Pagan Paths


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Paths Blogs

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

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Minoan Snake Tube: Not a pet carrier!

Snake tube. What an odd name for a Bronze Age artifact from Minoan sites. That's what Sir Arthur Evans called these cylindrical ceramic objects that were decorated with wavy serpentine shapes running up and down them. You can see a few on the bottom row of the image at the top of this post.

Evans called them "snake tubes" because he thought the Minoans kept pet snakes in their temples and homes, and these tubes were their little houses. I mean, they're decorated with snakes, so why not?

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Due to a certain popular show, people are confused about what Frigga's Handmaidens are. Frigga is the queen of Asgard, so her Handmaidens are a queen's ladies in waiting. A queen's handmaidens are other noblewomen who serve the queen as their brothers might serve as army officers.

The hand part of the word means close at hand. Hand maid and hand thegn (thane) used to be words for a female and male personal attendant, respectively. The idea is that this is someone usually to be found in the same room during work hours, which would be while the monarch is holding court, unless sent on some errand. It is in this sense that older Christian writings sometimes use the title Handmaiden of the Lord for the Virgin Mary.

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A Micropantheon Does Not Contain Small Gods (with apologies to Terry Pratchett)

What is a micropantheon, you ask? (Of course you do, because you're the inquisitive type!)

Sorry, but it has nothing to do with small gods, of the Terry Pratchett variety or otherwise.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Imagining Ancestors

Much as the Christian Overculture has made it its business to erase, co-opt or appropriate pre-existing religions in the West--as well as to eradicate and supplant other cultures and traditions throughout the world--archeology presents us with treasures now and again that remind me of a different world that existed prior to the imposition of the angry sky gods of the Levant.

One prominent such example was discovered buried 13 feet deep in a peat bog in Russia in 1890. It is now known as the Shigir Idol. Made of larch wood, it is 17 feet tall, towering more than three times the height of the people who built it.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I had a conversation in my head with Odin today. That's not unusual for me since I opened my mind while writing Some Say Fire, but this conversation illustrates an important point in heathenry and this blog is all about what it feels like to do heathenry, so here goes.

First, a little background. I don't usually talk about my health problems on my blog because they are usually not relevant to my religious experiences and activities, but this time they are. I have had various health problems generally classified as autoimmune disorders throughout my life. Last year I had the best allergy year of my life because of wearing a mask everywhere, and after talking it over with my allergy doctor, who is an immunologist and an expert on vaccines, this spring we decided I had managed to fight my immune system down far enough so it might be safe for me to get a vaccine this year. We developed a plan for me in which as soon as I was eligible for the covid vaccine in early summer, I first had an antibody test to see if I already had antibodies to covid, and since I did not I got one jab. I became very sick. My tests indicated I had gotten a laundry list of problems, including another infectious disease, worsening of my existing problems, a neuro issue, and a brand new additional autoimmune disorder. For these reasons I am unable to have a second jab. I might never be allowed to travel, it may never be safe for me to work except from home, and I am aware every time I go somewhere where there are other human beings that I am taking more of a risk than most other people do.

I still go places, but I'm cautious. I wear my mask whenever I'm in public indoors. I don't go to restaurants where people have to take their masks off inside to eat. But I still get out sometimes.

The high point of my week was being interviewed for Ed "The Pagan" Hubbard's podcast. I'll post a link when I have one to share. That took place at an event at a local witch shop, Realms Within. My housemate and I went together and we had a great time. I met a new friend who introduced herself as being in the photo with my late fiancee Tom that Selena Fox had shared about her previous Veterans' Day activities. It was a great evening.

At the end of the week my housemate had cold symptoms. In any other decade, we would both have just brushed it off and gone about life as usual, but now my first reaction when she told me was, "Oh no! I hope it's not covid!" There were some practicalities I had to think of before I had time to just deal with my emotions. It was way harder and took way longer than it should to schedule her for a covid test. Most test sites require a car, which means I will have to drive her (there are some sites she could reach with Paratransit but she chose not to use the bus), and signing up was so hard I ended up having to do it for her on the net. With those tasks out of the way, my mind quieted enough to just think my own thoughts and hear my own inner voice.

And what my inner voice had to say was "Oh no! We're going to die!"

That was when Odin spoke. "You are not going to die this year."

Well it's the middle of November so that was not quite as reassuring as he meant it to be. He heard that too.

"Whenever you need breath, I am here."

And I found myself so reassured my fears melted away. Because I have experienced precisely that, due to asthma and allergies, especially if exposed to smoke or other bad things. I've experienced Odin or one of his brothers coming to me with breath to fill my lungs. I know I can rely on them to be there when I need them.

That's the important point about heathenry that I wanted to tell everyone about. Well, two points, actually. Firstly, that my faith in my god-husbands comes from personal experience. Secondly, that even though Asatru actually has a healer deity, Eir, it's the gods I'm personally closest to who come to me to help me with both my chronic health issues and my nervousness about further health problems. Odin, Honir, Lodhur who is Loki, all have come to me with breath at some point. If I had a serious health emergency I would not hesitate to contact Eir about it, but it's the gods who are close at hand all the time who come to me without being called.

Thus reassured, and not too spun up in myself to think of the community, my next thoughts were that I should stay home from the memorial service I had planned to attend this weekend. I'm disappointed about that, but they say that someone exposed to covid can spread it even if they have no symptoms, so the most responsible thing to do is to not go. I also delayed the stitch-n-bitch party I had planned to hold that was for the purpose of seeing some friends I often only see at the renfaire that I missed seeing this year because I had not been physically able to make it through the whole weekend of faire. I'm disappointed about that too but I will see them another day. I have no fears now, just rational choices, because of my relationship with my gods.

I've spent a lot of effort in my life learning to be calm. To be logical. To think first, act second, and feel third. Now, it's so much easier, because my gods are with me.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thank you Jamie!
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Lale, I'm glad the test was negative. May the Goddesses and Gods be with you whilst you deal with your health challenges. Pl
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Great news! The test was negative. All fine here.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Remember the silly Blank Rune? At least one person on the net does, since someone was recently ranting about Ralph Blum's rune book in my forum. His new way of beating that dead horse was to insist the problem was "cultural appropriation" rather than that the whole idea of a Blank Rune is poppycock.

For those who don't remember those days: Once upon a time, there was hardly anyone on the net and it was not a place to buy books. The only readily publicly available information on modern day Heathenry / Norse / Germanic paganism was in rune magic books in general bookstores. Rune sets were not easily available for purchase. Along came Ralph Blum with a book on rune magic packaged with a rune set. Of course the market gobbled it up. The trouble was, Blum's rune system was mostly bunkum, and the rune sets included the 24 Elder Futhark runes plus an extra Blank Rune.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Yep! Well the 70s and 80s are in fashion right now. Even some electric car makers are jumping on that bandwagon, lol.
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    Haha, I remember the days of the blank rune, what a blast from the past.
Modern Minoan Paganism: No Footnotes, No Problem

There's a lot of argument in the Pagan community about what constitutes a "valid" tradition. Some people are only comfortable with reconstructionist traditions that can provide an ancient text reference for every portion of their spiritual practice. Others only want to participate in traditions that can claim to have unbroken practices going back generations, even centuries.

Modern Minoan Paganism is neither.

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