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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

At Twin Cities Pagan Pride this Saturday, we'll be making the twelfth annual Offering to Minnehaha Falls, and praying for the well-being of pagans everywhere.

If you can't be there, I invite you to join us anyway in praying for the well-being of pagans everywhere.

In particular, I invite you to join us in praying for the well-being of the pagans of Afghanistan.

Are there pagans in Afghanistan? Well might you ask.

Truth in advertising: I don't know any Afghan pagans personally. But I feel quite confidant in declaring that yes, of course there are pagans in Afghanistan. There are pagans everywhere. Wherever (gods help us) the internet reaches, there are pagans. Wherever people are in chains, some dare dream of freedom.

There were pagans in Afghanistan—real, old-time, rifle-toting, goat-sacrificing pagans—up until the 1890s, when the emir of Kabul (of cursed memory) declared jihad against the mountain tribes of what was then called Kafiristan: “Unbeliever Land.” Those that weren't killed were forcibly converted to Islam, and their mountainous territory was officially renamed Nuristan, “Land of Light.” Light at rifle-point: welcome to Abrahamic history, boys and girls.

(Their close cousins, the Kalasha of what is now Pakistan, being on the British side of the Durand Line, were spared the genocide, and practice their ancient religion to this day, the only Indo-European-speaking people to have done so.)

So yes, Diana, there are pagans in Afghanistan. There are (gods help them) pagans even in the deepest, darkest, most repressive Muslim countries of the world, like Saudi Arabia. Wherever people are in chains, some dare dream of freedom.

Consider what life must be like for the pagans of Afghanistan. The very worst that we've seen here in the US—even in the deepest, darkest Bible Belt—pales by comparison.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, Thanks again for reminding us all about the Kalasha. I love the part about renaming Kafiristan to Nuristan. "Land
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Interesting quibble. Can one be a Celt if one doesn't speak a Celtic language? My neighbor's ancestors came from West Africa, but
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Good post. I'll split hairs on the "only" part: The Mari-El have kept a Pagan tradition going. Their old language is not in the In
December 21 - Longest Night Fire Ceremony

December is named for the Roman goddess Decima, one of the three fates. The word Yule comes from the Germanic jol, which means midwinter, and is celebrated on the shortest day of the year. The old tradition was to have a vigil at a bonfire to make sure the sun did indeed rise again. This primeval custom evolved to become a storytelling evening and while it may well to be too cold to sit outside in snow and sleet, congregating around a blazing hearth fire, dining and talking deep into the night is important for your community to truly know each other, impart wisdom and speak to hopes and dreams. Greet the new sun with stronger connections and a shared vision for the coming solar year.

What you need:

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Sabbat of Samhain – October 31st All Hallow’s Eve

Halloween stems from the grand tradition of the Celtic New Year. What started as a folk festival celebrated by small groups in rural areas has come to be the second largest holiday of today. There are multitudinous reasonsincluding modern marketingbut I think it satisfies a basic human need, to let your “wild side” out, to be free and more connected with the ancient ways. This is the time when the veil between worlds is thinnest and you can commune with the other side, with elders and the spirit world. It is important to honor the ancestors during this major sabbat and acknowledge what transpired in the passing year as well as set intentions for the coming year.

This is the ideal time to invite your circle; the ideal number for your gathering is thirteen. Gather powdered incense, salt, a loaf of bread, goblets for wine and three candles to represent the triple goddess for altar offerings. Ideally on an outdoor stone altar, pour the powdered incense into a pentagram star shape. Let go of old sorrows, angers and anything not befitting of new beginnings in this New Year. Bring only your best to this auspicious occasion.

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Autumnal Equinox Ritual: Macon, September 21

Establish one room in your house as the temple. Ideally, it is the room in which you normally keep an altar or sacred shrine. In any case, you should create an altar in the center of the space. Place four small tables in the four corners of the directions and place four evenly spaced candlesticks between the tables. Place a loaf of freshly baked bread (bread you have made with your own hands is best) in the east, a bowl of apples in the south, a bottle of wine in the west, and a sheaf of wheat or a bundle of dried corn in the north. Upon the main altar, place a candle, a plate of sweet cakes and a goblet. Light incense and place it in front of the cakes. Before your ritual, take some time for contemplation. Think about what you have achieved during this busy year:

What have you done?

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Is it time to Shimmer? (New Moon in Virgo Blessings!)

New Moon in Virgo Energy Check-In
grateful
guided
wiser now.

I welcome my gods, my guides, my loves, my friends in
to share this
FANTASTIC
journey
with me.

Spreading HOPE
magick
SHIMMER
and blessings.

Beautiful You.

Luv Always,
Kathy Crabbe
Soul Reader & Artist

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 The Power of Lightning

 

If it isn't my earliest memory, it must be at least one of the earliest.

It's night. The summer thunderstorm has waked me out of a sound sleep, and I'm sitting in bed crying, terrified. Our house is near the top of the hill, and the crash of the thunder and irregular strobe of lightning seem to come from all around.

The door opens, and my father comes in. He scoops me up into his arms. I have a distinct visual memory of moving from the darkness of my room, through the hall, and into the kitchen, where the lights are on.

My mother—entirely understandably—is saying: Russell, what are you doing? Russell, what are you doing?

Dad opens the back door and steps out into the rain, which is bucketing down. (We must both have been drenched to the skin in seconds, though I have no memory of it.) He snags a lawn chair in one hand, goes out to the center of the yard, and opens it. He sits down, and sets me in his lap.

The storm's initial front has moved on. Together we sit in the rain, listening to the grand rolls of thunder and watching the play of lightning on the horizon.

That's all I remember, but—as dad had intended—ever since then I've loved, not feared, the beauty and majesty of thunderstorms.

Some years ago, having belatedly had some experience in the field myself, my father and I were discussing the fine art of parenting. I cited this story as one of the wisest examples of creative, proactive parenting that I could think of.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Try A Little Fuzzy Witchery

If you have old-fashioned roses such as the dog rose or sweetbriar, you may encounter something curious that looks like a colorful koosh ball attached to a stem.

That fuzzy ball is called a rose gall and it starts in the spring when a little gall wasp (Diplolepis rosae) lays eggs on a leaf bud. The rose bush reacts by producing a gall, an abnormal growth to protect itself, which ultimately becomes an incubator for a new generation of wasps that will emerge the following spring. The wasp’s clever way of using the rose doesn’t harm the overall health of the plant, but the general advice is to remove galls in the autumn.

Of course, people have noticed rose galls for centuries. An old name for them, bedeguar, comes from French, which was derived from the Persian bādāwar meaning “wind brought.” The sudden appearance of these fluffy balls may have made them seem like they were blown in on the breeze.

They were also called briar balls, Robin redbreast’s cushions, and Robin’s pillows. While the first name with Robin refers to the bird, the second makes reference to the British woodland spirit known as Robin Goodfellow. Another name for the briar ball is fairy pincushions.

During the Middle Ages, apothecary shops sold dried rose galls in powdered form for use as an herbal remedy that covered a range of ailments. For magical healing they were worn around the neck as amulets, carried in the pocket, hung in the home, or placed under the bed pillows. In Yorkshire England, schoolboys used them as charms to ward off getting caned by their teachers.

For your own magical use of a briar ball, place it on an outdoor altar or a special place in your garden to aid in connecting with the faery realm. Use a dried, crumbled gall to enhance wind magic or toss it to the wind to help release something you no longer need in your life. Like the rose itself, the briar ball is associated with secrets. Hold one as you think of a confidence you may be keeping, and then bury it in the ground.

 

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