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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Script and the Story

Was I ever excited when my copy of Lady Sheba's Book of Shadows arrived by mail. I was going to learn the Secret Ceremonies of the Witches.

Gods, was I ever disappointed.

Not long after, I became an overseas member of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland. An important part of the newsletters that they sent out eight time annually were accounts of the rituals that they'd done.

But these weren't the bare-bones outlines of the Book of Shadows, lists of words and actions. These were stories. They told not only what was done and said, but what it was like to be there.

I was in love.

There are two primary ways to write about ritual. If you stick around this blog long enough, you'll see examples of both. One is the Book of Shadows way: the outline, the script, the list of words spoken and actions done.

The other way is the Pagan Movement way: the story.

Both genres are important. Both, in fact, are necessary. But they're not the same thing, and they serve different purposes.

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When In Lothlorien: The Art of Scrying

Scrying, the art of divining by looking into a reflective surface and receiving visions, has been used by witches, magicians, and others since pre-biblical times. The word “scry” forms the root for the English word “descry,” which means reveal or discover.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Reclaiming Our Symbols

 

This Fourth of July will see American flags displayed all over the nation because the flag is the symbol of our country, and the values associated with it.  In an important sense, our flag is unique, for the United States is the first country created from an ideological revolution whose basic principles were both universal and admirable, however short it fell in their application. The flag symbolizes the values of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as well as values of community tribalism. It was because of this combined symbolism that Martin Luther King, jr. could appeal to America’s founding values in a way Nelson Mandela could not. And this association added power to his words.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Bill-Baker-Pastel_20180702-172609_1.pngNot many Americans may feel much like celebrating the hallmarks of our country--liberty, justice, and freedom--this July 4th as we watch the shocking horrors experienced by asylum-seekers on our Mexican border, among other national tragedies. For many of us, the shame of what is happening is deep. Despite our protests, petition-signing, contacting our elected officials, political canvassing for the 2018 elections, monetary donations, and speaking-out in print and social media, we can still feel powerless to halt what is occurring. Whenever I feel a deeper level of outrage and frustration about government-policy attacks on people and Earth, however, I think of the tenacity of Indigenous Elders, particularly Native American women. Whenever I lapse into being shocked about today's news headlines, I only need to quickly remind myself of our American past and the treatment of Indigenous peoples, and how the events of today are merely another unfolding of what has been going on in this country since its birth. I am disturbed with America's interminable short-term-memory loop as I hear in the media connections between Japanese Internment camps during WWII and the immigrant detainment centers of today. So let me help you remember, America, about our country's history in relation to Native Americans, and how the detainment centers are just America's newest colonial-era Forts. I also want to remind those of us who are bone-weary (and afraid) about what is happening in our country to take the long-view, as the First Nations of Turtle Island do when they, too, are face to face with inhumane treatment. These Elders are our guides for Perseverance, Strategy, and an unshakeable Belief in the power of LOVE.  The image above is a work of art in pastels by New Mexican artist Bill Baker. Find more of his work at http://billbakerart.com/

b2ap3_thumbnail_flat550x550075f.jpgFirst of all, many of the people crossing the border from Mexico into the United States to seek asylum and a better life are Indios, Indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America. For Native Americans living on sovereign tribal lands that the U.S./ Mexican border cuts through, the hassle to visit relatives, collect plant medicines, and ritually perform ceremonies as they have done for centuries is high. Border patrol officers rifle through medicine bundles, bags of sacred plants and objects, and can be extremely callous toward Indigenous Medicine People--even when those people have the legal right to move freely through their own sovereign lands. These border crossing impediments have been going on since the border was created, but over the years more citizens of Native nations have gained legal rights to cross unimpeded. This is a fight that is not included in any news coverage about the immigrants.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Thank you so much for this compassionate post speaking truth about the connections between today's "migrant" policies and the past
  • Dr. Mays
    Dr. Mays says #
    Anne, Thank you so much for providing a forum for me, and so many others, to speak back to what is happening in our country--and t

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Cosmic Activism

When I was in training to become a priestess, the priestess guiding me told me that although the world had once required us priestesses to seclude ourselves in temples, to focus solely on our devotion to the Goddess and adding that light to the world, that we had evolved into a space and time where we were called to be among the masses. No longer were we to be sequestered away from the world. This transition brought both blessings - freedom to explore many experiences in the world while maintaining one's commitment to being a priestess, and challenges - more energy and drama to sift through as we endeavoured to sustain and raise our priestess consciousness. 

 

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This part one in a series of blog posts as I head home to Scotland for the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland Retreat. I'll be spending time on a Hebridean island whose name means Isle of the Big Women, heading in search of hag stones and a visit to the Cairngorm reindeer herd.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Different Are Pagans?

Just how different are we, as pagans, from other people?

For the most part, I'd be inclined to say: Not very.

But sometimes I wonder.

In the introduction to his 2017 Stonehenge: The Story of a Sacred Landscape, British archaeologist Francis Pryor talks about how the compartmentalization of modern life makes it difficult for us to understand how, for the ancestors, religion could imbue every aspect of existence.

Almost nobody in the modern West, he writes, would build or maintain an altar, let alone a chapel, at home. At most, a religious devotee might say prayers before going to bed. And of course the reason for this is that religion in the modern Western world has ceased to be a part of daily life (20).

I actually laughed out loud when I read this. Virtually everyone that I know has at least one home altar. For many of us, the real problem is altar-creep: the tendency of altars to sprout on every horizontal surface in the house.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I think you are right. I think some form of Pagan spirituality is the natural way we tend to respond to the world and to spirit.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Over the course of the last (nearly) 50 years, I've watched old tribal institutions and ways of doing things reemerge--sometimes a
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Very true in my experience. Some people bemoan the demise of an integral society whereas many NeoPagans are recreating one, on a

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