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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in celtic paganism
Lughnasadh Ritual and Vision of Tailtiu, Irish Earth Goddess

Tailtiu herself taught me this ritual way of honoring her several years ago, as I prepared for a Lughnasadh celebration with a druid grove. Do your own research, and you will discover several analogous rituals on varying dates throughout Europe.


There is no clean land in all of Ireland, no fields not blood-soaked nor polluted by tears and death, for the Great War had raged across the land for ages. The war and its reasons, the dead and their Kings, their celebrated champions no longer matter. One royal husband slain and the victor wed, and Tailtiu, still Queen of Ireland, never took part in the fighting.

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1. Not listening to women is dumb, and sets you up for a world of pain. (Don't ignore the young female druid / seidhkona... you get the picture).

2. Stupidity (and hubris) are equal opportunity. It's Queen Maeve who ignores the warning from the wisewoman Fedelm. It's the men following her who compound it. It's Maeve's husband who insults her enough to make her start the war Fedelm knows will be a blood bath. And it's Cu Chulainn who keeps on going despite the goddess Morrigan placing herself directly in his path and warning him of his violent death.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Our last blog post was Part 1 of building the Cernunnos Shrine.  Picking up here right where that one left off….

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

January, if we are lucky and our daily lives allow, can be a time of contemplation, of looking back over the past year, of quietly getting our lives in order, whilst also looking ahead to the summer to come. While the earth seems to sleep, with long nights and cold days, the first new shoots make it above ground and buds on the trees remind us that spring isn't far...but the time of quiet is still here for a while at least. I always find a struggle against natures rhythms is never very productive, and it's better to do what must be done in the modern world and retire to the fireside or get out under wide winter skies as much as possible. January to me is a liminal time, a threshold point and should be honoured as such- neither here nor there, neither the renewal and festivity of winter solstice nor the bright candlelight of Imbolc...it's that in between time when magic can really happen, when things can really change if we catch the moment and steer ourselves a little differently, or weave a new thread into our webs of wyrd.

I think the Celts of the past new this well, and liminal magic seems to be a forgotten skill of theirs. Janus figures, two faced gods named after the Roman god of beginnings and doorways crop up all over the Celtic world and are undoubtedly pre-Roman deities but are often unknown among those following the Celtic path today. Famous examples include  the double-faced horned Iron Age statue ( 4th - 2nd century BCE)  from Holzgerlingen in Germany, the two headed sculpture from Roquepertuse   ( 600-124 BCE) and the two double faced god statues, which are probably Iron age,  from Boa island in Ireland.

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This May I was blessed to be asked to teach at a wonderful event at Dunderry Park in County Meath in Ireland. 'Animystics' was a two day event that wove together various Celtic traditions and earth based practices to really deepen our connection to the earth and our own souls. My session was all about connecting with tree spirits, and the tradition of the Bile, or sacred tree, clan totem and representative of the world tree in the Celtic Traditions. Standing there, in a field on a beautiful May morning, I was struck again by how such simple acts as breathing and being present to nature can restore our balance, and by extension our connection to our own sovereignty, our own souls, and the soul of the earth Herself. Dunderry is just a few miles from the hill of Tara, said to be the ancient seat of the semi- mythical high kings of Ireland, and I felt the ancient ancestors, with their passionate love of the land reach out to us, to remember, and honour Her again as a way to restore ourselves in these often troubled times.

Tara is such a special place, a wide green hill that overlooks a vast and verdant landscape. On a clear day it is said you can see all of Ireland from it's summit. Once an Iron Age hill fort, it is also home to a Neolithic burial mound, 'the mound of the hostages', granting access to the womb of the earth, the realm of the sidhe, and the Lia Fáil, or Stone of Destiny, said to have been brought from the otherworldly city of Falias by the Tuatha de Danann, the Irish gods. The Lia Fáil is said to cry out when the rightful king stands upon it. Once it stood beside the mound, but now it stands sentry a little further off, overlooking the wide plains below. Whether this solitary monolith was truly the ancient mythical stone will always be up for debate, but standing there touching its weathered grey sides, sensing the endless generations that have come here, and used this as the touchstone, the still and central point to anchor their spiritual and earthly selves together, to find that link to sovereignty in a world that tries to take so much soul and so much power from us, is always a healing and humbling moment.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Rituals for unbalance

We’ve not long passed the equinox, that twice yearly point in the wheel where normal Paganism stops to talk about balance, and usually alongside this, peace. World Peace Day falls close to the autumn equinox and Earth day, and Earth Hour are around the spring one. Peace and balance are, without a doubt, good things to work for.

Some days my life has little of either. On the whole, I have a quiet, easy, privileged sort of life, free from many of the things that torment many of the world’s inhabitants. Even so, I find celebrating balance really difficult. Not least because I do not see much of the balance of nature as a comfortable harmony – all too often, balance is created by things in tension, pulling in opposite directions. Conflicting needs counterbalancing each other can create harmony very easily when you look at the whole effect. The experience of any part of the whole, is not of the harmony, but of the conflict.

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