Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bavarian Beltane

The two tallest points in pretty much every Bavarian town are the steeple and the Maypole.

I suppose that tells you a lot about Bavaria.

Say what you will about phallic symbols (“Really, Daisy! We've been over this a hundred times!”), the Maypole is a tree. In the old days, the young folks would go off to the woods early on May morning to find the tallest, straightest-trunked fir that they could. They'd lop off all the branches except for the top ones, and ceremoniously bring it back to town.

There they'd deck the May Tree with flowers and greens, and raise it on the town commons, where it would become the focus for the day's activities. (The night's activities, of course, would have taken place around the the bonfire. Beltane is bipolar: the Fire and the Tree.)

These days, there probably isn't a single wooden May Tree to be found in all of Bavaria. Now Maypoles are permanent installations: tall metal poles, like flag-poles. Where my cousin lives, the Maypole stands year-round in front of the fire station.

Most of the Bavarian Maypoles that I saw were painted blue and white, in spiraling stripes like a barber's pole. (Blue and white are the “national” colors of Bavaria.) Instead of greens and flowers, the trunk is crossed with metal arms, from which hang the emblems of the various local guilds. (The emblem of the Baker's guild, for instance, is a pretzel. A hundred years ago, my emigre Bavarian great-grandfather was known in Pittsburgh as the Pretzel Man.)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bringing Home the May

So, here's irreducible Beltane.

First, wear green.

Early, early, early on May morning, go out to the woods.

There collect what's wild and green and growing. That's called gathering May. If, in the process, you happen to make a little surreptitious love, so much the better. That's gathering May, too.

Bring home the May (and you really do have to sing as you do this).

Deck yourself, the door, the table, with the magical greenery that you've gathered.

Then to the feast, and all the joys of the Day.

The magic here is self-evident.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'd never really thought about Berhta as the Anti-Santa before. Thanks Forest!
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Ivy, you've brought a smile to my face. My very best to you and Forest both, now that Berhta has finally beat a retreat and Beltan
  • Michele Brazelton
    Michele Brazelton says #
    I have no reason to think you will remember me but just today my son (who is 19 now!) Forest said "do you remember that guy who wa
  • Kimberley
    Kimberley says #
    I am new to this blogging thing. I have been studying Paganism for a long time but have to do it in silence as do many. I would
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Check out the May chapter in Ron Hutton's Stations of the Sun, Kimberley. Then, if anything catches your eye, follow up the footno

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Question Any Witch Can Answer

Going to sabbat, expect the tylers.

They'll stop you on your way through the woods. You'll know them by the leaves in their hats, and the gleam of their blades.

They'll ask you the question that any witch can answer.

Then, when you've answered rightly, they'll give you your token, and send you on.

Fear not, you'll know the answer. If you're of Ours, you'll know.

And if you're not of Ours, then?

Well, now.

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  • Kimberley
    Kimberley says #
    I have never heard of these, I must say. But learn of them and become one of you, I will one day. For I have a high thought to
Everything I Know About Paganism, I Learned from Lake Erie

In those days, I didn't know how to be pagan.

Lake Erie taught me how.

When you live near a large body of water (“large” meaning you can't see to the other side), life is relationship. You come to know the Lake as individual. You come to understand that it's not just a thing: it's a Being.

This Being, vast, becomes intrinsic to your thought-world. Consciously or not, on some level it becomes a constant Presence.

Even cowans feel it.

But for pagans, this is religion. Relation is its essence.

Earth, Sun, Thunder, Fire, Wind, River, Lake: to These Mighty Beings, we say You.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Horned Shepherd

The Moon draws to the full,

and the milk is dried up in the breast of the wheat.

And so it came to pass that the Horned Shepherd himself, the living likeness of the white image in the forest, is seen in the marketplace.

And Big Anna gives the old sign, the secret sign, for those who have eyes to see.

That night, the wise ones of the village come to Big Anna, speaking the secret words, to know the When and Where. The chief of the wandering Egyptians comes. Olaf of the Northern Land, Captain of the Princess' Guard, comes. The Ethiopian, of the retinue of the knight from over the sea, comes. Even old Mispereth the Jew comes. (Says the Egyptian: “All the world is the country of the wise. There are many wise ones among the Jews.”)

Egyptian: I never looked to see the Horned One.

Big Anna: Nor I.

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The Scary Tarot Swords Suit - What Are They Afraid Of?

In the Tarot, the Swords suit is associated with the intellectual realm--thoughts, communication, bias, opinions, analysis, logic and so on. The sword, itself, is a symbol of power and cutting, engendering dread in many a foe.

And so it is with the Tarot Swords suit, which not only causes fear in many querents and readers--but also reflects the same relating to an issue at hand.

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  • Marlin Wright
    Marlin Wright says #
    nice Blog

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Woodland Magic You Can Eat

Early spring is a special time for many reasons and one of them is the fiddlehead fern. Although ferns are common houseplants that have graced parlors and porches since Victorian times, there’s a magical aura about them when encountered in the woods. At this time of year, young ferns rise like wispy, spirited musicians presenting tightly scrolled stem tops that resemble the heads of fiddles.

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