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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How Stories Can Change the World and Ourselves

Stories matter. In fact, human beings have been called “story-telling animals.” Every day we consume stories on the media and in books, films and TV shows. We can spend hours on Facebook reading the posts of friends, relatives, and even total strangers. We hunger for narratives that give us hope but all too often run into descriptions filled with horror, abuse and despair.
 
The narratives we’re told and the ones we tell ourselves interact to shape our way of thinking. They provide the context in which we place our experiences and the lens through which we interpret what happens to us. Stories affect our self-esteem, our emotions, and our mental health. They can be empowering or debilitating, life-enhancing or toxic. Though we seldom realize it, our relationship with ourselves and the world depends on stories, especially on the ones we’ve come to accept as “objective truth.” If these tales happen to be destructive, they can wreak havoc on our inner world.

Stories have a powerful grip on the human mind. Research shows that most people are unwilling to change their beliefs even when confronted with facts that contradict them. Facts appeal to the rational mind; hence their power is limited. Beliefs, on the other hand, are often rooted in narratives that we’ve been told from a young age or myths that are constantly cultivated by the media and which we’ve come to accept as facts.

We live in a society that relies on oppression and exploitation, hence the narratives we’re told are meant to maintain the status quo. For example, even though the story of Adam and Eve is an obvious myth, it's still used to stigmatize women, sexuality, and everyone who doesn't conform to gender norms. Furthermore, those who are at the top of the social hierarchy maintain power by portraying human beings as inherently greedy and aggressive, blaming on individuals all the evils created by the system itself. We learn that injustice, violence and war are inevitable because well, that's human nature, so what do you expect?

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Lying Icons

Hey Pagan Artists (You Know Who You Are),

WTF?!?

What's with the circumcised dicks on those Horned Gods?

What could you possibly be thinking, to portray the god of Wild Nature in a state so profoundly unnatural as circumcision?

I realize that—in this land of routine MGM (male genital mutilation)—many Americans have never actually seen a human penis in its intact, natural state.

Ye gods, folks, what do you think (inter alia) internet gay porn is for?

I realize (difficult as it may be to believe) that, aesthetically speaking, some actually do find circumcised dicks more beautiful.

But that's no excuse. A Horned God with a circumcised dick is a contradiction in terms, a lying icon, self-falsifying.

Infant circumcision = violence against boys. Portraying our gods as circumcised sanctifies this violence.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We tend to think of Him as the Two-Horned, but, of course, He's actually the Three-Horned; the Phallos is Him-in-small.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    So mote it be!
Modern Minoan Paganism: Reconstruction vs. revival

I spend a lot of time telling people that Modern Minoan Paganism is not a reconstructionist tradition. But the issue is actually a little more complicated than that.

When I was at Mystic South this past summer, one of the other presenters, Joseph Beofeld, attended my workshop about Modern Minoan Paganism. What was his presenation about? Reconstructionism! He came up to me afterward and pointed out that even though I had said we aren't a reconstructionist tradition, we use reconstructionist methods extensively. And that's quite true.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    You have a group of fellow travelers to work with and support each other on your journey. I think that is wonderful. I've recent

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Stress Less Spell

We live in the age of anxiety. There is so much stress, bad news and soul-crushing chaos; it is hard to know how to get through each day. But here’s the thing; ancient wisdom is the best way to approach to deal with modern troubles. Try the following tried and true rite.

 

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The Social Imperative of the Sabbat

In the topsy-turvy world of the Sabbat, the witch returns to the Dreamtime, in which all social norms are overturned.

At the Sabbat, there are no distinctions of “race,” of sex, of class, of gender.

At the Sabbat, all are equal.

At the Sabbat, if nowhere else, we encounter full social equality.

The stories of those early American Sabbats tell of indigenous, colonial, and enslaved all coming together to dance as one: red, white, black, all equal.

The Sabbat dreams of a new world, a world (as in the beginning) of radical equality.

The Sabbat embodies this dream.

In fact, the Sabbat predicts it.

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Yours, Mine, and Ours

“Oh, well, that's your opinion.”

How many times, in the anti-authoritarian—sometimes verging on antinomian—ethos of so much of what passes for modern paganism, have you heard a position dismissed with these words?

Implication: All opinions are equal.

But are they?

You're having terrible headaches.

You go to Posch. Posch says: You're stressed out. Here, eat more vegetables, learn these relaxation techniques, and spend 15 minutes meditating every day.

Then you go to the doctor. The doctor says: You have a brain tumor. We need to operate as soon as possible.

Well, Posch has an opinion, and the doctor has an opinion.

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Enough, or Wouldst Thou Know More?

Why are there so many witches in the Driftless?

Not hard.

Here, long ago, in ages of ages, and yesterday, the Horned, god of witches, fell like a star from Heaven.

Here he fell to Earth.

Bearing the Fire of the Gods, he landed here on the Mountain that stands in the River Mississippi: one of the Nine Sacred Mountains of the Driftless, the mountain-island known as Black Mountain, Rattlesnake Island, and Trempealeau; called by the Dakota, First People, Bluff-in-the-Water.

There, on top, you may see the imprint of his Hoof to this day, deep-scored in the rock.

There we still gather in immemorial sabbat. Here, in our day, was reborn the legendary witches' sabbat, in all its old terror and weird beauty.

Since when is this Inland Island, the Driftless Land, Witch Country forever.

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