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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My Favorite Incense Books: The Complete Incense Book by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi

There are a lot of useful, and entertaining, books about incense.  One of my favorites is The Complete Incense Book.  Published in 1998, this was one of the first additions to my personal incense library.  It is organized geographically and takes the reader on a tour of incense from around the world.  As the author moves through each region, she discusses the history of incense, as well as the ingredients that originate from that area.  She offers an assortment of incense recipes for each region as well.  While the recipes are all for “loose” incense, they are varied and quite interesting.

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In the Celtic Tree Calendar, it’s the Month of Reed

Following the wheel of the year through the Celtic tree calendar, October 28th begins the time of reed and its ogham character Ngetal. This period (until November 24) can be a time of unexpected changes and challenges that require adaptability. It a time for grabbing the bull by the horns and taking control. Through focus and determination, we can restore our worlds to harmony.

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A Samhain Tale: Hecate and the Crossroads of Choice

At Samhain, when the veil between the worlds is thin and the mysteries of the sacred dark permeate the mundane world, Hecate calls to us. Never before has Her voice been so loud, so urgent. She speaks to us not only in our dreams and ritual magic, but also in the stark language of wildly erratic weather patterns, dying oceans and barren lands, and in the cold despair and hungry hopes of our own warm, beating heart.

It`s not easy to heed Her call. She raises our own spectral fears about the fate of our human society and planet home. Environmentally, socially, politically and spiritually, we are destroying the fabric of our physical and social world. We have reached a critical tipping point, and if we continue on this trajectory, things are not going to end well.

But how do we change? How do we shift from denial, apathy and despair into a place of hope and inspiration? How do we turn this destructive momentum into an evolutionary, birthing moment? And what is our personal part in weaving a better world into being?

“Come to my crossroads,” Hecate whispers on the wind, “Come and you will find the answers you seek.”

Take a deep breath, summon up your courage and say, “Yes, Hecate, I am coming. Guide me to your crossroads.”

In the world between the worlds, where the mysteries lie in wait, you will find Hecate. She appears before you in Her Crone form, with a thick mane of moonlight silver hair and intense, amethyst eyes that shine bright with Her ageless presence. She wears a cloak of midnight black that shimmers as She moves, as if brushed with starlight. An aura of light surrounds Her, a way-showing beacon in the enveloping darkness to guide travelers to Her crossroads. Her arms open wide to welcome you, casting a circle of illumination that draws you into its center. 

With a sweep of Her hands, two roads appear before you.

To the left is a neglected path, overgrown with the luscious fecundity of the wild realm.  Memories arise within you of the feral innocence of childhood with its simple pleasures of play and wonder in your dance with the outer world. And beneath this, older, ancestral memories percolate, of a time when humanity lived in loving, sensual communion with the powers and mysteries of the Mother Earth.  

To the right is a paved-over surface that obscures any trace of the living land under an unforgiving, tar black sheen. This path exudes a deadness that lays bare the tear in our human psyche from the natural world and our true, beautiful essence, and echoes with the keening pain of our battered souls and broken hearts.

“Behold the crossroads of these Great Turning times, where humanity faces a critical, precarious juncture in its spiritual evolution,” Hecate says, “Before you are two ways of living and dreaming.”

“One path holds the good dream of humanity where you walk the Earth in accordance with my life-centered ways and your best nature of love, generosity and communion with others. The second path holds the bad dream where your worst instincts of dominion, fear and greed lay barren the wild realm and the heart of your human society. It is this second path, reeking devastation on the living world, that rules humankind.

“Both of these paths exist inside of you and in your greater society. Humanity is neither good nor bad, but some complex weaving that includes the best and worst of your nature.”

With another sweep of Her hands, the two paths merge into one.

“This is my middle path,” Hecate says,” it holds the opposing paths of the good and bad dream of humanity. A mirror path exists inside of you that contains the joy and sorrow, and beauty and wounding of your life story.

“To transform yourself and your world, you must walk this middle path. To travel its ways is to accept and take responsibility for all that you are and all that you have experienced, and from this greater awareness choose whether the good or bad dream of humanity will hold sway in the core of your being. You must choose whether love or fear will rule you.

“Love is the way forward for you and your human kin — love that can hold and heal the sorrow and wounding that burden your soul and the world soul — love that chooses generosity over greed, and communion over dominion  — love that can turn the destructive momentum that threatens this world into a positive new beginning.

“This love is my way, the way of the sacred feminine, that is awakening within you and leading you home to your Deep Self and a better world.”

As Hecate speaks, the light that emanates from Her being shines brighter and brighter. This wondrous luminosity is the very love that She speaks of, offering a beacon of guidance and hope in these turbulent, Great Turning times. Hecate, the sacred feminine, all life on this stunning Earth, your life, are woven of this love. 

Hecate turns to you, taking your hands and squeezing them tight.

“Time is running out. Do not turn away,” She says, “By your choices, and those of your human kin, will your destiny and that of your Earth home be decided.”

She folds Her arms inward, drawing Her brilliant light back into Her body until She is gone, and you find yourself alone under a star-studded sky. Your hands still tingle from Her touch and the responsibility She has bequeathed to you shines strong and bright within you.

After the crossroads vision is done, the real magic begins. With your every thought, every word, every action, you choose which path your lives serves, and the kind of a world you want to create. Never have the stakes been higher; life as we know it hangs in the balance. To change this world, you must start with yourself.

Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

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CCMBA- Complete Conscious Mind Body Alignment

CCMBA- Complete Conscious Mind Body Alignment

(the original cranial sacral work)

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CCMBA- Complete Conscious Mind Body Alignment

CCMBA- Complete Conscious Mind Body Alignment

(the original cranial sacral work)

...
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CCMBA- Complete Conscious Mind Body Alignment

(the original cranial sacral work)

...
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Prince William and Kate Middleton Visit Pakistani Pagans

During their recent trip to Pakistan, eventual heir to the British throne prince William and his wife Kate Middleton paid a special visit to Bumboret Valley, home to Pakistan's famed pagan tribe, the Kalasha.

Sometimes called the “last pagans of the Hindu Kush,” the Kalasha, numbering some 4000, live in three remote valleys in what is now NW Pakistan. They are widely known for the freedom (and beauty) of their women, their wine-drinking, and their polytheistic religion.

Of all the Indo-European-speaking peoples, only the Kalasha have practiced their ancient and traditional religion continuously since antiquity. Characterized by sacred dances, outdoor sanctuaries, and animal sacrifice, the religion of the Kalasha offers an unparalleled window of insight into the practices and thought-ways of the pagan ancestors. More than anything else, it resembles an archaic form of pre-Hindu Vedic religion.

You can see unedited footage from the October 16th royal visit to Kalashastan here, courtesy of Ishpata News, the local Kalasha news outlet. (Ishpáta is the most common greeting in the Kalasha language: "Hello!".) You will recognize the Kalasha women by their distinctive and colorful clothing and headgear, and the men by the feathers in their Chitrali caps. During the long centuries of Muslim oppression, Kalasha were forced to identify themselves in public by wearing feathers in their headgear. Pagans being pagans, they took it up as a distinctive sign of pride, and unapologetically sport feathers to this very day.

The coverage of the royal visit is well worth watching (and doesn't Bonny Prince Billy look fetching in his feathered Kalasha cap?). After centuries of being despised as ignorant unbelievers, the Kalasha are currently undergoing something of a cultural renaissance. (Part of this new confidence in Kalasha identity derives from the knowledge that people of the West [i.e. us] are embracing, by choice, what the Kalasha already have by inheritance.) As several of the spokespersons interviewed toward the end of the clip discuss, the highest levels of Pakistani government, including Prime Minister Imrat Khan, have recently awoken to the knowledge of the living cultural treasure that the Kalasha represent, and moved to enshrine their rights by protective legislation. In a culturally homogenized world increasingly flattened by unthinking monotheization, pagans are the guarantors of freedom and eco-cultural health.

Don't be put off by the lack of subtitles, or the 26 minutes of narration in Kalashagrom, a profoundly archaic language closely related to Sanskrit. Here is your opportunity to hear the voices of the pagan ancestors, vibrantly alive in our hour and day.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The headgear being such a prime marker of Kalasha identity, I found the Presentation a graceful and moving gesture: conferring, in
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    I just watched up through the Presentation of the Hats, but that was fun.

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