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Recent blog posts
How to Build a Pop Culture System of Magic Part 3

In part one and two of this series I covered how spaces and characters could be used to create a pop culture magic system. In this part of the series, we'll explore the role of symbols in the creation of a pop culture magic system. What I find fascinating is how symbols are interwoven into characters, in such a way that sometimes characters are simultaneously personalities and symbols that represent something else. For example, in comics, the color schemes of a character's outfit make the character a symbol, as well as the ore overt display of a specific. The character is an extension of the overt character, automatically associated with the meanings attached to a symbol. Red, Blue, and Yellow call Superman to mind, along with the S in the geometrical figure. Black, Gray, Yellow, and a Bat symbol call to mind Batman, as much as the bat symbol itself. The symbol embodies a connection to the character, much like a goetic sigil embodies a connection to a Goetic Daimon. But the symbol is also evocative of what the character stands for and the values and skills the character embodies (again not different from the Goetic demon).

This melding of symbol with character doesn't just occur with comics. It also occurs with Fantasy and SF books and other forms of media. For example, the lightning bolt scar is a symbol associated with Harry Potter, and the Chaostar is as much associated with the character of Elric as it is with chaos magic. The melding of symbols with characters is a way to make those characters impressionable to the people who are into. The symbols evoke the characters.

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Ahimsa Grove: The October 2nd World Farmed Animal Day Fast Against Slaughter

When I first heard about the annual fast against slaughter, which is a campaign hosted by FARM (Farmed Animal Rights Movement), I didn’t do it. Let’s face it, a day without food is usually a pretty big deal. It may sound doable right up until the witching hour, but then resolve can crumble away.

The fast occurs on October 2nd, partly because this is Gandhi’s birthday. The messaging on the campaign website is as follows:

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Mouldy grapes and the work after the harvest

Harvesting also means preserving. The traditional men’s work for the season – bringing it in – may be done, but the traditional women’s work of getting it to keep, is just starting. Drying, pickling, fermenting, jamming, canning, and storing are older methods, freezing and refrigerating more modern, but if you want your harvest to feed you until spring, you have to look after it.

I’m wine making this year, the ongoing work in the midst of which I have paused to blog. My mother’s grape harvest, of tiny, tart green grapes, must be plucked from stems, and the dodgy ones removed. It’s slow, fiddly, and throwing the right bits out is an important part of the proceedings.

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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.

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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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