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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Before I talk about tarot as a Jungian Neo-Pagan practice, I want to take a time out and share some of my favorite tarot decks with you.

Mary-El Tarot by Marie White

My absolutely favorite deck is the Mary-El Tarot.  I waited literally years for Marie White to finish this deck.  It is non-traditional and based on White's own fantastic oil paintings.  I could stare at the art of any one of these cards for a long time.  I think the Death and World cards below are especially lovely.  If I had more space, I would have included several of the Minor Arcana cards as well.  

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  • Danielle Aubenque
    Danielle Aubenque says #
    I too have the original Vertigo deck and it's my personal deck. I have the Geiger and Black tarot too. I use Crow's Magic for read

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_heartbleed.pngThe recent news has been so full of the current astrological symbolism, it’s hard for a poor astrologer to keep up. In tech news (Uranus rules computers and hi-tech) we have the NASDAQ sell-off, and the Heartbleed bug — which may not be entirely unrelated. In the “yet more insane, horrifying violence” sort of news, we have the shooting at Fort Hood, and the stabbings at a PA school, both involving heroic actions by women. Also, this.  I suggested the likelihood of "notable actions of a woman or group of women" happening this month in my post on the Aries New Moon.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    I think I'm going to print this out so I can carry it with me. Every time I read it, I find something new. Thanks, my dear friend

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Broom Magick for Spring Cleaning

When I sat down to write my latest book, The Witch’s Broom, I suddenly realized that there were a lot of ways to use a magickal broom that I hadn’t been utilizing. Mind you, I’d been doing magickal spring (and fall) cleaning for years, but my main tools had been the basics: salt and water and a sage smudge stick. Which worked just great, don’t get me wrong, but there is something quite fitting about using the magick of a broom to clean and clear the energy of your house, especially after a long winter.

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  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    You have my sympathy, Bobbie! I am allergic to lots of plants, including some great magical herbs like Yarrow. You can use lemon
  • Bobbie Hughes
    Bobbie Hughes says #
    What if you are alergic to sage I cannot eat it or touch it or even smell it what else could I us.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Hide and Seek

“It’s a joy to be hidden, but a disaster not to be found.” —D.W. Winnicott

As children, we are vulnerable and know it. We hide from bullies, from punishment, from mockery and scorn. No matter how loving our parents, our lives are not in our control, and so we hide to stay safe. But we also hide in order to have our hiddenness acknowledged and respected. I remember running up to my room after some perceived slight, hoping that my mother would notice and worry over my disappearance, but not necessarily that she would find me and force me to talk about my feelings.

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

When the whole Kenny Klein issue hit the news, I was appalled but not surprised. I had met the guy in New Orleans and been less than impressed, in fact i"d found him energetically filthy and obviously lacking in any moral sense. I thought thought "well, here at least is an issue that all Polytheists, Pagans, and Wiccans can staunchly stand behind: child abuse and molestation, sexual assault. coverups --  and anything that furthers those things is wrong." How naive I was and how incorrect. 

Since the affair de Kenny hit the Pagan blogosphere I have been sickened by the number of Pagans and Wiccans who have come out publicly excusing these behaviors and moreover attempting to silence his victims. Just check out the wildhunt.com coverage for a sickening sample. 

That's why today when I saw this piece by a respected Pagan elder here at Witches and Pagans http://witchesandpagans.com/Pagan-Culture-Blogs/ok-everybody-breathe.html it was just too much. 

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  • Bourdon Bee
    Bourdon Bee says #
    I'd like to see some discussion of grey areas as well, and perhaps some discussion of what the lines are in "sex positive". Becau
  • Hec
    Hec says #
    Galina, I've posted a reaction to your comments over at my blog: http://hecatedemeter.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/clarification/
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    I apologize if you feel that I mischaracterized your initial post and thank you for taking the time to clarify; I'm glad to see th

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Hospitality in ancient Hellenic was a complicated ritual within both the host and the guest has certain roles to fill and tasks to perform. Especially when someone unknown to the host came to the door, the ritual held great value. The host had and has many tasks in his process, but the guest had/has an important part to play as well: the guest is expected to be courteous and not be a burden to the host. The house was a sanctuary in ancient Hellas with a lot of social rules attached to it. Guests could not enter certain parts of the house, and male guests were kept away from women at all times. Long term guests had a slightly different status, as they became part of the oikos, but they were still subject to restrictions when it came to social an religious behaviour. This practice was known as 'xenia' (ξενία), and we'll be talking about a very special version of it today: xenia related to Gods and heroes.

Xenia is described a lot in mythology. Especially the more general form of it where Theoi disguising themselves as beggars or undesirables and come to the door of an unsuspecting mortal features in many myths. The host is judged on the hospitality offered; good things befall those who treat guests with respect, very bad things befall those who do not. One of my favorite Hellenic myths shows this in great detail; it's the story of how Baucis and Philemon received some unexpected visitors. You can read the myth here.

Theoxenia is a little different, it's a specific ritual meant to bring the Gods closer to us and invite Them into our home. Heroxenia is the same practice, but for the heroes of Hellenic mythology. In short, theoxenia and heroxenia were a kind of Hellenic sacrifice in which worshippers presented foodstuffs to Gods or heroes (not usually at the same time, or at least not at the same table), who then attended the meal as guests, or xenoi.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Temperance, That's great! I really like these rituals. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

My father told me once, “Just about the first thing I do every morning is to look out to see which way the wind's blowing.”

Makes sense. You can't see the Winds, but they get around; they're the speediest of gods. And they're messengers: they bear information, to those minded to pay attention. When you know which direction the wind's blowing from, you can look into the future and see what kind of weather the day is likely to bring. Winds certainly bear sound. And scents, well: we mammals have been living by our noses for an awfully long time now.

To the ancestors, the Winds were gods. Chances are, you can (maybe with a little effort) rattle off Boreas, Eurus, Notus, Zephyrus. In India, Persia, Russia, the Baltics, and Italy, as well as in Greece, they sacrificed to the winged Winds.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My pleasure, Shirl. Your comment strikes me as itself a pretty good nutshell definition of paganism!
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    That was lovely mix of history, personal experience and a thoughtful, succint look at the presence of the Gods embodied within phy
New, Noteworthy and Pre-order Ready

Next month is heating up to be the month of Mega new releases. Yep its blockbuster season for decks and there are a couple I am just busting out of my skin to get my hands on. Because I am the type of person who likes to give and give again, I thought I would share with you my must have hit list for May.

Oh and if you can't wait that long you can pre-order most of them now. 

Must have number 1 - Chrysalis Tarot by Toney Brooks and Artist Holly Sierra, published through U.S Games.

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  • Toney Brooks
    Toney Brooks says #
    Thanks very much for the kind words, Leeza. We're very excited about Chrysalis Tarot!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
My Path to the Goddess, Part 1

I believe this earth is a beautiful, magical place and that this world is our true home.  I believe life in the body is good. I feel connected to all beings in the web of life. I feel the Blessed Mother always with us, and I know the love of God the Mother or Goddess to be like the love of my mother and grandmothers for me. Though I was brought up Christian, I learned all of these things as a child.

  

I was brought home from Huntington Hospital just before Christmas in to my grandmother’s home on Old Ranch Road in Arcadia, California.  Peacocks from the adjacent Los Angeles County Arboretum screeched on the roof. There was another baby in the house, my cousin Dee, born a few months earlier.  My mother and her sister were living with their mother. The war was over, and they were anticipating the return of their husbands from the Pacific Front.  My earliest memory, recovered during a healing energy session, is visual and visceral. I am lying crossways in a crib next to the other baby. There is a soft breeze. The other baby is kicking its legs, and I am trying to do the same.  I look up and see three faces looking down at us.  Although the faces are blurry in the vision I see, I feel them as female and loving.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Interesting than a pea cock rather than a pea hen was chosen to represent your path to the Goddess.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I have a secret garden. Well – it’s not actually mine – and it’s not entirely secret.

Magical places aren’t always accessible – in fact inaccessibility can make them seem more magical – and our places of local magic may even belong to other people. That garden so stuffed full of roses in summer that it spills over the fence, into the air and the senses of everyone passing by; that glimpse of parkland through high, barred gates; rivers that are inaccessible or bush land areas fenced off for regeneration. It’s a different sort of magic, maybe, when we can’t freely come and go; to me it seems a less related magic; I receive something from the place, maybe I am able to offer something but it all happens at a respectful distance. These places may even feel like my allies or teachers, but I feel less that I would have a casual conversation with them, it’s a less intimate relationship, maybe than a place I can freely walk or sit or swim.

There’s a garden in the State Library of New South Wales no-one can go into. It’s below street level, with a green-house style roof. If you know it’s there, and peer over the stone balustrade between the pavement and the building, you can look down and catch glimpses of green but not knowing, you’d walk straight past. But if you go inside, down the stairs, through security, down another floor and find yourself in the family history records department and walk through to the end there are half a dozen long white tables abutting the floor to ceiling glass windows and behind them is the garden.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In My Ear: Christopher Bingham

Here we go with round two if the "In My Ear" series, this time featuring the albums currently spinning on Christopher Bingham's turntable. (I'm sure he has one.) I hope you are enjoying this series, I will post more as I get the information sent to me.

1. Penguin Cafe Orchestra "Signs of Life"
2. Jethro Tull "TAAB2"
3. Yes "Close to the Edge"
4. Bastard Fairies "Memento Mori"
5. Solas "The Words That Remain."
6. Steely Dan "Gaucho"
7. Russell Simins "Public Places."
8. Trillian Green "Metamorphoses"
9. Pat Metheny "Secret Story"
10.Santana "Abraxas"

Christopher Bingham is the lead singer and founding member of Gaia Consort, Bone Poets Orchestra, and has a solo album definitely worth a listen or ten. A modern fixture of independent Pagan rock music, you can hear a lot of great music definitely worth listeng to at:

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_goddesseye.jpgIn the early days of Egyptology scholars took the attitude that a transcendent experience was only expected after death in ancient Egypt.  This fit well with the predominant Judeo-Christian background of virtually all of them, as well as the desire to demonstrate their new profession could be as scientific as any others.  But the record is plain as day that mystery schools flourished in at least the Late period, influencing other mystery cults all around the Mediterranean.  Contemporary Egyptologist Jan Assman even goes so far as to assert that ancient Egyptians could not have developed their own mysticism because that it would not have been based on lived real-life experience.  Really?! 

I do love Assman’s writing, but as an unabashed mystic myself I am all too aware that close encounters with another kind of reality, one we often call “god” or “the divine”, happen all the time.  It seems far more likely that Egyptians encountered this numinous, liminal reality enough times that they began to form, first mythologies, then theologies, around it. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Pached1.jpgWhat I find so intriguing about Egyptian myth is how it is used to shape one’s personal narrative.  By experiencing the mysteries of Osiris, for example, one can prepare for inevitable mortality.  But at the same time the initiate uncovers layers of his own psyche, depths of meaning about the here and now. 

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  • Holli Emore
    Holli Emore says #
    Isidora, I love Naydler! I also heartily recommend Rosemary Clark's books. She worked for the Oriental Institute at University of
  • Isidora Forrest
    Isidora Forrest says #
    Hi, Holli...couldn't agree more. I rather like Jeremy Nadler's take on it in Temple of the Cosmos.
Wisdom Of the House Of Night In Review

Wisdom of the House of Night, Oracle deck by P.C. Cast and Colette Baron-Reid

* 50 card deck and guide book a.k.a little white book, published by potter style

* This deck is good for beginner to advanced.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Winter is starting here in Wellington New Zealand, and has been heralded by a weeklong southerly storm. The Cailleach, she is not far away and can be felt in this the first of the winter storms.  Offerings are already being made by unsuspecting people who were silly enough to bring umbrellas as protection against the strong southerly winds.

 

The Cailleach, a Scottish winter Goddess brought here, if you will, by settlers from the British Isles.  She is similar to Hine-nui-te-pō  the Maori Goddess of the underworld and death, who was here before. It maybe that the Cailleach found her,Hine-nui-te-pō as a sister, their energies do seem to coexist in a complementary way.  Well they do for me anyhow.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mistress Polly, Thanks for sharing! You have a great sense of place, informed by an awareness of the Gods and spirits.

** Update: After reading comments on FB I wanted to clarify this.  It may be is a case of the written word not always coming through as intended (in this case - sarcasim).  My purpose here is not to introduce a serious topic for consideration.  It is to show that we can sometimes get caught up in a "tempest in a teapot" and that it can be pretty funny if we step back and look at it.  I hope you get a chuckle during a stressful time. Namaste.

 

I admit that I’m a fairly thick-skinned Pagan and don’t take offense when someone uses the word “Witch” in place of a naughty word they can’t say on television.  I don’t get upset when someone wishes me “Merry Christmas” (and I almost always spare them my lecture about how saying that is actually casting a spell).  The other day I used the phrase “come to Jesus meeting” and later I was thinking about it.  Should I have been averse to using this phrase?  Am I an insensitive Pagan?

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  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I've used it a lot. For me, it conveys the meaning well. When I tell someone we need to have a "come to Jesus" meeting, they under
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    I've never seen that term used by pagans, but I've seen several of that kind of meeting where some self righteous self appointed "

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Last call at the Arkadian Anvil

Gratitude and humility are the defining feelings at the end of this stage of the journey. This is the last Arkadian Anvil post on Witches & Pagans. Special thanks to Anne Newkirk Niven who invited me to this channel. My own work is shifting. I must consolidate my public writing for a time and so I must say good bye to this wonderful audience.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to discuss our Way with you. I am deeply grateful for the attention you have given me. Your input and feedback has been instrumental to my ongoing cogitations about how to explain/express our religion.

What we produced was a broad outline of *a* systematic theology for Pagans. The main failing of any such project is that the standard understanding of the job of systematic theology is to produce a clear and definitive set of doctrines for a religious community. For Pagans, like the Hindus, this is impossible. Like determining the location of an electron, we can only say that our theological positions occur within a general range of views, but there are be significant outliers as well. Probability is not a normal tool of theology, but for Pagans surely a range of ideas and the tolerance of ambiguity is our norm. Likewise, as our many-threaded Way is a part of a critique of Modernism, so our framing won’t always fit the Parmenidean laws of thought: Are the Gods one, two, many; forces or persons; psychological structures, wholly external, or principles of nature? However contradictory it may be, our theology must be able to give a resounding “Yes!” to all of these and yet be not devoid of reason or critical thought.

You, dear readers, have been helpful in tracing out the ranges of Pagan religious thought. I hope to publish a thorough work on this in the near future. Your contributions here will make it a better work. Thank you.

Next, I will be continuing my public writing on The Wild Hunt starting May 24th and carrying on every 4th Saturday. The working title is the Arkadian Observer, and I hope to provide historical and theological commentary on contemporary Pagan issues. Hope to see you there…

There is something truly Pagan, something unique and new in our world, that is what we are. We have a unique position in history and I believe we have a special role to play in shaping a successful future for all that lives on this world. Let us build that Pagan Future.

But for now, Thank you and Goodbye!

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Webster, You are the man! I always looked forward to your posts here, and will avidly read your contributions to "The Wild Hu

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Leshy (Lesiy Lesiye, Lyeshy, Lesovik) is a Slavic forest divinity or spirits, depending on the source.  He is the protector of forest animals and often seen in the company of wolves or bears.  This divinity regulates and assigns prey to hunters.  In later times it is said that he has also become the protector of flocks and flocks.  He is number 13 on my gods of the “graveyard” series.  (I’m very surprised at the number of Slavic divinities that are on this list, but as my maternal ancestors come from this region, I’ve enjoyed learning about them.)

b2ap3_thumbnail_leshy_by_alexteddy.jpg

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(en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses-The Eloquence of Calliope

This is the second posting of the (en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses Series

The Muse, Calliope is the oldest of the Muses and according to the Theogony of Hesiod was foremost of the muses. Holding this preeminence, suggested her creative gifts were many with specific association with music and song and is often depicted playing the harp in early art work. In many mythological tales, Calliope is the mother of the Bard and player of the lyre, Orpheus. Calliope’s gifts of eloquence and music moved through her child Orpheus, considered to be the greatest musician and poet of Greek mythology having the ability to stir the emotions of God and man, alike into passive acquiescence.  

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Party With Housewives And Zombies? NEVER!

There are just some combinations you should never do. Like inviting Aunt Tessie's ex-best friend and new husband who just happens to be Uncle Jack formerly of Jack and Tessie. Or pajamas with hiking boots. Or like bringing the wrong Tarot decks to a public event. Yep, I think there are some things that would be flat-out wrong to bring. Consider the social pitfalls of housewives and zombies and brides for instance.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Zombie_8Swords.jpgI like to have choices. With close to 300 decks, I have a lot of choices when gathering things up to work an event. Recently I was packing up to work a bridal shower. I had to figure out which decks to take.

After talking to the shower organizer, I had a sense of the crowd--funky, fun and very Austin. That gave me a clue as to what decks I wanted to bring. And, even more importantly, what decks I did not want to bring.

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    I got to keep most of my favorites. I will not bore you with the complete list but one of them is Chesca Potter's deck. I really l
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I love the Potter deck. It's gorgeous.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Yes, she was ahead of her time. Sigh, no way am I giving up her deck.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Petroglyphs of vulvas are engraved into rock walls, caves, and boulders all over the world. They date to the Paleolithic and into modern times. Some are deeply grooved into the stone from repeated tracings or from grinding out rock dust for conception, healing, rainmaking, and other ritual uses. In Pomo Country in northern California, such stones are known as Baby Rocks, and women performed ceremonies there in order to conceive. [See Elizabeth Quick’s very rich article on this subject.]

Here is a collage I created of Vulva Stones around the world. (Look here for identifications of the various images.) Many of these ancient signs are described in what follows. Look at  the central image, an extremely old rock engraving from Messak Setaffet in southwestern Libya. She is seated crosslegged, with her hands to the vulva, from which countless people have scraped out rock dust, grooving it deep into the stone. Her breasts are clearly marked also, but her face is a mystery, not a human face at all. Horns protrude from both sides, and above them, the beaks of two vultures or other great birds. Other full-figure examples with strongly marked vulvas exist, like the examples below from Hawaii (middle left) and  Roc-aux-Sorciers in France (upper right).

b2ap3_thumbnail_vulvastones.jpg
Inscription of vulva signs on boulders and rock shelters goes back to the paleolithic in Australia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. Vulvas are painted on cave walls at Tito Bustillo, Spain, while they are deeply carved into the rock at Le Roc-Aux-Sorciers, France (see poster). La Ferrassie in the Dordogne is especially rich in vulva petroglyphs. Some are carved on stone blocks; one bears an animal head sculptured on one side and a high-relief vulva on the other. Another boulder has a vulva prominently placed beneath an animal’s belly.

A group of vulva-incised rocks are the centerpiece of the Brazilian site Abrigo do Sol (Sun Shelter), circa 10,000 to 7,000 BCE. The stones show both surface markings and deep gouges, some of which were used for milling or tool-sharpening. Others reflect a widespread animist custom of grinding out rock dust for ritual use. On some rocks the vulvas are accompanied by other symbols such as footprints and solar signs. (See poster.) The Wasúsu people say that these signs are “tokens of a long-vanished tribe of warrior women,” all killed long ago. [von Puttkamer 1979: 60-82]

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  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you Max for this powerful share. I'm in love with the images and the descriptions. It inspires me to create m

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