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
Staying Power

I took a few days off from the world so I could stay in it for the next few  decades. Many things have happened in the last month, that have pushed me off my center, upset the balance of my emotions. I was interviewed on June 10th about my work with AIDS as an activist and as the executive director for Delaware’s main AIDS/HIV organization in the 80s and early 90s. It was like a war zone during those years. One year I attended the funerals of 65 friends, I stopped going to funerals for many years. The memories opened old wounds. Then the massacre of LGBTQ people in Orlando happened. I have friends and personal connections there. I am also a Cuban that’s been in the US since fleeing Cuba in 1961, that was woven into my experience of the massacre as well. In addition to my own distress, I had to put on the clergy hat and be available for others who needed comfort and support. And all of this in the midst of a horrible election cycle, more tragedies for people of color, more glaring examples of rape culture, more bigotry against trans people, crises in the lives of my community members, internecine conflicts in my broader spiritual communities, and more. Then I was treated poorly by people that I have helped often. I shrugged it off, reminding myself that when you try to free an animal from a trap it is just as likely to bite you as to bless you when you help it.The last straw was the report of a father unwilling to pick up his son’s body for burial because his son was gay. I was thrown away by my parents when I was 18. I was done.

I knew I was in trouble. I tried to arrange a meeting to unburden myself with a friend, but didn't manage to call her. I started re-reading the Stoic philosophers, usually a bad sign for me. I doubled my meditative practices. It wasn’t enough. Most people tell me they experience me as perennially helpful, engaged, kind, and patient. Moment to moment I was flipping the Janus faced coin of incandescent rage and ice-bound sadness. I put away my cell phone, turned off my wifi, cancelled everything I could, and stayed home. I listened to music, read fiction, worked in the garden, hugged my husband, played with our dogs, and did not try to explain myself to anyone. My Jim, answered the land line, dealt with people who showed up at the door, warned off people that wanted to be helpful, and gave me the space I needed. This is not the first time that I have taken a break from the world nor will it be my last. It is the first time I am telling people of my struggles and why I drop off the grid. I intend to stay in the world and to stay on target with my work for many, many years. I’m back again, until I take another needed retreat from the world in several years. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Holli Emore
    Holli Emore says #
    love and gentle calm to you
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Brigit's balm, my friend.
  • Jae Sea
    Jae Sea says #
    It's so important to allow the space, uncrowded, to flow. I'm here for you. Hugs & Love.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Holding you, my brother. Always. I spoke your name to the Midsummer Moon at PSG and prayed a prayer of peace and justice, but abov

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
"For Entertainment Purposes Only"

 

"For Entertainment Purposes Only" Or "I Went To A Psychic Fair & No One Knew I Was Sad"

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Midsummer Behind a Cyclone Fence

Yesterday we (the Wiccan circle at San Quentin State Prison) did a combination Midsummer and Fathers’ Day celebration, after the noisy Juneteenth celebration in the main prison yard.  We have to meet when and where permitted, and with limited access to such things as water for bathing or bonfires.  (There is water for drinking.)

Most times we meet in a little storage room off the breezeway where the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Islamic chapels are.  It is literally a storeroom, with stacks of folding chairs and tables and old file cabinets.  Since I’ve been going there the file cabinets were moved.  At this point, it’s been cleaned out enough that we only have two tables and a bunch of stacked chairs.  It’s considered to be the Minority Faiths Chapel.

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Symmetry and Magic: an example of a pop culture magic rule

I've been rereading The Dresden Files lately and as I've been reading the books I've been paying attention to the rules of magic that are part of that pop culture magic universe. When you practice pop culture magic, its important to pay close attention to the rules of magic within the given pop culture you're working with because those rules apply to the pop culture characters you work with and how they'll help you magically. It may seem odd that different pop culture universes have different rules of magic, or that those rules should even matter.

However they do matter because you're working in a specific context generated in part by the pop culture you work with. And if you want the aid of the characters you work with, you need to respect the context that is part of the mythology you're working in. Let me share an example to illustrate this.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Meditations on Hávamál: 76-80

 

76.

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Blood, Black Dog, & Boardroom

 

It is common in many traditions to ask for guidance from the unseen realms, from the spirits. Sometimes the requests are answered in signs, omens, visions, and the like. I have three short vignettes to share that illustrate some of the reactions that can occur when the guidance is very clear.

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What do you do when your magic is in a slump?

The other day, in the Magical Experiments Facebook group, I asked the members of the group to share with me what challenges they are experiencing in their magical practice. One of the people shared that they were experiencing a slump in their magical practice. It just didn't feel exciting or shiny or magical like it had before. When I read what the person was experiencing, I really resonated with it because sometimes I've felt the same way about my magical practice. 

The first time I experienced a slump in my magical practice, I was really surprised at how hard it was to motivate myself to do the daily magical work I'd committed myself to doing. It wasn't just an off day. It stretched into days and then weeks. I was seriously worried that I'd lost touch with the magic.

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