Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

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Offerings

Offerings

When I collect anything from the wild I do like to leave an offering of some sort.  If I am in the woods or fields I don’t often have anything to hand so I give the plant or tree a blessing and a thank you. 

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The Chair of Cerridwen

KADEIR KERRITWEN 

The Chair of Cerridwen

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Minoan Ecstatic Postures: Shading the Eyes

Last week I began exploring Minoan ecstatic postures, starting with the most famous and familiar one: the Minoan salute. Many modern Pagan traditions use specific poses and gestures in ritual in much the same way that some varieties of Christianity use the gesture of making the cross. These are meant to symbolize parts of the spiritual belief system and to remind us of those during the rite. Ecstatic postures look very much like ritual gestures - in fact, they can be used as ritual gestures - but ultimately they have a different purpose.

A ritual gesture is a pose or motion you make briefly during a religious ceremony. If you hold it for a few seconds or maybe a minute, it might give you a particular feeling or sense of something sacred. An ecstatic posture is a pose you hold for an extended period of time while undergoing ecstatic (shamanic) trance. If that sounds really deep and freaky, it's not. Most people can enter a light trance state simply by focusing on their breathing for a minute or two. A little drumming in the background helps to deepen the state. You don't have to take drugs or go through extended initiations in order to use these postures to expand your spiritual experience. If you've ever done a guided meditation, you've been in trance.

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Taking the Veil

In the time of secrets, before dawn, the mists veil the mountains. In the time of silence, at midnight, wisps of clouds half-hide the moon. At the shore, the edge of mystery, the thinning surf shrouds the sand with lace. 

 

These veils—there and not there, insubstantial—grace and soften hard lines. They are compassion, they are ease, they are consolation.

 

I want a veil of mist and mystery, of lacey lightness, to waft over me and softly settle on me, shelter me, cover me. I want to draw it over me, blessing myself, crowning myself. I want to put myself under the wing of protection, and from this hiding place to look out from safety and look in with focus. In fact, I want to go within and within, to penetrate my darkness and find a deeper, richer one inside it. And then I want to look out, grounded in that powerful core.

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Reconnecting with Sigyn, Part 2: My Wings

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • katherine manaan
    katherine manaan says #
    this was wonderful. thank you.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    You're welcome! Glad you liked it!
Both Roots and Blossoms: Tips for Cultivating Celtic Wisdom

The image of the tree is ubiquitous in both Celtic mythology and Celtic folklore contexts. Otherworld trees surround the Well of Wisdom, dropping their nuts into the water, where the salmon of wisdom crack open the kernel of knowledge inside. Many types of trees are mentioned in the source materials - oak, yew, hazel, apple, holly, hawthorn, ash, just to name a few. Often times there are descriptions of remarkable fruit, leaves, nuts or flowers, sometimes all bursting forth at once (something which does not typically occur in nature).

Less mention is made of the roots of these magical or sacred trees, and it is to the roots that I wish to draw attention in this entry. Without roots, the plants could not 'take root,' or draw from the earth what they need in order to burst forth from their seed-shell and begin growing. The roots permit the plant to exist 'between the worlds,' rooted in the dark, moist soil of the earth, and also growing towards the sun and the rain - a balanced existence between the Lower World and Upper World.

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  • Síthearan NicLeòid
    Síthearan NicLeòid says #
    You are most welcome! I'm so glad it was of service
  • Michelle Simkins
    Michelle Simkins says #
    Thank you so much for this article! I appreciate the tips for ways to dig deeper!
Minoan Ecstatic Postures: Beginning the Adventure

One aspect of ancient religious practice that’s not terribly familiar to modern Pagans is ecstatic postures. No, I'm not talking about what you do at the local nightclub when your favorite music is playing! But ecstatic postures are kinda-sorta related to that kind of experience. These are poses or positions of the body and arms that are designed to produce specific experiences during shamanic trance work. At least a dozen different Minoan ecstatic postures appear in the form of little bronze and terracotta figurines from ancient Crete. Many of these were votive offerings at peak sanctuaries and cave shrines, but some have been found in the temple complexes as well. 

A while back I reviewed Belinda Goodman’s excellent book Ecstatic Body Postures which includes a couple of poses that are found in ancient Crete. Reading that book was the inspiration for the shamanic work I’ve done since then that centers around the Minoan postures. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you my experiences using these poses. I encourage you to try them out on your own and let me know what you experience.

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