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
Now the Green Blade Riseth: Crafting Rites of Welcome and Farewell for Paganicon 2020

Crafting—I'm tempted to say “wrighting”—Rites of Welcome and Farewell (known to the poetically-challenged as "Opening" and "Closing" Rituals) for this year's Paganicon 2020 has been an interesting and challenging commission.

So let me invite you to put on your ritualist's robes, and come along with me on the journey.

 

OK, ritualists, here are our parameters:

  • The Rites take place in a hotel, an unbeautiful institutional building.
  • We need to engage a large group of people (say 100+) from many different traditions.
  • We need to have special roles for the guests of honor.
  • No permanent installations (e.g. altars) are permitted.
  • No open flames.
  • The theme of this year's Paganicon is Journeys.

To these, I will add my own personal provisos:

  • The rites need to be about doing, not talking. Words need to be kept to a minimum.
  • The rites need to be something that, as a people, we do together.
  • The rites need to offer an encounter with Mystery and an opportunity for collective worship.
  • The structure of the rites needs to be such that one part flows into the next without need for verbal cueing. (“Now we're going to....”)
  • The rites need names. The common but colorless titles “Opening Ritual” and “Closing Ritual” simply will not do.
  • In these rites, as in all good ritual, every action needs to bear meaning.

 

The purpose of the Rite of Welcome is to bring together people who have come from different places, to claim the turf as ours, and to do something sacred that brings us together. Given these specifics, what kind of rite would you craft?

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Leandra; I'm taking a big risk here, and (who knows) it could be a disaster. Scaling-up pagan ritual has been a steep learn
  • Leandra Witchwood
    Leandra Witchwood says #
    YES! You have your hands full! I can relate to the stress and issues that come with this kind of planning. Planning rituals is nev
  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak says #
    Very nice. Icon or statue? Or maybe an empty/draped chair? The anointing is en masse, yes? "Sprinkling/asperging the people" vs.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The Goddess will (I trust) be aniconically present in Her attributes: the Fire, the eggs, the catkins, and the ram's-horned stang

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hygge Hedgewitch's Brew

We might call it kitchen witchery and our Scandinavian friends could say it is how we “get hygge,” which means to get as cozy as humanly possible. This newly trendy lifestyle tradition from the frozen north is not just for lazing about, though we greatly appreciate that aspect; it is also a very healthy way of living with sauna sessions, lots of herbal food and drink but also community, which is an immunity booster on its own.  Tea is a mainstay if you want to be healthy and we feel sure wise women and hedge witches in Northern Europe were the first on the hygge bandwagon, So much of our knowledge about herbal teas and tinctures comes from them.  Herbal tea conjures a very powerful alchemy because when you drink it, you take the magic inside. For an ambrosial brew with the power to calm any storm, add a sliver of ginger root and a pinch each of echinacea and mint to a cup of hot black tea. Before you drink, pray:

 

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Greater Disrepair

In the latter days of the Greenland Norse colony, it so happened that the episcopal seat fell vacant.

It had been 20 years since Bishop Álf died, and in all that time there had been no word from Norway, and no bishop for the Greenlanders. The great cathedral at Garðar had fallen into disrepair: the wall-hangings were threadbare and rotting away, the eucharistic vessels dented and dull.

At the Althing one year there was much discussion of this.

“Maybe we need to start sacrificing to Þórr and Frey again, like we used to in the old days,” said one man.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Flight to the Sabbat

Full Wolf Moon: coven flying night.

The ointment makes the rounds; those who wish to, partake.

We lay down and Fly.

 

I am at the Sabbat in the firelit woods, kneeling at the altar.

I take His hand and kiss it. I tell Him I love Him. (I won't say there are no tears.) I lay my head in His lap. I speak the secret fears.

After a time, He takes His hand from my head and raises me up. His smile sears my soul.

Last modified on
Purified By Fire: Incense Inspiration

When we focus on incense sticks during meditation, we move into a mystical space that is both physical and spiritual. Like us, the incense stick is earthbound with an ember that burns for only a finite time, but the diaphanous spirit it releases is unbound by time or space. Rather than shutting down our senses to focus on an inner realm, incense involves our senses as we follow whirling smoke upward and outward while we take its scent into us, filling us as we breathe. 

The journey starts with a flame, and then a glowing ember releases smoke to rise above us in an ethereal dance. Ashes fall below, purified by the fire. We can use this to imagine negative thoughts being changed from darkness into the beauty of warm gray snowflakes and a scented spun-silver plume, lighter than air. We can watch as our atmosphere is altered to become reminiscent of the heavens and lifts our thoughts: Embers become shooting stars, and the silver ribbon of smoke becomes unraveled clouds. Altered senses may guide our inspired thoughts to travel along new, perhaps undiscovered, pathways. 

We can also imagine our physical selves being represented by the incense stick, our inner fire releasing magic into the world. That part of us emanates outward, expanding to mingle with the breath of those around us as we ride the wind to become part of everything. We can also see in the swirling smoke our life's path, not a straight line but a twirling, meandering ballet that moves us ever onward and upward. We may leave a bit of ourselves behind as we bounce off of our surroundings, working through them, but no matter what we do, we cannot avoid our final destination: oneness with all that is. As spiritual beings enjoying the physical experience of life, incense meditations can help us remember the beauty and wonder of our existence, where heaven and earth, body and spirit, are all available to us in every moment

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Full Moon Winter Garden Blessing

As the days grow longer, a mild breath of air brings the promise of spring. In some areas receding snow reveals a soft haze of greening grass, while in other places droplets of ice shimmer light fairy lights on tree branches. Seeds that have been resting in the womb of Mother Earth will slowly make their way to the surface and unfurl into the sunlight. But not yet, they must be softly roused.

 

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Culture Culture, or: Ambrosia in a Glass

I love buttermilk, or rather, the probiotic cultured dairy product that, these days, we call buttermilk.

(Historic buttermilk was the liquid residue left behind after the milk solids had been churned out into butter, but nowadays only butter-makers have access to this.)

I grew up drinking buttermilk in mid-century Pittsburgh—the Posches are an old Viennese family who, like most Central Europeans, relish sour flavors—and I still drink two or three glasses of it every day.

One of the things that I especially love about buttermilk is that it's easy. Other cultured dairy products—yogurt, kefir—require that you heat the milk to near-boiling, then let it cool until it's reached the right temperature to inoculate it with the appropriate culture. This is a big pain. It makes a mess of the cooking pot. If the temperature of your milk is too hot, it kills the culture. If it's not hot enough, it doesn't activate the culture, and you have to start the whole, laborious process over again.

Not buttermilk. Dump half a cup of buttermilk into a large, clean bowl. Add a quart of milk, and cover. Come back 24 hours later, and voilà: buttermilk. (You'll want to whisk it first before decanting, of course, to homogenize the texture.)

For years, I've just bought commercial buttermilk from the store and used that as my culture. One strain I managed to keep going for almost two years.

But cultures mutate over time, and eventually it's time for a new one. When this happened most recently, I tried four different local buttermilks, one after another, all without acceptable results. One had a nasty, ropey texture; one culture wouldn't take; one had a foul flavor; one was completely flavorless.

So I did what all early 21st-century people in despair do: I turned to the internet.

Last modified on

Additional information