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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And This Year's 'Best Yule Card' Award Goes to....

Consider the common Yule card.

It generally comes in one of three varieties.

1. Merry  Christmas  Yule. Out with the old, in with the new. Call it recycling.

2. Happy Holidays. Generic card. Yule, Christmas, Hanuka, Ramadan, Mother's Day....

3. Blesséd Yule. Oh-so pious-y pagan: pastels, pentagrams, and Horned Gods straight off the cover of a romance novel.

3a. All Hail Misrule! A specifically Old Craft sub-genre of Type 3, tending to feature woodcut-style graphics. Often features goats. 

And this year's 'Best Yule Card' Award goes to....

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leiastampIt grieves me deeply to learn of the death of Carrie Fisher, whose humour, cleverness and bravery have been an inspiration in my life.  Carrie Fisher's legacy includes bravely sharing some of the most intimate details of her lowest points, from her struggles with drug addiction and bipolar disorder to the objectification that she was subjected to as an actress, to nasty, petty remarks from an entitled media whom, it seems, were angry that she didn't just stay perfect in her gold bikini forever and had the audacity to get old.  She faced it all with courage and a cynical and sarcastic wit that I, who have had some considerable struggles in my life, find both inspiring and smugly satisfying.  She was an accomplished writer, penning memoirs, script band-aids, and her bestselling novel Postcards from the Edge, which was later made into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley McLaine.  But of course, she remains best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars Saga, and this is, of course, why I know about her.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
American Wild Hunt

Seventh Day of Yule, and the Wild Hunt is off and running. 

Last night we heard Old Storm and his buddies the Winds out howling and crashing, all night long.

This morning, there were broken tree limbs down all over the city. The streets were littered with them.

The Wild Hunt, all right, right on cue.

If you look at the folklore about the Wild Hunt, you'll see mostly scare stories, and, indeed, you really don't want to meet them out on the prairie, or anywhere, really. Then a broken limb would be getting off easy.

But, as usual in the Wonderful World of the Many that is polytheism, that's not the whole story.

For the Wild Hunt also has another side.

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A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess Is Published! by Carol P. Christ

This is a great day for me as I announce the publication of A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess. It is the first —but certainly not the last—book from the new Far Press, directed by Gina Messina and Xochitl Alvizo, two of the founders of www.feminismandreligion.com. I hope you will join with us in celebrating our joint venture by ordering the book, telling your friends about it, sharing it (links below), reviewing it on Amazon, and letting Gina and Xochitl know if you can review in a magazine, journal, or blog.

Here is an excerpt from the preface to whet your appetite.

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A Serpentine Path is a story that begins in despair and ends in rebirth and regeneration. It depicts a turning point in my life, a psychological and spiritual breakthrough that opened me to living the rest of my life in grace and joy. Though I am tempted to say it was a journey from darkness to light, that would be inaccurate, for mine was a journey into the darkness and out again. The path of life is never straight or narrow, and the circle of light and darkness is never-ending.

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Posted by on in Signs & Portents
Tis the Season!

It’s that time of year once again. The merriest, cheeriest time, or so we’re led to believe. It’s the Winter Holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Yule, New Year’s, Kwanzaa, and so many more. As always we’ve gathered our very best stories on the subject from PaganSquare as well as any other bits from around the web we thought you might enjoy.

We hope you enjoy the rest of the winter season! And have a Happy New Year’s!

—Aryós Héngwis

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A New Hope: Star Wars Magick

Like most anyone under the age of 50, I grew up with Star Wars As an integral part of my childhood.  Through movies, video games, pen and paper RPGs, cartoons, books, toys, and more, tales of Jedi, rebels, rogues, and the empire have permeated almost every level pop culture.  One of the most powerful and enduring themes in all Star Wars stories is the promise of hope in the darkest of places.  As the new year dawns that message of hope is needed more than ever.  In this post I will explore some of the many ways we can use Star Wars to bring hope and light to dark times.

***Note - This post will be discussing the use of Star Wars in generic pop culture magick.  While I am aware of the Jedi religion, I don’t really know any of the details.  If you’re looking for information on the Jedi religion or Jedism in Paganism you’ll need to look elsewhere.***

The music of the Star Wars universe is some of the most evocative and easily recognizable in the public consciousness.  I think I first heard the opening fanfare of John William’s Star Wars Theme when I was about four years old and from that first time I have always known that hearing that music meant I was about to embark on a journey of hope, heroism, and adventure.  Magickally, the song has a powerful energizing effect.  It can be used as a catalyst for taking action, inspiration, or charging objects with energy for hope and rebellion against tyranny.  On par with the opening theme, for its place is the public mind, is the Imperial March.  If you want to charge a spell or object with the power of intimidation or an ability to exert control then this is the piece of music for you.  It can also be used to powerfully identify “the enemy.”  There’s so much music to choose from across the (currently) eight films and numerous cartoons and video games, there’s a perfect piece of Star Wars music to enhance or empower just about any magickal act.

Star Wars has also provided us with many classic lines and catchphrases that can be used as incantations or mantras.  Some of the classic lines that can be used in magick for hope and making a difference include: “Do or do not, there is no try”, “May the force be with you”, “Never tell me the odds”, and “I am one with the force and the force is with me.”  These are all phrases that are deep in the currents of pop culture and draw on tremendous power.  “May the force be with you” is as powerful as any traditional blessing and resonates across cultural lines without engaging the triggers of potentially antagonistic religions.  Using any of these lines in magick immediately taps into the emotion and resonance of the scenes in which they were uttered, giving them the potential to tap into far more power than something more traditional. 

The characters of the Star Wars franchise include some of the most easily recognizable and iconic in existence; I challenge you to find anyone who does not immediately recognize Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, or Han Solo - to name a very few.  If you need to work with a character to help you with believing in yourself, taking action in the face of overwhelming odds, doing the right thing in spite of immediate self interest, or to feel connected with others in similar situations then there is a Star Wars character just waiting to help you.  For example, you could invoke Yoda to gain the wisdom to determine the correct actions to take in a given situations or call on Princess Leia to help you bring people together in a common cause.  In the Star Wars universe everyone from smugglers, farm boys, and urchins to engineers, soldiers, and politicians have something they can do to help make their worlds better.  They show us that there is always something we can do, no matter our circumstances, and they give us courage to do it. 

*** Here be Rogue One spoilers ***

Sometimes one must be willing to put oneself in danger and make sacrifices to stand up for what one believes in.  Something as simple as standing up against cyberbullying can put one in danger of being doxxed, harassed, or assaulted.  In dangerous political climates doing the right thing can get you arrested or worse.  In Rogue One we see a small group of courageous people make the ultimate sacrifice in a stand against tyranny in order to give hope to the rebellion.  Each individual makes small but irreplaceable actions that, in the end, make ultimate victory possible.  Call upon these heroes when you need the courage and strength to put yourself at risk for what you believe in or to shine light on how the smallest act can make all the difference.

*** End Rogue One spoilers ***

As the first movie franchise to truly embrace merchandising, Star Wars presents the pop culture practitioner with a near endless array of options for tools, talismans, and enchanting.  You can get action figure or bobble heads of pretty much every character in the Star Wars universe, making creating a spirit house for a character you want to work with absolutely effortless.  You can get everything from t-shirts to underwear with symbols of the rebel alliance as camouflaged talismans.  You can even get fine watches and jewelry of lightsabers, droids, or emblems to enchant and wear in even the most formal of situations.  Further, the amount of fan made art and crafts available are staggering.  (As of 12/26/2016 an etsy search of “Star Wars” yields almost 100,000 items including everything from sculptures to knitting patterns.)  Any object you could possibly want to enhance your magick is available to you. 

In its many forms, the Star Wars universe gives us all the opportunity to embrace our own inner hero and stand up in the face of evil.  It brings us a message of hope and resistance that we all need to endure and overcome dark times.  Further, it gives us such a diverse number of heroes, great and small, that each one of us can find someone who seems just like us doing something incredible.  Remember, rebellions are built on hope.  May the force be with you.

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Shortly after beginning to write this post I heard that Carrie Fisher had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.  As of publishing she is in stable condition, but still in intensive care.  May the gods watch over her. Update 12/27/2016 - RIP Carrie Fisher.  I have no words.

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The Yules

They say that if you add up all the gifts in The Twelve Days of Christmas, you get 364.

364.

The Twelve (witches would say Thirteen) Days of Yule are a microcosm, a year in little.

So Yule is actually the Yules: Twelve (witches would say Thirteen) of them, and every one a Yule.

The same pattern of the Twelve Between turns up elsewhere. The old Zoroastrian New Year, Nawrúz, at the vernal equinox, is a festival of thirteen days.

Mircea Eliade suggests that the intercalary dozen serves to reconcile a solar year of 365 days with a lunar year (= 12 lunations) of 352.

There's actually an old (15th century) Scots song kin to the one you may know called The Thirteen Days of Yule. It begins:

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