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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

For the past three weeks, we've been involved in a lovely and intriguing process here on the farm.  This particular season of the year brings a short period of weather where the nights fall below freezing and the days warm up in the spring thaw.  This oscillation of temperature, combined with the changing patterns of sunlight, creates  the conditions for sugar-laden sap to flow quickly in the trees. By tapping the trees and collecting this sap, we are able to enjoy the alchemy of maple syrup making.  Here on the prairies we don't have many of the big sugar maples of the eastern woodlands, but we do have Manitoba maples (sometimes called box elder, or even elf maple (!))  These maples are a little less prolific and less sweet in their sap production, but its still worthwhile to make the syrup.  

Visiting the trees every day to gather the sap is a delight in and of itself.  They are offering their lifeblood, not in dangerous quantities, but it still is a good reminder for me to thank them, and ask the Creator to bless them.  Like so many things on the farm, syrup production is derived directly from the life of other persons ... in this case, tree persons.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    One of my childhood memories is visiting a farm in Vermont when they were mapleing off. I remember the smell of wood smoke and ma

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Music for Ritual in Modern Minoan Paganism

One aspect of ritual that we don't often think about until we're armpit-deep in actually performing one is music. The ancient Minoans, like other Bronze Age cultures in Europe and the Mediterranean, used music in ritual - we know because we see it in the art. But we don't know what it sounded like. So how can we incorporate music into Minoan ritual? It's not that hard, really.

Like many aspects of Minoan religion, we have to base our choices on two points: what we see in the archaeological record and what evokes the ancient Minoans to us as modern Pagans. In other words, we have to make some educated guesses as to what Minoan music probably sounded like. We know a lot about Minoan music from Minoan art. And we have a pretty good idea about what other types of ancient music from the Mediterranean and the Near East sounded like. So what we tend to go for in Modern Minoan Paganism is music that makes us feel like we're in the ancient world. It's a psychological trigger, in other words.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Gift from Freya

Pictured here is the most recent addition to my spiritual souvenirs shrine. This is the story of how it appeared in my life and what it means to me.

Cats. To understand this story, one must know that among other things, Freya is a goddess of cats. Also, love and sex, and that is why the heart symbol is one of her symbols. She is also a goddess of war, but that's not relevant to this tale.

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    That's a nice saying, I like it.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In "The Three 'Only' Things" Robert Moss says that: "a coincidence is a meaningful convergence of inner and outer experience." Th
Are You Washed in the Blood of the Bull?  A Mithraic Anthem

Hey, every little pagan gayboy harbors a Mithraic fantasy or two, and I was no different from the rest.

As gods go, Mithras is as cute as they get, not to mention that he gets to ascend to heaven and handfast the Sun, who's not only cute, but hangs out butt-naked all the time. What's not to like? In the end, they even share a couch. (Go ahead, check out the vignettes if you don't believe me.) Plus, it's an all-male cult. That's pretty cool.

I wrote these lyrics back in the 80s as a send-up of the classic American hymn Are You Washed in the Blood (of the Lamb)? They do not faithfully portray actual Mithraic practice. The taurobolium (blood baptism) characterized the cultus of the Magna Mater, not that of Mithras. (No sane person would ever try to bring a live bull into the intimately close confines of your average Mithraeum, much less sacrifice one there.) Likewise, surviving iconography makes it quite clear that Mithras ≠ Sun.

So what follows is best regarded as a lark, not a serious addition to contemporary pagan hymnody.

Still, I like to think that it successfully captures something of the fraternal joy that must have characterized ancient (and, no doubt, modern) Mithraism. Does anybody seriously believe that, after the wine had gone around once or twice, the Brothers did not sing a good, rousing anthem or two together?


Do you shine for the Sun,

and does he shine for you?


Are You Washed in the Blood of the Bull?

A Mithraic Anthem

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ave Mithras Sol Invictus! Hey, they're still trying to figure out stuff about Mithraism. Thanks for sharing.



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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

It's been busy around here. Although the shop is doing well, I was talked into taking a part time job answering phones for four hours a day. I now will need to adjust the hours at my little shop. I believe that it will still go well though.

I am blessed at the reception I'm receiving. So far all good responses. This has taught me that no matter what a few say about my beliefs and customs that if I keep pressing along, I can be accepted for who I am and what I do, not what I believe. Although I won't stop holding my breath just yet.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Realest Magic

You laugh. Go ahead. It doesn't change the truth of what I say.

Among the most potent of all magical tools is the clipboard.

Believe me when I tell you that with this clipboard in hand, I, middle-aged white guy, can go anywhere.


With this in my hand, I could walk into the room where they keep all the money, and no one would stop me.

Not only would no one stop me, but they would avert their eyes as I did it.

You don't want to make eye contact with Clipboard Guy. You do not.

Invisibility, impunity, ability to instill fear: these are the powers bestowed by the magic clipboard.

Who needs a Hand of Glory?

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  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    It's rumored that Marvel was about to green light a new super hero series about a guy with a clipboard, glasses, and a badge. Stan
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    There was a guy in the warehouse today. Vaguely familiar, I think I've seen him before, wearing a yellow safety vest and holding
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Damn, Anthony! You mean you didn't recognize me?!?

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