Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

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In my last post, I introduced the archetype of the Anima and Animus, the contra-gendered aspects of our unconscious selves.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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The Vanic New Year is the spring equinox in March, which in the language of the Vanir they call Eshnaia Agreta (esh-NIGH-ya ah-GREYtah), or Green Awakening.

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Ritual Elements Water - Immersing Myself in Water

Over the past few weeks I've been examining my practice with the Elements. It is one of the core pieces of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition.I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last two post I talked about my explorations with Air and my connections with Fire. Now it's time to dive into some deep Water.

Immersing myself in Water -

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I love that too Annika - There's a scene in the movie "The Graduate" where the main character sits at the bottom of his parents sw
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Oh, what a great exploration and complicated relationship to water. I didn't grow up near water, my refuge and place of exploratio
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Crystal, thank you for commenting and sharing something of your story. I am a Fire sign actually, but I think your point st
  • Crystal R. Martin
    Crystal R. Martin says #
    Is earth by chance your element? I ask, because I too was scared by water as a child. I almost drowned, and it terrified me. I've
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    As a child growing up in French Gulch, a tiny mountain community in the Trinity Mountains of California, the first voice of The Di
Putting Vesta & Faith in Historical Context

I’m a classicist at heart.  Since first meeting a Vestal priestess in 1989, I’ve been captivated by the ancient Roman world.  Before law school, I studied Latin, Roman history, mythology, art and culture at university.  If it had “Roman” or Greco-Roman” in the course description, I signed up.

As a follower of Vesta – goddess of the home and hearth – I find great significance in putting the Vesta tradition in historical context.  Not only does this deepen my understanding of this faith, it alerts me to the ways that it must adapt to 21st century humanist values so that it can survive and continue to bring comfort, meaning and happiness to the lives of its faithful.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Appealing to your ancestors

In a recent reading I did for a client regarding a problematic spirit relationship, one of the potential solutions that came up for dealing with her situation was to appeal to her ancestors and the gods of her bloodline for assistance. Since she had questions about this, I’m thinking other people out there might, too.

Yes, I know the topic of ancestor work can be a controversial one in the pagan community, because so many of us have deceased family members we wouldn’t call on if it was the last option open to us. For example, if your late Uncle Mort was a child molester, chances are you don’t really want to be inviting him into your home. Also, as many of us are first generation pagans in monotheistic families, we might feel alienated by some of our immediate ancestors, feeling that they can’t possibly share very much with us and unsure why they would want to help with our relationships with pagan deities, demons, spirits, or what have you.

But we all have bloodlines that go back more than just the few generations we might know about. Whether you know it or not, whether you can trace it objectively or not, you have a bloodline that reaches back into the pagan past, into the depths of antiquity. Depending on what country your ancestors came from, what ethnicity you are, you have ancestors who worshiped Odin, or Cerridwen, or Isis, or Ogun. Some of our ancestors, granted, return to the “primordial soup” that provides a source for new souls at the birth of children. Of those who qualify as Mighty Dead—those who managed to distinguish themselves in life in some way—some may be reborn as themselves (with their individual spirit intact), in a new body; some may choose to dwell in the spirit realms and join groups of spirits such as the Wild Hunt. But every bloodline has one or two who qualify to be ranked among the Mighty Dead and who choose to remain attached to their own blood lineage, to watch over their descendants. These are the people to turn to when you get yourself into a sticky situation with a god, demon, or other entity who you seem to be stuck in an abusive relationship with (assuming you have tried to work things out directly with that entity and it has failed, or it isn’t possible or advisable to deal directly with them for whatever reason).

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • kayly
    kayly says #
    Thank you for this post. It offers good insight into what a person might expect when they begin to work with ancestors and how to

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Topless Minoan Women: Not What You Think

The modern Pagan world is awash in womb symbolism and I can’t say I mind. After all, the feminine side of the Divine has been almost entirely ignored by the major religions of the past few centuries. OK, millennia. But the ancients didn’t always focus on the womb as the central symbol of the feminine, either divine or mundane. Take, for instance, the Minoans and their reverence for the breast.

You’re probably familiar with the frescos and figurines from ancient Crete that depict well-endowed women in open-front tops that display their breasts for all to see. We may feel that the exposed breasts found throughout ancient Minoan art are provocative but the Minoans probably didn’t feel that way. Just as the Victorians found women’s legs to be terribly sexy simply because they were normally covered and hidden, we respond the same way to women’s breasts. But in Minoan society women frequently went topless, just as men did, so that would have been an ordinary sight, and of course ancient women nursed their babies so that would have been common and not provocative or controversial either. It would not have been sexy so much as normal. But when the priestesses of ancient Crete bared their breasts in a ritual setting, that had deeper meaning as well.

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My Personal Religious Calendar (The Pagan Experience)

(This post was written as part of The Pagan Experience, a community blogging project. You can find more information on the project and how to join in yourself here.)

I’ve been meaning to write this post for two or three weeks now, but unfortunately, the letter “C” came up in the posting prompts around the same time as my doctor changed my pain maintenance meds, which put me in withdrawal for two weeks. In that state, I ranged between low-grade fevers with chills, periods of complete exhaustion, and extreme mood swings, and while making stuff was okay, writing an actual content post was probably ill-advised, if even possible.

I wonder what my doctor would say if she knew that it was a Norse god who had mandated the change. My memory and critical thinking skills had been getting progressively worse over the past several years while taking Gabapentin, during the past year especially. I had become incredibly accident prone; I concussed myself pretty badly once, and overdosed the dog on his heart pills twice, but it wasn’t until I forgot that Pyrex gets hot in the microwave and ended up with first degree burns over a good portion of my right hand that Odin finally said “Enough, I want you OFF of that already, before you do irreparable damage to yourself.” My new doctor had already been saying that she didn’t know how I was even walking around with the dosage my old doctor had put me on. Going down from three pills a day to one came with pain and withdrawal as a trade-off, which a low-dose Prozac in the morning has helped to counter, and two weeks later I’m finally starting to feel better—more like myself, actually, than I have in years. (There is still some fibro fog, but the Gabapentin was making it much, much worse than it needed to be.)

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