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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Thanksgiving

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


With gas prices lower than we’ve seen in a long time, lots of people are taking to the road and the air to travel for the upcoming holidays. It’s a time of gratitude and love, whether you’re flying solo, headed back to visit your blood family, or carving out time for the friends you hold dear, but when so many people hit the roads, tensions can rise and safety can feel tenuous.

I wanted to share a quick spell for safe travels with y’all before I head off for Thanksgiving. Take your time, be courteous to other drivers, and consider asking Isis for a little extra protection before you leave your house.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Thanksgiving - Minoan Style

Thursday is the holiday of Thanksgiving where I live in the U.S. As these things go, it’s a relatively modern one, instituted in the nineteenth century to help bring the nation back together after the Civil War (and please, let’s set aside the horrid historical revisionism about the Pilgrims and the native North American nations for the moment – I’m aware that many people choose not to celebrate Thanksgiving because of this issue). But the concepts on which Thanksgiving is founded are ancient. Essentially, it is the American harvest festival. And some of us find sacredness in that fact.

Across the world and throughout time, virtually every agrarian society instituted some sort of religious festival to celebrate the completion of the harvest. In many cases, these celebrations included the honoring of the Ancestors, both those recently deceased and those long gone. The Minoans were no different from any other ancient culture in this regard.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Thanksgiving, an American Celebration

"Thanksgiving is celebrated as a family harvest celebration, and its origins are swept under the rug. Public schools of my era put up decorations of cutesy Pilgrims and Indians and indoctrinated children in the propaganda that Thanksgiving was a continuous celebration from the First Thanksgiving and had been celebrated the same way ever since, and that the First Thanksgiving was when the settlers had a great harvest and invited the happy, friendly natives to the feast."

That's a quote from my latest book, American Celebration. I decided to write this book for several reasons. One was because I decided to go in a more modernist direction in my personal path. I reached the point where I felt that heathenry had gotten enough reconstruction to have a firm foundation and it was time to build the rest of the house. Becoming a viable religion in modern times means we have to think about how we fit into modern culture. I wanted to spend more of my holidays with my family and friends who are part of my real life, and American secular holiday culture provides a framework for celebrating with friends and family of different faiths. 

Another reason I wrote this book is because I've heard all my life that the United States doesn't have a real culture like other countries do. It's not true. There are American folkways. I discovered things I never knew about my own country's customs while researching this book, which is new this year.

Another reason I wrote the book is because while I was running for office, one day a woman from another country who happened to be at a political event with her fellow asked me why Americans are always worshipping our flag. That got me to thinking, and I also wrote this book for foreigners who want to understand peculiar customs in the United States. 

I'll return to the story of my personal journey on my path in my next blog post.

Here's another quote from the entry on Thanksgiving in American Celebration:

"Thanksgiving as we know it today was created by Abraham Lincoln for the purpose of uniting the bitterly divided American people in the shadow of the Civil War. He created the mythology of Pilgrims and Indians feasting together as a model of how the North and the South ought to come together after the massive bloodshed which had just happened. In reaching back for a foundation myth that reflected a happier and shinier view of the real history of the colonization of America, he hoped to perpetuate a happier and shinier America in his present and the future."

Links to American Celebration:

Amazon (print edition): http://www.amazon.com/American-Celebration-Erin-Lale/dp/1304916138/ref=la_B004GLACQQ_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416415380&sr=1-2

Smashwords (ebook): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/400543

Barnes & Noble (ebook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/american-celebration-erin-lale/1118328548?ean=2940045599979 

American Celebration would make a great Yule gift.

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 b2ap3_thumbnail_image_20141118-225341_1.jpgYou are invited to The 2014 Annual Hassle-Free Thanksgiving Event.

I started it in the early 80s. It’s no longer annual or face-to-face, but I do it as many years as I can, because it makes me happy. Hey, the silly title alone always lifts my spirit.

Please join in the event, online.  To start, let me explain the event by sharing a bit of its history. 
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erika
    Erika says #
    I'm grateful to have discovered my life's purpose, and to be walking the path of healer. By far the most challenging thing I've e
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Erika, happy Thanksgiving to you. I know what you mean about about the blessing of finding your life's work. Every time I provide
  • Marylou Johnson
    Marylou Johnson says #
    I am grateful for friends who take the hassle out of Thanksgiving by inviting us over to their house each holiday. They are adop
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Marylou, thank you for sharing about the beautiful gifts in your life, that touches my heart.
  • Rommy Driks
    Rommy Driks says #
    I am grateful for frozen blueberries, my kids getting better at navigating the tasks involved in growing up, my husband and a week
How to turn Profane holidays into Sacred Days

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. It's always been one of my favorite holidays because of the gathering of community and the sharing of food, as well as the playing of board games after the food has been eaten. Then again, I just like social gatherings in general, where people come together to share food and connect with each other. Nonetheless, Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps one of the reasons I like this holiday so much is that it isn't overtly associated with any given religion. Rather it is a profane holiday, which nonetheless can become sacred.

Actually I think that's true with any given moment you have. There is no moment that is strictly profane or sacred that isn't made that way by the people in that moment. What makes something sacred or profane is our own interpretation of it, and how we choose to embody it. So when it comes to Thanksgiving, the experience of the food, friends, and activities becomes sacred because of how I choose to approach those moments. The making of the food is significant because of the meaning I associate with it. The point I'm making is this: What makes something significant ultimately is your choice to make it important. For many people, Thanksgiving will be a day off, or a day celebrating gluttony or commercialism or any other number of things. For me, Thanksgiving is a holy day. That's my perception of the day, but its also how I approach the various activities of the day. I'm aware of the various other meanings that people have for the day. But those aren't my meanings.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    Thank YOU for this blog! As an aside. I live in an area with Native American reservations on two sides of me and nearly all the N
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Glad you enjoyed the post. Like you I feel everything is sacred as well...but it really does cme down to appreciating that sacredn
  • Modemac
    Modemac says #
    Thanksgiving may not be overtly religious (though the Puritans had religious motives behind nearly everything), but it is *is* pri
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    There's definitely controversy around the holiday. I suspect that many people, myself included, will continue to celebrate it rega

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Finding Blessings in the Crazy

I was invited to guest minister at the Goddess Temple of Orange County in southern California the morning of Sunday, November 23, on the theme of "Our Blessings" and on that very day, my husband, Roy, and I were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and renewing our vows before our beloved feline Mother, Sekhmet.  I thought I'd share with you the message I delivered to those gathered:

I know sometimes it doesn’t always feel like it, but we are so lucky, we have so many blessings, and none of them have to do with money, though that’s what our culture would have us believe is one of the things that count most -  but truly, does having wealth bring us love?  No, certainly not. 

Does having money help us grow as better human beings?  Not always.  Sometimes I think not having wealth is more of a blessing.  Out of necessity, we have to learn to connect and interact with each other because we depend on each other so much more. 

So I’m here today, with Thanksgiving around the corner, to suggest we each peer into the window of our life as if we were standing before a department store window.  Take stock and I bet you’ll  marvel at all there is inside the “store that is our life” because I think sometimes there is so much clutter inside we stop seeing the blessings.  And it looks different for each of us, just as every storefront we walk past in the mall has different and wonderful things within.  Our blessings are all so diverse. 

But there are blessings many of us  have in common, too.

We are so blessed to live in a blue state and not be at risk of vaginal probes, personhood amendments, and loss of control of our reproductive health.  We are so blessed to have this brick and mortar temple where we can gather to express the oldest religion on the planet - without fear.  We are so lucky to have such a brave, dedicated and talented community, like so many of you here, including Ava and the women and men who keep this temple thriving.  We are so lucky for the internet and clean water and advanced medicine.  It’s easy to forget everyone doesn’t have that.  We are blessed we aren’t forced to kill our girl children at birth because we can’t afford their dowry later in life.  We are blessed because we can vote, although too many of us don’t.  We can disobey male authority without paying a price.  But we forget so many of these things.  We’re human and we kind of take them for granted sometimes.

But as you put your nose on the glass of your own storefront - and I hope you will - to peruse all the goodness inside,  I hope you’ll also be courageous enough to lift the lid of your challenges, disappointment and pain because I’ll bet there are blessings there too.  I know Roy’s heart attack made him start to take his health more seriously.  My mother’s death helped me deepen my ability to forgive.  And sometimes it’s the bullies in life that teach us the most about who we are and what we’re made of.

And don’t overlook the little blessings that make us smile.  See the blessing in the brave little hummingbird at the bird feeder, the beautiful and perfect roses in the garden, or the smell of bacon in the morning.  Myself, I cherish that fleeting moment  between being sleep and fully awake, feeling the cool sheets in the dim light of morning.  Maybe your cat is sleeping next to you and you feel the softness of her fur as you hear the alarm go off and there’s beautiful music on the radio.  Don’t overlook either sweet  memories or your feisty friends who challenge your thinking and help you grow. 

I know I feel blessed and Roy does too, that so many of you drove all this way so early in the morning to be here today with us.  You too are our blessings and we love you.  Thank you for being in our lives. 

So this week and as often as you can, try to take inventory of your blessings like a good shopkeeper so you know the value of all the assets in the store of your life. Be sure you look in all the nooks and crannies.  We can really find the blessings in the craziest and most unexpected places as I was reminded recently.

You see this “scholar” had blown me off because he saw me as a disillusioned advocate of Marija Gimbutas theories, but we talked, and talked - and to my surprise he’s offered me a private showing of the valuable artifacts within his goddess collection.  Dare I hold out hope that crack in the door will swing wide enough for him to fully embrace Gimbutas herstory?  Who knows.  We shall see. 

So think about that next week when Uncle George who parrots Fox News is talking crazy round the Thanksgiving dinner table.  As he goes on and on setting your hair on fire next week, making you choke on the green bean casserole,  maybe he’s helping you grow patience and tolerance.  Who knows, you might even find a kernel of truth in all the crazy that can lead you toward bridging the gap.  We can really find blessings in the craziest and most unexpected places sometimes

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    Well, this one hit me on the head with a hammer! Duh... Reason being that my boyfriend is the manager of a store and "inventory"

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