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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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How to Draw Love to You: Manifesting Ritual

The sweet scent of petals and herbs can bring love when you cast this spell. Try to perform this spell during a full moon.

A small lidded box

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New book now available for pre-order!

I have a new book coming out in March 2025! The Old Ways: A Hedge Witch's Guide to Living A Magical Life.

This is the perfect companion piece to The Path of the Hedge Witch: Simple, Natural Magic and the Art of Hedge Riding. It is more of an intermediate level book, but can be useful for anyone interested in Hedge Witchcraft. 

It is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Here are the links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Old-Ways-Witchs-Living-Magical/dp/0738775517/ 

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Old-Ways-Witchs-Living-Magical/dp/0738775517/ (may take a few more days to get the pre-order link on there)

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Old-Ways-Witchs-Living-Magical/dp/0738775517/

It is coming out 10 March 2025 in the US, and 31 March in the UK (kindle versions may arrive sooner). So, here's looking forward to March, 2025!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Hedge-Books_20240522-134741_1.jpg

 

Joanna van der Hoeven is the author many books, including the upcoming The Old Ways: A Hedge Witch's Guide to Living A Magical Life (out in March 2025), The Path of the Hedge Witch: Simple, Natural Magic and the Art of Hedge Riding, as well as The Book of Hedge Druidry: A Complete Guide for the Solitary Seeker. Find out more through her website at www.joannavanderhoeven.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Sanctity of Beauty

Spirit of Beauty, that doth consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Of human thought or form, - where art thou gone?

- Percy Bysshe Shelley



When we awaken to the call of beauty, we become aware of new ways of being in the world. We were created to be creators. At its deepest heart, creativity is meant to serve and evoke beauty. When this desire and capacity come alive, new wells spring up in parched ground; difficulty becomes invitation and rather than striving against the grain of our nature, we fall into rhythm with its deepest urgency and passion. The time is now ripe for beauty to surprise and liberate us.

- John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace



Why is everything so ugly now? So much music, “art”, architecture and popular culture is now seemingly purposely being as ugly and grotesque as possible. Aesthetic seems to have been assassinated, not only in this new century but especially in this decade. I recently read it referred to as “aesthetic terrorism”, and that is a very apt term. People used to want to be as beautiful as possible, they wanted their homes and clothes and cars and everything to be beautiful. Now people seem to be trying to make things as ugly and cold and empty as they possibly can.

So much modern “art” (already hard pressed to be called art in my opinion) has taken an even sicklier turn and apparently now the most random, huge, rough block of stone can be considered art. A salt and pepper shaker filled with water are displayed in a case at a nearby museum and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We have gone from the Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s David to salt and pepper shakers filled with water, something that shouldn’t exist anywhere outside of a diner dishwasher. Art is now even a target for climate protesters who think they’re making some kind of righteous statement.

But art, the beautiful, the aesthetic, is all sacred. It is what we should strive for, not self-mutilation or purposeful destruction or “uglification”. How are we to bear this life, the human condition, without beauty? Many will say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but that platitude only goes so far. There will always be a majority consensus and if something drifts too far down an extreme spectrum, there will be but few beholders who will really see any beauty, or they will pretend to in a case of the emperor’s new clothes. We have a distinct pandemic of this in our society.

If you are unfamiliar with the Brothers’ Grimm tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, here it is.

Once upon a time, there was a wealthy king who was so proud of his appearance and his clothes that he spent all his time changing outfits and gazing in the mirror. One day, two clever swindlers came along, claiming to be tailors and promising him the finest clothes in the kingdom. But these clothes had magic powers, and were invisible to anyone unfit for their position or "hopelessly stupid."

The king
wanted not only the finest clothes he could get, but this would make it very easy to see who in his court didn’t deserve to be there! He paid them a great deal of money, and they pretended to make him the clothes. But there was no thread on their looms. They made a grand show of measuring, cutting, and stitching invisible fabric and fitting the emperor in front of his grand mirror.

The king was troubled that he couldn’t see any clothes! “Surely I am not hopeless
ly stupid! Surely I am not unfit to be king!” he thought. So he nodded and beamed at the “tailors”, playing along and saying how very beautiful the embroidered fabric was.

When the king paraded around in his new "clothes," everyone pretended to see them, praising their beauty, for they were all terrified of being dismissed or being seen for the cretins they were. All except for a little child who spoke up and said, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"
Slowly the others had to agree, and one-by-one they stood up and bravely declared, “He isn’t wearing anything! He’s completely naked!”

And the proud king could only rush back into his palace and hide himself in shame, the clever swindlers and his money long gone.


So now people see the rich and famous, the spectacles, the flamboyant, the insecure over-compensators, the exhibitionists, the pop stars, the actors at the Met Gala, contestants on Eurovision, and they praise and admire, and usually they know not even what.

Most artists and performers have become little more than shock jockeys, seeing how far they can go, how ridiculous they can look, how much attention they can get. People, particularly the rich and famous, have always wanted attention but now, it’s not being done with beauty, like it used to be. It’s done with ugliness. Ugliness of all kinds and on all levels. Ugliness that so many people can’t even see because they have been so brainwashed and are so afraid of “not fitting in” or “not being liked”.

This ugliness is a manifestation of what is festering inside our society and in each of us. Art is often a reflection of the contemporary world and ours is, face it, pretty damn ugly these days. So while artists have choices, perhaps it is not that much of a surprise that so much art is so downright ugly now. And so many artists and others
still try to have the intellectual debate, “What is art? What makes art? Does art have to be beautiful? Can anything be art?” I can answer that last one at least. No, not anything can be art and not anything should be called art.

But art and aesthetic will not improve until people improve. It is a reflection of us, what we are creating is a reflection of who we are. And apparently most of us
these days are very ugly, very confused, very angry and hateful and very disconnected. Art imitates life, but life, in turn, also imitates art. This cycle needs to be one of beauty, but now it is not.

In a sense, all the contemporary crises can be reduced to a crisis about the nature of beauty….Perhaps, for the first time, we gain a clear view of how much ugliness we endure and allow. The media generate relentless images of mediocrity and ugliness in talk-shows, tapestries of smothered language and frenetic gratification. The media are becoming the global mirror and these shows tend to enshrine the ugly as the normal standard

- John O’Donohue,
Beauty: The Invisible Embrace


A
n excellent example of a mind-boggling piece of modern art is the new official portrait of King Charles III, in which only his face and hands are very clear and the whole piece is absolutely bathed in a torrent of strange red. Just red, all over. I don’t get the impression that this artist likes or respects Charles, yet somehow this is the piece that got commissioned and approved. I don’t know why. I can’t fathom it. But it’s almost like a visual “Freudian slip”; perhaps the desire by many for him to be “consumed by hellfire”, as some have described the look of the portrait, resulted in an accidental depiction of exactly that.
Particularly in a place, a palace in London, that is usually dripping in aesthetic, this new “art” is glaringly off brand.

But, again, perhaps this is very in step with our time. Hopefully the inevitability of ongoing change will bring us full circle and back to true beauty. Hopefully our continued moves toward entropy will birth a new and much better cycle. We must keep creating and we must keep aspiring to great heights, not new and dismal lows. Our well-being and our very survival depend on it.

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One Minute Magic: Candle and Crystal Combinations

Nature is the ultimate creator. At a nearby gardening or hardware store, get an assortment of seed packets to plant newness into your life. If your thumb is not the greenest, try nasturtiums, which are extremely hardy, grow quickly, and will spread to beautify any area. They also reseed themselves, which is a lovely bonus. Light the following candles, charging them with appropriate gems and stones:

Green candle with peridot or jade for creativity, prosperity, and growth

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  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    I wish there were "like" buttons on here, so I'll just do the longhand and say I like this! lol...but really, great idea, thank yo
Exclusive Video Tarot Court Card Classes

 I'm really excited to announce that I'll be starting Tarot Court Card Deep Dive classes, on video, at my Tarot with Janet Substack (JanetBoyer.Substack.com)!

Check out my brief preview below:

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The Oracle of Water: Abyss

Keywords: Darkness, Mystery, Fear, the Unknown, the Unconscious Mind, Alien



The crushing abyss is a realm completely alien and all but completely inaccessible to humans. It’s an environment we can’t possibly survive in, but one that can teach us a lot about ourselves and the universe.

The Abyss represents the unknown, unseen, and unexplored aspects of ourselves and our psyche. It symbolizes the dark, mysterious, and often feared parts of our inner world. When the Abyss appears in a reading, it may indicate that you are being called to confront and explore your inner depths, including your fears, shadows, and unconscious patterns.

This card can also represent a need for transformation and rebirth. Just as the abyss is a vast, dark expanse that can also hold the potential for new life and discovery, you may be entering a period of profound change and growth. The Abyss can symbolize the dissolution of old patterns, beliefs, or identities, making way for new possibilities and perspectives.

The abyss is a strange, mysterious place that could easily pass for being on another planet. It literally is a whole other world that exists right alongside our light and air-filled world. It represents the unconscious mind, which is even deeper and less accessible than the subconscious. If cards like “Mist” and “Swamp” suggest shadow work, then Abyss represents even deeper and darker shadow work. It is frightening and uncertain, but necessary.

In a spiritual context, the Abyss can represent the void or the unknown aspects of the divine. It may indicate a need to surrender to the mysteries of the universe and trust in the unknown which is an inescapable part of life. The Abyss can also symbolize the collective unconscious, not just the individual, representing the shared human experiences and archetypes that lie beneath the surface of our conscious awareness.

Life is born and thrives even at the depths of the sea, below massive amounts of pressure and at the mouths of toxic thermal vents. There is always so much more that is so much deeper below the surface than we realize.




 

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Those who contend that, historically speaking, marriage is a male-female phenomenon only are, in effect, wrong.

In fact, there's good evidence for rites of male-male bonding—a functional equivalent of marriage—across the Indo-European-speaking world.

Such a rite survives to this day among the Kalasha of what is now northwestern Pakistan, the only IE-speaking people who have practiced their traditional religion continuously since antiquity.

 

The Goat at the Heart

Being a mountain culture, the Kalasha are aigocentric: goat-centered.

Like the Celts of ancient Britain, Kalasha culture is transhumant. During the Summer, the young men take the flocks of goats up to the Summer pastures in the mountains and live there together for months at a time.

It's unsurprising that intense emotional relationships should spring up between these young men. When two of them wish to make a lifelong commitment to one another, it's time to enact the traditional rite of, in effect, blood brotherhood.

 

An Act of Mutual Adoption

Together, the two sacrifice a goat to Sájigor, the protector of flocks. (Here in the West, the Horned has always been patron of male-male bonding.)

Having slaughtered the goat, they roast its kidneys over the fire. They then feed one another pieces of the kidneys on the tips of their knives.

Then they suck each other's nipples.

 

Though pungent with symbolism throughout, it is this final act which articulates the rite's central meaning. Across the Indo-European world, the act of suckling figures as part of the rite of adoption.

The Kalasha rite of blood-brotherhood constitutes, in effect, an act of mutual adoption.

 

A Pan-Indo-European Phenomenon?

Nineteenth century travelers' accounts make it clear that this rite was once common among the cultural kin of the Kalasha, the so-called “Kafiri” cultures of northwestern Afghanistan, now—since its forcible conversion to Islam during the 1890s—called Nuristan, “land of light”.

In fact, British consul George Scott Robertson undertook the rite with Waigali warrior Shermalik, and wrote of it in his 1896 book The Kafirs of the Hindu Kush, though he clearly didn't understand the implications of what he was doing.

We may suspect that similar, parallel rites of male-male bonding once occurred across the Indo-European-speaking world. As among the Kalasha, traditional societies tend to be structured along lines of kinship; such rites serve to build ties between kinship groups, and are hence indispensable for long-term cultural stability.

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