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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 Paths Blogs
Review of Horn of the Kraken

Set in the Fate of the Norns universe originated by Andrew Valkauskas, Horn of the Kraken by Stephen B. Pearl is the first in a new series within that universe. This is a universe full of magic and fantastical beasts, where the Norns choose human champions. Based on historical conversion-era Europe, featuring some historical figures such as Eric Blood-Axe, Horn of the Kraken is also set during Fimbulwinter, the prelude to Ragnarok. Fimbulwinter is the breakdown in the cycle of the seasons in which the sun never rises again and winter lasts until the end of the world. The world’s central problem is the mass failure of agriculture, and the world’s politics centers on the impact that would have if it occurred during the Viking Age. The villains, who are Christians out to convert the heathen and control the world’s economy and political structures, are using a mysterious new superweapon, the Horn of the Kraken.

Into this come five chosen heroes. Fjorn is a nobleman and a fighter/bard. Politics stalks him because of his bloodlines. Sigurlina is a seidhkona, a type of heathen witch with powers of necromancy and healing. She serves Freya and is sworn to avenge her family against Christian ruler Hakon. Audun is a rune master who has a near-death experience at the hands of the Christian enemy that echoes the story of Odin’s runic initiation on the Tree. Ragna is a thief. She tags along to get out of town ahead of trouble. Vidurr is a werewolf who serves Surtr, the king of the fiery underworld who is prophesied to fight against the gods at Ragnarok and destroy the world. Vidurr’s sole desire in life is to avenge his family against the Christian “crusaders.” Although those who serve Odin and those who serve Surtr are theological enemies within heathenry, they join forces against the outside threat of the Christians. Pearl knows enough about heathenry to portray both the Odin’s man and the Surtr’s man as having no god-based conflict with the Freya’s woman.

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My complete argument criticizing 'cultural appropriation,' and offering a more interesting alternative, is now up.

For those of you interested in examining the complete argument criticizing the entire idea of 'cultural appropriation' and describing a far better, and much more interesting, alternative view, I have now posted it up on my web site.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Colder Than a...

“It's colder than a witch's tit out there,” said the new arrival, closing the door.

If somebody else had said it, it would have been offensive.

In a roomful of witches—most of us already naked for the evening's ritual—it's high-context in-group humor instead.

The high priestess tucks her hand under her breast and looks thoughtful.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Pagan Do Not Labor Day Picnic

I've always strongly felt that "Labor Day" should read, "Do Not Labor Day," on the calendar. In fact, I usually mark it as such on my own and in my planner. Besides celebrating the hard-earned rights of workers, that is what this holiday is all about, right? We all need some relaxation time – to give ourselves permission to do nothing except decompress. This weekend, besides a small birthday lunch for my brother, I plan on celebrating the season finale of "Twin Peaks: The Return." I will do this with a bottle of, as Gordon Cole would exclaim, "fine Bordeaux!" Aside from that, what else can we Pagan-minded folk partake in, that is both relaxing and none-too-taxing? Well –

There's nothing quite like the simple joy of a picnic on a pretty day that brings your breathing rate right back to normal. Go on a short hike first and by all means, enjoy the last hurrah of summertime. A romantic picnic for two could make it all the less stressful. If you should start feeling frisky in a secluded spot in the woods, who am I to stop you (wink).

You can always pack the easy go-tos, such as fresh fruit, veggies, and various sandwiches. If you feel like upping your picnic game though, one of my favorite French chefs, Daniel Boulud, has some great suggestions for doing just that. If you must have your sandwiches, try his take on this staple, referred to as, "pain surprise." This would be a loaf of hollowed out wheat bread, stuffed with cream cheese and smoked salmon – what's not to love about that? Or how about Boulud's idea of dessert: An apricot puff pastry tart with three cheeses to choose from! For more Chef Boulud inspirations, follow the links listed at the end of this article.

Most importantly, bring plenty of hydrating liquids, "con gas or sin gas." A little mineral water always makes a simple occasion feel more festive to me – also more in touch with my European roots. If it floats your boat too, by all means, go for it. So chillax, already. Times like these are rare indeed. Set aside one day not to do work of any kind. No housework, no homework, no take home office projects. We should seize these rare excuses not to labor away. We should soak them up to savor while we can, in low-key style.

References:

http://www.bonappetit.com/people/chefs/slideshow/daniel-boulud-perfect-french-picnic
http://www.bonappetit.com/people/chefs/article/daniel-boulud-picnic
Photo by nenetus at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

 

I've been considering the question of why so many people who matured physically and mentally decades ago, never managed to grow up emotionally. This seems to be especially true of the demographic in which I was raised – the exciting and neurotic world of actors, dancers, musicians and writers.

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MASCULINE QUARTZ CRYSTALS – Physically, What Makes a Crystal Masculine ?

Last blog post we discussed Feminine quartz crystals, today we’re going to revisit Masculine quartz crystals. As with our discussion of Feminine crystals, we’re talking about what a “Masculine” quartz crystal looks like. In this first part, we’re discussing whether a crystal is called Masculine by features only, not by energy.

In the past I have called this an “anatomy lesson” because basically we’ll be discussing whether a crystal presents physically what has been described as Masculine. (In the next post we’ll revisit Yin/Yang quartz crystals.)

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Good Witch v. Bad Witch: Political Magic
Dear GW/BW

Seriously, how about a spell to save the Affordable Care Act? Can we bind the GOP from doing harm? Is there a more positive way to approach this nightmare and turn it around?

Rhodie from Ridgefield
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