Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
Dreams: You Are Missing a Body Part

If you find yourself looking down in a dream only to discover that you’re suddenly missing an arm, a leg, a finger, etc., that can often be a sign of some kind of loss in your waking life. Whether the dream involves the traumatic loss of a limb or its simply disappearance, the symbolism is deeply tied to feelings of abandonment, helplessness, and sacrifice. This dream can stem from a fear of losing something or someone important to you in real life. The body part lost likely connects to something you felt was a vital part of yourself that you aren’t ready to let go of.

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 Prophecy or Chemistry? The Mystery of the Oracle of Delphi | by Paul  Halpern | Medium

 

“How long will I be emperor?” the emperor Nero asked the Delphic Oracle.

“Beware the seventy-third year,” the Oracle told him.

 

You are the Hierophant, the high priest and guardian of the Mysteries of Eleusis.

You receive a command from the Roman emperor to mount an out-of-season celebration of the Mysteries, in order that he may attend while he is in Greece. That emperor is Nero.

What do you do?

 

At the time of his visit to Delphi, the emperor Nero was 34 years old.

Needless to say, the Oracle's response delighted him.

 

Shockingly, but unsurprisingly, the then-Hierophant of Eleusis acceded to Nero's demand and—for the only time in their 1000-year history—the Mysteries of the Grain Mother were enacted out-of-season.

Alas: knowledge of mystery does not necessarily entail courage.

 

His whirlwind tour of Greece completed, Nero prepared himself to return to Rome.

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 Portrait Head of a Philosopher | The Art Institute of Chicago

"An Outstanding Mediocrity"

A near-contemporary of Plato, Mediocrates was a fourth-century BCE Athenian philosopher best-known for his controversial teaching that one should avoid all extremes.

Mediocrates apparently taught that a balanced life requires conscious effort to avoid standing out from the norm: in fact, the deliberate avoidance of all extremes, even extremes of virtue. In this, he differs from virtually all of his contemporaries, from whom the pursuit of aretê, “excellence”, was the ultimate goal of life.

For his doctrine of deliberate non-striving, he came to be known as the “Philosopher of the Middle”; indeed, his very name itself may be translated “halfway up the mountain.”

If Mediocrates wrote down his teachings, none of his writings have survived. He is, however, credited with originating a number of common sayings, including “Keep your head down,” “Just go with the flow, man (voc. ἄνερ, áner),” and "The higher up the tree the monkey goes, the more of its bottom you see."

According to the only known story about Mediocrates, a student of Aristotle once quoted him in the course of a debate.

“Who?” replied Aristotle.

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Rings of Power

You can follow the exact steps above to make yourself finger rings that can bring more grace and less grief into your life. Think about the different areas of your life and then create an entire collection of rings to sprinkle a little magic into those areas.

You can explore and discover dozens of marvelous stones from which to choose. Do you want to be more creative? Try tiger’s-eye. Need to find a job? Plume agate is your stone. Looking to add some pizzazz to your love life? Alexandrite will bring lots of zest. Feeling blue? Citrine or jet can banish dark days. Stressed out? Rhyolite races to the rescue!

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The Holy and Sacred Chocolate

Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus was certainly right when he gave the cacao tree the genus name Theobroma, which means “food of the gods.” Those of us in the throes of winter take comfort in wrapping our cold hands around a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
        The Maya, Aztec, and Olmec regarded cacao as a sacred plant. In Mayan and Aztec mythology, the plant was a gift from the feathered serpent god. The seeds were used as offerings to deities, often sprinkled with blood from priests who ceremonially cut themselves and was given to victims prior to sacrifice. A cup of chocolate would provide more solace and a last cigarette.
        The Aztec belief that cacao was an aphrodisiac lingered in Europe after it was introduced in the sixteenth century. In Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations, cacao is placed on home altars and at gravesites to share with loved ones who have passed and ancestors.
        Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as white chocolate. After cacao seeds are shelled, they are ground into a liquid from which the fat (cocoa butter) is separated from the cocoa powder. Later in the chocolate making process the two ingredients are reunited. Cocoa butter is the basis of white chocolate along with milk, sugar, and a few other ingredients. BTW, you’re not seeing typos, the spelling cacao refers to the raw beans and cocoa, a product made from the beans.
        Magically cacao is associated with happiness (that’s no surprise), love, prosperity, and sex, which is why it makes perfect sense to give your lover a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day or any occasion. As part of a spell to attract prosperity and wealth, wrap a cacao bean in the highest denomination bank note you have in your wallet. When celebrating an esbat, place a piece of round white chocolate on your altar. And there’s nothing better to ground and center your energy after magic and ritual than eating a piece of chocolate. Blessed be.

 

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If you want to make a pendant shaped like the crescent Moon, you've basically got three options: two horns up, one horn up, or two horns down. If you wanted to over-interpret, you could read these as Moon rising, zenith Moon, and Moon setting, respectively.

In that case, this one is Moon Come Down for sure.

 

The silversmith who, during the Baltic Bronze Age, made the original on which this little silver amulet is based chose the third option. What makes this lunula (“little Moon”) unique is its Double Moon shape. From one crescent grows another. One Moon holds another in its arms.

If you want, paradoxically, a static symbol of change, you'd go far to find one better than the Moon. This double Crescent redoubles that symbolism. It's a pregnant Moon, one Moon giving birth to another, to itself: Moon within Moon, as seed within seed, forever.

 

The dotted circles that dapple, crater-like, its surface intrigue me: their irregular distribution lends a certain visual dynamism, even a kinetic quality, to the piece. Do we see here merely the proverbial horror vacui of the Bronze Age craftsman? Or is there meaning to be derived?

Are they, perhaps, Suns? Shining with mirrored light, the Moon contains the Sun.

(Circles within circles, crescents within crescents.)

Or are they Full Moons, which every Crescent contains within herself?

I count twenty. If they're intended as Full Moons, along with the two Crescents, that makes twenty-two: a number of no obvious lunar (or, for that matter, solar) association. Either there's some symbolism here too recondite for my learning, or—this would be my guess—they're simply the number required to fill the space.

As I said, over-interpretation.

 

Witches, of course, have always been a people of the Moon. I kiss the little silver pendant and hang it around my neck.

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You’ve Lost Your Head

Dreaming about being headless is often a sign that there is a disconnect between your head and your heart (what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling). For example, you might be thinking so much about an upcoming match of vocabulary test coming up and doing so much memorization and study that you are living temporarily mostly in your head and thinking, thinking, thinking. When I am consumed with a project and forget to eat, that is when I know I am too much in my mind and head. You may be lacking a sense of balance in your life. Try to identify the role that your heart and mind play in your life. Is one taking more control than the other? You may be so focused on common sense and logic that you have started to neglect or suppress your emotions. On the other hand, it’s possible that you are letting your feelings dictate your actions without thinking things through.

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