PaganSquare


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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Rainbow Season part 1: preparing for the ritual

My kindred’s Autumnal Equinox ritual this year is called the Rainbow Season Ritual. It’s a ritual to Heimdall and his nine mothers. Other heathen groups celebrate Vetrnatr or Winter Nights in the fall, but here in the Mojave Desert, trying to celebrate the onset of cold weather when it’s still over 100 degrees out just doesn’t feel appropriate to our local weather and landscape. If we are to honor nature, then we must take real nature into account, and not just what a date on a calendar says. I considered trying to move Winter Nights to the actual time I would expect it to start freezing out, but then it would coincide with Yule. So instead, we’re celebrating the end of monsoon season. After the thunderous, rainy, lightning-prone time of Thor comes the rainbow, the time of Heimdall.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Do You Say 'Sabbat' in Witch?

“Sabbat,” of course, is an imported word: from Hebrew, via Latin.

If it seems peculiar that the name for a gathering of witches should ultimately derive from the vocabulary of Judaism, bear in mind that an alternate name for the witch's sabbat was once the “synagogue of Satan.” To the witch-hunting eye, all non-Christians look alike.

(Aunt Margaret's derivation from medieval French s'ébattre, “to frolic, disport oneself” is a delightful jeu d'esprit, but not to be taken seriously as etymology.)

So, if we were looking for a natively English word for what would later be called the witch's sabbat, what would it be?

Well, in Scandinavia, at the rise of the Great Persecution, before the international term “sabbat” caught on, a meeting of witches was known as a witch-thing.

This, of course, is not thing as in “whatchamacallit,” but thing as in the Norse term althing, “meeting, assembly.”

Among Germanic-speaking populations in early medieval times, every area had a local thing, or folk-moot, which met periodically (often quarterly) to deal with regional business, while the tribe as a whole held its general assembly annually. This was known known as the all-thing.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Peace-of-Mind Serenity Spell

After I graduated from college, I had one of those experiences we all must endure in our twenties: a bad breakup. I was somewhat of a zombie but my best friend was of a more practical bent and was studying Zen Buddhism. She placed a broom in my hand and suggested I “stop thinking about anything but doing the best possible job sweeping the floor.” I took her advice and even swept the sidewalks once I was done with the small cottage we lived in. Sweeping did bring about a stillness inside me, which was a relief after all the turmoil, I was still hurting but simplicity of the chores engendered quietude. I have a few brooms, including symbolic besoms,  and one is always right outside the back door and ready for the simple ritual of sweeping. Grab your broom and say aloud as you get started:

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Avi—Dude—You're Gay; Figure It Out

 Reading Avi Steinberg's The Lost Book of Mormon: A Journey Through the Mythic Lands of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Kansas City, Missouri

(In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Proposes Marriage—Well, Kind Of—to a Man He's Never Met)

 

Avi Steinberg is on a quest. He's in search of his identity.

Well, there's nothing more American than that. Jewish, born in Israel, grew up in Cleveland...oh, an intellectual, and a writer. Of course he's in search of an identity.

Where better than to look than among the Mormons, right?

Avi's marriage (to a woman) isn't working, and he's running away from it by going on his quest. The good news: in the end Avi actually does manage to find his identity. The bad: I'm not quite sure that he realizes that he's found it.

I love Avi (me, I'd marry him any day), I love his writing, and I love his book. The book's central (really rather belabored) metaphor: writer as prophet, book as scripture. Who better to act as Dantean guide than that all-American prophet/shyster-cum-novelist Joseph Smith himself, with his fake Bible of gold plates, the Book of Mormon?

It's a quest, it's a romp, it's a meditation on the re-enchantment of landscape. Avi signs up with a Mormon tour group to see the “original” locations of the Book of Mormon events in Central America and Mexico. Then he travels to Palmyra, New York for an abortive appearance in the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant. Last of all he ends up in the Mormon Eden of Kansas City, Missouri.

I started to wonder during his account of the casting of the pageant, with its breathless descriptions of beefcake.

I kept wondering through his description about stripping down to his briefs along with his fellow actors.

But I was sure when I got to the epilogue.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
There's more than one Minoan goddess!

When I mention "Minoan," most people think of the famous Snake Goddess figurines. And many people think those figurines represent "the Minoan goddess," as if there were only one of them. But there are many Minoan goddesses, not just one.

In fact, there's a whole pantheon.

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White Storks in European Traditions and Stories

"I know the pond in which all the little children lie, waiting till the storks come to take them to their parents."

-Hans Christian Andersen, "The Storks"

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    The local library used to have a book called Australia Dreaming. If I remember correctly it mentioned that the spirits of the unb

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the Spiders

We don’t have any seriously dangerous spiders here in the UK – they can bite, and bites aren’t delightful, but on the whole our spiders are harmless, friendly creatures who like to hang out in our homes. Autumn seems to be spider season. I always see more of them at this time of year, and the larger ones tend to appear more often now.

Spiders eat all kinds of other things that may get into your home to do you no good at all. They’re allies, and will take out things like clothes moths, mosquitoes and other bitey, unpleasant visitors. If you live somewhere with dangerous spiders, there’s a decent chance that a less dangerous spider might actually help you keep the scary ones out, even!

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