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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Take a close look at the controversial Green “Man” on the official invitation to Charlie III's upcoming coronation—the one that has occasioned so much brujaja in the British press.

Note, gentle reader, that it is not in fact a Green Man at all, but rather a Green Cat.


Green Beasts


In fact, the Green Feline is a not infrequent variant in the Leaf Mask motif, which turns up, historically speaking, relatively early in the development of the motif: during the early Romanesque period, in fact.

You can generally distinguish them from Green Men by their cleft lips, and the pointed ears on the tops of their heads. Art historian Tina Negus, attempting accommodation, refers to them as Green Beasts rather than Green Cats, but in fact almost all known examples are readily identifiable as felines rather than some other sort of beast.

So: if you're going to have a Green Beast, why a cat rather than some other sort of animal?

Myself, I suspect two reasons: one historical, one, well...what Nanny Ogg would call persychological.


Cats or Lions?


First off...which are we actually seeing here: Green Lions or Green Cats?

Um...Reply hazy, try again later.

For the time being, let's go with the neutral term, Green Felines. Later on, we'll see why the royal Lion would be the preferable reading.


Practical Cats


To this question, my friend and colleague Frebur Moore suggested a practical answer: that—felines being predators—what we see in the Green Feline is the hidden, stalking beast, peering, as it were, through foliage.

Makes sense. But wait, there's more.


Eyes Front


It's clear that the first foliate masks were human faces. This, I suspect, is yet another reason why Green Beasts tend to be Green Felines.

Felines, being predators, have their eyes on the front of their heads rather than on the sides. This makes their faces more visually similar to human faces and hence, more readily adaptable as stand-ins for the human face than those of animals—herbivores, say—with eyes to the sides of the head instead.

Yet another reason why cats are better than dogs.


But the Real Reason...

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Dreams: Meeting a Celebrity

A celebrity encounter can often be a very exciting dream to have, as it’s often wrapped up in feelings of admiration—especially if it’s a celebrity that you are a big fan of in your waking life. If this is the case, it is possible that this dream is the result of your desire to meet that celebrity in real life. Then, this dream can become a form of wish fulfillment. It’s common to dream about celebrity crushes if your waking thoughts are filled with them. However, a common interpretation of this sort of dream is also that the celebrity represents specific qualities that you want to grow in yourself. Think about the celebrity that you met in your dream, and what traits you associate with them. Are you in awe of their charisma, activism, or specific talent? What is that celebrity known for? Do you idolize that celebrity, and if so, why? Think about how you might relate to any aspects of that celebrity’s stage personality or career, since that is what will guide your interpretation. This dream may be encouraging you to think about how you can better represent the traits you admire in others.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

A Spell for Beltane:

Gather up some soft petals
and hold them to your lips.
Let them whisper to you of pleasure.
Do not let it fade away.
May you connect to those things
that bring you pleasure,
those things that bring you joy,
let them speak to you of
the wellspring of joy that rests within.
Let them sing to you of wonder and delight,
of your own magic,
of things once lost
that can be found.
Breathe deep
and make a vow of commitment to your life
as it breathes now,
to your body
as it stands now.
Make a promise,
deep and silent,
secret and strong
to your own magic nestled within.
Take one petal for pleasure,
one petal for joy,
one petal for delight,
one petal for magic.
Press them against your skin,
let them soak in.
One by one,
the spell is done. 


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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


It's a chilly Beltane here in Paganistan, but during a precocious run of 80° weather a while back, a friend sent me a photo from the year's first sunning down at Sweetwood Sanctuary.

(And yes, that is the legendary Bull Stone that you see there in medias res.)

I couldn't help myself.

Is that a standing stone between your legs, or are you glad it's Spring? I wrote.

Back came the e-mail with the expected response.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Papyrus: From Spreadsheet to Magic

Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), also known as Egyptian reed, was regarded as a gift from the gods for its wide range of construction and domestic purposes. The Nile delta was a perfect place for this aquatic grass-like plant. Its upright, triangular stem can grow fifteen feet tall with a large tuft of flowering thread-like branches at the top resembling a feather duster. Pith from inside the stem was cut into thin slices, pressed together, dried, and voilà! Paper. Papyrus was THE paper for about four thousand years before being replaced by parchment and rag/pulp paper around 1000 CE.
        The pyramids didn’t only involve moving mountains of stones around, they required documents and accounts for tracking all the materials, people, and everything else. The Egyptians were thousands of years ahead of Microsoft with spreadsheets and paper was a phenomenal breakthrough because it was lightweight and portable, unlike clay tablets. Paper was the ancient information superhighway making communication easy for government, business, and everyone. Personal letters and even shopping lists have been found by archaeologists.
        Papyrus made it possible for everyone to have a Book of the Dead slipped into their coffin; previously it was carved or painted on the walls of royal tombs. A sort of guidebook for the deceased, the Book of the Dead contained magic spells and details on what to do upon arrival in the afterlife. It may be the reason papyrus was also known as the grass of guidance.
        Scrolls were written about any and everything, including magic. One of the most famous is the Greek Magical Papyri, a collection of texts on myths, magical spells, and rituals (c. 100 BCE – c. 500 CE) from Greco-Roman Egypt that now resides in the British Museum. Even before magic was written on papyrus, the plant itself was regarded as sacred and magical. Papyrus was important enough to have its own hieroglyph.
        In temple architecture, columns representing bundles of papyrus stalks demarcated sacred space. According to legend, crocodiles would not attack a boat made of papyrus because it was the type of ship Isis sailed in. In addition, a small piece of glazed pottery in the shape of a papyrus stalk was used as an amulet. Known as the papyrus scepter and wadj, it was believed to impart abundance and vitality to the wearer. It was also worn for protection and used as a sign of prosperity. Sometimes made of green felspar, this amulet was placed with a mummy to represent the promise of new life.
        Sheets of papyrus paper are available today and can enhance the energy of magic work. Write spells on it to tuck into your grimoire or include it in ritual. Create your own amulet with small piece of papyrus paper: write a spell or a few keywords on it, role it up, and then tie it with colorful thread to make a scroll. Let your imagination take you to ancient Egypt and let the grass of guidance show you its magical uses.  


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 Kickapoo River near Wildcat State Park | Wisconsin vacation, Wisconsin  state parks, Wisconsin travel

So, you're embarking on your sixth decade. Allow me to tender a friendly rede.

Don't let yourself dry up.

You've reached the age at which a truly disconcerting number of men begin to let themselves shrivel. Some are even glad it's over, happy to be free of—as they see it—the tyranny of need.

Not us.

We're warlocks, unholy priesthood to Him o' the Horns. Like god, like priest. As we serve him, so he serves us. That's the kind of god he is.

Keep those juices flowing, brother. If she's not interested, know what to do, and how to do it.

Yes, it may take a little more love than it used to. Persevere. Make it part of the regimen.

Think of it as a religious obligation. Think of it as an honoring of the god within. Think of it as libation. As you give to him, so he will give to you. But you give as a man gives, and he gives as a god.

I swear to you, it will keep you youthful. This is his promise to us.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Species Spotlight: The Magic of Fireflies | Three Rivers Park District


“Why do they hate us so much?” a boy growing up Evangelical once asked his father.

(True or not, this is a common belief among Evangelical Christians.)

“Because so many Christians are such jerks,” his father told him.


There are forms of Christianity that I, as a pagan, respect, even admire.

With its intellectual vacuity, utter lack of social conscience, and political triumphalism, Evangelicalism is decidedly not one of them.


Like many gender-non-conforming kids, I grew up socially isolated.

Elementary school wasn't so bad. Having grown up with me, the other kids mostly just accepted me for who I was. Junior high, though, was hellish. There I was the weird kid, the outsider. (There must be easier ways to learn self-reliance.) In high school I finally made some friends among the other egghead creatives. I loved my new friends all the better for understanding the worth of what I'd worked so hard to gain.

Then I lost most of those friends again to the so-called “Jesus Revolution.”

By then, my pagan identity was already fully formed. I could see their so-called “revolution” for what it actually was: a total abrogation of intelligence, an unthinking embrace of the worst kind of reactionary conservatism.

(I was right. My former friends and their co-religionists were precisely the demographic that betrayed us to Reagan and his successors, including Trump.)

Suddenly, the witch-boy was the pariah again. Finally, I decided to end it.

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