PaganSquare


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
To Find My Ancestors

One Pagan's DNA Research

My ancestors are important to my shamanic path. My previous post discusses that and why taking an AncestryDNA test is part of that path for me. 

Today's post discusses my feelings as I waited for the test results, my reactions to the results, and the adventure it put me on as a Pagan. 

An AncestryDNA test predicts ethnicity. Waiting for test results, I wondered if I'd like them. I felt excitement and a bit of trepidation.

I was empowered thinking about the benefits my friends' experienced. One friend learned which regions in Africa her ancestors hailed from. Prior to that, she did not know where in Africa she was from. Another friend uncovered secrets her family had hidden. This freed her from decades of lies.  

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joyce ORourke
    Joyce ORourke says #
    I loved reading about your experience with the DNA testing and your results. Did you ever just know something about yourself since
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Joyce, Thanks for checking out the blog. I am delighted you liked it. And yes, I really hear you about knowing stuff despite any
  • aought
    aought says #
    Yes, I look forward to having my DNA analyzed. Oh, the ancestry that is buried. Raised "English," (Grandma was an English immigran
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    aought, thanks so much for your perspective on this. I am glad that you agree with me that 1) discovering one's ethnicity both doe

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Wicked Witching

So, one day the Interfaith Council asks the witch the deliver the opening prayer.

(By the way, this actually happened. My long-time friend and colleague Macha Nightmare has been active in Interfaith for years.)

She stands up.

“Witches dance to pray,” she says. “So I'm going to teach you one of our oldest, most sacred dances. It's called the Spiral Dance.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I should add that after the Never-ending Spiral Dance of Death, I heard at least one suggestion that the SD actually dates from th
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Och, the tales of Spiral Dances Gone Bad. The broken legs, the sprains, the dislocated shoulders, the spiral that broke in the mid
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Good for Macha. Just wondering. How many people does it take to do a spiral dance? More than 2, certainly. More than 10 perhap
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    I would say the optimal number, for me, would be 15-40, at least in terms of intimacy. Small coven ones with eight or nine can wo

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Mystery at Midsummer, Minoan Style

Mystery plays were a big part of life in the ancient world, when people’s seasonal work was punctuated throughout the year by sacred festivals of all sorts. What on earth is a mystery play? It’s not a whodunit, like a modern murder mystery. In the case of mystery plays, the word takes on an older meaning. My dictionary defines it as ‘a religious truth that man can know by revelation alone,’ in other words, something you have to experience yourself rather than just being told about it. And that’s what mystery plays are all about: letting you have the experience of the gods, the myths, the sacred, right there in your own life. A mystery isn’t just something you experience; it changes you from the inside out.

The modern world still has mystery plays of a sort. The ‘living nativity scene’ that some Christian churches put on around Christmas is a snapshot or tidbit of a mystery play and those huge Passion of Christ productions are the full-scale deal, a mystery play about the Christian festival of Easter.. But for most people these days, I suspect the movies largely take the place of the old mystery plays, allowing us to roll ourselves up emotionally in the stories that make up the mythology of the modern world: superheroes, science fiction, fantasy.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Beautiful!

b2ap3_thumbnail_banff12.jpgFor the past 2 years, I've been circulating a Dropbox link to a collection of files containing Jung's Collected Works, which someone had scanned.  Unfortunately, the text recognition feature on the scanner was imperfect, which made searching and reading frustrating. 

But I have good news Jung-o-philes!

...
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Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, June 16

We Pagans often like to think of ourselves as a minority religion, ignored and disregarded by mainstream culture. But we're far from the group striving for equality and representation. This week for Fiery Tuesday we take a look at America's first underprivileged group: the American Indians / Native Americans, who've struggled for centuries against colonialism and exploitation. Read on to hear about some of the most relevant issues affecting natives today, from protecting their rights to their ancient traditions to how they're represented in the U.S. Census. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Dead and Back Again: Part 2 - Grief and Healing

While I was in labor with my stillborn baby, I remember telling my midwife that I spent the first thirty years of my life depressed and I would NOT allow this tragedy to drag me back there.  She smiled through her tears and told me I might not have a choice in the matter. 

 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Niki
    Niki says #
    Thank you so much for sharing your grief. So many people don't know how to share it or that they can.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_rise-to-standing.jpgI'm clearing out the clutter in my studio when a scrap of paper pops up with a poem I must have written years ago.

Reading the piece, which sports the title "Forgiveness," I wonder: What does belly wisdom have to do with that?

The Woman's Belly Book: Finding Your True Center for More Energy, Confidence, and Pleasure includes two poems, but this isn't one of them.

Searching my computer for a file that might contain the poem, thinking I could copy and paste the words here for you rather than type them out again, I find files labelled Forgiveness.0, Forgiveness.1, and Forgiveness.2.

Turns out, back in 1995 — twenty years ago — I guided people through a Ritual of Forgiveness in a workshop that was (if I remember correctly) part of a Sufi conference on healing.

The ritual involves moving through the Honoring Your Belly sequence of power-centering gestures — twice, in fact, each time with a different narration.

Apparently I wrote the two narrations for this Ritual of Forgiveness sometime after writing the ones that inform the Rite for Reconsecrating Our Womanhood and the Rite for Invoking the Sacred Feminine. The Reconsecrations voice a sequence of affirmations tracing the heroine's journey; the Invocations present a series of body prayers addressing the Feminine Divine. In each case, the words imbue the 23 gestures they accompany with personal meaning.

Likewise, in the first round of this Ritual of Forgiveness the 23 movement and breathing exercises enact "Decomposing the Old, Conceiving the New." The same gestures, in the second round, animate "Gestating and Generating the New."

Both rounds involve drawing out images emerging from the body's center: first, what we're willing to release; then, what we welcome to take its place.

Twenty years ago, I discovered that energizing the belly and activating its wisdom with movement and breath could contribute mightily to the process of forgiveness. I believe I'm ripe for exploring that connection again.

How are you with forgiveness — needing to forgive, resisting forgiveness, knowing how to forgive — in your life?

Here's the poem that sparked a twenty-year retrospective that, for me, is oh-so-timely today. I hope it's a pleasure for you.


Forgiveness

pulls you out of the muck with a pop
sets you on your feet here
where the ground is sturdy
and the footing's firm
turns you around to face the
dawn-rising horizon
brushes you down, proclaims you
good as new
sends you on your way
with a scarlet smudge on your sacrum
and a turkey sandwich on rye
and a note safely pinned to your lapel:
moving forward

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