Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.

b2ap3_thumbnail_openness-1.jpgFor each of the Vanic virtues, I plan on writing something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru.  So with the fifth virtue, Openness, here is a list of suggestions (not demands, I am not interested in telling people what to do) of activities to better express this virtue:

-At least once a month, but preferably once a week or every other week, try something new.  Like trying a new food, or new type of cuisine.  Going someplace that you've been curious about, but haven't gotten around to yet.  Taking a different route home.  Read a new book.  Doesn't have to be something major - even just new little experiences can help foster openness.

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The guiding principle of nature is More and Different is Better, and left to its own devices without significant outside intervention, it will tend to wild leaps of evolutionary diversity – witness the examples in our own world of isolated islands featuring hundreds of animal and plant species found nowhere else on the planet. With this understanding, we too should seek to honor and respect our diversity, and also that the key to communication and interconnectedness is to remain open to possibility and wonder.

(Nicanthiel Hrafnhild in my book Visions of Vanaheim)

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Skiing Mt. Herman, Bethlehem and Old City Jerusalem, Israel

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Altars - A ritual in the making

I recently wrote a piece about Pagan tattoos. Hundreds of people posted pictures of their artwork and many more folks told the stories of how those designs came about and why they were so compelled to etch them indelibly into their skin.

And this got me thinking - Tattoos are altars, of a kind. They are permanent representations of a moment or a belief or a particular rite of passage. These permanent, personal altars are like touchstones to those important times. In most cases, they are carefully thought out. They are planned. The placement, the design, the colours, the images and the symbols are all considered. Then there's the actual "building of the altar" itself.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    A number of years ago I taught a class on altars. Many of the participants said they had no idea where to begin with an altar, or
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Linette - Yes. So much this. I love the simple, everyday altars that we all instinctively create.
  • Asa West
    Asa West says #
    This post is lovely. Thank you! When I first read it, I thought, "well, I only have one altar in my house--my working altar." But
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Asa, I think that's it exactly. I realized that I have even more altars than I thought. There are several in the front and
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Elizabeth, it makes a great deal of sense! What a treasure that altar is and such a brilliant way to highlight that altars are

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_isis_horus_20141129-225317_1.jpgWhen I was about nine, my grandfather took a welding torch and created for my church a tall stand on which to set the Advent wreath in the sanctuary.  We had magnificent holly bushes in our yard, so my mother and I each year cut piles of dark, prickly leaves and red berries, then built the wreath ourselves.  None of my friends seemed to have ever heard of Advent, so I thought it was just for Lutherans.  The sermon each of the four weeks before Christmas kept our minds trained on the spiritual significance of the season, and a paper Advent calendar at home with little doors to open each day made me think maybe I should pay attention to it all. 

Nowadays I ponder the iconic maternal images of Mary and Isis, seasonally superimposed one on the other.  Each of them experienced difficult transitions to motherhood. Each struggled to hide her son away from those who would snuff out his life.  Each had enough protective magic to earn them the titles Queen of Heaven and Mother of God. 

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Exploring the Vanic Virtues: Serenity, Part Three


Rather than talk about my own personal views on serenity, I am going to quote from the chapter "The Compass Rose" in my book Voices of Vanaheim, where following a fiery meltdown and some intense soul-searching, the current King talks about wyrd and acceptance; his words echo my own feelings on the matter:

I had started to find a sense of acceptance. In the chaos, there was order. In the random upheavals, there was a pattern. Breaking and rebuilding, breaking and rebuilding, until the structure was sound, shaped just the right way; a serpent shedding its skin again and again, until it had just the perfect combination of colors in the light. My life was a tree being pruned until the fruit was just right… just the way wyrd wanted it. As much as it sucked sometimes – as much as sometimes [expletive] just happened, because [expletive] happens, like the abuse my twin endured – it was [expletive] to fertilize that tree. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Yes. I have to agree. D (spirit companion) is fond of telling me that panic is the opposite of productivity, also.
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I think that Serenity is the most difficult virtue to cultivate of the ones you have covered so far. I certainly struggle with it

b2ap3_thumbnail_serenity.jpgFor each of the Vanic virtues, I plan on writing something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru.  So with the fourth virtue, Serenity, here is a list of suggestions (not demands, I am not interested in telling people what to do) of activities to better express this virtue:

-If you're not already in the habit of doing so, a regular meditation practice can be helpful.  This does not have to be the traditional "empty your mind and think of nothing" or "focus on your breathing", but can be something like meditating on a picture (such as a mandala) or one of the elements (like running water or the flame of a candle), or discursive meditation (a practice of thinking about a particular subject, especially something you've read, and jotting down where it takes you mentally, your thoughts surrounding it).

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