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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

   Wine and cakes have become de rigeur for the ending of a ritual.  Practitioners use whatever they can bring.  I have partaken of Kool-Aid and Oreos as well as ale and oatmeal cookies. Some of my readers may have been there, done that.  I thought I would offer up a few recipes for you to try for your next Esbat and/or Sabbat.  

CAPILLAIRE

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Changing Consciousness: Pagan Activism in Canada


b2ap3_thumbnail_2015-03-14-12.46.50.jpgI don't think there's any doubt, for any witch who's been to one, that a public protest is a magickal act. A group of people get together and use symbolism to focus the collective will towards a specific goal.  If the magick is successful, consciousness changes, with results that are reflected in the outer world.

So last weekend I, along with about two or three hundred other people, gathered in downtown Vernon, BC to protest the new proposed Canadian anti-terror bill, C-51.  We rallied, sang, cheered, and marched through the city streets, holding up our major highway for several minutes.

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  • Rick
    Rick says #
    14 years after the US Patriot Act the Canadian government decides they need a similar bill? That doesn't pass the smell test at al

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Holding a Heathen Ritual Upstairs

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my path, in the late 90s I started holding my own blots and sumbels in my apartment. My local area had neither festivals with public rituals nor any heathen groups I could find to join, so I started holding the holidays myself, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. When I had non-heathen friends over for the holidays of the American holiday calendar, I did my holidays the American way. That eventually grew into my personal practice which I talk about in my book American Celebration. 

When I held specifically Asatru rituals, I usually held a sumbel (toasting ritual) but also sometimes held a blot (blessing) in addition. In preparing to hold a blot or sumbel for the first time, there was a practical consideration: Where do I pour out the blotbolli or horn? At the end of a heathen ritual, there is leftover liquid-- usually mead these days-- in a bowl (for a blot) or a horn (for a sumbel.) This liquid is supposed to be given to the landwights. I would have had to leave ritual space to access the ground, which was a common strip of lawn used by all the neighbors, down a flight of stairs. So I decided to pour the horn or bowl into my potted plants on the balcony, which I called "the hanging gardens of Las Vegas."

Offering through my plants connected my potted garden, in which I grew food, flowers, and small trees, with the land spirit. There is something very primal, very pagan, about gardening. It connected me with the land, the seasons, the weather, and all those gods and beings related to those things: spring maiden and harvest lord, sun and rain, and the spirits of nature.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tree of Dawn

In Latvian lore, not much is remembered of Austra—the goddess whose sister-selves include the other Dawn goddesses of the Indo-European diaspora: Ushas, Eos, Aurora, Ostara, Easter, among others—except for her name and her symbol.

Each of the Old Gods of the Baltic pantheon is associated with a particular sigil that has been faithfully transmitted through folk-art—in particular weaving and embroidery—down to our own day. Saule (Sun) has a sun-wheel, Mēness (Moon) a crescent, Pērkons (Thunder) the thunder-cross (fylfot), and the like (Dzērvītis112ff.).

Since Austra, by her very nature, does not readily lend herself to depiction—how does one draw a picture of light, of color?—her symbol is Austras koks, “Austra's tree.” This makes eminent sense, since trees capture both the first and last light of the day, even when the Sun is not yet (or is no longer) above the horizon. In Latvian lore Austra's tree is said to have copper roots, silver leaves, and golden branches (Dzērvītis 115).

Read figuratively, this describes the colors of the great Tree of the East as it shines with the new light of dawn. Read literally, the image may sound to the modern ear both artificial and unnatural. But to the ancestors, for whom the natural was commonplace and artifice precious, the image would have expressed the transformation of the everyday into the extraordinary.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Dawn, shining raccoon...."
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember seeing some mornings back in high school when the early light shown down through the trees. I never met a pretty girl
Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, March 20

Happy Ostara/Equinox everyone! Today's the first day of spring (by some definitions) but it's also Faithful Friday and we've got a bunch of stories to share with you. Many of our stories today focus on how the modern world and religion (or the lack thereof) intersect, often in some very interesting and surprising ways.

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Rejoice, for the Light‘s Returned!

Blessings and good tidings, fellow Witches and Pagans!

After the long winter (or short winter, if you’re from the U.S. West Coast) spring has finally come, bringing with it the renewal of the earth and the flowering of life. Today is Ostara, better known as the root word of “Easter,” and the Spring Equinox, representing the point in time at which the balance between night and day switches decisively in favor of the latter. Of course, if you’re in the southern hemisphere it’s the opposite, Mabon, as winter approaches after a long summer. Either way, it’s an important point in the year!

As per usual we’ve gathered both all of our articles on spring as well as several stories we thought you might find interesting. We hope you enjoy!

-Aryós Héngwis

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Everywhere, Spring is being celebrated. I feel it, too: the warm air on my arms (hey, sweater season gets annoying!), the heavenly scent of jasmine, the first buds on the jacarandas. But underneath it I feel a sense of dread. Here in Los Angeles, rainy season is over.

Last month I got a price quote from a vegetable gardening service, hoping to finally get my garden in shape. But it's been weeks and I can't bring myself to pull the trigger. What if the guy comes out and the next day, restrictions go into place? Even if they don't (and our lackadaisical municipal governments aren't making any move to ration), can I really justify expanding my garden when water is so scarce? Everyone knows lawns are bad, but are tomatoes okay?

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I think you'll probably be doing this... http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/cities-are-now/los-angeles-imports-nearly-85-percent-of

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