PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Specific paths such as Heathenism, blended traditions, polytheist reconstructionism, etc.
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....
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....
To walk on the road of God is to be filled with light,
Great are the advantages gained by those who
Discipline themselves to follow it.
It’s a monument raised by them on this Earth,
Those who follow the Paths of God,
Those who cling to the Ways of God,
Spend all their lives in joy,
Gathering riches without equal.
The West is the dwelling place for he who has not transgressed the Rule.
Happy is who reaches there!
Nobody can reach there unless
Their hearts have conformed exactly to the Rule.
Down there there is no distinction between rich and poor,
Unless it is in the favour of he who is found to be righteous
When weighted in the scales of justice before the master of Eternity.
-- The inscriptions from the tomb of PetOsiris, high priest of Thoth (4th/3rd century B.C); quoted from: Cristian Jacq, “The living wisdom of ancient Egypt”
Living as a kemetic is walking your path of life together with Netjeru.
Come to the Netjeru with open heart, embrace Them with joy, let Them help you to get better when you are in sadness. Bring Them flowers, water, bread, say Their names, dance for Them, dedicate to Them your actions, listen to music you associate with Them and assemble your devotional playlists. Look at the images of the Netjeru - online or in art albums you may have, marveling at Their beauty. Sit before the shrine and just think about Them. Share with Them your thoughts, your worries and doubts. Don’t be afraid of asking questions.
Look at the wonders of nature and see the manifestations of Netjeru in the sky, in the sun and moon, in every flower and every bird.
Your goal in the kemetic religion is to maintain Maat and keep relationship with the Netjeru.
Religion should bring happiness and fulfillment, and while trials and tests happen, the Netjeru are not here to make your life miserable. In turn, they are loving and caring, and They are willing to help you on your path of spiritual growth.
Devotion begins in the heart;
And “going in Ma’at” is the primary “way”. It’s the way of life; it’s not “practicing religion”, but Living the religion.
The first step in walking in Ma’at, walking with the Netjeru, however simple it may sound, is: “Place God in your heart”.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller 1946
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a while now you’ve probably noticed that the world doesn’t seem so friendly these days. Honestly, it kinda seems like the nice, comfortable world I’ve always known has caught fire. Between shootings, bombings, hate, fear, greed fueled politicians, and absurd (to me) infighting in my local communities I’m pretty much overwhelmed with just how insane things have gotten. At this point I’m virtually paralyzed by just how far down the path to hell our collective handbasket has gotten.
Right now I’m angry about a lot of things, but the thing that bothers me the most is the complacency and indifference of many of those around me. If I’m really honest I’m also utterly ashamed of my own complacency. While magick is no substitute for actually standing up and taking action, it can help by making it a little easier and perhaps a little safer to do so. Pop culture magick is for a lot more than just fun and games. I decided to take my cue from The Boondock Saints, one of my favorite movies, and create the following spell for ending indifference.
Boondock Saints Spell Against Indifference
This spell can be done anywhere, at any time. In a pinch just recite the incantation without any of the other trappings.
If the purpose of the spell is to motivate yourself, change all of the “you”s in the incantation to “me”s. If you want to target a particular person, change the “you”s to that person’s name (take care because there’s some ethical ambiguity as this could be considered coercive - be sure you’re willing to accept the consequences of your actions).
If you can, first take a minute or two to reflect on the state of the world and allow yourself to get angry. If you don’t have a minute to spare, then chances are you’re already good and mad. Allow your anger and outrage to fuel this spell. If you need some help getting angry I suggest spending about 30 seconds on any mainstream news site, listening to some Rage Against the Machine, and/or watching the following clip from The Boondock Saints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to5eOs8VRuY.
If you can have some properly anti-establishment music or The Boondock Saints running in the background do so.
If you can, burn a red candle and dragon’s blood incense.
Recite the following incantation:
Open your eyes to the state of your world. See the hate, the fear, the injustice. See the open violations of self perpetrated on those around you. See the insidious, doubtful, aggressions that are written off again and again. See and know the truth.
It is time to stand up. No more shall this rampant fear and hate be allowed to rule our lives. Have courage. Take heart. Allow the fire of outrage to fuel right action.
Let the burning heart of truth incinerate those that would impede right action. Let the power of justice protect those that stand up for those that cannot. The strong arm of righteousness will strengthen and protect you.
We must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.
By my will that indifference is cracked, broken, and ground to dust. What has been seen can never be unseen. What has been seen must be acted upon. Destroy that which is evil so that which is good may flourish. As I do will, so must it be.
After my 2 wedding visions, I was no longer sure where I would go when I die. For 25 years I had expected to go to Freya in Folkvangr. I had previously had a brief glimpse of Odin appearing to me at death, as I related in my post Seeing My Own Death in the Runes, but I had not really thought that I would go to him because I thought his humans went to Valhalla, and Valhalla was only for the battle dead. I don't expect to die in battle, and I would not really want to join the army after death anyway, and that's what going to Valhalla means. It's not Heaven or Paradise, it's a training base for the Last War. It did not sound appealing to me.
I didn't want to fight on the other side either. I had always expected to sit out the Last War, as Freya's dead humans are not prophesied to participate in it. I always pictured Folkvangr as a place where both battle dead and some other types of people went. And cats. I pictured cats....