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The Rule of 3 and how we can use it in our Community

The Pagan community is going through a period of upheaval around the issue of sexual predators in the community. It's not an easy topic and as the shock of recent events falls away, we're left with a question of, "What do we now?" In a recent discussion on Pagan Musings Podcast, I suggested that one action the community could take involves documenting situations where non-consensual sexual activities have been reported. In such cases, it can devolve into a he said, she said scenario, with neither side able to conclusively prove what happened. When this occurs, its important to have a process in place that protects everyone, while still allowing for the possibility that the offending person made a mistake, as opposed to consciously doing something offensive. By documenting such situations, it makes it easier to track what is happen and do something about it before it blows up into an even more harmful situation than it may already be. Actually, this process of documentation can apply to any type of infraction that occurs at a pagan convention or festival, but it does require that people organizing the event be willing to take on the task of documenting whatever has occurred, keeping it in a database, and also sharing it with other organizers and leaders in the community. This may seem like a lot to take on, but I think it would also help to cut down on behavior that is harming members of the community.

Recently I was reading Romancing the Brand, which is a book about marketing. However, there's an interesting rule in marketing and customer service: The rule of 3. The way the rule of 3 works is if you hear about an issue, person, problem, etc. from 3 different sources, then you take it seriously because it means there's a problem. If we were to apply this rule of 3 to our community, through documentation and through the understanding that an issue shouldn't be buried or ignored if it continues to happen, what this would allow us to do is effectively monitor situations before they got out of hand. The rule of 3 provides enough verifiable information that we can't continue to put our heads in the sand and ignore what's happening. The rule of 3 also establishes that a pattern of behavior is happening and not being changed, even though concerns have been expressed.

The rule of 3 can allow our community to proactively address problematic issues by showing a pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed in a manner that protects the community over the offender. At the same time, the rule of 3 provides a person a chance (2 actually) to change their behavior, to address the problem...which sometimes is possible to do. Sometimes a person makes a mistake or has a realization that causes them to conclusively change their lives and actions. The rule of 3 allows for that without tolerating continuing behavior that harms people.

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  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    I agree. I work for the Judicial Department and I know that our system is far from perfect, but at this time it is the best cours
  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    Although it is an interesting idea, and perhaps a good starting place for a conversation, I see an exceedingly sliperly slope. Wh
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    This is an article primarily focused on starting the conversation. I agree with your points in your response to it, and I think al

b2ap3_thumbnail_criticism_20140302-173627_1.jpgThe last few blogs I've posted have been all rants and ravings of mine about the trend in Pagan spirituality to turn rituals into platforms for critique or guests pulling aside ritual leaders moments after the Circle is closed to offer negative, unsolicited "advice." The danger in rushing to critique is that we lose focus of the ultimate goal of rituals: to create change in the world via Magick and/or building safe space for souls to grow, heal, and become reborn, or some other facet. They're not simply an opportunity to show to others our own knowledge. When we do this, our rituals lose their effectiveness. This is also a practice in the whole of the soul. We are entitled to our opinions, but others are not obligated to listen to them--even if we are right.

Yet sometimes, criticism is necessary.

No one is going to get any stronger at what they if they are only flattered and complimented. A good teacher doesn't only praise. A good teacher looks for ways the student might improve and a good student listens to those suggestions. Ritualists are no different and constructive criticism is necessary to building more effective rites.

But who gives the critique? And when is it appropriate?

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  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Sorry, apparently I can't hyperlink here. I was trying to link to this video: http://blog.chasclifton.com/?p=6332#comments
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Graybeard is right—the Wiccan circle-casting works for small groups but becomes tedious with more than maybe twenty. But these pe
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Well-said. Learning to create rituals takes time and skill that can be learned. My general guideline is to keep it simple, words
You are a public face for Paganism at Conventions

I recently attended Convocation for the first time. I was having dinner one night at the restaurant and I talked with my waiter for a bit about the convention. She asked me if I thought that she and her co-worker would be accepted if they visited the vendor room to look around and I told her that I thought it would be fine (The vendor room was open to the public as far as I knew). I thought about that conversation later on and how in that moment I was a public face for Paganism. And how at any convention that is hosted in a space such as a hotel, all of us are public faces of Paganism, even if we don't realize we are. The public space we are in is not solely a Pagan space. It is shared space and the impressions we make on the hotel staff and other guests matter.

When I'm at an event or anywhere really, I behave the way I'd want other people to behave toward me. I'm courteous to the staff, acknowledge the work they are doing and do my best to be mindful of my behavior and how others might perceive it. Now it's true that I'm at a convention to have fun, but  I also want to make a good impression because the staff and guests will come away from those experiences with their own perceptions about Pagans. And likely they'll already have some assumptions and beliefs about us based on their own spiritual beliefs, etc. However I think that how we act in public is important.

When I spoke to that waiter, I was polite and friendly and answered her questions. I don't know what she believed or thought, but I did know she was curious and I also knew that what I said in that moment could make an impression. I think I made a positive impression because she seemed more comfortable afterwards with the idea of visiting the vendor room. Now I don't know if she and her co-worker did visit or what they thought, but I would like to think that by making a positive impression I did show her that Pagans aren't so strange or different and that we're worthy of being treated with consideration.

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  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    I agree it's important to be cognizant of the impressions we make on others, whether we're representing ourselves, our beliefs or
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Having worked a number of jobs over the year where I was retail, I always remember how people treated me and make the effort in tu
  • Mariah
    Mariah says #
    Thank you. I have seen this point made many times but you made it *without stigmatizing certain groups some Pagans try to distance

Email for inquiries and submissions: Crystal Blanton

Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press (Stafford, U.K./Portland, OR, U.S.A) is seeking submissions for the Bring Race to the Table: An Exploration of Racism in the Pagan Community.

This anthology explores the topic of Racism and how Racism shows up in the Pagan community, as well as what we can do to recognize it and proactively work to change it by being consciously aware of race and privilege and actively applying that awareness to the Pagan community. We also examine cultural appropriation and its role in racism, and how we can approach issues of culture with conscious awareness that leads to genuine cultural exchanges instead of appropriation.

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  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus
    P. Sufenas Virius Lupus says #
    I will probably try to submit something for this! (I have to get a hold of a few resources in order to do so, thus it won't be fo

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Building BridgesTwenty years ago, there was no Pagan community to speak of in the Okanagan Valley.  My sister in spirit Rowean met a girl named Unruhe, and they started talking about forming a Yahoogroup for Pagans in the Okanagan.  Rowean had come from Prince George, where a couple who had been trained by the Wiccan Church of Canada in Ontario had opened a shop and formed a community years ago; and Unruhe had moved up from the Coast, where there was a very large and established Pagan community; and they missed it.  I was a solitary from the time I was 14 years old and the idea of connecting with other Pagans appealed to me.  I knew a few others from the Society for Creative Anachronism and so I encouraged Rowean to call Unruhe up.  We met in a coffee shop - I think a Tim Horton's, but don't quote me on that - and discussed the idea.  Unruhe and her friend Perchta formed the Yahoogroup, I was the third person on it and Rowean was the fourth.  We decided to meet for Sabbats and the first ritual was at my place, led by a Celtic Witch named Havoc.

Over time, the group split over the typical ideological differences that split Pagan communities, compounded by the fact that most of us went through the stuff that I would now, as a Witch, refer to as "Second Degree ego issues," all at the same time.  There were hard feelings and bad blood.  Some people bowed out of the community for a long time.  Some spread rumours about other groups.  Some bowed out entirely and disappeared.

Most of us who were the "core" organizers of the original "Okanagan Pagans," however, continued to trudge along doing our own thing.  My husband and I organized a couple of covens.  From a Women's Mysteries' group that Rowean and I had begun, a Women's Ritual Group sprang.  A group of Druids coalesced and began doing their own thing.  Ritual magicians started doing their own thing.  And eventually, what we ended up with was a lot of small groups doing very compartmentalized sorts of activities.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Sable Aradia, Thanks for sharing! Praise the Goddesses and Gods, that your community came together in such an awesome way.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

In 2011, I launched the Pagan Pathfinders' Podcast, which got some attention at places like the Wild Hunt Blog and the Canadian National Pagan Conference.  My vision was one of a panel of knowledgeable Pagans of various traditions and locations, discussing a topic online as panelists do at conferences.  As I say in the preview video, people were really quite accommodating and friendly and open to the possibilities.

I stopped doing the podcast in early 2012 for a variety of reasons; though I did try to limp it along for a while.  One was that getting a bunch of very busy people together in one place is problematic at best. Two was that the limitations of Skype made the conversations awkward.  Three was that the constant bad sound and limited connectivity created a variety of issues that took days of editing to try to fix.  Four was those days of editing.  I tried bringing on a partner to help me, but Nisaba Merrieweather, although filled with enthusiasm and a desire to help, who managed to organize a great show on Australian Paganism, had no better luck with the technology than I did.  Eventually I resigned myself to just letting it go.

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  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    I'd be interested in participating. I'm the managing non fiction editor for Immanion press and author as well.
  • David Dashifen Kees
    David Dashifen Kees says #
    If the live stream causes any problems, Google Hangouts can be done and then uploaded seamlessly to YouTube to create a show-like
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Thank you very much for the offer! Expect that I will take you up on it. Certainly the Google Hangouts thing would also be excel

Just a quick note to tell my loyal readers that the Canadian music anthology alluded to in my article on the Sun Wheel Pagan Festival is a go! It will be a fundraising effort for the Canadian National Pagan Conference and all artists have agreed to contribute their works entirely free of royalties; all profits support the Conference! Musicians who have agreed to participate so far include: The Dragon Ritual Drummers, The Ancient Gods, Raven's Call, Dano Hammer, Vanessa Cardui, Brendan Myers, Jamie Field (formerly of Parnassus before it was Chalice and Blade,) Tamarra James and me. We're still waiting to hear back from a few other artists and more information will be made available as it unfolds.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for keeping up posted! It will most likely end up on my Christmas list. I enjoy Canadiana, so what could be better than Pag

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival 2013

On the July 1st long weekend, I celebrated Canada Day by driving 10 hours to Drayton Valley, Alberta, to pitch a tent in a mosquito-infested field.  I left late, of course; I never seem to get out on time.  I didn't want to be late because even though the Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival didn't officially begin until the following day, on the Friday evening there was a firewalk scheduled and I had never done such a thing.  I came with my husband Erin and my young boyfriend Chad McLeary, also scheduled to perform on the stage.  I was quite honoured to be part of such a prestigious line-up; the roster included Vanessa Cardui, current bardic champion of the Kingdom of AnTir, an up-and-coming artist who also does medieval music like me; my friends from the Edmonton Pagan Choir and Chalice and Blade; the legendary Sharon Knight; and the indomitable Heather Dale.

But I shouldn't have worried.  Pagan Standard Time being what it is, things were running about the two hours late that I had left the house by, so I had just enough time to set up camp before hurrying off to the ritual.

"Shouldn't we have brought some burn cream, just in case?" Chad fretted.  This was his first Pagan festival.  He was not intending to participate in the firewalk; the concern was for me.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! It's nice to see some of our neighbo(u)rs to the north here. I'll definitely check out the Ca
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Pleased that you enjoyed it, Jamie! And it looks like things are coming together, I am happy to say. I will write about it as t

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

instead of writing.

Obviously.

There's great sturm und drang in the Pagan communities right now over a number of things.  Most are being played out here, in one place or another. Rancor, condemnation, hurt, fear...the standard variations that come back to bite us on our collective butts again and again.

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  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    It's like the proverbial barrel of crabs; no community will get anywhere if all they do is pull down anyone who dares to try to cl
  • Apuleius Platonicus
    Apuleius Platonicus says #
    Like members of any large, extended family, we can't help sometimes but look askance at one another and mutter "am I really relate
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Funny lady.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Fête, Revel, Role

 

Most of my friends and associates think of me as a serious person that is always up to their elbows in projects. I have a very full schedule with teaching workshops, writing, mentoring people within and outside of our tradition, organizing small, medium, and large educational events, and running a metaphysical shop. My days usually start at 5:00 or 5:30 AM and pretty much every hour is accounted for until around 9 PM when my off time begins. On May 4, 2013, my shop Bell, Book, & Candle sponsored an event called “The May Moon Revel”. It involved a live band, belly dancing, readers, book signings, food, drink, amazing costumes, and random merriment. It was a great deal of work and from my perspective well worth the hours required to plan it, and to pull it off.  By the way, it just barely, sometimes, breaks even so money is not its motivation. After the event, one of my friends (who did not attend) asked me why I used my time on a frivolous event when I have so many important things already on my docket? Before going further, I'd like to say that I believe that my friends and members of my community do have a right to question my choices. I would actually say that is one of the hallmarks of actually being in functional friendships or communities. So my answer was not “none of your business”, it was “let me tell you why”.

 

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Gaia Gathering: The Canadian National Pagan Conference


Dominique SmithThis weekend, which is a holiday long weekend north of the 49th Parallel, Pagans from all over the vast expanse of the Canadian landscape will be meeting in Gatineau, Quebec (which is just across the river from our capital city Ottawa) to discourse on what it is to be Canadian and Pagan, exchange ideas, study workshops, exchange chants, review scholarly works in our field, and of course, socialize.  It's called the Gaia Gathering (the Canadian National Pagan Conference,) and I believe this to be the most exciting thing currently going on in the Canadian Pagan community.  I made an epic journey to the 2010 conference in Montreal to present at a couple of panels, as well as one of their first workshops, and it was a life-changing experience.  This year, I am unable to attend but I was able to interview "Winnipagan" Dominique Smith, the current Chairperson, via Facebook about this outstanding event:

Question: So from your perspective, what is Gaia Gathering all about?

Dominique: The Canadian National Pagan Conference: Gaia Gathering at its most basic is about the identity and culture of Canadian Pagans. As Canadian Pagans we have unparalleled perspectives on the world and on the Craft. Our politics, our environment, and our Canadian culture influence us Pagans in a profound way. We see the world and react to it quite differently than most other people. Gaia Gathering is a way to explore and honor our uniqueness. Gaia Gathering is also an opportunity where Pagans from across Canada can interact, learn and create with a diverse group of individuals that have peerless perspectives and experiences on issues facing Canadian Pagans. Figuring out what makes Canadian Pagans different also opens us to identify our similarities and in a country this large its important for Canadian Pagans to feel connected and not alone, especially in rural areas where access to information and other Pagans can be quite limited.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Unpopularity Contest

Synchronicity is a mysterious muse who has always danced in periphery of my life. I have seen her out of the corner of my eye on what often seems to be a daily basis. Today was no different except to say, this time she danced across my news feed.

The other night as I scrolled through my Facebook news feed and came across a post by Witches & Pagans editor Anne Newkirk Niven. She had written that she had just gotten her a** handed to her by some readers regarding her editorial. Being no stranger to having my a** handed to me, I was among the first to offer a supportive comment.

The next morning I found a related link to Peter Dybing's Pagan In Paradise post about Pagan Intolerance. And Being no stranger to having my a** handed to me, I was quite happy the issue is finally being addressed. And I am a huge proponent of "Sacred Regard."

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  • Freeman Presson
    Freeman Presson says #
    It seems that the more marginal a community is, the more viciously it chews at non-conforming members. We learned some lessons the
  • Joseph Merlin Nichter
    Joseph Merlin Nichter says #
    I'm sure your right Gary, I've seen the power and control issues present in many social groups and communities I've had the pleasu
  • gary c. e.
    gary c. e. says #
    good post Joseph i feel your pain. of course this problem is ubiquitous in all religious communities. ever been to a bible stud

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

You may have heard, as it was not without its own bit of controversy, that the Temple of Witchcraft has bought property in Salem, NH, and is doing a fund drive for our parking lot. Why start with a parking lot? Simple: no parking lot, no temple. To gain the town's approval, a religious organization in a residential zone requires a paved lot with adequate space, lighting, and drainage.

Beyond the parking lot itself, some have asked why do Pagans, Wiccans and Witches need a temple at all? Aren't we meant to practice solitary, or in small groups in people's homes, or outside? And if I'm not in the Salem, NH, area, why should this even matter to me? All important questions and here are some thoughts in response to many of the discussions I've had with people over the last few months:

Land Based Traditions – Most Pagan and Witchcraft traditions have a spiritual link to the land, and believe in the presence of not only globalized entities, but local land spirits. Divinity is expressed through the land itself yet, as a whole, we have little in the way of land based resources and places of worship and education. We think of ourselves as stewards of the Earth, but yet how much land do we care for directly? I've been publicly serving the Pagan community for the last twenty years, locally and internationally, and the vast majority of our gatherings are in Unitarian Churches, Masonic Halls, and metaphysical book shops. All wonderful opportunities, but none are ideal for a community to develop a relationship with one place, and the land it is on. There is not often a chance to hold ceremonies outside. Our gatherings change places often. A permanent site allows us to build cohesion and community in a different way.

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  • Stephanie Noble
    Stephanie Noble says #
    Thank you for this article! I have very often thought the same.
25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (Canadian Wing)

A lot of people have been reading and circulating the recent articles that were written by my fellow Patheos.com blogger, Jason Mankey, about the “25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism”.  He wrote an “American Wing” article and a “European Wing” article, and I thought they were excellent, but the sum total of his mention of those of us north of the 49th Parallel was “sorry, Canada!”  Well, naturally that got my dander up a little.  It gives the impression that what goes on up here is an appendix to the greater American scene.  But in the founding of modern Paganism, in many cases it was the other way around.  Here’s my list of 25 Canadians who helped mold the modern Pagan world; without whom, nothing would be as it is.  If you ranked them along with the members of the other two lists to create a list of “The 25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (All-Time Champions,)” some wouldn’t make the cut . . . but many of them would.  Just as Mankey did, I’ll list them in alphabetical order, since prioritizing is very difficult.  Mankey said that the American list was harder than the European one because everyone was “second generation”; I find that my list consists of either proto-Pagan contributors, or people who are doing very interesting things right now; perhaps a third generation, still active.

Runners-up:

 

Brother XIIBrother XII (Edward Arthur Wilson) (1878-1934,) Proto-Pagan Cult Leader – Colourful cult-leader Brother XII founded one of the first spiritual communities in North America, in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  His organization, the Aquarian Foundation, was a proto-Pagan one, founded in Theosophy but speaking of the Osiris/Isis male/female polarity as gods within.  Eventually personality conflicts with his followers led to investigation, criminal charges, and fleeing to Switzerland after destroying the colony, where he may have feigned his own death.

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Update: Fritz Muntean removed from mention in this article at his request.
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Update: I have received a fair bit of personal email about this article. Much of it involves a bees-nest of Canadian Pagan polit
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Update: Amanda Strong has written me to correct a mistake I made in my post. She tells me that she is not an initiated Feri Witch

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sometimes I Think We Talk Too Much

and sometimes I think we don't talk enough. 

Quandary.

When I was coming up in these spiritual systems, it was all about connecting with some Divines, usually a cobbled together "pantheon" of cultures and attributes that we liked.  We set that up within the elegant framework of the Wheel of the Year. I love the Wheel because it is a sweet crucible for connecting, as well as celebrating and honoring. Simple and very user-friendly.  There are two Solstices and two Equinoxes (and don't bother to correct me--I know those aren't the accurate plurals)--placeholders that mark the visible change in seasons in those places that still have four of those.  They actually happen--they are not based on lore or myth.  You can look them up--they happen for everyone at the same time.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    It's a tribute to the health of these spiritual systems that we can change and move--I only wish we didn't leave so much behind.
  • Trine
    Trine says #
    I should perhaps also note that I'm writing from a Scandinavian perspective. I think the movements have changed in their own ways
  • Trine
    Trine says #
    Well said. When I first started on my path almost a decade ago, I remember that eclecticism was the Big Thing. In the forums I fre

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

There's been a lot of talk lately in the blogging world about the idea of 'Pagan Community'. I've written a little about it, from my point of view of course. But more ideas are coming as the year moves forward, and it's interesting to see how things are developing, based on both the evolution of the Pagan 'world' and the everyday one.

Generally speaking, Pagans are a social bunch. We like to get together and chat, whinge a bit, put the world to rights over a drink or two, and generally feel the comfort of like-minded folk. Nothing wrong with this at all.

But there are also those of us who prefer solitary practice, working alone, perhaps communicating over the Internet with specific friends, but more comfortable walking our own path in our own way, thank you.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Sunrise.JPG

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    If we were to nurture our poppies instead of cutting them down, we would get a lot more done. That being said, I have learned tha
  • Donald Cutler
    Donald Cutler says #
    Hello Cat. I live in Denver Colorado, USA, and have been a solitary for almost all of my practicing life. I have been to a few cir
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Alas, my dear Cat, "Tall Poppy Syndrome" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome) is as much a problem in the Pagan wor

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Before I start, allow me to take a moment for some blatant promotion of fellow blogger Star Foster's radical experiment: getting money for a blogging day job. She's absolutely worth it, so please check out her plea and IndieGoGo campaign!

Alright, on to the post!

Because I'm both a lesbian and a Pagan, I get send a lot of things people think I may find interesting. I love it when people do this; most of the stuff is really good, poignant, or simply hilarious. One of the things that got send to me a lot is the new UK series Switch. I guess this is because I blogged about Pagan characters we would like to see, and Pagan webseries

 
This post contains spoilers.  


Switch is a television series about a group of four girls who live in London, deal with boy/girl trouble, jobs, and friendship. Most of that dealing is done through magick, because all of them are witches. A few days ago, I caught up with the series, of which three episodes have aired. I didn't have high hopes for it, and most of my fears were realized, but I have found I like the girls, and the stereotypes aren't offensive.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Through a fellow blogger, I came upon an article about an author's loathing for the Pagan sellers of all the Witchcraft stuff one can buy. The post boiled down to saying that monetizing your faith takes power away from you, and simply buying your equipment will lead to hollowed out rituals. The post is here.

There is a long discussion in this from the Witchcraft perspective, but I'm not going there. I'm not going there because I left that path behind and the more I look back, I realize what a tangled--but beautiful--mess it is. Instead, I'm going to write about this from the Hellenistic point of view and take you back to Ye Olden Days when the Ancient Hellens still practiced their faith in their temples.

Religion was entwined with daily life to such an extend that you'd be hard pressed to find a pottery seller who had not depicted one or more of the Theoi on his work. Near just about every temple was a stand which sold small statues which one could sacrifice to the Theoi at said temple. Every temple complex had a treasury where the various gifts of the devoted were stored. Religion, back in the day, was big business--as it should be. It helped instill the presence of the Theoi in daily life.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It's been a while, but I'm back again, lovely readers! I'm currently hard at work on my second book (amongst other projects, as you'll see below), but I will certainly continue to post here as and when I can. Comments and topic requests always welcome.


At this time of year, it's easy to understand why our ancestors (both actual and spiritual), those wise women and cunning men, were considered remote, unusual, untouchable, even fearsome.

As Autumn moves into Winter here in the UK, we feel our natural, animal pull to dig in, hibernate, take time within the darkness to assess the previous year and anticipate the time to come - but I doubt any busy society has ever really allowed that to happen, except when they have no choice. Stoke up the fire, head to the pub or communal house, light and laughter against the outside world.

(Photo - 'Autumn in the New Forest', from Glastonbury Goddess Temple)

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