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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Tribe

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Who's Your People?

How do you become a witch?

Well, some of us are born to the tribe. They say that He Himself overshadows our fathers at the moment of our begetting. That explains why we turn out the way we do.

But like other tribes, the Tribe of Witches tends to be porous around the edges. Opting in is always a possibility. (So is opting out, but that's another matter. And you know what they say: Once a witch, always a witch.)

You can marry in. Love is the ultimate bind-oath. Once you speak the language, eat the food, and keep the holidays, you're more or less in by osmosis.

Or you can adopt in. The old rites of initiation are essentially rites of adoption: you make the bind-oath to the gods of the thede (tribe), you're blooded, and you're in.

Because (with all due deference to Uncle Gerald) we're not really a religion at all.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Pagan Era

So: a Wiccan, a Druid, and a Kemetic Reconstructionist walk into a bar.

By any reasonable standard, these people all practice different religions, right?

That's why the term "pagan" is so brilliant.

I've been part of this long enough that I can remember when we first started calling ourselves—and, more importantly, thinking of ourselves—as pagan.

BPE (Before the Pagan Era), Wiccans, Druids, and Kemetic Reconstructionists were different modalities of being. But add the name, and suddenly: hey, presto, it's now the Pagan Era, and we perceive one another as (in some way, shape, or form) belonging to the same group, as different clans in the same overall tribe.

Being pagan together gives us numbers. Suddenly there are millions of us across the world, and numbers = power. Suddenly I have something in common with someone that I've never met in Kyrgyzstan. (Since independence, there's been a big resurgence of traditional religion across Central Asia.)

Let no one doubt the power of a single word.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's a wonderful little book, isn't it? Definitely a worthwhile read for a People in search of itself. Can't wait to read Belongin
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Just so! Finished reading Tribe, by Sebastian Junger. Feeling the need to write a book called Belonging: Searching for Tribe in

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The People of the Sea

I never knew that we were Seal Clan until my nephew was born.

You know the story. One full moon night the fisherman sees the seal-maidens come up onto the beach. They step out of their seal-skins and dance as naked maidens in the moonlight. 

The fisherman steals the skin of the youngest. When her sisters return to the sea, she cannot join them. So she goes home with him and becomes his wife.

But years later, one full moon night, she finds her seal-skin again, hidden away in a chest, and not even her love for her children can keep her from going back.

And that's where certain families get their webbed feet from.

Seeing my newborn sister-son's toe-webbing, the aunts said: Oh he has it too, and then I heard the stories.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ours by Eldright


It's a question worth asking: do we, the new pagans, have a right to the ways and the lore of the old pagans?

To this, I would say: we do. They're ours by eldright.

David Cowley, who coined the term, defines eldright as “ancient right, tradition.” It comes to us by virtue of who we are.

We are the pagans, the True people. (It's an anthropological truism that practically every tribal name means the People, the Real People.) The contrary of this True is not false; the contrary of this True is unTrue. We are the ones who remain faithful (“true”) to the ways of the ancestors. Some have chosen other ways, as is their right. But in doing so they have thereby become unfaithful—untrue—to the ancestors and to their ways. Every people that remains True to its ancestral ways is a True people.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
People Like Us

It's Wednesday's and Pugsley's big sword-fight scene in the school play.

A severed limb thuds to the ground. Blood sprays the front rows.

The camera pans the audience: horror, incredulity, disgust.

All but the Addams Family.

They're loving it.

I'd gone with some of our sister coven to see Addams Family Values.

There we were, a row unto ourselves among the pastel suburban families, laughing at all the wrong times.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Witch Country

They call it the Driftless Area.

What strange forces spared one isolated region along the Upper Mississippi River, asks Timothy S. Jacobson, from the repeated crushing and scouring effects of massive continental glaciers during the last million-plus years? What pre-Ice Age throwbacks survived here in this unique refuge that holds more Native American effigy mounds, petroglyph caves, strange geological features, and rare species than anywhere else in the Midwest?

Every tribe has a territory. In this, the Midwest Tribe of Witches is no different from any other.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
To Find My Ancestors

One Pagan's DNA Research

My ancestors are important to my shamanic path. My previous post discusses that and why taking an AncestryDNA test is part of that path for me. 

Today's post discusses my feelings as I waited for the test results, my reactions to the results, and the adventure it put me on as a Pagan. 

An AncestryDNA test predicts ethnicity. Waiting for test results, I wondered if I'd like them. I felt excitement and a bit of trepidation.

I was empowered thinking about the benefits my friends' experienced. One friend learned which regions in Africa her ancestors hailed from. Prior to that, she did not know where in Africa she was from. Another friend uncovered secrets her family had hidden. This freed her from decades of lies.  

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joyce ORourke
    Joyce ORourke says #
    I loved reading about your experience with the DNA testing and your results. Did you ever just know something about yourself since
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Joyce, Thanks for checking out the blog. I am delighted you liked it. And yes, I really hear you about knowing stuff despite any
  • aought
    aought says #
    Yes, I look forward to having my DNA analyzed. Oh, the ancestry that is buried. Raised "English," (Grandma was an English immigran
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    aought, thanks so much for your perspective on this. I am glad that you agree with me that 1) discovering one's ethnicity both doe

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