Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
[Back to Basics] Cleansing/Shielding

I Can Take Care of Myself.  I've Been Using the Bowflex.

Most occultists/witches have really elaborate shielding systems.  I just . . .real talk here.  I can't be bothered.

Jow has compared this to constantly eating an egg salad sandwich out of a bus station bathroom vending machine, a la Futurama.  It totally squicks out every magical person I know.  Just the idea of all of that foreign flora and fauna blossoming into strange malevolence inside me sends a shudder down their collective spines.  And I'm a girl who prefers not to swim in public pools and doesn't like to put her hands in things.

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  • Elizabeth Kleine
    Elizabeth Kleine says #
    Amazing article. I recognized the Jennifer's Body quotes and did a little happy dance

Remembrance DayHello there, hope you all had a good Remembrance Day (or Veterans' Day in the US).  I though I would drop a quick note to share a link to an article I wrote at my other column, "Between the Shadows," because I figured this was definitely relevant to a Canadian Pagan's perspective.

"Spontaneous Ritual": Sable and a small conglomeration of local Pagans went to the cenotaph in their city to honor their war dead in a Pagan way. Instead they were witness to the birth of a communal ritual that brought their city together. Lest we forget.

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North Country Samhain

On Halloween weekend writer, witch, and ceremonial magician Frater Barrabbas hosted a gathering of Traditionals and friends at his home here in SE Minnesota. I swear, I’ve never seen so many stangs and black cloaks in one place before.

It’s been a warm, golden autumn here in Lake Country. We drove out to Barrabbas’ on Saturday afternoon (I’d spent the night before with my group here in Minneapolis, dancing with Old Hornie around a 150-year old white oak in a river meadow down by the Mississippi) through a landscape newly naked. The cottonwoods, birches, and maples had only recently shed their gold, leaving behind the oaks’ brown and russet, and the smoky green of Northland pines and cedars.

Barrabbas’ land is bounded by woods, a lake, and a cauldron bog. We found there a crowd of almost 40, some from as far away as Illinois and Georgia, subtly fueled by our host’s lively batches of homebrew: the rich, spicy Oktoberfest was especially beguiling.

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The Autumnal Equinox is that time of the year when we start talking about food-sharing. It makes sense; the Autumnal Equinox marks the last harvest, the time where one would expect that there's plenty of food to go around. But the harvest and the equinox have come and gone along with the Pagan Pride festivals that dot the month of September (many PPD fests include a food drive). Hunger is a sad reality for millions of people all over the world, all year round, so it's important not to forget your local food bank, and to donate when you can throughout the entire year.

b2ap3_thumbnail_food_bank.jpg

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The Blessing o' the Bats

So far this fall, we haven't had any bats in the house. Around here, that's unusual.

Most years, in the weeks before Halloween, I find at least one wheeling through the halls. We've got a bat house mounted on the wall outside—bats eat mosquitoes, so they're a valuable asset to have nesting nearby—but come the cold and the end of bug season, naturally they start looking around for a nice, cozy cave to over-winter in.

These days, I'm the household bat-catcher. Old Simmycat is gone now, but in her heyday she did the job masterfully. Like most Manx—in compensation for the lack of tail, I suppose—Simmy had powerful hindquarters and was a noteworthy jumper.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_658px-DEA_mar_loose.jpgIn her 2002 editorial on incarcerated Pagans Anne Newkirk Niven writes about the value of ministering to that population. She sensibly points out that such folks will not be confined forever and will at some point exit the system. Cherry Hill Seminary offers literature for incarcerated Pagans at a very nominal fee. *

Niven tells us that not all Pagans feel such ministry is worth the effort. But it is worth noting that the US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Since the 80s, incarceration in federal prisons has soared 800%. A great many of those who are confined were committing nothing that Pagans would view as an ethical violation: they were taking some form of illegal drug. And such policies are inherently racist. People of color are locked up in far greater numbers than those with fair skin.

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  • Maureen Juarez
    Maureen Juarez says #
    It's crazy how many times I have seen people mention the use of drugs and the select behavior of law enforcement persons. There ar
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    You are very right that arrests for minor drug crimes are primarily of young black men. Why are the police not stopping and friski
From Those Who Have Much, Much Is Expected: A Kalasha Tale

The Kalasha are the last remaining pagans of the Hindu Kush. Numbering about 4000, in three adjoining valleys in northwest Pakistan, they are known for their proud polytheism, the freedom (and beauty) of their women, and their wine-drinking.

Among the Kalasha, November is the month of the ancestors, and it is customary to remember them—for “the spirits of the dead are pleased when their names are remembered”—by recounting tales of their deeds.

In Kalasha society, it is impingent upon the wealthy to throw elaborate feasts for as many people as possible; only by sharing their wealth with the rest of the community do they gain prestige. Their Muslim neighbors laugh at them for their lavish, spendthrift ways, but this is indeed the way of the pagan ancestors: from those who have much, much is expected.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My understanding (I'm certainly no expert) is that the Kalasha reckon lineage bilaterally (i.e. through both the mother's and the
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    According to Heide Goettner-Abendroth, gift giving as a method of ensuring social equality is characteristic of matriarchal egalit

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