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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
What I used to miss about Christianity

Over Mabon weekend I read Niki Whitings thoughts on what she misses about being a Christian as well as Jason Mankey’s andJohn Halstead’s posts on what they don’t miss. I asked myself how I felt about this as I went to three different Mabon celebrations. How does my new life as a Pagan compare?

 

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New Moon in Libra: The Goddess of Love Herself

The New Moon this month occurs in the sign of Libra (1° 08') on Tuesday September 23rd, at 11:14 pm (PDT).  Libra is the archetype of the Goddess of Love Herself, and is associated with the planet/goddess Venus.  Libra is a Cardinal Air sign, meaning it is a sign that begins a season; a gateway into the journey of a new chapter that resonates with the objective, intellectual element of Air.  Libra season begins with the Autumn Equinox, or Mabon, as it is called in some Wiccan communities.

Libra is concerned with seeking balance, and of relationships of all kinds; from interpersonal relationships, to the relationships between line and color, and form and function.  Many Libras have a decidedly artistic bent, and an eye for proportion and detail.  This eye for relationship between the sum of many parts can be found in the writer, artist, designer, therapist, or lover.  This sensibility and need for equilibrium also shows up in the peacemaker, the negotiator, and the lawyer or judge.  Many Astrology sources will talk about Libra’s famous vanity, or superficiality, and go on about how this is the guy or gal who always smells good, or won’t leave the house unless impeccably dressed.  Personally, I think this falls under the category of pop Astrology, and it doesn’t explain why some Libras might appear obsessed with appearances.  It all stems from that need to balance, to attain a certain harmony or symmetry.  Notice that Libra is trying to find balance, or the right combination of things.  That doesn’t mean he or she always achieves it. It is the pursuit of the ideal, and that can be a very abstract concept to wrap one’s head around.  

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PaganNewsBeagle FieryTuesday Sept 23

Welcome to Autumn, Pagan Beagle fans! Today's post includes a photo essay on the people who marched at the Climate Change protest in NYC; a video that advocates using "open source" tactics in climate change campaigns; lock-out of Big Oil from UN climate talks?; urban gardens rule; climate change deniers meet their match.

Meet some of the 300,000+ people who filled the streets at the Climate Change protest march.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Seeing My Own Death in the Runes

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my heathen path, in college I discovered that I could advise other people with rune readings, but when I read for myself, all I ever saw was my own death. I was still a teenager the first time I foresaw my death, and it scared me. At the time, I was studying Russian Studies and Soviet Political Analysis at UC-Santa Cruz. I wanted to be an intelligence officer after I got my degree. Actually I wanted a military career, but my eyesight and asthma precluded that, and I thought the closest thing I could achieve would be to become an intelligence analyst. I had already been a freelance writer for several years, and those were the two career paths I asked about when I tried to read the runes for myself.

A quote from my memoir, Greater Than the Sum of My Parts:

     “I did a lot of rune readings for myself, friends, and people I met at parties.  Acquaintances brought people to me to read runes for them.  One evening I decided to read for myself and ask about future courses of action.  Was I on the right road?  I asked the runes, “What will happen if I join CIA?” and they said, You will die.  I was frightened, so I asked, “What will happen if I become a writer?”  You will die.  “What will happen if I take some third course of action?”  You will die.

     My fear evaporated.  I laughed out loud.  “Of course.  Of course.  Whatever I do, I will eventually die.  I am not a god.  Of course I will die.  It doesn’t matter what I do, the end is the same for everyone.  So I should just do what I want to do, and let the end take care of itself.”  I resolved to make my decisions based on what I really wanted, and never again ask the runes for advice in deciding a course of action.  In the coming years I would sometimes think of asking for advice making decisions, but I always remembered this lesson, and chose without the runes.”

In a way, knowing about my own death since my late teens has been a positive experience, because it has allowed me to act fearlessly. It's not comfortable knowledge, though. Most of the time I ignore it. What I ignore tends to become an unconscious issue that comes back in my fiction writing, and the question of what prophecy is and what it's for and whether it can be changed is one I'm currently exploring in the heathen mythology based novel I'm currently writing.

About 20 years after seeing my death for the first time, after I had been teaching my Rune Seminar for many years, I decided to make a Rune Seminar video and include sample readings. I got several people I know to be in it, with me doing readings for them. I also figured I might as well do a sample self-reading. I had not tried to read for myself since college, but I thought I was prepared for what I would see, since I knew I would see my own death again. This time I saw more than that. This time I saw past my death, and caught a glimpse of my own afterlife.

Since I became a sworn priestess of Freya in 1989, I had expected to go to Freya when I die. When I read for myself again in my 40s, I saw the face of Odin. I only saw it briefly, but it was unmistakable. There was a light like a white cloud in front of the sun, and his white-grey hair and beard were made of that cloud. He had one eye with a light in it like the sun piercing through the cloudy sky.

I was frightened again. Odin had been my original patron and was the god I had actually intended to swear myself to the day I went out in the woods and ended up with Freya instead. But by this time I had been hers for decades, and I associated an Odin-centric afterlife with death in battle, which is not what I foresaw for myself. Even if I did die in battle, Freya takes half the slain so I could still end up with her. But I saw Odin. I was disturbed thinking I had my vision all wrong all this time and I was with the wrong god or things were not going to happen the way I had foreseen after all. I decided to edit that whole sequence out of the video, and just ignore the whole vision, and file that glimpse of Odin in the place where I file experiences I can't explain and don't want to think about too hard.

Link to Rune Seminar video: http://www.amazon.com/Rune-Seminar-Magicalrealist-Gallery/dp/B003KZ5UGG

I don't have any of my self-reading in the video, I cut the entire thing, because the video is supposed to be an upbeat teaching tool and I didn't want to show myself having a negative experience on it. I actively ignored what I had seen and went back to expected to go to Freya after death. Only very recently have I come home to Odin and know that I saw the truth that day. But that's getting ahead of my story. Returning to the chronological order of my journey, next time I'll write about the day in 1989 when I went out in the woods to dedicate myself to Odin and ended up a Priestess of Freya.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Thinking in Story

If you ask those who practice it, “Why skyclad?” twelve will get you thirteen you'll hear something along the lines of 1) energy flow, 2) social equalizing, and 3) a sense of separation from the ordinary.

Those may all be good answers, and they may even be true answers, but they're modern answers. They're not the answers the ancestors would have given.

If 1400 years ago you had asked a priest of the Hwicce tribe, “Why do you go naked to your worship?” had he been disposed to give you an answer at all he may well have said, “The Lady of the Hwicce instructed us so.”

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Autumn Equinox and Serpent Energies of Albion

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Indigenous Women: Nations, Cultures, Voices

Native women of the Indigenous nations on Turtle Island (what is now called the contiguous United States)—along with their sisters around the world—may not often make it onto the front page of the New York Times, but they are nevertheless the center of their nations. Although the stereotype of “Pocahontas-type” Indian women still prevails in mainstream American culture, Indigenous women today hold their nations, traditions, and peoples together, as they have always done. From starting international networks to foundations and collectives to engaging in social activism and political movements to organizing classes and language schools, Indigenous women are active in their communities. They act, petition, march, and pray to protect the Earth Mother from further destruction, and perpetuate their ancient values, practices, and ceremonies through the time-honored traditions of their nations. They write books, music, and produce films. They teach at colleges and work in factories. Native women are everywhere in America—every walk of life, every state in the union, of every political persuasion and religion. Indigenous women may be a relatively hidden demographic in America, but that could not be farther from the reality of Indigenous nations.

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