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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 Paths Blogs
It's the Wine Talking

There are two things we can be pretty sure the Minoans did: libations and divination. We have lots of pictures of libations (poured offerings of liquids) in the frescoes, seals, and other art from ancient Crete. As for divination, besides the fact that pretty much every civilization has done its best to foresee the future, there are some interesting “floating organs” (hearts, livers, bones) on some of the seals that suggest the Minoans took part in the same kind of animal-part auguries that many ancient cultures used.

I’m not here to tell you how to check your horoscope in animal guts. Instead, I’d like to talk about wine.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Lammas: Don't Fear the Reaper

The grain harvest is being collected in the fields around my home. The usually still and silent evening air is filled with the sound of combine harvesters, accentuated every now and then with the hoot of a tawny owl. Lammas is upon us.

Standing on a footpath that divides two large fields, one side filled with barley just reaped, the other with wheat standing pale golden in the sun, I raise my hands to the blue sky and give my thanks for all that nourishes us. I walk a ways into the cut field, the harsh stubs of barley amid the dry, sandy earth and place my hands upon the soil. Thank you for your blessing, may the land be nourished even as it nourishes us. Hail and thanks be to the goddess. I then move to stand on the edge of the wheat field, allowing its song of potential to flow through me. I brush the bent heads filled with seed and say another prayer of thanks. 

This is a wonderful time of year, when the songs of the ancestors flow through the rural heartlands of Britain.  Though the way we harvest is different, still there is that cycle of growth, of planting and harvesting. After the long hot days of midsummer, the lengthening evenings are welcome, bringing cooler air. Though the dog days may still lie ahead of us, there is something different in the air at this time of year.  The scents have changed, the leaves are dark green and heavy, the foliage beginning to choke out and fall back.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Joanna. This is beautifully expressed. I really like your statement, expressed in other writings, that death is not the
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Hi Ted - thank you for your continued support. Yes, birth and death are an action, an event. Life is simply a constant flow of man

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
When Community Fails

My friend’s mother died this past spring.

The stroke happened suddenly and her passing came a few weeks later.  Despite a lot of preparation for a worst-case scenario, the death hit the family hard.  My friend had a difficult relationship with her mother (something many of us can relate to, I’m sure) and her ambivalent thoughts and emotions have been complicating an already difficult grieving process.

My friend announced her mother’s illness to our group, but she kept the news of her mother’s passing to herself.  She had been out of town a lot to be with family, and it was only recently that I saw my friend since her family tragedy. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ann Edwards
    Ann Edwards says #
    I was interested in your comment "I as a priestess, did not show up at funerals..." Did you as a friend show up?
  • Anna Helvie
    Anna Helvie says #
    From 2002 to 2012, it was mixed. A coven member's father died and we did not go to the funeral. At that time it was because we we
  • Anna Helvie
    Anna Helvie says #
    My impression is that greater Pagandom has a substantial number of people who don't do well with these types of things, and that o
  • Anna Helvie
    Anna Helvie says #
    I meant "bring in a social worker who understands the nuances of bereavement and has specialty skills in this topic."
  • Ann Edwards
    Ann Edwards says #
    I'm sorry but this story struck me as almost a description of modern paganism. Events, celebrations, connections... but no true c

 

Many Pagans, Wiccans, Polythesists, and others today mark Lughnasadh (pronounced LOO-nuh-sah or loo-NAH-suh; also sometimes called Lammas from the Christianized "loaf mass") on August 1 or August 2 in the northern hemisphere and on February 1-2 in the southern. Some eclectic traditions mark Lughnasadh according to the full Moon that is closest to August 1.Others celebrate it on the nearest weekend for convenience, especially if doing group or public ritual.

The roots of Lughnasadh come from old Celtic traditions, i.e., the Irish, Scot, Manx, Cornish, Welsh, and Breton peoples and probably from those of the Isle of Man as well. Many celebrants today follow traditional agricultural markers (based on extant records, folklore, etc.) rather than calendar dates when timing celebrations. Those practicing Celtic reconstructionist Druidism may locate Lughnasadh according to the appearance of the first late summer fruits or the first grain harvest in their home area. Here in the Pacific northwest, modern CRs use the blackberries to time agricultural Lughnasadh, while CRs on the east coast tend to use blueberries. For most modern practitioners, the emphasis is most often on the rhythms of life in one’s home area rather than on the calendar. For instance, rather than marking Beltaine on May 1, many CRs celebrate it once the hawthorn—or the appropriate local white-flowering tree—blooms. In CR practices, the sacred and mundane are not separate, and the most mundane daily activity is every bit as sacred as the carefully planned “high ritual.” Daily life is a form of spiritual practice, and hospitality is one of the most highly valued of these expressions.

According to Irish mythos, Lughnasadh marks a funeral celebration and feast thrown by the God Lugh (pronounced LOO) in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. Legend claims that she cleared much of Ireland’s plains to allow for farms to be started, after which she collapsed and died. (Yeah—I’d be tired, too.) The funeral games were subsequently called the Tailtin/Tailtiun games in her honor. Interestingly, because so many healthy, vigorous young people appeared for the games, Lughnasadh also became known as a prime time to make matches-- of the romantic rather than the gaming time-- with many handfastings following.

In folkloric terms—and those of traditional calendar customs—Lughnasadh more or less always marks the harvest of the local berries and of the first ripening grains.

Traditionalists may celebrate Lughnasadh in several ways, including some or all of the following:

1. The celebration is invariably communal. It was typical of the ancient Celtic peoples to gather as communities or even come from great distances for major celebrations, and this was often especially true at Lughnasadh as the weather tended to be better in summer than at the other cross-quarter holidays (although, the needs of one’s farm or animals always limited some from long periods of travel). The celebrations included feasting, games and tourneys (especially horse racing), and ritual fires.

2. The ancient Gods are appeased and thanked with offerings from the first harvest and with ritual. Lugh and Tailtiu, in particular, are often honored honored. Danu, the Irish mother goddess, is often mentioned at Lughnasadh as a benefactress.

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SorryHello out there in blog land....

I'm going to quit apologizing for having problems maintaining this blog. And then I'm going to try harder to maintain this blog. You heard it here. We have a hero's journey to finish after all. :)  But first, Lughnasadh....

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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Miriam Dyak (Seattle, WA) All my life is poetry. Close to 60 years of writing poems, journals, books and not about to stop. I am a Social Artist, Voice Dialogue facilitator and teacher, dream weaver, gardener of souls. 

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Embodied Theology: Goddess and God in the World by Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow

Our new book Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology has just been released. It just so happens that this is a time for celebrating the harvest. An excerpt from the Introduction introduces the "embodied theological method" we hope will turn the field of theology upside down.

People who reject the popular image of God as an old white man who rules the world from outside it often find themselves at a loss for words when they try to articulate new meanings and images of divinity. Speaking about God or Goddess is no as longer simple as it once was. Given the variety of spiritual paths and practices people follow today, theological discussions do not always begin with shared assumptions about the nature of ultimate reality. In the United States, the intrusion of religion into politics has led many people to avoid the subject of religion altogether. In families and among friends, discussions of religion often culminate in judgment, anger, or tears. Sometimes the conversation is halted before it even begins when someone voices the opinion that anyone who is interested in religion or spirituality is naïve, unthinking, or backward—or, alternatively, that religious views are a matter of personal preference and not worth discussing at all.

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