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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 1 blog entry contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Family HugLike many other Pagans, I was the black sheep of my family.  My family were hard-working blue collar folk, with some low-level white collar aspirations here and there.  They believed in the ethic of hard work.  They were not at all religious, having had negative experiences with the Anglican church of their youth.  They didn’t understand the mystical bend that shaped my life and experience from the earliest time I can remember.  When I went to my best friend’s Mormon church for the first time, they sat me down to talk to me about it in the same manner that I later would experience when they sat me down to discuss drinking, drugs, and sex.

But I suppose the foundation of my Paganism was laid by the way in which I was raised.  Though my parents shunned the Anglican Church they embraced a lot of Anglican values, and I’m convinced that Wicca is what happens when you expose an Anglican countercultural folklorist to Hinduism.  I was a Brownie and then a Girl Guide, and as Ronald Hutton pointed out, the woodcraft movement was a powerful influence on the development of modern Wicca.  Through my father’s imagination, I learned a sense of wonder; through my mother’s love of the natural world, I learned to find the sacred more keenly in nature than in any human building.

I had some pretty intense mystical experiences – events I would later recognize as higher states of consciousness and satori moments – from a very young age.  I was ten, and in the beginning stages of puberty, when the world of the spirit opened up to me.  I communed with the goddess of the moon Diana whom I’d discovered from school lessons in mythology.  I talked to trees and urged the weather to change according to my mood.  I spent hours communing with the lake near to where I grew up.  I saw visions in the clouds, had dreams that came true, and wrote a poem about a moment of mystical communion with the Sun King that was the Baby Jesus at a nativity scene in a snowfall on the Winter Solstice; a poem my grade six teacher kept.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Charting a new course with money

A few months ago, my fellow blogger Deborah Blake wrote about establishing a daily divination practice, something which I have have been doing, first with my personal coin divination system and more recently by using the Lymerian oracle. Recently, in response to the question of, "What will today bring me?" I drew kappa, which means, according to the translation of Apollonius Sophistes, "To fight with the waves is difficult; endure, friend."

Usually that one doesn't give me a super-good feeling.

Not everything is as it seems, though. That evening, I attended an information session for the Hudson Valley Current, a complementary currency that I am helping to beta test in my neck of the woods. This event was to get more participating businesses for when the currency goes live on May 1.

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Beltane..because I am weary of the other

The clergy team came together last weekend and plotted the Beltane ritual for Mother Grove Goddess Temple. We'll be in a new park this year--ah, new to us: it's a seasoned public park.

I've been pondering and writing about the Recent Awfulness with Klein and the Frosts over at my personal blog and I can't really manage to dredge up anything else about that that hasn't been said by a hundred other people who have far more Important and Serious things to say about it than I.

So I am turning my thoughts to Earth Day and to Beltane.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
It's all in the Healing

With all of the wacky weather we have been experiencing the globe over, one could get the impression that Mother Nature is royally ticked-off with us. Can you blame her? She's been so often abused, neglected, and taken for granted it is a wonder that we still have a planet fit to live on. What we can do is let her know that we care. Think of it like honoring your own mother on Mother's Day. I am a big fan of building strong energy and channeling it through ecstatic dance and music. I used to attend a great dance in Evanston back in the day, and there's no reason why you couldn't hold your own. For Earth Day this year, try organizing a Trance Dance. As in Transcendental. No, we're not talking about Rave 'Til Dawn. Your mission: find a great space, and create mood lighting. Low lights, candles on the outskirts (safely out of the way), pretty electric glowy lights and lava lamps, would all do the trick. Do you or someone you know have access to a large basement, church space, or school gym? The most important factor is that the space is wide open and that no one has to worry about colliding with objects or each other in it. Elect someone to play DJ for the eve. Make sure in advance that you have a decent sound system. Get a good-sized, unselfconscious group to come on out and let the party begin.

The main idea that everyone should be let in on from the beginning is that you are holding a dance with intent. To send out nurturing energy to help heal our Mother Earth. Send her your love with the energy that you create through your dancing.

Ideally, you move like crazy to a steady mix of New-Agey, Electronica, World music for one to two hours straight. You dance with total abandon, literally stomping your ya-yas out until you are dripping with sweat and reach the equivalent of a runner's high. If you need to cool it down in the midst of your twirling, feel free to strike some good yoga poses in the middle of the circle and catch your breath. See the clear unpolluted waters, protected forests, recycling programs, solar and wind power all happening in your mind's eye. Believe that it can continue to happen– that it is not to late to do our part to have a beneficial, lasting ecological impact on our planet. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hate Is Not a Heathen Value

On April 13, 2014, a white supremacist perpetuated a hate crime on a Jewish Community Center. Some mass media outlets have attempted to identify the shooter as a Heathen, but I'd like to take a moment to reiterate that his values (or rather, his lack thereof) are not shared by Heathenry or Northern Tradition Paganism at large. The Troth has already issued a statement on using the Northern Tradition as a justification for hate crimes and bigotry.  And there are Heathens who feel that words are not enough, and have organized a fundraiser to help the families affected by the shooting.

Y'all know that I don't primarily identify as a Heathen, and there are some reasons for that. One is that I don't consider my practice reconstructionist in nature, and that's a large one, but truth be told, the problematic issue of hate groups claiming Heathen identity is also part of why I back away from most Heathen groups. The Troth is the ONLY  Heathen org that I've ever joined because it has explicit, defined mission statements that are committed to racial diversity, "Membership in the Troth is open to all who seek to know and honor the Gods, ancestors, and values of the pre-Christian Germanic traditions, regardless of gender, race, nationality, or sexual orientation."

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Amoret BriarRose
    Amoret BriarRose says #
    Well said!
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Well said, and heartily agreed. (Other than that I still identify as Heathen/Rodnova, because that's the historic and modern term

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