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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 Culture Blogs
The Gateway Paganism

Oof: is there anything more tiresome than Wicca-bashing?

Funny thing is, many Wicca-bashers seem to spend more time talking about Wicca than most Wiccans do. They invariably remind me of those bitter people who can't manage to talk about anything but their exes. (Not to mention those tedious Wiccans whose favorite topic is the evils of "Christianity.") Gee: if your new relationship is so good, why are you still obsessing about the old one?

Many of us first come to the Old Ways through Wicca. This makes perfect sense: it's the oldest, largest, and most widespread New Paganism in the English-speaking world. It's certainly not perfect, and for many of us it's not, ultimately, a good fit.

It's characteristically adolescent behavior to define yourself by who (and what) you're not. But in the end, we all need to grow up and start defining ourselves by who (and what) we are instead.

Remember all the self-pitying whinging about “Wiccanate” (how this infelicitous coinage differs from "Wiccan," I'm not sure) privilege a few years back? Tedious, tedious, tedious.

If Wiccans are privileged in Pagandom—which hardly seems axiomatic to me—it's because they've been the first to do the long, hard work of breaking virgin ground. They've tilled the soil in which the rest of us are now planting our pagan garden. Surely a more fitting—and honorable—response from those of us who have come through Wicca would be one of gratitude instead.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Oh, I know...here in MN, though, lots and lots.of Heathens. Many of.them polyaffiliate with other trads, like Witchcraft and Druid
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Thank you! You confirm with eloquence something I've been telling folks for years: "Many of us first come to the Old Ways throug
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's going to be fascinating to see what all this looks like 100 years from now. It's almost enough to make one hope that the rein
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    I'll help -- a theosophy is a religious system -- its a method by which practitioners can work to know the existence of divinity o
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Me, I love "elevator lectures."
I don't like changing my mind: an essay in the evolution of Modern Minoan Paganism

One thing any researcher knows is that new information is liable to blow old theories to smithereens. The same holds true for Modern Minoan Paganism, an evolving path that incorporates not just archaeological information but also shared gnosis as we work our way forward in spiritual practice.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't like having to change my views. Once I think I have something figured out, it's very pleasant to just hang there, in that space, all smug and satisfied. But I've learned the hard way that nothing is that easy, not just in archaeology, but also in spirituality.

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Chinese Harvest Festival: Moons & Mooncakes

I am very fortunate to be marrying into a Chinese family so I have been learning about the traditions. Coming up this week is the official celebration of the Harvest Moon. In China, the full or Harvest Moon in October is celebrated with mooncakes, which are offered to the Goddess Chang-O, the Lady in the Moon. This is the time when wheat and rice are harvested, making it an important time of thanksgiving for food to have on hand through the winter season.

The rice and the wheat are baked into cakes that look like the big round moon up in the sky and are used as offerings, along with melons and pomegranates, to the goddess. The women making the mooncakes put their intentions into them by whispering secret wishes into the batter. The unifying action of blending and mixing the tasty cakes represents family harmony. One sweet aspect of this ritual is the selection of a young girl to enter the “heavenly garden.” At the ritual feast for the goddess of the Harvest Moon, this young lady becomes the prophet of her family and community, and she is urged to share her visions about the coming year and the prosperity of the village or the land. Feasting on mooncakes and other ritual foods is followed by games and singing under the bright light of Chang-O’s moon. Here is a traditional wish for the season

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

So equinox has passed, and the leaves have begun falling from the trees. Its dark earlier, and the call of the hearth fire is stronger now than before. I always feel early autumn and the equinox, is a whole season, a whole process rather than a single point. We are balanced finely, gently tipping a little more into the dark half of the year, when the Cailleach calls us to look within.

Here in Avalon the scent of ripe apples fills the air, and the mists draw in, and there can be a feeling of both abundance and grief as death and endings seem to hang on every branch and blow on every breath of wind, with the harshness of the unknown winter the only surety ahead of us. We find ourselves now at a time when endings are afoot in our cultures as well as the seasons, with uncertainties and challenges ahead. But in these quiet moments, when the summer sun seems to be far behind, when we see the hope and life force of the land drain away into the earth once more, it is She who takes our hand, without a word, and we know that we will not walk into the darkness of winter alone.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Our God Is a Solid Hill-Fort

Last Samhain having marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, here in Minnesota—the Holy Land of American Lutheranism—it was All “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” All the Time.

It might have been irritating, but instead I found myself reflecting on the ways of the ancient ancestors.

Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser God: so begins Luther's marching-song of Protestantism Militant. The tune is a good, rousing, beer-swilling one, the lyrics a paraphrase of the Biblical psalm 46. The Hebrew begins: Elohim lanu mahase va-'oz, “Elohim [is] to us a protection and strength.” By the rules of Hebrew poetry, one could also translate, “Elohim [is] to us a strong protection.”

So Luther doesn't just translate, he Germanizes: “Our god is a solid burg.” Burg can mean “protection, refuge,” but primarily it means “castle, fort.”

It's an ancient word, from the depths of the Indo-European past. Originally, it meant a “hill-fort.” The Bronze Age having been a time of demographic upheaval, you can trace the spread of the Indo-European-speaking ancestors by the hill-forts that they left behind them.

In any given tribal territory, the largest hill-fort (in Irish, it would have been called a dún) marked the seat of the chieftain, or king. Here on a hill was found the Royal Hall, safe behind its solid concentric earthen walls. Most people lived dispersed throughout the territory, but in times of war they could gather together safely behind the walls of the burg.

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5 Elements: Creative Visual Exploration through Photography

Cross-posted at Goddessing From the Heart.

For today's #InspirationFanatic post, I snapped a series of photographs based on the five elements--earth, air, fire, water and spirit. I've been lacking any desire to be creative and needed a way to get plugged back into Nature. I felt connected to Goddess through this experience, especially when I found the "spirit" spot. I encourage you to go to a favorite natural setting and do the same! I've included a few prompts for each element in case you need ideas to get started.

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