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
Yule-Halm

Yule is a birth, and birth is a messy business.

In the old North, women used to give birth in straw. This was called the birthing-litter or the birthing-strew: cushioning, absorbent, and readily disposable.

In fact, straw and strew come from the same verbal root, apparently meaning “to spread.” It was once customary to spread the floors of the house with straw—called halm or haulm, from the same root as Greek kalamos, “reed”—to insulate and absorb spills. Generally the halm had fragrant herbs mingled among it, but even so it must have gotten pretty rank with use. So for many years it was the practice to lay fresh strew for Yule: the Yule-halm. In Sweden this was known as Julglädje, the “Yule-joy.” (The old stuff must have been pretty bad.) Some people would sleep in the Yule-halm so as to leave their beds for the visiting dead who rejoin the family during the holy tide. Straw-dreams were said to be of great omen.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Self-Care tips from the Space Witch

We all know that the holiday season can be incredibly stressful, no matter which holidays one celebrates this time of year.  This season has always been hard on me, but this year it’s a lot worse.  So when I found myself crying in my boss’ office for practically no reason at all, I knew I needed to start practicing what social workers and other healthcare professionals refer to as “self-care.”"

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Song of the Crow Man

he wold com to my hows top in the shape of a crow, or lyk a dear or in any uther shap now and then, I wold ken his woice at the first heiring of it, and wold goe forth to him and hav carnall cowpula[tio]n w[i]th him 

  [Scottish witch Isobel Gowdie, of the Devil (1662)]

For just a moment, I thought that somehow I'd driven onto a set from Hitchcock's The Birds.

Sunset, Christmas Eve 2000. In the stillness of the Yule-frith, the only things moving were me and the stoplights, as I drove to work in downtown Minneapolis.

And the crows. Thousands of crows, literally, filling the trees that lined Park Avenue. Hundreds, raucous black fruit, in each tree, silhouetted against the sunset sky. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Crystal configurations are varied and many. What do I mean by "configuration"? Crystal configurations are the different shapes of quartz crystal, named according to:

Facets (placement, number of edges) such as:

Transmitter, Dow, Channeler or Channeling, Isis, Eight Sided Face and Windows;

b2ap3_thumbnail_config-facets.png

Projections (crystals penetrating one another) such as:

Inner Child, Bridge and Manifestation;

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I just wrote a whole post on Ferguson, white privilege, and racism. It was all about overt and institutionalized racism and the difficulty of seeing your own privilege. It recognized my own privilege as a white man and asked people of color to have patience with those of us who have a melanin deficiency as we try to figure out how to handle these successive rounds of evidence of systemic racism in society. Then I threw it out.

It was way too “Great White Father.” I was speaking to the white community, not the African-American community, but it still smacked of power and privilege. I can afford to sit down and think about these things because they don’t affect me. That’s privilege.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tim Titus
    Tim Titus says #
    I'm with you, and all I suggest is that we talk with rather than over each other.
  • Linda Pardue
    Linda Pardue says #
    The thing is while I can't completely empathize with the current climate's situation - I CAN empathize with the fear for their chi
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Love your pentacle of activism!
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Police officers using tear gas during the first wave of the Ferguson unrest. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

I was twenty-one when I took a Greyhound across the country into Maine.  It was a long and brutal trip, and I was travelling from BC; so I was on the bus for five full days.  Needless to say, on Day Five, when I went through Niagara Falls and Buffalo, NY, I was exhausted and hoping to get some sleep, so I pretended that I was sleeping and guarded the seat beside me jealously.

But the bus was really crowded; packed like sardines.  And so eventually, because I present like a tough cookie but am actually a marshmallow, I invited a young man to sit beside me.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I could not agree with you more. We have to be taught to hate and fear and no one wants to kill others, until taught. Our white ex
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    It sure would be nice if we could remember how not to want to kill each other. Thanks for your thoughts!
  • Joan Stringer
    Joan Stringer says #
    Sadly it is becoming apparent that violence is an increasing part of our lives in North America. Even if you haven't been personal
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    When I was six, I used to take off on my bike to the beach in the summer with a couple of bucks in my pocket to buy lunch at the c

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Birth Tree

In her memorable novel Reindeer Moon, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas tells a harrowing tale of a winter birth in Ice Age Siberia. As Yanan, seven winters old, is traveling with her family between winter lodges, her mother goes into labor. While the family makes camp, Yanan's mother goes off alone to find a suitable birthing-place. (Since predators are drawn to the smell of blood, to give birth in camp would endanger everyone.)

She finds herself a spruce with a good, strong trunk to brace her back against, low protecting branches, and ample duff to absorb the birth fluids. She builds a fire for what warmth and protection it can offer, crouches against the bole of the tree—squatting is the natural birthing-position for humans, with Earth herself helping to pull the baby from the womb—and prepares herself for a long night.

Thomas knows whereof she speaks. As a young woman in the 1950s, her anthropologist parents took her and her siblings to the Kalahari Desert to live with the !Kung, among the very last of Earth's hunter-gatherers. Her personal experience and careful observation of Bushman culture lend her stories of the Eurasian Ice Age a noteworthy sense of authenticity.

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