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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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Trees as Teachers

The trees are almost in full leaf now, with only the ash and aspen yet to join in the greening. It's been an odd Spring, with the oak trees in leaf before the hawthorn has come into flower here in Suffolk.  Only now are the first blooms of the May tree coming out, and with it the signs that herald for me the coming season.  The warm days have certainly been a blessing, and the light rain that falls today is equally welcome after long hot days of full sunshine and cool sea breezes.

It's at this time of year that I am reminded of just how important trees are to me, not just in their life-giving properties but also in their spiritual presence.  The deciduous trees with their lush foliage always bring a smile to my face, and after a long winter of sleep to see the beech tree at the bottom of my garden joining in the party that the younger birch trees have started fills my heart with joy.  The grass is lush and green, and everything just feels so very much alive. I welcome the greening with all my heart and soul.

Trees are magnificent teachers. They are so much larger than we are, both spiritually and physically.  They remind us of what it means to live a life in service to the whole, to live a life filled with integration and harmony, sustainable and at peace. Trees teach us of communion and integration, both at the deep root levels of our soul and reaching out towards the heavens of our soul's awakening. They teach us of symmetry and asymmetry, of co-operation and anarchy.  They are a legion of souls across this land, swaying in the wind, living their intention and benefiting all those around them by doing so. There is no sense of "I" with a tree; rather, it can instigate a better sense of "You" (or "yew", pun intended).

When we develop a relationship with trees, we think about ourselves less, rather than think less of ourselves. We are reminded that we are a part of an ecosystem, that the ecology of our spirituality is all important to our everyday lives. This ecology is absolutely integral to who we are as a species, and part of a place and environment, as part of life on this planet. We cannot separate this ecology in any shape or form. It is in everything that we do.

We are not far removed from our cousins who still live in the trees. We're all just monkeys with car keys, after all.

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Discovering Signs and Symbols by Kirsten Riddle

“We are a society built on signs and symbols. Our ancestors recognized their significance, assembling powerful messages around the signs and symbols they noted in their surroundings. They looked to Mother Nature for inspiration, and they then took this to another level, choosing shapes and signs and turning them into physical symbols that they could use in sacred rites and rituals.” – From Discovering Signs and Symbols: Unlock the Secrets and Meanings of These Ancient Figures by Kirsten Riddle (Ryland Peters & Small, 2015)

From the triangle to the clover, the caduceus to the Eye of Horus, signs, shapes and symbols permeate our social, religious, artistic and commercial landscape. Recognizing such symbols and tracing their origins is one thing (the crux of most symbol books), but incorporating them into a meaningful, enriching and personal context is quite another.

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What do you do when your magic is in a slump?

The other day, in the Magical Experiments Facebook group, I asked the members of the group to share with me what challenges they are experiencing in their magical practice. One of the people shared that they were experiencing a slump in their magical practice. It just didn't feel exciting or shiny or magical like it had before. When I read what the person was experiencing, I really resonated with it because sometimes I've felt the same way about my magical practice. 

The first time I experienced a slump in my magical practice, I was really surprised at how hard it was to motivate myself to do the daily magical work I'd committed myself to doing. It wasn't just an off day. It stretched into days and then weeks. I was seriously worried that I'd lost touch with the magic.

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, May 9

An interviewer speaks with Eva Green about her role on Penny Dreadful and more. A stage writer best known for his work in the Harry Potter universe aims to bring the His Dark Materials series to the small screen. And tattoo artist Damien Echols talks about mixing magic and art. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment on magic and religion in pop culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Weekly Goddess Inspiration: Rati

Spring is the season of passion, of stirring life, of creation. In my younger years, this season was all about Beltaine, and Beltaine was allll about passion and sex. One of the things I love best about my path is the celebration of sexuality as something sacred, as a gift from Goddess. As I've gotten older, sex has become less central to my Spring celebrations -- not because sex is no longer an important part of my life, or because I think it unseemly to be openly sexual and sensual now that I'm no longer in my 20s, but because I've begun to think about passion and creation in a wider sense. My Beltaine ritual this year involved working on my home, spending time with my partner, and honoring all the things I am creating, gestating, and getting ready to birth -- my women's circle, my priestess sisterhood, my creative projects. All the things that awaken passion in me, and all the passions I feel in addition to sexual passion. 

In my New Moon circle this past week, I drew oracle cards that encouraged me to step into my Authentic Self, to find my true passions and follow my calling. In some ways, this whole past year has been about accepting that I even have a calling -- something I've resisted for most of my Pagan life -- and learning what it might mean to step into it. So I've been spending the past week thinking about authenticity, about passion, about the role my politics around gender and sexuality and justice play in following my calling. I've also been reflecting a lot on the role that healing around my sexuality has played in my spiritual path, and about the ways in which I can help to create safe, brave, healing spaces for survivors of sexual violence in my spiritual community; about how I can help to facilitate the much-needed conversation about consent that's happening (or needing to happen) in Pagan spaces; and about what it means to be part of a sex-positive spiritual community in an overwhelmingly sex-negative culture.

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What Does Mother's Day Mean in a Patriarchal and Matricidal Culture?

When we seek immortality or spiritual “rebirth,” are we not saying that there is something wrong with the “birth” that was given to us through the body of our mothers? In She Who Changes and in "Reading Plato's Allegory of the Cave as Matricide and Theacide," I asserted that our culture is "matricidal" because it is based on the assumption that life in the body in this world "just isn’t good enough."

What is so wrong with the life that our mothers gave us that we must reject it in the name of a “higher” spiritual life? The answer of course death.

Can we love life without accepting death?

Can we love our mothers if we do not accept a life that ends in death?

Jesus was said to have encouraged his disciples to leave their wives and families in order to follow him.  When he was told that his mother and brothers were outside and waiting to speak to him, he is said to have said:

“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matt. 12:48-50)

Buddha left his wife and new-born son in order to pursue enlightenment.

Some feminists, including Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Rita Gross, view these incidents positively, stating that their meaning is that no person should be trapped in the conventional biological roles.

I have always experienced these stories as dismissive of women’s bodies, of women’s lives, of women’s work. When I went to college, I learned that all of the knowledge and insight about the meaning of life I had gained through the experience of raising a child with my mother was irrelevant to the university education I had embarked upon.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Honour the bones...

Bones

In the old days bones and animal parts were used widely for magical purposes.  People were hunters they used all the parts of an animal primarily for food and warmth, and the bones for magic.

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