Culture Blogs


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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
On the Bridge

For more than 30 years now, we've gathered on this bridge on the morning of the winter solstice to watch the newborn Sun rise out of the Mississippi Valley.

They say that every bridge takes a life in the building. This bridge took the life of a poet. Surely a bridge dyed with the blood of a poet will stand for long and long.

People have been watching the Midwinter Sun rise here for long and long as well. As we turn our faces to the southeast on Yule morning, we will face the site of one of the oldest and largest Winter Villages on the Upper Mississippi. Here families that dispersed during the summer to gather, hunt, and farm, would come together to overwinter. At one time, as many as 20,000 people may have lived here: as many, in fact, as live here now.

On the east bank, the living. Here Big Village was located. On the west bank, the dead. Here a row of eleven mounds once stood, where, since perhaps 700 CE, bone bundles were ceremoniously deposited.

Life and death, and the bridge between. Summer and winter, east and west. Here we stand, between, as we have always stood.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Carol of the Swallow

In English, it's called Carol of the Bells, and has become a regular part of the December soundscape.

But the Ukrainian original—like folk carols all over Europe—although sung at Christmas, doesn't have anything to do with Christmas.

Or bells.

Instead, it's about spring.

And fertility.

And sex.

Which is to say: it's thoroughly pagan, through and through. Because to pagans, Yule isn't just a self-referential blaze that sits in its own golden halo at the end of the year; it's the first spark of what comes next, a collective turning towards spring, and the growing season to come.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Black Friday Shopping

I’m sorry to say I went black Friday shopping.  My daughter wanted to go and she dragged me along.  I didn’t mind the craft stores but the others were too much.  Winter is a time to go within and reflect on what’s needed.  Black Friday shopping is definitely not anywhere near an internal reflective state.

While one of my daughters was home for Thanksgiving we went and did things almost non-stop.  We ran errands, cooked food, went to a movie.  It was go go go from the time she got home.  It made me cranky. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Feast of the Sheaf

In the beginning was the Seed.

Before the Yule Tree, was the Yule Sheaf.

Across a broad swathe of Northern Europe—from Scandinavia, through the Baltics, and across Russia—the central symbol of Yule was (and in many places, still is) the Sheaf.

The Sheaf goes by many names. In the Old Language of the Witches, it was called the Yule-Neck (no relation to the body part). In Ukraine, where he's known as Didúkh, “Grandfather,” it wouldn't be Yule without Grandfather Sheaf, with his bristling golden beard.

The symbolism of the Sheaf is rich. He's the crop, continuity, the ancestors, family, community. He's men. He's seed, animal and vegetal.

Men are the seed-bearers. In every generation, we sow, tend, reap, and guard the seed.

Here in Paganistan, the men of the clan will gather on one of Yule's Thirteen Nights—whenever it's convenient, there's no set time—for the Feast of the Sheaf.

Then we pour to Grandfather Sheaf, we sing, we dance, we tell the stories. We eat the traditional pudding made entirely from seeds; we drink, we feast. The power that we raise is for the keeping of the seed through the winter: for its preservation, and for its new growth in the spring. Even now in the very depth of winter, it is our duty to work for the well-being of next year's harvest, for “frith and year.”

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    "We will come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves." Too bad that's the only part of that song I remember.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Families of Dragons

To understand dragons better, people have commonly divided them into various families. As with scientific classification, organizing dragons into groups gives folks a framework to learn about them. By studying dragons in families, you can discern who are friendly and who are dangerous. Since each family has their own unique talents, they can also offer their matchless wisdom to seekers.

In Western Tradition, dragons are usually grouped into families by the elements. I have used that system to construct my classifications of dragons. Living in the East, the Dragons of the Air ride the winds. Meanwhile, the Dragons of Fire reside in fire, and are of the South. In the West, the Dragons of the Waters frolic in the waters. With the Air Dragons and Ice Dragons, Water Dragons rule the weather, as well. Ruling the Earth and guarding its treasures are the Dragons of the Earth, who reside in the North. Because each dragon family governs a cardinal direction, therefore in rituals a seeker can avoid the hostile ones and ensure her safety.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Throng of Boars

In the old Witch language, the constellation that we know as Orion was called Eofor-ðring: literally, “Boar-throng.”

We don't know why.

It's likely that there was once a story to explain the name. Doubtless this Ever-thring (as we would say today), this throng of boars, belonged to—or was defeated, or captured, by—some god or hero, and ended up in the sky as a result.

We'll never know.

Boars were meaningful to the ancestors. Their likeness appeared on battle-gear. Boars are fiercely protective, and nothing stops them. You can always recognize a boar-spear because it's got a cross-bar. If it didn't, the spitted boar would drive his own body up along the spear-shaft, just to get at you. Seriously.

In Old Norse mythology, the boar belongs to the phallic god Frey, whom some would identify (controversially) with the God of Witches. His name means “lord.” The Anglo-Saxons had the same word with the same meaning—fréa—but whether to them it also was the name of a god we simply don't, and probably never will, know.

So much has been lost since the old days, like the story of the Ever-thring. What has come down to us has come down to us in pieces.

And thereby hangs a mandate.

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Affirmations with the Tarot - Using the Power of Imagery and Symbols to Create the Life You Want

My new Affirmations with the Tarot eBook is now available! Woohoo! 20 affirmations for EACH card. That's 1,560 affirmations!

Affirmations are a wonderful compliment to gratitude practice, and help steer your emotions, thought processes and life in the direction you want to go. Coupling them with the symbolic images of Tarot makes them even more powerful.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Congrats on another book!
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Thank you so much, Francesca! XO

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