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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in polytheism

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
More about that Polytheist Devotional Meme

Well, folks,

Firstly, happy spring. Winter is slowly starting to loosen its grip--I know it may not feel like it for those of us in the east but soon, very soon we'll be complaining about the warm weather. I for one, can't wait.

In the meantime, I've been working through more of my devotional meme. I would like to share the next few questions with you. Feel free to post links to your own blogs in the comments section, if you too are tackling these.

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  • Christine L Berger
    Christine L Berger says #
    I am so behind on emails and this was one that I wanted to read. Interesting, what you triggered this morning was remembering thi

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Terms of Engagement

"You know when wolves run free and alone? when they're mentally or physically diseased."

--Sannion

 

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  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus
    P. Sufenas Virius Lupus says #
    Indeed--and very well stated!
1-10 of a Devotional Polytheist Meme

 

Over the past couple of weeks I've been slowly working my way through my Devotional Polytheist post. I wanted to share my answers to the first ten questions. If any of you are also participating in this meme, please feel free to share the links to your blogs in the comments. I would love to read how everyone approaches these issues and concepts. 

 

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  • Christine L Berger
    Christine L Berger says #
    Gallina, this is extraordinary, and such a gift. I sit here right now with the aftermath of three hours on a root canal, and this
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    Actually, thank you. reading your comment was immensely inspiring to me. there is something that happens when we enter into the de
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I had the notion that I would bang these out once a day . . . HA! These are deep questions, and not so easy to answer. A friend

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

We talk about “Christianity,” as if there actually were such a thing.

But of course there isn't.

You'd think that pagans, of all people, would know better.

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  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    You could say the same with the following scenario: "A Unitarian Universalist, and a Unitarian Universalist, and another Unitaria
  • Patrick
    Patrick says #
    Christian missiologist Andrew Walls once asked if the proverbial Martian came to earth and visited (I forget his exact examples, b

I wrote this blog as a contribution to recent discussions of polytheism vs. monotheism on PaganSquare when I noticed several people asserting that "most pagans" are "polytheists."  I do not call myself a polytheist because while I affirm a multiplicity of images, for me they all point to a single divine presence in the world.  I offer the below musings in a spirit of dialogue.  I am interested to hear from those who call themselves "polytheists" whether they are speaking of a plurality of images and stories pointing to a "unity of being" or whether they are also saying that there are a "plurality of (sometimes) conflicting forces" that they would call "divinities."

In Rebirth of the Goddess I noted that monotheists were the ones who defined the term polytheism and wondered if in fact there really were any polytheists in the history of the world. I posed this question because monotheists assert that polytheists not only worship or honor a "diversity of images," but also insist that polytheists believe that there are a "diversity of conflicting and competing powers" in the world.  Monotheists might even go so far as to say that polytheists deny that there is a "unity of being" underlying all of the diversity and difference in the world.

For me the notion that "the world is the body of Goddess" (or divinity) is more primary than multiply elaborated images, names, and stories about divine beings. I am less moved by myths of Goddesses and Gods than I am by images of the Goddess that incorporate plant and animal as well as human qualities. In one sense I am closer to animism than polytheism.  It is the beauty of the world that moves me to reverence.

In recent years monotheism has been attacked as a “totalizing discourse” that justifies the domination of others in the name of a universal truth. In addition, from the Bible to the present day some have used their own definitions of “exclusive monotheism” to disparage the religions of others. Moreover, feminists have come to recognize that monotheism as we know it has been a “male monotheism” that for the most part excludes female symbols and metaphors for God.  With all of this going against monotheism, who would want to affirm it?

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  • Katy Bailey
    Katy Bailey says #
    I believe every religion is right in some way, as people tend to get "results" from each one, if that makes any sense. So it's lik
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Thanks for the essay and the dialog it engendered. Forgive me if my experiences and thoughts are tangential to the discourse here
  • Natalie Reed
    Natalie Reed says #
    I must admit that I am a bit on the fence over the whole definition of Polytheist issue. I don't purport to know the answer as to
Some Musings on Wiccanate Privilege, Words, and Pop Culture Magic

At Pantheacon I attended a discussion about Wiccanate Privilege (See this post by Lupus for an accurate overview of the discussion). I was curious about this term because it had been applied to me in a post that Ivo Dominguez had written about the Literacy of Magic. The person who applied it, Ruadhan McElroy commented on a comment I made about how I felt the Pagan community was divorcing itself from Magic in order to achieve mainstream acceptance. He made the point that such a statement displayed a level of privilege and assumption about magic's place in a given Pagan spiritual practice. Another commenter also pointed this out in a different way and in subsequent comments I came to better understand the perspective of magic as an optional practice because its simply not central to the given spiritual practices of a particular spiritual tradition.  I'll admit that when I think of Paganism, I typically associate magic with Paganism and with anything that might fall under the rather broad umbrella of Paganism (which as I'll discuss later points to a distinct problem). I think that Ruadhan made an accurate point, though at the time it blew my mind that the practice of Magic could be perceived as a form of privilege (mainly because my own experiences in mainstream culture, but in this case Ruadahan is referring to the Pagan subculture, and in that context it makes sense).

The conversation that occurred at Pantheacon helped me further understand this aspect of privilege, and where Ruadhan is coming from. Ruadhan also wrote a post about Wiccanate Privilege and noted the following:

Within the pagan community, the “Generic Popular Wicca-based Neopaganism” (henceforth “Wiccanate paganism”; Traditional Wicca, such as BT/Gardnerian or Alexandrian, is “Wicca”) is the assumed default. During the “pagan identity crisis” that’s been cycling the pagan blogosphere every few months since 2010, I’ve seen several people comment not only as non-Wiccanates who lament this, but as Wiccanate pagans unaware of their own privilege and insisting that we’re all united because, as far as they’re concerned, “we all share a history with Wicca” (an exact quote I’ve seen from several people).

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  • Nova
    Nova says #
    Sorry but I suck at double checking my own post. Since there isn't an edit button... Hmm? So hard to ask? I've honestly had it w
  • Nova
    Nova says #
    I'v honestly had it with the idea of privilege. priv·i·lege ˈpriv(ə)lij/ noun 1. a special right, advantage, or immunity granted
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I have found being a member of a minority-within-a-minority very instructive. I'm a (mostly) middle-class white guy, one who has

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Devotional Polytheist Meme

While interfaith discussion with neo-pagans is valuable, I'd personally like to see more discussion of our own traditions and religious praxis. So, I came up with a bunch of questions to get the ball rolling. I'm going to answer these over the course of this month via a series of posts here and anyone else who likes them is also free to participate. 

 

1. What wealth have the divinities brought into your life?

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
When a Child's Pet Dies

 

 

Last night I received a heartbreaking email from a reader. He was emailing me because his child's cat had been hit by a car and he and his wife were at a loss as to what to tell her (the girl is about six). They have an active devotional practice and an active practice of ancestor veneration. They neither wanted to approach death as something wrong and to be hidden, or to lie to their child, but neither did they want to cause their little girl an iota's worth of unnecessary pain. They asked me what I suggested. With their permission, I'm going to share with you what I told them, but I want to preface that by a disclaimer and a story. 

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    wise advice. I agree, no point in hiding death from children. it is part of life.
  • Linda Armstrong
    Linda Armstrong says #
    Your article moved me very much. I'm a long way from being a child (67) but sooner than I would want, I'm going to need to say go

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Sannion, Chantelle d'Eros and myself just got back from checking out hotels for the Polytheist Leadership Conference and have decided to go with the Quality Inn in Fishkill, New York. They were clean and spacious and economical and most importantly we were impressed by the efficiency and friendliness of the staff. So we signed the contract and this thing is now officially a go!

The Polytheist Leadership Conference will take place Friday, July 11th through Sunday, July 13th – though we’ve made arrangements so that you can get the block room rate if you want to come in earlier on Thursday.

We’ll begin on Friday at 3:00pm with an opening prayer to our collective dead and polytheist predecessors and then have a lecture and roundtable discussion with the rest of the evening devoted to socializing and networking.

We’ll start at 10:00am on Saturday with a full day of workshops, lectures and roundtable discussions ending at 8:00pm. There’ll be half hour breaks between each session and an extended lunch and dinner.

Sunday begins at 10:00am and has two sessions with a social lunch and then a closing ceremony at 3:00pm.

We’ve got the website for the Polytheist Leadership Conference up and running and are now accepting registrations.

polytheistleadershipconference.wordpress.com/

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  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Very, very excited to see how this manifests. Thank you so much for doing the organizing work!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I belong to a local, Pan-Pagan group.  I was a member of it about seven or eight years ago, but it was a bit too chaotic and "fluffy" for my tastes.  I didn't end up sticking around for long as a result, but it did good work in the community and meant well, so it's existence didn't really bother me either.  It just wasn't for me, but it served it's purpose.  Recently, the organization went under a fair amount of upheaval and was in danger of breaking apart due to infighting and disagreements. 

It had managed to achieve non-profit status about three or four years ago, so people came forward to try and help repair the damage and keep it alive.  While not the most conservative state in the union, Pennsylvania is hardly what I'd call progressive either.  As such, having a Pagan organization with non-profit status is something worthy of celebrating and definitely provokes some consideration.  Some of the local Heathens were part of the initial efforts to rebuild the organization from the ground up, and informed me of the issues at hand.  I decided I wanted to help as well, which brings us to the moment where I found myself in a county owned recreational center, sitting in on one of the meetings.

At one point, the conversation turned to the subject of how to make events and rituals mutually inclusive and respectful to all people who might be in attendance.  Towards the end of the discussion, an elderly woman of an amicable nature said "We should all stop arguing, and just worship the Earth."  She said this while wearing an expression that suggested she felt that this was so universal of a truth there could be no way that anyone who called themselves Witch, Pagan, or Polytheist could possibly disagree.  It wasn't an opinion, to her; it was fact.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Mythology---Dragon---St.-George-fighting-the-dragon.jpgMost of the people in attendance were Wiccans and/or Monists of various philosophies, so she didn't seem to actually offend anyone.  Even my fellow Heathens and I were sort of used to these statement from her, so we didn't really see the point in working ourselves up over the issue.  Getting angry at this sort of person is like yelling at a cloud; it does nothing, and they didn't come from someone who was particularly polarizing.  She's just the typical representation of someone who thinks they're so inclusive that couldn't possibly make an excluding statement.

The thing is, however, that I've seen so many theological arguments come from this exact scenario; someone makes some sort of presumption for all of Paganism, and than they come across someone who believes the exact opposite.  The next step is that the disagreeing Pagan will point out, often times with great offense, that the person is very wrong.  Typically, the person who made the faux-inclusive statement gets defensive, because they aren't bigoted and/or privileged so of COURSE the other person is just being too sensitive, and than an argument breaks out.

We've all seen his exact scenario play out a lot, especially over the last year or two.  I stay out of these fights because, to be quite simple about it, I don't recognize the authority of some fool sitting off on the sideline making proclamations that are less authoritative on a given religion than the content of a Wikipedia article.  Some people, however, don't go by that standard and I can't blame them; when you practice a minority religion, you find yourself bombarded with a rather alarming amount of social faux pas. 

That's putting it very diplomatically to be sure, but it cuts to the core nicely.  Being the target of so many social and diplomatic mistakes, you expect people who also practices minority religions to be more mindful and considerate.  After all, regardless of whether you are a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Gardenerian Wiccan, a solitary practitioner, or what have you...in many circles within North America and (I suspect) Europe, you are going to be the targets of some similar acts of ignorance, privilege*, and stupidity.  You expect that anyone who is in a similar situation would take equal effort in being mindful of the theology and philosophy of others.

So when that expectation is let down, it's easy to get extremely angry about it.

I am Heathen.  I do respect the Earth, no doubt; there are spirits both animist and ancestral that reside on it and within it, and I do my best to show them the respect and thankfulness my tradition says that they are due.  I do not, however, worship the Earth; that's a word that I direct towards divine figures almost exclusively.  Even with ancestors, the term "worship" is used differently than I use it when I talk about Gods.  That is my path, and no one gets to tell me what it's about or what I should or should not be worshiping.**

You are...well, whatever you are.  Whatever your tradition, path, or philosophy, it is up to you to define your worldview as best as you are able.  In the meantime, for the sake of the Ancestors, Gods, the Earth,or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster, don't act like your path is mine.  At least, not before we've talked and discovered that together.  Not until you truly know, rather than feel you can  reasonably presume.  Your path does not represent the whole spectrum of non-Abrhamic and/or non-Islamic belief,*** so don't pretend that it does.

You have the right to your beliefs, but that right ends at the beginning of every other person's belief.  No matter then intention, someone trying to unify all faiths across the world into a single thread is going to end up insulting someone.  Probably a lot of someones.  No matter the intentions, it becomes exactly like being told that you are a Satanist because you're not Christian.  Improperly worded or poorly thought out statements about religious unity contain a very similar message; they involve telling someone what their faith is, without their consent or consideration of their person.  Should we be surprised that such statements end poorly when the presume so many things that, in many case, trip over many of our own psychological wounds? 

No matter what you wish to say when it comes to religion, you'll find someone who disagrees.  That is wonderful!  After decades and centuries of religious thought having been homogenized, by legal mandate in some cases, we have the opportunity to form our religious standards, philosophies, and concepts.  In many places in the world, such processes even have legal protection.  We get to disagree on religion, and have that not be a big deal.  We can identify, build, and form spiritual relationships in ways that were unthinkable a few generations ago.  Savor that! 

b2ap3_thumbnail_iStock_prism.jpgThis statement even applies to my Monist friends; even if you feel all paths are one, the wondrous permutations of that one idea are split into thousands of ideas like the light of one sun traveling through a prism.  This isn't a cause for contention.  It is a cause to rejoice!

Even this statement that I am making now will find some who disagree with it, and I'm okay with that.  The person who disagrees with probably will be as well, because I'm about to say one thing; this is how I see things.  I speak for no one else but myself, because I'm the only person I have the authority to speak for.  Everyone else needs to speak for themselves.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.


* I don't like the term privilege, because I think it's counter productive most of the time.  Using the term in conversation with people who don't understand it seems to destroy bridges instead of building them, and I think that's not any kind of way to sew empathy and compassion.  Your mileage may vary, of course.  In this case, we're talking about it in a broader, less accusatory manner....which is where I think this concept works best.

**Well, my Gods get to of course...but that is an entirely different topic...

***I use the dictionary definition of Pagan most of the time; that is, any religion that doesn't come from a Christian, Hebrew, or Islamic background.  Yes, that casts a wide net...but it's about the only consistent definition I can ever find.  Thus, it has become the one I use the most.  My word choices typically favor clarity as a deciding factor, and you can't get much clearer than "this is the definition the dictionary uses the most often".

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  • LilithBlackDragon
    LilithBlackDragon says #
    Oh I definitely GOT this article. All of it. Made absolute perfect sense to me. For some reason, lots of people want to shade into
  • Gregor
    Gregor says #
    Your writing is barely coherent. I have no idea what this article was trying to say other than something about an old lady worshi

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

What to do when your magical mojo dries out?

I just came out of a year that heralded a great deal of upheaval. In the thick of it, I was being pulled this way and that by magical forces which insisted that I change. Right now, I feel rather like a long noodle that has been extruded, ready to coil into a new being.

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  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    "Misinformation be damned – when you’re a chaos witch, every myth is valid." Love this! I agree with Deborah: many of us are "fee
  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake says #
    There seems to be a lot of this going around :-). Thanks for voicing it so beautifully. Fatigue definitely saps our ability to to
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    At the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, "I feel your pain." The "2X4 school of enlightenment" seems to apply to many of us. Y

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Laissez les bons temps rouler

One of the things that I find particularly enchanting about this city is the music. It's everywhere, from jug bands playing on the sidewalk, to raucous zydeco coming from the bars on Bourbon street, to the lone musician or singer busking on the corner. From the moment we leave the hotel, there's music. It counterpoints the natural rhythms of the city itself, and all the spirits that dance and wander here. It connects me to the city, to all its many layers like nothing else. 

 

New Orleans has such a rich musical heritage. We know it as the birthplace of jazz and that's true. With its rich blend of African and Spanish influences it's a musical hot spot, a rich melting pot of rhythms and sounds and somehow, generation by generation magic happens. It's everywhere here.  (I believe the first opera house in the U.S. was even built here in New Orleans). On a good day, hardly a street corner in the French Quarter seems bereft of a busker of some kind and not just musicians. Since we've been here, we've been spending a good five to seven hours a day just walking around the quarter : seeing what we could see and hearing what we could hear. We've seen fiddlers, jug bands, lone hippie musicians (with unfortunate lack of pitch), jazz bands, horn players, but also living statues, performance artists, and visual artists selling their wares. Most interestingly for us as diviners, there are "psychic readers" everywhere. We've seen dozens in the parks, Jackson square, on street corners, in shops selling their services. Magic is in the air here and there are plenty of people ready to capitalize on it. 

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  • jen z
    jen z says #
    I am sad to see this site as a book burner. Yes Kenny Klein screwed up, but to remove old blogs is wrong. Censorship in any form i
  • Galina Krasskova
    Galina Krasskova says #
    excuse me? I think they ought to fry him. At the very least his blogs and books should be taken down. He's filth. He didn't just "
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    You write, "Magic is in the air here and there are plenty of people ready to capitalize on it." Maybe that very fact encourages p

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
City of the Ghede

As much as New Orleans may be the city of Bacchus, first and foremost it belongs to the Ghede, the family of  lwa that govern the powers of death and the dead. Their presence, their energy is everywhere. It surrounds, seeping out from every crack, bristling and snaking up from every paving stone. The houses are awash in it, and it lurks in the twilight air along every street. I knew this coming down to visit, but once here, i was swept away by the siren song of the city itself. I allowed myself to become distracted.

 

I really should have known better. Usually when I arrive at a new city, I will settle in at the hotel and then first thing, before anything else, walk the city, allowing my intuition and the city spirit itself to guide me. I"ll make offerings to the city spirit and to any governing spirits or Deities that I sense in whatever place I happen to be sojourning. It's the protocol I was taught and I almost never, ever deviate from it. This time, I did. I grew complaisant. I didn't forget to make offerings, but for some reason it seemed like a good idea to wait, to find the perfect time and perfect place. Maybe that would have been all right, but we proceeded to shop and dine and enjoy the delights New Orleans has to offer and the time of our offerings got pushed farther and farther forward. We both knew better and it was only a matter of time before we got "schooled." It's good to be shaken out of one's complaisance once in awhile and I'm grateful for the finesse and grace with which the Ghede did so today. 

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  • Marybeth
    Marybeth says #
    Lovely. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
City of Bacchus

 

So my partner and I are currently vacationing in New Orleans. Neither one of us had been to this city before but oh I am glad that we came. This is a city belonging to Bacchus if ever there was one! We've been here only about twenty four hours, and most of that time has been spent meandering through the French Quarter with no destination in mind. We have plenty of time to do cultural things and to shop. For now, we've been trying to get a sense of the city spirit, and a taste of the energy of the city itself. 

First of all, there is music everywhere. We're staying in the French Quarter in an old, land-mark hotel and from the moment we walk outside, there are street performers, sometimes several along the length of a block, plying their trade (some with more finesse and talent than others, needless to say). There are living statues, and today a man doing gymnastics on stilts. Wow, that boy could jump! Made my knees ache just watching him. Bacchus is everywhere. Every shop that we've gone by, somewhere there has been His image. It's become a game for my partner -- a Dionysian--and I: who can find the image of Bacchus in this shop? So far, he's winning.  There are diviners everywhere. I don't mean psychic shops (though there are those as well doing what they can to capitalize on the notoriety of Voudou mambo Marie Laveau) but rather diviners setting up shop with table and chair all around Jackson Square. I think I counted fifteen in a row and all the while they were reading clients, a jazz band was serenading us in front of the Cabildo.

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  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    I like to comparison to Venice. In fact, I think I will steal it.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Magical Musings Podcast Interview

It's finals time, folks, as well as being one of the most intense Yule seasons that I can recall in a very long time. I"ve been swimming in work both academic and spiritual and so I must apologize for not posting as much here. That will change, I am sure, with the turning of the year. 

In the meantime, so y'all can see I'm not quite as much of a slacker as it may seem ^_^ I'm posting a recent interview that I did with Magical Musings podcast. We covered some topics that I think are tremendously important to the polytheistic community as a whole and Heathenry in particular and while the interview was close to two hours (not sure what the edited version here ended up being--I wasn't involved in whittling it into shape for airing) I had a hell of a good time. 

So take a listen here, folks, and I"ll be back soon with a few articles on Mani. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Give a moment to our Military Dead

Today, heading to school, I caught a glimpse of the most heart-stopping sky: it was a sea of roiling clouds, a dark cantata of a dozen shades of grey, spewing forth streams of silver reminding me, as I shivered in the chill air, surrounded by the riotous crimsons and golds of leaves in their death throws, that the time of the Wild Hunt is upon us. 

With November comes the cold, the first promise of winter. With November comes Odin, for to many of us who venerate Him, this is His month, and with Odin comes the Wild Hunt. With November also comes Veterans Day and hard on the heels of the ancestor festivals of late October, it's a good reminder to take a moment to honor our military dead. 

We all have them. We're here because of them: our military ancestors, our warrior ancestors, those hard-focused men and women who did what was necessary to ensure their people's survival. good or bad, path chosen or taken up out of cruel necessity, each of us has soldiers and fighters in our line. The least we can do is take a day, as the land itself churns up memento mori all around us, to remember those who suffered, sacrificed, died...or who suffered, sacrificed and did not die but returned home to families and communities forever alien to the hum of their people, forever changed and scarred by their experiences in war. It is right and proper, I think, to pay homage to these men and women. Some of them were little more than children. Each year, during the fall term, when I'm hard at work teaching a class of mostly freshmen, Veterans Day rolls around and I think about what it commemorates. I think about our two world wars, and how the first wiped out nearly a generation of men...many younger than the boys and girls sitting in my classroom. i think about what it meant for my grandparents' generation, the absences torn in the fabric of their communities and families and I know that while we may or may not agree with the purpose of a war itself, we can honor those who served precisely for their service. 

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  • Theresa Wymer
    Theresa Wymer says #
    "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the g

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Happy Equinox

With the school term having started again, things are crazy-busy for me here. Still, I wanted to post something for the Fall Equinox, since it begins my absolute favorite time of year. This is a little something I wrote a couple of years ago. Enjoy, folks. 

I adore this time of year. There’s a crispness in the air, the herald of colder, darker things to come. The leaves are just beginning to change into what, in my region of the US, will soon become a riotous panoply of color. I live in the belly of the mountains, in the Hudson River Valley and fall is something to be celebrated here for its beauty alone. It’s as if the lines of varied color show, for a few brief weeks, the very and varied musculature of the mountains, rippling, stretching and preparing for the long sleep of winter. It’s an awe-inspiring sight. 

 Of course I would celebrate Autumn anyway. I’ve never been a summer person and I greet the cooling days with immense joy. They bring me vitality, a renewed sense of purpose, and the feeling of an immense burden being lifted (i.e. the paralyzing heat of the summer!). Fall provides a feast for the senses: the smell of burning leaves, the sweet chill of cooling nights, the spice of Thanksgiving-time sweets, the rich tapestry of color inherent in the trees and harvest vegetables, and above all the transformation of nature’s green into the reds, golds, oranges, siennas, and browns of autumn. What a glorious relief! What a joyous sight! Moreover, these seasonal changes remind me that we’re rapidly passing out of the time of Harvest and moving instead into the time of internal reflection and quiet that can, ideally, be part of Winter. That is no small thing to honor. 

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Galina, for reminding me that facing the terror and expressing it out loud can help strengthen me, so I can become the

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
More Devotional Q&A

 

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, folks, with lots of ritual work to be done as we move into fall. While we always honor our ancestors at the beginning of our rituals, autumn tends to be a a time when we focus even more strongly on our dead and that means a lot more rituals. I love it, but boy have I been busy!  Autumn really is, for me, the best season. It's so vibrant and finally after an entire summer of positively aching for fall, i've started smelling the teasing promise of crispness in the air, the faint sense of crisping decay as the leaves ever so slightly show the first signs of their inevitable decay. I love it. Of course, I also love that questions on ritual and praxis keep rolling in. I've gotten quite a bit of good feedback on this series and I'm enjoying it greatly. Y'all have been sending in some really thoughtful questions and I find crafting my answers makes me look at my own practice in new ways too. I thank you, my readers for that gift. For today's Q&A, I have a series of questions on how to handle offerings from reader Lenore. 

 

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  • Natasha Kostich
    Natasha Kostich says #
    Good questions! I also want to add that the more you do altar work the more confident you become. As time goes on, you will trust
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Rather than being inane, Lenore's questions are probably among the first anyone has! As I read your answers, I found myself addin

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Party of One: Ganesha

Sometimes I like to go to visit Gods and Goddesses from neighboring friendly pantheons. After attending my first Kirtan chant three years ago, I was introduced to the Hindu God Ganesh, the elephant-headed remover of obstacles. I was instantly drawn to him and "Gan Gan Ganapati" quickly became by personal favorite chant. It resonated on a deeper level of my subconscious. After some research, I discovered that Ganesh has his very own ten day festival every year in India, Ganesh Chaturthi. According to About.com Guide, Sharell Cook, it culminates with a huge celebration on the last day called, Anata Chaturdasi day. Cook notes that the festivities are dependant "on the cycle of the moon." The dates fall a little differently annually, but for 2013 "Ganesh Fest" runs September 9 - September 19. The website, http://goindia.about.com/od/festivalsevents/p/ganeshfestival.htm had some inspiring suggestions for setting up an altar and honoring Ganesh in your own home.

According to Subhamoy Das, also from the goindia site, Ganesh likes offerings of "coconuts, flowers, and camphor." You could also decorate your altar with figures of Ganesh and the color red.

Later in the article, "Ganesh Chaturthi, How to celebrate the great Ganesha festival," by Das, Swami Sivananda recommends, "On the Ganesh Chaturthi day, meditate on the stories connected with Lord Ganesha early in the morning, during the Brahmamuhurta period. Then, after taking a bath, go to the temple and do the prayers of Lord Ganesha. Offer Him some coconut and sweet pudding. Pray with faith and devotion that He may remove all the obstacles that you experience on the spiritual path. Worship Him at home, too. You can get the assistance of a pundit. Have an image of Lord Ganesha in your house. Feel His Presence in it."

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