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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in libation

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Offering to the Minoan Gods

Modern Minoan Paganism is a pretty broad path. People come to it from many different directions and backgrounds; our commonalities are the pantheon, the Minoan sacred calendar, and a few basic practices that we all share. Prominent among these is making offerings to the Minoan gods and goddesses. The image at the top of this post is a lovely three-footed offering table from Akrotiri decorated with dolphins. Perhaps its owner left fruit or flowers or seashells some other offering on it, maybe dedicated to the ocean goddess Posidaeja or another favorite deity (though I'd vote for Posidaeja because of the dolphins).

Solid items can be set out on the altar or offering stands or at an appropriate outdoor location. Liquid offerings can also be set out in a cup or pitcher, or they can be poured out as libations. A libation can be poured into another container (a bowl, for instance) or onto the ground. A libation can even be the centerpiece of a ritual for abundance.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
My Cup Runneth Over: A Ritual for Abundance

This little prosperity/abundance ritual comes from my book Ancient Spellcraft. The first edition is out of print but I'm hard at work on a revised and updated second edition that will be available in 2017. It's the first book I ever published, the first publishing contract I ever signed, a whopping 15 years ago - how time flies! So as we approach Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I wish you all the abundance, beauty, and gratitude life has to offer.

My Cup Runneth Over

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Oh my, Laura, I was delighted to see this post and love the job you did with it. For decades, been channeling rituals with milk an
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    Thanks very much for your kind words. Yes, we really have missed out on a lot of really powerful symbolism and connection by remov

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Feel the Pour

It's one of the older conundrums in the ritualist's book.

You're pouring at a public ritual. You've brought the libation. You paid for it, so the other attendees have no investment, no personal stake in it.

How, then, do you get them to feel the pour?

Here's my recommendation: beautiful as it is, leave grandma's silver libation ewer at home.

Pour straight from the bottle.

And pour out the whole thing.

Every last drop.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Every system of thought has its own inherent flaws. That's why we have to keep changing.
  • Tony Lima
    Tony Lima says #
    Paganism in its rightful way under scientific knowledge at large, is probably better than Christianity.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A toast to the Minoans!

It can be hard to figure out what kinds of rituals and traditions people of the past had, especially if we don't have any written records of them. But sometimes art can help. The image at the top of this post is part of the Camp Stool fresco from Knossos, the largest of the ancient Minoan cities. It shows a banqueting scene that includes ritual toasting, a common activity in many societies from that time. Here's a reconstruction of the whole fresco, with two rows of people participating in toasts and possibly libations (poured offerings) as well:

  

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
O God

For all its recent history, the English word “god” is a fine old pagan word with a long, long pedigree.

Cognates occur in all Germanic languages (German Gott, Icelandic guð, etc.), and in all Germanic languages, interestingly, it was this word that was chosen by early missionaries to denote the Christian god. How and why this came to be is in itself an interesting question which would well merit further study, but that's not my intent here.

For historical reasons—largely because of its Christian associations—we've come to think of “god” as (connotatively, if not grammatically) masculine. I suspect that among English-speaking pagans this masculinization has been emphasized by the word's implied pairing with “goddess.” English lost its grammatical genders after the Norman invasion, but the other Germanic languages have kept all three of them (masculine, feminine, and neuter), and in all of them (again, for Christian reasons) the word god has become a grammatically masculine noun.

But that's not how the ancestors saw it.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Milk of Human (and Divine) Kindness

We hear a lot about libations in various Pagan traditions. A libation is simply an offering of a liquid, poured out in either a casual or formal ritual setting. A casual example would be the nights my friends and family gather around the fire out in our orchard to celebrate the seasons. Once the fire is lit, I pour out the first bit of my drink (usually homemade mead) in thanks to the spirits of the land, my ancestors and the divine in general. A more formal example might be the pouring out of wine onto the ground or into a bowl during a Wiccan Sabbat ceremony as an offering to the Lord and Lady.

The word ‘libation’ often conjures up the image of an alcoholic beverage being offered – wine, mead, even beer in some contexts. But any liquid can be used for libations. I offer water to the land spirits where I live every morning. It is, after all, the liquid that is the base of life on Earth. We can be pretty sure the ancient Minoans offered wine and perhaps beer as well, in keeping with the spiritual and cultural traditions of the ancient world. But I think they also offered milk. Yes, you read that right. Milk.

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The Simplest - And Sweetest - of Mealtime Rituals

There are two things I really love about the New Vesta tradition.  The first is the way it bridges the distance between the ancient world and the modern world.  The second is the way it helps strengthen family solidarity.  And one of the simplest ways it does these things is through mealtime offerings or libations.

Even in antiquity, Vesta – goddess of the home and hearth, and symbolized by a flame – was a bloodless religion.  Instead of making a living animal sacrifice, ancient Roman families sprinkled mealtime offerings of loose salted flour or wafers (called mola salsa) into her sacred flame that burned in their household hearth.  Libations of wine or olive oil could also be made into her flame.

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