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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Magical Celtic Month of Willow

Following the wheel of the year through the Celtic tree calendar, April 15th begins the time of the willow tree and its ogham character Saille. While the tree calendar is a modern construct, it holds meaning because of the concepts it has come to symbolize and the significance it has for twenty-first century magic, ritual, and everyday life. 

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A Night in the Life of an Urban Coven

Ah, summer in Lake Country. There's no humidity like Midwestern humidity.

One steamy New Moon night in July 1984, we gather in Loring Park to greet the First Crescent, hoping for even a breath of air movement.

Alas, there is none.

We retire to my nearby deficiency compartment to continue. In the thick, airless humidity, we strip off and sit on the bare floorboards.

In the center of our circle stands the coven goddess: earthen, tall as a child of two years. There she rises: dancing, naked, smiling her mysterious smile. Of us all, only she looks cool.

We chant, savoring.

new is moon

moon are we

we are new

blessed be

The sweating jar passes from lap to lap, a lunar coolness. With sea-sponges, we wipe each other down with the cold water.

As the jar circles, we begin riffing off of our chant.

We are nude, I deadpan. There is no witchcraft without self-satire.

Laughing, Magenta points to the Goddess.

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Let Us Proclaim the God Who Bleeds Now by Carol P. Christ

we need a god who bleeds now

we need a god who bleeds now
a god whose wounds are not
some small male vengeance
some pitiful concession to humility
a desert swept with dryin marrow in honor of the lord

we need a god who bleeds
spreads her lunar vulva & showers us in shades of scarlet
thick & warm like the breath of her
our mothers tearing to let us in

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Intimations of a Horned God: A Bronze la Tène Lamp, Circa 100 BCE

Open-form lamp with twisted handle and bull's head finial (bronze)

La Tène culture (3-1st c. BCE)

Switzerland

(Private collection)

 

By the light of this ancient Keltic lamp, the modern witch sees the shadow of the Horned God.

Look closely. What do you see?

With a little imagination, one may read this small (length: 9½") bronze lamp as a bull lying on his back: the lamp's bowl is the bull's body, its twisted handle and decorative finial the bull's neck and head.

Ex tauro, lux: from the bull, light.

Known as Lighber, the light-bearer, the god of the witches is understood by his votaries as the Enlightener, He Who Gives Understanding to his people, Wisdom to the Wise. Between His Horns burns the flame of illumination. If we read this god, Lord of the Beasts, as the collective body of all animal life on planet Earth, this understanding articulates the rise of consciousness, in which material existence gains self-awareness.

To the witch's eye, this ancient artifact embodies this understanding.

Although described in a recent auctioneer's catalog as an oil lamp, in all likelihood this lamp (given its Alpine origin) was fueled by animal fat instead, even—rather poignantly, one thinks—by tallow (beef fat).

From the bull, light.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Alas, Ill News in Pagandom

Alas, ill news in Pagandom.

To judge from his social media presence, it would seem that Holden Matthews—the domestic terrorist who recently torched three predominantly-black churches in Louisiana—is pagan, apparently of some folkish heathen variety.

If that doesn't make you angry, it should.

If that doesn't make you feel ashamed, it should.

Here are some entirely inadequate responses:

He's not a pagan/heathen.

That's not real paganism/heathenism.

[It doesn't involve me because] I'm pagan, not heathen.

[It doesn't involve me because] I'm heathen, but not folkish.

[It doesn't involve me because] I'm folkish, but not racist.

Who Matthews is in his own heart, we do not know. But we can be certain that refusal to take ownership of problems in our own community achieves nothing.

Some better responses:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Carol. I've updated.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    link no longer working
Local Gods, or: When at Home, Do As the Homos Do

The youngest warlock went to the eldest with a question.

When we go to another place, he said, It is upon us to honor the gods of that place, whether they be our gods or no.

Even so, said the eldest warlock.

And this is from the laws of hospitality, as guest-duty? asked the youngest.

They are the oldest laws of all, said the eldest.

If, then, one should go to the land of the Christians, is it upon us to honor even the god of the Christians? asked the youngest.

It is not, said the eldest.

How then is this not a breach of hospitality? asked the youngest.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

For the past three weeks, we've been involved in a lovely and intriguing process here on the farm.  This particular season of the year brings a short period of weather where the nights fall below freezing and the days warm up in the spring thaw.  This oscillation of temperature, combined with the changing patterns of sunlight, creates  the conditions for sugar-laden sap to flow quickly in the trees. By tapping the trees and collecting this sap, we are able to enjoy the alchemy of maple syrup making.  Here on the prairies we don't have many of the big sugar maples of the eastern woodlands, but we do have Manitoba maples (sometimes called box elder, or even elf maple (!))  These maples are a little less prolific and less sweet in their sap production, but its still worthwhile to make the syrup.  

Visiting the trees every day to gather the sap is a delight in and of itself.  They are offering their lifeblood, not in dangerous quantities, but it still is a good reminder for me to thank them, and ask the Creator to bless them.  Like so many things on the farm, syrup production is derived directly from the life of other persons ... in this case, tree persons.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    One of my childhood memories is visiting a farm in Vermont when they were mapleing off. I remember the smell of wood smoke and ma

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