Culture Blogs

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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

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Emotional Rescue Remedy

Why does every day seem like it is a week long nowadays? Unplugging from cable news and constant social media feeds will help, as will this time-tested aromatherapy healing potion. This remedy is an excellent way to recharge and refresh after a hectic week, and it is most potent when made right after the sun sets, by the light of the moon.

In a small ceramic or glass bowl, gently mix together the following essential oils with a small amount of a base carrier oil:

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Do the gods act immorally?

I'm reading a series of essays addressing this topic by a number of pagan writers. Fancy names like Nietzsche and Schopenhauer are being bandied about, semantics parsed.

(The Christian Fathers frequently used the “immorality” of the pagan gods as a club with which to beat the traditional religions of the Mediterranean world about the head, though to my mind anyone espousing the god of the Bible has no club with which to beat anyone.)

It's a old question: Is man [sic] more just than the gods?

Of necessity, here, I find myself asking the question: By whose standards?


The witches have a saying: To each people, its own law.

Witches live by Witch Law. Deer live by Deer Law. Wolves live by Wolf Law. I'd be a fool to expect a wolf to live by Witch Law.


Permit me the liberty to recast an old story in rather more contemporary language.


The New Ager and the Rattlesnake


A New Ager was meditating on the bank of a river in spate one day when he saw a rattlesnake being swept along on the current. Filled with compassion, he used a fallen branch to fish the snake out of the water.

The snake was stiff with cold, and clearly near death. The New Ager tucked the snake into his shirt, and in a while and a while the snake was warmed and began to move around.

Then he bites the New Ager.

Stunned by the snake's ingratitude, the New Ager cries out: Why did you bite me? I saved your life!

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Lemon Balm Soothes Those Aches and Pains (Including Heartbreak)

Lemon Balm also goes by the equally lovely Latinate Melissa. From Greco Roman times, this relative of the mint family has been held to be a significant medicinal. You can grow lemon balm with ease from seed packets in almost any kind of soil, but it likes shade in the afternoon to prevent wilting. This is one of the happy plants that will “volunteer” and spread in your garden, and it can be used in your home to bring love to you and to heal after a breakup or divorce as well. It can also be employed as an aphrodisiac. Infusions and teas made from lemon balm make good on the property that its name implies, as it can soothe the heart and any lingering upset, blue moods, and aches and pains from trauma both physical and emotional. I suggest we all grow as much as possible and let some go to seed for those new plants that will pop up in unexpected places in your herb garden. An herbalist never complains about a plentitude of balm; anyone who makes much use of lemon balm in brews and cookery will enjoy an abundance of love.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Saint Eugene Icon | Etsy


So, a pagan walks into a church: a Russian Orthodox Church, to be specific.

I'm not just visiting or sightseeing. Incredibly, I'm there to venerate the icon of “Passion-bearer” St. Yevgeny Botkin.

Botkin (1865-1918) was personal physician to “Slick Nick” Romanov, the last (well, the last before Putin, anyway) tsar of Russia. He went into Siberian exile along with the royal family, and was executed with them by the Soviets in 1918.

Even in Heaven, there's inequality. The Russian Orthodox Church canonized the tsar and his family in 1981, but didn't get around to sainting the faithful servants who died with them until 2016, more than 30 years later. Jeez.

No, I'm not some sort of Christo-Pagan, or some ghoulish Romanov groupie. I'm here to honor St. Yevgeny the Physician for one reason: because his son was not just a pagan, but the father of American Paganism.

Gleb Botkin (1900-1969) managed to escape the Revolution and came (via Shanghai) to America, where he made a successful career for himself as a novelist and illustrator. He supported the (as it turns out, false) claims of Franziska Schanzkowska—AKA Anna Anderson—to be the tsar's youngest daughter, Anastasia. (Pagans have a quixotic affinity for lost causes, maybe because here in the West there's no bigger Lost Cause than paganism.) Most importantly—to me, anyway—he founded (in 1938, if you can believe it) the Long Island Church of Aphrodite, the US's first legally-recognized pagan temple.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, My favorite quote from the judge who upheld the Church of Aphrodite's freedom of religion: "I guess it's better than

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Friendship Is Love, Too

Helping a jilted friend get over a bad relationship is good medicine, which can be therapeutic for you, as well. For example, a wonderful male coworker of mine was dumped unceremoniously by a woman he had been seeing for two years. He quickly went into a deep depression, and my heart went out to him. I felt compelled to help. I knew my friend walked to work each day, so I decided to let the cleansing winds work a little magic on his behalf.

At the nearest florist I bought two long-stemmed white roses. I took the petals from one and mixed them with a cup of aromatic lavender. I blessed the concoction, chanting:

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 Dear Cowan (that's “non-pagan” in Pagan),


Yes, I'm pagan, and no, I don't want to talk about it.

That may surprise you. Here in the US, we're lousy with people who can't wait to tell you all about their religion, usually in excruciating detail.

Well, I'm not one of them.

I'm not just being froward here; this is an integral part of who we are. For us, religion is tribal; it's ours to us, and—quite frankly—none of your damn business. Think of the religion of Zuñi pueblo. It's not for talking about with non-Zuñi. As a Zuñi elder once remarked about missionaries, “They throw their religion away as if it isn't worth anything, and then they expect us to take it seriously.”

In fact, what seems to you mere friendly curiosity—and we are interesting, I acknowledge that—strikes us as both rude and deeply intrusive.

Oh, I understand that your questions are well-intentioned. What you need to understand is that, as a non-pagan, you're operating out of privilege, and in fact—if you'll pardon me for putting it quite so baldly—a sense of entitlement. You think that you have the right to ask me anything that you bloody well please, and that I somehow owe you an answer.

Well, I'm here to tell you that it just ain't so.

If you really want to know about me, my people, and our ways, there are plenty of resources out there. Go and educate yourself. Then if you come to me with questions, you won't be coming from a place of ignorance, and I may just consider answering.


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Celestial Celebration Sacred Scents Incense

To purify and enhance the space where you perform spells, here is the best incense to burn before and after every circle gathering with your friends.

Mix together one part of each:

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