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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

 

I'm dishing up the last of the kimchee out of the jar.

That will put the fear of the gods into 'em,” I say.

As kimchee matures, the red pepper just naturally migrates toward the bottom of the container. This is going to be Hot-with-a-capital-H.

 

Pagan, do you fear the gods?

Well, maybe you should.

Charged language, I know: uncomfortable. Redolent, maybe, of places where we've been, and don't want to go again.

Fine. For “fear”, then, read “respect.”

 

In my travels, I've met a surprising number of folks who seem to think—at least, they talk—as if they have the gods in their back pockets.

(“Hey, the gods are my buds.” Shudder.)

If you believe this, you're deluding yourself. Gods are not a tameable species.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 Is Polytheism the “Highest Form of Evolved Theology”?

 

An Early 20th-Century Apologist for Polytheism

I'd heard of Viennese intellectual Franz Sättler (1884-?1942) and his overtly polytheist Adonismus (“Adonism”) before, but was pleased to renew the acquaintance recently in Stephen Flowers' The Fraternitas Saturni: History, Doctrine, and Rituals of the Magical Order of the Brotherhood of Saturn.

Let me quote from Flowers' appendix, “An Outline of Adonism”:

Adonistic doctrine advocates polytheism—as opposed to pantheism or monotheism—as the highest form of evolved theology. Pantheism views everything as divinity, and thus is impotent to see and act effectively for any sort of transformation or betterment of the world. Everything simply is. Monotheism, on the other hand, requires that evil be ascribed ultimately to the divinity itself, which is philosophically repugnant. But polytheism correctly ascribes the good to divinity and evil to other forces. All these forces participate in one way or another to the shaping of the world we live in now (Flowers 173).

 

 Kicking the Theological Can?

Well, now: heady stuff indeed. Personally, I would acknowledge the justice of Sättler's critiques of both pantheism and monotheism; notoriously, theogony—the problem of good and evil—has always been the rock on which the ship of monotheism (JCI-style monotheism, anyway) founders.

Several contemporary apologists for polytheism—notably Steven Dillon and Gus diZerega—have argued a greater philosophical coherence for a worldview based on many gods on precisely these grounds. Whether or not blaming evil on “other forces”—trolls and etins, say—rather than the gods themselves, does not ultimately constitute a mere kicking of the theological can down the alley, I leave you to decide for yourself.

(Personally, I can't help but wonder if the so-called “problem of evil” is not at heart largely semantic rather than ontological, but maybe that's just me.)

 

Not to Mention Distasteful

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Tips ’n’ Tricks: Pearls for Patience

In this fast-paced world, we are so accustomed to instant gratification—high-speed internet connection, same-day delivery. We are multitasking ourselves to death. Slow down and enjoy your life. It is worth it, I assure you. Here is a quick way to simply relax and enjoy the little things of life: Wear a pearl. Pearl earrings and necklaces are the best, as they calm and clear the mind.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

A Life in the Craft

 

The Craft isn't for everyone. For many, it's a step on the Way.

But for some of us—the lifers, bred in the bone—the Way of the Wise becomes a home. Oddly, though, a life in the Craft is a matter little addressed in the current literature.

So it is with acute pleasure that I welcome today's guest blog by my friend and colleague, Frebur Hobson of Branch and Bone, a man Wise from the ground up.

"Times fallow and fertile": weigh well his words.

 

Seasons of the Craft

A Guest Blog by Frebur Hobson

 

When we first find the Craft, it fulfills a need: a need for a home, a need to live with ways that speak to our hearts. We meet the Craft, and we see in it what we don’t have in ourselves or in our community. We see magic and romance and validation, and we are in love.

First degree.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

A Thoroughly Unedifying Tale

 

He was a man who loved women, though he often treated them badly: handsome enough but, deep down, really something of a creep.

(Just how much of a creep he really was, we didn't fully understand until years afterward. Beauty without morals is a dangerous combination.)

Personally, I would have described our relationship as glancing at best, but whenever he saw me, he would immediately rush over and talk at me animatedly and at length, with an emotional intensity that belied the (as I saw it) superficiality of our acquaintanceship.

Finally I figured it out.

As it turns out—how could I have forgotten?—the two of us had had what at the time I thought was casual sex after a ritual one night: so casual, in fact, that it slipped my mind for decades.

(Hey, it was the 80s; people did that sort of thing back then, and not just in pagan circles, either.)

Apparently, that's not how he saw it, though. I gather now that I was his “everybody-tries-it-once” guy, to whom he had granted intimacies never-before and never-since bestowed on anyone else. Because of this, in his eyes, the two of us shared a deep, lasting bond with one another.

Gods: I'd had his virginity, and didn't even notice. Maybe that makes me the creep.

So much for facile moralizing.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Movement Dreams: Airplanes

Airplanes are dream symbols that are often associated with journeys—sometimes spiritual, emotional, or literal. An airplane appearing in your dream can be a sign that you are progressing or moving up in some area of your life. It might also be a sign that it’s time to get a new project “off the ground.” If you’ve been sitting on any big plans for your future, perhaps it’s time to start putting them into action. This dream can also be about exploring your freedom and trying out new experiences. Pay attention to the state of the plane and how it could relate to events in your life. If the plane is delayed or stuck, it might mean that there is something you’ve been looking forward to that hasn’t become a reality yet or some plans that have been put off. It may be that you are afraid to take the next steps to follow through with those plans.

If you’re in a plane crash in your dream, that might represent a failed project or something you were looking forward to that didn’t work out in the end. It can also be a sign that although you have set high goals for yourself, you are afraid that your efforts will result in failure. Like falling dreams, this can also be a sign that you feel like you are losing control.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Pan God Images – Browse 1,381 Stock Photos, Vectors, and Video | Adobe Stock

Male-Male Transgression in 17th-Century Basque Witchcraft

 

In 1608, King Henri IV appointed witch-hunter Pierre de Lancre* to investigate a troubling outbreak of witchcraft in the French Basque country. According to de Lancre's report, this outbreak was fueled by the expression of forbidden sexuality.

When having sex with young men or women, the Devil, he reported, “took as much pleasure in sodomy as in the most ordered and natural voluptuousness.”

Men that he interrogated confessed to “performing sodomy” with one another, frequently with relatives, in order to “please the devil.”

One male witch confessed both to having frequently bottomed for the Devil, and topped other warlocks.

In the end, the judges decided that the Basque witches did not really believe in the Devil; rather, their witchery amounted to a mere smokescreen for the sex.

“And so they gathered,” they wrote, “and the naughtiest one among them pretended to be Satan.”

 

So, at least, claims Benjamin Ivry—without, I might add, providing any documentary evidence—in his 2000 biography of composer Maurice Ravel (8).

(What, you might ask, has any of this to do with Maurice Ravel? Item: Ravel's mother was Basque. Item: Ravel was born in the French Basque country. Item: Ravel was gay. Item: Ravel had a lifelong fascination with witchcraft and the occult. Item: As reflected in his music, Ravel had a lifelong devotion to the god Pan. Item: For the ancient Greeks, the phrase “to honor Pan” meant male-male sexual activity [16].)

While I have yet to confirm all of Ivry's historical claims concerning Basque witchcraft, my own research has turned up enough similar evidence to tentatively accept what he says as historical.

Certainly—as evidenced by the furor over “homosexuality” in contemporary conservative Christianity—in a hetero-normative Christian society, transgressive behaviors like witchery and same-sex sexuality quite naturally go hand-in-hand.

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