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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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Human Initiations 8 to 13 to Reach Enlightenment

PART II OF THE INITIATIONS HUMANS MUST GO THROUGH TO REACH ENLIGHTENMENT.

The following is an excerpt for Agnes' latest book, The Goddess Lives, poetry, prose and prayers in her honour. To order please visit:

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AstroGemology: Sagittarius Soul Stones

Sagittarians are some of the most adventurous and energetic of all in their pursuit of truth and here are stones that can empower them on their life’s journey. Tourmaline—specifically the multihued specimen known as melonstone, which is pinkish red with a blue-green stripe—is the precious soul stone for the Jupiter-ruled Sagittarians. Individuals under this fire sign are lively and very action-oriented, and tourmaline, which readily gives off an electrical charge when warmed, can match and propel their energy. Tourmaline is the stone for adventurers and explorers. Get some today and hit the road, dear Sag.

Amber is the power stone for early Sagittarians. This rock formed from fossilized tree sap and resin, an organic crystal. Amber was thought by the ancients to have trapped the sun, and it was called electron by the Greeks, who observed its negative electrical charge. Even wildly active Sagittarians should wear this stone only on special occasions. It keeps energy cycling within, which is good, but it can have a weakening effect if worn all the time. Amber helps performers; actors and musicians swear by it.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Cerridwen Greenleaf
    Cerridwen Greenleaf says #
    Sure thing, Meredith. I thought I caught a Tolkieneaque vibe. Here is my personal blog where there is a ton more post and info. B
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    My pleasure, thank you! Do you have a website or personal blog? I'd love to pick your brain about something gem-related but kind o
  • Cerridwen Greenleaf
    Cerridwen Greenleaf says #
    I love knowing that, Meredith! That is a marvelous, tip, especially for comfort and heart healing for women. Thank you so much! Bl
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    Very helpful, interesting and enlightening, as usual! Here's another cool mythological belief about amber, and is one of my favo
A Matter of Magic, or: When Is a Yule Log Not a Yule Log?

When is a Yule log not a Yule log?

When it's split, that's when.

The Yule log is probably the most ancient symbol of Yule. It's a cross-cut section of tree-trunk that goes onto the hearth on Midwinter's Eve, large enough to burn through the year's longest night, from Sundown to (hopefully) Sunrise.

(In these hearthless days, the Yule Log often reincarnates as a mere domestic decoration, a “log” only by courtesy, adorned with candles and faux greenery. Well, a symbol of a symbol is better than nothing, I suppose. Still, it seems a sorry fate for the former lord of the feast, ancient and massive.)

The symbolism you can figure out for yourself. (If you can't, there's always Wiccapedia.) Since most American homes lack hearths these days, here's the thing to remember: that the Yule log is precisely a log is what makes it what it is.

In the course of everyday life, you don't burn logs on the hearth. A whole—unsplit—log doesn't burn well. Since it has no sharp edges, it doesn't light readily, and when it does finally catch, it burns slowly and—frankly—doesn't give off much heat. Also, unsplit logs are big, heavy, and impractical to schlep. For day-to-day use, you split your logs into firewood.

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Is it Time for a Spiritual Tune-Up? Moon in Capricorn: Dec. 8-10

Mama Moon enters the strong willed, billy goat, mountain climbing sign of Capricorn on Dec. 8 at 4:01 am pst until Dec. 10 at 1:26 pm.

Our wild Sagittarius Nature (with Sun currently in Sag) is definitely reigned in by this Capricorn energy influx. We may find ourselves blurting out, then shutting up, realizing that we really didn’t mean to say things in quite that way - oops!

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    All makes sense! This energy seems to be thoroughly reflected in the daily cards I just pulled during my morning ritual. It was in
  • Kathy Crabbe
    Kathy Crabbe says #
    Your writing and insights are beautiful! Thank you for sharing Ms. Meredith and I hope you're blogging somewhere too 'cause your g
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    Thank you so much, that means a lot! I am indeed, www.oracleofwater.com. I fall a bit behind now & then, have had lots of life cha
  • Kathy Crabbe
    Kathy Crabbe says #
    Wonderful! I will check it out
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Kathy, I’m so glad to see you blogging here. Your beautiful spirit and rich insights will be a great addition. ❤️

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Your Undimmed Lightness of Being

One Reality:

I’m in magical circle, celebrating Samhain. We’re in a group trance, traveling to the isle of the dead to commune with our beloved Ancestors. I’ve done this meditation many times before, yet this time is different.  As we reach the shore of this blessed isle, we unzip our flesh coats and step forth as beings of pure shining light, tethered to our living, breathing bodies by a silver cord.

There will never be enough words to capture such a lightness of being. For this blessed time, I’m free of my human body, and my mindscape of fears and tangled habits that make me less than I am.  I’m pure light, untainted love, unbounded beauty, in the company of other bright shining beings, both my living companions and our blessed dead. 

I understand, in the deepest parts of my being, the truth of this moment: that I am this being of light, always. This is my naked, true Self, and our naked, true humanity. We are, always, pure light, untainted love, unbounded beauty. When I follow my silver tether back to my human body, and zip myself back into my flesh coat, my skin seems to loosen its fibers, letting more of that inner light shine outward.

Another Reality:

A few weeks later, I’m on the treadmill at the gym, working to make my body strong.  There’s a screen in my face, blasting out the daily news: a gang rape by teenage boys from a Catholic high school; a high profile, high drama murder of an international journalist; the latest Trump cringe-fest fiasco.  My heart squeezes tight and my adrenals spike. Barely halfway through my cardio routine, I’m already drenched in the toxicity of status quo reality.

Damn! It’s caught me again, off guard, that constant, outer noise pushing its way past my defenses, triggering my fears and negative mindset, trying to spellbind me into believing in the worst of my humanity. I forget, in these short moments, my Samhain experience of the light being in my core. Loathing rises up in me, and horror, grief and rage. I feel dirty and ashamed of my flesh coat and our collective humanity.

Big breathe in. Big breathe out. I tune out the screen, and focus instead on the reassuring rhythm of my striding legs, my hard-working muscles and sweating skin. I love my wondrous flesh coat; I clear my mindset of fear and loathing; I remember the shining light of who I am, and the true, untainted nature of my humanity — the spell of our shadow humanity is broken.

Two realities.  Two versions of our human nature. 

Which do we choose to believe in? Which do we give our attention and juice to? Which do we allow to steer our choices and actions? Which will help us build the world we want to live in?

The shadow side of our humanity is true. We are doing terrible things to each other and our planet home.  Rape, murder and political fiascos are daily occurrences. Our flesh coats and mindsets are burdened down by fears and tangled habits born out of our personal and collective histories of trauma and wounding.   Yes, these things happen; they are real and seemingly omnipresent. 

The pure, shining brilliance of our humanity is true. We are blessed with the glorious gift of living in a light and beauty infused world. We ourselves are light and beauty infused beings. Love, kindness, justice, compassion, creativity, courage, humor, sensuality, and so much more: these are the shining of our inner light outward.  These things are real and truly omnipresent.

We talked about this dual nature of our humanity at the end of our Samhain ritual, and the overwhelming challenges and atrocities that have come to dominate our shared society and non-stop news cycles.  How can we be a force of positive change, we asked ourselves? How can we make a difference?

One of my brilliant companions answered simply, “we have to bring a little of our light into today, and then tomorrow after that.”

Nothing or no one can ever dim our lightness of being.  We’re meant to shine bright, gifting the world with the brilliance of our pure, naked Self, unbounded beauty and untainted love.  But we’ve been convinced to do the dimming ourselves. 

Individually and collectively, we’ve been bullied, shamed and abused. We’ve been indoctrinated into the shadow reality of humanity, fed to us constantly, unrelentingly through the one-sided messaging of mass culture. We’ve been spellbound through lies and illusions about our unworthiness and tainted nature. We’ve become lost and fear tangled, our flesh coat and mindset made into prisons, and our shining inner core forgotten.

But this doesn’t have to be your truth. You don’t have to give your attention and juice to the shadow reality of humanity.  You can choose to believe in the shining brilliance of your Self and human nature.  You can begin to undim your life light, loosen the fibers of your flesh coat, and let more and more of that glorious beauty that you are shine through.

Big breathe in. Big breathe out. Tune out the outer noise. Focus instead on the reassuring rhythm of your beating heart, the wondrous motions of your hard-working body, and the caress of air on your sensing skin. Reach inward to that shining light at the core of your being. Unzip your flesh coat, just a little bit, as much as feels good and safe. Take a little bit of your light into today, and tomorrow after that. Little by little, breathe by breathe, moment by moment, shine your lightness of being outward, and brighten the world around you.

In each of these undimmed moments, the shadow spell of humanity is broken, and you are set free. You may forget, be caught off guard, or choose to hide again. Don’t worry, these are natural parts of your journey of reclaiming your full-shining Self. Once you unzip your flesh coat, and taste your own innate brilliance and beauty, even a little, you’re no longer lost. You’ve woken from your spellbound sleep, and set your feet on a path that will guide you home to your true Self, undimmed moment by undimmed moment.

Trust that this journey takes time and practice. It’s done in small steps and big leaps, where, again and again, you choose to wake up, disconnect from the negative, shadow-reality messaging and experiences outside and inside of you, and re-align yourself with your shining core and a positive, love-filled vision of our humanity.

With every bit of your light you reclaim, you’re gifting yourself and everyone who crosses your path with bright new possibilities.
 
In these small steps and big leaps, we build the world we want to live in, each of us bringing a little of our unzipped light into today, and tomorrow after that. Together we can break the spell of our shadow humanity, forever, and bask in our collective, undimmed lightness of being.  From this vast, untapped resource of love, beauty and power, anything and everything are possible.  

Photo Credit: Seraphina Capranos & Ben Skorguson

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Karen Clark
    Karen Clark says #
    Thanks so much for the lovely comment Tasha.
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Nicely said and beautifully put. Thanks you for shining your light, Warmest joyful greetings ato your light that shines so brightl
Elementals and the Ineffable: Gods Not in Our Image

Man created God in his image. Before he (and I do mean he) decided to do that, humans venerated the powers and beings of Nature just as they were. They honored life-altering forces and powers that defied explanation, from the radiant rays of the Sun to the mysterious waters of woman’s womb, and all the delights and dangers of Nature in between.

These Nature spirits were held in the highest esteem, and propitiatory offerings were made to them. Occasionally, as the result of atmospheric conditions or the peculiar sensitiveness of the devotee, they became visible. Many authors wrote concerning them in terms which signify that they had actually beheld these inhabitants of Nature’s finer realms. A number of authorities are of the opinion that many of the gods worshiped by the pagans were elementals, for some of these invisibles were believed to be of commanding stature and magnificent deportment.” - Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Earlier humans were in awe of the thunderstorm. They saw all of creation in the glistening surface of the seemingly endless sea that supplied them with food, tools and decor. They listened to the lapping, splashing rivers and the tingling whispers and caresses of the winds. They knew that there was something moving them that moved in everything else, something they could not see, but rarely, that they could yet feel and see the result of.

There was once a greater sense of the ineffable – of that which is unknowable and unspeakable. Now humans are obsessed with themselves and with “knowing” and speaking, labeling, explaining, defining, compartmentalizing, and have been for ages.

They have also become obsessed with something that H.P. Blavatsky called blasphemous: anthropomorphism. She argued that if God is infinite and uncreated, then God is not a being but an incorporeal principle and therefore should not be anthropomorphized.

Despite the obsession with knowledge, humans don’t seem to understand how little they know, how little they are capable of knowing. Yet they have gone to war over what they think they know. Over what they believe.

Though these are impressions I’ve been having for a long time now, it was the recent encouragement I seemed to feel emanating from the fragments of a pre-Socratic philosopher named Xenophanes that got me finally writing this. He poignantly observed over 2,500 years ago that

Mortals suppose that gods are born, wear their own clothes and have a voice and body. Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black; Thracians that theirs are blue-eyed and red-haired. But if horses or oxen or lions had hands or could draw with their hands and accomplish such works as men, horses would draw the figures of the gods as similar to horses, and the oxen as similar to oxen, and they would make the bodies of the sort which each of them had.

Xenophanes cautioned against misconceptions of the divine based on human tendencies and flaws, and supported a view of religion based more on rationality than on traditionally held beliefs. Yet he was not an atheist or humanist by any means. His almost mystical views and references to multiple gods, as well as the One God, “neither in form like unto mortals nor in thought”, confirm this.

I assume that most reading this might understand that “the gods” are metaphors and symbolic energies and that they have been (or should only be) anthropomorphized to make them more relatable and to serve as embodiments of certain forces and ideals to which we may aspire to emulate (let me here firmly exclude the contrarily wanton and immoral ancient Greek gods with whom Xenophanes was disgusted) or at least learn from. We have created them. It has become a circle, as our creations influence us and take on energies just as thought forms.

However, clearly many Pagans still heavily and pointedly anthropomorphize, dogmatize, name and strictly define and take the existence, forms and human characteristics of their gods every bit as literally as Christians do.

So many of us have crowed over the blatantly stolen and thinly veiled paganisms displayed in Catholic and other Christian rituals and practices. Yet I see an ironic amount of Christianity play out in many modern pagan writings, practices and attitudes.

It is no secret that most Pagans today have come screaming from Christianity or some offshoot thereof. So, it should be no surprise that many still bring with them much of the same attitude, belief, modes of worship and ritual, methods of “literalizing” and general understandings of deity and apply them to a pagan pantheon established by other mortals long dead, rather than to the decidedly masculine Christian “Trinity”, also established by other mortals long dead. Old habits die hard, after all.

I don’t think we need religion. Yet we don’t need to abandon notorious organized world religions to instead simply leaf through a catalog of alternative, indigenous spiritualities, gods and witchcraft and pick the regional aesthetic and system we like most (or a hodgepodge of several) and slap on the corresponding nametag either. At least not if we’re going to take every single thing as literally as Christians take everything in that old bugaboo, the Bible.

There are so many different names for the same thing. The One Thing, in fact. But also, many other things by which we are surrounded. 

There is a difference between Elementals and the One Thing; the Source; the original incomprehensible Universal Mind that is always becoming and never is. Yet the elements and the beings that inhabit them are a part and manifestation of that One; of what we mere, precious, silly humans, with our human opinions that Heraclitus called “toys for children”, cannot and will not ever begin to know or understand.

For, as my man Xenophanes says,

There never was nor will be a man who has certain knowledge about the gods and about all the things I speak of. Even if he should chance to say the complete truth, yet he himself knows not that it is so. But all may have their fancy.”

Indeed, Xeno. Let us have our fancies and our opinions, so long as we know that that is what they are, and that Zeus, Mithras, Jesus, Morrigan, Loki, Marduk, Amaterasu, Yemaya, Quetzalcoatl and the rest are just names. They are the creations of mortals. As such, they are little more than those names. But at their cores, what they represent and teach us are much, much more. 

The elements became “gods”. The sky above you is a god. The rains and rivers and oceans are gods. The flowers and the ladybugs that adorn them are gods. The mountain peaks and echoing caverns are gods. The trees, the animals, the flash of lightning and the howling winds are gods. All these things were so ages before any human deigned to give them - even the One - his own form and start naming them and saying what is so and what is not. None can say. None can know. We are surrounded by and composed of the magic of the ineffable and what we call God is not in our image.


© 2018 Meredith Everwhite – All Rights Reserved


Featured image: “Epiphany” 1940 by Max Ernst

References:
Insights into the Invisible World of Elemental Forces by H.P. Blavatsky
www.philaletheians.co.uk

The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
www.iep.utm.edu/xenoph/

Xenophanes of Colophon: Selected Fragments
people.wku.edu/jan.garrett/302/302xenof.htm

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Serious Big Magic

Shit.

Something has gone seriously wrong.

Haven't you noticed? The days just keep getting shorter and shorter.

Every day the Sun goes farther and farther South.

Every day its highest point in the sky gets lower and lower.

If this keeps going, soon it won't rise at all.

It just keeps getting colder and colder. We keep getting more and more snow.

If this keeps up, we're all going to freeze in the dark, if we don't run out of food first.

If we don't do something soon, we're all gonna die.

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