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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Tribe

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In Praise of Tribalism

Among the chattering classes on both the Left and the Right, it's become fashionable to decry what they call “Tribalism,” meaning solipsistic hyper-partisanship.

You'll notice that none of those doing the decrying actually belong to a tribe.

Those of us who do know that, in fact, they're wrong.

Tribalism is not the problem. Tribalism is the answer.

It's the lack of true tribe that is the problem.

Human beings are tribal animals. We're born with a need to belong: to be part of the life of an ongoing people, a group larger than a family but smaller than a nation. This provides us with a sense of belonging that nothing else can satisfy.

Since the longing to belong is inherent, when we don't have it, we seek it out. The tribe-substitutes that we end up with instead are all too often either something destructive—like a gang, or the Party—or something ephemeral and utterly trivial, like the Game, or the Concert.

Pagans, I would contend, are an emergent tribe, at least in potentia. Thou mayst not be a pagan alone. All pagan religions are tribal religions: they come with an inherent affiliation to a particular people. A paganism without a people is an incomplete paganism.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Do You Extinguish a Sacred Fire?

The gathering of the Tribe is over.

The sacred Fire of Gathering, which was lighted when the Tribe first gathered, must now be extinguished.

But how do you extinguish a sacred Fire?

Well, here's how the Tribe of Witches does it.

On the final morning of our Grand Sabbat witch-moot, we gather around the Fire, and make the same offerings and prayers to It that we've made on every morning of our gathering.

Then we quench the Fire with offerings. At the Grand Sabbat, for reasons that I won't go into here, we use red wine to do this.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Of Beans, Rice, and Thinking Tribally

Back in the 70s, I was a good, doctrinaire Diet for a Small Planet vegetarian.

Frances Moore Lappé's epoch-making cookbook was based on the notion of protein complementarity: in order to get a complete protein, you need both beans and grains. Eaten together, you get more nutritional benefit from the combination than you would if you ate them separately.

So, religiously, I ate my beans and rice together at meal after meal after meal.

Since then, we've learned more about how the body handles these things. In fact, the body and its digestion is more flexible than we used to think. If you eat, say, your whole wheat toast for breakfast and your lentil soup at lunch, you'll still get the full protein benefit from the combination.

And that's another thing that the tribe does for us.

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The Tribe of Witches: A Story for Our Day

This is the story of the Tribe of Witches.

Five hundred generations ago, a people called the Hwicce (HWICH-eh) lived in the basin of the River Severn in what is now England.

Their forebears, mostly Angles speaking a Germanic language, had come from the Continent, and settled in the tribal territory of a Keltic-speaking people called the Dobunni, the “People of the Two Tribes.”

In time, as is the way of things, these two peoples became one people: and this was the making of us. For from their union, some say, Kelt and German, sprang those that today we call the Tribe of Witches; and, indeed, we still bear their name.

And this is the main thing: that from our very beginning, we have been a mixed people.

Look at the Wheel of our Year: sunsteads, evendays, and cross-farthings together: the Keltic with the Germanic. We are a mixture of peoples, and our lore a mixture of lores.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Name (Tribe)

There's a conventional usage in the First Nations press which I think, for various reasons, would be a good fit for the pagan community as well.

There it's customary to identify someone both by name and by tribal affiliation:

Winona la Duke (Anishinabe)

Arvol Looking Horse (Dakota)

This makes perfect sense. In traditional societies, you don't just need to know who someone is; you need to know who her people are as well. In traditional Dine (Navajo) culture, when introducing yourself to a fellow Dine, you mention not just your own name, but your maternal and paternal clans as well. This gives you not just an identity, but a context.

Since pagans come in different kinds, it seems to me that this makes sense for us, too:

Isaac Bonewits (Druid)

Alison Harlow (Feri)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Reborn to the People

What do you say when someone dies?

I've been rereading Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin's monumental The Masters of Solitude, a landmark of 20th century witch fiction. It's set 1000 years in the future, and eastern North America is largely populated by various witch tribes.

Among them, when someone dies, you express the wish—or is it a prayer?—that he (or she) be reborn to the tribe.

Reborn to the Shando. Reborn to the Suffec. Reborn to the Karli.

It's a deep witch longing: if I'm to be reborn, let it be among my own.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What Is a Witch?

What is a witch?

Is a witch something that you are, or something that you become?

Is witchhood from within or from without?

Can anyone be (or become) a witch, or only certain people?

Do you have to undergo initiation to be a witch?

Can you stop being a witch?

From whence does witchhood derive?

Is witchcraft a religion?

If not, does the Craft have religious implications?

Are witchcraft and Wicca identical?

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