PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Within our tradition we celebrate the sabbats as they occur astrologically. This year astrological Lammas will happen on Friday, August 8th when the sun enters 15* Leo. Traditionally Lammas is celebrated as the first of the three neo-pagan harvest festivals with roots driven deep in Irish and Celtic folklore. At 15* Leo we find a fixed star by the name of Dubhe (pronounced DUB-ee) (Bear in Arabic) which is associated with psychic power and destruction. Dubhe is also referred to as “The Eye” or “Pivot of the Universe” and makes up the center of Ursa Major’s spine.For our Lammas ritual we combine both the terrestrial fascination of the first harvest with the celestial alignment of this great star.
Lughnasadh is all about the corn, and I am not referring to the effectively creepy Stephen King short story. You simply cannot celebrate without featuring this sweet juicy veggie in some way, shape, or form. Instead of reserving it as an afterthought or side dish, place it front and center and celebrate it! There are many local and small-town corn festivals that you can attend. That way everything is ready-made and ready-to-go. One of the oldest in Wisconsin makes its home in Sun Prairie. According to their Chamber of Commerce website, its humble origins date all the way back to 1953. I do have fond memories of munching the delectable cobs as a youngster there. You could douse them to your heart's content from salt shakers hanging from the tops of tents. The Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival has now extended to four days and serves some 100,000 corn enthusiasts. There is a craft fair, parade, tractor pull, music, contests, and all the corn your can eat. Make a road trip of it with your favorite corny companions, and spend the day in farm country. Even if you don't plan to attend them all, it's fun to peruse the different websites. You can view pictures of people dressed as scarecrows and enjoying the harvest activities offered in each locale.
The Corn/Grain Moon will be making an appearance on Sunday the 10th, and this is indeed an ancient food honored by Aztec and American Indians. To get you in the mood, I have a healthy recipe to sample, since it is a Lammas classic combo of bread and corn:...
This is next divinity from the Atheist’s graveyard (#20) is one that I really was not looking forward to researching, more less writing. Add in my long and repeated bouts of insomnia just to make things more…interesting. Lucifer. The word means ‘bearer of light’, a Latin translation of the Hebrew and Greek words for ‘morning star’, otherwise known as the planet Venus. He is the Devil of the Christians, a god of Venus to the Greeks and Romans and a deity of enlightenment to the Luciferians to only name a few.
Last month, I wrote about the psychological dynamics behind the sacred spaces we create together and the ways we might utilize the power of sacred space to create a better world. This month, I'll be writing about what happens when the people to whom we have given power abuse it, and in doing so weaken both the internal and external cultures of the imagination we've worked so hard to build. Specifically, I'll be writing about the work of Marion Zimmer Bradley (MZB), its influence upon a generation of Pagan women and the destructive effects of the recent pedophilia allegations against her.
The younger Pagans among you might not recognize the name, but if you're a Pagan woman of a certain age, you'll remember that MZB is the author of a much-beloved novel called The Mists of Avalon. This novel tells the Arthurian story from the point of view of its women and follows the life of Morgaine, otherwise known as Morgan le Fay. It was released in 1983, just a few years before I left an abusive family of Jehovah's Witnesses to live with my grandmother, who was also a Christian conservative. An avid reader, I found the novel in 1986, and it changed my life in ways that echo even now. It was the world I wanted to live in; a place where women existed in community with one another, where they wielded the ancient power of the divine feminine, where the sacred was protected from the mundane. Because of that book, I was drawn to Western European Paganism, and then to Celtic Pagan spirituality, and then to a degree in Celtic Studies, and then to Cape Breton. In a very real sense, The Mists of Avalon shaped my own culture of the imagination and helped make me the woman I am now.
Author, tarot creator, and pagan leader Courtney Weber joined me on the latest episode of The Modern Witch Podcast. Our conversation was such a blast that I had to send her a few more questions. For the full interview head on over to The Modern Witch PodCast.
DH: The New York pagan scene has been exploding over the past few years. As a pagan Leader within that community what would you say are some of the major reasons for this renaissance?
There are so many legends about wishes in our culture. Which one of us has not make a secret wish on our birthday candles? Who hasn’t wished on the first evening star?
So often, these are the first spells we cast as children....