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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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In previous blogs, we've explored some of the basic aspects of Celtic cosmology - the existence of a sacred Otherworld (or worlds), probably conceived of as being connected with the Upper World and Lower World (as in many shamanic or traditional cultures). The inhabitants of those worlds - the Gods and Goddesses - known in Ireland as the Aes Síde or Tuatha Dé Danann - embodied a wide range of powers and attributes, depending upon location, era, and many other temporal and cultural factors.

What do we know, if anything, about how the ancient Celts constructed or performed ritual? This is quite a hot topic, of course - many will say 'We don't know anything at all, and to try and make any sort of theory or assumption is folly or wishful thinking." This attitude can be found both in academic circles and amongst practitioners, oddly enough, and in some cases this negative (and unfounded) stance can be used to either assert power over others, or serve as an obstacle to tackling complicated issues (academic or otherwise).

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Ritual Elements Part One - Re-enchanting The Air

I've recently finished co-teaching a six week class titled "Elements of Magic". It is one of the core pieces of magic taught in the Reclaiming Tradition. I use the term "core" rather than "beginning" or "basic" for specific reasons. You see, I hold that there's nothing particularly basic about this exploration and I find myself returning to it year after year as a teacher and, more importantly, as a student. It's the foundation of my personal practice, the actual ground on which I base my interactions within the temporal world.

So over the next few articles, I'm going to dive into, dig around under, imagine and re-imagine my relationships with these core forces that affect us all.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Irisanya. Shallow and deep breaths, indeed.
  • Irisanya
    Irisanya says #
    Beautiful. I find air in wind's shivers first thing in the morning. The deep breaths and the shallow breaths that punctuate my da
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you for commenting Elizabeth. There are so many ways to work with air. I like what you say and it brings to mind the words "
  • Elizabeth Creely
    Elizabeth Creely says #
    Beautiful. As for how I work with Air: every day I open both my doors and welcome it into my house. It usually rushes in, knockin

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Light In My Heart

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my heathen path, when I was 30 I was finally mentally and physically healthy.  When the goddess Freya had claimed me for her Priestess when I was 20, she had appeared in her solar aspect. In my mind's eye, she always appeared as the white-hot light of the sun. That Light is all-love and all-life. Until I became healthy enough to reach it again, I had only experienced that Light once, during my initiation in 1989. Ten years later, I was ready to bring it inside myself.

Through writing fiction, I came up with the idea of picturing the Light and bringing that Light into my heart. After a character in my story did it, I did it, too. I pictured my hand, reached into the Light, and pushed it into my heart.

The last quote from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:
 

     “I mentally reached out a hand into that shining consciousness of life-fire.  I reached.  I pulled. The light was within me.

     A grin spread over my face and I laughed out loud.  It worked!  The Light of my initiation all those years ago had been there all along.  I only needed a whole mind to reach it." 
 

That Light has been with me ever since. It is ecstatic. It's always there, pouring from my heart. Anytime I wish, I can temporarily fill my body with that light and experience the sun body, a state of religious ecstasy. Then I let the light go again, and Freya's Light radiates out to the world through me.

That’s the end of the story in my memoir; it ends with becoming healthy and whole and a vehicle for the light of my Goddess. But as with all stories that don’t end with death, life went on after the happily-ever-after. I've lived 16 more years since then, and I'll continue to share the story of my journey here in Gnosis Diary.

Freya is the Light in my heart.

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Rabbi Shimon ben Shetah and the 80 Witches of Ashkelon

In the days of Queen Salome Alexandra, the city of Ashkelon was plagued by a coven of 80 witches who lived in a cave outside the city. Rabbi Shimon ben Shetah decided to rid the city of these wicked women and their sorceries. He summoned 80 strong men and instructed each of them to acquire a jar and to place within it a change of clothing; he himself did the same.

On a night of pouring rain, he went with his men and stood outside the cave. “Sisters,” he called out to the witches, “I am a sorcerer, like yourselves; let me come in out of this rain.” Quickly he removed his wet clothing and donned the dry set from his jar.

“Enter and be welcome, fellow sorcerer,” cried the eighty.

R. Shimon entered the cave, and the witches marveled at his dry clothing. “How did you accomplish such a feat?” they asked.

“My power is so great that I can walk through rain and yet remain dry,” said he. “By the power of my magic, I can work another wonder for you: I can summon 80 men, each in clothing as dry as my own, to come and dance with you.”

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Pagan News Beagle Earthy Thursday Feb 26, 2015

It's that time of the week again: Earthy Thursday! Read on for stories of edible "smut," birth and death, what to garden in winter, and the smell of rain.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Identity and Leadership Failure


So many of the leadership problems that I see in the Pagan community come down to issues of our personal identity. There are leadership techniques for building healthy communities, models for understanding group dynamics, and tools to mediate conflicts. But the truth is…all of that stuff is a house built on a faulty foundation if we don’t also do our personal work.

To do that work, we have to understand identity.

And we also have to admit that all of us need to do this work. Unfortunately, the way identity functions can make it hard to change our own bad behaviors, and ego is pretty good at denial. When a group blows up you’ll often hear, “It’s just too much ego.” They’re sort of right, but it’s a little more complicated.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    You all have inspired me to do a few posts on gossip. I'm thinking at least one on discerning between information sharing and mali
  • Power Before Wisdom
    Power Before Wisdom says #
    I did the exercise and posted it above. Then I took it to turn into a paper to post over my desk... Here's what it looks like:
  • Irisanya
    Irisanya says #
    Wow. This is timely. I've been engaging in mirror work around this, and have found: 1. Overcommitment, which leads to... 2. Poor
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Over committing is a big one for me and I must admit that I will entertain gossip.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Over-committing, that's something I keep trying to work on, too. My over-committing is rooted in feeling that it's not nice to say

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Pantheacon and Leadership

It seems that Pantheacon gives me writer’s block. My first year it took me three weeks to write about the convention. My second year I eventually gave up and wrote about something else instead. After this, my third Pantheacon, I spent two weeks waiting, typing and deleting, and then waiting again.

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I like to remember that I can choose where to step into leadership, which I think differs from being a Leader. I have been comfort
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thank you, Shauna. That is what I will be doing. I had to learn the hard way that while I will hurt people by the mistakes I make
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Keep banging your head against the wall, my friend. That's what I've been doing. If I'd waited for some kind of formal approval to
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Yes, yes, and yes!!

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