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
National Unicorn Day

unicorn shield edIn Scotland it is National Unicorn Day, the day they celebrate the national beast. With the lockdown and everyone staying indoors, they have become plentiful again, so I hear. Thus from medieval Scots history I offer you a tale told by a unicorn (on good authority!) from The Talis of Fyve Bestes (beasts that is, not besties). The executive summary:

“The Unicornis Tale” recounts how, in his youth, a boy named Gundulfus threw a stone and broke a cockerel’s thigh bone. He leaves home to study and returns on the night before he is due to travel to Kent to receive a benefice. His family and friends convince him to stay rather than travel that night, promising that the cock’s crows will wake him in the morning. The cock refuses to crow as an act of revenge and Gundulfus loses his position.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Force Majeure

Many gatherings, conferences, festivals, and so on have been canceled or rescheduled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I expect many more to do so in the coming months. It is the best and most responsible choice in this crisis. I am involved in a wide range of events as an attendee, a presenter, or an organizer. As such I have a fairly comprehensive sense of how these events work and the amount labor, resources, and money that go into these community gatherings. Having recently been involved in the process of canceling or rescheduling events, I have answered a prodigious number of questions that have reminded me of the need to share more of the nuts and bolts and nitty-gritty. Not all of what I share will apply to every event or cover every situation but will be generally true for many.

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Prayer to Brighid for Healing

I wrote this in 2016 but it seems like something that needs to be shared now, so I wanted to offer it here. 

Brighid is the modern name of the pagan goddess Brig and also the name of a Christian saint, bot of which are associated with healing. Brighid is a complex figure whose stories are woven through Irish mythology and folklore but who can often be hard to pin down. She appears as a member of the Tuatha De Danann in the Lebor Gabala Erenn and the Cath Maige Tuired, and is referenced as a goddess in the Sanas Cormaic. There are several pseduohistorical figures in the Ulster cycle which are thought to possibly be Brighid by scholars like Kim McCone. And Saint Brighid is found across an array of material and in the modern catholic faith. These figure and stories intertwine among each other and blur together in both history and myth. So this prayer calls on Brighid in all her many forms. 

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Disease, Protection, and Animism: Folklore from the Past

Everyone is talking about COVID19. How could we not? My five-year-old's school has closed for two weeks, like all other schools in the state, and we're having to postpone his 6th birthday party. Like many other families, we've been spending most of our time at home, although we do plan on battling the cabin fever with some family hikes in the mountains here and there. My husband remarked today that we've never seen a situation quite like this in our lives.

 

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Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: Bathroom Spirits & Traditions

I have a few shrines around my house: an ancestor shrine on the hearth mantel; a "winter shrine" in the corner of the kitchen for my home's land spirit; and a shrine in the window of my bathroom. This last one might seem like a strange location for a sacred place, but peoples around the world have understood that the places where we clean and care for our bodies are hallowed places, housing certain powers.

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Actions, Consequences, and Fairies

  I tend to write quite a bit about the more dangerous Otherworldly beings and dangers more generally of interacting with the Otherworld. Some people find that off putting and I understand why but I feel its' important to offer a counterbalance to the more widespread view out there, which is decidedly in favour of a kinder, gentler, more helpful view. In a perfect world we would see balance and an understanding that the Other, like anything here in the human world, is about the potential to help or harm based on a huge array of factors; unfortunately that isn't the world we live in. For too many people it is easy to justify ignoring the potential risks in favour of focusing only on the potential advantages. So today I want to talk about some of the factors that are involved in how these interactions go.

Firstly to be clear, yes the Good Folk can be helpful and can take a liking to humans without any clear reason. There are many examples in folklore and modern accounts of encounters with the fey folk that end well or are inexplicably beneficial. I want to start with that up front so there's no confusion that I'm only saying they are dangerous. 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Seers' Charge

 

It is murky out there. It has been this way for a long time. There are roiling atmospheres of complicated astrological conditions that will persist for years. There are currents and crosscurrents of cultures, ideologies, and religions moving and colliding into whirlpools and riptides. And all that is churning while the icecaps are melting.  There are pundits, prophets, and profiteers with axes to grind. It seems a safe bet to put your money on cynicism, apocalyptic narratives, and apathy as respite.

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