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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
Sturgeon: Be Responsible

Sturgeon are ancient fish who swam in the waters when the dinosaurs first emerged on the earth. Today, these living fossils are considered to be the most primitive of the bony fish. Sturgeon belongs to the Acipenseridae family which has twenty-seven species. Native to the lakes, rivers, and coastlines of Eurasia and North America, these giant fish resemble armored torpedoes. Their distinctive bony plates (hard scutes) stud their back and sides.

One thing that Sturgeons are well-known for are their dramatic leaping out of the water. In his poem, The Song of Hiawatha, Longfellow described this – “saw the sturgeon, Nahma leaping, scattering drops like beads of wampum.” As the largest fish in freshwater, a massive Sturgeon can kill or break the bones of unwary boaters. As to why They leap, nobody knows. Theories range from communicating in their group to Sturgeon simply enjoying doing it.

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Thunder in the Tall Grass: Full Moon in August

When the Sun transits into Leo, the Summer is at its fullest, the Sun returns to its sovereign sign, the lush abundance of the Summer's growth is at its peak. But the Summer is past its tipping point: the Oak bows to the Holly, the Stallion bows to the Boar. The transition is subtle but distinct: the Oak King and his powers of expansion, of movement forward, of exploration, have given way to the Holly King, older, wiser, more cagey,with his powers of protection, of preservation, and of steadfastness.

Under the Full Moon of August—a hot rosy-colored moon, a hot wind riffles through the tall grass and there's thunder in the distance—the Leo Sun dances with the Moon in Aquarius, tempering the intensity of Leo’s expressiveness and passion, with a wider perspective. Sun in Leo is eminently powerful, and imbues us all with the leonine qualities of confidence, creativity and playfulness. We feel ourselves to be sovereign in our lives, our work and our art flourishes because our connection to source is open and we are empowered to receive. This power within ourselves is available as long as we allow ourselves access, we need to believe we are worthy, we need to believe in our contribution and our talent. But Aquarius further empowers to see that our passions and our actions do more than entertain and enrich us. The appropriate role of any conscious soul at this time is to bring our talents and our contributions out of our studios, out of our homes, and offer them up for the benefit of others. The Aquarius moon reminds us that our talents and dreams might be incredibly personal and vulnerable, but they also transcend our small personal lives to touch others, to have an impact on the world we share.

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Were Wiccans Originally "Wakers of the Dead"?

Well, didn't see that one coming.

According to philologist Calvert Watkins, the word Wicca is actually related to wake.

And Wiccans were originally necromancers, “wakers of the dead.”

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I am a hard polytheist. I believe "the gods" are really real, that They are discarnate beings with whom we can interact. They may be fractured pieces of one extraordinary energy form and so may we. That knowledge is unimportant to me so we needn't argue about it.

If you believe something other than that, that's cool with me. Ah, let me add the tiny caveat---that's cool with me... as long as you are not all up in my face telling me how to be a polytheist.

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Can a Pagan Woman, in Good Conscience, Go to Uluru?

Uluru: the Great Red Rock, Australia's most iconic holy place.

Held sacred by local First Nations peoples, it is considered by them to be a men's shrine, and hence forbidden to women.

So, can a pagan woman, in good conscience, go there?

Well, different peoples, different ways. I can't rightly expect you to act in accordance with my people's ways, nor you me.

Still, it's always best practice to be respectful of other people's stuff, especially their religious stuff. In the old Witch language, there are two words for "peace." Frith is peace within a community. Grith is peace between communities, and maintaining grith is a cultural value of great (although not overriding) importance.

And when it comes to religious rules, peoples vary. So what to do when your people do things one way, and mine another?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    Frith and grith come from Old Norse, not some "old witch language."
  • Anne Forrester
    Anne Forrester says #
    The response of Bekah Evie Bel did not strike me as extreme at all, but very respectful. This is obviously a topic that needs car
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for the link, Anne; it's a thoughtful piece, well worth the read. The conversation about the proper relation between "immig
  • Bekah Evie Bel
    Bekah Evie Bel says #
    If that was my conclusion then I have to agree, it would indeed be extreme and absurd. It wasn't my intent to give that conclusio
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for the clarification, Bekah; as I spent more time thinking about your post, it became clear to me that I had far overgener

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Corn Moon Celebration

The word "harvest," immediately conjures up the calendar pages of September and October in the mind's eye – replete with dried corn husks, gourds, pumpkins, red wine, and tart juicy apples. Although all of these images are thoroughly justified, the first of the harvest fests technically begins August 1. Lammas/Lughnasadh has come and gone, but you can feel the full ripeness and end of the summer all around you. It is there in the rich green leaves and vivid colors of plant life and flowers – their lush smell from the warmth of the summer sun at its peak. The corn moon rises this Thursday the 18th. What better occasion than to gather some of your clan near and toast to the changing of seasons, then?

If you have a craft brewer in your midst, by all means, this is the time to invite them to share their bounty! Likewise with anyone who dabbles in home fermentation in the way of kombucha or wine. Definitely roast some ears of corn from a local farmer's market over an open flame, and toss some fresh Caprese salad with bursting cherry tomatoes (surely a guest had good luck in their garden this year), fragrant basil leaves (ditto), creamy mozzarella (cheesemakers step up) and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil and a good three leaf balsamic vinegar. Plump blackberries or plums (anyone's backyard pickings), would certainly be appropriate at this gathering, as would any just-caught perch that the fisherperson in your group would be willing to pan-fry for the crowd. Make it a true Pagan potluck where each guest can bring to the table some of their own personal harvest for others to sample. As host/hostess, you could bake up some little "Wolf and Moon Cookies" for dessert. Here's a favorite recipe that I like to go to:

     LEMON WOLF COOKIES
     *If you don't own a wolf cookie cutter, have no fear! Just make little full moons, half moons   
     and new moons by rolling out the dough and firmly cutting the shapes out of the bottom of a 
     shot glass. If you do own one, make the wolves first, and then the moons out of the left-over dough.
     4 1/2 cups flour
     1/2 teaspoon salt
     1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
     1/2 teaspoon allspice
     1/4 teaspoon cloves
     1/4 teaspoon ginger
     2 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
     1 cup sugar
     6 oz. cream cheese
     1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
     5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
     Stir dry ingredients together and set aside.
     Cream butter, sugar, cream cheese and grated lemon peel. Mix in fresh lemon juice. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, until well blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1/2 to 1 hour.
     Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8" thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out your wolf cookies.
     Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes.
     ICING
     2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
     1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
     2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons water
     food coloring (optional)
     Mix sugar and meringue powder in large mixing bowl. Add water and beat at low speed for 8-10 minutes until icing forms peaks. Add food coloring a tiny bit at a time, stirring until you have the color you like.
     Spread on cooled cookies or pipe designs on with a pasty bag. Keep icing tightly covered when not being used.
     (Recipe from Patricia Lynn Bradley, Bark & Bradley®, Inc., adapted by Colleen DuVall)

Sing some songs around the fire pit. Pass one chalice of the last of the home-brew that everyone takes a sip of to further bond your friendship. Finally, partake in a bit of communal moon-watching together. According to space.com, "The next full moon will be the Full Sturgeon Moon of Aug. 18. It will peak at 5:27 a.m. EDT (0927 GMT), but will appear full to the casual stargazer a day prior and after the peak day. August's full moon has also known as the Full Red Moon (because the moon can look reddish through haze), as well as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon."

Resources:
Photo, "Corn And Mazie Field," by franky242 at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
http://www.space.com/16830-full-moon-calendar.html
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/documents/consumption/HealthDishWisFish.pdf

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Polywood

India being India, there's an entire genre of Bollywood films about gods and goddesses.

They're called “the theologicals.”

Some are overtly mythological in nature, but the vast majority tell the story of how our hero N manages, with the help of deity G, to overcome what at first seem to be virtually insurmountable obstacles.*

This, of course—as pretty much any pagan can tell you—is how things really do work in a polytheist world. Small wonder that it plays so convincingly on screen.

As America moves towards its own irresistibly polytheist future (ex uno plurimus), realistically we can expect something similar from the US film industry.

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