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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At home in the Dark: Winter and New Year magick

The moon has not come up yet, and my neighborhood is dark and cold. It strikes me how very dark it is tonight, compared with just a few weeks ago. The holiday lights are gone. The hills behind my house are dark as pitch, but less than a month ago I could have easily made out street after street in sharp detail, because the stringed lights were so bright and covered so many houses and trees. Tonight is very dark, but clear so the stars are very bright. It is biting cold out, with a sharp breeze out of the North. Nothing is stirring out there. The trees are bare and hard as wire, there is no hint of a bud anywhere. It is Winter, deep and austere.

Once the glitter of the holiday season all gets put away, and we settle into Winter's deep freeze and stillness, we might feeled challenged or distracted. For many of us, Winter means increased expense, work and worry. Snow is beautiful indeed, til the fifteenth time you've had to shovel inches of it off your driveway, and then join a white-knuckled, treacherous commute. It's wearying, carrying extra layers, taking cautious steps. Everything seems to take longer. We feel less vital, cooped up, perhaps depressed by the cold weather and dark skies. While there can be so much beauty and revelry in Winter, it is for many people the hardest, least joyful time of the year.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It seems a common topic of conversation these days that the world is pretty chaotic. We find so many things hard to understand - from violence in the name of peaceful religion, to laws which seem to increase suffering for some in the 'best interests' of others, or just decisions to which we can only stammer 'But... but... that's just wrong!' At heartfelt level, become intellect and rationality, we know this and are flummoxed that the other person cannot even grasp the possibility

The craziness of 'everyday' life is brought home to me often, largely because of my work as a Professional Priest. This brings two worlds colliding in a very real sense. The secular, normal, nuts-and-bolts life that generally allows for the concept of spirituality but with an undercurrent of nervousness, unsure how to engage with it for fear of offending - and the spiritual, soul-deep understanding that we are actually all humans muddling through some greater journey together, albeit with a similar suspicion that the 9-5 family-and-day-job is mad in its own way. Is one more important than another? Is one more real than another?

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Good Knowledge, Bad Teacher: Part 2

Lesson 2: How to Recognize the Warning Signs of an Unsafe Group.

The intent of this post is to contribute to the discussion on how to have a safe community. 

Recently the pagan community has been discussing this topic as a result of publicity over the arrest of Kenny Klein, a news story summarized here: http://wildhunt.org/2014/03/allegations-emerge-after-pagan-author-charged-with-possessing-child-pornography.html 

Some posts by pagans and heathens either in reaction to the news or about how to have a safe community: 

Do I Have to Have Sex to Be a Witch? http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/thea-s-inbox/let-s-talk-about-sex.html
The Community Reacts to Kenny Klein http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-studies-blogs/witch-at-large/my-take-on-the-kenny-klein-affair.html 
Secrecy http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-studies-blogs/witch-at-large/the-tyranny-of-secrecy.html 
Evil Thrives on Secrecy http://www.witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/gael-ur/evil-thrives-on-secrecy.html 
Abuse creates spiritual taint (contains some foul language) http://krasskova.weebly.com/blog/a-conversation-with-kenaz-filan 

There are some legitimate traditions that have hierarchies, and there are some traditions that reserve certain secrets and mysteries for higher levels of the group. Because there are such traditions, it’s hard to tell from the point of view of a prospective student whether the existence of levels and secrets indicates an established tradition or a means of dangling a carrot in front of the student to get student to keep doing what Bad Teacher demands. If one of the things student is expected to keep secret is that Bad Teacher is getting sex from student, that’s a clue that things are not well. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Most Pagans I know are pretty nice people. They will drop everything to help a friend in need. They respond to healing requests that are broadcast by acquaintances over social media and participate in activism in a quest to heal the earth and bring justice to the world. We value that watery ideal of compassion and seek to manifest it in the world.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Altars #ThePaganExperience

Keeping altars is probably one of the most consistent things we do as Pagans in our personal practice; though "altars" (and if you insist on using this word, please spell it with an "A"; "alters" is a process of forcing change) would not technically be the correct word.  What we keep are actually "shrines," places where we make images of the Divine and our spiritual practice, worship and make offering.

b2ap3_thumbnail_2015-01-16-11.03.20.jpgI keep an awful lot of altars myself.  My household altar is now located in the centerpiece of my living room, which is a beautiful mirrored china cabinet gifted to me by my mother-in-law.  It contains my ritual tools, statues of the Deities appropriate to the time of year, antlers to honour the Horned God, pine cones to honour the Earth Goddess.  The image you see at the top of the page is the central top shelf of my household altar, which currently is adorned with the pentacle of my tradition (which I'm pretty proud of; it's solid copper and was handmade by one of our founders, Mistress Leia,) an image of Osiris (to symbolize the God who was dead and is now reborn,) and the Star Goddess (which was a white clay figurine I purchased and then painted.)  In the center you'll find my personal pentacle (handmade by me,) a terra cotta incense burner with a turtle (placed there for feng shui value and also for a Terry Pratchett reference,) my Moon Crown (purchased several years ago from Lobelia's Lair in Nanaimo) and behind these, underneath the tradition's pentacle, my wand (also handmade with a lot of personal symbolism I don't care to publicly share at this time.)

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I think you and I (and probably myriad other pagans too) are on the same page when it comes to altars - Lovely piece. http://witc

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Writing IS Work

Gift is for every man / a pride and a praise / help and worthiness / and of every homeless adventurer / it is the estate and substance / for those who have nothing else. - Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Thank you. THANK you. THANK YOU. As someone who is Pagan and financially challenged, I also despise The Cult of Free Paganism -
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I agree. Writing is real work, as is art. Organizing events is real work, too, but I don't see any way to ever get paid for that,
  • Julia Hayes
    Julia Hayes says #
    Heather~ Thank you for your post. You've got my wheels turning. I appreciate your raw critical perspective on not only the publish
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2014/04/seekers-and-guides-why-free-events-discriminate-against-the-pagan-poor/. Yes, people n
PaganNewsBeagle Faithful Friday Jan 16

In today's Faithful Friday post of the PaganNewsBeagle, we have Voudou mental health in Haiti; Siberian shamans; the "Better News Club"; boom in online ordinations; is religion a force for good?

In Haiti, Vodou priest/esses are now delivering mental health services (in coordination with international health NGOs).

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