PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Lots of news of our many communities in today's Pagan News Beagle: Asatru campaign for recognition in the US Army; We'Moon award; occultism necessary to Paganism?; temples or shrines?; Coph Nia event for Gay and Bi men.
The Norse Mythology blog recently reported that the campaign to include Asatru as an officially recognized religion in the U.S. Army has stalled. This interview offers the most recent updates on the progress (or lack thereof.)...
I've probably been involved in well over 500 Pagan rituals over the last twenty years. Most of them have been pretty forgettable, but there are five or so that really stick out. There's a couple of Samhains in there of course, a big crazy 1899 ritual, my year and a day dedication ritual, and the night I was initiated. Those are the experiences I'll take to the grave with me, especially the last one of those.
In his brilliant comic novel, The Metamorphoses (also known as The Golden Ass), Lucius Apuleius (ca. 124-ca. 170 CE) spies on a witch getting ready for her evening jaunt. She schmeers herself with ointment, turns into an owl, and flies off. Apuleius thinks this looks like fun, and tries the ointment himself.
He's transformed (you can't say he didn't deserve it) into a jackass. In this form he is bought by some galli, the itinerant priests of the Syrian Goddess who, whenever they're not taking up collections or screwing as many guys as they can manage to wrap their legs around, tour the countryside going into trances and giving fake oracles.
Eventually the galli get tired of having to come up with new oracles all the time, so they hit on a solution: the foolproof answer to all questions.
Yoke the oxen, plow the land:
tall the golden grain will stand.
It can be hard for us modern folks who have always lived in a patriarchal society to envision any other kind of culture. As Riane Eisler perceptively noted in her book The Chalice and the Blade, we come from a dominance hierarchy type society so we tend to assume that any other kind of society from history or prehistory must be similar. In other words, if the men aren’t in charge and disproportionately powerful compared to the women in a culture, then the reverse must be true: the women must hold all the power while the men are largely powerless and oppressed.
This unfortunate bias has spilled over into our interpretation of Minoan society. I can’t count how many times people have told me, “Oh, those Minoans, their art is all women. You don’t see men anywhere, so the women must have held all the power.” I’d like to dispel this myth, for myth it is, and it’s totally inaccurate. It’s based on the idea that all societies must be dominance hierarchy types and it fails to consider another type of society: the egalitarian culture, which is what the Minoans really had. That’s a society in which women and men are equals and all adults have the same standing regardless of gender. This myth is also based on a careful selection of Minoan art that in no way represents the enormous and beautiful collection we have from this ancient civilization. So let’s explore the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the women-in-charge myth by actually looking at the art of the ancient Minoans....
Lots of stories to get fired up about in today's PaganNewsBeagle: Canadian Paganism, care & feeding of activists; co-housing; so-white Congress; arguing that witchcraft shouldn't try to be respectable.
Great story at the Wild Hunt by Dodie Graham MacKay on Pagan activism in Canada....
Our evenday (equinox) eve always begins with a hunt.
In the late winter darkness, we light our candles and go through the house with our baskets, looking for spring. We gather eggs—chocolate ones, mostly—but in the end we still have to descend into the underworld to find Spring, and bring her back ourselves. Here in the north, it's what you have to do.
As a ritual planner, I kicked against this part of the ritual for years. I feared it would trivialize what came after. But in fact gathering our baskets of candy is a delight, and the resonances of the act are ancient, deep, and meaningful.
Since the ritual takes place at my house, in after-days I keep finding spring. It happened this morning. Well into summer, I keep finding spring. This is why we use chocolate eggs for the egg-hunt and keep the real ones for the ritual.
Last year I found the last egg during the Yule cleaning. By then, the chocolate was a little dry and oxidized, but it still tasted sweet. Spring is always sweet, whenever you find it.