Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
Witch Crafts: Make Your Own Healing Salve

Comfrey is beloved by kitchen witches and is one of the best-known healing herbs of all times. It has even been referred to as “a one-herb pharmacy” for the inherent curative powers.  Well-known and widely used by early Greeks and Romans, the very name, symphytum, from the Greek symphyo means to "make grow together," referring to its traditional use of healing fractures. Comfrey relieves pain and inflammation. Comfrey salve will be a mainstay of your home first aid kit. Use it on cuts, scrapes, rashes, sunburn, and almost any skin irritation. Comfrey salve can also bring comfort to aching arthritic joints, and sore muscles.

Lavender-Comfrey Cure-All Salve

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You Can’t Break Up if It’s Already Over

So, in Sicily, my brain was completely clogged with salami, seafood, veal, cheese, pasta, blood orange mimosas, arancini, cannoli and wine.  We were surrounded by the gorgeous sea and because there's a volcano there that still erupts periodically, the whole island is positively fecund with wild olive trees, wild pomegranate trees, poppies, wild oleander, jasmine, almond trees, chamomile, orange trees, lemons.  Like, by the side of the highways, randomly growing in archeology sites.  Palermo is like an explosion of Etsy fever dreams - herb gardens and succulents on every balcony and coverable piece of sidewalk.

So you can imagine that despite the fact that I am absolutely shamefully horrible with any language that's not English, I desperately wanted to stay.  I mean, 65% of women in SIcily are unemployed, but dude that is right on track to have the life that Ali Wong always dreams about, that I want too! ("I DON'T WANT TO LEAN IN!  I WANT TO LIE DOWN!)  But blahblahblah you have a husband or something and a "career" and a stupid business and another book to write and the crushing oppression of your life back in Gilead/America to deal with.  Because yes, in SIcily you can get a literal bunch of asparagus or a beautifully laminated Saint prayer card from a vending machine for a Euro, but the fact remains that they would be having none of my proud freak shenanigans there which would eventually get old.  Eventually.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why the Craft Is Different

There were many horned gods in antiquity.

There's no evidence that any of them were “dying gods.”

(Osiris, perhaps the preeminent dying god of antiquity, was a horned god, it's true. But since most of the other gods—not to mention the goddesses—of ancient Egypt wore horns, but were never said to have died, it's questionable how much the case of Osiris can be said to prove.)

We have no evidence, for instance, that the Cernunnos of the Keltic world was a dying god, much less a dying-and-rising god. In a single story, Pan is said to have died (“Great Pan is dead!”), but this is a one-off story, not a mythology of an Eternal Return.

Yet, in the modern paganisms, the Horned God is preeminently He Who Dies and Rises: the great and sacred story of humanity's lifelong religious involvement with the animal species which, through the history of our kind, have been the source of our food.

Where, then, did this identification come from, if not from the ancient paganisms? Why do we think of the Horned as He Who Dies to Feed the People?

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Interesting observation about the dying God as a Christian concept. Maybe that's why I have never been comfortable with the whole
Viewing The World Through Pagan Eyes VI:  clearing away the confusions of ‘cultural appropriation’

 

Previous essays in this series

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I have seen pictures of a Sikh family celebrating Christmas and I have read of a Jewish woman saying that Christmas is too nice a
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Great article!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Poppy Power Money Magic

The San Francisco Bay Area is magical in spring and summer, with a profusion of poppies growing along the highway and in every available crevice. No wonder California is one of the wealthiest places in the world. We pagans revere poppies for their money magic. If you have a yard, meadow, or any strip of ground you can garden, buy poppy seeds and simply toss them all around. Months later, you will have a wealth of wildflowers.

 

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What Do You Call Fellow Coven-Members?

What do you call fellow members of your coven?

In the absence of a universally-accepted term, a number of usages have sprung up across contemporary Witchdom.

Coveners: Coven as something you do. Personally, I find this term inelegant, since generally -er is a suffix attached to verbs, not nouns. I don't like the phrase “to coven together” either,* but—in the long run—use determines correctness, so maybe I'm just being a dinosaur here.

Coven-mates: Coven as a place, or as a group of friends. This is the term that they use in our sister-coven. I'm not sure whether this is mate as in “pal,” or as in “room-mate.” I don't usually think of a coven as a place, but I guess I'm good with it either way.

Coven-sisters/Coven-brothers: Coven as family. These are the oldest and most traditional terms, and anyone who has ever been part of a functional coven will readily understand the metaphor. The disadvantage of these two, of course, is that they're gender-specific, which in a mixed group can get awkward.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    I have always said "coveners." Depending on context it may be "coven members." One of our traditional rituals talks about "br

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
On the Monday After Samhain

As the army of Queen Medb sets out on its ill-starred cattle-raid into Ulster, they encounter a fantastic figure coming toward them.

The young woman is armed. Her chariot is drawn by two black horses.

She wears a dappled cloak with a gold pin, a hooded tunic with red embroidery, and golden shoes.

She carries a weaver's beam of white bronze, inlaid with gold.

Her golden hair is done up in three braids: two wound in a crown around her head, the third hanging down her back to her calf.

Her black eyelashes cast a shadow halfway down her cheek.

Her eyes have triple irises.

“Who are you?” asks Mebd.

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