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
Shit on the Altar

What would you do if you came down one morning and found shit on the altar?

Literal shit?

It happened to a friend of mine.

She'd recently moved the household altar, with its antlered Grinnygog* and photos of the dead, from a wall-shelf upstairs to a beautiful painted alcove downstairs. By aesthetic standards, the move was a quantum improvement, and yet, there it was: desecration.

What do you do when there's shit on the altar? Well, first you wash everything as thoroughly as you can, and strew the altar with salt.

Then you figure out what's going on, and what you need to do about it.

It turns out that the shit wasn't actually shit, but—hardly an improvement—spew.

The kitty had jumped up on the altar, eaten the food offerings, and then puked them back up. Yuck.

Well, kitties will be kitties. Still, when it comes to the sacred, these things don't just happen.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Lose the Chocolate

Ostara's the time when many would say: Loose the chocolate.

But me, I say: Lose the chocolate.

For religious reasons, lose it.

***

I live in Minnesota. It is wrong—wrong—that, in the stores here, apples should be expensive, and bananas cheap.

Wrong.

 ***

Chocolate, like copal and bananas, is an exotic visitor from the fabled Southern lands of Ever-Summer. There's the connection with Ostara: think of it as sympathetic magic.

In a few years, most of the world's cacao trees, grown unsustainably in inappropriate places where—as a cash crop—their cultivation has helped to destroy sustainable local agriculture, will be dead from cacao blight, anyway.

By then, of course, oil will be running out in good earnest, and it will no longer be economically feasible to move foodstuffs over large distances.

Then chocolate will once again become the expensive exotic that, by rights, it ought to be.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Birch beer is an old northern drink. I once split a bottle of it with a friend while standing under the tower on Glastonbury Tor i
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember back in the 80's they kept trying to pass off carob as chocolate. It never tasted right to me. Then back in the 00's
Owl Oracle for the Cancer Moon March 14-16

Here at Pagan Square, I’ll be sharing a spirit animal painting and message from my Elfin Ally Oracle Deck picked especially for the zodiac sign that Mama Moon is currently transiting. Enjoy!

Keyword: Magick
Meaning:
You’re on a spiritual mission so trust the Moon to guide you.
Reversed:
You’re stuck and at a standstill with an important decision to make.

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mandrakes: Remembering Raven Grimassi

Conversations around the presenters' breakfast table at Pagan Spirit Gathering are generally pretty good, but things really kicked up a notch when someone mentioned mandrakes.

“Oh, I raise them,” said Raven Grimassi.

It turns out that raising mandrakes in New England is no easy feat. It's too cold for them to overwinter in the ground, so you have to dig them up every year. Raven used to winter his in a barrel of sand, until it was warm enough to replant them in the spring.

A lot of work, to be sure, but the up side is that, handling them so often, and watching them grow as you do, you develop a very special kind of relationship with your mandrakes.

“Do you want to see some pictures?” asked Raven.

Everyone laughed. Did we ever.

In a life spent in the Craft, some moments stand out.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Will to Resist

 Witches' Sabbat, n. the ecstatic adoration of the embodied Horned Lord

 

Although it has analogues among the rites of antiquity, the Sabbat is not, in and of itself, an ancient ritual.

Viewed as a genre of ritual—like the Seder or the Mass—we can say quite specifically that the notion of the Witches' Sabbat first emerged at a particular time in a particular place: in fact, in the western Alps during the mid-15th century.

In his book Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath (1991), historian Carlo Ginzburg traces the socio-cultural forces that drove the rise of the Sabbat. What he does not document—how could he?—were the Sabbat's internal driving forces. What is the inner theological meaning of the Sabbat?


The Sabbat is the true paradise...where there is more joy than I can express. Those who go there find the time too short because of the pleasure and happiness they enjoy and, having once been there, they will long with a raging desire [un désire enragé] to go and be there again. So said French witch Jeanne Dibasson in 1630.

 

The Horned gave us the Sabbat as an earthly foretaste of the Witches' “Paradise,” where one experiences the simultaneous dissolution and expansion of self, the very state of being out of which we emerge and to which, in the end, we shall return.

Nor need we wait to die to partake of this joy; for by His Main and Mercy, we may join the Eternal Dance on the Sabbat-Field of the Goat, the Grand Sabbat of the atoms, here and now.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Cancel My Subscription!

Back in the day, I used to subscribe to a magazine called Biblical Archaeology Review.

Don't let the title put you off: it's really just a hook from which to hang all sorts of interesting articles about the ancient Middle East, with more graven images per issue than most pagan periodicals.

The Letters to the Editor were always amusing. In every issue, there would be at least one from some shrill nazz who apparently believed that any magazine with “Bible” in the title should be out to prove the Bible.

“Cancel my subscription!” they would always angrily conclude.

(One man wrote: “Many people throughout history have subscribed to a literal interpretation of the Bible, including 1) myself, 2) Jesus Christ, and 3) many other people.” “Well, that's pretty revealing,” I can remember thinking.)

After a while, BAR decided to bring out a sister publication called Archaeology Odyssey that dealt with the wider, non-Levantine world. Sounds good, I thought, and sent them a check.

The first issue was mostly about things Mycenaean, and the degree to which they were (and were not) accurately represented in Homeric epic.

Tongue firmly in cheek, I sent in my own letter to the editor:

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Cockatoo Oracle: Awaken Intuition (Gemini Moon)

Here on the PaganSquare blog, I’ll be sharing a spirit animal painting and message from my Elfin Ally Oracle Deck picked especially for the zodiac sign that Mama Moon is currently transiting. Enjoy!

Keyword: All-seeing
Meaning: Awaken to your intuition because an important message awaits you.
Reversed: Your intuition is shut down.

...
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