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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Whatever Happened to Animal Sacrifice?

At one time, animal sacrifice was the most common form of public worship in the West.

So what happened to it?

We tend to think of Judaism as mother and Christianity as daughter, but in fact Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism are sister religions that arose at the same time in response to the self-same trauma: the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE.

In ancient Hebrew religion, anyone could build an altar anywhere and offer up sacrifice there, but with the rise of the Jerusalem temple, a hard-fought process of centralization set in which eventually banned sacrifice anywhere else, on the logic of “one god, one temple.”

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Celebrating Halloween in Spring

Halloween is tricky business in Australia. For those who wish to indulge in the treat of dressing up, eating lollies (the more common term for 'candy') and celebrating all things spooky, there are a few barriers to hammer against. Luckily for those who have gazed at the event with envy overseas, those barriers are slowly crumbling and Halloween has made its presence felt down under.

Growing up, most Australians would not have experienced trick or treating in their childhood. It has never been a custom here - just a cultural curiosity on cartoons and movies. As time has gone on, trick or treating has hit the streets influenced by resigned parents and enthusiastic children wanting to take on the fun custom. This has sometimes been met with open hostility in some sectors; 'Americanization' is a dirty word here in Oz. Candy is bad, trick or treating is dangerous, kids up to no good on the streets, oh my! The bah-humbug is strong here. However, the sheer fun and frivolity has eaten away at our collective willpower much like a toffee apple at my cavities, and it seems Halloween is here to stay

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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, October 1

Glaciers melt at a worrying rate in Greenland. A new (and extinct) species of humanoid is discovered in Africa. And National Geographic is acquired by a new (and controversial) owner. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly take on science and Earth-related news! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Nine fruits and nine flavors to preserve my soul
in peace this day...

— Caitlín Matthews

I'm enjoying Joanna Powell Colbert's 30 Days of Harvest ecourse. This week, one of the photo prompts was about savoring autumn fruits. While thoughts of apples were also on my mind, I took the prompt metaphorically and went for  a walk with my baby to identify nine “flavors” of autumn in my own back yard.

Persimmon for patience,
raspberry for reflection,
dogwood for dreams,
rose for enchantment,
aster for starshine,
polk for color,
oak for mystery,
and cucumber for salad.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Living in the semiarid places of southern Africa, Cape Ground Squirrel (Xerus inauris) shades Herself with her tail from the hot sun. Active during the day, She likes to eat in the morning. Afternoons are for socializing and grooming. During other times of the day, Cape Ground Squirrel will sunbathe if the weather turns chilly.

Cape Ground Squirrel will share her burrow with Meerkats and Yellow Mongooses. In gratitude, Meerkats will call alarms to warn Her. The two mammal species will live in a mutual relationship.

Cape Ground Squirrel lives with other Female Squirrels in large underground burrows. She usually feeds on seeds, leaves, and roots. However, Cape Ground Squirrel is not above acting cute and begging from people. Her favorite haunts are the rest camps of the governmental parks in South Africa.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Divine Economy

If I had to characterize Kirk S. Thomas' Sacred Gifts: Reciprocity and the Gods in only two words, it would be: “accessibly profound.”

Don't be put off—as I initially was—by his bantering tone, hyper-colloquial diction, or home-spun analogies. This book speaks as an incisive work of contemporary pagan scholarship and philosophy, and (best of all) points the way forward for future pagan thought.

There can be no relationship without communication. How, then, do we communicate with the gods?

In Sacred Gifts, Thomas answers this question elegantly and authoritatively by beginning with a careful examination of ancestral precedent. From these specifics, he deduces the general principles of the divine economy.

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Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, September 30

A Neopagan leader calls on her students to teach others as she taught them. The misogyny behind Africa's witch hunts is exposed and examined. And a list details 10 of the most famous real-life magicians in history. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly take on news about the Pagan and magical communities! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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