The Shrine to Lugh stands on the east side of the Stone Circle. He is an Irish God associated with the Sun and his Shrine rests right up against the back of the Sanctuary.
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Dance in a circle of moonlight
Make a web of life
Hold me as I spiral and spin
Make a web of my life…
Yeah, I'm a warlock.
You got a problem with that?
“Witch,” though a gender-neutral term, is female first. So it's convenient to have a term that specifies: male of the species.
Interestingly, it's a Scots word in origin. (In Sassenach they say warlowe.) Maybe they had more problems with male witches North of the Border.
That's not surprising. Throughout the Norse culture sphere, the majority of witches have always been men. Most executed witches in Scandinavia were male.
No, I'm not a wizard, but that's a class difference. Wizards are gentry. Warlockry is for us yeomen.
Some Wiccans are allergic to the term. Since the number of men in Wicca has been waning away for years, maybe it's moot. But in Old Craft—where men still constitute a numerical majority—most of us are fine with “warlock.”
And no one denies that it's a word of power.
Some object on the grounds that it means “oath-breaker.”
Well, they're wrong.
I field many questions about what I do as a chaplain from people who are curious, but who also are under the misconception that as a Pagan I don't actually have a faith tradition (or my faith tradition is not acceptable). A large reason I am pursuing this path is to do the work of representing my faith group at the table with other groups--to do the work of "legitimacy" if you will. We have a long way to go in this battle, as I will demonstrate in the example I will leave here. As I do this work, I am beginning to realize people need to understand why Pagan chaplaincy is necessary. It isn't just the interfaith work, though that is important too. But for every Pagan who is in the hospital and wants a chaplain of their faith to be there with them, for every Pagan in prison, or the military, or in universities, there will need to be someone willing to do the work of fighting this battle of legitimacy.
**Note: For those who are familiar with what verbatims looks like, this format will be familiar. This was an actual encounter with someone I work with, recollected to the best of my ability and presented to my group for processing. This is the reality I live with everyday.**...
Like General Braddock and his colonial-era armies that slaughtered Eastern Woodlands Indigenous peoples in Pennsylvania and Colonel Chivington (a Methodist minister) who lead his army against the Cheyenne ending in the massacre of Natives at Sand Creek in the 1800s, the 45th President of the United States and his supporters are leading a 21st century war under the same old banner of "social progress." However, this 21st century colonial war is for the same reason and intention of all previous colonial wars in America and around the world: confiscation of land, natural resources, and the willful harm of Indigenous people's cultural expression, personhood, and sovereignty. In this 21st century war it is ever clearer how those who benefit and support the old Dominator power structures continue to exploit and desecrate the land and Mother Earth's resources.
The photograph above is a scene from Oceti Sakowin Camp that housed the protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline who left the camp this past week. Protestors numbered up to 10,000 at times over the course of the movement. Indigenous people from all over Turtle Island came to the aid of the Standing Rock Sioux nation, and advocates of all races and identities, especially American Veterans, came to show their support of tribal sovereignty and protection of the Earth. On February 22 Water Protectors left the camp ceremonially (and somberly) singing and drumming to honor the work behind them and all that is still left to do. Some of the few protestors remaining were arrested by police. The photo just above shows police in riot gear and thus the level of tension and threat the Water Protectors bravely faced....
Consider the immemorial pancake.
Child of Earth, Sun, and Thunder, one of humanity's most ancient and sacred foods.
Every pancake is a charm, as round and golden as the Sun. Every one you eat brings Spring just a little closer. That's why this is pancake time, the arc of the year between the February cross-quarter and Spring Evenday.
The pancake incarnates differently in every cuisine, but in my opinion it reaches its apotheosis in the yeasted buckwheat pancakes of Russia, blini. They say that when you start the sponge for blini, you should take it out to the woods so that the full Moon can shine on it.
You can judge their antiquity by the name. Blini comes from the same ancient root that gave us mill, meal, and molar. From the same root also comes mallet, malleus (as in Malleus Maleficarum, “hammer of the witches”), and Mjöllnir, the name of Þórr's thunder hammer: “crusher.” Really, there should be a shrine to Thunder in every flour-mill in the world.
Blini are one of the great sacred foods of the North. You serve them at sacred times: births, weddings, deaths.
And now: that final, axial arc of the year between winter and spring.