PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Wicca-schmicca. The iconic witch of the 20th century is Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West. If you've ever wondered why she's green, any Midwesterner can tell you. Tornado skies really are that color.
My friend Stephanie and I are big Wizard of Oz folks. Is that really a filmic epiphany of the Triple Goddess there in Munchkinland, or are you just glad to see me?
Stephanie's doorbell hasn't worked for years. Why have it repaired when you can hang a Bell Out of Order: Please Knock sign on your front door instead? For all I know, the doorbell actually does work.
What’s the difference between a pentagram and a pentacle? Aren’t pentagrams satanic? Why do some Wiccans wear pentagrams? Do I have to wear a pentagram to be a Wiccan?
A pentagram is a five-pointed star, usually depicted as interwoven, or with the lines used to draw it overlapping. A pentacle is a pentagram with a circle around it. Pentagrams and pentacles have long been symbols of protection and warding off evil, and they are used for that purpose by many Wiccans today.
A Little History
Pentagrams have been used for thousands of years and appear in ancient Greek, Roman, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian art. They have been used by Christians, too—perhaps most famously by Hildegard of Bingen, who, along with other twelfth-century Christian scholars, associated the number five with the five senses and the human body (one head, two arms, and two legs; it reminds me a bit of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man), and saw it as the symbol of the microcosm, or the divine reflected on earth. The symbolism of the pentacle plays an important role in the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and of course it is also associated with the Christmas star and sits atop the Christmas tree in many Christian homes....
The sunflowers bloomed this week. Overnight dozens of bright petals opened up to line the road along my drive to work. They are small now, but by the time Autumn arrives some of them will tower 6 feet high or more, and their button-sized faces will be the size of dinner plates. There are more of them every day, dark eyes lashed in bright yellow, nodding on their sticky tough stems. They always bloom in July, opening up when the Sun is still fierce but lower in the sky, and the monsoon rains have come. The apples on my trees are swelling and the tall grass along the back fence has turned from green to bright gold. The Wheel is turning.
Summer goes on, luxuriously. It's still hot, the days are still long. But there is a subtle shift, as we approach August, and the harvest of first fruits, known as Lughnasa or Lammas. We see it in the plants and trees, heavy with fruit and leaves, in the creeks choked with cattails and reeds. We see it in the gardens of our neighbors, and it's on display in every farmer's market. The Earth is abundant and full, and all of its abundance spills out, in the life going riotously around us, in the light and pleasures of the season....
This is the second of my series of posts on how I connect to the elements from a Southern Hemisphere perspective living on the western coast of Australia. Previously, I called in Air, in the East.
I now turn to the North, and call in passion, creation, desire, heat: I call to you, o Fire! Standing in the circle, we have already established a sense of presence in the breath of life, the whisper is on the winds, the intention is set, the inspiration has arrived. Fire is called next as it now has the Air to breathe, to ignite a sense of drive into what we do in this space, a flurry of sparks: let's turn that whisper into a roar....
Summerland Spirit Festival: Turtle Creek, Wisconsin, July 2014.
The Wild Hunt: post-industrial primitive. We've gathered in front of the hall: the hunters with our face paint and spears, along with the rest of the tribe. When the horns blow, we'll all process down to the Stones, where the Elders will call the Deer. We'll hunt, kill, and mourn him properly before we eat him and rejoice: the mysteries of life and death, the old, true ways.
A little girl whose name I don't know--she's maybe seven--comes up to me and asks very specific questions about the patterns of our face paint. Actually, she's already got it all figured out. The blue line across the nose and cheekbones means "hunter." The crossing line down the brow and ridge of the nose means "tribe." Right?
In our last installment-discussion of Joseph Campbell’s seventeen-part hero’s journey, a.k.a. the monomyth, we explored the hero’s “call to destiny.” In the “call,” the hero becomes aware of something he or she must do—a destiny that must be fulfilled.
Today, we’ll move to step two: “refusal of the call.”...