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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_rain.jpgIn the eight years that I've been actively involved with the Vanatru movement, I've met a number of Vanatruar, and in talking with other Vanatruar, I've found we have a lot of diversity of experience and practice - what Vanatru is, will differ from practitioner to practitioner. With that said, one of the things that does seem fairly common amongst the Vanatruar I've met (though this certainly does NOT apply to all of us) is a lack of formality.  The Powers of Nature, Gods of the World tend to attract... well, practical, pragmatic followers.  We tend to be very down-to-earth people, even those of us who are creative and eccentric in some way (as many of us are, myself included).

Over the last few years devotional polytheism has become more common, and I myself identify as a devotional polytheist.  However, there has been an expectation over the last while that the "proper" way to honor the gods is to be on your knees praying several times a day, with flowery adorations.  I don't do this. I know very few Vanatruar who do this.  I do know a few Vanatruar who do not do formal devotion and have expressed guilt and the feeling that they're "doing it wrong" because this has been presented as the standard for polytheistic practice by a number of people, including some from the Northern Tradition.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Molly Khan
    Molly Khan says #
    I find the wide variety of expressions of piety in devotional polytheism as a whole, and Vanatru specifically, to be fascinating.
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
Metaphysical Quartz Crystal Description: DOUBLE TERMINATED

This week we’ll discuss the metaphysical properties of Double Terminated quartz crystals; what they are, how to determine if you have one, and how to work with their unique energy. We discussed crystal Clusters in an earlier post. We mentioned at that time that there are some crystals which don't grow on a matrix, they basically grow from a "seed" of silicon dioxide in clay. That is what we'll discuss in this blog post: Double Terminated crystals.

double terminated pointsDouble Terminated crystals have a termination on both ends. The point or end of the crystal is called the termination. It is confusing to refer to a single crystal as a “point” and to also call the end of a single crystal the “point,” so we call the pointy end a "termination".

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Peggy Frye
    Peggy Frye says #
    Thank you - very informative blog. I certainly have a real crystal ball (my husband is a geologist and is envious)'s actuall
  • Genn John
    Genn John says #
    Hey Peggy! Thanks for the question... It's a great one! I'm really happy to hear that you were able to connect with this sphere..
  • Peggy Frye
    Peggy Frye says #
    I have a question. I just recently (in the past two days) started to read your blog. I have never worked with crystals before.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


In my previous post I talked about how I was contacted by the director of pastoral services at Duke University Hospital.  Once a month, the chapel invites speakers from various faith traditions to talk to doctors, nurses, social workers, and other hospital staff.  The director had contacted me almost a year ago, asking me to give a short presentation focusing on a Pagan perspective on health, healing, life, and death. 


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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bean Cakes

In 1802, the Fulani sheikh Usman dan Fodio declared jihad against the Hausa. Thirty years later his successors moved against the Yoruba.

The disunited Yoruba city-states fell rapidly before the Fulani onslaught. By 1834, the cities of Oló Iyé, Ikoyí, Offá, and Erín had been taken, with massive destruction and forced Islamization. The huge Fulani army then turned south, and in 1840 camped outside the city of Oshogbó at the great bend of the River Oshún.

Oshogbó had grown into a populous city, its population more than doubled by refugees. (Those years are still known in Yoruba as itán isá isá, the 'time of running.') As Yoruba cities go, Oshogbó was not a particularly ancient city; at this time, it had seen only 10 obás, kings.

The city had been founded by the obá Laró, who led his people there after a dispute over succession in Ibokún, and was built in pact with the goddess Oshún. Laró first planned to build in a grove on the river bank, but the goddess herself emerged from the river and told him that the grove was sacred to her, and that he must build instead on a nearby hill. If, she promised him, he would protect her grove, she would protect his city.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I had mentioned in my last blog post that would be pulling one rune a week to learn more about them.  My first rune was Perthro, Peorth.  A rune of mystery and change.  Which was the perfect rune to begin with, I was starting out learning and studying the mysteries of these runes.  It was a beginning for me, a beginning full of mystery. 


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Ancestral hearths- A wisewomans Cornish Retreat.

This winter has been a season of wind and rain, and I've been lucky enough to spend some well needed time really seizing this opportunity to look within, to seek vision in the deep silence of the fireside at night, and take some time out to go on retreat on the wild Cornish coast, a place of pixies, ancient tin mines that stretch for miles filled with the ghosts of times past, and tales of pirates and shipwrecks.

Cornwall is an ancient land, where Celtic villages like Carn Euny and Chysauster can still be found. Their stones walls breaking through the hummocks of turf, it's possible to stand by their hearths and look out to sea, as they did long ago. Traders with the Romans, Greeks  and those who came before, these were a proud and clever people. They mined their land for tin,  copper and even gold and lead, and were skilled metal workers with trading links all across Europe. Sitting sheltered from the harsh February winds against their strong walls there is a still and steady presence, as if the passage of time can be cast away and it is possible to sense their lives all around.

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Twelve Healing Stars is a yearlong project in cooperation with the Temple of Witchcraft that explores social justice through the lessons of the 12 Zodiac Signs. This is part six. Basic social psychology suggests that religion can be a very dangerous thing. Open any introductory textbook to the chapter on social psych, and you’ll be hit with a flurry of concepts that build upon each other to show us how tribal, exclusionary, and potentially violent religion – any religion – can become.

  • The Out Group Homogeneity Effect tells of our tendency to see all people that are not part of our group as “all the same.”
  • In Group Bias is our ability to tolerate differences within our own groups, even as we don’t see them in other groups.
  • The Fundamental Attribution Error leads us to blame another person’s character for mistakes they make and any behavior they do while ignoring the situational variables that could have caused the mistake or behavior.
  • Group Polarization is our tendency, once within a group, to gravitate toward extreme thinking. Our opinions may be moderate on a topic, but as we hang out with people with more extreme opinions, we move in that direction.
  • Groupthink tells us that when we have a charismatic leader and a lack of dissenting opinions in a group, we make very poor choices.

Add these together, and any time a group gets together they risk extreme thinking and tribalism. We see that play out in everything from sports team rivalries to international politics. We tend to naturally separate ourselves from others. And one of the places we see it way too often in is religion. Ethnobiologist E.O. Wilson is working on a trilogy to explore the human condition and its intersections with spiritual practice. He says that a major problem with religion is this tribal mentality. “Religion,” he says “features supernatural elements that other tribes – other faiths - cannot accept.” The problem with that is that, “Every tribe, no matter how generous, benign, loving, and charitable, nonetheless looks down on all other tribes.” Mix that with social psychology and you are creating a pretty toxic brew for humanity’s survival. There is a way out of this. Another concept from social psychology, a deceptively simple one, can be our key. It’s called the Mere Exposure Effect. We’ve all experienced it. When a person begins with a negative attitude toward a person or group, spending time around that group – merely being exposed to it – can improve their attitude. It’s one of the reasons that coming out of our closets, be they broom closets or any other kind of closet, is so important. When we know good people who belong to a misunderstood group, our perceptions of that group improve.  Instead of separation, we need to come together. We need the Piscean message of merging together, yet we can’t lose what makes us all unique. This is a large part of the mission for Alix Wright, the Pisces Lead Minister for the Temple of Witchcraft. Paganism of any brand, but especially Witchcraft, runs a great risk of being misunderstood and maligned. Wright says that, “The air of mystery surrounding the various pagan faiths could feed the fear of those who don’t truly know what we do.” She adds that, “Anytime you keep things closed off and secretive, those not in ‘the know’ have the opportunity to put their own spin on things and can demonize what the only have minimal, or no, understanding of.”

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