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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Vocabulary of Witchcraft

"English is the sacred language of the Witches." (Stephen Warlowe)

Every word's a story.

The vocabulary of modern Wicca, like the religion itself, is late and composite.

Wicca < Old English wicca, “magic-worker [male]” That the word retains its Anglo-Saxon form and has been both redefined and re-pronounced (OE pronunciation: witch-ah) shows that this is a modern, not a continuous, usage.

Athame < Med. French atamer, “to cut”

Skyclad < Loan-translation (19th c.) of Sanskrit digambara, "dressed in air"

Coven < Latin

Sabbat < Latin < Hebrew. Murray's frolicsome s'esbattre derivation is non-historical. The term is a wholesale and hostile borrowing from Jewish vocabulary; compare yet another Trial Era name for the witch-meeting, the “synagogue of Satan.”

These two last are both clearly "words from without." What, one wonders, would be our "words from within"?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Yes, sabbat and sabbath both stem from Hebrew shabbat. Sabbat reflects Latin sabbatum; Latin didn't have a way to spell sh. Of co
  • m
    m says #
    Sabbat Hebrew. Murray's frolicsome s'esbattre derivation is non-historical. The term is a wholesale and hostile borrowing from Je
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    And the most common word for lords, both heavenly and earthly is 'hlaford' which incorporates the word for loaf, thus the one who
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Old English sure did have a lot of words for "lord," as you imply; I can think of 4 just off the top, and I'm virtually certain th
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Actually 'wicce' the female form of the word is pronounced 'witch-uh' but the male form is pronounced 'wick-uh, because of the bac
Magical Mood Mastery (Or Why Happy Doesn't Equal Good)

Have you ever been in the midst of an almost frenetic happiness, only to have lonely, uneasy feelings creep up on you as if out of nowhere? I have: plenty of times. Just a few nights ago it happened, actually. And while in decades past I would have reacted with resistance, worry, or even panic, it struck me that these days, I react totally differently, and it makes all the difference. Let me explain.

First of all, can we just face it? Our culture is weird about mood. In countless ways, we clearly receive the message that happy=good, sad=bad. Not only does this oversimplify the nuances of our emotions and moods, it also makes it all too easy to think, "Oh no, I'm having "negative" feelings, what's wrong with me?" Of course, it doesn't help that television ads reinforce the belief that something is indeed wrong with you if you're not completely happy all the time. And have you heard of "New Age guilt"? It's when you feel guilty for feeling bad: you must not be saying enough affirmations or something...I mean, seriously, can't we cut ourselves a break?

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5 Awesome Beltane Celebration Ideas for Solitaries

5 Awesome Beltane Celebration Ideas for Solitaries

Beltane is a time for fun, mythology, food, and happy indulgence. It is great to spend the day in the sun with those you admire. Group outings and coven experiences are wonderful this time of year.

BUT….

Groups and covens are not the only ones allowed to have all the fun. I have been a solitary for MANY years and I have yet to miss a Beltane celebration. Why should I? There are so many fun and inexpensive things to do. With or without a coven or group, you can have a blast.

The best part of going at it alone is, you don’t have to clear or coordinate your plans with anyone! Why? You call the shots!  There are no misunderstandings about when and where to meet. You don’t have to hear anyone complain about this that, and any other issue than may pop up. The only winer in the group is you, so if you can tolerate yourself you’re in business. *chuckle*

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • DeborahMarchant
    DeborahMarchant says #
    Please excuse me. Many people are not aware of what I am about to post. Therefore it is understandable that burning a fire is sug

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Breakfast of Giantesses

The year's first favas are in, thank Goddess. It really must be spring.

Vicia faba. Broad beans. Horse beans. Windsor beans. Under their many names, they are the Original Bean, one of humanity's very oldest cultigens; we've been eating them for the past 12,000 years or so, since the end of the last Ice Age. They're the Old World's only true beans, the ones Jack sold the cow for; all the rest, incredibly, come from the New World. Fava beans.

Once long ago, they say, on the southern Mediterranean island of Gozo there lived a Giantess. One day she decided to build two houses: one for herself, and one for her daughter. She carried her daughter on her hip and the stones—I've seen them myself, and many are as big as automobiles—on her head. From these she built two beautiful big houses, one for herself, and one for her daughter. How did she manage to heft such massive stones? Well, she ate magical fava beans, of course, which gave her magical strength.

Then there came a terrible drought, and the crop of favas failed. The hungry Giantess (and presumably her daughter as well) sank down into the Earth. They are there still.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_chariot.jpg

As we look around and assess the changes sponsored by the Uranus-Pluto square, we can start to dream of a better future, both in our personal lives and on a larger scale. But those dreams must be firmly based in the reality of time, space and Earth if they are to become anything more than escapist fantasies. We'll want to look around to see what structures have been brought down by Tower Time, begin to sort through the rubble, then decide what we will use to rebuild and what is no longer useful. The landscapes of our lives have been irrevocably changed, and we now look to discover the paths through our new world. Cue the Aries New Moon, which brings courage, determination and a bit of sheer bloody-mindedness to help us find our way in unfamiliar territory. But this chart also brings an interesting combination of planets (Venus and Neptune, with Saturn keeping a rather judgmental eye on things) that gives us an opportunity to dream well and truly, but also suggests taking great care in some areas.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Drighten

In her 1974 autobiography Witch Blood: The Diary of a Witch High Priestess (39-40), Patricia Crowther cites as part of her initiation what she calls “the blessing prayer”:

In the name of Dryghtyn, the ancient providence,

which was from the beginning, and is for eternity,

male and female, the original source of all things;

all-knowing, all-pervading, all-powerful, changeless, eternal.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Hyphae1.jpgWe all know people who talk so much that they don’t seem to take any time to draw a breath. I seem to know a lot of people like that, but perhaps it is cultural. I live outside the New York metropolitan area. People here are - by my standards – high strung. If I want to be part of any conversation, I have to do something that was considered rude when I was growing up: I have to interrupt and talk louder than the person next to me. Not everyone I know is like that, but at least half of my friends are “talkers.” I don’t know the correlation between word count and extroversion, but I suspect its on the positive scale. Certainly the sheer noisiness of all that talking can be exhausting for a confirmed introvert like myself.

In stark contrast stands the laconic silence and one word answers of some of my mother’s childhood friends. Any attempt at conversation on my part - including asking questions - is likely to leave me feeling like I’m babbling. In neither case do I feel like I’m communicating. Talking and communicating aren’t the same thing. Communication requires some sort of mutual exchange. But sometimes I feel like there is more communication in the brief email messages my boss and I send each other, than with the people I speak with face to face.

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