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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
Samhain: Ancient and Modern

Calan Gaeaf (Welsh) or Samhain (Irish) begins at sunset of 31st October and runs to to sunset 1st November according to most Western Pagan traditions. If working by the moon, it is the first full moon when the sun is in Scorpio. If working by the natural landscape, it is when the first frosts bite. Samhain was termed the Celtic New Year, as it marked the ending of one cycle and the beginning of another. The Celts reckoned their days from sunset to sunset, and so the start of the year would begin in the dark time at the beginning of winter. Samhain marked the first day of Winter.

Calan Gaeaf, however, is a time that is not a time, and therefore some Pagans honour this tide and season from 31st October right through to the Winter Solstice. It is a time after many things have died, and there is a stillness to the air, an Otherworldly feel in the silence. It's a dark time here in the UK, with long nights on our northerly latitude, and usually a very wet time as well. It's not hard to see how these months could be seen outside of time, outside of the cycles of life, death and rebirth.

Calan Gaeaf, Samhain, Hallowe'en, All Soul's Night - for many pagans this is the ending of one year and the beginning of another.  It is often seen as the third and final harvest - with the last of the apples harvested, the cattle were prepared for winter and the grain stored properly.  It is also a time when it is said that the veil between the worlds is thin, and the realms of the living and the dead are laid bare to each other. We are approaching the darkest time of the year, and the killing frosts and snows await just around the corner.  It is a time of letting go, of releasing into the dark half of the year, and getting rid of the dross in our lives so that we do not have to carry them with us through the long winter nights.  We consciously make the effort to live better, meaningful lives and let go of all that holds us back - our fears and worries, our anger and hatred.  We nurture the beneficial and the good that we have in our lives, ensuring that they are well kept for our plans to come at the winter solstice. So the cycle continues.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    A very lovely and evocative description. Thanks for sharing, blessed be, Tasha

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Okeanos Speaks

Okeanos’s Story

 

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Looking forwaaad to it, many thanks! Enjoy your conference. Blessed Be, Tasha
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Really nice! Thanks for sharing. Blessed Be, Tasha
  • Sara Mastros
    Sara Mastros says #
    You're quite welcome, Tasha! There will be more about his wife, Tethys, in the next week or two. It might be later than usual, bec

We all live in our own stories, and it is central to magickal practice that where we put our energy helps manifest out lives.  How we see ourselves and our actions becomes a script, a thought pattern that influences our lives.  Sometimes these stories are beneficial.  They give us inspiration and a goals to achieve.  Other times, thought patterns of failure or helplessness can hold us back.  

Often, the source of these thought patterns comes from literature, film, and pop culture.  Characters from story provide something to compare our lives to.  Witness the multiple quizzes that circulate social media promising to tell us which Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Game of Thrones character we “really are.”  Users eat these quizzes up, perhaps showing some internal need to identify with someone else’s story.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Autumn Hoard

Even as the last trees turn,
The last bees seek the last flowers
Storing up Autumn's nectar.
So too I layer the lovely leaves
In a pile of brilliant hue
Ready to jump into of a white Winter's day
When all around is bleached stark bare.
The bees are secure
With their honey for the winter
And I have stored up beauty
For my color starved self to feast upon.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Magic of Autumn Leaves

Just when the vibrant colors of spring and summer seem like a distant memory, the trees put on their autumn display. On cloudy and dull afternoons, bright leaves capture the light making trees seem to glow from within. This last hurrah before winter provides a special time for magic.

Common throughout most of the United States, red maples (A. rubrum spp.) are distinctive with their rich-colored leaves, but come autumn, other maples get into the act and put on some of the most dazzling displays. Depending on the variety, red maple leaves turn from deep muted colors to a range of brilliant reds and yellows. Throughout the year, leaves from the red maple can be used in love spells, but in autumn they really help fire-up relationships. Press four bright red leaves in a heavy book. When they are dry, place them under the corners of your mattress to add spark your sex life. For something a little subtler, attach a pressed leaf behind a picture of your beloved.

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  • Sandra Kynes
    Sandra Kynes says #
    Thank you, Tasha. It's a lovely poem.
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Lovely information, and so timely, I love the fall colors. I will post a poem about this for you on my site, along with a picture.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Warning to All Students of the Craft

 Caveat discipulus.

(“Let the student beware.”)

There may be some things that unquestioning obedience can teach you.

The Craft isn't one of them.

The Wise take initiative. The Wise know how to say No.

Alas, it needs to be repeated in every generation.

If your teacher wants you to do something that you don't feel right doing, Grab your broomstick and get out of there.

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Arduinna, Gaulish Goddess of Forests

Arduinna, Gaulish Goddess of Forests and Hunting is one of the many Celtic Goddesses who is associated with a particular region or body of water. She was worshipped in the heavily forested regions of the Ardennes, located in what is current day Belgium and Luxembourg with small portions found in France and Germany. She was also associated with the Forest of Arden in England. Her name has its roots in the Gaulish  word “arduo” meaning “height”.  

Arduinna’s stories have not survived into modern day. We only know for sure that she both hunted the forests of Ardennes and protected its flora and fauna.   

She is associated with the forest, the boar, and the spear. Some scholars assert that she is also associated with the moon. Many ancient cultures connect the boar with strength and courage. Arduinna’s favorite beast was the boar, which she road whenever she hunted, making her own strength and courage clear to all. Plus it is important to note that throughout Gaul the wild boar was abundant and a vital food source for the population. Arduinna’s association with the boar thus shows her importance as a protective and nurturing goddess. 

The only surviving image of her is a small sculpture of a woman riding a boar. This statue has lost its head and some scholars dispute the belief that it is a representation of Arduinna.  

We are left with only assumptions about Arduinna’s original function and stories. It is assumed that she is the Gaulish equivalent of the Irish Flidais, a complex Celtic Goddess called Lady of the Forest by modern Celtic pagans. Once Roman influence began on the continent Arduinna became associated with Diana, Roman Goddess of the Hunt and Forest. 

Arduinna as a Woodland Goddess represents our wild nature. With no tame, domesticated castle or demesne to call her own, she ran free in the forests of the Ardennes. She is the untamed spirit in us all, never tied down by the commitments of love or motherhood. But being Celtic, she was not chaste like Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Forest. As a free spirit, she would have enjoyed amorous liaisons when and where she chose.

The natural world is her domain which she protects with the ferociousness of a mother bear protecting her cubs. Woe to the human who causes harm to the forest or over hunts the animals. Then she steps in with her justice and extracts a hefty fine. Here we see her in her fierce aspect, standing strong and tall as she protects her domain. 

Many sacred woods throughout Northern Europe were named after goddesses. This association protected sacred trees all over the continent. Punishment was expected by divine intervention. Anyone who cut them down could be struck with palsy or other ailments.  

Such a sanctuary existed at Margut, dedicated to Arduinna. Her following was so large that in the 6th century Saint Walfroy attempted to eradicate her cult by installing himself atop a pillar he had installed close by. He vowed that he would live on only bread and water and would not descend until Arduinna was abandoned by her followers. 

Her nature also manifests in a gentle way. It’s more than likely that like Flidais and Artemis, Arduinna functioned as a healing goddess, protecting and healing the fauna, human and otherwise, living in her region. In this aspect one can image her tending a wounded man, a sick child, a dying elder as dappled light filters through the trees of her forest, bathing her in a soft glow. 

Arduinna calls you to a full expression of your untamed spirit. Through her you can claim your right to your “wildness.” She is by your side when the need to protect yourself and your own arises. She helps you access your own strength and courage. Call on Arduinna when you need a healing touch or you are giving a healing to others.  May Arduinna’s power to protect, heal and run free be with you.

My deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is ready for publication. You can pre-order a deck on my Indiegogo campaign. Click here

 

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  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw says #
    I also find it interesting how there is so much crossover of associations between the goddesses. The boar must have been importan
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    The boar iconography makes me think of Freya.

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