PaganSquare


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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Silence Before Dawn: Folk Magic, Darkness, and the Taboo Against Speaking

Imagine waking in the hour before dawn, rising in the cool darkness -- no electricity, no gaslights, just the stars and what's left of the moon, and perhaps a candle to light your room. You pull on your clothes, no sound but that of your feet shuffling and the ruffling of fabric. You put on your shoes and grab a bucket and head out in the darkness. You walk down the road, the air chilled and moist. If you pass someone, you nod your head but don't dare to speak. Their footsteps shuffle away, and the scent of cold earth and dew fills your nostrils as you continue on your way. Soon, you hear the faint trickling of a creek. You come to the edge of it, and the faint light glints on the ripples as you dip your bucket down into the freezing water. You pull it up again, and it's heavier than before. The faint light glints silver on that, too, almost as if you've captured some of the stars in it. Then you head home, the water sloshing softly in the bucket, and still you don't speak until dawn breaks on the horizon.

 

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Full Moon Equinox: An Elemental Forge of Creation

Spring is easily my favorite time of year. Fall is a very close second and no one can deny the enchantment of the newly crisp autumn air and the turning and falling of the leaves. But for me it is the bursting color and rebirth of spring that enchants and excites me the most. Being born in April, perhaps I have something of a natural bias.

In my nearly thirty-three years on Earth, this spring is by far the one I have looked forward to the most. The past year of my life, and especially the fall and winter months, have been the heaviest, darkest and most anguished ever so my very soul has been absolutely parched for the spring rains and fresh, bright blossoms. The ice and snow have melted and are cascading in rivers of renewal and revitalization.

Tomorrow, March 20, is an especially powerful and charged Equinox as it coincides with the full Moon in Libra. Fire is very much the element of spring, being the element of Aries and aptly representing the sparking, igniting new life bursting out everywhere. The light and warmth begin to return and the Martian leader and initiator of the zodiac leaps eagerly into action, blazing the trail for the new year.

The winter solstice has its potential as a type of new-year marker, but the days are still cold and dark and the thaw is still a long way off. Yet in terms of both the seasons’ cycle and the zodiac, the spring equinox is arguably THE true, natural new year. This awakening time is far more ideal for setting goals and intentions, for clearing away those last cobwebs of winter and the heaviness of hibernation.

We don’t have the luxury of literally hibernating like bears, or even as our distant ancestors used to, but there are parts of us that we let sleep; goals, hobbies, intentions, and pursuits that are more likely to lay dormant during the colder half of the year. What in your life is stirring from its slumber?

The Sun is exalted in Aries, meaning its energy is best expressed and manifested through this sign. What better way to start the year? Where else would the Sun shine at its best than within that first spark of spring? And what could be even more perfect still, on this quarter day when the light and dark are again equal, than the fiery equinox Sun shining directly onto the airy, balancing Libra Moon?

The image of the bellows in a forge comes to mind. The Air, the breath, blows and arouses the coals within the firepot, where a balance must be maintained for the ideal conditions for various kinds of work. Is a high, hot flame required, or a lower, steadier burn? What is it that you want to create and cultivate this year? What do you want to forge? Look back over the past six months or even a full year. What kind of crucible have you endured to get here, or are you perhaps still enduring?

A crucible is defined literally as a heat-resistant container in which metals and/or other substances are melted down, as in smithing or in chemistry, and figuratively as a very challenging time or severe trial that acts as a refining or hardening process. In both definitions, it is a tool of creation.

So this year, between the opposition of the Aries Sun and Libra Moon – doubly fiery masculinity and harmonious emotional femininity - I see a potent, elemental forge of creation in which balanced emotions and life-supporting nurturing must work together with passion, action and the sparks of initiation. Inspiration and illumination are everywhere now! Both Aries and Libra are cardinal signs, so this is a time of beginnings in every way imaginable.

Aries is all about the Self and personal identity. Aries is “I Am”. It begins with you. Work on yourself, forge yourself, create and define yourself and then, and only then, can you fulfill whatever it is that you’re here to do and to help others with. This is a great time to be selfish! The healthy, necessary kind of selfish in which you make sure that you are taken care of so that you are able to help others.

The Tolkien nerd in me immediately thinks of Legolas urging a battered Aragorn to rest once he arrives Helm’s Deep, saying “You’re no good to us half-dead.” No one is good to anyone half-dead! Or half-broken, half-asleep, half-healed, half-true or half-assed.

So tend to your forge. Let your emotions fuel your creativity and your passion, but don’t let them flare those flames up beyond control. Be smart with your feelings and think about how others feel. The Moon is emotions and intuition but Libra is Air – intellect, thought, reasoning. So there is a double theme of balance. First the heart and the head must be weighed against each other, and then together against motivation and action.

If Aries is “I am” and Libra is “I balance”, then an ideal mantra, affirmation or helpful reminder for this equinox, and therefore moving on through the year, is simply – “I AM BALANCED”.

Read the full article, including the equinox/full moon water oracle reading, here

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In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Comes Across Something Unexpected in a Gay Porn Mag

 Reader alert: Explicit gay sex

 

My friend hands me the open magazine.

“Steve, you have got to see this.”

I've never much been one for written erotica, but when I see the title of the story, my jaw drops.

The Cult of the Horned God.

So: our hero, a studly young anthropologist fresh out of grad school, has gone to rural France to study contemporary survivals of the Cult of the Horned God.

He's been staying in a farmhouse owned by two brothers: one blonde and one dark. Don't worry, you'll find something, they keep telling him, but the entire summer has gone by and he has turned up absolutely nothing. Watching the brothers swim naked at the beach, he can't decide which one is hotter, but really, what does it matter? he thinks: Just another disappointed hope.

On his last night in France, the brothers say: Hey, it's your last night: come with us. We have something we want to show you.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Ostara

Here is a little video that I made regarding the upcoming Sabbat of Ostara. Blessings of the Spring Equinox to you all!

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Your Spiritual Evolution: Four Transformative Teachings for the Spring Equinox


The Spring Equinox is a time of rebirth and new beginnings. Nature buds and blossoms as the seasons of light and life return, and the Goddess offers up Her mysteries of spiritual evolution to guide your journey of soul.

In the Fall, Persephone begins Her journey as a maiden who leaves behind the sunlit realm of Her Mother Demeter. She descends into the Underworld, and spends the Winter months traveling its mysteries of darkness and death, and suffering its trials.

In the Spring, Persephone returns to Her Mother Demeter’s realm of light and life as a Goddess reborn into a more mature, evolved version of Her Self. She is the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring Growth, with a wholeness and bigness of being that is wise, loving and powerful enough to bridge and balance the immense, opposing energies of the death-centered Underworld and the life-centered sunlit realm. Where Persephone walks the Earth, She leaves a trail of spring flowers in Her wake.

Through this mythic Goddess tale, you can embrace a new understanding of your Self, your life story, and your journey of spiritual evolution. Here are four transformative teachings offered by these Mother-Daughter Goddesses, Demeter and Persephone, at the Spring Equinox.

1. New growth and beginnings arise from darkness, death, suffering and wounding.

In many spiritual traditions, spiritual evolution is associated with a rarefied, higher state of consciousness: one becomes enlightened, ascends to a higher frequency, and transcends the human, material condition.

The problem with this conception of spiritual evolution is that it’s elitist, granting spiritual superiority to the very few who can achieve this state of purity. It favors the path of the monk or ascetic who chooses to separate themselves from the complexities and messiness of everyday life. It negates the very substance of our human existence, that we are flesh and blood creatures, living in a material world. And, most importantly, it leaves out the vast majority of us traveling a sincere spiritual path of personal healing and growth in accordance with the dictates of our own soul and life story.

Nature and the Goddess illuminate a very different conception of spiritual evolution.

In Nature, green-growing things arise out of the dark belly of the Earth, nourished by the decay and death of composting soil. The Goddess Persephone comes into Her full maturity and power through her trials and suffering in the Underworld. Persephone’s experiences in the realm of darkness and death are the very makings of Her personal growth and spiritual evolution.

You don’t need to think of spiritual evolution as a rarefied state of enlightenment.  Instead, you can understand and engage your spiritual evolution as a journey of new beginnings and growth that arise out of the darkness, trials, suffering and wounding of your life story. Rather than transcending these inescapable parts of your human experience, you can honor and embrace them as the very things that inform and nourish your journey of evolving into your full maturity and power.

2. Your life story is the vehicle of your spiritual evolution.

In the Fall, Persephone sets out on a journey of discovery and self-determination outside of the circle of Her Mother Demeter’s love and guiding presence. She has Her own, unique, personal experiences in the Underworld, separate from the ways of Her Mother and the sunlit realm She left behind.

This is Persephone’s story, not Her Mother’s, nor the story of any of the other Goddesses in the Greek pantheon.  And it’s the full range of Her life story — with its beginning in the sunlit realm of Her maidenhood and innocence, travels into the depths of the mysteries and trials of the Underworld, and return to the sunlit realm, stepping into a new level of maturity, power and wholeness — that drives Persephone’s personal growth and spiritual evolution.

Your life story, from the moment you are born to your very last breath, is the vehicle of your spiritual evolution. You aren’t here on this Earth to live by the dictates of anyone else’s story, or to become anything other than your true, deep, beautiful Self.

Like Persephone, you must consciously choose to set off on a journey of discovery and self-determination by stepping beyond the people and parts of your life that define and limit you, and descending into the mysteries and trials of your inner darkness. Here you’ll find everything you need — amongst the lost and repressed parts of your Self and life story that hold your beauty, wounding and dormant potential — to guide your new, spring-like beginnings of personal growth and transformation.

This isn’t the work of one season, but of a lifetime of descent into your inner darkness and personal trials, and return to the sunlit world of new beginnings and personal growth.  The journey itself, drawing on the wellspring of your life story, is your spiritual evolution.

3. Equanimity is an essential skill on your journey of spiritual evolution.

Your spiritual evolution is driven by a special kind of transformative magic. Whenever diverse, opposing energies come together, and are held in a state of equanimity, something miraculous happens. Life is reborn in new, fresh ways that are only possible through the potent meeting and mixing of opposites.

Equanimity is your capacity to remain present and open, in a balance and neutral frame of mind and emotional state, no matter what life brings your way. With equanimity, you can face your life’s trials and challenges, and hold the tension of the complex, opposing parts of your Self and life story, with wisdom, love, acceptance and trust.

Nature and the Goddess Persephone illustrate this transformative magic, and the essential role played by equanimity in the miracle of springtime rebirth.

In Spring, Nature reveals a living equanimity where the wild world is reborn through the balanced, harmonious interweaving of the primal, opposing forces of life and light, and darkness and death. When Persephone returns to Her Mother Demeter in Spring, She is reborn into a mature, evolved version of Her Self, whole and holy as the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring Growth. Persephone demonstrates Her equanimity through a bigness of being that is wise, powerful and loving enough to bridge and balance the divergent worlds of the death-centered Underworld and the life-centered sunlit realm.

This transformative magic equally applies to your spiritual pathwork. Whenever you consciously embrace and engage diverse, opposing parts of your Self and life story with equanimity, the miraculous happens. You heal, grow and evolve in powerful, new directions that can only arise out of the complexities and polarities of the wholeness that is your life.

4. Spiritual evolution is a journey toward wholeness.

In Her Underworld travels, Persephone reclaims the missing half of Her nature. Her maiden side lived in the realm of light and life, but She was incomplete without the part of Her that held the mysteries of the Underworld and Her experiences of death and suffering. Persephone isn’t one thing or another, but a wholeness that contains it all. At the Spring Equinox, it’s Persephone’s wholeness, as the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring Growth, that reveal Her as a Goddess evolved into Her full maturity and powers.

Nature is this wholeness. It’s an ever-shifting balance and harmony of darkness and death with light and life. With the change of season, one state naturally steps into the foreground as the other recedes, but neither ever totally replaces the other, and both are absolutely essential and interdependent. It’s Nature’s wholeness that gives rise to springtime’s new, green growth.

You are this wholeness. Yet, like Persephone, you have lost connection with parts of your true nature. By seeking out these lost parts of your Self and life story in your inner darkness, and bringing them back to the light of your conscious engagement, you reclaim your innate wholeness woven of the fullness of your Self and life experiences of light and shadow, beauty and wounding, and love and suffering.

This spiritual pathwork of seeking and reclaiming will naturally change and evolve you, deepening your spiritual maturity and power, and granting you a sense of peace and rightness as you live in accordance with the rich, complex wholeness that is your innate, true, beautiful nature.

Photo Credit: Gariele Wright on Unsplash

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Spring Equinox

 

Visual Lifesavers © Jennifer Smith 2008 

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What Do You Say When a Witch Dies?

What do you say when a witch dies?

Well, witchhood is a kind of tribal affiliation.

Those who have no tribe often find it difficult to understand the depth of the sense of belonging that comes with tribal identity. Those that do, know that, naturally, when you die, you don't want to come back just anywhere; you want to come back to your people, to those that you love.

Uncle Gerald got it absolutely right when he says in Witchcraft Today (140)that our hope beyond death is for rebirth among our own.

Once a witch, always a witch, they say. Not even death takes that away.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'll note with amusement that in the WT passage cited above, the witches tell Gardner that to be reborn among one's own is a rewar
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    From what I've read in books on past life regression we do have a tendency to reincarnate in groups. Apparently a lot of American

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