Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

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

Youth Q&A: Swordless in New York State

In the correspondence-based work that I do with Pagan youth, much of my communications revolve around answering questions and giving suggestions about how to live a Pagan life with both the restraints and opportunities that being a young person represents. This Youth Q&A column will be updated regularly with my questions and answers, shared with permission from the questioner. Only the names will be removed for privacy and safety.

Question: 
Having a sword or athame is the only thing my mom won’t let me do. Everything else is fine with her. I have to have one for my altar, right?
Age 16, Syracuse NY

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  • Jennifer Bisson
    Jennifer Bisson says #
    I also started out using a letter opener. I have also used a pointed crystal, a wooden folding fan, a pencil, a small spear point
  • Finn McGowan
    Finn McGowan says #
    In the bad old days when living with my parents or unsympathetic partners I would use secret, mundane tools. The Athame was a Swis
  • Diane Hedden
    Diane Hedden says #
    I am a witch who has worked both as a solitary and with a coven for over 25 years. I have met quite a few other witches who do
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    For my handfasting, the priest was more than happy to use the titanium spork I provided.
The never ending process of Internal Work

A lot of the magical work I do and have been doing for the last ten years is focused on internal work. Internal work is a combination of inner alchemical techniques, energy work, meditation, ritual magic, and psychology. The focus of internal work can vary, based on the particular purposes you apply it to. For example, internal work can be used to help you develop a better understanding of your body, or can be used to refine your internal energy, while also releasing emotional and mental blockages (also known as dysfunctional behaviors). Internal work can also be used to deepen your connection to the spirit world, or it can be used to cultivate your creative resources. Ultimately, the purpose of internal work can be boiled down to it being used as a catalyst for change.

I use internal work for all of the above purposes and have been doing internal work for ten years, as I mentioned above. I woke up, one day in March, in 2004, with the realization that if I didn't change my life I'd end up in a bad situation. I'd been living my life reactively and I suppose I had a glimmer of realization about that reactivity, which consequently led me to start doing internal work. I realized I didn't want to live a reactive life, constantly responding to what came into my life. When you live life in that way, you live in a chaotic environment, with little control over yourself, let alone anything else, because you are letting what happens to you dictate your life and the choices you make in life. You are living a life of reaction instead of a life by design.

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Sparky T. Rabbit
Sparky T. Rabbit
Peter B. Soderberg
Bruner Soderberg
Heathenbear
3 February 1954 – 2 June 2014
 
Back in 1982, if memory serves, I attended the first CoG MerryMeet festival held outside of California, at Circle Pines in Michigan.  I was a very young Witch (not such a young woman, but a young Witch).  I had only been to two smallish, mainly local Pagan festivals, one being the first MerryMeet in ’81 and the other one in the hot, dry coastal hills of the East Bay.  I had no idea what to expect, but I was excited.  I was there for a reason, as a delegate from my Local Council to conduct the business of CoG.  That fact gave me some assurance of who I was and what I was doing out in the woods with a bunch of unfamiliar Witches.
 
We held our meetings under a pavilion, where I remember shucking Circle Pines-grown corn for the evening meal.
 
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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Argr is an all-round abuse word in Old Norse. It implies cowardice, effeminacy, and a willingness to be penetrated. (None of which

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What would happen if all the BNP's (big name pagans) got together and did magic?  Would they agree on method, goal, and execution, or would they fight to the death?

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  • Amarfa
    Amarfa says #
    That's a good idea! To take turns. In my question, I was envisioning the traditional "circle" format, where, of course, there a
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I realized that you had postulated an "irresistible force meeting an immovable object" scenario, which would be almost guaranteed
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Good question. I think if they were big ENOUGH, each would let the others do their individual presentations before the crowd, and

Of late, men have been coming together to discuss how in Goddess traditions and broadly in contemporary Paganism, what it means to serve? This need for men to be heard is what prompted me to edit Finding the Masculine in Goddess Spiral: Men in Ritual, Community, and Service to the Goddess through Immanion Press (note, I am still accepting contributions though July 31). Men have stories, and one way we heal the divide is to welcome men's mysteries, and lift up exceptional men. This however isn't a second wave mythopoetic mens movement, but rather community building, reflection, and dedication to service. My friend Devin Hunter for example recently started a Facebook page, Project Pagan Priest. Such platforms couldn't come at a better time, as our community and the world confronts gender binary, equal rights, and how men plant the seeds as change agents. 

Recently a question was asked in the group, what does it mean to be priest? The conversation has been interesting, considering that Project Pagan Priest isn't about one tradition, but rather inclusive of all pagan men. There was a lot of talk about what priesthood specifically that many find ourselves 'torn between ancient models of priesthood and the modern notion of 'clergy' to quote a group member. Others within the group feel that defining priesthood is tradition specific, and this too makes a lot of sense.

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I was in the garden yesterday, devoting these warm weather days to Spring time. I was not born with the greenest thumb, but the more I've tended the sacred garden of my heart in communion with Earth as Divine Creatrix, the more nurturing my hands have become to Her soil, and in life. 

In his book, Spiritual Growth Through Domestic Gardening, Al Fritsch, a Jesuit priest, says, “Gardening enhances our relationship with Earth. Through gardening, we are helping to heal the planet which is part of the work we are called to do.” 

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Our Holy Emptiness

“Holiness is not a personal achievement, It's an emptiness,” says theologian Brennan Manning, “holiness is an emptiness you discover in yourself. Instead of resenting it, you accept it, and it becomes the free space where God can create anew.”

Please read “God” as shorthand. For years, I understood to mean “God” as “love,” as in 1 John 4:8 and 16: “God is love.” Coming out of difficult orthodoxy of my childhood religious experiences, god is love worked for me. I think it works for many. How many look past the bindings of orthodoxy and just say love? Even when love is predicated on dogma, like love the sinner and not the sin, many still slide into the love paradigm.

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  • Michelle Law
    Michelle Law says #
    I can relate to this concept whole heartedly. Just recently went through a separation of a friendship that had been on going for m
  • Erick DuPree
    Erick DuPree says #
    Michelle, Thank you for your kind words and for finding the inner peace that Goddess can provide in helping to make the changes ne

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