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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Spring’s Flowering: Baba Yaga and the Gift of the Winter Hag

For the past 6 months or so, I have been hosting a weekly Goddess Meditation at my healing centre. Using the beautiful and insightful Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky (gorgeous artwork by Hrana Janto) has quickly become a touchstone in the week for many of us who gather on a Wednesday afternoon to see which Goddess will present Herself to us and listen to what She has to say of where we are or what we may need address at this particular time in our lives. It has been an interesting process to observe which Goddesses appear and to see a pattern emerge. There have been times when we have had a slew of challenging Crone Goddesses and the past couple of weeks seen such a trend. But this is not a surprise. These are challenging times for many of us and, though these Goddesses can be a bit unnerving, they reflect a connection to the inner resolve and inner strength that can help see us through. 

Recently, Baba Yaga (Russian/Slavic) came to join us in the meditation circle. Baba Yaga, who rides in a mortar and lives in a cottage that runs through the forest on chicken legs, is certainly one of those Goddesses to make you sit up and take notice. Perhaps the best known of Her tales is the story of Vasilisa, a Cinderella-type tale.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tiffany Lazic
    Tiffany Lazic says #
    Warm greetings, new blogger :-) I share a fascination with Baba Yaga and her chicken-legged home! Glad you enjoyed the piece. I sa
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    How nice of you to respond. I look forward to more posting and more reading on this site. What fun!
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    I have always enjoyed reading about Baba Yaga ever since I first encountered her as a young child in my Jack and Jill magazine. In

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Little Samhain in Every Bealtaine

Posch, you pervert.

May Eve is days away, and you're writing about Samhain?

What are you trying to do, wreck us?

Au contraire. (And let me point out that our Southside friends and family are preparing for Samhain as I write this).

It's just that this new (to me) idea is so elegant, so true, that it simply won't wait.

I'm just now back from a warlocks' work weekend at Witch Country's Sweetwood sanctuary. We're building a shrine there in the woods below the circle.

This time around we began site preparation, and removed the standing stone that will be the centerpiece of the shrine, from its immemorial bed in the coulee (ravine) wall. The Bull Stone has now begun its long journey across the coulee and up the side of the hill.

But that's another story for another day. (Stay tuned.) In the process, we chopped down a number of young trees, both to clear the site and to provide us with rails and rollers.

You can't move a 1000-pound stone through the forest without doing some damage. Iacchus, Sweetwood's priest-in-residence and caretaker, remarked offhandedly that it's the custom there to offer at Samhain on behalf of all the lives that one has taken during the course of the year.

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[The Rules of Exile] Rule No. 1: Glamour Isn't Optional, It's Survival.

When I was a nanny, one of the mothers I worked for was easily one of the most beautiful women I had ever met in my life.  It didn't matter what was going on with S., she always had it together.  Her make up was on point, her wardrobe was beautiful and to make it completely unbearable she was also one of the kindest women I had ever known.  Perfectly perfect in every way, as N. would say.  S. had two very small children, she had a career and a social life.

I'm not suggesting that S. was most women.  Obviously, she had some help in her glam squad and her domestic posse, which isn't something most of us have access to.  I worked for other women too with small children and while less blessed than S. (though also as sweet to work for, I was v. blessed as a nanny), also really were on point.  They were career women and would click off to work in their heels, their hair done, their lipstick on and get it done.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_baaits_san_francisco_2.jpgThe Gathering of Nations is an annual mega-pow-wow in Albuquerque, New Mexico that brings in thousands of Indigenous dancers, drummers, and singers for a high-profile, high-flyin' time in Indian Country that boosts pride and re-affirms the vibrancy and resiliency of Indigenous cultures. But to some Native Americans, the annual Gathering of Nations event has been missing something, something the Two-Spirits especially noticed....them! The photograph above is of the Bay Area American Indian Two Spirit Society from 2016.

So last year the founders of a group called Bands in Action founded the Gathering of Queer Nations so the underground culture of Indigenous lesbian, gay, queer, and trans people can be brought center-stage in a celebratory event that includes musical artists, poetry, and a fashion show. The necessity for a separate event is the result of European colonization: many Indigenous people, communities, and tribal nations today reject their LGBTQ2 relatives. Much of this is due in part to the effects of the Indian Boarding School brainwashing that enforced heterosexual-only beliefs and shamed Indigenous beliefs that included and respected LGBTQ people, among many other traumas.b2ap3_thumbnail_Native-Out_20170423-202957_1.jpg

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Opinion Piece: Privilege

**Disclaimer** I write on many topics, and focus on maintaining an objective stance whenever possible. This is an opinion piece detailing my experiences and feelings from events over the last few months. You don’t have to agree. I do however expect respectful dialogue if there is any on this subject.

I struggle at times to put into words the feelings and experiences I have as a Pagan chaplain moving in the interfaith environment. Or, more recently, as a Pagan existing in East Tennessee. I find when I have conversations with others who understand what it means to be marginalized in some way—either by race or gender or faith or some other qualifier—the necessity of articulating the struggle falls away and there is a moment of just “getting it.” These are not the people who really need to read the things I write about, but invariably they probably are, and I love you for it.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for this post. I am a chaplain at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. PSR is a historically christian seminary but
Release the Pain, Keep the Wisdom

         I was receiving acupuncture to address some ongoing health issues.  At one point in the treatment I had a deep visceral experience of a vortex or portal opening up around my belly and the words “Release the pain, keep the wisdom” came into my head.  Those words continued to run the next day as I had a long session with a powerful practitioner of magic who does her healing through deep body work and massage.

 

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  • Leanne
    Leanne says #
    Maybe it was Anaconda, Montana. Fairmont Hot Springs is close by. Thank you for your essay. Makes me ponder my own ancestral pain
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Yes it was Anaconda - thanks for catching that - I just corrected it. They eventually had a ranch outside of Whitehall. Blessing

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Last Day of Winter

My husband Aaron died on February 25, after a long hospitalization, and even longer illness.

The shock has not fully worn off. And the grief will be present, for who knows how long. This is all to be expected. But throughout the sorrow and dislocation of this loss, it’s the movement of the Great Wheel that has been part of my support, my comfort, and ultimately my acceptance of my grief.

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  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    I am so very sorry for your loss.

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