Culture Blogs


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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
Viewing the World through Pagan Eyes, Part II: Memes as Organisms

 

My first installment demonstrated societies can be understood as ecosystems. When we think of society as an ecosystem, one question moves to the front: people are organisms, but where are the others? Ecosystems are not monocultures. A cultural ecology obviously depends on people and exists at the level of consciousness, so where are the other organisms?

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Should Tarot Be in the Hands of the Masses? Part 1

In this episode of my Naked Tarot Podcast, I discusses a recent YouTube video from some punk who thinks that Tarot should NOT be accessible to the masses--because they'll "degrade" the cards, water down the meanings and "turn it into shit". 

Although the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot and Thoth decks are replete with esoteric symbolism (Western Hermeticism, especially), the 78 cards--the underlying structure or "bones" of a Tarot deck--aren't shackled to those two traditions.

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Spring Moons and Old Wives Tales

Spring Equinox is a time of balance between day and night. In spring Mother Nature is awakening, starting fresh with new growth and new beginnings.  New beginnings mean change and often this means a bit of chaos.  March has always been a tumultuous month for weather being described as coming in like a lion (windy and rough weather) or a lamb (calm weather).  The saying is – in like a lion, out like a lamb – or vice versa.  Perhaps this old wives tale is an indicator of how early societies predicted how nature would behave during a critical season for their well being.  With the ever changing, often erratic weather, one thing which could be counted on to remain constant was the moon.  As usual she cycles through her phases without fail each month.  Offering comfort in her constancy, early societies would naturally name the moons for each month.  Early cultures living off the land would have chosen names closely related to their daily lives.

The March full moon has been called many things including awakening[i], fish[ii], windy[iii], sap[iv], crow[v], worm[vi], crust[vii], and sugar[viii].  All of these names can relate to how people saw their natural world.  March is a time when the ground starts to thaw thus removing the crust for the soil so worms were becoming more active.  Sap in sugar maple trees begins to flow and can be processed to create sugar so it would be a natural name for the March full moon.  Ice is often starting to break up and fish are starting to be more easily accessible.  The natural world is awakening to the new beginnings of the spring season.  Therefore early civilizations named the moon based on the experiences they had with nature and tied it in with what we now call old wives tales.

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  • Ganchgaers
    Ganchgaers says #
    Wonderful season is spring. I like more that. March month is very tumultuous and given wonderful weather. Some of critical season

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Birth of a Goddess

Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus (circa 1485) isn't just one of the most enduringly famous paintings in the world.

It's also a prophecy.

Even before the Old Paganisms were dead, the New Paganisms had already begun to arise.

The Old Pagans were Pagans-by-Tradition. In a sense, their paganism was unconscious; they didn't know that they were pagan. The New Pagans are Pagans-by-Choice. With full awareness of alternatives, they—we—nonetheless choose the Old Ways.

The emperor Julian (331-363) was raised Christian, but chose the Old Ways instead. In a sense, he was the first New Pagan. At the end of the Byzantine Era, the philosopher George (“Plêthon”) Gemistós (1355?-1452), also raised Christian, did the same. Several of his students were self-avowed pagans.

It was they who, after the fall of Constantinople, fled to Italy and, in so doing, sparked the self-conscious rePaganization of the West that we now call the Renaissance: the influx of Old Pagan learning, aesthetics, and values into the West, the process that was ultimately to break the power of the Church and to free the Western mind.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, Thanks for mentioning Plethon! He was a hero and visionary, even if I didn't necessarily agree with all his ideas.

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How to Draw a Two-Handed Pentagram

 "Don't draw pentagrams in the bathrooms; it frightens the maids."

(Sybil Leek)

 

They're big, they're showy, they work well in ritual.

And you don't need an athame to draw one.

I learned how to draw two-handed pentagrams from my friend Volkhvy years ago. (To the best of my knowledge, it was he who originated the practice.)

I've been drawing them ever since.

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Witches Do It Backwards

These days we mostly say widdershins, but in the Old Language of the Hwicce, the original Tribe of Witches, it used to be withershins, and that's a word to conjure with.

In those days, you were either with or wither: for or against.

Widdershins is a wither-sithe: a journey or going against.

And that way lies power.

Doing things backwards is an old, old magical technique to raise power. Think about it. Backing up is harder and more dangerous than moving forward. It takes focus. It takes concentration. You really have to think about what you're doing.

Going against the grain creates tension, and tension raises power. Believe me, you've never heard the Charge of the Goddess until you've heard it backwards.

Witherwards, one could say: dancing back-to-back, as we still do at the sabbat.

Hence our reputation for creative blasphemy. But this is no mere blasphemy for blasphemy's sake. Oh no: this is blasphemy for a purpose.

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Bullying is a terrible thing.  I was bullied as a child. I was an odd duck of a kid who didn't always know how to behave in public because I grew up with an emotionally-distant father and a mother with untreated bipolar disorder who couldn't get the medical establishment to help her. Besides that, I was a clever kid who was really book-smart and terrible at coordinated sports. It was a classic nerd situation, and my peers made me suffer terribly for it.

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  • Paul
    Paul says #
    Hi Diane, I just read A Plea To End Bullying and my heart began to race. I went through practically identical torments at two diff

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