Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
[The Rules of Exile] Rule No. 4: Arrange Your Face

Huddle up, #QueensInExile.  This one is for those of us who are still subject to court life.  If you were an actual medieval queen, think: coming back to court after exile, plotting your escape from court or getting in position to play your hand and go to war.  If you are a modern queen in suburbia, think any time there is a circle of people around a tyrant who are there due to force, obligation, familial ties.  Potentially: your in-laws, your own extended family, your extended circle of friends (not to be confused with your inner circle, the people who are actually ride or die for you), your work place, the PTA.

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Hunting the Green Man

All too often, summers slip away from us, like a will-o'-the-wisp, gone with the morning dew. Especially for those of us in the Midwest, we wait for the better part of the year. When it is finally upon us, we all too often jam-pack our calendar full of social events and family obligations. In this way, we inadvertently deter ourselves from slowing down and actually breathing in time with the summer. Do you multi-task, even while lounging in your hammock? Wrong approach! Truth be told, I myself am all too guilty. Let's examine some of the ways we can stretch out the season for enjoying, and perhaps bend time in the process.

Lounge in a hammock
Acceptable behavior 101: staring at the sky above and/or bird and cloud formation watching. Reading a good book. Napping. Going barefoot. Petting a cat. Not acceptable: any social media or a cell phone. Banish them from your sacred hammock space, please.

Camp in the woods or in farm country
Acceptable: strolling. Meditating. Breathing deep in the fresh air. Listening to trees and wildlife. Feeling the wind on your face, the sun on your skin, the sprinkle of raindrops, the fresh earth as it runs through your fingertips or a collectible stone. Building fires. Dancing in a rain storm, preferably naked. Dancing around the aforementioned fire. Taking a canoe out at night among the moon and stars. Laying down in the grass and staring up at the sky. Unacceptable: TVs, cell phones, social media selfies.

Watch a sunset, preferably near a body of water, in nature
The rules would be that you watch it from start to finish. You take it in, watch the colors that light up and change the skyline and the landscape. You take the time to notice all the songbirds that have a routine at this magical time of day. Like the swifts, who just seem to go nuts, like clockwork, swooping around in their quick little aerodynamic patterns. Guess what you don't need to do? Take a digital photo – they never do it justice, anyway. Notice all of the little changes that occur as day slips quietly into night.

Take a lunch break outside
Either sit under a shaded umbrella, go walk in a nearby park. Again, you don't need to share every moment with everyone you know. You can learn to truly take stock of your surroundings more, if you go solo. Kick off your shoes and let the grass tickle your toes. Watch the birdies, squirrelies, chipmunks, bunnies, and butterflies. Marvel at the greenery and flowers that surround you, everything perfectly at their peak. Eat slowly, savor every bite, and be thankful for these simple pleasures. Oftentimes, they are the things that make life worth living.

I realize that the Holly King rules for now, but he is still that shadow side of the Oak King. They are both the Green Man, and while we can appreciate him in his outdoor glory, we certainly should.

More reading:

https://www.thoughtco.com/the-green-man-spirit-of-the-forest-2561659

https://salemsmoon.wordpress.com/gods/the-horned-god-oak-king-holly-king-and-green-man/

http://www.earthwitchery.com/oak-holly.html


Photo, "Natural Bridge Waterfall," by Rob D. from freedigitalphotos.net

 

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Summer Moons

From ancient times, humanity has named its surroundings.  Was this to create a connection, feel more in control or just a way to identify what could be at times an unfriendly environment?  We probably will never know for certain but one of the things we do have are remnants of their naming like the full moon names.  These names give us a hint into how ancient peoples identified with their surroundings and tracked their seasons.

For early agricultural communities, June began a slow trickle of early crops like strawberries.  Imagine going all winter with little to no fresh fruits or vegetables.  Perhaps the community even ran low enough on food that hunger was a part of daily life.  Then to work all spring to get crops in the ground so next winter you hoped not to fall short.  Then June comes and the creamy flowers of strawberry plants indicates soon the first red berries will be there.  Imagine how much sweeter these taste after struggling for enough food.  Naturally as this important fresh food became available, the people would logically name the full moon strawberry. This name comes from both Celtic and Algonquin lineage so perhaps it was a staple and a pleasure for both groups.  Was it because it was one of the first crops or because the flowers of this plant are the same milky white color as the moon?  Probably we will never know. 

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Old Granny Nicburne

Old Granny Nicburne kept the Devil upstairs in an old black kettle.

Look on in, and you'd swear you were looking down an old, dry well.

And there at the bottom, looking back up, two eyes like a couple of fires.

 

They say one night a fellow broke into Granny's place, whilst she was up to the mountain at one of her jamborees.

Puzzled the sheriff no end.

Broke in, didn't steal nothing; just plain vanished into thin air.

Footprints in the dust led on up the stairs, and into an empty room, with nothing inside it but a deer skull in an old kettle.

Full set of prints going up those stairs.

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Hamilton, the Broadway musical that has become a force in itself, has also become a force for me lately. The hip-hop inspired musical about the “bastard, orphan, son of a whore” who became America’s “10 dollar founding father” has broken fertile ground on Broadway and opened it to new directions and a new future inspired by a fresh genre of music that easily translates itself into storytelling.

 

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New Moon in Leo: Play, Practice and Passion

Cancer, being a Cardinal sign, kicks off the season, sets the tone and the template, not just for its own solar transit, but for the whole Summer. A Cardinal sign initiates the new season, hits the reset button—it sows the seeds that will come to their fullest expression and fruition, and be harvested, later on.

                The New Moon in Leo occurs this year just as the Leo solar transit begins. The Sun rules Leo, and is enthroned there when it returns, deep in the hottest days of Summer, the Solstice long past, looking at Lughnasadh is on the horizon. A Fixed sign, Leo’s heat and light reflect the intensity of the heart of this extreme season, when everything is growing, blooming, and bearing fruit. Under the intensity of the Leo Sun, the immense power of life force unrestrained. With Sun, Moon, Mercury and Mars all in Leo, the fiery power of Summer becomes even more potent.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Nice language, very picturesque. Thanks for this. I expect lovely things of this new Moon. Joy abounds, Blessed Be, Tasha

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Do the Beautiful Thing

Do you lead a beautiful life?

Ethicist Magenta Griffith once observed to me that beauty is a moral quality.

This strikes me as one of the most profound—and useful—statements on the topic that I've heard in years.

When making decisions, I frequently have cause to ask myself: What is the right thing to do? What is the honorable thing to do?

But maybe I also need to be asking: What is the beautiful thing to do?

We err if we restrict consideration of the beautiful to aesthetics. Beautiful behavior is something that we all recognize when we see it, even if we can't define it.

What is the beautiful thing to do? Well, Socrates could give you a better rule of thumb than I can. But I'll be happy to name some specifics.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Megan
    Megan says #
    Perfectly written and simply put!
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    I do agree wholeheartedly! Nice piece.

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