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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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The Minoan Menagerie Part 2: Animals of the Sky

Last time, we looked at some of the land animals the Minoans depicted in their art: cattle, monkeys, lions, and so on. Today, we're going to explore the Minoans' images of animals of the sky, the domain of our Sun goddess Therasia - so, essentially, birds, though I think bees also count.

Sometimes it's easy to tell which type of bird is being shown. For instance, that's a swallow flying by some lilies in the image at the top, which is a segment of the Spring fresco from Akrotiri. Here's the whole thing, with quite a few swallows:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

Over a doobie one festival afternoon, Feri elder Alison Harlow and I are talking holidays.

“I just love Imbolc,” she says wistfully, “when the almond trees bloom.”

All real paganism is local. Allison was a daughter of Califia, through and through.

Me, though, I'm a naturalized Minnesotan. For us, Imbolc is the time of year when we're up to our asses in snow, when the cold between the stars descends to Earth, when night is loud with the gunshot report of cracking trees.

Here in the North Country, we love Imbolc too, but we love it because it means that Winter's halfway over, and that we may just—if we're lucky—have a chance of living to see Spring again.

Truly, all paganism is local.

“Shut the f*ck up,” I tell her, laughing.

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Hedgewitch? Priestess or Priest? You decide.

You will often hear the terms Priest and Priestess used within Wiccan traditions. In Wicca it is often noted that each practitioner is a priest or priestess of their tradition, after studying and learning its ways. This is a way of saying that within the tradition, we have no need of an intermediary between ourselves and the divine, and so we can all become a priest or priestess of our path.

In some initiatory traditions, one can only call themselves a priest or priestess after having obtained certain levels of training with the Craft. Hedgewitches or Solitary Wiccans, alongside many other solitary forms of Witchcraft, train themselves, sometimes with the guidance of a teacher or a group and then working on their own, with all due diligence in research and practice. Initiation comes directly from the gods and goddesses themselves, not through another person. Should you wish to refer yourself as a priest or priestess, I would highly recommend that you study and practice for quite some time before taking on that title, as it is not something to be taken lightly. Modern Wicca and Witchcraft often uses the length of time as a year and a day of study before certain levels (degrees in coven training) can be obtained, and this can be a good rule of thumb to go by. You have to truly live your religion or spiritual path, each and every day, in order to really understand and come to know it inside and out. Otherwise, you are just paying it lip service, and any titles or roles that you decide to take on can be hollow and meaningless if the work is not put in wholeheartedly.

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45 days from now, on the Vernal Equinox, Saturday March 20, 2021, Spring will begin in the Northern Hemisphere at 4:27 a.m. PST (Paganistani Standard Time).

Therefore, all witches, pagans, and heathens should now—if they have not already done so—begin to save their onion skins so that, by then, you will have sufficient dyestock amassed with which to dye the requisite number of eggs.

(Authorities agree that every egg dyed, and eaten, brings Spring just a little closer.)

Note that non-cooking households may apply to the Ministry of Pagan Affairs for their annual allotment of onion skins. Please apply early, as supplies may be limited.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Picking from a List with Trained Intuition

When we choose a thing from a set of things as part of ritual or fortune telling, such as pulling a rune or tarot card, we are practicing three different skills. The one everyone knows about consciously is that we are practicing the application of knowledge we learned about that system. For example, if we work with the Elder Futhark we might associate Ehwo with a horse. There are two other skills that reading runes teaches us. One applies to all rune readings, like knowledge-based interpretations do, and the other only applies to picking from a set.

The second skill is psychometry. When we either cast runes or pull a rune we get psychic impressions off of the runes by touching them. This skill may generalize to other systems. For example, a practiced rune reader may get impressions off of tarot cards too, even without knowing anything about the tarot system. A practiced rune reader may even get impressions from objects that are not fortune telling lots, or from places. For example, decades ago when I visited England I got psychic impressions from the henge at Avebury and from an old church, which I wrote about in some of my earliest posts on this blog. My trained ability to get impressions from my rune stones generalized to getting impressions from a standing stone circle and other buildings.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

A lot will no doubt have already been said about the festival of Imbolc, and the goddess Brigit, but what is often overlooked is how many prayers, blessings and charms there are in our traditional lore to honour and work with her. 

At this time, a ritual 'saining' or blessing of yourself and your home is especially important and can bring a fresh, clearer energy into your psyche and your space.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

Unsurprisingly, the couple that sold handmade brooms at the Renn Fest turned out to be witches.

Now, Witch World is a small place, with three degrees of separation at most, so each year, I would make it a point to stop in, and we'd swap stories for a while.

One year I was absolutely wowed by a set of hand-crafted wooden bellows hanging on the wall, the surface beautifully carved with a Green Man face.

The symbolism could hardly be more apposite. Bellows = air = the breath of life. Whose image could they possibly bear other than that of the God of All Green Life, whose reciprocal breath gives life to all us Red-bloods. And bellows blow up the Fire, which burns....wood, of course, the Green Man's very flesh. Rendered in—what else?—wood.

Charmed, I took the bellows up to the till.

“Tell,” I said.

The Green Man bellows had been crafted by their coven woodcarver. “They're his first,” they told me. “He'll be delighted to hear that he's made a sale.”

I was in love, and the price was more than reasonable, so of course I bought the Green Man bellows. I've joked for years about how I seem to be redoing my house in Early Green Man, which is frankly no more than the truth. Walking through my home, you'll find more Green Men than you could...well, than you could shake a stick at.

Back at the Renn Fest a few weeks later, I naturally stopped in at Broomhilda to say “Blessed Be.”

Laughing, they told me the story. They'd called their coven brother to tell him that he'd made a sale, and asked if he wanted to carve another set.

“F*ck no,” he told them. “Making those was so much work, I couldn't possibly charge enough to make it worthwhile.”

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