Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Existentialism Part 1: Perceived Reality

How do I know the gods are real? How do I know other people outside myself are real? How do I know I am real?

After experiencing the mysterium tremendum during my initiation and dedication to Freya in 1989, I could feel the presence of the gods. Until 1997, there was no question in my mind that the gods were as real as anyone else because I could feel them. I could feel the presence of their minds the same way I could feel the presence of the minds of other human beings. I chose to believe the evidence of my own senses. That which I perceive as having a mind that can press against mine is real: trees and the spirits of trees, animals and animal totems, humans and human ghosts, the sun and the goddess of the sun.

In today's science, it is possible to induce sensation, vision, and hearing by stimulating the brain-- and I know this because I read about it, which ultimately means I chose to believe what a news reporter wrote about a scientific study because, in the final equation, I believe that what my eye saw was in fact words written by another person and not something my brain invented because of false stimuli. I chose to believe that other people exist and that what I perceive is true.

Whether to believe in what I perceive is an existential question. I think that if I chose not to believe that the things I sense with all my senses are real, I could not function as a human being. I would just sit around disbelieving everything, until I starved to death from not eating the food I didn't believe in. I chose to believe that what I sense is real: that food is real, and I can eat it to sustain my body, which is also real. That when I see an object across the room, that object is real. That when I feel sunshine on my skin, that the sun is real, and my skin is real, and heat is real.  I chose to believe that when I sense someone's mind, what I am sensing is real, whether they are a human, animal, spirit, or god.

Where does one draw a line between "real" and "imaginary?" If one draws that line because of social pressure to disbelieve in gods, one must first believe that other people are real for their opinions to matter. If one senses the gods with one's senses, and disbelieves in them because other people do not sense them, that is putting a faith in other people ahead of one's perceived reality.

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The Simplest - And Sweetest - of Mealtime Rituals

There are two things I really love about the New Vesta tradition.  The first is the way it bridges the distance between the ancient world and the modern world.  The second is the way it helps strengthen family solidarity.  And one of the simplest ways it does these things is through mealtime offerings or libations.

Even in antiquity, Vesta – goddess of the home and hearth, and symbolized by a flame – was a bloodless religion.  Instead of making a living animal sacrifice, ancient Roman families sprinkled mealtime offerings of loose salted flour or wafers (called mola salsa) into her sacred flame that burned in their household hearth.  Libations of wine or olive oil could also be made into her flame.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Godspouse? Say What?

(February Week 1 prompt for The Pagan Experience - Humanity)

What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions?

Hi, I'm Beth, and I'm a godspouse! I live in the (urban) wilds of Oregon with another godpouse, in what can best be described as a DIY nunnery situation; we both work outside the home, and I work on my business AT home in addition to that. (As I am disabled, I'm trying very hard to morph my business into being my primary, or even only, job.) But other than that, we lead a semi-secluded, more-or-less monastic lifestyle with our respective gods and a houseful of animals (both living and dead).

Now, you can sneer at the “godspouse phenomenon” all you want—and plenty of people do—but it's not a fad, or at the very least not a new one; it's been going on for at least the twelve years I've been married to Odin. And although I am an old-timer at this particular gig, I think there were a handful of people doing it even before me. So, what is a “godpouse”? Basically, it is one the most common terms used to describe a person who self-identifies as the mortal consort of a god. (There are also spirit spouses—people married to spirits who may lack “official deity” status.)

One of the first things the skeptical ask when they learn that I'm a godspouse is “Why would the gods even want human spouses? They already have divine ones, don't they?” Yes, They do, and we are not a replacement for Them. But the notion that a god would not want a human woman for a wife when He already has a goddess-wife makes the assumption that the gods see humanity in the same way we do—as inherently lesser than They are—and I don't think that's true. Yes, without question They are bigger, and They have more power—and, of course, there's that fringe benefit of not being mortal. (Although, some of the gods do manage to die even despite this; witness Balder, as one example.) But my experiences and interactions with Odin, as well as His teachings, have led me to see all of u/Us—humans, gods, spirits, ancestors, and other races of beings such as Alfar, Duergar, Jotnar, etc.--simply as spirits in different stages of our own personal journeys towards self-actualization (or, towards our own personal “Great Work,” if you prefer). Clearly, some of us are further along in that journey than others; Odin, for example, is much further along than I am, but He recognizes in me a kindred spirit who, rather than being inherently inferior to Him, simply has different challenges to deal with in this current phase of my existence. It has become something of a cliché to say “I am not a body that has a spirit, but a spirit that has a body”--however, that's more or less it, in a nutshell. In my own philosophy (which—with a nod to my friend Nornoriel Lokason—is decidedly a Left Handed one), some of us began our soul's journeys with incarnations as beings other-than-human (as giants or elves, for example, or even as what we would now call “gods”), and some of us will end them as other-than-human.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • m
    m says #
    “Why would the gods even want human spouses? Well....... the Fallen Angels wanted them too.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Secret Identity of the Labrys

When I tell people I follow a Minoan spiritual path, one comment that regularly comes up involves “those massive double-axe weapons.” Sometimes Wiccans will compare the labrys to the athame or the coven sword – a strong, sharp weapon that’s meant to signify the practitioner’s will, strength, passion and so on. But that’s not an accurate comparison. Yes, there have been cultures that used double-bladed axes as weapons, and very effective ones at that. And we know the Minoans made all sorts of bronze weapons for export; they may have been the world’s first major arms dealers, even though they probably had no military of their own.

But if you look carefully at the actual labyrses found in the ruins on Crete, the first thing you notice is that they’re incredibly flimsy. They are made of sheet metal, either gold or gold-plated, that’s not much thicker than tinfoil. Honestly, you could crumple most of them with your bare hands. That doesn’t strike me as a way to make a weapon.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_main_joy_0.jpgThis post is for Week 1 of February's The Pagan Experience: "What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions?"

I was told by my Vanic spirit companions and other Vanic contacts that initially, elves and giants used to be the same species, and there was a split, mainly disagreeing over how to deal with humanity – those who became "Jotnar" saw the humans as prey, those who became "Vanir" (the "ur-elves", from which the Ljossalfar and Dokkalfar are both descended) saw the humans as kin and felt compelled to help them. Following the split, energy modifications were made in both species, which is why (as one example) elves tend to be allergic to iron/steel (with exceptions) and giants regard it as a power source (i.e. the Iron Wood). There are a few Eshnahai (Vanic) tribes which have counterparts in the giants’ Otherworld, such as the Wolf, Raven, Eagle and Serpent tribes, and serve as a reminder of when they were one people, even if the tribes have differing customs (and perspectives) now. A couple of the Vanic tribes, such as the Serpents and Ravens, have cordial relations and an exchange with their Iron Wood counterparts.

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One of the frequent questions I get from budding Heathens is "Where do I start?" . After fielding two such questions in the same day from a divination client and prospective student, I began this series of articles. More resources can be found on my website.


 Shirl Sazynski_Come With Me Love

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Remember Who You Wanted to Be

I saw those words on a bumper sticker this morning and they made me cry. Why? Because in the last year, who I wanted to be got overshadowed by who other people needed me to be. Things that were important to me, like working with my tarot cards, writing my books, articles and blogs, knitting my sweaters, and playing with my clay got shoved to the back burner while I performed duties that others needed of me. My New Year's resolution was to find myself again, and by gods, I'm going to do just that. 

Within the next few weeks I'm returning to a project that I started nearly three years ago. I make pottery masks, and I have always wanted to do a series on the tarot. I think embarking on the whole deck may be a bit ambitious--at least at the start--but I do think I can execute the creation of the majors, all embodied in a 'green man' type of wall-hanging. It feels good to have a vision, and a goal, again. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Charlie Rainbow Wolf
    Charlie Rainbow Wolf says #
    Thank you! So far I've got several of the majors 'in my head,' and I've thought of doing tiles and perhaps even little figurine /
  • Sarah Avery
    Sarah Avery says #
    What an exciting project! I wish you all the best. Long ago, I knew a man who would ask anyone he thought might need the question,

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