Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

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

Taking Possession: Home-Buying and Moving-In Traditions

The Jesse Pickens Pugh House via Wikimedia Commons

My husband and I recently bought a home in the Blue Ridge mountains – a dream we’ve held since we married eight years ago. It’s an old house with history, an acre and a half of land, and beautiful views of the mountains. I fell in love with the house and surrounding land almost immediately. As we look forward to moving in, I’ve been thinking about traditions to perform as we get established there – traditions that will familiarize and unite us with the spirit(s) of the house and ensure a long-lasting, productive relationship for years to come.

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St George & The Uffington White Horse
The Uffington White Horse is a huge figure of a horse carved into the turf and filled in with white chalk.  People in the area have been doing this for at least 3000 years.  The figure needs consistent upkeep to remain visible, which was traditionally done every seven years.  Today it is done "as needed". (eye roll)    Not everyone agrees that the figure was originally intended to be a horse, although it has been consitently called horse since at least the 11th century.  Some scholars believe that Horse may have been the totem of a local tribe, while others believe it is a solar horse, that is, one that draws the chariot of the sun.  

For my part, I was more interested in the hill itself than the horse.  The horse lies on a large cliff, with numerous hills and valleys (more pics below).  If you are ever in the area, I very strongly recommend visiting, even if you just drive up "Dragon Hill Road" and back down. It is very, very lovely, even in December, and the winding road provides amazing views, even if (like me) you are not fit enough to trek up the hill on foot.  There is a disable parking lot near the top of the hill, which, in December, was nearly empty, but I assume "in season" it fills up and requires a permit. 

Even from the highway, the feature that most caught my attention wasn't the horse itself, but a small, flat topped hill next to it.  This, I came to find out, is "Dragon Hill" and is legendarily where St. George slew the dragon.  As you know, I have a strong connection to St George, and to his Phrygian counterpart, the Great Horseman of Thrace, Sabazios.  (you can read a story about St George here, and more about Sabazios here).

The energy of the hill was very powerful, and nearly intoxicating. I spent about an hour there, but it was very cold and windy, so I left eventually.  I may go back again before I leave.  It is quite close to my brother's house.   More pictures on my facebook page. 

Love to you all in these dark days,

Sara
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  • Sara Mastros
    Sara Mastros says #
    The "Thracian Rider" is a name for a particular kind of iconography, that scholars aren't sure who it represents, maybe a god, may
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember reading mention of someone called the Thracian Rider. Could that be Sabazios? I think it might have been in a book on

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By Rev. Wes Isley

There are lots of things I love about being Pagan, and maybe you share some of these. We have a holiday every couple of months, and we get to dress up in fun clothes for ceremony. Our deities are badass—with horned gods who like wine and fierce goddesses who will kick your butt if you don’t mind your manners. Maybe best of all, I like that Pagans can have “church” anywhere—on a sunlit meadow colored with wildflowers or beneath a star-spangled night sky, where we can just sit in silence and feel the vitality of Gaia all around and within us. But, there’s one thing we Pagans don’t do well. Can you guess what that is? Well, it’s my opinion that Pagans stink at grieving.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I don't think that any humans handle grief all that well. It's human to mourn, and equally human to try and *not* to feel that pai
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Hear, hear! Grief is real, and it's not resolved by assurances that the departed is "going to be born again" or "in the Summerland

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In 1976 I became a Home Sanctum member of The Rosicrucian Order A.M.O.R.C., and for years thereafter I received regular mailings of their instructional materials.  I found those teachings to be of great value as an "Intro to Metaphysics 101."  They stood me in good stead for decades.

I especially appreciated the RC admonition to never blindly accept anyone's teaching as true, until I had first submitted it to proof by personal testing and my own sense of reason - a warning which I subsequently discovered had been issued by no less a person than the Buddha himself. 

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Cool! Shows the universality of thought between intelligent people of all faiths. I remember when all our favorite Gurus began d
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Cool! Shows the universality of thought between intelligent people of all faiths. I remember when all our favorite Gurus began d
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Couldn't agree with you more, though of course we both might say "Goddess of my heart." It continually amazes me that so many peop

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Yuletide Household Lore & Traditions

art by Arthur Rackham

The winter solstice is approaching.

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Winter Crone

Cailleach walks the winter hills: in an old Gaelic song 'Cailleach Beinn a' Bhric' she has 'a great grey grisly paw' and is cold and wet, but cares for her deer. The hunter who sings to her laments her keeping the deer from him. This version is from Songs & Hymns of the Gael:

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The Fairy Widower: A Story Spell

Last night, I had a dream which instructed me to write this blog post.  I am not sure for whom this teaching has come through, but if it is you, please contact me.  I do not think it needs to be understood literally, but perhaps it should be.  In any case, I simply had an overpowering need to share it.

***
In my dream, a young witch came to me distraught.  Her father had begun to act confused and violent, some kind of sudden onset dementia, for which the doctors can find no cause.  Eventually, she had out of him that he had gone into the woods behind his home, and there made love to the forest.  And so I gave her this ritual to preform, to free him from fairy enslavement.

You may need:
a trash bag
three iron railroad spikes
a bottle of salt water.  ideally, this should be made with Holy Water (whatever that means to you) and be more than 9% salt by volume.
a large steel knife.  a sword is better.
buttered bread, whole milk, good honey, dark beer
a reliable flashlight, and a backup flashlight, and it wouldn't hurt to have a third one.  expect at least one to fail on the third night.
protection from weather.
a small bag of white pebbles
a toy bulldozer
$23 dollars in gold coins
three nights
courage

The First Conjuration:
Go into the woods at night, when it is very dark and still.  Walk randomly, as if you are lost (but do not become lost).  Drop white pebbles behind you, to show the way back out; you need to leave by the same path you entered.  Gather any trash that you find.  Begin to sing a song about walking through the wood, and a mist rising up, and finding yourself at the center of the woods between the worlds.  The tune and the words will come to you as you walk; I cannot teach them to you, but you knew them as a child, and you need not try to remember.  Just hum and sing a tuneless song, and the song will form itself.

When you have come to the center of the woods, you will know the place when you find it, you must place the bread, milk, honey, beer, and $7 before you.  Begin to call, saying something like this:  "Lovely Lady of these Woods, Mother of the Fair Folk, Elf Queen, I call to you.  I have brought you milk and bread, honey and butter, good ale and friendship.  I come to you by the old path.  The compacts between our people are not forgot.  Come, and eat with me, that we may speak as friends!"

Wait for a sign of presence.  Rustling leaves.  A cold breeze.  An out of place bird song.  An apparition of the Lady of the Wood.  Continue:

"Lady Fair, Radiant One!  Hail to you!  I come to you to beg for justice!  My father has been taken by one of your people.  My father has been enchanted by one of your people.  My father has been bewitched by one of your people.  Release him to me.  Set him free, Lady.  Make him whole.  It is for this reason I have come.  I shall come again tomorrow, for good or for ill.  Set my father free."

Now leave the wood, picking your pebbles up as you go, and go home.  If your father is improved, then go again, and thank the Elf Queen, and admonish your father about the stupidity of making love to the Kindly Ones.  Go again, the next night, to the woods, and there offer the remaining gold coins, elderflower liqueur, a vanilla milkshake, and some sort of very fancy pastry.  Give thanks to the Lady of the Wood for releasing your father.  This is a powerful spirit ally who has done you a great boon, and who favors you.  Be gracious, thankful, and maintain this relationship, but be on your guard.  Never forget that she seduced your father, and then tried enslave him.  She is not your friend; she is the Queen of the Other Wood.  Take her offerings at every full moon.  Bake her a fancy cake, or give her a necklace you have made.  You might paint her a picture or perform for her a song, if you are a good artist.  She would like that.  Do not do this if you have not the skill for it; it will be taken as an insult.  It is NOT the thought that counts; it must be something lovely and well made.  A fancy store bought cake is much better than an ugly painting, but it is best to find something of high quality which you have made with your own hands.

However, if your father is not better, you must go once again into the Wood Between the Worlds, and continue to fight for his soul.  Enter the wood as before, picking up trash along the way, and when you come to the place where you offered last night, make no offering.  Begin to call, saying something like: "Lady Fair, Shining One, I have come again as I said I would.  I have followed the twisted path, I have set bread and milk and honey and beer for you.  And yet you have been false!  Release my father, and let him be troubled no more!  I came to you honoring the ancient ways, but you have returned my courtesy with spite.  I am no mere mortal peasant, that you can treat me thus.  I am witch of the highest order!  I am NAME, MORE NAMES, MAGICAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS (example: "who has bound the four Kings of the Compass to my service", "who rides on the Other Wind", "who journeys between the Worlds", "who calls Buddhas, and Saints, and Demons my friends".  Be elaborate, and spin a good tale, but do not flat out lie).  I stand before you, but I am not alone.  My ancestors stand behind me.  The angels attend to me.  I know the names of the gods of all nations, and I have allies from every corner of the Heavens.  NAME SOME ALLIES.  Yesterday I asked, but today I insist.  Return my father to me, and trouble him no more!  It is for this reason I have come!  I will come again tomorrow night, for good or for ill.  Set my father free."  Now leave the wood, following the same path you entered by.  If your father is improved, thank the Queen as before, but if he is not, then gather all your courage and all your allies to you, gird yourself in your best armor, and head again into the wood.  Fill your bag with inorganic trash; beer cans, plastic bags, six-pack holders, that sort of thing.

Enter the forest again, as you have twice already.  Make your way to the sacred grove, and begin to call.  "Wood Woman!  Fairy Frau!  Goblin Maid!  You soot-face imp!  I am NAME, the Witch of these Woods, and you have done me wrong.  Release my father, and trouble him no more.  This is your final warning.  I brought you bread and milk, honey and butter, and fine beer.  I called on you in the ancient ways, but you have ignored me and returned my courtesy with spite.  You are rude and inhospitable, a disgrace to your people.  You bring shame upon yourself and on your mother.  I have come again, but this time I am not asking.  I bring the power of my people, the power of my office.  I am a child of the Iron God, the child of Pavement and Flame.  I ride the Bulldozer of Your Destruction.  You are weak in this land, and I am Strong.  Your kind is failing, buy my kind Rules over  the whole Earth.  I have set before you cakes, and treated you as a friend, but you have scorned me.  Remember, it is you who have brought your own destruction, you who would doom your wood.  I would have brought you cakes and liquor, but now I set before you this!"  Drive an iron spike into the ground.   "Return my father to me, set him free, and trouble him no more!"  Drive a second spike, about a foot away from the first.  Cry out: "Return my father to me, set him free, and trouble him no more!  Drive the third spike, forming an equilateral triangle about a foot on each side.  Goblin!  Thief!  Mannerless One!  You are powerless against me!  I have at my call the Bulldozer, I have at my call the Concrete!  If you do not release my father, I will bring blight and trash and poison into the heart of your wood; I know the ancient way here, and you cannot keep me out.  If you do not give my father back, your sacred grove will become a midden [shake the trash bag out in a pile, in the center of the triangle].  I will not bring you beer, but only the cans.  I will not bring you cakes, but only the plastic forks!  Your sacred grove will be my dumping place, and burning tires will be your only libation.  Return my father, and trouble him no more, or I will level this forest and turn it into a parking lot.  I know the powers of Walmart and Highway!  I ride the Bulldozer and the Backhoe!  I carry the machete and the flame!"  [put the bulldozer on top of the pile of trash]  "Return my father, and all will be well between us, but if you do not, my wrath will be upon you!"

Leave the wood.  Be careful as you do.  This wood is now your enemy.  You will prevail, but you are at war.

When your father improves, take cakes and liquor and gold coins.  Act just as through she had delivered him on the first night.  Remove the trash; yours and whoever else's you have found.  Thank the Lady for her Courtesy and Hospitality.  But do not linger too long in that wood.


Photo (c) Martin Liebermann

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  • Cheree
    Cheree says #
    I need to ask my love before joining. I know I am powerful. Did a lot this past week. I believe it was balanced. I am reading what
  • Cheree
    Cheree says #
    For me...sorry. Please contact me.
  • Sara Mastros
    Sara Mastros says #
    You can contact me on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mastroszealot/
  • Cheree
    Cheree says #
    I just read the beginning... I know why you sent it. I have been lightworking and found out my father traded me for a white woman
  • Sara Mastros
    Sara Mastros says #
    Thank you for sharing your story.

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