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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Springtime Ceilidh

St. Patty's Day can be an odd time of year for we Irish Wiccans and Pagans. On the one hand, the attraction of all things Irish is strong. First there's that stirring fiddle music and the rumble of the drum. The food is mighty tasty, folks are feeling celebratory, and who doesn't like the color of bright, springy green? On the other, who wants to revere a man for driving the "snakes" out of Ireland, a.k.a. the Druids? There is still a spirited scholarly debate regarding how much damage St. Patrick actually did on his own versus the mythic qualities that surround him to this present day. This presents a quandary, but not one insurmountable. I believe that you can partake in festivities in your own way, honoring your Irish heritage. Perhaps this year is one of the most opportune times, when we have the Irish holiday falling within the same week as the Spring Equinox. If you do up a dinner party combining the two, with a focus on some of the more classic Celtic traditions– problem solved!

Take down your favorite celtic knotwork wall hanging and use it as a tablecloth. Hopefully it is nothing you mind cleaning a little spilled food or drink off of. Decorate the table with fresh cut spring flowers, such as daffodils. Invite about 4 to 6 others to join you and pull up a chair. For your menu, think Celtic-eclectic. This is your very own hybrid holiday, after-all.

Had it with tired old corned beef and cabbage? Give this tempting main course a try: 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Practice What You Preach!

Several years ago I was facilitating a spiritual discussion group at the Yellow Springs Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.  I was serving that congregation as their religious education director and one of the duties I took upon myself was leading this discussion group before we gathered for the weekly service.  There was a wonderful gentleman named Chuck who would often attend our discussions and sometimes attend the main service depending on the topic.  One Sunday morning after about a half hour of group discussion Chuck spoke up and addressed the small group of about eight or so at the spiritual discussion group with, “You folks talk about being opened minded and affirming of others yet in the course of this discussion you’ve insulted me several times.  I’m a Christian.  I’m a Fundamentalist.  I teach at a Baptist university, and I regularly attend a Baptist Church.  And I’m a Republican.  Some of you have used these terms like they’re swear words.”  After he spoke his mind there was a lot of back peddling.  Chuck attended these discussion groups because he valued the discussions and he attended the main service when he was able because he valued some of the topics presented.  On those occasions when I was able to preach at the fellowship he would often attend to hear me speak.  He was and is a good man.  He wasn’t the “enemy,” but he was someone who sought to understand others and dialogue for mutual understanding and respect.

But Chuck presented an important dilemma for Unitarian Universalism and also a dilemma that is pertinent to the Pagan community.  How can we advocate tolerance, acceptance and understanding while simultaneously causing alienation and marginalization?

Back in 2010 I attended a conference at Sojourners headquarters in Washington, DC.  Sojourners is an Evangelical Christian organization devoted primarily to social justice causes.  The conference I attended was focused on promoting education for collaborative faith based social justice programs and encouraged people to travel back to their local communities and organize faith based social justice programs.  The point of the training was to get conservative and liberal faith communities to talk to one another and focus on the social justice issues they can agree upon and work together to promote positive change.  When I returned to the Columbus, Ohio area I helped with some Immigration Reform events that were truly interfaith endeavors.  It was Immigration Reform that was a topic that could unite several very diverse faith groups together for common action.   It would have done no one any good to point fingers and shout, “Other.”  But together our small voices became a much louder voice.  I like to think we did some good by working together.  That training at Sojourners was a good opportunity for me and I value that experience.

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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Well said, and much needed, David. Thank you.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is excellent, David, and of course it applies to all religious enclaves and all parties in a democracy. I had the same revel

Seven or eight years ago, I shocked a large group of my Pagan friends.  I was at a small festival in Oklahoma that happened to take place during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  I was vending and teaching at this festival (as well as performing my first song) and knew most of the attendees very well.  As we were cleaning the dining hall after dinner, I invited everyone down to my vendor table to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a drink of Irish whiskey.  The look of horror on some of their faces was priceless.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Wonderful. I'll remember it and use it perhaps next year.
  • James Taylor
    James Taylor says #
    I literally laughed out loud at this. Thanks Carl, great post.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Magical Marketing

Making my living with my magic, I am intrigued with marketing. Deep down, I understand marketing IS magic. We are now deeply immersed in the trend of elevator pitches and Tell-Them-In-One-Word. People spend only 15 seconds on a webpage, we are told, so tell your message fast!!!

I freak at this. I just can’t, and I know I don’t want to. I left science to become free, to follow my heart, not to become the slave of the marketing guru’s. AND, on a deeper level I can tell you they are wrong. Maybe they can help you earn big money. But they are not helping you do the work of your souls calling.

It is simply not how magic works. Magic is about raising energy and creating a field around a specific intention. Ha, you might think, cannot that intention be said in one word? Well, actually not. Because magic is also about aligning with how nature really works. And if there is something everyone agrees upon, from mystic to management prophet to priestess, it is that the world is complex, paradoxical, and full of miracles. So the unexpected truth is, that in order to create your dreams you need to be full of ambiguity!

An example. Ever heard of One Trait Breeding? It is used widely in our cattle industry. Say, someone wants chickens with more breast meat. Then in the breeding all the focus comes to this one trait. Researcher Temple Grandin came across the shocking results of this. She came to a farm where the roosters raped the hens, and if the hens refused the rooster simply murdered them. Temple was shocked, of course, and went to the farmer to ask if he had noticed this. He said: ‘yes, and it hurts me to see it, but you know that is just as it is among roosters and hens’. Temple researched this, and this is what she found: it USED TO BE not normal between roosters and hens. That changed when one trait breeding came in. Within not more than 5 years, the roosters became super macho to the point of being rapists and murderers.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Enjoyed your article and agree with it - but would also like to point out how we overlook misspellings in advertising, nowadays.
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    As you say, common marketing wisdom tells us to be faster and more succinct. It's One Trait Breeding's offspring, but there are o
Blessings and Remembrance

     While today is traditionally a day of celebration, a day to toast the Irish and feast on corned beef and colcannon, my family takes a more serious approach. My husband and I are both of Irish descent, and yes, we'll cook our corned beef and pour the beer (not green, though...that's just weird) and play bagpipe music louder than usual, but we will do so not in honor of the venerable Saint Patrick, but instead in honor of the 'snakes' he drove out of Ireland: the Druids, the Priestesses, and the followers of the Old Ways that were murdered or driven from their homes.

     We remember and pay homage to the people who died for their faith, and the survivors who lived in terror, keeping their traditions in secret, so that today Pagans and Wiccans the world over can hold their heads up and proudly claim their places in the world. By all means, celebrate today as you have always done...please don't let me rain on your Saint Patrick's Day parade. (Ouch. That was a terrible pun. I humbly apologize.) In the midst of your celebrating, however, pause for a moment, and light a candle for the ones who came before, for the ones who fell, and the ones that continued on, despite all obstacles, so that we could be here today.

     Blessings to you on this All Snakes Day.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Well said. I'll hoist a glass of Irish beer in remembrance of all the Pagan Irish who died of Christian sins.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Terms of Engagement

"You know when wolves run free and alone? when they're mentally or physically diseased."

--Sannion

 

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  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus
    P. Sufenas Virius Lupus says #
    Indeed--and very well stated!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Releasing the Ties That Bind

 

When the 8 of Swords comes up in a reading, it usually means that your predicament is a product of your own making or imagination.  You have confined yourself to the degree that you are unable to free yourself or even see a way out.  In the Anna K version of this card, we see a woman looking at herself in a mirror but she is not seeing her true reflection, she is seeing something else entirely.  Her mirrored self is blindfolded and wrapped up in a material that is in both her current world and her mirrored world.  In the mirror, she is surrounded by swords with a small path in front of her while outside of the mirror she holds a sword in her hand.  Since the swords represent thoughts, the mirrored self suggests that she surrounded by her thoughts, allowing them to confine her while the self on the outside of the mirror has more control of her thoughts since the sword is in her hand.  Could it be that she seeing that she is doing it to herself?

 

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Pagan savings challenge, week eleven:  reflections

I've imposed some rules upon my own interpretation of the Pagan savings challenge, some of which are probably going to fall before long.

  1. I'm using the smallest bills possible, because I'm posting a picture each week and want that image to express abundance.  The envelope I use is pretty much maxed out as of this week, and my money shrine isn't large enough to support a larger one, but I still like the look of the growing pile of singles.
  2. I'm also replacing the cash entirely each week before I add new, to keep me mindful of the flow of money.  As the numbers grow higher, the practicality of doing so will drop, because . . .
  3. I am performing this savings challenge in cash, because talismans are powerful.  While there are security concerns for this practice, I have put sufficient safeguards into place that I feel confident continuing in this manner, even if I can't comply with the first two for much longer.

These rules are part of ritual which surrounds my savings, the ritual which places this work into religious context.  While I won't be dogmatic about them, I do believe that rooting work with money in one's faith practice will make it more powerful, more successful, and more valuable to the whole person than a wad of cash can be in its own right.

My week eleven savings:  $66, 17% ($11) of which I added today.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

The subject of memory has become something of a bugbear with me.  I remember a lot of things from my childhood which are now impossible to confirm…and this makes me wonder whether my memories are real.  believe they are, but I have no proof.  The few people still alive who were around then have their own recollections, which deal with different events from my own. 

The reason it's become important for me to verify memories is that, five years into our marriage, my wife spontaneously retrieved a wonderful memory that had been suppressed till then  - something that happened, she said, when we had been married for only one month. 

We were staying overnight in my Dad's apartment in New York City.  Ravyn went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and, upon coming out, encountered my mother standing in the hallway.  The two of them sat down on the floor in their nighties and had a wonderful long talk, like two priestesses sharing women's secrets by moonlight.  Mom told her how much she loved me, and asked Ravyn to take good care of me.  They were both attractive, slender, flexible women; Ravyn was 36, Mom was 59. 

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, since your post was so personal, I want to add something that might be a support. Below is a link to a blog of mine that migh
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, beautiful. Bless you for sharing your personal journey. That is so important, given the topic. Your closing line about the D
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you for understanding, Stifyn.

Ahhh. Egypt, mysterious and wonderful. When we reached our hotel in the southern city of Abu Simbel early evening we discovered that the hotel had been double booked. All fifteen of us were stranded. At eight p.m. the lights went out and dinner was by candlelight. We drank tea and organic Egyptian wine as we sat in the lounge after dinner and waited. It was near midnight when rooms had finally been vacated! Who knows what happened, but we were happy they had happened and settled into our sparse but acceptable rooms for the night.

 The next morning we were off early to see the sun rise over the colossal imposing 67 foot stone carved figures of Ramses II. My foot slipped on the walk and I was in pain. Along with almighty Ramses were the gods Ptah, Amun Ra and Re-Horakte. They lined a sandstone cavern temple. This site was sacred to the goddess Hathor before Ramses decided to build temples. Ever popular and charismatic, on one side of the cavern the statues of Ramses II showed him wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt and on the south side statues Ramses II wore the Double Crown of Lower Egypt.  The statues had been plucked from their original site by UNESCO and were now 200 feet higher on this taupe sandstone cliff.  

I noticed a row of prepared for flight noble hawks carved of sandstone atop the balustrade leading into the main temple as I sat and Reikiied my throbbing foot. A sacred cliff rose before me. Ramses II also built a smaller but lavish temple for Nefertari here in Abu Simbel. I could feel his love for her in the walls, they exuded kindness and thoughtfulness. Temples were places of residence mostly in times of yore.

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1-10 of a Devotional Polytheist Meme

 

Over the past couple of weeks I've been slowly working my way through my Devotional Polytheist post. I wanted to share my answers to the first ten questions. If any of you are also participating in this meme, please feel free to share the links to your blogs in the comments. I would love to read how everyone approaches these issues and concepts. 

 

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  • Christine L Berger
    Christine L Berger says #
    Gallina, this is extraordinary, and such a gift. I sit here right now with the aftermath of three hours on a root canal, and this
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    Actually, thank you. reading your comment was immensely inspiring to me. there is something that happens when we enter into the de
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I had the notion that I would bang these out once a day . . . HA! These are deep questions, and not so easy to answer. A friend

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Picture-2.png

    I'll go with you, I told my friend Lola over dinner when she mentioned her desire to do El Camino.  Struggling with recurring cancer, Lola was courageous and confident about taking on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. My hometown priest used to talk about El Camino during Catechism class. Your sins will be pardoned when you arrive at the Santiago Cathedral, he used to say. As a child, I questioned whatever the clergy said, earning their accusations of being a Doubting Thomas.  Even though I did not believe the sin absolution story, the idea of walking El Camino intrigued me.  But I did not know why.  Did I have a secret sin that needed forgiveness?

    Years before my dinner with Lola, my best childhood friend Nayda invited me to do El Camino.  The pilgrimage was to be in honor of our sisterhood. I loved the idea--spending time with my sister-friend always brought me joy.  But, as life happened, Nayda became home-bound taking care of her ill mother. I can't do El Camino right now, she said.  So, when Lola mentioned her wish to do the Way of St. James, I jumped at the idea.

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  • Lillian Comas
    Lillian Comas says #
    Photo by Frederick Jacobsen

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Moneyworking

For all that I write about money, I've never summarized how I work with it, in a religious sense.  In part that's because I only set up a formal money shrine recently, and having that around has caused me to step up my game.  Here's a snapshot of my money practice as of today.  I'm actually hoping that I will come back and read this in a few years and be amazed by it.  Who knows, maybe this will chronicle practices that I will forget, and then reconstruct based upon my own ancient writings!

But even if the internet archaeologists don't find it interesting, I hope some readers will.

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Jung’s conception of the archetypes evolved over a period of a half century. In general, he tended to describe the archetypes more in biological terms (instincts, structures of the brain) in his earlier writings, and in more spiritual terms in his later writings.

saturn-goya.jpgThe Archetypes and the Parents

Jung’s conception of the archetype originated with his recognition that the personalities of the parents of a child continue to exercise a vital influence on the child, even after the parents are dead. Jung realized that the “images” of the parents survive, often in a distorted form, and continue to “lead a shadowy but nonetheless potent existence in the mind of the patient.” ("The Theory of Psychoanalysis" (1912), CW 4, P 134).  Jung called this parental image an “imago”. The imago was Jung’s first articulation of the concept of the archetype. It’s no wonder then that the mother and father archetypes were of such special importance to Jung.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

We walked through an avenue of flowering tea-tree, small clustered white stars that formed a processional way. As we kept descending we met them singly, these scrubby but momentarily beautiful trees placed occasionally by the path or at turn below us on the hillside. By the pool the waterfall tumbled into there were another two tea-trees, guardians that greeted us as we stepped from the path onto the rocks around the pool. It was close to Beltaine and the flowers seemed a celebration of that. My son and I were discussing the girlfriend issue; how this was missing in his life.                                                                                                                                   ...b2ap3_thumbnail_Tea-tree-flowers.jpg

In magic sometimes we raise power deliberately; for healing, change or to charge a specific intent. Another way of working with energy is through the inherent power of places we’re connected to. By spending time there and getting to know special places sometimes we may find or access an energy not so much raised by us as granted to us, at least in that moment.

There was no-one at the waterfall and we took off most of our clothes and went into the pool. It was cold; when just my feet were in it, my ankles already felt turned almost to ice. I couldn’t bring myself to go more than waist deep but my son dived in, with some shouting and even swam over to the waterfall.

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  • Michelle Simkins
    Michelle Simkins says #
    What a beautiful story! I too have experienced moments of spontaneous magic like this, and they've always been in a place near and
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is lovely, Jane. Blessed Be - to you, your son and his lady.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

A while back, I read a book by a contemporary theologian whose initial premise was: The story of the struggle between Good and Evil is a human universal.

And that's quite simply not true.

One certainly seems to see this story everywhere. Go to a Hollywood movie, pick up a popular novel: good guys vs. bad guys. Worse: we see it in our own heads. Matriarchy good, patriarchy bad. Abrahamics bad, paganisms good.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    David, my heart beats faster when I hear words like "teleological" and "deontological." (How pathetic is *that*?) I surely do love
  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    I often do the same thing! None the less, it's a good conversation to have and thinking about how we view our ethics is very impo
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks David: you're absolutely right about the overstated conclusion. One of my besetting flaws as a writer is a tendency to get

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Review: The Undertaker's Daughter

 

The Undertaker's Daughter is the second album from singer/songwriter Mama Gina. It is a collection of stories, myths, and tales from her life that inspire and touch the listener. With this album, she is set to make a big impact in the Pagan music genre. Look out, world! Here comes Mama Gina.

 

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  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    I enjoyed her song "The PSG Song," after having been to several Pagan Spirit Gatherings I can visualize the experiences he shared

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Review: The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element
by Kellee Maize

Female Pagan rap artist Kellee Maize released her fifth album, The Fifth Element, on February 14th, 2014. The album features 11 tracks of fun, funky hip hop and rap songs with a spiritual beat all their own. The overall theme of the album is Love. Every song deals with the subject of love in its own distinctive way.

The music is a refreshing, positive message of hope and love. "Anyway" is a song about hope and making it through even the toughest battles, on a personal and on a universal level. "Gotta Love Me" is about self affirmation and taking the first step to being able to change the world. The title track sums up the album perfectly. "I am the love. I am the one. I am the mother, father, daughter and the son."

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  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    "I Know You" has a nice dubstep sound to it and probably my favorite track on the album. Thanks for sharing this since I would ne

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Theosis

Often, to be free means the ability to deal with the realities of one’s own situation so as not to be overcome by them.” -- Howard Thurman

My personal faith journey has been colorful and has included many joyful and sorrowful memories. At one time in my life, in the early 1990s I was System Operator, or SysOp, for a computer BBS (Bulletin Board System) called Theosis. The BBS was sponsored by the Romanian Byzantine Catholic Eparchy nestled in cozy Canton, Ohio, an I had the sublime honor of maintaining and administering the BBS – albeit for only a short time. The story of my brief sojourn into BBS management seems a fitting story to tell for the first entry of this Blog that holds the same name. You must be reading this blog entry and asking yourself, “What does Byzantine Catholicism have to do with ‘Pagan Studies,’ and why call a blog Theosis?” Both of these are very good questions and worthy of an answer.

In Byzantine Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian theology the concept of Theosis is very important. Theosis is both a process and an end result of spiritual practice. Another term for Theosis is deification or attaining the “likeness of God.” Within Orthodox Christianity the idea of Theosis is the answer to the question, “What’s the purpose of existence?” But concept didn’t take root in the Western half of the Catholic Church or within Protestantism in part because of the influence of “Scholasticism,” or the emphasis on education and learning; however, the mysticism of the Eastern world relied heavily upon the theological concept of Theosis. The idea of becoming in a sense “God.”

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  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    Thank you for your kind words. I look forward to contributing here and being a part of this community.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Reverend Kling, you have explained and expressed these ideas more clearly than I can ever remember seeing them before. Thank you

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Magick Jukebox

Merry Meet! I am David Banach (pronounced like ganache, but with 20% less chocolate.), a new contributor to PaganSquare.com and Witches and Pagans.

I am an eclectic Pagan living in the greater Charleston, South Carolina area of the Unites States. I began my journey on the Pagan path about 1995 when I discovered that there were more ideas and paths to follow than the one I had been told was the only way. I studied new age philosophy and spiritualism until I discovered Paganism about 2000. I attended my first ritual on New Year's Eve, 2000. Since then, I have studied eclectic Wicca, Druidry, a small amount of Shamanism, and some Asatru.

Somewhere along that path I discovered Pagan Podcasts. The popular ones at the time were Lance and Graal, The Spiral Dance with Hawthorne, and a brand new show called The Wigglian Way. All of these shows would play Pagan music now and then. I was enthralled. To be able to hear my thoughts, visions and ideals put to my favorite form of media, music, was amazing to me. I developed an instant respect for the people that make this music and began collecting it.

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  • debra strasser
    debra strasser says #
    I enjoy your podcast and I appreciate your hard work.

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