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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 SageWoman Blogs
Earth Our Mother

[I have revised one of my posts from Awenydd of the Mountains to share with SageWoman Blogs and Pagan Square  for Earth Day. May you celebrate consciously and joyously!]

b2ap3_thumbnail_Earthday.jpg

As with Terra and Gaia, Earth/Hertha/Nerthus is a Goddess. I think civilizations have always acknowledged her as Mother. We keep calling her by Goddess names, even in monotheist eras.

I find it a little odd that we also call soil “earth”. Mother as the sum of her parts – the physical matter of her body, but reduced to the rocky sediment. But really, ocean is as much “earth” as soil is. Air, lava, and living organic matter are, too. You and I are “earth”.  So this wording from our language draws my eye to the separateness and stage-set attitude of Western Civilization being “on the earth” rather than “in the earth”. On a ground or stage, rather than deep within the biosphere… itself deep within the universe. Above, on top of, dominating, walking on… Planet as mostly inanimate prop to play out the lofty human drama, instead of the reality that Pagans know of planet as living home and community to which we belong and mother from which we emerged… inseparable from ourselves.

I see soil as deep and fecund, and the ground as a lot more than a simple surface. From spinning core and ever-shifting mantle creating a magnetosphere to shield us from solar winds, to rich medium that produces and nourishes all life as well as storing and transforming organic and inorganic matter, to ancient mountains and ocean rifts, to the symbolic shamanic lower world we can descend into for knowledge and experience. It is the fire and the cauldron.

Part of my spiritual work is to bring this vital, communal, and immersive sensibility back into my culture’s relationship with Earth. It is currently and for so long has been sick with

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Lia, thank you for the shout out! But it's ecopagan.com, not ecopagan.org. Can you correct that? Thanks, John
  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    Oops! Fixed now. Thanks!
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Thanks. Just yesterday, I wrote eco-pagan.com instead of ecopagan.com -- and in a press release no less.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Happy Earth Day 2015! Gaia's Mantle

Starlight and brilliance of
Sun's solar flare
White and golden red
Woven tapestry of
Jet black Cosmos.

Green and brown
Of fertile land
Blue of sun kissed
Watery basin.

Rainbow of color
Spread across
Pattern of cloth
Textured and etched
In crystal and stone.

Blackness of heated striation
Of rock's core as gentle bud
Pushes upward towards sun's
Radiant blessing as Gaia sheds
Her parched skin and dons Spring's
Celestial mantle of lusty fertility.

This post is excerpted from my online course, A year and a Day on the Wiccan Path. It was part of the lesson focusing on The Natural World and seemed most fitting in celebration of Earth Day 2015. Enjoy!

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2015-04-22-at-1.10.37-PM.png

We’re coming up on Beltane, that magical and fiery pagan holiday that I’ve always loved and was recently feeling strangely anxious about. I’m not a crone…yet. But I’m no spring chicken, either, and I was beginning to look at the brilliant, sexy, flirty day of Beltane for what it is: a spring holiday of fertility, and wondering to myself, how do I fit into this?

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • DeborahMarchant
    DeborahMarchant says #
    Thanks for the information. Over here in Puerto Rico there is an abundance of Beltane, and there is healthier air here too. Th

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Landwight

This land is home now. It's the place where the land spirit protects me, and where we exchange gifts and mutually grow stronger, and happier. It's the place where my neighbors' children swim in my pool and their dogs obey me. It's the place where I delight to see butterflies on the flowers with a simple joy that blots out all other thoughts. It's the place where I can go outside and harvest food and know that it's healthy and free of poisons and a product of my love of the land and the land's love for me. It's the place where my old cats are buried.

When I first moved from my old apartment in Las Vegas to our house in Henderson, I wanted to do an Asatru land-taking ritual when I moved in. I wanted to walk the boundaries of our land and mark out our property line as an innangarth (inner yard.) But, while moving, I had attempted to carry a couch down the stairs from my old walk-up apartment and injured my knee. As I sat in my room thinking about how to walk the boundary when I couldn't walk, I looked out the window and saw my cat Shadow walking the boundary for me.

Shadow understood territory, because she was a cat. So, I started out on this land by working with nature via nature, in the form of a cat and her territorial instincts.

Gradually, I became aware of the being of this place, the genius loci. I decided to contact the land spirit and see if I could communicate and start a formal gifting relationship with it. In Asatru we call the land spirits landvaettir or landwights, and there are traditions about what a landwight might like, but those traditions were developed in Europe, dealing with the beings native to that land. Since this land is in the Nevada portion of the Mojave Desert, I thought the local landwight might be used to dealing with humans within the traditions of the local Native American tribes, so I approached it by offering corn. It liked the corn. But it turned out the landwight wasn't particular; he just wanted some of whatever we were having, only plant matter, and only what would otherwise go to waste. The landwight here is a vegan and a freetarian. I began offering to the landwight by putting things in the compost pile, and the landwight accepted these gifts and returned gifts of rich, dark soil. Yes, this is how compost normally works -- I see the magic of the return of a gift for a gift operating and simultaneously understand that this process can be explained by science, for that is what nature is for me. It is both the science and the magic, both the logic and the joy.

The photo at the top of this post is my front yard in October 2011. I designed this garden, and went through the approval process to get the local water department rebate for replacing lawn with xeriscape. I grew both the squash in the foreground and the mimosa tree on the side of the house from seed. I started the lavender bushes and Australian racer in the middle ground of the photo from cuttings; the lavender cuttings came from the back yard lavender bush, which originally came from High Country Gardens, and the racer from my grandmother's garden in Arizona. The squash seeds came from Native Seed Search, an organization for the preservation of heritage Southwest Native American food crop seeds. It's a Tohono O'odham Ha:I which I have nicknamed "the squash that ate Las Vegas" because it is rampant.

After some years living here, as my relationship with the local landwight deepened, he decided he wanted to be represented by a garden gnome statue. He does not actually look like a gnome; he is a vast power, and his true form awes me. My mom chose the gnome statue. I positioned it in the garden near where I give the landwight the "Presents for the Gnome." I distribute the gnomic blessings into the planting beds-- that is, I shovel compost-- and the garden flourishes. The garden nourishes me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It takes care of me, I take care of it, and the cycle continues. The the mimosa and pine trees that I started from seeds in little pots in my apartment are big trees now. Their roots go down deep into the ground, and so do my psychic roots. This is my home.

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Meditation - The Gift of Transformation

Meditation is a huge part of my spiritual life.  It is something that I try to do every single day, in various shapes and forms.  I find that sitting meditation, or zazen is the best way for my self to refocus on what’s important, to stop the chattering ego and really get deep down to the issues at hand. So much clarity is gained from simply stopping, from allowing the silence to fill your soul. In that deep pool of quiet, in that dark heart of Cerridwen’s cauldron, lies transformation.

You have to be willing to do it, though. It’s difficult, as many of us don’t really like spending time alone, much less sitting still and “wasting time”. However, I would posit that this could very well be the best use of your time, realigning you to the present moment, grounding yourself in the reality of the here and now.  We can get so carried away on our emotions, on our problems with the world, on our own sense of self that we become blinkered to the rest of existence. Life is constantly happening, all around us, and we hardly notice it.  Sitting meditation is a great way to pay attention to it, to our selves, our bodies and our minds, to see how they work, to get in touch with them once again, thereby allowing us to get in touch with the rest of the world on a much clearer, positive level.

Like a deep pool, the waters may become disturbed, but if we stop the mud will eventually settle to the bottom, the clear water rising to the top to perfectly reflect the sky above.  We can become as this pool, reflecting with clarity the present moment in all that we do, in all that we say and in all that we think.  It’s not easy, but it’s well worth it.

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Ritual Elements Earth - Loving the Earth

Author's note: I'm re-running this article in honour of Earth Day - April 22, 2015 

I've spent the last month examining my practices and interactions with the Elements. It's one of the core pieces of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition. I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last three articles I've chronicled my explorations with Air, my connections with Fire and my dive into Water. I'm turning now to the Earth.

...
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    You know Annika, I pretty much always want to roll around in the soil and duff and get that rich, dark, wet earth all over me. G
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Now I want to go out and roll around in the dirt and breathe in the scent of grass and moss and bugs and listen to the cry of bird
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    > thank you Lizann
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Brilliant!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Gidden and Two Roberts

In 2009, poet and scholar-at-large Grevel Lindop published two previously-unknown letters from Robert Cochrane (1931-1966), father of the modern Old Craft movement, to poet Robert Graves (1895-1985), whose book The White Goddess had been seminal (to say the very least) to Cochrane's thinking.

The first of these letters, unfortunately undated, begins:

I have read and re-read your book, 'The White Goddess,' with admiration, utter amazement and a taint of horror. I can see your point when you write of inspirational work, and realize that it must have resulted from quite an internal 'pressure,' since from my own experience, that is the way she works. However, I am just pointing out some other factors that might interest you in the manifestation of the 'Guiden Corn' (Lindop 6).

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