The next divinity from the “God Graveyard” list is the very well documented Lithuanian Perkunas. He is very similar to Zeus and Jupiter. One website described him as a cross between Odin and Thor.
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The next divinity from the “God Graveyard” list is the very well documented Lithuanian Perkunas. He is very similar to Zeus and Jupiter. One website described him as a cross between Odin and Thor.
Blame it on the Thanksgiving holiday but this New Moon snuck up on me and catches me behind schedule. Well, it’s got my attention now and focused on Monday, December 2nd, at 7:22 PM here in the EST time zone.
The chart shows the Sun and Moon conjunct at 10 degrees Sagittarius. I always recommend looking at our natal charts to see where the New Moon falls, which House? or in close aspect to which other planets? This will help us compose a personal link with this powerful time for setting intention. This is the best time of the month to nurture ourselves by looking inward for a higher, “big-picture” truth about where we are and where our trajectory is taking us....
This month, I'm taking a break from my introductory series of posts (Gael Ùr, Cànan, Sgeul and Creideamh) to offer a transcript of the guest lecture I delivered this week at St. Francis Xavier University entitled An Introduction to Neo-Paganism for Non-Pagans. You can find a printable transcript and audio download of the lecture at http://csmaccath.com/itnp. As members of my community of faith, I invite your thoughts on the material. What would you have added? Subtracted? Where would your focus have been different? What are your thoughts on the areas of need I identified for the Neo-Pagan community?
As always, tapadh leibh airson a' leughadh, 's beannachd leibh,
(Thank you for reading, and bless you,)
By now I'm sure most Pagans who keep in the loop of such things know that Teo Bishop, who quickly gained fame in the Pagan community, has switched back over to Christianity. It wasn't done in secret, and if you read his blog, you get the sense that it wasn't a quick decision either. The issue I'd like to discuss, however, has very little to do with Teo's actual religious shift.
Most of us grew up listening to song lyrics that proclaimed a lack of satisfaction. Here in mid-life I find myself increasingly satisfied, peaceful and content, or hetep – a fitting mood for today’s annual holiday of Thanksgiving.
The word hetep was also used in the classic “offering formula,” a standardized epithet placed on stelae commemorating the dead, on tomb walls and numerous other inscriptions. The formula started with the phrase hetep-di-nesu, “a gift the king gives.” Since the king was the priest for all of Egypt, any offering was thought of as offered by the king, even if it was just you ordering up a monument for your mom and dad.
Here’s what hetep-di-nesu looks like:
And here’s a whole offering formula for a guy named Ky:
Translated, it means, a gift which the king gives to Osiris, lord of Djedu, lord of Abydos, he gives an offering of bread, beer, cattle, fowl, alabaster and linen and every good thing on which a god lives, for the spirit of the revered one, Ky.
Not too long ago, I worked a booth at a local anime convention, where we sold magically useful things for people who practice geekomancy. I also read cards and dice from my various geek-centric magical traditions, and actually did really well. I could wish every gig was that successful (although really I've had pretty great luck with events, to be honest).
Anyway, I was chatting with a friend of mine about it, and he brought up a question that I think he'd been meaning to ask me for a while. We've been friends for a long time, studied quite a bit in the same vein, and he never really "got it."
The geekomancy, that is....
skal-a gestr vera
ey í einum stað;
ljúfr verðr leiðr,
ef lengi sitr
annars fletjum á.
Go shall the guest
and not stay long in one place;
the loved one becomes loathed
if he sits too long
on another's bench.
The important thing about hospitality -- that measure of a man or a woman and their home -- is the assumption that such largesse will not be taxed or taken for granted. Long visits were a big part of the wealthy in Iceland, but they had to be planned for and stocks set by. Unexpected guests were given good welcome, but part of the unspoken agreement is that a visitor would know when to move on.
Bú er betra,
þótt lítit sé,
halr er heima hverr;
þótt tvær geitr eigi
ok taugreftan sal,
þat er þó betra en bæn.
The Wild Gods I love the word wilderness. It conjures up images of windswept moors and heathland, dark tangling forests and craggy mountaintops. That spirit of the untamed, the uncivilised, that spark that humanity cannot touch, much in the same way as deity is traditionally viewed. For many Druids, that wilderness is deity – it has the power to give or sustain life or the power to kill. It has not and, in many places, cannot be touched by human hands, existing without any human interference. I like to think that same dark spark exists within our own human souls as well, offering us the sanctity of the wilderness within.
The concept of the “untouched” wilderness is an interesting one. I rather wonder if it has anything to do with secular religious views that have crept into our culture predominantly for the last thousand years or so. The concept of the virgin forest, the virgin wilderness – I have to say, I really dislike the term. It is nice to think that there are places in the world where humans have never been – but still, it’s the terminology that is rather uncomfortable. I have been to places where humans have lived with the landscape, and who live there no more – the wilderness has returned. Where stone buildings once stood, nature has reclaimed it, slowly destroying it until nothing remains but the songs on the wind. Virginity cannot ever be reclaimed – and in this regard, I find the term does not work within the context of the natural world. As it works in cycles, what happened once can be undone.
As wilderness flows with the cycles, it shows that it cares little about anything else. It exists to exist – there is no other. It follows its own song, and will continue to do so. Humans may interfere with the existing wilderness, “taming” it if you will, but it will continue to carry on attempting to restore itself to its original state. It is that spirit, that sense of soul song reclaiming itself again and again that I find so fascinating. The weeds will continue to sprout in the garden, whether we are farming organically or not (I really hope that all reading this do!). The wind will continue to blow regardless of skyscrapers, bridges, mountaintops or 500 year old yew trees....
I think I am a little ill.
I've noticed my ailment when I have been visiting the shops recently (the local shopping mall, for those playing in the U.S.A). Rather than sneer or glare at the usual proliferation of Christmas decorations that are decking the halls and the delicious treats (Pfeffernüsse! Get in me) that are sitting on shelves in early October and November, I've been smiling to myself. Smiling! Carols are playing over the speakers and I don't mind at all. In fact, I'm trilling the yuletide carols. Where did the Grinch go of Christmas past?
I've got the fever. Xmas fever!
Christmas is an awkward celebration whichever way you turn it when you live south of the equator. For starters, those snowglobes become a little irrelevant and more than a few items from traditional Christmas iconography is rendered obsolete in the Australian context. I'll allow my dear readers to connect the dots and refer you to some of my previous blogs about the Summer Solstice and how it collides with Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere. Most Aussies grin and bear it. We throw a few prawns in the barbie, sit in the 40°C heat and whinge a little and carry on with the commercial abomination of Western Christmas over-indulgence. Many of us, including me usually, absolutely hate it. It's crass, it's inconvenient, and it's often overrated. The expectations culminate in a hangover of overeating, exhaustion, and familial resentment.
This year, I'm really enjoying it, and I'm really looking forward to Christmas. I can't pin down exactly why. After a year of largely stepping away from the Wheel of the Year, I'm ready to launch myself straight back into it, and I'm ready for a little bit of anarchy while I'm at it.
This is going to take the form of indulging a 'flipped' Wheel but spreading it thick with a little applesauce that only a Discordian can bring. Some demons are coming to the party and I am going to embrace all environmental aspects of the season. This includes the natural environment: the Summer Solstice, and the fey energies that are embedded within. An acknowledgement of the polar opposition within the Winter Solstice, and the time of turning inward and contemplation that this time of year brings. We live on one planet and to dichotomise things is starting to serve me no longer, and I am beginining to look at things from a more global perspective. The cultural environment, too, will play a significant role: my black Christmas tree will receive a heap of trimmings this year that are going to be a little unexpected but a whole lot of fun. Beginning with Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
My plan is to both observe and celebrate the opportunity for revelry and retreat that this time of year brings for me. Sumsol celebrations will be held at my home with my coven, and I am really looking forward to some dastardly plans that will be enjoyed with much merriment, a lot of the colour red, and maybe a little bit of sun, sand and surf.
Wish me luck as I move on from my self diagnosis and jump into the treatment that holiday fever demands!
Seeing the Maetreum of Cybele win its tax fight was satisfying: justice prevailed, a small Pagan congregation gets treated with respect, the separation between church and state is preserved (if not strengthened) by a decision that basically said that local governments don't get to decide what religions look like.
The underlying principle -- that religious institutions don't get taxed -- is being upheld in a fair and consistent manner. But in the belief that a good idea bears up under examination, all this hubbub inspired me to ask whether or not it's a good idea not to tax churches in the first place.
For the sake of clarity, I'm following the IRS usage of the word "church" in this post -- it's a broadly-defined term that includes all manner of organized religious activity, including circles, covens, temples, and other terms that Pagans use to describe how they worship together. It's similar to how the God on money is secular, so at least the government is being consistent....
In the fall of 1970 my first wife and I moved lock, stock and barrel from Lake Ann, Michigan to Stratford Ontario, Canada - with the single-minded intention of living there so we could audition to become Company members of the Canadian Shakespeare Festival.
I was 23. She was only 19. We had no money, and no jobs waiting for us. She could live legally in Canada as a British subject, but I was an American citizen and would have to get permission for residency.
It was an insane idea - a delusion - an impossible quest. No mature person would have considered such an unprepared move. No recent graduate of any drama school had ever attempted it; there were only two places where every aspiring actor went after graduation: New York or Los Angeles....
As Thanksgiving draws near here in the U.S., many people are getting ready to travel (myself included). Hopefully, we’re all also spending a little bit more time on gratitude each day; it’s a great time of year to count our blessings, and even though I do try to keep an attitude of gratitude throughout the year, I love overloading on thanks almost as much as I love overloading on turkey. In the spirit of the season, here’s one of my favorite methods of giving thanks....
I thought I would share with you my most recent crystal grid. I have been battling Pneumonia and the after-effects for several weeks now. I created this grid so the Crystal People could help me bring balance and health back to my lungs.
Creating a grid is no different than any other magical working. Grids are very interesting, and something from which we can all benefit. I believe it is best to use what you have (no "special" crystals are necessary) and to use your intuition when building a grid (versus having an "expert" build one for you)....
This is the story of how I made the shift from a lifetime of negative thinking to a new life of positive thinking.
What does positive thinking really mean? I used to think it meant thinking like an optimist. I considered myself a realist back then, and thought optimists were only able to be optimistic because they had never suffered as I had.
I was miserable the first time I read You Can Heal Your Life, a book about using positive affirmations to make your life awesome. There is a section in that book that lists the most common physical, mental, and emotional ailments and recommends an affirmation to heal each of them. I dutifully went through that section and wrote down every single affirmation recommended for my particular issues. I had two pages typed of affirmations to repeat aloud to myself every day, which I managed to do a few times. I even tried singing it....
So I had a half written post about using magic, specifically a magic spell to find a home, using a combination of Kiwiana, and perhaps other more ‘traditional’ magical stuff, but I stalled and have only written about one object, the 21st Key Mirror, a Kiwiana staple for 21st gifts, generally given to you by your family. It has strong significance of love, family and independence, which is for most of us, what we are looking for when finding a new home, rather than just a place to live. I was also going to include things like tiki’s, and teapots, but in actually that was nothing like what I actually did.
What I did looked nothing like the spells in books or described in blogs, I did not wait for the waning/waxing dark moon, or other significant timing, I did not purchase a Mirror Key or make one myself, in fact I didn't really use any of the Kiwiana objects that I had been contemplating. I also didn't set up an altar, with the correct red blue orange candles, and matching altar cloths, even though I do love my altars, and have quite the collection of wonderful altar cloths, I didn't’t call on any specific deities who help with such things... What I ended up doing looked nothing like ‘magic’ spell work, that you read about so often in those instructional spell books, actually what I did I have never really found in any book or blogs. What I did looked like me walking into town one morning....
There is a quiet place that burns brightly with the hearth fires. Family and friends gather round and love flows through each stone and tile. Food is prepared with loving hand and warmth flows like liquid honey sweetening the time spent together. There is no one location, for this space resides wherever there is heart enough to hold its flame of contentment and acceptance. The days are feeling shorter and the nights longer and I am ready to burrow in and tend to my need fires. In response to this turning within I have been thinking alot lately about the relationships and people in my life. About what nurtures and feeds my soul and which interactions could use a bit more tending to keep those fires of connection burning. And, the energy of gratitude has been called front and center as I am reminded of how truly fortunate and blessed I am.
As a child I was always told to be polite and to say please and thank you for what I hoped to receive and what gifts had come my way. I was taught that these were part of the routine of daily life and that gratitude offered would bring abundance in all endeavors. I was loved and cared for by my mother and grandmother and although we did not have much financially, there was always enough good food lovingly prepared by my grandmother and time to spend together with my mother despite her demanding schedule of two jobs at times. Hestia's flame burned deeply and love and gratitude was etched very deeply into everything that occurred in that home. The Goddess was present in the strength of the women who shared my life and actions were infused with the tools needed to teach how to call those flames of strength into my own life.
When I married and had a family of my own, the kitchen, although tiny and crowded for seven in a family was the starting place of special meals, candle making, pots and pans music making and at times the only space available for a one on one conversation with one of our children. Calendars hung on refrigerators alongside of treasured pictures drawn by tiny hands and offered with pride. What came out of Hestia's domain was filled with love and with always more than enough to feed seven hungry mouths. Smells of fresh bread baking, yogurt setting and homemade chocolate syrup wafted through the air and welcomed any who entered to linger a while and enjoy food and friends. Even when full time work and busy after school schedules held sway, the sacred fires of the hearth burned in the crock pot filled at lunchtime and set to greet the first one home with the tempting fragrance of soup or stew....
Recently Ivo Dominguez Jr published a thought provoking article where he discussed the lack of the literacy in magic in today's Pagans. While I found myself nodding in agreement with a lot of what he had to say (I've observed in the past that there is an increasing amount of emphasis on removing magic from Paganism because it makes Paganism less acceptable to the mainstream*), I also found his use of the word literacy problematic, and by extension it caused me to re-examine his article and some of my agreement with the article in a different light. As a result, I think it worthwhile to examine the concept of the literacy of magic, both in relationship to the word literacy and its variety of meanings, and also in context to the practice of magic vs the "literacy" of magic, which I'll argue are not one and the same (in part 2 of this series). In fact, part of the issue I have with the use of the word literacy is that conjures up the armchair magician, a person has read a lot of books on magic, but has done little, if anything, with that magical knowledge. I would locate the armchair magician on the opposite end of the illiterate Pagan (at least as that illiteracy applies to magic). However, as we'll see, it's simplistic to categorize anyone as literate or illiterate, because literacy itself is a loaded term.
PALENVILLE, NEW YORK -- The Maetreum of Cybele got to the end of its seven-year property-tax fight with the Town of Catskill today, when a three-judge panel of Appellate Court judges ruled that they do, indeed, deserve the same tax exemptions that other churches do. While the town still has one more chance to appeal at the state's highest court, Reverend Cathryn Platine feels that the decision's wording makes that unlikely. A portion provided by Platine reads as follows:
The next divinities from the “God Graveyard" list are the Slavic divinities Belbog and Chernobog. They interest me because I have Slovenian (Bohjon) ancestry. I’ve been a bit intimidated in researching these divinities because I want to get it right. Unlike many other pantheons there are no firsthand accounts for this pantheon. There is no irrefutable evidence that the Slavs had any system of writing so all their beliefs and traditions were passed down orally. This creates or enables many individual characteristics within that belief system (a fancy way of saying that there are as many differences as similarities in the details of their belief system). While there are many archeological remains, there is no contextual understanding to be had. The only time anything was written down was by Christian missionaries who were not always interested in accuracy in depicted Pagan beliefs. Fragments of the old beliefs are found in folk customs, songs and tales. This is not to say that this pantheon is not still honored, for it is, but I imagine Slavic rely heavily upon similarities in other belief systems and on unsubstantiated personal knosis (aka UPG).
The existences of both of these deities, Belbog especially, are heavily contested. So let me tell you what I have found out about them and then offer an interesting possible conclusion that I stumbled across. Belbog and Chernobog are twins and, one could say, the mirror images of the other. One website stated that they were honored by the priestly class.