PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Recent blog posts
What I Saw in the Woods, or: Stepping Into the Firelight

I was 17. I didn't know much, or anyone else, at the time, but it was Midsummer's Eve and, dammit, I was going to do something. So at sunset I went down to the woods that lined the cliffs above Lake Erie.

I knew these woods well; they were my refuge. At night, when life was too much to bear, I would stash my shoes under a log and walk the deer-paths for hours. (Bare feet will always find you a path in the dark.) Those woods saved my life.

I had no ritual, no plan, that Midsummer's Eve. As darkness grew, I followed the deer-paths farther and deeper into the forest than I'd ever gone before.

Then suddenly, through the trees: firelight. Drawing nearer, I saw that it was a large fire, very large.

I heard the violin, and the voices of people, many people. Cautiously, through the underbrush, I approached. Some were standing, talking. Some were dancing, a ring-dance around the fire. Old people, young people.

I'd gone out to find Midsummer's Eve, and I'd found it. I was fascinated. I was terrified.

I don't know how long I watched. It felt entirely natural that this should be happening: all very Old Country, somehow. Finally, moving quietly as well I knew how, I turned and made my way back through the woods.

Midsummer's Eve of the next year I went back, hoping to find them again, hoping for the courage to step out of the woods and into the firelight.

Who are you? I wanted to ask.

But that year they weren't there. I never saw them again. Who they were, or why they were there, I don't, and never will, know.

Years went by. Now I'm one of those ring-dancing around the fire, knowing full well as I do so that there are new young eyes out there among the trees, watching and waiting.

Last modified on
Interview of Genn John by Sheryl Sitts of Exploring Possibilities

Would you like to hear a little bit about my crystal journey in my own words? Are you curious about crystals and how best to work with them? Do you wonder about programming crystals or want to know details about the process of an Ask Genn Crystal Reading?

Recently I had the honor of being interviewed by my new friend, the lovely and gracious Sheryl Sitts of Exploring Possibilities. This is a fun and informational podcast recording that lasts about 43 minutes.  Take a listen to this interview!

...
Last modified on
Unleash the Furies: Fighting for Women's Sovereignty in the South

I have three strikes against me as a resident of southern Alabama—woman, witch, and feminist. Coping with the Bible Belt and being in politically hostile territory is nothing new, since I’ve been doing it all my life. I’ve leaned on the security of the First Amendment and Jefferson’s exhortations on maintaining a “wall of separation between church and State” when threatened with theocratic notions. I have believed in these foundational cornerstones of our nation, even if so many around me seemed to forget.   

Over the past few years, though, I’ve watched the extreme fundamentalists get bolder in their attempts to marry church and government, and it’s disturbing to say the least. The latest assault on women’s reproductive rights is exposing just how close we are to Gilead, the dystopian world that Margaret Atwood paints so vividly and chillingly in The Handmaid’s Tale

...
Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Right after the Alabama Abortion Ban there was a column by Leonard Pitts in the local paper in which he described the Ban as "a po

b2ap3_thumbnail_chaosillusionmeme.jpg

Chaos is often an illusion. 

 

My Gods’ plans are so complex that my limited human intelligence cannot discern the plans’ intricate orderliness, so it seems like chaos to me. 

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Journey with Hermes, Part 2

How can a journey up a stream turn into a mystical experience? My visit to the Aegean island of Samos showed me how I could connect with archetypal figures from Greek mythology through the beauty of nature.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The First Walpurgisnacht

Folks, we have a problem.

It's the Eve of Beltane. The time has come to go up to the top of the Holy Mountain and enact the ancestral rites that bring Winter to an end and assure a fruitful Summer to come.

Well, but: the king has turned to the new god, and forbidden—on pain of death—the Old Gods and the Old Worship. He has sent soldiers to ring the Brocken, our Holy Mountain, and ordered them to kill anyone who attempts to ascend.

But the ancient rites must be enacted, lest the Wheel should cease to turn.

So what do we do?

 

This is the story that the poet laureate of German Romanticism, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), tells in his poem Die Erste Walpurgisnacht, “the First Walpurgisnacht.” Goethe's poem was later set to music by composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) in a pagan cantata of the same name (Op. 60), which premiered in 1843.

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht looks a lot like Halloween does here in the States: it's a haunted time, a night when the ghosts and monsters come out. How did it change from Holy to Haunted? That's the tale that Goethe and Mendelssohn tell in Die Erste Walpurgisnacht.

 

OK, so here's what we're going to do.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Fain

 “...ye who are fain to sorcery...”

 

There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets: to these shall I teach such things as are yet unknown.

So speaks the Goddess of Witches to her people in Doreen Valiente's foundational masterpiece, The Charge of the Great Mother.

Valiente's evocative phrase is based, nearly word-for-word, on Charles Leland's English rendering of “Madalena”'s Tuscan text: She who fain would learn all sorcery yet has not won its deepest secrets, them [ i.e. the deepest secrets] my mother [i.e. the Goddess of Witches] will teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown.

Fain. Already in 1899, when Leland published his Aradia: the Gospel of the Witches, fain read archaically, mysteriously.

Don't confuse it with fane: that means “temple,” from the Latin fanum. Nor (speaking of homonyms) is it the same as feign, “pretend, fabricate” (< French feindre). (Which is not to say [snarkiness alert] that we all haven't met some who are feign to sorcery.)

No, fain is a good Old English word. In the dialect of the Hwicce, the original Anglo-Saxon Tribe of Witches, faegen (pronounced, more or less, fain) meant “glad, joyful, rejoicing.” (The Old Norse cognate, feginn, means “joy” tout court.)

As a verb, fain means “to rejoice in, enjoy; to take to gladly.” As an adjective, fain is “disposed, inclined or eager toward, willing.”

Last modified on

Additional information