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

When I was eleven years old, I became deeply engrossed in magic tricks and ventriloquism. Both of those studies quickly became compulsions for me, to the extent that I would practice them in the privacy of my room while my parents confidently trusted me to do my homework. Paul Winchell was a popular ventriloquist on TV at that time, and I had a Jerry Mahoney ventriloquist dummy. I read books and learned the tongue-techniques of forming words without moving my lips. At the same time I devoured books on stage magic, discovering how to grab the spotlight by fooling an audience with digital manipulation, misdirection and mechanical illusions. 

At that point I could very well have been on track to become a colleague of Penn and Teller or Terry Fator—but such was not my destiny, for by the age of sixteen I had lost my enthusiasm for both of those trades just as abruptly as I had embraced them. The surprising reason was a sudden deep disappointment with their artificiality; I found that I no longer wanted to pretend to be the voices of animals and other non-human beings, I wanted to have real conversations with animals and sprites, in which somebody else would talk back to me! Neither was I satisfied to deceive people with illusions of magic tricks, I wanted to access the real magical powers of Moses, Solomon, Merlin and Jesus! 

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Beautiful! I think many of the people who contribute most to bettering society feel like failures to some degree, at least sometim
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thanks and smiles.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Viking Grief

One of the most moving poems by the Viking poet/magician/farmer Egil Skallagrimsson was one he wrote lamenting the death of his favourite son Böðvarr who drowned at sea, and his son Gunnar who died of fever. In skaldic form the twenty-five verses give voice to his sorrow with passion and beauty. Normally Vikings assuaged loss with revenge but there is no one to attack for these deaths.

Egil composes the poem after vowing to kill himself by starvation, unwilling to live in a world without his son. His daughter Þorgerður tells him she will die with him, but tricks him into drinking some milk and spoiling his hunger strike. She then suggests that the best way to memorialise her brother is to compose a suitable poem in his honour so that he will live forever.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs

My jaw DROPPED when I saw the words to "Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda."  In no uncertain terms, these songs directly invoke Hindu deities from a Hindu scripture and implore them for help.

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When Magic becomes mainstream (sort of): Tulpamancy

The other day a friend pointed me to this link, where I ended up learning about Tulpamancy. Tulpamancy is essentially the creation of an imaginary friend who shares your body with you. The practice reminds me a bit of otherkin, only in this case instead of the person claiming they are some type of non-human entity, they instead claim that they are creating a spirit being and hosting that spirit being. Most of these Tulpamancers think of the tulpa as a psychological construct, though some ascribe metaphysical aspects to their tulpa. None of them, so far, as I know, seem to practice magic and this is only significant because they've taken a technique which is magical and applied it to their own lives without focusing on the magical aspects of the practice. 

The concept is actually a familiar one in occultism. The word Tulpa originates from Tibet and refers to the practice of creating a thought-form. Whether you know the concept through the label of thought-form, servitor, magical entity, or for that matter Tulpa, what the concept boils down to is the creation of an entity that becomes a spirit ally or performs a specific function for you. The main differences are that the magician typically doesn't house such an entity within themselves, isn't necessarily setting out to befriend such an entity, and may set up a deadline for certain task to be performed, or for the entity to be dissolved.

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  • Lee Pike
    Lee Pike says #
    Great article - it's interesting to note how ideas develop on Tumblr seemingly in (mostly) isolation and become paradigms unto the
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    I could see how tumblr could be part of it though from the one article reddit also seemed to play a role.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_bwwebP1010419.jpgI am sitting in a classroom with a small group around a large wooden table. We are all in Field Ed, a program of internships that is required during our second year of seminary. It's my turn to begin our class with a prayer. I invite the class to ground and center with me. I begin to pray. While I mostly stick with "God" or "Creator," at some point, I say, "Oh Lord, touch our hearts and help us be present in our work." I finish the prayer and the class begins.

At the break, a good friend of mine stops me. "Lord?" she asks, smiling.

"Yeah, well you all seem to resonate so strongly with the word Lord," I said, "and I've recently realized that if I just add "Ganesh" in my mind every time it's said, I almost always cool with whatever comes next. So, I figured I would just translate for y'all."

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Welcome to the PaganSquare family. So excited you are here!!!
Anthropomorphic Assumptions that show up in magical work

One of the challenges with exploring a non-anthropomorphic approach to magical work involves uncovering the anthropomorphic assumptions that show up in your thinking and practice. These assumptions can be quite subtle and yet can create a cognitive dissonance with the work you are seeking to do. At the same time, another challenge we face is the inevitable fact that at some point we need to translate and interpret experiences into something we can relate to. Anthropomorphism is one such route, though it is not the only route. I think that if we are to genuinely apply a non-anthropomorphic perspective and practice to our spiritual work we necessarily need to identify the anthropomorphic assumptions which may come up. Below are some such assumptions, as well as how you can identify them.

Applying humancentric categories or labels to experiences. One of the assumptions that comes up involves seeking to categorize or label a non-anthropomorphic experience. We use labels and categories to organize our thoughts and define the world around us, but the problem with such an assumption is that in our haste to define and categorize we can miss out on being open to experience. Admittedly, it can be argued that we use labels and categories to provide some type of explanation for what we've experienced, but perhaps in seeking to explain it using categories and labels what we lose is something essential about the experience that can't be explained in that way. A better approach would be to take your time with the experience and seek it out multiple times. As you have it, allow yourself to express it without attaching labels or categories. Whether its stream of consciousness writing or painting or music or some other form of expression open yourself to expressing it differently.

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When Is Consensus Process Not Consensual?

Well, the answer, in my experience, is all too often.

The most common problem I’ve encountered is what I will indelicately term the ‘bully factor.’  It’s always deliberate, if perhaps unconscious.  It’s simply a fact of life that some voices carry more weight than others.  And it has nothing to do with volume.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    My experience with pagan "consensus" process amounts to driving out everyone who has a different opinion, and then those in charg

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