Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Taking Myth Literally: How it trips us up

All my life, I've heard people complain about the Christians who take the stories in the Bible literally rather than as allegory or symbolic storytelling. A few days ago, I realized that Pagans sometimes do the same thing, and I think they probably have for centuries, right back into ancient times. Case in point: the Labyrinth.

The Greeks, who are ancient to us but who lived centuries later than Minoan civilization, figured that the Labyrinth must have been an actual physical structure of some sort. And they assumed that the Minoan inventor/smith god Daedalus, whom they viewed as a mortal man, had built it. The Greek historian Herodotus, who lived a solid millennium after the fall of Minoan civilization, wrote about a huge temple building in Egypt with hundreds of rooms and winding passageways, and he called it a labyrinth (yes, it's a real thing - archaeologists have found it). Then, when Sir Arthur Evans unearthed the ruins of the Minoan temple complex at Knossos a century ago, he was sure he had found the original Labyrinth, the famed home/cage of the Minotaur, built by Daedalus.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely - we just worked that myth at Reclaiming's California Witchcamp -

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

One of the many things I appreciate about contemporary “Northern Traditions”, or Heathenry, is the reclamation of lost words. These days, it is the word frith which is catching my attention. Theodish elder Winifred Hodge has this to say about frith:

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

 

On the grounds of Trout Lake Abbey, is a Labyrinth.  It is shared by White Mountain Druid Sanctuary and the Mt Adams Zen Temple.  Yes, there is a Buddhist Temple on site too.  It’s amazing how easily Buddhists and Druids get along, but that’s for another post.  The Labyrinth is a great example of this cooperation.  There is a small shrine to light incense at the beginning (and end) of the walk.

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Finding the Eclipse in the Tarot

Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware that there's a solar eclipse set to cross over the US on August 21st, right in the last degrees of Leo. Yes, this is a major astrological event (and a pretty cool astronomical one, too), but it also has some connections with the tarot too. The strength of those connections lies in the artist's interpretation of the decks, and some have more than others. When I teach the tarot, I always default to the RWS deck, and it's got some interesting imagery when it comes to eclipses, especially the Moon card. 

Now, I'm sure that some will say that the face on the Moon card in the RWS deck is just that; the face of the Moon. I want to take that further though. Some of the interpretations of the Moon card include 

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Overflowing Abundance: A Ritual with Amalthea's Horn of Plenty

I'm in the middle of revising the first book I ever published, Ancient Spellcraft, for a second edition. In the sixteen years since it came out (good grief, has it really been that long?) I've learned a thing or two and have deepened my relationships with many of the deities the book addresses, including Amalthea, the Minoan goat-goddess. She has been with me for years, since I was a teenager, if I'm really honest, but she's one of the lesser-known Minoan goddesses. I wrote a bit about her in a blog post a while back and today I thought I'd share a working from Ancient Spellcraft that involves her.

Her horn is the cornucopia, out of which so many good things come. Here in the U.S., cornucopias spring up around Thanksgiving, but I have one on my altar all the time. Amalthea is a goddess of abundance and like the Roman goddess Fortuna, who inherited her cornucopia, she's very generous.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I am increasingly disturbed by fellow Pagans/polytheists/occultists etc. who either so highly value gods and spirits, sanctity of sacred objects & places, or focus so much on environmental preservation and animal rights or other political ideologies that they devalue human worth and dignity. Now to be clear, I have often seen this as a critique of Pagan movement from conservative Christians and atheists alike. I am not sure if I can convince people who don't already to start truly valuing human welfare and rights and acting as if they do. It seems an ability that you to some degree either have or you don't. In my experience, a consistent commitment to human rights seems to correlate with having an experience of dehumanization oneself. This is not having your feelings hurt a little bit, being a "special snowflake" (though if that's an insult, I'll wear it with pride!)  

It's nope, you don't really count as a human being, your experience doesn't count. Even when the Powers that Be of whatever social situation, business or organization you are in repeatedly insist that they "welcome everyone" they don't really mean you. Actions always speak louder than words. Many of us who do have these experiences however still have the people will miss, the bigotries and biases we still hold. Ironically because we are human! This is a mistake I often see new Pagans make. After a happy honeymoon period of discovering Paganism and idealizing it in comparison to whatever their background is, they find out we have problems too. I too have run into this. I frequently have assumed that Pagans, or liberals/progressives/leftists, or whatever in-group I belong to will have a more enlightened and inclusive attitude towards disabled folks or other marginalized groups. And I have all too often dehumanized The Other Side in various arguments and the aftermath of elections. But this just keeps adding to the problem. Perpetuating this cycle of dehumanization just leads to more hate and violence.  Remembering the basic value of dignity & worth of human beings and human life, however interpreted, is often forgotten by both left and right, red and blue. If there's a different philosophical framework you prefer over the concept of "rights", then feel free to argue for it.  

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  • Tacy West
    Tacy West says #
    An all autistic household sounds so supportive. I had two autistic children in a time when diagnosis was not done, 50 some years
  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    Yes, we are seeing that more now among the Millennial generation- choosing your family & banding together by necessity.
  • Tacy West
    Tacy West says #
    Yes, yes. I just listened to book on CD "Conversation" by a social scientist regarding the change in Empathy due to separation

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Omens and signs from nature

Omens & Signs

Keep an eye out for any signs and signals from nature.  One of the most common and well known is finding a feather in your pathway but there are many more.  What about a poorly house plant?  If you have been looking after it properly is it a sign of a sickly relationship in the family?  Take a look in the garden, are there plants growing together or entwined that don’t usually mix?  It could be a sign of love or a relationship.  Don’t forget the plants that self-seed in the garden, where are they growing and what type of plants are they? 

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