Welcome back to Airy Monday, our weekly foray into pop culture as it relates to religion and magic. Join us as we take note of the upcoming Xena: Warrior Princess remake, an adaptation of the Norse apocalyptic myth of Ragnarok, and Marvel's plans for Hercules in their new comic universe. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
When the phrase pop culture magic (or magick) is thrown around, what comes to mind for you? Do you imagine doing a magical working with your favorite pop culture icon or character? Or do you think of developing a magical technique based off a TV show or book? Or do you think of pop culture magic as something else? What I've noticed is that the majority of people who practice pop culture magic tend to approach it in terms of working with pop culture characters and the mythologies around those characters. There's certainly nothing wrong with perceiving pop culture magic in that way, but I think pop culture magic can be much more than just working with your favorite pop culture character (although that can be a lot of fun!)
In Pop Culture Magick, I defined pop culture magic in terms of its resistance to mainstream culture, arguing that the reason to work with pop culture magic was as a means of subversively resisting mainstream culture. I also argued that you needed to work with whatever was popular at the time. In Pop Culture Magic 2.0 (now available for pre-order!) I've revised my definition of pop culture magic substantially, arguing that pop culture is an expression and extension of mainstream culture (as opposed to it) and that a person's pop culture interest doesn't have to be popular in order to be worked with as pop culture magic. However, I don't think pop culture is just about the characters you can work with or the mythologies created around those characters....
Exposing the soil is, in temperate climates, something people do when farming or gardening. Drier lands that do not support many plants can have much barer earth. Mountains and deserts can be something else again. I’ve seen small islands where the winter grazing of birds will take out all vegetation and bare the ground. There are all kinds of possible seasonal variations that might expose the soil. Where and when and why this happens is well worth a thought.
Left to its own devices, England is a green sort of place and manages this most of the year round. We lose the leaves from the trees in the winter, but not the green from the fields. Even in the hottest summers, we stay green rather than fading to the yellows and browns of hotter climates. If we don’t dig the soil, then the soil seldom stays bare for long....
We can be virtually certain that the Hwicce, the Anglo-Saxon tribe said (by some) to have given its name and lore to historic witchcraft, knew and used the runes.
They, of course, would have named them in the Mercian dialect of Old English, the language that they spoke every day. It is worth asking what those names might have become had the runes remained in continuous use into our day.
Certainly they would have modernized along with the rest of the language; many of the Anglo-Saxon rune-names have remained part of the living language and are entirely recognizable today. We would expect the names to have retained a certain amount of archaic vocabulary, and also to reflect a certain degree of semantic and phonetic “drift” as well: i.e. to include words whose meanings have changed over the centuries, and whose pronunciations no longer reflect those of Old English.
Since some of my family come from the old Hwiccan tribal territories, I figure I have as much right to the runes as anybody. My entirely personal decision to base this version on the Elder, rather than the Anglo-Saxon, furthorc may offend some rune purists. Oh, well. In my experience (I wrestle with it myself), purism is usually its own punishment.
“In Latgalia [a region of Latvia] they say, 'Oh, as soon as the missionaries left, we all just jumped in the river and washed it off, anyway.'” (Sean McLaughlin)
It's the first of the traditional Three Questions asked by the Horned at an initiation (and later repeated during the Renewal of Vows):
Do you renounce the waters of baptism?
Old Craft initiations are very different from Wiccan ones. They're not secret at all. Those who wish to take the Oath must first know the Oath. How can you swear to something that you haven't had the chance to think through thoroughly? You need to know what you're letting yourself in for. One cannot join the Tribe of Witches all unwitting.