PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Our intrepid Editor, Anne Newkirk Niven, once told me: “Just write what you want to write. It’s virtually impossible to figure out what will resonate with readers—or what they’re interested in reading”.
And, if you think about it, just about anyone can fill a Symbolism blog with inventories of universal signs and archetypes—and what go-to authors of symbolism books list as accepted interpretations....
We're all born pagan.
Anything else, you have to be made into.
The end that those who look to the end of days see is their own.
But we were here before, we've never gone away, and after, we'll still be here.
In theory Pagans honour the dark half of the year as well as the light, bright growing times. However, in practice we spend autumn talking about harvest, and while we do acknowledge the dead at Samhain, midwinter tends to be more about the return of the light than the deep darkness. There are many things the wheel of the year doesn’t give us much space to honour and explore. Loss, misery, nostalgia, regret, and despair don’t really find a place.
Of course it’s tempting to focus on the ‘good stuff’ in life – what seeds are you planting this spring, where’s your fertility for Beltain, what have you harvested, and lo, the sun is reborn and round we go again! However, if you don’t have a lover, and your health is poor or your plans aren’t working out, then these are tough things to celebrate and it can feel like there’s no room for your experiences amongst everyone else’s cheerful optimism. The wheel of the year encourages us to look forward in hope, not fear, and not to look back except when we can be pleased by the results....
As with Terra and Gaia, Earth/Hertha/Nerthus is a Goddess. I think civilizations have always acknowledged her as Mother. We keep calling her by Goddess names, even in monotheist eras.
I find it a little odd that we also call soil “earth”. Mother as the sum of her parts – the physical matter of her body, but reduced to the rocky sediment. But really, ocean is as much “earth” as soil is. Air, lava, and living organic matter are, too. You and I are “earth”. So this wording from our language draws my eye to the separateness and stage-set attitude of Western Civilization being “on the earth” rather than “in the earth”. On a ground or stage, rather than deep within the biosphere… itself deep within the universe. Above, on top of, dominating, walking on… Planet as mostly inanimate prop to play out the lofty human drama, instead of the reality that Pagans know of planet as living home and community to which we belong and mother from which we emerged… inseparable from ourselves.
I see soil as deep and fecund, and the ground as a lot more than a simple surface. From spinning core and ever-shifting mantle creating a magnetosphere to shield us from solar winds, to rich medium that produces and nourishes all life as well as storing and transforming organic and inorganic matter, to ancient mountains and ocean rifts, to the symbolic shamanic lower world we can descend into for knowledge and experience. It is the fire and the cauldron.
Part of my spiritual work is to bring this vital, communal, and immersive sensibility back into my culture’s relationship with Earth. It is currently and for so long has been sick with
I’ve read it so many times in books and blogs – now is the season for making love out of doors, jumping naked over Bel fires and generally doing your Paganism in a carefree, unclad sort of way. It is warm enough to be barefoot outside, I grant you, but far, far too cold for nudity. A traditional British summer brings more rain than it does cavorting options. The naked dancing Pagans are either far tougher than me, or don’t actually do as much of the cavorting out of doors as they imply.
As a species we obviously didn’t start out wearing clothes, but have got into the habit over thousands of years. It’s allowed us to extend our habitat far beyond the balmy zones our hairless and not that blubbery bodies could otherwise tolerate. So the trouble with viewing nudity as natural, and thus desirable, is that you aren’t budgeting in what we’ve been doing for a long time purely because we can and do wrap up....
I'm writing in response to Tess Dawson's excellent post about honoring the differences among the numerous Pagan paths. There are many tributaries of this mighty river: Druidry, Wicca, Heathen, Asatru, Kemeticism, Thelema...the list could go on and on. Even within each of those tributaries, there are several streams that feed into it. Just within Wicca, there are Gardnerians, Dianics, Reclaiming, and more.
I agree very much with Dawson: our paths are not the same path. I believe that the right path is the path that sings in your heart; like Nature, I believe diversity is strength. I don't need to make every path the same in order to respect it....