Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

The Latin word paganus has three broad, but distinct, meanings: “peasant,” “civilian,” and “pagan.” How did one word come to bear so many different, and seemingly unrelated, meanings?

French Classicist Pierre Chuvin, in his beautifully-written but depressing study of the end of Classical paganism, A Chronicle of the Last Pagans, has a theory.

It all begins, of course, with the land.

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The Gods My People Swear By

I think it was Judy Harrow that told me this story. If not, apologies to my actual informant, whoever you are. As my father is fond of saying, “Age spares us nothing.”

Dateline: Chicago, 1993: the World Parliament of Religions. (This was the event at which the archbishop of Chicago used his political muscle to get the pagans a permit to do a ritual in a public park. Now that's what I call ecumenism.) It's the main event: religious leaders from all over the world are lined up on stage. The place is packed so full that they have to set up TV screens outside to accommodate everyone that wants to see. The pagans are all outside, watching. (There are, of course, none on stage.)

Some grandee gets up to talk. “Let us all be as one,” he says. “After all, we all worship the same god.” Nods, smiles, and knowing applause from the entire line-up on stage, including (shame on them) the Hindus. The audience eats it up.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • T-Roy
    T-Roy says #
    I don't name my Gods, they exist as identities, Hearth, Summer, Mother and so on but those aren't names, just labels. Not until
  • Lady Pythia
    Lady Pythia says #
    Delighted to share that the Parliament of World Religions returns to the States in 2015! We're not sure where yet. Andras will let
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Yeah, this is one story about one incident. Having seen my own thinking change on a number of topics over the course of the years,
  • Alison Leigh Lilly
    Alison Leigh Lilly says #
    "Nods, smiles, and knowing applause from the entire line-up on stage, including (shame on them) the Hindus." Do you find it at al
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It was certainly not my intent to declare shame on Hinduism or Hindus generally, Allison. During revision, I thought: Maybe I shou

I.

And I am a writer, writer of fictions / I am the heart that you call home / And I've written pages upon pages / Trying to rid you from my bones / My bones/ My bones / And if you don't love me let me go / And if you don't love me let me go

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What Z Budapest's ordination of a man means for the rest of us.

I have to admit, in my world the mere mention of Szuszanna Budapest is often followed by a heavy sigh and an eye-roll. I haven't taken her seriously since the whole pantheacon debacle a few years back. Like many contemporary pagans I feel that she has been less of an ally the past few years and more like the crazy aunt at the party we all try to avoid. She is famous for her stance against anything Y chromosome related and has on several occasions been verbally abusive to members in the trans-community. I had grown almost comfortable with my distaste of all things Z Budapest, after all each time she opened her mouth she only reaffirms my opinion. Then she goes and ordains a man.

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • LilyValley
    LilyValley says #
    I debated long and hard whether to post this, I'm not sure if it is right to share my view on all of this but, a sentence just sto
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Budapest's early writing acknowledges the place of Kouretes in the Dianic tradition, and it's unfortunate she never followed this
  • Jason Leslie Rogers
    Jason Leslie Rogers says #
    Devin, I turned my back on organized religion quite a few years ago, and news like this, however much of a step toward progress i

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Golden God

I hear that if you go into a supermarket in Latvia and take a box of cereal off the shelf, you'll find that it's marked with the sign of the Grain God: Jumis.

I say God of Grain, but Jumis (you-miss) is much more than that. His name means “double” or “twin” (it's the same as Sanskrit jama, “twin,” or Latin Gemini, for that matter), and doubled things are his: twins, double fruits and nuts, eggs with two yolks. Abundance, fertility, marriage, all the good things: these are his gifts. His sign, shown above, represents two crossed grain stalks, heavy heads hanging: it is, one might say, shorthand for “sheaf.” (The motif has been used continuously in Latvian art since the Bronze Age.) He is the Baltic John Barleycorn, the Latvian Frey, the merry big-dicked god of bread and beer and other good things.

The harvest is, of course, his special feast, and lots of hymns to him survive. Many of them, like harvest songs everywhere, tend towards the bawdy. A stanza from one of my favorites:

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My Children for My Children

If ever I've heard Earth speak, it was in that moment.

Early August: a windy hilltop in western Wisconsin. We've called to her, our beloved Earth of many summers. She stands here in our midst, her hands on the swelling curve of her belly, and her look to us is love.

She cries out. She is in labor now. She crouches in the birth-squat and we dance for her. We labor with her in her birthing, until that final long-drawn cry of triumph. Our circling stills. In the windblown silence, she draws forth from beneath her skirts the newly-born, the god-loaf. We cheer them, him and her.

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Sometimes Healing Energy Is Not Enough: Michael Brown, Civil Unrest and Our Ugly Present

Please note that this is a sensitive topic and needs to be discussed with care. Please reference my guidelines for sensitive topic discussion.

 

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