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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in witchcraft

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Traditional lore can inform, gently point to mysteries, and outright open gateways. But, nowadays, in the Pagan community, rigid interpretation of lore often becomes a stranglehold on magical and spiritual practices.

 

I’ve spent years learning lore, meditating on it so it can inform shamanic lessons I give, and creating ritual based in lore. So I’d be the first to insist that, sometimes, lore provides definitive, irrefutable facts. However, common sense is needed.  

 

My mother taught me to think for myself. It was one of the greatest gifts a parent can give. 

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw says #
    Very well put. Dogma is the death of spirituality. Our spiritual practices seem to be best served if we remain open to growth an
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Judith, thanks so much! I *really* appreciate your support re my essay.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Tasha, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so glad you relate to what I’m saying. Bright blessings back at you!
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    What you said in this well written piece is right on in my book. Thank you for putting it so well. There are many masks worn by th
  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    I feel you on this. I have a (tentative, I'm still very new and learning) relationship with Death as an entity, usually presenting
Ask a Strega to Teach You a Spell and ...

 Ask for a spell from a witch raised in a family tradition of Italian magic that reaches back centuries, and the witch might change the topic so smoothly that only hours later do you realize your question was avoided. 

 Ask that same person how their aunt Teresa is doing, and you’ll hear an hourlong story about Teresa’s new boyfriend, during which tale you’re also taught the exact rite you requested ... though you may have to watch carefully for it. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Pumping & Churning Out Art

A while back, a good friend of mine posted where he was in overall word count on his book project to his personal Facebook page. Someone thought it was their place to tell him that he should be more concerned about content than quantity, and that he was "in danger of churning out too many books." 

"Too many books" was approximately one a year apparently. 

I've seen the same criticism leveled at musicians/bands that produce perhaps a CD a year. 

I yet to have that same crap thrown my way about my art or more writing - but it could be that they're just not going to say it to my face or post it where I can see it. I imagine it's only a matter of time, especially with how my own publishing schedule seems to look like from the outside.  People do express a bit of incredulity at what I am able to do/create, which can be a bit awkward at times. 

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  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    LOVE this, Laura! So true. (I'm an obsessive creative who's writing/creating is a part of my spiritual path).

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Tapestry is a long-running and respected CBC Radio program that looks at different religions in Canada.  As far as I know, this is the first time Wicca, or any Pagan faith, has been featured on the show.  I thought it was worth sharing!

Listen here:

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing! I'll definitely give this a listen in the near future.
The Struggle of Sacred, Sensual, Sexual

In 5th grade, we had an assignment to make art depicting "innocence and the light and grace of God" (or something similar). I chose to draw a young boy and girl standing bathed in the light of the Holy Spirit (in dove form), their backs to the viewer, their bodies lightly covered in transparent shifts.  To me that showed the purity of creation, a clear symbol of innocence. I thought it was a beautiful drawing. 

My classmates called me a pervert and were horrified. My teacher told me they needed more clothes.  I didn't see anything wrong or shameful in what I had drawn.  

I grew up with big books of museum art full of nudes, wallpaper with naked women bathing in my parents' bathroom - which was no different than the metallic lions and tigers in the jungle on the walls of the bathroom my brothers and I shared. Bodies are used in art because they are amazing things.  I inherently understood that being naked didn't automatically mean being sexual. 

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Very interesting and well put. I too grew up with an artist mother and parents who didn't hide their bodies. My mom used to invite

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Goddesses Come Knocking

I don't have what many would call a devotional relationship with many of the deities I paint, but that doesn't mean there isn't a divine connection or other kind of relationship.  Often I tap into other people's devotions for those deities, or have an interesting conversation with those gods for a short time. 

Over the weekend, I just finished a series of 5 small goddess paintings, and wanted to share with you all a little behind the process of making them.

First a little background:
Friday (June 16th) is the opening for the Goddess show at Gargoyles Statuary in Seattle. I think it may be the 4th year I've participated in this show, and this one's a little extra special as I'll also be doing an author talk and signing for my new book, The Witch's Cauldron. However, I'm leaving the very next day for a 6 week long book/workshop/performance tour, so I was concerned about getting art done in time.  I had planned to get one new painting done for it - which I managed to finish last week.  But it's a large and highly detailed painting with a very high price point (if I make it available at all for sale at this time.)

Waste Not, Want Not
I was contemplated how to create a few more pieces at a friendly price-point when I spied the small stack of pine pieces I had cut off a recent batch of panels for shrine prints. Under 5"x8" and lightweight, they were a great size.  Even though I was going to be at an event all weekend, I knew from past experiences that this event tends to have slow periods.  So I painted gesso on 5 pieces, sanded them, then did some color washes on each from the leftover paint sitting in my palette from the big painting I just finished. (It's acrylic, so it would have gone to waste.) 

Once dry, I tucked the panels, a couple bottles of paint, some brushes, and pens - to take with me to the event. 

Calling All Goddesses
The next step was figuring out who to paint.  So I put a call out on my Facebook page, asking folks for suggestions on deities that I haven't painted yet, or haven't done in a long while.  From that list, I wrote down about a dozen of the suggestions that stood out for me.  I did some light research on the backgrounds of the goddesses and historical art made for them. 

Once I was situated in my booth, I pulled out the panels.  Because I had done random color washes on them before I left, each one had a different "mood" to it.  I looked at the list, and the panel in my hand, and one name jumped off: Anahita.  And so she was the first painting, emerging out of a wash of deep Prussian blue and navy pen work. 

The next panel I picked up was a mixture of greens and browns, and Pachamama's name leaped off the page.  In the wash, I could see her peeking out at the viewer with a full pregnant body of earth and greens. 

As I was working on that piece, a third panel nudged its way out - the wash looking like a powerful swirl of deep waters.  Yemaya leaped off the list and on to the panel. 

Two panels left.  A warm purple/earthy panel was chosen by Pele. I started work on her before I had to finish for the day - 3.5 paintings is pretty good for one day's work while tending to a booth!

Next Day
In the morning, I finished up Pele, adding a little bronze paint into her skin, and trails of flowers.  I thought 4 was good enough - in fact, I would have been happy with finishing 3.  But then the 5th panel fell to the floor from where it was sitting under the table.  Well, I still had a few hours....

The panel was mainly a light blue wash and didn't speak yet to any of the names on the list, but I still had purples, yellows, and rust left over from Pele. So I did another layer of color washes.  Suddenly, Ereshkigal leaped off the list - I could see her body in a lamia-esque form swirling out of the colors.  

So in the end, I got 5 of these little paintings done, and made contact with 5 very different deities from all over the world. 





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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
In Search of Perfection

Is the quest for perfection a worthy one?

No matter what form of art I've explored, there are always people trying to hold up a mirror of perfection.  Some use it as a moving target for them to aim their practice to, motivating them to work harder, pushing them along.  Some people take that to an extreme, and never find satisfaction in anything they do because it falls short in their eyes.  They deny themselves credit and possibilities because they feel their work doesn't measure up. Their work might never see the light of day because of their fear. 

Why fear? Because others use an elusive ideal as a means to tear down others who don't fit THEIR idea of what "perfect" is.  Even if they wouldn't even attempt to try it themselves.  They too are trapped by fear and insecurity - of failing short.  But it's easier to talk the talk than walk the walk. 

But the reality is this: There is no perfect film, song, book, dance, building, or work of art. Nothing we create is ever truly perfect - it is all inherently flawed, because that is both our nature and the true disease of time. A work can never be all things to all people. It's not meant to be.

Yet within this unavoidable imperfection, a work IS perfect. It is a pinpoint perfection of that moment in time, that decade, that experience - of the creator and those who interact with it. Perfect dwells in the liminal, the intangible, the shifting land of hopes, dreams, desires, and memories.

What works for one moment may not work for the following one.  That's how time works.  Society is always moving, we as beings are ever-growing and changing.  What we deem worthy or commendable in one situation or timeframe may fall out of favor in the next.  And vice versa. 

Working artists know this.  They know perfection is a lie.  We fall in love with our latest work of art, and then move on to the next one.  We see our work as a series of steps in a spiraling staircase that only ends when we end...or the work ceases to exist.  Each piece of work is part of a larger pattern - and if we rip out those threads solely because we later deem them imperfect, then we fail to see the beauty of the pattern. 

It's important to keep this in mind whether you're considering an artistic, metaphysical, or spiritual practice.  (And often all 3 may find common ground!). 

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