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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Song of the Snow Shovel

Skritch! Skritch! Skriiiiitch!

It's been a dry winter here in Paganistan, so it's almost with a sense of relief that I shoulder the snow shovel and go out to clear the walk.

Minnesota being the Land of Common Sense, there's a logic to shoveling snow. You want to get to it early, before the feet of passers-by tramp it down. The sooner you get to it, the easier the job will be.

On our block, Fatima two houses down is always first. No matter how early I go out to shovel, her walk will already be clear.

Then comes Nick across the street, who shovels snow as a hummingbird hovers: you know that it's happening, but it's too quick to see.

Me, I settle for third.

Minnesota being also the Land of Polite, there are thews (customs, laws) governing how you shovel.

(That you do shovel, of course, is an unstated premise. Not to shovel one's sidewalk is tantamount to a declaration of indifference, unneighborliness, if not of downright sociopathy.)

You always, for instance, shovel your own walk and a little bit of your neighbor's. To shovel only your own walk is regarded as stingy, niggardly. But of course, you've got to be careful. Shovel too much of your neighbor's walk and you're making, as it were, a territorial claim. All things in moderation.

Because of how we see the world, witches, of course, have added incentives for shoveling our walks. Some would call it paranoia, but to us it just seems like common sense.


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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Know your forests and woodlands

Forests & Woodlands

What is the difference between a forest and a woodland?  In this case it seems that size really does matter…

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Mental RE-CHARGE: Virgo Moon Vibes Jan. 22-24

Mama Moon enters the Mutable, Earth sign of Virgo on Jan. 22 at 7:22 pm Pacific Time until Jan. 24.

Think of this Moon-Time as a mental RE-CHARGE with surprises.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


“You are not alone.”  - The Face of Boe, Doctor Who

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Contemplating a Red Moon

Last night, 2019’s only lunar eclipse took place: a spectacular “supermoon” eclipse. We watched it from our back yard, watching the Moon slowly darken into a ruddy ball, and then, dramatically, the bright edge of ordinary Sun-lit surface burst into being and steadily reclaim it.

Lunar eclipses are really cool. Astronomical events as a whole are really cool: meteor showers, eclipses, transits, and particularly that extraordinary rarity, a prominent comet visible to the naked eye. Whenever possible, I take the opportunity to experience these phenomena, as they bring home in a visceral way that we are on a planet, in space, and there’s a lot of other stuff going on out there.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Eternal Return

Well, that's that. The tree is down now, stripped of its lights and glittering regalia.

(Tannenbaumschmuck, they call the ornaments in German: “fir tree jewelry.” Like a high priestess, the Yule tree wears a bejeweled nudity.)

Naked, it leans against the back wall in the alley, awaiting pick-up.

Soon, it will be chipped and turned into compost, from which some day, perhaps, new trees will grow.

Yule is over. The king is dead.

Long live the king.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I was thinking a while back about how, in these mostly hearthless days, the Yule tree has stepped in the Yule log's ecological nic
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    I keep an 18" section of the thickest part of my Yule tree trunk for use as a Yule log the following year. https://atheopaganism.w
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    My tree every year has to be real. Even if its tiny, it has to be real. It has to live a d it has to die. And I always am sad to s
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's witch's work to turn the Wheel. The Yule tree is an act of magic. Putting it up is an act of magic, taking it down the same.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Celtic Month of Rowan

Published in the 1940s, The White Goddess written by Robert Graves has served as the basis for a great deal of popular information on the Celtic ogham. Despite being the grandson of ogham scholar Charles Graves, Robert took liberties with the history of the ogham alphabet and added embellishments such as the thirteen-month ogham tree calendar. The appeal of this calendar for working with the energy of trees has captured the imagination of many of us who have incorporated it into our magical practices.

While it is a modern construct, the tree calendar holds meaning because of the concepts it has come to symbolize and the significance it has for twenty-first century magic, ritual, and everyday life. In 2019, I am exploring the wheel of the year through the plants of the Celtic tree calendar.

January 21st begins the time of rowan and its ogham character Luis. Commonly known as rowan in the United Kingdom, in North America this tree is known as mountain ash. Although the leaves of the rowan resemble those of the ash, true ash trees are in the genus Fraxinus. The energy of this period is associated with the coming of new life born from the darkness of winter. Rowan is associated with protection, strength, and creativity. It is also associated with the goddess Brigid whose fire guides us to the light within.

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in England, rowan had a negative reputation because it was associated with witchcraft. The most likely reason for this is that the berry carries a pentagram design at its base. Some herbalists avoided using rowan for fear of being labeled a witch and suffering the consequences. In northern Europe, this tree was planted near homes and stables to ward off lightning strikes because rowan was associated with the storm god Thor who had the power of protection. Rowan wood was used by the Celts when reciting magical incantations.

Draw the ogham character Luis on a candle for protection to burn during magic, ritual, or astral travel. Because rowan is a powerful ally for divination and for contacting elementals, burn a small piece of bark or twig to enhance psychic abilities. To attract success, cut five branches to the same length and lay them out in a pentagram shape on your altar. Hold a rowan branch to connect with your spirit guides when seeking their advice.

Rowan makes a good, magically protective walking stick. Enhance its power by carving its ogham into the wood. Burn a piece of rowan wood or a dried leaf to express your dedication to a deity or to acknowledge the blessings in your life.

Native to North America, the American mountain ash (Sorbus americana) is a small, shrubby tree reaching fifteen to twenty-five feet tall. Its lance-shaped leaflets are dark green with gray-green undersides. They turn yellow in the fall. The common mountain ash or European mountain ash (S. aucuparia) grows twenty to forty feet tall. It has medium-green, lance-shaped leaflets that turn yellow to reddish-purple in the fall. Both trees produce dense, flattened clusters of white flowers that bloom in May. After the flowers, orange-red berries develop and ripen in late summer.

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