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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ancient Incense: Pellets (history)

As Pagans, most of us are very familiar with using “loose” incense on charcoal or an incense heater.  Most of us are also very familiar with incense sticks, cones, coils and other shapes of “self-combusting” incense.  You might be familiar with the best known ancient incense from Egypt called kyphi, but kyphi was developed long after incense had become widely used in many cultures.  You might not be familiar, however, with what is very likely the first form of manufactured incense; the pellet.  Although there is no definitive historic proof, it seems logical that this would be the first form of manufactured incense since it is seemingly an outgrowth of herbal medication.

As knowledge of herbal medicine grew, and practitioners grew more skilled, the first “pills” began to appear.  These were remedies blended from a variety of herbal medicines and bound together into pellet form, often by the addition of honey as a binder and a sweetener.  At some point someone (whether by design or by accident) placed one of the herbal pills near a heat source and discovered that certain blends give off wonderful aromas.  Incense making was born!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Day in the Life

Most Pagan clergy do all of their work for free.

Too bold?  I take it back.  Let me try again:  “Probably all Pagan clergy do all of their work for free.”

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  • Tara Waddle
    Tara Waddle says #
    I 100% agree with what you are saying. Pagan Clergy work is more than a full-time job and not only do we not get paid for it but

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Are Easter and Ishtar Related?

Contrary to what you may read in the local papers a few weeks from now, there's no historical connection between Easter and Ishtar.

Easter is the modern English name of the pan-Indo-European Dawn Goddess, also known as Ostara, Aušrine, Austra, Aurora, Eos, Ushas, and by many other names. All these names clearly derive from the Proto-Indo-European root for 'east.'

Ishtar is the Akkadian ('Babylonian') name of the pan-Semitic goddess known to the Greeks as Astarte, the Phoenicians as 'Ashtárt, and the Hebrews as 'Ashtóreth (originally 'Ashtéret). The name's original meaning remains unclear.

There's no known historical connection between these goddesses (or, better perhaps, families of goddesses). One is Indo-European, the other Semitic.

The fact that the Indo-European name is clearly derivable from an Indo-European root precludes the possibility that Indo-European speakers could have borrowed her from Semitic cultures. Although the origin of the Semitic name remains unclear, the fact that the goddess was already known among Semitic-speakers before their initial contacts with Indo-European-speaking peoples precludes the possibility of borrowing in the other direction as well.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Seems dubious to me. My Sanskrit dictionary turns up Asharha as a month-name (June-July). Asherah's links to the sea are unclear;
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In "Crete to Egypt: Missing Links of the Rigveda" Dr. Liny Srinivasan links the Canaanite Asherah to the Minoan As-sa-sa-ra, the B

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Ever-Young Goddess

Hail Dawn, goddess of many names!

 

Éostre (Old English, West Saxon dialect) AY-aw-streh (ay as in say, aw as in awe)

Éastre (Old English, Northumbrian dialect). AY-ah-streh (ay as in say)

Both forms are used by contemporary pagans. Occasionally—probably under the influence of Ostara—written Oestre. (Technically, this form is historically incorrect, if you care about such things.)

*Ôstarâ (Old High German) OH-sta-ra (but most English-speakers say oh-STAR-a; technically, this is historically incorrect, if you care about such things.)

Name reconstructed by the Brothers Grimm. Probably the most frequently-used name for the goddess, and her springtime festival, among contemporary pagans and heathens.

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Devotional journey: Together with Djehuty

You, Djehuty - and only You - I think I know all Your holy names and hundreds of epithets, recognizing the hieroglyphic signs from the first glance sometimes,
but all these names are here just to bring more light to certain aspects of your wonderful Wholeness.

You can be so different. Sassy and sarcastic, demanding and cold, trickstery and full of ecstatic laughter, kind and full of compassion, your immense greatness reaches the far corners of the universe, when you calculate the orbits of most distant stars,
and still You are here for me - one who took my heart, who has my love and trust, who called me to stay in the Mansion of the Moon and bring all my sorrows before Your throne, so you could lift my burdens and wipe my tears.

You came to me - dark, sad, sorrowful and determined, and full of love - to give me Your hand, to give me strength, to lead me through the path of ordeals to the future You wanted for us, together.
You smiled upon me when I started to study my first hieroglyphic signs.
You smiled upon me when I touched the Legend of the Book of Thoth.
You answered my call when I wrote You the letter of devotion.
… and I knew that I don’t want to follow any other God or Goddess so deeply as I want to follow You.
I know others, I know Their love and greatness, but you are the Only-One, my First and Foremost; “Sole God, no one other is like You”…

And sometimes I say numerous praises for You and sometimes I want to learn the sacred  Silence,
to drink your sweet water from the well-in-the-desert.
You are the one-who-created himself; the Word that was “in the beginning”, the divine Logos, quintessence of omniscience of the Supreme God, Netjer/Netjeru: tongue of Ptah, heart of Ra, throat of Amun, heka of Atum.
Blessed under many names, guised as sage Trismegistus, connecting together Netjeru and Theoi as Divine Messenger, called Hermes; and known as Mercury for the romans; but ancient Kemet knows you as Thoth-Djehuty.
Lord of Medu-Netjer, Divine Language; lord of Hermopolis.
All Your holy names are not enough to explain and define You.
Djehuty “as You are”, and how can I say I know You?
But I can say indeed that You are the one I love,
and this love binds us together,
stronger than everything in existence.

May be Your name was the first Word I’ve heard when my soul was created for this life on this Earth, before hearing the voices of the world.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Black Egg

Behold: black eggs.

Bright black.

To some, this might seem strange.

To us, it makes perfect sense.

Black is fertile. Black is rich. Black holds everything.

Other priesthoods wear white.

Not so ours.

Black as Mother Earth, who bears the red rye and white barley.

(See her likeness on the goose's egg?)

Black as Mother Night, with her great sky of stars.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Ethics of Glamour

It's tax season which is every bit as wretched as you expect it to be.  I'm on my feet for over nine hours a day in the goddamn copy room which is both a safe haven and a prison, depending on the day.  My book doesn't come out until August which feels even farther away the closer we get to it somehow, probably because I could have had a baby and a half in the time I'm sitting on my hands waiting for it to come out.  I mean, I'm trying to get launch events together for when it comes out but I'm like Ali Sheedy in The Breakfast Club dumping her giant purse out all over the table and no one wants to sit by me.  No.  One.

I very nearly had, like, the awesomest event ever put together but we had irreconcilable differences over how the bar tab would be handled.

...
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  • Critter
    Critter says #
    Where is the diddly-darn like button?

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