Pagan Studies


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Studies Blogs

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

I'm currently replaying the God of War series. Each time I play this series, what fascinates me about it is how Greek mythology is portrayed in the game series, and how that very process of representation consequently creates new interest in the original mythology. And this isn't just limited to God of War. I've noticed this same phenomenon with the Percy Jackson series, Marvel's version of Thor, and other modern variants of older mythology, which simultaneously create new mythology and also revitalize older mythology by getting people interested in the source material.

While there may be some knee jerk reactions to this concept from purists, I think that its worthwhile to examine and understand how pop culture can revitalize interest in older mythologies, and how this may even be intentional on the part of the deities associated with those older mythologies. The reason it may be intentional is that said deities recognize that one way to get attention, belief, and eventually worship involves utilizing the medium of modern culture in order to get in front of the various people who might be receptive to those deities. And in this age of multi-media, the opportunity to get in front of such an audience is unparalleled for there are more people living now than have ever lived in previous eras of history.

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Mariah
    Mariah says #
    A lot of us have our pop culture gateways to paganism! For some it remains part of their path, others move beyond it. For myself,
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Good point about the UPG of authors.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    New versions of mythology for the modern world are perfectly fine, as long as they don't insult the beings being portrayed. My gen
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    I'd agree that not everything produced is accurate to the original mythology and that in some cases it can be quite a different st
  • leonard wilson
    leonard wilson says #
    Great observation , i to enjoy the God of war series , later find myself brushing up on mythology , i just never made the connecti

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Holiday Rhythms

I awoke this morning to the smell of crisp fall air coming in my window.  It rained a little last night and I can smell that, too.  Today we gather for the first of several Samhain rituals this year as my circle is spending this season visiting other communities to learn more about how others experience the holidays.  It feels a little early for Samhain, but honestly, this holiday always comes rushing forth.  I never feel quite prepared.  This is my favorite time of year and there are always more fun things I'd like to do before the year ends.

One of my favorite parts of being a pagan is the way our holidays provide rhythm and movement to my life.  No matter what I'm doing with my work or my relationships, those six weeks always pass by the same and suddenly, another holiday is upon us.  Despite more than two decades living like this, I have to admit that they sneak up on me more often than I'd like.  Even as I build my livelihood out of my spiritual life, it is still so easy to get caught up in the mundane things going on that I don't notice the signs of season's change all around me. 

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hmmm...For more than a decade I've lived my life around a different calendar. for me it's Samhain-tide or soon to be Lammas and I
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Yes indeed, it is such a lovely rhythm! So good to have you at our Samhain last night up in the North Bay!
Hit Piece in Sheep’s Clothing

One Saturday when I was chatting with the Native American chaplain who sponsors our Wiccan circle at San Quentin, he handed me a book.  He’d received it from the Jewish chaplain who’d been our previous sponsor.  Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality, by Catherine Edwards Sanders.  I said I was unfamiliar with the author and had not heard anything about it, although I generally keep half an eye open for newer Pagan publications.

He casually mentioned that according to this book, and according to the chaplain who gave it to him, ostensibly for the small library we keep in the Wiccan storage locker along with our ritual supplies, Wicca was for women and had little relevance here in an all-male prison.  Not that he thought that, but that the book made that case.  He gave it to me to take home.  Book sl-t that I am, I took it, thinking that with all the reading material stacked around my house awaiting my attention, it would be very low priority.

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Brenda Caudill
    Brenda Caudill says #
    That book is so wrong that I felt sorry for the author.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Thanks for the warning. We used to say that the difference between Wicca and New Age was about one decimal place (in the price of

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Soulburn

 

Almost everyone I know has at some time had a sunburn. Nowadays I am ridiculously careful with sunscreen every day having had a skin cancer scare a number of years ago. Before then, I often didn't realize that I had had too much Sun until a day later when my skin was inflamed and sensitive. I can recall times when just a fingertip running across my arm felt like someone dragging a rusty nail across my skin. There have been times when the sunburn was bad enough that even a cool soothing balm felt like an assault upon my skin. There was also, in those extreme cases, a sense of malaise as well. Nature often repeats certain patterns, and human nature perhaps even more often. I have often observed that what we experience in our physical bodies is also similar to what we experience in our souls, our psyches, and our spirits. I think that we can get a soulburn, and it is very much like a sunburn. By the way, a soulburn is not the same thing as burnout which is what happens when we do too much and burn the candle and both ends and the middle.  

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    PS: 1) so many good insights in your post! 2) the dark in which we sleep is blessed.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ivo, this is so wise. I often talk to my students about not frying their circuits as magical practioners. If I understand you co
  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr says #
    Thanks Francesca, I would agree that fried circuits and soulburn are not the same but they do overlap. I also am a believer in th
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Thanks for this, Ivo. I can really, really, really relate. Of course, the other side is when one isn't often invited anywhere, o
  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr says #
    Good luck on your foray into uncertain territory. Let me know when and I'll light a candle for you.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
A Viking Curse

In chapter 60 of Egils saga Skallagrímssonar, the mighty Viking warrior poet gives voice to his anger at King Eirik 'Blood Axe' and his wife Queen Gunnhild, a powerful witch who has fought him at every turn. After many unhappy encounters between them, he curses them with a most effective method: the níðstöng or scorn-pole.

The saga records the ritual like this (leaving out the nature of the secret runes involved):

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

I've noticed that the majority of books on magic and indeed even the online writing I come across is mysteriously devoid of the mistakes practitioners make when practicing magic. I'll admit I find this to be puzzling and less than useful for purposes of magical work, because in only presenting the successes a person has had with magic, what is missed out on is the process of trial and error, the refinement of technique and the recognition of the opportunity to learn. In both my books and blog articles, I share my mistakes in magical work because I find it useful to keep a record of what hasn't worked, as much for myself, as for the reader. A record of my mistakes helps me keep track of what hasn't worked, so that I can work on such processes further. It helps the reader see the process of evolution that a given technique undergoes as well see where mistakes were made. It also teaches the reader that mistakes are a natural part of the magical process and should be embraced as opportunities for learning.

No matter how skilled you are, inevitably you'll make a mistake. It's important to recognize the mistake and acknowledge it. This may be hard to do, especially if it brings up hard questions for you such as wondering if magic really works, but asking those questions are important and when you hit that moment of doubt, it actually is an indicator that your approach to magic is starting to deepen. A mistake challenges us to be honest with ourselves about our magical work and its relative meanings in our lives. If we only ever have success we don't really know what we can be capable of, because that success limits us from discovering what we really need to improve on.

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    I agree. I think its very important to share these stories and help people learn frm them as a result.
  • Felix Warren
    Felix Warren says #
    This is really important. One of the number one things beginners tell me is that they feel like they're failures when things don't

Additional information