Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

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Pagans Are Pagans Everywhere

The Two Arrows

When the Kalasha people first entered Rumbur Valley, their greatest shaman, Naga Dehár, stood at the pass with his back to Afghanistan. He fired two arrows, one red and one black. Where the black arrow landed, they built the altar to Sájigor, still the most sacred place in the Kalasha valleys.

Where the red arrow landed, they built the first bashali—the women's moon-house (Maggi 47).

 

It's as if one were to discover an ancient Celtic tribe living up in the mountains, still practicing their old religion.

The Kalasha are a people some 4000-strong who live in three remote valleys in the Hindu Kush mountains of what is now Pakistan. They are known far and wide for their wine-drinking, for the beauty (and social freedom) of their women, and for their proudly polytheist religion, which in many ways more closely resembles pre-Hindu Vedic religion than anything else.

With their pantheon of gods and goddesses, animal sacrifices, and sacred dances, the Kalasha are probably as close as we will ever come to the Indo-European ancestors.

The more that I learn more about the Kalasha, the more struck I am by just how familiar they seem.

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Series: Hexworld

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Deepening Our Magick: We Are Boats of Flesh on a River of Blood

Spirituality, an intimate relationship with the spirits; a love of life and respect for all its sacred forms; the use of practical magick and powerful prayer; and the holiness of the Earth, are all the fuel and form of my life and everything that flows out from it. It has been this way as far back as I can remember in my 53 years of life, and it is the lens through which I see my life now, and in the unfolding future.

I am a Traditional Witch, conjure-man and faery seer. I am a well-travelled lecturer and author of several books on those topics, and creator of a multi-year apprenticeship program aimed at core spirituality, mystical living, eco-spirituality, and the practice of real magick for real change; or, as I call it, “Magick with Muscle”. The intense soulfulness of my message is a direct result of being born into and growing up in Appalachian and Southern culture that was highly influenced by a romance of the land, the legacy of the Civil War and the African slave-trade, and the looming presence of racism and poverty. I was born with the veil (the second sight) into a family where the folk lore and customs of this gift were still alive in both my family and community culture. These elements made the living presence of Spirit; the spirits; and the powers of: prayer, spirit-doctoring, faith-healing, charms and spells, and other forms of "magick", very real and very necessary in a world with a lot of injustice and inequity.

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  • Lanna Lee Maheux
    Lanna Lee Maheux says #
    Thank you, Orion - this is wonderful!

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On Passing

Let's talk about a fun topic. Let's talk about passing. Historically, it has meant that if you looked white and could pass as white, you would take that power and hide your actual racial background.

In this political climate and in this modern age, passing can mean a lot more. It can mean not wearing jewelry that indicates you're of a minority religion. It can mean not choosing to date a same sex partner if you are pansexual/bisexual or to be closeted about it. It could mean not being as open poly or kinky. It can mean stfu'ing about feminist issues such as abortion access. (A side note, since the election I feel like all I do is yell, WITCHCRAFT AND ALSO ABORTIONS)

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Midwinter Blood

It's one of the few known instances of actual King Sacrifice in the literature.

Dómaldi took the inheritance after his father Visbur, and ruled the land. In his day, a great famine and hunger engirded the Swedish thede (people). Then the Swedes offered great sacrifice at Uppsala. The first autumn they sacrificed oxen, but the following season was no better. The next autumn they held a man-sacrifice, but the next season was even worse. The third autumn a great many Swedes came to Uppsala when the sacrifices were to be offered. Then the chieftains took rede with one another, and agreed both that the famine was due to Dómaldi their king, and that they should sacrifice him that very year: take him out, kill him, and redden the altars with his blood.

And that is what they did.

So wrote Icelander Snorri Sturluson in his Ynglingasaga (1225).

Snorri's account implies a perpetrated violence, but in Swedish painter Carl Larsson's monumental 1915 canvas, Midvinterblot (“Midwinter Sacrifice”), the death of King Dómaldi becomes a moving act of willing self-sacrifice.

In this controversial painting, a festive crowd has gathered before the great stave-temple of Uppsala. Lurs blare, women dance, warriors march. Through the open doorway, we see the great golden statue of the Thunderer standing in a chariot drawn by golden goats. Before the temple the high góði stands with hammer raised to hallow the sacrifice. In the foreground, facing away from the viewer, stands the red-cloaked sacrificer, who holds the bright blade, ready but hidden, behind his back.

But the center of the painting is Dómaldi himself, his head thrown back, standing (like Þórr) on the sledge on which he has been drawn in procession to the temple.

Young, vigorous, bearded and redly beautiful, he is depicted in the act of shedding the red fox-skin cloak which is his only covering. Beneath it, in the Midwinter cold, he offers himself stripped for sacrifice, naked and ready. It is the ultimate act of royal kenosis: the voluntary self-emptying of one who willingly gives his life for the people.

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That Blood

It's a credo of the Fairy Faith.

If ever you should happen into That Land, Don't eat the food.

To eat it would be to bind yourself irrevocably to that world, from which you can “never return to your ain countree.”

Witches excepted.

All the stories agree that the Tribe of Witches are exempt from this taboo.

We have, shall we say, a special relationship with the Secret Commonwealth. As people of the betwixt-and-between, it is given to us to pass from world to world with something (dare I say it) akin to impunity.

Scottish witch Isobel Gowdie said of her visit to Elfhame: There I got meat, more than I could eat, nor did this hinder her comings and goings in the least.

Old Craft would have it that this right of free passage derives from being ourselves of That Blood, half-elven, from whence we draw our Otherness.

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President Elect Appoints Obscure Blogger as Liaison to Pagan Community

AP: New York

The transition team of president elect Ronald Rump announced today the appointment of obscure PaganSquare blogger Steven Posch as the administration's future liaison with the pagan community.

“Sure, he's a nobody from nowhere that nobody listens to,” said an aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “For an insignificant bunch of losers like the pagans, who cares?”

Critics faulted the choice as unrepresentative.

“Darling, Posch doesn't speak for anyone but himself, and that's on a good day,” said Glyph And/Or of Witches Against Negativity and Discrimination (WAND), adding: “He's so far out of the pagan mainstream that his hooves aren't even wet.”

Questioned about his choice, president elect Rump said: “It's so unfair. You don't even know what you're talking about. You're stupid, stupid.

“And you're ugly, too.

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