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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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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
How to Build a Sanctuary

I answered the phone. It was my brother-in-law. He opened the conversation with "Your country has gone mad." Which I know.He's absolutely right.  And he has seen some crazy in his day in Northern Ireland during the thirty years of The Troubles.  So how to not add to the sum total of crazy these days? The words sanctuary and refuge keep resonating with me.  We speak of asylum seekers and refugees. Sanctuary is a safe haven, which in ancient times could be claimed in sacred space by those who were hunted. In this cultural climate of fear, where do you build a place of safety for yourself and for others? How can you build a sanctuary, which is also synonymous with a reserve, although in that sense it is used when talking about protecting nature or animals.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Eternal Apple

Cut across the core, the Star of Life.

Cut with the core, the Gate of Life.

If witches have a sacred fruit, it's the Eternal Apple. Even our afterlife is the Apple-Tree Island, where the dead eat of the Fruit of Life and grow young and full of sap again.

Asked why there were so many witches in Basque country, Pierre de Lancre—the Inquisitor who spearheaded the Basque witch-trials—replied: Are you kidding? That's Apple Country up there. Those people eat nothing but apples. No wonder they're all witches.

Indeed.

Fasting on the day of November Eve is my oldest personal custom. The last thing that I'll eat before I begin my fast at sundown tonight is an apple.

All night and all day I'll fast. The dead do not eat.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

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  • Bee Smith
    Bee Smith says #
    A beautiful, soulful and heartfelt prayer. May it be so. And it is happening now.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Seed Charm for the Ancestors

Seed Charm for the Ancestors

This charm is for honouring those that have passed over, it can be for humans or animals.   The seeds are grown in memory of your loved ones.

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Dining with the Ancestors: A Modern Minoan Rite

We're approaching Samhain here in the northern hemisphere, so my thoughts naturally turn toward the Ancestors. The Minoans didn't celebrate Samhain - it's a Celtic festival from a time many centuries after the fall of Minoan civilization and a place a great distance away from Crete. But the Minoans did honor the Ancestors and the spirits of the dead. In fact, as far as we can tell, that's something all ancient cultures did in one way or another.

The Minoans appear to have performed dining rites, something along the lines of a Dumb Supper, a meal where the spirits of the dead are invited as honored guests. The image at the top of this blog post is a fascinating terracotta model from the Minoan tholos tomb at Kamilari. It depicts four people in a dining shrine, seated with little tables in front of them. Two of the tables hold what appear to be loaves of bread. In front of the tables, two human-like figures are rising up out of the floor: the spirits of the dead.

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Samhain Teaching: Born Into Life, Born Into Death

The natural world and our human psyches turn toward the mysteries of death at Samhain. Cold and darkness descend upon the land, and the wild world shifts into decay and a death-like sleep. In many cultures, this time of year is marked by offerings and rituals to honor the dead, our beloved ancestors.

Usually we don’t like to think about death. Most of us run as fast as we can from the frightening specter that decline and death conjure in us. It is the ultimate irony that the moment we are born into life, with our very first breath, we are also born into death. And we must live every moment, every breath, knowing that we will die, and that everything around us, all that we love and cherish, will eventually come to decay, to death, to dust.

Samhain teaches us that there is no hiding from death. It comes in the falling of leaves, the lengthening darkness and the cold grip of Winter. It comes in our remembrances of our beloved ancestors that have passed on. It comes in the wrenching of our heart as we witness a dear one slip from this world into the next. It comes with the graying at our temples, the sagging of our flesh and the unstoppable march toward our last breath.

And death comes with gifts in hand if we have the courage to show up raw and naked to our pain, losses and fears.

Death strips us to the basics:
that every breath is a miracle not to be wasted;
that each person, each creature and life form, is worthy, precious, sacred;
that life is oh so hard and oh so exquisite;
that pain and loss help us remember what we cherish most;
and that love, at the end of all things, is what remains.

Love is death’s most precious gift to us. Love, not money, possessions, career, social esteem and the many other alluring outer trappings of life, is the balm that soothes us in the face of death. Love is what connects us to those who have passed on. Love calls us to reach out and hold each other in our grief. Love is what joins us heart to heart and soul to soul to another. Love is our best offering from our Deep Self to the world.

Samhain is a time to contemplate the mysteries of death, not from a place of fear and resistance, but from an acceptance of death as a teacher and guide for the living. Yes we are born into life and born into death, and it is this very, inescapable fact that makes every moment so precious, fragile and bittersweet beautiful.

Death isn’t a summons to fear, it is an invitation to love, deeply, wildly, joyfully. And when death seeks us out at the end of our days, let our last breath be a prayer to love.

Photo Credit: Chris B on Unsplash

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Leave the Leaves Alone!

When your heart is heavy and needs to be uplifted, when your head is muddled and needs to be cleared, what better way to achieve those needs than to get out into the fresh, crisp autumn air for a leisurely walk?

The sky is bright blue and invigorating after two days of soothing overcast and rain, the cotton clouds are swift and shapely, and an enchanting breeze is singing through the lofty boughs of multi-colored trees...

Ah, all the elements are alive and stirring! What message has the wind for me? What words of wisdom and comfort can I hear in the dancing branches of the tr -

BRRRRRRRR! BRRR, BRRRRR, BRRR! BRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

Not just one invasive, pervasive leaf-blower on one block, not just two over the course of a few blocks…but seemingly endless leaf-blowers on any and every block! Leaf-blowers, leaf-blowers everywhere! And nothing else to hear!

Have none of you anything better to do on such a gorgeous afternoon? And just what is it you are even accomplishing?

Here is one guy (always a guy) just standing in his yard, blowing a small pile of leaves over the curb and into the street. Here is another a couple blocks later, I kid you not, just standing in the street and blowing a small pile of leaves over the curb and into his yard!

There are others on those blocks over there that I can’t see, but oh I can hear them, and what difference does it make which direction they’re blowing the leaves that the blessed wind is going to scatter however it wants as soon as they’re done?

What are you accomplishing and why? Is it a contradictory idle chore because you truly don’t have anything better to do? Is it a male thing? A "muggle" thing? A male muggle thing? Is it the pleasure of holding and pointing around yet another phallic tool and having even a modicum of fleeting control over one tiny, yet ubiquitous, part of nature?

Is it because those cheeky leaves can’t just lay where they fall, not on your watch? Are the ones in the street blocking that Escalade from getting through? Are the ones in your yard upsetting your dog and making him bark? Surely you want the leaves to do their job and decompose on your lawn and nourish your trees' roots and other growing things, right? No..?

Why can’t the leaves be left alone? And for the love of the gods, why the noise? Ever hear of a rake? Why the endless, merciless, accosting noise pollution, needless burning of fuel and the wasted minutes of barely rearranging the precious jewels of autumn? Can the leaves have no peace? Can I? 

If you want to truly enjoy the season, if you want to connect with nature and hear her subtle whispers, or if you even care enough to let others do the same, then please, I beg you…

Just leave the leaves alone!


© 2018 Meredith Everwhite - All Rights Reserved

Featured image: "Fire Red and Gold" by Eyvind Earle

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