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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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Now the Green Blade Riseth: Invoking the Lady of Spring at Paganicon 2020

What follows is the Invocation/Bidding Prayer from the Rite of Welcome at this year's upcoming Paganicon. The prayer will be chanted together by the priest (=yours truly) and the people. The people's lines are in italic.

Ushrine is the name of the Baltic (specifically Lithuanian) Goddess of Dawn; Her name is cognate with many of the other Indo-European dawn-goddesses here invoked. Note that the invocation consists of Nine Names, and that these play out, as one might expect, from West to East. A good spell is one in which the words themselves do what they say.

 

Invocation/ Bidding Prayer (sung)

 

Priest (facing people):

Let us lift up our hands.

(Turns, faces altar.)

 

Many-named and many-hued Lady of Spring,

radiant goddess of the Day's Dawn,

radiant goddess of the Year's Dawn also,

we your people call to you:

 

You who are called Eostre,

(Eostre)

you who are called Ostara,

(Ostara)

you who are called Ushrine,

(Ushrine)

you who are called Aurora,

(Aurora)

you who are called Eos,

(Eos)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Tea Magick - Going Within

Tea is as old as plants and water. Humans have known the valuable properties tea can offer; from alleviating symptoms of the common cold to lowering cholesterol, to stimulating the sex drive… and so much more. Tea has been around for centuries and has been used by many cultures in a variety of ways; including Magick!

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Now the Green Blade Riseth: Crafting Rites of Welcome and Farewell for Paganicon 2020

Crafting—I'm tempted to say “wrighting”—Rites of Welcome and Farewell (known to the poetically-challenged as "Opening" and "Closing" Rituals) for this year's Paganicon 2020 has been an interesting and challenging commission.

So let me invite you to put on your ritualist's robes, and come along with me on the journey.

 

OK, ritualists, here are our parameters:

  • The Rites take place in a hotel, an unbeautiful institutional building.
  • We need to engage a large group of people (say 100+) from many different traditions.
  • We need to have special roles for the guests of honor.
  • No permanent installations (e.g. altars) are permitted.
  • No open flames.
  • The theme of this year's Paganicon is Journeys.

To these, I will add my own personal provisos:

  • The rites need to be about doing, not talking. Words need to be kept to a minimum.
  • The rites need to be something that, as a people, we do together.
  • The rites need to offer an encounter with Mystery and an opportunity for collective worship.
  • The structure of the rites needs to be such that one part flows into the next without need for verbal cueing. (“Now we're going to....”)
  • The rites need names. The common but colorless titles “Opening Ritual” and “Closing Ritual” simply will not do.
  • In these rites, as in all good ritual, every action needs to bear meaning.

 

The purpose of the Rite of Welcome is to bring together people who have come from different places, to claim the turf as ours, and to do something sacred that brings us together. Given these specifics, what kind of rite would you craft?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Leandra; I'm taking a big risk here, and (who knows) it could be a disaster. Scaling-up pagan ritual has been a steep learn
  • Leandra Witchwood
    Leandra Witchwood says #
    YES! You have your hands full! I can relate to the stress and issues that come with this kind of planning. Planning rituals is nev
  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak says #
    Very nice. Icon or statue? Or maybe an empty/draped chair? The anointing is en masse, yes? "Sprinkling/asperging the people" vs.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The Goddess will (I trust) be aniconically present in Her attributes: the Fire, the eggs, the catkins, and the ram's-horned stang

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hygge Hedgewitch's Brew

We might call it kitchen witchery and our Scandinavian friends could say it is how we “get hygge,” which means to get as cozy as humanly possible. This newly trendy lifestyle tradition from the frozen north is not just for lazing about, though we greatly appreciate that aspect; it is also a very healthy way of living with sauna sessions, lots of herbal food and drink but also community, which is an immunity booster on its own.  Tea is a mainstay if you want to be healthy and we feel sure wise women and hedge witches in Northern Europe were the first on the hygge bandwagon, So much of our knowledge about herbal teas and tinctures comes from them.  Herbal tea conjures a very powerful alchemy because when you drink it, you take the magic inside. For an ambrosial brew with the power to calm any storm, add a sliver of ginger root and a pinch each of echinacea and mint to a cup of hot black tea. Before you drink, pray:

 

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The Greater Disrepair

In the latter days of the Greenland Norse colony, it so happened that the episcopal seat fell vacant.

It had been 20 years since Bishop Álf died, and in all that time there had been no word from Norway, and no bishop for the Greenlanders. The great cathedral at Garðar had fallen into disrepair: the wall-hangings were threadbare and rotting away, the eucharistic vessels dented and dull.

At the Althing one year there was much discussion of this.

“Maybe we need to start sacrificing to Þórr and Frey again, like we used to in the old days,” said one man.

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Flight to the Sabbat

Full Wolf Moon: coven flying night.

The ointment makes the rounds; those who wish to, partake.

We lay down and Fly.

 

I am at the Sabbat in the firelit woods, kneeling at the altar.

I take His hand and kiss it. I tell Him I love Him. (I won't say there are no tears.) I lay my head in His lap. I speak the secret fears.

After a time, He takes His hand from my head and raises me up. His smile sears my soul.

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Purified By Fire: Incense Inspiration

When we focus on incense sticks during meditation, we move into a mystical space that is both physical and spiritual. Like us, the incense stick is earthbound with an ember that burns for only a finite time, but the diaphanous spirit it releases is unbound by time or space. Rather than shutting down our senses to focus on an inner realm, incense involves our senses as we follow whirling smoke upward and outward while we take its scent into us, filling us as we breathe. 

The journey starts with a flame, and then a glowing ember releases smoke to rise above us in an ethereal dance. Ashes fall below, purified by the fire. We can use this to imagine negative thoughts being changed from darkness into the beauty of warm gray snowflakes and a scented spun-silver plume, lighter than air. We can watch as our atmosphere is altered to become reminiscent of the heavens and lifts our thoughts: Embers become shooting stars, and the silver ribbon of smoke becomes unraveled clouds. Altered senses may guide our inspired thoughts to travel along new, perhaps undiscovered, pathways. 

We can also imagine our physical selves being represented by the incense stick, our inner fire releasing magic into the world. That part of us emanates outward, expanding to mingle with the breath of those around us as we ride the wind to become part of everything. We can also see in the swirling smoke our life's path, not a straight line but a twirling, meandering ballet that moves us ever onward and upward. We may leave a bit of ourselves behind as we bounce off of our surroundings, working through them, but no matter what we do, we cannot avoid our final destination: oneness with all that is. As spiritual beings enjoying the physical experience of life, incense meditations can help us remember the beauty and wonder of our existence, where heaven and earth, body and spirit, are all available to us in every moment

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