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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Grandmother Bluebells

I am more naturally conscious of ancestry around Beltain than I am at Samhain. Partly because there are so many traditional songs that start with someone roving out on a bright May morning. Usually to get laid, or to indulge in the kind of voyeurism intrinsic to folk music. And partly because of my grandmother, who loved the bluebells.

My grandmother was a keen walker for much of her life, having grown up with a mother who went walking on Sundays in preference to going to church. In old age, she could no longer climb the hills each spring to go looking for bluebells, and so this time of year became a source of grief to her. I have never driven a car, I was never able to take her out, but others did, and I’m not the only one to think of her when the bluebells are flowering.

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A Tale of Two Sisters, a Daughter and a Niece

This continues the story I began last week. Catherina is my 2x great-grandmother; Agnes is my 2x great-aunt; Johanetta is my first cousin, 3x removed, and my step-2x great-grandmother; Henry is my 2x great-grandfather. It is true that Henry had eighteen children with two wives. It is also true that Henry and Johanetta married and had a child soon after Catherina's death. Some of the other details came in waking trance as I allowed the ancestors to tell their stories through me.

Agnes Lattauer Sweitzer: I thought the day Catherina left for America would be the worst day of my life. I did not know I would see Catherina again. I did not know I would outlive my two little sisters and both of my brothers. I did not know what my daughter would do. I read Catherina’s letters from America through my tears. How I wanted to be with her on her wedding day. How I wished she had been with us when we buried our sister Johanetta. My heart nearly burst when Catherina wrote that she longed to take my hand when she gave birth to her first child. My mind contorted itself trying to envision her living in a big city, in a big building, climbing up and down stairs, her feet never touching the earth, her hands never working the soil. What kind of life was that?

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Pagan Trends, Absolute Truths, and Trusting Yourself

Trends change rapidly in the Pagan community. We often see "an indisputable fact" ricochet to its exact opposite within years. These "truths" cause immense discord. How can we navigate these treacherous waters without disavowing our own personal wisdoms? We all find our way of doing it. If I share mine, perhaps that might make finding yours easier. 

So, a story:

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Traditional Witchcraft, Spirituality, and Ethics

Currently, it is a prevalent opinion among Pagans that traditional witchcraft was strictly magical, lacking theology or moral aspects. While I can respect that theory, it is not congruent with my own experiences. I suspect whether traditional witchery had sacred or ethical aspects varied by locale or by family tradition. 

I never argue with anybody's experience, only their theory. Theory is ever-changing. I'd never want to invalidate anyone's experience, including my own. I'll share mine below.

My experiences lead to conclusions that differ from the aforementioned current popular Pagan position. I hope to add to the Pagan dialogue on the topic, and provide support for those who, like me, have an unpopular point of view.

Growing up in a family tradition, I learned magic and a mystical worldview con leche. Therefore magic and mysticism were a given, as much a part of life as the air I was breathing. In the process, a religious and ethical worldview was deeply ingrained in my cells.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • katherine manaan
    katherine manaan says #
    I work and write under the name of katherine manaan. you have me under katherine tupman i have 2 websites one under the name of ka
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Thank you, lovely to get to know you. You sound like you do a lot of different things, very multifaceted. It seems multifaceted pe
  • katherine manaan
    katherine manaan says #
    This is a beautifully written, article; cogent, lucid, heartfelt. You have such a exquisite way of expressing your opinion Frances
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Katherine, You are very kind, making me feel special. Thank you. I feel honored and humbled that you have your students read one
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    The hat is fantastically YOU. I didn't mention before that you've presented a cogent and scholarly treatise on some people's reas

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Return to the Land of Your Soul

“Return again, return again, return to the Land of Your Soul.” 

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Pancakes for Pagans

Why would a Pagan want to talk about pancakes? Pancake day heralds the Christian Lenten fast. Where exactly Lent starts depends on when Easter is going to fall, which in turn depends on the moon because the date comes to us from the traditional Jewish calendar, which is lunar. Granted, most modern Pagans are always up for a bit of seasonal feasting, and pancake day is the kind of tradition we cheerfully borrow. But there is more to the pancake than meets the eye and it’s worth poking about in the whys and wherefores of this little feast, because it has much to tell us about our ancestors who lived closer to the land.

I was at the allotment yesterday. There were leeks to harvest, the last of the Jerusalem artichokes, and there’s still some kale. We’ll be planting potatoes soon. It’s been a mild winter so there’s more growing than usual. The grain harvest was months ago, the fruit you stored at the start of winter will run out, the root vegetables you stored will be running out. Even if you’re freezing and pickling and using all the modern storage methods, the last harvest is diminishing and there’s no sign of any decent new crops yet.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Love this!!! Brilliant! Actually sharing this with my Christian friends!
  • Nimue Brown
    Nimue Brown says #
    thank you!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_hangingcandle1.jpgNot everyone finds it easy to communicate with the gods, and even when we talk to them, they don’t always answer. And that is perhaps for the best. Being too god-touched makes being in the embodied world difficult. Driving for example demands one be present in one’s body. Raven Kaldera describes different ways of being god-ridden, and one involves being “locked in the trunk.” Raven has a human driver to make sure he gets from place to place, and I’m sure that’s a very good thing for other people on the road.

Our ancestors understand the requirements of embodiment. They’ve been there, and while most of them will never have driven a car – it is, after all, a fairly recent invention – they have used sharp tools, and had to get away from danger. And they want us to succeed. An Ancestor practice is one of the best and dare I say, safest, ways for an inexperienced beginning Pagan to connect with the non-embodied world. This is true because our beloved dead care about us in a most personal way.

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