Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Tying a Sacred Knot

Many symbols and images have held sacred meaning within religious traditions around the world and throughout time: the circle, the cross, the pillar, the pentagram. These symbols don’t necessarily mean the same thing in every tradition, and sometimes we can’t even be sure what the original significance was for each culture. One such symbol is the knot. You may be familiar with the tale of the Gordian knot from Greek and Roman mythology (the one Alexander the Great famously sliced with his sword) or the tyet of Isis from Egyptian mythology, often found in the form of amulets but also related to the knot on some Egyptian deities’ garments. But there’s another one you might not have heard of: the Minoan sacral knot. Let’s explore this symbol and see what we can discover about it.

The famed ‘snake goddess’ figurine from Knossos (in the photo at the top of this post) has an object that Sir Arthur Evans identified as a sacral knot between her breasts, at the top of the girdle that encircles her waist. A second ‘snake goddess’ figurine, also found at Knossos, has a similar, though larger, knot between the front edges of her top. I find it interesting that the snakes themselves form a large knot over her lower abdomen. I have to wonder if that has any significance. What do you think? 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ruby
    Ruby says #
    When I first saw the image of the sacral knots my immediate thought is that it could be a birthing rope. Something like a rebozo u
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    What a great insight! Yes, I'm familiar with the rebozo as used by the women of Central America during labor and childbirth. The m

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
New Book: No Horns On These Helmets

No Horns On These Helmets is a short story anthology with a theme of Vikings, heathen cultures, and Norse and Germanic mythology. I edited this collection of 20 stories by 20 authors, and also have one story in it myself. The genres included are fantasy, science fiction, historical, urban fantasy, and retold folktales.

I was asked to edit this anthology for two reasons: I write and edit in the science fiction and fantasy genres, and as the author of Asatru For Beginners, I know my heathen material. Right from the selection of the title, No Horns On These Helmets, the publisher (Sky Warrior Books) and I decided we wanted this anthology to have stories that got the historical details and the details of heathen mythology and culture right. There actually is one story in the anthology that has a character who wears a horned helmet, but that story is one of the humor pieces. I selected the stories first and foremost for authenticity. Some of the authors are heathen or pagan, and some are not, but they all know their history and mythology.

Link to the book:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U3BF9GQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00U3BF9GQ&linkCode=as2&tag=skywarrishomepag&linkId=MU4FX5L2COQ32LIJ

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Stubborn as a Mule - But Is That a Bad Thing?

So as many of you know, I’m hard at work on another Vesta book.  I’m having a great time writing it and hopefully you’ll have a great time reading it.

For this book series, I’ve gone beyond the usual ancient sources (as invaluable as they are) for my research and have relied heavily on old images and vintage articles from archaeology papers.  My latest find is this stereoview card (see blog image) of the Temple of Hercules in the Forum Boarium located near the Tiber.  This was the area where cattle were bought and sold, and various other merchants set up shop.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I first came across the term covenstead in Uncle Bucky's Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft. In the Big Blue Book Buckland describes the covenstead as "the name given to the home of the coven (the place where it always, or most often, meets).  Within the Covenstead,* of course, is found the Temple."  I've been a part of several covens over the years, but most of those situations seemed to lack a true covenstead.  Rituals were undertaken in several different locations: a few houses, maybe a park, etc.  Those places were all nice, and my house numbered among them, but they didn't feel like a covenstead.  

b2ap3_thumbnail_11037701_10101764360978318_5328706903770078598_n.jpg

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Beltane - Yesterday and Today

I'm looking forward to Beltane this year. It's one of the more fun public rituals that I participate in with my local Pagan Community and it's usually outside, which really sits well with my ritual sensibilities. I’ve celebrated Beltane for as long as I can remember, although I didn’t always know it by that name growing up. I have extremely fond childhood memories of May Day celebrations in south east London and Kent. Most of the celebrations were at my school (St. Mary Magdalene C of E) and on the church grounds themselves right on the banks of the River Thames.

Beltane celebrations happening on Church grounds weren’t particularly unique experiences. I went to lots of different May Day events at churches.  There was often a church fete with scones and knitted things and lots of elderly ladies that all sounded just like every Monty Python Character you can conjure up. What was special about these gatherings is that it felt like we were all engaging with something that was "always just done".  I even have pictures of my grandmother as a young girl in the 1930s dressed as the May Queen.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    You know Annika, I think some of the very best rituals involve nothing more than gathering with beloveds around a fire, or for a p
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    I've always celebrated Beltane growing up in a Germany - well, mostly because it's my birthday - but we didn't have maypoles. Ever

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

What does Egyptian religious practice look like in the 21st century?  Maybe more to the point, why do we turn for inspiration to a culture which disappeared nearly 1800 years ago?b2ap3_thumbnail_Pached1.jpg 

The second question makes me think of my friend Marion who just loves to travel.  He’s been in more countries, more times, than I can count.  He and I have mused together about how deeply one is changed by stepping outside of everyday life and being immersed in something completely new and different.  For some of us, religious travel is just the tonic needed for a weary soul. 

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ThinkingLikeaMountain-2
"Thinking Like a Mountain" by Robert Bateman

In this time of accelerating environmental change, many of us feel a sense of urgency to help transform humanity’s relationship with the Earth.  This sense of urgency is what drew together a large group of diverse Pagans, including Pagan leaders, authors, artists, and bloggers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia to draft “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.”  In honor of Earth Day, the statement has been published at ecopagan.com where you can add your signatureThe statement represents the beginning of a conversation, not the final word. Join us in our call to all people to rise to this historic moment in order to protect all life on Earth by signing the statementYou can sign on your own behalf or on behalf of a group or organization.


A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment

Who we are

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  • irene boyce
    irene boyce says #
    Hi John, mother earth needs drastic measures to save her, I have drastic. Please check out the following, we're here to save. In

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