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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 1 blog entry contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Deep Winter here, and as one does, I dream of Spring.

According to Classicist M. L. West, “Swinging is a recurrent feature of Indo-European springtime and midsummer festivities.”

Sure enough: in Hindu India, in ancient (and modern) Greece and Rome, in Russia, in the Balkans, in the Baltics: springtime (often Easter) is when you hang a swing from the leafing-out branch of a tree and jump on for a ride (and better it be if it's with a buddy). Half the Latvian Easter dainas that I've seen focus on swinging. There's said to be a sympathetic correlation between how high one swings and how high the crops will stand in the coming growing season.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 For all that we're no People of the Book, M. L. West's magisterial Indo-European Poetry and Myth comes as close to a one-stop-shop for pagan Received Tradition as I can think of.

 I first discovered the Wonderful World of West while tracking down a purported taboo in Indo-European cultures against pissing toward the Sun.

 Sure enough, in culture after culture, there it is, written not on paper but in the hearts and minds of the people: you don't piss toward the Sun.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Creating Intention Mandalas

Mandala is a Sanskrit word for "circle" and is a sacred, symbolic diagram used for contemplation. In Buddhism and Hinduism, mandalas usually include images of Buddhas or deities. Yantra is a Sanksrit word for "instrument", and is meant to inspire inner visualizations, meditations, and spiritual experiences. However, since the two terms are often used interchangeably, the word mandala usually refers to any circular image or diagram.

You can create your own mandala for meditation, as well as for a specific intent. For example, perhaps you'd like to allow prosperity and abundance in your life. Or, maybe you'd like to be more courageous and learn how to speak up for yourself.

Click here for a full-size blank mandala template that I've created for you to print and use.
Creating A Mandala With Intention
Step 1: Gather the medium/s you choose to use for creating your mandala. You can use crayons, watercolors, chalk, colored pencils, etc.
Step 2: Find a quiet spot, and consider something that you'd like to allow into your life. Breath deeply, from your belly, slowly inhaling to the count of 5...then exhaling to the count of 5. Do this several times until you feel calm and centered.
Step 3: Working from the center, draw, paint, or color how you feel about what you want to allow in your life. There is no wrong way to create a mandala. This process is a personal one, and for your own empowerment, growth, and peace.
Step 4: After completing your mandala, place it in a prominent position where you'll see it often. You could buy thin magnetic strips with sticky backing to hang it up on your refrigerator or metal cabinetry. Or, frame your mandala and hang it on a wall. This will remind you of your intent, and help you focus and allow what you are wanting to bring into your life.
Examples Of Intention
Here are some intentions for creating a mandala:
*To allow joy
*To surrender worrisome circumstances
*To allow love into your life
*For world peace
*To allow abundance
*For gratitude
*To release anger and bitterness
*For working through grief
*To welcome the job of your dreams
*To connect with the Divine
*To learn to say NO
*To culivate a compassionate attitude
Many blessings to you as you create a mandala for intent!
My husband, Ron, created the mandala above. Click here to see the larger version.
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_justice.jpgWhile ethics is one of my favorite subjects, Pagans don’t have a set that we all agree upon. (duh) Some follow the Charge of the Star Goddess, or the Three-fold Law, and some work to cultivate virtues as opposed to following laws. But if we’re all working to be good people, why can’t we mange to get along a little better? In his TED talk, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, says that if you’ve ever been confused about why people just can’t get along, he might have an answer for you.

Haidt researches human morals and started by asking the question of why do human morals around the world have more to do with just how people treat each other? The norm in all cultures but Western, is that morals have to do with all sort of things that we often mock. For example, what you can and cannot do during menstruation, what you eat and with whom, and what you wear. For most Americans – let alone the small subset that is our religion – such questions are weird and alien. That’s because we live in a WEIRD culture. The term WEIRD stands for Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic, and was created by psychology researchers Joe Henrich, Steve Heine, and Ara Norenzayan. As Pagans in an industrialized culture, we cannot escape this.

The reason I am excited about Haidt’s work is because he is interested in the biological basis for our moral behavior. And it seems there are evolutionary arguments to be made that much of our moral preference is, in Haidt’s words, "organized in advance of experience." Haidt postulates six moral foundations:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks for posting! I appreciated your insights and the insights presented in the Ted talk you linked.
  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    I've really found Haidt's work to be transformative and will be writing more about him in the future.
Crystal Keys and Imprints - What are they?

YAY!  OK, so I had a question from my friend, Karen (the Feng Shui Lady) Adams. She writes:

"Tell me about crystals with "Keys" such as squares and triangles. I have heard about gazing at them in meditation? Anything else you can share would be exciting!"

Oh! this is a great question.

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