Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

No young bride or groom ever imagines that in twenty years one of them may be chronically ill, and the other partner may become a full-time caregiver. They may blithely repeat, “in sickness and in health.” But starry-eyed Youth cannot conceive of the crushing reality hidden within such a serious promise.

This morning my wife asked me for the fourth time, “What day is it?” A few years ago I would have said, “Oh for God's sake, I just told you three times!” But now I simply speak as clearly as I can (because of her hearing loss), pretending that I'm an actor on stage, and the director has asked me to repeat a line from the script. (There's nothing unreasonable about that! In fact, it's an expected part of my professional job.) “Thursday,” I say smilingly. If she thanks me, my next line is a cordial, “You're welcome.”

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The most pernicious thing about racism and white supremacy may be the way that they get into absolutely everything in US culture, even things we might assume – or want to assume – are impervious to such influences. This is true of the fairy faith, that set of beliefs and practices connected to the fey folk which were brought to the US with Europeans and can be found in parallels of native American beliefs. Sadly I have seen this expressed over the years in various ways, usually intended to uphold the idea of white as normative and to push out people of colour who may be interested in fairylore or fairy based spirituality. I’ve always been a vocal opponent of such attitudes and today I’d like to tackle this directly.

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Burning the Bones: Bonfires at Midsummer

It’s Midsummer, a day of feasting, bonfires, and dance. It’s a celebration of solar powers at their greatest, of warmth and bursting fruits and the year’s longest light. Like other holidays, it has gone by different names throughout its long history, and various spirits and gods are honored and receive sacrifices at this time. In Southern Slavic countries like Bulgaria, Midsummer Rusalia is celebrated at this time to honor the rusalki, female spirits of water and fertility. According to the folklore, these spirits are the souls of dead young women of the community who never spent their fertile powers during their young lives and therefore have the power to confer that fertility to the earth and their living community in death. Feasting and dances entice them, invoke their powers, and channel those powers into the fields and the bodies of those who wish to have children (Barber 17).

 

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Loom of the Possible

Loom of the Possible

 

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  • Caroline Kenner
    Caroline Kenner says #
    Thank you, this is very helpful indeed.
So You've Angered the Fairies...Now What?

One question I am often asked is what to do if you’ve angered the fairies. There’s a variety of ways this can happen from trespassing in there places, causing damage to those same places, taking something you shouldn’t from them, destroying a fairy ring, tossing water out when they are passing by, or even speaking badly of them where they happen to hear it. The Fair Folk are not subtle in their anger and if you have annoyed them you will generally know it. On the milder end you may experience sudden terrible luck, on the medium end bruising, muscle cramps, or feeling like you are being pinched, on the more severe end blindness, or serious permanent physical harm (and of course any physical symptoms you should have checked by a medical professional).

So, then, if you think you have done something that you know annoys the fairies or feel like you are on the receiving end of their anger for any reason what do you do? Here is a list of suggestions, although I’ll say up front that you may need to try a couple things until you find one that works to appease them.

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Folk Dance: Creative Power and Connecting to the Land

 

I'm learning how to flatfoot.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Language of Birds

These quarantine times give us medievalists plenty of parallels to draw: times of plague and difficulties of travel -- but the effects are the same on us. Normally I would be with my family in Scotland by this time. There I would be hearing the screams of the gulls, the occasional melodic outburst of a blackbird and the friendly croaks of my beloved magpies.

Now I lie awake in the (earlier every day) dawn light listening to a very different set of birds: sparrows galore, North American robins -- enormous athletic birds so different from the jolly European kind -- finches, wrens, catbirds, four kinds of woodpeckers including the giant pileated woodpecker whose laugh echoes often. The crows come by to eat the corn. The bluejays tend to come in a pack and chatter loudly to one another. In the morning and at dusk you can hear the turkeys gobble.

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