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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
KIWI: Sacredness of Being Contrary

Unable to fly, the kiwi probes about the forest floor looking for tasty bugs. The sensitive hairs around her bill help Her to sense the underground movements of worms. Also, at the end of her curved beak are nostrils for smelling. (This is unusual in birds).

This plump little bird has many features similar to mammals. Like the badgers, She lives in a series of underground burrows that She has dug. In addition, her bristly feathers resemble soft mammal fur. Furthermore unlike other birds, the kiwi has two working ovaries.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Protective Coloration

I have it from a friend who grew up Pentecostal that if ever (who knows?) you should have to pass yourself off as a “Tongues”-spouting Bible-banger, here's what you need to do.

Look like you're in trance. (You're pagan, no problem.)

Repeat again and again, faster and faster, as if you can't help yourself:

Tie my bow tie. Untie my bow tie. Retie my bow tie.


The ancient Romans regarded the Germanic tribes as paragons of perfidy. Again and again they would conclude treaties with the Germans, only to have said barbarians break said treaties whenever it was advantageous to do so.

What the Romans never understood was that in Germanic culture, A binding agreement can only be validly concluded between equals.

With some effete, boy-boffing southron shaveling, no agreement can ever possibly be considered binding.

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Myth-information: Minoan facts, rumors, and wild tales

The Internet is a great source of information, but it turns out that it's also a repository of out-of-date and incorrect ideas that keep getting passed around again and again simply because they're floating around in cyberspace. Believe it or not, the Minoans are the subject of quite a few of these bits of misinformation.

In the interest of efficiency, here's the list of Minoan-related concepts that I find myself having to explain most often. Don't panic; I believed many of them myself at one time. But it's a good idea to set the record straight. Plus, this way I have a link to point people to instead of having to constantly repeat myself. :-)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Some Thoughts on a Contemporary Cernunnos

That the Horned God speaks directly to contemporary needs and sensibilities may readily be deduced from the hundreds—if not thousands—of contemporary visual images that He has inspired.

I'd like to take a little time to muse on what strikes me as one of the simplest, most beautiful and, simultaneously, most articulate of those many images: Thalia Took's "Cernunnos." 

Took takes as her prototype the famous—and eponymous—image of Cernunnos from the Gallo-Roman Pillar of the Boatmen discovered in 1710 underneath the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris (see below). Both images share a full-face view of the god, with antlers, beard, torque, and leaf-shaped cervine ears. Clearly this is a god who readily hears prayer, his hearing as sensitive as a deer's. Both images are inscribed with the name of the god: in the Notre Dame Cernunnos, above the image itself; in Took's, charmingly, below.

I'm struck by the visual economy of Took's rendering. We see only the base of the god's antlers; his shoulders and bare chest suggest both virility and nudity. His pentagrammatic face—beard, antler, ear, ear, antler, beard again—gazes out directly at the viewer, enhaloed in his wild tangle of hair. This is a wilder, more untamed god than that of the Paris Boatmen. 

In your imagination, take away Cernunnos' antlers, ears, and "torque" (on which, more shortly).  Connoisseurs of historic irony will note that the god, with his open face, short beard, and centrally-parted shoulder-length hair bears a strong resemblance to traditional images of Jesus. This is sheer brilliance on Took's part: it both lends the image a disquieting familiarity, and with gentle humor redresses the fact that early Christian artists, in the absence of any real knowledge of the historical Jesus' appearance, based what has come to be the standard image of the Christian god on pagan prototypes. Call it a cattle-raid of icons.

Note both the economy and the aptness of Took's palette. The original Pillar of the Boatmen Cernunnos sculpture would likely have been painted, but we can no longer say what the colors might have been. Took here renders the god solely in greens and browns: precisely what one would expect for a god of woodland and wildlife.

Also well worth noting are the ways in which Took departs from the Paris image. We see here the subtlety of her approach. The Paris Cernunnos wears a royal torque and, as god of wealth, sports two more hanging from his antlers. Here, though, what at first seems to be a torque proves, on closer inspection, to be a green snake. Like Shiva, the Western Antlered also wears around his neck a living serpent, which (as witches well know) whispers into his leaf-shaped cervine ears the mysteries of the Great Below.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Beautiful! Another one to print out for my inmates' binder of shadows. Thanks.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Looking to the Stars

It was a silent, windless night far north, beyond the harsh lights of city and suburb. I was lying belly down on a dock, staring into utterly still water. The diamond splash of stars above was reflected perfectly beneath me.


I was rapt, drawn out of myself by the strangeness of finding stars above and below. With a slight shift in perception, suddenly all was space and points of light. I was falling, floating in this wondrous, mesmerizingly unfamiliar space. I was suspended, lost in an ocean of stars. 

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  • Kari
    Kari says #
    Loved it! Brilliant as usual.
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    You are too kind! Thank you!
Pink Puss: Elfin Ally Oracle for the Virgo Full Moon

Here at Witches and Pagans, I’ll be sharing a spirit animal painting and message from my Elfin Ally Oracle Deck picked especially for the zodiac sign that Mama Moon is currently transiting. Enjoy!

Keyword: Love
Meaning: This is YOUR time, so make it special, for you are precious.
Reversed: Why are you wasting your time?

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Title: Occult Detective Quarterly #5

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