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

b2ap3_thumbnail_Heimdal_durch_die_neun_Wellenjungfrauen_emporgehoben_by_K._Ehrenberg.jpg

Nine maids,nine waves
Asleep upon the shore

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Of Gods and Rats

The Reims Cernunnos, shown above, is one of the most famous images of a Horned God from antiquity. A product of Roman-era Gaul, it shows the Antlered seated cross-legged on a plinth or altar in a miniature temple. Apollo and Mercury attend him. In his lap, he holds a bag of circular objects—generally identified as either coins or grain—which he pours out to a bull and a stag before him. Mysteriously, in the pediment above him is carved a rat (or mouse; for the purposes of this discussion, the two are interchangeable).

There's much to be said concerning the symbolism of this relief, but here I will focus only on the most curious aspect of its iconography: the Rat.

The Horned Lord tends, in pantheon after pantheon, to be a Master of Animals generally, but still the choice seems an odd one. The scholarly literature has tended to address this question cursorily, generally preferring one of two readings.

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The War of the Elements: A Folktale of the Latter-Day Hwicce in an Age of Climate Change

They say that once the elements were at war.

The land quaked, and the sea rose up to drown it. Wildfires raged; the winds wreaked havoc.

The people were frightened and sent a delegation of elders to the forest to speak with Him of the Horns.

They found him sitting at the foot of an oak, wearing Grass Snake around his neck. He heard their words, and when they had finished, he took Grass Snake in his hands. Grass Snake began to grow and grow until he was as big as the world. Then he wrapped his long body around the whole world and took the tip of his tail into his mouth.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Last May, right after I finished graduate school and earned my master’s degree in social work, I was contacted by the director of pastoral services at Duke University Hospital. This fine gentleman has been working to put together interfaith lectures and dialogues, and asked if I’d be willing to offer a Pagan perspective to the mix.

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Last time I promised to begin our next discussion with Barnacles. Before I talk about Barnacles specifically, though, let's talk about how these metaphysical characteristics work. I have been doing a lot of meditating on this, and asked my crystal guide, Venus, for clarity, primarily in how to describe this concept of Metaphysical Descriptions to you. Following is information received from Venus over a period of days, and in italics is where she popped in as I was compiling my thoughts.

While the crystal configurations and shapes which have been named by many are a good way to generally categorize these configurations, it can be misleading, because people may think that if a shape or structure implies this or that (via the name or description), that magically, simply by obtaining one of these specially named crystals, the desired outcome will be achieved.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Red Beads: A Tale of the Kalasha

Lore-master Kazi Khosnawas sits under an old walnut tree and tells a story.

Eight generations ago, before the time of Shuragali, Kalasha women wore black beads from Peshawar, but now they favor red beads. Here is why.

Shuragali was staying in the bashali, the Women's House, because she was just about to give birth, but Tiliwari lurked outside, seeking to devour her. (Tiliwari, a cruel being in the shape of a man covered with hair, his mouth red with blood, preys upon pregnant and parturant women.) Shrewd Shuragali enticed him into the bashali and pushed him into the fire, where he burned to death. Ever since then Kalasha women have worn red beads in tribute to her courage and resourcefulness.

This is a local story, says lore-master Kazi Khosnawas. That's how we know it's true.

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Pagan Shops of Western Canada: White Lioness Metaphysics, Penticton, BC

Recently I had an opportunity to visit all kinds of fascinating Pagan shops throughout Western Canada when I was on a book tour, so I'm writing about them to share them with others.

White Lioness Metaphysics InsidePenticton, BC is a small city in the southern Okanagan Valley; but still a weird combination of retirement community and bohemian hipster haven (don't get me wrong, I love it.) White Lioness Metaphysics, which is located in the heart of Penticton's downtown, is a collective that’s only been around for a few months, organized by the indomitable Jennifer Innes and a team of dedicated and clever women (and a handful of men) offering a variety of metaphysical services and products.  If you go on a Saturday you will also be able to enjoy Penticton’s fantastic Farmer’s Market, where you can spend the whole day tasting local wine and eating exotic vegan food while you tour art galleries and shop for handmade treasures.  Yes, White Lioness keeps a booth there as well and they offer deals on psychic and Tarot readings every Saturday.

It's a lovely little storefront with a clean, clear layout, usually dominated by a couple of different crystal grids in the middle of the brightly-lit shelves.  What's available for sale doesn't differ significantly from other metaphysical stores and there's a strong focus on crystals, so if that's not part of your practice, your primary attraction will be the original artwork with Pagan themes.  Many Pagans will find the New Agey atmosphere a little cloying, but others will love it.  Their prices are reasonable and tend to be on par, or even a little less, than what is typical for the Okanagan Valley; which is neat because they do not buy any stock and all of their stock is on consignment by members of the collective. (Full disclosure: I've got a small amount of leftover stock from when I owned a metaphysical store on consignment there as well.)

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