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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Cooking Up a Paganism

So: I wrote a ritual that—due to the covid-related rescheduling of this year's Paganicon—we didn't do.

It's a good ritual (you can read an outline here), as you'll see when we do it eventually. But that's not the point that I want to make here. While discussing the ritual with colleagues both during and after the shaping process, I was struck by how well the ritual and its making mirrors the overall trajectory of modern paganism itself.

Virtually everything in the ritual—the sacrificial procession, the chanted prayers, the libations—ultimately has parallels with ancient religious practice. That said, these are practices drawn from different times and places in the ancient world, including (to mention only some) Hellenic, Roman, and Germanic sources.

There's more. Looking over my decades of formation as a ritualist and as an artist, there are also elements here drawn from Hindu temple ritual, Jewish cantorial practice, and the liturgies of Eastern Orthodoxy and Anglicanism as well.

To give just one example: the ancestors chanted their prayers. We know this, but exactly how they did it has been lost to us with time. In order to learn how one goes about improvisationally setting words to chant tunes, one has to look elsewhere. In my case, I learned how to do this at synagogue.

Here's the thing. From years—decades—of experience with the creation of ritual, I, as a ritualist and artist, have learned to put together elements from diverse sources that, nonetheless, together read and feel “pagan.”

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I like the cooking analogy. Not every recipe I try works out but I do learn from the experience, and sometimes it turns out to be

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Consummation

Silent, ineluctable, the golden shaft of light streams into the darkness of my room.

Because the street-grid of Minneapolis is laid out East-West, on Evenday mornings the Spring (and Harvest) Sun rising due east shines in through the eastern windows, down the hall, and into my bedroom on the west side of the house.

It's like living in Newgrange, but with heat and running water.

They say that Zeus appeared to Danaë in a Shower of Gold.

They say that Shiva revealed himself as a Lingam of Fire.

I jump out of bed and stand in the Lordly Light. His godly touch gilds my naked skin.

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A Message from Demeter at the Spring Equinox

As the seasons of the Earth turn, so do the seasons of humanity. Many powers are converging, within and without, to wake humanity from its long winter of soul. Spring is in the air; Persephone walks the land above; and here you are, by my side, reaching for the ways of the Great Mother once more.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox

The Return of spring, time of holy equality. The landscape is still winter-rough and wind-blown. Walk outside and feel the raw possibility. The world is made of stories, and we need to change the narrative. 

Poised in the season's symmetry, ask: what does another world look like? 

The anxieties hover—climate change, nuclear holocaust, environmental devastation—but let us not stress only existential apocalyptic tales. How de we stop devouring the planet and instead energize stories of plenty and repair?

From the ballast of balance, begin to notice The Commons, that entire life support system that we hold in trust for future beings. Envision a healing parallel economy producing air, diversity, wilderness, asking only respect in return. Collect bits of wind-blown trash for a day. Gather in community, sharing the common wealth.

Remember that the root word for "religion" is "re-linking"; when we speak in the language of longing, we re-enter the mystery. 

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Expanding the Sisterhood Grid © Qutress 2017 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Aries Spring Equinox: The Ram

Normally, my Spring Equinox post would have a light and airy tone. I'd suggest fun and fanciful ways to welcome spring with friends or solo, and usually some recipes to try. These are certainly challenging times, and Aries the ram, the sun sign under which I was born, usually always rises to a good challenge. Here is mine currently: staying positive in these frightening and uncertain times. A reader that I follow on WaterBaby Tarot recently stated that we should hold on to faith and not give in to fear. She reasoned that when fear wins, we stress out and our immune systems are compromised. This could also lead to more people getting sick. It's a vicious cycle: fear/illness/more fear/more illness. Breaking out of this can be easier said than done. Although I do think it's important to stay informed, periodic breaks from the news and being online are imperative right now. Because once you have the pertinent information of the day, dwelling on things and speculating on where they could possibly go from here are not going to help matters a whole lot.

Fittingly, the Spring Equinox and Ostara is all about balance. As a planet, we need to balance out. We've been leaping forward at warp speed for too long now with industrialization, overpopulation, pollution, and technology that we can't even humanly keep up with anymore. I personally don't feel it's any accident that with the increase of climate change consequences: drought, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires– we're seeing an uptick in disease and outbreaks that we can't control. Mother Nature might just be mightily pissed off at us people, and honestly, can you blame her?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mystery Night

It may be that in this time of Plague, tonight, on this Eve of Spring—whether in wisdom or in fear, who shall say?—the Rites of Spring will go uncelebrated.

Or will they?

Hear now my story.

 

September 27, 480 BCE: Mystery Night, the night on which, since time immemorial, people have gathered in Eleusis in Attica to celebrate the Mysteries of the Barley Mother and her daughter, the Nameless Bride.

But this year Eleusis and its sanctuary lie empty. The plains of Attica have been devastated by the invading Persians, and the people of Attica have evacuated to mountain refuges.

It so happens that on that day, two Greek turncoats in pay of the Persian king—Dikaios, son of Theokydes, and Demaratos of Sparta—see a great cloud of dust on the Attic plain, as if raised by the feet of 30,000, and hear massed voices shouting the holy cry: Iakkhos! Iakkhos!

But in the midst of the cloud they see nothing and no one.

What is this? asks Demaratos, who had not been initiated into the Mother's Mysteries.

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Plant Your Own Protection: Healing Herbs

Plants provide a Haven, even in a cramped apartment, improving the air you breathe and lending their seasonal beauty.

 For dispelling negative energy, plant, heather, hazel, hawthorn, holly, hyacinth, hyssop, ivy, juniper, periwinkle, and primrose.

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