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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Received Tradition

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Throng of Boars

In the old Witch language, the constellation that we know as Orion was called Eofor-ðring: literally, “Boar-throng.”

We don't know why.

It's likely that there was once a story to explain the name. Doubtless this Ever-thring (as we would say today), this throng of boars, belonged to—or was defeated, or captured, by—some god or hero, and ended up in the sky as a result.

We'll never know.

Boars were meaningful to the ancestors. Their likeness appeared on battle-gear. Boars are fiercely protective, and nothing stops them. You can always recognize a boar-spear because it's got a cross-bar. If it didn't, the spitted boar would drive his own body up along the spear-shaft, just to get at you. Seriously.

In Old Norse mythology, the boar belongs to the phallic god Frey, whom some would identify (controversially) with the God of Witches. His name means “lord.” The Anglo-Saxons had the same word with the same meaning—fréa—but whether to them it also was the name of a god we simply don't, and probably never will, know.

So much has been lost since the old days, like the story of the Ever-thring. What has come down to us has come down to us in pieces.

And thereby hangs a mandate.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Man of the Mounds

There was a man who came to the New World from the Old. He worked hard and saved his money, and in time he bought himself a parcel of land and began to farm it.

Now it so happened that on this land there were some mounds.

"Dig 'em up, see what's inside," said some. "Plow 'em under," said others.

But the man knew mounds from the Old Country, and he knew that no good ever comes of meddling with them. And so he did neither.

Well, the man prospered and bought more land, and on this land also there were mounds. But no more did he meddle with these than he had with the others.

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  • T-Roy
    T-Roy says #
    Blessed be this wise ancestor, Fredrick Bronnenberg.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hefting

It's what cowans call “tradition”: heft.

It's an old word, a Northern word, from the Norse hefð. It's ultimately from the same root as have, heave, and haven, because heft—tradition—is what we have, what we hold and hold to.

It's a noun: both what (and where) we hold to, and those of us hefted—traditioned—thus. So we are our heft. The Driftless Area is our homeland, our heft.

It's a verb: used of a person or people, it means to hold to, to maintain. We heft the Old Ways here.

It's an adjective: hefted, describing those so held; the state of being traditioned, for as we hold heft, so heft holds us.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ahl al-Kitab

I guide without need of scripture,

for my words are written on the hearts of my people.
 

Muhammad was right.

There are the ahl al-kitâb—the People of the Book—and then there are the pagans.

One of the things that impresses me most about the New Paganisms—and this is one of the ways in which we have remained most true to the ways of the ancestors—is that, from our very beginnings, we have been, and remain, non-scriptural religions. Occasional jokes about Edda-thumping aside (“Snorri said it, I believe it, That settles it”), we have, for the most part, managed to dodge the silver bullet of Canon. In a world in which religions are defined by their scriptures, this is an impressive achievement, rendered all the more striking by the apparently unconscious nature of the decision.

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Yes!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Land, Lede, Lore

What makes a religion pagan?

I'm going to contend that paganisms are preeminently religions of land, lede, and lore.

Land. Paganism is local, intimately related to specific places. Pagans are by definition the People of the Place; when peoples change their place, they bring their mythologies with them, and those mythologies naturalize to the new place. While the term “nature religion” is problematic on numerous levels, the paganisms direct themselves largely to this-worldly concerns, and engage the environment and the non-human beings with whom we share that environment as a matter of primary spiritual course. There are no universal paganisms; or, rather, the paganisms are at their most universal insofar they are most specifically local.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Today is the third (and final) day of my official mourning for my heart-friend and partner-in-arts Sparky T. Rabbit. For three days now I have neither bathed, washed my hair, nor shaved. I've worn the same dirty clothes every day. (Fortunately, the nature of my work permits this.) I look (and probably smell) terrible. It's a kind of shared death, a time In Between.

I learn something new every time I encounter these old, ancestral customs, usually by way of seeing the deep wisdom embedded in them. In this case, the sheer physical and psychological discomfort of this disruption to normal life is strong incentive to move through deep mourning and into what comes next.

Sparky, I know that guys with beards always made your heart beat faster.

But come Sundown tonight, I'm shaving.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Ted. Reborn to the people.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    A guru once observed that we cry when we come into this world, while everyone around us laughs - but that we laugh with joy and re

Who, then, are the gods of the new pagans?

I would suggest that Two, at least, among Them are revealing Themselves to us even as you read these words.

Not through the mouths of prophets do they speak to us today, but through the hands of artists: a revelation not in words, but in shape and line and color.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Good stuff, Steve. I am also put off by the tendency of some who try to merge all Gods into "One God." Or all Goddesses into "On
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Greybeard. I'm not sure when Aunt Violet's reductionist dictum about all gods being one god, all goddesses being one godde
  • Anne Forrester
    Anne Forrester says #
    Great article Steve! I wish you had included some links to actual art. Here's a couple of paintings that are my take on the Red Go
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Next post on how the Goddesses reveal themselves today? Or are the male Gods the primary "icons for our day"?
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Never doubt it, Carol. Coming soon (as soon as I can figure out how to load images, anyway), an amazing modern Goddess pendant by

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