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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in offerings
Did the 500-Year Old Whiteleaved Oak Burn Because of a Pagan Offering?

Lighting a candle to a tree. Dear Gods.

How could anyone be so stupid?

In England's Malvern Hills, the 500-year old Whiteleaved Oak has gone up in flames. Charred tea-lights were found at its base.

Dear Gods. How could anyone be so stupid?

Tea-lights are despicable anyway, and never a worthy offering. Ask yourself: what kind of offering leaves garbage behind?

Hear, O Pagandom:

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The Ariadne's Thread Rituals: Adapting them for MMP format

One of the aspects of spiritual practice that we've developed in Modern Minoan Paganism (MMP) is a standardized ritual format. It took a lot of research and even more experimentation, but what we ended up with is, we believe, true to the spirit of religion in the Bronze Age Mediterranean.

What that means, though, is that it doesn't look like Wicca's circle-casting and quarter calls, which is what many modern Pagans think of when someone says "standard ritual format." Much of Wicca's ritual basis comes from ceremonial magic, which is fascinating and nifty but has no relation to the centuries-earlier religious practices of the Bronze Age.

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Folk Dance: Creative Power and Connecting to the Land

 

I'm learning how to flatfoot.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Voto X

For [god/goddess], because he/she heard my cry.”

 

What would you be willing to give in order to get rid of the Troll-in-Chief?

The ex-voto—the vowed or votive offering—is a fine example of a spiritual technology inherited from the ancestors but sorely underutilized today.

Here's how it works. You're hoping for outcome X. So you make a vow to Deity Y: If you will bring about Outcome X, I will, in return, give you Z.

I will:

Sacrifice a fine bull.

Commission a statue of you.

Throw that beautiful boar's-head torc into the Mississippi.

It's a contingency vow. If X, then Z. No X, no Z.

If it all sounds just a little transactional, bear in mind that this practice is firmly grounded in our divine pagan gifting economy: Do ut des, a gift for a gift.

Be warned: if Deity Y comes through for you, do not fail to follow up with Z. Do not. There are lots of stories about those who didn't*, and—believe me—you don't want to hear any of them, much less become one. As Alexander the Great always used to say, It doesn't pay to be stingy with the gods.

Why do I bring this up now? Well, as you may have heard, there's an election coming up.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Does Electric Incense “Count”?

Who would expect to be confronted with a theological conundrum upon walking into a supermarket? Welcome to the Wonderful World of Paganism.

I've gone over to my neighborhood Asian market to pick up some tofu. (At a buck-fifteen per cake, it's still the best deal in town.) Just inside the door, in his little shrine on the floor, sits Weng Shen the Door God. Flanked by electric candles, he scowls as good door-wards do. Before him burns a bowl of electric incense.

The porcelain bowl filled with gravel looks just like a real incense bowl, if you ignore the electric cord that runs through a hole at the back of the shrine. Even the “sticks” of incense—I assume that they're plastic—could almost pass for the real thing, if it weren't for those uniform glowing red electric tips.

So here's the conundrum. Is a symbolic offering still an offering? Does electric incense “count”?

I suppose that the answer to this question depends upon what you mean by “count.”

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What Do You Say to an Angry Lake?

Red Lake is Minnesota's largest lake.

Two months ago, two fishermen were drowned there. Their bodies have yet to be recovered.

In traditional lore, when a lake takes a life, this means that the lake is angry.

Why would a lake be angry? Because people take too much.

Since the drownings, there has been no fishing on the lake. Local media has mostly reported that the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe banned fishing on the lake, but that's not entirely accurate. In fact, there was no top-down pronouncement; people simply stopped fishing because that's the traditional way. Everyone knows what the deaths mean, and what you do and don't do in response.

Since then the Band has held a series of potluck feasts at the Lake. Each time, they have set aside food for the lake. When you take, you need to give back. That's the Old Way.

Each time, the elders have burnt sage and spoken to the lake. I don't need to tell you what they said.

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