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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Language of Jewelry

A little thoughtfulness about how and where to wear your crystal and gem jewelry can go a long way toward enhancing your health and happiness. The left side of your body is the most sensitive, or feeling side; the right side is your action side. Information and energy flow into your left side much more quickly, so you can protect yourself by wearing crystals on that side that act as energy guards. Jewelry worn on the right side of your body helps with work, productivity, and success.

Necklaces, Pendants, and Chokers

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The Pagan Botticelli

The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts' current show Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi offers a profound meditation on the nature of Embodiment. Though focused largely on devotional works from Botticelli's later, Christian period, there is much here that will be of interest to pagans.

The artistic output of Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) falls into two major periods, broadly characterizable as Pagan and Christian. During the first, under the influence of pagan antiquity, he created the Pagan masterworks for which he is primarily known today, such as the Birth of Venus and Primavera. The MIA's show features one major, if enigmatic, canvas from this period, commonly known as Pallas and the Centaur (see above).

 

 

The exhibit does an excellent job of pairing Renaissance works with the Classical works that inspired them, and in this case—to this pagan eye, at least—Botticelli is outshone by a 1st century Roman centaur which actually manages to make the pairing of equine body with human torso and head eminently believable.

Pallas and the Centaur is a work of poised contrasts: male/female, wild/tame, body/spirit, animal/plant, naked/clothed, hairy/smooth, sensuality/purity. Though the Centaur's genitals are not shown, they are hinted at by his fine crop of pubic hair, where his man's body merges into the horse's. The Roman work, by comparison, frankly displays an admirable pizzle and a generous pair of testicles.

 

 File:Clay Centaur figurine, Early Archaic Period, Early 7th c. BC  (27939238613).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

(Interestingly, Archaic Greek art tends to show centaurs with human genitals, but later centaurs, with the increasing naturalism that characterizes High Classical style, invariably sport those of horses instead.)

Botticelli, though, is anything but unsubtle. Pallas (=Athena, Minerva)—if indeed it is she—is clothed in the sheerest of robes (Botticelli is a master of fabrics), and the golden flower “pasties” that she wears simultaneously cover, and draw the eye.

From naked to clothed is not so very far.

 

Naked Babies

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Heathen Visibility Project 2022 in Review
The Heathen Visibility Project seeks to fill search engine space with free images of Asatru and Heathen subjects for the use of journalists and others. We want to see accurate, positive portrayals of actual religious Asatru people, gatherings, etc., rather than hate groups or fictional characters, illustrating articles about Asatru and Heathenry. This post is about new developments in 2022. For info on "How To" use the images or participate in the project, please see the linked posts at the bottom.
 
Project photos and videos created
 
In January 2022, for the first time since just before Tom died in 2020, I made a video on my Heathen Visibility youtube channel. It's not scripted or styled or anything but it does have a cute cat in it. https://youtu.be/Bz5RVLBGm64

In August, as a result of a plan created with a magazine editor about advertising my book, I did a photoshoot with my book. Since the ad was for a magazine, I was going for an editorial look. I chose to dress as a modern, sophisticated city heathen rather than appear in ritual robes or in the historical garb which is common in images of Asatru and heathenry. Since I only needed one of the photos for the ad, I selected some of the others for use in the Heathen Visibility Project. (See my post Freya Glamor on how I achieved my look for the photoshoot to see one of the photos. A different one of the photos from that shoot is included in this post.)
 
In September, Amanda planned and led Haustblot for our kindred. Amanda is the first gythia I trained. Haustblot is an autumn seasonal and harvest ritual. Just before the ritual started, Amanda, I, and some of the ritual participants posed for a Heathen Visibility Project photo. (See my post Haustblot and Other Rituals to see the photo.)
 
In December, my cat Happy decided I needed to do a rune cat photoshoot as I was getting ready for a Yule ritual. The resultant photo is in my Heathen Visibility Project gallery on Deviantart, here: Rune Cat by erinlale on DeviantArt 
 
Search Engine Results
 
The Project is getting results. As a test, I searched terms related to the Project on the internet. I did a search on various Project related terms on Bing, because it's the search engine default from a popular browser. The top search results for the terms heathen, Asatru, #heathenvisibility and Heathen Visibility Project all return first page results that do not contain any racist or neonazi images. The first page results for these terms still contain a lot of fictional character images but none of them were Marvel. That's huge progress. The top nonfiction links for the terms #heathenvisibility and Heathen Visibility Project go to blog entries here on Pagansquare about the project. The top nonfiction links for the terms Heathen and Asatru go to various wiki and dictionary definitions and to religious websites or forums. This is excellent progress from where we were when we started. 
 
News Coverage
 
There has not been very much news coverage of Asatru and related topics this year. However, Asatru was mentioned briefly in an article on a major news site about Asian religions using swastikas. MSN (Microsoft Network, official news aggregator site of Microsoft the software company) ran an AP (Associated Press) article on modern issues about the Swastika. While the focus is on Asian religions, the article also mentions other symbols appropriated by hate groups and the struggle to keep such symbols available for religious use, including the Thor's Hammer. 
 
Link to the article:
 https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/asian-faiths-try-to-save-swastika-symbol-corrupted-by-hitler/ar-AA14BZ3y?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=560920e6818047ea96028e06b8065f3b&fbclid=IwAR0jTrQEpotol8kvlUhu8ozWWA6KkLAHYam0fO23QXWAjWZkygLIv9wND2A 

Heathen Visibility Project "How To" Links:

Resources for Editorial Use:
https://witchesandpagans.com/heathen-visibility-project-resources-for-editorial-use.html 
 
How to Create and Share Images:
https://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-paths-blogs/gnosis-diary/heathen-visibility-project-how-to.html  
 
Image: Erin Lale with her book. Erin is wearing modern dress and Asatru jewelry including a Thor's Hammer, standing on a city street in front of a mural of a cityscape. She is holding her book Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Photo by Jim Connor for the Heathen Visibility Project. This photo is free to use for editorial purposes. 

 
 
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Winter wren populations show adaptation to local climate | BTO - British  Trust for Ornithology 

“We'd like to sing a Solstice blessing on the house,” I tell the barrista. “Is that cool?”

Her eyes sparkle.

“I'll go turn down the music,” she says.

 

Yule Morning 2022.

Having sung the Sun up from a snowy Powderhorn Park, the coven has adjourned to nearby May Day Cafe for Sunrise brunch. (Yes, that's the place's real name. Welcome to Paganistan.) The food was good, the talk as well, and it's the Yule of the year. Before we go, we'd like to give something back.

I'm a little concerned about interrupting meals or conversation, but when we turn at the door and begin to sing, people look up and listen.

We sing.

Joy, health, love and peace

be all here in this place.

By your leaves, we will sing

concerning our king.

 

The song is an old one, a quête-song that children used to sing going from door-to-door with the body of a wren, the King of the Birds. (Remind me some time to tell you the story of how he beat out Eagle for the title.) We don't have a wren with us, though, and I find myself wondering as we sing: who will they think we're singing about?

 

Our king is well-dressed,

in silks of the best,

in ribbons so rare,

no king can compare.

 

For me, the answer is plain, this Solstice morning: it's the Sun. Who else? Even the birds all agreed that whoever flew closest to the Sun would be their rightful King.

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New Year's Ritual Bonfire

In addition to your personal New Year’s ritual with the significant people in your life, I recommend the Mayan Fire Ceremony as a powerful way to bring positive change of the New Year into your life.

The Mayan Fire Ceremony was considered to open a door or portal into the spirit world that held the promise of receiving the blessings of spirit—love, healing, prosperity, peace, and anything you need for personal transformation. This ritual is also an opportunity to pay respects and make homage to your ancestors and loved ones you have lost. For this reason alone, I suggest enacting the Mayan Fire Ceremony: our culture is losing the important connection to the older people in our lives. Involving them in the rituals, ceremonies, and passages of our lives could heal a cultural rift and bring deep wisdom to all. Mayan shamans could “read” the fire in a divinatory fashion, and I hear that some modern metaphysicians can do the same. If you are fortunate enough to know anyone with such skills, invite them to your fire ceremony to share what they divine from the flames.

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 Holly Winter Care | Plant Addicts

 A 16th-Century Witch-Song

 

Because of its imagery, we sing Green Grow'th the Holly at Yule, but the love of which it speaks is evergreen.

 

Green grow'th the Holly; so doth the Ivy.

Though Winter blasts blow ne'er so high,

green grow'th the Holly.

 

As the Holly groweth green,

and changeth not its hue:

so I am, ever have been,

unto my Lady true.

 

 As the Holly is ever green, the lover declares, so his (or—why not?—her) love for this Lady is forever true.

 

Green grow'th the Holly; so doth the Ivy.

Though Winter blasts blow ne'er so high,

green grow'th the Holly.

 

As the Holly groweth green,

with Ivy all alone:

when flowers may not be seen,

and greenwood leaves be gone.

 

The song is more than 500 years old. Some attribute it—ironically, surely—to that most notoriously fickle lover, King Henry VIII. (Written, perhaps, for the six-fingered Anne Boleyn, reputed in her day to be a witch?) Though Henry was indeed a skilled musician and composer of music, I myself remember a time (if you'll pardon the comparison) when all pagan chants were variously ascribed to Starhawk, and remain dubious.

 

Green grow'th the Holly; so doth the Ivy.

Though Winter blasts blow ne'er so high,

green grow'th the Holly.

 

Now unto my Lady

promise to her I make

from all others, only

to her I me partake.

 

But we sing it as a Witch song: a song of faithfulness, not only to a mortal lover, but to the Craft itself, and to the Craft's Lady.

Remember that Green—as in the song Greensleeves, also attributed to Henry VIII—has ever been the fairy color. Bear in mind that the Goddess of Witches is known also as the Queen of Elfhame, of whom it is said: She hath a grip of all the Craft.

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Movement Dreams: Jumping Really High

This dream can be interpreted several ways—it all depends on the context and how it made you feel. Dreams about suddenly being able to jump really high can be exhilarating, but they can also feel scary. Jumping up high can mean falling very far at the same time, so if you jumped up in the air and were filled with sudden terror as you started to fall back down, this dream might mean you’ve set your goals really high and are afraid of letting people down. It can also mean you’re not able to handle the pressure you’ve put on yourself. On the other hand, if you are enjoying yourself in the dream, it means you’re taking the difficult things life throws at you in stride. Dreaming about jumping high can also be a symbol of newfound freedom or the relief that comes along with letting go of something that has been stressing you out. Maybe you’ve quit a bad habit like biting your nails, eating too much candy and sweets or you’ve ended a toxic friendship. Whatever it is, you’re starting fresh. If you are feeling bogged down in life, you can take that dream as a sign that you can and should try to release some of the things dragging you down so that you can live a more lighthearted, carefree lifestyle.

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