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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

 

A couple of coven-sibs have variously mentioned husbands who get up and walk around the house naked first thing in the morning.

Men's Magic, maybe?

I ask because I find myself doing this too. Now, in the general course of things, I'm not much one for walking around the house naked, but I mean: you get out of bed, you go downstairs to make a pot of tea. The neighbors to the South can't see; the neighbors to the North don't care. Why bother getting dressed first?

The resident priest of a local pagan land sanctuary walks the bounds of the land every morning. Weather permitting, he does this naked.

I think of the alleged apotropaic qualities of folkloric nudity.

I think of the martial nudity of the ancestors: part boastful exhibitionism, part distraction, part implied threat.

I think of warlockry: the men's magic of the tribe of Witches, grounded in biological maleness.

Human beings are territorial animals, males preeminently so. Maybe that's what's really going on here: nudity as territorial claim.*

As for scaring off unfriendly wights, well: call it value added.

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Serpents and Mirrors: Minoan Summer Celebrations

Summer Solstice blessings to you all! This year (2024) the moment of Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere occurs today, June 20, at 4:51 p.m. US Eastern Time (9:51 p.m. GMT).

The first Full Moon after Summer Solstice occurs tomorrow, June 21, at 9:08 p.m. US Eastern Time ( or just over the line into the next day, 2:08 a.m. GMT, June 22, and so on further east). So there's very little time between Solstice and the next Full Moon.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Planting Enchantment

In all cultures, paradise is a flower-filled extravaganza. Eden was a virtual jungle; Kama Sutra lovers Radha and Krishna made love among petals, clinging vines, and scented trees.

Plants and flowers will infuse your environment with bliss. Cut flowers in the bedroom and parlor never fail to captivate. As a horticultural courtesan, your lover will come to appreciate more than just your green thumb! Try cultivating a few of love’s most captivating blossoms.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Solstice Fire and Seeing the Unseen

Occurring only days apart, the Summer Solstice and Midsummer’s Eve have become intertwined with overlapping traditions and customs. In addition to celebrating long warm days, protection charms were high on the to-do list at this time of year and often incorporated into bonfire rituals.
      In the British Isles and Germany, the magical plant mugwort was especially useful. Long stems were tied together and worn around the waist, and then thrown into the bonfire, which would protect the wearer from ghosts and magic. The burning mugwort would also carry away bad luck. In Germany, gazing at the bonfire through a wreath of mugwort was believed to ensure good eyesight for a year. In France, both these customs were followed using St. John’s wort instead of mugwort. Wearing sprigs of St. John’s wort and tossing them into the fire was also common in parts of Britain.
      As part of a Midsummer protection spell in Germany, vervain and larkspur were thrown into the bonfire through a wreath of mugwort to give them extra power. For protection on the Isle of Man, people wore chaplets of mugwort during the celebrations and attached leafy stems to the horns of their cattle.
      The faeries were said to be particularly active at this time of year and many customs involved protection from them or were aimed at keeping them from meddling with livestock. There were also many beliefs about methods to make the usually invisible magical beings visible. In Denmark, standing beneath an alder tree at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve was said to enabl a person to see the faery king and his entourage on their way to revels. According to Danish folklore, the fae often lived under alders or in alder thickets.
      Elder shrubs were also a faery habitat and in England adding elderflowers to the Midsummer’s Eve bonfire was believed to allow people to see the fae. A mainstay of medieval gardens, lavender was also said to attract elves with its delightful fragrance and silvery leaves. After all, one of its folk names is elf leaf. Wearing a circlet of lavender flowers and tossing a few sprigs into the Midsummer’s Eve bonfire was said to also aid in seeing elves and faeries.
      What might you see this Solstice? Will you have a Midsummer night’s dream?

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 The Salad Bar

Did I want to hear about this great money spell that she and her coven had done?

Elderhood obligates. Sure, I say.

Well. They all needed money, so they decided to do a money spell, right?

That's how it usually works, I acknowledge.

So, here's what they did. They all went out to a restaurant.

Then they all got salad bar.

She pauses meaningfully, to give me time to savor the symbolism.

Anything done with true intent is magic, right?

Ah, I say, nodding. These things must be done delicately.

And did it work? I ask at last.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Euphemisms and the Detritus of Life ...

Faith-based is what you say when you don't have the courage (or honesty) to say “religious.”

Plant-based is what you say when you don't have the courage (or honesty) to say “vegan.”

Earth-based is what you say when you don't have the courage (or honesty) to say “pagan.”

Are you seeing the trend here?

Of course, one understands the reasoning. The Bush 2 administration didn't want to admit that they were directly giving taxpayer dollars to religious (in virtually every case, conservative Christian) organizations. Like conservative Christians, vegans have a—let's be honest here—all-too-often well-deserved reputation for entitlement and self-righteousness. And sometimes, as we all know, everything sounds fine until you use the P-word.

(Besides, calling the modern paganisms “Earth-based” is aspirational at best; in most cases it's just plain untrue. I'm sorry, there's nothing “Earth-based” about Something Out of Books from Long Ago and Far Away.)

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Euphemism.

Me, I'm a word-guy. The trajectory of my entire linguistic career has been towards a language of clarity, precision, and honesty. Euphemism strikes me, instead, as the preserve of the dishonest, the craven, and the demagogic.

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Seeds of Love: Magical Garden

A great relationship can be cultivated, literally. By planting and carefully tending flowers that have special properties—like night-blooming jasmine for heightened sensuality, or lilies for lasting commitment—you can nurture your relationship along. During a new moon in the Venus- ruled signs of Taurus or Libra, plant an assortment of flowers that will surround you with the beauty and energy of sweet devotion. A few of my proven favorites are listed in the garden of Indra that follows.

Before you place your hothouse posies or seeds into pots or flowerbeds, bless the ground with a prayer of health for your plants, yourself, and your relationships.

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