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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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Much Is Good Ritual Worth?

How much is good ritual worth?

I have a friend who's a shaman. (That's not the term that she would use, but it will suffice for our purposes here.) She's the real thing. Anyone that knows her knows that she's the real thing.

She charges $400 an hour.

When people come to her for ritual or for teaching, she tells them: My fee is $400 an hour. How many hours do you think you'll need?

 

Unlike the ancestors, a lot of modern pagans are squiffy about paying for ritual. In a situation in which few traditions have much time-depth, and anyone who declares herself an expert can pass as such—at least for a time—that's perhaps understandable, but it also explains the currently low standard of so much contemporary pagan ritual.

What it doesn't explain is why so many people who are willing to pay a trained expert to fix their cars, their plumbing, or their wiring, expect ritualists to work for free.

Few pagan ritual experts receive a salary from a congregation. Like everyone else, ritualists have families to raise and bills to pay.

With ritual—as with most other things—you get what you pay for.

 

My shaman friend was invited to be a guest at a local festival. When she arrived, she introduced herself to one of the festival's organizers, a woman widely known in the local community as a notoriously incompetent ritualist.

“Oh, I know who you are,” the woman told my friend. “You're the one who charges for ritual.”

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Can modern fiction be sacred literature?

I've spent a large part of the past two years writing a novel. It's not my first one, and it won't be my last one. But it's the first one that has brought up an interesting question: can modern fiction also be sacred literature?

The novel, titled The Last Priestess of Malia, is set in ancient Crete - so it's historical fiction. Here's the summary of the story:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    I look forward to reading it! I love well-done world-building & description- Ursula K. Le Guin & Marion Zimmer Bradley come to min
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Did you find yourself gaining new religious insights from writing this novel? (That's a phenomenon I'm familiar with.)
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    I did, and in ways that I didn't expect. Writing it was definitely a transformative experience.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember reading a magazine; Green Egg I think, in which an author wrote about how meaningful the Lord of the Rings was to her a
  • Laura Perry
    Laura Perry says #
    I always listen to what my beta readers say about typos and continuity errors; I'm a professional copyeditor but even I can't alwa
The Graces - 10 Ways to Understanding and Cultivating Grace

By Belladonna LaVeau (2019), Painting by Edouard Bisson (1899)

Grace is one of those elusive things that must be cultivated. It is a true factor of Beauty, and where the concept of ‘Beauty starts from within’ originates. Some of us developed Grace from watching our elders, but most of us must work to develop our Grace. As Grace applies to beauty, it is defined in the dictionary as a noun, 1. simple elegance or refinement of movement "she danced with effortless grace",  synonymselegance, stylishness, poise, finesse, charm 2. courteous good will "at least she has the grace to admit her mistake" synonyms: courtesy, courteousness, politeness, manners, good manners, mannerliness, civility, decorum, decency, propriety, breeding, respect, respectfulness.  

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AstroGemology: Cancerian Soul Stones and Power Crystals

Opal is the soul stone for later-born Cancers. Opals can’t be duplicated artificially due to the complicated nature of their patterning, varying hues, and play of color. The most precious of all opals feature a star, called an asterism. Opals are mysterious, just like Cancers, having much depth beneath their protective shells. The ancients exulted about opals; Pliny the Elder wrote, “For in them you shall see the living fire of ruby, the glorious purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald, all glittering together in an incredible mixture of light.” Cancer, you will come into your soul’s true purpose by wearing opal jewelry.

 

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Title: Of Kindred and Stardust

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Deck Review: The Herbcrafter's Tarot

As a long-term fan of The Gaian Tarot, I eagerly awaited receipt of the new Herbcrafter’s Tarot deck illustrated by Joanna Powell Colbert and written by Latisha Guthrie. I knew from the first card that I was in b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_8376.jpglove. The illustrations for the Herbcrafter’s Tarot are exquisite and breathtaking. Even the precise detail of the illustration on the back of the deck as a whole is enchanting. It has become my favorite card-back illustration of all time, the little tincture bottles, butterflies, and sprigs of herbs prompting a sense of discovery and joy every time I touch one. Instead of immediately shuffling the deck and drawing a card, which is how I usually approach a new deck, I made the decision to approach The Herbcrafter’s Tarot card by card, day by day, even (mostly) resisting the urge to peek ahead at the cards to come. It is truly a deck to be savored and I knew from the third card that I could recommend it wholeheartedly to others.

Drawing inspiration from the shared Celtic heritage of the authors as well as from Latisha’s Mexican-American heritage, The Herbcrafter’s Tarot is a sister deck in many ways to The Gaian Tarot. Like a traditional tarot deck, it includes 78 cards. The 22 cards of the Major Arcana follow an herbcrafter’s journey. The Minor Arcana cards are divided in four suits, aligned with the four elements: Air (Swords), Fire b2ap3_thumbnail_66007504_2368806219998253_6388625486133592064_n.jpg(Wands), Water (Cups), and Earth (Pentacles).  Each card contains a detailed colored pencil drawing in photorealistic style. Each card is alive with vibrant detail and thoughtful connection, most of the illustrations containing very subtle nods to the original major and minor arcana cards of traditional tarot decks. Depending on the suit and type of plant, some of the herbs are shown in the act of being prepared or harvested, in use in baths or teas, or in their native environment. The People cards for each suit, depicting the hands of women healers at work, have been titled according to the archetypes each woman embodies as she “matures into her craft from wonderer to warrior to midwife to teacher.” The skilled, creative, intuitive hands of Hijas (daughters), Adelitas (warriors), Madres (mothers), and Curanderas (healers) are represented in the People cards. Accustomed as I am to the faces and personalities of the people depicted in full in The Gaian Tarot, I did find myself sometimes missing that human component and wanting to see who is “behind the scenes” of the beautiful herbal layouts, nature mandalas, works in progress, and the gnarled hands at work in The Herbcrafter’s Tarot. The inclusion of scenes, plants, and hands rather than faces is intentional, however, because the primary perspective of the deck is from that of the plants.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    What a wonderful review, I love this deck, too!
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    I'm really in love with it! I keep thinking of more things I should have added to the review--it is visually "nourishing," I find.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Incense Heresy

Have you ever had 2 different types of incense that you think would be great together?  Me too.  That’s what has led to my “incense sin”.

This is my confession.  I have done something that might be interpreted in the incense world as genuine heresy.  If you aren’t an incense person, this might not seem significant, but if you are an incense person I hope you won’t hate me for what I have done.  I especially hope so since I’m very pleased with the result.

I feel like the incense version of Dr. Frankenstein.

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