PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
As the solstice comes upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere our thoughts turn to surviving the cold. While it's considerably milder here in Scotland than it was while I was teaching in New York, cold it is and cups of tea provide welcome warmth. It's hardly surprising that people in the Middle Ages measured their lives in winters survived. In many ways the mid-winter celebrations offer a chance to celebrate that hope and restore it for the lean months ahead.
It's the perfect time to consider the Anglo-Saxon poem The Seafarer, which I think of as a companion to The Wanderer. Both elegiac poems that mourn a lost past, they celebrate the power of the comitatus, the loyal troop of warriors and find poetic resonance in the harsh world of winter....
"Some decks may be stacked against us...but this deck is ours. Our Tarot."
Just came across this fabulous feminist Tarot deck on Kickstarter, highlighting 78 powerful women from history.
Emily Dickinson as The Hermit, Hildegard of Bingen as The High Priestess, Josephine Baker as the Queen of Wands, Joan of Arc as The Fool, Harriet Tubman as The Chariot, Abigail Williams (one of the primary initial accusers at the Salem Witch Trials) as The Devil--doesn't Our Tarot sound delicious?
Tarot--the highly-symbolic set of cards that serves divination, meditation, pathworking, inspiration, creativity and illumination--is a "fringe" practice that, to some extent, is becoming more mainstream...just like Paganism in all it's diverse, vibrant expressions.
And because both expressions are "fringe" (meaning we tend to be objects of ridicule, exclusion and/or marginalization), we need to support one another....
Tell Pagan God Santa your wishes at http://www.outlawbunny.com/2015/12/02/wishes-to-pagan-santa/
Gong-gong is the Chinese god of floods and is the next divinity I am remembering from the atheist “graveyard”. July is the start of the flood season for most rivers in China. It is a huge challenge to those who work the land. The rivers are a double-edge sword; without water nothing will grow but with too much water, lives and crops can be lost. So it is very much a love/hate relationship with these fast moving rivers. The Chinese have several eccentric river gods and Gong-gong is one of them.
Your baby will come soon.
So you need to find a birth-tree.
You can't give birth in camp, because blood draws predators and you'd be putting everyone at risk.
It's winter, so you want an evergreen, one with enough branches to offer good protection from the weather, but not so many that predators can approach unseen.
You'll need a stout trunk to brace against; also lots of absorbent duff to sop up the blood, and a spot to bury the blood-soaked strew. Unburied blood draws danger.
The right tree will also provide dead wood, and you'll need that. Fire warms and protects.
A hemlock on a south-facing slope would be good. That way you'll get the best of what Sun there is.