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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in folklore

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Whispering Hearth

The hearth has long been a place of power. We have already explored its position as a place of healing and protection. In many European cultures, it is also traditionally a place for communion with spirits, where offerings are left and knowledge from them can be gained. In Germany, the space between the back of the stove and the wall was called Hölle, “hell” (Lecouteux 70). It’s important to note that the words Hölle and hell originate not in Christianity but from a Proto-Germanic word meaning “a hidden place,” i.e. the underworld (Online Etymology Dictionary). People have long sought out the insight of the dead and other spirits regarding the future, and the hearth or stove was one common site for divination.

 

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Types of Animal Teachers: Introduction

A part of working with animals is learning as much about them as you can. Since common names are confusing, scientists will use taxonomic names for each animal. In taxonomy, animals are separated into various groupings according to their DNA and biological characteristics. Therefore, every animal has a scientific name based on where they fit in the Web of Life. Taxonomy (this scientific classification system) is essentially the animal’s name, rand, and serial number.

Taxonomy aids in understanding how animals are alike and how they differ. Take badgers for example. Honey badger (Mellivora capensis) of Africa, North American badger (Taxidea taxus), and Eurasian badger (Mele mele) are called “badgers” because of their distinctive badger stripe. However, each of the these animals are not directly related to each other except as members of the larger Mustelidae (weasel, badger, and otter) family. From the taxonomic first name, you can see that these various badgers are not closely related. Instead, they are in their own sub-groupings of Meles, Taxideae, and Mellivorae within the Mustelidae. Therefore when consulting “animal totem” dictionaries, check to see which “badger” they are discussing since each have different teachings. Eurasian badgers live in ancient setts (homes) developed by their ancestors, while American badgers, who live alone, dig a hole to stay the night in.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Magic, Wonder, and Spiritscraft

Magic and wonder have been important to me spiritually for my entire life. As a child, I learned basic magical skills — like energy protection, artistic magic, relaxation, and healing meditation — from my family. We were all very connected with nature, and the sacredness of the outdoors.

I began having out of body experiences when I was a teenager. When I met my familiar spirit, it was an angel who protected me when I was very sick. My familiar helped me to become a stronger and braver girl.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Horseshoe Magic

Horseshoe Magic

You may be lucky enough to find a horseshoe when you are out and about on your travels but what is all the fuss about them?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Easter Witches

In Sweden, the witch is a major symbol of Easter.

I kid you not. Swedish Easter cards feature pictures of witches flying off to the sabbat. Kids—these days it's mostly little girls—dressed as witches (with babushkas and painted-on rosy cheeks) trick-or-treat from door-to-door, collecting their goodies in, not sacks, but coffee-pots.

It's an interesting chapter in the long, twisted story of relations between the old ways and the new. Pull up a stump.

In Swedish witch-lore, Good Friday is the biggest sabbat of the year because, of course, God is dead and the powers of evil reign supreme. So keep those brooms, pitchforks, and billy goats locked up, or some old crone may nab one for her evening jaunt to the big shindig at the Blåkulla, the “Blue Mountain.” Keep a fire burning on the hearth and the windows shut tight, or the mirk-riders may steal your aquavit, cheese, and coffee (!) for their celebration.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Well, one could hardly ask for higher praise than that. Thanks, Lizann; I'm glad you're enjoying the ride.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    I so love all your posts, this one is particularly delightful!
The Grateful Witch: A Tale of the Slovenian Roma

While eating lunch one day a girl noticed that, having shelled their hard-boiled eggs, her parents crumpled up the shells before throwing them away. She asked why they did this.

“If you don't, the witches use them for boats,” they explained. At one time this belief was quite widespread throughout Central Europe.

“Witches need boats, just like anyone else,” she replied, and threw her eggshell, uncrumpled, over her left shoulder. A whirlwind caught the shell and whisked it away.

One day the girl was fishing from an island in the middle of a river. Suddenly, due to a heavy downpour upstream, the water began to rise. Before she knew it, her boat was swept away, and soon the rapids were in danger of covering the entire island.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Milk Pails and Prayer Books

The thing about superstitions is, you just never know.

One of my favorites comes from southern Germany. If you want to find out who the witches in your parish are, when you go to church on Good Friday, slip an Easter egg into your pocket. You'll recognize the witches by three things: 

  1. Instead of hats, they'll be wearing milk pails on their heads.

  2. Instead of prayer books, they'll be carrying slabs of pork. (!)

  3. They'll be standing with their backs to the altar.

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