PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Keening for Myself

A Keening for Myself

Slowly I find myself leaving. I take last walks to say goodbye to certain places which is a ritual I carried out all my life. I am woven together with threads of this place, my body holds her water and blood and my bones are made from her bedrock. Then slowly, without any movement, I shift between places. One foot is here while the other has crossed the ocean onto another continent. I am back to encompassing both worlds. Leaving is painful. It’s not muted by knowing I can return at any time. It’s an awareness which brings into focus the pain of those who left and knew they’d never return. Violently uprooted and ripped from the land. To be born of generations upon generations who lived and died on this soil to then be cleared away, eradicated as if they were vermin, swept aside to make way for the more profitable sheep.  

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
On the Brilliance of 'Blessed Be'

“'Blessed Be': that's what the Satanists say to each other,” said my friend Blaine.

It was the early 70s. Blaine and I were both in high school. Clearly, he'd seen some TV special about contemporary witchcraft which he hadn't completely understood and, just as clearly, something about the saying had caught his fancy.

“Seems like a strange thing for Satanists to be saying,” I said.

I was making a point while trying not to seem to be making a point. I already knew a thing or two on the subject, quite enough to know that it most certainly was not Satanists who were saying “Blessed Be” to one another.

It was also enough to be abundantly clear to me which side of the Hedge I stood on myself.

 

Blessed Be. (That's three syllables now, not two.) It's a blessing; it's a spell. It means many things: Hello, Good-bye, Amen. It means: I'm one, and you're one too. It means: I acknowledge you as an equal. It means: We belong to the same tribe.

It's also an allusion to deep myth and liturgy. Blessed be the feet which have brought thee in these ways, says the Horned to the Lady in the Underworld, as he tenderly kisses said feet. This story, of course, is the mythic charter for initiation, as well as for the act of liturgical adoration, the Fivefold Kiss. (“What is the Five that is Eight?” is a kind of Wiccan koan.) Blessed Be: a world of meaning in two simple words.

(When I once met the Goddess in the middle of a flowering summer meadow—but that's a tale for another night—my knowledge of this rite gave me a fitting liturgical response to a theretofore—in my experience, anyway—unprecedented situation.)

After decades in the Craft, I'll admit that “Blessed Be” had, for the most part, donned something of an invisibility cloak for me: it's so ubiquitous that I'd almost stopped consciously seeing and hearing it. “BB!” friends often write, at the end of letters or e-mails, or sometimes even say: an intimate gesture, yet by that very intimacy rendered even more mysterious and in-the-know.

Anyone who knows magic knows that this is precisely the situation in which words have their most powerful effect: when they operate largely, if not wholly, on the unconscious level.

Not all religions have their own greetings, but the Craft—insofar, at any rate, as one may consider the Craft a religion—is one of them, and it's a brilliant stroke. The phrase seems innocuous, even benevolent, as, indeed, it is.

But don't be fooled.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I’ve not posted a blog for a while, as I’ve been on a deep retreat with the land, and finishing my latest book- more on that soon. But I wanted to share what I think is one of the most important things to connect with on the Celtic path at this time of the year- the plant Vervain, verbena officianalis.  Vervain is one of the few plants we know the ancient druids venerated, as the Roman writer Pliny recorded how in the height of summer, just before dawn, the druids gathered Vervain, as Sirius the dog star rose in the sky. Vervain was so sacred that they would give the earth an offering of honey for its loss, and would gather the herb with their left hand, after drawing a circle of iron around the plant to disconnect it from the land. When they had gathered it, they would hold it up to the star to be infused with its energy, without the direct light of the moon or sun touching it.

Vervain is an herbaceous perennial, that grows about 2-3 feet tall, with toothed, rough textured leaves, a woody stalk, and in the summer it has small, pale purplish flowers. It’s relatively easy to grow from seed, and is happy in most positions, so long as it doesn’t dry out completely. Vervain can be hard to find for some, but is easily bought on line and once you grow some it self-seeds easily.  Yet this simple, modest little plant is possibly the most magical and powerful ally in the witches garden.       

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Review: "Persephone"

Wendy Rule refers to her 8th major album, Persephone, as her “most important album to date”.  Fans, both longtime and new, are taken on a journey from life, death, and life again as they follow Rule’s retelling of the popular and timeless myth of the earth goddess Demeter and her maiden daughter, Kore who becomes Persephone.  This double album features 24 tracks primarily presenting the voices of Persephone, Demeter, and Hekate, though others make a guest-appearance, too.  Persephone’s Oceanides (hand-maidens and friends), Hades, and a chorus round out the vocals and narrative of this ambitious musical project.  The voices of the chorus mirror the same tone, style, and function of those of ancient Greek plays and lend an authentic sound to the overall album production. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Stands-in-the-Water

The way they tell it, Him that we call the Horned came down from heaven. Like a star he came down.

He came down to bring us Fire.

They say he looked down and saw that the People were cold and hungry, and in darkness, so he brought us the Fire of the gods. Like lightning he fell from heaven, or a star.

And that's where he landed: the Mountain that stands in the Mississippi.

Hay-nee-ah-chah, the Indians called it (that would be the Ho-Chunk): “soaking mountain,” and Pah-hah-dah, “moved mountain” (that's the Dakota). Trempealeau, the Frenchies named it, le montagne qui trempe à l'eau: the mountain that wades in the water.

Stands-in-the-Water, they call it, or the Black Mountain, because it's thick with oaks and maples, and dark.

(There's rattlesnakes out there, they say, to guard it.)

They call it the Sabbat Mount.

Nobody goes out there much, except for kids. Well, Indians too. There's mounds out there, if you know where to look for them, old mounds, some of them shaped like birds, or deer.

Well, and witches, of course.

Ever since he came down, that's been Witch Country down there, with witches all over. That's where they go for their jamborees, the witches, out to the Mountain that stands in the River.

You've seen the fires burning out there at night, and heard the drums. So have I.

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The Goddess Is IN! (Capricorn Full Moon)

Capricorn Full Moon
July 16, 2:38 pm PT
Partial Lunar Eclipse
11:55 am PT

"Inspired by goddess spirituality and abstract expressionists, Joan Mitchell and Per Kirkeby, Crabbe paints to unleash and free inner demons on a journey into divine feminine intimacy. This is a spiritual journey of healing and redemption with eyes, moons, circles and ancient spirals from goddess legend planted within each painting to seed hope in a future of empowered women."

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Herbal Charms for a Charmed Life

For an optimal outcome to any important meeting-whether business or social,  take an amulet with you. It can be a tiny bag hidden in a pocket or contained in a locket. Fill your amulet with any of the following herbs:

For courage, try borage or mullein

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