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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hearken to the Witch's Reel

 Darksome night and shining steel...

My friend Doc once said to me, somewhat wistfully, “Someday we'll have our sacred dances again.”

Well, here's one we'll be doing at this coming summer's Grand Sabbat, along with (among others) the Mill, the Horned Serpent, and the Back-to-Back. Check it out: Rattlejag Morris' The Witch Reel.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Black_Panther.JPGFor each of the Vanic virtues, I plan on writing something on how Vanic pagans can better incorporate these virtues into their daily lives, living Vanatru.  So with the sixth virtue, Wildness, here is a list of suggestions (not demands, I am not interested in telling people what to do) of activities to better express this virtue:

-If you do not have mobility challenges that would contraindicate this, go barefoot once in awhile.  Go outside barefoot.  Go barefoot in mud, go barefoot in the rain.  Doesn't have to be for long distances, can just be outside around where you live.  However, the more frequently you can go barefoot outside, the better it will connect you to the land, and the more primal parts of one's psyche.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    I recommend dancing naked in the woods. Or making love naked in the woods. (Or the desert, or the top of a mountain, or a tree,
  • Nornoriel Lokason
    Nornoriel Lokason says #
    Dancing naked in the woods is fun.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Commitment to Diversity

Howard Thurman wrote, "Community cannot feed for long on itself; it can only flourish where always the boundaries are giving way to the coming of others from beyond them — unknown and undiscovered brothers."

This quote by Thurman is helpful in my own reflection of the work I do as a chaplain.  In the two years that I have worked as a chaplain I have provided care to a diverse group of people.  First as a hospital chaplain in West Virginia and then as a hospice chaplain in Ohio.  In these two years I have had the opportunity to provide care to two people who identity as Pagan.  In both cases it was family of the patient; although in one case the patient was Pagan but unresponsive.  

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We take Samhaintide seriously here in the southern highlands of Appalachia.  There are rituals and ceremonies, discussions and interviews.  I am blessed to live in the land where my Ancestors lie buried and so I also have the sacred duty of tending their graves in the Darkening of the year.

Then there is the garden to put to bed and there were festivals and cons to attend and so I have been called away from here for some time. I will try to be more faithful to this writing as the Solstice vigil fires are set and fed, and as the winter lingers in the land.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Detail_of_antlered_figure_on_the_Gundestrup_Cauldron.jpgWe are animals, just as the other creatures of the world, but we are the only animals that have the ability to consciously and willfully deny our positions in the pattern, the only ones (as far as we know!) who consider themselves above “all that”. We train our children, those most connected to the truth, to deny their animal selves, to be “proper” and “civilized”, when all the world is calling us, begging us, to remember that we too used to dance in the mud, call out in the night, swing through the trees singing the songs of the birds, that we knew for a certainty that elves and dragons and unicorns lived in the forests and mountains (they still do, you just need eyes to see them!). Shake off the shackles of civilization and dance wild like a maenad or a troop of baboons. Sing to the moon and the sun without care for who is listening.

(Nicanthiel Hrafnhild in my book Visions of Vanaheim)

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The elaborately carved entrance stone and roof lintel at Newgrange are powerful symbols of humankind's ability to mark, measure and sanctify time - such as the upcoming Winter Solstice. These evocative images, however, pre-date the Celts by thousands of years, and like the dolmens and stone circles which many associate with 'Celts' or 'druids,' these do not form part of Celtic native culture. There are some Celtic legends which have become attached to some of these sites, which were built by people many centuries before, with undoubtedly different intentions in mind!

However, there are some ancient stones which can 'speak' to us in this day and age about the beliefs and practices of the early Celtic peoples. These are not 'native' stones either in a sense, but they do contain interesting and somewhat 'coded' information about the ancient Celts. I'm referring to stone inscriptions created during the Romano-Celtic period in many parts of Europe, including the Continent and Britain.

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Winter Solstice - A ritual invocation or the coolest band name ever!

A long, long, long time before the word "Solstice" was ever uttered, eons before the ancients looked upward at that shining orb in the sky and said "goddess" or "god", billions of years before humankind realized that some times were warmer and lighter and other times were colder and darker, this planet danced.

For roughly four and a half billion years, give or take a million, the earth has rocked forward and backward. Axial Tilt is the official term for it. Axial Tilt would also make a great name for a band and should I ever decide to get the band back together again, I think Axial Tilt will be the front-runner for the name.

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