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
The Golden Apples of the Sun

Robert Graves' novel Hercules, My Shipmate, his iconoclastic retelling of the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece, opens with an encounter with the Orange Nymph, priestess of the sacred Orange Grove, on Majorca, the Balearic island off the Mediterranean coast of Spain, which Graves portrays as a last bastion of matriarchal civilization and Goddess worship in a rapidly patriarchalizing world.

Rather archly he explains:

The orange is a round, scented fruit, unknown elsewhere in the civilized world, which grows green at first, then golden, with a hot rind and cold, sweet, sharp flesh. It is found on a smooth tree with glossy leaves and prickly branches, and ripens in mid-winter, unlike any other fruit. It is not eaten indiscriminately in Majorca, but once a year only, at the winter solstice, after ritual chewing of buckthorn and other herbs; thus eaten, it confers long life. At other times, the slightest taste of an orange will result in immediate death, so sacred a fruit is it; unless the Orange Nymph herself dispenses it (Graves 4).

This tongue-in-cheek passage is doubly a send-up. In it, the mythological Island of the Hesperides with its legendary Golden Apples of Life become a real-world place—in fact, the island on which Graves made his home for most of his adult life—and a real-world fruit. Likewise, Graves is satirizing a longstanding British custom: generations of English kids grew up with that exotic and expensive Southron fruit, the orange, tucked into the toe of their Christmas stocking.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Demeter and the Birth of the Holy Child

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Baby in the Basket

In the gospel of Luke, an angel appears to some shepherds to tell them where to find the Child of Promise.

"Here's your sign," says he. (Sorry, monotheist angels are all male; Jewish ones are even circumcised.) "Look for a baby lying in a feedbox."

Now there's something you don't see every day, Chauncey.

So (angels aside) where would one look for a pagan Child of Promise?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    I've said for years that Graves was a prophet for modern paganism.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    I love your posts!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
EURASIAN WREN: Sacred Mysteries

The “Wren” of Europe, Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is the only Wren that lives in the Old World. Known as Bran’s Sparrow to the Celts, Wren foretold the future with his songs. The Celts called their sacred Wren “Drui”, (meaning “The Druid among Birds”). Under the protection of Taranis, the Celtic God of Thunder, Wren often nested in his oaks. Killing a Wren brought the wrath of the Gods upon unwary people.

To various peoples from Japan to Germany, Eurasian Wren is the King of the Winds. Plutarch tells the story of how the Wren became the King of the Birds. The Birds decided whoever could fly the highest to the sun would rule over Them. The Eurasian Wren secreted Himself under Golden Eagle’s down feathers. When Golden Eagle tired, Eurasian Wren flew out and ascended higher, getting singed by the sun’s rays. Returning, the other Birds proclaimed Eurasian Wren their King. Cunning and cleverness had outwitted strength.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
HOLIDAY PARTY ON ICE

An odd mix of emotions can flood us during the stretch between the Winter Solstice and the coming New Year. Missing those who we have lost, fretting about what we haven't yet accomplished, or just feeling blue about finances in general can all be commonplace. Sometimes the best remedy for this is breaking out of your normal routine and challenging your safety zone. I've always been a better roller skater than an ice skater, but my weak ankles won't keep me from doing my best at a cold winter rink.

Whether outdoors or in, just the clean fresh sound of those blades cutting their way through the ice is enough to wake up your senses and reenergize you. Many rinks offer their ice for free, and only charge for skate rental. For ideas of where to visit, check out my list of Midwest area resources below. If you have your own pair of blades collecting dust in the basement, all the better reason to clean them off and get going. Bundle you and your adventurous buddies up and glide around for at least an hour. Ice skating offers a lot of healthy benefits, according to Bonnie Schiedel at besthealthmag.ca. It's a low-impact sport, and good for strengthening your balance. Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid a stiff fall on your tailbone. If you do feel yourself starting to topple, it is safer to do so on your side, protecting the back of your head and your aforementioned butt. Don't worry about spinning out or looking silly. You're all in this together, and you never worried about that as a kid, right? Did you know that ice skating can burn a minimum of 387 calories, if you stay out for that whole hour? All the better reason to grab a Rum Hot Toddy or Irish Coffee after. If you haven't gotten your fill of cool treats for the night, indulge in one of those naughty spiked ice cream drinks, like a Grasshopper. Green crème de menthe equals a little cup of holiday heaven.

Resources:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/the-fitness-benefits-of-ice-skating

http://county.milwaukee.gov/RedArrow11930.htm?docid=11930

http://thepettit.com/public-skate/

http://madisonice.maxgalaxy.net/Schedule.aspx?ID=5&GUID=c01e0143-2d57-4b00-86f1-4c041eca0663

http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/millennium_park10.html

http://www.thedepotminneapolis.com/ice-rink.php

http://www.claytonmo.gov/page392.aspx

http://www.bryantscocktaillounge.com/Home.html

"White Countryside" photo by dan at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Paganism: Money is Bad, Right?

*Note: this was first published on Pagan Activist, and is also included in my book The Leader Within. These conversations about Pagans and money and do we pay our teachers come up over and over, so I thought this was worth reposting here as it's an important issue for Pagan leaders. 

Paganism: Money is Bad, Right?

The question, "Should Pagans charge for services/rituals/events/classes" comes up with some frequency within our community. One of my activist goals is looking at underlying difficulties and assumptions in our culture and how that impacts us.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Kristina Galbraith
    Kristina Galbraith says #
    When someone comes for services and then doesn't think they should have to part with something to balance out the time and energy
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    That is a great idea! At least in terms of what hard costs are.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    How I deal with the money issue is that I don't charge for gythia services, but I have things that I sell: books, or scarves or wh
  • Rick
    Rick says #
    Can't answer for the author, but I run my services under an LLC. I have thought of switching to a 501c, but there are some drawba
  • Gregory Lane
    Gregory Lane says #
    I have a question. Does the author, or anyone who charges money for "spiritual" workshops and classes, have a category of busines

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Holly Seeketh Ivy

At this time of year in the English-speaking world, one hears a lot about Holly and Ivy. As usual, the songs preserve the old lore.

In medieval England—and possibly earlier—Holly and Ivy were shorthand for "Male" and "Female." It used to be that when there was a birth in a household, you'd announce the newborn by hanging at the door a branch of holly for a boy or a wreath of ivy for a girl.

So what all those songs about the Holly wearing the crown are really about is male dominance.

But don't go grinding that double ax just yet. As usual, that's just the beginning of the tale.

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