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
Ancient Incense: Pellets (making them!)

Last time I talked about the likely origins and historic use of incense pellets, but the real joy in discussing incense making is to actually make incense!  Making incense pellets is easy and fun, but it can be messy so plan for that.  I recommend that you make incense in an area with a floor you can mop.  If you make incense pellets in a carpeted area, it’s a good idea to put down some cardboard or a drop cloth to ensure no honey causes damage.  Unlike recipes for self-combusting incense (like sticks and cones) incense pellet recipes can be freely modified to fit your needs and the materials you have on hand. 

I strongly suggest that you wear gloves while making incense.  This is especially true with incense pellets.  Pellets are most often made with honey as a binder, but natural jams are also used (avoid any that contain corn syrup or artificial flavors).  Let’s start with a recipe (all ingredients should be finely powdered).

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Call to Pagan Artists

 If you build the candy cottage, the children will come.

 

So: the well-heeled patron (or matron) of the pagan arts comes to you and says: “I want a temple, expense no object.”

What would you design?

What will the pagan temples of the future look like?

The New Paganisms are, for the most part, young religions, virtually all under 100 years old. For various reasons that I won't go into here, temple-building hasn't so far been a priority for us.

But that won't always be the case.

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  • Sarah Avery
    Sarah Avery says #
    The complex needs an outdoor amphitheater, so we can reboot the Dionysia and any other performance-related sacred activities. It w
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Goddess bless 'em. And of course there's the new Asatruarfelgid hoff-in-building in Reyjavik: I've seen sketches but no blueprints
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Not sure about "large scale" but may I be so bold as to point out the Cascadia druids blog about building their shrines, right on
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    May we both live to see it, Michelle, even so.
  • Michelle Gruben
    Michelle Gruben says #
    Interesting! I believe there is some Pagan temple planning astir, albeit in the realm of fantasy film/fiction. I'll bet you anythi
The Occult, Science, and NeoPaganism

 

As NeoPaganism has grown and flourished, the paths taken to get here have multiplied from those taken by a relatively few serious spiritual explorers initially engaged in occult studies to include people attracted by dissatisfaction with monotheism, a feeling of finally finding a spiritual home, our music and culture, curiosity about the off-beat or forbidden, and increasingly, their family’s beliefs.   This is not a bad thing.  It is in fact a good thing. But it is a complex good thing.

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I have just learned many W&P readers read from mobile devices where longer articles might be a problem. A question to those who ha
  • Karena
    Karena says #
    That was very thought-provoking- thank you!
MY CRYSTAL MURAL WALLPAPER from MuralsWallpaper.com (Part 1)

Well, guys, the next two posts will be a departure from the norm for me. I was approached by Anna Fell of Murals Wallpaper, well, because I love crystals and she has crystal wallpaper. I took a look at all the different styles she had to offer and I fell in love with the one they call "Rose Crystal Wallpaper".

Anna sent me the wallpaper to try out and here I am letting you know what I think! This isn't a technical "how-to" blog post but more like a "hey check this out" update. There is plenty of the technical "how to" on Anna's website, USA, website here and UK, website here. After reading this, you may find you would like a crystal mural of your very own!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ancient Incense: Pellets (history)

As Pagans, most of us are very familiar with using “loose” incense on charcoal or an incense heater.  Most of us are also very familiar with incense sticks, cones, coils and other shapes of “self-combusting” incense.  You might be familiar with the best known ancient incense from Egypt called kyphi, but kyphi was developed long after incense had become widely used in many cultures.  You might not be familiar, however, with what is very likely the first form of manufactured incense; the pellet.  Although there is no definitive historic proof, it seems logical that this would be the first form of manufactured incense since it is seemingly an outgrowth of herbal medication.

As knowledge of herbal medicine grew, and practitioners grew more skilled, the first “pills” began to appear.  These were remedies blended from a variety of herbal medicines and bound together into pellet form, often by the addition of honey as a binder and a sweetener.  At some point someone (whether by design or by accident) placed one of the herbal pills near a heat source and discovered that certain blends give off wonderful aromas.  Incense making was born!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Day in the Life

Most Pagan clergy do all of their work for free.

Too bold?  I take it back.  Let me try again:  “Probably all Pagan clergy do all of their work for free.”

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  • Tara Waddle
    Tara Waddle says #
    I 100% agree with what you are saying. Pagan Clergy work is more than a full-time job and not only do we not get paid for it but

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Are Easter and Ishtar Related?

Contrary to what you may read in the local papers a few weeks from now, there's no historical connection between Easter and Ishtar.

Easter is the modern English name of the pan-Indo-European Dawn Goddess, also known as Ostara, Aušrine, Austra, Aurora, Eos, Ushas, and by many other names. All these names clearly derive from the Proto-Indo-European root for 'east.'

Ishtar is the Akkadian ('Babylonian') name of the pan-Semitic goddess known to the Greeks as Astarte, the Phoenicians as 'Ashtárt, and the Hebrews as 'Ashtóreth (originally 'Ashtéret). The name's original meaning remains unclear.

There's no known historical connection between these goddesses (or, better perhaps, families of goddesses). One is Indo-European, the other Semitic.

The fact that the Indo-European name is clearly derivable from an Indo-European root precludes the possibility that Indo-European speakers could have borrowed her from Semitic cultures. Although the origin of the Semitic name remains unclear, the fact that the goddess was already known among Semitic-speakers before their initial contacts with Indo-European-speaking peoples precludes the possibility of borrowing in the other direction as well.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Seems dubious to me. My Sanskrit dictionary turns up Asharha as a month-name (June-July). Asherah's links to the sea are unclear;
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In "Crete to Egypt: Missing Links of the Rigveda" Dr. Liny Srinivasan links the Canaanite Asherah to the Minoan As-sa-sa-ra, the B

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