Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
3 Techniques For Making Joss Incense Sticks

There are three basic shapes for self-combusting incense.  There are cones, masala sticks, and joss sticks.  Most incense users are familiar with the cone.  It is the shape I generally teach first to new incense makers.  Masala sticks are probably the most common form in North America.  Masala sticks have a wooden rod (usually bamboo) to support the stick.  Although the wooden rod can cause significant problems when the incense burns, it really is the most popular form on this side of the world.  The other type of incense stick is the joss stick.  Unlike a masala stick, the joss stick has no wooden rod.  It is just a solid stick of incense.

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The Secret Star

They say that in the old days there were many signs by which our people would recognize one another.

This is the story of one of them.

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Become An Alchemist: Healing Lunar Libations

No matter what sign or moon  phase, witch’s brews can improve your life. Tea conjures a very powerful alchemy because when you drink it, you take the magic inside. For an ambrosial brew with the power to calm any storm, add a sliver of ginger root and a pinch each of chamomile and peppermint to a cup of hot black tea. Before you drink, pray:

     This day I pray for calm, for health,

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Ban 'Everest' Tourism Now

Do mountains have rights?

As a pagan, I believe that they do.

The ancestors, in their wisdom, understood that some places must simply be “set aside.” This is the price that we must expect to pay for the permission to “use” other places: that some should be left to themselves.

Surely the highest mountain in the world merits such respect.

In indigenous lore, the peak of Chomolungma—the Mountain Mother of the World—was preeminently one such place: the residence of a goddess, sacrosanct, in her sanctity forbidden to humanity.

For 65 years now, she has instead been polluted with the excrement (tons of it!), garbage, and even the frozen corpses, of climbers.

If hubris has a tag line, “conquering 'Everest'” must be it. No one has ever conquered, or ever will conquer, the Mountain Mother of the World. Rather, in her ruth (mercy), she has permitted those who profane her to depart alive.

Increasingly, now, she withholds her ruth. Should anyone be surprised?

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Herbal Alchemy: Plant Infusions That Heal and Help

Many enthusiasts enjoy several cups a day of their favorite herbal infusion which is a large portion of herb brewed for at least four hours and as long as ten. I recommend placing one cup of the dried herb into a quart canning jar and filling it with freshly boiled water. After the steeping, strain with a non-metallic method such as cheesecloth or bamboo. Herbal infusions can be made with the leaves and fruits which provide  healing aspects of this comforting brew. Many of the favorite kitchen garden herbs contain minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals including the list herein. 

 

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When Does Belief Become Superstition?

My undergrad Philosophy of Religion prof defined “superstition” by breaking it down into its component parts: Latin super, “over” + stitio, “standing” (< stare, “to stand”).

“A superstition is just an old belief that has 'stood over' from the past,” he said.

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Millennials leaving the Right

Since I founded the Pagan Educational Network in 1993, I have kept a close eye on the religious right (or “evangelicals”). I thought it was pointless to reach out to them since they had such strong prejudices and felt we’d have much better luck with moderates (which was true). But the religious right is dangerous to Pagans, from efforts by Senator Jesse Helms and Representative Bob Barr to strip us of constitutional protections to church-motivated violence against Pagans and damage to Pagan businesses.

 

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