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PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Pagan Thing to Do

I was raised up Congregational,

never found it too sensational;

I'd rather be libational.

That's good enough for me.

(Old Time Religion)

 

Among the historic paganisms, the libation, or drink-offering, was probably the most frequently-performed act of worship, both public and private.

Today, it still is.

Whenever you're about to drink something, you pour out a few drops first: by way of thanks, by way of honoring, by way of making consumption a sacred act.

Outdoors, you do this directly onto the ground. No matter which god you're offering to, the ultimate recipient of all libations—as of course is only right—is Earth, giver of all good gifts.

Indoors, you use a libation bowl.

When pagans get together—as we did the other night for Full Moon—there will be eating and drinking.

Among the bottles and cans on the drinks table, you're likely to find a bowl. There you'll pour your libation when you're serving yourself. It's the pagan thing to do.

“Has this bottle been libated?” you'll hear people ask, before they take some.

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October and November 2019 Heathen and Asatru Holidays

Moveable feasts in this time period include the Feast of Ullr, which is a heathenization of the USA holiday Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday of November each year. The modern secular holiday Wolfenoot also takes place in November. It has been adopted by many heathens and pagans. Last year, 2018, was the first time Wolfenoot was celebrated, and it occurred on the same day as the USA's Thanksgiving, which gave it a boost among those seeking an alternative holiday to celebrate on that day. That also happened to be a full moon, which gave Wolfenoot a boost among those who already howl at the full moon. But Wolfenoot is a fixed date holiday, always on the 23rd of November, not a moveable feast like Thanksgiving.

October
1
Month of possible date of Disablot begins (Icelandic Asatru)

6
Oktoberfest ends (Munich, Germany)

8
Day of Erik the Red (American Asatru, American Odinist)

9
Leif Erikson Day (American Odinist), World Odin Prayer Day (Odinist)

12
Day of Leif Erikson and Freydis Eriksdottir (American Asatru)

14
Winter Nights (alternate date) (American Asatru)

28
Day of Erik the Red (alternate date) (American Asatru)

29
Winterfyllith begins (American Asatru)

30
 Winter Nights (American Asatru),
Alf-blessing (American Asatru),
Freyr-blessing (American Asatru),
Allelieweziel begins (Urglaawe)

November
1
Winter Entdeckung (Germany)

2
Winterfyllith ends (American Asatru)

9
Day of Queen Sigrid (American Asatru, American Odinist)

10
Allelieweziel ends (Urglaawe)

11
Einherjar’s Day (Universalist American Asatru),
Hollersege (Urglaawe),
Ewicher Yeeger Sege (Urglaawe),
Marten Gas (Norway) 

21
Alfablot (Asatru)

23

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How Stories Can Change the World and Ourselves

Stories matter. In fact, human beings have been called “storytelling animals.” Every day we consume stories on the media, in books, films and TV shows. We can spend hours on social media reading the posts of friends, relatives and even total strangers. We hunger for narratives that give us hope, but all too often run into descriptions filled with horror, abuse and despair.
 
The narratives we’re told and the ones we tell ourselves interact to shape our way of thinking. They provide the context in which we place our experiences and the lens through which we interpret what happens to us. Stories affect our self-esteem, our emotions, and our mental health. They can be empowering or debilitating, life-enhancing or toxic. Though we seldom realize it, our relationship with ourselves and the world depends on stories, especially on the ones we’ve come to accept as “objective truth.” If these tales happen to be destructive, they can wreak havoc on our inner world.

Stories have a powerful grip on the human mind. Research shows that most people are unwilling to change their beliefs even when confronted with facts that contradict them. Facts appeal to the rational mind; hence their power is limited. Beliefs, on the other hand, are often rooted in narratives that we’ve been told from a young age or myths that are constantly cultivated by the media and which we’ve come to accept as facts.

We live in a system based on oppression and exploitation, hence the narratives we’re told are meant to maintain the status quo. Those who are at the top of the social hierarchy maintain power by portraying human beings as inherently greedy and aggressive, blaming on individuals all the evils created by the system itself. Such tales perpetuate norms that create discrimination in order to pit us against each other – men against women, Whites against People of Color, cis straight people against LGBTQI+ folks, locals against immigrants, you name it.

Yet stories also have the power to make us pause and think, to question, and to take action. If we think of them as food for the mind and soul, it’s obvious why we should choose carefully what kinds of narratives we expose ourselves to. Although we can’t close our eyes to the pain of others, we also need the stories that resonate positively with our deepest needs: those that weave into our lives a sense of meaning, as well as those that motivate us towards solidarity and compassion.

Sharing our stories can be a radical action in a society that continuously gaslights us. It’s a way of telling our truth and of validating our perceptions of reality. By choosing to openly discuss our experiences, we’re saying, “we’re here and we matter.” By speaking out, we can also reach out to those who have similar concerns or have possibly experienced similar traumas. Through our narratives we can help ourselves heal and show a path of healing to others.

As a writer, I’ve found it empowering to share some of my own stories as an independent scholar of the ancient world and as an activist in the women’s, LGBTQI+, and antiracist-antifascist movements (see, for example, “Finding Meaning and Inspiration at Midlife”). These two identities may seem very different at first, yet they intersect: by studying the past we can draw valuable lessons for the present and future.

Myth and history can be valuable tools as we try to change the world and heal ourselves. For instance, by exploring the development of gender roles over  millennia, we are led to question the dominant narrative that sees women as powerless victims and men as inherent predators. Also, by bringing to light traditions that emphasize our interconnection with nature, we defy the capitalist view of the environment as a set of resources to exploit for profit.

In fact, the past, both historic and mythical, is pregnant with stories that can touch us deeply—narratives that speak of altruism, resistance, and transformation. They often resonate with us because they’re rich in archetypal themes and symbols. Through them we can identify the values that propel us towards a richer and more meaningful existence. They can also offer us the inspiration to take the collective action needed in order to build a different world.

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Lying Icons

Hey Pagan Artists (You Know Who You Are),

WTF?!?

What's with the circumcised dicks on those Horned Gods?

What could you possibly be thinking, to portray the god of Wild Nature in a state so profoundly unnatural as circumcision?

I realize that—in this land of routine MGM (male genital mutilation)—many Americans have never actually seen a human penis in its intact, natural state.

Ye gods, folks, what do you think (inter alia) internet gay porn is for?

I realize (difficult as it may be to believe) that, aesthetically speaking, some actually do find circumcised dicks more beautiful.

But that's no excuse. A Horned God with a circumcised dick is a contradiction in terms, a lying icon, self-falsifying.

Circumcision is violence against boys. Portraying our gods as circumcised sanctifies this violence.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We tend to think of Him as the Two-Horned, but, of course, He's actually the Three-Horned; the Phallos is Him-in-small.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    So mote it be!
  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    I was certainly not happy being unlike the Horned God and so I set about restoring my foreskin. It brought me closer to my true se
Modern Minoan Paganism: Reconstruction vs. revival

I spend a lot of time telling people that Modern Minoan Paganism is not a reconstructionist tradition. But the issue is actually a little more complicated than that.

When I was at Mystic South this past summer, one of the other presenters, Joseph Beofeld, attended my workshop about Modern Minoan Paganism. What was his presenation about? Reconstructionism! He came up to me afterward and pointed out that even though I had said we aren't a reconstructionist tradition, we use reconstructionist methods extensively. And that's quite true.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    You have a group of fellow travelers to work with and support each other on your journey. I think that is wonderful. I've recent

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Stress Less Spell

We live in the age of anxiety. There is so much stress, bad news and soul-crushing chaos; it is hard to know how to get through each day. But here’s the thing; ancient wisdom is the best way to approach to deal with modern troubles. Try the following tried and true rite.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Social Imperative of the Sabbat

In the topsy-turvy world of the Sabbat, the witch returns to the Dreamtime, in which all social norms are overturned.

At the Sabbat, there are no distinctions of “race,” of sex, of class, of gender.

At the Sabbat, all are equal.

At the Sabbat, if nowhere else, we encounter full social equality.

The stories of those early American Sabbats tell of indigenous, colonial, and enslaved all coming together to dance as one: red, white, black, all equal.

The Sabbat dreams of a new world, a world (as in the beginning) of radical equality.

The Sabbat embodies this dream.

In fact, the Sabbat predicts it.

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