Pagan Paths

Out of the deeps rises the mysterious lotus. Stop in for refreshment, heka, and reflections from the sacred waters of ancient Egypt.

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Breaking the Pot

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_brokenpot.pngYesterday someone wrote me to ask about a ritual or spell to undo his marriage of eleven years. We have so many elaborate rituals in our culture for beginning things: christening, bas and bat mitzvah, prom, sweet sixteen, bachelor party, housewarming, wedding, and oodles of others. But we rarely hom something which has ended.

Breaking a red pot seems to have done the trick for the Egyptians. We have instructions for pot-breaking ceremonies during funeral rites, and have found many examples inside tombs, but no explanation for the purpose of such a ritual seems to have turned up. Some surmise that the red color identified the pot with Seth, and the breaking was to scare him away.

Omm Sety wrote about a modern Egyptian peasant custom of breaking an earthenware pot behind the back of a “departing and unwelcome” visitor, both to end the connection between the visitor and the household, and to prevent the visitor’s return.

While I would not normally recommend a china-smashing binge after your next breakup, it’s easy to imagine the release of power achieved by destroying the remaining shadows of something that is no longer a force for life and growth in our lives. We can easily create ways to seal endings which are appropriate to our own situation.

There are simple old witchy methods like burning down a candle (be sure to put it in the sink or bathtub - you won’t believe how many houses and humans leave this world due to candle fires), or burning a paper on which you have written your desire. If you need the more dramatic flourish of Egyptian pot-breaking, the pieces of a clay flower-pot make good fill in a large garden or the bottom of a planter; they are also biodegradable.

b2ap3_thumbnail_breaking_of_the_pots.gifBut the most important part, and this is what I shared with the newly-divorced writer, is to go do something life-affirming which moves you into a fresh energetic space. Attend a performance of live music, especially something new to you. Go dancing, attend a play, rearrange some furniture, buy or make a new dress. Whatever way you choose, do it while looking into the future with your inner vision. Feel the joy of being alive, of having free will and choice, even if you do not feel particularly happy. Let the ending be a new beginning in your ever-renewing cycle of life.

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Holli Emore is Executive Director of Cherry Hill Seminary, the premiere educational resource for Pagan and other nature-based religions (, founder of Osireion (, editor/writer for Wild Garden: Pagans in the Growing Interfaith Landscape at, and serves on the board of directors for Interfaith Partners of S.C. (  She is co-founder of the original Pagan Round Table,, and author of "Pool of Lotus," available in print, or for Kindle or Nook, at


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