworld, what you do?

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My Psycards Story OR How I Got Into This Crazy Business

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Catt Foy
    Catt Foy says #
    Update: Today Nick Hobson officially declared me the "boss" of Psycards International. I am proud to take the helm to continue t
A Technology of Connectivity: New Light on Animal Sacrifice

Exciting new scholarship is exploding many of the old “myths” about animal sacrifice and casting fresh light onto the origins and meanings of this ancient and—to many of us today—mysterious practice.

Some findings from the emerging new consensus on the topic:

Animal sacrifice is a phenomenon of pastoral and agricultural societies. Hunters-gatherers don't practice animal sacrifice. (Think about it: how could they?) Of course, they do make offerings; hunters may set aside the god's portion from their kill. But in virtually all known examples, animal sacrifice comprises the offering and sharing of a domestic animal.

Animal sacrifice is not a “primitive” phenomenon. The old “evolutionary” paradigms for understanding the history of religions broke down long ago. Some religions sacrifice; some don't. The absence of animal sacrifice in contemporary Judaism and Christianity is due to specific developments in the history of these particular religions, which cannot properly be generalized to other religions.

There is no single reason for, or meaning of, animal sacrifice. Animal sacrifice is polysemous: it means different things to different people. It may mean something different to every single person attending any given sacrifice. Previous theorists attempting to extract a single origin, purpose, or meaning for animal sacrifice were mistaken. While it makes sense to compare sacrificial practice across cultures, there are no universals when it comes to meaning.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Great-Rite-a-Thon

A beloved and well-respected community elder fell gravely ill.

Word went around that at such-and-so a time on such-and-so a day, people were to enact the Great Rite on his behalf.

And so it was.

Uncle Wolf died peacefully not long thereafter, knowing that dozens of people had been making love because of him.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Anathema!

If you're of an ecumenical frame of mind, you may want to stop in at your local Eastern Orthodox church next Orthodoxy Sunday, the first Sunday in Lent.

That's the day every year on which the Church holds a ritual to publicly curse its enemies.

I kid you not. One by one, they name those that disagree with them, living or dead—heretics, they call them—and proclaim: Anathema! Anathema! Anathema!

Jeez. And people think witches are spiteful.

Of course, some churches take this ritual more seriously than others. Some American Orthodox don't even do the anathematizing any more.

But some of the whackier, out-on-the-end-of-the-branch Orthodox churches—and if you think pagans can be weird, believe me, we are mere pikers by comparison*—take it very seriously indeed, and carefully update the list of curses every year.

Even so, I almost swallowed my gum when I saw this one:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I love your take on its significance!
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, Thanks for sharing! It makes me smile that our old friends haven't forgotten us. Perhaps they're sad that the death ca

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sabbat Incense: Beltane

Beltane is right around the corner, so this is a great time to make some incense for your Beltane celebration.  Here’s a fun recipe that’s easy to roll and could be the perfect companion to your Beltane rites.  While Beltane is strongly associated with fertility, remember that fertility is about more than sexual reproduction.  It is also about bringing new ideas and plans to fruition.  It’s about moving from planning something to bringing that project to life.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Two Points in Search of a Line

At the crucial moment of our Spring Equinox ritual this year, I screwed up the chant.

Today, April 14, we're having a blizzard.

Now, do I honestly believe that there's any causal connection between those two facts?

No, of course not. Of course I don't. There is no connection whatsoever between a botched ritual nearly a month ago and today's weather.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Funny thing about pagan ritual: though it may not have any direct effect on the world around us, it does change our sense of conne
  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    Hmmm... That being the case, perhaps you need West Coast representation to help provide these "protection" services. We should ch
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Gotta love that pagan entrepreneurial spirit. We'll talk. I'm coming to think that one of the big differences between pagans and
  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    I'm sure the chant had nothing to do with the, what, 4 massive winter storms so far this Spring? Although I'm confident you had n
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Your mind is telling you that it can't possibly be your fault, not on your own at least. Your heart and stomach on the other hand

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