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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Unleash the Furies: Fighting for Women's Sovereignty in the South

I have three strikes against me as a resident of southern Alabama—woman, witch, and feminist. Coping with the Bible Belt and being in politically hostile territory is nothing new, since I’ve been doing it all my life. I’ve leaned on the security of the First Amendment and Jefferson’s exhortations on maintaining a “wall of separation between church and State” when threatened with theocratic notions. I have believed in these foundational cornerstones of our nation, even if so many around me seemed to forget.   

Over the past few years, though, I’ve watched the extreme fundamentalists get bolder in their attempts to marry church and government, and it’s disturbing to say the least. The latest assault on women’s reproductive rights is exposing just how close we are to Gilead, the dystopian world that Margaret Atwood paints so vividly and chillingly in The Handmaid’s Tale

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b2ap3_thumbnail_chaosillusionmeme.jpg

Chaos is often an illusion. 

 

My Gods’ plans are so complex that my limited human intelligence cannot discern the plans’ intricate orderliness, so it seems like chaos to me. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Journey with Hermes, Part 2

How can a journey up a stream turn into a mystical experience? My visit to the Aegean island of Samos showed me how I could connect with archetypal figures from Greek mythology through the beauty of nature.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The First Walpurgisnacht

Folks, we have a problem.

It's the Eve of Beltane. The time has come to go up to the top of the Holy Mountain and enact the ancestral rites that bring Winter to an end and assure a fruitful Summer to come.

Well, but: the king has turned to the new god, and forbidden—on pain of death—the Old Gods and the Old Worship. He has sent soldiers to ring the Brocken, our Holy Mountain, and ordered them to kill anyone who attempts to ascend.

But the ancient rites must be enacted, lest the Wheel should cease to turn.

So what do we do?

 

This is the story that the poet laureate of German Romanticism, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), tells in his poem Die Erste Walpurgisnacht, “the First Walpurgisnacht.” Goethe's poem was later set to music by composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) in a pagan cantata of the same name (Op. 60), which premiered in 1843.

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht looks a lot like Halloween does here in the States: it's a haunted time, a night when the ghosts and monsters come out. How did it change from Holy to Haunted? That's the tale that Goethe and Mendelssohn tell in Die Erste Walpurgisnacht.

 

OK, so here's what we're going to do.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Fain

 “...ye who are fain to sorcery...”

 

There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets: to these shall I teach such things as are yet unknown.

So speaks the Goddess of Witches to her people in Doreen Valiente's foundational masterpiece, The Charge of the Great Mother.

Valiente's evocative phrase is based, nearly word-for-word, on Charles Leland's English rendering of “Madalena”'s Tuscan text: She who fain would learn all sorcery yet has not won its deepest secrets, them [ i.e. the deepest secrets] my mother [i.e. the Goddess of Witches] will teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown.

Fain. Already in 1899, when Leland published his Aradia: the Gospel of the Witches, fain read archaically, mysteriously.

Don't confuse it with fane: that means “temple,” from the Latin fanum. Nor (speaking of homonyms) is it the same as feign, “pretend, fabricate” (< French feindre). (Which is not to say [snarkiness alert] that we all haven't met some who are feign to sorcery.)

No, fain is a good Old English word. In the dialect of the Hwicce, the original Anglo-Saxon Tribe of Witches, faegen (pronounced, more or less, fain) meant “glad, joyful, rejoicing.” (The Old Norse cognate, feginn, means “joy” tout court.)

As a verb, fain means “to rejoice in, enjoy; to take to gladly.” As an adjective, fain is “disposed, inclined or eager toward, willing.”

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June and July 2019 Heathen and Asatru Holidays

Maienzug (Aarau, Switzerland) takes place every year on the first Friday in July. It's an example of a moveable feast, that is, a holiday that is not on the same date every year. The following is a list of holidays with fixed dates which are celebrated by heathens or heathen-derived cultures.

June
8
Lindisfarne Day (American Asatru, American Odinist)

9
Day of Sigurd (American Asatru, American Odinist)

21
Midsummer (Urglaawe, England),
Hleifblot (American Asatru),
Líða (Theod),
Mittesommer (Germany),
Sommersonnewende (Germany),
Hochsommer Fest (Switzerland),
Midsommar (Norway),
Midsommardagen (Sweden)   

July
7
Lindenfest begins (Geisenheim, Germany)

9
Day of Unn the Deep-Minded (American Asatru), Lindenfest ends (Geisenheim, Germany)

15 Month of possible date of Hoietfescht begins (Urglaawe)

29 Stikkelstad Day (American Asatru)

31 Month of possible date of Honoring of the Weisskeppichi Fraa ends (Urglaawe)

Some moveable feasts require knowing the date of other feasts to derive their dates. Pinkster is on the fiftieth day after Easter, aka Whitsunday (in Deventer, province of Overijssel, Netherlands)
Pinkster Bruid or Pinksterbloem on Whit Tuesday (in Volte, Ootmarsum, Markelo, Rijssen, Hellendoorn, Hengelo, and other communities, province of Overijssel, Netherlands.)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    You're welcome, and thanks! Have a great day!
  • Shawn Sanford Beck
    Shawn Sanford Beck says #
    Right ... thanks for the explanation. Have a beautiful weekend!
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    It's on the official calendar of some groups. I'd guess it was probably intended as "fight the Christian oppressor." That was a po
  • Shawn Sanford Beck
    Shawn Sanford Beck says #
    Hmmm ... Is "Lindisfarne Day" an actual thing? Seems a bit of an odd and disturbing event to celebrate ... I wonder what others i

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How to Remember Anything

Of all the Indo-European-speaking peoples, only one has practiced their traditional religion continuously since antiquity.

The Kalasha, some 4000-strong, live in three remote valleys in what is now northwestern Pakistan. There they worship their ancient gods with wine, animal sacrifice, and sacred dances.

To honor these courageous people, I want to teach you a word in their language, Kalashamon: pooch, “penis.”

Some years back, it so happened that an English tourist came to visit the Kalasha valleys. (When you're the last surviving pagans of the Hindu Kush, the tourists will certainly come.) Being English, she naturally brought her dog with her. (“A priest in Ireland, a dog in England,” goes the saying, answering the question “What's the best thing to be?”) Of course, the dog's name was Pooch.

One day Pooch ran away. To the great amusement of the Kalasha, the distraught woman wandered through the village calling “Pooch! Pooch!” and explaining to anyone who would listen that she had lost her Pooch and just had to find him.

The story may or may not be apocryphal. Likelihood aside, it very much has the feel of something that an amused Kalashamon-speaker learning English might make up.

But if by any chance you should happen to find yourself in the secret mountain valleys of the Lost Pagans of the Hindu Kush, you'll know at least one useful word in the local language.

You will have remembered it, you will find, because I've taught it to you in the traditional way, which—in the days before literacy took all human knowledge hostage—the ancestors utilized in every aspect of life.

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