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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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On the Solstice came the happy news that the temple of Zeus at Nemea is finally without its scaffolding again! Together with the temple of Apollo in ancient Corinth, the temple of Zeus is the most emblemetic of the ancient monuments in the provence of Corinthia. 

 
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Ancient Hellas was brimming with active temples, where many came to sacrifice, plead and vow. The sacrifices are the most famous of the votive action and I've mentioned them--especial animal sacrifice--on lots of occasions. Yet, of equal importance were the votives and thank-offerings ancient Hellens donated to the temples they frequented.

Votive relief from the temple of Artemis at Brauron
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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I talk about Delphi a lot; the place speaks to my imagination and every time I pull out my Tarot cards for a session, or ask Apollo to grand me a divinatory dream, my mind flashes back to it. I have written about how a session with the Pythia would go. I have also talked a lot about the Delphic Maxims, and some about the site of Delphi. What I haven't talked about a lot is its history...and its future. This is what I will do today.

As legend goes, a shepherd herded his flock up the side of Mount Parnassus. The sheep came upon a chasm and seemed to lose their minds. They started jumping around, and darting about. When the shepherd went to inspect the chasm, he fell under the influence of gasses that welled up from it. He lost all his worries and cared not about the time. He simply wished to remain there and gleam the knowledge he felt at the edges of his mind.

When he did not return, his family went to look for him. They took him home and put him to bed. Everyone was worried by his strange behavior, but he seemed to be calmer when the morning came. Yet, the shepherd's behavior had not returned to normal. He was able to foretell the future. Soon, word of the shepherd's ability, and the chasm, spread. People came from far away to either talk to the man or go to the source. Yet, those who visited the chasm lost their minds as well, and sometimes even jumped in the chasm.

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At Asheville's Mother Grove Goddess Temple, there is a small chapel room. It is permanently set with a main altar in the North, three other directional altars and a niche (which is actually an unused doorway) that holds a tiered Ancestor altar.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It's been a while, but I'm back again, lovely readers! I'm currently hard at work on my second book (amongst other projects, as you'll see below), but I will certainly continue to post here as and when I can. Comments and topic requests always welcome.


At this time of year, it's easy to understand why our ancestors (both actual and spiritual), those wise women and cunning men, were considered remote, unusual, untouchable, even fearsome.

As Autumn moves into Winter here in the UK, we feel our natural, animal pull to dig in, hibernate, take time within the darkness to assess the previous year and anticipate the time to come - but I doubt any busy society has ever really allowed that to happen, except when they have no choice. Stoke up the fire, head to the pub or communal house, light and laughter against the outside world.

(Photo - 'Autumn in the New Forest', from Glastonbury Goddess Temple)

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Sacred Precincts

 

This is part three of four of a series on physical infrastructure in the Pagan community. In this blog post I am focusing on temples, libraries, and land-based projects. For the sake of simplicity I am using the phrase temples, libraries, and land-based projects, but as you read this post also think of retreat centers, community centers, and other sorts of venues as well. There are currently a small number of Pagan temples, libraries, and land-based projects, for which I am grateful but there are not enough.

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    I'd love to see someone put together a "model organization". Legal forms, business plan; something that meta-groups across the cou
  • Leanne Pemburn
    Leanne Pemburn says #
    What would it take to get many groups on one area to pool their resources?
  • Joseph Bloch
    Joseph Bloch says #
    I couldn't agree more. However, one thing that we need to also remember is that Pagans as a group cannot rely on the largess of a

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

A couple of weeks ago—which partially explains my absence from this hallowed place—Mother Grove Goddess Temple ordained a group of women as temple clergy. The women—and in this case they were all women—were already priestesses but they went through a long process of study and practicum to make them clergy.  They can perform all the rites of passage (including the legal one of marriage), can teach and speak on behalf of the Temple and its programs and philosophy.

It was a powerful ritual at a local herb school, because the Temple is small. There were candles and simple black robes. There were special guests and people making speeches. There was a choir and a reception. There was an audible gasp in the congregation when the women’s stoles were placed on their shoulders and they turned to face out. At that point, they were introduced one-by-one as “Reverend.”

Formal, legal.  Just like other religions do.

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  • Betty
    Betty says #
    I wish I could become clergy, but I don't know how. I'm self employed so I can't afford to go to seminary, but I do take classes h
  • Theresa Wymer
    Theresa Wymer says #
    Good for them. Congratulations to all the new clergy members!
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Congratulations to all the new Reverends!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen the inside of a lot of museums. The summer holidays do that to my life. About half of those museums were museums focussing on the Greek, Roman, Egyptian and/or Islamic periods in our history. Needless to say, the Greek parts interested me most.

I saw pieces of temples to Artemis and Athena, visited the Pergamon and marveled at a lot of pottery from ancient Greece. It was marvelous... and I felt no religious connection to any of it. In fact, I was shocked at how little connection I felt to it at all. It was as if the many visitors had sucked every drop of authenticity from the very stone. As if the worship which took place on and around these stones lost even the echo of their previous function. Worse still, I looked for clues on how to practice my religion and found none.

Seeing these relics of the past drove home just how lost the ancient Greek religion is to us. It cemented my resolve to revive it in a form which fits into this cultural framework. I also realized there is no going back to the past. The temples of old are gone. The grander of those days is lost to us and that is a depressing thought.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Dearest Elani, You have just described *exactly* the way I felt at Glastonbury Tor. I went there, having cut my Pagan teeth on no

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