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Culture Blogs

Popular subjects in contemporary Pagan culture and practice.

Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs
The Only Worthwhile Mythology is a Literal Mythology

Back east last weekend for the non-pagan holidays with family, I was met with a dilemma. As the family writer, I'd been asked to speak at the Easter table. Me, the pagan.

Religiously, we're all over the board (= table—e.g. "bed and board"—from the time when they set up trestles and boards for meals; the boardroom, of course, is the room with the table). The Passover seder at my cousin's had been the night before. In this, we're no more than a microcosm of the American demographic. In a generation or two, there will probably be Muslim family members at the table too. Good old America. The separation of covenstead and state is one of the best ideas anyone's had in the last 500 years. Secular governance has probably done more than any other factor to break down old ethnic and religious tensions, and I say: Gods bless it.

I decided that in this instance discretion constituted the better part of valor, so I read aloud John Updike's Seven Stanzas at Easter  (you can read it here). Although it ends weakly, the poem addresses, from within its own Christian context, the same larger issues of science, religion, and language with which every living tradition must wrestle in our day. Updike's conclusion: The only mythology worth having is a literal mythology.

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There are countless books which will tell you the right way to do your initiation.  I’ve read a number of them, both for covens and for solitary.  None of them spoke to me. 

Normally I’m a simple, as little fuss as possible, type of person.  Once I felt I was ready to declare my beliefs, I decided to do a ritual – full out, go for broke ritual.  I had it typed up, planned out, everything was going to go PERFECT. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Eileen Troemel
    Eileen Troemel says #
    Thank you... it was a great experience
  • David LeBarron
    David LeBarron says #
    How lovely for you!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mystical Cats Tarot
There’s a handful (or two) of feline Tarots on the market, but by far the best of them is the Mystical Cats Tarot by Lunaea Weatherstone and Mickie Mueller.
 
Rather than anthropomorphisizing cats or merely posing them in Rider-Waite-Smith scenarios and stances, the creators took on the challenging task of portraying them in alignment with their varied natures: curious, mischievous, playful, mesmerized, predatory and—of course—lounging. 
 
Some of the 22 Major Arcana have been renamed (I’ll list them later) and the 16 Court Cards become Kitten (Page), Tom (Knight), Queen and King. The 40 Minor Arcana cards are divided into clans: Fire (Wands), Sea (Cups), Sky (Swords) and Earth (Pentacles). Weatherstone says of the four clans:
 
“Although every cat is unique, they have common affinities and traits that are determined by their clans, both by heritage and by clan culture. It would be difficult for an independent Sky Cat to feel at home among collective-minded Earth Cats, or for a dreamy and psychic Sea Cat to understand the restless urge for adventure that motivates a Fire Cat. Your own cats also belong to one of the clans, though they may not choose to reveal it to you. By observation and deepening your knowledge of clan characteristics, you may come to know them better—and know yourself better as well.”
 
Mystic Cats 19As with all her Tarot deck companion books, Weatherstone’s prose proves spiritually insightful and psychologically relevant, not to mention an enormously enjoyable read. For every card, she shares a general overview as well as sage “cat’s advice” for both upright and reversed images.
 
Mueller’s watercolor renderings are adorable, perfectly capturing cat antics both expected and impenetrable. What I love most about her art for the Mystical Cats Tarot, though, is her conscious act of adding herbal infusions to watercolors as part of her artistic process. Catnip made it into the paint for every image, while various card-specific herbs were included based on significance and symbolism. For example, the artist incorporated ginkgo leaf and olive into the Stars card (ginkgo is noted for its memory-enhancing qualities).
 
Thirteen artist sketches with collaborative notes between Weatherstone and Mueller serves as a nice touch to the 201-page companion book, giving us a behind-the-scenes peek into the often demanding work of deck creation. (Weatherstone’s notes to Mueller about raising up a cat’s head with the flehmen response so it doesn’t look like a Mystical Cat hairball is too funny!)
 
Cards measure approximately 4 ½ x 2 ¾ inches with a flexible, satin finish card stock that shuffles like a dream, while the attractive mirror-image cat’s paw motif on back is ideal for reading reversals. 
 
There are four spreads included in the companion book, and I’ve tried the 3-card Shield of Sekhmet layout with great success. I look forward tot trying the Nine Lives Spread sometime this year (on a momentous occasion). 
 
I’ve used the Mystical Cats Tarot several times within the last few months, and find it extraordinarily accurate—and a delight to use. Whether this is because of Weatherstone and Mueller’s talent or from owning (and loving) cats I can’t be sure. But if you DO adore cats, this is THE Tarot to own, in my opinion. 
 
Here’s a rundown of the (mostly) re-titled Major Arcana cards:
 
Mystic Cats 20The Cat (Fool)
Cat Magic (Magician)
The Priestess (High Priestess)
The Empress
The Emperor
The Priest (Hierophant)
The Lovers
The Chariot
Strength
The Hermit
The Wheel (Wheel of Fortune)
Consequences (Justice)
The Floating Cat (Hanged Man)
Death
Grace (Temperance)
Demon Cat (Devil)
The Tower
Stars (The Stars)
Moon
Sun
Good Kitty (Judgment)
The World
 
To see 18 additional images from this deck, click here.
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How I Started a Coven, and lost my sole

 

Really, how could I resist that title?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    What a wonderful story. I wonder how many other folks will chime in with stories of their list soles. Thanks for commenting! And
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    I love this! I am a Witch working at a Christian church (fully out and supported!) and I bike to work every day. One morning I was
ETCHED Crystals and Sacred SIGILS - Surface features with special energies

This week we’ll be discussing Etching on crystals which falls under the category of surface features. Before we can discuss what surface features are, you need to know how to see them.

etched crystal

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The Magical Properties of Forsythia

After a long stint in Los Angeles and a life mostly lived in California, I'm finding my first springtime in the country in central Missouri to be indescribably magical. As the flowers begin to bloom and the green begins to return, I am truly shocked to behold all the botanical life that just bursts forth everywhere, all on its own, without the intense watering and cultivation that was so often necessary in my former desert environment. And it seems that so many different flowers, all in one place, are expected to miraculously appear on the scene at various times throughout the year! It's a kaleidoscopic theater of brightness and life.

For example, I recently discovered that a seemingly lifeless shrub right in front of our house had - quite possibly overnight - adorned itself in elegant, delicate, and intensely bright yellow blooms. I've since spied the same blossoms elsewhere in my area. Now that I know that this beauty as forsythia, I thought I'd explore some of her floral magic and wisdom.

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